• The Asylum Story: Narrative Capital and International Protection

    Obtaining international protection relies upon an ability to successfully navigate the host country’s asylum regime. In #France, the #récit_de_vie, or asylum story, is critical to this process. An asylum seeker must craft their story with the cultural expectations of the assessor in mind. The shaping of the asylum story can be seen as an act of political protest.

    The role of the asylum story within the asylum procedure

    Within a context of increasing securitization of Europe’s borders, the consequences of differentiated rights tied to immigration status have profound impacts. The label of “refugee” confers rights and the chance to restart one’s life. In order to obtain this label, a narrative of the person’s history is required: the asylum story. It must explain the reasons and mechanisms of individualized persecution in the asylum seeker’s country of origin or residence, and the current and sustained fears of this persecution continuing should they return. In France, the Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless People (OFPRA)
    is responsible for determining whether or not the person will be granted protection, either through refugee status or subsidiary protection.

    This essay examines the construction of these stories based on participant observation conducted within an association supporting exiles in Nice called Habitat et Citoyenneté (“Housing and Citizenship”, hereafter H&C).

    One of H&C’s activities is supporting asylum seekers throughout the asylum process, including the writing of the story and preparation of additional testimony for appeals in the event of a rejection. Over time, H&C has increasingly specialized in supporting women seeking asylum, many of whom have suffered gender-based and sexual violence. These women’s voices struggle to be heard within the asylum regime as it currently operates, their traumas cross-examined during an interview with an OFPRA protection officer. Consequently, an understanding of what makes a “good” asylum story is critical. Nicole and Nadia, members of H&C who play multiple roles within the association, help to develop the effective use of “narrative capital” whereby they support the rendering of the exiles’ experiences into comprehensive and compelling narratives.
    Creating the narrative while struggling against a tide of disbelief

    The experience of asylum seekers in Nice illustrates the “culture of disbelief” (Kelly 2012) endemic within the asylum system. In 2019, OFPRA reported a 75% refusal rate.

    Rejection letters frequently allege that stories are “not detailed enough,” “vague,” “unconvincing,” or “too similar” to other seekers’ experiences. These perfunctory refusals of protection are an assault in and of themselves. Women receiving such rejections at H&C were distressed to learn their deepest traumas had been labelled as undeserving.

    While preparing appeals, many women remembered the asylum interviews as being akin to interrogations. During their interviews, protection officers would “double-back” on aspects of the story to “check” the consistency of the narrative, jumping around within the chronology and asking the same question repeatedly with different phrasing in an attempt to confuse or trick the asylum seeker into “revealing” some supposed falsehood. This practice is evident when reading the transcripts of OFPRA interviews sent with rejection letters. Indeed, the “testing” of the asylum seeker’s veracity is frequently applied to the apparent emotiveness of their descriptions: the interviewer may not believe the account if it is not “accompanied by suitable emotional expression” (Shuman and Bohmer 2004). Grace, recently granted protective status, advised her compatriots to express themselves to their fullest capability: she herself had attempted to demonstrate the truth of her experiences through the scars she bore on her body, ironically embarrassing the officer who had himself demanded the intangible “proof” of her experience.

    A problematic reality is that the asylum seeker may be prevented from producing narrative coherency owing to the effects of prolonged stress and the traumatic resonance of memories themselves (Puumala, Ylikomi and Ristimäki 2018). At H&C, exiles needed to build trust in order to be able to narrate their histories within the non-judgemental and supportive environment provided by the association. Omu, a softly spoken Nigerian woman who survived human trafficking and brutal sexual violence, took many months before she was able to speak to Nadia about her experiences at the offices of H&C. When she did so, her discomfort in revisiting that time in her life meant she responded minimally to any question asked. Trauma’s manifestations are not well understood even among specialists. Therefore, production of “appropriately convincing” traumatic histories is moot: the evaluative methodologies are highly subjective, and indeed characterization of such narratives as “successful” does not consider the person’s reality or lived experience. Moreover, language barriers, social stereotypes, cultural misconceptions and expected ways of telling the truth combine to impact the evaluation of the applicant’s case.

    Asylum seekers are expected to demonstrate suffering and to perform their “victimhood,” which affects mental well-being: the individual claiming asylum may not frame themselves as passive or a victim within their narrative, and concentrating on trauma may impede their attempts to reconstruct a dignified sense of self (Shuman and Bohmer 2004). This can be seen in the case of Bimpe: as she was preparing her appeal testimony, she expressed hope in the fact that she was busy reconstructing her life, having found employment and a new community in Nice; however, the de facto obligation to embody an “ideal-type” victim meant she was counselled to focus upon the tragedy of her experiences, rather than her continuing strength in survival.
    Narrative inequality and the disparity of provision

    Standards of reception provided for asylum seekers vary immensely, resulting in an inequality of access to supportive services and thereby the chance of obtaining status. Governmental reception centers have extremely limited capacity: in 2019, roughly a third of the potential population

    were housed and receiving long-term and ongoing social support. Asylum seekers who find themselves outside these structures rely upon networks of associations working to provide an alternative means of support.

    Such associations attempt to counterbalance prevailing narrative inequalities arising due to provisional disparities, including access to translation services. Nicole is engaged in the bulk of asylum-story support, which involves sculpting applications to clarify ambiguities, influence the chronological aspect of the narration, and exhort the asylum seeker to detail their emotional reactions (Burki 2015). When Bimpe arrived at H&C only a few days ahead of her appeal, the goal was to develop a detailed narrative of what led her to flee her country of origin, including dates and geographical markers to ground the story in place and time, as well as addressing the “missing details” of her initial testimony.

    Asylum seekers must be allowed to take ownership in the telling of their stories. Space for negotiation with regard to content and flow is brought about through trust. Ideally, this occurs through having sufficient time to prepare the narrative: time allows the person to feel comfortable opening up, and offers potential to go back and check on details and unravel areas that may be cloaked in confusion. Nicole underlines the importance of time and trust as fundamental in her work supporting women with their stories. Moreover, once such trust has been built, “risky” elements that may threaten the reception of the narrative can be identified collaboratively. For example, mention of financial difficulties in the country of origin risks reducing the asylum seeker’s experience to a stereotyped image where economics are involved (see: the widely maligned figure of the “economic migrant”).

