From: "Rewards Department" MyPreference@MyPreference.net
Subject: Get Diaper Costs covered for 1 Year ($1800 Value)
How do they know? Are they reading my blog?
- Abdurahman, where's your son?
- He's gone to Moscow.
- You've let him go alone?
- Aren't you afraid?
- Why should I be afraid? I've heard that every Moscow's cop is looking after him - day and night, they aren't taking their eyes off him.
A Chechen terrorist has seized a bus full of Chechen terrorists.
[Chechenskiy terrorist zahvatil avtobus s chechenskimi terroristami.]
Here are the winners of the 2nd Annual European Weblog Awards, also known as the Satin Pajamas:
Most Underappreciated Weblog: Metamorphism by Mig
Best Central European Weblog: All About Latvia by Aleks
Best Expat Weblog: Petite Anglaise by Petite
Best Personal Weblog: Petite Anglaise by Petite
Best French Weblog: Journal d’un avocat by Eolas
Best German Weblog: Atlantic Review by various
Best UK Weblog: A Welsh View by Robert Gale
Best CIS Blog: Neeka’s Backlog by Veronica Khokhlova
Best Southeastern European Blog: Argumente by Dragos Novac
Best Culture Weblog: Amateur d’art by Lunettes Rouges
Best Writing: Bric a blog by the widow Tarquine
Best New Weblog: La Poulette by Poulette
Best Humor Weblog: My Boyfriend Is A Twat by Zoe
Best Non-European Weblog: 3 Quarks Daily by various
Best Expert or Scholar Weblog: Early Modern Notes by Sharon Howard
Best Political Weblog: European Tribune by various
Life Time Achievement Award: Neil Gaiman
and finally (drumroll) …
Best Weblog: Neil Gaiman’s Journal by Neil Gaiman
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Mr. Rasmussen argued that the cartoon crisis had been hijacked by Middle Eastern interests using the caricatures for domestic ends.
He said Iran, isolated over its nuclear program, was using the cartoons to generate support in the Muslim world, while Syria, under investigation for the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri, was trying to cause a distraction. The Palestinian Authority, divided over the recent election of Hamas, was exploiting the cartoon crisis to unite its disparate elements, he said.
[...] Vladimir Kovalchuk says he sold his gostinka apartment [a really tiny place with a tiny kitchen], and " we ended with nothing in the street. We've invested all the money we got from the apartment sale into this construction."
Maria Vorkina paid 30 percent of the money for the apartment in July. "In August, I sold my apartment in another town and paid the rest of the amount, and I also got a bank loan for that. Now I don't have an apartment, I'm renting one, and at the same time I owe money to the bank."
A pensioner Tatyana Sukhina said that "in order to buy air behind the fence, we sold a three-room apartment. To have a place to live, we bought a gostinka apartment, and invested the rest ($35,000) into the one-room apartment that's being built." Now Tatyana, her two grown-up children and a granddaughter live in a gostinka. "They were bullshitting us and we, the fools, believed them." [...]
[...] Alex's contract was not incredibly lucrative. In Iraq, he earned between $150 and $180 per day, sometimes $200. It puts Ukrainians in the same league as the "third-country nationals"—Nepalese, Filipinos, and Fijians—who work in the private security industry.
Earning $150 per day may not seem worth the risk—but it's a fortune in economically stagnant Ukraine. Assuming the average Ukrainian earns an official wage of $120 per month (estimates of real income are hard to come by, but that's the figure the IMF cites in a 2005 report), Alex was earning more in a day than most of his fellow countrymen earn in a month.
How much does an American make working on a private security detail in Iraq? Returning from a recent trip to Iraq, I met one U.S. security contractor in a transit hotel in Jordan. He was waiting for his baggage to arrive, and we got acquainted while waiting to check e-mail. He logged onto his account.
"Damn!" he said out loud. "I just got another job offer: $850 a day. Damn! That's a hell of a job offer." [...]
In times of religious strife, BE READY!
This easy-to-use kit allows you to take a more active part in the present "Clash of Civilizations". No matter what your faith is, you can enjoy the flexibility offered by the four great religions – the Bible, Teachings of Buddha, Koran and Talmud in one handy box. Use them as you see fit: study them, choose sides, employ Parts A, B and C to demonstrate your loyalty to the advancing enemy troops.
Coming soon: Polytheistic Extension Kit
Moscow museum to exhibit Mohammed cartoons
MOSCOW, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A Moscow museum has announced it will exhibit the entire series of cartoons of Mohammed that have caused riots throughout the Islamic world.
