Audio of Vijay Prashad talk: ‘Europe Can’t Shake Off Its Imperialism (Needs Help)’

Posted July 1, 2015 by citizenpartridge
Categories: Africa, audio recording, capitalism, communism, dublin, EU, Europe, European Union, imperialism, India, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, MENA, Middle East, Migrants, neoliberalism, socialism

Vijay Prashad gave a a talk on the topic of ‘Europe Can’t Shake Off Its Imperialism (Needs Help)’ in the Comhlamh building in Dublin, Ireland, on Tuesday 30th June 2015.

Download the MP3 here (hosted by Archive.org)

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Vijay Prashad speaking in Dublin

Where in the world is Europe? Imperialist, neoliberal, fortress – but also riven by crisis, resistance and spaces for solidarity inside and outside its putative borders.

This informal talk, followed by discussion, was given by scholar, public intellectual, and activist Vijay Prashad. The talk was introduced by author, journalist and academic Harry Browne, and bookended by human rights activist Caoimhe Butterly. Recording includes Q&A session.

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Dr. Vijay Prashad, is an Indian historian, journalist commentator, and Marxist. In his most recent book The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South, Prashad writes an alternative history of the contemporary world from the standpoint of the Global South. Prashad is currently a visiting faculty member at American University of Beirut’s CASAR and is the Edward Said Chair Professor of International Studies at Trinity College (Hartford, CT., USA). He is the author of 16 books, writes for Jadaliyya, Frontline, CounterPunch online magazine, and The Hindu. He is also an advisory board member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Are Palestinians not worth speaking to? Again on the Irish Times, Charlie Flanagan and that visit to the Middle East:

Posted February 18, 2015 by citizenpartridge
Categories: Uncategorized

flanagan-liberman

Following on from yesterday’s withering look at Irish media coverage (or lack thereof) of Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan’s visit to Gaza as part of a wider tour of the Middle East, I am compelled to once again put finger to keyboard to take investigate at two aspects of this visit. Firstly, the ongoing coverage in the Irish Times and, secondly (in a later post), dissecting what the Minister has said during the trip.

In the first instance, it’s important to at least acknowledge that the Irish Times has deemed this visit to Gaza, Israel and the West Bank as being newsworthy enough to have run three pieces on it, all written by Ruadhán Mac Cormaic. Contrast this with, for example, the total absence of this news from the Irish Independent – which did find the webspace for a story about something that happened in Israel, and which for much of today was the second item it the paper’s RSS newsfeed; the headline of this story was “Israeli divers find medieval coins“. Big news in archeological circles, to be sure, but more newsworthy than an Irish Ministerial visit to he region? Surely not.

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The Irish Times appears to be the only Irish media outlet with any coverage of yesterday’s visit to Tel Aviv. So let’s look at what the ‘paper of record’ tells us in its piece entitled “Israeli minister cites ‘difficulties’ with Irish public opinion“.

(Note: I will leave the piece entitled “Charlie Flanagan says time running out for Israeli-Palestinian pact“, which is largely just quotes from the Minister, until a later posting looking at the meaning of the visit in a political context.)

Headline framing aside, the first thing to note is that when you open the page online the first thing we the reader is presented with is a 90 second video of Charlie Flanagan at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum. We see him express shock at the victims of the Nazi genocide (“all ages… very, very powerful”), lay a wreath at the eternal flame, and then deliver a statement saying, “It isn’t sufficient for us to just come here and see and witness, I believe it’s essential that we redouble our efforts throughout the world to resist and combat anti-Semitism in all forms, thank you”.

