Deportation: the only win-win solution

Thursday, 29 November 2007

sudan

 

Gillian Gibbons is getting more than her allotted 15 minutes of fame. She is a 54-year old British lady who went to Sudan to teach, I imagine out of a strong sense of doing the right thing and helping those less fortunate. Even if her job paid well, living in Khartoum is obviously no picnic.

In teaching a class of primary school children about animals, Mrs Gibbons had them name a teddy bear. She allowed them to nominate and then vote on the names – apparently introducing a democratic process rarely used in Sudan into the lesson. But that’s not what she got into trouble for.

The children, who were 6 and 7 years old, chose names that were familiar to them. The population of Sudan is 70% Sunni Muslim and the name the children chose in the end was Mohammed. At least one of the children was called Mohammed and certainly more had brothers or fathers or uncles called Mohammed. It seems perfectly reasonable they would choose that name for their bear.

But the authorities have arrested Mrs Gibbons and charged her with insulting religion, inciting hatred, and showing contempt for religious beliefs.

It is clear to anyone with even a modicum of common sense that Mrs Gibbons was doing none of those things. She was teaching a group of children to be creative and reinforcing to them that their ideas had value. So much for introducing progressive educational methodologies into schools in backwards countries.

Apparently under the three charges against her, Mrs Gibbons faces 6 months in prison, a fine, and 40 lashes with a whip. That’s right – a 54-year old school teacher faces being brutally whipped for letting children name a teddy bear. I am outraged.

If the Sudanese authorities feel the need to go ahead with this charade of injustice, I would suggest that they skip the trial and simply deport Mrs Gibbons. The unenlightened citizenry of Sudan should be satisfied with that, and I am sure that Mrs Gibbons would be happy to leave their shithole of a country behind her.


Princess Diana jokes

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

entry to d'Alma tunnel
entry to the d’Alma tunnel

 

This is kind of random, but as I have not had time to post at all for days and I just happened to receive two really tasteless jokes on email today, I thought I might as well share the jokes.

This one came, appropriately, from Paris:

Pavarotti meets Princess Diana in heaven. He says I wish I had a halo as big as yours. She replies Fuck off you fat bastard. Its a steering wheel.

And this one came, appropriately, from an Aussie:

Whats the difference between Michael Hutchence and Princess Diana?

Michael was wearing his belt!!

 


Max solicits

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

prostitute

 

I was sitting in the pub on my own. I was waiting for BJ, who was coming from work, and his two mates who were here visiting. I thought BJ’s mates might arrive at the pub before BJ so I was on the lookout for foreign people who looked like they might be looking for someone.

A man of the right age walked by my table and it seemed that he was looking around. He didn’t have a wife with him, but I thought he might have left her by the door while he scouted. He continued on to the far end of the pub and I waited to see if he would come back. Come back he did, so I spoke to him.

Morgan?

Huh?

Morgan? Are you Morgan?

He approached my table and leaned in a bit.

Are you Morgan? Are you looking for BJ?

He looked slightly taken aback.

Sorry?

Are you looking for BJ?

Uh, no, I don’t think so.

And then he hastily retreated.

It wasn’t until a few minutes later when I was recounting the story to BJ that I realised what had occurred.


Fascists for Freedom

Monday, 19 November 2007

fascists palackeho namesti
Fascists on Palackého náměstí

 

It was Saturday afternoon and Boris and I were standing at the tram stop. We saw a group of eight young men and one young woman dressed in black and carrying black flags. Boris got that inquisitive look. I suddenly realised who the kids in black were and what they were doing.

Saturday, the 17th of November, was a Czech holiday – the Day of struggle for freedom and democracy. The day marks the beginning of the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and the day the Nazis closed the Czech universities in 1939.

On the previous Saturday, the Prague community and the police had prevented neo-Nazis from marching through the Jewish quarter of Prague. One group of neo-Nazis, Autonomní Nacionalisté – the Autonomous Nationalists – had subsequently announced a demonstration for the 17th. It would take place at Palackého náměstí, recently designated Prague’s “Hyde Park Corner”, where no permit is required for speech and assembly. On that day, the fascists would protest the death of freedom of speech.

And once again, I am delighted at the irony.

“We are for arguments instead of bans and we want the freedom of speech,” declared one of the speakers at the rally.

Because everyone knows that freedom of speech is one of the core values of fascism.


Ode on a banana

Thursday, 15 November 2007

perfect bananaOn an autumn morn after the gym
I was floating to the office on my magic shoes.
I stopped into the green grocer’s to buy magic food
that grows already packaged on trees.

Two green apples and two yellow bananas
have been sitting on my desk all day.
Until now, when I decided to eat one of the yellow fruits.
I separated the bananas and picked up a knife
to help me start peeling one from the bottom
in the odd Czech manner I have adopted.

But as I held the banana in my hand,
I suddenly stopped with the realisation
that this was an extraordinary banana.
The length, the girth,
the unusual straightness, the firmness –
it reminded me strongly of something else.

This banana is the most astonishing banana
that I have ever seen. How can I
cut it, peel it, break it, bite it through?
When all I really want to do is hold it
and stroke it and admire it.
(I’m in the office after all.)

