Bill Maher Isn’t the Only One Who Misunderstands Religion

08 October 2014 |   REZA ASLAN |The New York Times 

reza aslan bill maher ben affleckBILL MAHER’s recent rant against Islam has set off a fierce debate about the problem of religious violence, particularly when it comes to Islam.

Mr. Maher, who has argued that Islam is unlike other religions (he thinks it’s more “like the Mafia”), recently took umbrage with President Obama’s assertion that the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, or ISIS, does not represent Islam. In Mr. Maher’s view, Islam has “too much in common with ISIS.”

His comments have led to a flurry of responses, perhaps none so passionate as that of the actor Ben Affleck, who lambasted Mr. Maher, on Mr. Maher’s own HBO show, for “gross” and “racist” generalizations about Muslims.

Yet there is a real lack of sophistication on both sides of the argument when it comes to discussing religion and violence.

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FISHING WITHOUT NETS – Short Film

15 September 2014 |   eplumeBlog 

I would like to share with you a piece of art regarding the dilemma of being honest and poor or to be rich and criminal.

It’s about fictional short film directed by Cutter Hodierne: A story of pirates in Somalia told from the perspective of a struggling, young Somali fisherman.

VICE co-produced & financed the feature length version of this award-winning short.
The feature film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival where Cutter Hodierne won the US Dramatic Directing Award.

‘’In Somalia there is two ways to fish. With nets or without‘’

When I watched this short film I automatically though to the story of St. Augustine and the pirate: « St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great, who asked him « how he dares molest the sea. » « How dare you molest the whole world? » the pirate replied: « Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an Emperor. »  »  From the book Pirates and emperors Old and new by Noam Chomsky.

For me, the violence and terrorism should be viewed from another perspective, considering the causality approach of the issue. No body comes to life aspiring to become a pirate, however, life sometimes don’t let you other options. Then it comes to answer the deep question: Did I blame my incapacity to avoid  my predestined life or should I blame life for not letting me other options except to accept  the fact that there is nothing uncaused or self-caused.

In this sense, and to more understand this issue, I strongly recommend to read the Noam Chomsky book’s  »Pirates and emperors Old and new  ». This new, fully updated edition of Chomsky’s classic dissection of terrorism explores the role of the US in the Middle East and reveals how the media are used to manipulate public opinion about what constitutes “terrorism.” With several new chapters as well as the original sections on Iran and the bombing of Libya, this book is a brilliant account of the workings of State terrorism by the world’s foremost critic of US imperialism. New chapters cover the second Palestinian Intifada; a detailed account of the impact that September 11 has had on US foreign policy in the Middle East; and a deconstruction of depictions and perceptions of terrorism since that date.

You can download the book  »Pirates and emperors Old and new » using this link. Continuer la lecture

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Israel doesn’t have peace because peace and fear don’t mix well

06 July 2014 |   |Haaretz 

Israel simply cannot bring itself to use the bargaining chips it holds in exchange for the big prize. Why can’t it deliver the goods?

Raida Adon's 'Woman Without a Home' (2013) video art.

Raida Adon’s ‘Woman Without a Home’ (2013) video art.

What really lies behind the fact that there is no peace here yet? What are the origins of the pervasive brutality which permeates the state’s policies and our political life? Is our downtrodden past at the root of the prevalent violence? And, if so, how does one break this pathological cycle?

Many people have a childish tendency to always blame someone else. As in: “They took it from me! It wasn’t me, it was him!” In contentious political relations between two parties, it’s always easier to blame one’s adversary. However, one can’t always put the entire onus on others. A dispute requires two sides, and we’re one side of the equation.

Over the years, we’ve grown accustomed to a situation in which Palestinian shortcomings become our main rationale for the absence of peace. In any case, where such a patently “guilty” party exists – against whom it is so easy to incite the majority of Israelis – there is Continuer la lecture

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The tragedy of the Arabs

05 July 2014 | The Economist 

A civilisation that used to lead the world is in ruins—and only the locals can rebuild it

arabs collapse revolution

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A THOUSAND years ago, the great cities of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo took turns to race ahead of the Western world. Islam and innovation were twins. The various Arab caliphates were dynamic superpowers—beacons of learning, tolerance and trade. Yet today the Arabs are in a wretched state. Even as Asia, Latin America and Africa advance, the Middle East is held back by despotism and convulsed by war.

