Monthly Archives: March 2011

Tariq Ali in NZ

Here’s a transcript of an interview with Tariq Ali on recent events in North Africa and the Middle East. For the post-literate, you can see video of the exchange at this link:

[Additional remarks (about 10 minutes) made in an interview with a New Zealand radio program can be found here:]

Transcript of Paul Holmes Q +  A interview with Tariq Ali, March 20, 2011.

PAUL  …. Tariq Ali, welcome to the programme.


Good to be with you.

PAUL Leave aside Libya just for the moment – we’ll get to Libya, of course – but what is happening in the Middle East?  What is it about?

TARIQ  It’s about two things.  It’s firstly about people in the entire Arab world feeling that they don’t need the despots who have been ruling over them for 20, 30, 40 years and wanting to get rid of them and not being able to get rid of them through democratic elections, deciding to take history by the scruff of its neck, marching out into the streets.  And so we’ve had a process of what I would call national democratic revolution or upheavals still going in the Arab world, demanding change, demanding freedom and saying to the West, which has propped up these despots and dictators for most of the time, ‘Enough.  No more.’

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The Power

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent.

— Barack Obama, Dec. 20, 2007

Reading Signs

Vehicles belonging to loyalist forces explode after an air strike by coalition forces, along a road between Benghazi and Ajdabiyah Photograph: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters (from UK Guardian)

For those who are interested in such things, now is a good time to pay attention to the public discourse surrounding the bombardment of Libya. Some of it will be non-sensical, of course, while in other quarters arguments about international law, the legacies of (in this case Italian) colonialism, human rights, the character of air war, and the principle of “humanitarian intervention” will be put forth.

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Life Writing Prompt (HUM470)

The prompt from class on Friday:

Describe an object from your past either synecdochally or metonymically.

Synecdoche: A form of metonymy. Something is referred to indirectly, either by naming only some part of it (ex. “hands” for sailors). In other words, the part stands in for the whole.

Metonymy: the name of a thing is replaced with the name of something else closely related to it (ex. “White House” for the executive branch of the federal government).

To clarify: the chosen object should stand in for something else: a phase of your life, an event, a relationship, etc. The object is in this way a door into that other thing.