These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 26, 2012.
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Jailed terror plotter wanted witnesses slain - his brother and a teacher are arrested
From Associated Press
A North Carolina man sentenced to prison recently as part of a homegrown terrorist ring has been accused in a federal court document of plotting to kill witnesses who testified against him at trial. An affidavit unsealed in federal court Monday accuses Hysen Sherifi of plotting against the witnesses from his jail cell.
FBI agents have arrested the brother, Shkumbin Sherifi, and Nevine Aly Elshiekh, a school teacher. Now in federal custody at the New Hanover County Jail, each is charged with a felony count of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.
Hysen Sherifi, 27, was sentenced to 45 years in prison earlier this month in what prosecutors described as a conspiracy to attack the Marine base at Quantico, Va., and targets abroad. Five others, including construction contractor Daniel Patrick Boyd, have been sentenced to federal prison terms for terrorism charges
In a 10-page affidavit filed under seal Friday, FBI Special Agent James Langtry writes that he developed a source as a confidential informant inside the New Hanover County Jail near Wilmington, where Hysen Sherifi was sent after a jury convicted him in October. The informant soon befriended Sherifi, who requested help in hiring someone to kill three people who had testified against him at his trial, according to the affidavit. Sherifi specified that he wanted the witnesses beheaded and that he would be provided photos of the severed heads as confirmation of the deaths, according to the document. FBI agents said in the document that they arranged for a second informant to pose as a hit man and monitored Sherifi during a series of jailhouse visits with Elshiekh.
The affidavit provides no information about the nature of the relationship between Hysen Sherifi and Elshiekh, but a woman with that same name was quoted in media reports from last year's terrorism trial in New Bern. The names of the witnesses allegedly targeted were redacted from the affidavit. Nevine Elshiekh is listed as a special education teacher on the website for Sterling Montessori Academy, a charter school in Mooresville. Bill Zajic, the school's executive director, did not return a message from the Associated Press on Tuesday.
The Sherifi brothers and other family members emigrated from Kosovo following the wars that ravaged the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s
Hysen Sherifi and others arrested in the terrorism conspiracy were members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh, the largest Muslim congregation in the Triangle. Several members of the mosque also routinely made the 4-hour round trip for the trial in New Bern to support the accused, who they described as innocent men being railroaded by overzealous federal authorities.
Posted on 01/26/2012 6:44 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 26 January 2012
D-Day At Douma
From Associated Press:
January 26, 2012
Syrian troops storm large Damascus suburb, while thousands stage pro-regime rallies elsewhere
BEIRUT — Syrian troops stormed a flashpoint suburb of Damascus on Thursday, rounding people up in house-to-house raids and clashing with army defectors, activists said, as the 10-month-old uprising inches ever closer to the capital.
Even as the fighting raged in Douma, tens of thousands of backers of President Bashar Assad poured into the streets just 10 miles (16 kilometers) away in downtown Damascus in a show of support for his embattled regime.
( Muzaffar Salman / Associated Press ) - Pro-Syrian regime protesters, shout slogans and holds portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad during a demonstration to show their solidarity for their president, in Damascus, Syria, on Wednesday Jan. 25, 2102. Government forces clashed with army defectors and stormed rebellious districts in central Syria on Wednesday, firing mortars and deploying snipers in violence that killed at least seven people, including a mother and her 5-year-old child, activists said.
Similar pro-regime rallies were held in other cities Thursday, even as the bloodshed continued elsewhere — offering a sign of the deep divisions over the country’s deadly revolt.
The offensive against Douma came two days after Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said his government will continue with the “security solution” to end the crisis. It was the latest evidence that the Assad regime was rejecting pressure to stop the bloody crackdown, and the Arab League was powerless to curb it.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 200 people were detained Thursday in Douma.
“They are entering homes, searching cars and stopping people in the streets to check identity cards,” al-Saeed said. “There is very little movement in the streets, and nobody is allowed to leave or enter Douma.”
The Syrian uprising began last March with largely peaceful anti-government protests, but it has grown increasingly militarized in recent months as frustrated regime opponents and army defectors arm themselves and fight back against government forces.
On Wednesday, a Red Crescent official and a priest were among the dead in Syria.
Bassma Kodmani, a spokeswoman for the opposition Syrian National Council, said Thursday that the priest, Basilious Nassar, was a “supporter of the democratic uprising and a patriotic figure of the movement ... We believe the responsibility lies entirely with the regime and is one more attempt at inciting hatred and sectarian divisions. The revolution is and will remain a democratic nonsectarian cry for change in Syria.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killing of the Red Crescent official and offered condolences to the family. Attackers are said to have targeted a vehicle that Abdulrazak Jbero was riding in, which was clearly marked with the Red Crescent emblem.
The government crackdown has killed more than 5,400 people since March, according to estimates from the United Nations.
Assad’s regime claims terrorists acting out a foreign conspiracy are behind the uprising, not protesters seeking change, and that thousands of security forces have been killed.
International pressure on Damascus to end the bloodshed so far has produced few results.
The Arab League has sent observers to the country as part of a plan to the end the crisis, but the mission has been widely criticized for failing to stop the violence. Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia pulled out of the mission Tuesday, asking the U.N. Security Council to intervene because the Syrian government has not halted its crackdown.
In Cairo, Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby told reporters that he and the prime minister of Qatar would leave for New York on Saturday to brief the U.N. Security Council on the latest Arab plan to end the crisis in Syria. He said their talks, to start Monday, are designed to enlist the support of the council for the Arab peace plan.
The plan is a two-month transition to a unity government and includes Assad handing over his powers. Syria has hotly rejected it as intervention in its internal affairs.
Despite the calls from some Arab states for decisive action from the U.N., that prospect appears unlikely because Russia, a strong Syrian ally, has opposed moves like sanctions.
Violence continued unabated Thursday.
The British-based Observatory said a joint army and police force was ambushed Thursday near the town of Khirbet Ghazaleh, killing four members of the security forces and wounding five more.
It added that a sniper shot dead a woman in the central city of Hama, while a stray bullet killed a 14-year-old boy in the southern province of Daraa. The group said three people were also killed in the central province of Homs.
Syria’s state-run news agency SANA said an army colonel was shot dead by “an armed terrorist” in front of his home in the central city of Homs.
Posted on 01/26/2012 2:26 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 January 2012
"The Duma Is Dead! Long Live The Duma!"
[A re-posting prompted by the events in Douma, Syria]
Sunday, 18 April 2010
The last time there was a Liberal as Prime Minister of England it was 1906. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman is most famous for his "The Duma Is Dead. Long Live the Duma!" speech, which he composed, and delivered, in French. Autres temps, autres moeurs.
Perhaps the British vote should go to the candidate who can compose and deliver a speech in a language other than English. On second thought, make that a European language. Urdu, Farsi, Arabic will not count.
Here is the English version of that speech:
“The Duma Is Dead: Long Live the Duma,” Speech
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836–1908)
Born in 1836; elected to Parliament in 1868; Financial Secretary to the War Office, 1871, 1874, 1880–82; Secretary to the Admiralty, 1882–84; Chief Secretary for Ireland, 1884–85; Secretary of State for War, 1886, 1892–95; Liberal Leader in the House of Commons, 1899–1905; Prime Minister, 1906.
THE MAJORITY 1 of you have not come here—and I think you will wish this to be understood—as the accredited delegates of your respective parliaments. This gathering is unofficial. But you are here, if I read the times aright, in the fullest sense as the accredited representatives of your fellow countrymen and women, and in this capacity you are entitled to express, with an authority attaching to no other assembly in the world, the conscience, the reason, and the sentiments of a large and not the least influential portion of the human race. In addressing you I feel that I am not so much speaking to the representatives of diverse States of Europe and America as to the exponents of principles and hopes that are common to us all, and without which our life on earth would be a life without horizon or prospect.
With the purpose of your mission, let me say at once, his majesty’s government desire unreservedly to associate themselves. It is their hope that your deliberations will do much to promote a closer understanding between the nations.
You have indeed done much since the new century began to give shape and substance to the growing, the insistent desire that war may be banished from the earth. All of us, I suppose, can remember a time when such a gathering as this would have evoked the derision of those who call themselves practical men. You would have been called dreamers, and your plans for substituting equitable arrangement for the license and ferocity of war would have been denounced as dangerous quixotry. Gentlemen, let us be charitable in our judgment of those misguided men and those dark ages. We are all creatures of habit. And by habituating the world to the idea that peaceful arbitrament can adjust such differences as diplomacy has failed to solve, you have opened men’s eyes; you have cleared their minds.
Gentlemen, it must be a cause of delight and encouragement to you to feel that a great step has been taken toward the realization of an ideal. I believe that there are now in existence at present thirty-eight arbitration agreements between the different Powers. These instruments have all been framed since October, 1903. Thanks to Lord Lansdowne, Great Britain has entered into agreements with ten Powers, by virtue of which all legal questions arising between the two contracting Powers and all questions relating to the interpretation of treaties which diplomacy has failed to settle are to be referred to the Permanent Court of Arbitration established at The Hague. Notwithstanding the proviso which debars a reference to arbitration of matters affecting the vital interests, the independence, or the honor of the two contracting States, we may claim that the conclusion of these agreements is a solid and, I think it is not too much to say, a splendid achievement. In these proceedings I may be permitted to repeat that Great Britain has borne a leading part. For we owe to the government of the late Lord Salisbury and to our delegates at the first Hague Congress the initiation of the Permanent Tribunal of Arbitration.
