Yesterday, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) declared a Caliphate to be ruled under Sharia in the lands it has conquered in Syria and Iraq. Jerusalem-based Dan Diker on yesterday’s Lisa Benson Show, on the Salem Radio Network was in the midst of a discussion with Mudar Zahran about the ISIS threat with “Jordan in its gunsight”, listen here. He commented that the announcement should be viewed as a political statement to Al Qaeda and its leader Ayman al Zawihiri.
Zahran noted that Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) had morphed into ISIS. AQI founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a Jordanian from Zarqa who became self indoctrinated, joined Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 1990’s and ran his own Jihadi training center. He established brutal barbaric assaults in Iraq in 2005 engaging against US military and contractors, and Shia Iraqis that set a precedent for ISIS. al-Zarqawi was killed in a 2006 USAF -F16a bombing attack at a targeted safe house in Iraq.
The ISIS declaration was also a statement to other Sunni terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, Hamas. The Algemeinerreported ISIS flags were flying this weekend on pickup trucks in Gaza for a funera;l an indication that it was operating there. Conquering large swaths of terrain, looting upwards of a billion dollars worth of money and gold, capturing US supplied Humvees and Blackhawk helicopters abandoned by a corrupt and incompetent Iraqi Army have morphed ISIS into an Islamic State with its own army.
ISIS is more than just a political threat elsewhere in the sectarian turmoil of the Middle East. That was recognized in comments by New York Rep. Pete King on ABC’s This Week that President Obama should be “very very aggressive” about ISIS. He was most immediately concerned about protecting our Embassy in Baghdad with 500 US security troops. There are also 300 US military advisors engaged in assessing what to do with a divided Shiite- dominated al Maliki government in Iraq. A government whose military is now supported by drones of Iran’s Quds Force gathering intelligence on ISIS forces near the capital of Baghdad.
King was also concerned about the estimated 100 American jihadis reported to be fighting with ISIS. ISIS has enticed them with English language weekly and annual reports and videos. My co-host on yesterday program, Lisa Benson, commented off –line about the plethora of such sophisticated ISIS social media that is published daily. That brought back memories of the campaign 2008 endeavoring to get Google to shut down Al Qaeda jihadist training sites.
The Administration for its part looks like the proverbial deer frozen in the headlights of ISIS. Last week, It floated the belated idea of funding $500 million to train “moderate” rebel fighters in the Syrian civil war. A civil war that looks increasingly like a stalemate between ISIS and the Assad forces are backed by Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds Force with support from Putin’s Russia. That Administration proposal may be more than a day late and a dollar short. We had reports in mid-June from Der Spiegel and other sources that the some CIA-trained rebel fighters in Jordan opted to join ISIS given its stunning successes.
As Diker pointed out on Sunday’s Lisa Benson Show the makeup of the anti-Assad rebels according to a Times of Israelreport may control 95 Percent on the Syrian side of the Golan Height. He, said, “we can see Hezbollah flags flying”. Then he noted that the balance might be Al Nusrah, the official Al Qaeda anti-Assad contingent that increasingly has seen their fighters opt to join the “successful” ISIS.
ISIS Flags in Ma'an, Jordan
I asked Zahran, who is pro-Israel and promotes the view that Jordan is Palestine, about the peculiar circumstances behind last Thursday’s Jordanian Security Court decision acquitting Al Qaeda preacher, Abu Qatada. Abu Qatada had been extradited from the UK for preaching incitement and allegedly raising funds for terrorist causes. The Jordanian court had dismissed one charge based on a failed 1999 plot to attack an American School in Amman. The second charge of plotting terrorism against Israel targets has yet to be heard. Last month on May 28, 2014, the Jordanian Security Court had sentenced 11 allegedly involved in an 2012 Al Qaeda plot to attack both British and US Embassies in Amman. Zahran drew attention to the nearly six decade dalliance with the Islamic Action front, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, by the Hashemite Kingdom under the late King Hussein and now his son, King Abdullah II. Zahran noted that the IAF, Muslim Brotherhood which is largely Bedouin, is the strongest organized Islamist group in Jordan. He drew attention to the daily pitched battles in the southern town of Ma’an between Jordanian security forces and local tribal supporters of the IAF flying ISIS flags. Ma’an is located less than three kilometers from Israel’s frontier. The headline in a Washington Post report on the turmoil in Ma’an read, “Jordan fears homegrown ISIS more than invasion from Iraq”.
