Saturday, February 03, 2007

Brothers In Arms


My favorite guitar player, Mark Knopfler.


Emmy Lou Harris - 1977


When I was in my young teens, my best friends father packed us in the VW and hauled us down to a local amusement park called Knott's Berry Farm to see some chick named Emmy Lou Harris.

I was a big fan of Bob Dylan's Desire album, so I was aware of who Emmy Lou was, but I was unprepared for the brilliance of her performance, and, in such a mundane setting it was all the more stunning.


Bohemian Rhapsody


This guy is the best at what he does that there has ever been. Of that, there is no doubt.



Cairo Book Fair:
Religious Books, MeinKampf
Selling Well


We in the West have to wake up to the fact that the Islamic world is seriously ill. A fire has started in their brains, and they live mental lives of barbarism, racism, and murderousness.

It might sound extreme for me to say that, but when viewed in the perspective of history, you will understand that this has happened in other societies as well. Germany went crazy in the thirties and forties, as did Japan. North Korea is currently a very sick society run by an evil madman. And, of course, we all know that madmen have run various societies into the ground throughout history.

So, you see, it is not racist or bigoted for me to say what I am saying. I am simply stating a fact. And, here is more evidence:


[M]any complain that the crowds are just there to picnic and buy religious books…
Of the 700 Egyptian and Arab publishers at the fair, the vast majority stock religious books on their shelves. “Even we reserve about a quarter of our catalog for them,” said publisher Ansari.
Korans of all styles, from the simple to the leather-bound, share shelf space with collections of religious sayings and fatwas as well as their more modern incarnations on cassettes and compact disks.

The fair also has its darker sides, with anti-Christian polemics advocating conversion to Islam as the only solution to a flawed religion and of course plenty of editions of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” for sale.

“It makes up a big part of our success, especially among the 18 to 25 crowd,” said Mahmud Abdallah of the Syrian-Egyptian Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi publishing house…

Prayer Breakfast


From Joel Rosenberg:


For one brief shining moment yesterday, bitter partisanship was replaced by prayer, and it couldn't have been more refreshing. Lynn and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 55th Annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton, along with 4,000 business and political leaders, diplomats, military officials and journalists representing all 50 states and 160 different countries.

We met and shook hands with Sen. Barack Obama, perhaps the biggest rock star to move through the room since Bono came as the keynote speaker last year.

The President and First Lady were gracious and humble, breaking bread with Democratic leaders while thanking Americans for being "a nation of prayer" and for praying for our troops overseas and our leaders here at home.

Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain sat together, swapping stories and jokes and taking a respite from what will no doubt be a long and heated presidential campaign. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri as well as a former Methodist minister, was a fabulous emcee -- funny, insightful, collegial and sincerely eager to encourage his fellow Washingtonians to humble themselves before God.

The highlight of the morning, however, was the keynote address by Dr. Francis S. Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project and thus arguably the most important doctor and scientist on the planet today. He and his colleagues have mapped out the 3 billion letters of the human genetic code imprinted into each of our cells. ("Three billion -- that's a very large number," he deadpanned, "even in Washington.") They are figuring out the Creator's "instruction book" for the human body, and thus racing to find cures for cancer, diabetes, and so many other horrible diseases. And for him, it is a journey of faith as well as science.

Dr. Francis explained that he was raised on a small farm in Virginia by a family for whom religion was not that important. He developed a fascination with medicine and science early in his life and along the way, like many of his colleagues, thought of himself as an agnostic, and eventually as an atheist.

But one day, an elderly woman who was a patient of his and dying of cancer, explained to him that she had no fear of dying because she had a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. She explained the good news that God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives, and offers us a way to eternal life through Jesus, and then she asked, "Doctor, what do you believe?" Dr. Collins said he fled the room as fast as he could. He was touched by the woman's story, and moved by her faith, but he didn't have a satisfying answer to her question, and he said it was as if all of a sudden "the atheistic ice under my feet was cracking."

Though he was a scientist, he said he had never really considered the evidence for whether Jesus was the Messiah and Savior that He claimed to be. Why not? What was he afraid of?

