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Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Surf spray
Discovery: Ute Lemper, the German cabaret dancer/singer who desperately tries to look like Marlene Dietrich and me are almost born on the same day. She is ten days older than I am. Her birthday is the American Independence Day whereas mine is the French Bastille day.

UK/US chart#1 on any day: ILM thread I danced my way out of the womb and site This Day in Music

Blogs arranged by birth date of authors: ageless project. The oldest weblogger is 70. The youngest is a baby.

Music blog: Jess who prefers Birthday Party to the Stooges (see ILM thread below) has got a blog.

German collective blog on weblogging issues: dilettantville. I posted an article on blog search engines. German posting place.

Michel Houellebecq interview with Emily Eakin of the New York Times (bloody hell they have taken it off their site, did he sue them?): Sad character this French pop star of literature. His life is emptier than that of the characters in his pseudo-provocative books. Quotes:
"Halfway through dinner the night I visited, Houellebecq fell into a drunken stupor, his nodding head eventually landing on his plate next to a smear of Majonnaise." and
"Michel's not depressed. It's the world that's depressing" (his wife Marie-Pierre).

- ILM thread of the day: quite fuckin contrary, on non-canonical music tastes. Tom and I had a little argument on Abba and Joy Division...
- Listening to Calexico: Aerocalexico, their less commercial and stranger side. A must.

Monday, October 29, 2001

Only Afghans can defeat Afghans (DE)
Ein wirklich sehr bemerkenswerter Artikel in der FAZ von Jürgen Todenhöfer, früher für die CDU entwicklungs- und sicherheitspolitisch tätig, jetzt führender Manager bei einem größeren Medienkonzern.
Todenhöfer kannte den vor einigen Tagen von den Taliban niederträchtig exekutierten paschtunischen Mudschahedinführer Abdul Haq persönlich. Dieser hatte die USA kurz nach dem 11.9. vor einem Angriff auf Afghanistan gewarnt, da ein solcher die Paschtunen, die Bevölkerungsmehrheit, mit den Taliban eher zusammenschweißen würde. Todenhöfer schlägt auch einen anderen Weg aus der Afghanistanfalle vor, der vorsieht, die Paschtunen zu unterstützen bzw. dafür zu gewinnen, das Talibanregime zu stürzen. Die Idee die Afghanen selber bluten zu lassen, um die Taliban loszuwerden, klingt zwar etwas zynisch, aber sie ist meines Erachtens die vernünftigste Alternative zu einem potentiell eskalierenden Krieg zwischen der westlichen Zivilisation und der islamischen Welt. Das Problem ist nur, dass der Krieg seine eigene Logik hat. Die USA können jetzt nicht einfach so aufhören, ohne einen schweren Gesichts- und Machtverlust hinnehmen zu müssen.

Auszug: "Als der amerikanische Präsident George W. Bush sich nach den Terroranschlägen vom 11. September mehr als drei Wochen Zeit nahm, um über die richtige Strategie gegen den internationalen Terrorismus nachzudenken, glaubte ich, er habe diese Lektion der Geschichte (Anm.: dass Afghanistan nicht eroberbar ist, wie schon Alexander der Große feststellen musste) gelernt. Daß dem mächtigsten Land der Welt dann doch nichts anderes einfiel, als Bomben auf Afghanistan zu werfen, macht mich fassungslos. Genauso fassungslos macht mich die eilfertige Unterwürfigkeit, mit der deutsche Politiker darum betteln, mitbombardieren zu dürfen. Denn dieser Krieg wird in der jetzt geführten Weise für die Vereinigten Staaten und ihre Mitstreiter ein Desaster werden wie für alle Großmächte zuvor."

Sunday, October 28, 2001

Why is there only one photo of Mohammed Atta on the Internet?
Google image search yields 44 results (without similar pictures). Except three or four pictures showing other people/things all photos are identical. It is the photo we have seen everywhere in the media. Where he seems like the personification of the devil with a very fierce and stubborn look. The picture itself almost proves that he is a criminal. It must be a very bad passport photograph. I can hardly believe that no other pictures exist. It looks like there is some censoring going on. Or do I suffer from persecution mania here?
According to Yahoo! News Canada the photo was obtained by Miami television station WTVJ. I only found one article (in French) from Le Monde discussing the photo within a biographical sketch of the man.