    Thus, the asylum story is successful only insofar as the seeker has developed a strong narrative capital and crafted their experience with the cultural expectations of the assessor in mind. In today’s reality of “asylum crisis” where policy developments are increasingly repressive and designed to recognize as few refugees as possible, the giving of advice and molding of the asylum story can be seen as an act of political protest.

    Bibliography

    Burki, M. F. 2015. Asylum seekers in narrative action: an exploration into the process of narration within the framework of asylum from the perspective of the claimants, doctoral dissertation, Université de Neuchâtel (Switzerland).
    Kelly, T. 2012. “Sympathy and suspicion: torture, asylum, and humanity”, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 753–768.
    Puumala, E., Ylikomi, R. and Ristimäki, H. L. 2018. “Giving an account of persecution: The dynamic formation of asylum narratives”, Journal of Refugee Studies, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 197–215.
    Shuman, A. and Bohmer, C. 2004. “Representing trauma: political asylum narrative”, Journal of American Folklore, pp. 394–414.

    https://metropolitics.org/The-Asylum-Story-Narrative-Capital-and-International-Protection.html
    #asile #migrations #audition #narrative #récit #OFPRA #France #capital_narratif #crédibilité #cohérence #vraisemblance #véracité #émotions #corps #traces_corporelles #preuves #trauma #traumatisme #stress #victimisation #confiance #stéréotypes

    ping @isskein @karine4 @_kg_ @i_s_

  • Manifested Stories. An Alternative Narrative to the Urban-Frontier Myth

    Rebecca Pryor traces the history of the revitalization of the Bronx River, illustrating an alternative narrative to the urban-frontier myth—one that centers Black and Brown communities and is community-generated.

    At the beginning of the film The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019), which takes place in the not-so-distant future, a curbside preacher asks passersby why San Francisco is only now cleaning the Bay when residents have lived by its toxicity for decades. The cleanup is not for us, he yells, our neighborhood is “the final frontier for manifest destiny.”

    The preacher’s reference to manifest destiny is the urban-frontier myth at work. Originally theorized by geographer Neil Smith, this myth shows how American frontier language (“frontier,” “pioneer,” and “Wild West”) is used to justify gentrification and displacement. Smith names the myth to pinpoint what’s lurking behind the language: “the gentrification frontier is advanced not so much through the actions of intrepid pioneers as through the actions of collective owners of capital. Where such urban pioneers go bravely forth, banks, real-estate developers, small-scale and large-scale lenders, retail corporations, the state, have generally gone before” (Smith 1996). Through frontier language, gentrification is understood as rugged individualism instead of a phenomenon rooted in social, political and economic forces.

    The myth of the urban frontier reveals the power that stories have over place. The American frontier has always relied on complex justification narratives of white-settler colonialism—taking land and continuing to live on it requires stories about hate, fear, obsession and erasure (Tuck and Yang 2012). The same is true for the story created by urban-frontier language—longtime Black and Brown residents are erased, neighborhoods are devalued and then “discovered” through gentrification. But this is not the only kind of story. Another kind of story, what I am calling an “alternative narrative,” centers Black and Brown communities and can begin to appropriate urban spaces through collective land stewardship.

    Alternative narratives are formed by community-generated stories of place that manifest spatially. Whereas the frontier myth reflects a belief system that justifies erasure and individual profit, alternative narratives encourage the opposite—solidarity and collective ownership. One such alternative narrative is the story that environmental justice leaders created around the Bronx River.
    The Bronx River story

    The revitalization of the Bronx River has all the seeds of a great story. Those involved have mythical accounts of hauling cars out of the water and building parks from trash heaps. Many will talk about the importance of collective power and unexpected partnerships. Several say that they were lost until they “found” the river.

    Also, it’s a river. Rivers and most American waterways are uniquely common spaces. Unlike public parks and plazas, waterways are not owned by a city, state, or federal agency; they are governed by English Common Law, which secures the water as a public highway. The law creates spaces that, in some ways, can remain outside the context of American land ownership.

    The Bronx River story has three acts: the Upper River, the Lower River, and their unification. Act I begins in 1974 when Bronx resident Ruth Anderberg fell in love with a northern portion of the upper river, which runs from West Farms Square to 233rd Street. Once she realized that this was the same river as the one covered in trash at West Farms, she began a public cleanup project, enlisting police chiefs, local residents and friendly crane operators. Filled with everything from cars to pianos, the river was part archaeological site, part landfill. Anderberg’s efforts eventually turned into the Bronx River Restoration Group, a nonprofit that led restoration efforts and a youth workforce program until the late 1990s (DeVillo 2015).

    Act II’s star, the Lower River, which runs from West Farms Square to Soundview, was overshadowed by the catastrophic impacts of government disinvestment in the South Bronx (Gonzalez 2006). One interviewee who lived in the Bronx in the 1970s said that, “as a teenager, I was ashamed of living in the Bronx […] we became the symbol of urban decay, we became everything that can go wrong in a city.” Media and popular culture, like the 1981 blockbuster hit Fort Apache, perpetuated the urban-frontier myth, showing the South Bronx as both terrifying and alluring, rather than as a neighborhood neglected by the government.

    In the following decades, community-based organizations like Banana Kelly and The Point CDC spearheaded community investment and provided critical social services. Vacant lots became community gardens and a movement of community reliance grew. The river, however, remained cut off by industrial lots.

    Act III opens with city and federal investment in the river. The Parks Commissioner dubbed 2000 the “Year of the Bronx River” and committed federally allocated restoration funds to the river’s revitalization. NYC Parks seed grants helped develop two community-designed parks, connecting the South Bronx to its waterfront. Once there was waterfront access to the Lower River, organizations from both sections formed the Bronx River Alliance. From early on, the Alliance led creative community events to bring attention to the river.

