Tuesday, August 30, 2005

West Bank Gallery

Continuing the series on the graffiti art on the West Bank Wall, the BBC have created a nice little picture gallery.

Salman the Clown

The paradoxical nature of today’s 'memes' often means finding myself agreeing with people I can’t abide and, conversley, disagreeing with a lot of the potted opinions of people that, externally, tick the boxes of the same ‘political camps’ as I do.

Take for example Julie Burchill on Salman Rushdie. Now I have, by and large, the same feelings for Burchill as I have for freshly expectorated phlegm. Yet her views on Rushdie, in all their merciless savagery, are like Chanel No.5, timelessly elegant and spot on.

I would bet that the only reason his recent crappy thesis on Islamic Reformation got published is because he has a new book to sell. And if that isn’t enough of a coincidence, the Guardian graces us with a breathless write up on his new novel, Shalimar the Clown. In it, Rushdie is asked what he thinks about deporting Islamic Militants:

"The idea that by allowing all these groups to hang out here it would somehow protect England from attack was a deliberate philosophy. And it's not even party political because both of them did it. Thatcher did it, Blair did it. I think it's extraordinary to see people screaming hate while living off the state. No, I don't mind."

This is rich coming from the man who emotionally blackmailed the Thatcherite government for protection after Ayatollah Khomeini (the original Islamic bogeyman) threw down the fatwa from Tehran. For years prior to that Rushdie fancied himself as a Lefty and a spokesman for "poor, downtrodden immigrants". Back then, 'Racism in the UK' was Rushdie’s specialist area of punditry. (Nowadays it seems to be Bono’s arse). Lets not forget that Satanic Verses had two axes to grind: One was anti-Islam, and the other, more pronounced, which is largely forgotten because of the fatwa furore, was patently anti-Thatcher (both in person and in dogma). So when the very same Thatcher government, that Rushdie had a made a career of berating, had to foot the bill to afford him with police protection, it was, as Julie Burchill commented archly, “a better piece of irony you couldn’t find hanging in the Tate”.

I have no idea what his new book is like, nor do I want to. But if the last one was anything to go by, then there should be plenty of returned unsold copies in warehouses around the world. I think it would be worthwhile to suggest to Bradford City Council, that in order to stave off unnecessary deaths caused by hypothermia, they could always stockpile these copies of the new Rushdie book to burn, for fuel, this winter.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Apartheid Now

Linked here, from xymphora’s Withdrawal-palooza, and to add extra Google points:

“In the 5 years of Israel's brutal suppression of the Palestinian uprising against the occupation, I never once saw or heard a segment as long and with as much sentimental, human detail as I did here; never once remember a reporter allowing a sympathetic young Palestinian woman, whose home was just bulldozed and who lost everything she owned, tell of her pain and sorrow, of her memories and her family's memories; never got to listen to her reflect on where she would go now and how she would live. And yet in Gaza alone more than 23,000 people have lost their homes to Israeli bulldozers and bombs since September 2000 -- often at a moment's notice ­ on the grounds that they "threatened Israel's security." The vast majority of the destroyed homes were located too close to an IDF military outpost or illegal settlement to be allowed to continue standing. The victims received no compensation for their losses and had no place waiting for them to relocate. Most ended up in temporary UNRWA tent-cities until they could find shelter elsewhere in the densely overcrowded Strip, a quarter of whose best land was inhabited by the 1% of the population that was Jewish and occupying the land at their expense.”

Watching the Gazan Fiasco – Jennifer Loewenstein. Full article here.

Photo: Washington Post

Crusader, Moi?

Britain has historically been regarded with the utmost respect by Islamic peoples, Fundamentalists included, in spite of the legacy of the Balfour Declaration [1917]. But it was not until Blair involved himslef as Bush's attack poodle in the 'Great Iraqi Fuck Up' that England has now come to be regarded universally in the Islamic World, along with the US, a 'Crusader state'.

So airbrushing a few militant Muslim Black sheep out of the picture (and kicked out of the UK) will not fix the damage done to Britain's role (both real and perceived) as the World's Umpire. The saddest loss is that Britain will never again have the respect that it once had as the Voice of Reason in International Policy terms. Just ask Michael Jay.

