Saturday, April 20, 2002

A digital camera is great fun. I bought a Canon Powershot S30 this week, and as long as I don't mess with the settings, (of which there are plenty), it seems to be doing a fine job compensating for my total lack of photo experience. Don't worry, I won't bore you with my underexposed closeups of Tunisian chess pieces. I thought a view into pro-Palestinian Norway would be more interesting, so I went downtown to see the weekly protest outside Stortinget today. Here are the results. Yeah, I know, half the pictures are out of focus. I'm still learning.

(Silly me: If I'd stuck around for a few more hours, I could have caught the pro-Israeli protest as well.)

Monday, April 15, 2002

Ask a silly question, get a silly answer: Arab Gateway interviews Bashar al-Assad, president of Syria, about freedom of speech, democracy, and economic reforms. His answers reveal what must be a born talent, refined through higher education, in the art of lying through evasion. For instance: Mr President, when are we going to see political parties in Syria?

Lets discuss things from a point of principle. The timetable of any issue will not lead us anywhere because it is tied to society. Any issue, be it political, economic or cultural or even scientific is certainly linked to the social timetable. Developing society is a complicated process and it is very difficult to put a timetable for it, but you have to put a certain consequence for it and to move as fast as possible without being too hasty. From this perspective, and according to our vision as a party and as a national front, there is no idea that there will not be development to the work of political party in Syria; quite the contrary. Therefore, all possibilities are there among which is the emergence of new political parties without attaching this to a fixed timetable. Here we are discussing the principle only. As for the manner according to which we develop the political situation, that will be done through, first the discussion of the experience that has started in the past and is continuing until today. I mean the political experience in general. To discuss the positive and the negative points and to try and avoid what is negative. The other point is that one has to develop what one has today. The political experience in its present form has to be developed with the aim of moving to a different experience, but one should not move to a different experience before assessing and improving the current experience.

In other words: "In your dreams!" I wonder if young Assad's years in London included exposure to British comedy. Let's take a moment to commemorate the great Nigel Hawthorne:

Well, it's clear that the committee has agreed that your new policy is a really excellent plan but in view of some of the doubts being expressed, may I propose that I recall that after careful consideration, the considered view of the committee was that while they considered that the proposal met with broad approval in principle, that some of the principles were sufficiently fundamental in principle and some of the considerations so complex and finely balanced in practice, that, in principle, it was proposed that the sensible and prudent practice would be to submit the proposal for more detailed consideration, laying stress on the essential continuity of the new proposal with existing principles, and the principle of the principle arguments which the proposal proposes and propounds for their approval, in principle.

In other words: "In your dreams!" What a funny coincidence.

Sunday, April 14, 2002

The Iranian interviews Abdolmadjid Madjidi, a minister under Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi's government, who recounts the years from Mossadegh to Khomeini.

Ismail Khan, the powerful governor of Herat, have revived the Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice.

Rolf Groven is a controversial political painter of the traditional left, and if every word in that description (except painter) doesn't set off an alarm bell in your head, there's a hole in your education. Still, he's a moderately talented satirist, and I like this picture of heavily armed Norwegian politicians in the service of Jews and Americans. A bit of wishful thinking, though I'm sure he intended it as a warning. Here's one on a similar theme, featuring nudity and Rambo. Neat!

I don't know - homicide bombers? Aren't most bombers homicidal? Suicide terrorists is more accurate.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

As you might expect, taking a bus in Jerusalem is a frightening experience.

Just behind the driver sits stocky, red-haired Vitali Bistriski, 24, who emigrated from Russia two years ago. As the No. 6 winds its way into the center of the city, he tells how he cheated death by a couple of hours earlier this week. On Wednesday, Bistriski was waiting for the No. 960 bus near Haifa to take him to Jerusalem. The first bus at 7:10 a.m. looked too crowded, so he took another. Later he passed by the blood-stained wreckage of that first bus, its roof peeled open by the blast of the 17-pound explosive belt detonated by a suicide bomber. Eight people died and 19 were wounded.

