I hate to say “I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so”, which is why I’m very pleased to say that for once my predictions weren’t altogether accurate.
Avid readers may remember how I, in a late December 2016 blog post, appointed the Middle East the new East–West battlefield. Turned out that I was indeed right, but what I failed to see, was the escalation of the Southeast Asian conflict now materialising in North Korea’s armament and the U.S. Navy’s race towards the Korean peninsula’s shores.
Make no mistake about it: We may think the Middle East resembled hell on earth, but I fear we haven’t seen the half of it. With Southeast Asian conflicts on the rise, on top of Russia’s aggressive stance on neighbouring countries, such as Ukraine, it’s safe to say that it’s been some time since we were this close to a potential world war 3, hard as it is to imagine.
Of course it’s all to do with both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s lack of success in domestic affairs and their need to show international force, coupled with fellow madman Kim Jong-un’s megalomaniacal delusions.
While I hate to admit failing to see this development in advance, there’s no denying it’s currently playing out right under our noses, and I, for one, am scared shitless.
But it doesn’t stop there: With Brexit underway, and Spain and the UK fighting over Gibraltar, Europe’s stability is at risk, too.
The situation may be diffused, if parties involved are willing to take a step back. At present, however, that doesn’t seem very likely.
And then, of course, there’s Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
At the risk of repeating myself, I think I’d better repeat myself:
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Top illustration: U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Blogger’s drawing.
For about a week or so the Nedtegnelser blog has been all about utter non-sense – or quick visual posts with perhaps a deeper meaning, but with an air of apparent indifference, which is all-too true, I’m afraid, as the political posts have been modest attempts at contributing to the prevention of certain developments, rather than moaning over them in retrospect.
Which would explain the blog’s incessant attention to this merry band of nationalists in particular:
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (photo from kremlin.ru).
U.S. President Donald J. Trump. Photographer: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.
While a warm defender og western values, I can see no reason why I should defend the attitudes and actions of the western world’s most powerful leader. Of course, that is so because he’s everything but a champion of western values. In short, when ever a leader, or any politician, for that matter, show strongman or national and isolationist tendencies there’s much cause for alarm.
So far we’ve seen them succeed, which may very well be all it takes to bring about dark times the likes of which we haven’t seen for over 70 years, but their European henchmen aren’t about to stop, in what we know to be a crucial election year for Europe:
French Front National’s presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. Photographer: Rémi Noyon/Global Panorama Flickr account.
Geert Wilders, founder and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom. Photo from Metropolico.org’s Flickr account.
Frauke Petry, chairwoman of Alternative für Deutschland. Photo from Metropolico.org’s Flickr account.
No rest for the wicked
Leaving yours truly – and, hopefully, you – with no option but to carry on. Chances are we’ll lose this battle, too, but shouldn’t use that as an excuse to relax. The battle may be lost, but the war?
Which is where I’m compelled to recite Norwegian poet Arnulf Øverland’s (1889–1968) 1936 anti-fascist poem Dare not to sleep (translated to English American by Lars-Toralf Storstrand):
I was awakened one morning, by the quaintest of dreams
‘twas like a voice, spoken to me
It sounded afar – like an underground stream,
I rose and said: Why do you call me?
Dare not to slumber! Dare not to sleep!
Dare not believe, it was merely a dream!
Yore I was judged.
The gallows were built in the court this evening,
They’ll come for me — 5’ in the morning
This dungeon is teeming,
And barracks stand dungeon by dungeon
we lie here, awaiting, in cold cells of stone,
We lie here, we rot, in these murky holes.
We know not ourselves, what does lie ahead
Who will be the next one they’ll reach for.
We moan and we shriek: But do you take heed?
Is there none among you who’ll hearken?
No one can see us,
None know what befalls us.
None will believe – what the day will bring us!
And then You defy: This dare not be true!
That men can be utterly evil.
There has to be some one with merits pure
Oh, brother, you still have a great deal to learn
They said: You will give your life, if commanded
We’ve given it now, for naught it was handed
The world has forgotten, we’ve all been deceived
Dare not to sleep in this hour – this eve.
