Powerpoint Karaoke Or Somalia

by bicyclemark

When you’re dealing with a conference that completely engulfs your days and nights, it becomes hard to focus on anything in particular.

I would like to tell you about my evening in the Turkish neighborhood Kreuzeberg, as I sat down with my dear friend blueberry girl who only takes me to the funnest of places. I’d also like to tell you about the talk I saw today on porn and technology, or even better.. Powerpoint Karaoke which had me laughing for a good hour, distracted from my presentation that I’ll be making in a few hours.

But the fact is my attention is always on world events, especially those that so effect people’s lives. Or deaths, as the case so often is.

Since arriving in Berlin I’ve been watching and listening as the reports come out of Somalia. As you know, I fear the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia will be one of those acts of violence that will have reprocussions for a long time. Listening to the Ethiopian leader talk about how his army will go in, boot the islamists out of power, and get out.. I got chills. Then of course he got the blessing of the United States government and I got angry. Giving the green light for more invasions in the world.

This can’t be the way.

Hard to Defend

by bicyclemark

Greetings once again from the drivers seat of this car somewhere in Portugal.

Briefly, as my hands are cramping up and I predict the neighbors will call the cops or sic the dogs on me…

I have spent a decent amount of energy doing what some might characterize as defending the president of IRan. Of course its not that i want to defend him exactly, but I disapprove of how the media uses and twists his rather odd and conservative words. Most of all I think the media have done a poor job of reporting about him without using sweeping generalizations that adhere to exactly what the warmongers of America would like to hear: the same ol pitch about him being so dangerous that we must attack and bla bla bla.

But recently with the whole haulocaust deniers convention… I gotta say it was extremely hard to lift a finger to defend the man anymore. Not that i want the war mongers to get there way, but man… you work so hard trying to understand and explain a very ignorant man and poof… he holds one of these conferences.

Finally with the recent election results in Iran I got the ray of hope and clear sign that I was needing to boost the “Iran is not the boogy man campaign”. The reformists made some big gains, which means anyone who says the country is out of control and dangerous, has to face the fact that actually the country has some terrible politicians but it also has some brave and politically able citizens who see things very differently and can take back power using the political mechanisms in place (even if it isnt easy).

Not that Americans are so easily fooled these days, I certainly hope not. But I also like to prepare for the worst, and I know that the worst involves military leaders who love to plot wars and sit back and watch them unfold would love for the reformers to disappear and for the hardliners liners like Ahmedinejad to take over and hold lots of loony conventions. But if you ever needed one, here’s a clear sign…. peace is the solution here and if you respect a country and its citizens, let them make change from within and respect their decisions.. don’t threaten to destroy them.

Time to turn the engine on.. its cold in here.

bm170 Venice and the Crusades

by bicyclemark

The idea behind this podcast begins in the alleyways of Venice, only a few days ago. When observing the buildings and reading the history, one particular period stood out for me as significant to everything happening today. Listen to my amateur-armchair history summary and hear the shocking list of parallels between the Venice of 1200 and the Venices of today.

Univ of Wisconsin archive on the Crusades
Wikipedia, if you can stand it

Meanwhile, on the Streets of Beirut

by bicyclemark

It would be nice to just continue to describe these days in Italy. And the plan to head to Slovenia tomorrow evening. But while I stroll and take photos, things are taking a terrible turn in Lebanon.

At a little café here in Verona, we stopped to get lunch, and I flipped through the local newspaper. Right there on the front page: ITALIAN SOLDIERS STATIONED IN LEBANON PREPARE FOR THE WORST. With a subtext about the build up to a civil war.

I’m not going to sit here and predict or expound upon the coming or not-coming of a civil war. I’d rather just say I hope it is not so. I hope it does not happen. But then again, when your country has been bombed into the stone age just recently, after having been bombed into the bronze age only years ago, then conditions are not exactly perfect for maintaining calm and fostering prosperity.

This comes as I noticed last night that the UN released a report siting numerous human rights violations by the Israeli military during their invasion of the country. Not that we needed a report, usually when you invade a country you’re already violating quite a few rights.

My authority on all things Lebanon has long been Chris Albritton, the original blog journalist, in my eyes. But I’ll also keep an eye on my dear friends at This Is Beirut, hopefully proper information can be put forth while a civil war will NOT happen. Hopefully.