California has long been home to immigrants from around the world (and from within the U.S.). What is less known, however, is that such longstanding histories of immigration and internal domestic migration have made California a fertile ground for extremely diverse and vibrant accordion musical cultures. With that, here is background on four immigrant populations —Italians, Creoles, Lebanese/Middle Eastern, and Mixtec/Mexican — to give more background the Squeezebox Stories, about an hour of history and tales of the accordion, filtered through customs and cultures found in California. [more inside]
"Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East? ISIS and other extremist movements across the region are enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians, with no aid in sight." --a comprehensive piece by Eliza Griswold (SLNYTMP.)
Historians of war and society would like to believe that military conflicts have fixed beginnings and ends. Conventional depictions of the Lebanese civil war are no exception and typically confine that conflict within the notional temporal parameters of 1975–90. But the key aggravating features generally identified with the events of the Lebanese civil war—class resentments, echoes of the Arab-Israeli conflict on a regional scale, domestic geographical inequalities, sectarian rancor, and political infighting across the Lebanese scene—had been accumulating since 1948, and even earlier. [more inside]
From his time in Cairo, Lawrence was aware of the extravagant promises the British government had made to Hussein in order to raise the Arab Revolt: full independence for virtually the entire Arab world..............His first act of sedition — and by most any standards, a treasonous one — was to inform Faisal of the existence of Sykes-Picot.....The True Story of Lawrence of Arabia . Previously and Previously
Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon died at a hospital near Tel Aviv last night, aged 85, after spending eight years in a coma. He was one of Israel's more popular leaders as a fierce defender of the Jewish nation, but was loathed by Palestinians and other regional powers who dubbed him the "the Butcher of Beirut". Israel is in mourning. Twitter is reacting. NPR reflects on his life as being one of a warrior's journey to peace.
I feel creatively emboldened to personally say something on the subjects that I am documenting. In terms of how it is produced, intellectually I am more excited than I have been in years. I am envisioning so many more possibilities for the work ... I feel for first time empowered on my own terms. We are calling our own shots and have created somewhat of our own institution.An interview with the six-woman Middle Eastern documentary photography collective Rawiya, whose name means "female narrator" in Arabic. [more inside]
Lebanon has one tourist attraction that's making money, the Hezbollah financed "Landmark of the Resistance", a theme park commemorating multiple wars with Israel.
22 basic suggested readings on the Middle East from history professor and informed commenter on Middle Eastern affairs Juan Cole.
Not just another news blip; UN Security Council passes Lebanon cease-fire resolution. The resolution calls for a "full cessation of hostilities" and tells Hezbollah to stop all attacks immediately and Israel to end "all offensive operations". Let's hope this brings about an end to all the madness.
How To Put Your Thumb on the Scales of World Opinion. In the past week nearly 5,000 members of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) have downloaded special “megaphone” software that alerts them to anti-Israeli chatrooms or internet polls to enable them to post contrary viewpoints. A student team in Jerusalem combs the web in a host of different languages to flag the sites so that those who have signed up can influence an opinion survey or the course of a debate.
PINR presents a well educated guess over what is going to happen with the Israel - Hezbollah conflict. They also offer significant background and insight into the mood and motives of some surrounding states.
Comments that didn't get quoted because they weren't made.. Prominent Liberals have been jumping into the fray about the crisis in the Middle East and the evacuation of Canadians from Lebanon. Here are some (parodied) comments from them.
Tony Bourdain trapped in Lebanon. (On Jason Perlow's very good blog; also seen in the NYPost via TFS Appetizers.)
Official confirms that Syria allowing Qaida to operate in Lebanon Ok Israeli intelligence so I assume some will dismiss this as propaganda, though clearly US knows of this and works along with Israeli intelligence. And Syria occupies Lebanon with thousands of troops and thus runs the country. Meanwhile, we will (or will not) busy ourselves with Iraq.
Red Cross attacks exile of Palestinians Mr Fisk (in occupied Lebanon) notes that the Red Cross believes it cruel to separate known terrorists from their families. Neglects to note that all international law opposes the targeting of civilians no matter what the reason or rationalization used. Perhaps a lawsuit for "cruel and unusual" punishment might allow the terrorists to have family reunions and be compensated for emotional damages and deprivation of marital privileges.
Middle East war predictions "..what we are witnessing looks like joint preparations by the Palestinian Authority, Syria, its Lebanese client, Iraq, and Iran, for war on a regional scale, against both Israel and U.S. interests. I fear we may face a major, sudden, external assault on Israel, meant to precede U.S. action against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, and indeed prevent the U.S. from going there by enmiring it in the defence of Israel. [From The Ottowa Citizen, lead link in today's Wall Street Journal Best of the Web]
Syria on Brink of Conflict Over Lebanon For reasons unkown to me, the Liberals (the Znetters) fail to mention this 30 thousand man troop occupation of Lebanon and focus on Israeli occupation of land taken in war; conservatives never mention this occupation. American political figures ignore or push this aside; and Arabs, about to meet in Beirut for their summit brush this aside, but for the Lebanese, a sore issue.
Syria on brink over conflict with Lebanon Our good friends on the far Left never address this other occupation in the Middle East, an occupation that is not the Israelis in Palestinian lands; and our policy makers in Washington almost never discuss the issue either, but to the people who live in Lebanon it is their country that for many years has been occupied by some 35 thousand man army of Syrians against their will. And it is beginning to anger them.
Former Beiruit hostage Tom Sutherland is now more rich that Donald and his son combined (probably). . .
Former Beiruit hostage Tom Sutherland is now more rich that Donald and his son combined (probably). . . $53m comes from the US tax payers. The other $300m he was awarded to be sifted out Iran somehow. Granted, he and "cell-mate" Terry Anderson spent 70 months chained, gagged and probably unbathed, but can't they honestly say now, this was the best thing that could ever have happened to them? "We're not going to build any new houses or move away from Fort Collins . . .. We'll just be the same guys." Sutherland pooh-poohed the high falutin' rumors. What'd they expect teaching school in a den of lions?