Eastern Approaches

Another attempt to make some kind of sense of what's going on east of the Dniester. Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan come in for special attention.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Support your local animator!

Recently, my family joined the massive Ukrainian summer migration to Antalya, on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. Our holiday was of the advance-paid variety – a great way to travel, whereby one can essentially leave one's wallet at home, unless you plan separate day-trips. The weather was beautiful, the resort itself clean and well equipped, with pools everywhere and the sea scant yards away, the food and drink unlimited…


Among the numerous attractions and distractions of resorts like ours at Marti Myra (www.marti-myra.tr) were the daily activities offered, from pool games to scuba diving. A team of 15 "animators", a group of attractive, multi-lingual young men and women of seemingly boundless energy supervises these activities.


The concept of the "animator" (the word itself would appear to be of French provenance) is hardly a new one. While the red-blazered and much-mocked staff at the U.K.'s Butlin's Holiday Camps may have been some of the groundbreakers, youth camps, holiday resorts, and Club Med have long employed teams of preternaturally outgoing people to ensure that guests always have something to do, other than stuff themselves at groaning buffet tables.


At first glance, you might envy the animation team. After all, they spend a summer at a beautiful resort, in the sun and with endless avenues of recreation, romance, and relaxation at their fingertips. What's more, they are paid for it! However, since first impressions are often so very misleading, I decided to discover more about the nature of their work.


Efkan Sevim is a 32-year-old from Mersin, near Turkey's Gulf of Iskanderun. A natural performer, who once dreamt of becoming a football or pop star, Efkan has been working in the tourism industry ever since graduating from the Tourism & Hotel Management programme of his university. The job suits him perfectly: my daughter instantly dubbed him "Partyman", a tribute to his energy and exuberance and a nickname that he thought rather suited him.


He began his career in tourism as a trainee cost manager, but soon realized that he needed to be out of the back office and out in front of the guests, where an extrovert like him belonged since, as he says, "I love to drive the young ladies crazy". From that modest beginning, Efkan has gone on to work at some of the premier resorts of Turkey and around the world, including the Hillside Beach Club in Fethiye and a memorable stint with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.


Apart from his more mundane staff and budget management duties, Efkan loves to take and active part in the daily activities. We watched with glee as he ran pool games, never failing to add somewhat barbed, but good-natured commentary. On comedy night, Efkan was the star, playing a role in almost all of the silly skits, clearly loving every minute of it and soaking up the laughs generated by the broad comedy. When the skits finished, we went off to watch the karaoke night, only to find "Partyman" in charge there, as well, hosting, dancing and displaying a truly tin ear (a charge he does not deny.) Throughout his 15-hour day, he managed to maintain his effervescent personality without fail.


All part of the job, he maintains, but far from the only part. Another important facet is the mentoring he provides for the less experienced members of the team. He sees himself as a kind of surrogate elder brother, able to offer the wisdom of his experience or even just a willing ear to those who find themselves overwhelmed by the workload, the distance from home and problems with difficult guests. In these one-on-one meetings, Efkan tries to bring out the traits necessary for the job, but realizes that there are limits to what he can do. "Honesty is a key element in what makes a good animator," he says. "I can teach someone to be good at his or her job, but not how to be a good human being." Furthermore, Efkan states an animator "must love himself. If you don't love yourself, you shouldn't do this job." He adds that one should prepare oneself "for a lot of work and very little free time".


Yana Zheleznyak agrees with Efkan on the above, but feels that a prospective animator should really ask him or herself what one is seeking from the job: "Money? Rest and relaxation? Adventure?" Furthermore, he or she should seek out the advice of someone who has already had experience working at a resort in a similar capacity.


One of the "rookie" animators currently struggling with the demands of her job,

Yana is a 20-year-old student from the Siberian city of Bratsk, currently in her final year in the philological faculty of the local university, specializing in English. Although she had very little idea of what her work might involve, Yana did know that it would be a test, and one that she sought out deliberately. "I wanted to challenge myself and see just what I was capable of doing in a new and strange environment."


Yana's parents, however, had great initial reservations about the idea of her spending an entire summer at a Turkish resort. Her father and mother had no idea of what working as an "animator" entails, but foremost in their minds were the frequently reported horror stories of young women from the former Soviet Union falling for promises of well-paid work abroad, only to be forced into indentured slavery or prostitution. They were only swayed by the testimony of Yana's university classmate Ulyana, who had worked as an animator at the resort last year.


