Did you know that Sochi was once the capital of Circassia (or Cherkessia) until Russia invaded it in the late 19th century?
Russia systematically engaged in mass ethnic cleansing, killing over 4 million of the Cherkessi people, while another 4 million became refugees, forced to settle all over the world. This was modern Europe’s first mass ethnic cleansing, or perhaps holocaust.
The mountain from where the skiers are now doing their skijumps is called to this day the Red Mountain (by both Russians and Cherkessis) because the snow was unable to absorb the blood from the slaughter inflicted by the Russians on the locals. It is now called the KrasnayaPolyana ski complex, and is purportedly built on the site of the Circassians’ legendary last battle. This is why some Cherkessi people protest and say “Sochi: Skiing on mass graves!”
The last stand by the Circassians against the Russians was at Sochi, and in 1864 Russia finally conquered and wiped any trace of the Cherkessi in the area by either mass murder or systematic deportation into boats that sailed from Sochi to the Ottoman Empire, and from there resettled (or sold as slaves) around the Middle East. Less than 10% Cherkessi people remained in their homeland, and they too have been later forcibly expelled from their homeland.
A Russian officer described the scene around Sochi as the Russians were celebrating their victory: “On the road our eyes were met with a staggering image: corpses of women, children, elderly persons, torn to pieces and half-eaten by dogs ; deportees emaciated by hunger and disease, almost too weak to move their legs, collapsing from exhaustion and becoming prey to 4 dogs while still alive.”
Nikolai Evdokimov, the general in charge of the operation, wrote annoyedly, of a subordinate, “I wrote to Count Sumarokov as to why he keeps reminding me in every report concerning the frozen bodies which cover the roads,” (from Walter Richmond’s, The Circassian Genocide).
Russia has worked hard to erase any trace of history of Circassia, it also exiled the few remaining Cherkessis into a another region away from the ethnically cleansed Sochi.
Over six million Cherkessi people now live in exile, without a homeland.
They keep the memory of their homeland alive and mark May 21st as the memorial day for the Circassian Genocide.
This is why some have labelled Sochi the Genocide Olympics, although it is probably more accurate to talk of mass ethnic cleansing.
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_cleansing_of_Circassians
So Facebook is celebrating 10 years for its online existence, but the real headline is how it transformed YOU.
YOU are now Facebook’s product, and even more so, YOUR data is a commodity that can be used to find out anything you reveal about YOU, available for a price.
But there’s more, Facebook has accelerated the already present condition of alienation and loneliness in advanced capitalism a ten fold.
Alienation is a product of world that judges YOU by income, YOUR job, consumer objects, and self-projected image causing the loss of YOUR family and organic social and community connections.
Facebook offers an imaginary solution to loneliness that accelerates the collapse of the social fabric in advanced capitalist societies.
Instead of YOU taking time to see, meet, emotionally and intellectually connect with people, we retreat to a world where our connection is based on sharing photos, videos, status updates, carefully edited thoughts and “feelings” provided on Facebook.
Facebook gives us the illusion that we are not alone and always connected, YOU being the centre of an online world, but in fact it often ends up making YOU feel even more lonely and disconnected from real people.
On Facebook YOU get to edit, delete, present, YOUR optimal message; Instead of building true connection YOU become obsessed with personal promotion, online romance, and textual exchanges.
Facebook hasn’t just changed what and how YOU socialise, it is transforming who YOU are.
It appeals to us where we’re most vulnerable due the changes above: we are lonely, we are afraid of intimacy and confused about our place in the world.
Facebook offers us three core fantasies: that we focus our attention wherever we like, we will always be heard, and finally we’ll never have to be alone.
We are sharing carefully edited “experiences” so we can feel connected to others, heard, and alive.
But the Facebook “reality” in which YOU find yourself is carefully orchestrated, organised and faked.
If Descartes once said “I think therefore I am” – Facebook’s motto is “I share therefore I am.”
But if YOU allow YOURSELF to become totally swept by Facebook’s fantasy gratifications, YOU will only know LONELINESS, which makes you more and more hooked and dependent on it.
Happy Birthday Facebook – It is EVERYONE’S BIRTHDAY and NOONE’s at the same time.
Blog post inspired by TED talks, Connected, but alone and the Innovation of Loneliness YouTube post.
Why Boxing Day? Some say it stems from Roman times when money to pay for athletic games was collected in boxes. Amongst the ruins of Pompeii, boxes made out of earthenware with slits in the top full of coins have been found. Later the Romans brought the idea of collecting boxes to Britain, and monks and clergy soon used similar boxes to collect money for the poor at Christmas.
With Christianity superimposed on pagan ritual it was associated with St Stephen’s Day, who was the first Christian martyr, stoned to death in 34 AD.
During St Stephen’s Day, celebrated a day after Christmas, charity boxes were used at the church door to collect money for the needy.
For various reasons this custom was discontinued in Europe but held on in the Anglican Church, which renamed it “Boxing Day”.
From around the 17th century the upper class used to give boxes containing food, clothing or money to tradespeople and servants.
Thus, it was a day to thank the community for all their effort throughout the years. The maids, drivers and other service workers were thanked with gifts of food, money, clothing, and other goods.
The institution of it as a bank holiday originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria, and thus is secular in its institution.
Sometimes as I stare into the mirror,
I wish I were momentarily a cat,
or at least someone else.
Less awareness, total simplicity,
without understanding and language.
Sometimes when I talk,
I attempt to run away.
run away from one truth,
Or even a few.
So I prefer the silence.
So many people
haven’t a clue to what words signify.
They want to appear sharp,
on the spot, wise and intellectual.
They talk and talk,
trying to run away,
run away from one truth,
Or even a few.
So I prefer the silence.
People still talk of ‘left’ and ‘right’ in the UK. That, however is not a reality any more.
The centre has moved so much to the right that it makes the word left meaningless.
Labour is now a neo-liberal party, while the Conservative party is moving towards a UKIP-like nationalist dream vision that aims to cloud/justify its real aim: plutarchy.
Labour ditched the ideal of the welfare of the nation into an entrepreneurial ‘kinder’ vision rather than one holding a butcher’s knife as exemplified by die hard neo-liberalists (previously the bedrock of Thatcherism), now the centre-right of Labour.
In the Conservative party these have become a rare breed (e.g. Kenneth Clark), most oppose neo-liberalism and believe in consolidating power and money in the hands of big corporations with the state’s role to facilitate their growth rather than open competition. Multiculturalism has been ditched in favour of a soft religious and/or nationalist vision of ‘society’.
In today’s environment, Thatcher would have been very much welcomed in today’s Labour BUT NOT in the Conservative party (where she’d be marginalised along the likes of Clark).
The nest dropped
Out of the hearts eye
Split of a second
No bird no feathers
Where beak to beak
Wing to wing Were
There’s a branch
Bare and gray
Suddenness of flowers blooming
Growth and life
of where we died and became
One and the other
Where a dream nest perished
The river snakingly flowed
Fields of flowers caress its banks
Countless fragile Red petals
Men, women and children
Stood here a moment ago
Muslims, Jews, Christians
Searched with hope the sky
But God’s mercy clouded over
Machines mercilessly returned a gaze,
Before any of them could see,
Or even meaninglessly identify
Skud, Kassam, Israeli Air to ground rocket, a bullet
They laid here silently
Blood mingled together
Into this red red river
If god had mercy
Salam who caressed with his hands
Olive branches for ninety years
Would not loose them as to have
His soul flowed into the river
A little three year old girl who chased
A white dove that also dropped like her
At this spot where I stand.
If god had mercy
I would be making love with you
In a field of white flowers
Not standing here
In a field of red
We exchanged leaf wraps of tenderness
Firmness and intensity
Casual fire moments
Of canon blasts
that sank deep inside
To leave a mark
Of bright death rose
Mine to keep eternally
At the crossroads of life
I stand alone
Dark rain pearls
Wash over my forzen body
Not of cold
Of the unknown
How to carry a gift
And road to take
Standing by an Oak
Shedding leaf Wraps of tenderness
Autumn wind howls
Sailing me to winter