»You are not logged in :: [login] or [register] ::
»
You must be registered to post messages.
inspiration » A - General Discussion » 03 - Anything & Everything » Back to the Middle Ages
 
     
 
 
Author Topic: Back to the Middle Ages
::
This Topic is Comprised of 2 pages. 1 2
mashiara
Paladyne
LVL: 35

posted 02 January 2007 01:04 AM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I know this is not a very appropriate subject for New Year celebrations (Happy New Year everybody, by the way), but I wanted to talk about the hanging of Saddam. And if anybody wants to talk back, that's fine. If not, that's fine too.

I was talking to my mother-in-law in Florida yesterday and she said that the only pictures of him that they got there were up to the point where they were getting ready to put the noose around his neck. I don't know if that's true for all the TV channels in the States. I'm "lucky" enough to live in a country where the media shows a LOT more when it comes to gruesome pictures and they are not subject to many of the forms of censhorship that apply in the US. So I got to see the whole thing from the cellphone video... the taunts and the insults and the actual hanging..I wasn't prepared for it, 'cause Dalthor and I were sure that they wouldn't dare show ALL of it, and just one channel showed Saddam fall through the trapdoor. There we were, eating dinner in front of the TV, and a man fell to his death in front of our eyes... for real.

I found myself fascinated with it.. appalled, and yet wanting to see as much as possible. This is pretty sick, no? I don't argue the guy was a criminal and he needed to pay for his crimes.. but to treat a human being so brutally at his last minutes? Is this truly what we should expect in the year 2007? The public feeling in this country (and all of Europe, as far as I can tell so far) is strongly against the people who orchestrated this hanging. And the people who tolerated it. There is a lot of talk, and a lot of rage.

I'm not sure I have a point with all of this. And Dragonsworn was never a political forum, but now it's pretty dead anyway, so I can talk about anything. Any comments?


It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


Posts: 219 | ID: 65  |  Aligned: divinity  |  House: Serenity
FainFan
Lord Union
LVL: 44
posted 02 January 2007 04:47 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Happy ought seven, I mean it. I know the rest of my post seems a little argumentative, but I do wish you a good new year.

I'm going to latch onto this, so the thread will probably die (track record), but it won't be as humane as a neck snap.

Like you, I'm curious about what your real question is, lets roll the quotes

quote ::
This is pretty sick, no? I don't argue the guy was a criminal and he needed to pay for his crimes.. but to treat a human being so brutally at his last minutes? Is this truly what we should expect in the year 2007? The public feeling in this country (and all of Europe, as far as I can tell so far) is strongly against the people who orchestrated this hanging. And the people who tolerated it. There is a lot of talk, and a lot of rage.



Abandon good taste, all yea whom read below. :)

Sick? I don't know, it depends on if (or why) you took pleasure or were sickend by either watching it or the event the images represent. In any of these responses only extreme enthusiam or extreme revulsion are sick.

I don't think this treatment is all that terrible. But your description sensationalizes it and I want to de-sensationalize it.

I think that in the wonderous world of ways to die* having your neck snapped isn't a terrible way to go, it beats a lot of things that I could write here. It beats a lot of the ways people die in enlightened Europe or even Oz (I am pointedly not mentioning polonium or spiderbite). And I won't compare it to other ways to die because of two reasons 1) comparison holds little utility because all of them have the same ultimate effect 2) comparison only serves to either de or re-sensationalize the method which distracts from the underlying question of the state's right to execute or, perhaps, a red-herring critique of interventionism or militarism.

Anyway, I don't think we should be of particularily any opinion about the brutality of his last minutes. It is hard to say this without comparing the brutality of this death to any other, and brutality is a concept I think we would both find hard to objectively define.**

In short, Dead is Dead and how you, I, or Sadam get/got there probably is not material to a discussion.

I'm not sure what we should expect in 2007.

If you mean the broadcast, people have been watching executions for centuries. If you think that is a point against executions, well death is life, to ignore or to cover it up gives it a stronger hold on us. And maybe you should be more concerned with how we have sanitized death so that its image is shocking to see on TV.

If you mean the state sanctioned Death Penality, then lets say that and not use this instance as a stalking horse. The person executed here muddies the waters of good debate.

About the public feeling.

I don't think there is a lot of rage. I think some people feel there should be indignation and supply some weak facsimily of outrage to fill the void. These are the same people who feel that there should be indignation about the treatment of animals in the fur industry, protest the fur industry, and go home and eat a steak.

If I take your words at face value people are angry at either or both the Iraqi government and the Occupation Forces.

I think that most real outrage over Sadam's hanging is just another outlet for outrage against interventionism. Or, lets call a duck a duck, anti-Americanism/Imperialism (depending on whose side you're on). That sentiment is a reality in the Europe and around the world and perhaps not unmerited. Is this what you wish to debate?

But that is not news, people dislike other people who exercise power for a variety of reasons. I could list those reasons, but all are impolite and counter-productive to good debate. Its hard for me to understand why people would dislike the government of Iraq, but maybe its because it is a product of the exercise of power that they didn't like in the first place.


I'll make you a wager, that the only people we hear talking about this in a week are the people using it to forward their political ends and people parroting that use. People that use this death for politics in a week are the people who I think we should be legitimately outraged about, because those people will be making hay*** from death without the excuse of journalism the news had in bringing it to your eyes.


