Sunday, January 30, 2011
"A cheap public diplomacy idea: Tear gas canisters sold to dictators should say 'Made in the USA, Just Like the Freedom of Expression.'"
--Twitterer KABOBfesT; Image from
PUBLIC DIPLOMACY/CULTURAL DIPLOMACY/ RELATED ITEMS
(a) Headlines/Major Items
A Brand New Arab World
Egypt on Al Jazeera: Part II
US doubted dissident, leaks show
Omar Suleiman is Egyptian New Vice-President
EU diplomacy on Egypt: Business as usual
The (Very) Strange Case of Raymond Davis
Comments on Afghan and Hungarian media from not-very-public US public diplomacy
Lessons for America from Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
Conundrum Of Global Power Construct
Diagramming Public Diplomacy
VOA jazz history in the news
CBAAC hosts Ambassador Adefuye, signs MoU
Imagining great Irish culture
BBC World Service makes deep cuts
Lucha Libre Diplomacy
Events featuring daughter of Malcolm X ... [and] first African American to play in the NBA scheduled at Vanderbilt University during Black History Month
Obama's handling Egypt pretty well
Arabic broadcaster Al-Jazeera banned in Egypt: Some government supporters say the network's round-the-clock coverage of the protests is inspiring further unrest. Its journalists will provide updates on Twitter
Egypt: The Twitter-less revolution
New IFJ Report Outlines Restrictions on Journalists in China
'Internet freedom doesn't guarantee real freedom'
Iran seems to be fortifying its firewall
WikiLeaks unplugged: The era of WikiLeaks appears over, the group is in disarray even as the U.S. takes measures to prevent future leaks and news organizations move to cut out the middleman
President Obama and that 'exceptional' thing
Getting at the truth of Tillman’s life, death
Turkish action film set to worsen ties with Israel
From North Korea, the art of survival
A Brand New Arab World - AbdAllah Black, themorningsidepost.com: "The fact is, Egyptians are no longer looking to the outside; no longer asking for the international help which they have always been calling for. It is all now in the hands of the people. President Obama, sadly, has already lost his credibility on the Egyptian street after the famous — now infamous — Cairo Speech where almost all promises turned out to be public diplomacy.
The question of what is on the horizon, although hard to answer, can only be answered through listening to the slogans heard all over Egypt. After 30 years of oppression, Egyptians are no longer demonstrating only in the hundreds or write their anti-regime slogans in tiny handwriting; now Egyptians are in hundreds of thousands all over the country tearing down the photos of president Mubarak that have been hanging there forever, telling him personally to step down." Image from article
Egypt on Al Jazeera: Part II - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "There have been many developments in the situation in Egypt since my last post, but I don't think that there is anything essentially new to add to those previous observations. ... On the subject of that U.S.-made tear gas... There have been many more reports and images of those coming out. These canisters have not only wounded (and in some cases killed) protesters, but have, obviously, done irreparable damage to the U.S. image in the Arab world. (Not that it's news. But being all over TV and given the circumstances, it makes matters for American public diplomacy much, much worse.)"
US doubted dissident, leaks show - Heather Haddon, New York Post: "Despite strong US ties with Mubarak, there's evidence US officials quietly supported the same activists seeking to remove him, the cable shows. In 2008, the State Department co-sponsored a youth activist conference that helped organizations use social media to spread opposition across the globe -- and helped one of April 6's leaders to attend without the knowledge of Egypt's secret police. The April 6 leader was among delegates from around the world at the Alliance of Youth Movements gathering at Columbia Law School in 2008.
