Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cinema for Human Rights, Vilnius 1-8 July

An international group of supporters of Khadijat and Malik Gataev as well as of their children have organized the film festival in Vilnius to raise public awareness in Lithuania for human rights and to remind politicians of Lithuania about the obligation to comply to the norms of the membership in the European Union.

Pirjo Honkasalo is going to screen “Three Rooms of Melancholia”, and other directors present will be Aki Kaurismäki (Finland), Arto Halonen (Finland), Andrey Nekrasov (Russia), Nikolay Olejnikov (Russia) and Linda Jablonska (Czechia).

The chair of the Subcommittee on the Human Rights at the European Parliament, MEP Heidi Hautala (Finland) will also attend the festival.


In June 2009 Khadijat and Malik Gataev were sentenced to 10 months jail.

The time has come to stand up not only for the freedom of Khadijat and Malik but for their good name. The case as a whole has totally lacked transparency. Also, the security police of Lithuania has harrassed and threatened those -- like some of the foster children -- who have expressed support for gataevs and who have been willing to testify for them in court.

Before their arrest in Kaunas in October 2008, the Gataevs ran two orphanages, one in Grozny, Chechnya, and one in Kaunas. The work of Khadijat and Malik Gataev has been documented in various ways:

* Anna Politkovskaya wrote about “Rodnaya Semya” orphanage which became home for more than sixty children.

* Khadijat Gatayeva and some of the orphans appear in the prize-winning documentary film “Three Rooms of Melancholia”, directed by Pirjo Honkasalo.

* Gatayeva is the central figure in the book “The Angel of Grozny” by the Norwegian journalist, Åsne Seierstad.

* Recently killed Natalya Estemirova, a Chechen human rights defender and a journalist, was one of those who didn't turn away from Khadijat and Malik at the time of an odd investigation and the consequent court trial that lacked transparency. One of the last Estemirova's articles published in the Novaya Gazeta was about the abduction of Gatayev's foster son, Malik Utsaev, in Grozny. He disappeared in Chechnya at the same time when his parents were arrested in Kaunas.

Khadijat and Malik Gataev had rescued orphans from the ruins of Grozny since the first war broke out in Chechnya. They took custody of the first children in 1996 when hostilities ceased. Khadijat was raised in an orphanage herself. It was her main motivation to take care of the children abandoned by the war.

The festival will support the work of Khadijat and Malik Gataev, and pay homage to Anna Politkovskaya and Natalya Estemirova.

* * * * *

Please find the program of the festival in here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Angel of Grozny Arrested. Orphans Suffering.



Raided offices and confiscated computers.

A closed court case with activities surrounding it strongly implying there is no way the accused will be treated fairly. The police and the authorities not respecting the rule of law.

And all this has to do with Chechnya again, though surprisingly not in Russia but in the European Union.

The following is written for the European Court by the Lithuanian Human Rights workers. Best of luck to you and your case!

As for the kids in the orphanages... No-one has been able to create a healthy and stable future for them. That is just tragic. And totally unjust.

Please see Åsne Seierstad telling here who Mrs Gataeva really is: The Angel Of Grozny.

I also recommend this heartbreaking review in the New York Times website.

* * * * *

"Malik and Khadizhat Gataev were arrested in Kaunas, Lithuania on 15 October 2008. Until their arrest, the couple ran two large orphanages for children from Chechnya, one in Grozny, Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, and one in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Khadizhat Gataeva has been featured in many journalistic accounts, in a film like “Three Rooms of Melancholia” by Finnish director Pirjo Honkasalo) and a recent book by Åsne Seierstad, The Angel of Grozny. Gataeva has been collecting orphans from the streets of Grozny and elsewhere since the first war broke out in Chechnya.

Mrs. Gataeva first established an orphanage in a refugee camp in Ingushetia, with help from foreign sponsors, and later moved back to Grozny. The husband Malik Gataev has been residing in Lithuania for the past decade and, until his arrest, he was running another orphanage there. Mrs Gataeva kept alternating from Chechnya to Lithuania.

