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Archive for the ‘propaganda’ Category

Doug Christie finally kicks the bucket

Posted by E on March 12, 2013

doug-christie

The day has come to celebrate: Doug Christie, Ernst’ Zundel’s best ally and legal counsel to Neo-Nazis all over North America, has finally kicked the bucket. And what a sweet day it is!
Unlike what most Toronto newspapers want you to believe, this wasn’t a case of “freedom of speech champion” — if you saw Ernst Zundel’s dedicated Christie bedroom in his Toronto Carlton Street townhouse (as I did when I was 16), complete with velvet red drapes and a framed portrait of Adolf Hitler on the wall, you’d know this went far beyond a professional relationship.

Doug Christie’s career as a lawyer and “defender of free speech” spanned WW2 war criminals, leaders of Aryan Nations, far-right extremists, and yes, even world-renowned Holocaust deniers and suppliers of revisionist propaganda worldwide. Propaganda that Christie enabled, by  defending Ernst Zundel for over two decades. Propaganda that was used to recruit impressionable teenagers and fueled the fires of hate and intolerance a world over. Literature that was distributed all over the world – as I can attest by the mailing lists that I stole from Zundel and provided to hate group-monitoring organizations.

There are few things more damning to one’s character than using one’s intellect, expertise and social clout to support and keep in business those who would spread lies, stock weapons, hold rallies to instigate hate against innocent people, and ultimately try to whitewash the truth of what happened in WW2.

I hate the whitewashing that goes on in the press decades after the fact, but nothing can change the definition of a contemptable snake in the grass: his name is/was Doug Christie.

christieZUNDEL

Posted in media, news, politics, propaganda | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How to Start your own Cult

Posted by E on September 26, 2008

Over the years I’ve met so many people who are gong-ho about spirituality to, in my honest opinion, an unhealthy degree. I have my own beliefs which I keep private, but overall I am and have always stood staunchly against organized religion. If there is one thing I believe, it’s that Christianity, Islam and whatever else are just further along the chronology ladder than Scientology and assorted cults. History alone has given more credibility to so many “conventional” religions that have used force, torture and heretical laws to wipe out millions of opponents.
A war rages today, between conventional religion and those freakish marginal movements that are scattered everywhere and are more common than we would like to think.

Almost anybody can become a cult leader, from an average redneck in a small town to a leader of a national Democratic political party. Cult behaviour does not discriminate. Nor does it need religion to call itself “The One” and demand that we should believe in its transformative powers.

The simple answer is this: Religion is the root of all “evil”. There are many other “truths” out there, but we have to start with this one.

Yes, society needs to be bound by common social rules and regulations, but these need not be backed by threats of supernatural punishment or retribution. Just look at dictatorships throughout history, communist and national socialist alike – they were efficient enough at massacring and persecuting millions without installing fears of eternal damnation. But they too had their party rules, and if you refused to obey, you were labeled an outsider.

You will not discover The Truth in mind-numbing fluff like The Secret, or by getting swept up in Oprah’s latest fetish with The Power of Now groupies, or by tying a red string around your wrist, changing your name to Esther and eating kosher.

Anything that defines reality by a set of rules and regulations is to be avoided. Reality is mutable, is ever-changing, is malleable and up to the interpretation of every individual being.

Anything that dictates in no uncertain terms how you should think, what to say and what to believe is to be questioned and taken at face value. The answers to all questions lie within yourself, and the inner voice that tells you right and wrong. If you have to consult a religious book, a political candidate or ask a guru for the answer, you have already lost yourself.

Posted in culture, election, freedom, politics, propaganda, religion, thoughts | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Orwellian student suspension over creative writing exercise

Posted by E on February 5, 2008

I awoke to today’s news at noon, and the insane story of a grade 12 student being suspended over a creative writing piece. The school’s justification for involving police and suspending the student: the ending culminates with a teacher being killed by a student.

 Check it out here: Story

They could have interpreted the story more than a dozen ways: as an expression of what is going on in schools today, as a literal commentary on student-teacher relations…but no. Cops have to be called in.

This makes me wonder: why are the writers of CSI Miami, Law&Order, and Numbers (to name a few), the producers and script-writers of gory flicks like Saw and Hostel arrested immediately? Why are they not interred in special custody in a barbed-wire encampment a la Guantanamo Bay and occasionally poked with pitchforks? Why aren’t all the creators of blood & gore video games arrested right on the spot? Like, today?

