Friday, June 22, 2007

Essay 'insults' Mali's president

Essay 'insults' Mali's president
Mali President Amadou Toumani Toure
President Toure has been urged to free those detained
Journalists in Mali have held a protest march after six people were arrested over an article about a school essay which allegedly insulted the president.

The five journalists and the teacher who set the essay to his class are due to appear in court next Tuesday.

Teacher Bassirou Kassim Minta asked his final-year secondary school class to write a humorous essay about the mistress of a fictional African leader.

The arrests have been condemned by Reporters Without Borders.

The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called the arrests "outrageous".

Journalist Seydina Oumar Diarra wrote an article called The Mistress of the President of the Republic, in the Info-Matin newspaper about the essay.

Police then arrested him and Mr Minta.


Following the detentions, the article was reprinted in other newspapers, leading to the arrest of four more journalists and editors.

Reporters Without Borders has urged President Amadou Toumani Toure to release those detained.

"The result of a prosecutor's absurd zeal, these two arrests are worthy of another age and are clearly an abuse of authority," the press freedom group said.

"Mali was hailed as an example of democracy in Africa, but as this case goes from bad to worse, it is looking more and more like an authoritarian regime, crippled by taboos and dangerous for those who show a lack of respect for an untouchable president."

Earlier this month, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) urged African countries to scrap their laws on insulting leaders at a congress in South Africa.

Its declaration said such laws, which are in force in 48 out of 53 African countries, were "the greatest scourge" of press freedom on the continent.

President Amadou Toumani Toure was last month re-elected for a second five-year term in first-round presidential elections.

International monitors said the vote appeared to have gone smoothly, but opposition candidates alleged fraud.

Mr Toure, known as "ATT", was hailed after ending Mali's military dictatorship with a coup 16 years ago and then stepping down after organising elections.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Women under siege in Afghanistan

Women under siege in Afghanistan
By Soutik Biswas
BBC News, Kabul

Afghan women

For the past three months, Afghan female MP Shukria Barakzai has been receiving a letter saying she may be targeted by a suicide bomber in the next six months.

The cryptic government letter contains an intelligence warning that Ms Barakzai's life is under threat and she should be careful. She is one of six MPs getting such a letter these days.

"That is all that the government does - send a letter by mail once every month saying my life is under threat. There isn't talk of even providing security," says the feisty parliamentarian and mother of three daughters.

Ms Barakzai says she is being targeted by "various elements" because of her speeches against the country's warlords, her support for women's rights and for her criticisms of Pakistan.

This week, BBC News is taking an in-depth look at the challenges facing Afghanistan's people and the peacekeepers.
Stories include: the state of the Taleban; corruption; the drugs problem; and attacks on schools.

"I am going crazy. My friends are telling me to leave the country. My husband is worried. After all, I am also a mother and a wife," says the journalist-turned-MP.

When you consider that two women journalists have been killed recently in and around Kabul, you realise that even women of influence and power in Afghanistan live and work in fear under threats from warlords, the Taleban and other insurgent groups.

Six years after the departure of the repressive Taleban this is the paradox of women in Afghanistan. They now have a say and a position under the country's constitution. But they have to work in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

Ms Barakzai gets regular letters about threats to her life

The good news is that the rights of Afghan women have been enshrined in the constitution. It even asks the government to bring changes in the law to combat traditions that work against them.

Women can participate in every walk of life, including politics. Of the 361 members of parliament today, 91 are women.

Women have also begun talking about forced marriages, honour killings, abortions and rape in a traditionally male-dominated society. Local human rights groups have begun documenting such atrocities.


The bad news is that the state cannot protect women and ensure that they can go about their work safely. Even an affluent, influential city-bred MP like Ms Barakzai is now tense about her future.

Soraya Sobhrang
Dr Sobhrang says the tribal councils almost always rule against the women

"When I leave home these days on work, I am not quite sure whether I will be back [alive]. Life has become so insecure. I am not planning to leave the country yet, but I do have to think about my kids," says the MP.

Fellow female MP Tooarpekay, the only woman parliamentarian from the restive Zabul province, echoes the same sentiment.

"There have been many attacks on women workers in Zabul. I am worried about the rise of Taleban," says the MP who studied in a boys' school.

Ms Tooarpekay should know - she has worked in Zabul, where the Taleban are now highly active, for the past 22 years as a school teacher, community and health worker.

When she stood for the elections two years ago, her 22-year-old brother was killed by the Taleban. She has soldiered on in her new job as an MP.

To add to her problems, she has not been paid her monthly salary of $937 for the past three months.

Grim stories

If this is the plight of some of the most "powerful" women in the country, the state of ordinary women across the country is obviously much worse.

Ms Tooarpekay has not been paid her salary for three months

Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission, for example, alone documented over 1,500 cases of atrocities against women last year.

