...But of these sophisms and elenchs of merchandise I skill not...
Milton, Areopagitica

Except he had found the
standing sea-rock that even this last
Temptation breaks on; quieter than death but lovelier; peace
that quiets the desire even of praising it.

Jeffers, Meditation On Saviors



Bichkek, Kirghizstantophoto:Viktor Drachev/AFP

It's unclear from the caption whether they're living at the dump, or just hanging out there for some reason.
We need a word that means "fear of having to live at the dump".
Or a vocabulary of specialized words:
"fear of having to live at the dump with your children"
"fear of having to go back to living at the dump, after more than a year of not having to live there"
"fear of having to go back to living at the dump, after less than a month of not having to live there"
"fear of seeing in a public place your cousin, begging, who as far as you know is still living at the dump"
"fear of the economic/moral/ethical temptations that are a natural by-product of having to live at the dump with your children"
"the experience of simultaneous glue-and-gasoline-fume intoxication in children under 12".


the "blooding" of children

More research into Poland's experience of WWII.

The Wojciechowskis - father Jozef, mother Helena, Amelia, Stanislaw, Boleslaw, twins Maria and Krystyna and little Jan, the youngest by six years - were a farming family from the east of Poland, that giant billiard table between Europe and Russia, across which invading armies have marched throughout history, leaving devastated populations behind them.
When Jan was about six years old, in September 1939, Hitler's tanks rolled in.

Less than three weeks later, Stalin's armies invaded from the east, equipped not only with weapons, but with a plan to rid the eastern provinces of the Polish farmers.
Within days of the Soviet arrival in the Wojciechowski's district, John's father - a World War I hero who had been rewarded with farmland in the east - was taken away and, the family learned years later, shot.
Over the next four months the Wojciechowskis endured constant searches of their house by Soviet soldiers who took anything they wanted.
Then, on the night of February 10, 1940, they and nearly a quarter of a million people in eastern Poland were given 15 minutes to collect their belongings, and put on convoys of cattle-truck trains that carried them to Stalin's slave labour camps in Siberia and the Arctic Circle.

"The world is almost completely unaware of the tragedy of the Polish borderlands in 1940," Parker writes in A Strange Outcome. "There is almost no acknowledgment of one of the greatest enforced migrations in history."
So appalling were the conditions on that six-week train journey that one in 10 people died before they arrived at their destination.

Margie Thomson/NZ Herald/Polish Heritage NZ 27.Feb.05

In 1938 the Soviets and the Nazis had signed a non-aggression pact. Joseph Stalin, supreme leader of the Soviet Union, saw Adolf Hitler's invasion of Poland as a perfect opportunity to grab a part of the country as well.
Two weeks after the Germans invaded, on September 17, Soviet troops occupied the eastern half of Poland, annexing the area to the Ukraine and Belorussia.
During the winter of 1939-40 the Soviets began evicting Poles from their homes and deporting them to Russia. Over a million were deported during this period. Their homes were given to Russians.
For the most part these evictions were done at gunpoint by Soviet troops and members of the feared Soviet state police, the NKVD.
Anna and her family were put into a sleigh and, under armed guard, taken to a nearby railway siding.
"We were locked into a cattle car with a lot of other families. It was soon overcrowded and there was not enough room for anyone to lie down. It was freezing cold and we didn't have warm clothes."
Most of the families had been driven out of their houses without being allowed to pack any clothes. They travelled in what they had been wearing.
The train stood at the siding for about seven hours before it began the long journey to Siberia.
They were given little food on the journey and the only ablution facilities was a hole in the floor of the railway wagon. The cold at times plunged to -60. Many passengers did not survive the trip. Anna's 8-year-old sister died from the cold.
Mary Maczakowska was 13 when her family was rounded up for deportation to Siberia in 1940. "The labour camp in Siberia was terrible," she says. "In winter the average was -50. It was so cold that if you cried your eyes would freeze." In summer, however, it was not uncommon for those in the Siberian labour camps to die of heat stroke. Both Ms Maczakowska's parents died during the winter of 1940.
Southern Cross, Cape Town, SA 1-7.Oct.03

The Baltic states - Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were caught in a similar vise, between the fascist Germans and the totalitarian Russians, though the word similar trivializes what took place.

The first mass deportation was originally intended to be followed by a second and a third. The second was planned to take place a month later, in July of 1941. But the German advance was so quick as to render the Communist annihilation battalions unable to execute the second and third deportations, except in the island Saaremaa which the Germans reached later than the mainland. To judge from what the Communists managed to do in Saaremaa, the second and third waves would have been considerably more extensive than the first. According to the detailed lists of names prepared for the entire country as many would have been deported as were sent away when the Baltic farms were collectivised in the spring of 1949.
One of the deported was a young boy who wrote a diary from the day in spring when he and his parents were sent to Siberia until the day in 1944 when he ran out of paper. The boy and his mother were as usual separated from the father before the transport to the Gulag Archipelago. The boy describes everything that happens in his life, how one friend after the other dies from malnutrition, how an acquaintance steals a potato to keep from starving to death and is thrown in jail as punishment, how he and his mother survive by eating nettle soup, etc. Every third or forth notation ends with the question: "Daddy, where are you? Why don't you take me away from here? Please, God, send my love to my father ". But of course the father is already dead. Maybe a book like this one, an Estonian "Diary of Anne Frank" could make a few more people understand what our Baltic neighbours went through, if a Western publishing house wanted to publish it.
Among the deported was the Estonian president Konstantin Pats, who was sent away as early as in July 1940 and arrested in June 1941 and consequently kept prisoner in different locations until he died in a mental hospital in Burachevo in Russia in January 1956. In June 1977, three of the president's letters reached the West, written when he was in Soviet captivity - probably in 1953 since he mentioned his upcoming 80th birthday. The letters were signed by him and carried his thumb print.
The last president of inter-war Estonia wrote that he had been subjected to all kinds of humiliations and that his life had been threatened. He was not allowed to use his own name, and was simply called "No 12". He was not allowed to write to his family or receive any help from them. In one of the letters he addressed the world and asked for help to the Baltic peoples:
"I turn to the United Nations and the entire enlightened world in a request for help to the peoples of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, against whom the Russian occupants use such force as to make them succumb. I declare the annexation of the Baltic states, carried through in 1940, a brutal crime against international law and a false representation of the true wills of these annexed peoples. Save these peoples from complete annihilation and allow them to decide their own destinies. Establish a UN authority in the Baltic states to supervise a referendum in the aforementioned states where their citizens would be able to express their true wishes. May Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania be free and independent states!
K Pats (signature) (finger print)"
These letters caused no reaction in the UN or from politicians in neighbouring countries like Sweden. President Pats' remains were found in 1990 and re-buried in Tallinn.
Altogether eight former heads of state and 38 ministers from Estonia were deported. The same fate befell three former heads of state and 15 ministers from Latvia, and the president, five prime ministers and 24 other Lithuanian ministers.

Among the deported and later executed were also a large number of officers, among them 79 generals and colonels from Estonia. In Latvia, all high ranking officers were ordered to go to Moscow for "supplementary education" the day before the mass deportation of 1941; most of them were arrested on arrival and later shot or incarcerated in camps. The Communists acted in the same way in neighbouring countries like Poland where most of the Polish officers that had been captured during Hitler's and Stalin's 1939-40 attack were executed. Around 4 500 were executed in Katyn and those are among the few whose destiny finally attracted attention in the West.

