These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 31, 2012.
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Two dead in suicide attacks on Nigeria police stations
AFP KANO, Nigeria — Suicide bombings at two police stations Monday killed at least two people in the northwestern Nigerian city of Sokoto, the historic seat of Islam in the country, officials and residents said.
Separately, police guarding a home belonging to Vice President Namadi Sambo came under fire from gunmen in the northern city of Zaria, leaving one civilian dead. No one lives at the house, which is undergoing repairs from damage inflicted in post-election riots last year.
Boko Haram Islamists, responsible for scores of deadly gun and bomb attacks in recent months, are suspected of having hideouts in Sokoto, but the group has rarely struck within the city.
A Red Cross official said the explosions at the Yan Marina police station in the city centre and the Unguwar Rogo station were both caused by suicide bombers. "A policeman and woman were killed in the bombings. Thirty people were injured, mostly around the market in the Yan Marina neighbourhood," said the official who requested anonymity.
A senior police officer, who did not want to be identified, said the bomber approached the station in a vehicle packed with explosives and was denied entry at the security gate, where the vehicle then blew up.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Boko Haram has repeatedly targeted police across northern Nigeria, where most of its attacks have been carried out.
The city is home to Nigeria's top Islamic leader, Mohammed Sa'ad Abubakar, the current Sultan of Sokoto.
The radical Islamist group has long stated its loathing for Nigeria's traditional Muslim leaders, saying they have betrayed the faith by subjecting themselves to the country's secular government. Boko Haram has said it wants to create an Islamic state in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north, where, in the pre-colonial era, there was a powerful Islamic empire headquartered in Sokoto.
Most residents in Nigeria's southern half are Christians, and some analysts have warned that Boko Haram is trying to spark a religious war in Africa's most populous country.
What must of (sic) seemed to be a great idea at the time has backfired, resulting in the male receiving quite severe and very painful burns to his cheeks, back and private bits," Senior Sergeant Garry Smith said. Police believe alcohol could have been a factor in the firecracker-fueled accident.
The 23-year-old man was later taken to a specialist burns unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Among my favourite books – I mean the books that I actually own – is a first edition of Dr Johnson’s Lives of the English Poets, published in 1781 in four volumes. I bought the Lives in a bookshop in Dublin – in Blackrock, to be exact – for what seemed to me a bargain price, though whether it really was a bargain I shall not know until I try to sell them, which I never shall. more>>>
In a recent essay, I bemoaned the reticence of my fellow conservatives to employ the word spiritual. The reason for this, or so I am told, is that when someone says, “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual,” that person actually means, “I am a political liberal.” He identifies himself as belonging among those who display a “non-judgmental” attitude toward his fellows (in most circumstances) and regards this attitude as the highest social virtue. He exalts the liberation from moral restraint as being, in fact, the highest morality. To the conservative mind, this signifies the renewal of anarchy and barbarism. more>>>
In the UK, people like me - arty, bookish, classical music buff, interested in philosophy - are supposed to be on the left. We form the basis of our cultural elites. We work in government or education or health. Maybe even the BBC. We read The Independent or The Guardian. We’re pro-European multiculturalists, tolerant and egalitarian. We hate the idea of going back to academic selection in our schools. The NHS must be a public sector monolith at all costs. Working in the public sector is like being the Good Samaritan. And of course we’re environmentalists. The ultimate egalitarian ethic is intergenerational. more>>>
by Mark Anthony Signorelli and Nikos A. Salingaros (August 2012)
We who live in the Western world at the present time continue to suffer under the reign of a great tyranny — the tyranny of artistic modernism. The modernist aesthetic, which dominates our age, takes a variety of forms in the respective arts — in architecture, a lack of scale and ornamentation combined with the overwhelming deployment of materials like glass, steel, and brutalist concrete; in the plastic arts, a rejection of natural forms mixed with an unmistakable tendency towards the repulsive or meretricious; in literature, non-linear narrative, esoteric imagery, and an almost perfect lack of poetic form and diction. more>>>
PARIS — Tensions between French authorities and the country's Islamic community resurfaced on Tuesday after it emerged that four summer camp instructors had been sacked for fasting during Ramadan.
All of the workers were employed by the local council in Gennevilliers, a Paris suburb, and were running a sports camp in Port d’Albret, in the Landes region of south west France.