The details make for grim reading - a third of these women were victims of domestic violence - simply called "beating" in the rights group report - some 200 of them were married off forcibly, 98 of them set themselves on fire, and over 100 of them tried to take their lives by consuming poison.

Now the rights group is worried about the rising number of women who are taking to drugs in the countryside.

Worst sufferers

"Jirgas [tribal councils] are still deciding the fate of the women in most rural areas. Most of the judgements go against the women," says Soraya Sobhrang, a former gynaecologist who runs the women's rights department of the Human Rights Commission.

"We have the constitution and the courts. Who are the jirgas to decide on women?"

In the end, analysts say, it is a weak, feeble and a largely corrupt state machinery which is just not carrying out its duties - ruling with a firmer constitutionally mandated hand, and giving women more security, sometimes even from their own menfolk and community.

Zabul is a good example of this apathy - Ms Tooarpekay says government officials are lax and insincere about simple demands of local people, joblessness is rife and there are few schools.

"All this drives people into the arms of the Taleban. And the women become the worst sufferers again," she says.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The strong waistband of the law

The strong waistband of the law
By Patrick Jackson
BBC News

The subtleties of "sagging"

As one US town outlaws the public wearing of overly revealing leg wear, some believe that visible underpants should be left to the fashion police alone.

The crackdown on exposed boxer shorts and protruding bare bottoms in Delcambre, Louisiana, has brought a legal dimension to a view of public decency in the Western world usually confined to school regulations.

A similar bid for a state-wide ban was thrown out by Louisiana three years ago but a 2005 bill in Virginia managed to clear the lower house of America's oldest legislative body.

It was then killed off by the Virginia senate amid national ridicule including jokes about a "Boxers Rebellion".

Showing undergarments is always seen as being rude or obscene purely because there is another layer of clothing on top
Andrew Groves
fashion designer

Now, however, anyone upset by the underpants of strangers can be confident that at least in Delcambre, population 2,000, offenders face a fine of $500 (£254) and even six months in jail.

But are low-slung trousers already an endangered species?

Saggies and trackies

"It's bizarre because in fashion we've stopped wearing those baggy jeans," says fashion designer Andrew Groves, who heads the University of Westminster's fashion department.

"Prince Igor", a Christian Dior New Look design from 1947
Malawi miniskirt scare, 2003: A mass assault on a Brazilian woman in Blantyre highlighted attacks linked to the fashion
Miss World bikini row, 1951: Two-pieces were banned from the contest for two decades after Miss Sweden was crowned wearing hers
Dior's New Look, 1947: Enraged by the extravagance of a tight-waist, full-skirt dress amid austerity, women ripped them off their wearers in the streets of Paris

"They're getting worked up 15 years too late about something that is probably quite dying out," he told the BBC News website.

For the London college's graduate fashion week, he recalls, every model who turned up for casting arrived in tight, skinny jeans "and the models always wear the latest look".

However, street fashion and high fashion are two different things, Groves stresses, and if the baggies often slip, they have never quite come off for some.

The loose style seems to have been copied initially from US prisons where inmates are not given belts as a precaution against hanging. Rappers picked up the look, the fans followed suit.

Groves compares this to a recent fashion among gangs of adolescent boys in north-west England who wore tracksuit bottoms tucked into their socks.

"That also comes from prison when people used to hide contraband in their trouser bottoms and socks so that it wouldn't fall out," he says.

The "saggy" phenomenon is "definitely about peer pressure", says fashion stylist Reyes Lora, who leads projects at London-based educational charity Fashion Awareness Direct (Fad).

"It's about what's in the shops, the magazines and the music videos."

It may also, she told the BBC News website, be about "men going towards the more feminine look and I think that has to do with how much they show..."

The person beneath

The issue of exposing bare flesh has less to do with low-slung baggies than low-rise jeans, the "rise" being the technical term for the crotch-waist measurement.

We are not trying to dictate a fashion ourselves but only reminding people that they are dressing a person
Reyes Lora
project director, Fashion Awareness Direct

Andrew Groves is shocked to see women still displaying their G-strings in the street.

"You can really see that still happens, but just because it's prevalent, is it cool?" he asks.

"You can't get away from the fact that it is sexual but you'll be walking down the street and you'll see somebody with the whole of their bum sticking out of their jeans and you just think it's so extreme."

While for most young men in saggies, the issue is attention not attraction, revealing trousers on a girl have different connotations and may send out the wrong message, says Lora.

Through workshops and competitions, Fad promotes original fashion among young people, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"You have people thinking that they have to sell themselves or be provocative or shocking and we want to encourage them to project more than this fake image," says the stylist.

"We seek to show the other, attractive, creative side of fashion, which is about clothes people are happy to wear, not peer pressure or what designers dictate.

