01 December 2016

Lisa Naomi Goldman vs identity politics

Being a matter of revisiting old friends and ex-friends, this post isn't going to be very remarkable. Just a bit of lazy fisking and confirmation of status, so don't get excited.

I have stumbled on Lisa's remarks re Haaretz' article Israeli Arab ballerina takes crown in Israel's first transgender beauty pageant. Since I'm not very much into beauty pageants, you can read the article yourself, but the headline tells enough. And here is Lisa's analysis of the article:

Can we lose the term "Israeli Arab" already? Imagine if the New York Times referred to Barack Obama as the first coloured president of the United States. So freaking offensive.
And notice that the second 'graf opens with the information that she's Christian. The subtext: More liberal than a Muslim, of course. And, somehow, less Palestinian, perhaps. Less scary. More like us Jews.
Also, I am bracing myself for a whole slew of hasbara articles about how Israel is just the most awesome place in the world for Arabs to live. Because there are no transgender beauty pageants in Egypt or Syria, right. Forget equal civil rights for Jewish and Arab citizens. So unimportant when we have, like, beauty pageants that allow Arabs to compete alongside Jews.
So, to the fisking now:
Can we lose the term "Israeli Arab" already? Imagine if the New York Times referred to Barack Obama as the first coloured president of the United States. So freaking offensive.
To start with, I am not sure what the complaint is about. Living in US of A, the nation of about 97 genders and enough identity tags to split the population into approximately 300+ million separate species, one is decrying that comparatively innocent "Israeli Arab"? Strange, innit?

As for the second sentence, the one that starts with "Imagine...": I've performed a simple search in the New York Times innards, with the search term "obama black president". The first page of the search results is presented below*. Sufficient to say that there were 57,300 results, and even if we assume that 90% of those are false responses... Imagine. Yeah, freaking offensive. Or not, depends how you look at that, I guess.
And notice that the second 'graf opens with the information that she's Christian. The subtext: More liberal than a Muslim, of course. And, somehow, less Palestinian, perhaps. Less scary. More like us Jews.
That notion of Christianity of the Israeli Arab transgender ballerina could be dispensed with by a reference to the previous response. Otherwise there is nothing factual in the rest of the quote for fisking. Still, there are two points worth a notice: clumsy creation of a strawman, by putting into Haaretz'(!) collective mouth some words this uber-progressive media outfit wouldn't dream about; and a practically uninterrupted use of sarcasm.
In fact the whole missive, as it appears at the beginning of that post, is a chain of sarcastic sentences. I am not sure that I agree with Oscar Wilde's opinion that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. But one thing for sure: overuse of that otherwise fine tool makes - to use some imagery - all the difference between a spitting cobra and a garden hose (under low pressure).
Also, I am bracing myself for a whole slew of hasbara articles about how Israel is just the most awesome place in the world for Arabs to live. Because there are no transgender beauty pageants in Egypt or Syria, right.
I don't know whether the victory of the Israeli Arab Christian transgender ballerina caused a plethora of Hasbarah articles, not following the genre. Possibly, although I tend to doubt it**. I am also not sure whether Israel is the best place for Arabs to live. I would suspect that Saudi Arabia, UAE and similar spots will have some added attractions for a person of Arab persuasion. On the other hand, I can easily mention several Arab countries which an Arab person will definitely shun in favor of Israel.

I guess the last thing Syrians and, to some extent, Egyptians, think about right now is a transgender beauty pageant. With good reasons, too, so I don't think this point needs any fisking.
Forget equal civil rights for Jewish and Arab citizens.
First of all, why? Secondly, even if someone forgets, lots of Arab (and Jewish, by the way) citizens, not to mention extremely attentive external watchers will remind us. No worries.
So unimportant when we have, like, beauty pageants that allow Arabs to compete alongside Jews.
I don't really know... oh, that was another, thankfully the last, spurt of sarcasm. Strengthened to no end by that "like", of course.

So, what could I conclude about that missive by Lisa? No useful content, awkward attempt at a strawman creation, almost criminal overuse of sarcasm; what was all that about?

Yep, another attempt to stick it to the ex-fellow Z...s.

Fail.

