Don't skip a beat

As you may have noticed, I've been posting fewer blogules since I joined Twitter, and I'm only using @blogules for alerts about new posts. If you want to stay tuned, follow my two main accounts,  @stephanemot and @theseoulvillage:

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A Bridge To You Know Where

On damage mode ever since the George Washington Bridge scandal derailed his 2016 campaign, Chris Christie must prove that he's not totally out of the game.

Chris Christie's 2016 bid now a bridge to nowhere. Time for some traffic problems at the GOP.
twitter.com/stephanemot/status/422171645852143616 (20140112).
Can the New Jersey Governor finesse his way out of this mess? The concept drawing to mind the image of the hippo dance in Fantasia, it could at least be fun watching his efforts in a tutu and ballerina shoes:

'Chris Christie finessing his way away from the George Washington Bridge scandal in front of fellow GOP hopefuls ('White House Fantasy', Walt Dismay Pictures)

Robert Gates didn't wait for the crash to submit his own resume, attn potential candidates looking for a running mate able to work for BOTH George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In his memoir, "Duty", the former Secretary of Defense even added some Veep Debate credentials for 2016 by slamming Joe Biden's inconsistent foreign policy record. As if serving Dubya and Obama were consistent... His successor Chuck Hagel looks weaker, but he stands his ground.

Meanwhile, the GOP continues to postpone its unavoidable reform*, and to make do with tea partiers, theocons and other anticons.

The NutHouse just picked David Schweikert for the Environment subcommittee of the Science Committee. Since the man signed the "No Climate Tax Pledge", no climate control law shall pass under his watch. Schweikert has a pristine oil-lobby-friendly voting record: against greenhouse gas regulation, in favor of more drilling, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge...

With snafued enemies like these, Hillary Clinton can sleep without a worry until the Primaries.

Unless, of course, the 800-pound gorilla manages to rock the dance floor.

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* see "Grand Old Parting - enter the anticons"


Happy New Year 2015

It's that time of the year, and for the 12th time*, I have no choice but to wish you a happy next year, considering what's going to happen in 2014:

January 2014 - Following the purge of JANG, KIM Jong-un decides to execute all North Korean citizens who don't share his royal Baekdu bloodline, including his own wife. He remarries his aunt KIM Kyong-hui who, even at 67 and after her recent heart treatment and husbandectomy, manages to give him a second son. KIM The Fourth sports a goitre, a Habsburg Jaw, and the most ridiculous hairdo in the whole dynasty.

February 2014 - As he carries the torch for the final relay at the Sochi Olympics, Vladimir Putin is assassinated by a group of gay Chechnen terrorists, the Dicky Riot. The new President, Dmitry Medvedev, choses Garry Kasparov as his Prime Minister.

March 2014 - Garry Kasparov castles: Vladimir Khodorovsky moves from his tower to the Kremlin, where Medvedev checks his new mate.

April 2014 - The day before the joint canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII, Pope Francis discloses their secret ties to a powerful cult. The Ecuador Embassy grants asylum to the author of Curialeaks, and Francis eventually flies to Russia (Kasparov offered him a job as a bishop).

May 2014 - Only 10% of voters participate in the European Elections. Extreme right parties claim 75% of the ballots, extreme left parties 68%, democracy the remainder.

June 2014 - France sends troops to South Africa to contain the civil war that followed the April elections, and doubles its troops in South Sudan. Francois Hollande will consider the demands from Kenya and Nigeria, but only after deciding the size of France's contingents for Egypt and Morocco.

July 2014 - Neymar thinks he scores the winning goal for Brazil in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final, but Aleksandr Kokorin claims a hat trick during injury time. Garry Kasparov instantly makes the coach Fabio Capello Knight of the Whistle.

August 2014 - Bashar al Assad kills only 10,000 Lebanese citizens, his lowest score since January. He asks Russia for more weapons, but Kasparov simply sends second hand spare parts from his pawn shop.

September 2014 - Scotland votes in favor of its independence. The Queen takes a diagonal direction to Moscow.

October 2014 - Red Friday, all Chinese bubbles explode at once. To prevent global panic and a collapse of all world economies, Fed chief Janet Yellen designs an alternate way of measuring wealth, Quantumative Easing.

November 2014 - Catalonia votes in favor of its independence, and for the mid-term elections, at long last, the GOP votes in favor of its independence from theocons and tea partiers.

December 2014 -  Shinzo Abe sends troops to France to contain an uprising ignited by a strike in a Simmons factory, The Mattress Spring.

