Waqas is back to talk about the Nov 3 attempt on Imran Khan’s life; the assassination in Kenya of journalist Arshad Sharif; Similarities and differences between the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the attempt on Imran Khan; the possibility that the Pakistani military might find a way out of this (by having Bajwa step down on schedule and then allowing an election) as opposed to plunging the country into the abyss ( by going through with the assassination of Imran Khan).
*Apologies about the audio – used my webcam mic instead of my podcasting mic in my echoey studio. Back to normal next time!
On October 30, Lula was elected to the presidency after surviving a political persecution that threw him behind bars and kept him from running in 2018, paving the way for Bolsonaro’s disastrous term. Brazilian scholar-activist Diana Aguiar is back to answer questions like: is Lula’s government coup-proof? What will he be able to do in power? What will the right-wing do out of power? What happens in the region and what’s Brazil’s role in the world going to be in the next four years?
Democracy means “the people rule”. But do the people rule in the “democratic” systems that form governments all over the world? Are these democratic governments less repressive or authoritarian than those without the democratic certification? And does the democratic system of frequent multiparty elections deliver the developmental goods?
Talking to Vik Sohonie, former journalist who runs the grammy-award nominated Ostinato Records, about why Democracy (TM) fails the Global South.
An update on the unfolding post-coup in Pakistan. Talking to Waqas Ahmad again about the threat to arrest Imran Khan, the remarkable result of the election in Punjab where PTI won 15/20 seats, the arrest and torture of Shehbaz Gill and many others, the articles in the NYT and Time Magazine about how the coup government’s repression might be backfiring, and more.
In June 2022 a small activist group in Boston created mapliberation.org, a project mapping primarily policing institutions in Massechussetts and their connections to corporations, organizations, and politicians who are implicated in the prison-industry complex, in throwing people out of their homes to create investment opportunities, in grabbing Indigenous land, in colonizing Palestinian land, and other harms. When the website came out, the very institutions discussed in the mapping project unleashed a storm of criticism, bullied them off of two servers, and hurled a wide ranging set of ridiculous accusations. A roundup of the mapping project and the “freakout” about it.
An update on the dynamic situation in Pakistan. Fan favorite Waqas Ahmad (@worqas on twitter) is back to talk about the massive march and nationwide protest of May 25 in Pakistan, which ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan called. Imran Khan called the protest off on May 26 in the face of escalation and repression, giving the government six days to call a new election (this is posted on day six). When Waqas and I organized this talk, we were in the middle of the protests and saw an explosive situation developing. I’m posting it now in the middle of what is probably a temporary calm.
In the latest episode of Kung Fu Yoga with Carl Zha, we talk about the bombing at Karachi University where a suicide bomber killed herself, three Chinese teachers, and a driver. The Baloch Liberation Army claims responsibility. We ask: what does bombing Chinese teachers in Karachi have to do with Baloch liberation? What is going on in Balochistan? What is China’s footprint there and what are its investments? How is this event being perceived and understood in China? And what role does the US have in it?
The ouster of Imran Khan continues to play out. We’re asking: 1. Was it a coup? 2. How can we understand Imran Khan’s foreshortened time in government and his ruling coalition? 3. How important are these events for the people of Pakistan – are they just elite maneuvering or do they have deeper implications? 4. How US-centric is too US-centric in understanding these things, as opposed to understanding regional actors and their roles and especially local power blocs and class dynamics. A friendly debate with Pakistani activist and academic Ayyaz Mallick.
Was Imran Khan ousted in a US-backed regime change, or is Imran Khan crying conspiracy over a routine non-confidence vote? Was the memo real or exaggerated? Are the mass protests a sign of a cult-like following or a repudiation of a sleazy change of power? Was Imran Khan not a part of the very establishment that just threw him out? What will be the implications for Pakistan’s relationship with China? For Afghanistan? I discuss these questions with journalist Waqas Ahmed.