February 21st, 2008

Chris Keeley

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanyin

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

February 21, 2008
The Long Run

For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk

WASHINGTON — Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

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Chris Keeley

social documentary work

On 2/20/08, Sam Stoker wrote::
Hey Chris,

I just wanted to shoot you a quick note and say I appreciate your photography. I am always glad to see folks doing social documentary work. I, too, photograph in the same vein, but not nearly as seriously. Anyhow, very moving. Indeed.


Chris Keeley

Killing Joke

The Coen brothers’ twists and turns
by David Denby 

Ethan and Joel Coen. They may be the first major filmmakers since Preston Sturges to exploit the dramatic possibilities of stupidity.

Ethan and Joel Coen. They may be the first major filmmakers since Preston Sturges to exploit the dramatic possibilities of stupidity

The Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” casts an ominous and mournful spell from the first shot. Over scenes of a desolate West Texas landscape, an aging sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones), ruminating on the new viciousness of crime, says that he’s not afraid of dying. But, he adds, “I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard.” Without transition, we see Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), an odd-looking man in a modified Prince Valiant haircut, murder first a deputy sheriff, then a stranger whose car he needs. (He strangles the deputy and shoots the stranger with some sort of gun attached to what looks like an oxygen tank.) The movie jumps again, to Llewelyn, an early-morning hunter (Josh Brolin) who’s out in the desert tracking antelope. In the distance, he sees five pickup trucks arrayed in a rough circle and some dead bodies lying on the ground. He moves in slowly, rifle held low. His attentiveness is so acute that it sharpens our senses, too.

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Chris Keeley

Gunpowder Plots

by Peter Schjeldahl 

Cai Guo-Qiang, the Chinese installation and pyrotechnic artist, recently told me that as a child he had a recurrent dream of a fireworks display in Tiananmen Square at which no one was present—no crew, no audience—except him. Keep that in mind while viewing Cai’s retrospective at the Guggenheim. It might tip the balance of your feelings in his favor, as it did mine. A whiff of eccentric passion complicates the character of his art, which is strenuously theatrical and weirdly political (with ambiguous stands on Mao Zedong and terrorism), calculated in content (East-West tropes are a specialty), and ad hoc in form. It also disarms my prejudice against that sort of work, as being a product more of institutional programs—biennials, inevitably—than of plausible human interests and desires. Cai, who is fifty and has had a studio in New York since 1995, is one of several international art stars—others are Olafur Eliasson, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and, as a grandfathery pioneer, Christo—whose personal wealth likely includes epic accumulations of frequent-flyer miles. He is in charge of the visual and special effects for the opening and closing ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics, and he has installed works and orchestrated events—usually explosive ones—in dozens of cities, from Tokyo, where he lived from 1986 to 1995, after leaving China, to Santa Fe. Such artists belong less to an art world than to a travelling art circus, with no coherent audience and thus scant purchase for critical discussion. They reduce us all to random faces in crowds of strangers. Is there value in that? There’s truth. Globalization, cultural as well as economic, has advanced beyond transcending former centers to discountenancing them. Cai negotiates this boundaryless condition with comfort and élan.

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Chris Keeley

Peace Sign Turns 50

Peace Sign Turns 50

And finally the peace sign turns 50 years old today. Over the past five decades the peace sign has become one of the world’s enduring icons. The original peace sign was developed in1958 by a British textile designer and conscientious objector named Gerald Holtom. He created the symbol by combining the semaphore letters N and D, for nuclear disarmament. On Feb. 21, 1958 the symbol was accepted by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear war. The symbol soon began to be used in anti-nuclear protests across Britain and then spread across the globe.

Californian Judge Criticized for Shutting Down WikiLeaks.org

Reporters Without Borders is criticizing a California judge for closing the website WikiLeaks dot org. The U.S. based website was built to give whistleblowers a site to post leaked documents. Last week Californian judge Jeffrey White ordered the website’s site’s domain name registrar to disable the Wikileaks dot org domain name White issued the ruling after a Cayman Islands bank sued the site following the publication of leaked bank documents. According to Reporters Without Borders, this appears to be the first time a US court has decided to close an entire website because of certain documents posted on it. David Ardia, of the Citizen Media Law Project said: “There is no justification under the First Amendment for shutting down an entire Web site.”

