Archive for the ‘world’ Category

Contrary Brin: An Interesting Guest Posting…

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Contrary Brin: An Interesting Guest Posting…

Iraq’s War Porn

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Iraq’s War Porn is powerfully written and has stimulated a thoughtful set of responses – well worth reading.

Flemming Rose on “Europe’s politics of victimology”

Friday, June 2nd, 2006

Jyllands Posten editor Flemming Rose defends himself re the mohammed cartoons which idiot Mullah Krekar decried as a “declaration of war” against Islam claiming without apprent irony about Western secularists that “as the losing side, they commit violence.”

Unfortunately Rose extends his defense in places to attribute to the “left-wing” positions that may never have been taken by anyone more serious than himself, and although his proposal for mutual accomodation to the realities of multiculturalism is reasonable, his use of phrases such as “Giving the same weight to the illiberal values of conservative Islam as to the liberal traditions of the European Enlightenment” belies his claim not to be biased.

Why give them such ammunition?
(Unless your goal is other than what you say it is and is rather to promote discord, jihad, conflagration, and apocalypse)

In this kind of debate, it is essential both to recognize our debt in the West to the liberal values of progressive Islam and to not ignore the illiberal traditions of conservative Western Christianity.

AlterNet: The Slippery Slope of Self-Censorship

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

The Slippery Slope of Self-Censorship (found via AlterNet) is an article by David Morris of Minnesota which provides the best commentary yet on the Danish Cartoon Furor.

MWU!: A Mountain Out of a Molehill Over Danish Cartoons

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Mona Eltahawi’s article A Mountain Out of a Molehill Over Danish Cartoons provides a welcome breath of sanity.

Writing for the Web: The Limits of Satire

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

Crawford Killlian blogs his Tyee article ‘The Limits of Satire’ on the
Danish cartoon frenzy.

I agree with most of what he says in general terms, but I am not sure that it fits the actual circumstances. The cartoons were not intended for an Islamic audience and were apparently commissioned to address the issue of fear of reprisal for benignly intended artistic expression – to which the artists responded in various ways with only four of twelve actually appearing to attack any aspect of the Muslim world or faith and two or three appearing rather to rebuke the editor.

Killian’s point about mockery being a more appropriate tool for the powerless than the powerful is well taken, but power is largely in the mind of its holder, and those who appear powerful are often fearful. In Europe with an Islamic population of growing size and stridency, the fear of those adjacent that their freedom may be at risk is perhaps more credible than it might be in Canada right now.

The Offending Cartoons

Monday, February 6th, 2006

Well, so far as I can tell from this image, the twelve cartoons (on the subject of fear of censorship and/or reprisals regarding representations of Mohammed) are as follows:

  • One appears to be mocking the editor who commissioned the illustrations. It shows a beardless bespectacled nordic looking fellow in a turban with an orange or ball on it labelled ‘PR STUNT’ holding a page on which a stick figure of a bearded man in a turban is drawn.
  • Another has a similar figure holding a sign as one of seven in a police lineup including several bearded turbaned individuals, one of whom has a halo.
  • A third has a young dark haired student named Mohammed pointing to a blackboard on which the text apparently translates to say that “The Jyllands-Posten’s journalists are a bunch of reactionary provocateurs”
  • Another has an apparently fearful cartoonist trying to hide his sketch-in-progress of an unidentified bearded arabic-looking figure.
  • One has some kind of caliph or prince calming a couple of enraged soldiers with words to the effect that it’s only a stupid Danish cartoon
  • Two are apparently straight-up illustrations suitable for a children’s book. One of these has a heavily bearded turbaned peasant leading a donkey across an arid landscape.and the other, which also seems not intended to insult, is a slightly more cartoonish scholarly looking fellow with a crescent-shaped halo.
  • Two incorporate star and crescent into human facial features – one without comment and one with several such characters and a text that I haven’t seen translated.
  • Then there’s the oft reported immam on a cloud turning back burned bodies with “Stop! stop! we ran out of virgins”.
  • An angry looking man in a turban with a sword has his eyes blacked out (as if to protect id) by a rectangle that matches the cutouts in the black chadors of through which the eyes of two women behind him are the only visible details.
  • And then of course there’s the man with the bomb in his turban

Certainly probably a stupid exercise given the circumstances – although the intrusion of restrictive sensibilities into an open culture is something that I hope will be effectively resisted.
Perhaps the organizer should be shot – not by those enraged but by those who are suffering the consequences for his exercise of freedom.

