Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

Speaking about Egyptian revolution in Chinese media

During the recent Egyptian uprising, the Chinese regime blocked internet searches for the word “Egypt”, in case locals got any ideas about challenging the state.

I was therefore pleasantly surprised to receive an interview request this week from Time Weekly, based in Guangzhou.

During the interview a few days ago – when I was asked about the reasons Egyptians wanted to overthrow Mubarak, any lessons for the Chinese people and government and the online tools used against the state – it was clear the reporter had to tread carefully due to Beijing’s repressive control of the media. We ended the conversation with him telling me he wasn’t sure the piece could be published due to censorship.

Alas, the story has been published (here’s a version on Sina, the country’s largest web portal) and I’m told as a front-page headline in his publication. Of course, I can’t read the local language but it’s reportedly the most thorough report thus far in the Chinese media about recent goings-on in Egypt.

I deeply admire the ways in which writers in repressive states find ways to cover “controversial” subjects.



发布时间:2011-02-17 01:35:02

时代周报 | 116期 |  评论 (0)



本报记者 张子宇

电 视画面被切换了,随即,荧屏上出现了身着西服的埃及副总统苏莱曼的身影。“在国家目前正在经历的困难时期,穆罕默德•胡斯尼•穆巴拉克总统,决定 辞去共和国总统职务,并已授权武装部队最高委员会,掌管国家事务。”开罗时间2月11日18时,通过埃及国家电视台,苏莱曼平静地宣布了这一消息,神情肃 穆。

经由各大媒体、网络和手机,这一爆炸性的消息被迅速传播到了世界各地。继2011年1月突尼斯的本•阿里政权结束之后,人们再次清 楚地意识到阿拉伯 世界究竟发生了什么—埃及,这个有着8000万人口的阿拉伯世界第一大国出现了历史性转折;与此同时,新一轮的抗议热潮,在埃及近邻也门、阿尔及利亚、约 旦等国蔓延开来。

身处漩涡中心的多数埃及人在这天晚上度过了一个不眠之夜。街道上车灯如龙,亮如白昼;开罗解放广场(Tahirir Square)上灯火通明,人民雀跃着、狂欢着。整整18天—始于2011年1月24日,止于2月11日,出于对政府腐败、通胀和失业高企的不满,愤怒但 未失理性的埃及人终于通过和平手段将“倒穆运动”进行到底,并迎来了希望中的变局。


2月11日这一天,31岁的埃及女作家Marwa Elnaggar并不在广场上。身体不适的她如往常一样打开电脑,收看半岛电视台的新闻,并在第一时间看到了穆巴拉克辞职的消息。


对 亲历了“倒穆运动”的Marwa而言,穆巴拉克的辞职,无疑是她个人及其同龄者的一次胜利。Marwa出生于埃塞俄比亚,父亲是医生,母亲是工程 师。她在印度、印度尼西亚等国度过了童年,在国际学校接受了良好的教育,并能说一口流利的英文。17年前,Marwa回到埃及,成为自由撰稿人和专栏作 家。

“在(动荡)开始时,参加者都是中产阶级、知识分子、学生,甚至还有一些富裕群体的下层人士。大部分是中年人,很多人在30岁以上; 然后到了中间阶 段,各地的穷人广泛地加入进来,最后工人开始罢工,甚至警察也开始支持。”Marwa回顾着18天运动中出现的变化。显然对她而言,参与者阶层的扩大,已 足够显示穆巴拉克政权的民意基础是如何地脆弱。

社会活动家Heba Morayef女士也全程参与了“倒穆运动”。30岁的她先在埃及接受教育,后在著名的伦敦政治经济学院(LSE)取得了硕士学位。和Marwa一样,Morayef也属于埃及比较西化的青年一代,英文流利。


不 过,埃及人的这场“倒穆运动”,在伦敦大学亚非学院(SOAS)政治系学者、伊朗裔的Laleh Khalili博士眼里,似乎更像是一场“贫穷中产阶级”运动。“运动最早的冲击力来自于对政府不满的年轻人,也就是Asef Bayat(著名伊朗裔政治学者)所认为的‘贫穷中产阶级’,不过随着运动的继续,其基础迅速扩大。”他说道。

根据英国剑桥大学中东系博 士生廉超群的分析,成为运动主体的这群年轻人,主要是埃及的80后和90后。“青年人一边饱受失业、半失业以及低收入的困 扰,一边对埃及的未来抱有理想化的憧憬。他们数量众多,熟悉新技术,渴望参与政治,国家摆脱外部势力的影响,实现真正的独立与崛起。”廉超群说。

历 时18天的“倒穆运动”中也随处可见穆斯林兄弟会成员的身影。无论是1919年还是1952年,知识分子都和穆斯林群众并肩战斗,反抗殖民者和封 建统治者。但1952年革命胜利后,埃及总统纳赛尔和穆斯林兄弟会决裂,拉开了世俗政权和穆斯林兄弟会几十年的血腥斗争。在外界看来,尽管成立于1928 年的穆斯林兄弟会神秘又有些吓人,但埃及人,包括有西方教育背景的Marwa和Morayef,显然都不愿意把他们看做恐怖分子。“他们非常有组织,克 制、低调、挺友好的。”说起这些同盟者,Marwa笑了。

“这是一场跨阶层的运动,没有一个政党或者政治组织起了统合作用。可以这么 说,穆斯林兄弟会是唯一有组织的政治团体。但在这次舞台上,他们并无能力 连贯起整个运动,即使想这么做也做不到。”同样来自伦敦大学亚非学院政治系的Arshin Adib-Moghaddam博士如此认为。一直观察着埃及局势的Moghaddam通过分析得出的结论是,和纳赛尔革命不同,这次运动更多的是一种自下 而上的变革,或者说,“从社会到政府”。


