Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Most Memorable of Barack Obama's Inauguration Speech

This is perhaps the most inspiring speech I've ever heard an American president deliver. Among the most memorable quotes are the following:

"The world has changed, and we must change with it."

"In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: 'Let it be told to a future world , that in the depth of winter when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country alarmed at one common danger came forth to meet it.' America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words with hope and virtue. Let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us we carried forth this great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

I find it interesting that he compared our current state of affairs to the coldest of months, to the hardest of times, to a moment when the outcome of the American revolution was most in doubt; as if the country itself is crossing such a moment right now, as if the empire and the society it sustains is on the edge of collapse.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Whatever You Want to Hear

Today I was thinking about how, in many parts of the world, such as here in Los Angeles, the average person has the opportunity to communicate with more people in the world than ever was possible. and that it is a relatively new phenomenon. The quantity and diversity of people with which one can communicate is astonishing.

In the past there were brilliant and successful writers who came to share their ideas and their words with millions of people. Yet for a lot of them it took them a lifetime of work to accomplish it. Miguel Cervantes did not publish the first part of Don Quijote until he was 58 years old. Others had prodigious production. Supposedly Anton Chekhov had already written 500 short stories by the age of 28. In any case, they had to sell millions of books to accomplish it.

Today, its possible to communicate with millions of people without being a brilliant writer, without selling a single book, in a relatively short time. The person can even be from the lower class.

Besides words, photography, animation, and video are also powerful methods of communication. Why are people in Greenland watching a video about a North American rapper talking about revolution? Such questions come up after observing the statistics which Youtube provides people who upload videos.

The video which I have placed here takes place in an apartment with a single lady who is neither nude, nor taking her clothes off, nor dancing or singing. The original video in Spanish has received 78,726,144 views and is the 7th top video of all time on Youtube. This version has English subtitles.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

50 Years of Revolution: Fidel Castro Speaks to the Americas in English

In May 2003, ex-Cuban president Fidel Castro was in Argentina to attend the inauguration of the new Argentinean president, Nestor Kirchner. Just two months earlier, the United States had plunged itself into a world of intellectual darkness by pre-emptively and illegally invading Iraq. Against this backdrop, Fidel Castro delivered a 2 1/2 hour speech on the steps of the law school to thousands of Argentineans, yet the footage has the feeling as if he was speaking to the entire continental mass that comprises the Americas.

In these videos, 44 minutes have been excerpted and provided with translation so that people from the English speaking world have the opportunity to form a better criteria by which to judge one of the most historically important Americans(in this sense, someone from either of the Americas) of the 20th and 21st century.

After 50 years of revolution, 47 years of an embargo, hundreds of assassination plots, one failed invasion, and unquantifiable lies and slander by the United States government and American media outlets, the world faces the prospect of a crumbling American empire and a Cuban revolution that will survive it in the context of an increasingly independent and socialist Latin America. The multi-polar world is a reality.

By 2003, the beginnings of change had begun to manifest themselves, as Fidel Castro explains towards the end of his speech. In these 44 minutes, he discusses the Bush doctrine, education, health, immigration, the Cuban electoral system, mass media and communication, and neoliberal globalization. He even touches upon "an international economic crisis."

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