Monday, December 31, 2018

Space Force Ultima Thule

En amerikansk rymdsond med det sovjetiskt klingande namnet "New Horizons" har just dockat med en asteroid i Kuiper-bältet som faktiskt kallas Ultima Thule. Som det där gamla högerradikala rockbandet!


Var det detta Trump menade när han sade att han skulle satsa på en "Space Force"? 

Muellers Rysslands-utredning borde nog titta närmare på detta...

In Trump´s country

“Coal Mining in the American Heartland” is an interesting documentary about miners in West Virginia, USA. (It´s available on YouTube until 15 August 2019.) The producers have tried to give as objective view of West Virginia mining communities as possible. We get to meet both traditional working class families who staunchly support Donald Trump, a Cherokee activist who just as staunchly opposes strip mining and environmental destruction, and a police officer in a near-ghost town hit by the opiate crisis who has sued the pharmaceutical companies he believes are responsible.

Unsurprisingly, the job as a coal miner turns out to be extremely dangerous, both in the short run (the constant risk of accidents) and the long run (black lung). However, the miners are also among the best paid workers in the nation – one of the miners interviewed, who hardly has a high school education, earns 5000 dollars per month! Very little is said about the union, the near-legendary UMWA, but I get the impression that the workers interviewed haven´t joined it. Trump has deregulated the coal industry, which is good for the workers (and the mining bosses) but bad for the environment, although it´s not clear how effective the old regulations *really* were – probably not much, judging by the interview with the Native activist.

The most peculiar part of “Coal Mining” deals with the snake-handlers or snake-throwers, an extreme Pentecostal revivalist movement. The supporters handle dangerous snakes and drink literal poison during the services! The local congregation is very small, though. Everyone in the featured communities seems to be White, except one of the snake-handlers, who is African American.

I liked this production, which tries to be as non-judgmental as possible towards a part of America usually considered among the more backward parts of “fly over country”. Recommended.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Aliens on the rampage

For the record, here is Thomas Sheridan´s clip about ´Oumuamua. I´ve mentioned it several times, but just realized I never linked to it. 

Sick shit

I have no idea if this is true, but I´m going to link to it anyway. Sick cults do exist, after all, so who knows? 

Sju: Håll käften

Det finns allvarliga saker som nästan inte får något utrymme i massmedia. Inga nämnda, inga glömda. Och så finns den här typen av skitgrejer: 

Brexit leder till moralpanik 

OK, ska vi reda ut begreppen lite? Ett: Nej, det är inte en mänsklig rättighet att bo i Storbritannien. Två: Folkomröstning. Tre: Jag vägrar tro att privilegierade övre medelklassare inte har råd att betala 712 kronor. Fyra: Folkomröstning. Fem: De som tweetar om avgiften är brittiska medborgare. Sex: Folkomröstning. 

Det här är ändå ganska tamt för att vara en anti-Brexit-artikel. Tidigare har vi ju läst om hur svenskar är rädda för sin säkerhet i London för att...ja, för att vad? Risken för terrordåd, kanske? Näe, Brexit. Tydligen har några brexitörer tittat snett på dem. Eller nåt.

Under tiden fortsätter de verkliga problemen att torna upp sig.. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Where have all the fairies gone?

“Explore Fairy Traditions” by Jeremy Harte is a book about British and Irish fairy lore. Unlike other books on these traditions explored by me lately, Harte (who is a folklorist) takes a skeptical tack on the subject. He simply doesn´t believe in the Other Crowd. They are purely imaginary, in the everyday sense of that word. Fairies are not real, sorry.

Many Irish and British stories about fairies are strikingly similar to tales found in other parts of the world, from ancient Greece to contemporary Korea. There are a lot of recurring motifs: the stolen chalice of gold, the injunction not to eat while away in fairyland, the idea that you can trick a fairy by introducing yourself as “Myself”, etc. A surprisingly large amount of fairy stories are borderline fakelore rather than folklore. The 1976 “Dictionary of Fairies” by Katherine Briggs is considered a solid source by many, but according to Harte, Briggs got much of her information from one Ruth Tongue, who made up scores of “real” fairy stories. Thus, we are not dealing with real tradition but with Tongue´s very own version of fantasy fan fiction. Marie Balfour is another big time forger, this time from the late 19th century. Diffusion of real folklore also causes problems for the collector, as when Irish fairy stories (known from printed books) found their way to 19th century Cornwall and were recorded by folklorists as “real Cornish tradition”. As for fairies being distinctly Celtic, Harte points out that fairy belief was once widespread all across Britain, including the non-Celtic portions inhabited by descendants of Anglo-Saxons, Normans or Scandinavians. Somebody might object that the British Isles were once all-Celtic, but I think the point of the author is to criticize the Celtic national romanticism of Walter Evans-Wentz or W B Yeats, which was expressed through the medium of fairy lore. The non-Celts were just as comfortable with the fairy faith, and nobody really knows where the tales originally come from anyway. 

In Britain, the lore died out in the urban congregations first, was considered entertainment in the more modern parts of the countryside, and taken deadly seriously only in the wilder and more isolated parts. In North America, fairy belief is particularly strong in Newfoundland, where it combines British and Irish traits. Why would real fairies in North America act like a combination of British and Irish ditto? Perhaps because the White settlers came from those parts of the world…

The author wonder why fairies are always connected with places where they can´t possibly live unless you postulate that they are indeed invisible most of the time (such as “fairy forts” in Ireland) whereas large caves are not associated with the fairy folk, despite such locations being a more natural hideout for a race wishing to avoid humanity. It´s as if folklore wants to emphasize the supernatural character of the fairies, while simultaneously also tying them to the world of humans – something impossible if they are said to live in remote caves.

Harte points out that the fairies are strikingly similar to humans, too similar in fact. To the author, “fairies” are really metaphors for human social conventions and restrictions. The belief in changelings is connected to disabled children, who were often killed by their parents. To claim that the child was really a fairy was a way of coping with the psychological (and perhaps legal) burden of infant murder. The author claims that similar legends didn´t exist in pagan Scandinavia, where killing disabled children was socially accepted. (Legends of changelings *do* exist in Scandinavia, too, but I suppose it´s possible they are from Christian times, when infanticide had been declared illegal. From the top of my head, I don´t really know.)

The killing of adults could likewise be justified by claiming that the victim was really a fairy substitute for the real person (courts seldom bought this explanation, however). Fairy women who leave their male husbands strikingly often do so according to local human divorce customs – thus, a fairy wife might take the animals (which as dowry belong to the wife´s kin) while leaving the children (who belong to the husband). Fairies are often said to clean the house and leave it in impeccable condition – a house-owner´s dream…and something his servants never do!

Many stories are obviously warnings to children and teenagers about not going out late at night, avoid the seaside, and so on. Other stories seem to warn the listener not to get entangled with the rich folk, not to put too much trust in money, or not to brag about whatever riches you might have hidden away – all good advice in relatively poor peasant communities. Another example: the local "wise women" were said to know their herb lore "from the fairies", which gave them added authority, although it could also make them liable to literal witch-hunts!

At least sometimes, the social function of the fairy stories was obvious to the locals who pretended to believe in them. The 18th century Irish vigilantes known as the Whiteboys were known as “fairies”, dressed in white garb and carried out their attacks in the dead of night. When horses were mysteriously found extremely tired in the morning, as if ridden during the night, fairies were conveniently blamed. In reality, they had been borrowed by the local smugglers. Sometimes, the line between otherworldly fairy and local vigilante or Viking raider is unclear even in the original stories.

