Archive for May, 2010

Sad and Angry

Posted in Palestine, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 31/05/2010 by arabrhizome

I was going to write about my day yesterday but something more important than my naval gazing has come up. In the early hours of Sunday morning, the Gaza aid ship flotilla was attacked in international waters by Israeli commandos (I will be referring to them as pirates from now on because that is what they are). The number of peace activists that have been murdered by pirates at the time of writing is 19, also over 60 are injured.

Now a bit of background. Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza strip, which is supported by Egypt explicitly, and implicitly by the Western and Arab regimes. The Gaza Strip is the most densely populated piece of land on the planet. The UN, Amnesty International, and a number of NGOs and charities have argued that this blockade is illegal and has caused a humanitarian crisis of unacceptable levels. Also,  after the barbaric massacre of 2008-2009 which claimed over 1400 lives, mostly civilians, and a lot more injuries, the blockade has been reinforced to block construction materials. So the people who’s houses were destroyed by the israeli murderous attack cannot rebuild.

A few boats filled with aid and supplies have tried to break the blockade over the years, some have succeeded and some were stopped by the pirates. Starting this past month a flotilla of aid ships was organised and commissioned by a number of humanitarian and aid activists in order to break the illegal blockade and provide a real symbolic act of peaceful resistance against the barbaric actions of israel.

We come to today when a number of ships were stormed by pirates, who murdered 19 people and injured around 60 and confiscated the ships and their contents. I am angry, sad, and very very bothered. I listened to Mark Regev, israeli spokes person, justify the murders by blaming the aid workers. I listened to Dany Ayalon say that the organisers of the flotilla have links to terrorist groups like al quaida and Hamas. When Hamas has nothing to do with Al Quaida and more importantly the organisers have absolutely nothing to do with both of them. The flotilla includes 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, European legislators and an elderly Holocaust survivor.

Now the israeli media spin machine will blame the victims again and say that they regret the deaths but that they were forced to act. It seems that israelis are attacked by UN school and personnel, Red Cross personnel and vehicles, civilian infrastructure and civilians, Aid workers and journalists, yet it always the “attackers” who end up dying. How long will we allow this murderous and violent entity to continue to act outside international law.

If you are outraged by this and don’t know what to do, then there are many easy things to do. First write your local MP or political leader. Ask them to condemn the actions of israel and to lobby for human rights for Palestinians. Join the BDS movement by refusing to buy products that are produced and made in Israel and illegal settlements. Also, boycott companies that trade in and with israel. You can find a list of these on the BDS website. Also, importantly learn about the situation, talk to people about it. Spread the word. Apartheid South Africa was defeated by the actions of people who started boycotting SA and forced their governments to join them. We must d the same now.

EDIT: Here is an email I received from Gaza1417 a group of pro-Palestinian activists here in Britain. This is what they say you can do:

URGENT ACTION: ISRAELI TROOPS STORM GAZA FLOTILLA AND KILL 10: DEMONSTRATE TODAY

Members of the Israeli Navy commandeered the largest ship of the Free Gaza Flotilla and in the process kill a reported 10 activists. On board the ship are international human rights activists from a number of countries including eight from the UK.

News reports can be found on the BBC, the Guardian, Al Jazeera and others.

MORE IMPORTANTLY:

We need to mobilise.

What can you do:

1) Protest against Israel’s actions, to support the flotilla and to demand action from our government. 11am, The Foreign Office, Whitehall, London. 2pm Downing Street, London.

2) Make phone calls. We need to put pressure on our government to take action against Israel’s violent actions which are violating several articles of the UN Convention on the law of the sea, part VII putting the lives of Britons and hundreds of others at risk.

3) Make Phone calls to the Israeli embassy in Briton demanding the safe passage of the ships to Gaza and the safety of all on board.

Emergency 24 hour assistance for Britons Abroad: 020 7008 1500

British Embassy in Tel Aviv 24 hour number for emergencies: 00972 3725 1222

British Consulate for OPT: East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Strip: 24 hour switchboard, 00972 02 541 4100

*Numbers for Israeli officials:*

Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office: +972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620
3264

Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence: +972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148

Major Liebovitz from the Israeli Navy: + 972 5 781 86248

The Israeli Ministry of Defense, Fax: 972-3-697-6717

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fax: 972-2- 5303367

Points you may wish to make:

There are a number of British nationals (probably at least 8)  on board the flotilla. If asked for names, you can refer to Sarah Colbourne or Alex Harrison.

