Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 12th, 2012

Biggest Financial Scandal in Britain
 
The full-scale of the scandal is still unknown. What has been vented out is breathtaking: “Several” unnamed major banks were involved, and the rigging of the LIBOR interest rate, the rate on which many of the world’s interest rates are based, affected the value of literally hundreds of trillions of dollars in investments. Barclays alone has admitted to committing this fraud “hundreds” of times.
 
Alexander COCKBURN published in CounterPunch Diary on July 6 under “Biggest Financial Scandal in Britain’s History, Yet Not a Single Occupy Sign; What Happened?” (with slight editing):

“The Barclay’s imbroglio is being described as “the greatest financial scandal in the history of Britain”. I have a question to ask.

Where are those tents outside St Paul’s? Or ones in solidarity this side of the Atlantic? Where are the vibrant reminders that – as has happened in the Barclays case – there is most definitely one law for the 1% (none, in fact) and another for the 99 %?

It was very hard not to be swept away by the Occupy movement which established itself in New York’s Zuccotti Park last September and soon spread to Oakland, Chicago, London and Madrid. And indeed most people didn’t resist its allure.
 
Leninists threw aside their Marxist primers on party organisation and drained the full anarchist cocktail.

The Occupiers , with their “people’s mic”,  were always a little hard to understand. And as with all movements involving consensus, everything took a very long time.
 


Was there perhaps a leader, a small leadership group, sequestered somewhere among the tents and clutter? It was impossible to say, and at that point it is somewhat disloyal to pose the question.

Cynicism about Occupy was not a popular commodity.
 
But new movements always need a measure of cynicism dumped on them. Questions of organization were obliterated by the strength of the basic message – we are 99%, they are 1%. It was probably the most successful slogan since ‘peace, land, bread’.

The Occupy Wall Street assembly in Zuccotti Park developed its own cultural mores, drumming included. Like many onlookers, I asked myself, Where the hell’s the plan?

But I held my tongue. I had no particular better idea and for a CounterPuncher of mature years to start laying down the program seemed cocky. But, deep down, I felt that Occupy, with all its fancy talk, all its endless speechifying, was riding for a fall.

Before the fall came, there were heroic actions, people battered senseless by the police. These were brave people trying to hold their ground.

There were other features that I think quite a large number of people found annoying: the cult of the internet, the tweeting and so forth, and I definitely didn’t like the enormous arrogance which prompted the Occupiers to claim that they were indeed the most important radical surge in living memory.

Where was the knowledge of and the respect for the past?  We had the non-violent resistors of the Forties organising against the war with enormous courage.

The Fifties saw leftists took McCarthyism full on the chin. With the Sixties we were making efforts at revolutionary organisation and resistance.
 
Yet when one raised this history with someone from Occupy, I encountered total indifference.

There also seemed to be a serious level of political naivety about the shape of the society they were seeking to change. They definitely thought that it could be reshaped – the notion that the entire system was unfixable did not get much of a hearing.
 


After a while, it seemed as though, in Tom Naylor’s question in this site: “Is it possible that the real purpose of Occupy Wall Street has little to do with either the 99% or the one per cent, but rather everything to do with keeping the political left in America decentralised, widely dispersed, very busy, and completely impotent to deal with the collapse of the American empire…

“Occupiers are all occupied doing exactly what their handlers would have them be doing, namely, being fully occupied. In summary, Occupy Wall Street represents a huge distraction.”

Then the rains of winter came. Zuccotti Park came under repeated assault, the tents were cleared from Zucotti Park and from St Paul’s Cathedral and by early this year it was all over.

People have written complicated pieces trying to prove it’s not over, but if ever I saw a dead movement, it is surely Occupy. (Read the link in note)

Has the Occupy movement left anything worth remembering? Yes, maybe.  

With Bob Diamond squirming before British MPs, and politicians jostling to apportion blame for the Barclays scandal, memories of the 99% and the one per cent are surely at least warm in the coffin.

Everything leftists predicted came true, just as everything hard-eyed analysts predicted about the likely but unwelcome course of ecstatic populism in Tahrir Square also came true. 

I do think it’s incumbent on those veteran radicals who wrote hundreds of articles proclaiming a religious conversion to Occupyism,  to give a proper account of themselves, otherwise it will  happen all over again.” End of article

Ricken Patel of Avaaz.org posted:

Big banks have been caught in a massive scam to rig global interest rates, ripping off millions of people on their mortgages, student loans and more! We’d go to jail for this, but Barclays bank has only been fined, and just a fraction of their profits!

Outrage is mounting — this is our chance to finally turn the tide of the banks’ reign over our democracies.

The EU finance regulator, Michel Barnier is standing up to the powerful bank lobby and championing reform that would put bankers behind bars for fraud like this. If the EU goes first, accountability could quickly spread across the globe.

The banks are lobbying hard against accountability, and we need a massive surge of people power to drive these reforms through.

