It's Jihad on the roads today!

24 September, 2003

Had two freaky taxidrivers in a row getting home this week. (For those that don't know, I get home at midnight every night, so my work pays for a taxi).

Last night's one was a rather large 45-50yo man who has a Theology degree and wants to write a history of the Anglican church. I could swear he was giving me the eye the whole time I was in his cab. It's curious actually how when I phone that cab company on certain nights I always get the same driver, sometimes with a long delay attached.

The one tonight was a nice enough bloke, an Arabic guy called Abdullah in his mid-20s. As soon as he ascertained I was liberal minded on international affairs, he was trying to convert me to Islam. I think his driving was rather too close to God than I'd have liked – he was swerving all over the highway. During the trip, he told me in a soft voice that Osama bin Laden was not really a bad man and he's been “made bad speak – bad, BAD speak” by the West, who framed him for Sep 11. Apparently he was a good man who could get Muslims their rights and the Americans saw this and freaked out, so had to frame him so they could kill him. He, however, wished it had been God and not CIA agents who “punished” America for being “a bad land with lots of evil sin”. He spent the last 2 minutes jubilantly telling me how he can now get Al Jazeera via a satellite TV card he got installed in his computer, and even offering me the name and mobile number of a guy who works in an electronics store and could even get me Jihad TV if I wanted it as well.

I should write more about the taxidrivers I get. Some are pretty boring, but I get a high quotient of freaks, as well as some reasonably nice people.

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Sex, lies and videotape… and the odd war or two

12 September, 2003

I’ve come out of media blackout early, as it seems the Sep 11 coverage was a bit of a fizzer. I think we can thank Iraq for that. Even the normally right-wing ‘West Australian’ had a half page piece yesterday which pretty much said the American administration had expended the goodwill from September 11 by their actions in Iraq and elsewhere.

One trend I’ve noticed in the last 6-9 months in particular is here in Australia, people are now quite openly anti-America and anti-Israel – not militantly, but in attitude – whereas if they were before, it wasn’t really fashionable to say so. I was sitting on the train on Wednesday listening to a pair of ladies in their 30s, who may have been bank employees judging by their uniform, discussing how the war on and occupation of Iraq would be seen by Bob and Betty Baghdad, as they put it, as criminal. Another guy was saying during a discussion about faces on TV that he turns off the TV every time George Bush is on it as “only the Americans would elect such a f***ing retard”. Our media, which used to report largely from CNN and NBC, now has shifted towards the BBC and is more inclined to report contrary views to the Americans coming from respectable quarters.

In the 90s, the mood in Australia was strongly pro-Israel. Now it’s the reverse. People here generally think that the Israelis are in the wrong and should give the land back to the Palestinians. Our government, despite its own neo-conservative leanings (and its own issues with giving land back to dispossessed natives), has stayed relatively neutral in the debate, largely I suspect because of fear of our near neighbours and – probably more likely – our trading relationships with them. Most people seem to believe that if the Palestinian problem had been solved, 11 Sep 2001 would never have happened.

Another trend I’ve noticed is that all the stuff us self-identified lefties knew about US’s dodgy foreign policy aims years ago is now public knowledge. Pretty much everyone knows about Chile, Guatemala, the Iran-Contra affair and what really went on in Afghanistan back in the 80s.

I’m writing an article on this for a friend of mine’s magazine, which I’ll link to once it’s up and happening, but the argument is basically looking at the history of the modern superpower, and whether the superpower is in fact a relic of 1900s history that ought to be left there. It’s also looking at whether Australia, New Zealand and Canada, working together, could be a collaborative superpower not unlike the EU – I don’t actually see why not. The article will also evaluate the EU and China, and why I feel that they have what it takes to be superpowers but are held back by massive problems that can only get worse.


Hmm…

10 September, 2003

A close friend of mine is going to be in Washington DC on September 11 for work reasons. While I will be in self-imposed media blackout mode from now until the weekend to avoid the media event that is The Anniversary (thank God I don’t work in the news department of my company, I guess!), I will be thinking of him and hoping he is alright.


Rant re web provision

5 September, 2003

NEVER EVER register a domain with hostonce.org or any of its affiliates.

They have stolen my domain name, and I have no way to get it back.

If you’re a tech savvy person, go look for yourself – the domain name is terranullius.com.

GRRR! It seems the law of petty larceny does not apply to these mugs. If someone knows Colin A. Campbell personally, punch him for me.

Edit: For non tech savvy people, this is like going to Fair Trading to register your business name, only to find a year later that the staff of the Department have opened a shop in that name next to the local train station that doesn’t actually sell anything, but its presence means that you can’t reregister the name. I have wirtten to the OpenSRS people at Tucows and they’ve said the record states this wonderful gentleman has always held the name and because he says he owns it, they have to take his word on it.

Edit 2 (2006): It appears this guy Colin Campbell is some kind of Nazi. (Source: Fightdemback.org)