Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 2011

Perpetrators of financial crisis reap the benefits, politically and financially! Any other cause of social upheavals?

Since WWII and till the fall of the Berlin Wall (end of the Soviet Union empire), the capitalist States, especially the USA and England, made it a fantastic profitable business of borrowing money.

You might think that when you borrow at high interest rate, you are really in great trouble:  That is correct on the individual level and for small enterprises.

On a State level, particularly powerful States, with the right of issuing currency and the power of influencing inflation, the US and England managed to generate 6.3% of their GNP just by keeping inflation over 4% during this entire period.

How that?

Lenders or buyers of State treasury bills discovered that inflation actually resulted in negative return on the interest rate they expected to earn “while sleeping”:  The dept of the States were automatically reduced by more than a 50% because of the frequent devaluation of the currencies.   For example, the public dept of the US of 116% dropped effectively to 66%, and the public dept of England dropped to 138% from the high of 216%.

How that again?

The States reimbursed the nominal value that kept being reduced every year from the inflation level.  Practically, an interest rate of 5% is repaid with a currency devaluing at a 10% rate!  It is the State borrower that pocketed the difference in profit.  The end result was that you deposited your money in banks that lent to the State at rates lower than effective inflation rate.

Why investors grudgingly accepted to be fleeced out of their expected profit? 

It appears investors with cash surpluses had no viable alternatives due to capital control and nationalization of banks policies.

The other risky alternative, against the law and liable of prison terms, was to dispatch bag full of gold bars to foreign banks.

Actually, since 1968, the dollars was constantly floating and ceased to be linked to gold reserve:  The European countries had to cover up for the dollar frequent fluctuations since the dollar was the international currency in the “Free World“, fighting this survival battle with communist Soviet Union!

The dollar was the problem of the other productive “Free countries” and never affected the economic well-being or development of the USA.

During that period, developed States instituted vast social network coverage in health care, early retirement and excellent saving retirement plans…:  People in developed countries can go on extended vacation trips with pocketful of money.

Things have changed quantitatively in the 80’s:  Salaries were reevaluated at the rhythm of inflation, still within capital control policies.

Thus, developing States could no longer generate profit from borrowing extensively, though borrowing was still an excellent means of covering larger public dept.  The current US public dept is about 14 trillion or 14,000 billion and increasing like mad.

Things have changed qualitatively in the 90’s:

The power shifted from States to multinational financial institutions.  States covered up the deficits of banks (bankruptcies) under the excuse that economic chaos will befall society if banks are not salvaged by using people tax money!

After the 2007 financial crisis, most developed States extensively salvaged irredeemable banks with practically no financial preconditions.  The States are bankrupts and entirely reliant on banks and international monetary institutions to cover up budget deficits.

For example, the IMF, World Bank, Europe Central Bank and powerful international financial companies are not reluctant in abusing of blackmailing tactics, unbearable constraints, and issuing ultimatum to less developed borrowing States such as Greece, Portugal, Ireland…

The poorer borrowing States are pressured to balance budgets, and specifically by targeting the previously acquired social network  rights, and the reduction in salaries and retirement benefits…

Liberal capitalism was hardly able to force social democratic States to tampering with a single social right acquisition.

Currently, States are hitting all these social network benefits at the same time, as a national requirement for a “package deficit reduction plan“! State Parliaments are happy satisfying inhuman and brutal constraints set by non-elected, unregulated, and uncontrolled foreign financial institutions.

Liberal capitalists  expect the rights of the richest 10% classes to remain intact!  Unemployment is increasing drastically and free paid jobs are the trend, named “extended training periods“…

The irony is that most chairmen of finance ministries, central banks, and public monetary regulation institutions are former high officers in private international financial companies. 

Tax laws and loopholes are vastly privileging the rich classes.  Indignation is mounting:  It is no longer a matter of financial techniques and gimmicks, but a political and social struggle to redress power imbalance. 

The people and their representatives have to regain the political power and start giving priority to the welfare and the due rights of the common working people.

Note: The colonial wars in the previous centuries were undertook under the excuse that the borrowing nations failed to repay their debts. Spain lost its colonies in Cuba, Philippine… to the USA.  The far eastern countries such as Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma… were captured militarily by France and England for failing to repay their debts…

Revisiting the siege of Hama (Syria, 1982):  Who is Robert Fisk?