If you are going to stand there and justify punishing a student for a creative writing exercise that would make Stephen King giddy with excitement, then why not punish the world of which he is a mere by-product? Why ruin his chances of getting into university? Would this not actually feed any deep-seated fantasies he may harbour over doing away with his teacher – that is, since we are expected to accept this school’s decision on the premise that there was something in that story that made them want to run off and get a restraining order.

Oh wait…I know. They’re thinking of that crazy Korean guy who massacred dozens at Virginia Tech…and nobody did anything about the violent fantasies in his creative writing. But wait, other than writing some shitty fiction pieces, that guy actually harassed two students, threatened others, and scared his entire class to the point that they had him thrown out of it.

Did this Brendan Jones kid do any of these things? No. He merely handed in a homework assignment that had not been prefaced by: You can write only about pretty, lovely things, but you can’t write anything about violence in the society you are surrounded by.

Good going, you academically-stunted Heart Lake Secondary staff/jerks. How about you pass a mandate to preface every assignment your creatively-challenged staff hand out with: You shall write only that which your teacher would like to read.

Otherwise, why don’t you stick to marking the creative writing papers (gee, isn’t the very definition of “Creative” Writing that it is creative? Read: fiction) based solely on their scholastic, grammatical and topical merits, and leave your perversely-flawed subjectivity out of it.

.

Posted in canada, censorship, commentary, culture, freedom, ignorance, media, news, ontario, politics, propaganda, rant, stupidity, teaching, toronto, writer, writing, wtf | 6 Comments »

Memories of my communist childhood – growing up under the red banner

Posted by E on December 28, 2007

 

 

After my last post, in which I wrote about my impressions of Cuba, I received some mixed feedback – exactly half of the commentators were against the Cuban regime, and half advocating earnestly for it. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle room for discussion when it comes to communist systems of government, does it? I’m not entirely sure what a middle ground would look like, but like any other battle of sectarian ideologies, this battle-line is drawn down the middle with a clearly-defined marker.

My opinions differ from most people I know, not necessarily in their ideology as much as from the formative experiences that have shaped who I am. I am a product of a so-called utopian society that like most others, found its end in a bloody revolution. There are many who still long for the good old times, simply because nobody ever was taught to think for themselves. For many decades, the people of my homeland were brought up to fear what was above them, the Golden Father of all Children, and when his regime fell so many older people didn’t know how to take care of themselves since they had always relied on the state to provide, to teach, and to think for them.

I was one of Ceausescu’s last batch of communism-raised children. We were an experimental generation of youth raised under the shade of a red star, in the Golden Epoch of our Fatherland. Our homeland, our Patria, was what we swore allegiance to. In grade 2, I received my Red Scarf and became a Pioneer. I remember that day clearly – for weeks I practiced memorizing a poem about our Great Father Nicolae Ceausescu that I later recited flawlessly in front of the Pioneer Assembly. In grade 3 I was stripped of one of my pioneer medals because my mother was a political defector. My father and I were followed by the Securitate for two years while we waited for our departure papers under the Red Cross Family Reunification program. In grade 4 I learned how to shoot a rifle. Officially, I became a child soldier for our homeland.

I loved my country. I truly, deeply appreciate that I had the opportunity to grow up sheltered from violence, from materialism, from being over-sexualized at an early age. I loved my uniform, my internal sense of fairness truly appreciating the equality that this white shirt and pleated navy skirt represented: all children, gypsies, christians, jews, all faiths and social classes brought together under one flag, one song, one classroom.

At the same time, I saw a country brought to its knees under the weight of its foreign exports. All of our rich resources were being exported to pay for Romania’s increasing debtload, a debt incurred as part of Ceausescu’s attempts at civilizing its people from its bourgeois roots: churches and villages were raised to the ground in order to pave roads and build collective farms and factories. People were reduced to a name on a ration card, one kilogram of flour and sugar per month, a litre of oil. Nothing more or less.

I remember standing in those lines: the line for bread, for butter, for meat, for books – any leftover money from people’s salaries was spent in a desperate attempt to buy food. There was never enough food for everybody. You could line up at 5 a.m. and it still didn’t guarantee there would be enough left by the time your turn came to the cashier. People made a habit of lining up: they didn’t know what kind of meat would be available at the butcher’s that day, but they arrived promptly at 5 in the morning, always five in the morning – for bread, for clothing, for various amenities.

