America is about to begin a love affair with the Arab world

on 143 Comments

flowerssPhotos from Tahrir Square (c) Christina Rizk. See her album here.

Like you I have spent the last ten days glued to the screen, and the only way to convey my joy and excitement is: these are the greatest public events of my adult life. I wasn’t around for the civil rights movement, the counter-culture had its hedonistic side, and I was too walled in by maleness and straightness to understand feminism and Stonewall for what they were. Eastern Europe seemed inevitable. Obama’s election was 8 on the Richter scale. This is 11, this is Pompei, it’s buried the old world.

Is there anything more noble in human conduct than people with their bare hands taking on a dictator and a superpower so as to lead their children to a more enlightened future? Nothing. And when you combine that ravishing spectacle with the thoroughgoing prejudice against Arabs to which I have also been prey– they are lesser, uneducated, clannish, violent, fundamentalist, sexist, etc– well this has been shattering and transformative, as great as any revolution we read about in our schoolbooks.

And I’m not alone. All Americans have been swept up in this glory. You see this in the attitude of our reporters, Brian Williams and Anderson Cooper, and in Barack Obama himself. His statement yesterday was his best yet. He is being led by the Egyptian street.


Historic revolutions go well beyond their borders. The Russian revolution affected world discourse for two generations, the American and French revolution transformed the west, the Soviet Union’s collapse led the way to the application of international law. The Egyptian revolution will also sweep the world, arm in arm with the internet.

And while no one can be sure how this one will play out, this much I am sure of: America is about to begin a love affair with the Arab world. The romance of this revolution will soon come to our shores. Americans will come to regard Arabs with not just respect but prestige. Arab culture will become hip. Hookahs and humus will be the rage. Arab artists and performers will come to the White House. New York networks and theaters and museums will celebrate Arab magnificence. And more and more people will wear kuffiyehs.

This is inevitable because the pleasure, eloquence and beauty of Arab culture have been dammed up too long in the American psyche, and this is a dam break. The neoconservatives who infected us with racist ideas are on the run, it has been more than 30 years since Edward Said published Orientalism, enough time to bear fruit. But most of all the love affair is a necessary response to the incredible policy errors of our government. We are far enough away from 9/11 and the Iraq war to understand that the U.S. made grave errors in its conduct.

Also, we can finally say that we are on the right side, and take pride in that. I believe that the Obama administration will play a positive role in carrying this revolution forward peacefully, and we had a role in fomenting the revolution; as the new prime minister of Tunisia told Piers Morgan on CNN last night, This is a revolution made by facebook and twitter.

How shocking to see America in such a good light in the Arab world. It can’t be long before the revolution will bring a tidal wave of American tourism to Cairo, Damascus, Aleppo, Tunis, and yes, walled Jerusalem. 


I have traveled in many Arab countries and always struggled to make out that world through the fearful screen of American prejudice. Even my travels in Palestine, meeting noble people forged by nonviolent resistance– I have seen Arabs as other. And I looked for the revolution to come inside American life, Jewish life, even Israel; and I was wrong (and Pamela Olson, Annie, and Susan Johnson and Rachel Corrie and Emily Henochowicz were way ahead of me) The Egyptians have shown greater bravery and vision. So they will lead Americans and American Jews too. I see it in Wolf Blitzer and Martin Indyk’s awe at these events– two powerful Jews who once worked for AIPAC and its offshoot; I see them deferring to the power of the Egyptian imagination. I see it in the prevalence of hijab-covered women on television, civil rights leaders for once, not signifiers of difference.

Is the Israel lobby still around to try and block this awareness? Of course. The reactionary are talking about sharia law and the Muslim brotherhood. That is the definition of reactionary. The intelligent are waking up. Today on the NPR show On the Media, they had segment after segment about Arab opinion, Arab attitudes. As I have said before, Mona Eltahawy and Tarek Masoud have become stars because we so crave their understanding. Intelligent reasonable Americans all share something of my joy, and now have deep curiosity about a world they have been lied to about again and again. The awakening that so many of us have had in the Palestinian solidarity community will occur across the U.S. discourse, and we will begin to see the beautiful diversity of Arab life.twomen

Will it change the Israel/Palestine conflict? Of course it will. I’m not going to predict just how but that conflict has been a dam against human understanding, for over 60 years, way too long, but now a huge flood of understanding and sympathy will break the dam. Pro-Arab feeling will rival pro-Israel feeling. Jews in the power structure will begin to question their Zionism, or they will be forced to. Yes there is tremendous resistance. This Times piece today shows the hand-in-glove relationship of the US and Israel. (“Daniel Shapiro, a White House Middle East adviser, met on Tuesday with American Jewish leaders, and Mr. Obama talked to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Sunday.”) Or last night Eliot Spitzer showed a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman stating that Palestinians had a right to resist Israel and imperialism in such a way as to make the man out to be a jihadist. But the dam will break over Spitzer too, as Americans demand to know more about the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas too, and learn about the steady racist dispossession of the Palestinians.

All the neocon lies about Arabs wanting to restore the Caliphate and smoldering Arab resentment over civilizational decline contained a shadow truth, of Arab greatness as members of the human family. They have been outcast too long. They are home at last. Let the Angry Arab stop being angry, let Abunimah into the NY Review of Books, break out the tabbouleh and the oud.

143 Responses

  1. yourstruly
    February 5, 2011, 11:09 am

    not a love affair

    a reassessment of ourselves

    that we’re no better than anyone else

    that the arab’s quest for a better world

    could be ours too

    if only we weren’t so busy cluck-clucking about america being number one

    my country right or wrong

    a beacon unto others

    no others

    just us

    you are I, I am you, we are one

  2. Jim Haygood
    February 5, 2011, 11:27 am

    ‘Will it change the Israel/Palestine conflict? Of course it will.’

    It’s got to. But the Old Guard soldiers on as if the Palestine Papers and #Jan 25 never happened:


    (Reuters) – The Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators said on Saturday they would give high priority to the impact of the current unrest in Egypt on the stalled peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

    In a draft statement due to be endorsed by the United Nations, European Union, Russia and the United States, they said further delays in resuming talks would be “detrimental to prospects for regional peace and security.”

    The statement, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, said the four parties reiterated their support for concluding the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations by September this year and said the Quartet would meet again in mid-March on the way ahead.

    link to


    Democratic legitimacy is the central theme of the Egyptian uprising. Yet the Quartet want to complete negotiations with a Palestinian Authority whose mandate expired two years ago, and whose moribund parliament (with many elected Hamas members in prison) can’t even muster a quorum.

    In the aftermath of the Palestine Papers, the Israeli government has taken the surreal stance that the embarrassing revelations in fact show how close the negotiations for ‘the biggest Jerusalem ever’ were to reaching success. Nothing has changed, Israel insists counterfactually.

    And now — surprise, surprise! — the Quartet adopts exactly the same line. One can only conclude that the Quartet is basically a mouthpiece for Israel; a multinational legal team advocating on Israel’s behalf.

    Where are the Palestinians’ international lawyers? Maybe they can hire a distinguished team of advisors from Egypt, after its constitutional amendments are drafted.

    Not only should Mubarak resign, but so should the Quartet. It’s unacceptable for these Quartet four-flushers to pursue a phony, crammed-down peace with a quisling Palestinian Authority which lacks the legitimacy to conclude it. In fact, the Quartet’s underhanded, undemocratic stance toward Palestine undermines the sincerity of US calls for a transition to democracy in Egypt.

  3. munro
    February 5, 2011, 11:45 am

    sincerely hope so phil… OT sorta but from the sublime to the repulsive, Bill Maher’s HBO show last night was a perfect example of what we’re dealing with in Liberal Hollywood. Maher interviewed Mona Eltahawy. She was brilliant but Maher’s anti-Arab racism was so flagrant that I thought she should have walked off the set. She handled it like a total media pro, laughing and zinging back, but it was just criminally racist from start to finish. I’ll post a link when it’s available. Until then Maher’s little after the show online thing follows up a bit:
    link to

    • Chaos4700
      February 5, 2011, 12:10 pm

      Maher’s a fraud, and he’s a pitiful excuse for a self-declared athiest and liberal. Seriously, his horrible little Islamophobic movie actually turned me off to atheism because it showed me that atheists could be just as fanatical, extremist and hateful as any Crusader for the “God” they make in their image (instead of vice versa).