"We are not trying to dictate a fashion ourselves but only reminding people that they are dressing a person."

One man's underpants...

What Andrew Groves finds funny about the saggy saga in the US is the way underwear can offend depending on the context.

Are we confusing fashion with fascism here?
foxtrottango1, Rincon, New Mexico
BBC News website reader

"If we are talking about exposing boxer shorts, you can take that back into mainstream fashion history," he says.

"You have Vivienne Westwood using corsets and undergarments as outer garments in the early 1980s and then Jean-Paul Gaultier using conical bras.

"Showing undergarments is always seen as being rude or obscene purely because there is another layer of clothing on top.

"If someone just had a swimsuit on you wouldn't think that was necessarily obscene."

Any legislation seeking to control people via their clothing is always doomed to failure, the fashion designer believes.

"People just adapt their clothing to make another gesture that is more obscene or more anti-establishment," he says.

"Ultimately this is about young people annoying older people, and older people annoying them back."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Full transcript of Blair speech

Full transcript of Blair speech
Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:45 PM BST

LONDON (Reuters) - Here is the full transcript of Prime Minister Tony Blair's speech delivered at Reuters headquarters on Tuesday:

The purpose of the series of speeches I have given over the past year has been deliberately reflective: to get beyond the immediate headlines or issues of the day and contemplate in a broader perspective, the effect of a changing world on the issues of the future and this speech, which is on the challenge of the changing nature of communication on politics and the media is from the same perspective.

I need to say some preliminaries at the outset. This is not my response to the latest whacking from bits of the media. It is not a whinge about how unfair it all is.

As I always say, it's an immense privilege to do this job and if the worst that happens is harsh media coverage, it's a small price to pay. And anyway, like it or not, and some do and some don't, I have won 3 elections and am still standing as I leave office. This speech is not a complaint. It is an argument.

As a result of being at the top of the greasy pole for thirteen years, ten of them as Prime Minister, my life, my work as Prime Minister, and its interaction with the world of communication I think has given me pretty deep experience, again for better or worse.

Let me say categorically, a free media is a vital part of a free society. You only need to look at where such a free media is absent to know this truth. But it is also part of freedom to be able to comment on the media. It has a complete right to be free, and I, like anyone else, have a complete right to speak.

My principal reflection is not about "blaming" anyone. It is that the relationship between politics, public life and the media is changing as a result of the changing context of communication in which we all operate; no-one is at fault - this change is a fact; but it is my view that the effect of this change is seriously adverse to the way public life is conducted; and that we need, at the least, a proper and considered debate about how we manage the future, in which it is in all our interests that the public is properly and accurately informed. They are after all the priority and they are not well served by the current state of affairs.

In the analysis I am about to make, I first acknowledge my own complicity. We paid inordinate attention in the early days of New Labour to courting, assuaging, and persuading the media. In our own defence, after 18 years of Opposition and the, at times, ferocious hostility of parts of the media, it was hard to see any alternative. But such an attitude ran the risk of fuelling the trends in communications that I am about to question.

It is also incidentally hard for the public to know the facts, even when subject to the most minute scrutiny, if those facts arise out of issues of profound controversy, as the Hutton Inquiry showed.

I would only point out that the Hutton Inquiry (along with 3 other inquiries) was a six month investigation in which I as Prime Minister and other senior Ministers and officials faced unprecedented public questioning and scrutiny. The verdict was disparaged because it wasn't the one the critics wanted. But it was an example of being held to account, not avoiding it. Anyway, leave that to one side.

And in none of this also do I ignore the fact that this relationship has always been fraught. From Stanley Baldwin's statement about "power without responsibility being the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages" back to the often extraordinarily brutal treatment, if you've ever read it, meted out to Gladstone and Disraeli through to Harold Wilson's complaints of the 60s, the relations between politics and the media are and are by necessity, difficult. It's as it should be.

The question is: is it qualitatively and quantitatively different today? And I think yes. So that's my starting point.

However, why is that? Because the objective circumstances in which the world of communications operate today are radically altered.

The media world - like everything else - is becoming more fragmented, more diverse and above all transformed by technology. The main BBC and ITN bulletins used to have audiences of 8, even 10 million. Today the average is half that. At the same time, there are rolling 24 hour news programmes that cover events as they unfold.

In the early 1980s, there were 3 TV stations broadcasting in the UK. Today there are hundreds. In 1995 over 200 TV shows had audiences of over 15 million. Today there is almost none.

Newspapers fight for a share of a shrinking market. Many are now read on-line, not the next day. Internet advertising has overtaken newspaper ads. There are roughly 70 million blogs in existence, so I'm told, with around 120,000 being created every day. In particular, younger people will, less and less, get their news from traditional outlets.

