Eugene Brewer

Kitchener at Omdurman and the Superiority of European Warfare

Omdurman was a transitional event, linking 19th Century tactics with modern technology to overcome an enemy armed chiefly with spears and swords.

In early September 1898, General H.H. Kitchener, commanding at Omdurman in the African Sudan, informed his government that, “The remnant of the Khalifa’s forces has surrendered, and I have now a very large number of prisoners on my hands.” Omdurman was located up the Nile River, across from Khartoum where Major-General Charles Gordon had been killed by the Mahdist forces fourteen years earlier. Kitchener, at that time, was part of the relief operation led by Viscount Garnett Wolsey. The expedition arrived too late; Omdurman was to be the long awaited act of revenge. Yet Omdurman was also a transitional object lesson perpetuating the belief of European superiority.

Kitchener at Omdurman and the Superiority of European Warfare

Avenging Governor-General Charles Gordon of Khartoum

General Gordon had returned to the Sudan to confront the Mahdi, whose personal ambitions rested on Islamic mysticism and posed a serious threat to Egyptian hegemony over the vast expanse of desert. It would not be until Kitchener’s victory at Omdurman in 1898, however, that, as the London Times postulated, the territory would be re-opened, “to the benefits of peace, civilization, and good government.”

Following the death of Gordon and the destruction of Khartoum, the Mahdi himself died, succeeded by the Khalifa Abdullahi, who turned the fort at Omdurman into a citadel housing his palace and the tomb of the Mahdi. According to writer Philip Ziegler, Omdurman was “Africa’s largest slum.” Kitchener’s army, composed of a well-trained Egyptian contingent as well as the British Brigade, began the long and arduous march up the Nile to Omdurman, vastly outnumbered by the dervishes. But, as Ziegler writes, “…arithmetic counted for nothing in the fierce joy of battle.”

Omdurman Victory Attributed to Several Factors

As a transitional event, Omdurman would witness a heroic cavalry charge by the 21st Lancers, as well as the use of heavily armed gunboats and a significant advantage in artillery. The London Times correspondent pointed out that the siege of Khartoum several years earlier lasted 317 days; the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean conflict took slightly over 300 days. Omdurman fell after five hours. This can be attributed to Kitchener’s planning as well as modern weaponry.

Kitchener’s success was due to excellent planning as well as moments of good luck. The Khalifa, for example, was frequently guided by dreams. These dreams caused him to withdraw his troops from points along the Nile such as Berber, concentrating his men at Omdurman. Further, the battle would be fought on the Kerreri plain rather than a house-to-house battle within the city.

A notable exception was Atbara. 20,000 dervishes took part in the battle of Atbara under Emir Mahmoud. It was a foolish move. Sandhurst military historian Philip Warner argues that had those 20,000 men been available at Omdurman, “the outcome of that critical battle might well have been different.”

Role of the Forces under Kitchener’s Command

Both Egyptian and British forces were eager to fight. According to the London Times, the lesson of Omdurman showed that British soldiers “will go anywhere and do anything.” Lt. General Francis Grenfell, commander of the British contingent, wrote that, “…never, in the course of my service, have I seen a finer body of troops than the British contingent…as regards physique, smartness, and soldier like bearing.” (The London Gazette, September 30, 1898) To this must be added the contributions of loyalist Sudanese units.

Detractors like the young Lt. Winston Churchill, involved in his first conflict, showed their arrogance with criticism of Kitchener and fellow officers. Churchill became a …

Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan, NYC: The History of a Renowned New York City Neighbourhood

West of Times Square is a neighbourhood once renowned for sex, violence and extortion. While gentrification has filed off its jagged edges, Hell’s Kitchen feels grittier and closer to real life than elsewhere in Manhattan.

Between 8th Avenue and the Hudson River, from 34th Street in the south to 59th Street in the north, the city’s signature towers of glass and steel are only beginning to creep into the skyline, and shuffling queues of shutter-happy tourists and mile-wide billboards rarely choke the thoroughfares.

A Bloody Birth

The first to settle this stretch of Manhattan’s shoreline were Irish and German immigrants in the 19th century, working on the Hudson River docks, in local slaughterhouses and factories. These streets were the brawn of Manhattan; gangs swaggered through the slums and brawling was commonplace. The origins of the name “Hell’s Kitchen” are lost to time; some point to a violent hostel in the area, long since gone.