Is there anything real at all underneath all this social and cultural construction? Very little, if Jeremy Harte is to be believed. Stories of actual meetings with the fairies are said to emphasize the fleeting nature of the encounter. This seems to be a common position taken by folklorists. It doesn´t seem to have any support in the actual material, though, which often contains first-person stories of non-fleeting meetings, but this is simply embellishment to the modern scholar. Thus, Harte simply doesn´t believe the elaborate fairy stories collected by Eddie Lenihan and published as “Meeting the Other Crowd”. Interestingly, he does reference Patrick Harpur´s seminal “Daimonic Reality”, which argues that fairies are at the very least “daimonically real”…

Perhaps the Little People still have a few surprises in store for us. I mean, there are many socially constructed stories about humans, animals and planets, too, and yet they are actually out there... 

World of wonder: Aryan femmi-Nazis turned Grey Wolves in Mongolia

“Amazon Warrior Women” is an American adaptation of a 2004 German documentary. The US version was shown on PBS in 2016 as part of the series “Secrets of the Dead”. The documentary follows American archeologist Jeannine Davis-Kimball and her German and Russian colleagues as they try to crack the riddle of the Amazons, fierce woman warriors mentioned in ancient Greek sources such as “The Illiad” and the writings of Herodotus. For centuries, modern scholars have regarded these tales as purely mythical, since everyone knows that of course all societies are patriarchal (blah blah). Unfortunately for most modern scholars, recent archeological excavations in Russia and elsewhere point to the Amazons being…well, real enough. Herodotus claimed that after their defeat at Troy, a ship carrying Amazons was stranded at the Black Sea coast. *This* story is legendary, but the claim that “Amazons” lived on the ancient Eurasian steppes have proved to be correct. The original Amazons were Scythians, more precisely female Scythian warriors and priestesses.

The documentary takes us to an archeological site in southern Russia, where a number of Sarmatian skeletons have been unearthed (the Sarmatians were a Scythian sub-group). Some of the remains are clearly female, one of them being buried in an unusual position associated with prominent male warriors. The grave also contains arrowheads and golden implements. Weirdly, the male skeletons lack weapons and one of them is buried with a small child! This looks uncomfortably close to the tall tales of Herodotus about voracious Amazon females enslaving foreign men…

But who exactly were the Scythians? Here, the picture is more murky. On YouTube, “Amazon Warrior Women” is uploaded by a channel that seems pro-Turkish (or pro-Turkic). The standard view is that the Scythians and the Sarmatians were tall White blonde types speaking an Iranian language. In other words, the Scythians were Indo-Europeans or “Aryans”. What level of irony is world history on? An Aryan matriarchy?! I guess you could say the Amazons were the original femmi-Nazis… The part of the documentary dealing with the ethno-racial issues strikes me as potentially very controversial, since it deals with genes, cranial measurements and a quest for a White child. I´m surprised the censors at PBS even let this through.

In her search for Amazon survivals, Davis-Kimball visits a remote part of western Mongolia inhabited by Kazakh nomads, most of whom are “Mongoloid” racially speaking. They speak a Turkic language. By all standards, they should be unrelated to the ancient Scythians. However, their culture turns out to be eerily similar to that of the Scythians and Sarmatians, including similar artwork and identical bows. Since Davis-Kimball believes the Scythians were Caucasian, she looks for a Caucasian-looking child to take DNA samples from. Eventually, she finds one: a 9-year old girl named Meiramgul, who is blonde and could pass for White, despite living in an isolated nomad settlement in Asia. 

There is indeed an almost perfect genetic match between Meiramgul and the ancient Sarmatian skeletons. But then comes the shocker: forensic reconstruction of the Sarmatian remains shows the Amazon women to have been dark-haired and non-Caucasian (albeit not Mongoloid)! This presumably explains why some believe that this particular culture was Turkic or proto-Turkic rather than Indo-European. How it squares with Meiramgul´s DNA is never really explained, except by stating that phenotypes change quickly (presumably faster than genotypes).

It seems one mystery have been solved, only to be replaced by another. Everything is well in the world…

Friday, December 28, 2018

We wuz Vykangz

I´m not sure if this is a constructive criticism of Asatru, but it is great fun to watch anyway. "We wuz Vy-Kangz" is a keeper. LOL! Also, the clip confirms what I long suspected: the Irish converted to Catholicism because they assumed the Virgin Mary (or was it Mother Superior) was really the Morrigan...

We can´t say we haven´t been warned. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

We can´t say we haven´t been warned

From the guy who warned us about ´Oumuamua. I admit that this is...intriguing. 

Tomten finns på riktigt, guys

Omgiven av idioter som tror på personlighetstester

Jag gillar ju inte DN, men jag erkänner att den här rubriken är närmast genial. Tack för julklappen! Bör avnjutas tillsammans med den lika geniala boktiteln "Hur allt gick åt helvete med positivt tänkande". Andra julklappar: Trump fortsätter att bomba IS i Syrien...hmmm...var galne Mattis-rövarens avgång bara något slags spel för galleriet? Eller är The Donald typ mer BADASS än Mr Mad himself? 

In God´s country

“In the Name of God” is a Swedish-produced pro-Tutsi documentary about the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and its aftermath. It was released in 2004 and has been shown 12 times on Rwandan national television, suggesting it´s approved by the Tutsi-dominated administration of Paul Kagame. This is the English-narrated version.

Rwanda is a small nation in Central Africa ethnically (or perhaps quasi-ethnically) divided between two groups, known as Tutsi and Hutu. When Rwanda was a Belgian colony, the traditional Tutsi elite were favored over the majority Hutu population. This changed when educated Tutsis began demanding independence and express support for socialism. Belgium quickly switched its sympathies to the Hutu, and permitted them to carry out a bloody “social revolution” against the Tutsi, many of whom fled to neighboring Uganda. Note the irony: the traditional landed and pastoral elite embraced socialism, while the plebeians had the backing of the colonial power!

After independence, Hutu-dominated Rwanda was transformed into a weird mixture of military dictatorship, one party state and Catholic theocracy, backed by the Belgian Christian Democrats and the Christian Democratic International (CDI). The regime was seen as a firm Cold War ally against international Communism. By this logic, the Tutsi RPF guerillas were seen as Communists, not entirely incorrectly, since they supported Yoweri Museveni´s NRA in Uganda, which originally claimed to be a leftist movement. For some reason, the documentary doesn´t point out that Uganda and the RPF became pro-American after the end of the Cold War, instead implying that the RPF may still have been socialist when attacking Rwanda in 1990. I assume this means the producers are leftists (many naïve leftists actually supported the RPF). On the level of great power politics, this was the United States trying to extend its sphere of influence at the expense of other Western nations such as Belgium and France. (The later overthrow of Mobutu in the Congo also fits this pattern.) We can discuss whether this was good, bad or simply BAU, but it should be pointed out.