So he began to study the life of Jesus. He began to read the works of famed atheist-turned-believer C.S. Lewis, the brilliant British professor. He learned that the New Testament teaches that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," (Hebrews 11:1) so he began pursuing the evidence wherever it led. And along the way he said that he found Jesus a man unlike any other -- humble, caring, willing to love His enemies, ready to forgive sinners of any race, creed or color.

"The evidence demanded a verdict," Dr. Collins explained, and the verdict, he concluded, was that Jesus really was who He said He was: "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6) So one day he bowed his head and prayed for God to forgive him and make him a fully devoted follower of Jesus, and it changed his life.

"But you're a scientist," Dr. Collins said people say to him so often. "Doesn't [all this talk of Jesus] make your head explode? Doesn't this create a huge conflict for you between faith and reason?" His answer, simply, is "no." True, only 40% of scientists believe there is a God, but he said he sees science as a means both of discovery as well as worship. The more he learns of how God has created and wired us, the more he feels he has "caught a glimpse of God's mind."

"There's an unwritten taboo among scientists about talking of one's spiritual leanings," Dr. Collins conceded, but he urged this not to be the case. It was a moving and personal talk from a hero of modern science, and one I hope is reported widely in the coming days in the media. Dr. Collins concluded by asking us to sing a song with him, as he played the guitar. That's not something you see every day at Washington political gatherings. The song was "Praise The Source of Faith and Learning," by Rev. Thomas Troeger. Here's the first stanza:

Praise the source of faith and learning
that has sparked and stoked the mind
With a passion for discerning
how the world has been designed.
Let the sense of wonder flowing
from the wonders we survey
Keep our faith forever growing
and renew our need to pray.



America the Beautiful.

There is no other country on the face of the Earth which affords such sanctuary to the Church. Of course, God doesn't necessarily need our sanctuary, and we ought not be arrogant about it, but the truth is, in countries like Saudi Arabia, China, and the old Soviet Union, Christians were and are horribly persecuted to the point of imprisonment, torture, and death.

Thanks be to God that we are free to choose whom we will worship here in America. Thanks be to God that we can make a choice to follow Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God that we have free and easy access to Bibles, and churches which sit on street corners, instead of darkened rooms with the shades drawn.

Let us all understand the fragility and the exceptionalism of freedom. Let us understand that there are people who want to take that away from us, and that it is possible that they could, if they aquire nuclear weapons.

Let us understand that life would never be the same if we allowed that to happen.

Let us work together to make sure it does not happen.


UPDATE: Meanwhile, at a Democratic National Committee meeting, an Imam, who is a known terror supporter, opened the festivities with a prayer which slyly asked God to take all our rights away from us, and sadly, no Democrat has protested.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Cantus


Music by the Modern Classical Composer Arvo Part. My favorite Modern Composer.





Here's a pretty cool New Yorker article about Arvo Part (thanks to Reliapundit):


A few years ago, a man who faced a terminal diagnosis of cancer asked a friend to give him some compact disks so that he could have a little music to help him get through the night. Among the recordings that the friend sent was "Tabula Rasa," on the ECM label, which contained three works by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. A day or two later, the man called to thank his friend for the disks, and, especially, for the Pärt. In the last weeks of his life, he listened to practically nothing else.

Several people have told me essentially this same story about the still, sad music of Pärt—how it became, for them or for others, a vehicle of solace. One or two such anecdotes seem sentimental; a series of them begins to suggest a slightly uncanny phenomenon. Patrick Giles, in an article for Salon, reported that when he worked as a volunteer for an AIDS organization, in the nineteen-eighties, he played "Tabula Rasa" for those facing the final onslaught of the disease, and they developed a peculiar, almost desperate attachment to it. Once, when Giles was away, the mother of one of the dying men called with an anxious query. "He keeps asking for 'angel music,' " she said. "What the hell is that?" The music in question was the second movement of "Tabula Rasa," in which a rustling arpeggio on a prepared piano leads into glacial chords of D minor.

