2019-05-29

Quillette: Journalists covering Antifa often their fans.

Eoin Lenihan at Quillette:
In identifying this group of 15 journalists whose engagement with Antifa is especially intense, our goal was not to accuse them of bias out of hand, but rather to identify them for further study, so as to determine if there was any overall correlation between the level of their online engagement with Antifa and the manner by which these journalists treated Antifa in their published journalism.

That correlation turned out to be quite pronounced: Of all 15 verified national-level journalists in our subset, we couldn’t find a single article, by any of them, that was markedly critical of Antifa in any way. In all cases, their work in this area consisted primarily of downplaying Antifa violence while advancing Antifa talking points, and in some cases quoting Antifa extremists as if they were impartial experts.

These journalists include, for instance, Kit O’Connell, a self-identified “proudly Antifascist” “gonzo journalist,” whose work often reads like an FAQ that one might find on an Antifa web site. In one piece, for instance, he wrote that protestors wear masks so that they may “creat[e] a sense of unity and common purpose [as they] protect other activists from attacks by police and fascists.” ...

'Game of Thrones': two views.

Michael Weingrad: A Jewish view of 'Game of Thrones'.
And it’s not only politics that [George R. R.] Martin treats with bracing realism. His books are shorn of much of our present-day, feel-good notions about the goodness of human nature, the malleability of gender, and other contemporary dogmas. The idealizations he avoids are less chivalric than progressive ones.

At their most compelling, the books and the television series offer characters who see the world and themselves through commitments to family, clan, and nation, rather than our narrow, present-day lens of atomized individuals and their arbitrary desires. “Everything I did, I did for my house and my family,” says Jamie Lannister, an admission echoed at one time or another by most of the show’s characters.

The evident fascination of so many readers and viewers with such thick social connections is worth noting. I happen to live in Portland, surrounded by people indifferent if not hostile to tradition, people who want to live their lives independently of family, religion, canons of art and literature, nationhood, biology, market behavior, and probably the laws of physics. Yet many of them are deeply invested in the continuity of House Stark and House Targaryen.

Unfortunately, the writers of the HBO series seem in the end to have been unable to sympathize with the possibility of a positive identity not reducible to a 21st-century self. This imaginative failure sounded ever louder in the characters’ speech, as when Arya Stark, rejecting her courtly role, explains “It’s not me,” or when Danaerys’s advisors repeatedly proclaim their desire to “make the world a better place” and to “leave the world a little better than we found it.” (Given that the show runners are both Jewish, I was relieved that none of the characters mentioned “tikkun olam,” but it was surely a close thing.) The Starbucks cup inadvertently left on a feasting table in one scene was widely reported as a gaffe, but it wasn’t out of place with the show’s contemporary ethos at that point. ...

Michael Totten: Three cheers for 'Game of Thrones'.
In a world without peaceful transfers of power, the only checks and balances available against tyrants are assassination and war. The Mad King Aerys Targaryen ruled from the Iron Throne in the years before those covered in Game of Thrones Season One. He, too, was a murderous psychopath, burning alive lords who displeased him and advisors who disobeyed him. Half the realm rose up in arms—including Ned Stark and later-king Robert Baratheon. When Tywin Lannister’s army approached the capital, the Mad King ordered his pyromancers to lace enough explosives throughout the city to destroy King’s Landing as thoroughly as a nuclear weapon. “Burn them all!” he screamed. “Burn them all!”

Jaime Lannister, head of his very own King’s Guard, ran a sword through his back in the throne room.

Almost everywhere in Westeros is governed badly, not just by modern standards but by its own. “All I ever wanted was to fight for a lord I believe in,” says the imposing female warrior Brienne of Tarth. “The good ones are dead and the rest are monsters.”

Unlike the Westerosi, modern audiences know the way out: liberal democracy, republicanism, the rule of law, and the separation of powers. Lest we assume these are part of the natural order of things, Game of Thrones—with its echoes of our own distant past—reminds us that they are not, and that maintaining them is as difficult as it is essential.

No Jeffersonian figures inhabit the Game of Thrones universe. Such a modern intrusion would break the spell of epic high fantasy and violate the compact between author and audience. A Jeffersonian wouldn’t make historical sense, anyway. The American Revolution grew out of the European Enlightenment, and no such philosophical movement ever existed in Westeros. Even so, consumers of fiction, whether it’s written or filmed, need someone to identify with, someone who shares at least some of their values. Martin gives us the dangerous yet inspiring Daenerys Targaryen. ...

Go read the rest at the links.

2019-05-28

Somalia: Major Fatuma Ali killed in al-Shabaab bomb attack.

AllAfrica:
Major Fatuma Ali was in the company of her husband 2nd Lt. Bishar Muse headed to a hospital in the city to pick up their admitted baby one of the 9 babies she had bored as a mother. They were stuck at the checkpoint in a queue.

11.04pm a huge explosion hit and destroyed Major Ali's military vehicle. A car suicide bomber had detonated himself at the security checkpoint queue just behind the military vehicle. A huge plume of smoke goes up while on the ground the female career soldier and her husband were seriously hit succumbing to their injuries.

A sad end to the life of a celebrated military officer fondly known as "Fay Ali" a role model to many a female who had sacrificed a lot for peace in a country still struggling to secure it's territory from an ongoing insurgency by militant group Alshabaab.

2nd Lt. Muse was Fay Ali's third husband. She had lost two of her previous husbands to Alshabaab attacks. This time she died alongside the love of her life Muse.

Fay Ali's career goes back a decade ago when she was enlisted into the SNA and deployed in the frontlines in Mogadishu that saw militant group Alshabaab routed out of the capital after years of control in some districts. ...

2019-05-27

Soldier, where's your hatred now?

SOLDIER, WHERE'S YOUR HATRED NOW? (F.I., March 1943)

Soldier,
Where's your hatred now?
You haven't any? But you ought to have.
Remember the advice we gave.
Where will you be anyhow
If you forget that you must fight,
That they are wrong, and we are right?
You must make their heads to bow.

"I will fight because I must.
My hatred falters. In the heat of war
The hatred that was once a sore
Festered with a bitter lust,
Becomes a heartache, throbbing deep,
So that I cannot help but weep
Seeing comrades fall to dust."

Soldier,
Why that tear-wet eye?
Your fallen comrades you won't see again?
Remember, this affair is plain:
You may be about to die
Like them; but while you live, be strong,
For right will conquer all that's wrong.
Fight till they for mercy cry.

"You are right, my hatred's gone,
But I remember they are human too -
Those boys who in a sick world grew,
Groping - while afar, the dawn
Awaits to shine on them again
As it has on Freedom's men.
Can I , hating, speed the dawn?"

Soldier,
Spare no love for those
Who try to tear down what we want to save.
They're bestial, and they're not so brave.
Bring conflict to a quicker close:
Destroy their tanks, destroy their planes;
It is this Justice ordains.
Give them death if death they chose!

"I will wreck their tanks and planes
And let their cities fall, for all I care,
And in the name of right, I'll tear
Their bowels out, and smash their brains,
(For you, my country, killed my soul)
And as we approach the goal,
Clamp them in Revenge's chains!"

Soldier,
Bear it for a while,
And if you find no hatred for the foe,
Hate, then, the evil that brought woe.
Hate the greed and hate the guile.
Hate, then, the motive, not the man.
Love the Truth, for if you can,
Soldier, you have won God's smile.

- anonymous soldier of the 136th Field Artillery Battalion

http://pacificmemories.blogspot.com/