From rebel to retail? Inside Bob Marley’s posthumous musical and merchandising empire

February 21st, 2024

by MIKE ALLEYNE

Bob Marley performs at a ‘Viva Zimbabwe’ independence celebration in April 1980. IMAGE/William F. Campbell/Getty Images

The long-awaited Bob Marley biopic “One Love” will highlight important moments in the musician’s life – his adolescence in Trench Town, his spiritual growth, the attempt on his life. But as a music industry scholar, I wonder if the film is yet another extension of the Marley marketing machine.

Marley died in 1981 at the age of 36. He’d achieved a level of mainstream success unrivaled by other reggae acts, and he did so while challenging global capitalism and speaking to the oppressed.

This image, however, is fundamentally at odds with what has happened to Marley’s name and likeness since his death.

Now you can buy Bob Marley backpacks, Bob Marley jigsaw puzzles – even Bob Marley flip-flops. The trailer for ‘One Love.’

The accusation of “selling out” could once seriously threaten an artist’s credibility; the insult wields far less power in an era when an artist’s survival often depends on sponsorship and licensing deals. Meanwhile, a deceased artist’s ongoing earnings are left in the hands of others.

Nonetheless, when a musician as revered as Marley – and whose songs were suffused with messages of liberation, anti-imperialism and anti-capitalism – becomes so commercialized, it’s worth wondering how this happened and whether it threatens his artistic legacy.

On and off the record

In its 2023 list of highest-paid dead celebrities, Forbes placed Marley in the ninth slot, right behind former Beatles front man John Lennon. According to the publication, Marley earned US$16 million – or rather, his estate did.

The Conversation for more

What Was the Fact?

February 21st, 2024

by JON ASKONAS

Tools and measures in the Russian Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary, 1890–1907 IMAGE/Double-M / Flickr

Here lies a beloved friend of social harmony (ca. 1500–2000). It was nice while it lasted.

Facts, like telescopes and wigs for gentlemen, were a seventeenth-century invention.  — Alasdair MacIntyre

How hot is it outside today? And why did you think of a number as the answer, not something you felt?

A feeling is too subjective, too hard to communicate. But a number is easy to pass on. It seems to stand on its own, apart from any person’s experience. It’s a fact.

Of course, the heat of the day is not the only thing that has slipped from being thought of as an experience to being thought of as a number. When was the last time you reckoned the hour by the height of the sun in the sky? When was the last time you stuck your head out a window to judge the air’s damp? At some point in history, temperature, along with just about everything else, moved from a quality you observe to a quantity you measure. It’s the story of how facts came to be in the modern world.

This may sound odd. Facts are such a familiar part of our mental landscape today that it is difficult to grasp that to the premodern mind they were as alien as a filing cabinet. But the fact is a recent invention. Consider temperature again. For most of human history, temperature was understood as a quality of hotness or coldness inhering in an object — the word itself refers to their mixture. It was not at all obvious that hotness and coldness were the same kind of thing, measurable along a single scale.

The New Atlantis for more

Opinion: Indian Parliament and 10 pieces of useless information about it

February 21st, 2024

by DEREK O’BRIEN

The Parliament House of India IMAGE/Wikipedia

Goodbye to the 17th Lok Sabha. This was a Lok Sabha of many dubious firsts.

(i) In terms of the number of workdays, this was the least productive Lok Sabha (lowest days worked) since 1952

(ii) No Deputy Speaker was appointed for its entirety

(iii) The Prime Minister did not answer a single question on the floor of the House. 

(iv) In the last seven years, not even a single notice by a member of the Opposition has been accepted for discussion (under Rule 267) in the Rajya Sabha 

(v) An MP from the Treasury was permitted to use communal slurs on the floor of the House 

(vi) First-ever security breach inside Lok Sabha 

(vii) 146 MPs from the Opposition were suspended for demanding a discussion about the breach 

(viii) About 300 questions by Opposition MPs were deleted

But, leave all this seriousness aside. Here are ten pieces of useless information on Parliament:

1. MPs Smile More…

…Courtesy the new facial recognition systems installed at the entrances. Members of Parliament are required to stop and scan their faces in order to enter the new building. This has meant that many more MPs smile before they enter the Parliament precincts. A welcome change from the usual scowls.

