Getting Stiched up.

Or how to get some embroidery into your Art.

Mr friend Dobbs over at Metafilter posted The Embroidered Secrets of Maurizio Anzeri

I really liked this; so I dug around a bit and came up with some more
and also found an interview from October last year.

Maybe Anzeri  was an inspiration for these works by the Lithuanian photographer
Ausra Osipaviciute which are then embroidered by Gintare Pasakarnyte.

In a further move on the theme;  artist Danielle Mysliwiec makes pieces that are built up with
ribbons of paint, woven in, out and under to create a three-dimensional, textured surface.
So there we have it; full circle, embroidery acting as paint, and paint acting as embroidery.
Thank Dobbs

Just a Fantasy

A Boston Globe editorial writes that the disclosure that the  Bush Administration asked the CIA to help discredit a blogger who was critical of the Iraq war should be treated as the possible relapse of a
bad disease.
This is not just any blogger but the greatly admired (from the left)  Professor Juan Cole;  Professor of History at the University of Michigan.
On his blog Informed Comment Cole states that Mike Rogers (R-MI) refuses to have the House intelligence committee look into it, trying to kick it to Eric Holder at the Department of Justice.
Salon has put together a reading list 2005 to 2006 a collection of his pieces from the time he was reportedly under the CIA’s watch.
There is concern that Feinstein may try to shut the investigation down.
Any investigation of the Bush administration investigating and trying to discredit Cole would be welcome as it would continue to pull at the thread
that is the Obama protection of the  crimes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, David Addington, John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, Douglas Feith to name but a few.
I have this fantasy that as Obama is sworn in for his second term where all the great and the good of the recent past are in attendance
that suddenly a few are surrounded by the the boys in blue who take them away to be judged by their peers preferably in the ICC.
As I say it’s a fantasy, and it’s just a fantasy because we seem to be having to live with Post-legal America.

 

Letter to Hoder

Hossein Derakhshan aka Hoder aka The Blogfather is imprisoned in Iran.
DarlingBri has suggested we, his invisible internet friends write him a letter which I think is a wonderful idea.

dear hoder
this letter is an experiment in using my new phone.
that should. raise. a smile. from someone such as yourself who was blogging before most of us.there is not only yje challenge of
tjimns and small keyboard (Thais be for auto correct) but also the challenge of getting this of my phone and onto a computer.
l have the feeling. it is going to be a long. morning; however like you I have time to spare.
I am sitting in a quiet cafe across the road from the beach in Palma Nova watching the attractive
and the not so attractive stroll by on this one of the first mornings of what I hope will be a long hot summer. there are more of the
latter than the former – lastima
Not really a fair statement to make to you I suppose. This is going to be difficult
there are some large yachts in the background including a thfe masted schooner. These have been my life for thirty years plus, which is a little different.
ah new trick hold phone sideways and both screenspace and keyboard are bigger and thus more manageable – sort of
I don’t go to sea anymore, my relaxation is either walking in the mountainsvor on the beach. So it is excrutiating for me who loves freedom to
have to contemplate the life of one to whom freedom is being denied. Have strength brother, have strength.
As such this operation of writing to you will probably be of more benefit to myself than to you which is highly ironic as I am writing this
hopefully to benefit you. I hope you appreciate the Meta of this.
behind me two ladies north of fifty are discussing Facebook! ans someone is smoking so its time go move and continue later.
…..
Not really a great sucess that. I am now back on a computer and will attempt to make sense of the above. Here goes: –

