The Huffington Post
by Sanjeev Bery
In the 48 hours since President Obama’s speech in Cairo, Israeli journalists and pundits have had a lot to say. Their comments offer insights into U.S. foreign policy that many American observers might not get at home.
Some were particularly struck by Obama’s implicit linkage of Palestinian aspirations and other global struggles for freedom. In the liberal newspaper Ha’aretz, journalist Akiva Eldar wrote:
Sanjeev Bery, The Huffington Post, 05/18/09
As the Pakistani military rains fire down upon villagers and Taliban alike, Pakistanis and members of the diaspora are engaged in numerous online debates about the future of their country. In some cases, they are offering perspectives that the rest of us should listen to.
The Huffington Post
by Sanjeev Bery, Sahar Shafqat
It is always easy to tell someone else what they need to do. Just point your finger, clear your throat, and boldly offer your advice. Don’t worry about the realities of history — just speak your mind.
In his recent essay, “The Dilemma of the ‘good’ Muslim,” Deepak Chopra is guilty of exactly this. He ignores the complexities of history and blithely proclaims that Muslims should take responsibility for a whole host of enemies: oligarchs, military regimes, anti-Semites, jihadis. Chopra declares: “We — and here I mean the entire world — need the vast majority of Muslims to wake up and then to stand up.”
Americans are only learning about Pakistan from Americans, and that’s a problem. Too much of what passes for “news” about Pakistan is really just one American telling the other about how the Taliban are on the verge of taking over the nation. Nevermind that there might be 10,000 Taliban troops and 170 million Pakistanis.
One U.S. news source is attempting an alternative path: The Huffington Post. This online “newspaper” has launched a “Spotlight On Pakistan” series. If you are Pakistani, especially if you are in Pakistan, they need your help:
I couldn’t help but react to William Bradley’s April 30th Huffington Post column on Afghanistan and Pakistan. It had some interesting points, but it was also filled with vaguely orientalist notions of Pakistani security issues.
There were the noble generals, the scary ISI, and the invisible 170 million civilians who would soon fall to a marauding Taliban.
So naturally, I had to comment. You can read my three 250 word responses below. They were published as comments on the HuffPo website.
“Heroes and villians” — it is standard rhetorical fare for elected officials, media outlets, and the general public. We all want our uplifting stories of freedom, set against the backdrop of immorality and danger.
The story of the Somali pirates is no exception. This is not to say many of the pirates are in fact anything other than bandits. When someone points a gun at someone else and take them hostage, the range of scenarios in which the gun-toter could be considered anything but a criminal start to narrow greatly.
But the dominant narrative has obscured other realities on the ground. Somalis are apparently quite angry at European ships, and with good reason. In a widely circulated essay on The Huffington Post, Independent (UK) newspaper journalist Johann Hari spells out the gruesome details:
In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed … As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken…People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Continue reading