In Latvia 7 020 Latvians, according to the incomplete statistics of the Red Cross, were arrested and sentenced (before the large deportation of June 1941); out of these 980 persons were executed and buried in eight mass graves. The rest were sent to Siberian camps. Later came the first large deportation of June 1941:
"The shock to the Latvian people was terrible. After June 14 people were afraid to stay at home, many spent the nights with acquaintances in distant places or ran off into the woods, desperation was the prevalent emotion. One macabre part was that the authorities pretended that nothing had happened, the newspapers contained nothing on the deportations, nobody had any information on those who had disappeared, there was nowhere to go for help or information. The world was silent."

Andres Kung/Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation seminar 13.Apr.99


Katyn Forest
"The less said about that the better."
-Winston Churchill
Remembering Katyn
Britain and the Katyn Massacre
The Katyn Controversy
Katyn Forest Massacre
Massacre at Katyn Forest
Aerial Photography and the Katyn Forest Massacre
Katyn Family Stories


Iran and the Polish Exodus from Russia 1942
Many Polish Boys were named Dariusz: A chapter of forgotten History of Iran


Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria

"You've been sandbagged, boy."
...Manning's biggest surprise came after he'd returned home to the United States. Arriving in San Francisco late on the night of February 11, Manning and Natalie Kalustian, a close friend and filmmaking partner, crashed at the Oceanside Motel on 46th Avenue.The next morning, after a stroll near Baker Beach, they returned to their car to find one of the windows smashed. Expensive camera and computer equipment lay in plain view, but only Kalustian's purse was gone. Inside the purse, Manning said, were keys to their motel room. And when Manning and Kalustian returned to the motel, he recounted, someone had broken into their room. Even though there was jewelry and more film equipment lying about, he said, none of it was touched. In fact, said Manning, none of the suitcases had even been opened. The only thing missing, Manning said, was the big bowling-ball shaped bag containing his camera - and all his taped interviews.
At that time, Manning had not been back in the United States for more than 10 hours.
Santa Barbara Independent interview with Mark Manning, documentary filmmaker, on his trip to Fallujah "to see what life was like on the receiving end of Operation Enduring Freedom."
Mark Manning

They were coming from behind

AMY GOODMAN: : We're joined in Washington, D.C. by journalist Naomi Klein, who has just met with Giuliana Sgrena in Rome. Welcome to Democracy Now!, Naomi.

NAOMI KLEIN: Thanks, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: : Can you talk about what she told you?

NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah. At first I want to say that I know Giuliana really would have liked to have been on the show herself to talk to your listeners and viewers, but one of the things that surprised me when I met with Giuliana is that she was quite a bit sicker than I think we have been led to believe. Her injuries were described as fairly minor; she was shot in the shoulder. But when I met with her, she was clearly very, very ill, and that's why she's not on the show this morning. She was fired on by a gun at the top of a tank, which means that the artillery was very, very large. It was a four-inch bullet that entered her body and broke apart. And it didn't just injure her shoulder, it punctured her lung. And her lung continues to fill with fluid, and there continues to be complications stemming from that fairly serious injury.
What Giuliana told me that I had not realized before is that she wasn't on that road at all. She was on a completely different road that I actually didn't know existed. It's a secured road that you can only enter through the Green Zone and is reserved exclusively for ambassadors and top military officials. So, when Calipari, the Italian security intelligence officer, released her from captivity, they drove directly to the Green Zone, went through the elaborate checkpoint process which everyone must go through to enter the Green Zone, which involves checking in obviously with U.S. forces, and then they drove onto this secured road. And the other thing that Giuliana told me that she's quite frustrated about is the description of the vehicle that fired on her as being part of a checkpoint. She says it wasn't a checkpoint at all. It was simply a tank that was parked on the side of the road that opened fire on them.

Democracy Now! 25.Mar.05


Il provvedimento sara inoltrato alle autorita Usa
tramite rogatoria internazionale.

La procura di Roma ha emesso un atto di sequestro giudiziario per l'auto su cui e stato ucciso in Iraq Nicola Calipari, il funzionario del Sismi morto nell'operazione che ha portato alla liberazione della giornalista Giuliana Sgrena il 4 marzo a Baghdad.

Reuters Italia 24.Mar.05

a lack of tolerance for anything it does not control

Two of Israel's normally publicity-shy Russian "oligarchs" this week surfaced to announce their first investment in Israel since they sought refuge there 18 months ago in the wake of the debacle over Yukos, the Russian oil company.
Although the Russian tycoons have maintained a low profile since moving to Israel, they have not managed to escape controversy.

Mr Nevzlin's name was among those raised in connection with a current Israeli police investigation into the alleged laundering of at least $500m through a branch of Bank Hapoalim, Israel's largest bank.
"I've had no problems with the authorities," he said. "Everything is quite transparent if you look at my assets. So much time has passed since they started the investigation, they would have had a chance to look at my accounts."
In an indication of how important Israel regards investment, Benjamin Netanyahu, finance minister, recently said the money-laundering case had been blown out of proportion.
"Israel will lose a lot if some TV viewers think that the country does not need immigrants from the former Soviet Union and can afford to reject investments," he told the RTV1 satellite channel, owned by Vladimir Gusinsky, an exiled Russian media magnate.

Harvey Morris/Axis of Logic 25.Mar.05

Washington has ordered an investigation into the shooting

The U.S. military command in Iraq has blocked two Italian policemen from examining the car in which an Italian intelligence agent was shot to death in Baghdad, a newspaper said Wednesday.
Corriere della Sera said that the policemen were about to leave when the Italian Embassy in Baghdad received an order from the U.S. command on Monday to abort the mission for security concerns.
The embassy in Baghdad reportedly alerted Rome authorities, who called off the trip.
The car, a Toyota Corolla, is reportedly still in American hands, at Baghdad airport where it was originally rented.
The Foreign Ministry in Rome declined comment on the report, while officials at the Italian Embassy in Baghdad could not immediately be reached. The U.S. military in Baghdad had no immediate comment.

Army Times/AP 23.Mar.05
link Democracy Now!

"for its transience"

Notes on a question at The Edge,
and an answer by Paul Broks at Prospect:

Out of Mind
"...the condition of believing that the mind is separate from the body, even though you know this belief to be untrue..."

"Alexander Vilenkin, a physicist, believes that our universe is just one of an infinite number of similar regions. But "it follows from quantum mechanics" that the number of histories that can be played out in them is finite. The upshot of this crossplay of finitudes and infinities is that every possible history will play out in an infinite number of regions, which means there should be an infinite number of places with histories identical to our own down to the atomic level."