There is a deep purpose for this essay, besides the obvious account of Robert Fisk on the siege of the city of Hama in 1982, during the reign of the dictator father Hafez al Assad.

In February 18, 1982, Robert Fisk dispatched his eye-witness account on the siege of Hama to the Times. I am basing this story on the Arabic version of Fisk’s book “Afflictions of a Nation”.  I will relate the story in the first person:

On February 17, I headed to Aleppo to visit a couple of Irish friends.  The taxi driver was not allowed to go through Hama and he had to make a detour around Hama city limits.  On my way back, two young Syrian soldiers, barely 19 of age, asked to have a lift to their unit in Hama. I learned from my long stay in Lebanon that the presence of a Syrian soldier in the car can open the way to prohibited places.

One of the soldier said: “The siege and the fighting is on its 17th day, and there are no indication that it will abate anytime soon.”  Brown fumes were spouting from building as tanks T 62 shelled the buildings. A Syrian soldier brought us hot tea, and I noticed that most soldiers had red eyes from lack of sleep. A few of them headed to sleep on the dirt road by the tank.  The secret service agents were everywhere, especially keeping close tab on the soldiers behaviors. My taxi driver was feeling scared and insisted on resuming our trip back to Damascus.

A policeman got a hike in our car, a young peasant girl, and a mother holding her baby. I offered a chocolate bar to the toddler, but the mother snatched it from me and ate it, to the cry of the baby.  The women were tired and particularly hungry from a week-long search of lost relatives in Hama.  Scores of black dressed women were vacating Hama.  An officer joined the ride and said: “A few of my soldiers joined the insurrection. We have been literally fighting underground.  You won’t believe that underground hospitals are fully equipped.  The insurgents have missiles. We tried to arrest a fighting girl, and she blew herself up, killing 20 soldiers.”

As I arrived in Damascus, I was walking to the ministry of information:  minister Iskandar Ahmad Iskandar had invited the foreign press for a meeting.  Before I reach the building, a ton of explosives tore down the ministry. The Syrian radio had announced that I had never been to Hama.  When I met the minister Iskandar a few months later he told me: “I never listen to the Syrian radio. Robert, I never said that you are a liar. This dialogue is between two friends.

No foreign press reporters ever entered Hama, and their account of 10,000 killed during the siege is an over-estimation.  When I visited Hama in 1983, the old quarter of city was completely bulldozed and a vast parking lot taking the place of the narrow streets and old historic building and fortresses.” (end of account)

There is this Syrian painter named Khaled al Khani who is in Paris for a month. Khaled was 7 years of age during the Hama attacks in 1982.  He recalls that the security services grabbed his father working at the hospital; they gauged one of his father’s eyes and then killed him and left the body outside the hospital to rot.

In June 3, 2011, Hama demonstrated and the security services killed 60 citizens.  The mayor struck a deal with the regime.  The deal was for all internal security services to retreat beyond city limits, for the city to take charge of the dismantlement the bronze bust of late Hafez al Assad, in return of the demonstrators not to engage in sit-in and to stay away from public buildings.

In July 1st, a mass demonstration pressured the regime to revise its decisions.  The mayor was sacked and hundred of tanks are cordoning off the city of Hama, and hundreds of families left the city in anticipation of harder days.   The singer Ibrahim Kashoush was found slaughtered by the Assy River because his song said: “It is time for you Bashar to leave.  We prefer to die than be humiliated…” Water and electricity are frequently cut-off and bread is scarce.  But the regime is refraining from entering the city:  The “foreign enemies” might have an excellent excuse to destroying the headquarters of the internal security forces under the pretense: “Hama will not be massacred again. Not on our watch…”

Since 1980, Syria was experiencing Moslem fundamentalist revival, due to the victory of Iran Islamic revolution in 1979, and the growing Islamic resistance to the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.  The Syrian Moslem Brotherhood organization was receiving arms and ammunition from its Turkish counterpart, the Islamic militia of Alp Erslan.

In 1980, the Syrian salafists were demanding that Syria adopt Islam religious laws or shariat.  They plastered their leaflets at night, beginning with “Bism Allah el rahman el rahim” , and signed “The leaders of Islamic revolution in Syria”.  The secret service agents would remove the leaflets at day break. These Islamists claimed responsibility for blowing up the headquarters of the army and air-force intelligence centers,  the Soviet intelligence building in Damascus, and many official centers.

