Boris Johnson accuses Russia and protects Saudi Arabia

It might very well be that Russia is indeed guilty of war crimes in Syria. In fact, it is highly likely. However, when the British Ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, walks out of an emergency security council session on Syria, with his US and French counterparts, before the Syrian government representative begins to speak, the whole thing, beginning with the Ambassador’s pathetic pretentious pathos, starts to stink of the usual hypocrisy, hyperbole, and sanctimonious drivel, that we have come to expect from the West.

Nothing new, and all of the above “qualities” are epitomised by the blustering buffoon Boris Johnson when in referring to the Russian bombing of Aleppo he says:

“…… when it comes up, the bombing of civilian targets, we should be looking … to see if the targeting is done in the knowledge they are wholly innocent civilian targets, (because) that is a war crime.”

Of course,  essentially he is not wrong. However, it might be worth thinking about the British Foreign Minister’s reaction to similar war crimes perpetrated not only by the Americans and his own government, but also by their allies. Indeed, in today’s ‘Independent’ we can read that, after the UK’s refusal to support it, an initiative by the EU to launch an independent inquiry into Yemen’s civil war has been dropped.

Saudi planes are killing civilians in the Yemen and not only does Britain sell those weapons of death to the Saudis but it also provides training and logistic support for the pilots and, of course, is these are the reasons why only some two weeks ago the resident buffoon in Whitehall was to say:

“The key test for our continued arms exports to Saudi Arabia in relation to international humanitarian law is whether those weapons might be used in a commission of a serious breach of international humanitarian law. Having regard to all the information available to us, we assess this test has not been met.”

It was a judgement which was based on a Saudi-led inquiry into eight controversial incidents where civilians were killed and which, it might be expected, was about as objective as an Israeli led inquiry into one of the regular mass-murdering sprees in Gaza. Of course, that doesn’t matter. After all, the Saudis, like the Israelis, are our partners in crime and …. well, war is good for business and well we know what our reaction would be if the Russians started buying their weapons from us, or even better still, if they were our allies.

 

Time to prepare for a Post-Capitalist World

And there we are accessing the large doses of spoon-feeding from the daily drivel to discuss the war in Syria and then, in the next breath it is ‘Eastenders’, followed by the coming climate catastrophe, before the customary click on the news now for our latest football team.

Then there are the politicians and Ken Livingstone’s opinion that “politicians are not brave enough to implement real change” is, in retrospect, worthy of a giggle, as is the Muslim neighbour’s reaction to my assertion that not only is it unlikely that the big man in the sky talked to an illiterate man using an angel as a medium, but it is also real pie in the sky to think that the said person would be a vehicle for the big man’s message to mankind.

“Mohammad wasn’t illiterate, he spoke seventy languages”, and not only is it not worthwhile pointing out that a polyglot can be illiterate, but it is also useless to ask what seventy languages his prophet might have spoken and, indeed, what kind of proficiency he had in those languages and why he needed to know them.

Still, the dirty skies above China don’t lie and you don’t need to be a genius to realise that this madness is about as sustainable as a Caliphate in Western Europe might be. Indeed, all of this nonsense is indicative of a system which exploits all and sundry economically, while also breeding a reaction to the cultural imperialism which facilitates and accompanies that exploitation.

The real question is how do we prepare for the coming post capitalist world, which is a trifle more certain than the coming of some messiah, or mahdi, because if we don’t start to prepare for it might just be that, after the inevitable Armageddon, we are going to go through this shit all over again.

 

The United States and its Allies have no legal right to operate in Syria

The real news behind the story told in today’s ‘Guardian’ is out there somewhere and it might even be that the story is at least a part of the real news. We are told that  “a convoy of 31 trucks provided by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (Sarc) was targeted by either Syrian or Russian aircraft”  and it might be expected that information will leave us in no doubt as to who is responsible not only for the truce collapsing and who the real villains of the piece are.

Of course, even if the trip home from Barcelona doesn’t allow for any real evaluation of this piece of news, it is not too difficult to look elsewhere and find another story which at least indicates that understanding the bigger picture might not be just as simple.

Away from the mainstream media the American investigative journalist Robert Parry  gets to tell us that American airstrikes have killed “at least 62 Syrian soldiers as one of several “mishaps” that had occurred over the past week.” So, what appears to be an almost tit-for-tat scenario, might just be one more episode in the blame game? Well, it might be if it were not for Mr Parry going on to write:

“……the U.S. and several allies have been routinely violating Syrian sovereign airspace to carry out attacks was not even an issue, nor is it a scandal that the U.S. military and CIA have been arming and training Syrian rebels. In the world of Official Washington, the United States has the right to intervene anywhere, anytime, for whatever reason it chooses.”