Upon arriving at Marti Myra on April 28 for the start of the tourist season, Yana was somewhat surprised to discover that she would receive no training, despite the daunting tasks ahead. "We were given a tour of the resort, but that was it." Animators are expected to hit the ground running – sometimes literally, with strenuous sporting activities and dances being part of the hotel's entertainment menu. All training is, thus, of the on-the-job variety, with feedback and criticism provided at thrice-daily meetings with the Animation Director and/or Entertainment Director Efkan. These meetings can be quite intense, as discipline and work ethic among the animators is maintained largely by peer pressure: if you are not putting in your share of the work, you will hear about it from your colleagues, usually in rather frank terms.


The working day begins no later than 10 AM, as the day's activities get underway. For Yana, this means supervising beach bocce, followed by darts. The bocce is one activity that she would like to give up ("It's so monotonous"), but animators have no input into the design of the daily or weekly programme; that is left to Efkan and his Animation Director, Osman, a 12-year veteran of the business. In addition, Yana admits that some of the more difficult activities like Latin dancing or scuba, require specific skills she does not possess. Even if you have the skills, you will not necessarily be given your preferred slot: Gocha, a young Georgian, was originally hired as a choreographer, to run the Latin dance and other dance classes, but found himself in charge of water aerobics.


Yana found the early going extremely tough - and not only the physical workload. The personal side of the job can also be trying. "You are expected to be not a person, but a tabula rasa and a simple member of a team, the task of which is to work for the enjoyment of every guest." Animators must suppress all personal moods and inclinations, essentially gluing a permanent smile to their faces and projecting a sunny visage at all times, despite fatigue or other distress they may be experiencing.


In dealing with difficult guests, Efkan and Yana have similar approaches. "I try to turn the other cheek," says Yana, "offering a smile and some understanding, while keeping a neutral position, where possible". Efkan will try repeatedly to win over even the most intransigent of guests, putting himself in their shoes. "It's rare that I surrender, but some guests simply refuse to be satisfied."


The end of the grueling workday was not always what Yana hoped for. When Yana fist arrived, she and Ulyana were allotted a ground-floor room in the staff residence bloc, which was promptly burgled, with cell phones, make-up, and other personal effects stolen. Although they were subsequently moved to a second-floor room, the young women found themselves on edge, ready to explode with rage at each other at the slightest (often imagined) provocation. Clearly, fatigue was taking its toll.


Another difficulty is the loneliness. With home, family and friends far away, Yana and other animators often crave simple human contact or, perhaps, a little romance in a setting perfectly conducive to it. Furthermore, the animation staff is a very good-looking lot. Efkan says that is a tacit requirement for employment: "After all, guests are humans too, and they naturally gravitate towards beautiful people". Yana does not see it that way but, as a part-time model, she is certainly not under any illusions as to her own physical attractiveness.


Animators must negotiate a very fine line. While they are expected to be open and friendly with guests, the resort maintains extremely strict rules of non-fraternization, meaning that amour is strictly forbidden, on pain of immediate termination. The existence of this rule does not deter many of the guests, unfortunately. Both Yana and Efkan have been the objects of many unwanted advances from guests, and while Efkan seems to enjoy the attention and plays the game well, capable of letting his unrequited lovers down easily and without pain, Yana has a slightly different view. "Guests really let themselves go when they're here and some mistake my professional interest for interest of the more intimate variety. They do not subject themselves to the same rules that they follow at home and many, unfortunately, think that female animators are loose girls. It's pretty offensive."


On their days off, Yana and Efkan try to spend time by themselves, with Yana in her room or on the beach working on her tan, and Efkan well away from the resort, despite missing it. On these days, they keep their interaction with others down to an absolute minimum and seek to recharge their batteries.


Having had the opportunity to speak at length to these two people with widely divergent experience, I was even more impressed by their endless efforts. Never again will I think that animators are nothing more than spoiled hams playing silly games and dancing to an extraordinarily annoying faux-Lain "club dance" song (both Efkan and Yana profess to like it.) . I can only agree with Yana who, when asked what advice she would like to offer future guests, replied, "They should respect the work we do. We're people too and this is hard work!" Efkan took a similar line, adding, "Guests should not assume that, when they paid for their vacations, they bought the animators at the same time."


