Tag: Cairo

Who severed Hilzoy’s corpus callosum?

I make it point to visit Obsidian Wings daily, and hilzoy is a favorite of mine, because she’s pretty darn thoughtful, but something was seriously off kilter today in her post about Obama’s Cairo speech.

This bit from Obama’s speech also struck me as very strong:

“Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America’s founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It’s a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.”

The normal criticism of Palestinian violence is moral. That is as it should be, and Obama does not slight that: “That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.” But that criticism leaves open the possibility of framing the debate over Palestinian violence as one of principle versus effectiveness. As long as it is framed that way, one can understand (though not agree with) Palestinians who say: you’d think differently if you didn’t have a state; if it was your land that was constantly being seized, and your pregnant wife who had to wait for hours at a checkpoint to see a doctor. You’d put aside your principles and do what works.

That’s why it’s immensely important to say, clearly, that violence is not just wrong, but ineffective.

It’s not so much that I agree or disagree with the double-barreled blast of “morality AND effectiveness” lines of argument.  It’s kind of like the torture debate: it’s not only immoral; it plain doesn’t work reliably.  Blam!  Blam!  You dead!  Rhetorically speaking.  That’s fine.

The part of the argument that indicates a severe case of hemi-neglect (when a brain-damaged patient can easily lift one arm on command, but when asked to lift they other, they say, “What other?”), was when she suggested:

This bit from Obama’s speech also struck me as very strong.

Oratin’: Select takes on high oratory.

Obama gave another good speech, light-years beyond Bush in both content and tenor.  Good.  He said a lot of good and truthy things, including admitting the Mossadegh regime change thingy back in the day (I thought he wasn’t interested in “looking back,” but oh well, I guess it’s okay if it’s looking far enough back, b-b-but not too recently back,, though).  Now maybe he’ll go to, say, La Paz, or something, and re-heat that part of the speech about regime change and self-determination and non-interference.

If my insect-like compound eyes are channeling the individual optics properly down the optic fiber-like shafts of my individual rhabdomeres without excessive leakage of light, then there appear to be a wide variety of perspectives on that speech.

Booman made a credible argument that Obama’s speech was frankly and thoroughly progressive, and we should strongly support his worldview.

On the other hand, Chris Floyd shrilly howls unrepentantly apostatic, heretical Commie-plotting-turned-al-Qaeda sympathizing lunacies such as this:

During the speech, we heard many nicely-turned phrases and heartfelt pieties from President Obama as he sought to “correct the misunderstandings” that Muslims have about America and its benevolent policies around the world. But what speaks far more loudly to the reality of those policies is a small story already being shunted aside by the tsunami of gushing press devoted to the empty flapping of presidential jaws in Cairo — the suicide of a Yemeni man held captive, without charges, in the Guantanamo concentration camp since 2002.

Fortunately, my bulbous compound eyes wrap fully around my cephalic structure giving me 360+ degrees of vision, and I can see the optics on virtually all disparate points of view, even those coming out of my own ass.

Here’s a few more of my favorites:  

President Obama’s Speeches

By: Bernard Chazelle

Tomorrow, the president of the United States will give a speech in Cairo that the White House has modestly called an “address to the Muslim World.” I saw on their web site a list of Obama’s forthcoming speeches.

June 04, 2009: Address to the Muslim World

August 12, 2009: Address to Humanity

October 07, 2009: Address to All Eukaryotic Life Forms and Wiccans

November 23, 2009: Address to the Universe

December 15, 2009: Address to AIPAC

Feb 6, 2010: Address to All Deities

April 5, 2010: Address to My Puppy

Obama Calls for Something, Anything in Speech in Egypt

CAIRO – Speaking before a large crowd at Cairo University in Egypt’s sprawling capital city, President Barack Obama urged the Muslim world to “look over there,” causing several dozen in the audience to turn their heads to see what he was pointing at in the vague middle distance.

“But seriously,” Mr. Obama continued. “The time of the past is in the past, and the future is that which lies before us.” Pausing for effect, he added, “The present is now,” drawing applause.

The hilarious rest.

Anatomy of a speech

The thing about speeches is that they sound differently when you are in a refugee camp vs. when you are updating your status on Facebag.

I’ve heard a similar distortion can occur when you are unwittingly transformed into many separate pieces on behalf of the person speaking.