20110221

Did the Egyptian Revolution start in Iceland ?

Could we find some fingerprints from Eyjafjallajökull over nowadays unrests across the Arab and Muslim world ?

The unpronounceable Icelandic volcano may have longer lasting consequences than last year's air traffic disruptions. It probably contributed to extreme meteorological events and unexpected agricultural outputs. For instance, Russia's disastrous crops and the following embargo on exports had a massive impact on food prices worldwide.

After all, the 1783 eruption of a volcano in Iceland (Laki) disrupted European climate so dramatically that it is now recognized as one of the triggers to the French Revolution.

And even before 1789, as early as in 1783, a certain country would lose about one sixth of its population because of starvation caused by the same event.

The name of that country ? Egypt.

Of course, it takes more than a volcano eruption to start a revolution, but volcanoes have a knack for contributing to the extinction of cumbersome dinosaurs.


blogules 2011

20110211

Impressions papier hanji

(NB read the French version of this post on blogules VF)

Atelier des Cahiers publishes an anthology of 10 French-Korean short stories about Korea : four female Korean authors and six male French authors... including yours truly ('de Vermis Seoulis' was previously published in my personal anthology - dragedies
").

Impressions papier hanji - Dix nouvelles franco-coréennes
Editions Atelier des Cahiers 2010 - Collection Littératures
ISBN 978-2-9529286-4-9
303 pages - 15.000 wons / 12 euros
. Alain ROBBE-GRILLET ("Mon double coréen")
. KIM Da-eun ("Madame")
. Antoine COPPOLA ("La véritable histoire de Li Jin et de son horrible sacrifice")
. CHOI Myeong-jeong ("Pojangmacha")
. Eric SZCZUREK ("La joueuse de Baduk")
. Stéphane MOT ("de Vermis Seoulis")
. KIM Ae-ran ("Le couteau de ma mère")
. François LAUT ("Jours d'après")
. EUN Hee-kyung ("La voleuse de fraises")
. Michel LOUYOT ("Le poète sans nom")


More on this later in these pages.

Stephane - blogules

ADDENDUM 20110304

To purchase / order this book, see the editor's website (www.atelierdescahiers.com) : list of points of sale in Seoul and Paris, order online via Paypal...

20110208

Reaganomania, Reaganomics, Reaganomy, Reaganaming, Reagan Legacies, and Mount Palin

Ronald Wilson Reagan turned 100 and the GOP barnum celebrated as ridiculously as expected.

Ever the media darling, Sarah Palin took the stage, embarrassed herself, and even received a few comments from Ronald Reagan afterwards. That would be Ron Reagan, Ronald Prescott Reagan, son of RWR and Nancy Reagan... a young lad closer to the liberals, just like his own dad in his own younger years. So what did RPR say ? "Sarah Palin is a soap opera, basically. She's doing mostly what she does to make money and keep her name in the news". Touche.

Otherwise, the
disunited GOP exposed two Reagan Legacy entities : a "Reagan Legacy Foundation" focused on Ronald Reagan the man, and a "Reagan Legacy Project" focused on Ronald Reagan the post-Ronald-Reagan myth. The RLF is headed by Michael Reagan (another son of RWR, but before Nancy), the RRLP by ever the caricatural Grover Norquist, the man behind "Americans for Tax Reform" and the heckuva storyteller who wants to sum up The Great Man by his hatred of government.

Mr Norquist wants every county from every state to name something substantial after RWR. In other words, dear taxpayers, this ultimate libertarian wants to make as many big bangs as possible with your bucks. The mother of all his projects is to rename a Nevada mountain "Mount Reagan". Note that New Hampshire did that first, but NH is not GOP-macho-cowboy enough for the picture.

Next thing you know, Grover will demand a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize for Reagan. Probably for his great peace efforts in Central America.

OK. He'd rather point out his greatest achievement : ending the Soviet era. Nevermind the fact that Gorby did that : Ron's biggest legacy was to help reformers gain some openings in the Soviet Union. The TV cowboy outlived so many old farts, that they eventually decided to nominate Michail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the actual reformer in non-revisionist history books.

In 2064, some Tea Party survivor may lobby in favor of a Mount Palin, named after the early XXIst Century celeb who once ran for Veep.

I suggest Wasilla Little League's baseball mound.

blogules 2011

20110204

Sand curtain

If protorevolutionary movements across the Arabo-Muslim world tend to remind me of the late eighties in Eastern Europe, this is completely different.

This time it's not about the regionwide collapse of a corrupt system and ideology with a top-down benediction from a pro-reform leader (Gorbachev), but about several grassroot movements challenging local dictators, corrupt regimes sans ideology.

Note that both Ben Ali and Mubarak were already ailing caids. Beyond their political deaths, what matters now is the removal of entourages controlling most of the power in each country.

Of course, nature abhors a vacuum, and fundamentalists would love to step in to fill the ideology void. At this defining moment, most people on the street seem to reject as false the choice between dictatorship and fundamentalism, but most people on the street prefer order to chaos, and uncertainty shouldn't last too long.

Israel nervously watches as Jordanian and Egyptian regimes falter under popular pressure. Muslim friends who could turn enemies, with the benediction of Iran, whose own corrupt regime postponed its ineluctable fall by a few years by crushing popular uprisings at home. Unfortunately, these days, Israeli leaders seem to position themselves as a corrupt regime with some ideology. Not a dictatorship, mind you, but not a bunch of nice guys either.

Barack Obama is a nice guy. Unfortunately, these days, the US leader doesn't seem to be in charge of foreign policy, so huge is the gap between what he says and what the US do. And the poor lad doesn't have one Gorbachev to call if he wants that sand curtain torn down...

So what's ahead ? Probably trouble and uncertainties, but somehow this transitional period has started after WWII and independence wars, and we're closer to the end than from the beginning. Something new will emerge and eventually, something positive. Societies freed from political and religious deviances. Hopefully, the time has come for a true Muslim renaissance.

Right now, most dictators across the globe must have gotten some kind of message. But even supposedly strong democracies should be thinking twice when they applaud successful local uprisings or self-determination processes like in South Sudan : what is a nation in this globalized world, what will be holding its members together in this networked millenium ?

More than ever, each individual will reach for the universal (as a human being), and the personal (identity).

blogules 2011
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