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UPDATE: see the French version "Bonne Année 2015"
* see "Happy New Year 2010" (Jan 2009), "Happy New Year 2011" (Dec 2009), "Happy New Year 2012" (Dec 2010), "Happy New Year 2013" (Dec 2011), "Happy New Year 2014" (Dec 2012)... and in French: "Bonne Année 2009" (Jan 2008), "Bonne Année 2010" (Dec 2008), "Bonne Année 2011" (Dec 2009), "Bonne Année 2012" (Dec 2010), "Bonne Année 2013" (Dec 2011), "Bonne Année 2014" (Dec 2012).


I met KIM Jong-un - and lived to tell the tale

Earlier this week, I was granted an exclusive interview with North Korean leader KIM Jong-un in one of his luxurious residences. I'll skip the details about how I landed there, but to get the exclusivity, significant money transfers were required. I also had to ship three million Choco Pie packs to the Cayman Islands, along with an undisclosed number of NBA autographs to grease top wheels.

Seoul Village: "Since I'm not coming out alive from this meeting, I might as well cut the ceremonial crap and go for a first-name basis. So thanks for accepting this interview, Jong-un."

Kim Jong-un: "I should make your death even more painful for that but actually, it's a nice break from the bootlickers' routine, so let's keep it informal. Cigar, Coke?"

SV: "No thanks, I don't smoke, and coffee will do. So you're drinking that imperialist brand?"

KJU: "I was not talking drinks - our elites are growing tired of meth, and our labs working on new lines of products (no pun intended). North Korea must target markets with higher margins."

SV: "I see... You're starting to integrate step by step capitalist notions into the system."

KJU: "Exactly: myself, I indulge in free market all the time - I seize, and no one objects."

SV: "Certainly not JANG Sung-taek, now..."

KJU: "No one was taking me seriously, see? I detonated a frigging nuclear bomb, and all I got was a slap on the wrist - as if I were just a brat playing with firecrackers! The other day I asked China if I could visit, and they wouldn't talk to me, even after I threatened to have another nuclear test. So I discarded the old fart, and the next day they asked me if I wanted an unlimited visa."

SV: "Speaking of China, the way you humiliated your uncle in public was not very Confucian".

KJU: "But in the end, he was the one crying uncle! And you want to talk about Confucianism? From the start, this guy was impervious to the "rectification of names" - look how you Westerners CHANG Sung-taeked, JANG Seong-taeked, or JANG Sung-thaeked him depending on where the wind blew from, when you were not Chang Sŏngt'aeking in the pure McMuffin Whatever tradition."

SV: "McCune-Reischauer".

KJU: "Bless you. So I rectified his name alright. He thought he was the big boss, the one granting favors and pulling strings, but I showed them all that no one was above me, that any head could roll anytime. Read that KCNA news flash? Watched that video? Boy we performed a textbook purge to make Uncle Joe proud. I even had my Minister of Photoshop re-read 'Darkness at noon' before airbrushing the old geezer out from all the documents."

SV: "You read Koestler?"

KJU: "Nah, my nanny read me the story when I was a kid. Dad wanted me to know the ropes, and a lot of our technology transfer came from people like Uxley, Koestler, or Solzhenitsyn. Myself, I don't read books, and my favorite theoreticians are Al and Bob."

SV: "...?"

KJU: "Pacino's Scarface, de Niro's Capone. Now these guys knew how to make a splash with a purge. Straight to the point, you know, unlike them 'car accidents' - you'd be amazed to learn how much they cost us in spare parts."

What, Me Worry? - JANG Sung-taek

SV: "After the purge, you republished scores of dad-and-son pictures of the 3 generations of KIM to reassert your legitimacy. Now that you've cut a whole branch from the family tree, it's between you and your bros for the 'royal' bloodline. I presume you took care of your aunt as well."

KJU: "No sweat, man. Last year, I had KIM Kyong-hui stuffed by a taxidermist, and her husband never saw the difference. My brothers? Jong-chul's a sissy, and Jong-nam's softer than tofu. And he likes casinos - actually, the thing we wrote about JANG and casinos? I was also sending a message to Mickey Mouse: 'stay put, bro, don't take your chances, or I'll get you'. I'll get him anyway: Beijing's able to use him as a puppet 'Last Emperor', should anything happen to me."

SV: "Do you think Beijing will dump you?"

KJU: "Right now, we're talking the same language. See how hardliners tightened the screws around their last Plenum? New ADIZ, new JDIZ..."