The security of Jordan as a buffer state, as Diker pointed out is foremost on the agenda of Israel ‘s national security. We note the comments in The Times of Israel by former Israeli security cabinet strategic advisor Gen. Yaakov Amidror, who said that Israel should bolster the defense of Jordan against the ISIS onslaught. At the Institute of National Security Studies (INSS) of Tel Aviv University, yesterday Israeli PM Netanyahu underlined these security issues. He talked about support for an Independent Kurdistan and completing a security fence along Israel’s eastern frontier from the Golan to Eilat. Netanyahu said:
The forces of fanatical Islam are already knocking on our door” and Israel needs to be proactive to bolster its defense against enemy infiltration.
“The first thing that we need to do is to build a security fence on our eastern border, and to build it gradually all the way from Eilat to merge with the security fence that we’ve been building over the last two years in the Golan Heights,” he said. “That fence does not hermetically prevent infiltration; it doesn’t prevent shooting through the fence as we saw tragically just a week ago; it doesn’t prevent barrages of missiles over it, or the digging of tunnels underneath it. But it does narrow down dramatically that permeatio on Israel’s border.”
Israel will not cede the Jordan Valley approaches, much sought after by Secretary of Kerry and the US facilitator in bi-lateral discussions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, former US Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk. Diker pointed out Indyk’s announced return to the Washington-based Brookings Institution indicative of the US failure to achieve a final status agreement with the unified Palestinian government of Fatah with Hamas. Diker cited the abduction of three Israel youths, including one American, by Hamas the prime suspects sought in the massive Operation Brother’s Keeper as evidence that no security for Israel could have emerged from the US facilitated negotiations. Unfortunately, the bodies of the three youths were recovered by the IDF, today amidst grief for their families and sorrow expressed by many Israelis and Americans.
Deceased three Israeli abductees likely slain by Hamas suspects
Netanyahu’s INSS remarks reflect the deep concerns about the stability of Jordan rife with more than 1.4 million Syrian refuges, and a million Iraqis. There are an estimated 1.5 million Arabs Refugees of Palestinian origin. Jordan's population of 7.9 million is based on CIA Factbookestimates.. Note the last census was taken in 2004. Then there is the accommodation of Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist support growing in the country’s Bedouin population . They feel aggrieved about the lack economic participation and high unemployment amid alleged corruption charges against the ruling autocratic Hashemite King and family.
Umm al Fahm, Israel protests by Islamic Movement
June 27, 2014
Netanyahu also recognized internal threats to Israel’s security at yesterday’s cabinet meeting. He announced that he would move to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamist movement, whose leader, Sheikh Read Salah, has proposed to establish a Caliphate on the Temple Mount. In October 2013, we wrote in the Iconoclast post about Israeli Arab adherents of Sheik Salah joining up with anti-Assad Al Qaeda rebel forces in Syria. Last Friday, there were rallies organized by Salah and his Islamist adherents in the Israeli Arab town of Umm al Fahm protesting the raids by the IDF in Operation Brother’ s Keeper denying Hamas abduction of the three slain youths. Rock throwing by protesters was broken up Israeli riot police with tear gas and sound bombs. Netanyahu noted:
[The northern Branch of the Islamist Movement] constantly preaches against the State of Israel and its people. [The Islamist Movement ] publicly identify with terrorist organizations such as Hamas. Therefore, I directed the relevant authorities to consider declaring the northern branch of the Islamic Movement as an illegal organization. This would give the security authorities significant tools in the struggle against the movement.”
In May 2014, Netanyahu had been thwarted in such a move against the northern branch of the Islamist Movement by the Justice Minister Tzipi Livni of Hatnua, because these enemies of the Jewish State are citizens. They are represented in Israel’s Knesset by Arab parties, espousing pro Palestinian positions verging on sedition.