Gentlemen, I fervently trust that before long the principle of arbitration may win such confidence as to justify its extension to a wider field of international differences. We have already seen how questions arousing passion and excitement have attained a solution, not necessarily by means of arbitration in the strict sense of the word, but by referring them to such a tribunal as that which reported on the North Sea incident; and I would ask you whether it may not be worth while carefully to consider, before the next Congress meets at The Hague, the various forms in which differences might be submitted, with a view to opening the door as wide as possible to every means which might in any degree contribute to moderate or compose such differences.
But, gentlemen, there is a dark side to the shield. We have to admit that, notwithstanding all the efforts in which governments and peoples have participated, no corresponding change has been wrought in the aspect of the world’s armaments. Such change as there has been is for the worse. Judging by the budgets of the great naval and military Powers, we might be living in a world where resort to force was the only known method of settling our differences, and the words “arbitration” and “conciliation” were devoid of meaning.
On the one hand we find the reasoned opinion of Europe declaring itself more and more strongly for peace, and, on the other hand, preparations for war which in their extent and effectiveness suggest that a lust for blood is the actuating principle of modern society. It is this sinister paradox which baffles the will and lowers the self-respect of the Western world, and when we ask ourselves, as we are bound to do, whether the object of these preparations is attained, we encounter another paradox. The other day I observed that Lord Lansdowne, in discussing the growth of armaments, made use of a striking phrase. He said: “The moment may come when the people of this country will prefer to eat their daily bread in fear rather than starve in security.”
But, gentlemen, can any of us say that as a result of such overwhelming sacrifices of money, of men, of ideals, and of civil dignity the sense of security has indeed been attained? Is it not evident that a process of simultaneous and progressive arming defeats its own purpose? Scare answers to scare, and force begets force, until at length it comes to be seen that we are racing one against another after a phantom security which continually vanishes as we approach. If we hold with the late Mr. Hay that war is the most futile and ferocious of human follies, what are we to say of the surpassing futility of expending the strength and substance of nations on preparations for war, possessing no finality, amenable to no alliances that statesmanship can devise, and for ever consuming the reserves on which a State must ultimately rely when the time of trial comes, if come it must—I mean the well-being and vitality of its people?
Do not imagine that I wish to discourage you by contrasting the hard facts of the situation with the aspirations which we all share. That is the last thing that I have in my mind. I am not despondent about the future.
In the first place, it is only a few short years since peace was a wanderer on the face of the earth, liable at any moment to be trampled upon and despitefully used; and if wars and preparations for wars have not ceased since she found a rest for the sole of her foot at The Hague, remember that time is needed for the growth of confidence in the new order of things, and that allowance must be made for the momentum of the past which thrusts the old régime forward upon the new.
Remember, too, that the people are on your side. I know it is said that democracy is as prone to war as any other form of government. But democracy, as we know it, is a late comer on the world’s stage, where it has barely had time to become conscious of its characteristic powers, still less to exert them effectively in its external relations.
The bonds of mutual understanding and esteem are strengthening between the peoples, and the time is approaching when nothing can hold back from them the knowledge that it is they who are the victims of war and militarism; that war in its tawdry triumphs scatters the fruits of their labor, breaks down the paths of progress, and turns the fire of constructive energy into a destroying force.
In this connection I can not refrain from saying for myself, and I am sure for every one in this great and historic assembly, how glad we are to welcome among us to-day the representatives of the youngest of parliaments—the Russian Duma. We deeply appreciate the circumstances of their appearance in our midst. It is, I venture to think, of good augury for your movement and for the future of Europe that the first official act of the Russian Parliament in regard to affairs outside the Russian Empire has been to authorize its delegates to come here to Westminster and to join hands with us in the assertion of those great principles of peace and good will which were so incalculably advanced by the head of the Russian State, the author and convener of the first Hague Congress.
I make no comment on the news which has reached us this morning; this is neither the place nor the moment for that. We have not a sufficient acquaintance with the facts to be in a position to justify or criticize.
But this at least we can say, we who base our confidence and our hopes on the parliamentary system: New institutions have often a disturbed, if not a stormy youth. The Duma will revive in one form or another. We can say with all sincerity, “The Duma is dead: long live the Duma.”
The time is approaching to which we are all looking forward with intense interest and anxious hope when the delegates of your various nationalities find themselves once again at The Hague, there to renew their labors in the cause of peace. I can only end as I began by wishing success to your deliberations. May they pave the way to far-reaching and beneficent action.
Tell your governments when you return home—what the members of the British Parliament, whom I see before me, are never tired of telling me—that example is better than precept, that actions speak louder than words; and urge them in the name of humanity to go into The Hague Congress, as we ourselves hope to go, pledged to diminished charges in respect of armaments. Entreat them to go there with a belief in the good disposition of nations to one another, such as animates you, the members of a score of parliaments, and may it be your great reward, when you next assemble a year hence, to know that as a result of your labors the light of peace burns with a steadier and a more radiant flame.
Delivered in the French language in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords, London, at the opening of the Interparliamentary Conference, July 23, 1906. From a copy in English kindly furnished by Sir Henry for this work.
Posted on 01/26/2012 2:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Don't get me wrong -- I like "Because the Night". But sometimes a singer should shut up and sing. And a writer should just shut up. Cheers, Luc Sante:
The system (Patti) Smith bled from language was an oracular nonstop cavalcade of words hurled like sixteenth notes, powered by a rhythm imposed by force of will. While she engaged with prosody and songcraft a bit in her early years—”Death comes sweeping through the hallway like a lady’s dress/Death comes riding down the highway in its Sunday best” (“Fire of Unknown Origin”)—by the time she fronted a full band she seemed less interested in singing lyrics, preferring to chant simple refrains or to deploy her words as a discordant, wild-card instrument, a version of what the critic Lester Bangs called “skronk.” She made capital use of jukebox slang at first, but increasingly she sought biblical allusions and cadences, echoed the incantatory Rastafarian style of Jamaican talk-over artists such as Tappa Zukie, and she favored the orientalism in Rimbaud (whose father after all translated the Koran).
Say no more. No, really.
Posted on 01/26/2012 2:39 PM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Alexandre Dumas' Felix-Fauresque Double-Entendre
[A re-posting prompted by the attack in Douma, Syria]
Saturday, 12 January 2008
From "I Borboni di Napoli" by Alexandre Dumas:
"Il re di Spagna non ha bisogno che di due cose: una donna ed un inginocchiatoio."
Posted on 01/12/2008 5:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Posted on 01/26/2012 2:49 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 January 2012
A Musical Interlude: I'm A Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas (Louis Armstrong)
[A re-posting of a song prompted by events in Douma, Syria]
Posted on 01/26/2012 2:41 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Lt. Col. Joel Rayburn: Iraq After America
Iraq After America
2012 promises to be a stormy year for the beleaguered country.
What a difference two years make. Little more than two years ago, Iraq seemed headed on a sure path to stability. [Did it? 0nly to those -- that is practically everyone -- who was willing to ignore the entire history of modern Iraq and the effect, above all, of Islam -- inculcating violence, aggression, and a refusal to compromise -- on the minds of its adherents]The U.S.-Iraqi “surge” that ended the spiral of sectarian violence in 2007-08 culminated in the Iraqi electorate’s widespread rejection of sectarian parties in the provincial elections of early 2009. New cross-sectarian, nationalist coalitions were ascendant, the sectarian political space in which Al Qaeda and Shia militants thrived was dramatically reduced, and state institutions were finally recovering from their long post-2003 collapse. A new Iraqi state seemed to be emerging in which enduring U.S. interests—ensuring the stable flow of Iraq’s oil, denying Iraq as a base for terrorist groups, and preventing Iraq from destabilizing the broader region—would be secure.
Two years on, most of these positive trends are on the verge of being reversed, and 2012 promises to be a stormy year in Iraq. The troops have gone, but the dangers remain, and are gathering.
Photo credit: MATEUS_27:24&25
Foremost among them, the political pact among Iraq’s main parties—the accommodation that has guaranteed the dramatic reduction in violence since mid-2008—is unraveling. Whether driven by fear, or tempted by an opportunity not to be missed, or both, Prime Minister Nuri Maliki’s Da’wa party sparked a crisis on December 15 by moving to purge its top political rivals within hours of the ceremony marking the departure of the last U.S. forces.
In the first 96 hours without U.S. troops, Maliki and his allies ordered security forces to surround rival politicians’s homes, issued an arrest warrant against Vice President Tariq Hashimi, called for parliament to remove Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq, and announced a terrorism investigation against Finance Minister Rafi al-Issawi. Taken together, these moves amounted to an attempt to decapitate Iraqiyah, the Sunni-majority political coalition, led by Ayad Allawi, which had won a narrow plurality in the elections of March 2010.
One month after U.S. troops departed from Iraq, the nation’s politics lie in disarray, with no clear route back to stability. The intervening weeks have offered Maliki a number of opportunities to defuse the situation, but at each turn he and his Da’wa party have instead chosen to escalate the confrontation.
