Surprised by Arabic

At its largest extent, the Roman Empire surrounded Middle Earth, literally “The Mediterranean.”

inscription_cartilia2

 

In the parlance of social media, the Romans SHOUTED all their written words — minuscules would not arrive to soften the literal commotion until the 7th Century. Latin seems suited for chiseling into stone, mostly with straight lines that run from left to right. It’s not easy to curve while chiseling your way along a flat rock-face. A glance at the English alphabet reveals that individual letters also run from left to right, letters such as B D E F K L P R

The letter “J” is quite the exception. It’s one reason that some school children do this:

printable-letter-backwards-j

That letter never appears in Roman imperial inscriptions, nor did U, nor did W.

K, Y and Z were adopted to accommodate Greek vocabulary. They are not the Etruscan uttering way. Nay, they ain’t.

Let’s look at a language that appeals to my left-handedness. It’s quite a relief to see my writing as I write. Arabic was not designed with a chisel in mind. The language begins with cursive in mind, not a bland sequence of letters imprisoned within imaginary boxes, then proclaimed “words.”

My last post looked at a procrustean camel, an animal led to the eye of a needle by dint of faulty translation. Why are mistranslations carved into stone? Do not allow your metaphors to become stilted, clunky, confusing and hackneyed. That’s what I say.

Well, Arabic comes equipped with a J-sound. In fact, it’s standard equipment. However, the language does not permit a “P” letter, so please apply a “B” for words like Paris: call it Baris and learn to live with it. Palestine never needed a “P” because that name is an imposition anyway: they are the Philistines. Arabic comes equipped with an “F” sound.

 

 

arabic.jim
25+ Arabic Alphabet Letters

 

Instead of imaginary boxes, Arabic allows for up to four ways to write each letter of the alphabet. Learners of this language and readers of the Qur’an receive the gift of ten diacritical marks to aid the learning process in a clean and coherent manner. Should you ever decide to tackle Arabic, this is handy indeed. Those marks reveal the sound one millimeter at a time; however, once you become comfortable and confident with the words you can dispense with diacriticals altogether — you’ll recognize the pattern and you won’t need the training wheels.

Returning to the Romans for a moment: would you ever wish to return to Roman numerals once you’ve learned the efficacy of Arabic numerals? The word “cipher” in English is from the Arabic word for “zero”:صفر

Here is a tip for my readers who consider learning German or Arabic: if you can pronounce Cincinnati you can pronounce  صفر (sifr). Just pedanting.

Learning languages removes artificial separations between cultures and lifestyles. Those separations take the form of borders, walls and prejudice. In their stead you acquire perspectives that remove each border, wall and prejudice. They serve the minions of geopolitical advantage and the clarion to endless war, endless confusion and endless imprisonment. Producing propaganda is criminal activity. Always. Whatever your intention.

And go vegan while you’re at it. No sentient being benefits by closing the book on the Anthropocene 🙂

Thanks for reading.

It’s All About Meme

a wise meme once said

About 10,900,000 results (0.40 seconds) 

Did you mean: “a wise man once said”?

No, but thank you for the algorithm, G. Oogle. I didn’t mean that.

Did you meme: “a wise woman once said“?

Thank you Mr. Oogle, but those results are more helpful. Your bots do fine fast work.

Disinformation_vs_Misinformation
Memetics is a term invented by Richard Dawkins (1976: The Selfish Gene) to describe how information propagates in a network. The internet permits you to inform and misinform as rapidly as web-crawling bots can jump from here to anywhere.
A borg in Macedonia, a bot in Minnesota or a Shakespeare-typing monkey may be squinting at a computer screen as you read this.
Misinformation
Mr. G.O. Ogle, what’s a “meme generator”?
About 1,270,000 results (0.53 seconds) 
Why an all-caps serif-free dishwater-grey font? Personally, I would prefer Henry Ford black.meme.font
Why would Gandhi quote Martin Luther King on Einstein’s memories of Logan Paul?
Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Israel/Palestine/Israel

This is the second segment in a continuing dialogue between an Israeli (Mike) and an American (Bill) — it is an ongoing email conversation, dialogue text is copied verbatim. The first segment appeared here as Palestine/Israel/Palestine.

