Friday, October 31, 2008


By Ayeda Naqvi, "Why Al Qaeda supports McCain"- Daily Times - Lahore, PakistanTuesday, October 28, 2008

One side is intent on destroying, and the other side is content to be destroyed, for it is through its own destruction that will come the annihilation of its enemy. It is a sick relationship and yet one that both sides needIt was an endorsement that caught everybody by surprise. Why would Al Qaeda, the terrorist organisation that prides itself on its hatred for the United States choose to support John McCain, the ultra-conservative, Bush Doctrine-following US Presidential candidate?How could Al Qaeda possibly benefit from another war hawk in the White House? And, most importantly, what could these two have in common?

At first glance, not much.

A closer look however suggests that beneath the surface, the rhetoric and the appearances, the American Right and Al Qaeda may actually be two peas in a pod.Think about the message posted on the al-Hesbah website which, when decoded and translated, said that “Al Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election”.The website was confident that McCain would continue the “failing march of his predecessor” which would then lead the US to exhaust its resources and bankrupt its economy.An expansion of US military commitments in an attempt to take revenge on Al Qaeda is exactly what this group wants. And this is what John McCain promises.

So we have one side which is intent on destroying, and the other side which is content to be destroyed, for it is through its own destruction that will come the annihilation of its enemy. It is a sick relationship and yet one that both sides need, thriving on the demonisation of each other, without which they would have no reason to exist — or in this case, be elected.

So what do the Republicans and Al Qaeda have in common?


It is the ‘with us or against us’ approach, the delineation of patriotic vs. non-patriotic parts of the country, the Red states vs. the Blue states, the black man vs. the white man that that strikes a chord with Al Qaeda, for they too have the same approach — if you are not with them, you are going to hell.It is the puritanical attitude that both groups share, the belief that all those who are different are to be shunned and that uniformity is the only way to achieve unity. And it is the use of fear as an operating mechanism that brings these two groups together.

One side woos its voters by telling them the other candidate will take their money, turn their nation into a socialist state, coddle criminals and be an open target for the Russians and the Muslims. The other side recruits its followers by telling them that they will be enslaved by the immoral West, their wives will stop listening to them and there will be lewdness and orgies on the street. Both these groups cater to an uninformed audience. Both these groups preach intolerance. And both lure their followers by claims to “return to the core values” — a proposition which sounds good until you ask, what values? And more importantly, whose values

A great Sufi, Sheikh Ibn Arabi, once wrote, “Beware of confining yourself to one belief — for much good would elude you. Be in yourself a matter for all forms of belief, for God is too vast and tremendous to be restricted to one belief rather than another.”

While the wisdom of this quote eludes both groups, they continue to shun a mindset that encourages inclusion and incorporation. They charge ahead without bemoaning the loss of innocent lives which result from their illegal, unilateral attacks on sovereign nations or blowing themselves up in public spaces. For them, their agendas comes first — in the case of Al Qaeda, doing whatever they can to bring down the West and set up their own rule in the East, in the case of the Republican Right, setting the stage for the Rapture, or the second coming of Christ, which many right-wing Christians, including Bush, believe can only happen once certain events take place.

One of the pre-conditions for Rapture is a clash of civilisations, a polarisation of the world, something both Al Qaeda and the Republican Right seem to be working very hard at.

But as another great Sufi once said, “There can be no clash of civilisations, only barbarisms. The civilised do not collide — they unite.” The question is, how civilised are those running our countries?Ayeda Naqvi has been a journalist for 17 years. She can be contacted at
Posted by Marina Montanaro at 12:02 AM


I just thought you might like to know that the whole world is not crazy. to do before I can get back.


Sunday, October 26, 2008


Winter roared in from nowhere today........the winds are fierce, the temperature dropping like a rock and the sky's are torn raving gray tatters. Today, when I went into the studio I planned to start yet another insanely detailed commission, but was sidetracked while searching my files for reference by "the folder". I look into it rarely these all happened a life time ago it seems now a days. And as much as good old fashioned nostalgia can be a sweet thing now and again, there are bits one prefers to leave alone most of the time.
Lucy's folder. Her photo is the last one of the three above. "Winsor's Hiland Blubell." My dear long gone Lucy. Most of the time, as nearly eight years have past since her death, I'm OK with her memory, though not a single day has gone by since then that I haven't remembered her at least in passing sometime during the day. Most of the time. But not today. Today I remember her like she was in the other room, curled up in a chair dreaming Bullie dreams of small furry things to chase.

Lucy, and my first Bullie christened "Bandit" by some unimaginative (of course "Lucy" isn't much better really, but I named her so it's ok.) guy in Florida.....rescued from the needle and brought to Massachusetts so long ago now. Her ashes are in my room on a shelf to this day. And dear Willie........from England and back, now in France at stud. Wonderful old Will's.......the last time I saw him was the day before he went back to the U.K. that cold New England February.