And what did those people do in those lines? They laughed, they cried, they cursed “Him” who could not be named, but everybody knew – we were all co-conspirators, well-versed in the language of innuendos, scathing jokes and trepidation. Unlike the socialist red banner we lived in, nobody loved their neighbour. Everybody was jealous of each other – tried to figure out who had more, how they got it, and if we could get it too. People called secret, anonymous phone lines and denunced their neighbours for nothing more than a move to a better apartment or a better job assignment.

Under the red banner, I knew hunger, I knew pain, and what I experienced most of all – was fear. A deep, breath-taking fear that crushed your voice inside your ribs. You didn’t look up, you didn’t ask Why, you just obeyed. I knew people who worked at collective farms who went to jail for holding back a chicken from the monthly counts, just to feed their families a bit more protein. Only those who worked for the Party, the State, the Securitate, would have access to foreign currency and could go to that wondurous place we only heard stories about: the Shop. At the Shop, you could buy toblerone bars and Nescafe coffee, and loads of products we spied foreign tourists being served in fancy restaurants. Unfortunately, I never bought anything at the Shop. It was not for people like us. While Ceausescu was building the second-largest palace in the world after the Taj-Mahal, replete with gold bathroom fixtures, I remained underweight for my age.

Sometimes I wonder if anybody who glorifies a system like that of Romania, the Eastern Bloc, like Cuba and China’s, has ever lived inside this world. I don’t wonder this very often since I already know the answer: they have not. Nobody who has lived inside this world of sensory and emotional deprivation would wish for it again. Sure, nowadays Romanians will grumble that: “Before we had money but no food, now we have lots of food but no money to buy it.” But if questioned again about their past, their eyes glaze over and deep sighs can be heard. The emotional blackness of those days will always scar the lining of our souls.

Ceausescu meant well. So did Marx, and Che, and even Adolf (yes, I am mixing political affiliations!). Nobody starts out with the desire to massacre the spirit of their nation. But through deeds that are meant to be “for the good of others”, the result remains the same. Atrocity and sadness remains the legacy of so many regimes where scores of nameless people perish in the name of a warped ideology. Even after the 1989 Revolution, the scars remain, and they will remain there, imprinted on my heart, for the rest of my life.

I miss my childhood, the people I will never see again, the friends and neighbours who we have lost touch with, who all fled in the night to Australia, America, and Europe. One day you had lunch with somebody, the next day they were gone – and you didn’t know whether they had been arrested or paid someone to smuggle them over the border. As for myself, I never wanted to leave my homeland – I was dragged, kicking and screaming, away from it at age 10. In retrospect, it was already too late – I inherited my country’s history in my genes; its pulse beat in my veins like a tumultuous river. Even when citizenship was forcibly stripped from me as a defector, I remained Romanian. It was a thing they could never take away.

Nowadays, when I meet other Romanians I search for the legacy of the terror in their eyes: there is a darkness there, always, a haunted look that lies behind their smiles, their happy countenance. I see other survivors of my generation, other experimental byproducts of a world where walls cound talk, and where a whisper could mean exile. We walk like aliens among Canadians in this country, like wolves in sheep’s clothing – we are not of your world, this world of smiles and polite conversations. We are survivors of something that cannot be fathomed by those who are fortunate enough to have been born here.

I came from a world where being a lesbian would have meant a mandatory five-year jail sentence with hard labour. A world where my writing would be censored and condemned. Where my poetry would have to be dedicated to the Party. Where my life would forever remain not a burning flame, but a sigh.

I have realized that those people who continue the lovely fairytale of a communist utopia surely must not have experienced it. To be perfectly honest, I would absolutely love it if a true socialist state could exist in this world – a state of egalitarianism where all are cared for and provided by a loving government. But that will never happen, since it is not within the boundaries of human nature – it is by default that we strive to compete with each other, to outdo each other’s accomplishments, to work harder and seek greater peaks than those of our neighbours’. By default, true socialism cannot work. I have met leftists who said to me “Oh, but Elisa dear, what you experienced wasn’t truly communism, but state capitalism.” Because of course, they considered themselves experts of socialist systems, and every time one failed, it was attributed to the fact that “Well, that wasn’t REALLY socialism anyway, or a failed attempt at communism.” This came from well-meaning but confused activists, naive individuals who refused to acknowledge that every failure of communism over the last hundred years has been a sign of its instability and profound inability to ever be implemented.

