Wednesday, January 28, 2009

iPhone PDF/CHM/DOC/XLS viewer with Safari and Lighttpd

Hi guys,
tonight we finally have a great geeky post!

Once upon a time on my iPhone I had a wonderful package found via Installer that provided a cool directory listing for lighttpd on the iPhone in order to be able to browse some files and use Safari native capabilities to open them.

Unfortunately this package is no more in Cydia and Installer repositories (or I hadn't found it).
So tonight surfed the internet looking for it and I found this page with some information about it and (most important) the php script package.
After some experiments mixing the info with this other tutorial I found the way to get it working on my 1G iPhone with Firmware version 2.1

Here you are the installation in ten steps.

1. Get all the files you need

Download this .zip file containing the php script for cool directory listing on lighttpd

2. Install the packages you need

Install via Cydia these packages:
  • lighttpd
  • PHP

3. Connect to your iPhone via ssh (as root)

$ ssh root@[iphone IP address]


[iphone host name]:~ root#

in my case

$ ssh
Bilbo:~ root#

4. Create log folder for lighttpd and chown it properly

Bilbo:~ root# mkdir /var/log/lighttpd
Bilbo:~ root# chown nobody:nobody /var/log/lighttpd

5. Create a startup .plist file for lighttpd

Bilbo:~ root# nano /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.http.lighttpd.plist

You can simply use a file manager that supports ssh like Dolphin and Konqueror in KDE4 or simply Konqueror in KDE3. To use the graphical file manager with ssh you should use the fish:// protocol writing this in the address bar:


for me


6. Create lighttpd config file

Bilbo:~ root# nano /usr/etc/lighttpd.conf

Copy this content in it

As you could notice this file differs from the one contained in the script package.
The first difference is that I chose to use as my data folder /private/var/mobile/Sites instead of /private/var/root/Sites

The other more important difference is the location of the php-cgi binary file, that is placed in /usr/bin in my installation insted of the old /opt/iPhone/bin

After having set the lighttpd.conf file you can check its syntax with this command from the terminal:

Bilbo:~ root# lighttpd -t -f /usr/etc/lighttpd.conf

7. Test your lighttpd and PHP config

Now you can create a file named test.php in /private/var/mobile/Sites to test lighttpd and PHP configuration:

Bilbo:~ root# nano /private/var/mobile/Sites/test.php

Copy this code in it to test PHP support:

Start the webserver manually with this command:

Bilbo:~ root# lighttpd -D -f /usr/etc/lighttpd.conf

Now you can open Safari and point to http://localhost/test.php to view the file.
If you can see the notice in green everything was good.
After the test you can simply stop lighttpd with a CTRL-C stroke in the terminal.

8. Copy the directory listing script folder and rename it

I made this step with Dolphin as I described before, checking later the permissions and the folder owner and group with the terminal. If you can't do the copy with a filemanager you can use scp or sftp from the command line.

After the copy or the dirlist folder into /private/var/mobile/Sites rename it like this

Bilbo:~ root# mv dirlist .dirlist

9. Copy your files on the iPhone

Now it's time to put your favourite file in /private/var/mobile/Sites to take advantage of the powerful capabilites of Safari to open natively those file thank to the proper bindings to the iPhone OS applications and libraries.

10. Enjoy

Now you have your web server ready to go. You have your files in the right place... the last thing to to is to start the system to begin to play!

Bilbo:~ root# launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.http.lighttpd.plist

This should start the server properly as a daemon.
If you experience problem at this step don't worry you can use also there commands to stop everything before another attempt:

Bilbo:~ root# launchctl unload -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.http.lighttpd.plist


Bilbo:~ root# killall lighttpd

However the best thing to do now is to reboot to let the server start at boot itself (that is definitely the "right" way to start it).

Once you will have your server up and running you can easily point Safari to http://localhost to view your folder and to be able to open your files

I really hope my effort in making this guide will be useful not only for me as a reference but to some of you too!

Let's see...

As for now, that's all folks!

Keep on hackin'


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

... news from Gaza ...

Hi all.
today I want to suggest to you this reading, the January 18th post on Vittorio Arrigoni's blog, as an update on the situation in Gaza.

