Archive for September, 2017

I have not read the book—and am not sure that I will—though have been reading plenty about it. And also listening/watching, e.g. this 51 minute interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, which confirms for the umpteenth time that Hillary Clinton is so smart and thoughtful, knows policy like no one else in the American political system, is excellent on all domestic policy issues I can think of, is a good person, would have made a great president, and that it’s just one huge goddamned tragedy that the unspeakable idiot who presently occupies the White House was elected on that calamitous night last November 8th and not she.

Hillary Clinton also explains ‘What Happened’, in two podcasts, to The New Yorker’s David Remnick here.

Can anyone imagine that idiot in the White House right now giving such an interview?

Slate’s Michelle Goldberg has a review of HRC’s book, rhetorically asking
Why isn’t Hillary Clinton even angrier?”

As for all those people out there—right and left alike—who have been dumping on Mme Clinton since her book came out—and repeating the same crap they have for the past 25+ years—they can go f— themselves.

More later.

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The Venerable W.

I am presently riveted newswise to Hurricane Irma, which is heading toward Florida as I write. I am, however, reading about other calamitous events across the globe as well, one being the communal conflict in Burma and campaign of ethnic cleansing there against the Rohingya Muslim minority in the western part of the country. It is a tragedy and a crime against humanity, and which has been in the works for years, indeed decades. On the matter, I saw earlier this summer a bone-chilling documentary that opened theatrically in France, The Venerable W., by the well-known Swiss filmmaker Barbet Schroeder, the subject of which is the fanatical, high-profile (in Burma) Buddhist monk, Ashin Wirathu, who unabashedly preaches hatred against Burma’s Muslims in terms that would put Radovan Karadžić and Pamela Geller to shame. His rhetoric is borderline genocidal, expressed openly to Schroeder and without mincing words. And as one sees in the film, his following in Burma is not insignificant. Buddhism, in stereotyped ways of viewing things, is supposed to be about peace and love, whereas Islam is seen as the opposite, but here the clichés are turned on their heads. The uttarasanga-wearing Burmese monks are as fanaticized as any given bunch of Salafists or alt-rightists outre-Atlantique.

For more on the film, see the reviews by Jay Weissberg in Variety, Jordan Mintzer in The Hollywood Reporter, and Lee Marshall in Screen Daily, all of whom saw it at Cannes. One may also read the 2013 Time magazine cover story on “The face of Buddhist terror.” Trailer is here (where one will, entre autres, see Wirathu praising Trump).

The film, as one reads, completes Schroeder’s “Trilogy of Evil,” the first being the 1974 Général Idi Amin Dada: autoportrait—which I saw in the summer of that year at Le Cinéma Saint-André des Arts, with family and friends—and the second the 2007 L’Avocat de la terreur, on the sulfurous Paris lawyer Jacques Vergès. Of the three, Ashin Wirathu may certainly be considered the most dangerous.

Schroeder’s film touches on the troubled role—or non-role—played by Aung San Suu Kyi in the Burmese communal bloodletting. I am not sufficiently well-informed to have a viewpoint on the question but have the sentiment that she’s not a player in the conflict, that the military and radical Buddhist nationalists are in control of the campaign against the Rohingyas. As a longtime admirer of Aung San Suu Kyi, as everyone else has likewise been, I hope this is the case.


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