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Sunday, April 10, 2005
Birthday Girl Maria
Once again it has come along, and each year it becomes less pleasant. For today, is my 26th birthday.
This year it has actually crossed my mind to turn my phone off for the day to avoid the phone calls I know I will receive during the day, in order to pretend I can forget. My whole childhood and teens I seemed certain that I was destined to stay young forever, but I am now realising that I grow older, just like everybody else.
I see negative as well as positive things in growing older. The negative would have to do with what I already mentioned. I felt perfectly happy being 20, 21, 22. Why grow to be 40, 50, 60, and old? The positive ones, on the other hand, do actually appear to outnumber the negative. Despite being older, I am glad that I have come a step closer to where I want to be in life. I am glad that I know now things I didn't know when I was younger, know people I didn't know before, learned things I didn't know before. But most of all, I am grateful for the fact that I have something that I can say what not every person is able to say on their 26th birthday. I can say that I know what I want, and where I am going next.

Okay this all sounds very poetic, and stuff. So I guess I should take a chill pill and just add that I also just hope I get something real good to eat today!

Oh yeah
Just when you think a person can't become a bigger ass than he already is.

Separated at birth?


Friday, April 08, 2005
Mindless rambling about chocolate
I have decided to rid myself of the poisonous horrors that chocolate keeps inflicting upon my mortal mind, soul and body. Indeed, I have stopped eating chocolate. It's been more than half a day since I last consumed some of that sweet, brown and ohh so delicious.. substance. Half a day, and the craving is getting bad. But I have decided that enough is enough. No longer shall I allow myself to be so completely and utterly addicted to a (unhealthy) food, that the craving prevails time and time again! As I was walking the shopping street today I realised just how serious my almost-amorous attachment to chocolate really is. Half a day, and the color brown simply drew me closer. I walked towards a bakery/confectionary and spent a couple of minutes gazing at the beautifully decorated marsipan cake. The cake was masterfully made with gorgeous milk chocolate decorations. The sight of it nearly made me wet eyed.
During my walk I also encountered some chocolate figures. I can't remember the story with the chocolate figures. They were on display in some shop. But they fascinated me as well. The chocolate...

As a healthfreak of many years I am not pleased that the curse of a chocolate addiction should so often get the chance to simply take control of my thoughts & behavior. I'd have the body of a fitness queen had I stayed away from it! But instead what do I have? Love handles!
So I say no more. And a time of great difficulty begins for me. I know I've tried before, on numerous occasions. But this time I'm really serious. I know I've said this before. But this time, I mean it more. The chocolate is going down! 

And all right so I realise that all of you (except maybe Alice) will have a hard time relating to my dilemma, and possibly even think I'm nuts. But well, I don't care.


Thursday, April 07, 2005
Thoughts on understanding the "visual"
My regular readers may be aware of the fact that when I was in "college" (in Scandinavia "college" is a 3 or 4 year school one must complete in order to be accepted to university), I majored in art. Photography was a mandatory course. I was quite annoyed about it back then. I had to borrow a huge camera from my sister's then husband, and I had to spend so much time photographing and developing. My teacher was extremely demanding and impatient. But by the end of the course I actually made friends with her, and it is because of her that I developed a passion for photography that has stayed with me since.

Another story that is not entirely unrelated, is a course I took during my first year of university, called "Visual anthropology". It deals with the anthropology of film. The teachers were horrible. They really were. Out of the 63 students who started the course, around 15 stayed until the end. The teachers would accept nothing short of perfection. They even made me cry on a few occasions when they practically spat on my work. But the funny thing is though, that I ended up getting the highest grade, as well as learning so much from them. One of the things I learned is how the "visual", (despite the photographer's ability to picture what he wishes) is capable of making a far stronger impression in the mind of a human being than the written word. Infact, there are some things we are incapable of understanding without experiencing it visually.
This is partly why I like to sometimes post photos here on my website.  So here are some photos from the amazing David Rubinger gallery. I decided to post what I'd like to call "Israel before and after".

With immigrants like these, Israel built a city in the vast desolation of the Negev Desert. A city that today houses Israel's nuclear reactor - Dimona. (1955)

In an immigrants transit camp, Nathan Tuvim and his wife Saadia, with their children. (1950)

The Tuvim family in their home in Petah Tikva, a town north of Tel Aviv. They now own a grocery store and live above the shop. The woman is the same little girl on the right in the tent picture. (1996)

Entertainment, educational, both??

New hate song on PA TV - Israelis kill Palestinians in God's name
Despite vows by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to remove incitement to hatred and violence against Israel from official Palestinian television, the incitement to hatred continues with new programming on PA TV. A cultural program broadcast this week features a song laced with hatred of Israel, accusing Israel of torturing, mutilating and killing Palestinians in the name of God.

As PMW has reported in the past, PA TV has for years used songs and music videos as a vehicle to impart educational messages, and has even mandated the killing of Jews as a religious necessity for Muslims.

To view the report, Kill a Jew - Go To Heaven, click here

This week's program promotes hatred in a new way. Perhaps to justify the PA's portrayal of genocide as religious necessity -- the message here is that Israel is killing Palestinians in God's name.

