Thursday, October 30, 2008

Please Please Please!

Xenophobic concervatives were the winners of the municipal elections in Finland, getting 5,4% of the votes – but they started from zero.

And I am happily thinking it is not impossible to leave this country some day.

As even the moon is guarded by the Americans, should McCain win there is no place where to escape this ultimate stupidity and arrogant ignorance so typical of concervative right-win politicians in the USA.

Let's help the people of the USA and push Obama's campaign. I give you, my fellow Europeans, some useful tips:

* Whenever you meet with an American who seems religious Christian, conservative, and you know, Republican-minded, tell him you wish McCain won and McCain is widely supported by your fellow Finns/Swedes/Russians/Nigerians. (I don't know about Sweden and Nigeria, but in Finland there are only few supporters of McCain. In Russia this most likely applies, though.)

=> knowing about the support from foreign countries there is no chance he would vote for McCain.

And you don't need to worry about some foreign newspaper revealing the real truth, because concervative Americans don't read foreign newspapers. Actually, they seldom travel anywhere. So it is not likely you'd met any. Ok, this was not a good piece of advice, but lousy.

Denali National Park in Alaska

* But this is a good one: Sisters, let your hair down, add some curls or cut it short. If you have longer hair, wear it in messy-looking style Heather Locklear used to have in 1990's, as if suggesting you have had sex only a minute ago. (This hairstyle is still awfully popular in Sweden, especially among ladies in their 50s.)

=> even in remote corners of Northern Lapland DO NOT get mixed with fans of Sarah Palin and thus channel positive energy into her camp of heavily armed religious lunatics.

=> But if you actually meet a supporter of hers, tie your hair up on your head and tell her you adore Sarah Palin, and when Alaska is transformed into a huge oil field the Russian oligarks (and smaller players now buying houses by the big lakes in eastern Finland) will quickly build their datchas in Alaska as well, since for them the Northern USA feels even more like home, at the same time being the country of their dreams. (And boy, aren't they religious, too. And when it comes to Palin's beloved hobby hunting I bet some Russkie oligarks would love to join the team.)

* * *

I just have to end this post by saying Please, Please, Please: go for Obama, please. Yes you can!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"It Should Be All Over". Please Don't Blow It This Time!

After a lengthy period of hectic duties; bookfairs in Turku, Frankfurt and Helsinki, travelling, organising, even partying (haha something easy, too!), I am doing my best in trying to recover and get back to normal.

Just as if I knew what the so-called normal is.

* * *

(President of the United States, David Palmer would be happy with the latest developments in the USA election circus.)

* * *

Normal? Besides being with Miss Funnybunny. She has suddenly become big enough to really start missing her mom and dad. And she quite bluntly tells us that. Which makes leaving her, even for a couple of days, more and more difficult. As it should, I know. Fortunately she likes being with the ones she has stayed with (THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH!), so we don't really need to worry about her. Just miss her.

I finally got a new laptop, so I can do some top-quality blogging at home, too. Or in a hotel, like the following weeekend, when I am working at a - surprise, surprise - fair, in Tampere, central Finland. (It's not a book fair this time, but something totally else. Since I'm more than a bit embarrassed of being lured to go there, I will not get into more details about this now.)

Miss Funnybunny will be first coming with me, and after a day leaving with her dad to see the grandparents, so I will not have to suffer from the ugliest guilty feeling. That's pretty helpful.

* * *

The US election polls are making the world anxious. Despite the predictions anything can happen. The unpredictable and the unpredictably horribly stupid has happened before.

"Mark Steel: I'm frozen with fear – could Obama still lose the election?

The Republicans have had the worst campaign possible. It should be all over.

I'm still cacking myself. I know all the commentators are saying Obama's already won but I find myself scouring the internet for reassuring polls, and there'll be an article from Nevada quoting a truck driver that's supporting McCain, and I'm like a hypochondriac that's discovered a lump, frozen with fear and convinced this means the Republicans will win and reintroduce slavery and make it illegal for any creature to evolve.

Because it ought to be utterly totally wrapped up, as the Republicans have had the worst campaign that could ever be possible. The candidate looked like there couldn't possibly be anyone in the country more idiotic, but he scoured the continent, found someone who was and made her his deputy. Then a disastrous economic crisis began weeks before the election while they're in charge, then their own side started deserting to Obama, they've been caught spending half the economy on dresses, but they're STILL only a few per cent behind.

Scary, isn't it? But please, please, dear Americans, please don't blow it this time.

(You can read about Mark Steel's heartache in the Independent of today, linked here.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"She Is Still With Us"

Sorry for silence. Miss Funnybunny accidentally broke my laptop, and I have been far too busy to write this at work. (The insurance will cover a new one - I have just beeen to busy to buy the new one!)

