Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Coming of Fillers (*)

Oh, right. For anyone who wouldn’t be familiar with the term, « filler » usually refers to a distinct kind of episode (or batch of episodes) in a Japanese animation TV series. Namely, an episode or a set thereof featuring a scenario that’s not in the original manga the anime is based upon, and specifically designed to keep the TV series going while waiting for more of the manga to be published so there’s enough manga story to adapt. Fillers usually are produced when the anime adaptation catches up to the manga too quickly—often because of the anime production rate is so incredibly quick.

Now, to a huge majority of anime fans, fillers are a torture, the epitome of evil, and boring. As a rule, fillers are despised and hated, to the point that fansubbing groups will even drop a project they had on the series plagued with the fillers curse. This recently happened to Bleach, one of the most popular shounen anime of the last months.


Because, in this day and age of digisubs and easy to find scanlations closely following manga publication in Japan, fans of a title avidly follow both manga and anime. And if the anime catches up too quickly to the manga’s story, these fans see the fillers coming, and know them for what they are—and resent them like hell because they stray from the main storyline they enjoy. In short, to most fans, fillers simply shouldn't be allowed to exist.

It’s true that fillers can last for quite a while, weeks, months even, to the extent of a full season. It’s true that if you follow the manga, it can be frustrating to see the anime just go away from the storyline you know and want to see animated, but there’s no help for that. Besides, I’m sure the same fans would start howling around if they heard that their favourite show is on pause for one or two seasons, time for the manga to advance enough on its own before the anime adaptation can resume.

And there’s one thing people often overlook, in their disappointment and rejection of the filler episodes: that those episodes can be extremely entertaining, can bring depths to some aspects that weren’t explored before, and stand as a worthy part of the anime in their own right. They can serve to dwell on secondary characters, often much more interesting than the hero himself (although I have to admit that Kurosaki Ichigo is a really good main character, a rarity in a shounen manga), to develop those who are usually restricted to a static and cliche sidekick role. Fillers are the occasion for the anime scenarists to show their talent. If they're lacking, the fillers will be an absolute waste of time (I hear Naruto suffers from that, but I have yet to find what heck is interesting about Naruto, so don't mind me). But if you have good scenario writers, then you're in for a hell of a good time, sometimes even better than what the original author came up with.

Saint Seiya, Asgard is certainly a perfect example of how fantastic a whole filler season can be. The Asgard season introduces and explores fantastic characters (the only drawback is that they have to be out of the way once the story arc ends because they don’t exist in the manga), and brings a lot of richness and emotion to the whole Saint Seiya anime. To many people, even though it was a filler season, it’s one of the best Saint Seiya seasons (behind the Sanctuary chapter, but the Sanctuary chapter is…I have no words, I love that too much ^^;;; ).

I’ve been following the Bleach TV series very closely (note to self: write a piece on Bleach one of these days, since it’s one of the very best stories ever to be released by Jump), and while I have noticed the “dreadful” arrival of fillers—even without following the manga, you can usually tell these things if you’re a bit familiar with scenario making and writing—I’ve enjoyed what I saw so far. The Bleach fillers introduced interesting characters, and showed interesting relationships develop, delved more deeply in already known characters, which is always a good thing. Perhaps one of the fans’ frustration is due to the fact that these fillers are more focused on character development than on “cool battles with awesome power display”. It’s kind of understandable, if that’s the case, but disappointing.

Because Bleach, as Saint Seiya before it, is much, much more than a basic, boring fighting shounen flick. There is a depth, an intrigue, complex characters and way more than just brainless hacking enemies to pieces. But I suppose those aspects fly way over the fanboys’ heads, and so they rant and rant, and rant.

Ah well, whatever the reason for the fans’ sulking and growling, at least it has caught my attention enough for me to get my hands on the manga scanlations, so I can find out what’s so extraordinary as to warrant such negative reactions. I doubt I’ll find anything to really back up the grumpiness and bad moods, but who knows?

Maybe I’m going to start howling like everyone else.

But quite frankly, I doubt that, because I’m enjoying the anime, and while reading what happens next will certainly make me impatient to see it adapted to anime, I will still enjoy the story currently developed in the anime. And with long holidays coming for me, when I get back and regain an internet access, chances are the anime will have progressed so much that we’ll be getting back to the manga’s storyline.

So, my advice to all the sulking fans out there is simple: enjoy what you have, and stop focusing on getting your every whim realized instantaneously. It may not seem like it, but the world doesn’t work that way. Life doesn’t work that way. Sooner or later, you’ll have to come to terms with that.

So, why not do it now?

(*) Once again, this title was inspired Babylon 5, the most fantastic SF TV series ever to be produced. All credit and admiration where it's due. *bow*

PS: I'm taking advantage of having to edit this piece to correct a lack of preposition somewhere up there to confirm that I was right: even after reading all the manga scanlations available, I am still perfectly happy with the anime.

And I also confirm that I'm disappointed in fanboys. But then what else is new?


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ridiculous !

No, this isn’t a spell taken out of the Harry Potter universe. It’s the toned down expression of what I felt when I read that scientists managed to extract stem cells from an embryo while preserving said embryo.

Embryos used to get stem cells are surplus embryos that will be destroyed anyway, and will never see a womb and much less one day be born and become a human being. Thus this breakthrough has no true interest whatsoever, except for the bigots and fanatics who live in the US and refuse to allow stem cell research—the current US president first and foremost among them.

But beyond that, beyond the pure scientific value of achieving that, do people even realize what this means? What this shows concerning the values held high by the self-righteous fools who lead America and populate the Bible Belt?

Well, it means that they care more about two or four cells without a hint of human life to them, than about the homeless, the illegal immigrants, the jobless and all the people suffering in the world. You can’t have stem cell research because it destroys a surplus, hence useless embryo, but you can glorify a social and economic system that treats people like garbage, or at best like variables in a financial equation (and not the most significant variables, at that).

You can’t destroy surplus embryos, so you have to spend millions of US dollars in research to still get stem cells while preserving the embryos, but you won’t give up a cent for taxes in order to have the country offer a real social blanket to the dozens of millions of people living in utter poverty in the US.

For embryos, Georges W Bush would use his veto.

For all the people struggling to live their life, for all the people who have no rights, not even that to take a leave of absence for sickness without getting fired on the spot, Georges W Bush has nothing to offer. No veto, no law, no project, other than a farce whose sole utility is to serve as decoy while he and his Republican pals play once again at “hey, let’s help the very rich get nauseatingly richer even faster while dropping crumbs to the idiots in the general public, they’ll buy it and vote for us anyway”.

