Tuesday, June 19, 2007

IT'S ONLY DEMOCRACY IF WE LIKE IT

Apparently the proceedings in the Gaza Strip were planned long since. The EU and USA, unhappy with "terrorist"-labelled Hamas being elected into parliament, not only kept denying the Hamas government fundings and diplomatic support to make it "fail" in the eyes of voters, but also pressured Fatah to take action and overthrow the government.

Reuters AlertNet reports the following:

Edward Abington, Abbas's long-time adviser and Washington lobbyist, said the Bush administration made its intentions known to the president soon after Hamas was elected in early 2006. Abbas was told "Hamas is an illegitimate organisation and that they are doing everything they can to force it out of power".

Abington recounted a meeting as long ago as July last year at which "(Abbas) said to me that the Americans were urging him to kick out the government, to form an emergency government".

"He refused to do it because it would lead to civil war.

"(Abbas) did not want to get into a confrontation," said Abington. But in the end, he said, "it was forced on him."

However, things didn't go according to the plans, and Hamas seized control over Gaza.

Why did Hamas win the parliamentary elections in the first place? Probably because the voters were fed up with Fatah's corruption and inefficiency, and wanted to "state an example" - kind of like when the Swedish right-wing coalition wins the elections every once in a while, after the Social Democrats have gotten too lazy and smug.

It can be argued that it is fairly inconsequent of the USA and EU to pressure Fatah to overthrow a legitimately elected government while at the same time pretending to advocate "democracy". But Matthew Levitt, who until January was in charge of terrorism issues at the U.S. Treasury, and now is at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, considers it to be fully justified:

"There are consequences to electing terrorists. One of them is you can't expect the West to embrace them."

It's only democracy if we like it.

Meanwhile, caught up in all this are the millions of 'normal' Palestinians.

Monday, June 04, 2007

LOLMUSLIMS

Sometimes, when I for some reason need to remind myself of the ignorance of this world, I read the comments at englishrussia.com.

This time I came across someone expressing genuine wonder at the fact that Ramzan Kadyrov (and many other Chechens) are "white", but still Muslim. Well, this guy, as opposed to all too many of the other commentators over there, didn't seem to be ignorant in a bad way, just in an adorable way. You couldn't get angry at him.

Anyway, it inspired me a bit:



1. Ramzan Kadyrov and "friends"
2. Some schoolgirls in Indonesia (in fact meeting Paul Wolfowitz - not in picture)
3. Darfur refugees
4. Osama - the man, the beard, the icon.

Friday, April 13, 2007

HOW TO SELL UNDERWEAR AND MAKE PEOPLE FEEL BAD ABOUT THEIR BOOBS

I belong to the people who have learned to instinctively ignore any ads on the Internet. I remember a lecture in marketing where my teacher, in his 50's or 60's, spoke about the great advertising possibilities in search engines: "People search for a certain term, and look! Here are some results!" He pointed at the "Sponsored Links" in a screenshot of Google.

I blurted out, "But they're ads ...!", thinking about the rather unethical but much more effective method of buying your website high results on certain queries, and also the fact that I hardly ever notice any ads thanks to my special conditioning.

Still, once in a while, I do notice an ad. One recent example is in one of my Russian E-mail services. There's a pretty ugly drawing of an anorectic brunette holding her hands over a pair of naked, silicone enhanced looking breasts, and the text: "Do you want a beautiful bust? Your bust is in your hands!"

The link leads to a page in "Woman Journal", a Russian web portal for women. The text begins: "It's about time to look the truth in the eyes. Or rather, in the cleavage. After all, this is the part of the female body that inescapably draws the attention of men." ... "If you already are the owner of a fine bust, you will know that what we are saying is the truth. And, well, if your bust is smaller than you would like it to be, you will have a real chance of finding out in practise."

This is how it works: They have a "game" where you're supposed to help the bony brunette get bigger boobs. Because this girl, "like many other girls, thinks that if the size of her bust would be a bit bigger, then it would really kick ass."After all, it's a "fact" that "the curves of Anna Semenovitch, Afisa Tchekhova and Pamela Anderson make the hearts of men beat faster".

What you have to do is register on the site and "collect votes" - the more votes you get, the more the girl's boobs will be pumped up! So you have to get "as many friends as possible" to register and vote for you. And the three contestants with the most blown-up busts will win sets of underwear. Yay!

