Saturday, March 24, 2007
Where every day is red-nose day.
Treating it like what it is, people living under communism have always been either prisoners, or prisoners of the madness of the state. Romanian writer and playwright Matéi Visniec puts it in context for us is a novel published this past summer called The History of Communism as Told by Mental Patients
From the editor’s foreword:
It was Moscow in 1953, a few weeks before Stalin died, the director of the Hospital psychiatric ward invites a writer to remain among the “patients” and asks them to rewrite, at their level of understanding, both average and severe, the history of Communism and the October Revolution. He was convinced that this “therapy” could cure some of his patients. Matéi Visniec plunges us in the fuzzy universe of these psychiatric hospitals where real patients and jailed opponents of the state display their nature in their own ways. It shows us once more that whatever the circumstances, man cannot live without concepts of utopia... at the risk of sinking into horror when he tries to put the ideas into practice.Visniec, born in Romania in 1956, is a historian and philosopher cum dramatist and journalist in the tradition of the broad-ranged intellectual. He first published poetry in 1972, and went on to write for the theater but was cencored by the communists. In 1987 he fled Romania for France seeking political asylum, and became a French citizen in 1993. He lives in Paris and works for Radio France International.
Though it won't be widely noted in Berlin this weekend, the Union would not exist without the U.S., which gave its strong backing from day one. The Marshall Plan assisted the Continent's postwar economic recovery, and an American military umbrella has since kept it safe. Whatever the trade or foreign policy disagreements, Washington hasn't wavered in its support for a stable, rich Europe.
This success has sometimes gone to European heads. Some in Brussels truly believe they have created a soft-power utopia that can talk its way out of any trouble, such as a nuclear Iran or Islamic terrorism. In reality, its peace has always depended on the will to spend blood and treasure, often American. Others, especially the French, imagine Europe as a check on the U.S. "hyperpower." Both delusions have helped keep the EU a small fry in foreign affairs. To become a more mature player, Europeans will have to pull their weight in the likes of NATO.
The European past meets the European present: the home truths invented out of comfort and conformity haven’t changed one bit:
In the 1960s I was still a young kid living in the USSR. The available literature led me to believe that in the United States it was an era of romantic class struggle, moral battles, and massive heroic protests against American imperialism. In the USSR we also had massive rallies against American imperialism. They were meticulously organized by the Party apparatchiks. Attendance was mandatory because nobody in the right mind would join them voluntarily.The new dead-enders are in fact little more than people seeking affirmation from one another that their uncertainties about their own views can be ameliorated by ignoring history.
- with thanks to Walt
Friday, March 23, 2007
his book, September 11 Wall Street Sonnets and Other New York City Poems, on April 9 (6PM) at the Cornelia Street Café in New York City's Greenwich Village and on May 2 (6PM) at the Reading Center at Marymount Manhattan College. The Marymount reading will be bilingual with the poems being read in French as well.
Dans l'enseignement supérieur, il est urgent de commencer à réfléchir à la création de chaires francophones, quasi inexistantes en France, afin de retenir des talents littéraires comme Maryse Condé, Alain Mabanckou ou Achille Mbembe, qui ont fini par s'exiler aux États-Unis. Le coeur et l'avenir de la francophonie sont de moins en moins français, mais, paradoxalement, de plus en plus anglo-saxons. La francophonie sauvée par l'Amérique ? Un comble !
He's on to something but I think someone beat him to the punch.
Editions Underbahn: offshoring the French language since 2005. Heh.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
After the cartoons appeared, the Muslim groups attacked me by filing suit against me on racism charges. President Jacques Chirac, who campaigned for this just-completed trial, offered them the services of his own personal lawyer, Francis Szpiner. Dalil Boubakeur, the rector of the Grand Mosque, who always took orders from the Élysée, was apparently not convinced this case was necessary; he told me as much several times. But Mr. Boubakeur was under pressure from the fundamentalists at the UOIF (Union of Islamic Organizations of France), who had come to dominate the French Council of Muslim Worship, which he heads, and Mr. Chirac. Why? Only he knows. We can only guess. Probably to nurture his friendships in the Middle East and win arms contracts for France, while at home playing to Muslim public opinion that's supposedly in thrall to fundamentalism.
Perchance to feel:
More than 600 BBC journalists led by the director general, Mark Thompson, joined vigils for kidnapped Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston across London this afternoon.Seeming to resort to the supernatural, the very idea has the air of a séance. When one starts to believe that having empathy and good intentions will cause barbarians to change their ways, then you are indeed proving that you’re out of options, and that the concept stinks – that is, if you can admit that the world isn’t always what you hope it is and have a Plan B.
