Monday, November 9, 2015

Lone Crazed Wolves

Before & After: a product of crime and indifference 
DDGD November 9, 2015

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Today’s Post is brought to you by: The Holy Brotherhood of the Vicariously Liberated for International Aid and Development: we’re always willing to pray for someone to help you. But first we have to pray for someone to help us. Would you pray for us?

Editorial Comment

Doctor Who’s Anti-War Speech

Saturday’s episode of BBC America’s iconic show Doctor Who featured a heartfelt anti-war speech delivered by the great Peter Capaldi as the titular character. One way or another, the speech seem to encapsulate how most anti-war activists think and feel, with the exception of few ideological stooges who manipulate this ethos to serve their particularistic agendas.

“… So let me ask you a question about this brave new world of yours. When you’ve killed all the bad guys, and when it’s all perfect, and just and fair, and when you have finally got it, exactly the way you want it, what are you going to do with the people like you? The trouble makers. How are you going to protect your glorious revolution from the next one?

“Well maybe you will win. But nobody wins for long. The wheel just keeps turning. So, come on. Break the cycle…

“… Because it’s always the same. When you fire that first shot no matter how right you feel, you have no ideas who’s going to die! You don’t know whose children are going to scream and burn. How many hearts will be broken!

“How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill until everybody does what they were always going to have to do from the very beginning... Sit down and talk!

Now, the big question: can this speech stop people like Bashar Al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, Ali Khamenei or Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi? The obvious answer is no. Because these people know exactly what to do with “trouble makers,” and can hardly give a damn about who will die as a result of the first shot: they had already dehumanized him/her in their minds, and long before they had reasons to shoot him. The speech does not take people like that into consideration. But, then, the speech was not addressed to these people. 

Indeed, the primary audience of the speech is a westernized audience living in a flourishing democracy. The West is where the speech is meant to have its impact, and preventing military actions by western powers is what the speech seeks to achieve, irrespective of the consequences at this stage, which are bound to involve empowering people like Assad, Putin, Khamenei and Baghdadi. The anti-war advocates, that is, those of them who are not already bought and paid for, or are too blinded by their ideological belonging to a certain ideological camps to care about something like the truth or ethics, might lull themselves into believing that more power will give such figures more things to lose and, therefore, a reason to pause and think before they embark on further militaristic adventures. The inherent folly in this thinking should be visible to all, but obviously it is not visible to those adopting it.

So let’s make things clear: allowing people like the troublesome foursome under consideration to get more power by getting away with murder, literally, and on a mass-scale to boot, will only serve to reinforce their commitment to these ways, especially when we consider the mindsets and ideologies involved here. Ignoring the role that ideology, greed, machismo, paranoia and a battered sense of identity, collective and individual, that is often at play here is dangerous, because these elements are the ones that shape the initial conditions of our ongoing experiment with folly, leading actors to adopt decisions that may seem irrational and unexpected from the anti-war side, but are extremely logical and rational from the point of view of their adopters. When the underlying worldview and basic assumptions are different the thought processes involved and the decisions made will also be different.

Moreover, we should never forget that those who care little for the basic rights and expectations of their own peoples will have a different take on that all too important loss-and-gain calculus than that used by the West’s born and bred anti-war activists. The victims of these people should also factor in our calculations. These victims are not going to appreciate Western inaction and indifference, especially when it comes in part as a result of self-righteous grassroots actions that defend their oppressors and justify their actions, while ignoring the suffering of the people involved. If there is a recipe for popular hatred, this is definitely one of its main ingredients.

True, western motivations for waging any war are complicated and seldom benign, but bind opposition is never the answer. Working to ensure commitment to the principles enshrined in UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Responsibility to Protect represents a far better alternative. 

And let’s remind ourselves again here that promoting democracy is one of the main goals enshrined in the UN Charter. Indeed, promoting democracy and respect for human rights is a UN norm. True, western powers can abuse that issue, but, the greater hypocrisy involves having certain states insist on being members while refusing to work towards achieving these goals, proffering excuses that are in essence meant to justify continued oligarchical rule and to mask oppression and discrimination.   


* When we are dealing with governments where officials at the highest levels of the decision-making process are willing to sanction systematic doping of athletes so they can win that should tell us something about their particular worldview and battered sense of identity, and the extent to which they are willing to go just in order to create an image of power and success.   

* President Barack Obama’s engagement policies that have so far only served to empower entrenched dictatorial elites in countries far and wide, including Iran and Cuba should be a lesson to us all.  

The Daily Delirynth

Jordanian Police Officer Kills Five, Including Two Americans. How can you stop long wolves? People connected only by an ethos, a zeitgeist, a collection of complaints, some of which are reasonable, others utterly unreasonable? For just as Islam is a religion without a church, Jihadism is a cult without a temple. We are a people live by ethos, and often die by it as well. Some might suggest that, in order to stop lone wolf attacks, we should stop interfering in other people’s affairs. Perhaps that is true. But on what basis can we define what’s ours and what’s theirs in our forever shrinking interconnected world? And will “they,” whoever they are, actually agree with that definition? Neither question is as simple as it might seem. For we are increasingly fighting over shares of the same pie. It’s all about Gaia.

