Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

RIP Pete Seeger 1919 - 2014

A truly great American has left us. If there is a Heaven of clouds and angels, the one with the banjo instead of a harp will be Pete (singing songs campaigning for better conditions in Hell, naturally).

I remember when I was small this song used to be on the radio a lot.

I heard more of Pete as I got older and began to hear some of his civil rights songs (they were on the record I bought to get "Little Boxes". Then my brother bought a couple of his albums, one of which ("God Bless The Grass") must have been one of the very first records of songs about environmental issues. I had hoped to find a clip of Seventy Miles, but you'll have to make do with the lyrics. The other album was "Strangers and Cousins" which as I recall was of collaborations around the world. The most memorable track, to me at least, was a performance from Japan of Bob Dylan's "Masters of War" given one line at a time with a Japanese interpreter translating each line immediately after Pete sang it. I think what caught my attention was the great disparity in the lengths of some of the translations: you'd have a line that was rendered in three or four syllables, followed by one that took maybe ten seconds to translate.

Anyway, there it is: the man's dead. A great American has passed on, leaving his country the richer for his passage through it. The end of an era. Here is another of Pete's great songs, this one not a song of struggle but of peace and reconciliation, sung by those other great Americans, the Byrds.

It was Pete's time to die, after making the best possible use of his time to live.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Teach Your Children Well

A great video from France - where they know all about resurgent fascism and racism - about the stupidity of racial stereotyping.

COUP DE FILET - "What muslims are hiding from you" from JAMEL ZAOUCHE on Vimeo

(Thanks to Bonni the Nazi at BNI who posted this to make fun of it. To regular members of the human race, it is a timely warning for Holocaust Memorial Day.)

A musical memorial

The American (and Jewish) composer Steve Reich wrote Different Trains, contrasting the trains on which he travelled between New York and Los Angeles during World War II (visiting his separated parents) with the more sinister trains running in the Third Reich at the time to take his fellow Jews for extermination.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The price of Freiheit is eternal Arbeit

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, marking the 59th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp. The day is being marked all over the world, and indeed in my own workplace there was a special meeting of my trade union (the EIS) to commemorate the occasion. It was addressed by the EIS General Secratary, a history lecturer, and a female Muslim student who had recently visited Auschwitz and described her visit to the camp, the Schindler enamel factory, the Krakow ghetto, and other evocative sites. There was much discussion of the way in which Hitler's was facilitated by the 1929 Wall Street crash, which caused a search for people to blame for the economic woes being visited upon Germany. Jews, socialists, homosexuals: all made perfect scapegoats. In the same way, the recent rise in the profile of British fascism has been accelerated by the banking crisis and the Westminster government's subsequent "austerity" programme. While antisemitism is still alive and well, these days Muslims are a far more attractive target for religions prejudice, while the "flood" of immigrants from Eastern Europe fuels racism. It's no surprise that the Roma, who were the second largest group targeted by the Nazis, are on the receiving end of some of the worst abuse today, nor was it surprising when a UKIP councillor blamed the recent severe weather on gays.

I have a few observations to make on this sombre day. Firstly, that while the Jews were the largest single group targeted to be murdered by the Nazis, they made up only six million of the total of eleven million people slaughtered in the Holocaust. I have no wish at all to detract from the remembrance of Hitler's attempt to destroy European Jewry, but I think it's important to remember the trade unionists, communists, socialists, gays, lesbians, blacks, those with mental or physical disabilities, Roma and Jehovah's Witnesses who wound up just as dead as those six million Jews. (Meanwhile, some Israeli commentators question whether Israelis should be involved in commemorating the full horror of the Holocaust when Israel has its own day commemorating the Jewish part.)

