Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Everyone remembers the 1968 Black Power salutes on the medal platform at the 1968 Olympics. The Beijing Olympics call for a similar silent sign of protest. For guests in the stands, for athletes, for officials to voice their disapproval of the Chinese government. No banners or T-shirts necessary, you can show your support by holding up your hand with the international sign-language sign for the letter "R." The "R" stands for human RIGHTS. It is simple for anyone to do: pointer and index finger crossed, hand otherwise in a fist. (The hand sign "R" looks like a peace sign, with the fingers tangled, an appropriate symbol for this moment.) See the "R" for rights sign here: http://www.alphabetandletter.com/sign.html"
My favorite sign
Quand tout le monde crie jour après jour: Haro sur le baudet! mon premier réflexe est de me ranger avec le baudet.
Alors, rien que pour les emmerder, voici donc Celine Dion, chantant son vieux hit: Ma Chambre, avec Jean-Pierre Ferland, l'auteur de la chanson.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
Pour une fois, j'ai remis toutes mes traductions à mon agente vers 16h30 et elle m'a dit: Ya plus rien, mais j'en recevrais d'autres demain matin.
Pour la première fois depuis plus d'un mois, j'ai une soirée de libre!!! Yayyy!!!
Je vais sans doute m'endormir devant la télé....
Friday, April 04, 2008
I had a mail asking me to justify how I could be willing to vote for Dennis Kucinich, Al Gore and John McCain and not for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
First congressman Kucinich:
As I've often said, if the tooth fairy could give me three wishes Dennis Kucinich would be President of the United States and with a mandate large enough to enact his full program. I would love to live in a country that someone who thinks like Dennis Kucinich could be president. I do, in fact, live in such a country, but that is another story.
In the case of both Gore and McCain, I read them as men of dharma in the Hindu sense, a apparently esoteric term which, if you pardon me copying and pasting myself, I will explain below.
"Dharma" is a very useful Sanskrit word, that Wikipedia defines as "the underlying order in nature and human life and behavior considered to be in accord with that order." Some would translate that as "right" as opposed to "wrong", or "duty" but those words might carry a little more "Judeo-Christian" freight of "sin" and "guilt" than dharma might feel comfortable carrying. "Appropriate", might be closer, but such a very powerful version of that word... so powerful that the word "dharma" in the original version would be more precise, so I'll try to explain dharma, as I understand it, through some examples.
Once a famous rishi, or Hindu holy man, was sitting in meditation next to a flowing river accompanied by his disciples. His reverie was interrupted by the sound of the death struggles of a scorpion that had fallen in the river. Filled with compassion the rishi reached out his hand and lifted the drowning creature out of the water, but no sooner did the scorpion feel himself safe, it stung the rishi's hand and the pain of the sting forced the rishi to drop it back into the water, where of course the scorpion began to drown again... and again the holy man reached down to pull the scorpion out and again he was stung for his pains, this was repeated several times till one of the disciples managed to get a leaf under the scorpion, lift it out of the water and set it on dry land, whereupon the scorpion stalked off into the grass without so much as a backward look.
The disciple approached the rishi, who was nursing his swollen hand, and touching his guru's feet in homage asked, "Master, why did you continue to attempt to save the drowning scorpion, when each time you did so, he stung you for your pains?
The guru replied, "It is the scorpion's dharma to sting and it is my dharma to save."
Perhaps that example might be a little confusing because of the rishi's saintliness. The following story might clarify it.
Once upon a time in India there lived a king who was both a patron of the arts and of religion and a young actor resolved on getting a job at the court theater.
Disguising himself as a mendicant holy man with matted hair and smeared with ashes, the actor appeared before the palace gates, where the guards, knowing the king's penchant for conversing with saints, promptly ushered him into the royal presence. The king and the rishi/actor had a long conversation about spiritual matters and the king received some valuable pointers on his meditation techniques. At the end of the interview the king clapped his hands and a servant brought in a tray with a hundred gold coins upon it, which the king humbly offered to the rishi/actor, who with saintly modesty refused it, only accepting a bowl of rice before blessing the king and going on his way.
