In Memory Of James Brown

The Godfather of Soul James Brown – who died on December 25th, 2006- was an essential part of the music movement that shook the world of music in the 60s. Contrary to some singers whose aim was just to entertain, he was, among other groups like the Beatles, calling for social and political change.

James brown influenced many generations, helped to break the cultural and political barriers mainly between blacks and whites. His music was unifying at least artistically, in that it was appreciated by all. He made blacks proud of themselves as black and the whites proud of shaking off their racial prejudices. Like many blacks who rose to stardom, he has become a part of influential music, an icon for millions for what he did and stood for.

Brown is dead but his music will continue to be alive. His eternity will be matched by the eternity of his music.

This short poem in memory of James Brown:

Oh James Brown,

King of Soul in every city and town,

You made glory your own.

Now you have gone,

Colour of coffee and chocolate.

You offered the world a plate

Of gold music to taste.

You will be greatly missed.

Before you leave, your face

Will be passionately kissed.

In your music you will be met

By fans still dancing to your beat,

Making an illusion your death.

James Brown King of Soul is dead.

Long live his music without end.

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UN Security Council Sanctions against Iran, Will they work?

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to impose sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt uranium enrichment. But will these sanctions work?

Iran will continue its defiance of international call for its failure to halt uranium enrichment. For the Iranian regime, its nuclear program is a matter of survival against what it sees threats from the USA and its allies. Iran still has oil weapon in case the situation worsens in the Middle East.

As long as it has trading partners like China and Russia and as long as it has started using the Euro for its international trade in replacement of the dollar, it will have ways to circumvent the sanctions.

The other advantage it has is that this is not a total economic embargo as it was with Iraq under Saddam. The revenues from recent oil boom will help it cope at least for a certain period.

Sanctions against Iran can succeed if they were tougher. The US still has Iran’s allies, mainly China and Russia, to persuade for global and not selective sanctions. Iran can still do with Chinese and Russian technology as the US has barred it from its key one since the start of the Islamic Revolution.

The Iranians have monetary reserves from their oil revenues to coax new trading partners in countries hostile to the USA like Venezuela.

The loss that the US can have in case these sanctions fail to make Iran halt its nuclear program is that Russia and China will become it rivals in the Middle East, creating a new balance of influence that can make US political calculations need total review.

In Memory of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, who has died aged 66

The authoritarian president of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, who has died aged 66, created a cult of personality during his two decades in power.

Despite his imposed personality cult, which seems laughable to many people, President Saparmurat Niyazov was benign to the rest of the world. He didn’t seek to export his vision to the world by force contrary to the other existing presidents making themselves personality cults like Kim Yong of North Korea who sees nuclear arms as a shield from foreign influence.

Some leaders try to go down history thanks to their deeds and place in the world community. Others are happy to be self-centred and to see their place according to their image. President Saparmurat Niyazov was almost a living God in Turkmenistan. His book was the bible for his people. To make himself omnipresent he imposed his statues, pictures and name everywhere. But as a fake God, his “Holy Script” is likely to become a past if his people convert to real democracy to enjoy full freedom.

It’s unfortunate that he died before seeing how many people became intelligent thanks to his book. In heaven, he can know how many are in paradise thanks to it.

Japanese Falling to Paris Syndrome

A dozen or so Japanese tourists a year have to be repatriated from the French capital, after falling prey to what’s become known as “Paris syndrome “.

Visiting a foreign place should be done with readiness to meet all possible strange facts and attitudes. It can be an experience of culture shock. In some societies too much formality is a sign of respect while in others it is a means to keep a personal distance.

Paris is a snobbish city even for the French who don’t live in it. If one wants to have informal and friendly welcome, they’d better go the Mediterranean part of France. People there are as warm as the weather or they go to Nigeria listed as the happiest country in the world.

Finally one chooses to go to a place for sightseeing or for mixing with people. If people aren’t polite, they’d better be ignored. One shouldn’t be – to the point of breakdown -the victim of badly behaved waiter or taxi driver. People of such kinds should be treated as machine from whom a type of work is expected and not as people who should show human warmth. After all one doesn’t faint because of a vendor machine doesn’t smile when putting a coin in it and doesn’t say thank you when one gets the goods out of it.

Rice backs ‘worthwhile’ Iraq war

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has again defended the war in Iraq, saying the investment in US lives and dollars will be “worth it”.

Investment in US lives? When has human life become an investment for political end? The US government had better legalised human cloning. So soldiers will be cloned and their death will be considered as the loss of military equipment.

The US has a history of sacrificing its soldiers abroad. There were successes as in the Second World War. But there were setbacks in the Vietnam War where more than 50,000 soldiers died, not to count the surviving with physical and mental illnesses.

Politicians think putting their feelings aside. But considering human death as investment is similar to Senator Kerry’s statement that the future of worthless American students was in Iraq. US Soldiers are trained to fight and be prepared to die for their country to survive but not an investment to win political wars.

The war in Iraq was a political investment for the Bush administration in its first term. Many international and domestic policies were taken on the basis of fighting terrorist groups, especially those operating in Iraq.

US can be financially rewarded if peace returned to Iraq. . Every cent spent on the war in Iraq will, in case of success, be returned with a dollar.

It will open the gate for American giant companies to have huge lucrative investment to make up for the billions of the dollars spend on the war in Iraq.

For the US containing the war in Iraq is less costly than if the whole Middle East becomes engaged in a war, especially between Israel and other countries in the region, mainly Syria and Iran. Otherwise, the flow of oil will stop from this region making a barrel cost $US +100.

The war can also protect US friendly regimes in the region. But the US still has Iran to deal with. If the issue of its nuclear program isn’t settled peacefully, the US will have to start a new war with more lost lives and billions of dollars.

