BTS 5/6/11: Arab Revolutions Update; The World As It Is

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Tonight Mark LeVine joins us for an update on the Arab revolutions, and what the end of Osama bin Laden portends. We’ll get the latest on what is happening in Syria, Bahrain, Libya, the planned actions in Israel-Palestine on May 15 as well as continuing developments in Egypt, Yemen and all of the ‘Arab Spring’ locales. Mark says (on his Al Jazeera blog) that “The pro-democracy protests and uprisings that have swept the region are a far more effective weapon for combating Islamic extremism than even the most well-trained and courageous special forces teams will ever be. ...[and] there is no longer any reason or justification for supporting the vicious crackdowns against these movements in Bahrain, Yemen and now, effectively, Syria - each in the name of "stability" or supporting so-called "allies in the War on Terror". We’ll ask him to elaborate.

Plus: We are in our fund drive and we will be featuring Chris Hedges’ new book The World As it Is as a thank you gift. We’ll hear Chris Hedges’ insights on the present conjuncture: Chris says that ‘the centers of American power [have been] seized and hijacked by corporations, the media continue[s] to pay deference to systems of power that can no longer be considered honest or democratic.’ He insists that unless we begin to stand fast around moral imperatives, we will be complicit in our self-annihilation.’

Read More for info on tonight's guests:

1. Mark LeVine is professor of history at the University of California, Irvine. He is also a musician, brought us music a few weeks ago directly from Tahrir Square (more on that in a moment), speaks Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, and Persian, as well as Italian, French, German and English. LeVine is an accomplished rock guitarist and has played with noted rock and world beat musicians such as Mick Jagger, Chuck D, Michael Franti, and Doctor John. He recorded with Moroccan Hassan Hakmoun and the French Gypsy band Les Yeux Noirs on Ozomatli's album Street Signs which won the Grammy for Best Latin Rock/Alternative album in 2005. His books include: Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine (University of California Press, 2005), Why They Don't Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil (Oneworld Publications, 2005), An Impossible Peace: Oslo and the Burdens of History (Zed Books, 2007), and Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam (Three Rivers Press, 2008).

2. Chris Hedges, weekly Truthdig columnist, was a foreign correspondent for nearly two decades in The Middle East, Central America, Africa and the Balkans. Hedges was part of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize coverage of global terrorism and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. He is the author of the best selling American Fascists and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. Other books include: I Don’t Believe in Atheists (2008), Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America (2005), and What Every Person Should Know About War. He is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University.