Category Archives: The Intelligence, Autumn 2013

King’s Dream Lives On

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic speech
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic speech

The 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic speech marks the progress of civil rights worldwide.

by Dinesh Sharma

Was Martin Luther King Jr., the icon of the civil rights movement, aware of his ‘global impact’? Did he anticipate that he would develop a world-wide following in a short span of time, spawning other movements for social justice around the world? Importantly, did King use this ‘global awareness’ to put pressure on the U.S. government through media and other means of communication to push for the passage of the civil rights laws?

Steve Spence, who studies media and communication, has argued recently that King made the explicit connection between the larger social and technological forces stemming from the modern “jet-age”, today called “cultural globalization,” and the spread of the civil rights movement. Delivered on May 21, 1961, at a rally in support of Freedom Riders, King opened with a rhetorical flourish:

The words that I will utter tonight were written this morning as I flew at an altitude of 38,000 feet on a jet plane from New York to Atlanta, Georgia. As that gigantic instrument stretched its wings through the air like an eagle and moved smoothly toward its destination, many thoughts ran through my mind. On the one hand I thought of how the technological developments of the United States had brought the nation and the world to an awe-inspiring threshold of the future. I thought of how our scientific genius had helped us to dwarf distance and place time in chains. I thought of how we had carved highways through the stratosphere and how our jetplanes had compressed into minutes distances that once took days. On the other hand I thought of that brutal mob in Alabama and the reign of terror that had engulfed Anniston, Birmingham, and Montgomery. I thought of the tragic expressions of man’s inhumanity to man that still exist in certain sections of our country. I could not help being concerned about this glaring contrast, this tragic gulf. Through our scientific and technological developments we have lifted our heads to the skies and yet our feet are still firmly planted in the muck of barbarism and racial hatred. Indeed this is America’s chief moral dilemma. And unless the Nation grapples with this dilemma forthrightly and firmly, she will be relegated to a second rate power in the world. The price that America must pay for the continued oppression of the Negro is the price of its own destruction. America’s greatest defense against communism is to take the offense for justice, freedom, and human dignity.

In just a few lines, King internationalized the fight for civil rights at home by linking it with the fight against communism abroad, embracing the Freedom Riders as patriots. Within two years, he would lead the March on Washington, and the rest, as they say, was history. King’s words delivered 50 years ago on Aug 28, 1963, at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., have echoed through time and space. For new immigrants, who migrated to the U.S. after the passage of the immigration act of 1963, these words …

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Religion and Politics: The Dilemma of Islam

??????)?Out of a history of Islamic infighting arises the fight for liberalism.

by Rajendra Prabhu

When in September international outrage had not removed the minority regime in Syria after it was found using chemical weapons against its own (majority) populace, U.S. President Obama took on the Syrian dilemma himself and faced a complicated decision. At the time, Syrian deaths from poisonous chemical gas at over 1,500 had overshadowed neighboring Egypt’s similar number of dead — but the latter from the military firing to disperse protesting Muslim Brotherhood supporters of the deposed president Morsi.

Expert in strategy Edward N. Luttwak, author of “The Logic of War and Peace,” described the U.S. President’s dilemma succinctly in a recent article in the New York Times:

The Barack Obama administration should resist the temptation to intervene more forcefully in Syria’s civil war. A victory for either side would be equally undesirable for the U.S. At this point a prolonged stalemate is the only outcome that will not be damaging to U.S. Interests.

In other words, the advice to the President was to let the Syrians settle it among themselves, and the devil takes the human costs. If the President were to act, it would be only in the nature of some cost effective punishment rather than forcing a change of regime, White House sources had already made clear.

Behind the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are Shia Iran and the Shia militia of Hezbollah and Hamas with their pronounced anti-Western, anti-U.S., anti-Israel agendas as well as a challenge to the Sunni majority among other Muslim nations and regimes. The opponents of Assad are dissident groups with different aims, but over the two-and-half years this rebellion has been going on, the upper hand among the rebels is now with groups aligned to Al Qaeda.

