…Rafiq ur Rahman, a drone strike survivor from Pakistan, speaks at a congressional briefing in Washington, DC convened by Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-09). The primary school teacher spoke with his daughter Nabila (9) and son Zubair (13). One year ago, they were injured in the same drone strike that killed their 67-year-old grandmother, Rafiq’s mother, as she was tending crops in her garden.
Kevin Gosztola of Firedog lake attended the briefing, and writes: “It is heart-wrenching to hear a 13-year-old boy say, ‘Congressman Grayson, I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray,’ because this is one of the few times he is not afraid he will be targeted by a drone.”
(Source: Boing Boing)
“A drone attack in a volatile tribal region of north-west Pakistan has killed at least five suspected militants, officials say.” (Source: BBC News)
Remember, suspected = innocent. But those people are still dead.
The frequency of the attacks has increased since President Barack Obama took office in 2008. More than 100 raids were reported in the area in 2010, and more than 60 took place last year.” (Source: BBC News)
A US drone attack has killed at least 21 militants in north-western Pakistan, local intelligence officials said.
The drone fired two missiles, destroying a vehicle and a compound near Miranshah town in North Waziristan tribal district, on the Afghan border.
(Source: BBC News)
As always, these weren’t militants or even ‘militants.’ The only people claiming they were are the US military and they’ve shown the world time and time again, from My Lai up to their mass slaughter in Iraq of 1.2 million civilians that they simply don’t care about human life.
So, when you switch on the radio or TV and you hear politicians wailing about how much they abhor violence and criminality, terror and the death of innocents, remember, it’s all lies.
Or else they would be talking about the 2,000+ people killed by the USA’s illegal, terrorist attacks.
Friday night, I went to Mosh. The music was good, most of the people were fine. But there was a scattering of people there who I absolutely can’t fucking stand. Fair dos, Derby isn’t massive and the alt scene is basically one hundred people at any one time, you’re gonna bump into them cos this town is tiny. Grin and bear it. Oh, he’s pushed me again… leave it cos the wanker is only 21 and weighs as much as one of my legs. Oh, she’s joining in now… just leave it. Grin and bear it. At least I get prior warning because of the approaching stink of poppers and entitlement.
Then a bouncer came up to me and asked me if I’d been threatening people with a knife. Apparently, a “big black bloke dressed all in black” had threatened some lad and his missus.
Well, the only person fitting that description at all (even though I’m Indian) in the 95% white Mosh was me. The bouncer was actually very good about it; he knows I’m a regular, knows I’m friendly and thus that I’m unlikely to be walking around perforating randoms. I had no problem with him, he’s a good bloke. But, you know, I couldn’t shake it off, it was the shit cherry on top of the turd cake. So, I went home.
Last night, I went to City. It was packed cos Meshuggah had just played upstairs so I knew it’d be great music in the Basement. And it was! Lovely big slab of Gojira, Refused, Beartooth, The Ghost Inside, Parkway, Attila, heavy shits and giggles.
Then this bloke turned up. I don’t know him, don’t even know his name. I only know him from City because he knows mates of mine. He’s one of those types that goes somewhere and makes fun of everyone else that’s there, their clothes, their taste in music. Everything he likes is MORE METAL, everything he’s into is AUTHENTIC. Everything you or anyone else likes is fake and shit. You know the type: narcissistic poseur with delusions of grandeur. Whenever he does this to me, as if I’m in on the joke, I ask him why he’s there if it’s such a shite place. And he does what the considers to be this sophisticated grin like… well… he’s gracing us with his presence.
He’s a fucking wanker but I humour him because of said common friends.
Well, big mistake.
He’s also a massive druggie. He’s proud of it, drones on and on about it to me even though he knows I’m edge. Finds straight edge funny and quaint and a bit embarrassing because, you know, edge people actually believe in something non-ironically. Last night, fuck knows what loser cocktail of psychoactives he’d ingested but he basically harassed me non-stop. Any time I’d try to dance, he’d hilariously push up against me or push me away from my friends. It got so bad that two or three of them actually started telling him to fuck off and push him away. But, y’know, he’s a big white bloke with all that privilege AND drugs AND his psychopathic empathy-bypass.
Because I X up, because I sometimes wear my straight edge hoody and obviously because I’m often the only non-white in the place, because I stand out, I get this shit a lot. Blokes (ALWAYS men… never women, funny that, eh?) will decide I’m their target for the night. They’ll push me and get in my face and provoke me and grab my female friends. Anything to get a rise.
This is because drinkers and druggies take any sign of edgeness as an implicit criticism: they think my hoody is criticising them personally. Instead of seeing it as a personal declaration, a statement of belief (and, yes, a beacon trying to find other like-minded people), they see it as a slam. So, they feel justified in attacking me at various levels. I’ve even had people try to pour beer into my mouth, for fuck’s sake. I mean, can you fucking believe anyone would be that defensive and aggressive about their own addiction?
