Z Nightly Commentaries
There are no commentaries for today.
Recent Z Nightly Commentaries
Pilger: Lies Of Hiroshima
Aug 07, 2008
In an article for the Guardian on the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, John Pilger describes the 'progression of lies' from the dust of that detonated city, to the wars of today - and the threatened attack on Iran.
Podur: Empires Rivals
Aug 03, 2008
In the background of the Indo-US nuclear deal now going into "overdrive", as well as the increasing economic co-operation and (most importantly) the joint military excercises and interoperability efforts and acquisitions made by India, there is a geopolitical notion: that the US is building India's military capacity in order to counter potential rivals China and Russia in the region. Indeed, proponents of the nuclear deal smeared its opponents by suggesting their opposition was "pro-China". As the deal goes forward, with India potentially trading the chance for peace with its nuclear-armed neighbours for the chance to make US companies very rich buying tens of billions worth of technology the West isn't using, acquires the latest US weapons, and makes its military interoperable with the US, a major historical lesson has perhaps been forgotten.
Jul 24, 2008
On 12 July, the London Times devoted two pages to Afghanistan. It was mostly a complaint about the heat. The reporter, Magnus Linklater, described in detail his discomfort and how he had needed to be sprayed with iced water. He also described the "high drama" and "meticulously practised routine" of evacuating another overheated journalist. For her US Marine rescuers, wrote Linklater, "saving a life took precedence over [their] security". Alongside this was a report whose final paragraph offered the only mention that "47 civilians, most of them women and children, were killed when a US aircraft bombed a wedding party in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday".
Jul 17, 2008
I am currently sitting in my very reasonable apartment in the Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue guest house, typing at a laptop that is sitting on a dresser and using a wireless connection set up for me by my host, Junaid Ahmad, who borrowed an unused router from an office here at the Islamic University and set it up in the apartment next door. I'm trying to type quickly because the "load-shedding" is going to happen soon and I'll lose my internet connection in the blackout (there are several of these each day, and it is far better here in Islamabad than most other places). These guest houses are fairly new. Situated next to the "old campus" of the International Islamic University-Islamabad (IIU-I), which is itself attached to the Faisal Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in the country and one of Islamabad's tourist attractions, the guest houses are equipped with air conditioners, fans, indoor plumbing, a mini-kitchen with a gas stove, and a separate dining room. There are patches of grass in front and behind and gondolas where one could sit and do work if the weather were cool enough. People don't, because it's been so hot, which is why people also seem to keep much later hours here than I'm used to, getting up late and going to bed late. Overall the idea of these guest houses is for people to be able to contemplate. There is a gate between these apartments (lined up in a row, like townhouses, and all ground-floor) and the road to the mosque. The gate is always attended by a uniformed security guard, usually the same friendly middle-aged fellow. Most of the staff of the guest house that I've seen are men of similar age - they actually bring us guests our meals. I've actually spent most of my time here, at the computer, with Ahmed Rashid's or David Macdonald's book or local newspapers or magazines. Or, if not here, in the campus buildings.
Pilger: Britain Wages War
Jul 13, 2008
Five photographs together break a silence. The first is of a former Gurkha regimental sergeant major, Tul Bahadur Pun, aged 87. He sits in a wheelchair outside 10 Downing Street. He holds a board full of medals, including the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery, which he won serving in the British army. He has been refused entry to Britain and treatment for a serious heart ailment by the National Health Service: outrages rescinded only after a public campaign. On 25 June, he came to Down ing Street to hand his Victoria Cross back to the Prime Minister, but Gordon Brown refused to see him.
Podur: Betancourt Released
Jul 04, 2008
Colombia's most high-profile hostage of the FARC guerrilla group, French-Colombian former Presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt was just freed (July 2/08) in a military operation by the Colombian armed forces.
Pilger: Obama Is A Hawk
Jun 15, 2008
In 1941, the editor Edward Dowling wrote: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.” What has changed? The terror of the rich is greater than ever, and the poor have passed on their delusion to those who believe that when George W Bush finally steps down next January, his numerous threats to the rest of humanity will diminish.
Prashad: Roof the World
Jun 14, 2008
After a brief fourteen-minute speech on June 12, Nepal's last King of the 239 year Shah dynasty, Gyanendra, departed from the side entrance of the Narayanhiti Palace to live out his days in the former summer home of his ancestors. "I have done all I can to cooperate with the government's directives," he said as the reporters and onlookers scuffled with each other to get a good shot of his momentous occasion. "The monarchy in Nepal has always been with the people of Nepal in good times and bad times." At least in his departure the universally despised Gyanendra offered some humility, although the monarchy was generally the architect of the bad times while its members and their A-Class Rana bureaucrats enjoyed the good times.
