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Melantrys’ Page » 2006 » February

Archive for February, 2006

Better late than never - some thoughts on cartoons, violence and I Told You So’s

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

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1. Freedom of press is a precious thing, and a thing that - as people have been pointing out over and over again - some people do not seem to understand. Even if the Danish government was furious at the Jyllands-Posten there’d be nothing they could do about it; they cannnot tell them what to print and what not to print.
On the other hand freedom of press also means responsibility. The press should know when to well leave alone.

Picking a time of heightened stress to show that they are not afraid of printing something that was haram to Muslims was a bad choice. Picking cartoons that were not only haram through depicting Mohammed, but also including some that were racist in the extreme was a studied insult, no matter how Rose now tries to explain the obvious interpretations away.

I find it very interesting as well that it was reported that the Jyllands-Posten had declined printing cartoons on Jesus because religious feelings might have been offended, rationalising that decision by saying that those cartoons had just been sent in to them without a request from their side, unlike with the Mohammed cartoons which they had asked people to send in. This was presented as the official Jyllands-Posten statement.
Today the news suddenly is that they did print those Jesus cartoons, and no-one had made a fuss over it.
Excuse me, so what is the truth now?

What I don’t understand either is how someone can apologize for printing offensive cartoons, then state a few days later that he was very disappointed about the other Danish newspapers not printing the cartoons as well. But that question is rendered mute, seeing how he defends the printing today - from a safe hidy-hole, I might point out. Yes, Rose is off on a holiday to some place unknown.

As for Italian politician Calderoli wearing a t-shirt with a Mohammed cartoon on tv, there is not really much to say about that. Pouring oil onto the flames to not let them go out fits into his political position. Thankfully public pressure was strong enough to make him resign. 100 points to Italy!

2. Now to the other side.

I’m pretty much an atheist myself, but I do know that religious belief is something… well… sacred. People might be willing to discuss politics, but religion is where it stops for a lot of them. Because it is not about politics. It is not about taste. It is not about ethics, even. It is about faith. And if you’re really faithful a mockery of your religion hurts you to the core. The moderate voices I have read and heard still mostly say one thing: It was wrong to print those cartoons. They are not only mocking my religion, they are implying that I and all of my fellow believers are terrorists.

Now, normal people will say all that, and not do anything else.
Or they will file a lawsuit against the newspaper(s).
Or they will protest in the streets.
Or they will boykott Denmark, which is a bit over the top (as the government can’t influence the newspapers) but still a peaceful means of expressing how they feel about the whole thing.

But unfortunately religion always breeds fanatics.
I don’t have to mention what happened; I am sure everyone was following the news.

Do I condone what happened? Christ, no.

But what I am saying is that the extent to which a certain type of Islamists will go to avenge a wrong done to them is well known. It is also well known (or should be) that in these times of people more often than not saying/thinking Islam = 9/11 = Al Quaida etc tempers on the receiving end of those generalizations are very frayed.

So, yes, I believe that Jyllands-Posten was well aware what was likely to happen and did this on purpose.
I wish they hadn’t succeeded, but unfortunately they did. Fanatism never sparks reasoning.

3. Which brings us back to the other side again.

I am online with AOL. I suppose they provide this service worldwide, but in case they don’t - or you don’t use AOL ;) - I’ll point out that in addition to supplying a news service they also offer a pinboard on which users can discuss current news.

I try to avoid it, but sometimes I just can’t help noticing the opinions uttered there.

In the wake of the cartoon sparked violence a verbal counterviolence has been voiced there that more often than not makes me sick.
People demanding that no more mosques be built on German soil.
People demanding that we show them their place and don’t allow Islam to take over Germany (and other western countries) and install the Sharia.
One person ranting in sentences so bad that they didn’t make any real sense talked about Negroes, although it was unclear to this reader whether they were mentioned together with the Muslims or in contrast to them.
People demanding that we wake up to the reality of Islam being a danger and a religion of violence.

People have been waiting for this. Tempers and opinions on both sides are running high.

I am reminded of the aftermath of 9/11 when colleagues of my sister seriously expected that Germany would be attacked by Turkey.

I have been reading a lot of hate and suspicion filled comments in the blogsphere as well.

4. I have also been reading Christian and Muslim posts and comments speaking up for the Muslim side.

There’s one thing that I failed to read about so far now though:

Christian fanatism and violence.

People talked about the printing of the cartoons being wrong.
People talked about the media hardly covering the non-violent protests in the Muslim world and concentrating on the “better stories” instead.
People brought up the Inquisition, pointing out that fanatism is a thing of most religions.

Exactly. But aren’t you forgetting something here? People rightfully brought up the counter-argument to this that the Inquition happened a long time ago, and that the Muslims should live in the modern world.

Yo, people, don’t dig in the Middle Ages!

We have Christian fanatics terrorizing abortion doctors with midnight phone calls and death threats in these enlightened times of western civilization!
Over the course of the last 30 years they have been setting fire to and bombing abortion clinics, occasionally killing people within the buildings.
They have been intimidating and harrassing the patients.
They have been injuring and killing abortion doctors.
All in the name of Christianity.