*this is like six-flags (an amusement park in the US) except that everybody has a ticket and we only get to ride one ride (and the ride we get is probably not of our own choosing).

**Do anything for Deathklok (I heart Metalocalypse because it forces me to re-evaluate the comedy of tradgedy, the comedy of brutality).

***glorifying, for you non-agarians

BTW, sorry about the writting style and the footnotes, they are meant to entertain when I want to lighten my post.

I heart U and D'althor and hope NZ (I think that's where you live) isn't as hot and oppresive as I remember it being this time of year.

Peace out,

Fainfan

Posts: 74 | ID: 96  |  Aligned: unaligned  |  House: Element
mashiara
Paladyne
LVL: 35

posted 03 January 2007 01:44 AM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Let me start with the easiest one. We live in Greece, and I wish it was hot and oppresive right now, but it's actually cold and windy and rainy, as proper Winter should be. I read your post and had to go get more coffee so I could wake up for real before I wrote back.

It was my birthday on New Year's, I turned a very mature 31. I always think way too much on my birthdays, this time was no exception, and my post here was a by-product of that. I guess I was surprised by my own desire to see all the gory details of Saddam's execution. I know I surprised my husband. I mean, we are all used to seeing people die in movies in much more sensational and brutal ways than that, and we don't blink an eye. Deep down we know it's not true, and we rest easy. We've also seen plenty of real death on TV (more here than in the States I bet, Greek TV channels are heavy into sensationalism and showing all the dead bodies, be that an accident or a bomb scene. Sometimes they pixelate over parts, sometimes not. So no, I shouldn't say Death is shocking to see on TV. It's more the opposite, we're SO used to seeing it, that it hardly ever registers anymore) Saddam's execution shouldn't be any different than any other of the hundred death scenes -real or imaginative- that are stored in our brains, but for me it was, because it the actual real moment of a person dying. Call in an anomaly, I don't know. Does that make me a ghoul, thinking about it that much? I don't think so.

I don't even want to open the can of worms that's called death penalty. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and I know it's a big deal in the States. Greece and Europe in general have abolished the death penalty for ages now. It's legal in the States, it's legal (and very common) in the Arab countries, and we should try to respect that, even if we don't agree. (Is that politically correct enough for everybody out there?)I don't wish to start such a debate, really.

I argued against the 'brutality' of Saddam's execution because the people carrying out such a sentence should not behave as a mob. Even in Saddam's case, I'd argue for dignity in death, and I would ask that for everybody who's about to die.

About the public feeling, like you said. All I have to judge by is the reaction of the people around me, and they all seem to agree on who the actual culprit is behind everything bad that's happening in Iraq. There is no bad feeling about the Iraqi government, because it's widely accepted that the Iraqi government is just a pawn and the people actually doing everything are the Americans. Do I really want to start a debate about why most people are against the actions of the American government? Not really. I know where I stand, but what I believe doesn't make me dislike an entire county.

After all, I married an American, so let nobody accuse of me of Anti-Americanism. I find myself often in a defensive position around here, having to justify or defend actions I don't even agree with. If nothing else, I've spent the past years trying to make everybody around me realize that they should discriminate between the political actions and the actual people in the States.

I'll accept your wager, even though you won't be around here to see that I won it. In my country people just love to talk politics, we do it all the time. You might be standing in line at the post office and you'll end up discussing world affairs with strangers. Heck, we were out visiting the other day and some uncle of mine started debating the 2008 presidential elections with Dalthor, and whether Hillary would be better than Obama!!! So no, I don't think the whole matter of Saddam's execution will go away quickly here, people will be still talking about it in the months to come and will include it in the long list of things they have against the US. There IS actual real outrage against the United States around here, and you won't find me apologizing for it. It is an opinion formed by people who question things and look for the true reasons behind events, instead of accepting whatever they're told. After all, in this country we've experienced first hand the effects of US interventionism (is that even a word?) in the past, and I'm pretty sure we'll experience it again.

Ok, enough for today, I need to get motivated and do things around here. Hope I haven't offended anybody. BTW, there's nothing wrong with your writing style FainFan, I quite like it.

Peace always.


It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


Posts: 219 | ID: 65  |  Aligned: divinity  |  House: Serenity
FainFan
Lord Union
LVL: 44
posted 03 January 2007 02:56 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Happy birthday and congratulations on making it well out of your twenties! I didn't know there was anything but a very mature 31 (except for perhaps a preternaturally youthful 31).

Sorry for confusing your country of origin, I think I confused Dalthor and Drizzit or somebody. I think that someone with a D name mentioned NZ as his/her residence about three years ago on these boards.

(Extensive edit)

Interventionism (I know spell check doesn't like this word, but it is a word in my Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (American English version 1985 (you had me wondering so I looked it up))).

(Extensive edit)



You know what?

I reread your message several times, especially the part about you being forced to defend things that you don't believe in.

I said that it weakens people's arguments to use evidence that has been biased by the underlying dislike. If anyone really wants that lecture, take an argumentation class at your local Rhetoric department of a university, or I'll post it somewhere else, they'll cover it thoroughly enough.

The other gist was:

I'm not crazy about people saying that the Iraqi government is a puppet of the US. Because, even if it is true, it doesn't advance the Iraqi government to say so. If you want an Iraqi government that isn't controlled by the US, then pretend the one that is there isn't and act like it is independent and pretty soon (because countries will have vested it with an identity and power separate from the US) it will be.

