In a move that caught the Israeli government and the Jewish world by complete surprise, on October 21, 2010, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the Tomb of the Hebrew Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem "an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories," admonishing the Israeli decision to add these biblical shrines to the list of Jewish historical and archaeological sites as "a violation of international law."
The United Nations has become a foremost purveyor of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement. Nowhere has this obsession been more starkly demonstrated than at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, held in September 2001 in the South African town of Durban.
What is less known, however, is that the driving force behind "the attempt to detach the Nation of Israel from its heritage" (to use Israeli prime minister Netanyahu's words) was the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which pressured UNESCO to issue the declaration and drafted its initial version. U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has recently described the OIC as "a strategic and important partner of the U.N." In fact, it has been the OIC that has successfully exploited its marked preponderance at the U.N.—where it constitutes the largest single voting bloc—to turn the world organization and its specialized agencies into effective tools in the attempt to achieve its goals, two of which are to bring about Israel's eventual demise and to "galvanize the umma [Islamic world] into a unified body."
The OIC's Israel Obsession
Established in September 1969 as the "collective voice of the Muslim world," the OIC has evolved into the second largest intergovernmental organization after the U.N., bringing together fifty-six Muslim and other states, as well as the Palestinian Authority. Though boasting a global range of objectives from the "promotion of tolerance and moderation, modernization, [and] extensive reforms in all spheres of activities," to the cultivation of "good governance and promotion of human rights in the Muslim world," this body has constantly and disproportionately focused on Israel and its supposed misdeeds. It was established in response to an attempt by a deranged Australian to set fire to the al-Aqsa mosque, which was duly blamed on "the military occupation by Israel of Al-Quds—the Holy City of Jerusalem." The "State of Palestine" (i.e., the then-five-year-old Palestine Liberation Organization or PLO, established as a tool for promoting the expansionist ambitions of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser) was among the OIC's original twenty-five founding members, and the pledge of "full support to the Palestinian people for the restitution of their rights, which were usurped"—the standard Arab euphemism for Israel's destruction—has become a central plank of the organization's policy, reiterated in countless decisions and resolutions on issues that have nothing to do with questions concerning the Palestinians.
The Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), an OIC organ mandated "to strengthen cooperation among member states in the field of education, science, and culture," has occupied pride of place in the campaign to delegitimize Israel. Since its inception in 1982, it has run dozens of programs and symposia on the Jewish state's supposed desecration of Islamic and Christian holy sites and the attendant need to wrest them from the Israelis' control. The most important of these were the international conferences on the "Protection of Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in Palestine," held in Rabat in 1993 and 2002 and in Amman in November 2004 respectively under the patronage of the Moroccan and Jordanian monarchs. An examination of conference activities reveals a systematic effort to devise an anti-Israeli media strategy that was to be adopted not only by Arab and Muslim states but also by international groups and organizations, including some of the U.N.'s most powerful agencies.
Under Pakistan's stringent and controversial blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting Islam faces the death penalty.
In practice most convictions are overturned on appeal, but these cases often hinge on witness testimony. That fuels concerns that allegations of blasphemy are sometimes dubious, motivated by personal animosity.
There's also concern that the laws can be used to target religious minorities. Human rights groups have called for the laws to be changed after the recent death sentence handed down to a Christian woman.
All this puts Pakistan's coalition government in an extremely difficult position. If it leaves the laws intact, it risks tarnishing the country's image, especially in the West.
It wants to present Pakistan as a modern state which is tolerant and moderate. But if it perseveres with amending the law, the domestic backlash from religious conservatives could be severe.
Friday's strike saw businesses shuttered and transport workers walking out in towns and cities across the country.
There was no public transport in the southern city of Karachi, where demonstrators blocked traffic as part of the industrial action.
The BBC's Ilyas Khan says bus owners in the Sindh province capital may have feared their vehicles could be torched if put on the road.
Quetta, the capital of the southern province of Balochistan, also ground to a halt.
There was a partial shutdown in the national capital of Islamabad, the north-western city of Peshawar and Lahore, capital of Punjab.
One Sunni cleric in Islamabad warned in his Friday sermon that any change to the blasphemy law would happen "over our dead bodies".
The strike was held to protest against a private member's bill submitted to parliament.
It seeks to amend the law by abolishing the death sentence and by strengthening clauses which prevent any chance of a miscarriage of justice.