When Iraqiyah’s parliamentarians and ministers staged a boycott in protest against the pressure being applied to their leaders, Maliki responded by threatening to appoint his own loyalists to head their ministries and to form a new government without them. As Iraq’s Sunni communities began to demonstrate against what they perceived as Maliki’s attempt to drive Sunnis out of a share of political power, Maliki’s office announced a deal that would allow the Iranian-sponsored Asa’ib Ahl al-Haqq militia to enter the political process. When Iraq’s Sunni vice president fled to Kurdistan, having sought refuge from Kurdish leader (and Iraqi President) Jalal Talabani, Maliki demanded that the Kurds surrender Hashimi for prosecution in Baghdad, while one of Maliki’s parliamentarians declared that Talabani should be charged with harboring a terrorist.
Throughout the ensuing standoff, Maliki’s security forces have continued a series of raids and arrests against Iraqiyah leaders’s offices and staffs in Baghdad. Every few days, the Maliki government or its opponents take another small step towards the cliff, beyond which lies political violence and possibly civil war. And every few days, the ongoing political struggle creates more space in which Iraq’s sectarian militants—especially Al Qaeda in Iraq among Sunnis and the old Mahdi Army among the Shia—can operate, as the recent horrific terrorist bombings in Baghdad and Iraq’s south have demonstrated.
Iraq's politics lie in disarray. There is no clear route back to stability.
As distressing as these developments are, they should not have come as a great surprise. They have been in the making for months now. For most of the past year, the question of whether to end or extend the U.S. troop presence in Iraq has obscured Da’wa’s campaign to grasp control of the Iraqi state for the long term. Having signed an agreement in 2010 to share power with Iraq’s other major parties, Maliki and Da’wa instead consolidated it in 2011, steering the Iraqi government back toward the disconcertingly familiar type of authoritarian regime that uses state power to intimidate political rivals and suppress popular opposition.
Nowhere is this consolidation more pronounced than in Iraq’s security sector, where until recently Maliki himself served as both Minister of Defense and Minister of Interior, despite the year-old agreement to share those portfolios with other parties. Inside Maliki’s office, his national security advisor controls Iraq’s intelligence agencies, while his son Ahmed and his military advisors have effectively taken control of the security forces and contractors guarding the Green Zone.
Having acquired the state’s coercive power, Maliki and his political allies have not hesitated to use it. In February and March of 2011, Iraqi security forces suppressed “Arab Spring” style demonstrations by killing almost 30 protestors across the country; in October and November, the Ministry of Interior arrested more than 600 former Baathist associates for their alleged involvement in an improbable coup plot. The killing of protestors in the spring made clear that the state would not tolerate popular dissent, while the wave of arrests in the fall made clear that the “national reconciliation” project, begun with U.S. encouragement in 2007-08, was over.
There are those on the U.S. side who believe that Nuri Maliki is an Iraqi nationalist desiring a strong relationship with the United States in order to counterbalance Iranian influence in Iraq. Maliki is our ally, they argue, the best guarantor of our long-term interests in Iraq, who wanted but could not politically deliver an agreement to extend the U.S. troop presence in the country, and is yet seeking ways to maintain a strong security relationship with us.
But this interpretation is fantasy. Our troops have left Iraq because Prime Minister Maliki and his Da’wa party saw no compelling interest in our staying. Nor do Maliki and Da’wa see a compelling interest, at present, in securing the country against Iranian influence. This is because he and Da’wa are embarked on a project to consolidate power and permanently eliminate Baathism and former Baathists from public life, aims that our military presence tends to impede but that the Iranian regime and its Iraqi militant proxies often support.
Meanwhile, the sectarian lines that divided Iraq’s communities in the civil war of 2005-08 are hardening once more. The Maliki government’s refusal to share power, coupled with the ongoing consolidation of Shia political power in Baghdad, has alarmed Iraq’s Sunnis, pushing them into the once-unthinkable position of demanding a deep devolution of power that amounts, in the minds of many Iraqis, to the soft partition of the state.
In its foreign policy, Iraq is moving into alignment with the Iranian regime.
Similarly alarmed by Maliki’s consolidation of power and their own marginalization in Baghdad, Iraq’s Kurds have taken measures designed to ensure the viability of a future independent Kurdish state, such as November’s signing of a mammoth deal with Exxon that allows the company to explore for oil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Of course, the Sunnis and Kurds are not alone; distrustful of the gathering power of the Baghdad government, almost every one of Iraq’s 15 Arab provinces outside of the Kurdistan region is considering a campaign to demand regional autonomy. These and many similar tensions tear at the fabric of Iraqi society, indicating that after almost nine years of war, the fundamental drivers of the Iraq conflict remain unresolved. Simply put, Iraq’s major communities have not yet worked out how to live with one another in peace.
Nor has Iraq found a way to live peacefully in the region. In its foreign policy, the new Iraqi state is moving into alignment with the Iranian regime, opposing the United States on key policy issues, such as Bahrain and Syria, while apparently lining up on the Shia side of a widening regional sectarian divide. Indeed, in Syria, the Iraqi government finds itself at odds with its own Sunni citizens, who now harbor dreams of a Sunni state in Damascus. With 15 million Syrian Sunnis at their backs, Iraq’s Sunnis hope to extract a greater share of the state from the Shia power in Baghdad, or even to win back power in Iraq outright. It goes without saying that in an unstable region, these are perfect ingredients for broader conflict.
Then there is the persistent danger U.S. troops and officials face in Iraq. From their strongholds in Sadr City, southern Iraqi cities, and Iran, the Iranian-sponsored militias of the Sadr movement and its associates lie in wait, poised to possibly continue their long campaign of violence even in the absence of U.S. troops. “We will not accept any American presence in Iraq—military or otherwise,” Moqtada Sadr told Al-Arabiya TV in November. “In the event that they retain a presence, whether military or other—in the form of security companies and so on—they will be considered occupiers, and we will conduct resistance against them, whatever the price may be.”
His declaration should not be taken as an idle one; in June, Iraq’s Shia militants killed 15 Americans, the highest U.S. death toll in the country in two years, and though the intervening months have been quiet, the Sadrists have made clear their intention to attack the residual American presence—hundreds of U.S. officials, housed in one of the largest embassies in the world and protected by thousands of security contractors—until it is gone.
One senior Sadrist politician recently suggested that if the United States would not leave voluntarily, then the U.S. embassy could be forced to move to Amman, Jordan and do its work from there. Iraqi government leaders, meanwhile, have been curiously silent about this matter of a political party in the country’s governing coalition effectively declaring war on the diplomatic mission of an allied nation with whom Iraq supposedly has a strategic partnership.
After nine years of war, the drivers of the Iraq conflict remain unresolved.
Putting aside the issue of America’s strategic interests in Iraq, there is also the question of America’s moral commitments there. In the aftermath of our withdrawal, America’s abandoned local friends—those Iraqis who worked with or for the United States over the past eight years—face the prospect of being penalized as “collaborators,” in danger of being purged from public life, or worse. In the Iraqi military, key pro-American officers have begun to lose their positions. In southern communities and Baghdad, our NGO partners have begun closing up shop, pressured by local Sadrists and other Shia political groups. [all perfectly predictable, and predicted]
Countrywide, thousands of former U.S. interpreters, clerks, and service workers are under pressure and threat of reprisals. According to Moqtada Sadr, they are “traitors” who worked for the “occupiers” and thus must be “boycotted,” i.e. prevented from holding senior positions in any field. For now, the Iraqis who were most loyal to us must hide their U.S. certificates of appreciation, invent cover stories, and wait for better days.
It didn’t have to end this way. [yes, it did] As late as the fall of 2009, a stable, democratic Iraq seemed within reach, one in which Iraq’s communities could agree to peacefully share power without the need for U.S. troops as guarantors of the pact. [only if one ignored the entire violent history of modern Iraq, and the affect of the doctrine, practice, attitudes and atmospherics of Islam'-But that positive momentum was arrested in the parliamentary elections of 2010, when the Shia-dominated parliamentary de-Baathification committee—associated with Ahmad Chalabi—barred hundreds of candidates from running before the election and attempted to unseat dozens of winners after the election.
Our failure to stop this Iraqi version of Iran's Guardian Council—which, with Maliki’s tacit support, mainly targeted candidates from Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiyah coalition—meant that the election was conducted under a dark cloud that has never lifted. The affair poisoned relations between Iraqiyah and Maliki’s State of Law coalition, making our later aim of organizing a majority government comprised of those two blocs exceedingly difficult.
Not that we retained enough leverage to press for a positive outcome in any case. In retrospect, the decision to reduce the U.S. troop presence in Iraq by 50 percent during the government formation interregnum of 2010 must be seen as a strategic error that dissipated American influence when it was needed most, leaving Iraqis with the impression that we were more concerned with the physical security of the ballots and polling places than with the election’s political outcome.
The troop reduction thus signaled a decoupling of our military campaign from our political objectives in Iraq, a reversal of the successful 2007-08 Petraeus-Crocker strategy of ensuring that all military activities supported political ends. Most importantly, the reduction signaled a lack of long-term American commitment to Iraqi politicians who were casting about for long-term support.
Historians will puzzle over how a nine-year American military campaign resulted not in democracy, but in an Iraq led by a would-be strongman, riven by sectarianism and separatism, and increasingly aligned with America’s regional adversaries. The United States does not yet seem to understand what it has wrought in Iraq, and certainly has not had an honest debate about our enduring interests in Iraq and how to achieve them.