The arrest of Mr and Mrs Gataev was carried out by the Lithuanian State Security Department (SSD), even if the nature of charge against the Gataev - extortion of money from their adult children (out of 17 children of the orphanage eight are young adults) - demands involvement of Criminal Police. The extortion charge brought against the Gataev does not fall under the authority of State Security Department whose main tasks are intelligence, counterintelligence, protection of state secrets, anti-terrorist activities and protection of national economy and strategic objects.

The State Security has been heavily involved in the Gataev case ever since the arrest of Mr and Mrs Gataev and has been cooperating closely with Kaunas Regional Prosecutor’s Office. The first private lawyer, who started working on the case in October 2008, dropped it shortly after his wife was ‘warned’ that she would lose the job if her husband continued working on the case.

The SSD initially blocked any access to the orphanage and kept it under strict surveillance. Evidence at our disposal indicates that the adult children of the orphanage were subjected to psychological pressure by the State Security Department and forced to report and cooperate with its agents, which in the end resulted in some of them testifying against their foster parents. Importantly, testimonies of some of the adult children were recorded on video prior to the trial. The prosecutor applied a measure of the Lithuanian Criminal Code that permits questioning of witnesses under the age of 18 prior to court proceedings, not to cause a psychological trauma or other serious consequences. However, all witnesses whose testimonies were recorded are over 18.

We also possess evidence that the Prosecutor in charge of the case and SSD are currently putting pressure on the adult children of the orphanage who are considered to be victims in the case but want to provide positive testimonies in defence of their foster parents. Last week, after one of the adult children, Denis Volkovskii, expressed his wish to provide positive evidence in person during the second hearing in the case at Kaunas City District Court on 24 February 2009, SSD agents summoned him to the SSD Kaunas office on 25 February where he was questioned for six hours by 6-7 SSD employees. During the questioning session, the agents threatened to imprison the Chechen youth for two years if he refused to provide evidence against his foster parents, or deport him from Lithuania. They also suggested that the best option for the young man would be to leave Lithuania till the court trial was over. After the questioning he was diagnosed with a psychological trauma and started undergoing medical treatment.

Prosecutor Nomeda Oškutyte and two employees of SSD had also visited the orphanage on 13 Jan 2009, after the first court hearing in the Gataev case took place. The prosecutor and VSD agents asked the young adults how they had found out about the court hearing. In an attempt of intimidation, the prosecutor vaguely threatened to detain some of the young.

SSD has also been putting constant pressure on the friends and supporters of the Gataev family who showed interest in their arrest and tried to help them and the children of the orphanage. Thus some of the Gataev friends and acquaintances were detained for short periods and harassed by SSD agents.

Most recently, on 2 February 2009, Prosecutor Oškutyte with two law enforcement agents arrived at the office of a translation company in Kaunas that belongs to Gataev family friend sand supporter Gintautas Bukauskas. Law enforcement agents raided the office and confiscated two desktop computers and all the available files of documents, thus effectively depriving Mr and Mrs Bukauskas from the means to run their business and earn income. The prosecutor remarked that the company of Mr Bukauskas had been 'very active' in the Gataev case and that he had obtained a lot of testimony letters from the acquaintances of Malik and Khadizhat Gataev to be presented at the court. The prosecutor also told Mrs Bukauskas that if she does not want her husband detained for two weeks, he should better stay away from the Gataev case."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Pam Am witnessing the jolly British and some short-tempered Frankfurters

As I have so wonderful friends in Frankfurt I
must post this one here.

(Please find the original source, Teknik 360, here. Thanks, TN!)

* * *

The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are renowned as a short-tempered lot. They not only expect one to know one’s gate parking location, but how to get there without any assistance from them.

So it was with some amusement that we, a Pan Am 747, listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and a British Airways 747, call sign Speedbird 206.

Speedbird 206: ”Frankfurt, Speedbird 206 clear of active runway.”

Ground: ”Speedbird 206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven.”

The BA 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.

Ground: ”Speedbird, do you not know where you are going?”