Hang it all. I'm editing this so that I end on happy birthday.

Happy birthday and happy new year.

Peace out

Posts: 74 | ID: 96  |  Aligned: unaligned  |  House: Element
mashiara
Paladyne
LVL: 35

posted 04 January 2007 12:36 AM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Thank you for your wishes. No biggie about confusing the country, you could have done worse than NZ, I hear it's beautiful.

Dalthor always makes it a big deal when he encounters a word over 12 letters long in Greek, saying we do it on purpose to confuse the foreigners who're trying to learn the language. I guess my 'question' about interventionism was more a private joke than an invitation for you to open your dictionary, sorry I made you look.

Why did you go and edit your post so extensively anyway?

I never said I liked defending the US actions, or that I'm doing a very good job of it. Most of the times I just focus on shifting the blame from the people to the government, and trying to make clear that neither Dalthor or I had anything to do with it.

I don't agree with your other point though. Pretending that someone isn't a puppet will not make them independent, no matter how hard you try believing it. I don't know if I can be absolute about this in everything, but it does apply to the matter of governments.

Happy new year to you too.




It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


Posts: 219 | ID: 65  |  Aligned: divinity  |  House: Serenity
FainFan
Lord Union
LVL: 44
posted 04 January 2007 01:51 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
1) No, thanks for calling me out. I heart the dictionary. I am uncomfortable with adding -isms to the ends of words and coming out with new words. I think that it generally reflects sloppiness with our language. This time I just typed and used the word that I hear the most describing this policy and I happened to get lucky, I won't be so lucky next time.


2)finally something to disagree on. Grrr... (feigned irritation) How can you type that perception is unimportant when you signature is all about how important belief is.

Gotta break out the Foucault....damn he agrees with both of us. Bastard was only half right about anything :)

It isn't about pretending and I was flippant to suggest so in my suggestion.

But I think the issues here are about power and a manifestation of power in the form of independence. Both are an illusion bestowed upon an entity by its peers. (peers is not really the right word here because, by the investment of power, a community creates differences among its members)

I think there are two things going on here and I'll use one to illustrate the other.

A) The underlying dislike of US interventionism (including Iraq, Afghanistan, and [U]diplomatic/economic impacts across the globe[/U])stems from a dislike or distrust of US power in several manifestations.

I don't think that we (privileged Western global society (nod to Foucault because he is probably right on this half; smug bastard)) discuss this enough. We argue with the policies and this keeps us from facing the thing that makes them possible.

The world has created the American super-power.

We've vested the US with political and economic power (WWII and Cold War) and ceded military power (Cold War and post-CW spending cuts) and removed the ability of International bodies to control the actions of their members including the US (I know that this goes back to the CW or the fall-and-rise of the Nation-State and sovereignty, but the point is the world we live in, not really how we got here). And both the US and the world at large pursued this, not just nefarious uncle Sam.

The world created a powerful US by telling the US it was powerful, by relying on the US for protection during and after the Cold War, by giving up on the military industrial complex (which at least does something to recession proof economies (we can declare war and boost government spending)), letting the US spearhead advances in computer technologies (Japan, I'm sorry but consumption drives innovation), letting English become the international language (before WWII highly educated people around the world spoke French) and by letting the US take the lead in international spending (I know not as a measure of GDP, but as the single largest provider of "assistance").

But more importantly than all that (and paving the way for it), the world said, "The US is powerful, we like them right now (end of WWII) so we don't have to be powerful or in control". When other countries got tired of exercising power (whatever manifestation of national power it was), they let go and expected that the US would fill the void.

And the US did. And when the US exercises power (Independent from international consultations (the perceived sharing of this power)), it is easy to resent it, because things have changed since the Cold War or WWII.

We don't like it when the power we've created does not act under the sheen of our perception of our control.

Of course, this is to say we don't like it when governments exercise high degrees of independence.

And maybe Globalization (not-Americanization, there is a difference) will change that. But it took 50years of governments giving the US power for things to get the way they are now. And we live in the moment, so we may never see when a balance returns, but it probably will return. Isn't that what the EU is about, harnessing European economies to wrestle some European leadership back to the world?

B) But in the case of Iraq, if people in the world only believe that the government is a manifestation of US will, then Iraq cannot create a space of separation from US will. Why bother being anything other than a puppet if people don't believe that you are anything but a puppet?

That is what we do to children when we ask their parent about their opinions instead of asking the child, we reconfirm that the child has nothing to say. That they are not separate from their progenitor.

And, by the way, doesn't it add to US power for people to believe that the US can control foreign governments?

But if governments recognize IraqGov (not a word ) as different than the US and as able to take separate actions, then that becomes the reality. And that weakens US control on IraqGov, because other governments have expressed faith in IraqGov's power Iraq has some latitude to be independent. We can build up Iraq in the same way (or better ways) as we did the US.

The perception, or lack thereof, creates the reality.


That is why I think it is important to believe (or give benefit of the doubt) that IraqGov is in a state of growing independence from the US. Because if we don't it can't become independent.