According to the unsentimental evidence of record sales, Pärt's music reaches far beyond the conspiracy of connoisseurs who support most new classical music. He is a composer who speaks in hauntingly clear, familiar tones, yet he does not duplicate the music of the past. He has put his finger on something that is almost impossible to put into words—something to do with the power of music to obliterate the rigidities of space and time. One after the other, his chords silence the noise of the self, binding the mind to an eternal present. For this reason, anecdotes of listeners' experiences, whether extreme or mundane, may give a better account of the music than any analysis of its inner workings. For me, "Tabula Rasa" will always be a snowy New England afternoon in 1989, during which there was nothing in the world but this music and that snow.



Earlier this month, a festival called Music Around presented twenty-two of Pärt's works in various Scandinavian cities. The composer travelled from his home in Berlin to observe the event, settling into a hotel in Copenhagen. I talked to him there, in a smattering of English and German, at the hotel's restaurant.

Pärt is a gaunt man with a pale, gentle face and mournfully powerful eyes. His bald pate is balanced by a tightly curled beard of a few inches' length. He has been described as "monkish" so often that a German musicologist has undertaken a deconstruction of the term, but the word still springs to mind unbidden: he could pose for an icon of St. John Chrysostom, or another of the literary saints. Yet, when his large eyes fix on you, he becomes more worldly and formidable; his stare seems to ask, "Are you serious?" At times, he is unexpectedly impish, even antic. He needs few words to make himself understood, using a repertory of quasi-operatic gestures and clownish faces.

"My life is a river, and I am a boat being borne along the current," he told me. "I cannot relate to my life as a story, as a sequence of events, because I cannot get off the boat in order to see where I am. I do not see myself as moving forward or going backward." I asked him whether he believed in musical progress, in the idea of an avant-garde. He vigorously shook his head. "I do not know what this word 'progress' means, at least in the area of art. Progress in science can certainly be measured and described. But to talk about a particular style or a particular work as progressive or regressive is arbitrary, totally misleading. It reminds me a little of Brueghel's painting of the blind leading the blind. One man is tumbling down, his staff held out like a spear or sword in front of him, and the others are following behind him. They are all making progress, and they are all falling down. The story is found in the Bible. How many painters this word 'progress' has made blind! How many composers this word has made deaf! And they carried behind them generations!" He looked stricken for a moment, as if he had just seen a horror out of Bosch.

Pärt was born in 1935, in a small town in the Estonian countryside. According to Paul Hillier's study of the composer, he grew up playing an ancient grand piano that lacked a middle register, so that he made music only at extremes of high and low. He studied composition in the national conservatory, in Tallinn. He moved steadily through all the styles that were available to him, from neoclassicism to socialism and on to Western avant-garde techniques of serialism and chance. He even dipped into John Cage-ish happenings, once participating in a concert at which a violin somehow caught on fire.

Finally, in 1976, he turned inward, discovering a new, radically simplified language. "Tabula Rasa" was one of the first products of this style, which came to be called "tintinnabuli," after the Latin word for bell. In its basic form, it involves the interweaving of two voices, one of which moves by melodic steps while the other rotates through the pitches of a major or a minor chord. The method has something in common with the early minimalist pieces of Steve Reich, but the resemblance is better explained by the fact that both composers drew on the same ancient sources: polyphonic composers of the late medieval and early Renaissance periods.

The tintinnabuli works were also informed by an intense religiosity, flowing from Pärt's embrace of Russian Orthodoxy. This meditative strain contributed to his subsequent popularity in the nineteen-nineties, when records of Gregorian chant mysteriously showed up on the pop charts. But there was nothing fashionable about Pärt's choice of style back in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. The composer had already established himself as something of a maverick; his 1968 work "Credo," in which a prayerful choral arrangement of Bach's Prelude in C Major sounds defiantly in the middle of musical chaos, drew official censure. By the late seventies, as Pärt began to acquire international fame, he found that he was not permitted to travel freely abroad, and that his works were being taken off the market. In 1979, at a meeting of the Estonian Composers' Union, Pärt denounced official policy while wearing a longhaired wig. The following year, he was able to obtain an exit visa to Israel—his wife, Nora, is Jewish. Alfred Schnittke, who had played the prepared piano in the first Western performances of "Tabula Rasa," arranged for the Pärts to stay in Vienna, and they ended up settling in Berlin.