Speedbird 206: ”Stand by, Ground, I’m looking up our gate location now.”!

Ground (with quite arrogant impatience): ”Speedbird 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?”

Speedbird 206 (coolly): ”Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark, and I didn’t land.”

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lex Nokia - You should all be worried

Despite of numerous appeals, demonstrations and strong critisism among the specialists and media (in Finland and abroad), today the Finnish Parliament will put the so called Lex Nokia to the vote in the plenary session.

EDIT: The Government porposal was approved some time ago in a 96-56 vote, with 47 parlamentarians absent.

"Lex Nokia", because the whole idea of the law, let alone big parts of the text itself, has been put together by the reps of the Nokia company.

Also in the Finnish media some high-raking officials in the Finnish ministries have leaked that the Nokia lobbyists have pushed really hard: they have threatened the company would leave Finland if the law is not approved. This is a major scandal already.

And if the law is approved, it will be an even bigger scandal. EDIT: It has been. Unbelievable.

* * *

SO: what is it, actually? The EDRI (European Digital Rights) site calls it "Snooping law and says raison d'être for the bill officially is that it would allow employers to investigate the log data of employees' e-mails, if the company has reason to suspect that corporate secrets are leaking out of the company or that the employer's communication networks are being misused. The employer would not be allowed to read the content of the messages themselves, however. The bill has been dubbed "Lex Nokia" because it was sparked in 2006 by an announcement by prosecutor Jukka Haavisto that Nokia had been illegally monitoring contact information of its employees' e-mail in 2000 to 2001.

Please bear in mind that the "company" mentioned above does not mean just a business, ie. not just enterprises with employers and employees, BUT just anyone running a collective or communal internet service. The controlling party running the net services in question can be a hospital, school, university, library...

Second most important thing: snooping does not just mean the log data of e-mails, it refers also to the log data of the employee's/ web user's/ customer's/ student's/ patient's/ recident's web traffic: which sites is s/he visiting most frequently?

Some company could use it to prevent secret business inventions to be sold to other parties, yes, but it could be used for other, much gloomier purposes.

The controller could find out - even by interpreting the log data - if the employee/ web user/ customer/ student/ patient/ recident is
* an extremist (defined by the government)
* a dissident (defined by the both government and himself)
* homosexual
* practising some strange religion/ a Satanist/ the only Cristian among Satanists
* a native speaker of urdu
* someone who's homeland is Tibet/ in Caucasus/ not where the others think it is
* whatever,

the information in some context could be harmful, even damaging for the web user, and perhaps for others, too.

If only the controller should wish to use it, like sell it forward, give it under pressure to other parties, or store the information carelessly. There are possibilities.

* * *

If this law is approved, Finland will be moving towards the kind of future all dictators & unfair and perhaps even unstable societies without freedom of expression would love. EDIT: Hello, Putin, Il Jong, Gazprom, Shell, Monsanto, the Turkmen Kreml, Lukashenka, and all your friends: These air-heads in Finland have smoothened your way. Now come here and get a copy of the text. You can do what you do legally.

Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, Philip K. Dick. They knew what was really going to happen.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, he wrote about what had happened when the society had all the means of controlling its subjects (not "citizens").

* * *

The Lex Nokia law has got blessing from Constitutional Law Committee.

Therefore, the legislative proposal is presented to Parliament in the pleanary session. Today.

If the Parliament is to approve this law, it will be sent to the President of the Republic for ratification.

Strange. The law is so compilicated the Constitution should be re-written. According to the website of the Parliament of Finland a bill regarding the Constitution must first be approved by a simple majority of votes on its second reading. The bill is then left in abeyance until after the next general election. The newly elected Parliament continues discussion of the bill and must approve the bill by a two-thirds majority of votes in order for it to become law. However, a bill regarding the Constitution need not wait until after the next general elections if it is declared urgent by a five-sixths majority of votes.

I don't understand how this proposal has moved even this far. But hopefully not any further from here.

See the anti-ad in You Tube. The text "SUOMEN PERUSTUSLAKI" on the cover of the book means "the Constitution of Finland".

