“In the eyes of many among the Western elites, Mandela was a Soviet-dominated terrorist until the day he walked out of jail, and into iconicity. Reagan put the ANC on the State Department terrorist organizations watch-list; this wasn’t undone until 2008. Reagan vetoed the South Africa sanctions bill, and was overridden — not before Jesse Helms fillibustered the override vote.”—The iconicity of “peaceful resistance” | Three Fingered Fox
“It is here that Diamond makes his fundamental mistake. He imagines he can triangulate his way to the deep past by assuming that contemporary hunter-gatherer societies are ‘our living ancestors’, that they show what we were like before we discovered crops, towns and government. This assumption rests on the indefensible premise that contemporary hunter-gatherer societies are survivals, museum exhibits of the way life was lived for the entirety of human history ‘until yesterday’ – preserved in amber for our examination.”—James C. Scott reviews ‘The World until Yesterday’ by Jared Diamond · LRB 21 November 2013
“It not only sells the public on the notion that the War on Terror has become a permanent state of emergency, but that educated, sober, ethical, and smart people are in charge and that we should trust them to guard us. And if such even-keeled operatives occasionally deem a bit of racial profiling or torture necessary, we should trust their judgment. The CIA, an organization with few rivals in the use of political terror, is rebranded and presented as the sole agency that will protect us from al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, Venezuela and Iran – all now fused in an image of fanaticism.”—Homeland and the Imagination of National Security | Jacobin
“First, it does not follow that the state, by curtailing ‘private’ violence, reduces the total amount of violence. As Norbert Elias pointed out more than half a century ago in The Civilising Process, what the state does is to centralise and monopolise violence in its own hands, a fact that Diamond, coming as he does from a nation that has initiated several wars in recent decades and a state (California) that has a prison population of roughly 120,000 – most of them non-violent offenders – should appreciate.”—James C. Scott reviews ‘The World until Yesterday’ by Jared Diamond · LRB 21 November 2013
“Then there’s Arundhati Roy, who may well have abandoned the novel, after The God of Small Things, because she couldn’t find a fictional form that was right for her developing radical politics. “With her unrelenting critique of not only the liberalist ‘development’ of India but also the expansive double standards of the USA,” wrote the Indian novelist Tabish Khair of her activism, “Roy has isolated herself from many people of the sort who go to literary festivals. What they want is some soft criticism that does not make them feel too uncomfortable.”—n 1: World Lite
“something about my mother’s performance of respectable black person — her Queen’s English, her Mahogany outfit, her straight bob and pearl earrings — got done what the elderly lady next door had not been able to get done in over a year.”—Why Do Poor People ‘Waste’ Money On Luxury Goods?
“The narrative began as colonial Orientalist lore…I am afraid that Muslims really have one of two choices: they may continue to perpetuate a hackneyed and essentialist Orientalist narrative…Or they may rediscover their lost languages, produce historians who would penetrate the sources, and cultivate philosophers who would go beyond simple binaries and take control of the discourse..”—Islam’s invented Golden Age | openDemocracy
“Fridays are fun again: ” ‘The era of fear has ended. I won’t be able to be scared anymore. No one can make me do anything. No one can touch me.’
As Youssef spoke, a hand rose up from under the desk and switched out his notes.”—Muftah » Bassem Youssef: The Era of Fear Has Ended?