Some 500 staff left their desks at Television Centre while 100 World Service members demonstrated their support at Bush House.
Fearing for their lives, European Union monitors stationed at the Rafah Crossing that connects the Gaza Strip and Egypt have asked the defense establishment for help in drawing up escape routes from Gaza...Then again, with such great aspirations of peace and love among the innocent and downtrodden that the same mass of humanity holding vigil is willing to promote through their reporting, such a thing hardly seems necessary.
...The third proposal, which was accepted by the EU monitors, was to make a dash for the Gaza security fence that separates Israel from Gaza, where they would be rescued by the IDF.
"They want to know that we will help them escape if the need arises," the defense official said. "Their concerns are understandable if you take into account the large number of threats they face."
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
In fact the red light has always been on. neo-luddism for thee, but not for me:
Trudie Styler, wife of Sting and self-styled eco-warrior, recently took a helicopter to travel 80 miles from Wiltshire to Devon, a journey that would have taken less than two hours by train.I guess that’s the way of the “eco-warrior” making the sacrifice of leading by example.
It later emerged Sting had twice used the airfield in question from which to roar off in his private jet.
Styler's personal assistant declined to comment on her boss's travel arrangements when I called.
The father of Alan Johnston, the BBC Gaza(n) journalist who has been missing for a week made an appeal for his saying: “that’s no way to treat a friend of the Palestinian people,” using any appeal possible, but forgetting that a journalist is not supposed to befriend the subject of their reporting. The BBC announced that they suspect that it’s just an armed gang looking for some money, and finally admitting that these kidnappings are frequently undertaken by factions as a means of harming one another, which hardly sounds like a simple ransom scenario.
Around the web, other scattered points are made of this matter, but not too loudly. As unsurprised as near-east watchers are, they certainly wouldn’t want to see any harm come to Johnston, even if he did report for the same World Service that spent an hour referring to Valerie Plame simply as “Valerie,” and reported he claim that her very being was a secret, and that she was some sort of highly placed operative who simply didn’t know that it was wrong to recommend a biased spouse to a position where he could do a political hatchet job against their countrymen.
As for Johnston, the BBCeye blog takes up the BBC on their ‘cause’ quoting former PA Information Minister:
"We are opposed to the kidnapping of foreign journalists who serve the Palestinian cause."While a fine fellow from Sweden noted in straightforward manner quoted him, saying:
"We are opposed to the kidnapping of foreign journalists who serve the Palestinian cause," he added.Is it journalism or is it advocacy? Is it because Johnston was only biased 90% of the time, or was it because on rare occasion he would hint that there is an internecine tribalistic feeding frenzy going on among the Palestinians at the very moment they have a chance at their own state?
Or if you allow me to paraphrase: Don't touch our journalists who support us.
The only thing that’s certain is that you can’t call the BBC’s reporting journalism, not because of its’ editorial political stance, but because they frequently suppress basic reporting that doesn’t support the world view of their reporters.
Monday, March 19, 2007
French President Jacques Chirac told Israel at the start of the war in Lebanon that France would support an Israeli assault on Syria, it was reported on Sunday.
Israel's refusal to enter into a deal with Monsieur Chiraq was probably the best Israeli decision of the whole war.I’m sure you’re shocked, but not in the way the French leftists’ image of themselves will: France urged Israel to hit Syria. Doublegame, against their own bitch no less.
While they were telling the thin-skinned, yet terror-symp French public that religiously driven murderers were O-tay! with them.
Army Radio reported that in the message, which was delivered by Chirac to Israel via a secret channel, the French president suggested that Israel invade Damascus and topple the regime of Bashar Assad. In exchange, Chirac assured Israel full French support for the war.
According to the message delivered from Paris, Syria was responsible for the flare up in the North and encouraged Hizbullah to attack.
Image of self, including banal leftist “truthy fairy-ness” and international marketing tactics : gone.
Have a nice day.
French President Jacques Chirac told Israel at the start of the war in Lebanon that France would support an Israeli assault on Syria, it was reported on Sunday.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
On the anniversary of the Madrid bombings, a jihadist cell found it germane to celebrate by threatening Germany and Austria, (yes, Austria,) with retribution for thinking unapproved thoughts, and not pulling a Zapatero: letting terrorists dictate their terms.
[ed.: this is an un-funny play on words between Verlierer (loser) and Vereinigte (United, as in ‘United States’)] ...against Islam and Muslims will all be for nothing other than risk threats at home in Germany. Then the allies will have to set it straight after they experience the same thing their allies did, then the German troops in Badakhshan and Kunduz, in northern Afghanistan will not be safe from the Mujehedeins of Al-Queda and the Taliban.