Yes, what a really great way for the underwear company to get PR and at the same time make people feel bad about their boobs, so they will buy even more "enhancing" bras out of insecurity! And the game sounds like so much FUN! Yay, pumping up breasts! That must be something all women really enjoy!!!

P.S. There is some weird inconsistency. Note how both models sporting the prizes have really small breasts:

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

KEFFIYEH = NAZI???

As I was researching an entry about Henrik Vibskov's piggy scarves, I came across material that suggests that keffiyehs "have been increasingly associated with neo-nazis in Germany since the late 1990's". Uhh, WTF??

Is it the "anti-Zionist" (= "anti-Jewish", according to false logic) connotations of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle? Or is it an attempt to adopt/destroy yet another youth culture (think of those poor Skinheads) or Leftist symbol?

In any case, hiphopper Invincible got into a bit of trouble when wearing a keffiyeh to a concert in Leipzig.

Arhh, and what signals do I myself send, walking down the street here like this?

Okay, this calls for more research ...

Here is a flyer from the Antifascist Left (PDF). Nice title - "Are you cold, or don't you like Jews?"
It tells about the "fascist background" of the keffiyeh - according to this flyer, the Fascist-friendly Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in 1936 forbid all Western-style hats and ordered everyone to wear the traditional keffiyeh instead. "And so, this scarf became a symbol of oppression. People who didn't follow this order were killed and beaten."

Hmm, maybe this is what inspired the Neo-Nazis to adopt the keffiyeh as their new 'Fascist' symbol?

But the only sources I can find for this right now are German-language, or directly translated into other languages from existing German-language articles - and all of them pro-Zionist. One such source is Karl Selent, with a "pro-Soviet, pro-Israel" background (in the tradition of Stalin, I presume, who initially supported the Zionists in hopes of getting a foot into the Middle East, though the Soviets later on turned to support Arab states opposing Israel, like Egypt and Syria - and I didn't mean that as 'guilt by association', but only as a historical background as to how something like that can be possible).
Ted Swedenburg writes in "Occupational Hazards - Palestine Ethnography": "Official Zionist discourse continues to associate the 1936-39 rebellion with Nazism, claiming that the Arab insurgents were aided and inspired by Fascism. And it makes much of the fact that the leader of the Palestinian national movement during the 1930's and 1940's, Hajj Amin Al-Husayni, took refuge in Berlin during WWII and collaborated with the German war effort."
So, the leader of the Palestinian national movement in this period was probably a Fascist, but does that automatically make all Palestinians even today Fascists?

The flyer continues, and it gets more and more interesting.

"Er ist auch keine nicht für die palästinensische Gesellschaft. representierende Darstellung. Kinder werden dort von früh auf so erzogen, dass sie im Ernstfall für die Religion und das Volk in den Tod gehen würden und dabei möglichst viele Juden, Kinder wie Erwachsende und Alte, da macht der Antisemit keinen Unterschied, mit zu nehmen. Frauen müssen sich verschleiern und sich dem männlichen Willen alle Zeit beugen. Für Homosexuelle oder emanzipierte Frauen ist in dem islamistischen
Weltbild kein Platz. Viele, die nicht bei den Militäraktionen gegen Israel mitmachen
wollen, werden als Deserteure im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes an die Wand gestellt. Das Palituch steht für diese Gesellschaft und deren Widerstand, der nicht im entferntesten Sinne etwas mit Emanzipation zu tun hat."

The syntax of the first quoted sentence is a bit confusing, but I suppose it can be agreed that they are trying to say something about the Palestinian society. From the next sentence onwards: "Children are brought up there in such a way that they in case of emergency will die for the people and the religion and in the process take as many Jews with them - children, adults and old people alike, the anti-Semite makes no difference there. Women have to wear veils over their faces and give in to the male will at any time. In the Islamist worldview there is no place for homosexuals or emancipated women. Many who are not willing to participate in the military actions against Israel are literally put against the wall as deserters. The keffiyeh (in Germany called "Palituch", Pally-scarf") stands for this society and its resistance that doesn't have the least to do with emancipation."

Riiight ...