McCain’s Relationship With D.C. Lobbyist Questioned

The New York Times has published a front-page expose detailing questionable ties between John McCain and a female Washington lobbyist. The Times reveals that during his 2000 run for the White House, McCain repeatedly wrote letters to government regulators on behalf of clients of the telecommunications lobbyist, Vicki Iseman. At the time McCain served as chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. The Times also reports that aides to McCain were concerned the Senator was having a romantic affair with the lobbyist.
McCain and Iseman have denied having a romantic relationship. But former McCain aides said the Senator acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Iseman. Last night the McCain campaign accused the New York Times of engaging in a “hit-and-run smear campaign”

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Chris Keeley

Commerce Dept docs: Cheney and oil execs decided to take Iraq's oil in spring 2001

Commerce Dept docs: Cheney and oil execs decided to take Iraq's oil in spring 2001

The Commerce Department has been forced by Judicial Watch to turn over records of spring, 2001 meetings held between Dick Cheney and execs from global oil giants, records that suggest that the group decided months before September 11th that the US energy policy would center on taking control of Iraq's oil:
In the late spring of 2001, Vice President Cheney held a series of top secret meetings with the representatives of Exxon-Mobil, Conoco, Shell and BP America for what was later called the Energy Task-force. Their job, ostensibly, was to map out America’s Energy future. Since late 2001 several public interest groups, including the very conservative Judicial Watch, sued to have the proceedings of those meetings opened to public scrutiny. In March 2002, the Commerce Department turned over a few documents from the Task-force meetings to Judicial Watch, among which was the map of Iraq’s Oil Fields, dated March 2001 (above) and a list of the existing “Foreign Suitors” for Iraq Oil. Since that time, Cheney’s office has fought fiercely (and so far, successfully), right up to the Supreme Court, to keep the proceeding secret and to keep any of the private industry officials from disclosing any information about the meetings. Since we all now know the Bush administration’s energy policy, there can be only one explanation for the extraordinary efforts Cheney has taken to keep this secret–he was discussing the potential for a takeover of Iraq’s oil with the companies that might manage the resource, even before 9/11 gave him the excuse to do it.
Chris Keeley

The Feb. 25 issue of New York magazine welcomes this spring fashion season with a cover image that d


The image is causing a ruckus in the blogosphere, and not because her nipples can be ogled through the thin triangle of pink chiffon she clasps with her mouth like a schnauzer. The photo and eight more inside the magazine mimic, frame for frame, a handful of the fabled and ubiquitous pictures known as “The Last Sitting” that the photographer Bert Stern took of Marilyn Monroe in 1962, six weeks before she died of an overdose. 



The Feb. 25 issue of New York magazine welcomes this spring fashion season with a cover image that doesn’t bother trying to promote the Op-Art prints of Miuccia Prada or the free-form gowns of Missoni or Lanvin. The marketing of fashion has had little do with clothes for a long time, after all. At play instead is a commercialism that is both creepier and more compelling: a picture of a nude Lindsay Lohan, less than a year out of her third go at rehab.


Chris Keeley

David Sheff's memoir of his son's methamphetamine addiction is being published at the same time as N

David Sheff's memoir of his son's methamphetamine addiction is being published at the same time as Nic Sheff's own account

photo : Bart Nagel


A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction

By David Sheff

326 pages. Houghton Mifflin Company. $24.


Addiction is a compulsion to do the same thing over and over, despite knowing that the outcome will almost certainly be the same. Addiction memoirs often illustrate this same definition of insanity. They follow the same arc, voice the same helplessness and arrive at the same set of conclusions. Yet the genre itself remains so addictive that readers keep hoping to discover something new.

There are reasons to hope that David Sheff’s “Beautiful Boy” will be exceptional. For one thing, it is one of the rare books selected for sale by Starbucks; somebody thinks it is riveting enough to capture the interest of a caffeinated clientele. For another, its subject is methamphetamine addiction, which exerts such body-snatching effects on those who succumb to it. A cycle of madness and decline prompted by crystal meth goes well beyond the horrors of garden-variety substance abuse.

