Friday, June 3, 2016

This Is Normal

A boat filled with refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean floats off the coast of Italy.   © Italian Navy/Masimo Sestini 
DDGD June 3, 2016
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Gafta – The Global Alliance for Transforming Assholes (into even lousier versions of their original selves): Together we can unite the world, against decency. But it’s a start.  

Index of Global Delirium
The Index reflects the state of delirium in a particular country using a 1 to 10 count, with 10 denoting the highest level of delirium. Levels of delirium change on the basis of current development in said country, such as instability, terrorism, elections, sports events and the like,  as well as relevant global developments such financial meltdowns, certain leaks, and stock market indices. Countries shown above are among those where fluctuation in the national and local indices have a greater global impact than is the case with other countries. Note: levels of violence and delirium do not always coincide. Indeed, a country can have a high delirium level even though it is relatively stable. 

Featured Quote

“Thus far 2016 is proving to be particularly deadly. Some 2,510 lives have been lost so far compared to 1,855 in the same period in 2015” --UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler

“From a moral point of view too, I think the refugees should only be admitted temporarily. The goal should be that they return and help rebuild their countries.” --The Dalai Lama

The Deliricon

Sheer Shittery: All political discourse attempting to deny, whitewash, justify and/or legitimate authoritarianism and human rights violations.

Spokesghouls:  Spokespeople of authoritarian regimes. Just like the rulers they serve, they usually have the morals of lice, the demeanor of mice and the looks of your average street-tested trashcan. On occasions, the term could be modified into spokesmotherghoul or spokesfienghouls (See Fienghouls).

The Delirica

Obama’s Real Legacy: A World without Rules “The historic nature of Obama's recent diplomatic overtures in Cuba, Vietnam and Japan has been severely undermined by existing global perceptions surrounding his handling of foreign policy over the last few years, especially in regard to the Syria conflict. The issues are connected. Indeed, for years now, states and leaders around the world must have watched how Obama managed the situation in Syria and how he set his priorities; and their perception of that influenced their decision on a variety of other issues, encouraging them to adopt more aggressive policies that show completely disregard for the opinions of America’s leaders and its perceived interests.” More

The Daily Delirynth

Drowned Baby Picture Captures Week Of Tragedy In Mediterranean --In an email, the rescuer, who gave his name as Martin but did not want his family name published, said he had spotted the baby in the water “like a doll, arms outstretched”.

Refugenics: Mediterranean death toll soars in first 5 months of 2016UNHCR says series of shipwrecks and capsizings last week now appears to have claimed at least 880 lives.” As the death toll rises so does the number of personal stories of survival against odds: 'I Thought I Was Going to Die': Syrian Refugees on Giving Birth in the Desert. But nothing changes. World leaders are not as haunted by the cries of drowning children as the refugees who survived. In the face of worsening tragedy, global response keeps alternating between continuous hand-wringing and puzzlement on the one hand, and exaggerations and fearmongering on the other. Meanwhile, the indifference of certain leaders is not only morally problematic, it is strategically shortsighted. And giving us an island of our own is hardly the solution. But giving refugees their own team at the upcoming Olympics does carry a positive symbolism.

When it comes to struggling for international attention, will this strategy highlighted below work? Or will refugees just find themselves accused of cruelty to animals as well as terrorism?  

Shame & Prejudice: Dalai Lama Warns Against Taking Too Many Migrants, Arab Domination: ‘Migrants Should Return’. “When we look at the face of each refugee, but especially those of the children and women, we feel their suffering, and a human being who has a better situation in life has the responsibility to help them. But on the other hand, there are too many at the moment… Europe, Germany in particular, cannot become an Arab country, Germany is Germany.” Despite the large influx involved, the fact remains that we are in no way dealing with numbers that can change the demographic realities of Europe. Germany will not be overwhelmed by Arabs, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. But, with the Dalai Lama now joining the ranks of populist fearmongering leaders catering to the prejudices and fears of the crowds and echoing their ill-informed opinions and sentiments, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we are still going down that slippery slope of paranoia towards a dark end.

