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Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
Thanks for any understanding and support. I know it's difficult to understand. And things will change. They always change.
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"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
THE KEY TO HELPING DARFUR must be the UN! That's simply obvious, right? Why, we must persuade the French, because that is the key to internationalization, which is the cure for all problems; it removes American arrogance and imperialism from the equation, gets us contributions from around the world, and global support. Who could object besides idiotic neo-conservatives? France, after all, only operates out of noble and altruistic motives.
France opposes UN Sudan sanctions Refugee from Darfur The humanitarian situation is worsening
France says it does not support US plans for international sanctions on Sudan if violence continues in Darfur.
The UN Security Council is debating a US draft resolution imposing sanctions on militias accused of "ethnic cleansing" against non-Arabs.
The US also hinted that the sanctions could be extended to the government.
Meanwhile, African leaders have urged Khartoum to stop bombing Darfur and say their proposed 300-strong force will have a mandate to protect civilians.
"In Darfur, it would be better to help the Sudanese get over the crisis so their country is pacified rather than sanctions which would push them back to their misdeeds of old," junior Foreign Minister Renaud Muselier told French radio.
France led opposition to US moves at the UN over Iraq. As was the case in Iraq, France also has significant oil interests in Sudan.
Mr Muselier also dismissed claims of "ethnic cleansing" or genocide in Darfur.
"I firmly believe it is a civil war and as they are little villages of 30, 40, 50, there is nothing easier than for a few armed horsemen to burn things down, to kill the men and drive out the women," he said.
Chairman of the African Union Commission Alpha Oumar Konare said that the 300 troops would arrive in Sudan by the end of July.
He said they would intervene if they saw civilians being killed.
Analysts say that at least 15,000 troops would be needed to bring peace to the vast area of Darfur.
The BBC's Barnaby Phillips says the African Union is determined to be taken seriously as a body devoted to solving the continent's problems, but is severely hampered by a lack of resources.
African leaders say they hope richer countries will also do their bit to help.
A draft UN resolution proposed by the US envisages travel and arms sanctions on Janjaweed.
A previous Security Council statement on Darfur failed to criticise Khartoum directly, after resistance from Pakistan and China, instead urging cooperation and the disarming of the Janjaweed.
Council members disagree over how long the Sudanese government should be given to resolve the situation itself, says the BBC's Stephen Gibbs in New York.
The 'Janjaweed' militia are accused of ethnic cleansing Some countries, including Pakistan, say that Sudan should be allowed sufficient time to demonstrate that it means what it says.
But the US remains sceptical over Sudan's commitment to act.
The US draft resolution threatens to escalate the sanctions within 30 days if results are not evident.
But diplomats hope that tough talking will force Sudan to act, our correspondent says.
Meanwhile, in more literal nibbling around the edges:
Chadian Radio said President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Idriss Deby of Chad had agreed to set up joint patrols along the border.
They will also set up a commission to assess the damage caused by raids into Chad by pro-Khartoum Arab militiamen.
Earlier, President Bashir said the pro-government militias were no longer operating in western Darfur, although a BBC correspondent in the region says this is not the view of local people, who speak of continuing atrocities at their hands.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees are estimated to have fled to Chad from Darfur.
Correspondents say the Chadian government is anxious to prevent the unrest spreading across the border too.
Occasional clashes have been reported between Chadian troops and Sudanese militiamen.
Paul A. Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman and head of an inquiry into the oil-for-food program in Iraq, sat waiting his turn to brief reporters one recent morning as a United Nations spokesman recited the daily litany of field reports from the world's most blighted spots.
"Wow," he said, looking up in surprise. "I'm really impressed by the range of activities of this organization."
His comment reflected the fact that closely observed subjects like the oil-for-food scandal, General Assembly resolutions on the Middle East or Security Council debates over Iraq can screen out the broader but less eye-catching involvement of the United Nations in places that others neglect.
It is in those places that Jan Egeland, the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator and under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, can be found.