    Today, the Bronx River is a physical manifestation of community power. The same interviewee who had said she was ashamed of the Bronx as a teenager described “finding” the Bronx River decades later with her children. “You have to teach new people who come here who might think the river is dirty,” she said. “You have to show them the restoration efforts. This river is used for community building. This river is about community.”
    A visual story: community design and power

    The parks conceived by Bronx residents and activists reflect a story of collective power and appropriation of space. Concrete Plant Park (CPP), a waterfront park designed by community members, reflects how the alternative narrative is also ingrained in its design choices.

    In the early 2000s, Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (YMPJ) used NYC Parks’ $10,000 seed grant to create a youth-led park design for an abandoned concrete plant. As part of their design process, they visited a waterfront park in Westchester County (immediately north of New York City). They saw that the park in this whiter and wealthier community invited people to the water’s edge with green space, whereas most of the parks in the Bronx had asphalt. Their design choices reflected a choice to honor their history and look towards the future. They incorporated passive recreation, a boat launch, and the retention of the concrete plant structures as a reminder of their past. As one interviewee from YMPJ described his experience of CPP, “the concrete plant acts as a visual story for the park: the story of repurposing, the story of community power, the story of what could be done.”

    The concrete plant relics, park design, and ongoing community-led programming are a visual representation of an alternative narrative about how to claim space. This is not a simple story. CPP was not only metaphorically appropriated; the site was removed from city auction and transferred to the Parks Department as a permanent park. And CPP was not created by a design survey and a neighborhood campaign alone—the transformation of CPP has taken over 20 years and is the result of community advocacy, citywide partnerships, and federally secured funding. Similar representations of community power and creative partnerships are found in parks throughout the lower portion of the river, from #Starlight_Park to #Hunts_Point_Riverside_Park.

    Interconnected transformations: people and place

    Interviewees born and raised in the Bronx consistently spoke about the transformation of themselves and the Bronx River as part of the same story. As urbanist David Harvey states, “the right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city” (Harvey 2008).

    An interviewee in her late twenties said, “I didn’t know anything about the Bronx River growing up, except that my grandfather’s brother died on it in the late ’70s. For me and my family, it was like, you don’t go to that place, it’s dangerous.” During college, she wanted to leave the Bronx in order to study the environment, but she became involved with the Bronx River Alliance and its stewardship efforts. When she took her grandfather to see the river, she said that “he was so amazed by the transformation. And I think part of this whole transition in me has been about changing the perception of those who are close to me who have always said, ‘No, you don’t go there.’”

    There are a couple of layers to this anecdote. First, this interviewee is young in the context of the Bronx River story. Without the previous decades of work spent appropriating space and establishing stewardship institutions, she may have left the Bronx to feel professionally fulfilled. Second, the story grew in a way that made room for her. It shifted from the manifestation of a frontier narrative placed on the Bronx—one of fear, danger, and otherness—to an alternative narrative that was generated by the people who lived there.
    A search for justice stories

    After the preacher in The Last Black Man in San Francisco questions the intended beneficiary of the Bay’s environmental cleanup, we watch as our protagonists, two young Black male San Franciscan friends, try to lay claim to their childhood home and, ultimately, to their narrative of belonging in San Francisco. The movie starts by satirizing the all-too-common story of green gentrification, where the cleanup of a toxic site is the harbinger of neighborhood displacement, and ends by illustrating the lonely battle of a Black man attempting to prove home ownership through his story alone.

    The Bronx River story, so far, is different. The river’s restoration was fueled by the incumbent community and its ongoing grassroots revitalization reaffirms their presence. Anchor institutions have helped to employ residents and keep them in the borough, if they want to stay there. Countless collaborative partnerships at the federal, city, and local level have enabled the transformation of the river. The Bronx River story is also not over. New waterfront developments are cropping up along the river as market-rate housing blooms in nearby gentrifying neighborhoods. Banana Kelly, The Point CDC, and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice are now part of a coalition of groups challenging the city’s rezoning of the Southern Boulevard in the South Bronx. What happens next is the cliffhanger.

    https://metropolitics.org/Manifested-Stories.html

    #Bronx_river #Bronx #renaturation #revitalisation #rivière #gentrification #USA #Etat-Unis #narrative #récit #USA #Etats-Unis

  • Americans insist the atom bomb ended the war in Japan — ignoring its human cost - The Washington Post
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/americans-insist-the-atom-bomb-ended-the-war-in-japan--ignoring-its-human-cost/2020/08/06/2095f314-d76f-11ea-aff6-220dd3a14741_story.html

    Stimson failed to mention, for example, that U.S. officials had debated dropping their demand that Japan’s surrender include the removal of the emperor, which Stimson himself had recognized as a possible way to bring Japan to an earlier capitulation. Stimson also omitted the most critical military development in August 1945: the Soviet Union’s entry into the war against Japan, which would have forced Tokyo to fight on two fronts, altered Allied strategies and probably ended the war before any land invasion. Through his military authority and strategic reasoning, Stimson forged a singular atomic bomb narrative with such moral certitude that it has superseded all others and fundamentally shaped American memory and perception ever since: The atomic bombings ended the war and saved more than 1 million American lives.

    #narrative #nucléaire #etats-unis #mensonges #crimes #massacres #civils #victimes_civiles

  • Particule X17 — Wikipédia
    https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particule_X17

    En 2015, Krasznahorkay et ses collègues de l’ATOMKI postulèrent l’existence d’un nouveau boson d’une masse de 17 MeV, seulement 3’ fois plus lourds qu’un électron7. Dans le cadre de leurs recherches sur la matière noire, l’équipe hongroise bombarda du lithium 7 avec des protons ce qui créa un atome de beryllium 8 instable qui se désintégra rapidement en paires d’électrons et de positrons. La désintégration et le rejet de particule se fit avec un angle de 140° entre l’électron et le positron avec un dégagement d’énergie de 17MeV qui indique qu’une petite partie du beryllium 8 se transforme en énergie sous la forme d’une nouvelle particule. L’expérience fut depuis reproduite plusieurs fois par Krasznahorkay et par une autre équipe américaine8.

