Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Asher Susser - UCLA Israel Studies Program

In the previous lecture at the UCLA Israel Studies Program (feed) Israeli diplomat Jacob Dayan reconstructed the recent war in Gaza as not one between Israel and the Palestinians, but rather between the moderates and the radicals in the region. A feeble presentation, since one cannot assume the Israelis are but moderates nor that the moderate Palestinians and other Arabs have applauded the Israeli attack.

A much more sophisticated way to apply this logic to the narrative of the Gaza War was attempted by Asher Susser in the next installment of the same podcast. Susser is much more specific who these radicals are, or what the Hamas establishment in Gaza represent: an outpost of Iran. And herei t makes a bit more sense to assume that other powers such as Egypt, Saudi-Arabia, Fatah etc. were in some way served by a cutting down of the Gaza striking power. Not that they applauded the attack, but that they are not served at all by having all this Iranian influence in the region.

The extent to which this logic has truth to it, it has been applied in the most inefficient way, I venture to say. The wider public has more support for Hamas than ever even if the infrastructure by which Iran supports Gaza has been broken. If at all such violence was needed, a far more successful application of this logic should be available in diplomacy. If Susser is right that Iran and Turkey, much to the dismay of the Arabs, have gained power in the last decade in the region, then that opens an inroad for dialog and cooperation between Israel and moderate Arabs. And if the radicals among are needed to be dealt with, better have the Arabs sort that out among themselves, rather than Israel wreak the havoc.

Previously about UCLA Israel studies podcast:
Jacob Dayan,
Gabriela Shalev,
Galia Golan, Aaron David Miller,
Shimon Shamir.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The waste land - In Our Time

Here is a short review of the latest BBC's In Our Time which paid attention to one single poem T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land

Usually IOT tackles huge subjects and therefore, in advance, I was a bit concerned what would happen if Melvyn and the guest had but one single poem to discuss. The limit of the subject turned out to be a blessing though. Still there wasn't time enough, but contrary to normal experience with IOT, more than just the surface was scratched.

Aside from the necessary biographical notes on the author and history of coming in to being of the poem ample time was meted out to quote from the poem, ponder upon its meaning and palette of interpretations. The Waste Land, even though it was seriously edited by Eliot and the poet Ezra Pound which had left it shorter and rather inaccessible, had an enthusiastic reception. A returning meaning in all the ways of interpretation is how The Waste Land captured modernity and the life in the metropolis and did so in rather grim and unforgiving tones.

More In Our Time:
The destruction of Carthage,
The brothers Grimm,
The modest proposal,
History of history,
Darwin special.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Anton Kroller - veertien achttien recensie

In de Eerste Wereldoorlog was Nederland neutraal en daarbij lag het ingeklemd tussen Engeland en Duitsland. De neutraliteit handhaven was een oefening op de evenwichtsbalk om niet teveel noch naar Engeland, noch naar Duitsland te hellen. De Nederlandse commercie moest een weg zien te vinden om met beide landen handel te kunnen blijven drijven, zonder de ander op de tenen te trappen.

Hoe moeilijk dat was blijkt uit de laatste aflevering van de podcast Veertien Achttien over de industrieel Anton Kröller die daarbij een weg vond om overzee goederen naar Nederland te halen die langs de Engelse barricade mocht. In het Kanaal hadden de Britten een corridor tussen de zeemijnen aangelegd, zodat elke doorvaart door hen gecontroleerd kon worden. En de Duitsers hanteerden natuurlijk de onderzeeboot. Hoewel Kröller van Duitse komaf was en met een Duitse vrouw (Heleen Kröller-Müller) getrouwd was, lukte het hem het vertrouwen van de Britten te winnen.

Hij organiseerde op centrale wijze de Nederlandse importen en stond garant dat er niet aan Duitsland doorgeleverd werd. Tacken maakt duidelijk dat zelfs indien Kröller daar niet aan deed, er voldoende tussenpersonen waren die de waren oostwaarts konden krijgen. En zo werden Kröller en heel wat andere Nederlanders rijk aan de oorlog. Kröllers winsten gingen naar Heleen Kröller-Müller die ruimhartig investeerde in een kunstcollectie die terug te vinden is in het Kröller-Müller Museum op de Veluwe.

Meer Veertien Achttien:
Rosa Luxemburg,
Marie Curie,
August von Mackensen,
Franz Hipper,
Enver Pasha.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button