Good advice.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Award for idiotic phrase

Whether you agree with the sentiment or not, this sentence (from The Economist, but not it seems by Edward Lucas) surely has to be an award-winner for stupidity:


"Medved means bear in Russian—and the worst way to respond to a bear is to display overt weakness or to scarper in different directions."

Brilliant! Does that hold true for the name Bush, as well, suggesting possibilities of lick, fuck, clip or burn?

Edward Lucas, Alex Stubb and NATO

A couple of weeks ago, The Economist featured, as part of its “Certain Ideas of Europe” blog and podcast, an interview by Edward Lucas (of New Cold War fame,) with Finnish Foreign Minister Alex Stubb. I urge you to listen to the podcast and tell me if it seems only to me that Lucas is doing his best to pull Mr. Stubb into his own, “Russia as inexorable menace” camp. I suspect that he was somewhat disappointed by Stubb’s reply on Dmitri Medvedev, to the effect that he is cautiously optimistic regarding the new Russian president.

The most fascinating exchange when Lucas asked Stubb whether the latter thought Finland should join NATO now, “because by the time you need to, it’ll be too late.”

Stubb replies:

“I don’t see NATO membership in the near future, but what we want is to have a
fresh NATO debate, and then draw our conclusions from that debate. But
what we also need is the support of the population, and if we are in a situation
whereby just … out of my…off the top of my head…25% of the population is for
membership and the rest is more or less against, it’s kind of a difficult
project to push through.”
He goes on to note that Finland is very much engaged on a non-membership basis with NATO and with the European Rapid Reaction Force, but ends saying:

“NATO has just always been a bit of an Achilles heel in the Finnish debate, and
that’s why it looks like we’re not going to join in the near future.”

Seems straightforward enough, doesn’t it? “…that’s why it looks like we’re not going to join in the near future.”

However, while signing off, Lucas says:

“That was Alex Stubb, Finnish Foreign Minister…giving a cautiously robust
perspective of Finland’s chances of joining NATO; not now, but maybe sooner than
we think.”

How does “not going to join in the near future” becomes “joining…maybe sooner than we think,” without putting a rather unfair semantic burden on the phrases?

You can find the audio file here, listed under “Certain Ideas of Europe”: http://audiovideo.economist.com/

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stetskiv says it's all Russia's fault

Taras Stetskiv of NUNS says the recent troubles with 2 deputies (one from BYuT and one from NUNS) declaring their exit from the coalition are all down to the usual suspect: Russia.

He claims that But "is Moscow's agent," adding that this is not an accusation, but "an obvious fact," but failing to offer the proof upon which "obvious facts" are normally based.

He throws something of a stone into the garden of Lutsenko and Zhvania, saying that they drew up the party list, with the allegedly odious Mr. But in it, adding that neither BYuT nor NUNS vetted their candidates closely enough.

Stetskiv is very quick on the verbal draw, but one has to wonder whether his engages his brain first. After all, he recently accused Yulia Tymoshenko and BYuT of preparing to follow a plan "drawn up outside the bounds of Ukraine", i.e. Russia, again:

«Наскільки я чув, «бютівці» разом з «регіонами» хочуть проголосувати за
створення тимчасової комісії з питань внесення змін до Конституції. А це
означатиме, що у парламенті буде політична змова двох ніби непримиренних
супротивників. І, якщо БЮТ вже вирішив грати за таким сценарієм, то я
заявляю, що це є деструктивний сценарій, який є антиукраїнським за своєю
суттю. Тим паче, що цей сценарій написаний не у БЮТі, а за межами України. Тому
язакликаю БЮТ зупинитися. Реалізуючи цей сценарій, БЮТ вирішив втекти від
відповідальності за соціально-економічну ситуацію в Україні, і піти на
дострокові вибори, розділивши владу у країні разом з Партією регіонів», –
зауважив Т.Стецьків

I also have to wonder whether Stetskiv sees the abysmal results of NUNS in the most recent parliamentary and Kyiv City Council elections are yet another facet of the nefarious Russian plan.

Entertaining, as Ukrainian politics always are, but I think I'll be waiting for proof. And probably for quite some time.

Monday, June 09, 2008

A new low in Ukrainian politics?