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Chris Keeley

Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace

Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace

Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace, was one of the most picturesque characters in computer history. Augusta Ada Byron was born December 10, 1815 the daughter of the illustrious poet, Lord Byron. Five weeks after Ada was born Lady Byron asked for a separation from Lord Byron, and was awarded sole custody of Ada who she brought up to be a mathematician and scientist. Lady Byron was terrified that Ada might end up being a poet like her father. Despite Lady Byron's programming Ada did not sublimate her poetical inclinations. She hoped to be "an analyst and a metaphysician". In her 30's she wrote her mother, if you can't give me poetry, can't you give me "poetical science?" Her understanding of mathematics was laced with imagination, and described in metaphors.
Chris Keeley

McCain's Only Path to the White House

McCain's Only Path to the White House

By Kevin Zeese

Senator John McCain has only one issue with the chance of uniting the Republican base and presenting a challenge to the Democrats in the General Election – war and more of it.

Senator McCain describes the "war" against "Islamic extremism" as the "transcendent challenge of the 21st century." He describes Iraq as a war the U.S. must win and has promised there are "more wars to come." He supports the use of military force against Iran, even singing about bombing Iran jokingly. And he has described the U.S. stay in Iraq as something that could last 100 years and be fine with him. Pat Buchanan says that "McCain makes Cheney look like Gandhi."

McCain knows the election needs to be framed around the question he describes as "who can best make this nation safer?" If the presidential debate is about "change," McCain loses. If it is about the "war against Islamic extremism", it plays to his strong suit. As a result, the McCain campaign presents an opportunity for the peace movement to debate whether American militarism is appropriate, effective and the best use of U.S. resources.

Militarism comes naturally to the military-minded McCain. Sen. McCain was literally born into the military – born on a military base in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 -- and his first ten years of school were on military bases. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1956, sixth from the bottom in a class of 899. He graduated from flight school in 1960 and became a naval pilot. After nearly dying in an accident aboard an aircraft carrier, he told the N.Y. Times in 1967 that "I always wanted to be in the Navy. I was born into it and I never really considered another profession."

Indeed, his grandfather, John McCain, Sr., joined the Navy in 1907 and in World War II fought in Japan as a Vice Admiral. The stress of combat resulted in his weight dropping to 100 pounds by the end of the war. He was awarded a full admiralty posthumously. His father, John McCain, Jr., was also an admiral who fought in World War II, headed the Pacific Command during Vietnam and served in various Pentagon posts. The USS John S. McCain is named after Sen. McCain's father and grandfather. Two of his sons, Jimmy and Jack, are now in the military.

McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam from 1967 to 1973, where he was reportedly tortured and beaten while being held in captivity. He remains crippled from the experience. He was forced to make propaganda statements on camera, he gave in to this at times while at other times resisting. While in captivity, he refused to meet with anti-war groups visiting Vietnam. He retired from the Navy in 1981 as a captain. One of his final posts was as the Navy liaison to the U.S. Senate. He has served on the Senate Armed Services Committee since his election to the U.S. Senate in 1987 (replacing Barry Goldwater).

McCain voted for the Iraq War Resolution describing Iraq as "a clear and present danger to the United States of America." He agreed with President Bush saying that the U.S. would be treated as liberators in Iraq, but by November 2003 was criticizing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's handling of the war arguing more troops were needed. The "surge" is often described as McCain's plan since he was a vociferous advocate for more troops in Iraq. He continues to argue that the only way the U.S. can end the Iraq war is in victory. He frames the Iraq debate as: "Withdrawal and fail, or commit and succeed."

With this history, Sen. McCain is well positioned to be the "war" candidate and to make the campaign about winning in Iraq and fighting the "terrorists" throughout the world. He has serious differences with the Republican base on immigration, campaign finance, judicial appointments and taxes, so the 'war on terror' and the need to fight in Iraq to win seems to be the only issue that can unite the Republican base behind him.