At the three-day confab, participants swapped best practices for taking their activism 'to the streets' and guidance on 'planning events, marches and protests.' There was also a panel devoted to 'Egypt's pro-democracy youth movements' and how to advance them with social media. At the time, top department officials said they backed opposition protests even in countries allied with the United States, such as Turkey and Egypt. 'We are very supportive of pro-democracy groups around the world. And sometimes, that puts us at odds with certain governments,' said James K. Glassman, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in the Bush administration. Somehow, the April 6 leader's cover was blown when he returned to Cairo, and police confiscated his notes from the conference at the airport. Nonetheless, American diplomats contacted the activist regularly in 2008 and 2009 for information about human-rights abuses. He's out of diplomats' reach now, say news reports: The unnamed protest organizer was picked up last week by Egyptian secret police." Image from
egypt democratic transformation strategy – wikileaks - propagandapress.wordpress.com: "C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 CAIRO 003001 ... 5. (SBU) FY 2008: USD 11-13 million: The above programs will continue and new programs will be added to include the following: (a) MEPI-funded conference on the role of Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, in democratic politics: Meridian House to organize a conference for American academics and policy makers (b) Expanding training of domestic and international election monitors. This could include work with the Ibn Khaldun Center and others. (c) Training civil society and think tanks in public opinion polling. (d) Strengthening advocacy skills of civil society and promoting exchanges, especially those focused on coalition building, youth and women, including small grants to be administered by the implementing NGO. (e) Supporting programs aimed at advocacy for women,s rights and expanding the capacity of individuals and groups seeking to safeguard women,s rights and increase their political participation. This would also include a focus on trafficking in person. (f) Providing onshore and offshore support and training for indigenous human rights efforts, including those focused on minorities, religious freedom, freedom speech, and youth. (g) Providing training for independent media, internet-centered media, and increased public diplomacy. 6. (SBU) FY 2009: USD 25 million: Expanding the above programs and adding new programs to adapt to the new political environment, including efforts to prepare for the 2010 parliamentary elections and the 2011 presidential election."
Omar Suleiman is Egyptian New Vice-President - anewsheadlines.com: "Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has not been Vice President since he took office in 1981 appointed him head of intelligence Omar Suleiman and confidant to the post on Saturday,
the official news agency said. Vice-President reported that Mubarak occupied before he was nominated for the presidency after the assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat. ... He was the director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service (EGIS) in 1993, the role in which he played a prominent role in public diplomacy, including in relations with Israel, Egypt, and with major donors to help the United States." Suleiman image from article
EU diplomacy on Egypt: Business as usual - Kosmopolit: "As the story in Egypt unfolds it is interesting (and depressing as usual) to watch EU diplomacy in practice. Especially with all the talk about the 'one voice in the world' and the reforms of the Lisbon Treaty (EEAS etc.). Well, 'quiet diplomacy' in action, I suppose! ... So, what happened in the EU institutions so far? ...[W]e could witness a few basic public diplomacy mistakes: ... The most crucial EU problem has been the lack of any video footage. This is a basic PR mistake. Public diplomacy only exists if the public knows about your diplomacy. Especially in the case of the 'televised' protests in Egypt it would have been a good opportunity to get [High Rep Catherine] Ashton on TV! ... So, business as usual. No 'common' foreign policy of the EU."
The (Very) Strange Case of Raymond Davis - All Things Pakistan: "Raymond Davis, a staff member of the US Consulate in Lahore shot two Pakistani men dead on Thursday in a crowded part of Lahore (Mozang Chowk), according to him in self-defense. A US Consulate vehicle that rushed in to ‘rescue’ Mr. David then ran over a third person, who also died. A murder case was then registered against Raymond Davis,
who was handed into police custody. ... This is about US-Pakistan relations: there is just about nothing that the US can say or do which Pakistanis are likely to believe, and there is just about nothing that Pakistan can say or do which Americans are likely to trust. Which is why getting stuck in the intricacies of the Vienna Convention of 1963 is the exact wrong place to get stuck. This is a time for public diplomacy: certainly from the US and maybe even from Pakistan. It is not in America’s interest to be seen to be standing in the way of justice and due process. And it is not in Pakistan’s interest to be seen to conducting a flawed process of justice." Davis image from article
Comments on Afghan and Hungarian media from not-very-public US public diplomacy - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
Lessons for America from Middle East and North Africa (MENA) - Chandra Tamirisa, ctamirisa.wordpress.com: "I am condemning both ideologies, bin Laden’s and America’s economic and military hegemonic thinking since 1993. As to being all of us children of the same God, it is indisputable, no matter what your faith. Bush genuinely wanted to liberate (not evangelize) and saw that as the solution to America’s security and he is correct. Their liberation elsewhere is in their hands but it is in our interest to ensure that we do not become an obstacle to that desire, which we have been in some measure until 2000. Their elites who are Cold War hangovers must connect with their streets or be replaced by their people. We must help where we can to push that process along but not obstruct. And the best public diplomacy is to be true to who we are as a people and as a government."