“In the Name of God” accuses the Catholic hierarchy in Rwanda and their Christian Democratic backers in Belgium of complicity in the genocide. The CDI called upon the Hutu leadership not to sign the Arusha peace accords with the RPF. They supported the Hutu government throughout the genocide, during which an estimated 1 million people were killed, most of them Tutsi. One of the radio presenters in Rwanda calling for genocidal violence was Italian national Georges Ruggiu, who was sent to the country by Christian Democratic interests in Belgium. After the victory of the RPF, the CDI sent a delegation to the Hutu refugee camps in southern Rwanda, still expressing their support for the Hutu leaders. Some of the Christian Democrats interviewed admit that they acted wrongly, while others seem unapologetic.

The documentary concentrates on the role of religion as a propaganda tool in the conflict. Hutu Rwanda was supposed to become God´s kingdom on Earth and a model Christian state. Catholic hierarchs were integrated into the state apparatus. The military held regular prayer sessions when training. The Old Testament was used to deadly effect during the genocide, as several OT passages talk about the Holy Land being threatened by invaders “from the north”. In context, presumably the Assyrians or perhaps Gog and Magog, but in Rwanda, this was seen as a reference to the RPF, which was based in Rwanda´s northern neighbor Uganda. Thus, killing Tutsis and resisting the advance of the RPF were seen as Biblical injunctions. (It would be interesting to know if the Hutu militants also used the Book of Joshua!) A curious fact never explained is that several of the hard-line Christians interviewed are Pentecostals, not Catholics, yet the narrator constantly attacks the Catholic Church. The most sensational part of this production features interviews with the Army of Jesus, an extremist Hutu militia based in eastern Congo from which it makes incursions into Rwandan territory. We get to see the militia as they try to recruit a lonely farmer to its cause. The heavily armed militia men sound like Christian missionaries and end their session with the farmer in joint prayer! The whole thing does look...weird. (Apparently, the Army of Jesus is officially known as the FDLR.)

Despite its rather obvious anti-Christian and anti-Catholic slant, and the annoying naïve leftism (compounded by the heavy Swedish accent of the female narrator), “In the Name of God” is nevertheless worth watching and pondering. Also available on YouTube!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

When in Rome, throw Christians to the lions

I´m not specifically "anti-Christian" (certainly not on December 25), but I think this clip (featuring a libertarian Satanist hippie) is great fun anyway, so here you go! Yes, it´s titled "Paganism, not Christianity, built civilization". Wow, who knew? ;-) 

A brilliant genocide...or the lesser evil?

“Rwanda´s Untold Story” is a controversial 2014 BBC documentary which questions the standard narrative about the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. According to that narrative, one million innocent Tutsi were massacred by Hutu extremists in full view of the UN and the world community. Fortunately, the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) intervened and put a stop to the genocide. Under the presidency of RPF leader Paul Kagame, Rwanda has become an African success story with economic growth, clean streets and no ethnic divides (indeed the ethno-designations “Tutsi” and “Hutu” have been banned). And presumably some kind of democracy, too, since Kagame is the elected president of the country. Most people still believe this narrative and its corollary: that president Yoveri Museveni of Uganda (RPF´s main backer) is also one of the good guys. To question the official story is tantamount to “Holocaust revisionism” or “genocide denial” in the eyes of many. Indeed, in Rwanda itself, such wrong-think can land you in prison for considerable time.

Perhaps the Kagame faction of the Tutsi is right. And then, perhaps not. Either way, “Rwanda: The Untold Story” is worth watching.

The BBC reporter Jane Corbin has interviewed two US scholars, Allan Stam and Christian Davenport, who after doing research “on the ground” in Rwanda drew the disturbing conclusion that most people killed during the Rwandan genocide were Hutu, not Tutsi. There weren´t one million Tutsi in the country at the time. 200,000 of the victims were Tutsi while 800,000 were Hutu massacred by the RPF in revenge killings. Also, the RPF didn´t stop the genocide – it stopped by itself before the RPF troops reached the areas in question. Unfortunately, I haven´t seen the material these conclusions are based on. Two possible objections: the standard Western narrative at the time was that Hutu extremists killed *both* Tutsi and moderate Hutus, so on that reading of the events, Hutu victims would be no surprise (although hardly as many as 800,000). Second, that RPF didn´t literally stop the Tutsi genocide-in-progress is hardly an argument against the RPF, unless you believe that they deliberately avoided doing so, and even that can have reasonable explanations (such as logistical problems, etc – the Allies never bombed Auschwitz during World War II). More disturbing, of course, is the conclusion that the RPF´s revenge killings were *worse* than the Tutsi genocide.

The 1994 genocide was triggered by the murder of Rwandan Hutu president Juvénal Habyarimana, who had signed peace accords with the RPF (which had began to invade Rwanda four years *before* the genocide). Habyarimana was killed when his plane was shot down over Rwanda´s capital Kigali. Hutu extremists were widely believed to be responsible, but according to “Rwanda: The Untold Story”, the RPF downed the plane. If so, the RPF never had any intention of sharing power with the old Hutu leadership. The killing of the president was in reality a coup d´etat, a coup the Hutu radicals tried to botch by unleashing a wave of indiscriminate anti-Tutsi terror, met with equally brutal counter-measures by the RPF. 

The counter-killings continued after Paul Kagame and the RPF had firmly installed themselves as the new government, now directed at Hutu refugee camps in southern Rwanda and eastern Congo. The RPF claimed that the camps harbored Hutu genocidaires (which is, of course, true) but independent observers regard the RPF attacks on the camps as indiscriminate. The documentary features an interview with a Hutu girl who survived the slaughter by hiding for several years in the Congolese jungle. As noted, the RPF didn´t rest content with controlling Rwanda. Backed by Uganda, they soon extended their reach into the Congo, charging the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko with genocidal designs against the Banyamulenge, a Tutsi tribe. Mobutu´s support for the Hutu was another point of contention. The RPF and Uganda essentially invaded the Congo, toppling Mobutu and installing the government of Laurent Kabila in its place, thereby triggering a decades-long conflict which may have killed up to five million people.

Jane Corbin interviews Carla Del Ponte, the UN-appointed special prosecutor at the ICTR, the international court charged with prosecuting suspects involved in the Rwandan Genocide. When Del Ponte wanted to investigate RPF war crimes (which she suspected had taken place), Kagame made sure the UN removed her. According to Del Ponte, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had told her. “I agree with you, Carla, but it´s all politics, you know”.

“Rwanda: The Untold Story” argues that Western support for Kagame´s presidency (former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is one of his chief advisors and promoters) has convinced the regime that it can act with impunity, including on foreign territory. Several high-ranking defectors from Kagame´s government have been killed abroad, and the BBC had to interview other defectors in secret. They used to have high positions in the government or military, and clearly fear for their safety. Their exact reasons for “turning” are never explained. All of them are Tutsi, interestingly enough. (I´m a bit too cynical to believe that they favor “democracy” in Rwanda. Perhaps they simply had personal fallouts with Kagame.) The easiest part of the documentary to believe is that Kagame is really a dictator. Of course he is – it´s *very* hard to believe that a Tutsi (the Tutsi only being 15% of the population) can get 95% of the votes in a Hutu-majority country. Sounds like election-rigging to me…

Even this anti-Kagame documentary admits that Rwanda has made progress under Paul Kagame´s (authoritarian) rule. Foreign investment and economic growth is part of the picture, the country is stable, and the capital of Kigali actually does look neat and tidy. Health care is free (sic) and there is free Wi-Fi on the buses. Of course, this raises a question “Rwanda: The Untold Story” can´t raise, with its “liberal” perspective on things. What if Paul Kagame, despite everything, is the lesser evil in Rwanda? Democracy doesn´t work everywhere and at all times, despite what woke Westerners like to believe (I used to believe it myself).

Perhaps the real choices in Rwanda are between mono-ethnic authoritarian regimes or a bi-national authoritarian regime…

Knivskador på halsen

Marie Antoinette och Ludvig XVI har hittats döda. Båda hade knivskador på halsen. Alice Bah Kuhnke har tillsatt en utredning och ska enligt vanligtvis felunderrättade källor "tala allvar" med de misstänkta gärningsmännen. Att sprida de karikatyrer som påstås visa "giljotineringen" av det franska kungaparet kan vara olagligt. Detta enligt rättsexperter Telefonplans-Pravda talat med. Det misstänkta brottet har förresten ingenting att göra med LUF:s förslag att förbjuda julfirandet. 

Sprid inte vidare!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Nightmare before Christmas

“De odöda” (also available in English as “The Undead”) is a new book by Johan Egerkrans, and can be considered a sequel of sorts to “Nordiska väsen” (called “Vaesen” in English), reviewed by me elsewhere on this blog. Weirdly, “De odöda” is promoted as a children´s book in Sweden, which it definitely isn´t. I do have a faint memory that the work was originally released on Halloween, but I could be wrong there.

I think the English title speaks for itself, but since you really want to know: “De odöda” is a book featuring a (perhaps) representative sample of undead and mostly vampiric creatures from folklore around the world. At the very least, we *hope* it´s folklore! It´s not really a comprehensive encyclopedia, but more of a coffee table book – albeit a somewhat unusual one – or even an artistic project. The weird and colorful illustrations were apparently also made by Johan Egerkrans. An interesting bibliography is included for those who want to follow the leads further.

Undead creatures included in this volume include strigoi, dhampir (so that´s where the idea of Van Helsing comes from), strix, nachzehrer, craqueuhhe (yes, that one), homunculus, golem, rusalka (think “mermaid with an attitude”…and appetite), zombie, windigo and the non-vampiric and frankly comic nuppeppo. With a few exceptions, all these creatures are likely to suck your blood, drain your qi or quite simply eat you without further ado. Many are obviously personifications of natural forces or creatures invented to scare the living from murdering their neighbor. Some can be controlled by witches or indeed *are* witches. While most Hollywood films get it all wrong when introducing vampires or zombies, a few pop culture stereotypes actually derive from folklore, such as the garlic, the silver bullet, or the pole through the heart.

One piece of information in “The Undead” was new to me: the politically correct claim that zombies were invented by White French slave-owners on Haiti to keep the slaves in control, rather than by superstitious Black slaves. Hmmm… Can anyone confirm this?

My personal favorite in this genre is John Michael Greer´s inimitable magnum opus “Monsters: A Field Guide to Magical Beings”, but I admit that this work was at least somewhat entertaining. Besides, I decided not to read it on Halloween but instead wait for the night between December 23 and December 24 before I perused it, presumably protected by Gabriel against any vampiric intermezzos…

Recommended (if you´re an adult).

Universum har aldrig varit tryggare

Kan ingen jävel stoppa DN? Det här är en rubrik från deras sajt: "Lista: Här är tio goda nyheter från 2018. Bakom de negativa rubrikerna går världen framåt på alla möjliga sätt" .

"På alla möjliga sätt". Herregud, de försöker ju inte ens...

Fast tydligen finns det undantag. Lite längre ner hittar vi nämligen följande rubrik (apropå domen mot "Kultur"profilen från Svenska Akademiens undervegetation): "Lagen ska inte uppfostra oss till att allt sexuellt obehag är våldtäkt". 

Det finns tydligen fortfarande en del att göra, alltså. 

God jul förresten!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

En liten påminnelse

En liten påminnelse från oss alla på Ashtar Command Book Blog till er alla som handlar på Åhléns. 

Tomten är GREK, hajja! 

Se även här:

A message from Ergenekon

Interview with the vampire

This is a short documentary from 2006, “Meeting Joseph Kony”. Yes, it does feature an interview with Joseph Kony, the leader of the weird and cultic Lord´s Resistance Army (LRA). At the time, Kony was one of the world´s most wanted war criminals. This could be the only interview of its kind. LRA, which fights the Ugandan government of Yoveri Museveni, are notorious for kidnapping children, turning them into boy soldiers or sex slaves. The conflict in northern Uganda has been extremely brutal, and in all fairness, Museveni is hardly an angel himself!

A group of British reporters were allowed to meet Kony at one of his hide-outs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are followed by none other than Riek Machar, who at the time was Vice President of Southern Sudan, then still an autonomous region within Sudan. 

Machar was in the process of brokering a peace agreement between Uganda and the LRA. At the time, the LRA were based in Southern Sudan, its fighters quite openly partying in the local capital of Juba. Under the terms of the agreement, LRA apparently evacuated all its soldiers to the Congo, where many of them were massacred three years later when fighting had resumed. Kony has never been apprehended however, and presumably still lives with a dwindling band of supporters somewhere in the Congo.

The interview itself is less interesting. Kony, who looks like a perfectly ordinary guy, simply denies all allegations of war crimes and genocide, claims to fight for democracy in Uganda, and says he wants to restore the Ten Commandments of God. He also claims that “spirits” talk to him, but denies direct contact with God himself. More disturbing is the conduct of his soldiers – some of them admit that they have been abducted by the LRA?! 

Also available directly on YouTube.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The theory of the leisure class

Not sure what to say about the above documentary (taken from YouTube) about a peculiar subculture in Congo-Brazzaville known as "La SAPE" or "sapeurs". It´s absurd, of course, but so are many other things on this planet known as Terra to some of its inhabitans... 

Integration at a snail´s pace?

During the 1990´s and ever since, large groups of Somalis have migrated to the Western nations. In Sweden, Somalis are generally considered to be the group farthest away from Swedes culturally speaking. To be absolutely blunt, they don´t assimilate or even integrate very well. To take just one example, 80% of Somalis in Sweden don´t work (the figure includes the unemployed, children and elderly). In other words, they live on handouts from the Swedish welfare state. How can this situation be remedied? How can Somalis be made to integrate in Swedish society? This is the question Per Brinkemo´s book “Mellan stat och klan: Somalier i Sverige” seeks to address.

For several years, Brinkemo worked at Somalilandföreningen (the Somaliland Association) in Malmö, Sweden´s third largest city and the home of many immigrants. The association functions as a community and information center for Somali migrants, helping them navigate the Swedish system with the ultimate aim of integration (Somaliland is an internationally non-recognized breakaway republic in northern Somalia – it seems to have good relations with some Western interest groups). The main difference between Somalia and Sweden is that Somali society is clan-based and lacks a central state apparatus. Sweden, by contrast, is the most “statist” society in the world, and is actually quite extreme even by Western standards, with a peculiar combination of strong individualism and equally strong faith in the state and its structures. Both the individualism and the statism are alien to clan-based cultures in a very fundamental sense. A clash is more or less inevitable, a clash which obviously hinders integration or even meaningful dialogue.

Two other clan-related factors are important, too. Many of the Somali clans are nomadic, the nomadic lifestyle still being extolled as an austere ideal even by town-dwellers. Thus, most Somali migrants in Sweden have a cultural mentality very far removed from that of modern city people. Second, the only attempt to create a modern nation-state in Somalia was that of Communist military strongman Siad Barre (in power 1969-1991), who attempted to prohibit and suppress the clans at one swoop. This led to a brutal civil war, at which point Barre was forced to mobilize his own clans in the regime´s defense, thereby in effect proving his inability to transcend the clan divides. The war ended with Somalia breaking apart after Barre´s ouster in 1991. It has been a “failed state” ever since. Thus, the only concrete experience Somalis have of statism is an intensely repressive and negative one. Many are therefore suspicious of Swedish authorities and prefer to let their clans handle matters.

Brinkemo further points out that Somali culture is what he calls “a culture of survival”, as opposed to Swedish culture which he dubs “welfare culture” (here, “welfare” refers to a high standard of living and a general feeling that abundance is the natural state of affairs – the term can be misunderstood in American English!) In a culture of survival, authoritarian clans and a low degree of individual freedom is the norm. It also explains phenomena Swedes find downright baffling, such as the “unaccompanied minors” (child refugees). Somewhat ironically, it also explains why so many Somalis prefer to live on welfare payments rather than work – in a survival culture, you always expect the worst of tomorrow, which also means you don´t say no to a windfall profit today. As one Somali explained to Brinkemo: “Nomads don´t have to work when it´s raining. In Sweden, it´s raining every day” (raining as opposed to a drought – i.e. in Sweden abundance is mysteriously present all the time). Most of the welfare money is sent abroad to other clan members, including those still living in Somalia, explaining why most Somalis are relatively poor despite ample handouts.

Brinkemo points out that Islam has little or nothing to do with the cultural collision between Somalis and Swedish society, except in the obvious sense that most Somalis consider themselves to be Muslims. However, the Muslim prophet Muhammad opposed clans. Despite this, Muslim society is still intensely clannish, but so are Christian or pagan groups in territories which lack a strong state. Thus, the root of the problem (if you like to see it as such) isn´t “Islam” but rather the low standard of living in conjunction with weak states (or strong rapacious ones á la Barre). Thus, the obsession with all things Islamic simply misses the point in this case (and perhaps in many other cases too). Besides, Somali Islam is to a large extent Sufi in character, jihadists being a minority.

“Mellan klan och stat” is so objectively written that it almost sounds pro-Somali. While Brinkemo hasn´t “gone native”, he is quite understanding of many aspects of Somali culture. The clans may be authoritarian, but at least they keep their children or teenagers on a leash – in permissive Swedish schools, Somali students (and other immigrants) frequently go out of control. Clan-based justice is more efficient than the Swedish justice system, at least when dealing with crimes within the Somali community. Yes, Somalis have large families to feed, but so what? That´s a logical corollary of the clan system. “Unaccompanied minors” aren´t really abandoned (and not really children), and they can often get help from their respective clans in Sweden. Most Somalis are functionally illiterate, but this is no problem in Somalia, a land of great poets and talkative clan elders. The breakaway republic of Somaliland has a bi-cameral parliament, in which unelected clan elders form the senate – Brinkemo seems to think that this hybrid system is a good compromise under the circumstances.

The most controversial aspects of Somali culture are mentioned only in passing. In a book 165 pages long, only one paragraph deals with Female Genital Mutilation (which is particularly barbaric in Somalia). Somali welfare dependence is mentioned, but you have to look for it. The potentially explosive information that Somali unaccompanied refugee children *are neither children nor teenagers* (i.e. they are adults posing as minors) is mentioned in a short parenthesis! While Brinkemo wants to integrate Somalis into Swedish society, I think it´s obvious that we´re dealing with a kind of “integration at a snail´s pace”. Rather than leaving integration to the state with its bureaucrats and clueless social engineers, Brinkemo believes that civil society should take greater responsibility, including groups such as the Somaliland Association. His perspective seems to be a “right-wing liberal” form of multi-culturalism. The book is published by Timbro, a free market think-tank associated with the Swedish business community.

So how was this pro-Somali and anti-racist book greeted by the Swedish pundit establishment? Was Brinkemo hailed for his new insights into how to *really* solve the problems of integration in a modern Western nation?

Of course not. For the past six years, Brinkemo has been slandered as a “racist” on a semi-regular basis in the main stream media…

Welcome to Sweden, guys!

It began already in 2012 when Brinkemo (who worked and socialized with Somalis for years and *supports* them, remember?) pointed out that a large portion of Somali immigrants in Sweden are functionally illiterate. Unfortunately for Brinkemo, Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson had said pretty much the same thing, so the author was promptly accused of being a racist and crypto-fascist by a certain pundit in Aftonbladet, one of Sweden´s largest newspapers. At the very least, he was “aiding the Sweden Democrats”. The article was obviously character assassination, with the pundit deliberately distorting a letter Brinkemo had written to the anti-immigration site Avpixlat. In 2014, the campaign continued. Already before “Mellan klan och stat” had left the printers, Aftonbladet published an angry statement signed by eight Somali activists who mysteriously knew that the book was racist, colonialist, essentialist and what not (the statement is written in postmodern jargon, including the annoying term The Other). 

Another major Swedish daily, Expressen, published an article by Somali anti-racist activist and reporter Bilan Osman, which is particularly ironic. After actually reading the book, she too declares it to be “racist”, “colonialist” and so on. She denies (!) that Somalis have a fundamentally different culture. But then comes the clincher: Osman is *opposed* to Somalis integrating into Swedish society, since “integration” really means assimilation. This means that she really does think Somali culture is different *but it also means that her position isn´t that different from Brinkemo´s own*. Both call for integration at a snail´s pace!  

The moral panic surrounding Brinkemo´s book shows the dismal state of both Swedish integration policy and the debate about it. Until recently, there essentially wasn´t any debate, despite its manifest failure. Swedish integration policy has a peculiar double character: on the one hand, immigrants are allowed to keep their own language and their own culture. On the other hand, “culture” is construed very narrowly. After attending Swedish schools or courses, Somalis and other immigrant groups are expected to behave according to de facto Swedish norms (i.e. individualist, statist and gender-equalitarian). Their distinct culture is simply a matter of language, preferences in dress or food, or religion interpreted as an individual choice. All humans are seen as equal, which means they are equally rational (by Swedish standards) and equally apt to understand the sheer splendidness of Swedish society if given a fair shake in education, employment and so on. A Somali who can´t or won´t integrate, let alone assimilate, is therefore an insult against the deeply held Swedish-leftist-liberal conviction that everyone is equal (and therefore equally likely to become Swedish in the left-liberal modern sense). However, nobody can really acknowledge the failure since that would be "racist". Such cases must therefore be swept under the rug...and then BAU simply resumes. This attitude is particularly bizarre today, as many of the recent “refugees” to Sweden has turned out to be feral lumpens, yet they are treated as just another future group of neo-Swedes, offered courses in gay rights, etc.

That being said, in a way Brinkemo´s critics are actually right. Brinkemo wants a civilized debate about possible new departures in integration policy. Unless I misunderstood him in some really hideous manner, the author also wants Sweden to become truly multi-cultural, or at least start an open-ended discussion about what this could possibly mean. Clue: it´s not just the dress or the food. However, it´s not hard for a Sweden Democrat to spin “Mellan klan och stat” in a completely different manner. If Somalis are as culturally different from Swedes as Brinkemo suggests, if snail-paced integration is the best we can hope for, why allow them entry into the country in the first place? Why *should* Sweden try and integrate (fast or slowly) nomadic people from a far-away nation at the Horn of Africa? Especially if Swedes are attacked as “racist” and “colonialist” regardless of what policy choices they make…

This is what Brinkemo´s critics fear. But lacking real solutions to the problems Brinkemo describes, the only thing they can do is shooting the messenger, thereby adding further fuel to the fire they so desperately want to stop…

Wtf, I love Mad Dog Mattis now

Libertarians and conservative isolationists apparently think handing over Syria to Sunni Islamist pan-Turanians, Shia Baathists or one Alexander Dugin is good for Amerika, cuz First Principles or something. Well, I don´t. 

Trust me, northern Syria would have been in better hands ruled by a coalition of Mad Dog Mattis, Devil-worshipping pagan patriclans and the local Antifas. 

I´m officially off the Trump Train. Impeachment is not enough!

And yes, you do need that damn oil... 

The killing fields

Although I tend to like John Michael Greer (see my link list to the right), I must say that he is being overly optimistic in his latest column, ”The Flight from Nature”. JMG proposes – and it´s part of his shtick – that the privileged middle class protestors who currently dominate the “stop climate change” scene should start living as they preach and drastically cut their carbon footprints. That is, lower their extremely high standard of living. Think Al Gore, the modern prophet of climate change, who lives in a huge mansion and flies to his lectures in a jet plane…

Today, working class people (and lower middle class people) draw the conclusion that the climate activists only want to take *their* fossil fuels (the fossil fuels of the working class people) while continuing to use fossil fuels themselves. What other conclusion is even possible based on the antics of Al Gore et al? While this is probably true, what makes JMG think the common man (and woman) will change their mind if climate change activists *do* go back to the land, form hippie communes, don funny outfits and drastically cut their carbon footprint? No, they wouldnt. Quite the contrary, in fact. This would demonstrate that the middle class activists are *really deadly serious* about taking the fossil fuels away from working class people! The reaction would be swift: a Green scare of a kind you haven´t seen since the Unabomber situation of the 1990´s.

Of course, one day, people will wake up. There will come a point when climate change and its dire consequences simply can´t be denied. Then, people will cut their carbon footprints, whether they like it or not. Will they thank the Green activists who tried to warn them? Will they turn them into heroes? Of course not. The common men and women will go from house to house, hound out the Greens, and simply kill them. Indeed, in some weird way, they will find a way to blame everything on the messengers…

Perhaps I´m just too pessimistic. I mean, I just experienced the longest day of the year (yes, that would be the Winter Solstice). And then, maybe not. I know I would react in the above manner, if I hadn´t been green-pilled. Part of me still reacts like that. Let us hope and pray that the Ashtar Command Book Blog is unique in this regard…

Conspiracy Olof Palme

On February 28, 1986, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was assassinated in Stockholm City. He had no bodyguards at the time, and the murderer is still at large, 32 years later. Indeed, we know virtually nothing about the murder except that it took place. No murder weapon has been found, there is no known motive, and no obvious suspect. The only person ever convicted of the attack, the late and unlamented Christer Pettersson (a lumpenized alcoholic and drug addict) was cleared of the charges on appeal. There are still people who believe that Pettersson did it, just as there probably are people who think the late right-wing extremist Victor Gunnarsson is the real killer (Gunnarsson was the first person to be arrested for the murder but he was soon released).
Naturally, there are many conspiracy theories about the Palme assassination, more or less fanciful. This is hardly surprising: the police investigation into the murder was tragicomic and almost bizarre, as the Stockholm police chief Hans Holmér (an old spook) in almost monomaniac fashion singled out the Kurdish left-wing guerilla PKK as the likely culprits, until being stopped by the special prosecutors. When Holmér resigned, his old buddy Ebbe Carlsson (an old “political fixer”) continued the PKK investigation in secret, with the blessings of high-ranking government officials! Today, literally nobody believes that the PKK were guilty, and it was very hard to believe even at the time. People find it difficult to digest that Holmér and Ebbe Carlsson, these dark creatures of the intelligence underworld, were just being incompetent, and at least one conspiracy provably did happen: the previously mentioned secret phase of the PKK investigation (which was moreover illegal). Many people are also skeptical of the claim that Christer Pettersson shot Palme. The case against Pettersson stands and falls with Lisbeth Palme´s positive identification of him as the murderer – Lisbeth was the wife of Olof Palme and was present at the scene of the crime. Indeed, the killer probably tried to kill her, too. Unfortunately, the witness confrontation involving Lisbeth Palme and Pettersson is of questionable value, most other witnesses were pathological liars from the criminal underworld, and the murder (a professional hit) doesn´t fit Pettersson´s criminal record at all. Nor is his motive particularly clear (one speculation is that he really wanted to get rid of his pusher and shot the wrong guy!). Once again, the question is whether law enforcement was simply incompetent, or whether something more sinister is going on?

Gunnar Wall, the author of several books about the case, believes the latter. His latest book, “Konspiration Olof Palme” (only available in Swedish) is an excellent summary of various leads and clues which point to Palme being the victim of a conspiracy possibly involving right-wing extremists, rogue intelligence operatives and even foreign intelligence services. Wall is, I believe, a supporter of the small leftist group Socialistiska Partiet. Conspiracy theories about police, military or intelligence involvement in the murder has been legion on the far left ever since 1986. While Wall doesn´t explicitly support any one scenario, he veers strongly towards Palme being eliminated by people from Operation Stay Behind. The police investigation may have been deliberately derailed by orders from Ingvar Carlsson, Palme´s successor as Prime Minister, and other members of the Social Democratic government. After reading the book, I must unfortunately say that the scenario is very convincing. Of course, it has staggering implications – to put it somewhat mildly. Staggering, but not completely unexpected…

The most interesting part of Wall´s book discusses possible motives for an assassination of this type. Palme, a leading Social Democrat and internationally known statesman, was intensely controversial, often seen as too leftist or “soft on Communism”. He was killed shortly before a planned visit to the Soviet Union, where he was scheduled to meet new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. There was a lot of absurd paranoia in fringe right-wing circles about Palme in general and the upcoming summit in Moscow in particular. The hysterical Palme-bashing of Lyndon LaRouche´s international network is well known. Wall demonstrates that intense hostility towards Palme wasn´t simply a fringe phenomenon. It was relatively widespread among police officers, within the military and inside the top secret Stay Behind operation. What´s more, Wall also demonstrates (although I´m not sure if that´s his intention) that this hostility was politically rational – at least if you were a supporter of NATO and the United States in the Cold War.

Palme was an old intelligence man himself, and had originally been a Cold War Social Democrat or “State Department socialist”, who admired the United States. Indeed, he came from a solidly upper class background (Latvian-German nobility). Sweden was nominally neutral in the Cold War, but in practice cooperated with NATO and was seen as a de facto NATO member by the Soviets. The Social Democrats, despite their leftist domestic politics, willingly administered this state of affairs. The government created its very own top secret intelligence service, known simply as IB, which carried out anti-Communist operations both in Sweden and abroad. Palme must have known essentially everything about IB. It therefore stands to reason that he also knew about the Swedish branch of Stay Behind, a network of NATO-related secret agents assigned to remain behind enemy lines in case of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. Many of the people recruited to Stay Behind had far right-wing views, and some had been Nazis during the war. Then, something happened. Beginning with the Vietnam War, Palme began to sharply denounce the United States. The Swedish government and the Social Democratic Party established good relations with Cuba, Vietnam, Sandinista Nicaragua, the PLO, and the ANC in South Africa. Meanwhile, Sweden nevertheless continued to collaborate with NATO in secret, creating a rather anomalous situation. As long as Palme´s attacks on the United States could be seen as mere campaign rhetoric to keep radicalized youth within the Social Democratic fold, his actions could be seen as somewhat rash but ultimately non-threatening. But what if Palme *actually* threatened the Western alliance?