In the program, A Mirror of the Palestinian Heritage, a woman is seen writing the words, "a mirror of the Palestinian heritage," over a map of Israel -- thus portraying all of Israel as occupied "Palestine." The song to which the women dance accuses Israel of heinous crimes against the Palestinians, and accuses Israel of committing all these evils in the name of God.

The following is an excerpt from the TV program.

Women dancing to the music (the melody is reminiscent of an Eastern European lullaby):

Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Academic racism
(from: Israel Midnight Café)

Boycott Academic Anti-Semitism

Please sign this letter and register your support. Send it as wide and far as possible.

Dear friend,

On April 20 2005, the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) will debate a motion which calls for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. This motion is the latest attempt in a long standing campaign by a group of academics to institute a boycott of Israeli universities.

The organisers of the motion say they are "standing up for justice in the Middle East," and characterise Israel as "racist," "colonialist," an "apartheid state."

The individuals calling for a boycott against Israel have chosen to target the only parliamentary democracy of its kind in the Middle East. It is one of the most open societies in the world, with 1.3 million Israeli citizens — 20 percent of the population - being Arab Israelis, with equal citizenship rights. In fact, Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote. Arabs currently hold 8 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Israeli Arabs have also held various government posts, from ambassadorships to cabinet ministerial posts.

The nefarious motives behind the drive to boycott Israel become transparent through the double standards that define it. A brief look at other states in the Middle East, all of which have not been targeted for a boycott, will quickly reveal this. The state of Israel is surrounded by police states and totalitarian theocracies, which have enshrined laws and constitutions that guarantee actual apartheid conditions for women (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran), and massive discrimination against homosexuals (Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia).

Many of these states persecute religious, ethnic, and national minorities (Sudan, Syria, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran). Some of them have murdered millions of people in the last three decades alone, through war, mass executions, torture, and state sponsored terror. The Arab Human Development Report, published by Arab researchers for the UN Development Program, concluded that out of the seven regions of the world, Arab countries had the lowest freedom score.

In Sudan, the northern Arab-Muslim government has unleashed a religious and ethnic war against the non-Arab, non-Muslim black African southern population. Sudan's treatment of its black population has led to more than 2 million deaths and over 4 million people displaced. Those who survive are often enslaved.

Yet, not a single call to boycott Sudan, or any other tyrannical country, has been voiced by those academics.

With this in mind, human rights and principles of justice are surely not the real causes that drive calls for an exclusive boycott of Israel.

Sue Blackwell, a Birmingham English professor and a key figure in the movement to boycott Israel, recently supported a campaign aimed at trying to get Irish fans to boycott a football match between Ireland and Israel. The campaign was entitled: "Irish soccer should show Israeli Apartheid the Red Card." The outright lies behind Blackwell's campaign were shattered in the game itself; an Israeli-Arab player, Abbas Swan, scored a goal for the Israeli team.

The organisers of the boycott often cite their opposition to Israel's anti-terrorism operations in the West Bank and Gaza. Yet they remain silent about the murderous terrorism directed against Israel that prompt such operations, and the systematic incitement in Palestinian schools and media, which has filled children with hatred and caused them to aspire towards "martyrdom" and mass murder of Israelis.

Ironically, the boycotters say that Israel is in violation of international law. Yet, the same academics do not wish to boycott Britain or the United States for their leading roles in the Iraq war and ensuing occupation, which has been deemed illegal by the United Nations.

China's illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of Tibet have not caused these individuals to call for a boycott of Chinese universities, and Russia's illegal carpet bombing of Grozhny, Chechnya, resulting in the death of 200,000 Chechens, have also failed to prompt calls for a boycott of Russian institutions.
The timing of renewed efforts to boycott Israeli universities is equally dubious. As Israeli and Palestinian leaders begin to talk about peace and cooperation, after many years of hardship and bloodshed, a group of British academics intensify efforts to demonise and isolate Israel; This is an obvious betrayal of their rejectionist stance towards a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In light of the falsehoods, double standards, and glaring hypocrisy that surround the arguments given by academics calling for a boycott against Israel, it can and must be concluded that they are not acting out of the principles they falsely cite.

We are therefore left with little option but to conclude that the calls to boycott Israel are motivated by a desire to harm Israel, solely because it is a Jewish nation-state, although the organisers of the boycott are unwilling and unable to say so publicly. This reason, and it alone, accounts for why Israel only, out of all the countries in the world, would be singled out and targeted for sanctions by the academic boycotters.

The academics involved in the boycott attempt should therefore themselves be boycotted. Join us in protesting this attempt to masquerade prejudice and bigotry as a progressive cause.

Add your name to this letter, and take a stand against a most modern manifestation of anti-Semitic prejudice.

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005
My appetite just went bye bye
I saw this at Dave's. An interview with Aviv Geffen. How unfortunate that I just happened to be eating while reading it. I mean sure I know that people tend to tell a little lie or two, but this! And he can't even sing..