In the US, surplus embryos are more important than people.


Amusing set of values, that.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Look Who's Talking

French-bashing II: the Return of the Vengeance of the Dead Potato--no, really. Don't the US media get tired with that? Is contempt/dislike of the French so ingrained in the collective subconscious of the American media that they must jump at the smallest excuse to start yet another anti-French campaign?

I'll grant you that the most recent, and ongoing one has a bit more beef to it, since it's based on an apparent U-turn by Jacques Chirac on the matter of the international force in Lebanon. Still, while it would be understandable for the general public to misunderstand what's going on behind the scenes, it's unforgivable for the media to feign to have the same analysis.

Let's get back to the facts: when France pushed to get an immediate end to the conflict, it got a "no" from the US, which wanted to allow Israel all the time it needed to "anihilate the Hezbollah's threat" (a really fantastic operation which resulted in the exact opposite: giving the Hezbollah stronger and deeper roots and furthering even more the hatred of the Arab world against Israel, which anyone with brains could have told them would happen). And things dragged on. While France wanted an immediate end to the war, it also wanted a clear agenda, solution and mission for the international force that would get sent to disarm the Hezbollah. For once, Jacques chirac was pretty clear when he said that France would lead an international force, on the strict condition that this force would receive a clear and full mandate from the UNO in order to accomplish its mission.

I believe that anyone in his/her right mind will agree with the fact that sending troops there with no clear mission, and no clear rules of engagment is sending them into a swamp that won't help the situation but worsen it, not to mention be costly in lives for no gain at all.

One of the favorite angles of attack from the US media is that France co-signed the UNO resolution. Well, yes, it was indeed co-written by France. But you forget one very tiny, very very tiny little thing, my dear American media: the other writer of that resolution was none other than your oh-so nice and kind US government. And that oh-so nice and kind US government simply sat down on a solution for as long as it could, and then forced the wording to be as useless as it is. They only came around when Tsahal's operations started being a bit too costly in terms of grisly images of civilians "killed in unfortunate collateral damages". In that moment, France should perhaps have refused to agree to that resolution, but it would have allowed the conflict to continue, and everyone wanted the war to end.

So the war ended. But the terms set by France for its strong implication in the international force were not met, by far. Sending troops with things as they stand would be stupid, and would only result in failure, and in giving even more sway and leverage to terrorists like the Hezbollah (has anyone forgotten the tragedies of the 80s, the kidnappings and deaths of journalists, of soldiers who had no means to carry out their mission, or the problems in Bosnia?). So not sending them is actually the only sensible thing to do.

It will force the US's hand into accepting something that has a chance to work.

It may give a chance to peace (hello there to you all who think that peace will come only after a good all-out war, wouldn't you like it if Israel dumped a nuclear weapon on Iran in your place? I love you too, never fear).

Going in without that, committing troops to a force without the means to carry out its mission would be beyond stupid. Just who is it who's berating France for not making such a moronic blunder?

Wait, aren't those people the very ones who started a war based a a rationale basically made of lies, replaced a tyranny by a bloody civil war, destabilized the whole Middle East in the process, and announced they'd have a quick victory and would be welcomed as saviors by the whole population?

Okay, forget I asked.

(oh, and before you ask, I really dislike Jacques chirac ^_-)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rising Ghosts

For several years, the world has watched the same pattern emerging in Asia around August 9th and the anniversary of the end of WWII in Japan.

For many reasons, most of them bad, Japanese Prime Ministers have paid official visits to the Yasukuni Shrine.

For many reasons, most of them bad, China has reacted with growing vehemence and violence to these visits, joined by other countries like South Korea


Because the Yasukuni Shrine is not only the resting place for the souls of all the men sacrificed on the altar of war and to satisfy the ambitions of a select few, but also a place where the souls of war criminals, monsters and torturers were smuggled in what amounts to me to the befouling of a sacred place. I have yet to understand why the Shinto priests in charge of the shrine allowed this to happen. Had this not taken place, there would be no controversy today, and official visits to Yasukuni could happen without anyone being able to seize on the excuse to attack Japan for their own purposes, which often have little to do with the vocal protestations concerning the horrible crimes of the past.

Don’t mistake me, I believe that official visits to Yasukuni shouldn’t take place so long as the souls of the 14 great war criminals are enshrined there. I believe the honor and pride of Japan’s government would be in finding a way to have those souls erased from the list of names in Yaskuni. Still, I find it too easy to simply drink the words that come from China without trying to analyze the whys and wherefores, the more so since those visits to Yasukuni by Japan’s first ministers have not always elicited such a response by China.

When you think about it, outraged reactions which give rise to a dwelling on past wars and past crimes are a win-win for China’s so nice and democratic government: you gather people around the idea of nationalism, you push them to look at their “national pride” (how often has national pride been the equivalent of blind stupidity? Far too often…) instead of on their everyday life and the conditions they exist in. It focuses anger and frustrations on an outside element and thus prevents it from being lashed out at what caused it. In a fantastically convenient fashion, it gives the Chinese government yet another way to control its population and keep it on a tight leash. Rub the wounds with polluted mud, help them fester, and as the pain artificially grows, everything else is eclipsed. Not exactly beautiful, but frighteningly efficient. And people work. People swallow that fish with greedy appetite, unfortunately.

As to Japan’s first minister, I’m sorry, but all the justifications running along the lines of “we’ll do what we want on our soil, and we won’t be ordered around by China or others” are just empty rationalization of what is at best a mistake, and at worst a part of the manipulation that’s been aiming at getting a fundamental change in Japan’s constitution—a change that would once again allow Japan to lead offensive military actions, thus breaking a taboo dating back to the end of WWII.

Yanking history aside, and unmaking what had been, in my humble opinion, one of the very few good sides to the US occupation of Japan on the eve of the war’s end. Japan had become the first pacific country, gaining its place in the international community through diplomacy, through its financial contributions to positive project at UNO…it was the way to go, the path to follow. But of course, warmongers with a bad ego and pride problem will never be satisfied with that (not manly enough, you know—just like the morons who need big cars to compensate for their self-perceived lack of masculinity). Well, warmongers, ego bruised fools, and people thirsting after power who know how to use tools to further their own interests. And so, some in Japan have been pushing for that fundamental change. In parallel, the prime minister of Japan stubbornly insist on visiting Yasukuni each year, aware of what it will trigger, and most likely counting on it, and counting on how that will be received by the Japanese population. If someone wanted to manipulate people in Japan, to rekindle the infamous “national pride”, they wouldn’t do it any other way.

