Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"I want to go in". Félicitations!

So, you have let your hair grow? Stylish, as You always are. Congrats, Atiq!

* * * * *

"Soon they'll socialise the car industry," Mr HP commented this morning. He was puzzled, and slightly amused, too, I must admit. It is his birthday today, so into our bed he received coffee, newspaper and buns (proudly baked by me) with whipped cream.

While enjoying the warmest congratulations from Miss Funnybunny and me, with self-made cards and a poem (mine!) he was digging into the deep and crushing crisis of car industry in USA. (But good for the environment? Well, perhaps, if they build any alternative means of transportation. But that's what the big country is lacking at the moment.)

Then, just to make him laugh and forget the recession for a sec – an entrepreneur as he is (but in the hard business of literature, so he's not a car salesman!) – I told him the joke M.U. e-mailed me yesterday (THANKS again, dearest M!):

"One sunny day in 2009,

an old man sitting on a park bench opposite the White House, got up, crossed Pennsylvania Avenue and said to the U.S. Marine standing guard, 'I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.' The Marine replied, 'Sir, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here.''Okay,' said the old man and walked away.

The following day, the same man walked over to the White House and said to the same Marine, 'I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.' The Marine replied, 'Sir, as I said yesterday, Mr. Bush is no longer president and no longer resides here.' 'Okay,' said the old man again and walked away.

The third day, the same man walked over to the White House and said to the very same Marine, 'I would like to go in and meet with President Bush.'

The Marine, understandably annoyed, looked at the man and replied, 'Sir, this is the third day in a row you have been here asking to speak to Mr. Bush. I've told you already that Mr. Bush is no longer the president and no longer resides here. Don't you understand?'

The old man said, 'Oh, I understand. I just love hearing it.'

The Marine snapped to attention, saluted, and said, 'See you tomorrow.'"

* * *

And last but not least, I would like to congratulate the newest winner of the most valuable literature prize in France, Prix Goncourt: Atiq Rahimi!

Your books on Afganistan and the wars the nation has suffered from have made me a huge impression. I can hardly wait for the next one!

It was lovely to work with You years ago. The war fabricated by the CIA or George W. or whoever, against "the axis of evil" – one strong member of which was supposingly Afganistan – had just started and everywhere You had to comment on the desperate situation of the Afgans.

But yet, we did have a good time in Central Finland, partying until dawn with a bunch of literature maniacs. It was a literature happening in Urjala, in the nostalgic landscapes of the most important Finnish classics.

Félicitations, cher Atiq!

In an interview Rahimi comments on his book Earth and Ashes: "I wrote the novel in 1996, when the Taliban had just come to power. I thought, "Why? Why this violence? Why so much destruction?" During the Soviet war, there was a lot of vengeance, much catastrophe. The Taliban came from this catastrophe. It is important to know where this came from. Also, I wanted to show the three generations of Afghanistan. Dastaguir, the old man, represents Afghanistan's past, its traditions, its customs, its honor. This is the older generation. His son is the present, my generation. He works in a mine; he is the mujahideen generation, the chaos. Yassin, the grandson, is the future. He is deaf, handicapped by war. It is always true that communication between generations does not exist. My generation, the generation of Mujahideen and Communist, has no communication with the past or future."

* * * * *

Happy Birthday to those of You who celebrate this very day: the twins Ode and Hannu, Antti V, and especially Petteri = 40 years!!!! Congrats for the degree to Ira!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Oh, say can you see

Congrats, USA! And thanks for showing there is hope for the future.

Dear Barack. Now start working for peace and human rights outside the USA, too. (Comes with the job as the World Leader. And you know, you and President Hu Jintao are the guys the aliens want to address to when right after their arrival they say to the first earthlings they meet "take us to your leader".)

In your country, reduce greenhouse gasses IMMEDIATELY (and encourage President Hu Jintao to do likewise), do not be slaves of oil and nuclear industries (like us Finns), build up the economy with green energy and sustainable development... (By the way, does anyone talk about "sustainable development any more, or is it too 1980's?)

Yeah, there's a lot to be done.

I wish I knew how the Kremlin will react! They must be dumbfounded: "What happened?", Putin is screaming. "A black guy? Why couldn't they organise the elections like we do in Russia: tell people who is the only candidate to vote for? But in the USA people actually voted, like, the citizens themselves went to cast their votes? How ridiculous. How could they allow this to happen? What is this sh*t – democracy, what's that?"

You've come a long way, baby! I remember I actually cried at the end of the Roots Tv series. And again when I read the book. This still is one of the best historical half-biografies I have ever read.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes yes yes you can!

Hello, Charleston! Hello, West Virginia! It is so good to be here. In the last debate, John McCain felt the need to declare that he's not President Bush. And just yesterday, John McCain actually went so far as to try to compare Barack Obama to George W. Bush. As my granddaughter says: Hello? John McCain is now attacking the Bush budget and fiscal policies. Folks, this is as crazy as the Sundance Kid attacking Butch Cassidy!
– Joe Biden in Charleston a week ago

I feel sorry for Newman & Redford. How terrible to be compared with McCain & Bush.

In the debate this week, my opponent felt the need to inform me that he's not President Bush. And in fairness, I don't blame Senator McCain for all of President Bush's mistakes. After all, he's only voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time.
– Barack Obama in St Louis a week ago

Go for Obama!


I'm so excited!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

In the Heart Of Darkness

A good friend said the other day he does not like the saying "one gets what one deserves", especially when brutal, unfair violence is sort of accepted with this saying: A husband killing his wife becauce "the bitch deserved it", or others saying "she deserved it because she did not leave him". A kid being tortured because she deserved it - she must pay for the sins of earlier generations, or maybe she was born in the wrong culture, and so on.

So many people get totally what they do not deserve: they are suffering from violence, torture, just anything a human being can imagine and even worse.

And we, in the rich Europe, get a lot of what we certainly are not worth of. "Goods", as they are called, even when they do good for no-one, or "products". Whatever you call the well-designed jars and boxes, filled with something that will soon be crap anyway.

These gloomy thoughts took over my mind as I am now under this weekend working at the stupidest fair I have ever been in. Anyone with a bit of sanity would become crazy here. This is all about women's "products for good life".

Cheating and crap, I say. Like over-priced cosmetics; "natural vitamins" (but get them from food and all of them are "natural"), "energy" or "balanced" treatments that promise much but most likely do not deliver (except money for the salesmen); memberships for gyms, the shortest term to get committed to being a year (now that is a clever business con. They sell memberships for lazy but hopeful and easily agitated people, and they can sell much more than actually would ever fit into their fitness dumps). And so on. Get the ugly picture.

I am here with The Books, of course. And I wish I was at home, playing with Funnybunny (who is briefly visiting her grandparents, and that's a really good thing, anyway).

* * * * *

A couple of days before I came across this mind-blowing piece in the Independent:

The deadliest war since Adolf Hitler marched across Europe is starting again – and you are almost certainly carrying a blood-soaked chunk of the slaughter in your pocket. When we glance at the holocaust in Congo, with 5.4 million dead, the clichés of Africa reporting tumble out: this is a "tribal conflict" in "the Heart of Darkness". It isn't. The United Nations investigation found it was a war led by "armies of business" to seize the metals that make our 21st-century society zing and bling. The war in Congo is a war about you.

So, is it because You are worth it? Read Johann Hari's article How We Fuel Africa's Bloodiest War and make up your mind.¨

The Congo River, the flow of which is the biggest after Amazon.

Please find more about the exciting rainforests and peoples - like Pygmies - of Congo here.