Archive for April, 2006

From Khalil Gibran

April 22, 2006

My Countrymen

What do you seek, my countrymen?
Do you desire that I build for
You gorgeous palaces, decorated
With words of empty meaning, or
Temples roofed with dreams? Or
Do you command me to destroy what
The liars and tyrants have built?
Shall I uproot with my fingers
What the hypocrites and the wicked
Have implanted? Speak your insane
What is it you would have me do,
My countrymen? Shall I purr like
The kitten to satisfy you, or roar
Like the lion to please myself? I
Have sung for you, but you did not
Dance; I have wept before you, but
You did not cry. Shall I sing and
Weep at the same time?

Your souls are suffering the pangs
Of hunger, and yet the fruit of
Knowledge is more plentiful than
The stones of the valleys.
Your hearts are withering from
Thirst, and yet the springs of
Life are streaming about your
Homes — why do you not drink?

The sea has its ebb and flow,
The moon has its fullness and
Crescents, and the ages have
Their winter and summer, and all
Things vary like the shadow of
An unborn god moving between
Earth and sun, but truth cannot
Be changed, nor will it pass away;
Why, then, do you endeavour to
Disfigure its countenance?

I have called you in the silence
Of the night to point out the
Glory of the moon and the dignity
Of the stars, but you startled
From your slumber and clutched
Your swords in fear, crying,
“Where is the enemy? We must kill
Him first!” At morningtide, when
The enemy came, I called to you
Again, but now you did not wake
From your slumber, for you were
Locked in fear, wrestling with
The processions of spectres in
Your dreams.

And I said unto you, “Let us climb
To the mountain top and view the
Beauty of the world.” And you
Answered me, saying, “In the depths
Of this valley our fathers lived,
And in its shadows they died, and in
Its caves they were buried. How can
We depart this place for one which
They failed to honour?”

And I said unto you, “Let us go to
The plain that gives its bounty to
The sea.” And you spoke timidly to
Me, saying, “The uproar of the abyss
Will frighten our spirits, and the
Terror of the depths will deaden
Our bodies.”

I have loved you, my countrymen, but
My love for you is painful to me
And useless to you; and today I
Hate you, and hatred is a flood
That sweeps away the dry branches
And quavering houses.

I have pitied your weakness, my
Countrymen, but my pity has but
Increased your feebleness, exalting
And nourishing slothfulness which
Is vain to life. And today I see
Your infirmity which my soul loathes
And fears.

I have cried over your humiliation
And submission, and my tears streamed
Like crystalline, but could not sear
Away your stagnant weakness; yet they
Removed the veil from my eyes.
My tears have never reached your
Petrified hearts, but they cleansed
The darkness from my inner self.

Today I am mocking at your suffering,
For laughter is a raging thunder that
Precedes the tempest and never comes
After it.

What do you desire, my countrymen?
Do you wish for me to show you
The ghost of your countenance on
The face of still water? Come,
Now, and see how ugly you are!

Look and meditate! Fear has
Turned your hair grey as the
Ashes, and dissipation has grown
Over your eyes and made them into
Obscured hollows, and cowardice
Has touched your cheeks that now
Appear as dismal pits in the
Valley, and death has kissed
Your lips and left them yellow
As the autumn leaves.

What is it that you seek, my
Countrymen? What ask you from
Life, who does not any longer
Count you among her children?
Your souls are freezing in the
Clutches of the priests and
Sorcerers, and your bodies
Tremble between the paws of the
Despots and the shedders of
Blood, and your country quakes
Under the marching feet of the
Conquering enemy; what may you
Expect even though you stand
Proudly before the face of the
Sun? Your swords are sheathed
With rust, and your spears are
Broken, and your shields are
Laden with gaps, why, then, do
You stand in the field of battle?

Hypocrisy is your religion, and
Falsehood is your life, and
Nothingness is your ending; why,
Then, are you living? Is not
Death the sole comfort of the

Life is a resolution that
Accompanies youth, and a diligence
That follows maturity, and a
Wisdom that pursues senility; but
You, my countrymen, were born old
And weak. And your skins withered
And your heads shrank, whereupon
You become as children, running
Into the mire and casting stones
Upon each other.

