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27 march 06

man hauls stones.jpg

Once upon a time there was a man. He lived in the country with his family. One day he said, "I am going to the city to find a job."

His family was sad. "Don't worry. I will find work and send you money."

It was a big crowded, noisy city. One day he stopped at a construction site and asked for a job.

"What can you do?" asked the foreman.

"I can work."

"Ok. Here's a job for you. See that cart? Load it with rocks and haul it away."

"Where do I take the rocks?"

"I don't know and I don't care. You find a place for them. Just start hauling them away."

This was his job. He sent money to his family and they were happy.


21 march 06 - MK 16 podcast


MK 16 has been posted for your listening/hearing enjoyment. It contains a brief bike speeding incident, a quick encounter with Shaolin monks and a story written in Ireland while working as a Youth Hostel Warden for An Oige.

On another note, I recently saw, "Good Night & Good Luck," and found it to be a fine film, especially considering the current state of slanted news "entertainment," foisted on the public. Good tight editing and directing.

A Criterion Collection film you may find important, considering Iraq, the brutal use of torture and civil war is "The Battle of Algiers," directed by Gillo Potecorvo. It concerns the Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950's.

As the Iraq war enters year #4 we've included a recent article by Charles J. Hanley, Special Correspondent of the Associated Press on the construction and establishment of "permanent" bases in Iraq. Scary stuff with long term implications.

As a military strategy analyst recently remarked, "A large military base located on top of huge oil reserves. It doesn't get any better than that."


Iraqis Think U.S. In Their Nation To Stay


12 march 06 - MK 15 podcast


We pay tribute to Ali Fakra Toure from Mali who passed this week. We've always enjoyed his traditional playing on "The Source," "The River," "Talking Timbuktu," and the fine "Heart of the Moon."

On International Women's Day we introduced Etta James singing the blues to students on their campus radio station.

We share a short reading from "The Stream of Life," by Clarice Lispector, a Brazilian writer published by the University of Minnesota Press, 1989. Used by permission.

We conclude with a short satirical piece on Baghdad.

Be well and travel light.

University of Minnesota Press


12 march 06

From A.P. and The Sunday Telegraph.

A British SAS (Special Air Service) soldier, 28-year old Ben Griffin has refused to fight in Iraq and has left the Army over the "illegal" tactics of United States troops and the policies of coalition forces.

He said he had witnessed "dozens of illegal acts" by US troops, claiming they viewed all Iraqis as "untermenschen" - the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human.

It immediately brought to an end Mr Griffin's exemplary, eight-year career in which he also served with the Parachute Regiment, taking part in operations in Northern Ireland, Macedonia and Afghanistan.

Mr Griffin, 28, who spent two years with the SAS, said the American military's "gung-ho and trigger happy mentality" and tactics had completely undermined any chance of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi population. He added that many innocent civilians were arrested in night-time raids and interrogated by American soldiers, imprisoned in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, or handed over to the Iraqi authorities and "most probably" tortured.

Griffin said he believed US soldiers had no respect for Iraqis, whom they regarded as "sub-human".

"You could almost split the Americans into two groups: ones who were complete crusaders, intent on killing Iraqis, and the others who were in Iraq because the army was going to pay their college fees," he said.

"They had no understanding or interest in the Arab culture. The Americans would talk to the Iraqis as if they were stupid and these weren't isolated cases, this was from the top down.

"There might be one or two enlightened officers who understood the situation a bit better but on the whole that was their general attitude. Their attitude fuelled the insurgency. I think the Iraqis detested them."

"I did not join the British Army to conduct American foreign policy," he said. He expected to be labelled a coward and to face a court martial and imprisonment after making what "the most difficult decision of my life" last March.

Instead, he was discharged with a testimonial describing him as a "balanced, honest, loyal and determined individual who possesses the strength of character to have the courage of his convictions".


10 march 06

Ali Farka Toure 1939-2006.

"Music is not my career," he declared. "I am a mechanic, technician, chauffeur, and farmer—all that is before music."

Village Voice