For two years, late Hafez al Assad appointed recognized people of Hama to key positions and waited for the proper timing to enter Hama.  In February 1982, the insurrection in Hama was a full-fledged resistance. Foreign aid workers, living in this poor city of Hama, have been feeling the coming terrors for a while:  The Islamists engaged in a wave of assassinations within Hama, particularly Baath high officials, along with their wives and children within their homes.  Hama is the most inland strategic place of Syria, smack in the center of all major urban cities.  The Syrian army and tanks had cordoned off all entrance to Hama.

There is this consistent trend, and direct links of the timing of Israel “preemptive wars” on Lebanon:  They are planned after internal troubles are fomented in Syria.  About six months before each preemptive war on Lebanon, Israel foment serious political upheavals in Syria, hoping that destabilization might provoke a civil war in Syria.

Unlike Lebanon, a war on Syria requires serious excuses: Syria enjoys the support of a couple of veto power States in the UN, and strong tacit international and regional agreement for a war on Syria must be satisfied.  Consequently, since civil wars in Syria were never forthcoming, Israel tried to draw Syria into a war by attacking Lebanon.  Israel has been longing to destroy Syria’s infrastructure and industrial base since the 1973 war.  Syria refrained from intervening directly in Israel preemptive wars on Lebanon.

For example, in 1977, Israel expected a civil war in Syria to take place as Hafez Assad decided to fight the Palestinian Resistance Movement (PLO) in Lebanon.  The Moslem Sunnis in Syria did not succumb to this temptation, and Israel attacked Lebanon in 1978 and occupied lands.

In February 1982, the Syrian Moslem Brotherhood organization started a civil insurrection in Hama:  It failed. Thus, Israel invaded Lebanon in June  1982.  Syria could not even send reinforcement to its army positioned in Lebanon.  The 17,000 Syrian soldiers in Lebanon had to fend-off Israel invasion in Lebanon with what they had, before retreating to the Bekaa Valley.

In April 2005, Israel expected a civil war in Syria after the assassination of Lebanon ex-Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri:  The dictatorial regime of the son Bashar al Assad recovered from this concerted international assault.  Consequently, Israel launched its preemptive war on Lebanon in June 2006.  The war lasted 33 days, and Syria refused to be drawn in.  All that Syria did was receiving thousands of Lebanese refugees, and keeping its borders opened for the flow of goods.

After this failed preemptive war in 2006, and the strategic defeat of Israel by Hezbollah, Israel has been coaxing Syria to engage a limited war on Israel.  For example, air attacking a supposedly atomic facility in Deir el Zour, and assassinating high Syrian officials…  Currently, Syria is in big internal difficulties.  Is it a coincidence that Israel has been frequently threatening to attack Hezbollah in the last three months?

Israel hopes for instigating a civil war in Syria, otherwise, Israel is preparing for another preemptive war against Lebanon this September, for many political reasons, among other reasons the voting in the UN this September for the establishment of a Palestinian State…Israel is again wishing Syria to engage in military actions this time around, on the ground that the weakened Syrian regime thinks of boosting its shrinking popularity…Obviously, this clannish regime of the Assad family is not going to be drawn in a war with Israel.  The thousands Syrian tanks are engaged to cordoning off dozens of cities and major towns…

And Lebanon had to suffer all the consequences of this international and regional tag of war.

Note 1: Robert Fisk is one of the famous journalist reporters who covered Lebanon civil war.  He was the correspondent of the British “Times” in the Middle-East till 1987.  He is currently the correspondent of the British daily “The Independent”.  Fisk wrote two books on the Irish civil war and conflicts, and a book on Lebanon’s civil war “Afflictions of a Nation”.

Note 2:  The Zionist lobby in England took to the street denouncing the accurate accounts of Fisk in the Times: “The Times is the new Arabic secret weapon”

Note 3: Fisk reported that Israel invasion of Lebanon in 1982 was the beginning of the shattering of Israel’s image in the eyes of world community:  Foreign reporters and press declined accepting Israel accounts as accurate or credible.  The foreign press have witnessed the atrocities and countless violations of human rights of the Israeli soldiers and officers against civilians in Lebanon.

You cannot adore two gods: Simultaneously

I believe that there is no harm in adoring two Gods, such as accumulating money and focusing on equity among men.  It is very possible and even desired: One god at a time, for definite periods, just for effective ways of focusing attention to specific, well-targeted passions.

