Show 510: Islamophobia, ISIS, Hamas, & the Politics of Empire

Islamophobia, ISIS, Hamas, & the Politics of Empire w/ Deepa Kumar

A few days ago marked the 13th anniversary of the attacks on America on September 11th, 2001. Among the still many unanswered questions concerning politics, religion, and the nature of global violence — at least for Americans and some Europeans — is what role Islam has played in all of this? That is, it is assumed Islam is different, somehow, from other major religions because it was founded as a warrior religion and seems to be immune to the liberalization process other religions tend to have gone through.

But of course, religion can not be separated from the people who practice it, and thus there have been many racial undertones and overtones to the debates. Even in the atheist and otherwise secular world, many condemn and blame Islam far more than they condemn and blame Western Imperialism, geopolitics, or economics… And this has once again taken hold of the Western imagination with the recent battle between Israel and Hamas, and the brutal actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, better known as ISIS.

Today, new host Abby Davenport, will discuss these topics with a guest who we’ve had the pleasure to talk with on Equal Time in the past, Deepa Kumar. Deepa Kumar is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at Rutgers University; and is affiliated faculty with Middle Eastern Studies and graduate faculty in the Sociology department. She is a public speaker and has spoken at dozens of university and community forums on a range of topics: Islamophobia, Political Islam, US foreign policy in the Middle East and South Asia, the Arab Spring, women and Islam etc. She has shared her expertise in numerous media outlets such as BBC, The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Hurriyat Daily News (Turkey), Al Jazeera and other national and international news media outlets.

Today we will be discussing current events in light of her latest book, Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire.

Show 279: Julia Bacha on the documentary, “Encounter Point”

Julia Bacha on the documentary, “Encounter Point”

Julia Bacha is a Brazilian documentary filmmaker focusing on the Middle East, and the Media Director at Just Vision.  Her award-winning films about Iraq and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have been exhibited at the Sundance, Tribeca, Berlin, Jerusalem, and Dubai International Film Festivals, among others.  She has received several international prizes and was nominated to the Writers Guild of America Award in 2005.  Her documentaries have been broadcast on the BBC, HBO, Sundance, CBC, and Al Arabiya television channels.

Most recently, Julia co-directed the award-winning feature documentary Encounter Point (Typecast Films, 2006), which follows the courageous efforts of Palestinian and Israeli civilians who are at the vanguard of a non-violent movement for justice and peace in the Middle East.  Encounter Point won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival and the Rencontres Film Festival, in Montreal and more.  The film will be screened at a local WBAI fundraiser (Israel and Palestine: Talk We Must) which will include other guests including author Joel Kovel (Overcoming Zionism) and Diann Killian (Brooklyn Center for Non-Violent Communication) on Long Island on May 3rd.


Show 235: Stephen Eric Bronner

From the Publisher:

Turmoil in the Middle East has escalated to unprecedented levels in the twenty-first century. Opposing cultural, religious, and political forces have resumed old conflicts and spawned new ones, fighting with words and images as well as bombs and bullets. The path toward peace and reconciliation seems further away and less clear than ever.

Stephen Eric Bronner‘s Peace Out of Reach is both a deeply personal account and a careful analysis of the crises currently threatening the cradle of civilization. Bronner’s insights into Middle Eastern tensions are significantly enhanced by his extensive travels in the region. Equally informed by scholarly research and conscientious engagement, Bronner critically evaluates the motivations and actions of the powerful players on the Middle Eastern stage. Peace Out of Reach challenges policymakers to build bridges, recognize common interests, foster genuine diplomacy, and seek realistically navigable roads to lasting peace, rather than resort to propaganda, threats, and military actions.

Stephen Eric Bronner is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University. He is the author of numerous books, including Blood in the Sand: Imperial Fantasies, Right-Wing Ambitions, and the Erosion of American Democracy, and coeditor of The Logos Reader: Rational Radicalism and the Future of Politics.

Show 234: Fund Drive Special With Dr. Joel Kovel

Joel Kovel has spent the better part of his adult life profoundly concerned with the effects of human relationships as they impact the species as a whole, and indeed the planet itself. Like many of us on the Left, Joel has come to his work from a place of deep emotional and intellectual conflict… a conflict we experience via between the way we see the human adventure, and the way certain forces have shaped where we are today. All too often, the clash between what “is” and what we think “ought” to be, winds up in the end to favor the status quo. We are given all sorts of reasons for this by our more conservative friends from political and economic “practical” reasons, to the “lowly” nature of human beings (whether of the Christian or Hobbesian kind).

Alas, many of us live with the notion that ‘the more things change (for better or worse), the more they stay the same… which is just another way of our accepting what “is,” and putting our aspirations, hopes, and desires into that hidden away bottom shelf labeled “Utopian Fantasies.”

But as we have addressed for a long time now on Equal Time for Freethought – and indeed all across WBAI – Utopia is not a fantasy, but a destination-one no one expects to reach, but is driven by our very nature to come closer to. Those who argue for another kind of human nature that somehow justifies the status quo, do so from either a place of ignorance, fear, or – for those of us who are financially or politically well off – narcissistic comfort. For Joel Kovel, this just won’t do, and he has done his part to see that Utopia is removed from the bottom shelf, brushed off, and returned back to all of us.
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Show 181a: Ted Honderich on “Right & Wrong”

From Publisher:

“Philosopher Ted Honderich insightfully relates four shattering current events in this articulate, well-reasoned moral and political analysis. Exploring the war in Iraq, the controversy in Palestine, and the tragic events of 9-11 and London’s 7-7, Honderich elucidates the great questions of right and wrong in a conflict-ridden era.

“Ted Honderich, Britain’s foremost radical philosopher, is Grote Professor Emeritus at University College London and a visiting professor at the University of Bath. He is internationally recognized for his numerous books on philosophy, including Punishment: The Supposed Justifications Revisited, Conservatism, Terrorism for Humanity, After the Terror, and How Free Are You?  Honderich, in Right and Wrong, and Palestine, 9-11, Iraq, 7-7…, discusses what is wrong with our perceptions of the Middle East, with our American (and British) styled democracies, and how we might discern an ethical system to create a more humane planetary society.”

Show 163: Michael Neumann – The Case Against Israel

Humanism is a sociopolitical philosophy concerned with promoting, among other things, a behavior of peoples via ethical and moral interactions.  These ethics and morals include compassion, truth, honesty, interconnectedness, and fairness, and a resort to reason and the understanding of cause and effect in society.  Humanists, therefore, tend to look at the philosophical and scientific underpinnings of human behavior – studying both the biological and anthropological nature of our species – toward the attempt of creating a truly egalitarian, planetary culture – a culture, while not diminishing local cultures, strives for a universal humanity where violence, war, racism, and other social injustices become obsolete.

So what is a humanist take on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?  Is there a way to look at this conflict not from an Arab or Jewish point of view, or even a political or historical point of view?  And if so, what would we learn from such an exploration?

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