The home of a man convicted of being involved in a plot to behead a British soldier was raided as police arrested six men and a woman as part of a counter-terrorism operation. Security sources believe that the men, from Birmingham, are part of a potential al-Qaeda suicide bomb plot which was under guidance from Pakistan. The group had been under MI5 surveillance for several weeks before the arrests on Sunday night . . .
One of the houses searched is registered to Mohammed Irfan, who was jailed for four years in 2008 for his part in a plot to kidnap a British Muslim soldier and behead him live on the internet. It is not thought that Irfan, 34, is one of those arrested as part of this operation although he has since been released from prison.
Irfan pleaded guilty to being part of a gang which planned to kidnap a soldier and behead him “like a pig”. They intended to burn the soldier’s body and parade his head on a stick as a warning to other Muslims against joining the British Army. He was released early after serving less than two years.
Two of the men arrested were named by relatives as brothers Bahader and Ashik Ali. Ashik Ali’s former wife Salma Kabal, 22, and her family live in one of the houses raided by police.
Eye witnesses said the Ali brothers were arrested in the street at around 11pm as they stood near a green Volkswagen Passat close to Bahader Ali’s home in the Sparkbrook area of the city. . . She said the men all wore traditional white Islamic clothes, and one was bearded.
A man claiming to be Bahader and Ashik Ali’s brother said they had vision disabilities having both suffered a hole in the heart as children. He said: “They can hardly see more than a few yards, how on earth can they be terrorists? If they have done wrong then they deserve to be punished, but they would not be involved in something like this. All I can tell you is that be it in a day, a week or a month, they will be proven 100 per cent innocent.”
Local residents said Miss Kabal, who always wore a niqab, was a bubbly, talkative woman who had seemed an unlikely match for Ali, who was described as "incredibly intense and devoutly religious".
One neighbour, who did not want to be identified, said: " Ashik had an Islamic beard and was unemployed when he lived here. I heard that he wanted Salma to move to Karachi with him and live in a madras but she refused. Although she wore a full veil, her family are quite liberal really.” But of course. Liberal. Innocent of any wrong doing. Just normal everyday jihadis.
PLANS for a mosque and community centre on land in Hall Street, Dudley have been rejected by Dudley Council planners.
Members of the Development Control Committee unanimously refused the application for Dudley Muslim Association to build the mosque. Despite last minute alterations and changes to the design by the applicant, councillors still slammed the multi-million pound proposal, calling it “characterless” “featureless" “inappropriate” and an “alien feature”.
However councillors did agree to extend the time limit for the previous application, which means the DMA have a further three years to submit more plans. Why?
Speaking about the decision following the meeting, DMA spokesman, Mushtaq Hussain, said he was “very disappointed” with the outcome. He said the DMA would now need to consider whether they would lodge an appeal against the decision, which he believed would be likely. At how much cost to the Dudley ratepayers?
But Dudley Council planners threw out the proposals last night, claiming the development would be out of character with the medieval features of the town including Dudley Castle.
Police patrolled outside Dudley Council House last night as the plans were discussed in front of around 20 people in the public gallery.
A petition of more than 7,000 signatures was handed in during the meeting. The legal bill to halt plans for the mosque has cost the council £58,378.50. Three petitions opposing it attracted up to 80,000 signatures.
France's burqa ban: women are 'effectively under house arrest'
The Guardian, being an anti western culture rag thinks the situation in France is terrible. The reporter's heart bleeds for all these poor little Muslim women who can't leave their houses, or are challenged for their flaunting the slave mask. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.
Hind Ahmas walks into a brasserie in the north Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois. Jaws drop, shoulders tighten and a look of disgust ripples across the faces of haggard men sipping coffee at the bar.
"Hang on, what's all this? Isn't that banned?" splutters the outraged waiter behind the bar, waving a wine bottle at her niqab. Ahmas stands firm, clutches her handbag with black-gloved hands and says: "Call the police then." But she decides there's no point fighting. We cross the road to a cafe where she's a regular.
Muslim groups report a worrying increase in discrimination and verbal and physical violence against women in veils. There have been instances of people in the street taking the law into their hands and trying to rip off full-face veils, of bus drivers refusing to carry women in niqab or of shop-owners trying to bar entry. A few women have taken to wearing bird-flu-style medical masks to keep their face covered; some describe a climate of divisiveness, mistrust and fear. One politician who backed the law said that women still going out in niqab were simply being "provocative".
But despite all the fanfare surrounding the niqab ban, no woman has yet been punished under the law for wearing one. The first real test will come on Thursday, when a local judge in Meaux, east of Paris, will decide whether to hand out to Ahmas and a friend the first ever fine. They were stopped outside Meaux town hall on 5 May wearing niqabs . . .
Only the French police can confront a woman in niqab. They can't remove her veil but must refer the case to a local judge, who can hand out a ¤150 (£130) fine, a citizenship course, or both. Some police have wrongly given on-the-spot fines, which were later annulled. . . Gilles Devers, a lawyer acting for Ahmas and several other women in niqab, argued punishments were not being handed out because the niqab law contravenes European human rights legislation on personal liberties and freedom of religion. As soon as a fine is imposed, there will be an appeal right up to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg, which could rule against the law and expose the French state as a laughing stock.
On the Cote d'Azur, Stéphanie, 31, still likes to go swimming in the sea off Nice wearing her niqab. But the former law student and convert to islam tries to go when the beaches are quiet. The last time she went for a dip with her mother and 10-year-old daughter on a Sunday afternoon, a sunbather called the police. A group of officers arrived and hurried across the sand saying: "But Madame, what are you doing?" "I said: 'I'm drying myself.' They wrote in their notebooks, 'Swimming in niqab.'" Stephanie, who prefers not to give her surname, was summoned by the local state prosecutor. She arrived at court and agreed to lift her veil so security guards could check her identity, but they refused to allow her access until an exasperated prosecutor buzzed her in himself.
Before the law, Stephanie would often be called names like "Batman, Zorro, or Ninja" in the street – often by pensioners. Now people favour swear words or sexual insults. She wants to work with children, but despite having a degree in theology, she can't find a job. . . This summer, a bus driver refused to let her onto a bus with her daughter. "If I have a meeting, I'll always leave the house at 6.30am instead of 8.30am in case a bus won't take me and I have to wait 45 minutes for another one." Recently, after she had bought a cinema ticket for the latest Harry Potter film with her daughter, staff tried to stop her entering the screening. Eventually the cinema decided not to call the police because they didn't want to feature in the local paper.
The headquarters of the French Collective against Islamophobia . . . doesn't promote the wearing of niqab but gives legal advice. The group's legal adviser says there has been "an explosion" in the number of physical attacks on women wearing the niqab. Many women say that their attackers were middle-aged or old people. In one recent case a young French convert was assaulted at a zoo outside Paris while carrying her 13-month-old baby. "Her child was traumatised by the zoo attack and is now being seen by a psychologist. These women blame themselves; they see a baby in that situation and think, 'It's my fault.'"
There are no reliable statistics on who wears the niqab in France and whether they have kept wearing it since the law. It is estimated that only a few hundred women wear it, mostly French citizens. Muslim associations say a minority of women have taken off the niqab or moved abroad. Nekkaz (Rachid Nekkaz a Muslim businessman who pays the fines of niqab wearing women throughout Europe) says that more than 290 women still wearing niqab have contacted him: he says a large number were divorced with children, most were aged between 25 and 35, many were French of north African parentage, and many were living on income support.
Cut their income support then. The full article shows how they are losing jobs because of their refusal to wear civilised clothing. And increase the fines. Nekkaz hasn't got a bottomless pit, and he can't feed all the women, not if he is covering Belgium and Holland as well.
