Oimoi


This is Blog 15 in my A-Z Blogseries:
Oimoi!

This alphabet challenge thing is messing with my brain…

After I wrote the blog on linguistics I remembered I had wanted to write about Louis CK.

And then when I was writing about Natalia Lafourcade for the letter N, I realized the blog I was writing was actually an ode to her album Musas, which would have made it more appropriate for one letter earlier…

And then, after I had published that blog I realized I totally wanted to dedicate a blog to the Notre Dame… But by then the N was already taken…

Why does it work that way??

So then I decided I would just make up a word (Pyromania) to talk about this Notre Dame situation…

This girl is on fiiiiirrre! (too soon?)

But I still had to do the letter O right, before I could move on to P. So much pressure (and so little result)! Oimoi!

I already started writing my hotheaded pyro-blog, describing my annoyance with the ginormous disproportionate donations that were being promised by billionaire companies and individuals, well before the fire was even under control.

My annoyance spread out into religious matters, global inequality and humanity’s messed up priorities.

Luckily, my thoughts turned out to be quite mainstream. In the following days, as I heard more people echoing the same thoughts I had been having, my anger subsided.

While I was walking home just now I decided I would chuck the angry blogpost I had started to write, straight into the trash…

…and that’s when I received a message from a friend (who had noticed I had been struggling with my O) reminding me that the cathedral’s name actually translates to “Our Lady”…

Is this karma at work?

The world through my brother’s eyes

You know those people who can pick up any random instrument and just instinctively know how to work the thing? They just hoot, whistle, strum, tap or pluck a bit and then… there you have it: beauty!

1780253_418645348272979_443952143_o.jpgMy eldest brother is like that, but not with music (even though he did play the trumpet for a while, in his teenage years). He has the eye. He looks at completely mundane situations and suddenly feels the urge to get on his knees and take a few shots from a funny angle. Yes, he is a passionate photographer and a bloody good one, if you ask me.

Of course I am biased. He’s my big brother. I grew up looking up to him (in the most literal sense as well as figuratively speaking). He never does anything without at least one honest attempt at becoming really good at it and often succeeds. He has top sport mentality that he applies in every aspect of his life and I have nothing but respect for him for that.

But enough talk, let me show you his stuff!

There’s the beautifully cliche…

…the awe-inspiring…,

…and the artsy fartsy:

I know he loves the artistic experimental stuff most of all, but he’s done some wonderful wedding and commercial photography as well.

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Check more of his pics out on Flickr, drop him a message on his Facebook or give him a friendly tweet, if you like what you’ve seen! Also, let me know what you think in the comment section, so I can pass it on.

His own website, Photgraphie TB, is in French, but it’s all pretty self explanatory and totally worth a visit.

A good weekend to all of you!

A very cathartic weekend to you

By Marco De Angelis
By Marco De Angelis : Terror’s curtain of death spreads

How do you react to terror? A great part of me wants to give them as little attention as possible. They do not deserve my tears. I will not admit I am afraid. I will not let hate bleed into my heart, even though its poison is all around me. On the other hand I do not want to become indifferent. I want to feel and see and know it all, even though it is  so very tempting to close my eyes and (try to) forget.

The thing that keeps poking Mr Cynic awake in my mind every few minutes is the “pray for Paris”-campagne so many are supporting online. I appreciate its intention, but all the while I think: What good will THAT do??

By Marco di Angelis : The difficult path of tolerance.
By Marco di Angelis : The difficult path of tolerance.

Why pray? Religion is partly what got us into this mess! What do you think god is going to do about it anyway? He stood by while it happened and now you ask him to… to what? To heal the wounds? To give us the strength to carry on? You don’t need someone to GIVE you strength, you already have it. What you need is a kick up the ass! Or a hug… yes, maybe a hug is better…

And while we’re at it, why are you only praying for Paris? Shit is hitting the fan all over the place. If you think prayer is the solution, pray for Beirut too! Pray for the airplane victims in Egypt, pray for Baghdad, pray for Thailand. Hell, I don’t even know half of the places this stuff is going on…

So don’t fold your hands and trust some almighty cloud dweller to fix this mess. It’s up to you and me. Don’t let your thoughts be led by fear or hate. Do you feel any negativity towards your hijab wearing neighbor? Check yourself: what is this feeling based on; have you every actually spoken with her? Give it a try! Or just throw a smile in there. It won’t fix the world, but it might steer us away from this self fulfilling prophecy. It’s a small and easy gesture and I assure you it will do more good than your bedside prayer.