It is advisable, on the individual level, to be opened-minded and find ways of adoring the two gods, one at a time:  It is one life and it is imperative to investigate which God is most appropriate to our natural inclination and passions.

Should community also experience with adoring two gods?  Negative.  Community of men needs to disseminate the culture of adoring fairness and equity among mankind.  Community of men should valiantly fight the 1% richest class of men in all countries.  This class of 1% have instituted this taboo ideology, based on adoring money, that it is natural that people be divided between masters and slaves.

Old cultures adored several divinities, one at a time, one for every season, for every wish and desire.  Old cultures had the same various gods, even if the names differed.  For example, a traveler would ask: “Where is the temple of God of rain, or fertility…?” It didn’t matter the name of the God, what counted was the purpose of the prayer.

Consequently, in ancient times, wars were never fought for religious causes. The equation was pretty straightforward: “You love to saving money, and we love to playing war games. You hoarded wealth, and we are coming for the loots…”

Until people created an absolute powerful God, the unique God…the absolute monarch, caliph, prince, Emir, Emperor…fighting for absolute power, meaning money, the oldest form of liberal capitalism.  Spreading a monolithic god was very convenient to founding power based on divine injunctions.  Slavery was “divinely”codified:  You are all slaving for god, the absolute monarch.

Sects within one monolithic religion fought one another to conserving their large tax base of the slaving people.  Nothing basically changed: the monolithic religion of international financial institutions have replaced the States as absolute power: Liberal capitalism is the new God.

Communities of men have to fight the god of absolute money, and strive to establishing the god of fairness, equity, human rights for freedom of expressions, and appropriate human development indicators.

Phoenicia: Who is Zenon of Kition?

The Lebanese author, Alexander Najjar, published a French novel “Phoenicia“.

I know most of the historical side stories of this novel:  It is an opportunity to disseminate what has been recounted of the siege of Alexander to Tyr on his way to conquer Egypt.

The mother of the philosopher Zenon was from Tyre, and his father from Sidon (City-States in current Lebanon, known as Phoenicia).  The family relocated to one of the Phoenician-built cities in Cyprus, Kition (current Larnaca).

The Phoenicians had built more than 70 coastal cities along the Mediterranean shores, from Cyprus, Sicily, Sardinia, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, to Libya…The merchant ships would follow the current going north to Cyprus, then westward to Sicily, Sardinia, before reaching Carthage and the other ports, and returning along the northern Africa coast of Libya, Egypt to Tyr.

For example, the City-State of Thebes in Greece was built by the Phoenician, 5 centuries before Athens was built:  Alexander destroyed completely Thebes, a preview savage act for eradicating the Phoenician civilization, culture, and language.

Actually, the Greek never attempted to translate the Phoenician manuscripts and plagiarized extensively their civilization.

(The Arabs did an excellent job translating all of Greek manuscripts, which saved Greek culture from oblivion…)

At the age of 30, Zenon was taking a cargo of goods to the Greek port of Piraeus and the boat was shipwrecked.  Zenon ended up in Athens.

He read the second book of Xenophon “Memorables” that included long discussions between Socrates and Aristippe on the themes of pleasure and temperance.

Zenon met the cynic philosopher Crates of Thebes and followed him as disciple.  Zenon also learned from Stilpon, Diodore Cronos, Xenocrates of Chalcedonia, and Ptolemon of Athens.

Zenon founded the Stoic philosophy.

He had many disciples such as Cleanthe, Philonide of Thebes, Chrisippe of Tarsus, Persee of Kition, and Apollonios of Tyr.   He recounted to his disciple Apollonios of Tyr the story of his mother during the siege of Tyr by Alexander.

Zenon was tall, slender, dark of complexion and led a sober life eating bread, honey, fig, and drinking a little wine on occasions. He gave priority to moral values and virtue, at a period people ceased to believe in Gods, in good and evil behaviors…

Thus, Zenon taught to submit to destiny.  He said:  “It is harder to hold a balloon filled of air under water than to change the mind of a philosopher if he is exempt of passion and vanity.

After defeating the Persian King in Issos (on the border of current Turkey and Syria), Alexander decided to conquer Egypt before tracking the Persian King in Babylon.  It is said that Alexander had to subjugate all cities and port-cities along the way to Egypt because the Persian fleet was dominating the sea and could cut his supply route and attack the read guard of his army.

All cities surrendered without fight except Tyr.

