discarded lies: friday, may 26, 2017 2:55 am zst
a twirl in life
daily archive: 12/23/2004
evariste in Discarded Lies:
Art For Life's Sake: An Unsettling Visual Vocabulary
I wish I could go to DC and see Chawky Frenn's art. Welcome to the doll's house: Don't mind the skulls

You might think it would take a lot to upstage an artist like Damien Hirst,
Why? He's terrible. "You might think it would take a lot to upstage an artist like N'Sync"-no, you mightn't! They suck! Hirst is a media-whoring pretender and Charles Saatchi is art's Lou Pearlman. Anyone with real heart and talent can show these kinds of people up for the frauds that they are-and Chawky Frenn does.
but earlier this year Chawky Frenn did so with ease. A relatively unknown Lebanese painter who works in a decidedly unhip hyperrealist style, Frenn caused a minor ruckus with an exhibition at New Hampshire's Dartmouth College in the United States, where his neoclassical, symbol-heavy canvases hung next to works by the better-known Hirst, a media-savvy British art star whose pharmaceutical installations and formaldehyde-soaked carcass sculptures have scandalized both press and public alike on numerous occasions. The students at Dartmouth seemed indifferent to Hirst, however. It was Frenn who got under their skin.

Frenn's work is nothing if not melodramatic. Drawing on high renaissance compositions and a long history of religious iconography, he has created an unsettling vocabulary of images, repeating chiaroscuro skulls, skeletons and dismembered dolls in his work.

Hope and Judgment is one of his post-9/11 works
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
First Palestinian Municipal Elections In 28 Years
I'll withhold judgment except to say I hope this turns out well. Today in the West Bank, Gaza towards the end of January. I wonder if women have the vote?
UPDATE: Yes! Get out there and rock the vote, ladies! I vote for the Sheik Yerbouti ticket.
Palestinians voted on 23 December in the West Bank in their first municipal elections for almost three decades. More than 140,000 voters will choose from nearly 900 candidates in the town of Jericho and other villages. Voting is taking place in 26 municipalities across the West Bank for 12 hours, while a similar vote is due to take place in the Gaza Strip towards the end of January.

The vote is widely seen as a rehearsal for the 9 January election for a successor to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. It is also expected to indicate levels of support for the Fatah movement and the militant group Hamas. Although Hamas is boycotting the presidential poll, it has put forward candidates for this vote - the first time it has contested a Palestinian election. The vote will serve as a barometer of Hamas's level of support beyond its Gaza stronghold.

Similar elections for councillors were last held in the Occupied Territories in 1976. "This is a very important election because it prepares the way for the presidential election," said Firas Yaghi, head of the municipal electoral commission.
Whatever else the outcome of this election, I hope Hamas loses punishingly.
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Cruise Missiles: Now 3 Countries In The Club
In Monday's Winds of War briefing at Winds of Change.NET I reported that Russia had broken the American monopoly on cruise missile production. Today I learned that India has now also joined the club. Whew, that was fast! Interestingly, this missile was a joint project with the Russians (it's in the name, even: Brah-Mos).

India successfully test-fired a surface-to-surface version of the BrahMos cruise missile yesterday for the first time, making India the third in the world to acquire the capability after the US and Russia. The supersonic missile, a product of an Indo-Russian joint venture, derives its name from the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers. Speaking to the Press Trust of India, a Defense Ministry spokesman present at the test site said: “From among a group of identified built-up targets, the missile came dead on the target, destroying it.? The missile has a range of approximately 300 kilometer and can carry either a conventional or tactical nuclear warhead of up to 300 kilograms at nearly three times the speed of sound. The BrahMos missile has three variants and can be launched from submarine, ship, aircraft, and land-based Mobile Autonomous Launchers (MAL). Though it is primarily an anti-ship cruise missile, “it has the capability to engage land based targets also?, according to the official website of the Indo-Russian project.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Zahra's Blue Eyes
This is outrageous:
Iran's Sahar 1 TV station is currently airing a weekly series titled "For You, Palestine," or "Zahra's Blue Eyes." The series premiered on December 13, and is set in Israel and the West Bank. It broadcasts every Monday, and was filmed in Persian but subsequently dubbed into Arabic.