And this is the bigger picture! Of course, we might be suspicious of Russian interests in Syria and it might be expected that the Syrian army will be fighting its own dirty war. However, whatever the nature of the regime in Damascus the fact is that without the United States and its allies violating international law on a daily basis, there would be no war in Syria and there would be no slaughtering of innocent civilians.

 

On seeing Jesus in Avignon

Driving down to Barcelona and passing through Avignon where there was the compulsory cursory glance of the Palais des Papes and there he was, the “son of God”, hanging up there on his big cross. It had me thinking about Terry Eagleton’s ‘Culture and the Death of God’ and it had me thinking about his contention that “societies become secular not when they dispense with religion altogether, but when they are no longer especially agitated by it” .

Certainly not agitated by the “big man” and certainly not about to turn my back on my cultural heritage, but it still might be appropriate to chew the cud on “ego”, Mr Eagleton, and “society” and how we are all coping with not being especially agitated by the various God squads in our vicinities.

Well, it would appear that Mr Eagleton has got the philosophical tools and the historical perspective to place himself firmly on the side of the not “especially agitated”, which is where “ego” would also like to seem himself. However, forever the empiricist, “ego” just could not help being agitated by the Muslim section of the God squad distributing their drivel at the bottom of Kilburn High Street a couple of weeks ago, while using Moses, Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammad as their particular marketing ploy. A sort of déjà vu and the mind rolled back to those crazy Calvinists who used to cruise the streets of dear old Glasgow town.

Of course, back then we just let them get on with it and at the end of the day we, or at least most of us, got on with our lives in the real world. Therefore, it can only be hoped that Mr Eagleton’s got it right and we can still cope with these very real mad men of marketing. Otherwise, it is back to the drawing board and another little scenario.

That is the one from Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Grand Inquisitor’ where Jesus gets a wee visit from the Grand Inquisitor who, before burning him at the stake, visits his cell and tells him, in no uncertain terms, that not only is he not needed, but that he is also an obstacle to the Church’s mission. Yes, indeed, prophets and king size models of prophets, are nice to listen to and nice to look at, but just beware of the religious headcases who follow in their footsteps.

 

Reflections on Easy Reading and Hard Writing

In a little cafe at the corner of Berwick Street and D’Arblay Street and the much neglected blog has been accessed. That neglect is reflected in the reader statistics for this blog yesterday, but in a sense that is no bad thing today, as these statistics have facilitated automatic access to the source of one of yesterday’s mere two views.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Andy Morgan, was looking at this blog, but rather that someone who did look at it also  looked at Mr Morgan’s article, “Algeria plays a master’s game in northern Mali” from July 12, 2012, before viewing my post “The West’s intervention in Maili” . Furthermore, it also meant that the author of this post began a reflective chewing of the cud on the nature of his own writing when reading the quote, “Easy reading is damn hard writing“, from the 19th century American author, Nathaniel  Hawthorne, which is embedded into the header of Mr Morgan’s blog.

And the blog – not mine, of course – is “easy reading”, albeit the type of reading which requires you to activate the type of schemata that is not available to all and sundry. Indeed, the content reflects the affective and cognitive engagement of someone who can obviously access an in-depth reference to what he is writing.

All of that brought me to an additional chewing of the cud and the conclusion that writing like this is rarely to be found in the mainstream media, despite Mr Morgan having a profile at the ‘Guardian’. Indeed, it might be noticed that his last published piece of work for that newspaper appears to be on the 15 May, 2015 and it appears that his continued writing might be dependent on donations.

This is the reality of a world where a mediocre mainstream media continues to batter our heads with its daily drivel, while offering decent writers a “cameo appearance” in their rags with the proviso that they compromise themselves.  A world where credible authors who synthesize and evaluate are neglected, even when their hard writing culminates in easy reading. Of course, if that were to be otherwise, it might be expected that the tenous platform given to the Mr Morgan and others would be closed down tomorrow and do you know what …………….. they would do it in the name of freedom.

