- Published on Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00
With all the buzz on the latest release from the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek: Into Darkness, I entered the theater expecting at least some social commentary to pop up in the movie. What I wasn’t sure about- but which ultimately delivered- was the grace with which that commentary would be woven into the Star Trek universe we know so well and love.
But, then, Gene Roddenberry created the show as an allegory of ourselves, a reflection of our time. And all the past caretakers of Star Trek canon have always understood that. It all just happens to be set in space...and in the future.
Through all the different incarnations, from the show’s original team led by Captain James Tiberius Kirk, to the rise of the incomparable Captain Picard, the lost voyagers of Captain Kathryn Janeway, and the rag tag team of Deep Space Nine- and even the (not as popular) prequel team of pre-Kirk Enterprise, the brand has always tackled the biggest questions of American society, and our world. From racism to sexism to war and peace, the Star Trek brand rarely shies away from exploring the big themes across a wide gamut of human experience.
- Published on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 00:00
On April 24, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, and the apprehension of two American Muslim suspects, Adam Saleh posted a video clip entitled, “Meet a Muslim Person” on YouTube (posted here below). I’ll be honest – this film broke my heart, many times over. The clip began circulating online, almost immediately—particularly among Muslims- and provoked a wide spectrum of reactions. The four-minute documentary clip is a brilliant success—not in showing the xenophobia many American Muslims face nor the majority of non-Muslims who seem to harbor no generalized ill-will towards a diverse community. The clip’s power comes from what it reveals about the position of the Muslim community in the United States today.
- Published on Friday, 03 May 2013 09:00
"One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror."
- George W. Bush, interview with CBS Evening News’ Katie Couric, September 6, 2006
War is especially strenuous on those who are called upon to fight. The men and women who unflinchingly turn to defend their nation deserve to be led for a purpose that is real, genuine, and worthwhile. Even then, combat can leave a determined soul dented, no matter how righteous the cause. The ones who survive continue to be haunted, their capacity to be at peace shattered.
The second Iraq War, arguably not just a blunder, but a crime, consumed the lives of over 4,000 American soldiers, leaving thousands of middle class, young veterans with grief and amputated limbs. Today they suffer while their country does little to honor their anguish. They bear all this for a lie that served the interest of only a few, those who always had enough and remain free of any repercussions while countless others are crushed.
- Published on Saturday, 09 March 2013 00:00
The Washington-AIPAC love-fest season is upon us once again. The New York Times’ featured article displays a picture of Vice President Joe Biden and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a loving embrace pledging support and allegiance, unconditional and eternal, for the special relationship between the United States and Israel. Kiss! Kiss!
All talk of settlement freeze is shelved for the moment as the most formidable Washington lobby – for all intent and purposes, agents of a foreign country – push for yet more resolutions choking Iran; seek blanket agreement for congressional backing of whatever measure Israel deems necessary to pursue their interests; and secure their 3.1 billion yearly aid even as sequestration threatens American jobs and economic recovery. Not bad! If the forefathers could see the turn this democracy has taken, they would be thrilled I’m sure.
My reaction as a hyphenated American is pure horror! My Persian side — because of the double standard applied to policy issues and the mess it has created by selective meddling in my region. My American side — because of the constant hemorrhage of resource, blood and money due to this “special relationship” which seems only to benefit the Israeli hardliners and political aspires in the U.S. Congress.
- Published on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 23:00
Provocative anti-Islam messages keep being displayed as “ads” around the country’s bus and metro stations thanks to the initiative of controversial anti-Muslim bloggers and hate group leaders Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. In the latest batch of ads, which plop gory images of 9/11 alongside cherry-picked scriptures, Geller and her ilk have intentionally tried to provoke people against Islam.
The purpose of these ads, though they are labeled as “freedom fighting” and promoting free speech is clear. Geller hopes to encourage her fellow Americans to turn against their Muslim neighbors by scaring them and attempting to present Islam as a religion of violence. Let's face the facts: All three monotheistic religions have ancient scriptures that contain passages about war and violence. One can easily compile from each of these traditions a selective list of sources that could inflame hatred. And anyone can just as easily find in Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy books verses that support peace, love, justice, co-existence and tolerance. But what good does it do to go around picking out the violent verses of each other’s sacred books and dangling them before the eyes of our fellow citizens?
- Published on Wednesday, 30 January 2013 00:00
Al Jazeera will soon be opening its newest branch in the United States, Al Jazeera America. The company confirmed its future stake in the United States media industry when it purchased Al Gore’s seldom watched “Current TV” channel. The new network is projected to contain roughly 50% domestic coverage and the rest will be devoted to the network’s award winning international news coverage.
The $100 million dollar transaction has provided a field day for America’s conservative news pundits. Not the least of which being anti-Muslim hate group leader Pamela Geller, the sponsor of the bigoted New York subway ad campaign targeted at Muslims.
- Published on Friday, 25 January 2013 00:30
President Obama’s condemnation of the horrors of the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, in December of 2012 have provoked comparisons with his attitude towards the children killed by unmanned aerial vehicles (“U.A.V.’s,” also known as drones). In his eloquent Op-Ed for The Guardian, George Monbiot writes that:
“It must follow that what applies to the children murdered there by a deranged young man also applies to the children murdered in Pakistan by a sombre American president…If the victims of Mr. Obama’s drone strikes are mentioned by the state at all, they are discussed in terms which suggest that they are less than human.”
Sadly, Monbiot is right.