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Termination of the ceasefire

They have started up again. I was almost sure that the temporary ceasefire would become permanent; despite all odds, I guess. When I started my afternoon walk there were the booms of missile interceptions; then, on the way home, I looked up to see more. That was quite a big round. Although it was far away, I crouched down next to a tree, because, who knows, there have been stories of shrapnel falling.

But all this is nothing compared to the mass murder taking place in Gaza, probably as I write these lines. By now, I think there is nothing that Israel could do that would give me a worse opinion of it. To all would-be Khalistans, Kurdistans, Catalunias, Euscadis and Islamic caliphates, I say there is no place in the world for more homogeneous homelands. All countries should belong to all of their inhabitants, whatever their religion, language, culture or ethnic affiliation they may be. We don’t need more countries based on race or religion or other traits. They all end up discriminating against, or oppressing, or exterminating, some of their inhabitants.  No modern country, even outliers like Japan, is 100% “pure”.

And yet who am I to say: it’s not as if anybody is going to ask my opinion. Neither am a loyal resident citizen of any state. In addition, even when states declare themselves to be multicultural, this does not always help them to be less discriminatory.  The European countries are, to a greater or a lesser degree, secular, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural.  But all have populations that feel alienated, oppressed or discriminated against on the basis of their group identity.

As usual, in my thoughts, I start from the place of hating what Israel is doing, and end with the understanding that all nations are doing terrible things. Indeed, Israel could not be murdering Palestinians without international support. The support comes from those nations which, on the face of it, seem more moral. I end by wondering if I’m an anarchist; but, at a time when the world has such serious problems to address, in a super-organized way, nation states seem to be necessary.  We simply don’t have time to hope for an alternative.

So I go back to the position in which I already find myself: an individual trying to live according to the dharma, to live frugally and morally. I could join movements for change, but activism isn’t my strength, and this is a time of life for retirement and other pursuits.

Photos from Ibiza

In August – September 2023 we visited a friend in Ibiza. These are some photos of our time there.

Photos from Ibiza, summer 2023


Over the weekend I began to learn more about LightZone, which is one of the best photo editing programs available to Linux users (it’s also cross-platform).  

Lightzone edit screen

I have previously tended to use DarkTable more often.  LightZone is easier to learn, but is still quite a powerful non-destructive editor.  It handles RAW formats of many cameras, has built in styles, and seems to have a more logical workflow.  As in DarkTable or GIMP, one can select parts of an image to work on separately.  

Years ago, LightZone was a commercial program, but its source was later released on GitHub. Since then it has been maintained by a couple of developers who have not always had enough time to give to the project.  However recently it has been showing some new development.  The version has been bumped up from 4.5.2 (available as a flatpak to 5.0 beta, which is available in a Debian depository.  Yesterday I filed bug reports on two issues, and already today a new beta was released, which resolves the more substantive issue. Thanks to Masahiro Kitagawa, the current main developer, for this quick action.  The ability to reach out to and communicate with developers is the best aspect of using open source software.  

Additional resources for LightZone:

YouTube channel


Get French

Entrance to the French Institute of Istanbul. A man is standing before the doorway, dressed smartly in a pink suit and tie. Another, bearded, man is seated, in what appears to be religious garb; his clothes and cap are bright red. Another man, also seated, is partly hidden by a woman passing by on the street. The photo has been retouched so that she will appear in monochrome.
French Institute, Istanbul
Step right up my friends
Life will no longer be dull
Once you got some French

Venez les amis
la vie ne sera plus terne
Avec le francais


From July to September 2023 there were no additions to this blog. There have been occasional short posts on social media, but not a lot there either. Going forward, we will see.

Farewell, Sinead, Shuhada

Farewell, Sinead, Shuhada.

I guess it should not be a surprise that she died so young, but nevertheless, I feel shocked and sad at the news. She was such an incredible combination of fragility, power, rawness and beauty. In this time of enormous fakery, there was nothing fake about her. Although she was a distant “star” and a celebrity, and it was difficult to keep track of her crazy meanderings through life, religion, mental illness, fame and notoriety, her music touched us on a personal level; it entered us deeply, and found the raw parts of ourselves. So losing her also feels like something of a personal loss – not just like the passing of another famous singer.

Photo of Sinead O Connor in the Irish Times obituary.


On my morning walk in the woods these machines are sometimes annoying, but with a shift in attitude it’s possible for them to turn them into a subject of interest. Now I wait for them.



At the film festival

outside the cinematheque - public area with people eating, drinking
movie poster for Banel & Adama

We saw two films this year:  A brighter tomorrow, of Nanni Moretti, and Banel & Adama, of Ramata-Toulaye Sy.  

Both are very good.  It was the festival’s 40th year, and I guess we have been going to it for most of those years, and usually seeing more films.  I used to pick them really carefully, but nowadays we just choose a couple according to whim or time that we are available.  

There’s still a festival atmosphere, despite the huge demonstrations.  Thousands of people had also walked up to Jerusalem earlier, in the heat of the day in the hope of preserving a semblance of democracy in this deeply divided country.

Cafe Flora

After the film, we passed through a contingent of demonstrators outside the PM’s house, on our way to Pizzeria Flora, where they have what must be the world’s finest vegan pizza.

The demonstration there passed peacefully. Just in case, a little out of sight on a side street there was a group of mounted cops, so that sitting there at the restaurant, with the demo going on and the men on horses in waiting, I felt like I was in that scene from Dr. Zhivago.

Scene from Dr. Zhivago, cossacks on horseback prior to massacre