“Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.” ~ Winston Churchill

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” ~ George Orwell

Unconfirmed, but via Reddit: “Soldiers in Libya are using .50 BMG bullets on civilians. To put it in perspective, that’s the one on the left.”

“If you are not ready to die for it, put the word freedom out of your vocabulary.” ~ Malcolm X

The so-called February 17 revolution is not like the recent Egyptian protests that resulted in President Hosni Mubarak stepping down. Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, ruler of Libya for the past 40 years (1969), has always been regarded as a loose cannon: unpredictable, volatile, and deadly. And after Qaddafi’s speech, it’s quite apparent that he does not intend to leave Libya peacefully, and as he put it, he expects to die as a martyr.

The 15-member U.N. Security Council has condemned Qaddafi’s use of violence against the protestors, and in a bold move, Libya’s deputy ambassador to the UN. Ibrahim Dabbashi, openly broke with the dictator, accusing Qaddafi of genocide: “I think the Qaddafi statement was a code for his collaborators to start the genocide against the Libyan people. They are attacking people in all the cities in Western Libya.”

According to ABC News, the Security Council is urging Libyan authorities to “act with restraint, lift restrictions against the press, ensure the safety of foreign nationals and allow immediate access for human rights monitors.”

Various reports put the death toll at anywhere from 500 to over 1,000 individuals. The U.S. and several European nations are urging their citizens to leave the country as soon as possible.

“No dictator, no invader, can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power, governments and tyrants and armies cannot stand.” ~ J. Michael Straczynski

For another good background piece on the current revolution in Libya, see this article in The Atlantic by Associate Editor Max Fisher. In the meantime, I found the following Hopi quote to be uncannily relevant to what is happening in the world right now: 

“You have been telling people that this is the eleventh hour. Now you must go back and tell people that this is the hour! And there are things to be considered: Where are you living? What are you doing? What are your relationships? Are you in right relation? Where is your water? Know your Garden. It is time to speak your truth. Create your community. Be good to yourself. And not look outside of yourself for a leader. This could be a good time! There is a river flowing very fast. It is so great and fast that there are those who will be afraid. They will hold on to the shore. They will feel that they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly. Know that the river has its destination. The elders say that we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time we are to take nothing personally, least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones that we have been waiting for.” ~ The Elders, Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation

More later. Peace.

Music by Moby, Extreme Ways

“Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced.” ~ Ned Rorem

Grey Trees 

“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through.” ~ Anais Nin

So, Saturday evening. The temperature has probably dropped 20 degrees in the last few hours. The wind is whipping about the house, and it is raining . . . again. Yet another storm front. I believe that it is snowing in the western part of the state. Here it is just cold, dark, and rainy. How lovely. 

Cold and Damp

I just wasted, well I won’t even tell you exactly how much time, but let’s just use the vague term time, playing spider solitaire, a highly addictive game for which the odds of winning are extremely low, at least, that’s how it seems to me since I never win. I wish that I were not so addicted to this particular game as it has absolutely no redeeming qualities. But alas, I do admit my addiction. There. I’ve said it. 

Last night Corey and I watched two awful movies: The Transporter 2 and Death Tunnel. I love Jason Stratham; he has incredible arms (I love arms that are muscular but not over-developed), but this was a waste of a movie. That being said, I believe that the viewer needs to approach the Transporter movies expecting sexy cars, great but unbelievable car chases, and some nifty hand-to-hand combat. Expectation of a plot is probably too much. 

Death Tunnel is supposedly based on a true story, but the director spent too much time cutting in and out of sepia-toned photographs and current action, I supposed in an attempt to be artsy, but the result was a chopped up mess of a movie that did little else but show scantily-clad females in peril from some sort of ghosts. Yep. It was as bad as it sounds. 

“We must now challenge ourselves to study this report carefully and make changes that will reduce the risk of future violence on our campuses.” ~ Virginia Governor Tim Kaine

Duck Pond in Winter, Virginia Tech

So yesterday I was reading the news, and I came across several items that were pretty bothersome, but the one that really blew me away was the revelation that the administration at Virginia Tech knew about the shootings 90 minutes before they issued a campus-wide e-mail alert and locked down the entire campus. According to the report, some administrators warned their families, and the president’s office was locked well in advance of notifying the rest of the campus. 

Also troubling is the fact that the dorm where the shootings began was released from lockdown, and students were allowed to leave while the shooting were still ongoing. Two of the students who left the dorm were later slain. Additionally, campus trash collection was cancelled 21 minutes before students and teachers were warned. 

These facts were made known Friday when a state panel appointed to investigate the horrific 2007 shootings released a revised report based on comments and questions regarding the original report, which was released just six months after the April shootings. The rampage by Seung-Hui Cho left 33 people dead, including the killer. For the full 210-page report, click on the link provided. 

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” ~ Malcolm X

In other news . . . I won’t even get into all of the minutiae regarding the Amanda Knox guilty verdict in Italy. That whole case has been incredibly mishandled as far as the publicity aspect of it. I don’t know enough about the forensic evidence to make any kind of judgment as to Knox’s guilt or innocence. I only know that Knox was tried in the British and Italian media long before she ever went on trial. 

Amanda Knox

Knox, 22, was accused of murdering her British roommate Meredith Kercher, 21, in Perugia, Italy. Knox, a Seattle college student from the University of Washington, had traveled to Italy for a few months of study. Now she will spend another 24 years in prison, unless she wins her appeal. 

What bothers me about the case is what bothers me about a lot of cases involving female defendants: how a female who is accused of a vicious crime is tried in the court of public opinion based on how she dresses, reacts or doesn’t react, cries too much or not at all, etc. I remember in the infamous O.J. Simpson murder trial, the prosecutor was continually being criticized for how she wore her hair, what suits she wore, how much make-up she wore, and she was not the one on trial.  

What is it with the public and females involved in crimes? Let’s not even delve into the sexist label of “the fair sex.” Knox kissed her boyfriend, Italian student Raffaele Sollecito, 23, in full view of the police on the day that Kercher’s body was found. She kissed her boyfriend? Okay, public displays of affection may not be the best tactic at a crime scene, but is it an indicator of guilt or just bad judgment? 

Knox didn’t cry. Knox didn’t show enough emotion. Knox displayed bizarre behavior. Again, who decides how much is enough? Lack of tears indicator of guilt? Some people just do not get emotional. 

Front Page News

Please don’t write me and say that I don’t think that Knox is guilty because she is American; her citizenship is irrelevant. Don’t write me and say that I am criticizing the Italian judicial system; I don’t understand allowing jurors access to the media, but it’s not my system. Don’t write me to say that I should be feeling bad for the Kercher family; of course I am. And don’t bother to write me to tell me that “Foxy Knoxy” is evil personified; who and what she is is not up to me to determine. 

My discontent here is the perception of guilt based on physical appearances. Knox is attractive, but her Foxy moniker has nothing to do with her looks: She was dubbed Foxy for her moves on the soccer field. I’m just saying that we cannot assess a person’s guilt based on physicalities. The converse is also true: Just because a woman is attractive, it does not mean that she is incapable of committing a crime. Let’s stick to the facts. And that, dear readers, is what did not happen before or during the trial as regards the media and the public. 

Well, for a subject that I wasn’t going to dwell on, I certainly did. Didn’t I? 

“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.” ~ Rollo May 

Other than that, not so much to say. My quote about inspiration is perhaps the only inspired thing about this post.  Great quote. Mediocre post. I’m trying, really, but the synapses are firing a bit slowly, and my ability to be creative is suffering as a result. 

More later, I expect. Peace 

Counting Crows, “A Long December,” so appropriate . . .