Based on the previous actions of Israel, there is reason to believe that the welfare of these British nationals may be at risk (Israel’s previous actions in ramming  and nearly sinking the Dignity Free Gaza boat in December 2008and in dangerously boarding the Spirit of Humanity in June 2009);

That based on Israel’s previous actions, there is reason to believe that large quantities of humanitarian aid, some of it donated by British people, is at risk of being damaged or destroyed.
*Numbers for Israeli officials:*

Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office: +972 2670 5354 or +972 5 0620
3264

Shlomo Dror in the Ministry of Defence: +972 3697 5339 or +972 50629 8148

Major Liebovitz from the Israeli Navy: + 972 5 781 86248

The Israeli Ministry of Defense, Fax: 972-3-697-6717

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fax: 972-2- 5303367
*Action Alert: Israeli military attacks Gaza Freedom Flotilla, 4 deaths
confirmed*

Israel Murders at Least 4 Unarmed Civilians on Aid Flotilla to Gaza, Dozens
Injured

(Cyprus, June 1, 2010, 6:30AM local) Under darkness of night, Israeli
commandos from at least 14 warships and military helicopters boarded the
Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began shooting. According to live
video from the ship, at least two civilians have been murdered, and dozens
injured. Israeli television is reporting 16 civilians killed.

The Mavi Marmara was part of a 6-ship unarmed flotilla, including a
U.S.-flagged vessel, carrying 700 passengers from 40 different countries and
10,000 tons of humanitarian aid on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza.

The last GPS signal from the flotilla, sent just prior to the attack, placed
the ships at latitude:32.64113, longitude:33.56727 – approximately 65 miles
off the coast of Netanya, well in international waters.

Palestinian fishermen are regularly fired upon off the coast of Gaza, but
these are the first Israeli murders of internationals at sea. In recent
years, the Israeli military has adopted increasingly vicious policies toward
international human rights workers in Palestine, murdering Rachel Corrie and
Tom Hurdall in 2003.

The names of the dead are not yet known. The flotilla passengers included
retired US diplomats Amb. Edward Peck and Col. Ann Wright as well as
humanitarian aid and human rights workers, several Members of Parliament
from Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, Malaysia, and Palestinian Members of
the Knesset.

END EDIT

I might write another post later. But I think that I need to pay homage to the dead. You will not be forgotten. RIP you are martyrs and heroes.

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions… oh and Party!

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Friends, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 30/05/2010 by arabrhizome

I know that the post about Friday was quite short, but I think that this one will make up for it. Saturday was quite an eventful and interesting day. It started quite early. Z was going to check a flat that she might be moving to next year (when I say next year, I mean this summer for next year). The thing is her flat now is really nice, lots of light and very nice view. It is a one bedroom flat though and is thus quite small. She has started to feel the lack of space. Therefore the idea of moving to a two bedroom flat became an option. Especially if it’s not too expensive. The second bedroom means that she could have a study.

We went to check that flat. It was very nice. The cons are: First, it doesn’t have as much light as the flat she’s in now. Second, it’s electric heating, so it might be a bit more expensive. Third, it’s a bit out of the way, it’s not too far but the supermarket for example is a good 15 minutes walk away, which can be a pain when it’s cold and rainy. The pros are: It’s gorgeous. It’s modern. It’s big. It has a fridge with a freezer. It has a washing machine. The closet space is huge. The kitchen area actually has enough space to have a table in. The landlord is involved, so whenever there’s an issue she deals with it. It’s new and clean. It’s not too expensive. And finally, it has a balcony.

As we were walking back we kept thinking of reasons why she shouldn’t move there. It seemed that every potential problem had a rational solution. We couldn’t really find a reason for her not to move there. At the end we got to the conclusion that if she moves there she would loose her beautiful view and the light that comes in, but she will gain space and all the reasons I mentioned. It was a decision to make.