Dear Hoder
This letter is an experiment in using my new phone.
That should raise a smile from someone such as yourself who was blogging before most of us knew what blogging was.
There is not only the challenge of thumbs and a small keyboard (Thanks be for auto suggest) but also the challenge of getting this off my phone and onto a computer.
l have the feeling it is going to be a long morning; however like you I have time to spare.
I am sitting in a quiet cafe across the road from the beach in Palma Nova watching the attractive and the not so attractive stroll by on this, one of the first mornings of what I hope will be a long hot summer;
There are more of the latter than the former – lastima.
Not really a fair statement to make to you I suppose. This is going to be difficult.
There are some large yachts in the background including a three masted schooner. These have been my life (large yachts not three masted schooners) for thirty years plus,
which is a little different.
Ahhh; new trick…. hold phone sideways and both screenspace and keyboard are bigger and thus more manageable – sort of.
I don’t go to sea anymore, my relaxation is either walking in the mountains or basking on the beach. So it is excrutiating for me who loves freedom to
have to contemplate the life of one to whom freedom is being denied. Have strength brother, have strength.
As such this operation of writing to you will probably be of more benefit to myself than to you which is highly ironic as I am writing this
hopefully to benefit you. I hope you appreciate the Meta of this.
Behind me two ladies north of fifty are discussing Facebook and someone is smoking so its time go move and continue later.
….
Getting this off the phone on to the computer was as difficult as I suspected. I ended up emailing it to myself as I can’t get “dropbox” to work because I am not a geek.
All of which is beside the point.
So Hoder my invisible friend from the internets (TM Coldchef); invisible but not forgotten; your mefite colleagues will try to ensure that somehow your name and thus yourself lives on.
We will pester those who should be pestered and try to give succor to those who need succor. Gordafarin kindly translated what I believe your sister wrote on her / your
wordpress page about spending the Noruz holidays with them. It bought tears to my eyes and I am a cynical sixty year old fart.
So my friend take a deep breath. Us on the outside will do what little we can. May your god(s) if you have them be with you. If not; when I see the skies, the mountains,
and the sea I will think a little of you and hope that one day soon you may see them again too. If you will excuse the phrase….Ahumdallilah.
You are in my thoughts,
adamvasco

For those who would like to do a little more
Contact page for Amnesty International in Canada and in USA and UK and Australia

The Forgotten Prisoners by Peter Benenson

F is for Franco but not for fascist

The new Spanish Dictionary of Biography’s historical revisions tell us more about what’s
wrong with Spain now than in the past. Is well worth the read as are many of the comments.

The good news is that the Spanish academy admits Franco bio may need fixing.

Miguelanxomurado in the Guardian comments section goes on to point out that
“PP, (Conservative party) like its predecessor AP were founded by former Francoist
minister Fraga (albeit a reformist in that context) and Aznar described himself in his youth as “an indepedent Falangist” and rejected democracy and the Constitution until after many Francoists did.
I don’t think, though, that the PP or Aznar are Francoist in the sense that they would like to see a dictatorship in place. They are a (hard) righwing party, but I don’t doubt their commitment to democracy.
What’s infuriating about them is this anomaly of accepting democracy but rejecting its history in Spain.
It’s like saying “I’m a pacifict, but I think Gandhi should have been shot and my favorite character in history is Gengis Khan”

The editors of the Biography commissioned the article  from Luis Suárez, a historian who is actually a specialist of the Middle Ages who was the Head of Department for National Education during the
Dictatorship and currently a patron of both the Valle de los Caídos Foundation and the Francisco Franco Foundation.

Miguelanxomurado continues:
One of the most pervasive myths about Franco is that he kept Spain out of WWII, no matter how many historians debunk it time and again. The opposite is true: Franco was eager to enter the war.
It was Hitler who stopped him. He didn’t want having to protect Spain’s extensive coasts, the Spanish army was of no use to him and, most of all, Franco was demanding all of French Morocco just when
Hitler had reached an agreement with General Petain. Still, Franco did join the war: he sent 75.000 Spanish troops to fight in the Russian front (the “Blue Division”) and, in terms of Intelligence and supplies,
wholly cooperated with the Nazis until it became clear they were going to loose.
There’s no reason to believe that Spain would have become a Communist country in the event of a republican victory, in the same way Britain didn’t become a communist country in spite in spite of its
alliance with Stalin to defeat Hitler.
Communists in Spain, in 1936, were a negligible force they got 3,5% of the vote
and got 17 seats in a parliament of 473. Even at the height of its influence in the war there were no more than 10.000 Communist militiamen in the whole country.