2. Separate Cafeterias

Sadly, there is no Central Hall in the new Parliament building – as a result of which there is no large common meeting area. There are separate cafes for both Houses. One is in close proximity to the Lok Sabha, and the other in close proximity to the Rajya Sabha. When a Rajya Sabha MP goes to the Lok Sabha canteen and vice versa, there is a good chance they might feel like a guest of honour (and wouldn’t even be asked to pay the bill!).

3. Fish Fry

Parliament canteens continue to serve fish fry and mutton/chicken biryani. Reasonably priced. The non-vegetarians are still holding out. Pescetarians have a different grouse. Currently, the fish fry is made with unhealthy Basa. After several rounds of lobbying, the caterers have been convinced to use Bhetki fish from the next session.

4. Names of Gates

There are six gates to the new Parliament building. Each one is named after real or mythological creatures. Gaja Dwar, Ashwa Dwar , Garuda Dwar, Makar Dwar, Shardula Dwar and Hamsa Dwar. While this certainly is inspired thinking, a little consideration could have been made for MPs from the South and the East who struggle with pronunciations each morning. Who knew linguistic gatekeeping would take on such a literal meaning in people’s lives.

5. No Place for the Media

While the new building has been built as snazzily as possible, members of the media are left with no option but to catch an MP for a sound byte or even a casual chat at the main entrance to Parliament. Ridiculous! The designated room lies in a far corner of the complex, conveniently distanced from the action. The building might be new, but the attitude towards democratic principles remains outdated.

NDTV for more

The churning of the global order

February 20th, 2024

TRICONTINENTAL

GRAPHS/Tricontinental

In January 2023, a reporter from Yomiuri Shimbun asked the press secretary of Japan’s foreign ministry, Hikariko Ono, for a definition of the term ‘Global South’. ‘The government of Japan does not have a precise definition of the term Global South’, she responded, but ‘it is my understanding that, in general, it often refers to emerging and developing countries’.1 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, press conference by Foreign Press Secretary Ono Hirariko, 25 January 2023, https://www.mofa.go.jp/press/kaiken/kaiken24e_000202.html.Footnote

The Japanese government struggled to find a more accurate assessment of the Global South, which it attempted to provide in the Diplomatic Bluebook 2023. In a long section on the idea of the Global South, Japanese officials acknowledge that the former Third World seemed to have developed a new mood. When the countries of the Global North, led by the United States, demanded that the countries of the Global South adopt the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) position on the war in Ukraine (namely to isolate Russia), they refused, accusing the West of ‘double standards’, since, as Japan’s foreign ministry notes, it justifies its own wars while decrying the wars of others. In light of this new mood in the Global South, Japan’s foreign ministry stated the need for a new attitude with ‘an inclusive approach that overcomes differences in values and interests’. As Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi wrote in the preface to the bluebook, ‘The world is now at a turning point in history’.2 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Diplomatic Bluebook 2023: Japanese Diplomacy and International Situation in 2022, 29 September 2023, https://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/other/bluebook/2023/pdf/en_index.html, i and 3.Footnote

This turning point is exemplified by the fact that few states in the Global South have been willing to participate in the isolation of Russia, refusing, for instance, to support Western resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly. Not all the states that have refused to join the West in its crusade against Russia are ‘anti-Western’ in a political sense; rather, many of them are driven by practical considerations, such as Russia’s discounted energy prices. Whether they are fed up with being pushed around by the West or they see economic opportunities in their relationship with Russia, increasingly, countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have refused to capitulate to the pressure coming from Washington to break ties with Russia. It is this refusal and avoidance that drove France’s President Emmanuel Macron to admit that he was ‘very impressed by how much we are losing the trust of the Global South’.3

The Tricontinental for more

The penalty for exposing how our plutocracy operates? Five years behind bars

February 20th, 2024

by SAM PIZZIGATI

IMAGE/Democracy Now

Tax consultant Charles Littlejohn faces prison while our richest continue to feel precious little tax-time pain.

