Category Archives: international

Escopetarra: Turning Guns into Guitars

Colombian musician César López’s guitar of choice isn’t a Gibson or a Fender or a Yamaha. It’s a home-styled Escopetarra, named after the escopeta (rifle) and the guitarra (guitar). Built from old AK-47s and other assault rifles, “the Escopetarra is a symbol of a life transformed,” writes Graeme Green in New Internationalist (September 2011). Each weapon was used in combat during Colombia’s unending civil war and represents the deaths of some 300 victims—and each was turned over to López willingly by either a leftist guerrilla fighter or a right-wing para­military soldier who chose to relinquish a life of violence. Today, the guns-turned-guitars help bring the art of peace to a war-torn country, and an Escopetarra has been requested for exhibition at the National Gandhi Museum in New Delhi, India. (Read more)

The Olympics are Around the Corner…

The political salience of sport has increased dramatically in the past 30 years. Governments in regimes of every type have shown a new willingness to invest and intervene in sport directly, steer and develop sport policy more purposefully, and, recently, engage in bidding for and hosting sports mega-events. With the London 2012 Olympics on the horizon, it is an apt time to reflect on the reasons behind the increasing politicisation of sport and sports mega-events, and the increasing competition between states to host an Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup or one of the smaller international competitions, such as the Commonwealth Games.

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The Encyclodpedia of

Check out a thorough collection of articles about 9/11 via NYMAG‘s Encyclopedia of 9/11.

What Dinh didn’t anticipate was a profound shift in liberalism and, therefore, in the politics of the country. Even with a Democrat now in the White House, the liberalism that protects the right of the individual against the majority—the politics of civil rights and abortion and gay marriage—has diminished, in favor of one that aims to improve the lot of the median man. Obama’s liberalism is for the majority, not against it. This spirit, and the unlikely endurance of the Patriot Act, owes something to the central psychological events of the decade: the vitality and threat of new economic competitors, the social violence initiated by the authors of obscure financial instruments, but first and most of all September 11—each of which evoked a particular feeling, that we were all together, under attack. .::Patriot Act

McGill Students Elected to Parliament

Image source

Three current McGill students and one recent McGill graduate were elected members of parliament (MPs) in today’s federal election

The students, Charmaine Borg, Matthew Dubé, Mylène Freeman and Laurin Liu, were all NDP candidates in Quebec ridings. All four candidates defeated incumbent opponents from the Bloc Québécois.>


Hillary Clinton forgot one important factor to consider when she said that she would retaliate on Israel’s behalf should Iran attack them with nuclear weapons: ISRAEL IS A NUCLEAR POWER! They have nukes to take care of themselves. And you better believe they have some sort of First-Strike retaliatory plan.

I wonder what our Pennsylavia ninjas are thinking today when they sneak into the booths… Check back for the results tonight.


Mehdi Militia Cease-fire Over?


In Iraq’s southern city of Basra, a critically important location because of it’s proximity to valuable oil and it’s trafficking, it is being reported that “thousands of Iraqi troops [are battling] Shia militias.” This is bad news for everyone. The BBC is reporting that at least 30 people have died, we can assume many more. Apparently, the situation in Basra has instigated altercations throughout the occupied nation, including Sadr City, a neighborhood of Baghdad. There, the militia has ordered the Iraqi army to vacate the vicinity.
Now, I’m trying to make as much sense of this situation as possible with the sources I have available to me, and it appears to be pretty complicated. As I understand it, the Mehdi militia, loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, has been subject to a government crack-down. As a result, the movement has threatened then acted upon a national campaign of civil disobedience in the form of demonstrations and protests. The latest fighting is clearly an escalation of these actions. Ninjas will remember that Sadr’s supporters are currently heeding a call for a six-month cease-fire ordered by al-Sadr.
Different Shia groups are fighting against each other in Basra, as are they fighting government and international forces (though it hasn’t directly been reported that international forces have been involved, air-strikes have been, so that’s got to be either the US or the Brits). The Brits had control of the city until December of ’07, when they turned it over to the local authorities. Now, apparently, these authorities tried to disarm the Mehdi army. Poor decision. The Iraqi government and the U.S. accuse the Mehdi movement of receiving munitions, training, and funds from Iran.
We at the dojo will be keeping a close eye on this situation.

Cuba and the Computer

Thank you to our ninja trIzlam for bringing this to the attention of the politricksters.

The New York Times’ piece on Cuba’s “Cyber-Rebels” suggests a very new type of revolution going on in the socialist nation. The technological advances of the 21st century have, apparently, proved to be quite trying for Cuba’s government. The island nation has major restrictions on internet access  (which is not widely available to the public) and has a press that is strongly regulated by the state. As a result, Cubans are going cyber to get and spread information that may be considered sensitive [read: unacceptable] by the government. One such instance of unsanctioned information was the result of a recent confrontation between students and the president of Cuba’s National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon, in the form of video footage. The video can be seen below. A situation like this rightly begs the question: what will the information age do to/for Cuba?  


We Don’t EU


Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday that he will not engage the EU in dialogue over Iran’s nuclear energy program. The prez said that the only institution Iran will communicate is the IAEA. A few days ago the UN Security Council approved another round of sanctions against Iran which prevents certain people from travel and freezes some foreign assets. Iran claims they are fully complying with the IAEA’s requirements for transparency. If they were, however, I don’t see why the Security Council would have gone ahead with these sanctions. Ahmadinejad said

“I have to stress again we will not have any nuclear negotiation with any individual and organisation outside the framework of the agency”

I wonder how long it will take for this issue to come to a head. Iran doesn’t want to play ball with the international community and the international community is not willing to offer Iran any incentive to do so. It’s clear why Iran wants nukes, but if they were to clearly and honestly rid themselves of the program the economic and social rewards would be more than significant.

Russia “Elects” Medvedev


Russia has a new president in Dmitry Medvedev. Apparently, he will be acting as a Putin surrogate. Said to be a diciple of Putin, Medvedev recieved 70.2% of the vote. These results are widely regarded as phoney. The international community, however, has commented very little on the election, and many observers boycotted covering the election. I have to brush up on my Russian political knowledge to further my ninja education, but it seems to me like this election was far from free and clear. Protestors were promptly arrested after the results were announced. Putin has said he will remain very involved in governmental affairs, and Medvedev says protecting Russian security and interests will be of utmost concern. Medvedev headed the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom.

The Anti-Jewish Left?

The rediculous nature of this report is, unfortunately, not going to be unique as Obama emerges as the Democratic nominee. From the site:

“Nothing in Barack Obama’s history or his choice of advisers suggests he will be a friend to Israel,” said Hobbs. “On the contrary, supporters of Israel should view a possible Obama administration with extreme caution, as America’s ally is being put in the cross-hairs by the anti-Jewish left.”

Now this statement is not only is this horribly factually inacurate, it’s just pathetic politics.