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Gender: Female
Hometown: Canberra
Home country: Australia
Current location: 149°7'51"E, 35°16'42"S
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 35,898

Journal Archives

Beirut back to its glamorous glory

DOWN a ramp from Beirut's clamorous seaside road, motor yachts bob along a curving waterfront promenade. Tablecloths gleam white, and bottles of wine sweat in silver coolers. The boardwalk's rough planks, a nod to maritime authenticity, present a design flaw perhaps foreseeable in this city: women with Louis Vuitton handbags are forever extracting their spike heels from the cracks.

This new luxury playground, Zaitunay Bay, is Lebanon's latest effort to recapture the prewar 1960s - when Brigitte Bardot was a regular and Beirut was a fashionable port of call. But for Arab visitors seeking respite from fear and uncertainty around the region, and for Lebanese content to stay out of the storm, Beirut is already back.
''Lebanon brings together the European, the Mediterranean, East and West,'' said Noor al-Tai, strolling the boardwalk in a leather miniskirt, thigh-high boots and a fur vest, by way of explaining why Beirut was the logical destination when she fled violence at home in Iraq. ''There is a very friendly atmosphere.''

Beirutis barely pause to remark that Zaitunay Bay sits on the Green Line, the boundary between East and West Beirut that was a deadly no man's land during Lebanon's 15-year civil war.

In many Western minds, Lebanon's image remains frozen in old snapshots: sectarian massacres, hostages tied to radiators, the Israeli invasion, smoke billowing from seafront high-rises. But, for the wealthy at least, the country long ago regained its spirit of fun and glamour.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/travel/beirut-back-to-its-glamorous-glory-20120414-1x05t.html#ixzz1sA0BEU6o
Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sun Apr 15, 2012, 08:54 PM (2 replies)

Daniel Pipes' attack on Israeli Arabs is baseless and inflammatory

Pipes has written an aggressive and confused jumble of half-truths and misunderstandings about the Arabs citizens of Israel in an article published in the Washington Times.
By Carl Perkal

Middle East expert Daniel Pipes was in Israel recently and subsequently published an article entitled “Israel’s Arabs, living a paradox” in the Washington Times. I don’t know Dr. Pipes personally, but I feel compelled to call him to task for his baseless and inflammatory attack on the Arab citizens of Israel.

Pipes has written an aggressive and confused jumble of half-truths and misunderstandings about the Arabs citizens of Israel.

Middle East expert Daniel Pipes was in Israel recently and subsequently published an article entitled “Israel’s Arabs, living a paradox” in the Washington Times. I don’t know Dr. Pipes personally, but I feel compelled to call him to task for his baseless and inflammatory attack on the Arab citizens of Israel.

Pipes has written an aggressive and confused jumble of half-truths and misunderstandings about the Arabs citizens of Israel.

I refer Pipes to a speech made by Yoram Cohen, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service in which he said, "…as a community, Arab Israelis are not a target of Shin Bet. They are not a fifth column and we do not view them as such…"


The link to the Pipes article

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Wed Apr 11, 2012, 04:14 AM (6 replies)

Pearl Jam Are the Most Boring Band in 20 Years

I found the link to this article over at the Pearl Jam forums, where a humour-impaired fan had been organising a lynch-mob ready to ride out with their hate mail ready to go. The article's really funny, as is the related Alanis Morissette one

August marked the 20-year anniversary of Pearl Jam's Ten. Yes, for 20 soul-crushing years we've listened to Eddie Vedder mumble. Which is somehow even worse than Jeff Ament's endless procession of silly hats. Somehow Pearl Jam enjoy more acclaim than ever these days; it seems that mediocre rock bands, like ugly buildings, become respectable if they stick around long enough.

How did they get to be so boring? Let's explore their pedigree. Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard (is there a douchier name?) played in a group called Green River alongside Mark Arm and Steve Turner. The latter two went on to form Mudhoney. Ament and Gossard jammed with some dudes from Malfunkshun, a band even more terrible than its name, and later formed Mother Love Bone, who are most noteworthy for straddling the fence between grotesque '80s glam rock and pretentious '90s grunge rock. Eventually, the pair found self-important San Diegan Eddie Vedder, a name which has terrified children ever since.

Critics lumped Ten in with grunge, despite the fact that it has nothing in common with grunge standard bearers Mudhoney, the Melvins, Tad or Gruntruck. Grunge never had much homogeneity, but Pearl Jam can't be explained away as an outlier. Ten sounds more like if your dad's classic rock cover band decided to give the "kids' music" the old state college try.

