Saturday, May 7, 2011

May 7

"[I]t was actually named after a certain James Abbott, a British officer who became a legend in this region [of Pakistan] in the 1840s and 50s. He was knighted for his efforts to bring it firmly under the control of the Raj."

--BBC's Mishal Husain, regarding Abbottabad, Bin Laden's hideout; via MC; Abbott image from


Host families needed by PIE - Review Times: "Foreign high school students are scheduled to arrive soon for academic semester and year homestay programs, and the sponsoring organization needs a few more local host families. The students are anxiously awaiting news of their new families. These young ambassadors are looking forward to fulfilling their life-long dreams. According to Pacific Intercultural Exchange (P.I.E.)

President, John Doty, the students are all between the ages of 15 and 18 years, are English-speaking, have their own spending money, carry accident and health insurance, and want to share their cultural experiences with their new American families. P.I.E. has programs to match almost every family's needs, ranging in length from one semester to a full academic year, where the students attend local public and private high schools. 'At this critical time in our country's history, hosting an international teen is the best and purest form of public diplomacy the United States has,' said Doty." Image from

New websites for Radio Free Asia 15th anniversary and VOA Development and Media Training -  Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting 

Letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan - "JETAANC received the following letter from Mr. Naoki Murata, Director-General at the Public Diplomacy Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan:  'Dear JET Program Alumni Association of Northern California (JETAANC), More than one month has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake has hit the nation. I extend my heartfelt sympathy to all the people who have suffered as a result of this disaster, both Japanese nationals and non-Japanese, including JET Program participants, and to their families. I especially offer my sincerest condolences to Ms. Taylor Anderson and Mr. Montgomery Dickson, who were the victims of the disaster.

I laud their achievement and contribution as JET Program participants for English education and international exchange activities at the local level. At the same time, I express my gratitude to JET Program participants who have continued to assume their duties in Japan in this difficult time. I understand that JETAA chapters across the United States of America are working for the earthquake relief efforts in Japan by means of a series of events, including 'JETAA USA Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.' I extend my heartfelt appreciation for such assistance from your organization. I am grateful for the fact that many JET alumni have prayed for Japan and extended support to us. I am deeply impressed by the warm encouragement. ...' " Naoki Murata image from

Do’s and Don’ts for India After Osama bin Laden’s Death - "Don’ts ... 2. Don’t attempt to appear saintly by saying 'we understand Pakistan’s challenges.' This could be a huge domestic public diplomacy mistake."

Indian idol in China - Hindustan Times: "In 1961, a clutch of Chinese intellectuals gathered in Beijing to reminisce about a bearded poet from Bengal. They called Rabindranath Tagore a symbol of Hindi-Chin[a] friendship and released ten translated tomes of his writing to mark his 100th birth anniversary. The next year, India and China went to war. From 1962 and for over a decade until the Cultural Revolution from 1966-76, Tagore translations came to a grinding halt in Beijing. Fifty years later, the governments of India and China are vigorously recasting Tagore as a 'cultural bridge' beyond their still disputed Himalayan borders. This year,

the 150th birth anniversary of the thinker who captivated Chinese elite since his controversial 1924 tour of China is steeped in political symbolism. ... India may need more icons than idols from a century ago in its public diplomacy in China. Today, the 1980s-born Chinese live in the fast lane of the world's largest car market and second-largest luxury market. 'China now needs a renaissance,' said Tagore expert Tan Chung in a chat with some members of China's cultural community in Beijing this week. ... But the appeal of Tagore will probably expand in China's elite classrooms as improved translations appear."  Image from

Jewish groups mull thwarting recognition of ‘Palestine’ at U.N. - Ron Kampeas, "David Harris, the executive director of the American Jewish Committee, which focuses on U.S. Jewish outreach internationally, said European opposition to Palestinian statehood was not a sure thing. ... 'How Israel engages in its public diplomacy with regard to the resumption of the peace talks and how it engages in its private diplomacy will have real impact in shaping how other countries react,' Harris said. 'Israel must convince the world it is absolutely dead serious about moving the peace process forward.'”

Passage - Kersamänia: Reflections of a Foreign Service couple heading to Riga, Latvia 2011: "Spring has really taken its time this year, approaching Arlington. A fluke, locals assure, but the intermittent rain and not-quite-shorts weather can conspire to deny any sense of progress – summer remains, like our Latvian excursion itself, seem somewhere off in the distance.