The next day the actor appeared before the palace dressed as a dancing girl and accompanied by a group of musicians. The guards knowing the king's love of music ushered the troupe promptly into the royal presence.
To the rhythm of the tabla and the whining of the sitar the actor/dancing girl whirled and stamped his/her bangled feet, striking coy poses, combined with lascivious undulations that drew enthusiastic applause from the king and the entire court. At the end of the performance, the king clapped his hands and again, as before, the servant appeared with the tray covered in gold coins... but this time the actor/dancing girl shook his/her tresses, stamped his/her feet in indignation and pouted with offended displeasure and asked for more money in a rough, high pitched voice.
Now, the king was no dunce and something in the voice of the dancing girl rang a bell and he leaped from his throne and shouted, "I know you! You are the same person that came here yesterday posing as a rishi!" The actor whipped off his wig and threw himself at the king's feet saying, "Yes, your majesty, I was the rishi yesterday and I am the dancing girl today. In reality I am an actor who wants a job in the royal theater and this was the only way I could think of to show you my art."
"Well, said the king, "you are indeed a wonderful actor and not only am I going to give you a job in my theater, from today you are its director." The king paused and lifting the actor to his feet asked him, "But tell me one thing first: Why as rishi did you refuse a hundred gold coins and as a dancing girl protest that they were too few?"
The actor replied, "Your majesty, it is against the dharma of a rishi to accept money for spiritual advice and it is against the dharma of a dancing girl to ever be satisfied no matter how much money she gets... and, of course, it is the dharma of an actor to behave in the dharma of others" So the actor stayed on at court and as the years passed became one of the king most trusted advisors.
Living in dharma can be quite complex, however. Take this example: A judge can also be a grandfather. At home, in his grandfather dharma, his little grandson rides him around the living room like a pony, spurring him in the ribs. In court, in his judge dharma, the accused tremble in his presence. Each role has its dharma.
Institutions and organizations also have their dharmas. Take General Motors for instance. Toyota Motors has just passed GM as the world's biggest car maker. The dharma of a car maker is to make good cars. Toyota makes good cars, GM makes lousy cars.
The opposite of dharma is "adharma". The problem that faces the United States today is that while it postures as "dharma swarupa" (the embodiment of dharma) it is now perceived as adharmic and this could cause a catastrophic collapse in America's positions in a host of situations to come.
In Hindu mythology, Vishnu, the god of preservation and nurturing, incarnates from age to age to restore and to foster dharma. In a secular democracy, however, I'm afraid we'll just have to do it ourselves.
So what about Gore and McCain?
First the one I think would make the best president: Al Gore.
I confess that I was not really a fan of Al Gore's until he had the presidency stolen from him by Bush. I cannot think of any more bitter experience for anyone to face. I thought his reaction, his attitude, serene and institutional was completely "dharmic". I think he put the welfare of the country before his own ego, which is at the heart of presidential dharma. That his sacrifice was repaid by eight years of the worst, most adharmic, president in American history takes nothing away from the merit of Gore's abnegation. Dharma to be really dharma has to be Nishkam Karma, self-less or desireless action performed without any expectation of fruits or results.
On to McCain. Obviously at the center of McCain's dharma are the years he spent in a Vietnamese prison. What most exemplifies dharma in this case is that McCain could have been released years before he was, because his father was the Admiral commanding the Pacific Fleet and the Vietnamese were eager to exchange him. McCain refused to be exchanged before his comrades. I can't think of a better example of nishkam karma or Dharma than that.
Tom Engelhardt quite reasonably inquires what McCain was doing when he got shot down. Again, the son and grandson of admirals was fulfilling family dharma. The Gita will inform any who are interested in the dharma of a Kshatriya.
I prefer Gore to McCain because I think he will follow more progressive policies, but I could be wrong. Yesterday there was an interesting article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, that I'll quote:
Of seven major industries that have been the most reliable Republican resources, Sen. McCain has beaten Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama in only one, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan organization. Even that one, transportation, is a close call. Among the seven combined, the expected Republican nominee raised $13.1 million through February, compared with $22.5 million for Sen. Obama and $27.1 million for Sen. Clinton.(...) Health-care and pharmaceutical firms have given three times as much to each of the two Democrats as to Sen. McCain. Defense firms put Sen. McCain ahead of Sen. Obama, but behind Sen. Clinton. Energy, construction and agribusiness firms have given more to both Democrats.I don't know about you, but I smell a rat. These people know what they expect for their money and if there is anything people like this don't like and don't understand it is Nishkam Karma in any shape or form.