German prosecutors on Wednesday said the Kosovar man accused of killing two US airmen at Frankfurt’s Airport in March had a long fascination with Islamist propaganda, contradicting his previous statements.
Arid Uka, 21, has admitted to shooting and killing Senior Airman Nicholas J. Alden, 25, and Airman 1st Class Zachary R. Cuddeback, 21, as they prepared to depart to Afghanistan. Two other military personnel were wounded in what has been called the first ever jihadist attack on German soil. As Uka tried to shoot a fifth person, his gun jammed, according to authorities.
In court last month he said that his motivation for the shooting was essentially spontaneous – inspired by a Islamist propaganda video on the internet falsely claiming to show an Afghan woman raped by US soldiers.
But prosecutors Wednesday showed evidence that Uka had been radicalized long before. Establishing that he had a long-term hatred of the US military could make it easier to prove motive and intent and get a longer sentence if Uka is convicted. He faces up to a life sentence in prison.
Dore Gold: Is Israel, As Some Fondly Think And Devoutly Wish, Isolated?
Is Israel truly isolated?
"There was an overall attack on Israel, the sense of being under siege was overwhelming. Europe always only gave the support of a broken reed, and now as well. The U.S., despite what often demonstrated weakness on its part, still remained the decisive anchor for supporting Israel's security, and for enduring a sweeping diplomatic attack."
These words were not stated by a frustrated minister in the current Israeli government, but rather were written a little less than ten years ago by Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami in his memoirs (A Front Without the Rear, p. 308). At the time, the efforts of the Barak government to produce an agreement at Camp David and at subsequent negotiations went nowhere, and not because of the Israeli side. It was the PLO chairman, Yasser Arafat, who did not want to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and preferred the option of an armed intifada instead. Ben-Ami's statement was an admission that, despite all the concessions given to the Palestinians by his government, he still felt that if the peace process does not advance, then Israel is doomed to face increasing international isolation.
Today the specter of Israeli isolation is being raised again. Newspaper columnists and politicians are looking at the setbacks Israel has to deal with in its relations with Egypt and Turkey. They are already counting the likely votes at the U.N. General Assembly, where the Palestinians are expected to present a draft resolution later this month upgrading their status at the U.N. to that of a non-member state observer. The assumption being worked into much media analysis is that if Israel only launched some spectacular initiative in the peace process, then it could break out from its isolation and reverse regional trends.
But is this assumption really true? It has been well-established that the revolts across the Arab world, in general, and in Egypt, in particular, have nothing to do with Israel. In a major analysis in The New York Review of Books of what is called the "Arab Spring," Hussein Agha, an adviser to Palestinian leaders who is affiliated with Oxford University, and Rob Malley, a former official on President Clinton's National Security Council, conclude that the eruption we are witnessing was chiefly against the corrupt leaders of the Arab world: "Citizens were put off by how their rulers took over public goods as private possessions and made national decisions under foreign influence."
They characterize the Arab revolt of 2011 as a "popular rebuke to this waste."
Agha and Malley deal with the question of Israel and simply set it aside: "The least visible, curiously yet wisely, has been Israel. It knows how much its interests are in the balance but also how little it can do to protect them. Silence has been the more judicious choice." They back-handedly compliment Israeli policy during these months of revolutionary change. They essentially conclude that the Arab Spring is not an Israeli issue and it is a good thing that we kept out of it; in any case, they stress that it is beyond Israel's capacity to do much about it. Given their conclusion that the Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, will be the major beneficiaries of the Arab revolts, it is doubtful that there is an Israeli peace proposal that they would ever find acceptable.
What about the U.N.? Could Israel stop Palestinian action at the U.N. General Assembly by making new concessions to re-start negotiations, as some assert? The hard truth that no one admits is that during the last 18 years, while Israeli governments negotiated with the Palestinians, the PLO observer mission at the U.N. kept initiating anti-Israeli resolutions every year with the backing of the Arab group and the states of the Non-Aligned Movement. The Palestinians are not about to change.
There is a myth widely believed among many Israeli commentators that when the peace process moves forward, Israel's position at the U.N. improves. These changes have always been marginal and they last only for a short period of time. When Israel and the PLO signed the original Oslo Accords on Sept. 13, 1993, it took three months and one day until the anti-Israeli resolutions were resumed on December 14, 1993. Mahmoud Abbas does not want to let go of his diplomatic hammer at the U.N., just like Arafat.
In any case, it is a mistake to judge Israel's international standing by the history of U.N. voting patterns. There are states that are part of the U.N.'s automatic majority like Eritrea, Zimbabwe, or Yemen that are truly isolated in their bilateral relations with other countries. A more realistic measure of whether a country is isolated is whether world leaders visit or its leadership is welcomed in world capitals. Israel, which welcomes a third of the U.S. House of Representatives and most of Europe's top leaders cannot be called isolated. Regardless of how they vote at the U.N., many states also seek out intimate bilateral relations with Israel based on security and intelligence ties. India will inevitably vote against Israel at the U.N., but India views Israel as an important strategic ally.
In summary, there is a mistaken conventional wisdom that it is within Israel's power to alter fundamental political trends across the Middle East. Unfortunately, there are many tectonic shifts that are occurring underground in the region that Israel cannot influence. Resuming a dialogue with the Palestinians has a value in its own right, but any new peace talks will not stop Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan or stabilize Egypt. Israel faces difficult challenges in the year ahead. But it should not revert to worn-out diplomatic theories that did not work in the 1990s and will not help it today.
Iranian Commander Declares Kurds Near To "Complete Annihilation" Which Means The War Will Go On For A Long Time
Commander: Iran Close to Complete Annihilation of PJAK
TEHRAN (FNA)- Commander of the Iranian Army Ground Force Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan expressed confidence about the full eradication of the PJAK terrorist group by Iranian forces in the near future.
"The scroll of the terrorist group PJAK will be rolled up in coming days and full security shall be restored to the border areas," Pourdastan said.
PJAK rebels "are now in a weak position and their activities have been greatly reduced," Pourdastan told the Iranian daily, Vatan Emrooz, adding the group was no longer considered a "threat".
PJAK, a militant Kurdish nationalist group with bases in the mountainous regions of Northern Iraq, has been carrying out numerous attacks in Western Iran, Southern Turkey and the Northeastern parts of Syria where Kurdish populations live.
The separatist group has been fighting to establish an autonomous state, or possibly a new world country, in the area after separating Kurdish regions from Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria.
Iranian intelligence and security officials have repeatedly complained that Washington provides military support and logistical aids for such anti-Iran terrorist groups.
In July, the IRGC arrested several teams of PJAK, who intended to infiltrate Iran to stage terrorist operations in the country.
In response, Iran deployed about 5,000 military forces in the Northwestern parts of the country along its joint border with the Iraqi Kurdistan region.
During the operations, the IRGC forces killed, injured and arrested tens of terrorists and destroyed their headquarters in the bordering areas of Alvatan near Sardasht city in Northwestern Iran.
But, upon a request by Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the group was given a one-month grace period during the Muslims' holy fasting month of Ramadan to retreat from the Northwestern borders of the Islamic Republic and stop its terrorist acts in these regions.
The IRGC resumed military operations against the Iraq-based PJAK terrorist group after its one-month deadline to the terrorist group ended.
Senior Iranian political and military officials have always underlined that the IRGC will continue operations against the terrorist group in a bid to defend Iran's territorial integrity.
