Saint George’s day is here again, and with it some lovely weather (it always seems to be sunny on April 23rd). As I’ve mentioned before, in Catalonia today is the ‘day of lovers’ or the ‘day of the book and the rose’. Each year, we’re encouraged to buy eachother roses and books as an expression of love and friendship. I think that, as well as giving the publishers and rose traders a bumper day, it’s a lovely tradition.
One of the funny thing about it is that there are lots of places to choose from when it comes to buying your gifts. You can go to El Corte Inglés, as did one of my colleagues, and buy two roses for €16… but it’s far more normal to purchase your flower either from a gypsy rose merchant (visible on many street corners all through the day), or a stall in your local plaça. These stalls are often (though not exclusively) operated by charities and political groups, so while buying your rose you get to choose which pressure group or political party you want to support.
This year, I bought Gemma’s rose at the Solidarity with Palestine stall. For much less than the Corte Inglés price, I got a lovely rose and a poem (apparently about Palestine). The stall was also selling wallets, tshirts and so on… but I prefer to wear my heart on my blog.
Right… off to enjoy the sunshine!
An excellent piece in The Nation’s September 11 2006 issue criticises the misuse of the term ‘fascism’ in today’s political dialogue, as well as the nonsense of a concept of ‘Islamic-fascism’ (or ‘Islamo-fascism).
“Islamo-fascism” enrages to no purpose the dwindling number of Muslims who don’t already hate us. At the same time, it clouds with ideology a range of situations–Lebanon, Palestine, airplane and subway bombings, Afghanistan, Iraq–we need to see clearly and distinctly and deal with in a focused way. No wonder the people who brought us the disaster in Iraq are so fond of it.
Crystalising perfectly my feelings about this silly term, Katha Pollitt only hints at what I’ve said before about who precisely is closer to fascism if one compares Osama bin Laden and George Bush, Jr. At least I can be sure of one thing: some people out there continue to care about the meaning of words.
Oh, and while I’m here, I’ve a nice article in the works about Melanie Phillips, the sour-mouthed darling of the right-wing blogging world.
There is a widespread trend in the so-called â€˜blogosphereâ€™ which consists of bashing the BBC for an alleged bias behind their coverage of home and international news. Sites like â€˜Biased BBCâ€™, â€˜Busting BBC Biasâ€™, and several others are dedicated to highlighting a perceived anti-conservative or more often anti-Israeli agenda.
Analysis of state-run news agencies is important. I have witnessed plenty of occasions when the BBC has taken up its â€˜public service â€“ unite the peopleâ€™ mantle with a bit too much enthusiasm. Golden Jubilees and other uninteresting royal events leap to mind.
However, I have never detected anything in their coverage of the Israel-Palestine or Israel-Lebanon which amounted to anti-Israeli bias. Every news report Iâ€™ve watched over the last few weeks has matched Fox News for the amount of content broadcast from the Israeli side of the frontier, spending plenty of time talking to Israeli civilians in shelters, inspecting damage to houses and shops, asking for the opinions of shoppers and holidaymakers in Tel Aviv. All of this was done in a sensitive, humane way with absolutely no hint of malice or put-downs on the part of the BBC.
Of course, the BBC also showed images of devastation in southern Lebanon. Blocks of flats which had collapsed, two-storey-deep holes in Beirut, dead women and children. Several times, it was noted that the BBC werenâ€™t allowed to enter Hezbollah-controlled zones. It was made clear at these times that this might have been because Hezbollah had â€˜command and control bunkersâ€™ or â€˜armed fightersâ€™ on the streets. Continue reading Why does everyone hate the BBC?