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Nation Topics - Alternative and Independent Media

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Progressive journals are key in creating a movement, but they lack support.

The flagship of American conservative campus publications stands on the
foundation of twenty years of attention-grabbing antics.

Orbis
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN
School population: 10,855

Topic magazine is a kaleidoscopic new British literary review,
still in its infancy and edited by a bunch of precocious Cambridge
graduate students.

The Chicago-based magazine Punk Planet--nominated for the past
two years in Utne Reader's Alternate Press Awards for "General
Excellence," along with such better-heeled competitio

Until and unless a nonhuman animal becomes a legal person, she will
remain invisible to civil law." This quote from the legal profile in
Bark magazine's fall issue in many ways sums up

These days, it's the media conglomerates who are drunk with power--demanding a larger share of the nation's airwaves and threatening to turn the World Wide Web into an electronic theme park--and

Here we are, twenty years on, and the reports of the Israeli army smashing its way through Palestinian towns remind me of what came out of Lebanon as Sharon and his invading army raced north. Israeli troops beating, looting, destroying; Palestinians huddled in refugee camps, waiting for the killers to come.

But there is a huge difference. Twenty years ago, at least for people living here in the United States, it was harder, though far from impossible, to get firsthand accounts of what was going on. You had to run out to find foreign newspapers, or have them laboriously telexed from London or Paris. Reporting in the mainstream corporate press was horrifyingly tilted, putting the best face on Israeli deeds. Mostly, it still is. But the attempted news blackout by the Sharon government and the Israeli military simply isn't working.

Here's Aviv Lavie, writing in Ha'aretz on April 2:

A journey through the TV and radio channels and the pages of the newspapers exposes a huge and embarrassing gap between what is reported to us and what is seen, heard, and read in the world.... On Arab TV stations (though not only them) one could see Israeli soldiers taking over hospitals, breaking equipment, damaging medicines, and locking doctors away from their patients. Foreign television networks all over the world have shown the images of five Palestinians from the National Security forces, shot in the head from close range.... The entire world has seen wounded people in the streets, heard reports of how the IDF prevents ambulances from reaching the wounded for treatment.

As always, there are the courageous witnesses. These days we have the enormously brave young people in the International Solidarity Movement sending daily communications back to the United States that flash their way round the Internet and even translate into important interviews in the mainstream media.

Meet a few of them. Here's Jordan Flaherty, filing this account on Indymedia:

Last night the Israeli Military tried to kill me. I'm staying in the Al Azzeh refugee camp, in Bethlehem, along with about twenty other international civilians. We're here to act as human shields.... On the hill above the camp is an Israeli military sniper's post. To get where we were staying in the village, most of us had to cross this street. It was a quick, low, dash across the street. As I ran, the sniper fired.... The shots began as I came into view, and stopped shortly after I made it to the other side. They were clearly aimed at me. And, by the sound of them, they were close. All night long, there was the sound of gun shots, as the military shot into our village. We stayed clear of the windows.... The guns and bullets were, no doubt, paid for by my tax dollars. Which is, of course, why we are here.

Or Tzaporah Ryter, filing this on Electronic Intifada:

I am an American student from the University of Minnesota. I currently am in Ramallah. We are under a terrible siege and people are being massacred by both the Israeli army and armed militia groups of Israeli settlers.... On Thursday afternoon, the Israeli army began sealing off each entrance to Ramallah.... Those traveling in began desperately searching for alternative ways and traveling in groups, but the Israelis were firing upon them and everyone was running and screaming.... Israeli jeeps were speeding across the terrain, pulling up from every direction and shooting at the women and children, and also at me...

Or the extremely articulate and self-possessed Adam Shapiro, whose testimony ended up in the New York Daily News and on CNN, where he told Kyra Phillips:

This is not about politics between Jew and Arab, between Muslim and Jew. This is a case of human dignity, human freedom and justice that the Palestinians are struggling for against an occupier, an oppressor. The violence did not start with Yasir Arafat. The violence started with the occupation.... Arafat, after every terrorist incident, every suicide bombing, after every action, has condemned this loss of life, of civilian lives on both sides. The Sharon government, sometimes will apologize after it kills an innocent civilian, but it does not apologize for raping the cities and for going in and carrying out terrorist actions, going house to house tearing holes through the walls, roughing up people, killing people, assassinating people.

Most of the time you open up a newspaper and read a robotic column--as I did the Los Angeles Times's Ronald Brownstein the other day--about Palestinian terrorism and the wretched Arafat's supposed ability to quell the uprising with a few quick words. And then you turn on the NewsHour and there, of all people, is Zbigniew Brzezinski, stating the obvious, on April 1:

The fact of the matter is that three times as many Palestinians have been killed, and a relatively small number of them were really militants. Most were civilians. Some hundreds were children.... in the course of the last year, we have had Palestinian terrorism but we have also had deliberate overreactions by Mr. Sharon designed not to repress terrorism but to destabilize the Palestinian Authority, to uproot the Oslo Agreement, which he has always denounced, in a manner which contributed to the climate, that resulted in the killing of one of the two architects of the Oslo Agreement.

After predictable dissent from Kissinger, Brzezinski went on:

It's absolute hypocrisy to be claiming that Arafat can put a stop to the terrorism.... the fact of the matter is that his ability to control the situation would be greatly increased if there was serious movement towards political process, towards a political settlement and that the United States took the lead.

Between this brisk statement and the eloquent courage of Adam Shapiro and his brave fellow internationalists, the truth is getting out--not fast enough, not loud enough--but better than twenty years ago.

The jury is still out on whether it can restore, let alone enhance, its influence.

Blogs

While the Times frequently needs pushing on its watery language, there are real ethical reasons to exclude Charlie’s Mohammad cartoons.

January 15, 2015

The billionaire media entrepreneur responds to criticisms that his former company helped block donations to WikiLeaks.

December 4, 2013

The journalist hits back on allegations that his new venture with Pierre Omidyar has “privatized” NSA leaks.

December 2, 2013

The leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership text privileges corporations over consumers in intellectual property.

November 13, 2013

The outspoken civil liberties journalist and longtime New York Times editor outlined the changing face of journalism in a wide-ranging debate yesterday.

October 29, 2013

A new case of lax punishment of sexual assault has arisen in Maryville, Missouri, drawing comparisons to Steubenville.

October 15, 2013

The news-leaking website, in possession of a leaked script, offers rebuttals to the film that dramatizes Julian Assange's relationship with former colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg. 

September 22, 2013

Eric on Jeff Bezos; and Reed on why you should be reading McClatchy.

August 15, 2013

A multimedia artist, teacher and activist talks about the impact of hop-hop culture on young people from New York to Beijing.

February 25, 2013