Lanzarote : an island sinking under the weight of its success

March 25, 2013

The tourist guide got off the bus and greeted the group of chubby British women with “Shopping in Playa Blanca ? Shopping in Playa Blanca?” He could have said “doggy wanna bone?” and it would have been the same. I knew I had to see this.

Playa Blanca, a sprawling resort on the southern coast of Lanzarote, is everything native born artist César Manrique did not want for his waterless, volcanic island. Thanks to Manrique, the farthest east and the most arid of the Canary Islands escaped the mega hotels which defaced La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Read the rest of this entry »

Crossing the Vietnamese-Cambodian border

July 17, 2012

Visas just seem to be a money making scheme for the Cambodians while for the Vietnamese it is an exercise in sadism. Read the rest of this entry »

The Hmong and the Vietnamese : Mésentente not so Cordiale

July 13, 2012

The Hmong are a fiercely independent people who see Vietnamese profiteers moving in on their land as a threat.  But the biggest threat to their way of life is probably tourism. Read the rest of this entry »

Vietnam – The Phoenix, the Turtle, the Dragon and the Unicorn

June 29, 2012

In which the Vietnamese try to destroy my prejudice and I search for the war that, as a young soldier, I could not support. Read the rest of this entry »

The Gambia and The Gay Diversion

May 8, 2012

Banjul, May 5, 2012 – When Europeans went to Berlin with their scissors in 1884 to cut up the map of Africa, they played a sick joke which is still felt today. The British wanted the Palm oil from the Gambia River so they took that out of French West Africa and today the place is called a country: 60 kilometers wide at the Atlantic it snakes 338 kilometers up river where it is just a dozen kilometers wide. French diplomats like to refer to it as the finger in the ass of Senegal. The metaphor is à propos this year as the country obsesses over all things anal. Read the rest of this entry »

Libya: the criminal silence of the press

April 2, 2012

The silence of the western press on the situation in Libya is deafening. This is no surprise as the pessimistic predictions of the critics of NATO’s war to oust Qaddafi become reality. Read the rest of this entry »

Mauritania and the Haratine — the Slavery we are not allowed to see

September 12, 2011

Nouakchott, Mauritania: On August fourth Mauritanian anti-slavery activists staged a sit-in before a Nouakchott   police station to prevent them from releasing a woman the public prosecutor had just indicted for slavery.  The police intervened.  Thirteen abolitionists were hospitalized and nine arrested with one sentenced to prison for “unauthorized gathering and rebellion”.  The suspected slave owner has disappeared as has the young girl allegedly enslaved. Read the rest of this entry »

Mauritania: Press Freeedom is Sand in Your Eyes

September 11, 2011

Nouakchott, Mauritania: The reddish sand from the Sahara still blows across the streets of this sprawling capital of perhaps 800 thousand people where the palaces of wealthy White Moors grow like mushrooms next to the countless Blacks and Touregs sleeping in the streets or in makeshift dwellings without water and electricity.

But the authorities, and their western backers, would have us believe that when five private press groups get a license to broadcast radio and TV for the first time this October, it will represent a major change.  This opening of the airwaves is Sahara sand in our eyes to hide the real racial nature of a regime which has become an important actor in “the war on terrorism”. Read the rest of this entry »

No Washington, You May Not Go On Holiday

August 6, 2011

If a nuclear reactor were to go into meltdown one would expect management to interrupt its vacation and get back to work to fix the problem. Not so with our elected officials who have gone into recess despite the fact our world economy is crumbling and cannot wait until September. Europe is no exception to the lets-go-on-vacation-and worry-about-it-in-September rule. Read the rest of this entry »

NATO’s attack on Libyan TV an Outrage

July 31, 2011

NATO Friday night attacked the Libyan television station in Tripoli killing three people and injuring 15 others in direct violation of their own UN Resolution 1973 which stipulates they may attack military targets “to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi” and to impose a ‘no-fly zone’. Read the rest of this entry »


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