The struggle for Iran's future: MEMRI's translations
MEMRI has published a 2 part translation of the ongoing power struggle in Iran. Part I
and Part II
I'm old enough to remember when Iran went through a very similar situation in 1979 under the Shah. I figure that the Islamic republic is all but spent and is on its last legs; unfortunately as de Tocqueville reminds us the most dangerous thing in politics is when a bad government tries to reform itself. Like the Soviet Union, I don't hold out much hope for the regime survival and just as well. What I'm most curious about is what revelations will emerge from the archives once the regime falls? Just how deep was Iran's sponsorship of terrorism? Also how did the mullah's conduct the Iran Iraq war?
Another query I have, is if there's really a growing religious disillusionment or if the Iranians are simply fed up with the current religious culture. I ask because Mark Shea
has an ongoing private correspondence with an Iranian student who's very curious about Christanity
This might surprise some people but there's a small Christian minority in Iran. Among them happens to be Persian Catholics
- yup that's what they're called. In any case, if the Islamic republic falls and assuming that religious minorities have equal right and the citizens can freely convert from one religion to another, or even none;what impact will such tolerance have on the Mideastern countries? Especially those with sizable Christian minorities: Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq? Moreover, would religious tolerance in Iran end the dhimmitude?
Lots of speculation with no clear answers.. yet
Some quick thought by a 'reactionary Catalanist'
Reading John and Anotnio's site
and commenting either here at my blog or at their comments page is often a blast. The principal reason is that we love to prick each other over the eternal snits between the Catalans, Basques and Castillans. As a moderate catalanista
one of the legacies of the Francoist era that riles me the most, is the international perception of Spain as Theme Park Andulacia. Successive Spanish governments since 1975- whether socialist or the the right- have done absolutely nothing to correct that misperception and have done everything in their power to impede that the regional governments from promoting their own regions under the spurious interpretation that international affairs is an exclusive competency of the national state. In any case, a lot of the eternal tensions would be mitigated if the national government just stops being overberaring and assuming that every act or declaration made by the latter is separatism.
Chirac: the other big political winner
I must say this post
by Innocents abroad on Chirac will hopefully provoke strokes and heart attacks. I'm no supporter of Chirac, even though I cautiously applaud his decentralization efforts. Nonetheless, I smirked as I read Collin May suggesting that France and American remain significant allies and were never far apart as the press and the bloggers presumed. I can't wait to read the foaming mouth reaction by some bloggers that will categorically, flatly and unequivocally reject such affinities between both countries.
I highly recommend everyone to visit the site and read the article.
La Bibliothèque d'Alexandre
Arabnews par fois publié des articles comme ceci
qui irritent. Je laisse de côté qui a détruit definitivement le bibliothèque parcequ'il s'i agit d'une controverse dont il n'a une résolution convaiquante compte tenu des preuves qui conflictent. Je tourne mon attention, par contre, à ces mythes pérsistents desquels les arabes furent les plus éclaris, civilisés et avancés des tribus pendant le Volkwanderung ainsi que le christantisme n'a jamais inspiré une culture d'apprentissage.
Je suis tanné d'entendre ce mythe que les arabes furent si éclaris par rapport aux tribus germaniques et asiastiques qui ont ravagés la Méditeranée pendant les IV-VI siècles. Je considère les arabes et les gérmaniques pendant cette èpoque-là comme fort semblables: leurs niveaux de civilisation ont été bas par rapport à la société urbaine méditerranée. En plus, les deux profitaient de la décadence de l'empire romaine pour faire des raizzas, piller, voler et envahir les territoires. Ce n'est plus tard lorsque les deux tribus se sont établis de façon permenante et mélanger avec les autochones (plus courrant chez l'occident qu'en Afrique du Nord) qu'ils ont bâti leurs civilisations respectives. En tout cas, de dire que le christantisme n'a pas encouragée une culture d'apprestissage est tellement fausse comme affirmation. Il suffit de lire le livre de Jean Gimpel ainsi que celui de Marin Blais. Les arabes n'ont rein contribué quant à la reforme de l'ecriture occident; ni les moulins; en effet, selon le Domesday Book, il y en avait plus en Angleterre qu'en tous les pays musulmans combinés. Les arabes n'ont jamais inspirés les occidentaux à constuir les catedrales ni les universités.
Il est un peu difficil à avaler de la part d'une journal saoudite qui nous prêche sur le secularisme quand ce pays-là l'est la plus autocratique et 'réligieuse' de téocraties dans le monde. La dernière fois que j'ai jété un coup d'oeil aux Nobels des domaines scientifiques, c'etaient les pays occidentaux ou ceux-ci qui imitent les primers qui ont gagnés la majorité écrasante de ces prix internationaux tandis que les pays arabes par contre ont un record assez piètre.
On n'a nullement besoin qu'ils nous donnent des leçons quant à la culture d'aprentissage.
American officialdom and entering the country: a tale of double standards
Yesterday,I wrote a rather soured article why America should trample its allies and ignore the gratuitous antagonism in doing so. Here's an article that justified the soured attitude.
I'm increasingly disdainful of American officialdom and resentful of its double standards with respect to its treatment of who enters and how they enter America.