Powerful Tyr knew that Alexander’s goal was to eliminate Tyr dominance in the sea at any cost.  Why should Tyr support the savage and poor Macedonian conqueror when rich Persia lavished grants on Tyr and spared it any direct occupation?

Sidon and Byblos had surrendered without any fight to Alexander and even supported him by sea.

Alexander tried to build a land bridge to join land of Tyr to sea island Tyr, strongly fortified.  This land bridge was destroyed several times and Alexander was ready to give up after 7 months of siege.

Then, one morning, 250 ships converged to Tyr from Cyprus, Rhodes…to support Alexander, after they got news of the defeat of the Persian King.

Carthage declined to come to the rescue of Tyr because the emerging power of Rome was harassing its merchant routes and cities.

Alexander massacred 8,000 people in Tyr and totally ruined this proud city.

Israel is announcing to World Community: “I am ready for another preemptive war. Back me up!”

Do you believe the State of Israel had ever a positive, peaceful, and happy announcement to communicate to the outside world?  You have the impression that the successive governments in Israel are plagued with very depressive conditions:  The only way out for Israel’s governments to vent their anger and insecure internal situations is to have some fun waging another preemptive war; it does not matter who is the enemy.

You have this constant impression that Israel oligarchy ruling the military infrastructure, production of military hardware, and export of military materials is the supreme institution in the State of Israel.  When this military oligarchy (constituted of former defense ministers and Chief-of Staffs, and financial institution leaders), wants to test its products and encourage export of machines of death,  “civil” governments are just facade, and its sole role is disseminating lame excuses and preparing the world community to expect another preemptive war!

Have you noticed that only Israel and the superpowers with veto “rights” in the UN security council wage preemptive wars and never pay restitution for illegal aggressions and occupations ?  Is it why they keep waging “preemptive wars”?

In the last two months, Israel has been declaring its readiness to go to war.  Who is this Ban Kee Moon? Is he the secretary general of the UN who was re-appointed for another term to “lead” the world community and establish peace, preserving human rights, investigating the progress of the UN indicators for human development?

Shouldn’t Ban Kee Moon respond to Israel threats for destabilizing world community?   Shouldn’t Ban Kee Moon take the podium and warn Israel that “enough is enough!?”  That the Palestinians in Gaza are living in an open vast concentration camp, and this condition is not within the human rights obligation of a State recognized by the UN? Shouldn’t Ban Kee Moon work relentlessly to drum up a support campaign for the establishment of a Palestinian State?

Israel massacred over 100 peaceful Palestinians, using snipers, against Palestinian demonstrators on the borders for their rights of return, guaranteed by the UN in 1948.  What did this Ban Kee Moon said? “We urge all concerned parties to keep calm and refrain of violence”  Israel repeated its feat and killed 300 peaceful Palestinian demonstrators the next week .

What did this Ban Kee Moon said? “We urge all concerned parties to keep calm and refrain of violence!”  When Israel killed 9 peaceful civilians on “Freedom 1” boats heading to Gaza, what do you think this Ban Kee Moon said? “We are waiting for Israel “independent report” on the killing… and we urge all concerned parties to keep calm and refrain of violence”

Israel is serious about launching its nth preemptive war, early this September for several reasons:

First, Israel knows that war (the only activity that Israel did better than anything else, before the 2006 war) is the best diplomatic means to delaying the establishment of a Palestinian State:  A war before the UN vote will delay the issue and Israel will gain more time for proving that a Palestinian State is a geo-political non-feasibility…

Second, Israel will try again, using a different military strategy to weakening the military might of Hezbollah.  Hezbollah is the most scary enemy to Israel because no system can destroy short and medium-range missiles, landing by the hundreds on cities, towns, airfields, and military infrastructure and production complexes…

Third, Israel will coax Syria to respond and take the initiative to demolishing the regime security forces centers, and headquarter of Bashar al Assad.  Consequently, facilitating regime change and weakening the strategic links of Iran in that region.

Fourth, Israel is about to get the green light for that preemptive war from the US and Turkey.  This triumvirate has reached an agreement that the Moslem Brotherhood political parties sharing power in Egypt and Syria is good to business and stability.

Iran wishes that Israel will refrain from coaxing the Syrian regime into a war, simply because any war with Syria will change the name of the game with its strategic ally.  Iran wants to agree with the US, China, and Russia that the most plausible alternative in the short-term is a resumption of benign insurgencies, and the Syrian regime not going overboard with its repressions.

