You can’t just start the clock on 9/11 and forget 50 years of unjust oppressive Western foreign policies in the Middle East.

Medhi Hasan

Thank God someone finally said this. I’m sick of mentioning that Western imperialism in the Middle East fuels more terrorism than religion or anything else only for people to respond “They attacked us first!”

In 1953 the UK & the U.S. staged a coup of the democratically elected leader of Iran and installed a dictator who was more to their liking. Today they uses ‘humanitarian intervention’ as justification for its wars yet continues to support brutal dictators (such as in Saudi Arabia) where it suits them better to do so. The illegal Iraq war devasted the country and has left it more succeptible to terrorism than ever before. Palestine has been occupied for decades. The list of imperial Western policies in the Middle East could go on and on and there’s no end in sight to the meddling.

9/11 was not only only a result religious extremism and don’t believe the old lie - "they hate our freedoms” - even for a fucking second.Terrorism is often politically motivated and anyone who is serious about preventing it had better take some fucking notice of this fact.

Sister Ramona Africa, the only adult survivor, speaks on the May 13, 1985 Philadelphia police terror-bombing of the MOVE family house:

They bombed us [on May 13, 1985] because of our unrelenting fight for our family members, known as the MOVE 9, who have been in prison unjustly going on thirty-two years now, as a result of the August 8th, 1978 police attack on MOVE. I just wanted to make that clear. 

In terms of the bombing, after being attacked the way we were, first with four deluge hoses by the fire department and then tons of tear gas, and then being shot at—the police admit to shooting over 10,000 rounds of bullets at us in the first ninety minutes—there was a lull. You know, it was quiet for a little bit. And then, without any warning at all, two members of the Philadelphia Police Department’s bomb squad got in a Pennsylvania state police helicopter and flew over our home and dropped a satchel containing C4, a powerful military explosive that no municipal police department has. They had to get it from the federal government, from the FBI. And without any announcement or warning or anything, they dropped that bomb on the roof of our home. 

Now, at that point, we didn’t know exactly what they had done. We heard the loud explosion. The house kind of shook. But it never entered my mind that they dropped a bomb on us. But the bomb did in fact ignite a fire. And not long after that, it got very, very hot in the house, and the smoke was getting thicker. At first we thought it was tear gas. But as it got thicker, it became clear that this wasn’t tear gas, that this was something else. And then we could hear the trees outside of our house crackling and realized that our home was on fire. And we immediately tried to get our children, our animals, our dogs and cats, and ourselves out of that blazing inferno. 

The adults were hollering out that we’re coming out, we’re bringing the children out. The children were hollering that they were coming out, that we were bringing them out. And we know that the police heard us. But the instant, the very instant, that we were visible to them, you know, trying to come out, they immediately opened fire. We were met with a barrage of police gunfire. And you could see it hitting all around us, all around the house. And it forced us back in to that blazing inferno, several times. And finally, you know, you’re in a position where either you choke to death and burn alive or you possibly are shot to death. 

So we continued to try to get out of that house. And I got out. I got Birdie out. You could hear the shots hitting all around us. A cop grabbed Birdie, took him into custody, grabbed me, they threw me down on the ground and handcuffed, you know, me behind me, in the back of me. And I just knew that everybody else had gotten out. They were right behind me. And I didn’t find out until police took me to the homicide unit of the police administration building that there were no other survivors. 

Bin Laden’s message was quite clear: The attacks were carried out in response to blatant and ongoing U.S. violations of the laws of war, together with almost every aspect of international public and humanitarian law. The matter, as he pointed out, is of no mere academic concern: over the past decade well upwards of a half million Iraqi children and at least a million of their adult counterparts have died as the result of pal-pably criminal U.S. actions against their country. United Nations officials have resigned in protest, denouncing what one of them, Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, was widely quoted in the press describing as America’s “policy of deliberate genocide” against the people of Iraq…

Reaction among average Americans to revelations of the horror perpetrated in their name has been to all intents and purposes nonexistent. Since it can hardly be argued that the public was “uninformed” about the genocide in Iraq, its lack of response can only be seen as devolving upon a condition of collective ignorance—that is, of having information but ignoring it because it is considered inconsequential — as profound as it must be intolerable to those whose children lie murdered en masse. How, under these conditions, are the victims to claim the attention necessary to impress upon their tormentors the fact that they, too, count for something, that they are of consequence, that in effect they will no longer accept the lot of being slaughtered, conveniently out of sight and mind or with impunity?

…There is but one route out of this particular box. It traces the trajectory of an obligation inherent in the citizens of each country to do whatever is necessary to ensure that their government complies with the requirements of international law. Enunciated as part of the postwar Nuremberg Doctrine with the Germans in mind, the principle applies no less to Americans. Yet it is precisely this civic/human responsibility upon which Americans have defaulted so conspicuously in the aggregate of their willful ignorance concerning the ghastly toll exacted from Iraq.

