Fallujah was a Guernica with no Picasso. A city of 300,000 was deprived of water, electricity, and food, emptied of most of its inhabitants who ended up parked in camps. Then came the methodical bombing and recapture of the city block by block. When soldiers occupied the hospital, The New York Times managed to justify this act on grounds that the hospital served as an enemy propaganda center by exaggerating the number of casualties. And by the way, just how many casualties were there? Nobody knows, there is no body count for Iraqis. When estimates are published, even by reputable scientific reviews, they are denounced as exaggerated. Finally, the inhabitants were allowed to return to their devastated city, by way of military checkpoints, and start to sift through the rubble, under the watchful eye of soldiers and biometric controls.
The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most dishonourable belief against the character of the divinity, the most destructive to morality, and the peace and happiness of man, that ever was propagated since man began to exist. It is better, far better, that we admitted, if it were possible, a thousand devils to roam at large, and to preach publicly the doctrine of devils, if there were any such, than that we permitted one such impostor and monster as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and the Bible prophets, to come with the pretended word of God in his mouth, and have credit among us.Whence arose all the horrid assassinations of whole nations of men, women, and infants, with which the Bible is filled; and the bloody persecutions, and tortures unto death and religious wars, that since that time have laid Europe in blood and ashes; whence arose they, but from this impious thing called revealed religion, and this monstrous belief that God has spoken to man? The lies of the Bible have been the cause of the one, and the lies of the Testament of the other.
...the centrality of competitiveness as the key to growth is a recurrent EU motif. Two decades of EC directives on increasing competition in every area, from telecommunications to power generation to collateralizing wholesale funding markets for banks, all bear the same ordoliberal imprint. Similarly, the consistent focus on the periphery states’ loss of competitiveness and the need for deep wage and cost reductions therein, while the role of surplus countries in generating the crisis is utterly ignored, speaks to a deeply ordoliberal understanding of economic management. Savers, after all, cannot be sinners. Similarly, the most recent German innovation of a constitutional debt brake (Schuldenbremse) for all EU countries regardless of their business cycles or structural positions, coupled with a new rules-based fiscal treaty as the solution to the crisis, is simply an ever-tighter ordo by another name.If states have broken the rules, the only possible policy is a diet of strict austerity to bring them back into conformity with the rules, plus automatic sanctions for those who cannot stay within the rules. There are no fallacies of composition, only good and bad policies. And since states, from an ordoliberal viewpoint, cannot be relied upon to provide the necessary austerity because they are prone to capture, we must have rules and an independent monetary authority to ensure that states conform to the ordo imperative; hence, the ECB. Then, and only then, will growth return. In the case of Greece and Italy in 2011, if that meant deposing a few democratically elected governments, then so be it.The most remarkable thing about this ordoliberalization of Europe is how it replicates the same error often attributed to the Anglo-American economies: the insistence that all developing states follow their liberal instruction sheets to get rich, the so-called Washington Consensus approach to development that we shall discuss shortly. The basic objection made by late-developing states, such as the countries of East Asia, to the Washington Consensus/Anglo-American idea “liberalize and then growth follows” was twofold. First, this understanding mistakes the outcomes of growth, stable public finances, low inflation, cost competitiveness, and so on, for the causes of growth. Second, the liberal path to growth only makes sense if you are an early developer, since you have no competitors—pace the United Kingdom in the eighteenth century and the United States in the nineteenth century. Yet in the contemporary world, development is almost always state led.
All European writers are ‘slaves of their baptism,’ if I may paraphrase Rimbaud; like it or not, their writing carries baggage from an immense and almost frightening tradition; they accept that tradition or they fight against it, it inhabits them, it is their familiar and their succubus. Why write, if everything has, in a way, already been said? Gide observed sardonically that since nobody listened, everything has to be said again, yet a suspicion of guilt and superfluity leads the European intellectual to the most extreme refinements of his trade and tools, the only way to avoid paths too much traveled. Thus the enthusiasm that greets novelties, the uproar when a writer has succeeded in giving substance to a new slice of the invisible; merely recall symbolism, surrealism, the ‘nouveau roman’: finally something truly new that neither Ronsard, nor Stendahl , nor Proust imagined. For a moment we can put aside our guilt; even the epigones begin too believe they are doing something new. Afterwards, slowly, they begin to feel European again and each writer still has his albatross around his neck.
Problem dewastacji środowiska przyciągał uwagę greckich władców już na początku VI w. p. n. e. Prawodawca Solon proponował wprowadzenie zakazu uprawiania ziemi na stromych stokach, aby zapobiec erozji; Pizystrat wprowadził premię dla rolników, którzy sadzili drzewa oliwne, wyrównując w ten sposób straty spowodowane wyrębem lasów i nadmiernym wypasem. Dwieście lat później Platon pisał o spustoszeniu, jakiego dokonano na ziemiach Attyki: l jak można to wnosić z [wyglądu] małych wysp, nasza pozostała ziemia przedstawiała się w porównaniu z dawną jak kości chorego człowieka: po odpłynięciu z niej tego, to było tłuste i mięknienie pozostało teraz w tej okolicy nic więcej jak tylkoszkielet. (. . . ) Góry bowiem, gdzie dzisiaj tylko pszczoły znajdująpożywienie, jeszcze do niedawna dawały drzewa. (...) ziemia dawała niezmiernie dużo paszy dla trzód. Woda, zsyłana co rok przez Zeusa, nie płynęłana próżno (...). Wszędzie płynęły obfite fale źródeł i rzek. Co doistniejących dawniej źródeł, to jeszcze do dzisiaj zachowane poświęcone imświątynie są świadectwem, że to, co powiedzieliśmy na ten temat, jestprawdziwe'.
With the growth of civilisation in Europe, and with the revival of letters and of science in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the ethical and intellectual criticism of theology once more recommenced, and arrived at a temporary resting-place in the confessions of the various reformed Protestant sects in the sixteenth century; almost all of which, as soon as they were strong enough, began to persecute those who carried criticism beyond their own limit. But the movement was not arrested by these ecclesiastical barriers, as their constructors fondly imagined it would be; it was continued, tacitly or openly, by Galileo, by Hobbes, by Descartes, and especially by Spinoza, in the seventeenth century; by the English Freethinkers, by Rousseau, by the French Encyclopaedists, and by the German Rationalists, among whom Lessing stands out a head and shoulders taller than the rest, throughout the eighteenth century; by the historians, the philologers, the Biblical critics, the geologists, and the biologists in the nineteenth century, until it is obvious to all who can see that the moral sense and the really scientific method of seeking for truth are once more predominating over false science. Once more ethics and theology are parting company.
Most striking about the traditional societies of the Congo was their remarkable artwork: baskets, mats, pottery, copper and ironwork, and, above all, woodcarving. It would be two decades before Europeans really noticed this art. Its discovery then had a strong influence on Braque, Matisse, and Picasso -- who subsequently kept African art objects in his studio until his death. Cubism was new only for Europeans, for it was partly inspired by specific pieces of African art, some of them from the Pende and Songye peoples, who live in the basin of the Kasai River, one of the Congo's major tributaries.It was easy to see the distinctive brilliance that so entranced Picasso and his colleagues at their first encounter with this art at an exhibit in Paris in 1907. In these central African sculptures some body parts are exaggerated, some shrunken; eyes project, cheeks sink, mouths disappear, torsos become elongated; eye sockets expand to cover almost the entire face; the human face and figure are broken apart and formed again in new ways and proportions that had previously lain beyond sight of traditional European realism.The art sprang from cultures that had, among other things, a looser sense than Islam or Christianity of the boundaries between our world and the next, as well as those between the world of humans and the world of beasts. Among the Bolia people of the Congo, for example, a king was chosen by a council of elders; by ancestors, who appeared to him in a dream; and finally by wild animals, who signaled their assent by roaring during a night when the royal candidate was left at a particular spot in the rain forest. Perhaps it was the fluidity of these boundaries that granted central Africa's artists a freedom those in Europe had not yet discovered.
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.
There's a power struggle going on across Europe these days. A few cities are competing against each other to see who shall emerge as the great 21st century European metropolis. Will it be London? Paris? Berlin? Zurich? Maybe Brussels, center of the young union? They all strive to outdo one another culturally, architecturally, politically, fiscally. But Rome, it should be said, has not bothered to join the race for status. Rome doesn't compete. Rome just watches all the fussing and striving, completely unfazed. I am inspired by the regal self-assurance of this city, so grounded and rounded, so amused and monumental, knowing she is held securely in the palm of history. I would like to be like Rome when I am an old lady.
When World War II erupted, colonialism was at its apogee. The courde of the war, however, its symbolic undertones, would sow the seeds of the system's defeat and demise. [...] The central subject, the essence, the core relations between Europeans and Africans during the colonial era, was the difference of race, of skin color. Everything-each eaxchange, connection, conflict-was translated into the language of black and white. [...] Into the African was inculcated the notion that the white man was untouchable, unconquerable, that whites constitute a homogenous, cohesive force. [...] Then, suddenly, Africans recruited into the British and French armies in Europe observed that the white men were fighting one another, shooting one another, destroying one another's cities. It was revelation, a surprise, a shock.
To be the mistress of a married man is to have the better role. Do you realize? His dirty shirt, his disgusting underwear, his daily ironing, his bad breath, his hemorrhoid attacks, his fuss, not to mention his bad moods, and his tantrums. Well all that is for his wife. When a married man comes to his mistress... he's always bleached and ironed, his teeth sparkle, his breath is like perfume, he's in a good mood, he's full of conversation, he is there to have a good time with you.