But, in addition to that, the forms of communication are merging and interchanging. The BBC website is crucial to the modern BBC. Papers have Podcasts and written material on the web. News is becoming increasingly a free good, provided online without charge. Realistically, these trends aren't going to do anything other than intensify in the years to come.

These changes are obvious. But less obvious is their effect. The news schedule is now 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it moves in real time. Papers don't give you up to date news. That's already out there. They have to break stories, try to lead the schedules. Or they give a commentary. And it all happens with outstanding speed.

When I fought the 1997 election - just ten years ago - we could take an issue a day. At the last election in 2005, we had to have one for the morning, another for the afternoon and by the evening the agenda had already moved on entirely.

You have to respond to stories also in real time. Frequently the problem is as much assembling the facts as giving them. Make a mistake and you quickly transfer from drama into crisis. In the 1960s the government would sometimes, on a serious issue, have a Cabinet that would last two days. It would be laughable to think you could do that now without the heavens falling in before lunch on the first day.

Things also harden within minutes. I mean you can't let speculation stay out there for longer than an instant.

I am going to say something that few people in public life will say, but most know is absolutely true: a vast aspect of our jobs today - outside of the really major decisions, as big as anything else - is coping with the media, its sheer scale, weight and constant hyperactivity. At points, it literally overwhelms.

Talk to senior people in virtually any walk of life today - business, military, public services, sport, even charities and voluntary organisations and they will tell you the same. People don't speak about it because, in the main, they are afraid to. But it is true, nonetheless, and those who have been around long enough, will also say it has changed significantly in the past years.

The danger though is that we then commit the same mistake as the media do with us: it's the fault of bad people. My point is that it is not the people who have changed; it is the context within which they work.

For example, we devote reams of space to debating why there is so much cynicism about politics and public life and in this, the politicians are obliged to go into self-flagellation, admitting it is all our fault.

Actually not to have a proper press operation nowadays is like asking a batsman to face bodyline bowling without pads or headgear.

And, believe it or not, most politicians come into public life with a desire to serve and by and large, try to do the right thing not the wrong thing.

My reflection after ten years is that the real reason for the cynicism is precisely the way politics and the media today interact. We, in the world of politics, because we are worried about saying this, play along with the notion that we are the sole source of responsibility.

So I introduced: first, lobby briefings on the record; then published the minutes; then gave monthly press conferences; then Freedom of Information; then became the first Prime Minister to go to the Select Committee's Chairman's session; and so on. None of it to any avail, not because these things aren't right, but because they don't deal with the central issue, which is how politics is reported.

There is now, again, a debate about why Parliament is not considered more important and as ever, the Government is held to blame. But actually we haven't altered any of the lines of accountability between Parliament and the Executive. What has changed is the way Parliament is reported or not reported. Tell me how many maiden speeches are listened to; how many excellent second reading speeches or committee speeches are covered. Except when they generate controversy, they aren't.

If you are a backbench MP today, you learn to give a good press release first and a good Parliamentary speech second. But my case, however is: there's no point either in blaming the media. We are both handling the changing nature of communication. The sooner we recognise that it is about a change in context, the better because we can then debate a sensible way forward.

The reality is that as a result of the changing context in which 21st Century communications operates, the media are facing a hugely more intense form of competition than anything they have ever experienced before. They are not actually the masters of this change, they're in many ways the victims.

The result, however, is a media that increasingly and to a dangerous degree is driven by "impact". Impact is what matters. It is all that can distinguish, can rise above the clamour, can get noticed. Impact gives competitive edge. Of course the accuracy of a story counts. But it is often secondary to impact.

It is this necessary devotion to impact that is unravelling standards, driving them down, making the diversity of the media not the strength it should be but an impulsion towards sensation above all else.

Broadsheets today face the same pressures as tabloids; broadcasters increasingly the same pressure as broadsheets. The audience needs to be arrested, held and their emotions engaged. Something that is interesting is less powerful than something that makes you angry or shocked.

The consequences of this are acute. First, scandal or controversy beats ordinary reporting hands down. News is rarely news unless it generates heat as much as or more than light.

Second, attacking motive is far more potent than attacking judgement. It is not enough for someone to make an error. It has to be venal. Conspiratorial. Watergate was a great piece of journalism but there is a PhD thesis all on its own to examine the consequences for journalism of standing one conspiracy up. What creates cynicism is not mistakes; it is allegations of misconduct. But misconduct is what has impact.

Third, the fear of missing out means that today's media, more than ever before, hunts in a pack. In these modes it is like a feral beast, just tearing people and reputations to bits. But no-one dares miss out.

