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04/08/2003 Archived Entry: "Nikolai Getman"

A remarkable and deeply moving online collection of Nikolai Getman's fifty paintings, which he produced over a forty-year period after his release from eight years in Stalin's notorious Siberian labor camps. It is unique because it is the only visual record known to exist of the camps. Click on the Catalogue button.

On the Political Front:

I have no doubt that some, if not most Arab journalists are either lying or just repeating a party line in their coverage of the Iraq War, as Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed of the London Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat claims in a series of editorials that have been translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute. Go to the bottom of the editorial to click on other segments of the series. I also have no doubt that some Coalition journalists are either lying or just repeating a party line. For example, their eager "rush-to-report" Weapons of Mass Destruction! has been premature and wrong so often that I don't even listen any more. The latest barrels of reported "nerve gas" turned out to be pesticide -- what was *that* doing in an agricultural area? And now, Britain's Home Secretary David Blunkett, in a recent radio interview, appears to laying the groundwork for the possibility that there are no WMDs to be found. Blunkett said "he hoped no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq but he acknowledged that failure to find such weapons would lead to a 'very interesting debate.' It certainly would. For, of course, it was Saddam's possession of these weapons, and the possibility that he might use them against the US and its allies or give them to terrorist organizations for a similar purpose that was the reason for the continuing war." Listen to everything on the war -- if possible by listening to shortwave radio broadcasts from foreign stations that routinely offer English programs. There is a reason why totalitarian governments like to ban such equipment; it provides the information you need to sort through in order to catch the glimmer of truth. Joe Sobran's article "Telling the Story" comments on how the US no longer enjoys a global media monopoly. The fact is, no nation does. And that's a good thing.

What is glimmering for me as truth is that the US has neo-colonial ambitions that extend far beyond Iraq. Syria seems to be the next target with the elusive WMDs being cited as justification. The London Telegraph reports: "One of the main subjects on the agenda of the Belfast summit yesterday [between Bush and Blair] was Syria, the Pentagon's next likely target for 'regime change' amid suspicions it allowed Saddam Hussein to transfer weapons of mass destruction within its borders." Meanwhile China's leaders "believe they must step up Beijing's efforts in preparation for eventual confrontation with the United States sooner rather than later because of America's overwhelming technological military success in the war in Iraq, according to Asia experts and analysts. Willy Wo Lap Lam, senior China analyst for CNN, says Beijing also has begun to fine-tune its domestic and security policies to counter the perceived threat of U.S. 'neo-imperialism.'" I am sure North Korea and Iran are having similar reactions. Not to mention the rest of the Arab world.

Unfortunately for the Arab nations, the US is *deadly* serious about wanting oil and Israel is starting to make noises about "restarting a strategically important oil pipeline that once transferred oil from the Iraqi city of Mosul to Israel's northern port of Haifa. Given the Israeli claim of a positive US approach to the plan, the Israeli project provides grounds for a theory that the ongoing war against Iraq is in part a joint US, British and Israeli design for reshaping the Middle East to serve their particular interests, including their oil requirements." (Thanks to Joe Stromberg for these links.)

On a Personal Front:

SARS is striking too close to home. My friend Isabel had a series of medical tests postponed because our local hospitals were refusing all but emergency cases due to the provincial alert regarding SARS. A recent email I received from Leon Louw commented, "Am sitting in Singapore Airport, doing emails and watching the umpteenth Iraq war report to the effect that the 'final assault' on Baghdad is about to commence, interpolated by Iraq's Foreign Minister babbling on about the beating they are supposedly giving the "criminal mercenaries" invading his free country. The situation is rendered more surreal by the fact that most people here are wearing anti-SARS masks, despite the point I've been making - finally confirmed today by Singapore's minister of health - that viruses are so small that paper masks have as much chance of stopping them as the holes in a tennis racquet's strings have of stopping fleas getting through. A source of much humor in South Africa is that "SARS" is also the acronym for our IRS: the SA Revenue Service."

Best to all,

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