I take the bus to and from work every day, and spend those 25 minutes each way meditating. That time of day belongs to me, exclusively, and I would be less without it. Others read on the bus, or doze off, or just relax. I can't imagine what Israeli commuters go through every day, knowing that every second may be their last, but I can sympathize with them. They too had a time of day that belonged to them, and the terrorists stole it, from every one of them, along with many other small and great pleasures. The terrorists know what they're doing, and they must not get away with it. History watches, asking does terrorism work? I wish the Palestinians a free, independent state as much as most Westerners, but if accomplishing that in any way implies an affirmative answer to that question, I can't accept it.

I want to be banned from North Korea too!

One reason why Norway stands so firmly behind the Palestinian resistance may be wounded pride. We created, or feel that we created, the Palestinian Authority, and until the Israelis marched in and re-occupied the occupied territories, (a self-contradiction, but not mine), it was possible to pretend that what we had built still stood firmly. The peace process died years ago, (perhaps at the moment Arafat decided that terrorists are better friends than enemies), but we haven't acknowledged that. What happened, as we see it, was this: Israel and the Palestinians were trapped in a cycle of violence. One day we stepped in, showed them the light, ("peace is a process!"), and got the PA started. In the years that followed, extremists on both sides did their best to put the peace process off track, but failed because we're really good at this diplomacy thing. Suddenly, out of the blue, one of those extremists became prime minister in Israel, and went on a wild rampage in the Palestinian territories. There was a peace process, (our peace process), before Ariel Sharon, and now there isn't, so obviously it's his fault. That's our story, and we're sticking to it.

One of many journalists who refuse to let go of our mid-90's fling with international diplomacy, is Jan-Erik Smilden in Dagbladet. His list of major players in the Middle East conflict ("they decide whether it's war or peace!", as if the question remains unsettled), includes the usuals, Sharon, Arafat, Bush and Hamas, the unusuals, EU and Kofi Annan - and Norway. I am unaware that Norway has made any recent contribution, positive or negative, to the conflict, other than funding the PA, but facts that flatter your ego need no evidence. Here's our Middle East dossier at Dagbladet:

Position in war: Initiator of the Oslo agreement. Still pushing for peace. Desires a quick end to acts of war, and a return to negotiations.
Means: The Norwegian government runs an active diplomacy in cooperation with other players.
Strength: Long experience with peace negotiations, especially in the Middle East. A small country with no ambitions of global power.

That's not entirely true, now is it? Let's be honest about our ambitions: we want to save the world. Wanting to save the world isn't always a bad thing, but we are biased towards saving it with the only weapon we have available, diplomacy. Diplomacy without force to back it up with can be useful, (the Oslo agreement was certainly a worthwile experiment), but as we apply it to any situation, indiscriminately, our diplomatic corps have descended into self-parody. When you wish to influence global politics, being small is a weakness, not a strength, and if we don't acknowledge our weaknesses, we won't know where to apply our strenghts.

Weakness: Must, as a negotiator, often balance too much between the parties. Have lost some influence as the Oslo agreement has become less and less worth.

That's a bit of an understatement. If Israel still had some respect left for us after the peace process died, it is all gone by now. You can't pretend neutrality when everybody knows which side you're on. Norway now speaks on behalf of the Palestinians, and Israel knows it. We tried, we failed, and we won't get another chance. Jan-Erik Smilden and his pals in the Foreign Ministry can go on hugging the corpse if they like, but don't come to me crying if the smell sticks.

(Update: Vegard Valberg seems to have fallen on his back laughing reading that article. He's right: It is too surreal to take seriously. But then, most of our Middle East coverage is. Cry or laugh? We blog, you decide.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Will Warren, The New Sophists:

In these vastly enlightened times, there are those
Who agree with the Sophist Greek,
With a minor inversion: the side he chose
They think justice belongs to the weak.

The wretched and poor can't do wrongdon't you see?
The successful can do no right;
The downcast are blameless, new Sophists agree:
All is justified by their plight.

Set off nail bombs in pizzerias? Thats fine:
The losers can never do wrong.
Blow up a Passover Seder? Its benign:
How else can the weak fight the strong?

Pakistan to hold one-candidate "re-election" of Pervez Musharraf.

If majority of votes cast in the referendum are in the affirmative, the people of Pakistan shall be deemed to have given the democratic mandate to General Pervez Musharraf to serve the nation as President of Pakistan for a period of five years.

Time for a new blog banner. I'm not entirely sure why that American flag keeps popping up in my graphics, I have no plans to emigrate, but I can't imagine this site without it. One explanation as good as any other may be that I put it there for the same reason others burn it - and it goes well with the Norwegian colors.

