Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Operation Cast Lead (continued)

And the operation continues. Very sad day today. A few Israeli soldiers killed, and more than 40 people - mostly civilian - are dead at the Palestinian side.

I guess that nothing good comes out of hiding weapons & shooting rockets from within schools. The poor residents of Gaza are hostages at the hands of Hamas... the very same Hamas they voted for government. I feel very bad for people killed on both sides, but hey - all Hamas has to do in order to avoid civilians being hurt is to stop using innocent civilians as shields.

I have read some extremely stupid Canadian commenting in CBC's website today, claiming that the claim about using human shields is fake and that nobody in their right mind would use women and children as shields. DUH. When you spend your life sheltered in your fancy house in the country, nobody shooting missiles on your house, it's really easy to think that the world is kind and good.

Claim #3: Israel is occupying Gaza

Israel controls the Gaza Strip but does not occupy it. It used to occupy it, however it withdrew all settlements from there in the summer of 2005. The reason it controls it though has to do with the 1967 war, during which the Gaza Strip has been conquered from Egypt.

There has never been a country named "Gaza".

Claim #4: Israel refuses to negotiate and resorts to war too quickly

While this claim would have been nice to believe in as it would make life so easy for so many people, unfortunately, it is not based on facts. If at all, all signs show that the opposite is true.

  1. The Hamas party, which rules the Gaza Strip, is a terrorist organization - at least as far as the vast majority of Western countries are concerned (Canada included).
  2. Since the year 2000, residents of southern Israel have been subject to constant life threat. Thousands and thousands of rockets have been fired towards Israel from Gaza during the last eight years.
  3. Israel has attempted repeatedly to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinian people; see the Oslo Accords, the Wye River Memorandum, Annapolis and others.

However, as it turns out, negotiating with an entity that its sole purpose is to destroy you (read their charter) is trickier than what most people think.

Good night now. For real.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Another Day

Tuesday night, 1:15AM. Phew.

Nothing much happened here during the last few days. At least, not much worth telling. Work is pretty hectic - I am currently working with a big financial institution, and, as you should already know (unless you've been living under a rock for the last few months), this economy meltdown is very bad news for financial institutions.

Be it as it may, I love my line of work so, really, I am rarely bored. Still, I think I have been overworked lately. A short vacation could help.

Freezing outside; going out is more of a task than enjoyment, let alone the fact that I live in Waterloo - a not-so-exciting place - and I ran out of places to go and things to do.

So after playing my guitars for a bit, trying - with limited success - to get my Gibson sound like Mark Knopfler's in "Metroland", I went upstairs and I'm now stretched flat on a sofa.

Turning on the TV proves to be a big mistake. A wise man (who has recently gone bananas, in my opinion) once said "I got thirteen channels of sh*t on the TV to choose from" - God, I envy him for having only 13! I have hundreds of channels of crap. Rogers Communications, the prominent Cable TV provider in southern Ontario, gave me a promotion of about 50% off their "VIP" package for a few months, so now I have hundreds of channels with nothing worth watching.

I am rather amazed at what's on TV. There's a show on "Global" now called "Steve Wilko's". Steve Wilko used to be (or still is?) a security guard in Jerry Springer's show; apparently, he was very popular with the audience so now he has his own TV show. Very similar concept to Jerry Springer's, however it's much more focused; that is, it deals with one freak-of-nature at a time rather than with a group.

So now he's talking to some amazingly stupid woman who had four of her children taken away from her because she turned out to be somewhat of a sloppy mother - you know, the type of mother who returns her son's breathing machine to the store in order to get a $50 discount on something else. Customarily to Springer's style, Steve is aggressively abusing his guest, and the crowd goes "woo-hoo" not entirely unlike chimpanzees.

Whenever I think that television has reached a new low, it keeps on reinventing itself. Keeps on setting lower and lower standards - and failing to achieve them.

But entertainment-wise, nothing amazes me more than the fascination people have with reality shows, some of them so ridiculous that I simply can't watch without feeling nauseous. A good example is that show called "The Secret Millionaire", when they take a multi-millionaire, dressing him / her like a "normal" person and sending him / her to live with the common, poor people in America. The catharsis of the show arrives at the end when the multi-millionaire reveals to his new "friends" that he's not the hobo everyone thought he is, but rather he's a multi-millionaire, and he's so excited with how kind and nice the common people are that he just has to write them a cheque for $100,000.

Or, there's the king of all reality shows - "American Idol", which proves that people are willing to do just about anything in order to appear on prime time TV, if only to show how pathetic they are.