Human rights are universal and indivisible, existing as they do in an unexplored metaphysical sphere in which the European Court of Human Rights plays the role of Christopher Columbus. So it is a wonderful thing to see the court’s discoveries accepted, applied and even extended in a country in which its writ does not yet run, namely Liberia, in West Africa.
There, a man called Prince Y Johnson is running for president in the forthcoming elections. When I met him, a little more than 20 years ago, he was Field Marshal Brigadier-General Prince Y Johnson, but just as he awarded himself these ranks, so he has now divested himself of them.
In those days it was advisable, or so I was told, to visit the Field Marshal in the morning, before he had drunk too much beer and smoked too much dope: for in the event of intoxication he was inclined to take up his AK47 and go round shooting people more or less at random. When I met him, he was affable enough, but I can’t say that I trusted him entirely.
Johnson was principally famous for having led one of the armed factions in the Liberian civil war, the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia, that had so destroyed the country that traders of Lebanese extraction fled Liberia for the relative safety of Beirut. Johnson’s greatest military exploit was the capture of the then-president, Samuel Doe, whom he subsequently had tortured to death in front of him, an event so historic that Johnson thought it worthy of capture on video: a video of which he is sufficiently proud that he offered to show it to visiting foreigners.
In the video Johnson sits at a table drinking Budweiser while in front of him, naked and trussed like a chicken, sits the former president. Johnson orders Doe’s ears to be cut off, and they are. It becomes clear that one motives for the torture, apart from to procure Doe’s death, is to make him divulge, before he expires, the numbers of his ban accounts in London, where it is assumed that he has salted away his ill-gotten gains.
Doe was not an admirable man, and no mean killer himself. It is widely believed that he participated personally in the massacre at St Peter’s Church, Monrovia, where about 600 people who had taken refuge there were mowed down with machine-guns by his men, maddened by their impending defeat at the hands of the rebels. The outlines of the bodies in the dried blood were still visible when I visited the church. I found a New Testament there, in which a young girl, Martha D. Z. Sonyah, recorded her decision to receive Christ as her Saviour seven days before she was shot and then buried in a mass grave.
Dr Ameche, a Nigerian long resident in Liberia, and practically the only doctor left in Monrovia still in practice at the time, told me how Johnson had had him up against the wall ready to shoot him because he had told Johnson that it was his duty as a doctor to treat the wounded of all sides, and not just those of Doe’s faction, the INPFL. Fortunately, Johnson thought better of it, because Dr Ameche was a popular man, known to the American embassy; but killing was nothing to him.
Another man, a BBC correspondent, told me that he had personally witnessed Johnson killing a young man. The young man had been trying to break into the wreck of a car; Johnson, who was passing, asked him what he was doing. The boy confessed, but then tried to run away. Johnson said, ‘Where my AK?’ and mowed the boy down, afterwards passing on as if he had not extinguished a human life.
I saw Johnson’s capacity for instantaneous change from affability to murderous rage when, to persuade me that behind the murderer was the philanthropist, he took me to an orphanage that his organisation ran. He patted a little boy on the head there who had a protuberant stomach (malnutrition and worms), and said, in Liberian English, ‘What the matter, you pregnant-o?’
When a psychopathic killer-at-large laughs, you laugh with him. But then a man came out of the orphanage to tell Johnson that there was no ‘soup’ for the children: none of the savoury accompaniment to the starch that was the staple food. Johnson turned on him with fury for having humiliated him in front of a foreigner. I wouldn’t have recommended the man as a risk for a life insurance company.
So it is definitely a sign of moral progress that such a man as Johnson should be a candidate for the presidency of his country. First, of course, it helps to overcome the stigma that attaches to people who have done the most terrible things. Surely we must allow them the possibility of redemption? As everyone knows, one of the reasons people keep on doing bad things is that no one will give them a chance to reform. There is no reason why a man who tortured someone to death should not be a head of state 20 years later. Besides, philosophers have difficulty with the concept of personal identity: how do we really know that the Johnson of 20 years ago is the same man as the Johnson of today?
And second, of course, we must return to the European Court of Human Rights. Has it not ruled that prisoners have an inalienable right to the vote? And if they have the right to vote for the rulers of their country, does it not follow that they have the right actually to be the rulers of their country? For to grant them the one thing and not the other would be discriminatory, and there is no crime worse than that of making discriminations. Besides, a decent respect for the opinion of mankind forces us to accept that all politicians, at least of the present day, are criminals, in the moral if not in the legal sense.
Strike a blow, then, for human rights: vote psychopath!
Helen Vendler States What Should Be, But To So Many Is Not, Obvious
Her prescription is, more or less, to go back to the way things were a hundred years ago, without any self-conscious and hectic yearning for "reform." It's also the way, more or less, education still proceeds in a well-run elementary school, with an old-fashioned schoolmarm, in Italy or France today.
But for America, it's practically revolutionary.
Here's the piece from Harvard Magazine: :
Reading Is Elemental
How to preserve the humanities
Photograph by Jim HarrisonHelen Vendle
In my dentist’s office, when I was a child, was a sign that ran:
Without teeth there can be no chewing.
Without chewing there can be no nourishment.
Without nourishment there can be no health.
Without health, what is life?
Its rhetoric of concatenation struck me even then as irrefutable. I’d propose a different concatenation for the humanities: without reading, there can be no learning; without learning, there can be no sense of a larger world; without the sense of a larger world, there can be no ardor to find it; without ardor, where is joy?
Without reading, there can be no learning. The humanities are essentially a reading practice. It is no accident that we say we “read” music, or that we “read” visual import. The arts (music, art, literature, theater), because they offer themselves to be “read,” generate many of the humanities—musicology, art history, literary commentary, dramatic interpretation. Through language, spoken or written, we investigate, describe, and interpret the world. The arts are, in their own realm, silent with respect to language; amply showing forth their being, they are nonetheless not self-descriptive or self-interpreting. There can be no future for the humanities—and I include philosophy and history—if there are no human beings acquainted with reading in its emotionally deepest and intellectually most extensive forms. And learning depends on reading as a practice of immersion in thought and feeling. We know that our elementary-school students cannot read with ease and enjoyment, and the same defect unsurprisingly manifests itself at every level, even in college. Without a base in alert, intense, pleasurable reading, intellectual yearning flags.
In a utopian world, I would propose, for the ultimate maintenance of the humanities and all other higher learning, an elementary-school curriculum that would make every ordinary child a proficient reader by the end of the fourth grade—not to pass a test, but rather to ensure progressive expansion of awareness. Other than mathematics, the curriculum of my ideal elementary school would be wholly occupied, all day, every day, with “reading” in its very fullest sense. Let us imagine the day divided into short 20-minute “periods.” Here are 14 daily such periods of “reading,” each divisible into two 10-minute periods, or extended to a half-hour, as seems most practical to teachers in different grades. Many such periods can be spent outside, to break up the tedium of long sitting for young children. The pupils would:
engage in choral singing of traditional melodic song (folk songs, country songs, rounds);
be read to from poems and stories beyond their own current ability to read;
mount short plays—learning roles, rehearsing, and eventually performing;
march or dance to counting rhymes, poems, or music, “reading” rhythms and sentences with their bodies;
read aloud, chorally, to the teacher;
read aloud singly to the teacher, and recite memorized poems either chorally or singly;
notice, and describe aloud, the reproduced images of powerful works of art, with the accompanying story told by the teacher (Orpheus, the three kings at Bethlehem, etc.);
read silently, and retell in their own words, for discussion, the story they have read;
expand their vocabulary to specialized registers through walks where they would learn the names of trees, plants, flowers, and fruits;
visit museums of art and natural history to learn to name exotic or extinct things, or visit an orchestra to discover the names and sounds of orchestral instruments;
learn conjoined prefixes, suffixes, and roots as they learn new words;
tell stories of their own devising;
compose words to be sung to tunes they already know; and
if they are studying a foreign language, carry out these practices for it as well.
