ia: Benvenite! In mi blog io scribe in interlingua, italiano e anglese.

it: Benvenuti! Nel mio blog scrivo in interlingua, italiano e inglese.

en: Welcome! In my blog I write in Interlingua, Italian and English.

libSDL2 and VVVVVV for the Wii

Just a quick update on something that I've been working on in my free time.

I recently refurbished my old Nintendo Wii, and for some reason I cannot yet explain (not even to myself) I got into homebrew programming and decided to port libSDL (the 2.x version -- a 1.x port already existed) to it. The result of this work is already available via the devkitPro distribution, and although I'm sure there are still many bugs, it's overall quite usable.

In order to prove it, I ported the game VVVVVV to the Wii:

During the process I had to fix quite a few bugs in my libSDL port and in a couple of other libraries used by VVVVVV, which will hopefully will make it easier to port more games. There's still an issue that bothers me, where the screen resolution seems to be not totally supported by my TV (or is it the HDMI adaptor's fault?), resulting in a few pixels being cut at the top and at the bottom of the screen. But unless you are a perfectionist, it's a minor issue.

In case you have a Wii to spare, or wouldn't mind playing on the Dolphin emulator, here's the link to the VVVVVV release. Have fun! :-)

Will the internet forget russophobia?

I've often wondering what will happen when this horrific war in Europe will finally be over. I won't be discussing politics here, but what is mostly interesting to me is how (and if) all the companies who made high proclaims about not doing business with Russia will justify their getting back into the Russian market. They will probably count on the fact that the war will be long, and that people will forget what these companies' stance was. After all, the world has forget about all the companies who collaborated with the Nazi regime, so we can expect the same to happen with this war.

But I don't think that's right: if you made a mistake, you should be held accountable for it. You might be wondering what is the “mistake” I'm talking about: that's russophobia, indeed. To put it simply, and make a concrete example: if The Qt Company stops doing business with Russian companies and blocks its downloads page to Russian IP addresses because of the war, without being forced by the government to do so, but does not take similar measures against other countries who wage wars which have caused way more deaths and displacement of individuals, well, that's what I call “russophobia”. Of course, I'm aware that there's way more than that, and that the hatred for all what is Russian (including culture and sport competitions) is an even bigger issue, but in this blog post I'm especially focused on the IT world, so please forgive my semi-intentional narrow-mindness on this topic.

Now, I'm fully aware that we live in a mediatic bubble that directs our decisions in a way that is almost automatic, and I'm sure that most people working for companies who took russophobic decisions are not themselves russophobic at all (and I'm not dismissing the possibility that even the very same people who took these decisions might not be russophobic) and that these decisions were taken on impulse, because “everyone else is doing the same” and due to the media pressure that if you don't do that, you might get accused of supporting the “wrong” side of the war.

But that's not an excuse, especially for “smart” people like IT engineers (and I put the adjective between quotes for a reason), and especially after the initial heat has passed and when, after more than one year of war, we should have been exposed to different point of views and be able to evaluate the situation more rationally. It has been therefore especially stunning for me to learn that the Linux Kernel community, and hence The Linux Foundation, has recently given room to russophobic behaviours, refusing a patch coming from the Russian company Baikal (a CPU maker). For the record, the incriminated patch was not related to supporting hardware produced by this company (not that this would make the deed less serious, but at least one could have argued that there could be some spot of logic in it):

From: Jakub Kicinski <kuba@kernel.org>
To: Serge Semin <Sergey.Semin@baikalelectronics.ru>

On Tue, 14 Mar 2023 01:42:24 +0300 Serge Semin wrote:
> From: Serge Semin <Sergey.Semin@baikalelectronics.ru>

We don't feel comfortable accepting patches from or relating 
to hardware produced by your organization.

Please withhold networking contributions until further notice.

(here the link to the original discussion). One week later, someone denounced this as a violation to the Code of Conduct committee (unfortunately the only link I could find to this is coming from a Russian IT forum, and any other references seem to have been removed from DuckDuckGo and Google), only to receive a reply that it was all fine.

To me this is not fine. The war will end, sooner or later, but it bothers me that we never learn from the past and repeat the same mistakes over and over. We apparently know a lot about propaganda, yet we fail to recognize it when it influences our own mind and actions. My humble contribution is the creation of a page where I list the companies who have taken russophobic actions, and, on the opposite side, companies (like Flickr and Zorin OS) who have stood out for positive messages and helpful actions. My hope is that some of the listed companies will find the courage to review their actions, and either correct their stance, or at least clarify their reasons. So, I hereby present

Denouncing russophobia

where you'll find some of the good and some of the bad companies. I'm sure I'm missing plenty of them: I just started recollecting my memories and searching online a couple of days ago. I created this as a GitHub project, because indeed I'm looking forward for contributions, to help me make the lists more complete. I need to stress that the fact that a company has announced the suspension of its business in Russia does not automatically make it russophobic: what we need to look at is the reason for that decision: companies like LEGO and Nintendo, for example, have suspended their operations citing logistic and financial reasons; no judgement involved.