Conundrum Of Global Power Construct - eurasiareview.com:
"Former Under Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy Charlotte Beers told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2003 of the frighteningly wide 'gap between how America sees itself and how the rest of the world sees America'. Regarding the Muslim world Charlotte Beers told FRC that 'millions of ordinary people have gravely distorted but carefully cultivated images of us so negative, so weird, so hostile that I can assure you a young generation of terrorists are being created'. This failure of the American public diplomacy in trying 'to do a better job of telling our story' in the words of President Bush could be due to stylistic difference( American penchant for speaking straight as opposed to Muslim perception of direct talks as being confrontational and threatening to its collective social fabric) as to no less Muslim world’s valid perception of mono-centric policy of favoring Israel to the total disregard of the injustice meted out daily to the Arabs , in particular to the Palestinians (American Public Diplomacy in the Arab World- June 2003-R.S.Zaharna American University)." Image from
Grants open for Australia-Korea awareness - The Korea Herald: "Funding priority will be given to projects which have an identified Korean partner and seek to strengthen Australia’s bilateral relationship with Korea in one or more of the following categories: Year of Friendship 2011; Collaboration on Green Technologies, Environment and Climate Change Issues; Public Diplomacy; Media and Advocacy; Youth and Capacity Building for the Future."
Text plans and work experience, professional and scientific Salehi - omidevesal.mihanblog.com: [Google translation "from the Persian"]: به گزارش خبرنگار" پارلمانی خبرگزاری فارس، متن برنامهها و سوابق كاری، حرفهای و علمی علیاكبر صالحی سرپرست وزارت امور خارجه كه امروز به مجلس ارائه شد به شرح ذیل است: Fars News Parliamentary report, text and background work programs, professional and academic Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the State House today is presented as follows: ... * State macro strategies الف) امنیت و صلح برای همه A) the security and peace for all ب) دستیابی به رفاه و پیشرفت B) to achieve prosperity and progress
ج) حفظ كرامت انسانها C) preserve human dignity د) مشاركتگرایی و عدم تمكین به ظلم و تبعیض D) lack of devotion to Msharktgrayy oppression and discrimination
ه) سرمایهگذاری در منابع انسانی E) investment in human resources و) ارتقاء خدمات كنسولی And) promote Consular Services * برای تحقق اهداف كلان فوق، وزارت امور خارجه نیازمند بازتعریف و بازسازی رویكردها و ابزار تحقق اهداف نظام در عرصه سیاست خارجی با تاكید بر حفظ مبانی و اصول میباشد. * To achieve the above macro targets, the State Department requires redefinition and reconstruction approaches and tools in the field of system goals of foreign policy with emphasis on foundations and principles are maintained. در این راستا افزون بر استفاده از سازوكارهای شناخته شده و رسمی، برآنیم تا برای پیشبرد اهداف خود، بهرهمندی از امكانات و زمینههای جدید مانند سازمانهای مردم نهاد NGO را در دستور كار قرار داده و همچنین برای تنویر افكار عمومی ملتها در رهیافتی نوین مباحث مربوط به دیپلماسی عمومی Public Diplomacy را مورد توجه ویژه قرار دهیم. In this regard, addition of known and formal mechanisms, Drives up to advance their goals, benefit from new facilities and areas such as governmental organizations, the NGO placed on the agenda for the illumination of public opinion as well as nations in discussions of new approach Public diplomacy Public Diplomacy to put special attention."