The points raised by the Dalai Lama are infantile to say the least. The idea that refugees who braved the dangerous journey to Europe, and who did so either because they had nothing to begin with, or because they had lost everything, could actually be forced years later to leave their new life and go back “home,” misses the whole social, economic and psychological dynamics involved in this phenomenon. How many times can one endure becoming dispossessed? How many times can one build or rebuild a life for oneself and one’s family? More importantly, how many times in the modern world have refugees been able to return to their countries of origin? Except in the case of West European refugees during WWI and WWII, and refugees from short-duration conflicts, the option of returning “home” has not proven to be a practical one for the overwhelming number of refugees. 

So, what does it say about our era when someone with the moral and intellectual stature of the Dalai Lama fails to understand what a tragedy like the current global refugee crisis entails to those who go through it? 

But these unfortunate remarks by the Dalai Lama point to an issue that is often overlooked in the media and academic circles, but when which is bound to become more relevant in the coming decades, the fact that the peoples of the Far East are no less susceptible to the lure of dangerous stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims than those of the West. In fact, not long ago, the dismissive stance adopted by Aung San Suu Kye towards the treatment of the Rohingya in her country puzzled and disappointed many of her admirers, especially those of Muslim and Arab backgrounds. Of course, Arabs and Muslims are not innocent in this regard, they, too, believe in many negative stereotypes about others, not to mention even each other. But the culpability of all excuses none, especially those who occupy positions of moral influence.

Speaking of the Far East: Syrian refugees stuck in limbo at Seoul airport. Muhammed is in his early 20s. He escaped from Aleppo when his house was destroyed and Bashar al-Assad's government called him up for military service. "Some are running away from joining the army, some are running away from the government and the military service," he said through a mobile video call. "We ran away from Syria because we don't want to be part of the war. We don't want to hold a gun." But, I think there is little reason to worry that the Korean peninsula might be on its way to becoming an Arab country. After all, we are only talking about a few dozen people here.

Residents sit outside a damaged building in the Damascus suburb of Darayya on May 23, 2016. The rebel-held city has lived under a punishing government blockade for more than three years. (Fadi Dirani/AFP/Getty Images)

Aid convoy reaches Damascus suburb for the first time since 2012, U.N. says. Next one will come in 2020. In the meantime, the remaining 150 besieged communities will have to wait for air drops that will never come.

Musa, a 25-year-old Kurdish marksman, stands atop a building as he looks at the destroyed Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on January 30, 2015. Kurdish forces recaptured the town on the Turkish frontier on January 26. Once “liberated” this could be how Manbij, Raqqa and Fallujah would look. Liberation, devastation and ethnic cleansing have become indistinguishable. 
The “Cleansing” Effect of Liberation: Exclusive: U.S.-backed Syria forces launch offensive for Manbij pocket - U.S. officials. “The operation, which only just started to get underway on Tuesday and could take weeks to complete, aims to choke off Islamic State's access to Syrian territory along the Turkish border that militants have long used as a logistics base for moving foreign fighters back and forth to Europe… The operation comes ahead of an eventual push by the U.S.-backed Syrian forces toward the city of Raqqa, the Islamic State's defacto capital in Syria and the prime objective in Syria for U.S. military planners. The U.S. military official said depriving Islamic State of the Manbij pocket would help further isolate the militants and further undermine their ability to funnel supplies to Raqqa.