Most American observers have hailed the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq as a victory of sorts, while according Iraq little value in the hierarchy of our foreign policy interests, despite the country’s importance to the global economy and to the politics of a vital region undergoing profound change.
If the current trends continue, the instability of post-American Iraq—as well as its hostility to our influence and presence—may far exceed our planned capacity to manage it. Absent a sober reappraisal of our interests, position, and relationship with the emerging Iraqi state, we must be content to see Iraq drift into an adversarial camp or into civil war for years to come. Perhaps, in the end, this is what comes of having declared an end to a war that is not over.
Lieutenant Colonel Joel Rayburn, a contributor to the Hoover Institution Working Group on Islamism and the International Order, is a senior military fellow at the National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies. A US Army intelligence officer with nineteen years of experience in intelligence and political-military affairs, he has specialized in strategic analyses of the Middle East for the past decade. He has served in a variety of assignments and deployments in the Middle East and South Asia, with special emphasis on Iraq and Afghanistan. Rayburn received his undergraduate degree in history and English literature from the US Military Academy in 1992 and a master’s degree in history from Texas A&M in 2002. From 2002 to 2005 he was an assistant professor of history at the US Military Academy.
Posted on 01/26/2012 3:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Australia: ASIO Proposes to Hire Muslim Foxes to Guard the Chookyard; Foxes Complain That He Hasn't Been Nice To Foxes
Before I link and discuss the article, I will provide a link to take you to a report that appeared in November 2011 - 'ASIO Investigating More Terror Threats Than Ever'.
In which article no-one dared, of course, to remark upon the fact that in 2011 Australia has many more Mohammedan residents than it had in 2001, and that the influx of Mohammedans continues unabated, and that there might just possibly be a correlation between this increase in the size and strength of the Mohammedan 'community' and the increased number of 'Australians [sic - Muslims in Australia, betcha - CM] who are "toying with the ideology of extremism"'.
But now for that invitation to the foxes...
'ASIO seeks to recruit Muslim spies'
And the foxes profess interest...CM
'A Muslim community leader has welcomed comments from the head of Australia's intelligence agency that it needs to recruit more Muslims.
'ASIO director-general David Irvine made the comments during a rare public address at the Sydney Institute.
"ASIO needs to recruit more people from within our newly-arrived migrant communities", he said.
Yeah, from among all those Somali Muslims, Lebanese Muslims, Afghan Muslims, Iraqi Muslims, Pakistani Muslims, Persian Muslims,...what could possibly go wrong? - CM
'"Connected to this is the need for ASIO to develop even better outreach into our different ethnic communities, particularly Australian Muslim communities".
Memo to Mr David Irvine: Islam is not an ethnicity, it is an ideology. Would you talk about 'Australian neonazi communities', or 'Australian Communist communities'? If not, do not categorise our Muslim colonies as 'ethnic communities'. David Hicks was Australian by birth, Anglo-Celtic by ethnic ancestry, and Muslim by a conscious choice of ideology. Did he change his ethnicity when he recited the Shahada? - CM
'"My constant message to our valued Islamic community (why 'valued'? wherefore 'valued'? - CM) Islamic community is very simple: 'ASIO is not against Islam, it is against terrorism; against terrorism that kills both Muslims and non-Muslim alike.
'ASIO is not against Islam.' My dear Mr Irvine, good luck with convincing the Muslims of that. They are already deeply convinced that the whole of the non-Muslim population of planet earth, all six billion or so of us, is their mortal enemy; the proof of this is our aggressive and obstinate refusal to convert to Islam or to accept the position of despised dhimmis within a global Muslim despotism. ASIO's insistence on ferreting out and arresting pious Muslims who are merely attempting to perform their duty of waging jihad to convince Australian non-Muslims to join the Ummah or to become jizya-paying semi-slave dhimmis, is one of the things that shows that Australian kafirdom is against Islam. Replace 'terrorism' with 'combat jihad' and one realizes how nonsensical is Mr Irvine's distinction between 'Islam' and 'terrorism'. The fact that acts of combat jihad very frequently kill Muslims as well as non-Muslims, means nothing; the most zealous Muslims, the people that Nonie Darwish called 'allah's enforcers', constantly attack and terrorise other, deemed-less-zealous Muslims, in order to compel them to toe the sharia line more perfectly, or to punish them for not having done so to the satisfaction of the self-appointed Enforcers. - CM
'"To achieve our common goal of a safe and harmonious community we need to work with you".
What 'common goal'?? The Islamic goal is a world ruled by sharia, in which Muslims rule and non-Muslims grovellingly submit. There is no 'common goal' between pious, observant Muslims - Muslims who follow the instructions in their books - and non-Muslim Australians. There cannot possibly be. There is no common ground and no common good, because what Muslims are taught to desire and work toward, and what non-Muslim Australians desire and work toward, are ends completely incompatible with and indeed antithetical to one another. I have to ask myself: has Mr David Irvine, director-general of Australia's 'intelligence agency', ever even glanced at a copy of the Quran in a clear translation with standard accompanying Islamic commentary, or at the 'book of jihad' in one of the sahih hadiths, or at the Sira of Ibn Ishaq in either of the two classical English translations? Failing that, all he needs to do is to read Jacques Ellul's little essay on 'Jihad' which forms the foreword to Bat Yeor's monumental tome "The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam", or Patrick L Moore's magisterial article "From Cold War to Guerra Fria" (1994) or the latest essay by Andrew McCarthy, published in the National Review, January 23 2012.
So, in the forlorn hope that some non-Muslim ASIO spooks, prowling the internets, may come across this article which mentions their boss's name and his hare-brained scheme for inviting Muslim foxes to help him guard our chookyard, I will now supply the links for each of these items, which I strongly encourage everyone in ASIO, right down to the lowliest secretary's secretary, driver and security grunt, to read, learn, mark and inwardly digest.
Jacques Ellul, on Jihad.
Patrick L Moore, From Cold War to Guerra Fria
and Mr McCarthy's excellent article
http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/40173 Monday, 23 January 2012 McCarthy: Islam is Islam And That's It
And no person of a free non-Muslim nation who has been charged with the task of national security and intelligence-gathering in these dark days of the Third Jihad should leave home without having read Raymond Ibrahim's masterly discussion of Taqiyya, the Muslim art of deception, which first appeared in 'Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst' on 26 September 2008.
http://www.meforum.org/2095/islams-doctrines-of-deception Islam's doctrines of deception by Raymond Ibrahimâ€¨Jane's Islamic Affairs Analystâ€¨October 2008
Now, back to our article on ASIO and its invitation to Muslim Fifth Columnists to march right in and make themselves at home. The Muslim spokesman contacted by the ABC invokes Muslim victimhood and starts playing hard to get.
'Ahmed Kilani from Muslimvillage.com welcomes Mr Irvine's comments but has called for ASIO to be more open in its relations with the Muslim community.
What does he mean, 'more open'? Must ASIO ring ahead politely to let Muslims suspected - or known - to be plotting jihad know when the police are going to arrive on the doorstep? - CM
'He says the relationship between Muslims and the intelligence agency has been uncertain since the September 11 attacks.
'Uncertain'. ASIO has, very properly, been keeping an eye on the card-carrying adherents of a belief system that was actively professed by the people who flew the planes into the twin towers. And their scrutiny of the Mohammedan 'community' has led to the nipping in the bud of quite a few rather nasty jihad terror plots. - CM
"Although it's ten years later, we welcome the comments but I also think there'll be a lot of suspicion in the Muslim community just in the way that ASIO has been engaging with them in a very covert way, in a very unofficial way, would lead to a lot of suspicion and mistrust for what's happened in the past", he said.
'Suspicion'. 'Suspicion and mistrust for what's happened in the past'. Mate, you do not know the meaning of irony. After allahu-akbaring Muslims blew up planes and buildings on September 11 - eleven Australians were among the dead - and after Muslims blew up scores of innocent tourists (including many, many Australians) in Bali, and after Muslims blew up trains in Madrid and trains and a bus in London, and so on, non-Muslim Australians - not just ASIO or our army or our police, but every non-Muslim Aussie citizen who has a gram of commonsense and survival instinct - has every right to look with rational suspicion and mistrust at anybody who actively, visibly and aggressively proclaims him or herself a member of the Ummah, or Mohammedan Mob. We are under no obligation whatsoever to mollify your hurt feelings or do anything special to try to earn your trust, Mr Ahmed Kilani. It's the other way around. - CM
"The first that we hear of this is through the news media; no-one in the Muslim community's heard of this approach.
"Although I welcome what he's saying, really we need to see a real change in the approach for it to have any credibility".
Look at the arrogance of it. He's dictating terms.
Frankly, I would be best pleased if ASIO contained no Muslim employees whatsoever. Once one understands what Islam is all about, one realizes that no Muslim hired by ASIO, in any capacity whatsoever, could ever fully be trusted. It would take only one double agent to cause an enormous amount of damage. Best to operate on the precautionary principle. - CM
Posted on 01/26/2012 3:56 PM by Christina McIntosh
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Australia: Dozy Bahaii Bint Is Shocked to Find That The Thing Some Aussies Worry About Most, Is Muslims
Her Bahaii affiliation isn't mentioned in this report from the ABC on some 'research' done by one Professor Farida Fozdar, anthropologist at the University of Western Australia, into the attitudes of Australians who fly Aussie flags on their cars; but when, poking around on the internet, I discovered that she identifies herself as a Bahaii, I was somewhat nonplussed as to why she should speak disparagingly of those Australians she encountered - in her quick voxpop 'survey' - who expressed negative views toward Muslims; or why she should have been surprised that negative feelings about Muslims and toward asylum seekers (the vast majority of whom, at the moment, are Muslim males of military age, from places like Afghanistan and Iran) were much more common than negative feelings about other 'minority groups'. For all over the Islamic world, Bahaii are mercilessly and relentlessly persecuted. If our Bahaii Professor Fozdar had even a rudimentary sense of self-preservation, she should have been falling gratefully upon the necks of those Aussies who were brave enough to share with her their negative views about Islam, and encouraging them to call for an end to Muslim immigration and for some way of removing from Australia a significant proportion of those Muslims already present.