Jun 05, 2008
When I phoned Aung San Suu Kyi's home in Rangoon yesterday, I imagined the path to her door that looks down on Inya Lake. Through ragged palms, a trip-wire is visible, a reminder that this is the prison of a woman whose party was elected by a landslide in 1990, a democratic act extinguished by men in ludicrous uniforms. Her phone rang and rang; I doubt if it is connected now. Once, in response to my "How are you?" she laughed about her piano's need of tuning. She also spoke about lying awake, breathless, listening to the thumping of her heart.
Pilger: Kennedy To Obama
Jun 01, 2008
In this season of 1968 nostalgia, one anniversary illuminates today. It is the rise and fall of Robert Kennedy, who would have been elected president of the United States had he not been assassinated in June 1968. Having travelled with Kennedy up to the moment of his shooting at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on 5 June, I heard The Speech many times. He would "return government to the people" and bestow "dignity and justice" on the oppressed. "As Bernard Shaw once said," he would say, "'Most men look at things as they are and wonder why. I dream of things that never were and ask: Why not?'" That was the signal to run back to the bus. It was fun until a hail of bullets passed over our shoulders.
Prashad: Bill Clinton
May 22, 2008
When Bill Clinton ran for the White House in 1992, I was deeply annoyed. He represented so much that we, on the left, despised: the reaction within the ranks of the Democratic Party's elite that wanted to "save" the party from what it saw as the excesses of a combination of the New Left, the already declining trade unions, and, most importantly, the Rainbow cultivated and mobilized by Jesse Jackson's two runs for the presidency (1984 and 1988).
Pilger: Best Of Britain
May 10, 2008
When I first came to live in Britain, much of ordinary life was premised on a sense of community. It was mostly undeclared; occasionally, it would become vivid, even heroic. Watching Durham miners, defeated but unbowed by hunger and debt, march back to the pit in 1985, led by their women, was a glimpse of Britain at its best. In spite of Thatcher and Blair, that communal decency survives, though you may have to look for it. A good place to look is a local post office.
Pilger: Latin America
Apr 25, 2008
Beyond the sound and fury of its conquest of Iraq and campaign against Iran, the world's dominant power is waging a largely unreported war on another continent - Latin America. Using proxies, Washington aims to restore and reinforce the political control of a privileged group calling itself middle-class, to shift the responsibility for massacres and drug trafficking away from the psychotic regime in Colombia and its mafiosi, and to extinguish hopes raised among Latin America's impoverished majority by the reform governments of Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia.
Pilger: South Africa
Apr 12, 2008
Almost fourteen years after South Africa's first democratic elections and the fall of racial apartheid, John Pilger describes, in an address at Rhodes University, the dream and reality of the new South Africa and the responsibility of its new elite.
Apr 09, 2008
The challenge for activists isn't just that we have legions of crises to face everyday. It's also that we have to operate in a corporate-sponsored culture that constantly barrages us and our communities with the message that individuals are the problem. The powers-that-be are even clear that the fix they offer will make us sound ridiculous and look like idiots, but, they advise, do it anyway.
Pilger: Philip Jones Tribute
Mar 29, 2008
It was 1970 and we were on our first assignment together and at once became friends, talking about the war as surreal, and mostly about the people, whom he loved.
Pilger: Good Good War
Mar 26, 2008
I had suggested to Marina that we meet in the safety of the Intercontinental Hotel, where foreigners stay in Kabul, but she said no. She had been there once and government agents, suspecting she was Rawa, had arrested her.
Prashad: Obama in Teheran
Mar 23, 2008
Barack Obama's suggestion that he would sit down and talk with the Iranian Prime Minister is perhaps the most sensible policy proposal in the stale foreign policy air of Washington, DC. Twice before Teheran has publicly reached out to the US, but both times it has been rebuffed. In 1998, Iranian President Mohammed Khatami proposed a "dialogue among civilization," which the UN adopted in 2001 as its theme for the year. Washington ignored the move, and turned its back on Khatami's 2003 proposal that the US and Iran begin serious negotiations toward normal relations. In 2006, Iran's current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent President Bush a lengthy letter with "new ways" forward for the two countries. Bush, like Clinton before him, snubbed his nose eastwards. Washington's refusal to talk to Iran is stubbornly myopic.
Prashad: Duck and Cover
Mar 19, 2008
A fractured electorate cannot unite behind candidates. The Republicans have their candidate (Boom, Boom McCain). The Democrats are divided by age, gender and race. In the murky results and polls it is hard to fathom the outcome. What is clear is that the Democratic race has mobilized vast numbers of previously disenchanted people to the polls. Some of this is the special charisma of Obama, but quite a lot of it is the general enthusiasm to vote for the first woman or the first African American with a shot at sitting behind the big desk in the Oval Office.
Pilger: Moudud Ahmed
Mar 13, 2008
The extraordinary life of Moudud Ahmed, who in 1971 led Pilger into liberated East Pakistan, later Bangladesh. Now a political prisoner of the military dictatorship in Dhaka, Moudud Ahmed is seriously ill in a country which, says his wife Hasna, "is itself a prison".