Knowledge is a light, enriching
The warmth of life, and all may
Partake who seek it out; but you,
My countrymen, seek out darkness
And flee the light, awaiting the
Coming of water from the rock,
And your nation’s misery is your
Crime. I do not forgive you
Your sins, for you know what you
Are doing.

Humanity is a brilliant river
Singing its way and carrying with
It the mountains’ secrets into
The heart of the sea; but you,
My countrymen, are stagnant
Marshes infested with insects
And vipers.

The spirit is a sacred blue
Torch, burning and devouring
The dry plants, and growing
With the storm and illuminating
The faces of the goddesses; but
You, my countrymen, your souls
Are like ashes which the winds
Scatter upon the snow, and which
The tempests disperse forever in
The valleys.

Fear not the phantom of death,
My countrymen, for his greatness
And mercy will refuse to approach
Your smallness; and dread not the
Dagger, for it will decline to be
Lodged in your shallow hearts.

I hate you, my countrymen, because
You hate glory and greatness. I
Despise you because you despise
Yourselves. I am your enemy, for
You refuse to realize that you are
The enemies of the goddesses.


World News Roundup

April 11, 2006

Here is a roundup of news from around the world.

First, as you are all aware, Bush is gearing up for another war in the Middle East, this time with Iran. Because Iraq and Afghanistan are doing so well. Of course, like before the invasion of Iraq, Bush is saying a military strike is the last option.:

Time and again this week, President Bush and his team reiterated their position on Iran’s nuclear program: America wants a diplomatic solution, and any suggestion it is moving toward an inevitable strike on Iran is “wild speculation.”

At the same time, however, Mr. Bush has remained steadfast in his statements that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable and “no option is off the table” to prevent it.

Heard that before. Why is an attack in Iran different from the other two Middle Eastern countries Bush has already invaded?

Any military strike by the United States against facilities that are part of Iran’s controversial nuclear program would damage but not paralyze the Iranian economy, a Russian expert said Tuesday.

Radzhab Safarov, the director of the Center of Modern Iranian Studies in Moscow, said that if the U.S. launched strikes against more than 60 nuclear facilities in Iran, than about 12,000-15,000 workers would be killed and the economy would suffer large-scale damage.

“However, the Iranian economy would not be paralyzed and it would not result in a political crisis in the country,” Safarov said. “On the contrary, Iranians would maximally consolidate around their political leaders, Iran would withdraw from all possible legal structures and start full-scale development of its nuclear program.”

He said Iran would take counter measures in response, including suspension of oil exports.

“Iran’s economy has a six months minimum stock [of oil] and western economies could face great difficulties if not a single barrel of Iranian oil sold within this period,” Safarov said.

He said there were only two ways for Iran to take revenge on the United States – to initiate a global economic crisis or to inflict damage on Israel, America’s main ally in the region.

Higher gas prices. Just what we need right now. And can’t you just see the lines of people joining up to blow themselves to pieces? I have said it before and I will say it again, 9-11 was the best thing that ever happened to George Bush and he will do anything for another attack in this country.

Meanwhile, things are shitty in other parts of the world too. Nepal is a regular shithole right now, with an unruly king trying to keep his butt alive. The US is calling for a return to democracy in the country:

n a public message sent to the king, Sean McCormack, spokesman of the US Department of State, said: ‘As a friend of Nepal, we must state that King Gyanendra’s decision 14 months ago to impose direct palace rule in Nepal has failed in every regard.

‘The demonstrations, deaths, arrests and Maoist attacks in the past few days have shown there is more insecurity, not less. The king’s continuing failure to bring the parties back into a process to restore democracy has compounded the problem.

‘The US calls upon the king to restore democracy immediately and to begin a dialogue with Nepal’s constitutional political parties. It is time the king recognises that this is the best way to deal with the Maoist insurgency and to return peace and prosperity to Nepal.’

McCormack’s statement come on the heels of US Assistant Secretary of State Richard A. Boucher’s call for the restoration of democracy.

Spreading democracy sounds so good untill you consider Nepal’s proximity to China, which makes it a great military asset. Since we were kicked out of Uzbekistan, we need another location for some bases in that part of the world.

On to South America. It seems the Socialist Democracy movement has been on a roll there as of late.