Pärt said of his early, "wild" years, "I was writing music in which there were many notes thrown down on the page like so." He made a scattering gesture with his hands. "Notes were being strewn about like coins or jewels. I was not guarding these notes as treasures. I was not holding them, one after another, in my hands. Every note is decisive, every note is telling." Yet, for all his love of spare, repetitive textures, he does not treasure the minimalist label that has been attached to him. "Two composers, Philip Glass and Steve Reich, changed the world at that time," he said. "I have great respect for them. Still, I am not a minimalist. I understand that music critics will always find categories for my works and put them away in suitable drawers, but to call me a 'holy minimalist' sounds a bit ridiculous." He cupped his ear and listened to the hollow air.



As Pärt and I talked, a pan-flute arrangement of the "Titanic" soundtrack was playing on the restaurant's loudspeakers. It played over and over, in an endless loop. Although Pärt asked the waitress to turn it down, it refused to go away. The juxtaposition was ironic, because this composer has sometimes been accused of writing background music—a higher Muzak for sensitive souls. His works have been used on movie soundtracks and in other suspect environments. The false association with New Age aesthetics has perhaps inadvertently been aided by the exquisite care that ECM takes in recording him. Since the mid-eighties, Manfred Eicher, ECM's longtime director and chief producer, has given Pärt's music a distinctive ambience, a sonic halo. Even the packaging of the disks, all crisp lines and monochromatic fields, is a beautiful exemplar of minimalist style.

Recordings tell only half the story, however. They remain two-dimensional experiences, whereas Pärt is intensely concerned with the positioning of music in space. It was actively stunning to hear his works in the airy, chilly churches of Copenhagen, where the music seemed to crystallize out of the air and become an organic, multivalent thing. The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, under Tõnu Kaljuste, and the Latvian Radio Choir, under Kaspars Putnins, gave the music enormous immediacy: the voices buzzed against each other, then soared as one. Most commentators have overlooked the dramatic tension inherent in Pärt's work—the way an apparent state of equilibrium is undermined by one or two serpentine notes, or the way small harmonic shifts can turn into seismic shocks. When, in the choral work "Beatitudes," an intricately pivoting chain of modulations leads through twenty of the twenty-four major and minor chords, the effect is of a huge vista opening up from a narrow space. As happens so often, Pärt has found a precise musical image to explicate his chosen text: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven."

In recent years, Pärt has stretched his tintinnabulist idiom in order to accommodate a freer harmonic rhythm. He has set Latin, German, English, Spanish, and Old Slavonic texts, recalibrating his language to fit the demands of each. "Kanon Pokajanen," an eighty-minute-long setting of the Orthodox canon of repentance, mixes the rawness of folk ritual with the fastidiousness of theology. The English works, such as "Beatitudes" and "Litany," echo the soaring forms of Anglican hymns. "Como Cierva Sedienta," a Spanish-language setting of Psalms 42 and 43, has a strikingly vibrant, almost Fauvist orchestration and a richly ornamented vocal line; it is very nearly opulent. This recent work appears on ECM's latest Pärt disk, "Orient & Occident," which contains other intimations of new directions. The title piece, an elegy for strings, echoes the feverish intimacy of Benjamin Britten, whom Pärt reveres, while also forming unexpected links with Indian string writing and Arabic cantillation.

The composer acknowledged his latest tendencies with a guilty smile. "Yes," he said. "I got a little crazy, didn't I?" He mimed a gesture that suggested a flamenco dancer throwing tennis balls. The wild Pärt of the Estonian years, who mocked the authorities and played the holy fool, is still lurking below the surface. The austerity of his present style may really serve to hold the other self in check; one wonders how much turbulence lies deep within these chapels of sound, which come close to Bachian perfection. Often, in the spiritual sphere, faith hovers at the brink of disorder and sorrow.