The only homework, in addition to mathematics, would be additional reading practices over the weekends (to be checked by a brief Monday discussion by students). If such a curriculum were carried out—with additional classroom support and needed modification for English-language learners or pupils in special education—I believe that by the end of the fourth grade, the majority of the class would enjoy, and do well in, reading. Then, in middle school and high school, armed with the power of easy and pleasurable reading, students could be launched not only into appropriate world literature, but also into reading age-appropriate books of history or geography or civics or science—with much better results than at present. If reading—by extensive exposure and intensive interaction—cannot be made enjoyable and easy, there is no hope for students in their later education.
And since the best way to create good writing is by a child’s unconscious retention of complex sentence-patterns and vivid diction from reading, the act of writing—when it is introduced in the classroom—is not a matter of filling in blanks in workbooks, but rather a joyful form of expression for the child. After all, in the past, people always learned to write from reading books. Breaking writing down to “skills” subverts the very process of absorbing the written language unconsciously as one reads, an indispensable inner resource when one turns to writing.
But now, when the school day is fragmented into many different subjects that do not implement intensive skill in “reading” (as broadly defined above), the result is the current lamentable lack of competence and swiftness in the encounter with the written page. And since all subsequent intellectual progress is dependent on successful reading, without that base, all is lost.
The humanities are intrinsically verbal subjects, and depend on a student’s ability to take delight in complex reading. In my Utopia, the students, after having been read to 180 times in each school year for four years, will have absorbed basic narratives intrinsic to the comprehension of literature, from the Greek myths to the ordeal of the Ancient Mariner, to the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” to the narratives of the Hebrew Bible and Christian literature (and will, from their concurrent exposure to art, have images in their minds attached to those narratives). The aesthetic dimension will appeal without being formally identified as such, especially if paintings (e.g., of Pandora and her box) accompany the myth or story being read to the children.
Later in my ideal schooling, a familiarity with authors would arise as three successive cycles of literary acquaintance would take place. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, the students would read short excerpts in chronological order from major authors A, B, C…Z. In the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades the very same authors would appear, but in longer or more complex excerpts. And finally, in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades the same authors would again recur, but now in larger wholes. With Shakespeare for instance, the first time through, the child perhaps sings two songs by Shakespeare; the second time, the child reads some sonnets or a soliloquy; the third time, the student reads a play. By the third time through, the students have garnered an idea of “Shakespeare.” And the same could be said of the other authors encountered, from Homer to Dickinson.
As it is, far too much “learning” is purveyed in elementary and middle schools by worksheets and exercises. These are not natural ways into reading. The natural ways into reading are reading aloud, listening, singing, dancing, reciting, memorizing, performing, retelling what one has read, conversing with others about what has been read, and reading silently. As it is, our students now read effortfully and slowly, and with only imperfect comprehension of what they have seen. They limp into the texts of the humanities (as well as the texts of other realms of learning). I dream of children who have become true readers, who like to sing together, to act together, to read aloud together, and to be read to. After that mastery of reading, the encounter with science textbooks and lab manuals will not daunt them. In college, the history of science will seem a natural bridge to the humanities, and vice versa. Students who read well will look forward to discussing a problem in philosophy or writing a paper in art history. They will be the next humanists—but only if we make them so. And I see no way to do that aside from devoting the first four years of their education, all day, every day (except for a period of mathematics) to reading in all its forms
Much stands in the way of my Utopia: established curricula, textbook publishers, current teacher-training, teacher salaries, dependence on video and workbooks, and governmental requirements for several different subjects in each grade. But since what is in place has failed notoriously to make our younger students eager to read, proficient in reading, and drawn to the conceptual world of learning, it is time, it seems to me, to try to generate a reading practice that will lead to a future for the humanities and all other advanced reading. I have never taught elementary school and grant that I wouldn’t know how to do it. I only see the results downstream, and wish that reading at the earliest levels provided better preparation for the higher-level intensity of the humanities.
Former Afghan President assassinated by a suicide bomber armed with an explosive in his turban.
From Sky News. That ole cartoon wasn't so very far from the truth then!
Former Afghan President and peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani has been assassinated by a suicide bomber armed with an explosive in his turban. Four bodyguards also died and a key presidential adviser was wounded in the attack at Mr Rabbani's home in Kabul.
The turban bomber entered Mr Rabbani's house in the Afghan capital and blew himself up inside, said Mohammad Zahir, the chief of criminal investigation for the Kabul police.
They were able to show that terrorist followers of the radical Muslim cleric ordered or bought hundreds of litres of chemicals and specialist laboratory equipment to make a bomb capable of killing and injuring hundreds of people.
Knowing defence lawyers intended trying to claim the chemicals and laboratory equipment were bought for legitimate reasons, including to make perfume, police decided to head that argument off by buying the same materials to make their own bomb to show it could be done.They recorded the process on video, including the controlled explosion of the police-made bomb at a remote location.
The "Mother of Satan" bomb is the weapon of choice for terrorists around the world.It was used in the 2005 London tube and bus bombings, which killed 52 people and injured more than 700, as well as many more terror attacks in the past decade.
While no specific target was identified by police, members of the Melbourne and Sydney terror cells were secretly taped discussing possible sites and were seen observing other apparent targets.
Officers from Operation Pendennis, the joint Victoria Police and Australian Federal Police taskforce that foiled the planned terrorist attack, are disappointed Benbrika will now not face a jury over his plot to bomb Australia.
Benbrika was secretly taped telling prospective Melbourne suicide bomber Abdullah Merhi that "if we kill here a thousand" the Australian Government would stop sending troops to Iraq. Benbrika also told Merhi it would be good to attack the rail network, saying he wanted something like the 2004 Madrid bombing of commuter trains, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 2000. "You shouldn't just do, kill one, or two or three ... do a big thing," the firebrand cleric told Merhi.
Benbrika was also bugged while preparing cell members to commit terrorist acts. "Everyone has to prepare himself. If we want to die for jihad, we have to do maximum damage, maximum damage," he told members of the Melbourne and Sydney cells in 2005."Damage their buildings with everything and damage their lives."
The prosecutor in the NSW terror trial, Richard Maidment, SC, said the men sought large quantities of firearms, ammunition and chemicals which would have enabled them to build devices "capable of causing substantial damage and loss of life".
"There are a number of utterances which suggest that the purpose of the organisation was to do something big, cause maximum damage, kill a thousand at the train station, football, whatever," Mr Maidment said.
A clergyman in Gainesville, Florida, wants to burn the Koran on September 11, 2010.
Attorney General Eric Holder and General David Petraeus rightly have pronounced themselves opposed to this event.As an armed forces veteran of Iraq, and having had the privilege to visit and work in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Muslim nations, at this moment I am ashamed for having failed to express opposition to the Gainesville event sooner.
I am confident that there are thousands of American armed forces veterans who feel the same way, and I presume to speak for them.
For the vast majority of ordinary Americans, Islam remains a cipher, a caricature – even in good faith.Sadly, two concepts undergird the general American understanding of this faith and philosophy:the 9/11 attacks, and the Nation of Islam, headed by Minister Louis Farrakhan.For obvious reasons this is unfortunate, yet it is nonetheless a fact.
But for many American armed forces and civilian veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, Islam is something quite different.Islam is something experienced personally and up close.Here are a few lines about my own experience.
