Friday, March 03, 2006

NY Event: Norman Finkelstein - March 8th, 2006

Bestselling Author and DePaul University Professor


"Israel & Palestine: Misuse of Anti-Semitism, Abuse of History"


TIME: Wednsday, March 8th, 2006
Doors Open at : 7PM
Event Begins at : 8pm

LOCATION: Roone Arledge Cinema
Alfred Lerner Hall
Southeast corner of 115th and Broadway
Columbia University

To the following email addresses: for Columbia University Affiliates for non-Columbia University


Doors open at 7pm: no guarantee that confirmations will be kept after 8pm.

Everyone MUST Bring their CUID and printed CONFIRMATION.

No bags and/or signs will be allowed.

All press must contact BEFORE the event.


Presented by Columbia University Muslim Students Association
In conjuncture with:
Arab Students Association
United Students of Color Council
Organization of Pakistani Students
International Socialists Organization
Columbia Student Solidarity Network
Students Promoting Empowerment and Knowledge


For more information, click here

Thursday, March 02, 2006

NY Event: Richard Holbrooke at the New York Democracy Forum - March 8th, 2006

New York Democracy Forum Presents:
Richard Holbrooke
March 8, 2006
Asia Society - New York, NY

New York Democracy Forum Presents: Richard Holbrooke The Foreign Policy Association, The National Endowment for Democracy and the Asia Society invite you to attend a New York Democracy Forum lecture featuring Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Richard Holbrooke
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

Wednesday March 8th, 2005

Asia Society 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street) New York, NY 10021

Registration/5:30 pm
Lecture/6:00 pm
Catered reception 7:00pm

FPA/NED/Asia Society/OTR member: Free
Guest of FPA/NED/Asia Society/OTR Member $15.00
Non-member: $25.00
Student with ID: $5.00

Advanced registration is required. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

NY Event: Women and Development: Time to Rethink the Agenda? - March 3rd, 2006

The Feminist Press at
City University of New York
Institute of International Education

Women and Development: Time to Rethink the Agenda?

Featured Panelists Include:

  • Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
  • Devaki Jain, Development Economist and Author of Women, Development and the UN ? A Sixty-Year Quest for Equality and Justice
  • Rawwida Baksh, Social Transformation Programs, Gender Section, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • Tonni Ann Brodber, Research Fellow, National Council for Research on Women
  • Kristen Timothy, Contributing Author, Developing Power: How Women Transformed International Development

Friday, March 3, 2006
2:00-4:00p.m. Panel Discussion
4:00-5:30p.m. Reception

Institute of International Education
809 United
Nations Plaza, 12th Floor
First Avenue bet. 45th and 46th Sts.)

Space is limited; please RSVP at least 24 hours in advance to: or 212-817-7929. Photo ID required for entry.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dubai ports "controversy" - three views, including mine...

Lest this "hot" topic slips into oblivion, I should present my $0.02 as well.

But before I go any further, I must make explicitly clear that this whole "controversy" has nothing to do with national/homeland security, but entirely with xenophobia and racism. It's that simple. Anyone who believes otherwise, is not thinking and analyzing this situation as critically as they should.

When all of the ports in question have been operated for a long time by foreign companies, why is it such a big issue now? Even if Dubai World Ports (DP World) has bought the companies originally operating the ports, will it make a huge difference? I believe no.

Look at it this way: does anyone know that a Saudi prince owns shares worth hundreds of millions of dollars in both AOL and Citigroup? Essentially, if this man ever pulled his stake out of either companies, both industries, i.e. entertainment and financial services, could suffer major setbacks. No one ever sat and thought how the US is already enslaved by the Middle East, be it because of people like the Saudi prince or because of oil.

Anyway, my view is echoed best by the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). A recent press release of theirs states the following:

ADC President Mary Rose Oakar said, "ADC fully supports all measures to keep our country secure and DP World has received clearance from the highest levels of government to operate here in the US. ADC is strongly opposed to the rhetoric and bias surrounding the company solely because it is Arab owned. Those who purport that ports can be securely run by a British company, but not an Arab one, are engaging in racial profiling on the corporate level."

How sad is it that the entire country is now up in arms over what was once never an issue. Now that ownership of the company is changing, the countrymen notice.

I was watching Larry King last night and political commentator/comedian Jon Stewart was his guest. About this controvery, he said it's really all about xenophobia. He also mentioned that only 5% of the goods that enter the ports are actually checked thoroughly. Why isn't that surprising?

