Friday, March 13, 2009

Can anyone help me with this?

Now to go completely off-topic...
I've been thinking about my blog and how I can make it better.
Here's a couple of questions I need some answers to if you have a few minutes:

-What would you like to see on here?
-Do you want more pictures?
-How can I attract new readers? (not that I don't appreciate you guys, it would just be nice to attract a few more regulars)
-Should I move to Wordpress (just because it seems more flexible)?
-Any more advice you can give? Cause I'm open to anything :D

Thanks in advance and I really look forward to reading your comments!

Muchacho Enfermo

The price of a Life

I read this morning in the Globe and Mail about how a Canadian freelance journalist was kidnapped back in November and about how the Taliban were asking for a 375,000$ ransom in exchange for her life. The woman's name is Beverly Giesbrecht, also known as Khadija Abdul Qahaar, after converting to Islam. She publishes a pro-Islamic website, Jihad Unspun.

I'm not sure what the Canadian government is going to do, but I'm assuming we'll pay the ransom and get this woman back to West Vancouver as soon as possible. Regardless of her political views she is still a Canadian and should be treated with the same respect as any other Canadian would if he/she were in the situation.

The whole article has lead me to ask myself: who comes up with these dollar amounts and how are they evaluated? What is the price of a human life? How is a life valued?

Does the ransom amount depend on your job, your looks, your country of origin? Your countries willingness to pay? I'm not sure, but I find the idea of putting a price tag on a life something absolutely disgusting.

Just by typing the words TALIBAN and RANSOM into Google I came up with a few figures:
-Korea paid 4,000,000$ for the release of 21 hostages (190,476$ each)
-Korea also paid 20,000,000 for the release of 19 hostages (1,052,631$ each)
-Channel 4 (England) paid 150,000GPB (266,736$ CDN) for a hostage
-India paid 15,000,000INR (370,212$ CDN) for the release of a hostage

Newsweek claims that ransom demands is the second largest source of income for the Taliban. Which also brings me to the question of: how can we stop these kidnappings if we keep paying? And the even bigger question of: Are we willing to sacrifice people to end the cycle of extortion and kidnapping?

One the one hand, I hate the idea of paying a terrorist group any amount of money for any kind of reason. But I hate even more the idea that people are held captive and may die if we don't. It's a lose-lose situation. If someone dies, we lose. If we pay, we lose.

All I have to say is that I find this entire practice of kidnapping to be absolutely appalling and that anyone from any faith, Islam or anything else, should be punished by whatever god they believe in when judgment day comes.

Muchacho Enfermo

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My tax dollars at "work"

It seems that both the provincial and federal governments in Canada are trying really hard to waste my tax dollars again. I don't mean the new "stimulus website" the Conservatives put up or anything of the sort. I'm talking about the mudslinging that has been going on in the National Assembly (Quebec) and the House of Commons (Ottawa).

At the opening of of the National Assembly in Quebec City on Tuessday Pauline Marois and some of our other elected officials focused on trying to discredit Jean Charest by insulting him. He was called a liar and "Marois compared Mr. Charest to the Asian symbol of the three wise monkeys, saying the Premier was more like the “three foolish monkeys.One hides his eyes, the other his ears and the other his mouth. That sums-up very well the steps in Mr. Charest's behavior,” " As reported in the G&M.

In Ottawa things got so bad that the House Speaker ordered MPs to stop with their personal attacks following a verbal thrashing that Michael Ignatieff received from Conservatives MPs.

I can't think of a better way to waste our taxpayer dollars in a time of recession, or any other time, than the way they're being wasted now. We're not paying these MPs over 100,000$ per year to spew garbage at each other like a bunch of grade 3 kids. We're paying them to run the country, take care of what's important to Canadians and Quebecois, we're paying them to deal with the issues, not they're dislike for each other.

They really are acting like school children , probably even worse than kids, because kids do it for free and it always stops when the lunch lady steps in. But with government whatever isn't said on the house floor will be said to the media or on their blogs.

So to both level of government I want to say a heartfelt and very much deserved: Grow up. Don't make me send you all to bed without dinner. And if you start with this crap again, I'm taking away your TV privileges.

Muchacho Enfermo

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chapeau Blog Award for Burma, the blog of Buddhist monk Ashin Mettacara has reached the finalists of the Chapeau Blog Awards ( in the News category. Ashin’s blog has already won many awards including the Weblog award for Best Asian Blog in 2008.

Ashin’s blog and his website strive to bring to light the struggles of the Burmese and the cause of those around the world who seek freedom of thought, speech and expression. It comes as no surprise that his blog is up as a finalist for yet another prestigious award.

