From my balcony

This morning in Carboneras, Almería, Spain. Photo: Susana Torre

Poetecstasy: Communally hated!

Here's a poet who can help us feel the anger of those our leaders Bush and Blair are trying to "democratize". Poetecstasy: Communally hated! See also this same writer's comments on The Amitava Kumar - Salman Rushdie Controversy. This John Matthew is a thoughtful man, with a refreshingly open (possibly naive?) faith in the power of the word.


How Lancet calculated Iraqi death toll

As a sociologist, I say the methodology looks pretty solid to me. Here´s how The Lancet determined that 655,000 Iraqis, over and above the normal death rate for the country, have died as a result of the U.S.-British invasion and its consequences. That´s 20 times as many as Bush is willing to acknowledge. But, alas, it's a very credible figure. "More deadly than Saddam," by Gwynne Dyer The Japan Times Online Articles

Iraq Through a Rebel's Eyes

À propos of my comment below about insurgent "terrorists" in the American Revolution, here's a more developed argument:

"Thomas Jefferson was a rebel, as so many of his comments demonstrated. He also was a gun enthusiast, and not the bird-shooting kind. His gang of insurgents fought the British with the eighteenth century equivalents of assault rifles, RPGs, and roadside bombs — and that is why they are worth recalling when our conversation turns to Iraq." Iraq Through a Rebel's Eyes


The War Prayer

A very short story, very angry, very pertinent to today's events -- though Mark Twain was thinking about the U.S. war in the Philippines at the time.
The War Prayer

Photo from rotten.com: Mark Twain

Revolutionary terrorists: Benjamin Franklin?

Regarding Luis Posada Carriles, Cuban former C.I.A. operative and free-lance assassin and mass murderer (he planted the explosive toothpaste tupe that blew up a Cuban airline in 1976, killing all its 76 occupants):

"How can you call someone a terrorist who allegedly committed acts on your behalf?" asked Felipe D. J. Millan, Mr. Posada's El Paso-based lawyer. "This would be the equivalent of calling Patrick Henry or Paul Revere or Benjamin Franklin a terrorist." Castro Foe With C.I.A. Ties Puts U.S. in an Awkward Spot - New York Times

No, Mr. Millan, not those guys. Henry was an orator, Revere a silversmith famous for a midnight ride warning of an attack, and Franklin -- well, Franklin was many things, printer, author, diplomat, inventor. Not one of them was an assassin or, as far as I can tell, ever fired a shot at a human being. Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys would be better examples of terrorists among the American revolutionaries, if we apply the Bush standards. In fact, by those standards (the ones applied in Afghanistan, that fighters without regular uniforms or with authorization of a recognized state are not "soldiers"), the entire Continental Army should have been sent to Guantánamo. But not Franklin, Revere or Henry. Though if they had fallen into British hands they would have been hanged as abettors of terrorism, or insurrection as it was then called.


Orhan Pamuk

Now that he has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, you may be curious to see my comments on three of his books, a memoir of Istanbul and two novels. As you will see, I was less enthusiastic than the Nobel jury.

Istanbul: Memoirs of a City (Scroll down to see reviews of The White Castle and My Name is Red.)