Slavoj Žižek - Whither the "Death of God": A Continuing Currency?

Sunday, November 8, 2009
American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting
Montréal, Québec

Thomas Altizer, Mt. Pocono, PA
Slavoj Žižek, University of Ljubljana

Lissa McCullough, Los Angeles, CA, Presiding

Noam Chomsky - Superpower Confrontation Fear and Reality

In 1985 there were two superpowers and an arms race that engulfed the world. Noam Chomsky (Institute Professor at MIT), Marshall Goldman (Associate Dir. Russian Research Center, Harvard University), Russ Johnson (Senior Program Associate, AFSC) discuss the myths that keep the arms race going. A wide-ranging discussion moderated by Tom Mullaney (Bay State Center for Economic Conversion).

Norman Finkelstein, Israel and Palestine: Past, Present and Future

Norman Finkelstein speaking on 'Israel and Palestine: Past, Present and Future' in Montreal on the 26-Oct-2010. Presented by CJPME - Canadian for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.

One Straight Truth Vs Millions of Lies. By Dr. Dahlia Wasfi

On March 19th, 2003, the United States and Great Britain led their second publicized military assault on Iraq.  Under the facade of liberation and democracy, U.S. troops seized the country, securing the oil fields, the Ministry of Oil, the Interior Ministry (CIA), and taking the lives of thousands of people.  Iraq's rich culture, history, and valuable assets were left vulnerable to stealth and destruction.  In the years since, the lack of security, jobs, electricity, and potable water have made life for Iraqis unbearable.  American troops are perceived by the indigenous population as occupiers--not liberators--for the Iraqi people are far better educated in U.S. history than Americans are themselves.  Our obligation to the people of Iraq, to the people of America, and to the rest of the world is the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of American troops and mercenaries from Iraq.  The United States MUST liberate Iraq from its own brutal hands.  This website is my attempt to explain why.--DSW

For Now, They Struggle

A physician visits family members in war-torn Iraq.
By Dahlia Wasfi ’93

Tariq Ali - What we can learn from Terrorists

Whatever else we might think about those labelled as terrorists, it is clear that their tactics have changed the world in ways that serve their religious, political and ideological aims. For example, they have managed to force the West to curtail centuries of commitment to the principles of liberal democracy - winding back hard-won freedoms in the name of security - despite the proclamations of politicians who used to insist: "They shall not change our way of life." Given this, is there anything that terrorists have to teach us - about the single-minded pursuit of purpose; about the necessity of puncturing the consensus of mainstream politics and culture? Or about the need to feed the ever-hungry media beast? Writer, essayist and film-maker Tariq Ali addresses these issues and more at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. Ali has written several books, is an occasional broadcaster on BBC Radio, writes regularly for The Guardian and the London Review of Books and is a longstanding editor of the New Left Review.Sydney Opera House, October 2010

Tariq Ali on the Obama Syndrome

In this Perth Writers Festival talk, Tariq Ali argues that very little has changed since George W Bush left the White House -- especially when it comes to foreign affairs. Writer and filmmaker Tariq Ali has written seven novels and over 20 books on world history and politics (including The Clash of Fundamentalisms, Bush in Babylon, Pirates of the Caribbean , The Duel and The Obama Syndrome ). He has also penned a number of plays for stage and screen. He currently worked as an editor for New Left Review . Presented by the Perth Writers Festival, March 2011

Noam Chomsky on U.S. Rage & Ruin

A conversation with Noam Chomsky, legend of the left, on Obama, America, and the world. Noam Chomsky is a blazing critic of just about every mainstream sacred cow on the planet. If it's war for security, corporate power, free trade or complicit media, Noam Chomsky is at its throat, and has been for a long time.An Old Testament-style angry prophet with a huge intellectual pedigree. He's 81 now, and says he's never seen anything like today's politics. The anger and the fear.He's listening to talk radio. He's listening to the Tea Party. He's watching. He's thinking. We hear what's on his mind. -Tom Ashbrook Noam Chomsky, intellectual, social critic, and professor emeritus of linguistics at MIT. His latest book is "Hopes and Prospects." His other books include "Manufacturing Consent" and "Hegemony or Survival."

Robert Fisk - Lies and Misreporting in the Middle East


Award-winning Mid-East correspondent Robert Fisk speaks out on the continuing conflict in the Middle East. From Israel and Palestine to the U.S. involvement in Iraq, Fisk argues the media has failed to fulfill its duty as watchdog.

Howard Zinn about activism

open your eyes, learn, fight back, and never give up ♥

Tariq Ali - Pirates of the Caribbean

From the Embassy of Venezuela in Washington, DC, Tariq Ali discusses the rise of Latin American leaders Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales and the new populist movement that they represent. He also talks about the Bush administration's policies towards Venezuela and the influence of Fidel Castro in the region. Includes Q&A.