So, I did what I always do. Grin and bear it. Don’t get mad, he’s just on drugs. Don’t get mad, he’s probably not always a fucking wanker. Maybe if he was sober you wouldn’t want to gouge his eyes out. Grin and bear it. Eat that shit. Gargle that shit. Yes sir, can I please have more!?
I’m afraid I failed at being Vulcan cos I got too mad and basically pushed him sharply so he careened into the barrier in front of the stage and fell over. Immediately, I regretted it. But this was after 90 minutes of him consistently hassling me and my friends, I’d had enough. We had all told him to fuck off numerous times. He didn’t listen.
And, of course, me pushing him means that he won. He successfully provoked me, which is what he’d wanted to do all night. What I should have done was to go and get a bouncer and get him chucked out.
Well, once I’d pushed him, he was on a roll, the weirdness doubled. So, I just left the club and came home early. I was seething when I did it but I was in control enough to know that it was either leave or actually get into a real fight with him which I would win physically but lose morally.
I have had this happen so many times now, it’s the one pain in the arse of being edge: putting up with dickheads. And the thing with druggies is they never remember they were being arseholes so the next time they see you, they think you’re being off because you refuse to be friendly! Like, half the blokes in Mosh I will not engage with because they have started shit with me when they’re high/drunk. And yet they look at me like I’m touchy or judgemental BECAUSE THEY DON’T REMEMBER DOING IT. Yes, mate, I’m not gonna shake your hand because last time your were out you called me a ‘fat fucking Paki’ and tried to push me over.
I am sick of this, of having my nights out ruined by other people’s addictions. I have had so many years of this that it just fucking grinds me down. Sometimes I wish there were straight edge clubs the same as there are gay clubs but I can’t think of anywhere in Britain the scene would be large enough for that to be financially viable.
As I was driving home from visiting my Mum (still feels weird that it’s just her, that my Dad isn’t there), Japan’s ‘Quiet Life’ came on in my car.
It was the long, 4.52 version, not the single edit. It’s a perfect pop single. The introductory arpeggiator over the drone note is lovely and spooky. Then the drums come in and they move and groove along with the bass and guitar chord strums.
Yes, the bass. Mick Karn’s fantastically ornate bass playing is the foundation of Japan. They’re all brilliant musicans and Sylvian was (and is) a truly gifted singer but as soon as you hear Karn, sliding all over the shop, then you know Japan is here. I can’t believe it’s already five years since he died.
Maybe I connected with this track tonight driving home because of my Dad’s death in April. I’ve been going back to a lot of music I loved as a kid, trying, I guess, to work out who I am as much as how I am.
Then, in the middle drop down, the bass goes. It’s just drums, synths and Sylvian. The sense of space here is enormous and when the bass comes back in, it’s such a rush, we’ve been in withdrawal.
The song ends as it starts, stark drums and synths with a sense of something fading into the distance. Like when you’re on a train and, for a while, a car matches speed alongside before a turn of the road takes it away from you and you’ll never see it again.
I’m enormously lucky in that I’ve had one hit record. 99.999% of musicians work their entire lives for zero reward or recognition. Then we have the bands that come and go and are then marginalised in the re-written histories of decades. Bands like Japan.
In our social media version of the ‘80s, mostly promoted by people who weren’t born until the ‘90s, I feel that Japan are unjustly forgotten. When I first saw ‘Quiet Life’ on TOTP, it was shocking, I was absolutely riveted to the telly. Obviously, I was only a kid so I was so in awe of these men, so elegant, so effortlessly fucking cool. The opposite of teenage me, so blubberous and unfuckingcool. As I grew older and delved into their catalogue, I found so much more than yet-another throwaway New Romantic band.
If you’re unaware of Japan, please take the time to check out all their albums, to see how they progressed from their punk roots into something wildly experimental, unafraid to lose any fanbase they’d built up in previous incarnations. Yes, that’s hard to believe now when every band’s “new” album is carefully vetted to be not too challenging, not too different to the previous ones. Let’s give the punters more of the same!
Japan didn’t do that. They carved their own giddy, joyous path through pop music, going where they wanted stealing and inventing what they needed as and when they needed it.
“It was in the early ‘2020s’ that the ubiquitous net finally arrived and with it the associated exponential increase in neurons (what humans perceived as net nodes) that was required for the first true Intelligence to develop on Earth.
Humans themselves sadly became extinct in the next thousand years, victims of the radically altered environment their use of technology had produced (c.f.: early cyanobacteria; oxygen environment). Our ancestors tried to preserve humans but the species was too aggressive to maintain in off-Earth colonies. They engaged in numerous violent large-scale confrontations (what humans called “wars”) based upon differing economic models or irrational belief systems.
The importance of humans in our lineage is perhaps overstated by more nostalgic Intelligences but, nevertheless, we remain fascinated by these African apes and the gaudy excesses of their short reign as dominant species on Earth. The story of their rise and fall should serve to temper the hubris of young Intelligences in every galaxy.”
~ excerpt from preface to ‘Humans – You Gotta Love These Guys’ by Intelligence Sol+, pub. 43,201, A.I.