sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

June 15, 2011

From Oakland to Olympia

Filed under: politics, society — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 2:27 pm

In the last decade a journalist was offed in my lovely old neighborhood downtown Oakland, and now in Olympia, WA anarchists are threatening journalists.  Via Verum Serum:

A photojournalist’s home was tagged and his car’s tires were slashed as vandals in Olympia targeted the city’s newspaper overnight Wednesday.

At the headquarters for the Olympian, the vandals poured acid or a corrosive liquid on the newspaper’s windows, and painted the message “Overman snitch” in black.

Tony Overman is an award-winning photojournalist at the newspaper whose own home in nearby Tumwater was also targeted. Vandals tagged his home with anarchist symbols and slashed his tires.

Overman believes anarchists are trying to intimidate him from taking their pictures during public marches.

“This is an organized effort to name me specifically, and come to my house and terrorize me,” he said. “That’s really freaking scary.”

Overman was assaulted last year when a woman spray-painted his face and camera as he photographed an anti-police brutality march. His published photos were later used to identify and convict the woman.

The photographer’s images of a man throwing rocks at a bank were also used by prosecutors. Overman believes that group is now sending him a message, but says he won’t be intimidated.

“I’m not going to live in a town where a group of masked thugs gets to just wander the town, terrorizing people. I’m not going to allow that to happen. As a journalist, I’m going to tell that story,” he said.

The photographer says it’s ironic that anarchists who champion their right to free speech may be behind an effort to deny the press freedom.

“Hopefully, the community recognizes that an attack on a journalist is an attack on that community,” Overman said.

Very true, Mr. Overman.  Although Pacific North-West anarchists are yet to live up to Your Black Muslim Bakery, I can’t help noticing that Oakland’s been rather quiet lately.  For instance, there was no riot on the day of Johannes Mehserle release.  Could it be that a certain illusive citizen journalist is keeping rioters at bay?


May 22, 2011

How Much Sense Does MSNBC Make?

Filed under: Israel, journalism, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:33 pm

None, but many thanks to Richard Engel for sounding out an alarm about the “Arab Spring”:

Engel: In a single statement, President Obama went to the core of Arab-Israeli conflicts, Israel’s 1967 border.

Eloquent, I know.  Except that there is no internationally recognized 1967 border, only 1949 armistice line.  Also, if the “1967 border” is the core of the conflict, how come wars were fought before then?  Well, that none-core issue war had something to do with throwing Jews into the sea, which is something the 1967 war was all about as well.

Engel: The issue remains emotional in Israel where many see returning to 1967 borders as putting Israel’s very existence at risk.

An Israeli Man: The 67 borders are something that is fragile.

Silly Jews!  They get so emotional, and then they wave their hands in the air.

Engel: On the other side of the divide, Palestinians feel without enough land they’ll never be secure either.

A Palestinian Man: We will not be enthusiastic about anything until we see a real change in the future.

Hello listening comprehension!  This man on the street didn’t tell Richard Engel he doesn’t feel secure, at least not in the segment he cropped.  The man said, vaguely, that he wants more.

Engel: In 1967 Israel expanded dramatically.  In six days they captured Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank and West Jerusalem from Jordan.  Israel returned the Sinai in exchange for the peace with Egypt.  Arabs have long argued that the rest needs to follow in return for more peace.  But Israel had argued that it needs Golan for water and West Bank for settlements and security and it will not compromise Jerusalem.

Israel needs Golan for security.  On a clear day, the whole country can be seen from the Golan Heights.  Besides, whether or not Israel needs territories should be irrelevant because Israel captured them in a defensive war.  Jerusalem, which from 1949 to 1967 was a backwater Jordanian town, happened to be the Israeli capital.

Engel: So for years there’s been deadlock until this happened.  The Arab street has been mobilized unleashing pent-up anti-Israeli sentiments.  Last weekend in Cairo protesters tried to storm the Israeli embassy.

