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Archive for November, 2011

WORLD NEWS ON THE CHEAP like yesterday a Dutch crew of the television news (NOS/NTR Nieuwsuur) in Egypt doing ‘street interviews’ and proving that the support for the Egypt Revolution is faltering with two third of those interviewed speaking some form of English and only one or two questions posed in Arabic, whereby it remains unclear who is posing the question.

Gone are the days of a correspondent in Cairo for the Arab world, gone are the days of at least having a journalist speaking Arabic being part of a crew, gone is any historical knowledge on the part of the journalists, at best a quick check of Wikipedia before leaving or in the hotel room…. as a multi-cultural nation it is a shame that the Netherlands have not been able to train and recruit a group of say Moroccan young students to become journalists for events in the Arabic world….

“Who speaks English here?” asks the camera crew on Tahrir Square in Cairo untill they bump into a man that does not like the way they are filming… and when people on the street might return the question to them  (hal tatakallam al-lughah al-‘arabīyah?) هل تتكلم اللغة العربية؟, the Dutch journalists of the crew fail to understand.

There seems to have been a translator with the crew, but  the position of the translator remains unclear. The tiny bit of Arabic we hear spoken from the side of the crew seems clumsy, was it a Dutch Arabic speaker or a locally rented service. If the last thing is the case, how much embedded is this translator in the Egyptian state media, how does the translator relates to the political spectrum of Egypt, how were the choices of who to speak to made?

The clumsiness of the reportage is at times embarrassing, but fully in line with the cheap glamour of the Nieuwsuur television studio in the Netherlands and the anchor woman waving her hairs while posing question to the crew in Cairo to enlighten the Dutch audience.

Nieuwsuur (NOS/NTR) reporter Jan Eikelboom explains how he found out that the Egyptian revolution is faltering on the basis of "hear say" from the streets, speaking with shopkeepers in the bazars, tourist entrepreneurs and a man at the Cairo stock exchange, they outcome of these talks are of course fully predictable, as all these people see their business frustrated by the social unrest. Shopkeepers, tourist workers and a broker can of course not stand as a representative group for Egyptian society as a whole... but the Dutch crew clearly had no access to other social layers.

(19':50'') Dutch captions for a tourist entrepreneur in Giza interviewed in English: "I do not know what those people want. It is not good for us, we are working with tourists"

(20':38'') Dutch captions for an interview in English. "On the square they say: We want peace." Actually the reporter says not 'peace' but 'freedom'... sloppy translator there, at the NOS/NTR... The over-generalized question may have been posed in English by Jan Eikelboom and the answer is as general as the question: "...freedom will come, but slowly."

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Source = http://beta.uitzendinggemist.nl/afleveringen/1116886

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‎11 November 2011 ~ 11 November 1911, today is the centennial of one hundred years of aerial bombing, the first example being the bombing of Turkish troops by Italian airplanes during the Italo-Turkish War in Libya in 1911. Some grenades hand held, dropped onto troops below. Aerial bombing is in fact incorrect as the launching of airborne missiles date back much further in time. Balloons have for instance been used by the Austrians when they beleaguered Venice in 1849 using unmanned balloons filled with explosives that could be triggered by electro-contacts using long wires (the idea of drones which are used in a more advanced way nowadays is born here). So today it is the centenary of airborne attacks by humans launching explosives from flying contraptions. The idea of airborne attack goes back into mythical times, though.

Seven years ago I made two visual scrolls telling the long story of aerial bombardment. The thunderbolts of Zeus thrown down from the Olympus, the ‘vajras’ of the Hindi Lord of Heaven and the God of War, Indra, the apocalyptical revelations of St John (“the stars of heaven fell unto the earth”), imagery of winged angels with revenging swords to punish earthly sinners, all these mythical tales and images of cruel gods and other divine beings, have later been translated into human warfare technology.

Primordial air power, a fragment of scroll 1

There are also ample examples of plans for warfare from above: – many made during the Napoleontic campaigns against England, with whole armies transported on gigantic ‘Montgonfliers’; – 17th century Italian priest and inventor Lana Terzi who designed an airship for war; – the Chinese – far before that – with all kind of launched flying devices that delivered fire into beleaguered cities; – huge kites that have been part of warfare from the Chinese and Japanese to Europeans, and in 1886 Jules Verne, who describes in one of his futuristic books the flying ship Albatros shooting down rebellious indigenous people in Africa…. All this and more can be seen in these two scrolls…

fragment of scroll one: "Primordial air power and God's judgement"