Fourth, rather than just report news, even if sensational or controversial, the new technique is commentary on the news being as, if not more important than the news itself. So - for example - there will often be as much interpretation of what a politician is saying as there is coverage of them actually saying it. In the interpretation, what matters is not what they mean; but what they could be taken to mean. This leads to the incredibly frustrating pastime of expending a large amount of energy rebutting claims about the significance of things said, that bears little or no relation to what was intended.

In turn, this leads to a fifth point which is the confusion of news and commentary. Comment is a perfectly respectable part of journalism. But it is supposed to be separate. Opinion and fact should be clearly divisible. The truth is a large part of the media today not merely elides the two but does so now as a matter of course. In other words, this is not exceptional. It is routine.

The metaphor for this genre of modern journalism is the Independent newspaper, if you don't mind me saying it.

Let me state at the outset that the Independent is a well-edited lively paper and is absolutely entitled to print what it wants, how it wants, on the Middle East or anything else. But it was started as an antidote to the idea of journalism as views not news. That was why it was called the Independent. Today it is avowedly a viewspaper not merely a newspaper.

The final consequence of all of this is that it is rare today to find balance in the media. Things, people, issues, stories, are all black and white. Life's usual grey is almost entirely absent. "Some good, some bad"; "some things going right, some going wrong": these are concepts alien to much of today's reporting. It's a triumph or a disaster. A problem is "a crisis". A setback a policy "in tatters". A criticism, "a savage attack".

Then in turn, the NGOs and pundits know that unless they are prepared to go over the top, they shouldn't venture out at all. Talk to any public service leader - especially in the NHS or the field of law and order - and they will tell you not that they mind the criticism, but they become totally demoralised by the completely unbalanced nature of it.

Is it becoming worse? Again, I would say, yes. In my 10 years, I've noticed all these elements evolve with ever greater momentum.

It used to be thought - and I include myself in this - that help was on the horizon. New forms of communication would provide new outlets to by-pass the increasingly shrill tenor of the traditional media. In fact, the new forms can be even more pernicious, less balanced, more intent on the latest conspiracy theory multiplied by five.

But here is also the opportunity. At present, we are all being dragged down by the way media and public life interact. Trust in journalists is not much above that in politicians. There is a market in providing serious, balanced news. There is a desire for impartiality. The way that people get their news may be changing; but the thirst for the news being real news is not.

The media will fear any retreat from impact will mean diminishing sales. But the opposite is the case.

They need to re-assert their own selling point: the distinction between news and comment.

And there is inevitably change on its way. The regulatory framework at some point will need revision. The PCC is for traditional newspaper publishing. OFCOM regulate broadcasting, except for the BBC, which largely has its own system of regulation. But under the new European regulations all television streamed over the internet may be covered by OFCOM.

As the technology blurs the distinction between papers and television, it becomes increasingly irrational to have different systems of accountability based on technology that no longer can be differentiated in the old way.

How this is done is an open question and, of course, the distinction between balance required of broadcasters but not of papers remains valid. But at some point the system is going to change and the importance of accuracy will not diminish, whilst the freedom to comment remains.

It is sometimes said that the media is accountable daily through the choice of readers and viewers. That is true up to a point. But the reality is that the viewers or readers have no objective yardstick to measure what they are being told. In every other walk of life in our society that exercises power, there are external forms of accountability, not least through the media itself. So it is true politicians are accountable through the ballot box every few years. But they are also profoundly accountable, daily, through the media, which is why a free press is so important.

I am not in a position to determine this one way or another. But a way needs to be found. I do believe this relationship between public life and media is now damaged in a manner that requires repair. The damage saps the country's confidence and self-belief; it undermines its assessment of itself, its institutions; and above all, it reduces our capacity to take the right decisions, in the right spirit for our future.

So there are my thoughts. I've made this speech after much hesitation. I know it will be rubbished in certain quarters. But I also know this has needed to be said.

US town set to ban saggy trousers

US town set to ban saggy trousers
A man wearing low-slung trousers, exposing his underwear
Low-slung trousers are fashionable among some young people
A mayor in the US state of Louisiana says he will sign into law a proposal to make wearing saggy trousers an act of indecent exposure.

Delcambre town council unanimously passed the ordinance earlier this week making it a crime to wear trousers that show underwear.

"If you expose your private parts, you'll get a fine" of US$500 (£254) Mayor Carol Broussard said.

Offenders will also risk up to six months in jail.


Speaking of people who wear saggy trousers, Mr Broussard told the Associated Press news agency: "They're better off taking the pants off and just wearing a dress."

White people wear sagging pants, too
Mayor Carol Broussard

Town attorney Ted Ayo said the ordinance expands on the existing state indecent exposure law by adding underwear to the list of forbidden exposures.

"This is a new ordinance that deals specifically with sagging pants," Mr Ayo said. "It's about showing off your underwear in public."

Some residents say the ordinance targets blacks, as low-slung trousers are fashionable among hip hop fans.