(*) That NYT search (click on the image to view in comfort):


(**) After all, I went to google for Ta'alin Abu Hanna, the lady that won that contest. A lot of entries indeed, but most of them non-Israeli, with quite a few articles in the Arab press***. And, verily a wonder of wonders: most of the articles use "Arab Israeli from a Catholic family" or similar. Go figure...

(***) Am I allowed to say "Arab press"? I am not sure anymore /end of sarcasm for that post

29 November 2016

When the cowboy's way is the only right way

There is hardly a modern progressive thinker that didn't burn - verbally or literally - an effigy of President George W. Bush, so despised for so many years by the left in America and without. Of course, the war in Afghanistan is one of the cornerstones of that courthouse of progressive judgement.

But here comes no other than WaPo, with a revealing article on the mind(s) of the Al Qaeda's best an finest. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, one of the 9/11 masterminds - what better horse mouth do you need to make up your opinion?*

Today, some on both the left and the right argue that al-Qaeda wanted to draw us into a quagmire in Afghanistan — and now the Islamic State wants to do the same in Iraq and Syria. KSM said this is dead wrong. Far from trying to draw us in, KSM said that al-Qaeda expected the United States to respond to 9/11 as we had the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut — when, KSM told Mitchell, the United States “turned tail and ran.” He also said he thought we would treat 9/11 as a law enforcement matter, just as we had the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the USS Cole in Yemen — arresting some operatives and firing a few missiles into empty tents, but otherwise leaving him free to plan the next attack.

“Then he looked at me and said, ‘How was I supposed to know that cowboy George Bush would announce he wanted us ‘dead or alive’ and then invade Afghanistan to hunt us down?’” Mitchell writes. “KSM explained that if the United States had treated 9/11 like a law enforcement matter, he would have had time to launch a second wave of attacks.” He was not able to do so because al-Qaeda was stunned “by the ferocity and swiftness of George W. Bush’s response.”
If this doesn't prove the merit of the quick draw and massive response, nothing would.

But, you might ask, what is the sense of talking about this now? I would say that now, more than ever, the necessity of opposing the (natural) tendency of USA to withdraw from the world's areas of mayhem and strife, is vital. After eight years of gradual and quite open withdrawal, led by a Democratic POTUS, the newly elected Republican one is more than eager to continue and even speed up the process. Including the talk about leaving NATO and, as a result, forsaking Europe to any and all external threats, and there is more than just one (Putin).

While it is true that Europe became too lazy, too fat and greedy, too used to the protection of the American umbrella and unwilling to pony up even the money (it is budgeting to) for its own defense, the move Trump broadly hints about will be disastrous in the long term. You just have to read what KSM says:
KSM explained that large-scale attacks such as 9/11 were “nice, but not necessary” and that a series of “low-tech attacks could bring down America the same way ‘enough disease-infected fleas can fell an elephant.’ ” KSM “said jihadi-minded brothers would immigrate into the United States” and “wrap themselves in America’s rights and laws” until they were strong enough to rise up and attack us. “He said the brothers would relentlessly continue their attacks and the American people would eventually become so tired, so frightened, and so weary of war that they would just want it to end.”

“Eventually,” KSM said, “America will expose her neck for us to slaughter.”
And from the author of the article:
KSM was right. For the past eight years, our leaders have told us that we are weary of war and need to focus on “nation building at home.” We have been defeating ourselves by quitting — just as KSM predicted.
Surely KSM was right, it is hard to argue this point.

The only remark to KSM's speech above: you might have noticed that he talks about America only and that Europe isn't mentioned. Sadly, we know why, don't we?

(*) Not that I expect that many progressive thinkers will change their minds, being usually too far away from mundane and boring things like mere facts. Still it is worth trying.

26 November 2016

Fidel Castro dead: on the death of a liar

Some news is nicer than the other to wake up to. So Fidel has gone to that section of hell that is dedicated to the tyrants and their able assistants. I swore long ago to dedicate a post to The Beard when he croaks. The waiting, though, became so interminable that I've started to have my doubts regarding the possibility of that post ever happening. What with the incredible achievements of socialist medicine in Cuba, he might have very well survived me, who knew? But I won that race eventually.

