Wednesday, 25 November 2009

s Fundamentalism Part of Anti-Globalization Movement?

TEHRAN, Nov. 23 (MNA) -- A Muslim family sits across from me in a cafe in a largely Muslim Asian country. An older woman shyly hunches over, desperately trying to avoid eye contact with the giant plasma screen TV blazing loud music on the popular music video channel MTV. The scantily dressed presenter introduces her top song for the week. Beyonce, dressed in so very little, annoyingly reiterates that she is a single lady. The old womans son is mesmerized by what he sees. He pays no attention to his mother, young wife, or even his own son, who wreaks havoc in the coffee shop. The mans T-shirt reads: what the #@%*& are you looking at?

Respecting the message on his T-shirt, I try to keep to myself, but find it increasingly difficult. The wife is completely covered, all but her face. The contradictions are ample, overwhelming even.

The attire of the family, the attitude of the ladies, and even the man with the provocative T-shirt are all signs of the cultural schizophrenia that permeates many societies in the so-called Third World. Its a side effect of globalization that few wish to talk about.

Its almost always about trade, foreign investment, capital flow, and all the rest. But what about culture, identity, traditions, and ways of life? Do these things amount to anything?

True, globalization has various manifestations. If viewed strictly from economic terms, then the debate delves into trade barriers, protectionism, and tariffs. Powerful countries demand that smaller countries break down all trade barriers, while maintaining a level of protectionism over their own. Smaller countries, knowing that they cannot do much to hide from the hegemonic nature of globalization, form their own economic clubs, hoping to negotiate fairer deals. And the economic tug-of-war continues, between diplomacy and threats, dialogue and arm twisting. This is the side of globalization with which most of us are familiar.

But there is another side of globalization, one that is similarly detrimental to some countries, and profitable to others: cultural globalization -- not necessarily the domination of a specific culture, in this case Western culture, over all the rest -- but rather the unbridgeable disadvantage of poorer countries, who lack the means to withstand the unmitigated takeover of their traditional ways of life by the dazzling, well-packaged and branded culture imparted upon them around the clock.

What audiences watch, read, and listen to in most countries outside the Western Hemisphere is not truly Western culture in the strict definition of the term, of course. Its a selective brand of a culture, a reductionst presentation of art, entertainment, news, and so on, as platforms to promote ideas that would ultimately sell products. For the dwarfed representation of Western culture, its all about things, tangible material values that can be obtained by that simple and final act of pulling out ones credit card. To sell a product, however, media also sell ideas, often one-sided, and create unjustifiable fascinations with ways of life that hardly represent natural progression for many vanishing cultures and communities around the world.

Recently, in some Persian Gulf country, a few Turkish teenagers turned an Internet café into a shouting match as they engaged one another in some violent computer game. I desperately tried to mind my own business, but their shrieks of victory and defeat were deafening. Kill the terrorist, one of them yelled in English, with a thick Turkish accent. The Rs in terrorists rolled over his tongue so unnaturally. For a moment, he was an American, killing terrorists, who, bizarrely looked more Turkish than American. As I walked out, I glanced at the screen. Among the rubble, there was a mosque, or what was left of it. The young Turkish Muslim was congratulated by his friends for his handy work.

There is nothing wrong with exchanges of ideas, of course. Cultural interactions are historically responsible for much of the great advancements and evolution in art, science, language, even food and much more. But, prior to globalization, cultural influences were introduced at a much slower speed. It allowed societies, big and small, to reflect, consider, and adjust to these unique notions over time. But the globalization of the media is unfair. It gives no chance for mulling anything over, for determining the benefits or the harms, for any sort of value analysis. News, music, and even pornography are beamed directly to all sorts of screens and gadgets. When Beyonce sings she is a single lady, the whole world must know, instantly. This may sound like a harmless act, but the cultural contradictions eventually morph into conflicts and clashes, in figurative and real senses.