By the way I also tried Lycos, Altavista, Ditto, Webseek and Yahoo! Picture Gallery.
- Lycos yields one picture of a villa after having told me that the results are for over 18 year old.
- Altavista yields 715 results of which the first twenty are rubbish.
- Ditto and Yahoo! Picture Gallery yield nothing.
- Webseek timed out.
Another practical proof that the only search engine worth spending your time on is Google.

Saturday, October 27, 2001

My latest CD purchases
Friday I received the following cds:
- Barbara Morgenstern: Fjorden
- Fink: Fink
- Kings of Convenience: The Quiet Is the New Loud
- Jeff Beck: You Had it Coming
- Joy Division: Heart and Soul (4 cd box)
- Alex Chilton: Like Flies on Sherbert / Live in London
- House of Love: 1986-88

Barbara Morgenstern is ok but in the second half the electronic music gets a little bit boring. Her German lyrics are oddly romantic and quite good.
Fink is a German group from Hamburg musically quite close to Calexico. The harrmonium is wonderful. The mouth harp reminds me of Neil Young. And the pedal steel adds some country flair. There is also some folk rock influence reflected in the violin, banjo and some very sad lyrics. Not to forget a beautiful lyrical trumpet in one track. All songs are quite different but the album has a wonderful flow. There is a dog participating and overall their music is very relaxed and slightly melancholic. My favourite German release this year up till now.
Kings of Convenience is a Norwegian duo following the paths of Nick Drake. Adolescent singer/songwriter music with acoustic guitars and very sparse but beautiful lyrics. When listening to this I want to be 18 years young again. An instant classic. The ambiance and the melodies are grand cru.
Jeff Beck I did not have in my collection before (except some old Yardbirds lps). His new album is amazingly varied. Starting with hard rock guitar and finishing with very smooth ballad type stuff. The second last track has got birds singing in it which Beck tries to imitate on his guitar. Awesome.
Joy Division are probably my favourite rock group. I already had all cds they ever released (except the first under the name of Warsaw). Dark and powerful. The soundtrack to my youth which I only discovered ten years later. Five hours of which not one minute is superfluous.
Alex Chilton is an old favourite of mine. He represents the music from the Southern states. Coming from Memphis he sounds like Presley at times but makes me think of Jeffrey Lee Pierce of the Gun Club as well. A tortured soul. Rockn' roll at its best.
House of Love is probably the most underestimated band of all times the late eighties (together with The Field Mice). They were the undiscovered Beatles of the late eighties their time. Melodies I could swim in.

Thursday, October 25, 2001

What the fuck?
In an USA today interview Defense Secretary Rumsfeld says
- that bin Laden will maybe never be found
- that the Taliban regime will be toppled
- that the US should not be made responsible for Afghanistan's future government

Am I dreaming or what? What was all the bombing for? I thought its whole purpose was to get hold of bin Laden. Now Rumsfeld suddenly realises that "If he were gone tomorrow, the same problem would exist". And what is the point of getting rid of the Taliban when the US does not care who comes after? Sorry this is not a war anymore. In a war there are objectives. There is cold reasoning. Here there is nothing. Only bullshit. A pointless killing of innocent civillians.
The terrorists of 911 have succeeded logic has won. The US reaction is now on the same level as the terrible attacks.
Rumsfeld uttered: "Yes, I think there will be a post-Taliban Afghanistan"
I say: Only if you stop destroying the country very soon. Otherwise there will be a big hole where there once was Afghanistan.

I suspected it before. Now I am sure. The US is governed by a dummy advised by headless chicken (except Powell). That is really reassuring, isn't it? It would be all right if we were all lemmings. Are we not?

911 related links
I am overwhelmed by the number of interesting articles on 911 this morning. I have to post them.

First and foremost Noam Chomsky, the linguist known for his concept of the generative grammar, has just published a book called 9-11. Chomsky is known for his very critical approach towards the US policy. His transcribed talk at "The Technology & Culture Forum at MIT" nevertheless is the best and most profound analysis of the new war against terror I have read so far.
Quote: "We certainly want to reduce the level of terror, certainly not escalate it. There is one easy way to do that and therefore it is never discussed. Namely stop participating in it."
I have started a Metafilter thread.

Arundhati Roy the Indian female writer who stirred up a lot of discussion with a thorough article called "The algebra of infinite justice" directed against the spirit of blind vengeance strikes again.
She writes in "War is Peace" that "The world doesn't have to choose between the Taliban and the US government. All the beauty of the world—literature, music, art—lies between these two fundamentalist poles."

