Friday, September 12, 2008

Kleiner Junge

I just heard this wonderful song for the first time and wanted to pass it along. My translation is at top and the original in German is underneath.

Small Boy
Udo Lindenberg

When he was a little boy

and he wouldn't want to eat

his mom said that many children where starving

He was shocked and ran to his piggy bank

With all of his money he asked his mother what they must do

But she answered that with his few pennies and the world's many wars she wasn't sure that he could do anything

The world has always been twisted

she said, so we must move on even if it makes us sad

but he thought that when he gre older he would be different

he cried all night

"what is with God"

and his mother answered

"He had the heavens to make and is far away"

"what about the Pope"

"He has a lot to think about, his birth control bans brings babies into the world that must immediately die"

"and what about the politicians"

"Many are total criminals, they lie , cheat, steal, and declare war.

They make people into murderers and babble their way to power"

The small boy would grow bigger

And his ego grew like a Palestinian refugee's ghetto

As big as a planet, but just as distant

He was different, he was big now, but his conscience had not shrunk

and if he became angry and screamed and wept in the office

They just laughed him out

insaneasylum, insaneasylum, insaneasylum

What is with God, with the Pope, the politicians, the terrorists?

What is with you?

Kleiner June
Udo Lindenberg
Als er ein kleiner Junge war

und mal nix essen wollte, sagte Ma

daß viele Kinder hungrig sind und sterben

er war so geschockt und dachte: so'n Wahnsinn

und rannte zu seinem Sparschwein hin

da war sein ganzer Reichtum drin

„Mutter, wir müssen was tun!"

„Mit deinen paar Groschen," sagte Ma

„kriegste diese Welt leider auch nicht klar

das ist hier nun mal so'n bekloppter Planet

wo die Menschheit schon immer total durchdreht

daran wirst du dich gewöhnen, damit muß man leben

auch wenn es manchmal traurig macht."

Doch er beschloß, wenn ich mal groß bin, werde ich das ändern

und heulte die ganze Nacht

„WAS IST MIT GOTT?" und Mutter sagt:

„Der hat den Himmel zugemacht, ist abgereist, ist ganz weit weg

und kümmert sich'n Dreck"

„UND WAS IST MIT DEM PAPST?" und Mutter sagt:

„Der hat schon viele auf dem Gewissen

durch sein Pillenverbot kommen Babies zur Welt

obwohl man weiß, daß sie gleich wieder sterben müssen"


„Viele von denen sind totale Verbrecher

sie lügen, betrügen und erklären den Krieg

machen Menschen zu Mördern und labern vom Sieg"

Kleine Jungs werden größer

und wenn's dann immer mehr um das Ego geht

ist ein palästinensisches Flüchtlingsghetto

bald so weit weg wie der fernste Planet

doch bei ihm war das anders - er wurde groß

doch sein Gewissen wurd' nicht kleiner

und wenn er mal ausflippte, schrie und weinte, im Büro, einfach so

lachten sie ihn aus

Psychiatrie - Irrenhaus Psychiatrie - Irrenhaus

Und was ist mit Gott? mit dem Papst, mit den Politikern, den Terroristen?

Und was ist mit dir?

The Politics of Stupidity

My non-political friends are always surprised to hear it, but I can't stand election time. It is true, I am more involved, informed, and interested in what goes on in the political world than anyone else I know, but my interest in politics is of an intellectual and humanistic nature. I am committed to understanding an issue before I make a decision and I am concerned before anything else with the humanitarian implications of that issue.

The politics of election time are the antithesis of the politics I have an interest in. Election time is the the dream of every bigot and pedant. It is a time when the affairs of government descend from partial to complete stupidity. It is a time when facts become irrelevant to convenient lies. It is a time when the complex nature of issues is cast aside in favor of bumper sticker slogans and television ads. It is a time when compassion for fellow humans is a treasonous offense if they belong to a nation or religion on the wrong side of the tribalistic U.S vs. Them divide. It is a time for the typically brain dead partisans to flock around their suddenly infallible candidate. It is a time for uninformed individuals to decide in a few days issues that the most compassionate and brilliant people would struggle with for years. It is a time that I can't wait to be over.

Instead of focusing on actual issues politicians, pundits, and citizens are concerned about lapel pins, religion, teen pregnancies, war stories, and many other non-issues. Instead of trying to run a nation politicians are trying to run poll numbers. I don't have anything against having elections, with all its flaws this is still the most effective political system devised to date, I am begging everyone, though, to please dispense with the drama and THINK!

