“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for May 2005

Médecins Sans Frontières

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Médecins Sans Frontières valuable work into Sudan is under threat after the Sudanese government issued an arrest warrant for the head of MSF in the country:

Reuter’s reports:

“KHARTOUM, May 30 (Reuters) – Sudan has issued a warrant for the arrest of the country head of aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) for publishing a report on hundreds of rape cases in Darfur, the attorney-general said on Monday.

“We have issued a warrant for the arrest of the head of the organisation after speaking to the (governmental) Humanitarian Aid Commission,” Mohamed Farid, Sudan’s attorney-general, told Reuters. He said it was for publishing a false report on rapes in the Darfur region in March.

MSF Holland released the report in March, saying its doctors working in Darfur had medical evidence of about 500 rape cases over a period of about 4 1/2 months in the region in the throes of a rebellion in its third year. Sudan denies there is widespread rape in Darfur.

. . . .

Tens of thousands have been killed in the fighting in Darfur and more than 2 million forced form their homes to makeshift camps around the region. Reports of rape are widespread in the conflict, and a U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry found evidence of mass rape during the conflict.

Rape is a sensitive subject in Muslim Darfur, and victims are often ostracised by society. “

Written by modernityblog

30/05/2005 at 12:43

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Misconceptions of Israelis

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If you listened to some of the political anti-Zionists you’d believe that every Israeli is a gun toting ‘settler’ hell-bent on murder and mayhem. The truth not unsurprisingly is a deal great different as Lisa in Tel Aviv shows in your latest entry: Learning about coexistence

Thanks for the suggestion Norm.

Written by modernityblog

30/05/2005 at 00:36

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Great Wine

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Wine 20050524 has been released, the binary downloads are here

For more information on WINE, go here.

Who needs M$ when you have Linux and some wine.

Taken from the WINE FAQ:
“2.1. What is Wine and what is it supposed to do?

Wine is a program which allows the operation of DOS and MS Windows programs (Windows 3.x and Win32 executables) on UNIX operating systems such as Linux. It consists of a program loader, which loads and executes a Windows binary, and a set of libraries that implements Windows API calls using their UNIX or X11 equivalents. The libraries may also be used for porting Win32 code into native UNIX executables, often without many changes in the source. Wine is free software, and its license (contained in the file LICENSE in each distribution) is the LGPL. “

Written by modernityblog

29/05/2005 at 18:34

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State of the Guardian?

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Small wonder over the years that I have become increasingly dissatisfied with the attitude and content of the Guardian newspaper.

This exchange is on a serious subject (AUT blacklist) and yet receives a flippant response from the Guardian.

It is frightening that alleged committed trade unionists (Sue Blackwell, etc ) don’t take the elementary approach of knowing their union rulebook, off by heart, and therefore do not moan when legitimate rules are enacted. It is very clear that the previous AUT discussion on the blacklist was faulty and limited. So a widespread discussion of the issues surrounding the AUT blacklist should be welcomed by all committed trade unionists, but clearly not by the political mavericks and obsessives with a chip on their shoulder.

The days of smoke-filled rooms are long gone and so should be back handed dealings, issues such as academic freedom, selective boycotts, the Middle East and anti-Semitism need inclusive deliberations not posture politics.

Norm sums it up : “Anyone who doubts that what begins with Sue Blackwell will end with Arbeit Macht Frei is simply refusing to listen to the sad, eternal klezmer music of history. Weigh my words– every last one of them.”

Victor Klemperer’s diary entry for 10th March, 1933:

“No one dares make a move. The Dresden student body made a declaration today and the honour of German students forbids them to come into contact with Jews. They are not allowed to enter the Student House. How much Jewish money went towards this Student House only a few years ago!”

Written by modernityblog

28/05/2005 at 00:25

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AUT blacklist, a Union Vote

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The good news is that the AUT blacklist has been overturned, although there is predictably sour grapes from the likes of Sue Blackwell.

Here are a few interesting links on the subject:

Norm’s blog – always a delight to read, reasoned and considered arguments on the subject.

And, of course, those fine people at Engage , see the about section

The BBC Newsnight clip on the AUT vote can be found here

Best use Classic Media Player and forword to 37:02 into the programme.

Written by modernityblog

26/05/2005 at 10:58

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American Nazis?

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In this time of heated and acrimonious discussions concerning the Middle East and anti-Semitism, there is a frequently asked question: “can a Jew be anti-Semitic?”

Self-evidently the answer is yes, however, this strange phenomena is worthy of greater discussion and analysis, I will hopefully returned to it at a later stage.

For the interim articles from the Southern Poverty Law Centre, Frank Collins/Cohen and Andrew Greenbaum, AKA the Spam Nazi will suffice.

Written by modernityblog

25/05/2005 at 20:14

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Cheap phone calls?

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As an example of up-and-coming technologies SKYPE is very promising, with the ability to extend IP telephony to the desktop.

PC to PC phone calls are free, and their PC to landlines calls are comparatively cheap.

Although it is best with broadband and a fairly decent PC (>1 Ghz) SKYPE is usable even on dial-up or lower end machines (500 Mhz Celerons).

The inclusion of multi platform software is very shrewd.

Written by modernityblog

25/05/2005 at 19:31

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Students Waving Placards

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Students Waving Placards’ Journal is always worth a weekly read, and the comments recently on the AUT blacklist with Sue Blackwell’s reactions are telling.