Because as tough and hard-core a leftist as you can be, when you are inside oppression and you suffer in silence, you have but one of two choices: become the enemy, or be broken. On the tree-lined boulevards of Bucharest, in Moscow’s squares, on Beijing’s winding streets, and in the slums of Havana, people survived the only way they know how: a breath at a time.

To all deniers of oppression worldwide – shame on you. What is so quickly forgotten is destined to be repeated.

Posted in activism, canada, censorship, children, communism, cuba, freedom, gay, lesbian, life, politics, propaganda, revolution, romania, russia | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Reflecting on my visit to Cuba

Posted by E on December 25, 2007

So I’ve been back from Cuba for about two days now, which is just about how long I’ve needed to get over the vacation, sunburn and trauma of leaving the sunshine behind and being air-packed like a Polish sausage into the tiniest airplane seat I’ve ever sat in…and this is coming from me, the queen of budget airlines.

The vacation itself was sunny and lovely, this being my first time visiting Cuba – of course I fell in love with the azure blueness of the Caribbean sea, as much as I fell in hate with the system of unabashed oppression in this country.

People made due, of course. They adapt under any circumstances.

Late at night, hotel staff snuck into the Internet room to check world news and their emails; on a sunset walk on the beach, we came across another employee carefully clipping out articles from an international newspaper some tourist abandoned on the beach. Earlier in the day, we bought bootleg rum from the bar server – who snuck us into the back of the bar and sold us a tall bottle of Havana Club for four pesos.

Everyone tries to make their way through a system that now has decided to attack its own people with its advent of the cuban peso convertible – an odd, makeshift currency that simultaneously attempts to copy the euro, take advantage of tourists, and rip off its own citizens. Nowadays, waiters, bartenders and chambermaids make more in a month, after tips, that doctors, lawyers and government officials do.

It’s sick.

The country is turning topsy-turvy, with the elites being those who work in the tourism trade, and the intellectual professions becoming less paid, and less regarded as something to strive toward. One of our waiters had been a Spanish teacher for seventeen years and confessed that he had always wanted to teach and worked hard to achieve that distinction. However, he chose to don a waiter’s outfit in order to make significantly more money, though the hours are long and he has to commute for many hours while working six days a week.

The ones who suffer the most in Cuba are the people who are not associated with tourism, who do not have access to the new “cuban convertible peso” currency, which is 25 to 1 the rate of the regular people’s peso. Those people see the nike shoes and brand name clothing being purchased by rich Cubans from specialty shops, and are getting angrier.

We took trips into local towns and the poverty is sickening. I predict the Cuban government will fall in the next 2-3 years. Maybe sooner. Who knows if Fidel is even alive? I have my doubts – nobody has seen him since his health problems last year. I don’t believe that the propaganda writings of Che adorning the walls of the sugar and tabacco factories we visited will hold back the masses of dissafected youth who hang out on the streets, find ways to access the outside world through internet and word of mouth, and ache to travel outside their suffocating little island.

I felt like crying, because I knew, I totally knew that if I had been born in Cuba, I too would follow those who desperately do anything to escape – in rafts, in boats, in anything that would get me out. Cuba is such a beautiful country, but if you are trapped, unable to think or travel anywhere, even paradise can become a horrifying place.

I remembered the oppression of growing up in Romania, and how we left just two years before the Revolution. But even in Romania, people could sometimes travel. I cannot fathom a more oppressive government than Cuba – excluding of course the Middle Eastern nations who would rather stone a woman to death than allow her to go to the market by herself, or have a strand of hair show through the burke.

Religion and ideology are the same. The opium of the masses, the poison of free thought, the exile of humanity from this world.

Posted in censorship, commentary, communism, cuba, freedom, life, politics, propaganda, religion, revolution, romania, thoughts, women | 6 Comments »

The Seven Wonders of a Total Scam

Posted by E on July 9, 2007

7wonders.jpg

After looking into the controversy surrounding the “New Seven Wonders of the World”, I am hereby suggesting an alternate list of my own.

Elisa’s Seven Wonders of a Total Scam:

1. I wonder how a for-profit organization (Swiss-based New Open World Corporation – NOWC) can pull off such an obvious fraud.

