Today's Autonomedia Jubilee Saint – SARGON BOULUS

Iraqi-born Assyrian beatnik poet, translator.


1878 — Anti-Socialist Law passed in Germany.
1887 — Greenwich Village revolutionist John Reed born, Portland, Oregon.
1897 — World’s first car dealership opens, London, England.
1913 — Action photographer Robert Capa born, Budapest, Austria–Hungary.
1918 — Flu epidemic claims one fourth of all Americans, killing half a million.
1962 — Missile crisis develops over Soviet warheads in Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
2007 — Assyrian Iraqi beatnik poet Sargon Boulus dies, Berlin, Germany.

Excerpted from The 2009 Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints: Radical Heroes for the New Millennium by James Koehnline and the Autonomedia Collective

Iraqi Maqam

Iraqi Jawza player Salih Shemayyil at the First Cairo Congress of Arab Music (1932)

Iraqi Jawza player Salih Shemayyil at the First Cairo Congress of Arab Music (1932)

When London-based Honest Jon’s Records compilation Give Me Love: Songs of the Brokenhearted – Baghdad, 1925-29 appeared last year, it was a ear-opening and mind-expanding glimpse into a world few of us in the U.S. had even imagined – the glorious music of Iraq as it was recorded generations ago by musicians long since gone. For many, it and the Choubi Choubi comp on Sublime Frequencies may have provided a first look at Iraqi musical culture, since so little else (Munir Bashir and Rahim AlHaj excluded) has ever been available in the West.

But just in the past few week and seemingly out of the clear, blue sky comes the staggering Iraqi Maqam blog and its accompanying YouTube channel which focus exclusively on the uniquely Iraqi take on maqam, the umbrella of elevated Arab classical musics. Drawing mainly from exceedingly scarce recordings of the 1920s-30s, already Iraqi Maqam has provided a dizzying wealth of musicological, biographical and anecdotal information in both Arabic and English to hours and hours worth of virtuosic and deeply moving recordings (including truly precious translations of the poems sung), profusely illustrated with period photographs. That such a monumental, thoroughly-researched and thoughtfully-presented body of work even exists, not to mention that it is appearantly a free gift to mankind, is fortifying and exciting stuff in a hard, old world.

AMERICA'S VICTORY IS INFINITE: Dave Reeves goes to Vietnam

American victory in Vietnam! That’s right! Iraq too! We always win!
by Dave Reeves

originally published in Arthur No. 31 (Oct 2008)

Hanoi, Vietnam: I’m in Vietnam picking out a baby for my Prius. Problem is, the damn babies all look the same. Needing to calm down, I pay fifty bucks for what looks like weed and smells like weed; but when rolled into Bob Marley blunts only gets me high enough to watch television. I’m mad, until I realize that getting ripped off for illegal drugs in a supposed Buddho/communist country indicates a total victory of the Judeo-Christian/capitalist cause.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t declare victory over nothing. It’s not about fifty bucks. I consider occasional rip-offs to be like union dues in the underworld. I’ve paid money for a baggie of gravel in Amsterdam, purchased placebos purporting to be mescaline in Texas and ingested sheets of Georgia rat poison acid. Besides, I get ripped off for real back in California all the time, what with the rolling blackouts, profit prisons and wars without end.

It’s the constant miracle of Hanoi traffic that got me open to the hustle. Vietnamese people tend to ride their mopeds at full speed, in a scrum, about as far from one another as you are from this page. The stoplights are but suggestions, hidden behind the foliage, way up on the periphery behind the “go” sign. The side of the road a driver chooses is dictated by whimsy. Nonetheless, at each intersection the masses of mopeds weave through each other unscathed,with no cursing, nor shots fired.

I thought this symbiosis indicated that Buddhism was The Answer, because it’s about respect for the value of human life and yadda yah. It only takes one terrible joint to realize that the reason the Vietnamese people can ride like that is because their weed sucks. Don’t try that shit back in California. Those motherfuckers are high.

Continue reading

Mission Creeps: One of Us Is Not as Dumb as All of Us: DAVE REEVES column from ARTHUR MAGAZINE No. 24

“Do the Math” column by Dave Reeves
originally published in Arthur No. 24 (Oct 02006)

Mission Creeps: One of Us Is Not as Dumb as All of Us

For the first time in history, the average American is as informed as the president, whose grasp of world affairs is Power Point deep. From what Americans can tell by looking at the current clusterfuck on television is that Palestinians are like Mexicans: fierce sons of bitches with the same preference for moustaches and shitbox stucco. The type of people that swarm over fences erected in the middle of a desert in order to get at civilization. Palestinians need to get out of the street and stop their kids from throwing rocks. Go home and take a bath. I mean really, were they raised in a hovel?

The British gave Isreal to the Jews fair and square. If that isn’t enough to get these so-called Palestinians high on Zion then maybe they need to check out a little real estate document called the Bible which makes it clear who belongs “down among the Philistines,” wherever that is.

Israel has been a gracious host. If I was Isreal I would force these wandering Arabs into a voluntary “Back to Palestine” movement modeled on the deal we had with Marcus Gravy and the coloreds. Nothing is too good for these guys, and that’s exactly what they get.

The mandate of America, cobbled together from innate prejudice, televison news, propaganda from football coaches masquerading as high school history teachers demands that we bomb any building that hates super double freedom and the fries that come with it. Then strafe whoever runs from the wreckage.

Our leaders won’t let one of these bleeding head liberal house Arabs doubletalk us into getting specific about which Arabs did what. The known knowns of what we now know we did know then doesn’t matter anymore. It’s racialistic to discriminate.

Continue reading