Let me repeat it once more, just to make sure there are no misunderstandings: it's perfectly fine for businesses to take a stance on politics, and sometimes it might be even praiseworthy; but if a company is international, and does not apply the same reasoning to other armed conflicts, or seem to care only about certain human rights violations and not others, then it's a case of double standards which we need to be aware of, and make the company think twice about it. And that's also the reason why you won't find any Ukrainian company among the “bad” ones, because in their case the reaction is perfectly understandable and they can hardly be accused of adopting double standards (well, technically speaking, they are adopting double standards, but when you are so directly impacted I think it does not deserve a blame): if it's your house which burns, you should definitely scream about it, even if you previously have been silent about your neighbour house's burning.

I'm especially looking forward for more “good” companies, who have shown empathy towards the people affected by the war (and maybe even collected money to help them) while refraining from taking the judging role and forgetting about all the injustice and suffering that other wars have caused (including on that very same piece of land that suddenly appeared on all newspapers' front pages on February 24th, 2022). I hope that these companies can serve as an example of positive action, humanity, and love.

Un editoriale di Marco Travaglio

Nonostante io non legga più Il Fatto Quotidiano (per i motivi spiegati qui, che restano tuttora validi), continuo a imbattermi negli editoriali di Marco Travaglio, che spesso apprezzo. Oggi invece mi sono imbattuto nell'introduzione del suo nuovo libro “Scemi di guerra”, e ve ne riporto un estratto che ho trovato particolarmente incisivo.

Abbiamo abolito la storia. È vietato raccontare ciò che è accaduto in Ucraina prima del 24 febbraio 2022: gli otto anni di guerra civile in Donbass dopo il golpe bianco (anzi, nero) di Euromaidan nel 2014 e le migliaia di morti e feriti causati dai continui attacchi delle truppe di Kiev e delle milizie filo-naziste al seguito contro le popolazioni russofone e russofile che, col sostegno di Mosca, chiedevano l’indipendenza o almeno l’autonomia. Il tutto in barba ai due accordi di Minsk. La versione ufficiale, l’unica autorizzata, è che prima del 2022 non è successo niente: una mattina Putin s’è svegliato più pazzo del solito e ha invaso l’Ucraina. Se la gente scoprisse la verità, capirebbe che il mantra atlantista “Putin aggressore e Zelensky aggredito” vale solo dal 2022: prima, per otto anni, gli aggressori erano i governi di Kiev (l’ultimo, quello di Zelensky) e gli aggrediti i popoli del Donbass. Fra le vittime, c’è il giornalista italiano Andrea Rocchelli, ucciso dall’esercito ucraino… Abbiamo abolito la geografia. Proibito mostrare la cartina dell’allargamento della Nato a Est negli ultimi 25 anni (da 16 a 30 membri)… Eppure, che la Nato si sia allargata a Est, accerchiando e assediando la Russia, minacciandone la sicurezza con installazioni di missili nucleari sempre più vicine al confine, in barba alle promesse fatte a Gorbaciov nel 1990, fino all’ultima provocazione di annunciare l’imminente ingresso nell’Alleanza dei vicini di casa della Russia – Georgia e Ucraina – è un fatto storico indiscutibile…

L’altra cartina proibita è quella dei Paesi che non condannano o non sanzionano la Russia, o se ne restano neutrali: quasi tutta l’Asia, l’Africa e l’America Latina, cioè l’87% della popolazione mondiale. Ma al nostro piccolo mondo antico occidentale piace far credere che Putin è isolato e noi lo stiamo circondando. Sul fatto che Cina, India, Brasile e altri paesucoli stiano con lui o non stiano con noi, meglio sorvolare: altrimenti lo capiscono tutti che le sanzioni non funzionano… Solo abolendo la storia si può credere al presidente Sergio Mattarella quando ripete che “l’Ucraina è la prima guerra nel cuore dell’Europa nel dopoguerra”. E Belgrado bombardata anche dall’Italia nel 1999 dov’è, in Oceania? E chi era il vicepremier del governo D’Alema che bombardava Belgrado? Un certo Mattarella… Abbiamo abolito il rispetto per le altre culture. In una folle ondata di russofobia, abbiamo visto ostracizzare direttori d’orchestra, cantanti liriche, pianiste di fama mondiale, fotografi, atleti (anche paraolimpici), persino gatti e querce, soltanto perché russi. E poi censurare corsi su Dostoevskij, cancellare dai teatri i balletti di Cajkovskij, addirittura estromettere la delegazione russa dalle celebrazioni per la liberazione di Auschwitz. Come se il lager l’avessero liberato gli americani o gli ucraini e non l’Armata Rossa… i trombettieri della Nato propagandano la bufala dell’“euroatlantismo” e gli scemi di guerra se la bevono, senz’accorgersi che mai come oggi gli interessi dell’Europa sono opposti a quelli dell’America.