The agreement on removing Daesh from a certain place, be it Manbij, Fallujah or Raqqah City is clearly not connected to any firm plans for handling the aftermath, especially regarding what to do with original inhabitants of these places, in most cases Sunni Arabs, and governance. Considering that the liberators are mostly of Kurdish and Shia stock, ethnic cleansing is bound to take place. It has already taken place when towns elsewhere were liberated, and the results were telling: the material devastation and the particular identity of those who took over governance in the subsequent period and their behavior towards original inhabitants led to deep demographic changes that may be too hard to reverse. While disparate forces seem to be aligning together against IS/Daesh, considering their clashing agendas, there will be trouble ahead: The Iranian Fingerprints on Iraq’s Fallujah Plan “Disunity from abroad, tensions at home allowed Tehran to pressure Baghdad into a dramatic departure from the American war strategy.” Christoph Reuter puts things in even more stark terms here: The Law of Revenge: Deadly Hatred among Anti-IS Alliance in Iraq.

PMF militia fighters and other troops advanced toward Fallujah on May 23 at the launch of the fight to retake the city from Islamic State. PHOTO: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Back in Syria, Manbij, AKA “Little London,” on account of how many Britons joined the IS units fighting there, its “liberation” is now underway, and we won’t have long to wait before it is fully cleansed of IS fighters, and original inhabitants. In the Province of Deir Ezzor, IS forces have long taken control of a town called Mouhassan, which has long been referred to but by its original inhabitants, as Little Moscow, on account of how many of its people got their degree from Russian universities. For all the presence of Russian troops and airpower, the liberation of Mouhassan is probably years away. 

Waning NATO! Waxing Threat: Tested by Russia, NATO Struggles to Stay Credible. Line between weakness and uselessness is too fine. A weak NATO can neither deter threats nor respond effectively to rising challenges. Current European attitudes towards NATO are baffling. They are betting too much on the rationality of their enemies, especially Russia and Iran. But rational self-interest works only in the case of those cultures that have transcended traditional modes of loyalty and ideas of imperial glory. Clearly neither Russia nor Iran is there yet. No one wants war, but that’s not enough to avert it. If one keeps stumbling in the dark one is bound to end up in the ditch. Or, as James Sherr put it, “Until NATO takes steps to rectify the military balance, Russia will use fear as a weapon to undermine the political balance.” Otherwise, Russia will feel the urge to act in an aggressive manner again, soon: Russian troops preparing offensive to create land corridor to Crimea – NSDC

Back to Normal: Syrian troops looting ancient city Palmyra, says archaeologistCultural heritage expert claims off-duty regime soldiers have been carrying out illegal excavations at Unesco site?” For a short while, it was doing the damage, then, came Russian bases, and government troops. Now, with government troops now doing the looting, it’s really back to business as usual. Those who do the looting, are those supposed to be protecting. Indeed, the late Bassel Al-Assad, the one who supposed to be in charge of the current carnage had fate not intervened to lay Hafiz Al-Assad’s plans to waste, was famed for being the biggest artifacts smuggler in the country. The truth of the matter is irrelevant here. The point is that, long before the Revolution, the Assads have been known as cutthroats and thieves. Those who rebelled against that are not likely to settle for that again. No matter what Machiavellian deal, the U.S., Russia and Iran are trying to reach, it will not hold, if it fails to remove Assads out of the picture. Restoring a modicum of law and order requires real change, not a decorative one. No one yearns for the return of the status quo ante except those who benefitted from it, and there always too few, and their name was also Assad or affiliated with Assad.

Bouthaina Shaaban – The Assad Regime’s official spokesmotherghoul, has been invited to take part in the event through Skype to avoid US State Department sanctions. | AP Photo (Despite her alleged loyalty to the Assads, the Spokesmotherghoul is more enamored with herself than with them. That’s why the picture frame behind her contains a photo of herself rather than Assad, as per custom) 
Obama’s Gafta to the World: This Nonprofit Wants the U.S. to Ally With Syria's Dictator. But of course! This is was the logical next step for an administration bent on legitimating impunity.  And what could one expect when giving a she-ghoul the pulpit but sheer shittery: Sanctioned Syrian Official Invited To D.C. Event Delivers Outrageous Defense Of AssadThere is no moderate opposition and nobody is starving in Syria, according to Bouthaina Shaaban.” Luckily, enough activists and experts were on hand to expose the obvious, again.
According to Mrs. Shaaban, this is not a starving child from the town of Moadamiyeh, an area besieged by Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria. The child happens to look this way, because he was just shown a picture of her. CREDIT: DR MUHANNAD AL-KHATEEB
Speaking of the New Normal: Hospitals are now normal targets of war, says Médecins Sans FrontièresHumanitarian specialist Michiel Hofman says permanent members of UN security council are complicit in killings by supporting countries in conflict.” In case one had any doubts, the Russians recently struck a hospital in Idlib, killing scores of wounded, including children. Meanwhile, U.N. Struggles To Reach Besieged Areas Of Syria With Aid Air Drop Plan.   