Making love under the bombs. I remember a friend from Nablous once telling me how difficult it was during the occupation to make time to reserve a moment of intimacy with his wife. One evening, while they lay in a tender embrace, a bullet lodged itself into their headboard, inches away from their heads. Canoodling under the bombs these days in Gaza is out of the question, and the conjugal future of young Palestinian couples is shaping up to be quite a challenge. Many have lost their homes and are forced to live amassed in the UNRWA schools, or crammed with as many as 20 people inside a tiny apartment. "Tonight is Saturday and the young couples in Tel Aviv go out and have fun in the clubs or on the beach. Meanwhile, out here we can't even make love in our own beds", says Wissam, who got married in November. "We also have strobe lights, though", he says, while pointing towards a succession of flashes from the South, the evidence of bombings in full swing. Young men like Wissam, nineteen, become fathers very early on in life and are already grandfathers by middle age, being aware as they are that in Palestine, this is the only form of immortality possible.
While on the outside there's talk of a truce, approved by Hamas but as usual rejected by Israel, in the last two days there's been an escalation of bombings with a subsequent boost in civilian deaths - 60 only yesterday. About ten were killed outside a mosque in the hour of prayer. What worries Palestinians the most is a ceasefire being called without a simultaneous reopening of the frontier passes. Firstly, this would serve to let the material and food supplies required for reconstruction, and secondly, to let the seriously wounded out. Hospitals are overwhelmed from over-crowding. In the entire Strip, they can accommodate a maximum of 1,500 beds, but the number of the wounded hovers around 5,320 at the moment. In addition, there's mistrust among Palestinian public opinion towards Egypt, the chosen intermediary for the talks, whose leadership is notoriously obsequious to Israel. "Why not have a European country to mediate? The role of Germany, a truly neutral country, was decisive in the resolution of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah," says a heavy-hearted Hamza, a university professor.
This morning another UN school, in Beit Lahiya, North of the Gaza Strip, was hit full in the middle by Israeli tanks. There were 14 injured and two little brothers, Bilal and Mohammed Al-Ashqar, aged 5 and 7, were killed. Their mother survived, but she lost both her legs. Along with 42 thousand others, they had sought shelter in the school after Israel had ordered them to evacuate their homes. They believed they'd be safe there, just like the 43 refugees exterminated last 6th January in the UNRWA school massacre in Jabilia. "These two children were without a doubt innocent, just as there isn't the shadow of a doubt that they're now dead", said UN chief in Gaza, John Ging, who tirelessly, albeit in vain, continues to report the war crimes committed by the Israeli soldiers. But the Israeli Generals are still preparing themselves to make the "mission accomplished" announcement to the world.

I went back to what's left of Tal el Hawa hospital, the part still standing after the building was set on fire by the Israelis. It has now started operating as a first aid unit and logistical base for ambulances again. They continue to extract casualties trapped for days under the rubble left around its seriously damaged buildings. Shifa hospital hosts a child called Suhaib Suliman, the only survivor in a family of 25, all of whom are dead. A young girl, Hadil Samony, lost 11 relatives. She'll have no one to take care of her after being discharged from hospital. Excuse me, can someone please explain what kind of mission this is? Straight from collective punishment to mass slaughter.

On his blog, a frustrated Arab called Raja Chemayel sums it all up as follows: "Take a strip of land about 40 km long and only... 5 km wide. Call it Gaza. Then cram in one million four hundred inhabitants. After that surround it by the sea in the West, Egypt with Mubarak in the South, Israel in the North, and dub it "The land of terrorists". After that, declare war against it and invade it with 232 tanks, 687 armoured vehicles, 43 airports for fighter jets, 105 war helicopters, 221 units of ground artillery, 349 mortars, 3 spy satellites, 64 informers, 12 spies and 8,000 assault troops. Then call all of this "Israel defending itself". After that, stop for a minute and state that you will "avoid hitting the civilian population" and call yourself the only democracy in action. Whichever way you look at it, it'll be a miracle to avoid those civilians, or it could simply be a lie, since it's quite simply impossible to avoid hitting them! But once again, just call it "Israel defending itself." Now comes the question: what would happen if the invader turned out to be a liar? What would happen to those unarmed civilians?? With such firepower how could even Mother Theresa, or Mickey Mouse avoid hitting all those civilians, considering the equation/situation/scenario? Call it whatever you like, but Israel knew damn well about those unarmed people out there. It was Israel itself that had put them there! So, go ahead and call it a genocide! It's much more credible."