The bill has been drafted by a member of the ruling Pakistan People's Party and by a former Information Minister, Sherry Rehman.
This led religious groups, who are demanding that Ms Rehman quit, to conclude the government was behind it.
On Wednesday, Pakistan's religious affairs minister told parliament the bill did not reflect government policy.
"I state with full responsibility that the government has no intention to repeal the blasphemy law," Syed Khurshid Shah said.
Pakistani Christians rallied for Asia Bibi in Lahore on Christmas Day
"If someone has brought in a private bill, it has nothing to do with the government."
Federal Law Minister Babar Awan told reporters that Friday's strike was simply the latest attempt to revive a once powerful alliance of religious parties.
The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal emerged as the third largest vote-winner in the 2002 elections held by the regime of President Pervez Musharraf, but the grouping had broken apart by the time of polls two years ago.
Our correspondent says the government is hoping to placate shrill religious protest at a time when it is in difficulty with two coalition partners.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement this week withdrew two ministers from the federal cabinet, blaming corruption and rising prices.
The Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam party, a smaller coalition partner, withdrew from the government earlier in December after one of its ministers was sacked.
Many believe the two parties are acting at the behest of the security establishment to undermine the country's political system.
France will deploy extra police and keep vandalism statistics under wraps on New Year's Eve (from Rebecca's post)
It is good to deploy police, although since policemen get younger every year, will they be a match for the "youtful" car burners? Yes, police should be deployed, but these days rather too many things are getting deployed: wit, scholarship, sarcasm, software and "sculptural means to craft a truly compelling story". That's all right, I suppose, but must it always be "deftly"?
I'll make an exception for this evening's car buring or auto da fé, as the French don't call it, but really oughta. Let the police deftly deploy their youth-bashing skillsets all night long.
I'm off for a more sedate evening of drinks and smutty jokes. Auto da fé will be my last clean joke of 2010. But like the Spinal Tap speakers, I go up to 11. See you in the New Year.
Leo Rennert: Gloves Off For Israel Kid Gloves For Hamas (Fast Jihad) And Fatah (Slow Jihad)
Leo Rennert On Just Some Of The Stories That The New York Times and Washington Post saw not quite fit to print:
The following stories -- in the span of a week -- were widely disseminated. But none made it into the news pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post. It's all too familiar pattern that points to a biased pro-Paletinian, anti-Israel agenda in their news coverage.
Let's take a look at what these two major newspapers did not seem fit to print:
Dec. 24--Palestinian Authority TV ClaimsJesus was a Palestinian, Denies his Jewish Ancestry
Dec. 25--Abbas aims for "Judenrein" Palestinian state -- No room for a single Israeli.
Dec. 25--Hamas Ultimatum: Israel has Two Options -- Death of Leaving Palestinian Lands.
Dec. 28--Abbas Cracks Down on Main Political Rival, Mohammed Dahlan
Dec. 28--Hamas Reported Torturing, Killing Israel-bound Africans in Sinai
Dec. 29--Fatah Bans Abbas Rival from Party Meetings
Dec. 30--Journalist Who Aired Dissension in Abbas' Party Gets Five-Day Detention
Dec. 30--Poll: Solid Majorities of Palestinians Oppose Two-State Solution Along Clinton Parameters
So why did the Times and the Post engage in such conspicuous self-censtorhip? Because their editors and reporters are determined to paint Israel as the main obstacle to the peace process, while hiding the darker, anti-peace aspects of the Palestinian side -- both Hamas in Gaza and Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party in the West Bank.
Above all, Abbas's rule has to be prettied up because the papers' news sections are heavily invested in painting him as a bona fide peace partner. So corruption, represession, antisemitic and anti-Israel incitement, glorification of terrorist killers, denial of historic Jewish ties to Jerusalem and Hebron, and other problematic patterns of Abbas's rule must be carefully hidden from Post and Times readers.
What makes such silence -- such self-censorship -- even more egregious and blatantly obvious is that these are two newspapers that do not hesitate to expose repression under Putin in Russia, corruption under Karzai in Afghanistan, and Mubarak's autocracy in Egypt. Yet, Abbas's rule in the West Bank fits exactly the same patterns -- but fails to make the news pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Bottom line: the Palestinian side is treated with kid gloves; Israel with the gloves off.