My interest in Islam was sparked initially by study.The first text I read touching the subject was Alex Haley’s biography of Malcolm X.In particular I recall the book’s description of Malcolm’s pilgrimage to Mecca, and how this experience changed his understanding of Islam.This epiphany may have cost him his life.
Later, the Pakistani uncle of one of my son’s schoolmates was kind enough to give me a copy of the Koran and an accompanying commentary in English, which I continue to read with great interest.As I write, these treasured volumes are standing not ten feet away from me on the fireplace mantle, near my weekday Missal.
Not long after 9/11, a Senate staff colleague and I were privileged to visit Samarkand, Uzbekistan, a city steeped in the beauty and culture of historical Islam.In Samarkand, we discovered the revered place in Islam of Amir Timur – Tamerlane –and the important role of the Samarkand/Bukhara school in Islamic thought. [what "revered place in Islam of...Tamerlane"? He's a local hero in Central Asia, that's all. He has no significance whatsoever to Muslims elsewhere].
Later, on a visit to a remote desert border post between Somalia and Djibouti, I learned something more about Islam and devotion when I saw the reverence and care that Djiboutien soldiers bestowed upon small prayer-places, impeccable oases, amid the otherwise punishing squalor of each small border post. [is pietyalways and everywhere a good thing, no matter what the belief-system, and the guiding figure in that system, to whom that piety is shown?]
In 2006, while serving in Iraq in the US armed forces, I learned that even in the midst of carnage, Baghdad was a city that prayed.The call to prayer was heard each and every day, even during the worst moments.The piousness of the Iraqis with whom I served was neither contrived nor ostentatious. It was humble and genuine and it inspired empathy, solidarity and respect among the Americans. [if it did, then those Americans need to be brought to their senses, but I think the author is, judging by what I have heard from returning soldiers, a figment of his imagination]
The respect showed by Iraqi comrades likewise for the Christian faith was evident.In fact, on my last day in Baghdad, this ancient seat of Islamic learning, my Iraqi Special Operations Force counterparts presented to me a small “Last Supper” carpet which they ferreted out in a Red Zone bazaar at enormous personal risk.This is a treasured memento in my home and it is within view now as I write these lines. [who might have made it? From whose house, of what Christian who has possibly fled the country because of the "respect showed by Iraqi comrades...for the Christian faith"? The idiot author cannot even consider such a question]]
The most important lesson I have learned about the place of Islam in America was learned at Arlington National Cemetery. At Arlington, in Section 60 of the cemetery, one may visit many of the honored American dead of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For quite a few years, the cemetery administration has been permitting the placement of faith symbols on the headstones of the fallen. Together with the Christian emblems, Stars of David, Buddhist wheels, and other symbols, there is no shortage of the Crescent of Islam.In other words:since 9/11, in Afghanistan and Iraq, American soldiers who are Muslims have given their lives in battle wearing the American uniform. [Oh? Just how many Muslims-- not Nation-of-Islam members but real Muslims, have died "wearing the American uniform"? A dozen? Six?]
Thus, when I read about things like the planned Gainesville Koran-burning, I ask myself:what do the families of these fallen soldiers think about this?Are these fallen soldiers not our sons, too? [speak for yourself, buster]
I feel that it is the solemn duty of all Americans to put themselves into the shoes of these families.The sacrifices of their children for our nation demand it.Their anguish is our anguish – and we should not aggravate it blindly, callously, and without mercy with unfortunate events such as that apparently planned in Gainesville.
My understanding of Islam is, at best, superficial.And the lines you are reading were written before the “final chapter” of the Gainesville story.I do not know how it will turn out.But I would like to assure Muslim readers that this Christian American writer emphatically does not approve of what is threatened by the Gainesville clergyman.And this writer feels confident that many thousands of Americans – many armed forces veterans – feel the same way.
Attorney General Holder and General Petreaus:you are correct about Gainesville. Thank you for speaking up. I apologize for arriving late.
And here is a piquant further detail:
Where did I find this appalling mush? It was put up, presumably approvingly, by one Richard J. Douglas who describes himself, at his blog, thus:
"I served as Senate Intelligence Committee General Counsel, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chief Counsel, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics under Secretaries Rumsfeld and Gates. I was recognized by the Drug Enforcement Administration and National Guard Bureau for defense support to the counter-drug efforts of both agencies. In 2006 I served with Army units in Iraq as a mobilized naval reserve officer and I spent considerable time in Afghanistan in connection with my Pentagon duties"
For Turkish Cypriots, That 1974 Move May Turn Out To Have Been A Big Mistake
In 1974 the Turkish army invaded Cyprus, seized an enclave in the north (settlers from Turkey had first arrived after the Cyprus War, 1570-73, in small numbers), and declared it to be a political entity independent of the rest of Cyprus. No one else recognized this, not even Muslim states, but Turkey holds on, and there are still 35,000 Turkish troops there. Hundreds of churches and other Greek Orthodox institutions have been vandalized or turned into mosques or destroyed altogether. The world has done nothing. Kofi Annan presented the Greek Cyrpiots with a very long and complicated "solution" that they were given a short time, about 24 hours, to read and approve. They angrily rejected it.
That's where things stood, until natural gas deposits were discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean, between Israel and Cyprus. Now the Turks are furious, and want to stop Cyprus from allowing American energy companies to explore and drill in Cypriote waters. Cyprus has ignored Erdogan's bullying, and Noble Energy is due to start drilling any day.
But what most amuses, about this, is the following:
Let's assume that huge fields belonging to Cyprus, that is Greek Cyprus, are found. And let's assume, further, that exploration in the waters off of the northern Turkish enclave do not lead to any discovery or production of oil and gas. Then the one million Cypriots will become very well off, and the Turks in the northern enclave will not be able to share, as citizens of Cyrpus, in that wealth. They, and the Turks in Turkey, chose their fate. They made their bed, and now they can lie in it. Unfortunately for them, it turned out to be a Murphy bed, and it's likely to slam them back into that waiting niche in the wall, at any moment.
Caroline Glick: Israeli Government Crazy Not To Demand Cutoff In All Aid To P.A.
Our World: Funding the enemy
By CAROLINE B. GLICK 19/09/2011
Government must issue new policy supporting cutting off foreign aid to Palestinians, stop transferring tax revenues if status upgraded at UN.
Speaking Sunday at the UN’s conference of donors to the Palestinian Authority, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon warned that while Israel supports economic assistance to the PA now, that is liable to change within the week.
As he put it, “Future assistance and cooperation could be severely and irreparably compromised if the Palestinian leadership continues on its path of essentially acting in contravention of all signed agreements which also regulate existing economic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”
Ayalon’s position is eminently reasonable. Unfortunately, it contradicts utterly the official position of the Government of Israel.
The government’s position was transmitted on Friday to the same donor conference that Ayalon was participating in. According to the government document, “Israel calls for ongoing international support for the PA budget and development projects that will contribute to the growth of a vibrant private sector, which will provide the PA an expanded base for generating internal revenue.”
Israel’s move was reportedly championed by the Defense Ministry and the IDF senior brass, which reportedly adamantly opposes cutting off any aid to the PA, including aid to the US-trained and financed Palestinian army in Judea and Samaria. As The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday, senior Defense Ministry officials argue that an aid cutoff is liable to lead to the PA’s collapse and PA employees – which comprise the majority of Palestinian workers – may become violent.
As one Defense Ministry senior official told the paper, “It is important that we retain financial stability, even after their unilateral moves. Stopping money transfers could lead to a financial crisis which could lead to a violent escalation.” [nonsense]
In other words, the Defense Ministry argues that if the donor countries stop paying off the Palestinian militias – including the US-trained and funded Palestinian army – then their supposedly moderate forces will turn to the terror business to support themselves.