When alcohol was barred by Prohibition in the 1920s, the street gangs evolved into organised crime rackets with interests in everything from gambling and extortion to prostitution. An influx of Puerto Rican immigrants in the 1950s brought about the return of the gang violence as romanticised in West Side Story.

There’s little left to hint at this neighbourhood’s tawdry and violent past. The eastern boundary of Hell’s Kitchen at 8th Avenue remains a seedy and intimidating stretch, littered with sex shops and strip bars – once a halfway house between the working class and poor to the west and the porn-peddling theatres of Times Square to the east.

Here and Now

Hell’s Kitchen of the 21st Century is a vibrant, up and coming district of the city. The leisurely menu of restaurants and bars on 9th Avenue give the locale a similar vibe to the East Village and the Upper West Side, artistic and creative, more subdued, less rush. The residential streets connecting 9th and 10th Avenues are still spacious and airy; several blocks were protected by preservation orders in the 1970s that limited building height, although the relaxation of regulations in recent years has seen modern condominiums encroach on the low-rise skyline.

More recently, development of derelict sites in the neighbourhood has accelerated at a frightening pace. On 10th and 11th Avenue the streets are awash with cranes and concrete and hods of fluorescent labourers drinking Schnapple on the sidewalks. While some residents lament the further loss of New York’s heritage, others are relieved that after years of neglect the area is finally receiving attention from business and developers.

There are still signposts to the past visible across the west side of Manhattan. The Landmark Tavern on the corner of 46th Street and 11th Avenue stood on the shores of the Hudson River during the 19th Century, serving gangs of burly Irish dockworkers. Although the bar is now several hundred yards from the river (landfill from construction has been used to extend the island’s coastline over the decades) it’s appearance has changed little, save for the occasional plasma screen.

Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan, NYC: The History of a Renowned New York City Neighbourhood

While every New Yorker knows where Hell’s Kitchen is, don’t expect to find its location in print. The yellow-bordered map in the back of cabs refers to the area as Clinton while the MTA Subway map refuses to name it. Developers and City Hall have pushed for a more sellable designation since the 1950s, and although it’ll always be known to those in the neighbourhood as the devilish Hell’s Kitchen.…

NYC Neighborhoods: Hell’s Kitchen: Now Called Cllinton, Restaurants and Specialized Schools Abound

In Hell’s Kitchen, rents are lower than in the rest of midtown. Hell’s Kitchen is the area between Eighth Avenue and the Hudson River, and between 30th Street and 59th Street. The vast area is home to DeWitt Clinton Park, from which the replacement name was taken. It can be argued, though, that the park was the setting for the “rumbles” in the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story. The plot of that show revolves around fighting between Anglo and Puerto Rican gangs, resulting in death and ironic sorrow some believe the equal of that in Romeo and Juliet.

NYC Neighborhoods: Hell's Kitchen: Now Called Cllinton, Restaurants and Specialized Schools Abound

From Farmland to Urban Melting Pot

Hell’s Kitchen was once farmland and woodland, like most of New York City beyond the original Dutch settlement at the lower tip of the island. During the first part of the nineteenth century, the farms were divided into lots. Before long, factories and slaughterhouses filled the space not taken by cheap housing for immigrants, first Irish, then German and Italian. Later, blacks and Puerto Ricans migrated to the neighborhood.

Slums Cleared for World-Class Performing Arts Complex

In the 1960s, much of the housing at just north of the neighborhood was razed to make room for Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, today a premier world cultural destination, although it is located in the area known as the Upper West Side. Some buildings in north Hell’s Kitchen were razed, as well, for appearances.

Later, mainly in the 1970s, mid-rise apartment buildings (which in New York means up to 20 floors) appeared; in the 1980s, true skyscraper apartment buildings, of 30 floors and more and often topped with swimming pools and health clubs, appeared. Today, the area is a mix of super-tall, super-expensive apartment housing, mid-rise units, and much older brownstone and tenement buildings, mainly below 55th Street.

Only Local Shopping, but Department Stores Nearby

No one goes to or lives in Hell’s Kitchen for the shopping. There are supermarkets, copy shops, and the odd gas station beyond Ninth Avenue and close to the old West Side Highway. In short, it offers what the very mixed economic population needs, and not much more. Fifth Avenue, with its good midtown shopping, is only a seven-minute walk from Eight Avenue, however.

