Thursday, October 23, 2003

Not blogging today. Not blogging yesterday either, but it's too late to tell you that. Anyway if you want to entertain yourself with one of my blog's favorite themes, do so with Serbian conspiracy theories. Here's an interview with Zoran Djindjic's bodyguard, who suspects the late Serbian prime minister and reformer

was shot at by two snipers. I believe that the bullet which hit the prime minister could not, by the position of the body, have come from Admiral Geprat Street, but from the opposite direction, from No.6 Bircaninova Street
Further down he mentions something about a book depository. (Kidding, don't look for it).

Send in by Dan Butler, who says: "My point here is that the Serbian nation is generally
a. a nation of conspiracy theorist. b. a bunch of drama queens. Nevertheless, good scandalous reading."

There's more actually, but I can't immediately find it on the site. Apparently B92 radio station has corroborated some of this with an autopsy report (in a report Dan sent):

Zoran Djindjic was killed by a bullet to the right side of his chest, B92 reports tonight, citing the autopsy report carried out after the murder of the prime minister on March 12.

The autopsy report states that the bullet exited below the left rib cage, and could be responsible for a graze found on Djindjic's the left arm. However, it does not rule out the possibility of a second bullet.

Unofficial information suggests another report into the murder is to be conducted after differences emerged between the report produced by experts in Belgrade and the findings of a German crime institute concerning the way Djindjic fell and the position of his body.

The Crime-fighting Institute in Wiesbaden, which offers assistance to foreign governments and police forces, could not confirm the information. A representative told B92 that only the Serbian government could make the findings public.
Apparently if the government's theory is true, he would have been killed by a bullet coming into his left side, or so says the bodyguard.

How did B92 get this report, and why now? Details sketchy. Treat as suspect.

The government says this guy just feels bad that he didn't protect his man.

Tool around B92 for more and let me know if you come up with any more.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Dalai Lama addresses conference, KSCM, ODS have doubts.

Once again the Czech Republic's two largest political parties show where their moral priorities lie. Vaclav Exner, deputy chairman of the Communists, says a conference about the rights of suspected terrorists imprisoned at the American base in Guantanamo, Cuba, would be "a much greater contribution" than this weekend's conference on Tibet, in which Prague hosts the Dalai Lama.

ODS's Jan Zahradil joins him with milder criticism of the conference.

I think the correct response would be something along the lines of, "Fuck off and die, you commie scumbags."

Look, it's not that we shouldn't be discussing and criticizing U.S. policy. But to say the world should be more concerned about the Americans' treatment of Al Qaeda suspects than, say, China's treatment of this kid?

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the world's youngest political prisoner, was kidnapped by the Chinese government when we was six. He hasn't been seen nor heard from since. For a good dose of outrage, read Isabel Hilton's The Search for the Panchen Lama.

Monday, October 20, 2003

The New Republic's resident hyper-ventilating windbag Leon Weiseltier writes this sentence:

It is true that national feeling, which exists in abundance even in 'post-Zionist' Israel, is a scandal for the hallowed fluidity that the contemporary catechism prescribes for human affairs, but there are worse scandals. It might even be argued that national feeling, and group membership, and the engagement with tradition, and the preservation of peoplehood--all in a critical spirit, of course, and diversified by alienation and other affiliations, and vigilant about the corruptions of self-love--is all another blow against the philosophical casualness of the age. Anyway, the problem of the spirit of the age is not a Jewish problem.
Thanks, Leon. It's all so clear to me now.

George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" should be required reading in whatever school of writing Weiseltier and his ilk graduated from. Here's Orwell on the Bible:

I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

"I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."

Here it is in modern English:

"Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account."
Snicker, snicker. But wait! Even better. Here's Orwell on Stalinist academics:

Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

"While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement."

The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism.
Indeed! So, ladies and gentleman, I bring to the one and only Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic, in plain English:

Jewish nationalism is really bad. But these days, when nobody gives a shit about anything, it's not that bad. Besides, everybody else gets to be nationalist, so why can't the Jews?