A message to the governments of Germany and Austria
In the name of Allah the humble by heredity and merciful, Joy to those who follow in the path of righteousness. The Caliphate channel correctly brings to you a message to the governments of Germany and Austria, the following people threaten you safety, but not by their own actions: the noble among you must remain vigilant and respect the will of the people before it acts, or acts on behalf of their allies, we ask a question: what does Germany gain from sending 2275 troops to support NATO to defend Bush’ lies? What does Germany gain from Bush’s promises? The German government lied to her people when they told them that participating with NATO troops is intended for reconstruction!
Their big lie was just a statement to get their soldiers to go to Afghanistan, and to prevent terrorist attacks in Germany!
Their first lie to get soldiers sent to Afghanistan was that they were just their for reconstruction was a lie that the whole world could see through. The German media reported more about the ways in which the soldiers were actually there more for security. The whole world saw pictures of them with skeletons and skulls.
The second lie to get your soldiers to go to Afghanistan was to say that it would prevent terrorism at home.
To that, Ayman Al-Zawahiri said: “Security is a double edged sword! If we’re safe, you’re safe. Only then is it possible for you to be safe. And when we will live in peace, it will then be possible for you to live in peace. When we’re attacked and killed, it will be definite that with Allah’s permission we will attack and kill. That is just retaliation, otherwise find understanding when you finally can understand.”
The participation of Germany in the war of the Loser States of America...
For some time Mullah Dadu Allah has been warning that Taliban operations were underway in northern Afghanistan.
Oh, German government! Germany has a strong economy, and was until not long ago a wonderful land! Why would you want Bush and his cronies take that away? Isn’t it obvious that your economic interest worldwide is at risk? Isn’t it obvious that our Mujehedeins will conduct operations in your country? By helping America, those they call terrorists will be motivated to attack you, thus you risk you own safety.
What we propose is that you remove your soldiers from all muslim lands, and withdraw your support for Bush and his people, and then your interests will be safe.
And to Austria we say: your soldiers in Afghanistan are not much of a threat to us as you display your support for Bush and his cronies. The truth that the Austrian government has withheld from you is that these soldier were attached to NATO, even though it is a neutral country, and not part of that alliance! How can you be a neutral country, a military power, and go along with their alliance? How can one be a neutral country and support America against the muslims?
Austria was and still is one of the safest places in the world. Your people face no struggles, and their future is bright. The country relies mainly on summer and winter tourism, which brings in pleny of revenue. When world gets out that there are security threats, and Austria goes on the Mujehedein’s list of enemy states, this business will end. We blame this on the new Social Democrat government that spoke of fairness and public safety for not pulling their soldiers out of Afghanistan, and for listening to Bush in his war against all muslims. Thereby Austria has risked...He drones on for about another two minutes in exactly the same way that “a deal” could be made available to the Germans.
This is the display of public justification offered in the fever swamps of Islamism, giving acts of terror a legitimacy “because they warned us,” when in reality it’s a cheerleading call to make the most backward and backward people on earth think themselves relevant, powerful, and engaged in the world, when in reality they are living nasty, brutal, and short lives due to their lack of social trust, corruption, paranoia, and incompetence. ‘m sure some of them genuinely believe that they are on the cutting edge of social advancement, well-being, power, and anything else they find in the way of imagined vainglory when you’re just an abject failure.
- With thanks to Liberal in Austria
for the tip-off, where you can also readily see that the
first comment to the post was “yeah, so what?”
The president of the College Republicans group, Benjamin Duffy, and I decided on February 12 (turned out to be Lincoln's birthday) for the speech. (I arrived from Boston in a rental car the day before, around 10 pm, and briefly got lost on the huge campus looking for the Campus Center Hotel.)
The title of the speech, suggested by my editor, was "Faux Amis (Je t'aime moi non plus)", and the subject was: what nobody tells you about America-bashers (foreign and domestic). I spoke for 45 minutes (did so easily, given the subject matter), giving example after example of double standards and self-serving "opinions", both in Europe and among liberal and/or leftist Americans, before arriving at some common-sense conclusions.
The reception I got from (the extremely friendly members of) the College Republicans group was awesome and, on top of that, I was invited after the speech to a delicious dinner at the town's best Italian restaurant (with a gift added in, which kept me warm during the ensuing snowstorm that hit the northeast a couple of days later). Many mercis, les amis, for the fine welcome! It is good to know that you are present, that you are using your common sense, and that you are unwilling to let the loud noise drown you out and willing, on the contrary, to stand up to the masses with pride and voice your opinions, reminding them of a reality here and there.