KJU: "Journalist Defense Identification Zone: if foreign journos get too nosy, they're out of the game. Anyway, regarding North Korea, Beijing was more than happy to have one interlocutor instead of one and a half: it's already complicated for them to cope with different currents at home."

SV: "But one of the key factors of success of your dictatorship was the improbable balance of power you've been brutalizing ever since you got the job."

KJU: "Look. Politics and court intrigues have never been my thing, and long talks give me headaches. During my first meeting as the new boss, I kept expecting the five minute break, but it never came and it almost drove me crazy."

SV: "The five minute break?"

KJU: "You know, usually, when big guys meet, like in the NBA or the NFL, they cut every five minutes so you can get some popcorn or go to the johns. Here, I had to pee in my glass and to kill three people to get some attention. No, I really don't care about politics, and I'll outsource in China if needed - actually, the decision to remove uncle ST was taken during their Plenum. Military first, party first, Pyongyang first, entrepreneurs first... my job is not to make other people happy, you know? The way I see things is simpler: I decide, they execute, and sometimes I decide to execute them."

SV: "After all these purges, you're bound to face some HR challenges, and by that I mean Human Resources, not Human Rights. Do you trust your new guys?"

KJU: "I'm sick and tired of posing with a background of old garden gnomes in uniform with overgrown hats. During his first visit, Dennis Rodman didn't even notice that he'd stepped on four of them - he confused the poor guys with the garden stones, with their round hats and all. No, I don't trust my new guys, but at least when I invite them to ski or to ride horses, they don't drop dead after two minutes."

KIM Jong-un the Mirimboro man, showing horse power.

SV: "Masikryong ski resort, Mirim horse riding club, Munsu water park... what next?"

KJU: "We count a lot on tourism to bring cash. Our infrastructures suck, but people are ready to pay a premium for the thrill of visiting a real life dictatorship. Why wait for the end of the regime to cash on dark tourism? Our next project is an extension of Camp 14, and we're considering adding public executions to our Mass Games shows."

SV: "Any plan for reunification?"

KJU: "The question of leadership remains the main issue, but yes, talks are well under way with Bashar al Assad."

SV: "Thank you, Jong-un, for this rare glimpse into your troubled mind."

blogules 2013 - Initially published on SeoulVillage ("Exclusive interview with KIM Jong-un")
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Trading cards, then and now

XI Jinping, KIM Jong-un, Barack Obama then and now.

XI Jinping
Then: he got work. 
Secret weapon: Yao Ming, the Middle Kingdom's "Center".

KIM Jong-un
Then: he got money. 
Secret weapon: Dennis Rodman, the not so straight "Forward".

Barack OBAMA
Then: he got game.
Secret weapon: Still looking for a "Pivot" in Asia.

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An interview in and about Seoul

Interview with
Benjamin Joinau, "L'Atelier des Cahiers"

This short video interview (in French) with the publisher of 'Impressions papier hanji' was recorded in the middle of the summer and in the heart of Seoul (Seochon, Jongno-gu, my favorite neighborhood and Benjamin's new lair). I'm at my Bela Lugosi best, but this is about 'de Vermis Seoulis', haunting places, and the dark side of Seoul. 

Ce bref entretien vidéo avec l'éditeur d'"Impressions papier hanji" a été enregistré au coeur de l'été séoulite, et au coeur de la capitale (à Seochon, Jongno-gu - mon quartier préféré et le nouveau repaire de Benjamin). Ambiance sombre, mais il est question 'de Vermis Seoulis', de hantise, de fantastique, et du côté obscur de la ville.

See also / Voir aussi:

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The Rising Sun Flag Brought Shame Upon Japan - Ban It

There is no debate whatsover about the Nazi flag in Germany: glorifying this symbol of abomination is a crime, as the "use of symbols of unconstitutional organisations".

Imperial Japan's Rising Sun flag is as infamous as the Nazi swastika, and yet there is no law to prevent its use. Worse: part of Japan's "Self-Defense Forces" - you know, the ones supposed to remain 'defensive' whatever happens - have been using a variant as their official flag for decades. Even worse: Imperial Japan's war crimes were never recognized by any Japanese institution and nowadays, praising Imperial Japan or denying its war crimes is not only tolerated, but the only way to succeed as a politician in Japan.

Of course, you cannot expect the fascist clique that controls this peaceful nation and tries very hard to reverse the constitution back to Imperial Japan's bellicose mode, the government that just unveiled a "destroyer" flying the dreaded colors, to ban this Rising Sun flag.

