Saturday, October 15, 2005

Leaf in a puddle : A passer-by jumps over a puddle reflecting the Cathedral of Our Savior in St. Peterburg. (AFP/INTERPRESS/Sergei Kulikov)

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Under Saddam They Were Being Gassed,
Now, They Are Voting

A Kurdish woman wearing a traditional outfit casts here vote in Iraq's referendum on the new constitution in Kirkuk, Iraq, Saturday Oct. 15 2005.Iraqis vote Saturday to give a 'yes' or 'no' to a constitution that would define democracy in Iraq, a country once ruled by Saddam Hussein and now sharply divided among its Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish communities.(AP Photo/Yahya Ahmed)
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Three Views Of A Secret

Today Iraqi's are voting on whether to adopt their new Constitution. The Constitution, and Iraqi Democracy remains a work in progress. It is a secret as to how events shall unfold. Will Iraq become a real constitutional republic, which protects real human rights, or will it descend into a Sharia-dominated hell?

Nina Shea on Iraq's Constitution:

On Saturday, Iraq is expected to adopt a new constitution in a national referendum. It will be a significant milestone in the establishment of an electoral democracy in the Arab Middle East. It is the only place in that part of the world where leaders of disparate and hostile groups have engaged in political give and take resulting in a social compact for their nation that is put before all Iraqi citizens in an inclusive and transparent vote.

The Bush administration, particularly the president himself, deserves credit, for this is no small achievement. While Freedom House now counts 119 electoral democracies in the world, not one is an Arab nation; come December 15, when elections are to held for a new government, Iraq will take another major step towards becoming the only one.

Still, those of us who work to defend religious freedom internationally are deeply troubled by the soon-to-be adopted constitution. We are concerned that it may be the first step in creating what is called an “illiberal democracy,” or even in undermining democracy altogether. We fear the powerful role given to Islam in the constitution — a role that is likely to negate the positive language on religious freedom and other individual human rights.

The new constitution fails to guarantee the fundamental human rights and freedoms contained in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that are consistent with America’s core values and President Bush’s articulated foreign-policy goals.

Instead, it sets forth two competing and diametrically opposed visions of society: one based on individual rights and principles of equality, and the other grounded in a sharia (Islamic law) regime of group rights, in which rights are conditioned on a person’s membership in a discriminatory hierarchy of groups (male or female, Muslim or non-Muslim, etc.), and where the basic rights of all individuals are subordinated to the group.

The provisions of the bill of rights are subject to ambiguities and contradictions contained elsewhere in the constitution. For example, the carefully crafted provisions asserting rights to religious freedom and equality before the law are placed in doubt by the repugnancy clause of Article 2,which states that “no law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established” ...

Meanwhile, former political adviser to U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, Ramon Martinez, touts the flexibility of the document:

The final version of the document was only completed this past Wednesday, as Shia and Kurdish negotiators scrambled to make concessions to their Sunni counterparts in an effort to win backing for the charter.

Among the changes is a new provision that would make the constitution easier to amend in the first year after it passes. According to the deal, a commission drawn from the next Iraqi parliament — which will be elected in a national vote on December 15 — will be authorized to offer amendments to the constitution. If approved by a majority vote in the legislature, such changes will be presented to the Iraqi people in a new national referendum next summer.

The impact of this compromise on the outcome of Saturday's vote is not yet clear. Since the deal was announced, some influential Sunni groups have announced their support for the document. Others are still opposing the charter. Whichever way Sunnis vote, the constitution retains overwhelming support from Shia and Kurds, and is likely to be approved nationwide.

In any case, the real significance of the deal is not its potential effect on the referendum, but rather its positive implications for Iraq's political development down the line. By making the constitution easier to amend, the deal will strengthen the political incentives leading Sunnis away from the insurgency and toward peaceful participation in the democratic process.

In this regard, the agreement is the latest and most visible step in a yearlong effort to promote Sunni engagement in Iraq's emerging political institutions. Last January, Sunnis largely boycotted Iraq's first set of democratic elections. Ever since then, leaders within the community have sought to reverse the effects of this historic mistake, most notably by participating in the constitutional drafting committee set up by the Iraqi parliament this summer.

Despite their efforts, the Sunni drafters complained loudly of being marginalized in the negotiations. They have sharply criticized the constitution that emerged from the talks, objecting in particular to its embrace of federalism. Sunnis are especially concerned about the proposal of some Shia groups to unite nine provinces in southern Iraq into a single, Shia-dominated federal region.

In truth, the constitution is not nearly as one-sided as the Sunnis have claimed. The Iraqi drafters deliberately chose to make the charter extraordinarily flexible over time. On a host of divisive, hot-button political issues, therefore — including those responsible for Sunni discontent — the constitution defers tough decisions for Iraqi parliaments to decide in the future.

This is especially true in its treatment of federalism. Far from establishing a unified Shia mega-region, the constitution merely recognizes a right of individual provinces to form new regions in the future — but only under "terms and conditions" to be set by future law, and only with the approval of local citizens by referendum. The charter takes a similar flexible approach to other issues, including Supreme Court appointments, the development policy for Iraq's commonly owned oil resources, the powers of the presidency, and the role of a second legislative chamber.

To help their chances (for the next election) in December, Sunnis will need to organize parties and build strong coalitions that cut across sectarian divisions. Ideally, these alliances will reach out to Shia leaders who share Sunni concerns on key issues such as federalism. Over time, such cross-sectarian partnerships will foster the emergence of an Iraqi political system based more on issues and ideas, and less on identity.

Not everyone agrees that constitutional flexibility is a good thing. Ever since the initial draft was made public, critics have argued that by deferring difficult questions to the future, the charter fails to fully meet Iraq's political needs. No doubt these complaints will intensify with this week's deal, which leaves the constitution even more open to amendment than before.

In fact, Iraq's status as a fragile, emerging democracy makes a flexible approach especially worthwhile. The new charter can promote stability and order, yet without setting every decision permanently into stone. Constitutional flexibility will actually strengthen democracy, by allowing internal debate to ripen and reflect the broadest diversity of views. Most importantly, of course, it will speed along the Sunni community's gradual integration into Iraq's new democratic order.

For all its historic significance, then, Saturday's referendum will not mark the last word in Iraq's political evolution. Once the new constitution passes, the Iraqi political debate will only just be starting to heat up.

Mohammed at Iraq The Model says:

It’s only a beginning since there will be more steps to go but it’s the right beginning because it’s a transition from temporary laws to a permanent-though amendable-constitution on which the people will assume control through their elected representatives and through their own direct votes.

It is really amazing how things have changed in Iraq; three years ago Saddam “won” 100% of the votes in a pathetic referendum that he designed in order to give legitimacy to his reign while yesterday even security detainees were allowed to express their opinion on the constitution through voting and the government and parliament are almost begging the 15 million plus voters to say ‘yes’!

And although many signs indicate that the document is on its way to be ratified, no one can say it is until the people decide which checkbox to tic tomorrow.

Some people would say “Is that all you won, after more than two years of war and violence? That’s only one basic right” well, that is the point; we’ve secured one key right that can help us secure the rest.

Approving this draft is not the end goal, it’s a step among others in this process of evolution in Iraq and it’s going to be the gate to more steps until we reach the day when we have a constitution that satisfies and serves the greatest majority of the people.