Written by modernityblog

24/05/2005 at 12:12

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Blackwell sees the ‘Elders of Zion’?

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The response to AUT blacklist have been most interesting, and none more so than Sue Blackwell’s comments recently, as detailed at Engage:

“I’m not very optimistic about the outcome,” she added “We are up against a backlash, being promoted by a well-organized, well-funded pro-Israeli lobby.”

She seems to see Zionist conspiracies behind every response to the disgusting blacklist.

David Hirsh explains her attitude:

“Sue Blackwell does not understand what is going on right now. She thinks that when Israel is on the agenda, something particular happens. The whole world goes completely hysterical, she thinks, a special case is made, and a well-organised, well-funded Zionist lobby rises up and defeats good, honest leftist trade unionists.”

But the reality is very different:

“That was why we organised Engage; we wanted the authentic left to have a voice with which it could intervene in the struggle between Palestinian and Israeli nationalisms.

A couple of days later, Jon phoned me again, having found a copy of AUT’s rulebook. A Special Council could be called, he mused, if 25 Council Members ask for it. Why hadn’t it been organised then? Should we do it? Yes. Lets do it. So we put up a call for Council Members to contact us on the website . We argued that the decision had been undemocratic, terribly wrong, it had put AUT in legal jeopardy and we couldn’t wait a whole year to undo the damage.”

Written by modernityblog

23/05/2005 at 22:29

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Harry’s got it

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Harry has spotted that this gem from Christopher Hitchen, someone I rarely ever thought I would agree with, but his comments on George Galloway are spot-on:

“Indeed, he was a type well known in the Labour movement. Prolier than thou, and ostentatiously radical, but a bit too fond of the cigars and limos and always looking a bit odd in a suit that was slightly too expensive. By turns aggressive and unctuous, either at your feet or at your throat; a bit of a backslapper, nothing’s too good for the working class: what the English call a “wide boy.”

Written by modernityblog

21/05/2005 at 10:12

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The Daily Norm

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Norm is always worth reading, none more so than this tale from Israel

Written by modernityblog

20/05/2005 at 23:11

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Opposing the AUT blacklist

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I think it is better to call the AUT action what it really is: a blacklist.

Perusing the web revealed that one of the opponents of the AUT blacklist is Sari Nusseibeh, Professor of Islamic Philosophy at Al Quds University

He stated:

“We are informed by the principle that we should seek to win Israelis over to our side, not to win against them,” said the university, which is headed by Dr. Sari Nusseibeh.

“Therefore…we believe it is in our interest to build bridges, not walls; to reach out to the Israeli academic institutions, not to impose another restriction or dialogue-block on ourselves.”

Judith Apter Klinghoffer’s piece is interesting and her blog

Thanks to Norm for reminding us of John Strawson’s piece.

Written by modernityblog

20/05/2005 at 18:02

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Words will come back to haunt you.

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We are lucky to live in the age of the Internet: information can be accessed at the touch of a button, Webcams allow us to check the weather in the remotest of cities and electronic books allow people to freely read historical literature.

Yet there are many people, invariably politicians or dictators, which fear freely accessible information and the ability of ordinary people to recall historical facts (previous statements, reports, etc), and therefore hold them to account.

The recent appearance of George Galloway at the Senate sub-committee may prove that words will come back to haunt him.

Irrespective of our view on Galloway, he gave a strong performance and bettered the weak questioning from the senators, but issues concerning Miriam’s appeal will not go away.

Below are links to the transcripts of his court appearance and the Senate sub-committee.

Galloway libel

Senate sub-committee transcript

Senate sub-committee video, from the BBC

See his comment ” Using their statutory powers they recovered all money in and all money out ever received or spent by the Mariam Appeal. “

Written by modernityblog

20/05/2005 at 13:30

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Media Alternatives

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Are you sick and tired of bloatware ? Or Microsoft’s media players?

Does RealAudio or Qucktime drive you mad? Need something quick and handy?

Try classic media player, real alternative or Quicktime alternative.

Fast, bug free and not a M$ in sight.

Written by modernityblog

16/05/2005 at 14:46

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George Galloway on Video

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I am always forgetting those wonderful videos of George Galloway and his expressions of admiration for Saddam Hussein.

A picture is certainly worth more than a thousand words, and these videos convey George’s true intent.

The Iraqi blogger Salam Pax shows gorgeous George in all his smarminess.

Jeremy Paxman election morning interview with a blustering Galloway.

The text versions are below:

Richard Palmer’s piece in the Times, 23rd Jan 1994.

In a speech recorded by the BBC monitoring service, he lavished praise on the Iraqi dictator, calling him “Sir” and addressing him as “Your Excellency, Mr President”. “I greet you, in the name of the many thousands of people in Britain who stood against the tide and opposed the war and aggression against Iraq and continued to oppose the war by economic means which is aimed to strangle the life out of the great people of Iraq,” he said.

“Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability. And I want you to know that we are with you until victory, until victory (sic), until Jerusalem.”

Confirmed by David Pallister in the Guardian on 17th Nov 2004, page 9 but expanded as:

Earlier, Mr Justice Eady, who is sitting without a jury, was shown a video clip of Mr Galloway’s meeting with Saddam in 1994. During a 10-minute speech Mr Galloway said: “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability. And I want you to know that we are with you ‘hatta al-nasr, hatta al-nasr, hatta al- Quds’ [until victory, until victory, until Jerusalem].”

Written by modernityblog

15/05/2005 at 22:46

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