      • Donald
        February 5, 2011, 2:58 pm

        “his horrible little Islamophobic movie actually turned me off to atheism because it showed me that atheists could be just as fanatical, extremist and hateful as any Crusader for the “God” they make in their image ”

        Sam Harris is another of that type.

      • gingershot
        February 5, 2011, 7:26 pm

        Maher’s religion is his mama Israel – he’s just not bright enough to know it.

        Progressive except Palestine/Islam

      • olive
        February 5, 2011, 9:54 pm

        Chris Hedges actually wrote two books about this “New Atheism”. Here is the latest one:

        [Review from Amazon]
        Hedges is clear from the outset: there is nothing inherently moral about being either a believer or a nonbeliever. He goes a step further by accusing atheists of being as intolerant, chauvinistic, bigoted, anti-intellectual, and self-righteous as their archrivals, religious fundamentalists; in other words, as being secular versions of the religious Right. Like best-selling atheists Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, Hedges is disgusted with the Christian Right, going so far as to call it the most frightening mass movement in American history. Even more disturbing for Hedges, however, is the notion, which many atheists and liberal churchgoers share, that as a species humanity can progress morally. There is nothing in human nature or human history to support the idea, Hedges maintains, nor that the flaws of human nature will ever be overcome. He discusses the dark sides of the Enlightenment, Darwinism, consumer culture, the justifications for America’s wars (including in Vietnam and now Iraq), and obsession with celebrity, among other equally hot topics. His purpose in this small, thought-provoking book is, he says, to help Americans, in particular, accept the limitations of being human and, ultimately, face reality. –June Sawyers –This text refers to the Hardcover edition. You can get it from here:
        link to

    • munro
      February 5, 2011, 12:15 pm

      Bill Maher’s raw contempt for the Egyptians, and all Arabs, right on the heels of the beautiful historic images we saw all week was absolutely stunning. I can’t think of a precedent for this depth of cold-hearted of racism following other major human rights events. And to shove it in the face of an Egyptian woman at this moment. Wow.

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 12:28 pm

        i just tried to find the interview. please let us know when it’s available. he was rude and disgusting in the after show segment but i want to see the full interview w/her.

      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 12:39 pm

        Yeah , the rudeness. Her people have just thrown off 100+ years of racist Orientalist domination. Shouldn’t that elicit some shred of warmth and sympathy? JFC!

      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 1:48 pm

        notable moments: Maher interrupted Eltahawy, she asked to finish, Maher says, “Yes or I’ll have my head cut off.” Amazingly, Mona laughed and said “Oh so you’ve heard.” Maher claimed the people we see in Tahrir Square aren’t the real Egyptians, that it was like a demonstration on the Upper West Side or in the Castro. Mona said the people in Tahrir ARE the real Egyptians, that everyone from her small conservative Egyptian town was either there or supportive. Maher then pulled out a little paper and recited stats: %80 of Egyptians believe in stoning women for adultery etc. Gallant. Mona rebutted later off-air on the online feed: link to

      • seafoid
        February 5, 2011, 3:26 pm

        Where do they get these stats about stoning? AIPAC? Pure bilge.

      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 3:47 pm

        Sorry, more Maher, but he ended his show with New Rules with pic of Tahrir Sq: (paraphrased) “Any day that an assembly of 100,000 Arabs doesn’t end in thousands being trampled to death in a religious stampede is a good day.” (odious smarmy face body language.)

      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 6:14 pm

        Mona Eltahawy Bill Maher Video Up
        link to

        and post show online discussion
        link to

        I know my posts have been overkill on this idiot. Some content missing from these videos but you’ll get the idea.

      • Jim Haygood
        February 5, 2011, 6:23 pm

        One reference that Israeli writers are citing (though not about stoning) is a Pew Research Institute poll taken immediately after Israel’s Gaza offensive ended in early 2009. It states that ‘Views about Israel, and about Jews more broadly, are extremely negative in many Muslim nations, and are especially so in Arab countries.’

        link to

        Of course, the context — immediately after an Israeli attack which killed 1,400 people — is usually omitted by those propagating the meme that ‘Arabs are fanatical antisemites who just want to kill us.’

        As I like to point out, if you’d surveyed Saddam Hussein’s popularity in the US just after he attacked Kuwait, it would have been lopsidedly negative too. One can’t jump from that data point to claiming that Americans hate Iraqis or Arabs.

      • Sumud
        February 5, 2011, 6:30 pm

        annie / munro ~ this is the clip:

        link to

        Maher is such a slimeball! Ugh!

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 7:42 pm

        whoa, thanks so much. yuk yuk yuk. slimeball is right.

      • Jim Haygood
        February 5, 2011, 8:28 pm

        Ugh — Maher’s confrontation of Mona Eltahawy with polls about sharia law was off-topic, obnoxious and racist.

        She was way too classy to descend to his slimy level, which might consist of replying, ‘Well, Bill, 55% of Israeli Jews agree with a rabbinical ruling against selling or renting housing to Arabs. Does that make you a member of a prejudiced, unassimilable, racist minority? Or are you one of those rare, enlightened, Upper West Side/Castro exceptions to the usual run of your bigoted kind?’

        link to

      • Sumud
        February 6, 2011, 12:26 am

        Don’t forget the 45% of religious Israeli jewish students who think “death to arabs” is a legitimate expression – from a March 2010 survey of school children attitudes:

        Poll: 46% of high-schoolers don’t want equality for Arabs

        And a later report specifically on the “death to arabs” statement in schools:

        Student’s answer on civics test: Death to Arabs

        Hair-raising sentiments.

      • munro
        February 7, 2011, 7:01 pm

        Mansplaining Egypt to Mona Eltahawy
        link to

      • Avi
        February 5, 2011, 12:33 pm

        Maher is a fraud in the sense that he is a self-styled progressive, and yet he is unabashed to display his racism and hatred for Arabs/Moslims. He is a Zionist, through and through and he is not afraid to show it.

        Oftentimes he is quick to condemn the United States’ own domestic policies, its practices, culture and norms, only to conclude, “That kind of thing would never happen in Israel”.

      • MRW
        February 5, 2011, 3:28 pm

        Totally agree with you munro and annie. I was too pissed off to watch Overtime. Will in a minute.

        Mona was superb, wasn’t she? And you could tell from the response when Maher tried to do his PEW talking points that the crowd was not amused.

        But the biggest shock was Anthony Weiner. He tempered the invidious Muslim Brotherhood remarks of John Fund. Weiner’s remarks and understanding make a lot of sense when you realize he’s married to a Muslim, but few outside of le tout NYC and DC know that.

      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 4:04 pm

        MRW, Mona is on the verge of very big things. I hope she tempers her words about Israel on air and online. It will take monumental self-restraint but if she can do that, the sky’s the limit.

      • Citizen
        February 5, 2011, 4:50 pm

        And yet Maher would be shocked if someone said he reminded them of Glen Beck. And, will sly Jon Stewart come around? How about his
        sidekick, the other guy with his own satire show adjacent?

      • olive
        February 5, 2011, 10:16 pm

        I think Maher’s comments reveal the elephant in the room: That far too many Western (and Eastern) liberals care more about the enforcement of secularism in the Arab and Muslim world than they do about democracy. This is why I doubt that I will ever hear Maher condemning the Uzbeck government for the things that it does (i.e boiling Islamists alive).

      • CK MacLeod
        February 5, 2011, 11:02 pm

        I think, olive, that many if not most of those liberals think more in terms of freedom, than they do about “secularism.” It’s definitional. The view also corresponds to a quasi-religious belief in separation of church and state. They may not even know for sure what they believe, but they insist on the freedom to quasi-believe it and to change their minds, too. It runs deep in American historical experience and self-understanding.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 5, 2011, 11:08 pm

        And actually I can bring this around to Mona v Bill: She was insisting that the Egyptian awakening was an awakening to the freedom and dignity of the individual against the beliefs of the older generation. This perception is also essential Americanism, and it’s what Bill (and most Americans) respond to positively. Arguably, it also implicitly contradicts the main things (including the phantoms) that Bill responds to negatively, though it doesn’t necessarily tell you what concrete form that freedom/individualism in an Egyptian context must take.