All in all, those visits to Yasukuni serve everyone’s purposes: China, those who believe Japan should change, and revert back to what it was…

When the true, honourable thing to do would simply be to strike off the war criminals’ names from the list of the souls resting at Yasukuni, and then to continue to visit the shrine. Those criminals are a stain on the shrine, a befouling of all the other deads’ resting place. So, yes, striking off those names from the list would be the honourable thing to do.

Is there anyone who has enough honour and strength in the Japanese governement to do that?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Meanwhile, in Gaza…

Everyday life goes on. The Hamas sends rockets on Israeli villages near the border. Tsahal retaliates.

While our exalted world leaders and their proxies (in this instance the interior ministers and security people) toy with airports and force ludicrous security measures on flights, that nice little endless “skirmish” goes on.

While airport authorities and security bozos play at “you can’t bring in the cabin a MP3 player, too dangerous, but you can bring inside a laptop” (hello? Did any of these fools ever attend a basic electronics class?) or the other nice game of “you can’t bring in any liquid, but if an infant’s along you can bring milk if you taste it to prove it’s milk” (hello again, I can also taste my water bottle to prove you it’s genuine, thanks!), or even “ah, but it’s becoming troublesome for the airport shops, so maybe we should consider saying liquid’s okay so long as you bought it in the airport where it’s sold 10 times higher than in any normal shop, yeah, they’ll buy the fact that it’s still more secure that way”,

While they ground planes in Boston because a depressive passenger behaved threateningly and brandished matches, lubricant and I don’t remember what else, thus demonstrating the futility of the “security measures” imposed on passengers bound for the UK, the US and Canada (I don’t see all the security goons offering to compensate for the loss of time, of money and the worry caused to travellers, their families and all those who wait for them and anguish when they don’t see them arriving as they are grounded at their departure location because of their so nice security measures),

While Sarko tries to emulate W and his laughable “nation at war” attitude,

Well, our dear "border skirmish" that refuses to be labelled a war goes on between Tsahal, the Hamas and other fanatics.

The civilians keep being in the middle, and keep being the ones to suffer, to lose everything and to die.

And Gaza continues its painstakingly slow agony while the Great Eye of the media is turned elsewhere.

And the international community continues feigning to ignore what’s going on there. It’s so much more convenient.

And people’s hearts die.

And people’s hatred grows.

And new terrorists are bound, with every civilian killed.

With every house destroyed.

Insanity rules.

And chaos laughs at us all.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Earthsea : There Be Dragons...

...Whose danger is greater than you think, and whose nature you wouldn't, at first, suspect.

It’s been some days now, since Miyazaki Goro’s first movie premiered in Japan. Gendo Senki is based on the Tales of Earthsea books by Ursula K. Le Guin.

This cycle of four books is, in my opinion, one of the very best fantasy has to offer. I read it almost twenty years ago, when I was a surly and haughty teenager. I remember how Ged appealed to me and talked to me. Many details of the plot, many details of the characters have gathered so much dust in the corners of my memory that they’ve become fuzzy, and can no longer be made into something coherent or clear. But what I have kept to this day, and will always keep in my heart, are the feelings, the emotions the books gifted me with. The sensation of a unique atmosphere, the very feeling of that universe, and of the people living in it.

To be honest, I had never really wondered about the color of the characters’ skin. It’s not something which bothers me or matters to me. I don’t remember feeling awkward or wondering what was going on at having characters which were mostly dark in color. I am probably one of those blind, white fools who can afford not to care (yes, I do happen to think that some people are so keen on this issue that they become abrasive and trigger a rejection reaction or a “gods, just leave it be” sigh), but since the moment I started reading fantasy, I don’t ever remember caring about the color of the skin characters had. The only exception to that being the Lord of the Rings, where Tolkien’s depiction of the Haradrim was really a clear contrast and did feel completely unbalanced.

Even when I write, I don’t take particular care about my characters’ skin color: I visualize my character. I see them, I feel them. They live inside me. If they wear a white skin, they are white. If they wear a dark brown skin, they are dark brown. If they wear a black skin, they are black. It’s not something conscious. I am not trying to maintain a ratio or a balance, or to push anything like that. To me, characters should be the way they want to be (characters do have a life and a will of their own, as most writers know), not forced into being what they didn’t want to be, or you risk getting an unbalanced work, with characters completely askew.

Still, I was ecstatic when I heard that “Miyazaki” would do the movie. Here was the perfect combination: one of the most wonderful books cycle I had read and one of the best anime film makers there was coming together. Then, when I gathered some information about the coming movie, I did realize that there had been an abysmally bad US mini-series, and that there was a kind of racial pitfall in the adaptation. As explained above, I still fail to understand why people will be so vocal about the issue, that they will push away people who would otherwise support what they say.

Anyway. First, I realized that Miyazaki junior would do the movie. Then, I read about the father – son dispute. I found that extremely sad and a waste. I don’t understand the roots of this, and likely never will—and it’s far better that way. From my understanding of the work’s progress, things went as they often do: quickly, and rather smoothly (of you can ever call the production of an anime movie “smooth”, that is). What hints and bits I could see looked rather nice to me.

Then the movie premiered in Japan. People saw it, and comments started popping up here and there.

Then Ursula Le Guin, who had seen it before its debut, came public with her own review and comment of the movie. So naturally I went to her web site, and read it, dreading what I would find. For all those who haven’t read it yet, it’s here.

Her review leaves me with the following thoughts:

It's a pity Mrs. Le Guin had to stand in the middle of a dispute between father and son. It's even more a pity that Miyazaki Hayao changed his mind on retiring after a decision was made to have his son do the movie.

However, the movie, as I understand it, has received quite a few good reviews in Japan. I, for one, will give it the fair chance it does deserve. As to the Earthsea books, as stated above I loved them when I read them, so many years ago. The details and even the plot are now fuzzy in my memory. So I will take this move and watch it as it is: Miyazaki Goro’s vision of the cycle, and not as a completely faithful shifting of the books to the screen.

