Aijaz Ahmad, the well-known commentator discusses the geo-strategic context of the current events in Syria. He explains that the embattled Bashar al Assad regime is the last nationalist Arab regime. Arab nationalism has always been considered the enemy of imperialism, Zionism and reactionary Arab monarchies. This is at the core of what is happening in Syria today.
Aijaz Ahmad: "Syria is the last remaining representative of Arab nationalism as it used to be understood historically. It still calls itself socialist. Even though it has implemented a great deal of neoliberal reform, the state sector is still dominant. It bans, literally bans, religion from politics. It will not recognize the existence of religious political parties. It is a historic opponent of Israel for a variety of reasons. If you remove Syria, the cordon sanitaire around Israel is complete. There's no adversary left. There is then Iran - not sharing a border, not a part of the historical Arab world. Iran gets isolated. And their perception is that both Hezbollah and Hamas will lose enormously. So, Syria has that kind of strategic situation. In the old days, it was very closely aligned with the Socialist Bloc, and some of that kind of alignment still remains."
"There are a number of things going on, on this question of the offering of reforms. Very extensive reforms, by the way, very extensive reforms. The only thing on which they've dug in their heels is the issue of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that is the issue, I'm told, on which the negotiations with Turkey broke down. Turkey wanted 50-60% of the transitional umbrella organization's seats to be allotted to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Syrian regime said: Constitutionally we cannot give a seat to a religious party. So, reforms were rejected out of hand because the objective is regime change."
"What the regime has been able to do is to deny [opponents] the creation of that sanctuary where these people could all be brought together, the creation of a Benghazi. The amount of weaponry, and the quality of weaponry, that has come into Syria, in the hands of these anti-state elements that Syria is calling "armed gangs," is extraordinary. Extremely sophisticated weaponry has come in. It has come from Israel, it has come from Turkey, it has come through Lebanon, paid for by Saudi Arabia and so on. So, it is quite an achievement on the part of the regime so far to have denied them a place where the army could not penetrate. This much they have been able to do so far. How long this will last, we don't know."
052 Lawrence Krauss on Cosmic Connections (lecture, 16 Oct 2011)
"Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust". - Lawrence Krauss
In this sermon he shows how each of us is connected to the cosmos in ways we'd never imagine. From the stardust we're made of, to the atoms we breathe, to the curving of space time that governs the way we make our way through traffic jams, to time travel itself.
053 RNA interference (short educational film, 16 Dec 2011)
RNA interference (RNAi) is an important pathway that is used in many different organisms to regulate gene expression. This animation introduces the principles of RNAi involving small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs). It takes you on an audio-visual journey through the steps of gene expression and show you an up-to-date view of how RNAi can silence specific mRNAs in the cytoplasm.
If you'd like to know more about the structures and processes you see in this video, view accompanying Learn More about RNA Interference slideshow.
From Wikipedia: 1944 short film in which several prominent jazz musicians got together for a rare filmed jam session. It featured Lester Young, Red Callender, Harry Edison, Marlowe Morris, Sid Catlett, Barney Kessel, Jo Jones, John Simmons, Illinois Jacquet, Marie Bryant, Archie Savage and Garland Finney. Artfully directed by famed still photographer Gjon Mili, edited by former MGM film editor Norman Granz and released by Warner Bros. Producer Gordon Hollingshead was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Short Subject, One-reel. In 1995, Jammin' the Blues was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Cast Lester Young - Tenor Sax Red Callender - Bass Harry "Sweets" Edison - Trumpet Marlowe Morris - Piano Jo Jones (not Phillly Jo Jones) - Drums for final song Barney Kessel - Guitar John Simmons - Bass Illinois Jacquet - Tenor Sax Marie Bryant - Vocals & Female Dancer Archie Savage - Male Dancer
Songs Midnight Symphony On the Sunny Side of the Street - Sung by Marie Bryant Jammin' the Blues
055 Robot Wars (documentary, 27 Dec 2011)
Al Jazeera NOTE: No longer available to American audiences due to launching of AlJazeera.com/America.
What is the role of drones and robots in wars and how will they shape the future of the US military?
Fault Lines looks at how these new weapons of choice are allowing the US to stretch the international laws of war and what it may mean as ever more autonomy is developed for these lethal machines.
056 U.S. Drones: Will I Be Next? (investigative report, 22 Oct 2013)
On a sunny fall afternoon in October 2012, 68-year-old Mamana Bibi was killed in a drone strike that appears to have been aimed directly at her. Her grandchildren recounted in painful detail to Amnesty International the moment when Mamana Bibi, who was gathering vegetables in the family fields in Ghundi Kala, North Waziristan was blasted into pieces before their very eyes. Nearly a year later, Mamana Bibi's family has yet to receive even any acknowledgment from US authorities that she was killed, let alone justice or compensation for her death.
Amnesty International's investigations into drone strikes in north western Pakistan have shown that some of these drone strikes could amount to war crimes.
057 Tahrir's Revolutionary Artists' Union (news report, 09 Feb 2012)
Reed Lindsay reports from Cairo. Since massive protests erupted throughout Egypt last January, Egyptians from all walks of life have taken the streets to demand the end of military rule. They included artists, actors, singers and musicians who joined with their fellow revolutionaries in street battles with police, soldiers and thugs. Last February, when they managed to seize control of Tahrir Square, they formed an organization, called the Revolutionary Artists Union, painting, drawing, singing and performing, expressing themselves freely for the first time in their lives.
058 Arguing the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign with Norman Finkelstein (interview, 09 Feb 2012)
As a social justice activist and a writer, her interviews and essays on war and peace, contemporary India and Kashmir, U.S. imperial power, and social movements across the world have earned her a large audience and international profile. Roy's writings on and support of the tribal communities of Naxals defending their land in India led to a government investigation and threats of imprisonment, engendering worldwide petitions and outcry in her defense. [Read her essay, Walking with the Comrades.]
The Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing was presented by Jonathan Demme.
060 Everything is a Remix (4-part video series, 2011)
Everything is a Remix deals with appropriation, borrowing, adaptation, sampling; with copyright and fair use issues; and with the origins of everything. It is produced by Kirby Ferguson, a New York-based filmmaker. "When I can see or hear 'samples' in a work, whether it's lyrics or melodies or lines of dialogue or camera angles, it's remixing. It has nothing to do with originality, it's about whether or not you can recognize chunks of other people's work. And if you look closely enough, every work contains pieces from previous works." -Kirby Ferguson, interviewed in Short of the Week . Also see On the Media interview. About KWSnet
KWSnet is an Internet subject directory providing special attention to U.S. national and international news, the arts, computing, culture, environment, law, literature, media, politics, science and technology. Based in San Francisco, California, KWSnet contains over 150,000 annotated links to resources worldwide. Use Search KWSnet, located at the top of each page, to search within this site. Use Ctrl-F (Windows) or ⌘-F (Mac) to search within individual pages.