(The ones who understand Finnish, please see the site of Electronic Frontier Finland and the FAQ.)

Philip K. Dick (1928–1982), one of the greatest science fiction writers in the world. On the right. The manuscipts of Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report were based on his novels and short stories.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Two Buildings in Tallinn

Before I leave for Tallinn day after tomorrow, I want to show two buildings one will remember eternally. (Last Christmas I gave you my heart... NO, it happened earlier, but I took these photos last Christmas. And I can hardly wait to get to Tallinn again! A visit in every two months is a must, but visiting more often is my wish.)

Soviet-style film theater, Kino Soprus. A real treasure. Opened in 1955. Still with a high-standard independent program. Vana-Posti 8, in the Old Town.

A business office house in business-office-house-trees! Pärnu Mnt, I think. Or was it Tarttu Mnt? Don't worry, I'll check this out.

The Murder Investigations = Total Failure

Lavrenti Beriya (1899–1953). Originally Georgian. At the highest times of his glory Stalin's right hand, head of the KGB. After getting rid of his predecessor Yezhov (killing him in Lubyanka, the KGB prison in Moscow), Beriya was responsible for the deportations from the Baltic states, among other things.

Politkovskaya's assassination is still badly investigated and therefore, of course, the murderer unpunished.

But, like almost everybody who have been following this, I am very sure the murderer has been indentified by both the Kremlin and the KGB.

According to the rumours I have heard a number of times, the guy in the baseball cap, the one who really pulled the trigger, has been living in Belgium for quite some time already.

Oh sorry comrades, the agency is FSB nowadays.

Statement issued by Russian Union of Journalists

Monday, 23 February 2009

The trial of those involved in the murder of Novaya gazeta commentator Anna Politkovskaya has ended in total failure. The jury unanimously acquitted all the accused and they were freed right there in the courtroom.

Despite everything, the hearings were made open to the media and public and once again this gave us vivid evidence of the defects of our law enforcement system, which requires urgent reform. And still we can see one positive outcome. It did not prove possible, by convicting minor figures, to evade the most important question: Who ordered the killing of our comrade and colleague, and why did they do so.

The investigation will be renewed and so it is of fundamental importance that all those who obstructed the investigators in their work, shielding the guilty and concealing vital information, are named without delay. The Russian authorities must realise that it is essential that they display political will. The collapse of such a trial is a national disgrace and they will not be able to shift the blame to the investigators, who did not do their job, still less to the jurors.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Sledgehammer Response: No Stupid Medleys at Oscars

So. As for the players of progressive rock, a minute is nothing, Gabriel should have been offered enough time for a 75 minute solo.

No, really, just kidding. The lame 65 secs must be an offending offer. Please read the following piece of news from the Independent.

Gone in 65 seconds: Gabriel quits Oscars

Musician furious at decision to shorten his performance to a little over a minute
By Guy Adams in Los Angeles

There's a week to go, but this year's Oscars have already spawned their first major celebrity hissy-fit. Peter Gabriel, the laid-back king of progressive rock, has abruptly withdrawn from next Sunday's awards show after his performance there was shortened to just 65 seconds.

The former Genesis singer had expected, in keeping with tradition, to have several minutes in the spotlight to perform his song "Down to Earth". Composed by Gabriel for the computer-animated film Wall-E, it is shortlisted for an Academy Award in the best original song category.

But in an attempt to revitalise ratings, the event's organisers decided to jazz up this year's ceremony by blending all three of the nominated tracks together in a short, sharp medley.

As a result, Gabriel announced yesterday that he was refusing to participate. He said in a video posted on his website: "Songwriters, even though they're a small part of the whole film-making process, we still work bloody hard, and I think deserve a place in the ceremony. So I think ... I'm an old fart and it's not going to do me a lot of harm to make a little protest. For some of the other artists, it wouldn't be so easy."

* * *

...and the story as a whole is in here.

