Thursday, March 31, 2005
  Dhubab fi dhabab - Radiodays in Basrah
Shaku saayir? Yihchi. Aktib. Goosh! For the good understanders: su3al and bitting my nails and hoping that all the bits'n bytes and noemi basra get their a*es safely home again or to the some warmly rooted exile places to sit on their kursi at the ayn! Or so. Sm'at agbar? Akushi mohimm bel jarida? If so then let it be good, or maaku mushkila. Luckily il-jaw da-ysier haar. But badly id-dinya da-t sier haarra :( although i rather like the heat than the cold. All this i had to write down for different reasons, but most important: to please the teacher, ma mawjoed, he told is-safar lil-3iraaq saar gatir... and then went.

So just one thing on the mind -> http://www.streamtime.org radiodays from the Merbed Poetry festival in Basrah, ma ma3goel!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Have been in spaghetti country, where they indeed managed to shoot the constitution as by incident, which will provide more powers to the prime minister than Mussolini once had... just before that the withdrawal from Iraq in september was announced, but within 24 hours this idea was withdrawn instead of the military. It is without any doubt all more banana's than spaghetti's.

I had no idea this existed, just found out tonite, but in these times i don't think a bit of conspiracy analyzing gymnastics the funny way can do any harm, for us, ignorant citizens of the word.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
  Hair-trigger mechanisms
Just some 'ultimate doom' thinkin', and it was not even me!

"It’s come to the point where you can read in the most sober respectable journals warnings by the leading strategic analysts that the current American posture—transformation of the military—is raising the prospect of what they call “ultimate doom” and not very far away. That’s because it leads to an action-reaction cycle in which others respond. That leads us to be closer and more reliant on hair-trigger mechanisms, which are massively destructive.

"There’s a document called The Essentials of Post Cold War Deterrence that was released during the Clinton years by the Strategic Command, which is in charge of nuclear weapons. It’s one of the most horrifying documents I’ve ever read. People haven’t paid attention to it.


('tis Chomsky)
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Pier Paolo Pasolini and Pier Paolo Pasolini on my mind.
It doesn't rain today in Amsterdam, there is even some sunlight! I'll go out and take some air ;)
Friday, March 11, 2005
  The simulation hypothesis
Netherlands Media Art Institute, Montevideo, Time Based Arts will be the place where i'll go and watch an exhibition this afternoon that will also be live streamed through da web:

LivingTomorrow realises a territory of place and placelessness. It mixes a database of video fragments to three simultaneous, horizontally-projected image 'streams' -- video fragments of the classic northern Dutch landscape and imperial skies, images of Amsterdam's corporate headquarter area, and highly abstracted images derived from the colours and textures of women's headscarves.

Linda Wallace about her work: "The images themselves explore surface, the boundary between inside and outside. However what this close-up examination reveals is yet another layer, and another idea, of inside and outside. This spatial/conceptual multiplicity is what I am interested in. It is made manifest using images from office buildings in the Bijlmer area, south of Amsterdam, many of which are empty and for sale or to rent. This urban landscape is contexutalised by a series of still images taken on the northern Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog. They show the classic northern environment of dunes, boats on the wat, the beaches and clouds, the green fields. All focus on the horizon line. The other significant visual element are patterns woven from muslim women's headscarves -- I found that I was fascinated by their choice of colours and textures. These video fragments are then threaded together via the logic of the database structure which in this case weights certain combinations of images either higher or lower than others, creating a tension between 'random' and 'intentional' narrative trajectories. More some at: Experimenta and Machinehunger

Average Iraqi asks in his blog if I had been busy doing Streamtime interviews, but this time no: the last blog I made was about some debate and so-on meetings in De Balie, a well-known cultural-political center in Amsterdam. In De Balie the great Nawal el-Saadawi will come by this month!! But I won't be there :(
Inna hurry ...
Sunday, March 06, 2005
  Civilize the governments!
Have been visiting De Balie in Amsterdam yesterday. To De Bazaar that wants to be a stage for, well this evening: Mustapha Kamel El-Saayyid (American University of Cairo), Paul Aarts (University of Amsterdam - UvA), Kader Abdolah (Writer), Hossein Bastani (Secretary-General of the Association of Iranian Journalists), Shirouk Al-Abayachi (Iraqi Al-Amal association, Baghdad), Farah Karimi (GroenLinks - 'Green-Left'), Arend-Jan Boekestijn (Historic), Femke Halsema (Green Left), Halleh Ghorashi (VU - 'Free university'), Bertus Hendriks (Wereldomroep radio), Maurits Berger (Clingendael), Oya Karisman (actrice) and many, many others.

