Tag Archives: Arts & Culture

US TV shows: Cultural expressions of civil war scenarios

nopolicestateOne new television show and the second season of another both start with potential civil war scenarios for the U.S. Both are on ABC, which is owned by Walt Disney. The shows are a reflection of the current reality of contending policing authorities in the U.S., like the military, CIA, FBI and Homeland Security, with contention between them and with the presidency. They also reflect the fact that existing governing arrangements are failing to sort out conflicts among the ruling circles and between them and the peoples here and abroad. Continue reading


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We built this city


We built this city
We built this city on land we stole
Built this city
Built this city on land we stole Continue reading

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Event. Halifax’s Anti-War Movement: A Chronicle

A film screening event marking the 25th anniversary of the landmark 1991 documentary, No Harbour for War
Tuesday, November 1 • 7:00 pm • Room 105 • Schulich School of Law • Dalhousie University • 6061 University Avenue • Halifax • NS

No Harbour For War, chronicles the history of the City of Halifax and its intimate entwining with imperialist war, while also poignantly covering Halifax’s anti-war and anti-imperialist movement of the 1980s & 1990s. This event reclaims the historical memory and power of this broad and vibrant movement. A panel discussion featuring the film-makers and some of the more than 25 voices that appear in the documentary will discuss the legacy of Halifax’s anti-war movement and the current challenges that face today’s anti-war and peace forces. Continue reading

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An imaginary journey back to Spain’s Arab history

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We Only Want the Earth

James Connolly, 1907
Some men, faint-hearted, ever seek
Our programme to retouch,
And will insist, whene’er they speak
That we demand too much.
‘Tis passing strange, yet I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most modest are,
We only want the earth.
“Be moderate,” the trimmers cry,
Who dread the tyrants’ thunder.
“You ask too much and people fly
From you aghast in wonder.”
‘Tis passing strange, for I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most moderate are,
We only want the earth.Our masters all a godly crew,
Whose hearts throb for the poor,
Their sympathies assure us, too,
If our demands were fewer.
Most generous souls! But please observe,
What they enjoy from birth
Is all we ever had the nerve
To ask, that is, the earth.

The “labour fakir” full of guile,
Base doctrine ever preaches,
And whilst he bleeds the rank and file
Tame moderation teaches.
Yet, in despite, we’ll see the day
When, with sword in its girth,
Labour shall march in war array
To realize its own, the earth.

For labour long, with sighs and tears,
To its oppressors knelt.
But never yet, to aught save fears,
Did the heart of tyrant melt.
We need not kneel, our cause no dearth
Of loyal soldiers’ needs
And our victorious rallying cry
Shall be we want the earth!


Reproduced from TML Weekly, April 23, 2016 – No. 17


We Only Want the Earth – Cornelius Cardew


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The Case Against To Kill a Mockingbird

mockingbird down and outOn February 19, news agencies announced the death of the American author Harper Lee. The Toronto Star warmly eulogized a writer “whose child’s-eye view of racial injustice in a small Southern town, To Kill a Mockingbird, became standard reading for millions of young people and an Oscar-winning film.” Published in 1960, it received the Pulitzer Prize and George Bush awarded Lee the 2007 Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony held at the White House. In 2015, fifty five years later, Robert Murdoch’s HarperCollins published Lee’s Go Set A Watchman, only her second novel but actually written prior to Mockingbird. Watchman sold more than 1 million copies and was described as “the fastest selling” book in HarperCollins’ history. It was called a “fraud” and an “epic money grab” in the New York Times.

In 1996, “intense community pressure” by the African Canadian community in Nova Scotia successfully managed to remove this and two other novels from the Department of Education’s list of recommended, authorized books. They meant that they could no longer be purchased from the provincial government.

In 2002, a committee consisting of parents and educators, seconded by members of the Black Educators’ Association (BEA), recommended that the book “be removed from school use altogether.” Further, the community courageously boycotted a theatrical production in Halifax on the basis that it did not reflect the black experience and falsified historical reality. Continue reading

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Salvage or plunder? Israel’s ‘collection’ of private Palestinian libraries in West Jerusalem

It is widely known that when more than 750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from Palestine before and after the establishment of the Zionist state of Israel in 1948 by force of arms, most Palestinian land and belongings were stolen, lost or destroyed. What is not well-known is that at least 70,000 books were looted from Palestinian homes, institutions and libraries in 1948. Rare manuscripts (estimated as numbering around 50,000 originating from 56 libraries in and around Jerusalem) are not included in the estimates and are totally unaccounted for. There are rare Palestinian manuscripts in the collection at the National Library, but they are not accessible by the general public. There are also rare Palestinian manuscripts at Hebrew University. Today, there is but one public Palestinian library in Jerusalem. Dr GISH AMIT* documents the plunder and the self-serving rationale of the Zionists that they were “saving” this rich treasury of the people of Palestine, as well as giving an engrossing insight into the many outstanding personalities who animated Palestinian political and cultural life. With the exception of the first photo, all graphics and captions have been added by myself. – TSPrivate Palestinian Libraries in West Jerusalem

Over the last decades, with the declassification of most of Israel’s official documents pertaining to the 1948 war and the emergence of a new critical Israeli historiography, much has been written about the dispossession and dispersal of Palestinians, [1] yet only limited attention has been paid to its catastrophic consequences on Palestinian culture. This is due to several factors: the nature of the Zionist-Palestinian conflict, which has made the Palestinian experience difficult to reconstruct in later years; [2] the erasure from memory of the urban spaces where that cultural and intellectual life thrived; [3] and the trauma of the Palestinian catastrophe itself, making it both impossible to escape and difficult to discuss. [4]  Continue reading

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