The first A double agent is had been detected and arrested well before 911: Al-Qaeda terrorist duped FBI, Army. There will be more to follow I am sure.
A German article on some CIA failures in Spiegel online.
Also in Spiegel online contributions from Eco, Galtung, Grass, Buch, Konrad, Staeck, Schorlemmer and le Carré in the forum Wohin führt dieser Krieg?

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Leonard Cohen
After nine years of silence Leonard Cohen released a new record with the unspectacular title "Ten New Songs". I dismissed it in a previous post but as so often in my life as a pop music consumer I probably have to deny my first impression. He spent a lot of the time in between the albums in a Zen monastery with his 94 years old teacher. His job was to cook. Instead of meditating he was thinking about the lyrics of the new album. And his teacher who speaks only very rudimentary English accepted this. I listened to the 30 second snippets at cdnow and I got the impression that the new album is a classic again. Cohen's voice is even lower and graver than before. Calm as always. The stuff that makes almost any woman on earth crack. A must buy.

FBI erwägt Inhaftierte zu foltern
Die Welt ändert sich nach 911. Aber nicht immer zum Guten. Wenn die USA dies wirklich tun werden, dann sind sie kein Stück besser als Israel und die islamischen Diktaturen. Die Aufgabe von Kants kategorischem Imperativ ist die Bankrotterklärung des Humanismus. Und sie wird zurückschlagen auf uns. Das Zeitalter der Barbaren rückt näher.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Just a coincidence?
- September 11th, 1973: Military Coup in Chile (via Catherine via Douzelunes (18.10.01) via José Artur at France Inter)
- September 11th, 2001: USA attacked
We all know that the US was involved in toppling the democratic Allende government and bringing the dictator Pinochet to power.
Is this the law of karma for states?

Monday, October 22, 2001

Ten reasons to stop bombing Afghanistan
1. Creating new terrorists.
2. Generating refugees.
3. Ushering in regime as bad as the Taliban.
4. Increasing drug flow from Central Asia.
5. Aiming at the wrong target.
6. Destabilizing Pakistan.
7. Turning bin Laden into a media superstar.
8. Unfairly punishing a helpless population.
9. Being lured into a trap.
10. There are smarter ways of fighting terrorism.

I could not have said it better.
Are there ten at least as convincing reasons to continue bombing? Please tell me Mr. President. I fear there is only one: Now that we have started we have to go on till the bitter end.

Once-Insular Americans Studying Up on the World
According to the LA Times article above (via Metafilter, discussion here) Americans are suddenly getting interested in the rest of the world, especially islamic countries. That proves that 911 has had some good effects. Laurie Anderson is right. The attack teaches us something. It will probably make America even more powerful. Here I cannot refrain from citing Nietzsche (first time in my blog) in German:
"Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker" (That what does not kill me, makes me stronger).

If I had a wish concerning facilitating the reading of blogs
Quickbrowse is a wonderful tool to browse several web sites at once. It basically allows you to collect different sites on one page (details here). Unfortunately it is not free anymore. To subscribe you have to pay $12.95 for three months. The disadvantage concerning blog reading is that it takes the whole main page. Therefore it includes old posts I have read already. One of my favourite Quickbrowse collections is music daily which I made public. It mainly consists of music blogs plus some music news sites.
Wouldn't it be nice if Quickbrowse would only collect the posts which have been published after my last visit to the collection? A little bit like in Metafilter where the registered user sees how many new posts and replies have been published after his last visit. I do not ask for much do I?

Major mission shift likely for FBI Agency to hand off crime probes, work on stemming terrorism
Call for security inquiry grows louder in Congress Leaders question why FBI, CIA missed clue

I would not exactly call this surprising. Are the heads rolling now?

Saturday, October 20, 2001

Think positive
Laurie Anderson said something very shocking about 911. On second thoughts nevertheless she is so might well be right.
In an interview with the German daily die tageszeitung (why the hell is there no corresponding interview on the English speaking net?) she cites the Dalai Lama who said once (all the following is retranslated from German):

Your worst enemies are your best friends as they teach you something.

and she continues: It was such a weird shock: It makes you unbelievably sad. It teaches you to appreciate the preciousness of all life. ... And it gives you a positive attitude ("Sympathie" in the German translation which is maybe imprecise in the case she said sympathy which has a totally different meaning in English) towards the people who were crazy enough to do such a thing.

