"Most protesters I interviewed said that women — mothers, sisters, wives of the martyred — started the protest on Alamdar Road. It began at the Hazara Nachari Imambargah on Alamdar Road, where dead bodies were brought before burial. Distraught families, community members, and religious and political leaders had gathered there to support the affected families and discuss strategies for political action. It is uncertain exactly who first suggested the idea of refusing to bury the dead as a form of protest — except that it was a man’s voice — but the women present supported the idea. The imam and community elders disagreed, citing the logistical challenges that accompanied a hundred unburied bodies, to which the women retorted: “Here, please wear our bangles! We are going to sit with the dead bodies on Alamdar Road till we negotiate with the government!” That insult to their masculinity provoked the elders’ consent, and soon the families carried the dead bodies to Alamdar Road, the only space in Meherabad large enough to contain them."

Ayesha Omar, Sit-ins With The Dead

The post-World War II ideals of development, which were rooted in a different analysis of the world, have been replaced by a hazard reduction and vulnerability framework that incorporates the Third World as mere probabilities of danger, risk and disaster proneness. The borderlands of the South are now conceptualized as being abnormally prone to natural disasters. Akin to offering the cures of modern medicine and international development, Western nations have legitimized themselves as rightful interveners via the allegedly neutral “scientific” technologies of disaster management. Yet, rather than being neutral, these interventions reproduce a depoliticising ethos, which limits the intent, nature and scope of humanitarian interventions.Humanitarian systems, as exemplified by the 2010 Pakistan flood response, are typically invested in instituting incremental changes in the everyday lives of survivors, allowing them to marginally negotiate various oppressive structures and conditions of precarity. In short, the motivation of humanitarian systems is to allow for survival—not social transformation. An exploration of the lived experiences of flood survivors, however, reveals that despite their persistent subjugation and exploitation, they read their own plight as the consequence of social and political processes, and they negotiate those processes through everyday acts of politics and resistance to further their lives in self-identified meaningful ways.

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mehreenkasana:

This week’s reading recommendation list is brought to you by yours truly.
Surveillance Capitalism Monopoly-Finance Capital, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Digital Age [x]
The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House [x]
Taming the Shrew? Choice Feminism and the Fear of Politics [x]
Islam and Politics [x]
A short film on Franz Kafka [x]
The Corporate Stranglehold on Education [x]
Lifestyle Consumerist Politics (ha!) [x]
The Color of Violence Against Women [x]
Zarb-e-Azb and the Left: On Imperialism’s Materiality [x]
Aid In Reverse: How Poor Countries Develop Rich Countries [x]
You can browse through more reading lists by viewing our TQ entries on Tanqeed’s main website. 
Image: Constantin Brâncuși, Sleeping Muse, 1910.

mehreenkasana:

This week’s reading recommendation list is brought to you by yours truly.

  • Surveillance Capitalism Monopoly-Finance Capital, the Military-Industrial Complex, and the Digital Age [x]
  • The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House [x]
  • Taming the Shrew? Choice Feminism and the Fear of Politics [x]
  • Islam and Politics [x]
  • A short film on Franz Kafka [x]
  • The Corporate Stranglehold on Education [x]
  • Lifestyle Consumerist Politics (ha!) [x]
  • The Color of Violence Against Women [x]
  • Zarb-e-Azb and the Left: On Imperialism’s Materiality [x]
  • Aid In Reverse: How Poor Countries Develop Rich Countries [x]

You can browse through more reading lists by viewing our TQ entries on Tanqeed’s main website

Image: Constantin Brâncuși, Sleeping Muse, 1910.

mehreenkasana:

Good evening, folks. It’s a pleasant Thursday night for me in Brooklyn and I’ve prepared a list of accessible reading material this week for you (God knows we all hate academic paywalls). Without further ado, here’s today’s brain food at Tanqeed.
Laura U. Marks: Information, secrets, and enigmas: an enfolding-unfolding aesthetics for cinema. [x]
Susan Sontag: Fascinating Fascism. [x]
James Baldwin: “The American Dream is at the expense of the American Negro.” [x]
Malcolm X: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. [x]
Willie Osterweil: In defense of looting. [x]
Juhani Pallasmaa: The Eyes of Skin – Architecture and the Senses. [x]
Bertolt Brecht: The Good Person of Szechwan. [x]
Saadia Mirza: The exchange between landscape infrastructure and the human dweller. [x]
Majed Akhter: Pakistani state developmentalism, the Cold War and the decolonization of Asia and Africa. [x]
Talal Asad interviewed by Saba Mahmood: “Agency has become a catch word. In a way, this intoxication with ‘agency’ is the product of liberal individualism. The ability of individuals to fashion themselves, to change their live, is given ideological priority over the relation within which they themselves are actually formed, situated, and sustained.” [x]
Follow us on Tumblr and Twitter for more.
Image: “All Facts Have Been Changed to Protect the Ignorant” by Senam Okudzeto, 2001-2006.

mehreenkasana:

Good evening, folks. It’s a pleasant Thursday night for me in Brooklyn and I’ve prepared a list of accessible reading material this week for you (God knows we all hate academic paywalls). Without further ado, here’s today’s brain food at Tanqeed.

  • Laura U. Marks: Information, secrets, and enigmas: an enfolding-unfolding aesthetics for cinema. [x]
  • Susan Sontag: Fascinating Fascism. [x]
  • James Baldwin: “The American Dream is at the expense of the American Negro.” [x]
  • Malcolm X: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. [x]
  • Willie Osterweil: In defense of looting. [x]
  • Juhani Pallasmaa: The Eyes of Skin – Architecture and the Senses. [x]
  • Bertolt Brecht: The Good Person of Szechwan. [x]
  • Saadia Mirza: The exchange between landscape infrastructure and the human dweller. [x]
  • Majed Akhter: Pakistani state developmentalism, the Cold War and the decolonization of Asia and Africa. [x]
  • Talal Asad interviewed by Saba Mahmood: “Agency has become a catch word. In a way, this intoxication with ‘agency’ is the product of liberal individualism. The ability of individuals to fashion themselves, to change their live, is given ideological priority over the relation within which they themselves are actually formed, situated, and sustained.” [x]

Follow us on Tumblr and Twitter for more.

Image: “All Facts Have Been Changed to Protect the Ignorant” by Senam Okudzeto, 2001-2006.

mehreenkasana:

Hello, everyone. As promised, here I am with the nineteenth installment of Tanqeed’s reading recommendation list.

Photography by Asako Narahashi.

View full here.

"Since 2001, a global “war on terror” has been waged under a grand narrative of secularism and civilization combating Islamic fundamentalism, and has dovetailed conveniently with wars conducted under that other grand narrative of supporting democracy against dictatorship. In fact, as the political economist Adam Hanieh argues, there is a single imperialist war on the people of the region at large, a war that stretches from Libya and Egypt in North Africa, to Somalia in East Africa, to Syria and Iraq in West Asia, to Afghanistan and Pakistan in South Asia. It is worth noting that most of these countries have Muslim majorities.

[…]

Defining a pro-people politics and initiative in this mess is difficult. In Pakistan, an old left, eager not to be on the wrong side of secularism, civilization and democracy, has frequently found itself degenerating into liberalism, siding explicitly or implicitly with imperialism. Some younger radicals have also been prone to confusion.

[…]

There is no shortage of evidence showing how the U.S. and its Western allies have long pressured Pakistan into military operations and have been calling for the same in North Waziristan in particular. They have repeatedly claimed that their war on the people of Afghanistan has been a failure because the Taliban, who lead an anti-NATO resistance there, have found rear bases and safe havens across the border in Pakistan. Accordingly, the majority of U.S. drone attacks have been conducted in North Waziristan. As the U.S. begins to withdraw some of its forces from Afghanistan, Western powers seek to maintain their presence and power in the region in other ways—including by shifting the focus of the war to Pakistan. Unsurprisingly, a U.S. congressional resolution proposes to make $300 million of the total aid package given to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Funds, contingent specifically upon an operation being carried out by Pakistan in North Waziristan. The total aid, some $900 million for 2015, is intended as reimbursements and compensation from the U.S. to Pakistan for the latter’s support to coalition forces in the region.