A peace plan for Ukraine

Among the peace plans proposed by various European and U.S. politicians, to be frank, I haven't read a single one which I would consider even remotely feasible. My impression is that such plans have been redacted more for a need to fool one's voters and present onself as a peace operator (whereas one factually supports sending of weapons and tightening of sanctions) than for a genuine peace effort, since every politician that had spent even just a few minutes to document oneself on the situation around Ukraine would perfectly know that these peace plans are not just unacceptable by the Russians, but plainly unpresentable.

A believable peace plan must first and foremost take into account the reasons that pushed Russia to invade Ukraine and, above all, those who push the Russian people to support the war. It's certainly legitimate, and even reasonable, to doubt the official reasons: on the contrary, it's very likely that the reasons who push Russia to continue this “special operation” are, at least in part, others, economical in nature and to the benefit of a few especially powerful individuals (arm producers above all). We can put our heart at rest, and accept the fact that we'll never get to know the real reasons; but, on the other hand, it's not even so important to know them, after all.

What we really need to know is the mood of the Russian population, and especially the reasons why president Putin's popularity has risen after the invasion of Ukraine. The mainstream information we get in the West is not helpful at all in this, because it's since 2014 that it omits reporting important facts about the war in Donbass. Well, nowadays the Russian people are constantly fed images of civilians dying in Donetsk and in other cities of the Donbass, right in the center of the cities, where there are no military targets. We can call it propaganda, sure, but the facts are real and are just an aggravated continuation of what has been happening for the past 8 years, all well documented by the OSCE mission and by the Office of the High Commissioner of the Human Rights of the United Nations1.

Besides, the massive transfer of weapons and the episodes of discrimination against Russian artists, athletes, personalities of the culture and entertainment, sometimes against the very Russian language, these are all widely publicized by local mass media and get the Russians convinced that their country is fighting an existential war against a horde of fascists, and, militarily, against the whole of NATO.

If the West had really the will to restore peace it should work to destroy this representation of itself and disarm the Russian propaganda by removing the facts on which it's built. Specifically, I'm persuaded that many of the following points would be well received by the Western population and would demotivate the Russian people (including many of the soldiers stationed at the front) in fighting this fratricidal war:

  1. Removal of every discrimination against Russian culture and its representatives and performers.
  2. Promise that Ukraine won't be let into NATO or in other military alliances that would go beyond the commitment to reciprocal defense (that is, no to joint military drills or foreign bases in the territory of Ukraine, yes to a promise of military intervention in case of attack).
  3. Pausing the shipment of weapons until Ukraine removes the title of hero of Ukraine to Stepan Bandera and other members of the nazist organisation UPA.
  4. Pausing the shipment of weapons until Ukraine stops bombing civilian settlements devoid of military installations.

It should be noted that none of these points require collaboration or agreements between states (even joining NATO can only happen after the unanymous vote of all current members, as Turkey reminds us), so they all could be immediately implemented by any willing state. The bigger the number of Western countries pushing forward these policies, the more uncertainty will grow among the Russian population, and will ultimately transform into incomprehension and dissatisfaction, since this would destroy the ideological reasons that make the Russians support the conflict.

If we are to speak of a peace plan, agreed among NATO, Ukraine and Russia, then it could be developed along these lines:

  1. Ukraine condemns the nazist ideology (therefore Bandera and friends), accepts to open an international commission of inquiry (including Russia as well) over the massacres of Maidan square and Odessa.
  2. Ukraine grants the status of second official language to the Russian language, similarly to how Swedish language is treated in Finland2.
  3. Ukraine enacts laws to guarantee a limited autonomy to the 5 regions currently under Russian control (including Crimea) and amnesty for all those rebels that are not found guilty of war crimes (in other words, a sort of Minsk accords extended to all the occupied regions).
  4. Ukraine promises not to host military forces or equipment from other countries in its territory, and to not participate in joint military drills, without the consent of the Russian federation. It can, however, join defensive military alliances.
  5. Ukraine promises to never enact sanctions against Russia, nor to require visa from Russian citizens in order to cross its borders.
  6. The Russian army withdraws and gets temporarily replaced by the army of a third country, not member of NATO, chosen by Ukraine.
  7. New referendums, under the supervision of international observers (including Ukrainians and Russians) in the 5 contested regions. Times will be established by Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine commit to recognize and implement their results.
  8. The peace mission introduced in point 6 gets wrapped up.

It's of fundamental importance understanding that territorial questions are only a secondary matter, and that what is most pressing for the Russian people is to have good relations with the neighbouring countries: not having to worry about coups, colour revolutions stirred up by the West or about other attempts to use Ukraine as a weapon against Russia. If, for example, there were a Russian region that desired to separate itself from the federation and join Belarus, I'm convinced that this could happen in a peaceful way without serious repercussions, since the relationships between the two countries are good and Belarus is not perceived as a threat. This was also the situation with Ukraine before 20143, and it's the situation to which we should strive to return to.

  1. See for example the report for the period May-August 2018, page 5, point 22. More reports can be found in this list

  2. Note that Swedish in Finland is the native language for just 5% of the population, whereas in Ukraine Russian is the native language of about 30% of the population. 

  3. Not exactly, since there had already been attempts at colour revolutions resulting in anti-Russian governments. But I hope you'll pass this oversimplification of mine here.