Ten Commandments in courthouse

The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal”, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”, and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.

Anonymous

The quote is attributed to George Carlin on many web pages, yet it’s nowhere to be found on Carlin’s works.

Saddam Hussein; what a legend!

1987 June 28, the city of Sardasht, West Azerbaijan was attacked by Iraqi aircraft with mustard gas bombs in two separate bombing runs on four residential areas. 130 people died and eight thousand people were injured.

Of the civilians who died, 39 were under 18 years of age, including 11 under the age of 5, and 34 were women or girls. In 2006, out of 20 thousand population of the city, a quarter were still suffering from the consequences of these bombings. There are people who still are suffering from those bombings today.

Many of the 95% who survived the Sardasht gas attack developed serious long-term complications over the next few years, including serious respiratory problems, eye lesions, skin problems, and immune system problems.

It’s almost 2024 and you would think people are sure of their feelings towards Saddam Hussein, the one who ordered the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Sardasht, far far from the war front. Not!

Just visit YouTube and search for Saddam Hussein, open a video and go to the comment section. Comments are filled with people calling Saddam a legend, a hero, a king. You would think that after bombing multiple cities and killing civilians in cold blood, people would realize what a monster he is, but no, they don’t, evidently.

Sardasht, Marivan, Halabja, Sarpol-e Zahab, Gilan-e-gharb, and Oshnavieh are cities documented to be targeted with chemical gas by Saddam Hussein. Not only the civilian areas alone but also medical centers and hospitals were targeted. What a legend!

The cities I mentioned are not the only ones, but the most famous ones. Near 41 thousand people overall were targeted by chemical weapons during the war. Forty one thousand people, at least. The actual casualties are much higher, as the latency period is as long as 40 years.

Iran asked the UN to engage in preventing Iraq from using chemical weapon agents, but there were no strong actions by the UN or other international organizations. The Security Council ratified reports of use of chemical weapons against Iran and two statements were issued, on 1984 March 13, and 1986 March 21, condemning Iraq for those chemical attacks, but the Iraqi regime did not abide by those condemnations and continued launching chemical attacks.

After the war, Saddam hid himself, then got arrested eventually, tried, and got hanged. There were celebrations all around Iran and Iraq by millions of people who finally were free from this monster. Now it’s almost 2024 and I see people calling him a hero. People seem to be blind.

One of my uncles who was 15 years old at that time was killed in Shalamcheh. His body was lost for almost 16 years. My grandfather tells me that during the 16 years of waiting for him in desperation, every time someone knocked on their door they would jump and rush to the door because deep down they had hope that maybe, maybe, it’s him coming back.

Someone knocked their door, finally, and gave them the news. A piece of his scapula and one boot, along with his dog tag was found. They had to do a DNA test to be sure that the bone was in fact his. This is the result of what this legend did. For 16 years they waited.

Halabja was one of the cities that was bombed by Saddam, with chemical weapons, and many people died there.

Qader Molanpour, who 2020 film Walnut Tree is based on him, lost his three children and his pregnant wife during delivery. All of his family members were exposed severely to chemical gases and died as the result of it. The newborn child, due to the improper condition of the hospital (as a result of attacks on hospitals and medical centers), was transferred to a hospital in the city of Tabriz and Molanpour could never find his last child ever. He died in 2016 December 31 while still searching for his child. His last child was named Zhina, meaning “life.”

It’s not really about Saddam. Saddam, Hitler, radical militia and terrorists around the world, these all have fans and supporters around the world. Taliban, with years of experience of torture, beheading, killing innocent people, and terrorist bombing on civilian areas, is now ruling Afghanistan and has its supporters. Hitler, with record killing of 40 million people (and total of 75 million) is a hero of some people.

Military generals of the confederate army who fought against liberation of slaves have their statues and flags up in states. There are some Italians, and some others, who worship Benito Mussolini, a dictator who killed over a million people.