在18天的运动中,Marwa时不时会暂离广场,因为她需要写博客和发推特。开罗大学政治系教师Hisham Soliman也不例外,时常要回大学参加局势研讨会。

Marwa 拥有自己的网站、博客、Facebook和推特,这些是她传播和交流信息的重要工具。依靠出色的英语能力,她能够无障碍地与世界各国网民 交流意见。“互联网自1990年代进入埃及以来,普及速度非常快,埃及年轻人即使没有受过很好的教育,也能娴熟使用。许多人注册了Facebook和推 特,这有助于大家交流信息,交换思想。”她说。

在埃及,类似Marwa的活跃网民比比皆是。Aziza Sami是一位母亲和一名记者,她说,Facebook和推特对他们获取信息至关重要。

作 为澳大利亚的知名媒体人和中东问题研究者,Antony Loewenstein的观察和评论也经常被Marwa和其他埃及网友转载。“并没有一个人、一个组织振臂一呼策划了这次事件。突尼斯不是这样,埃及也不 是这样,只是突尼斯的事情,引发了积聚在埃及人心中长期的不满而已。如果要说什么纽带的话,那就是网络。”Loewenstein说。

“穷 人们缺乏电脑,可能也没有怎么接触过网络,所以未必能第一时间参与到以互联网为媒介的运动中,当然青年人是一个例外,”Loewenstein 说道,“埃及人的教育水平和英语水平其实参差不齐,中产阶级能接受良好的教育,甚至到美国、欧洲和澳大利亚留学。当然要指出的是,半岛电视台在埃及人的生 活中扮演了非常重要的角色。”

成立于1996年的半岛电视台目前已发展成为拥有5000多万观众的伊斯兰世界最大现代化传媒集团,即使 不懂英语,通过该电视台的阿拉伯语节目,普 通埃及人可以享受到和BBC、CNN同等水平的咨询服务。”在这次运动中,埃及网民上传和分享了大量关于埃及局势的视频,其中很多来自半岛电视台。








2007 年和2009年,在英国的中国留学生Allen曾两次到埃及旅游。尽管对这个文明古国了解不深,但每一次,街上为数众多游荡着的埃及人给他 留下了深刻印象。“从一大早开始就看到很多人出现在街上,他们不干活,只是闲坐着。如果和游客搭讪,十有八九都是希望能带你买个‘特色商品’或‘特色服 务’,大部分是青壮年。”

派驻中东多年的经历,已使马晓霖成为中东问题专家。“这些年埃及经济始终不好,相当高的人口比例都集中在开罗, 慢慢沦为贫苦阶层。我1980年第一 次去埃及,1994年和2001年又分别去了一次,基本没有太多变化,开罗的贫民窟让人触目惊心。虽然埃及得到了许多外国援助,也给了居民一些补贴,但受 益者很少。这种贫穷让人非常失望,所以越来越多的人倒向穆斯林兄弟会,另一方面,世俗政权同样令人失望,官员腐败非常普遍。”马晓霖说。


因 种种原因,最能贡献就业率的工业在埃及发展得始终不理想。目前埃及在国外打工人口高达650万,占总人口的8%,但这些人除了寄回外汇,对自己的 国民经济影响有限。41岁的埃及人瓦利德在中国呆了8年。这位如今的“中国女婿”在电话中诉说着作为一名普通埃及人的感受:“贫富差距太大,富裕的人越来 越富裕,穷人越来越贫穷。老百姓负担不起教育、医疗、养老等等。年轻人找工作很难。社会不公平是导致大家不满的主要原因。”

“如果考虑 到严重的失业率和财富分配不公的话,这其实是一场为了‘面包和黄油’的斗争。穆巴拉克及其家人、密友暴发致富,而大部分埃及人生活在官方 贫困线以下。18亿美元的美国援助,基本都用于军备而没有使社会受益。尽管过去几年经济增长的数据看起来还可以,但社会主体未从目前的经济系统中得到好 处。”Moghaddam博士说道。



1981 年埃及总统萨达特被暗杀以后,穆巴拉克掌握了埃及。在位30年的穆巴拉克,其统治时间几乎相当于前两位总统纳赛尔和萨达特之和。从埃及的历 史地位来说,穆巴拉克足可与古埃及的拉美西斯五世、中世纪阿尤布王朝的苏丹萨拉丁、带领埃及脱离土耳其帝国统治的穆罕默德·阿里及现代埃及国父纳赛尔媲 美。





“我 把这次叫做阿拉伯革命,是1950年代阿拉伯人民反帝反殖民,追求民族独立以后最大的革命浪潮。上世纪进入五六十年代后,冷战导致阿拉伯世界成 为大国棋子,数次对以色列战争的战败,使得阿拉伯人民族自尊心受到了严重的打击。另外9·11事件亦使全世界阿拉伯人形象一落千丈,2亿多阿拉伯人充满了 委屈和屈辱。阿拉伯世界没有享受到全球化的福利,上层的腐败使得阿拉伯人感受到必须要变革,阿拉伯人把问题都归咎于腐败、独裁和大佬们,这是一个重要原 因。”马晓霖感慨。






无 论是Marwa、Morayef,还是Soliman,眼下都积极投入了新的生活。“不好意思,我现在不能和你多说,因为我们要去清扫解放广 场。”2月12日,Marwa Elnaggar匆匆挂断了记者的电话。这一天,无数开罗人自发加入了清扫解放广场垃圾的行列,修复被破坏的道路。



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