  • Refugee stories could do more harm than good

    The pressure of storytelling can leave refugees feeling tokenised and disempowered.

    Ever since I was forced to leave Syria five years ago, I have been sharing my personal story in the hope of raising awareness about the human rights violations in my home country. My experience of storytelling has been both positive and disappointing. On the one hand, it has enabled me to make connections with several supportive individuals who made me feel welcome. But on the other hand, the way that refugees are expected to share and curate their stories can do more harm than good.

    Last year, I was approached by a prominent TV news network to discuss US airstrikes in Syria. I saw the invitation as an opportunity to share my academic perspective as the topic was closely related to what I was researching as part of my doctoral degree at the time. The interview proceeded with personal questions focused on my life in Syria. As I was not being asked about the airstrikes, I requested to share my view and they agreed.

    A few days later, the reporter emailed with me the news clip of their coverage of the strikes. The clip started with a brief summary of what happened. I was then featured for a few seconds, half in tears and conspicuously traumatised while mentioning the loss of my brother and father. The clip then continued with a white Australian observer who gave his “objective” and scholarly analysis of the situation. While the journalist apologised for the “heavy editing”, this humiliating experience taught me that despite my background as a citizen journalist and an academic, for some I will forever be a traumatised Syrian refugee whose primary role is to evoke sympathy and tears.

    Many organisations that work with refugees and asylum seekers also fall into this trap. While most of these organisations are well-meaning and do not directly coerce refugees to share their stories, there is often an expectation that refugees owe the wider public their stories. Thus, the expectation of sharing one’s story can transform into an obligation. I realised this when I politely declined an invitation to share my story from an institution that supported me in the past. Instead of the usual understanding response, a senior staff member at the institution said he was “very disappointed” that I could not save a few minutes of my time to help with their outreach work given what they have done for me.

    Although refugees are free to choose the content of their stories, there is an expectation that they should include some details about their past in order to “move the audience” and inspire sympathy. In preparation for refugee events, some organisers send a list of prompt questions to refugee speakers about their life in their home country, their reasons for leaving, the challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them. There is an implicit narrative logic to the questions: ‘tragedy’ to ‘success’, ‘hell’ to ‘paradise’.

    “The curated form of storytelling prevalent nowadays tends to marginalise or oversimplify.”

    Some might claim that sharing refugee stories helps to raise awareness about important issues and generate positive social change by inspiring people and helping them better relate to the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers. Of course, personal stories contribute to achieving these goals. However, the curated form of storytelling prevalent nowadays tends to marginalise or oversimplify the complex context surrounding these stories.

    While many refugees inspire others with their perseverance and resilience, their trauma and their stories should not be packaged in order to inspire. Refugees are not objects or vehicles of inspiration and sympathy. By repeatedly requesting refugees to share stories of why they have sought refuge, we essentialise their identities. People with disabilities face similar objectification when people treat their very existence and ability to lead their lives as inspiring.

    The whole paradigm of using stories to raise awareness and change hearts and minds warrants further research. In my experience, the main audience of refugee narratives are people who support refugees already and tend to perceive these stories as a powerful demonstration of resilience and contribution to society. But we should be aware that the fetishisation of success stories can ignore the painful reality that for many refugees, surviving and adapting to a new life outside of their home country is often overwhelming, difficult and painful.

    “Empowering refugees does not have to come through emphasising their heartbreaking stories.”

    It is critical that refugees and the institutions that work closely with them are cognisant of the potential risks of sharing painful details of refugee stories. Because many refugees may feel obliged to accept requests of their supporters, being aware of the power imbalance is critical. People also need to recognise that refugees and asylum seekers have agency, and respect their right to determine how and when they share their stories. Empowering refugees does not have to come through emphasising their heartbreaking stories. Resisting the urge to ask refugees about their past life in their home country can be difficult, especially given their unique first-hand accounts. And while many refugees do not mind sharing their perspectives, we need to be careful not to trigger painful memories.

    Once they are resettled, most refugees try to move on with their lives, focus on their families, establish new careers and contribute to the society that has taken them in. How many stories do we hear about the challenges of young people adapting to a completely new education system? The difficulty of finding employment? The joy of discovery in a new country? If we are genuinely interested in supporting refugees, then we should focus on stories about their present and future, not just their past.

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/refugee-stories-could-do-more-harm-good
    #témoignage #storytelling #réfugiés #migrations #empowerment #disempowerment #personnification #humiliation #victimisation #obligation #émotions #narrative #dépolitisation #essentialisation #histoires #risques #présent #passé

    ping @karine4

  • How Britain stole $45 trillion from India | Colonialism | Al Jazeera
    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/britain-stole-45-trillion-india-181206124830851.html

    There is a story that is commonly told in Britain that the #colonisation of India - as horrible as it may have been - was not of any major economic benefit to Britain itself. If anything, the administration of India was a cost to Britain. So the fact that the empire was sustained for so long - the story goes - was a gesture of Britain’s benevolence.

    New research by the renowned economist Utsa Patnaik - just published by Columbia University Press - deals a crushing blow to this #narrative. Drawing on nearly two centuries of detailed data on tax and trade, Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938.

    #colonisation #Inde #Grande_bretagne#civilisés#voleurs

  • Hanna La Rouge
    http://www.davduf.net/hanna-la-rouge

    Hanna La Rouge n’est ni un jeu ni une enquête. C’est votre mission, et la première fiction historique en temps réel réalisée par Anita Hugi, co-écrite par David Dufresne et illustrée par Anja Kofmel. Grève générale, novembre 1918 : plongez dans l’Europe Moderne Année Zéro. Vous êtes l’archiviste d’une banque suisse, chargé de détruire les traces de la Grande Grève de 1918. Vous allez suivre l’histoire d’Hanna, une manifestante de l’époque. Allez-vous obtempérer ? Irez-vous sur les routes d’Europe à la (...)