I believe Israel beg to foolishly differ with Iran’s wishes:  Israel military infrastructure and production is the strongest catalyst for engaging in preemptive wars:  It is good for business and for the military budget in periods of internal crisis.

Lebanon will endure harsh periods whether Bashar regime succeed or fail.  Especially, if a civil war sweeps Syria:  Lebanon social structure is so drastically divisive.  Would the new Lebanese government take seriously the imminent next preemptive war and vigorously coordinate the defensive strategy among the resistance, the army, and the people?

Frankly, what may delay the preemptive war in early September is a strong stand by Egypt (State and people) and a change of regime in Syria. No matter what Israel proclaim about its main enemy, it is Egypt that scares most Israel!  I believe, this time around, a preemptive war launched by Israel will be catastrophic to this Zionist State, economically, politically, and militarily.

Definite political and social changes will get roots in the Middle-East.  “An Arab Autumn Revolt” will spread its fire and seeds for freedom and democratic systems.  It is plausible that Israel might advance its D-Day if Syria tanks enter Hama:  Thus, fomenting a civil war that was not forthcoming.

Quotes by “famous” women? Part 2

Katia Chapoutier published a French book on 100 “Unforgivable women”. I am interested in the few quotes of famous women.

Pearl Buck (1892-1973):  “Everything is possible as long as it was not proven to be otherwise. Even in this case, what is impossible is just temporary.  If there is no other life after death, this life gave me the opportunity to be born as a human being.”  Pearl Buck receive the Nobel Prize of literature in 1938.  Have you read “The Chinese Land”, “East wind, west wind”…?

Anais Nin (1903-1977): “Eroticism is one of the bases for self-knowledge, as indispensable as poetry.” Her diary of 15,000 pages was published integrally in 1986.  She was elected member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

Anna de Noailles (1876-1933):  “Dream and love are the only real elements. A sleeping remembrance ceases of being guilty as long as it keeps a stable face: Lie is a noble secret.”  Anna founded the Fermi Prize in 1904 (exclusive to women authors) and was a model for the famous sculptor Rodin.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962): “Little spirits discuss of people, average spirits discuss of events, and great spirits discuss of ideas. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  Wife of President Franklin Roosevelt, she was the dynamo in the first session of the UN in San Francisco of 1946, and read the universal declaration of human rights in 1948.  She headed the presidential commission on the status of women in 1961.

Hattie McDaniel (1895-1952):  “I prefer being paid $700 a week playing house servant rather than receiving $7 per day as a real servant” said this black actress who got the Oscar in 1940 for her role in “Gone with the wind”.  Hattie acted in Show Boat in 1936 and in the radio program “The Beulah Show” (1947 to 1951)

Greta Garbo (1905-1990): “I was pretty naive to think that I could travel without being discovered and followed up close. Why can we not live without supervision?  People love Anna Karenina, Anna Christie, Queen Christine and not this Garbo that you are currently seeing.”  Greta received an Oscar for life achievement in 1954.  Have you seen “The Torrent”, “The legend of Gosta Berling”…?

Mother Teresa (1910-1997): “Poor people need us, but we need the poor even more.  The biggest poverty is for feeling not being loved.”  Mother Teresa created 610 missions in 123 States. (My own quote: “I decided to be consistent in my life.  My life was emotionally poor; should work to be materially poor as well”

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975): “It is in the void of the thought that evil is inscribed. If you manage to appear the way you wish to be viewed, that is all that judges require of you.”  Have read “The origin of totalitarianism”, “The condition of modern man”…?

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962): “I know that I will never be a big artist. I can with hard work be a good one.”

Grace Kelly (1929-1982): “I didn’t like Hollywood.  It is a heartless city. I am not aware of any other location in the world where so many people suffer nervous depression and alcoholism.  There is no happiness in Hollywood.”  Grace married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956, a prince Estate crumbling under heavy debts.  Have you seen the Hitchcock movie “The crime was almost perfect”, “Window on courtyard”, “A suburb girl” for which she received an Oscar in 1955?

