What has been disturbingly revealing in trying to exchange opinions with other Europeans via the Web during the last three or four years, is the surprising amount of unabashed prejudice and anti-Occidentalism, which seems to boil down to a general distrust in democracy.
This is apparent in the systematic refusal to acknowledge historic facts, and a unilateral presentation of international events, always supported by precisely narrated, one-sided stories.

Israeli soldiers are thus presented as cruel, racist, robotic monsters, as bad, if not even worse, than the Nazis ever were.
Afghanistan would be invaded by Western imperialists (as was Iraq) for 'multinational interests'. Whoever is elected there, in whatever way, whether it be Karzaï or Abdullah, would far more likely be an American stooge than an elected representative of the Afghanis. Naturally the same applies, in this blurred vision, to the Iraqi government.

Secretly one might admire Osama bin Laden, tacitly approve of al-Qaida, and more openly, of the Taliban 'defenders of Afghanistan'. (Massoud would be a myth or a 'has been'). Hamas, of course, would represent the brave defenders of Palestinian freedom, and the Hezbollah would be the only legitimate organisation that carries the noble and weighty responsibility of the defence of Lebanon. The majority of poor prisoners remaining in Guantanamo detention camp would be misguided martyrs brutalised by the CIA, the same independant US agency that would also have been responsible for organising the 11th September attacks.

One can try to present other, more coherent view points, producing the clearest evidence of premeditated horrors and alluding to pertaining historic facts. One constantly repeats oneself, naively imagining that no one can deny what is so blatantly obvious, but all to no avail.
Nobody will prove you wrong, yet you will never be accorded even an arguable point. You will never be able to breach the thick wall of prejudice, hate, distrust and negation.

There is, or was, the constantly used expression exporting democracy, as though it were Coca Cola. As though entire nations of people are too backward to know what they are actually doing, or have never enjoyed any relative freedom before. As though democracy can be imposed like Soviet Communism, or tyrannical totalitarianism.

George W. Bush has been the overused scapegoat, ever since the back lash of al-Qaida and the insurgent henchmen after the first elections in Iraq. No one else in the myopic eyes of his critics can more fully represent 'evil'. In comparison, according to such obscured vision, Saddam Hussein would have been a poor, misunderstood martyr.

And perhaps for them, even Ahmadinejad has a point. If the Holocaust was, as the Iranian President informs the world, just a myth, it would be difficult to find someone more suitable who could incarnate an even worse Hitler, capable of making the 'myth' an even worse reality. We hear 'the Supreme Guide' Ali Khamenei of Iran subtly affirming, that the 'destructive, cancerous Zionism' is nibbling away at the 'Muslim world' which, comparing land masses between Israel and the surrounding Muslim nations is another ridiculously distorted and incredibly magnified observation that, although hateful, can hardly otherwise be taken very seriously.

But the world is blest with extremists everywhere. Even in our democracies. And Israel, of course, is a real democracy. But the difference between Israeli extremists and Palestinian extremists is that the latter are generally more idealised than criticised by the Palestinians, whereas the former are generally more criticised than idealised by the Israelis.
The former, in fact, are criticised by the whole world, whereas the latter seem to be regarded, even by the U.N., as an 'inexorable fatality'. The tacitly agreed price the Israelis should pay for the privilege of living in Israel, is to tolerate terrorists as their next door neighbours on an indefinite basis. Maybe it's also the price the United Nations 'indirectly impose' on the Israelis for the UNs' having failed in establishing the 1947 Israeli-Palestinian agreements. But if this is so, they too, like so many others suffering from blurred vision, are 'antithetically' off target, for the categorical refusal of the agreements came from the Arab League and never from the Israelis.

Text and Images © Mirino (PW) September, 2009

The fragility of freedom

Democracy seems to over step its own generosity when those who have benefited from its freedom for perhaps too long, criticise it expressing distrust and even aversion. Such critics could never have experienced repression.