Israel knows what it has to do with ISIS on its doorstep and fellow travelers inside. The question is the resolve of Jerusalem to take the hard steps. Israel’s friends in the US Congress are urging the Administration to undertake actions to protect its only reliable ally and interests in the region. The ISIS Caliphate’s declaration means that Israel will have to defend itself from jihadis both inside and on its doorstep.
The Dutch-Turkish jihadist Yilmaz (center), who was previously a soldier in the Dutch army, poses with fellow jihadists in Syria.
In Iconoclast posts, we have drawn attention to the threat posed by the al Qaeda breakaway, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), backed by a growing international terrorist army drawn from across the Muslim Ummah and Dar al Hijrah – the land of immigration in the West. New York Congressman Pete King disclosed an estimated 100 American jihadis who joined the ranks of ISIS fighters. One of those who didn't return was an an American Jihadi suicide truck bomber killed in Syria. He was a resident in Florida, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha.who went by the name of Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki, “the American.” The American was killed in a massive Al Nusra suicide truck bombing operation in Idlib, Syria. Al Nusra is the ‘official’ Al Qaeda resistance group active in the Syria Civil war opposition.
We have also become increasiongly aware of the looming threat of ISIS on Israel’s doorstep. We have written about several thousand Europeans who have gone to fight as Jihadis in Syria only to return and spawn jihad mayhem.
In a June 1, 2014 Iconoclast post we noted a Reuters report that French authorities arrested a Muslim émigré Jihadi in Marseilles with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and another weapon in his possession. The suspect 32 year old Mehdi Nemouche was arrested and identified as a returning Jihadi from Syria. Nemouche lived in the northern French city of Roubaix. On May 24, 2014 Nemoche murdered four people at the Brussels Municipal Jewish Museum; a visiting Israeli couple, a French woman docent and a museum worker.
AIVD says the age of Dutch jihadists is decreasing constantly and the number of women in this group is growing. Most of the fighters are of Moroccan descent, although some are from Bosnia, Somalia and Turkey. Many of the Dutch jihadists are second-generation immigrants who were born in the Netherlands. They mostly come from the Dutch cities of Delft, Rotterdam, Zeist and The Hague.
The vast majority of Dutch jihadists in Syria have joined one of two rebel groups, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] or Jabhat al-Nusra [JaN]. AIVD believes that at least ten individuals from the Netherlands were killed in 2013, including two Dutch jihadists who blew themselves up in suicide attacks (one in Syria and one in Iraq).
More than 100 Dutch Muslims travelled to Syria in 2013 with the intention of taking part in jihadist activities there. At least 20 battle-hardened jihadists have since returned to the Netherlands, posing a significant threat to national security, according to AIVD.
The AIVD annual report for 2013 was presented by Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk and AIVD head Rob Bertholee in The Hague on April 23. In contrast to previous years, when the main security threat was deemed to be a cyber-attack, the principal concern in this year's report is the mounting threats posed by the returning jihadists, as well as by Muslim hate preachers who are using the Internet to radicalize young Dutch Muslims and incite them to violence.
The report warns that the presence of European fighters in Syria provides the jihadist groups active there with an "excellent opportunity to recruit individuals familiar with our region to commit acts of terrorism here." In addition, returnees could "exploit their status as veterans to radicalize others in the Netherlands." Overall, AIVD's primary concern is about the radicalizing influence that Dutch jihadists will exert on Muslim communities in the Netherlands.