The story follows an Israeli candidate for Prime Minister, Yitzhak Cohen, who is also the military commander of the West Bank. The opening sequence of the show contains graphic scenes of surgery, and images of a Palestinian girl in a hospital whose eyes have been removed, with bandages covering the sockets.

In Episode 1, Yitzhak Cohen lectures at a medical conference on the advances being made by Israeli medicine regarding organ transplants. Later in the episode, Israelis disguised as UN workers visit a Palestinian school, ostensibly to examine the children's eyes for diseases, but in reality to select which children's eyes to steal to be used for transplants.

In Episode 2, the audience learns that the Israeli president is being kept alive by organs stolen from Palestinian children, and an Israeli military commander is seen kidnapping UN employees and Palestinians.

Sahar TV also broadcast an interview with the director of the series, a former Iranian education ministry official, who discussed his motivations for making a series "about children."
Read excerpts from the episodes (if you can stand it, I couldn't): Iranian TV Drama Series about Israeli Government Stealing Palestinian Children's Eyes
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Arab Christians' Last Free Bastion Under Siege
Habib Malik writes in the Daily Star of the Lebanese Christians' valiant struggle against dhimmitude, which they now sadly seem to be losing.

Two distinct historical narratives define the way of life and the destiny of the Middle East's diverse indigenous Christian communities: a narrative of subjugation and a narrative of freedom. On one side lies the vast majority of Christian Arabs - over 90 percent - in their respective regional and cultural contexts. Since the rise and spread of Islam these communities have been relentlessly reduced to dhimmi status, or second-class status in their own homelands, being forced to forfeit any semblance of free existence. The Christians of Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Syria and the Holy Land belong to this vanquished category.

On the other side stand the Christians of Lebanon, numerically a minority, but with a unique historical experience of freedom that was defended and preserved over the centuries at a high cost in terms of blood and treasure.
It always costs a lot of blood and treasure to stay free and secure. The mistake is to imagine that you can be secure and unfree. You'll still bleed, and you'll still spend the treasure. And you won't gain any security by it. Lebanon's Christians have fought valiantly for hundreds of years to defend their freedoms and way of life, and thanks to them Lebanon was famously considered the Switzerland of the Middle East until the PLO took it over and turned it into a sewer. Large-scale emigration and Syrian subjugation now endanger a tradition of liberty that is hundreds of years old.
Here the entrenched Maronites, affiliated with Rome since the year 1180, serve as spearhead for a host of other lesser denominations who have thrown in their lot with them to form an exceptionally rooted and tenacious Christian community largely resistant to the ravages of "dhimmitude." However, the combined toll in recent years of war, foreign occupation, economic deterioration, and attrition through emigration has weighed heavily on Lebanon's Christians, causing them for the first time since the mid-19th century to experience an appreciable loss in the precious freedoms to which they have clung so fiercely for so long.

One way to begin to appreciate the qualitative difference in mindset and outlook between dhimmi Christians and free Christians in the Middle East is to look at attitudes of Christians on both sides of the Syrian-Lebanese border. In Syria, where Christians have lived as dhimmis for centuries, even the slightest improvement in their overall situation, as happened under the late President Hafez al-Assad, was hailed as a tremendous achievement and a great leap forward by the community, which has offered its complete allegiance to the present regime. Not having known real freedom, Syrian Christians reacted to even the smallest dimension of breathing room with an outpouring of gratitude.

Move across the border into neighboring Lebanon and the inexorable reduction in the community's personal and communal freedoms over the last quarter century is viewed by Christians as nothing short of calamitous. For a people who have tasted the fruits of real freedom and sacrificed much to protect them, even the minutest diminution of such a valuable commodity is greatly felt and lamented.

