Max is away

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

phu quoc

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President Gas 2008

Saturday, 26 April 2008

a contemporary twist on a classic by the Psychedelic Furs;

I found it on Crooks and Liars


self-portrait in shadow

Saturday, 26 April 2008

self-portrait in shadow

Athens, Greece, October 2007


Rachel Corrie was not a peace activist

Monday, 21 April 2008

If you had asked me yesterday what organisation Rachel Corrie had been with at the time of her death in Gaza in 2003, I would not have remembered. I had not paid much attention to the incident at the time and I didn’t know anything about the organisation. But today I finally did some research.

The catalyst that spurred me to action on the subject was a paragraph in Alan Dershowitz’ 2003 book, The Case for Israel. The book is unbelievably good, by the way – well structured and well researched, and it would certainly challenge a lot of people that think they know something about the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Chapter 24 is about Israel’s policy of demolishing houses “used to facilitate terrorism or owned by people who assisted terrorists”. Here’s the bit that surprised me:

Israel empties the homes, of course, before bulldozing them, but on a couple of occasions people have been killed, including a protestor who threw herself in front of the bulldozer and was apparently not seen by its operator. Although she was characterized by the media as a peace activist – implying that she was a nonpartisan supporter of peace – nothing could be farther from the truth. She belonged to a radical pro-Palestinian group of zealots – some from the extreme left, others from the extreme racist “right wing” – who are one-sided supporters of Palestinian terrorism. Members of the International Solidarity Movement are taught to “be sensitive” to suicide bombers, because “they are giving their lives for their land and their people.” They are directed “to consult with the Palestinians” before they do anything. They serve as human shields, working closely with Palestinian terrorist groups and protecting only Palestinians from Israeli soldiers. They have never offered to serve as shields protecting Israeli civilians against Palestinian terrorism. They do not support peace.

Instead, these zealots advocate the victory of Palestinian terrorism over Israeli self-defense. They receive “funds from both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, and Shadi Sukiya, a senior member of Islamic Jihad in Jenin who was involved in the planning of several thwarted suicide bombing attacks was arrested by IDF troops while hiding in the offices of the International Solidarity Movement” in March 2003. And in April 2003 two suicide bombers from England hid among the group, even attending a service conducted by it, just days before one of them blew himself up along with three Israelis. The “solidarity” group then condemned Israel for its response to the murders.

The media should stop referring to these people as peace activists and should call them what they are: active supporters and facilitators of Palestinian terrorism.

(Cited as sources within these 3 paragraphs: Ha’aretz, the Jerusalem Post, and the New York Times.)

Wow – that’s a shocker, I thought. So today I went online to find further evidence and it hasn’t been easy. Don’t get me wrong – there are hundreds of pages about the ISM and its members. The problem is that most of the websites and articles appear to be seriously biased in one direction or the other. Here are a couple of websites that I found informative, although I won’t defend them as unbiased:

Myth and Fact: The International Solidarity Movement

The Case Against Rachel Corrie

Solidarity With Terror: undercover at an ISM training session in San Francisco


Who put the ‘fun’ in funeral?

Thursday, 17 April 2008

funeral hat

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 3 years since Jarda killed himself. I didn’t deal with his death very well, I have since realised. And last week another Jarda killed himself and everything has been stirred up.

The first Jarda had been my husband, although we had already been divorced for 6 years when he did himself in. The second Jarda was an acquaintance, a very close friend of a friend of mine, and I saw him often in our mutual friend’s pub.

Last night I had a few beers and a few bourbons with two close friends of the second Jarda. And I realised that I was still angry about the first Jarda’s suicide.

The Jarda Suicides. Another friend yesterday remarked, “Don’t name your kid Jarda.”

Amongst the scribblings in my notebook from last night’s tram ride home is a thought that because I can accept the second Jarda’s suicide, I must also accept the first Jarda’s suicide. He too must have had his reason. But much easier said than done.

Boris said something on the phone today, something that was very wise. He made me realise that it’s okay not to deal with something well on the first go, that it can take two or three or three dozen attempts before we can somehow neutralise an experience that has had such a great impact on us emotionally. And I’m not even sure what I mean by neutralise. Come to terms with it so that it no longer evokes an emotional response – anger, grief, or whatever.

Jarda’s funeral is tomorrow. I hope it’s a good one.


Stateless Max

Friday, 11 April 2008

vietnam visa

I’m not stateless, I only feel stateless. My identity has been taken, my permission to travel has been confiscated, and I am now a prisoner within the Schengen zone. Granted, only for one week, but it still feels terribly wrong.

I went to the Vietnamese embassy this morning to apply for a tourist visa. I had got information off the internet and my secretary had telephoned to confirm that information so I knew – amongst other things – that to get the visa would take one week and cost CZK 1500. What I didn’t know was that the Vietnamese would be holding onto my passport for the duration of that one week.

I was only at the embassy for about 15 minutes. I asked for a visa application form, I filled it in, and I went back to the window to wait for the little man to come back. I guess he had gone off on a cigarette break. When he came back, I tried to hand him my form, a photo, my passport and a CZK 2000 note. He rudely ordered me to glue my photo onto the form, which is when I finally noticed the glue stick on the counter. He then took everything from me, gave me CZK 500 in change, and wrote out a receipt. When he handed me the receipt, he told me to come back in a week. He then turned to put my passport and application on a table behind him.

When the little man turned again to face forward, I was still standing there and now looking at him in bewilderment.

“Come back in a week,” he repeated.

“I have to leave my passport here for the entire week?” I asked.

“You want a visa?” he shot back rudely.

“Ok, ok,” I said, and backed slowly away from the window.

And now I can’t go anywhere. I’ve got no plans to go anywhere between now and next Friday, but that’s not the point. I can’t even pick up a package from the post office. Not that I’m expecting one, but that’s not the point either. I can’t do anything at the bank and I can’t go to a notary. The point is that as a foreigner here – especially as a non-EU national – I need that stupid little US State Department issued book to do absolutely everything. And those civil servant communist motherfuckers, without a second thought, have just deprived me of my freedom for 7 whole days.


Beijing Olympics 2008

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Paris Olympic torch relay protest

  • Tiananmen Square
  • Tibet
  • One child policy
  • Capital punishment
  • Organ harvesting
  • Censorship
  • Persecution of ethnic and religious minorities

Why the fuck did the IOC award the Olympics to China in the first place?

And what the hell did they expect?