Thursday, June 28, 2012

There Is No Plan B.

. . . The more Canada’s vital national interests are made to depend on high oil prices, the closer our interests will have to be realigned to depend on what’s good for the Saudi finance ministry, Iran’s ayatollahs, Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin. It seems like only yesterday that whatever threatened harm to that lot was to be regarded as a thing to put a smile on the face of anyone with even a passing commitment to “Canadian values.” All that’s just the jetsam you now see disappearing in our wake.
Ottawa used to clamour for the overthrow of Khomeinist despotism, but if sanctions on Iran were suddenly rendered unnecessary and all that Iranian oil started gushing through western economies it would be “bad” for Plan A. Heaven help us if Beijing fails to crush any reformist tumults that could curb Chinese oil appetites. . .

Monday, June 25, 2012

"They were beautiful. And they all told a story."

Any day of the week, tens of thousands of words are typed and filed and printed in newspapers and magazines and on television presenter teleprompters and blogs and tweets about Afghanistan, the Taliban, counter-insurgency and foreign policy. Everybody's an expert. 
Sulyman Qardash is the lead singer with the Afghan rock band Kabul Dreams. Working with activists Orzala Nemat and Sultana Lodin, Qardash has produced Stolen Moments, a photographic exhibition of works almost entirely generated by avocational and amateur photographers, with iPhones.
A love song for Kabul and its people:


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

True North, Strong and Frivolous.

The great hopes of the Arab Spring that Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces just all but crushed with its coup last week was engineered and underwritten by a $1.3-billion subsidy that SCAF gets from Obama’s White House. All across the Arab world, the United States’ approval ratings under Obama are now at depths lower than the lowest days of George Bush, who we are all expected to remember as the New World Order’s archfiend. Meanwhile, only last month, the pollsters at Angus Reid found that 65 per cent of Canadians would vote for Obama if they could, making the American president more popular among Canadians than any of our own politicians since Pierre Trudeau, whose son Justin, the Honourable member for Zoolander, is now touted as the next great thing for the once proud and serious Liberal Party. 
That’s the New World Order for you. . . 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I'll Tell You What You Can Do With Your "Happiness," Pan Shiyi.

零下捕捉 commented: “Pan Shiyi nauseates me. What is this so-called ‘value to society'? I don’t understand how you real-estate developers can raise the price of housing so high and still dare talk about ‘social value.’ You have everything and yet you can say these words without understanding how privileged you are. You have taken away our right to eat, drink and travel. To now tell us that acquiring this right will not bring happiness and that real happiness is to understand our ‘value to society’ ... is really f-ing despicable."
A soap impression of his wife, which he ate and donated to the National Trust:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

In Rajai Shahr Prison.

Arrested Friday: Mitra Homayooni, Vafa Ghaderi, Reyhaneh Ansari, Khaled Hosseini, Mahmoud Salehi, Saeed Moghaddam, Cyrus Fathi, Ghaleb Hosseini, Mohammad Abdipour, Jalal Hosseini, Alireza Asgari, Masoud Salimpour, Abbas Andriyany, Sediq Amjadi, Fattah Soleimani, Maziar Mehrpour, Mhommad Molanai, Vahed Seyyedeh, Jalil Sharifian, Sediq Khosravi, Yusuf Ab Kharabad, Faramarz Fetrat Nejad, Jalil Mohammadi, Nezam Sadeghi, Afshin Nadimi, Hussain Pilooti, Rahman Ebrahim Zadeh, Abbas Hashem Poor. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Forty Shades of Grey.

Chernobyl, Bosnia, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Moyross / Southill, Limerick. These are "places where aesthetic value is not deemed important or even considered; derelict spaces, abandoned buildings, wrecks, conflict zones, aftermaths. . ." 

These are places that have drawn Irish artist, videographer and documentarist Nicky Larkin. His most ambitious project took him to Israel and Palestine last year. The result is an experimental, non-narrative first feature film, Forty Shades of Grey.

