Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pratchettphernalia

Been Discworlding again. Here are some quotes:
"The Patrician was not a man you shook a finger at unless you wanted to end up being able to count only to nine."
"Sergeant Colon owed thirty years of happy marriage to the fact that Mrs. Colon worked all day and Sergeant Colon worked all night. They communicated by means of notes. He got her tea ready before he left at night, she left his breakfast nice and hot in the oven in the mornings. They had three grown-up children, all born, Vimes had assumed, as a result of extremely persuasive handwriting."
"The trouble with being a god is that you've got no one to pray to."
"Gods don't like people not doing much work. People who aren't busy all the time might start to think."
"You couldn't put off the inevitable. Because sooner or later, you reached the place where the inevitable just went and waited."
"People think that professional soldiers think a lot about fighting, but serious professional soldiers think a lot more about food and a warm place to sleep, because these are two things that are generally hard to get, whereas fighting tends to turn up all the time."
"The Ephebians believed that every man should have the vote. [Footnote: Provided that he wasn't poor, foreign, nor disqualified by reason of being mad, frivolous, or a woman.]"
"Dhblah sidled closer. This was not hard. Dhblah sidled everywhere. Crabs thought he walked sideways."
"Bishops move diagonally. That's why they often turn up where the kings don't expect them to be."
"There were one thousand, two hundred and eighty-three religious books in [the library] now, each one -- according to itself -- the only book any man need ever read."

"...Vimes's grin was as funny as the one that moves very fast towards drowning men. And has a fin on top."

"A key to the understanding of all religion is that a god's idea of amusement is Snakes and Ladders with greased rungs. "

"Dwarfs are very attached to gold. Any highwayman demanding 'Your money or your life' had better bring a folding chair and packed lunch and a book to read while the debate goes on."

"There is a curse. They say: may you live in interesting times."

"Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on."

"Don't put your trust in revolutions. They always come around again. That's why they're called revolutions. People die, and nothing changes."

"Vimes had never got on with any game much more complex than darts. Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks round, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves."

"...even ordinary books are dangerous, and not only the ones like Make Gelignite the Professional Way. A man sits in some museum somewhere and writes a harmless book about political economy and suddenly thousands of people who haven't even read it are dying because the ones who did haven't got the joke."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wen 3a Ramalla



One fine Syria Magna (Belad e-Sham) folcloric song. I'm not sure whether it's from Jordan or Palestine, but it's a nice remake made by Syrian band Kulna Sawa. Enjoy.

THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED

Think about it...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Agnostic Meditation II

Of translation still...
I speak of my own experience, as I don't know otherwise. And as maybe the things I mistrust more than translations are auto-biographies. I won't mention about translated auto-biographies... My own experience consists of the following: I tried approaching Islam, but Islam kept me away by all means possible. Therefore, I took a Coran and started reading.
My argument with Cornelius started over one of those miss-interpretations. But knowing Cornelius, I'm inclined to believe it was an non deliberate one. After last winter circus over the Mohammed cartoons, I found an article published on an online site about Islam and tolerance. I was angry mad at the "faithful" masquerade, because, as a relative pointed out, no true Muslim should be offended by those stupidities for the simple fact that no historical source cited Mohammed the way he was portrayed, i.e. as Bin Laden-Abu Musaab mix. I, for instance, always imagined him to look like one shop owner I used to know back in Damascus.
Nevertheless, I never found as many outrages about Islam put together before laying eyes on Cornelius' post. Let me point out that if there is one truth about Islam in all the babbling advertisement of our glorious Imams, that truth is the part about tolerance, which I will be speaking about later. I was enraged. That was the only time when I was so utterly enraged, that I was ready to put everyone in front of a whitewashed wall and give them the traditional last smoke. I posted something, I don't even remember exactly what it was, but I made a point it seems. So good a point that I gained a friend and a follower. One square meter of heaven for me, as Father says!
Now the interesting part about the post is that it was actually accurate, in the sense of miss-translation, of course. It was about some versets in Coran which literally threaten with curses all those not Muslim. I read the very versets, and was struck with an axe over the head when I realized they meant the same meaning Cornelius was talking about. For the moment, I felt like an idiot to defend a religion so inhumane. It took me some time to recover. I remembered that the Versets weren't brought upon Mohammed overnight, and that Coran itself contains several parts, each part consist of one or more Surat, or even part of a Surat (Bakara), each of the major Surat speak of many aspects of life, thus are also parted into "sub-chapters". Many times one such "sub-chapter" can stand alone in it's meaning, or sometimes more than one "sub-chapter" are gathered together around a certain issue or subject. And at the end of this partition chain comes the verset. Now, when translating a poem, you don't translate every line as a stand-alone fact. More accurately, you translate a whole paragraph, to get a closer meaning, and when needed, even translate a number of paragraphs together, if your goal is to achieve even a more truthful translation of the subject. Thus, back to Coran, the biggest mistake is to translate each verset alone. This is what happened to both Cornelius and me, we took the exact versets and tried understanding they meaning and were outraged at the result. When I looked at the verset in a larger context, in it's sub-chapter, then in the whole Surat, the meaning of it was revealed to me, as clear as sunshine. It was something close to "all those of religion different than Islam should be cursed by God All-Mighty". Literal translation. Contextual translation was: "Some of the clerics would try manipulating the minds of the Simple through their knowledge, some might try to interpret the truth as it may suit their own well-being, some will go as far as claiming divinity. All those that lie in the name of God and his true Prophets (!), those, no matter their religion, will suffer God's curse for forever live endarkened". Hmm... How much more truth can be hold in one simple sentence? Isn't God actually trying to warn us of all nowadays clerics who consider themselves the only righteous enough to speak God's laws and teachings? Is it more logic to trust into the words of a cleric, a human, or to put your trust into Divinity? How can I trust a fellow human, albeit the most pious of clerics, when I know that his humanity, like mine, is likely to make him mistake? Wasn't the Prophet himself mistaken when Satan insuflated his sinful versets upon him? What makes a sheikh or a priest or cleric better interpreter than the Prophet himself, who recognized he was led into confusion by Evil? What make the Prophet better than the clerics: he recognized his humanity, he recognized the possibility of being mistaken, he recognized his mistakes. What did the clerics do? They perpetuated in their endarkening...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Agnostic Meditation I