The parade followed the controversial South Korea - Japan soccer game where Japanese nationalists waved the Rising Sun and Korean nationalists the portrait of a resistant to Imperial Japan, and a banner stating in Korean "The nation that forgets history has no future", a direct reference to the incredible revisionist tsunami washing over the archipelago*. Infuriated, the Japanese extreme right confirmed its full support to the flag**.

So what the international community must do is to expose the abomination, and to ask the peaceful people of Japan to rise against the true enemies of their nation, to refuse Shinzo Abe's agenda (see "The main threat against Japan? Its own leader"), and to demand a ban of the Rising Sun flag.

Rising Sun and Nazi Swastika flags

The Rising Sun flag and the Nazi Swastika - These flags brought shame upon Japan and Germany, destruction across the World - Ban them

What could be worse than Shinzo Abe taking care of Japan? Shinzo Abe taking care of Japan AND Fukushima, maybe.


The Prime Minister decided to step in and help TEPCO deal with the mess because he had no choice: the risks are too high for his government to lose support for his key constitutional reform, he must appear as a strong leader, with a strategic vision.

And you cannot at the same time push as hard as you can in favor of militarism against dubious threats from overseas, and do nothing against massive radioactive leaks at home.

How much time does Shinzo Abe have before the mud hits the fan at the economic or at the environmental level? Hard to tell. Both Abenomics and the handling of the nuclear incidents in Daiichi are more and more criticized as further disasters in the making.

takes a leak ('s).
Boy, this man is truly radioactive.


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* see previous episodes, particularly those featuring Shinzo Abe
** "世界に嘘つきまくる韓国の“奇妙”、横断幕事件でも稚拙な嘘、嘘…身のほどわきまえない“欲深さ”が理由" (Sankei Shimbun 20130808)


Booz Allen is watching you. Saving Private Snowden or Saving Public Manning? (Outsourcing intel in Patriot Act times - When Big Data meets Small Government)

So I received this email*, which is supposed to make me feel guilty:

"191,537 people have signed President Obama's birthday letter.
But you're not ONE OF THEM.
Sorry, but I don't feel guilty. And this choice of picture... Barack Obama like Cary Grant carrying that glass of milk to Joan Fontaine in "Suspicion"...

Well. I'm still ONE OF THEM, them people who subscribe to Barack Obama newsletters. So the NSA didn't have to scan my profile to find out I didn't sign the darn card: I opted in 6 years ago. And yes, I still receive Karl Rove memos - you need a good laugh now and then.

Ah! Ah! Guantanamo, can't get tired of that old Bush-Cheney joke! Actually, Obama's America invented something even better than Guantanamo in Cuba: One-man-ammo in Russia! You're afraid to face unfair justice in the US? Uncle Vlad will be happy to provide tailored hospitality in his model democracy.

No, Eric Holder hasn't choked on a pretzel yet.

Frankly, I think Saving Private Snowden is less important than Saving Public Manning. I'm not talking about poor whistleblower Bradley Manning, but about national intelligence services.

Outsourcing intel at the core of NSA is already disturbing. To a Carlyle Group affiliate. As if Israel were outsourcing its strategy to the Boston Consulting Group. Sorry, wrong example.

Outsourcing intel in Patriot Act times, when Big Data meets Small Government.

Outsourcing intel means that the Big Brother who's watching you is not the NSA but Booz Allen Hamilton.

And don't think these contractors are very careful when they handle or man this most sensitive mission. Booz Allen CEO Ralph W. Shrader said "Mr. Snowden was on our payroll for a short period of time, but he was not a Booz Allen person and he did not share our values".

In other words: "Oh, you know, that mission you hired us for, spying for America? You can trust us: we gave the job to a most untrustworthy person. Anyway, we can't afford to keep the best ones, they sell their services to foreign companies and nations. Handling confidential NSA stuff, that's pretty good on a resume when you're looking for a job in Russia, in Pakistan, or at Facebook. Non Disclosure Agreements? We do those, but only to make sure the public doesn't know how much your Government is paying us. By the way, can we renegociate this contract of ours? We believe you need new servers and software to catch up with the competition. To build their own systems, they hired people who were trained on your obsolete material and knew all your weaknesses."

Talking about weaky leaks.

McLean, Va. 795,582,003,441,637,794 data burgers served across the world.