Aside from a couple of brutally assassinated leaders, Hamas hasn't suffered from this attack, and certainly hasn't lost its popularity - if anything, they've gained some more. Once in a while it would be wise to remember that Hamas aren't a bunch of terrorists, nor a political party, but a movement, and as such they're impossible to neutralise with a storm of cluster bombs. When I ask Palestinians for their opinions on the real agenda behind this brutal massacre, many say it has everything to do with the Israeli elections in February. They make propaganda using their heads, it's always been like this on the eve of all the elections. One head, one vote. Just one month ago, Netanyahu was forecast as the sure winner, but he's now expected to lose when competing with the blood-shot eyes of Olmert and Livni. Avigdor Lieberman is the leader of Yisrael Beitenu, the country's fifth political force, but the polls show that they are gaining consensus after statements like the following: "Gaza ought to be erased from the map with a nuclear bomb, the way the Americans did with Hiroshima and Nagasaki." Yesterday Israeli writer Abraham Yehoshua stated to Haaretz: "We kill their children today to save many more tomorrow". I'm afraid that now, his "Journey to the End of the Millennium" has ended up on board a tank in front of a hospital in flames. Voltaire invited us to respect all opinions. I would suggest to stop sewing the seeds of hatred, which are then sprinkled with blood and feed into a terminal resentment.

Stay human

Vittorio Arrigoni

Friday, January 23, 2009

How to remove manually-installed plasma widgets

Since it was hard form me to find this on the net, I thought that was worth to spread the knowledge.

I did only the 50% I missed the .desktop file in ~/.kde4/share/kde4/services/

To remove non working widgets in the widget list, remove the related desktop files in:

~/.kde4/share/kde4/services/ (Desktop File)
~/.kde4/share/apps/plasma/plasmoids/ (Widget Package)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Change can happen

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Al Nakba 2009

Hi all,
today too I'm here to make my part to spread the real news from the Gaza Strip attack to make people aware of the actual humanitarian tragedy that is happening there.

This is another post and luckily also an Italia newspaper story by Vittorio Arrigoni, the last Italian in Gaza.

The piece was translated and reported by the Free Gaza Movement, on their website you can find a comprehensive coverage of the situation.

They parade in fear, their eyes looking upwards, surrendering to the sky showering terror and death upon them, fearing the earth that keeps shaking under every step they take, opening craters where there were houses, schools, universities, markets, hospitals, and burying their lives within them forever. I've seen caravans of desperate Palestinians evacuate Jabalia, Beit Hanoun and all the refugee camps in Gaza, crowding the United Nations' schools like earthquake survivors, like victims of a tsunami which is eating into the Gaza Strip day by day, along with its civilian population, without pity or compliance with human rights and the Geneva Conventions. Most of all, without a single Western government stirring a finger to stop this massacre, or sending medical staff out here, or stopping the genocide that Israel is smearing its hands with in these hours.

The indiscriminate attacks against the hospitals and medical staff continue. Yesterday, after having left the Al Auda hospital in Jabalia, I received a call from Alberto, a Spanish colleague at the ISM - a bomb had been dropped there and Abu Mohammed, a nurse, had been seriously injured to his head. Just moments before, in front of a café, I'd been listening to his stories of the heroic deeds of Communist Abu Mohammed's heroes, the leaders of the Popular Front: George Habbash, Abu Ali Mustafa, Ahmad Al Sadat. His eyes lit up when he heard that the first notions of what Palestine and its immense tragedy were, had been passed onto me by my parents, both Communists through and through. By my mother, a "raissa", or Mayor of a town in Northern Italy. He asked me who had been the truly revolutionary leaders of the Italian left from the past, and I said Antonio Gramsci. For those of today I took my time, telling him I'd have replied to that question today. But Abu Mohammed now lies in a coma, in the same hospital where he works. He spared himself my disappointing reply.