Palme campaigned vigorously for turning the Nordic countries into a nuclear weapon-free zone. One of his collaborators in this project was the Soviet advisor Georgy Arbatov. Of course, a de-nuclearized zone of this kind would favor the Soviet Union more than the United States. Since Norway and Denmark were NATO members, such a zone could have prompted them (or forced them) to leave the Western military alliance. There are also speculations that Palme stopped a joint Swedish-NATO surveillance project in the Baltic Sea, the purpose of which was to monitor Soviet submarine activity. The project didn´t go ahead until after Palme´s assassination. Actions such as these, combined with the above-mentioned support for Communist and leftist governments and movements around the world, would naturally have aroused the suspicion of the United States. (One case not mentioned in Wall´s book is the murder of Swedish reporter Cats Falck in 1985. She was investigating suspected Swedish arms smuggling to East Germany, a Soviet ally!)

In many nations, Stay Behind had interfered in domestic politics in lieu of a Soviet invasion. Most notoriously in Italy, where agents of Gladio (the local name of the operation) are believed to have been responsible for outright terrorist attacks on civilians and connections to the shadowy Masonic lodge P2. Wall regards it as possible that Stay Behind agents in Sweden were activated shortly before Palme was supposed to fly to Moscow to meet with the Soviet leadership. They certainly had the weapons, the training and the ideology needed to take care of the “traitor”. Palme was probably tricked into a trap (hence no bodyguards) and disposed of by a hired hit man, perhaps a South African or a Chilean. Wall doesn´t believe that the Social Democratic government was directly involved in the conspiracy, and neither was the regular police. Rather, the government realized fairly quickly that an investigation into the murky underworld of secret intelligence operatives would be too sensitive. It would lead to too many awkward questions being asked about the responsibility of the Social Democrats themselves in creating the Frankenstein´s monster. It might expose the secret Swedish ties with NATO. It could also lead to a severe diplomatic crisis with one or several foreign nations, if their intelligence services were somehow involved in the murder. Rather than risking this, Ingvar Carlsson decided to stalemate the investigation from the start. In this, he had a good ally in Holmér, an old pro-Social Democratic “asset” in the mostly anti-Social Democratic Swedish secret service SÄPO. A bizarre detail is that the man responsible for Holmér´s personal security, a certain Östling, is believed to have been a Nazi and extremely hostile to Olof Palme! When Holmér was derailed by the prosecutors, Ebbe Carlsson simply took up the cudgel, continuing the phony investigation. He need not have worried – in the event, the police decided to nail the junkie Christer Pettersson, a politically harmless killer, and Lisbeth Palme decided to go along. 

Wall´s book “Konspiration Olof Palme” is meticulously researched, and the author has even managed to get interviews with some of the protagonists and access to previously unpublished documents. He has a collaborative relationship with Lars Borgnäs, a reporter with a broadly similar perspective, and often references Borgnäs´ own book on the Palme case, “En iskall vind drog genom Sverige”. After reading it, I can only say that I think Wall is very close to the truth. But will it ever be officially confirmed? Will we ever really get to the truth? A pessimistic guess is no, since the decades ahead will be anything but politically stable. Official revelations about what actually happened on February 28, 1986 will simply fan the flames of discontent. So don´t be too surprised if the present establishment decides to bury this issue even more than before…

Palme är störtad

1977 publicerade Rabén & Sjögren ett seriealbum av Janne Lundström och Ola Nyberg, ”Uppdrag i Zimbabwe”. Den fiktiva handlingen utspelar sig i Rhodesia, som då fortfarande hade en vit minoritetsregim. Huvudpersonerna är två svenskar på hemligt FN-uppdrag. De understöds av ett gerillaförband ur Robert Mugabes ZANU.

Skurken är en högt uppsatt rhodesisk militär, som lite ironiskt heter överste White. I en serieruta håller han triumferande upp en rhodesisk dagstidning med rubriken ”Sweden expells socialists” och en ovanligt ful karikatyr av Olof Palme. Han kommenterar nöjt: ”Palme har blivit störtad”. Detta syftar alltså på valet 1976.

Överste White är en verklig person. Han bor numera i Namibia och intervjuades för många år sedan av Aftonbladet (eller kanske Expressen). Anledningen? Han hade blivit utpekad som inblandad i mordet på Olof Palme i samband med Sydafrika-spåret!

Ja, det var samma kille. Jag säger inte att han är skyldig, men det är ändå ett jäkla märkligt sammanträffande...

How I became a shitlord and was fired by Donald Trump

OK, I admit it. I´ve often waxed ironic about the fact that Antifa supports Rojava and the YPG (really the PKK) in northern Syria. Why? Well, because Rojava wouldn´t even exist if it hadn´t been for a certain Donald Trump, the US Air Force and 4,000 elite US soldiers. Thus, without the Trump-Pence-Mad Mattis regime, the Antifa revolutionary romantics wouldn´t have much of a revolution to defend. Nothing wrong with that, per se. I don´t particularly like ISIS either. Fortunately for the Antifas, Hoxhaites, Maoists and Queers who support the Kurdish left-wing insurgents, The Donald recently decided to withdraw all American troops from Syria. So now they don´t have to feel embarrassed about fighting on the same side, and getting military aid from, Herr Literally Hitler. If its good for the Kurds is perhaps another matter entirely…

Sunday, December 16, 2018

En fett hög nivå av ironi

Jan Eliasson tillsammans med en moderat

Lite oklart varför moderater hånar Jan Eliasson, fast de kanske opererar på en så hög nivå av ironi att inte ens Ashtar Command Book Blog (alias the shit lords of the known universe) förstår vad de gör... 

Eller också tillämpar de principen "it takes one to know one".

Jan Eliasson hånas...av moderater?!

The North Korea of Central Asia...or?

A brief little documentary about Turkmenistan, alias "The North Korea of Central Asia". At least until 2006, when the dictator Saparmurat Niyazov suddenly died. The documentary was made the year before. 

Not sure why some regimes still pull stunts like this? Swedish propaganda is more subtle and much more effective - I mean, we are completely brain-washed around here, while everyone knew that Türkmenbashi was a totalitarian wacko. 

I´m sure the present president of Turkmenistan is an altogether nicer guy, and wants to share his oil and gas with Amerika and Schweden, yes?

PS. Apparently, Türkmenbashi´s holy scripture, the Ruhnama, is available for free in an English translation. Sounds like something I should 10 years. LOL!