[…]

If the military appears to be strong in Pakistan, it is not only because the institution has a particular self-interest – since the same social forces and fissures that permeate the rest of society permeate the military – but mainly because it has regularly served as a seat of power for the U.S. to acquire the consensus and contradictory unity of the landlords and capitalists.

[…]

U.S.-led imperialism cannot secure its hegemony over Pakistan without the reigning capitalists and landlords. Similarly, the landlords and capitalists certainly have their own interests, but they are dependent upon imperialism and are unable, and unwilling, to resist it. It is under this contradictory unity achieved by imperialist hegemony that decisions are taken. In the 1980s, the decision was war against the USSR through Islamist militants; now the decision is war against Islamist militants.

[…]

The principal contradiction in Pakistan is between imperialism and the people of Pakistan. Imperialism is that class force that influences and shapes the nature of other contradictions. Imperialism is responsible for the exacerbation of militancy in Pakistan whether by directly encouraging its growth during the Cold War, or indirectly encouraging its growth by attacking the people of the region in various ways thereafter. Pitting imperialism and its proposed courses of action as the opposite of militancy and extremism simplifies the issues and ignores these deep relations. Meanwhile, the current landed and capitalist ruling classes represented by their two main “civilian” factions (PML-N , PML-Q or PPP) are unable and unwilling to resist imperialism precisely because they are so fundamentally dependent upon imperialism to perpetuate their own interests and rule.”

Zarb-e-Azb and the Left: On Imperialism’s Materiality

What is generally missing from the rhetoric of governance reform associated with internationally supported interventions in the Pakistani power sector is any semblance of democratic participation. As Rashid notes, the concept of a “right to electricity” is reflected in the government’s acknowledgement that electricity’s affordability and availability is central to the wellbeing of the country. Working from the basis of this right to electricity, improved transparency which is oriented towards ordinary citizens can help those citizens make effective claims on the state, see where they stand in relation to each other, and hold the state to account for the promises it makes to them. A genuinely improved governance environment in the power sector requires an active and informed citizenry. Without such a transformation, the fixation on private investment and a technocratic approach to reform in the power sector will only repeat the failures seen in Pakistan and elsewhere.

Technocrats, meanwhile, have developed a discourse of “transparency” to solve the problem of the “failure of national infrastructure.” Proposals include “devolving” the collection of electricity bills to local influentials at the union council level, in a move that mirrors the colonial logic to implement licenses, the terms of which would be implemented by local influentials. Another proposal includes developing a public database of non-paying consumers with the underlying rationale that national infrastructures fail because of the failure of citizens. In other words, this is the neoliberal rhetoric of “personal responsibility” that aims to criminalize consumers-citizens, particularly those who are poor, while keeping the infrastructures and their embedded histories as opaque as possible. In a silence that speaks loudly, there is no similar plan to subject non-paying privatizing companies (Samsung, Al-Baraj, etc) to such scrutiny.

mehreenkasana:

Back with the weekly reading recommendation list: 

Download the free ebook of The Case for Sanctions Against Israel here.

The Practice of International Solidarity by Zehra Husain.

“They are not friends to the Pashtuns.” Report by Mahvish Ahmad.

For our young Marxists: Ken Cockerel, a communist activist with the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, explains capitalism in the most unpretentious and reaffirming language possible.

For our aspiring writers, here is a beautiful and succinct essay on the significance of plot without conflict.

Reading Henri Lefebvre on the production of public and social space is enriching but often dense nonetheless. In order to simplify the oft-hefty jargon that is characteristic of Lefebvre, Stuart Elden provides a refreshing interpretation of the French Marxist philosopher’s work.

The Poetics of Solidarity: Palestine in Modern Urdu Poetry.

Navneet Alang’s There Is No Garden For Us To Return To.

Claire Biship on the participatory art and politics of spectatorship derived from the brilliant and Brecht-influenced work of Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed.

Finally, for our film students and critics, Harun Farocki’s Inextinguishable Fire is based on the American war in Vietnam. It becomes apropos in light of the ongoing genocide in Gaza.

View list on Tanqeed.