And no, I didn't intend this post as a blanket condemnation of the typical Latin American junta hiding behind the fake facade of the quasi-socialism, of starving its citizens, of institutionalized spying by everyone after everyone, of bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war and so many other crimes. Nope, that future post was meant to be a highly personal missive.

It was planned to describe a boy who, proudly sporting a Pioneer's cravat, marched with other snotty idiots, shouting in unison "Yankees no, Cuba yes!", "Yankees, keep you hands off Cuba!" and similar. That boy was absolutely enamored by the Granma stories, by the fearless Barbudos who, being so few in numbers, made the impossible, deposing an evil and (indeed) corrupted Batista. As he was enamored by other myths, songs, pictures from the enchanting island so far from the fairly grey and dreary Soviet existence.

But time goes by and one learns. Among other things, one learns the true story of the so called "Communism" the junta has chosen as a choice of convenience to make the new Moscow patrons happy. About making Cuba a mercenary power, carrying out military and espionage designs of that patron all over the world. About the summary executions, about the racism...

Then the boy's attitude to Castro became kind of personal. Took some years to wait, though.

So rot in hell with your buddy Che, you scoundrel. And may Cuba become libre eventually.

25 November 2016

Julian Assange Jewish?


This is one of the more persistent search strings that brings some surfers to this place. So it is time to satisfy people's curiosity. Here is the picture of Julian, taken recently in the unnamed street in Jerusalem.


Surely you understand that we couldn't let our hero rot in the embassy in London.

As for your next (and expected) question: who is it that is enjoying the Ecuador's hospitality for all these years, the answer is simple. One of the Elders' understudies volunteered to do it. Besides, we have some things to check out re Ecuador, so it is not a total loss. Another 10 or so years, which is nothing compared to the usual lifespan of 180 - 190 years our agents enjoy, and, after a fake death notice, the body will be transported, ostensibly to Australia. Due to an engine trouble the plane will make an emergency landing in Tel Aviv etc... you know the drill.

We promise that the man will be promoted, maybe even to the rank of senior understudy.

Anything else you want to know?

24 November 2016

I apologize to Benjamin Netanyahu if he was offended

by me calling him [place you insult(s) here]. I am confident that he is not [place you insult(s) here], as I called him and I shall refrain in the future from calling him [place you insult(s) here].


From the long history of public insults, scurrilous rumors and deadly innuendo, aimed at public figures, one learns that the best way to deal with such activities is to ignore them. Drawing attention of Joe Public by repeating these insults and raising hell in the media, only to get a backhanded apology of the kind outlined above, is definitely the worst way.

Here are three examples of that second kind of response by Bibi, collected just for year 2016:

March 2016:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, on Sunday filed a libel suit against a journalist for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth who alleged last week that the prime minister’s convoy stopped on a central highway because Mrs. Netanyahu was angry at her husband and forced him to get out of their vehicle.

September 2016
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has filed an appeal to keep the details of the amount of money his official residence spent on laundry from being made public. The laundry information request is part of a larger request by the Movement for Freedom of Information for details of all state-paid expenses for the family’s private home in Caesarea and official residence in Jerusalem for 2014.
And, to top it all:

November 2016: Netanyahu threatening to sue unemployed citizen over Facebook post
Yoav Salem, 56, said on Sunday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is threatening to sue him over a blog post shared on Salem’s Facebook page. The blog post claims – without evidence – that Netanyahu’s son, Yair, served as a courier to shelter the Netanyahu family’s money in overseas tax havens.
Does Bibi (or somebody appointed by him for the purpose) really sift through Facebook to find out what rumors are being spread about him and his near and dear? Does Bibi or that somebody keep trace of the repeated (true or untrue) allegations by a reporter?

It looks like, instead of growing more layers of thick skin, as appropriate for a politico, Bibi is doing just the opposite, getting more and more hysterically sensitive to various allegations bandied in the press. True or not, and there is the rub, of course, but it is another matter.

With all that hypersensitivity, isn't it a good time, you know... ?

22 November 2016

Has somebody checked on Norman Finkelstein's well-being lately?