I don’t know what has happened to us but there’s something we did wrong. We did something wrong. We thought history would speak for itself, we thought maybe history will teach us and our children, but that was wrong. It’s sad but I thought that being a mass-murderer, a dictator, a war criminal, and a homewrecker of millions would buy one some bad reputation but I see it only helped people worshiping them.

I don’t know what should we do, I don’t have any idea how to stop this, i don’t know what am I supposed to do against this. I’m hopeless for the young generation.

Do something about the war!

While the war between Israel and Palestine is intensifying, I must say that the recent war will only result in more anti-Arab and anti-Semite racism around the world. It had not even been two days since the start of the war that a Egyptian cop shot and killed two Israeli tourists along with their Egyptian guide.

Needless to say the war itself is horrible. As of now more than a thousand people on both sides are dead and thousands more are injured. But perhaps death is not the worst scene we’re watching. Death from war has become something normal in Middle East. We’re used to hearing about war and bombs and military action in the region. The fact that it has become normal is the saddest part.

Nobody around me is shocked by the war. Nobody is terrified about the consequences. Nobody even talks about it. People just casually read the news to each other just like how they talk about the weather. It’s more terrifying than the war itself.

The first day of the war, I’ve seen some disturbing videos. Many people know that I’m not the biggest fan of the Israeli government and I’ve criticized their policies over the years but it doesn’t mean that I support what is happening there. I condemn illegal and inhumane activities of Israeli forces as much I condemn the savagery I see by Hamas.

The first day of the war I’ve seen a video of some Hamas soldiers who killed an Israeli woman soldier, stripped her body naked while carrying her around the city. That’s barbaric. Even in Islam, if we consider them Muslim, respecting the dead is much emphasized. I can’t support any soldier who does that, even if he’s fighting for his freedom.

Some argue that these behaviors are the result of too many years of oppression. But that shouldn’t be the case. A fight for freedom or a war against the oppressor can be justified but some of these actions, such as attacking a music festival and killing two hundred people from many nations, can’t be justified whatsoever.

As someone who is still critical of the Israeli government, I’m deeply concerned that if the current system is overthrown, what and who will replace it. Will we see some new oppressors in the region who will justify their barbaric acts in the name of religion or freedom?

My thoughts and deepest empathy are with Jews and Arabs around the world who most-certainly will be affected by the war whether it’s through the war itself directly or racism coming from angry people. That’s saddening. Many people have lost their lives, probably for nothing, and many more will lose their lives, and it won’t be over soon. Human life has been considered worthless for a long time in Middle East. We have become numbers and statistics. It’s been accepted the way it is inside and outside of the region and the only ones who get hurt are truly innocent people.

Indigenous people of Palestine have been oppressed for many years. Muslims, Jews, Christians, and many other ones are still hurting today, which is coincidentally Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and media and politicians do nothing about it. The importance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day hasn’t been more. While the original holiday is celebrated in United States, it should be considered an opportunity to discuss and act upon the matter we’re facing in Middle East between two groups of indigenous people there, Muslims and Jews.

We must act fast and effective. Humans are not numbers, no matter how much we’re used to losing them.

Ethics

A while ago I asked a question from some people about where they stand on torture. I asked whether torture can be ethical in any situation but then it wasn’t about whether it can be justified, rather I asked about an specific situation.

At first people told me that it depends on the situation. So I had to ask, can torture be ethical in any way? And if yes, where do we stand on methods? Tickling can be torture, as is punching the teeth out of someone’s mouth.

Most people replied that if it’s a matter of life or death of a lot of people then they believe torture is justified however unsavory the method is. But torture is not ethical, it’s just justified. Now let’s get to the specific situation.

Imagine a mentally ill person threatening that he hid a bomb underneath the city and if that explodes, hundreds of thousands of people will die. Now we won’t be able to find the bomb or even make sure there’s a bomb except with torture. The only way to find out if there’s a real bomb is to torture that person. Now keep in mind that that person is mentally ill and it could all be part of his challenges but it also could be real. What would you do? Will you torture (or let others torture) him?