If we can get 1 million people to stand with Barnier in the next 3 days, it will give him momentum to face down the banking lobby and push governments to bring reform.

For too long, our governments have been cowed by powerful banks who threatened to move elsewhere if challenged. For too long, banks have manipulated our market economies, tilting the playing field in their favour, and engaging in reckless risk-taking, secure in the knowledge that they could force governments to hand them our taxpayer money when they got into trouble.

The system is rigged, and that’s a crime. It’s time to put the criminals behind bars for it.
There may never have been a time in modern history when the big banks didn’t have excessive and extraordinary power that they regularly abused. But democracy is on the march — we’ve seen this march overcome tyrants across the world, and together, we’ll help end the reign of the banks as well.

Click below to sign, and our growing numbers will be represented by adding mock bankers to a jail right in front of the EU Parliament:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/bankers_behind_bars_f/?bFAfecb&v=15942

Note: You may read https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/where-are-the-tea-party-and-the-occupy-wall-street-movement-its-two-party-presidential-campaign-stupid/

Part 2. Eastern Christian Nestorians: Personal Secretaries to Caliphs, Sultan and Viziers

My interest in translating and reviewing books on the history of “minority” Christian sects in the Middle-East is the direct result of the current trend of heavy diaspora for these sects who lived in Iraq and Syria.  Successive waves of relocating to NO-Man-Land started during the 2003 preemptive war of the US against Iraq.

Most of these eastern christians have lost everything and are paying the dear price to “professional passers” in order to land into a European State.

Since the start of the uprising last year in Syria against the Assad regime, no less than 150,000 Christians were forced to vacate from the city of Homs and its environs. They are flocking to the Christian quarters in Damascus and barely surviving the increased cost of living and the shortage of foodstuff, cooking gas, and heating fuel…

The Nestorian sect followed the Syriac Eastern Church till the year 431. In that year, its Patriarch Nestor was demoted by the “Orthodox Byzantium Church“.  Since then, the Nestorians developed and expanded within the Persian Sassanid Empire on the eastern shores of the Euphrates River and beyond, all the way along the silk road and into China.

In the early Arabic Abbassid dynasty around 762, the Nestorian Church was bestowed preeminence over all the other Christian sects till the year 1258 as the Mogul of Holago entered and destroyed Baghdad.

Scribes to the Caliphs and viziers were mostly selected  from the Nestorian Church, and a succession of personal secretaries to the caliphs were among them.  The personal secretaries were indispensable to the good and smooth running of the administrations and they had the eyes and ears of the highest authorities…

It seems that the governor of Basra Abi Moussa Ash3ari initiated the hiring of non-Moslems as personal secretaries. Caliph Omar Ben Khattab was very upset, claiming that the Coran forbade hiring non-Moslems in high positions… Ash3ari replied: “My Christian secretary has his religion and I have his letters…”

Since then, non-Moslem scholars were heavily engaged in the translation of manuscripts (mainly Greek, Persian, and Indian…) and writing the necessary documents for the Arabic administrations…

In fact, the Nestorian Church graduated the best medical personnel and scientists during that period and were hired as personal physicians to Caliphs and viziers…

The Abbassid Caliph Al Mo3taded preferred Nestorian scribes and personal secretaries on account that “the Christians have no design to capture political power. The Jews worked for the return of their Kingdom, and the Persians wanted to recapture their lost kingdom…”

In 5 centuries, 37 caliphs succeeded to power, which corresponded to 36 Nestorian Patriarchs. Caprol listed 115 Nestorian secretaries, 35 of them converted to Islam but refrained from pressuring their family members to follow suit…A few of the converted secretaries became viziers, such as Sa3ed Bin Mukhled.

The secretaries overcame many political upheavals and participated in the election of their Patriarchs, and aided their coreligionists to accede to prominent positions and wealth.  The Patriarchs used to relocate their headquarters to wherever the Capital was transplanted, from Baghdad to Samera2 for example.

In the 15th century, a faction of the Nestorian Church paid allegiance to the Catholic Pope of Rome and were labelled the Chaldean Church.  The loyal faction was recalled the Assyrian Church.

Note 1: Mahmoud Al Zibawi published a review in Arabic of the French book “The Nestorian secretaries in Baghdad 762-1258” by Cecile Caprol.  This book is a series of publications within the “Collection of Christian Arabic Studies” established by the Jesuit St. Joseph University in Beirut

Note 2: Caprol referred in the book to four other scholars in his topic: 1. Louis Chikho, 2. Louis Massignon, 3. Gerard Trubo, and 4. Jean Maurice Fiyye.  Chikho collected documents that were used after his death in 1929. Massignon studied the Secretaries who graduated from the convent of Kani on the eastern shores of the Tigres River in the 9th century

Note 3. You may read part 1. https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/short-history-of-eastern-oriental-christian-sects-assyrian-nestorian-chaldean-jacobite/


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