Feature Editorials

Monday, 26 May 2008 20:00 Interviewer: Marcus Engler

Interview with the renowned German best-seller author, documentary film producer and Asia specialist Frank Sieren, who's been living in China for nearly one and a half decades.

Q: Is Tibet becoming a turning point for Chinas development?

A: It's not a turning point, but simply a tragedy. It seems that most of the individuals involved have lost sight of the concerns of the Tibetan people. We may debate about their degrees of involvement in this disaster, but we should name them first: The government in Beijing with its relentless, excessive policy of assimilation; then the Dalai Lama as the head of an exile government, who time and again tries to politicize his meetings with Western politicians, thus to suggest latitude which doesn't really exist when it comes to the crunch.

Q: But there are also other players...

A: If you are talking about the young rioters - they remind me rather of their contemporaries in the burning suburbs of Paris than of the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square in 1989. With their senseless violence against Chinese retailers they have created tailwind for the hardliners in Beijing and brought the majority of the Chinese totally against themselves. On the issue of Tibet, the position of the Chinese leadership coincides with that of the large popular majority. We in the West tend to sweep this fact under the carpet.


Saturday, 03 May 2008 20:00 Sergey Skvortsov

Results Of Putin's Ruling

Only few days remain up to an inauguration of the new President of Russia. No matter what some outstanding "experts" on Russia say, Putin's era comes to an end. Apparently now it is time to review some results of his ruling.

The bourgeois press now represents Putin as a certain enemy of the West which has suppressed the Russian democracy. The Western journalists, however, agree that Putin secured to Russia a rapid economic growth and sharply lifted a standard of life of Russians. One of serious newspapers even has written that «Russians have never lived so well».

A part of anti-imperialist foreign public and even a part of foreign communists trusts in such things, they consider Putin someone like Russian Chaves. He struggles against the American imperialism, they speak, and in the Russia suppresses the large capital and wins poverty. As if to a cut down democracy, Putin, as it seems to them, thus only struggles against «the fifth column» of imperialism, which doesn’t deserve to regret.

Friday, 28 March 2008 19:00 Sami Moubayed

ImageWhen Mohammad Ali al-Abid was elected first president of Syria in 1932, his wife, Zahra al-Yusuf, asked if she could attend the official function at the presidential palace.

Her husband muttered, "You attending a state function, filled with men. It's impossible Zahra; what do you want people to say?"

The 47-year-old first lady, born into Damascene aristocracy, refused to take no for an answer. She began to slowly push the red lines and play a greater role in public affairs - well into the 1940s, long after her husband's death in 1939. She headed several charity organizations, like the Goutte de Lait, the Red Crescent and Syrian branch of the International Red Cross, in addition to an intellectual forum, and obtained the Syrian Medal of Honor (Excellence Class) after her husband left office in 1936.

Additionally, she obtained the Red Cross Medal of Honor in Gold - being the first Arab woman to win such an honor.

Monday, 10 March 2008 19:00 Nisha Varia

ImageInternational Women's Day is an opportunity not only to evaluate women's progress in areas such as education, employment, and politics, but also to honor the importance of what has been traditionally viewed as "women's work": cooking, cleaning, and childcare.

For many of us, an incredibly precious and important part of our lives is the well-being of our children, the comfort of our elderly parents, and a safe, clean home where we can count on nourishing meals. Yet society gives little recognition to the daily labors required to nurture a family and a home.

Lebanese women are caught in an unenviable position. While their participation in the workforce has increased, gender stereotyping and discrimination mean that they have retained the primary burden of household work. Their task has been made harder by a society that clings to the importance of a well-kept home while at the same time disparaging cooking and cleaning as trivial and unimportant in comparison to the "real" work of making deals at an office or clocking hours at a factory.

This societal attitude has deeply undermined the skills required to care for the ill, raise children, and prepare meals several times a day, and in many cases, to perform such work simultaneously.

Monday, 25 February 2008 19:00 Sungur Savran

ImageThe celebrations by the Albanian people of Kosovo upon the declaration of an "independent and sovereign" state were aired on television extensively. Two flags were waved during these celebrations.

One was the familiar U.S. flag. And the second one? This flag with a double-headed black eagle on a red background, which country might that belong to? Better not to be too rash and say that it is the flag of the newly "independent" state of Kosovo, for that would be misunderstanding the true nature of what has happened. In the newly "independent" state of Kosovo, the people celebrating on the streets were waving the flag of another country. This was the flag of Albania!

The declaration of the "independence" of Kosovo is, first and foremost, a vast step forward for one of the pet projects of the U.S. in the Balkans, the creation of a "Greater Albania." This fact is so tangible, so concrete that when Martti Ahtisaari, the Special Envoy of the United Nations (UN), in a report he submitted in spring 2007 after two years of negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia had reached a deadlock, recommended the "independence" of Kosovo, he had to qualify this by a special formula, "supervised independence."

And against what would the "independence" of Kosovo be "supervised"? Why, the first precondition that Ahtisaari had to propose was to rule out unification with Albania! The mere imposition of this qualification demonstrates, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the real aspiration of the Albanians of Kosovo (and of the U.S.) is the creation of a "Greater Albania" through unification with the present state of Albania. Hence, the "independence" of Kosovo is sham independence.

Sunday, 10 February 2008 19:00 Yossi Wolfson

Gaza City, January 8, 2008. From a demonstration against the Bush visit: empty coffins symbolize 62 patients who have died since June because Israel denied them access to medical treatment outside Gaza. Photo by Wissam NassarNo more lies or twisted tongues. Israel is saying at last what, in the past, it always refused to acknowledge: its war is against the Palestinian population.

Until now, in discussions about the separation wall, closures, blockades, house demolition, and other sorts of collective punishment, the State Attorney's Office lacked the gumption to admit in court that the aim of such measures is to harm civilians.

It always came up with convoluted security claims in order to present some vital military necessity for the sake of the War against Terror. Harm to the population was described as a regrettable side effect.

But now a Rubicon has been crossed. This happened after ten human-rights organizations petitioned the High Court on October 28, 2007 against cuts in the supply of electricity and gasoline to Gaza. The petitioners claimed that the cuts amount to collective punishment, which is forbidden under international law.


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