While this visit to Yad Vashem is no doubt interesting, and worth mentioning, it is hardly the most important aspect of the visit. Indeed, just about every head of state who visits Israel also visits the museum. It is curious, however, that there was no similar video made by the Irish Times during Flanagan’s visits to Gaza or the West Bank. Surely a video of Flanagan surveying the wreckage of Gaza, which he calls “truly shocking”, would be impactful and newsworthy? We know, from the byline on this piece, that Ruadhán Mac Cormaic is “in Tel Aviv”, yet yesterday’s piece did not say “Ruadhán Mac Cormaic in Gaza”. Why did Mr. Mac Cormaic, an accredited journalist who has visited Gaza previously and is based only an hour away from the border, not also accompany the Minister to Gaza? Did he deem the visit not newsworthy enough, or was there perhaps no budget from the Irish Times to do so? Perhaps we will never know, the the fact is that he didn’t, even though both he and the newspaper deemed the visit at least worth a 550 word piece yesterday. Incidentally, Flanagan also laid a wreath a at former Palestinian Authority President Yaser Arafat’s Tomb in Ramallah – but there was no video of this, not even a still photo, even though the interview with the Minister also published on the website leads with a photo of the Yad Vashem wreath laying.

Then we get to the article itself. It opens by referring to Israel as “the Jewish state” – a thoroughly disputable claim offensive to many Jews around the world, not to mention the Palestinians who reject this terminology applied to their homeland. A more accurate description would be “the Zionist state”.

Then, seven of the first eight paragraphs are given over to an Israeli state spokesperson, and the eight gives us some background information on Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, which states:

Mr Lieberman, who heads the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party and lives in an Israeli settlement, has previously said he would be open to an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank as part of a regional agreement but his controversial variant of the plan envisages the transfer of Israeli-Arabs – who amount to a fifth of Israel’s population – into a new Palestinian state.

While being essentially factual, this paragraph omits – as many Irish Times reports do – that Israeli settlements should be referred to as being “illegal Israeli settlements“, preferably followed by the words “on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank”. Also, what the Irish Times refers to as a “controversial variant of the plan”, is in fact much more than “controversial”; forcible population transfer is illegal, as is the forced stripping of citizenship. Finally, the use of the phrase Israeli-Arabs to describe the self-identified Palestinian Citizens of Israel is highly problematic. Such terminology denies this group – 20% of the population of Israel – their self-defined national-ethnic identity as Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, assigning them instead an identity designated and propagated by the Israeli state and Zionism.

Okay, so maybe we need eight paragraphs from the Israeli perspective – it’s news after all, and Lieberman is – for now at any rate – one of the major players. Surely we will get a similar smattering of quotes from the Palestinian side, as Flanagan is also visiting the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah…

On the third day of his tour of the Middle East, Mr Flanagan travelled from Tel Aviv to Ramallah, where he met the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Palestinian prime minister, Rami Hamdallah.

Oh. That’s it? We are told that Flanagan met two Palestinian officials. We are not informed what they talked about, what the Palestinian reaction was. Palestinians are merely denied a voice in this piece. Presumably Mr. Mac Cormaic did not travel to Ramallah either.

Then, to end with, there are four paragraphs quoting Irish official sources.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the sum total of the Irish Times coverage.  Nowhere in any of the three pieces are Palestinians – officials, civil society representatives, or ordinary people – quoted or otherwise given a voice. The sources are weighted in the following order (ranked by number of paragraphs in which source is cited) of Irish (28): Israeli (7): Palestinian (0).  In the eyes of the Irish Times – Ireland’s so-called ‘paper of record’ – Palestinians are simply not worth talking to, their opinions are of zero value.

No, the AP report does not say 89% of fatalities in Gaza were civilians – but it’s a damning indictment of Israel’s conduct nonetheless

Posted February 18, 2015 by citizenpartridge
Categories: israel, palestine

Tags:

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Various reports have given a misleading account of the recent Associated Press (AP) investigation into civilians killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza last summer.

Lots of those reports about it that I’ve seen – eg here, here and here – claim the AP report says that 89% of those Palestinians killed in the Israeli attacks were civilians, and 11% resistance fighters. As far as I can see, this fundamentally misreads the findings of the report and its purported figures.

What the AP report actually says that 11% of those killed in airstrikes (not in shelling, not by sniping, not during the ground invasion) on homes and residences (not public buildings, religious buildings, schools, medical centres, open spaces) were fighters or ‘suspected fighters’, not 11% of all Palestinian deaths, for which the figure is more like 25%-33% depending on whether one uses PCHR or UNOCHA figures.

