Ioannis Gatsiounis

Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Battling Official Hysteria in Kenya

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2010 at 5:16 am

December 30, 2010

Kenya’s political elite are in no mood for merry making this holiday season, as they determinedly jump from one indignation against foreigners to the next. Read the rest of this entry »

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WikiLeaks Exposes Post-colonial Sensitivities in Kenya

In Uncategorized on December 27, 2010 at 1:30 am

December 17, 2010

With little truly damming information contained in the east African portion of the WikiLeaks cables released last week, anti-Western commentators have been left grasping for straws – distorting America’s intentions and overselling the leaks’ diplomatic ramifications.

This trend has been most pronounced in Kenya, a country deeply preoccupied with Western influence after a traumatizing chapter of white colonial rule. Read the rest of this entry »

The Illusion of Stability in Uganda

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2010 at 1:51 pm

December 10, 2010

Presidents are like athletes. They’re not good for long. Besides maybe Lee Kuan Yew, no modern leader has been a force of empowerment and progress after 25 years in office. So where does one get off thinking Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will be an exception to the rule? Read the rest of this entry »

WikiLeaks and the Unintended Revelation *

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2010 at 8:07 am

December 2, 2010

There is a disproportionate preoccupation with US foreign policy. That comes with being the world’s number one. Your policies reverberate. Scrutiny is in order. But too often the fascination bleeds into cynicism and paranoia, a process of understanding in which rationality is suspended.

This malignant impulse looked set to extend its reach last week, with the website WikiLeaks threatening to publish more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables from the past three years. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Do They Hate Us? *

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2010 at 7:56 am

September 23, 2010

One day after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. security specialist Richard Clarke asked, “Why do they hate us?” Nine years later, with global and American opinion of Muslims sinking to modern historical lows, it’s time for the Muslim world to overcome its aversion to introspection and ask the same of itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Opposing Quran Burning for the Right Reasons *

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2010 at 7:49 am

September 10, 2010

So it has come to this. A Florida Pentecostal church was planning to burn Qurans tomorrow to commemorate the morning nine years ago when Muslim terrorists brought down the World Trade Centers in New York, killing thousands.

Tasteless, one might say of the planned bonfire, and I wouldn’t disagree.

I was in Manhattan on that tragic morning, and in the nine years since, I like the rest of the world have lived through countless other episodes of intolerance committed in the name of Islam.

But never has burning a Quran felt like the right way to go; I oppose the desecration of any object sacred to another person, and remain mindfully aware that these wretched trends destroying the Muslim world from within are not the work of most Muslims.

And that would be the end of this column, if not for the fact that Pastor Terry Jones and his small congregation at Dove World Outreach were not being motivated by a second reason and that is to “send a very clear message to the radical element of Islam…. we do not tolerate their threats, their fear, their radicalness.” Read the rest of this entry »

My Appearance on Chinese Television

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2010 at 7:48 am

Following my recent cover story for Newsweek examining Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America to debunk the myth that China is taking over the world, the country’s state-run television invited me on as a guest to discuss news that China had surpassed Japan as the world’s number 2 economy. What I found most intriguing was the degree to which the propagandists in the studio went to hype China as big, brave and unstoppable, unwittingly drawing attention to some of the country’s deep insecurities and weaknesses. I will add to this entry once I receive the transcript (it’s being mailed!); please revisit soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Proceed with the Ground Zero Mosque *

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2010 at 7:26 am

August 19, 2010

A mosque and community centre planned two blocks from the 9/11 attacks in lower Manhattan is one giant step closer to becoming a reality, after New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission recently voted unanimously against granting historic protection to the site’s pre-existing building.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, himself a Jew, has been a vocal proponent. Rights groups and religious leaders around the country have defended the project, known as Park51. Even US President Barack Obama has chimed in, pointing out that in the American context Park51 has a right to go forth.

It is encouraging to see the American values of freedom of worship and equality guiding the reasoning of these well-placed voices.

Unfortunately, a majority of Americans are in no mood to extend those basic rights to Muslims. Read the rest of this entry »