Well, when I say “we” I mostly mean Americans.

Some facts about this topic can be found here.

So what would be the “logical” conclusion of that? That in contrast to the peaceful message they claim their religion to have Christians are a dangerously violent group of people who are frothing at the mouth, whose attempt at forcing their way onto the world has to be stopped in its tracks by all means.



Now that is food for thought, hm?

To lighten up the mood of this post, here’s a righteous little piece of jihad I found on an Iraqi blog:

I wake up, go to the fridge, do a sleepy-eyed makeshift inspection, and voila, there in the treacherous corner of the first drawer….what the?
An almost depleted package of Danish butter Lurpak…
Blood and sugar pressures went to the devil immediately…this is outrage! This is blasphemous, how can a Danish product survive in our god-abiding, Muslim household…La, and a thousand La…I took out the cursed vile from the refrigerator and reclaimed the appliance in the name of Islam.
I whipped out a knife, and with an ear-piercing ‘Allahu Akbar’ that startled my half-deaf grandma I charged, cutting up the cursed butter into slices, frantically, I spread that on bread and added the nice aftertouch of strawberry blood - munching up the dreaded work of Satan quickly into oblivion, my mission to eradicate the evil conspiracy off the face of the planet was a resounding success!


… but can be merciful at times.

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

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Laugh at me, all ye geeks, but when the Maxtor diagnostics thing declared the HD dead it never crossed my mind to ask one of my “geeks” to tell me how to start that chkdsk thing from DOS again.

Well, I was advised to do so anyway, setting it to repair, and repair it did - quite a long list of repairs that was. The final diagnosis is that it has some bad sectors, but at least it seems that I have recovered all of my precious data - which I am even now transferring to my new supercool external 250GB drive. For a panic purchase it looks rather sexy. ;)

I’d like to thank all of my faithful readers (and possible new readers) for their concern about my HD and its data; really, I thought that was rather nice of you guys and gals.

That said, forward and onward to another topic in a new post.

Fate has a very wry sense of humour…

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

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… and if this were Discworld, I’d wonder what She still held in store for me. This being Roundworld, what happened on Thursday evening only leaves me miffed, unhappy and not daring to be hopeful.

What are the chances, dear readers, that a harddrive fails right after it has managed to download the latest episode of Lost and you settle down comfortably to watch it?

What are the chances of this happening four days after the warranty of said harddrive ran out?

And - I swear I am not making this up - what are the chances of the only file remaining accessible on that drive being a particular mp3 file?
A song by Donovan. (Anyone remember the 70’s?)
A song called “Atlantis”!

The continent of Atlantis was an island which lay before the
great flood
in the area we now call the Atlantic Ocean.
So great an area of land, that from her western shores
those beautiful sailors journeyed to the South and the North
Americas with ease,
in their ships with painted sails.
To the East Africa was a neighbour, across a short strait of sea
The great Egyptian age is but a remnant of The Atlantian
The antediluvian kings colonised the world
All the Gods who play in the mythological dramas
In all legends from all lands were from fair Atlantis.
Knowing her fate, Atlantis sent out ships to all corners of the
On board were the Twelve:
The poet, the physician, the farmer, the scientist,
The magician and the other so-called Gods of our legends.
Though Gods they were -
And as the elders of our time choose to remain blind
Let us rejoice and let us sing and dance and ring in the new
Hail Atlantis!

That harddrive contained all files dear to me, including my photo collection.
A lot of it I have backed up on CD, and the concert pictures and videos I hadn’t yet backed up I can get back from someone else. But a few will remain lost.
In lack of space to put any possibly salvaged data on (I won’t be getting my hands on a new HD before Wednesday; I ordered one at the local electronics store; no more online computer hardware shopping for me…) I just ran the picture file half of a recovery program and did indeed get an unsorted mess of over 700 .jpeg, .gif, .doc, .txt and .mp3 files dumped onto my already laden original drive. The picture files I have absolutely no backup of don’t seem to be among them. Some .mp3 files are empty or incomplete; we’ll see what the other half of the recovery program can do once I have a drive to dump the data on.
The other odd thing is…. I removed “Atlantis” and put it on the original HD. After I had done that a “new” file popped into existence on the corrupted drive. I removed that as well, and another one popped up. It is shown as an empty folder (the content of which I don’t really need anyway), so I tried to delete it - which my comp refused to do, telling me that the folder wasn’t empty. (Yeah? So? That never kept you from deleting folders before, did it?) So there goes my “Hm, maybe I can coax more files into existence by moving every new one away” approach to the matter….


Me no happy.

If you hear a loud wailing noise reveberating around the world between Wednesday and Thursday that will be me. I do hope against hope though that I will have reason to cheer…. at least a little bit.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, friends.

The comments that blogger ate

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

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I suppose everyone noticed this weekend that at times some blogs were inaccessible and that a lot of comments didn’t stay on.
As they don’t seem to reappear now that things have been fixed again for a while I fear blogger indeed ate them.
We should be careful not to annoy the hungry monster, I fear.

Anyway, I let myself be notified of new comments, so I suppose I have all the lost data.

