Wednesday, September 14, 2005

More bombs in Baghdad...,2763,1569667,00.html

At least 80 people were killed in a suicide bombing in central Baghdad today when a bomber lured labourers looking for work to a minibus and triggered an explosion.
Police said the death toll from the blast - which happened in the mainly Shia old town area of the Iraqi capital - was likely to rise because some of the 162 people injured would not survive.

There was initial confusion over the death toll from one of the deadliest single vehicle bombings to have been carried out by militants in Iraq. Reuters reported that more than 80 people had been killed, while an Associated Press report, citing police, said at least 73 had died.

The explosion, in Oruba Square, happened in the same area in which around 950 Shia worshippers were killed during a stampede on a bridge earlier this month.

Twisted wreckage from devastated vehicles was left scattered around the square after the blast, and witnesses reported bodies lying in the street.


Crying or Very sad ... killing "at least 80" building workers looking for work - Crying or Very sad ....luring them to a little bus with hope in their hearts, thinking it was a site foreman come to pick up some laborers, if they were amongst the lucky ones they'd go home that evening dog- tired but happy, with money in their pockets to feed their families, be greeted by smiling wife and kids... then BANG! droves of poor, hopeful, hard-working Iraqi men killed and maimed by the score, leaving their heart-broken families destitute - just how low can terrorist bastards go??

Sometimes wonder whether anyone in the west really gives a damn? - attacks or natural disasters targetting westerners get enormous media coverage, endless personal stories, solidarity galore - while these repeated horrors in Iraq and the ME and the devastated lives of their Arab victims just get piled into some kind of statistical gore-hole by the western media - NEVER read one single call for donations in the western media to help the maimed, the victims' families... not even once.

Ah, but I'd forgotten that's one of the "WOT" reasons the US-right pundits are saying the Iraq invasion was/is a success: it's a way of keeping AQ-or-whatever busy killing non-Americans?
Evil or Very Mad



Now the toll is up to 114...

P.S. how come we never hear anything about the aftermath of terrorist bombings in Iraq? Name-lists of victims, anyone? Photos, life-stories...? Names of the suicide-bombers?? Accomplices? Info on investigation methods, proceedings, leads, arrests...? Zilch, far as I know, except for generic claims it's due to Al-Zarqawi's semi-AQ-or-whatever outfit (may well be true - but that's not sufficient: the London bombings were also strongly believed to be kinda-AQ-linked, but that was not the end of it: there were huge investigation efforts made, highly sophisticated forensic lab tests, many arrests made... and constant news updates!! Same after the Madrid bombings, same after Bali, same after 9/11...)

The Ashura Festival bombings in Kerbala and Baghdad in March 2004 killed over 200, scores more at the following year's festival, at the time AQ not only didn't claim them but formally denied responsibility... So whodunnit? Who helped? Where's the evidence? How are the investigations getting on (remember Iraq was under CPA rule at the time)?

Dunno. Dead silence. And no press outcry about inefficiency, no calls for international forensic/investigational efforts, no solidarity appeals - not even for the thousand-plus who died in the terrorism-fear Khadimiyah bridge-stamped tragedy - just as Katrina was hitting the USA, apparently with less victims.


Does anyone really care about Iraqis... outside Iraq?

Don't the Iraqi victims/victims' families deserve the same treatment as victims of attacks/catastrophes in the west?? Assistance, information, care??? And don't they too have the right to know ??

Don't we all? - after all, Iraq is under US/UKetc. military occupation, we're paying for this "Iraq war" in cash... while the Iraqis are paying for it in blood and tears.

So how about a minute's silence all over the world for the innocent victims of bombing attacks in Iraq (preferably for victims of both ground-based and air-based attacks, but at very least the former)?? How about an appeal for donations for survivors and victims' families? How about airlifts for hi-tech western surgery for the maimed... since it seems the Iraqi hospitals are still at pre-war sanctions-level at best - but even more over-crowded, more over-stretched??