Towards midnight I received another call, from Eva this time - the building she was in was under attack. I know that building well, in the centre of Gaza City. I've spent a night there with some Palestinian photojournalist friends of mine. They try to capture through images and words something of the unnatural catastrophe we're enduring in the last ten days. Reuters, Fox News, Russia Today and many, many other local or foreign agencies were under fire by seven rockets shot by an Israeli helicopter. They managed to evacuate everyone on time before anyone was seriously injured - all those cameramen, photographers, reporters - all Palestinian, considering Israel won't allow any international journalists to set foot in Gaza. There are no "strategic" targets around that building, nor a resistance fighting off the deadly armoured Israeli vehicles, which can be found a way away towards the North. Clearly, someone in Tel Aviv cannot bear the images of the massacres of civilians clashing with the ones that the Israeli officers' briefings provide while offering the mercenary journalists their aperitif. Through these press conferences they're declaring to the world that the bombs' targets are only the Hamas terrorists, not those atrociously mutilated children we pull out of the rubble every day.

At Zetun, about ten kilometres from Jabalia, a bombed building crumbled over a family, leaving about ten victims. The ambulances had to wait several hours before they could reach the spot, as the military persist in shooting at us. They shoot at ambulances and bomb hospitals. A few days ago, while I was on the air with a well-known Milanese radio station, an Israeli "pacifist" clearly spelt out to me that this was a war where both sides used all the weapons at their disposal. I thus invite Israel to drop one of its many atomic bombs upon us, those they keep secretly stashed away, defying all treaties against nuclear proliferation. Why not just drop that decisive bomb of theirs and put an end to the inhuman agony of thousands of bodies, lying in tatters in the overcrowded hospital wards I visited?

I took some black and white photos yesterday, the caravans of mule-drawn carts, overloaded beyond belief with children waving white drapes pointing skywards, their faces pale and terrified. Looking through those snaps of fleeing refugees today, I felt shivers down my spine. If they could only be superimposed with those witnessing the Nakba of 1948, the Palestinian catastrophe, they would be a perfect mirror image of them. The cowardly passiveness of self-styled democratic states and governments are responsible for a new catastrophe in full swing right now, a new Nakba, a brand new ethnic cleansing befalling the Palestinian population.

Until a few moments ago we counted 650 dead, 153 murdered children, in addition to 3,000 injured, and innumerable missing. The number of civilian deaths in Israel has thankfully stopped at 4. But after this afternoon the death toll on the Palestinian side requires an urgent recount since the Israeli Army has started attacking the United Nations schools. The very same that had been offering shelter to the thousands evacuated under threat of an imminent attack. They chased them off the refugee camps, the villages, only to collect them all in one place, an easier target. Three schools were attacked today, the last being at Al Fakhura, in Jabalia, which was hit full on its head. Over 80 dead. In a heartbeat, men, women, elderly people and children were wiped away, believing themselves to be safe within those blue-tinted walls adorned with a UN logo. The other 20 UN schools are now shaking in fear. There's no way out anywhere in the Gaza Strip. This isn't Lebanon, where the civilians in the Southern villages targeted by the Israeli bombs could flee to the North, or to Syria or Jordan. From one enormous open-air prison, the Gaza Strip has become a deadly trap. We look at one another in bewilderment and ask ourselves whether the UN Security Council will finally unanimously condemn these attacks after their own schools have been targeted. Someone out there has really decided to turn this place into a desert, and then call it peace.

A long night on the ambulances awaits us now, even after dawn has become an illusion around here. Antenna towers for our mobile phones all along the Strip have been destroyed and we've stopped relying on them. I hope I may one day be able to see all the friends I can no longer contact, but I'm under no illusions. Everyone bar none in Gaza is a walking target.

The Italian Consulate has just contacted me, saying that tomorrow they shall evacuate a fellow Italian, an elderly nun who'd lived near the Catholic church in Gaza for the last twenty years, and had by now been adopted by the Palestinians in the Strip. The consul gently urged me to seize this last opportunity and escape this hell with the nun. I thanked him for the offer, but I'm not moving from here - I just can't. For the sake of the losses we endured, before being Italian, Spanish, British or Australian, right now we are all Palestinian. If only we could do that for just one minute a day, the way we were all Jewish during the Holocaust, I think we would have been spared this entire massacre.

Stay human

Vittorio Arrigoni

(Translated from Italian by Daniela Filippin)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

GAZA: everything is stuck on the international front

... are we really so coward to call it "war"?

