Mental Distractions

Posts tagged "nature":

18 May 2022

2022-05-18 Progress with the Server


Eventually I'm using an old EEEPC netbook for a new home server. It's many years old, but the battery life is still excellent, so it's less likely to suffer the kind of shocks that rendered my previous server disk unbootable.

I've been spending hours and days with this server project, but it's hard to remember what I've been doing. I tried for a long time to get Git to work, but eventually gave up. The explanation why would be too much trouble. I'll focus instead upon what's worked so far.

I was able to set up SSH. Uploading for now is via good old Filezilla, which is both easy and tiresome. Eventually I may try to set up an easier way through emacs or the command line.

Yesterday I searched for a simple web photo viewer. There are many, many of these on SourceForge, but the majority were developed years or decades ago, and development has stopped. The classic web platforms are, I think Coppermine, Lychee and Piwigo. I know Piwigo very well, but wanted something much simpler. I wanted to avoid databases and new programming frameworks where I would be dependent upon experts.

Eventually I settled on, a PHP program that renders directories as galleries without requiring a database. I've already set one up at

I think Novagallery will integrate nicely into my low tech site. It's lightweight and easily modifiable. Although it's free open source software I've purchased a license for it ($15) in order to support the developer.

Trip to the Galilee

That trip to the Lower Galilee shown in the photo album was nice. We went with Rosita from Italy and stayed the night in the Fawsy Inn in Nazareth. I should have taken some photos of that interesting building as well, but I felt rather lazy about photography on this trip.


The visit to the Tabor stream, at the bottom of a wadi that eventually empties into the Jordan river was amazing. We visited only a short stretch of it, descending from Kibbutz Gazit.

In the wadi grow various interesting flora. According to Wikipedia, one of these is asafoetida. But they mean the Ferula communis that grows everywhere in Israel/Palestine. It's a poisonous plant, that is sometimes mistakenly eaten by sheep - to their sorrow. True asafoetida (hing) is derived from other members of the Ferula family (again, according to Wikipedia). There was an interesting Guardian article this week about Sylphium, another long extinct Ferula (apparently), prized as herb in the Roman era, and growing only in one particular region of Eastern Libya.

Shireen Abu Akleh

I wrote a little about this earlier [1]. Eventually we have a statement [2] in English that is well-written and clear, and doesn't sound like propaganda. It represents my view well enough, but I needn't worry about that, since the village leadership take responsibility for it.

My own trivial conclusion from the killing of the journalist, and the violence against the pall bearers at the funeral, is that these are not just a reflection of the brutality and stupidity of Israel's security forces, but of deep-rooted attitudes in Israeli society.

The killing is not a one-off phenomenon but fits a pattern. It is the pattern, rather than the individual event, that demonstrates a complete disregard by Israelis demonstrate for Palestinian lives.

Israelis obsess about their own security but have been led to believe that this increases proportionally with the oppression of Palestinians. When a debacle like the Shireen Abu Akleh killing occurs, the government approaches it mainly as a public relations problem. First, spread doubt as to who fired the bullets, in the hope that the initial outcry will die down. Next, fake a willingness to call for an inquiry. In reality, almost all human rights violations and war crimes go unpunished. [update: now Israel says there is "no need" for an inquiry, and accepts the testimony of the army unit.]

Until basic attitudes change, Israel will continue to commit crimes that poison any hope for a reconciliation. That's not by chance. The Zionist project is not interested in reconciliation but only in dominance and the eventual elimination of Palestinians from their homeland. This is not a program that is ever going to succeed, but pursuing it serves short term political interests.

What most Israeli Jews want in their lives is peace and security, but they readily accept the lie that the best way to obtain these is the use of violence and force. In their world-view, the best defence is offence. Palestinians are primarily seen as a threat. They are grudgingly accepted by the state and into the family of humanity only when they serve in the army or stifle any signs of dissent. It's hard to be hopeful that this situation will ever change.

The Shireen Abu Akleh affair also highlighted the double-standards by which world media approaches such cases, as shown by Gawker's article [2]. But saying so risks drawing fire from right-wingers who will surely find opposing evidence that shows just the contrary. The Middle East conflict is just another arena for strengthening whatever political views you already hold.

As human beings we need to look at the way in which opinions become such an important facet of our identity.


[1] 2022-05-14 - Does my village have a right to express an opinion in my name?

[2]Statement regarding the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh - Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom

[3] The Media has a difficult time saying Israeli forces killed Shireen Abu Akleh

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