July 29, 2017 (Mike to Bill)

Was talking to my wife this morning on what I was trying to explain and her comment was that it is impossible to have a dialogue with people that believe they are victims. In our neck of the woods that would definitely mean what children are taught in kindergarten and school. Then I suppose to compound this we have families marrying first cousins to keep family control of their wealth. This has indeed caused some deterioration in IQ and introduced birth defects that are not helpful specially when no pre-natal screening is available. Or as in the case of America religion doesn’t allow veterans to get pain relief by using marijuana extracts that are specially formulated for pain without the buzz. In Israel they are very successful at isolating parts of hemp and marijuana to deal with many health problems that “normal” medicine cannot help. Actually talking to you has created a sort of introspection that wasn’t around before.

If you can’t solve problems what are you supposed to do? Maybe there is a higher power and karma was created to interact on a planet that was like the locked room game. Maybe we are looking at things the wrong way?

Sorry for all the posts but it is like a ball of wool unravelling before your eyes.

Sunday in Israel is a normal day so enjoy yours

July 30, 2017 (Bill to Mike)

I have indeed followed coverage on Sergeant Azaria. Hebron is a hell on Earth, particularly for the Palestinians who still live there. I watched a John Pilger documentary “Palestine is still the issue” on this town, filmed about a generation ago now. Shuhada Street is fenced right up against Palestinian homes. Looking through caged windows they get to see settlers, soldiers and holy land tourists glaring, shouting, tossing things, punching into doorways. Surreally dystopian. Shuhada was Hebron’s main street.

I listen for mention of Palestine on a range of news media, but virtually nothing outside official government channels is reported. I listen to any number of pitches for holy land tours. How can any of them not mention a word about the Apartheid Wall. The independent street artist Banksy does a good job though. There is that.
Imagine being evicted from you house in the Palestine of 1948, then being occupied where you sought refuge in 1967, then to have your house in the occupied territories rehabbed or razed by a tsunami of settlers. How about children looking through a fence to see settler children playing in a yard they once played in, to read “Gas all Arabs” graffiti everywhere, having your bedroom door broken down at 2:00 in the morning by IDF soldiers and then brought in for questioning, wetting your pants in the process.
Despite all that humiliation, their population will soon outnumber non-Palestinians in what was formerly a colony of the British Empire. Despite regular bombing, the population density in Gaza only increases. There are no places to hide and invoking the all-explaining five letters H A M A S does not justify it. Would you not resist?
Here’s my question for a Sunday — What’s the truth on white-phosphorous bombs on Gaza?
But I still wish you, and all you hold dear, the very best in these rapidly approaching days of August, be they august or not.
July 30, 2017 (Mike to Bill):

Hi Bill – there is some truth in what you say but a bit one-sided. I used to know Hebron pretty well and if you are interested let me tell you about my monthly stints in Hebron when I happened to be there. My recollections are sharp but the when is a bit muddled. 
In 1929 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1929_Hebron_massacre I have an interesting story. The first time I was in Hebron we were encamped on a hill near Hebron. We were waiting to go out on patrol – the weather was amazingly good. One of the soldiers told us that his grand-father and grand-mother was one of the few Jews to manage to escape the massacre. Fast forward to 1967 and one day a convoy of cars from the West Bank pulled up outside his parent’s house on aSaturday morning when the whole family was at home. One of the Arab guys introduced himself and explained that his grand-father had rented out their home the left in Hebron and brought him the rent in Jordanian Dinars. Seems his grand-parents helped the soldier’s family to escape. Some history (I didn’t know a lot written here) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebron in Israel the land deeds are kept in the Tabu office – Tabu is a Turkish word and written is who owned what and when. For example Tel-Romeda next to the very large Jewish cemetery. One of the most intelligent people I loved to have coffee with actually two – one was a rabbi that lived in a caravan home there as the land was owned by Jews and his next door neighbour a very smart guy that owned a shoe shop in town. The rabbi was murdered but the other guy – his family owned the Jewish cemetery and often we would sit on the wal drinking coffee and we would joke about what is he supposed to do with the land as the 99 year lease had expired a long time ago. At my time the mayor of Hebron Jabori – had a grand-child that converted to Judaism and married a French woman (arranged) in Jerusalem. He later became quite a famous rabbi. There were Israelis that married Arab women and had to live in Israel as they could have been in danger. Lots of Arab men married Jewish women. Love is love.

