Wednesday, February 06, 2002
Unlike most Muslim preachers, Shaikh Faisal is a native English-speaker and can enliven his fire-and-brimstone rhetoric with streetwise colloquialisms like “brain dead” and “dodgy”.
He was born William Forest to a Salvation Army family in Jamaica, but was influenced in his youth by a Muslim teacher and learnt about the religion from Saudi visitors at a religious camp.
He studied religion for eight years in Saudi Arabia, became the first Afro-Caribbean Muslim sheikh, and has been visiting Britain since the 1980s.
He preached at Brixton Mosque but left before the al-Qaeda suspects Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid arrived."
"Sudis! I knew it was them! Even when it was the bears, I knew it
Quicky: Pam Brown Books specialises in stuff you fondly remember from childhood. Now that Harry Potter (and the wierd Amber Spyglass thing) has come along, there's probably less need than a few years ago, but it's still a good way to share the delights of your youth with your kids.
Main thing: Lit Web is a pretty sharp way of keeping up with your Carroll's, Hemingway's, Lewis's, Chandler's, etc:
"Here you can find out about all your favorite authors, and prize winners, and lots more about the creaters of the best literature.
Find an author and read all about them and their most famous books, and other less well known works, their dates of birth, selected bibliography and biographies.
Every month we highlight an author and keep up to date with the shortlists of the big literary prizes.
With over 500 authors on our books, we hope to provide you with an easy and compelling way to learn about books and their authors with our simple to use author index and our guide to the literary prizes that dominate the world of books.
Interested in a particular author? You can adopt an author of your choice, giving you editorial control, or add an author not yet on our books."
4to. A spectacular binding by Semet et Plumelle (Paris) of dark green morocco with art nouveau style arabesques of inlaid mid green and red morocco, added gilt and blind stamped decoration across both boards and spine (gilt lettering and floral motif with inlaid red morocco), aeg, red calf end papers with inlaid beige and green calf at the heart of gilt floral patterns. Superb condition, retained in a half green morocco chemise (spine very slightly faded) and marbled slip case. Original wrappers bound in. A LIMITED EDITION: No. 74 of 80 copies, signed and inscribed by legrand on 1/2 title. Includes 30 wonderful etched plates that evoke the romance and eroticism of French illustration of the period, numerous further illustrations, all set to the poetry of Baudelaire, Mallarme, Richepin, Corbiere, Rimbaud, Gautier etc. Also bound in at the beginning is an ORIGINAL PASTEL DRAWING, signed by Legrand, of a reclining nude and girl playing a guitar. An exceptional work. 248 pp.
SELLER:biblion Book Code: HARR-ill001a £3850.00 "
Or would have been if I had one and could afford it. Other appropriate titles through the link. Some as low as £15, though the lowest "good" one is "Love among the Haystacks" for DH Lawrence @ £75. Buy a bok. Or a book. Or a bok a book.
Monday, February 04, 2002
"Tell George Bush What YOU Think!
America is facing many challenges at home and abroad. President Bush gave his State of the Union speech Tuesday, now make your voice heard! Fill out the survey below. We'll even email your State of the Union priorities directly to President Bush if you want, so he can know what's really important to the American people."
Only problem with it is that it doesn't provide for some of my answers. E.g. question 2 has "What should be the strategy to improve our economy?
Tax cuts targeted for middle-class families
Extension of unemployment and health care benefits for laid-off workers
Targeted tax cuts to small businesses to spur job creation
A combination of the above "
"Democrats abroad" are welcome to vote, so I did. Only snag is you need to give a valid Zip Code. I chose 09543-2810 using the National Geographic's list of zip codes for cool places around the world. It's the zip code of the USS Enterprise, an aircraft carrier...
A google search found me stuff about a couple of "Israeli Arab soldier"s, but nothing with "Israeli Arab conscript" in, and most looked to be about them getting shot, or nabbed as suspected terrorists (mistakenly so), etc. And there were only six stories anyway. But surely this is a big story waiting to be broken. I know that early in this new Intafada Israeli Arabs were strongly anti-government. What do they think now? Are they still doing military service? Are they doing military service in the Occupied Territories? I'd like to be told...
Sunday, February 03, 2002
PS: best to use the email@example.com address to order music. The other one's dead now.
PPS: yes, I am mostly doing this to see if I can make a wierder sale than my previous one. I was doing some tutoring in Cambridge, and a student who was really having trouble with logic came round to my digs for some help. I'd been listening to "I'll hold your milkshake" (the best of Curium album), and she asked what it was. I told her that it was by a friend of mine, and was easily ordered. Sent her the e-mail address, and she actually bought a copy (and apparently liked it). See: naive Cambridge undergrads like it. Why wouldn't you?
"The Hezbollah, around which these kidnap groups floated like satellites, now acknowledges that hostage-taking was a major blunder, an own goal of the worst kind, quite apart from the inhumanity of imprisoning the innocent and threatening their lives. If Israel could not persuade the United States to put the Hezbollah on America’s "terrorist" list, the kidnappings would have done the trick. The argument that national resistance should not be confused with "terrorism" was never heard — because the journalists who should have reported it were either locked up or running away."
That last sentence is very interesting. Now, I'm not fully acquainted with the ins and outs of the whole Lebanon thing. But I do seem to recall Hezbollah doing quite a few clearly terroristic things (as has Islamic Jihad). Is Fisk saying that everything they were doing was "national resistance" (apparently the ArabNews (and Arab news)'s current take on anything that Palestinians do)? What does he think would be acceptable tactics in "national resistance"? He's pretty sure that what the Isrealis were up to (and that the Syrians also did a couple of years later, though he doesn't mention that) was wrong. Let's hear him condemn something that Hezbollah did that didn't involve journalists.
