Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Young Leaders Summit: Oil, Climate Change, and Security - Friday, August 18th

Oil, Climate Change, and Security

When President Bush said in his State of the Union Address that the U.S. is “addicted to oil,” energy issues came to the forefront of the American consciousness. And thanks to increasing attention to climate change, such as the Time cover story “Be Worried. Be VERY Worried,” Americans are increasingly aware of global warming. This has spurred widespread and accessible dialogue on the state of our energy and environmental policies, one that used to take place among a highly specialized group using complex and technical language. More than ever, energy and environmental policy is a highly public and nonpartisan issue.

Americans for Informed Democracy is hosting a young global leaders summit in New York City on August 18th entitled Oil, Climate Change, and Security. At the conference, participants will hear from top experts and discuss in breakout sessions our energy and environmental future. The conference will bring together talented young professionals and students from across the world and across the political spectrum and will serve as a convening body for this diverse group of young leaders to think long-term about how their generation can deal effectively with international energy security and global warming. The conference is co-sponsored by Americans for Informed Democracy and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Confirmed speakers include:

- Dale Bryk, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council

- Peter C. Fusaro, Chairman and Founder of Global Change Associates and author of the best-selling book What Went Wrong at Enron

- Klaus Lackner, Ewing-Worzel Professor of Geophysics, Columbia University

- Olav Kjørven, Director, Energy and Environment Group, United Nations Development Programme

- John Mutter, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Deputy Director, the Earth Institute at Columbia University

- Kathleen Abdalla, Senior Economic Affairs Officer, Energy and Transport Branch, Division for Sustainable Development, United Nations

- Wallace Broecker, Newberry Professor of Geology, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

- Max Schulz, Director of the Center for Energy Policy, Manhattan Institute

- David Nissen, Professor at Columbia University and Director of the Program in International Energy Management and Policy at the Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy

Click here to see the conference schedule.

Americans for Informed Democracy (AID) is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization working to raise global awareness and civic participation through town hall forums and conferences focused on the U.S. role in the world. Through these efforts, AID seeks to build a new generation of globally conscious leaders who can shape an American foreign policy appropriate for our increasingly interdependent world. AID will hold more than one hundred fifty Securing the Future town-hall meetings and two international videoconferences in 2006 on the changing global environment. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is the nation's most effective environmental action organization. The NRDC uses law, science and the support of 1.2 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things.


Hizbullah's attacks stem from Israeli incursions into Lebanon

This Christian Science Monitor article really does dig deep inth whole Middle East conflict - in but a few short paragraphs. It's a quick read, appeals to human reason and logic, and most of all, talks about the core issues involved, rather than being abstract.

I've copied a few paragraphs below:

As pundits and policymakers scramble to explain events in Lebanon, their conclusions are virtually unanimous: Hizbullah created this crisis. Israel is defending itself. The underlying problem is Arab extremism.

Sadly, this is pure analytical nonsense. Hizbullah's capture of two Israeli soldiers on July 12 was a direct result of Israel's silent but unrelenting aggression against Lebanon, which in turn is part of a six-decades long Arab-Israeli conflict.

Since its withdrawal of occupation forces from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Israel has violated the United Nations-monitored "blue line" on an almost daily basis, according to UN reports. Hizbullah's military doctrine, articulated in the early 1990s, states that it will fire Katyusha rockets into Israel only in response to Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians or Hizbullah's leadership; this indeed has been the pattern.

In the process of its violations, Israel has terrorized the general population, destroyed private property, and killed numerous civilians. This past February, for instance, 15-year-old shepherd Yusuf Rahil was killed by unprovoked Israeli cross-border fire as he tended his flock in southern Lebanon. Israel has assassinated its enemies in the streets of Lebanese cities and continues to occupy Lebanon's Shebaa Farms area, while refusing to hand over the maps of mine fields that continue to kill and cripple civilians in southern Lebanon more than six years after the war supposedly ended. What peace did Hizbullah shatter?

Once the Arabs had rejected the UN's right to give away their land and to force them to pay the price for European pogroms and the Holocaust, the creation of Israel in 1948 was made possible only by ethnic cleansing and annexation. This is historical fact and has been documented by Israeli historians, such as Benny Morris. Yet Israel continues to contend that it had nothing to do with the Palestinian exodus, and consequently has no moral duty to offer redress.

For six decades the Palestinian refugees have been refused their right to return home because they are of the wrong race. "Israel must remain a Jewish state," is an almost sacral mantra across the Western political spectrum. It means, in practice, that Israel is accorded the right to be an ethnocracy at the expense of the refugees and their descendants, now close to 5 million.