The future of Christian Arabs hangs in the balance today. The majority, which initially was offered order in place of freedom, is now being handed insecurity everywhere throughout the Arab world. Those few who risked everything to embrace freedom face, at best, an uncertain course as pressures mount to deprive them of what is left of their hard-won liberties.
Better the uncertain course with the knowledge of earning your freedom every day than the alleged certainty of a security that depends on the whims of a frenzied mob. Ben Franklin famously opined that "[t]hose willing to give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither security nor liberty"-the corollary to that is that they not only deserve neither, they'll also have neither.
I don't mean to criticise Arab Christians' behaviors in other Islamic-majority countries, because the Lebanese Christians were in a unique position of numerical near-parity for a large part of their history, a situation which other Arab Christians have never enjoyed. And the victims should never be blamed for the crimes committed against them.
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guest author: Semite5000 in Discarded Lies:
Christmas Rant
Is it just me, or do the folks at Fox News Channel not understand the idea of separation of church and state?

Granted, the purveyors of PC’ness certainly seem to be waging a war against Mangers, Nativities “in God we trust�? and Santas, and for the most part I find their battle to be spiteful and nitpicky. In fact, I sympathize with Christians who feel that their faith is under attack. FNC, being the network that they are, have take it upon themselves to highlight this cultural battle. I would expect them to do so.

However, as somebody who keeps his TV tuned to FNC by default, I also must say for the first as a non-Christian American I�?ve been feeling a little bit alienated. This is because FNC’s nonstop coverage of any perceived anti-Christmas slight has now degenerated into a sort of “tyranny of the majority�?-influenced coverage.

I just watched another “can you believe they’re attacking Christmas!?�? report, and this one shocked me because the tone of FNC’s report was blatantly dismissive of the idea of separation of church and state. The report concerned public schools that no longer make children in chorus sing Christmas songs that are filled with Christian-type lyrics. The whole tone of the report was one of incredulity that something like this could happen. To show the other side, they ran a snippet of an Anti Defamation League member talking about separation of church and state- the same ADL that Bill O’Reilly unfairly slimed recently as an extremist organization.

Well, I sang in chorus in elementary school and I can tell you that if I had to sing Christian Christmas songs it would have really bothered me. It would have made me feel coerced to do something I didn’t believe in; to perhaps even break my own religion. As an adult I can deal with something like that, but as a child it would have freaked me out.

But, according to FNC, that would have been little Zachary’s fault. “Too bad kid, suck it up and sing or go sit this one out.�? And of course, it may be hard for the Christian majority to appreciate, but when you are the only one dissenting – and you are just a little kid – it can be a very awkward experience.

"Why isn't Zak singing?"

"I don't know, but I think he hates Jesus and Santa."

For the producers and instigators of this FNC “save Christmas�? blitz, it apparently doesn’t matter if the school is PUBLIC instead of parochial, despite the world of difference between the two. That to me is shocking. It is shocking that they are willing to drive wedges between Christians and non-Christians over the issue of separation of church and state … and for who knows what reason (actual conviction … ratings?).

Maybe I’m feeling overly sensitive this season, but I was also surprised at an FNC commercial that read: “Noel, noel, noel … a baby was born, the King of Israel who blesseth thiseth and thateth … “ etc. (I don’t remember it completely). Then it read: “Merry Christmas,�? at the end. Ahem, wouldn’t a simple “Merry Christmas�? suffice? Why the need to quote scripture? Am I being hyper-sensitive, or was that commercial rubbing it in my face a bit? A national network quoting scripture- think about it.

And I want to state it again: I too get annoyed when the ACLU attacks a teacher who mentions he or she is a Christian in class, or something innocuous like that. There are many cases of legitimate expressions of Christian faith being unfairly attacked and viciously ridiculed. I sympathize with Christians on this. But please, when you start questioning the sensibility of church and state during Christmas you not only by default make the Jews look like Scrooges, but you also attack the bedrock of our democracy. Unfortunately FNC, a network I enjoy watching, is leading the pack on this one. I think in their zeal to highlight a legitimate issue that resonates with millions of Americans they’ve gone a little bit too far themselves.

What do you think?
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guest author: Semite5000 in Discarded Lies:
First Day of Teaching
So, I had my first day of teaching .... but first let me tell about the dinner I had with the men of Banpo Elementary School last night.

The Principal and the other male faculty insisted I join them and another new faculty member for a traditional Korean dinner- no girls allowed, much to Nyeema's chagrin.