At the end of our talk, I asked Pärt whether he felt lonely, both as a religious artist in a secular Western culture and as a classical composer in the kingdom of pop. He paused for a while, and the pan flutes filled the silence. "If loneliness brings bitterness and anger," he finally said, "then, I think, loneliness is a disease. We composers cannot brood, we cannot cultivate loneliness. Schubert, for example, never heard his symphonies in performance—they got no interest from publishers. But they are full of life. And his songs are nearer to Heaven than most music written for the church. He had the talent of love and the talent of compassion. Of course he was lonely, but his suffering gave out sweet nectar.

"We cannot know all the good people in the world," he went on. "Not many of the good people are composers. Twenty years ago, my friend Valentin Silvestrov, one of the greatest composers of our time, said that nowadays great music isn't made in concert palaces. Instead, it is created in lofts, basements, and garages. Here you are, with your feet in lukewarm water, and the pan flutes are making noise—"

He stopped, frustrated at the inability of either English or German to bring his image to life. He took a pen out of his pocket and put it in front of me, as if that would explain everything. "Schubert's pen," he said, "was fifty per cent ink, fifty per cent tears."

Ladies And Gentlemen,
The Future President
Of The United States



If the Republicans don't get serious and field a candidate with media saavy, and a story the Americans want to tell themselves, Hilary Clinton will be the next President of the United States.

Check out the look on her face when she says, "... the highest profits in the history of the world."

She has a self-satisfied look of sarcastic bemusement on her face, as if we should all agree with her that a corporation does not have a right to make such profits.

Profits ought to be celebrated. They are evidence of success. It ought to go without saying, but it doesn't for Hilary, that we want corporations to make a healthyprofit. If all corporations failed to make a profit, we would be in a depression.

Watch this video. Honestly, I am astounded.



Thursday, February 01, 2007

Give Me Love, Give Me Peace On Earth


I couldn't find a version by George Harrison, but I think Jeff Lynne (singer/songwriter from Electric Light Orchestra) does a good version here.


While My Guitar Gently Weeps


George Harrison; the Dark Horse Beatle.


My Sweet Lord


I know he's, supposedly, singing to a different God than I sing to, but I love this song, and I can sing it to God, as I know Him. (I'm sure we're all mistaken about who God Is, to some extent.)

And, besides, it seems to me George Harrison was truly a man of love and peace, but what do I know? One day the fire of God's Love will separate the wheat from the chaff, and I'll bet you an awful lot of what George did will be refined into Gold.

God Bless You, George Harrison.


I See The Lord


This is one of the most beautiful Praise Songs I have ever heard.



Muslim Hottie
Tells
The Truth


This woman is on her way to becoming one of my favorite people in the world:



Munira Mirza , an expert on identity, multi-culturalism and radical Islam knows what she is talking about. You might have caught her recent series The Business of Race on Radio 4, or heard her contributions to such programmes as Start The Week on the very same subjects. Or perhaps you may have read one of her articles or think tank reports. Munira is much in demand.
'I'm not quite sure how to explain what I do,' she laughs, when I ask her.


This turns out to be a PhD, freelance research and writing, and a project on the rise of UK radical Islam for much in demand think tank, Policy Exchange. Oh, and then there is are the media appearances.


Crikey.


No matter, because for a woman in such demand, Munira is in no hurry. So we sip milky coffee in a café along from the House of Commons, complain about the miserable weather, and then get down to the subject of race.


Q: I realised the other day that I don't actually understand what multi-culturalism is.


A: There are two ways that you can look at it. First there is the lived experience; we live in a country that has an enormous amount of ethnic and cultural diversity. In London, in particular, there are a lot of languages spoken, different food and arts, etc. That's the cosmopolitan experience of living in a society with lots of differences and that's great. But then there is multi-culturalism as a political idea, which is quite different and which elevates the importance of difference above what we have in common. The message off multi-culturalism is that your cultural identity as an individual is the most important thing, and that we should organise society around that principle. So rather than looking for the things that we might have in common, we instead take all these differences and relate to people through this filter. It is a way of making sense of the relationships between us, and it is also a view of culture that is, in a sense, fixed in the multi-cultural model. So the fact that I am Asian means that my identity, if you are a multi-culturalist, is something that is created for me, and something that I am born with, rather than something that I make for myself.