The city of Barcelona, widely known as a European Mecca of anti-clerical postmodernism, has agreed to build an official mega-mosque with a capacity for thousands of Muslim worshipers. The new structure would rival the massive Islamic Cultural Center in Madrid, currently the biggest mosque in Spain. An official in the office of the Mayor of Barcelona says the objective is to increase the visibility of Muslims in Spain, as well as to promote the "common values between Islam and Europe."
The Barcelona mosque project is just one of dozens of new mosques that are in various stages of construction across Spain. Overall, there are now thirteen mega-mosques in Spain, and more than 1000 smaller mosques and prayer centers scattered across the country, the majority of which are located in Catalonia in northeastern Spain.
The Muslim building spree reflects the rising influence of Islam in Spain, where the Muslim population has jumped to an estimated 1.5 million in 2010, up from just 100,000 in 1990, thanks to massive immigration. The construction of new mosques comes at a time when municipalities linked to the Socialist Party have closed dozens of Christian churches across Spain by way of new zoning laws that several courts have now ruled discriminatory and unconstitutional. It also comes at a time of growing anti-Semitism in Spain.
The Barcelona mosque project was announced during a weeklong seminar titled "Muslims and European Values," jointly sponsored by the European Council of Moroccan Ulemas [Muslim religious scholars], based in Brussels, and the Union of Islamic Cultural Centers in Catalonia, based in Barcelona. A representative of the Barcelona mayor's office who attended the conference told the Madrid-based El País newspaper that the municipality would get involved in the mosque project because "although religion pertains to the private realm, this does not mean it does not have a public role."
The idea to build a mega-mosque funded by Spanish taxpayers comes after Noureddine Ziani, a Barcelona-based Moroccan imam, said the construction of big mosques would be the best way to fight Islamic fundamentalism in Spain. "It is easier to disseminate fundamentalist ideas in small mosques set up in garages where only the members of the congregation attend, than in large mosques that are open to everyone, with prayer rooms, cafes and meeting areas," Ziani told the Spanish news agency EFE. He also said European governments should pay for the training of imams, which would be "a useful formula to avoid radical positions."
Saudi Arabia, which also built the "great mosques" in the Spanish cities of Marbella and Fuengirola, has been accused of using the mosques and Islamic cultural centers in Spain to promote the Wahhabi sect of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia. Wahhabism rejects all non-Wahhabi Islam, any dialogue with other religions and any opening up to other cultures. By definition, it also rejects the integration of Muslim immigrants into Spanish society.
Not surprisingly, the Saudi government officially supports the Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative sponsored by Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, which borrows heavily from the Dialogue of Civilizations concept promoted by Islamic radicals in Iran in the 1990s -- an the initiative calls for the West to negotiate a truce with Islamic terrorists on terms set by the terrorists.
In December 2000, the Islamic Cultural Center in Madrid was expelled from the Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Entities (FEERI) to "frustrate the attempts of Saudi Arabia to control Islam in Spain." Most Muslim immigrants in Spain are from the Maghreb (especially Morocco and Algeria) or Pakistan; analysts say their low standards of living and low levels of education make them particularly susceptible to the Islamist propaganda promoted by Saudi Arabia.
Elsewhere in Spain, residents of the Basque city of Bilbao were recently surprised to find their mailboxes stuffed with flyers in Spanish and Arabic from the Islamic Community of Bilbao asking them for money to build a 650 square meter mosque costing €550,000 ($725,000). Their website says: "We were expelled [from Spain] as Moriscos in 1609, really not that long ago. … The echo of Al-Andalus still resonates in all the valley of the Ebro [ie Spain]. We are back to stay, Insha'Allah [if Allah wills it]."
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to the parts of Spain ruled by Muslim conquerors from 711 and 1492. Many Muslims believe that the territories they lost during the Spanish Reconquista still belong to them, and that they have a right to return and establish their rule there – a belief based on the Islamic precept that territories once occupied by Muslims must forever remain under Muslim domination.
The Moriscos, descendants of the Muslim population that converted to Christianity under threat of exile in 1502, were ultimately expelled from Spain by King Philip III in 1609. Muslim leaders say Spain could right the wrong by offering Spanish citizenship to the Muslim descendants of the Moriscos as an "apology and acknowledgement of mistakes" made during the Spanish Inquisition.
