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  • prequel

    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Sunday, May 13, 2001  
    Quite day in today after having gone out last night – went to the Establishment nightclub
    (aka the Victorian Embassy) with Rob and company.
    One of the highlights of the night was my 2.40 am Nightride bus ride home from Town Hall Station to Campbelltown, one of the better Nightrides I’ve been on actually - these after midnight train replacements are usually interminably long two and a half hour plus crawls.
    The requisite yobbos that make such trips interesting were of the better variety – the more articulate, even charming and amusing, harmless variety.
    They made those two and a half plus hours just fly, as the bus meandered through half of night-time Sydney pretending it was a train.
    Off course, no Nightride is complete without a performance by the Yobbo Philharmonic Orchestra – the highlight of their performance was their accompaniment to “You’re So Vain” that was playing on the radio.
    You haven’t lived until you’ve heard yobbos’ singing/shouting “YOU’RE SO VAIN!”
    The bill also included a spirited yobbo rendition of Cold Chisel’s “Khe San”.
    Halfway through the anthemic Aussie classic, one of the yobbos, obviously an intellectual as he was wearing glasses, mercifully stepped in and ordered them to stop, which they did.To the chagrin on one of the young ladies present who reproached him – “are you an Australian?” (to which one of his mates interjected “yeah but he’s a poofter”) “well you ought to be ashamed of yourself!”
    The Nightride is a real Yobbfest, like the Footy Show but uncensored.

    Fortunately, some of the media are standing up for sanity and tradition in the “Pell Mêlée” as the Sydney Morning Herald called it – The Sun Herald’s editorial on Sunday 13th May (“A Priest in a Turbulent City”) balanced things up a bit and provided rare counterweight.
    “We firmly believe the man is entitled to a fair hearing, we reject the condescending writings and pronouncements of those who appoint themselves the voices of liberal enlightenment yet display their own intolerance towards people who lead us in faith’.
    I think that that intolerance is also extended to people who have opinions and values that differ and conflict with their own.

    Also in the papers, excerpts from Humphrey McQueen’s newly released “The Essence of Capitalism”,
    “Globalisation is merely the latest label for imperialism and monopoly”
    I couldn’t agree more, but I divide this into two sub categories.
    Internally, within their own countries and other like Western countries, these multinational corporations use their clout as a means of increasing their market share and also exploiting people who work for them with all sorts of new technologies.
    Previously people would work from, say, nine to five and then go home, maybe taking a bit of work home with them, but with new technology, people are chained and harnessed to this new technology and their jobs – they’re effectively on call and twenty four hours a day.
    Externally, these companies are doing the same sort of thing but are also pitting the might of their corporations, countries and economies against the total opposite in most countries in which they operate.
    A company like British Airways outsourcing its back office to India is not creating opportunities for Indian workers and growth for the Indian economy but is merely exploiting them as cheap labour.
    Pure and simple.
    If these jobs truly are as good as these fiscal fascists keep banging on about then why don’t they give them to people in London?
    That flimsy threadbare altruistic cloak they attempt to cover it up with is fooling nobody, but as with all forms of imperialism today, is covering it with the fig leaf of altruism.
    Plunder, murder, exploitation, invasion etc are just as prevalent nowadays as they ever were but previously they were that pure and simple and not covered, cloaked, hyped or spun as they are now.
    The United States invades Iraq to obtain, via blackmail, billions of dollars from its Arab cronies in protection money (just one of their adventure’s many sordid aims) and calls it the “liberation of Kuwait”.
    Most of today’s political and economic empires were built on the blood, sweat, defilement, pillaging and exploitation of what we call the Third World.
    That’s why I won’t lose any sleep over piracy – piracy is merely reverse imperialism, a tiny way of avenging past imperialism.
    When somebody in some Third World hellhole reverse engineers some patented Western product they are merely reverse engineering imperialism
    It’s a way of getting something back, albeit a trickle, from the one-way street of imperialism (globalisation as it calls itself today).
    Microsoft is the modern version of the East India Company – using a modern form of gunboat diplomacy.
    Microsoft made the Lebanese parliament change statutes and outlaw piracy so that poor sods couldn’t buy programs for a couple of thousand lira’s and had to pay as much as two thousand dollars in some cases for “legal” programs or else!
    They then opened up an embassy in Beirut.
    McQueen also quotes Adam Smith who told his students, in the 1770’s, that governments were “a combination of the rich to oppress the poor”.
    My sentiments exactly, but I think that nowadays, in modern Western democracies, governments are a buffer zone between the rich and the poor, not necessarily oppressing the poor but pacifying and placating them and keeping them in line, organized and under control so that the rich can oppress them, essentially facilitating this oppression.

    The West is not a greater breeding ground for intellectual fruits; it just has the freedom to nurture them in those who are inclined that way but all that can’t create this.
    In fact Western superficiality, materialism and banality smoothers this and intellectuals who emerge from this are often as superficial, materialistic and banal as the society they sprang from.
    So, ironically and paradoxically, this freedom often only benefits those who don’t originally come from these societies but émigrés, exiles etc who reap the rewards of this freedom.
    Unfortunately, a lot of these émigrés and exiles use their newfound freedom to attack the very societies that have freed them.
    A couple of years ago, some naturalised British Muslims conspired with some Yemeni fundamentalists to attack the British Embassy in Sana!
    Having done that, they hotfooted it back to Britain to claim political asylum.
    Even whilst they were briefly detained in Yemen they demanded to speak to the “British Council” (sic) – they meant the British Consul (you know, the bloke they’d just tried to kill!) and not the British Council, which it can be argued they were more in need of (to learn bloody English and the difference between the British Consul and the British Council!).

    5:15 pm

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