@stephanemot tweets - 20130804
Outsourcing intel: - + + small government = is watching you - Saving private or public ?
: after in , the US created in The moral hazards of outsourcing intel in times

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The main threat against Japan? Its own leader

On July 21, 2013, Shinzo Abe's LDP will probably win the House of Councillors elections, and the controversial Prime Minister move closer to his dreams of revising the Constitution, discarding the peaceful nature of Post-War Japan, and restoring the belligerent nature of Imperial Japan. The publication of the annual white paper "Defense of Japan" is the perfect occasion to mobilize the base ahead of the elections.

Abe has made no secret of his intentions to modify the fundamental Article 9 of the Constitution, which clearly defines Japan as a peaceful nation ("Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes"*), and prior to that, to change the Article 96, which makes it difficult to change the Constitution itself. Right now, you first need the two thirds of each of the two Houses to vote the change, then a popular vote to ratify the text**.

In order to optimize his victory in elections that vast moderate majority don't perceive as vital for the future of Japan, Abe needs a strong mobilization from his ultra-nationalist base. That's one of the reasons why his government has recently been reviving tensions with Japan's neighbors around Dokdo, Senkaku, or Kuril islands. And should uproar and anger explode across the region, they would once more be used to trick the peaceful people of Japan into believing that this anti-democratic government is actually protecting the interests of a people surrounded by hot-tempered barbarians.

Very significantly, the "Defense of Japan 2013" annual white paper issued on July 9 by the Ministry of Defense justifies the first increase in Japan's defense budget in 11 years by depicting East Asia as a region on the brink of war, where everybody's beefing up their military capacities, and where diplomacy is not even mentioned as an option: North Korea's nuclear threats got more serious than ever, "China’s activities in the sea/air area surrounding Japan involve its intrusion into Japan’s territorial waters, its violation of Japan's airspace and even dangerous actions that could cause a contingency situation", "Russia continues to intensify its military activities", and even Southeast Asian countries are forced to modernize their military forces.

Of course, the Abe Government has been pouring oil on every possible fire to make diplomacy as irrelevant as possible, and the document hints at more than just increases in Defense spendings: towards a structural revision of the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Basic Policy for National Defense, and potentially a redefinition of key concepts such as "military power", "self defense", "right for belligerency" or, why not, "control over the military by democratic political authority".

The new National Defense Program Guidelines expected by the end of the year - in other words after the elections - are expected to include the capacity, for Self Defense Forces - provided the name sticks -, "of striking military targets in enemy countries" (see "White paper echoes Abe's plans to strengthen Japan’s defense" - Asahi Shimbun 20130710).

What we'd like to hear is Shinzo Abe state loud and clear, here and now, ubi et orbi, and with all the specifics, his precise vision and his ultimate goals, how he would rewrite the Constitution, in which terms he would redefine the nation, what would be allowed and not allowed for its defense. But unlike Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, Shinzo Abe always wisely / cowardly comes short of fully speaking his mind out. And if he never leaves any room for misinterpretations, he knows how to use symbols and circular references when he's venturing into the most outrageous territories, as he recently proved during his sick tribute to the infamous Unit 731 (see "Can't top that? Shinzo Abe posing as Shiro Ishii, the Josef Mengele of Imperial Japan").

So will the right for peace triumph over the right for belligerency? With an opposition unwilling to risk infuriating the ultra-conservative minority that corrupts and controls Japan's whole political system, the population remains overwhelmingly unaware of the dangers. But one thing is sure: belligerence being defined as an aggressive or warlike disposition or behavior, Shinzo Abe himself is more than ready for action.

And in this most defining moment, the main question remains***: will the great people of Japan wake up at last, and say no to Shinzo Abe, or will it let him continue saying and doing whatever he fancies, and let the whole nation follow him along this suicidal path?

blogules 2013

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* Note that the repudiation of pacifism happens to be the first article in the definition of fascism, as written by Benito Mussolini himself in 1932: "Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism -- born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision -- the alternative of life or death". Note also that the last element of Mussolini's definition of fascism refers to imperialism, another key ingredient in today's Imperial Japan nostalgia: "For Fascism, the growth of empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality, and its opposite a sign of decadence". (source: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/mussolini-fascism.asp - long time no recycling for this definition - see "Red Blogule to neo-fascists - LET'S FACE IT THEY'RE FASCISTS" - 2004/05/27)

** see previous episodes, and on Seoul Village: "ABE forced to back down a bit. For the moment. Next PR stunt: KIM Jong-un"

*** see "Dear Japan, Say No To Fascism"


The Sand Curtain, Two Years Later (or is it 20?)

