Guns, bombs, and vegetables

Good god. The right-wing frontier watchdog group calling itself the Minuteman Project is planning to set up its lawn chairs along the US-Canada border in Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York for the month of October. When asked if patrollers would be packing, a spokesperson replied, “Whether they choose to arm themselves is an individual responsibility, an individual decision. Our responsibility is to make sure that if they are armed, they’re armed legally.” Somehow that doesn’t make me feel safer.

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I saw a very interesting film last week, The Battle of Algiers, which is based on the successful war of independence fought in Algeria against the French colonisers. This film is a classic and has been screened by everyone from the Weathermen to the Pentagon as a study of how no army can effectively occupy a land whose people who don’t want to be occupied. Among other things, it contains as succinct description of why someone would commit a suicide bombing as I’ve ever seen, in a journalist’s interview with a captured rebel leader:

Journalist: Don’t you think it’s a bit cowardly to use women’s baskets and handbags to carry explosive devices that kill so many innocent people?

Ben M’Hidi: And doesn’t it seem to you even more cowardly to drop napalm bombs on defenseless villages, so that there are a thousand times more innocent victims? Of course, if we had your airplanes it would be a lot easier for us. Give us your bombers, and you can have our women and their baskets.

I of course would much rather that nobody’s handbags have bombs in them, but they’ll be there in one guise or another for as long as they’re in other people’s airplanes, widespread official belief in a sort of twentieth-century version of the divine right of heads of state notwithstanding, and we’d all do well not to forget that.

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Despite the sheer quantity of all the aforementioned nonsense raging ceaselessly all about us, back here in the land of the lightly-armed, Shannon and myself spent almost the entirety of our waking hours Sunday preserving tomatoes. It was tiring, but worthwhile. The score: two bushels of roma tomatoes processed into 44 ℓ of canned tomato purée, and 3 ℓ of chopped yellow pear tomatoes from our garden plus an equivalent volume of sweet and cayenne peppers and a few other ingredients processed into 4¼ ℓ salsa. We still have another half bushel of yellow tomatoes and a half bushel of red peppers waiting for a forecasted spurt of energy later this evening. This should be enough to get us through most of the winter.