Ah ... how silly of me - I forgot Iraqis aren't westerners... they're dispensable.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Some grotesquely stomach-churning reading on Gulag "re-education" techniques here - uncle Joe and Beria would have been impressed.


Extracts from an Interrogation Log
The document titled "Secret ORCON: Interrogation Log Detainee 063" included the following entries:

23 November 2002
0225: The detainee arrives at the interrogation booth a Camp X-Ray. His hood is removed and he is bolted to the floor. SGT A and SGT R are the interrogators. A DoD linguist and MAJ L (BSCT) are present

0235: Session begins. The detainee refuses to look at SGT A "due to his religion. This is a rapport building session.

0240: Detainee states he's on hunger strike. SGT A explains the affects of a hunger strike on the body. SGT A runs "love of brothers in Cuba" approach.

0320: The detainee refused to answer whether he wanted water. SGT R explained with emphasis that not answering disrespects SGT A and embarrasses him. The detainee said no, he didn't want water. The detainee continues to say he's on hunger strike.


13 December 2002
1115: Interrogators began telling detainee how ungrateful and grumpy he was. In order to escalate the detainee's emotions, a mask was made from an MRE box with a smily face on it and placed on the detainee's head for a few moments. A latex glove was inflated and labeled the "sissy slap" glove. The glove was touched to the detainee's face periodically after explaining the terminology to him. The mask was placed back on the detainee's head. While wearing the mask, the team began dance instruction with the detainee. The detainee became agitated and began shouting.

20 December 2002
1115: Detainee offered water—refused. Corpsman changed ankle bandages to prevent chafing. Interrogater began by reminding the detainee about the lessons in respect and how the detainee had disrespected the interrogators. Told detainee that a dog is held in higher esteem because dogs know right from wrong and know how to protect innocent people from bad people. Began teaching the detainee lessons such as stay, come, and bark to elevate his social status up to that of a dog. Detainee became very agitated.

21 December 2002
2223: As I began to inform the detainee of the changes the Saudi government has been making in order to support the efforts of peace and terror free world I began to engage closeness with the detainee. This really evoked strong emotions within the detainee. He attempted to move away from me by all means. He was laid out on the floor so I straddled him without putting my weight on him. He would then attempt to move me off of him by bending his legs in order to lift me off but this failed because the MPs were holding his legs down with their hands. The detainee began to pray loudly but this did not stop me from finishing informing the detainee about the Al Qaeda member, Qaed Salim Sinan al Harethi aka Abu Ali, that was killed by the CIA.


Can now understand why so many of the detainees have retreated into "madness" aka catatonic-type withdrawal.. don't think my own sanity could have withstood such a combination: leg-irons, smiley-faces, "sissy-slap" gloves, dance-instruction while chained to the floor and ...barking-lessons????

A kind of nightmarish insanity tangibly present in the air ... and to me it doesn't seem to have been on the detainee's side.

So what's been going on here... in the background...? Where do these interrogators "come from", i.e. what kind of vision of "human psychology" is dominant in the US military-establishment psyche - sounds to me like a cross between a degraded parody of behaviourist theories, Ray Bradbury's "Dark Carnival" and The Muppets???

(... trash-culture briefing for a descent into hell: No Veronica this is NOT The's just the Far Far West, dearie ...y'know, the kinda far-far-out "West" that kinda-frequently kinda-freaks out??... )

Friday, June 03, 2005


Came across my own virtual "ghost" online the other day - an alter-ego spectre from my pre-Iraq-war days as a slight but acrobatic Italian poetess/"literatina", happily cavorting amongst shoals of like-minded mini-literati through the minor cloaca of Rome's literary catacombs...