We really do walk into these things, don't we: Star of David too provocative for guards at Stortinget, the Norwegian Parliament. Article in Norwegian w/picture of offensive symbol, Bruce Bawer translates, (link via Andrew Sullivan):

"Tveitt went into the Parliament building dressed in a thin summer jacket with the Star of David on the chest pocket. But after he had talked in the Parliament restaurant with Parliament members from the Progress, Conservative, and Labor parties, he was sought out by two security guards who asked him to come with them 'because they had received reactions' to Tveitts flag symbol.

"'I asked who had reacted, and what they had reacted to, but got no answer,' said Tveitt. 'I didnt think that showing solidarity with Israel would create reactions in Parliament especially not in Parliament.'"

I'm glad to see that Bawer has something that looks suspiciously like the beginnings of a blog. He wrote a good introduction to the Norwegian political landscape for CATO Policy Report last summer, (which along with a New York Times travel article about a rude Norwegian farmer got him labelled a grumpy conservative by Aftenposten.)

Get your filthy terrorist hands off my city: Norwegian police fear suicide attacks on Israeli targets in Oslo, (via Fredrik Norman.)

Information of possible attacks on Jewish targets became known after a central figure in Muslim religious circles in Oslo alerted authorities last week. This came in addition to news gathered by intelligence services. [..] The man who warned of possible suicide bombings in the capital had been present at a meeting in an Oslo mosque last week. The discussion involved several powerful Muslim figures trying to decide on a course of action in connection with recent clashes in the Middle East.

The witness was so shocked he warned Norwegian authorities. The informant also said that fund-raising for explosives and other equipment is already well underway. Several young men have enlisted to take on the "honorable assignment" of dying in the fight against Israel if Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is killed.

About time! Another Norwegian political weblog, accurately named Norwegian Blogger.

On the anti-Israel bias of our media:

NRK (Norsk Riks Kringkasting, or Norwegian Broadcasting Network) had a disturbing tendency to attract, or be used as a dumping ground, for a certain breed of individual that generally infest university compounds. Freed from the need to make money, or sense, they were able to use their political contacts and abilities (including the ability to parrot the right progressive phrases) to gain quite a bit of influence in the media. Now if you also remember that many of these people had a slightly radical agenda in their youth (read unashamed Stalinism and Maoism) you are starting to see the problem.

Owned by the state, NRK TV had a monopoly on the airwaves until the early 1990's. We're still recovering.

Sunday, April 07, 2002

Watch out, Will! Not content with his career as a terrorist and a corrupter of the young, Osama bin Laden appears to have artistic ambitions, (via Joanne Jacobs):

Why has my mother not returned?
How strange! Has she taken a taste to travel?
And my dear brother may I be his ransom!
Time has passed and he does not appear.
Why in our area do we see
Nothing but parapets and pits?
Is it because America has come
Manipulating funds and media?

No, son, it's because we left behind a comfortable tyranny, houndreds of servants, and a fabulous palace in Riyadh to fight this pointless war against some foreigners. Now shut up and eat your dinner. Think of the 72 virgins, and it won't taste so bad.

Saturday, April 06, 2002

Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish NGO, flames the Norwegian government, media, and people.

We heard nothing from Norway or the Nobel Committee when Israeli civilians were butchered in synagogues, at Passover festivities, in shopping malls and in pizza shops. We saw no mass protest about revoking the prize from the Godfather of terrorism. Now we learn that Peace Committee members instead rue the day they gave the prize to Shimon Peres.


In such an environment, it is no surprise that some of your citizens piously invoke an economic boycott on Israeli goods. These sentiments and actions expose a level of hypocrisy, arrogance and fundamental lack of understanding of the facts on the ground in the Holy Land. Israel will make peace with her neighbor when she finds partners truly interested, not in her demise, but in living in peace and dignity side by side.

Cooper judges the current Norwegian mood accurately. Opinion is now decidedly in favor of the Palestinians. All the major parties and news media appear to agree that Israel is the driving force behind the violence, and holds the power to stop it. (In a recent poll, 44% sympathized most with the Palestinians, 9% with Israel, and 38% with neither. The 9% apparently consisted of elderly Christians.) Terrorism may or may not pay off in the long run, but it certainly is good PR. Who would have guessed that the road to the hearts of 21st century Norwegians would pass through the blood-soaked floors of Israeli restaurants?