The Worldly Jiahdis: Boko Haram Terrorists Hooked on the Jihadist Drug of Choice: Viagra. “Kidnapping girls and raping them many times a day is standard practice for the young men recruited to Boko Haram’s ‘holy’ cause, as are the drugs help to keep them going.” Young Jihadis these days are a spoiled bunch. It’s no longer sufficient to promise them virgins and sex in paradise, no. Today’s young Jihadis, those raise to join the ranks of Daesh and Boko Haram, seek fulfillment in the here-and-now. Hence, virility contests in Nigeria, and sex slave markets in northern Iraq and Syria. 

Justice, belated, with narrow scope: German Parliament Recognizes Armenian Genocide, Angering Turkey. And that’s how the world does it. That’s how humanity ensures that the arc of history bends towards justice, eventually. And that’s why we will never know peace, because justice is always deferred. A genocide that took place 100 years ago gets recognized as one that is unfolding under our very eyes is being negotiated into the backburner where it can be ignored more effectively.

She delivered a good speech, but will she deliver the goods down the road?

Shellacked but not Out: Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump to a deserved pulp: She exposes him as a dangerous and unstable would-be commander in chief. It’s going to take much more than this to get Trump down for the count, but this is a good start. Still, the trick is to get some of his supporters to begin having doubts in his person. Foreign policy is not that where this battle will be fought.

But, it might also be important to be clearer on Trump’s instinct on foreign policy. He might be catering to an isolationist crow now, but his behavior as president on these matters, should the shit really the fan and he ends up in the White House, will probably be determined not by what he said and promised, but his internal disposition. If vexed, Trump might go to war with just about anyone in the world, and the man seems to vex easily. If elected, therefore, he may not remain an isolationist for long, but his warmongering will be motivated by personal slights and other considerations rather than strategic concerns, at least at first.

Note: On Syria and Iran, Clinton as president will be presented by a fait accompli: Iran’s rise and Syria’s demise. She may not have much room to maneuver here to alter the dynamics. Still, she might have the right instincts when it comes to doing a better job of damage control there and to preventing future repetitions of the scenario that got us to this point, which might help her to restore some balance to the region and the world following years of laissez-faire mayhem.

The Exotic Observations & Propositions of Delirian Mundi
Known to those of his followers seeking his canonization and entry into the Valtheon of Deliriology, as Agnus Mundi, and to his detractors as Ranae Dei and even Capra Satanae, Delirian Mundi’s writings, mixing satire and philosophical reflections, continue to be polarizing, inspiring both adulation and ridicule. Bearing this in mind, we, the editors at DDGD, continue to publish these previously unknown series of “exotic observations and propositions,” as Delirian himself referred to them, as part of our continuing commitment to instigate debate over sensitive issues.

* No snake ever became a butterfly after shedding its skin.

* The point is to condemn and oppose oppression, murder, ethnic cleansing, rape, imperialism and all violations of basic human rights, and to do so consistently and insistently, now and forever, in our homeland and everywhere, not just when they are being specifically perpetrated against us, or by those we don’t particularly like.