Q: What was 7-7 about, do you think?


A: I think the terrorists were looking for meaning too. They can't find it here; being British is so discredited in this country that they look for that identity elsewhere. But the most compelling thing about the al-Qaeda identity is its victimhood status; it is the ultimate logic of multi-culturalism, with its claim that it represents an oppressed minority.


Q: But what makes a group of apparently well educated young men put explosives in backpacks and explode themselves on crowded underground trains?


A: You won't find the answer to that question abroad; you'll find it here in the vacuum of meaning in the West. The only value such people believe in is an entirely nihilistic one, which is the philosophy which dominates much of our current western culture. The anti-western sentiment of those bombers was not that dissimilar to the anti-western characteristics of the Left; anti-capitalist and anti-globalist. The almost emotional attachment to hating the West is much stronger than any kind of rational political analysis.


But to combat terrorism we have to present an alternative, to confidently state that we have values, to be clear that they are strong and to not accept the characterisation of the West as something that is entirely destructive. The West has made remarkable strides and its ideas can be universal and understood around the world.





UK: Attacks On
Jews Reach
Record High


Contrary to the constantly propogated myth that there has been a sharp increase in "Islamophobic hate crimes," the truth is, it is the Jews who are being attacked more and more. And few places are more dangerous for Jews than merry ole' England:


Attacks on Britain's Jews have risen to the highest level since records began.

A study published today shows the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents has almost tripled in 10 years, with more than half the attacks last year taking place in London.

The findings prompted the report's authors to warn of a "wave of hatred" against Jews.

The number of incidents increased to 594 last year, up by 31 per cent on the previous year.

Violent assaults soared to 112, up by more than a third on 2005.

Incidents ranged from the unprovoked stabbing of a Jewish man in north London to the sending of hate mail and the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and synagogues.

The Anti-Semitic Incidents Report 2006, compiled by the Community Security Trust (CST), responsible for combating anti-Semitism in the UK, blames the huge rise on a number of factors ranging from Israel's invasion of Lebanon last summer to the jailing of the historian David Irving in Austria for denying the Holocaust.

The threatened suspension of Ken Livingstone as Mayor for comments made to a Jewish Evening Standard reporter triggered 11 anti-Semitic incidents, according to the report.

When the figures were first compiled in 1984, there were just 154 reported incidents, about a quarter of the total for last year.

Mark Gardner, CST spokesman said of the level of hate crimes: "This is unacceptable racism, that many Jews had hoped and believed was a thing of the past.

"Today's anti-Semitism is a wave of hatred, intimidation and abuse against British Jews, who are stupidly blamed and randomly attacked over international tensions for which they bear no responsibility."

Incidents last year include:

An Orthodox Jew punched in the face and almost pushed off a Tube platform by an Arab man who screamed: "Get back to Stamford Hill, I want to kill you all"
A Jewish man walking to synagogue with his two young sons suffered a broken leg after being punched and kicked by a white man shouting "f***ing Jew"
Seventy incidents of desecration and damage to synagogues, cemeteries, Jewish schools and private homes with attacks including swastikas daubed on walls
Savage assault of a 12-year-old Jewish girl Jasmine Kranat, who was beaten unconscious on a north London bus by two teenage girls who asked her first if she was Jewish.

The physical descriptions of perpetrators in 205 of the incidents show 96 were by white people, 28 by black people, 60 by Asians and 16 by Arabs. The report has been passed to ministers.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


First Arab
Nominated For
Holocaust Honor


Khaled Abdelwahhab; nominated for the honor of Righteous Among the Nations:


JERUSALEM - At the height of World War II, Khaled Abdelwahhab hid a group of Jews on his farm in a small Tunisian town, saving them from the Nazi troops occupying the North African nation.