Continue reading Ethics

We’re afraid of being called names!

I’ve been training myself to not care about being called names. I don’t care if people try to hurt or insult me with words. I don’t care about their insults, they can’t upset me, and won’t be able to affect me in any way. I simply don’t care about what they say to me and no matter how hard they try to insult me, they’ll be unsuccessful.

I also follow the Crocker’s rules. The Crocker’s rules gives me opportunity to receive most information in least amount of time. It also means that I won’t be offended if someone is not polite to me. I’m not afraid of someone calling me an idiot. If I get offended, it’s my fault.

I believe more people, specially politicians, should adopt this behavior. We’re not too afraid of being called a name and this is affecting us as a society and is causing malfunction. Last night I was watching an episode of “The Problem with Jon Stewart” and he was talking about the economy and mentioned the same problem.

He mentioned that we’re going bankrupt because of all the things we’re paying for out of pocket that other countries pay for with taxes. The basic tax proposition is simple: You pay taxes to the government in the form of the money and the government pools that money and uses it to provide the people with essential goods and services that they need.

That would be efficient but there’s one catch: We can’t do it in that way because getting anything directly from the government or through cost-controlled industries would be considered [THUNDER and DRUM ROLL] socialism.

Isn’t this insane? The government and capitalists made people too afraid of socialism and have been calling anything they don’t like communist that doing something in an efficient way would be impossible because they don’t want to be called a name. Too much afraid of being called a socialist or communist that we rather destroy the economy than adopting a policy that works.

We should stop this madness. People may still get fooled by some politicians but they’re not dumb. We need to man up and start talking sense to them. We should sit with them and explain to them how things work without being afraid of all the name-callings and populism we face.

For the sake of our own future, we should shut the hell up when we hear words. We should stop being triggered by words and start building a behavior and personality both individually and socially to be able to work something out. Words, no matter how offensive, are far more harmless than bad policies.

The reality may differ

I’ve been watching the American crime drama TV series “The Rookie” lately and it’s very enjoyable. Apart from the action and partial comedy you see in it, it’s kind of more realistic than other police dramas I’ve seen. I’ve seen “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” for example and that was kind of comedy that you don’t get the feeling of real police work being done.

Spoiler alert! In the episode eight of the season one, officer Nolan shot someone dead. He chased the man and when the man turned back and pointed his pistol at him, John shoots the man in the chest and the man drops dead. It happened very quick and the episode showed John Nolan in shock and in a very uncomfortable upsetting mood.

Now I know it’s not the case for every police shooting and homicide done by cops, you should know that by reading my previous posts condemning police brutality, but we should consider that many of the shootings and killings by cops are probably done in situations like this one. I’ve been thinking about this and imagining myself in a situation like that and I think I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I tried to convince myself that I could duck down or something like that but realistically I would’ve not.

The situation showed in the episode was so intense and quickly escalating that it would’ve left any of us doing the same thing officer Nolan did, that’s if we didn’t freeze from shock. That’s hard work done by cops. They put themselves in danger for the sake of our safety. Of course that many of police officers are corrupt and do harmful things, such as abusing their power and misusing their position but generalizing officers is wrong.

And I should also mention that the movie doesn’t make me a fan of cops. It won’t change my opinion that the policing done by cops is not wrong and the methods and how they do their job is correct. I still believe the system is flawed and the job they do does a lot of harm to many people but I also believe there’s hope and they do a lot of good work and their hard work should be seriously considered.

That was just one example for me. An example of what I have believed for so long and how I came to realization that the truth and reality may differ and being absolutely sure of something may be wrong. The reality may differ and that’s a true statement for 99 percent of the time.