"Ian McEwan...says, ' part of my consciousness will survive my death."
It's territory. The flaw, the block in understanding is the sense of ownership we have, the body as territory that we control, the circumference of our bodies being a political boundary inside of which we control everything, or have a legal right to, even if we don't really control everything within its borders. The missing piece is the infinitely small, the assumption that anything down there must be trivial and completely subject to human control, because it's smaller than we are. That assumption stems directly from another - that at its most fundamental the infinitely small is a miniature void, an emptiness, a place where nothing is. That has the same cause as the now disproved assumption that "space" is a void, a vast dark emptiness. These are part of a methodology of seduction and entrapment.
We could say with equal validity "the condition of believing that the body is separate from the world" - we could say with equal validity "the condition of believing the world is separate from the universe". None of these are accurate beliefs, none of them are inaccurate, what they are is imprecise, and what makes them imprecise is they don't incorporate the inexact nature of existence. We come to consciousness inexactly, we live through time inexactly, we see ourselves inexactly, and we have no exact idea of where we are while all this goes on.
The body is not separate from the world, though it can be shot into space, and given enough time and the inclination a machine could be assembled and shot into space and it could then assemble the parts of a human being and that human being would come into existence separate from the world in a strictly logical sense except for its origins which will always be here, in this world, where everything we ever do will have its origins.
Our understanding of the world is as inexact as our understanding of consciousness - that's part of being human; the mistake is to ignore that partiality, or to pretend it can be made whole by an accumulation of fact alone.
Of course there are an infinite number of "regions". This is all happening within an infinite context. The flaw there is that we take our sense of territoriality and extend it in all outward directions, then convince ourselves we've grasped the infinite, seeing it mainly as a larger "here" without limits. This is compounded by a cartoonish possibility-of-the-imagined-whatever that seems to emerge from the reality of infinite things being a real part of where we are. Our experience of life doesn't seem to be infinite, any more than our lives seem to be eternal. But the context in which we live is obviously eternal and infinite - time can't exist outside of or separate from an eternal context, and spatial dimension has to have an infinite context around it. This is what's so suspicious about the constantly revised claims for a finite universe.
Selling the promise of immortality to mortals hungry for it is a marketer's wet dream.
When Vilenkin says, from within the infinite context of his thought problem - "...there should be an infinite number of places with histories identical to our own..." he could as easily say there should be "an infinite number of places with histories nearly identical to our own", and "more-or-less similar to our own", and "relatively like our own", as well as infinities of exotically different places with foreign histories, as well as bizarrely alien places with experiences of time so unlike our own we couldn't comprehend the existences of the beings that inhabit them. We could keep going, because we have - not just an infinity to extrapolate from and into - but an infinity of infinities - a fractally increasing, exponentially exponentiating infinitely infinite numberlessness - to play around in.
McEwan's consciousness won't survive the death of McEwan, that seems axiomatic, but the assumption working behind the statement is that McEwan owns everything that can be said to exist inside the borders of his identity, that all that's there is McEwan's consciousness, and that he encompasses that, he owns it. That - even though like all the rest of us, McEwan came to his consciousness out of the formless but living void of early childhood - McEwan is the master of his own consciousness, by which we mean not just the identity that's self-aware, but all the processes taking place inside the territory circumscribed by McEwan-ness. This is a natural assumption but it's clearly untrue.
The parallels to the relationship with and the attitudes toward land and the skeins of living that the land carries, and the sea as well, and the bitter arrogance human beings so often bring to that relationship, are striking; that bizarre psychotic almost raging demand that anything superior show itself or be denied, and the truly psychotic claim to superiority over anything we can damage beyond repair.
Thus we have a photograph of Teddy Roosevelt, with a rhinoceros broken and bleeding at his feet, on its knees to his triumphant masculinity, and his dominant humanity.
The corollary being that anything we can kill is obviously inferior; the isolation inherent in that attitude makes it easy to forget that making other things inferior doesn't improve our position at all.
The killing of the rhinoceros is presented in the same forced dualism as all the other important questions, it's the same entrapment. The inexactness is missing, and with it balance. Balance isn't stasis; we walk by falling and recovering, it's a very rare thing for a human to achieve conscious immobility - an art that must be practiced. We live by balancing. Roosevelt's not so much a villain, especially in terms of intent, as he is a dupe; someone whose integrity and strength were harnessed toward ends he wouldn't have approved if he'd seen them in time.
What McEwan's doing really is answering the folk superstitions of pie-in-the-sky salvation that can be won with a few dollars and a few hours and rote repetition of a few stock phrases. In that context he's right, and especially in the context of the transience of existence he's right. Every noble thing we look toward comes from the acceptance of that transience followed by sacrifice. What I'm saying is underneath the transience is something astonishingly brighter than the dizzying void of not-being.


It's a Doddle


Israel transferred the West Bank city of Tulkarem to Palestinian control Monday night, after two meetings between the sides earlier in the day succeeded in resolving problems which had prevented the transfer from taking place as scheduled.

The transfer, which saw uniformed Palestinian police begin patrolling the streets, got underway at 8 p.m. local time (1800 GMT), sparking celebrations by city residents.

The handover will be completed Tuesday morning when the main Israeli army roadblock in front of the city is removed.

ReliefWeb 21.Mar.05
photo: Pedro Ugarte_AFP

Saved By The Bell

Shocked and Awed in Iraq


in small hurt within the desert

from Sgt. Charles Willy:
Please, forgive me if I intrude into your privacy, it true that you do not know me, but the fact that it business invitation issue, try and hear me out first.
My name is Sergeant Charles Willy. An army officer who is currently serving the United States of America Army force in Iraq.
I came to know about you in my private search for a reliable and reputable person to handle this confidential business transaction with me.
Sir, In course of this war I have find an opportunity to relate a very important business issue with you, first I don't want you to be afraid of this mail, and it is the only way for me to express this transaction to you, I discover 2 boxes beneath the ground in small hurt within the desert near a palace in Baghdad, Iraq, when I open it I saw it full of dollars, what of $10 million dollars, then I took the boxes photograph and I lucked the box back, I quickly declare the boxes to UNICEF staff who came to rescue victims of the war to neighboring country where American set as center for treatment, I drop a note with UNICEF staff that the boxes belongs to a foreign investor who leave in Iraq that, they want me to keep there personal belongings for them. The staff fully accepted the boxes from me and put it inside the flight to a near by country within the Middle East.
Now that the Iraqis are about to gaining their new political ambition by conduction new election for a new civilian president, I am using this point to make you the owner of these boxes, so that I can now present you to the security Vault. That is why I decide to contact you as a result of the trust and confident I want to bestow in you, a reliable and trustworthy foreign partner like you who I will instruct the security vault to transfer the boxes in confidential place.
Please I don't want you to worry about anything on how you will claim these boxes because UNICEF staff and the Security Vault do not know the content of these boxes, I did not revealed it to them, they only know that a family entrusted there family belongings to me for safe keeping.

There is no risk involved whatsoever

from Capt. David Spins:
Dear Sir, My humble compliments. My name is Capt. David Spins I am an American soldier, I am serving in the military of the 1st Armoured Division in Iraq, we have just been re-assigned to Germany. I am presently in Riyadh at the mean time just for a couple of weeks.
Meanwhile my commandant and I were oportuned to have moved funds belonging to Ex. president Saddam Hussein totaling $27,000,000.00 (Twenty seven million US dollars) this money is being safely kept in a Security Firm as I am writing you.
Click on this link you will find details of what took place here
I do hope you would realise we are working for the government and as a result of that we cannot keep these funds anywhere close to us.
Consequently, my proposal is that we will want to move the funds to you, so that you can keep it for us in your bank account or any other place you deem safe. We will share the money in the ratio of 85% for us and 15% for you.
There is no risk involved whatsoever.
If you are interested, please reply immediately via email too.Upon your response, I shall then provide you with more details. My responsibility is to find a reliable partner that will assist us. Can I really trust you?
On receipt of this email,please send me an e-mail notifying me of your position. Should you be interested and ready to assist,I will appreciate it to have you provide me with your most confidential telephone/fax numbers for earsier.
This is a deal and I would advice you observe utmost confidentiality towards it, and be rest assured that this transaction will be most profitable for all of us because I shall personally require your assistance to invest my share in an overseas country, probably your country.
Awaiting your urgent reply via my e-mail address.
Warmest wishes...

email/spam 21.Mar.05


The Poles are the people who really lost the war.