They were dismissed on July 20, the first day of Ramadan, after an inspector visited the camp and told them they were endangering children's safety by not eating or drinking between dawn and dusk.
Although they were fully paid for the week they had remaining on their short-term contracts, the instructors plan to contest their dismissal through labour courts.
A Gennevilliers spokesman said: “They did not respect the terms of their contract in a manner that could have endangered the physical safety of the children they were responsible for. This lack of nourishment and hydration could have resulted in these employees not being in full possession of the means required to ensure activities at the camp were correctly and safely run, as well as the physical safety of the children in their charge.”
Nicole Varet, an aide to the mayor, said the decision to dismiss the four employees had been influenced by an incident three years ago in which a fasting camp worker had been taken ill while driving, resulting in an accident in which a child was seriously injured.
One of them, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Samir, said their treatment had been "unfair and unacceptable" and that he was glad it had been brought into the public domain. "We are thinking about going to court to get clear answers to our questions," he told AFP. "Do people have the right not to eat during the day? Are doctors who observe Ramadan putting their patients' lives in danger?" Quite possibly. I would object to being treated by someone who had prejudiced his ability by having drink taken, why not a similar lack of capacity though not having drunk. The symptoms of dehydration are perverse and subtle. headache is the least of it.
Mohand Yanat, a lawyer for the sacked workers, said the safety argument was a cloak for anti-Muslim prejudice. “How can you judge the capacity of someone to do their job on the basis of their religious observance?” said Mr Yanat.
All are taking Gennevilliers to an employment court, while France’s Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) is preparing to sue them. Abdallah Zekri, a spokesman for the CFCM, said: “Religious freedom is a fundamental right and you cannot in any circumstances ban someone from practising their religion.”
A spokesman for the National Front said the Gennevilliers mayor had made the right decision, adding that: "Those who oppose this wise decision are making a mockery of the principles of safety and secularism."
There is a trend in recent Shakespeare scholarship to assimilate his art to earlier thinkers, such as Michel de Montaigne and Niccolo Machiavelli. As such undertakings do not rest so much on documentation as they do on inference, discretion and speculation, they should proceed only with the greatest care. The admirably reserved and deliberate temperament we observe in Montaigne, for example, is wholly at variance with the passionate and venturesome spirit of Shakespeare. Even though there may be hints of skepticism in some plays, the epistemological mood of modern thought is alien to Shakespeare's realism and the inner turbulence of an Othello or a Lear. more>>>
Enoch at 100
edited by Lord Howard of Rising
Biteback Publishing, xxix+320 pp.
Following the contributors’ biographies and the table of contents, the first words to appear in Enoch at 100, a collection of essays edited by Greville Howard, Lord of Rising, are the following from “Powell's place in history,” a leading article published, along with a lengthy obituary and excerpts from Powell’s notorious “Rivers of Blood” speech, in The Daily Telegraph of February 9, 1998...more>>>
A Self-Inflicted Injury: Immigration, Infiltration and Canada's Growing Islamist Threat
by Jerry Gordon and David B. Harris (August 2012)
On December 14, 1999, Ahmed Ressam, an Al-Qaeda trained Algerian Jihadi and resident of Montreal, was arrested in Port Angeles, Washington after he drove off a ferry from Canada with a trunk load of explosives. Thus began the unraveling of the Millennium plot, an attempt by al Qaeda using sleeper cells in the US and Canada, to conduct an attack on the Los Angeles International Airport. more>>>
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan has a problem.
His name is Taner Akcam.
Akcam, a native of Turkey who currently teaches history at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., is calling on Erdogan and the government he leads to acknowledge the crimes perpetrated against Armenians and other minority populations in the early 1900s by the Committee for Union and Progress (or “Young Turks”) in its effort to create a homogenous Turkish state from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. more>>>
Although Evangelical support for the State of Israel is on the rise, liberal Jews tend to regard Christian Zionists with intense distrust. There are certainly valid reasons for initial suspicion in light of the history of Christian antisemitism and missionary excess, but progressive discomfort has little to do with this history. Rather, it stems from the association of conservative Christians with values that conflict with the liberal political agenda. Ironically, liberals are perfectly comfortable with “policies of inclusion” that accommodate Arab-Muslim interests opposed to the very existence of a Jewish State, and have no problem dialoguing with Islamists who promote religious intolerance, antisemitism and a rejection of western values. more>>>
What Lies Behind the Anti-Israel Position of Some Mainline Churches in America?