    • Taxi
      February 5, 2011, 1:10 pm

      The guy’s a vegetarians and an animal rights supporter but doesn’t mind a bit the wholesale murder of Arabs to protect israel – go figure!

      That’s Bill Mahr.

      Your average garden variety psuedo-intellectual left-wing fascist!

      Mahr to my ears is an Arabic name. Fact is I used to know an Iraqi family with this very name. Is Bill Mahr one of those jews who hate their Arabic roots. Is there a word for this kinda psychosis amongst the tribe?

      • Frances
        February 5, 2011, 2:03 pm

        I think his dad’s of Irish descent, which might explain the “Maher” part of it.

        He’d be such a good Republican if he’d put his mind to it.

      • seafoid
        February 5, 2011, 2:30 pm

        Maher is an Irish name but it doesn’t really maher.

        There was a guitarist in the Smiths called Johnny Marr and I remember in French class hearing the phrase “j’en ai marre” which sounds more or less the same and means “I’m tired of it” which is how I feel about Bill.

      • Citizen
        February 5, 2011, 4:51 pm

        He hates his father’s Irish side.

    • Jim Haygood
      February 5, 2011, 1:44 pm

      Maher is an obnoxious egomaniac, who sneers in contempt even at his fellow Americans. This is what I wrote in a review five years ago, about an ‘Amazon Fishbowl’ video clip in which Maher interviews musicians Linda Ronstadt and Anne Savoy about their album Adieu False Heart:

      The problem lies in the 5-minute interview segment hosted by Bill Maher. It is in stunningly bad taste. Maher lashes into Ronstadt from the get-go, archly implying that her previous music is “boring,” and dismissing it as “Mexican, immigrant, Latino.” Then he turns his acid tongue on Savoy, asking point-blank whether her Cajun songs are “good music, or do we feel sorry for them just because they had a flood”? To her credit, Savoy sidesteps the unprovoked calumny. But when Ronstadt mentions Savoy’s previous recordings in French, Maier promptly brands her a “traitor.” Just to make sure he didn’t miss insulting anyone, Maier turns on Las Vegas (where Ronstadt had a singing gig), asserting that “everybody in Las Vegas is a whore.”

      How does a foul-mouthed pig like Maher stay on the air? Anything to do with ethnic hiring preference? Nawww, that couldn’t happen in diverse America! ;-)

      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 2:39 pm

        Jim, those examples are just schtick and shouldn’t be confused with Maher’s deep anti-Arab racism.

      • Citizen
        February 5, 2011, 4:54 pm

        Maher’s hard-boiled cynicism is very selective; he romanticizes Jews and Israel.

    • jawad
      February 5, 2011, 8:11 pm

      The odious Bill Maher, and the beautiful Mona
      link to

      • eljay
        February 5, 2011, 8:55 pm

        >> The odious Bill Maher, and the beautiful Mona

        Bill wasn’t a complete ass but, my gawd, Mona was wonderful!

      • Citizen
        February 6, 2011, 10:36 am

        Bill was ok because Mona didn’t express the Israel connection to why the US has supported Murbek & his geezers for 30 years. Mona was, as you say, wonderful!

    • munro
      February 6, 2011, 2:35 am

      VID Mona Eltahawy & Alan Dershowitz CNN Today Sat 4/5
      link to

      • Citizen
        February 6, 2011, 10:49 am

        Mona concludes re Dershi: “Your’re talking nonsense!”
        Dershie re Mona: “You’re just wrong!”
        Gergen: We need more more than one ally (Israel) in the Middle East. This dispute illustrates the problem Obama has in handling the Egyptian situation. American principles support the Egyptian Street, but we must be careful how we get there. (Now you know why he’s been an advisor to 4 US presidents. He states the obvious and does not muddy himself with the details. Now there’s the ticket to a long career in DC)

  4. annie
    February 5, 2011, 12:12 pm

    yes yes yes! you’re wonderful phil, just wonderful!

  5. munro
    February 5, 2011, 12:13 pm


    • annie
      February 5, 2011, 12:28 pm


      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 12:36 pm

        I moved a post to go underneath my orig post on Maher. Sorry to reduce this thread to a discussion of a “B” hollywood swinger cliché but Maher does resonate culturally, at least here in LA, an affront to real liberals who actually do exist out here. Following Mona Eltahawy has been interesting: link to

      • Taxi
        February 5, 2011, 2:10 pm

        All the real liberals in LA live in Venice Beach or Topanga Canyon.
        The rest of LA is liberally swamped with zionists – meaning liberal on everything except Palestine.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 5, 2011, 2:38 pm

        You’d be surprised – or maybe you wouldn’t be? – how ready, willing, and getting close to able many of them are to separating their Judaism or philo-semitism from their Zionism. As ever with this kind of thing, a lot of the underlying hollowing-out takes place near-invisibly – just as within any other “regime.”

        I don’t claim to know where they’ll land – at “soft Zionism” or “non-Zionism” or “anti-Zionism” or what. Maher’s comical but not very funny confusion and self-contradictions are typical – and not sustainable over the long term.

      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 2:43 pm

        Taxi, “All the real liberals in LA live in Venice Beach or Topanga Canyon.” Not true. we are hiding in plain sight everywhere, zionists so deluded they suspect nothing. We watch our mouths around them, talk in code.

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 2:50 pm

        thanks for the mona link. yeah LA is salwart zionland, it will be the last to turn imho even after the east coast. there’s too much money and control there wrapped around the image makers.
        it’s just a dot on the map. a dot that invades our homes thru our media but a dot non the less. don’t forget that. it ain’t all powerful, they just think they are.

      • Rolf
        February 5, 2011, 3:11 pm

        This looked incredibly familiar–then I remembered:

        “The newspapers, films, radio–in short our culture has been taken hostage by them. We think “oh, they are so powerful,” but they are nothing more than a tiny speck on Germany. A speck that follows us into our homes, it is true, but a speck we have allowed to flourish, and that we will now, in an instant, bring a glorious end to.”
        Joseph Goebbels
        Address at the Opemplatz, 10 May 1933.

      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 3:26 pm

        Rolf, I was just referring to family friends coworkers who have yet to evolve vis-à-vis the Middle East. We love them, mostly, but have to choose our battles, we need to take into consideration the thought systems we attempt to speak into. Can’t start from square one every day.
        Maybe this will help you–the-arab-freedom-epic

        Rolf link to

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 3:36 pm

        well, if you want to compare what i said about a location, the city of LA which to me is a spot on a map (and believe me the people of LA definitely think it’s the center of the universe w/all it’s trend setting gauche opulence and consumerism run amok) w/joseph goebbels be my guest. i won’t stop you.

        that said, zionism isn’t just about jews in LA and orange county. it’s ronald reagan nixon country and as a born and bred (you won’t find more distain anywhere for than us northerners) we’ve had to deal w/their resource thieving (from the north!) rightwing politics highjacking attention grabbing dominating our state for as long as i can remember. i wish they had divided our state decades ago! but guess what? i’ve never heard of anyone advocate killing off the south.

      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 3:43 pm

        Annie, Oh you’re the Goebbels not me. Just as well since I’m a SoCal person, but with family in SF who for 5 generations snootily disdained everything LA represents and rarely venture south of Carmel.

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 3:47 pm

        another thing, the image of LA doesn’t represent what it is which is massively diverse multi cultural center with a huge hispanic flavor, influence and presences, but you don’t get that from the imagemakers or reality TV. at all imho.

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 3:54 pm

        oh maybe you’re right munro. us northern californians think we own reality. the bay area rocks! we lead the nation! the center of the universe is SF and berkeley, everything spins off from here and the world follows!

        rarely traveled south of Carmel

        occasionally i fly over LA on my way to mexico. ;)

      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 3:58 pm

        Kinda true though. Nephew at Berkeley clerking for Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsome fills my email box with amazing stuff. Lots happening up there. Here, it’s the High Holy Days between Golden Globes and Academy Awards.

      • Taxi
        February 5, 2011, 4:11 pm

        Sorry munro but you ain’t ‘present’ if you’re talking in code.