The question reverts thus to whether, under the conditions at hand, there might have been some “more appropriate means” by which the victims of U.S. aggression might have conveyed the consequences of their agony. Posing it may best be left to the moral cretins who, having done so much to foment the situation in the first place, now revile and seek to exterminate the messengers, demanding “defense” against the truth of their statement. For the rest of us, the method of communication employed was what it was, a mere pinprick when measured against the carnage America so routinely inflicts on others, more akin to a wake-up call than anything else.

In retrospect it will be seen that September 11, 2001, marked the point at which the U.S. was put on notice that business-as-usual would no longer prevail: if Americans wish ever again to be secure from the ravages of terrorism, their top priority must at long last become that of preventing their own government from instigating and participating in it; if, in substance, they desire safety for their own children, they will first have to “stop killing other peoples babies.”

I wish I could just click my fingers and make all the :re chapters come out in one instant.


chapter 10
chapter 11
chapter 15
chapter 20
Kaneki the badass
Kaneki and the squad
Hide gets back
Amon gets back
All truths are revealed
Final showdown
Kaneki and Touka get together
Everyone lives happily ever after
Only happy chapters from now on

Hell yeaaah

Sorry I forgot one more thing


Known as al-Qaeda and now the Islamic State, modern jihadism was invented by US and Britain, assisted by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The original aim was to use and develop an Islamic fundamentalism that had barely existed in much of the Arab world in order to undermine pan-Arab movements and secular governments. By the 1980s, this had become a weapon to destroy the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The CIA called it Operation Cyclone; and a cyclone it turned out to be, with its unleashed fury blowing back in the faces of its creators. The attacks of 9/11 and in London in July, 2005 were the result of this blowback, as were the recent, gruesome murders of the American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
—  John Pilger, ‘Breaking the last taboo - Gaza and the threat of world war’
Fuck the United States AND its imperialism. The legacy of 9/11 is one that shows you can dominate and murder people only so long before they find a way, by ANY means necessary, to fight back. If that makes you uncomfortable or squeamish, take a Halliburton bomb to your family's house and your kid's forehead and then come talk to me.

I grew up in a small Texas city, where my white peers called me a monkey. They told me that Indians grow our body hair earlier because we are closer to animals. I grew my first mustache at 11; I did not smile in photographs for years after. My desire to shave was not about wanting to become a man. It was about wanting to become white.

Now, at age 22, I sit in my Brooklyn apartment reading a New York Post story about how men in this city are paying up to $8,500 to obtain facial hair transplants to make their beards appear thicker. The article doesn’t mention race. But the first image that comes to mind is the white boys who taunted me growing up. Then, my dad told me, “One day they are going to be jealous of you.” I refused to believe him until now.

My generation inherited both our beards and our brownness in a post-9/11 era. We experienced a silent war — one that did not make it on the news — in the classrooms, the subways, the airports where we found ourselves under a new type of scrutiny. The brown on our skin: a new flavor of lethal. Its beard, even more of a threat. This is a story for all of the brown boys who shaved, who plucked, who went under laser and knife to emerge American.

Every brown boy has a story about the hair. I promise. When he trusts you, ask him about his first shave.

My father finally let me shave after eighth grade. I remember the date he gave me his old electric razor — the kind that could still cut you — vividly. July 4. Independence Day. The day I bled for my country. The day I looked at my face in the mirror and finally became an American.

Now white boys in Brooklyn are sewing hair onto their faces in the same city where brown boys still have scars from ripping it off. I want to talk about what it means for these boys to be adorned with words like “beautiful” when their brown counterparts are shackled onto other words like “terrorism.” What it says about whiteness. About me and all of the other brown boys fumbling into ourselves in a world where our bodies are policed to the point of being alien to ourselves.

When I read about white men getting beard transplants, part of me appreciates how explicit this transaction is. I understand it the same way I am slowly understanding how my brown body becomes cool here. How such sites of fear and trauma — skin, a beard — become “cool” when associated with the white kind of body. “Cool” is a word that I am still struggling to fit inside of, like a hand-me-down shirt that will never quite fit. In Brooklyn, white people think I can do no wrong: If I dress down, they call me “normcore”; if I dress up, they tell me I’m intimidating; if I dress in Indian clothing, they tell me that I am trendy. I am used to the eyes, the nod, the jolt — the constant feeling of white people scrutinizing me. But here it feels different. No longer am I the brown boy they want to bash, I am the brown boy they want to befriend.

Or sleep with. White gay men send me messages telling me that they have always “wanted to be with a real man.” And when I decide to heed their advances, it inevitably comes up. They tell me how exotic my hairy body is. How masculine. How rugged. These words scatter on my body like the hair on my chest, blessings — or curses — I never asked for.