Monday, June 16, 2008

My Thoughts on Conservatism

Conservatism is at its heart a sectarian ideology that seeks to deny the oneness of humanity. It has many ideological manifestations, but whether the factor used to create division is race, religion, gender, nationality, language, age, disability, sexual orientation, class, or any of the hundreds of other groups that some people deem more important than humanity, the result is the same, division and hate. In this capacity conservatism is simply a link in the chain that leads from ignorance to suffering.

Ignorance leads to conservatism which leads to hate and fear which results not only in suffering for the afflicted individual, but also for many innocent people who they are driven to hurt in the misguided belief that they are doing the right thing by harming others. Any human being who has even a basic understanding of the concept of humanity realizes that we share to much in common to be divided over petty differences. Unfortunately, many people are still ignorant of this basic fact. In rejecting conservatism it is important not to reject conservatives, to reject conservatives while embracing their philosophy of division would be nothing more than hypocrisy. That is why we must combat conservatism not only with education, but also with compassion.

Americans usually assume that tribalism exists on a large scale only in other places . This assessment is not only completely wrong, it blinds Americans to the tribalistic nature of many of their own views. Conservatism has been a source of strife in every nation for all of recorded history and it continues to be a source of suffering in America. To illustrate that point one needs only to read the editorial section of a newspaper and note the vitriolic and irrational hatred directed at Arabs, Hispanics, Muslims, and homosexuals, to name a few of the latest targets.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Do democracies attack peaceful protestors?

Israel does. Beginning in January of 2005 the Palestinian village of Bil'in has held weekly protests against the apartheid wall being constructed right through the village center. Despite the nonviolent nature of the rallies, the attendance of international and Israeli activists, favorable rulings by the Israeli Supreme Court and the International Court of Justice the construction of the wall and an Israeli settlement continue.

Each week for the past three years the non-violent demonstrators have been attacked by Israeli soldiers using tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and stun grenades. This week's protest was saw the participation of many prominent internationals who were wrapping up a conference supporting the non-violent actions of the villagers in the face of a brutally racist militarily machine. Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan, Vice President of the European Parliament Luisa Morgantini, and Italian Judge Julio Toscano were among dozens injured when the Israeli army showered around 300 protesters with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and grenades.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Case of Iqrit

Just south of the Lebanese/Israeli border is the remnants of a small Christian town described by the Israeli government as an archaeological ruin. Having been founded by the Canaanites the small Palestinian Christian town of Iqrit is older then nearby Roman ruins and unlike the Roman ruins it has a sizable population within living memory.

In October of 1948 the town's 450 residents peacefully capitulated to the Zionist army with the promise that they would be allowed to remain on their land. They pledged loyalty to the Zionist state and agreed to give up their weapons and live peacefully. However, six days after surrendering to the Zionists the town's residents were forcefully relocated twelve miles south to the town of Rama. On Christmas eve of 1951 the Zionists demolished the entire town with the exception of the Church and cemetery.

Every month the residents of Iqrit and their descendants hold Mass at the church and dream of the day when they will be able to return to their village. Despite numerous Israeli Supreme Court Rulings and international and Israeli pressure the residents of Iqrit have still not been allowed to return home.

Friday, March 28, 2008

End support for Israel

The U.S provides aid to dozens of unsavory regimes. From Teodoro Obiang's Equatorial Guinea to Islom Karimov's Uzbekistan America offers military, economic, and diplomatic assistance that brings shame upon our nation. With most of these regimes America's support purchases cheap oil, military bases, or alliances that would be difficult to do without. Realpolitik is not however, what drives America's ties with every unsavory regime. In the case of one nation, Israel, America's support is not only morally reprehensible, it is strategically stupid.

Israel is founded on the ideals of sectarianism. It is the only state in the world that has, as a matter of official government policy, the achievement of a specific demographic makeup through artificial means. In pursuing this goal Israel has committed grave human rights abuses both within and without its internationally recognized borders. From waging wars of aggression, kidnapping and assassinating political leaders, occupying other nations, cluster bombing residential areas, propagating apartheid, stealing land and colonizing Palestinian land, and killing civilians Israel has all the hallmarks of a rouge state.

