Are we in the Twilight Zone?

Earlier this week a guy in Greece was arrested and charged with blasphemy for lampooning on his Facebook page, a dead cleric who belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church.

The details of his act are unimportant, but the response to it is. It is patently absurd that there are still laws governing the archaic concept of blasphemy, and that it is actually punishable under so-called civilized penal codes around the world.

Meanwhile in Pakistan

In the same week a Christian teenager from Islamabad who was accused of blasphemy, was reported to have had her case referred to a Juvenile Court. She is accused of tearing pages out of a “holy book.” Had the case not been transferred to the lower court, she was under threat of being executed, under strict Pakistani law.

There are several disturbing aspects to this case, apart from the absurdity of blasphemy laws. The girl was apparently mentally challenged and a minor to boot. One of her main accusers, a Muslim cleric was found by the police to have planted the evidence (torn pages from a holy book) on her person and has yet to be dealt with properly. But still the minor girl’s prosecution continues, albeit in a Juvenile court.

We really need to ask ourselves why a so-called holy book should be regarded with more deference than the life of a human being. Have we reached the height of civilization and are we on the downward spiral? Or are we in the fabled twilight zone? Think that’s too extreme? Hang around for a bit…

The results of poor film-making

Protests around the world are still continuing over the making of a film by a few Americans that is deemed to be insulting to Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. The protests in certain parts of the world have resulted in the deaths of dozens of innocent people. I could provide the link here to an excerpt of the film posted on YouTube but it’s really not worth wasting time over. It’s a sloppy piece of drama, and is not really important. What is important is the reactions to it, which are irrational, and absurd in the extreme.

Can you really imagine an all-powerful deity (were he or she to exist off course) who would be so pitifully impotent as to rely on puny humans to protect his or her dignity? You do? Why are you worshipping such an abomination?

Apart from the often violent protests, people have tried to engage in (reasonably) peaceful debate over the whole incident, but once again, it only managed to degenerate into pathetic calls for censorship and special protections to be applied to religions. Take this guy for example who wrote a blog not only appealing for the censorship of blasphemy, but tried to disingenuously condone the violence that such blasphemy provokes with consummate ease.

Still think the world is normal?

Dancing in Afghanistan deadly too

Towards the end of last month, the Taliban in Afghanistan (yeah, unfortunately  these retarded troglodytes still pollute the earth) beheaded 15 men and two women for the “crime” of dancing together at a party. Shock! Horror! Men and women together… at a party? What were they thinking?

You may be thinking that this is a quaint custom peculiar to Afghanistan only, and we should overlook this isolated incident? No, no no. Religions the world over condemn men and women to death, sometimes for acts that are far less innocuous.

And lest you be thinking that I have singled out Islam for special attention, that was not my intention. It’s just coincidental that this religion is involved in a high number of unsavory acts which are grabbing the attention of the world at this moment in time. I am quite convinced that religiots of other persuasions are quietly getting on with the job of damning mankind all over the world. And it’s not a good thing when it’s hidden from scrutiny.

And so we come to the evil twin

Enough about religion. Let’s not forget about the antics of politicians, and their brand of politics that make one wonder if the world has gone crazy. Politics is the evil twin of religion. Don’t believe me?

I could bore you with acts of political incongruity around the world right now, but I think you could easily think of many – the killings in Syria by Assad’s regime, conflicts all over Africa, despots who still rule with impunity, the farcical election politics in the USA between the Democrats and the Republicans. There is much civil unrest at various locations in the world right now, all motivated by some form of politics.

But, I want to look closer to home, to South Africa.

The ruling party here is at war with itself. Factionalism and greed is tearing a once honourable organization apart. The ANC has succumbed to the same despicable acts which they once fought against. I suppose it was inevitable.

Julius Malema a former youth leader expelled from the ANC, is fighting corruption charges, including tax evasion. He still enjoys the support of a fairly large number of people, politicians included, some of whom dance and sing outside the courtroom, and hold night vigils for him. Is it normal for civilized people to support unquestioningly, a person of such character?

But here’s an even bigger absurdity. The President, Jacob Zuma, a semi-literate, scandal-plagued, patriarchal degenerate, is honoured by the United Nations by being appointed to their Education Panel. This honour could not have gone to a more undeserving person. In a country where the education system is barely functional, mostly due to the mal-administration of the Ministry by a woman personally appointed by Zuma, is a grievous insult to the many schoolchildren who have been affected so severely.

So, I hope you’ll forgive me for thinking that we’ve either crossed over into the Twilight Zone, or are slipping down the slope of de-civilisation.