In Brooklyn, all of the parts of myself that I grew up ashamed of — my skin, its hair; my culture, its history; my religion, its gods — have now suddenly become hip. When I do not shave for the week, white men tell me how jealous they are of my beard — how they wish theirs could grow as thick. When I wear my mustache just like all the Indian uncles I grew up around, they tell me how they’ve always wanted to grow a goatee but it just doesn’t seem connect like mine. Their dismay is an opportunity to touch my face.

But what they quite can’t wrap their mustache curls around is the fact that the moment I walk out of their bar, the world — and its police — see me otherwise. That not all of us have the privilege to embrace difference for the sake of transgression. That some of us have had difference stuffed in our throats and inscribed on our skin.

People want the rugged authenticity of being different without actually being punished for it — and I understand why they do it. I recognize the insecurity. Just a decade ago, my peers were flinging words like “terrorist” and “faggot” to me in the halls of our high school. Now I’m “trendy” and “fierce.” Either assessment rings lonely and desperate. How they are tremendously afraid of being insignificant. How the fantasy of race that they have projected on my body makes me have some mystic power they are jealous of. They are afraid of boring. They are afraid of being nothing. They are in a constant state of falling — grasping for all of the bindis, beards, dashikis, gauges that they hold on to to feel relevant. And what hurts the most is that when they do it, it magically becomes beautiful. It becomes a beard worth $8,500 and not a beard worth five bullets. When the white body wears our scars, they finally become beautiful.

Every brown boy has a story about the hair. Pluck it out of him. He’s used to it.


The Rule of Three and Five

Ever noticed how prominent the number three (and 3x3) is in the Fire Nation?

We see it in on the number of layers the Fire Lord’s clothes have, the rings of fire on the ancient murals, the number of single statues in the temple, the points on the flame symbol, the pointy bits on roofs, the pointy bits on chairs, the throne room, and I am sure if you looked even more closely, many more places. 

Now why did the animators run with sets of three/nine?

The number nine had a special meaning in Imperial China. 

Nine is the largest one digit number, thus the most important i.e. symbolizing the emperor. Further, nine is the number most frequently associated with dragons i.e. a dragon 117 (9x13) scales - 81 (9x9) Yang and 36 (9x4) Yin. This is also why there are nine forms of the dragon and the dragon has nine offspring.

The number nine also features majorly in the design of the Forbidden City, not only because it represents the emperor, but also because it is an auspicious number because nine (九) it is a homophone for ‘longlasting’  (久) i.e. wishing the emperor health and a long rule.

The number five stands for the five elements, as well as, you guessed it, dragons.

The number 5 (五, Pinyin: wŭ)is associated with the five elements (Water, Fire, Earth, Wood, and Metal) in Chinese philosophy, and in turn was historically associated with the Emperor of China. For example, the Tiananmen gate, being the main thoroughfare to the Forbidden City, has five arches.

This lucky number earns its status partly from being a conjugation of the number two (yin) and three(yang).

The five traditional Chinese blessings: Wealth, Happiness, Longevity, Luck and Prosperity.

The Chinese zodiac symbol for number five is the Chinese Dragon and its corresponding direction in Feng Shui is East/Southeast.

So, it is not really a surprise that in A:TLA’s sinocentric universe the animators decided to further link the Fire Lord and the dragons together with these numerical and visual puns. 

And before I hear cries of: COINCIDENCE!!! For one, that would be heaps of coincidence. But also keep in mind that a lot of the animators are Korean i.e. are familiar with these number games and on top of that that the creators and writers did tons of research to get things right. 

The term ‘stability’ has a technical meaning in the discourse on international affairs: domination by the United States. Thus no eyebrows are raised when James Chace, former editor of Foreign Affairs, explains that in order to achieve ‘stability’ in Chile in 1973, it was necessary to ‘destabilize’ the country - by overthrowing the elected government of President Salvador Allende and installing the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, which proceeded to slaughter and torture with abandon and to set up a terror network that helped install similar regimes elsewhere, with U.S. backing, in the interest of stability and security.

Noam Chomsky

Making the Future, page 226

Imperial No. 9

east and west coast oysters


heirloom blue corn grits & shrimp aged cheddar, ny state maple jus, slow poached egg


seared scallops summer corn, heirloom tomatoes, romano beans


Dinner: Imperial No. 9 (soho: 9 Crosby St)

The decor at Imperial No. 9 reminded me a lot of the decor at ABC Kitchen. The service was ok, my biggest complaint was that the server suggested everything to be shared, but everything came out portioned for one person. The food was over-priced,  tasted good but not worth really worth it…the dessert was actually my favorite part of the meal.