If Ten sounds like rehashed AOR bands, their public image represented the worst of major label committee think. Vedder played the brooding, tortured frontman, constantly brushing hair from his face, affecting shyness that would make the most twee indie pop bands blush. The others stood around like grinning simpletons in Body Glove shorts and bajas. Collectively they mouthed all the shibboleths about gun control and "white male dominance, maaaaaaan ..." Seriously, who did they think they were fooling?

A lot of people, apparently. Ten sold almost that many million copies. The singles are merely pedestrian, but the album cuts are downright embarrassing. It's amazing the band did anything other than play a grunge band in a made-for-TV movie. Performing "Black" at a coffee shop open mic should be grounds for a restraining order. "Why Go" becomes irritatingly repetitive upon a single listen.


Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sun Apr 8, 2012, 08:26 AM (2 replies)

Architecture in Helsinki....

I don't know if anyone at DU's heard of them, but they're my choice when I'm wanting some happy music happening...

And a much older one that's my favourite - It's 5!

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sat Apr 7, 2012, 07:33 AM (0 replies)

Israel: Palestinians Cut Off From Farmlands

A Year After Court Ruling, a Worsening Situation
April 5, 2012

(Jerusalem) – A court ruling upholding a military permit system has had the result that a year later West Bank Palestinians in one affected area are virtually unable to work on their farmlands, Human Rights Watch said today, on the anniversary of the High Court of Justice ruling.

The system, which requires Palestinians to obtain special military permits to access their lands on the “Israeli” side of the separation barrier in the West Bank, in effect treats all Palestinians living in or seeking to access farmlands in these areas as though they were security threats, and imposes unnecessarily severe restrictions on their access, harming their livelihoods, Human Rights Watch said. Such a system violates the requirement under international law that security measures must be narrowly tailored to the threat that they aim to meet.

“The permit system needlessly prevents Palestinians from working their own farmlands,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Israel’s highest court upheld a system that applies a broad brush to isolate Palestinians from their lands without a narrowly tailored security rationale as should be legally required.”

Israel claims that the permit regime is necessary to prevent Palestinians from attacking Israeli civilians. However, Israel uses a different, less restrictive system to grant permits to Palestinians who work in Israeli settlements, often as construction workers. It has rejected applications by Palestinians for permits to access land on the basis of restrictive bureaucratic criteria rather than for specified security reasons.

Israeli citizens, including settlers, and non-Israeli nationals visiting Israel, are exempt from the requirement to obtain military permits.

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Fri Apr 6, 2012, 03:07 AM (2 replies)

Gotye - unarguably the best song from last year!


Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sun Apr 1, 2012, 02:48 AM (6 replies)

A video about Australian suffragettes

And some interesting info and links are available from here:

Suffrage, or the right to vote, is something that Australians have not always been able to take for granted. In 1902, Australia was the first country in the world to give women both the right to vote in federal elections and also the right to be elected to parliament on a national basis. New Zealand granted women the right to vote in 1893.

Commonwealth women's suffrage in Australia reflected the rights of women to seek election in South Australia and to vote in Western Australia, rights granted in 1895 and 1899 respectively. Indigenous people as a group were not granted suffrage in federal elections until 1962, although South Australia granted suffrage to Aboriginal women as early as 1894, and the Commonwealth Constitution stated that anyone with a state vote was entitled to a Commonwealth vote.

'Suffragettes' was a term used around the world to describe all women who campaigned for the right to vote in elections. From the 1880s and through the 1890s each Australian colony had at least one suffragette society. These societies published leaflets; organised debates, public meetings and letter-writing campaigns; and arranged deputations to members of their colonial parliaments. In 1891, suffragettes including Vida Goldstein8gathered 30,000 women's signatures and presented them as a petition to the Victorian Parliament. In 1894, Mary Lee and others presented a petition from 11,600 women in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Posted by Violet_Crumble | Thu Mar 29, 2012, 08:05 AM (2 replies)

Assad's wife shops while protests rage, leaks reveal

SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad took advice from Iran on how to handle the uprising against his rule, according to a cache of what appear to be thousands of emails received and sent by Dr Assad and his wife.

The Syrian dictator was also briefed in detail about the presence of Western journalists in the Baba Amro district of Homs and urged to ''tighten the security grip'' on the opposition-held city in November.