I used to actively despise the man, but now I am only concerned. His obsession has transformed him into a really sick victim - of his own hate, of course - but nevertheless a victim. Check this out:



Pitiful.

20 November 2016

Haaretz and the Elders of Zion. Also - a sensational confession by an Elder.

Remember: you have read it here first!

***

OK, now I shall take a lungful of air and go for it. You see, my dear reader, I don't subscribe to the printed edition of Haaretz, the most progressive Israeli newspaper. Never did. Probably never will, although no one knows what might happen next.

Yeah... I already feel better. Such a load off my shoulders...

***

Thus I have missed a significant event several months ago, related to an article by the inimitable Gideon Levy, aka Self-Appointed Conscience of Israeli aka Baron of deceit industry. But this post here is not about Mr Levy: I think I had enough of that character, at least for the next few months. Anyway, the article, when I stumbled on it in the on-line edition, had the following headline:

AIPAC Is Destroying Israel, Not Safeguarding It

As usual for the above mentioned scribe, the article is full of venom, and I am sure the following (first) paragraph is sufficient to get the article's drift:
The enemies of Israel will gather here Sunday for their annual conference. Almost 20,000 people will flock to the city’s Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Almost all are Jews, and almost all are not friends of Israel, despite their organization’s name and pretensions.
Etc. So I've browsed through that wretched piece, wondered a bit about the poisonous pen and the inevitable hateful result and then promptly forgot about the whole. It was March 2016.

Yesterday, November 19, I have found something curious. Seth J. Frantzman posted this snapshot of the printed article on Facebook:


Not recalling the anti-AIPAC screed described above, I have started to google for the text of the headline, namely "The conference of the Elders of Zion". All my googling left me empty handed, if one doesn't count endless essays on the Protocols of... you know. Unwilling to confess my defeat, I have started to google for the pieces of the article's text and, eventually, voila: the Haaretz article of Mar 20, 2016, titled: AIPAC Is Destroying Israel, Not Safeguarding It. Of course, then I've recalled reading it.

So now it became obvious: The original printed article went out to the subscribers under "The conference of the Elders of Zion" headline. After that, somebody in the Haaretz' editors hierarchy (where Mr Levy himself occupies an editor's position, by the way) got cold feet. Besides being unwilling to deal with us (the Elders), that pathetic headline reeked too strongly of Der Sturmer and had the potential to become too damning in the near future, should it have spread all over the 'net.

Yellow cowards of a similarly colored tabloid. Well, it fits.

18 November 2016

Now that scares the crap out of me


And how about yourself?

Update. I think I've found the source of that picture. The article says:
As reported IA "Tiras"* a billboard has appeared in the Montenegrin town of Danilovgrad and this billboard completely blew up the Internet. In it the Russian leader Vladimir Putin and US President-elect Donald Trump stand shoulder to shoulder against a background of flags of the two countries. But most of all Internet users were impressed by a slogan in Russian and English that reads: "Let's make the world great - again!".

Montenegro - the country. which is economically strongly connected with Russia, however it is committed to integration with NATO. Montenegrin hopes for mutual understanding between Washington and Moscow in this sense are not surprising.
(*) IA "Tiras", where "IA" stands for "Information Agency", the source of the news, is a media outfit that is located in the Transnistria, "a self-proclaimed republic on a strip of land between the River Dniester and the border with Ukraine, recognised only by three non-United Nations (UN) states". In other words, a Moscow puppet.

16 November 2016

Smoldering America and the Wesleyan's genderfuck

I didn't want to be too negative, so I could't call America burning. It is certainly smoldering, what with the wild behavior, both verbal and physical, of many of its citizens, inflamed by incendiary rhetoric coming from both sides of the growing political/social divide.

Of course, the rest of the world is in a shape that leaves even more room for improvement. While the self-centered Westerners keep their unwavering attention on the future White House inhabitant(s), the Russian bombs keep falling on Aleppo and other Syrian cities, ISIS continues their bloody work all over the place, Mosul is being torn apart by both ISIS and the righteous coalition, not to mention (purely humanitarian, of course) bombing air raids by that coalition, the refugees boats keep overturning in Mediterranean, the bombs - manned or otherwise - keep exploding in mosques, churches and restaurants etc. etc. - you get the picture, I bet.