Also tonight I cannot stand from write the last news from Vittorio Arrigoni, the la Italian in Gaza during this true masked terroristic operation that but the real enemys of Hamas is aiming volutarly innocent civilians, women, children and is demolishing on purpose any building mosques, schools, civilian houses or hospitals full of casualities.
«"To the innocent people of Gaza, our war is not against you but against Hamas, if they don't stop to launch rockets you will be in danger". It is the transcript or a recording that is possible to hear in these hours pulling up the receiver of every phone in Gaza. Israeli Army is broadcasting this message deceiving that the palestinians don't have eyes and ears. Eyes to see bombs hitting almost exclusively civilian targets, as mosques (15, the last one was the Omar Bin Abd Al Azeez in Beit Hanoun), schools, universities, markets, hospitals. Ears not to hear the screams of pain and terror of the children, innocent victims and nevertheless innocent victims of every bombing. According to hospital sources, in the momento when I'm writing 120 are the minors killed under the bombs, 548 the total dead, more thant 2700 the injured, dozens and dozens the missing.

Two days ago in the red half moon hospital in Jabalia's refugee camp, there the night haven't never fell down. From the sky the Apache helicopters dropped flashing bombs continously, that we weren't aware of a kind of difference from sunset to dawn.
The repeated cannon shootings from a tank placed less than a kilometer from the hospital damaged seriously the walls of the building, but we resisted till next morning. Around 10.00AM, bombs fell on the open field near the building, all around machine gun shooting, and for the red half moon doctors that was a message to us, sudden evacuation, or we would have been killed. We transfered the injured in other hospital infrastructures and now the operative base for the ambulances is on Al Nady road, the medical staff sits on the sidewalks waiting for the calls, that are following one another.

For the first time from Israeli attack I saw in the hospital some corpses of palestinian resistance. A tiny number in proportion with the hundreds of the civilian victims, that after the ground invasion are rising exponentially.
After Jabalia mosque attack, at the same time with the tanks entering, that made 11 victims and about 50 injured, for all the saturday night escorting the ambulances, we were aware of the tremendous destrctive power of the tanks projectiles, even if we didn't feel the absence on even more destructions on previous days. In Bet Hanoun a family was hit by one of this deadly shot, they were in their home just warming up themself beside a tiny wood stove. We took 15 injured, 4 were in desperate conditions.
After that, around half past 3 AM we answered to a call, but we arrived too late: in front of an house door three women in tears, gave us in the arms a little 4 years old girl in a white blanket, that was her shroud and she was already icy-cold.
A further family was hit at full, this time by the aviation, in Jabalia, two adults got bomb fragments inside their body. Their two sons had light wounds, but as they were shouting and crying it was evident the psycologic trauma they were living, something that will mark them for their whole life, far more than a slash on their cheeks. Even if nobody is remembering to take them into account, thousands are the children affected by serious mental illness caused by the terror of the contious bombing, or even worse, by the sight of their parents or brothers and sisters torn into pieces.