On a more cheerful note one Spanish Institution recently got things very right:
Leonard Cohen has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Letters
One connection to Spain came through his personal interest in the poet and playwright Federico García Lorca..
Several years later, Cohen and García Lorca came together spiritually when flamenco singer Enrique Morente used their poems as the basis of his seminal 1996 album Omega.

Amour Fou or Limerence

Eideteker on Limerence….
..like sticking your dick in an electrical socket. You know it’s bad for you, but it feels so good you can’t stop doing it. In the end, it becomes an end to itself.
Limerence could also be known as Amour Fou which was one of the core beliefs of the surrealists;  obsessional love, the kind of love that deranges the senses and tips those who feel it into a helpless vortex of appetite and feeling.
Limerence or Amour Fou is espoused by Sappho whose almost lost poetry is probably best presented by Anne Carson – If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho.
The Angels Within blog has more
André Breton’s 1937 novel Amour Fou was illustrated at his express request by Roberto Matta.
Mary Caws published a translation in 1988

Amina Abdullah is a Brave Lady

Amina Abdullah should have your attention.

Just over a week ago Syrian Security forces tried to arrest her for speaking her mind on her blog.

She is Syrian, a women, and gay and brave, very brave.

Syria in case you were unaware is the country where hundreds of intellectuals are forbidden to travel, 150,000 have gone into exile and 17,000 have either disappeared or been imprisoned for expressing their opinion.

It is ruled by an oppressive torturing regime which has been described as Brutal but also Stupid.

Successful Regime change could also prove to be a powerful challenge to Hizbullah, which receives most of it’s arms through Syria;  yet the Obama government is silent.

Women both individually and collectively are playing an increasing and vital role in the Arab Spring. More Power to Them.

A History of the Feminist Movement in Syria

Ahumdalillah.

 

Afghanistan : Why are we there?

Obama’s War,

a lecture given in April by Tariq Ali where he talks about why the War in Afghanistan is unwinnable and can only lead to a bloody stalemate.

A four part video thanks to the LRB

An indepth lecture explaining the history of Russia in Afghanistan together with that of the good Taliban and the bad Taliban and the relationship with Pakistan, as well as the lessons which should have been learned in Vietnam.

Why does the Western war machine not only ignore both history and the facts but also opinions from persons who not only know the area and the people and speak its language ?

I had an interesting post on MetaFilter about this a few days back;  posting the most excellent William Dalrymple ‘s long article from the New Statesman: –  Why the Taliban is winning in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is only understandable by knowledge of Pakistan, and who better to explain than (and I quote from the dust jacket) : –

Grandaughter to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, executed 1979
Niece to Shahnawaz Bhutto, murdered 1985
Daughter of Mir Murtaza Bhutto, assassinated 1996
Niece to Benazir Bhutto, assassinated 2007

Fatima Bhutto whose  recently published  Songs of Blood and Sword, a daughter’s memoir is a book I have long been awaiting and am now at last reading.  Ms Bhutto is a writer,  journalist and poet of whom I hope to hear more.

Medusa rises

Francisco Franco is still dead;

however The Falange is alive and well prosecuting Judge Balthasar Garzon.

The orchestration of this prosecution is Manos Limpias which has been described as a right wing pseudo trade union.

As a commenter said on the radio this morning; it is interesting that the only prosecution into the Franco atrocities is that of the investigating judge.

It is also interesting and surely not coincidence that this is happening as the  Gurtel investigation hots up.

Gurtel is the largest political corruption scandal since the restoration of democracy and deeply involucrates the PP the party of Manuel Fraga

( an admitted Franco admirer ); ex prime minister and now fingered  Jose Maria Aznar and; same party different scandal Jaume Matas

( who is so trusted that a judge requested Euro 3,000,000 bail).

It seems that some of the ghosts are still with us.

see Giles Tremlett author and journalist – Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past

Stand Up for Democracy

Judge Baltasar  Garzón faces rightwing backlash

Spain’s famed judge has run afoul of his own countrymen over an inquiry on Spanish Civil War victims. The case could end his career.