(blink)(blink)

Anyway, got a little impassioned and got to get back to work. Most of that was in one edit, so that's why I edited and I happen to like the Greek words with more than twelve letters, they remind me of the mouthful that is Basque. :)

Peace out,

Lee

edited by FainFan on January 4th, 2007

Posts: 74 | ID: 96  |  Aligned: unaligned  |  House: Element
mashiara
Paladyne
LVL: 35

posted 05 January 2007 12:50 AM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
1) On the subject of dictionaries, which I'm also fond of, I got curious after my last post and opened up an older version of your own dictionary, Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition, of 1956! It's by far the oldest dictionary we have in this home and it's interesting to see that it includes the word 'interventionist', but not interventionism... The changes in languages over the years and the fact that made-up words become accepted and intergrated in them is another long discussion, for some other time.

2) Amazingly, we don't disagree on many things, and the basic core of your post is something I can relate to.

I will concede the point, the US wouldn't have become the super-power that it is were it not vested with power from the rest of the world, at least not so easily. That's why to some of us the collapse of the Soviet Union was not the 'blessing' it was hailed as. The loss of balance in power was critical and resulted in the situation we're dealing with today. I couldn't find better words to describe how we got here than you, excellent job! It will take decades to undo, if ever. The first step towards this is by realizing it and protesting, and that's what the world is doing right now, at least gradually. Condemning 'American Imperialism' is the fist step, but not enough.

The EU as a super-power? I wish it were so, but it doesn't seem likely right now. We've succeeded in creating an economic entity, but I doubt it's ever going to be much more. Not in the political arena, not in a global sense.

I would like to believe in an independent IragGov but I don't think it's going to be this one. This one is too entangled with the US plans for the area, and didn't separate itself from the occupation forces' dictates early on, and it might be too late now. What they need is their own catharsis, and maybe the next elections will give Iraq what it truly requires to be a democratic country.

(Far be it from me personally to add to the US power, but hasn't history proved that the US can and DID control foreign governments?)

You know what's weird? We've talked about some pretty inflamatory issues in the last few days and nobody else had anything to say.. I think this proves the board is comatose, to say the least.

Basque, huh? Now you have me confused. :)

Maria




It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


Posts: 219 | ID: 65  |  Aligned: divinity  |  House: Serenity
FainFan
Lord Union
LVL: 44
posted 05 January 2007 12:11 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
About the Comatosity (now that is definitely not a word), I'm more than a little surprised too.

I've mentioned this before, but I'd love to see some usage numbers. I'm greedy and I'd like to write a study about the lifecycle of message boards as it compares to book releases/narative arch (sorry, thats the former grad student coming out). I'll share authorship (it would be a cool line on a resume) if only I had the data (and there's the sales monkey).

I think that the EU is shaping up to become an economic world power (Germany just got some good indicators in December) and after it stops growing and thoroughly incorporates its member nations. There are sort of two options.

A) As borders become more fluid and nations give away their autonomy to a centralized power they coalesce into a European Union of States (EUS). The rise of federalism is what eventually won out in the US. If the EU exerts enough control over its member nations then national governments lose power and become just another layer of bureaucracy between the bottom and top.

B) Or, it could go wonky. There are moves by member governments right now to ensure national (I don't like this word but it spans the realm of rationales) purity. That is an indicator that there could be enough national identity/national power left to fend off an effective incorporation.

B could lead to a fragmentation of the EU, but it won't because as you say:

quote ::
We've succeeded in creating an economic entity, but I doubt it's ever going to be much more. Not in the political arena, not in a global sense.


And that is the insidiousness of Americanization vs. Globalisation. Economic power creates political and social power. America doesn't force its sodas, blue jeans, and operating systems on the world. People buy it with it people buy into America.

This same thing will happen with European economic power. It will bind you until there are only vestiges of national identity and a larger sense of European identity (I know, not in Greece). Then you will begin to export your identity through your products. And that is the first and most seductive non-economic power the EU will wield. Pretty soon the EU will be nation-building, directly taxing its citizens (oh wait...), and only get one seat at the UN. LOL.

Its only a matter of time, maybe a couple of generations for national identities to be sublimated and a couple of strong economic cycles (or a really nasty American recession to level the playing field). It will all be in the name of jobs and governmental efficiency, but that won't change the end result, will it?

Hey I know it seems like a lots of European separatist nutjobs are saying, but I'm cheer leading not dreading it.

Lee

Posts: 74 | ID: 96  |  Aligned: unaligned  |  House: Element
mashiara
Paladyne
LVL: 35

posted 05 January 2007 11:41 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I really don't see nations giving up their autonomy completely. I know that's the only way towards creating a super-power that will balance the current one, but there are plenty of objections, as you mention.

I'm proud of my national identity. I'm especially fond of my nation's autonomy (whatever's left of it.) I'm not sure I'd ever trust a federal European government to look after my best interest and my country's. I'm not against the EU as some 'nutjobs' are. I see the merits of an economic union, I discover often how EU decisions simplify some things in my everyday life(and make a total mess of others).

You might be right, and two generations from now the situation might be exactly as you describe it. There two ways of dealing with this.. using one's intellect, they way you did. Or using one's emotions.

I'd rather have the EU as a loose federation, that would still allow for nations to express and govern themselves. I'm far from the only one sharing that opinion, especially here. We're not denying our European identity, but we're Greeks first and proud of it!

Hey, I'll be the first to admit my people are prone to sensasionalism, nationalism and lots of other -isms... Where do you get all that insight into Europe anyway? At the risk of appearing prejudiced (which I probably am) I wouldn't expect that from the average Joe from across the Atlantic.