After visiting the flat we went to the O2 shop to see if she should switch to a contract for her mobile. The thing is she’s on pay as you go now, because O2 have this great system whereby you get free international minutes with your top ups. The problem is Z has been paying a lot, because she also uses texts a lot, both international and national. We however didn’t really see any good offers. It seemed that she would loose her international minutes and still have to pay for international texts, all she would gain would be the UK texts. So that’s another decision to make.

We then went to town to find luggage. We needed a nice bag that would be small enough not to be checked in, but still big enough to carry a few things. We wanted something funkyish and not boring. We found a very handy one in John Lewis, it can be hand held but also turned into a wheely one. The problem is it’s boring and quite expensive. We then went to Debenhams and found a nice cheap funky one. The problem is it didn’t have wheels and seemed to be a bag that can be quite unwieldy and heavy if full. So that’s another decision to make.

After this quite eventful morning we went back home and decided to think about these things slowly. We had the whole of bank holiday weekend to think about the flat, which was the most urgent thing, and two weeks for the luggage, the phone can wait even longer. I had a leftover lunch and relaxed. I watched a few episodes of House, this season is very very good indeed. I was getting ready to go see a few friends for a sort of farewell party. I say sort of, because I’m still going to see them a few times.

The party was weird at first, because it was also someone else’s party. One of C’s flatmates I think. So it was full of what looked like children to me (18-21 years olds). Now I say that, the friends I was going to see are also children as they are 22-23 years olds. Another reason why it was weird is that C and CM weren’t there when we first arrived. It was their party and yet they weren’t there. We made sure to make fun of them about that for the rest of the evening.

I hung out with a bunch of us frenchies. A had brought me the first season of Battlestar Galactica, so I was quite excited to watch that. After a while, when everyone was here, we had a really good time. I really like my group of friends. We switch from French to English very quickly (I just need to teach them Arabic and it’ll be just like Lebanon). We also all have the same sense of humour, especially about inappropriate stuff. I also really like how we can switch from a discussion about some deep academic issue to a fart joke or a poo one. We just missed B and AC. B is very skilled at both the deep academic/serious discussions and the poo based ones.

All is all the party was a lot of fun, even though the music was mainly crap. Some of the music was crap but acceptable because it has some memories we can all relate to. For example when MC Hammer came on we all agreed, except CM who’s always contrary (I say that to annoy him as he reads this blog, Hi C!), that the song is really crap but we can accept it and enjoy it because it reminds us of when we were young.

We had a few very nice moments. Like when CC and I had a battle of the inappropriate robot dancers. I won the battle, as after a few creative flipping offs, my very inappropriate simulation of oral sex made CC laugh so hard that she couldn’t continue. What is scary is that this display exists in digital form somewhere and people can, and probably will, use it in order to blackmail me at some point.

Friday Blues

Posted in about the blog, Me, Silly Thoughts, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , on 29/05/2010 by arabrhizome

Friday was a hard day. I experienced Sunday blues on Friday. It felt like whatever I felt like doing my body was too tired to do it properly. I slept very late on Thursday, or should I say very early on Friday. Still woke up around 9:00. I had a slow morning, but coffee helped. I did some work during the day, it wasn’t a lot but it was better than no work at all. Lunch was nice, I had asparagus. I was able to work until around 15:00, and then decided to go to the gym early since I was aware that I would loose all energy by 17:00.

I was quite proud of my new characters “Anorakman” and his posse. I tweeted  “Off to the gym. Will I see Anorakman there? Or did the Gym Instructor keep him out? Maybe he’s fighting Professor Metrosexual in the mall…” before going. I thought I would try to imagine some sort of deeper characterisation, or at least think of a funny situation I could explore later in sketch form. Thinking as these characters came to be as I was working out I could get more by thinking about them while working out. But My mind wasn’t completely there. I had trouble working out on the rowing machine, and was only able to do ten minutes. I tried the bike but I wasn’t able to do more than ten minutes as well. But then I got on the treadmill and was able to run for about ten minutes and walk fast for another ten. It’s strange that I was able to run for this long as usually my shins cramp up quite quickly. I guess I’m becoming fitter. I decided to leave after the cardio as I wasn’t in the mood to do more.