Moreover, it makes little sense, for example, that Asian audiences are consumers of Fox News and Sky News, while both are regarded as right-wing media platforms in their original markets. And what can Nepali television, for example, do to control media moguls and morphing media empires all around? Young people grow, defining themselves according to someone else`s standards, thus the Turkish teenager, temporarily adopting the role of the American, blows up his own mosque.

Globalization is not a fair game, of course. Those with giant economies get the lions share of the collective decision-making. Those with more money and global outlook tend to have influential media, also with global outlook. In both scenarios, small countries are lost between desperately trying to negotiate a better economic standing for themselves while hopelessly trying to maintain their cultural identity, which defined their people, generation after generation, throughout history.

The Muslim family eventually left the coffee shop. The husband watched MTV throughout his stay; the young wife clicked endlessly on her iPhone, and the older woman glanced at the TV from time to time, then quickly looked the other way. One is certain that a few years ago, that family would have enjoyed an entirely different experience. Alas, a few years from today, they might not even sit at the same table.

(Description of Source: Tehran Mehr News Agency in English -- Launched on 22 June 2003, its managing director Parviz Esma`ili stated that the news agency primarily aims at promoting the Islamic culture; URL: http://www.mehrnews.com)

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

Editorial Says Globalization Not Cause of Societal Problems
TEHRAN SHARQ
Sunday, August 7, 2005



Editorial by Dr Hoseyn Daheshyar: “The Third World and Globalization: Indigenous Village, Global Village”

In many parts of the world, broad ranges of noted groups and individuals promote the idea that the chronic crises and ailments of their societies must be analyzed and assessed with the globalization issue in mind. However, while stressing the need to pay attention to globalization as an influencing factor is general, their reasons vary. Two schools of thought possess greater prominence in this respect.

1. The indigenous village perception: Many groups and currents find globalization severely detrimental and reproachable, believing that it should be viewed as a Western project, planned and implemented to wipe out the traditional identities of Third World nations. From their perspective, the general characteristics of Third World nations are adequate and acceptable, driving them to believe that the phenomena and projects aiming to undermine these acceptable systems must be confronted in the most serious manner, and finding Third World institutions, values, models and norms acceptable and adequate, they advocate their continuation. From the point of view of such groups and currents, ineffectiveness and the multitude of dilemmas affecting Third World nations are the products of globalization in all its aspects, for the reason that indigenous ways of thinking and reckonings have been overrun by foreign analyses and perceptions; and to combat ineffectiveness and abnormalities at political, social, economic and cultural levels, which reflect establishment of foreign material and spiritual models, one must return to indigenous methods and thoughts. So noting the overwhelmingly strong civilization and culture that these so-called Third World nations enjoyed in past centuries, this perspective believes that the inhumane conditions that prevail in such nations today result directly from globalization, and that ultimately, the indigenous village must be protected and supported against foreign invasion in all its aspects.

2. The global village perception: There are others in Third World nations that believe the sorrowful conditions of many of these nations can only be changed for the better through an all-out acceptance of the globalization phenomenon. This perception does not view globalization as a project or a process; rather, it focuses on its effects, concluding that the broad ineffectiveness of the prevailing institutions, values and models of Third World nations can only be resolved through broad housecleaning efforts.

While this perception believes that indigenous and traditional frameworks can no longer respond to modern needs and that non-Third World nations have found the answer, it promotes acceptance and implementation of globalization in all its aspects, from which it believes there is no escaping.

The world is smaller than to think that one can avoid the waves of globalization, in addition to the fact that reason and logic consider involvement in the phenomenon beneficial and appropriate. Removal of indigenous foundations must be accepted without question, and apart from whether such changes are brought about by globalization or by other factors.

Engaging in philosophical debates over which of the two perceptions is analytically valid will certainly not reflect the priority that Third World nations suffer from a chronic and deep-rooted ailment that needs treatment.

The sorrowful life in many of these nations must be viewed as a dilemma resulting from historic characteristics. One must seek out domestic reasons in order to find out why the majority of these nations face problems like widespread poverty, wide social gaps, financial corruption, lack of cultural advance, authoritative political mentalities and decayed social relations.

