Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Yesterday evening, by chance, I spotted the beginning of a movie in TV. Considering the absolute vacuum that usually is on tv during the summer, so perfect that you could have physics experiments done in it, I followed, at first distractedly, then completely caught in the story narrated in a very strange ways, with continuous flashbacks following three different lines of a plot that obviously converges at a given point.

The movie was "21 grams" and I must admit I was wrong to skip it a few years ago, when it came out in the cinemas, just because the main star is Sean Penn, at the time also the leading character in "Dead Man Walking". "21 grams" is an astounding movie and Sean Penn should had got the Oscar for playing in it (he got it, instead, that year for the other movie) and Benicio del Toro, who, sadly, afterwards appeared only in the disappointing "Sin City", should had followed suit.

Totally unrelated to the movie, today I had another funny case of a catalyzed chain reaction the seeds of which had been laid way in the past:

* years ago, I had my best friend joining my students association, ELSA. With this student association he met, among others, a spanish guy, named Carlos and a croatian/german girl called Milka. Thanks to Alessandro and Carlos, years later, I met Susanne.

* years ago, with my association, I met Beatrix, my hungarian ex, and due to her Hungary had always a special place in my heart. Because of her, 2 years ago, I visited Budapest again with the excuse of an ELSA seminar and met or re-strengthened my links with several members of ELSA Budapest, among whom Dalma.

* this year, Susanne decided to study in Mainz. Milka is from Mainz and I asked her some help and directions, besides taking the opportunity to see her when we were in Mainz looking for an apartment. When we met in Mainz, she happened to mention that she was going to Budapest in September and would had liked some help. So it happened that I called Dalma who gladly offered her help and at the same time was just about to call me as she has a friend coming to study in Rome and needed some help. Now, if this friend would happen to be able to do something to help Alessandro for something, the chain would be closed.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Boring days

Playing a bit with the words of a Bruce Springsteen's song I used to like a lot once upon a time (when it had a special meaning for me, I could say:

Boring days well they'll pass you by
Boring days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Boring days, Boring days

Indeed not much noteworthy is happening. The week-end was uneventful, I managed to enjoy a day at the beach, but sunday was raining and so my total days spent at the beach for this year has stopped at the grand number of two. Two! Ah, the summers I used to spend months at our little seaside house... Anyway, at least I managed to read a lot, finishing Shogun and starting Gai-jin.

Monday and now tuesday rolled away quietly, with me carrying on with a job that I like less and less with the passing weeks and months and in the meanwhile trying to fix some things in the house.

Let's face the truth, I'm just waiting for friday when S. will be over for a whole 24 days, twice as much as the longest period we ever have been next to each other. If she will manage to catch her plane this time, obviously...

Friday, August 25, 2006

The rest of the week

And it's friday already, a stormy friday until 2 hours ago when for the first time I saw two walls of clouds coming from exactly opposite directions and crashing heads on, if so can be said of clouds, one against the other with massive lightnings and hail, but a full summer friday now, how and humid.

The week has been mostly uneventful on a personal level. I had the pleasure of hosting for an evening my best friend, returned from the States the same day I returned from Berlin, with whom I spent time eating, drinking (possibly too much) and narrating each other of the respective girlfriends only to stop at some point and stating with some sort of annoyance how soft the years made us, just to start again after some minutes. A pleasant evening, truly.

Then was the time of an happy hour with Liesbeth, who's once again facing the expiration of her "possibly but not certainly, and maybe not probably" renewable three-months contract with the international agency of the time, and once again wondering what to do, but with more optimism than usual. I think she'll get a renewal, again, but I can't but be disgusted by this way of hiring people that all the UN agencies have and that produces the effect of having a few people with incredible salaries and a wide array of fringe benefits and most of the work being done by volunteers and consultants paid nothing or close to nothing.

On another evening I had a long and pleasant talk with Bea who did show me her new website were she puts some of her artistic works on display. I hope she will not mind me placing the link here and showing, as my personal sign of admiration, a few of her works in this entry as well (click to enlarge). I also promised to go back looking among my stuff and the boxes still unopened after the move of last may for a nice watercolor of my seaside house. She painted that one a few years ago, when we were a couple, and I saved it so carefully to avoid it being damaged that obviously I can't find it anymore.

Anyway, the international situation is the same as usual, actually worse, I'm more and more disgusted at my government and my foreign minister above all of them and to forget about it all, and see my parents, who I haven't seen in weeks, I'm heading to the seaside house mentioned above for the week-end trying, after having read Caldwell's Tai Pan while in Germany, to finish Shogun now and then proceed with Gai-jin.

Have a good one everyone.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ich bin ein Berliner... nicht mehr.

Laziness. There's really no excuse but laziness on my part and the fact that blogging is like keeping a diary or going with a strict routine in training, if you skip a day or a week, then is very hard to get back on track. So that's why this entry, which should had written 3 hours after my "back home" note is actually coming out three day after. Ah, well.

So, where to start, where to start? A day by day account of the last two weeks would be boring and too long, so I will just give a few flashes, helped by a handful of pictures (which, as usual, you can click upon to enlarge) like the one left. What is it, you wonder? Well, Susanne and me celebrated one year together in mid July, while she was in the States and that was the sweet, in every way, surprise I got on my arrival in Berlin, a "1" cake prepared by her :) And I must say, it was very good... so much that at some point her dad got to it (when we already had eaten half of it and the "1" was gone) and the cake disappeared. Speaking of breakfast, I was once again reminded how different breakfasts are in Italy and in the rest of the world, especially the nordic countries (picture right).

While weather didn't really help much, Berlin was the city full of life it always has been when I've been there. After months I finally got back to the cinema to see "The Lake House" (good one) at the Sony Center after a debate about that and the last X-men which I hadn't managed to see last season. The debate was actually moot as on the way we stopped, got two tickets and got back to see that one as well which, in its own way, was pretty good as well.

The center point of my (always too short) vacation was solving Susanne's university problem. Due the extremely chaotic (and so un-german) system they have in applying to University, until the every last moment Freiburg and Mainz could had possibly be possible choices (to be noted, S. was also accepted by nearly every single university she had applied to, a couple of dozens). Eventually, after much reasoning, Mainz got the upper hand (and was a good thing, as we later found out) and so it was that on monday I did rent a car from Hertz and drove the 600 and something kilometers between Berlin and this nice city near Frankfurt.

The first priority was finding a place to live there, and I must say luck assisted us. The first place we saw supposedly should had been a student house, but was actually open also to some dubious characters, and consisted of micro-rooms with a kitchen corner and minuscule bathrooms. Honestly, I was a tad worried, especially by the kind of persons who could had been living there, and started wondering if all places we would had seen over the three days we had planned to stay in Mainz would had been like that one.

But I was pleasantly surprised. at the second attempt, almost by mistake, we found the perfect place in this "suburb" of Mainz, which is actually at a walking distance from the main train station of the city and the university and which looks as time had stopped in late XVIII century (cars apart). There, in a very peculiar "house", which was more like a series of small building laid around a spacious internal courtyard, we saw this small (but still twice the size of the previous one) single room apartment, with an independent entrance (if you exclude the shared courtyard), neatly divided in a "day" zone and a little, very nice, kitchen.

It seemed actually too good to be true, or so it seemed (enlarge and notice the expression of S.' face in the picture at the left) and in fact, as she went to ask the price, it sounded "expensive" to her. Now, "expensive" in this case meant that the whole thing costs less than a bed in a shared room in an apartment in Rome. So, while she kept talking with the people showing the house (an apparently very nice couple with a couple of kids and an immense dog, a schnauzer I think, called Faustus), looking around and taking picture, I took a meter and laid down the measures for the whole house for further reference. Later on, having left the house, we talked of the pro and con (with me, obviously, in favor of the place), a quick call home, and by the evening the whole thing had been settled.

The quick and fortunate solution of the housing problem left us with two days for walking around the city, visiting the university and the law faculty (housed in a somewhat anonymous modern building inside the campus and where I dropped an hello note in the mailbox of the local ELSA board), settling all the documents for S.' enrollment and all in a relaxed way, at least for our standards, which means at the end of it I was tired, but not exhausted. We even met Milka, an ELSA friend of mine who was born, studied law and now is working in Mainz, so that she could give her a bearing. Unfortunately, due a series of circumstances, we arrived almost half a hour late, with my supreme shame, but she was fantastic (and my karma punished me, as a waitress managed to spill a violet juice, cranberry maybe, over my brand new white blouse *sigh*).

Later that day, the last in Mainz, a jazz concert in the square behind the Cathedral of Mainz (a very interesting one, and catholic too, as the archbishop of Mainz was one of the elector princes of the Holy Roman Empire and some sort of plenipotentiary for the Pope on that side of the Alps) and a dinner in this very fashionable restaurant (another think I have to thank Milka for) in what was, in the middle age, the city's Lazaret. Here, the argumentative sides of Susanne and me, helped by a generous dose of wine and a couple of cocktails, got the better of us and we had a mighty discussion which was probably the worst we ever had and that was solved with the nicest walk I ever had in my life and that I will call from now on "the 10 steps walk". And no, I'm not going to give details on here.

The ride back to Berlin took almost a day, as I wasn't so much fit for driving another 600 kms and so we opted for a bus, which was leaving from Frankfurt very early in the morning, which means we had to wake up at dawn to take a regional train, deal with the most incompetent and confused concierge I ever faced at check out and the worst breakfast I ever had in a hotel.

The last couple of days were spent walking around Berlin and revisiting some of the places we had been the very first time I was in Berlin, almost exactly a year before, and redoing some of the things we had done that time, like lying in the grass along the Spree river. I also had the chance of doing some new things, like walking in the Holocaust memorial near the Brandenburg's door, and do something I had meant to do for a while, like visiting the Egyptian Museum (while the Pergamon was one of the very first things I did in Berlin the year before), which unfortunately turned out to be sort of disappointing, with the exception of the world famous Nefertiti's bust and a couple other things.

Given this was probably the last time in Berlin, at least for a long while, on saturday I carried out another of the things I always had meant to do when in Berlin and, for a reason or another, had never been able to, which was visiting Postdam and the prussian version of Versailles: Sains Souci. Now, I must say, I was unlucky, as the whole place that day was scheduled to close at 2 pm rather than the usual 6 due a series of events planned for the night in what is called "the night of the Castles" (when we asked how to take part of it, the guard smiled and said tickets had been sold out already last December...). Even like that, I at least managed to visit the whole main residence and found it... well, no offense, but the "we would had like to have Versailles, but money was what it was...). The incredible things was the tomb of Frederick the Great which I would had expected as a triumph of marbles and gold commemorating the extraordinary life of this king and that instead consist in the most simple marble tombstone, with just "Friedrich der Große" written on it, laid on the front side of Sans Souci, next to the burial places of his beloved greyhounds.

Quite surprisingly, is not the main residence to be the nicest building, at least for my taste. In the afternoon, in fact, not knowing what to do, we did walk around and found out that some areas of the park were still open. So It happened that i got to see the Orangerie , which I found, at least externally, much superior to the main "schloss" and the immensely picturesque path to the nice "Belvedere" (the one on the bottom-right). On the way from one to the other, we stopped at the very nice cafe' house inside the "Dragon House", a small pagoda-like building built in that period of the XVIII century when everything chinese was fancy.

And with that, the visit to Sans Souci was over and we got back to Berlin and prepared for the last evening that saw us walking around the Hackescher Markt and the courtyards full of restaurants and pubs of that area and eating first at this very nice place in one of those courtyards and then again in a restaurant doing its best to look like an american restaurants of the 50s/60s. Sunday was the day I had to come back and also the day of my first long talk with Susanne's father which was interesting, indeed. And so, after one of the worst flights I ever had, I was back in Rome where a taxi ride, which should had been of 17 euros and ended up costing 19 as "I've only one euro of change, I'm sorry" (yeah, right), took me home. What has all of this to do with the last picture? nothing, but isn't she cute? And mind you, she is gonna hate me for having published that, like any other picture with her inside... ah, women.

Monday, August 21, 2006

There and Back again

And so, I'm back. Have been 10 short days, full of things, new cities, new experiences, a book and much more and have been short, but that I said already. It has also been the last time I've been in Berlin, at least for a long while.

More to come later or tomorrow, as I settle down again in Rome.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The ordinary madness

There is nothing better than hear about a global plot to explode ten or so planes mid-air the day before you have to take a plane yourself. Really, it's so relaxing. Especially when your own father, a man usually level headed and absolutely impermeable to mass hysteria, calls you in the office wondering if you are really sure about wanting to take a plane the day after, that the day after it's the 11th (recurrent date for terrorist attacks) and that if there were some side cells around Europe, now that their plan has been discovered, they'd probably divert on secondary, probably less tightly controlled, airports like the one I'm departing from.

Madness. Which is becoming so usual, as I remember my mom's fear last year when my brother did fly to Egypt a few days after a devastating series of bombs at Sharm el Sheik and the reccomendations of my friends to be careful in London's subway months after the bombs of last July.

Then, you get emails from a mailing list where supposedly the majority of people are intelligent international professional working for UN agencies and where someone, from the country which suffered those metro bombs and that would had probably had more than 2.000 innocent civilian casualties within the coming hours had the police hadn't done its work, wrote, in order to condemn the operate of Americans (and I suppose Israelis too):

"The great allied leaders of the fight against fascism in World War II understood that success in the war effort also required success in winning the confidence and trust of the world. Franklin Delano Roosevelt led the United States into World War II on the basis of defending four freedoms, not just the freedom from fear, but also the freedoms of speech and belief and, crucially, the freedom from want. His stirring words resonate today:

In the future days, we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression - everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way - everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants - everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear, which, trasnslated into world terms, means a worldwide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor - anywhere in the world."

Madness, again. And so ordinary, as it comes more and more often that the thoughts of the past are quoted to demonstrate exactly the oposite point those thoughts were expressed for.

The funny thing, in fact, is that the writer sees these words as a prophetic condemn of the american/english commitment in middle east, while if you actually read it, they sound more like a posthumous endorsement of Bush's policy to bring such freedoms in places where they were definitely unheard of (Iraq and Afghanistan), even using force if necessary, exactly as Roosevelt did, after having pronounced those words, to Germany, Italy and Japan.

In fact, those words were pronounced in January 1941, one year before the americans got involved in WWII and forcefully brought democracy to Italy, Germany and Japan. I think Roosevelt would turn in his tomb to hear such words used to basically endorse a police of appeasement with the undemocratic regimes of today's' world, regimes were most, if not all, those freedoms are denied to the very root.

Anyway, supposing my plane will not explode mid-air on the way to Berlin or back, I will be leaving tomorrow and will be back in 10 days.

Now, given that, somehow, I doubt I shall have the chance of writing while there, to all my friends and casual or accidental reader one heatfelt wish: have some nice summer days!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Today, quite unexpectedly I must say, the discussion rose again over the VCN Discussions list about the Middle East crisis.

It started on an almost inoffensive way, with a post criticizing the MEMRI, developed in a discussion about bias in information and devolved once again to pretty uncivil behaviour, but at least it made me think of something: is it really important if the news are biased?

Probably as a logical consequence of my standing expressed here and here, I came to the conclusion that it is not, as long as the bias is known and advertised and the reader/watcher/listener is given the chance of balancing the new against the obvious position of the reporter and make a judgment call on it. What I find unacceptable and dangerous is media that present themselves as neutral while being far from it and thus denying the audience the freedom of a fair judgement. It's not the herald well dressed in a cause' colors to be dangerous, is the grey backstabber.

Another interesting point was raised by another participant (who in the past said "I am just sickened by any suggestion that the IDF has tried to do anything less than bomb Lebanon back to the Stone Age") who quoted the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary on line to suggest that "being biased means showing an unreasonable like or dislike for a person (or thing, I suppose), while a bias is a tendency to support someone or something in an unfair way, rather than by recourse to sound judgment".

But the point is: who decides what is unreasonable? What is unfair or what is sound judgment? I feel that while the problem on the actual field are of various and of complex nature, the problem of the ones trying to discuss on the situation from apart is the unwillingness or the inability of agreeing on a common set of values and rules. Actually, the unwillingness of many of exposing what they believe into and in an order of importance. Without such common framework, every behaviour, action and fact can be totally reasonable for one, and barbarous for the other and discussions end up in a sterile confrontations of thesis and antithesis, with a synthesis being impossible.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Goulash and other things

Ok, I've had a soft spot for goulash since I was a kid and my father, from time to time, took us to the "Albrecht", a restourant in Rome that proudly labels itself "austro-hungarian", run by the third or fourth generation of Albrechts, a family that, if I got it right, got in Rome more than a century ago from Vienna.

Then, it happened that my path crossed the one of Beatrix (from Hungary, on the right) and they ran parallel for one year and a half, and she happened to be the first girl to ever cook something for me and I still remember her goulash, which actually is called Porklot in Hungary, as something absolutely great, so much that I even did learn (and now forgot) how to cook it, even if with way worse results. I actually pretended that was because I couldn't have Szeged paprikas for cooking that properly in Rome... then she gave me a little sack of it, and my goulash didn't improve a bit.

Anyway, today it happened that going to have lunch with a couple of colleagues, we headed towards an Irish pub close to the office and on the menu I did spot the goulash. After a bit of internal debate (goulash in an Irish pub? How realistic is that?) I eventually decided to give it a try and that turned out to be a great decision as it was not as good as Bea's, not even as good as Albrecht's, but it was a pretty good one nevertheless.

On another matter, my swimming afternoons are coming to an end as the pool will close at the end of the week and open again in September, but only with scheduled lessons which I'm not going to take, as my time will probably be taken by more german classes. Pity, I had gotten to swim 1.5 kms in about 50 minutes, with pauses becoming less and less necessary.

And it's just 2 days now until my flight to Berlin, for a good 10 days...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Chronicles of a long anticipated week-end

Einstein should had gone a bit further on than just enunciating the theory of the relativity with its corollary of famous examples: he should had solved the problems related to it. After 5 weeks that felt like 5 months I finally managed to be with meine kleine freundin, but the 3 days we managed to spend together flew away like 3 hours. There's something really wrong with it.

Truthfully, it's already something we did manage to meet. With typical german precision and punctuality, in fact, she managed to miss her flight to Rome. now, getting out of the shower at 7.30 and, after having waited for more than 840 hours, finding an sms on your mobile simply saying "I missed my flight. :-((" gives a whole new meaning to the expression "feeling the sky crashing upon you". Luckily, God intervened in the form of a mom filled of pity for her daughter and so it was she managed to board the AirBerlin flight of the evening, reaching Rome 12 hours after the original planned hour and at a different airport, but almost making it up for it coming out of the baggage claiming area (10 seconds after her flight had officially been declared as "landed", my girl is a sprinter it seems) in a literally breathtaking red dress.

The week-end saw us dancing at a very nice international party organized on the Celio hill (one of Aziz's parties, which are becoming a fixture of the international community in Rome), driving 100 kms on a scooter (covered in little more than 90 minutes) to get to the seaside and have a bath (allowing me to enjoy what I shall call from now on the "sparkling effect") in a sea of Sabaudia, under the watching tower placed there against the turkish pirates and yesterday overlooking a sea with quite some waves followed by a nice family barbecue and then a visit to the top of the mountain towering over the Circeo's bay and then to the lighthouse at the tip of the Circeo promontory.

Both would had been extremely romantic moments if the neapolitan curse hadn't fallen upon us. In the first case it took the shape of 2 couples busy, in a nice secluded spot overlooking the sea at night with the stars' beams mirrored by the valley's lights and an almost full moon reigning over the peaceful landscape, watching the recordings made by one of them on her mobile phone at some rock concert, the poor device blasting a distorted sound at its maximum capacity, with the occasional, absolutely mangled, comment.

In the second, in a scenery very similar to the other but with the sound of the waves crashing against a rocky environment under the slightly ghostly lights of the lighthouse, by a band of guys who, communicating more with verses than actual words, were trying to woe some unfortunate girls to join them.

The morning after, sunday, the weather didn't help us much (truth to be said, the day started quite late) and the second going to the beach was called out, as it was thought wise to leave for the return ride in which we were lucky enough, as it seems rain had just preceded us along the way, but didn't actually find us. Dinner at our usual restaurant organized at the last minute (Highlight comment by Susanne: "Now we look like a couple who has been together for a while" "why?" "Because only those go out eating in such a casual way"... I don't know, but I liked that) and walk along the Tiberine island, where I would had liked to take her the first time I met her, but was unable to due the late hour.