Hon. Geert Wilders
Leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV)
Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV), has raised the visibility of the Jihadist threat from Mass Muslim emigration, A series of campaigns about this issue have placed him under 24/7 protection of the Royal Dutch Protective Services. Further he has subjected to prosecution for allegedly violating hate speech laws in the Netherlands from which he won acquittal in a landmark case in 2011. Wilders in a Gatestone Institute article, published today, “Terrorists among Us” proposed ten steps to combat terrorism in the Netherlands that might also be considered elsewhere in the West:
automatically strip immigrants with dual nationalities of their Dutch passports if they leave our country to fight for Islam in Syria;
immediate administrative detention of those fighters who have already returned;
the reintroduction of border controls ceded when [the Netherlands] joined the EU;
halt immigration of people from Islamic countries. International treaties prohibiting these measures should either be modified or terminated;
encouragement of voluntary repatriation of people originating from Islamic countries;
deal severely with the supporters of the fighters in Syria. Mosques, Islamic schools and other organizations that provide financial or other support to those who go to fight in Syria must be closed down immediately;
spend more money on security. Money that is currently being wasted on development aid would better be spent on the AIVD (the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service);
stop Dutch military intervention in the Islamic world and focus on the protection of the Netherlands;
support Israel and stimulate economic relations with the Jewish state. Israel is the front line in the fight against jihad. If Israel falls, the West falls; and,
break diplomatic relations with countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, that support terrorist groups such as ISIS.
In support of these draconian measures, Wilders cites a recent poll taken in the Netherlands.
Among the polls findings are:
82 per cent of the Dutch believe that jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq increase the risk of an attack in the Netherlands;
76 per cent favor stripping jihadists of their Dutch nationality;
67 per cent want to introduce border controls to prevent them from returning;
75 per cent want additional manpower for the AIVD; and
65 per cent of all Dutch believe that Islamic culture does not belong in the Netherlands.
The declaration by ISIS of a Caliphate bestriding Syria and Iraq has been a wakeup call to the West. The Netherlands has realized that Muslim mass emigration has spawned dangerous Salafist Jihadis in its midst. The Obama Administration continues a myopic view about the threat. However, some in Congress are raising the alarm that this threat must be addressed to protect the country’s national security interests. The question is will the West resolve to take the hard steps suggested by Wilders.
From a story in the New York Times about the murder of three Israeli boys and the two men, members of Hamas, who have disappeared and who are suspected of being their killers:
"As Monday turned to Tuesday, Jewish settlers and Palestinian residents clashed at the entrance to Hebron, the home of the suspected kidnappers, Mr. Qawasmeh, a 29-year-old barber, and Mr. Abu Aisha, 33, who owns a store near Jerusalem. Israeli troops have repeatedly searched the men’s homes. They returned Monday night, blocking access to the houses, and fired tear gas at scores of Palestinians who showed up and threw stones.
Mr. Abu Aisha’s mother, Nadia, said the Israelis had demolished her house, as they did after another son was killed in 2005 when he tried to hurl an explosive at soldiers. Amer Abu Aisha left behind three children, she said. “I will educate them to be for jihad,” she said. “I promise they will be as their father, to be fighters and to be martyrs.”
When I was a young graduate student in the early 1970′s I had a philosophy professor. I will simply refer to him as Dr. Z to protect his identity. Dr. Z started his career as an American Baptist minister who then became a Congregationalist and then a Unitarian. By the time I reached him as a student he had become a full-blown cynical atheist. Dr. Z was also a multiculturalist and a despiser of Western Culture. I will always remember him stating that all of Western Civilization’s teachings could be summed up in four words, “Think and be kind.” Dr. Z more than likely thought he was being clever and sarcastic about Western Civilization.
Over the last forty years I have thought often about Dr. Z’s remarks. He was right, but in a far different and more profound way than he supposed. The two ideas that have governed the development of our culture have been reason and the Golden Rule. We received reason (or logic) from the Greeks. Thus the Greeks taught us to think in a reasonable logical process. It was from the Judeo-Christian ethic that we received the admonition to be kind. This reached its zenith in the teachings of Jesus known as the Golden Rule. It states “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Western Culture is far from perfect, but its twin ideals (Think and be kind) have been our guiding lights. Islamic Civilization on the other hand is the only world religion that has no concept of the Golden Rule. Also, Islam does not have a unitary sense of logic. It is dualistic in its thought process. Wherever radical Islam is enshrined brutality, torture and warfare are the rule. If Islamic culture could be summed up in five words it might just be “Don't think and be cruel”.
With all of its many faults I prefer the “think and be kind” of the West over Islamic culture. Think and be kind are after all a pretty good way to live one’s life.
