Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lotus Flower

Thank fuck for Radiohead.

It seems that if you live in this accursed world, you will either be killed by a catastrophic natural disaster or by your own leader.

Love to our mates in New Zealand.

And is Libya really so different to Tunisia and Egypt? Are anti-government forces merely capitalising on Western sympathy for protesters? Should Seif El Islam Gaddafi (the leader's son) get a speech writer?

Here are translated extracts of the speech by Seif El Islam Gaddafi.

 "Citizens tried to attack the army and they were in a situation that was difficult. The army was not used to dealing with riots," he says.

"Libyan citizens died and this was a tragedy.

"There is a plot against Libya. People want to create a government in Benghazi and others want to have an Islamic emirate in Bayda. All these [people] have their own plots. Of course Arab media hyped this. The fault of the Libyan media is that it did not cover this.

"Libya is not like Egypt, it is tribes and clans, it is not a society with parties. Everyone knows their duties and this may cause civil wars.

"Libya is not Tunisia and Egypt. Libya has oil - that has united the whole of Libya.

"I have to be honest with you. We are all armed, even the thugs and the unemployed. At this moment in time, tanks are driven about with civilians. In Bayda you have machine guns right in the middle of the city. Many arms have been stolen.

"No one will come to Libya or do any business with Libya.

"We will call for new media laws, civil rights, lift the stupid punishments, we will have a constitution... We will tomorrow create a new Libya. We can agree on a new national anthem, new flag, new Libya. Or be prepared for civil war. Forget about oil.

"The country will be divided like North and South Korea, we will see each other through a fence. You will wait in line for months for a visa.

"The Libyans who live in Europe and USA, their children go to school and they want you to fight. They are comfortable. They then want to come, like in Iraq."

Forty winks

Why is it that doctors never believe you when you say you can't sleep?
You walk into their surgery with the coordination of a troll. There are bags under your eyes a shade of purple that Grimace would envy (the least popular of the McDonald's characters).
Your speech has slowly disintegrated to that of a mid nineties rapper.
"Yo doc, I can't be catchin tha winx!"
"Hmm. Have you tried exercising before bed?"
Having walked four kilometres for the past few nights before hitting the hay I'm beginning to resemble Christian Bale from The Machinist.

Also, valerian root is fucking crap. Its like telling this bloke above that if he just has a glass of warm milk he'll nod off nicely.
But still, the man in glasses behind the desk frowns. He doesn't want to prescribe you any benzodiazepines in case you "get a problem".
Well, asshole, I'm pretty sure ten hours sleep over four days will soon send me crazier than Amy Winehouse on a crack binge, possibly giving me an insatiable hunger for newborn babies and an urge to publicly defecate.
Shit, I'd much rather be Ronald McDonald than Grimace. At least the clown has manners.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Oh, what a beatiful day.

Over my thankless, fruitless and largely unnoticed career as a decidedly unprofessional writer, I have come to one salient realisation.
People do not want to read about Middle Eastern politics. People do not want to read about the latest indie/electro/nu-wave pack of pretentious twats crashing instruments together. People certainly do not want to read about how to make a quilt, unless you actually want to make a quilt, and then I say good luck to you.
No, what people absolutely fucking love to read about is you.
And I mean this in the least narcissistic, self obsessed way possible (putting aside that in truth we really all are quite self obsessed, except for those outstanding people who actually do things for the world).
They want to peruse the woes of your life. They want to chuckle over what a fool you made of yourself when you decided that yes, jump suits are back in fashion. In short, the general public wants to know how crap your life really is, so they can feel better about being 52 and still living with their Mum and secretly loving Home and Away re runs from the eighties.
And the shitter the better. Got dumped by your boyfriend of five years after he announced he was gay and was going to live with his new lover Fabio, and could you please be his "best woman" at their civil union? Literary gold. Found out the only cure to your rare and disgusting toe fungus is to slather raw fish guts your feet every morning, making you both socially undesirable and suicidally depressed? You're the next Bryce Courtenay.
Unfortunately I can't share all the sordid details of my life with you. Number one, this could possibly lead to arrest and a long period of incarceration (I would most certainly be made the "bitch" in prison). Number two, some things are just far too embarrassing and graphic to tell another human soul and I would have very few real friends left.
I have had many mundane moments that mark my existence, but last night was not one of them.
With every ounce of my being, I wish it had been.
I journeyed to a popular "nightspot" in the cesspool of depravity and moral decay that is Sydney's Kings Cross. Defying the age old maxim that joy can not be found at the bottom of a shot glass, I became every mother's worst nightmare and more. A period of blackness ensued before I noticed that one of the straps on my beloved "stripper heels" had broken, making me the laughing stock of many a bleached blonde bitch on the dancefloor. I swerved out of the club and onto Bayswater road, which is infested with unsavory human beings at the best of times, but on a Saturday night resembles a lunatic asylum filled with stilettos and cigarette butts.
I found refuge in an alley and warbled my sorrows into the night, before being approached and then chased by a suspicious looking male. Me being me, I soon forgot why I was running away from the stranger and found myself talking amicably with him while I attempted to climb a children's slide. He told me that he was a member of the Bandidos and that tragically his mother had died the week before. I had no appropriate response to this except to vomit a short time after. He somehow placed me in a cab and gave the driver fifty dollars to take me home. Unfortunately I was still conscious enough to write what is now an extremely embarrassing four page treatise on love, money and the finer things in life to my completely gobsmacked sister, and by that time found it was almost eight in the morning.
I then took off my now stained and disgusting dress and found that yes, my "lady time" had decided to pay a visit at some stage during the night.
Thankfully no injuries this time, but as always, a healthy dose of humiliation.
Sometimes all you can do is laugh. And I don't mean in that "ha-ha-such-is-life!" way I mean in that "spine-chilling-cackle-of-insanity-brought-on-by-some-severe-trauma" way.
So I hope this has made you, the reader, feel slightly better about whatever shit time you may be going through at the moment, even if only fleetingly. Alternatively, you could be cursing the unfair degree of wealthiness that allows me to throw money away frequently on wasteful alcoholic binges while billions of babies starve in their mother's arms on the other side of the world.
To you I say, get fucked.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Send refugees to South America, says US