My interpretation: The mass killing of 911 was not the end of the world. And if we want it to be not the beginning of the end of the world we have to see it as a sign. A sign to ask ourselves questions we did not want to ask before. A hint that the consumer society has come to a dead-end. That we have to change ourselves if we want to continue to live on planet earth.
Laurie Anderson is a buddhist.

For English-speaking people there is the instructive interview she gave to The Onion AV Club from before 911. Among others it is about her Moby Dick project, her new album Life on a String, her mixed feelings about technology and the different ways of how all sorts of dog breeds would talk if they could.

Es gibt nichts Neues mehr unter dieser Sonne
Sun Tsu, ein chinesischer Militärtheoretiker (Vorläufer von Clausewitz) des 8. Jahrhunderts sagte:
"Wenn Du den Gegner kennst und Dich selbst, dann brauchst Du hundert Schlachten nicht zu fürchten. Wenn Du dich selbst kennst, aber nicht den Gegner, wirst Du für jeden errungenen Sieg eine Niederlage erleiden "

In English: If you know your enemy and yourself, you will not have to fear a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not your enemy, you will suffer a defeat for every victory achieved.

Friday, October 19, 2001

Communication problems partly responsible for the disaster?
Apparently the CIA warned the FBI August 27th of two terrorists who had entered the US who turned out to be two of the suicide bombers of 911. The CIA said the cable was coded "immediate" (the second highest coding after "flash" which is only used for outbreak of war and big catastrophes) whereas the FBI says it was not.

The Taliban and the arts
The Taliban did not only destroy the giant Buddha statues but they also banned music. Not all the arts seem to be affected as the journalists invited to view the devastation of the US bombing could see "Taliban fighters dancing to the sound of incoming missiles."
It seems like a bitter irony but the Taliban's aim to lead Afghanistan back into the stone age will now be fulfilled with the aid of the strikes by the allies.

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Gore Vidal im Gespräch mit der FAZ:
"Wir haben keine repräsentative Regierung. Das Volk ist nicht vertreten. Und wir haben keine politischen Parteien. Wir haben ein Einparteiensystem mit zwei rechten Flügeln, einer nennt sich Republikaner, der andere Demokraten. Aber beide werden von den großen Unternehmen finanziert."

Susan Sontag in the Salon interview (only two paragraphs, rest only for subscribers). An interview covering the same subject here.
If dissenters are not tolerated in a country anymore is that country still a democracy then?

Please tell me that this is not true (I had forgotten about this)
In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba (the article dates back from May 1st; via The Morning News).
The book where this comes from is Body of Secrets by James Bamford and is definitely a must read (especially after 911) for everybody who wants to know more what is going on inside secret agencies and the like. Good review also in Salon.
That is what I call a successful secret service: I had never heard of the National Security Agency (NSA) which is the biggest one in the world. The CIA is tiny in comparison.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Taking Sides: New Order v. Joy Division
Btw in ILM I post as "alex in mainhattan". My post:

Speaking in terms of wine and grapes. It is concentration vs. dilution.
Joy Division is a very concentrated almost black wine smelling black currants and pressed from around 40-50 very ripe grapes (songs) of an amazing quality which have been hand-picked.
New Order is like a light sparkling wine made of much more grapes (100+) with most of them still unripe. A few are very sweet nevertheless. The bouquet is full of lemons. Especially the electronic production methods do not add to the longevity of this wine.
In short New Order's music is more fun but short-lived whereas Joy Division is stronger and for the cave. You won't regret tasting either of these wines. Both should be consumed in moderation.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Ich fürchte der Mann hat recht
Dainis Turlais bis zum letzten Kriegstag, dem 15. Februar 1989, in Afghanistan Stabschef der 40. Armee der sowjetischen Streitkräfte im Spiegel-Online-Interview. Auszüge:

SPIEGEL: "Was bewirken die Bombardements?"
Turlais: "Damit verfolgen die USA wohl keine militärischen Ziele. Das ist eine Demonstration für das Fernsehpublikum, ein Element der ideologischen Kriegsführung - gar nicht gegen Afghanistan gerichtet, sondern zur Rechtfertigung gegenüber der Weltöffentlichkeit"

SPIEGEL: "Was vermuten Sie, welche weiteren Schritte die USA unternehmen?"
Turlais: "Sie werden sich nicht mit Afghanistan begnügen. Wenn man keinen Schuldigen findet, muss man einen erfinden. Afghanistan ist der Sündenbock, und der wird vom amerikanischen Präsidenten ernannt. Die Interessen der USA reichen über die USA hinaus. Zum Beispiel bis nach Jugoslawien - was Sache der Uno gewesen wäre - oder Irak, wo 23 Millionen Menschen seit zehn Jahren amerikanische Bomben fürchten müssen. Nun ist Afghanistan dran, ohne ernste Verluste das Prestige des amerikanischen Präsidenten zu fördern."