We entered located on a small side street, almost more of an alleyway. I never caught the restaurant's name. We were led down a short hall where there was a room off to the side and elevated about two steps above the hallway. We took our shoes off before entering and then sat at tables which were about a foot high. Sitting on cushions, myself next to the principal, the food was rushed to our long table. Korean food always consists of a number of side dishes and a main course (or more) meant to be eaten at the same time. Kimche is a staple of Korean cuisine, and not only is it present at every Korean meal, there are usually a number of varieties of kimche.

Korea is kimche; kimche is Korea. Jenna, the Korean girl who helped arrange our program, told me that some Japanese restaurants have begun to serve kimche and claim it as their own. First there was the brutal occupation of Korea by Japan; then the use of Korean women as "Comfort Women" and now the final insult to injury- the Japanese usurpation of kimche! How dare they?!

Anyway, accompanying our bountiful meal, replete with lot's of chewy squid, was the Korean national alcoholic beverage- soju. It was strong and had a unique flavor. The stuff seemed like it would give you a wicked hangover if you drank too much of it. I drank a lot of it, but because I cushioned my system with so much food, I did not get too drunk. Of course, it was not as if I guzzled the stuff on my own; rather, the principal, Mr. Yee, kept filling my cup. A few times he filled his own cup, pouring with both of his hands, and insisted I drink from it. It was explained to me that I was to reciprocate and that the gesture was a sign of goodwill and respect.

Korean food is extremely spicy. Luckily, I love spicy food. At one point Mr. Yee grabbed two hot peppers and handed one to me. He dipped his in a sauce and took a bite and then waited for me to act in kind. As I dipped a man across from me said I did not have to eat it, but I took a nice sized bite anyhow. It was spicy but nothing I could not handle and my "bravery" gained me added respect. Mr Yee, who was so prim and proper during my orientation earlier that day, seemed to be the life of the party that night. It was fun to watch all of the faculty loosened up and laughing uproariously at each other's stories.

Fast forward to my first day of teaching.

We were not given any textbook to follow or anything. The lessons are planned completely by us. Nyeema and myself have already devised what we believe is a pretty good system. I teach 1st, 5th and 6th grades. The latter two were fun, but the first graders were pretty hyper and rambunctious and I had trouble controlling them. Luckily their teacher was there to calm them down. The first graders, or some of them, knew more English than I anticipated. One darling little girl in particular was a hyperactive little learning machine. I was going through the alphabet and asking them to give me examples of words that began with whatever letter we were on.

Me: Who knows a word that starts with 'A'?
HALMG (Hyper-Active Learning Machine Girl): "Me me me! Apple- A P P L E. Apple, apple apple" she would shout as she bounced in her seat.

The look of intensity on her little face, the way her arm rocketed up to answer questions, the way she would scream "Me me!" was hilarious- and also annoying after awhile. She would look at me with such intensity, waiting for me to call on her, practically shaking with excitement.

Me: How about 'D?'
HALMG: Dinosaur, dinosaur- D I N O S A U R."

Be honest, how many of you know how to spell dinosaur off the top of your head? This kid was amazing.

But all in all, I really enjoyed teaching. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make myself seem ... I don't know, "jolly" in front of the kids, but I think I pulled it off. Time flew by, which I guess means I was having fun. I've also done the math (as best as Zak can do math) and figure that they are paying me about $30/hour for my services. Not bad!

Anyway, people here are so nice. I really like this culture. If I knew the language I think I could easily live here and enjoy it. Another thing I dig is the bowing. There are different types of bows. You can be walking down the street and if you make eye-contact somebody might smile and nod their head down slightly. However, a few of the students would walk by and say "Hi teacher" and give a big bow from the waist. I bow from the waist when I meet somebody important or want to show a lot of appreciation. But most bows are just little dips of the head.

About these messages, I brought my lap top and originally intended to compose my letters slowly, taking me time to phrase things just right. Unfortunately, the power converter doesn't work with my computer so these letters are written in haste while I sit on my "brother" John's computer. Because I do not like to hog the computer, I cannot spend as much time crafting the letters as I wanted.

Oh well, deal with it.

Take care,

Zak
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