5 Months, 23 Days – Still sober.
Yesterday, being my day off from blogging, I picked up Rick in my not so trusty Beamer and we drove down to Pattaya to do a bit of running around to buy a few computer bits and pieces. After which, we headed in an easterly, Darkside direction, to Frogger, where all our darlin’ little regulars were lining up for some Mobi-cossetting. After a couple of drinks, Rick claimed he wasn’t in the mood and wanted to have an early night; so I had a brief of slap and tickle with Pat-pat and Net-book, before calling it a night, dropping Rick off at his place and driving back home to my ever-waiting, darling little Noo.
You can imagine my surprise, when, barely a couple of hours later, the weary Rick who had apparently on the point of exhaustion, sent me a cheeky sms from Black Death to advise me that he was having his filthy way with no less than three dirty damsels!!
That’s the last time I take him out mongering with me. I always did prefer to go it alone, anyway.
Whore-mongers of the world unite?? Never?
Whore-mongers of the world seek out their own bars and whores never let on where, when and how they found them…. The code of mongering-secrecy…
The Killing Fields
A few days ago I watched Roland Joffé’s ground-breaking film, ‘The Killing Fields’, a British made drama about the Kymer Rouge in Cambodia. This Academy award-winning film, made in 1984, tells the true story of an American newspaper journalist and his Cambodian Assistant before and during and after the takeover by Pol Pot and his murderous regime.
It is a beautifully directed, shot and acted film which accurately portrays a truly harrowing and heart-breaking period in Cambodia’s recent history. This film should be compulsory viewing for anyone who lives in this region, particularly in Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam. This genocide only took place some 35 years ago, yet for most people under thirty, they have little or no knowledge of what took place, right on their door step.
Estimates of the total number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies during that period, including from disease and starvation, range from 1.7 to 2.5 million out of a population of around 8 million, or give or take, 25% of the population.
One American reviewer recently described this film as ‘The Ultimate Ugly American Movie’ and goes on to say: ‘….that amazing film about the human price of American involvement in Southeast Asia….’
The film includes some ‘telling references’ about America’s dubious role in the terrible events that overtook Cambodia, such as:
“After what the Khmer Rouge have been through, I don’t think they’ll be exactly affectionate toward Westerners….” (spoken by a US embassy official)
“Maybe we underestimated the anger, $7 billion in bombing would unleash.” (Spoken by the American reporter, Schanberg.)
In spite of the fact that my favourite Yankee reader, big skippy ,will come out with all guns blazing, bristling with rage and determined to blame the whole Cambodian tragedy on British, (and maybe French), imperialism in South East Asia, I would like to re-print some stuff written by an American researcher that I came across, and which in my opinion, does a pretty good job – much better than I could ever do – in explaining the background and America’s culpability in this tragic mess.
“During the U.S. war in Vietnam, Cambodia was embroiled in a bloody civil war between the communist Khmer Rouge, backed by China and North Vietnam, and Cambodian government forces backed by the U.S. From 1969-73, the U.S. military covertly carpet-bombed eastern Cambodia in an attempt to disrupt North Vietnamese operations and defend the government against the Khmer Rouge, causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Cambodian citizens. For a country which at the time had a population of about 6 million, the losses were enormously devastating. Amongst the Cambodian populace, resentment grew against the U.S. and what was perceived as the American “puppet government” in Phnom Penh. The Khmer Rouge represented resistance to the U.S. and consequently, as bombs continued to fall, Cambodian citizens flocked to join them.
Former New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg, renowned for his experience in Cambodia at the time, said the Khmer Rouge “… would point… at the bombs falling from B-52s as something they had to oppose if they were going to have freedom. And it became a recruiting tool until they grew to a fierce, indefatigable guerilla army.” Eventually, the Khmer Rouge were able to overwhelm the government forces and establish control over Cambodia, leading to Pol Pot’s “agrarian revolution”, the killing fields, torture centres and loss of some 2 million Cambodian lives.
In his memoirs, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has denied the U.S. is at all responsible for the rise of the Khmer Rouge. He claims “It was Hanoi – animated by an insatiable drive to dominate Indochina – that organized the Khmer Rouge long before any American bombs fell on Cambodian soil.” Certainly, the U.S. is not solely to blame for the Khmer Rouge’s rise to power. China and the Vietnamese communists provided the Khmer Rouge with much support and it was an organic organization, its ranks filled with willing, patriotic Cambodians. Citizens cheered in the streets, warmly welcoming the Khmer Rouge when their tanks rolled triumphant through Phnom Penh in 1975. Nevertheless, their triumph might not have been guaranteed had it not been for the influx of support they received during the bombings.
To what degree, then, is the U.S. accountable for what happened in Cambodia from 1975-79? My desire to examine the issue was triggered when, in Cambodia, I was afforded the opportunity to speak with survivors of that dark time. As the group and I were exposed to horror stories from Cambodians who had lost entire families, been forced to work as slaves and/or nearly starved to death, it became clear that the U.S. bombings were a key part of their narratives.
The fact that, invariably, bitterly recounted descriptions of the bombings prefaced stories of surviving the Khmer Rouge leads me to believe that there is little to separate the U.S. bombings and Khmer Rouge brutality in the minds of Cambodian survivors. Who better to determine accountability than those who most directly suffered? It is impossible to say for certain, but to me such personal accounts are a powerful condemnation of the bombings and evidence that the U.S. government at the time was significantly responsible for what occurred thereafter.