Adaptation is a tricky business. Nobody is ever happy with it. If you stick to the work you're adapting too closely (hello, Saint Seiya Hades: Meikai-hen--if you've read my review of those OVAs, you know I do agree that the adaptation was just inexistent), you're cursed for being an incompetent script writer without a single ounce of talent or creativity. If you stray too far, then you're accused of betraying the original work. It seems to me like a doomed job. Even more so, when adaptation is done by someone from a culture very different from yours, and whose view of your work you can't really know--and when the adaptation is done primarily for a people whose culture is deeply different too.

I think, what amazes me the most, is that people would write Mrs Le Guin to ask her questions about the movie. As she rightly says, she's not the movie's author, or the movie's script writer, or the one who did the adaptation. Bothering her with questions is futile, and, if she didn't receive the movie in a favorable light, can only lead to rubbing more salt on the wound.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Three-Edged Sword

Reflecting back on the contents of TV series which have gained fame and have been watched by millions in the US, I can’t help but wonder: is the public simply blind, or do the authors overestimate its capacity to analyze what it sees and hears?

Take the X-Files, or Babylon 5 for instance. The contents of those shows, the material in there should have awoken people who watched them, should have made them aware of the society they live in, of the blanket of propaganda that is Georges W. Bush’s Administration main method of doing politics.

This is not only true for domains like the military and the “war on terror” flag raised every time the Republicans feel threatened—ever wondered at the timing and scale of chaos following the thwarting of that plot to blow up airliners over the Atlantic? Ever put that together with the coming election in November, and the difficult position the Republicans found themselves in until they so conveniently could get back to whipping that poor dead “war on terror” horse?

It’s also true in domains like economy and the One Allowed Line of Thought that states that completely unfettered market economy is good for humanity, and that the market is good for all of us, and will benefit us all. It’s true when it comes to unravelling this despicable deception called “the American Dream.”

Oh yes, there’s all that in TV series, and more. Let me quote you one of the most disturbing exchanges in Babylon 5, taking place between John Sheridan, Captain of the station, and Julie Musante, official envoy from the Ministry of Peace on Earth:

JM -“Earth doesn't have homeless. We don't have the problem. Well, yes, there are some displaced people, here and there, but they've chosen to be in their position. They're either lazy or they're criminal or they're mentally unstable.”
JS - “They can't get a job.”
JM - “Earth-gov has promised a job to everyone that wants one. So, if someone doesn't have a job, they must not want one.”
JS - “Poverty?”
JM -“It's the same.”
JS - “Crime?”
JM -“Yes, there is some, but it's all caused by the mentally unstable. And we've just instituted correctional centers to filter them out at an early age.”
JS - “Prejudice?”
JM -“No, we are just one happy planet”

(JM: Julie Musante, JS: John Sheridan, from Babylon 5’s Voices of Authority)

Rings a bell? Ever heard those lines or much the same from politicians near you? From people thirsting after an easy victory in elections? From senators or congressmen trying to push for a new law to be voted?

And there is more, way more to find. Babylon 5’s Lines of Communications is an exercise in unravelling the tapestry of lies and propaganda spun by the likes of Fox News. Starting with so-called journalists claiming, ”Our job, as always, is simply to state the facts and let the truth attend to itself,” the episode is a brilliant demonstration of just how you nudge the facts this way and that, how you cut interviews just so and edit videos this way to get the “truth” you were aiming for.

The X-Files’s “Redux” shows us a stunning summary of the US governments’ actions in the last 60 years, which, while certainly pushed to suit the author’s scenario, ought to at least shake people, and make them wonder about what has been done in their name, about what the US government has been doing in the world since World War II.

There is much, much more where that came from.

Desperate Housewives is an exercise in demolition of the righteous and hypocritical bigots that constitute the upper-middle class. Every single episode happily tramples down upon the lies and clichés such people entertain about themselves. Every single episode should send those people screaming in horror.

And yet, have these shows changed anything? Sometimes, I really question the ability of people to think, and reflect on what they see.

Yes, those shows are fiction, and they do not show you “the truth”. But they aim to shake easy certainties, and to make you question what you’re being told, to make you think, to force you to make yourself an opinion instead of blindly swallowing down anything spewed out by spokespersons with bovine zeal.

When I watched Babylon 5 for the first time, it was in Detroit, at a friend’s house. When I was done, I asked him: “do you realize what it is that’s shown you? Do you realize how it’s a slap in the face that undoes the way the American people just allow themselves to be led by the nose by people who only look to their own interest?” He told me that, yes, he did realize the strength of what was being shown in that TV series. But I fear he’s an exception. Oh, there must be hundreds of thousands of such exceptions, but I’m afraid they’re just a drop in the ocean of three hundred million people that comprise the United States of America.

And above all, I fear that most people in the US and elsewhere watch TV series for the fun of it, and switch off their brains when they do so—that people refuse to reflect on what’s going on around them, refuse to use the material they’re being given to question the pre-digested “truths” delivered by propaganda machines like Fox News and others. I fear that people just consider that fiction is fiction, period, and not meant to have a serious impact on “reality”. That’s a terrible mistake.

Authors of shows like Babylon 5 do want you to use your mind, to use what they showed you to challenge and question what happens around you.

When I write stories, I place elements that reflect on the world I live in. I want people to think, to question. I don’t care if in the end they agree with me or not, I’m not aiming to win any kind of election. No, what I want is for people to make their own mind, make their own opinion, instead of blindly accepting whatever is being handed to them.

Do people realize that?

Are people willing to make the effort of applying what they see, what is questioned in a TV series to challenge their everyday reality?

I wish I knew. I wish I understood how people work in that regard.

“Understanding,” as Ambassador Kosh Naranek rightly says, “is a three-edge sword: your side, their side and the truth.”

Saturday, August 12, 2006

UNO : This Mirror Some so Love to Scorn

Not exactly related to current news, even though inspired by the very late vote on a resolution calling for the end of the conflict between Tsahal and the Hezbollah in Lebanon. When hearing Secretary General Annan’s final comment, which was along the lines of : “I would be remiss in my duty if I didn’t tell you how disappointed I am that this vote came so late,” I was reminded about how my most beloved US media would likely again report this long, way too long wait for a UNO resolution.

With dripping sarcasm, of course.

Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, not to mention the New York Post, those oh so balanced and objective masterpieces of manipulation^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H ooops, I mean professional journalism, will certainly not fail me in their recounting of this agonizing path that the UNO stumbled and drudged through to finally reach their goal.