And now to the story on her 'research', as featured in an ABC program, 'The World Today', David Weber reporting.
'Aussie Flag Flyers More Racist: Survey".
'People who fly Australian flags on their cars have more racist views than the rest of the population, a new study has found.
'Many (percentages, please - CM) flag flyers also support the now-defunct White Australia Policy and are afraid the Australian culture is under threat,
Everybody in Australia, of whatever colour or ethnic background, who is not a Muslim - is under threat from the petrodollar-fuelled Jihad currently being waged in all directions and by all means. - CM
researchers from the University of Western Australia say.
'Researchers surveyed 513 revellers among the 300, 000 gathered to watch the Australia Day fireworks in Perth last year.
I'd love to see a list of the questions that were asked; and whether the respondents were drunk or sober. - CM
'One in five of those surveyed said they had attached Australian flags to their cars.
'WA anthropologist Farida Fozdar says those flying the flags expressed more racist opinions on a number of issues.
'"People who had flags on their cars, 43 percent of them believe the White Australia Policy had saved Australia from problems that other countries had experienced.
This means, by the way, that 67 percent of them did not believe it had been of any particular use. - CM
"Fifty-six percent of those with flags on their cars feared their culture and its most important values were in danger, compared to 34 percent of non-flag flyers."
I'd have been interested to see the exact criteria by which people were selected to be interviewed, and how many people were approached but refused. In any case: what does interest, here, is that a significant percentage of this admittedly rather small sample of Aussies - about half of 100 flag-wavers, and about a third of the 400 or so non-flag-wavers - are aware of some kind of threat to their country. - CM
'Professor Fodar says of the people surveyed who do fly flags, the common factor was fear.
"You can't actually ask outright a question about 'do you feel fearful?' I guess the question that I asked that was closest to that was the one about fearing the loss of one's cultures and most important values", she said.
You're a coward, Ms Fozdar. Why not cut to the chase and ask people straightout: when you go to the footie or the cricket, do you fear that some Muslim idiot or idiots will attempt to blow up the stadium? Do you fear that someone may blow up the bus, or plane, or train that you are riding on? If you still holiday in Bali, do you consider the possibility that there might be another attack there? And if you got Yes answers to those questions, Ms Fozdar, how would you interpret it? - CM
"Certainly 56 percent of people with car flags agreed with that statement, but there was definitely a feeling of, I guess, being under siege".
'She says the majority of those polled - whether they flew Australian flags or not - had negative views of Aboriginal people, Muslim Australians (sic: Muslims resident in Australia - CM) and asylum seekers (most of whom, in the past five years or so, have been Muslim; certainly those arriving illegally by boat are overwhelmingly Muslim - CM).
"I asked a question about some of the minorities within Australia who tend to bear the brunt of Australian racism", she said.
My dear Professor Fozdar, for the 1000th time, Muslims are not a 'race'. Distrust or fear of Muslims can be dismissed as 'bigotry' - though it is usually a quite rational response to the recognition of a real and present danger - but cannot be called 'racism'. I observe the implicit attempt to represent Muslims as equivalent in vulnerability to indigenous Australians - a grossly false analogy, since Muslims within Australia can summon to their aid the members of a large and aggressive ideological bloc that includes filthy-rich Arab Muslim oil states, whereas Aboriginal Australians truly are a very small ethnic group entirely confined to this continent, with no close kin nor wealthy sponsors elsewhere in the world. The swiftie "Muslims are the new blacks", when pulled in Australia, is just as specious as the swiftie "Muslims are the new Jews" that Muslims and their apologists are trying to pull in Europe. - CM
"There were a lot of people who felt negative towards Muslim Australians particularly and towards [overwhelmingly Muslim - CM] asylum seekers particularly."
But, my dear Professor Fozdar, did you bother to ask people why they were so very much more worried about Muslims, than about members of any other group? Fear of Muslims just might be connected to fear of being randomly blown up by some allahu-akbaring murder-'martyr' with an explosive vest - or a truck bomb. Or fear of being blown away with fire from an automatic weapon wielded by a Mohammedan ghazwa raider, as happened to a lot of Indian citizens and foreign tourists in Mumbai in 2008. Such fear cannot be assigned to mere prejudice; it shows an awareness of what is going on in the world, and an ability to put two and two together to make four. I would love to know just how many of those she 'surveyed', in this quick and dirty vox pop, whether flag-wavers or non-flag-wavers, were worried about Muslims only, as opposed to being worried about anybody or anything else. - CM
'But Professor Fozdar says according to her research it is simplistic to believe all of those with flags on their cars or trucks hold racist attitudes.
"You had flag flyers who were expressing non-racist views, so I wouldn't like people to go away from hearing about this research thinking, 'Oh well, all people who have flags on their cars are racist". That's certainly not the finding", she said.
'"But there is a place for more public education about the value of diversity to Australia to encourage people to feel more positive about that diversity".
Ah yes, diversity. I'm all for diversity. I have a Chinese sister-in-law and a half-Chinese niece and a Chinese uncle-by-marriage and half-Chinese cousins and a Filipina sister in law who makes pork dishes and sticky rice pudding to die for and is a pillar of the local Catholic church...I have a cousin with six kids from her marriage to an Aboriginal man, and my best friend (Italo-Australian) has a Malaysian-Chinese immigrant sister-in-law and a doe-eyed Eurasian nephew who is brilliant at classical ballet. But Islam hates diversity. Islam hates and despises everything that is not-Islam. Wherever Islam goes, Islam imposes a bleak monoculture stripped of all the things that make any human society or culture interesting - art, music, sculpture, intelligent inquiry, alcohol, and uncovered women sashaying down the street in pretty clothes that allow one to see their hair, their faces, and their figures (artfully covered, but not obliterated from view). I don't want any more Islam in Australia than we're currently afflicted with...not because I fear diversity but because I love and enjoy diversity. - CM
'She says Australian flags on cars are a common sight in the West. (That is, in the state of Western Australia. I dunno that it's specifically a sandgroper thing: I've seen plenty of Aussie flags flying from cars - and from houses, too - in my part of the country, as well. - CM).
"I think that's partly to do with the fact that here, Australia Day is a bit more of a celebration in terms of the fireworks and so on", she said.
"Clearly they were trying to say something by doing this and so I wanted to know what exactly were they trying to say."
'But since 2006 there has been a drop-off in the numbers of people flying flags.
How do they know this? Have they have teams of researchers visiting shopping centre carparks for the past five years and more, or sitting beside major thoroughfares on folding chairs with clipboards on their laps, ticking off the parked or passing cars - 'flag' 'no flag' 'flag' 'no flag' and totting up the scores at the end? - CM
'Professor Fozdar says this may partly be down to less businesses giving away cheap plastic flags, but she also says there may be a cultural shift.
"This might be a phenomenon that it's had its peak and now, you know, people are moving on to other things and they don't feel they need perhaps to express their nationalism in this sort of way", she said.
"Perhaps it may also demonstrate that people are feeling less insecure about their Australian identity".
Hmmm. Methinks that those who feel most secure in their Australian identity are precisely those who are going to concede not one millimetre to Mohammedan aggression, whining, and demands for 'respect' and special treatment.
I suggest that next Australia Day, Professor Fozdar, you do a different survey, with only two questions. Don't bother whether people are flying the flag or not: just pick out the same number of people - selecting people purely on the basis of their being visibly not Muslim, and confirming this by asking, before you go any further - and then ask them whether they would agree with a ban on all further Muslim immigration into Australia and if so, why. Now that would be a survey worth doing. - CM
Posted on 01/26/2012 6:29 PM by Christina McIntosh
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Great Australians, Series III, No 1: The Linguist. Dr Luise A Hercus, Shoah Refugee, Scholar, Recorder of Endangered Aboriginal Languages. Part A.
The account that appears below - divided into two parts, for it is quite lengthy - of the life and work of the brilliant German-Jewish Australian scholar and linguist Dr Luise Anna Hercus (nee Schwarzschild), is a somewhat abridged version of the highly-readable and affectionate biography provided by one of her friends and colleagues, Isobel White, as Introduction to the Festschrift presented to Dr Hercus on the occasion of her retirement - "Language and HIstory: Essays in Honour of Luise A Hercus", ed. Peter Austin, R M W Dixon, Tom Dutton, and Isobel White, and published by the Department of Linguistics, Australian National University, in 1990 (see pages 1-20). I will add, since the biography was published in 1990, that as of January 2012 Dr Hercus, at the grand old age of 86, is still very much alive and kicking and in possession of all her marbles, and still working away at her chosen fields of study; in March 2011 and in November 2011 she was presenting papers at conferences. - CM
"Luise Anna Schwarzschild was born on 16 January 1926 in Munich. Her father, Alfred, was born in 1874 in Frankfurt, where his family goes back to the early 16th century. The genealogy in the possession of Luise's family shows its members first as rabbis and teachers, later as prosperous bankers and merchants as well as intellectuals and professionals. Luise's father was an artist, one of his brothers was a well-known astronomer and another, Otto, emigrated to the United States and was able to send money back to Luise's father and mother after they fled, impoverished, to England. Luise's mother, Theodora (nee Luttner), a talented pianist, came from a Catholic family also noted for professional and intellectual achievemnt, some of whose members were active dissenters against Hitler's fascism. As a result her father (Luise's grandfather) died in the gas chambers at Dachau.