The main problem with Norwegian coverage of the conflict is that we've reduced the motivation of all the involved parties to clichs, repeated over and over again with little variation. We attribute all the recent Israeli actions to the "cycle of violence", which is the same old clich we've used to explain every single Israeli counter-action since the first intifada. Arafat is still, in our view, the person we thought he were ten years ago, the moderate rebel leader who is always on the brink of losing control over his own extremists. So we have the Cycle of Violence, the Moderate Rebel Leader, - and of course the Peace Process, a phrase that still holds mysterious powers over Norwegian news media. All our reporting from the Middle East is a variation over these themes, with a couple of others minor themes thrown in for flavor, like the International Community, the Suicide Bomb Scene, (often used in connection with Cycle of Violence), the Desperate Extremist, and so on.

Like my old Monopoly game, the Middle East news game is played with worn out pieces, after rules one memorized 15 years ago. After you've played it a few houndred times, it kind of loses its charm. "Ok, so I start on the Bomb Scene spot and throw a Cycle of Violence. That puts me at the Moderate vs Extremist Angle, where I pick up this Warning From International Community card, which gives me an extra throw. I get Palestinian Victim, collect $200 at Go, and end up back on the Peace Process. Neat!" (Readers are encouraged to devise a Middle East board game or card deck of their own, adapted to your own local media or personal sense of reality.)

The clichs have gotten in the way of reality, and it's time for a bit of terminological spring cleaning. "Peace process" should be the first to go, there's no such thing, and haven't been for years. "Cycle of violence" should follow, it vaguely describes the problem in a way that at some point may have been a fresh insight, but now hides more truth than it reveals. Arafat as the moderate rebel leader should be next. He's either not very moderate, or not much of a leader, propably neither. Without these to obscure the view, some poor Norwegian journalist may accidentally stumble across some profound truth, and that would be news.

If you can't bore them into submission with foreign minister Jan Petersen, stop eating Jaffa oranges: The Norwegian branch of Coop Nordic, a major grocery chain, announced Thursday that they would boycott Israeli fruits and vegetables. They pulled back later, after what seems to have been pressure from higher up, (boycotts aren't very profitable, and meddling with politics is always risky), but calls for a general consumer boycott of Israeli products have gained some ground recently. Among the supporters are, of course, Kåre Willoch, as well as several prominent socialists. I don't know how many people are outraged enough to bother with this, but it is clearly becoming a legitimate form of protest.

It's also the only form of protest Norwegians have left. The Israelis seem curiously uninterested in the views of the people who helped create the PA in the first place, and we're already giving all our money to the enemy, so we can't threaten to take anything away. Short of invading the Middle East and forcing them back to the Oslo agreement, there's not much else we can do.

Friday, April 05, 2002

Anything anyone has ever done is right. Why? Because in their place, you would have done the same thing. That's the short version. Henry H. Lindner offers the long version, in that lighthouse of moral clarity, the Arab News:

In 1945, while at war with Japan, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing over 100,000 innocent civilians and injuring hundreds of thousands more. The Japanese surrendered. But what if things had turned out differently? What if the US had actually lost the war? What if the Japanese had invaded America and begun a long military occupation of the American mainland? [..] As their lives became increasingly unbearable and hope disappeared, some Americans began to attack any Japanese civilians they could reach, even when it meant certain death. This, of course, just caused the Japanese to react with increasingly violent reprisals. A vicious cycle of attacks and reprisals commenced and the situation steadily worsened over 35 years. Eventually, so many Americans supported the resistance that the Japanese began to view and treat them all as terrorists. Americans became so enraged that they felt exhilarated whenever any Japanese were killed by freedom fighters. Americans had become killers.

Former Conservative prime minister Kåre Willoch, (something of a darling to the Norwegian left for renouncing old opinions), is fond of a similar comparison. When the Germans occupied Norway from 1940 to 1945, we resisted, so why shouldn't the Palestinians? It's a good question, because a careless answer may find you meeting yourself in the doorway, but it's the wrong good question, and so is Lindner's. I have no problem with Palestinian desire for independence, and fighting foreign occupants and local tyrants is right more often than not, but their methods are deplorable.