When reading this piece, you have to ask yourself, "Can Ukrainian politicians get any lower?" I have faith that the twit that is Zvarych can indeed!

So, Mr. Zvarych (he of the invented MA from Columbia) now demands that the SBU not only look into whether But received Ukrainian citizenship legally, but whether he is actually employed by the FSB!

The natural question that follow is, "If deputies [had] reason to suspect that But received citizenship illegally, why did they keep their mouths shut about it until now?" It seems altogether too much to believe that, on the day that But quit NUNS, the members of the latter had some kind of epiphany - "We're shocked...SHOCKED!" It doesn't wash and, despite the practice that Zvarych has had at lying, he can't pull it off.

And Zvarych himself doesn't even believe the garbage he's spouting, since he moves on to immediately talk about how unpleasant life will be for But in parliament. In other words, "We now there's nothing wrong with his citizenship, and we're going to have to see him in the Rada, so we're going to gang up and bully him." You don't have to like But to see this as the nadir of NUNS.

Angry or hurt by faring so badly in elections to the Rada and the Kyiv City Council, led by such idiots as Zvarych (who bald-faced lied about his academic qualifications), and thoroughly adrift in terms of policy and effectiveness, NUNS looks to lash out and sees "traitors" everywhere.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The ever-creepy Tiahnybok

From an online chat on Tsenzor.net:


Алекс: Наскільки вдалим виявився ваш слоган "Стольному граду - українську владу"? Може, є сенс змінити його на такий:

"Краще кумедний Тягнибок, ніж остогидлий тягни-толкай!"

Олег Тягнибок: Шановний Апекс! Коли ми прийдемо до влади, думаю, так жартувати ти не будеш. Чи може ти думаєш, що в нас нема твоєї Айпі-адреси?

...and elsewhere...

Інтернет-конференція Олега Тягнибока на "Політичному дурдомі" (повна версія)

Алекс:Вопрос клону клоуна Тягнибока: как вам удалось так быстро перебежать с интернет-конференции на "Цензор.Нет" на "Дурдом". Или вы на велосипеде?

Олег Тягнибок:Алекс! Ти не жартуй! Я тебе вже раз попередив...

and one more...

PetroBlin : Олег, Вы действительно такой мудак или это Ваш сценический образ?

Олег Тягнибок:PetroBlin, Алекс вже знає, що буде з такими жартівниками, коли ми прийдемо до влади. Твою IP-адресу ми теж вже знаємо...

A novel way of winning votes that...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Oleh Tiahnybok: Batshit ^!%@ Crazy!

Some of you may be acquainted with Oleh Tiahnybok, leader of the "Svoboda" party of Ukrainian nationalists. Today, he's hosting a concert on the Maidan, in honour of the "Day of Heroes," a day that he seems to have thought up himself and would like to see become a public holiday in Ukraine.

The man is out of his tree.

Four years ago, he came steaming into public view for a anti-Semitic and anti-Russian speech given on Hoverle in Western Ukraine. Largely for this speech, Yushchenko kicked "Svoboda" out of the "Our Ukraine" Bloc, although Tiahnybok himself says that this was done "in accordance with the Talmudic principle - find and destroy the best of the non-Jews."

Lest you think that gave him time to reflect and, perhaps, re-assess his position on some of Ukraine's non-titular ethnic groups - think again!

To wit (http://www.tiahnybok.info/inshi_dopysy/dokument000325.html):

Антисемітизм це не самостійне явище, а похідне від семітизму. Так коли після аварії на Чорнобильській станції підвищився різко рівень радіації - почались заходи проти цієї радіації, яка лізла скрізь і всюди. Поливали шляхи і дахи водою, оприскували якоюсь рідиною з вертольотів, вживали якісь хімічні сполуки, що зв'язували вільні радикали, приписали всім йодовану сіль, щоб врятувати щитовидну залозу. Так і з антисемітизмом - він є реакцією на підвищений рівень семітизму в суспільстві. І ніяка влада з цим нічого не зробить, хоч би закрила всі вищі навчальні заклади.

До того ж слово "антисемітизм" це слово фантом, слово машкара, яка насправді нічого не означає. Ніби антисеміт, це той хто проти семітів. Так до сім'ї семітів входять і араби, які ніби найбільші антисеміти у світі."

