Monday, February 21, 2011

  • "Iran, the Green Movement and the USA": Hamid Dabashi on the Future of the Iranian Pro-Democracy Movement


    Iranian protesters returned to the streets on Sunday to mark the deaths of two men killed during demonstrations last week. Police used batons and tear gas to break up the protests. Among those detained were Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. “On one hand, the Iranian authorities are expressing solidarity with the democratic movement in Tunisia and Egypt and throughout the region," says Columbia University Professor Hamid Dabashi. "Then deny that very principle to their own people." [includes rush transcript]

  • Massacre in Libya: Witnesses Say Protesters Have Taken Control of Benghazi Despite Gov’t Violence


    After a week of deadly unrest in the North African country of Libya, tens of thousands of people celebrated Sunday as they retook the streets of the eastern city of Benghazi. Residents say some soldiers joined the protesters and defeated a force of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s elite guard. Others say the military has left the city. This comes after days of brutal violence. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 300 people have been killed in Libya this week. Clashes have reportedly reached the capital city of Tripoli. For more on the situation in Benghazi, we spoke by phone to a protester named Haithem last night.[includes rush transcript]

  • “Libya is Forever Changed by These Events”: Libyan Poet and Scholar Khaled Mattawa on the Pro-Democracy Movement amid Government Violence


    After a week of pro-democracy demonstrations in Libya that left more than 300 people dead, protesters have continued to demand an end to the 42-year regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. One of Gaddafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, addressed the nation over Libyan State TV on Sunday and threatened there would be civil war if the protests did not end. For more, we are joined by the acclaimed Libyan poet and scholar, Khaled Mattawa. “I think the regime is over, even if Muammar Gaddafi manages to survive,” Mattawa says. “Libyans are saying, 'Yes, we will have a new constitution. Perhaps we will have a new flag. But we don't want you or your father or the rest of your clan. Get out of here. Leave.’” [includes rush transcript]

  • "We Have a Fire in the House of Labor. We Are Here to Put It Out": Wisconsin Firefighters and Police Officers Join Massive Protests Against Anti-Union Bill


    In the largest rally yet, an estimated 80,000 people protested in Madison on Saturday against a "budget repair" bill that would strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights. The state’s Democratic senators, who have fled the state to stall a vote on the bill, sent a letter to Gov. Scott Walker on Friday telling him labor would accept cuts to pensions and increased contributions to health and retirement plans if he would negotiate on collective bargaining. The cuts Walker has proposed in a sweeping budget bill would exclude public safety workers like police, state troopers and firefighters, but this does not mean they are in support of the legislation. To discuss this further, we are joined by Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Wisconsin Professional Firefighters Association. “An assault on one really is an assault on all,” Mitchell says. “As firefighters and police officers, we don’t just sit idly by. We make things happen.” [includes rush transcript]