They will scorn. They will mock, and they will spit all the contempt they have packed in the sewers they use as brains. And yet, there is a certain poetic justice in watching those mindless, raving followers of the neo-cons reviling the UNO—not that they’d realize it, or that the blind crowds of morons who watch and read them would notice it either. But, if you just stop to think about it, when all those “media” ridicule the UNO, well, they’re just ridiculing the US.

After all, who keeps blocking the UNO’s work?

Who has prevented a resolution on Lebanon to be voted for weeks (probably so that Israel could do their job for them and fight the war they’re busy losing in Irak)?

Why, none other than the US authorities and their fantastic ambassador, Mr John Bolton.

When the US government decided to send to the UNO a man who despises the organization and dreams of nothing more than to see it trampled and destroyed,

When the US is a permanent member of the Security Council enjoying the right to veto anything that displeases them,

When the US has been using the veto weapon again and again, hampering the work of the UNO with all it had along the years,

Well, what else can you conclude when you analyze the UNO’s actions, other than it’s being hopelessly inefficient?

This is perfectly true.

This is also thanks to the good work of the US, which doesn’t want the UNO, which hates the UNO, because even though it can block anything coming to the Security Council, others can also block stuff it could bring on the table.

The UNO is nothing more than what the nations which compose it make it. It’s no more efficient or inefficient, inept or fantastic than what the nation which compose it allow it to be. And this is even truer for those who sit on the Security Council with a permanent membership and the dreaded right to veto any resolution—the US first, and foremost among them.

The UNO, the one place where all the nations come and meet, and try to settle disputes, stop wars, and prevent them from starting (well, almost all nations—Israel, for instance, always declined to be a member, one wonders why, really…). It’s no surprise the current US government led by W and his shadows (Mr Cheney, where are you? Still shooting your pals at your little hunting parties? How are Haliburton’s benefits these days?) hate it and sabotage it through any means at their disposal. The current US government, whose strings are pulled by the likes of the madmen called the neo-cons, wants nothing to do with anything remotely resembling multilateralism. They want nothing where the opinion of others really matter.

As their friendship with Tony B clearly demonstrates, what the US wants is dogs which wag their tail when they speak, drool a bit and reflect back to them the fact that they’re the best, the most intelligent, that they’re right, and of course they’re winning and all’s well in the world.

So, please, demolish the UNO, my dear, balanced US media. Demolish away.

You’re only breaking your own image.

Please, do carry on, while I contemplate the latest feat of war pulled by Tsahal when it bombed a convoy of civilians and Lebanese army fleeing the war in Southern Lebanon, despite having been warned, and having agreed to allow the convoy to pass unarmed.

Friday, August 11, 2006

No Comment

Israel Asks U.S. to Ship Rockets With Wide Blast

Israel has asked the Bush administration to speed delivery of short-range antipersonnel rockets armed with cluster munitions (...)

(...) The rockets, while they would be very effective against hidden missile launchers, officials say, are fired by the dozen and could be expected to cause civilian casualties if used against targets in populated areas. Israel is asking for the rockets now because it has been unable to suppress Hezbollah’s Katyusha rocket attacks in the month-old conflict by using bombs dropped from aircraft and other types of artillery, the officials said. (...)

(...) During much of the 1980’s, the United States maintained a moratorium on selling cluster munitions to Israel, following disclosures that civilians in Lebanon had been killed with the weapons during the 1982 Israeli invasion. But the moratorium was lifted late in the Reagan administration, and since then, the United States has sold Israel some types of cluster munitions, the senior official said. (...)

(...) While Bush administration officials have criticized Israeli strikes that have caused civilian casualties, they have also backed the offensive against Hezbollah by rushing arms shipments to the region. Last month the administration approved a shipment of precision-guided munitions, which one senior official said this week included at least 25 of the 5,000-pound “bunker-buster” bombs.

Last month, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch said its researchers had uncovered evidence that Israel had fired cluster munitions on July 19 at the Lebanese village of Bilda, which the group said had killed one civilian and wounded at least 12 others, including 7 children. (...)

(...) After the Reagan administration determined in 1982 that the cluster munitions had been used by Israel against civilian areas, the delivery of the artillery shells containing the munitions to Israel was suspended.

Israel was found to have violated a 1976 agreement with the United States in which it had agreed only to use cluster munitions against Arab armies and against clearly defined military targets. (...)

Source: Today's edition of the New York Times

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tsahal, Humanitarian Aid Deluxe ™ !

Partisan people would certainly tell you Israel is perfecting its trap on the South of Lebanon, locking in countless civilians, cut out from all help and hope. But I’m telling you, those partisan, and often outright anti-semitic people are once again trying to fool European public opinions, and to manipulate the West into thinking Israel and Tsahal are no more innocent in the death of civilians on one side of the border than the Hezbollah is on the other side of that border.

There could be nothing further from the truth.

Can’t you see what’s happening? Israel has locked out Southern Lebanon, Tsahal has severed that small piece of land and all those who are unhappy enough to live in it from the world. Any vehicle spotted there will be targeted and destroyed. Bombed. But that’s only natural. After all, even though those vehicles would be ambulances bearing the Red Cross, or humanitarian convoys bearing the UNO or well-known insignias like Doctors Without Borders could very well have been hijacked by those terrorists of the Hezbollah. There’s no way to tell! And if there’s no way to tell, the safest way to deal with the issue is to blow the thing to smithereens, and then investigate. Simple as that, as the nice military spokesperson explained on how the Israeli jets target civilian buildings and fire. When you don’t know, you fire, because, well, you don’t know, and it’s best to act.

So, what Israel’s really doing while warning it will blindly destroy any vehicle spotted in Southern Lebanon is really saving the lives of all those good and kind-hearted people of humanitarian organizations. Really. And don’t worry about the civilians trapped in the war zone. Even though the Red Cross has officially declared there were more than a hundred thousand people still stuck in there, unable to flee or do anything other than to wait until they get killed like rats, well, no worries. Tsahal is up to the challenge.

Of course. What were you thinking?

Of course Tsahal and the Israeli government do realize that that hundred thousand people will starve, get sick and die if nobody brings them essential supplies, food, water and medicine. Jeez, you shouldn’t underestimate Tsahal like that, and allow yourself to be brainwashed by the global partisan media. They’re all against Israel and Tsahal, didn’t you notice? They feed you nothing but lies, and exaggerations. Truly. Cross my heart. So, I’ll spell it for you, and forever dispel the lies dripping from the media: there is nothing to fear, Tsahal declared that Southern Lebanon is a dead zone for anyone who’d try to move in but them. So it’s all very logical, rational, and so thoughtful and generous of Tsahal and Israel, really. By forbidding anyone to move in the zone, they save their lives. But Tsahal remains free to move, so they’ll go on those dangerous, destroyed roads and bridges (that they themselves destroyed), risking their lives to bring all the humanitarian aid to the civilans themselves.