And, in the General Election, McCain is poised to challenge the Democrats on the issue of war and peace. He is critical of Senators Clinton and Obama for calling for withdrawal timetables – even though neither senator has ever called for a complete withdrawal. McCain's desire to win the presidency on the back of the war presents an opportunity for peace advocates. McCain will be talking to a voting public that opposes the Iraq War and wants to see troops coming home; even one-quarter of Republicans oppose the war.

Ironically, just as the election of President Reagan was helped by the Iranian hostage situation, another terrorist attack against the United States would be likely to help Sen. McCain. The fear generated by such an attack would be apt to push Americans to the experienced warrior as commander in chief. To add further irony, those who oppose the United States and want to do it harm would find Senator McCain prone to draw the U.S. into another costly quagmire that would further weaken the nation. McCain very much believes in using the military. I recall being at a New Republic editorial board meeting in 2003 where John McCain, even then, was advocating the use of the military against Iran.

The election will be a time to highlight the choice America has before it: will it continue to invest in a massive military – the most powerful and expensive in world history - at a time when the U.S. civilian economy is struggling, losing jobs overseas, has a crumbling infrastructure, poverty rising and the middle class shrinking? How much more should be invested in Iraq -- $495 billion so far, plus more than a trillion in long-term costs on taking care of injured soldiers and paying the debt on the war? Should a third or even fourth front be opened up in Iran and Pakistan while both Afghanistan and Iraq falter? Should militarism be the centerpiece of American foreign policy or should it be diplomacy, negotiation and multilateralism?

While the two remaining Democrats are far from being peace candidates they do present an alternative to McCain as both are calling for withdrawal of some troops as soon as they are elected. And Senator Obama provided a framing of the debate that can be a useful starting point for discussion when he said he wants to "end the mindset that got us into the war." And with Cynthia McKinney running as a clear peace candidate for the Green Party nomination, Ralph Nader, a long-term anti-war advocate considering a run either as a Green or independent and the Libertarian Party running several candidates on its anti-war platform, peace voters will have plenty to work with in the 2008 election.

The peace movement needs to be ready to make this election a real debate on the future of American militarism. The year is an opportunity to educate the public about the cost U.S. militarism, the ineffectiveness of the approach and more effective alternatives to achieving national security. It needs to be a time to organize peace voters and get them ready to be a "pressure force" in U.S. politics that cannot be ignored no matter who is elected president in November.

- Kevin Zeese is Executive Director of Voters For Peace (www.VotersForPeace.US). He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