It also seems inevitable that if I were to go out trawling around the internet on this day, I would encounter any number of present-day fascists who would be maintaining the tired lies that (a) Muslims hate Jews (b) Muslims supported Hitler (because, hey, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was a friend of Hitler's so OBVIOUSLY all the world's Muslims supported the Nazis. Let us pass over the well-documented links between the Zionist terror groups who would go on to become the first rulers of Israel and the Third Reich (they encouraged Hitler to expel Jews - though not to murder them - so that they could form the core of the new Zionist project). Let me instead direct your attention to the Paris Mosque, whose Imam was responsible for saving hundreds of Jews from being sent for extermination. He provided them with false documents identifying them as Muslims, and this obviously required the collusion of several other senior figures at the mosque. On a related matter, Sir Winston Churchill is often cited as a hater of Muslims because of a comment he made when in his early twenties (see here, with a discussion including the parts invariably omitted, and the context in which it was written). It's very clear that Churchill; harboured no such negative feeling about Muslims by the time of the Second World War. Why do I say that? Well, consider this. In October 1940 the Battle of Britain was still raging. American involvement in the war was far off, and there were thousands of things requiring the great man's urgent attention. Yet what do we find him doing on 24 October?

On 24 October the Churchill War Cabinet authorizes allocation of £100,000 for acquisition of a mosque site in London (WAR CABINET: 276 (40). National Archives - See also Report WP (G)(40) 268 of 18 October 1940). The intent was to enable Muslims in Britain to build a mosque and an Islamic Cultural Centre, so they could conduct affairs pertaining to their faith. The gift was also intended as a tribute to the thousands of Indian Muslim soldiers who died defending the British Empire.

See also here and here.

The only way in which the lies of the racists, antisemites, Islamophobes and other fascist hangers-on can be effectively countered is with facts. For every lie or partial truth it is essential that the genuine story is made public. This is how fascism has always been fought, and how it is fought today. In the twenty-first century, while it may seem that as a nation we have learned little since the days of Hitler - else how do parties like the British National Party, Liberty GB and Britain First attract even the small followings they do? - but we understand how such evil ideas take root and are fostered, and we're ready to respond. That's why I spend as much time as I do in exposing the lies - sometimes downright evil, sometimes simply risible - of people like Bonni Benstock-Intall of the BareNakedIslam hate site. Incidentally, for someone who claims to be a Jew, it is odd that Bonni has made no comment about Holocaust Memorial Day (not even along the lines I predicted above). Of course, she considers that the leftists and gays merely got what they deserved, and that Europe's Jews brought their troubles on themselves by their sympathy for left-wing causes (Bonni believes that Hitler was an extremist of the far left). Or maybe it's just that President Obama has marked the day, which for Bonni must make it unworthy of consideration. After all, the only force in Bonni;s life stronger than her visceral loathing of Muslims (or anyone who looks as though they might be Muslim by reason of being brown-skinned) is her hatred of her President, who had the bad taste to be elected twice while not being white.

Title from Elsinore, Plotline from Verona, Author from Hale, Book from Amazon

I have a friend (I know, amazing, isn't it?) called Sue Barnard. She was at the same college as my wife in our student days, and to be honest I can't remember whether I met her via Hilary (who at the time was going out with someone I knew through gaming and science fiction connections) or via my then girlfriend, who (like Sue) was studying French. Anyway, I knew Sue way back in 1974 or so, which is forty years back.

Sue, having spent her life doing various administrative jobs as well as raising two boys and looking after a railway signal engineer (so a kind of grown-up boy) to whom she is married, has found a new career as a best-selling author, or so it seems. Her first book isn't even published yet, but Amazon have it in their "Bestsellers" list. Here it is. I haven't seen a copy myself yet so I can't say from personal experience whether it's any good or not, but I have high hopes.

Sue has a blog entitled Broad Thoughts From a Home.

Go. Read the book. Enjoy. I'm sure I will.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Eating People Is Wrong

That Bonni Benstock-Intall, the New York Holocaust denier who longs for the Nazis to return in Germany, delights in human suffering is nothing new: she's forever posting videos of her favourite kind of porn, men being beheaded or otherwise mutilated. Well, whatever floats your boat I suppose. But she has excelled herself this week by uploading a delighted post full of praise for Christian mobs in the Central African Republic who have been massacring Muslims. No, it's not that that is the new thing: it's her specific praise for Ouandja Magloire, who eats the flesh of the Muslims he burns to death. Most of the sheep who comment on her site either join her in applauding the guy or worry in case he might catch something from eating Muslims (who everyone knows are all carriers of dreadful diseases, right?)