Poor translation (though not for lack of trying,) with which help will be greatly appreciated:

"Anti-Semitism is not a free-standing phenomenon, but derives from Semitism. When, after the Chernobyl nuclear station accident, radiation levels rose sharply, steps were taken against that radiation, which seeped out everywhere. [...] That's how it is with anti-Semitism: it's a reaction to rising levels of Semitism in society. And no government can do anything about it, even if they shut down all insititutes of higher education.

The word Semitism itself is a phantom, a mask, that doesn't really mean anything. An anti-Semite is one who dislikes Semites. Arabs also belong to the Semitic family - the biggest anti-Semites in the world."

Ahem...apart from anything else (i.e. Jews, Jewishness, Jewish influence being compared to deadly radiation that killed many Ukrainians and made thousands more extremely ill,) I'm truly tired of seeing that latter argument. It's as weak as an argument can be, but if Tiahybok would be happier, I'm more than willing to call him what he is: someone who hates Jews. Not as pithy as "anti-Semite," but the gist is the same.

I'll be posting more about this over the next couple of days, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The usual excellent work from Thomas de Waal

From Johnson's Russia List 2008 #95

Wall Street Journal Europe
May 14, 2008
Bullies of the Caucasus
Mr. de Waal is Caucasus editor at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

If you're deep in the trenches, stop digging.
Both Russia and Georgia darkly warned last week
of the danger of war over the Black Sea territory
of Abkhazia, but they both keep digging.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said
Moscow and Tbilisi have come "very close" to a
military confrontation. Russia threatened
Georgia, moving in an extra 500 troops to join
the force it leads in Abkhazia. Formally
peacekeepers under an international mandate,
these troops not only keep the peace -- on
Russian terms -- but strengthen Moscow's grip
over a region that is legally part of Georgia.

In Moscow, Georgia-baiting has now become a
popular sport. Vladimir Putin dramatically
stepped up his support for Abkhazia and hostility
toward Georgia in the last two months of his
presidency in what looked like an effort to lock
his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, into a hard-line policy.

Mr. Saakashvili is also using the putative threat
of Russian aggression for domestic political
purposes and to call for Western support. His own
standing has recently suffered after his
crackdown on the opposition last November and a
suspiciously wafer-thin re-election as president
in January. His governing party is now facing a
tough fight in parliamentary elections on May 21.

The talk I heard in Tbilisi 10 days ago was that
some hotheads around the president are tempted to
make a move on Abkhazia, perhaps as early as next
week, to boost popular support for the president
ahead of the elections. Wiser voices, such as
that of Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze, are
warning that this would be a catastrophe.

It is clear that Russia manipulates the Abkhazia
conflict to punish Georgia for trying to escape
Moscow's orbit of influence and move closer to
the West. A telling moment was when Sergei
Mironov, speaker of the upper house of the
Russian parliament, in October 2006 let slip: "We
won't forgive those who spit at us."

As a result of Tbilisi's aspirations to join the
European Union and NATO, Russia has bullied its
southern neighbor. In autumn 2006, Moscow banned
the import of Georgian wine and mineral water --
long a fixture of Russian dinner tables -- on the
dubious grounds that they were "unsanitary,"
imposed a transport blockade, and brutally deported Georgian migrant workers.

Most blatant have been Russian incursions into
Georgian airspace, including two rocket attacks
on remote parts of Georgian territory last year.
Thankfully this demonstration of power did not
cause any casualties. This is where Georgia
deserves the West's unwavering support. A much
swifter investigation into these incidents and a
much blunter response from Western governments
might have deterred Moscow from further
aggression. A Russian rocket attack on Georgia
should be no more tolerated than a Russian attack
on, say, Finland. In addition, it is time for
Brussels to revive a shelved plan to set up an EU
monitoring mission on the Russian-Georgian
border. But as much as Moscow is using the
Abkhazia conflict to settle old scores with
Tbilisi, the Georgians are missing the point by
blaming Russia alone for their trouble with the
renegade province. Russia is a secondary actor in
this dispute. Even if it had not intervened,
there would still be a Georgian-Abkhaz problem that needs to be fixed.

The Abkhaz are a small ethnic group unrelated to
the Georgians, who have shared with them for
centuries the same beautiful stretch of Black Sea coastline.