Good, Inexpensive Restaurants Abound

On the other hand, there are many inexpensive restaurants. Joe Allen on 46th Street near Eighth Avenue is a well-known Broadway hangout, and a little pricier than the ethnic restaurants nearby. While you may not see superstars there, the ambience is showbiz, and producer’s assistants and such fill the place with theater talk and attitude. The hamburgers are pretty good, too.

Ralph’s, on Ninth Avenue at 56th Street, is one of the last of a dying breed, an old-style Southern Italian restaurant. Get ready for lotsa pasta.

Try middle-eastern food at Ariana Afghan Kebab at Ninth Avenue and 52nd Street, or Latino cuisine at Old San Juan, Ninth Avenue at 51st Street. Hell’s Kitchen remains home to many Latinos, Puerto Rican and otherwise.

Restaurant Row and the Hudson River

Chief among these is Theatre Row, 42nd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, followed by Restaurant Row, 46th Street between Eight and Ninth. The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum occupies a disused pier at the end of 45h Street across 12th Avenue. If you have the time and inclination, Hudson River Park offers green space right on the Hudson River; one can view the remains of the cruise ship piers of romantic memory, when people went to Europe by boat, or arrived as immigrants the same way.…

Kitchener-Waterloo animation fest: Ontario festival dedicated to feature-length animation

From November 16 – 19, the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema will present “the best of feature animation from around the world.”

This festival, as the name indicates, is the only festival dedicated to feature-length animation. It shows many movies from around the world, that you’re not going to see at your local Mongoplex. Hopefully, that should ensure a minimum of wise-cracking animals in these films (although the little &$^%ers are pretty pernicious).

Kitchener-Waterloo animation fest: Ontario festival dedicated to feature-length animation

The 2006 edition of the festival will happen at the Gig Theatre (formerly the Hyland Cinema), on 30 Duke Street, in Kitchener. Tickets will be available online at, on Monday, October 16. Prices are $10 for adults, $6 for children under 12 or full-time high-school students (ID required). Full passes are $90 for adults, $60 for kids. Tickets are also available at the door for $12/$8.

The first 10 films have already been announced. They will play in their language of origin, with English subtitles:

Fimfarum 2 (Jan Balej/Aurel Klimt/Bretislav Pojar/Vlasta Pospilov, Czech Republic, 2006) — rated G

Fire Ball (Wang Toon, Taiwan, 2006) — rated PG

Origin: Spirits of the Past (Sugiyama Keiichi, Japan, 2006) — rated PG

Kirikou and the Wild Beasts (Michel Ocelot, France, 2005) — rated PG

Prince Vladimir (Yuri Kulakov, Russia, 2006) — rated AA

Pettson and Findus: Pettson’s Promise (Anders Sørensen/Jørgen Lerdam, Denmark, 2005) — rated G

Princes et Princesses (Princes and Princesses); (Michel Ocelot, France, 2000) — rated G

Princess (Anders Morgenthaler, Denmark, 2006) — rated R

Robotech: the Shadow Chronicles (Dong-Wook Lee/Tommy Yune, U.S.A., 2006) — rated PG

Shisha no Sho (Book of the Dead); (Kawamoto Kihachiro, Japan, 2005) — rated AA

The festival will release the full 2006 program on November 1.…

Sven and Foreign Investor at City

Eriksson to Manage at Manchester City in Takeover by Former Thai PM

After many months of negotiation look set to be the next English Premier League club to be taken over with foreign investment. Different bids had been proposed but with the group fronted by former Manchester City player, Ray Ransome, dropping out of the bidding, the way now looks clear for the bid by former Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. He has lodged a formal bid for City and it is expected that an announcement confirming the Thai takeover could be made within the next few days.

Sven and Foreign Investor at City

Shinawatra was involved in detailed negotiations for Liverpool Football Club just over a year ago but these failed to materialize with doubts about the source of his financial wealth. Similar doubts are again being expressed with the Thai authorities intending to investigate the source of the funds being used for this takeover bid. He has had £830 million of his assets frozen in Thailand as the authorities investigate possible corruption charges. The former Thai Prime Minister claims that this investment is using funds he had set aside for his family.

New Manager Required:

While negotiating to takeover the club further preparations for the new season have been taking place. With Manchester City sacking their manager, Stuart Pearce, at the end of the season, an immediate appointment will be the first priority of any new regime. With that in mind a number of high profile managers have come under consideration.

Initially, it was thought that the early departure of Sam Allardyce from Bolton Wanderers before the end of the season was indicative of his desire to take charge at the City of Manchester Stadium. However, he has now been installed at Newcastle United and City are thought to have considered Juande Ramos, the manager of Sevilla’s UEFA Cup winning team, Co Adriaanse the coach of AZ Alkmaar and Mark Hughes, the manager of Blackburn Rovers.

