DAY 118: Black

January 22nd, 2015 § 0 comments

Back to Gaza,with the publication of a report from “Physicians for Human Rights – Israel’: About 200 pages, very full, recommended. Screen shot 2015-01-22 at 10.16.26Conclusions:

‘• The attacks were characterised by heavy and unpredictable bombardments of civilian neighbourhoods in a manner that failed to discriminate between legitimate targets and protected populations and caused widespread destruction of homes and civilian property. Such indiscriminate attacks, by aircraft, drones, artillery, tanks and gunships, were unlikely to have been the result of decisions made by individual soldiers or commanders; they must have entailed approval from top-level decision-makers in the Israeli military and/or government.

• The initiators of the attacks, despite giving some prior warnings of these attacks, failed to take the requisite precautions that would effectively enable the safe evacuation of the civilian population, including provision of safe spaces and routes. As a result, there was no guaranteed safe space in the Gaza Strip, nor were there any safe escape routes from it.

• In numerous cases double or multiple consecutive strikes on a single location led to multiple civilian casualties and to injuries and deaths among rescuers.

• Coordination of medical evacuation was often denied and many attacks on medical teams and facilities were reported. It is not clear whether such contravention of medical neutrality was the result of a policy established by senior decision-makers, a general permissive atmosphere leading to the flouting of norms, or the result of individual choices made on the ground during armed clashes.

• In Khuza’a, the reported conduct of specific troops in the area is indicative of additional serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.’

The report is detailed and punchy> I really hope it makes some impact.

Other news

Meanwhile, two Bedouin have been shot by police in the Naqab/Negev. On the other hand, it seems to have stopped raining in Gaza, quite warm in Nablus. If you’re in Mosul, I don’t suppose the weather is your main concern.

A reader (‘Zorg’) from a remote galaxy (not that remote, he or she or it lives in M87, about 16 million parsccs away, and so does take some time to get our posts, even with superfast broadband), writes:

‘I find your blog most entertaining and informative. I recently completed a Ph. D. in Earth Studies concentrating on the early 21st century C. E., so I can understand most of your references. But I’m puzzled by

Stephen Hawking aliens

Hawking and aliens

this character ‘Stephen Hawking’ whom you mention more than once, but who isn’t in my library? Can you tell me how I could put a tentacle on him or his work?’

Well, Zorg, this is a sad story and I’m not sure how I can help. Stephen Hawking is, or was by the time you get this, a brilliant and hugely famous theoretical physicist at Cambridge (England, not Mass.). However, unfortunately he became known as a supporter of the academic boycott of Israel; and this naturally attracted the wrath of Mossad, the israeli secret police. They decided that the most appropriate way of punishing Hawking for his actions would be to ‘lose’ all information about him which emanated from Earth in a black hole somewhere near what we call β Cygni, or Albireo - I don’t know what you call it, a double star about 130 parsecs away. [I recommend Wikipedia's discussion of the star's name if you want to get thoroughly confused about medieval Latin translations from Arabic.]606px-Cygnus_IAU.svg

Cygnus – with β at the bottom right

Given Hawking’s role in developing the theory of black holes, this was nicely ironical; and I’m not a good enough physicist to know how you can work around the problem. Having constructed the separation wall, I suppose that monkeying about with the large-scale geometry of space-time was a natural next step for the Zionist entity. It might be that I could consult Edward Snowden on how to construct a secure encryption for his (Hawking’s) book ‘A Brief History of Time’, whch would break the blockade. All the same, this is a worrying development for those of us who hope that our memory will outlive our puny bodies.


Many years ago, I wrote a couple of novels – actually one and a half. No one ever showed the slightest interest, but it’s occurred to me that at times when I’m short of material to fill these pages up I could insert some bits from these effusions. The problem, as the intelligent reader may have guessed, is that I wrote them around twenty years ago on antique computers whose hard drives had to be written off, and the material is comprehensively lost. I might have a hard copy somewhere, but given their dubious quality, is it worth resurrecting them?

The first, and more inventive, concerned a collection of characters in California’s Bay Area who had, or acquired, the ability to change sex unpredictably or at will; this naturally led to a great deal of fun and games although the plot was complicated  a bit by the intrusion of the Mob, crashed cars,

car2Crash at Ashley and Telegraph

the death of Princess Diana (that dates it) and a Croatian asylum-seeking prostitute. It ran itself into the ground in the Nevada  desert as I was ignorant of the geography, and the characters had their own concerns.

The second one, more conservative,  had as its hero an English estate agent called Charles based in Mèze (Hérault), who was naturally occupied in finding Languedoc village houses for his compatriots. He was a bit of a Hugh Grant figure I now realize – slightly rescued by his girlfriend Marie-Françoise (Marion Cotillard?) who was writing a thesis, obviously, on Paul Valéry; and by a half-hearted lesbian episode involving his mother. Good descriptions of food.

mezeMèze beach

I tried to include some murders and other violence, but they always turned out to be accidents or mistakes – Quaker roots do get in the way of free invention, which is why Jimi Hendrix wasn’t a Quaker, see my article on the subject in Studies in Media, Rock and Theology. But I digress.

Anyway, I would offer these masterpieces to the world to develop, sell the film rights or whatever, but they seem to have disappeared into the Information Age’s equivalent of a black hole. Which is where we came in.


It’s been a while since we’ve heard from dissident Chinese poets in these pages (have we ever?). So here are some words from Liu Xia, wife of imprisoned Nobel prizewinner Liu Xiaobo; who is herself under house arrest, and described as becoming depressed. Not surprisingly.

I don’t think this poem is the one she’s writing in the Screen shot 2015-01-22 at 11.57.29picture, but perhaps someone can enlighten me.


Is it a tree?

It’s me, alone.

Is it a winter tree?

It’s always like this, all year round.

Where are the leaves?

The leaves are farther away.

Why draw a tree?

I like how it stands.

Aren’t you tired of being a tree your whole life?

Even when exhausted, I want to stand.

Is there anyone with you?

There are birds.

I don’t see any.

Listen to the sound of fluttering wings.

Wouldn’t it be nice to draw birds on the tree?

I’m too old to see, blind.

Perhaps you don’t know how to draw a bird at all?

You’re right. I don’t know how.

You’re an old stubborn tree.

I am.


Nor do I know what the old stubborn tree thinks of manic fellow-dissident Ai Wei-Wei performing ‘Gangnam Style’. A bit old, but I hadn’t seen it; and a further contribution to the Chinese dissident theme. (?)

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