Summing up: The most important quality in any person of power, as Bush so well illustrates negatively, is dharma. I think that both Al Gore and John McCain are men of proven dharma and I know for sure, as do most Americans, that both the Clintons are adharmic in the extreme... and, as to Obama, to tell the truth, I have no idea what or who Barack Obama really is and I'm not sure even he does either, and that is simply not good enough for me.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
That was a couple of years ago, I think. I just clicked on the link again and this time,
Sigh... Back to the second shift, I guess...
This photo has been circulating for a while on the Internet. A friend (thank you, Fongue!) just sent me an article accusing the Chinese government of instigating violence with their agents provocateurs, so that they have an excuse to beat up Tibetan protesters. According to the article, the Chinese dastardly plot was foiled when the above picture was taken by a sophisticated British satellite. Here are excerpts from the article:
Free Press "Canada
Friday, March 21, 2008 10:20
By Gordon Thomas
London, March 20 - Britain's GCHQ, the government communications agency that electronically monitors half the world from space, has confirmed the claim by the Dalai Lama that agents of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, the PLA, posing as monks, triggered the riots that have left hundreds of Tibetans dead or injured.
GCHQ analysts believe the decision was deliberately calculated by the
leadership to provide an excuse to stamp out the simmering unrest in the region, which is already attracting unwelcome world attention in the run-up to the Olympic Games this summer. Beijing
GCHQ's satellites, geo-positioned in space, were tasked to closely monitor the situation. The doughnut-shaped complex, near Cheltenham racecourse, is set in the pleasant Cotswolds in the west of
. Seven thousand employees include the best electronic experts and analysts in the world. Between them they speak more than 150 languages. At their disposal are 10,000 computers, many of which have been specially built for their work. England
The images they downloaded from the satellites provided confirmation the Chinese used agent provocateurs to start riots, which gave the PLA the excuse to move on
to kill and wound over the past week." Lhasa
Unfortunately, this is either a hoax or some very slick propaganda trick.
Voici ce que dit Rue89, le site d'information français sur le web:
"Regardez cette photo, elle circule pas mal sur le net en ce moment... Au premier abord, et si on l'esprit un peu conspirationniste, on se dit: "mais c'est bien sûr, des soldats chinois portant sous le bras des tenues de moines bouddhistes... Et si les autorités avaient envoyé des faux moines provoquer les violences du mois dernier"... A Rue89, nous avons reçu plusieurs e-mails d'internautes l'ayant vue et se posant exactement cette question.
Une rapide enquête montre que les apparences peuvent être très trompeuses. Outre le fait que la photo a déjà été publiée en ... 2003, et n'a donc rien à voir avec les événements récents, elle montrerait des soldats ayant servi de figurants dans un film, déguisés, effectivement, en moines bouddhistes, ces derniers, les vrais, refusant d'apparaître dans des films. Qu'ils ne soient pas tibétains ne semble pas avoir dérangé le réalisateur, pas plus, sans doute, que les spectateurs!
Selon l'excellent site vigie de la Chine, EastSouthWestNorth, qui s'est intéressé lui aussi à l'histoire de cette photo, elle serait apparue en 2003 en dernière page du rapport annuel du Centre tibétain pour les droits de l'homme et la démocratie (TCHRD), hostile au pouvoir chinois. Une information confirmée par un blog bouddhiste pro-tibétain, A view on buddhism, qui, toutefois, l'utilise pour laisser entendre que dans ce déguisement se trouve une des explications de la violence de certains moines le 14 mars.
Morale de cette histoire: cette photo ne prouve rien, ni dans un sens, ni dans l'autre, mais peut être un miroir déformant d'une réalité opaque dans laquelle chaque "camp" cherche tout élément pouvant alimenter sa vision des événements, surtout en l'absence de tout témoin indépendant au Tibet depuis deux semaines. Morale plus générale, méfiez vous des apparences!"