Max resigns herself to voting

Friday, 12 September 2008
Books Burning by Catherine Jamieson

Books Burning by Catherine Jamieson

Please have a gander at this: Women Against Sarah Palin

…and then VOTE OBAMA.

Vote from Abroad

I am not being a good anarchist this voting season, but I cannot look at the McCain-Palin ticket and do nothing.  I absolutely loathe McCain – as everyone knows by now, but the thought of right-wing religious nut anti-woman Sarah Palin in the White House literally makes me vomit.

* Thanks to Sweet Potato for sending the WASP link.

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Deniers of History

Wednesday, 16 January 2008
warsaw ghetto monument

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

– George Santayana

Yesterday I read that some German neo-Nazis want to join their untermenschen brethren on their march in Plzeň in West Bohemia this coming Saturday. That march “coincides” with the anniversary of the first transport of the Jews of Plzeň to the concentration camp at Terezín in 1942.

Czech neo-Nazis had tried to march in Prague last November, but they were unsuccessful due to the actions of ordinary people who do not tolerate fascism.

Anyway, still yesterday, I was curious to see if the European Jewish Press had picked up on the Plzeň story so I looked at their website. There was nothing on Plzeň, but I was surprised to see two stories on Holocaust deniers being sentenced to prison for their crimes.

I have already written about my thoughts on free speech and Holocaust denial. I have also spoken on the radio about it. Basically, free speech is sacred and no one should be jailed for saying what they believe.

But there are certain questions that need to be addressed:

How can people actually believe that the Holocaust never happened? Or that we have exaggerated its magnitude?

Why do these deniers have an audience? Who would be ignorant enough to believe them in the face of overwhelming proof that the Holocaust did happen and the Nazis did kill 6 million Jews as well as millions of other victims?

A former right-wing city councillor in Austria was sentenced to prison after having been convicted of Holocaust denial for the third time.

The German who was convicted is a 44-year old lawyer. I found that shocking – someone who is of a younger and more enlightened generation, and highly educated. How can she deny history like that?

Perhaps the most famous Holocaust denier is David Irving, who is now also known for his unsuccessful lawsuit against the historian Deborah Lipstadt. Irving sued Dr Lipstadt for libel after she had named him as a Holocaust denier in her book Denying the Holocaust.

Due to the nature of English defamation law and process, Dr Lipstadt had to prove that what she had written about Irving was true. Her legal team therefore had to show in an English court of law that the Holocaust had really happened. It was an absurd situation on one level, but entirely fascinating on another. And most importantly – it demonstrated that truth always prevails in the end. Dr Lipstadt wrote an excellent book about the case, History on Trial.

So don’t send the Holocaust deniers to jail. They should be allowed to make complete arseholes of themselves. At the same time, however, we need to shout over them, drown them out and make sure people know how ridiculous they are.

No one should be ignorant of history. It has always happened again.


Huckabee is a fucking freak

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

freak

 

I am not paying much attention to the campaigning in the presidential primaries in The Amerika. With the exception of Ron Paul, I think that all of the candidates, whether Republican or Democrat, are simply unacceptable. Therefore I don’t really care what they have to say or what their religious beliefs are or whether they used to smoke crack or engage in bestiality. The idea that one of those loathsome people is going to end up as leader of the free world fills me with horror.

But today I am going to nominate my candidate for freakiest of the freaks – Michael Dale Huckabee, Southern Baptist minister, former governor of Arkansas, covenant marriager, and advocate of concentration camps for AIDS patients.

My disdain for Huckabee started back in August when I was reading Michelle Goldberg’s Kingdom Coming and came across the 2005 public spectacle of the Huckabees’ covenant marriage ceremony:

The highlight of the night was the Huckabees’ conversion of their marriage and restatement of their vows, including Janet’s pledge to “submit” to Mike. When they were done, they invited the audience to repeat their promises. Thousands of wives, some in evening gowns or wedding veils, vowed to submit to thousands of husbands…

More recently Huckabee’s 1992 remarks about AIDS sufferers were brought to light. “We need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague… Nice one, Dickhead.

And within the last few days – the fact that he had advocated parole for the rapist of a 17-year old girl. The released rapist went on to rape and murder two more women.

A beauty of a quote came out just yesterday. Claiming that he believed Mormonism was a religion, but admitting that he didn’t know much about it, Huckabee asked, “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers? Not really an appropriate question for a clergyman or a statesman to ask about a religion.