BareNakedIslam: because nothing illustrates the innate superior of "Western culture" over Islam than the wholehearted embracing of cannibalistic murder.


There are some folks who would say that I'm an old fashioned liberal leftist who supports homosexuals, multiculturalism, internationalism, socialism, abortion and Muslims.

I think they're very perspicacious to compliment me on so many of the things I'm proudest of.

And now some music.

And now a word from our sponsor

I have to link this, given the name of my blog. But I would have linked it anyway. Enjoy.

How does Florida manage to keep lowering our expectations of it?

This story wouldn't be worrying in itself (well, unless you were a Florida taxpayer, I suppose). But the comment from the judge that the ruling was necessary "to prevent irreparable harm to hundreds of Florida prisoners who believe that keeping kosher is an important part of their religious beliefs" is difficult to reconcile with the fact that last summer Florida stopped providing halal meals for its Muslim prisoners. Which makes it very clear that this isn't about freedom of religion, but about how much more loudly, and with how much more financial inducement to Florida politicians, the state's Jewish lobby can whine compared with its Muslim lobby.

It isn't all that surprising. After all, this is the state which for a while permitted a man who was kicked out of the Army for torturing a prisoner to hold elected office. For that matter, a state which willingly harbours wanted terrorists. Why any British tourists want to visit when there are 49 better states always amazes me: the only way would get me there would be to hijack a plane I was in (something those terrorists know all about).

Guerilla art at its finest

A friend of mine just linked these fake London Underground signs on Facebook, causing me to laugh so much I almost had al kinds of unfortunate accidentss. Pure genius, and well deserving of being shared here. The 'sausages' one is my personal favourite, though I think 'submarine to Somalia' gets the surrealism award.

They're playing my tune

One of my Facebook friends recently linked to a site which will tell you the unlikely national "holiday" (somewhere in the world) on which your birthday falls. Mine (3rd August) is National Watermelon Day, celebrated in the USA. And while I didn't need this piece to tell me that people make racist remarks about blacks and watermelons, it did tell me that they're yet another thing for which we in Europe are indebted to the Arabs (along with oranges, algebra, most of our astronomy and all of our knowledge of ancient Greek texts).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Powering the local economy

Back before Christmas I went to get my car out of the garage, and when I closed the garage door it swung completely off its track. We got a quotation from a supplier of garage doors and realised that getting a radio-controlled door (handy as it opens directly onto the pavement) wouldn't add greatly to the cost. However we would, of course, have to get electricity supplied to the garage.

So this morning we had an electrician round, who gave us a rough quotation. He pointed out, though, that to get electricity to the garage we'd either need to get a builder to cut a conduit into the floor of out back yard from the cellar to the garage, or have what my wife described as "Delhi-style" wiring (i.e. cables strung between buildings just above head height).

Tomorrow, then, a builder is coming to give us a quotation....

For some reason this song kept running through my head (it was a huge hit in Britain when I was very small).

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft, or vice versa

I've been watching the news all day to see when (or whether) the Rosetta spacecraft which is due to put a lander onto a comet 800 million kilometres away would wake up from its hibernation on schedule. And it did!

To put that distance into tome kind of perspective: radio signals from the spacecraft will take roughly 40 minutes to reach us.

However, following the story has had me compulsively singing this song for the last couple of days.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Let's hope it's a good one

A vegetable processed, and a piece of rotten meat trailing in its wake

I'm glad Ariel Sharon has died. Not because he was a war criminal (though he was) or a personally odious and deepy evil man (though e was both of those things). I'm glad he has died because not even I would wish further drawing-out of his vegatative state on his family. As far as one can tell it made no difference to Sharon whether he was comatose or dead: but it must have been hard on his family. And however supportive of the man they may have been, they could hardly have been otherwise for a husband and father, so I bear them no ill will.

Ariel Sharon I shall leave to the tender mercies of whatever afterlife he expected to inhabit.

Tony Blair, on the other hand, demonstrated once again by his tasteless gushing and grandstanding at Sharon's funeral why he was utterly unfit to be our Prime Minister, and why he remains unfit to be associated in any way with the Palestinian peace process. Here is a report from Haaretz by Mustaf Barghouthi on his eulogy, which I reproduce below for the open-mouthed horror of my readers. (You can read Blair's original text at the link above.)