Prevailing cultural perspectives, tacit economic models, definitions on the quality of relations in the political sphere and the grounds on which social interactions are based, which are all a product of the feudality system, can no longer respond to the needs of modern life. Contrary to the analyses of indigenous-ists, Third World nations` predicaments are not rooted in globalization, just as the widespread problems and broad deficiencies of these nations cannot be improved by accepting globalization. Third World nations` problems must be sought after in domestic reasons. While global phenomena and international conditions clearly affect domestic trends, critical and decisive factors must be sought after in domestic fronts. To solve the multitude of problems that Third World nations face, one must realize and accept that models, institutions, methods and values need to find dynamic quality; that their ineffectiveness is the result of their power-centered quality; that every structure, institution and value is based on the desires of the powerful. In today`s world, flattery and sweet talking rulers cannot realize what is expected of institutions and values. Ineffectiveness can only be eliminated when institutions and values are based on satisfying society`s needs. Holders of power are part of society, but not all of it. The Third World is engulfed in human sorrow because institutions and values have usually been and still are at the service of power. What globalization does is merely underline the problem.

(Description of Source: Tehran Sharq in Persian -- Reformist morning daily, licensed to and managed by Mehdi Rahmaniyan. Launched in 1998 as a weekly, became a daily in August 2003)

Commentary Says Fundamentalism Is Part of Anti-Globalization Movement
KAYHAN
Monday, January 31, 2005



Note of the Day by Mohammad Imani: “Fundamentalism and the Developing World”

While the annual meeting of the World Economic Assembly was held in Davos, Switzerland in the presence of leaders of the economic powers of the world, tens of thousands of demonstrators from all parts of the world gathered in PAArto Alegre in order to hold the fifth meeting of the World Social Forum. This demonstration was against Bush to the same degree as it was anti-capitalism and anti-globalization.

Robert Zoellick, the representative of America in the Davos meeting, said: “By signing an all-embracing trade treaty to liberalize world trade until 2006, we must prevent Muslim hardliners and use trade as a tool against terrorism. This is true in the Greater Middle East, including Pakistan and Afghanistan and other countries.” At the same time demonstrators in the World Social Forum shouted: “Bush, Number One Terrorist in the World,” “Americans! Get Out of Iraq,” “Democracy of Bombs Is Not the Model of Democracy.” According to AFP, the demonstrators sang revolutionary songs and carried banners which said: “We Are Not Against Globalization, Cut A Different World Is Possible.” They protested the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and said that these institutions must not impose their conditions concerning privatization and unilateral profit-making on countries and prevent their development. They openly opposed forced globalization by capitalism and the suppression of liberal democracy. A new social movement has come into existence in the face of the global camp of money and force. This new movement has a humanistic view of politics and economics, and with logic based on human justice and rights, has entangled liberal democratic empires. This wave is growing in different forms in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries.

In recent days the Islamic Resistance Movement of Palestine (Hamas), which is called a terrorist group by the headman of liberal democracy (America), could win 77 out of 118 seats in the municipal elections in the Gaza Strip and in Beit Hanun, Alzahra, Almasdar, Almoghari, Alzowaydah, Deir Albalah, Bani Sohaylah, Khaza`ah, Nasr, and Sharakah. This election was held for the first time after 37 years (since 1967). In this election, the Fatah movement could win only 26 seats. In reaction to this event, Richard Boucher, the spokesman of the Department of State, announced: “The victory of Hamas in the election is not important. We still view them as a terrorist group.” At that time tens of thousands of Palestinians had poured into the streets in the Gaza Strip and to celebrate this meaningful victory.