Also, let’s stop calling that group of hateful cutthroats “Islamic State”. They do not deserve to be acknowledged by this name. They are neither worthy muslims nor do they have or deserve an actual state. They are the Daesh. If there were a way to acknowledge them less, I would.

I don’t feel like predicting the future right now or finding any justification for last night. I clearly have no solutions for this either. So yes, this blog may have been a pretty futile undertaking all together and I apologize if you feel it was a waste of your time. I guess this is what they call catharsis.

Am I Charlie, or not?

Apparently I have to know the answer to this question… For a while there, I was convinced I was Charlie, all though I never hashtagged it or selfied myself with a sign declaring this openly… Some would argue that if it’s not on Facebook (or twitter or whatever) it didn’t happen, so in that sense I have always been undecided. And now I have people telling me I shouldn’t want to be him to begin with… so I’m confused…

I must admit I have been a bit out of the loop lately. I know about what happened, watched the news shortly after the shootings, I heard the shooters were “caught” and I heard millions went to the streets in Paris to make a statement against these horrific events. I haven’t watched any discussions or in depth programs about it though, partly because I had little time, partly because my computer went on strike for a while and partly because I just found it all too depressing, really…

Another confession I have to make is that I had not heard of (or remembered hearing of) Charlie Hebdo before in my life. I know what satire is and it is something I tend to enjoy. So, that Charlie Hebdo had stepped on some toes in its past came as no surprise to me, as it is something that’s hard to avoid with satire and political cartoons.

But then I read this post on a blog with the wonderful slogan “Standing up against injustice is a choice. So are silence and willful blindness”, which got me pondering. It made me realize I know nothing about this really and I should be careful who’s side I choose (or if I should choose one at all).

I remember hearing president George W. Bush utter the words “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” and shivering at the thought of what that implied. I saw where this was headed. I saw how near sighted this was and saw its ugliness. Some may argue the troubles had already begun before then and this was just a commander in chief saying what needed to be said in reaction to 9/11, but that’s for another blog perhaps… My point is that having to choose between being Charlie or not, is a hip social media version of that same dilemma and there is more to it.

charlie will you stop thatWhat it proves to me once again as well, is that ignorance is really a dangerous thing. I would have marched my soles off in those Parisian streets without really knowing anything about either side in this tragedy.

And don’t get me wrong here, I am in no way saying that going on a shooting frenzy was OK. I condemn this terrorist act with everything I have in me and do see a frightening threat growing in the islamist corner that must be dealt with.

As Lydia de Leeuw of A Second Glance wrote:

Do I think yesterday’s mass murder was a despicable act? Of course. Do I feel great anger and sadness for those who lost their lives and loved ones? Naturally. And it goes without saying that no cartoon can justify violence, EVER. But still, I am not Charlie Hebdo!

(…)

It seems like the majority feels the need to tell religious people (mainly Muslims) – through cartoons and otherwise – that they’re ignorant because they have a God and a prophet. In that lies a self-centered, supremacist attitude that seeks to shove atheism down the throat of people who are religious.

(…)

I feel like we have adopted a fundamentalist way of thinking around the right to freedom of expression; you are either for it or against it. It is all or nothing. A generally white, atheist majority has decided that the right to freedom of expression is an absolute and ‘sacred’ part of our society that has no social nuance whatsoever.

Cartoons ridiculing Islam (or any other religion) are not an embodiment of tolerance and liberal thinking. They’re an expression of intolerance and judgement towards a religion and its followers.

I fear we will see more of these godless acts occur in the name of Allah and wish I could think of a way to reach out, figure out a way to actually talk to eachother. A true dialogue. The kind where both sides actually listen to the other and find a common ground to build on… But I don’t see it. Not yet. Not in the near future either.

But we’ll get there and my mission until then is to keep myself informed and remember there are always more sides to the story. I will listen, I will comment, I will make contact and keep my horizon as wide as I can. And even if I feel I have seen and understand all sides, I will remain conscious of the fact that there might always be more to it that I can grasp at a particular moment.

And for now, I must conclude I am NOT Charlie.