Skip to main content

THE ISIS CRISIS, AND BLAIR FLARE

The UK media is tending this past week to see the current Iraq-Syria-ISIS crisis, whereby a group of extremist militants is threatening to carve up a Caliphate in the middle of the Middle East, at the expense of Western (and apparently Iranian interests), through the rather myopic lens of the Blair-Bush axis of 2003.  I was a coordinator of the American poets against the war web site, and also edited Salt's major anthology, 100 Poets Against The War - so it is clear I was not precisely a Blair fan back then.  Nor do I find his wild-eyed interventions these days much more welcome; I chuckled when Boris Johnson suggested he put a sock in it.  There is perhaps some anti-Catholicism in this, but if Blair had been a good Catholic he would have known the 2003 war was unjust. His lapses are legion.

Anyway, the current crisis is not entirely Blair's doing.  While it seems true that the sadistic tyranny of the Saddam years kept a lid on the sectarian divisions, if not desires, the main fault, as Fisk pointed out in a good article in the Independent on Saturday, is the meddling of France and Britain, starting many decades before, when Iraq as artificially carved out on the back of an envelope.  The history of the West in the Levant is shameful, and long - and it involves a will to control and dominion that is colonial.  Lip-service may be paid, from time to time, about human rights and freedoms, but it's been about the geography and geology for over a century.

That's half the problem - the other is that the majority religion in the region, much like Christianity several centuries before, and more recently in Ireland, is riven by sectarian debates and conflicts, exacerbated by regional power politics.  Even without the West, ISIS would be seeking to overthrow Assad, and would be seeking a Caliphate.  It may be that the Iraq war destabilised the region, but so did the Iranian revolution, and the Egyptian one.  The region is tumultuous, and to credit Blair-Bush with the catastrophe is historically limiting.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!