Thursday, 30 June 2011

Getting technical

Above, a Breuget Bizerte flying boat, and below, the SS Kaiser Wilhelm II. These are working drawings for one of my current projects.

The Bizerte was built for the French Navy in the 1930s. After the fall of France, the Luftwaffe flew captured Bizertes in German colours.

The SS Kaiser Wilhelm II was a German passenger steamer built in 1903. She spent most of the first world war docked in New York, until the US entered the war and siezed the ship for use as a troop carrier, renaming her Agamemnon. There is a striking panorama photo here of Agamemnon arriving in Boston in 1919, bringing troops home from Europe.

Monday, 27 June 2011


Once again, I’m lost in a maze of my own devising.

Cake for breakfast

Here’s a cake that a reader sent me this morning, made for her daughter’s third birthday. A good way to start the day! That’s Sadie the Air Mail Pilot flying the cake, from my book of the same name.

Now for a taste - I’ll put the coffee on.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

For Maddy

Peggy’s card for Maddy’s seventh birthday.

Friday, 24 June 2011


Peggy drawing one of her toys again.

The law is for the protection of the people

On EA WorldView last monday, a post marking the second anniversary of a bloody day of protests in Iran, the 20th of June 2009:
Iran Flashback Video: "Neda: An Iranian Martyr" (PBS/BBC)

Two years ago today, dozens of protesters were killed when Iranian security forces cracked down on public marches challenging the legitimacy of the 2009 Presidential election.

One of those slain was a philosophy student named Neda Agha Soltan.

This is the PBS/BBC documentary, from November 2009, on her death and on the post-election conflict in Iran.

June at Tehran Bureau, Hamid Farokhina writes of a day to remember:
Every generation in Iran seems to have key events etched in its collective memory, an ensemble of milestone dates and shared experiences that define its national identity and sense of selfhood.

An older generation had September 1941 and the 1953 coup. The following generation had February 1979. And now the new generation has June 12 and June 15 - the dates, respectively, of the 2009 presidential election and the peaceful march by more than a million people on Azadi Square that followed. The latter, in particular, seems to resonate deeply with many. For it was on that day when millions of mostly young people came out to the streets for the first time in their lives to make a keenly felt statement to themselves and the world at large. And since the march went unmolested for its first few hours, it gave an extra sense of liberation and catharsis both to its participants and those who heard about the remarkable event. For a few rare hours, millions of Iranians actually felt as if they owned their own country.

Unfortunately, though, as day gave way to dusk and as the armed enforcers of the status quo came out onto the streets, violent attacks against peaceful protesters broke out with a ferocity that left dozens killed and injured, along with hundreds arrested.

I happened to be there from the very start and witnessed much that transpired - including organized attacks against the protesters - firsthand.
Read the rest.

Also, Pedestrian on the anniversary of the stolen election and its brutal aftermath: Searching...

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran gives a thorough account of current abuses by the regime. From their site:
New Report on Iran’s Prison Deaths Raises Concern for the Lives of 18 Prisoners of Conscience on Hunger Strike
Iran’s pattern of prison abuse and neglect demonstrates that the lives of prisoners of conscience are at risk, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today, with the publication of a new report, Death in Prison: No One Held Accountable.


The Persian-language report documents the deaths of 17 political prisoners and prisoners of conscience who have died while in custody in Iranian prisons since 2003, allegedly due to torture, medical neglect, and misconduct of prison authorities. (English Summary)

Six of the prisoners were detained and died after the 2009 election and the ensuing crackdown on government critics and political opponents.


The Campaign’s report comes out five days after twelve prominent prisoners of conscience commenced a hunger strike protesting the recent deaths of two prisoners, women’s rights activist Haleh Sahabi, and dissident journalist, Hoda Saber. On 23 of June, six more prominent prisoners of conscience have joined the protest bring the number of hunger striking prisoners to eighteen. These men are journalist Kayvan Samimi, journalist Issa Saharkhiz, journalist Massoud Bastani, political activist Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, human rights defender Jafar Eghdami, and student activist Ali Ajami.

Sahabi died from a heart attack while on furlough, when security forces raided the funeral of her father. Saber died of a heart attack while on a hunger strike. Family members and other prisoners have alleged his death was linked to physical abuse and the failure of prison officials to transfer him to a hospital in a timely manner.
Read the rest.

ADDED: From The Guardian, Iran giving out condoms for criminals to rape us, say jailed activists.

Now 2009’s events in Iran are replayed in Syria. Accusations that Iranian forces have been joining the Syrian regime in its murderous attacks on protesters have increased over the past two weeks, and are continuing.

Today is the 100th day since the current protests in Syria began, and the daily updates at EA WorldView have more on Syria than I can digest. The video below is from friday of last week, showing Syrian forces firing on protesters in the Khalidiya neighbourhood of Homs.