Anything is not allowed in a good cause. The Norwegian resistance did not target civilians, (althought it sank a civilian ferry to destroy a shipment of heavy water). Granted, there weren't many German civilians for us to target, but if there had been, and we had killed them, would and should we have been proud of it afterwards? The destruction of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are at best dark chapters in our histories, ones we can't and shouldn't read without a twinge of guilt. Terrorism in our own past, wherever we find it, is not something to feel proud of. So why should we hold the Palestinians to lower standards than we hold ourselves?

None of this should be interpreted, of course, that Israel is anything like Nazi Germany or Fascist Japan, the unspoken part of both these arguments. There are several aggressive dictatorships in that area, and Israel is not one of them. If Zionism was like Nazism, and Israelis hated Palestinians as deeply as they seem to think, there would be no Palestinian conflict. There would be no Palestinians.

Did I slip into a parallell universe or something? Hanna Kvanmo, old socialist and member of the Norwegian Peace Prize committee, regrets that she is unable to undo that horrible mistake the committee made in 1994: Giving the prize to Shimon Peres. Bishop Gunnar Stålsett, Sissel Rønbeck (Labor) and Odvar Nordli (Labor), all (except Stålsett) members of the committee when the prize was awarded, share her disappointment [norwegian].

Not a word - not a single word - about Arafat. I'm as baffled as Steven Den Beste and the Professor, and I'm used to hearing strange things on the local news. Perhaps in the current media climate I shouldn't have been surprised, the outrage against Israel is unanimous and unprecedented. (I'll get back to that later.)

Well, that's certainly a strange angle to a report on press freedom. Saudi-Arabia made considerable advances in the area of press freedom in 2001, says the International Press Institute, Austria. Why? Because they were, most gracefully, allowed to warn people that a dangerous fever had broken out. And they didn't even have to hush up the war in Afghanistan:

Press freedom in Saudi Arabia has made considerable advances in the past year. U.S attacks on Muslim Afghanistan, an intensely sensitive subject, made front page news on a daily basis, displaying an unprecedented degree of freedom, particularly when compared to attitudes towards press freedom a decade ago. Domestic reports of violence and other previously taboo issues such as rising unemployment are now widely reported upon by journalists without the oppressive fear of authoritative crackdowns and official obfuscation of information.

In a parallel sense, journalists have come to be seen as more responsible by authorities, and according to Khaled Al-Maeena, editor-in-chief of Arab News, criticism is tolerated to greater extents provided it is accurate. A case in point was the breakout of Rift Valley fever in Saudi Arabia in 2000 from which a number of people died. Initially the Health Ministry refused to admit that people were dying, but after newspapers published stories the ministry began issuing daily bulletins.

Allowed to criticize as long as it is accurate - a definition of censorship if I ever heard one.

I thought the Arab News were basically just a blogosphere in-joke, a fun target for Fisking practice, but nothing anyone in any free country would actually take seriously. But there they were on CNN about a week ago, pretending to speak for moderate Arabs on the Palestinian conflict, and they weren't even labelled as a Saudi newspaper. First the New York Times, and now CNN, (not the first time for all I know, I don't watch much TV). I don't get it, don't they recognize a state-owned propaganda machine when they see one? Invite representatives from the Saudi government if you want a Saudi opinion, at least they're lying honestly. To take the Arab News seriously is an insult to real reporters everywhere, several of which I'm sure are currently stuck in Saudi prisons.

Maybe it's time to take that hat out of hiding again.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

While my 540 degree ideological turn was, apparently, believable enough to fool experienced media professionals, I seem to have a hard time convincing people that yes, Norway has a public official dedicated to gender equality in toy ads. Moira Breen was slightly skeptical about my claim, so here's the translation I sent her from the Sex Czar's website.