Michel Jalbert had been crossing the border to fill up his pick up truck at the gas station for years without bothering to stop at the border crossing. A practice that American border officials tolerated.
The hoary cliché that 11 September changed everything was brought into relief when Jalbert was arrested by the Border Patrol. He faces several charges: illegal entry, illegal possession of a firearm (he was about to go hunting) and failure to reveal his Canadian criminal record. Jalbert has been in jail and yesterday he was supposed to be released on bail as dad had emptied his savings account to post the 5000$U.S. bond. Yet that didn't suffice as Jalbert fils is still in jail pending the federal DA's appeal of the bail.
Now contrast this diligent application of the law with Malvo and Mohammed. Malvo entered into the U.S. illegally when he was arrested by the INS. For reasons yet unexplained,the federal DA in Miami refused to prosecute and even more inexplicably the INS cut Malvo loss instead of deporting him. Mohammed's situation is even more egregious. Here's a guy who kidnapped his children during a bitter custody dispute and took them to Antigua with false papers. He even managed to get an Antinguian passport with false documentations. Somehow Mohammed returns to States without law enforcement even bothering to do their most basic job: check out people
Further, Mohammed lives at a shelter for the homeless; yet he manages to go to the Cayman Islands. At his subsequent return,the director kicks him out and denounces him to the cops. Again nothing's done. The pièce the resistance: he has no job or money but manages to buy a notebook computer, co-purchase a car and buy a rifle.
When comparing and contrasting the two situations between Jalbert and Malvo and Mohammed we can breathe a sigh of relief that American officialdom really showed those temerious Canadians who dominates this continent. As for Malvo and Mohammed- It's just a case of sheer bad luck just like Atta stopped for a traffic violation but let go because there were no priors or outstanding warrants. The conclusion that we can draw from those tales is the double standards American officaldom applies its immigration laws. Some poor schmuck filling his car at the crossborder gas station during hunting season will be treated more harshly than an illegal immigrant or a citizen who committed multiple felonies before his muderous spree.
Translation tools and languages
Bill in a recent post
gently chides me for not linking to Babelfish
whenevr I write non-English posts. He has a point so I'll try to link whenever I can to Babelfish. There's only one problem with Babelfish and that it doesn't include Catalan. In fact, over at the Softcatalà's language forum
one of the most frequent questions is if there's an online translation tool for Englis-Catalan/Catalan English. Here's a niche that out of work programmers could fill.
America: trample us!
via Prof Glenn
highlights my increasing unease with America. So the Europeans elites are dolts and idiotarians but for American diplomats and the think tank industry to become soured with Europe merely highlights a growing jingositic petulance. Sure the Europeans deserve some criticism but not to the point where it's just reflexive Eurobashing. In fact, I'm progressively becoming fed up with the American elites- both left and right- so does us a favour just trample us. Europeans, in particular, are such failure-prone fuck ups- except for the Brits who get a free pass no matter what they do- that excluding them from any meaningful contributions in international affairs would be an act of mercy. What does it matter if you antagonize them? They don't matter; their economies are in trouble; their militaries are obselete; in the end, the Europeans are no threat. Once the Europeans have been put back into their place, I want the Americans to turn their attention to Canada and make sure that its citizens know who dominates the continent. Softwood lumber disputes? Just perpetuate the protectionism. After all, free trade is for the rest of the world.
Yeah, I'm soured because I can't affect America but I'm deeply effected by it. Envy? Hell no! Resentment. However, who cares? I'm just a citizen of some dinky country that America forgets except when it's convenient to score cheap victories for look good politics to the constituents back home.
Maltractaments dels cristians al països musulmanes: proves d'odi
MEMRI ha publicat un article sobre el maltractaments els cristians reben quan estan en països musulmanes.
El patriarca del copts pogui dir que vol sobre el sionisme però un cop que ha recitat la formula ritual d'odi, comença de veres sobre que li molesta tant: el maltractament dels copts- i per extensió del cristains en terres musulmanes. Una part es la dimmitud que humilia els cristians arabs i eventualment s'afarten i emigren a països que els acollen i prosperen en pau i tranquilitat. L'altra es aquest orgull del musulmans que han de manar i ser els superiors en tot. Aqueixes circumstàncies explquein perque el Mig-Orient es pobre, violent i patetic.
Àrabia saudita es bastant perniciosa i eventualment la gent es cansarà i foutaran el camp del pais. Pitjor, els cristains en terres musulamanes aviat comencaran a plantar cara i no serà nomes donar botifarres o estirar la llengües sinó trets al cap. Algú a pensar per part dels musulmanes.
Xenophobia on the rise in Saudi Arabia?
Frankly I don't know what to make of this article,
except to conclude that xenophobia in Saudi Arabia is either rising or becoming more public. By the way, in many European countries there's a sizable, unassimilated Moselm community. FThe tone grates and I'm offended: what's wrong with being a security guard, or a workshop labourer or as restaurant employee? As long as the pay's, decent, it's honest work and there's nothing to be ashamed about such work. I bet that the Saudi regime is quite realistic:if it booted out the expatriates, the economy would crash and burn within months.