As an aside, the AP report does not appear to break down whether the alleged fighters killed were on ‘active service’ at the time of the bombing, or were merely at home while being a member of an armed group, but not taking part in fighting at the time of their deaths (they would be honoured militarily by their faction either way).

You can read the report here. In places it reads like an apologia for Israeli war crimes, despite the staggering figures it has unearthed. Nevertheless, it is very much worth reading as it shines a light on the sheer brutality of the Israeli assault on the people of Gaza last year.  And furthermore, it is worth noting that no Irish media outlet picked up on the report, despite their fondness for republishing AP and Reuters wire reports instead of employing journalists on the ground in the region.

Once more, Irish media silence and elision as Minister’s Gaza visit deemed barely newsworthy

Posted February 17, 2015 by citizenpartridge
Categories: apartheid, apartheid israel, gaza, hasbara, Ireland, Irish Government, israel, media analayis, media criticism, palestine, zionism

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Charlie Flanagan in Gaza (Photo: UNRWA)

Of the three Irish media outlets that deemed it newsworthy to mention the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan’s, visit to Gaza yesterday, none of them deemed it necessary to go beyond reporting what was in the government press release on the matter.

Well that’s not entirely true, while the Irish Examiner managed to omit entirely that he was in Gaza, and just reported the €4.7m blood money thrown at UNRWA, the Irish Times gave a little bit of background, noting that:

“[Last summer] Seven weeks of Israeli bombardment from air and sea, and rocket attacks on Israel, left more than 2,200 people dead – the great majority of them Palestinians in Gaza. More than 10,000 Gazans and some 700 Israelis were wounded while some 20,000 homes in the strip were estimated to have been left uninhabitable by shelling and air strikes.”

Let’s deconstruct these two sentences which say so much (about the Irish Times‘ method) while saying very little (about what happened in Gaza last summer).

1) “Seven weeks of Israeli bombardment from air and sea, and rocket attacks on Israel, left more than 2,200 people dead”

No mention of the Israeli ground invasion, which was brutal and saw many Palestinian civilians being killed by Israeli troops on the ground, not merely by means of bombardment.

2) “left more than 2,200 people dead – the great majority of them Palestinians in Gaza.”

Why not give the figures, for what does “the great majority” mean in real terms? The UN (via UNOCHA) gives the figure of 2,205 killed (1,483, or 67%, civilians). The Palestinian Center for Human Rights gives the figure of 2,191 killed (1,660, or 75%, civilians). So two reputable human rights monitoring NGOs give the figures for Palestinians killed as being in the low 2000s.

The official figures from the Israeli government meanwhile give the figures for killed Israelis as 72 (6, or 8%, civilians).

Taking the average between the UN and PCHR numbers, we thus have 2,198 dead Palestinians stacking up against 72 dead Israelis. In percentage terms that is 97% and 3%. And when we take civilians (again using the average) we have 1,572 Palestinian civilians and 6 Israeli civilians – in percentage terms 99.6% to 0.4%.

These are the grim realities the Irish Times hides with it’s bland statement that the “the great majority of the [dead were] Palestinians in Gaza”.

It is also important in understanding that when the Irish Times says “rocket attacks on Israel, left more than 2,200 people dead – the great majority of them Palestinians in Gaza”, even after we take the time deconstruct the actual figures, this phrase could potentially be understood to mean that “many” or “the majority” of the dead on the Israeli side were caused by Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel. Yet the breakdown provided by the Israeli government shows that 92% of the Israelis killed were military personnel – this tells us that in fact the “great majority” of these casualties were caused either inside Gaza or along the border where the military was besieging the enclave.

A similar massaging of facts is noticeable when the Irish Times cites the figure of “some 700 Israelis” being wounded, with the same qualifier of being caused “by rocket attacks on Israel”. The Israeli government gives the official Israeli wounded figure as 556 (“some 550″, not “some 600″, but let’s ignore that). Of those, 496 (82%) were military operatives, while 87 (18%) were civilians, which tells us, once again, that the “great majority” of these casualties were caused either inside Gaza or along the border where the Israeli military was besieging the enclave, not merely by “rocket attacks on Israel”.