In Tel-Aviv you cannot tell who is who anymore. Back to Hebron. I was once the sergeant in charge of the Patriarch’s tomb. Of course prayers was a problem with different rooms at different times and being a bit naïve I started to become blonde. Early morning prayers were conducted with the Arabs in the big hall and the Jews were allowed to use a small room with a connecting door to the big room until 7am. Of course both sides drove me crazy by opening the door before7am and anything else they could do to make my life miserable. They were all like kids. So one morning I visited the local hardware store and bought a hasp and staple plus medium sized lock and a few screws and a screw driver. That night I installed the hardware and waited for the morning. The lock was by the way  on the Arab side because there was more light there. Next morning both sides of the door started talking to each other and complained about me to the military governor no less. He came over and I couldn’t believe my eyes the Arabs and the Jews were kneeling on the floor with little brushes and were collecting the wood dust (I couldn’t see any) from the floor. So when they decided they had it all I had to remove the hardware and with prayers in bot Arabic and Hebrew these crazy people so called replaced the dust with some glue. I was severely reprimanded for destroying the door and they all grudgingly agreed to drop this serious – whatever it was. Now forgive me for telling you in my mind the people there deserve each other and would be heart-broken if either side upped and left. Another thing when I was street patrol sometimes young girls would invite us to tea (not coffee) and they would sit inside the garden gate and we sat on the pavement. That is how I prefer to remember Hebron not the throwing Molotov cocktails at our jeeps nor some of the Jews that thought they owned the place. But Bill there is not only one side to this story. Once there was no wall and my daughter’s bus was blown up twice (no 16 in Jerusalem) both times she walked instead. How many time times I had to go and look for my daughter at the hospital as I didn’t know she walked home. Israel specially asked the Jordan king to stay out of the war – but he shelled Jerusalem. Anyway in 1948 he invaded the place.

So much more but I think I may have lost you J

The following response originally appeared in a comment thread here.

August 3, 2017 (Bill to Mike):

…your firsthand personal experience in Hebron is of great interest to me and I look forward to hearing more. To every extent possible I try to follow this maxim: listen to “the other” before formulating a response, mull the other’s words before responding, then speak truth as you know it. I do not often succeed, but the maxim is still wise.
In my opinion, Wikipedia is better at topics that are not “hot button” ones, ones that do not serve agendas. Here is a single example:

type in “Hasbara” and you are not taken to a page titled “Hasbara.” Rather, you are taken to a page titled “Public diplomacy of Israel.” Before that it was “Public diplomacy in Israel.” Before that it was “Public diplomacy — Israel.” Why does it not take you to a page titled “Hasbara”?

Shalom,
Bill

This is a developing dialogue, additional conversations will appear in a future post.

Thanks for reading.

 

where.is.palestine
From a Holy Land Tour Brochure (circa 2015).

Thalwen Explains Hasbara: إسرائيل

Truth to Power

A single truth can defeat a legion of lies. A 15-year-old shows us how.

I’m reminded of the guy in Poe’s “Telltale Heart.” Truth pulses.

Leanne Mohamad is a 15 year old Palestinian who lives in the UK. A student at Wanstead High School, she took top place in the Redbridge regional final for Jack Petchley’s Speak Out challenge. The Speak Out Challenge is an annual contest that is funded by the Jack Petchley Foundation and the purpose of it […]

via Leanne Mohamad, censored for hoping for freedom — Thalwen’s Rants and Stuffs

Thalwen is setting a higher bar in solid reporting at the same time as the hasbara crowd keeps lowering theirs. This is another one for the reference shelf here at billziegler1947. It may be daunting to publish small unfunded thoughts when I could get paid to sit at a monitor and yell “Go Team Hasbara Go!” but this way I can live with myself.

Maps as Propaganda Tools for Large Lies

Nota bene. Lisa has noted under separate cover that a logical argument based on (anti)Semitism is wrong in every respect since both people share the common patriarch Abraham. In 2016 we’re still talking about his two sons: Ishmael and Isaac, brothers where the branches of the Semitic tree meet. Oz & Nichols.