SPIEGEL: "Was hätten Sie denn nach dem 11. September getan, wenn Sie amerikanischer Präsident wären?"
Turlais: "Wäre ich Bush, hätte ich zugegeben, dass die Schuhe für mich zu groß sind, um ein so starkes Land zu regieren. Ich hätte mich entschuldigt, nicht genug für die Sicherheit gesorgt zu haben, und meine Geheimdienste zur Verantwortung gezogen, weil sie nichts rechtzeitig erkannt und unternommen haben. Vermutlich war eine derart komplizierte und umfassende Attentatsserie gar nicht durchzuführen ohne Vertrauensleute im Staatsapparat. Niemand ist für diesen Fehler zur Verantwortung gezogen worden"

Monday, October 15, 2001

A new indie music blog has been spotted by my eagle eyes: Gygax which is apparently not so new (dates back till August 28th on main page) but which does not seem to be linked a lot in the music blog "scene". The author is a little too clever for my liking as he spoils a couple of ILM listening chambers by naming (or trying to) the artist. Examples #8 and #9. Shame on you. Nevertheless the blog is quite interesting. The new VU bootleg cd cover attracted my attention immediately.

Premature judgements
It is terrible whenever I buy any new music and I start listening to it I form an opinion almost instantly. When my first impression is negative I quite frequently do not listen to that music again and it gets buried in my cd pile. In many cases this is justified but in others it is not. Luckily I had not yet filed Ryan Adams second album Gold in my alphabetically sorted cd shelves from where it would have been very difficult to get back into the cd player (there are 1,000+ contenders).
A couple of days ago I had dismissed it as mainstream and bland. I relistened and must admit that it is definitely one of the outstanding releases in this for me up to now quite poor year in terms of pop/rock music (another premature evaluation?). I won't go into details here but Ryan Adams album is very impressive. It is amazingly varied and consistent at the same time as each song is an entity which fits very well into the flow of the whole record. There are 16 tracks on the main disc (70+ minutes) plus 5 tracks (another 20 minutes) on the bonus disc. And there is no really embarassing track and hardly any really outstanding tracks neither. The music is in the songwriter folk jazz country rock vein. Very eclectic with influences ranging from Bob Dylan (Firecracker with some very competent mouthharp play), Van Morrison (Answering Bell) to Mick Jagger (the bluesrocker Tina Toledo's Street Walkin' Blues). The music only holds together because of Adams voice. It is so versatile. Even if Adams uses many riffs and arrangements from rock history (especially the 70s I feel) this guy has already created his own style. He makes me think a little bit of Jeff Buckley without the opera singer attitude touch (which I always hated). More down to earth and settled.
I still prefer Adams first album Heartbreaker as more heart blood flowed into that disc. But even here Adams who is only 26 years old shows that he is probably THE songwriter voice in these times.
Apparently in concert he is drunk and brilliant. One of my favourites from the main disc is the ballad Nobody Girl which does not get boring in the 9 minutes and 39 seconds it lasts. The bonus disc alone is worth the money as there the music is less polished and more like I would have liked him to sound after Heartbreaker.

Saturday, October 13, 2001

Blog incest
The Blog Twinning Project lets you vote for blog twins, i.e. blogs being similar to each other. In the end the blog which has been linked to yours most times (by all participators) becomes your twin blog.
As an idea quite nice but I think it is quite absolute futile and a little bit of a waste of time as there is Google. When you use the "related:" parameter you get all blogs which are supposedly similar to yours according to some link popularity algorithm. If you take the first result from there you have your twin. For my blog the query yields this. First one in the list is one of my favourite blogs Absintheur's Journal. I know he reads my blog as well and I feel quite flattered having such a "Google twin". Actually when I run the query from Absintheur's point of view he himself comes first (what the heck is this, a Google bug?) and I come second. So you could probably say that we are identical twins.
Anyways in the said project I still have no twin as four blogs have been linked to mine once and there is no leader: Lost for Life (Sorry Jeff I linked us together), Absintheur, badgerminor (Is there a stag night Badger? I hope you'll survive it if yes.) and Josh Blog (You amazed me Josh with your recent post about a kind of affair. It is definitely a change in your writing I like.). No surprises there really. I read all four of them enthusiastically.