Pumania & Consequence: Vladimir Putin's showmanship in Syria has left him without a strategy “As the apparent bombing of a flight from Sharm el-Sheikh shows, the enmity he has aroused among Islamists will be longlasting.” But that does not in any way mean that Putin will be abandoning his adventure in Syria anytime soon, if ever. In fact, at this stage, the only likely course for a leader with his psychological and mental disposition is to double and triple down on current activities. Hence, America's Worst Nightmare in Syria is now unfolding with Russia possibly deploying the Lethal S-300?

But, Despite Russian strikes, Syrian rebels hold ground. In fact, over the last week, 26 high ranking officers in Assad’s armies have been killed in battle, and activist just announced their names. With such high mortality rate no wonder, draft dodging is the norm for Assad supporters, especially among the Alawites, and this is why mercenaries from Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq are now more needed than ever. This is also why some Russian soldiers seem to be taking part in ground operations as well.

Qomocracy: Iran to US defense chief: Mind your words. In other words, “Shut the fuck up.” Yes, Iranian officials can say such things with far more conviction now, and, yes, that does matter, because now they have been given the leeway they need to express this dismissive and defiant attitude in action throughout the region. America may not immediately pay the price, but many in the region are and will. Just ask us Syrians. 

Milk & Honey, with a Spot of Garlic: When the White House Starts Talking About One State, Netanyahu Should Worry “Senior U.S. officials believe that the U.S. must formulate a policy for a situation in which the two-state solution dies, and think about how this will mold ties with Israel.” How could this issue not be raised at this stage, when everything on the ground is changing in this direction? Yes, there is plenty of hate and racism on both sides that we have to deal with, but that has been the challenge all along, and we can no longer run away from it by adhering to the fiction of the two-state solution.

Myandering Meanmar: ‘Muslims are dangerous’: Myanmar Buddhist monks threaten democracy with support for anti-Muslim laws. “There is the narrative of democracy vs. dictatorship and then a competing narrative which aims to convince voters this is an election about protecting the vast majority of Burmese who are Buddhists against what has been characterized as an existential threat from a tiny minority that is Muslim,” [Tom Malinowski, assistant U.S. secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour, said]. “That gives rise to worries many people have about potential violence down the road. You can’t invent such a narrative for an election and then forget about it the day after.” So, and as Democracy resumes in Myanmar, after a long eclipse, it’s probably good to remember how “undemocratic” it still is.

No-Fly Zone: Secret operation in Syria to rescue last remaining Jewish family “Special mission rescues final Jewish family in Aleppo, but aliyah regulations prevent complete success.” What could have been an inspirational story became a story about discrimination. Welcome to the modern Middle East – the place where everybody insists on shooting their feet. 

Call for Action: Mass abductions in Syria “Each week in Syria, people are snatched from their homes, offices, cars and markets.” The world also cannot forget that the Syrian refugees are still waiting for the kind of aid that can improve their livelihood and fulfill the appeal made by UNDP.


Bridge Initiative Team: No, Neocons: US isn’t facing ‘Flood’ of Syrian Refugees. Exploiting a particularly poignant aspect of Syria’s tragedy to advance an anti-Muslim agenda is disgusting and morally bankrupt. Yet, there is no one more self-righteous than the group of people busy doing so. However, I’d hardly call these idiots neocons. They are just bigots.

Turkey: 400,000 Syrian Children Not in School “Language, Economic Hardship Keep Young Refugees Out of Class.” A Human Rights Watch Report. Without proper education, these children might end up receiving the wrong kind of education, the kind that turns them into IS-supporters and criminals. There are many willing to provide that kind of education.

Photographer Alessandro Iovino followed the Syrian Alsaid family on their journey.
The Alsaid family at The Polar Light Hotel in Nickel. Nickel, Russia. October 2015.

The Red Square by night. Murmansk, Russia. October 2015.

A migrant stands by Semenovskoe Lake in Murmansk, Russia. October 2015.

 A refugee walking down the road That leads to Kirkenes. Nickel, Russia. October 2015.

The entrance to the refugee camp in Vadso. A Syrian child rides a bike beneath Norwegian flags. Vadso, Norway. October 2015.

Portrait of two women in the refugee Fjellhallen gym, Which is now a refugee camp. Kirkenes, Norway. October 2015.

Quote of the Day

 “I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own image.” --Stephen Hawking

Tweets of the Day

Video(s) of the Day

This is an old interview with Donald Trump by now, but it does still show how many Republicans have even worse delusions about Assad, IS/Daesh and Putin.

This is how flowers are killed


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