Countries sell themselves - yovia.com: "Any national promotion is supposed to reflect the country’s culture, taste and special characters in a condensed form. ... Experience China[:] The promotional video Experience China is an effort to exert 'soft power' through culture and lifestyle. Xinhua News Agency called it a 'public diplomacy campaign'. Massive images flashed on six screens on two sides of a building framed in China’s traditional red color."
Diagramming Public Diplomacy - Ryan J. Suto: "Academically, public diplomacy must be a broad concept. There are many strategies, concepts, terms, and tactics that fit within the field. And just like any other academic field, there are aspects subject to concentration and specialization. That said, I still think the field would benefit from a consensus on a definition. The problem is that everyone else thinks so, too. There are more ‘What is Public Diplomacy?’ writing out there than anyone should read (including this post). Ultimately, we must be aware of the blurry lines that bind fields together. So, I could simply offer up another definition of public diplomacy. I could write that public diplomacy is the image of a state or its people, as maintained by a government, organization, or people, and held by international publics. I could then go on for 500 words defending that definition.
Or, I could just present a diagram, which I think is much more accurate, simple, and enjoyable."
What is “Public Diplomacy”? - Ren's Micro Diplomacy: "From 'Searching for a Theory of Public Diplomacy' by Eytan Gilboa [:]A typical statement would describe public diplomacy as 'direct communication with foreign peoples, with the aim of affecting their thinking and, ultimately, that of their governments' (Malone 1985, 199). This definition does not say who controls this communication, probably due to the widely held notion in the 1980s that only governments use public diplomacy. The definition also suggests a two-step influence process: first, direct communication designed to create supportive public opinion in another state; and second, pressure by the informed public on its government to adopt friendly policies toward the country employing public diplomacy. Later definitions identified actors and content. Tuch (1990, 3) for example, defined public diplomacy as 'a government’s process of communication with foreign publics in an attempt to bring about understanding for its nation’s ideas and ideals, its institutions and culture, as well as its national goals and policies.' Frederick (1993, 229) added information about specific content: 'activities, directed abroad in the fields of information, education, and culture, whose objective is to influence a foreign government, by influencing its citizens.'”
Student Visas, Fake Universities and the National Image - Robin, Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "January 30, 2011 I’m catching up on my marking backlog from my India trip so not much to say at the moment..but via the Indian Ministry of External Affairs twitter feed I’m interested to learn about the case of Tri Valley University in San Francisco – which has just been shut down on suspicion of money laundering. Most of the students are Indian and some of them have been electronically tagged – which is going down like a lead balloon in India with the foreign minister weighing in. This is a nice example of a story that is probably not getting any play in the US but has considerable visibility in India and is probably coming as a bit of a surprise to the State Department."
PD officer for a day - Kaitlinfso's Blog: "Right now my job is pretty cool, I am a Consular Officer doing visa interviews everyday, which can be funny. Actually this week I had to walk out on an interview to regain my composure because I actually laughed so hard, my face turned red, and I cried. ... Anyway, today I got to do something more in line with my future career in Public Diplomacy. A few days ago, a local political think tank invited me and a coworker to come give a presentation on the US electoral system as well as the 2008 Elections and Obama’s use of social media.
So basically we had about 2 days to prepare a 1 hour presentation in Spanish. Luckily the State Department already had a power point explaining the electoral college, so we just had to create one on President Obama and Social Media. I must say it was a great success! Most of the people in the room were local politicians/professors/union leaders and they asked many good questions that showed they were really listening and using our presentation to clear up doubts or questions they had on our political system. I was also really glad I got to throw out a plug for Women’s Studies. In the bio they read about me, I explained what the major was, because if it’s still sort of new in the US, its radical in Mexico where liberal arts are barely studied." Image from
Any Silver Lining in Sight? - gcapsouthasia.org: "Angus Mackay is a freelance writer in Los Angeles, where for many years he directed Britain’s public diplomacy outreach throughout the southwestern US. A graduate of Cambridge University, he was honored for this work by Her Majesty The Queen in 2007 (MBE.)"