Now let me take you in a short journey in Baghdad; I woke up this morning and decided to take a tour to see Baghdad preparing for the referendum, first thing I saw and surprised me was a leaflet thrown in front of our door. It was calling for a ‘NO’ stating 10 reasons for doing that. I read the leaflet that had the Ba’athist tone with five out of 10 of the points said that approving this draft constitution is a Zionist goal. I tried hard to find a connection and of course there wasn’t any and it looked like a desperate attempt to use conspiracy theories.

To give you an example of the points in that paper I’ll tell you what one point was “what if an Iraqi woman married an Israeli man? Should we grant their children the Iraqi nationality!!!???” and yes, they used way too many exclamation points and question marks.

I walked away feeling more willing to vote with ‘yes’.

So, we see that the democratic process of individual decision-making is breaking down old, tired, illusions in the Arab world. That is a definite good. Let's us pray that as time passes more good will come, and the secret will be freedom spreading like wildfire through the Islamic world.

What Do The Iraqi People
Think Of the "Occupation?"

One of the best blogs on the net is No Pasaran. It is run by a guy named Erik, who is an ex-pat living in Paris. He is, however, not very enamored of the French, and uses his blog to expose the French for the unethical, unethical pussois they truly are.

The other day, Erik wrote a longer article which I think is a must-read, so here it is. His subject is the constant barrage of negativity and lies which the media spew about the good work that is being done in Iraq, which he contrasts with the actual opinions of real Iraqis:

There are three kinds of lies, said Mark Twain: lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I. The Dog That Didn't Bark

After brushing aside a key article (one of great consequence in that it refutes completely the msm's hand-wringing view of the war) due to the fact that it is not recent and that it allegedly stands alone and in spite (or because, rather) of the (very) strong and near-unanimous opinions of Iraqis expressed therein (Il est presque impossible, hormis chez les responsables baasistes déchus, de trouver quelqu'un qui soutienne la position de Paris dans la crise; La politique de la France reste très vivement critiquée par les Irakiens), suggestions arise that instead, a typical msm article written in the usual hand-wringing fashion is an irrefutable indicator of Iraqi opinion, as is a single question-answer in a poll that is… 15 months old.

The strongly-expressed opinions of Iraqis clearly spelled out in excruciating detail are brushed aside; the single questions — to which respondents usually have no more than three (yes, no, no opinion) to five (strongly agree to strongly disagree, less safe to more safe) choices — is supposed to be taken as gospel, ignoring the context (the poll was taken right after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke out).

Ignored also is the fact that poll questions are posed without necessary links between each other. But what may be most interesting are the questions not asked. Ergo:

None of the following questions seem to have been asked: "Was life better before the invasion?" or "Do/did you have more confidence in the Ba'ath party?" Furthermore, "Are you content with the disappearance of the Ba'ath party" (assuming that question had been asked, which it was not) and "Do you approve of the foreigners' presence in Iraq" is not the same as "Do you approve of the presence of the army which brought an end to the reign of a repressive dictator and his fascist régime?"

II. The MSM Seems to Choose Only Anniversaries to Present Viewpoints That Don't Coincide With Its' Heralded Opinions

Some might use this issue to accuse me of extrapolating and putting words in the Iraqis' mouths, but this is not simply an intellectual exercise: if there has been a poll that did not invariably indicate that a majority of Iraqis (usually, an overwhelming one) are better off than they used to be and that they feel more optimistic about their future than they ever had in the past, I have not heard of it.

Indeed, it is precisely because I seek out the Iraqis in their own words why I turn to the article in which, exceptionally, Le Monde decided to have its Baghdad correspondant ask the inhabitants about their views about the war.

Still, we are told that the Iraqis' near-unanimous support of the war is not good enough and we are asked, therefore, have there been any more recent articles allowing the Iraqis to speak their minds.

Well, as a matter of a fact, there have.

Just like Le Monde used the first anniversary of the war to ask Iraqis their opinion, the BBC used the second anniversary of the war to do the same. Here is its report on Iraqis facing new lives.

Although a few voices complained of the security situation, not one voiced regret for the overthrow of the previous regime.

Listen to Saad:

"Let me describe our situation before the fall of the previous regime. We were like a sick, weak prisoner under the thumb of a cruel jailer.

Then, suddenly and without warning, the gates of our prison were flung open. We were told: "Come on, you are free!"

… the moment of salvation came. Perhaps I shouldn't use the phrase "moment of salvation", for to do so implies we were expecting such a moment when in truth we were feeling hopeless.
Call it what you will, it happened and it was a magnificent thing. "

How can you react to this?

Well, you can say that the report is six months old (instead of 18, in the case of Le Monde), and ask if there are any reports that are more recent than that one?

But hold on a minute. Think about it: what would you be doing, in this case and in that of Le Monde?

In both, you just happen to be putting into doubt information that happen to favor Bush and/or the United States.

In both, you just happen to be refraining from putting into doubt the msm commentators' that the situation in Iraq is "chaos", that it is full of "terror" and "massacres". (In fact, we were treated to a reader linking us to an msm article saying just that.)

And so, I suggest that we should ask ourselves not "Are there more articles of the sort (and what do they indicate)?" but rather, "Why aren't there more articles of the sort (and what does that indicate)?"

Because when you think about it, there isn't no reason there should not be more articles of the type; there is no reason msm reporters couldn't file mass interviews with common Iraqis every six months (instead of every year), every three months, or every three weeks, or every week…
Is there, now?

Except, of course, that the expressions of (relative) satisfaction contradict the overarching judgments of the editors in their Western city offices — you know, the ones using emotionally-charged words of the superlative kind (words like "chaos", "massacres", "terror") ad infinitum and the ones constantly referring to polls — but only when they oppose the war and America (or Bush).

So who has to give? The America- (or Bush-) bashers (including the MSM)? Or the Iraqi people For the America- (or Bush-) bashing msm, the questions seems to be a no-brainer. That is why we see so few msm articles devoted to the opinions of common Iraqi citizens. (That is, unless you happen to be a Pole born in communist Poland and raised on a diet of bad news about America and good news about anybody opposed to Uncle Sam.)

It is a sell-out attitude that spreads to the rest of the population, notably those… putting the information in this article into doubt.

III. The "But" Response on Automatic

Of course, this is missing the true meaning of the article; or, rather, the true meaning of the response I get from people I show the article to.

The people who usually castigate Bush and/or America show no interest in the article. Like the flight attendant, they brush off the evidence immediately. The little interest some show is to dismiss it, castigate it, or otherwise dispose of it (among other ways, by focusing on the date).

And in this respect, they join the company of the web browsers asking for more recent articles, n'est-ce pas?

Do you know when was the first time I heard doubt expressed about this article? It was not 18 months after it appeared. It was not 12 months after it appeared, it was not six months after it appeared, or 12 weeks, or six weeks.

It was when it appeared.

I was then asked, or told, rather, that we shall see how long the Iraqis cling to this opinion.
And when I pointed out that
a Baghdad boy born in June 2003 had been given the first name George Bush, what response did I get? I was asked: "oh, is that still his name today?"

Now, choosing the name of one's child and the type of viewpoint expressed by nearly every Iraqi in Rémy Ourdan's article are pretty strong indicators of opinion, and yet the opinions are put into question.

This, of course, is a game that can go on forever. Do the Iraqis feel the same as 18 months ago can become, will they feel the same 18 months from now, and, will they feel the same in the next 18 years.

I think it is safe to assume that the same people's response to the above-mentioned Iraqi is, "Oh well, but how does Saad feel today?" And if we could produce him here now, the response would be, "Well, sure, but how will he feel in six (12) months' / six (12) years' / six (12) decades' time?"

In 2053, when George Bush Abdul Kader Faris Abed El-Hussein is 50 years old, they can ask, will he still be wearing that name.

So what does all this tell us? It tells us nothing about Iraqis' opinions. It tells us nothing about the war in Iraq or the country itself. It tells us only about the doubters.

Any opinion, and any fact, and every opinion, and every fact, must always be placed into doubt when it happens to, or seems to, favor the United States.

When polls castigate America (or Bush), you will notice that nobody asks, well how will the French feel about this 18 months later. (Of course, it is true that there is little chance that they will feel any different, given how used they have become to putting into doubt any positive information from Iraq that puts Uncle Sam in a good light.)

Often, when the positive information seemed irrefutable, I get this laconic comment:

Well, it's such a complicated story, we can't judge now, we will have to wait a few years before we can really know. Of course, this is falling back on the BUT argument, and it is more evidence of double standards. They did not bring up the complicated-story-impossible-to-judge canard when it came to praising the UN and Villepin and the crowds marching against America in the streets while castigating Bush and the "massacres" and the "chaos" in Iraq.

Needless to say, this is not an isolated case, far from it. Notice how very little was/is made of elections in which pro-war governments win the vote, and how polls, such as the Danish one, where a majority of people support the war are totally ignored (in marked contrast to those in which populations — often whose countries have no ties to the war at all — are opposed to the war).

In the same vein, American polls where Bush's numbers are up are commented on laconically, but when the president's rate of approval goes down, this is commented on excitedly as evidence that the American people are coming to their senses. Not unsimilarly. Fox is castigated throughout the year, but when a news report calls the government's response to hurricane Katrina "shameful", every news outlet and every French blogger in America is sure to quote it.

This does not show interest in polls, or even in the news. Worse, this shows an absence of intellectual curiosity and a total lack of willingness for honest inquiry. What this shows is interest in the news only when it seems to favor their viewpoint and validate the (self-serving) opinion that (average or conservative) Americans (and their allies) are dumb, treacherous, and clueless while "we" humanistic souls are wise, tolerant, solidaristic, visionary, and (last but not least) lucide.

Articles in which Iraqi opinions are freely expressed do not reflect that, and so they are suppressed. (At least, until that time when their opinions will match those of the avant-garde left.)

The Only People In The Whole World
Who Don't Know Who Madonna Is

... are her kids. Via Budge, via Drudge:

Madonna’s parenting practices:

The woman who made her name as a mass media idol, continues: “My kids don’t watch TV. We have televisions but they’re not hooked up to anything but movies.

“TV is trash. I was raised without it. We don’t have magazines or newspapers in the house either.”

Now there’s some good parenting for ya. Keep ‘em ignorant. Oy!

No TV, no videos, no print media. Well, how do they know who their Mom is?

Hey, You Wanta Get Back Here And
Answer Some Questions, Sweetie Pie?!?

Condi Shows Us Why She Is The Next President of The United States

Condoleeza Rice manhandled Kazakhstan President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the other day, at a press conference they jointly attended:

After Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made stops in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and later to Tajikistan, she was not about to put up with any silliness from the Ex-Soviet Autocratic President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, on Thursday!

After their opening remarks, the Kazakh Leader left his podium. That is when Condi chased him down and brought him back to the podium to answer reporter's questions!

Heh! What a leader she is. Now, check this out. Look at how the line of questions and answers went:

QUESTION: Andrea Koppel with CNN. I have a question for both of you. Mr. President, one of your daughters controls the media. The other controls the main bank here. The opposition, the political opposition, is routinely harassed, arrested. What evidence is there that you are anything more than a dictator?

PRESIDENT NAZARBAYEV: (Via interpreter.) What I said about the freedom of speech, I said I underlined that it should not be a freedom of misinformation. So I think that our opposition has provided you with some...(blah, blah,...)

SECRETARY RICE: Andrea, I think if we were interested only in oil and the war on terrorism we would not be speaking in the way that we are about democracy here or in Saudi Arabia or throughout the Middle East.

And so quite clearly, while we do have interests in terms of resources and in terms of the struggle for terrorism, we have in no way allowed those interests to get in the way of our open and clear defense of freedom.

We have talked about that in any number of circumstances. I think that, for instance, in Uzbekistan it's been very clear that we do not see a conflict between our strategic interests and in our interests in democracy. In fact, we've spoken up clearly in that case.

I'm here talking, on camera, with the President about the need for Kazakhstan to have free and fair elections; to have international observation of those elections; to have access to media for the opposition.

I met, after the speech, with two people who will be a part of the campaign. And I will take their concerns with me to Washington and we will press for free and fair elections here, just as we pressed for free and fair elections everywhere else in the world.

And so our position is consistent around the world. The need for democratic change and the need for opposition to be able to express themselves freely and we expect the same of Kazakhstan.

Condi just took that guys pants, and underwear, off in front of his subjects, and exposed him for the pathetic little mouse of a man he truly is.

And she wasn't even wearing her knee-high black leather boots.

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Friday, October 14, 2005

The Practical Application
of Universal Healthcare

From Julia Gorin in the Opinion Journal:

I recently came face to face with a level of Western ignorance that I hadn't encountered since the 1980s, when Russian immigrants were still a novelty to Americans. A British-American asked my father a question that could only come from someone who has known freedom his whole life: "Why did you leave Russia? Your family was there, you had a job, you had free health care. Why did you leave?" The questioner, a former editor with the New York Times, then proceeded to assert that today's Britain and U.S. are no longer free.

The exchange reminded me just how out of touch many who live in the free world are with the reality of life under tyranny--and why, therefore, so many Americans and Brits think nothing is scarier than war. On the subject even of that oft-cited "perk" of Soviet life, universal health care, a picture of the system in practice on its happiest occasion would shock Americans and Western Europeans alike.

For her second delivery, Mom never went into labor. She was two weeks overdue and the baby had stopped moving. Fearing the worst, she took the metro to the hospital.

"Are you in labor?"


Again Mom thought she'd done something wrong because people were yelling at her as soon as she walked in: "Then why did you come? You like hanging around hospitals, do you?"
"I don't feel anything moving."

"Oh. OK, wait for the doctor."

Fortunately, a younger nurse overheard the conversation. "What--it's not moving? How long? Since last night? OK, go over there and get undressed."

People stopped yelling at my mother then, and she got more attention.

"I don't hear the baby," said the old doctor who was on duty. "Is this your first child?"


"Did the first one live?"


"Good. Because the prognosis here isn't good."

Since there was no labor activity, labor was induced. In Russia this was called "stimulating labor," and it required one to drink castor oil. My mother has its taste on her tongue to this day, she told me. Her body contorted inexplicably, and she became catatonic, unable to move her arms or legs.

She could hear the yelling at the others as it continued in the background: "Stop screaming!" "You're not the first to give birth; you won't be the last!" "Shut your mouth!"

After some time, Mom's catatonia relaxed and the contractions started. A few hours later the baby was born, and my mother heard the doctor call to an orderly: "Quick! You with the water--the baby is in asphyxia!"

My mother lay emotionless, able only to hear spanking for what she believes to be nearly half an hour as the doctor tried to revive me. Finally, she heard crying.

Had my mother been a party boss's relative, her birthing experiences would have looked a lot more like the common woman's in America. But such was delivery for 99% of the Russian female population.

In America, women often remember abortion as traumatic. My mother barely remembers her two abortions (Russian birth control), but she can't forget a single traumatic detail of her children's births.

Today the Soviet Union is gone, but the communist system lives on in a few places. The glimpse we have into North Korea's delivery rooms is into those at detention centers for political prisoners, as described to Marie Claire magazine in 2002 by Lee Young Suk, a 65-year-old grandmother who was deported back to North Korea after she defected to China. At a detention center in South Sinuiju province, Lee Young was assigned to help deliver babies of other prisoners.

When she delivered the baby of the first woman under her care and reached for a blanket, a guard stopped her: "You crazy hag, are you out of your mind? What are you doing with the baby? Just put it in the box!" He grabbed the baby by a leg and dumped him into a wooden box that was sitting on the floor. He hit Lee Young's arm with a leather strap.

"North Korea is short of food already," the chief medical officer explained. "Why do we have to feed the offspring of foreign fathers? Since China is an open country, they could even be babies of American sperm, so then we'd be feeding Americans."

The procedure was as follows: Once the box was filled with infants, it would be taken to the mountains and buried. Most of the babies would die within four days, but Lee Young recalled two particularly healthy ones who took longer, moving their heads left to right, opening and closing their eyes and making froglike croaks. Their skin turned yellow and their lips blue until the medical officer finally stabbed them through the skull. Lee Young was reassigned when her heart weakened from what she was witnessing. She eventually bribed her way out of prison and into South Korea.

We share the planet with North Korea and its ilk. As many intellectuals, academics and literary and Hollywood luminaries commented soon after 9/11--with some vindication in their tone--we do not live in a vacuum. Yet for the most part they, along with the isolationist right, seem indifferent to the suffering of tyranny's victims. They blithely champion the status quo, or in the case of Iraq the status quo ante, repeating only that Saddam Hussein wasn't a threat to us.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Tangled Web We Weave

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Burn Your Burkhas, Baby

It looks like the Dutch will institute a ban on the burkha:

THE Netherlands is likely to become the first country in Europe to ban the burka, under government proposals that would bring in some of the toughest curbs on Muslim clothing in the world.

The country’s hardline Integration Minister, Rita Verdonk, known as the Iron Lady for her series of tough anti-immigration measures, told Parliament that she was going to investigate where and when the burka should be banned. The burka, traditional clothing in some Islamic societies, covers a woman’s face and body, leaving only a strip of gauze for the eyes.

Mrs Verdonk gave warning that the “time of cosy tea-drinking” with Muslim groups had passed and that natives and immigrants should have the courage to be critical of each other. She recently cancelled a meeting with Muslim leaders who refused to shake her hand because she was a woman.

The proposals are likely to win the support of Parliament because of the expected backing by right-wing parties. But they have caused outrage among Muslim and human rights groups, who say that the Government is pandering to the far Right.

Mrs Verdonk admitted that a complete ban on the garment would be legally tricky because of freedom of religion legislation. However, she said that she would prohibit the garments “in specific situations” on grounds of public safety. The ban is likely to be enforced in shops, public buildings, cinemas, train and bus stations and airports, as well as on trains and buses.

The Netherlands has become preoccupied by Islamic terrorism after the investigation into the murder of the film-maker Theo van Gogh uncovered a network of Muslim extremists dedicated to destroying the country. Attention has turned to the burka because police authorities have become concerned that a terrorist could use one for concealment.

A government spokesman said: “We want to investigate when, how, in which places the burka should be banned. It is a safety measure — you don’t see who is in it.”

Yes, that's true, but the burkha is also a menace to society because it completely dehumanizes women.

Good for the Dutch. They were the society which most protected the Jews during Hitler's reign, and now they are leading the way in dealing with the Islamic Jihadis.

They Suck. We Rule.

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"Chechen Rebels" Wage Jihad In Russia
More Than Sixty Dead

Yep, that's right, Islamic Jihadis kill people and AP calls them "rebels" in the headline:

NALCHIK, Russia - Scores of Islamic militants launched simultaneous attacks on police and government buildings in this city in Russia's turbulent Caucasus region Thursday, sparking battles that killed at least 49 people.

Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks, which forced the evacuation of schools and left corpses littering the streets of Nalchik, the capital of the republic of Kabardino-Balkariya.

The Chechen rebels' decade-long struggle against Russia, originally a separatist movement, has melded increasingly with Islamic extremism in the past decade and spread far beyond Chechnya's borders to encompass the whole turbulent Russian Caucasus region.

President Vladimir Putin ordered a total blockade of Nalchik, a city of 235,000, to prevent militants from slipping out, and he said armed resisters would be shot, according to Russian Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin.

Estimates of the number of militants involved ranged from 60 to 300. The attacks began with heavy arms fire and explosions, and sporadic shooting continued for four hours afterward.
Officials gave conflicting casualty figures, ranging from 49 to as many as 63.

Fyodor Shcherbakov, a spokesman for presidential envoy Dmitry Kozak, said 49 were killed — 25 rebels were killed, 12 police officers and 12 civilians. He said the number was constantly rising as bodies were being discovered.

Hours earlier, officials said 63 people had been killed. Chekalin said that figure included 50 militants and at least 10 police officers. Local Health Ministry spokesman Stepan Kuskov said at least three civilians were among the dead, and 84 people were wounded. The ITAR-Tass news agency quoted Dr. Asker Zhigunov as saying 15 civilians' bodies had been brought in to a city hospital.

Dmitry Kozak, Putin's envoy to the southern region, said Thursday's attackers were holding hostages at a police station, but he did not specify whether they were civilians or officers. A spokeswoman for the republic's Interior Ministry, Marina Kyasova, said police on the upper floors of the building were battling attackers on the ground floor, and denied that hostages had been taken.

Deputy Russian Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov told the Interfax news agency that 12 militants had been detained. His estimate for the number of militants involved was 80 to 100, the news agency reported.

CNN calls them "Militants" and doesn't even put the story on their front page.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

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Islamic Democracy

I know many are doubting that the synthesis can be created, but I say it's possible. That doesn't mean it will happen, but things are looking good today:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi lawmakers approved a set of last-minute amendments to the constitution without a vote on Wednesday, sealing a compromise designed to win Sunni support and boost chances for the charter’s approval in a referendum just three days away.

The deal came as insurgents pressed their campaign to wreck the vote. A suicide bomber killed 30 Iraqis at an army recruitment center in a northern town that was struck by another bomber just a day earlier.

At least one major Sunni Arab party, the Iraqi Islamic Party, said it will now support the draft at the polls. But some other Sunni parties rejected the amendments and said they would still campaign for a “no” vote.

Iraq’s most powerful Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani also weighed in, ordering Shiites to vote “yes” in the referendum, one of his aides, Faisal Thbub, said. It was the most direct show of support for the charter by al-Sistani, whose call brought out huge numbers of voters to back Shiite parties in January elections.

The most significant change is the introduction of a mechanism allowing Sunni Arabs to try to make more substantive changes in the constitution later, after a new parliament is elected in December.

The amendments made some key concessions to Sunnis, starting with the first article underlining that Iraq will be a single nation with its unity guaranteed — a nod to fears among the disaffected minority that the draft as it stands will fragment the country.

Other changes open the door to Sunni Arabs to try to make more dramatic substantive changes in the constitution later, after a new parliament is elected in December.

Sunnis likely to face oppositionSunnis want to weaken the considerable autonomous powers the Shiite and Kurdish mini-states would have under the constitution. But there’s no guarantee they will succeed: They will still likely face strong opposition from majority Shiites and Kurds in the new parliament.

Iraqi leaders, including the Kurdish president, Sunni Arab vice president and Shiite prime minister, lined up on a stage before the National Assembly, lauding the deal as a show of unity between the country’s often divided factions and communities.

“We have the right to be proud in saying that today was a day of national consensus,” President Jalal Talabani said. “So congratulations to our people for their constitution.”

Earlier in the day, Iraq’s president, prime minister and other leaders praised the compromise, reached after marathon talks between Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish negotiators.

“The new amendments on the draft open wide horizons and give everyone another chance to have a proportional role to participate in the political process to build the new Iraqi government,” Parliament Speaker Hajim al-Hassani told the lawmakers.

“The political process in Iraq in spite of all its many complications is going forward.”

America's Mexican Immigrants
"Seem Wealthier Than I Am!"
The European Visitor Exclaimed

Yeah, no kidding.

Victor Davis Hanson had a European visitor recently who noted that America's first generation Mexican immigrants seem to be doing better than the average European:

The differences between American and European material wealth are now marked and growing — Americans increasingly enjoy larger homes, more cars, more appliances, cheaper food and energy, more advanced health care, and more disposable income ...

A recent European visitor to my farm, a member of the professional and affluent class, was stunned when I showed him the new suburban houses and multiple cars of first generation immigrants from Mexico living nearby — in the poorest section of one of the poorest inland counties of rural California. “They seem wealthier than I am!” he exclaimed. In a global sense they really are, even without the subsidized train tickets, day care payments, and a government-guaranteed six-week vacation.

Some transatlanticists will grant these endemic problems, but assure us that Europe’s problems will be self correcting, that more conservative reformers will eventually retake power and mimic the Reagan and Thatcher revolutions to prune back government largesse and encourage renewed self-reliance — noting in addition that we have the same enemy in Islamic fascism. Nothing in Europe’s history, however, suggests that a moderate response to the current maladies is likely.

Popular frustration over Islamic terrorism and unassimilated minorities may grow, and Europeans could become tired of appeasing extremist mullahs and terrorists and begin looking for principled opposition based on real military power. A few politicians may warn of the dangers of a future Europe with only one worker for one pensioner, of a self absorbed society where children, religious fraternity, and hard work are seen as retrograde, or caricatured as American.

But it is just as likely that any European counter-reaction will be unproductive. Instead of calling for more American-style assimilation and intermarriage, critics could prescribe strict isolation of Islamic minorities. Re-arming could make Europe even more hostile, rather than promoting Western unity. The longer work hours, reduced welfare subsidies, increased transparency, and economic flexibility needed by Europe might be received by the masses not as necessary medicine, but as foul concoctions forced down their throats by the hated American competition.

U.N. Says Sudanese Blood for Oil Is Fine

John Bolton is fed up with all the U.N. talk, talk, talk about the genocide in the Sudan. So, his solution was to use his veto to block anymore talk. (I'm a Dhimmi to Pamela at Atlas Shrugs today):

NEW YORK: U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton has blocked a UN envoy from briefing the Security Council on grave human rights breaches taking place in Darfur, saying the council should take "stronger action" against the atrocities and not just talk about them.

The Security Council met for a briefing on the latest developments in Darfur after rebels in the western Sudanese region abducted a number of African Union peacekeeping troops and killed some of them.

Bolton, joined by the ambassadors of Algeria, China and Russia, prevented Juan Mendez, Secretary General Kofi Annan's special adviser for the prevention of genocide, from briefing the council on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Darfur, despite a request by Annan and the other 11 council members states to hear what Mendez had to say.

Bolton said: "How many officials of the secretariat does it take to have a briefing?"

He added that council members already know that the situation in the Darfur region continues to deteriorate, and added "real action needs to be taken."

According to media reports, The U.S. is demanding tougher measures against Sudan and not just condemning statements by the UN.

But, you know why stronger action is not taken? Because two of France, Germany, China, and Russia have massive investments in the Sudan oil industry.

But, there is nothing to worry about, I guess, because France is pulling out the big guns now:

France calls for peace in Darfur
ArabicNews.comWed, 12 Oct 2005 France has persistently urged all sides in Darfur to halt attacks on the soldiers of the mission of the African Union for peace keeping and to honor cease fire in the district.

How To Win The Victory For Islam

Atlas Shrugs notes that Zawahiri wrote a letter to Zarqawi the other day which laid out Al Qaeda's plan for how to win in Iraq, and eventually establish the worldwide Caliphate. Here are the important points:

  • al-Qaida's No. 2 leader said the United States "ran and left their agents" in Vietnam and the jihadists must have a plan ready to fill the void if the Americans suddenly leave Iraq.Ayman al-Zawahri wrote in a letter to his top deputy in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam — and how they ran and left their agents — is noteworthy. ... We must be ready starting now." ( more thank the left for)
  • "It has always been my belief that the victory of Islam will never take place until a Muslim state is established ... in the heart of the Islamic world,"
  • The letter laid out his long-term plan: expel the Americans from Iraq, establish an Islamic authority and take the war to Iraq's secular neighbors, including Lebanon, Jordan and Syria
  • The final stage, al-Zawahri wrote, will be the destruction of Israel which he said was established to challenge "any new Islamic entity."
  • "More than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media,"

Go to Atlas Shrugs to read the whole letter.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Grapes of Bounty

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Help Wanted

I live in Southern California. Recently, I have been having some work done to my house. I had some of the eaves replaced, I had a very large tree removed from my back yard, and I had the outside of the house repainted. All's well.

The nest step on my home improvement list was to put in a new lawn and sprinkler system. A gardener I met, who did not speak English and who is, presumably, an illegal alien, came by and asked me to allow him to do this project. So, I asked him for a quote.

He came back to me the next day with a quote for $7,500.00.

I thought he was out of his mind. So, I asked another gardener, who also didn't speak English, for a quote. He said he would have to come over and measure my yard, etc., etc. Ok, I said, and he did. He made a big show with his tape measure and scattered words in English about sod and pvc pipe. Now, I thought, we're getting somewhere. This guy knows what he's doing.

The quote came back at $7,500.00.

Now, let's put this in perspective. The materials, and the cost of renting a roto-tiller, are approximatley $600-$800. Let's say $800.00, just to make it fun. I asked the gardener how long it would take to do the job, and he said he and his partner would be at my house for a total of four days.

Two guys, four days of work, adds up to 64 man-hours.

$7,500.00 minus $800.00 for materials is $6,700.00.

$6,700.00 divided by 64 man-hours is $104.68 per hour for each illegal alien.

If these illegal aliens were able to stack up jobs like this on a constant basis, then $104 an hour adds up to an annual income of approximately $208,000.00.

Them's some pretty good eats, for someone who isn't even a citizen.

Why am I writing this? Well, let me tell you, I am not writing this to bag on illegal aliens, and I am not writing this because I resent them earning a living. The fact that there are so many illegal aliens in our state, earning enormous amounts of money, and sucking our healthcare system dry, is not the fault of the people of California, but is instead the fault of the federal government.

We, the people of California, voted into law a Proposition a few years ago, which was intended to discourage illegal aliens from invading our state. But, the Proposition was killed by the California State Supreme Court. They didn't say which provision of the Law was unconstitutional, but instead, just killed the whole thing. Yes, that's right, we were told that the will of the people of the state of California did not stand against the will of the judicial system.

Our borders have been breached. It is the federal governments responsibility to guard the borders. They do not make a credible effort to do so. The citizenry of California have done our duty, but the government has thwarted us. Therefore, they are in violation of their agreement with their electorate.

I would say we should vote them out of office, but the truth is, we have found that no matter who we vote into office, on the left or on the right, the results are the same. Presumably, big business has all politicians in their pocket. Therefore, since big business demands cheap labor, big business gets cheap labor.

I also want to make it clear that I am a capitalist. If a man can make $104 an hour, then all the power to him. If that's the going rate, then that's the going rate, and he ought to get it.

Now, here's the reason I am writing this. If gardeners can ask for, and receive, a wage of $104 an hour in the state of California, then I have to say that any American citizen who is unemployed, or marginally employed - in states which are not enjoying the post-9/11 recovery, as we are here in California - ought to seriously consider moving out here, and doing this kind of work.

I would almost go so far as to say, you owe it to your families.

While I do not blame Mexicans and South Americans for coming here to the United States to make a living, and while I do not hate them, at the same time, I would prefer that American citizens earn the money.

So, I'm hanging out a "Help Wanted" sign. We need your help here in California. Come on out. Apparently, there is a lot of work to be had.

It's Ok To Call For Death To The Jews In Sweden
But Don't Say Criminals Are Named "Mohammed"

Fjordman has an important post today which starts off talking about how a police man was arrested and put in jail for writing a "hate" email:

The 43 year old Malmö police officer who sent an e-mail containing racist statements to council leader Ilmar Reepalu was freed on Tuesday by Malmö district court. According to the court, the policeman was not guilty of persecution of a minority group.

In his email to Reepalu he referred to "criminals called Mohammed from Rosengård" and urged the council leader to withdraw the "massive subsidies to all the bloody foreigners in Malmö". The prosecutor had demanded a prison sentence or fine for the policeman.

The personnel department of the National Police Board had already decided that he would be dismissed if he was found guilty of a serious offence. The court stated that the contents of the e-mail were offensive and degrading, but said that the police officer had had no intention of spreading his views more widely - despite the fact that the message became public when he sent it to the council leader.

Fjordman notes that the treatment of the policeman here is in direct contradition to the way Muslims are handled with kid gloves, when they display far more anti-social behavior:

At the same time in Sweden, Muslims openly flaunt their support for terror attacks aginst their own country, and Radio Islam has put Nazi literature such as Adolf Hitler's autobiography "Mein Kampf" online in several languages. They also say Jews are evil and should be "crushed".

Apparently, if you are a Muslim, this is "freedom of speech":

Head of "Radio Islam" in Sweden: The Muslims' War is with the Jews

"Sweden's greatest author, Jan Myrdal, said to me: 'You Muslims may need our support, but we need your Jihad. Otherwise, whom will we support?' If there is no Jihad and resistance, who will the free people in the West support?

There are free people in the West. The Zionist control of the media imposes a kind of media terrorism and hypocrisy, in such a way that many Swedes have a public opinion which they express on radio and TV. If [a Swede] wants to live a normal life and have work, he must claim to be Israel's friend and the enemy of Israel's enemies. But when you talk to regular Swedes, and even authors, privately, they are all against Israel and against the Zionist occupation.

Nevertheless, if Israel finds itself in danger and if we become stronger than it, no Westerner will come to its defense.

The Jews in the West – and this has become a tradition – have 100% complete control of the media, of the political parties, of the trade unions, and of the publishing houses. They politically control all the parties, from Right to Left.

I am a Muslim. I am not a Communist or a Marxist. I oppose both Marxism and Communism. This analysis of yours is a Marxist-Communist analysis, because the Koran says that our battle is with the Jews. Zionism is not mentioned in the Koran.

Our war is against the Jews."

Let's look at this, shall we? The truth is, what the policeman said is a fair and accurate assessment of the situation in the city of Malmo. There are criminals named "Mohammed" in Rosengard, and the immigrants do draw massive subsidies from the state. The problem with his statement is one of proportion.

There are probably also criminals named Bjorn who are creating trouble themselves. And, while it is true that immigrants draw massive subsidies, there are plenty of natural-born Swedish citizens drawing large amounts of money from the government as well. So, the question isn't whether what the police officer said is true or not. Instead, the question is, do Muslims commit a disproportionate amount of the crime, and do they draw a disproportionate amout of welfare, to the point that the policeman's statement was warranted.

On the other hand, we know that Mein Kampf is an evil piece of literature which makes spurious claims about a Jewish conspiracy to control banking, and calls for death to the Jews. We know that as a civilization, we decided a long time ago that such literature was disgusting and evil.

We know that terror attacks against innocent civilians - such as children on buses in Israel, or children in the streets of Baghdad - are works of evil. And, we know that to say that the "Jews should be crushed" is calling for the death of a whole group of people, and is therefore evil as well. If such things are not to be called evil, then we nothing is evil.

And finally, the head of "Radio Islam" in Sweden going on the air and calling for "war" on the "Jews" smacks of Holocaust era Germany. It is frightening. Such behavior needs to be eliminated from Western Civilization altogether.

But, the Swedes don't think so, apparently. Hmm.

Sometimes You Just Gotta Love Your Enemies

From an interview with Hamas Chief Mahmoud al-Zahar:

WND: When you talk of occupied Palestinian land, are you referring to the West Bank and the eastern sections of Jerusalem, or do you mean the entire state of Israel? Let's be clear here. Is your goal the destruction of Israel?

Al-Zahar: No one will deny the fact that before 1948, the state of Israel did not exist and that for thousands of years this land was part of an Islamic and Arabic land. History proves that this is the land of the Palestinian people and we will never give up any part of it. If our generation will not succeed to liberate all of historical Palestine then that mission will be for the following generations.

Yes, you've gotta love your enemies, when they tell the truth.

Thank, Mahmoud.

Monday, October 10, 2005

"I Hope They Think I'm Dead"

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Iraq's Message to Mr Blair:
We Still Need the Troops
That Saved Us From Tyranny

Iraqi President Jalal Talibani wrote a message to the people of England, which was published in the London Times yesterday. It is an open call for the British to support the fight to establish Democracy in Iraq:

EVENTS OF recent weeks have reaffirmed the need for the alliance between the new Iraq and Britain. The lesson of the ghastly drumbeat of terrorism, the rioting in Basra and the vile murder of the leadership of the Iraqi Anglican Church is that the battle of Iraq cannot be won by retreat or compromise, but by the vision and determination for which Britain is renowned. Above all, Britain owes no apology for delivering the enslaved people of Iraq from the hands of a callous tyranny.

The challenge is to show fortitude in the face of horror so that we can finish the job that began in 2003 of uprooting dictatorship and implanting a democratic government. Reforming Iraq, restoring a society distorted by fascism, was never going to be easy.

The alternative — to pretend that sanctions were working and that Saddam Hussein was contained — was an illusion. As has now been established, the United Nations Oil-for-Food programme was corrupt in root and branch. Saddam manipulated Oil-for-Food to become his personal chequebook for a campaign of international bribery and a trough from which his psychopathic progeny supped. Saddam’s regime openly declared in August 2001 that the sanctions had collapsed. Indeed, in 2003, as Saddam proclaimed his innocence to the world, his envoys were in Syria to negotiate the purchase of North Korean long-range missiles.

The Baathist regime, guilty of aggression and genocide, was overturned because Britain and the United States had courageously enforced the UN Security Council resolutions that others would barely support with words. Today the painstaking effort to enable Iraqis to express their views freely is also grounded in international legality. Foreign troops are in Iraq on the basis of a Security Council resolution, just as Iraq was liberated through the enforcement of 17 such resolutions that Saddam chose to flout.

Those who preferred the stability of the mass grave to liberation, and who raised their voices to save Saddam, but not his victims, have spuriously claimed that the war was fought to discover stocks of weapons of mass destruction. But Rolf Ekeus, the first head of the UN weapons inspectors, has argued that stocks were not the issue. Saddam could always re-create his stocks and until the end he could restart mustard gas production within months and nerve gas production within a couple of years. Moreover, Saddam used chemical weapons casually, gassing 5,000 Kurdish civilians at Halabja in 1988 and then using chemical bombs against Shia Arab civilians in 1991 — after the Gulf War ceasefire.

It is from this perspective, of the need to rebuild Iraq after decades of being run by a criminal state, that I have come to ask Tony Blair to keep British troops in Iraq. There are very few countries whose armed forces have the broad range of skills that Britain’s do, skills vital to the sometimes volatile situation in Iraq and skills that have been evident in your troops’ impressive performance.

While Iraq has often proved unpredictable, substantial progress has been made in rehabilitating a country that from the moment of its British colonial creation in 1921 was a failed state. Unfortunately, many in Britain are unaware of the advance of Iraqi democracy and of the desire of its first democratically elected government to have British and other foreign troops remain. Instead, some parts of the media have elevated the hooligans of Basra into tribunes of the people.

The stone throwers of Basra do not speak for the 8.5 million Iraqis who defied terrorist violence to vote on January 30, 2005. Nor do they speak for the vast majority of Iraqis whose democratically chosen representatives negotiated a final constitution in record time. That constitution reflects the realities of today’s Iraq and is, like the March 2004 interim charter, a remarkably progressive document. No constitution elsewhere in the Islamic Middle East is as democratic.

Similarly, those who attack mosques and churches, who murder schoolchildren and labourers, who behead foreigners and who kidnap humanitarian workers are not engaged in “resistance”. Those sabotaging Iraq’s first democracy bear no resemblance to the resistors of foreign occupation in wartime Europe. Rather, they are, in their ideology and record, contemporary representatives of the fascism that wreaked such havoc 60 years ago in Europe. They are supremacists and racists, as worthy of our contempt as those who practised apartheid in South Africa.

Nor do these terrorists have a popular base. They are drawn from a minority within Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority. They have no political wing and no manifesto beyond punishing their fellow Iraqis for welcoming British and American liberation and for daring to vote. Many of the suicide terrorists are not even Iraqis, but foreigners driven by religious fanaticism and al-Qaeda’s death cult — the poisonous gift of the Arab world that supported Saddam and now vilifies our nascent democracy.

There are occasional immoral voices that call for a new dictatorship to be installed in Iraq as, they claim, a less laborious means of imposing order. Order is certainly important, but so is freedom. A restored dictatorship in Iraq will be neither friendly nor benign. Animated by vengeance and fed by oil, a new dictatorship will again seek to make Iraq into the Arab Prussia and the overlord of the Gulf, goals that Iraqi regimes before Saddam aspired to.

To abandon us now would be murderously irresponsible and cynical. The resulting devastation would outstrip that of the spring of 1991, when the Kurdish and Shia Arab uprisings were encouraged and then betrayed. Even Saddam’s regime conceded that during those few weeks in 1991 that some 30,000 were killed. The true number was many times higher.

Building democracy in Iraq is not a fanciful quest, but a recognition that all other approaches have failed. True stability comes from consent, not from the illusory “stability” of dictatorships. It is therefore in our mutual interest that we pursue the cause of democracy. We may falter, we may tire, but if we persevere, we shall not be defeated.

Why the people of the West have to be talked to like this by an Iraqi, I don't understand. We Westerners ought to know, better than anybody, how precious Democracy is.

Leftist Anti-Semitism In Britain

Damn, am I picking on the British today, or what? Nick Cohen, from the New Statesman:

On the Saturday of the great anti-war demonstration of 2003, I watched one million people march through London, then sat down to write for the Observer. I pointed out that the march organisers represented a merger of far left and far right: Islamic fundamentalists shoulder to shoulder with George Galloway, the Socialist Workers Party and every other creepy admirer of totalitarianism this side of North Korea. Be careful, I said. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq has spewed out predatory armies and corpses for decades. If you’re going to advocate a policy that would keep a fascist dictator in power, you should at least talk to his victims, whose number included socialists, communists and liberals - good people, rather like you.

Next day I looked at my e-mails. There were rather a lot of them. The first was a fan letter from Ann Leslie, the Daily Mail’s chief foreign correspondent, who had seen the barbarism of Ba’athism close up. Her cheery note ended with a warning: “You’re not going to believe the anti-Semitism that is about to hit you.” “Don’t be silly, Ann,” I replied. “There’s no racism on the left.” I worked my way through the rest of the e-mails. I couldn’t believe the anti-Semitism that hit me.

I learned it was one thing being called “Cohen” if you went along with liberal orthodoxy, quite another when you pointed out liberal betrayals. Your argument could not be debated on its merits. There had to be a malign motive. You had to support Ariel Sharon. You had to be in the pay of “international” media moguls or neoconservatives. You had to have bad blood. You had to be a Jew.

My first reaction was so ignoble I blush when I think of it. I typed out a reply that read, “but there hasn’t been a Jewish member of my family for 100 years”. I sounded like a German begging a Gestapo officer to see the mistake in the paperwork. Mercifully, I hit the “delete” button before sending.

Rather than pander to racism, I directed my correspondents to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a member of the Socialist International which had decided after being on the receiving end of one too many extermination drives that foreign invasion was the only way. No good. I tried sending them to the Iraqi Communist Party, which opposed the invasion but understood the possibilities for liberation beyond the fine minds of the western intelligentsia. No good, either.

As the months passed, and Iraqis were caught between a criminally incompetent occupation and an “insurgency” so far to the right it was off the graph, I had it all. A leading figure on the left asked me to put him in touch with members of the new government. “I knew it! I knew it!” he cried when we next met. “They want to recognise Israel.”

I experienced what many blacks and Asians had told me: you can never tell. Where people stand on the political spectrum says nothing about their visceral beliefs. I found the far left wasn’t confined to the chilling Socialist Workers Party but contained many scrupulous people it was a pleasure to meet and an education to debate. Meanwhile, the centre was nowhere near as moderate as it liked to think. One minute I would be talking to a BBC reporter or liberal academic and think him a civilised man; the next, he would be screaming about the Jews.

Politicians I’d admired astonished me: Tam Dalyell explained British foreign policy as a Jewish conspiracy; Ken Livingstone embraced a Muslim cleric who favoured the blowing up of Israeli women and children, along with wife-beating and the murder of homosexuals and apostates.

I could go on. The moment when bewilderment settled into a steady scorn, however, was when the Guardian ran a web debate entitled: “David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen are enough to make a good man anti-Semitic”. Gorgeously, one vigilant reader complained that the title was prejudiced - the debate should be headlined: “David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen are enough to make a good man, or woman, anti-Semitic.”

I'm starting to think they might have a wee problem with anti-Semitism over there in Britain.

"Oh d-d-Dear, Why Do They Hate Me So?"
Church Of England Says Islamic Terrorism
Rooted In British Prejudice

A few weeks ago an entire team of Anglican lay leaders were killed by Islamic Jihadis in Iraq, who oppose Christianity in principle. Today, the Anglican Church has a message for the Islamic Jihadis:

"We're Sorry. "

From Dhimmi Watch:

The five Anglican bishops suggested that Christians should apologize to Muslims for the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq and the subsequent overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein. The report -- entitled "Countering Terrorism: Power, Violence and Democracy Post 9/11" -- includes a 13-point schedule of "Christian principles" in response to the threat of terrorism, in which the writers call for states to "understand" the perspective of their terrorist antagonists.

The September 19 report also alleges that U.S. evangelical Christians promoted and facilitated the war in Iraq because of their purported belief that the United States has a manifest destiny for military conquest.

Mark Tooley with the Washington, DC-based Institute on Religion and Democracy does not give the report much credibility. Tooley says Church of England bishops often rely on stereotypes of U.S. Evangelicals rooted in British prejudice rather than genuine reality.

"The Church of England, of course, is very much a declining institution dominated by liberal theology," Tooley notes, "and I think these bishops -- as do probably many bishops of that institution -- don't even know much about Evangelicals, much less [are] able to comment about Evangelicals across the ocean."

The conspiracy theories laid out in the bishops' report, says the IRD spokesman, are spurious, yet also very revealing about those making the allegations. He believes the Anglican bishops are trying to deflect attention away from their own problems.

"Only a small percentage of British people go to church, and a smaller percentage of that even are Anglican," he points out. "More of the churchgoers in England now are either Catholic or evangelical. So I would surmise that at least subconsciously there may be some resentment and jealousy from the bishops of the Church of England, or least the bishops who wrote this report."

Tooley notes that by some counts, there are more mosque-going Muslims in Great Britain than there are church-going Anglicans.

Well, like I've been saying, it might be a good idea for the British to just crawl under a rock and play dead. Maybe then, the Muslims will leave them alone.

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The BBC's Jihad Against The Jews

The BBC ran a show the other night which was ostensibly about anti-Semitism. It was called A War Against Prejudice. One of the topics was the Community Security Trust which is an organization in Britain which is somewhat akin to the Anti-Defamation League.

Turns out instead of the show being about anti-Semitism, instead, it was baldly anti-Semitic:

The third accuser of the CST was Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain. Now this was really something else. Here is what Bunglawala himself had to say on the subject of Jews some years ago:

'1) 'The Jews consider themselves to be God’s chosen people - although the blessed prophet Jesus called them the children of the Devil (John 8:44) - and so can do just whatever the hell they like'.

2) He cited claims that the Zionist movement is 'at the core of international banking and commerce' and observed 'Nonsense? You be the judge'.

3) 'The chairman of Carlton Communications is Michael Green of the Tribe of Judah. He has joined an elite club whose members include fellow Jews Michael Grade [then the chief executive of Channel 4 and now BBC chairman] and Alan Yentob [BBC2 controller and friend of Salman Rushdie]. The three are reported to be "close friends… so that's what they mean by a 'free media.'

One might have thought that, in a programme ostensibly looking at anti-Jewish prejudice, Bunglawala might have been asked about the views he had once expressed. One might have thought he would have been asked about the MCB’s stated aim to abolish Holocaust day, and its many inflammatory statements about Israel and the Holocaust. One might have thought he would have been asked about the sale by Muslims on campus of that iconic text of Jew-hatred, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and the regular attacks and abuse of Jewish students by Muslims. One might have thought he would have been asked about the contribution to anti-Jewish prejudice in Britain being made by the poisonous hated of Israel and the Jews pouring out of the Arab and Muslim world.

But no, he was asked none of these things. Indeed, the programme did not mention Islamic attacks upon Jews at all. Instead, it used Lerman, Gluck and Bunglawala to rubbish the claim that there was a rise in anti-Jewish feeling in Britain. It clearly set out to do this; the difference between the hostile questioning of myself, for example, and the easy ride given to these three was unmistakeable. There was absolutely no attempt by the programme to explain where the current anti-Jewish feeling was coming from, or to analyse it at all; it was apparently just a paranoid claim to be knocked down.

Anyone who talks to the police will know that the Jewish community in Britain has to be guarded against the very real threat of attack from both Muslims and neo-Nazis. Every single synagogue or communal event has to be guarded. It is a threat we Jews all live with, daily. We also have to live daily with the pathological hatred of Jewish nationhood that now courses through this country’s media, along with routine claims of a global Jewish conspiracy. The BBC was at it again this morning on Radio Four’s Start the Week with an unchallenged implication of sinister Jewish power; look at this post by Adloyada for yet further evidence of the way this ancient racial libel has now been assimilated without challenge into mainstream media discourse.
This is what the journalist Simon Winchester said on Start the Week: that in New York there was a growing move towards orthodoxy, that young Jews were now 'cajoling or impressing' on others the need to go to temple and at the same time the 'steady drumbeat of Zionist enthusiasm' was increasing so that far from attitudes becoming 'more benign' they were hardening, which was 'bad for everyone'. So now, we have arrived at the happy state where a British journalist says on air that orthodox Judaism is 'bad for everyone' without anyone turning a hair. And of course, orthodoxy and Zionism don't in fact go together, but hey; and now we find that it's not just the settlers in Israel who are extreme but Zionism itself. In other words, the self-determination of the Jewish people is said to be 'bad for everyone'. And no-one turns a hair.

Go read the rest from Melanie Phillips.

The Jihad Is Against The Jews

The Jihad is against the Jews, huh? I thought it was just about Israel, and Ariel Sharon, and control of the media, and the "Zionist lobby," etc., etc., etc. Guess it's a little more complicated than I thought.


From Memri, via Little Green Footballs:

Ahmad Rami: Today, the Westerners harbor great respect for Hizbullah in their souls.

Host: In public opinion?

Ahmad Rami: Yes, in public opinion. They respect Hizbullah because it fights the Jihad.

Host: Do you mean in Sweden or Europe in general?

Ahmad Rami: Europe in general. The greatest author of Sweden, Jan Myrdal, said to me: “You Muslims may need our support, but we need your Jihad. Otherwise, whom will we support?” If there is no Jihad and resistance, who will the free people in the West support? There are free people in the West.

The Zionist control of the media imposes a kind of media terrorism and hypocrisy in such a way that many Swedes have a public opinion which they express on radio and TV. If he wants to live a normal life and have work, he must claim to be Israel’s friend and the enemy of Israel’s enemies. But when you talk to regular Swedes, and even authors, privately, they are all against Israel and against the Zionist occupation. Nevertheless, If Israel finds itself in danger and if we become stronger than it, no Westerner would come to its defense.

The Jews in the West - and this has become a tradition - have 100% complete control of the media, of the political parties, the trade unions, and the publishing houses. They politically control all the parties, from right to left.

Ahmad Rami: Yes. In the West today... For example, I, in Sweden, am fighting for freedom of speech for everybody in Sweden. In Germany I told them that now... I was asked: What is your Jihad? Why are you fighting? I told them: I am fighting so that the Swedes will have the same rights as the Jews in Sweden. I am fighting so that the Swedes will have the same rights as the Jews. The Jews in Sweden, Germany, France, and America have rights that even the citizens of those countries do not have.

As far as I’m concerned, Judaism is not a religion. Judaism is a criminal and dangerous mafia.

Host: "Don't you distinguish between Jews and Zionists?"

Rami: "The Jew is proud of being a Jew. He has called his country 'the Jewish State.'

Go to Memri to see the video.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Duna tribesmen : Duna tribesmen from Lake Kopiago wait to perform the sacred snake dance in preparation for the independence day celebrations in Port Moresby. (AFP/Torsten Blackwood)
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