Isn’t it wonderful?

And with that, you kill two bords with the same stone. In the same time, they’ll be able to investigate all the fishy buildings, and investigate all the people who pretend to be civilians but in truth are nothing other than Hezbollah-supporting scum—and certainly even Hezbollah members for a good part. Yeah. A hundred thousand civilians? Hm, I think not. Many must be terrorists in hiding, I’m sure. Better to be on the safe side. As they say, better to err on the side of caution.

If you’re not sure, shoot it.

Isn’t it what people who claim to hold the moral high ground do?

That’s why Tsahal is really doing something wonderful. That’s why I’m sure Israel will be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize next year. No doubt about that.

Naaan-te ne! (just kidding)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Is Fantasy That Hard ?

A strange question, maybe, but bear with me. It just popped inside my baked brain while I was watching an episode of Stargate Atlantis.

There are quite a few science-fiction shows out there, ranging from awful to good, very good and even fantastic and enthralling. The various incarnations of Star Trek are of course the most famous of the lot, but there are other, very, very good TV series doing justice to the genre. Farscape, Taken, Odyssey 5, The 4400, and Babylon 5—the greatest title of SF and fiction I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch on TV.

When you think about it, there has always been a wealth of SF shows out there, and for a very long time. Dating back to the Star Trek, The Original Series and Battle Ship Galactica or even Lost in Space (although I wouldn’t call that good…but then you need also titles to fill the “awful” category ^^;;; ), you’ll find them if you just look around the corner. They’re all there, some have lulled or rocked our teenage years or our childhood. Some have entranced our hours of leisure on evenings after hard days of work. In a way, they’re part of the landscape, and you really can find the very best pieces of writing, of acting and directing in there.

Inspired scenarios, fantastic characters, detailed universes, coherent stories that span five seasons (this is a shameless B5 plug), SF TV series have it all—well, not all of them, but you can find it.

Now, when I turn my attention on fantasy shows—heroic fantasy TV series, I come out empty-handed. Well, you have shows like Buffy or Angel, but to me they belong to the urban fantasy genre, trendy modern vampire thingies. Oh, don’t mistake me, I love those two shows, I’ve enjoyed them to death and I believe they’re superb bits of story-telling and character-building, but I don’t think they’re true fantasy. Even a small jewel like Carnivale isn’t what I call Fantasy.

So, what’s out there that could qualify? Well, I guess you could consider shows like Hercules, Dar or Xena, although to me they’re more like the twisting and (ab)using of Greek mythology. That’s not to say dialogues in there aren’t witty, or funny, or that characters are uninteresting or uninspiring, not at all. Those shows can be very much enjoyable, be relaxing, but they’re not fantasy to me, not really. Or rather, it’s second degree parodic fantasy, not serious, honest-to-god fantasy.

With that in mind, I still can’t put my finger on any real TV series that’s truly rooted in the fantasy genre. And I can’t help wondering why. Is it the settings? The costumes? I’d think not. The themes? No way, SF has enough disturbing themes to play with, I don’t see why fantasy couldn’t dabble with its darker aspects as well. What, then? Coherent universes? Strong stories? The fantasy genre does have that aplenty. But what have TV producers done with it? They have mangled and completely botched a mini on Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Quartet. Completely betrayed the author’s work. I have yet to understand why.

Why don’t TV producers use the fantastic resources at hand? Why not turn to the stories of Robin Hobb, Tad Williams or even, for the lighter aspects, David Eddings? Do the authors refuse to sell the rights to adapt their works in TV series? Are those universes too coherent, to solid and well built for the producers? Can’t they make the bet that they can gather a crowd of intelligent viewers able and willing to follow a plot-driven show during multiple seasons? It would seem to me that Babylon 5 has proved that there is an audience for such shows.

And just for your information, dear Hollywood producers, check out the fantastic profits Japanese animes make, whose main characteristics for highly popular shows like Bleach are to be both plot and character-driven and to last for quite a few seasons with an ever growing fandom.

No matter how I try, I don’t understand the producers’ timidity in the area of fantasy. Could it be that some people have decided that it wasn’t mainstream enough? Please, check the ratings of The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter movies if that’s what’s stopping you. Truly, I’d like to know why nobody in Hollywood is seriously going for the fantasy genre—except to tackle parodic fantasy.

Dear producers, dear publishers, please don’t forget: the public’s tastes aren’t always restricted to what you dictate it is or should be. Trust me, people can be full of surprises. People can like deep, intricate and plot-driven shows whose stories span several seasons. Oh yes, they can.

Babylon 5 has proved that, more than once.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Forty-Nine Seconds

It was the time yesterday’s evening news had to spare to remind viewers that on August 6th, 1945, what counts among the most horrible crimes against humanity was committed.

August 6th, 1945. The day a light as bright as the sun's crushed Hiroshima. The day the US dropped a gift for hundreds of thousands of civilians living in that area. Oh, I know, it was war. A war that couldn’t seem to end, whose thirst for blood and death couldn’t seem to be sated. A war of madness, of insanity which manifested in atrocities committed by the Japanese army on Chinese and Korean soil. I know all that, and it’s very clear that the Japanese Army leaders were as evil as they were blind and crazy. War criminals, they were. Bloodthistry madmen who deluded themselves into thinking they could come back to the blessed times of the Tokugawa Dynasty. Before the black ships came into Kyoto bay.

Before the US destroyed a centuries-old status-quo and plunged the Japanese civilisation into a chaos that’s still plaguing it today. But then, if it had only been a matter of annihilating one’s enemies through conventional means, if it had been simple bombing of cities back to the stone age, it would have been…simple, classical acts of war, I guess. Like the bombing of Dresde even though Hitler’s Nazi Germany had already lost the war, if you want. Oh, yeah, war is nothing grand or noble or exciting. War is just ugliness, slaughtering, killings, people crying their souls and their guts out, agonizing for hours and days on end, wetting their pants and dying bereft of their humanity and dignity. Did you ever think otherwise? Ah, then you must be one of the morons who find Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Vandamme manly. Please, just go away, reading this will only confuse your deficient brains. Thank you.