The piece also helpfully tells us that:

“[UNRWA] runs schools, clinics and social services for displaced Palestinians across the region while building infrastructure and maintaining camps. During the war in Gaza last summer, its schools gave shelter to hundreds of thousands of families forced to flee their homes. Some of those schools are still being used as temporary housing for more than 10,000 displaced people whose homes were destroyed.”

So let’s briefly deconstruct that too.

1) “[UNRWA] runs schools, clinics and social services for displaced Palestinians across the region”

These Palestinians are merely “displaced… across the region”. How they became displaced, what forces compelled them to become displaced, what their rights as displaced people are and who keeps them displaced is all a mystery, and seemingly irrelevant. As is the fact that the “great majority” (some 80%) of people living in Gaza are in fact refugees and their descendants from the 1948 Zionist ethic cleansing and colonisation of Palestine that gave birth to the State of Israel.

2) “Some of those schools are still being used as temporary housing for more than 10,000 displaced people whose homes were destroyed”

This is essentially accurate, but also leaves out a giant important fact about homelessness in Gaza. Yes, UNRWA buildings are currently sheltering some 12,000 people – but this is only about 10% of the total population that is still homeless almost six months after the end of the Israeli assault. Why are over 100,000 Gazans homeless, thousands of them living in UNRWA shelters? This question is neither asked nor answered, but the reason is of course the illegal Israeli imposed, Egyptian-enforced, and UN-facilitated siege of Gaza.

That only three mainstream media outlets in Ireland felt that the Minister for Foreign Affairs’ visit to an area of the world that was headline news half a year ago was newsworthy, and that all played up the “Ireland gives almost €5 million to Palestinian refugees” angle that framed the government press release, rather than some other angle –  for example, the continued devastation of the region, the ongoing illegal siege, the routine Israeli ceasefire violations and so on – tells us that the mainstream Irish media continues to be part of the problem. The silence and the elisions represent, quite simply, complicity with the ongoing Israeli policies of occupation, colonisation, war crimes and apartheid.

If you’re interested, here are the three pieces, and the official Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and UNRWA press releases on the matter. Note that RTE, the Irish regime broadcaster, did not deem this visit newsworthy, which places it in the unenviable position of being worse at news than the Chinese regime news service Xinhuanet, which did pick it up:

Irish Times: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/government-pledges-4-7m-to-help-palestinian-refugees-1.2106185

Irish Examiner: http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/government-announces-nearly-euro5m-in-funding-for-palestinian-people-662459.html

Newstalk: http://www.newstalk.com/Foreign-Affairs-Minister-announces-47m-of-funding-for-Palestinian-people

DFA Press Release: https://www.dfa.ie/news-and-media/press-releases/press-release-archive/2015/february/funding-for-the-palestinians-announced/

UNRWA: http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press-releases/irish-foreign-minister-announces-new-%E2%82%AC500000-contribution-during-gaza-visit

Xinhuanet: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/europe/europe/2015-02/17/c_134001457.htm

The Derry Civil Rights Song – 7″ Single from 1968

Posted January 11, 2015 by citizenpartridge
Categories: 7", 7" single, civil rights, history, ira, Ireland, mp3, music, republicanism, ripping records, vinyl

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Once upon a time this blog was about vinyl records. That was a long time ago, but occasionally I still post the odd… oddity. I came across this the other day while digging in the crates. A topical song by a group called The Moonlighters (presumably a reference to Captain Moonlight, rather than working two jobs) concerning an incident in the north of Ireland on 5th October 1968 which saw a violent attack by British state police on a civil rights march in Derry. If you’re interested in the historical background to the song, check out the CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) page here.