But - all is well in the American institutions of higher learning. As it should be, the uber-green lawns of the campus are isolated from the rest of the unhappy world*. And the young ones, just like birds in love, keep adding more and more stalks of grass, branches, clay, saliva and whatnot to their nests, creating, to the best of their ability, their home away from home.

And Wesleyan's, to use one example, are doing their administrative best to assist the young ones in creating a variety of nests houses for every youngster's desire. Like this one:

Open House is a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderfuck, Polyamourous, Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.
Now don't get me wrong. I am all for variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality. I can't abide bigotry of any kind, including bigotry toward the sexual minorities of (almost**) any kind.

But, admittedly belonging to less celebrated and less vivacious heterosexual majority, I would still dare to inquire: aren't we getting overboard a bit? What with all the smoldering, burning and other warning signs that this here XXI century is going to hell in a handbasket? Isn't all this coddling and cuddling going a very long way to raising generation after generation of spoiled snowflakes? That are not only unable to cope with the larger fires mentioned re the rest of the world, but unable even to cope with the mundane American smoldering?

Isn't the Genderfuck*** going to turn to a clusterfuck as we watch helplessly?

Just asking.

(*) Unless it is that time of the day when the obligatory Zionism-bashing or anti-T-Rump or similar ablution is to be ritually performed, of course.
(**) Pedophilia will be one clear exception, I hope any reader could live with that. If not, go and boil your head.
(***) Genderfuck: no, it is not a swear word added by me for color. It appears in the Open House statement above and, apparently, is a legitimate form of the gender dissent variety****:
Noun

genderfuck ‎(plural genderfucks)

The conscious effort to subvert traditional notions of gender identity and gender roles.
(****) In their haste, the youngsters forgot other forms of gender dissent, such as Aromantic:
An aromantic is a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to others.
Nu, fine... more nest building is clearly indicated.

For documentation purpose, a snapshot from that linked page (just in case):

15 November 2016

About the recalcitrance of Israeli public and the role of the media

This post (see below ***), originally written in 2014, became relevant again.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is backing a proposal to quieten calls to prayer, saying he has received complaints from all quarters about "noise and suffering".
I don't know who exactly complained directly to Bibi (Sara?), and I don't doubt that, aside of the worry about the citizen's eardrums, the opportunity to stick it to the mullahs is also an element in the decision.

On the other hand, the ever increasing levels of noise irritate not only the sensitive Zionist ears, but Iranian ears as well, as was shown further down there in this post. The Saudis joined this trend too.
Saudi Arabia is cracking down on overly loud loudspeakers used to call the faithful to prayer, as mosques increasingly drown each other out, the official SPA news agency said Saturday.

Islamic Affairs Minister Sheikh Saleh al-Sheikh ordered teams to inspect mosques in the holy city of Mecca, in Riyadh and elsewhere around the kingdom for too powerful speakers.
Of course, it is always educational to see how the other side presents the initiative. Here comes Kamel Hawwasha, Professor in the School of Civil Engineering at University of Birmingham, with his (not especially unique) version of events.
Something is in the air in Jerusalem and if Israel has its way it soon won’t be; the Muslim call to prayer – the adhaan – is under threat. The state which is built upon the ethnic cleansing of the majority of the indigenous Palestinian people is inching its way towards banning the call for prayer, which was probably first heard in Jerusalem in 637 AD. That was the year in which Caliph Umar Ibn Al-Khattab travelled to Palestine to accept its surrender from Patriach Sophronius, bringing a six-month siege of the Holy City to a peaceful end.
So again, "banning the call for prayer" is the definition of the measure. Well, what is good for Telegraph (see below) is surely good for one lying Professor of Civil Engineering.

Well, what can I say: shut them down.

***

A day usually doesn't pass without another article bewailing the unstoppable shift of Israeli public to the right. The shift to the right, as it is measured for Israelis, is usually referring to the attitude of Israeli public regarding the impassable Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which is simmering for a long time. Without any signs of abating and without hope for resolution.