2. I wonder how somebody can actually BUY the designation of a Wonder of the World. After the first vote by registered members, additional votes were available for purchase through payment to NOWC. “In addition to the sale of votes, NOWC relies on private donations, the sale of merchandise such as shirts and cups, and revenue from selling broadcasting rights.”(Wikipedia).

3. I wonder how much money was allocated by each country’s tourist boards toward purchasing votes for their own national monuments.
Only by realizing that the voting process was heavily endorsed in certain countries can one figure out how some of these “Wonders” were shoe-ins over others.
“Brazil’s President Lula de Silva addressed his people on radio telling them how to vote for Rio’s statue of Christ the Redeemer. The government of Peru opened computer terminals in public places and exhorted people to vote for the ancient city of Machu Pichu.” (http://itchofwriting.blogspot.com).

4. I wonder how historical monuments of vital importance to the history of mankind, such as the Pyramids of Giza, were purposefully left OFF the voting list.
Built in 2560 AD, the Pyramids, incidentally, were the oldest and only remaining location from the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – which was originally compiled around the second century BC. The final list was revised during the Middle Ages. This list was compiled as a celebration of humankind’s greatest architectural achievements: the man-built epitomes of beauty, love, art, religion, mythology, power and science.

5. I wonder how a 21st century stock-based corporation decided that they would put the determination of such achievements on an Ebay-inspired online bidding war of greed and profit, in the process whoring civilization itself to epic proportions.

I wonder how a corporate board and a small man named Bernard Weber, described as an adventurer and quasi-Indiana Jones, got to decide the “New Seven Wonders of the World.”
Unscrupulously touting in a CNN interview that he saw this process as a way “that everybody can decide what the new seven wonders should be and not some government, not some individuals, not some institutions,” he managed to shut most of the world out of the selection process, since “by everyone he meant those with an Internet connection or with at least a cell phone with text messaging capability”(www.ipatrix.com).
With a voting pool so narrow, how could it have ever been perceived as representative of the global population?

I wonder how this can’t be seen as a defrauding of civilization itself.
NOWC’s waged an intense media campaign, forging alliances with various telecom industries, enlisting celebrities and even selling a song on iTunes to generate as much revenue as possible through charges for text messaging, telephone, internet voting and merchandise sales.

6. I wonder how long before everyone recognizes this fraud for what it is. In a fantastic analysis of this event titled Seven Wonders of Utter Crap, Gridskipper comments:

“The New Seven Wonders is one of the most protracted and bizarrely successful publicity stunts in history, and it’s based exclusively on … well, exclusion. Getting on the list is of questionable value, but being left off the list is perceived as a definite snub. Weber and his representatives make airy proclamations about the democratic process giving the entire world a chance to select its wonders, rather than stuffy old Antipater of Sidon and his original list of wonders. But really the success of the list is predicated on large numbers of people getting whipped into a nationalistic fervor — a frenzy that has draw politicians, entertainers, and even phone companies into stumping for votes.”

[…] No public reports exist of the company’s finances, but just consider the claim that 70 million votes have been cast worldwide. Even if New Seven Wonders isn’t getting a payoff for the international phone voting, sending an SMS text message to vote will cost you $1 in the United States, with similar fees elsewhere. You can vote for free online via registering, but why not spend $2 on an official certificate documenting the happy occasion?
This is chump change, of course. The real money comes from merchandise, events, promotional tie-ins, infinitely subdivided and perpetual versions of the New Seven Wonders competition, and more.”

Not to mention the $.99 iTunes song and a new IMAX movie production in the works.

7. I wonder how anyone could expect this list of “New Seven Wonders” to actually be anything but forgotten? Perhaps in the years to come, we might expect a new corporate marketing frenzy to produce new Wonders of the World: how about Trump’s Tower, for a change?
With UN’s UNESCO not even endorsing this corporate undertaking, instead calling the whole shebang a “private undertaking”, this milking cash cow, under close scrutiny, doesn’t even hold a semblance of authenticity.
When the dust clears and it’s all said and done, the only wonder that remains is that of chutzpah – and the New Wonders of PR.

References: http://gridskipper.com/travel/hypewatch/seven-wonders-of-utter-crap-273766.php
http://itchofwriting.blogspot.com/2007/06/new-7-wonders-emotional-scam-or-master.html
http://www.ipatrix.com/
Wikipedia

Posted in art, commentary, culture, india, life, media, news, press, propaganda, pyramids, rant, seven wonders, stupidity, thoughts, wtf | 4 Comments »