        Me I don’t give a flying-fig – I say what I want about Palestine anytime anywhere and to ANYONE in LA – oh yeah I’ve upset quite a few lalalanders you’d better believe it!

        And I agree with our annie: LA will be the last zionist stronghold – because they got too many zionists on botox out here, talentless yet utterly privileged, narcissistic, racist bimbos and bumbos.

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 4:13 pm

        that was very nice of you munro, ok truce. la has lovely beaches and great music.


      • Taxi
        February 5, 2011, 4:18 pm

        LA would be a heck of a lot nicer without so many racists calling themselves liberals and raising money for israel during Gaza.


      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 4:30 pm

        Taxi, It’s very hard to endure the hypocrisy when everyone around you is a narcissistic self-congratulatory bleeding heart, brows furrowed over all the right causes, then Gaza happens, or Lebanon (to which I have developed deep personal ties), their Olympian indifference is unbearable. I do speak out but mostly have limited my contacts. Even in my own mixed family. Just the way it is.

      • Taxi
        February 5, 2011, 4:46 pm

        I understand munro – I too would find it delicate and difficult if members of my family were zionists.

        Not ratting on you personally, just frustrated with LA zio-politics, cuz that’s all there is, that’s who’s got the power – even the Latino mainstream community is on the zio-payroll.

        Very maddening and depressing.

        When I vote locally, I vote based on presence or absence of zio-influence and I make it clear to prospective local candidates ‘why’ I was voting or not-voting for them.

      • Citizen
        February 5, 2011, 5:00 pm

        Ah, Taxi; you make my heart throb–and I’m not gay. “Too many Zionists on botox”– now there’s a cutting edge!

      • Antidote
        February 5, 2011, 5:36 pm

        good catch, Rolf

        Opernplatz, I think

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 8:26 pm

        antidote, it’s rather odd this quote isn’t available on the internet don’t you think? since you recall it do you think you might be able to locate it for me?


      • tree
        February 5, 2011, 9:00 pm

        I did a quick search and am soon headed out the door, but the only entries I can find on the speech give only a partial transcript of the speech, which does not contain Rolf’s “quote”. That in itself doesn’t conclusively mean that the quote is incorrect, since it is only a partial transcript, but the language and idioms sound a bit off for 1930’s German. Also, why is he talking about newspapers, films and radio taking German culture “hostage” at a book burning? Especially at a book burning that is being propagandistically filmed and covered on radio as a glorious event?

        “A speck that follows us into our homes, it is true, but a speck we have allowed to flourish, and that we will now, in an instant, bring a glorious end to.” So why would Goebbels think that newpapers, radio and film would end just because they burned books? It makes no sense.

        I’ll certainly and vociferously apologize if the quote turns out to be true, but at this point I’m calling hoax. If it is in fact a phony quote then I think someone should report Rolf’s comment and he should be banned for lying and maligning another commenter through a phony quote.

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 9:14 pm

        i found the speech tree and linked to it downthread, it just doesn’t contain anything remotely resembling rolf’s quote.

        odd. no worries tho, i just tracked down rolf on another thread and ask him to provide his source, so i’m sure it will be forthcoming.

      • tree
        February 5, 2011, 9:15 pm

        since you recall it do you think you might be able to locate it for me?

        I thought that Antidote was merely correcting Rolf’s spelling, from Opemplatz to Opernplatz .

      • tree
        February 5, 2011, 9:22 pm

        I saw your link annie. I thought it was only a partial transcript but it may be the complete one. I suspect a phony quote. It looks like we need a German speaker with access to Helmut Heiber’s “Goebbel’s-Reden” to know for sure. That book contains the full transcript from the German radio broadcast of the speech.

        I’m off for two days . I’ll look this thread up when I get back and offer an apology if my hunch is wrong.

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 9:37 pm

        If it is in fact a phony quote then I think someone should report Rolf’s comment and he should be banned for lying and maligning another commenter through a phony quote.

        if he can’t source his link i’m for sure writing phil but it seems like such an outlandish thing to do it’s hard for me to fathom someone would go to such desperate lengths to smear another poster. we’ll see how he responds. as i mentioned earlier i caught up w/him on another thread when he asked me a question. let’s give him some time to do a search. unless he just was recalling it from memory.

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 10:09 pm

        btw, rolf has decided to engage me wrt this issue here on another thread for anyone wishing to follow this mini drama.

        the plot thickens.

      • CK MacLeod
        February 5, 2011, 10:27 pm

        I searched around in the German sources and also was unable to find anything corresponding to the quote. The text that’s widely used was apparently shortened by Goebbels from the remarks as actually delivered, so all sorts of things are possible, but tree’s right that the lines don’t seem tailored to the occasion, though they do read a bit like the kind of thing Goebbels & the gang used to say. On the other hand, Annie wasn’t calling for burning Hollywood – just the opposite, it seemed to me. She was calling for not taking it too seriously. So not much of a smear, really – not sure that was the intention.

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 10:56 pm

        So not much of a smear, really – not sure that was the intention.

        really? that remains to be seen. i read it as a smear and if the quote is fabricated thru a contortion of my text rolf’s gonna have some explaining to do.

      • Taxi
        February 6, 2011, 8:00 am

        Hey Citizen,

        I already outed myself as a female:
        link to


      • Citizen
        February 6, 2011, 8:32 am

        Tree, your questions are ridiculous. Goebbels was clearly making a symbolic public burning of what he viewed as malicious media influence. And he was literally striking a match to it to officially initiate a campaign against it, trying to win more hearts and minds to this endeavor. Try using more imagination, less obtuse literalism.

      • Citizen
        February 6, 2011, 8:35 am

        Sorry, Taxi. Somebody else here regularly too did so, but I can never remember who. Actually, I think three regulars did so–I still can’t remember who. Hopefully I will remember Taxi. Have you ever watched Taxicab Confessions?

      • Citizen
        February 6, 2011, 8:58 am

        There’s no question Goebbels’s speech at the symbolic book burning was a direct attack on what the Nazis viewed as the pernicious influence of the media in all its forms, although I don’t know if Goebbels ever put his concern exactly the way Rolf says here. How about this one, apparently from Goebbels–from the Jewish Virtual Library online; is it relevant, considering the usual hasbara we’ve all heard from our political leaders here in the USA for decades regarding Israel?

        “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

        I think Goebbels, who was a student of the marketing ideas of Bernays, and hence Bernays version of the mass human sheeple, agreed, and may have said, that propaganda (Bernays original word for Marketing, PR) was not interested in being intelligent but in getting the results it was after.

      • Antidote
        February 7, 2011, 1:25 am

        yes, tree. The Opernplatz speech/event on May 10 is infamous, but I didn’t have the text in my head, nor did I check the quote until annie asked about the source. It did and still does sound like something Goebbels would say on this or other occasions. But I can’t source Rolf’s quote either.

      • tree
        February 7, 2011, 2:05 pm

        Citizen, from my understanding of Germany circa 1930’s the “moral decadence” that the Nazi Party was castigating, as was done in Goeebels’ fire speech, was contained in books; books written by leftists and Jews. There was not a concerted campaign to vilify films, newspapers and radio, like there was against books, and in fact the Nazi Party used all three to propagate its message, utilizing a cooptation of those media, particularly radio, which was a relatively new medium at the time, with the first radio station in Germany merely 10 years old. My questions are not “ridiculous” and being as how it appears that no one can verify Rolf’s “quote” I think it highly likely that he simply reworked annie’s words into his phony quote so as to malign her. It seems to me that you are the one lacking in imagination here, believing that Goebbels must have actually said this just because Rolf claims he did.

  6. Avi
    February 5, 2011, 12:28 pm

    These events may very well turn out to be historic in proportion. But, I’m hesitant to share Phil’s optimism in regard to America’s views of the Middle East. My hesitation is mostly subjective as it stems from crushed hopes in the past, particularly surrounding the Israel-Palestine issue. I remember the exhilaration I felt when in 1991 leaders from Arab states and Israel met in Madrid, Spain for a peace summit, for example.

    Still, I recognize the people power factor in current events. I understand the sweeping change that will mostly likely take place. But, I am careful not to raise my hopes too high, lest they be crushed in the coming months or years by the proverbial powers of evil in the world, countries and leaders with inhumane policies, warmongering and destructive agenda.

