The Arab Spring, remember? Egyptians protested the Mubarak regime only to get a new one with al-Sisi. Perhaps the moment was lost. Al-Sisi’s problem was the support for the Muslim Brotherhood within the Egyptian population. In a free election they might have gained control so he set about to crush them. Democracy has to be earned as well as the rule of law, and these concepts have never been institutionalized in Egypt. You cannot simply hand democracy to a country and expect it to flourish. Freedom is not free. Now al-Sisi is trying to eliminate the last bastion of the free press in Egypt, Mada Masr in Cairo. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that Egypt is among the leading countries in jailing journalists. Read: “Police Raid Egypt’s Last Independent News Outlet” – WSJ (11/25/19). Opportunity lost it seems for the goal of the Arab Spring in Egypt. We can only hope that it is not too late. Revolutions have a life of their own as demonstrated in the French Revolution. L’Ancien Regime was overthrown only to institute Napoleon. Photo for this blog is: “Egyptians Protest in Tahrir“, Cairo, Egypt (July 12, 2011). Photo essay by Joseph Mayton for DPI.
My two favorite actors. Hard to pick one over the other, but only in Hollywood could this happen. In “Heat” (1995) Pacino kills De Niro while in “Righteous Kill” (2008) De Niro returns the favor and kills Pacino. In the real world life is quite different. In the real world the tragedy remains a tragedy: “Homicide on Collins Avenue“; in Miami Beach, Florida (December 14, 1972).
So said Raymond Babbitt played by Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man (1988). He was correct if you only are concerned with Qantas in the jetliner age. Qantas has just completed a test run from New York to Sydney in 19 hours 16 minutes. So for Raymond it will not take as long to get to Australia so as to get to Los Angeles to be with his brother Charlie and see Fernando Valenzuela pitch for the Dodgers.
The dream of one day a free Cuba remains strong on Long Island. “Cuba Libre“; West Babylon, N. Y. (October 6, 2019).
I enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1968. Four days after taking my last final exam at City College (CCNY) I began my military service on January 29, 1968, one day before the beginning of the Tet Offensive in South Vietnam. How’s that for timing? During training you had some sense of the war, but it was still far away. When orders came down I was given a choice of assignments in either Korea or Greenland. Greenland would have been the safer and smarter choice, but I guess that I was not that smart.
We have discussed this issue several times in the past. Wall’s don’t work. From the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall people have been able to pass through, under, over or around walls if they have been determined enough. Three thousand years ago and throughout much of antiquity the siege tower has been employed on the battlefield as the way to scale a wall. The film Kingdom of Heaven (2005) has been acclaimed as historically accurate. This film recreated the siege of Jerusalem by Saladin and his army in 1187 A. D. near the end of the film. Siege Towers are used to scale the walls although the outcome of the battle between the Crusaders and Saladin’s army turns on the use of trebuchets and vastly outnumbered Crusaders defenders.
As I view DPI’s “Border Wall Construction” (2019) taken by David Barak, I cannot help but wonder what the world reaction would be if Central Americans began building siege towers on the southern side of the wall. Seems plausible as we are not talking about building pyramids out of massive stones hauled from a quarry hundreds of miles away through the desert. Rather they could be assembled from wood brought from the interior. Can you imagine the reaction to seeing siege towers under construction? The propaganda value would be immense. The towers would not have to used to scale the wall, rather their mere presence would send an incredible message to the rest of the world. This is one message that I would never want to see. But our immigration policies become more bizarre by the day. This is not the America that I went to serve in the military. Do you see what is happening? The screws are being tightened from refugees fleeing crime, death and natural disasters to potentially legal immigrants who are not deemed to be welcomed. The Wall Street Journal (9/12/19) reported on immigration in Japan with respect to foreign workers. Foreign workers can only live in Japan if they are seen as necessary to help the economy for a relatively short period. They cannot enter Japan with their families. In addition they are drilled in Japanese customs and language. They are given only one opportunity to pass an exam at the end of their training. Failure means a return to their home country. For hundreds of years Japan has had a most restrictive immigration policy. Is this where we are heading in the U. S.?
If you accept restrictions on what you always assumed were your freedoms they will slowly be taken away. This is how it is done. Slowly, very slowly until one day you wake up and realize that it is too late.
Nuking hurricanes? They can’t be serious. Between now and the 2020 election is actually a more dangerous time for the United States than in the past 30 months as the writing is on the wall. As reality sets in the Administration becomes more unhinged with each passing day. Heck, tornadoes are dangerous too so maybe we could also nuke ’em. So what if a tornado happens to be over Oklahoma City or Kansas City at the time.
The photo for this blog “Damaged Trailer Park“, Ft; Myers, Florida (September 10, 1960) was as a result of Hurricane Donna. It is hurricane season once again for those of us who live along the Atlantic seaboard. Stay safe.
In the film “Amistad” (2007) the Lomboko slave fortress located in modern day Sierra Leone played a major role. It was not the only trading post used by slavers in those times. Shown in this blog is “The Slave Fortress: Elmina Castle” (July 2009). It is located in the city of Elmina, Ghana. Worldwide visitors come to pay homage and to lay wreaths. Note the depiction of a skull in the upper left corner of the photo. Visitors are entering the dungeons where slaves were held. Let us not forget the role played by Jamestown in 1619 on this 400th anniversary. For a more complete understanding of the history and the role played by Elmina Castle see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmina_Castle.
The “Babylon Super Storm – August 22, 2019“. Those who lived through it had never seen anything like it on Long Island. I have been living here for over 46 years and survived several serious hurricanes witnessing destruction and loss of electric power for days. Nothing compared to the fright which this storm brought. It came in the night between nine and ten P. M. The house shook. All of the windows began to rattle and there was heavy rain, lightning and thunder and the wind. Everyone that I have interviewed swore we were hit by a tornado despite the weather reports of something called “straight line winds”. A super cell that descends quickly from the upper atmosphere seemingly out of nowhere. The hardest hit areas were in West and North Babylon. Crews from out of state are here restoring electricity and helping with the clean up. Like a tornado the damage was selective. Some patio chairs were overturned at my home while a neighbor had an enormous tree nearly crush his house. Cars that were unfortunate to be parked under some trees were totaled and in some cases caught fire.
DPI is pleased to welcome our newest contributing photojournalist, David Barak. David is based in San Diego, California. Besides his passion for photojournalism he proficient in studio & portrait photography, graphic design, illustration, news reporting and editing and film & video production and editing. His website is: www.davidbarak.com. His first contribution to DPI is “Border Wall Construction“; Border Field State Park, California (June 21, 2019) from his “Border Zone” essay.