Friday, December 17, 2004

Omar & Muhammad: Propagandists?

"Many people (notably, Prof. Juan Cole, but there are others) think that Omar & Muhammad might be part of a Administration spin campaign--an accusation that, given this Administration's, shall we say, problematic relationship with truth and reality, isn't too far-fetched.."

Omar & Muhammad: Propagandists?
"...the issue of the Iraq War is very emotional for a lot of people, including me. This is the first war, after all, in which we chose to go to war. People invested a lot of their credibility, on both sides, on the outcome of the war. Seeing as how it's turned out so far, how can anybody be surprised at the heat of the rhetoric? People who were, and remain, pro-war, are now in the position of grasping at anything, no matter how tenuous, in order to justify their position, which in hindsight, was the wrong one to take.

I think what Omar & Muhammad are doing in Iraq is courageous, and if that tragic land is going to have any shot at freedom, it's going to be because of people like them, who take a bold leap into the unknown maelstrom of democracy. I salute their efforts, and if I have a chance to tell them face to face, I'll do so.

Nevertheless, no matter how badly, how earnestly [Jeff] Jarvis and other pro-war bloggers wish it to be otherwise, the majority of Iraqis are highly opposed to our occupation of Iraq. And in that context, someone like Riverbend is more reflective of what Ahmed in the souk really feels."


Bureaucratic Nightmare: Shirin Ebadi Book Squelched by US Government

Bureaucratic Nightmare: Shirin Ebadi Book Squelched by US Government

Shirin Ebadi is one of my personal heroines. I was flabbergasted to read the guest editorial at Juan Cole's Informed Comment today. It was written by William Fisher,who has managed economic development programs in the Middle East for the US State Department and the US Agency for International Development, and served in the international affairs area in the Kennedy administration.

Mr. Fisher claims that Iranian human rights activist/Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi and her literary agent are suing the U.S. Treasury Department - and the Treasury Department obviously hasn’t yet told our State Department. Due to US governmental bureaucracy, a virtual "tipping of the hat" to Iranian law is being allowed to squelch the publication of Mme. Ebadi's new book in the United States. The Treasury Department has ruled it illegal “to enhance the value of anything created in Iran without permission” -- including books. As current laws stand, if Mme. Ebadi's literary agent were to help prepare the manuscript to Mme. Ebadi's new book for an American audience, both she and Mme. Ebadi would be subject to punishment -- 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for an individual or $1 million for a publishing house.

William Fisher says:
"Publication of the Ebadi book in the US would be perfectly OK with Treasury if the book were already published in Iran. But the Catch-22 here is that the ayatollahs have already foreclosed this option.

And now an anachronistic US law is having the same effect

UPDATE: The WSJ reports that a lawyer for Mme. Ebadi has said that new regulations have been written for Treasury which "might be sufficient to end the lawsuit".

*Thanks to Jaded Reality for pointing this out to me.

The Reindeer Shoe by Billy Jones

The Reindeer Shoe
A Christmas Story For All

How would you like to read a Christmas story that will warm your heart and put you in the spirit of this holiday season?

I suggest that you read The Reindeer Shoe by Billy Jones, also known as Billy the Blogging Poet.

It begins with Billy's foreward, an interesting history of what we know today as the Christmas celebration. Then begins his magical tale, a new classic for all to enjoy- regardless of our age.

Billy is mentioned at Jay Rosen's Press Think today for his involvement with the Greensboro101 blogging community. Ed Cone is also given the honor he's due for his efforts in knitting the community together. The people in Greensboro have such talent - and such heart! I wonder - is it something in the drinking water? Whatever it is, it makes you wish you were there.

We'll miss you, Bill Moyers

"I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee," Moyers said. "We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line. Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people....

We'll miss you, Bill Moyers

As a blogger, I want Bill Moyers to know how he has inspired people like me. It's because of Bill's desire to keep democracy alive through conversation that I am here, inspired to keep Bill's dream alive. I can't begin to tell you how much I'll miss NOW. The last show will air on PBS tonight.

There was a repeated broadcast of a wonderful interview which Bill gave to Terry Gross on today's NPR show, Fresh Air, and I will link the interview once it's available.

The Star Tribune has an article about Bill: After three decades, Bill Moyers calls it a career

The New York Times' headline reads: Moyers Leaves a Public Affairs Pulpit With Sermons to Spare

At Al-Jazeerah, Sam Hamod says: Goodbye, Bill Moyers: Some Praise and Some Criticisms of Moyers and PBS

The Nation talks about Our Debt to Bill Moyers

Front PAge magazine bids Bill 'adieu'.

Godspeed, Bill. Whatever you choose to do in this life from here on in, I hope you will understand, in fullness, just how much you've meant to us.