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Sep. 28: The Blind Leads The Blind
By: Tero | Archives

Please read this commentary from Tamim Ansary, a writer and columnist in San Francisco, who comes from Afghanistan. It is a bit long perhaps, but trust me on this, it's well worth reading.

"I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done." And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing. I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters. But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan," think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.

Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan - a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban. We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban - by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time. So what else is there? What can be done, then?

Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West. And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the West would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?"

If somebody wants to help in any way the victims of the "catastrophy" in the U.S., you can do so here and here , as well as in many other places like for example here. I personally do not feel too much like helping the richest nation in the world, after all, where was the help for example when hundreds of thousands (yes, you read correctly) poor Africans were massacred in Rwanda, or when thousands and thousands die of hunger and diseases every day, all around the world. Why is a catastrophy more one when it involves western people? Are we somehow more human than the rest? Anyway, what pisses me off most is what the U.S. is saying. They say they consider anybody who harbours terrorists or provides them with financial aid a legitimate target. Well, guess who funds over 60% of all terrorist activities in Ireland...? Who else, the United States. Shame. Where do we draw the line? Those who are tired of just drawing lines, please apply immediately for a higher degree at O.B.L.U..

In summary, I believe it is good in the long run that such horrible acts do finally open the eyes of people and governments to face the reality, but why does it always have to go too far and too many lives must be lost before we decide to act? Who knows, really, but I am moving soon to St. Helen.

Sep. 24: WTC Humor
By: Jani | Archives

Ask and ye shall receive: Since my request of WTC-related humor over a week ago, I've received a number of submissions. Cruel to the deceased? Probably. In bad taste? Very much so. Inappropriate as discussion openers? Absolutely. Funny? Well... not really. Most of these seem like reruns of the jokes made about the earlier disasters I also mentioned (Concorde, Kursk), like this one:

Q: what's the new american airlines slogan?

A: 'we fly you straight to your office'
Just substitute 'hotel' for office, and you have the Concorde joke.
Another attempt at humor was this "World Trade Center Special" CD, which is very close to the similar Kursk one, but there are a few gems of dark humor in this list:

1. ACDC - I feel safe in New York City
2. Geri Haliwell - It's raining men
3. Celine Dion - Falling into you
4. Cold Play - Don't panic
5. Dead can dance - The fatal impact
6. Louis Armstrong - What a wonderful world
7. Monty Python - Never be rude to an arab
8. Boomfunk Mc's - Sky's The Limit
9. Queen - Heaven for everyone
10. R Kelly - I Belive I Can Fly
11. The Doors - Light my fire
12. Bob Segar - Fire down below
13. George Michael - Let's go outside
14. Queen - Who wants to live forever
15. Savage Garden - Crash and burn
16. Shania Twain - That Don`t Impress Me Much
17. ABBA - S.O.S.
18. Van Halen - Jump
19. Jimi Hendrix - Fire
20. Pink Floyd - Is There Anybody Out There?

Islamic fundamentalists' edition also includes:
REM - first we take manhattan

But the most original joke, and one to take advantage of such modern technology as SMS messaging, was this SMS message I received yesterday:
I was wondering if I could stay with u for a couple of days? Everybody's so angry at me and I really need a friend. Yours truly,
Osama Bin Laden
Now that's funny.
If you get a hold of any new ones, keep 'em coming, I'm interested to see what kind of a joke really hits the jackpot.

Sep. 15: More aftermath
By: Jani | Archives

It's not like this event is going to become old news any time soon, so I don't feel out of place by writing about it four days later and after Tero's mentioned the attack already.
What I'm really wondering about is how long it's going to take for someone to come up with a list of some kind about the incident, like they did for the Kursk accident (looking for that CD, I also found this transcript poking fun at the accident). Or the jokes that were made after the Concorde accident. For some reason, I'm guessing it's going to take somewhat longer before anything is going to go into wider circulation this time. It's not because of the greater loss in human life, since jokers and black humor have never really taken that into account. Perhaps it's the fact that this time it was intentional: someone actually organized this massacre. But there are jokes about the holocaust as well, so I don't think we're going to be spared completely.
It's a good coping method to make jokes about a horrific event. It might be cruel to the people directly affected, but for the rest of us, it shows that humans can and should be able to take things light-heartedly, otherwise we'd all committ suicide because of the horrors in the world. So without any disrespect to the deceased or their families, I'm waiting to receive some good, dark humor relating to the terrorist act, which I'll be sure to post right away. Meanwhile, here's a little message to the terrorists:

Editorial note: The Archives have been revamped and moved elsewhere, which means they might not be working right away. But I'm sure you can live without access to the infamous morg-archives for awhile. Speaking of the archives, I just remembered that I wrote some time back about a terrorist attack on the Pentagon. I'll have to go see how prescient I really am. And start worrying about FBI agents showing up at my door.

Sep. 13: The Aftermath
By: Tero | Archives

Only moments after the horrible events in the United States, it seems that the conspiracy theory has been cracked. And on the eleventh hour, one could almost say... Take a look at this:

The date of the attack: 9/11 = 9 + 1 + 1 = 11

September 11th is the 254th day of the year: 2 + 5 + 4 = 11

After September 11th there are 111 days left to the end of the year.

119 is the area code to Iraq/Iran. 1 + 1 + 9 = 11

Twin Towers - standing side by side, looks like the number 11

The first plane to hit the towers was Flight 11

And wait, there is more.......

State of New York - The 11 State added to the Union

New York City - 11 Letters

Afghanistan - 11 Letters

The Pentagon - 11 Letters

Ramzi Yousef - 11 Letters (convicted of orchestrating the attack on the WTC in 1993)

Flight 11 - 92 on board - 9 + 2 = 11

Flight 77 - 65 on board - 6 + 5 = 11

It makes you wonder, doesn't it? Wonder about who the hell has the time to come up with such crap.

Sep. 7: Culture clashes
By: Jani | Archives

This is a very old joke, but since I happened to come across it again in all its beauty, I thought I'd save it infinitely on this site. It's the list of brand names that don't really translate well into other languages. I'm sure you've heard them all before, but if not, or to refresh your memory (it's not as easy as pressing F5), here you go:

Chevy Nova Award

These are the nominees for the Chevy Nova Award. This is given out in honor of the GM's fiasco in trying to market this car in Central and South America. "No va" means, of course, in Spanish, "it doesn't go".

1. The Dairy Association's huge success with the campaign "Got Milk?" prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish trans- lation read "Are you lactating?"

2. Coors put its slogan, "Turn It Loose," into Spanish, where it was read as "Suffer From Diarrhea."

3. Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the fol- lowing in an American campaign: "Nothing sucks like an Elec- trolux."

4. Clairol introduced the "Mist Stick," a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that "mist" is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the "Manure Stick."

5. When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what's inside, since many people can't read.

6. Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.

7. An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of "I saw the Pope" (el Papa), the shirts read "I Saw the Potato" (la papa).

8. Pepsi's "Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation" translated into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave" in Chinese.

9. The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as "Kekoukela", meaning "Bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax", depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent "kokou kole", trans- lating into "happiness in the mouth."

10. Frank Perdue's chicken slogan, "It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken" was translated into Spanish as "it takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate."

11. When Parker Pen marketed a ball-point pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to have read, "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." The company thought that the word "embarazar" (to impregnate) meant to embarrass, so the ad read: "It won't leak in your pocket and make you pregnant!"

12. When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its "Fly In Leather" campaign literally, which meant "Fly Naked" (vuela en cuero) in Spanish!

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