Friday, July 31, 2009

Mind your own occupation - I'll mind my own development

"In accordance with its mission, Menassat reported on the publishing of the 2009 Arab Human Development report (AHDR) commissioned by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the ensuing objections by participating researchers, including leading consultant for the report Mustafa Kamel al-Sayyed. Criticism of the report focused mainly on the relegation of the impact of foreign military occupations on Arab development throughout the report. Scholars withdrew from the AHDR, accusing UNDP staff of tampering with the studies in unprofessional and unethical manners. The Jerusalem Post objected."

When my friend Jax told me a couple of yers ago that he was working for Menassat, I asked who the funders where, and I showed disbelief that Menassat would be able to free itself from the autocensorship common to aid recipients. He defended Menassat and assured me that they have editorial freedom. Since then, Menassat has been publishing good stuff, not ultra radical, but radical enough. Here, they are at the center of a controversy for a report they collated from the Lebanese Press criticizing the Arab Human Development Report. The Jerusalem Post did not like the way the report was written, and is putting pressure on the Dutch government, Menassat's funders. Menassat courageously responded with this article carrying a great title. By Saseen Kawzally

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