    #PhoneStories

    / Une, #Documentaire, #Narrative_Boutique, #Akufen

  • What Empire Loyalists Are Really Saying When They Bash Julian Assange – Caitlin Johnstone
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/11/02/what-empire-loyalists-are-really-saying-when-they-bash-julian-assa

    So when you see some political writer yukking it up about Julian Assange and kitty litter, what they are really saying is, “Hey! Look at me! You can count on me to advance whatever #narratives get passed down from on high! I’ll cheer on all the wars! I’ll play up the misdeeds of our great nation’s rivals and ignore the misdeeds of our allies! I’ll literally spit on Assange if you’ll give my career a boost!”

    They are saying, “I support everything the media-controlling oligarchs support, and I hate everything they hate. I will be a reliable mouthpiece of the ruling class regardless of who is elected in our fake elections to our fake official government. I will say all the right things. I will protect what you need protected. I will hide what you want hidden. I understand what you want me to do without your explicitly telling me to do it. I’ve got what you need. I have no principles. Look, I’m even joining in the dog pile against a political prisoner who can’t defend himself.”

    #opportunisme #MSM

  • Sanders Hears the Plight of Workers, but His Amazon Bill is Misguided | Op-Eds & Columns | CEPR
    http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/sanders-hears-the-plight-of-workers-but-his-amazon-bill-is-misguided

    “Pay-go” rules — rules that say new programs need to be paid for with tax hikes or cuts in other programs — prevented Democrats the last time they were the majority party in Congress from implementing policies to help workers and communities devastated by the offshoring of manufacturing or the collapse of the housing bubble regain their economic footing.

    They should not once again buy into the false #narrative that taxes need to be raised before government can spend. There are limits to spending on programs, of course, but these are not set by tax revenue. They are set instead by available resources — workers, equipment, natural resources that can be put to work.

    When resources are fully employed, further attempts by companies to expand production or government to expand programs will translate into inflation rather than higher GDP.

    At that point, tax increases to reduce demand and bring spending in line with resource capabilities are in order. Rolling back Trump administration tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest would be a good place to start.

    #économie

  • How the UAE is destroying #Yemen | Middle East Eye
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/how-uae-destroying-yemen-421364462

    Et encore une guerre par procuration qui n’intéresse pas du tout les #MSM,

    The UAE’s rift with Saudi Arabia has also been problematic. Riyadh has supported Islah, Yemen’s Muslim Brotherhood branch, as a stable ally on the ground. But the UAE opposes the Brotherhood, instead backing militants who maintain non-hostile relations with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) - which it is supposed to be fighting - to counteract Islah, researcher Helen Lackner notes in her book Yemen in Crisis. As such, the UAE is in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

    #narrative #arabie_saoudite #e.a.u. #émirats_arabes_unis

  • How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of #Illusions
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/06/15/how-the-corporate-media-enslave-us-to-a-world-of-illusions

    For several years now, I have been writing regular posts on my blog with one end in mind: to help open a door for readers and encourage them to step through. I select issues, usually those that dominate western media coverage and represent a #consensus that we might term the Great Western #Narrative, and try to show how this narrative has been constructed not to inform and enlighten but to conceal and deceive.

    #fraude #MSM

  • Twelve Tips For Making Sense Of The World – Caitlin Johnstone
    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/06/12/twelve-tips-for-making-sense-of-the-world

    In an environment that is saturated with mass media propaganda, it can be hard to figure out which way’s up, let alone get an accurate read on what’s going on in the world. Here are a few tips I’ve learned which have given me a lot of clarity in seeing through the haze of spin and confusion. Taken separately they don’t tell you a lot, but taken together they paint a very useful picture of the world and why it is the way it is.

    1. It’s always ultimately about acquiring power.

    [...]

    ... all of mankind’s irrational behavior can be explained by the basic human impulse to amass power and influence over one’s fellow humans, combined with the fact that sociopaths tend to rise to positions of power.

    [...]

    2. Money rewards sociopathy.

    The less empathy you have, the further you are willing to go, and the further up the ladder you can climb.

    3. Wealth kills empathy.

    4. Money is power.

    This is because the ability to use corporate lobbying and campaign donations effectively amounts to the legalized bribery of elected officials, which means that money translates directly into political power.

    5. This same ruling class controls the media.

    ... the first thing a new plutocrat does as soon as rising to a certain level of wealth is start buying up media influence, like Jeff Bezos did when he bought the Washington Post in 2013.

    6. People are always manipulating each other.

    Again, humans are social creatures, and we do what we can to increase our standing within our social circles.

    The big problem is when skillful manipulators find their way into positions of large-scale influence like government or media.

    7. Society is made of #narrative.

    Maintaining an awareness that there is always an unending battle to control the narrative and manipulate it to advance plutocratic interests is an essential part of understanding the world.

    8. The lines between nations are imaginary.

    Those lines drawn on the map between countries are pure narrative as well; they’re only as real as the collective public agrees to pretend they are. The ruling elites know this and exploit this. They don’t think in terms of nations and governments, they think in terms of individuals and groups of individuals.

    9. Powerful forces are naturally incentivized to collaborate with each other toward mutual interests.

    You can be a low-grade millionaire and still live like a relatively normal civilian, but once you start obtaining giant amounts of wealth control you need to start collaborating with existing power structures or they’ll snuff you out to prevent you from rocking their boat, because again, money equals power. This is why Jeff Bezos contracts with the CIA and sits on a Pentagon advisory board, and it’s why Facebook and Google collaborate extensively with government agencies; they never would have been allowed to grow to their size if they had not. Plutocratic dynasties which have been in place since long before Amazon, Facebook and Google figured this out many generations ago, and have agreed to push forward in a direction of mutual interest that doesn’t upset the status quo that their wealth is built upon.