Maria


It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


Posts: 219 | ID: 65  |  Aligned: divinity  |  House: Serenity
FainFan
Lord Union
LVL: 44
posted 06 January 2007 02:04 AM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Hah! I stayed up late enough to do this almost in real time. Screw you, "give 100% everyday," poster tomorrow morning at work!

Thanks for the compliment, it reminds me to summarize some of what we are talking about for people that aren't interested in a strong EU (if they're on these boards)::::

Some people in Europe fear the loss of identity represented by the Modernistic* tendencies of federalism. They engage in post-modern** critiques of power and identity politics. Modernist (people who will tend to push increased economic/federal growth at the expense of national power) label the people very unkindly (racists/anti-progressive) as a way of not dealing with the arguments the other side puts forth.

* In this context, Modernism is a way of thinking that values progress and economics. *Post-modernism questions the expense progress puts on regular people.

::::End of Summary


I'm not sure how much use that is or really how we got from a death sentence to Iraqi power to here.


I did not mean to say that all arguments against rising federalism in the EU are made by paranoids (yes, I used the word "nutjobs", but I meant it playfully). Lots of the details I describe come from the arguments people who fear losing their national identity make against an expanded EU. The difference is that I think that these are probable outcomes that do not warrant panic and are morally neutral, and they won't necessarily represent a bad deal for the people of the EU.

That is a luxury I have by being on an already fairly assimilated side of the Atlantic. Sure, we hang state flags even with the national flag, and I tone up my accent when I'm sweet talking someone from out of state or out of country, and I don't answer American when asked where I'm from, but it is America that represents me abroad and acts with the most power in my citizen-life. Just as Europe will do so for Greece.

You mention that you are Greek and your Proud (I miss you, godfather of soul) in the same sentence that you first acknowledge your European identity. Maybe it flowed better, but language reflects the subconscious and that sentence reflects a grudging dual identify. Pretty soon you'll be hyphenating: Grecian-European or combining EuroGreek (which sounds like a great name for a style of music). Lol, I'm just messing with you.

I'm sure that Greece has a better chance of keeping its identity as a primary identity because of your language. Its neither Germanic nor Romance, so it will be harder to assimilate.

You won't ever have to give up your autonomy completely. Some communities, like the Basques and Catalonians, have had more recognition of their rights to local self-determination under the EU than under their national governments. Europe will give up power piecemeal under the flag of economic development and correcting wrongheadedness.

The EU isn't setting about to balance the world. It's just going to harness the power that Europeans give it.

I'm kind of sad that we don't have much more to disagree about. I miss these boards, the only reason I came in a timely manner to read your first post was that I wanted to check on a couple of others (Lord Agi bashing over in Games (some of my best writing) and Spam City for a New Year's message that was going to follow up my Thanksgiving tradition (I think Tolkon beat me to it)). I was even thinking about registering a couple of new accounts to try and revitalize a little discussion without my name appearing all over the most recent posts (I didn't and won't it is a false representation and probably ineffective).



As to your last question... like I said above I'm flattered, the cheap shot here is that you found one not-so-average Joe from across the Atlantic and married the guy. So they do exist.

But to answer, I am incredibly average (brown eyes, brown hair, not-uncommonly tall, average build and ugly (Dalthor, I'm not playing myself up here for ma'shara)), people always come up to me and ask if they know me because I'm a generic type guy. The only thing I've got on a lot of people is a fast reading speed and a good internet connection. Most people on both sides of the Atlantic get a little tunnel vision and focus on their immediate lives, I have the luxury to be a little more curious.

Maria, if there is more to say let's talk about it.

And, like the song says ya'll, if you're ever down in Texas look me up.

Lee

(Edit, just got ranked haha! why can't I get a special rank of threadkiller? Now there's a title! And it has been fairly true. Since I stopped ghosting and got posting people started getting disinterested)

edited by FainFan on January 6th, 2007

Posts: 74 | ID: 96  |  Aligned: unaligned  |  House: Element
mashiara
Paladyne
LVL: 35

posted 06 January 2007 01:32 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
EuroGreek? Hah! That will be the day!!

Seriously, it was fun doing this. We don't agree on everything and we did go a long way from where this thread started, but I enjoyed it. I miss this board too.

It goes without saying, if you, or anybody on this board, make up your mind to visit Greece, do get in touch. We'll show you Athens.

Maria



It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


Posts: 219 | ID: 65  |  Aligned: divinity  |  House: Serenity
FainFan
Lord Union
LVL: 44
posted 07 January 2007 01:50 AM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
maybe even GyroGreek.

I'm not sure that you'll get that pun... if not ask Dalthor.

Peace, lee

Posts: 74 | ID: 96  |  Aligned: unaligned  |  House: Element
mashiara
Paladyne
LVL: 35

posted 07 January 2007 04:05 AM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Why would any foreigner need to explain such a pun to a Greek?

For your information, you have no idea what real gyros tastes like until you taste the original version. The world's best junk food ever! It's probably the MAIN reason Dalthor decided to move here.




It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


Posts: 219 | ID: 65  |  Aligned: divinity  |  House: Serenity
FainFan
Lord Union
LVL: 44
posted 16 January 2007 02:33 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I'm really surprised that this is the only active thread in the half-month since the beginning of 07. Anyway, just wanted to say hey and see if recent events had much impact.

Well, we had a test of the bet (and the early direction of this thread) this week. 2 of Saddam's co-defendant Iraqis were executed early Monday morning(here in the states).

