Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page

Poem: “The Eyes of the Poor” by Charles Baudelaire

In Profile: People Places & Things of Peace on September 12, 2009 at 6:20 pm
  Charles Baudelaire 1855

Charles Baudelaire 1855

This poem was the beginning of a very long, incredibly illuminating conversation between myself and some people very dear to my heart. I hope it does for you what it did for me.



Oh!  You want to know why I hate you today.  It will undoubtedly be less easy for you to understand than it will be for me to explain, for you are, I believe, the most beautiful example of feminine impermeability one could ever encounter.

We had spent together a long day that had seemed short to me.  We had indeed promised that we would share all of our thoughts with one another, and that our two souls would henceforth be one — a dream that isn’t the least bit original, after all, if not that, dreamed of by all men, it has been realized by none.

In the evening, a bit tired, we wanted to sit down in front of a new café that formed the corner of a new boulevard, still strewn with debris and already gloriously displaying its unfinished splendors.  The café was sparkling.  The gaslight itself sent forth all the ardor of a debut and lit with all its force walls blinding in their whiteness, dazzling sheets of mirrors, the gold of the rods and cornices, chubby-cheeked page-boys being dragged by dogs on leashes, laughing ladies with falcons perched on their wrist, nymphs and goddesses carrying on their heads fruits, pies, and poultry, Hebes and Ganymedes presenting in out-stretched arms little amphoras filled with Bavarian cream or bi-colored obelisks of ice cream — all of history and all of mythology at the service of gluttony. Read the rest of this entry »


A timeline of the crisis in Darfur [Al Jazeera]

In Africa, World News on September 12, 2009 at 5:55 pm

he Darfur crisis has gained increasing publicity over the years [GALLO/GETTY] February 2003 – Two anti-government groups rise up, saying Khartoum neglects arid region and arms Arab militia against civilians.

January 2004 –  the army moves to quell uprising in western region of Darfur; hundreds of thousands of refugees flee to neighbouring Chad.

March 2004 – UN says pro-government Janjawid militias are carrying out systematic killings of African villagers in Darfur.

April 2004 – Government, Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) fighters agree on ceasefire.

September 2004 – UN says Sudan had not met targets for disarming pro-government militias and must accept outside help to protect civilians. Colin Powell, US secretary of state, describes Darfur killings as genocide. Read the rest of this entry »

“North Korea: Secrets and Lies” [LIFE]

In Asia, World News on September 1, 2009 at 3:30 am
Photo: Howard Sochurek./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Photo: Howard Sochurek./Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Kim Il-Sung and His Friends From Moscow

North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung (front right) sits with a group of uniformed Russian advisers, around 1950. The two modern Koreas were formed when the Soviets and United States divided political control of the Korean peninsula after the fall of the Japanese Empire in World War II in 1945.

Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Kim Il-Sung: Man of the People

Kim Il-Sung chats with workers on an unofficial visit to a machine plant in 1967. Kim launched North Korea on five- and seven-year plans to rebuild its infrastructure, promoting a concept he called “juche.” It emphasized utter self-reliance as a national goal — and demanded absolute obedience to him. In 1972, juche replaced Marxism and Leninism as the official state ideology. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Africa depends on handouts by Samah El-Shahat [Al Jazeera]

In Africa, World News on September 1, 2009 at 12:27 am

A contradictory message from Obama

Barack Obama, the charismatic US president, whom I like and much respect, came to Africa bearing a message and a gift. Both spoke of Africa’s need for self-determination.

This was part of his message: “Governments that respect the will of their own people are more prosperous, more stable and more successful than governments that do not … This is about more than holding elections – it’s also about what happens between them.

“Repression takes many forms, and too many nations are plagued by problems that condemn their people to poverty. No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery.

“That is not democracy, it is tyranny, and now is the time for it to end.” Read the rest of this entry »