You oughtn’t go to your business hence,
Or think: What’s your loss – or what is your gain?
You oughtn’t attribute your fields and your kine,
Nor say you’ve enough – with all that is thine.
You oughn’t abide, sitting calm in your home
Saying: Dismal it is, poor they are, and alone
You cannot permit it! You dare not, at all.
Accepting that outrage on all else may fall!
I cry with the final gasps of my breath:
You dare not repose, nor stand and forget
Pardon them not – they know what they do!
They breathe on hate-glows, and evil pursue,
They fancy to slay, they revel with cries,
Their desire is to gloat, when our world is at fire!
In blood they are yearning to drown one and all!
Don’t you believe it? You’ve heard the call!
You know how infants will soldiers remain,
While dashing through streets, fields, chanting ‘bout pain
Aroused by their mothers‘ assurance of glory
They’ll shelter their land – and they’ll never worry
You know the fatality of the lies,
that glory and faith and honor abides
You discern the dauntless dreams of a child,
A saber, a banner, he’ll flaunt them so wild,
And then they’ll leave home for a rainfall of steel,
‘Till last they hang ragged on barbed wire will,
Decaying for Hitler’s Aryan call,
That is what a man’s for – after all…
I couldn’t imagine – too late now it is
My sentence is just: The verdict’s no miss
I believed in prosperity, dreamt about peace
In labor and fellowship; love’s fragrant kiss
Yet those who don’t die on the battlefield,
Their heads for the axeman, will certainly yield
I cry in the gloom – if only you’d knew
There is but one thing – befitting to do
Defend yourself, while your hands are still yearning,
Protect your offspring – Europe is burning.
I shook from the chill. To dress, up I rose
Without stars were shining, so far, yet so close
‘twere simply a brilliant ray in the east,
Admonishing warning from the dream that just ceased
The day that soared up from earths furthermost strand
Augmenting with blood — and with firebrand
It grew with terror – like a breath that was lost
It seemed like the starlight – was slain by the frost.
I weighed: Something is imminent – and it’s dire
Our era is over — Europe’s on fire!
Ringing truer today than at any given time after WW2. While Russia, Turkey and America are lost, for the time being at any rate, I’ll have to carry on, then, incessantly as ever, and to those among you who have simply had enough of my restless ramblings:
Top illustration: Norwegian, now mostly dismantled, Soldiers of Odin marching. Blogger’s drawing.
You’re not very likely to see this blog divulge or attempt to reveal and expose fake news when ever I stumble upon it, simply because the blog is more about what people do not – or do not want to – know than what they already know (or are prepared to realise).
And let’s fake face it, in fake news times I find legitimate, truthful news so much more sensational.
As for the rest of you, please feel free to point out the falsehood in fake news when you see it. Chances are you are going to be very, very busy. I, on the other hand, prefer to choose my battles with care, presuming each and every piece of news potentially post-factual, treated with the normalcy it deserves, which is to say total disregard.
P.S. Truth be told, after years and years of warning against RT, Sputnik and numerous other fake news outlets, one has succumbed to a certain level of fake news fatigue, now that it’s finally on everybody’s lips. But I will say this: It feels strangely good, somehow, to have been the guy crying “Wolf!”.
For the first time since the cold war, the annual threat assessment presented by the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) today revealed that Russian espionage and cyber attacks pose among the most serious threats to Norwegian civil society and government agencies, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone following geopolitical developments as they’ve unfolded over the last decade or so.
The official confession coincides with news that Norwegian MPs Trine Skei Grande (Liberal) and Bård Vegar Solhjell (Socialist Left Party) have been denied entry visas to Russia in response to Norway’s failure to retract support for international sanctions against Russia.
Former Norwegian intelligence officials also voice concerns that America under Donald Trump may pose an equal – actually a worse – threat, and in all honesty, who am I to talk, liable for drawings such as these:
I think I will leave U.S. madman/strongman Donald J. Trump be for now, seeing as there’s precious little any of us can do to counter or alleviate the outcome of his political rampage, for the time being, except, maybe, to reconsider our relations with his nationalist regime.