Aviv Geffen: A freak & a liar

Monday, April 04, 2005
Alrighty, so I'm gonna talk about The Pope
As I have occasionally mentioned, I really am not the biggest fan of Catholicism. It has nothing to do with the fact that I am not a Christian. I simply just seem to have some sort of an attitude problem when it comes to Catholics. I remember a funny clip from a movie I saw many years ago. I can't remember the name of the film, but it went something like this: A middle aged American Jewish lady was marrying an Italian man. At the wedding some of the bride's Jewish friends are standing around chatting, when they are approached by an old Italian lady:

Old Italian Lady: So you are Jewish?
Jewish ladies: Yes we are
Old Italian lady: So you don't believe in THE POPE?
Jewish ladies (with an ironic tone of voice): Noooo, we don't!
Old Italian lady: Hmmf! (And runs off).

I admit that I found the importance of a human being (The Pope) in Catholicism remarkable, and in honesty (whether I have any right to form such opinions or not), I can't say it agreed with me..

However. I've decided to get over my attitude problem (at least take a step in the right direction), and simply just pay my respect to those mourning the death of a good man.
So here is "The Life of Pope John Paul II in photos".

Here are also some random photos that I selected myself :p

Pope by Kotel & flags

Like I said, a random choice!

Comfortable and secure to be anti-semitic?
There are some occurences that simply make me so happy I began blogging. One such would be how I was recently contacted by a very interesting individual. A few months ago I blogged about a poll in Ha'aretz called "Does Israel still need Aliyah?". I singled out a few interesting readers comments. One of the readers particularly interested me due to his Scandinavian nationality, and Scandinavian supporters of Israel are a rare find:

The question is phrased as though Jewish communities in the diaspora were no longer in 'mortal peril'. This was believed to be the case in the middle of the 19th century too, and we know what happened shortly after. Jew-hatred is still highly abundant in all parts of Europe, especially so in eastern Europe. Even more disturbing is that the hatred is constantly increasing. A more relevant question than whether aliyah is necessary for Israel, is whether aliyah is necessary for e.g. Russian Jewry. I believe the answer is 'yes', and that those who choose to stay in Russia will pay dearly for their blind optimism.
Torbjörn Karfunkel,  Gothenburg,  Sweden

It's a great pity the articles he has written are in Swedish. (Babelfish is so limited!)
However, it is interesting to note that the person in question, Karfunkel, actually located my website while checking the internet for "his newest hate material online". In other words, the situation in Sweden is extremely anti-Israel (as it is here), making it hard for zionists.
He also pointed out this article in Ha'aretz. It's from Russia, but supports his comment in Ha'aretz quite well.
50,000 public figures ask Russia to ban Jewish groups
By Haaretz Service

Some 50,000 well known public figures and church officials in Russia have signed a petition asking the country's state prosecution to ban Jewish groups, Army Radio reported Sunday.

The petition uses quotations from an abridged guide to Jewish law, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, to support its contention that Judaism is "an extremist and racist ethnicity that hates non-Jews," the radio station reported.

The signatories - including former army generals, artists and an unnamed former international chess champion - argue that this definition of Judaism makes the activity of Jewish groups illegal, according to the radio.

A similar petition was signed by 20 Russian lawmakers about two months ago, the radio said.

Foreign Ministry official Nimrod Barkan warned Sunday that Russians were effectively getting the message that anti-Semitism would be tolerated.

"There's the expansion of the number of anti-Semitic incidents, including violent incidents [in Russia]; the enforcement institutions avoid taking effective steps," said Barkan, who heads the Diaspora and religion department in the ministry.

"This sends a message, also to those sitting on the fence," he told Army Radio, "that it's comfortable and secure to be anti-Semitic in Russia."

Comfortable and secure to be anti-semitic? Ring a bell...

Why does this come to mind? (The Hitler Youth)

Impersonator and brandy
It has happened to me! Okay so this morning I was using google, trying to locate a lost post I once wrote. This led me to one of my semi-regular read pages, "Jihad Watch". And what do I find? A "blog comment fight" between some guy, and somebody impersonating me! At first I thought, I never wrote that. I could tell without reading the comments, since I never write comments like that (long comments organised into numbered sections, what a waste of time). Then I thought, okay so I guess I better check it for spelling errors or leftist tendencies. And while her spelling is excellent (clearly an educated native English speaker), oh dear...
I think I better do what some people do. Get a pseudo that nobody else would ever use. Or even just use my name. I mean why on earth not? Everyone knows anyway!

Anyway, my flu is incredibly stubborn. I'm feeling less weak, but I was up coughing all night. When my mother mentioned the word "doctor" to me, I decided that enough is enough. I spoke to my friend Annit, and we have the following dialogue:

Maria: Do you know any real good treatment for the flu?
Annit: Brandy
Maria: That's disgusting
Annit: I have a bottle
Maria: You wouldn't want to waste it on someone who doesn't like how it tastes
Annit: You think I like it myself? I'm keeping it for when I get the flu.
Maria: Oh, well, wanna come for a visit...

This flu is so going down!

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