Being one of the several millions that indeed have undergone a significant shift to pessimism and a significant loss of hope for the resolution of the conflict, I could quote many reasons for this change of heart. Indeed, from the heady days of Oslo accords via the years of Arafat's double-tongue speech and encouragement of "resistance", via lack of leadership on both sides of the conflict, via emergence of Hamas with its genocidal agenda (different from that of its rival Fatah only in more open and frank definition of goals, to be sure) etc. - it was difficult not to lose that optimism.

Be it as it may, the international media knows to put its collective finger on the reasons. Of course, depending on the particular bend of a specific media outfit, the apportioning of the blame will be different. From blaming the bloodthirsty ZioNazis to accusing the bloodthirsty Arab world and/or Islamist culture of death, you will find the whole gamut of opinions, emotions and hyperbole in the unending stream of what passes these days for reporting and editorializing.

There is one thing, though, you will never find in the media - blaming itself for what is going on. And I don't mean the incendiary articles by anti-Zionist or anti-Arabic gurus, not at all. Just the usual, run-of-the-mill daily reporting, dull and unremarkable, that seeps through the brain matter of the reader, leaving in its wake a few weak emotions, only to be forgotten the next day. But not completely forgotten. Because if, before reading the article, you didn't know anything about the subject, your knowledge will be increased only a tiny little bit. However, your opinion on the main actors of the unfolding drama - Jews and Arabs - will change - slightly, but it will definitely change. And not in favor of the Jews, things being (mis)represented as they frequently are.

And if you are a Jewish Israeli citizen, this reporting will increase your general irritation level, your sense of being wronged, your feeling of alienation and your sense of enmity the outside world displays. Slightly, granted, but increase all these feelings will. Eventually, with the passage of years and accumulation of these small jabs, one can't help but distance oneself from any hope of rapprochement - neither with one's Palestinian cousins nor with the rest of the world.

And to illustrate this long rant, I have chosen an unremarkable example from a newspaper that is not known for being especially anti-Israeli or anti-Jewish - The Telegraph. Robert Tait produced for The Telegraph an article
Israeli Right-wingers have revived highly contentious plans that could effectively silence the Muslim call to prayer, known as the adhan.

In a move that risks stoking already simmering tensions in Jerusalem between Jews and Arabs, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition is tabling legislation that could put strict limits on Islamic prayer calls from mosques in the city and across Israel.
So where do I start? With the headline, of course. No one is trying to "ban" the prayer call, to start with - this is the first small "inaccuracy" of that report. And as for "effectively silencing" that call, there is a grain of truth in that sentence, but only... how to say it gently - half of the truth. Because - but you will not find the full truth in the article, search it as you like. Let's try another source - Washington Post. WaPo presents a misleading headline as well, but slightly less misleading:


At least, this headline doesn't use the totally untrue "banning", choosing "to silence", which is somewhat closer to the reality. And in the article itself you may find the first glimpse of truth:
The song of the muezzin is a fixture of urban life in many parts of the world where there are Muslim populations. But for Ilatov and others, it's a problem of noise pollution. The proposed bill would give Israeli authorities the right to decide whether public address systems can be placed in mosques -- a de facto right to muffle the muezzin.
In this quote you can see that, first of all, the incendiary "to silence" is replaced by true version: "to muffle". Which, together with the first mention of  "public address systems", starts to resemble the truth (you wouldn't find any mention of PA systems, which are in reality humongous loudspeakers, in The Telegraph's article).

Now we can proceed to a local view of the same issue - by Jerusalem Post.

The bill, originally drafted in the previous Knesset by then-Yisrael Beytenu MK Anastasia Michaeli, calls for a ban on the usage of a PA system to complete the call to prayer – called the idhan in Arabic – and any other sound emanating from a religious institution that is deemed noise pollution.

The idhan is recited five times per day, including at dawn, and muezzin in Israel use loudspeakers to call Muslims to prayer.
You can say what you will about the whole idea. But, first of all, did Prophet Muhammed, PBUH, require use of loudspeakers for idhan?