Hey, don't give up.
cos you have friends
Dont give up
Youre not beaten yet
Dont give up
I know you can make it good

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Kids Snooping in Russia

Another Russian revealing dirty secrets believed to be in danger is Anna Bukovskaya.

I have met several activists of "The Other Russia", the political opposition, and they have all said they phone calls are being listened to, and they are being followed. But I have not realised also kids can act as agents.

Nashi Activist Tells of Snooping for Kremlin

06 February 2009 By Natalya Krainova / Staff Writer

Undercover pro-Kremlin agents have worked in opposition groups across Russia to provide the presidential administration with information on opposition activists and rallies, a self-described handler said Thursday.

Anna Bukovskaya, a St. Petersburg activist with the pro-Kremlin Nashi youth group, said she coordinated a group of 30 young people who infiltrated branches of the banned National Bolshevik Party, Youth Yabloko and United Civil Front in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Voronezh and six other cities.

The agents informed Bukovskaya, who passed the information to senior Nashi official Dmitry Golubyatnikov, who in turn contacted "Surkov's people" in the Kremlin, Bukovskaya told The Moscow Times. Vladislav Surkov is President Dmitry Medvedev's first deputy chief of staff.

The agents provided information on planned and past events together with pictures and personal information on activists and leaders, including their contact numbers, Bukovskaya said by telephone from St. Petersburg.

They were paid 20,000 rubles ($550) per month, while she received 40,000 rubles per month, she said.

The story as whole is in here, in the Moscow Times website.

Changes with Music

München (Munich)

Obama has certainly started with Big Changes. And Joe Biden, now travelling in Munich, is seemingly backing up the President and moving forward with the new American agenda. According to a news release from Russia, "European media reported that Biden may voice Obama’s idea on a radical – up to 80% – slashing of U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals." Gosh.

Many are still sceptical, of course, wondering if Obama can really change things -- will he be able to, is he a puppet or with a mind of his own? And so on.

It is too early to have all the answers, and even I am not naive enough to think every example of the ignorant Bush administration could change for the better at once. For example, the USA seems to be willing to make NATO even stonger and more powerful, and the talks about the threats of terrorism are very much alive - and I find the both of these things quite strange.

But after the latest news on Obama's actions, I'd judge a lot is changing, and the changes have been good.

* * * *

By the way, I rarely recommend this news agency, but now I make an exception, since that was here in the ITAR-TASS site. Putin, be aware!

* * * * *

At the end of his speech Biden whacked Russia, and then with diplomacy he softened the statement:

"We will not agree with Russia on everything. For example, the United States will not -- will not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. We will not recognize any nation having a sphere of influence. It will remain our view that sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances. But the United States and Russia can disagree and still work together where our interests coincide. And they coincide in many places."

And not agreeing with Russia is a good start.

* * * * *

For all the music lovers, here comes the Bush speech once again.

Remember when he said the fact that there was no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has been "a significant disappointment"?

I still find it hard to understand how stupid that man has been. As well as the ones who voted for him.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Photo Thursday - Valokuvatorstai, 117: Many

If you came from Facebook and now look for a meme, "25 Things About Me", please find it two posts downwards, so keep scrolling.

* * * * *

In Photo Thursday the challenge #117 was the word "moni", many.

My response was shot with camera phone. Basic Nokia with 2.0 Megapixel camera, nothing fancy.

Did you realise there are many different magazines on window painting; two of them called Fensterbilder imported from Germany?

Window painting!?
My goodness.

You – yes, YOU – Are Being Cheated. Nuclear Waste Dumping and Pirates.

You came from Facebook and look for a meme, "25 Things About Me"? It is the post before this one, so please keep scrolling downwards.

* * * * *

The world is full of lies. BIG ones, too.

Huge lies, created by governments and super powers. Let's take a look at some of the old ones before proceeding to the newest.

* The beginning of "the War to End All Wars", World War I
, was based on a lie: an archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to throne of Austria-Hungary was assasinated with his wife in Sarajevo. And then Austria-Hungary declared a war on Russia, despite of the fact that is was the Serbian Military Intelligence who were behind the murder. And soon after the French mobilisation, Germany declared war on France. What, why? According to British historian Jonathan Glover all this escalating so far was based on intentinally false presumptions. Each one of the countries involved thought the others will lose, and that the war will be over quickly, and the war was very much wanted.

