:: Saturday, November 30, 2002 ::
Back to the old stomping grounds
:: Thursday, November 28, 2002 ::
I probably won't be posting much this coming week as I'll be at my alma mater, UC-Berkeley, for a conference, and my web access will probably be spotty. I'll be staying at my younger brother's place, which should be fun. I'll hopefully get to meet some fellow blogosphere residents, including Andrew L. of the comments, and it also looks like I'll be meeting the Shark, which I sincerely hope does not mark the point at which this blog ends up jumping the shark.
Whose credibility is in question here?
I noticed something strange in this story about the terror attacks in Kenya today. Referring to the suicide attack on a hotel that killed 12 people:
A previously unknown group calling itself "The Army of Palestine" faxed a claim of responsibility to the Reuters News Agency in Beirut. Another such fax was received by Al-Manar, Hezbollah television, where editors said it did not appear credible. Hold on a minute: Hezbollah is one of the world's leading terrorist organizations, and now the editors spreading jihadist propaganda at their TV station are determining what is and isn't credible? In the sense that it takes one to know one, I suppose that Hezbullah might be a source as to whether or not such and such a terrorist group has been around and conducted attacks before, but whatever.
Oh, and not to be outdone, the Palestinian terror groups launch yet another attack, leaving at least five Israelis dead. Surely the killers are just trying to emphasize the need for a resumption of peace talks, as Arafat mouthpiece Saeb Erekat is claiming.
Gotta get some more basketball in
:: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 ::
I didn't see the game last night, and I don't think it was televised anyway, but the Cats beat Gonzaga 80-72 in their last game of the Maui Invitational. Apparently they shot well and got some rebounds, which makes quite a difference. Gonzaga's no pushover, either, so it's a nice way to wrap up the Hawaii trip. Hopefully the Good Cats who beat Arizona St. and Gonzaga will show up more often than the Lame Cats who bricked their way out of the Virginia game.
He's been there before
A man who knows a thing or two about dealing with Islamic fanaticism empathizes with those who are now experiencing some of the things he went through:
A couple of months ago I said that I detested the sloganization of my name by Islamists around the world. I'm beginning to rethink that position. Maybe it's not so bad to be a Rushdie among other "Rushdies." For the most part I'm comfortable with, and often even proud of, the company I'm in.
Where, after all, is the Muslim outrage at these events? As their ancient, deeply civilized culture of love, art and philosophical reflection is hijacked by paranoiacs, racists, liars, male supremacists, tyrants, fanatics and violence junkies, why are they not screaming?
At least in Iran the students are demonstrating. But where else in the Muslim world can one hear the voices of the fair-minded, tolerant Muslim majority deploring what Nigerian, Egyptian, Arab and Dutch Muslims are doing? Muslims in the West, too, seem unnaturally silent on these topics. If you're yelling, we can't hear you.
If the moderate voices of Islam cannot or will not insist on the modernization of their culture — and of their faith as well — then it may be these so-called "Rushdies" who have to do it for them. For every such individual who is vilified and oppressed, two more, ten more, a thousand more will spring up. They will spring up because you can't keep people's minds, feelings and needs in jail forever, no matter how brutal your inquisitions. The Islamic world today is being held prisoner, not by Western but by Islamic captors, who are fighting to keep closed a world that a badly outnumbered few are trying to open. As long as the majority remains silent, this will be a tough war to win. But in the end, or so we must hope, someone will kick down that prison door.
:: Tuesday, November 26, 2002 ::
The Cats go down in flames, 75-61 against a not-that-impressive Virginia team. But you do tend to lose when you get out-rebounded by 11 and shoot 2 of 22 on 3-pointers.
The off-season is over
The real sports season for Kentucky fans commenced last night when the basketball team played its first game. They played well and beat Arizona St. 82-65 in the Maui Invitational. I'll probably end up posting something after each game, at least the ones that I get to see. Unlike many UK fans who are either spoiled rotten by virtue of rooting for the most successful program in college basketball history or strangely fatalistic for the same reason (sometimes a weird combination of both), I enjoy it when they win.
Nothing more powerful than hearing it first-hand
:: Sunday, November 24, 2002 ::
I saw a talk tonight by a Michigan professor about Kristallnacht. It was a first-hand account--he grew up in a Jewish family in Berlin in the '20s and '30s. He showed us pictures of his synagogue, big and beautiful, which had been built just before WWI, with many of the top officials of the Imperial government in attendance at its opening. During the afternoon of the two-day period of Kristallnacht in November '38, mobs tore apart the inside of the synagogue and almost burned it down. He showed us pictures he took afterwards, and it was totally wrecked and gutted.
He also talked about how he survived the war and the Holocaust. Along with a lot of other Jews, he was forced to work in a munitions factory during the war. Some of the others working there were replaced by people from the conquered countries, mainly Polish and French women, as the war went on. In late '42, the Gestapo snatched his parents and his sister. He later found out that they were carted off to Auschwitz, and he never heard from them again. Some people in Berlin had cottages in small villages outside the city and went there during the war because of the bombing, and through an old family connection he managed to get into one of them along with another Jewish friend (later to be his wife) and her parents. They survived there with fake IDs for more than two years. A friendly older couple lived nearby and listened to the BBC with them at night, risking their lives because that was punishable by death. Their son, an army officer, also became a friend. In early '45, they were found out by another person in the village and had to escape quickly. The army officer let them use his apartment in Berlin--most other people's abandoned Berlin apartments were being commandeered by refugees fleeing the Red Army, but army officers' apartments were exempt, mainly to prevent something else from encouraging desertion. They survived the end of the war in the apartment and came to America two years later. That brave-hearted officer, who also helped save other Jewish people, was eventually named one of "The Righteous Among the Nations" at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.
I seem to have successfully switched my archives from appearing on the front page to being on a separate page, but now my table on the left with all the links in it is messed up. This is astonishingly annoying. The width used to accommodate for the longer entries in the table, but now it's fixed rigidly and looks pretty ridiculous. I haven't the slightest idea why this changed, as all I did was adjust the archives from appearing on this page to linking to another page. How this could affect the way the whole table appears is beyond me. If anyone can help me get a clue, I would greatly appreciate it.
UPDATE: I made a width adjustment in a different place from where I thought I should try, and it seems to have worked. If the entries in the column on the left look crowded or unnatural, please leave a comment. Even more important, leave a comment if you can explain to me how this stuff actually works.