My wishes are that you have all started this year well. Some of you, I know, have not. Still, the ritual is to once a year renew all our good wishes. This is year, I am full of good wishes for the whole world, and short on an adequate form to express them.  Get well, get better and stay healthy!



Fast forward to the future could capture the mood around the house these days. Still, in going through pictures taken in 2013, all that I could muster as representing the last year, was this motorcycle. Why do I think that a serviceable and rusty old motorcycle summarises last year for me?

Perhaps it is the memories of the day when while strolling through Silves, I found the motorcycle parked on a quiet streets. It could also be that I like the idea of having a old machine be useful. I like it, and for that, I need no reason.

Now, go and follow your dreamsI I am still trying to read Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, even after my son spoiled it for me and told me how it ends. 

To be continued

BWV639, originally uploaded by TommyOshima.

Exploring discord.


Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama Says – NYTimes.com: “Bin Laden’s demise is a defining moment in the American-led fight against terrorism, a symbolic stroke affirming the relentlessness of the pursuit of those who attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001. ”  No! This may be a defining moment for America, but this defines a moment of shame and barbarianism.

I am neither courageous nor brilliant. I am not Emile Zola either. Still, I accuse, j’accuse! It was wrong, and it remains wrong to have killed a person who allegedly was Osama bin Laden. There can be no joy in this, there is nothing to celebrate, there is no success, this is no glory, there is no victory. This was a step backward in human evolution, it was cultural devolution. It was wrong. Wrong.

9/11 was wrong too. However there is no way in this world that two wrongs make a right, and much less when the facts are not clear. I really do not care how much purported, circumstantial or physical evidence there is about Al Qaeda as the author of the 9/11 attack. There is no way to justify either. However, America would do itself some good to ask itself a few serious questions about its foreign policy. Why is America so deeply hated in some parts of the world?

Actually, the Pentagon has a few ideas. At least one 2004 report (1) uses plain langugage to state what has been common knowledge in the streets of Cairo – or Islamabad, it is not freedom that the Yankees are exporting, it is hypocrisy, and that too is rather convenient to some of the autocrats in the Middle East.

“American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies. Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.” However the more than hundred page report does not stop there, it continues “Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that “freedom is the future of the Middle East” is seen as patronizing, suggesting that Arabs are like the enslaved peoples of the old Communist World — but Muslims do not feel this way: they feel oppressed, but not enslaved.”

That said, it could be, and there is a shred of hope that this year’s Arab Spring is starting another chapter in the politics of the region. But what happens next? Osama bin Laden was but one man, Al Qaeda was not a one man’s operation, and the Taliban is not Al Qaeda but merely shares with it an ideology of radicalism. That this radicalism is one instrumentalizing Islam as just a footnote. The Fight Goes On – By Anna Badkhen | Foreign Policy: “That anyone should consider bin Laden’s death auspicious to the course of the counterinsurgency is a surprising notion to many in northern Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been gaining rapid momentum over the past 18 months.”

America just lost the war on terrorism. I do not think that god cares all that much about the American dream; it is a nightmare.

(1) http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dod/dsb/commun.pdf