Tariq Ali has written several books on world history and politics, as well as scripts for the stage and screen. His books include "The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity," "Bush in Babylon: The Recolonisation of Iraq," and "Street-Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties." For more, visit

Norman Finkelstein - Gaza one year later

On the morning of 27 December 2008, Israeli occupying forces launched 'Operation Cast Lead,' a wide-ranging military offensive against the Gaza Strip. 80 warplanes carried out a devastating surprise airstrike campaign whose scale and intensity signaled Israel's intention to inflict widespread destruction throughout the Gaza Strip.

After 22 days of unrelenting aerial attacks coupled with an intensive ground invasion that began on 3 January 2009, the death toll exceeded 1,400 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians including women and children. Over 5,000 more were wounded. Excessive civilian casualties were compounded by the unprecedented destruction of civilian infrastructure across the Gaza Strip including hospitals, schools, mosques, civilian homes, police stations and United Nations compounds.

The Goldstone report, which was released in September, details the extensive war crimes of the Israeli army. While the report was dismissed by the United States, it remains the most authoritative document for any further discussion on the question of Palestine. Join Norman Finkelstein as he presents a detailed analysis of the report.

Norman G. Finkelstein received his doctorate in 1988 from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. For many years he taught political theory and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Finkelstein is the author of five books which have been translated into more than 40 foreign editions: Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History; The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering; Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict; The Rise and Fall of Palestine: A Personal Account of the Intifada Years; and, with Bettina Birn, A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth. He has just completed a new book entitled A Farewell to Israel: The Coming Break-up of American Zionism, to be published in 2009.

Noam Chomsky Interview by Cornelia Parker

"I am an artist living in London writing to ask you a favour. I was wondering whether it would be at all possible for me to visit you at MIT [the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] in order to record a video conversation based on your thoughts about the unfolding environmental disaster now threatening our world. I have read with great interest and trepidation your observations on the probability of nuclear annihilation (apocalypse soon), and would greatly value a chance to discuss in more detail the threat of this other, slower, but equally devastating apocalypse. I would be very grateful to have your consideration on how we have come to this critical point in history. Why the powers of the world are so slow in acting to try to prevent this catastrophe and why the American government appears to be in denial about it."

-Cornelia Parker to Noam Chomsky

"On 13 February 2008 a new exhibition by Parker opened at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, organised in partnership with Friends of the Earth. It featured a 40 minute film - Chomskian Abstract, 2007 - presenting her interview with the world-renowned writer and theorist Noam Chomsky. Exhibited alongside Chomskian Abstract, 2007, Parker's Poison and Antidote Drawings, 2004 featured black ink containing snake venom and white ink containing anti venom."

Noam Chomsky - What We Say Goes

Noam Chomsky visits UNC at the FedEx Global Education Center

Lecture ~ Counting the Dead in Iraq

It's no wonder there was an outcry when Gilbert Burnham's group released its report on mortality in Iraq. The numbers of civilian deaths so overwhelmed body counts calculated by other groups that many were stunned or disbelieving, and Burnham earned the enmity of some U.S. and Iraqi government officials.

Burnham's public health team looked at pre- and post-invasion deaths. The 2004 study showed that the mortality rate among Iraqis before the invasion was 2%, and after, 7.9%. The 2006 survey, which polled more households and covered greater territory, was more devastating: In the three years since the invasion, crude mortality rose to 13.2 per 1000 people per year. The leading cause was gunshot wounds and deaths from car bombs. The majority of victims of violence were men, 15-45 years old, and children also died in great numbers. By the end of the analysis period, crude mortality rates approached 17 deaths per 1000 per year.

The most disturbing statistic is the report's estimate that there have been 654,000 excess deaths since the invasion of March 2003 -- 600,000 from violent causes. Critics, who are legion, Burnham acknowledges, point fingers at his study's methodology, accusing his group of inaccurate and inadequate record-keeping, or skewing the numbers for political purposes.

Burnham notes that getting actual body counts in Iraq is literally impossible, since there is no working system for keeping accurate track of the dead in hospitals and mortuaries, and "numbers are highly susceptible to manipulation." The backbone of public health studies are surveys, in which geographic clusters are chosen, households counted and individuals interviewed. As the number of clusters increase, "precision improves and confidence intervals narrow." This enables measurements "accurate and precise enough to make the right decisions even though we will never have absolute, true numbers to two or three decimal points."

At great personal peril, Burnham's on-ground Iraqi surveyors went house to house in neighborhoods all over Iraq, asking for death certificates. The author of the report "hid out at a basement of a hotel, and finally got out on forged U.N. documents." The 2004 survey reached 7868 people, and the 2006 contacted 12,800 individuals. The sample size was large enough to support the team's grisly conclusions. Civilians are doing badly in this war, dying in far greater numbers than combatants. Burnham's hope is to use such data "to protect people wrapped up in conflict," since this "won't be the only one in the 21st century."

John Pilger - Melbourne Writers Festival

These days, a one-dimensional political 'culture' ensures that few writers write, or speak out, as they did in the last century.

    They are talented, yet safe. In the media, the more people watch, the less people know. Beneath the smokescreen of objectivity and impartiality, media establishments too often ventriloquise the official line, falling silent at the sight of unpleasant truths.

    Renowned independent journalist John Pilger speaks about complicity and compliance and what the rest of us can do - Melbourne Writers Festival