Saturday, February 22, 2003


Raven will not be making any comments on this page today.

This morning I was washing my clothes, as usual, in the kitchen sink. I went out to hang the clothes on the line and noticed that a small, presumably female raven was sitting on the wall. Later she was sitting on a limb of the lime tree.

I went back inside to cook my breakfast.

Suddenly a racket began, and I peeked out to see Raven screeching and flapping his wings at another male, who was flapping back at him.

Uh, Rave. Is this the behavior of an evolved bird?

Raven and the other male were engaged in a Mexican standoff. Then they circled the base of the lime tree. Then they flapped their wings again. The male who was trying to horn in on Raven's relationship slowly backed off and flew away.

Raven flew up to the limb next to the female's perch.

You know something, Rave? I see that bellicosity again and you can take it out of my garden to another Bush....

Friday, February 21, 2003


“Did you see this in the Common Dreams site?” Raven is making sounds which he thinks pass for chuckling, but which sound more like the horselaugh to me.

***”This was Sydney, in all its wonderful diversity and stripes. Right in front of an elderly and well-heeled group carrying a banner saying North Shore Against the War was a group of young Iraqi-Australians with a flag, and in front them some students with the banner "Somewhere in Texas, a Village Is Missing Its Idiot". (Published Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003 by the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)”***

I assume they mean Midland, Texas, Rave.

“Quite the geographer, aren’t you. Did you just pull that name out of a hat?”

Not exactly. I have a friend in Santa Fe who is from the same oiltown in Texas as Baby Bush. Midland.

“Sounds suspiciously like Middle Earth to me....”

You a Tolkien fan, Rave? I know you can’t be talking about movies, as there are no cinemas anywhere near here and I have no tv and vcr. Or have you been peeking in other people’s windows?

Raven gives me a look that would fry eggs. “Look, one of the few benefits of being a bird is that you can look into people’s houses and nobody thinks anything about it. You would not believe what some people get up to....”

That’s diversity, Rave. As a progressive, you should be championing their right to get up to whatever they want in the privacy of their own homes.

“Don’t stuff me into the fascist barrel with Bush and his buddies. Since you won’t buy a tv watching the antics of other species is the only mindless entertainment I have access to.” Raven returns to reading aloud from Common Dreams:

***”We believe that of all the lessons the tragedy of September 11 demonstrated, the most salient is that just one person with enough white-hot hate in him can become a weapon of mass destruction all on his own.”***

A little context, please, Rave. Whom are they talking about: Osama Bin Laden or Bush?

“Osama Bin Laden probably had less to do with 9/11 than Bush did. It’s obvious that Bush is a weapon of mass destruction. Listen to this:

***”We finally believe that of all the wars and potential wars of our time, the distinguishing feature of this one is that it is driven by political leadership with little backing from their populations. And in New York, London, Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Melbourne, Adelaide and Armidale last weekend, a large tranche of those populations had the will to say, "NO! Stop this madness, now, while there is still time." And our only hope now is that there really is still time.”***

“Right on!” Raven shoots his wings skyward.

Tolkien? Right on? Rave, you’re looking a little tie-dyed around the edges.

“I am a bird for all seasons....”

Thursday, February 20, 2003


Raven and I have been trying to read today’s La Jornada in Internet:

Incrementa EU campaƱa para que la ONU lo autorice a atacar (The US increases the campaign for the UN to authorize them to attack)

Niega el Departamento de Estado que enviara a Aznar para lograr que Fox apoye planes de Bush (US State Department denies it sent Aznar to get Fox to support Bush’s plans)

I wanted to know what Raven thought about the US trying to rally support for its “cause”.

“Is that a rhetorical question?” Raven gave me a sidelong glance and turned his eyes back to the computer screen.

No, actually, it wasn’t.

“In that case, I will answer you.” Raven gave me his full attention now. “If you remember, a couple of days ago we were talking about evolution. Not in general terms, but specifically in regard to your species.”

Yes, I remember. You said that we had not evolved since the Stone Age.

“Something like that, yes. Your species’ name implies the ability to reason. An ability which you have not, lamentably, attributed to other species. If we were observing this behavior among world leaders in, let’s say, a pack of wolves, what would you say about it?”

I suppose I would say that they were ganging up on a weaker animal who was no longer able to fight back because he was old or sick.

“Okay. Now think about if that attitude of ganging up on and eliminating a weaker animal would be considered moral if you apply it to humans, to your species.” Raven looked at me particularly sternly.

I didn’t think it would be, no.

“So, what do members of your species do to justify actions which are essentially immoral?”

I guess we would try to get a consensus. If everybody participates in the action, there is no one to raise a big stink about its immorality. Even though it is.