It was he who first sounded the alarm on the present situation in the Darfur region of Sudan. Arab militias there have been killing black Muslim villagers, polluting water and destroying crops. Boyish-looking with a shock of chestnut hair, a Nordic outdoorsman's spring in his step and the methodical delivery of a graduate student taking his orals, Mr. Egeland, a 46-year-old Norwegian, is an improbable doomsayer.
Yet he regularly returns to United Nations headquarters from his trips to conflict zones with unflinching testimony of full-scale villainy and an appeal to conscience that in effect holds the world accountable for not halting the barbarity, in blunt terms not commonly heard in the corridors of diplomacy.
On Wednesday, he told the members of the Security Council that financing for his plan to feed and shelter 1.2 million displaced people in Darfur was only at 40 percent, and he warned them of the stark consequences of failing to raise the full amount. "We will not have enough food, and people will starve," he said. "Now is the moment of truth."
He also unapologetically deals with the groups considered responsible for these attacks, trekking through jungles to meet guerrilla leaders and paramilitary gunmen in places like Colombia and Sri Lanka. "As a humanitarian worker and especially as a peace broker, you learn that if you are there to help the victims from the depths of hell, you have to speak to the devil," he said.
"You have to shake a lot of hands with people who you know that they know that one day you will actually campaign to put them in jail. But at the moment that you are actually there to strike a pragmatic deal with them, you talk with them - to save lives."
The greatest challenge facing aid workers today is avoiding armed attacks and bureaucratic restrictions aimed at keeping them from reaching people. Mr. Egeland said that in the 20 conflicts around the world, access by aid groups to the victims is either denied or obstructed, and that 10 million people who need basic means for survival are beyond contact.
He said he was gratified that the world had woken up to the crisis in Darfur, but worried about other places that escape notice.
"I don't know why one place gets attention and another not," he said. "It's like a lottery, where there are 50 victimized groups always trying to get the winning ticket, and they play every night and they lose every night. I myself have said that the biggest race against the clock is Darfur, but in terms of numbers of people displaced, there are already more in Uganda and the eastern Congo."
His trade has become a sophisticated one, he said, with the essential tools being experience, planning and professionalism. "You aren't allowed to be amateurish if you are in the game of saving lives,'' he said. "One phrase that has stayed with me since the time I joined the Red Cross as an aid worker was that the one human right that the poor and the vulnerable should have at the very least is to be protected from incompetence."
MR. Egeland said that the United Nations relief operation with its participating private aid organizations had become a highly efficient network and that he could now field an emergency team within 24 hours anywhere in the world and quickly have it dispensing food, water, sanitation, shelter, health care and human rights protection.
"What we lack, though, is the corresponding ethical and moral revolution," he said. "We are ahead of the technical revolution now logistically. But in terms of the moral climate in which we operate, we are still in the medieval ages."
In the 1980's he wrote a book called "Impotent Superpower - Potent Small State" in which he portrayed Norway, which devotes the highest percentage of its money to development of any country in the world, as a "moral entrepreneur." His hypothesis was that in human rights, the effectiveness of a superpower is overrated and the potential of the small state is underrated.
He said if he were writing such a book today, he would still celebrate the power of the small state, but he would recognize the need to have the backing of the superpower.
"Norway is very quick and bold and entrepreneurial in international work, and that is why it is playing such a role in conflict areas and in so much humanitarian work," he said.
"But it has to be said that the superpower is totally needed for things to work. If the European Union and the U.S. ignore something, we're just lost."
Something not to be forgotten.
Can there be hakamah for good? Music, pro and anti-war has often had a profound effect.
Before they head out to battle, the militiamen who have been rampaging through the Darfur region in Sudan sit down together on straw mats and listen to songs of war.
Until recently, Fatima Mohamed Sanusi was one of those who used her melodious voice to stir up ferocity in the Arab militiamen. She is a hakamah, a traditional Sudanese singer, and war songs are just a small part of a repertory that includes songs of love, mourning and celebration.