The victory of Hamas in the municipal elections was the latest victory of Islamists in the recent decade in municipal and parliamentary elections in Muslim countries. On 5 Khordad (25 June) of this year, while the Lebanese people celebrated the fourth anniversary of the defeat and abject retreat of Zionist military forces from occupied southern Lebanon, the outcome of municipal elections in Lebanon was announced and showed that Hezbollah won 87 out of 142 seats and won the election in five out of seven cities of Lebanon. The victory of Hezbollah was so tremendous that Rafik al-Hariri, the billionaire prime minister of Lebanon, fell behind Hezbollah even in his hometown Aaayda and surrendered 20 out of 21 seats to Hezbollah. Before that, Hezbollah had won the election in the east of Lebanon and in the suburb of Beirut.

To these successes, add victories of Islamic parties in Algeria and Turkey that continued through parliamentary elections. However, these powerful social and political movements were suppressed by US-backed military forces. In June 1999, the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front won 60 percent of the seats in a municipal councils election, and a year later could have won 188 out of 430 seats of parliament in the first round of the election (evidence showed it would win 199 seats in the second round) but the Algerian army immediately occupied the streets, suppressed the people and ignored their votes in order to carry out the burial of democracy. After the suppression of the Islamic parties in Algeria, Islamists such as Erbakan and the Turkish Welfare Party were highly welcomed in the municipal elections in Turkey so that the party could take control of the municipalities of Istanbul and Ankara. The Welfare Party later won the parliamentary elections but the US-backed puppet military forces were summoned to dissolve the party and send Erbakan to prison. The repression was aggravated so that the Turkish secular government denationalized a member of parliament, Merva Kavakchi, only because she put on Islamic dress, and simultaneously Sulyeman Demirel warned that hijab was a sign of Islamic fundamentalism and the Turkish government would not tolerate it.

Although those Islamic fundamentalist movements have been brutally squashed, the flames of the volcano have risen from Palestine and Lebanon, lands near Israel, the capital of honor and glory of the economic and political power of the West. Today, the elections for the Iraqi national assembly are to be held under the occupation of American jack-booted troops, while we remember the recently-stated remarks of Daniel Pipes, a senior adviser to Bush, who said that “Saddam, despite all his vices, had a big virtue: he extinguished fundamentalist Sunnites and Shiites in Iraq.” He added that in an election in Iraq spiritual children of Ayatollah Khomeyni would seize power and then America would have to prop up a military government for five to ten years in Iraq, as America did in Turkey.

The issue is obvious. Mr. Bush and his verbose team`s efforts against Iran, this center of struggle for justice and democracy, can be described as Sisyphean labor. Today, fundamentalism, whose essence is to favor justice and the most evident rights of human beings, is going forth from Iran and expanding throughout Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Now, Mr. Bush is face to face with a world that fights for its violated rights. This world may be suppressed but it will reappear stronger every time. This movement was vanquished in Iran in 1342 and 1343 (21 March 1963-20 March 1964 and 21 March 1964-20 March 1965) but created an earthquake in 1357 (21 March 1979-20-March 1980) in this island of stability and a country that was to witness the role of US-backed police of the Middle East. Fifty years ago, America quelled the Iranian movement for the nationalization of the oil industry in Iran while a puppet prime minister named Razmara said that Iranians could not make even a ewer and could not manage even a cement factory, let alone nationalize the oil industry. He was assassinated by Fedayeen of Islam and later the regime was overthrown in a coup d`etat.

Today, the same nation that was called barbarian by the West is proud and dignified and is one of the 10 to 15 countries that run their native nuclear technology. These are blessings of God. Imam (may God`s peace be upon him) founded a divine revolution. These are signs of the dawn. Darker days are awaiting the arrogant tyrants of the world who though liberal democracy mark the end of history. Now, freedom and democracy is entangling the tyrants and may soon overthrow them.

© Compiled and distributed by NTIS, US Dept. of Commerce. All rights reserved.

`Its Impossible To Impose Double-standard Policies On The World`
Mehr News Agency
Saturday, September 26, 2009

In his speech to the UN General Assembly meeting on Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asserted, It is no longer possible to humiliate nations and impose double-standard policies on the world community.