I, personally, tend to doubt it, but then I am not a scholar of Islam - or any other religion, for that matter. I only know that for Israeli citizens living in cities with mixed population, the 4AM wail, equal in the decibel count to an air raid siren, produces an unwelcome and unasked for wake-up call. And sometimes the same "PA system" continues to transmit the whole sermon. Why should Jewish and Christian neighbors be subjected to this unsubtle punishment, only Allah knows...

And finally, if the question of comfort and well-being of the Jews and Christians shouldn't in your opinion trample the religious rights (what religious rights, by the way?) of our Muslim brothers and sisters, consider this:
Calls to prayer have become rare, too. Officials have silenced muezzins to appease citizens angered by the noise. The state broadcaster used to interrupt football matches with live sermons at prayer time; now only a small prayer symbol appears in a corner of the screen.
This quote refers to... yes, take a seat: Islamic Republic of Iran, for crying out loud. Apologies for emphasizing, but it was irresistible...

Now to summarize: you can see how a relatively simple case gets a skewed and, eventually, anti-Jewish angle when presented by many Western sources. Imagine the interpretation of the same case by the Muslim ones, multiply this case by tens or even hundreds on the daily basis... you get the picture now, I bet.

So how do you expect us to keep our equanimity and our desire for peace, understanding and all things dear to any right-minded progressive Western bloke going?

You tell me.

P.S. To prevent a certain type of responses: no, I am far from blaming the media in everything that is going on, but at the end of the day, when the blame is to be apportioned, some media hacks have to own up to their fair share.

13 November 2016

Che and the modern education

This Che (#26) is a middling one, even if I have to confess to this. But soooooo true...

11 November 2016

Garrison Keillor and the Trumpists (aka the great unwashed)

As a person who doesn't understand a lot about America, I have been trying to keep away from the events of this unfortunate (for America) year. And I wouldn't even mention the results of that drama/tragicomedy. Some good people told me off and I shall heed their advice, given in a friendly way.

However, many questions remain and even accumulate. This post was triggered (yes, I know) by an innocent enough occasion. Reading a book Leaving Home by Garrison Keillor, which book is, in fact, a collection of his "it's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon" monologues, which I loved - terminally and unconditionally - from the first listening occasion, back then in 199... If somebody requires a list of things/people that make America great, I thought since, Garrison Keillor should definitely be on it.

Reading one of these, I got curious about something in Keillor's biography, so googling for Garrison Keillor was a natural, if not very well considered at these mad times (as I know now), action. Well, I should have considered that action a bit more carefully, because what I got first was this:

Garrison Keillor: Done. Over. He's here. Goodbye.

Part of the article is a somewhat natural (for a liberal* and a Democrat) horror at the elections result. It repeats many other missives I happened to stumble upon (not really seeking all that, believe you me). So I wouldn't expand on this part. What really hit me was the general air of derision, condescension and alienation of/toward these same people whom, as a whole, Keillor used to describe with love and understanding all these years. Now he is designating them "Trumpists", which could have been fine with me, if only it was the only view he enforces on the reader.

But no, it gets worse. The "we" versus "them" melody grows stronger with each line in this piece. And it doesn't take long to understand who are "we", the definition is unequivocal: "we liberal elitists". As to "them", it becomes exceedingly clear too, when you see this at the end of the article: "Let the uneducated have their day".

Wow. So the first question will be: does anyone expect to close the rift(s) in American society, espousing this attitude?

And the second question: how about these liberal elitists (see the clip below)?



(*) No, not a liberal in the "pinko commie" sense many Americans use this word today, rather a classic liberal. Or so I thought. Till now, that is.

P.S. Oh, and I learned a bit from this article. Recommended.

And here is a debunking of Keillor's "uneducated" blip.

10 November 2016

Tucson Water Protectors, intersectionality and tentacles of the big Z

А если в кране нет воды -
Воду выпили жиды.

Беляев Константин Николаевич
A bit of a jumble, that headline, isn't it? Now I have to explain it, which is quite a job.

Tucson Water Protectors are a nice bunch of well meaning folks, obviously located in Tucson, AZ, US of A. As they explain on their Facebook page:
Tucson community in solidarity with Standing Rock. Providing a platform of resistance for the intersection of ecological, social, and indigenous struggles.
Fully explaining the situation with Standing Rock, DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) and related phenomena is a bit beyond the brief of this post, so see the links.