The former England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, now appears to be the favourite to take up the position, once the takeover negotiations have been completed. Eriksson who relinquished the England post at the end of last summer’s World Cup in Germany when England lost on penalties to Portugal, has been receiving payment from the Football Association for the past year as part of his compensation package.

Eriksson’s Club Record:

Sven Goran Eriksson took over as England Coach in January 2001, having managed Lazio to the Italian League and Cup double in 2000. While he failed to achieve success with England in the finals of the World Cup or European Championships, Eriksson had a very successful coaching career in club football prior to his appointment with the national side.

He had League and Cup success in Sweden with IFK Gothenburg in his first appointment and also took them to UEFA Cup victory in 1982. He then went to Portugal with Benfica who also achieved League and Cup success during his two season in charge.

He then had his first experience in Italian football with AS Roma who won the Italian Cup during his three years there. Two seasons at AC Fiorentina brought no silverware but a return to Benfica was rewarded with a further League Championship. Returning to Italy he won the Italian Cup with Sampdoria and then had a very successful period at Lazio including domestic and European success.

The views of English fans on Eriksson are rather dulled by his time as England coach but Manchester City are getting a coach who has achieved considerable success in club football, winning fourteen trophies in three different countries, and …

The FBI Investigates…Itself? The USA allows the looting of art and artifacts in a Baghdad Museum

In April 2003, the United States invaded Baghdad and failed to provide security to the Iraq Museum that housed some of art history’s greatest treasures. There was no surprise that this cultural looting would happen.

The FBI Investigates...Itself? The USA allows the looting of art and artifacts in a Baghdad Museum

The US government had been threatening to invade Iraq since September 11, 2001. Art historians, curators, and other arts professionals had asked the US government to protect the repository of the Cradle of Civilization. The US government had responded positively that the Iraq Museum would be protected, but did absolutely nothing to follow through on this promise.

Following the invasion of Iraq, over 50,000 works of art and antiquities were stolen from the Iraq Museum, some dating back as far as 5,000 years. What’s more, the entire museum card catalog was destroyed, so that there is no record of all of the art and artifacts that were lost. We will never know what we lost as a world community over those chaotic first days of the new Baghdad.

And now…the crime of the looting of the Museum of Iraq is being investigated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. Does anyone else see the irony here? If you check out their site, there is only a bare minimum of description as to the artwork that was taken. Of the 50,000 historical items taken, they only have an image of one piece. There is not even a link to other sites that have made an attempt to put together images of missing artworks, such as the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.

Want more irony? If you look at the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted People, you can see several pictures of the wanted suspects with age-altered photos as well.

You could make the argument that the 10 Most Wanted people are more important to picture because they could also be out there committing other crimes. Stolen works of art are not criminals, BUT webspace is cheap and I think if the FBI is supposed to be a part of the investigation (Interpol is involved also), they should go all out and include photos of the stolen artwork, or at least links to other places that show pictures. By neglecting to beef up this part of their site, the FBI sends the message that art crimes are not really a priority.…

Boys And Groceries

Boys And Groceries

Monday night my bf was going to get home before me, so we decided I would email him a grocery list and he would stop by Whole Foods. Originally, I was going to add “Japanese yams” to the list because I was running low, but decided against that because I figured I would just end up with regular potatoes instead.

I didn’t think the list was too complicated. I mean, we were only making tacos(/taco salad for me)!


Well, low and behold, I deemed this to be THE WORST dinner of my life. Why? Because everything was absolutely wrong. First of all, the romaine– I mean, I had to cut and wash it, when really, I just wanted pre-packaged, triple-washed, ready-to-go romaine! Number two, the corn was not roasted. It was regular, sweet yellow corn. And last but not least, the beans were REFRIED. PRE-DIGESTED BEANS! In my salad!!!

Ok, so I wasn’t really upset, but I was in total disbelief with how wrong this list had gone. We joked that I would be 80 and complaining, “YOU RUINED MY LIFE WITH THOSE REFRIED BEANS.”

And you know what, even though those beans added a big lump of mush to my salad, they actually balanced out the spicy guac with their utter-blandness.


hers: healthy(?) taco(?) salad


his: titled “people who don’t give a shit about food”

Same dinner, two completely different plates and ingredients.  Boys and groceries……