Cartoon by Steve Bell.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Another Long Haul War for USA

That nice Timothy Garton Ash compares USA in 2005 to Great Britain in 1905 and argues that America simply does not have the stomach for the long haul when it comes to Iraq. He makes a direct correllation between Britain’s Boer War and USA’s Iraq War:

The British won only by a ruthlessness of which, I'm glad to say, the democratic, squeamish and still basically anti-colonialist United States appears incapable.

Kurt Nimmo argues a point on similar lines by drawing a parallel between USA and this time, in his case, France in its colonial adventure with Algeria in the 50s. And he also comes to the same conclusion:

In the meantime, there is a “way to go” before this reality—minus extreme brutality, the United States will never be able to seriously occupy Iraq, as the French were unable to occupy Algeria (where some serious brutality was in fact levied, all for naught)—sinks in.

Only Kurt, doesn’t have to sugar his pills to ensure his grants keep rolling in and keep his ass safely ensconced in Academia like Garton Ash has to and qualifies his points with this little master blaster:

Well, [Chuck Hagel] may not realize it, but that is precisely the game plan—the neocons want to destabilize the Middle East, decimate Islamic societies and culture, and instigate a revamped Sykes-Picot Agreement of sorts, that is to say carve up the Middle East like the Brits and French did in 1916.

Say it like it is, Kurt

Out of Gaza and Into the West Bank

The forced ‘exodus’ of Settlers (read para-military units armed to the teeth) out of the Gaza Strip and into the West Bank is going on unabated. So far these Israeli occupiers are get given the photo-opportunity of looking like dishevelled martyrs. Every day we see pictures of anguished men and women being turfed out of their homes amidst tears and acrimony. Almost makes you want to sympathise for them right? Wrong. Thats exactly what the Israel and, in cahoots the US, want you to do. They want the world to develop an mental image of Israelis sacrificing their livelihoods and their homesteads. Except that:

  • Gaza remains an Israeli protectorate. Its borders (both land and air) and its resources (whats left of them after the Settler-Army sucked it dry) remains very much in Israeli possession
  • By relocating the Settlers out of Gaza, Israel’s payback is that it pretty much gets to demand what it wants from the West Bank. Remember that the West Bank is the single biggest chunk of land and contains the most resources and water (its always about money and water in Israeli politics these days) of any of the land stolen from Palestine since Israel annexed Jersualem in 1967.

And now we find out this. By moving the Settler hordes into the West Bank, Israel also slyly grabs even more unnegotiated West Bank land from the disenfranchised Palestinians and will build another wall around it! So now we finally know what the whole performance of the “forced expulsions” from the Gaza was all about.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Where's Banksy?

This picture is an example of graffiti art brought to you by Banksy. The spray-painted image of a Guantánamo prisoner is powerful when seen up front and personal in a crowded London street. I spotted it last week on a building on the Angel end of Liverpool Road, close to Chapel Market, London. The man certainly gets around.

Clearly the world took notice and respect for Banksy and his work multiplied exponentially when he demonstrated fierce moral outrage by creating the West Bank barrier paintings. He called Palestine “the largest open prison in the world”. It was protest art pure and simple and when images of the Wall paintings got syndicated all over the world it spoke more about the brutal nature of the Israeli regime than bombs ever could.

And before that I thought that he was only about being a guerilla-art prankster trying to get press coverage by staging well-planned painting 'plantings' on the walls of elitist fine-art establishments like MOMA. Which is cool enough but the West Bank paintings shows him to be one of the few relevant artists alive in the world today.

Death Of A Chav Princess - A Daydream


Julie Burchill makes me want to fulfill one of my childhood ambitions of becoming a policeman. This would allow me to embellish a daydream I have of guiding the hand of GolMal justice.

The plot of this daydream is about being the lucky policeman given the task to investigate a burglary at Burchill Towers, that has set off the alarm (which notifies the police). Cut to Ms Burchill who, returning home from one of her bouts of gluttonous excess, has apprehended her burglar and proceeds to go ballistic. Hysterically screeching at the top of her shrill Minnie Mouse-on-helium voice, her bulbous eyes pop out of their sockets making for a fearsome sight. Screaming petulantly and hurling violent cholesterol-rich put downs (as only our Julie can) at the young thief while he is making his way out of the crime scene with various bits of property stashed into a faux-Louis Vuitton shoulder-bag. He is caught unawares and acting on reflex, grabs the nearest heavy blunt object (lead piping?) and proceeds to bludgeon the woman's head with gusto and aplomb. After a gloriously frenzied attack, half the contents of Ms Burchill's now-fractured cranium are tastefully adorned all over the the expensive fuschia-coloured wallpaper of the hallway.