I reach today the moment I've been trying to delay. It's hard to speak of belief without hurting, and it's hard to keep a clear mind in this world we live without seriously questioning your own belief.
Before I start collapsing the structures of every known and unknown religion, I must point out some ubicuous truths.
First and most important, I mistrust translation more than anything there is. A book, phrase, poem, thought is thought in a language and it's impossible, absolute impossibility, to translate with absolute precision. Heck, with close precision is tricky enough. I give a good translation, close, let's say, 70% compatibility with the original text. Although I doubt I ever read such an utopic book. The translative problem is a big great one, and is brought to on with purpose, as it's the ultimate excuse used by Islam for lingering in this state of absolute mind control over the believers and exclusivity treatment of those curious enough to be interested in a positive way. It's the cause of the deliberate and non deliberate miss interpretation of an otherwise, simple, quite plain religion, as Coran is non traductible, non understandable, indestructible, you have to be perfectly fluent in the Arabic tongue for those truths residing in the Holy Book be clear to you. Via a whole army of ulema, sheikh, imams and muftii, of course, as your poor dhimmi mind is too ignorant to understand pure "enlightened" truth. Why is Coran so badly interpreted in other languages, and I tell you it IS. Why, let me think: who's in control of the Arab and Muslim World these days? Saudi Arabia? What kind of practices do they encourage? The Coranic ones? Does Coran say "Daughters are a shame upon you, you should treat them as objects and deny them anything?" Does it say "That who does not pray 5 times a day should be beaten to death, no matter if he's not even Muslim"? Are these the teachings of the religion "that liberated women from the burden of infant burying, gave her her rights, privileges"? Do those images represent the truth about "the only true religion"? Because this is what the West knows about Islam. This, and the suiciders, and the "honor crimes" and nikab. And they know them so good, that they don't even want to hear about knowing otherwise. And don't you go blame any Jews for it, as I'll hack into whoever dares to do so! Translation, thus...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Time For A Change?

Historical moment caught on camera: Coffee Anan leaves office for new UN Secretary PokeMon... erm... Ban Ki Mon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another Three On Board

I add another three fine links today: articles on American Wars carefully collected by Riliescu, Troutsky's Thoughtstreaming and MFL's Marxist interesting point of view. Enjoy.

To War Or Not To War...