A U.S. federal district court has just sentenced Charles Littlejohn to five years in prison. What exactly did Littlejohn — a contractor for the IRS — do? He committed a public service. He revealed just how astoundingly little America’s richest are paying in federal taxes.

In 2019, after Donald Trump had reneged on his campaign pledge to publicly share his personal tax data, the then 33-year-old Littlejohn passed detailed info from Trump’s tax returns to the New York Times. The subsequent Times exposé revealed that Trump, in 2016, had paid a mere $750 in federal income taxes and not paid any such taxes in all but five of the fifteen previous years.

A year later, Littlejohn shared a much wider federal income tax data set with the nonprofit news organization ProPublica. These new numbers helped expose how a variety of wealthy public officials, including the mega-millionaire Rick Scott, a Republican U.S. senator from Florida, had exploited tax code loopholes “to preserve their family fortunes for their heirs.”

A fuming Senator Scott would go on to position himself — before Littlejohn’s sentencing this past Monday — as among the “thousands of American taxpayers” that Littlejohn had subjected to “partisan abuse.”

The Wall Street Journal shared Scott’s indignation. “The man behind the largest heist of taxpayer data,” the Journal insisted, fully deserves a “multiyear sentence” severe enough to “deter future political raids on unpopular Americans.”

But the outrage over Littlejohn’s IRS data leaks went far beyond the ranks of right-wing lawmakers and editorial boards. The presiding U.S. district court judge on Littlejohn’s case, Ana Reyes, could barely contain her fury.

“I cannot overstate how troubled I am by what occurred,” Reyes announced last October at the hearing where Littlejohn pled guilty to one count of unauthorized disclosure of income tax returns. Reyes went on to promise “serious consequences” for Littlejohn’s transgressions.

“People taking the law into their own hands,” she intoned, will always be “unacceptable.”

U.S. Attorney-General Merrick Garland would be equally aghast.

“By using his role as a government contractor to gain access to private tax information, steal that information, and disclose it publicly,” Garland harrumphed, “Charles Littlejohn broke federal law and betrayed the public’s trust.”

Inequality for more

Charles Koch believes there are two kinds of people, only one of which he has to care about

February 20th, 2024

by CHARLES P. PIERCE

Charles Koch Believes There Are Two Kinds Of People, Only One of Which He Has to Care About IMAGE/© The Washington Post – Getty Images

We usually hear about the Koch brothers as the hidden money power behind most of the wingnut welfare apparatus. They have become so notorious for their political activity that we often forget that they also were major corporate overlords and that, in his day job, Charles Koch, the surviving brother who remains politically active, behaves like the very model of a modern American businessman. Which is to say like a cold-blooded plutocrat who believes that there are two kinds of people—his kind and nobody to care about. From the Guardian:

Workers at Georgia-Pacific, a paper and building products company, have been locked in a years-long battle with a company over claims asbestos in its products caused fatal cancers. The case has come as the Koch brothers’ political network has pushed for legislation to protect companies facing asbestos-related claims and limit payouts for victims. Koch Industries bought Georgia-Pacific in 2005. The company faces over 60,000 asbestos lawsuits but has not paid out anything since 2017 when the company conducted a controversial maneuver known as the “Texas two-step”.

This, it should be noted, is not the great lost recording of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.

Under Texan bankruptcy law, a corporation can divide itself into two companies, loading any lawsuit liabilities into one company and its assets into another. In Georgia-Pacific’s case, a new firm, Bestwall LLC, was created for the asbestos liabilities. Bestwall filed for bankruptcy in 2017. Georgia-Pacific, which also makes Brawny paper towels and Dixie cups, has continued with its normal operations. Koch Industries received $2.5bn in dividends from Georgia-Pacific in 2022 and has received over $5bn in dividends since the asbestos liabilities were moved to Bestwall. The lawsuits filed for and on behalf of asbestos victims have been in limbo.

Limbo is a place where all the best people never pay their debts, moral or otherwise.

MSN for more

The loneliness epidemic in the East Bay

February 19th, 2024

by ESTHER CHAPMAN

ILLUSTRATION/Davide Bonazzi

What science tells us about our need to connect.

