Archive for November, 2007

Perchance to dream

We spend one-third of our lives asleep. Imagine the possibilities if we could do without it.

We spend two-thirds of our lives awake, having to put up with shite like this. Imagine the possibilities etc.

The Point of Information as Free Kick

People often say to me, in the course of generally pointless meetings:

Your point is well taken.

To which I feel an urge to reply: my compliments on your capacity for comprehension, but don’t go getting a big head about it.

Margin of Fervour

Quite a lot of Turkish people believe in God, and at least one does not believe in the evidence of his own experience:

“Only 2% of the people we interviewed said they didn’t believe in God”, says Ali Carkoglu, co-author of a 2006 study of religious attitudes.

“Given that we had a 2% margin of error that could mean nobody“, he added.

No it couldn’t, and you are an idiot.

Lest Ye Be Judged

In an otherwise fairly sensible piece on the teddy bear uproar, Soumaya Ghannoushi observes the following:

But even if we were dealing with a freedom of thought and speech case, even if this were a writer or an artist airing views objectionable to a section of Muslims, this still does not grant the state or judiciary the right to intervene. Rulers are not entitled to sit in judgment over individuals’ minds, what they believe, say, or write, so long as these do not harm others, or disrupt peace and stability in the land.

But rulers should not be entitled full stop. It is in the very nature of being a ruler to sit in judgment over individuals’ minds and what they believe, say, or write. A ruler who did not do such a thing would not be a ruler.

In fact the writer concedes this point: the ruler can sit in judgment over others – when others are being harmed, or are disrupting peace and stability in the land. So: how does a ruler judge whether or not a belief, saying or writing is harmful or disrupting peace and stability in the land? Why, by using his/her own judgement, of course!

And this in fact means that all beliefs, sayings and writings are  judged by the ruler. He/she just has to apply a more detailed judgment on specific instances, normally on the question whether or not they should be prohibited.

‘A Much Cleaner Struggle, A More Popular Struggle’

In the Middle East, the search for a two-state solution is becoming more urgent.

Ehud Olmert:

Drawing a parallel with the last days of the apartheid regime in South Africa he warned: “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (with Palestinians) … then, as soon as that happens, the state of Israel is finished.”


Minister of Strategic Affairs MK Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday called an exchange of territories the only viable solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

“Only a territory exchange can prevent a situation where we have a half a state for one people and a half a state for another. It will allow us to attain a two state solution,” the minister and head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party said.

What Lieberman means is that it is necessary to expel Israel’s Arabs from the land where they were born in order to maintain a Jewish state.

Lieberman told Blair, now serving as the Middle East envoy for the Quartet of Mideast peace brokers, that any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “must include Israel’s Arab citizens as well, when the basis for an agreement should be a land swap and a population transfer.”

Population transfer is an alternative term for ethnic cleansing.

Above is Saree Makdisi on the implications for the Palestinians of Olmert’s argument when he previously made it in November 2003.

Quote: ‘the mere idea that a democratic and secular state, which is generally thought to be the ideal state form in the 21st century, is thought of as a nightmare for Israel, that in and of itself speaks volumes.’

Parche Adanes

I’ve been looking at different things in relation to Venezuela recently, but this was the oddest so far: Patch Adams on a Venezuelan evening TV show talking about the Bolivarian Revolution.

The show is in Spanish, but he speaks in English.

The Talented Mr Shoebat

Malachi O’Doherty encounters Walid Shoebat:

The venue was Belfast synagogue. Three-quarters of the audience was made up of Christian evangelicals and about one-quarter Jews. The speaker was Walid Shoebat who claims he is a former PLO bomber who has discovered the literal truth of the Bible. Shoebat says Islam is the creation of Satan, the antithesis of Christianity. He says there is trouble in the Middle East only because Muslims hate Jews and that there is no point in conciliation.

He also claims to have killed 200-odd people, two thirds by dagger. Even by Northern Ireland’s standards, that is seriously impressive, and likely to win hands-down any game of ‘Do you know how much of a sinner I was before the Lorrrd found me?’ in Cornmarket on a Saturday morning.

A video on GodTube says that his parents sent him to America to get an education because they were ‘sick of his terrorist activities’. Goddamit Walid, I’m just sick to the back teeth of you stabbing people to death! Why that’s the 25th victim this week! Your mother and I have both agreed that the best thing for you is to go and get a proper education in the US! And get a haircut while you’re at it!

That’s the great thing about certain strains of evangelical Christianity. Jesus says that God’s love for a repented sinner is like a father’s love for the prodigal son. But it often seems as though the magnitude of God’s love (which many evangelicals experience as ecstasy) is directly proportionate to the magnitude of the previous sins. So whilst a father might rejoice at the return of the son who’s been out spending all his savings and whoring about, he’ll rejoice even more at the return of the son who’s been out blowing up airliners and organising international sex trafficking. Hence part of the appeal of Walid Shoebat. That, and the fact that there’s always a market niche for the native informant who’ll confirm the image of the natives as bloodthirsty savages.

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November 2007
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