Sunday, 22 March 2015

Charlie Hebdo

There were so many things I wanted to say after the horrible crimes of early January in Paris that in the end I chose the easy route and just wrote nothing... I intended to buy like 10 copies of the first Charlie Hebdo after the massacre to take them to Asturies and give them to family and friends, as we tend to forget too easily and fast, and this horror must stay in our minds forever, so we can stay alert and prevent it from repeating. I tried for the first 3 weeks, but the copies would be finished as soon as they reached the kiosks, and it was difficult for me to be there before. I had completely assumed that I would not get one of these copies when I found a good bunch of them in a kiosk on February 21. This was the last reprint, next Wednesday they would be "back to normal" publishing a fresh copy every week. This next number had an impressive and defiant cover: islamofascists, Christian radical clerics, Marie LePen... depicted as the disgusting blood thirsty beasts that they are... Of course I also got a copy.

Ever since I regularly buy Charlie Hebdo every week. My minimum French skills allow me to read it slowly, losing some sentences, but getting most of it. Charlie Hebdo is a masterpiece (une chef d'oeuvre), I can not find a better definition. I have to admit that before the massacre I had never bought a copy. Indeed I knew quite little about its editorial line. Of course I knew about its criticism of Fundamentalist Islam, with the publication of the Mohammed cartoons, and of course I fully agreed and supported such attitude, but knew nothing about their views on other topics. Sadly, until quite recently (ISIS madness first and know the Paris tragedy have helped to change this) most left wing seemed stupidly reluctant or scared to critisise fundamentalist Islam, as likening it to Islamophobia. With that in mind, it was not clear to me if Charlie Hebdo would be particularly lefties or antifascists. Also, I thought this weekly publication would be not much more than a bunch of funny cartoons.

Well, how shamefully ignorant I was. Charlie Hebdo is above all an Antifascist publication, with a clear left wing stance (but without falling in outdated and simplistic "class war style" views). Notice for example that they have reduced subscription fares for students, unemployed, disabled or retired people. Furthermore, while the cartoons are pretty good and essential ("Stouf le Skin" is probably my favorite), there are some excellent articles and interviews about world affairs, that will keep you reading and thinking for a good while. They are at war against any form of fanaticism and do as much as possible to unveil the real face of "le FN". I could not agree more with them. Islamofascism and "le FN" are the 2 forces that could completely break apart the French society, a society that whatever scary stories you hear about the suburbs "quartiers sensibles" (sure many of them are true, but they are just a small portion of the country), is to my eyes the biggest example of integration in Europe (I read the other day what for me seemed clear without need of any statistic, that it has the biggest number of "mixed" couples in Europe).

Life is evolution, and while I used to say that I aimed one day to be fluent enough in French to be able to sit on the iconic French cafe for cultured people reading Le Monde Diplomatique (and understanding it fully) and enjoying a cafe noisette, now I'm much more into reading Charlie Hebdo while taking a "the a la menthe" (that's multiculturalism in practice). Only problem with this new goal is that in most places I know in Toulouse where I can get a the a la menthe (it's delicious, I got hooked to it in Marseille) maybe some of the customers would consider Charlie Hebdo slightly offensive.

Regarding being offensive, it seems like the Pope did some pretty sickening and disgusting statements about the Paris Massacre. He said something like: "if you swear at my mother 'expect a punch'". So this pope that many thought as an example of renovation and dialogue for the Catholic church has suddenly jumped into the wagon of ISIS and the likes... no words...

To wrap up this post, I'll leave you here a link to this very intense and emotive (and too short) interview with Luz, one of the survivals.

Well, I'll also add this picture so you can feel jealous of my desktop :-)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Install COM as non Admin

This week I've needed to install (register) a COM component with a non Admin account. In principle COM components write their corresponding CLID entries (when you register them through regsvr32 or when they come with a specific installer that in the end I guess also calls regsvr32) to the registry in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM), and non Admin users have not write access there. I think you can change this behaviour when compiling the Component, but this was not an option for me as it was a third party COM component (the microsoft DSO component).

After some searching I found that if you write these entries to HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKCU) rather than HKLM, that user should be able to use the component without a problem. The main problem is to make sure of how many entries have to be written. Well, in the end it turned out to be pretty simple, thanks to this excellent free tool (RegFromApp). I just had to run the DSO installer (with an admin account) through the tool and I got a .reg file with all the entries that had been written. As expected the entries had been written to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. If you replace in the .reg file those HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE with HKEY_CURRENT_USER, you can use that .reg to install the component with a non Admin user account, and that user will be able to use the COM successfully. A pretty simple procedure that spared us a big problem at work.