VOA jazz history in the news - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
CBAAC hosts Ambassador Adefuye, signs MoU - compassnewspaper.com: "Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) last week hosted Nigerian Ambassador to the United States of America Prof. Ade Adefuye, at its offices on Broad Street, Lagos. The meeting afforded HE, Prof Adefuye and Prof Tunde Babawale, Director General CBAAC to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU, covering broad areas of cross-border co-operation and inter-institutional working relationship hopes to explore the instruments of arts and culture for cultural diplomacy in the United States and the Americas to the benefit of Nigeria, Africa and the entire Black world."
Imagining great Irish culture - Paul Keating, Irish Central: "The political and economic news from Ireland continues to spin out of control seemingly in a more troubled downward spiral as the government collapses, and the citizenry hopes to change that direction with new elections. The doom and gloom cycle continues unabated, so it seems like the new ambitious Culture Ireland initiative christened Imagine Ireland couldn’t have come at a better time to America to counter some of that negativity, and also to spark renewed interest in Irish culture for its own sake. One of the chief architects of that campaign launched recently in New York at Lincoln Center was Eugene Downes, the CEO of Culture Ireland who is positively upbeat about the importance of Irish culture on the world stage and for the year 2011 across the length and breadth of the U.S. ... When Downes came onboard three and half years ago, it signaled a determined approach towards cultural Diplomacy given his own background in both the promotion of the arts and foreign service experience.
Building a small but highly effective staff of six people under his direction, he organized annual inroads into the wider cultural sphere represented at the APAP Conference for Arts presenters in the U.S. showcasing Irish artist talent in theater, dance, music, film and other disciplines incrementally but with credible results. Simultaneously there was serendipitous movement on the ground in New York and elsewhere, with New York’s Irish Arts Center proving to be a very viable and visible partner year-round, and also the emergence of actor Gabriel Byrne -- now Ireland’s cultural ambassador to the U.S. -- whose candid comments on the lack of initiative for the Irish arts both in Ireland and in the Irish American community lit a fire in evolving discussions on what should be done. To their credit the Irish government’s ambassadorial and consular offices help make the case to the Irish government and Brian Cowen’s regime for greater support and action to bolster the fledgling cultural efforts, which was also reinforced by the Irish American community and philanthropists like Chuck Feeney and Loretta Brennan Glucksman." Image from
BBC World Service makes deep cuts - cbc.ca: The BBC has plans to close five of its 32 World Service language services including its English-language service in the Caribbean. Britain's public broadcaster announced the cuts, which could eliminate up to 650 jobs,
about a quarter of all jobs at the World Service, on Wednesday. ... 'It is awful for British foreign policy because they are weakening substantially one of the most important elements of international cultural diplomacy' — Former World Service director John Tusa." Image from article: BBC global news director Peter Horrocks describes cuts to the World Service at a press conference in London Wednesday.
Lucha Libre Diplomacy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "As the occupants of my Indian household tune in to WWE, I dream of Mexico instituting a cultural diplomacy to send Lucha Libre touring. My two pesos: brand Mexican Lucha Libre as Mexican cultural diplomacy to the multitude of wrestling followers across the world over."
