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Cultures, Identity and Constructs
An interdisciplinary blog that features comparative regional thoughts and insights on the cross roads between constructed ideas, religion, culture, identity, and politics.


This blog is curated by the Identity Politics Research Initiative at MEPF. Content, comments and insights on this blog do not reflect or represent the official position of MEPF and should not be considered under any circumstances as political and policy advice. All publication and idea rights belong to their respective owners. Republish, comment and distribute at your own discretion.
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China denies full democracy for Hong Kong

China denies full democracy for Hong Kong | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
Electoral framework allows direct elections in 2017, but rules out nomination of candidates by voters.
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Tory MP Carswell defects to UKIP

Market-moving news and views, 24-hours a day, giving FT readers the edge they expect and the agenda-setting analysis they rely on
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

A brave-heart moment?

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Cornel West: “He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency”

Cornel West: “He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency” | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
Exclusive: Cornel West talks Ferguson, Hillary, MSNBC -- and unloads on the failed promise of Barack Obama
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.

...

I think Obama, his modus operandi going all the way back to when he was head of the [Harvard] Law Review, first editor of the Law Review and didn’t have a piece in the Law Review. He was chosen because he always occupied the middle ground. He doesn’t realize that a great leader, a statesperson, doesn’t just occupy middle ground. They occupy higher ground or the moral ground or even sometimes the holy ground. But the middle ground is not the place to go if you’re going to show courage and vision. And I think that’s his modus operandi. He always moves to the middle ground. It turned out that historically, this was not a moment for a middle-ground politician. We needed a high-ground statesperson and it’s clear now he’s not the one.

 

And so what did he do? Every time you’re headed toward middle ground what do you do? You go straight to the establishment and reassure them [..].

 

It’s not pessimistic, brother, because this is the blues. We are blues people. The blues aren’t pessimistic. We’re prisoners of hope but we tell the truth and the truth is dark. That’s different."

  

 

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How Much Should You Know About How Facebook Works?

How Much Should You Know About How Facebook Works? | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
An author of the infamous emotional-contagion study says it might not be reasonable to expect informed consent about social experiments online.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"Daily life is filthy with algorithms."

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John Oliver Takedown of the Turmoil in Ferguson

John Oliver Takedown of the Turmoil in Ferguson | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
The Last Week Tonight host probably would have had even more to say after the events of last night
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Slavery, genital mutilation, collective marriage: false claims about ISIS

Slavery, genital mutilation, collective marriage: false claims about ISIS | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it

What iThe savagery of ISIS jihadists rampaging through Syria and Iraq is already well known. But dozens of photos circulating on social media networks claiming to show the barbaric acts of the islamist...

Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

The claim game of media and online social media.

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On deception and war

On deception and war | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
How good or how bad are Israel's spokesmen?
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

PR and Narrative Wars?

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No More Mr. Tough Guy

No More Mr. Tough Guy | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
President Obama's critics have made it a practice to attack his supposed lack of strength.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

Wise, tough or shrewd?

 

"We don’t need tough guys. We need wise guys. We’ve tried tough guys, and it always ends in tears. Tough guys you know right away because they’re never scared of a fight. Wise guys you only know in retrospect, when you remember that they quietly walked away from the fight that now has the tough guy in a hospital. Wise women do that, too."

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We Need to Talk About Israel

We Need to Talk About Israel | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
Attempts to discuss Israel's ground offensive in the Gaza Strip quickly devolve into chaos.
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How the Media Covers the Violence in Gaza

How the Media Covers the Violence in Gaza | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
The 'Daily Show' host delivers a devastating critique.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

Deconstructing humanity, image by image.

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Let’s talk about Gaza, Sderot and the racist valuation of lives

Let’s talk about Gaza, Sderot and the racist valuation of lives | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
A frank discussion about everything we don’t mention when talking about rockets and bombs and Gaza. Let’s talk about fear, about poverty, about angst and about racism. By Lilach Ben David Let’s talk about Gaza. Let’s…
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"Let’s talk about Gaza. Let’s talk about a small strip of land that god didn’t forget about, but about which we are certainly trying to forget. Let’s talk about one of the most crowded populations in the world; or to be more precise, it was made to be one of the most densely populated places in the word, because until 1948 most of its inhabitants lived in Yaffa, in Bir al-Saba’, and in hundreds of other small towns that have since disappeared and which have been forgotten. Let’s talk about what it’s like to live in the world’s largest open-air prison, let’s talk about a million and a half people who are ruled by a foreign government from their own air, sea and land — a foreign power that decides when they do and don’t get medicines, concrete, electricity and coriander. Let’s talk about people who our government wants us to believe we are not occupying yet reserves its right to control their borders, land, water and air, and to collectively punish them when its mood sours."

 

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Netanyahu government knew teens were dead as it whipped up racist frenzy

Netanyahu government knew teens were dead as it whipped up racist frenzy | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
Government lied to victims’ families and the world after three Israeli teens went missing in the occupied West Bank.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

Using religion, blood and hate for personal political gain, of which a whole nation, is taking the brunt for. 