“So the US didn’t even have to send Aznar to put the arm on Fox to change Mexico’s vote in the Security Council to pro-war. Aznar could have done it on his own to cover his own bad conscience because he is part of the pack. The result is the same.”

Raven seems to know a lot about animals, especially our species....

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


Raven has been busy: Sitting on the edge of the roof of the house declaiming his theories, laughing at the animals and people below, singing his personal Ode to Joy.

He and I have entered the text of Sun Tzu’s Art of War to see if there are applications for the world in this moment.

Raven is humming as he reads.

Doesn’t he think this is a little complicated to digest at one sitting?

“I thought we agreed on the process: Enter the waterfall from where you are now.” Raven points a talon to this blog page.

Rave, can we open the other window now?

***Warfare is the Way of deception. Therefore, if able, appear unable, if active, appear not active, if near, appear far, if far, appear near. If they have advantage, entice them; if they are confused, take them, if they are substantial, prepare for them, if they are strong, avoid them, if they are angry, disturb them, if they are humble, make them haughty, if they are relaxed, toil them, if they are united, separate them. Attack where they are not prepared, go out to where they do not expect. This specialized warfare leads to victory, and may not be transmitted beforehand. ***

“This implies that there are two entities. Do you see, at this moment, an entity that is the enemy of the US and who is poised to go to war to defeat your country?”

That could be just about anybody, Rave. Bush is not even able to make allies of his allies.

“Ha ha. If you are going to continue with your flippant comments, you can read this window with somebody else.”

Raven is oversensitive. I see his point. Everything that the US is doing to announce their “war” indicates that it is not a war. At least not in Sun Tzu’s lexicon.

***No nation has ever benefited from protracted warfare. Therefore, if one is not fully cognizant of the dangers inherent in doing battle, one cannot fully know the benefits of doing battle. ***

So. Deja vu all over again. Vietnam, right?

“Could be. Those guys think they’ll be in an out of Bagdad in a flash. But since when have they convinced us they are right about anything?”

***Therefore I say: One who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be in danger in a hundred battles. One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes win, sometimes lose. One who does not know the enemy and does not know himself will be in danger in every battle. ***

Does anybody really know anybody else these days?

“This is not one of those New Age self-improvement books.” Raven is becoming impatient. “If you’re going to know the enemy, you first need to figure out who the enemy is. First the enemy was Osama Bin Laden. Then suddenly it was Saddam Hussein. Now there’s guy in North Korea who’s a voice crying in the wilderness wanting to be recognized.”


“Something stinks here. Either the US government has no idea who its enemy is, or it plans to make war against everybody.”

Sounds bad, Rave. But let’s read the rest of the text?

“The stink of confusion and subterfuge is making me hungry. I am going to scavenge for awhile. You read the rest of the text.”

Raven flies off.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003


This past Sunday’s LA JORNADA SEMANAL dedicated most of its space to articles about
war. In one article, “De la guerra y sus definiciones”, the historian Lewis Mumford was quoted as defining war as “the religion of death”, capable of making real the secret desires of “the paranoiacs and sadists that a society in disintegration necessarily produces.”

Mumford’s definition is radically different from that of Clausewitz, who argued that “war is the continuation of politics by others means.” “Good Cop” Colin Powell has impunely quoted Clausewitz, and he is not the only one who has expected us to believe him. As if shoehorning war into the parameters of political process somehow makes it a legitimate action, even a civic obligation.

“Any fool”, claims Raven, “can see that war is precisely the opposite of politics, not its continuation.”

Even a bird brain, right?

Raven chewed thoughtfully on a dead leaf, and leveled me one of his slingshot gazes: “Sometimes you are not wildly funny, you know. Have you seen any massive formations of birds running bombing missions around here lately?”

I was not wildly inclined to argue with him, either, but could not help but point out that our small fishing village in southern Mexico is not of acute strategic importance.

“For birds, it is. But we’re not shooting each other out of the skies to get control of all the fish.
Yet you people run around calling yourself civilized, the most evolved species, etcetera.”

What is your point, Rave?

“Being at the top of the food chain doesn’t mean you’re civilized. I don’t see any evolutionary process in your species.”

Well, maybe not. We have been waging war for millennia.

“In fact,” Raven concluded, “you are the same cavemen as you were in prehistory. Only your clubs have evolved into “intelligent” weapons.

You’re forgetting about culture, Rave.

“Culture doesn’t mean a damn to you people. It’s just something more to impose on other people. Fidel Castro was right when he said Mexican children know more about Mickey Mouse than about Miguel Hidalgo.”

But having a culture doesn’t always mean implementing cultural imperialism.

“Let’s put it this way. When you idiots start waging your “cultural” conflicts with nuclear weapons, the only species likely to come out with its culture intact is the cockroach.”

Even a bird brain....