Freshly Played #4: Khadja Nin

Wale Watu

Khadja Nin’s Wale Watu is a 1992 cover version of the song Keep on Singing released around 1987 by Sebastian Santa Maria. Khadja was born in Burundi, but now lives in Belgium. I loved this song the very first time I listened to it on release, but lost my CD when my house was broken into in the late 90’s. I however managed to re-acquire it a few weeks ago and have been listening to it almost daily.

A commenter on YouTube posted his English interpretation of the lyrics for Khadja’s version [lyrics here], which differs from the original song by Sebastian Santa Maria [further below]:

Far from all countries/Far from Paris or Rome/There are poor people/They don’t cry; they don’t beg/They respond in this way (?)/Those people sing/Even if they sleep hungry/Come in this way…everyday

Let alone useless words/Don’t moan about your health/You don’t know poverty/Look at those people/They don’t cry, they don’t beg/Those people sing/Even if they sleep hungry

Keep on Singing

Far away from the demonstrations,/Cities like Paris or Rome/Miles away from United Nations/You know this place that waits for more/Miles from Swissair’s destinations

There’s people singing in despite of all/There ain’t the things you know, yet they sing/They keep on singing…./Ooh, Bodah Budah Budeh…

Don’t come up with your Mapa Mundi/Or the latest Wildlife magazine/What your camera brought from Burundi/The front of your Ever-seen(?)/The streets of Potosi

Being human is so damn hard…

Just when you think you have things all figured out, you soon realize that you don’t. Or worse still – that you probably never will…

We formulate our opinions on life based on the quantity and quality of the information we receive, or allow ourselves to receive in the absence of any inhibiting factors such as censorship. However we may also be prone to wilfully self-censor because of inculcated beliefs, ideologies and even prejudices, which off course leads to the formulation of rubbish opinions.

Let’s assume that in most cases censorship is non-existent or very limited, which would mean that our opinions are limited in their [truth]value only by the paucity of information available and our own inherent limitations in comprehending and reasoning, or by wilful ignorance.

In either case most people who formulate opinions on life should be assumed to have good intentions. Or at least, that’s how I’d like to assess all humans.

So, as of last week I thought I had the Libyan situation all figured out. There was a leader ruthlessly killing his own people, behaving like a madman…or so most of the media reports and opinion pieces published, led you to believe. Having a strong respect for the sanctity of life and an aversion to genocidal tendencies, I supported the UN measures to impose a NO-FLY ZONE in Libya and the subsequent military action that followed. My argument in support was based strongly on Objective Morality.

However, with new information available this week, I realise that maybe the whole decision to intervene militarily in Libya may have been wrong. And while I concede that the intentions of the ring-leaders the USA, Britain and France in formulating that decision, may have been somewhat honourable, is in fact very wrong on many other levels. I now have to concede that the net bad that will result, outweighs any good that can be gleaned from this whole wretched affair.

Off course, I may have gotten it all wrong once again. It’s so tough being human…so much easier being a politician!

Year of the Potato

How many of you knew that the United Nations had declared 2008, the International Year of the Potato? Well, it’s nearly the final month of the year, and I have to admit, that I for one, only heard about this declaration a few days ago. I have to further admit that I had no idea that vegetables were thus honoured; I mean I know about the Year of the Monkey, Year of the Dragon, and the Year of Living Dangerously, but Year of the Potato? Come on now!

Seriously folks, 2008 is the year of the humble potato and that’s not all. It’s also the Year of the Frog, the Year of the Reef (as in Coral Reef), and, the Year of the Dolphin, 2007, has been extended to 2008 for some reason. 2008 is also being touted unofficially as the Year of the Women. Year of the Women? Could Hilary Clinton losing the democratic nomination, and that astronaut losing her tools in space be considered as setbacks? I wonder! And hey, although not official, this could also be considered as the Year of Barack Obama, but I suppose that could be next year as well. Seems this year which is almost over, is a lot of things that hardly anyone knows about.

Anyway, back to the Year of the Potato. I’ve never really given much thought to the potato, apart from the fact that it tastes great, roasted, baked, fried or mashed, and that it accompanies practically anything. I’ve known for some time that potato’s originated in the South American Andes near Peru, but I had no idea that there are some 200 species, and about 500 different varieties still grown in the Andes mountain area. If you’re interested, you can check out all the facts and myths about potato’s, even try out some recipes at Year of the Potato 2008.

Well, since there is only one month left in the Year of the Potato, I’m off to find some of the distilled variety, from Eastern Europe. I know potato farmer, cum patriarchal evangelist, Angus Buchan wont approve of the consumption of Vodka, but he must surely be pleased with the cash that’s rolling in, in the Year of the Potato.  Who knows, maybe next year will be the Year of the Beetroot; that should put a smile on the ugly mug of disgraced, former South African Health Minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.