    10. There is an immense amount of wealth that can be grabbed in the chaos of war and conflict.

    11. The neocons are always wrong.

    12. The push towards truth always starts with yourself.

    You can’t out-manipulate seasoned manipulators. The main error most people make when trying to deal with a sociopath is to try and manipulate them back. Don’t even try. They have years of experience on you because they literally have done nothing else. While you were laughing and crying and worrying and connecting and relating to people, they were working out how to play humans like Garry Kasparov worked out how to play chess. And when you have literal teams of sociopaths collaborating together to amass power, you my dear child, do not have a chance. Don’t play their game. You will lose.

    The only way to win this is to set your compass resolutely to “true.” Always be honest with yourself. Find all the different ways that you are manipulating others and see them and acknowledge them. Find your tribal allegiances and your desire to be right, and tip your hat to their existence. The more self-aware we are, the less levers we have to be manipulated by. If you are blindly partisan or loyal to a particular faction, that makes you gullible to propaganda because your wishful thinking and your desire to be right come into play. Get honest with yourself about who you are and what you want, and you will start to become an un-playable piece on the board.

    If we can’t beat these bastards with truth, we don’t deserve to win.

    • U.S. Ambassador Dean Ambushed in Lebanon, Escapes Attack Unhurt - The Washington Post
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1980/08/28/us-ambassador-dean-ambushed-in-lebanon-escapes-attack-unhurt/218130c3-6d7e-438f-8b0c-a42fc0e5eb57

      1980

      U.S. Ambassador John Gunther Dean escaped unharmed tonight after gunmen in a speeding Mercedes attacked his bulletproof limousine as he was leaving his Hazmieh residence in a convoy.

      The ensuing battle between the ambasador’s bodyguards and the gunmen left the embassy car demolished on the passenger side, with window glass shattered and tires flat, embassy sources said.

      Later this evening, Dean appeared at the gate of the embassy and waved to bystanders but refused to make a statement on the incident. He showed no signs of injury. [The Associate Press, quoting security sources, said Dean’s wife Martine and daughter Catherine also were unharmed.]

      It was the first attempt on an American ambassador’s life in Lebanon since June 16, 1976, when ambassador Francis E. Eloy, economic counselor Robert O. Waring and their chauffeur were kidnaped and killed on their way from West Beirut to East Beirut during the civil war.

      [Several hours after the attack on Dean, gunmen with automatic rifles dragged the Spanish ambassador and his wife from their car and drove away in the embasy vehicle. Ambassador Luis Jordana Pozas told the Associated Press. Jordana said five men pushed them from the car in mostly Moslem West Beirut. There was no indication whether the theft of Jordana’s car was related to the attack on the American diplomat.]

      Today’s attack came just hours after Dean said the United States was working with Israel and the United Nations to end the violence among Christian militiamen and Palestinian guerrillas in southern Lebanon. It was his first public statement since Aug. 21, when he created an uproar by condemning an Israeli raid on Palestinian guerilla strongholds in the area. The U.S. State Department later disavowed the statement.

      There were conflicting reports about the kind of explosive that was aimed at the ambassador’s car. Some local radio stations said it was a rocket, while others said it was a rifle grenade. None of the reports could be confirmed.

      The shooting took place as Dean was driving to Beirut. Excited security guards outside the U.S. Embassy told reporters that a spurt of machine-gun fire followed the explosion.

      The attackers, who abandoned their car, fled into the woods on the side of the highway, Beirut’s official radio said.

      Lebanese Army troops and internal security forces were quickly moved to the ambush site and an all-night search was begun to track down the would-be killers. Reliable police sources said two Lebanese suspected of being linked to the assassination attermpt were taken in for questioning.

      Following a meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Fuad Butros today, Dean stressed that "American policy includes opposition to all acts of violence which ignore or violate the internationally recognized border between Lebanon and Israel.

    • The remarkable disappearing act of Israel’s car-bombing campaign in Lebanon or : What we (do not) talk about when we talk about ’terrorism’
      Rémi Brulin, MondoWeiss, le 7 mai 2018
      https://seenthis.net/messages/692409

      La remarquable occultation de la campagne israélienne d’attentats à la voiture piégée au Liban ou : Ce dont nous (ne) parlons (pas) quand nous parlons de terrorisme
      Rémi Brulin, MondoWeiss, le 7 mai 2018
      https://seenthis.net/messages/695020

    • Inside Intel / Assassination by proxy - Haaretz - Israel News | Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/1.5060443

      Haaretz 2009,

      Did Israel try to kill the U.S. ambassador in Lebanon in the early 1980s?Haggai Hadas’ experience is not necessarily an advantage in the talks over Gilad Shalit’s release The Israeli intelligence community has committed quite a number of crimes against the United States during its 60-year lifetime. In the early 1950s it recruited agents from among Arab officers serving in Washington (with the help of military attache Chaim Herzog). In the 1960s it stole uranium through Rafi Eitan and the Scientific Liaison Bureau in what came to be known as the Apollo Affair, when uranium was smuggled to Israel from Dr. Zalman Shapira’s Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation - in Apollo, Pennsylvania). In the 1980s it operated spies (Jonathan Pollard and Ben-Ami Kadish), and used businessmen (such as Arnon Milchan) to steal secrets, technology and equipment for its nuclear program and other purposes.

      Now the Israeli government is being accused of attempted murder. John Gunther Dean, a former U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, claims in a memoir released last week that Israeli intelligence agents attempted to assassinate him. Dean was born in 1926 in Breslau, Germany (today Wroclaw, Poland), as John Gunther Dienstfertig. His father was a Jewish lawyer who described himself as a German citizen of the Jewish religion who is not a Zionist. The family immigrated to the U.S. before World War II. As an adult Dean joined the State Department and served as a diplomat in Vietnam, Afghanistan and India, among other states.