In Córdoba, Muslims are demanding that the Spanish government allow them to worship in the main cathedral, which had been a mosque during the medieval Islamic kingdom of Al-Andalus and is now a World Heritage Site. Muslims hope to recreate the ancient city of Córdoba as a pilgrimage site for Muslims throughout Europe. Funds for the project to turn "Córdoba into the Mecca of the West" are being sought from the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, and Muslim organizations in Morocco and Egypt.
In Granada, a city in southern Spain that was the last Muslim stronghold of Al-Andalus to capitulate to the Roman Catholic kings in 1492, a muezzin now calls Muslims to prayer at the first mosque to be opened in the city since the Spanish Reconquista. The Great Mosque of Granada "is a symbol of a return to Islam among the Spanish people and among indigenous Europeans," says Abdel Haqq Salaberria, a spokesman for the mosque. "It will act as a focal point for the Islamic revival in Europe," he says. It was paid for by Libya, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.
In Lleida, a town in northeastern Spain where 29,000 Muslims make up 20% of the population, the local Islamic association Watani recently asked Moroccan King Mohammad VI for money to build a mosque in the center of town. Local Muslims are incensed that the municipality gave them land to build a mosque on the outskirts of town and not in the city center. Although the municipality gave the land more than three years ago, the local Muslim community has refused to apply for a formal license: it is demanding a more "dignified location for the Muslim community to worship."
In Zaragoza, the fifth-largest city in Spain, the 22,000-strong Islamic community has been negotiating the purchase of an abandoned Roman Catholic grade school for €3 million. In September, however, a group of 200 teenage anarchist squatters took over the property (a seemingly normal occurrence in Spain), but a local judge has refused to remove them for "security" reasons. The local imam is now demanding a "big and visible location" for a mosque: many Muslims view the city as "theirs" and they want a way to show it.
Meanwhile, the Madrid-based ABC newspaper reports that more than 100 mosques in Spain have radical imams preaching to the faithful each Friday. The newspaper says some imams have established religious police that harass and attack those who do not comply with Islamic law. ABC also reports that during 2010, more than 10 Salafist conferences were held in Spain, compared to only one in 2008.
Salafism is a branch of revivalist Islam that calls for restoring past Muslim glory by re-establishing an Islamic empire across the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. Salafists view Spain as a Muslim state that must be reconquered for Islam. [this is perfectly orthodox Islam, not a view confined to "Salafists"]
At the same time, Noureddine Ziani, the Moroccan imam, says it is absolutely necessary to accept Islamic values as European values. He also says that from now on, Europeans should replace the term "Judeo-Christian" with term "Islamo-Christian" when describing Western Civilization.
Some might describe traditions like toasting the new year with champagne as so...twentieth century. Come on, get with it.
PARIS (Reuters) – France will deploy extra police and keep vandalism statistics under wraps on New Year's Eve to fight what authorities say has become an annual "sweepstakes" of disaffected youths competing to see who can burn the most cars.
Youths in depressed suburbs of French cities have been torching hundreds of vehicles on New Year's Eve and Bastille Day since the early 1990s. Police say the annual rite has turned competitive, with youths tracking the news in the first days of the new year to see which neighborhood did the most damage.
"I have decided to put an end to the competition, the sweepstakes, and will longer publish the number of burned vehicles," Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said this week, adding that publishing statistics encouraged vandalism.
Opposition politicians described the move as an attempt by President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative government to cover up the violence.
"The government tends to eliminate unfavorable indicators. The interior minister has been publishing trumped-up statistics for years, and now Hortefeux is going even further," Socialist deputy Delphine Batho, a security specialist, told Reuters.
Last year, the Interior Ministry said 1,137 cars had been torched, a 30 percent rise on 2008. French media reported at the time that several thousand cars had been burned.
Nearly 54,000 police officers will be deployed across France, a rise of some 6,000 compared to normal New Year's Eve staffing levels, and additional command posts set up in several cities, Hortefeux said on Friday.
The image of burning cars remains particularly evocative in France in the wake of urban riots in December 2005. Sarkozy came to power in 2007 promising to quell violence, but crime and vandalism have inched up in the past year.
Arson in France's "sensitive urban areas" rose by 17.2 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to a 2010 study by the Observatory of Sensitive Urban Zones. In 2009 a total of 12,874 cars were burned, it reported.