And of course Huckabee doesn’t believe in evolution.

For more on what a fucking freak Mike Huckabee is, read Larry Womack’s column here. There are some good links as well.


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.


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.


Nazis in Prague

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

plac bohaterów getta kraków

Plac Bohaterów Getta, Kraków

 

I flew back from Kraków this afternoon. I had gone there with my parents; it was their first time in Poland. Of course our sightseeing focused on the Jewish sites. I showed them the former Jewish district of Kazimierz and, together with my Polish-American friend A who has lived in Kraków for 22 years, the wartime ghetto over the river in Podgórze.

There were new Jewish things in Kraków since I had last been there in July 2006.

The Galicia Jewish Museum documents Jewish life and culture in Galicia.

There is now a memorial to the Jews of the Podgórze ghetto that takes up all of Plac Bohaterów Getta (Ghetto Heroes Square).

And Schindler’s factory is to become a museum – half modern art and half museum of righteous gentiles.

That was all very positive.

I took my parents to Auschwitz and Birkenau. But first we went into the town of Oświęcim to see my friend Tomek at the Auschwitz Jewish Center, which celebrates the rich Jewish life that existed in Oświęcim before the Nazis established their death camp there. My parents saw the students visiting the center and the young Germans who were volunteering there. They heard about the cross-cultural understanding and tolerance work that goes on there and at the International Youth Meeting Center in Oświęcim. All of that saved the day from being entirely depressing.

Today my parents went on to Warsaw and I came home to Prague. When I checked my email, I found the news that on the coming anniversary of Kristallnacht – the Nazi pogrom of 9-10 November 1938 – a neo-Nazi group will be marching through Josefov, the historically Jewish district of Prague. Prague Town Hall had tried to block the march, but the Municipal Court of Prague has overturned the ban.

Fine, I say, because freedom of speech is holy and the Nazis should be allowed to march. But we who vehemently disagree with them are also free to express ourselves. So if you live in Prague and you know me personally, expect an email, expect a phone call. The Jewish Liberal Union is organising a counter-demonstration and we all need to be there. It is our presence and the simple act of outnumbering the fascists that will demonstrate to the world and to the fascists themselves that their politics and their beliefs are not acceptable here.


On the war in Iraq

Friday, 24 August 2007

iraq wounded child

 

Today whilst reading Strike the Root, I realised why I had not written anything about the war in Iraq for a long time. In fact, I think my last mention was in reference to the Democrats’ appalling performance in passing the Iraq spending bill back in May. And since I have signed up to the One Million Blogs for Peace project, I am supposed to at least once in a while write something in opposition to the war.

Just to make it clear – I am opposed to the war in Iraq and I think the United States and all of its partners, whether coalition of the willing or coalition of the coerced, should pack up and leave immediately.

So the reason I have not written about Iraq is that there is too much material. Which actually means too many lies, too much corruption, and too much evidence of exploitation and overwhelming unconcern for the human condition. “Pяesident” Bush and Darth Cheney and their satanic cohorts don’t give a shit about freedom, democracy or the Iraqi people. In fact, they don’t even give a shit about the American people.

Earlier this week I wanted to write about Bush’s asinine Vietnam comparison. Bush’s knowledge of history is disgraceful. But I never got round to it because it would have involved too much research, I don’t remember Vietnam, and I have a day job. It seems there was a good analysis in the New York Times, which makes me happy because the New York Times has a significantly larger readership than I do.

In the past I have written about the use of depleted uranium, the use of white phosphorus and the abhorrent actions of Americans in Abu Ghraib. I have written about the impending draft and about Sam, a young Marine I knew who died in Iraq.

Today on the radio I heard about a little girl who was collateral damage in a bombing raid and is now paralysed from the neck down and can’t breathe without a ventilator. She is 5 years old. Her mother, brother and grandmother died in the same attack. The little girl, Maria, was actually from Gaza, not Iraq, but the details don’t matter. The consequences are exactly the same.

To most of us, war is merely an unimaginable horror. But today try to imagine your life in a war zone. You have no running water or electricity, you often don’t have enough to eat or clean water to drink. Imagine being afraid of going out into the street, you are living in fear of the military, the insurgents and the counter-insurgents. You fear for your children’s lives. This existence is difficult, even humiliating, but you are surviving. And then one day your house gets blown up, your children are killed or maimed, their young lives destroyed in an instant, and you yourself will now have to live the rest of your life blind, paralysed or limbless.