The Death of the American Dream

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Published in Raseef22

All of a sudden, the whole world cares about US affairs. Today, everyone fears for the “American Dream,” and US internal affairs concern us all, as though we were presumptive citizens in this empire that is fighting for its last few breaths. The world responds to every decision taken by the new administration, from one corner of the globe to the other, as though it were a local development.

Over the past decades, the Global South’s relationship with the US was governed by a sort of bipolarity. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the US assumed the role of world police.

It set up its bases in every continent. It sent its soldiers on countless wars. It interfered in most countries’ internal affairs. It contributed to toppling regimes and erecting others. It was this that caused the US to be despised among the citizens متابعة القراءة “The Death of the American Dream”

Temple of The Soul

At the small temple - by Hanibaael
By Hanibaael

At the small temple, we were many; and yet, there was no one. The chants got through the wall and into the soul.

There, he sat for a moment, for a while, for hours, until his body became a large, heavy, lifeless rock. Numbness crossed his body, and settled at the bottom of his skull. He was not unconscious, nor was he awake. He was somewhere, hanging, roving, moving between two worlds or more.

His breath became slow and intermittent; his strength flagging. He was incapable of movement. Thus, he remained there for a moment, for a while, for an era.

***

At the small temple, there were many candles on the altar. They provided the only source of light in the place. The shades of light were dancing on the walls and on the few faces in a celebration of something that we did not understand at that moment.

A familiar warmth settled متابعة القراءة “Temple of The Soul”

Big Brother and The City – The Case of Damascus Then and Now

‫Last week, I was the guest blogger on Octavianasr.com. For that purpose, I have re-written in English my article Big Brother and The Cities. In it, i analyze the relationship between Tyrants and cities.‬ in general and Bashar al-Assad and Damascus in particular. 


Editor’s Note:

Syria enters the third year of its uprising in devastation to the people and land. Satellite imagery gives a grim picture of what has become of the land while the horror of a rising death toll now at more than 70,000 according to the UN and more than a million refugees scattered around the world facing a dangerous and uncertain future.

In observance of this anniversary, we chose to post an updated version of last year’s ‘Big Brother and The City: The Case of Damascus’ by guest blogger Hanibaael Naim. In his in-depth analysis of the relationship between a dictator and the city he controls, Naim describes Damascus as Bashar Assad’s last stronghold. Two years after the peaceful uprising, Naim describes how the face of dissent changed with time and why he believes that the “decisive battles are near” through this analysis and its conclusion.

I’m always grateful for guest bloggers for carving time out of their busy schedules to share their insights with the octavianasr.com audience. I hope that you find those additions helpful and enriching. Your feedback is always appreciated.

***

Our life is defined by cities. Those we belong to and love stir deep emotions in us such as pride, home, inspiration and nostalgia. Dictators also love their cities, but theirs is a story of obsession and control. An abusive relationship that can last for decades and can only be broken by force or revolution!

By Guest Blogger Hanibaael Naim

Once considered routine in the Middle East, this bizarre relationship between tyrants and cities has become a pressing issue in light of the Arab Spring. In Syria today, Bashar al-Assad is a dictator hanging by the capital city of Damascus, refusing to relinquish power even if the entire country is destroyed one city at a time, and every message of dissent killed along with its messenger.

Historically, names of tyrants have been associated with cities. Think of Neo and Rome, Hitler and Stalingrad, Holako and Baghdad, just to name a few.

Tyrants usually have a possessive relationship with their iconic cities, they always attempt to dominate them, even make them an extension of themselves. When they don’t succeed, they proceed to destroy the cities instead, then control them. Domination is essential in this case because cities represent the public space where people mingle. To control the public space, the tyrant must first abolish the established characteristics of the place and draw its brand new imprint, to his image.

For this purpose, big posters of the leader are spread around the city: They adorn walls, sit atop towers and fill public squares. In the posters, the dictator appears as a hero with supreme ruling powers. This dramatic display turns him into an “Icon” that no one can think about challenging, let alone defeating. In addition to posters everywhere, his quotations are plastered on walls, reminding everyone that he’s a thinker and a great keeper of the precious nation. With that, he seems to be ruling the country forever. As time passes, more people fall under his spell and they become persuaded of his ultimate, “unchallenged” rule and that he is the only one who can manage their life and security. By now they are convinced that without him, they can’t survive. Thus, the traditional متابعة القراءة “Big Brother and The City – The Case of Damascus Then and Now”

Face off with political Islam

Now political Islam is sitting on the throne of power in Tunisia and Egypt and that this represents a threat to freedoms and human rights.

Today it seems civilians, secularists, leftists, liberals and others are scattered and lost. They are not an organized force, but scattered groups, with incoherent rhetoric and lack of vision, and most of them are stuck in the seventies of the last century. This fact does not make them leaders of communities.