If the legal but minority Alawite regime in Damascus is using chemical weapons to kill other Syrians, mostly from the majority Sunnis, the rebels are …

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Illegal Immigration: Border Fence Fatalities

3731042822_603dd55a23_oThe human toll of migrant “funneling” at the U.S.-Mexico Border must be considered in border security initiatives.

by Joseph J. Kolb

The border fence between the United States and Mexico presents an ironic geopolitical and socioeconomic conundrum. Nowhere in the world can such a structure and national strategy to stem the flow of migration and drug smuggling, while attempting to maintain a steady flow of legal bi-national trade, be found among two friendly nations. There is 1,050 km of fence that intermittently spans the 3,140 km border from the Pacific coast of California to the Gulf of Mexico in Texas. As its high walls separate the two nations on all but the most remote and hazardous frontiers, the border fence has led to a public health crisis.

“Funneling” is a phenomenon referring to increasing migration patterns of individuals attempting to enter the U.S. illegally through areas lacking a border fence and only marginally patrolled by the U.S. Border Patrol — and it has unintended deadly consequences.

In September 2001, less than a week before the 9/11 attacks and 12 years after the Berlin Wall crumbled to the ground, President George W. Bush was quoted as saying, “Fearful people build walls; confident people tear them down.” Five years later he …

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An Argument for Gezi Park

Taksim Gezi Park protests, June 15
Taksim Gezi Park protests, June 15

Continued demonstrations in Turkey bring to light Prime Minister Erdogan’s hypocrisy.

by Ferhat Arslan

The biggest mistake of the Turkish government was pretending that the Gezi Park demonstrations were a momentary outburst of a few extreme political factions in Istanbul. Government officials thought that by meeting the protesters with heavy police force they could remove the thorn from their side — a response that had been used countless times in Turkey to squash out dissenting voices where they appeared. This time, it did not.

After the military coup of 1980, the upcoming younger generation was systematically de-politicized, silenced, and excluded from political discussion. As a result, until May 28, 2013, the youth of Turkey remained largely silent on political issues. With this strategy of de-politicization, the governments that ruled the country from 1980 on encountered no effective opposition and dominated social issues without reservation.

September’s continued demonstrations in Turkey revealed the importance of social media as an alternative to nation-wide mass media and highlighted its role in politicizing a new generation. The gap between the stories on social media and those portrayed in the mass media during the demonstrations revealed to many people for the first time how …

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Malala’s Model for the World

"Personal Hero" by  Michael Volpicelli
“Personal Hero” by Michael Volpicelli

How class struggle converges in the classroom in war-torn Pakistan.

by N. R. Gataveckas

The dramatic events surrounding the figure of Malala Yousafzai have made her into a household name, one that people all around the world have come to recognize in admiration. From being featured on the cover of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” issue to having the National Youth Peace Prize made in her name, her heroic plight has intersected with the lives of millions of people as an inspiring reminder of human potential.

Now after the media storm has mostly subsided, we can reflect upon and take the appropriate lessons from the realities of her struggle to bring education to the war-torn valleys of Swat. This other story — the story of the region of northwest Pakistan in recent times — provides a necessary context to Malala’s powerful story.

Too often the media has portrayed Malala in a way that has made her appear isolated and abstracted from the living conditions of her hometown and day-to-day arrangements. This tends to detract from the overall significance of Malala’s struggles and those of millions of girls like her in Pakistan and around the world. Without a basic understanding of the political and economic history of the area, it is impossible to appreciate the scope of Malala’s courage, let alone the strength of her resolve to change the world.

Heavy with Strife: the Taliban’s Reach in Pakistan

Born in Mingora, the largest city of Swat, in 1997, Malala grew up in an area that was already heavy with poverty and strife. Since the partition of India in 1947, Pakistan has gone through a complicated history of political convulsions, balancing between elections, revolts, and occasional interventions by the nation’s military.

The decade of Malala’s birth, for example, started with…

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