Following is the text of the presidents speech:

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

I thank the Almighty God for granting me, once more, this opportunity to address this important international meeting. I wish to begin by congratulating you, Mr. President, for having assumed the presidency of the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly and wish you all the success. I also extend my thanks to H.E. Mr. Miguel dEscoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly, for his excellent stewardship of the work of the General Assembly during his term. Over the past four years I have talked to you concerning the main challenges facing our world. I have talked about the roots and underlying causes of these challenges and the need for the world powers to review their outlook and workout new mechanisms to address the pressing international problems.

I have talked about the two conflicting outlooks prevailing in our world; one that is based on the predominance of its materialistic interests through spreading inequality and oppression, poverty and deprivation, aggression, occupation and deception, and tends to bring the entire world under its control and impose its will on other nations. This outlook has produced nothing but frustration, disappointment and a dark future for the entire humanity.

The other outlook is the one that spouses with the belief in the oneness of the Almighty God, follows the teaching of His messengers, respects human dignity and seeks to build a secure world for all members of the human community, in which everybody can equally enjoy the blessings of sustainable peace and spirituality. The latter is an outlook that respects all human beings, nations, and valuable cultures in defiance of all types of discrimination in the world, and commits itself into a constant fight to promote equality for all before the law on the basis of justice and fraternity, laying a solid foundation to guarantee equal access for all human beings in their quest to excel in knowledge and science. I have laid emphasis time and again on the need to make fundamental changes in the current attitudes towards the world and the human being in order to be able to create a bright tomorrow.

Friends and Colleagues; Today, I wish to share with you a few points about the changes that should take place.

First, clearly, continuation of the current circumstances in the world is impossible. The present inequitable and unfavorable conditions run counter to the very nature of human kind and move in a direction which contravenes the truth and the goal behind the creation of the world. It is no longer possible to inject thousands of billions of dollars of unreal wealth to the world economy simply by printing worthless paper assets, or transfer inflation as well as social and economic problems to others through creating sever budget deficits. The engine of unbridled capitalism with its unfair system of thought has reached the end of road and is unable to move. The era of capitalist thinking and imposition of ones thoughts on the international community, intended to predominate the world in the name of globalization and the age of setting up empires is over. It is no longer possible to humiliate nations and impose double-standard policies on the world community.

Approaches in which realization of the interests of certain powers is considered as the only criteria to weigh democracy, and using the ugliest methods of intimidation and deceit under the mantle of freedom as a democratic practice, and approaches through which sometimes dictators are portrayed as democrats, lack legitimacy and must be totally rejected. The time has come to an end for those who define democracy and freedom and set standards whilst they themselves are the first who violate its fundamental principles. They can no longer sit both the judge and the executor and challenge the real democratically- established governments. The awakening of nations and the expansion of freedom worldwide will no longer allow them to continue their hypocrisy and vicious attitudes.

Because of all these reasons most nations including the people of the Untied States are waiting for real and profound changes. They have welcomed and will continue to welcome changes. How can one imagine that the inhuman policies in Palestine may continue; to force the entire population of a country out of their homeland for more than 60 years by resorting to force and coercion; to attack them with all types of arms and even prohibited weapons; to deny them of their legitimate right of self-defense, while much to the chagrin of the international community calling the occupiers as the peace lovers, and portraying the victims as terrorists. How can the crimes of the occupiers against defenseless women and children and destruction of their homes, farms, hospitals and schools be supported unconditionally by certain governments, and at the same time, the oppressed men and women be subject to genocide and heaviest economic blockade being denied of their basic needs, food, water and medicine.

They are not even allowed to rebuild their homes which were destroyed during the 22-day barbaric attacks by the Zionist regime while the winter is approaching. Whereas the aggressors and their supporters deceitfully continue their rhetoric in defense of human rights in order to put others under pressure. It is no longer acceptable that a small minority would dominate the politics, economy and culture of major parts of the world by its complicated networks, and establish a new form of slavery, and harm the reputation of other nations, even European nations and the U.S., to attain its racist ambitions.