Now, Abdelwahhab has become the first Arab nominated for recognition as "Righteous Among the Nations," an honor bestowed on non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from Nazi persecution.

The nomination of Abdelwahhab, who died in 1997, has reopened a little-known chapter of the Holocaust in the Arab countries of North Africa.

Abdelwahhab was nominated by Robert Satloff, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a U.S. think tank.

Satloff said that after the Sept. 11 attacks, he went to Morocco to research what happened during the Nazi genocide in hopes of countering Holocaust denial in the Arab world and tempering some of the sentiments he thought helped pave the way for the attacks.

"I asked, did any Arabs save Jews in the Holocaust?" Satloff said. "If they did, these are stories about which Arabs could be proud. It would also entail accepting the context, because it would mean there was something to save Jews from."

The search led to Abdelwahhab, the son of an aristocratic family who was 32 when German troops arrived in Tunisia in November 1942. The nation was home to some 100,000 Jews at the time.

According to Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, the Germans imposed anti-Semitic policies in Tunisia that included fines, forcing Jews to wear Star of David badges and confiscating property. More than 5,000 Jews were sent to forced labor camps, where 46 are known to have died. About 160 Tunisian Jews in France were sent to European death camps.

Abdelwahhab served as an interlocutor between the population of the coastal town of Mahdia and German forces, Satloff said.

When he heard that German officers were planning to rape Odette Boukris, a local Jewish woman, he gathered her family and several other Jewish families in Mahdia — around two dozen people — and took them to his farm outside town. He hid them for four months, until the occupation ended.

"Khaled is the finest example, though not the only one, of an Arab who saved Jews from persecution during the German occupation," Satloff said.

Satloff first heard Abdelwahhab's story several years ago from Odette Boukris' daughter, Anny Boukris, a resident of a Los Angeles suburb. An 11-year-old in 1943, Anny Boukris was also hidden by Abdelwahhab.

Satloff went to Mahdia and talked to Anny Boukris' childhood friends, who confirmed the story. Just weeks after Boukris recorded her 83-page testimony, she died at age 71.

Abdelwahhab still has to be approved by the Yad Vashem commission that grants the honor. Since the war, Yad Vashem has conferred the status on 21,700 people, including some 60 Muslims from the Balkans. But no Arab had ever been nominated.

"The commission will decide based on the strict criteria for recognizing the Righteous Among the Nations. We can't speculate on what the outcome will be," said Estee Yaari, a spokeswoman for Yad Vashem.

Tunisia was the only North African country to come under direct Nazi rule. Morocco and Algeria were governed by the pro-Nazi collaborators of Vichy France.

Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, a North Africa expert at Tel Aviv University, said Morocco's king at the time, Mohammed V, intervened to protect Jews in his country. "But the story in Tunisia was quite different, because there was a direct occupation by the German army," he said.

A Crisis Within The West


This young Muslim woman makes some very intelligent, and relevant, points.


The Blueprint For Angry Young Muslims


In this video Asghar Bukhari, spokesman for the Muslim Public Affairs Council of the UK, says that Bin Laden gave angry, young Muslims a blueprint for how to effect the changes they want to see.





Charles at Little Green Footballs comments:


Bin Laden’s blueprint, however, ends up in the complete abolition of democracy, in favor of shari’a law. If involvement in the democratic process is intended to achieve the destruction of that process, is it correct to call that “democracy at work?”

And what kind of “ethical foreign policy” is Bukhari talking about, if the model for that policy is Osama bin Laden?



I think everyone should post this on their blog. This is up there with the Undercover Mosque video in terms of importance, in my opinion.

"300"


Frank Miller, the creator of the Batman comic books, is making a film adaptation of his comic book on the Spartans miraculous triumph over the Persian army. The Spartans, somehow, defeated a Persian force of over a million men, with just 300 men of their own.

UPDATE: I stand corrected. Reliapundit tells me the Spartans did end up losing the battle.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Hallelujah


I saw this clip from the television show Scrubs over at The Anchoress' blog. (Her post is worth reading.) I think it is very worthwhile.


Why Is Bush Silent On Iran?