Regarding the song itself, I can’t find much – ‘The Moonlighters’ throws up only one reference on Discogs.com, and that’s to this same release. Billboard magaizne from 7th December 1968 says the following “Gerry Devin’s Monaghan-based Shamrock label released “The Derry Civil Rights Song,” promoted [sic] by the incidents of Oct. 5 when marchers and police clashed on the streets of Derry. It is by a folk group, the Moonlighters. . .”

monnlite1It would appear they were an ad hoc folk group formed for the specific purpose of releasing this single, which was released at some stage in November 1968, within in two months of the attack on the marchers. According to Discogs.com, Shamrock Records only released four other singles in its lifespan, though the IrishRock.org says of it that it was “active from the 60s onwards. Many colour vinyl releases. Similar to Glenside Records in content.” Of Glenside Records, IrishRock.org says it produced “a high incidence of very old fashioned renditions of folk ballads, with a high kitsch and sentimentality factor, and is probably of little interest to most collectors.”

The B-Side is a jaunty selection of Irish reels (instrumental songs for folk dancing to); The Sally Gardens, The Bag O’ Spuds and The Copperplate.

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I couldn’t find an upload (either video or audio) anywhere, so I’ve stuck it up on YouTube and TinyUpload (in MP3 format).  So here’s the song and its B-side. The lyrics (as best as I can make out) are posted below.


Download MP3


Download MP3

The Derry Civil Rights Song
(1968, Written by J. Doherty – Performed by The Moonlighters)

It was the fifth day of October and the sun was beaming down
And the people had assembled to march in Derry town
The police were there in hundreds and on mercy they did frown
As they freely used their batons that day in Derry town.

They’d assembled at the station as all free people might
And they peacefully marched up Duke Street as was their civil right
The police had formed a barricade and they told them turn around
Then they batoned men and women on the streets of Derry town

Oh come on ye Ulster policemen for its you that are to blame
Oh come on ye Ulster policemen you should hang your heads in shame
The shame that will go with you though you told the wide world round
How you freely used your batons on teh streets of Derry town.

Take heart you Derry people all the world knows of your plight
And that government in Stormont that denies you civil rights
The day is fast approaching when these men they must stand down
On that day we’ll march triumphant through the streets of Derry town

No Ronaldo didn’t refuse to swap shirts with an Israeli footballer (but he did pose for photos with Shimon Peres)

Posted July 26, 2014 by citizenpartridge
Categories: apartheid, apartheid israel, gaza, hasbara, israel, palestine, zionism

A story is doing the rounds (for probably the fourth time this year) saying that Christiano Ronaldo refused to swap jerseys with an Israeli player in a 2013 friendly match (See an example of the story here [1]).

Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true. Here’s the video in full:

You can clearly see that the player he “refuses” to exchange his jersey with is a Portuguese player, who has already swapped shirt with an Israeli player (look at the colour of his shorts, then look at the colour of the Israeli players’ shorts).

The story also goes that Ronaldo remarked that he wouldn’t swap his shirt with (depending on where you read it) a “killer” or an “assassin”, accoridng to a ‘locker room interview’ follwing the game. As there was no refusal to exchange shirts in the first place, clearly the whole ‘interview’ in the dressing room is also made up. Furthermore, there is no source for the alleged comment – even if, going via the Veterans News Now piece above, you click through to the ‘source’ story in French, there is no actual source cited, just “a reporter said”… who were they? what was their name? Where did they say it? Why is one French blog the only place where this incredible news was reported?

Incidentally Ronaldo certainly had no qualms about going to Israel and shaking the hand of war criminal Shimon Peres as part of a Real Madrid PR/hasbara trip:

Shaking Hands

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All the lads

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There is also a picture being frequently shared that purports to show Ronaldo holding a sign saying “Todos Con Palestine”, which roughly tranlsated mean “I’m always with/love Palestine”.