Aside from being strategically insane, this position bespeaks an unjustifiable unwillingness on the part of the leftist-dominated Defense Ministry to understand the basic nature of the Palestinian cause and what it requires from Israel.
Since the IDF and the Foreign Ministry and the rest of the government bureaucracy embraced the PLO as Israel’s “peace partner” 18 years ago, they have been operating on the assumption that the PLO and its spinoffs – Fatah and the PA – are interested in reaching a peace deal with Israel. But this has never been the case.
For the PLO and its spinoffs, the Palestinian conflict has always been and will always be a zero sum game. The goal of the Oslo process, the goal of the PA, of the Palestinian militias, and of the UN bid is one: to strengthen the Palestinians and weaken Israel.
As far as Israel’s “peace partner” is concerned, Israel can never concede enough. There is no deal that Israel can ever offer that the Palestinians will ever accept. Even if Israel offered to destroy itself and hand its ruins to the Palestinians, the Palestinians would pocket the concession and then declare war against whatever remnants remain of the defunct Jewish state in order to “liberate” the land from its Jewish “occupiers.”
We know this is the case because this is what the Palestinians – led by the PLO/Fatah/PA – did in Gaza after Israel unilaterally surrendered. The last military vehicle had barely cleared the border when the Palestinians torched the synagogues Israel had left standing.
So too, after Ehud Barak essentially offered the Palestinians Israel’s head on a platter when he offered them the Temple Mount, they pocketed his offer and began butchering Israelis in a bid to “liberate” the Temple Mount.
The much vaunted Palestinian security forces organized, funded and directed the terror war. And the internationally financed PA budget paid for it.
The reason that the Palestinians are turning to the UN is not because they cannot receive statehood in the framework of a peace deal with Israel. They are going to the UN because they don’t want a peace deal with Israel. They want sovereignty and they want to remain at war with Israel. [see Qur'an and Sunnah for the reason why]
For 18 years the IDF’s top brass has refused to recognize the game that the PLO has been playing since the onset of the fake peace process. Informed by the leftist establishment, the IDF’s senior officers vacuously argue that Israel’s only option is to strengthen the PA, including its US-trained and funded army.
This appeasement mindset has paralyzed the IDF’s ability to develop comprehensive strategies for victory for nearly a generation. And the IDF’s leadership clings to appeasement despite the fact that the public has completely rejected it due to its consistent failure.
The basic rule of commonsense policy-making is to be good to your friends and bad to your enemies because then people will want to be your friends and they will not want to be your enemies. The appeasement mindset turns this rule on its head.
As far as the appeasers are concerned, you must be good to your enemies and bad to your friends because your enemies will stop hating you if you’re nice to them. As for your friends, they are wrong to be your friends since you have yet to be worthy of friendship since you have not yet appeased your enemies.
By supporting continued foreign aid to the Palestinians in the aftermath of their UN bid the government has adopted a classic appeasement policy. It has told the Palestinians that they will pay no price for their act of aggression. Worse, Israel just told them they will be rewarded. Israel has gone on record saying it cannot manage without the Palestinian governing body that exists to destroy it.
As for Israel’s friends, the government just pulled the rug out from under their feet. Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is a true friend of Israel. Her bill calling for a cutoff of US aid to the PA and a massive decrease of US aid to the UN in the event the UN upgrades the Palestinians’ diplomatic status is one of the most important pieces of pro-Israel legislation to be introduced in the US Congress in a generation.
By announcing it opposes an aid cutoff, Israel undermined Ros-Lehtinen’s position. It betrayed its good friend.
No doubt Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman were under great pressure from the IDF and from the Obama administration to call for continued international funding of the PA. But the public didn’t elect them with the expectation that they would abandon Israel’s national interest and harm its friends just because they feel the heat.
The appeasers claim that Israel wins international approval by being good to its enemies. But 18 years of consistently attacking its friends and praising its foes has brought Israel to the brink of international isolation. We have empowered our foes and demoralized our friends. And now we continue to squander what little diplomatic influence we still have left in a bid to again aid the Palestinians in their continued war against us.
If the government thinks that Ayalon’s statement can repair the damage it just caused the country, it should think again. The only way to fix what just happened is for the government to issue a new policy supporting the cutting off of foreign aid to the Palestinians and announcing that Israel will stop transferring tax revenues to them if their status at the UN is upgraded in any way. And Netanyahu should pick up the phone and personally apologize to Ros-Lehtinen for his government’s disgraceful behavior.
Tunisian Arabs Set Fire To Their Welcome Center; Italians On Lampedusa Are At The End Of Their Tether
Immigrati tunisini protestano contro i rimpatri E le proteste degli isolani
Lampedusa in fiamme
Il Cie devastato dalla rivolta. In fuga 800 persone. 300 agenti in assetto antisommossa al campo di calcio
Dal nostro inviatoFelice Cavallaro LAMPEDUSA– Mille tunisini in rivolta hanno incendiato i materassi delle camerate distruggendo il centro accoglienza da dove chiedevano di andare via. E la più rovente estate di Lampedusa finisce tra le fiamme, sotto una nube acida che si alza verso il cielo e ricade sul centro abitato, fra gli alberghi, per fortuna con meno di dieci feriti e intossicati. Un incendio per fuggire dall’isola, per dire no ai rimpatri diretti sull’asse Lampedusa-Tunisi. Una rivolta guidata dai più violenti dei 1.200 ospitati nel devastato Cie, mentre dieci minori arrivati venerdì con un barcone annaspano terrorizzati, centinaia di immigrati fuggono da contrada Imbriacola verso le stradine del paese e una teoria di disperati compare fra i pub del corso, invade il molo, il porto, la costa davanti ad alberghi, pensioni e case dei turisti, incrociando i pompieri, scappando alla vista dei cellulari della polizia, dileguandosi in parte fra I sentieri di campagna.
NOTTE AL GELO - Un inferno nell’isola senza pace dove il campo sportivo diventa ancora una volta rifugio notturno, simile ad una prigione, per fortuna sotto un cielo terso, ma spazzato da un vento gelido. Triste replay che porta indietro alle immagini sconvolgenti di febbraio o marzo, alla “collina del disonore”, annullando la mole di promesse frattanto rovesciate qui da tutti i potenti. A cominciare da Silvio Berlusconi, fino alle recentissime rassicuranti visite lampo del sottosegretario all’interno Sonia Viale e del ministro della Difesa Ignazio La Russa. Tanto che il sindaco Dino De Rubeis aveva provato a rasserenare gli animi di commercianti e albergatori, a far calare la tensione dei suoi concittadini riferendo venerdì scorso una telefonata con il ministro Roberto Maroni: «Mi ha garantito che mille tunisini entro un paio di giorni saranno trasferiti tutti in altri centri sparsi sul territorio italiano. Mi ha anche spiegato le difficoltà che ci sono state per i rimpatri dei giorni scorsi. Maroni dovrà a breve tornare in Tunisia, per rimodulare gli accordi ma questa volta, lo farà insieme a Frattini ed interagiranno con i rispettivi ministri di quello Stato...».
«E’ UNA GUERRA» - Ma al quarto giorno da quelle parole, tossendo, coprendosi la bocca per cercare di non respirare fumo, esplode la rabbia di quest’omone che ha sempre teso la mano agli immigranti: “Questa è ormai una guerra e i cittadini di Lampedusa reagiranno. Anche perché non abbiamo di fronte la massa dei profughi sub sahariani, ma centinaia di giovani tunisini che vogliono tutto e subito con arroganza, proprio come delinquenti, pronti a mettere a repentaglio la nostra e la loro vita”.