I always have believed that people should have an open mind and be accepting of one another no matter what are our differences and I always believed that we should change our minds when new evidence is provided and I believe it’s one those times. I regret that for a while I called cops ‘thugs’ or ‘pigs’. Of course many of them deserve such calling but that’s unfair to those officers who are good.

This is not just about cops, it’s about any time I’ve generalized a group or people or a matter. It’s about me not trying hard enough to correct myself and act good even though I knew better than that. It’s about trying hard enough from now on to be a better person and not to judge people based on what I hear or see because the reality may differ. It’s not about cops, it’s about people and matters in general and the ability to accept that I may not be able to judge accordingly and be smaller than a bigger matter.

Conspiracy theories

I believe in conspiracy theories. I do. I have my own conspiracy theories such as all things happening to Trump right now are planned by DeSantis to sabotage orange man’s candidacy or every government official around the world is a clown in disguise of a normal human being. Not just normal clowns who do makeup and dress those colorful clothes, I respect them, I mean those who were born as a clown. Like born from a clown mother and father with their baby-clown clothes on them already when they were delivered.

However, I have some proof for my latter theory. Recently, Kandiss Taylor, a GOP district chair in Georgia, claimed the earth is flat on her podcast, Jesus, Guns, & Babies, alongside fellow flat-earther David ‘Flat Earth Dave’ Weiss and Matt Long. She said “the people that defend the globe don’t know anything about the globe” and “If they knew a tenth of what Matt and I know about the globe they would be Flat earthers.”

How cool is that? A GOP official currently in office claiming the earth is flat. But what got my interest is this part: “I turn on the TV, there’s globes in the background … Everywhere there’s globes. You see them all the time, it’s constant. My children will be like ‘Mama, globe, globe, globe, globe’ — they’re everywhere. That’s what they do, to brainwash.” She also continued, “for me if it’s not a conspiracy. If it is real, why are you pushing so hard everywhere I go? Every store, you buy a globe, there’s globes everywhere. Every movie, every TV show, news media — why? More and more I’m like, it doesn’t make sense.”

That’s the general idea and thinking behind these conspiracy theorists and mad people. Now I get it. If they’re saying black people or Jews are controlling the world or there’s a vast conspiracy and plot against white people, it’s because they see Jews and black people in streets. They really think the Jewish idea or not-being-white is being pushed to them simply because they see a Jew or a non-white person.

And who are this “They” they’re talking about? There’s a deep-state council or organization that controls these? Like there’s a group of people sitting in a penthouse in downtown Manhattan deciding the next thing people should believe? And their position is passed to their children? Sweet mother of God.

What an idiot. You’re the head of GOP in Georgia, who the hell is running the conspiracy if it’s not the government you’re leading. How you can be a conspiracy theorist and high up in governmental affairs I have no idea. They’re always babbling about “the deep state” and “drain the swamp”, but these people ARE the deep state up to their waists in swamp water.

It’s no shock that Taylor is a supporter of Trump’s theories as well, one of them being that United State’s 2020 election was stolen. Similarly claiming the election was “rigged” after she lost the primary, receiving only 3% of the votes. Yet she made no claims of a fraudulent election process when she was elected as Georgia’s District 1 chair.

These clowns always fascinated me but now I understand the thinking. If you regularly see something, no matter how obvious or normal that is, it’s being pushed to you. Globes are being pushed to you, not being white is being pushed to you, water, water is being pushed to you, and let’s say cheese and eggs, those are being pushed to you too. Why would you see eggs in every store you visit if they’re not brainwashing you to eat more and more eggs?

Or why are we seeing a lot of water recently? Are they trying to make us drink more water? I would start the “Don’t Drink Water” campaign in Georgia if I see water one more time. It’s definitely some brainwashing going on with the water. Let’s stop drinking water.