"But only one side was wanted back in Dublin. My peers expected me to come back with an attack on Israel. No grey areas were acceptable. An Irish artist is supposed to sign boycotts, wear a PLO scarf, and remonstrate loudly about The Occupation. But it's not just artists who are supposed to hate Israel. Being anti-Israel is supposed to be part of our Irish identity, the same way we are supposed to resent the English. But hating Israel is not part of my personal national identity. . ."

Nicky will be in Ottawa on June 18 to show his film at 7 p.m. at the Library & Archives of Canada, courtesy of the Free Thinking Film Society. Admission: $15.


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Scumbags On Campus.

Michael Petrou reports: Carleton University in Ottawa last weekend hosted a pro-Islamic Republic of Iran propaganda event sponsored in part by the Iranian embassy.
The conference, “The Contemporary Awakening and Imam Khomeini’s Thoughts,” was held to commemorate the 23 anniversary of the death of the Islamic Republic’s founding dictator, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It was presented by the Cultural Centre of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is run out of Iran’s embassy on Metcalfe Street, and the Iranian Cultural Association of Carleton University. Iranian students at Carleton in the past have contacted me to complain about attempts by the Iranian embassy to influence their student group at the university. 
The conference featured a talk by Moulana Sayyid Muhhamad Rizvi, the “Guidance Alim” of a Toronto Islamic school whose teaching materials — some of which which were written in Iran or by a foundation believed by the FBI to be controlled by the Iranian government — refer to “crafty” and “treacherous” Jews. . .
Note the participation of Kurt Anders Richardson from the University of Toronto’s Trinity College. What an unscrupulous douchebag. And here's a bit from Richardson's profound theological observations:“When there are more participants, this is a sign of awakening and when there is sleep it means that participation has been reduced.”
Wow, man. Guy's a regular Thomas Aquinas.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Slow Politics (In Favour Of).

What Is Slow Politics? "It takes as its point of departure recent psychological and philosophical research, which identifies quite clearly the social and environmental preconditions for the exercise of rational thought. It then calls for mobilization around the creation of these conditions. It does not have a political agenda, in the traditional sense of the term, but rather a meta-agenda. It is impossible to restore sanity merely by being sane, and trying to talk in a reasonable tone of voice. The only way to restore sanity is by engaging in militant action against the social conditions that have, over the course of the past few decades, inexorably crowded it out."

- Joe Heath and Andrew Potter.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The Warsaw Ghetto, Rwanda, Bosnia, Syria: "Why Have They Forgotten About Us?"

Michael Weiss on the frontier:
I. Sons of Idlib: “Now there is no more Harmoush family,” Mahmoud told me later. “They killed everyone back home. Even babies."
II. Sons of Idlib, Part 2: “One sniper, he killed seven or eight people. So the people from my village went to the origin of the shooting and found an Iranian. They threw him off the building.” 
III. Camp Life: At the entrance to the Boynuyogun camp for Syrian refugees stood a tall man I’d been told was a former solider in the Syrian army. His right hand was encased in a wool glove, and the ring and pinky fingers were noticeably empty. What happened? Mahmoud, my Syrian-American translator and guide on this trip to Turkey’s Hatay province, explained: “When he defected, the regime cut his hand.”
 IV. Camp Life, Part 2:“Why have they forgotten about us?” Rachid asked. “If George Bush was president, Assad would be finished,” another said in what was also a common refrain among the stranded Syrians of Hatay.

Mike Petrou, in sum: “The idea that we don’t want to get involved because we don’t want to heighten the chances of civil war is a ludicrous argument, because civil war is upon us,” says Michael Young of Beirut's Daily Star. “The proxy war is there. Civil, sectarian conflict is already there. At this point, to simply sit back and say we don’t want to make this worse is behaving like an ostrich. It’s going to get worse. It’s not going to get better.”

Next time you feel inclined to whimper "Why do they hate us?", remember this.