The support that was shown for Ashin and his blog in the 2008 Weblog awards was overwhelming and helped propel the visibility of his blog, his site and his struggle for the rights of his people. I have no doubt that once again his countrymen and supporters around the world will once again help his blog and the cause of the Burmese remain at the forefront.

In order to vote you simply need to hit the “Become a Voter” link on top of any category. Voting for the Chapeau Blog Awards will begin on April 14th 2008.

(original entry can be found here on

Muchacho Enfermo

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Interview with Claudia Cadelo (part 2)

After my first interview with Cuban blogger Claudia Cadelo was published on she was gracious enough to grant me a follow up interview.

I like this one even better than the first one, with much help from two very good friends, I feel that we have captured her exact words even better than the first one. I also feel that this interview, while containing only 7 questions, really hits home and really shows us what these bloggers go through on a daily basis.

***envíeme por correo electrónico si usted quiere la versión española original: muchachoenfermo (at) gmail (dot) com***

Click Here for the full interview.

Here's the first question in the interview.... just to give you all a little taste and hopefully encourage you to read the rest of it:

Muchacho Enfermo: Your first post was written on Yoani Sanchez’s blog (Generacion Y) it was called From Paranoia to a Scream), can you describe what you felt that day, when you made your decision to publish your name, your picture and your opinions?

Claudia Cadelo: The night before Gorki’s trial we decided to go to ask for support at the Tribuna Antimperialista where Pablo Milanés and a few guest musicians were holding a concert. We had a banner that simply read GORKI, so that the paranoids wouldn’t alert security. But they are paranoid by nature so they simply started to hit us and abducted Ciro (Guitar player of Porno Para Ricardo and La Babosa Azul) and a friend of mine.

The following day Gorki’s trial was to take place and we were all very tired and surrounded by security agents at the entrance of the court house; we had barely slept, Ciro was exhausted. At six o'clock in the afternoon they began the trial; it was supposed to be at 9 on the dot that morning but instead we spent the whole day there, outside the court house.

But the support that I felt around us was bigger than our exhaustion, after four days of sending emails and running around Havana there were, along with us, a few lads from the university, many friends, a lot of foreign press and even diplomats, so we were excited.

When they set Gorki free, I felt something so big that I could no longer stay quiet, I wanted to share my happiness and I asked Yoani Sánchez to publish a text of mine on her blog. She accepted; and this is the way it all happened.

Muchacho Enfermo

Monday, March 9, 2009

North Korea has no Seoul

The Associated Press today reported that North Korea put its troop on alert after cutting the last communications hotline to Seoul. They have threatened war on the South if the US shoots down a rocket it plans to use to send a "communication satellite" into space. I put the parentheses because both the US and Japan claim that launching this rocket would be a violation of an order not to launch ballistic missiles.

Some analysts claim that the measures taken by the North are simply a scam to get a direct dialogue going with the US and new president Obama. Pyongyang started cutting hotline communications with the South after the Seoul started cutting off aid to its northern communist neighbors.

One would think that "Dear Leader", as crackpot communist dictator Kim Jong Il likes to be called, would have something bigger in mind for his starving people than communication satellites. Seriously, his people are starving and rely almost entirely on foreign aid to feed themselves in even the most modest fashion. Considering he was unanimously re-elected this past weekend one would also think that the entire world would be calling this election a sham. But we're not, we're more concerned with cutting off aid and about a satellite launch.

The Korean war never officially ended in a peace treaty, only a simple cease-fire. Is this the straw that will break the camel's back? Will this act of idiocy on the part of Pyongyang bring war to his people?

Once would hope not. But when you're dealing with megalomaniacs one just never knows.

Muchacho Enfermo

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy International Woman's Day

It's March 8th, International Woman's Day or IWD. An official holiday in Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Georgia, Italy, Israel, Laos, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia.

A day where we look back on the value of women in our society, a day where we look back at their accomplishments and their struggles for equality. A day we call our mom, sisters, cousins, friends, colleagues, girlfriend or any other women we know and tell them how important they are to us and how thankful we are to have them around.

Not everywhere however, on Tazeen's blog she writes of banners that have appeared in her home town on Karachi, apparently posted by a group called "Women and Family Commission" there are three versions of these posted on her blog.

Here's her explanation of the banners:
"One of the banners says that the quota for women's employment is tantamount to increasing the number of children who will spend their days without their mother's attention. Another one says that 50% quota in jobs for women is infringement of men's rights and my personal favorite is the last one which says, employment is not the solution to the problems of women."

Screw that.
Anyone who reads that and doesn't realize that it's crap is out of their minds!

I'm glad Tazeen posted this because I never would have heard about it otherwise...
At least not in time to wish my female readers a very happy International Woman's Day!

Muchacho Enfermo