The second scroll depicts and describes the terrifying results of the advancement of the technology of destruction from the air, from a support of ground troops on battlefields during World War I to  making whole cities into battlefields, changing the target from soldiers to civilians. The application of the theories of the Italian general Douhet with his 1921 publication “Il domino dell’area” (Domination from the air) where the ‘will of a nation’ is that what needs to be attacked, its civilian and cultural centers, this in order to cut war short, ideally just the threat of aerial bombing or hitting some example target would be enough for a nation to give up any resistance to another nation having superior air power. A doctrine that is exemplified  on up to this very day by the United States Air Force. The devastation wrought over decades is immeasurable: by Italian air power in Ethiopia, Japanese airpower in China, German air force, starting in Spain and continuing over Poland, Yugoslavia, Netherlands, Great Britain, France and so on; early use of  ‘air force’ to police “rebellious natives” from Sudan and Mesopotamia to Afghanistan by the Brits and later Anglo-American joint operations over the whole of Nazi occupied Europe,  pioneering ‘terror bombings’ of vast cities, torching most of Germany’s cities, with only a few cases remembered: Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden. Arson from the air again in Japan by the American Air Force, generating possibly more victims during the fire bombing of Tokyo (estimates run from 80 to 160.000 dead), than the two atom-bombs that closed the curtains of the World War  Theatre  II on Hiroshima (estimates from 80.000to 160.000) and Nagasaki (60.000/180.000).

In 1995 I started to make a database of victims of aerial bombing and in 2003 a preliminary first overview has been put on line in PDF format.  The real list is still in the making. My first research dating back to 1999 used a system of lowest, highest and most probable estimates of death toll from aerial war, resulted in a total of over one million of death and the devastation and erasure of over one thousand square kilometers of townscapes, …human habitat. This leaves out the rural bombardments during the wars fought in Korea and Indochina, the mining of  land, the defoliation and poisening of forests, the breaking of dikes to inundate agricultural land. 

Visual summary of the installation ‘Unbombing the World 1911-2011″

Especially the Indochina Wars have resulted in widespread criticism of indiscriminate forms of aerial war fare, something the staffs of air forces and the weapon industry have been taken to heart in the last decades, resulting in endless propaganda representations of new “clean” and “precise” forms of force from the air. Precision bombardments are presented as ‘humanitarian’ having taken the place of primitive wholesale ‘carpet bombing’. Guided missiles do come to us with guided press campaigns to cover up what has widely come to be known as ‘collateral damage’, attempts at control of targeting goes together with control of news agencies with the ultimate military control instrument of the ’embedded journalist’, who signs away his/her independence for the comfortable war-spectacle offered by the military staff.

This text, meant as a short reminder, will expand beyond its boundaries when I would go in any further detail on the use of aerial power in the last three decades, Gulf Wars, Balkan Wars, Russian air force obliteration of the capital of Chechnya Grozny, Turkish raids into Kurdish rebellious areas, Sudanese civil war bombardments, Sri Lanka government attacks on Tamil strongholds, Israeli high tech bombings of Lebanon and Gaza in response to low tech rockets fired at Israel, and the continuing military test ground of  Afghanistan having been battered from 1925 to this very day by the air forces of the British, the Soviets, American Air Force and NATO.Last Syria and Iran in the waiting room after ‘imperial’ aerial employments in Libya earlier this year.

We are one century from the moment that a grenade was dropped by hand from an Italian airplane circling over an oasis in the Libyan desert onto the heads of a few Ottoman soldiers. The Italian colonization of Libya that followed the break down of the Ottoman empire – at that time – created the circumstances that lead one century later to renewed usage of aerial power to force ou yet another reign, that of Gaddafi and his Green revolution. We may have progressed in technical sense a lo tin one hundred years, but politically speaking we have not yet freed ourselves of a system of crude imposture of imperial military power.

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Scroll 1 = http://imaginarymuseum.org/OpenSKOR/UBWa.html

Scroll 2 = http://imaginarymuseum.org/OpenSKOR/UBWb.html

Context of scrolls = http://imaginarymuseum.org/OpenSKOR/index.html

Unbombing the world 1911-2011 project =  http://imaginarymuseum.org/UBW/ubw01a.html

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Received from an editor a file through YouSendIt today and I was confronted again with the aggressive SPAMMER tactics of this enterprise… Now they suggest you to NOT download anymore but keep files available on-line… “free” it says… but filling in their “free” form means being exposed to endless SPAM messages of their only so many days options. Now the classic download is almost hidden and sometimes the clickable download button does NOT work anymore… though savvy as I am, I use a Control Click which gives me a classic download.

the screen with the non designed download button that often does not respond

It is a shame, a service that is so aggressive and misleads its customers. I prefer the free low key service of wetransfer.com (up top 2 Gigabyte files, multiple files automatically zipped, no spam – until now) that shows only big advertisement pictures during up or download.

 

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