Even before I thought of posting ADC's comments to reflect my own, I wanted to give my readers a balanced viewpoint, so I would also now like to give them the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) view of this controversy:

"That Dubai Ports World is owned by the emirate of Dubai, which actively supports the Arab economic boycott of Israel, should be grounds enough to torpedo any deal with the United
States on port operations," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Dubai should not benefit from America's open trade policies unless it discontinues its anti-Israel activity."

"For decades, the United States has been a leader in the fight against the Arab economic boycott of Israel, one of the most punitive and long-term restrictive trade practices," Mr. Foxman said in the letter to the Treasury Secretary. "The Administration's leadership has been critical in securing commitments from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to cease their boycott of Israel. Dubai must take similar public action to even be considered for a deal with the U.S. government."

At first glance, I thought ADL also had a point. If UAE boycotts their products, then chances are, Israel's products would never make it to the US because of some UAE interference. Then I thought, this whole debate is not about commerce or trade - it's about security - at least that's how the American media is portraying it. No where in ADL's comments does one read anything about security. I actually felt like mud was being slung and that instead of thinking about American interests, Israel was thinking of its own.

In any case, there you have it - two opposing viewpoints, and mine thrown in as well. I'm interested in seeing what folks think about this whole quagmire.

Monday, February 27, 2006

History Channel to air "Secrets of the Koran" - Thursday, March 2nd and 9th

This should be quite interesting. The History Channel shows some interesting stuff and in my view, ranks at the top with PBS/Channel Thirteen and BBC in terms of accuracy and precision. While errors do often occur, these networks make sure they are minimal and have helped create an atmosphere of learning and enlightenment not seen several years ago when I was a kid.


Premieres: Thursday, March 2 @ 9pm ET/PT

The Koran--one of the most influential religious books of all time. Muslims worldwide believe the Koran is God's guidance, a sourcebook to help believers follow the right path. But much of the non-Muslim world sees the Koran as a text shrouded in mystery...and controversy. We'll attempt to demystify and explain the text: where it came from, what it says, and what it means. Like any holy scripture, the Koran can't be separated from its historical context. We'll examine the history of the verses and also their implications for modern times, as well as the striking similarities and differences between the Koran and the Bible--and the ways in which Muslims believe the Koran corrects some of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. The program will get at the heart of one of the world's holiest books, capturing its majesty and mystery and illuminating for the audience the very foundation of Islam.

Premieres: Thursday, March 9 @ 9pm ET/PT

In this hour, we explore what role the Koran has played throughout Islamic history. From the 500-year Golden Age of Islam, to the legendary clashes of Muslim and Christian forces during the times of the Crusades, we'll identify what influence the Koran had on the individuals living out those momentous events. We also look at the use of the word jihad, its meaning within the Koran, and how the concept has been used by others including modern-day Islamic radicals. The messages in Islam's holy book have been used to launch some of the world's greatest civilizations, and at times its interpretations have been used as justification for acts of violence. We'll attempt to get at the heart of one of the world's holiest books, capturing its majesty and mystery, and illuminating for the audience the very foundation of Islam.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Fareed Zakaria and some thoughts about the Dubai ports issue

First off, I must apologize for not writing and blogging the way one should, and instead, posting miscellaneous information, as a blogger should not do. Insight and viewpoints are what makes a blog worth reading, so I must commend those who faithfully visit my blog and even go so far as to leave comments. Please understand that the random posting of information and articles usually happens when i'm swamped with work. Since I want to put up something - anything - I usually refer to my calendar and know that there at least a few people out there who would benefit from the event/miscellaneous information.

Thanks in advance for being understanding and cooperative!

That said, I have just a few moments, so I really wanted to mention Fareed Zakaria and his TV show, Foreign Exchange, which airs on PBS/Channel 13. I must have seen it in passing a few times, but was drawn to this particular episode, which focussed on the turmoil in the Muslim world. He had Christopher Hitchens as a guest on the show, and they were discussing the Danish cartoons and it was an enlightening discussion. It's all good to see South Asians/Muslims making inroads in the media. I dont see or hear of Riz Khan too much these days and I cant recall anymore media professionals who are of Muslim or South Asian background.

Just as Zakaria was finishing the show, he took a few moments to discuss the Dubai ports issue, and very effectively conveyed his stance on it. Now, it goes without saying that a journalist should be impartial, so I was taken aback when I was hearing one side of the issue, but it all fell into place when the credits rolled at the end of the show: he was either the Producer or the Editor of the show! It was obvious he could get away with giving only his side and no one else's!

In any case, I agreed with his take on the issue. He mentioned that many American ports outsourced their commercial operations to foreign-based multi-national companies. This was nothing new for the US. The security operations, on the other hand, would always remain under US control. Personally, I would be surpised if the converse happened.

You can watch Zakaria's show on the show's website.

More views on the Dubai ports issue to come soon...