Events featuring daughter of Malcolm X ... [and] first African American to play in the NBA scheduled at Vanderbilt University during Black History Month - "Princine Lewis, Vanderbilt University News: Ambassador Atallah Shabazz, daughter of civil rights leader Malcolm X, will give a talk, 'Melting Pot: Cultural Diplomacy/Multi-National Patriotism,' at Vanderbilt University Thursday, Feb. 10 . ... A producer, writer and diplomat, Shabazz
is the eldest of six daughters born to Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X Shabazz. Appointed as ambassador-at-large by the prime minister of Belize, she is an adviser on international cultural affairs and project development." Shabazz image from article
Student Profile: Jiakai Jeremy Chua - Gaby Roman, InsideVandy: Jiakai Jeremy Chua Sophomore - Class of 2013 A&S English/History, Communication Studies, Economics President - VIP Leadership Council ... 'I am excited about cultural diplomacy and communication. It fascinates me how people would
choose to interact with one another regardless of where they hail from, coaxing new frontiers in human communication. We often find common ground in the many rich and diverse heritages spread across the world, and it is really up to us to use those bridges to connect with others. Alcohol, for example, is one of those bridges.'" Chua image from article
Paris, Italy - Style.com: "It was one of those nights in Paris when a body was spoiled for choice. ... Ella Krasner and 'cultural diplomacy festival organization' Liberatum were busy honoring a decade of Another Magazine."
Obama's handling Egypt pretty well - Marc Lynch, Foreign Policy: It's crucial to understand that the United States is not the key driver of the Egyptian protest movement.
Arabic broadcaster Al-Jazeera banned in Egypt: Some government supporters say the network's round-the-clock coverage of the protests is inspiring further unrest. Its journalists will provide updates on Twitter - Associated Press, latimes.com.
Image from article: An Al-Jazeera employee at the pan-Arab television channel's bureau in Cairo
Egypt: The Twitter-less revolution - Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing: "[I]f protests on 25 January took place in the context of a veritable flood of information, yesterday's massive demonstrations happened in a literal vacuum. Suddenly dragged back to the land-line communications era, the protesters didn't know about Alexandria or Suez; they didn't even know what was happening across the river. It didn't matter. Protest organisers basically bypassed the idea of coordination altogether and just told people, Protest everywhere." (Index on Censorship, via @blakehounshell)
With internet and mobile shut down in Egypt, communication "reverts to a broadcast/receiver relationship" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
China: Bridging news on Egypt - Oiwan Lam, advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org: On 28 of January, when commenting on the political situation in Egypt, the spoke person from Chinese foreign ministry stated that the Chinese government will continue to support the Egyptian government in maintaining social stability and oppose any foreign intervention in Egypt. Since then, the term “Egypt” has been blocked from search in major social media websites, such as Sina and Sohu micro-blog hosting sites. Via PR.
New IFJ Report Outlines Restrictions on Journalists in China - Press Release, International Federation of Journalists, posted at scoop.co.nz: A new International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) report has uncovered scores of restrictive orders issued by China’s authorities in 2010 that block information on public health, disasters, corruption and civil unrest. Voices of Courage: Press Freedom in China 2010, released today by IFJ Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong, outlines more than 80 restrictive orders issued last year by authorities in China. The orders are a mere sample of the vast array of controls on information that journalists and media workers are known to grapple with when reporting the news. “The IFJ
has uncovered a series of orders issued by China’s propaganda machine in 2010, a worrying indicator that China’s leaders are not fulfilling the promises they made to the international community ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to move towards a more open media environment,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White said. Image from
China - Propaganda department in attack on “false news” - tolerance.ca: Chinese journalists are to undergo six-month training courses that will teach them how to “eradicate false news, improve the feeling of social responsibility and reinforce journalistic ethics.” “In short, to make journalists themselves actors in censorship,” Reporters Without Borders commented. The initiative comes from the Propaganda department, directly linked to the Communist Party, and follows its announcement of 10 directives relating to the press in 2011.
'Internet freedom doesn't guarantee real freedom' - R Krishna, Daily News & Analysis: The internet is widely believed to foster democracy — the revolution in Tunisia where people drove out their authoritarian president, Ben Ali, was largely organised through online platforms. In 2009, the US State Department directed Twitter to postpone a scheduled maintenance (which would have resulted in an outage of the service) so that Iranians protesting against an unfair election could voice their dissent.