11th September, 2001. The eighth commemoration. Yet we still hear the incredible complot theories. Despite the deaths, despite the incoherence of such a mad and insensitive hypothesis. Among the thousands who worked in the Twin Towers there were over 87 nationalities probably representing all existing religions.
Monuments of democracy. The ideal target for the mad who consider freedom to be a threat to their senseless cause.

Why ever would the U.S administration stab itself in the heart so brutally to gain a totally unnecessary pretext, first to liberate Afghanistan from tyrannical, Islamic fundamentalists? If anything the West had already left this far too late. Had they responded when Commander Massoud, then the Defence Minister of Afghanistan, asked for European help, explaining the danger and his conviction that the fight against the Taliban was not a national confrontation, it was part of an international war, a monstrously deformed jihad, perhaps history would have been vastly different.

The consequences of such inertia...

If Nato had helped Massoud and his moudjahidin to prevent the Taliban from seizing Kabul and total control of Afghanistan, thus depriving them of their first major victory, they would probably have been discouraged, disarmed and disbanded. This, also when most of the afghan population was still united against them.
By virtually allowing them their first, real success, they were ready to take on the entire world, starting with the World Trade Centre itself.

They knew Massoud had been to Europe to try to persuade the authorities of the necessity to help the Afghans. This was also why he was assassinated at that time, two days before the Twin Towers were hit.

Massoud was a much loved and respected Afghan leader, for good reasons. Had the West (Europe) heeded his call, maybe he would still be alive today to help realise his dream for Afghanistan. Maybe the World Trade Centre would still grace New York and the thousands of various nationalities would still be employed there. The Buddhas of Bamyan, Afghanistan's fabulous 6th century historical monuments, the largest of their kind in the world, would still be intact.
And despite whatever sentiments his father may have had by allowing Saddam Hussein to continue his murderous reign after the Kuwaiti war, perhaps George W. Bush would never have felt the urgent need, rightly or wrongly, to 'liberate' Iraq.

The vicious and odious post election backlash in both countries by Islamic extremists bent on indiscriminately punishing the civilians for choosing democracy, is also part of the tidal wave provoked by the Taliban's 'success' in Afghanistan, and the subsequent 'successes' of al-Qaida elsewhere. The enemy is the same, and so is the war.

It's a war to defend democracy. Because when democracy is in danger anywhere, in principle it's in danger everywhere.

Naturally its defence must also be engaged by those who claim to be democratically elected. They too must ensure that the principles which their people and others are defending at such great cost, are also fully adhered to and respected administratively, without any toleration of doubt.

Regardless of all sentiment however, regardless of political and religious considerations, perhaps it's best to treat history, the infinite, intricate web of circumstances, of causes and effects, with philosophy. For it constantly underlines that however gloriously positive or tragically negative the consequences, there's always a reason for everything.

Text © Mirino (PW). Image with thanks to Google. September, 2009


Ce n'est qu'une autre petite histoire bête de village. Mais une histoire qui encore illustre tout de même que posséder n'est qu'une vieille illusion. On ne possède jamais rien dans le vrai sens du mot, et encore moins concernant la vie elle-même.

D'abord Gatsby s'accrochait pour des heures à notre fenêtre fermée qui donne sur le toit du voisin. Ce fut presque la fin d'un long hiver. Le chat était alors maigre comme un clou et manifestement bien malade. Ayant déjà un petit chien, on n'avait pas eu l'intention de 'l'adopter', mais on n'avait pas pu non plus le laisser comme ça.

Une fois je l'ai vu en train de gratter à la porte des voisins en bas. Lorsque j'ai eu l'occasion de parler au monsieur qui y habite, je lui ai demandé si le chat gris argenté était à eux. Il m'a répondu que non. J'ai dit qu'il avait l'air abandonné. Le voisin murmurait quelque chose en guise de réponse mais je ne l'ai pas saisi.

Alors nous avons décidé de nous occuper de Gatsby. On l'a fait examiner par un vétérinaire qui l'a vacciné, etc. Il grossissait, il devenait beau comme il devrait être.