Blair's moral failure

Tony Blair's words of praise for Ariel Sharon, the 'Butcher of Beirut' and symbol of Israel’s wider impunity on the international stage, show his bankruptcy as Quartet envoy.

On Monday January 13th, the office of the special Envoy of the Quartet in Jerusalem, Mr. Tony Blair, circulated the eulogy [see below] he delivered at Ariel Sharon’s funeral, in the form of a Quartet statement. The full text of his eulogy, now accessible to the public, demonstrates why Mr. Blair has utterly failed in his role.
Mr. Blair is supposed to represent the international community in Jerusalem. He is supposed operate within the framework of international law, which includes ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and establishing a fully independent and sovereign Palestinian state. His speech showed no respect for the thousands of families who still mourn their loved ones, massacred in Qibya in 1953, in Sabra and Shatila in 1982, not to mention the 20,000 Palestinians and Lebanese killed under Sharon’s orders during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the thousands killed during the second intifada or the hundreds of Egyptians prisoners of war who were brutally killed by his orders.
Ariel Sharon is gone, but his legacy remains with us. His is the 'vision' of bringing one million settlers to the occupied West Bank. His is the project of redeployment from Gaza and its isolation from the rest of Palestine in order to reshape Israel’s occupation and consolidate the annexation of vast areas of occupied Palestine.
Despite attempts to present himself as a 'statesman', Sharon will be remembered by many as the war criminal he was: The 'Butcher of Beirut', as he is known in the Arab world, who had an obsession with killing Yasser Arafat. Attempts to bring him to court failed, either due to protection afforded to him by State of Israel or due to his status as Prime Minister, as was the case when Belgian lawyers representing survivors from the Sabra and Shatila massacre tried to bring him to trial in 2002. Just like General Pinochet, Sharon died without standing trial for his crimes.
The death of any human being should never be a cause for celebration and this is not an exception. But farewell messages which completely dismiss Sharon’s history of criminal acts are an insult to the memory of thousands killed under his orders. Sharon has become a symbol of Israel’s wider impunity on the international stage. Yet Mr. Blair seems to be proud of his words. It is doubtful that even a member of the current Israeli government coalition, which includes many extremists, would have delivered a statement like the one Mr. Blair did. Though Mr. Blair supposedly represents the UK, the UN, EU and Russia, his speech did not mention Palestine or the Palestinians, nor the Israeli occupation, nor the two-state solution. It merely served as a public relations opportunity for someone who showed no sympathy for the thousands killed under Mr. Sharon’s orders.
When Yasser Arafat passed away in 2004, Sharon, by that time Israel’s Prime Minister, referred to him as a terrorist who created obstacles to peace. But even after President Abbas was elected, Sharon did not change his occupation or colonization policies. His vision was not one of negotiations but impositions, and this is part of his political legacy, today furthered by the current Israeli government.
Contrary to the 'statesman' Mr. Blair praised, Mr. Sharon never referred to peace, nor a two-state solution on the 1967 border, but to the annexation of Jerusalem and construction of more settlements. He singlehandedly destroyed the peace process in 2000 and provoked a second Palestinian intifada. As the Israeli Knesset speaker Mr. Edelstein, a settler himself, stressed during the burial, Mr. Sharon did everything possible to make Israeli settlements an irreversible enterprise. These policies, that led some to praise him for his 'pragmatism', could have easily been inherited from his colleague Menahem Begin, also responsible for several war crimes, and Israel’s PM in 1982. Today, PM Netanyahu has internalized these policies. Will he also be remembered as a man of peace?
Mr. Sharon understood only the language of force and power. He described himself as a warrior and not as a peacemaker. Today, Israel needs a different type of leader who can understand our message of nonviolent resistance when we say that we struggle not only to liberate ourselves from the oppression of Israeli occupation, apartheid and colonialism, but also to liberate the Israelis from this horrible situation. Israel needs leaders who can understand that security will not be achieved by segregation walls and brutal force but through a real, just peace, mutual respect and acceptance of the Palestinians as equal human beings.
Meanwhile, Mr. Blair’s eulogy simply demonstrated why he has failed as the Quartet envoy: He has made no effort to hold Israel accountable for its appalling actions. In fact, he has praised Israel and its leaders, leaders who continue to sabotage the prospects for two sovereign and democratic states to live side by side in peace and security.
Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi is leader of the Palestine National Initiative, a member of the Palestine Legislative Council and the PLO Central Council, and a former presidential candidate.