* The "War Against Terrorism"
was based a big fat lie. Nuclear weapons in Iraq? (George W. was "disappointed" when none was found.) And who were behing the 9/11 attacs? I don't know about the mysterious conspiracy theories of the buildings being bombed from the inside, but the official explanation given by the Bush administration was based on a conspiracy theory par excellence: Al-quaida + Axis Of Evil + Afganistan + Pakistan + Osama bin-Laden...

* The Second War against Chechnya was based on a cruel lie: Putin used the bombings of apartment buildings in Moscow and Ryazan as an excuse to start bombing Groznyi. Later a lot of evidence was found on the fact that the bombs were set by the Russian Security Service, FSB.

* Who killed Kennedy? Marilyn Monroe? Politkovskaya? Litvinenko? I don't know. (But what I do know is that Politkovskaya, Litvinenko and Kennedy did NOT commit a suicide.)

...and here is the newest example of the immoral ignorance I have heard in today's Europe and Africa:

Johann Hari, the Independent starts his excellent article with the following lines: "Who imagined that in 2009, the world's governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? As you read this, the British Royal Navy – backed by the ships of more than two dozen nations, from the US to China – is sailing into Somalian waters to take on men we still picture as parrot-on-the-shoulder pantomime villains. They will soon be fighting Somalian ships and even chasing the pirates onto land, into one of the most broken countries on earth. But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labelling as "one of the great menaces of our times" have an extraordinary story to tell – and some justice on their side."

And the beef in brief:

* The ugliest forces in the Western world are stealing the food supply on Somalia and dumping nuclear waste in their seas.

Mr Hari continuing: "Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply."

Please read the Hari's article as a whole in here (this link taking you into the Huffington Post site).. And thanks, dear TN, for noticing this.

What I am afraid of, is that soon someone is using the Somali pirates as an excuse of the war against Africa. Or are we there yet?

World War I recruiting poster.

25 Things About Me. (A meme)

This crazy meme was sent to me in Facebook, but from now on I'll try to write more of my blog and less Facebook stuff, so here we go.

"You are supposed to write a note with 25 random things about yourself. At the end, you choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you."

I'll try to keep this trivial, non-political and light-hearted but sincere. No whining about Putin, Bush, climate change and human rights this time. (But trust me; more posts on those coming up!)

1. Those are my eyes.

2. I just dyed my hair a bit darker, so I guess my hair colour is now "dark blonde". And I guess my original hair colour is a very Nordic "Messy Darkish Blondish": I get blonder stripes easily in summer because I swim outside whenvever I get an opportunity, and I have hints of red pigment, too. But here are the News: I have huge stripes of grey above my left ear.

3. I am a Helsinki girl. My grandparents lived here, too. Most of my relatives live here. I love travelling, but I have never actually wanted to move elsewhere.

4. Of all forms of arts, music and literature are the most precious to me.

5. I like music which is composed and played skillfully. Soul, jazz, "classic" progressive rock... "Complicated" music, like Mr HP put it. When driving I usually listen to Groove FM and sing all the soul classics so dear to me. At home it is nice to listen to classical music, but in the car I get a headache if I listen to classical piano.

6. When I was 17 I borrowed the ID of a friend of mine, because I had to get to Tavastia, the number One rock club in Helsinki, to see Pekka Pohjola's gig. The bouncers were, and still are, well-known of the fact no minor can sneak in. The music was excellent! (And my classmate had a driver's licence, so she did not need the papers. Well, neither did she want to see Pekkis, either.) For me, that one was only the first of many Pohjola gigs, I tried to be in Tavastia every time he played there.

7. I cried last November when I was in Berlin and heard Pohjola had passed away.

8. I cried at the Pohjola Tribute gig 14 January.

9. Enough of all this crying: I laugh a lot. I enjoy being with friends who make me laugh and who enjoy laughing. For example, the gang with which we travel to Football events are like that. I love telling and hearing jokes. I am constantly trying to learn new ones and pass the oldies forward!