Yury Samodurov, director of the Sakharov Museum and Public Center, said on Russian television that the center was ready to organize a public exhibition of the cartoons satirizing the founder of Islam that originally were published in a Danish newspaper, Pravda.ru reported Monday.
"We must show the whole world that Russia goes along with Europe, that the freedom of expression is much more important for us than the dogmas of religious fanatics," Samodurov said.
The exhibition reportedly will open in March. Lawyer Yury Shmidt has said he will invite French philosopher Andre Glucksmann and French novelist Michel Houellebecq to the opening ceremony to read lectures about the threat of Islamic fundamentalism.
In 2003 the Sakharov Museum outraged many Russian Orthodox believers with the art exhibit "Be Careful -- Religion," which many felt was insulting to their beliefs.
We've banned everything that's coming from [Denmark] and they won't be in our republic. [...] As for Danish organizations present here, we won't grant them access anymore because of this.
[...] Boris Gryzlov, the speaker of Russia's State Duma, the lower house of parliament, said he believed Acting Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov was expressing his personal opinion, noting that the Chechen government has made no official decision as yet.
"I think such statements should be at least passed through an official governing body first," Gryzlov said. "I view it only as a personal statement."
Pavel Krasheninnikov, the head of the Duma's legislative committee, said the ban would run counter to Russian legislation. [...]
[...] The cartoons that are being celebrated by a certain segment of Europe go to the heart of a cultural and social clash: European secularists of a certain variety want Muslims to accept that their religion can be insulted; until Muslims accept what is sacred about Europe... which is the right to insult what is sacred about Islam... You see, I think, the dilemma.
Let us also not forget that tens of thousands of Muslims were butchered in Bosnia about a dozen years ago, and that many of the European nations that chastise the United States for its double standards, failed to act to try to contain the violence; indeed, some European leaders even associated then-President of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegovic, with fundamentalism, which is egregiously wrong, but also egregiously immoral: That doesn't justify permitting genocide to happen under one's nose. So, while I agree that Muslims certainly should not turn to violence, threats of violence, and the like, in their protesting these caricatures, one must also keep in mind that many Muslims probably feel like there is a great European double-standard when it comes to the lives and values of Muslims, and here is just one more instance of Muslim values being stepped on.
This whole thing with the Danish paper, *sigh* being a Muslim I get that side of the argument, I understand why Muslims are deeply offended as the man we believe to be our Prophet and messenger of God had been depicted in a disgusting and degrading way. What I don’t understand is why non Muslims want to do that? So apparently its about freedom of press..umm ok, with you so far…. And what? Freedom of press for what purpose? What are you achieving or trying to ascertain by printing something like that? Freedom of press is a feeble excuse to hide behind. Ok so we live in a democracy (ish).. but surely the point of a democracy is not to use it to subjugate others to mental torment and suffering. Isn’t that what dictators do, create an environment which is highly basis and unwelcoming to “others”. [...]
Hand the Israelis a Danish
Following Danish cartoon flap -- and with so many European countries reprinting them to show solidarity -- let us remember that there is one western democracy which has a solid legal record of keeping Mohammed's image sacred.
So if offended Moslems want a country that truly understands them -- they should come to Israel.
Does anyone remember Tatiana Soskin? She went to jail for drawing an offensive cartoon depicting the prophet (and posting it on the door of an Arab's shop)
In 1997, Tatiana Soskin was convicted by the Jerusalem District Court of offending religious sensitivities and sentenced to two years in jail and a one-year suspended sentence. Soskin was apprehended in Hebron while carrying a flyer depicting a pig wrapped in a kaffiyeh treading on an open book. The word, "Mohammed," was written on the pig and "Koran" was written on the book.
Supreme Court Justice Theodor Or rejected Soskin's appeal despite the ostensible blow to freedom of expression, ruling that "a position whereby every expression that has the potential to offend religious sensitivities will be considered a crime according to this law undermines the basic right to freedom of expression."
Or decided to apply the section banning offending religious sensitivities, but limited it. He ruled that not every serious offense is to be considered prohibited, rather only one that causes damage to the "interests of the members of that particular religion as a whole, as opposed to damage to the religious sensitivities of a given individual or another."
The excerpt above comes from an article in Ha'aretz that is very interesting to read over in wake of the whole Denmark controversy.