Whether the bombing of Cambodia from 1969-73 was conducted out of hubris or mere ignorance of geopolitical realities, it is apparent that it led, whether directly or indirectly, to massive suffering and the deaths of a full one-third of Cambodia’s population at the time. Perhaps worse, the dysfunction caused by that tragedy continues to profoundly affect Cambodian society to this day.”
More about all this in my later blogs, and how it seems that the Yanks never seem to learn by their past military disasters, particularly with regards to their recent excursions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, we have had the ‘hot off the press’ news that the ‘Annointed One’ has effectively thrown in the Afghan towel’.
Whither Al Qaida? Whither Muslim extremism? Whither the American ideal? Whither the American debt? Whither Obama?
Poetry Through Music.
It is a while since I included this section in my blog and as I have had little or no feedback, I really don’t know if my readers enjoy it, get anything out of it, or just think I include it as ‘padding’. Well I don’t. I have this section because I love music, which plays such an important part in my life and sometimes I like to try and share a particularly great song with you, my dear readers.
I try to keep my choices as ‘catholic’ as possible and will rarely include more than one song by the same artist. (So far, John Denver is the only exception). Anyway, I will continue to write about songs and include a U-Tube link to the music, as long as there isn’t a groundswell of complaints telling me to cease and desist.
A couple of weeks ago, I watched a very entertaining, two part documentary entitled, “Queen – The days of our Lives”. It was the story of the British Rock band, Queen, from its formation back in the early 70’s through its topsy-turvy journey to becoming one of the most famous bands in the world, and ultimately through the tragic events leading up to and since the death of their lead singer, Freddy Mercury, from HIV AIDS.
I have always loved Queen, from its very early days when it was not very well known, right through its most successful period and beyond. It is one of those rare bands, The Beatles being one of the notable others, where fate seemingly conspired to bring together 4 exceptionally talented musicians, who together, made incredible, inspiring and enduring music. Music that that will be enchanting our grandchildren, every bit as much as they have inspired the music lovers of Queen’s own generation.
The documentary is a gem, as it contains footage going way back to the days when the guys were still students and it contains some incredible ‘interview footage’, in which May, Taylor and Mercury are being interviewed in the very early days of their fame, which is then cleverly intertwined with more recent interviews. It is quite fascinating to see these guys ‘age’ in front of us. Mercury is obviously featured prominently and there is also some great footage from their recording sessions in London studios as well as in Munich. There is some amazing footage showing the recording of Bohemian Rhapsody and how they put down those incredible vocal harmonies that were to become their trademark sound.
There is also some rare videos of Queen’s live performances throughout the world, and in particular, it was interesting to learn that they were one of the first western bands to take South America by storm, playing huge to sell-out crowds in massive outdoor, football stadiums in such cities as Buenos Aries and Rio de Janeiro. It was in the stadiums of South America that Mercury learned his trade of ‘playing to the crowds’ and getting them worked up to adoring, fever pitch.
I was also fascinated to learn that although May and Mercury wrote many of their songs, particularly the earlier ones, Taylor and bassist John Deacon were no slouches either, and both of them also wrote some significant, well known Queen hits. Indeed it was John Deacon who wrote arguably, Queen’s most successful song ever, ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, which was number one throughout the world, including 3 weeks in the American top 100 and chalked up over 7 million in sales.
Queen’s popularity in the USA took a nosedive in 1984 after they released their controversial hit ‘I Want to Break Free’, another song written by John Deacon. The song is mainly known for its music video in which all the band members dressed up in women’s clothes to parody a British TV soap opera.
Whereas the parody was acclaimed in the UK, it was considered controversial in the US and was actually banned by MTV and other stations. The song was well received all over Europe and South America, where it was regarded as an anthem of the fight against oppression but reached only the 45th position in the US charts. It signalled a ‘turn off ‘ by the narrow- minded US public and following this ‘rejection’, Queen never returned to the USA but directed their careers towards world-wide tours, one of the first western groups to do so. They subsequently became global rock super stars, while at the same time, their popularity started to fade in the USA.
In later years, since the demise of Mercury, America has rediscovered Queen, and many of their ‘greatest hits’ albums have since sold by the millions in that market.
In the all-time list of the world’s best-selling music artists, Queen ranks an incredible 7th with sales of over 300 million records.
So which, of all their brilliant songs, shall I choose to put in my ‘Poetry through music’ section? There are many contenders, including, but not limited to, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, rated by most polls to be the best ever pop music single, and ‘The Show Must Go On’, Brian May’s incredible tribute to Mercury as he struggled to complete his final album when dying of AIDS.
But the choice I have made is another of May’s compositions; ‘I Want to Live Forever’, an astonishingly haunting song, originally written for the movie ‘Highlander’, but which eerily became prophetic for the life of Queen’s tragic lead singer.
As ancient folks like me, Mobi , reach the twilight of our lives, and realise that we are not indestructible and that death may only be a step or two around the corner, it is somehow comforting to listen this poignant poem and the inspirational music that accompanies it. Brian May sings the first verse and then the incomparable Freddie takes over. If you are not moved when you listen to this, then you have no soul…
Who Wants to Live Forever
(Words and music by Brian May)
There’s no time for us
There’s no place for us
What is this thing that builds our dreams, yet slips away from us
Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever . . . . . ?
Oh ooo oh
There’s no chance for us
It’s all decided for us
This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us
Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever
Who dares to love forever
Oh oo woh, when love must die
But touch my tears with your lips
Touch my world with your fingertips
And we can have forever
And we can love forever
Forever is our today
Who wants to live forever
Who wants to live forever
Forever is our today
Who waits forever anyway ?
Listen to Brian, Freddie and Queen: singing: Who Wants to Live Forever