One of their hangings was a little botched. One fell too far, gathered too much speed, and was decapitated.*

It is definitely more gruesome and even the US condemned the Iraqi handling of the executions (Condi Rice said that it sent the wrong message and did not forward the cause of peace). Of course, it is easy for the US to do that in hindsight.

Are people as outraged by this as they were by Saddam? Does it receive the same kind of media coverage? Does it get the same kind of discussion?
Or was Saddam just a better story to illustrate the dislike of American interventionism.

And, on a different note, how do people feel about the "troop surge"?

*There are a number of factors that go into computing the minutia of hanging. The idea is to snap the neck. If the body doesn't fall far enough the person will choke to death (that is what is being done by lynch mobs in most westerns). If the body falls too far (or weighs too much, or has underdeveloped musculature) the neck is broken, but the head is ripped off the body.

There are weight/build/height tables that are still published so that executors (including a couple of US states that still allow it (Some inmates have the choice of the methodology of their death penalty)) can usually avoid both of the undesired outcomes.

Posts: 74 | ID: 96  |  Aligned: unaligned  |  House: Element
mashiara
Paladyne
LVL: 35

posted 17 January 2007 12:01 AM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Hey back. The other 2 executions didn't become as big a story here as the first one, but I won't allow you to claim you won the bet. And here's why..

I don't know if you heard, but there was a rocket attack on the American Embassy here in Athens last Friday. Nobody was hurt and as far as we know there weren't many damages. The 'terrorists' were apparetnly aiming for the huge sign of the American Eagle in the front of the building, but missed by inches and so the rocket went through a window and ended up in the Ambassador's bathroom. (very undignified ending, a broken eagle sign would have been a much more satisfying image to the mind of many here.. highly symbolic, if you know what I mean.)

It takes some guts to stand in front of the best guarded building in all of the country and fire a rocket, and then walk away. (or run, or whatever). It is evident they weren't planning on injuring anybody, the attack happened before 6 in the morning, when the building was empty. They were rather trying to make a statement.

Understandably, the Greek media is still dealing with the aftermath of this event, and they will for some time. Endless talks about who did it, how they did it, why they did it, what does the police know, what do the Americans know and aren't sharing with the police, what did the Embassy cameras show.. that sort of stuff..

Therefore the execution of the other two Iraqis wasn't the fist item on the television news (it was a front page story in the newspapers). It didn't get all the coverage it deserved. Had the circumstances been different I'm sure there would have been a lot more voices protesting this. As it was, people expressed the appropriate horror about the decapitation and then went back to trying to figure out how screwed up our relationship with the States became.. again. Did you know Greece is the only one of the original EU members that isn't in the visa-waiver program? I just had a new visa issued ten days ago, I should know.

(I hope you're not lecturing me in particular about the intricate workings of hanging.. I've done my share of reading and research, thank you.)

As to the sending of more US troops to Iraq, I don't believe there are sane people all over the world that don't see this as a foolish move. But then, nobody accused the current President of being smart in any way.. The word "Vietnam" is spoken very often.

What else? I'm also saddened to see this is the only thread alive, and you and I are the only ones actively doing anything. Oh well. We had an accidental discovery last week. Did you know that if you have two browsers you could be logged in as two different identities from the same computer? I'm logged in on Explorer and Dalthor is logged in on Firefox..






It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


Posts: 219 | ID: 65  |  Aligned: divinity  |  House: Serenity
FainFan
Lord Union
LVL: 44
posted 17 January 2007 01:35 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Wow... I really don't like "terrorist" in quotation marks. I'll take a page from you and drink some coffee and catch my breath.

Ok, front loading the nice stuff.

Sorry about lecturing. I apologize if it comes off as insincere or arrogant, I do not mean to speak down to you. I have tried to provide a little context for people who ghost by and don't want to wiki something or do some reading. Most of the US and Europe does not have hanging as a means of capital punishment. I wanted to clarify to the casual reader that hanging is not a trial and error (lol) process, there is some long established science that should prevent decapitations or slow deaths. Maybe we give the Iraqi executioner the benefit of the doubt, maybe we don't.

I love the dual-wield FireFox/IE. I use it to access two gmail accounts and two monster accounts simultaneously. It really helps out with job apps and writing cover letters. It also messes with my alt-tab use (I know Ctrl-tab works in tab browsing, I just forget and look stupid repeatedly hitting alt-tab and getting frustrated).


OK, here's where I take issue with you.

I was surprised by the reports that there was no one present in the embassy at the time of the attack. Most embassies are manned around the clock by civilians and Marines. I have a friend that did embassy duty and he says there were never fewer than 12 Marines on duty at any one time. In wartime that number goes up. There are also supposed to be US staff there to send and receive secure communications 24 hours a day.

I wonder if the US has a vested interest in appearing invulnerable. I wonder who controls what information goes in and out of an embassy. I wonder if Greece's government would like the paper's to report that an embassy, that is obviously a target for protests against foreign policy, was successfully attacked on their watch.

I'm filled with wonder.

I wonder why peaceful protesters trying to protest a mural weren't using paint balloons and a three man slingshot (not illegal, probably wouldn't get you shot, you could come back every day and I'm not sure that you are even committing a crime on Greek soil). I wonder why, instead, they were using a rocket (I presume that carrying one around would get you arrested in Greece?).