It is not acceptable that some who are several thousands of kilometers away from the Middle East would send their troops for military intervention and for spreading war, bloodshed, aggression, terror and intimidation in the whole region while blaming the protests of nations in the region, that are concerned about their fate and their national security, as a move against peace and as interference in others affairs. Look at the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is no longer possible to bring a country under military occupation in the name of fight against terrorism and drug trafficking while the production of illicit drugs has multiplied, terrorism has widened its dimensions and has tightened its grips, thousands of innocent people have been killed, injured or displaced, infrastructures have been destroyed and regional security has been seriously jeopardized; and those who have created the current disastrous situation continue to blame others. How you can talk about friendship and solidarity with other nations while you expand your military bases in different parts of the world including in Latin America.

This situation cannot continue. It is all the more impossible to advance expansionist and inhuman policies on the basis of militaristic logic. The logic of coercion and intimidation will produce dire consequences, exacerbating the present global problems. It is not acceptable that the military budget of some governments exceeds far larger than those of the entire countries of the world. They export billions of dollars of arms every year, stockpile chemical and biological weapons, establish military bases or have military presence in other countries while accusing others of militarism, and mobilize all their resources in the world to impede scientific and technological progress of other nations under the pretext of countering arms proliferation. It is not acceptable that the United Nations and the Security Council, whose decisions must represent all nations and governments by the application of the most democratic methods in their decision making processes, be dominated by a few governments and serve their interests. In a world where cultures, thoughts and public opinions should be the determining factors, the continuation of the present situation is impossible, and fundamental changes seem to be unavoidable.

Second, any change must be structural and fundamental both in theory and practice, involving all domains of our life.

The outdated mechanisms which themselves were instrumental in and the root cause for present problems in human societies can never be used to bring changes and create our desired world. Liberalism and capitalism that have alienated human beings from heavenly and moral values will never bring happiness for humanity because they are the main source of all misfortune wars, poverty and deprivation. We have all seen that how the inequitable economic structures controlled by certain political interests have been used to plunder national wealth of countries for the benefit of a group of corrupt business giants. The present structures are incapable of reforming the present situation. The political and economic structures created following the World War II that was based on intentions to dominate the world failed to promote justice and lasting security. Rulers whose hearts do not beat for the love of humankind and who sacrificed the spirit of justice in their minds never offer the promise of peace and friendship to humanity.

By the grace of God, Marxism is gone. It is now history. The expansionist Capitalism will certainly have the same fate. Because based on the divine *traditions referred to as a principle in the Holy Quran, the wrong like the bubbles on the surface of water, will disappear. There remains only what that can be used forever towards the interest of human societies. We must all remain vigilant to prevent the pursuit of colonialist, discriminatory and inhuman goals under the cover of the slogans for change and in new formats. The world needs to undergo fundamental changes and all must engage collectively to make them happen in the right direction, and through such efforts no one and no government would consider itself an exception to change or superior to others and try to impose its will on others by proclaiming world leadership.

Third; All problems existing in our world today emanate from the fact that rulers have distanced themselves from human values, morality and the teachings of divine messengers. Regrettably, in the current international relations, selfishness and insatiable greed have taken the place of such humanitarian concepts as love, sacrifice, dignity, and justice. The belief in the One God has been replaced with selfishness. Some have taken the place of God and insist to impose their values and wishes on others. Lies have taken the place of honesty; hypocrisy has replaced integrity and selfishness has taken the place of sacrifice. Deception in interactions is called foresight and statesmanship; looting the wealth of other nations is called development efforts; occupation is introduced as a gift towards promotion of freedom and democracy, and defenseless nations are subjected to repression in the name of defending human rights.

(Description of Source: TehranMehr News Agency in English -- Launched on 22 June 2003, its managing director Parviz Esma`ili stated that the news agency primarily aims at promoting the Islamic culture; URL: http://www.mehrnews.com)

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UN: Starvation threatens 2 million in drought-hit Somalia

Fri Sep 13, 2019 01:44PM [Updated: Fri Sep 13, 2019 01:52PM ] Home Africa Somalia A newly arrived woman fleeing from the drought...