"Luise is the oldest of three sisters. The family led a secure middle-class existence in Munich, though her father lost much of his wealth in the inflation of the 1920s. The rise of Nazism and Hitler's election to the Chancellorship of the Reich in 1933 changed all this. The Schwarzschilds were listed as Jews and came under increasingly severe restrictions and oppression.
"The treatment of Jews by the Nazis was particularly distressing to Luise's father, who had fought for Germany in the First World War.
"She remembers with horror that when she was seven years old she was made to wear a yellow star on her arm and was ridiculed and avoided at school...
"In 1938 (that is, in the very nick of time, escaping by the merest whisker the awful fate that befell so many Jews in Germany and in the rest of continental Europe - CM) the family fled to England and first lived in a flat in East Finchley in north-west London.
"Luise was then 12 and ready for high school; she attended Tollington High School, where her poor knowledge of English made studies difficult at first. English schoolgirl twins were assigned to look after her as a Lenten penance (!! - CM); she and they became life-long friends as a result. As might be expected from her later achievements in language learning, she was soon fluent. The outbreak of war in September 1939 brought further disruptions, and her school was evacuated to Wolverton, Buckinghamshire...Luise, like all other evacuees, had to accommodate to a new home and family and to unfamiliar and overcrowded school buildings. She...rejoined her family while London was still subjected to bombing...Her parents had moved to a furnished house in Hampstead Gardens (near Golders Green) that belonged to a cousin..Luise then attended the Henrietta Barnett School, where her schooling was interrupted only by air-raids.
"In spite of this discontinuous and difficult schooling, Luise succeeded in winning a scholarship to St Anne's College, Oxford, in 1943, when only 17...
"Luise's undergraduate career was outstandingly successful; after three years she achieved first-class honours in Romance languages, specialising in mediaeval French.
(In the list of publications appended to the biography, the very first item is from 1952 - " A problem of early Walloon phonology: the form 'raneiet' in the Eulalia. French Studies 6: 235-242. - CM)
"At the same time, Luise decided to extend her knowledge of languages to India, and she studied Sanskrit and Prakrit under the guidance of the well-known scholar Thomas Burrow, Professor of Sanskrit. In 1948 she obtained first-class honours in Oriental Studies (Sanskrit and Prakrit, special subject Indian epigraphy and paleogeography). She was particularly attracted to the study of the grammar of Prakrit, a group of Middle Indo-Aryan languages known from inscriptions dating back to the third century BC. This group, which includes Pali (the language of the Buddhist scriptures of the Theravadins) poses many grammatical problems. There are still many gaps in the knowledge of these languages.
"In 1953 Luise published her first article on Middle Indo-Aryan, and has continued to publish many others, specialising in the study of Jain narrative literature in Prakrit, in leading Oriental journals in Europe, India, and the United States. Though the flow of these has diminished since she devoted more time and energy to the study of Australian Aboriginal languages, her continued interest in Indian studies is shown by the numerous reviews she has contributed to journals. Clearly her earlier studies of the complicated grammar of these early Indian languages had been a good preparation for her work on the equally (if not more) complicated grammar of Aboriginal languages.
"In 1948 Luise's father died...The family mainly lived on an allowance sent to them from America by Luise's uncle Otto. After Luise's father died, she and her mother bought the house they had been living in, in Hampstead Gardens (Luise by then had an income).
"In 1955 a dramatic change occurred; Luise met a young Australian physicist, Graham Hercus. He was on leave from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO for short - CM) and was in Oxford studying for a PhD. By the time he returned to Melbourne they had arranged that she should follow him, and a short time later they were married. They lived in Mooroolbark, an outer suburb of Melbourne at the foot of the Dandenong Ranges. In 1957 their son Iain was born.
"Luise, anxious to return to professional work, taught Sanskrit (without being paid) to a few students at Melbourne University, but soon turned her attention to the study of Australian Aboriginal languages...
"Around 1961 the Hercuses billeted an Aboriginal child from Warrnambool in western Victoria on a school visit and as a result Luise realised that there were still people in Victoria who knew some of their language. In 1962 she decided to challenge current opinion that Victorian languages were entirely extinct, and to search for surviving speakers throughout the state. Her motive was to gather as much information as possible before they really became extinct.
"At weekends and on annual leave Graham, a most supportive husband, drove his wife and small son to various parts of Victoria, where they tracked down old people who still remembered fragments of their native languages. Some were so old they were in hospitals or in institutions for the aged, others so demoralised that they were in prison; most lived in the fringe camps that housed Victorian Aborigines in the 1950s and 1960s.
"The two volumes of The languages of Victoria: a late survey (1969; republished in 1986) are the amazing result of Luise's ability to win the trust of these old people, her persistence and of course her intellectual skill - amazing because she salvaged these languages about 60 years after it was generally believed that there were no native speakers left.
"Not only was there a concerted effort in the nineteenth century and in the first half of the twentieth by settlers, missionaries, teachers and government officials to suppress native languages and to make all Aborigines speak English, but the young Aborigines were also infected with the same ideas. They came to believe that their own cultures and languages were not 'respectable', so they too ridiculed their grandparents for speaking the mother tongues and refused to learn the languages themselves...
"It must be hard for today's young linguists to understand the difficulty of Luise's task in overcoming a lifetime of forgetting in order to encourage the old people to recall their languages. It wasn't just a process of tracking down some old woman or old man reputed to know some language, and then sitting down with a tape recorder and recording a flow of words and grammer.
"More often it meant first of all allaying their suspicions of all white people and assuring them that the ancient knowledge which they possessed was important and unique.
"At the first interview only a few words might be recorded as it might take ten minutes to recall the word for 'water'. Luise would leave with a promise to come back in exchange for a promise on the part of the person that they would try to remember more words and sentences.
""This praise and encouragement was usually enough to unlock childhood memories so that when Luise returned much more would be recorded. From then on it became, for both of them, a kind of game and challenge until enough of the language was recorded to build up a picture of both grammar and vocabulary. The old person would be encouraged to spend idle time thinking back to the past; often messages would come to Luise that old so-and-so had remembered more and wanted Luise to pay another visit."
To get an idea of how this 'game and challenge' would be played, here is a link that will take you to a site where you can read, on the first several pages, a transcript of an archival tape made by Luise Hercus on the south coast of New South Wales. Luise is conversing with an old man called 'Bert' of Wallaga Lake who could remember words and phrases in the local language, Dhurga or Thoorga. - CM
"These weekend journeys...might have been remembered as long and tedious and uncomfortable, for there was little money to stay in hotels or motels; camping was the usual program (it was not until 1963 that the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies was able to grant research money for Luise's work). But when Luise and Iain (and Graham [husband] while he was alive) describe their experiences it is obvious that these weekends were very happy and memorable...They also made Luise familiar with one area, Victoria, of her adopted country, and later, as she extended the range of her research, much of south-east and central Australia. She soon came to know well great numbers of the Victorian Aborigines, the various families and how they were related and intermarried...Luise's pioneering work brought the Victorian languages out of obscurity and unrecorded extinction into respect for Aborigines and non-Aborigines alike...
I will add that today Luise herself - this German-Jewish immigrant to Australia - is perhaps the last known living speaker of the Wemba-Wemba language of inland Victoria, for she gained a speaking command of it in the course of her research. - CM
"Even in those early days Luise did not confine herself to Victoria, for state boundaries were European concepts and did not follow Aboriginal linguistic divisions. She worked on both sides of the Murray and northwards along the south coast of New South Wales. She also began the work that is the basis of her The Baagandji language (1982) by finding language speakers up the Darling River, particularly in Wilcannia and Bourke.
I have read The Baagandji Language. It is fascinating. - CM
'She encouraged much other work on New South Wales languages on the verge of extinction, including Lynette Oates' research on a neighbouring language to Baagandji, and Janet Mathew's collection of tape-recordings of languages throughout the state. She also introduced Tamsin Donaldson to linguistic fieldwork
Tamsin would, as a result of her work with the group of feisty little old ladies, among the last speakers of Ngiyampaa, to whom Dr Luise introduced her, publish Ngiyambaa: the language of the Wangaaybuwan (1980).
As her contribution to the Festschrift, Donaldson supplied two messages spoken in Ngiyampaa, with translation, by two of these ladies, in which they gave their own perspective on Dr Luise Hercus.