    • Remi Brulin on Twitter: "Shlomo Ilya was, in the early 1980s, the head of the IDF liaison unit in Lebanon. He is also (in)famous for declaring, at the time, that he only weapon against terrorism is terrorism, and that Israel had options for “speaking the language the terrorists understand.” https://t.co/TKx02n2SpA"
      https://mobile.twitter.com/RBrulin/status/1001904259410071552

  • Feu Bernard Lewis était l’illustration que le rôle de l’#expert MSM n’est pas l’expertise, mais la « #narrative » au service de l’ordre établi ; d’où son adulation par ce dernier.

    Une vision orientaliste, par Juan Goytisolo (Le Monde diplomatique, juillet 2002)
    https://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/mav/64/GOYTISOLO/55898

    La prétention de Bernard Lewis à l’impartialité professorale fait problème lorsque, par exemple, il retrace l’histoire du problème palestinien : « Entre 1947 et 1949, une grande partie des habitants arabes des territoires inclus dans le nouvel Etat d’Israël quittèrent leurs maisons et se réfugièrent sur la rive occidentale, dans la bande de Gaza et dans les pays voisins. Les Israéliens prétendent qu’ils s’en allèrent à l’instigation de leurs propres chefs, lesquels leur dirent de partir afin de ne pas gêner les mouvements des troupes et leur promirent qu’ils reviendraient sous peu sur les traces des armées arabes victorieuses. Les Arabes maintiennent qu’ils furent poussés dehors par les Israéliens. Les deux thèses sont vraies : toutes deux sont fausses (p. 176). »

    Du chaos irakien à l’escalade contre l’Iran, par Alain Gresh (Les blogs du Diplo, 30 octobre 2007)
    https://blog.mondediplo.net/2007-10-30-Du-chaos-irakien-a-l-escalade-contre-l-Iran

    Ainsi a-t-on entendu l’universitaire Bernard Lewis, qui a servi de caution « orientaliste » à l’intervention américaine en Irak, annoncer le plus sérieusement du monde que Téhéran s’apprêtait à lancer une bombe atomique (qu’il n’a pas !) sur Israël le 22 août 2006 car ce jour correspond, dans le calendrier musulman, au voyage que fit le prophète Mahomet à Jérusalem puis au ciel, le président iranien pensant que l’apocalypse accélérera le retour de l’« imam caché ».

  • La Corée du Nord a montré comment jouer au #poker #nucléaire avec Trump – l’#Iran pourrait bien suivre | Middle East Eye
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/opinions/la-cor-e-du-nord-montr-comment-jouer-au-poker-nucl-aire-avec-trump-l-

    Par Trita Parsi

    Tout au long des négociations sur le nucléaire, les deux parties ont dû constamment concilier deux intérêts opposés : d’un côté, le désir de progresser pour parvenir à un accord final – et donc à la fois éviter les fuites et faire le moins de vagues possible – de l’autre, la nécessité de préparer un plan B afin de rejeter sur l’autre camp la responsabilité de l’échec éventuel des pourparlers.

    Plus les deux camps s’efforçaient de se rejeter la responsabilité des échecs, par le biais de fuites stratégiques, plus ils sapaient la véritable #diplomatie.

    Très tôt, les Iraniens ont opté pour une stratégie qui allait minimiser la tension entre ces deux tendances, affichant un optimisme presque exagéré quant aux avantages de parvenir à un accord et jouant pleinement la carte de la raison.

    Cette stratégie a contribué à améliorer le climat des pourparlers, ce qui, à son tour, a accru les chances de succès. Mais elle a également permis à l’Iran d’avoir une longueur d’avance au petit jeu des reproches si les pourparlers étaient venus à échouer. Bref, une situation toujours gagnante pour l’Iran. Une fois l’accord conclu, le pays a poursuivi cette même stratégie.

    Le régime iranien a décidé de strictement respecter l’accord afin de regagner la confiance de la communauté internationale et de priver ses opposants de tout prétexte pour le briser, tout en s’arrangeant pour que l’Iran sorte vainqueur si l’accord venait à avorter. 

    Jusqu’à ce jour, l’Iran a suivi cette stratégie avec beaucoup de discipline et d’implication : l’Agence internationale de l’énergie atomique (#AIEA) a publié dix rapports consécutifs certifiant la totale adhésion de l’Iran à l’accord.

    Pourtant, à tant s’efforcer d’adhérer à l’accord, Téhéran s’est trouvée confrontée à une situation imprévue : l’émergence d’un contexte propice à la fabrication d’un faux récit par les opposants à l’accord, pour qui l’Iran en était réduit, en fait, à conserver l’accord à tout prix.

    #narrative

  • Working class in Britain? You must be white | New Internationalist
    https://newint.org/features/2018/03/01/working-class-in-britain

    Kam Sandhu questions why the British working class is inevitably conceived of as white, despite ethnic minority communities being at the sharpest end of inequality

    #inégalités #racisme #médias #narrative #blancs #royaume-uni #must-read

  • Then They Came for the Globalists
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/23/then-they-came-for-the-globalists

    See, the problem for the capitalist ruling classes is that global neoliberalism (i.e., globalism) is a really tough sell to regular folks. They can’t just come out and explain to people that national sovereignty is essentially dead, and that political power now resides among a network of global corporations (which couldn’t care less about their “nationality”) exploiting a globalized labor market (which is why their “good jobs” are not coming back) and a globalized financial market (which is why almost everything is being privatized and their families are being debt-enslaved). Nor can they admit that the “War on Terror” and the European refugee crisis it has caused, and the chaos and slaughter in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria, et cetera, is the predictable result of global capitalism aggressively restructuring the Greater Middle East, which it started doing more or less immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union (i.e., as soon as the final impediment to its pursuit of global hegemony was removed). This kind of thing doesn’t go over very well, not with most regular working class people.

    So what the global capitalist ruling classes have to do is … well, they have to lie. They have to disseminate a different #narrative, a narrative that has nothing to do with the hegemony of global capitalism, the dissolution of national sovereignty, and the privatization of virtually everything. Because people aren’t total morons, this narrative needs to bear some resemblance to the actual conflict taking place. So, all right, a little rebranding is in order. Global neoliberalism becomes “Western democracy,” neo-nationalism becomes “Nazism,” and Vladimir Putin becomes Adolf Hitler.

