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But ...seriously
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-08-24 08:17:12
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Colonel Gadaffi has thanked his friend Gordon Brown as the welcome festivities continue in Libya for the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi. The man received a hero’s welcome from the Libyan people and leadership, led by Gadaffi’s son Saif al-Islam. The people is one thing, they grew up listening to  propaganda declaring that westerners are monsters, conspiring day and night to take over Libya. But after all the efforts of the leadership the last decade, to reach out to the west, there is absolutely no excuse.

I cannot understand the surprise of everybody for Gadaffi’s behaviour; don’t they know that it is impossible to teach old dogs new tricks? Actually, dictators like Gadaffi are totally predictable and everybody should have expected this behaviour from him.

Of course there is another side to the whole matter. From the minute Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was found guilty and was convicted, justice was served. But keeping an ill man to die in prison is just revenge and not punishment, and it is beyond what we are trying to promote; a humanitarian Europe and an EU for the people. In this sense, the Scottish court was absolutely right and it is naïve, if not inhuman, when people demand revenge on a dying person, however big his crime was. After all, Europe banished the death sentence based on this philosophy.

While the rest of the world is worrying about what Gadaffi might do next, the Finns have just finished their Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships. The participants insist that Nokia telephones are the best ones to throw, but I’m not sure if the Finnish manufacturer Nokia agrees. Maybe they are a bit upset with Apple and iPhone agreeing with the idea of everybody throwing their Nokia mobile phones away! It wouldn’t surprise me if Apple becomes the main fundraiser and promoter of future championships of this sport.

On the topic of championships, a big thing during the latest championship in Berlin was the doubts raised over one particular athlete. The question this time is not if she is doped or not, but if she is a woman or a …man! Despite all the reinsurances from her father, her family, a birth certificate and a whole nation, the debate continues. I suppose it all has to do with some past Olympic Games memories and a certain eastern European nation that doesn’t exist anymore. If my memory serves me right, I think it was during the Montreal or Moscow Olympics where East Germany’s women’s team had beards and they were more macho than any man will ever be.

Macho men and mystery continues to cover the story of the Finnish ship piracy. The crew is safe and they arrested the …pirates, who don’t look anything like the charming Hollywood pirates, more like former Russian prison convicts. They were arrested in Cape Verde and transported to Russia for questioning, so hopefully within the next few days we will get some answers of the mystery that has nothing to do with Captain Hook.

We might find out what happened with Captain Hook, but not Pater Pan. Or at least not with the person who thought he was Peter Pan, i.e. the late Michael Jackson. The mystery surrounding his death, the rumours and the accusations - including a few conspiracy theories, plus lovers from either sex - are spreading fast, and they are getting wider and more complex. In the meantime, his body remains unburied until his family decides in which way the burial will make the biggest profit and his legacy sells more than any other dead artist.

Another person who is after profit, alive in this case, and using her kids, is Octomom Nadya Suleman. The woman brought eight kids into the world at once, and now she is starring in a reality TV show in America. The best way to describe this self-centred mom, her situation and her kids is to let her …talk: "I screwed myself, I screwed up my life, I screwed up my kids' lives. ... What was I thinking? ... What the heck am I going to do? I have to put on this strong face, and I have to pretend like I don't regret it. ... I cannot regret it now because I have them and they are here but what was I thinking?"

What remains for me to say is …no comment!


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Emanuel Paparella2009-08-24 11:36:25
Is justice automatically served when a man is found guilty and sentenced simply because it happens in a place that does not allow the death sentence? It seems to me that perfect justice deserves better than simply abolish the death sentence. It deserves thorough investigation and sentencing only when the defendant’s actions and crimes are beyond the shadow of a doubt. That does not seem to the case here: a Scottish judicial review body ruled two years ago that the former Libyan intelligence official Abdebaset Ali al- Megrahi jailed for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing might have been wrongfully convicted and was entitled to appeal the verdict against him. That investigation lasted nearly four years and was conducted by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission which delivered an 800-page report — much of it still secret — that identified several areas where “a miscarriage of justice may have occurred.” So the question arises: why the secrecy, why the dragging of a thorough investigation of the doubts on this conviction? Six years ought to be enough to arrive at a proper review of the original conviction. You are quite right on one thing, Thanos, when you imply that the death sentence means that more often than we like to think innocent men get sentenced to death and there is no reversing anything once a man has been executed and later found innocent. But I am afraid that dragging one’s feet in an investigation of a potential miscarriage of justice is not exactly perfect justice either.

Emanuel Paparella2009-08-24 11:48:34
On the last item, not too long ago families with eight children, or twelve, or fifteen were not considered "screwed up" but rather normal. In Italy propagation rates are now one and a half per couple, in the rest of Europe and Anglo Saxon America (the Hispanics still consider large families normal) the demographics are not that different. Which means that the white races of Europe and America are slowly committing suicide. One begins to wonder what is really "normal." Which of course does not mean that all parents ought to have many children. If they are bad parents they ought not to have any. On the other hand, it seems to me that if they are good parents, and that ought to be the crucial question, then having many children ought not to be seen as abnormal in by itself.

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