Monday, January 06, 2014

A Happy New Year 2014 to all my Readers

And if thinking about Abba's Agnetha Fältskog stars the same train of thought for you as it does for most males, here is a picture of her which you may enjoy.

And tying it all together (a framing device with seven frames):

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Well it's one for the money.....

This starts off as a jolly counting song for kiddies, but then takes a darker turn. Counting, as anyone knows, is bitter stuff.

At this time of year we remember that God sent his son to Earth to save sinners: including Bonni and her fellow Nazis

Bonni the new York Nazi celebrates new Year by cheering the destruction by fire (cause unknown) of a Muslim-owned shop and apartment building in Minnesota. That thirteen people were injured, with six still in critical condition, is the cause for vast rejoicing by Bonni and her sheep. The very first comment, though is this:

Mark Norris JANUARY 1, 2014 @ 9:06 PM
My , my , my . What a fine bunch of CINO’s wishing misfortune to people of a different faith . You bigots make me ashamed to be an American !!!

Bonni of course simply tells him to leave America and go to the "Islamic hellhole" of his choice. But it's good to see other folk rattling the Nazis' cage now and then.

See a less exultant report of the fire here. It strikes me that Bonni (who has incorrectly assumed that the building was a mosque) is totally ignoring the likelihood that some of the injured were non-Muslims, or even firefighters. But then why would she care? So long as some Muslims were hurt, she's happy.

UPDATE: three bodies have now been found, presumably corresponding to the three persons originally flagged as missing. Two have been identified: if the third is the other missing person then he is a US Army vet, not that Bonni cares about that. She has posted an update which adds nothing except guilt-by-association because the Minneapolis victims were mostly of Somali origin and there has recently been a suicide bombing in Mogadishu. How this is supposed to be relevant to people who were in a Minneapolis hospital at the time beats me.

Of course, Bonni's joy and that of her sheep passed all bounds when a few days later there was a stampede is a crowd at a mosque in China which caused the deaths of eight adults and six children. Bonni had a lot of fun at the expense of the victims because apparently only animals stampede (Bonni's grasp of the English language is pretty poor, even for an immigrant.) I do hope that some time Bonni tries to make that kind of joke when a relative or friend of one of the victims of the Hillsborough or Ibrox disasters is in earshot. Actually, come to think of it, the metaphor shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre originated with a human stampede in Michigan, and America has had its share of similar disasters. But why would Bonni worry about any of those incidents? Striking leftists, fans of rock music, English and Scottish football fans (Bonni's loathing for all things British is exceeded only by her loathing for her own country). I am convinced that the only reason Bonni reports on Muslim terrorist attacks is so that she can gloat over the primitive brown people killed (it's a different story, of course, if an Israeli Jew or a white American is hurt). That and the opportunity it gives this death-fetishist to upload pictures and videos of mutilated corpses. She and her neo-fascist supporters take a delight in slaughter that goes far beyond anything the original Nazis could be accused of (they took no special joy in murdering Jews, gays and the like: they viewed it in the same way I view spraying an annoying wasp.)

Lest We Forget

Five years ago, the civilian population of Gaza was being sytematically slaughtered by the Israeli "Defence" Force. The memorial above puts names to the 352 dead children whose blood is on the hands of Netanyahu and his vile regime. (From this website.

Five years on, the regime is still committing child abuse against non-Jewish children and other crimes against humanity. A new twist on the routine torture of Israeli prisoners is the moving of them, in the middle of the night, in the severest winter weather to hit Israel for a generation, into outdoor cages.

To paraphrase Golda Meir's famous saying, peace will only come when the Israelis love their children more than they hate those of the Palestinians.

A Very Happy New Year to All My Readers