The following is, in addition to being the skeleton for a larger paper I am working on currently (you can think of this as the preview of coming attractions!), a final research paper I recently finished up. I’ve edited the citation style and added images to make it more conducive to web viewing, but the content is unaltered. In the paper, I argue that a neutral and mundane view of space is inaccurate and that space has been changed by human forces, becoming increasingly striated as powers change the world for their own ends. I also argue that urban planning as a discipline is not neutral either, but is subject to vested interests and corruption ultimately creating what some scholars have coined “the dark side” of planning. Finally, I propose two modes of resistance to the attempt to control populations via planning; a phenomenological escape, and a discursive escape.
Although I mentioned it above, it’s worth reiterating that this is significantly longer than my usual posts (as it is a building block for a much larger paper I am working on this summer). I would appreciate any and all feedback and I hope you enjoy it!
Update: The full version of the paper, “PLANNING AND SPATIALITY: THE SPATIAL CREATION OF URBAN LANDSCAPES”, is available here.
On Tuesday March 3rd, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before congress on the need to halt Iran’s nuclear program. Opinions on the program (those will be later) and absurd and slightly hypocritical comparisons aside, one of Netanyahu’s major talking points was the following Tweet from Ayatollah Khomeini:
This barbaric, wolflike & infanticidal regime of #Israel which spares no crime has no cure but to be annihilated. 7/23/14
Taken at face value this Tweet looks pretty menacing; it seems like the Supreme Leader of Iran is making a threat against the Jewish people! That, however, is not what is happening. Iranian officials and Khomeini have previously drawn distinctions between “the regime of Israel” and the Jewish people and these distinctions are crucial in understanding what is going on. The Tweet is specific to the regime that currently in place, namely Netanyahu’s administration, and is calling for the destruction of that regime, that’s it. When the US said that Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq was in the “Axis of Evil” and must be stopped, the US didn’t mean that the Iraqi people needed to be liquidated; rather the regime needed to change. When the US condemns the North Korean regime, it is not making a normative statement about the ethnic group making up the country, ratherit is making a statement on the government that is in place. Similarly, when Khomeini makes a statement about “the regime of Israel” (especially in the context of Israels failure to protect Al-Aqsa, the third holiest Islamic site), he is NOT making a statement about the Jewish people or the ethnic groups that make up Israel; all he is saying is that there must be a regime change and while the word “annihilated” might sound spooky, that is pure rhetoric and doesn’t imply an outside force attacking Israel. Quite literally, Khomeini is doing what all governments do, denounce States they see as evil. That is it.
It’s time to stop giving Netanyahu the benefit of the doubt and critically examine what’s going on between the two nations. For a further, and more indepth, discussion on whether Iran has a nuclear program, whether they want to “wipe Israel off the map”, and whether a nuclear Iran is a good thing, please read the post “Arm Iran – The Case for the Nuclear State”.
A few weeks back I was delighted to open my email and see a reply that someone had sent me in regards to a previous post (which itself was a reply to Sam Harris) called Why I Do Criticize Israel – A Response to Sam Harris. After apologizing for the obscene amount of time it took to get around to sending the sender a reply, he gave me permission to quote his criticisms and address them on my blog (if you haven’t listened to my reply to Harris, it is below).
Thus, quoted below verbatim, are the criticism I shall be addressing:
A few points you neglected in your talk which I would like to comment on:
1) Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, so your expansionist claims in respect to Gaza, are incorrect. There is no occupation in Gaza. Gazans were given complete autonomy as to who their elected leaders would be. They chose Hamas.
2) Your stated claim that Hamas has a 40% approval rating is for economic reasons. (It has increased since the recent conflict) Hamas has used aid money to build tunnels instead of the welfare of it people. They have turned Gaza into a military camp instead of a thriving community. The tunnels into Israel are for offensive purposes only. Israel was justified in destroying them.
3) I agree with you on these points: I’m against the occupation, I condemn religious extremists on both sides and I’m against new appropriation of land for Israeli settlements. I believe a two-state solution to the conflict is necessary. I didn’t hear your opinion on what the resolution should be in your talk.
4) You claim that Israel’s aim, for prolonging the conflict, is to expand its territory. Actually, just the opposite is true. Israel has offered Palestinian leadership their own state several times as recently as 2001. Hamas will never accept a Palestinian state as long as there is a Jewish one. But, it even goes deeper than that. Not only do they not want a Jewish state, but they don’t want a Jewish /presence/ in the area. Harris is correct. There would be genocide on a monumental scale if the military power was reversed.
Thanks for reading,
I want to thank Dan for his comments, and my reply shall follow after the jump!
A few weeks ago, prominent author and skeptic Sam Harris, recorded a podcast entitled “Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?” wherein Harris made a case for Israel as a state and tried to preemptively attack some claims made by modern critics of Israel.
Given the nature of this blog and my views on the subject, I figured that a response to Mr. Harris is in order. However, I thought I’d change it up a bit and record my own little podcast. Please take a listen and I ask that you forgive any cuts that are still audible – this was 20 different takes with different thoughts compressed into one version I think I like.
So, without further ado, I give you Why I Do Criticize Israel:
Quick update: within the next few days I will be posting a response to Sam Harris’ commentary “Why Don’t I Criticize Israel?”. I suggest you all read/listen to the podcast (it’s 15 minutes) because my reply will make more sense.