Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pilgrims, bikers and antiquities

Lebanon's Daily Star reports, "The surviving Lebanese pilgrims whose bus was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq last week arrived in Lebanon Sunday night.  The National News Agency reported that among those who arrived at Beirut airport were nine people who were wounded by the bomb, which killed three Shiite pilgrims near Ramadi, a city west of Baghdad."  While the Lebanese survivors returned home on Sunday, AP reports that a Saqlawiyah roadside bombing hit a bus carrying Pakistani pilgrims and left 24 of them injured. AFP reports 3 of the injured are children.

In other news, RIA Novosti reports that the four Russian bikers -- Maxim Ignatyev, Oleg Kapkayev, Oleg Maximov and Alexander Vardanyants --  returned home yesterday.  The four were biking through the region when Nouri's forces seized them, accused them of being spies and tortured them.  RIA Novosti notes that the arrest sparked great furor including protests in Russia and promises from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani that the bikers would be released.   The Moscow Times adds:

The bikers were then detained by a military patrol outside Baghdad on May 20 and jailed at an Iraqi military base, where they were beaten and threatened, Vardanyants said. "There was little to be happy about," he said. "They beat us and threatened us, and the beatings had various levels of severity."

The four were imprisoned for approximately five days.  The Voice of Russia states that "they were subjected to physical and psychological pressure."

Last week Aseel Kami (Reuters) reported on the State Board of Heritage and Antiquities' Mariam Omran Musa who is suing Iraq's Ministry of Oil over a pipline through Babylon which threatens the existence of the historical Hanging Gardens.  Musa declared, "Oil and antiquities are both national wealth, but I have an opinion: when the oil is gone, we will still have antiquities."  The Travel Channel notes that the Hanging Gardens were considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.  RT adds:

The magnificent gardens allegedly built for a king’s homesick wife in the 6th century BC were one of the Ancient World’s seven wonders. Some historians doubt they existed, but they were described in many written sources and were said to have been destroyed by earthquakes.
The remains of the ancient city of Babylon are situated near present-day Al Hillah in Iraq’s Babylon Province south of Baghdad. The country has long been trying to get UNESCO to add the site to its World Heritage list, but chances appear to be fading away as authorities plan to lay an oil pipeline there.
Iraq’s Oil Ministry plans to extend a strategic route to export oil through six provinces at the center and south of the country.Two pipelines carrying oil products and liquid gas from Basra in the south to Baghdad were built under the ancient site in the late 1970s and early 80s.

Meanwhile AFP reports, "Teams of Iraqi archaeologists have discussed 40 ancient sites in the country's south from the Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian periods, an Iraqi antiquities offical said on Monday."  And hopefully the fate of those sites will be better than the currently threatened Hanging Gardens or other threatened sites in Iraq.  Mohamad Ali Harissi (Middle East Online) reports that historical sites discovered near Najaf's airport -- including "the remains of the celebrated ancient Christian city of Hira" -- are at risk, "unexplored and unkempt," due to a lack of excavation funding.  One of the people who led historical digs upon the discovery and in 2009 and 2010 is Shakir Abdulzahra Jabari who states, "The area has historical importance, because it is rich in antiquities, including especially the remains of churches, abbeys and palaces.  But now the antiquities have been neglected for a year, and they do not receive any attention, despite the fact that many Western countries are interested in Hira's history as the main gateway of Christianity into Iraq."

Marcia's "Barack doesn't win the vet vote" and Mike's "Memorial Day" went up last night. 
Kat's "Kat's Korner: There's nothing cheap about being ripped off" and Ruth's "Ruth's Report" and   Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "One-on-One Summit" went up here yesterday.   New content at Third Estate went up laste Sunday (Monday in EST and Central time zones):

Zed Books has a list of new titles. 

The Arab Spring
The Arab Spring
The End of Postcolonialism
Hamid Dabashi

?A refreshing, thoughtful and historical reading of the dramatic changes sweeping the Arab world.? Marwan Bishara, senior political analyst, Al Jazeera

?The Arab Spring is enormously enlightening and original, a landmark work of a political and historical convulsion of immense proportion and significance. The book is so rich, careful and systematic in making its case that I expect it to define a new paradigm regarding the nature of revolution itself.?
Alamin Mazrui, Rutgers University

?Dabashi provides a revolutionary, imaginative and open-ended reading of what will turn out to be a founding moment of the twenty-first century.? Fawwaz Traboulsi, author of A History of Modern Lebanon
Read the Introduction to The Arab Spring online here.

Paperback ISBN: 9781780322230 £12.99

Decolonizing Methodologies
Decolonizing Methodologies
Research and Indigenous Peoples
Linda Tuhiwai Smith
'At the turn of the millennium Linda Tuhiwai Smith's trail-blazing book, Decolonizing Methodologies, was one of the greatest contributions towards instilling pride and dignity in indigenous peoples all over the world. Not only did she demonstrate beyond any questioning that indigenous research is important for building scholarship about our own cultures, she also showed in a convincing way that indigenous peoples' research has a place of its own in today's academia. This new, extended and updated version of the book brings the reader to the core of the matter, at the same time as it pays homage to indigenous ways of transmitting knowledge and promotes this knowledge's transforming power. What used to be the voice in the margin is growing to become the decisive subject in the cosmopolitan research world.' Harald Gaski, Associate Professor in Sami Literature at the University of Tromsø, Norway.

'Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples is our recognized, not-to-be-messed-with standard of excellence ... we thirsted for more of the same.'
Margaret J. Maaka, Professor of Education and Director of Ho'okulaiwi Center for Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Education, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Paperback ISBN: 9781848139503 £18.99

The Problem with Banks
The Problem with Banks
Lena Rethel and Timothy J. Sinclair
'Rethel and Sinclair's book is far more than an excellent primer on banks and the recent financial crisis. It outlines a practical vision of what steps would be needed for an alternative banking system and how the state would play a crucial role in forging such a system.' Robert O'Brien, Professor and Chair, Political Science, McMaster University

'Sinclair and Rethel's thesis is simple but compelling. The banking industry's business model is unstable. Banks do not only intermediate between savers and borrowers as we are told by our textbooks, they also intermediate between the short-term lending horizons of savers and longer-term needs of borrowers. The problem with banks is that they never succeeded in resolving these contradictory demands, hence, the financial system is inherently unstable.'
Ronen Palan, Professor in International Political Economy, University of Birmingham

Paperback ISBN: 9781780320595 £16.99

Development Cooperation and Emerging Powers
Development Cooperation and Emerging Powers
New Partners or Old Patterns?
Sachin Chaturvedi, Thomas Fues and Elizabeth Sidiropoulos
'This is a fascinating and informative book: nothing less than a new guide to modern development cooperation. It shows us how the fight against poverty works in a world barreling towards multipolarity. It foretells a new paradigm based on the experiences of the old and the new approaches of the emerging economies in the world Provocative and challenging.' Bert Koenders, UN Undersecretary General and former Minister of Development Cooperation, The Netherlands

'With some large emerging economies assuming an active role alongside traditional 'donors', global development discourse has become more contentious. Featuring top experts from seven countries, this excellent collection reflects these debates. It also explores what values and institutions might realistically coordinate the development efforts of disparate partners which might otherwise impede, cancel or duplicate one another.'
Thomas Pogge, Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs, Yale University

Paperback ISBN: 9781780320632 £19.99

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