Okay. Most of these people were not there, and the program developed with some astonishing changes. Anyway, it happened. First there was the debate. No. I should say it in a different way because it was so well announced: 'A conversation between gentlemen'. Now how does that sound? I mean: at least it was said that it was between two educated males:
'Mustapha Kamel El-Sayyid and Hossein Bastani question eachother critically about human rights and democratisation in the Middle-East.' One (Egypt) talks a lot, the other one (Iran) is too polite, or what. Anyway, we got to know some about their opinions on democratisation in the Middle-East.

The discussion after this one was held by 6 men and 1 woman, another woman was the chair. Title: 'Civil society building and democratisation in the Middle East'. The main question here was: is it possible to support civil society in political and self awareness? Try to support people in creating their own civil organizations, emancipate, or for example train them in journalism. Or should we not do that, but direct all our attention in a straight line towards the governments; as well our own, as the foreign governments. This provocative opinion by Paul Aarts made way for a not so clear discussion, with an unclear outcome. (We just have to do everything at the same time...)

Anyway, afterwards, at home, i plugged Guerilla Radio of Rage against the Machine right in the ears with decibels! "It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime, what better place than here, what better time than now?"

And Giuliana Sgrena was liberated. One of the Italian agents was killed by the Americans. Her story gives quite another idea of that shooting than the CNN correspondent, repeatingly telling that 'this is one of the most dangerous roads in Iraq' and an incident is likely to take place. But Sgrena is asking herself if she was probably the target?

Tonight i'll be going nowhere. I'm going to stay home and watch Tariq Ramadan on TV.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
  Ecology of Information
Yeah: blog-wise sourcing Wolff's words!

Michael Wolff, a media columnist for Vanity Fair:
"Media companies can't hold an audience because what they produce is shit," he said. Today's media-savvy consumers realize that they're "just being sold something," so they "turn the dial or toss the magazine. We've created a situation of such high disposability of information that, of course, the value is going to drop. ... The ecology of information has been disrupted because there is so much information that nobody has authority."

Wolff expressed even less love for the bloggers: "I'm not going to be part of this blog stuff. ... By all rights, 18 months from now we should be looking back at this and all kind of embarrassed to say the word blog -- I hope."

"A profound change has happened. The ecology of information has altered, and virtually nobody (at least nobody who has a job) has been willing to really examine the implications of information flowing not from it's usual source but from so many other sources. The implications of one person having this remarkable control. I mean, that's the reversal. It used to be that if you were an information provider you had control. Now you have no control. Control has absolutely passed to the consumer.

"The ecology of information has been disrupted because there is so much information that nobody has authority. So if you're in the information business what you have been customarily selling is authority: "We know. We have information." Nobody believes that you have information anymore. Nobody believes your information should not be qualified by other information.

"The most interesting change in the information ecology I know is actually the Martha Stewart model in which she closes the loop on information. She is just selling herself so it's a circular thing. All we can do in the media business is sell. But instead of selling someone else's products, we will just sell ourselves. So we have no product to sell. We have no information, as it were, to sell. We just have the name Martha Stewart to sell, which has worked. If I had to go back into the media business that's exactly what I would do. I would go to jail.

"I want to stop rambling and finish up by telling you why I don't want to write a blog. Because I don't. At some point in the '50s Truman Capote was asked about Jack Kerouac, and he said, "That's not writing, that's typing," which is to some degree how I feel about blogs. I even hate saying the word blog. I hate being forced to say the word blog.
When I look at that particular blog piece of software I react viscerally. I said, "Oh, I don't want this. I don't want to be part of this." There's that scene in "Doctor Zhivago" where the professionals and the intelligentsia are reduced to having to walk with the hoi polloi, and that's what I feel when I'm forced into this blog stuff.
So I want to take what I think of as a noble and principled stand in saying that I'm not going to be part of this blog stuff. And I'm going to insist upon this until I am washed away.

Thank you very much. Any questions? I'd be delighted ...
You know Stone's 'Hidden History of the Korean War'?

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