El Quran en anglès: alguns commentaris
Arabnews ha publicat n article sobre la necessitat de tenir una traducció impeccable del Quran
L'article al.ludeix al comitè de traductors quan treballen amb la Bíblia. Penso que esta molt bé que el musulmans volen publicar una bona traducció de llur llibre sagrat en anglès. Es veu que no es una tradicció islamica que els estudiosos del Quran col.laboren junts. Francament em surpren molt tenient em compte que desde gairbé el commençament del cristanisme, els estudiosos han col.laborat junts. San Jeroni tingué ajuda quan traduïa la Vulgata.
Tanmateix, em molesta una mica que els saudis volguin prolitzar als no-musulamns com garanteix les constitucions als països occidentals però Arabia saudita encara prohibeix que els cristians poguin aportar la Bíblia al pais així com celebrar misses en pau. Si el saudis volen realment mostrar que llur interpretació d'islam es realment tolerant que aboleixen l'interdicció d'importar la Bíblia. Però, com sempre, dubto
11 Novembre: nous nous souvenions
Le Monde a publié les souvenir du général à la retraiteMaurice Bourgeois
âgée de 106 ans. Il conserve de façon remarquable et lucide ses mémoires de la 1ere
Guerre mondiale. Cet homme a suvécu les pires batailles de l'histoire militaire: Arogonnes, Verdun, le Chemin des femmes. Ce qui est encore étonnant c'est comment il ranconte ses péripétes comme s'ils fussent événements banals comme chercer ses épiciers du supermarchés. On doit un hommage à Maurice Bourgeois et à sa génération qui ont luttées dans une guerre absoluemment bestiale peu importe ce qui est advenu à la France plus tard.
Porcel and Halloween
Over the weekend, John and Antonio published a blog commenting Cinderella Blogger's about Baltasar Porcel- a Mallorcan writer, that is he write in the Catalan of the Baleric islands Mallorca to be even more specific- and his diatribe about Halloween published in Spanish by the La Vanguardia
Thanks to to Cinderella Blogger, I finally read the article in question. In contrast to John and Cinderella, Porcel does have a very minor point about Halloween but he expresses himself so ineptly that it's almost self-refuting. What does Porcel complain about?
That Halloween has turned from a festival honouring the dead to a sickening embrace of the culture of the ugly, the macabre and the grotesque. When you look at the schlocky horror movies like Friday 13th Chucky, etc you're struck by the really bloody and revolting violence. Do we really need to see the gore? Looking beyond the movies, American pop culture has debased itself; it's hard to take America seriously or as a role model when its cultural industries churn out such edifying spectacles like Jackass, Bachelor, Fear factor, the Osbournes, etc; even Survivor doesn't escape my wrath. I've never watched such shows and I refuse to. All these shows have in common is a certain glee in being as gross, stupid or cavalier as possible to win the cash or the girl in the case of the Bachelor. There's also a strong anti-social current about those shows-Survivor is particularly notorious in this respect-that truly riles me. America is better than those shows but you'd never know it
As for the commercialization of Halloween, hey the same can be said for Christmas, Easter and other holidays are worse. I think the pope has some thoughtful reflections about shallowness of consumerism;however in open societies with democratic polities people have free will to . If you're dissatisfied or unhappy don't write ineptly; be persuasive.
Porcel and his critique of sci-fi
Which brings me to another article that Cinderalla Blogger included in my e mail by Porcel critiquing 'Anglo-Saxon' sci-fi.
Once again he makes a very good point but careenes off the rollercoaster when he attempts to make the logical jump from American sci-fi movies to Bush's policies in the islamo-jihadists war.
What's Porcel's good point about Anglophone sci-fi? That's its futurism is obsessed with oppression, dehumanization, disasters and terror. I prefer to state it more concisely: the apocalypse and/or the English civil war. Indeed, both are recurring themes in Anglophone sci fi, however unconscious. Hence, I'm convinced that the book of Revelation is the foundations of Anglophone sci-fi while the English civil war provides the dynamics for the genre much as the Acts of the Apostles is the cornerstone for el realismo mágico or the o realismo maravheloso that's shaped continental European and Latin American fantasy literature.
Porcel, unfortunately, chooses the two 'worst' movies to advance his proposition. Blade Runner and Minority Report. I find Blade Runner to be one of the best sci-fi movies made and I never found it dark or pessimistic. I haven't seen Minority Report but all the reviews I've read as well as bro's own assessment, indicate that Minority Report is top notch. Had Porcel chosen the remake of Planet of the Apes and AI, I would've agree with him. In fact, it's quite telling that other countries' movies- the Russian might be an exception- don't have a native sci-fi genre. I further disagree with Porcel's characterization of Anglophone sci-fi. what irks me is the extreme between utopian optimism and dyspotian pessimism; I've haven't come across a sci-fi movie's future that's ambiguous as ours is. Neither angelically good or irreedmably evil. Perhaps that's the nature of the genre to highlight certain tendencies of the future and mediate about them.
In any case, Porcel's reflections from Anglophone sci-fi to criticizing Bush's international policies is just too illogical a leap to be cogent