I was raised to be a "real man," i.e., to be strong and silent, like my dad. I was tense in my dealing with my associates and family, and subject to frequently recurring bouts of migraine and hyperacidity. Between the ages of sixteen and forty, I had cried only once, and was somewhat inexpressive of other emotions as well, except anger.
Divorced at the age of forty, I was separated from my children for a full year. After two months of separation, feeling intensely lonely and missing my children, I saw a psychiatrist for an hour a week. I told the psychiatrist my feelings, and felt some relief, but was still tense and lonely.
During this period, I attended my first psychotherapy group. The group (Re-evaluation Counseling) emphasized emotions. During the class, I told the story of my childhood to a fellow participant, called a co-counselor. I had also stood up before the class and repeated phrases provided by the leader, "I hurt," and "I hurt a little bit." This last phrase she had had me repeat several times, first in a normal voice, then falsetto, then in a basso voice. I felt a lump in my throat during this episode, but no other feelings.
There were several participants who cried at various points in the class. I remember feeling envious. After the day long class, I went swimming and had dinner. At some point during the period after the class, I noticed a new sensation in my upper abdominal area: it felt like a knot the size of my fist. It was not particularly painful or even unpleasant, but it persisted for the rest of the day.
In the evening, I went to the home of my then girlfriend. In bed I told her about the group I had attended in the afternoon. She seemed quite interested and attentive. When I repeated the phrases I had spoken in front of the class, I began crying. At first the crying was tense and somewhat painful: it felt bitter and strained. The sensation of sobbing was brittle, like the dry heaves. After some fifteen or twenty minutes, however, the crying became more relaxed. After another quarter hour of intense crying, I stopped and lay back to rest.
After a few minutes' rest, I began to shake and sweat. The shaking was violent, like an earthquake. Yet I felt no fear. The sensation, rather, was pleasant. I felt that I was in touch with an enormous source of energy, like surf-riding a twenty-foot wave. Another way of expressed the feeling: like being shaken by the neck by a giant. After some thirty minutes of shaking and sweating, it stopped as suddenly as it had begun. The sweating was intense to the point that the sheet that I was lying on was soaked. I felt refreshed and relaxed. I noticed that the knot in my stomach was getting smaller.
After another brief rest, I began to feel angry. I started shouting, biting the air and moving on the bed. My writhing became so violent that I fell out of bed. On the floor, I continued, and began chewing on the shag rug. At this point, a peculiar thing happened. I realized that my ridiculous behavior might upset my friend, so I stopped. I said to her: "Are you all right?" She said, "Don't worry, I'm all right. Just do your thing!" I then immediately went back to the anger, without any pause whatsoever.
I had no sense of what I was angry about, but it seemed to be there, ready for me to express it, as if there had been no interruption at all. Just as I could turn off the anger, I could also turn it back on. (The kind of emotion episode that can be turned off and on will be discussed further below). After some thirty minutes, I ran out of anger. I got back in bed.
Once again, I rested. Because of what had happened before, I anticipated further strong responses. After a few minutes, I felt a strong sensation again, this time the urge to laugh. I began laughing a deep, relaxed laugh, and repeating a phrase that occurred to me: "I believe, Lord, oh help me to believe.” The laughter felt so deep and powerful that it seemed like someone else was laughing through me. I also felt strongly exhilarated. After a half hour of laughing, I felt finished. I lay back and rested. The knot in my stomach had disappeared.
In the morning when I awoke, I began crying again. I remember repeating a line of Auden's poetry, "All over Europe, the nurses were itching to boil their children." I went on to go through the whole cycle of discharge again, crying, shaking, screaming, and laughing, but in a much shorter space of time, fifteen or twenty minutes all told. I dressed to catch a plane.
At breakfast, I realized that I felt quite different than I had before. I was full of energy, and my senses felt exquisitely sharp, especially my sense of smell and taste. The sound of music on the radio was unbelievably beautiful. The smell and taste of breakfast was delightful. I felt that I had never actually tasted orange juice before, as if I could taste each molecule.
After deplaning, while entering the terminal building, I felt emotions coming up again. This time I felt it would be inappropriate, and I sought to hold the emotions back. I took ten or twenty deep breaths, and the anticipated catharsis did not occur.
