Monday, April 12, 2010

Mongolia | Persecution of Buddhism

See a documentary, made in 1991, about the killing of Buddhist monks in Mongolia during the communist-era repressions: Part One of Five. Here’s the blurb on
Documentary investigating the evidence now coming to light of a major persecution and massacre of over 100,000 people in Mongolia during the 1930s and 1940s under the leadership of the Mongolian dictator Marshal Choibalsan, a protege of Stalin's. Most of these were Buddhist lamas, and the film includes eye-witness reports of the killings, shots of some of the graves and skeletons found, and the present slow relaxation of religious freedom and the return of some monastaries and lamas.
Venerable Dude Shravasti Dhammika at the ever-enlightening Dhamma Musings has also posted on this.

Mongolia | Ulaanbaatar | Ugliest City on Earth?!?

Wandering by the website of the London-based Newspaper the Telegraph I was startled to see a photo taken just a couple hundred yards from my own hovel in Zaisan Tolgoi.
View of Downtown UB from near my hovel in Zaisan Tolgoi
I was even more flabbergasted to read this:
If there was a competition to find the ugliest city on Earth, then the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator [sic] would be the leading contender for the title. The combination of grim, Soviet-style concrete high-rises, rambling slum-shanties and towering coal-fired power plants belching out smoke over the city reeks of the depression and decay that was a legacy of decades of communist rule.
Ulaan Baatar the “ugliest city on Earth”? I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As I have stated in the past, I consider Ulaanbaatar to be on par with Istanbul and the Pyramids of Egypt as one of the world’s most alluring places. And by the way, isn’t it about time newspapers update their style books to reflect the correct English transliteration of the city’s name, which is Ulaan Baatar or Ulaanbaatar, and not “Ulan Bator,” a holdover from the Soviet era? 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

World | Lady Gaga and Jihad

A Wall Street Journal Editorial poses an interesting question:
“What does more to galvanize radical anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world: (a) Israeli settlements on the West Bank; or (b) a Lady Gaga music video?”
 Lady Gaga: Can the Mahdi be far behind?
Then the folks at weighted in with Blame It On Lady Gaga, managing at the same time to invoke Pat Buchanan and Sayyid Qutb, the  “intellectual godfather of al Qaeda,” who said: 
“The American girl knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs and sleek legs, and she shows all this and does not hide it.”
Sayyid Qutb went on to denounce  “this [American] music the savage bushmen created to satisfy their primitive desires” (He must have had  in mind Little Richard).

So now it appears that Lady Gaga is to blame for everything, including the Cult of the Assassins, the Sack of Constantinople in 1204, and the Johnstown Flood. Give the girl a break! 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mongolia | Polar Star Books

Polar Star Books, a wholly-owned subsidiary of World Wide Wanders, has four releases now available in Ulaan Baatar bookstores: two by Nicholas Roerich and two by his wife Helena.
On the cover of this book is 10,994-foot Belchir Uul in Khövsgol Aimag, an area which with some justification can be called The Heart of Asia.

Cover of Foundations of Buddhism by Helena Roerich, Nicholas Roerich’s wife:

We also did a Russian language version of Foundations of Buddhism:
Cover of Russian Version

Shambhala: Perhaps Roerich’s most famous book