Over half a million fighting men and women, and 6 million civilians (or 22% of the total population) died. About 50% of these were Polish Christians and 50% were Polish Jews. Approximately 5,384,000, or 89.9% of Polish war losses (Jews and Gentiles) were the victims of prisons, death camps, raids, executions, annihilation of ghettos, epidemics, starvation, excessive work and ill treatment. So many Poles were sent to concentration camps that virtually every family had someone close to them who had been tortured or murdered there.
There were one million war orphans and over half a million invalids.
The country lost 38% of its national assets (Britain lost 0.8%, France lost 1.5%). Half the country was swallowed up by the Soviet Union including the two great cultural centres of Lwow and Wilno.
Many Poles could not return to the country for which they had fought because they belonged to the "wrong" political group or came from eastern Poland and had thus become Soviet citizens. Others were arrested, tortured and imprisoned by the Soviet authorities for belonging to the Home Army.
Although "victors" they were not allowed to partake in victory celebrations.
Through fighting "For Our Freedom and Yours" they had exchanged one master for another and were, for many years to come, treated as "the enemy" by the very Allies who had betrayed them at Teheran and Yalta.
Travel Poland: The Second World War

ID Date Name Rank Age Srv Branch Unit Cause of Death Where Hometown State Country
1696 03/18/05 NAME NOT RELEASED YET Not reported yet U.S. Army Task Force Baghdad Hostile - hostile fire Baghdad (NE part) Not reported yet Not reported yet US

Planes and Trains and Automobiles

Hizb Allah leader Hassan Nasr Allah:
"It is a very dangerous incident," Nasr Allah said of an explosion early on Saturday in a Christian residential area that wounded 11 people and caused extensive damage.

"Someone wants to increase tension and instability," he said, adding that "Israel is the beneficiary." But he stressed that he was not levelling any "premature accusations."

Addressing reporters Nasr Allah also appealed to the anti-Syrian "opposition to sit down at a table to talk and to find a way out of the political crisis."

"We back any national dialogue that takes place ... We will not tire of calling for national dialogue," he said, adding, "there are no grounds for civil war, and we must not create grounds", Aljazeera television reported him saying. 19.Mar.05


World Jewish Congress Online: "'Our generation is the last generation,' said Katsav. 'History asks the survivors to do the impossible and to sink into the abyss and to draw out of the deep recesses of their minds the memories of what has happened for the benefit of future generations, for the benefit of mankind.' The exhibition for the first time also acknowledges other victims of the Nazis, such as Gypsies and homosexuals. Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said that the Holocaust was not about man's inhumanity to man, but man's inhumanity to Jews"

The last generation for the first time acknowledges.
Oh and let's give a little urp of remembrance for all the deadwood trimmed away, the feeble and the mad, the albinos and the unclassifiables. And the Gypsies and the queers. And other trash.
Then you have that semantic divide there, at the end, from Mr. Wiesel.
Oh and Mr. Wolfowitz is the nyah nyah nyah, head of the World Bank, nyah nyah.
Only there isn't a World Bank. It's a fiction, it doesn't exist. A diversion, a flourish of the empty sleeve.
And a few thousand "extreme right-wing" Jews are going to be marching to the Dome of the Rock in April. I wonder if they'll be singing?
You'd think so. Zealots are always singing it seems.
I wonder if there's birds there, still. What it will sound like to them.

Word of the day:

Merriam-Webster Online: "Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin inenarrabilis, from in- enarrare to explain in detail, from e- narrare to narrate"


"...a glimpse into the future trillions of years from now, when the survival of intelligent life might well depend upon its ability to migrate to another, more hospitable universe or to travel back to a warmer, safer time."



Kilimanjaro's trademark snowy cap, at 5,895 metres (1,934ft), is now all but gone - 15 years before scientists predicted it would melt through global warming...

resented by tourists, who have complained

Western tour companies have expressed alarm at overcrowding on Mount Kilimanjaro caused by corrupt local officials allowing too many people to climb at any one time.
More than 25,000 tourists climb Kilimanjaro each year, often paying thousands of dollars for the privilege, and each of the three routes up the mountain is supposed to have a set limit of climbers each day.
But the Marangu trail in particular, which has a daily limit of 67 people, often had double that number in this February.
Western tour operators further allege that the porters' union in Kilimanjaro blames greed by guides, which has seen them pocket up to $50 (Tsh50,000) per person for extra climbers.
They also say that the guides and chief porters are refusing to properly share tips given by tourists and are making them carry excessive heavy loads up the mountain.
Each porter is only meant to carry a 50 kg maximum load up the mountain. But often they are being forced to carry much heavier loads so that guides can hire fewer porters and make more money.
The porters say they are being made to pay up to $5 even to get a job as a porter and are being forced to pay for their own food - which is often only leftover scraps - while working.
They are so angry over the situation that a protest march is being planned on February 28 to highlight their conditions. 28.Feb.05

authorities said most graffiti and name inscriptions on Mount Kilimanjaro had been scribbled by climbers who painted unique tags at as many places as possible around the landmark points on the mountain.


The Crusaders in Mainz, May 27, 1096

In May, 1096 a band of crusaders led by Emico, a German noble, forced its way into the city of Mayence and finally into the archiepiscopal palace where the Jews had taken refuge. The slaughter and suicide of the Jews in this palace with all the attendant horror and hysteria are graphically described in the following two selections taken from a Hebrew historical account by Solomon bar Samson - of whom we know very little - who wrote about 1140.
Jacob Marcus