Islamists being among the fiercest enemies of democracy, you certainly can't defeat them with a permanent denial of democracy, particularly when they've claimed some level of legitimacy in elections. So if no true supporter of democracy can be fully satisfied by Egypt's sudden demorsification, one can hope lessons from Algeria have been learned.

Regional and global terrorism feed upon this kind of shell games and actually, Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb celebrates the merger of the islamist movement that was prevented from winning the 1991 elections in Algeria* with a global franchise whose main theorician and now main leader happens to come from Egypt. And people like Ayman al-Zawahiri loves to have enemies like Hosni Mubarak or Adbelaziz Bouteflika (not to mention the Saudi ruling family, Bibi Netanyahu or, even better, George W. Bush**).

So today, as Abdelaziz Bouteflika reaches the end of his rope, Mohamed Morsi the end of his luck, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan the end of his imposture***, the moment has come to make very clear the point that was at the core of the Egyptian revolution, before the Muslim Brotherhood hijacked it: "we reject as false the choice between dictatorship and fundamentalism"****.

And again, this should not become a debate about religion, but about politics. And again, secularism is the only way of securing both democracy and freedom of religion. One of the best illustrations is the ban of Burqa in France - a case I discussed with Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawi back in June 2009*****.

Egypt cannot secure its democracy until it states clearly the separation of State and religion (of course the same could be said about any country, be it Iran or Israel). And ultimately, the Muslim Brotherhood will have to chose between democracy and illegality.

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* from Front Islamique du Salut (FIS) and Groupe Islamique Arme (GIA) to Groupe Salafiste pour la Predication et le Combat (GSPC) to Al Qaeda au Maghreb Islamique (AQMI)

** see "Universal Declaration of Independence from Fundamentalism":

Like fascism, fundamentalism feeds from the failures of democracy, from the intolerable gaps between peoples kept in poverty and underdevelopment on one hand, and rich corrupt regimes on the other. "Ideally", people must be fed up with their rulers, and not believe anymore in the rules supposed to hold the society altogether. An ailing dictatorship will provide a perfect background, but the fundamentalists' best moments come when self-proclaimed model democracies give the worst examples to the world.

(...) For fundamentalists from all religions, George W. Bush turned out to be the best person at the best place at the best moment. His strategy should look like a total failure to whoever considers the Iraq quagmire, the Palestinian fiasco, or the worldwide surge in terror. But to the contrary, Bush's strategy proved a complete success.

Because George W. Bush didn't act as a President of The United States of America in the interest of his country. And George W. Bush didn't even act as a Republican in the interest of his party. George W. Bush acted as a fundamentalist in the interest of fundamentalism".

*** see "Turquie : la révolution silencieuse" (20070723 on my French blogules):

Turkey: the Silent Revolution

Coupled with the rise of extreme right nationalism (14% for the MHP) and the strenghtening of Kurdish nationalism (again over 20 lawmakers for the DTP), Recep Tayyip Erdogan's triumph (the AKP claimerd over half of the votes) only leaves twenty something percent of the vote to the main republican party. And when one sees this CHP cling to a caricature of edulcorated kemalism, one can wonder if Turkey has not turned its back for good on its ideal of secular democracy.

As expected, the pressures from Western Christian fundamentalists on Turkey only beefed up islamists and nationalists, marginalizing the true heralds of a model democracy. 

Erdogan won because of his economic results and because of the irrelevance of his opponents. And if he remains hindered by an aging military clique, his islamist revolution is well under way, and time is on his side (like demographics).

Turkey is asserting itself as a new model combining economic modernity and religious archaism where woman is progressively sidelined, where the Bilim Arastirma Vakfi (BAV) can freely spread its creationist theses, and where change is implemented from the bottom up through socio-religious pressure more efficiently than through a law that will eventually be altered - if not the letter of the law, at least the acts.

Turkey's candidacy for EU membership is now taking the turn that all the enemies of democracy wanted: a forum - La candidature à l'Europe prend désormais toute la saveur qu'attendaient d'elle les ennemis de la démocratie : un forum - amplifier for all the hatred and fears they've been knowledgeably feeding for years.

European voters must reject this parody of a debate, punish those who deliberately pour oil on the fire, and refuse the 'clash of civilizations' imposture. Let's send to our Turkish friends a message of exemplary nature by rejecting as anti-democratic the return of religion in the political debate. Starting with the debate about the integration of Turkey in Europe.

**** see "Sand curtain" (2011/02)

"(...) 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)."

***** following the post "France, secularism and burqa : a political issue, not a religious one" (200906)
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