Oh, and I almost missed something really interesting on the first page of the leaflet:

"... So ist die Solidarität mit Palästina und die damit verbundene Abneigung gegen Israel seit eh und je eine Selbstverständlichkeit in der Linken. Den völkischen, antimodernen und antisemitischen Charakter der palästinensischen und arabischen Gesellschaften hat dabei nie interessiert und wenn es ihnen einmal wieder vorgehalten wird, zählen Argumente von „Rassisten oder „Imperialisten“ ja eh nicht."

"... And so, the solidarity with Palestine and the antipathy against Israel that is connected with it have been self-evident for the Leftists since ages. The völkish (a hardly translatable Nazi term that nowadays stands for fascist/nationalist/ethnic/racist), anti-modern and anti-Semitic character of the Palestinian and Arab societies has never interested anyone, and when someone actually points it out to them, the opinions of "racists" or "imperialists" don't count anyway."

Wow, so these "anti-Fascists" are actually anti-Arabs.

Okay, now I checked out some of the organizations that are listed at the end of the leaflet. And abysses open up in front of me.

Well, hagalil.com is no abyss, but the biggest Jewish online magazine in German. In the enormous masses of material, there might be something objectionable, but there are tons of things I also support. I read their materials occasionally.

antifanews.de has just an announcement for a couple of seminars on Marxist theory. Nothing too objectionable.

antifa.de is the website of the anti-Fascist movement in Germany. Mostly concentrated on fighting Capitalism and "fortress Europe". Nothing too objectionable there, either, at least not on the front page.

But.

aano.tk is for the most part under construction, but contains a link to a campaign against the "esthetic rehabilitation of suicide bombing" in the "Jew murdering drama", Hany Abu-Assad's film Paradise Now.

antideutsch.com is a website that seems to be entirely dedicated to drawing parallells between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. (I wonder if they have had any contact with the Israeli peace movement. Oh, right, but they have probably been brainwashed by Karl Selent and his likes also in this matter.)

Anti-Germans are apparently a somewhat marginal and very heterogenous current within German anti-Fascism. They generally use Leftist rhetorics to propagate right-wing objectives. Since the Al-Aqsa Intifada, besides some general anti-Muslim activities, they have concentrated most of their efforts on supporting Zionism. Some Jewish Germans and Israelis have criticized the anti-Germans, saying that their "unconditional solidarity" is a farce that "transforms the actual tragedy into a burlesque of fools".

I guess it's not always so easy to be anti-Zionist in Germany, a country that carries some very heavy historical baggage and was deeply involved in the founding of Israel in order to atone a bit for its sins.

But that's no reason to become anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab or anti-Muslim.

The leaflet has a slogan - "For a self-reflecting radical Left!"
And I have reflected on this matter quite a bit now, and decided that I most certainly will continue to wear my keffiyeh.

Some people wearing keffiyehs. Note how few of them are Palestinian or affiliated with Palestinian political organisations.

A Kurdish dance troup

The Kurd Hajji - as a matter of fact, he probably doesn't wear his black-and white keffiyeh because he would support the Palestinian organisation Fatah.

The red scarves are to show support for the more 'radical' Palestinian groups, like Hamas or PFLP, right?? Well, here's Condi celebrating her birthday with a great friend in Saudi Arabia.

A Yemeni man along the road to Shibam

The keffiyeh is the traditional headgear worn by men all over the Middle East - not only for political reasons, not only in Palestine, and not only by Yasser Arafat. People have shouted "Arafat!" after me on some occasions (though I'm actually not sure if it was because they opposed or supported him), and if some "Anti-Fascist" Zionists shout "Nazi!" after me now, so be it. I support neither Arafat/Fatah nor Nazism. My keffiyeh doesn't stand for either.

This is what my keffiyeh stands for: I'm anti-Zionist. Not anti-Jewish. Even though my keffiyeh is black and white, I'm against the corrupt leadership of the Palestinian Authority - not least Fatah. I'm against violence and oppression of the weak. I'm against Patriarchy, and also Matriarchy - as a matter of fact, I'm against any arche.

And I'm also against stupidity. That includes the kind of stupidity that assumes that I wear a keffiyeh just to "be cool" or because I "don't know about its background".

(Arafat's scarf was of much finer quality than mine, anyway.)