I try not to walk around with an obnoxious grin on my face, it looks bad and I usually don't deserve it, but it's very difficult not to gloat after watching Media Professional Alex Beam at the Boston Globe mimic Rowan Atkinson walking into a lamppost in Not the Nine O'Clock News:

Another cloying attribute of bloggers is their intense admiration for other bloggers. Many of their Web sites link to one another's, which serves to build collective audience. But clicking beyond the above-mentioned writers, or the likes of Virginia Postrel and Mickey Kaus (both too smart to write every day), lands you in the remote wilds of Lower Blogovia very quickly. Over the weekend, for instance, Postrel posted a link to Norwegian revolutionary (!) Bjorn Staerk's bizarre recommitment to left-wing raving: ''This new blog is dedicated to the coming revolution, and the age of peace and equality it heralds.'' (More Staerk: ''Noam Chomsky is a brave man, and how he escapes imprisonment in that horrible police state he lives in is beyond me.'') It goes without saying that Staerk includes a link to Postrel's site,, in blogland's infinite echo chamber of self-regard.

I would have thought the date, Virginia's hint, and the link to a North Korean press agency would haved tipped him off, but then I'm not a real pundit, I don't know about these things.

I just got word from HQ. The revolution will begin on .. oh, it's after midnight. Never mind, then.

I've saved a copy of the People's Blog, as a warning for future generations. May it never rise again. Thanks for all the positive feedback.

Monday, April 01, 2002

Here's a thoughtful piece at the Korean Central News Agency of DPRK, on who's the bigger threat to world security: U.S. mandarins' reckless remarks against DPRK refuted.

As for the nuclear threat, the U.S. is to blame for posing it to the DPRK. There are more than 20,000 nuclear warheads stockpiled in the U.S. it is threatening the DPRK after deploying at least 1,000 nuclear weapons in South Korea. The hawkish bush group is working hard to put into practice its plan for a nuclear attack on the DPRK. It is running mad frequently raising a hue and cry over the DPRK's "nuclear problem." but this is the height of folly. By zealously floating the fiction of "nuclear development" by the DPRK, the U.S. war hawks seek to convince the world of the "danger of nukes" from the DPRK and use it as a pretext to mount a preemptive nuclear attack on it. It is their intention to raise the cloud of the first nuclear mushroom on the Korean Peninsula in the new century.

I don't always agree with North Korea, but I usually find their opinions worth listening to.

Today I want to do something new: I'm going to tear apart something stupid I wrote four months ago, when I was trying to tear apart a letter I wrote to the Norwegian government four years ago, to avoid being drafted. With the hindsight of age it is easy to find faults in ones younger self, and perhaps it is best to adopt a forgiving attitude towards old follies, but this particular piece of propaganda is too vile to let stand unchallenged. Listen to this:

As a pacifist, I believe it is morally unacceptable to take part in any kind of military action. This includes all forms of war, even those where one side may be easier to defend morally than the other. I will not take part in acts of war for or against either of them. That I myself might happen to live in one of the two countries at war, is a fact I consider completely irrelevant. Such patriotic thinking only succeeds at clouding the moral issues at stake.
Notice the phrasing, "easier to defend morally", which attempts to relativize ideology, and completely avoids referring to anything specific that may reveal how ridiculous this argument is. Vagueness and moral equivalence - early warning signs that a person neither thinks nor feels.

You're the one who's being ridiculous. When both sides in a war serve the interests of their own ruling elites, what obligation do I have towards either of them? The oppressed have no obligation to anyone but themselves. I'm not a pacifist - a pacifist male is a contradiction in terms - but neither am I a traitor to the worker class. Come the revolution, then we can talk about something actually worth defending, but when on one side you've got religious fascism and the other laissez-faire elitism, you're damn right no side is easier to defend morally than the other.

My axiom is so simple it sounds almost banal: I want as much happiness for as many people as possible. On this I build all my ethics, and from this I defend my pacifism.
Strawmen don't come more transparent than this, and pseudo-philosophical theorizing no more separated from reality. Patriots are not mindless drones, they are patriots because they like their country, not the other way around. They may be wrong, and often are, but in order to prove that it is wrong to be a Norwegian patriot, one would have to do an actual comparison of real life countries, which would destroy the argument.

Very well, let's do an actual comparison of real life countries. Take the United States, for instance, the decadent Rome of our times, with a prison population larger than Norway, and a village idiot controlled by the Taliban wing of the Republican party in charge. Whatever freedoms hadn't already been sold to AOLTimeWarnerDisney, disappeared last year under the pretext of fighting "terrorism" - the victims of which incidentally count only a fraction of the deaths caused by the powerful gun and smoking lobbies.