“CI SCAPPA IL MORTO” – Che la situazione sia incandescente lo conferma il responsabile del poliambulatorio Pietro Bartolo, il medico arruolato da De Rubeis come assessore alla Sanità: “Ho soccorso gli intossicati, compreso un immigrato paraplegico al quale avevo fatto avere una sedia a rotelle sperando che lo portassero in un altro centro italiano. Invece li fanno restare qui anche due mesi e con tutta la buona volontà delle forze di polizia il Centro diventa una bomba ad orologeria, stanchi ed esauriti come sono questi disperati. Che cosa si aspetta? Qui prima o poi ci scappa il morto”.
TUTTO PREVEDIBILE – Che l’incendio del Centro fosse prevedibile lo avevano ribadito con ripetuti allarmi le organizzazioni umanitarie. È il caso di “Save the Children”, adesso preoccupata per le condizioni inaccettabili in cui sono ospitati tanti minori. Ovvero dell’Organizzazione internazionale per le migrazioni (Oim) in Italia, come spiega Flavio Di Giacomo, responsabile della comunicazione: «Da giorni all’interno della struttura di accoglienza si era creata un’atmosfera molto tesa a causa dell’alto numero di migranti tunisini, oltre 1.300, e per la seconda volta in due anni e mezzo ci troviamo di fronte a un incendio che mette a rischio l’incolumità di migranti e operatori».
CARCERE A CIELO APERTO – A scrivere «adesso basta» sono Lino Maraventano e Rosangela Mannino, presidente e vicepresidente dell’associazione che riunisce commercio, turismo e servizi: «Non possiamo più sopportare che Lampedusa e Linosa siano utilizzate come un carcere a cielo aperto e si possa consentire l’arrivo sull’isola di migliaia di immigrati al giorno... Lampedusa non é Alcatraz, non è uno specchietto per le allodole, vuole essere liberata da una morsa che la sta letteralmente soffocando». Al di là delle distanze politiche, l’appello al governo per non lasciare l’isola in balia di un’emergenza continua parte anche dal Pd e dalla leader di Legambiente Giusi Nicolini, responsabile della riserva protetta: «Non si può perdere altro tempo per trovare soluzioni concrete rendendo civile la vita di chi sta qui e di chi arriva in cerca di aiuto». Cresce comunque la rabbia mentre un volo speciale ne porta via cento in una notte che non finisce mai. Svegli i vigili del fuoco costretti a controllare i residui focolai di un padiglione ormai da abbattere e svegli i trecento agenti in assetto antisommossa raccolti attorno al campo di calcio, stipato da tunisini decisi a tutto pur di andare via da Lampedusa, ma senza essere rimpatriati. [in other words, they have no intention of following orders of the Italians, and no intention, either, of being repatriated to Tunisia. They think they have a god-given right to remain in Italy, and because they have no skills, nor know the language, will do as other Arabs in Italy have done, and live by every kind of crime, including drug-dealing, pimping, street muggings, and house burglaries.]
Turkish and Armenian revolutionary groups had worked together to secure the restoration of constitutional rule, in 1908. On 31 March (or 13 April, by the Western calendar) a military revolt directed against the Committee of Union and Progress seized Istanbul. While the revolt lasted only ten days, it precipitated a massacre of Armenians in the province of Adana that lasted over a month.
The massacres were rooted in political, economic, and religious differences. The Armenian segment of the population of Adana was the "richest and most prosperous", and the violence included the destruction of "tractors and other kinds of mechanized equipment." The Christian-minority Armenians had also openly supported the coup against Sultan Abdul Hamid II, which had deprived the Islamic head of state of power. The awakening of Turkish nationalism, and the perception of the Armenians as a separatist, European-controlled entity, also contributed to the violence.
Bodies of massacred Armenians during the Adana massacre.
In 1908, the Young Turk government came to power in a bloodless revolution. Within a year, Turkey's Armenian population, empowered by the dismissal of Abdul Hamid II, began organizing politically in support of the new government, which promised to place them on equal legal footing with their Muslim counterparts.
Having long endured so-called dhimmi status, and having suffered the brutality and oppression of Hamidian leadership since 1876, the Armenian minority in Cilicia perceived the nascent Young Turk government as a godsend. Christians now being granted the rights to arm themselves and form politically significant groups, it was not long before Abdul Hamid loyalists, themselves acculturated into the system that had perpetrated the Hamidian massacres of the 1890s, came to view the empowerment of the Christian minority as coming at their expense.
The Countercoup of March 1909 wrested control of the government out of the hands of the secularist Young Turks, and Abdul Hamid II briefly recovered his dictatorial powers. Appealing to the reactionary Muslim population with populist rhetoric calling for the re-institution of Islamic law under the banner of a pan-Islamic caliphate, the Sultan mobilized popular support against the Young Turks by identifying himself with the historically Islamic character of the state.
According to one source, when news of a mutiny in Istanbul arrived in Adana, speculation circulated among the Muslim population of an imminent Armenian insurrection. By April 14 the Armenian quarter was attacked by a mob, and many thousands of Armenians were killed in the ensuing weeks.
Other reports emphasize that a "skirmish between Armenians and Turks on April 13 set off a riot that resulted in the pillaging of the bazaars and attacks upon the Armenian quarters." Two days later, more than 2,000 Armenians had been killed as a result. The outbreaks spread throughout the district and by the end of the month as many as 30,000 Armenians were reported killed.
At least one western historian has suggested that the origins of the Adana Massacre lie in an Armenian revolt. Erickson has suggested that the April 14 massacre was a product of an Armenian "uprising", rather than the countercoup.
In his August 1909 report on the massacre, Charles Doughty-Wylie asserts that "The theory of an armed revolution on the part of the Armenians is now generally discredited with the more intelligent people". Doughty-Wylie explained that an uprising could not be said to be taking place without some concentration of forces, or without any effort to make use of the various available strongholds, and in any case the number of Armenians would be "an easy match for the regular Turkish army". "They would not have left their sons and brothers scattered widely through the province for harvest without arms, without any hope of escape."
In those difficult times for the Ottoman Empire and its citizenry, the Armenians were also believed to be a target owing to their relative wealth, and their quarrels with imperial taxation.
The Turks, masters for centuries, found their great stumbling block in equality with the Christians... Among the fiercer professors of Islam resentment grew. Were God's adversaries to be the equals of Islam? In every cafe the heathen were speaking great mouthing words of some godless and detested change...
Abdul Hamid became celebrated, in this context, according to Doughty-Wylie, because he "had set the fashion of massacres". From the same document, the Turkish political scientist Kamuran Gurun emphasizes that the right to bear arms had caused a popular fashion of arms-bearing. But, "worse followed", in Doughty-Wylie's words:
The swagger of the arm-bearing Armenian and his ready tongue irritated the ignorant Turks. Threats and insults passed on both sides. Certain Armenian leaders, delegates from Constantinople, and priests (an Armenian priest is in his way an autocrat) urged their congregations to buy arms. It was done openly, indiscreetly, and, in some cases, it might be said wickedly. What can be thought of a preacher, a Russian Armenian, who in a church in this city where there had never been a massacre, preached revenge for the martyrs of 1895? Constitution or none, it was all the same to him. 'Revenge,' he said, 'murder for murder. Buy arms. A Turk for every Armenian of 1895.'
This page from a 1911 publication demonstrates the carnage in the Armenian quarter of Adana, juxtaposed with the peace in the Turkish district.
The tension erupted into riots on April 1, 1909, which soon escalated into organized violence against the Armenian population of Adana and in several surrounding cities.