After this I experienced myself as having changed in fundamental ways. I felt much more relaxed and open, and less driven. Although I hadn't realized that they were deficient, my senses seemed sharper, especially smell, to the point that I felt that I hadn't been really using my senses before. My work habits also changed. I felt more creative and less driven. I realized in retrospect that I had been obsessed with work, and had let other aspects of my life take second place. I continued to work, but I felt I had more perspective and was more effective. Finally, I felt better and more open with people. The impatience and frustration that I often felt seemed virtually to disappear.
Although I continued to laugh, the experience of a massive catharsis occurred only one more time, about six months after the first. On this occasion, I was all alone in a situation in which I thought my life and the lives of my children were endangered. I had a fit of fear, much like the shaking episode in the first catharsis, but even more violent. After some fifteen minutes of the most intense shaking and sweating, but again without the experience of fear, I got up from the floor, completely refreshed. Once again, my clothes were drenched with sweat, as if I had been swimming. My mind seemed utterly clear. I gave a public speech soon after, extempore, which I thought was my most effective speech ever. The words seemed to be there when I needed them, without planning or forethought.
For about a year after the first massive discharge, I cried every day without fail, usually about missing my children. When they returned, I cried much less often, about once a week or less.
Most of the changes have continued. The psychosomatic disturbances did not disappear completely but became infrequent and mild. My obsession with work diminished. Before catharsis, I spent most of my time feeling neither pleasure nor pain, but suspended. After catharsis, and to the present, I have considerable variation, with many highs and lows. I laugh and cry easily, but still have occasional anger problems, and little contact with fear.
How could genuine emotions be turned on and turned off? This idea has been explored by classic theories of drama. They proposed that what makes for a successful drama is that the audience feels strong emotions, but not at too close nor too far a distance. The right distance is called aesthetic distance: the audience is feeling strong emotions, but also aware that they are in a theatre. One is feeling strongly, but in an environment that feels safe in the sense that you can quit at any time.
Genuine catharsis, it seems to me, always involves this feature. Too close means that the audience is merely reliving an unresolved emotional trauma, rather than resolving it. Too far means not feeling emotions at all. During my two intense emotion outpourings and subsequently I often had a sense of being able to stop if I wished.
The second issue concerns this question: to what extent was my emotional experience between childhood and the age of 40 typical or atypical? It now seems to me that it was typical, especially for males. For example, most men learn somehow that feeling fear is the same as being a coward, so they block it out. Indeed, beginning on the playground, most boys learn that not just fear, but other vulnerable emotions such as grief and shame are not permitted by the the other boys. Anger on the other hand, is permitted, so it tends to be overused, covering up the vulnerable emotions.
Normally, emotions are quickly resolved and therefore cause no harm. Indeed fear is life-enhancing, an instantaneous warning of danger. When emotions are hidden, however, they become life threating.
The use of anger and aggression to cover over shame, embarrassment and humiliation is visible in the wide world, not just on the playground. For example, the US attack on Iraq may have been in part a response to the US government’s embarrassment over 9/11 occurring on its watch. Many earlier wars and conflicts seem to have had at least an element of hidden humiliation leading to a desire for vengeance at any cost. The origins of WWI and the rise of Hitler seem particularly involved in this way. Persons and nations that hide their emotions may become ruled by them.
One result of my emotional episodes was to change my professional career. During my early career my work on the sociology of mental illness was highly regarded by my colleagues. When I shifted to the study of emotions, I lost the regard of almost all of them. It seems to me that neither they nor the public at large were ready to give serious consideration to the role of emotions in human life, especially hidden emotions. I have been trying for many years to open up this possibility, and will continue to try as long as I am able.
Turkish forces in the occupied area of Karpasia in Northern Cyprus have presented a new challenge regarding the celebration of Christmas by Christians living in the territory. For the first time in 36 years Christians trapped in the occupied area were forbidden from celebrating Christmas.
On Christmas morning, Saturday 25 December 2010, Father Zacharias and a large number of people went to the Church of Saint Sinesios in Rizokarpaso to begin Matins for Christmas. Meanwhile men of the occupied forces rushed to the church, interrupted the service, urged the priest to remove his vestments, and ordered everyone leave the church. When everyone had left, the doors were sealed.
The same happened in the Church of the Holy Trinity where Father Konstantinos was serving.
WIDESPREAD condemnation continued yesterday over the Turkish Cypriot side’s interruption and cancellation of services at a church in occupied Rizokarpasso on Christmas Day. The government plans to take the issue to the UN and the EU.