Investment of diplomatic efforts should be stepped up to find an end to the war in Iraq.The reasonably diplomatic investment will be this: The US should try to reach out to its countries like Iran and Syria for a way out as the insurgents find support in these two countries. Spilling more blood is a shameful investment.

President Bush Call for Military Increase in Iraq

President Bush has called for an increase in US troops in Iraq as he has admitted that , “We aren’t winning”. But sending more troops to Iraq is unlikely to change the situation. More troops will be matched by more suicide attacks and sectarian killings. The US troops can’t patrol Iraq inch by inch to spot arms depots and would-be suicide bombers. There are armed groups who have the means and the charisma to have faithful and secretive members. These will have where to hide and how to emerge. AS they can melt and come out from the population, they will remain elusive and unpredictable.

Iraq doesn’t need more troops, it needs more national trust for the Iraqis to live in peace as countrymen belonging to a country patriotically. Continued sectarian loyalty coupled with suspicion of the other side will make Iraq continue plunging into the abyss of violence.

Compulsory HIV Tests in Indian State

Government Of Indian State Andhra Pradesh, India Proposes Compulsory HIV test Before Marriage. But Compulsory HIV Tests before marriage are only the tip of the iceberg.

There are other causes from drug addictions and needle sharing. Too much still needs to be done before HIV become history. In this sense, HIV test before marriage can be effective if the couple haven’t been engaged sexually before marriage. Today many would-be couple are engaged in sexual activities.

Marriage is for life. It shouldn’t turn into a nightmare because one partner is HIV positive. Any couple should remain faithful to each other after marriage if they each prove to be HIV negative.

After all for promiscuous people, it is in their interest to take an HIV test regardless if they’re married or not as a precaution to know how healthy they are.

Compulsory HIV test should also apply to partners. HIV test should also be made compulsory in countries which have sex tourism as a source of its income. Visitors should be made to testify that that they are free from HIV.

But countries like India will find it difficult to eradicate AIDS as there are large sections of the population that are unaware of it and its dangers. But as long as there is free sex with people risking their lives for money or pleasure, the spread can’t be limited overnight.

What matters, after all, is that every one should have safe sex within or outside marriage. To make tests compulsory, states should also have the means to make them free for all wherever they might be, near or far from health care centres. Ways should be found to make cure available to all the affected regardless of their income or their whereabouts.

Iran Local Elections, Are they a Reflection of People’s power?

Elections in Iran are just a charade as all the key political institutions are in the grip of the clergy of the Ayatollahs who have the power to veto any policy not in line with their ideologies.

Former “reformist” President Khatami was ineffective because many of his reforms were blocked by the clergy. Ahmadinejad has to keep his popularity just with the Ayatollahs who had given him the green light to stand as a presidential candidate and to win the second round, creating a big surprise after he had been considered as the underdog in the race for presidency.

The low turn-out in the local elections is a message to the clergy that the results make no difference as radical reformists and dissidents are excluded from standing and making their voice heard to the public without fear of arrest and prosecution.

When Iran can have a powerful president who isn’t under the grip of the Iranian clergy, then elections presidential or local – can make the difference.

YouTube, Person of the Year. Couldn’t there Be a Better Choice?

YouTube has made it possible for everyone with Internet connection to project their views and send information around the world. It also opened the gate for unchecked reports, videos clips that remain uncensored. Although it lifted taboos on many subjects, its open use can create Internet communities who can publish whatever they want, sometimes at the expense of morality.

YouTube is a wonderful means for the narcissists to project themselves to the world by video or pictures, seeking stranger admirers and getting from them fake admiration. If the sixties were the era of sexual freedom in a single place, YouTube has made it possible for everyone to live their sexual fantasies and look for sexual partners. Some become self-proclaimed world stars by publishing their stuff like songs on YouTube

But again it isn’t like listening to a song from a professional singer getting claim from experienced critics.

Another facet of YouTube is that it has made it possible for ordinary people to become journalists without needing an editor or a newsstand to have their material read. But they remain with a limited audience as now there are hundreds of millions with a site on the net, each expressing their views on matters of narrow interests. The result is mediocrity content as facts remain unchecked.

YouTube can be a threat only to media thriving on gossip about banal matters as anyone can produce the like just by having a daily tour in one’s area collecting information from mouth to ear.

Sites with solid content remain unrivalled. The parallel to draw is the number of TV channels. Today there are thousands of them on the air. But very few in comparison of their number have substantial audiences running in tens of millions. Credible media, including TIME and BBC, remain the only source to get the bulk of credible news. Amateurish & unchecked reports are never 100% reliable. Their authors can become influential if they have the skill to make fake reports look real and the established media fails to have a counter attack to put thing right.

YouTube in essence remains a gamish site for those who can’t concentrate on factual matters done most in script contrary to the unlimited YouTube sites filled mostly with just personal pictures, audio and video sequences, which can be shocking because of being made in bad taste.

Fattah-Hamas Clashes, a New Round

Fatah and Hamas have always been rivals in their quest for governing the Palestinians engaging in bloody clashes. Both have recently been more ready to point guns at one another than sit and talk like reasonable politicians. Fatah has the advantage of being favoured by the EU, USA. and Israel. Hamas is still internationally isolated.

Hamas government is acting on its own principles, but at the expense of the welfare of the majority of the Palestinians who are hard-hit by the cut of aids from traditional donors, mainly the EU and the US.

Palestinians can’t go on waking up on the sounds of guns because of clashes between Hamas fighters and Israeli soldiers, then between Hamas fighters and Fatah armed groups.

What can settle the issue at least to ease the economic situations for Palestinians is early elections. Palestinians should get the chance to elect a new government to end current stalemate.

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