Saturday, May 19, 2007

Armed Forces

May 19: a bizarre alignment of the birthday stars? Regardless of geographical origin, one look at the list below and many will recognize a standout crew of oddballs and cults of personality.

It's the folk-inspired Feast Day of Joey Ramone, so it's also time to break out Joey's cover of The Stooges' "1969."

The legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is being battled over in contemporary Turkey -- a complicated cycle, indeed. Separation of mosque and state on the one hand, Islamic fundamentalists on the other, crazed xenophobic nationalism on one foot, pro-Western tattoos on the other. And blogger Istanbulwitchy still missing in action. Throw in Armenians and Kurds, mix together and see what comes out the other side.

Mohammed Mosaddeq , former prime minister of Iran -- the CIA abetted in his overthrow in 1953 and installed the Shah in power, leaving us among the living having to deal with the ongoing consequences of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. How (and if) the Iran-US power struggle will end, no one has a clue.

Hồ Chí Minh was one resilient leader -- fought the Japanese, French, Americans, Chinese and Cambodians for his entire adult life, leaving behind a bloodied but independent Vietnam.

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) provided an alternative approach to civil rights in the USA and human rights in the world, with an Islamic twist. I've always found his life story more interesting than Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, probably because King's is more "officially sanctioned."

As for Pol Pot: the horror, the horror. Came to power out of the toxic spillover from the Vietnam War. Thank you, Richard Nixon, for your bombing parts of Cambodia into the Stone Age, and for your secret invasion. After the Vietnam War, the independent Vietnamese defeated the Khmer Rouge.

Today's Rune: The Self.

Birthdays: Johns Hopkins, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Mohammed Mosaddeq /Mossadegh, Hồ Chí Minh, Yuri Kochiyama (b. Mary Nakahara), El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz / Malcolm X / Malcolm Little, Pol Pot (Saloth Sar), Lorraine Hansberry, Jim Lehrer, Pete Townshend, André the Giant (André René Roussimoff), Grace Jones (Grace Mendoza), Joe Michael Dusty Hill, Joey Ramone (b. Jeffry Ross Hyman).

Lòi chào xin cào biêt!


Erik Donald France said...

Nightclubbing, we're nightclubbing
We're walking through town
Nightclubbing, we're nightclubbing
We walk like a ghost
We learn dances brand new dances
Like the nuclear bomb
When we're nightclubbing
Bright white clubbing
Oh isn't it wild...

Graces Jones/Iggy Pop

t said...

what does the quote/rune (possibly Vietnamese) mean?

"Squidbait" said...

An old friend of mine sent me an email pointing out that Pol Pot and Malcolm X were born the same day. History is strange.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Heck, everyone should celebrate the Feast Day of Joey Ramone.

the walking man said...

I like the Ramones music (kind of) only have a basic understanding of the Turk situation and that is mostly their fear that the Kurds may want unite with their Iraqi Kurd brothers for an Independent homeland.

I am well aware of the over throw of the legitimate Iraqi government which wound up with the shah being "installed" as you would a new muffler on a car, which is what we are once again trying to do.

I have a great fondness for Malcolm X because near the end of his life he preached and practiced true Islam after his trip to Mecca, calling for peace among the races and repudiating his former words of violence.

"Uncle Ho" America had the chance to avoid 57,000 dead troops at the hands of opfor troops, had we given him what he asked for which was basically get the French out of his lands, we could have done that at the bargaining table but no we went with the Eurocentric idea of colonialism over a peoples right to freedom from war. so Ho went to the Russians for his weapons and the Chinese for extra manpower. We only killed 3,000,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops.

Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge not nearly as prolific murderers of their own citizens as Josef Stalin until you look at percentages of total population. Emptying the cities, murdering all of the identifiable intellectuals and, trying to turn the country into an agrarian society under his own totalitarian rule.

i guess May 19th is a day of beautiful orror.

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks, y'all for the comments. Tosin, just means "see ya later" in Vietnamese. Johnny Y, cheers. And Walking Man (Mark), I couldn't agree more.

Erik Donald France said...

p.s. and Jim, indeed!

Johnny Yen said...

Walking man-- the Khmer Rouge's definition of "intellectual" got pretty loose-- for instance, if you wore glasses, it meant you could probably read and were thus a threat. It was insane.

It was ironic that after decades of justifying intervention with "the domino effect" idea, the US tacitly agreed (or at least pretty much overlooked) with the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia-- an invasion that ended the genocide.

Erik Donald France said...

Johnny -- right on.

Bubs said...

I am mortified that I missed the Feast Day of Joey Ramone. If I light some candles and sniff some Carbona can I be forgiven?