    In the meantime, I am proud of the people, of the power of the human spirit to rise up against tyranny and proclaim its rights, its dignity and hope. That is certainly inspiring, commendable and respectable.

    • seafoid
      February 5, 2011, 2:41 pm

      I know what you mean, Avi. Israel managed to strangle the hope that arose back in 1991. But that was a trick they could only pull once. It was the same back in 1979 with the Camp David agreement.

      What is encouraging this time around is the weakening of the US as a result of the Iraq FUBR misadventure and the collapse of the neoliberal economic model in 2008. AIPAC has the politicians but will the Chinese lend them the money ? That would not have been imaginable in 1991.

      Israel has built up a lot of wealth and infrastructure since 1948 and much could be at risk if the goons in charge there don’t play their cards right. The loss of Egypt and Jordan would throw all the power equations out. Israeli deterrence isn’t what it used to be, especially with those Mavi Marmara hasbara videos of IDF soldiers being tossed off the ship by unarmed Turks available on youtube. The Likud worldview is going to cost a lot more than it did on 22 January. So there are definite grounds for optimism. YESHA was always a bad idea but now it looks very exposed.

  7. seafoid
    February 5, 2011, 12:28 pm

    Wresting the NY Review back from the Zionists is going to be akin to Mao’s long march.

    • Jim Haygood
      February 5, 2011, 1:57 pm

      Interesting analogy — despite its illustrious ancient cultural history, the impoverished China of forty years ago gave no clue of its imminent rise to superpower status.

      A millennium ago, Islamic culture was similarly advanced. Its sublime architecture and art have not been equaled to this day (indeed, some of the mathematics underlying Islamic patterns — Penrose tilings and such — are only now being worked out). Could it flower again, as Phil suggests?

      One clue is right in front of our eyes in Tahrir Square: the amazing, self-organized cooperation and unity of the protesters. Chinese, by contrast, tend to be far more individualistic, valuing family affiliations much higher than community or nation.

      If Egypt does lead the Arab world in a rebound from its centuries of somnolence, its cultural unity on display this week will be its most valuable asset.

      • MRW
        February 5, 2011, 3:43 pm

        Interesting, Jim. Because the Chinese and Muslim worlds have a long, long history together. A history of war, grant you, and conquest, but also a history of great engineering feats and respect. The marriage of Arabic and Chinese maritime technologies, and their back-handing of the Ptolemaic world view (which of course was dead wrong but believed in the west for 1500 years to its detriment) allowed them to navigate the seas with maritime inventions, some of which cannot even be reproduced today.

        China has invested in Africa. They must be ecstatic to watch this. The revolution will proceed down to the sub-Saharan countries. where their astute investments in infrastructure and resources without sucking the countries dry (the way the World Bank and IMF do it) will pay handsome dividends in the hearts and minds as the revolution continues apace. Educated Africans know the history of Timbuktu as one of the greatest university libraries, and the great history Africa has with the Arab and Muslim Chinese world.

      • Citizen
        February 5, 2011, 5:16 pm

        Very excellent comments JH & MRW. Thanks.

      • Jim Haygood
        February 5, 2011, 7:05 pm

        Doubtless the Chinese are getting the sense that they invested in an ’emerging Africa’ theme before anyone else saw it coming. A better-governed Africa can fully participate in one great secular theme of the 21st century — the rapid growth of the developing world, which is outstripping that of the overindebted rich countries by a crushing 4% annual margin.

        But at the same time, China must be uncomfortable with a couple of parallels between its situation and Egypt’s. One is food inflation, an important driver of both the Tiananmen Square and Tahrir Square uprisings. The other is Egypt’s demand for genuine popular democracy, where China lags far behind Egypt in not even offering sham elections.

        China’s economy today actually is in a very similar configuration to where it was in 1989, inflating and overheating after years of hothouse growth. Should popular discontent with rising prices ignite into demands for political change, it would be a nightmare for China. Thus its efforts to suppress the ‘Egyptian revolution’ meme from gaining any traction in China, which is always vulnerable to destabilization thanks to its enormous size, authoritarianism, corruption, and disparity of wealth. Hey, sounds a lot like Egypt!

      • Antidote
        February 6, 2011, 9:23 pm

        It was much less than a millennium ago that Arabs/Muslims threw rocks at Christians/Europeans calling them ‘dirty dogs’. And yes, they were way ahead of the Europeans in terms of bodily hygiene, among many other accomplishments. No European city before the 18th/19th c could match cosmopolitan Constantinople or Baghdad. See for instance the 12th c travel account of a rabbi in this book (full view on Google books)

        link to

  8. CK MacLeod
    February 5, 2011, 12:47 pm

    If Mr. Weiss is right, then the love affair might carry with it more than a little nostalgia for “the way we were” – I mean for the time when we had a future. I’m not saying that America will disappear, just that its unique contribution to history coincident with its major internal development has mostly been made. If we’re much luckier than anyone deserves to be – as we generally have been – we’ll settle into retirement gracefully. Unfortunately, there are many determined to ensure that that won’t happen – standing athwart history yelling “we’re number one!”

  9. fillmorehagan
    February 5, 2011, 1:49 pm


    Really hope you are right about a new era for Arab-American relations, but I recall you very optimistic early on that Obama would chart a new course in the Middle East. This optimism was misplaced to put it mildly.

    • seafoid
      February 5, 2011, 3:10 pm

      This song is for me about the current state of the Arab world.

      link to

      It’s a song about an Algerian migrant labourer in France or somewhere similar looking for guidance from Abd el Kader, a historical hero and it’s about being denied a life of dignity at home. Will this song still be popular in 20 years’ time ?

      • Sumud
        February 5, 2011, 5:48 pm

        Algerie ~ sigh.

        Another Rachid Taha song: Ya Rayah, about travel and exile:

        link to

        English translation of lyrics:

        link to

        There’s actually a version on this song on YT from the same concert seafoid. I like [Taha’s] original better, but the concert clip is great too.

        *Another knock on from Tunisia and Egypt: President Bouteflika has announced the emergency laws, which have been in place since 1992, will be lifted shortly. Protests won’t be allowed in Algiers but I’m not sure if this will be adhered to. There has already been largeish protests in one of the coastal towns (Bejaia). Algeria has the 4th or 5th largest gas deposit in the world and citizens are frustrated that the wealth hasn’t trickled down.

      • seafoid
        February 6, 2011, 2:19 am


        That is the other one I was going to post ! Aljazair al miskeen.
        Those songs are so powerful.

      • Sumud
        February 6, 2011, 8:37 am

        Aljazair al miskeen.

        seafoid ~ gonna have to ask you for a translation sorry, I don’t speak arabic! (well I know it’s ‘Algeria the …’ but that’s all). I have a vg friend in Algeria and I’ve spent some time there, so it has a special place in my heart..

    • Philip Weiss
      February 6, 2011, 12:57 pm


  10. Chris S
    February 5, 2011, 1:56 pm

    If Obama is being led by the Arab street, then why hasn’t he cut the Dictatoraid?

  11. lobewyper
    February 5, 2011, 2:50 pm

    Folks, forget about Maher–he’s rude, crude and a shil for the interests most of us oppose, but we now need to do whatever we can to get Al Jazeera English on American TV. Short of shutting down the Lobby, nothing would do more to advance Phil’s vision here than affording AJE access to the American public. The dam is starting to break on this. Here’s an article from today’s that would never have appeared even 6 weeks ago:

    link to

    BTW, Buckeye Cable (NW Ohio) offers AJE on its digital basic package!

    • munro
      February 5, 2011, 2:56 pm

      “forget about Maher” sorry thread derailing was my fault.

      • lobewyper
        February 5, 2011, 3:06 pm


        Your comments re: Maher were part of a larger point you were making which was well-taken. No apology necessary. :)

      • munro
        February 5, 2011, 3:33 pm

        Lobewyper, thanks. Did you see Rolf called me a Nazi upthread? If I’m to be defined by my enemies please let it be by someone called Rolf.

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 3:42 pm

        yeah, i liked it. there’s plenty of room on the thread to discuss anything. it was a welcome addition.

      • Rolf
        February 5, 2011, 4:27 pm

        I wasn’t calling you a Nazi, nor even Annie. I was merely encouraging her to cite her source.
        Rolf sounds like a Nazi name, it’s true, but I’m Danish. Close enough, I suppose.