By April 18, over 1,000 people were reported dead at Adana alone, with additional unknown casualties in Tarsus and Alexandretta. Thousands of refugees filled the American embassy in Alexandretta, and a British warship was dispatched to its shores; three French warships were dispatched to Mersin, where the situation was "desperate", and many Western consulates were besieged by Armenian refugees. The Ottoman military was struggling to subdue the violence.
Similar violence consumed Marash and Hadjin, and the estimates of the death toll soon grew to exceed 5,000. The British cruiser Diana was hoped to provide a "tranquilizing" effect at the port of Alexandretta, where violence still raged. Reports surfaced that imperial "authorities are either indifferent or conniving in the slaughter."
Some order was restored by April 20, as the disturbance in Mersina had abated, and the British cruiser Swiftsure was able to deliver "provisions and medicines intended for Adana". A "threatening" report from Hadjin indicated that well-armed Armenians were held up in the town, "beleaguered by Moslem tribesmen who are only awaiting sufficient numerical strength to rush the improvised defenses erected by the Armenians." 8,000 refugees filled the missions of Tarsus, where order had been restored under martial law, the dead numbering approximately 50.
An April 22 message from an American missionary in Hadjin indicated that the town was taking fire intermittently, that surrounding Armenian properties had been burned, and that siege was inevitable. The entirety of the Armenian population of KÄ±rÄ±khan was reported to have been "slaughtered"; the Armenian village of Deurtyul was burning and surrounded; additional bloodshed flared up in Tarsus; massacres were reported in Antioch, and rioting in Birejik. At least one report praised the "Turkish Government officials at Mersina" for doing "everything possible to check the trouble", though "the result of their efforts has been very limited". As Ottoman authorities worked to contain violence directed at the Christian minorities of the Empire, the Armenian population "look(ed) to the Young Turks for future protection."
An American missionary at Adana during the period, Reverend Herbert Adams Gibbons of Hartford, described the scene in the days leading up to the 27th of April:
Adana is in a pitiable condition. The town has been pillaged and destroyed ... It is impossible to estimate the number of killed. The corpses lie scattered through the streets. Friday, when I went out, I had to pick my way between the dead to avoid stepping on them. Saturday morning I counted a dozen cartloads of Armenian bodies in one-half hour being carried to the river and thrown into the water. In the Turkish cemeteries, graves are being dug wholesale. ... On Friday afternoon 250 so-called Turkish reserves, without officers, seized a train at Adana and compelled the engineer to convey them to Tarsus, where they took part in the complete destruction of the Armenian quarter of that town, which is the best part of Tarsus. Their work of looting was thorough and rapid.
The Ottoman government sent in the Army to keep peace, but it was alleged to have either tolerated the violence or participated in it. An unsigned newspaper report of 3 May 1909 indicated that Ottoman soldiery had arrived, but did not seem intent upon effecting a peace:
Adana is terrorized by 4,000 soldiers, who are looting, shooting, and burning. No respect is paid to foreign properties. Both French schools have been destroyed, and it is feared that the American school, commercial, and missionary interests in Adana are totally ruined. The new Governor has not as yet inspired confidence. There is reason to believe that the authorities still intend to permit the extermination of all Christians.
Grand VizierHüseyin Hilmi Pasha indicated that the massacre was a "political, not a religious question ... Before the Armenian political committees began to organize in Asia Minor there was peace. I will leave you to judge the cause of the bloodshed." While conceding that his predecessor, Abdul Hamid II, had ordered the "extermination of the Armenians", he did articulate his confidence that "there will never be another massacre."
In July 1909, the Young Turk government announced the trials of various government and military officials, for "being implicated in the Armenian massacres". In the ensuing courts-marshal, 124 Muslims and seven Armenians were executed for their involvement in the violence.
In response to the counterrevolution and the Armenian massacres in Adana, the CUP and Dashnak concluded an agreement in September 1909 whereby they promised to "work together for progress, the Constitution, and unity." Both parties declared that rumor of Armenian efforts toward independence were false. The Unionists took care to have an Armenian minister present in the governments formed after 6 August 1909, which could also be interpreted as an attempt to demonstrate the CUP's distance from the Adana events.
The government of Turkey, as well as some Turkish writers and nationalists, dispute this version of history, contending that the events of April 1909 were in fact an Armenian "rampage of pillaging and death" targeting the Muslim majority that "ended up with about 17,000 Armenian and 1,850 Turkish deaths."
The Sublime Porte attested that the loss of the Muslims was greater than the loss of Armenians, 1,900 Muslims as compared to 1,500 Armenians. Another Ottoman commission was composed of Faik Bey, Mosdijian Efendi and Esad Rauf Bey, the Governor of Mersin, according to the registers they calculated the number of deaths, 4,196 non-Muslims and 1,487 Muslims including gendarmes and soldiers. However, they proposed the total figure of 15,000 with the non-registered and migrant workers, including Muslims.
Official Ottoman casualty list for the city of Adana
Ottoman authorities denied responsibility in the shooting deaths of two American missionaries in the city of Adana, indicating instead that "the Armenians" killed Protestant missionaries D.M. Rogers and Henry Maurer while they "were helping to put out a fire in the house of a Turkish widow." The Ottoman account of the killings was later contradicted by an eyewitness, American priest Stephen Trowbridge of Brooklyn. Trowbridge indicated that the men were killed by "Moslems" as they attempted to extinguish a fire threatening to subsume their mission.
Firing and fighting began April 14 between Moslems and Armenians, which resulted in a number of casualties on both sides... the next morning April 15, a fresh outburst of smoke near the girls' school showed that we were threatened by fire...Mr. Maurer and I took a crowbar and an axe to the destroy the wooden porches, shutters and stairways of the houses between the fires and the girls' school...When I first climbed to the roofs near the flames armed Moslems appeared...When they understood that I was not firing on them, but had come to work against the flames, they lowered their rifles and assured me with many pledges that I might go unmolested...we repeatedly begged some Armenian young men who were lurking around the street corners shielded from the Moslem fire to put away their arms and come and save the school building... we came back to the school and asked for volunteers, Mr. Rogers came at once... We had thus worked a considerable time without being harmed by the Moslems when the Armenians on the other end of the street commenced firing on the houses where the looters were at work. Suddenly two shots rang out not more than eight yards from where we were working. Mr. Rogers...was mortally wounded...The other bullet hit Mr. Maurer...Immediately after these two shots several other bullets from the Moslems, who had fired them, whizzed past me...Both men passed peacefully away. They died as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.
The missionaries found themselves pinned down in their school amidst the pogrom. According to Elizabeth S. Webb, a missionary attached to the school, "It was a terrible situation, women and girls practically alone in the building, a murderous bloodthirsty mob outside, with knife and bullet for the Armenians and the torch for their homes."
Mr. Trowbridge returned from the school to say that the only hope for safety to any Americans seemed to be to return to the school, staying there alone, separated from the Armenians. He declared that we were powerless to save the Armenians. It seems that after we left the school, Miss Wallace, Mr. Chambers, and a young Armenian preacher attempted to cross the street from Miss Wallace's to the school. Just at this time a mob rushed around the corner. The infuriated Turks recognized the preacher as an Armenian, and although Mr. Chambers threw his arms about him and did all in his power to save the man's life, they shot him dead. Not a single Armenian would they leave alive, the assassins shouted, as Mr. Chambers dragged the murdered preacher into the building.
The British Consul, Charles Hotham Montagu Doughty-Wylie, is recorded in many sources as having worked strenuously to stop the massacres, at great personal risk. He was shot in the arm during the conflagration.