Chris Keeley

Kosovo Independence -- A Golden Chance for Palestinian Leadership

TO: Distinguished Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck
Transmitted below is some follow-up advice which I have just sent to my Palestinian mailing list on the issue of the potential relevance of Kosovo's UDI to Palestine, an issue which appears to be attracting considerable interest.
ASHARQ AL-AWSAT is the Arabic-language equivalent of the INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, edited in London and published all over the world.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a former minister and a long-time insider in the official Palestinian leadership, was the principal Palestinian associated with the "Geneva Accord" virtual peace agreement signed on December 1, 2003.
TO: Distinguished Palestinian Recipients
FM: John Whitbeck
The article which I circulated on Tuesday after its publication in the ARAB NEWS was published yesterday in the JORDAN TIMES and today in AL-AHRAM WEEKLY and ASHARQ AL-AWSAT. The slightly shortened Arabic version published in ASHARQ AL-AWSAT is transmitted below. I understand that this publication was mentioned today on the BBC's Arabic Service.
I have also read that Yasser Abed Rabbo suggested publicly yesterday that Palestine should follow the Kosovo precedent, stating:" We deserve independence even before Kosovo, and we ask for the backing of the United States and the European Union for our independence." If (as my Saudi Arabian partner has advised me) the United States reacted with horror within ten minutes of Mr. Abed Rabbo's suggestion, this reaction should be seen as clear and compelling evidence of just how promising this idea is. It should certainly not discourage the Palestinian leadership from doing something intelligent which would serve the interests of the Palestinian people.
However, as I had to emphasize to President Arafat in several meetings during the 1990's, when he was "threatening" to "declare independence", it is NOT a question of declaring independence. That has already been done (and recognized by over 100 countries) in 1988. The intelligent and legally appropriate thing to do now would be to reaffirm that declaration -- but ONLY with the clear and compelling consequence of the "threat" of demanding equal rights and democracy instead if the US and the EU continue to refuse to recognize the State of Palestine.
A second "declaration" of independence would not be coherent, and a reaffirmation without consequences for rejection would not be constructive.
It should be emphasized in this context that legal sovereignty does not require effective administrative control. A sovereign state may be under foreign occupation. The US and the EU did not cease to recognize Kuwait as a sovereign state while it was occupied (and, unlike Palestine, formally annexed) by Iraq. Indeed, the US did not cease to recognize Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as sovereign states, and continued to host and accredit their embassies in Washington, throughout the almost 50-year-long period during which these Baltic states formed part of the Soviet Union. The US and EU states could recognize the State of Palestine now if they really wanted the occupation to end.
During the 19 years of its administration of the Gaza Strip, Egypt never asserted sovereignty over this territory. Since 1988, when Jordan renounced its claim to sovereignty over the West Bank, the only state which has asserted sovereignty over the portion of Palestine occupied in 1967 (aside from expanded East Jerusalem) has been the State of Palestine, and no state, not even the United States, has recognized Israel's claim to sovereignty over East Jerusalem.
Both as a matter of law and as a matter of worldwide public perception, occupations of sovereign states MUST end -- completely. Occupations of arguably "disputed territories" can be argued about and disputed ... forever ... until there is nothing left to argue about.
Somehow, the year 2008 must be a year of decision. This November 15 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Palestinian declaration of independence and the formal quest to make a "two-state solution" a reality on the ground. If a decent partition of Palestine on terms acceptable to the Palestinian people cannot be achieved by then -- and the Israeli government (not known for understating its good intentions) is making explicitly clear that it does not now contemplate discussing or agreeing this year to anything more significant than another "declaration of principles", 15 years after the prior one, signed with such pomp and hope on the White House lawn -- the Palestinian people must return to their original principles and pursue justice and freedom through a morally unimpeachable, non-violent campaign for equal rights and democracy.


استقلال كوسوفو.. فرصة ذهبية للقيادة الفلسطينية
جون ويتبيك
الخميـس 13 صفـر 1429 هـ 21 فبراير 2008 العدد 10677
جريدة الشرق الاوسط
الصفحة: الــــــرأي

كما كان متوقعا، أصدرت كوسوفو إعلانا للاستقلال من جانبها، وسارعت الولايات المتحدة وغالبية دول الاتحاد الاوروبي، التي جرى معها تنسيق استقلال كوسوفو، للاعتراف الدبلوماسي بهذا «البلد الجديد»، وهذه خطوة تعتبر تهورا من جانب أي طرف يلتزم بالقانون الدولي او يتحلى بالتفكير السليم والمنطقي.

استعجال الجانبين الاميركي والأوروبي على قطع جزء من دولة عضو في الامم المتحدة، فقط بسبب تأييد حوالي 90 بالمائة من سكان هذا الجزء للاستقلال، يتعارض بصورة واضحة مع صبر وتأني واشنطن والاتحاد الاوروبي عندما يتم الحديث عن احتلال الضفة الغربية وقطاع غزة على مدى ما يزيد على 40 عاما.

يرى كل من الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الاوروبي انه يجب الاعتراف بإعلان كوسوفو للاستقلال حتى اذا لم توافق صربيا. إلا ان موقفهما اختلف تماما عندما أعلنت فلسطين استقلالها من الاحتلال الاسرائيلي في 15 نوفمبر 1988. كلاهما كان غائبا عندما اعترف اكثر من 100 بلد بدولة فلسطين الجديدة، وعدم اعترافهما جعل إعلان الاستقلال «رمزيا» في نظرها، وللأسف في نظر غالبية الفلسطينيين وغيرهم.