So here are the first 4 comments to the last post:

bbb said:

there isn’t a clawsong called that… you must mean “do what i say” ” :)

Friday, 2/03/2006 08:32:46 AM

David said:

Cool frosty pictures! Sorry you are still in the deep freeze. We may actually get some snow tomorrow, but it will probably melt by Sunday. I think you must be hoarding all our cold weather! :)

Glad you are feeling better about your off-topic discussion. I read some of that, but really didn’t know what was going on.

There was a big to do about the worm virus over here too. I wasn’t too concerned. I delete all spams and I have up to date Norton Internet Security installed. However, I thought I would do something additional anyway, even if it may have made no difference. Since the virus was targeting Feb 3, I changed the date in my computer’s time/date clock. I was thinking, maybe I can fool the virus. Who knows! :)

Friday, 2/03/2006 08:38:29 AM

Melantrys said:

Hm, and I was sure I wasn’t that drunk when finishing the post…

Unfortunately blogger’s acting up - at least over here - so editing will have to wait.
I read both of your comments on my comment notification on yahoo mail; blogger claims this post has no comments yet.

David, yes, you can fool the worm that way, but if your security stuff is up to date (and you don’t open sex mails ;) ) you should be fine.
After I had finally managed to update on Thursday I ran a scan, and my comp was free of any evildoers. :)

Saturday, 2/04/2006 09:41:04 AM

Frenzie said:

The manners of people on the internet can easily go beyond that which would normally be socially acceptable. A real pity.

Saturday, 2/04/2006 05:17:48 PM

Dew + frost = magic

Friday, February 3rd, 2006

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These pictures I took yesterday during my lunch break. I had been sorry in the morning about being in my routine hurry as I’d never have thought it would stay like that all day long. But it did. So there you go. Hope you like the pictures.

Today it snowed and the temps went up to around 0°C, and what with the sun and all this beauty started to disappear under snow and to melt a bit.

Hm, I haven’t been posting much lately, except for the mountain/forest pictures last weekend.

A week ago Johannes Rau, one of the few good politicians, has died. From what you heard on the radio half of the Nordrhein-Westfalen county had had the pleasure of meeting him personally at one time or another, which is something I don’t share. But still I was sad to hear of his death. He didn’t really have time to enjoy his retirement (about a year ago I think), which is a real shame.
I remember - as well as senile me can, that is - him doing this radio show on a youth station once. Every week they had some VIP (mostly musicians) doing that two hour evening show, talking about whatever they liked and playing their favourite music. And one week it was him doing it. I don’t even really recall what he talked about. He did talk politics a bit ( “To make the young people realize how important it is that they participate.”) but not just politics. I only remember that the show was one of the best. Thankfully he didn’t play his fave music (except for some classic I seem to recall with dread) - he was already pretty old back then - but played what his daughter had advised him to play.
Maybe this all doesn’t make much sense but I felt like mentioning it.

I apologize to all my faithful readers for discussing something totally off-topic with Nathan in the comments section of my last post, which I didn’t feel like discussing in his.
I am still a tad miffed about the whole thing, but as of today I am feeling a whole lot better. :)

I am drinking woodruff flavoured wine and…. not listening to any music. Why am I not listening to any music?! *puts on “Two sides” by Clawfinger*

Furthermore I am… very disappointed with the support forum of my favourite Anti Virus Freeware AntiVir. Due to extensive virus warnings (they could have mentioned a tad earlier though that it mainly spread through sex mails; that would have saved me some trouble…) I decided to upgrade my software before today.
Instead of the simple virus info upgrade I got a de- and re-install, as they had a brandnew version out. That version’s virus info was older than my latest update so I tried doing another update, no worries. Thanks to this major upgrade though the servers were not able to handle the massed requests. I couldn’t get a connection for more than 24 hours. Other people were having the same problems, some even over a longer period of time, as I found out when checking out the support forum after a loooong absence.
I read a couple of days worth of posts and comments and noticed one very sad thing. Trolls repeatedly ridiculed the people asking for help, with hardly anyone minding, and some even defending the trolls.
This is the official support forum for the privately used freeware version as well as for the business Premium version. I remember from a year back or so when I read the forum on a more regular basis that there was the occasional AntiVir programmer logging in at night and at times spending hours to solve some helpless n00b’s problems. That was extra. It said nowhere they’d do that. They “hire” moderators, knowledgable forum users, to keep an eye on people and to help with the occuring problems of users. Other, non-mod users with some knowledge used to try and help out when no mod was around, so that sometimes the problem was already dealt with when the mod appeared. Not that everyone was one big happy family back then, but I hardly ever saw registered forum users telling people asking for help that the fault lay with the “chair keyboard interface” - which was among the nicer things they were saying. In a particularly bad thread it took two days for a mod to appear, close it and advise users seeking help to open a new thread.
The mods always used to be overworked (they’re doing this for nothing after all - or possibly a free Premium version? - and all have regular jobs as well) but, well, other people used to help out then. Also in dealing with trolls.
Good manners are going down the drain everywhere, eh?

*ends this post while listening to “Do what I say” by Clawfinger*