(full LA Times article below)

Within days, the Supreme Court could remove judge Garzón´s license because of his investigations about crimes against humanity in Spain. AVAAZ has an international petition to:

Stand Up for Democracy

From blogger South of Watford Garzón’s Enemies Sharpen Their Knives; as the far right headed by the arch conservative Carlos Divar rules that Garzon may have exceeded his authority in Franco probe.

The grandaughter of the last  President of the Repuplic has publically called for Carlos Divar to step down because of conflict of interest because  his first sworn allegiance was to Franco.  Carlos Diva is in opposition to the law of universal jurisdiction.

The LA Times editorial in full

The case against Baltasar Garzon

Spain’s famed judge has run afoul of his own countrymen over an inquiry on Spanish Civil War victims. The case could end his career.

Spain’s world-famous magistrate, Baltasar Garzon, has made many enemies over the years. He has indicted Osama bin Laden. He has gone after Spanish paramilitaries, Basque separatists and members of drug mafias. On this side of the Atlantic, Garzon is best known as the judge who pushed the frontiers of international law, trying to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet from London and launching an inquiry into the suspected torture of detainees at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo.

After all that, it is perhaps ironic that the biggest threat to Garzon right now comes not from some hit man but from his own judiciary, which alleges that the judge has overreached at home by trying to probe Spanish Civil War atrocities that were covered by an amnesty the country’s parliament passed in 1977. Many of Garzon’s adversaries on the right and the left have come together in support of the case against him. It’s possible Garzon will be suspended from his duties in the coming days. If convicted, his career as a judge would be over.

Tens of thousands of Spaniards died or disappeared in the civil war, which ushered in the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco in 1939. When Franco died in 1975, the amnesty was widely seen as essential for a transition to democracy. But many of the victims have never been accounted for, and the country has not fully come to terms with its violent past. Garzon opened the case on behalf of relatives who sought to exhume and identify the dead. After right-wing groups filed a complaint, an investigative judge concluded that Garzon “consciously decided to ignore” the will of parliament in pursuing the case, and now a five-judge panel must decide whether to put him on trial for criminal intent. Garzon denies wrongdoing; the disappearances, he says, were crimes against humanity and, therefore, cannot be covered by an amnesty.

We admire Garzon for a lifetime of pursuing criminals without regard to ideology or political bent, often at great personal risk. We also recognize that his outsized ego and appetite for attention have antagonized colleagues and politicians. Though we are in no position to judge the legal challenge against him, we worry about politicization of the Spanish legal system with this divisive case, and the haste with which events are unfolding: An administrative panel is considering Garzon’s suspension even before judges decide whether to allow charges to be filed.

We sincerely hope that the Spanish courts will put aside personal animosities and political vendettas, and that Garzon’s enemies will not use this case to bring down a judge they dislike. Love him or hate him, he deserves a fair hearing. And a democratic Spain deserves an upstanding judiciary

Maybe it’s time to put on my tinfoil hat again

It may seem odd that Spain, and not the United States, is undertaking a criminal investigation of US government officials for torture.

The question is:

Are right wing american conservatives applying pressure on the Spanish conservative neo franco judicary to smear Garzon.

It’s a Brave New World

In Praise of…………….

THE KINDLE

Yes. Yes and Yes again.
I finally purchased one a month ago and now wonder what all my reticence was about.

Pros: –
It’s handy
It’s portable ie travel
It’s portable ie waiting rooms, hanging around in general
Free content available
Supports pdf.

Cons: –
Not enough “serious” ie history books, and non US publications available as yet. I presume this will change.
I would also like to see  my home page book listings by Author: Last name; first name,

Free and purchasable content (not confined to Amazon) can be easily found by searching Inkmesh
(thank you stbalbach) which has a conglomerate search over multiple sites.
Here is an example of free content, which can be easily uploaded as can pdfs.

I have yet to try the subscription content but as I am going away for three weeks in the new year I will probably give myself some free trials to the likes of Foreign Affairs or The Atlantic; (both have a free 14 day trial).
Unfortunately the Economist does’t yet figure on Amazon’s magazine list but presumably it’s only a matter of time.


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