Romy Schneider (1938-1982): “Talent is a question of love.  I always had in horror the word “Star” and the noise generated around it. A life has to be overflowing with passion.  Life is too short to feel contented of living but one life”   Have you seen “White Lilac”, “Sissi”, “Le proces”, “The importance is to love”…

Brigitte Bardot (1934-): “And my ass? Do you love my ass?” One of the replies in the movie “Le Mepris”.  Bardot said: “I am not one to faking. I do not compose. Never. If I have to say something, I just let it out.  With me, there are no surprises: You know who I love and who I don’t like…” Bardot created the Foundation for animal defense.  Have you seen “Le Trou Normand”, And God created the woman”…? She filmed 48 movies and 80 songs within a 20-year career.  Bardot withdrew from the celebrity scene in 1973.

Edith Piaf (1915-1961): “Even as we lost our lover, love that we have known keeps the taste of honey.  Love is eternal”  Have you listened to “Non, je ne regrette rien”, “Les Momes de la cloche”, “C’est la rose l’ important”, “La vie en rose”…? The French boxer Marcel Cerdan was her life love.

Jane Fonda (1937-): “Man can feel pleasure all the seasons in life, woman only in springtime”

Francoise Giroud (1916-2003): “A woman will be really the equal to man, if one day, an incompetent woman is designated to an important position.”

Wangari Maathai (1940-): “If we want to safeguard nature, we better start safeguarding mankind: They constitute part of the biodiversity.” She founded the “Green Belt Movement” in 1977 and received the Nobel Prize of Peace in 2004.

Aung San Suu Kyi (1945-): “It is not power that corrupt, but fear: Fear of losing the power by those who exercise power, and fear of being beaten for those that the power-to-be oppress.  Truth and justice are the sole defenses against heartless power…”  Aung received the Nobel Prize of Peace in 1991.

Rigoberta Menchu (1959-): “Man is far worth than his diplomas.  I want to remain a student all my life.”  Rigoberta published her autobiography “Yo Rigoberta” in 1983.  She defended the autochtone (indigenous) minorities and safeguarded their rights in Latin America and Guatemala.  She received the Nobel prize of Peace in 1992.

Margherita Hack (1922-): “We all have a common origin: We are the product of the universe evolution and of the stars. The stars are democratic: they are accessible and the show is free to all. Nature is the utmost liberal: Nature never oppose your will to know and your intellectual faculties. Why seek miracles and dwell on superstition, while there are so many poems and fascination outside?”  She founded the magazine Astronomy in 1979 and discovered an asteroid that carries her name in 1995.

(Margherita Hack said it all poetically.  I had written: “Is one eternity not good enough for us?  We are all, animate subjects and inanimate objects, constituted of the same fundamental basic elements.  We are constantly transformed in this vast universe”)

Note: Link to first part:

Quotes by “famous” women?

Katia Chapoutier published a French book on 100 “Unforgivable women“. I am interested in the few quotes of famous women.

Marie Curie (1867-1934): “We never pay attention on what has been done.  We see but what is left to be done.  In life, nothing is to be scared of, everything is to be comprehended.”  Marie received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1903 for discovering two new radioactive elements the polonium and radium.

Isadora Duncan (1877-1927): “Nudity is the truth, the beauty, and the Art.”  She created a new dancing school: bare feet, nude body, an ingenious pedagogical contemporary method that endures.

Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919 assassinated in Berlin): “Liberty:  It is always the liberty of the one thinking differently”  She was jailed during WWI in Germany for being engaged against the war.  Rosa founded the non-violent Spartacus movement after the war and the movement took to the streets.

Coco Chanel (1883-1971):  “The mode is outmoded, style never! Luxury is not anathema to poverty, but to vulgarity!”

Josephine Baker (1906-1975): “I have two love: My country and Paris.  Since I personify the savage on the scenes, I try my best to be civilized in life.  One day, I realized that I was living in a country (USA) that made be afraid of being black.  I suffocated in the USA.  Many of us left, not because we wanted to leave, but because we could no longer suffer this climate of discrimination.  I felt liberated in Paris”

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941, suicide): “Life is a dream.  It is being awake that kills.  Each one of us has his past locked inside, as old pages of a book he memorized, but close friends only read the title.  There is a solitude between wife and husband, a chasm that we have to learn to respect.  I have this certitude that I am becoming mad: I feel that we will not be capable of suffering one of these terrible periods…I am hearing voices and can no longer take it.  Thus, I am doing what is the proper good thing to doing.”  Have you read “Mrs. Dalloway”, “The Years”…

Anna Freud (1895-1982), daughter of Sigmund Freud: “The first years of life are like the preliminary steps in a chess game arrangement. Those first years guide our orientation, the style of the game.  But, as long as we are not cornered Checkmate, there are still many good fights in the game.  Creative minds always survive bad treatments.”  Anna was also a qualified psychoanalyst and founded a specialised therapeutic clinics for children.

Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969): “Dogs bark, cats miau:  It is their nature.  My nature is to doing philosophy.  Select a star, never quit it from your eyes.  This star will advance you very far, without pain or feeling fatigued.”  At the age of 18, she rode her bicycle and toured Spain without warning her folks.  Alexandra kept exploring remote countries, with obsession.  She visited Tibet, the Gobi desert, China, Mongolia…and wrote diaries of her adventures.  At the age of 100, Alexandra renew her passport for another long trip.

Louise Brooks (1906-1985): “The grand art of films is not composing facial and body movements, but the movements of the thoughts and soul that are transmitted in intense isolation. There are no other occupations that resemble closely slavery as the career of a movie star.”   She quit acting in 1937.  Have you seen “Loulou”, “A girl in every seaport”…?  She wrote her autobiography “Lulu in Hollywood” in 1982.

Clara Zetkin (1857-1933).  Engles (the early theoretician of communism) said: “In the family, man is the bourgeois; the woman plays the role of the proletariat”.  Zetkin adopted that quote as the basis of her struggle for equal rights to women.

Note: Second part of quotes:

What do they share: Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Adele, Rihana…?

I am not into music.  It happened that the French weekly magazine “Courrier International” issued a special number on women:  Women in power, in sciences, in music…On the ground that if power corrupt, it can also corrupt people willing to take advantage of people in power…

It happened that I read the piece on pop music, and I leave it to you to judge on the good content of the article.  The Guardian wrote: “The market for pop music is not big enough to for more than four pop singers.  Somehow, it is expected that a couple of the top female singers will make room for two fresh faces in a year or two. Soon, we might realize that only one female singer held her ground and become of the same stature as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Britney Spears, or Mariah Carey…It is as we ask talent hunters to get busy on the street and fetch new young and photogenic faces for the pop music industry…”

Miranda Sawyer of The Observer responded: “Girl solo singers are easier to manage than a bunch of boy brats.  Consequently, it is more profitable to focus on female singers.”  Leonie Cooper of New Musical Express simplified the equation: “As more women and girls attend concerts and do buy magazine dedicated to music, it is logical that female divas of the pop are more numerous”

It appears that Lady Gaga and Rihana are expected to stay on the scene for longer than the other top pop singers. It does not mean that the other singers will vanish into thin air and vacate the place, but they won’t grab as much of the market.

Medias tend to generalize and simplify singers into two categories: One category is for the coquettish and sexy pin-up (Kylie Minogue, Beyonce, Britney, Christina Aguilera, or Duffy…); the other category is reserved for the rebel and moderately engaged pin-up such as Avril Lavigne, Gwen Stephani, P!nk, Lady Gaga, or Amy Whinehouse…)

Most of the pop singers tried to change category at different seasons and were successful in increasing their share of the market. There is a new trend of author-interpreter pop singers and have the last word on their public image such as Lady Gaga, Jessie J, Nicki Minaj, or Clare Maguire…)  The Swedish electropop Robyn owns her own label company and got out three albums within a year, while resuming her concert contracts.

Rihana special voice is conducive to dancing songs.  One common factor that all pop singers share is that “sex doped sell” and they make good use of sex to increase selling.   For example, “Baby one more time” of Britney sold over 10 million since 2000.

The blog “Hipster runoff” created the word “slutwave” for this sex trend in crude songs and bare bodies, and Rolling Stone magazine adopted the term.  The female hip-hop trio group “Yo Majesty” reproduced the macho attitudes and grabbed their pussies…Lady Gaga said: “A few women opt to run after men, others after their dreams.  If you hesitate to choose, remember that your career will never remind you when you wake up that it does no longer love you.”

The idea of promoting a pop icon as representative of a life-style is very strong.  For example, Cheryl Cole is current ambassador of L’Oreal, Lady Gaga for MAC cosmetic, Rihana for Nivea…One more advantage for female top singers is that they have no difficulties integrating commercial successes and individual integrity

Note:  The authors of the piece “Les filles donnent le La” are Ines Munioz Martinez-Mora and Lucas Arrault.




July 2011

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