Several times a week, Rita Goldhor picks up her phone and dials into a class or support group offered through the national Well Connected program for older adults. Goldhor, who lives in San Leandro, is 96 years old, legally blind, and confined to a wheelchair, but that doesn’t stop her from participating in a writers’ group, two support groups for those with vision impairments, and a “Gratitude Group” in which people with challenges and disabilities take turns sharing something positive.

“Without Well Connected, I think I would be severely depressed,” she says. “These groups form a community and even a family for you. You make a connection.”

Goldhor may not know it, but she is in step with a growing field of science around the health benefits of positive human connection. In a report released in May, “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation,” United States surgeon general Vivek Murthy shared scores of studies showing that rates of loneliness are rising in our nation and contributing to many negative health impacts. On the flip side, positive social connections can protect our health and contribute to better mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

There may be no one-size-fits-all answer to the “loneliness epidemic,” but many experts have ideas about how we can reverse the isolation trend we face as individuals and communities.

THE PROTECTIVE EFFECTS OF CONNECTION

Loneliness is a normal part of the human experience, especially when we go through a major life change or disruption. A child moves to a new neighborhood, a young adult graduates from college and starts a new job, a parent leaves the workplace to stay home with young children, or an older adult loses his spouse and must navigate loneliness alongside his grief.

These transient seasons of loneliness can actually be helpful, prompting us to reach out to others to build—or rebuild—connections. However, chronic loneliness and isolation can contribute to negative long-term health impacts, such as:

On the other hand, positive social connection produces beneficial health outcomes almost from the moment we enter the world.

“Early in life, if we’re attended to, nurtured, and supported, we end up in a category called ‘securely attached,’ and that makes us healthier, happier, and more satisfied in relationships throughout adulthood,” says Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., science director at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

Social connection can prompt us to take on the healthy habits of our peers, studies show, such as becoming more physically active, quitting smoking, and getting involved in rewarding activities like volunteering. In the workplace, those with supportive work relationships tend to report more job satisfaction and less burnout.

Close community even seems to contribute to a longer life span. When scientists studied the five areas of the world with the longest-living populations, referred to as Blue Zones, they discovered one commonality was a tight-knit community. Close community provides a positive network of support that elevates happiness and well-being and also reinforces shared practices (diet, exercise) that promote better health and longer life.

HOW WE LOST CONNECTION

Though many people believe the COVID-19 pandemic caused our current state of isolation, the trend actually started decades earlier. Time-use studies beginning in 2003 show people spending more time alone and less time with family and friends. According to other research, 90 percent of those who say they are not lonely have three or more confidants, yet almost half (49 percent) of Americans have three or fewer close friends, up from 27 percent in 1990.

Diablo Mag or more

Thomas Friedman’s describing the Middle East as an ‘animal kingdom’ is even worse than it sounds

February 19th, 2024

by ZEESHAN ALEEM

Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist and bestselling author Thomas L. Friedman attends The Boys’ Club of New York Ninth Annual Winter Luncheon at 583 Park Avenue on February 26, 2018 in N.Y.. IMAGE/© MSNBC/MSN

The West has a sordid history of describing people from the Global South as savage and animalistic.

Friedman encourages the reader to turn to the “natural world” to understand the Middle East and explains that he sometimes prefers to watch Animal Planet over CNN to understand the region. The choice of this premise in the year 2024 is … shocking. The West has a sordid history of describing people from the Global South as savage and animalistic. Immediately this analytic framework places us in the realm of social Darwinism, depicting nations as locked in a melee of survival of the fittest. While it’s true that states vie for power, often in brutal ways, portraying those struggles as a food chain crams them into an inaccurate framework. More broadly, it treats geopolitical dynamics — particularly those of domination — as natural laws, rather than permitting the reader to question them or consider alternatives.

In Friedman’s telling, Iran is a “parasitoid wasp,” which lays eggs in the “caterpillars” that the rest of the world knows as Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq. These nations are then eaten “from the inside out” by the eggs: Iran-aligned organizations like the Houthis, Hezbollah and Hamas. Somehow Hamas is also a “trap-door spider,” adept at “camouflage” and swift in its attacks. 