These ladies, 'Marnie King' (as also her sister Sarah Johnson, dec'd), gave Luise the nickname patakirraparaaypuwan - 'the one with the red skirt'. Donaldson recalls, too, that the Ngiyampaa also called Luise nhanya-puwan maying-ku ngiya - 'someone persistent about [Aboriginal] language' or, to give it a more colloquial translation "a bugger for language". - CM
"Her research then turned to language salvage in South Australia. She soon met the central character in her research for many years, Mick McLean Irinjili, the grand old man of the central Wangkangurru people originally of the Simpson Desert. He was a most remarkable man with an intellect to rival that of any famous world figure. Born in 1888 in the Simpson Desert (known to his own people as mikiri nganha - 'the well country', that is 'the country of the wells' - this one learns from reading Dr Hercus's record of his people's language and stories - CM) he had left it with his family as a boy and had been initiated in an Aranda ceremony in the early years of the century. Hew as fluent in a number of languages including English and was able to record for Luise histories, songs and stories covering a wide area of northern South Australia. He knew that otherwise his knowledge would die with him. Luise, along with all who knew him, mourned his death in 1977.
"It was not only Irinjili who sang songs to Luise and led her to important places. She has travelled all over the Simpson Desert guided by old men and women revisiting traditional sites for the first time since their youth. Some still remembered the associated myths and song-cycles.
"She probably knows more 'songlines' than any other non-Aboriginal person and is well aware of the link between people, song, myth and site.
"In her forthcoming (published in 1994) Arabana-Wangkangurru Grammar Luise writes how she came to meet Mick McLean and other Arabana Wangkangurru speakers:
""This Victorian study was well advanced when in January 1965 we went again along the Murray to try to learn more. This time we met another family, that of Catherine Ellis [musicologist - CM] from the University of Adelaide, who was recording music in the same area. She suggested that there was equally urgent work to be done in South Australia. I consulted A. Capell, the greatest living authority on Aboriginal linguistics, and he was enthusiastic: Bernhard Schebeck was working on Adnjamathanha in the Flinders Ranges, but I was to see how much I could record of the other southern central languages, Pangkarla, Kuyani and Nukuna...T G H Strehlow was the most helpful of all, and suggested I should become a part-time research fellow in his department. The only warning note came from N B Tindale: he thought that it was all right to try and record what remained of Kuyani and related languages (and as it happened, in the end Dr Luise was able to find perhaps the last known speaker of Kuyani, patiently and gently gain her trust over a period of years, and record what she knew of the language - CM) but if I really wanted to learn something I should find a very old Wangkangurru man with a Scottish-sounding name."
'Her search for speakers of Kuyani and related languages had little success, but at Andamooka [one of Australia's small, remote opal-mining towns - CM] she met the oldest Arabana man, Tim Strangways.
"Tim was just sitting there, nobody was recording his language. So that he should not feel left out, I [Luise] asked him a few words. It was obvious at once that here was not only a fluent speaker, but a brilliant teacher. In a flash I saw the sheer folly of pursuing only that which was no longer there, and rejecting a language that was still alive, namely Arabana. So I began a long association with Arabana people, and soon came to meet Tim's nephew by marriage Mick McLean Irinjili, the Wangkangurru man with the Scottish name mentioned by Tindale. He made me aware of the importance of traditions and we went on expeditions twice and even three times a year gradually covering most of the north-east of South Asutralia. Over a long period of time he recited all the vast store of oral literature that he held. Other Wangkangurru and Arabana people joined in and we gradually compiled the material for this grammar and for a work on the oral traditions of the Lake Eyre basin, so that these would be available for future generations".
[To be continued in a second posting].
Posted on 01/26/2012 8:40 PM by Christina McIntosh
Thursday, 26 January 2012
American Government To Muslim Arabs In Iraq: Try Not To Act Like Muslim Arabs
U.S. to Iraq: don't "blow this opportunity"
(Reuters) - The United States has warned Iraq not to "blow this opportunity" to become a prosperous, unified nation, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday, saying it must start to act like a democracy and embrace compromise.
Iraq has suffered its worst political crisis in a year with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's move to arrest Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi last month, which has raised fears of renewed sectarian violence following the U.S. troop withdrawal.
Speaking in a question-and-answer session with State Department employees, Clinton said U.S. ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey has taken the lead in urging Iraqi politicians including Maliki, a Shi'ite, to settle their differences peacefully.
"He is constantly ... reaching out, meeting with, cajoling, pushing the players, starting with Prime Minister Maliki, not to blow this opportunity," she said. "This is an opportunity to have a unified Iraq and the only way to do that is by compromising."
Hashemi, a Sunni, was accused of running death squads. He has denied the charges and sought refuge in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region, where he is unlikely to be arrested.
The current political crisis threatens to break up the country's fragile coalition government, raising fears it could slip back into the sectarian carnage that broke out following the 2003 U.S. invasion.
Clinton said despite the downfall of Saddam Hussein, whose Sunni-dominated regime oppressed Iraq's Shi'ite majority, Iraqis' "minds are not yet fully open to the potential for what this new opportunity can mean to them."
She said the United States would do whatever it could to help "but at the end of the day, Iraq is now a democracy but they need to act like one and that requires compromise."
Posted on 01/26/2012 11:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 26 January 2012
Great Australians, Series III, No 1: The Linguist. Dr Luise A Hercus, Shoah Refugee, Scholar, Recorder of Endangered Aboriginal Languages. Part B.
Continuing an abridged verison of the biographical Introduction written by Isobel White for the festschrift, Language and History, presented to Dr Luise A Hercus on the occasion of her retirement. - CM.
'She [Dr Hercus] lists other contributors [to her work on the grammar and texts of Arabana-Wangkangurru] as Topsie MclLean (Mick's sister), Arthur McLean, Maudie and Tom Naylor and George Kempe, all of whom have since died, as well as Ben Murray and Mona Merrick who live in Port Augusta.
'Luise has described and photographed many sites and related them to their relevant esoteric knowledge. Some of her guides were the original 'owners' responsible for their care and maintenance but unable to visit them for many years previously.
'All this fieldwork has taken Luise, by light plane and four-wheel-drive vehicle, into areas long deserted by their original inhabitants. She still undertakes several such trips every year. She has hundreds of tapes made by Aboriginal men and women, recording languages, myths, songs and events in their lives and the lives of their long-dead kin.
'Only Luise has the knowledge (that is, the linguistic knowledge - CM) to transcribe these tapes; her sense of responsibility is great and she spends as much time as she can spare from teaching, administration and running her property in listening to them and putting them onto computer disks.
There is a piercing poignancy in this picture of this brilliant, elderly Jewish scholar in her grand old age racing against time to set down for posterity the language and knowledge of another people, handed on to her at a time when the people who shared it with her were themselves as old and near to death as she herself now is. The breath catches in the throat when one knows that this scholar, when a child, all her potential still unknown, so very narrowly escaped the prospect of being burned in a Nazi oven. - CM
'Luise keeps in close touch with the Aborigines who helped her with her research not merely as 'informants' but as friends. She sends them postcards, Christmas cards and gifts, and things they need that cannot be bought where they live...
"Luise has always cooperated with others engaged in similar research, and more recently with some Aboriginal research workers doing their own investigations of language and history. Several of the contributors to this volume (that is, to the festschrift - CM) have had the stimulating experience of joint fieldwork with Luise, an experience never to be forgotten. Many times she has introduced knowledgeable Aborigines to her companions so that these in turn were able to gain important information and to widen their own circle of contacts. Never did they find that anything Luise had said or done had made Aboriignes wary of researchers.
'Joint fieldwork of considerable importance was with ethnomusicologist Catherine Ellis (now Professor of Music at the University of New England). In the late 1950s Cath had studied overseas and had been awarded a PhD for musical analysis of T. G. H. Strehlow's recordings of Aranda ceremonies. On her return to Australia she began to make her own recordings of old people in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia who were the last to remember their traditional songs and ceremonies. Cath and Luise, both research fellows with T G H Strehlow, made a number of trips together in the 1960s.
'In the Western Desert of South Australia ceremonial life was still very much alive; ceremonies were performed by both men and women, some together, others by men or women separately. The women's secret ceremonies had been seen and described by Catherine Berndt and by a very few other non-Aboriginal women, but had not been recorded, photographed and analysed in the way that the men's ceremonies had been, and were being, done.
'In 1966 Cath Ellis (by now on the staff of the music department at the University of Adelaide) with Luise's cooperation organised a team of women, consisting of herself as ethnomusicologist, Luise as linguist, Rhonda Buckley as still and film photographer, myself [Isobel White] as social anthropologist, and (on our first field trip only) Linda Penny as social psychologist. In 1966, 1967 and 1968 we made three trips and recorded women's ceremonies and joint men's and women's ceremonies at Oodnadatta, Coober Pedy and Indulkana. Thus Luise extended her linguistic research into the Western Desert language. Her contribution was vital when the recordings were played back while the performers told us the words, their meaning in English and the story of which each ceremony was a re-enactment.
'In 1970, 1971 and 1972 Luise and I [Isobel White] went to Port Augusta and places to the north to study the complex pronoun system of the Adnyamathanha language of the Flinders Ranges people. Following Bernhard Schebeck's analysis of the language, based on information mostly from men, the Institute of Aboriginal Studies suggested we compare his findings with the language spoken by women. We met some interesting and lively women, in particular May Wilton at Beltana, an outstandingly intelligent woman whose thorough understanding of the grammar of her own language, and of English, made it possible for her to explain the complex system of pronouns and their tie to the kinship and marriage system. She once said to us, "What a pity I never had the chance to learn to read and write, I could have written all this down fo ryou folks and saved you a lot of trouble". May in particular, and her brother, sisters-in-law, daughters, nieces and cousins, taught us these systems so that we finally understood which set of pronouns the Adnyamathanha would use in talking to or of each other. Luise's quick grasp of a new language seemed to be quicker than mine of a new and unfamiliar kinship system, but I doubt if either of us could have performed this difficult assignment alone. We were like two people putting together an extremely intricate jigsaw puzzle, where one of the two had a particular facility for recognising shapes and outlines and the other for distinguishing colour and pattern.