June 1967 would have been a good time for Israel to swiftly annex those parts of Judea and Samaria to which it had a prior and superior claim, as parts of the territory of the Mandate for Palestine, established for the express purpose of creating the Jewish National Home, and for no other. This was before the Arabs had invented, for propaganda purposes, the "Palestinian people" (no Arab diplomat at the U.N., no Arab leader, no Arab intellectual, had used before the Six-Day War that phrase "the Palestinian people." The word "Palestinian" as a noun had been applied, before 1948, to Jews living ias that part of the Mandate for Palestine, mainly by Jews in the Diaspora. The campaign to make people forget history, to forget what the League of Mandates' Commission, representing the civilized powers, had decided (for it had several Mandates for the Arabs as well, though the Kurdish state once contemplated in the end was prevented by the Turkish government), had done, to forget the legal, moral, and historic claims of the Jews to that small sliver of land, a place of "waste and desolation" according to every Western visitor in the 19th century. And even that small sliver was further reduced when Great Britain, to the outrage and horror of Professor William Rappard, the learnedSwiss be head of the Mandates Commission, unilaterally decided that the Mandate's provisions about encouraging "close Jewish settlement on the land" would not be applied to any of the territory east of the Jordan, and handed it over to be incorporated into the just-created Emirate of Transjordan, given to the Hashemite Abdullah so he would not threaten French interests in Damascus).
Right now, with Syria, and Iraq, and the just-proclaimed Caliphate,taking up the world's Middle Eastern attention, and people all over the world, from Japan to China to Burma and Thailand, to India, and in Western Europe, beginnning to recognize with ill-concealed anxiety, what the large-scale presence of Muslims in their midst means to them, to their civilizational cohesion, and physical security, the Israelis could do much more than merely declare war on Hamas. They could seize all of Hebron -- which, after all, is one of the four holy cities of Judaism (the others are: Safad, Tiberias, and Jerusalem) -- and enlarge the size of Kiryat Shmona, and let the Arabs howl as they may. Right now -- but only right now, when the bodies have just been found -- the Israelis can do what they want, and they should. But I don't think they will. And that is a mistake, of the same kind, if not of the same degree, as that made long ago, in the summer of 1967. They were wrong not to then. But they have to try to do what they have not done sufficiently, which is to educate a wider audience of people who have been subject to the slow stiillicide of Arab propaganda (often propagated by non-Arabs too, for various reasons which include amazing, self-satisfied ignorance of the relevant history, and of Islam, but also because of the deployment of Arab money, and the eagerness of antisemites everywhere to find a socially-acceptable outlet in "anti-Israel" Indignation over the "plight of the Palestinians"). Those who are simply ignorant, and know so little about the history of the area that the Romans renamed "Palestine" -- and the continuous Jewish settlement and attachment to that area, conquered by Muslims, and treated with indifference by Muslims, as have so many other areas of the world, which led to its dismal state in the 19th century, and which only changed when the native Jewish population was increased by those who came to resurrect the ancient Jewish commonwealth, to the world's great, if largely unrecognized, benefit. And the benefit is not limited to non-Muslims or non-Arabs; the unrecognized "mission civilisatrice" of the Israelis has had remarkable results among a local Arab (cultural, intellectual) elite.
No one has the moral right to lecture the Israelis about anything. After today, that should be clear, at least, to Israelis themselves. And they should take advantage of this particular moment to seize the day, and Hebron, or much of it.
But perhaps, because of the way the country's minds and hearts were mobilized, they will not be demobbed any time soon. Let's hope.
It's what you have no right not to expect. It's what any Jew living in or outside the Jewish state, has no right not to expect. It's what any Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, agnostic, atheist, who is unwilling to succumb to the rules of Islam, wherever Muslims think they can get away with inflicting such Sharia-justified punishment, has no right not to expect.
'White Widow' Samantha Lewthwaite remarried into family of top al-Qaeda commander
Samantha Lewthwaite, the “White Widow” of one of the London July 7 bombers, later married into a Kenyan family connected to one of al-Qaeda’s most notorious commanders in East Africa, the Telegraph can reveal.