But while Arab countries and Iran are tiny bugs — alien, pesky — in Friedman’s story the U.S. and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are represented as mammals — intelligent, capable. Friedman likens the U.S. to an old lion, which reigns as the “king of the jungle,” and bemoans how “we have so many scars from so many fights that we just can’t just show up, roar loudly and expect that everyone will do what we want or scamper away.” Israel manages to avoid being the subject of a butchered analogy, but Friedman describes Netanyahu as similar to a “sifaka lemur.” Its sideways gait, Friedman writes, signifies how Netanyahu is “always shifting side to side to stay in power and avoiding going decisively backward or forward.”

MSNBC for more

Determined and undeterred: A young Afghan woman educated herself against the odds

February 19th, 2024

by TAYLOR MCNEIL

“When I am learning, I have to learn the whole thing, even if it takes me many hours,” says Sola Mahfouz. “And if I go to sleep, I’m going to be thinking about the thing when I wake up. It takes my whole brain space.” IMAGE/Alonso Nichols

Sola Mahfouz pursued an education in isolation in Afghanistan, starting with online kindergarten math as a teenager, and now she does research in quantum computing at Tufts

In 2007, when Sola Mahfouz was 11 years old, men came to her family compound in southern Afghanistan, and told her father that if she and her sisters went to school again, they would get acid thrown in their faces. It didn’t come as a shock—the region had many supporters of the Taliban in the late 1990s.

The quality of education at the girls’ school Mahfouz had been going to wasn’t good, but when schooling abruptly stopped, she was at loose ends. Her days soon became a series of listless activities in her family home—cooking, cleaning, watching Bollywood movies—with no end in sight.

Now, 15 years later, Mahfouz is a staff researcher in the quantum computing group at Tufts. She narrates that sometimes wrenching, sometimes heartwarming, and often astounding transformation in her new book, Defiant Dreams: The Journey of an Afghan Girl Who Risked Everything for an Education, published June 6.

Mahfouz—a pseudonym she uses to protect family members still in Afghanistan under the Taliban—wrote the book (with co-author Malaina Kapoor) in part to convey a far more personal and nuanced view of her country than most Americans have read or seen.

“There are not a lot of books written about the Afghan experience by Afghans,” she says. “Journalists visiting the country observe things and then interpret it through their own experience. I have this urge to show the complexity of life there. The story is not just about me. I tried to pick stories to shed light on something bigger.”

She hopes that her book gives readers a glimpse of Afghanistan and the world through an Afghan woman’s eyes.  “I don’t know who said it, but the job of the writer is not to give you the solution, it’s to make you think, to see things clearly,” she says.

How History Plays Out

Hers in some ways is the story of Afghanistan’s recent history. To write the book, she had to research her own country’s history, and talked to her parents and other relatives to learn what they were doing long before she was born.

Nowtufts for more

(Thanks to reader)

Artists across many platforms support the Palestinians

February 16th, 2024

by B. R. GOWANI

https://drive.google.com/file/d/109S-_qW9leL4fMiw6vWVXDVPw7coK2eH/view?usp=drive_link

How Israel occupied Palestine a short story by Ushna Shah VIDEO/Radiant Reflection/

Everything such as “democracy,” “human rights,” “free speech,” “freedom of the press,” and so on work fine in the Western world when things are smooth and there is no need to take sides. However, when things go wrong, and they do with alarming frequency these days, Western leaders become unmasked. As Ethel Annakin said over a hundred years ago, “truth is the first casualty of warfare.” This is true for disturbing situations in politics, religious affairs, corporate culture, and other fields.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas (leaders of Palestinians in occupied Gaza, known as open air prison) attacked Israel (the occupying power) and killed 1,139 people. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on a mission of genocide of all Palestinians, the gruesome killings are still in progress, 27,270 Palestinians murdered in cold blood, including 10,000 children. The US which is on a slow but steady downward trajectory never lets Israel down and so has fully endorsed its killing spree.

The Western countries have never witnessed support for the Palestinian cause on such a massive scale among its population, as it has since October 7, 2023. People from different walks of life have joined in protests demanding a ceasefire; some of them have paid dearly, losing jobs. In the US, people associated with the film and TV entertainment industry have raised voices in support of Palestinians — some have suffered consequences. The Israeli Lobby in the US is very powerful and has a firm stranglehold on its politicians.