I'm "republishing" it here in full just in case the site I found it on gets taken down:


"Se lo spirito non si trasforma in immagine, verrà annientato insieme al mondo" dichiarò perentoriamente il predicatore gnostico Simone Mago, il quale - secondo le Omelie di Clemente - fu discepolo prediletto e successore di San Giovanni Battista.
L'ortodossia nascente mise presto a tacere il leggendario "padre di tutti gli eretici", ma il suo discorso interrotto, ripreso in modo sotterraneo da innumerevoli poeti attraverso i secoli, riecheggia con sconcertante immediatezza fino all'epoca attuale. Come in queste riflessioni di Octavio Paz sulla natura e le proprietà dell'immagine poetica: "L'immagine si apre davanti al lettore e gli rivela il suo abisso traslucido. Il lettore si protende e vi si abbandona. E nel cadere o nell'ascendere, nell'attraversare le grandi sale dell'immagine e nell'abbandonarsi al fluire dell'opera poetica si separa da sé per penetrare in un 'altro se stesso' sino ad allora sconosciuto o ignorato. Il lettore, come il poeta, si trasforma in immagine: qualcosa che si proietta e si libera da sé e va all'incontro con l'innominabile."

Ed è solo tramite lo specchio ustorio dell'immagine che possiamo intravvedere il volto profondo della nostra stessa alterazione - il "volto originario" di ogni autentica gnosi, "immortale e povero" nella sua essenza quanto la poesia stessa. "Qual era il tuo volto prima di nascere?" recita uno dei più celebri koan usati - come sussidi didattici atti a scardinare le certezze della quotidianità razionalizzante - dalla scuola Rinzai del buddismo Zen. Se persino qui e ora, per sventatezza post-post-modernista o altro,qualcuno volesse ancora azzardare una risposta (da ricercarsi per vie prettamente intuitive, ovviamente, poiché lo Zen privilegia l'intuito, e a tal fine fa ricorso sistematico all'allusività della parola poetica), non potrebbe trovare migliore ausilio, nell'ambito della tradizione occidentale, di questa splendida poesia di Jorge Luis Borges:


Guardare il fiume fatto di tempo e di acqua
E ricordare che il tempo è un altro fiume.
Sapere che noi ci perdiamo come il fiume
E che i volti passano come l'acqua.

Sentire che la veglia è un altro sogno
Che sogna di non sognare e che la morte
Che la nostra carne teme è questa morte
Di ogni notte, che si chiama sogno.

Vedere nel giorno e nell'anno un simbolo
Dei giorni dell'uomo e dei suoi anni.
Convertire l'oltraggio degli anni
In una musica, una voce e un simbolo.

Vedere nella morte il sogno, nel tramonto
Un triste oro, tale è la poesia
Che è immortale e povera. La poesia
Torna come l'alba e il tramonto.

Talora nel crepuscolo un volto
Ci guarda dal fondo di uno specchio:
L'arte deve essere come questo specchio
Che ci rivela il nostro proprio volto.

Narrano che Ulisse, sazio di prodigi,
Pianse d'amore scorgendo la sua Itaca
Verde e umile. L'arte è questa Itaca
Di verde eternità, non di prodigi.

Ed è pure come il fiume senza fine
Che scorre e rimane, cristallo di uno stesso
Eraclito incostante, che è lo stesso
Ed è altro, come il fiume senza fine.

(trad. l.s.)

Nella sua ciclicità atemporale, la potente visione di Borges concilia la grandezza con la più nuda semplicità, l'universalità con il pathos fugace del particolare. E in controcanto, annullando ogni lontananza temporale e geografica, gli risponde questa gatha del monaco cinese Xuedou Zhongxian (980-1052 d.C.), trattatello di "ars poetica" anch'essa (le cifre elencate nel primo verso richiamano la natura metrico-musicale della forma gatha - "canzone" in sanscrito):

Uno, sette, tre, cinque -
la verità che cerchi non può essere trovata.
Mentre la notte avanza, la luna splendente
illumina tutto l'oceano,
i gioielli del drago si rispecchiano in ogni onda.
Cercate la luna? - è qui
in quest'onda, nella successiva.