'Fieldwork with Luise was always enjoyable. We were both deeply interested in the Aborigines we met; we also shared a joy in the natural world so that we were never bored with the endless kilometres we drove in South Australia...
'Luise had the opportunity of returning to academic life in 1969 when the Australian National University offered her a post as Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Asian Studies to teach Sanskrit. Special permission was given for her to live in Melbourne and to spend teaching weeks in Canberra. So she flew to Canberra each week early on Monday and returned on Thursday or Friday, spending week nights in Burton Hall where she acted as a deputy warden. In 1973 she was made a Reader of the Asian Studies Faculty...
'As well as her teaching she has carried a full load of administrative duties, been Deputy Dean and has sat on many committees.
'In 1978 she was elected to the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
'In 1976 the Australian National University awarded her a PhD for her published studies on Middle Indo-Iranian and on Australian Aboriginal languages. (In 1990 Iain [her son - CM] was awarded a PhD - in astronomy - from the same university).
'As Senior Lecturer and as Reader Luise has always read a wide range of texts in Sanskrit and Prakrit with her students who have benefited greatly from her enthusiasm for this field of study. Her colleagues in the Faculty of Asian Studies greatly appreciate her knowledge [of] and studies in Prakrit.
'In 1974 Luise and Ian suffered a major tragedy - Graham's untimely death after many months of illness..
'...Luise moved to Canberra and soon afterwards bought a property near Gundaroo. She had always wanted to own land and be a farmer and could not face life in another suburban setting without Graham. All the contributors to this volume [that is, to 'Language and History' - CM] have visited her property and know how successful she has been in creating a pleasant environment for herself, Iain and a succession of visitors. With the help of Iain and others she manages her 280 hectare sheep property most efficiently. In a fashion typical of Luise, the property is called 'Kintala', the Diyari word for 'dog'.
'This account of Luise Hercus is not complete without some personal reminiscences...Luise is a true eccentric, a breed that is becoming all too rare in these days of increasing conformity. What makes her eccentric is in part an apparent lack of concern about what the world thinks of her behaviour. Luise's appearance is always pleasing; she has achieved a style of dress all her own, not caring much about prevailing fashion...
'Who would imagine that this distinguished scholar of Sanskrit and Aboriginal languages would also hold a trade certificate in welding, another in wool classing, and has studied fitting and turning? For years Luise has attended the local TAFE (that is, Technical and Further Education college - CM) one evening a week and was disappointed in 1989 when her duties as Acting Dean of the Asian Studies Faculty made it impossible to fit in that one evening. In 1990 she is studying panel beating and renovating old cars.
'Luise's keenness on mechanical skills is reflected in her devotion to computers. Among her friends she is known as a 'computer junkie' and admits she suffers withdrawal symptoms when prevented for too long from 'playing with her computer'. Of course this devotion has its merits; she does not seem to mind how long she sits at her computer, transcribing her language tapes onto disks or writing one more paper to add in due course to her long list of publications...
'Luise's passion for native animals is well known; many are the orphaned wombats and kangaroos she has raised. And this is no easy task, for it may involved three-hourly bottle feeds, day and night, plus all-too-frequent trips to the local veterinary clinic...It also means taking the baby wombat or kangaroo everywhere she goes, either hanging in a warm sack (to reproduce the mother's pouch) or in a cage when the baby is older...New students or other visitors to her room are startled by a cage containing a wombat, or a sack hanging up with a joey's head poking out, or an outsize dog..."
"The other editors of this volume join me [Isobel White] in wishing Luise well in her retirement. We know she will always be usefully employed, even though formally retired...".
Isobel White's fascinating biography was followed in the festschrift by no less than eight pages listing Dr Luise Hercus's scholarly writings - original articles, reviews of academic publications, and books - from 1952 to 1990.
I have already mentioned Dr Hercus' first published article, on early Walloon phonology. Her next article, in 1953, was entitled "Notes on the future system in Middle Indo-Aryan', and appeared in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1953, pp. 42-52; in 1954 the same Journal published her article on The Possessive Adjectives of Late Prakrit", and in 1955 her article "Notes on the history of the infinitive in Middle Indo-Aryan' appeared in the Journal of the Linguistic Society of India (Chatterji Jubilee Volume), Vol 16, pages 29-34. A string of other articles and reviews of scholarly texts followed - for the delectation of New English Review contributor Hugh Fitzgerald, one must mention, for example, "Gleanings from the Vasudevahindi', which appeared in Bharatiya Vidyaa, Vol 18/ 1, 22-26, and in 1968, "Some interrogative particles in Prakrit", in Shri Mahaavira Jaina Vidyaalaya Golden Jubilee Volume, 204-209.
Her life's work of documenting endangered Australian Aboriginal languages - grammar, lexicon, and texts, songs and stories whether personal, mythological or historical - is recorded in a long list of articles and books. One brief item tells the story of how she did eventually find the last speaker of Kuyani - "Only Old Alice Can Speak Kuyani", in Aboriginal News, Vol 1/ 4, pp 4-6. Another article is entitled "How we danced the Mudlunga": memories of 1901 and 1902, in Aboriginal History, 4/ 102, pp. 4-31. I myself (Christina) have read most of the books - the grammars, the dictionaries, and the analysed and translated song texts and oral histories. White's biography mentioned The Languages of Victoria: A Late Survey (1969; new and revised edition published in 1986). The other full-length works comprise - The Baagandji Language (Pacific Linguistics Series B no 67), 1982; A Nukunu Dictionary, 1992; Wemba-Wemba Dictionary, 1992; Paakantyi (i.e. Baagandji - CM) Dictionary, 1993; A Grammar of the Arabana-Wangkangurru Language of the Lake Eyre Basin, South Australia, 1994; A Grammar of the Wirangu Language from the west coast of South Australia (1999); and in 2009 the anthology, The Land is a Map: Place-Names of Indigenous Origin in Australia, which Luise edited (and to which she contributed) together with Flavia Hodges and Jane Simpson. With Peter Sutton she edited - and contributed to - a book called This is What Happened: Historical Narratives by Aborigines", 1986. Most recently (2010) she and Dr Harold Koch produced a book called Aboriginal Place-Names: Naming and Re-Naming the Australian Landscape, comprising articles by themselves and nineteen other scholars.
Dr Hercus put her linguistic knowledge and her mother-tongue knowledge of German to good use when in 1981 she translated and edited Volume V of the 19th-century German Lutheran missionary J G Reuther's 'The Diyari', his monumental - even encyclopaedic - account of the Diyari people of the Lake Eyre region, which Reuther had written in German; this work has not been formally published, but is available on microfiche at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies library in Canberra. She returned to Reuther's work when in 1987, drawing on his work and on her own research and insights, she published an article called 'Just one Toa', in Records of the South Australian Museum, Vol 20, 59-69. The 'toas' were tiny symbolic sculptures made by the Diyari. Hercus' article carefully unfolds the extraordinary weight of meaning that these contained.
If you click on this link you will find a nice up-to-date portrait of Dr Hercus.
and there are more photos in which she appears, in the proceedings of the Third Lake Eyre Basin Aboriginal Forum that was held in Birdsville in 2009 (scroll down till you come to photos of the participants).
(if the link I've reproduced doesn't work, try googling keywords and it should come up).
On the 12th of June 1995, Dr Luise Hercus became a Member of the Order of Australia, for her service to education and linguistics, particularly through the preservation of Aboriginal languages and culture; she received the Medal of the Order, and the right to add the letters AM after her name.
As I reflect upon the account of her life and achievements as found in Isobel White's biographical essay and in the other sources on which I have drawn, I can only say that she is - to use the language of her rabbinic forefathers - truly a woman of valour. The accounts I have seen do not say whether Dr Luise A Hercus, long ago a little girl who had had to wear a yellow star in a primary school in Germany from 1933 to 1938, and endured bullying and insults, actively identified herself as a Jew. But iit strikes me that there is something profoundly and magnficently Jewish about the years of patient labour she devoted to gathering up and setting down in written form all that could be learned of the desperately-endangered languages and oral history and mythology of tiny, marginalised peoples.
Jews and people of Jewish descent have never been anything but a small percentage of Australia's non-indigenous population, though they have been present here from 26 January 1788 when the London Jewish convict girl Esther Abrahams stepped on shore. But though so small a presence, as a community Jews in Australia - migrants, and those born to migrants - have have blessed Australia to a degree out of all proportion to their numbers. And this post-WWII migrant scholar, Dr Luise Hercus, is one of them. She has given so much, not only to non-indigenous Australians but also, above all, to Aboriginal Australians.
On this Australia Day 2012, I honour a great Australian: a Jew, an Australian by marriage and choice, a scholar, a historian, a teacher.
Kol hakavod, Dr Hercus, A M. Barukh ha Shem.
Posted on 01/26/2012 10:39 PM by Christina McIntosh