Finland commemorates the 75 anniversary of the start of the Winter War today with services held across the country. Hostilities began on 30 November 1939 with an attack by the Soviet Union including bombing raids on the capital Helsinki. via
Afghan war rugs Traditional rug-making techniques meet contemporary political imagery. See also the 'Rugs of War' project.
Given how little thought India’s contribution to the World Wars gets in our collective historical memory, it is almost strange to think that in the First World War India made the largest contribution to the war effort out of all of Britain’s colonies and dominions. Close to 1,700,000 Indians – combatants and non-combatants – participated in WWI. My own area of interest is India’s role in the Mesopotamian theatre. [more inside]
"August is the cruelest month," is what Eliot must have meant and Edna O’Brien wrote a novel called August Is a Wicked Month, and indeed, it has proved historically to be a month of dramas and crises, especially sociopolitically. Leo is a fixed, intransigent sign and can create stubborn stances in the world and it is a notorious month for coups, bombings and revolution. The late rock writer Al Aronowitz penned the line, "August is the month when wars start." Both the first and second world wars broke out in August. The first atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. There were significant cold war crises in August. The Berlin wall was built in August 1961. The Tonkin Gulf crisis marked a serious escalation of the Vietnam War in August 1964. Russia invaded Czechoslovakia and ended the Prague Spring in August 1968. Gorbachev was ousted for being too liberal by communist hardliners in August 1991. Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. Russia invaded Georgia last August. (slightly corrected paragraph via)
Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience - “massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum. It is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland.” Here's a quick roundup of some commentary. (last link with concept design sketches)
As Armistice Day approaches an exhibition reveals a hidden side to the horror of World War I. It contains previously unseen images of British servicemen who suffered terrible facial injuries in the conflict. The exhibition also tells the story of one surgeon - Harold Gillies – who through his efforts to help them became known as the father of modern plastic surgery. WARNING: Some of the following images are of a very graphic nature.
The first armed robots have hit the streets of Iraq and are now hunting evil-doers with high-powered M249 machine guns. The robots are called SWORDS, which stands for "Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System". Army focus groups apparently preferred this acronym over the more obvious PUBE (Predatory Unmanned Battle Engine). The robots are currently being piloted through the streets of Bagdad using remote control. According to an interview on CNET with Chief Army Scientist Thomas Killion however, the army soon plans to make the killing machines fully automatic.
Wanna get nuked? the Active Denial System [just say no?] was launched yesterday - its a microwave ray gun that makes people feel like they're going to catch fire. Wasn't there a ray gun at a certain point in a book we trashed a while earlier?
Green Parrots: I just finished reading this book by Dr. Gino Strada, a war surgeon and founder of Emergency, an Italian NGO, whose mission is to provide medical treatment to civilian victims of war. A series of essays on his experiences in far away places like Peru, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Sudan and Cambodia where 90% of the casualties he treats are better known as collateral damage. One third are children under 14. He ends with a heartfelt essay that asks, "Is it legitimate to accept war as an inevitable prospect for current and future generations?"