When I got home I realised just how tired I was. I tried to work but was only able to watch House while slowly getting sleepier. around 21:40 I got on Skype and B was on it. I was really happy as I haven’t really talked to her properly since she moved to Paris. It was very nice we had a conference call with AM and AC (I am using two initials to differentiate them). We talked until around 23:00. I was exhausted and was glad to go to bed. Saturday was going to be a busy day, and I needed my rest.

Work and Silly Thoughts

Posted in about the blog, Me, Silly Thoughts, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , on 28/05/2010 by arabrhizome

Thursday was quite uneventful, and so I’m having a lot of trouble thinking about something interesting for a post today. I guess this is bound to happen when one writes everyday. I will therefore spend about half an hour on this post and whatever comes out will be it. If it’s not interesting or amusing then too bad. I can’t be expected to produce gold every day. Yes that’s right! I believe that all my previous posts were gold. I am not full of myself, nor am I tooting my own horn. It is the way it is… I’m joking of course.

No I’m not.

Yes I am.

No I’m not.

You decide! (Well that made the post look a bit bigger).

Anyway, I worked all day. I got about a 1000 usable words. It was strange working again. I forgot how nice it feels to produce something tangible, rather than thinking about things and then keeping these thoughts in your head. I need to keep going. If I’m able to stick to my schedule I’ll be done with my thesis in a year. But it’s going to take a lot.

I didn’t do much other than work. I did go to the gym, but did not see anorak man, even though I was actively looking for him. I thought about him being a rubbish superhero: “Anorakman. He never takes off his anorak even when he’s indoors and it’s very hot. He showers once a week, and smells of stale tobacco and beer.” I also thought about who his side kicks could be. The best I could come up with was: “Too-much-make-up-on Girl” and “Badly-fitted-wig Boy”. But who would his arch nemesis be? That was quite tough to come up with. I thought about “Professor Metrosexual”, or “The Gym Instructor”, or maybe “Doctor Doesn’t-live-with-his-mother-anymore”. I couldn’t decide who would be the arch nemesis and who would be just another supervillain. Thinking about that meant that I did more exercise than I anticipated, as time flew by while I was creating these rubbish characters. Maybe I should develop these characters more, think about a back story for each, and explore their motivations.

Other than that, nothing really happened at the gym, except that I couldn’t adjust the seat on one of the machines and had to ask for help. I know, how pathetic! I have such little upper body strength that adjusting the setting of a seat is impossible, let alone using the machine. It made me laugh when the nice gym person just fixed it with incredible ease. I really need to build up some muscle. Or maybe I could be another rubbish superhero, “Upper-body-strength-of an-8-year-old-girl Man”.

After the gym, I hung out with Z a bit, then went to the supermarket to get some stuff. I needed a few raspberries and maybe some strawberries to make smoothies. They didn’t have any. I wanted some uncooked prawns to make wantons, but they didn’t have any either. I thought about getting a ready meal, but then thought it was better not to. Isn’t my life really really difficult? I mean I know it is also very glamourous and a lot of you wish you were like me? However, I’m sure you don’t want to suffer the problems I face. Who amongst you will be able to deal with the agony of not finding fruit or sea food? Who would be able to, even though they are tempted, decide not to get a ready meal and make something healthy instead?

I think that if I’m able to write on Friday as well I will start playing video games again. I haven’t played any in over three weeks, except for the odd FIFA game with A. I miss video games, but the guilt of not working has prevented me from playing them. I think that that’s one of the things no one tells you about when you start your PhD, but guilt is the one constant emotion you feel. You are guilty because you don’t work enough, or too much, or on the wrong thing, or because you have a life, or because you don’t, the list goes on forever as any PhD student can tell you. Anyway, this post went well after all. I guess I shouldn’t worry and just write.

Battlestar Galactica and This Blog’s Direction

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , on 27/05/2010 by arabrhizome

Disclaimer: From now on I will refer to people using their initials. That way it’ll be easier to identify people and hopefully the blog will be easier to read.

So I’ve been thinking about this blog a bit. It has turned into a kind of daily diary. I’m not exactly unhappy about that but I don’t want it to be only that. I’ve realised that I’m trying to fit everything interesting that has happened to me on the previous day within one post. I want it to be a little bit more diverse I guess. I had envisaged it with a post on a book I’m reading, when I have time to read, or a series I’m watching, or even an idea that has been hanging out in my head, as well interesting stuff that has happened to me. I thing that I have three options to deal with that: Either I keep it the way it is, or I write a post from time to time that doesn’t involve me talking about my day, or I write an extra post when I want to write about something other than my day. In other words, I might change the way I write posts and I might not. I haven’t decided yet. Feedback is appreciated.