These activities and policies have naturally sparked a great deal of resentment among the Arab world. The $3 billion of aid the U.S gives Israel each year not only supports a state which Nelson Mandela has compared to apartheid South Africa, it also polarizes Arab public opinion against the U.S. For both humanitarian and strategic reasons t he U.S needs to stop supporting Israel's government until that nation comes into compliance with basic international law and humanitarian norms.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Public discourse is the foundation of democracy. Being able to have an open discussion with people of opposite opinions is one of the greatest aspects of American society. By participating in that discussion most bloggers recognize the importance of discussion with people of opposing viewpoints. However, some individuals are so unsure of their opinions that they are unable to even have a discussion and will delete comments that they disagree with.

Below is a list of such sites that censor opposing viewpoints. If anyone has any to add to the list or any that no longer censor other viewpoints then please leave a comment, I won't discriminate based on the political viewpoint of the site.

Allah's Pet Porker
Right Wing Jew
Our World As We See It

Saturday, March 22, 2008


China's savage response to Tibetan protesters demanding an end to Chinese occupation and what their spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has termed a "cultural genocide" is not surprising on an intellectual level, but on an emotional level reports of Buddhist monks being savagely beaten by soldiers is deeply chilling. In such an imperfect world it it's easy to grow numb to human rights abuses, but the shock of what is being done to some of the most compassionate and peaceful people in the world never goes away.

In addition to repressing the Tibetan people Chinese officials have repeatedly profaned the Dalai Lama, just last week the leader of the Communist party in Tibet, Zhang Qingli, referred to the Dalai Lama as "a wolf in monk's robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast," As a religious leader the Dalai Lama is on par with the Pope and as a moral leader he is second only to Gandhi in preeminence. Viscous slanders and personal attacks on His Holiness undermine any pretext of Chinese legitimacy on this issue. China has no moral right to rule Tibet and their case has no legal or historical precedents, it rests only on the sword.

The Chinese government of course has tried to discredit the Tibetan leadership by accusing the Dalai Lama of orchestrating violence, a claim which even the Chinese must realize is not true. Even when there have been acts of violence its not something which can be condemned by foreigners. It is the sovereign right of any occupied people to resist that occupation in whatever way they see fit. No one condemns the American Revolution or the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising even though they were carried out violently. Why should violence by Tibetans be viewed any differently? If violence against Chinese soldiers by Tibetans resisting the occupation of their country is condemnable then attacks by the Chinese government on peaceful Monks must be even more so.

The Tibetan people have suffered long enough with nothing but silence from the rest of the world. It is not easy to stand up to a powerful nation like China on an issue that is of such little strategic consequence, but it is the right thing to do and in hindsight it will be a source of pride, not shame. The West needs to offer at the very least symbolic measures in support of the Tibetan people. As the Speaker of the U.S House, Nancy Pelosi, has said "If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China and the Chinese in Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak out on human rights."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Human Rights in Egypt

Human rights in Egypt under the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak have long been in a sorry state. Under the "State of Emergency" Mubarak declared upon his accession to the Egyptian Presidency following the 1981 assassination Anwar Sadat the state has the power to imprison citizens indefinitely without reason and without trial. Among the government's targets for arrest are human rights activists, homosexuals, reformists, and opposition leaders. Once in prison these individuals face mistreatment, neglect, and torture.

A recent crack down, this time against HIV positive individuals, has pushed Egypt's human rights record to a new low. In this latest violation of basic human rights Egyptian police chained hospital patients suspected of being HIV-positive to their beds and forced them to undergo testing. Those testing positive are now being held and could face long prison sentences and torture.

America's support for this repressive, corrupt, dictator is a national disgrace and a long term liability. It is not only immoral it is not sound policy. Look no further than Iran's Islamic Revolution to see what the long term consequences of American sponsored dictatorships are.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Free Fouad Al-Farhan, Sign the Petition

On December 11, one of the Arab world's top bloggers was arrested by the Saudi Interior Ministry for refusing to apologise for criticising corruption and calling for reform.
Please follow this link to sign the petition below calling on American and Saudi officials to exert their influence to secure Fouad's release.

I write to demand the immediate release of Fouad Al-Farhan, a young Saudi businessman and blogger who was arrested on December 11 by the Interior Ministry.

Fouad's detention came after refusing to apologize for blog posts that criticized Saudi officials. He remains held in an undisclosed location and no charges have been filed against him.

Fouad is an independent voice committed to nonviolence. He is father of Khattab (7) and Raghad (5). Please help release Fouad and return him to his family at once.

Thank you for your attention.