By Vijay Prashad.
Ten days have passed since roughly 1500 Palestinian political prisoners went on hunger strike. There has been little coverage of the condition of the prisoners and almost none of the strike itself. This Freedom and Dignity Hunger Strike is the largest one yet, and it has received the support of the entirely of the Palestinian polity and of society.
At Alternet today, I have a report on the strike which relies on the dogged work of Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association based in Palestine and of Madalena Mughrabi of Amnesty International. I have been reading the novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s prison diary as it happens and was struck by his observations on isolation. They made their way into the essay, as well as the Darwish line that he quotes in his book.
‘This strike, the largest such demonstration inside Israel’s colonial prisons, is called the Freedom and Dignity hunger strike. It suggests that the people who sit in cold, lonely cells remain confident of their cause and of their victory. Dignity is important. It is the opposite of occupation’.
You can read the rest here. Please tell others about this strike. The prisoners deserve our solidarity.
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The Associated Press’s White House correspondent, Julie Pace, sat down with Donald Trump to discuss his first hundred days. This was a sprawling interview, whose transcript should be read over and over again by those who are interested in the world. In her article, Julie Pace has a little detail that I appreciated. She writes, ‘A man accustomed to wealth and its trappings, Trump has embraced life in the Executive Mansion, often regaling guests with trivia about the historic decor. With the push of a red button placed on the Resolute Desk that presidents have used for decades, a White House butler soon arrived with a Coke for the president’.
When I read of the red button, I immediately thought of the nuclear arsenal of the United States. There is another red button hidden somewhere in that office. It is the mad man who toys with the world, either to get a Coke one hour or to annihilate the world in another.
The current issue of Frontline is devoted to the foreign policy of Donald Trump. My report is on the Mad Man Theory of International Affairs, pioneered by Richard Nixon as an idea and put into practice by Trump. Here’s the close,
- Richard Nixon pioneered a theory of foreign affairs known as the “Madman Theory”. He told his Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman: “I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war.” Nixon’s people would spread the rumour, he said, that the nuclear option was available and that Nixon was mad enough to use it. “Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace,” Nixon said. Perhaps Trump, like Nixon, believes in the Madman Theory, one pioneered by Machiavelli, who wrote: “It is a wise thing to simulate madness.” It terrifies one’s adversaries. It pleases the bloodlust of one’s supporters. But it does not make the world a safer place.
The entire report can be read here.
I also wanted to share with you two radio shows I did recently, one a retrospective of Trump’s 100 days with Dennis Bernstein of KPFA radio (here) and the other on Syria and Trump’s interventions there with Doug Henwood of Jacobin Radio (here).