Anyway, Wednesday was an interesting day. I needed to start writing. You see I am done with everything non-thesis related. There are no more excuses. I went to uni in order to hand in the copies and also work there. The problem is the AGC was full of people talking, so I was unable to concentrate. Also, the heating was on, and it seemed to be set on “the centre of the earth” setting. It was stuffy and smelly, as everyone was sweating profusely. The library wasn’t even an option, as it was going to be full of undergrads preparing for their exams quite loudly. I realised very quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to work there.

Back home I sat in front of the computer. For a while, I found myself in the all too familiar situation of staring at a blank page of a word document. Writing a sentence and then erasing it, writing a sentence and then erasing it, and so on. But after about an hour or so I was writing. It just happened without me trying. I just started writing. It didn’t even register properly in my brain that I was actually working. Now, I realise that what I wrote is mostly unusable (wrong register, too much repetition, unsubstantiated statements) but it is something, a bit over 1000 words of something. I was getting over my writer’s block and I think it is in part due to this blog.

Thursday will need to be more productive. I’m going to need to have by the end of it about 1000 usable words. After that I need to write something along the lines of 1000 words a day (more or less) and I’ll have a chapter draft ready for the 18th.

In other news, I went to the gym and saw a guy running on the treadmill while wearing an anorak and jeans. It was very surreal as the gym was warm. The man seemed to have walked in by mistake, on his way to Sainsbury’s or some stamp collecting convention, and got stuck on this machine. It seemed extraordinary that he is exercising while wearing that attire, but even more that no one else was interested. I know that I have talked about my fondness of eccentrics in a previous post, and I stand by this. It was just strange to see such an eccentric figure in the middle of the university gym, that’s all.

Back home I watched the Battlestar Galactica pilot before I went to sleep, and I’m hooked. I know I’m about 5 years late, but it is very impressive. I will probably buy the dvd box set or borrow them from A. I think I will like the series enough to own it though. So that’s something to think about.

Grading and BBQ

Posted in Culture, Food, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , on 26/05/2010 by arabrhizome

So Tuesday was grading day. I woke up relatively early, around 8:00, and got ready to go to my friend’s place to grade the pile of exams I had. It was a cloudy day and a bit cooler, well a lot cooler, than the previous few days, but it was still warmish. We had decided to barbecue the rest of the meat from last time as a treat for our grading. If you’ve never graded exams before you wouldn’t know how daunting, frustrating, and mainly boring grading can be. So I was happy that we had devised a plan to pepper the day with FIFA breaks and a barbecue lunch in order to make the whole thing manageable. The weather seemed to be conspiring against the barbecue, but I thought as I was walking to my friend’s house that we can still have the grill outside and just eat indoors, which is exactly what we did.

I arrived to my friend’s house, which is just lovely. It’s nice and functional, although one would need a car or at least a bike to move around, as it is a bit outside the town centre. We chatted for a bit and then started grading. The process was slow. It took longer than we thought to grade each paper. The papers were written in French, or to be more precise I should say in a language that resembles French. The students are first years in the French department. That made for a few giggles that kept us going throughout the day. We realised that a lot of them got gender wrong almost systematically. In fact, one of the students I graded got it wrong every single time. What was interesting though is that most of them would make mistakes with gender over 50% of the time. There wasn’t really any reason we could find for that, they just seemed to be more likely to make mistakes when it came to gender identification (now I think I deserve a bit of credit for not making the obvious joke that this is the result of us living in a post-gender world where assigning gender to objects is archaic, obsolete, and in many ways sexist. I know it is a hilarious joke and yet I chose not to go there because it was too obvious and expected). As the day wore on it became clear that the grades I was giving were higher on average than the ones my friend was giving. Now I don’t know if this is because I’m too lenient (it probably is), or because I just happened to have a better batch (it really isn’t). So I hope that doesn’t produce too much extra work for the module convenor.