Reflections on the Nationalistic Narratives that help to keep an Absurd System in Place

The book was bought in Foyles today; ‘Never Forget National Humiliation’ and with the pigs pigging it in Capitalism’s temples from Beijing to Bicester Village, Vancouver to Venice, Shanghai to St Moritz, the evidence would appear to suggest that  “Wuwang guóchǐ” has long since replaced the “4 legs good, 2 legs  and bad” narrative and doesn’t “building Socialism with Chinese characteristics sound like a bad joke?

No, post Tiananmen the Marxist “facing the truth in the face” narrative just has to take a back seat and while the present mumble jumble, gobbledygook makes little sense, that little is a little more than preaching equality in the quite crazy kleptocracy. Moreover, like everything else in China, they are only doing what the West has been doing for the last three hundred years or so.

Apropos of which, there was me, after buying the book, sauntering down Whitehall. The centre of empire, an older empire, but not long gone and, somehow, still hanging around. The statues of this, that, and the next guy who reveled in privilege and led millions of Tommies to the slaughter as they plundered the globe and my mind sort of drifted to my grandfather and his hatred of Churchill on spotting his – and people like my grandpa don’t get a statue – monument at the bottom of the street, just across from Westminster Abbey.

Yes, the blighty Brits have their very own equivalent of “Wuwang guóchǐ” and it goes something like “never think about what it really was”, is and will continue to be. At least, until the shit hits the frying pan. Oh, and the shit will hit the frying pan! On across the river, down to and over Lambeth Bridge and through the jolly nice gentrified residential area with “Starbucksies”, wee Waitroses, nice apartment blocks, and up to Victoria Station.

British economic growth in a nutshell in front of your face, rentier capitalism, and they haven’t quite managed to understand it, have they? The compound growth shit, just doesn’t work. It doesn’t work in Beijing, it doesn’t work Birmingham, Bangkok, Burnley, or Berllin ….. it doesn’t work anywhere! And back to ‘Never Forget National Humiliation’ …. well, you have got to think of something to distract the people and get them to participate in keeping this shit going.

Three short conversations in London

Went down to Cricklewood High Street this morning to do my laundry, threw it in, and then went to Costa Coffee, where I saw, or thought I saw, Ken Livingstone a couple of weeks ago, to wait for it to finish and there he was sitting beside me and talking to me about the pollution on Crickewood High Street and me telling, or trying to tell, him about the pollution in China.

There was a sort of lexical chain there, but not enough to establish any real coherent and cohesive conversation. Still, the conversation got a little bit interesting when Ken expressed his opinion that politicians are not brave enough to implement real change,even if that only had me talking about how, one way or another, change will be forced upon everyone as the capitalist growth model is doomed to blow up in all our faces.

By that time, of course, either a lack of interest in what I had to say, or a lack of ability to comprehend what I was talking about had the once Mayor of London drifting back to his copy of the Guardian.

Still, it was that bit about politicians lacking courage that had our references on this small planet touching and if implementing real change means that George Osborne doesn’t get to shoot off a machine gun on holiday in Vietnam and the kleptocracy in the People’s Republic of Amnesia doesn’t get to shop in Harrods and buy property here there and everywhere, then the thought would have to be that it would be difficult for them to see it in their interests to do so, even if it should be crystal clear to all and sundry that the shit is just about to hit the frying pan.

Anyway, back to the laundry and the Iraqi guy, who works there, was watching a shia cleric on television. On my mentioning that it was a shia cleric who was spouting out the hamdullahs, the Iraqi expressed some surprise at my exopheric reference which then soon led to us getting into a conversation about this, that, and the next thing and which went all the way back to the battle of Kerbala. A conversation that sort of petered out just after the Iraqi emphasised that it is not the ordinary people who are the problem, but rather it is the politicians. Yes,  Ken, even when the shit is hitting the frying pan, it is quite difficult to see politicians implementing any solutions when the evidence would appear to suggest that they are part of the problem.

Back home and, with the laundry put neatly away, it was time to make my way to Foyles where I am writing up this post. Still, there was time for another little event before getting on the number 16 bus and, on my way to the bus stop, I started talking to a colleague. A greek lady with native speaker level English who asked me where I was going and when I said, “Foyles”, she just didn’t know where, or what “Foyles” is, and when I started talking about my conversation with Ken Livingstone her response was to ask who Ken Livingstone was, or is.

Yes, it really is all about the reference and when I wonder why so few people read my blog, I really should be coming to the conclusion that very few people understand it and it might just be that we should talk to people in a language that is intelligible and by that I don’t just mean using words in a structured and conventional way, but rather using words and terms that person you are talking to can actually access. Now, where is that book by Slavoj Žižek I was looking for?