During the perestroika era the Abkhaz demanded
greater autonomy from the Soviet Republic of
Georgia and felt threatened by a resurgence of
Georgian xenophobic nationalism. War started in
1992 with the Georgian army's sacking of the
Abkhaz capital, Sukhumi, and what could be termed
ethnic cleansing of Abkhaz. Then the Abkhaz
managed to turn the tide and defeated the
Georgians. The majority of the prewar Georgian
population of Abkhazia -- around 239,000 people,
or 45% of the total population -- left in what
amounted to a second act of ethnic cleansing.

The Abkhaz won a bitter victory in a nasty ethnic
conflict in which both sides committed crimes.
For the next decade Abkhazia existed as a
miserable hinterland in a state of self-declared independence.

When Mr. Saakashvili was elected president in
2004 with a huge popular mandate for change, he
had a historic opportunity to be the Charles de
Gaulle of the Caucasus. But instead of offering a
grand peace deal to the Abkhaz, Mr. Saakashvili
maintained a policy of economic isolation and
moral outrage over the secessionists. He even
moved extra troops into the mountains of
Abkhazia. And when he started on the path of NATO
accession, he did so without offering any
assurances to his pro-Russian breakaway provinces
(the other one is South Ossetia) on what this would mean for them.

Two months ago, the Georgian government finally
unveiled a comprehensive peace plan -- almost 15
years after the war. It offered the Abkhaz
substantial powers within Georgia, including the
vice presidency. Unfortunately, the plan broke
the first law of peace negotiations: It was
launched unilaterally and without consulting the
other side. And so the Abkhaz rejected it.

Mr. Saakashvili then last month made an inept
speech to his Abkhaz and Ossetian "brothers and
sisters" in which he told them to fear Russia and
their own "corrupt, criminal" leaders and wildly
inflated the number of Georgian refugees.

There is no love lost between the Abkhaz and the
Russians. Wry inhabitants of Abkhazia like to say
that both the Russians and Georgians, remembering
their idyllic childhood summer holidays by the
Black Sea, want Abkhazia but without any Abkhaz.
It was Georgian clumsiness that drove the Abkhaz
into the embrace of Russia. Any nation would be
alarmed to have a large, well-armed bully as a
neighbor -- this is how the Georgians feel about
Russia and how the Abkhaz feel about Georgia.

Western countries have been happy to pretend that
by maintaining a small U.N. mission of 130
unarmed observers (entirely reliant for their
security on Russian peacekeepers) they are
offering a road map to peace in Abkhazia. This
timidity has allowed the Russians to reshape the facts on the ground.

After much hand-wringing -- and Georgian
resistance -- the EU approved last year a small
aid program for Abkhazia and despatched two
police officers to join the U.N. mission. Compare
this to what the Russians have offered the
Abkhaz: Russian passports that allow them to
travel to the outside world, pensions for the
elderly and, latterly, massive investments ahead
of the nearby 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. It is
not surprising where Abkhaz loyalties now lie.

Abkhazia is now virtually lost to Georgia --
almost as lost as Kosovo is to Serbia. The only
chance for Tbilisi to reverse this process and
see Georgian refugees ever returning to their
home is, paradoxically, to let go. Tbilisi should
open up Abkhazia and free it from dependence on
Russia. That means lifting sanctions and
permitting a sea link to Turkey and the
re-opening of a railway line connecting it with Western Georgia.

Such a policy would change the atmosphere and
call the Abkhaz bluff -- forcing them to
negotiate in earnest and confront the issue that
holds the key to their future status: Abkhaz
responsibilities to their prewar Georgian
population. And the rest of us would sleep a
little easier if only this tinderbox in the Caucasus could be damped down.

"No Darwin - no Hitler"

Crazy title to this post, eh?

Unfortunately, it's a direct quote from the Coral Ridge Ministries'...ahem...documentary on the evils of Darwinism.

The latest thrust of the creationists seems to be an attempt to blame Darwin directly for the ravages of lunatics and criminals Hitler to the Columbine shooters (one of whom, apparently, wore a t-shirt with the words "natural selection" upon it).

What this wacky bunch conveniently overlooks is that the "selection" practised by Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Klebold nothing "natural" about it, and has nothing to do with the progressive genetic mutation forseen by Darwin.

Check it out here.

Fisherman"s Blues

Fisherman"s Blues
Ice-Fishing near Astana (when it was still Akmola)