Saturday, December 31, 2011

The last post of 2011: South African bureaucrats must be rubbing their hands with glee.... potential kickbacks and the US government should be ashamed of itself. There is an article in today's NYT on the proposal by Shell Oil and others to start digging for gas under the Karoo. This is as bad as, if not worse than the rape of the tarsands of Alberta, Canada. The oil companies are using the bait of employment to assuage whatever qualms the South African government may have (and they don't have many) about environmental degradation of the deep aquifers under the Karoo. The US government has been promoting the development and export of fracking technology abroad, even as concerned citizens and scientists here have exposed the negative effects both here and Canada of the use of this technology.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Strange Relations

In the Department of Politics makes Strange Bedfellows, here is a recent article in the Seattle Times on the close relationship between Turkey and Native Americans and the negative response from the Armenian American community.  And, not only is this relationship quite long standing, but Democratic and Republican legislators have joined together on each side of the issue, depending on whether they have large numbers of constituents who are Native American or Armenian American.

When we visited Aleppo in June 2010, we visited an Armenian Church.  The young man showing us around lectured us for over 20 minutes on how the US government has not yet recognised the Armenian Genocide committed by the Turks.  The fact that Congress supported such resolutions did not make any difference:  a formal condemnation was required.

Armenian Church, Aleppo, Syria 2010

An excellent novel exploring the complexities of Armenians, Turks, and the two in America is The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Reality According to Assad

The BBC aired the ABC Barbara Walters interview with Bashar al-Assad early this morning (Pacific time).  Later in the day, BBC interviewed Barbara Walters regarding this:  it is worth listening to her comments and outrage.   The only factual error she made and the only grain of truth Assad said, was regarding Assad being part of a dynasty:  Assad said he was not groomed by his father to take over the regime; Walters fulminated at this statement in her interview on BBC.  Assad's brother was the one groomed to take over, as Bashar was seen as too weak.  The brother was killed in an accident; Bashar apparently was reluctant.

Be sure to also listen to the interview on NPR that Kelly McEvers did with a Syrian activist who had been tortured and is now still active but in hiding.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mugabe and Nando's Chicken Commercial

Mugabe was not amused and objected to the Nando's Chicken commercial, so, Nando's caved and pulled it.  How wimpish.  See my previous post on 29 November.

Let's spread the word.