But no time for silence. Today is marked as the second anniversary of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. Therefore I must publish the following reminder written by my dear friend Oksana Chelysheva.

* * * *

On the second anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya's murder I feel like speaking up on those who are still alive. This year I felt more inclined to commemorate her on her birthday and to raise other people's fates on her death day.
Anna Politkovskaya is one of them as here assassins fail to erase her voice, her views and her deeds as well as her charm from her friends' memory.

For me personally Anna is one of those few who will never cease to exist. She is still alive as she is with us in her articles, in her small granddaughter who was named after her. Even the hatred of those who are hiding their shadows behind statements on Anna's "insignificance" and "damaging Putin's Russia's positive image" can't destroy the voice of Anna.
At the same time, I can't accept this kind of post-mortal symbolism of the person who often felt too lonely and even marginalized being called "too passionate", "too radical", "too much involved" and not very "diplomatic" unlike a huge crowd of those who prefer to balance the circumstances rather than call on their changing.
She was often listened to without being heard. And it is also the responsibility of those who could have done a lot more to stop Russia's sliding first to autocracy and now to despotism by just calling the developments in Putin's Russia by their real names…

Anna wanted to live, to enjoy life as fully as such a bright person could, to continue her often desperate attempts to help out those who didn't have public recognition of the level she had.

Their number is increasing rapidly. More and more people are being killed without any hope that their deaths would be ever investigated and the guilty would be ever brought to account. People are being taken into custody under falsified charges. They are more and more often subjected to enforced psychiatric treatment. They are being labeled as supporters of terrorism and traitors of Russian like it happened to terrorism survivors from the Voice of Beslan and Nord-Ost public associations.

Magomed Evloev, the owner of an independent Ingush website, was killed while in police custody on 31 August 2008. The murder is crying for impartial investigation, to ensure that the circumstances under which he died are brought to light and that those who are responsible for his death are charged and tried in accordance with the law. Nevertheless, the outrageous extrajudicial execution perpetrated at day light is declared to be "a death caused by accident". On October 6, life of another Ingush opposition leader was attempted. The car in which Akhmed Kotiev was driving was fired at. Fortunately, the bullets have missed this time.

On 25 July 2008, human rights defender Zurab Tsechoev, working for the human rights organization MASHR (peace) in Ingushetia, was taken away from his home in Troitskaia, Ingushetia by armed men, thought to be federal law enforcement officials. A couple of hours later he was found on a roadside near Magas, the capital of Ingushetia, with serious injuries. He had to be hospitalized. Is there any hope that the perpetrators of this act against Zurab Tsechoev would be ever identified and brought to justice? Much depends on what kind of response the authorities of Russia will get from the international community and whether this response would be limited to some mild rhetoric and expressions of concerns.

Late on 1 August 2008, an arson attack was allegedly made on the flat of human rights defender Dmitrii Kraiukhin from the town of Orel in the Central Russian Federal District. The arsonists had also allegedly tried to block the entrance door. Luckily, Dmitrii Kraiukhin was reportedly not in the flat, but his relatives who were, were able to alert the fire brigade in time. So far, to Amnesty International's knowledge, no criminal investigation into this case has been undertaken, as the authorities allegedly considered the damage too insignificant to warrant a criminal investigation. However, this is not an isolated incident as far as threats to Dmitrii Kraiukhin are concerned.

On 14 August 2008, unknown assailants threw a brick through the window of the flat in Nizhnii Novgorod where human rights activist Stanislav Dmitrievskii lives. Luckily, nobody was hurt. At the same time, the entrance of his apartment building was covered with abusive language and threats against Stanislav Dmitrievskii. Actually, it was all painted with swastikas. A criminal investigation into this attack has been opened. However, I don't believe that it would bring any results. There have been several cases initiated into death threats that both Stanislav and I have received in the last three years. All to no avail. I have heard various investigators telling me, "You do understand… the circumstances. We would not be able to identify those who are behind the threats".

They won't be able because they don't want to. Because they are afraid to get their own voice. Because they are not masters of themselves, in their words. Because they are ready to implement whatever kind of order as they are just loyal serfs of their master.

And it is in your hands to influence them. They should be under moral pressure from all people of good will. They should know that they will never be accepted and welcome outside Russia for their readiness and willingness to be on orders.

They should know that even their property bought in Finland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Montenegro or Czech Republic and Slovakia would not make them your neighbors. They should know that not everything could be purchased, no matter how wealthy they are. They should be aware that you have honour and dignity and that you are ready to stand up for them. They should be denounced and put to shame.

Oksana Chelysheva