Chris Hedges and Sabah Alnasseri: The Revolutionary Age, Part 2

Power of the people

Image via Zeinab Mohamed via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

with Chris Hedges

teleSUR English on Oct 6, 2015

In this episode of Days of Revolt, host Chris Hedges sits down with Middle Eastern Studies Professor, Sabah Alnasseri. The two dissect the genesis of political revolutions, particularly focusing on the Middle East. They discuss the role of religion in the region, and name the reasons for the increased prevalence of fundamentalism. teleSUR

Transcript

from the archives:

Chris Hedges and Sabah Alnasseri: ISIS, The New Israel + Hedges: Europe’s Refugees and American Elections, Part 1

Chris Hedges and David Swanson: Cold War Redux + Hedges on ISIS + Hedges: A Time For Rebellion?

11 thoughts on “Chris Hedges and Sabah Alnasseri: The Revolutionary Age, Part 2

  1. Pingback: Abby Martin and Dr. Deepa Kumar: Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire | Dandelion Salad

  2. I would urge Dandelion Salad readers to pay very close attention to this conversation. Both Chris and Sabah speak with astonishing alacrity and insight. Do not be deterred, follow the arguments.

    The beauty and opportunity of the interactive systems we have at our disposal right now, is that we can scrutinise in meticulous detail every phrase and critical point. Stop, listen again, reflect, search, question, check the references.

    Let’s work our mental guns folks while the opportunity exists!

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  4. Identity. Yes, this is a fundamental issue, so little understood! The discourse being sketched here is immensely complex, but not so impossibly opaque as to be impenetrable.

    Some preliminary observations may be pertinent. Professor Alnasseri refers with passing brevity to the enduring influence of Bernard Lewis. A whole series could be devoted to this commanding question.

    One of the central distinctions Lewis has always emphasized in his methodically consistent but problematic approach, is the historical and interpretive dissonance that exists between the ambiguous relationship of Christendom to Christianity; in contrast to the notion of Islam’s identity, as both religion & community, that embodies an inseparable function as a civilizing culture that incarnates & invokes the sacred spirit of Allah, that is the Prophet’s Holy Word.

    We should not forget that Christendom can be taken to mean so many incongruous things. These must include not only a certain multiplicity of esoteric traditions or currents, but also radically significant intellectual developments, like the (Spanish-inspired) renaissance that flowered in Italy; Protestant reformation in Germany; and the so-called scientific and humanist enlightenment in France, Britain and elsewhere in Europe ~ that also subsequently helped pave the way for industrialism.

    I think it is useful to reflect on the salient differences for example, between the colonial American and the native European experience in this respect. Just as the “New World” so called, began to flex its spiritual muscles, so to speak, by suppressing the indigenous populations, the old was already starting to shed its confining religious skin, and affirming its own indigenes.

    These are immensely nuanced and tangled narratives, that do not readily surrender to accepted and frequently cavalier & too complacently unchallenged arguments and historiographic analyses. Diverse elements of cultural psychology & multiple “givens” may tend to disguise themselves as formative energies, that directly or subtly, shape and determine an over-confident self-consciousness ~ that comforting sense of who we think, or actually feel, we truly are.

    The baseless nature of these false securities can produce neurosis and psychotic political aberrations; while Crazy Horse and others had a radically different way of expressing identity.

    So, in a nutshell, I suppose what I should like to hear, is a more succinct acknowledgement of those ways by which we are habitually so predisposed to relate to our most essential selves, through traditional or inherited, or otherwise acquired lenses of conditioned acceptance; that are often no more than unconsciously assimilated cultural reflexes.

    Islam is very different in this key respect, as it constitutes such a total identification with a Supreme Being, characterized by sectarian divisions arising from the unique Qur’anic hermeneutic drawn from that single text, rather than a multiple layering of psychologically hypothesized systems of self, that range across an enormous spectrum of symbolic constructs and mutated arcana.

    Islam at its noblest, was a magnificent synthesis; whereas Christendom has proved to be a gigantic experiment, an analytic work perhaps still in progress as S A imputes. Neither/or both in their entirety can progress without universal concessions however. The West must surrender its addiction to the “noble lie.” While Islam ought to question its assumptions of certain knowledge. Nor should we (or “they” or whomever) ever underestimate, let alone exclude or trivialise, the great spiritual endeavours of the remainder of humanity. The ingredients are abundant, but the recipes are wanting.

    Inflexible dogma tied to literal interpretation, is indeed lethal and anti-evolutionary. So, perhaps that is one hypothetically falsifiable truth even atheists can concede as being highly probable; as certain as the lucid recognition that our Sun does not actually die when it appears to set, or just because it is no longer visible, that it has been swallowed by a dragon ~ we may now assert its light still exists, and will endure for Aeons.

    Moreover, from a projected universal perspective, we can infer that it shines like any other star in a firmament of (literally) billions of galaxies. This we can now affirm with considerable confidence, unlike our superstitious predecessors.

    When I was constrained to submit to intellectual indoctrination, at a “priviliged educational establishment” in London in the nineteen sixties, the only astronomy lesson I received, consisted of being told that there were barely a dozen known galaxies, and that such information was clearly utterly irrelevant and worthless. Such imbecility speaks volumes. Rule Britannia!

    • Listening again, I think it would be helpful to interrogate the populist concept of the “general will” or volonté générale, asking for example by whom this categorical complex is to be defined.

      I would argue that the notion of will “en masse” to be an ethical necessity, is an emergent dynamic, by definition therefore an unpredictable diversity of situational possibilities, a responsive flux to dynamic evolutionary & empirical contingencies; not predetermined by some abstract, theoretical ideological formalism.

      This has been the gross error of US foreign policy, that would appear to have attempted to exploit, deploy and manipulate the Gene Sharp doctrine of colour revolution to meet its own deep state covert agenda ~ assuming of course, that this doctrine was incipiently conceived as an honourable stratagem of “legitimate” resistance in the first place….

      I would suggest that true US “policy” is precisely the inverse of its stated objective.

      • I agree, David. The so-called “color revolutions” whether started with the people or not have been co-opted by the C I A too many times. Many people in these countries were paid by USAID, etc., so there is the question on whether or not they were started by the people grassroots-style.

  5. The development of the Middle East problems are for liquid energy in exchange for military hardware and potential Israeli expansion, the conflict is seen as a religious ideology and sold as such by Western media propaganda whereas the fundamental cause is motivated by economics and also fundamentalism of Westernized terrorism under the guise of a self righteous belief of political correctness, the atrocities of Western intervention is well known but understated? this violence perpetrated upon those who are deemed expendable human fodder has the effect of polarizing what is considered terrorist activity such as beheading? the media cannot resist these activities as what is considered barbaric? of course the colonists are not barbaric and are only doing what the white knight would be doing as saving us from rapists, pedophiles and murderers.
    Surprising to say their are only so the account go’s I have read twenty thousand or so Isis, for so few to hold such power over so many is remarkable, friendly fire such as the American bombing of a hospital and lying with statements such as being a Isis hide out, not only killing and maiming the patients but also killing doctors without borders, the military do not endorse the healing professions doctrine that all shall be worthy of being healed?

  6. Pingback: Chris Hedges and Sabah Alnasseri: ISIS, The New Israel + Hedges: Europe’s Refugees and American Elections | Dandelion Salad

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