Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Arab Uprisings... Arrive in Damascus

After Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, the regime in Syria may be next in line. The video below is from yesterday. Weeks ago the Assad regime outlawed protests and made those arrested sign pledges not to assemble again. A very mild response compared to thirty years ago when the current president's father flattened the village of Hama and killed 20,000 to put down an Islamist uprising there.

If any of my readers understand what the protesters are saying, please translate in the comment section.

Henry Jackson... a man for this moment

... who said:

"If you believe in the cause of freedom, then proclaim it, live it and protect it, for humanity's future depends on it."

Foreign Affairs

Freedom is not abstraction when there is a boot stomping on your face. If you care about that cause, this is what happened today...

Middle East

Al Jazeera reports: Bahrain forces attack protesters

BBC reports: Rare Syrian protests in Damascus

The Washington Post reports: Israel intercepts ship it says carried Iranian weapons bound for Gaza

North Africa

The Telegraph reports: Libya: World Leaders reject military intervention

The New York Times reports: Libyan Oil Buys Allies for Gaddafi

The Wall Street Journal reports: Gaddafi Closes In on Rebels

Al Jazeera reports: Gaddafi tells west to stay out of Libya


BBC reports: Libya: UK no-fly zone proposal to enter UN talks


The Telegraph reports: General Patraeus: US to begin sending troops home from Afghanistan in July

The Washington Post reports: Clinton visits Cairo’s Tahrir Square to show support for Egyptian democratic transition


BBC reports: G8 fails to agree on no-fly zone


The New York Times reports: Emperor, in Rare Address, Expresses Deep Concern Over Nuclear Crisis

BBC reports: North Korea ready to talk Nuclear


The Telegraph reports: Four killed in Ivory Coast attack

Hat-tip The Henry Jackson Society for many of these stories. About Henry Jackson HERE.

Spirit of the Times

I'm not sure I agree with all of this, but it sounds familiar and there is some wisdom therein:

"The budget should be balanced, the treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."
- Cicero (55 BC)

Haruki Murakami's NORWEGIAN WOOD... now a film

Below... the trailer for Anh Hung Tran’s adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s coming of age novel NORWEGIAN WOOD. Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, following on his eery work on THERE WILL BE BLOOD, has written the film’s score.

Can't wait for a US distributor to step up so I can see the whole thing in cinemas.

Hat tip Christine Spines.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Apropos That Metropolis's Uncovering... Donovan's ATLANTIS

It's now evident that the tsunami that hit the north of Japan was immensely more destructive and deadly than the actual 8.9 earthquake that triggered the wall of water. A bow in their direction for Japan's strict building codes, careful preparedness, and fortitude in these times. It's heart-wrenching, especially when one considers what a wonderful people they are, and what a great country they've become.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, archeologists working just north of Cadiz, Spain, believe they've found, submerged in an inland marsh, the remains of another tsunami-hit land, the supposedly-mythical Kingdom of Atlantis. This time the find looks credible. Reuters reports:

A U.S.-led research team may have finally located the lost city of Atlantis, the legendary metropolis believed swamped by a tsunami thousands of years ago in mud flats in southern Spain. "This is the power of tsunamis," head researcher Richard Freund told Reuters.... To solve the age-old mystery, the team used a satellite photo of a suspected submerged city to find the site just north of Cadiz, Spain. There, buried in the vast marshlands of the Dona Ana Park, they believe that they pinpointed the ancient, multi-ringed dominion known as Atlantis. The team of archeologists and geologists in 2009 and 2010 used a combination of deep-ground radar, digital mapping, and underwater technology to survey the site.

Plato, writing in the 4th century BC, described Atlantis as "an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Hercules that in a single day and night disappeared into the depths of the sea."

"In front of the Pillars of Hercules," meaning (from Plato's point of view in Athens) west of Gibraltar... the Cadiz area, pretty much.

In 1965, the bardic Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan offered his own fair account of Atlantis's disappearance in the talky prologue to his classic song... which really gets going around 1:50.

Donovan's song, by the way, was memorably used to very different effect by Martin Scorcese as a flower-child counterpoint to the most violent scene in his masterpiece "Goodfellas."

The Reuters account here.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai