Thursday, September 30, 2010

Clear Solutions, Albeit Difficult

Duplicitous Israel, at it again. The ten months of holding in abeyance construction projects on Jewish settlements in the West Bank have come to an end. No amount of pleading on the part of the Obama administration has moved Prime Minister Netanyahu to declare an extension of the building freeze. And since Mahmoud Abbas warned time and again that the talks would not proceed should the freeze not be extended, there go the peace talks.

Of course the peace talks could proceed with no pre-conditions. With each side finding grounds to negotiate and to surrender in some part the demands of the other in something approximating an equal and just determination to find common ground. To collaborate in good faith on a search for meaningful compromises that would promise each side security and a sound basis for a social, economic and political future.

A departure from the past, when the Palestinian Authority, in its previous incarnation as Fatah under Chairman Yasser Arafat authorized the first Intifada to demonstrate precisely what he and his militants thought of Oslo and peace negotiations, resulting in countless deaths. Not quite a entire departure from the present where Mahmoud Abbas is still quietly encouraging 'resistance', while speaking peace-potential.

The PA negotiators are leaning on the Obama administration, expecting it to lift a heavy hand of condemnation against Israeli obduracy again. "We need a practical position from the United States against settlements. I am surprised that America is unable to stop them." Time to meet with the Arab League again.

Well, there do exist practical and obvious solutions to that problem of 300,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank. An equal number of Israeli-Palestinians within Israel. Negotiations to carve out borders that would include/exclude the offending Jews/Arabs, leaving them where they belong, each with their respective countries within common-sense, newly-drawn borders sounds like a potential.

Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has long advocated just such a solution, and it's not a far-fetched one. Former U.S. president Clinton may consider the million Russian Jews now Israeli citizens a hindrance to a peaceful solution, but their leader is not shy of expressing common hard-headed sense. Jewish settlers would be delighted to be incorporated into greater Israel.

Israeli-Arabs, with the prospect of losing Israeli citizenship and becoming citizens of a new Palestinian state, perhaps not quite so delighted, but they could become accustomed to the idea. And the Palestinian Members of the Knesset who find such dreadful fault with the State which has given them freedom and equality and opportunities could then criticize Israel from the other side of the border.

And given the reality that Palestinians continue to violently attack Jews whenever and wherever opportunities arise, separation is never a bad thing. At least until both sides learn to become more civil and discontinue the use of violence. Toward which end Mr. Lieberman's recommendation of a "two-staged" solution to take a "few decades" to complete, makes eminent good sense.

Within those few decades the Palestinian Authority could change its school curricula to portray Jews as neighbours, not rapacious enemies to be engaged in bloody battle. And it could undertake to do its duty as a civilized society by encouraging all of its citizens to respect the human rights of others to live in peace and security without constant threats and bombardments.

France, Germany, the European Union in fact, the United States and the United Nations could become accustomed to the realization that Israel has a right to exist and their obligation to support its existence a trifle less critically than has been done, and an equal obligation to anticipate and demand from the Palestinians behaviour more becoming a civil, nascent-nation.

And all of them, the United States in particular, would do well to view a trifle more clearly that the urgency to deflect Iran from its nuclear pursuits has little-to-nothing to do with settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and far, far more to do with overweening religious fanaticism and political-ideological ambitions to control the Middle East and eventually the world of the West.

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The Gawd Particle

Arthur C. Clarke would have approved. He might even have imagined the scenario. Certainly the plot would have made him proud. It might not have appeared to be beyond his own sphere of expertise to imagine and to write of such an occurrence. Although he was more inclined to speculate about potential threats emanating from Outer Space than from within the bounds of our earthly planet itself.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has sent out shock waves of troubling thoughts throughout the world. Much of the world, in any event. What have they to lose, the Ayatollahs, since they're so invested in their Islamist version of Armageddon, awaiting the appearance of the Mahdi who will congratulate nuclear Iran effusively and elevate the country to the pinnacle of spiritual achievement before collapsing the world in a celebratory catastrophe.

If the detonation of a nuclear device aimed for first practise say, at the Zionist Entity whose audaciously mendacious grasping to itself of sacred ground dedicated to Islam destroyed that enemy, it could only hasten the End of Days and that would be all to the good, enabling the Faithful to expeditiously ascend to Paradise.

But evil lurks in the world of non-believers, the kuffars and the infidels, Crusaders and the Jews. Something amiss has occurred. Not a word of which will be murmured to the world at large. Yet even so, there are those who have their suspicions and who bandy about hypotheses. It is but a temporary set-back.

Iran's great good friend Russia will cement its pledge to ensure that Iran becomes a nuclear nation; if not Bushehr, then another installation. "DEADF007"? What manner of incomprehensible nonsense is that? What malicious thing is that Stuxnet that has halted proceedings, but an evil devised by Satanic Israel?

Hamas and Hezbollah are restless and feeling particularly irritated over the delay. These new weapons they have been promised will experience a slight delay, nothing more. The Islamic Republic of Iran has its infallible plans and its dedicated institutions and nothing will prevent or unduly delay the nuclear fireworks heralding its ascendancy.

What do security experts know of cyber worms in any event? They consider themselves technological geniuses, but they know nothing of the power and the glory and the overwhelming authority of Islam; the holy plans will proceed and they will prevail.

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Industrial Military Complexities

"...Others have suggested that the piles of skulls that marked the passage of a Genghis Khan or the fearsome slave-markets of Bokhara were proof of a primary instinct in man to attack, dominate and kill his own kind, an instinct often suppressed by the institutions of civilized life, but encouraged under the more 'natural' conditions of nomadic barbarism..." Bruce Chatwin
As developed as we are as advanced, thinking and feeling organisms, the human race is deeply vested in its primordial roots. Nature on the one hand has equipped us foremost with the overriding compulsion to endure and to grasp life, to ensure survival at all odds, to pass our genes on through countless generations. On the other, we are still invested with our ancient instincts to recognize the enemy, not of our clan, who will challenge us for scarce survival-ensuring resources. That deadly, vestigial competitiveness lurks deep within us all, the dim awareness of antipathy toward the adversarial, threatening 'other'.

We no longer use rude implements to fend off or mount attacks on the 'other'. And our deep-seated distrust of those who challenge our primacy, our ownership of resources while muted as we have become more civilized, still rears itself when the occasion demands.

Closed societies like those of North Korea and Pakistan which represent failures as constitutional states, and which cannot adequately care for their populations, choose deliberately and with malice aforethought to squander scarce resources on weapons of mass destruction; the ultimate weapon, nuclear devices. The better to bellicosely swagger and to threaten that those who oppose them may reap the whirlwind.

Iran and Syria, like Libya before them (before relenting), are eager to join the exclusive club. And their non-state, viciously militant satrapies are equally anxious to avail themselves of the world's most powerful weapons.

The world has become a powder keg of apprehension. It was inevitable. Alfred Nobel sought to assuage his conscience by trading his deadly invention (by yesterday's standards) for the uplifting role of recognizing and rewarding cerebral and scientific and political and social and medical excellence in a celebration of the best that humankind could attain to. Nobel laureates represent the pinnacle of human achievement.

The arms producers represent a nadir in human achievement, yet still remain a powerful element in world trade, with vast, princely sums of nations' treasuries being used to acquire the technologically advanced combat arms and crafts that are available. The leading countries of the world today, those invested in peace and prosperity, whose values and priorities are to maintain stability around the world because it makes good sense and war is a condition of aberrant human nature to be avoided if at all possible, also represent the very same countries whose technological advancement in the art of war and its implements have monumental importance. Not only for their own protection from rogue states who might wish to attack them, but also to enrich their own coffers, by sale to the highest bidders.

The United States and Russia, both manufacturers of highly advanced weaponry, speak of non-proliferation of dread weapons and claim to be invested in making the world a safer place by divesting themselves of some of their deadly inventories. France and Great Britain act as interlocutors along with the former two, in world conflicts. And where is the most incendiary potential for conflict located on Earth at the present time? Why in the very place where billions of oil dollars are being traded for advanced weaponry.

The United States is arming Saudi Arabia with fighter planes and helicopters, high-speed missiles, precision-guided bombs. Include the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. Russia is busy arming Syria with cruise missiles and other advanced weapons. Which Syria can then turn around and share with Iran, and with Hezbollah and with Hamas, and there is nothing at all new about this.

Nothing new either in the fact that when it comes to recouping some of the vast expenditures for energy the West has sent along to the oil-producing countries of the Middle East, a return of some of that treasury in exchange for weapons seems a fair trade to the arms-producing countries. That, in so doing they're upping the ante for the potential of an catastrophic explosion of war in a tight geography in which there are many aggressors and one very small and single target, appears to be immaterial to the great thinkers and movers in the national administrations that vie with one another for the prestige of being the most 'important', 'influential', and useful to the region's plans.

One thing remains constant throughout all of the turmoil, and that is human nature. We cannot, despite our best intentions, transcend the most basic, primitive impulses of human nature. Ancient codes of conduct written and later transcribed to address ongoing affairs of human interaction were meant by wise and concerned humans to direct humans through a passage of emotional and intellectual maturity. We respect those codes and we commit ourselves to them in the breach, less in practise. Religion was devised by clever and far-sighted minds as a device by which humans could be guided toward justice and matters of the spirit, not of the battlefield.

Yet even those religions, all of which were devised to tame nomadic cultures, celebrated legends of bloody war and massacres and assassinations, performed in the name of an omniscient guiding Spirit. We haven't travelled all that far from our primitive sources. The pretense and veneer of civilization satisfies us by its ennobling effects, but never for too long, until we succumb to the dire need to mount yet another war in yet another region for the greater good of humankind.

Arm the Middle East, that ancient geographic site of ancient tribal adversities, where kingdoms have come and gone, and bitter enmities remain. Arm the Middle East and witness a vast, violent upheaval as concerns of a final Apocalypse may materialize, leaving nothing but bitter ashes behind. This is a geography that has long been a plaything for other countries of the World, of Europe, and the United States. That playground is far too close to erupting.

On the other hand, who is to blame? What could be clearer than the usual human proclivity to resent being used, manipulated and victimized. What springs from the deep dark poisoned well of oppression and misery is violent resentment culminating in revolution.

The presence of Israel, an 'alien' religion and society, with its democratic ideals in a land consecrated to Islam, may be the most visible scapegoat as it has always and ever been, but sooner or later those whose grandiose and lunatic plans of final authority will themselves be annihilated.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Condemnation Versus Reality

The idiocy and blatant hypocrisy of a United Nations commission tasked to look into the Turkish aid flotilla meant to break Israel's blockade of Gaza in finding Israel guilty of human rights abuses and of using unjustified force is beyond belief. In the face of video footage widely aired showing unambiguously that militants aboard the flotilla's lead vessel had connived to attack the Israeli commandos as they boarded the Mavi Marmara.

The government of Turkey was involved with these plans which were meant to embarrass the government of Israel. Turkey is now relatively newly-invested with challenging Israel as a malign state within a staid and kindly-disposed geography of Islamic states. The Islamist government of the new Turkey prepared to divest its formerly common interests with Israel in favour of closer ties with Iran and Syria.

Gaza is blockaded because it is in the administrative possession of a terror group, Hamas. Hamas's sole purpose is to destroy the State of Israel, to reclaim the land upon which the nation was built - legally, and with the full support of the United Nations - for Arab Palestinians. That the original "Palestinians" of the area were not Arabs but rather Jews, is another irrelevancy to the world at large which now views the Palestinians displaced by Partition, as pitiable victims.

That Israel, a sovereign democratic country whose nationhood was built upon the premise that Jews required a homeland of their own to be re-established, for only there would they find a safe and secure haven in the world that had always shunned and tormented Jews, offended Arab sensibilities. The irony of course is that Jews living in the diaspora while still living with anti-Semitism are safer now living in Europe and in North America than they are in their own country.

Where their Middle East neighbours, 'dispossessed' Arab Palestinians harbour deep-seated anger, resentment and hatred toward them, encouraged to continue expressing those emotions by a Palestinian Authority which teaches its young that Israel is an oppressive occupying force squatting on land rightfully belonging to Arab Palestinians. Encouraged, aided and abetted by the larger Arab communities.

Fully one-quarter of Israel's citizens are non-Jews, most of them Israeli-Palestinians, and even they conspire to defeat the country that has given them equal rights and citizenship. Israeli-Arabs elect their own Members of the Knesset who themselves foment unrest and dissatisfaction as citizens of the country, yet if given the choice of living in Israel as opposed to the West Bank, they choose Israel.

With matters in the West Bank on the quiescent side, mostly due to the separation of the encircling wall separating Israel from would-be suicide bombers, the economy there is on a decided upswing; good news for a nascent Palestinian state. That has occurred because an uneasy peace is in place whereas in Gaza, Palestinians living under the strictures of a blockade have few opportunities to advance themselves.

The blockade is there for the simple reason of self-protection. Hamas and its colleagues-in-terror are steadfastly dedicated to the destruction of Israel; this is clearly stated in their manifesto, and clearly obvious in their ongoing violent actions. Under international law any state has the right to protect itself as Israel has done. Gazans, despite the hand-wringing of the international community and the UN, do not live in dire straits.

All of these established facts appear to make little impression on the gullible and tractable Palestinian sympathizers who prefer to view Israel as an overbearing, human-rights-abusing, Arab-hating state. But then why allow truth and reality to get in the way of prejudice and malice?

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Canadians, Anti-Immigration?

Well, look here; Canada is a country comprised largely of immigrants. Ask any of our First Nations peoples, they'll remind us of that. They had to contend with the arrogance of occupying powers; the French and the British, during those free-wheeling, geographical acquisitory days of imperialist colonialism. They're still indignant and grate against the indignities visited upon them, when 'their' land and 'their' country was slipped out from under their moccasined feet.

And there was that time when the majority Anglais lorded it over the quaint-but-rough-hewn migrants from eastern Europe, and when oriental labourers were brought over to do the tough, dangerous and dirty work of railroad building out west, the starving Irish building canals in the east, the Ukrainians sent to the prairies to farm, and the French remained subordinate to the English stock superior to all other immigrants, the lords and masters of the land.

That fine old tradition has only just faded, with apologies gone out to the Japanese for their war-time internment, the Chinese for unjustifiable head tax impositions, the First Nations for institutionalized child-assimilation, and a plethora of other historical mea culpas to a newly compassionate government which would prefer to shovel the coal of regret over rejecting Jewish orphans fleeing racial obliteration.

Canada's immigrant populations of Poles, Ukrainians, Dutch, Irish, Germans, Portuguese, Chinese, East Indians and Italians enriched the country, giving it cosmopolitan substance adding to the heritage of the British and the French. Vietnamese and Somalis and others fleeing war-torn countries altered the bland face of society to produce a diverse, multi-dimensional population.

And now? Now Canada is suddenly leery of our immigration tradition, at a time when we're committed to introducing a quarter-million immigrants a year into the country, this vast, beautiful, resource-rich geography inhabited by a still-slight 33-million people. Once so proud of our multicultural tradition, we no longer are quite as dedicated to it as such. We would far prefer close integration, assimilation.

Assimilation of values and priorities and customs and social mores. Oh, it's all right; keep some of your traditions and be proud of your original heritage, but cling to and become a portion of what has absorbed you. Become Canadian. Leave behind, please do, all the misery and nastiness that led you to flee your origins and cleave to what you find here.

Do not, under any circumstances, bring along traditional animosities and grievances. Canada has no room nor tolerance for such. Too late, alas. Immigration officers are, in practise, taught to discriminate between applicants who seem likely to be able to fit into Canadian society, and those who do not present as suitable. In theory, but not in practise,

We have accepted ideological dogmatism, religious fanaticism, tribal hatreds that refuse to diminish with distance and time; for whom passion not reason prevails.

So it's just as well to hear that a group of elder statesmen, still politically-active individuals of the Canadian establishment are clearly prepared to confront the conundrum of who should and should not be admitted under a new reality. One that has rent Europe apart, and will threaten to do the same with North America.

Welcome the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform. In thee we shall trust. Their argument that high immigration comes at too steep a cost is a welcome one. Beyond the practicalities of greater government expenditures in accommodations and crowding.
"Unfortunately immigration and refugee policy is a bit like health care in Canada. It's being denied rational debate at the political level, and this despite the very clear evidence of abuse of the system, of fraud in the system and a lack of co-ordination in the country in terms of screening." Derek Burney
Yes, that is so. It is most certainly so. And past time things began to change.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Re-Write the Rules, Chumps!

Staunchly, proudly democratic - hero of the working class of his country, Hugo Chavez feels entitled through his personal sacrifices to be recognized as the saviour of Venezuelans. As such, he should be anointed emperor. But of course this is a title not recognized in a democracy. So head-of-state for life will do, instead. A not-unreasonable recognition of his value to the people. For does he not engage with the downtrodden, and assure them that this is their country and they are entitled to whatever they desire?

With the knowledge that he will continue the good fight on their behalf. Battling the will of an opposition that represents the country's wealthy and class-entitled. It is past time for the Americas to be represented by the kind of revolutionary fervour and dedication that represents the will of the people, the little people, not their oppressors. With good will and dedication to the public weal along with the recognition of the little folk, there is no reason whatever why Venezuelans may not enjoy the firm guiding hand of their beloved president in perpetuity.

It is for this reason and this reason alone, that laws must be altered and the constitution as well, to enable this miraculous and well-deserved dream to become a reality. It helps, considerably, that the media has been convinced it is in their best interests to support the president's party and that the new voting districts and electoral laws have been amended in support of the inevitable. All good things shall come to pass. Those who have proven faithful to their president in the past, have been gifted with costly objects as a demonstration of their president's trust in their vote.

The Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela shall retain its rightful place, uppermost in the thoughts and concerns trust and of the voting public. The opposition will recognize a deservedly difficult chasm in voting equivalence-values between Amazonas and Zulia, for example, but that, after all, is the meaning of power; one makes selective and good use of it, or one faces the reality of losing it. With such a firm grasp on the realities of realpolitik and the uselessness of the opposition's vision for the country, one strikes while the opportunities present themselves.

Viva, Chavez!

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

We Get Too Soon Old

And, of course, too late smart. Fifty years after Fidel Castro saw his guerrilla-led triumph in toppling Cuba's Fulgencio Batista, he is an old man, 84 and feeble, yet still consumed by his passion for Communism. Cuba, the Workers' Paradise. With its pure ideology of equality and respect for the working class, contempt for the wealthy. The former ascendant, (but poor), the latter persona non grata.

Education, the arts, medicine would triumph. And the philosophy of the socialist state. No more brothels and casinos operated for the delectation of wealthy American tourists. Wealth would be created by the people for the people, and the country would, through education and the socialist ideal, become other than what it was, a cringing pimp for the moneyed leisure class of social moral deviants.

Cuba sent its barefoot medicos all over South and Central America. No sacrifice too great for social cohesion within the hemisphere. It helped immeasurably, with American embargoes imposed upon the island that the Soviet Union took it under its financial and ideological wing. And just as the USSR saw the dismal failure of its collectivization of farms and failed industries so now does Cuba.

With the dissolution of the USSR Cuba was left adrift. But before that during the Cold War, Nikita Kruschev had installed powerful missiles on Cuban soil capable of carrying nuclear-tipped warheads, bringing the world closer to nuclear war than at any other time in its history. Fidel Castro proved himself willing to face off against the U.S., seriously encouraging a Soviet launch against the States.

He has the leisure now to look back on that era as an error in judgement.

But had it not been defused by a showdown between Presidents Kruschev and Kennedy, the world would have seen a counter-attack demolishing Cuba entirely. And causing huge losses of life in the United States. Was this evidence of world-class statesmanship? Mr. Castro is now in the process of redeeming his humanistic legacy of wanting to do good for the world; his world. He is still, it would seem, dedicated to the ideals he always advanced.

So is North Korea. And so is Venezuela, Cuba's newest champion and paymaster. Uncompromising on the promise held within the Communist ideal. Trouble is, that ideal runs counter to human nature, as Russia discovered, when it had to import wheat to feed its population when the communal farms collapsed. And as wiser heads in China acknowledged when it heralded in an ideological hybrid-era of capitalist-Communism.

There is a saving grace in his reminiscences, and his observations. Although Cuba - along with Venezuela and Brazil - present as firm supporters of Iran which threatens to annihilate Israel, Fidel Castro relieved himself of his opinion that Jews have historically been oppressed and vilified, their religion disdained, their people methodically slaughtered in a paroxysm of hatred resulting in the Holocaust.

One can only hope that message of personal conviction has made its way through to his great admirer, Hugo Chavez, and a little further in the World's geography, to Iran.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

At What Cost?

What's that contemporary wisdom - that the United States is urgently engaged in bringing peace to the Middle East? Why yes, of course, they most certainly are. It's called shuttle diplomacy, as President Obama assigns high-ranking members of his administration to badger and cajole, threaten and sweet-talk the Israelis and the Palestinians into serious talks to finally bring to an end the conflict - very long in the tooth - between the two. But it's not just the 'two'; it is, in fact, Israel and the Muslim nations of the geography.

So of course there's the little fact of what lurks in the background. Saudi Arabia grimly insisting as the region's elder statesman and confidant of all the U.S. administrations, that Israel must submit to pre-conditions that will most certainly result in its absorption into the greater Muslim world. The dissolution of the Jewish state, the triumph of the landscape returned to Islam, for it is an unspeakable affront to Islam that a Jewish state squats on Muslim geography.

Also handily overlooked is the monumentally determined, aggressive and dedicated part Saudi money has played in installing mosques and madrassas and Muslim centres across the Middle East, through Europe and into Australia and North America. From which centres and mosques and madrassas have sprung the hissing dragon that begets countless other malevolent dragons intent on installing Islamist Sharia wherever they creep.

Yet here is the Obama administration heralding a great opportunity for the creation of new jobs in the jobless-recession-recovery United States. That old military-industrial complex evincing its presence yet again. Under an administration that has stated it will be a different one, engaged with all the world, no longer presenting as an officious bully, but one that dedicates itself to peace. Working hard on nuclear non-proliferation and extending a hand of friendship to the Muslim world.

It is to crow with triumph: Saudi Arabia is committing to a $60-billion package of technologically advanced weaponry. All that money that the U.S. treasury has funnelled into Saudi Arabia over the decades to bring petroleum products into America to enable a storied way of life is finally - some of it, in any event - to be returned to America. Of course it might be worth asking why Saudi Arabia requires a naval and air package of that magnitude to begin with.

But just think: this is yet another way in which the Democratic-led government of the United States will be enabled to demonstrate that it has brought countless manufacturing jobs back to the country, groaning under the weight of its unemployment figures. This is politics at its rawest, most opportune, least ethical, but what of it? Everything appears to be fair when a politician is battling for continued control. Those are high stakes.

American elites whose values are such that they do not wish to have them compromised warn that an arms-transfer agreement of this magnitude will simply raise the militarization of the Gulf States in particular and the Middle East generally. Hardly a matter to be ignored, particularly in light of the fact of the Obama administration's dedication to peace and harmony.

Hypocrisy, misidentification of priorities, morals gone suddenly bankrupt? Take your pick.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Japan's 41,000 Centenarians

For a country for whom face-saving is of huge importance, to discover that a huge hoax has been perpetrated upon the government and by extension on the country's international reputation for statistics and population longevity is a heavy blow to their prestige. And, in fact, a surprising event. For the fact is, Japanese as a population tend to be discreet and humble and quietly attentive to society's imperatives on their tight little islands.

The Japanese pride themselves on their homogeneity. Not just that their population has very similar physical attributes so that when one is walking amidst a flood of people on main thoroughfares one sees a sea of shining black healthy heads on sturdy limbs. Sharing quiet Buddhist Shinto values. Eschewing stringently any public disturbances. Courteously and trustingly living among one another in small village enclaves within the greater metropolis of say, Tokyo.

Where families live in expensive, cramped high-rise apartments of dull concrete or within narrow, modest houses. And where the temples are well attended in low-key religious trust, and where employment was once a life-time commitment at a particular enterprise about which the family life revolved. Robust young boys would be carried on the backs of elderly grandmothers, and school-uniformed children would rush through the streets.

The Japanese diet was a celebrated one. Indeed, small mom-and-pop shops scattered throughout every neighbourhood offered the freshest and most perfect specimens of every type of fruit and vegetable available, and the fish monger's stalls were washed clean every evening before closing time, and rice and tea were purchased at special-purpose shops.

The extreme elderly in Japanese society were legendary in their longevity, and the country was celebrated for the immense numbers of its centenarians. And then reality struck, when it was discovered that those who had achieved the ripe old age of 100 had died long before reaching that century-mark, and their children were claiming their pensions.

Those whom it was thought had reached 120, even 140, had been dead for fifty years, their pensions enriching the avails of their children. Alas, the realization that pride is often hollow.
"We trust people to provide us with honest information and the whole system is planned on that basis. To switch to an administrative system that assumed people had criminal tendencies would be so different that I think it would be impossible." Manabu Hajikano, residential registry section of Adachi ward.
"Japan lives this dream that people are good and makes it too easy for people to tell lies. As the economy and unemployment levels worsen, the temptation to commit fraud will rise." Mariko Bando, Showa Women's University: "The true problem, what is so terribly difficult for Japan to accept, is that we are living an illusion. The missing old people are a symptom of a misplaced belief in the goodness of people and the competence of the state. We must start seizing reality."
And so it has come to pass. Over 230,000 Japanese registered as alive and at least 100 years of age cannot be found, inclusive of 884 thought to be 150 or older. The miracle of extreme longevity has been pierced by reality.

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Funding for Paradise

Ecuador has come up with an innovative plan to persuade the wealthy countries of the world that it is incumbent upon them to assist this member of OPEC to maintain a paradisaical area of the country free of exploitation for oil, and in the process refrain from sending millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Ecuador will withhold drilling activities for crude oil in a 200,000 hectare area of a national park rich in birds, monkeys, jaguars, giant armadillos and pink-coloured dolphins, if the country can be guaranteed that goodwill funding can be anticipated from wealthy international communities eager to do their part to be good stewards of the world's jungles.

Ecuador, under this plan, hopes to raise $100-million in seed money to launch the envisioned initiative. Which will ensure that secretive tribal Ecuadorean aboriginals who prefer to have no contact with the outside world, and to continue to live their primitive lifestyle will be left free to do so without oil-well-drilling incursions.

Ecuador is looking for an investment of $3.6-billion from abroad, representing approximately half of what the country might expect to earn through drilling in protected areas for crude oil. The area in question is a vast national park on the equator enjoying constant sun and rain resulting in a region rich in bio-diversity. Its river networks represent natural barriers separating plants and animals, isolated to develop into unique species.
"These three factors interact to give us a region that is probably the richest in biodiversity in the world. The park can be seen as a kind of magic garden that contains plants that cannot be found anywhere else."
The fund, if it materializes, would be administered by the United Nations Development Program. Scientists claim that Yasuni has more species of flora and trees than exist in the whole of North America, as well as an immense variety of insects, snakes and other wildlife.

It's a gentle kind of blackmail, but one that appears bio-irresistible.

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Muslim Ire

Violent anti-American protests in the wake of a very amplified self-serving plan to broadcast the intention of an evangelical pastor representing an obscure church in Florida to burn copies of the Koran continue in Afghanistan, while the country is preparing to go to the polls. To elect deserving candidates to sit in the 249 seats of the lower house.

Thousands of protesters have rallied to the cause of defending and protecting Islam and its sacred text from desecration. And for that purpose, in defending the religion of love and peace, the crowds chant in unison, "Death to America!", "Death to Christians!", and "Death to Karzai", in the country's capital city, Kabul.

This is the country that the international community is anxious to civilize. To assist in the gargantuan task of bringing the population into the 20th Century from its comfortable perch in the 14th Century. Where its disparate tribes know their representative places and abide by tribal and Islamist rules. And where capable female candidates running for office know better than to appear in public.

Informed onlookers and the head of the crime investigation department for the Kabul police feel certain that the threatened burning of the Koran was a useful tool for the Taliban insurgents, enabling them to enlist the virulent fury of the populace in defence of their holy book and religion. "This was a very violent protest. And the Taliban were in the crowd." Yes on both counts.

While NATO's troops are busy detaining lead insurgents whose purpose is to destroy the capacity for a reliable and uncorrupted election proceeding, thereby placing themselves in danger, the terrorists whom foreign troops are protecting the populace from, are able to enjoin those whom they prey upon to threaten death to those same foreign troops.

Is this a rational society? Is this a manifestation of religious and cultural enrichment that teaches adherents the sanctity of life?

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Abrahamic Faiths

"O Muhammad, you seem to think that we are your people. Do not deceive yourself because you have encountered a people who have no knowledge of war and got the better of them; for my God if we fight you, you will find that we are real men!" Jews of Medina responding to the Prophet's demands they surrender to Islam and forfeit their allegiance to Judaism's successor-religion.
That uneasy, often bludgeoned-bloody relationship has never changed over the millennia. There were interregnums when a particular ruler would look kindly upon those other two religions that fell under the rubric of 'the Abrahamic faiths' (a very particular conceit of Islam; the acknowledgement that Abraham represents the initiator and nexus), viewed as inferior but acceptable with certain taxation provisos. And there were times when synagogues and churches, predecessors of mosques and Islam, were destroyed, their adherents hounded.

Islam likes matters of human existence and God's place within that existence neat and tidy, orderly and predictable. The itinerary as laid out in prescriptive Islam is for obedience and obeisance, the order of observance negotiable, but the observance strictly non-negotiable. Surrender is complete. The lives of the faithful completely circumscribed by utter allegiance to Allah, and undying devotion to Islam. And honour unstinting and eternal to the Prophet Muhammad, (blessed be his name).

Islam does not accept any manner of opposition to its celestially pre-eminent place in the hierarchy of Great Spirit manifestations and beliefs, all others being non-credible impostors, with Islam alone the sole path to God's affections and protections. Islam functions for its vast army of the faithful ummah as a complete lifestyle template, one that permits no deviance from its rigid prescription. Pray five times each day to the place where rests the spirit of Allah.

Wander from the rigidity of total surrender to exalted prescripts and one risks being named an apostate. And never to dissemble, to avow equality between peoples and their other-but-endowed beliefs lest one be outcast and vulnerable to the penalty of death. For Muhammad preached that the one God al-Llah (Allah) was the true God, the creator of all that exists, the arbiter of justice and mercy before whom every living human must prostrate themselves.

Abraham, the prophet of monotheism, and the father of Judaism, just happens also to be the father of Islam, so saith the Prophet Muhammad. Moses, the deliverer of the Jews in slave-bondage to Egypt, is also recognized as a celebrated foundational figure for Islam. Jews face Jerusalem in their ritual prayers to the Almighty, and Muslims face Mecca when they worship Allah. The rituals that originated in Judaism, like dietary laws, circumcision, charity, community, also handily adapted to Islam. (A religion-in-a-box!)

"Jews who follow us shall be given aid and equality; they shall not be oppressed, nor shall aid be given to others against them", but that generosity of vision and spirit was unrequited and summarily rejected by Jews, who preferred to remain faithful to their own precepts, their own vision of the Almighty, their own customs and traditions.
"If the Jews are called upon by the Believers to make peace, they must comply; and if the Believers are called upon by the Jews to make peace, they must agree, except in the case of a holy war."
And holy war it has been evermore. Jews blasphemed intolerably by preferring their own heritage, traditions, customs, and Yahweh as opposed to Allah. Their unreasonableness brought down the wrath of Muhammad upon them, and that tradition too has followed history into the future as Jews fell into divine disfavour resulting from their disobedience to Islam. "Thus they incurred wrath upon wrath..."; the stage set in stony finality.

The three-pronged religious, social, ideological dysfunctionality - between a rigidly unenlightened Islam cleaving to its roots as a desert-Bedouin religion for warring tribes whose history is replete with bloody battles, territorial expansion, ideological imperatives and rival assassinations, and Christianity and Judaism which both have attempted to leverage themselves into modernity while retaining custom and tradition - is ongoing.

The faiths claim to worship a single God - that omniscient, omnipresent spirit whose greatness and goodness benefits all of humanity. The malevolently blood-stained pages of history attest otherwise; that He looks down impassively on the misinterpretations of the messages given to humankind resulting in an ongoing cycle of brutal dysfunction. Yet the religions of Christianity and Judaism have devolved and evolved and live side by side in peace.

While that of Islam remains mired in the traditions of its introduction by the Prophet Muhammad whose instruction and war-mongering in the interests of absorbing humankind under the generous and demanding mantle of Islam remains unchanged; medieval in concept, outlook and presence. Challenging the non-Muslim world in bellicose threats through those among its followers who have studiously absorbed the history of inception and the tradition of conquest.

From jihad to jihad. On to the finality of the universal caliphate. For that is the nature and the purpose of Islam.

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A small news bite in the local newspaper out of Manila, Philippines. Another Filipino has returned home from work abroad. Returned home from the Arab Emirates, in Bahrain. Where many impoverished Filipinos go to seek work as domestics, as hotel workers. In fact, as indentured servants. Expected to do precisely what, as and how they are instructed by their overseers, their employers.

For whom the Filipinos represent a cheap source of labour, as in slave labour. These workers, needless to say, have no rights under the law as it is exercised in Bahrain. They are represented as nameless, faceless, characterless, behind-the-scenes functionaries. Dependent on the money they earn, mostly to send back home to equally-impoverished family members in the Philippines.

There is this about Filipinos; they are reverentially religious, they are hard-working, they are trusting. And their trust is abused continually as they are overworked, and no consideration to their well-being is ever advanced toward them. Their employers take advantage of them as the powerful manipulate those with no protection. Many are physically beaten, and many are sexually abused.

The article? Well, it mentioned that a newborn male baby was discovered in a washroom bin on a Gulf Air flight from Bahrain. "The baby is now under our care", an official of the Department of Social Welfare & Development in Manila declared. "We'll look for his mother. We're giving his mother a chance to come forward."

The baby was discovered by airline cleaners, with his umbilical cord attached, bloody and wrapped in tissue paper. Kindly people in the capital city of the country have offered to adopt the baby, but the government insists it wishes to discover the whereabouts of the baby's biological mother.

To chastise her, to find her guilty of child abandonment, causing injury to a child, disgracing the honour of Filipinos returning from workplace-purgatory humiliated and fearful; to pronounce guilt upon her? Better to simply place the baby with a willing foster family, and leave the poor woman to her very special nightmare memories.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Disingenuous? Do Tell!

No, the blocks surrounding where the former World Trade Center towers stood are not hallowed ground, but the memory of what stood there, who perished there in their innocent unawareness of a deadly enemy slinking under the radar and successfully launching a terror attack beyond imagination is spectacularly hallowed. Never to be forgotten, nor forgiven.

As an American citizen, one who so passionately subscribes to the American ideal and the American dream, how is it possible that this reality eludes Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf? It does, nonetheless. Now, who is being disingenuous about the horrible reality of catastrophe launched by 'militant' Islam?

Who is it within the American community of assimilated and respected pluralist groups that sneers at American values of honouring one's dead? In this instance, those who died as a symbol of American power and prestige, become unwilling martyrs to the cause of America the Great whom Islamist jihadists were so eager to bring down, to bring the country to its knees in mourning.

In that they did succeed; Americans were stunned, disbelieving, overwrought with unassailable grief, and brought to their knees in desperate anguish over the nihilistic dread actions of killers who valued death, not life.

Who distinguished themselves by their eager willingness to bring death upon themselves in the belief they would be enfolded in love and gratitude by the God they worshipped, who would praise them and reward them for rendering unto him those unaware victims of incendiary hatred in the name of Islam.

Imam Rauf declares his opinion that radical extremists had "hijacked" the heated topic of relations between the West and Islam. Those whom he labels radical extremists speak of what they observe, and that is the reality of Islamists waging violent war on the West. These 'radical extremists' whom he claims to have 'hijacked' the debate, merely discuss issues.

It was the "radical extremists" of Islamic jihad hijacking jet planes as missiles slaughtering thousands that express the reality of the vicious debating style of Islamists.

But in his great wisdom Imam Rauf feels that tension can readily be defused by the simple medium of a "media blackout" with respect to suicide bombers. See no evil, hear no evil, report no evil. And take additional measures to threaten with the full thrust of a new law to be put in place to ensure that Islam is never conflated with terrorism; a law against Islamophobia.

If such a concept as making it internationally illegal to equate terror with Islam could be recommended by the Arab/Muslim bloc at the UN, why not within U.S. jurisprudence?

For see just how vile the news media are in reporting on the incidents of suicide attacks all over the world, claiming innocent lives in the name of Islam. Without the reportage, these unfortunate incidents would remain unknown and no bad feelings toward Islam would result.

And then there would be no threats by 'radical' Westerners intent on symbolizing their defiance of violent jihad addressed toward the West, by burning Korans. That unspeakable act of desecration, after all, is responsible for an expression of anger at the humiliation of Islam, resulting in Muslims running amok in violence. With Muslims demonstrating in Kashmir, and Muslim protesters fire bombing Christian missionary schools and government buildings, after hearing of the sacred Koran torching.

It remains nothing less than intolerable that non-Muslims see fit to behave in such a manner as to denigrate Islam and desecrate its sacred writings. They are responsible for the killings and injuries in Afghanistan after 10,000 Muslims protested. But the Koran-burners will get their due attention, after Iranian clerics deservedly in the name of all that is holy within Islam issued fatwas for their deaths.

And one cannot, after all, blame Muslims for their agitations against the West, given the socio-economic problems, religious sectarian strife, and the way the media shape the discourse over Islam's relationship to 99% of the world's terrorists presenting as Muslim. And look at the crucible of the problem, the intractable Israelis refusing to settle peacefully with Palestinian/Arab demands for quite precise parameters for peace.

Imam Rauf's wish to install a huge community centre/mosque complex with the (aptly-named) Cordoba Initiative speaks only of goodwill, and a desire to "create a space where the voice of moderates can be amplified". Well, the moderate voice has most certainly been amplified, and it would appear that two-thirds of Americans are aroused over the fact that the bellicose whisper underlying the affirmation of good faith and fellowship is not to their liking.

Having perhaps learned through the skulking media eager to report all the useless rabble-rousing dross they can unearth that the American Society for Muslim Advancement, the very organization backing Imam Rauf's Cordoba Initiative, is suspect in the opinion of most thinking Americans for their overt conspiracy theories that 9/11 was an "inside job".
"The prime factor for the success of the criminal mission known as 9/11 did not come from the quarter known as 'militant Islam', although the phenomenon known as 'militant Islamic networks' may have played a partial role, or even a less-than-partial role - perhaps the role of patsy and scapegoat" Faiz Khan
Dr. Khan, we learn, through the dastardly proclivity of the media to print unspeakable garbage, was a co-founder with Imam Rauf of the American Sufi Muslim Association, the predecessor organization to the American Society for Muslim Advancement.

Advancement? At what expense?

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Islam, Advancing....

Islamophobia is responsible for all the ill in the world done in the name of Islam. Islamist terror, ardent fanatical jihad, is merely a response to the world's refusal to acknowledge the supremacy of Islam over all other religions and ways of life, for Islam is the way of life. The transformative attack on the New York World Trade Center's Twin Towers were simply a response, deliberately electrifying, to America's provocations to the world of Islam.

And did not the world sit up and take immediate notice? Noting that prolonging one's life was immaterial to dedicated jihadists who preferred to surrender their lives to the divine service of Allah and in the process deliver to His altar the sacrificed lives of those who live in sin and decay of the spirit, outside Islam. The message was ably delivered and it was one of terrifying resoluteness. How do rational people battle such delusional irrationality?

The question still resonates. Contributing a tsunami-wave of hatred against non-Muslims in a huge display of guerrilla power. Although the bloodily successful suicide attacks in Great Britain, Spain, Mumbai and Indonesia were dreadful they did not galvanize the state of horror that the 9-11 attacks did. Perhaps our senses have become dulled. But then, there are also the ongoing mass murders of Muslim-against-Muslim that still draw attention in Congo, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, the Philippines.

All dread occurrences, but there was only one Twin Towers and (shudder) Pentagon success, along with the Pennsylvania rescue of American hope for the future that should be theirs. Accomplished not through the auspices of the government agencies that had so spectacularly failed in their service to their country, but through the resolute reaction of ordinary Americans. Who so magnificently distinguished themselves that day through countless acts of heroism.

And now the American public has decided it will no longer sit humbly by and continue to mourn helplessly. Fully two-thirds of Americans feel that symbols matter, and the manipulatively evil intentions manifest behind symbols matter even more. Build an Islamic community centre and mosque and other elements, in, as Imam Rauf declares, a statement of brotherhood and inclusivity, but build it elsewhere.

The geography around the fallen - innocent people and infrastructure alike - victim to hatred and aggression and mass murder should not be a reflection of the ongoing febrile tolerance of the American people too readily given to forgiveness. This is not merely a counter-defence against terror and its symbols of triumph, it is a necessity to enable the country to absorb its sad and mournful memories - and release them finally.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's unsubtle threats of the potential of violence erupting should Cordoba House not proceed certainly paints him as a moderate Muslim. "National security now hinges on how we negotiate this", he warns. More of the usual Islamist blackmail. Deny us our rights and then see how we react! Riots in Pakistan, massacres in India, threats against Denmark, Indonesian recriminations against the West.

And Turkey, once the proud standard bearer of a majority-Muslim country devoted to democracy, considering itself as European as it was Muslim, now standing on the cusp of Sharia-led Islamism. Shoulder-to-shoulder now with Iran and with Syria, and championing Hamas, there can never be too many mosques anywhere in the world.
"The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers."
What's that? Fair warning?

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Provoking Islam

Not Islam then: Islamist jihadists who use Islam. An Islam whose sacred writings give impetus and direction to those Islamists. And, in turn, many of the Islamic elite, the scholars, the clerics, the imams, the mullahs in their turn give encouragement to the Islamists. In whose cause they bitterly complain that the world has victimized them, and by extension their religion, the way of life, the culture that emanates from Islam, and the heritage of Muslims by heaping blame on it through the nastiness of Islamophobia.

Muslims are not responsible for the fear-mongering, the terror acts, the murder and mayhem that consumes the world today from the Philippines to China, Pakistan to Iraq, Egypt to Europe, India to North America. It is, obviously the Islamist-jihadist component of Islam that is responsible. They whose many and varied champions pose as being mortified, horrified that such unnecessary bloodshed stains the reputation of Islam, the religion of peace, not conflict.

And while it is true that the greater majority of the ummah is likewise condemnatory, they have good reason to be, since they comprise the majority of the victims of violent Islam. It is strange, however, that Muslims will speak no ill of their brethren in the faith - unless they are Sunni and they speak of Shia, unless they are Shia and they speak of the Sufis or other unspeakable sects. Truth is, Muslims refuse to believe the reality that Muslims could be so utterly vile in behaviour.

And the incendiary clerics whose belligerent claims against the West and whose bellicose insistence that it is the Western ideal of democratic liberalism that dominates the Globe and represses and oppresses, calling out to the defenders of Islam to smite their enemies, to please Allah, influencing many among their ardent followers. President Barack Obama is quite correct in his statement attempting to placate Islam; the West does not war against Islam.

But Islam in its varied countenances, does war with the West. It wars with the ideals and ideas of liberalism. But also against the perceived apostates among themselves. It wars with adversarial theological sects in its ravenous insistence on conformity to one mode of Islam. Demanding that the most fanatical authentic manifestation of the divine instruction to surrender to the will of the one true God. And the demand to dedicate lives completely to the stultifying cultural Islam of mind-deadening conformity.

But why blame Muslims for finding it less than credible that among them lurks bestial intent to prey on others, to destroy civilizations and replace them with iron-age totalitarian theocracies? The West is in fact little different; its elites, educators, news media and governing bodies turn their faces away from the reality that the inundation of Muslim emigres to live in those democracies we are so inordinately fond of, seek, once the foothold has been gained, to overturn laws, social mores and culture.

When the demographic of this particular population base has begun to reach a critical mass of influence, it flexes its social/political/religious muscle and begins to demand considerations far overstepping the boundaries of reasonable accommodation. And it can be done very civilly in fact, by calling upon the host country to be fair and just. To do otherwise, to deny the advances that are sought is to be racist, bigoted, Xenophobic; oh, and decidedly Islamophobic.

Publish denigrating, questioning, amusing, cartoons and we will riot and burn and slash and kill. Burn our sacred text and we will threaten, and run amok, and there will be deaths and they will be your responsibility. Deny us the right to build our cultural centres and mosques where we will, as it has been ordained by fate and the rights of American citizenship, and we cannot be responsible for the rage of the Muslim world.

Why must the West provoke Islam?

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In Trust Entrusted

With the mayhem that ensued upon the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the "Coalition of the Willing" led by the United States intent on removing Saddam Hussein from power, many events that were not anticipated occurred that represented regrettable oversights. Not the most egregious was the looting of the country's museums of its vast heritage of archaeological treasures, but for a country priding its heritage, a blow to its self-esteem.

Iraq's fabled past is one that certainly no country would wish to divest itself of, and the treasures that it had stored in its museums and cultural institutions represented the country's previous existence as a historical, architectural, artistic, social and religious geography within a greater landmass of biblical-era existence.

Mesopotamia , Egypt, the Sinai desert, the Israelites. Landmark representations like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon dedicated to the beloved wife of Nebuchadnezzar. The King of Babylon in 587 B.C.A. destroyed Jerusalem, and that in and of itself is a noteworthy historical event of great consequence, even to the present day, as Jews were dispersed and left in sorrow:
"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion." "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."
The world has ample evidence that the Israelites, dispersed, derided, denounced, despised and destitute in a world unwilling to host the people shut out of their historical and beloved homeland, would not forget their heritage, though millennia had passed. World-wide Jewry, of whom there are fewer than might have been, had not the greatest concerted attempt at obliteration not occurred thousands of years later, still mourn, still cleave to Jerusalem.

Modern Iraq, despite its past of continued totalitarian rule, with the people riven by violence not the least of which arises out of antipathy toward one another's versions of Islam resulting in sectarian bloodshed, still has every reason to treasure its heritage. Looted treasure has been returned to the country through agreements with foreign countries where the archaeological gems have turned up: the United States, Germany, Syria, Turkey.

Those countries have willingly signed up to the responsible retrieval and return of the vestiges of a past civilization in a country that had reverted to savagery in its bloody attacks upon itself. "Iraq cannot be summarized by 30 years of problems and wars - it can stand and it can reclaim its history", Iraq's ambassador to Washington proclaimed, as he took possession of the returned artifacts on behalf of the country.

"This is a very happy day - we are making progress in the very important field of returning Iraqi history to its rightful home", explained Samir Sumaidaie. A shipment of 540 returning priceless archaeological objects is the second to wend its way back from international posts to the country of origin. There was a previous shipment of 632 pieces that had been returned.

That shipment had been trustingly delivered to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office. And it is nowhere to be found now. Most peculiar by anyone's estimation.

The Iraq museum, looted of its fabulous treasures, its officials lamenting the irreplaceable loss. Its historical artefacts simply vanished. "This goes back to the most sensitive nerve in the Iraqi psyche", explained the country's Foreign Minister. "These are antiquities that have been stolen from the museum and now to get them back is a healing process - that we, your sons, the government, the embassies, the ministries are able to bring them back is very, very important."

Indeed. "We asked the U.S. military to move it to Iraq. When the pieces arrived in Iraq, they were delivered to the office of the prime minister and now we are trying to find them", Iraq's Washington ambassador has declared. The items were signed for at the office of the prime minister; that much has been ascertained. Where they are now, however, is a problem that confronts the Museum's authorities.

And the Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr. Al-Maliki, has not, nor has his office ostensibly, made any effort to clear up the mystery of the lost-and-found and now lost-again articles of greatly momentous heritage. Pilfering of national treasures for private gain? Howling in indignation and righteous anger that the nation's historical patrimony was looted by invading foreigners and now, in the possession of the government itself, nowhere to be found?

How utterly - well - peculiar?

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Cordoba House, A Test of Wills?

No contest, the prize goes to - the patient and the foxy who need do no other than remind Americans of just how patriotic and humane and just it is to bow to the entirely reasonable demands of the underdog, the humble who seek nothing more for themselves to be seen as an integral portion of that Great American Dream.

The quasi-Western-Islamic society of Turkey has finally reverted to origins, in full recognition of the supremacy of Islam, and the silently infiltrated world of the West is ripe for engagement in the slow and inevitable transformation. "The mosques are our barracks, the domes of our helmets, the minarets of our bayonets." Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In point of fact, the face of Europe has been transformed with a gradual influx of Muslims, and for whom civil society must submit to the need for mosques to adorn their formerly church-ubiquitous landscape. Within North America mosques are now everywhere; lovely architecture of exotic dimensions. There can never be too many, since the irresistibly-blooming immigrant population of Islam charges full steam ahead.

In Canada, there is no geographical location too distant to be adorned with a mosque. One recently manufactured mosque is heading straight for its new home in Inuvik, N.W.T., to be acclaimed as the most northerly mosque in the Western Hemisphere. It was built in Winnipeg, and is being trucked to Inuvik. When it reaches Hay River, its transit will be further enabled by barge. Planned to serve the roughly one-hundred Muslims currently in Inuvik.

"This is making Islamic history. The reward is great. For me, this is like Star Trek - it's going where no one else has gone before." Hussain Guisti, a founder of the Zubaidah Tallab Foundation (Tallab; scholars, hence Taliban), a Manitoba-based Muslim charity whose establishment is meant to encourage, fund and make possible mosques for Muslim communities. "It's where we worship five times a day. It's where we hold all of our festivities. It's where we hold our weddings, our potluck dinners."

Yes, yes, yes, it is all of that. And more, much more. It is where imams preach the holy Koran. And invite guest speakers from abroad to further enthuse and occasionally inflame the audience of pious Muslims. It is where on occasion, young Muslims are entreated to take their religious obligations more seriously. It is where they are recruited into the ranks of the radical faithful. It is where they are directed further to training camps dedicated to violent jihad.

Cordoba House is a very special place. In the tradition of many other world-renowned special places. History does repeat itself, unfailingly, unflinchingly. We are destined to repeat ourselves and save the regrets for later. A test of wills? Not an equal test, unfortunately, between the guilt-ridden, fervently anti-bigotry Western ideals proving no match for the subtle craft of guile, and the easeful machinations that capably turn Western ideals against the better interests of gullible Westerners.

With the Cordoba House project the principals, the funding behind the initiative in their righteously entitled zeal to prevail, present living proof that Islam demands and never accommodates. Its estimable clerical spokesman, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has been accepted as a moderate and packed off on missions to the Middle East to persuasively convey to the Gulf State elites that the United States is prepared to accommodate Islam; trips paid for by the U.S. State Department.

Back in the United States, his home as a patriotic American of Muslim descent, he is implacably intent on establishing a mosque complex vociferously and emphatically rejected by most non-Muslim Americans. Clearly, in a concerted effort on his part and the part of his backers and funders, to demonstrate just how readily and completely the ummah is prepared to accept American values and sensibilities. In the process claiming slightly more on the equality scale.

The "Ground Zero" mosque is determined to become a reality. And equally determined are the municipal council of New York, along with those citizens who proclaim the mosque's situating in the shadow of the Twin Towers irrelevant to the matter at hand; upholding the religious freedoms guaranteed to all Americans. Positions of righteous principle satisfying the personal ego.

While doing nothing to advance equality and security when the belligerent adversary crows that his hideously hateful ideology has triumphed, validating the struggle for eventual world domination. For that is, of course, the course of action long since undertaken, and posting considerable advances though patient triumphs. Reflecting heritage, culture, religious history and ideology. Where, since the time of Islam's presentation on the world stage, just that very agenda has been pursued.

A few set-backs here and there along the course of historical events, but matters are now progressing satisfactorily. Islam has a well-earned reputation, the symptoms of which are readily seen in various places of the world, where a determined effort has been made to destroy the symbols of other cultures, ethnic groups and religions. From Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock in 689 built atop Judaism's ancient Second Temple of Solomon, to Constantinople's Byzantine Christian church converted to a mosque.

In Libya Moammar Gadhafi saw fit to convert 78 Jewish synagogues of ancient derivation to mosques. The Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed the ancient Buddhas of Bamyan, protected under UNESCO's world heritage recognition; they were said to be abominations in the consideration of fundamentalist Islamists. In Israel and in the West Bank ancient biblical places sacred to Judaism continue to be destroyed by Palestinian Arabs. Christian churches in Muslim countries are continually under attack.

The furore over the Cordoba House mosque is a modern litmus test of Western conscience and tolerance, those highly vaunted attributes of a civilized, democratic society. On the other hand, Islamic precepts that consider the Islamic countries of the world to be recognized as the global House of Submission, under Sharia law, also recognizes another, and quite intolerable reality, the non-Muslim-governed world, the House of War, not yet in submission to Islam.

While there has been much suffering for innocuous, ordinary, unobtrusive and devout Muslims within the House of Submission, attacked by their viciously rapacious brethren-in-religion, the true battle for violent jihad is the House of War. For where there is no recognition and submission to Islam, there is the battlefield. The imperative being to wage relentless war against the infidels, the kuffars, the apostates, to bring them into the fold of Islam, and under Sharia law.

On the one hand there is the West, with its attenuated sense of danger perceived in the need to be unwaveringly fair and just to all, and on the other there is the religion-deranged avengers of those who insult the Prophet and who deny the need to submit to the final authority, the one true God, Allah. Sensitive Westerners and their aiding-and-abetting elite politicians who govern them, feel they must uphold Western traditions. Some match that is against those who scorn and deride Western traditions.

Europe finds itself singularly embattled by an established and still growing population of Muslims. From among whom rise leaders who insist on special entitlements in recognition of the very special needs of Muslims. And in the course of acknowledging those special needs and making certain those needs are met, a slow deterioration of normalcy and fractionalization of society has eroded European customs, values and traditions.

Which is precisely what is seen in mirror-image in North America with a drive toward the establishment of special Sharia for Muslims, undercutting the universal laws and entitlements established within society. Which Muslims are complacently taking advantage of, when it is to their advantage to do so.

Islamic intolerance for the societal mores, values, social engagements, universal laws and entitlements of the majority populations which they join presents as a creeping danger to the bulk of non-Muslim countries and their societies. By their entitled special demands for accommodation they violate the principles of equal rights and freedoms.

Blithely and with malice aforethought, while denying any such intent, applying pressure to their devout cause from the greater society. And obliging politicians who curry voting power.

The democratic West's ready agreement toward cultural relativity has emboldened and enabled the fanatical Muslim manipulators. Covert multiple marriages, separation of the genders, female-form-covering garb, censorship demands, hate-crime prosecutions of claimed Islamophobics, all feed into the general manipulation of Western ideals, corrupting them subtly in the interests of accommodation.

To respond otherwise than by acceptance is to be intolerant and that is simply intolerable.

Progressive liberals have lent themselves to the entire process, passionately defending the demands of fanatical Islam. Constitutional democracy and liberalism is bending its knee in obeisance to fanatical Islamist ideology, because it is seen as the decent thing to do; upholding the minority rights of religious and ethnic groups.

That their tolerance for the views and insistent needs of those who are themselves intolerant of diversity and freedoms and who foment violence and constitute a threat to their very defenders, is beyond their intelligence in their own zeal to be seen as amenable and fair and in accord with the demands of minorities.

From the destruction of thousands of lives in a mind-shattering attack on a symbol of Western accomplishment and wealth, to the permissive tolerance of capping the aerial ambush with the 13-story Islamic centre, the symbolism appears lost among the unwary.

And the ummah of the faithful in Islam is ballast, carried along in the slip-stream of conquest.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Rearguard Action

Canadian troops on the Western front in Afghanistan a mere 30 kilometres distance from the capital of Kandahar province, where from this forward operating base, the near geography was once secured, now face the reality of being hemmed in by the resurgent Taliban who have managed through new force of numbers and religious fervour to re-take areas that they were once thrown out of. The Canadians, based in an old Soviet-era military instalment find themselves in handshake-distance of the Taliban now.

Where short forays are possible, but little else. There simply are not enough feet on the ground, and though ISAF troops are in short supply, the Canadians stationed there find little assistance from the Afghan National Army troops. When Canadians arrived in Panjwaii in 2006 they handily threw back the insurgency and sent them running. That was then. During the winter months a holding pattern was established, when the Taliban spent winter months on the mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, welcomed by the Pakistan Defence Forces.

With the arrival of spring, a re-armed and re-recruited insurgency descended their winter haven to once again confront the foreign invaders and challenge them for the geography that was once theirs. And by sheer force of numbers, they succeeded in retaking much of the province. By 2008 Canadian forces were in a retreat position, anxious simply to hold a smaller area more in keeping with their numbers.

And because of the ongoing threats to the local villages, the people are polarized in their opinions and their loyalties.

Badly needed reconstruction is in a holding phase as well. How can reconstruction commence when security is doubtful? As soon as schools are built the Taliban destroy them, and health clinics as well. Any kind of civil infrastructure being built represents a challenge to the Taliban, who gloat that they will not permit Afghans to use the soiled gifts from despised Western foreigners whose presence on Afghan soil is an offence against Islam.

The Afghan villagers present as stone-age survivalists. Torn between their dedication to Islamic precepts not quite reflected in the rigid Taliban version, and ebbing gratitude to foreign forces equipped with 21st-Century arms, defending their interests on a temporary basis, soon to return from far-off lands from whence they came. This is history repeating itself ad-infinitum in Afghanistan.

They have survived all adversities that have plagued them. And any who are suspected of giving assistance to the foreigners by informing of the positions of IEDs, or refusing to assist in planting them, are considered to be apostates, enemies, traitors, for whom death is the only release. The Taliban have stepped up their attacks on the Canadian bases and
Afghan units stationed nearby, using small arms, rocket propelled grenades and mortars. Supplied by Iran, by Pakistan, by a few of the 'Stans.

The Taliban have the advantage of having been informed quite clearly through NATO and U.S. and other allies' promises to their reluctant, foreign-war-weary nations what the withdrawal agendas are. They are advised in advance, due to loose information gratuitously provided to Western news media when, where and what kinds of attacks are being planned against them, enabling them to take their own preventive action.

They are aware of the Western timetable of withdrawal. They need but bide their time. And then return in force, triumphant, to resume where they left off; tormenting and dictating to the hapless people of Afghanistan whose own government incapable of providing security, let alone improvements in their miserable lives, has announced its readiness to speak peace and reconciliation with the Taliban.

This is misery incarnate. The subjugation of women will re-commence, demands of fully conforming to the fundamentalist Sharia of religious fanatics intent on turning Afghanistan into a rigidly human-rights-defying theocracy is what the population fears and what appears to be directly in their line of vision for the future.

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Americans have pledged to retain 50,000 troops in Iraq to continue training their Iraqi counterparts. Just as other countries, like Canada, have plans to continue training Afghan troops to ensure that they eventually become capable of looking to their own interests in defending their sovereign countries against ongoing attacks by fanatical Islamists.

What do army personnel do to establish trust between themselves? They turn to other pursuits, to sports, for example, where each side forms their teams and they seek some relief from the rigours of army life by expending good-will energy. Challenging one another through physical prowess in pursuing a game. But then, there is that about games and the challenge sport itself presents.

Sport events where two opposing sides challenge one another for gamesmanship and heated adversarial competition where there is a winner and a loser, constitute in themselves a kind of stand-in for active pursuit of war. They become, in effect, war games. And in their pursuit of winner and rejection of loser status, tempers fray and actions become violent.

Little surprise that in Iraq at an air base where a U.S. army company visited local security forces and where Iraqi soldiers and American military advisers played a game, a quarrel ensued between an Iraqi soldier and an American soldier. "The Iraqi soldier opened fire on them", explained Defence Ministry spokesman Maj.Gen.Mohammed al-Askari.

The game turned deadly. Not the first time it has occurred, and without doubt not the last time it will. Not only in Iraq, but in the Middle East, when Palestinian police trained by the West and by IDF soldiers as well, have turned their weapons on their Israeli counterparts. Nor has Afghanistan been spared, with Afghan police turning their weapons on ISAF forces.

In this latest instance, two American soldiers were killed, and nine left wounded. Predictable?

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

IAEA, What About It?

Iran Possesses 2.8 Tons of Uranium Despite Obama's Sanctions
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu Iran Has 2.8 Tons of Uranium

Iran continues to snub the United Nations and has produced 2.8 tons of enriched uranium, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported Monday. Iran previously enriched uranium to a five percent grade, but increased the purification level to nearly 20 percent last February.

U.S. President has claimed that harsher sanctions against Iran have affected Iran, but the latest nuclear report indicates that the sanctions, which may be hurting Iran economically, have not stopped it from enriching the key ingredient for a nuclear bomb. Americans officials said Monday they are "worried" by the IAEA report.

The IAEA added that the Islamic Republic refuses to allow UN inspectors into the country, noting it recently took away the rights of two experienced inspectors to monitor Iran’s nuclear projects after they reported that Iran conducted undeclared nuclear experiments. Iran claims it barred entry to the inspectors because their reports were not accurate.

Iran recently began operating the Bushehr nuclear reactor, in addition to the Natanz nuclear facility. It has increased production of low-enriched uranium by 15 percent since May, despite harsher sanctions placed by the United Nations and the United States.

CNN and the French news agency AFP said they obtained the confidential IAEA report, which reputedly stated, "Based on an overall analysis undertaken by the agency of all the information available to it, the agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

The agency told media that previous inspections revealed that several seals had been broken on equipment at Natanz. Iran claimed that the breakages were “accidental.”

The "repeated objection by Iran to the designation of inspectors with experience in Iran's nuclear fuel cycle and facilities hampers the inspection process,” the report said, according to AFP.

Published in Arutz Sheva, 7 September 2010

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Another Israeli Provocation!

PA Objects to Conferences in Jerusalem
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu PA Objects to Jerusalem Meetings

The Palestinian Authority charged that holding international meetings anywhere in Jerusalem is a “provocation” because most of the world does not recognize it as Israel’s capital.

The PA’s office in Ramallah made the comment to the Independent Media Review Analysis (IMRA), which had asked it to clarify its objection to Jerusalem as a venue for last week’s World Jewish Congress convention.

The PA did not stipulate if it also would refuse to meet Israeli and American officials if and when the direct talks between the PA and Israel move to the capital. The next session is scheduled for Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt next week.The official Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) WAFA news agency reported Sunday its “deep concern because Israel opened the door to the World Jewish Congress to hold its 14th meeting in occupied Jerusalem [with] the participation of more than 200 representatives of Jewish groups in the world.”

The actual location of the convention was the David Citadel Hotel, which is within the limits of Jerusalem that were recognized by the United Nations after the 1949 armistice that officially ended the War of Independence.

However, WAFA said that holding the convention there was “a blatant defiance of the resolutions of international legitimacy, which considers all Israeli actions in Jerusalem 'invalid and illegal', which emphasizes that Jerusalem is part and parcel of the occupied territory."

It said that the World Jewish Congress convention at the hotel was “a provocation to the feelings of Arab and Islamic nation, and that such a move would confirm that Israel continues to take all necessary measures for control of Jerusalem 'capital' eternal, and an affirmation of the Israeli refusal to reach a just peace that guarantees the Palestinian rights in Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.”

Published in Arutz Sheva, 7 September 2010

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Red Cross Neutrality

Protest: Red Cross Headquarters or Hamas Base?
by Hillel Fendel Red Cross or Hamas HQ?

A group of concerned citizens held a protest outside the Red Cross offices in Jerusalem last night, demanding an end to what they called the “disgrace” taking place in the heart of the capital.

Three Hamas leaders, fearful of arrest and/or deportation by Israeli authorities, have taken refuge in the Red Cross offices, near the Shimon HaTzaddik/Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. They have been receiving visitors for more than two months, giving press interviews, and in general making themselves at home there both personally and professionally.

David Ish-Shalom, who organized the protest, told INN TV, “The police and government are, for the meanwhile, allowing Hamas leaders safe haven just 100 meters away from the National Police Headquarters – precisely as Hamas plans more terrorist attacks, perhaps from this very place, of the kind they perpetrated last week in which four Jews were killed and two were wounded.”

“We are here to demonstrate against both the Israeli government and the Red Cross,” another protestor, Dr. Aryeh Bachrach of the Terrorist Victims Association, said. “How can the government allow this situation to continue, in which diplomatic asylum is given to Hamas leaders in the heart of the country? ... At the same time, we believe that it is an unacceptable disgrace for the Red Cross, which is supposed to be a neutral organization working for peace, to not demand and insist and receive the right to visit Gilad Shalit, while at the same time it hosts and gives support and asylum to the leaders of the very organization that is holding him captive. This is hypocrisy that we cannot ignore.”

Published in Arutz Sheva, 7 September 2010

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Rape As War Tool

"Over the course of this 10-year period and to this day, many women were raped several times, by different groups, ironically in retaliation for having supported any 'enemy' that they had in fact suffered at the hands of. If they survive these rapes, instead of being supported by their communities, the women are generally rejected by their husbands and families. With neither moral nor financial support, they have to face the consequence of rape - sometimes including the birth of a child - in the wake of being mutilated, impoverished, traumatized and ostracized. Women are therefore victims several times over." UN report into atrocities committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo
There is nothing too startlingly new in a report that points out the primary victims of conflict are women. Throughout history it has always been so. During times of war, it is unarmed citizens who suffer. And among those citizens it is women who become targets for the rage expressed by those for whom they represent the other faction. And when women become victims of violent rage and savage rapes, it is their children, by extension who also suffer enormously.

It is the most vulnerable, the most defenceless for whom the trauma of armed conflict carries the most tragic weight. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, the suffering of women represents the most dire and unconscionable attack on the truly vulnerable. This is what occurred in Darfur, in Sudan, and what occurs throughout Africa and the world. Culture and traditions, allied with religious dictates that hold women to be inferior creatures to men aid in the victimization of women and female children.
"The acts of sexual violence committed against children associated with armed forces and armed groups (CAAFAGs) were particularly appalling as they were in addition to the multitude of other violations to which these children were subjected. During their 'enlistment' as child soldiers, many of them witnessed their mothers and sisters being raped. It was reported that elements of the ANC/APR/RDF raped young girls for the whole night and whipped them if they tried to run away."
"In North Kivu, the Ugandan rebels of the ADF/NALU (Allied Democratic Forces/National Arm for the Liberation of Uganda attacked and looted several villages in Beni territory, abducting women, young girls and women whom they used as slaves, including sex slaves."
During the days of the Crusades, when Knights went off to battle with religious fervor in an effort to retake the holy city of Jerusalem for Christianity from the forces of Islam, women were preyed upon, no longer in the protective custody of their husbands. Even Homer's story of the Iliad and the Odyssey, pointed out how vulnerable women - left without the protection of their husbands - were to the predations of those who acted in the absence of their war- faring protectors.

Civilization and the protection of the vulnerable and the frail in society has not advanced particularly in countries of the world like the African Continent and the Middle East. Standards of behaviour remain locked in the traditions that reflect substandard living conditions and female exploitation and male domination over women. Rape has always been used as a weapon, to violate a woman's body, invade her sense of self-regard and dignity, leaving a shuddering shell of traumatized humanity.
"Male CAAFAGs known as Kadogo ("little ones" in Swahili) were forced to commit acts of brutality, including rapes, to 'toughen them up'. During attacks, girls would be taken to them so that they could rape them in the presence of villagers and adult soldiers. If they refused, the Kadogo would be executed".
After the end of the Second World War, when the United States and Great Britain stood aside, permitting their ally Russia, to invade east Berlin, German women were viciously and repeatedly raped, war booty for brutal Russian soldiers. During that same war, Japanese soldiers used Korean women as 'comfort women', destroying their dignity in their humanity. In the Nazi death camps, Jewish women were similarly abused by their German guards.

The rape of women as an instrument of war, as a demonstration of raw, brutal power over other human beings has an ancient tradition, one that war frees men to commit, all civil restraints loosened in the general savagery of conflict. Men avenge themselves against helpless women, venting their rage and their contempt on women incapable of physically defending themselves against the obvious overpowering physical capability of men.

In any city, town or village, there are predators who seek the advantage anonymity of night affords them to silently hunt down unaware women, debasing their own humanity and brutalizing the girl or woman in a tortuous physical invasion and an utterly debilitating, soul-destroying attack on the sovereign self of a human being.

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

TIME Magazine’s Latest Blood Libel About Israel

TIME Magazine’s Latest Blood Libel About Israel
by Prof. Phyllis Chesler TIME's Anti-Israel Blood Libel

Prof. Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. She also is an author and appears often in international media interviews. She lives in New York City.

The September 13, 2010 issue of TIME Magazine arrived yesterday. The cover story is titled “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace” and is illustrated by a large Jewish star composed of daisies. Yes, daises—as in “counting daisies, don’t have a care in the world.”

This is precisely the point of Karl Vick’s article. He writes:

Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter [of peace with the Palestinians]. They’re otherwise engaged: They’re making money; they’re enjoying the rays of the late summer … they have moved on.

Vick quotes an Israeli real estate agent in Ashdod, one Eli, who tells him:

People are indifferent. They don’t care if there’s going to be war. They don’t care if there’s going to be peace. They don’t care. They live in the day.

According to Vick, Israelis don’t care about peace, peace negotiations, or about the Palestinians because they are simply having too good a time: sunbathing, swimming, café-hopping, profiting from start-up companies, and, according to polls cited by Vick, utterly disconnected from “politics;” indeed Vick suggests that Israelis resemble Californians more than they resemble Egyptians. These are all points which scream: Israel does not fit in; if Israelis were only more impoverished, more indolent, and paradoxically, even more “laid back,” they might be recognizable as indigenous to the region, a true part of the Middle East.

These are Vick’s thoughts, not mine.

Of course, Jews are the original Palestinians and the most indigenous of the region’s inhabitants; yes, there are many impoverished Israelis, both Jews and non-Jews; and, let’s not forget that there are even some Israelis who remain permanently on high alert for the next terrorist attack, permanently scarred by the last ones. For a moment, let’s forget about all that. Allow me to ask: Why doesn’t Vick also point out that Palestinians are leading the high life on the West Bank and in sumptuous villas on both the West Bank and in Gaza; that they, too, are sunbathing, swimming, shopping, dining out, and relaxing at the beach—at least as much as the Islamist thugs who run the lives of Palestinians will allow it?

Vick and his editors at TIME seem to think that showing six photos of Israelis at leisure: blowing smoke on a beach chair, lounging on a beach chair, resting in an army uniform on the beach without a chair, playing with one’s baby in a stroller, sitting at a café—are proof that Israelis are engaging in activities which are not admirable, are, in fact, “proof” that they are not suffering but rather, proof that Israelis simply don’t care about peace with the Palestinians. And Vick brings in polls as well as expert and person-in-the-street opinions to back up this claim.

Vick writes that real estate is booming, as is business in general, Israeli “brainiacs” have helped their nation avoid the economic disasters that have plunged Europe and America into a recession. He literally writes this. “Israel avoided the debt traps that dragged the U.S. and Europe into recession. It is known as a start-up nation—second only to the U.S. companies listed on the Nasdaq exchange.”

Is Vick aware that, consciously or not, intentionally or not, he is counting on the world’s long-held resentment about Jewish creativity, genius, and scientific and economic success—counting on the world’s willingness to scapegoat Israel once again for crimes that it has not committed? Or because Jews seem to “know something,” maybe they are channeling God directly and thus, the deck is stacked against non-Jews. Vick presents Israel’s “success” as somehow unseemly, because it makes other nations look bad. Does he harbor the suspicion that Jewish prosperity has been “stolen” from non-Jews or is he merely advertising that Jewish gold is there, ripe for the taking?

Buried—but really buried-- in Vick’s four page cover piece are snippets of true facts: That the Israelis are weary of peace negotiations which never succeed because the Palestinians do not want peace; that Arabs and Palestinians want to destroy the Jewish state and as many Jews as possible.

But Vick fails to convey that negotiations cannot work as long as the ultra-Nazified Arab Islamic propaganda against Jews and Israel continues to turn out children who hate Jews and who become human homicide bombs, snipers, kidnappers, kassam rocket throwers, etc.

Here is what Vick utterly fails to comprehend, namely, that the Israelis are not merely tired, disenchanted, living in la-la land a la southern Californians (hence, the Jewish star made of daisies on the cover). The Israelis are actually showing the entire world how to embrace life, even as they live, trembling, in the shadow of death. They are teaching the world how to “love life more than they fear death.” A new and wonderful book A New Shoah. The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism by Italian journalist Giulio Meotti, which is not yet out, makes precisely this point.

Pictured: Prof. Phyllis Chesler The Jewish insistence on life may be the key to our survival as a people despite ceaseless persecution. It might be the lesson, the model, for all humanity in an era of genocides, civil wars, torture chambers, tyrannies, and totalitarian regimes. Why is TIME turning things on their head and refusing to recognize the courage and the heroism of Jewish Israelis who choose to live in the moment when the moment is all they have? Against all odds, the Jews simply refuse to give up. As Meotti writes of the numerous victims of terrorism during the ongoing Intifada of 2000, “Israel teaches the world love of life, not in the sense of a banal joie de vivre, but as a solemn celebration.”

Meotti begins where I began in early 2004, when I wrote about a new Holocaust in the pages of The Jewish Press, a Holocaust which is now based in Israel. At the time, I was not heard beyond a small circle. I did what Meotti now does in his opening pages. Meotti fully understands that Israel is the “first country ever to experience suicide terrorism on a mass scale: that more than 150 suicide attacks have been carried out plus 500 have been prevented." According to Meotti, there have been “1,723 people (murdered) and 10,000 injured” in Israel. Meotti does what I did: He converts these numbers into the demographic equivalent of attacks on Americans. When I did so there were somewhat fewer people in both categories. Thus, Meotti writes that in American population terms, this means that “74,000 Americans” would have been killed and “400,000 injured.”

Vick does not factor this grave reality into his article. Nor does he seem to know how high the Jewish population growth was in the DP camps right after the Holocaust. Can he comprehend that permanently endangered Jews—a people that has survived as a people for nearly six thousand years—the Chosen People—have always chosen life in the moment, have chosen to seize life with both hands, even as they memorialize their dead and make sense of their persecution in a way that illuminates this particular Hell for all humanity?

What Meotti is doing is remembering the lives and the deaths of the Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism during the last decade. I have only read the first few chapters but cannot put it down. These are unknown stories, unnamed victims, whose mortal remains have often evaporated, disintegrated as surely as those Jews who literally went up in smoke during the Nazi Holocaust. His stories are mainly of victims who were unarmed and helpless and who, it turns out, were actually exceptionally kind to others, often to the very Arab Palestinians who shot them down, bludgeoned them to death, or blew them up into unrecognizable bone fragments, drops of blood, perhaps a few teeth.

I look forward to completing Meotti’s book. I hope that people more fully understand that TIME Magazine as well as countless other media in the Western world, can no longer be trusted to tell the truth.

Reprinted with permission of Newsrealblog and sent to Israel National News by the author.

Published in Arutz Sheva, 5 September 2010

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