1096: Emico and the Slaughter of the Rhineland Jews

At the beginning of summer in the same year in which Peter, and Gottschalk, after collecting an army, had set out, there assembled in like fashion a large and innumerable host of Christians from diverse kingdoms and lands; namely, from the realms of France, England, Flanders, and Lorraine. . . . I know n whether by a judgment of the Lord, or by some error of mind;, they rose in a spirit of cruelty against the Jewish people scattered throughout these cities and slaughtered them without mercy, especially in the Kingdom of Lorraine, asserting it to be the beginning of their expedition and their duty against the enemies of the Christian faith. This slaughter of Jews was done first by citizens of Cologne. These suddenly fell upon a small band of Jews and severely wounded and killed many; they destroyed the houses and synagogues of the Jews and divided among themselves a very large, amount of money. When the Jews saw this cruelty, about two hundred in the silence of the night began flight by boat to Neuss. The pilgrims and crusaders discovered them, and after taking away all their possessions, inflicted on them similar slaughter, leaving not even one alive.
Not long after this, they started upon their journey, as they had vowed, and arrived in a great multitude at the city of Mainz. There Count Emico, a nobleman, a very mighty man in this region, was awaiting, with a large band of Teutons, the arrival of the pilgrims who were coming thither from diverse lands by the King's highway.
The Jews of this city, knowing of the slaughter of their brethren, and that they themselves could not escape the hands of so many, fled in hope of safety to Bishop Rothard. They put an infinite treasure in his guard and trust, having much faith in his protection, because he was Bishop of the city. Then that excellent Bishop of the city cautiously set aside the incredible amcunt of money received from them. He placed the Jews in the very spacious hall of his own house, away from the sight of Count Emico and his followers, that they might remain safe and sound in a very secure and strong place.
But Emico and the rest of his band held a council and, after sunrise, attacked the Jews in the hall with arrows and lances. Breaking the bolts and doors, they killed the Jews, about seven hundred in number, who in vain resisted the force and attack of so many thousands. They killed the women, also, and with their swords pierced tender children of whatever age and sex. The Jews, seeing that their Christian enemies were attacking them and their children, and that they were sparing no age, likewise fell upon one another, brother, children, wives, and sisters, and thus they perished at each other's hands. Horrible to say, mothers cut the throats of nursing children with knives and stabbed others, preferring them to perish thus by their own hands rather than to be killed by the weapons of the uncircumcised.

Albert of Aix
August. C. Krey, The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eyewitnesses and Participants
Internet Medieval Source Book
Internet History Sourcebooks Project
Fordham University

From the Chronica Regiae Coloniensis -
The "Children's Crusade", 1212:

In this year occurred an outstanding thing and one much to be marveled at, for it is unheard of throughout the ages. About the time of Easter and Pentecost, without anyone having preached or called for it and prompted by I know not what spirit, many thousands of boys, ranging in age from six years to full maturity, left the plows or carts which they were driving, the flocks which they were pasturing, and anything else which they were doing. This they did despite the wishes of their parents, relatives, and friends who sought to make them draw back. Suddenly one ran after another to take the cross. Thus, by groups of twenty, or fifty, or a hundred, they put up banners and began to journey to Jerusalem. They were asked by many people on whose advice or at whose urging they had set out upon this path. They were asked especially since only a few years ago many kings, a great many dukes, and innumerable people in powerful companies had gone there and had returned with the business unfinished. The present groups, morever, were stfll of tender years and were neither strong enough nor powerful enough to do anything. Everyone, therefore, accounted them foolish and imprudent for trying to do this. They briefly replied that they were equal to the Divine will in this matter and that, whatever God might wish to do with them, they would accept it willingly and with humble spirit. They thus made some little progress on their journey. Some were turned back at Metz, others at Piacenza, and others even at Rome. Still others got to Marseilles, but whether they crossed to the Holy Land or what their end was is uncertain. One thing is sure: that of the many thousands who rose up, only very few returned.
Internet Medieval Source Book
Internet History Sourcebooks Project
Fordham University

IX: The Children's Crusade, pp. 325-342

Wolff, R. L.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The later Crusades, 1189-1311
The History Collection
University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
UW-Madison Libraries


fotos van Otto Frank

Keeping the theme of absolute weirdness alive:
"Otto Frank was as complicated and paradoxical as Anne was straightforward and ingenuous. In this biography, we can easily see the charming, lovable, thoughtful, kindly father that his daughter rhapsodized about in her writings. But another, less sunny side to the man that Anne affectionately called her "Hunny Kungha" emerges when we least expect it, sneaking out from between the lines and giving the reader small shocks.
The Frank family was a dysfunctional one. Otto was open about the fact that his marriage to Edith Frank was a marriage of convenience from his standpoint, although she was a highly intelligent, attractive woman who was obviously in love with him. His attitude toward her, though unfailingly civil, was so lacking in warmth and affection that even Anne, who didn't get along with her mother, observed that his behavior must be deeply hurtful to Edith. Otto was also remarkably uninvolved with his other daughter, Margot -- so much so that he had no idea that she was keeping a diary, too, while the family was confined to their hiding place -- a diary that was unfortunately never recovered and might have yielded another perspective on this complex famous family.
Moreover, Otto's relationship with Anne, blatantly the apple of his eye, seemed to have been a little too close for comfort, teetering on the brink of inappropriateness. For instance, he confided to her the details of an early, ill-fated love affair that had so devastated him he was unable to have romantic feelings for anyone else. He also took it upon himself to talk openly to Anne about sex and sexuality."
The Hidden Life of Otto Frank
Carol Ann Lee
review by Phoebe Kate Foster
"...teetering on the brink of inappropriateness..."?
Here's Anne Frank through the loving lens of her father, the only member of the Frank family to have survived Auschwitz, and here she is again. And again.
I lost track of the site(s) they came from - but the oddest one, the first one, is from
I'm not debating the sexualization of children, or the sexuality of children, what I'm saying is there's something hinky about these images, as Travis McGee would have said.


This story, about the one-ton 60 year-old Uganda crocodile with a taste for human flesh, brings an old friend to mind. We'd lost touch, I was living in a cabin in the mountains without electricity, just beginning to play around with the computers at the public library in town, which were relatively slow and withdrew their engagement after an hour's session. I did a search for his name and that's how I found this.
He was a better friend to me than I to him, in some ways, and he was very brave, in a lot of ways. He was also a lover of reptiles and amphibians; he had some vivaria when we were roommates, with a pigmy rattler and a constrictor he fed live mice to, a no-middle-ground lesson for a consciousness-altered soul like mine was then. We became roommates because one day as I was making my rounds as the garbage man at the junior college I saw him and his girlfriend and a voice said "Go ask them if they need a place to stay, and tell them they can live with you at Ridley Street." Pretty much just like that. So I did. They were bumming because they couldn't find a place to live, and were getting ready to head back to LA.
We had a lot in common and I think we'd have had a lot of this in common too, this Internet thing.
I think about Scott when the accusations of anti-semitism get overbearingly intense. He was a Jewish boy from Chicago. I miss him a lot.

Juniper Cobra

Israeli Defense Forces and anti-aircraft units from the U.S. army started extensive joint air-defense exercises in Israel on Thursday.

Israeli security sources said that the operation is aimed at preparing the Jewish State to defend itself against possible Iranian aerial attacks.

The month-long operation, codenamed Juniper Cobra, will test the extent of coordination between U.S. and Israeli forces in several attack scenarios. 10.Mar.05

As one might expect, this is not being reported extensively in U.S. media at the moment.

I am not now in my pajamas, but I could be

It will be remembered that Plame is the wife of former Ambassador to Iraq Joseph Wilson, who had irritated the Bush White House by strongly criticizing both the Iraq war and the administration's handling of it. There is a strong if unproven belief that some Bush loyalist leaked Plame's name in retaliation, since it effectively ended her career -- and, just by the way, put her life in danger, but leakers can't be choosers.

The info was leaked to conservative columnist Robert Novak, who put it in his column. There is a strong but unproven belief that the same leaker tried to sell Miller and Cooper on the story. The question that many of us have been asking all along -- why the hell don't you just ask Robert Novak about it and throw his butt in jail if he refuses to tell you? -- seems curiously not part of the public dialogue.

