This is a photograph of the Korean peninsula during the night taken by NASA. It’s completely astonishing how huge the difference in the illumination levels is between South Korea and North Korea which only demonstrates the sharp economic backwardness of the communist country. With a GDP per capita of just 1800$, Kim Jong-Un’s country is considered one of the poorest and least developed in the world as opposed to South Korea - one of the strongest economies in the Asian region.
Hi everyone. From now on my publications will also be posted on my new blog olicritical.blogspot.com . I decided to this because in Tumblr I can only receive comments from Tumblr users but in Blogger I can receive comments from every single people in the world! Both blogs will have the exact same stuff. Thank you.
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Yesterday I was going to start reading Hemingway’s masterpiece For Whom The Bell Tolls which I received this Christmas. Truth be told I‘ve only read two pages. This happened not because the book is poor or boring but because of the powerful quote chosen by Hemingway to start the narrative. It is actually a poem from John Donne.
“No man is an Island, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”
This thing blew my mind away. By reading this poem I have regained part of my love and hope for mankind. We really are one. We are a group. A group whose individuals could not live only by themselves. A group capable of achieving great things. But then I remember how the world really really works and all these happy thoughts vanish. At least I had them for some moments.
Conflicts in the Pacific
Since last Friday, thousands of Chinese have been manifested in several cities against Japan due to a dispute between the two Asian powers regard to a set of islands.
The Chinese have been burning Japanese flags, throwing eggs and rocks to the Japanese embassy in Beijing and even destroying Japanese cars and stores. This is mainly due to the increasing tension between the two countries in the disputed Senkaku (in Japanese) or Daiyou (in Chinese) Islands that was recently triggered by the Japanese government’s decision to buy them for ¥2.05 billion to the Kurihara family.
This is not a recent conflict and there are many strong arguments given by both countries. The two governments of China (People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan)) argue that:
- They have discovered the islands and have noted them in the earliest maps;
- The islands were used as a defense post against Japanese pirates during the Ming and Qing dynasties. A Chinese map of Asia, as well as a map compiled by a Japanese cartographer in the 18th century, shows the islands as a part of China;
- Japan took control of the islands in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894/95);
- After World War II, the Potsdam Declaration stated that “Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine” (“we” – USA, UK and China). Japan accepted the terms of the Declaration when it surrendered;
- Both governments of China never approved the transfer of control of the islands to Japan in 1970s.
However, Japan counter-argument with the following points:
- The islands had been uninhabited and showed no trace of having been under China’s control prior to 1895;
- The islands were neither part of Taiwan nor part of the Pescadores Islands, which were ceded to Japan by the Qing Dynasty of China in Article II of the May 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki, thus were not later renounced by Japan under Article II of the San Francisco Peace Treaty;
- Though the islands were controlled by the United States as an occupying power between 1945 and 1972, Japan has since 1972 exercised administration over the islands;
- Japanese allege that Taiwan and China only started claiming ownership of the islands in 1971, following a May 1969 UN report that a large oil and gas reserve may exist under the seabed near the islands.
This last point is of major importance because if you do some research you’ll find in many sources that it is true Taiwan and China only started to pay attention to these Islands after the information about the oil was known. Also, some international media have said that this dispute is just a strategy to start a conflict against Japan. Yet I am not able to say who’s right and who’s not because I’m not an expert in the subject.
What I know is that these events have already caused the suspension of big Japanese companies in China such as Panasonic, Canon, Nissan, Toyota, Mazda and others and a “commercial war” (in newspaper Público) between the countries have started.
Om Advaitic Songs
In this new project the American duo, Om, present us with an even more eastern-influenced-sound and which begins to deviate from its doom metal origins. With this fifth studio album they are still defining themselves and showing that they can still surprise the listeners.
Advaitic Songs starts with Kate Ramsey’s beautiful and relaxing voice in the track Addis. It follows “State of Non-Return” whose distortion sound is more akin to previous works but ends up in a more melodic way as if the cello and the violins were telling us a story; a sad story. The three following tracks - ”Gethsemane”, “Sinai” and “Haqq al-Yaqin” - show us perfectly how the band is heading to new paths. Om are going beyond doom and metal. They are trying to achieve a state of universality by linking the eastern and western sounds and channeling them into something unique. Something listened by everyone; something felt by everyone.
The only bad thing in the album is that can be a little monotonous and repetitious but its musical quality is superb!
Rating - 9/10