Monday, 25 May 2009

RIP Tajudeen Abdul Raheem.

"a giant is lost on African Liberation Day"

Sunday, 24 May 2009

final one from me today

as user klaxonklaxon says 'Scientist remix of Michael Prophet's "You Are A No Good"(Gunman LP)'

(this from user Jon Gersdorf)

“We’re on terra incognito,” said Rashid Abdi, an analyst at the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit group that tries to prevent deadly conflicts. “Before, everything was clan. Now we are beginning to see the contours of an ideological, sectarian war in Somalia for the first time, and that scares me.”
“We respected the Shabab for helping drive out the Ethiopians,” said one woman in Dusa Marreb who asked not to be identified for safety reasons. “But when the Ethiopians left and the Shabab kept the war going, that to us didn’t make sense.”
“We have jihad, too,” said Sheik Omar, a tall man with a long beard and warm eyes. “But it’s inner jihad, a struggle to be pure.”

got to love the vocal

look a boom look a boom, that great line descending down, snazz in the background

big, big tune- every song on this LP is

How do I know all that?
How can I know all that and not know who I am?

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Dear Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor,


James Albert Corbett
in which Peter Ryley completely owns Marcel Berlins
Dear Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor,

'However the BBC's Natalia Antelava, in Baghdad, says many people in the capital feel the situation is deteriorating and could get worse once US troops withdraw from Iraqi cities at the end of June.'

Friday, 22 May 2009

as Ollie would say,

In November 1995, The Wire published an article titled "Advice to Clever Children." In the process of producing the interview, a package of tapes containing music from several artists, including Aphex Twin, was sent to Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Stockhausen commented:

I heard the piece Aphex Twin of Richard James carefully: I think it would be very helpful if he listens to my work "Song of the Youth," which is electronic music, and a young boy's voice singing with himself. Because he would then immediately stop with all these post-African repetitions, and he would look for changing tempi and changing rhythms, and he would not allow to repeat any rhythm if it [was] varied to some extent and if it did not have a direction in its sequence of variations.”

Aphex Twin responded: "I thought he should listen to a track of mine: 'Didgeridoo,' then he'd stop making abstract, random patterns you can't dance to."

Dear Hiam Abbass,

I am comfortably the age to be your son, so, i had best not finish this sentence, although anyone reading this sentence knows what i am saying, and i apologise for the tone which is blatantly objectifying (yes, i know all about that) and i hope you do not find it too crass or such..

i'm just going off the last 101 songs you adore post that a chum hipped me to on Facebook (why did i delete my Myspace?! gah), so here goes, and yes, fashion industry, the real world, structural politics, Marxism, yadda yadda, and, yes, i love this song more than i have words to say

fuck me i love this tune to death

"A CANDIDATE standing in the European election for the extremist right wing British National Party has posted racist comments on the internet.

Eddy O'Sullivan, the Salford organiser of the BNP, wrote a series of offensive comments about non-white people on his Facebook profile."

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Anastasia Baburova

born on the 30th of November 1983 in Sevastopol,
died on the 19th of January 2009 in Moscow.

Stanislav Yuryevich Markelov

born on the 20th of May 1974 in Moscow,
died on the 19th of January 2009 in Moscow.

Monday, 18 May 2009

In the central town of Mahas, witnesses said Shabaab fighters beheaded a local elder and burnt his body on Sunday.

"We have carried his bones and some of his burnt flesh and had a burial this morning," resident Ahmed Farah told Reuters.

"They always do this when they want to terrorise residents."
Jon and Matt both light the way for Sonic Youth
'Mr Rajapaksa added that Sri Lanka was now "a country that has been totally freed from the barbaric acts of the LTTE"'

let's hope so, you appalling, vicious phoney.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Dini, whose group monitors children, said 60 of the 150 dead and 125 of the more than 300 injured were children.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

i am honour bound to hold up my hands and laud this piece from Martin Jacques as the bloke is always slagged off around here.

because - thanks to my dear friend Oliver - i've just started on Renzo Felice's fascism introduction (with fine dialogue from Michael Ledeen), i am going to have to say a few of the terms Jacques bandies about are perhaps a bit much, but the central thrust of his byline, about opponents of Berlusconi being increasingly beleaguered, is correct, and this thesis has very worrying implications.

he makes a sensible point about populism.