An Interview with Dexter Van Zile of CAMERA
by Jerry Gordon and Dexter Van Zile(August 2012)
Some mainline Protestant Churches have strayed far from the origins of their support for Christian Zionism. Puritan John Winthrop spoke of "We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us...". He used imagery of the Promised Land as New Israel upon landing in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1620. This was the cornerstone of what became known as American Exceptionalism, a furtherance of the Judeo-Christian heritage. more>>>
Syria Does Not Want Bashar al-Assad. Does it want ... Hafez al-Assad?
by Alexander Maistrovoy (August 2012)
A quarter of a century ago the people of Central Asia and the Caucasus also tasted freedom. It was the taste of blood.
“The first task of the historian is to make a careful sketch of the manner in which the events he recounts took place. The history of religious beginnings transports us into a world of women and children, of brains ardent or foolish. These facts, placed before minds of a positive order, are absurd and unintelligible, and this is why countries such as England, of ponderous intellects, find it impossible to comprehend anything about it”
- This is how Ernest Renan* described how the psychology of the people during the epoch of Jesus was frustratingly misunderstood by English philosophers. more>>>
The naked truth about "pioneering French designer" Philippe Starck, as told in The Sunday Times:
I'm not at all intelligent, but I have amazing intuition. And I have to be somewhere where I feel in the right state to receive the intuitions my subconscious sends to me. It may seem pretentious,but and that's what it is. I turn around the magma, the mud in my brain, and slowly, oysters come out.
A few short years ago I took part in a medical mission to the Indians of highland Guyana. Unlike their Amerinidian brethren in Brazil the politicians of Guyana have more or less left them alone, until the last twenty years that is. However, during the last century, missionaries have brought a variety of Christianities to them and they are more and more moving from a life of isolation to one of national integration. In some ways their future may be as much of their own making as it is of the central government. These are my observations and musings based on those two weeks of traveling by boat, from village to village on the clear highland rivers of Guyana- a land that time forgot, until yesterday. more>>>
The final chapter of my book, The Left is Seldom Right (New English Review- June, 2011 and FrontPage Oct. 31, 2011) deals with three outstanding women journalists and writers who were once saluted by the political Left internationally only to be later abandoned and then subjected to invective which the Left traditionally uses to castigate turncoats and traitors. Their record of integrity and courage deserves to be better known. Last month’s article looked at Catalan journalist Pilar Rahola and her staunch defense of basic rights for women, children, Jews, Gypsies and animals amidst a hostile Spanish culture. more>>>
This article is about the London Borough of Waltham Forest which was formed in 1965 when the three Essex districts of Leyton, Walthamstow and Chingford were combined and included in the newly formed Greater London Council. My family had moved to a street just on the border of Leyton and Walthamstow (near but not Boundary Road) a few years earlier. Leyton and Walthamstow was a lovely place to live with the open space of Epping Forest and the River Lea nearby. more>>>
“Churches must learn humility as well as teach it.”– George Bernard Shaw
Atheism was all the rage a few years ago when several books received a measure of notoriety. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and God is Not Great by the late Christopher Hitchens are examples. Ironically, when pressed, neither author claimed to be atheists. Apparently, agnosticism is the all-purpose hedge for rationalists. more>>>
A few years ago a friend lent me her copy of The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates: 1973-1982 (2008), which I read, much as I read everything put before my voracious eyes, especially if the author is a contemporary of mine whose work I anthologized more than four decades ago and have since followed, in her case with puzzlement. What ultimately is Joyce Carol Oates trying to do, aside from flooding libraries with her books and printed matter with her tripartite name? (Wise was the last move, which would always command more attention, especially in the era of search engines, than, say, “Joyce Oates.”) more>>>
Translated from the Hungarian and Edited by Thomas Ország-Land(August 2012)
The poetry of the Jewish-Hungarian master György Faludy has been at last admitted into the school-books of his native country, following a long and bitter campaign fought on his behalf by Our Correspondent (see György Faludy’s Happy Days in Hell, New English Review, August 2010).