Featured Tweet(s)

Featured Video(s)
Cartoons: The Cauldron

ЯeveЯsed Polarity
A delirium-inducing celebrity-related thingy, imagined even real, real even when imagined, and completely irrelevant, even when maintaining the appearance of purpose. Notice: All celebrities appearing here, even the fictitious ones, are real, but not necessarily actual, and all their statements and quotes, especially those deemed libelous, for whatever unenlightened reason, are their own, even when they are factious but somehow actual, and have absolutely nothing to do with the author of this blog, or the editors of ЯP, no matter how delusional he/they may seem at times, or happen to be, for real. 
The Aspiring Messenger of Uninhibitionism: Mrs. Melania Trump 

In an exclusive hand-written statement delivered to ЯP offices in an envelope sealed with perfumed organic glue and bearing the mark of her lips, and transported in a briefcase handcuffed to the wrist of a male stripper with a fluid sexual persuasion, as he a point of asserting, aspiring First Lady Melania Trump explained that, just Mrs. Clinton proposed to hand over the reins of the nation’s economy to her husband, former President, Bill Clinton, she, too, managed to prevail on her husband and convince him of entrusting her with the nation’s education system.

“I want to teach our children about trusting themselves and letting go of their inhibitions.” She wrote. “I want them to know that image is everything, and that a brand that has a well-managed image gets imprinted on your mind and can never go out of style. And our kids don’t want to go out of style, do they?”

We might never know seeing that most of “our kids” were not available for comment, seeing that they had better things to do, while those who were there were busy staring at the messenger with their mouths wide open, but probably not their minds. As for those who seem to have gotten the message, they all went out on an emptiness-induced killing rampage before we got a chance to talk to them.

Theatrum Ad Vere Stultum
A series of post-postmodern takes on the "classics," new and old, starring the world’s and history’s most (in)famous public figures. Notice: All characters in these scenes even the fictitious ones are real, but all their statements, especially those deemed libelous, are their own and have absolutely nothing to do with the author of this blog, no matter how delusional he may seem at times, or happen to be, for real.

The illustrious Syrian actress Muna Wassef, or as I grew up calling her, Mom, plays Jocasta in Sophocles Oedipus Rex, Al-Hamrah Theater, Damascus – early 1970s. This may not have been the first play that I watched but that image of Mom is indelibly imprinted on my mind. She’ll always be my queen, Freudian implications be damned. 
Oedipus Rex: The New Russo-Syrian Version  (starring Vladimir Putin as Oedipus and Sergey Lavrov as Tiresias)
Let me see if I got this right, Tiresias. You’re saying that I have, unwittingly, killed my father and married my mother, and since, according to that famous Syrian proverb, anyone who marries my mother becomes my uncle, I am now my own uncle… is that it?
Well, eh, to an extent, yes, but…
So, I don’t have a father, and my mother is my wife, so I shouldn’t really be listening to her, and am my own uncle,  doesn’t that imply that, in a traditional sense, no one really lords over me.
Well, yeah, except for the gods of course, for whom I happen to speak.
Indeed, but then, I can always accuse of being mad when say things I don’t like.
True. But, to paraphrase good old Sophocles: to throw away a sycophant friend is, as it were, to throw your life away.
Still, I am free. Really, really free.
I am not really sure if you’re getting the point of it all…
What’s not get? The road to freedom, to becoming masters of your own fate, is really quite clear: kill your fathers, fuck your mothers, become your own uncles, and accuse the gods’ self-appointed spokesghouls of being mad when they say things you don’t like. Now, I might have unwittingly gone about it all too literally. The more practical way might call for doing this by proxy: kill other people’s mothers and fuck their fathers, etc. Other than that, Sophocles is right: chance rules our lives, and the future is all unknown. Best live as we may, from day to day. This way, I will not suffer either in reality, or in retrospect.  
I withdraw my earlier assessment my Lord. By Dionysus, hell, by Freud himself, I think you’ve got it.
© Ammar Abdulhamid 2016

Orson Wells, as Oedipus Rex, 1967

The Irreverent Activist

Heretical Affirmations 

Abel’s Confessions

The Voidman

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