Not to mention that show with Paris Hilton, what's it called... "My New BFF".

I guess it's true when they say that, as long as it's on TV, there will be enough brainless people to watch it.

Almost 3:00am now, time to sleep.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hello again.

I have been thinking about doing this for a while.

Little more than five months after the conclusion of the Kill to Get Crimson tour, here I am again writing in this tiny little box.

Nostalgia kicks in, and it kicks hard; this blog-posting page reminds me of the wonderful time I had during June-July earlier this year, following the Group of Seven Wonders all throughout North America. It started on June 24 in Denver, CO, and ended on July 31 in Miami-Beach, FL; I crossed 24 states and 6 provinces, met wonderful people along the way and watched the greatest musical performance on earth on a daily basis (almost; well, the band had to rest every now and then).

And of course, I kept a journal.

31 shows. Undoubtedly, the best time of my life.

I found it very enjoyable to keep a journal during my trip, so I decided to start another blog, see how it goes. Rather than documenting every detail of my life, boring the living hell out of innocent people who meant no harm, I will use this blog as a drawing canvas for my thoughts and occasional musings.

So, just to catch up with what's been going on here since I came back at the beginning of August. Been working very hard, making up for the time I wasn't here. Luckily, I happen to like my line of work, so the experience is, at the end of the day, positive.

Music takes a bigger part of my life now. Two new guitars have been added to my collection - Mark Knopfler's signature Stratocaster and an acoustic-electric Taylor Grand Auditorium (414ce). Together with the Gibson Les-Paul Standard I already had, and the Yamaha nylon guitar my dad bought for me about 15 years ago, I got myself some nice inventory going.

I gained some weight during the trip - well, it is rather tricky to keep in good shape when you eat in restaurants for more than a month. That extra weight has been since lost and I feel great. I have been very busy with catching up with work, unfortunately making me give up Aikido for a while. Soon, though, it will be over and I'll be back on the mat.

At the meantime, feel free to subscribe via RSS for updates.



Operation Cast Lead

There are so many topics to write about; however it seems to be impossible for any blogger with Israeli roots to ignore the war and mayhem currently going on in the Gaza Strip.

Ever since the commencement of Operation Cast Lead, I have been pretty much glued to all sorts of information sources, mostly online. It truly is amazing how much online space this conflict is occupying; it is everywhere.

Sifting through hundreds of comments and postings, against and for the military operation, I once again came to realize how elusive the concept of "truth" is. Opinions vary wildly, which is not a bad thing at all; still I find it very annoying to read opinions that are based on lies (rather than facts) and outright hypocrisy.

On both sides.

Israeli websites are flooded with comments and postings urging the Israeli government to paint the Gaza population in blue and kindly merge it with the Mediterranean Sea; non-Israeli websites are flooded with equivalent postings, though on the other side of the spectrum.

Canadians appear to be divided in this subject. I have read so many comments in CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) justifying the operation, and others blaming the Jewish people for all world problems. One guy also mentioned that the Jewish people are naturally-born killers, and "what can you expect from people who killed Jesus".

I could go on and on with my opinion about the Israeli-Arab conflict, annoy a handful of people and bore others to death. Instead, over the next few days, I will present some claims, myths, facts and unpleasant truths that may help others form reasonable and constructive conclusions.

Again, what I am going to present here are either facts or opinions based on dry, solid facts - whether they are pleasant to hear or not. If any of the facts I mention turns out to be wrong, I will appreciate it if you comment on it and let me know.

Claim #1: Israel is conducting ethnic cleansing in Gaza

Quoting from Wikipedia:

Ethnic cleansing is a euphemism referring to the persecution through imprisonment, expulsion, or killing of members of an ethnic minority by a majority to achieve ethnic homogeneity in majority-controlled territory.

There are approximately two million people living in the Gaza Strip. Israel's military power is, by all means and according to all available information, enormous; you don't need to be a genius at the art of warfare to conclude that Israel could convert the entire Gaza Strip to a pile of burning stones in just about half an hour using air strikes only.

Well, I've got to tell you then... if the Israeli government has indeed decided to perform ethnic cleansing in the Gaza Strip, they are doing a terrible job at it.

Claim #2: Israel has no right to operate against a democratically-elected government

While it is correct that the Hamas party has been elected democratically, the conclusion that Israel has no right to operate against it simply does not align with common sense. Being democratically elected does not grant any government the right to wage war and terror at another.

Mind you, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party were also democratically elected.

More to come; off to sleep now.