No more. The shrieks and the howls are all we’ve got now. They pass for intellectual debate, addressed in academic departments and dissected in journals that once had greater concerns in mind. The isms that once struggled for primacy had given way to topical outrages: about income inequality, about the gold standard, about drones, about Benghazi, about Israel, about Stephen Colbert. And that’s the real danger: not that this political camp or that is growing intolerant, but that both are getting incorrigibly dumb.
A nutshell of why current culture war debates feel so brain-melting.
This rhetoric [against Al Jazeera] is not new. Egypt seems to draw inspiration from the very country criticizing it – the United States. Over the past decade, the US not only detained but tortured al-Jazeera journalists under counterterrorism policies. Now, as its War on Terror diffuses into support for an increasing number of local – and secret – wars on terrorism across the globe, the tactic of imprisoning journalists seems to be catching on.The Guardian’s Rozina Ali writes, “Egypt’s al-Jazeera trial was inspired by America’s global war on journalism.” source
The past few months have revealed an American obsession with drones that touches nearly every aspect of modern life. Unfortunately for vulnerable civilians in other countries, we’re obsessing over the wrong drones.The more drones we worry about, the less we care about what matters, Vanity Fair’s Kia Makarechi writes on the new drone age we are entering. source
When Zain Abidin Mohammed Husain Abu Zubaydah and Muhammad Shams al-Sawalha were teenagers, they scoured record shops in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, desperately trying to track down the video for “Billie Jean,” the latest single from Michael Jackson’s global smash album “Thriller.” Sawalha and everyone else knew his friend as Hani, who was a huge fan of Jackson and would sometimes “dance foolishly” when Sawalha put a cassette of the King of Pop’s music into a tape deck. Eventually, they scored a grainy copy of the video and watched it over and over again as they tried to mimic Jackson’s signature dance moves. Those were the innocent days of the mid-1980s, Sawalha said, before Hani became an alleged terrorist mastermind.Al Jazeera obtained diaries of a Guantanamo Bay prisoner from Pakistan, sharing some great insight on the life of Hani before he was taken to Gitmo.
A United Nations panel finds the United States has fallen short of meeting its obligations under an international civil rights treatyThe United Nations raps United States civil rights over drone usage, secret programs and surveillance. source
It is unlikely at the current time that dialogue will resume between the Syrian regime and the opposition in GenevaUnited Nations envoy Brahimi stated Monday. On the ground, Syrian forces battled with rebels who captured a village and a crossing on the Turkey border. UN’s Ban ki-Moon also blamed both sides of the conflict for blocking humanitarian aid.