The crimes Israeli is committing in these hours are well beyond the limits of immagination.
The military don't let us go to take care of the survivors of this huge artificial catastrophe.
When the injured people are near Israeli tanks which attacked them, we are not allowed to get near with our red half moon ambulances because soldiers begin to shoot at us.
We would need the escort of even an ambulance from the red cross, and of their coordination with the Israeli military heads, before to run to save lives.
Try to imagine how much time would need a procedure like that, that's for sure a death sentence for the injured needing for transfusions and emergency treatments.
Even more the red cross has his casualities to think about, and could not be available at every call from us. Then we must every time in a "safe" area, (this is like a "joke" here in Gaza) waiting for the relatives to bring us the dying people, often on their very backs. Like this happened about at 5.30AM this morning, we shutdown the ambulance's engine in the middle of a road cross and told by phone our position to a relative of the injured people there. After about ten minutes of frustrating waiting, when someone had already decided to switch on the engine to go to another call, we saw around the corner coming to us, slowly, a little cart full of people, pulled by a mule. A couple with their two little sons. The best representation of this "non-war". This is not a war because there aren't two armies fighting on a front, this is a siege from an Air Force, a Navy and now even from the Infantry that are ones of the most powerful in the world, and for sure the most advanced in means of hi-tech military equipment. They attacked a miserable strip of land of 360 square kilometers, where the population is moving still thanks to mules and where there is a resistance army that has the only strenght of being ready for its own martyrdom. When the little cart was enough near to us we get to meet them, and with horror we discovers its terrific load. A little child laid down with his head broken, his eyes were literally outside his head, moving on his face like the crabs ones. We took him and he was already breathing. His brother intead had his body torn, we could see and count his white rids beyond his torn flesh pieces. His mother held his hands on that "opened" body, as she was trying to fix what her love could generate and what the anonymous hatred of a soldiera, obeying strictly to sadistic orders, destroyed forever.
I must denounce a further crime, and our further personal mourning. Israeli army is going on aiming at the ambulances. After the doctor and the nurses dead in Jabalia 4 days ago, yesterday was the turn of our friend Arafa Abed Al Dayem, he was 35 and leaves 4 sons. About at 8.30AM yesterday morning we got a call from Gaza City, two civilians where shot machine gun fire from a tank, one of our ambulances went there. Arafa and a male nurse took the two injured in the ambulance, closed the doors ready to start the run for the hospital, an then they were hit at full by a tank shot. The hit beheaded one of the injured, and killed our friend, Nader the nurse survived but now is in the same hospital where he works. Arafa, primary school teacher, offerd himself as paramedic volunteer when were no professionals enogh. We are all under a death rain, and no one called him. Araf went at the hospital by himself, and was working knowing the danger he was dealing with, because he believed that beyond his family there were other human beings to defend and to take care of.
We miss his jokes, his irresistible and contagious sense of humour that gladden the hospital even his its darkest hours when the dead are more than the injured and everyone feel himself guilty not to have done something to save them, pressed as we are by an inesorable force: the dead machine of Israeli military.
Someone must stop this tragedy, I saw things in these days, heard thunders, smelled awful odors, that if I will have descendants one day, I won't have the courage to tell them. Is there anybody out there? The desolation to feel isolated and abandoned to our doom, is as the view of a Gaza district after a huge raid campaing. On Saturday evening they passed me on the phone Milan's place in protest, I passed the phone as well to the heroic doctors and nurses we are working with, I saw them take heart for a moment. The prostest all over the world demonstrate that still exists someone to believe in, but the protests aren't enough big to make the needed pressure in order that the western governments will force Israel to assume its responsabilities as criminal of war and against humanity.
Many are the terrified pregnant women that in these hours are giving life to their sons in premature births.I personally was present at three births. One of these women, at the seven months, gave birth to a small child called Ahmed. Riding with her on board ambulance heading Auda hospital leaving behing us in the ambulance mirrors the scene of death and destruction where just before we were taking corpses, I thought for a moment that this life just at its bloom could be a wish for a future of peace and hope.
Illussion dissolved witht the first rocket that fell apart our ambulance when we were getting back from Auda to Jabalia center. These brave mothers are sadly giving birth to creatures that took as the first light in their eyes no more than the military green of the tanks and jeeps, and the intermittent flashes that come just before the loud thunders from the explosions. What are could be the life expectations of these children that are feeling all this suffering and this destructions from the very first seconds of their life?
Let's remain humans

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


today I was quite busy beginning the construction of AOCS design model for ESMO reviewing and implementing all the variables I designed and defined in the Model Specification Document before Christmas.

I also chose which variables and features to implement in the design model and what is better to discard in this phase and leave for the next trimmed development that will see the completion of the units ready for the complete ESMO simulator.

Finally the work is starting to give some concrete result and the Simulink blocks for SSR, GYR and AOCS units are taking shape.

When everything will be finished we will start the tests on our design simulator to tune the design and in the meantime we will continue adding features and capabilities and filling what now are "dead connections" between the blocks and inside the subsystems.

With the completion of all the required capabilities and interfaces for our units' blocks we will be able to deliver our final work for the simulator and fill the System Level Requirements and the Units Requirements while editing a new and more detailed version of our design documents (Design Definition Document and Design Justification Document).

It's a hard task to accomplish in only two weeks but today I began well ;-)

Here you are the scheme of what will be the simplified design model:

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year and "New Posting Policy" (hopefully!)

Hi all,
2009 has just begun... unfortunately the situation in Gaza is worse and worse :-(

As for me, today I left Italy coming back in The Netherlands for the last two weeks of my internship @ ESTEC as Team Coordinator for ESMO (European Student Moon Orbiter) Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS).

Since last year I had very few time to post as you can easily notice browsing the blog archive... I decided to change my "posting policy". I will post something even if will be a very short mood or state of mind... or simply a link I found interesting for me...

In this way I hope to post more and to revive the blog! ;-)

We'll see what will happen in the end!

see ya!