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Sunday surprise: petals, faces, cities

April 12th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — so come on, be honest — which do you prefer, Washington 2015 or Paris 1913? ]
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Admittedly, the text in the upper panel came from a report on yesterday’s suicide on the Capitol west front..

SPEC DQ Paris DC

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I’m not sure whether the most interesting comparison here is between prose and poetry, Washington and Paris, the seat of power and the underground — or the present day and a century or so ago. No matter, text for text and language for language, I’ll take the Pound.

Sources:

  • Politico: Capitol lockdown – shooting – cherry-blossoms festival
  • Poetry magazine: Ezra Pound, In a Station of the Metro
  • **

    Until next time..

    Blog friend Cheryl Rofer on the Iranian nuke deal

    April 12th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — and Furnish pwns Sowell — corrected version ]
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    First there’s Cheryl Rofer‘s piece on Nuclear Diner, The Iran Framework Agreement: The Good, the Bad, and TBD. Then that gets quoted by Alexander Montgomery in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage for April 6. Note: I has originally quoted Montgomery but attributed the quote to Cheryl, see her comment below. I have now removed the quote in question. And now Cheryl has a piece in Mother Jones titled Never Mind the Doubters: The Iran Deal Is Good Enough:

    The final deal remains to be negotiated. The fact sheet is only an outline, and some issues will be easier to solve than others. Still to be worked out: Sanctions, particularly the schedule on which they are to be lifted. A list of research and development activities that Iran is allowed to pursue may or may not have been drawn up in Lausanne. Details on how Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile will be reduced and the redesign of the Arak reactor are missing.

    The extent of Iran’s past activity on nuclear weapons was relegated to the IAEA by the P5+1 throughout the negotiations, and is a lesser provision in the fact sheet. Do we have to know all Iran’s dirty secrets to police a future agreement? Probably not.

    The Supreme Leader issued a tweet stream that seems to give his blessing for a deal to go forward, but his words were unclear enough that domestic hardliners could seize on them in an attempt to scuttle the deal. Iran’s President Rouhani has voiced his support. In Israel, even the general who bombed the Osirak reactor thinks it’s a good deal.

    Methinks kudos are in order — and I personally am thankful for a voice of informed and informative nuance on so hotly contested and significant a topic.

    **

    In other Iranian nuclear deal news, blog friend Tim Furnish has taken on his fellow-conservative Tom Sowell‘s NRO piece on the topic, There’s No Deterring an Apocalyptic Nuclear Iran:

    That’s the extended analytic piece which Tim concludes with this paragraph:

    While in Iran for the 2008 Mahdism Conference, I heard both President Ahmadinejad and Prime Minister Ali Larijani speak. Ahmadinejad said, regarding Israel and Shi`i eschatology, that “the problem of the+ false, fabricated Zionist regime” would not be solved “in the absence of the Perfect Man, the Mahdi” — effectively dousing the alarmist, and inaccurate, view that the IRI’s chief executive wishes to “hotwire the apocalypse.” Islamic fervor for lighting that eschatological detonation cord exists among certain Sunnis groups (including, quite possibly, al-Qa`idah) — but it is not characteristic of Twelver Shi`ism. Larijani, in the closing speech of that same conference, proclaimed that “Mahdism has three pillars: spirituality, rationalism and jihad.” It is admittedly possible, despite all the aforementioned reasoning, that “their own vitriolic rhetoric could conceivably run away with the leaders of the Islamic Republic, and an Iranian nuclear weapon find its way to Tel Aviv.” But the preponderance of evidence — Islamic history in general, specific Shi`i traditions and teachings as well as modern religio-political discourse in Iran — indicates, rather, that the rationality and spirituality of Iranian Mahdism is holding at bay its undeniable jihad aspect. Tehran thus, ironically, finds its potential nuclear policy fettered by Qom: mainstream Shi`i theology does not support violence (nuclear or conventional) in order to precipitate the return of the 12th Imam; furthermore, employing nuclear weapons is verboten in the Mahdi’s absence — except, perhaps, under the rubric of defensive jihad, were Iran itself to be attacked or invaded. Seen in this light, the Islamic Republic’s pursuit of nuclear weapons falls from the overly-alarmist apocalyptic register into a more mundane, and manageable, geopolitical one.

    If that was so duing the presidency of Ahmadinejad, it is doubly so now, with Rouhani in his place.

    It’s not quite Easter yet (for the Orthodox)

    April 11th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — so I trust you’ll forgive me posting a couple of stunning movie crucifixion images ]
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    My first image comes rom the forthcoming Ernst Haas book, On Set, and features his sbehind-the-scenes shot of the crucifixion in The Greatest Stiry Ever Told:

    On Set crucifixion Haas

    The second image turned up while I was researching the Armednian Genocide for a forthcoming article. It’s taken from a 1919 documentary, Auction of Souls, and it brings crucifixion into the twentieth century:

    Crucifixion 2 Armenian Genocide

    **

    For crucifixion in antiquity, see A Tomb in Jerusalem Reveals the History of Crucifixion and Roman Crucifixion Methods:

    Examination of Yehohanan’s bones showed one of the many Roman crucifixion methods. Both of his feet had been nailed together to the cross with a wooden plaque while his legs were bent to one side. His arm bones revealed scratches where the nails had passed between. Both legs were badly fractured, most likely from a crushing blow meant to end his suffering and bring about a faster death. Yehohanan was probably a political dissident against Roman oppression. In death his bones have helped fill in gaps in the history of crucifixion.

    Crucifixion in the Qur’an is one of several severe “hudud” punishments {Q 5.32-34):

    Therefore We prescribed for the Children of Israel that whoso slays a soul not to retaliate for a soul slain, nor for corruption done in the land, shall be as if he had slain mankind altogether; and whoso gives life to a soul, shall be as if he ha given life to mankind altogether. Our Messengers have already come to them with the clear signs; then many of them thereafter commit excesses in the earth. This is the recompense of those who fight against God and His Messenger, and hasten about the earth, to do corruption there: they shall be slaughtered, or crucified, or their hands and feet shall alternately be struck off; or they shall be banished from the land. That is a degradation for them in this world; and in the world to come awaits them a mighty chastisement, except for such as repent, before you have power over them. So know you that God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate.

    The Qur’an also states that Jesus was not crucified (q 4.157):

    And for their [the Jews] saying, ‘We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God’ — yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them.

    It should be noted that this suggestion is similar to that in the (Gnostic) Acts of John, #97:

    I, then, when I saw him suffer, did not even abide by his suffering, but fled unto the Mount of Olives, weeping at that which had befallen. And when he was crucified on the Friday, at the sixth hour of the day, darkness came upon all the earth. And my Lord standing in the midst of the cave and enlightening it, said: John, unto the multitude below in Jerusalem I am being crucified and pierced with lances and reeds, and gall and vinegar is given me to drink. But unto thee I speak, and what I speak hear thou. I put it into thy mind to come up into this mountain, that thou mightest hear those things which it behoveth a disciple to learn from his teacher and a man from his God.

    For crucifixions today, we must turn to the Islamic State. A Fox News report noted that while “IS crucifixion” photos have been circulating, what is meant by crucifixion here may not be what we assume it means:

    The series of photographs show different men bound to crosses in what appears to be a public square area, though it could not be independently confirmed that the subjects were dead or, if they were, by what means the executions had been carried out. The pictures do not show any apparent signs of the men nailed to a cross, nor are there any obvious, visible signs of fatal wounds.

    crucifixion Fox

    **

    Plenty of room for thought herein.

    Tomorrow: Christos aneste!

    Of books, business, and cathedrals

    April 10th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — who knows more or less what Walter Robb of WholeFoods was getting at, but doesn’t think it adequately sums to what cathedrals have to offer ]
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    This tweet by friend Victor d’Allant frankly saddened me…

    **

    Until redeemed by the comment at the tail end of this BBC report:

    Bookstore church

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    Okay, then.

    To support the crowdfunding effort to save the “temple of books that raises reading to a religious experience” — figure this out: Dominicanen gaat door!

    DoubleTweet: Netanyahu, Obama and that little round bomb

    April 10th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — an image and its likeness ]
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    I know, it’s a day or two old, but Netanyahu / Obama is a ping-pong match with quite a bit of top spin to it, in which:

    becomes this:

    **

    And the bomb? It’s a cartoon bomb of the kind you’d see in one of MAD magazine’s old Spy vs Spy pages — or in the headgear of a certain religious figure disrespectfully portrayed by Jyllands-Posten.


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