The Turkish side stopped the Saturday service on the pretext that no application had been made for permission to hold the mass at the Ayios Synesiou church.
“The act of the occupation regime to stop Christmas Day mass in Rizokarpaso is totally unacceptable and reprehensible,” said government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou. “This action constitutes a violation of basic human rights such as the right to exercise freedom of religion,” he added. Stefanou said the government had already taken steps to involve the EU and the UN. The Church said it would involve the World Council of Churches and the Pope.
The Church also denied that they had not asked for permission. It said permission is always asked at the beginning of December, and has been for the last 36 years. But it said it was not the first time that the Turkish side had stopped the service going ahead. That they have to ask permission at all shows how heavy the imposition of sharia law is upon them.
Before Christmas Cypriots living in the northern zone were angry that their Christmas shopping in the Government controlled area had been confiscated.
TURKISH Cypriots yesterday waved cucumbers and other groceries in the air at a Nicosia crossing point as they protested against the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state’s seizures of products purchased in the government-controlled areas. The protest was organised by the Trade Union Platform following seizures of products, including toys, last Saturday.
Sener Elcil, secretary general of teachers’ union KTOS, described Saturday’s seizures as fascism. “They said it is illegal. Do you think there is a law” in the north? Elcil asked the Cyprus Mail. “In the north part of the island everything is based on orders they get from Turkey.”
Elcil suggested the north’s economy has collapsed due to ballooning expenditure stemming from the increasing arrivals of Turkish nationals who did not pay any taxes. Quoting Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper Kibris, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) said the breakaway state was in search of 50 million Turkish lira (€25.5 million) to pay the salaries, pensions and social insurance of ‘civil servants’. Kibris said if the money is not found then the ‘finance ministry’ will ask Turkey for the funds as an advance on the annual financial package Ankara gives the breakaway state.
After Christmas there have been fights between supporters of different football teams and after a basketball match. Also from Cyprus News
CYPRIOT OFFICIALS and politicians displayed a rare moment of unity yesterday, joining forces to condemn Turkey’s efforts to exploit politically last week’s incident of basketball hooliganism.
Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou said Turkish officials had entered a pre-election period and were “babbling” in an effort to politically exploit random events after an international men’s basketball match in Nicosia.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the event to highlight that racism and hatred was on the rise among Greek Cypriots. He attempted to establish a link between the hooligans and the argument that Greek Cypriots did not want peace on the island.
The evil eye an obsession for most Middle Eastern families
By DIANA AL-JASSEM | ARAB NEWS
Dec 31, 2010
JEDDAH: Some Saudi and Arab families are overly obsessed with the fear that someone will envy them or give them the evil eye. As a result, some people resort to extreme measures, such as living poorly or always pretending to be sick.
Like many other cultures, the evil eye concept exists in Arab societies, with envy and hatred often considered a cause. As a result, many people believe the evil eye can cause impairment, sterility, childbirth problems, deficient breast milk, domestic problems, accidents, illnesses and unemployment.
The evil eye is also thought to affect children, adults, livestock and people’s possessions. People who are young, wealthy and particularly handsome are considered more at risk.
Hala Yehya, a Saudi housewife, said the evil eye is a reality that exists in society. She doesn’t care if people get angry at how she reacts when someone expresses his or her admiration at her beauty or something that she is wearing.
“I immediately ask them to say ‘Masha Allah’ or repeat certain phrases to drive away the evil eye. It is always difficult to deal with people who are prone to give the evil eye. Those are people I try to avoid as much as possible. Reading certain phrases of the Holy Qur’an to avoid the evil eye gives some protection but it doesn’t work with some,” she said.
“We’ve heard about traditional ways to avoid the evil eye by saying ‘Masha Allah’ in front of the person who is envious. Some people get angry when I act this way but I don’t care because my health is more important than how they feel,” Yehya said.
Hnadi Al-Hassoon, a Syrian housewife, is living a very narrow life as she does not trust her friends and always fears someone will become envious of her lifestyle and happy marriage.
“Recently, when I moved to a new apartment, a friend of mine who is well known for casting the evil eye visited me and complemented the house without saying ‘Masha Allah’. Two days later and without any warning one of the rooms went on fire as a result of an electricity short circuit. Some might say it is a coincidence but no one can convince me that it was not the evil eye,” she said.
