Sunday, December 25, 2005

Meditations on the Abyss (*)

Every year at this time, it's the same. Every time the clock marks 00h00 on December 25th, I sit down and think about things.

I wish there would be peace on earth for all the people of good will.
I wish people would have a true chance at happiness.
I wish we would learn to respect the earth and every single lifeform it houses and nurtures.
I wish…far too many things.

And also, I wonder.

I wonder what changed this year. I wonder what happened this year. I wonder what was better this year.

2005 was a year of contrasts. A year of environmental cataclysms, a year of bereavement et death. A year of giving. A year of war. A year of fear.

2005 was a year of death. The tsunami's devastation continued to take its toll in the beginning of the year, reaping hundreds of thousands of lives. The earthquake in Pakistan killed tens of thousands of people, is still killing them, all those who survived and who are now freezing in the terribly cold winter of the mountains. Bereft of everything, cut out from the oh-so-sincere generosity of the West because it's Pakistan, and one of the heart of all evil, according the the US-imposed black and white world. 2005 was a year of death, in the death rows of all the US prisons, in states where the crime they call capital punishments is still applied, where they cultivate hatred, and invite victims' families to relish the spectacle of death.

2005 was a year of fear. Terrorism struck in Europe once again. And it sparked into life our greatest enemy: fear. The fear that will blind us, and make us bow to unacceptable compromises on our essential freedom in the name of "security". Security won new privileges and new acknowledgements. Security became sacro-sanct. Security became the magic word behind which all the would-be authoritarian politicians could hide, and in the name of which they could impose just about any kind of restrictions on our most basic rights to freedom and privacy. Security has become the great threat, the One Truth we're supposed to have to bow to for our own good--or so say people who claim to know better than we do. I deny them that right and that claim.

2005 was another year of kidnappings, murders and slaughter in Irak. It was a year of elections as well. It was another year of denying the obivous and lying through their teeth for the White House people. It was the year when GW Bush decided to spew the word "victory" at every opportunity he got, as if that might be some kind of shield against the truth displayed before the world in all the TV news. The worst of it, is that it seems there are people gullible enough, stupid and brainwashed enough in the US, to believe in the simple uttering of such an empty word.

But, 2005 was a year of elections in Irak. A year when the people of Irak gathered all their strength and crowded the polls. A year when these people who've lost everything showed the world how brave and noble they were, when they went to vote as they did. Perhaps, just perhaps, 2005 will be the year of a beginning of hope for them. I hope it is.

2005 was also the year when the US Senate rebuked the soulless appetites of the oil companies and preserved the natural space of Alaska. A small flame in an ocean of darkness, but still, it was there.

2005 was the year of the Meikai-Hen OVAs debut. A debut in pain, among protests and critics, most of them more than justified, unfortunately. A year of making dreams into reality, botched by the headstrong stupidity of an author who no longer can touch the soul of the magic he once created, 20 years ago. And yet, in spite of all the obstacles thrown in the way of these OVAs, somehow the magic manages to reach out and touch the viewer. In spite of all the flaws, they manage to revive the flames in my heart. Somehow.

2005 was a year of lies. When the US governments told us, hand upon its dead and rotten heart, that there were no secret CIA prisons and that the US had never, ever, never used torture or inhumane methods on its prisoners, or even allowed it to happen...despite everyone knowing how they changed their own laws in order to allow torture. A year of deception, fantastically ended by Poland when it said it wouldn't come public with its results on the inquiry concerning the CIA's secret prison facilities on its land. Funny, if they have agreed to nothing wrong, why should those results remain secret?

2005 was a year of harted and war. A year of foul words spat out by Nicolas Sarkozy. A year when the French right, led by this populist, dirty politician, slowly but certainly slid toward the far right, mesmerized by the promise of power. Hypnotized by the persepective of winning the 2007 presidential elections.

