Sunday, January 28, 2007

Macro mode

I discovered the macro mode on my camera...

Emperor - The Death of Kings -

A book by Conn Iggulden. It's the second by him I read after "The Mosaic of Shadows"... Wait a second... No, that one was written by Tom Harper. Funny, I had the impression the two books were written by the same person.
Anyway, I liked both. Now that I think of it, "The Death of Kings" lacks a central story, as opposed to "The Mosaic of Shadows". The former tells a part of Julius Caesar's life, mentioning several unrelated successive battles, while the latter is focused on one particular event, the siege of Byzantium by a "friendly" allied army.
C. Iggulden describes the life of Romans - civilians, politicians and soldiers - in an precise and accurate way.
A good read if you are interested in ancient Rome and Caesar.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saddam Hussein's execution: What a waste!

The execution of Saddam in Iraq surprised me a bit. I don't understand why it was so urgent to kill him. There are quite a few other cases that should have been investigated. I don't believe it was the Americans who speeded up the process. I read in the Herald Tribune that the American administration did all they could to prevent that execution, arguing it was barely legal. Indeed, Iraq's president approval was needed to go ahead with the execution. Talabani did not give a clear approval, instead of that he refrained from objecting.

It feels like the Shia wanted to show their power. The unofficial video of the execution shows clearly who the executioners were serving. Al Sadr and his followers have now taken over Iraq. I am shocked to see that the upcoming investigation is targeted at who recorded the scene using a mobile phone, rather than addressing the behaviour of the government towards the Sunni part of the population. Showing how the execution really went, in contrast to what the official video shows, was a brave act that is probably more of a milestone towards democracy than the execution itself.
I think Shias taking over the government is what Sunnis (in Iraq and in neighbouring countries) are so upset about, not so much that it was done during the Eid.

Keeping Saddam alive and judging him in an international court for his invasion of Iran would have been (1) fair and (2) a gesture towards Iran, thus demonstrating the West is not an enemy of the Iranian people, as Iran's propaganda would have their people believe.