But I digress.

So, Belgian TV news had only about forty-nine seconds to spare for an event that has shaped the world as we know it for scores of years, and is likely to continue shaping it for a long time.

The use of a nuclear weapon.

On a civilian target.

Because the US unleashed a terror nobody suspected, the world has lived under a shroud of dread. Because horror gained a face and a name, hundreds of thousands of faces whose skin started to come off even as they burnt from within and were vomiting blood, spitting out their guts without even knowing what was happening to them or why. Because that horror continued for dozens of years, accompanied by US military scientific personnel which came not to try to heal but to study those fantastic, unhoped-for guinea-pigs—to watch them agonize, to measure rates of this and that in their bloodstreams while they were dying, and clinging to the belief that the men in white blouses would somehow save them and alleviate their excruciating pain.

Because of that monstrosity, powers have watched themselves, eyed themselves without daring to move. Common analysis of the event says it spared us a nuclear World War III. It’s likely it’s absolutely correct. Common analysis of the event goes on to usually consider that, in that way, it was worth it. Because it served to silence the world, to strike it so hard that nobody ever dared repeat that oh-so proud feat of arms. I am sorry, but I refuse to rationalize that event—to view it in a positive light. I think, we can never fully apprehend the horror of what happened then. Of what all those people endured. Of unspeakable terror and suffering. But we can at least try. We can read manga like Gen of Hiroshima, told by a survivor of the bomb. We can refuse to close our eyes when the author starts drawing how people’s face started melting and coming off. And we can stop hiding behind easy rationalizations.

There is no excuse for using that weapon. Such things should be forbidden. Such things should be tried, and punished. It doesn’t matter that the enemy was criminally insane and cruel beyond depiction. It doesn’t give you the right to be like the enemy, to be the enemy. To descend at the enemy’s level. An eye for an eye. I know of nothing more barbaric than that. Becoming the enemy in order to defeat it is being defeated. It’s losing oneself and one’s values. There is no victory possible once you’ve gone down that road. None.

Sixty-one years later, I wonder whether we have learnt anything. Some people in Japan are arguing to leave the stance of peace Japan embraced when recovering from the war’s aftermath. Some in Japan advocate for regaining a “normal approach” to the army. That means, considering the use of weapons, of technologies which shattered Japan and tore through the very fabric of life.

Sixty-one years later, a mad fanatic in Iran dreams of getting his claws on a nuclear weapon so he can destroy Israel and dominate the Middle-East. But nobody is even tip-toeing in his direction. Oh no. They’re too busy destroying Lebanon, it’s so much easier…

Sixty-one years later, I wonder where the USSR’s nuclear arsenal has gone. I wonder if anyone in China or North Korea could make use of nuclear devices, and I can’t shake the feeling that it’s not impossible.

Sixty-one years later, the evening news on TV had about forty-nine seconds to spare for an uninteresting event that devastated the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Not even one minute.

Forty-nine seconds

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Perilous Prequels Galore

It seems to be the trend of the days. Prequels, be it in US TV series, movies or in manga and anime. Quite frankly, I find myself wondering what’s going on through the producers’ brains.

Granted, it’s easier to come up with a prequel: the universe is set, you can reuse characters that are already well established and popular. You can do what you didn’t do before, either because technology of the time didn’t allow you to, or because you simply didn’t think of it (or couldn’t do it because of the time’s constraints in terms of morals, and righteousness). Still, while these are time and cost-efficient criteria, there are others to consider:

Fanfictions, for one. Oh yes, you heard me. Fanfictions, and those who write them. Most of the great titles, be it in US TV series or anime/manga, have attracted writers from all over the fandom spectrum. Between themselves, they’ve extended the existing universes, studied characters to death, built prequels and side-stories. Sometimes, but more rarely so, they’ve dabbled in sequels. In spite of the Correct Opinion ™ brandished in the publishing world, some of those fanfiction authors are very good and talented writers. Of course, a great many are just kids and teens spewing out their (often incoherent) fantasies on the internet, realizing their own dreams of being heroes or the beloved/whatever of heroes or heroines they idolize. It would be stupid to ignore that or not to acknowledge it.

Yet, in the vast ocean of fanfictions, there are shining jewels who do more than justice to the title that inspired them. This I s not a popular opinion in the publishing world, and yet it’s the truth. After all, what do the franchised writers do when they write novels for TSR, and other companies? What do the authors of Star Trek, Star Wars DragonLance, Forgotten Realms novels write, other than fanfiction? Are they not writing about a universe they didn’t create, using characters and concepts they didn’t create?

But enough with my rambling on fanfiction. If I continue, I’ll be telling you all about what I think of the odds of getting published when you write something original as a first novel and you’re not sponsored by X or Y (X or Y being someone high placed in the publishing world, a critic, a professor in some university or another popular writer). This is supposed to be about prequels.

Star Trek prequels among them. To tell you the truth, while I suppose I can be called a geek, I am in no way a Trekkie (or a Trekker). I have watched with quite a bit of pleasure St TNG, ST DS9 and parts of ST Voyager (my memories of ST TOS are foggier, and I know for a fact I’d have a bit of difficulty enjoying it now—even though I did love what I could catch of it as a child). But I have not, and will most likely never watch a single episode of ST Enterprise, and I’m not sure I’ll want to watch the 11th movie in the works under the direction of JJ Abrams who came up with Lost (I have yet to understand the appeal of that series, but never mind—the fact that he’s also the writer of crap like Mission Impossible 3, the abysmally awful movie created for the sole glory of a totally egocentric sect member like Tom Cruise alone makes my skin crawl in disgust). Beyond my doubts and qualms about JJ Abrams, the concept of yet another prequel irks me. Are Hollywood’s screenwriters so unimaginative that they need to go back and drape themselves with a universe and characters not their own?

What’s the use of a prequel recounting Kirk’s and Spock’s first mission in deep space? Oh, I’m sure it can be interesting, but let me tell you one thing: it’s been done already. It has been written, and probably a thousand times already. All those possibilities have been explored to death by fanfiction writers. The odds of coming up with something original in that regard are very small, if not outright null. Sure, it’s bound to be much easier, and it’s bound to be really convenient if in doing this you can do some kind of reboot on the series’ concepts. That’ll allow you to get rid of continuity and coherence, so you can write what you want. But that’s what fanfiction writers do. Taking a universe, twisting it to suit one’s vision and making it your own. While I have no problem with that (as long as it’s well done)—after all I spend my time doing this when I write—I have a problem with the owner of a universe abandoning the canon of their work, changing the foundations as if what had come before had become either obsolete, or inconvenient. You should be able to work with respect to the concepts. You should be able to look forward, and advance using the guidelines set before you came, and build ahead. If you’re a professional, you should be able to do so.