But there has been plenty of fighting lately in this harsh area near the border with Chad, and Ms. Sanusi, like so many other hakamah, has been belting out war song after war song.
Making up the lyrics as she goes along, she has sung of bravery and strength. She has sung of the need to stick up for the tribe. She has sung of the courageousness of past generations.
Her songs, and those of other hakamah, have had their intended effect.
The Arab militias, full of pride and fury, have driven more than one million black Africans from their homes since early 2003, causing a crisis for civilians that the United Nations says is without parallel anywhere in the world.
The fighting is partly a result of a rivalry over resources between groups of Muslims in Darfur. The Arabs are nomads who have long competed for land with black African farmers, also Muslim.
A rebel movement started last year by black Africans here brought the situation to a boil. The rebels say black residents of Darfur have been marginalized by the federal government in Khartoum, which is dominated by Arabs.
Eager to crush the rebels, government soldiers have joined forces with the Arab militias, which are known as Janjaweed. The result has been fierce fighting that has left Darfur in tatters. Most of the victims have been black African villagers caught in the cross-fire.
After so much bloodshed, Ms. Sanusi and some of the other hakamah in Darfur say they have been wishing they could take back their songs. Mostly elderly women, hakamah play an essential role in maintaining the traditions of Sudan's many Arab tribes. They are regarded as wise women who have special insight into the world.
Their change of heart was not accidental though.
In an effort to calm tensions here, the Peace Studies Center at the University of Nyala recently invited Ms. Sanusi and 29 other hakamah to a special two-day workshop for influential community leaders. There were lectures on the history of the conflict and pleas to the hakamah to use their considerable power for good.
Initially, organizers of the workshop said, the hakamah denied that they were to blame for the violence. But as the discussions progressed, one of the hakamah eventually broke down in tears and acknowledged her role in the fighting.
By the end, all the participants agreed that they could do far more than they had been doing to spread nonviolent messages in their songs.
"They are very respected," said Ashwag Elnour, director of the government-financed peace center. "People listen to their songs and follow what they say."
Ms. Sanusi, now well into her 70's, said that "when I was very small, I took care of the cows," and that the training to become a hakamah "began back then."
She learned to sing and dance, waving her hair in the air and gyrating her neck. As she grew, she polished her ability to come up with poetry on the fly, singing words to help babies enter the world, to honor those who had died and to mark community celebrations.
Eventually, after years of training, community elders tapped Ms. Sanusi as a full-fledged hakamah.
She now rewards generosity, bravery and other acts of virtue with songs of praise. Dishonorable acts are denounced through lyrics that send shame to the perpetrators and their kin.
Hakamah are more than poets and singers. They are community judges, of sorts, admired and feared by those who join them around the straw mat.
The songs of the hakamah reach every tribe member's ears, and who would not want one's name lauded in lyrics that float from the throat of the hakamah into the desert night?
"My authority in the tribe is indirect," said Ms. Sanusi, her weathered face peering out of a long yellow robe decorated with brown flowers. "I sit in the tribe and watch the people. If someone does something wrong, I say a poem about it. I change his attitude. If someone is not generous, if he keeps all his money to himself, I'll say something. If someone is not brave in war, I'll say something about him."
These days, however, Ms. Sanusi and the other hakamah who attended the peace workshop devote much of their attention to one topic.
Ms. Sanusi and four other hakamah from South Darfur gave a demonstration the other day. They sat on a straw mat outside the peace center in Nyala, all dressed in bright multicolored robes. Their fingers and toes were tattooed with elaborate designs. It was their voices, though, that were most arresting.
Singing and chanting in Arabic, one after another they showed how hakamah can sing as persuasively about peace as they can of war.
"May the children grow with no fighting in their lives," sang Shara Muhammad Farah-Aldoor.
"What happened to you, Sudan?" sang out another, Zaida Hamad Jabro. "We mourn the deaths. We long for an end to war."
Where have all the young men gone? Long time passing Where have all the young men gone? Long time ago Where have all the young men gone? Gone for soldiers every one When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?