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Why Sayed Kashua is leaving Jerusalem and never coming back

Why Sayed Kashua is leaving Jerusalem and never coming back | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
Everything people had told him since he was a teenager is coming true. Jewish-Arab co-existence has failed.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"I wanted to say to my wife that this is really the end, it’s finished. That I’d lost my small war, that everything people had told me since I was a teenager was coming true before my eyes. That all those who told me that there is a difference between blood and blood, between one person and another person, were right."

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Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?

Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks? | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
Those who watched two politicians arguing on telly about my country’s future will have got it all wrong. They made it look like a party-political brawl. It’s not.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"We Scots who fight for Yes are fighting for our national existence. It has little to do with politics. Hardly any of us belong to the Scottish National Party. From the nooks and glens of my country has emerged a storm corps whose members have never taken part in politics. They are not the SNP. They are the people of Scotland."

 

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Holocaust survivors and their descendants accuse Israel of ‘genocide’

Holocaust survivors and their descendants accuse Israel of ‘genocide’ | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
Dozens of Holocaust survivors, together with hundreds of descendants of Holocaust survivors and victims, have accused Israel of “genocide” for the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the conflict erupted in July.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

“Genocide begins with the silence of the world,” the statement reads, “We must raise our collective voices and use our collective power to bring about an end to all forms of racism, including the ongoing genocide of Palestinian people.”

 

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This 16th Century Battle Created the Modern Middle East

This 16th Century Battle Created the Modern Middle East | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
The pivotal legacy of the Battle of Chaldiran still reverberates 500 years later.
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The Ivy League, Mental Illness, and the Meaning of Life

The Ivy League, Mental Illness, and the Meaning of Life | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
William Deresiewicz explains how an elite education can lead to a cycle of grandiosity and depression. 
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

Coming from a Columbia grad!

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Do Palestinians Really Exist?

Do Palestinians Really Exist? | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
We’re not all terrorists, we’re not “cockroaches,” and we’re certainly not an “invented” people. What you don’t know about Palestinians.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

From Dean Obeidallah (Axis of Evil):

 

"Later that night, I relayed that story to my father and asked him: 'Where is Palestine?' He paused for a moment as he gathered his thoughts. He then touched his heart and head and responded: 'In here.'

 

I wonder what my response will be if I have children and one day they ask: 'Where is Palestine?' Will I be able to take out a map and simply point it out, like most people do when they are asked about their heritage? Or will my only option be mimicking my late father’s answer? What’s most painful to me is not that those are my two options but that I feel powerless to change which answer I will be able to offer."

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To operate in a renewed Cold War atmosphere, the U.S. needs to realistically pursue its interests and its values

To operate in a renewed Cold War atmosphere, the U.S. needs to realistically pursue its interests and its values | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it

By Joe Funderburke, Ad Godinez, Andy
Whiskeyman and Bryan Groves


The Nexus of Values and Interests

Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

It seems there is a big gap between US military strategic thinking and strategic geopolitical thinking in DC. One is advocating a more liberal-realist perspective, based on the nexus of values and interests, while the other is working with a constructivist approach applying the motto "Anarchy is what states make of it."  

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The Death of Sympathy

The Death of Sympathy | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
How Israel’s hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"Even before the war, Israel was shifting right, as an increasingly strident cadre of politicians took ownership of the public debate on security and foreign affairs. But the Gaza conflict has accelerated the lurch -- empowering nationalistic and militant voices, dramatically narrowing the space for debate, and eroding whatever public sympathy remained for the Palestinians."

 
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The risk of opposing Israel in the US

The risk of opposing Israel in the US | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
We all know the stigma, but we cannot remain silent
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"But silence now, as before, is complicity. Silence was complicity during the civil rights movement, during apartheid, during Nazi Germany.

 

The consequences for those who speak out vary widely...For those of us who risk only a lost friend, a lost employer, a missed opportunity from something as simple as a Facebook status update, a marginal decrease in our income, as opposed to losing our entire family, home and livelihood, we have no excuse."

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The Benefits of Failing at French

The Benefits of Failing at French | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
Work out your brain by struggling to learn a new language.
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Ramadan around the world, in pictures

Ramadan around the world, in pictures | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
Muslims from the Middle East to China worship at the first Friday prayers of the holy month of Ramadan
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Israel steps up deadly Gaza Strip offensive

Israel steps up deadly Gaza Strip offensive | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
At least 27 dead and 130 wounded in air strikes on strip, as Palestinian president appeals for international help.
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

Gaza defining resilience, again.

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The tragedy of the Arabs

The tragedy of the Arabs | Cultures, Identity and Constructs | Scoop.it
A THOUSAND years ago, the great cities of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo took turns to race ahead of the Western world. Islam and innovation were twins. The various...
Middle East Prospects Forum's insight:

"Why Arab countries have so miserably failed to create democracy, happiness or (aside from the windfall of oil) wealth for their 350m people is one of the great questions of our time. What makes Arab society susceptible to vile regimes and fanatics bent on destroying them (and their perceived allies in the West)? No one suggests that the Arabs as a people lack talent or suffer from some pathological antipathy to democracy. But for the Arabs to wake from their nightmare, and for the world to feel safe, a great deal needs to change."

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