Earlier today, French artist Joann Sfar1I warmly recommend his series of graphic novels: The Rabbi’s Cat published a short series of drawings on the Terrorist attacks that took place in Paris. Because they sum up my feelings much better than any tricolour lighting or Twitter hashtag ever will, I took the liberty to embed them here with my own humble attempt at an English translation:
Category: Our Fucked up World
Today is the day we remember.
Japanese, Japan residents and pretty much anybody who has been exposed to images and testimonies of the astounding amount of death and destruction that befell the north of Japan a year ago to the day…
Today is also the day I must remember more than ever not to read a single foreign news site (particularly these enduring bastions of journalistic incompetence that have become French and German newspapers). Because I know that, even on this most symbolic day, they will not fail to make their front page on the largely unrelated and comparatively irrelevant aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident.
After all: why bother with the death of 15,000 people in some remote part of the world, when you can instead focus on a political issue that resonates with your local readership…
My previous post and the publicity around the name of Cristiano De Angelis have uncovered a staggering number of testimonials from people throughout Asia. All of whom without exception had negative (sometimes very negative) things to say about the man and his behaviour1As an aside, the fact that he was able to so easily slip from one person to the next and leave such a trail of universally negative experiences, without anybody successfully connecting the dots until now, raises some serious question about the safety mechanisms built into Couchsurfing..
To clearly show that my friend’s incident in Kyoto is not an isolated claim, I have taken the liberty to gather all sourced testimonials posted on CS threads or in the comments to my original blog post, and copy them below in chronological order. People (understandably) concerned about the credibility of my sole voice may want to look through these: while they may not fall under criminal law, they all paint an unambiguously negative portrait of a rude, untrustworthy, sexually aggressive and deceitful individual.
There is also a clear evolution: as he gets farther from home (and, presumably, from people who may recognise him and report his behaviour to his friends and family), Mr. De Angelis becomes increasingly rude and aggressive in his encounters.
Every single quote comes with a link to the source and to the poster’s public Couchsurfing profile (every single one of them have themselves flawless profiles, sometimes totaling hundreds of positive reviews from visitors):
Update: Looking for information about Cristiano de Angelis and the charges against him? please read this (probably far-from-exhaustive) long list of testimonies.
Update (Feb. 2016): Rather than taking a strong look in a mirror and reflect on his life choices, Mr. De Angelis has been spending a large amount of time and resources trying to make these pages disappear from the web (and somewhat succeeding). Good thing URLs can be changed.
Cristiano De Angelis is an Italian-Brazilian “professor” of economics who enjoys travelling.
Cristiano De Angelis is also a sociopathic sexual predator, who raped a 20-year-old woman in Kyoto, sexually assaulted at least one other person and generally behaved like a pathetic excuse for a human being toward all the people unlucky enough to cross his path during his travels through South-East Asia.
Between 20,000 and 30,000 men, women and children, dressed in their best Sunday clothes, many coming from the outer suburban slums where France crammed its growth-fueling immigrant workforce in the 60s, were marching peacefully toward the centre of the city, when municipal police forces charged into crowds, raiding isolated groups, firing on people and making good use of their wooden clubs, murdering dozens of unarmed Algerians: shot, beaten to death or thrown into the Seine river… Weeks later, swollen corpses of Algerian protesters were still being fished out of the river or found hung to trees in nearby forests.
While Fox News is busy repurposing Shibuya nightclubs into nuclear plants and Europeans are hoarding potassium iodide capsules, Muammar Gaddafi is leisurely clawing back Eastern Libya and killing hundreds, to the deafening sound of silence in foreign media. Unleashing unrestrained military force over his own people, he has successfully crushed his way to the gates of Benghazi and has made no secret1Although I cannot find back that news quote, I believe his own words were along the line of “going door-to-door, purging the region” and “enacting retribution”. of what awaits those that were foolish enough to think the West would help their fight for freedom and democracy.
Little did they know: the perspective of thousands killed at the hand of a lunatic dictator in a faraway middle-eastern country, however preventable, just doesn’t make for the same quality of frontpage fear-mongering as some good ol’ worldwide nuclear scare.
Next-day update: Turns out you can’t even count on fickle news outlets to stick to their sensationalistic headlines for more than a week… it only took a last-minute UN vote (after much waffling) and a few bomb raids on Tripoli, for Japan to be relegated to some tiny one-liner in a corner of the front-page. So apparently nuclear apocalypse just wasn’t so imminent after all.