Lunch was quite satisfying. His girlfriend came back for lunch, she had an exam. She seemed satisfied with what she did. We watched with her a series she follows. It happened to be the season’s finale, we’re not sure if it was also the series finale. And then went back to grading. We played a few games of FIFA throughout. I think we ended up with a draw. We couldn’t finish all the papers by the end of the day, but we at least got through most of them.

We then passed by another friend’s place to say good bye to one of the exchange teachers (lectrice) who come here from France for a year to teach. I just stayed for 10 minutes as I needed to finish up the grading and get ready, maybe even start writing the chapter (I didn’t start writing the chapter). All in all quite a productive day. I didn’t have time to go to the gym. I went on Monday and was quite happy because I lost half a kg, even though I didn’t go quite so regularly last week. I’ll go on Wednesday and work out properly then.

Other than that I just watched the first episode of season 5 of House and that seems to be just as good as it’s always been. Hugh Laurie is a fantastic actor. Also, we might have figured out a way to publish the podcast for a lot cheeper than 120£ a year. If that is possible than the podcast might be up soon. I need to get in touch with people and see if it feasible. I miss my friend who’s in Paris, we were able to have a quick chat on Monday before my supervision. I hope to talk to her soon. Moving is such a horrible mess, especially if you are moving to another country.

Supervision, Lost, and other stuff

Posted in Culture, Me, Palestine, Uncategorized, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , on 25/05/2010 by arabrhizome

Disclaimer: This will include some spoilers about Lost. If you haven’t watched lost than don’t read the bit about it. Unless you don’t care, which is fair enough. I will flag it in the post as well just so you know. Also, I like these disclaimers I want to use them for every post even if there is no need for them.

So Monday was nice. I went to uni to meet my supervisor. It was a good meeting and we sat outside and discussed my annual report. We decided to change a bit the thing I’ve sent him. We then went to the lakeside coffee shop and discussed my thesis as a whole. I have to write a chapter by the 18th of June. That’s okay. It will take a lot of work but I’m hoping to be able to have something by then. This bog has already shown me that I can write something worthwhile without messing up my mind too much.

After that I went to the Arts Graduate Centre (AGC) to work on the annual report and the supervision report. I did most of it then met my girlfriend and had a coffee with her. We sat outside again. It was nice to hang out, even though we both had things on our minds and didn’t talk much. I had a meeting after that for the marking of the module I teach this term. We have about 45 copies each to grade, that’s me my friend and the module convenor. That’s a lot, but me and my friend decided that we’ll do them together on Tuesday. We thought we’ll grade a few then play a bit of football on the PS3, and repeat, until clean (haha! What a brilliant joke! Do you get it? I satirised shampoo instructions. That’s right shampoo manufacturers you thought no one would satirise you but I went there girlfriend!). We hoped that this way we’ll be able to grade all of them on Tuesday and not worry about it.

After the meeting I went back home. I had seen this the night before. It is interesting to see how apartheid states stick together. What is very interesting is that this actually, finally, properly proves that Israelhas nuclear weapons, because you know pictures and testimony is just not enough (the most badly kept secret around), which is illegal of course. But more importantly, they are willing to sell these weapons to racist and violent pariah states. Somehow that makes their claims about Iran less powerful. Now, a nuclear Iran scares me as much as the next person, but a nuclear Israel scares me as well (to be fair a nuclear anybody scares me, I don’t know if it’s because I scare easily). I wonder if they will have sanctions put on them for illegally developing, storing, and distributing nuclear weapons. Of course I don’t wonder at all, If that question ever made it to the UN security council the US would veto any sanctions as usual. That is why I believe it is up to us the citizens of the world who believe in basic simple human rights for all to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel for it’s complete ignoring of international law. The story didn’t even make it to the BBC’s news coverage.  They’re website doesn’t even mention it. You can complain here to them. If you pay your license fee and expect better of them it is your right to do so. I just expect better of the BBC, but with their refusal to air the Gaza appeal during the massacre of 2008-2009, and their less than objective coverage of a few other events, I’m not surprised.

You see I’m not a big fan of complaining about stuff you find offensive on tv, I believe you can always switch over. I’m thinking in particular about the Brand-Ross affair. That was a bit stupid. But here we have a lie by omission being told, and that puts the objectivity of the BBC in question. I only wish the actual everyday atrocities were reported more widely, because I believe that most people would join the BDS movement if they knew the reality of what is happening there. Apartheid is wrong and nothing can justify it.