وبالنسبة للولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الاوروبي فإن أي استقلال فلسطيني، لكي يتم الاعتراف به ويصبح فعالا، يجب ان يتم عبر المفاوضات المباشرة، طبقا لقاعدة ثنائية غير متوازنة بين قوة الاحتلال والشعب المحتل، ويجب قبول قوة الاحتلال له. وبالنسبة للولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الاوروبي فإن حقوق ورغبات شعب محتل عانى طويلا وعومل بوحشية والقانون الدولي أمر غير مهم. وبالنسبة للولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الاوروبي، فليس من المتوقع انتظار البان كوسوفو، بعدما استمتعوا بإدارة الامم المتحدة وحماية الناتو لمدة 9 سنوات تقريبا، لوقت آخر للحصول على حريتهم، بينما يمكن للفلسطينيين الذين عانوا 40 سنة من الاحتلال، الانتظار للأبد.

ومع عدم تقدم «مبادرة انابوليس»، بالإضافة الى النوايا الاميركية والإسرائيلية منذ البداية، فإن سابقة كوسوفو تقدم للقيادة الفلسطينية في رام الله فرصة ذهبية للالتزام بالمبادرة، وإعادة ترتيب الاجندة واستعادة السمعة الملطخة في عيون شعبها.

وإذا كانت هذه القيادة على قناعة حقيقية، بالرغم من كل الادلة على العكس، فإن حل «الدولتين» لا يزال ممكنا، والفرصة مثالية الان لتأكيد الوجود القانوني (تحت استمرار الاحتلال) لدولة فلسطين، بوضوح في 22 في المائة من فلسطين تحت الانتداب التي لم تغزها ولم تحتلها اسرائيل الا في عام 1967، ودعوة كل تلك البلاد التي لم تقم علاقات دبلوماسية مع دولة فلسطين عام 1988 ـ ولا سيما الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الاوروبي ـ لذلك.

ووعدت زعامة البان كوسوفو بحماية الاقلية الصربية في كوسوفو التي يتوقع الآن أن تفر برعب. ويمكن للزعامة الفلسطينية أن تضمن فترة زمنية كافية للمستوطنين الاسرائيليين الذين يعيشون بصورة غير شرعية في دولة فلسطين وقوات الاحتلال الاسرائيلي بالانسحاب. ومن الطبيعي انه لمنع الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الأوروبي من التعامل مع هذه المبادرة كنكتة لا بد أن تكون هناك نتيجة مهمة وواضحة اذا ما كان لهم أن يفعلوا ذلك. وستكون النتيجة إنهاء وهم «الدولتين» ويمكن أن توضح الزعامة الفلسطينية انه اذا لم تعترف الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الأوروبي، اللذان اعترفا للتو بدولة ألبانيا ثانية على أراضي دولة ذات سيادة لدولة عضو في الأمم المتحدة، بدولة فلسطينية واحدة على جزء صغير من الأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة، فإنها ستفكك «السلطة الفلسطينية» (التي كان عليها أن تتوقف قانونيا عن الوجود في عام 1999 في نهاية الفترة الانتقالية التي دامت خمس سنوات بموجب اتفاقيات أوسلو) وبالتالي فان الشعب الفلسطيني سيسعى الى العدالة والحرية عبر الديمقراطية، من خلال السعي الدؤوب غير العنفي إلى حقوق المواطنة الكاملة في دولة واحدة في كل من إسرائيل / فلسطين، متحررة من أي تمييز بسبب العرق أو الدين وبحقوق متساوية لكل من يعيش هناك كما هو الحال في أي نظام ديمقراطي.

وتسامحت الزعامات الفلسطينية مع العنصرية والنفاق الغربي ولعبت دور المغفلين لفترة طويلة جدا. وقد آن الأوان لرفض الوضع الحالي بصورة بناءة وإحداث صدمة لدى «المجتمع الدولي» عبر الاشارة الى أن الشعب الفلسطيني لم يعد قادرا على التسامح مع الانتهاكات والظلم الذي لا يمكن تحمله. إن لم يكن الآن فمتى؟

* جون ويتبيك محام أميركي متخصص بالقانون الدولي

يكتب لـ«الشرق الأوسط»

Chris Keeley

William Pfaff on "The Balkan Nightmare"--2/19/08


The Balkan Nightmare

William Pfaff

Paris, February 19, 2008 – The question overshadowing the Balkans is why the 125 thousand Serbs now politically marooned among nearly two million ethic Albanians in prospectively independent Kosovo should not also be free to have what they want? They want union with Serbia. 