Political protesters, in our country, typically use signs, guitars, graffiti, rocks, and sometimes light bondage gear to get their distaste across.

I wonder if you would put "terrorist" in quotes, if they had "missed" by a little more and hit a something Greek, or hurt someone Greek getting ready to go to work in the morning before 6am.

6am is, of course, the time before which no one goes to work or can be killed by a rocket.

I wonder if it is easier to take pleasure in this happening to Americans than it is to examine what it means if people are running around your city streets carrying rockets.

Again, I'm filled with wonder. (<<
I'm not trying to bite your head off. And I think that you win our bet. Because it is easy to lay Saddam's death on the long list of American sins. It is easy to cry crocodile tears over something that you wouldn't have minded seeing if it were not done by someone you don't like. I'm not talking about ma'shiara here, so you don't need to defend something you don't believe in, I'm talking about the people that you told us exist across Europe that unconditionally dislike exercise of American power.

Peace out,

Lee

Posts: 74 | ID: 96  |  Aligned: unaligned  |  House: Element
mashiara
Paladyne
LVL: 35

posted 17 January 2007 11:31 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
First, a correction. I meant to say the Embassy was practically empty during the night, not completely empty. Mea culpa. There must have been a Skeleton Crew there and of course it was guarded by greek policemen, it's supposed to be, around the clock. Obviously the Greek police goofed up somehow. (I've been inside the Embassy four times in the past 4 years, for quite some time. And I've passed outside countless times. IF there are any Marines, they're well hidden someplace.)

I really don't have time to do this today, I start work at 7, and that's just an hour away.

I'm NOT embracing throwing rockets as a form of protest. There, on record, so the FBI doesn't detain me when I try to come to the States this Easter. I have a hard enough time with all the questioning I get every time there.

I guess the quotation marks were too much, and out of place. But on this day and age people get branded as terrorists very easily, just because the powers that Are don't like them.

Not on this instance, this seems to be a home-grown little terrorist group that up to now has attacked some buildings, and even tried to attack a couple of people. (Greek people, ok?)

This is their first ever rocket, so no, I'd say we don't have LOTS of people running around the city carrying rockets. Only the occasional nut every ten years or so. And I'm sure Texas isn't filled with gun weilding-gun crazy people either.. or is it?

I've been to a couple of political protests myself so I can tell the difference between one and an attack. I didn't say the attack was a standard fare political protest, I said the people attacking were trying to make a statement.

I really need to go get ready. Sorry I shocked you with the quotation marks. I guess I'll try to be more careful with people's sensibilities next time.





It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


Posts: 219 | ID: 65  |  Aligned: divinity  |  House: Serenity
dalThor
Third Sword
LVL: 12
posted 18 January 2007 12:29 AM      $post_id   Email dalThor   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
Gotta put in my two pesos...

Over the weekend while typing a routine e-mail to a friend still in the States I myself enclosed the word terrorist in quotes in reference to the rocket attack. I believe the wording of the sentence was, "The 'terrorists' here could probably be more accurately described as 'Anarchists'".

This has been the case here since the arrests, dissolution and subsequent convictions of the members of 17 November. (Who could accurately be described as terrorists - they killed a CIA attache here back in the early 1970's along with a handful of others during their time.)

While I admit that shooting an RPG at the Embassy is a marked escalation, the perpetrators are a very tiny minority in a group that commonly throws molotofs (How DO you spell molotofs anyway...*ponder*) at the police, well, somewhat routinely here.

Marches and protests here are a virtual weekly occurence. These anarchists take advantage of that fact to 'voice their displeasure' with the Powers That Be - be it the Greek government over the privatization of Universities, low-pay for bank employees or teachers, up-to and including foreign governments, foolish/uneccesary/unprovoked wars, and over general principles - Globilization, or the rapidly rising price of souvlaki and whatnot.

While I agree that tossing incidiaries is not the most civilized way to voice an opinion is is rather commonplace here - and to me, a source of minor mirth. Often, little or no actual property damage is done and I have taken to referring to these incidents as 'the riot de jour'. (My wife's gonna punish me for this one but...) Ahh, Athens where else can one simultaneously enjoy the wonderfully comingled smells of grilling gyros, pepper spray and teargas?

Really it isn't that bad, the Greek people are VERY opinionated and (being the obviously most superior race on the planet - they do think that, sorry Honey) feel compelled to make their thoughts known on a regular basis.

Posts: 157 | ID: 42  |  Aligned: divinity  |  House: Serenity
FainFan
Lord Union
LVL: 44
posted 18 January 2007 02:31 AM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
I stayed up to do this in closer to real time.

Dalthor! Good to see you, I think we almost set a record for referring to someone more times in a thread that they never posted in and then they were three. Of course you are married (and at least one of you is Greek, if I read correctly :)), I think that means that your posts should count as three people. We just hit four posters! Two more than any other thread this year. Sweet.

Now, we get to the incendiary stuff (I love that pun. I cut it, then I put it back).

Not all Greeks are terrorists, fair enough.

You don't endorse throwing rocks, check. I happen to think that throwing rocks tends to fall more on the side of protest than attack. Police have shields and water cannons that typically diffuse the situation. Civilians handcuffing themselves to police (with civilian handcuffs) is a more effective political image and a greater burden on the system. But then again, most police across the world disagree with me on both points and might shoot us if we tried either.

