Political rant (Middle East)

31 March, 2002

Most people know what’s going on in Israel and the Occupied Territories at the moment. For whatever maniacal reason, Mr Sharon is spearheading a campaign which seems set to destroy Mr Arafat. What’s worse is he even has US support – so much for being committed to a war on terrorism. In Palestine, the army terrorise innocent civilians by bulldozing their houses and shooting them point blank, and fringe militants retaliate by going into populated parts of Israel and blowing themselves up. The US calls on Arafat to somehow find and punish these terrorists, with his destroyed police stations, demoralised police force, from his house arrest location in Ramallah, about 10km from Jerusalem. I have no idea how Arafat could go about doing this, or even why he should.

By getting rid of Arafat, though, his government is actively getting rid of any moderate Palestinian support for a peace deal with Israel. There are 7,000,000 Palestinians and 3,600,000 Jews in the region, and the Palestinians have broad support from the entire Arab world (even as far away as the Comoros Islands, east of Mozambique in southern Africa). What Sharon’s government is doing is giving the extremist groups such as Hamas legitimacy within the Palestinian people, and a martyr to avenge. And the result will NOT be good.

The US is too concerned with getting votes from its Jewish population in the north eastern states of America to act in a right and proper manner in the face of state terrorism. The end result may very well be the end of the Israeli state, which would have been assured had Sharon accepted Saudi Arabia’s peace deal last week.

I find it deeply saddening that the continuing bloodshed is going on and people seem to think it’s inevitable. I am a descendent of Czech and Austrian Jews (non practicing – they were Catholics) and 13 members of my family were killed in concentration camps (and 2, including my great uncle, narrowly escaped). However I know that the majority of Jews, as human beings, would deplore these actions, and I in fact know one or two who have told me, “Do not tar all Israelis and Jews with Sharon’s brush – We want peace too”. There’s also Israeli peace groups like B’Tselem which are definitely worthy targets of your funds if you’re of a philanthropic bent.

But who’s listening? And until someone does, this will not end.


Whinge, whinge (A musical post).

4 March, 2002

I just feel like whinging about music.

I have 4 favourite bands, 2 of which have now split up, and there’s a very real possibility the other two, which are now considered veterans of their respective styles, will break up inside the next 2-3 years at the most.

In about 6 years, I don’t want to be one of these 29-30yos I laughed at a few years ago who listened entirely to bands that are extinct and just persistently whinge about the state of current music and how crappy it is and how it was so much better in my day. I guess I just have this thing about growing old, and so long as I can *feel* young I don’t care.

I was reminded of a bold prediction a friend of mine made as a 17yo in 1990 that by his 20th birthday, heavy metal as it was then would be completely dead. As it was so entrenched and still regularly getting top 10 singles/albums, everyone laughed at him … and then by July 21st, 1993, he proved to be right. I think the current trend of popular music will be flushed out as soon as kids get bored of it, and it always seems to be those “change” periods where the record labels can’t quite figure out what style to flog, that the bands with real talent come to the surface. Just think how many good bands came to the fore in 1991-1993 … not all of them lasted out the decade, but it was a good era in music. I hope there’ll be another one very soon, so that way by the time I’m 30 there’ll be current bands for picky, bitchy people like me to listen to.

Update – In October 2005, one of those bands (Tea Party) broke up, although it’s still alive in the form of its lead singer Jeff Martin who has now gone solo. Tool released a somewhat sub-par album in May 2006. Thankfully, I got into other stuff along the way … although I’m still waiting for that “change” period to come, both popular and alternative music have utterly stagnated. (25/07/06)