Jon Carroll/SFGate 10.Mar.05

the coloured stripes on the containers

A judge dismissed a lawsuit on Thursday that accused chemical companies of committing war crimes by supplying the U.S. military with Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

The class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of about four million Vietnamese, who said they had suffered illnesses and their land had been poisoned by Agent Orange and other herbicides sprayed by U.S. aircraft.

The suit named more than 30 companies, including Dow Chemical Co. and Monsanto Co.

U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein ruled that the defoliant and similar products could not be considered poisons banned under international rules of war – even if they had similar effects.

"There is no basis for any of the claims of plaintiffs under the domestic law of any nation or state or under any form of international law," the federal judge wrote in a 233-page ruling.

Link between illnesses, chemical not proven: judge

The suit marked the first time that Vietnamese plaintiffs had sought compensation for the effects of Agent Orange.

U.S. aircraft dropped more than 80 million litres of the chemical on the Southeast Asian country from 1962 to 1971, trying to ruin the crops and to kill the foliage that the Communist forces were using as cover.

Agent Orange contains dioxin, a highly toxic chemical that has been linked to cancer, diabetes, birth defects, organ dysfunctions and other health problems.

Thousands of U.S. war veterans receive disability benefits related to Agent Orange.

CBC 10.Mar.05

in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well

A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated.
Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army.
"I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said.
"We captured him after fierce resistance during which a Marine of Sudanese origin was killed," he said.
He said Saddam himself fired at them with a gun from the window of a room on the second floor. Then they shouted at him in Arabic: "You have to surrender. ... There is no point in resisting."

WHAM13 10.Mar.05



A Cerberus-bot's overeagerness at Wealth Bondage leads to the post below, which is a comment on the post - Dumpster Chic for Rich - at the aforesaid.
The roots of fashion aren't as shallow as we're taught. People wear more than costumes.
They wear what they are.
What they believe and where they live.
What they do. And what they have to do.
The grace of deep tradition and reverence for what makes things beautiful, harmony and human connection to the real.
The Olsen twins are human too, real people in an unreal place. We need to keep questioning what we're taught has value, and what we're taught doesn't.

repeated sabotage

The chief rabbi of the Jewish Yitzhar settlement, located in the West Bank, will issue an edict that allows settlers to steal the agricultural crops of Palestinian farms in nearby villages.
Israeli sources said that the rabbi, regarded as the spiritual leader of the settlement, said that other rabbis have different opinions as to whether it is legal for the settlers to rob the Palestinian farmer's crops or not.
However, he said that he will issue an edict allowing such acts after considering each case separately.
Jewish settlers in the Yiitzhar settlement have repeatedly attacked Palestinians in nearby villages and towns.
Last month, they poisoned and damaged the main water spring for the Madama village.
An Oxfam team tried to repair the damage but they said that they needed protection because armed Israeli settlers opened fire on workers repairing the same spring in two separate occasions during 2002.
Israel's Haaretz daily said that extremist settlers have attacked the water system for the village several times, destroying the water pipes and throwing building waste into the water holes.
The council head of the village, Ayed Kamal, said that the Palestinian Authority stopped sending complaints to the Israeli army because it fails to act on Palestinians' complaints against settlers. 07.Mar.05

The Madama village's spring was deliberately contaminated and its water supply system was sabotaged 10 days ago, village council head Ayed Kamal said yesterday.
This is the sixth time in the past three years that the spring, the only source of water for the village's 1,700 residents, and the water system, have been deliberately damaged.
The village is near the extremist Yitzhar settlement and its outposts in the West Bank.
An Oxfam delegation, accompanied by an IDF force for protection, set out last Thursday to gauge the damage. The Oxfam group needed protection after armed Israelis opened fire on workers repairing the spring and water pipes on two previous occasions during 2002.
Talia Somech, a spokeswoman for the IDF's civil administration, told Haaretz that the IDF learned of the damage only during the visit on Thursday and that the matter would be passed on to the police.
Kamal told Haaretz that 10 days ago a group of Israelis, some of them armed, clashed with shepherds near the spring. That evening the water stopped flowing to the villagers' houses. On Thursday they found that the water pipes had been broken and the cement encasing one of the water wells had been smashed to pieces. The debris had been thrown into the well.
For three years - from the end of 2000 to the end of 2003 - unknown perpetrators repeatedly sabotaged the water system, smashing the water pipes and throwing building waste into the water holes. During these years the villagers had no water supply.
Oxfam financed the encasement of the pipes above the surface with concrete and built an iron net around the water holes to protect them. However, once again the concrete and pipes were smashed and the drinking water fouled with dirty diapers and other waste.

Amira Hass/Haaretz 21.Feb.05

Money Laundering in El Salvador

In summary, here are the facts:

  • El Salvador is "potentially fertile ground for money laundering," especially given its central role in finance throughout the region, and given dollarization of the economy.
  • Large currency transactions "could involve the proceeds of international narcotics trafficking." But in case you're not reading well between the lines, "It is believed that money laundering proceeds may be controlled by narcotics-traffickers or organized crime." Now why would you have a belief about the origins of a money laundering problem that is only potentially a problem?
  • Despite this belief that money laundering exists, and that it may be related to narcotics trafficking, State can't put anything concrete about it in this report because, rather conveniently, there were no arrests for money laundering in 2004, and in fact there's only been one conviction in the past five years that the Financial Intelligence Unit in the Attorney General's office has been functioning.
David Holiday/Central America and beyond


The companion of freed Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena on Saturday leveled serious accusations at US troops who fired at her convoy as it was nearing Baghdad airport, saying the shooting had been deliberate.
"The Americans and Italians knew about (her) car coming," Pier Scolari said on leaving Rome's Celio military hospital where Sgrena is to undergo surgery following her return home.
"They were 700 meters (yards) from the airport, which means that they had passed all checkpoints."
The shooting late Friday was witnessed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's office which was on the phone with one of the secret service agents, said Scolari. "Then the US military silenced the cellphones," he charged.
"Giuliana had information, and the US military did not want her to survive," he added.

CounterCurrents/AFP 06.Mar.05

Italian agents likely withheld information from U.S. counterparts about a cash-for-freedom deal with gunmen holding an Italian hostage for fear that Americans might block the trade, Italian news reports said yesterday.

John Phillips/WashingtonTimes 07.Mar.05

Back home we call it "ransom".

Smell that, on the wind? That's fear.

Turkish police have detained dozens of protesters after using pepper spray, batons and boots to break up a demonstration by women's rights supporters.
The crackdown occurred after a group of about 150 people gathered in Istanbul on Sunday before International Women's Day on 8 March.
Police intervened after protesters refused to disperse and detained 59 people, including 29 women, private news channel NTV said.
Television pictures showed riot police charging protesters, beating them with batons and kicking them on the ground.
One policeman beat a woman to the ground with his baton, then another ran up and kicked her in the face.

Aljazeera 07.Mar.05

When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits Pakistan this month to inaugurate the Gwadar deepsea port, China will take a giant leap forward in gaining a strategic foothold in the Persian Gulf region. It will advance what a recent Pentagon report describes as Beijing's "string of pearls" strategy that aims to project Chinese power overseas and protect China's energy security at home.

Gwadar is a fishing village on the Arabian Sea coast in the Pakistani province of Balochistan.