So it was with great cheer, I learned this afternoon, that Ker has finished with her Russian studies! She took the test this very morning, passing with flying colors, clearing one of the last major obstacles before our departure for Riga, in late July. She still has a pair of Public Diplomacy classes to look forward to, but these will both be taught in English. We will be taking a nice long week to run around New England one last time, after that, and then off we go." Image from


Big Brother's Face on Facebook: Bahrain urges loyalty pledge on Facebook, Twitter: Government begins social media propaganda - John Brown's Notes and Essays, posting from Government officials in Bahrain are asking citizens to post pledges of loyalty on Facebook and Twitter in the latest of a series of propaganda moves. Demonstrations by Shiites in the country, who seek political reform, were crushed by the ruling Sunni monarchy, which is now looking to social networking as a way to affirm its dominance over the country. Other countries in the region banned social networks or closed down Internet service providers altogether to crack down on uprisings, but Bahrain's approach is designed to put a positive PR spin on things and highlight to the world that it has a large following. The country launched an online campaign called “We Are All Hamad,” asking people to post pictures of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the country's king, on their Facebook and Twitter pages, along with other websites. The country's state-run news agency claimed that 10,000 people have already done this in the first week alone. Image from

Videos Show Bin Laden Watching Himself On TV - NPR: Home movies taken from Osama bin Laden's hideout show the terrorist leader watching news coverage of himself on television. The videos were seized by Navy SEALs

after bin Laden was killed Monday. They were shown to reporters Saturday by intelligence officials. The five movies offer the first public glimpse at bin Laden's life behind the walls of his compound in suburban Pakistan. The government-selected clips also provide an opportunity for the U.S. to paint bin Laden in an unflattering light to his supporters. The videos include outtakes of his propaganda films and, taken together, portray him as someone obsessed with his own image and how he is portrayed to the world. Image from

U.S.-Pakistan relations: An unhappy alliance: U.S.-Pakistan ties were strained even before Osama bin Laden's killing. But each side needs the other - Editorial, Alliances aren't the same as friendships. The hard truth is this: Though no one likes doing business with shady regimes, the United States needs Pakistan and must preserve the uncomfortable bond, even if that requires more aid. The U.S. must not inflame anti-Americanism in such a volatile, strategically situated nation.

Pak opposition leader fears Pakistan may become “52nd state of US” - Regretting the Pakistan Government’s silence on the ‘international propaganda challenging the nation’s sovereignty’ following US operation against Osama bin Laden inside Pakistani territory, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, has wondered whether Pakistan is going to be the 52nd state of the United States.

“The rulers have no right to remain in power any more, as they have failed to defend the country or to provide a credible and daring response to the propaganda challenging Pakistan’s sovereignty,” The News quoted Nisar, as telling media persons at the Parliament House. Image from

Prague is capitalizing on its Cold War past - Ron Bedard, Postmedia News: During times of economic crisis, travel destinations scramble for the global tourist dollar, enticing visitors with unique and rare opportunities. During the Communist era, most Eastern bloc countries were plagued by oppression and anti-West propaganda, while the party elite lived in opulence as citizens struggled for bread and basics. The Czech Republic and the city of Prague, as part of the former Soviet bloc, are now capitalizing on what was left by this painful part of their past. Throughout the Eastern bloc, remnants of the Cold War and the Soviet war machine abound. Immediately following the collapse of communism, the efforts of the residents to erase or transform the legacy of their communist past are now been promoted as an alternative for those seeking a niche travel experience. The history of Prague dates to the Middle Ages.

In the centre of Prague, and what is called "Old Town," it can seem more like a visit to Disneyland or a fairy-tale movie set, because of the ornate and well-preserved medieval buildings. Not far from the centre square, a vast subterranean system was built by the Communist regime, with bomb shelters and command posts for military generals and party elite during the Cold War. The locked gates and doorways that hid the chilling reality of nuclear war between two ideologies are now open for business. Abandoned radio rooms, shelters and storage rooms survive as a testament to a time when nuclear war was thought to be survivable by either hiding under your wooden desk at school or locking yourself in these underground bunkers for several years, only to emerge and repopulate the world when the dust settled. Above ground, foreboding against the city skyline and topped by a large illuminated star, was the vacation hotel for the Communist party elite, named the Hotel International, now the Crowne Plaza. The hotel is 88 metres high, topped with a 10-metre spire and a large 1.5-metre star. Image from article: Prague's Crowne Plaza, formerly the Hotel International, features numerous elements from its Cold War-era past, including murals depicting happy field workers. The building is now a heritage site.


In Fla., another bin Laden mansion sits empty - Tamara Lush, USA Today: ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — For sale: a five-bedroom, Mediterranean-style mansion with a red, barrel-tiled roof and arched doorways and windows. It even comes with some notoriety as it was once owned by one of Osama bin Laden's brothers. Khalil bin Laden, one of the terrorist mastermind's 54 siblings, bought the home in 1980 for $1.6 million, but the wealthy businessman and his family fled their vacation spot under police escort shortly after 9/11, fearing they might be targeted because of the terrorist attacks. The 1920s-era mansion has sat empty ever since. Image from

1 comment:

steroids said...

so few are knighted these days just goes to show how little the British have accomplished of late.