The revelations are contained in more than 3000 documents that activists say are emails downloaded from private accounts belonging to Dr Assad and his wife, Asma. The emails also appear to show that:

■Dr Assad made light of reforms he had promised in an attempt to defuse the crisis, referring to ''rubbish laws of parties, elections, media''.

■A daughter of Qatari emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani this year advised Asma al-Assad and her husband to leave Syria and suggested that Doha may offer them exile.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/world/assads-wife-shops-while-protests-rage-leaks-reveal-20120315-1v819.html#ixzz1pGwEGPAc
Posted by Violet_Crumble | Fri Mar 16, 2012, 05:55 AM (4 replies)

Army disperses Women’s Day protest in W. Bank

More than 250 Palestinian and Israeli women and men were attacked by military forces at a demonstration at the Qalandia checkpoint. Several injuries were reported, including one woman who was hospitalized after being shot with a rubber-coated bullet.

The demonstration started Thursday at noon, with some 200 Palestinian women marching from Ramallah towards Qalandia – the main checkpoint on the way to Jerusalem. Demonstrators chanted slogans and held tri-lingual signs linking the feminist struggle with the struggle against the occupation. The women were joined by an international delegation, including European Parliament Member and former Vice President Luisa Morgantini, and later on by several dozen Israeli women from the Women’s Coalition for Peace.

Upon nearing the checkpoint the demonstration was suppressed by Israeli army and Border Police forces, who at first used stun grenades and the “skunk” water canon, and then moved on to “the scream machine”, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets. All this took place on the main road towards the checkpoint, which was, as always, packed with a row of cars waiting to be searched, whose drivers suffered collateral damage from the soldiers’ attack.

After several attempts to proceed in spite of the army’s acts, most women retreated back toward Ramallah, and as the soldiers started following them, several youth began throwing stones. Clashes went on for a while. Several demonstrators were injured, and one needed medical treatment after being shot with a rubber-coated bullet.

“The 8th of March symbolizes an accumulated struggle for women all around the world for freedom and justice”, said Amaal Khresha of the Palestinian Women’s Working Association for Development. “For Palestinian women under the occupation, this day is a day of marking the struggle against the occupation.” Arabia Mansur of the Women’s Coalition for Peace added that occupation and militarism will never enable the development of a society that offers women a life of happiness and dignity. “We must put a stop to the sort of education which teaches children to see reality through the barrel of a gun, and women have to stop participating in such education,” said Mansur.

The demonstration also focused on solidarity with administrative detainee Hana Shalabi, who is now on the 24the day of a hunger strike. As reported before here, Shalabi’s physical condition is deteriorating, and a decision in her appeal against her detention order is due beginning of next week.


Posted by Violet_Crumble | Mon Mar 12, 2012, 01:46 AM (4 replies)

Disputed 2nd Intifada affair resurges in French court, HuffPost

Nearly 12 years later, the most indelible incident of the Second Intifada – in which Muhammad al Dura died in his father’s arms – is rehashed on the pages of the Huffington Post in an article that whitewashes the facts for the sake of saving Israel from bad publicity.

By Rechavia Berman

Something strange is going on over at The Huffington Post. The quasi-liberal answer to sites like Town Hall and Little Green Footballs ran a piece this week by an Israeli writer, Lilac Sigan, who pretended to give her readers a lesson in critical thinking and strict adherence to actual facts, however inconvenient they may be to one’s preconceived notions.

A laudable message, no doubt; it’s just a pity that Sigan’s actual words belied her purpose at every turn.

Sigan recounts a ruling by the French Supreme Court last week, and then proceeds to twist all but passing resemblance to the truth in order to paint Israel’s critics as fabricators of atrocities used to inflame passions against the country.

The facts, however – the very ones that Ms. Sigan so sarcastically waves as a flag of virtue – are in fact against her.

The erroneous “facts” Sigan was waving were based on a libel suit filed in France by Jamal al Dura, the father of 12-year old Muhammad Al-Dura, against an Israeli doctor, who called the said father a liar. The doctor was convicted in court of libel, but acquitted on appeal by the Supreme Court of France. Sigan took this acquittal to mean that the French court found Dr. David to be telling the truth and Mr. Al-Dura to be lying.


Posted by Violet_Crumble | Sat Mar 3, 2012, 07:25 AM (3 replies)
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