However, while the Tunisian uprising had the desired result, imagine if the president had remained in power. “He would have used all the information posted on social networking sites to crack down on everyone who opposed him. This happened in Iran in 2009,” says Evgeny Morozov, a visiting scholar at Stanford University and author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side Of Internet Freedom. In an interview with DNA, Morozov talks about how the internet can be liberating, but at the same time can also disengage youth from politics. “We all know that there is plenty of highly entertaining content on the internet... This content is much more popular than the politicised reports about human rights abuses and the like. There is this tendency to glamourise all internet users in China, Russia and Iran as dissidents, which I think is unhelpful.” Image from
Iran seems to be fortifying its firewall - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting
WikiLeaks unplugged: The era of WikiLeaks appears over, the group is in disarray even as the U.S. takes measures to prevent future leaks and news organizations move to cut out the middleman - latimes.com: The long-term problem every government faces in keeping secrets isn't WikiLeaks; it's the information technology that makes communication easier but makes leaking easier too.
President Obama and that 'exceptional' thing - Kathleen Parker, Washington Post: Is America exceptional or isn't she? Is there something about this country that makes us unique in the world? Of course there is. Through a presidential address Obama should take possession of the word and settle the question once and for all: What does American exceptionalism mean in today's world?
Getting at the truth of Tillman’s life, death - Tom Russo, boston.com: It feels odd to try to write anything encapsulating “The Tillman Story’’ (2010), filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev’s documentary about Pat Tillman, the former NFL player turned Iraq War casualty, and his family’s struggle to get straight answers about his death.
After all, if there’s one point that the Tillmans — and the movie — make most emphatically, it’s that all the propaganda-minded bureaucrats and media types who rushed to co-opt his memory didn’t know him at all. The film traces how government and military officials suppressed knowledge that Tillman was killed by friendly fire, bent on making him a national symbol regardless of his wishes. Image from article: "The Tillman Story"
Turkish action film set to worsen ties with Israel - Seda SezeR, Daren Butler, Reuters: A new Turkish film in which an action-man hero avenges the death of Turkish activists in Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship is likely to put new strain on already tense relations between Turkey and Israel. "Valley of the Wolves: Palestine," one of the most expensive Turkish films ever made, has drawn accusations at home of excessive violence and abroad of anti-Israeli propaganda, but it attracted big audiences at its opening this weekend. In the film Polat Alemdar, a secret agent more akin to Rambo than James Bond, emerges from a series of bloody clashes to track down and kill the Israeli commander who ordered the storming of an aid ship heading for Gaza.
From North Korea, the art of survival - Leah Sandals, thestar.com: With its reputation for Stalinist repression, North Korea's image in the West tends to be an ugly one. But a current Toronto exhibition is offering a rare look at this mysterious nation's more beautiful and artistic side. “North Korean Images at Utopia's Edge,” on display at the University of Toronto Art Centre, is the first exhibition of North Korean art in Canada. “Many people think there's no such thing as art in North Korea, there's only propaganda,”
says U of T assistant professor Janet Poole, who, with colleagues in the university's Centre for the Study of Korea, brought this exhibition, originally organized by New York's Korea Society, to Toronto.“This exhibition forces some kind of questioning of that, I think.” The prints in “Utopia's Edge” often reflect official North Korean values of industrial productivity, state benevolence, military pride, self-sufficiency and rural living. The mood is unrelentingly positive, such as children rejoicing over a parent's hard work on the railway. As a result, these images may seem exactly like propaganda to some viewers. Poole also points out that every nation has its own form of utopian art imagery. Image from article: Hwang Chol-Ho's Happiness, 1990
“Electrification and counter-revolution”: Public Diplomacy Implications - John Brown, Notes and Essays: Regarding the Middle East events and the role of the latest media in them, here's this early Soviet-era poster on “Electrification [the Internet?] and counter-revolution [The ME regimes?]” Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose ...
ONE MORE QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"[W]e need to make sure that we don’t just raise a generation of Facebook activists who don’t dare challenge the authority in the real world thinking that their online contribution is enough."