Mr Broussard denied it was racially motivated.

"White people wear sagging pants, too," he said.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Only Human - K (one litre of tears)

Only Human

Lyrics: Osanai Mai Music: Matsuo Kiyoshi, Tanaka Choku

Kanashimi no mukou kishi ni
Hohoemi ga aru toiu yo

Kanashimi no mukou kishi ni
Hohoemi ga aru to iu yo
Tadori tsuku sono saki ni wa
Nani ga bokura wo matteru?

Nigeru tame ja naku yume ou tame ni
Tabi ni deta hazusa tooi natsu no ano hi

Ashita sae mieta nara tame iki mo nai kedo
Nagare ni sakarau fune no you ni
Ima wa mae he susume

Kurushimi no tsukita basho ni
Shiawase ga matsu toiu yo
Boku wa mada sagashite iru
Kisetsu hazure no himawari

Kobushi nigirishime asahi wo mateba
Akai tsume ato ni namida kirari ochiru

Kodoku ni mo nareta nara
Tsuki akari tayori ni
Hane naki tsubasa de tobi tatou
Motto mae he susume

Amagumo ga kireta nara
Nureta michi kagayaku
Yami dake ga oshiete kureru
Tsuyoi tsuyoi hikari
Tsuyoku mae he susume

[Go Back]

Only Human

Lyrics: Osanai Mai Translation: Jonathan Wu

On the opposite coast of sadness
is something called a smile

On the opposite coast of sadness
is something called a smile
But before we can go there,
is there something we’re waiting for?

In order to chase our dreams, we can’t have a reason to run away
We’ve got to go, to that far away summer’s day

If we find it tomorrow, we can’t sigh
Because like a boat that opposes the stream
we have to walk straight on

In a place worn down by sadness
something called a miracle, is waiting
Yet we are still searching
for the sunflower that grows at the end of spring

The warrior who awaits the morning light
before he can clasp it with red nails, his tears glitter and fall

Even if we’ve grown used to loneliness
only relying on the light of the moon
We have to fly away with featherless wing
just go foward, just a little further

As the rainclouds break
the wet streets sparkling
Although it brings only darkness
A powerful, powerful light
helps push us to walk on

[Go Back]
Together Forever

Lyrics: Osanai Mai Music: James

Naki dashisou na kimi wo mite itara
Saki ni namida koboshiteta yowai boku sa

Te wo tsunagou Honey itsumo yori tsuyoku
Datte tanoshii toki wa
Kakeashi de furari okizari ni suru kara

Let’s stay together forever futari de ireba
Kitto nagareru kumo tomerareru yo
Let’s stay together forever boku ga iru kara
Zutto kimi wa tada kimi no mama de ii

Only Human

Lyrics: Osanai Mai Translation: Jonathan Wu

On the opposite coast of sadness
is something called a smile

On the opposite coast of sadness
is something called a smile
But before we can go there,
is there something we’re waiting for?

In order to chase our dreams, we can’t have a reason to run away
We’ve got to go, to that far away summer’s day

If we find it tomorrow, we can’t sigh
Because like a boat that opposes the stream
we have to walk straight on

In a place worn down by sadness
something called a miracle, is waiting
Yet we are still searching
for the sunflower that grows at the end of spring

The warrior who awaits the morning light
before he can clasp it with red nails, his tears glitter and fall

Even if we’ve grown used to loneliness
only relying on the light of the moon
We have to fly away with featherless wing
just go foward, just a little further

As the rainclouds break
the wet streets sparkling
Although it brings only darkness
A powerful, powerful light
helps push us to walk on

[Go Back]
Together Forever

Lyrics: Osanai Mai Music: James

Naki dashisou na kimi wo mite itara
Saki ni namida koboshiteta yowai boku sa

Te wo tsunagou Honey itsumo yori tsuyoku
Datte tanoshii toki wa
Kakeashi de furari okizari ni suru kara

Let’s stay together forever futari de ireba
Kitto nagareru kumo tomerareru yo
Let’s stay together forever boku ga iru kara
Zutto kimi wa tada kimi no mama de ii

[Go Back]

Together Forever

Lyrics: Osanai Mai Translation: Jonathan Wu

If I see you again, I’ll probaby cry
I’ll be the first to cry cuz I’m weak without you

Take my hand Honey so we always be strong
Then when we can have fun together
let’s run away and leave everything behind

Let’s stay together forever, you and me baby
we can stop the clouds from flowing back in
Let’s stay together forever, cuz while I’m here
You can always just be, who you want to be

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Misery: the secret to happiness

Misery: the secret to happiness
Accepting the bad times could make for a happy marriage
The key to a happy relationship could be accepting that some miserable times are unavoidable, experts say.