      • lobewyper
        February 5, 2011, 4:31 pm



      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 4:35 pm

        my source? i’m afraid i’m not up on goebbel’s quotes, but thank for the education.

      • Citizen
        February 5, 2011, 5:19 pm

        I thought the Goebbels quote was a good input on this thread all by itself.

      • Rolf
        February 5, 2011, 5:50 pm

        Yours was pretty close to the original, I’d say. Still, no one in that family will sue.

      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 8:05 pm

        could you please link to a copy of the speech. i’d like to read the whole thing. i am unable to pull up the text you have posted w/a simple search.


      • annie
        February 5, 2011, 8:17 pm

        here’s a link to the speech rolf, but i’m not finding your quote there.

      • Citizen
        February 6, 2011, 8:26 am

        There does not appear to be a full rendition of the Goebbels speech at Opernplatz anywhere, and the English translation of what is available is somewhat shaky–here’s Streicher’s partial rendition in German and adjacent, in English: link to

      • annie
        February 6, 2011, 8:48 am

        citizen, on the other thread antidote linked to what appears to be the full text. here.

      • Citizen
        February 6, 2011, 9:10 am

        Thanks, annie. At the risk of taking up too much space here, here’s a rather too wooden and literal translation–Goebbels was not without poetic skills you won’t see in evidence here:

        „My fellow students! German men and women! The age of an exaggerated Jewish Intellektualismus is now to end, and the break-through of the German revolution freed also again the lane for the German way. As on 30 January this yearly the National Socialist movement power conquered, there could not know we yet that so fast and so radically in Germany could be cleared up. The revolution, which broke out at that time, was prepared according to plan by us – we can confess that today openly – long beforehand and. And if one is surprised today at the fact that we vibrate the laws as it were from the sleeve: that is not a miracle, because we need to transfer only the lawfulness of our own movement to the state. This revolution did not come from above, it from downside erupted. It is not dictated, but the people wanted it. It is therefore in the best sense of the word the execution of the people will, and the men, who organized, mobilized and accomplished this revolution, originate from all layers, conditions and occupations of the German people. Here the worker beside the citizen, the student beside the soldier and beside the young worker stands, here stands the intellectual one beside the proletarian: A whole people rose! However this revolution differentiates of the revolt with respect to November 1918. At that time fallow the materialism through, the marxism maintained the field. The forces of the Untermenschentums conquered the political terrain, and whereupon then years of unimaginable and indescribable material and mental disgrace followed in Germany fourteen. This disgrace we got all at the own body to feel. It felt each worker, who lost its place at the machine. It felt each young worker, who was excluded from the entrance to the work. It felt each citizen, to who one took the last groschen from the bag. It felt each soldier, who, crunching with the teeth, had to watch, how one was allowed to step the national Wehrhaftigkeit and the honour of the German people unpunished with feet. They felt also your student, who you as Vortrupp of a really revolutionary German spirit of the universities were down-floated, which one you, if you traktierte the Germany song anstimmtet or against Versailles most protesting, with the Gummiknüppel, which had it fourteen years long in being silent disgrace the humiliating of this November republic over you be issued to let. The libraries filled on with the Unrat and the dirt of these Jewish Asphaltliteraten. Instead of in Germany a German education educating German humans and instead of about the pulpits of the universities real people leaders the spirit of the time the word talking, the high science behind the paragraphs and behind the bundles of files and behind the Pandekten entrenched itself. And during the science of the life gradually isolated itself and to cut off let, young Germany long already a new and finished on the right of and normal condition restored. This on the right of and normal condition, whose carrier was we in the opposition movement, that now, with the assumption of power by us, also on the right of and the normal condition of our state became. The movement, which berannte at that time the state, in-marched now into the state -, more still: it became even state! And the men, who led this movement at that time against the state, those are now the owners of the government authority. And thus the German spirit got completely different capability. Thus the revolutionary speed, the revolutionary energy and the revolutionary striking power, which inspired the German youth in the past fourteen years, now the speed and the energy and the striking power of the whole state became. One is not mistaken: Revolutions, if they are genuine, do not make anywhere stop! There are no revolutions, which reformed only the economy or only the policy or only the cultural life or umstürzten. Revolutions are break-throughs of new world views. And if a world view can really raise requirement on this title, then it cannot be content to roll an area over of the public life overthrowing but then the break-through of this world view must fulfill the whole public life, it may by it no area remain untouched. So, how she revolutionizes humans, then she revolutionizes the things! And at the end then mass, people, state and nation in and the same will have become. Over it however we are mental humans us clearly: Power-politics revolutions must be mentally prepared. At its beginning the idea stands, and only if the idea vermählt itself with power, then from it the historical miracle of the circulation will rise. Their young student carriers, Vorkämpfer and advocates of the recent, revolutionary idea of this state were. And so, like you in the past the right had, the wrong state to berennen and thrash the Unstaat, so, to fail as for it the right had, the wrong authorities of this Unstaates your respect and your attention – so have you now the obligation to go in into the state the state to be carried and the authorities of this State of new gloss, new and new validity would lend. A revolutionary must be able to do everything: it must be just as large in the Niederreißen of the Unwerte as in developing the values! If your student to you the right take to in-throw the mental Unflat into the flames then must take to it also the obligation on you to free to the place this Unrates a real German spirit the lane. The spirit learns itself in the life and in the lecture-rooms, and coming German humans will be not only humans of the book, but also humans of the character. And in addition we want to educate you. To young already have the courage to in-watch the life into the pityless eyes to forget the fear of death and to get before death again reverence, – that is the task of this recent sex. And therefore you do well in order to entrust this mitternächtliche hour the Ungeist of the past the flames. That is a strong, large and symbolic action, – an action, which is to document before all world: Here the mental basis of the November republic sinks to ground, but will victoriously rise from these rubble the phö nothing of a new spirit, – a spirit, which we carry, which promote me and to which we give the crucial weight and which crucial courses impress! Thus I ask you, my fellow students, to step behind the realm and behind its new authorities; thus I ask you to dedicate these flags of the work and the obligation and the responsibility; thus I ask you to recognize in these flames not only the symbol of the fall of the old epoch, but also the ascent of the new epoch. You had to look already early to the life in the eye. And few only of you are in such a way blessed of luck goods that they could enjoy unimpaired and in purest peace of this life. You do not need to complain about it, because even if this recent sex became poor at material values – won however it has at the soul! And I believe: A recent student youth was never as entitled as these, proud on the life to be proudly on the task and proud on the obligation. And never young men had as now the right to proclaim with Ulrich of Hutten: O century! O sciences! A desire is to be lived! Before these tasks you stand now. You in the enormous demonstrations of the past weeks and months over all differences away the workers, the comrades of the hand, in the factories and at the Stempelstellen the hand handed. The barriers, which separated us formerly, down-tore: People found again to people! And if the old persons do not understand that, – we boys have it already durchgeführtl if it with the worker the same brown honour dress carry and if you up, without one could recognize the difference, in the same line, in the same row and in the same member it marches then you visibly express with it for all world that in Germany the nation agreed internally and outwardly again. Old person lies in the flames, which will again climb new ones from the flame of our own heart! To unite where we stand together and where we, since we feel us the realm and commits to its future. And in the times, since we fought still in the opposition, so still, since we power and there we the responsibility in hands hold, we like so often close together in a vow, – in vow, which we so often up-sent abendlichen sky from deepest agony in former times, when we fought for power, into which, – in the same vow, which should be umleuchtet today again under this sky and of this flame an oath: The realm and the nation and our leader Adolf Hitler – welfare! (Listeners: „Welfare! “), Welfare! (Listeners: „Welfare!), Welfare! (Listeners: „Welfare! “)” [Out: The Millennium – chronicle. 20. Century

  12. Shingo
    February 5, 2011, 3:02 pm

    A very moving and inspiring piece Phill. I can only hope and pray that your optimism is fulfilled.

  13. Keith
    February 5, 2011, 3:28 pm

    PHIL- “Obama’s election was 8 on the Richter scale. This is 11, this is Pompei, it’s buried the old world.”