The law is for the protection of the people.

Libya: the regime under siege

Today BBC News has a story headlined Libya rebels ‘in secret talks’ with Tripoli underground, quoting Alamin Belhaj of the National Transitional Council (NTC) in Benghazi on what he describes as extensive nightly communications with an extensive network in Tripoli planning for an uprising in the capital.

Earlier in the week, reported Maj. Gen. Abd-al-Fattah Yunis al-Ubaydi, chief-of-staff of Libya’s liberation army, as saying “ Freedom Fighters in Tripoli have formed secret cells and are undertaking spectacular operations,” and going on to call on them not to repeat the destruction of property that happened after the uprising in Benghazi.

One consequence of attacks on regime buildings in Benghazi was the loss of potential evidence of human rights abuses. In Misrata, the Guardian reported, uprising forces have been working to collect and preserve such evidence of war crimes.

Two other stories relevant to the siege of Tripoli, both via one from Reuters, an analysis of NATO strategy seeing it as designed to create conditions for an uprising in Tripoli, and one from The Economist, on how rebels are putting pressure on the regime’s fuel supplies.

Despite some opponents of intervention clinging to their precious pessimism, more serious observers in the governments of Russia and China have seen for some time which way the wind blows, and continue to realign accordingly.

Given all this, the effect of negative noises from kitsch Left characters like Germaine Greer (comment via Bob) and Cynthia McKinney will be inconsequential for Libya’s future; instead the damage they do is to the cause of an enlightened Left at home.

Finally, as a counter to the offensive comments by Ms Greer, Gita Sahgal earlier this month on rape allegations in Libya.

ADDED: In the interview above, Gita Sahgal sensibly caveats her comments with “it hasn’t been proved yet” and speaks more widely on the topic of organised rape as a weapon in war. Now her former employers at Amnesty International, as well as Human Rights Watch, are reported as expressing doubt on allegations of organised rape in Libya.

ADDED: In the New York Times, Rebels Arm Tripoli Guerillas and Cut Resources to Capital.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Free stick with every bird

The birds and sticks that I drew for issue 5 of Nobrow magazine are now available on wrapping paper, worth the price for the gold ink alone.

You can also wrap your desktop, Twitter page, or blog background, with my birds using this image and setting it to tile, or repeat, or whatever the word is, free for non-commercial use.

An earlier post on the birds and sticks is here.

Paper doll

Friday, 17 June 2011

The Story of Two Tone

Jerry Dammers and friends were serving up good music to a happy mob in the ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall in London tonight, while earlier in the day BBC News marked the 30th anniversary of the release of his song Ghost Town with a good article by Jon Kelly.

For more on Mr Dammers, The Specials, and the Two Tone label, listen to the excellent BBC radio documentary from a few years back, The Story of Two Tone, courtesy of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. The MP3 links may not work first time as the server tends to be a bit slow, but persevere, the files are there!

Picking up the pieces

On the bridge of the Salazie, wrecked in a storm off Madagascar, 1912.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

A rather large crab

A room in Chippenham Road, 1991

Kjetil I Berge on paper and in person,
drawn and snapped by Susanna Jacobs.

Monday, 6 June 2011

The arrest of Ratko Mladic

A lot has been written on the recent arrest and extradition of Ratko Mladic. Below are just a few links. I will add to the list later.

Sarah Franco  of Café Turco writes from Kozarac in Bosnia on the muted reaction of survivors, and of a commemoration at the concentration camp of Trnopolje.

She writes, “there isn’t even a memorial plaque in Trnopolje acknowledging that non-Serbs were imprisoned there, mistreated there, raped there, and then all of those who were not killed there were sent other camps, or to exile. In this place, where a school was turned into a concentration camp and then once again into a school, there is, however, a monument to the fallen soldiers of Trnopolje. Yes, a memorial to Mladic’s soldiers stands there, through which the children pass everyday on their way to school.”

Marko Attila Hoare writes a substantial post on the wider picture of the Serbian military and political control of their campaign of genocide in Croatia and Bosnia, “The trial of Ratko Mladic will not mean that justice has been served.”

Harry’s Place points to four articles by Francis Wheen from 1998-2000 on some of the positions held by those on the left and right in the UK during the conflict. The articles were on Three of the articles can also be found here, here, and here.

Journeyman writes “If the trial of Mladic is to achieve anything it could be to show that ethnic hatred is not something far away - either in history books or ‘developing’ countries,” and would like to see schoolchildren learn about the Balkan wars alongside the Holocaust, with Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazde as recommended reading. An earlier mention of the book on this blog here.

James Bloodworth of Obliged to Offend writes “Isn’t it time for an apology, Mr Chomsky?” on Noam Chomsky’s support and praise for two deniers of the genocidal Srebrenica massacre, Diana Johnstone and Edward Herman.