Archive for January, 2002

Monday, January 28th, 2002

RIP, Astrid Lindgren.

The Swedish children’s author Astrid Lindgren, creator of the free-spirited Pippi Longstocking, has died at the age of 94. Lindgren died at home after a brief illness, her daughter Karin Nyman told a Swedish news agency. Generations of children around the world have grown up with the red-haired Pippi, the mischievous Emil and Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter.

Pippi Creator Lindgren Dies.

Monday, January 28th, 2002

Resistance to service in the West Bank is getting more traction.

More than 60 Israeli army reservists, half of them officers and all of them combat veterans, have publicly refused to continue serving in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on the grounds that Israel’s occupation forces there are abusing and humiliating Palestinians.
“We will no longer fight beyond the Green Line for the purpose of occupying, deporting, destroying, blockading, killing, starving and humiliating an entire people,” declared a petition signed by the reservists and published in Israel’s best-selling daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth. The Green Line refers to the border between Israel and the West Bank.

Israeli Reservists Refuse Territory Duty

Monday, January 28th, 2002

Two bad ideas in one day:

President Bush said on Monday he was willing to consider Saudi Arabia’s request to return on a case-by-case basis the 100 Saudis who are among 158 Afghan war detainees at a U.S. base in Cuba, but U.S. officials doubted this would happen any time soon.

Bush Willing to Consider Returning Saudi Detainees. Apparently, not all Arab fighters in Afghanistan are equal. And…

President Bush said on Monday the United States will help train a new Afghan military but made clear to Afghan leader Hamid Karzai he would not commit U.S. troops to peacekeeping in the remote Central Asian country.

Bush Says U.S. Will Help Set Up Afghan Military. Because that’s what a war-torn country with no infrastructure, no hospitals, no schools for women really needs: a U.S.-trained military.

Monday, January 28th, 2002

You, in the third seat to my left…Do you seriously think I care about your running commentary of the scene between Danglars and the Count? And you, standing in the aisle to my right…Are you planning on continuing that conversation on your cell phone for the entire duration of the movie? And what of you, behind me somewhere, punctuating every beat of every scene with an onomatopeia all your own? Common courtesy is a lost art.

Thursday, January 24th, 2002

Muslim Women Voice their Concerns in the Aftermath of September 11.

Link via Holy Weblog!

Thursday, January 24th, 2002

From the BBC:

Mr Annan’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, has said he believes the international community should deploy more foreign troops in Afghanistan. Voicing concern about the “hundreds of thousands of people with weapons” in Afghanistan, Mr Vendrell said the situation in the south of the country was still “unclear”. “There are various armed groups who do not respond yet to central command,” he told the French news agency AFP.

US Troops Battle Al-Qaeda Militants

Thursday, January 24th, 2002

I haven’t been blogging too much. Most of what’s on the news is depressing, and I’ve been frightfully busy with work and other commitments.

Monday, January 14th, 2002

From the L.A. Times:

In 1014, Byzantine Emperor Basil II had a bit of a problem. He had decisively defeated the Bulgarian tsar and taken virtually the entire opposing army captive. Basil II was not keen on feeding and holding more than 14,000 prisoners of war, but he also was not inclined to release an entire army that could simply turn around and resume hostilities. His solution was both chilling and simple: He divided the army into groups of 100 and blinded 99 out of each group. He left one man with one eye in each group to lead this line of wretches back to the Bulgarian tsar.

Basil II’s dilemma came to mind last week as the first U.S. prisoners from Afghanistan arrived, hooded and shackled, at Camp X-Ray, the new prison under construction at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The U.S. is now coming to grips with one of the oldest problems for a victorious army: what to do with the defeated army.

By Any Other Name, They’re Still Prisoners

Monday, January 14th, 2002

RIP, Gregorio Fuentes.

The Cuban fisherman who was the inspiration for Ernest Hemingway’s novel, The Old Man and The Sea, has died at the age of 104. Gregorio Fuentes was the captain of Hemingway’s boat Pilar during the years that Hemingway lived in Cuba, and he developed a strong friendship with the author. It is thought that Hemingway modelled the central character of his Nobel prize-winning 1952 novel on Fuentes.

Hemingway’s Old Man Dies in Cuba

Thursday, January 3rd, 2002

From the Guardian:

Moulessehoul is a unique case in contemporary literature. A novelist whose books are published in seven languages, he wrote, until last year, under the female pseudonym of Yasmina Khadra to escape the censorship of one of the world’s least understanding employers – the Algerian army. When he came out of the literary closet his loyal readers in Algeria and France were shocked. Not only was Yasmina Khadra – “Jasmine Green” – a man, but he was an army officer who had spent the previous eight years fighting armed Islamist radicals. Instead of a frightened, oppressed Algerian woman, they got a soldier-novelist – a man who had lived behind barrack walls, and sought mental refuge in literature since his father dumped him in a military academy at the age of nine.

This was a writer who, among other horrors, had once seen the body of a baby impaled on a metal bar, seen the corpses of decapitated and disembowelled children, and found an old woman with her feet chopped off, left to bleed to death. His hands were, inevitably, tinged with the bloodshed in Algeria’s brutal, long-running and often forgotten war. To the obvious discomfort of France’s literary left, Moulessehoul not only crafted black, bitter novels of rural violence and hellish urban decadence but, when not writing, practised violence himself. Some still cannot forgive him.

A year after leaving both his army and his country to pursue a dream of writing full time, Yasmina Khadra – the name he still publishes under and uses to talk about his literary self – is hurt and astonished. “My status as a soldier destroys my condition as a writer,” he complains. Attacked in the French press, his funding withdrawn by the International Parliament of Writers (IPW), embroiled in a row over whether the Algerian army carried out massacres, he is struggling for intellectual acceptance. On Monday he launches a scathing attack on his detractors in a short memoir, L’Imposture des Mots (The Deceitful Word), that will set the cat among the pigeons of France’s literary establishment. “It is about the shock of a man who dreamed of literature from behind the walls of a barracks for nearly 36 years. I thought only soldiers liked fighting. I have discovered that intellectuals hit harder and hurt more.”

‘I thought only soldiers liked fighting. But intellectuals hit harder and hurt more.’

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2002

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. It took some looking around, but I finally found some information on the number of casualties in Afghanistan.

Economics Professor Marc Herold from the University of New Hampshire, spent 6 weeks working 12 hour days compiling data. What he calls his conservative estimate, not including Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters, is 3,700 civilians killed by American and British bombs.

Afghanistan Death Toll. And think of all the many more thousands who have to survive after the bombings.

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