Hopes soared three years ago, when a wave of unrest across the region led to the overthrow of four dictators—in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen—and to a clamour for change elsewhere, notably in Syria. But the Arab spring’s fruit has rotted into renewed autocracy and war. Both engender misery and fanaticism that today threaten the wider world.

Why Arab countries have so miserably failed to create democracy, happiness or (aside from the windfall of oil) wealth for their 350m people is one of the great questions of our Continuer la lecture

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Our wretched Jewish state

06 July 2014 |  |Haaretz 

Now we know: In the Jewish state, there is pity and humane feelings only for Jews, rights only for the Chosen People. The Jewish state is only for Jews.

A price tag attack in Beit Hanina, northeast Jerusalem. June 24, 2013. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi

A price tag attack in Beit Hanina, northeast Jerusalem. June 24, 2013. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi

The youths of the Jewish state are attacking Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem, just like gentile youths used to attack Jews in the streets of Europe. The Israelis of the Jewish state are rampaging on social networks, displaying hatred and a lust for revenge, unprecedented in its diabolic scope. Some unknown people from the Jewish state, purely based on his ethnicity. These are the children of the nationalistic and racist generation – Netanyahu’s offspring.

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China bans Ramadan fast in Muslim northwest

03 July 2014 | Didi Tang|The Washington Post

A Chinese Muslim man fans himself as he waits for the time to break his fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the Niujie mosque, the oldest and largest mosque in Beijing, China Wednesday, July 2, 2014. Students and civil servants in China’s Muslim northwest, where Beijing is enforcing a security crackdown following deadly unrest, have been ordered to avoid taking part in traditional fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)

A Chinese Muslim man fans himself as he waits for the time to break his fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the Niujie mosque, the oldest and largest mosque in Beijing, China Wednesday, July 2, 2014. Students and civil servants in China’s Muslim northwest, where Beijing is enforcing a security crackdown following deadly unrest, have been ordered to avoid taking part in traditional fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. (Andy Wong/Associated Press)

Students and civil servants in China’s Muslim northwest, where Beijing is enforcing a security crackdown following deadly unrest, have been ordered to avoid taking part in traditional fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Statements posted in the past several days on websites of schools, government agencies and local party organizations in the Xinjiang region said the ban was aimed at protecting students’ wellbeing and preventing use of schools and government offices to promote religion. Statements on the websites of local party organizations said members of the officially atheist ruling party also should avoid fasting.

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What happened in Rwanda is happening again in Central African Republic

05 April 2014 | Geoffery York | The Globe and Mail 

rwanda killing genocide

__________________________________________________________       Drive north from the capital, and you soon discover why relief workers call the Central African Republic a post-apocalyptic country. After a year of mass murder, the villages are abandoned and the roads eerily empty and desolate.

The checkpoints are controlled by cold-eyed men from largely Christian militias who brandish knives, machetes, swords and other crude weapons. Occasionally, a decrepit taxi comes barrelling down the road, ludicrously overloaded with 15 or 20 refugees, some piled on the roof. At times, a slow-moving convoy appears – busloads of terrified Muslims, with an escort of heavily armed peacekeepers to protect them from slaughter.

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They represent 15 per cent of the country’s 4.5 million people, but even where they were a substantial minority, almost all Muslims have been killed or forced to flee. The last ones in the impoverished town of Boali were removed a month ago, and a local administrator admits it is still too dangerous for her Muslim husband and children to visit, let alone come back for good.

Last year, when largely Muslim rebel forces seized power, it was the Christians who fled for their lives even though the two communities had lived peacefully side by side for decades.

A horrifyingly bureaucratic term, “ethno-religious cleansing,” has been invented to describe the massacres in the CAR. While experts argue over whether it qualifies as genocide, those inside the country know only that the killing is endless. In the capital, Bangui, bodies still pile up in the morgues, mosques and streets.

What began as a political struggle has become sectarian. “One group is trying to exterminate the other,” says Dr. Jean Chrysostome Gody, director of Bangui’s pediatric hospital. “It’s about extreme brutal revenge. They are trying to eradicate a race.”

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