Sembra quasi superfluo, a questo punto, citare la celeberrima "Elle est retrouvée!/ - Quoi? - l'Eternité./C'est la mer/melée au soleil" di Rimbaud, salvo per far notare lo sconcertante parallelismo fra l'"expression bouffonne et egarée au possible" delle illuminazioni del sommo nume dell'avanguardismo europeo e quella non certo meno "buffonesca e smarrita" del monaco tibetano Drukpa Kunley (1455-1570), lo svagato "danzatore sull'onda inesorabile dell'illusione" che s'inchinava, errabondo e gaudente, "davanti ai vagabondi che respingono la loro casa,/davanti al culo delle puttane".

Vicino Orsini, il nobile mecenate che insieme a Pirro Ligorio progettò le mirabili e spaventose figure del parco di Bomarzo, usava fare il seguente augurio alle "dame" e ai "paladini" invitati - purché "di buona ciera" - a visitare la sua creazione: "Che ognuno vi incontri ciò che più gli sta a cuore, e che tutti vi si smarriscano". Perché, potremmo aggiungere, chi non è capace di smarrirsi - confondendosi fino a far svanire dal proprio volto la marcatura dei suoi connotati fittizi - non può sperare di incontrare né ritrovare alcunché...

Ma oggi il linguaggio di quel complesso sillabario, insieme allegorico e anagogico, che si ostenta nelle rocce di Bomarzo come in mille altri luoghi d'arte di questa nostra bistrattata peninsula, pare diventato lettera morta, mera accozzaglia di geroglifi, bizzarra ed incomprensibile quanto gli emblemi di una civiltà scomparsa. E davanti all'inesorabilità di questo ammutolimento, di questa immane perdita di senso, in un'epoca dedita al culto multimediatico di una immediatezza sempre più banalizzata e triviale, s'inchinano persino i poeti...

Di fronte alla durezza dell'essere, la setta eretica dei Catari diede il nome di "consolazione" al loro sacramento più alto; e di fronte a una simile perdita, per chi all'inevitabile poco e male si rassegna, non rimane che invocare ancora una volta l'amaro unguento di un altissimo "consolatore", Jorge Luis Borges:


Si perse il labirinto. Si persero
tutti gli eucalipti ordinati,
i padiglioni dell'estate e la veglia
dell'incessante specchio reiterante
ogni fattezza d'ogni volto umano,
ogni fugacità. L'orologio
fermo, il caprifoglio intrecciato,
la pergola, le frivole statue,
l'altro lato della sera, il gorgheggio,
le chiavi e le porte e i cortili,
il belvedere e l'ozio della fonte
son cose del passato. Del passato?
Se non ci fu principio non ci sarà termine,
se ci aspetta un'infinita somma
di bianchi giorni e nere notti,
già siamo il passato che saremo,
siamo il tempo, il fiume indivisibile.
Siamo Uxmal, Cartagine e la scancellata
muraglia del romano e il perduto
parco che commemorano questi versi.

(trad. E. Zolla)


I still think this was the best thing I ever wrote - not surprisingly, as it consists almost entirely of splendid quotations from my elders and betters.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Email contact address:

It's been over a year since I last posted and since then what's changed - the dead have risen, justice rules the world?? No, not exactly.

To sum up: the Iraqi corpse-pile has piled even higher, and the save-the-world rhetoric has kinda...tapered off. The January elections proved strictly sectarian - ethnic/religious voting blocks ruled the day, despite (or perhaps because?) the Iraqi attitude to politicians seems to mirror that of all Mediterranean and ME peoples, by whom such fauna is consistently viewed as a more or less "necessary evil" to be contemplated with due cynicism whilst bemoaning the politician-linked afflictions of one's own immediate human sphere. The newest horror is the blood-toll of sectarian hits and counter-hits, the newest hope is the overcoming of this horror through an idealistic aspiration towards the resurgence of national unity and pride.... in relation to all of which, the US military occupation has come to appear almost weirdly irrelevant.

So what else is new? The EU constitutional referendum? puhhlease....