I had gone out to Marion's (Winsor Bull Terriers.) kennels to freshen up water and say goodbye to him. We had grown very close, in fact, there is no other dog I'd rather spend time with, of the Bull Terrier persuasion anyway, then Will's. I remember sitting in his run, his head on my shoulder as we simply spent time together in the wordless way that dogs and men have. I was stareing out the window at a cold, gray February afternoon and for the first time in many years I was free of fear, worry, pain and doubt. Just like that. Just Will's and me in an old dog run, joined somehow beyond words.

It lasted all of ten minutes when I had to get back home, and do something, God knows what.But in the ego centered way we humans have, eventually, we must leave the pure goodness of life and delve into our troll caves of ambition and arrogance. That was the last time I saw Will's and probably, baring a miracle, ever will. His is the second photofrom the top. The only photos I have of Bandit were taken the day before she was brought to the vet's to be lead into darkness due to terminal heart disease. They aren't very pretty. My ex has whatever photos of her that remain. I wish I had a few but best to just let the past be the past sometimes, you know?

Today, is cold and gray, and I have no reason to feel this way......I have a wonderful life now, and it seems a disservice to it to be like me sometimes.

But so help me God, I miss them.

I promise to return to part three of "a pre-raphaelite man in a playstation" world very soon. I just need a little time to organize myself for it.

Be kind.........


Thursday, October 23, 2008

ILLNESS AND INTERUPTIONS apologies for this, but due to illness and a sever back-up in commissioned work the third part of my little remembrance of things past will be a bit postponed. But, not to long one hopes.

Bear with me here.......antibiotics are fabulous things.


Sunday, October 19, 2008


Where was I?
Ah, yes, sixteen-ish and William Blake. Quite a headfull all that business. One would think a kid, even a self admitted weird kid like me would have had enough to chew on for a while. Why, better minds than mine are still trying to digest Blake with it seems, limited success. But, nope....just as I'd settled into "Songs of of innocence and experience" along came Dante. And, with him, Paul Gustave Dore. Dear God, give the kid a break......this could really be damaging. In a way, I suppose it was.
Those of you without the benefit of a classical education probably know less than nothing about Dante, though you've undoubtedly stumbled across Dore at least once.
To this day, packed away I still have my first (beautifully bound) copy of the "Inferno". Alas, my copy's of the "Purgatorio" and the "Parardiso" are long gone, though in many subtle ways they influance me still. Now, it wasn't Dante's writing that grabbed me first, it was Dore's.......the titanic, horrific, melancholy, sublime illustrations for these works are what really pushed me to dive in without a life jacket into the political, theological, and personal world of the greatest poet of the Italian language. Yes, I was very much over my head. I loved it.

The strange thing about me is that I truly love being over my head in something, so immersed in a thing I forget everything else. I guess it's that quality of obsession that drives an artist to better things. It can also lead one down dangerous roads. But, as they say, that's another story, best left untold.
These days old Gustave is basically considered a bit of a relic........ What with webcomics and cell phones and youtube........what person really has time to stop, and stop cold and examine something so closely as to pry from it it's depth?
Seems a charming notion at best, at the worst, a massive waste of time.
But I have a lot of "charming notions" like that. You see, I firmly believe that art is built on the art that has come before, and to loose sight of the past is to leave today, hollow, and pointless.

Ah, well, my hair is turning gray, my back hurts and I need glasses to work....what do I know?

Oh, if you're sharp, you may have guessed that this leads to a very different Italian, and a different Dante altogether.

be kind......


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


History. Our own and the times we live in is the curse or blessing I suppose of "getting on a bit".

Avoiding personal revisionist history, and at the same time having a a true sense of the poetry of life and having lived becomes a slow, steady fascination that grows over time. The two should in a good and decent world not be mutually exclusive.

This is about a certain moment in time that has been front and foremost on my mind of late.

I seem to remember, or wish to.....the details of periods of time like most of us one imagines are vague on occasion, being fifteeen-ish. Perhaps closer to sixteen. It really isn't a matter of absolute accuracy as much as the whole sense of that time in my life when I first stumbled into the orbit of William Blake.

I have often thought that he was either utterly, astonishingly sane, or beyond any definition of mad. It seems to me that any of those directions would lead without fail into the other. So, perhaps it's just a moot point.

The one thing I do know for certain is that for this frazzled, strange kid just beginning to understand the concept of art with a very, very big "A", his work was ground zero Hiroshima big.

Raised Roman Catholic and steeped in religious art as I was, what Blake did was tear the top off of dogma, my head, and my notion of what artistic vision was. It was damn scary that's what.

In the mid to late sixties when everything was questioned and summarily thrown out willy-nilly I was stuck in the past, even as I fought to claim my right to the future. Blake simply made sense in a way that was scary, current and antique simultaneously. Nobody had ever done work like this. As new as tomorrow, and as ancient as the stones of Jerusalem. This was no Royal Academe polite soap suds, rather utterly individual and entirely of its self.

Over the years, as I've learned more both about Blake and my own imperative for what I do, he still stands as a lone benchmark of what it really takes to go out there and never look back.

What profound courage he must have had.

There is a lesson in that I still remember, even as I wage war on the fear that maybe one day I'll go that far........and what it means to do so.

Be kind........kindness is the simplest thing to do that matters. And be brave.