An anti-Islamization poster in Cairo – Egypt

While on the other hand the Islamists are working to organize themselves, to develop their abilities, and develop their own vision which helped to expand their popularity even in environments that are more secular, such as Tunisia and Egypt. The presence always in the ranks of the opposition, made them popular heros. Known Islamists also exploit the margin of freedom in terms of social work and this is what has helped them achieve more Islamization of society, and penetration.

So today highlights the Islamists are the most organized force, with popularity متابعة القراءة “Face off with political Islam”

Marley: The controversial legend

By Hani Naim

 

Bob Marley (1945 – 1981) a music legend of modern times was quite a character: The product of an interracial marriage, he turned out to be a mixture of many opposites. He was diplomatic at times, a fighter at other times. A true believer in life, he was soft in love, yet tough and stubborn in dealing with others. He was also a spiritual man, a phenomenal human being, and a unique artist. He lived a short life in his own unique way applying his own non-traditional ways and rules to everything he did and every situation he found himself in.

 Bob Marley is like a piece of mosaic: colorful, diverse but harmonious. He’s Jamaican in his music, African in his spirit, and a freedom fighter by instinct. That is the main message one gets from “Marley,” the new documentary that chronicles Bob Marley’s life.

It would seem impossible for anyone to address the life of Reggae’s super star without digging into the profound roots of Africa’s history. The continent suffered so much from the shackles of slavery for several centuries, and continues to suffer the repercussions of what ensued to this day. Sixty million Africans were sold as slaves to the United States and South America. It is a dark, painful history of people’s lives broken, abused, later repaired but never healed completely. That’s how Director Kevin MacDonald brilliantly used Africa as a starting point to take us into Bob Marley’s world. Africa turns out to be the thread that links many aspects together and, as the film shows, how relevant it was in shaping Marley, the artist and the man.

Unlike other documentaries, “Marley” is entertaining as much as it is informative capable of grabbing viewers’ attention from beginning to end. Even though it is loaded with details and stories, it does not leave any room for boredom. Quite the contrary, the audience is led to anticipate the next scenes with the passion of further exploring the world of Bob Marley. The rare, never seen videos of Marley make this documentary truly unique and brilliant. The archival footage, in addition to the interviews with all the people who were around Marley till his last moments, adds a special taste to the already rich experience.

When we go deeply into Africa’s slavery history, we can understand better where Marley’s music, lyrics, and even his spirit have come from and why his songs are sung and shared by freedom fighters around the world to this day. It also becomes clear why Marley became an icon of freedom and peace for millions worldwide.

The documentary opens with the story of his “white” English father and his “brunette” African mother and how they came together. This (at the time) odd and frowned upon union brought Robert Marley to life. His mixture would prove to be a source of major annoyance and pain to Marley especially that his father left them and his mother raised him alone. The film highlights the dilemma and suffering Marley endured as a result of his interracial genes as he was growing up and when he entered the world of music. Using Bob Marley’s own words through archival interviews and through testimonials from those close متابعة القراءة “Marley: The controversial legend”

DUBAI: Every Day Is Cricket Day

The people of South Asia have fallen in love with cricket; they have embraced it up to a point where it’s part of themselves – their features, their hands and their culture. And those Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who have left their countries searching for a new place to live, have taken their sport with them. In Dubai, expatriates make up more than 60% of the residents; therefore, cricket has come to be a natural part of city life.
عامل باكستاني يلعب الكريكت- By Hanibaael
By Hanibaael

Fridays in Dubai means cricket time – this is the day when Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers go out on the streets, markets and squares to get some rest after a hard week’s work. With their morning-to-evening sessions of cricket (and other sports), these players add life to the vacant lots in the old city. It is only during those moments that you can see joy متابعة القراءة “DUBAI: Every Day Is Cricket Day”

Fast Food & our senseless system

We were four from different cultures and backgrounds sitting around a table looking forward to a great meal at a Pakistani restaurant in the old town. What we got was enough food to satisfy our bodies and our souls.

the celebration of the independence day in Pakistan

The enjoyable experience, like those I’ve had with Persian, Indian and Mediterranean cuisines, resembled a trip: A journey with many destinations. The beginning is one, but the end is not. As we indulged in the diversity of the food and company, I started thinking about our modern life and how fast things have been going at all levels. This is the era of speed and shallowness, expressed poignantly in the culture of fast food.

The gathering brought together this curious Mediterranean with a visiting Dutch young man and his Indian lady friend, along with an African American on a short break from duty in Kandahar. Although we met up for the culinary experience, we ended up having a homo-sapian connection of the rare kind these days.

For a while, it felt like going back in history and reaching mysterious متابعة القراءة “Fast Food & our senseless system”