Her sister-in-law’s husband was Musa Dheere, who was shot dead at a roadblock in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, alongside Fazul Mohammed, mastermind of terror attacks on Kenya’s coast in 2002 that were among al-Qaeda’s earliest raids. Her husband was a Kenyan named Fahmi Jamal Salim, with whom she is thought to have the two youngest of her four children.
Lewthwaite, who is charged with plotting a bombing campaign across Kenya at Christmas 2011, was so close to her new family that she fled to their house the night Kenyan police broke up her terror cell.
Lewthwaite met her future husband in South Africa in 2008, where they were introduced to each other by Abdullah al-Faisal, a radical Muslim hate preacher who had previously been imprisoned for four years at Long Lartin prison on Worcestershire.
Lewthwaite had previously visited him while he was still in jail, despite the authorities apparently being aware of their respective backgrounds. Mr al-Faisal told a BBC Panorama documentary about Lewthwaite, due to air on Wednesday, that he arranged her marriage to the Kenyan because he “knew her taste”. She wanted a “young man of a different race, preferably the black race, who was very handsome and very strong in the Muslim faith”, Mr al-Faisal told the BBC.
Kenya’s National Intelligence Service named both of them as members of a terror cell that planned to bomb the parliament in Nairobi, the United Nations headquarters in the city, and an Ethiopian restaurant popular with Somali politicians. Hotels near their bomb factory popular with Western tourists were also understood to be targets.
Lewthwaite was the cell’s “logistician”, detectives said. Another of the cell’s alleged members is Jermaine Grant, from east London, who is on trial in Kenya over the plots. The cell’s leader was Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir “Ikrima”, a Kenyan al-Qaeda commander who was the target of a US Navy Seal Team Six raid on Somalia in 2013, less than a month after the terror attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Centre.
She is believed to be in hiding in southern Somalia, where she is being sheltered in territory controlled by al-Shabaab, the country’s al-Qaeda affiliate. Salim’s whereabouts are not known.
'White Widow: Searching for Samantha' is on BBCOne at 10.35pm on Wednesday 2 July.
He's doing what comes naturally. Why should the idols of the Kuffar not be destroyed? They offend Allah. What else matters? And Buddhists are, like Hindus, not even Ahl Al-Kitab, "People of the Book," and even were they to pay the Jizyah and fulfill all the other requirements imposed, in a right-thinking Muslim society, on Christians and Jews, Buddhists would still have to convert or die.
As for artistic heritage, try to fathom the amount of that heritage that has been deliberately destroyed by Muslims. Visitors to Ravenna, enchanted with its frescoed churches, may not realize that there were a hundred ravennas in Anatolia, all of them destroyed, or nearly, over centuries of Muslim rule. What happened to the hundreds of churches that existed in Constantinople before May 29, 1453? Where are they now?
Look at what happened to churches, and synagogues, all over North Africa and the Middle East. Or what happened to Buddhist stelae from Afghanistan to China, or even what was preserved in the pitiful Kabul museum, until the Talilban arrived to wreck it.
Look at the list of the names of Hindu temples, and temple complexes, compiled and published by Sita Ram Goel, in two volumes, temples and temple complexes that have disappeared, their matierals used to build mosques and other structures.
What the Saudi student did -- presumably, he knew Japanese, or wanted to, but this did not make him any more solicitious of Japan's own traditions or artifacts -- is not only perffectly in keeping with Islam, but is a model fror how other Muslims should behave and, whenever in the past they could, did.