Speaking at a London conference on Tuesday, Donal Byrne, chief executive of Corvil, a high-speed trading technology company, caused a ripple of audible incredulity throughout the room when he suggested that trading speeds could be reduced to picoseconds in the not too distant future.
Before you dismiss this as yet another unneeded example of what’s wrong with modern finance and how little actual value high-speed arbitrage brings to the market… consider for a moment: light travels by less than a millimeter in a picosecond! Hell, it does not even break a meter in a nanosecond…
Leaving aside petty issues of actual CPU speed and everything but the most basic signal transmission aspect, I think this grandiose prediction from some random finance schmuck, no doubt busy at work on the next global crisis, can only mean one thing:
Finance has finally toppled the laws of conventional physics and invented supraluminal speed travel!
Take that, Albert.
Last Tuesday, I was serendipitously told of a talk by Anna Baltzer in Yoshida campus. I remembered seeing her on the Daily Show a while back and was curious to hear her talk in more details about her experience and views on the current Middle East situation.
No point copy-pasting Anna’s bio, but the skinny is: as a Jewish-American grown up in the US and backpacking her way through North Africa and Asia, she came by herself to the conclusion that many of the views commonly held by her fellow countrymen and community members with regard to contemporary Israeli politics were perhaps overlooking a few teeny details… In particular: serious human right issues with the current treatment of Palestinians in Occupied Territories.
It is an understatement to say that the entire frame of Israel-related issues has long been overtaken by vociferous extremes. Increasingly weak attempts at launching reasonable, moderate discussions around the topic are bound to be drowned in the heady, simplistic rhetorical bullet points peddled on each side and gladly amplified by scores of well-intented moronic third parties.
Of course, for all the wishful thinking out there: Gaza is not some sort of plucky little nation bravely resisting a cruel barbaric invader. And Israel is not acting out of pure self-preservation to preserve its legitimate borders from impending invasions by neighbouring countries.
Israel is not the source of all oppression and abuse in Gaza. Gaza is currently ruled by a bunch of muslim extremists who have amply demonstrated their lack of concern for basic human rights and are not above propping up kids for their war, presumably because the adults are too busy stoning gays and impure women. Incidentally, hatred of gays and women: a point on which their conservative archenemies on the Israeli side seem to be in complete agreement.
Conversely, Israel has long slipped from its legitimate goal of ensuring its survival against hostile neighbours, toward appeasing a vocal ultra-orthodox minority, whose views on Arab-Israelis and their right to exist are only a couple degrees removed from what could be heard in the streets of 1930’s Berlin. It is no surprise that Israel has started alienating even its staunchest allies over the past decade: claiming to work toward peace while rushing to approve new settlements, like some schoolboy cramming as much as he can into his test sheet before the headmaster snatches it (or, for a more appropriate analogy: like victor nations of past World Wars, rushing to grab as much land as possible before calling in an armistice). There comes a point where no amount of denying the obvious through intellectual contortions can hide the fact that your policies are the exact opposite of what you claim them to be.
Nearly two decades ago, good ol’ Lisbeth the 2nd famously declared the year closing an annus horibilis…
In fact, 1992 was no particularly bad year unless you were a male heir to the throne of Britain with marital problems or minor royalty with a taste for topless frolicking…
In 1992, the world at large was not doing much worse than usual. Western Europe was entering a decade of economic prosperity, things were starting to look up on the eastern side and the US was taking a breather in between two Bushes. Bloody coups, genocides and paramilitary dictatorship seemed to be ever so slowly becoming less of a common occurrence in South America and Asia, and while Africa was not doing so great, one could at least hope that, with old age, an entire generation of Western-backed dictators would eventually come to pass. Not such a bad era for music either: in 1992, Nirvana had just released Nevermind and Black Eyed Peas had not yet been spawned from the darkest recess of stale junk pop marketing.
It is nigh-impossible for one person to give an objective appraisal for such a scale as the entire world, particularly without the hindsight of a couple decades: the year Sally broke your heart or you lost your pinkie to a freak juice-blending accident will always overshadow that earthquake where 10,000 people died in some remote country you have never heard of.
Yet, I cannot help but feel rather depressed by what seems to be happening in the world these days. And I am not talking about broad general issues and the no-doubt very fucked-up things in store for the future, 40ºC English Winter days included. I am talking about today’s factual state of the world.