Intersectionality: now this is a bit of a highbrow concept. Wiki does a good job, so I shall borrow a short passage from it:
Intersectionality (or intersectional theory) is a term first coined in 1989 by American civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race theory, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. It is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. The theory suggests that—and seeks to examine how—various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, caste, age, nationality and other sectarian axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels.
To make it simpler, here are a few real life cases:
  • If you are incensed about the behavior of French troops in Poland during Napoleonic wars, you could relate it to and allot a good part of the blame to... say, Zionists and their tentacles (of course, I am using only one example out of many).
  • If a DMV clerk made a mistake entering your age in the computer and now you can't get a drink in your local watering hole due to being officially underage (in spite of being a father of 3 college graduates) - you can relate it to... er... to use a handy example - Zionists and their tentacles.
  • And of course, when some greedy oil company wants to lay its capitalist/colonialist pipeline through Native Americans' tribal lands, you can connect this act not only to the capitalists' thirst for oil and profit, but to many other injustices and acts of oppression. To use a totally random example - Zionists and their tentacles.
Tentacles of the big Z: I hope it is self-explanatory to every person hungry for Social Justice, Equality and Freedom.

So now you shall clearly see how the good fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline came to the necessity of issuing this flier:


So there. Now you know how the things in this world are interconnected... sorry, intersectionalized. And this knowledge will make you free. Or not, as the case might be.

Now to explain that quote in Russian that mysteriously slipped into the masthead of this post. It is a popular in Russia quote from a comical song about The Jew being everywhere. The quote says: "If there is no water in the tap/The kikes drunk it."

Yep. Water. Just like in "Tucson Water Protectors", innit?

Here comes the song. Well, for those who grok Russian, of course.

09 November 2016

Orange revolution? And here is why

The much disturbing and stomach-turning process of American elections is over, but the punditry and histrionics in certain quarters of the public are just starting, like in this sorry example:

“I feel hated,” I tell my husband, sobbing in front of the TV in my yoga pants and Hillary sweatshirt, holding my bare neck. “Hated.”
This is what democracy is about, Ms Harding. Take it or leave it, up to you.

But still, the best summary that many people have to heed is the one I've read on a FB friend's page:
"Have any of you ever heard the sound of a billion beating wings, looked up at the sky, and seen LITERALLY BILLIONS OF CHICKENS COME HOME TO ROOST?!
Because thats what is happening now. Every act of SJW idiocy, every BLM rally, every safe space, every mobbing, every narcissistic tantrum......these things made people stop caring about the left.
The SJW cliques are the architects of Trump's victory, and watching them shriek in terror and rage is better than sex".
America, teared apart by hate, ideology and fear, has to go through a long healing process now. Is its leadership up to the task? I don't know.

But people on extreme left and extreme right of this great country have to do a lot of soul-searching now, instead of finger-pointing, blaming and teary pronouncements.

As for Hillary and Donald sweatshirts: burn them or use them for house cleaning, be my advice.

And this completes the topic of American elections on this here blog.

Enough.

06 November 2016

Feng-Shan Ho: he who saves one life, saves the whole world


This post is not about some news item. The life and story of the Chinese diplomat is known and his name is in the list of the Righteous Among the Nations. It is just my own way to say that I've learned about the man right now and to say thank you.
After Austria’s annexation to Nazi Germany in March 1938, the 185,000 Jews there were subjected to a severe reign of terror, which resulted in intense pressure to leave the country. In order to do so, the Nazis required that Jews have entry visas or boat tickets to another country. However, the majority of the world’s nations refused to budge from their restrictive immigration policies, a stance reaffirmed at the Evian Conference, in July 1938.

Unlike his fellow-diplomats, Ho issued visas to Shanghai to all requesting them, even to those wishing to travel elsewhere but needing a visa to leave Nazi Germany.

Many of those helped by Ho did indeed reach Shanghai, either by boat from Italy or overland via the Soviet Union. Many others made use of their visas to reach alternate destinations, including Palestine, the Philippines, and elsewhere...
May your name be blessed and rest in peace, Feng-Shan Ho.

Hat tip: L.G.