Author/journalist Belen Fernandez reminds us,

“It’s that time of year again: when Hollywood’s thought police undertake to ensure that American celebrity culture remains firmly in the service of the Zionist narrative.”

Actress Melissa Barrera lost her role in the next installment of the horror film franchise Scream for criticizing Israel. Barrera’s costar Jenna Ortega, who has openly sympathized with the Palestinian cause, was dropped from Scream too. who Susan Sarandon’s support for Palestinians led her talent agency UTA drop her from its client list.

Maha Dakhil, representative for Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Cruise, and others accused Israel of “genocide” but then she apologized; but to no avail as she was nevertheless compelled to quit work.

In the US, 55 famous people, including Kristen Stewart, Ramy Youssef, Mahershala Ali, Jon Stewart, Quinta Brunson, Fatima Farheen Mirza , Cate Blanchett, Margaret Cho, and Rosario Dawson, from the entertainment industry wrote an open letter to world leaders, including President Joe Biden, urging them to help stop the Israeli killings:

“We urge your administration, and all world leaders, to honor all of the lives in the Holy Land and call for and facilitate a ceasefire without delay – an end to the bombing of Gaza, and the safe release of hostages.”

(See the entire letter and all the names here.)

Angelina Jolie expressed her views on the plight of people in Gaza.

“What happened in Israel is an act of terror. But that cannot justify the innocent lives lost in bombing a civilian population in Gaza that has nowhere to go, no access to food or water, no possibility of evacuation, and not even the basic human right to cross a border to seek refuge.”

Bella Hadid, whose father is Palestinian, wrote on October 26, 2023, that she routinely receives “hundreds of death threats daily.”

“I can not be silenced any longer. Fear is not an option. The people and children of Palestine, especially in Gaza, cannot afford our silence. We are not brave – they are.” “My heart is bleeding with pain fro the trauma I am seeing unfold as well as the generational trauma of my Palestinian blood.”

Gigi Hadad, Bella’s sister and a Palestine supporter, wrote the following:

“I have deep empathy and heartbreak for the Palestinian struggle and life under occupation, it’s a responsibility I hold daily.” “I also feel a responsibility to my Jewish friends to make it clear, as I have before: While I have hopes and dreams for Palestinians, none of them include the harm of a Jewish person. The terrorizing of innocent people is not in alignment with and does not do any good for the ‘Free Palestine’ movement.”

Over two dozen actors, including Susan Sarandon, extended their support to Palestinians in recorded messages. Several other artists such as Indya Moore, Kehlani, Dua Lips, and many others expressed sympathy for the victims with a hope of an immediate ceasefire.

In Narendra Modi’s India support for Palestinians is almost banned due to the Modi hatred of Muslims and his close ties to Israel’s Netanyahu.

A JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) professor Brahma Prakash talking to the New Arab website reminded that Indians feel the plight of Palestinians but avoid taking a risk stating this because:

“Especially, prominent activists from both the progressive and minority sections as they are already facing various charges. This is sad because the country that has gone through more than 200 years of colonial experiences is now standing with a colonialist and Zionist state.”

The Indian actor, Jaaved Jaaferi, is among the voices unafraid to point to India’s hypocrisy. He also re-posted “Hamaslighting” message from the Islamica News website on his X account:

hamaslighting

a form of gaslighting used to distract or confuse when a country, specifically Israel, carries out genocide against innocent Palestinians. This tactic is commonly used by exclaiming ‘but Hamas!’ in the middle of every conversation.

dumbasslighting

when one falls for hamaslighting.

Some Indian actresses also showed their support. Swara Bhaskar gave a fitting response to Modi supporter, actress Kangana Ranaut:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/ht-img/img/2023/10/08/original/Swara_1696760547756.jpg

IMAGE/Hindustan Times

Pakistani and other celebrities came out in support of the Palestinians, too. Ushna Shah, calls the Israeli leader “Satanyahu,” has made a minute and half thought provoking video depicting US insincerity. Shah says “Muslim powerhouses have disappointingly stepped back from this crucial issue;” she pleads that the duty rests with artists, influencers, activists, and other voices to “not let the plight of Gaza be forgotten.”