I think I give up on 911. Impossible to find any reliable source of information anymore. This foreword to Roger Garaudy's book The Founding Myths of Modern Israel by Heikal who was interviewed by The Guardian (see my last post below) makes him absolutely dubious. He writes:
"Most of the focus was on the Nazi holocaust, which according to Israeli myth claimed six million Jewish victims alone."

Nagging doubts
Mohamed Heikal, the Arab world's foremost political commentator, talks to Stephen Moss from The Guardian:
"When I hear Bush talking about al-Qaida as if it was Nazi Germany or the communist party of the Soviet Union, I laugh because I know what is there. Bin Laden has been under surveillance for years: every telephone call was monitored and al-Qaida has been penetrated by American intelligence, Pakistani intelligence, Saudi intelligence, Egyptian intelligence. They could not have kept secret an operation that required such a degree of organisation and sophistication."
(via Metafilter, discussion is here)

This is exactly how I have felt the last weeks. Where is the proof that it was bin Laden? On the FBI list of the most wanted terrorists published a couple of days ago no one is wanted for the 911 events. The FBI does not have enough evidence. That really scares me.
Ok bin Laden has probably commited enough other crimes to be targeted but by attacking Afghanistan the chance to hit bin Laden's cave or wherever he is hiding is minimal. The collateral damage is far too big just to get hold of one person.
The Taliban are reigning like the Red Khmer according to Hans Christoph Buch's German article in Spiegel Online. Buch is a German writer who was in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan after 911. Trying to overthrow their government is an honorable objective. But was there no other possibility to do that than a war? And terrorism will not be eradicated with this war that is for sure. The US response to the attacks is understandable but the US leadership seems to act like a headless chicken. I hope I am wrong and that they have a promising plan but I doubt it.
On the other hand I think they were quite clever to search for as many allies in the Muslim world as possible before striking back. The danger of a war between civilisations is difficult to evaluate but at least they tried to minimise it. Of course they had to do something after the attacks. I have the hope and feeling that neither Bin Laden nor the Taliban have enough followers to arouse a world war between the West and the Muslims.

Couldn't it be that the terrorist attack was so perfectly organised that all people involved died during the operation? That no witness is alive anymore? I am not sure if that would be more reassuring or more frightening.

Friday, October 12, 2001

The I Love Music listening chamber is a great idea to discover new music of performers you have never heard of. Per day a maximum of one music track in mp3 is posted there. The artist and album is not revealed for about a week. Discussion takes place in the respective thread at ILM. You are not supposed to name the artist if you know him. Up to now seven tracks have been posted. The first two have been revealed already.
Chamber #2 (forum) is definitely worth a listen. I also liked the two most recent chambers #6 (forum) and especially #7 (forum). I sent a track via e-mail today. Will it show up tomorrow?

"The main justification for waging this war has been totally fabricated. The American people have been deliberately and consciously misled by their government into supporting a major military adventure which affects our collective future."
by Michel Chossudovsky, Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa

I am positively surprised that this article could be published in Canada despite the tendency towards conformism and censorship in North America. On the other hand I guess a US professor would probably have been sacked for this.

Thursday, October 11, 2001

My perception has changed after 911. This morning when driving to work I saw an airplane flying quite low above Frankfurt city. From my perspective it flew lower than some of the skyscrapers. And it approached one of them. Six weeks ago I would not have looked at this but now I could not stop. Will the airplane hit the building? Fortunately it did not. It passed behind the building into the direction of the airport. 911 has not only changed our world but also the way we see it.

Susan Sontag is back in New York and the first thing she did was visit ground zero. After seeing the destruction and devastation she wrote an article which corrects slightly her immediate response in the article titled "The killers were no cowards" (retranslation from German) published in the FAZ 15th September which she wrote while being stuck in Berlin. I guess this account in The New Yorker is identical. She neither thinks that the US provoked the Islamic world nor that a military response is inadequate. A very reasonable analysis. The article is only in German for the moment (translated from English of course) but I guess it will soon appear in the English edition of the FAZ as well.

