12/20/2014

The Torture Report's Missing Female Victims

Nimmi Gowrinathan | The Torture Report's Missing Female Victims | Foreign Affairs
As Amanda Gutterman, an editor at the Huffington Post, noted, the word “she” appeared fewer than 20 times in the extensive document. And these references were largely to female senators or to the former national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.
Another explanation is that, perhaps, as fears mount about a backlash in the Islamic world to the report’s release, the omission of women was a calculated decision. In areas of ongoing conflict, particularly in culturally conservative societies, attacks on women are often seen as a deeper symbolic wound.

Scheherazade

Scheherazade.tif
SCHEHERAZADE BY SOPHIE ANDERSON 1862
The story of the 1001 Arabian Nights goes that the Persian king was to marry a new young virgin and after doing so would dispatch the previous day's wife to be beheaded. This was done in anger, having found out that his first wife was unfaithful to him. He had killed 1,000 such women by the time he was introduced to Scheherazade.
In Sir Richard Burton's translation of The Nights, Scheherazade was described in this way: "Scheherazade had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of bygone men and things; indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplishments; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred."
Against her father's wishes, Scheherazade volunteered to spend one night with the king. Once in the king's chambers, Scheherazade asked if she might bid one last farewell to her beloved sister, Dunyazade, who had secretly been prepared to ask Scheherazade to tell a story during the long night. The king lay awake and listened with awe as Scheherazade told her first story. The night passed by, and Scheherazade stopped in the middle of the story. The king asked her to finish, but Scheherazade said there was no time, as dawn was breaking. So, the king spared her life for one day to finish the story the next night. The next night, Scheherazade finished the story and then began a second, even more exciting tale which she again stopped halfway through at dawn. Again, the king spared her life for one more day to finish the second story.
And so the King kept Scheherazade alive day by day, as he eagerly anticipated the finishing of the previous night's story. At the end of 1,001 nights, and 1,000 stories, Scheherazade told the king that she had no more tales to tell him. During these 1,001 nights, the king had fallen in love with Scheherazade, and spared her life, and made her his queen.

Raglan Road by Patrick Kavanagh

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay
O I loved too much and by such by such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that’s known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say,
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May.

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay –
When the angel woos the clay he’d lose his wings at the dawn of day.


Note - turned into a song by the Dubliners
Luke Kelly's better version HERE

12/18/2014

The Brandy Glass - Louis MacNeice

Only let it form within his hands once more -
The moment cradled like a brandy glass.
Sitting alone in the empty dining hall...
From the chandeliers the snow begins to fall
Piling around carafes and table legs
And chokes the passage of the revolving door.
The last diner, like a ventriloquist's doll
Left by his master, gazes before him, begs:
'Only let it form within my hands once more.'

America And Cuba

160,000 Iraqi Christians have fled Mosul: Iraqi MP

“The majority of Christians have taken shelter in [northern Iraqi semi-autonomous] Kurdistan [region],” the lawmaker said.
Thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced out of their homes in the city of Mosul in July following an ultimatum by the ISIL militants to them to convert to Islam, pay taxes or face death.
ISIL militants took control of Mosul in a lightning advance on June 10, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of the capital, Baghdad. Tikrit has been reportedly retaken by the Iraqi army.

12/17/2014

Al-Sweady Inquiry Turns Into Vendetta Against Lawyers for Iraqi Families

Al-Sweady inquiry: Iraqis mistreated but UK troops did not murder insurgents | UK news | The Guardian
But the al-Sweady inquiry – named after an Iraqi teenager killed in the battle – found that soldiers were guilty of mistreating detainees, including depriving them of food and sleep, blindfolding them – in breach of Ministry of Defence rules – and threatening them – in breach of the Geneva convention.
At the end of his 1,350-page report, Sir Thayne Forbes, a former high court judge, concludes that the most serious allegations made against the soldiers were “wholly and entirely without merit or justification”.

Life On Mars?

Ukrainian Civilians Caught in Crossfire

Al-Sweady Inquiry Due: UK's £25m Army abuse probe to issue report

Al-Sweady inquiry: UK's £25m Army abuse probe to issue report - Home News - UK - The Independent 
It has examined claims that 20 or more Iraqis were unlawfully killed while in custody, bodies were mutilated and detainees were ill-treated following a fierce firefight known as the Battle of Danny Boy in May 2004.
After almost 300 witnesses in central London gave evidence during a year of public hearings, lawyers representing the alleged victims' families admitted that there was no evidence of unlawful killing.
But they stood by claims regarding the alleged mistreatment of prisoners at Camp Abu Naji (CAN) near Majar-al-Kabir in southern Iraq and later at Shaibah Logistics Base.

Self Portrait At Easel (1556) - Sofonisba Anguissola

Her inscription on the painting reads 'I Sofonisba Anguissola, unmarried, am the equal of the Muses and Apelles in playing my songs and handling my paints'

12/16/2014

Thomas Patten - Proudly Remembered

Today in 1936, Thomas Patten from Achill Island in Ireland, volunteer with the International Brigades, was killed in the defence of Madrid from fascists. No Pasaran.


Two studies show needs and targets for UK energy efficiency

Two studies show needs and targets for UK energy efficiency SaveMoneyCutCarbon
A survey for the National Energy Foundation (NEF) and a report published by Green Alliance together provide a fascinating snapshot of the opportunities and challenges facing policy makers.
The NEF survey conducted by ComRes indicates the level of knowledge and awareness around energy while the Green Alliance report underlines which housing sector would benefit most from energy retrofit projects.
The NEF survey, a nationally representative sample, advises that most British adults say they would like to reduce their energy consumption, either because of the financial cost of using energy (four in five, 81%) or because of the environmental impact (seven in ten, 70%).

IS militants execute 19 policemen in western Iraq

The policemen were executed one day after the militants who seized the al-Wafaa area, just southwest of the provincial capital city of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, a provincial security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Separately, the IS militants surrounded a force from Iraqi police and government-allied militiamen in an area located some 35 km west of Ramadi, and fierce clashes were underway, the source said.

14 Juillet A Havre - Albert Marquet