"Without reporters, we would not have been given such devastating eye-witness proof of the thousands of innocent Afghans killed in those American B-52 bombing raids, nor of the murder of Taleban prisoners by our so-called allies of the Northern Alliance."
Let's double up here: how many "thousands" does Fisk think were killed? The problem with the Herod study is precisely the absence of "devestating eye-witness proof". The estimates by other sources run as high as 1500 civilian dead. I wouldn't call less than 2000 "thousands". So Fisk is, implicitly (IMHO) playing the Herod card. Secondly, what "murder of Taleban prisoners"? Is he talking about Mazar-i-Sharif (spelling chosen by me)? That was the big stick to beat the "so-called allies" with. But there the "prisoners" were shooting at the Northern Alliance. As they were at the school where some hundreds died due to a screw-up. I'm sure there were cases where prisoners were killed without much in the way of provocation, as that happens in virtually every war. But IIRC journalists tended to mention how thier presence (they assumed) saved the lives of prisoners who were being roughly treated. So let's hear about some actual cases please. (oh, and what's with the "so-called allies" line? Were they or weren't they? And if they weren't, why were we giving them military support and orders?).
"I don’t know if Osama Bin Laden is alive. But I suspect he is. If so, he knows what is happening around him. I know him and he knows me."
Robert, we were joking when we were criticising you about you and your friend Osama. The way you boast of this makes your knowledge sound biblical.
"And so, if he has the power to do so, and if he reads this article — as I think he will if he is alive because my reports are often reprinted in Arabic and Pushtu — I want him to do everything he can to secure Daniel’s release. Osama Bin Laden has many great admirers in Karachi — indeed, he once spent half an hour telling me with pride of his support in the Pakistani city — and his word, however it was transmitted, would count if Daniel’s kidnappers are people who believe in the Qur’an."
And Osama's a fan. How touching. And what's up with the "if Daniel's kidnappers are people who believe in the Qur'an" line? I thought that all this stuff was against Islam, that Osama was or should be a pariah, etc (actually, that's harsh on Fisky: he's seen the support on the street and understands it. Heck, he'd be a terrorist too if he were an Afghani (sic)). But the point remains: he couldn't be nicer about Osama if he were a Pashtun pederast celebrating the end of Taleban rule. And if he thinks he knows Osama, how come he suggested that the September 11th attacks might have been by someone else, and if he thinks he has an influence over him then why didn't he try to use it when Ossie-baby was plotting terrorist outrages (or now, to save the lives of people who aren't his personal friends (or to save Afghan civilians))?
"This is not special pleading. The innocent should be protected, what ever their age or job. But I’ve spent too many years of my life in Beirut in fear of cars with smoked-glass windows and bearded gunmen and basement prisons. And today I am writing this on a beautiful, sunny, winter’s afternoon overlooking the seafront of a now safe Beirut, I shudder to think of what Daniel is going through.
Put simply, we must get on with our job of uncovering the truth about America’s Afghan war, and Daniel must be allowed to go home to his wife and unborn child."
Of all the people in all the countries of the world, Robert Fisk is arguably the man who could least handle "the truth". And "the truth about America's Afghan war", though readily available on CNN or through very blunt Pentagon briefings seems to elude the master reporter...
I feel very sorry for his chum. I hope he's released alive and unharmed, and that rumours of his death are wildly exaggerated. But I'm amazed that someone was able to write a column that told me that a perfectly innocent kidnap victim has a pregnant brider and yet left me less sympathetic to the poor fellow.
"DPRK stance towards terrorist attacks on U.S.
Pyongyang, September 12 (KCNA) -- A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry today answered the question put by KCNA as regards the large-scale terrorist attacks on the United States. He said:
Terrorists' large-scale attacks made on the U.S. by blowing themselves up in planes on Tuesday have caught the international community by great surprise.
The very regretful and tragic incident reminds it once again of the gravity of terrorism.
As a UN member the DPRK is opposed to all forms of terrorism and whatever support to it and this stance will remain unchanged.
The DPRK approaches the incident from this point of view."
"September 27 Chicken Factory
Pyongyang, September 11 (KCNA) -- Soldier-builders have recently built the September 27 Chicken Factory, a modern poultry base, at the foot of a hill in Ryokpho district, Pyongyang, in less than one year. Breeding, fattening and egg-laying pens have occupied a vast area in well-defined framework. Many-storeyed hen-coops are well ventilated.
Temperature and humidity of pens, lighting, feed and water supply, egg-laying, fattening, processing and all other production processes have been automated.
Each breeder raises over 20,000 hens and a hen weighs more than 2 kg at least 40 days after.
The factory produces tens of thousands of eggs a day.
Every 30 eggs are automatically packed.
Leader Kim Jong Il gave on-site guidance to the factory on September 5 and said it was good that solider-builders have built a fine hygienic and cultural environment to suit the features of the factory, paying deep attention to environmental adjustment. He called upon all chicken factories to follow the model to spruce up factory compound."
"Kanggye Chicken Farm
Pyongyang, February 1 (KCNA) -- The Kanggye chicken farm is situated over 20 kms away from Kanggye city. The farm covers at least 780,000 square meters and its total floor space is more than 27,400 square meters.
All production processes ranging from egg laying, artificial incubation and breeding to processing are computerized.
There is a restaurant in Kanggye serving chicken soup of entrails.
Popular are such food as boiled rice and soup of entrails, cockscomb dish, chicken hoof jelly, fried chicken crop and others.
The restaurant with a total floor space of 1,450 square meters was built in national architectural style. It can serve over 1,000 visitors a day."
He also kindly prints my reaction to it all here (and if you follow the link, the story above is very, very funny).