1500 BC, Old Testament prophet Abraham banishes Hagar and her son Ishmael into the wilderness after the birth of Isaac to his aged, barren wife Sarah. Genesis, chapter 16. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1500 BC, Old Testament prophet Abraham banishes Hagar and her son Ishmael into the wilderness after the birth of Isaac to his aged, barren wife Sarah. Genesis, chapter 16. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Today’s question: is it possible to use maps as propaganda (הַסְבָּרָה)?

Does a Mercator projection misrepresent land area?

On your next tour of the “Holy Land” bring home souvenir maps that follow guidelines for “Public Diplomacy: Israel.”

do.economic.ties.corrupt.789.001

An excerpt from a recent Haaretz article describing the brochure below:

The only Muslim site listed is the Dome of the Rock. It’s clear that the map’s editors took pains to omit the Arabic names of sites in the Old City. For example, it uses the terms “Har Habait,” “Temple Mt.” and “Mt. Moriah” for the Temple Mount area, but omits what most Old City residents call it – Haram al-Sharif, or Al-Aqsa. In fact, the Al-Aqsa Mosque is illustrated but not named; the area east of it is marked as Solomon’s Stables.

jerusalem.propaganda.tourist.map

 

Actually I remember Dr. Laurence G. Wolf once mentioning this topic around 1967 in a geography class at the University of Cincinnati. It was the year of the 1967 War, when Israel occupied the West Bank of the Jordan River, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights. Now in 2016 Israel has only returned the Sinai Peninsula (to Egypt), but no land ever to a single Palestinian: the original residents of Palestine. Before May 14, 1948 most Palestinians lived near the Mediterranean Coast

I haven’t yet found examples for the Czech map mentioned in that class but I do remember that it depicted the Sudetenland as a range of sharp teeth about to champ on a tasty morsel. The German cartographers fashioned maps to represent a clear and present danger: militant Polish horse-powered troops getting ready to thrust their force into 1939 Germany.

 

czech.threatens.germany
Looks like Prague could devastate the German Reich, quick as a snap.

 

verlorenes.land
A knife to the soft underbelly of Greater Germany, or bloody teeth? Your guess or mine I guess.

BDS and the Blacklisting of Pro-Palestinian Activists

Yesterday I learned about a pro-Israel operation you might be interested in. Propaganda online real time: Canary Mission

canarymission_logo

It comes complete with rapid-fire context-insensitive propaganda video:

Canary Mission: Radicals Exposed

One of the links on their website takes you to organizations that pro-Israel movements view as threats. Among them BDS, Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine.

Obviously the  links do not take you to the activist website but rather to an internal link. Here is what happens when you click the Canary resource for BDS.

Canary is not about freedom, justice or equality. It’s about learning from Senator Joseph McCarthy.

BDS Movement (this site is about Freedom/Justice/Equality)


 

joseph_goebbels_quote

Canary uses a dark agenda funded by a secret sponsor seeking to remove the privacy of innumerable activists and destroy their futures, i.e. a cleansing.

hasbara.israel.students.hashtag

Hasbara works by achieving a deft balance between information availability and media participation. It helps to have billions of dollars available to combat free and open society. Success depends upon promoting democratic principles on the de jure side while using fascist techniques on the de facto side. Then to proclaim that they continue the good fight as the only democracy in the Middle East: one protected by the most moral army in the world.

Corporate ownership (NYT, Time) and corporate sponsorship (NPR, PBS) permits bias to enter the news. The big lie requires billions of dollars to grow but it has shallow roots.

 

 

 

Joseph Goebbels: Nazi Rules for Jazz Performers

Joseph Goebbels, Minister for Propaganda in Hitler’s Third Reich (appointed 1933) had a way with guidelines. A well written article on Goebbels’ thoughts on jazz links below.

Editor’s note for the easily cognitively dissonanced: inclusion of this list in this blog does not represent approval of Minister Goebbels.

Josef Skvorecky on the Nazis’ Control-Freak Hatred of Jazz from The Atlantic January 3, 2012 by JJ Gould.

joseph_goebbels_quote

But if you want to get straight to the rules, Josef Skvorecky enumerates in the link above:

1. Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20% of the repertoire of light orchestras and dance bands.