Therapists from California State University, Fresno and Virginia Tech say accepting these problems is better than striving for perfection.

And they blame cultural fairytales and modern love stories for perpetuating the myth that enjoying a perfect relationship is possible.

The report was published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.

The pursuit of relationship nirvana can be potentially damaging
Jan Parker

The authors, Dr Diane Gehart and Dr Eric McCollum say it is a "myth that, with enough effort we can achieve a state without suffering."

And they say healthcare professionals may not be helping the situation.

"The field of mental health perpetuates this myth with the very concept of "mental health," which implies a state without suffering," they say.

Potentially damaging

But this belief can eventually cause people to believe that with enough effort they can eliminate suffering.

And experts say this is an unrealistic aim in relationships, and striving to achieve it can lead people to feel they have failed.

Jan Parker of the Association of Family Therapy said: "The authors are right to point out that the pursuit of relationship nirvana can be potentially damaging."

She said it was important to explore what people mean by a happy and healthy relationship, because nobody's life or relationship can be in a permanent state of happiness - there will always be more difficult times.

She said couples need to build strengths, such as understanding, in their relationships to help them cope in these hard times and appreciate the good times.

Mrs Nadine Field, a consultant psychologist, said it was a "fantasy" that any relationship could be perfect and that striving for such an impossible state could lead to bitter disappointment.

She said this disappointment could then cause people to focus on the negative aspects of a relationship, and lead to more disappointment and resentment.

She said: "People need to try to understand their partners through communication, rather than demanding perfection of them."


The authors recommend using mindfulness, a Buddhist meditation technique, to help cope with family suffering.

The technique requires individuals to focus on their present thoughts and actions, and is already used by some psychiatrists in the UK.

The authors say family therapists can integrate the principles into their work to help patients change the way they relate to the forms of suffering that can occur in intimate relationships, such as abuse, divorce, rejection, and loss.

Moroccan family barred from toilet

Moroccan family barred from toilet
By Richard Hamilton
BBC News, Sale, Morocco

A family living in a public toilet in Morocco have spent seven years requesting more hygienic accommodation.

Aze Adine Ould Baja and his family
The family's troubles began when their daughter was kidnapped

Their pleas fell on deaf ears, and Aze Adine Ould Baja has had to endure the ignominy of having "Sidi toilets" as the official address on his identity papers.

Desperate to do something about their plight, Mr Baja and his wife Khadija Makbout recently went to a local newspaper with their story.

"I was fed up with the situation and I was becoming more and more ill," Mr Baja explained.

"There were lots of vermin in the toilet. My little boy is only seven months old but he is also a Moroccan citizen and deserves better."

But a few days later the local authorities moved in to block up the toilet's entrance with cement and concrete.

Mr Baja, his wife and three children now find themselves barred from the only home they had.

Health fears

In a narrow street of the old medina in Sale, the city across the river from the capital, Rabat, Mr Baja explained how he fell into poverty and ended living in the public lavatory, where he was the attendant.

He worked at the toilet for 23 years, where he earned less than $1 a day.

"How can a married man feed his children on a dollar a day?" he asked.

When my son went to school, the other children would tease him and call him 'the boy from the toilet'
Khadija Makbout
His troubles began several years ago when his daughter was kidnapped and he had to sell everything to try to find her.

She was eventually found, but he could not afford to rent the place where he had been living and the family moved into the toilet as a temporary measure.

But with no help from the local government and no money to rent anywhere else they ended up staying.

"My children and I have suffered a lot," Ms Makbout told the BBC.

"Rats and mice were eating and tearing our clothes and I was afraid that they would harm my baby boy. I was sleeping near the drain.

"I asked the authority for a place where my children could live but they did nothing."


Mrs Makbout said the she hated seeing her children grow up in this situation.

"When my son went to school, the other children would tease him and call him 'the boy from the toilet'.

Identity card, showing "toilet" as official residence
This identity card shows 'Sidi toilet' as an official address
"When he came home he would cry and asked me why we lived in the toilet."

At one stage the family were offered a place to live but it had no roof.

For the moment the family are squashed in with Ms Makbout's mother. They have been promised somewhere else by the authorities but so far nothing has happened.

Now destitute, without a job or home, Mr Baja despairs of his situation.

"My children are tired of getting hungry."

"I have health problems and poor blood circulation, so I have to go to hospital about three times a year. I could die at any time."

All these troubles make him consider emigrating.

"When I feel myself dying of hunger and I can see that my children are dirty and suffering - I no longer want to stay in Morocco."

"I think I may find a boat in Tangier and take my wife and children away.

"Maybe we will die in the middle of the sea. Maybe it will take us to a place where it is easier to get something to eat.

"But we would find it hard to leave Morocco, because we are proud of it."


While investigating the story a police officer came up to me and asked for my identity card.