It is a summary of a session at a Comics, Caricatures and Animation Festival that was held in Tel Aviv. The session was called "God on the Line" and participants discussed whether and to what extent cartoonists should take on religion.
After the Soskin incident, there were no calls for an Arab boycott of Israel.
Oops, that's because there already was.
Well, it's a good thing that Moslem countries don't have a record of publishing offensive cartoons.
Now Here's An Appropriate Response
What's the appropriate response when someone publishes cartoons that offend you?
Why, by publishing cartoons that offend someone else!
That'll show 'em, right?
A Belgian-Dutch Islamic political organization posted anti-Jewish cartoons on its website in response to the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that appeared in Danish papers last year and offended many Muslims.
The cartoons were posted on the Arab European League's site on Saturday. It was not working Sunday morning because of exceeded bandwidth.
The site carried a disclaimer saying the images were being shown as part of an exercise in free speech rather than to endorse their content - just as European newspapers have reprinted the Danish cartoons.
One of the AEL cartoons displayed an image of famed Dutch Holocaust victim Anne Frank in bed with Adolf Hitler, and another questioned whether the Holocaust actually occurred.
The point? To decry what they see as a double standard, where denying the Holocaust is illegal under most European hate speech laws, but that everyone is defending and reprinting the Danish cartoons. Never mind that the hate speech laws are very rarely enforced. It's not as if people are getting sent to jail every year for Holocaust denial.
It's not very surprising that the Jews are getting dragged into it, despite the decision of the Israeli Foreign Ministry to stay neutral on the issue.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry, which over the years has often protested anti-Semitic political cartoons in the Islamic world, stayed true to its policy regarding the Danish newspaper cartoon controversy and refused to issue a response.
One ministry official said that the "cartoon wars" were not Israel's battle, and that it did not want to get dragged into it. If Israel would react to the whole controversy, the official said, the Islamic world would eventually blame Israel for being behind the whole incident.
As if they won't figure out a way to blame us anyway....
Political post #2
I swear I was going to stay out of it. I said to myself that this is not my problem, not my call, not my issue. But I was drawn into it and now I just can't remain silent. Yes, it's about those infamous Danish cartoons. I am sure that “Danish cartoons” is a household expression now in many places around the world.
Now before I go any further, I want to declare for my personal safety and for my friends' peace of mind that I DO NOT SUPPORT those cartoons. Nor would I agree with anyone who uses the right of free speech to insult others in any way. Therefore I will not publish or link to them or any such material on my blog, ever. I am a very tolerant, understanding and willing to learn white western infidel if there ever was one. So please save the cheers of support and the death threats.
How come I am writing about it now?
Today I went shopping for groceries (a rather rare occurrence) and I discovered that Danish and Norwegian products are now banned from the shelves of a leading supermarket! I stood there dumbstruck. Why am I being punished? What have I done to be denied my favourite brands? And most importantly, what have the producers of these brands in Denmark and Norway done to be treated like that?
What happened to allocating the blame and punishment where appropriate? I am yet to hear the King of Saudi apologising for the actions of Saudi suicide bombers. I am yet to hear the apologies of Mr. Bush over there, and Mr. Osama over here. Why then would someone expect the Queen of Denmark to apologise for the actions of some cartoonists and one editor?? Aren't their (the cartoonists and the newspaper in general) apologies enough? And who is going to apologise to me personally for denying me my Royal Danish?
When 9/11 happened, I heard from many Muslim friends of mine that we shouldn't judge the whole religion and all the Islamic world for the actions of select few individuals. That Islam is the religion of tolerance and peace. So how come the whole nations of Denmark and Norway are now being judged for the actions of less than 20 people? Scores of these innocent people have already lost their jobs due to the products boycott in the Muslim countries. Some were assaulted and threatened. Is this the right approach? What do Muslims around the world expect to get in return? That the West acknowledges the mistake and learns the lesson? I somehow doubt it. I doubt it because the means to achieve it are wrong. You don't teach such a lesson by spreading death threats right, left and centre. Yes, the newspaper people might have apologised, but they did not necessarily understand your reasons why they were forced to do it in the first place. [...]
Time to boycott France!
A French newspaper reprinted on Wednesday a series of 12 Danish newspaper cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad that have sparked protests in the Muslim world and prompted Saudi Arabia to recall its ambassador from Denmark.
The France Soir daily said it had published the cartoons in the name of freedom of expression and to fight religious intolerance, saying a secular country like France could not be bound by the precepts of any religion.