Is it not understandable that Israel's ethnic preoccupation profoundly offends not only Palestinians, but many of their Arab brethren? Yet rather than demanding that Israel acknowledge its foundational wrongs as a first step toward equality and coexistence, the Western world blithely insists that each and all must recognize Israel's right to exist at the Palestinians' expense.

Western discourse seems unable to accommodate a serious, as opposed to cosmetic concern for Palestinians' rights and liberties: The Palestinians are the Indians who refuse to live on the reservation; the Negroes who refuse to sit in the back of the bus.

By what moral right does anyone tell them to be realistic and get over themselves? That it is too much of a hassle to right the wrongs committed against them? That the front of the bus must remain ethnically pure? When they refuse to recognize their occupier and embrace their racial inferiority, when desperation and frustration causes them to turn to violence, and when neighbors and allies come to their aid - some for reasons of power politics, others out of idealism - we are astonished that they are all such fanatics and extremists.

These groups will continue to enjoy popular legitimacy because they fulfill the need for someone - anyone - to stand up for Arab rights. Israel cannot destroy this need by bombing power grids or rocket ramps. If Israel, like its former political ally South Africa, has the capacity to come to terms with principles of democracy and human rights and accept egalitarian multiracial coexistence within a single state for Jews and Arabs, then the foundation for resentment and resistance will have been removed. If Israel cannot bring itself to do so, then it will continue to be the vortex of regional violence.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


My friend Brook may have left Brook's Qawwali Party (which has been renamed to Brooklyn's Qawwali Party), but the magic is still there. This performance is not meant to be missed for all those who adore the East meets West fusion that is raging in South Asia.

Also featured is my friend Paula Jeanine whose interpretation of ghazal and urdu poetry is quite refreshing.

Let's show some support!


Wednesday August 16
9:00 PM

Joe's Pub

Buy Tickets

Tickets available at The Public Theater box office or through Telecharge: www.telecharge.com or 212.239.6200.

Featured artists include:
Brook's Qawwali Party http://www.brooksqawwaliparty.com
Paula Jeanine http://www.paulajeanine.com

WEST FACES EAST: Brooklyn Musicians Embrace South Asia, cross the river and commemorate the anniversary of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's passing!

Inspired by recordings of the late great Sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Brook Martinez founded Brook's Qawwali Party in 2004 as an experiment. What would happen if New York jazz musicians were to play and improvise around the melodies of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan? From this idea, Brook's Qawwali Party was born. BQP consists of fourteen musicians: five horns, three percussionists, guitar, acoustic bass, harmonium and three designated clappers. The exuberant sound of BQP has been enthusiastically welcomed in New York City and across the globe. The ensemble includes: Tony Barba - tenor saxophone
John Savage - alto saxophone, Jesse Neuman – trumpet, Ryan Keberle – trombone, Robert Jost - French Horn/bass, Noah Jarrett - acoustic bass, Mike Gamble - electric guitar, Kris Davis – harmonium, Shawn Trail – djembe, Robert DiPietro – percussion, and Brook Martinez - drums

Song and poetry inspired by an ancient Indo-Persian blues form led by vocalist/percussionist/poet Paula Jeanine. Music for dreaming and drinking. Including: Jerome Harris - Bass, Richard Bennett - Keyboard, and Will Martina - Cello with special guest Gulam Mohammed Khan, tabla and vocals

"I have had the privilege of being Paula's Indian Classical Music guide
and teacher during her travels to India. As she was imbibing the Indian
vocal techniques her interest in urdu ghazal came to light. With her rich
voice timbre, musical sensitivity and and amazing poetry writing skills
she captured the true spirit of the urdu ghazal and it became apparent
that she was on her way to carving out a rare niche for herself...the
American Ghazal. When I today hear her brilliant interpretations of some
of the classic all time ghazals it brings me immense pride and joy."

-Dhanashree Pandi-Rai, Jazz India Vocal Institute, Mumbai, India

I'm back!

I guess my haitus was not-so-brief, was it?

Thankfully, at least i've been productive. Had a great visit to Washington, D.C which included both business and pleasure. The past week has also been very hot here in NYC. So much so that I thought of the horrid summers in Pakistan where if you stepped away from the fan, you'd be drenched in perspiration within moments.

And who would've thought NYC would experience electrical problems? One of my friends quipped that you might expect this in Mexico, but in the richest country in the world? Never!

Well, apparently, we just did. The electricity was gone for almost two weeks in the Queens area of NYC. Imagine that! Thousands without this bare necessity. While this sort of stuff is routine in the developing world, should we under any circumstances expect this from the US? I'll leave that to the reader...

In any case, I am back! And i'm going to be posting many random things now - especially some very interesting event info. Also many interesting articles on the Lebanon-Israel conflict.

As always, your comments are much appreciated...