I had not much clear the relation between HKLM, HKCU and HKCC, so this entry in Wikipedia turned quite interesting:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT (HKCR) Abbreviated HKCR, HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT contains information about registered applications, such as file associations and OLE Object Class IDs, tying them to the applications used to handle these items. On Windows 2000 and above, HKCR is a compilation of user-based HKCU\Software\Classes and machine-based HKLM\Software\Classes. If a given value exists in both of the subkeys above, the one in HKCU\Software\Classes takes precedence.[8] The design allows for either machine- or user-specific registration of COM objects.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Gloria Victis

Some people find surprising my tendency to visit the same cities on multiple occasions (many people just go to one place once and they're done, they can cross it off their list of places to visit). If I like a city I can keep going there very often, and passed the surprise and discoveries of the first visit, I will continue to enjoy each new visit. On one side I like seeing the same places again with a different weather or light conditions, as my perception will change drastically, on the other side they'll bring me memories from previous trips and will make me think of how I was feeling at that time. I like looking back in time as it helps me to look at the present and build the future. Furthermore, each time I'll find some new detail that had gone unnoticed previously.

I spent this last Saturday in Bordeaux, "La Belle Endormie" (Sleeping Beauty), a gorgeous "little Paris" on Le Garonne. As you can imagine from that description, Bordeaux is a stunning city, and it would deserver several posts, but I'll focus today in one of those details that had escaped my attention so far. In front of the imposing Gothic Cathedral there is a beautiful bronze sculpture, I remembered that from previous trips, but had never given it a detailed look (probably cause my eyes could not but turn again and again to the majestic cathedral and its belfry). Gloria Victis by Antonin Mercié is a really captivating and powerful representation of death and defeat following Christian tradition where a sort of Angel carries a dead warrior to heaven. It pays homage to those that perished in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71 (by the way, all of France is full of tributes to those who died in this war or in the WWI).

Bordeaux city council has the nice habit of putting most of the tourist information in both French and English (and quite often in Spanish, this is particularly common in most of southern France). The texts for this sculpture was particularly interesting, so I'll put them up here along with some pictures.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Pour l'Humanité

Last Saturday a Day of Support to the Kurdistan was held in Toulouse. There were several activities planned: discussions, music... Though I can read French to a certain extent I still can not understand a single word when they speak (French pronunciation is terribly difficult), but anyway it was a total must to show up there.

The activities were organised by a long list of collectives and left wing parties (particularly interesting to see the involvement of the Popular Front of Tunisia) The atmosphere was nice, though I would have loved to see the place more crowded and a larger representation of French young people. There were some very interesting stands of different collectives with good amounts of information, support boxes where you could give your "2 cents of support", Kurdish food, tea and coffee (delicious, but they took its toll on me, that night I couldn't fall asleep until 3 am), Kurdish music and that typical Kurdish dancing (that I had seen for the first time in Berlin on last May 1st) that reminds me a lot of Asturian "danza prima".

Obviously most of the stuff revolved around Kobane and Rojava, and claims for Kurdish autonomy and Ocalan liberation, but there was also much information about the horrible murder of 3 Kurdish female activists in January 2013. You'll be thinking now about Irak/Syria or Turkey, but not, that tragic crime occurred in the middle of Paris. It's quite easy to imagine that the 3 women were executed by some Turkish ultranationalist shitheads (maybe on the payroll of Erdogan's Turkish IslamoFascist government, or maybe acting on their own). Defying any sort of morality, many French media decided to second the delirious hypothesis promoted by the Turkish government, that was talking about an internal PKK's settling of scores... plainly ridiculous... and pretty painful to see once more how part of Europe "elites" fold to the interests of a backward, imperialist and repressive government like Turkey just because it's an "strategic partner". The oldest of the 3 murdered women (referred by some people as the Kurdish Rosa Luxembourg) was a founding member of the PKK, and it's quite hurtful to think that after surviving the battle fields and the terrible tortures in Turkish prisons she were to found her dead in central Paris...

Notice that this pic above is not Toulouse, is from a Demo in Paris at the time of the killings

France surprises me constantly in many regards, and the situation of Islam here is one of them. While it's thought to be the country that is sending a biggest number of "yihadists" to perpetrate mass killings and mass rapes... the Islamic invasion seems less visible here than in UK or Belgium. There is no "sharia police" madness, no demonstrations of IslamoFascists displaying their distaste and hate for our values, you'll rarely see women completely covered (well, the government has had the good sense of forbidding it), and almost all the posters of this act that I found in the street were intact (I only found one slightly torn up)

After the "journée de soutien" I went back home with a good bunch of pretty interesting reading material.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Pro-Fascist Government

There are around 45 million people living in that sort of country called Spain and having Spanish nationality. Many of them consider themselves Asturians, Galicians, Basques... rather than Spanish, other consider themselves deeply Spanish. Regardless of which is your feeling of belonging to any of those territories (if you have any), the thing is that having a Spanish passport makes you feel ashamed in too many occasions. There are obvious reasons, like those acts of brutality called bullfighting performed all over the country and supported by the Government with money from everyone taxes (yes, money from vegetarians like me), the rampant corruption, the monarchy, the monuments to fascism and dictatorship that are still on display on too many places, the "picaresca", the drug consumption, the pervasive crap TV, the conservative media (most newspapers would be considered just as far-right pamphlets in most of Europe), the fear fuelled transition to a 2 parties democracy that allowed key players of the dictatorship to enter the democratic parody rather than prison... and the list could go on for too long...