    Refugee camp in Gaza
    Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state under George Bush, suggested in 2008 that Palestinian refugees could be resettled in Chile and Argentina. Palestinians have expressed shock and dismay at the US suggestion to settle Palestinian refugees in Argentina and Chile rather than let them return to ancestral land in Israel. Representatives of the Palestinian diaspora said the plan to ship displaced Palestinians from the Middle East to a new homeland across the Atlantic clashed with their fundamental right to go home. "It's completely unacceptable. It contradicts our inalienable right to return to our own homeland," said Daniel Jadue, vice-president of Chile's Palestine Federation. "That right cannot be renounced. To make this suggestion shows the mediation was not honest. It was clearly tilted in favour of Israel. This is extremely grave." Condoleezza Rice, who was secretary of state in the Bush administration, floated the idea at a meeting on 28 June 2008 with US, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Berlin, according to minutes of the encounter obtained by al-Jazeera and shared with the Guardian. The suggestion dumbfounded South America's Palestinians – a largely Christian community which emigrated in waves over the past century and settled across the region, especially in Chile which is said to be home to more than 200,000. Chile's Palestinians would welcome compatriots who chose to settle in the Andes, said Jadue. "If a Palestinian accepted to come here that would be their right and we would show solidarity." But that did not justify a US proposal to funnel refugees from the Middle East to reduce pressure on Israel to give up land, he said. "That's wrong." Tilda Rabi, president of the Federation of Palestinian Organisations in Argentina, said the proposal violated the UN's affirmation of refugees' right to return home. "This is an extension of a long campaign of ethnic cleansing, of clearing people from their own homelands." She doubted many refugees would have accepted such an offer. "In the camps people still have keys to the homes they left behind." It is unclear whether the Bush administration lobbied Argentina and Chile to take Palestinians. The foreign ministries in Buenos Aires and Santiago did not respond to email and phone queries. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said it received no such request. "UNRWA has never been approached by any government to assist with the movement of refugees to South America," said a spokesman, Chris Gunness. "If such an offer was made refugees could accept or reject it," he said. "It would be their choice." Hillary Clinton, Rice's successor as secretary of state, played down the importance of the documents in her first comments on the leak last night. "I don't think it comes as any surprise what the issues are between the Palestinians and the Israelis," she told reporters in Mexico. "They have been well known for 20 years or more. They are difficult issues. They do not lend themselves easily to compromise." However, the state department spokesman Philip Crowley earlier acknowledged that the disclosure would have an impact on efforts to get peace talks restarted. "We don't deny that this release will, at least for a time, make the situation more difficult than it already was," he said. "None of this changes our understanding of what is at stake, or what needs to be done. We continue to believe a framework agreement is both possible and necessary. We continue to work with and engage the parties." The United Nations special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, said some of the interpretation of the documents conveyed an "inaccurate impression". The Palestinian negotiators were committed to reaching a deal in the interests of the Palestinian people, he said. "At this crucial time, I would urge both parties to show their readiness for a negotiated peace based on a two-state solution, and to deliver on the ground. It is to the genuine credit of the Palestinian leadership that they are doing so." Israel radio reported that Nabil Shaath, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, said the documents released by al-Jazeera were authentic, unofficial and did not obligate the Palestinian side.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Palestine Papers

“Are you serious about the two-state solution?” Abbas asked, according to Erekat. “If you are, I cannot comprehend that you would allow a single settlement housing unit to be built in the West Bank… you have the choice. You can take the cost free road, applying double standards, which would shoot me and other moderates in the head and make this Bin Laden’s region. Or say we are not against Israel but against Israel’s actions. If you cannot make Israel stop settlements and resume permanent status negotiations, who can?”
 This is an excerpt of the Palestine Papers, obtained by Al jazeera  in which the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
 told President Obama in June 2009 that peace could never proceed without a complete freeze of Israeli settlements.
Obama ignored this and accepted Israel's "concession" to suspend any new construction in the West Bank. This didn't last long.
The papers have also sparked mass outrage, revealing that PA negotiators were willing to exclude over 6 million Palestinian refugees from their homeland. In addition, Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister, proposed annexing several Arab villages to a future Palestinian state, which would force thousands of Israeli Arabs to choose between their citizenship and their land.
According to the Israeli Defence Forces Civil Administration, close to 500,000 Israelis now occupy settlements deemed illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights. In November last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to build a further 1,300 homes in East Jerusalem. Earlier this month, the European Union expressed concern that the ever expanding force field of security and infrastructure required to support the burgeoning settler population would further splinter the occupied territory. In a statement to the Consuls General, the EU stated that settlements impinged on the lives of Palestinians and resulted in an inequitable education policy, difficulty in accessing health care and the inadequate provision of resources and investment.

Australian Family Reunion

The Australian Federal Police have arrested three men on charges of people smuggling in relation the the Christmas Island tragedy.
There has been no inquest into the disaster so far.
Go here to see the trailer for Australian Family Reunion, a short film about the El Ibrahimy family whose lives were ripped apart after 15th December when 23 year old mother Zman was killed with her two children.