Granted this blogger never really thought it would come to this, putting all my trust in the U.S. checks and balances arrangement, put in place to secure that no single branch of government oversteps its mandate.
Except with a Congress in perfect alignment with The White House – and a president firing members of his administration for “insubordination”, after just a week and a half – that really doesn’t matter much, does it? Which is probably why we have yet to see The Capitol meddle with the would-be dictator’s ongoing frenzy.
So much for checks and balances, then. So now what, Europe? Maybe we’d better resign in acceptance of Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders and Frauke Petry’s rise to power, for all I know – and come to terms with the clearly undeniable fact that human kind is essentially evil* to the core.
After all, with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and America’s Donald Trump already in place, what difference would it really make?
I really don’t know any more, but I can tell you this much: Some people’s faith in a grass root uprising is charming, however futile. Entire countries, governments included, will have to oppose this in order to bring it to a halt.
Photo: Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. U.S.A. Photographer: M. Fitzsimmons/Wikimedia Commons.
*Based on the assertion that stupidity is the very foundation of evil.
Want to destabilise a country, a region or an entire planet? No biggie. Inspire terrorism, distribute vast amounts of false news and wreak general havoc.
Living in times of great uncertainty, as we do, most find it hard to decide what and who to believe anymore, as fake news and general disinformation fills our social media feeds, in part spread by trolls, but also by the traditional media themselves, often staffed by journalists lacking not only the ability to write properly, but the ability to tell truth from lies – possibly due to the financial situation, forcing media corporations to maximise production at a minimum of costs, inevitably resulting in a quantity surpassing quality by tenfolds. Online, that is.
Eager to cut costs, online newspapers have spent huge resources on user involvement, included third-party independent groups and individuals, regardless of their funding and/or motivations, such as these fine gentlemen:
Both of whom in the receiving end of much journalistic praise, as the media had a field day, nay, field days and years, basking in the glory of their “findings”, “leaks” and “revelations”,
Personally I never really bought into it, as posts thusly tagged will show (please feel free to go back in time):
Currently hailing from the news and commentary website The Intercept, Greenwald is launching an attack on his former employer, whence he once spread the gospel according to Snowden and Assange, wildly throwing accusations at The Guardian, for reasons unknown to you and me, just as we were kept in the dark with regards to his motivations for distributing their disclosures, be they lies, facts – or mere instruments in the grand scheme of things.
With the destabilisation of the west among Vladimir Putin’s more or less expressed intentions, it should come as no surprise that the Kremlin is responsible for at least the better half of all known fake news operations, as well as innumerable hacker attacks and, possibly, leading an unprecedented number of refugees to Europe, which we all know has brought about political discord, including the outset of the European Union’s dissolution, starting with a Brexit motivated, among other things, by fear of the refugee influx.
All while we witness NATO lying in shambles, as a new “Warsaw pact” emerges.
Most of it, of course, orchestrated by the Kremlin, where, by the way, Putin’s and western media’s golden boy, Edward Snowden, resides. Must be the climate and the pretty girls, huh?
You may of course ask yourself how it is that WikiLeaks and Snowden focus on what they present as US violations, whereas Russia, according to them, is perfectly immaculate.
Because Russia is immaculate, perhaps …
Despite my disgust for Mr. Putin’s intentions, there’s no denying that he’s been carrying out what he set out to do with great success, masterfully, with the west sidelined as helpless bystanders, probably out of fear for escalating a conflict Vladimir Putin tries his best to … well, escalate.
But I can tell you this much. As a journalist, mostly a former journalist, I’m deeply ashamed by my one-time colleagues’ conduct – and active part in introducing fake news as the basis of our collective “knowledge”, and the fear we all harbour.
Which all bodes well for the age of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
We can only hope that, since the objective has been an attack on “the establishment”, the media one day wakes up to the realisation that the two afore-mentioned gentlemen in fact are the establishment.
With the invaluable help of our eminent press.
As Donald J. Trump utters his compulsory “So help me God” on Friday 20 January, I’ll whisper a quiet addition to myself: