It's not right to sing on your own, sitting alone in your room

Olga Betko for the BBC visits the "Exclusion Zone" around the Chornobyl melted-down nuclear power plant in Ukraine. She goes to talk with some of the people still living in the remains of the small villages in the area.


She meets several people, a wife and a husband, he was a "Liquidator", one of the men who stopped the disaster. They talk and share stories.

Then she meets Maria. Maria does not talk about the meltdown, nor does she talk about the tragedy. She talks about the good old days:

Maria (translated) - "Oh daughter, if you just had the occasion to see me dancing that was amazing. Whenever there was a wedding, I was here, and I was dancing, I was the superstar."

Olga - "So can you maybe sing for us a little bit of that folk songs that you mentioned?"

Maria (translated) - "[In the good old days they used to get together and sing. It's not right to sing on your own, sitting alone in your room.]"

Olga and Maria find a solution to this problem. They travel together to another house in the area, the house of a woman named Baba-Hannah. Together they, Baba-Hannah, and some others, have a party. Only then, there, together, with people gathered round, it is acceptable to sing the old songs, as in the olden days.

Norway Rose March

July 25 2011

Norway responds to mass murder with a mass of flowers, hundreds of thousands of people, an untold portion of them holding roses.

Videos by youtube user zReThuz:

Overlooking the crowd in all directions

Street corner scene

Flowers layed together

Scottish Daily Record

Norway massacre: Oslo united in grief as 100,000 take to the streets for memorial march Jul 26 2011 Keith Mcleod. (Details about the rally)

London Daily Mail

'Tonight the streets are filled with love', By DAILY MAIL REPORTER 26th July 2011 (Photographs of crowds)

What would Carl Sagan have thought of the Great Recession?

We don't know for sure, he is "no longer in this plane of existence".

However, as the Narrator of Cosmos, he describes a statue on the main wall of the Amsterdam Town Hall:

"Justice, with a golden sword, and golden scales. And who is it that justice is trampling underfoot? Why, it is avarice and envy, the gods of the merchants. The Dutch knew that the unrestrained pursuit of profit posed serious threats to the soul of the nation."

He points out that the Town Hall was built when the Middle Ages were falling to the Enlightenment.

This would have been in the early 1600s. Coincidentally, right around the time of Tulipmania, one of the most famous financial bubbles in history.


Cosmos, Traveller's Tales, 1980, via

Two legacies

How will Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi be remembered?

As a fun loving guy who enjoyed wine, women, and song? A naughty playboy? A wink-of-the-eye half lovable scoundrel? Boys will be boys?

"Another cop came up . . . he lent over me . . . this is forever in my nightmares . . . smashed me on the back of the head. And another cop, uhm, drove his foot into my mouth and took out most of my teeth. I lost sixteen teeth that night. And then I went into a coma for the next two days"

That was Indymedia pioneer Mark Covell, being interviewed by Bill Hayton of the BBC. Covell's ribs and left hand were also broken, his spine was damaged, his lung was punctured, and he suffered massive internal injuries. The police had been looking for rioters, but instead found the dormitory and the headquarters of the Indymedia 'citizen journalist' project. The police beatings were so bad that dozens of people wound up in hospital. Then the police planted evidence in the buildings to make it look like the beating victims had been storing weapons, and tried to put them in prison for many, many years. Bill Hayton covers all this with Covell in the new "Witness" BBC program, which looks back in time at significant events in history - Hayton was a reporter who had covered the events in 2001.

What does it have to do with Berlusconi? Hayton reports that many of the police responsible for the beatings are now in high positions in his government, including the head of their intelligence service. The judges of the Italian judicial system have tried to put these police in prison. Many of the police have been convicted of committing crimes, for everything from perjury to brutality. However, the appeals process is very slow; even ten years after the crimes the cases are still pending. In the meantime, those police have remained at their jobs.

Covell said he hopes "that the Italian judiciary do win their battles against Berlusconi. . . I have to live with the, uhm, disabilities I have."

Hayton and Covell also describe the Genoa conference as one of the biggest moments for the fledgling Indymedia, and the precursor to the modern era of citizen journalism. Youtube and facebook videos of protestors, they say, are descendants of Indymedia. The Arab Spring, which played a part in the fall of the dictator in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt, the troubles for Syria's Assad, Libya's Gaddafi, and many others, is described by Mr Covell as one of the results. Might as well thrown Iran's Green Revolution in there too.


Witness: The Genoa riots of 2001,, Jul 20 2011, Bill Heyton interviews Mark Cavell

'I still have nightmares', 6 February 2005, 22:03 GMT, BBC News. (author unnamed)