Meanwhile, he has systematically fought to discredit the judiciary, accusing the judges of being agents of the left, to the point where, from being heroes of the “Tangentopoli” scandal in the early 1990s, they are now widely discredited. Or, to put it another way, bit by bit the separation of powers, so crucial to the well-being of any democracy, is being undermined and replaced by an extraordinary concentration of power in the hands of one man.

let us be clear: Berlusconi is no joke.

he is serious.

he needs to be taken seriously (these comments apply to his interior minister, Roberto Maroni, equally).

they need to be opposed.
'The dire situation that has provoked people to protest in Tbilisi is not being addressed because there are no mechanisms or "rules of the game" that can be the foundation for a collective effort to find answers'
i can send someone to kill your child
in stark contrast to Woodhead the insightful sage, the regrettable Christie Blatchford is here
blessed are the meek, for if they sit around long enough in their own filth, endlessly trying to work out the linkage between kullas in south east Europe and the forty year or longer struggle of an elderly great uncle to fix up a roof that has always needed it in north west Europe (those excuses on his lip, or time-worn reflection, or shall we cut a nuanced, humane, empathetic break?), whilst perhaps sucking on some pastilles, well, they will invariably sit around long enough for the great and wise Chris Woodhead to saunter over and explain absolutely everything

Monday, 11 May 2009

"Yet, in its haste to reap short-term financial gains and to replenish its dwindling foreign exchange reserves, the government of Pakistan seems to be ceding control over the country's cultivable lands."
'Child traffickers are targeting the UK because of the ease with which they can move victims through British ports and local authority care homes, the chairman of a parliamentary inquiry into human trafficking has warned.
Cautious estimates suggest five suspected victims of child trafficking go missing from care around ports and airports in the UK every week.
Vaz also said there was "a growing connection" between local authority care facilities and trafficking, exemplified he said by the case exposed in the Guardian last week of 77 Chinese children missing from a single care home next to Heathrow airport since March 2006, only four of whom have been found. Two girls had been exploited as prostitutes in the Midlands, and others were suspected of having been forced to work in the drug trade and illegal labour.'
copy of Islamism and its Enemies in the Horn of Africa (Hurst, 2004), edited by de Waal and with contributions from him and three others, who are Roland Marchal, M.A. Mohamed Salih and A.H. Abdel Salam.

i'll just put a few quotes down here (not read it yet), for an introductory flavour from the earliest sections, and note any seeming lack of nuance below is nothing to do with the authors and all because i'm cherry-picking to an extent, and so some other contextual paragraphs directly related to the ones below may not be shown.

The shortcomings of Islamism are intellectual, social, political and military. These failures are evident not just to political scientists and analysts, but to the citizens of the countries concerned. For example, at the time of writing there is widespread popular support in Sudan for an American-led initiative to end that country's civil war and establish a more representative and less Islamist government. The disastrous experience of political Islam is part of every Sudanese's personal experience. [pp.1-2]
One of the persistent themes of this book is that political Islam in its various manifestations - organisational, philanthropic, military - is poor at moving from a micro-level to a wider national level. Islamism appears to operate well as an ideology of resistance, nourished by allegations of conspiracy and by the martyrdom of its adherents, but fails when it exercises power. [p.8]
Despite the vision of its advocates, that Islamism is a vibrant alternative, with the potential to promote democracy and civil society, contributing a comprehensive and humane vision that mixes private enterprise, community and social welfare, the record of its 'big project' has ultimately been one of failure. And this failure is eroding the gains of its 'little projects' [things like local charity - s]...
But two caveats are in order. The first is that Islamism's enemies in the region have also failed. Authoritarian patrimonial states such as Egypt have nothing to offer. The radical militarised left that took power in many African countries between 1986 and 1997 briefly offered an energetic alternative, but also failed, descending into a series of wars. The second is that time has moved on...Islamism too is fated to take on new forms. Undoubtedly, new variants of political Islam will continue to appeal to Muslims, especially the young and marginalised. They will translate into political agendas of resisting a global order that is currently offering them nothing. [p.21]

that'll do for now.
i must apologise for the incredibly mean-spirited and wounding words i directed toward Mia Farrow and the like the other day; it was out of line, small, puny and dumb.