  • #PhoneStories invité de la Nuit des Idées et de la Presse
    http://www.davduf.net/phonestories-invite-de-la-nuit-des-idees-et-de-la

    L’Institut français, Reporters sans frontières et la Gaîté Lyrique proposent une « Nuit de la presse », autour de la liberté de la presse, des résistances à la censure et du futur du journalisme. Durant cette soirée alterneront table-rondes, cartes blanches et présentation de contenus numériques sur le journalisme. Notre collection PhoneStories sera présentée. PHONESTORIES.ME Une collection de récits du réel en mobile conçue par David Dufresne pour #Narrative_Boutique et Grand Garage. Produite par #Akufen (...)

    PhoneStories

    / Une, #Paris, Akufen, Narrative Boutique

    « http://www.phonestories.me »

  • HCDH | UN expert on extreme poverty and human rights to visit USA, one of the wealthiest countries in the world
    http://www.ohchr.org/FR/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22465&LangID=E

    Les #États-Unis exigent des autres pays (ou plutôt des pays qui ne leur sont pas inféodés) le respect de droits humains qu’eux-mêmes refusent formellement de respecter.

    “Some might ask why a UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights would visit a country as rich as the United States. But despite great wealth in the US, there also exists great poverty and inequality,” said Mr. Alston.

    “I would like to focus on how poverty affects the civil and political rights of people living within the US, given the United States’ consistent emphasis on the importance it attaches to these rights in its foreign policy , and given that it has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

    Why the UN is investigating extreme poverty … in America, the world’s richest nation | World news | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/01/un-extreme-poverty-america-special-rapporteur

    The US poses an especially challenging subject for the UN special rapporteur because unlike all other industrialized nations, it fails to recognize fundamental social and economic rights such as the right to healthcare, a roof over your head or food to keep hunger at bay. The federal government has consistently refused to sign up to the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights – arguing that these matters are best left to individual states.

  • Syria, ’#Experts,’ and George Monbiot - Antiwar.com Original
    http://original.antiwar.com/cook/2017/11/21/syria-experts-george-monbiot

    Par #Jonathan_Cook

    That is not to say Assad, or at least sections of the Syrian government, could not have carried out the attack on Khan Sheikhoun. But it is to argue that in a matter like this one, where so much is at stake, the evidence must be subjected to rigorous scrutiny, and that critics, especially experts who offer counter-evidence, must be given a fair hearing by the left. It is to argue that, when the case against Assad fits so neatly a long-standing and self-serving western #narrative, a default position of skepticism is fully justified. It is to argue that facts, strong as they may seem, can be manipulated even by expert bodies, and therefore due weight needs also to be given to context – including an assessment of motives.

    This is not “denialism”, as Monbiot claims. It is a rational strategy adopted by those who object to being railroaded once again – as they were in Iraq and Libya – into catastrophic regime change operations.

    #guerre_contre_la_dissidence #homogénéisation

  • New Texts Out Now: Nader Hashemi and Danny Postel, eds. Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East
    http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/26998/new-texts-out-now_nader-hashemi-and-danny-postel-e

    Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?

    Danny Postel and Nader Hashemi (DP and NH): Over the last several years, a narrative has taken root in Western media and policy circles that attributes the turmoil and violence engulfing the Middle East to supposedly ancient sectarian hatreds. “Sectarianism” has become a catchall explanation for virtually all of the region’s problems. Thomas Friedman, for instance, claims that in Yemen today “the main issue is the seventh century struggle over who is the rightful heir to the Prophet Muhammad — Shiites or Sunnis.” Barack Obama has been one the biggest proponents of this thesis. On several occasions, he has invoked “ancient sectarian differences” to explain the turmoil in the region. In his final State of the Union address, he asserted that the issues plaguing the Middle East today are “rooted in conflicts that date back millennia.” A more vulgar version of this view prevails among right-wing commentators. But in one form or another, this new sectarian essentialism, which is lazy and convenient — and deeply Orientalist — has become the new conventional wisdom in the West.

    Our book forcefully challenges this narrative and offers an alternative set of explanations for the rise in sectarian conflict in the Middle East in recent years. Emphasis on recent: the book demonstrates that the sharp sectarian turn in the region’s politics is largely a phenomenon of the last few decades — really since 1979 — and that pundits who imagine it as an eternal or fixed feature of the Middle East are reading history backwards. So the book is an exercise in refutation and ideology critique on the one hand, while also offering a set of rigorous social scientific arguments about what exactly is driving the intensification of sectarian conflict in the Middle East today. Our contributors come from political science, history, anthropology, and religious studies, and it is from this range of disciplines that we present a social and political theory as well as a critical history of sectarianism.

    #narrative #orientalisme #sectarisme

  • Syria the Latest Case of US ‘Stumbling’ Into War | FAIR
    http://fair.org/home/syria-the-latest-case-of-us-stumbling-into-war

    The US didn’t enter the conflict in Syria in September 2014 deliberately; it was forced into it by outside actors. The US didn’t arm and fund anti-Assad rebels for four years to the tune of $1 billion a year as part of a broader strategy for the region; it did so as a result of some unknown geopolitical dark matter.

    #Etats-Unis #narrative délirante

  • L’armée américaine prépare ses soldats à la guerre spatiale - Sciences - Numerama
    http://www.numerama.com/sciences/265175-larmee-americaine-prepare-ses-soldats-a-la-guerre-spatiale.html

    Ces derniers sont une équipe de soldats américains, qui « jouent aux #méchants » pour mettre dans des condition imprévisibles les troupes classiques. Captain Christopher Barnes, directeur de l’entrainement du 26th Space Aggressors Squadron, décrit le travail de cette unité des plus originales : « Notre travail est non seulement de comprendre les différents types de menaces et de potentiels ennemis, mais également d’être capable de les décrire et les reproduire pour les #gentils, notre Air Force. »

    #Etats-Unis #narrative #infantilisme