10. I can't draw. Not at all. Or maybe I could if I really tried, but I am not interested.

11. I can't cook anything fancy. Or maybe I could if I really tried, but I am not interested.

12. I am really, really good at baking! The sweet buns I make are most delicious. I can do cakes, too. And bread. With freshly baked, hot bread the best topping is real butter.

13. I love jams. Cherry, blackberry, blackcurrant jam, and marmalades... I have to have several in the fridge all the time. And I can't picture pancakes without my favourite: apple jam!

14. I have never been in the USA. And neither in the Southern America. Been to nowhere in America! But I'd very much love to go.

15. The most famous person by whom I have been kissed is Francis Ford Coppola.

16. I hate warm milk in most of its forms. Except that sometimes I like drinking a cup of hot chocolate, but it must be self-made with lots and lots of cocoa (so that I can't taste and smell the milk).

17. Usually I don't like soups, because very often there is warm milk in them. Though I do like Russian-style selyanka (which I have in Estonia all the time) and bortsch.

18. I love pickled cucumber, made in Russian style, but I do not like the sugary, Nordic versions of those. I hate the Felix crap.

19. When I was a kid my mom took me to cinema every other weekend. When I was 5 my favourite film was "Sleeping Beauty" because the dress of the Princess changed colour in the final scene.

20. I stopped being religious at the age nine when I saw a film on the life of Jesus. (To tell ou the truth, I don't think I was religiuos before, but I migh have thought there could be something like a God somehere.) In this film the Son of the God was so human, so likeable, so wonderful guy. I even read the Bible after seeing that film - and immediately realised I truly am interested in history and fairy tales, but the God is not speaking to me, because there is no god. No God could make his beautiful, loving son suffer like that! And much later I learned this breath-taking film was directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini.

21. I fell in love with mr HP when he told me one of his favourite directors is Pasolini.

22. One of my favourite directors is Francois Truffaut. One of my favourite actors is Juliette Binoche. Other good ones: Jeanne Moreau, Monica Vitti, Gerard Depardieu, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Al Pacino, Monty Clift, Ava Gardner, Tauno Palo. And Liz Talor! And John Wayne. I love everything with John Wayne. Actors everyone else seems to love, but whom I don't find particularly good: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Kevin Costner (and he is not a good director, either).

23. I love the French language. Sometime I want to see some French film just because I enjoy listening to that beautiful language so much. I am refreshing my own language skills in a funny but very productive way: I sing French children's songs. With this.

24. I get bored easily, if I have to wait or just sit or stand still for a long time. That's why I always have a book or two with me everywhere I go. Or three. (And that's why I never carry too small a hand bag!) Should I forget those, I write myself. I aways carry a note book or two with me. Or three.

25. I wish I could be a bit more Buddhist and deeply understand how the inner strength is everything you really have. How happiness, confidence, beauty and peace do not come from outside, but they are resting inside you all the time. A lot of work required here.

* * * * *

I'll "tag" more of You in Facebook. Here I forward the challenge to Timo Virtala, Mane the Mean, Tiina Kaarela, Sedis, Oderazzi, Halo Efekti (Except that she has already done this!) and of course, Vaiheinen.

I was tagged by PG, who will be informed through Facebook as well.

Friday, January 16, 2009


You know what is to happen after 3 days 2 hours 25 minutes 47 seconds have passed? Or now it's 3 days 2 hours 19 minutes 25 sec. And now it's 3 days 2 hours 16 min 36 sec. And now--

It's the ...

Go, Obama, go! I wish you best of luck. May the force be with you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bloggers from the Other Side the Wall

Famous but anonymous artist "Banksy" drew on the Apartheid Wall.

Independent press, reporters, human rights activists, investigatiors and observers are not allowed by the Israeli administration to enter Gaza. The medical aid -- for the hundreds of injured or half-dead -- is given by too few professionals, lacking medicine and equipment.