Sudha Ramachandran / Asia Times 04.Mar.05

Ni putes Ni soumises


On Oct. 12, the family's Delta flight from Amsterdam landed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Furman and her two children are Canadian by birth, but they've lived in the United States for almost 13 years and are permanent residents. Earlier in the year, in fact, the Department of Homeland Security renewed their green cards until 2014.
Ryan had been a passenger in a car that was pulled over by police, who found less than an ounce of marijuana under the seat in front of him. Ryan admitted it was his. He was charged with possession and, because the pot was divided among a few bags, intent to sell, manufacture or deliver.
James Clark, an enforcement officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of Homeland Security, ruled that "this immigration officer has reason to believe that you are an alien who has been an illicit trafficker in a controlled substance."
Says Cohen, "They're going to great lengths and wasting a lot of money trying to deport somebody who doesn't need to be deported. The kid made a mistake when he was 15. But he's turned his life around."
CreativeLoafing Atlanta / AltWeeklies

Dude is 18, has a profession, has Canadian citizenship by birthright - and he's whining about not being able to stay in the USA. Priorities son, get your priorities straight.
Cohen says he's(Furman) "turned his life around".
A lesson for us all.
That's how you do it - kowtow, lie, snivel, grovel, and if you're convincing maybe they'll throw you some table scraps, after they're through feasting on your moral superiors.


Along the way most of us have been given the lesson of our insignificance in the universe - the speck on a speck at the edge of a galaxy that's just one among millions in a vast dark universe.
This is false teaching on both counts. The universe is not dark, and our stature in it is exactly that of a point on an infinite line, precisely between two infinite stretches. We live within an infinite thing, whatever it's called, but we also carry within us an infinite thing. We're so thoroughly trained to our insignificance that that interior world has to be championed, valiantly, just to get the idea expressed that it's there in all of us, that that's a real part of our being where and what we are.
The universe isn't dark, and that can be proved easily by a simple thought experiment:
I'm here, it's night, the sky is clear and I see a star. Someone's in Minnesota on the same night and they see the same star. Obviously a whole line of people stretching between here, where I am, and Minnesota, if the sky is clear where they are, can see that same star; so just as obviously that light is not coming to me as a line, though the illusion of that linear transmission is bolstered by the pointilist nature of the starlight I see. And if we fill the whole continent with people looking at that same star we have a plane on which the starlight is falling. And if we extend that plane in all directions, anyone standing anywhere on that plane can see that same star - logically what we have is a sphere of light expanding outward from that star in all directions, and from all visible stars in all directions. The universe is filled with light.
It's human arrogance, and something else I think, that keeps the idea of the known universe as being all there is. So that we have the illusory dark, surrounding void with its little pinpricks, and us here, with our tiny lives on this tiny planet, and maybe some extraterrestrials here and there, out there somewhere. But nothing else, no greater context - with its own boundaries and its own illumination. And certainly not an infinite something else, progressively greater and greater in compass, with no upper limit at all.
The inanimate nature of things at the sub-molecular level, and the possibility, voiced as a certainty by too many, of there being an end to matter - or more accurately "stuff" - down there somewhere, is just as much a product of human arrogance, and of something else I think. What that something else is is a matter for another day.

Anti-drug commercials, public service messages that talk about the dangers and damage of illegal drugs, are common on television in the US, at least when I'm watching they are, and the movies I get, on basic cable, have profanity - like the words "shit" and "fuck" - bleeped out or, in a more modern and less noticeable solution, overdubbed in matching tones that blend relatively seamlessly with the dialog.
It's clear that the moral forces behind these adjustments believe that televison has coercive power, and that seeing and hearing things on television has a direct effect on people, especially children.
So what do you think the effect on children of a constant barrage of commercials for cars and trucks is? What's that doing to kids? What does it teach them about what's good, what's approved, how things are, and how they should be?

Wal-Mart drug-tests its employees. It has a legal right to do that. So depending on how effective it is at that drug-testing it has a relatively drug-free workplace.
It also has tons of cheaply-produced items for sale. That were made in the hyped-up manufactories of the less-regulated world. Think about it.
Ice, speed for the millennium, came out of Asia right around the same time the flood of cheap goods first tsunami'd into the department stores of the US. Desperate folks, working 12 hour shifts 6 days a week, often on piece-rate, under a foreman whose paycheck directly reflects his quota attainment. Inadequate nutrition, inadequate sleep, inadequate self-esteem. And cheap crank available on-site and everywhere in the feeder ghettos where you live.
Wal-Mart doesn't drug test its suppliers, because it doesn't have to, there's no law that says it has to and it would be economically counter-productive to do so.
So if Wal-Mart's suppliers want to treat their employees like laying hens in a scientifically-run egg factory, jacked-up and featherless and crazy and miserable, that's their business.
That's what makes slavery immoral, it treats people like they were disposable. And that's what makes the Wal-Mart food chain immoral, because it requires the consumption of human lives to operate.
We're taught early on slavery is a sin against the work ethic, which says you should get an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. But really what slavery is is harder to take a solid stand against, if you strip the money out of the equation - it's gobbling up people's lives and throwing them away when they're no longer useful to you, it's using people without regard for their well-being. That's what makes slavery wrong. We're so locked into the capitalist mind-set that most people think slavery's wrong because it's making people work for you and then not paying them.
It's not because you're using their lives in an inhuman way, it's because you don't give them any money. Amphetamines are a natural outcome of that system, they match every aspect of the requirements and practices of the satellite employers Wal-Mart has to have to be what it is. And it's no accident that amphetamine abuse became pandemic right around the time Wal-Mart started metastasizing. They're both symptoms of the same disease.