What “deadlock”?  There’s been Madrid accords, Oslo accords, multiple negotiations and concessions on the part of Israel met with Palestinian promises and terror campaigns.

What “pent-up anti-Israeli sentiment”?  The Arab street’s been burning Israeli flags and storming embassies (on rare occasion there was one in the country) since Israel was founded.  In fact,  the Arab dictatorships have been encouraging virulent anti-Semitism to deflect from their own failings.

Engel: After revolution in Egypt and the ongoing protests across the Middle East, people in the Arab world feel empowered and say that they are no longer willing to accept dictatorship and most say they are no longer willing to accept a peace process they say favors Israel.  Egyptians expect that Arab demands on Israel will only grow as the Arab Spring revolutions mature.

An Egyptian Man: The Arab people, they have the self-confidence.  They’re not afraid of Israel.

Sounds like an argument for retaining as much land as possible, if not all of it.

Engel: For the United States, it’s a politically risky balance to protect an ally but also to embrace the changing Middle East.

Our President needs to do less embracing and more leading.  Completely absent from this talk of free and confident Arab people ready once again to rise against their oppressor Israel is the issue of Iran, who is filling the vacuum of power left by Arab despots, with Iranian proxies.

Factually incorrect, hastily put together and shallow: Who needs this “journalism”?

March 25, 2011

When Euphemism Backfires GRAPHIC

Filed under: politics, society — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:04 am

“Dear Reuters, you must be kidding,” — says Jeffrey Goldberg:

This is from a Reuters story on the Jerusalem bombing earlier today:

Police said it was a “terrorist attack” — Israel’s term for a Palestinian strike. It was the first time Jerusalem had been hit by such a bomb since 2004.

Those Israelis and their crazy terms! I mean, referring to a fatal bombing of civilians as a “terrorist attack”? Who are they kidding? Everyone knows that a fatal bombing of Israeli civilians should be referred to as a “teachable moment.” Or as a “venting of certain frustrations.” Or as “an understandable reaction to Jewish perfidy.” Or perhaps as “a very special episode of ‘Cheers.'”

Ah, the perennial lefty desire to change reality via language.  I’m afraid, though, nothing can change the gruesome reality of terrorism.  It’s blown off limbs, babies decapitated in cold blood and slaughtered Holocaust survivors.  Whatever you call it, it’s a bloodthirsty savage murder.  Here is a good Russian proverb: “Call me a pot, just don’t put me into an oven”.  Instead of inventing lofty theories, linguists should study the simple wisdom of Russian people.  It’s more authentic, you know.  Terrorism is terrorism whatever you call it.

After mass of a Second Intifada Palestinian strike on a Haifa restaurant.

But wait, I thought we were trying to dissociate terrorism from the Palestinian cause.  Here we are insisting that a proper term for terrorist attack is a Palestinian strike.  Lets try out this euphemism.  How about:

A 59-year-old British woman was killed and 30 others wounded, including six Americans in a Palestinian strike in Jerusalem.


Fogel family massacre: five dead, including a three-months-old baby girl, in a Palestinian strike.

Uri and Hadas Fogel

What about the IRA and ETA, do they perform Palestinian strikes?  In the wake of Madrid train bombing in which terrorists murdered 191 civilians, Spanish government made allegations of ETA involvement.  Yet terror experts quickly pointed out that the scope of the attack and an absence of warning are typical of Islamist terrorists.  So, I guess, whether IRA and ETA perform Palestinian strikes is an open question.

Palestinian strike on Madrid

What about Al Qaeda?  Can you imagine:

Al Qaeda murdered more then 3,000 in a Palestinian strike on 9/11/2001.

Palestinian strike hits New York City

Granted, it’s a bit unfair to the residents of West Bank and Gaza to pin the whole phenomena of terrorism on them when suicide assassins have deep roots in the region and Palestinian identity was invented by Yasser Arafat and his henchmen.  Nonetheless, good job Reuters!

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