Or take Norway, the Me-Too of global imperialism. Wherever the yankees go, whether it's to bomb hospitals in Belgrade, terrorize the worlds poorest country, or kill even more Iraqi babies, our support is never far behind. Worse, mother Earth have entrusted upon us one of the richest areas of sea in the world, oil money flowing by the billions, but what have we ever done to alleviate third world poverty? Nothing. And if that isn't bad enough, our prime minister is a Lutheran minister, for chrissakes. It doesn't get much worse than that. So don't talk to me about patriotism. I'm a patriot towards my class, my fellow workers wherever they may be, not some arbitrarily drawn lines on a map.

A common, poorly thought out argument against pacifism is this: "What if everyone thought like you, and somebody attacked us!!" The contradiction is obvious. If everyone were pacifists, there would be nobody left willing to attack nor defend anything. From this I conclude that, in principle, it is wrong to take part in military defense.
My dear former self, the obvious contradiction is yours, and the mincing of words disgraceful. If all Norwegians were pacifists, we could easily be enslaved by any random maniac with a gun.

My "dear" former self, shut up and let me finish. What difference does it make who enslaves us, a local or a foreign tyrant? Our freedoms are illusions, manufactured in the same third world sweatshops as our fancy Nike's and Adidas'. Welcome to Oceania, Nr 6. Please stand in line for todays manufactured opinion.

But we do, after all, live in the real world.
How gracious of me to acknowledge that!

The irony is lost on you, isn't it?

The Chomskyite high ground I was taking back then, (I think I wrote this right after I'd downloaded his entire archive from ZMag), avoids having to make hard decisions about real life issues, avoids the terrible responsibility of making a difference.

Noam Chomsky is a brave man, and how he escapes imprisonment in that horrible police state he lives in is beyond me. He does, however, lean somewhat towards the mainstream on the issue of the coming revolution. He has been known to speak ill of Stalin and Mao, those misunderstood geniuses of the 20th century. It is of course understandable, considering the level of censorship in the United States, that even he might be tempted to take seriously some of the lies our elites have told about their experiments, such as the myth of the "100 million dead", but regrettable nonetheless. (In reality, of course, the proto-communists failed because of American interference. We won't allow that to happen next time - in fact, the way things are going over there now I doubt the Americans will be far behind joining us.)

I quit writing on the web when I realized that nobody cares about the ignorant hate speech of a right-wing nut.

I still believe that.

I was about to go on a private journey of ideological penance, and might have still been hiding in shame behind the stacks of progressive literature I've been recommended by my new friends, if I hadn't noticed something the other day. There's something in the air, I can feel it. The sun is warmer, birds are singing, people friendlier. The world is changing. I've talked it over with my study group, and they all agree. The signs can not be denied: Revolution is coming.

Marx foretold the death of capitalism over 150 years ago, and - contrary to myth - recent events have only served to accelerate this process. Did they really think the common man would tolerate the bondage of consumerism forever? Capitalism eats its young. The economy is collapsing, unemployment rising, and the environment have been driven to the brink of collapse. In order to stand a chance in the ever-more desperate competition for the last scraps of food on the table, multinational corporations have been forced to shed their old masks of benevolence.

The invisible hand has revealed itself for all to see, and it takes the form of a raised fist.

The self-destruction of capitalism was well underway before September 11th, but the towers that fell on Manhattan were the plug pulled out of the bathtub. It was all an illusion, and a poor one at that. Now that both the American and the German form of fascism have fallen into disgrace, communism alone stands pure, without blood on its hands. The people knows. They have been told that they ought to know better. Those few who have strayed from popular dogma have been mocked, censored - and persecuted. But in our hearts, we have all known the truth, and a truth, any truth, can only be denied for so long before it leaps out and declares itself.

The revolution is coming. What form will it take? Where do we want it to take us? These are hard questions, and I have no easy answer, but I can no longer stand by and watch, while the very fabric of the world rewrites itself. If I were to remain silent now, at the dawn of a strange, unpredictable future, then my beliefs are hollow, and all those months reading Lenin speeches were wasted.

This new blog is dedicated to the coming revolution, and the age of peace and equality it heralds. I do not have much to offer, but I have this website. At a time of revolution, progressive and alternative voices are needed more than ever, and it is my goal to find those voices on the web, and perhaps be one of them.

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2001: September | October | November | December
2002: January | February | March | April | May | June | August | September | October | November | December
2003: January