Thursday, July 11, 2013

Leprechaun Hats Decorated with a Bit of Stars and Stripes: Ireland Greets the Emperor

During the G8 Summit in June, held in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, just across the border of the Republic, local councils."painted fake shop fronts and covered derelict buildings with huge billboards to hide the economic hardship being felt in towns and villages near the golf resort" where all the mucky-mucks met. Besides this Potemkin-village festival of capitalism, there was the obligatory effusiveness -- in the North and the Republic -- about the American Emperor and his wardrobe, woven from the glittering fabric of peace. Speaking for the less wishfully astigmatic, Irish Teachta Dála (Member of Parliament) Clare Daly excoriated the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) for his "unprecedented slobbering," and demanded the recognition of some naked truth.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Egypt's Groundhog Day Revolution

I am someone who thinks it is extremely important that the centrality of Islam in Middle East politics and ideology in general, and the specific parties of "political Islam' (like the Muslim Brotherhood) be challenged, and someone who is not at all opposed to extra-electoral revolutionary mobilization, including the possibility of revolutionary insurrection. Still, I watch the unfolding events in Egypt with a sense of unease, even dread. In the accounts I've read so far from the Egyptian street, I get the sense that, where two years ago there was an elation married with great hope, now there is something more like muted glee accompanied by a sinking feeling. Mohamed ElBaradei's quote from the great American philosopher, "It is déjà vu all over again," is decidedly lacking its original charm in this context.

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