Saturday, June 10, 2006


Three views of zarqawi Bell and 2 from Mahjob

Don't ask me to mourn that evil and bloodstained man. But don't expect me to to get into the gutter he inhabited by exulting in his death either, and don't tell me to stop pointing out that it is Western actions, particularly since World War II, that sowed the poisonous seeds from which he sprang.

Like Cadmus we've sown dragon's teeth. It's time to stop sowing. We are not the source of all virtue. Muslims cherish their religion, their families, their homes, and their countries just as we do. They desperately want to put their garden in order. But for as long as we in the West continue to poison the soil with arrogant condescension towards them at best and brutal repression at worst they cannot hope to do so.

It is often truthfully said that Islam is a religion of peace, but it's a bit a complicated than that, real life generally is. Islam is realistic about the prospects of peace in an unjust world. The Muslim world recognises that where there is no justice there there can be no peace. They recognise moreover that where there is gross injustice that inevitably people will become desperate enough to turn to the likes of Zarqawi. It is time for westerners, particularly Americans, to be good neighbours with the Muslim world — and to stop sowing dragons teeth.

Cadmus sowing the Dragon's Teeth

Update: I've added Gert's comment to the body of the article.


Gert said ... (Saturday, June 10, 2006 4:38:31 PM) :

One of the problems Americans struggle with is collective short-term memory loss. Iran is a case in point. Americans only remember the hostage crisis, they don't remember IR 655, they don't remember (or vehemently dispute) well documented US support for Saddam's offensive against Iran. Don't go back to 1953: man, that's over half a century ago!

Yet all these events, in particular the CIA-led 1953 coup and its consequences of course, explain perfectly rationally Iran's "historical" hostility to the "Great Satan".

This collective amnesia leaves the great American public wide open to manipulation: it's easy to demonise entire groups of people when it's perceived their "anti-American" stance arose ex nihilo and is somehow innate ("they just hate our way of life" - dixit the Chimperor and Poodlepants).

Conversely, US public support for Israel is equally artificial: prior to 1967 the US had no interest in the beleaguered newcomer in the ME. Israel during the first two decades of its embattled existence was decidedly left-leaning and more the darling of the European Left. Americans didn't even have a great interest in all things Holocaust, after all the Holocaust and preceding centuries of anti-Semitism were a European phenomenon.

It's after 1967 that the US rapidly develops the strategy of Israel as a loyal, stable ME proxy. Propaganda then starts to drum up support for this previously relatively little known country. Even Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon (surprise, surprise!), with a flurry of Holocaust blockbusters.

Today, the US general public remain amongst the most ardent Israel supporters, including the bizarre Judeo-Christian alliance, no matter what. With two decades or more of Israel/Palestine history missing from their collective memory, it's easy to believe Israel's shit really smells like roses and that those evil Arabs are to blame for everything.

I believe Iraq will be part of the US's undoing: way too much "negative" information to ignore, even for the most patriotic of peoples...

Here is a hedgehog wearing a flower

Hedgehog wearing a flower

Friday, June 09, 2006


I'm doing a lot of blogging related stuff including testing a few desktop applications IOW you can write your post locally save it locally to your harddisk and then publish when blogger unbluggers. (That's pretty much what I do anyway but then I've a lot of experience with web coding so I'm comfortable with code.) Alas there is Mr. Murphy of the eponyomous law, Finagle a cruel and malevolent deity, and blogger, combine the three and you have an unholy trinity.

Murphy's law being what it is and blogger what it is any time I write online blogger horps and I wind up wreathing and writhing and fainting in coils and then when I've recovered running round the place shrieking:

“sh*t sh*t sh*t why the f*ck is this happening to me now!”

The MFI hypotheses that Murphy was an effing overoptimistic sod also applies. Blogger horps invariably happen when I've spent ages writing the sodding thing and then it sits there smugly saying:

“Gotcha! I'm blogger and I've just horped three hours of your life. HAH!.”

(Wonderful language Danish you can tell just by looking at it what "horp" means)

So for the next few weeks I'm going to be experimenting with Qumana and with Zoundry

Anyway I'm checking out two desktop blogging apps one for wordpress, and one for wordpress and blogger. I'll do a review of both in afew a few weeks time - I'm pretty sure that Richard and I weren't the only two people who got horped this week.

Afterthought: Incidentally if anyone wants the name of a sweet little notepad replacement that has excellent (X)HTML editing libraries I suggest Notetab I have the pro version but I used the free version for yonks. Or go to the indispensable Nonags pick the mirror nearest to you and browse the categories by clicking the "software list" menu item.)


Site news: Blogger is still bluggered.