From the Bible Prophecy expert, Joel Rosenberg:


(Filed from a Muslim country in the Middle East) -- For the last several days, I've been meeting with Arab and Iranian pastors and Christian leaders, briefing them on the latest threats to the region, the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39, and the implications of a coming political war or a prophetic one for each of their countries. More on that when I get home. But it's certainly been an interesting environment from which to watch President Bush's State of the Union address and answer Middle Easterners' questions about it.

Since I've been in the region, for example, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has renewed his vow to annihilate the United States, as well as Israel. North Korea, we learned, is working hand-in-glove with Iran on its nuclear weapons program. Syria’s foreign minister, while meeting with Ahmadinejad this past week, accused the U.S. of trying to carry out a “massacre of Muslims.” Yet President Bush chose not to use his State of the Union address to lay out a clear and convincing plan to stop Iran from going nuclear.

Why?

The threat could not be more clear. “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…assured that the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives,” reported the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting company (IRIB), the official Iranian state run news agency, after Ahmadinejad met with Syria’s foreign minister. So why President Bush seem to hedge on the Iranian issue in his speech to the nation? It's a question many are asking.

Here are three possible scenarios:

SCENARIO #1: President Bush just doesn’t get just how serious the Iranian nuclear threat really is. He sees Iran the way Speaker Pelosi and her leadership team do – as an annoyance, not a would-be annihilator.

SCENARIO #2: The President believes that while the Iranian nuclear threat is very serious, it is not yet urgent, and thus there is no need to prepare Americans immediately for a new war in the Middle East in 2007 or 2008. Recently declassified CIA assessments say Iran won’t have the Bomb until 2010 or 2011. That could suggest the President believes his job is to lay the groundwork of diplomacy and military planning and that it will be the job of the next President to act if diplomacy fails.

SCENARIO #3: President Bush believes the Iranian threat is extremely urgent and is actively preparing for a major offensive against Iran this spring or summer, but he is not ready to tip his hand. He feels the wisest course of action is to keep the public, the media and fellow world leaders focused for the moment on the need to win decisively in Iraq, while he orders the Pentagon to preposition more military personnel, warships, missiles and supplies into the region for the coming war with Iran.

Let me be clear: I don’t buy the first scenario for a moment. This President gets it. Let there be no doubt about that. He told us Iran is part of the “Axis of Evil” four years ago and he has seen all the evil the Iranian leadership has done since then.

Thus, the real key to understanding his State of the Union address lies in either Scenario #2 or #3. If it’s #3, then the President is doing a masterful job at keeping everyone in this part of the world off balance. Rumors of an American strike against Iran – coming as soon as this spring – are running rampant throughout the region.

On the one hand, Bush orders a second carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf. On the other hand, the State Department denies any attack is being contemplated. No one is quite sure what to believe, but they are getting nervous, that’s for certain. If it’s #2, then let’s pray to God that the President is right. After all, there is no margin here for error.*

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Muslim Council of Britain
Shuts Down
Holocaust Memorial


The Muslim Council of Britian is, of course, a "moderate" Muslim organization - or so the British media tells us - but, that doesn't stop them from shutting down a Holocaust Memorial, and telling amazing lies about the state of Israel:


IN A move widely seen to be bowing to Muslim pressure, Bolton Council has scrapped its Holocaust Memorial Day event.

The council is to replace it with a Genocide Memorial Day in June. This is in line with the policy of the Muslim Council of Britain, which continues to boycott HMD and is asking for a Genocide Day, which will also mark “the ongoing genocide and human rights abuses of Palestinians” by Israelis.


Just for the record, in case anyone is not yet clear on this, there is no genocide going on against the Palestinian people. A genocide is an organized effort by one group of people to kill everyone in another group of people. Palestinians are not being killed en masse. If the Israelis wanted to do that, they could simply bomb the hell out of the Palestinian territories. Clearly, they have superior firepower.

The truth of the matter is that the population in the Palestinian territories continues to rise, so if the Israelis are attempting a genocide of the Palestinian people, they are proving to be a miserable failure at such an endeavor.