Ma'shiara, the biggest thing that stuck me was how lightly we were treating a rocket attack. What you didn't see was the first or second drafts of my post (I review most stuff that I put out in threads to make sure that things are fairly well organized and thought out, but that is a lot for me) where I struggled with how to treat it. I think you came off a little soft, or at least selling the romance a little strong, on the _______ (fill in the blank with whatever they are in Greece). I don't think I'm being over-sensitive to question how we throw around quotation marks in order to soften the impact of impactful words. I know I was too sharp and broad in my critique.

Out of curiosity, which Easter are ya'll coming over to celebrate? (I tossed that ya'll in there because I'm coming back to the Texas-slam)

Anyway, isn't this why the IRA and ETA are such difficult organizations to deal with civilly or incorporate into government? When dissenters start denying the political rights of others, through acts of lethal violence, it becomes difficult to mainstream the dissenters and those that agree with their politics.

Of course, dissenters (I am purposely avoiding the T-word) might say that normal political means have failed and that their causes are pressing enough to resort to extra-ordinary means. It hasn't worked for Cypriots, ETA, the IRA, or French-Canadian Separatists. Maybe this is one of the reasons that the US seems so unlovable to the rest of the world right now. The US resorted to violence, while (some of) the rest of the world perceived normative political solutions still viable; that rocks the cart and makes it difficult to continue any dialog. Then again, countries are the unit where the world has grown to authorize violence as functions of the political system, so that probably isn't apples to apples.

I think it's a little disingenuous to condemn US interventionism, condemn the hangings (all three, though to different extents...), condemn the death penalty, and then write off another example of potentially deadly violence. To me, that illustrates an inconsistency that is too prevalent.


Ok, a little deep, so lets move on to the Texas travelogue.

quote ::
And I'm sure Texas isn't filled with gun weilding-gun crazy people either.. or is it?


Nice slam. It confirms an opinion lots of people hold and it gets extra relevance from President Bush's affiliation with the state. I like it. Maybe it even diverts attention away from how/why people have a rocket launcher in Greece (lol)

The thing is, Texas is filled with gun wielding crazy people and we drive fast pickup trucks (off-road mobile assault vehicles) and from the beds of these pickup trucks, wait for it, those crazy gun wielding people can shoot their firearms. We feel like it presents a proper deterrent to invasion from Oklahomans or Arizonans. Its part of the image tourists expect.

Plus, it is really cool when someone with a conceal and carry license wounds a thief during the commission of a liquor-store armed-robbery. The best kind of justice is ironic justice. There is a great quote about when you criminalize guns only criminals will have guns. When everybody has guns there is a marked reduction in anybody's desire to be a criminal. That's how we roll.

We also usually have the highest number of state-sponsored executions in the country. And our death row inmates spend the least amount of time in prison. Its a point of state pride. And it adds new meaning to an old littering campaign in the state: "Don't mess with Texas."

It works for us, we have the 11th biggest economy in the world (big is important to us) and one of the highest populations of people in small towns in the US (small is important to us too).

If it sounds foreign, it is to you and lots of people in the US, but its also a lot like people everywhere else. If it sounds wrong, unjust, or silly, try being a little laissez faire about the whole production. We do and we don't have big protests every weekend and we don't have people shooting at embassies.

The Texas part was a little too fun for me to write, but you both expressed your satisfaction with your home country and I can hardly let that pass without a little oneupmanship.

The invite stands,

Fainfan

Posts: 74 | ID: 96  |  Aligned: unaligned  |  House: Element
mashiara
Paladyne
LVL: 35

posted 18 January 2007 01:26 PM      $post_id   Send New Private Message    Reply With Quote 
First things first.. are you seriously including Cyprus in the same sentence and context as ETA and IRA? Because my friend you dissappoint me. You seemed to have a great grasp of things so far, I'd hate to think that you haven't noticed a) that the north of the island of Cyprus is still an occupied territory since the Turkish invasion in 1974, despite all the UN resolutions and political interventions and it has formed into a country that only Turkey officially recognizes
b) that there haven't been ANY incidents of attacks or explosions or bombs or anything remotely threatening to the Turkish side by the Cypriots... so what exactly is your mention of "extra-odrinary means" referring to?

(Unless of course you're referring to their long struggle to overthrow British rule that lasted until 1960, which by the way succeeded, but I really doubt that's what you meant.)

I don't know, maybe I misunderstood the whole paragraph somehow... My head is kind of full. This is not my native language you know.

Honestly, rocks are just fine by me, I said I don't endorse rockets. I'm sorry I treated a rocket attack so casually. I DO tend to romanticize some situations. I really did NOT see that particular attack as life threatening. Had I believed it for a moment I wouldn't have been flippant at all.

I don't like to think of myself as incosistent or insincere. I'm passionate about a lot of things I believe and I admit freely to being prejudiced about some other things.

Unless something changes, we're thinking of coming to the States this coming Easter. If I'm not mistaken the Orthodox Easter coincides with the Catholic Easter this year, so I guess we'll be celebrating both. (was that a trick religious question?)

I liked your Texas travelogue. Isn't it great that we all love the place we live in? Life wouldn't be good otherwise.




It is not enough to conquer;
one must learn to seduce.
Voltaire


Posts: 219 | ID: 65  |  Aligned: divinity  |  House: Serenity
All Times EST
::
This Topic is Comprised of 2 pages. 1 2