Imagine the novelty! The entire sickly cartel, nearly-continent in size, run by priests, nuns, and a handful of squirrelly, verbally combative, and indecisive middle age scholars in corduroy and other peculiar garments. In fact it will be just like the old days when there were plagues and mercenaries.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
[IGLHRC] has learned today that despite an order by the Iranian Chief Justice to nullify his death sentence, Mr. Makvan Mouloodzadeh was executed in Kermanshah Central Prison at 5 a.m. this morning, Iranian time. Neither Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s family or his lawyer were told about the execution until after it occurred. IGLHRC is still investigating the facts in this case.
“This is a shameful and outrageous travesty of justice and international human rights law,” said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC’s executive director. “How many more young Iranians have to die before the international community takes action?”
Mr. Mouloodzadeh was a 21-year-old Iranian citizen who was accused of committing
anal rape (ighab) with other young boys when he was 13 years old. However, at Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s trial, all the witnesses retracted their pre-trial testimonies, claiming to have lied to the authorities under duress. Makvan also told the court that his confession was made under coercion and pleaded not guilty.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Hillary is not just another professional woman of my generation, who ought to inspire sisterly empathy. She is a throwback to an earlier era, when women found their place through their husbands. The resistance I feel toward Hillary has to do do with her advancement under the aegis of a powerful man — a powerful man who seems to have diminished quite a number of women. According to the article, I'm responding the way women my age respond: "For many, it's visceral. While they struggled to break through institutional barriers in the workplace, Clinton hitched her star to her man and followed him to the top. When his philandering imperiled his political career, she not only pulled him out of the fire but helped orchestrate attacks against his accusers." Exactly.Even Jane Fonda can't bring herself to get behind Hillary:
[I]n an interview with LA Weekly last May, Jane Fonda called Clinton "a ventriloquist for the patriarchy with a skirt and a vagina."
Monday, December 03, 2007
Britain sends two Muslim members of the House of Lords to Khartoum to grovel in front of the president of the Sudan and beg for the release of British primary schoolteacher Gillian Gibbons. Sentenced to 15 days in prison for naming a teddy bear "Mohammed", she is eventually released and deported.
Khartoum, Sudan - 1896
Britain sends Lord Kitchener to Khartoum at the head of an army of 25 000 to avenge the 1885 death of General Charles Gordon and to put down a rebellion by followers of a Muslim fanatic called "the Mahdi". This description of the subsequent events is from James Morris' Farewell the Trumpets:
For years the Sudan had been in a state of rebellion under a fiery Sufi mystic who called himself the Mahdi, 'the Leader', and who formally announced the End of Time, a conception particularly unwelcome to the British just then. In 1884 it had been decided to abandon the country and to organise the withdrawal the British Government sent to Khartoum, the capital, General Charles Gordon, Royal Engineers, everyone's archetype of the Christian soldier, 'not a man but a God'. Trapped in Khartoum by his own death-wish, in January 1885 Gordon was killed by the Mahdists, and so capped his already legendary career with an imperial apotheosis.... The Mahdi died in 1885, but his successor the Khalifa, held similarly apocalyptic views, and by the 1890s the Reconquest was at hand...
[Kitchener] with infinite care and thoroughness ... prepared the campaign, designing his own gunboats for the passage up the Nile, and commissioning his own railway to take his armies out of Egypt towards Khartoum. It was slow, but it was inexorable. By the end of 1896 Kitchener had an army of 25 000 men, 8 000 of them British, the rest Egyptian and Sudanese, deep in the Sudan. His method of campaign was barbarically deliberate and symbolic. The soldiers went in to action crying 'Remember Gordon!' Gordon's nephew directed the shelling of the Mahdi's tomb at Omdurman, and Kitchener seriously thought of keeping the Leader's skull as a souvenir. It all went like very slow clockwork. By Jubilee Day Kitchener was preparing his advance upon Khartoum, and by the autumn of 1898 he had annihilated the Mahdist army in the battle of Omdurman, killing at least 10 000 Sudanese for the loss of 28 Britons. On the morning of Sunday, 4 September 1898, he crossed the Nile into the ruined capital, where the shattered remains of Gordon's Residency lay as a wreck of rubble and undergrowth beside the river...
What the hell's happened to Britain?
From Der Spiegel, a report on how Europe's most tolerant city no longer seems quite so tolerant:
With the number of homophobic attacks rising in the Dutch metropolis, Amsterdam officials are commissioning a study to determine why Moroccan men are targeting the city's gays.Gee, whiz. That's a toughie. Wonder what the reason could be. But don't worry, the University of Amsterdam is on top of things:
Half of the crimes were committed by men of Moroccan origin and researchers believe they felt stigmatized by society and responded by attacking people they felt were lower on the social ladder. Another working theory is that the attackers may be struggling with their own sexual identity.Bingo! Telling young Moroccan men they're closeted gays seems certain to lessen tensions in the city! While you're at it, a lot of those Turks seem a bit light on their loafers, don't you think?
Any researchers who haven't fully signed on to the "social stigmatization" argument might like to dust off the reports following the stabbing in 2002 of Paris' first openly gay mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, by a Muslim immigrant, Azedine Berkane. Le Monde reported the views of M Berkane's neighbors:
“He was a bit like us,” said one. “We’re all homophobic here, because it’s not natural.”“It’s against Islam,” said another. “Muslim fags don’t exist.”
As I say somewhere in my book: If you think Iraq's Kurds and Arabs, Sunni and Shia are incompatible, what do you call a jurisdiction split between post-Christian secular gay potheads and anti-whoring anti-sodomite anti-everything-you-dig Islamists? If Kurdistan’s an awkward fit in Iraq, how well will Pornostan fit in the Islamic Republic of Holland?