Friday, October 1, 2010

on a Muslim Center at "Ground Zero"

Let the people of America decide whether or not to have a Muslim Center there at Ground Zero.

But let's not let anyone make any decisions based on faulty thinking, rumors or outright political lies. Democracy only works when there is respect and mutual understanding of differences (and not mere tolerance of them).

In my own opinion, perhaps the best thing to do would be to have a non-sectarian place of congregation, where people of all faiths and traditions, and those who are atheists or agnostics can gather and learn from each other. But I know this civilized notion is a far cry from what most people would believe possible. But how are we to put an end to religious-based intolerance, prejudice and discrimination if we do not start to make all of us hoopleheads congregate together and share?

Another alternative would be to have a center for each faith, including something for secular humanists, so we do not leave out anyone. We could have a mosque, a cathedral, a church, a buddhist temple, a pagan temple (Wiccans and others could decide whether or not to call it whatever it is to be called), a bahai temple, a synogogue, etc.

We are all on this planet together, whether we like it or not, so we had better start to learn to like it.

The side of people against having a Muslim Center have made some outrageous claims about Islam based on prejudice and fear. It is time to put those to rest.

Islam and Muslims (followers of Islam) did NOT attack the US on September 11th, 2001. Radical extreme militants who follow Islam (and used their religion as a primary excuse to carry out their crimes) attacked the US. You can say I am playing with semantics, but I retort with the fact I have a yearning for accuracy and truth.

Words are OUR tools. We are not the tools of our words. It is time we start using them correctly, like upright human beings would use them. It is time to realize that with words come imagery and thinking. We wouldn't have developed into human beings (from out of our hominid ancestors) if we didn't develop the capacity for language and the symbolic thinking patterns that emerged from it (music, art, religion, language, etc). If you think this idea wrong, then explain to me which of our current fields of endeavor (philosophy, and again music et allia) could exist without a capacity for language? There are none.

Language is often thought of as speech by many people. But we have complex languages based on gesture used by non-hearing people. Complex codes and symbols that do not rely on speech have been used for millenia. And brain-injured people exhibit an array of complex speech patterns mimicking language without any symbolic understanding displayed.

I digressed to hopefully start some reflection about who we are as a species, collectively and individually.

Religions are often cited as both one of the highest and one of the most atrocious forms of human expression. And people are still fighting causes as if their own religion was the ultimate truth with all others being false. The truth of the matter is higher than this territorial pissing contest. Think of words again now. How we use them. How we use voice and gesture and symbol along with our words to convey separation or togetherness.

We can choose to continue the cycle of fear and hatred, suspicion and excuses for doing horrible things to each other. Or we can choose to grow up. It is our choice.

[Friday, September 17, 2010]

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

The 1990s brought some good music. It was the last time when musicians could perform without worrying about looking pretty. Now we have pretty people making pre-fabbed pop crap to the same old worn out beat.

When people think of Seattle's music scene from the 90s, they think of Nirvana and Soundgarden. I think of those, but I include 7 Year Bitch, the Gits, and Bikini Kill. Sadly, by the mid 90s, the Gits and Nirvana were gone. (Nirvana to Cobain's suicide, and the Gits to Mia's murder).

These two videos are a slice of the energy that existed. It still exists, in Seattle and in other cities. Non-emo rock is still around. The bands have changed. The faces are different, but the soul remains.

7 Year Bitch's music are a slice of that time in the 1990s, just before "alternative" became the marketing label for rock bands that had too much punk and blues in them to be considered straight up hard rock or metal. Neither Mia Zapata nor Kurt Cobain had died yet, and it seemed the energy would explode across the country.

They tried to call it "grunge." But that was only another label to avoid the implications of hardcore and punk developing past the 1980s cliches it became associated with.

How about just listening to it, with no labels?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shedding Light on Some Ignorance

From this map you can see what China has stolen by force, while the world looked away. Millions of inner and central Asians have been killed since then by the occupiers in order to make room for Chinese settlers. Manchuria was the first to fall as its rulers, who at the time were the rulers of China as well, looked away and encouraged genocide against their people.

Inner Mongolia was next to fall in the 1930s, as China fought a brutal civil war between nationalists and communists. Mongolian resistance proved so harsh that Chinese armies of the communist side massacred thousands of the people and moved in Chinese settlers to ensure that there would be no more resistance. As the Chinese nationalists fell to the communists, the communists agreed that they would enforce the old Manchu Empire's boundaries, but this time not only would it include the Manchurians' directly ruled territory, but also all of the lands the Manchus had relations with.

In late 1949, China invaded Tibet. Within months the Tibetan army of the east had collapsed and China controlled over half of Tibet. They forced an agreement with the Dalai Lama's government under threat of more violence. When the Tibetan government declared they would honor the agreement, Tibet exploded in an armed uprising that was not fully crushed until 1974. That Uprising started in east Tibet - known as Kham and Amdo in Tibetan - thousands of PLA soldiers and Tibetan resistance fighters died.

By 1959 the uprising had spread to Lhasa, in Central Tibet - U-tsang in Tibetan. Lhasa at that time was in an uproar of protests over the Tibetan government allowing Chinese troops to make camps outside of the city. This is what is commemorated every March 10th by Tibetans. On March 10th, the flash spark hit the gas can and Lhasa exploded. Amidst the fighting, the Dalai Lama and many senior government officials escaped to India with the help of the resistance they looked down upon. From March to October the PLA estimated that they killed 80.000 Tibetan fighters in and around Lhasa.