I turn up to find the boy-burglar standing over the dead writer, now sprawled shapelessly across the floor. Her flabby hulk still twitching furiously in synaptic Burchillian rage. The boy stands there in mute, frozen horror. He still holds the murder implement in his right hand and the bag of swag in the other.

Being a copper, I take command of the situation. I speak to the boy in sharp terms and tell him to move on, go on, move on. I take the bag and the murder implement out of his hands. I tell him to go straight home. He thanks me and wastes no time to make an exit. I quickly and efficiently destroy all sign of any evidence. After all, I am a policeman and take the utmost professional pride in my work. I complete all the necessary formalities and declare, in the paperwork, that the burglar was caught en-flagarante by the victim who startled him, and he then proceeded to kill her. The thief has absconded leaving behind no usable evidence. The case hits a brick wall and gets closed due to lack of leads and resources.

The bright side of the story is that I do get to have 15 minutes of fame on CrimeWatch UK, when I appeal for witnesses to "come forward". The Times publishes a tearfully clichéd obituary by Tony Parsons and, not to be outdone, the Guardian lets Germaine Greer let off steam in similar vein. I get a promotion and lots of fan email and complimentary comments on my blog.

Daydream over.

Radio.TiffinBox

Music; what would life be without it? A Wahhabi nightmare in hell, that’s what.

Which is why I finally bit the bullet and after listening to various stations on live365 for years, I have decided to start one myself to reflect my love of perusing record shop shelves.
Please give a warm welcome and a big shout to
Radio.TiffinBox :
http://www.live365.com/stations/fgazi

Playing from a wide range of delicious music inclusive of (but not exclusive to):
Electronic soul and machine funk from Four Tet, Jamie Lidell et al
Underground hip-hop (Madlib and those fine young west coast hiphop chaps)
Savath e Savalas and other Scott Herren disguises
Avante-garde Classical (Steve Reich, Gyorgy Ligeti, Phillip Glass et al)
Indian Classical/Asian Underground (Raag meets Electronica = Raagtronica)
Jazz (from Bebop to Courtney)
Studio One Reggae allstars and other Jamaican riddims
And the great and one and only Sun Ra

Would love to hear your reviews

Bo Bo Bo Selectah!

Blogging again?

Currently deriving great pleasure from blogs again. Have updated my blog roll (Links section on right hand bar of this page). But one I am especially enjoying is muttawa or The Religious Policeman.

Don't mention the (Iraq) War

Regarding this utter shite published in the Times:

What a shamefully execrable article this is. I feel embarrassed for the writer (Gerard Baker) that he should expect to get paid for churining out this kind of low-level garbage. However, given that its been published in The Times (Rupert Murdoch's organ of axe-grinding lampoonery), I won't be surprised to find out that he will be paid handsomely for characteristic Times-guano.

First of all he calls "the Galloways and the Kennedys" opportunistic but has left out Howard from the list. Howard is, in the public perception and following his performace in the last general election, synonymous with political opportunism of the most crass kind. By not including him in his list, the writer renders his loyalties transparent.

So now we know who he speaks for, the rest of his peice is an exercise in dangerous and insulting conjecture. How does he know that if England had not invaded Iraq that there would not have been a London bombing? How does he claim to know the bomber's motives so well that he can speak on their behalf?

To pass glibly over events in Islamic history as providing enough pretext for Islamists to bomb London is to ignore sentiments that are common to most Brits of all types of political/religious/racial persuasion. That sentiment is this: the invasion and the occupation of Iraq by US and British forces is illegal and, given the status quo, murderous and destructive. The actions of the bombers are not representative of anyone but themselves, but perhaps an infinitely better article would have been to acknowledge that Iraq angers not only angry young bombers, but also normal work-a-day folk irrespective of religion and race. And that is the reason why the large majority of British people are deeply ashamed of Britain's recent history in Iraq.

Whether The Times likes it or not, no amount of convoluted op-eds like this one will be able to whitewash this fact away.