And quite frankly, prequels are very difficult to turn into a success. To be popular and interesting, they need to be intermingled with an ongoing story that is making the universe itself progress. They cannot stand alone, cut out from the flow of a forward-going story. They need to come in flashbacks, not to stand alone and estranged from everything. People like Tite Kubo (Bleach anyone?) and the anime directors of Bleach TV have shown themselves to be masters in that most delicate of arts. JMS has done a superb job of prequel building with In the Beginning in the Babylon 5 universe. That was fantastic work, and should be the example of how one does prequels, and how one uses them to enrich one’s universe. The articulation of that movie in the chronological development of the story was masterful. Those who exploit the Star Trek franchise…have yet to show talent in that regard. And the direction that’s being taken is not, imho, the right one.

From TV series to anime and manga. Unfortunately, the ST owners aren’t the only ones to have decided to exploit this avenue. A certain Masami Kurumada is busy trampling his own work in Japan, for reasons that are completely beyond me. A mediocre artist at best, Masami Kurumada had had one moment of inspiration, twenty and some years ago when he created Saint Seiya. That fantastic, epic story upheld my years of hardship in the university, lifted me up, inspired me. There was depth and vision there, characters and a compelling universe that was a mixture of all the mythologies he could grab at. The story ended in the early 90s. Some twenty years later, a push for a revival was made in Japan. Alas, Saint Seiya was no longer of interest for its creator, who had found his path in life with wrestling and drinking lots of beers. Still, money is always welcome, and the revival did happen.

The Tenkai-hen Jôsô movie was made. The beginnings of a sequel, and a beautiful job it was. But the author, who declined to participate in its making beyond a fuzzy outline in the first place, decided he didn’t like it. And Mr Kurumada decided he’d redo everything. Because of the way he ended his story twenty years before, he decided to reboot, and to start his sequel with a prequel. And boy, is it bad! Kurumada’s art hasn’t become any better with time, but then it would have been stupid to expect that. But the story-telling…if you can still call that story-telling… The dialogues, the characters… Ugh. Again, as with Star Trek, Mr Kurumada, please, spare us the pain. What you’re babbling about and spewing out has been done already, and way better than you can ever hope to do. Fanfiction writers have been there for ages. I know it’s easier to do that, I know it demands far less effort to go into a prequel, and that your interest in Saint Seiya isn’t enough to push you to do a good job on a sequel. But then, please, just stop your Next Dimension horror. We don’t need it. The world, I assure you, has no need for it.

Prequels are very difficult to do properly. They’re very tricky to integrate in a work. The timing, the intermingling, all of it is very delicate work. It demands talent.

Tite Kubo has it. J. Michael Straczinski has it. It may be Mr Abrams has it, but even if he has, the cut in the Star Trek flow is such that he can only fail. He cannot integrate his movie in anything: there is no ST TV series running. There is nothing beyond DS9 and Voyager. It’s as if ST had just stopped—or died. Reminiscing and focusing on the past in the void is no good. As to Mr Kurumada…well, the 8 pages of garbage he spewed out a few days ago are ample proof of his total lack of interest or talent where Saint Seiya is concerned. That is as pathetic as it’s a heart-breaker.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I’m fast getting weary of these—well, no, okay, not weary. Not even exhausted. Pissed off? No, it’s worse. I’m sick of hearing the same empty justifications spewed out again and again by people who have as much credibility as W shouting his “Bring’em on!” to the world (and getting them full in the face, as requested).

If only the spokespersons of Tsahal, among whom Ehoud Olmert seems to have gained a place (wait, wasn’t he supposed to be Prime Minister, instead of Deluxe Army Lackey?) would just shut the fuck up…

I have enough of hearing how Israel is careful in selecting its targets, in having a second recognition before striking. They’re just making it worse. If they check twice that they’re going to bomb a UNIFIL building, an ambulance, a humanitarian convoy or a truck where workers are working to put a fruit harvest inside, well… yeah, I think that counts as making it worse.

Just as the ludicrous claim that they just want to take care of the threat of Hezbollah in South Lebanon. Why are they attacking Christian quarters in Beirut, then? Why did they attack cities and infrastructures in the North? Why did they just cut off Beirut from the outside world, destroying the last highway that was an escape route for civilians to flee the living hell their home has become? So that they can drop tracts warning the same civilians of a coming bombardment and advising them to flee via escape routes that no longer exist?

I know I’m sounding like a broken record right now, but that’s because Tsahal and its Deluxe Lackey, Ehoud Olmert, are busy being a broken record themselves.

Why do they cling to this stupid discourse? Do they think they can fool anyone other than their own extremists, and all those who believe that the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim? I stumbled on such a person’s prose today, and quite frankly, they’re as much a menace as the Islamists. Sometimes, I wonder who writes the speeches of all these Israeli politicians, and their defenders. One thing is for sure: they’re not very good at writing, and about as convincing as a kid claiming he didn’t eat any chocolate with his hands smudged with dark brown traces.

The tales these people are trying to spin are so unbelievable, so badly woven that I could almost feel some compassion toward them. Almost. But behind their pathetic words of justification, of being the shields of the West, innocents die.

The other day, I read a paper where the author was explaining that in his view, Israel doesn’t give a damn about Lebanon, and is just using it as a battleground without the slightest regard for that small state and its population. When I analyze the very thorough destruction of the country’s infrastructure, the raids against food convoys, against humanitarian convoys, the strikes against hospitals and ambulances, the cutting of the last escape routes… Well, I can only come to one conclusion:

Israel cares about Lebanon, all right.

It cares that it is a thorn in its side, and that it needs to be taken out. What I see is the deliberate destruction of that small country. And maybe even something uglier, that I don’t want to contemplate. I can only hope that Lebanon will not become another Bosnia.

I can only hope, while Condi is playing tea and chit-chat, oh, and shedding a tear on the tragedy the poor population of Lebanon is going through—when the cameras are nearby, of course. Wouldn’t want to abuse of her eye-dropper. These things are so expensive, you know!