Mohammed the Prophet should be vastly more insulted by the actions and assertions of those who claim to represent him – especially the sleazy characters posing as religious leaders who have added some truly offensive cartoons of their own devising in order to inflame those who find the real thing rather tame.

Actually, despite the inflammatory news reports on all sides the demonstrations of outrage and calls for boycott etc have in many instances been just the kind of exercise of free speech that Europeans should be defending. And where things have gotten nasty the atmosphere has only occasionally gone beyond the level of subhuman savagery demonstrated from time to time by British soccer fans when their colours get accidentally trampled on.

French editor fired over cartoons

Thursday, February 2nd, 2006

This BBC News article reports the firing of France Soir editor Jacques Lefranc by owner Raymond Lakah over the re-publication of cartoons originating in Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten which “gave offense” to Muslims. But if Mohammed is not to be despised, then picturing him with a bomb-shaped turban is far less of an insult to him than killing in his name.

Light in the Darkness

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

Light in the Darkness

Intelligent Evolution

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

Intelligent Evolution by EOWilson on Darwin’s books (from via A&L Daily) North Korea: Unravelling already?

Tuesday, September 20th, 2005 North Korea: Unravelling already?
I agree with Dan Kervick’s comment that “it doesn’t really matter who delivers first as long as the deliveries both take place”.

In fact the common statement makes no precise commitment as to the timing of either delivery except that they should both be incremental and effectively simultaneous.

First we have “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning at an early date to the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) and to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards.”

Then a bit later “The DPRK stated that it has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The other parties expressed their respect and agreed to discuss at an appropriate time the subject of the provision of light-water reactor to the DPRK.”

And near the end “The six parties agreed to take coordinated steps to implement the aforementioned consensus in a phased manner in line with the principle of ‘commitment for commitment, action for action.’ ”

So one of the deliveries will be “soon” and the other “at an appropriate time” and of course what is appropriate may depend on who is doing the judging. It is not inconsistent for the DPRK to say that an appropriate time is before soon, and the last bit quoted above makes it hard to argue that they are not intended to be effectively simultaneous.

While this certainly does not support the DPRK posturing, neither does it support the claim that “only once North Korea has verifiably abandoned its nuclear program and joined the NPT will discussions on the light-water reactor even begin”. The question of who is the idiot depends on who spoke first (and since the conversation may have been private we’ll never know the answer).

Also, I find Suzanne’s “A good-faith misunderstanding? Not likely. The Administration has, at least publicly, always been vehement that …” to be unconvincing. It basically amounts to claiming that the other’s interpretation of the agreement must be wrong because it doesn’t match the USA’s initial position … which is something many of us in the world have heard before in other contexts. For example, your characterization of others with whom you have negotiated as “slippery” begs the question of what adjective to apply to a nation which basically forces an agreement on a binding resolution mechanism for trade disputes and then refuses to honour it when someone at home doesn’t like the result.

Flu Bloggers Getting Alarmed

Friday, August 5th, 2005

In Avian Flu Bloggers Getting Alarmed Crawford Killian notes what seems to him a slow uptake of the Bird Flu issue by mainstream media – is this another y2k or something we should be reacting to?

The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld – Recent works by the secretary of defense. By Hart Seely

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld – Recent works by the secretary of defense. By Hart Seely

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Religion has no part in this

Friday, July 8th, 2005

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Religion has no part in this

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Galloway Goes To Washington

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

AlterNet: War on Iraq: Galloway Goes To Washington

Crawford Killian: Yet Another Blog

Monday, May 9th, 2005

Crawford Killian has just announced a new blog called Bridging the Income Gap in which he will be leading discussion of the pernicious effects on a society of having widely spread incomes.