May 6th, 2007

The micro or macro view question

Macro view (simplistic)

In Iraq, the Shiites are our friends, the Sunni’s are the enemy. Reasoning: Hussein was a Sunni. Please note that this is the same simplistic reasoning as “Iran is our enemy, Hussein fights Iran, ergo Hussein is our friend”. The Kurds in Northern Iraq, wanting their own state and in conflict with both Iraq as wel as Turkey, are viewed benevolent. Right? RIGHT? Think for a second please if this corresponds with your image of this part of the Middle East.

Micro view (simplistic)

I must confess I stumbled over the video is the day before yesterday before the story appeared on Boing Boing, but then decided it would not post it as there was no caption where it happened and why, and it actually made me sick, not my goal for this blog. The Amnesty report is the most objective I guess, but then, who wants to be objective?

In a short mobile video clip which appears to have been taken by locals at seen of the murder, the girl is seen being ambushed on her way home by a group of up to 1000 men who were waiting for her to return; the men killed her in the most brutal way possible, by throwing large stones on her head. The following clips show that while she is alive and crying for help she is taunted and kicked in her stomach until someone finishes her off by throwing a large stone on her face.

One moment there is a 17 year old girl, maybe bright, maybe stupid, maybe beautiful, maybe ugly, but certainly promising. 30 minutes later, after a barbarian scene, there is only the smell of fear and death and a pulped body. It is so, so wrong, no matter the “crime”.

May 6th, 2007

The explanation of life

Hehe, VideoJug (Life Explained. On film) is a website where common problems, such as Meeting your new girlfriends father, unblocking a toilet, unlocking a bra with one hand (Yes, I will do better now, promise) and Yoga Standing Posures are addressed in usually clear blocks. Funny, entertaining, and educating.

May 6th, 2007

The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci

Beautiful. This is Hands, dated 1474.


May 6th, 2007

The freedom of the press

Reporters sans frontiers (reporters without borders) is an organisation watching the freedom of press throughout the world. The ranking order for 2006 is published here. Freedom of press is a good indication of democracy and anyone who believes democracy is the best (or arguably the least worse) system, should watch this. The list has 168 entries. A few things that caught my eye:

  • The US is listed on position 53 (down 9). “Relations between the media and the Bush administration harply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of “national security” to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his “war on terrorism.” The zeal of federal courts which, unlike those in 33 US states, refuse to recognise the media’s right not to reveal its sources, even threatens journalists whose investigations have no connection at all with terrorism.”
  • China is on position 163. “China (163rd) has dropped four places. The country’s media outlets are more numerous and aggressive now, but repression, carried out jointly by the government departments of propaganda and public security, has increased. The government of the world’s most populous country stresses that it wants to keep its monopoly on all news, mainly through the state-run Xinhua news agency. Censorship has been stepped up, penalties increased, many news websites shut down and physical attacks have escalated. One journalist was killed by police.”

My country is, in this list, still in the (shared) number one position, but that will surely change next year, by probably between 10 and 20 marks. Reason is that 3 journalists were (unsuccessfully) held hostage by the authorities for not revealing their sources. That would put us between the likes of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

More worrying than obvious repression of journalists doing their work is the increasing self-censorship, fueled by spokesmen and lobbyists. “If you publish this, we’ll never give you an item anymore” is an effective threat, especially with old media under time pressure and eroding revenues.