You know, there are things that are going on around us. Most of us are aware of these more or less permanent news items. But, like the carnage in Iraq and the genocide in something called "Darfur," we've just come to accept them as part of our world.
Here is one example. This joker was captured by world cops in 2001. His trial at the world court began in April 2002 and is still going on with no end in sight. He's been languishing in failing health at the world hoosegow, under constant suicide watch. He's looking at life without parole. But more likely he will simply up and die before any verdict is reached.
Aloft in space there is this. It is up there. Spacemen shuttle back and forth, maintaining it and conducting little experiments. Then they come back home and new spacemen go up and do the same stuff. Nothing significant ever comes of it. And what goes up must come down. Sooner or later the ISS will come crashing down like the Mir, perhaps on your humble abode. Hopefully no one will be aboard.
These are the permanent news items I tend to avoid like a plague of locusts: Campaign finance reform. The UN oil-for-food program. Anything else involving the UN. Judicial appointment tussles. Social Security reform. All other reforms. Anything with the words "Tom DeLay" in the headline. The weather. Tsunami relief. Deaths.
Celebrity breakups, global warming or cooling or whatever, crime waves, recalls, medical breakthroughs, the humiture, air quality index, Dow up, Dow down.....
by anna at April 30, 2005 2:44 PM
And I wonder why I can't focus on my own life ...
by MrBlank at April 30, 2005 11:42 PM
Actually I've been focusing pretty intently on the Milosevic trial. It almost seems comic in its duration, seriousness and weirdness.
by anna at May 1, 2005 9:22 AM
I agree, Blank. Newspapers, magazines, and TV are so pushy about how their news is just *so* important. I think it really does throw us out of whack and makes it hard for us to focus on our own lives.
War crimes trials aren't like regular trials. I think the organizations running them try to have them be like a catharsis for the country... they think it's better that way. I think that's how the South African apartheid trials were done.
It is wierd, though. How can you get a village of people, factions of which hate each other enough to kill, rape, and steal from each other, to live together again? Most people's neighbors just use your lawn for a shortcut too much, or don't return your special edition Vogue magazines when they get them by accident. Maybe those trials are like morality plays... more to instruct the people watching.
by jean at May 1, 2005 4:42 PM
Well it's the same thing with Iraq. These countries were thrown together by colonial powers with only their own interests in mind. So you have Kurds and Arabs, Sunnis and Shi-ites all thrown to together and then you're surprise there is strife? There's even a word "Balkanized," which I think means fragmented and at odds.
by anna at May 2, 2005 7:44 AM
I've heard that word, too. I hadn't thought about it in relation to Iraq before, but I totally agree.
I saw Lynndie England on TV. She is really short.
by jean at May 2, 2005 10:30 PM
She will lead you around on a leash. How cool is that?
by anna at May 3, 2005 7:51 AM
And now the judge has rejected her guilty plea. I've never heard of such a thing. Have you?
by anna at May 5, 2005 7:52 AM
I'm really low on sleep right now so I'm not very coherent, but this is what I remember from an NPR report I heard a day or two ago: someone else who was involved in the torture testified that he thought they were doing what their COs wanted them to. So the judge rejected England's plea because she couldn't have been guilty of a conspiracy if she thought she was following orders or at least if she didn't think she was doing anything wrong. I read months ago that higher-ups had said that soldiers should try to help make the prisoners more willing to talk, and that everyone had just left that open to interpretation. So in a way I think we're getting closer to the truth with this, than farther away.
by jean at May 6, 2005 12:14 AM
All I know is the army is all about orders. Either they were ordered to do what they did or they did it on their own and the higher-ups neglected to supervise/reprimand them. I don't know which is worse.
by anna at May 6, 2005 7:56 AM