Yet there are ways how we can dig into the news and reports spreading from the closed city. Bloggers among those.

These few contacts were distributed by Finnish peace activists. I have read them with great curiousity and sympathy, and I highly recommend you do the same.

Notes from Palestine
* Two bloggers representing MECA, the Middle East Children's Alliance + other contributors. Well-written, edited and most interesting.

"In my house we can't get basic needs. No food. No bread. No fuel. No future. Yesterday, my father went to the bakery at 5 AM. He waited 5 hours to get one loaf of bread, which is not enough for my family because there are 11 of us. So today it was my turn. I went to all the bakeries -- all were closed.
There is no safe place we can go. We cannot communicate with our relatives and friends -- networks are down as missiles rain on our homes, mosques and even hospitals."

Moments of Gaza
* Several bloggers. Well-written and very interesting.

"What the Palestinians in Gaza are getting used to on a daily basis are things like these:
...the smell of gunpowder in the air
...the sound of ambulances here and there
...the sound of fighter jets and helicopters in the sky
...the trembling, terrorizing sound of bombs far and near
...the sounds of baby cries
...the the news of people dead, injured, lost or homeless
This is what we're getting on a daiy, but even hourly basis...for the past 2 weeks. To me, this is not life. This is death in the making."

Sabbah's Blog
* Shocking photos, be aware! But also live-feed, accurate figures and news footage.

"If such a massive genocide of a trapped civilian population by air, sea, and land was committed by any other nation the world would launch a massive investigation into this crime against humanity and hold the leaders of such a nation accountable in the International Court of Justice. In a just world Israel would be charged with crimes against humanity as was Serbia and Rwanda.

Life must go on in Gaza and Sderot
* Tear down this wall!

"This blog is written by 2 friends. One lives in Sajaia refugee camp in Gaza and the other lives in Sderot, a small town near Gaza on the Israeli side. -- Many have been killed and many have been injured. The media coverage on both sides has been extremely biased. Our Blog is written by 2 real people living and communicating on both sides of the border."
"We have said from the beginning that violence will bring more violence.
I hope the world will understand that’s there people want to live safe with dignity and peace. I hope I will have the chance to write you again."

From Gaza, with Love
* Heartbreaking agony. Must be sincere, but yet it's more then a bit unclear at times. Worth reading, still.

"Women, health, children and human rights in Occupied Palestine. A blog by Dr. Mona El-Farra."


This wall was supposed to stay there for couple of hundreds of years! At least! But strange things happen if the world just decides to change for good. (Or some millions of Berliners just want to be living together inhabiting the same soil, instead of being half-neighbours.) And this wall has its foundations in the aftermath of the WWII, too.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hey you, President, listen

This was then: Chevron named oil tanker the "Condoleezza Rice". Rice, as well as Dick Cheney, used to work for Chevron oil company before the Bush administration started needing their talents. (Ever wondered why the harder limits for CO2 emissions have not been on their agenda?)

And here we go again. You lame duck, mr. president Bush, were referring to Iraq: "Not having weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment. I don't know if you want to call those mistakes or not, but they were -- things didn't go according to plan, let's put it that way."

A SIGNIFICANT DISAPPOINTMENT? Were you, stupid blood-hungry cheater, "disappointed" because they did not have any nuclear weapons in one of the poorest dictatorships in the world? Well how stupid is that. Or did you plan that Iraq could/would/should have nuclear weapons, if you now regret things did not go as planned?

Actually it does not matter at all what you just said in your last press conference as a president of the US. Goes without saying that before starting your ugly war you knew quite perfectly well they do not have anything of the sort, as that was what Hans Blix and other UN investigators told you.

(I just can't get it: how could someone say, even in his dreams, that not finding a nuclear horror has been disappointing?)

But there is a disappointment all right: You and your politics have been the biggest disappointments for the whole world, and the negative consequences will excist for a long long time.

So, thanks for nothing, and do no waste time with leaving the office asap.

Thus spoke IStori (like already years ago).