Translated from the Hungarian & edited by Thomas Ország-Land (July 2014)
This poem, composed in 1942 in outrage at the psychological preparation of society to commit mass murder, was probably the author’s last. It is included in Survivors: Hungarian Jewish Poets of the Holocaust, a landmark anthology in Thomas Land’s English translation to be launched by Smokestack Books on July 7 at the Poetry Society Cafe in London. [Right: The Hungarian despot Miklós Horthy with Hitler in 1938.] more>>>
From our hilltop we watched scores of police and army forces massing along the road below, preparing their assault against us, red, blue and yellow roof lights spinning in the pre-dawn darkness. A sharp wind whipped across the hills as you zipped your khaki parka and gathered with other men at the entrance gate, hoping to block the road, at least temporarily, knowing that resistance was ultimately useless. more>>>
SoHo barely existed when I moved there in ’67. There were maybe 10 people living between Canal and Houston Streets. I first lived down on Greene between Canal and Grand. Then, around ’69, I moved to a building [on Prince Street] where the restaurant Jerry’s is now. During the week there were trucks, rats, and rags, garbage trucks, because it was part of the carting area, so rats were just running everywhere. And the streets were filled with bales of rags and stuff like that. --Chuck Close, in 5000 Artists Return to Artists Space: 25 Years (1998)
Prior to the development of Artists’ SoHo, many ambitious American artists preferred to live in “artist colonies,” as they were called, where a dozen or two painters typically, customarily colleagues already, purchased empty land and constructed studios. They favored sparsely populated retreats, such as Fire Island, Provincetown, or Woodstock; and established within those communities a culture more sympathetic to art and artists than could be found elsewhere in America. These artist colonies differed crucially from bohemias, which were communities, usually within an urban setting, hospitable to counter-bourgeois living, so that, say, the living room doubled as a bedroom and/or an office. Indicatively, political radicals, often prominent in bohemias, are scarce in artists’ colonies. more>>>
Americans call it soccer. Europe and the developing world call it football. Semantics is just the start of the confusion. Although the foot is only one of two appendages that might be used to strike the ball in soccer; hands can only be used for clearing nasal passages, package adjustments, and obscene gestures. The head plays a pivotal and often decisive role in “futbol.” This is not the same as using your head, as in playing intelligently; this is using your head like a bat, to strike the ball. The “header” is just one of few uses for the frontal lobes. more>>>
George Clooney and the Death of the American Grown Up
by Geoffrey Clarfield (July 2014)
In the once robust and now obscure field of anthropology that was once called “Culture and Personality,” psychoanalytically informed practitioners suggested that the culture of any one society is a psychological “projection” on to the world. This projection comprises the dominant values and value conflicts, hopes and fears that characterize a society during any one stretch in its history. They make up the dominant assumptions of the time. Some scholars call this the “climate of opinion.” These cultural projections can be described and analyzed with good anthropological technique. more>>>
History was becoming all the rage in Shakespeare’s time. The ancient world tended to view the things that had happened in the past as merely the locatable backdrop to the exploits of heroes or famous people. Holinshed’s Chronicles (1587) opened up a new dimension. History conceived as a present record of the past. Past being the events of yesteryear. Present, the narrative in real time of these events. This new ‘cut’ into history undermined anecdote and legend. A good example of this is a play that is sometimes compared with Shakespeare’s King John, written around the same time (1591) and on the same subject; The Troublesome Raigne of John King of England (TR). In the TR there is a scene when, in order to discover his parentage, Philip goes into a trance, begins babbling in Latin, and picks up ‘fumes of majesty’ which convince him he is a royal. This is no doubt (unintentionally) funny to watch but not perhaps a reliable guide to real events. It’s not narrative, neither is it history. Holinshed wrote history because he consulted sources. In particular, Holinshed understood what feudalism meant, where a man’s word was his bond. Holinshed was Shakespeare’s history man. more>>>
... and the fool shall look to the madman. - Feste
In the catalogue of fools and clowns who animate Shakespeare's plays, the most significant are thought to be Twelfth Night's Feste and Lear's fool, whose teasing jibes often bear precious insight. These are jesters of rare adroitness and sensibility, camouflaging criticism in endearing silliness, that remonstration may be sufficiently palatable to testy nobles to be assimilated. Yet before we crown this pair as Shakespeare's supreme lords of barbed banter, we might ask whether all candidates have been given a "fair shake." more>>>
On 12 December 2013, Kenya celebrated a half century of independence. Progress has been made, and although Kenya remains imperfect, it obviously did not deserve the bloody and barbaric 21 September 2013 attack islamist militants made on the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi, the capital. more>>>