2005... As usual, here I sit, pondering on questions and concepts which have baffled humanity since its very beginning. We haven't changed, we degenerated apes. We haven't evolved. All we have won in millions of years is a layer of varnish, nothing more.

Why are we here? What are we living for? What is our place in the order of things?

The questions are the same. The answers, still illusions taunting us from beyond a mist of our own making.

2005 is nearing its end, and as always, here I sit, and wonder. Tonight, I'll gladly throw a log in the fire. It's an old, ancient custom, a true one which somehow managed to survive the purge of judeo-christianism. One of the few traditions we haven't been robbed of by the Catholic church. Yes, I'll throw a log of wood into the fire. A log of a tree cut out under the beautiful Summer sun. A log that will crackle in the hearth and give birth to flames, give birth to the sun anew, in the heart of Winter, and send back the abyss of the night.

When we celebrate the Winter solstice.

(*) My humblest apologies to Michael J. Straczinski, who made really too appealing episodes titles for me to resist using them when he gave us this greatest of gifts named "Babylon 5".

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Mrs Rice... You're Kidding, Right ?

Big title in the Observer today : Rice rejects EU protests over secret terror prisons

(...)[Mrs. Rice] is expected to make a public statement today stressing that the US does not violate allies' sovereignty or break international law.

No, of course the US isn't doing anything wrong. There's no secret arrests of people who're never been charged with anything, flown away to prisons where they can be tortured, where they can be "dealt with" without ever respecting the most basic of their rights to a lawyer, a defense, and a trial. Nah, all that is bullshit. We all know there's nothing resembling extraordinary rendition, nothing at all!

The Observer adds: Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said Rice told him in Washington she expected allies to trust that America does not allow rights abuses.

But of course, we do trust America, we do trust the US government. Our faith in Georges W. Bush is absolute! Never, ever would the US wander astray from all the international conventions on torture. Geneva, anyone? Remember Mr. Rumsfeld and his undying love and respect for the Geneva Conventions?

Oh, and if this wasn't enough, I advise you to go read the following paper in today's edition of the Washington Post: Wrongful Imprisonment: Anatomy of a CIA Mistake. You will learn a few interesting things.

Coats [the U.S. ambassador in Germany] informed the German minister that the CIA had wrongfully imprisoned one of its citizens, Khaled Masri, for five months, and would soon release him, the sources said. There was also a request: that the German government not disclose what it had been told even if Masri went public.

In case anyone doubted it: (...) there is no tribunal or judge to check the evidence against those picked up by the CIA.

Wait, it gets better:
The CIA inspector general is investigating a growing number of what it calls "erroneous renditions," (...)
"They picked up the wrong people, who had no information. In many, many cases there was only some vague association" with terrorism, one CIA officer said. (...)
Masri was held for five months largely because the head of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center's al Qaeda unit "believed he was someone else," one former CIA official said. "She didn't really know. She just had a hunch."

Wow! You kidnap a man, whisk him away god knows where, interrogate him, torture him for five months on a hunch! But of course, in the same time you're upholding all the Geneva conventions, respecting all the aspects of human rights, and you're the most trustworthy US government the wolrd has ever seen.


Who do you think you're kidding, Mrs Rice?

In front of declarations like this: "It was the Camelot of counterterrorism," a former counterterrorism official said. "We didn't have to mess with others -- and it was fun.", What kind of moral high ground do you think you're standing upon, you and the US?


How will you ever dare tell anyone who holds your own citizens prisoners without a trial and who tortures them that they're vilains? They're just the same as you! You hide behind a veneer of dignity that's crackling and crumbling to pieces a bit more each day.


Stay where you are, Mrs Rice, and keep your mouth shut. Europe has no need for your lessons, your ethics and morals are more than flawed or askew. They no longer have any value.

As for us, I dearly hope the EU will deal with the collaborators of torturers. I hope the EU will show them all the love and mercy they deserve.

Any country which knowingly, at any level of power, participated in helping the CIA in those renditions should be expelled from the EU.