The eminent institutions and personages who lead what I and others in the press are accustomed to call "the international community" have decided that Kosovo should be independent, supplying UN and European Union resources to facilitate this. Leaving the Serbs of Kosovo in their present status is asking for trouble, creating new national resentments to replace the old.

There has not been a clear answer, only the lame one that the Kosovars have for years been informally promised independence because of the iniquitous manner in which they were treated by the Serbs when Slobodan Milosovic ruled in Serbia. 

His success in becoming the old Yugoslavia's leader was built on mobilizing Serbs first against the Albanians of Kosovo, and then against all of the other nationalities of the former Yugoslavia. But as Misha Glenny, author of the best modern history of the Balkans, says of the present situation: "Everyone knows that we are headed towards de facto partition. But no one is willing to admit it." 

They are unwilling to admit it because they fear that to do so would encourage every other disgruntled minority in the Balkans – or in the former Soviet Union and its successor states, or in China, Cyprus, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and on through a very long list of other countries -- to demand its own state, just as Woodrow Wilson cavalierly proposed in his "Fourteen Points" for settling the First World War. 

Then, as now, most nationalities granted their own state have within their borders further disgruntled minorities who, given the encouragement, would demand a still newer state for themselves.
If the Serbs of Kosovo are freed to join Serbia, why not free the Serbs of the Republika Srpska from their unhappy shotgun marriage with the Moslems of Bosnia? That is what Slobodan Milosevic wanted when he started the wars of Yugoslav succession.

The Albanians for years have been cited as the prospective Balkan Nightmare. They are spread across the southern Balkans as national minorities in Macedonia, Montenegro, southern Serbia itself, and as economic migrants elsewhere. What if they demanded union in a Greater Albania?

The European Union's Institute for Security Studies in Paris has just issued a very useful and important study asking "Is there an Albanian question?," edited by Judy Batt of the University of Birmingham. Its contributors conclude that while there are many Albanian questions with a small "q", there is not really a capitalized Albanian Question.

The Albanian diaspora has generally lived in the different states in which it lives today for most of the modern era. The editor writes that "three 'Albanian capitals' have emerged, Tirana, Pristina [in Kosovo] and Tetovo [in Macedonia]" – all in lively competition with one another. Political realism prevails among the mainstream Albanian elites, and Albanian public opinion shows little appetite for any variety of 'Greater Albania' project, she says, being far more concerned to avoid further conflict and to solve everyday issues of economic underdevelopment, poverty, corruption and crime.

Albania proper is too poor and too afflicted by democratic malfunction to exercise much magnetism for the Albanians abroad. It is estimated that more than a million Albanians – a quarter of the population – have left the country since 1991, as economic emigrants but also, as Nicola Mai writes, political emigrants, particularly the educated and ambitious young, searching for opportunities abroad. 

Kosovo faces a future full of problems, those of economic viability as well as governance, quite apart from the Serbian issue. The Albanians in Montenegro are a stable community making up some 5% of the national population, enjoying far better living conditions and prospects than the Albanians of Kosovo or of Albania itself. They voted with the Macedonian majority for national independence, and relations with the Macedonian government and the majority population are reasonably good, although not without difficulties.

The issue of Albanian involvement in organized crime is discussed by Misha Glenny, who has just completed a book on Balkan crime, and who argues that it is transnational and derives not only from the national political crises in the region but the collapse of the old security apparatuses, which in the post-Communist era have developed mutually profitable relations with outlaw capitalism and international criminal organizations.

The study concludes on an optimistic note, with attention to the influence of the new diaspora of young Albanians in touch by internet, possessing powerful personal motives for wanting the integration of all the countries with Albanian populations into the EU: which would offer the possibility of a happy awakening from the Balkan nightmare.

© Copyright 2008 by Tribune Media Services International. All Rights Reserved.

This article comes from William PFAFF