Now what? You're going to boycott the F1 because Renault takes part in it? Stop buying French cars, technology, cheese? All of the above? Any one particular product? Wine boycott maybe?
Well, before you go jump off a cliff, I hope you realise that France Soir is owned by an Egyptian: Ramy Lakah, so we might as well boycott Egypt too! But as Egypt has no product to call its own, other than oil in the Sinai, reeds and some stones which belonged to the Kuffar of old, then I have no problem lumping it in the same pot as Norway, Denmark, and France.
So my prediction has come true! Don't play with fire guys, let it go, for goodness' sake let it go. This is not doing us as a nation any good at all. It just demonstrates our intolerance... but that's nothing new now is it.
Fikret Kahrovic was in the militia defending the city, but he does not offer much about the war, in a way that makes me think he could say plenty. He used to be angry all the time, he says, but not anymore.
"It was," he says, "like a very old and very bad movie that you watched once upon a time." His voice seems flat, affectless.
And ordnance. From the countless shells that had rained on Sarajevo, the craftsman had stamped flower vases. Bullets had become ballpoint pens that read "Bosnia."
Among the war's many small cruelties was how it forced residents to loathe their beloved hills; the snipers watched from those hills.
Now the city has its views back.
Sometimes, rounding a corner on a snowy afternoon, I would look up to catch a shard of sunshine passing over white roofs on the steep, snow-covered hillsides above the city, and black pines disappearing into low clouds — a glimpse of Switzerland strung between minaret and bullet-pocked cornice. [...]
As a journalist, he is not embedded — to use the contemporary phrase — among soldiers as a representative of a free press in a civilian society. There is no free press. Civilians are only those who will be killed without weapons in their hands, and who have already been brutalized by Stalin before the war. Grossman is not free himself. He is all but a soldier under orders. Yet he is forced to sustain the consciousness needed to record everything he sees around him. His survival, after four years of war, is as miraculous as the survival of Kuznechik, the Bactrian camel that accompanied the 308th Rifle Division from Stalingrad to Berlin, where it spat on the Reichstag.
[...] Volodymyr Polokhalo, a political analyst in Kiev, gives Tymoshenko an even chance of again becoming prime minister this spring. And if she doesn't, he gives her a 70 percent chance of becoming Ukraine's next president in 2009.
By her mid-30's, the daughter of a single mother who had toiled on Dnipropetrovsk's trolley system had become Eastern Europe's one and only "lady oligarch." Whether UESU dealings were "illegal" by the Wild East standards of the ex-Soviet Union in the 1990's - the political analyst Volodymyr Polokhalo speaks of the "total corruption" of the era - is a difficult question.
Because she knew its tricks, Tymoshenko proved an effective reformer of Ukraine's lucrative and filthy energy sector - perhaps too effective. Her brash reforms brought a huge tranche of Ukraine's shadow economy into the light. But her assaults on the prerogatives of Ukraine's crooked energy titans, her former peers, made her an irritant to the regime. She had to go. In mid-January 2001, Ukraine's top prosecutor accused her of having engaged in extortion, money laundering and other crimes while heading UESU. The charges, Polokhalo, the analyst, says, had an obvious "political character." "You could bring such charges against all the big businessmen of the 1990's," he explains. Kuchma fired her that same month.
At home, too, she has until recently been dogged by what Polokhalo calls politically motivated investigations into long-past supposed misdeeds. The last of the investigations were closed only six weeks ago, when a Kiev court dismissed them for lack of evidence. [...]
A perceptive literary critic, a world-famous writer of witty and playful verses for children, a leading authority on children’s linguistic creativity, and a highly skilled translator, Kornei Chukovsky was a complete man of letters. As benefactor to many writers including Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky, he stood for several decades at the center of the Russian literary milieu. It is no exaggeration to claim that Chukovsky knew everyone involved in shaping the course of twentieth-century Russian literature. His voluminous diary, here translated into English for the first time, begins in prerevolutionary Russia and spans nearly the entire Soviet era. It is the candid commentary of a brilliant observer who documents fifty years of Soviet literary activity and the personal predicament of the writer under a totalitarian regime.
From descriptions of friendship with such major literary figures as Anna Akhmatova and Isaac Babel to accounts of the struggle with obtuse and hostile censorship, from the heartbreaking story of the death of the daughter who had inspired so many stories to candid political statements, the extraordinary diary of Kornei Chukovsky is a unique account of the twentieth-century Russian experience.