critiques of the Save Darfur campaign are all well and good but i think my usage of the word "worthy" was, arguably, misplaced. (who knows? not me, obviously.)

fair play to the Pope on calls for an independent Palestinian state.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

shells falling on the head

shells falling on your head

shells falling on your head and killing you

shells fired by the Sri Lankan army on your head and the heads of your children, who are small and young and physically weak and exhausted

shells fired on that mute man over there

shells fired on that woman over there whose heart is rent by love-melancholy

north in the same region Islamists are pouring acid on the face of your daughter.

they do this because they do not like women.

the Prophet did not say this but there are stupid, vile old men who do not like women who maintain the Prophet said this.

they are lying.

they are all lying.

everybody lies.

so you take a gun.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Osler: 'Let extremists visit Britain'
briefly, wrt Mahmood Mamdani's Saviors and Survivors the man himself admirably says during his first right of reply to critics that "I hope to do this in a way that may contribute to taking the discussion forward, rather than freezing it in a defensive posture".

it is obviously necessary to criticise the idiocies of celebrity advocates like Mia Farrow and somebody taking aim at the reductions of the 'Save Darfur' movement is clearly a worthy project (activism can often use a fairly easily understandable public message, no, for reasons of tactic, for better or worse), but so far, on the crucial subject of objections from specialist Alex de Waal and historian Martin W Daly about Mamdani's take on the history of Darfur and Sudan, the author has not convinced in covering his own back. (but let's see what else he comes up with, tbf.)

i was struck by one particular part of an account from Mamdani's own Columbia University of a debate, about practical ways to ease the Darfur crisis, that he had with one-time ICG man John Prendergast.

Instead of providing new solutions for Darfur, Mamdani diverted the discussion from examining the actual problems in Sudan to the external problems affecting Sudan . How unfortunate during this critical time, he chose to focus his energy on messaging, statistical analysis and semantics, when 2009 has wracked the people of Sudan with the harshest realities on the ground imaginable.

(it should also be noted the write-up finishes with "So sadly, just as it began, the debate ended as if on two separate roads and the original purpose was again drowned out by the flashier, sexier side of who’s really to blame for Africa’s problems.")

from an absurdly parochial left-wing wealthy democrat pov, i hope readers do not confuse straw-men (i am sure the following people do actually exist but i've no interest in talking to them and have never read any, so apologies for the tone) who apparently have simplified the conflict to the extent of 'black Africans versus evil Arabs and nothing more than that' with the respectable commentators who have a broad view of the Darfur crisis and still find aspects of Mamdani perhaps tendentious.

this is not to downplay Mamdani's points where he seeks to link the War on Terror with liberal interventionism but rather to recall that sectarians - sometimes disingenuous - will seek to partially use new work for their own, not necessarily noble, ends.

Alex de Waal has another good point when he notes "Is interesting to note how Mamdani’s book resonates in Africa: it speaks to people’s worries about the humanitarian imperium, while they are equally concerned that this critique will let abusive leaders off the hook."

it was, of course, de Waal who said that what has happened in modern Darfur (the purposeful fault of Khartoum, for the most part, to paraphrase myself) is not genocide, but no less serious than genocide.

this blog intends to address the long-running spat between the laudable (if somewhat absolutist) Eric Reeves and de Waal in time, so doubtless there will be another post or so on Mamdani later, more in-depth.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Emerald Bile on Americans

Americans make a real meal of it when things go wrong. They made a terrible fuss about 9/11 and still harp on about it ...They have a real problem with the shops being closed as well, and this is not the fault of americans, it is the fault of the television and those shows where people get upset about something, and instead of shouting, or going to the pub

and the English

"No, St George did not do a particularly good job at pest control, especially compared to his highly efficent, holy neighbour St Patrick, and that is the real reason for his fete not being a public holiday in England. Don't say that to anyone English though, or they will cut you."

and the news desk on the UK's 'least wanted' list
Italy on Thursday cheered a "historic" deportation of 227 migrants who were intercepted at sea and sent directly back to Libya before touching shore, in what one rights group said was a violation of international law.

this is very bad.

this is collecting a group of people who are not Libyan or EU nationals (but came through Libya) and not even allowing them to land to process them, to see if there are any asylum claims to be made, and so on.

this is turning people back to the tender embrace of the Libyan state.

it is shockingly bad.