Une fois on a même acheté un petit collier rouge pour lui. Ce même jour quand il est rentré plus tard il n'y avait plus de collier. Pensant qu'il y avait une faible possibilité que le chat a pu l'enlever lui-même, on a donc acheté un autre, identique au précèdent. Le même jour après l'avoir remis, 'Gatsby' est rentré encore sans son collier..

Alors cette fois j'ai été contrarié, et sans me freiner- car nous avions déjà eu nos soupçons à propos de la petite fille des voisins- je suis descendu pour aller chez eux et là sur le pas de la porte et sans préambule j'ai demandé directement s'ils ont enlevé le collier du chat.
La réponse, curieusement sans hésitation, ni surprise, ni interrogation, était 'non'. J'ai fait aussitôt mes excuses pour les avoir dérangés, et on a laissé les choses comme ça.

Mais dans un village même les enfants en parlent, et nous avions donc appris que nos soupçons étaient quand même bien fondés.
La vérité c'est que malgré tout et sans grand engagement de leur part, nos voisins revendiquaient le chat.

L'été arrive, nous partons en vacances. La voisine, une autre, elle aussi entourée de chats, va s'occuper de Gatsby. Nous allons laisser une fenêtre ouverte pour lui permettre de continuer à rentrer 'chez lui'.
Lorsqu'on retourne, Gatsby nous attend toujours. Il est un peu vexé. C'est normal, il s'agit d'un chat de classe. Mais il est aussi blessé. Une vilaine morsure du chat derrière l'oreille droite, sur-infectée et gros comme une balle de golf.

Nous savions que les voisins revendicateurs accueillaient toujours le chat, et comme Gatsby devait aller au vétérinaire pour sa deuxième vaccination, je leur ai laissé un petit mot- car comme il fallait l'amener tôt le surlendemain, nous ne voulions pas être contraints de réveiller nos voisins dans le cas où le chat n'est pas 'trouvable'. J'ai expliqué aussi qu'il faut traiter cette mauvaise blessure. Je les ai invité même à venir en parler s'ils voulaient.

La matin avant d'aller au vétérinaire la mère de la petite fille revendicatrice sortait de chez elle en même temps que nous descendions la ruelle. Manifestement elle voulait nous parler. Selon elle, il n'y avait pas de problème ni de malentendu, elle avait l'intention de s'occuper de la blessure du chat, et mine de rien elle interrogeait notre initiative ou notre droit, mais ceci sans trop insister quand même.

Le vétérinaire ne pouvait pas donner à Gatsby sa deuxième vaccination à cause de l'infection de la blessure. Le chat avait une forte fièvre. Il lui donne des antibiotiques et nous sommes obligés de le ramener une autre fois. Ce que l'on a fait et cette fois pour en finir le traitement avec un tatouage pour (dans nos esprits) balayer tous les vestiges poussiéreux de 'malentendus inexistants'.

Depuis Gatsby ne bouge pas trop de 'chez lui'. Il aime d'ailleurs dormir dans un sac de Levi Strauss & Co, en papier renforcé où il pète de temps en temps sans trop de considération pour le bien être de son entourage. Il a aussi développé l'habitude de nous réveiller sans façons à quatre heures du matin lorsqu'il a un petit creux.
Mais il ne s'entend aucunement avec le chat noir des voisins, avec lesquels, c'est quasi entendu, qu'il n'y a pas le moindre malentendu..

Morale de l'histoire:

Ce n'est pas essentiellement la responsabilité que l'on prend lorsqu'on 'adopte un animal abandonné', ni les considérations de combien on dépense pour pouvoir l'assumer. 'Le droit d'adopter' n'est pas nécessairement mesuré par l'attention et l'amour donnés. Ce n'est pas un collier rouge ni même un tatouage qui compte. Ce n'est pas non plus le choix ou la volonté des uns et des autres qui représentent les facteurs déterminants.

Ce qui est primordial c'est simplement le choix du premier concerné. En réalité ce n'est pas nous qui avons adopté 'Gatsby'. C'est lui qui nous a adoptés.
C'est uniquement ceci qui compte, qui est incontestable et qui devrait être toujours respecté.
Text and Images © Mirino (PW) September, 2009