Remember this the next time someone tries to tell you that Tibetans pacificistically rolled over for China. Tibetans fought every step of the way. The sacrifices of the resistance are the reason why the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetans could escape. By October of 1959, PLA soldiers, angered at the people they believed they were giving a chance to become "liberated" (which is Maoist slang for "Chinese") for fighting against them, went on an orgy of destruction. Drepung Monastery, at that time the largest educational institution in the world, was shelled and destroyed, with thousands of its scholars and monks killed. The ruins are still there today. This is only one example of the destruction China wrought in Tibet. (Thousands of monasteries, libraries, and schools were destroyed...this years before the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution came to Tibet on the backs of the Red Guards, who like all Chinese since, believe they have a right to Tibet.)

The nature of the Tibetan resistance is ignored by many Westerners who prefer to view the Tibetans as lotus-eating monks who have nothing better to do than teach spoiled overfed people how to become spiritual. This resistance is also ignored by Chinese people who are today taught that Tibetans greeted the Chinese with open arms as liberators from a "feudal theocracy." What a dishonor to the Tibetan dead, those who bled, cried and died for their be ignored and forgotten like this, especially by Westerners who always go on about "freedom" and "dignity." I will tell you this, there is more dignity in a Khampa fighter who fought against increasingly devastating odds, but who never gave up, then there is in some overfed American who cries about the price of gas rising. I have met some of the former...they'll set your ass straight about what matters.

-Hugh, designation Kunsang

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I recommend this article to anyone who wishes to start learning Tibetan views of their nation's history with regards to the current Chinese occupation. This is necessary in today's climate because most of the world sees Tibet and Tibetans through the very racist and colonialist viewpoints of the Chinese. The whole colonial "savage being saved by enlightened masters" schema that was used by Europeans for centuries is the same schema projected onto Tibetans by the Chinese - who get very indignant even at the idea that Tibetans may possibly look upon China as an oppressor. Chinese people were taught that they "liberated" the Tibetans. The reality is that they "liberated" the ownership of Tibet from the Tibetan people, who are now being pushed aside - only allowed to live on the margins as long as they cater to official Chinese versions of Tibetan identity. Tibet as a whole now has become entirely controlled and dominated by the Chinese, who now claim Tibetans as a "Chinese" national minority, the better to excuse the dispossession of Tibetans from their land.

In many ways, this is similar to what America has done to Native Americans - lying about the pre-invasion societies, brutally conquering them and calling it "progress," then claiming the land while turning its native inhabitants into a mere ethnic group, subsumed under the dominant people who assume this process has made everything turn out for the best. And by this, meaning "the final best." As in no alternatives for the natives and the very idea of their own independence is considered either extremist or laughable.

But like the nations that existed in what is now the USA before they were invaded and subjugated, Tibet was independent. It was independent right up until the Chinese invasion of 1950. In fact, except for a brief submission to the Mongols, Tibet has never been seriously invaded or ruled by outsiders until 1950. This fact is continually denied by the Chinese government and people who insist that Tibet is an intrinsic part of China and always has been. The American counterpart of this fraud is to simply claim that native nations weren't really "nations" per se but "tribes" and "bands," despite the historical evidence that the vast majority of native people in what is now the US, lived in towns and villages and had settled agricultural lifestyles. It makes it easier on the conquerer's conscious to lie about the people they have conquered. China denies the horrific brutality it has inflicted on Tibet just like America denies the horrific brutality it inflicted on the several nations it destroyed to make the myth of "virgin land" a reality.

I raise the example of Native America as a comparison to help illuminate the situation with regards to the occupation of Tibet so that the next time you may read something like "Old Tibet was a hell on earth" or "China brought progress and modernity to Tibet" or "Tibetan independence is a lie" you may be able to grasp where such ideas come from. Racism and its ugly cousin colonialism are alive and well in the 21st century. The fact that it's being perpetrated by one Asian nation against another (and not by Europeans) shouldn't fool anyone one bit.

Now here is that article.........

INDEPENDENT TIBET – THE FACTS (Jamyang Norbu)–-the-facts/

"This is a considerably revised and expanded version of the document, Losar Gift for Rangzen Activists, that I posted on Feb 25, 2009. This version has new information and illustrations. Last year when I was in India I gave a talk and powerpoint presentation based on this essay at a number of Tibetan schools and centers. I am happy to report that everyone was uplifted and energized by the sheer volume of indisputable facts substantiating Tibetan independence. It may have hit a sore spot in Beijing, though, for I was denounced at length on for this specific presentation. In order to ensure’s Beijing’s continued “sensitivity” on the issue of Tibetan independence, a Chinese translation (in traditional as well as simplified script) will be up on, and other sites thanks to freedom activist Rosaceae. A full Tibetan translation will be at, and also be published in Tibet Times, all thanks to Gedun Rabsal la. You can also go on for the translations and for downloading print-ready pdf files to make flyers. I would like to thank all organizations that printed and distributed flyers last year, and would encourage them and others to do so again this year on March 10th and other occasions. Feel free to contact me for questions or suggestions."–-the-facts/

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Remembering Mia, the Gits

Naked Raygun

There is something about this band that screams "Chicago!" I suppose you would have had to have been there. But even if you hadn't, you can feel the "nostalgia" in the music. Not many people know that there was a vibrant punk scene in Chicago, as impressed as they were with the NY and LA scenes (which were largely media confections).

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Good Videos in Gàidhlig

The second one has subtitles.

'An Aisling' by Leòdhas MacLeòd.

'Siubhlachan' by Uisdean Murray

Lorg bhidiothan eile mar seo air AbairThusa