Klaus Staeck schreibt in etwas ausführlicherer Form, was ich auch denke und z.T. angesprochen habe. Bin Laden ist so etwas wie ein aufgebauter Popanz (sozusagen ein Homunkulus) und Sündenbock für alles Schlechte, was uns im Moment passiert und da machen wir es uns zu einfach. Und Denk- und Redeverbote sind keine Lösung im Kampf gegen den Terrorismus.

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Die CIA war im Grunde, in ihrer Praxis auch eine terroristische Vereinigung, auch mit Mordanschlägen auf Politiker.
Das finde ich dann aber doch etwas heftig, auch wenn ich grundsätzlich Ihre Meinung teile Herr Grass, dass die Politik der USA auch nach den Anschlägen immer noch Gegenstand der Kritik bleiben muss. Es ist schon absurd. Vorher wurde GW Bush von allen belächelt und veräppelt und jetzt ist er plötzlich ein großer Staatsmann. Über Nacht sozusagen. Es gibt verdammt viel Verlogenheit und Heuchlerei im Journalismus.
In diesem Zusammenhang ist dieser Artikel von Ute Thon im Perlentaucher vom 1.10. recht aufschlussreich, den ich erst jetzt entdeckt habe. Die Presse- und Meinungsfreiheit, die unsere westliche Welt im Gegensatz zu vielen islamischen Staaten auszeichnet, scheint nun wirklich in Gefahr. Wenn man in den USA nicht einmal schreiben darf, dass Bush nach den Anschlägen nach Nebraska "getürmt" ist, dann sagt das indirekt schon einiges über das Selbstbewußtsein von Bush und Konsorten.

Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Rarely I have agreed so much with a Pitchfork review. And I still have not listened to the bonus disc. Ryan Adams is becoming really mainstream. Let's hope that he cashes in enough money to make good music again. I still believe in him. Another good review here.

Ich wusste gar nicht, dass Ulrich Wickert so politically incorrect ist. Das macht mir den Typen richtig sympathisch, obwohl er als Nachrichtensprecher, sorry Anchorman, wirklich sturzlangweilig (wie es sich gehört) ist. Zudem gibt er zu, sogar an einem Joint gezogen zu haben (Clinton konnte das noch nicht. Das ist Fortschritt). Und er ist für die Legalisierung von Marihuana. Wirklich ein uralter Hut, aber immerhin. Es lebe die Political Incorrectness in diesem Zeitalter der orwellschen Gleichschaltung.
Noch jemand, der ausschert aus der Phalanx der Streiter für das Gute. Es gibt sie noch die Einzelkämpfer. Gottseidank. Es gibt noch Hoffnung.

Monday, October 08, 2001

Back home
The holidays are over and the attacks have begun. Coincidences. They used to fascinate me a lot in the past. Right now they don't mean anything to me anymore. I do not believe in them. A coincidence is a matter of interpretation. Out of the millions of events you pick one and it seems to relate to your own life. Totally random. Selective perception. As long as you think in terms of coincidences you try to make sense of your life.

Bombing Afghanistan is as pointless as rolling Sisyphus's stone up the mountain. The stone will roll back down again and Sisyphus will be in charge of rolling it up again. Afghanistan's Taliban have been supported by the US before and now they will be decimated. But they cannot be eliminated. They are hiding in the mountains and some will survive. They are just a pawn in the game. But a pawn can become very powerful as in chess where it is a potential queen i.e. the dearest piece. And the king is the US. A slow mover but THE piece. Checkmate or stalemate that is the question. The US cannot win this war. They are either going to lose or to draw whatever that will mean.

I had forgotten how nice it was to live in a country where time was so much less precious. Where you are not terrorised by your watch but where people take their time. It must be the light. So bright. The shutters closed so well in our gîte that I was literally blinded by the light the first morning we went swimming in the Mediterranean. A country where people smile and joke and talk. But in the end I felt as a stranger again. Had the feeling that I was only accepted as a cash cow. I was just a tourist. Tourists pay. The native take the money. Grenaches noires are the sweetest grapes I ever tasted. The sweetness almost hurts on the palate. As in almost all holidays there was this bitter aftertaste. Just a preparation for the everyday life attending me in Frankfurt.


Copyright 2001, 2002 Alexander Fritz
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