Taylor used her 2022 campaign to promote additional conspiracy theories, claiming the GOP leaders were secret communists and Democrats were satanic pedophiles. GOP, which she holds an official office within it, is moving forward with secret communist leaders. It’s like being an atheist priest. You only can be a cunning clown to be able to hold an official place within a party, running for office within that party, trusting the voters to share the same values you share with them within that party, yet calling the leaders of that party exact opposite of what you are.

I still can’t fully understand these people. It’s so hard and complicated to match what they say and what they do.

Free software, free society, in practice

It’s been hard times for Internet and my people. Internet situation is getting worse every day and people are facing more shutdowns and censorship. These shutdowns are not even reported because the regime is switching its form of censorship from a blacklist type to a whitelist type.

It means that every site and service is blocked by default unless it’s whitelisted. This way the regime can still claim the internet is working while also denying access and preventing people from using a service.

However, people are still resisting this. Using free (libre) tools and services, many are helping others to gain access to free Internet. I now see people providing VPNs to each other. These VPNs are created using open protocols and free (libre) programs. Young and unexperienced people are now trying to learn more about how networks work and they are teaching each other about these so more and more people can access free Internet.

I see people brag about how they’re using open source software and they are very happy about beauty of it. The same people who were denied access to services because of sanctions or even censorship now are building their own tools.

I try to teach them about the philosophy of free software and the movement behind it and how they are basically advocating for the same principals I fight for and I see the pride in their eyes.

I, now, am seeing the motto of our movement. I now see “free software, free society” in practice and I see it by my own eyes how free software, its philosophy, and programs built under free licenses are actually working and taken in action to help people fight for their rights and freedom and let me tell you something, I’ve never been more proud of myself and every single person in this community.

This is our work in practice. This is what we’ve been telling people all these years in action. This is thousands (if not million) of people actually using and advocating for free software in order to fight tyranny and in order to achieve an live in a free society. Every time we advocated for software freedom,, every time we refused to use a proprietary software, every single one of our actions have been resulting and leading us to this.

It’s such a beautiful time for our movement and you probably didn’t know about this. This may be happening, and I believe it’s happening, every day somewhere and we don’t notice it but we should be very proud. I know it’s there, I know it’s happening, and I am proud. You should be too.

The effect of condition

Entrepreneurship is like one of those carnival games where you throw darts or something.

Middle class kids can afford one throw. Most miss. A few hit the target and get a small prize. A very few hit the center bullseye and get a bigger prize. Rags to riches! The American Dream lives on.

Rich kids can afford many throws. If they want to, they can try over and over and over again until they hit something and feel good about themselves. Some keep going until they hit the center bullseye, then they give speeches or write blog posts about “meritocracy” and the salutary effects of hard work.

Poor kids aren’t visiting the carnival. They’re the ones working it.

The above is a comment on a Hacker News post. An screenshot of this lives on my computer and I think about it once in a while.

Internet has been down for the past week here and many people were suffering in various ways. Even many email services were hard to access. We use VPNs to connect to different online services and every VPN works on specific ISPs so we have to change VPNs based on what operator or ISP we’re using.

I, for example, have promised people that I do certain work and failed to hold my promise. This of course just one example. I know a lot of people who missed their deadlines and their reputation was hurt, and they have suffered financially and in many other ways.

Now imagine a young person in his twenties trying to start a business providing products. Born in a poor family and living in a country with no free Internet, no free flow of information, and certain limitations on accessibility of resources which are imposed by government.

This person was born into this. He had no saying in the situation he was born into. He didn’t choose his country or family or even the time of his birth. However, the conditions he was born in has serious effects on his life.

He probably has to commit a lifelong effort to just stay alive. He probably will never meet his goals and will never even be able to dream about success the way a Swiss boy or a French girl dreams or thinks.

Success is not purely the result of hard work. It’s based on many things and one very important one of them is the condition people are born in and have to live with. The reality of life is that nothing is guaranteed because of your motivation, hard work, genius, or skills, and your condition and your situation in life is one of the most impacting aspects.