    Good heavens. That you can still judge Obama’s election as truly significant rather than symbolically significant indicates an inability to distinguish reality from hope. As for burying the old world, the problems are systemic and so far I don’t see the system changing. I might add that a key motivation for the demonstrators was the economic condition: rising food prices and lack of jobs/income, all an inevitable consequence of neo-liberal globalization. The problems are enormous. Don’t let your euphoria color your judgment.

    “…the Soviet Union’s collapse led the way to the application of international law.”

    You can’t be serious. The collapse of the former Soviet Union led to the increased flouting of international law by the US and our allies. Perhaps you think that the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the blockade of Gaza are applications of international law?

    “How shocking to see America in such a good light in the Arab world.”

    What have you been smoking and where can I get some? If the Arab street sees Uncle Sam as their friend, then things are even bleaker than I thought.

    Phil, the fall of the Mubarak dictatorship (like the fall of Marcos, Suharto, etc) is a positive development that may lead to positive change. We can only hope and support. However, to engage in self-deception and misleading hyperbole is not helpful. Other than that, keep up the good work.

    • Citizen
      February 5, 2011, 5:22 pm

      Keith, I agree with your observations; while my heart hummed to Phil’s rightfully exhuberant tune, he must have had a few knocks on the historical brain, which you exposed.

      And let’s not forget the depth of hatred out there, right in our USA homeland–like this one, found crumbled in a plant at the door. Note the kids are named too.

      link to

      • Sumud
        February 5, 2011, 6:02 pm

        That’s just revolting Citizen.

        Reminds me of the self-appointed internet defender of jews the “JIDF”. After the raid on the Free Gaza Flotilla he mused on twitter about killing all Palestinian politicians and said since Israel was copping flack anyway they should have just sank the 6 boats. Most recently he’s said that now would be a good time for Israel to re-take the Sinai. And this Kahanist sicko has something like 50,000 followers and presents himself as constantly battling anti-semitism – meanwhile resorting to the crudist islamophobic/anti-arab stereotyping you could imagine.

  14. rosemerry
    February 5, 2011, 5:47 pm

    One of the most interesting Israeli commentators is Uri Avnery, for over 75 years a pro Palestininian, pacifist, humorous, knowledgeable writer. In counterpunch or his own website.

  15. Citizen
    February 5, 2011, 8:41 pm

    Meanwhile, back at the Ranch–
    Congress is out ahead of the administration in calling for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down and for the United States to cut off military aid to his regime. But while some believe the White House is using Congress to send Mubarak tough messages they don’t want to — or can’t — send themselves, it appears that Congress is reacting to events independently from the administration.

    Last Thursday evening, all 100 senators passed a resolution that calls on Mubarak to immediate transfer power to an interim caretaker government, for that government to immediately begin a transparent process toward a free election, for the presence of international election monitors on the ground in Egypt, and “expresses deep concern over any organization that espouses an extremist ideology, including Zionism. ”

    Oops, I must have had a senior moment reading that resolution–delete “Zionism” and insert: “the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    • Jim Haygood
      February 5, 2011, 9:04 pm

      Heroically, the Senate also repealed the Patriot Act, brought the troops home from Afghanistan, and compelled AIPAC to register under FARA.

      In our dreams … the Senate wasn’t in session this Thursday or last. ;-)

      link to

      • Citizen
        February 6, 2011, 9:13 am

        Heh. So I guess no overt harm was done last Thursday since our wonderful Congress was not in session. I read that favorable opinion of Congress is lower than favorable opinion of Al Quaida.

  16. olive
    February 5, 2011, 10:12 pm

    I don’t know…….I have a hard time believing that things will get better just because there may be democracy. Democracy is a form of governance. Its not fullproof. Its a form and PEOPLE are the content. If the people are corrupt (i.e taking bribes etc) then the fact that they will get to vote does not mean much. For example, Pakistan is a democracy (more or less) but its suffocating from problems of corruption.

    If people in the Arab and wider Muslim world want an end to corruption, they need to start in their own houses. It is good character that leads to a healthy society, not revolutions.

    • Sumud
      February 6, 2011, 1:46 am

      It is good character that leads to a healthy society, not revolutions.

      I don’t agree with that olive, not at all. What is a revolution if not the expression of aspirations for a better, more healthy society? By your reasoning three weeks ago you would be saying – because of corruption in Egypt, that Egyptians have “bad character”. So now what do you say when across the nation people are demonstrating to oust their bum dictator and corrupt NDP regime?

      One of the things you hear commented on over and over again is how clean Tahrir Square is being kept, and that this is surprising even Egyptians because Cairo is not normally a very clean city. Listen to the language Waseem Wagdi uses when he speaks about events in Egypt:

      …and I’m proud of all Egyptians today, I’m proud of the masses, who are cleansing Egypt, of the dirt, of the criminals, who have been oppressing us. I’m proud of all the Egyptians who are cleansing themselves, of all remnants of fear. I’m proud of an Egyptian people, and of the masses, who, collectively and singly, have raised their head – up high, and no-one, no-one will bring it down again, no-one …no-one!

      This is powerful language and it begins to give you a feeling about what it is to live under a dictatorship, where the leaders are multi-billionaires who have deliberately smashed civil society and secular opposition, and who maintain their power via secret police that kill, torture and terrorise the population with near total impunity.

      Can you imagine what it would be like to be a journalist who receives death threats from the state security over the phone because of your reportage? Shahira Amin is an Egyptian journalist inspired by a visit to Tahrir Square to quit her job with the English-language State TV, a short radio interview with her:

      High profile Egyptian journalist resigns

      The Al Jazeera interview where she talks about what it’s like at Nile TV and the threats made against her:

      Egyptian Journalist Shahira Amin resigns from State TV

  17. annie
    February 5, 2011, 11:08 pm

    here’s an amazing photo stream. certainly no lack of beautiful people.

    • seafoid
      February 6, 2011, 2:26 am

      I think there is poetic justice in the fact that websites and internet tools that have made so many billions for America’s billionaires and enabled them to buy congress in the name of AIPAC are now being used to disseminate across the whole world images of the humanity of the AIPAC oppressed masses of egypt, thus dealing a very damaging blow to the AIPAC narrative. Technology works in mysterious ways.

  18. chris o
    February 6, 2011, 3:26 am

    You’re crazy, in a good, optimistic way. Humans, and especially United Staters, just keep marching on. Barely noticing, never remembering. I think of NPR’s Scott Simon waxing eloquent regarding the huge the famous trapped Chilean miners. He was like, “Everything is different now. This is transformative” or some such sentiment. And now, it’s like, the Chilean who? What? It’s irrelevant, barely even a distant memory. (I hate those stories, I didn’t see one minute of it.)

    Don’t get me wrong, this Egyptian Revolution is important… and excellent, and inspiring. Looking back at recent history, with Walt and Mearshimer, Israel’s assault on Gaza, and its attack on the Turkish aid flotilla, United Staters are feeling more and more uncomfortable with our Israel/Mideast policy. Recent events in Egypt and Tunisia will definitely add to this momentum. It’s another brick in the wall.

    I will note that there is a a good chance that this revolution will have a special impact on an important class, the mainstream media. Many journalists were arrested and beaten in the coordinated Egyptian crackdown on the media. I think all journalists must feel a special shock at seeing and hearing of the mob attacks specifically directed at journalists. Meanwhile, anti-government protesters defended and protected the journalists as much as possible. So these events may have a real influence on the mainstream media. They certainly should.

    But, otherwise, whatever. Who cares? Verizon has the iPhone or something. There is a new app, and other products to covet. The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history. And United Staters are pretty intent on whistling past the graveyard. So while the situation in Egypt is very uncertain, no matter what happens, it won’t influence us much. Nothing does.

  19. chris o
    February 6, 2011, 3:51 am

    I regret reading the hatefest regarding Bill Maher. You know, the politically incorrect guy. Hello?!

    Of course it is valid to criticize him but much of it is over the line and very personal and hateful. I haven’t seen him on TV in over a year. I’ve never had HBO. But I’ve seen many YouTube clips from time to time, and other interviews and appearances of his. And I was a big fan of his Politically Incorrect show way back when. Many times I would disagree with him. But I think he’s funny. He says things that often are never said. And then he got thrown off of ABC after September 11 for one such utterance.