But the population is more or less like in any of our close European neighbours. There are nice people and disgusting ones, educated types and almost illiterate ones, open and tolerant people and greedy shitheads... more or less in a similar percentage to France, UK, Portugal, Italy (well, except for teenagers, I think generally speaking Spanish teenagers are the scum of the Earth: superficial, illiterate, lacking interest in almost any real thing... ) So the thing is that Spaniards do not deserve the crap governments that we have suffered since the end of the the Civil War. First the dictatorship and then the alternation of conservative (with ex-members or nostalgics of the previous dictatorship in their higher ranks) and the so called "socialists" (that allowed those others enter "the game" rather than the tribunals).

The Spanish government is without any doubt the most repressive in Western Europe. There's a "magic word" that can be used to destroy anyone's life, "terrorism". It doesn't matter if there is not any solid evidence, by means of the "anti-terrorist" law people can be put into preventive prison awaiting trial for years. The other big problem is that the "terrorist" term has been applied in many occasions to people that were just separatists or antifascists.

This week we've witnessed one more flagrant case of senseless State repression. Eight persons have been arrested for collaborating with the pro-Russian rebels in Novorossiya (Eastern Ukraine). You can read about it in English here or here. I've been about to write about the conflict in Ukraine on several occasions, but have not done it probably cause it does not touch me that much. I'm not emotionally linked to it, contrary to what happens with the fight against ISIS, cause I don't like any of both sides. I have quite a distaste for both Ukraine and Russia. Sure there are some nice people on both countries and some just normal people, but it's quite accurate to say that those are 2 of the most racist, xenophobic, homophobic and ultra-nationalist societies in the world. This said, Ukraine is clearly for me the worst of the 2 in this conflict. First the far-right led a coup d'etat, gaining high positions in the government and giving carte blanche to their paramilitary units to attack any left-leaning person in the country. Then when the population in the East, terrified before the prospect of the grandchildren of Stepan Bandera attacking and repressing anyone suspect of not being a "true Ukrainian Patriot" decided to organise their own government and self-defense units, the Ukrainian government started a crazy and brutal campaign of bombardments against the civil population, performing a real attempt of ethnic cleansing (kill or expel all the population with links to Russia so that the area can be repopulated with true Ukrainians). While the Ukrainian side is infected with neonazis, the pro-Russian side has used an antifascist rhetoric that probably is not much real, but at least they are playing to look like good guys, while the others are demonstrating to be scum. So yes, even when I think that some of the pro-Russians are brainless thugs and bandits, I'm more on that side than on the nazi-ridden Ukrainian side.

This antifascist rhetoric has been quite successful among part of the Spanish far-left, that has seen in this conflict a revival of the Spanish Civil War. Groups of "support to the Antifascist Ukraine" have appeared in different places (Asturies among them), and a bunch of idealist communist guys have even decided to risk their lives joining the rebel forces. Some of them have had an important role in the media, trying to bring to the main public a new (and more real though probably also a bit distorted) version of the conflict, very different from the pro-Ukrainian version given by the main media and governments, that denies the nazi component in the Ukrainian government, hides the murders of civilians and legitimises a government coming out of a putsch.

Now the Spanish government has decided to show off its most repressive face again by arresting these 8 Spanish guys that risked their lives in eastern Ukraine. They've done nothing to arrest the Ukrainian fascists that the Ukrainian embassy sent to crash different acts of support to the Donbass (demonstrations, talks...) in different points of Spain. Somehow, even when Ukraine is a bankrupted country, I guess Spanish big companies plan to do big business there (well, yes, poor country = low cost silent hard workers), so the Spanish government needs to pay homage to a government that is bombing and massacring its own people. The charges they are planning against these guys are senseless, but one of them has particularly puzzled me (and much more cause they say it could involve the biggest punishment): "putting at risk the neutrality of Spain in the conflict".

So, the actions of Spanish citizens in their private lives are considered as the will of the whole country? So, if tomorrow, let's say that I burn a flag of Saudi Arabia, Qatar or any other country sponsoring crimes against Humanity, would this create a conflict between Spain and these to IslamoFascist states? Wow, this is purely demented...

I think these guys did not act wisely. First I think they could have chosen a more clear cause to risk their lives for, because as I've said I have doubts about these pro-Russian rebels, I'm not sure how many of them are really antifascists (though these people that have been there do not seem disappointed at all with them, just the contrary, so maybe they are not so dubious as I thought). Then they should have kept a low profile (at least 5 of them could be identified just by taking a look into youtube... so well, those hard months of investigations carried out by the "intelligence services" that the media claims are quite a joke...), but as part of their aim was to show the world what was happening, this was not so easy. I find the International Brigades that are being formed to fight in Rojava against the ISIS monster, a much more secure bet in terms of being for sure helping the righteous ones. Anyway, it's easy to give advice to others about their revolutions while sitting in front of my computer and eating a delicious French "Craquant Chocolat".. so I better close this post expressing my support for these Spanish guys and prompting people to take part in any demonstrations or gatherings in their support. Bon courage! NO PASARAN