Sunday, February 04, 2007

Our letter to The New York Times' Public Editor

Dear Byron Calame,

Reading the piece this Sunday on Tariq Ramadan ("Tarig Ramadan Has an Identity Issue;" The Magazine 2/4/2007), I came across a sentence that I have often read in the Times. Though the wording may vary, the blatant contradiction is always irritating.
"The message not only provides educated European Muslims with a political cause but is also pushed with considerable success at such international leftist jamborees as the World Social Forum, where the world's antiglobalists meet."
Antiglobalists at international world meetings? There is so much wrong in these few words that it boggles the mind. There is a growing library of hundreds of books about the various movements present at the World Social Forum and I would ask that your writers, or at least your editors, skim perhaps the first few pages or maybe just a back cover of any of these books. Immediately you will find that we are anything but "antiglobal." We have groups like "globalise resistance." Go around the world and you will see that one of our icons is Che, a revolutionary Argentinean who led a revolution in Cuba, before going off to fight in Africa and Bolivia. We meet at international meetings like the World Social Forum precisely because we believe that humanity's solutions require a world conversation and transnational strategies. If you want "antiglobal," go talk to the militias hiding in their bunkers from phantom conspiracies or the minutemen bullying the border.
We are a movement that is opposed to the cutthroat system of capitalism and its mercenary perversion of the state. There is an argument that we have entered into a new phase of capitalism called "globalization," which we are steadfastly opposed to. Yet to reduce us to isolationists or "anti-globalists" is so wrong that it borders on deceit.
Please ask your editors to refrain from this foolish shorthand. If you want to go around labeling people as "antiglobalists," I have two candidates. The first is the U.S. government. They seem to love going to war with every other country around the world. Sounds Antiglobalist enough for me. The second is a bit closer to home. Your own Thomas Friedman wants us to believe that capitalism has made the world flat. Perhaps this is a bit of a stretch on "antiglobal," but, as we can see in this Sunday's magazine, apparently any clap trap can make it into the Times.

[History Is A Weapon]

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Blogger mitbrown said...

This is a great letter and it would be interesting to hear if there was any response. Keep up the goodwork.
Tim Brown
Ottawa, Canada

2:49 PM  

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