And so the week-end had gone away and this morning I took her to the airport before going to work, the usual separation's gloom only partly mitigated by the knoweledge that I will see her again this coming friday in Berlin, this time for ten whole days. And now... I'd so much like to sleep.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe

Ok, it wasn't exactly like the picture, most especially we didn't have the nude participant, but yesterday, after sunset, we did have a white wine evening in Villa Borghese which turned out to be extremely pleasant.

Born as an idea during the last VCN barbecue, it saw a half dozen people (2 french girls, a swiss couple and myself at the beginning, joined later by an italo/croation guy and another italian) gathering at the main entrance of Villa Borghese at 8 and then trying to find a nice spot, possibly with fresh water nearby to keep the wine cool. It took a bit and in the meanwhile I found myself, once again, noticing the desperate need of cleaning that our streets and parks would need.

Anyway, after having turned down the Turtles' fountain in front of the Modern Art National gallery, which would had made a great scenery, but had the downside of not offering much as sitting places (while being a favourite spot, it seems, of tiger-mosquitoes) and given that the lake area was going to be closed soon, we settled near the "Fontana della Pescheria". Once there, we did light a couple of the citronella lamps I had brought with me, opened the first bottle, took out some snacks, and started chatting along about various issues.

Time went by, the first bottle went with it, and it was the turn of an excellent "Pinot Gris" brought over by Vanessa (the co-author of the evening) and then of an agreeable, even if not comparable with the previous wine, Falanghina. It's interesting how three hours and three bottles could had passed so quickly, and yet they were and being the closing of a working day which would had been followed by another working day, we called it over at about 11, soon after the latest arrivals had shown up.

In the end, something to try again, maybe somewhere else.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Relativity (Israel and Lebanon)

It's that subject again. After a relative lull, today the discussion over the VCN-list about the crisis in Middle East has started again in full force, with even stronger, bitter, rancorous statements. While I keep refusing to discuss politics on a list theoretically devoted in providing help to newcomers in Rome to get settled in and blend in the social texture of the city (and in this optic I find no way to justify political discussions of such kind) I can't but stop and wonder at the relativity of things.

I undoubtedly and clearly have a position on the issue which I repeatedly stated on this blog and on the side list I created (VCN-Rome-Discussions) trying to channel the debate out of the main list. I think it's just a matter of integrity to declare your standing when engaging a discussion of such kind, so that the others will know where you come from and can decide if what you say is indeed objective (as much as possible) or biased. It's a risk of course, as then most people will give less attention to your words and will prejudicially decide that, having taken a side, you can't but be irreparably biased, and yet I prefer it that way.

What I do not understand, and I find hard to tolerate, is people pretending to be neutral while throwing statements that even moderate supporters of a side would find exaggerated. For instance, how can someone writing:
The Age of Remorse is well abused by the Jews
Let's see the facts that if Israel wanted to kill the Hezbollah they could have sent special forces to do the job.. but NO.. Israel wants to publicise the massacre to put FEAR in the Arab world... obviously, it is NOT WORKING !!!!
the rest is... PROPAGANDA by Israel.... (Not to mention by the rabid allies the US) !!!
pretend not to have taken a side on the issue?

or someone who writes:
it seems to me some people out there have to do a bit of homework to discover that way back the U.N. had the final word on giving the majority Palestinian land to the minority Israelis and hence the consequences...
Who of us would not put up a fight if intruders moved into our "back garden" and refused to leave? This has been going on...what for... near 50 years?
If we had to live as the Palestinians do...under curfew sometimes lasting up to 90 times without running water or electricity; trying to visit elderly relatives in "off limits" zones; shop for goods unobtainable due to the impossibility to deliver or the natural human instinct to stockpile in times of hardship; children unable to have a decent and continuous education; routine/daily duties becoming a long and arduous task of showing identification and being kept waiting eternally at check points under extreme temperatures...
And people wonder why they become suicide bombers....killing and maiming innocents?
I am sorry that Israeli soldiers have been kidnapped but I am even sorrier that the Israelis have again aggressively "gone in" and bombed Beirut.
(and yes, sadly this has been the average level of discussion so far, with a few notable examples)?

My question is, and moving from the particular VCN field to the most general world: do people really believe they are neutral when they so disproportionately take one side in a dispute, do they in good faith believe they are in fact taking a fair stance, or do they just pretend to be in order for their words to have an easier access to people's minds, without the filter they'd have to pass thro if they'd openly admit their siding?