15-year-old Hazara boy Ali Aqa, Bamiyan, Afghanistan. (From Steve McCurry's blog.)
Hazara candy factory, Kabul, Afghanistan. (From Steve McCurry's blog.)
The Taliban’s favourite victims – the Hazara. You may remember them. They had some huge statues at Bamiyan. Steve McCurry has taken some striking photographs in Afghanistan. The two pics here are from his post Blood and Smoke of the Hazarajat.
He has other alarming photographs of war and death – including an arresting image of a dead Afghan solider floating in water – which is at the bottom of this post.
It’s gruesome, so don’t scroll below the item about Anita Tijoux if you’re feeling squeamish. In fact, let me know if you think it’s too much, and I’ll remove it. Meanwhile more thought-provoking stuff on Afghanistan here.
And… This is clever.
Absurdist pranksters subvert anti-Gay demonstrators with a bit of lateral thinking. (From the Laughing Squid.)
Rather than try to out-shout, out-bluster or out-threaten the opposition, these guys just let themselves get a bit carried away with their placards.
(They’d have been welcome at our own demonstration recently.)
Other placards they introduced to the San Francisco protest by Westboro Baptist Church had messages such as:
- God Hates Flags
- Build Prisons on the Moon
- Silly Hats Only
- I Was Promised Donuts
- God Hates Signs
It’s all good. More details at the Laughing Squid site. If only more demonstrations were more like this. (Apart from the homophobia, naturally.) It makes our save-the-village-bus efforts seem boringly predictable.
She’s a Chilean-French hip hop MC. I noticed her on the always interesting Exodus blog, where you can listen to “Partir de cero” (“From Scratch”) from her album 1977. Go on, give it a go. Mexican singer Julieta Venegas is there too.
And now… The gruesome photo is below.
Same as the top two, it’s from photographer Steve McCurry. His details are here. Again, let me know if you thinks it’s too strong to have on without having to click on a link.
Dead Afghan Soldier, Jalalabad, Afghanistan, 1992. (From Steve McCurry's blog.)
Bus protest (from the Bucks Free Press)
Blimey! That was quick. A couple of days ago we brandished our placards – see previous post: Save Our Bus! We Want The Bus!
Then this happened. The Office of Fair Trading announced it was referring local bus services to the Competition Commission. (Not including London or Northern Ireland.) Because apparently fares are 9% higher where one big bus company has a monopoly.
Instant results from one small protest.
Or coincidence? Let’s just skip on ahead to the more important question.
Will more competition help?
The OFT suspects large operators of taking a hands-off (non-competitive) approach to each others’ territories, thereby keeping fare prices high.
But more competition could lead merely to short term fare reductions, the crushing of smaller operators and the long term establishment of fewer even more widespread monopolies than before. And that’s not to mention the dislocation and confusion we’re still suffering thanks to the privatisation and splitting up of the rail network.
For their part, the big companies say they are already in fierce competition… With the car. And that what’s needed is more public subsidy for unprofitable routes. Subsidy paid for by local councils, i.e. me. And you.
Worthwhile? For the sake of preserving vital social glue? Or cutting emissions?
But back to our local bus service. Discussions on altering another existing route to fill the gap left by the axing of the old service have been postponed. Pesky snow.
Save Our Bus! We Want The Bus!
We’ve been out protesting. No, not Iraq, Afghanistan or Palestine. Not climate change nor nuclear power. Once upon a time it was “Maggie Maggie Maggie! Out! Out! Out!” Now it’s “The wheels on the bus go round and round.”
Sure there’s nothing better than children with homemade placards.
But will it save the bus? The old service was already too expensive, unreliable and irregular. A deterrent to using it. The replacement service looks to be worse. Most of the passengers travel for free – on pensioner bus passes. The county council has cut the subsidy.
So it’s almost certainly uneconomic. But it’s also part of the social glue that holds disparate communities together. Just like the local post office.
So altogether now: “Save Our Bus! We Want The Bus!”
People queuing for Jonathan Ross
Just another day at the office, pictured by a colleague. Are they e United Against Facism protestors, cross about the BNP’s Nick Griffin appearing on Question Time. Or the queue for Jonathan Ross? Or Harry Hill?A TV Centre tour? Or the bus queue. Hard to tell.
But all the fuss of the day reminded me of The Man They Couldn’t Hang and their song “The Ghosts of Cable Street”.
Or this version if you want to see the band.
Filed under life, politics