Now for Lost. This is the last bit of the post so don’t worry about missing something important (as if any of this naval gazing is important, well the bit about Palestine and boycott is actually important), so all of you who haven’t watched it and don’t want to have it spoiled stop reading.

With a bit of anticipation mixed with some apprehension I sat ready to watch the last episode of Lost. It has been an excellent series. Very multilayered and very impressive. I was expecting to be disappointed whatever the end was, because it would be very hard to end it in a way that would live up to the intellectual orgasms that this series has provided us over the years. I remember the episode in season 2 or 3 when Desmond David Hume (that’s right like the philosopher David Hume) was debating with John Locke (that’s right like the philosopher John Locke) whether not pressing a button will actually cause the end of the world. I remember having one of those mental orgasms I talked about, because it was basically the philosopher Hume (who argues in his writing that we can’t actually see causes and can only suppose they exist, thus we live our lives thinking things cause other things yet can never be sure that they actually do) arguing with the philosopher John Locke (who is one of the proponents of the social contract theory and who believes that we are born as blank tables with no innate ideas) about the nature of causality, and whether because we don’t know that by pressing that button every 108 minutes the world is actually saved, we can assume that it is true. Also, the moment in season 4 or 5 when we first realised that what we assumed were flash backs were actually flash forwards. The moments are countless and as anyone who’s watched it will tell you it is quite nice to have your brain tickled in such original and interesting ways.

So the moment was upon us. The moment when, we were told, it will all make sense. So the episode as a whole was quite good, with nice apocalyptic moments built with some nice alternate universe moments (or what I believed to be an alternate universe). However, I realised a lot of the characters were missing. Like the Nigerian priest (I believe he is Nigerian, I might be wrong). But as the episode started getting closer to the end it was clear that some strands will be left untied, and that’s fine. It seemed to be building up to a final moment when they will all meet up in the alternate universe, where oceanic 815 never crashed, because they remembered what had happened to them on the island. These sequences appeared because they detonated an A bomb when they were stuck in the 1970s, in order to stop the plain from ever crashing in the future. If you haven’t watched Lost I realise you must be a bit lost (Haha! I am very very funny! you see how clever I am!). The point is I assumed that these sequences were the result of the bomb exploding and causing an alternate universe to come into existence or something of the sort.

But the last few minutes ended up revealing that in fact these sequences were taking place in some sort of afterlife outside time. So that even though they all died at different times, they still existed in that afterlife simultaneously. They met in a church, which had most, if not all, of the religious signs of most human contemporary religions. There they were waiting to move on to heaven or something. Basically it was Narnia, as my girlfriend pointed out. It was the most tired, unoriginal,uncomplicated,  and completely expected ending. But more infuriating than this is the fact that we still don’t know what the island is, or why they, and not anyone else had to be there. We know that Jacob chose them, but why? That didn’t seem important enough for the writers. And you know what? If the ending was a bit more interesting than I wouldn’t have minded these questions unanswered. We don’t know why Hurley can speak to dead people, or why they can speak to him. We don’t know why Desmond can resist massive and catastrophic levels of electromagnetism. We don’t really understand why the black smoke is the black smoke or why it was evil. We don’t know many important things that I would have rather seen explored.

Also, isn’t the christian metaphor really overdone. What was interesting about this series is that it seemed to explore religious ideas in a very secular way. It was nice to see ideas of fate being associated with a physical object, the island, rather than a super-powerful invisible magician in the sky. Ideas such as good and evil were complicated by the characters which were all flawed and could not fit easily into neat categories of good and evil. I know that I sound like I’m reading too much into it and that I’m bringing my own perspectives onto it, but if you had seen the series you would know that this is the beauty of Lost. Everyone could have a different reading and bring their own prejudices to it. But to end it in such a trivial and uninspired way left a real bad taste in my mouth. I would still recommend you watch it if you haven’t because there are some really inspired WTF? moments where you would stare at the screen for a few seconds at the end of an episode thinking “I don’t understand! I just don’t understand! Did that really happen? What the fuck happened?” And that is worth the disappointment of the series finale.