Monday, February 19, 2007


Fraudster Norma Khouri Resurfaces

Amal A has a great post: "Norma Khouri's Come Back: Still a Fake" on her Improvisations: Arab Woman Progressive Voice blog. It just goes to show you that there's always a ready Western market for Arab and Muslim-bashing.

See also:

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Sami Al-Arian Hunger Strike Update

Dr. Sami Al-Arian--a US political prisoner for 1,460 days--has now been on a hunger strike for 29 days, he has lost 32 pounds, and was recently transferred to a prison medical facility. Al-Arian is protesting his imprisonment on contempt charges stemming from his refusal of the government's demand that he testify before a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va.

The Tampa, FL-based Friends of Human Rights is calling for a "rolling hunger strike" in solidarity with Al-Arian. Those who would like to join are asked to please send an e-mail to with the day they will fast. I'll be fasting on February 22nd as Al-Arian's fast enters its second month.

Also, keep an eye out for, or better yet arrange a showing of, the new Norwegian documentary film, USA vs Al-Arian.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007


Anarchy, Technology, the Amish & Rumspringa

As part of thinking about technology and anarchism, I've been doing a mini-study of the Amish. They are so anti-state, i.e. anarchist, that they refuse to take up arms for it and generally separate themselves from civil authority as much as they can. Furthermore, they have chosen to forgo most of the technology that many Americans embrace readily, even recklessly. Contrary to popular opinion, the Amish don't reject all technology and they don't reject it for primarily religious reasons. They are keenly aware of the deleterious effects that technology can have on the social dynamics of their families and communities and they take these into consideration when evaluating technology.

In my study, I've read one book and watched two documentary films. The most recent of the films was Devil's Playground. When Amish children turn sixteen they are allowed to indulge for a period of years in the material and sensual pleasures of the surrounding "English" or American society. This period in their lives is called the rumspringa--lit. "running around"-- and is meant to afford them the opportunity to make an informed decision about whether they want to be Amish or not. Many Amish teens get jobs with non-Amish employers and, thereby, obtain the cash to buy cars, beer, cable TV, crystal meth, etc.

The question posed on the DVD cover (top right) is "Which path will they choose?" The interesting answer is that, according to the filmmakers, 90% of Amish youth reject 'the world'--mainstream American society--and choose to join the Amish church. "This retention rate," we are told, "is the highest ever since the founding of the Amish church in 1693."

To me, this is a powerful statement that people who have been exposed to viable alternatives will reject American society as morally and spiritually repugnant and vacuous, even after they've been exposed to all--which is really very little--it has to offer. It is this bankruptcy, in part, which fuels the fundamentalist and charismatic religious movements in the US. It also helps explain global resistance against the imposition of American culture and economic restructuring. The pity is that more Americans cannot imaginatively expose themselves to other ways of living and build just, peaceful, and sustainable alternatives to stop the death machine that is America.

See also:
P.S. If you watch The Net DVD then be sure to also watch the interview with Paul Garrin in the special features.

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Monday, February 12, 2007


Quotable: The Ghost of Christmas Present

"There are some upon this earth of yours," returned the Spirit, "who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us."

Source: Character of the Ghost of Christmas Present in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Stave 3.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Quotable: Materialism and Satan

Thus Satan offers Christ, unfurled,
the wealth of the material world.
The Devil is, then, by and large,
materialism's fierce mirage.

So, in the light Renaissance brings,
the Age of Reason spreads its wings.
The rational now holds full sway
and science ascends as God gives way.

Materialism's steady creep
which William Blake called
"Newton's sleep,"
brings worldy blessings,
fair and fine.
Yet blinds mankind to the divine.

Such tempting gifts
this devil brings:
Steam engines, printing, splendid things
that in their wake, an age decree
of spiritual drudgery.

Source: Characters of Mike and Mack a.k.a. the Caduceus in Promethea (Collected Edition Book 2) by Alan Moore et al. (La Jolla, CA : America's Best Comics, 2001).

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