Former actress Mia Khalifa (Lebanese/US) lost a business deal for her statement “can someone please tell the freedom fighters in Palestine to flip their phones and film horizontal.” The Playboy company found her statement “disgusting and reprehensible.” Do the Playboy find anything disgusting and reprehensible regarding the Israeli atrocities?

But the world’s most renowned actor, Shah Rukh Khan (known as SRK), who is regarded the most famous Muslim and world’s third richest actor, is busy minting money and has kept very quiet, as usual because he has experienced first hand the repercussions of speaking out. In 2015 interview to Burkha Dutt, he foresaw India’s future: “Religious intolerance is the worst thing and will take India to the dark ages.” Modi supporters then labelled him an “agent” of Pakistan and urged their followers to boycott his (and other Muslim artist) films. Sometimes their hatred verges on silliness. In 2022, his son Aryan Khan was arrested on false charges of drugs and was released three weeks later. One minister — not from Modi’s party — explicitly stated the truth: “Drugs will become sugar powder if Shah Rukh Khan joins the BJP [Modi’s party].” The ruling party’s two-pronged goal was achieved: to humiliate SRK and thus demoralize other Muslims and a warning that if SRK’s son can be targeted, than no Muslim is safe.

Artists for Palestine UK issued a letter signed by 4,300 people from various artistic fields with names as Tilda Swanson, Miriam Margolyes, Peter Mullan, and Khalid Abdalla:

“We are witnessing a crime and a catastrophe. Israel has reduced much of Gaza to rubble, and cut off the supply of water, power, food and medicine to 2.3 million Palestinians. In the words of the UN’s undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, ‘the spectre of death’ is hanging over the territory.

Gaza is already a society of refugees and the children of refugees. Now, in their hundreds of thousands, bombarded from air, sea and land, Palestinians whose grandparents were forced out of their homes at the barrel of a gun are again being told to flee – or face collective punishment on an unimaginable scale.  Dispossessed of rights, described by Israel’s minister of defence as “human animals”, they have become people to whom almost anything can be done.

Our governments are not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them. There will come a time when they are held to account for their complicity. But for now, while condemning every act of violence against civilians and every infringement of international law whoever perpetrates them, our obligation is to do all we can to bring an end to the unprecedented cruelty being inflicted on Gaza.

We support the global movement against the destruction of Gaza and the mass displacement of the Palestinian people. We demand that our governments end their military and political support for Israel’s actions.

We call for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of Gaza’s crossings to allow humanitarian aid to enter unhindered.”

The genocide of Palestinians is still being carried out unabated by Israel with the help of the world’s most violent and terrorist state history has ever come across.

South Africa, having lived through its apartheid, has valiantly presented the genocide case against Israel to the ICJ (International Court of Justice). The Court agreed that Israel’s actions in Gaza are plausibly genocidal and indicated provisional measures pursuant to the Genocide Convention. It remains to be seen what will be the result.

Meanwhile …

Here are the latest casualty figures as of January 31 at 12:30pm in Gaza (10:30 GMT):

Gaza

  • Killed: at least 26,900 people, including more than:
  • 10,000 children
  • 7,000 women
  • Injured: more than 65,949, including at least:
  • 8,663 children
  • 6,327 women
  • Missing: more than 8,000

Occupied West Bank

  • Killed: at least 370 people, including more than:
    • 99 children
  • Injured: more than 4,250

In Israel, officials revised the death toll down from 1,405 to 1,139.

And …

There is no end in sight to the mass genocidal massacre of the Palestinian men, women and children.

Note

Actress Vanessa Redgrave financed a 1977 documentary The Palestinian by selling her two homes. The film’s purpose was to “document the lives of and the struggle of the Palestinian people” through “interviews with survivors of the siege of Tel al-Zaatar during the Lebanese civil war, and with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.” Redgrave’s effigies were burned, she was denounced by the far-right extremist Jewish Defense League, and public bounty was offered for her murder. The film’s opening was delayed by a day because on the day of the opening a bomb exploded at a Beverly Hills cinema. While receiving an Oscar for her 1977 film Julia, she condemned the Jewish Defense League people as “Zionist hoodlums.”

B, R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com