(h/t: Will.)

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Peter Oborne wrote a large-hearted column in today's Mail, for which he must be commended.

it concerned the tragedy and brutality of civilian casualties - and the potential for such - the Pakistani army ('brave men all', as he put it, or respectful words to that effect) was responsible for, or in danger of wreaking, during its fight with insurgents.

there was at least one misstep though, that i would like to mention.

Oborne mentioned massive modern civilian tragedies classified by region, ie the Balkans ("10 years ago") and Darfur ("five years ago").

of course, ongoing crimes are still taking place in Darfur, and largely the purposeful fault of the regime in Khartoum, a government that has many friends in world capitals.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

'The Canadians also slam their opponents for regularly using adorable white-coated seal pups in their fundraising and promotional material even though the harvesting of whitecoat seals has been banned in Canada for more than two decades.'

(from here)

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Rouge's Foam riffs on from David Stubbs, whilst SR provides a 'nuum checkcard and Dan moves things forward (check the Paul Gilroy stuff!)
Jonathan Freedland reviews the anthropologist David Vine's Island of Shame at the NYRB, and it's a good 101 on the Chagossians.

(there's a small reference to the original episode of killing all the dogs living in Diego Garcia back in the day that Granta's 2001 piece on same - once noted here - by Simon Winchester covered so effectively.)

points worth flagging, not Chagos Islander specific (the details about them are awful enough).

In Vine's persuasive telling, it is from the expansionist instincts of the military services, rather than the conscious decisions of civilian policymakers, that the imperialist project draws much of its energy.

He estimated that as many as 150 tanks, armored personnel carriers, heavy artillery, and engineering vehicles were kept in the hold of cargo vessels, safely away from the corrosive sea air. Every year or so, Mates was told, the entire fleet is sailed back to the US, where the vehicles are unloaded, driven around to make sure they still work properly, then reloaded onto the ships and sailed back to Diego Garcia.

There is a further, more intriguing difference between contemporary US officials and their imperialist forebears. The ancients would be surprised to see that their current counterparts have reversed the previous driving logic of empire. Following the lead of the Romans, London once dreamed of coloring the map pink, ruling the world by conquering as much territory as it could. But its US successor seeks to do the opposite, to rule by holding, directly at least, as little terrain as it can.

Monday, 4 May 2009

i had the immense good fortune of eating some left-over takeaway food from the other day, this evening.

i put the lamb tikka dupiaza and chana rice in a Pyrex dish and cooked it through on a low heat for about three and a half hours and it was heavenly.

just now i ate a Cadbury Creme Egg.

you know when you eat something and then it makes you want to scoop out your insides, perhaps scrape them with some bladed implement?
as if it would be alright if you could just attack yourself, somehow press things in your body down, iron yourself out.

make everything entirely flat, everywhere, like an unbroken landscape.


Fred Williams again, and the desolation of the Australian desert.
there is beauty there, and death, but it would mean not having to worry about ironing oneself, trying to pluck things out of your stomach, you useless piece of shit.

like that.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

this brilliant post - and DaveM's comment at 3:18 pm
Diana Henry is a sexy Irishwoman who writes about food for the Telegraph.

i want to quote the following three lines as they're positively pornographic:

Six years ago I found myself sitting on a pier by one of those cute Swedish wooden houses, the sun reluctant to set, with a platter of roast beetroot on the table. There was also hot-smoked salmon, boiled potatoes glossy with butter and flecked with dill, and a bowl of sour cream. The sweet, soft flesh of the beetroot was a revelation.
War on the Displaced
Sri Lankan Army and LTTE Abuses against Civilians in the Vanni

FEBRUARY 20, 2009
This 45-page report is based on a two-week fact-finding mission to northern Sri Lanka in February. The government has prohibited journalists and human rights monitors from going to the battle zone in the Vanni, making access to information difficult.
the exuberance of youth

Friday, 1 May 2009

right i'm off.

RIP Delara Darabi

(thx afp)

(thx afp)
Martin Jacques has been banging this sort of drum for years.