Diamond Line

What I want to do is draw a line, like the lines of latitude and longitude that were so much help to the sailors and geographers when those lines were first drawn, and still are; and like the lines between acceptable acts and unacceptable acts, where those acts are superficially the same, as theft and murder are distinguished from eminent domain and death in wartime.
And like a pencil line, like a real pencil line drawn with a real pencil, the line I'm drawing is larger at one end and smaller at the other, though like a real line drawn with a real pencil it will take a degree of magnification to see that difference; because if your pencil is sharp it leaves its graphite behind as it goes, and it gets duller and the line it leaves gets wider.
My line begins in Alaska, though I could have begun it in Africa, I had that choice. I decided to begin it in Alaska and draw it through to Africa, it was my choice and I made it that way.
I want to connect two holes in the world by making another one, an imaginary one, between them; like the lines of latitude and longitude, imaginary but helpful lines.
The two holes I want to connect are in Alaska and Africa, as I said - one of them made by a bullet, the other by grief and a broken heart.
The first one is the result of a gun being fired from a helicopter by a man who has paid a relatively large amount of money to the service that provides the helicopter and a pilot, and a "guide", possibly even a comfortable room for the shooter to sleep in the night before and the night after he does his shooting. He's bought an opportunity to shoot a wolf, guaranteed kill, same-day kill, and a trophy, in the sense that the wolf he kills can be skinned if he wants and the skin taxidermied into a semblance of its living ferocity, and the shooter can then display it in an appropriate place in his home, as proof of his abilities, his power in this world to do what he likes. And, in a very modern way, his courage; modern because on the face of it there isn't much courage needed to shoot a wolf from a helicopter after it's been run to exhaustion by the machine itself, unless you count the courage it takes to fly as a passenger in a relatively small helicopter through the Alaskan wilderness. The courage may be spiritual, it may be that the God of this man is what has the courage he doesn't; though my experience of men who would do that is that they worship themselves first, so that any God they worship would be a kind of cumulation, a composite of themselves.
The actual confrontation, between man and animal, is prosthetized, the wolf sees only a machine, hears only a machine, though there may be a telepathic recognition - and there may be much more to our existences, ours as humans, and the wolves' as what they are, that creates that recognition. We may all be connected in ways that allow that recognition to take place, even though there's no immediately verifiable, provable way for it to happen. But even if it does exist, that soul-familiarity between creatures, that's not a way of living we have in common anymore, not with each other, and definitely not with animals as threateningly competitive as wolves once were to us.
The man sees the wolf, he begins a relationship with the wolf, one of total dominance, that has nothing to do with his personal courage and strength; another man, in a wheelchair, with atrophied muscles, could shoot a run-to-exhaustion wolf from a hired helicopter as easily as this over-fed businessman can, whose strength comes from his determined self-regard and his fear of humiliation.
The man sees the wolf, the wolf sees the machine, the machine with the man inside it chases the wolf, the man shoots his gun and the wolf dies - eventually or immediately depending on the shot's accuracy. What I'm proposing is that the bullet, after passing through the wolf's body, continues through the air on the other side, through the snow and into the dirt, which we know is there, because it's everywhere - with only a few rare exceptions, dirt is everywhere beneath us. It's why, in english at least, the same word is used to describe the dirt below us and the planet itself - earth.
The bullet passes through the wolf and through the air and through the snow and into the earth and there it is; and there's the hole its passing has made. I want to draw a line that begins there, at the hole begun as the bullet entered the earth, and that passes through the bullet as it goes, on its way to the other point, at the end of the line I'm drawing; this is how we draw lines - by starting at a point of beginning and stopping at a point of ending.
The line will now travel through darkness until it stops, at a pebble in the dirt of Botswana, a pebble in the dirt at the bottom of a hole in the ground in Botswana - not in a mine as some of you thought, though I give you credit for that, for knowing there are mines in Botswana, that diamonds are taken out of the ground there, and after they're taken out of the ground they begin to generate money for everyone who touches them - the least money for the men who actually take them out of the ground, the most for the men and women who touch them after, and I mean that metaphorically, in the sense that most of the men and women who touch them, before they're delivered to the cutters, only touch them legally, as possessors, they "own" the diamonds, but they don't very often actually pick them up in their hands and hold them.
After the diamonds are cut they continue to advance through the international diamond market, and continue to make money for the men and women who touch them, until, in the case of more than a few of them, most of them I think, they're bought as jewelry by people, many of them young people who've grown up believing that the purchase of a diamond is a necessary part of a formal declaration of love, that a young man who wishes to marry has to buy a diamond; and the size of it, the value of it - not so much what it cost him, but what it can be resold for - is a measure of his prospects, his value as a husband and provider, and a measure of his desire and commitment to the woman he buys the diamond for, usually as a stone set into a ring.
But it isn't to a diamond mine that my line is drawn, even though without them there, in Botswana, without the presence of diamonds in the ground, and men and machines employed to dig them up, and a small host of men and women waiting to begin the process of making money from those diamonds as they touch them going by, there wouldn't be the hole in the ground my line is being drawn to, to connect with, as an end point from where I began it - in Alaska, in the wilderness, in the ground, with the bits of blood and bone and flesh of the wolf the bullet that made the hole in the earth passed through until it was stopped, by a resistant force created by friction from its passing through the dirt it entered after passing through the wolf that was greater than the momentum and inertia that were created by its firing.
Though it's true that without the diamonds, and without the willingness of so many men and women to do anything necessary to get money and financial power, and the protection that wealth brings to those who know how to use it - without the wealth the diamonds generate there wouldn't be all these bushmen gathered here, around this hole in the ground.
It's a Christian burial for a primitive man, an old man in this context, though he's only in his 60's. He lived the last couple of years he lived in a settlement provided by the government of Botswana - provided in the sense that it was built for the tribe he lived with, to whom he was related in bonds that are as tight as any any of us know, but also deeper, and more widely skeined, because there are more of those bonds of relationship,and they go out into the world in more ways than most of our bonds do; the primitive bushman, while owning much less, has more distinct relationships with more things than we do, who don't live in that connected way anymore.
The government built the settlement and came and told the tribe the man lived in that they would have to move there and that they could no longer hunt where they'd been hunting. The government's moving them because otherwise they would be in the way of tourists who want to see "big-game" animals and will pay a lot for the chance, and these people, the bushmen, hunt animals as endearing and photogenic as giraffe, not as often as they hunt smaller less photogenic animals, but they do hunt them and kill them and eat them, and are happy about it when they do, feel successful when they do; and also, not tangentially, they would be in the way of the exploration that's necessary in order to find the diamonds, and other minerals, that are still in the ground in Botswana.
The man misses first, most consciously, the hunting he can't do anymore, but it's more accurate to say there are things he misses more deeply that we can't tell each other, because we don't have names for them. Being somewhere you've been all your life, at dawn, and watching the color come back into the world, he misses that.
And it being the way of those kinds of places, the new towns and settlements primitive people are forced into by progress and modern social change, there's alcohol there in its various forms, which is why some of the men standing around the hole in the ground there in Botswana smell like they do, and why their eyes are red, and why their grief is stumbling and compromised and not intense enough to create a fire in their hearts the way real grief does, in people who love the unjustly dead.
And the injustice of this man's death is hard to find from close-up, it's hard to see exactly; he wasn't beaten to death, he wasn't run over by an earth-mover at the mines, he wasn't shot by a soldier for returning to hunt at the places he'd been warned not to return to, he just stopped living, slowly, moving less and less, saying less and less, eating less and less, and then he was dead.
So this hole's been dug in the ground to bury him, and a service is being held at the edge of it, prayers are being read over his coffin - a Christian burial is taking place, there in Botswana.
A pebble falls from the lip of the grave, and where it lands it makes a little dent in the soft ground at the bottom of the hole, a point. And now there's a line that ends, and begins, at that point in Botswana, and goes straight through the earth to Alaska.


The price of our addiction

Congressmen who have been flown over ANWR in oil-company jets have stood before cameras owned by media conglomerates and told us that the North Slope is a wasteland atop an endless supply of oil. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The North Slope is home to polar and grizzly bears, wolverines, musk oxen, wolves, and the Porcupine caribou herd. The Gwich'in people have lived in symbiosis with this herd for at least 10,000 years. All the beauty and magnificence we associate with the Arctic is there, intact and in abundance.

Less impressive are the oil reserves under ANWR. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are 3.2 billion barrels of oil there. This sounds like a lot, but we Americans are consuming 7.1 billion barrels a year, and that number is expected to grow. At best, ANWR would provide a six-month supply of oil. ANWR is not even remotely a solution for our energy problems.

Rod Helle/IllinoisTimesOnline 24.Feb.05

Eason Jordan loses his job for saying the US military has targeted journalists in Iraq, and yet every journalist I've read about who's been kidnapped or kidnapped and killed has been a leftist. Witnesses to atrocities and criminal acts. False flag events. And the constant centralizing of power.

Florence Aubenas
Hussein Hanoun Al-Saadi

ont disparu depuis 56 jours
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