Russian chimera

“The Gumilev Mystique: Biopolitics, Eurasianism, and the Construction of Community in Modern Russia” by Mark Bassin is a scholarly summary of the life, ideas and contemporary influence of Lev Gumilyov (1912-1992). Or perhaps attempted summary since Gumilyov´s ideas were incredibly complex, eclectic and contradictory. So is his influence on the political discourse in the ex-Soviet Union. First, an admission: I never even heard of Gumilyov (whose name is spelled Gumilev in the book) until a few months ago, yet he has been a towering intellectual presence in Russia since the 1970´s. Bassin´s book popped up in a search engine when I was looking for material by Nikolai Trubetzkoy in English…

Lev Gumilyov was the son of two prominent Russian poets, Nikolai Gumilyov and Anna Akhmatova. Nikolai was executed by the Communist Cheka in 1921, while Lev spent a total of 15 years in Stalin´s labor camps. He enjoyed a kind of quasi-approval during the post-Stalin decades, but it wasn´t until the advent of the perestroika and the collapse of the Communist regime that Gumilyov´s ideas became more widely known. Gumilyov is regarded as a historian and ethnologist, but I think it´s more useful to see him as a philosopher in the broad Russian sense. Indeed, I get the impression that Gumilyov was a mercurial intellectual and “mad genius” with the usual persecution complex and delusions of grandeur. Somehow, I consider this particular type of person to be very Russian!

Gumilyov´s ideas are difficult to describe in a short review. They are a bewildering blend of vitalism, biologism, geographic determinism, anti-Semitism, anti-Communism, anti-modernism and Russian nationalism, but also Turkophilia and Mongolophilia. I agree with Bassin that the various strands don´t always combine very well. There are certain similarities to the ideas developed by Spengler and Toynbee, but the differences are more striking. Gumilyov had an essentialist view of ethnic groups, viewing them as more or less self-contained units of a biological and psychological character. In some writings, he described the origins of an ethnos in geographical and ecological terms. Each ethnos was molded by its natural living environment and could even be seen as part of nature itself (note the strong biologism). In other writings he claimed that the “ethnies” (plural of ethnos) were products of cosmic radiation (!). Somehow, this solar radiation gives rise to new ethnies by mutations affecting the psychological make-up of certain persons. These founding fathers are also given an energy impetus (which thus comes at least indirectly from the sun), giving rise to what Gumilyov called “passionarnost” – a central term in his writings. My interpretation is that passionarnost is really the élan vital and that its bearers roughly correspond to the “creative minority” in Toynbee´s writings. A new ethnos is *not* dependent on its living environment, to the contrary, it rebels against it, perhaps by moving out to new territories. Each ethnos follows a life cycle of roughly 1,500 years during which it rises, reaches maturity and then loses the energetic impetus due to entropy. Eventually the ethnos disappears or becomes a relict population. (Curiously, the Russians – uniquely – have experienced two ethnic cycles, rather than just one.) Gumilyov believed that his ideas were scientific in the strict sense of that term, but critics see them as sheer fantasy. Another central concept for Gumilyov is “chimera”. Apparently, there is one way in which an ethnos could artificially prolong its existence almost indefinitely: by turning into a parasite on other ethnies, sucking their solar energy. This kind of parasitical ethnos is what Gumilyov called a chimera. Unsurprisingly for a Russian nationalist, his prime example of such was the Jewish people…

More surprising are Gumilyov´s pro-Turkic and pro-Mongol positions. Bassin never really explains where they come from, except that some Russians romanticized the life and culture of the steppe nomads, both that of ancient peoples such as the Scythians and that of later Tatars and Mongols. Gumilyov´s parents were influenced by this romanticism in their poetry, and his mother´s last name Akhmatova is really a pseudonym – she claimed to be a literal descendant of Khan Ahmed (Akhmat) of the Golden Horde! Gumilyov claimed that the Tatar yoke never existed, calling it a “black legend”. Russians and Mongols/Tatars cooperated peacefully. The battle of Kulikovo in 1380, when Prince Dmitri of Moscow defeated the Horde, wasn´t a Russian liberation struggle against the evil Tatars, but rather a joint Russian-Tatar effort to repulse a dissident Tatar faction backed by Lithuania (a hostile “Western” nation). Today, Gumilyov´s legacy is cherished in Kazakhstan, Tatarstan and Sakha (Yakutia). A university in Kazakhstan´s capital Astana is named after Gumilyov and a monument in Tatarstan´s capital Kazan – the monument was dedicated in the presence of Vladimir Putin himself – shows a statue of the man.

One thing that immediately struck me when reading “The Gumilev Mystique” is the strongly anachronistic character of Gumilyov´s writings. Thus, he claims that Khazaria and the Vikings cooperated in a genocidal war against Kievan Rus. Translation: Jews and Nazis are equally dangerous to modern Russia. Another possible translation: Bolsheviks and Nazis! Gumilyov believed that some ethnies were closer than others. They could be grouped into “super-ethnies” based on “complementarity” (another essentialist psychological term). This is strikingly similar to the Soviet concept of “the brotherhood of nations”. Gumilyov also made a distinction between ethnos, which is natural, and society, which is a social construct by man. This notion also has an affinity with the Soviet idea that the Communist state, of course, transcends all ethnic identities. It may seem strange that a man who spent most of his youth in Soviet labor camps would nevertheless have certain similarities to the regime which put him away, but the relation between Russian nationalism and Communism is a complex issue in itself. Gumilyov was no liberal democrat, usually avoided the pro-Western dissidents, supported the Soviet Cold War confrontation with the West, and opposed Gorbachev´s perestroika. He enjoyed a certain amount of support in the party hierarchy from the Brezhnev years onwards.

Due to their highly eclectic nature, Gumilyov´s ideas have inspired a wide range of people, from more strictly scholarly types interested in sociobiology or geography to decidedly less scholarly people such as Eurasianist philosopher Alexander Dugin, often cast in the role of Putin´s Rasputin (at least by the Western media). Russian ethno-nationalists, Russian imperial or state “nationalists”, Kazakh pro-Russian Eurasianists and Kazakh anti-Russian ethno-nationalists have all claimed Gumilyov´s legacy. Ziuganov, Zhirinovsky and Putin himself have name-dropped him on many occasions. The Green movement in the Soviet Union was inspired by Gumilyov, but also by Russian nationalism. At least two of his “scientific” terms have become virtual household words in Russia: passionarnost and chimera. The national question is just as vexing in Putin´s Russia as it was in Communist or Czarist ditto. Should loyalty primarily be to the state or to the Russian ethnos? And should the state be seen as multi-ethnic, non-ethnic or specifically Russian? Similar problems exist in Kazakhstan, where Russians form a substantial minority and the total number of nationalities is about 150. Should Kazakhstan be “Kazakh” or “Kazakhstani”? One possible interpretation of Gumilyov´s ideas is that Russians shouldn´t be “primus inter pares” in Russia or the Russosphere, rather this role should belong to a coalition of Russians and various Central Asian peoples! Bassin also mentions that some admirers of Gumilyov, including outright neo-Nazis, have drawn the conclusion that Jews could form a natural ethnos by moving to Israel, since the Israeli nation isn´t a chimera. Is this where the bizarre blend of neo-Nazism and Zionism of the National Bolshevik Party comes from?

My overall impression after reading “The Gumilev Mystique” is that Gumilyov, in his own kind of way, actually was right. A discourse of his type is surely impossible in Western nations, or even in “Eastern” Europe. What other European nation has spawned an intelligentsia seriously debating whether or not their historical legacy is somehow identical to or intertwined with that of Genghis Khan? Maybe the Russian ethnos really is fundamentally different. If that´s a good thing, is perhaps an entirely different question.