Blogger is still somewhat bluggered but it looks like comments are back. Nevertheless blogger's increasing flakiness means that I'm bringing forward my planned shifting of "Gorilla's Guides" to a more reliable platform by a few months.


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Site news: Blogger Bluggered

Sorry blogger is bluggered. They are, I think, faffing around with their database again. I'll try posting comments again tomorrow if that works I'll try posting an article.

g'night folks.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sometimes I Just Have No Words


Give Me Your Hand

Give me your hand and give me your love,
give me your hand and dance with me.
A single flower, and nothing more,
a single flower is all we'll be.

Keeping time in the dance together,
you'll be singing the song with me.
Grass in the wind, and nothing more,
grass in the wind is all we'll be.

I'm called Hope and you're called Rose:
but losing our names we'll both go free,
a dance on the hills, and nothing more,
a dance on the hills is all we'll be.

Mo Chara Fatima,

Yesterday you asked me when this:

"We are guilty of many errors and many faults but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer "Tomorrow." His name is "Today." — Gabriela Mistral."

appeared in the blog header.

Yesterday :-)

Siun, another reader here, had emailed me about something else but her note reminded me that I've been meaning to put that up for quite a while. So I upped and did it. Her poetry is beautiful, often heartbreaking, and even in translation worth the effort.

Wikipedia have a good entry on her life here and there are some of her poems translated into English here. The Author's Calendar have a good page on her here.

Siun and I share an enthusiasm for Ursula K. LeGuin's writing I found out a few months ago that she translated and published some of Mistral's poetry:

This is the first presentation in English and Spanish of a really substantial selection of the poetry of Mistral — the first Latin American, and the only Latin American woman, to receive the Nobel Prize.

All five of Mistral's books — Desolacion, Ternura, Tala, Lagar, and Poema de Chile — are fully represented, with an introductory note and a biographical sketch for each.

This translation was a labor of love for many years. There is no other voice in poetry like Mistral's, from the miraculous clarity of her rounds and lullabyes, to the fiery rage of her love poems, to the dark complexity and visionary power of her late work. I hope this book may begin to restore this amazing poet to the recognition she deserves. Most of all I hope it comes to the hands of readers who will love her.

— Ursula K. Le Guin

Le gach dea mhéin agus fíor mheas go duitse, Omar, agus do chlann go léir.


Monday, June 05, 2006

In Which The Gorilla Wonders About Something

Memsa'ab Marsh is ordering the brown people around again, and not for the first time either. I especially liked this bit of the memsa'abs diatribe:

“The Iraqis have voted. But while the governing elite in Iraq sit safely in the Green Zone, comfortable in U.S. troop protection, al-Maliki slanders our troops and our efforts, while the elected Iraqis still have not chosen a Minister of Defense or Interior, which has been put off indefinitely. Obviously, the ruling Iraqi elite think they have time to sit around without a decision. They need to be shown otherwise.

If the Iraqis in power do not want to govern their country it is not up to us to do it for them.”

Source: The Memsa'ab's site [emphasis mine - mfi]

Don't you just love the complete lack of self-awareness? Now let's see:

  1. Doesn't know the country.
  2. Can't speak the language.
  3. Is sitting safely, very safely, a couple of thousand miles away.
  4. Is nurturing a sense of grievance that the way in which her country has repeatedly behaved in the Middle East isn't paying the sort of dividend she likes

Slandering them is the one thing al-Maliki isn't doing. The US army has a culture of racist brutality in Iraq. They've been conditioned from get go to see Iraqis all Iraqis as things to be pushed around, as less than human. Kind of like memsa'ab Marsh really. But then an army reflects the culture from which it sprang. (Kind of like Memsa'ab Marsh really.)

Master nation, master race, we're the good guys, now do what you're told....we sacrificed so much for you......
I wonder, to use her own idiom, what part of the word

ما من احد.

The memsa'ab doesn't understand.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

What Is In The Banana Box?

Question: What is this man doing? (Scroll down for the answer)

Answer: He's a mortuary attendant in Baqouba, and he's unoading a box containing eight human heads.

Death Squads, children taken hostage by US troops to force their father to surrender, pregnant women shot as they are rushed into hospital, American mercenaries caught with bomb making making equipment set loose scot free to do it again, British soldiers ditto, daily slaughter of civilians by bombs, hospitals without supplies, teachers, doctors, nurses, fleeing the country, a growing litany of massacres committed by occupation troops. And an administration doing its utmost to ensure that the word "America" becomes a synonym for amoral, corrupt, racist, self-indulgent, lieing, bankrupt, dieing.... empire, too engaged in navel gazing to realise that this is more than just "a big public relations problem"