"We're fighting with the gods of war / And I don't want to fight no more..." As Skinny the Foo has related, I went to a Def Leppard concert late in July, and the band was way carbonaceous. They even played "Gods of War," which won a Grammy in 1988 for Best Use of a Ronald Reagan Sample in a Pop Song. Screw you if you don't think it's cool to bang your head to Def Lep in the age of Slipknot and Christina Aguilera. ;P
I was all set to blast the Israelis and Palestinians for leaving the Camp David summit without an agreement, when I heard that they're setting up some more talks. There goes that column... Seriously, I'm glad they're communicating. I think that both Barak and Arafat really want this to be a done deal; unfortunately, they both must ultimately answer to their people, and there are malcontents and demagogues on both sides. Which is a real shame. Too much rhetoric and posturing, not enough real talking.
I did some reading up on Palestine and Israel in the twentieth century; I already knew the basic story, but I learned things I didn't know. The UK controlled what was Palestine at the time, and could not handle the growing conflict between Jews and Arabs living there, so it passed the problem to the United Nations, which decided the best thing for it was to divide the country into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Arabs rejected the idea, and attacked Israel as soon as it had formed. The Israelis put up a good fight, to everyone's surprise, and managed to take some land away from the Arabs before truces were signed. The Jewish nation was allowed to keep what it had won, and the rest of what was supposed to have been the Arab nation of Palestine was split and given to existing Arab countries.
Yes, the UN's decision was perhaps questionable, but the Palestinian Arabs should have taken what they were offered, coexisted with Israel, and lodged their protests with the world body. Instead, they attempted to wipe out the Jewish state and take all of Palestine, were beaten back, and lost everything. And to make matters worse, most of the Palestinians who ended up in Jordan or Lebanon or another Arab nation became permanent refugees, who were never properly assimilated, the way Jewish refugees were in Israel.
Well, it's all a mess. Bottom line is, Israel has survived and even flourished in the face of overwhelming hatred from its neighbors, most of whom have thankfully changed their positions with time. The Palestinians have managed to maintain an identity and a goal, and are entitled to their own land just as the Israelis were and are. They need to stop bickering over the details and come to a compromise. Insisting on calling Jerusalem an "undivided capital" or insisting on accepting nothing less than full sovereignty only makes it that much harder to come to an agreement, and if you end up having to back off from that position later, it's that much harder to justify yourself.
Which brings me once again to those fun-loving Russians and their ever more lamentable war in Chechnya. I wonder if it's occurred to Putin yet that he really won't be able to win this war, not the way he told his people he would. How do you gracefully disengage after telling the world you wouldn't stop until you'd destroyed the "bandits?" The longer it lingers, the more embarrassing it will be for Russia.
Anyone who doubted that Milosevic was a real son of a bitch should have gotten the wake-up call when he started making arrangements to hang onto power by changing all the rules. This man is responsible for the complete disintegration of Yugoslavia, if nothing else.
Speaking of changing the rules, I'm really fed up with George Speight and his supporters. The peaceful (if extreme) way in which they got their point across was cool, but the point itself was not. Once again, maybe there were legitimate complaints (I don't think I'm qualified to judge), but even if Indians in Fiji were disproportionately powerful as compared with native Fijians, excluding a significant minority from government is not an acceptable solution. And now Fiji is bitching because the rest of the world is outraged?!? Hurry up and get your asses into the twentieth century with the rest of us...
All right, that blonde fell asleep next to me on the bus again. Well, she seems to do that to everyone, so maybe it's not meant as a personal commentary...
The speed of light has been broken. Awesome. Mind-boggling, actually. No, nothing's really changed, Einstein's theories still hold, and we're not going to achieve faster-than-light travel (at least, not based on what we know now), but it's still pretty cool to think that they were able to send light traveling faster than the speed of light. Heh-heh...
I'm not above black humor. What's the best thing about flying Air France? The plane takes you right to the hotel.
OK, the Macworld Expo cemented my decision to get an iBook and install a Windows emulator, instead of buying a Wintel notebook and installing a Mac emulator. Now to set a timetable... :) - A