Been reading lately our biggest source of mis-information, out of sloth, I must add, as I didn't feel like Pr. Landis' neither Amar's nor Asaad's usual pessimism. Neither our friendly neighborhood terrorists from Al-Jazeera, overwhelmed that Alouni was released. So I read the usual crap on Syria News, where you can find an interesting bit of news if you're careful enough to sort all the cheap Ramadan gossip and extraordinary rape cases. So...
1. Najdat Anzour, Syria's biggest Spielberg of TV olive-soap operas, is promoting "top models" (to be read and understood "whores") over the talented young actresses of Syrian Drama Academy. Big article on unfairness and lack of opportunities because the invasion of "cheap" models, with libel and defamation and all. At least the "whores" promoted by Anzour are beautiful. Cheap.
2. Hariri wasn't killed by Syrians. Here we see the same opposite camps reloaded: Syria, Brimertz, 1/2 of Lebanon on one side, the Axis of Greater Good for US on the other. Lahoud says witness is fake, Saud cries Syria to be reason why this World isn't working properly. Same cat/mouse game. As far as I remember, Rafiq "Syria's Puppet" Hariri was always mocked by the Lebanese and allies. And whom in their right mind would kill one of their own? Hope for the Greater Good of the United Axis that Syrians won't get sick and tired of biased politics...
3. The usual daily joke: Junblat.
4. The "Command and Conquer Infinity: Golan Alert" skirmish started by Israel and Syria 33 years ago and still going. Longest going strategy game ever. Two thumbs up! Olmert warns us, though, that this time around,the war will be fought differently, and he's promising to lead us to the next level of real-time online strategy gaming. I think he already did. Since the end of the Massacre and the masquerades following it, every day you get 3 or 4 bits of contradictory news: Asad says "We might take Jolan by force", Livni says "Shalom!", two seconds later, Peretz says "Syrian dreams...", Rice says "Syria is Ally", Bush says "Syria has nukes" (which we incidentally have: the Adra City Waste Bin, can't get closer than 10 km without being irradiated!), Asad says "Only solution by Peace", Olmert says "Golan back over my dead body" (don't worry, we can hire an assassin to solve that one!), Israeli Kneset members visit Damascus, Brimertz says "Syria OK", Bush says "Brimertz on dope" (he has the idea that everybody must be like his daughters...), Rice buggered by Saudis, Rice buggers Jordanians, Musa holds obituary for Peace Process, Junblat, Bilal says "Army preparing for eventual Israeli attack", Peretz says "The same", Asad says "We're getting ready for eventual Israeli aggression", Olmert says "We're getting ready for eventual Syrian aggression", Livni says "Just standard army training", Peretz says "Not Syria, but rogue fanatic terrorists that might pass the border" (and explode from the UN land mines) and finally Asad, today, "Syria and Israel are to live in peace/salaam/shalom in good neighborly relations". Yeah. Whatever. And we're building the highway for it. We are, really.
5. European Union voted 34 to 1 for adherence of Syria to European Partnership. Paris, here I come!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chez Twosret

Twosret's blog added. Hope she doesn't mind...

Bucharest-Dakar

I decided to link this event for the next weeks, or until it ends. It's become a traditional humanitarian event, reaching the sixth edition. I cannot but remark that each time "humanitarian" issue is brought, it's always linked with Africa, as if problems exist only in the Mother Continent. I see that Africa's humanitarian problems are generated by the White Man's need of humanitarian campaigns. But then again, this is just my point of view.
Go, Romania, Go!

Tagnation....

Well the inevitable happened. I was tagged. Or more likely, Alex was. But since she writes once every 3 centuries, she passed me her tag and I find myself today explaining my life on Alex's behalf. Here we go...
15 things I like and terrorize people (Axis of Evil citizen) with:

SLR cameras
Lenses (wide)
My Nikon D70s
Sumatran rubber trees (this one should be labeled as fixation)
Cacti
Citrus
Damascean streets
Mythology
Moai (Easter Island statues)
Pre-Columbian American art
Travel
Driving
Photography
Graphic
Terry Pratchett

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The God of Small Gods

I we are to analyze this whole idea, we reach several conclusions.
First would be that, as Pratchett said, it's not Gods those who created humans, but humans are definitely those who created their Gods. The reason he gives is that basic trait of human nature of constant need of a higher supernatural existence to stick in ones blames. Or, as the old legend goes, it's Pandora's Box, i.e. the fact that Hope dies last.
Second, an odd theory springs to mind, a theory which separates the Creator from God and identifies them as two different beings. My first and only glimpse of a clue in this point is the Biblical paradigm shift (yes, another one... Maybe I should rename this blog to Paradigm Shifts), or the inexplicable re-baptism of God from Elohim- who actually are a pantheon of seven Gods- to Iehwe or Jehovah. In the Bible, Elohim is definitely appointed as the Creator of all there is, while Iehwe, beside some minor miracles, appears with remarkably inferior powers. Creator and God?
Third and last, is a strange book, maybe the strangest I read, who's only and true conclusion is that God can, and usually does, hides in the smallest insignificant things, there for those who have eyes to observe.
To make things short, God is in the details...