2. In this so-called jazz type repertoire, preference is to be given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in life rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics;

3. As to tempo, preference is also to be given to brisk compositions over slow ones (so-called blues); however, the pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro, commensurate with the Aryan sense of discipline and moderation. On no account will Negroid excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) or in solo performances (so-called breaks) be tolerated;

4. So-called jazz compositions may contain at most 10% syncopation; the remainder must consist of a natural legato movement devoid of the hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races and conductive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called riffs);

5. Strictly prohibited is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (so-called cowbells, flexatone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of wind and brass instruments into a Jewish-Freemasonic yowl (so-called wa-wa, hat, etc.);

6. Also prohibited are so-called drum breaks longer than half a bar in four-quarter beat (except in stylized military marches);

7. The double bass must be played solely with the bow in so-called jazz compositions;

8. Plucking of the strings is prohibited, since it is damaging to the instrument and detrimental to Aryan musicality; if a so-called pizzicato effect is absolutely desirable for the character of the composition, strict care must be taken lest the string be allowed to patter on the sordine, which is henceforth forbidden;

9. Musicians are likewise forbidden to make vocal improvisations (so-called scat);

10. All light orchestras and dance bands are advised to restrict the use of saxophones of all keys and to substitute for them the violin-cello, the viola or possibly a suitable folk instrument.

joseph goebbels

Nice People Explained: Bertrand Russel

I first read Bertrand Russell’s essay collection Why I am not a Christian In the early 70’s. One essay that affected me in particular, and that still intrigues me is Russell’s “Nice People.”

Skeptics Guide to the Universe Forum excerpt:

— Quote from: “Mike Foster” —I’ve been reading Why I Am Not A Christian, And Other Essays by Bertrand Russell. In it, he launches a fairly sarcastic – even scathing – attack on ‘nice people’ in a c1931 essay called . . .’Nice People’! He talks about people who think they are nice as often indirectly selfish, unappreciative, aloof, deceptive and inclined to exercise power indirectly through gossip etc.

It’s been a few years since this essay was published, but I am quite humbled at its timeliness. A great touchstone indeed.

Bertrand Russell

“Nice People” rather reminds me of Jonathan Swift’s bombastic apologist in Gulliver’s Travels. Swift’s finely pompous character is merrily describing the land of his birth. His pride at its prowess is figuratively exceptional: sufficient to pop his vest buttons, had he been wearing a vest. Let’s imagine they are gold buttons to polish the metaphor. So he extols the virtue of his beloved British Empire at considerable length. Russell waits, as did Swift, until the very end of his writing before telling us the salient distinguishing feature of these very nicely described Nice People. Unfortunately they have nasty minds.

Nice people may also be found among those affecting membership in “The Silent Majority.”

Inexplicable Discrimination

مرحبا (Hallo),

The word for today’s class is “inexplicable.” Let’s get some قهوة عربية (arabischen Kaffee) and try to understand why news stories should be read with discrimination and not with discrimination.

Hey man, look at this crazy crap. There’s a cow on the news right now and it’s walking down the expressway. Is that like something you’ve ever seen ever? It’s like a North Korean spotted anywhere outside North Korea: an escapee from an authentically horrible place. A possible location of said cow using Google Maps: buildings densely populated by bovines. You are responsible for finding two (2) similarly inexplicable matters.

Doctors make house calls in Cuba, infant mortality is low, education is free, something about literacy rates and a cartoon character. What do my fellow Americans know about Cuba, its culture, its history?

Time for a Google search, exact phrase: “most moral army in the world”. Find a sentence that incorporates all six (6) words. For example, here is one such result from Haaretz (March 3, 2014): “The most moral army in the world fired an anti-tank missile at the house in which a wanted young Palestinian was hiding. The most moral army in the world ran a bulldozer over the top of the house and destroyed it.” I subscribe to Haaretz, so this article may not be available to you. Now, to stay on task, consider usage: inexplicable or explicable.

Class assignment: clip stories from your local newspaper about police officer heroes. Compare to episodes of The Wire. Consult this database maintained continuously and meticulously by The Guardian:

People killed by Police in 2015

You may also view the following video from Australian journalists that might pique your interest and provide examples of the “inexplicable.” It’s 53 minutes long. Remember that my quiz questions may come from anywhere in the video. If you are not a member of this class you do not have to view it. It’s here for its value; however images of gross child mistreatment are always disturbing:

Stone Cold Justice

The following link is provided as extra credit or for students majoring in the Israel-Palestine Conflict (1948 to present):

Electronic Intifada