Should I eat the other one instead?
The one that curves like a cartoon smile
and is not unusually large.
Can it satisfy me now that I have seen banana perfection?

But what of my remarkable banana,
what will it look like tomorrow?
Surely it’s better to eat this piece of God’s art
than to let it wither and become less than itself.

I’m holding it, I’m peeling it,
Oh, what a perfect piece of fruit!
I’m putting my mouth on it,
I’m tasting it, I’m gently biting down.
It yields. This is inexorable satisfaction.


Showdown

Friday, 9 November 2007

nazi punks fuck off

 

10 November 1938 – Kristallnacht – the first big pogrom in Nazi Germany

10 November 2007 – right-wing idiot wannabe Nazi extremists attempt to march through the Jewish quarter of Prague

I always think it’s too bad they are too stupid to see the irony. Czechs are Slavs. They may be more Germanic than other Slavs, but to a real Nazi, I am sure that one Slav is as untermensch as any other. The Nazis’ ultimate plan for the Slavs was to use them as slave labour until they all died. Did these cretins not learn any history in school?

It started with the Czech neo-Nazis. Now it seems that some of their Slovak and German brethren will be coming to Prague to support them. I can understand the Slovak Nazis wanting to help –they are, after all, only making the exact same ignorant untermensch mistake. But the German neo-Nazis? In their case it is not irony. Their actions are practically apostate. Or is it okay for a Nazi to align with one group of untermenschen against another group that are even more untermenschen? I am afraid I am not up on the etiquette of being a proper Nazi.

Anyway- this is what’s going on: The Young National Democrats and their fellow right-wing extremists are planning to gather between 15.00 and 16.00 in Břehová street. For those of you who don’t know, that puts them in the heart of the Jewish quarter, literally a stone’s throw from the 13th century Old-New Synagogue.

This is in spite of City Hall banning the extremists from marching and the Municipal Court of Prague finally upholding the ban. Never mind, we can’t expect pathetic wannabe Nazis to be law-abiding.

The counter-actions are scheduled as follows:

14.00 – The Jewish Community of Prague are meeting by the Old-New Synagogue and the Jewish Town Hall

15.00 – The Jewish Liberal Union are gathering on Old Town Square

17.00 – Tolerance and Civic Society are gathering on the corner of Břehová and Maiselova

Many other organisations, as well as individuals, are coming out to support the actions against extremism and Nazism. 1400 police will be on hand to protect people and property.

Come out and lend your support too.


Pakistan today, The Amerika tomorrow

Monday, 5 November 2007

police state

 

I am not saying that it is imminent, or indeed that it is going to happen at all. I am saying, however, that we need to be aware that it is possible. And, most importantly, that the legislation that would make martial law legal in The Amerika is already in place.

I wrote about Aaron Russo’s film, America: Freedom to Fascism, in August 2006. In that post, I included the film’s sample list of executive orders. As I trust no one, I had checked to make sure Russo wasn’t full of shit. I found that his list was correct – all of the executive orders are real.

President Bush has signed executive orders giving him sole authority to impose martial law and suspend habeas corpus. This gives him dictatorial power over the people…with no checks and balances.

All of the following orders were in place long before Bush took office.

Executive Order #11921 – provides that the President can declare a state of emergency that is not defined, and Congress cannot review the action for six months – signed by Gerald R. Ford, 11 June 1976.

Executive Order #10990 – allows the government to take over all modes of transportation – signed by John F. Kennedy, 2 February 1962.

Executive Order #10995 – allows the government to seize and control the communications media – signed by John F. Kennedy, 16 February 1962.

Executive Order #10997 – allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals – signed by John F. Kennedy, 16 February 1962.

Executive Order #10998 – allows the government to take over all food resources and farms – signed by John F. Kennedy, 16 February 1962.

Executive Order #11002 – Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons – signed by John F. Kennedy, 16 February 1962.

Executive Order #11000 – allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision – signed by John F. Kennedy, 16 February 1962.

The Huffington Post yesterday published a list of some of the rights that have been suspended in Pakistan:

 

  • Protection of life and liberty.
  • The right to free movement.
  • The right of detainees to be informed of their offence and given access to lawyers.
  • Protection of property rights.
  • The right to assemble in public.
  • The right to free speech.
  • Equal rights for all citizens before law and equal legal protection.
  • Media coverage of suicide bombings and militant activity is curtailed by new rules. Broadcasters also face a three-year jail term if they “ridicule” members of the government or armed forces.

 

 

 

 

 

I would like to review all of Bush’s executive orders to see exactly what powers he has already claimed, but he has signed literally hundreds and I already have a full-time job.

 

And in addition to the executive branch usurping powers, the legislative branch has happily handed additional powers to the president. As an example, Public Law 109-364, the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007” (HR 5122), which was signed into law on 17 October 2006. The Act gives the president the power to declare a public emergency and station troops anywhere in the Amerika and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities. Does anyone remember the Posse Comitatus Act?

 

And don’t forget another consequence of Pakistan’s state of emergency – the elections that were planned for January 2008 will be postponed until there is no longer a state of emergency. General Musharraf will therefore remain in power until further notice.

 

George W Bush – president for life. Has an interesting ring to it, doesn’t it?