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This is a crude photoshop from a photo-session following the Lorca earthquake when the Real Madrid squad held up a placard saying “Todos Con Lorca”. Some internet dickhead thought it would be great to lie to the world and Photoshop in an entirely different message.

rontod2UPDATE (31st March 2015): A brand new image of Ronaldo has started doing the rounds on social media recently. This too, unsurprisingly, is a crude Photoshop fake. In the original image, below, instead of ‘Save Palestine’, his undershirt says simply ‘Madeira’, the name of Ronaldo’s home city in Portugal. I have included it from another angle as well, just so people are 100% sure.

more ronaldo fakeryFinally there is another story about Ronaldo that goes something like “Ronaldo donated 1.5m / the proceeds from the sale of his Golden Boot, to the children/people of Gaza”. There’s 145,000 hits if you google ‘Ronaldo Donates Gaza‘.

Now while this may be true, it probably isn’t. Hands up, I cannot find conclusive proof that it is not – but I definitely cannot find proof that it is true either. This site does a decent job of explaining why it’s probably an internet fabrication:

However, the story reeks of a hoax, with neither Real Madrid’s official site validating the news, nor any major Spanish daily covering it, as reported in many of the articles reporting the story. Also, the likelihood of Indonesian site Tribunnews being one of the first to report the news of Ronaldo’s ‘generous donation’ makes the whole story more make-believe than genuine news.

What is true about Ronaldo, apart from his willingness to appear alongside a disgusting war criminal like Shimon Peres, is that he did appear in a photograph once, wearing a Paletsinian neck scarf. However, I’ve yet to see the context to that picture. I’ve heard it was at a Medical Aid For Palestinians event, but that the logo on the scarf is the Palestinian Football Association’s, it seems to me like he was nabbed for a pohoto-op at a gala FIFA dinner or similar event, and that there’s no ideology involved.

cristiano-ronaldo-palestine-scarf

So why am I saying all this? It’s quite simple, I don’t like to see people get credit where it’s not deserved. Ronaldo was willing to pose for pics with war criminal Shimon Peres, which is his prerogative, but he should not be lionised on social media as some heroic tribune for Palestine. He is not. And everyone should stop sharing this bullshit immediately.

EXTRA BONUS DEBUNK

This picture of Lionel Messi is a fake too. Obviously.

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And here is the greatest footballer in the world today, along with the butcher of Gaza.

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Notes

* This is an incredibly shitty website, and I am posting the link only for illustration.

Audio: Vijay Prashad on People’s Struggles in the Global South

Posted June 1, 2014 by citizenpartridge
Categories: audio recording, capitalism, communism, corporations, debt, history, imf, imperialism, marxism, mp3, non-fiction, socialism, venezuela

Vijay Prashad gave a a talk on ‘People’s Struggles in the Global South’ in the Nasawiya Café in Beirut, Lebanon, on Wednesday 14th May 2014.

Download the MP3 here (audio courtesy of Angela G, and hosted by Archive.org)

Vijayprashad

The struggles of the peoples of the Global South did not end with independence and emancipation from colonialism and occupation. The post-colonial era has witnessed a continuous and growing refusal from the decolonized world to the imposed global economic and political systems. The movements in the Global South attempted to create an alternative economic project reflecting people’s aspiration. The recent global financial crisis that exploded in 2008, rejuvenated the peoples’ movements in the different parts in the Global South, and culminated into the Arab uprisings and other social movements challenging the neo-liberal order and forging the basis of what could be alternative peoples’ projects based on participatory democracies and economies. This has manifesting itself in increased trade labour action as well as actions on the consumption level refusing price hikes of basic needs.

This talk will further examine these growing movements, their context, significance and development. It will also have a special focus on the Lebanese context, seeing it through the lens of the Global South, and trying to answer how the ongoing movements in Lebanon can be placed and interlinked with peoples’ actions and struggles in the Global South

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Dr. Vijay Prashad, is an Indian historian, journalist commentator, and Marxist. In his most recent book The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South, Prashad writes an alternative history of the contemporary world from the standpoint of the Global South. Prashad is currently a visiting faculty member at American University of Beirut’s CASAR and is the Edward Said Chair Professor of International Studies at Trinity College (Hartford, CT., USA). He is the author of 16 books, writes for Jadaliyya, Frontline, CounterPunch online magazine, and The Hindu. He is also an advisory board member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.


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