    So now he’s offended you. And he is evil, I guess.

    • Citizen
      February 6, 2011, 7:37 am

      Chris O, if you had had HBO over the last year, and watched Maher’s show every week, you would know why so many of us diss him here; when it comes to any of his jokes directed at Christianity, Islam, Arabs, or anything critical of Israel his extreme bias is downright evil.

      • annie
        February 6, 2011, 8:08 am

        i don’t know if i’d go so far as to call him evil.

      • Citizen
        February 6, 2011, 9:18 am

        Well, yes, annie; Maher has not personally rained down white phosphorous on the Palestinian children, nor even personally stood up at an AIPAC conference and parroted the standard hasbara. What’s your litmus test for calling an activity “evil?” Should Streicher have been hanged at Nuremberg? How about the Nazi cartoonists? (They were dealt with in other ways I’m sure Maher wouldn’t like.)

      • Taxi
        February 6, 2011, 9:31 am

        It is evil when jokes are intended to make the listener feel more ‘comfortable’ with their own prejudices. Bill Maher is THAT kind of insidious propagandist who’s always gleeful (cha-ching!) when he provokes hatred and fear.

        He’s a racist entertainer no better and no smarter than Imus. No he ain’t a comedian, he’s a horrid little propagandist with too much botox and pancake on his face.

        You think a snooty vain narcissist like that should be valued and rewarded by our attentive praise?

        Well right now I wish for Bill Maher to get stuck in an elevator with a buncha democracy-loving Egyptians all chanting: WE WANT OUR FREEDOM NOW!

        No chris o, do not be fooled: Maher is not politically incorrect, he is a downright racist who works at always blurring these lines – that’s where his cha-ching is!

      • annie
        February 6, 2011, 9:53 am

        ha! who said anything about thinking he should ‘be valued and rewarded by our attentive praise’ taxi ? , not me that’s for sure.

        citizen, i guess i just have different standards for calling people evil, it’s not a classification i generally feel comfortable with. the personification of evil is the devil and i don’t think he’s the devil. that said i’m not going to be cornered into defending him further because he’s not my cup of tea in the least. he’s a racist and peddles in islamophobia.

      • Taxi
        February 6, 2011, 9:59 am

        annie I was responding to chris o – I even named him in my post.

      • annie
        February 6, 2011, 10:09 am

        smooch taxi

      • Taxi
        February 6, 2011, 10:19 am

        You’re cute when you’re indignant :-)

      • annie
        February 6, 2011, 10:38 am

        yes i’ve been told that before. you’re hot when you’re indignant taxi. i’d rather be hot than cute any day. people take hot seriously! it sizzles, cuteness isn’t grown up.


      • Citizen
        February 6, 2011, 11:01 am

        I agree (Ms) Taxi. Imus is a doddering old fool, but you’re right, he knows same as Maher how to keep the cash register ringing; I guess we can thank his wife Deirdre for curing him of his old redneck ways and seducing him along with the ringing cash register to keep bringing on arch-Zionists to explain the Middle East and US foreign policy; his son Wyatt’s bar mitzvah is coming up, as he told us recently on his morning TV show, when he was talking to his brother–who honestly had no idea what he was talking about or what a bar mitzvah is–I wish Bernie had his own show; he’s much to quick, educated, wise, and actually principled for that to happen. Instead we get the zionist cuckold, Imus, he of the empty cowboy hat who has learned it’s no big thing Wyatt’s only a weekend roper–just like his dad. The thick-headed and slow Deirdre, of course, lives on veggies and hasbara.

      • Taxi
        February 6, 2011, 11:19 am

        I dunno annie, I’ve seen a coupla succinct and ‘hot’ posts by you!

        Plus there are SO MANY advantages to being cute – for instance everyone can’t help but always smile at you – even when you’re wrong :-)

      • chris o
        February 6, 2011, 12:18 pm

        I just find this post quite off-putting, and off-base by a mile.

        “evil” “insidious propagandist” “provokes hate and fear” “racist” “horrid little propagandist” “botox and pancake on his face” “snooty vain narcissist” “downright racist”

        Wow, what a strong argument. Just a slew of personal insults in a straight up ad hominen attack. Is this where I say, “Sticks and stones can hurt my bones…” because I feel like I am in the grade school playground.

      • Taxi
        February 6, 2011, 12:43 pm

        Really chris o?

        And your adult argument is exactly what? That we shouldn’t judge racists ‘ad-hocly’? That we should give a break to those who ‘peddle islamophobia”, as annie rightly calls it.

        Go ahead chris o, go ahead and buy a second-hand car from bill maher – it don’t bother me or change my mind one bit about him.

      • munro
        February 6, 2011, 1:34 pm

        Chris o, To those who watch his show, and you say you don’t, Maher has a history of coarse anti-Arab bigotry, not only during comedic on-air segments but on his serious online aftershow which he often opens with Arabophobic talking points gathered to counter the stir caused by his previous week’s anti-Arab pronouncements. It is clearly personal for him. I said upthread that I was guilty of overkill on Maher, but his exchange with Mona Eltahawy, an inspired Egyptian woman exulting in the liberation of her people, was grossly insensitive in light of the images coming from Tahrir Square and shamelessly contemptuous of the Egyptian people fighting (and dying) for the very principles he espouses (if only to portray Israel in a superior light to Arab nations).

    • annie
      February 6, 2011, 8:10 am

      And then he got thrown off of ABC after September 11 for one such utterance.

      he had the audacity to say the highjackers weren’t cowards as i recall. he won’t be making that mistake again.

      • Citizen
        February 6, 2011, 9:20 am

        Yes, I admire that Maher. He’s since then learned his lesson well.

  20. Citizen
    February 6, 2011, 7:39 am

    What love affair? Surely you are not talking about the PTB:

    US media bias re Egypt coverage:
    link to

    American Jewish Zionist explains to American people how the Obama regime is not reflective of American people’s sentiment because it embraces our enemies, rejects our friends:
    link to

  21. Methuselah Now
    February 6, 2011, 11:22 am


    Just like I said at Obama’s election, naive supporters will be disappointed.

    Phil, if only the cynical world of politics was as sweet as you are, but can’t you see the facade already being manufactured.

    The dogmatic ideologies, assumptions being given as fact, by even those who truly believe themselves to be democratic and liberal, and knowledgable, whether the excuse to bring in and veer any connection and discussion to Iran, or the arrogance of telling Muslims in a Muslim country that they shouldn’t elect Muslims – try telling that to the American Government about Christians and Jews.

    When they talk about “orderly transition” it means nothing less than the time to prepare to get the results “right”, as they were meant to with the PA, and to fund the right participants.

    Almost every western commentator who might be on the kool-aid now such as Anderson Cooper, and at least those getting all the air-time, ultimately wants one thing, Egypt in their image, generally a highly liberal androgynous constantly-working pro-gay (Canadian levels) pro-Israel (even when it’s not in their national interest) religiously-compartmentalized (all the easier to subvert certain restrictions) “elected” “regime”.

    There is never a comparison of How things are done elsewhere, and the “flaws” of western Govt. Structures themselves.

    In all the myriad of news I’ve seen, only one clip has caught what matters:
    A male reporter asked a young female protestor dressed “contemporarily”, what if islamists get into power, and her answer (paraphrase) was “it doesn’t matter, if that’s what the people want”

    To those in power, faces don’t matter, just the levers and money!

    Yours kindly,


    Also, this necessity to shoe-horn undeserved ignorant credit to America and/or social media, unless America wants to thank Wall st. For global commodity inflation……………or the European-founded GSM…………., but very little to do with corrupt u.s.-backed dictatorship for 30 years, the fall of another u.s.-backed dictator neighbour, and human dignity versus patience…………..

  22. Mooser
    February 7, 2011, 12:07 pm

    “these are the greatest public events of my adult life.”

    You obviously weren’t there when I farted on the bus.

    • MRW
      February 7, 2011, 6:13 pm

      “You obviously weren’t there when I farted on the bus.”

      Jesus, I’ve missed you. Where have you been? Under a rock?

  23. eljay
    February 7, 2011, 6:18 pm

    >> Where have you been? Under a rock?

    My guess is that he’s been on buses, farting. :-D

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