He took it away and detained me briefly in the local police station.

I also tried to speak to a local government representative about the family's situation, but no-one was available for an interview.

Although this family's story is unusual, it is not altogether surprising.

Hundreds of thousands of Moroccans live in abject poverty in slums and shanty towns.

Some of those slums have produced the recent waves of suicide bombers.

It reflects the huge gap between rich and poor in Morocco: some people live in luxury, others live literally in a toilet.

Monday, June 04, 2007

一公升的眼泪, One Litre of Tears , 1リットルの泪



妈妈 我是为了什么活在这个世上的呢?


妈妈 我可以结婚吗?

以花喻 蓓蕾般的我的人生

总是惹您担心 对不起了

病魔 为什么选择了我?
命运这样的字眼 不能让人接受啊

如果没有得这种病 恋情也能成功吧
想要被人紧紧抱住 想得难以忍耐

很不甘心 很丢人 自己一个人痛苦就好了


所以 我绝对不会逃避
这样的话 一定有一天


朋友真好 真想永远在一起


即使如此 我还是想待在这里
因为这里是 我所存在的地方

去年春天 我满心希望自己能考上东高


被医生告知有一天将不会走路 站立 说话
一起打篮球 尽情地奔跑
上高中 上大学 去工作
因此生病 我的人生被毁掉了
但是 但是
虽然很悲伤 但这是事实
就算想要回到过去 时间也不会倒流
拥有健康的身体 只是如此就已经很幸福了
虽然生病了 但也并不是只有失去
身体变成这样的我 就算是我
被人说是残疾 背着沉重包袱的我 就是现在的我
因此 我自己决定了要去养护学校
今后 我想在自己选择的道路上一步一步地寻找光明
大家 一直以来亲切地待我 真的很感谢



这是为了即使分离 也绝对不要忘记
〈我好想他们说“亚也 不要走”〉


说实话 现在还没有身为养护学校学生的真实感
因为从今天起 这里就是属于我的地方

这堵墙 就是我自身的残疾
即使是声嘶力竭的哭喊也好 也不会消失
但是 在这阳光照射的瞬间不也照射到这堵墙了吗
那样的话 即使是我
好像也能找出来 去找出来吧

停下脚步 活在当下


MA WA PA行和拨音N变得难说起来
发出的不成声音 只是震动空气罢了
最近 自言自语多了起来


升学也好 就业也好
这样的话 属于我的天地也就没了吧

但是妈妈 我并非想要容易生活的地方

即使如此 因为是自己的身体 自己绝不能放弃
18岁 就算是我 也应该有属于我的未来

一回想过去就会掉泪 心里难受
现实过于残酷 过于严苛
一旦想象将来 又有不同的泪水流出

但只要能写作 心情就会变得开朗起来





妈妈 我到底为了什么而生存着

医生 谢谢你没有丢弃我

好高兴啊 我还活着

我要承认现在的自己 生活下去








———— 泽尻绘里香

Houses of Healing

With a sigh you turn away
With a deepening heart, no words to say
You will find that the world has changed forever

The trees are now turning from green to gold
And the sun is now fading
I wish I could hold you closer

Nasty Little Thoughts

Artist: Stroke 9
Song: Nasty Little Thoughts

This just in where to begin
Grin and bear... it's bare and grim
adoration, titillation, I'm the victim now
Because she's figured me out

She lights my candle
She has a handle on me
It's goin well but I'm scared as hell
That she'll figure me out
She thinks it's sacred to be naked
but I don't care cuz she's had me there

You see she's figured me out
and I wanna shout at the top of my lungs
but oh my God if she hears me she'll come runnin in

These are my hands, these are my faults,
These are my plans, and these are my nastly little thoughts
I wrote them down for you to contemplate at a later date

Well the word is out what's it all about
It's doubtless shady, no shadow of doubt
Moderation, this sensation would be fabulous
aww but she's figured me out
she's in my shower for an hour
she just washin and wonderin
She's tryin to figure me out

well i wanna shout at the top of my lungs now
but oh my God if she hears me she'll come runnin in
well these are my hands, these are my faults,
these are my plans, and these are my nasty little thoughts
I wrote them down for you to contemplate

It's a little bit of something that i feel
oh man and i just can't deal
and other than this distance that has covered me
can't you see that you have smothered me

Well, you're there, just stay out there
Just when I was on to something else
That's when she figured me out

You see she's figured me out
and I wanna shout at the top of my lungs
but oh my God if she hears me she'll come runnin in

These are my hands, these are my faults,
These are my plans, and these are my nastly little thoughts
I wrote them down for you to contemplate at a later date

These are my hands, these are my faults,
These are my plans, and these are my nastly little thoughts
I wrote them down for you to contemplate at a later date