Buthaina Maghrabi, a Saudi employee at the Ministry of Education and mother of three girls, believes that keeping everything secret is the perfect way to avoid the evil eye.
“My elderly daughter graduated from Effat University two years ago. People around us told us that she would get a good job and a husband in no time. My daughter’s been unlucky on both counts,” she said.
“Learning from this experience, I’ve decided to keep everything secret and not make announcements. Recently, when a man asked for my elder daughter’s hand in marriage, I didn’t inform anyone and will still keep it a secret until things are finalized,” she added.
Nahed Abu Asal, a Jordanian housewife and mother of one, said she has always claimed her son is sick and weak since giving birth to him to ensure he doesn’t get the evil eye.
In her tradition, the birth of sons is much more valued than the birth of daughters.
North African families still stick to their old traditions to avoid the evil eye, said Saaeda Boushwisha, a Moroccan mother of three.
“To avoid the evil eye we sprinkle water at places where envious people have sat in your home. They also sprinkle water on the door once an envious person leaves,” said Boushwisha.
“In our tradition, to protect a newborn from the evil eye, we put a knife under his or her pillow. When I gave birth to my two sons, my mother became very obsessed and insisted I follow old traditions to avoid the evil eye. I gave birth to my third baby in Saudi Arabia and forgot what my mother did. I only read the Qur’an to protect him,” he said.
Mansour bin Askar, a professor in Islamic studies at King Saud University, said the belief in the evil eye is part of Arab tradition.
“The belief in the evil eye is embedded in the folklore of all traditional Middle Eastern societies. The common Arabic name for the evil eye is ‘ayn’,” he said.
“Islam advises people to use various methods to protect themselves from the evil eye and to treat its symptoms. These methods of protection and cure are performed by faith healers who play a vital role in treating the evil eye,” he said, adding that they sometimes work and sometimes do not.
Beliefs regarding the evil eye persist.
“Islam has clarified that the evil eye does exist and one should avoid it. Most families get angry when people complain about the evil eye, but they should not. It is mentioned in the Qur’an,” he added.
"T.G.I. Friday's® to Add 30 Additional Restaurants in the Middle East Through Americana Group Partnership."
Overlooked is the hint of blasphemy in that easygoing humorous thoroughly infidel-work-week and islamically ambiguous expression thank-god-it's-friday.
Problem: how to keep the number of bombs going off in those 30 restaurants to a minimum? Solution:make those Middlle Eastern succursales part of a sub-chain with a different name, ione based on a convenient hebdomadal rearrangement. To wit: a chain of T.G. I.T.s, for "Thank God It's Thursday."
Ernesto Galli Della Loggia: Un Disperato Qualunquismo (In Italian)
From Corriere Della Sera:
Un disperato qualunquismo
[qualunquismo: an acceptance, or more exactly surrender, born of hopelessness, to circumambient and near-universal mediocrity and misery. Qualunquismo is found in places other than Italy. In many Western countries many of those are in charge lack the knowledge, and the savage indignation, and the imagination, to do what can and should be done. Many have themselves given up, while cloaking their surrender as a form of prudence and patience]
DITE LA VERITA' AL PAESE
Non vanno bene le cose per l'Italia. Prima che ce lo dicano le statistiche - comunicandoci per esempio un dato lugubre: che nel 2010 il reddito pro capite degli italiani sarà in termini reali inferiore a quello del 2000 - ce lo dice una sensazione che ormai sta dentro ciascuno di noi e ogni giorno si rafforza.
Basta che ci guardiamo intorno per scorgere un panorama sconfortante: abbiamo un sistema d'istruzione dal rendimento assai basso; una burocrazia sia centrale che locale pletorica e inefficientissima; una giustizia tardigrada e approssimativa; una delinquenza organizzata che altrove non ha eguali; le nostre grandi città, con le periferie tra le più brutte del mondo, sono largamente invivibili e quasi sempre prive di trasporti urbani moderni (metropolitane); la rete stradale e autostradale è largamente inadeguata e quella ferroviaria, appena ci si allontana dall'Alta velocità, è da Terzo mondo; la rete degli acquedotti è un colabrodo; il nostro paesaggio è sconvolto da frane e alluvioni rovinose ad ogni pioggia intensa, mentre musei, siti archeologici e biblioteche versano in condizioni semplicemente penose. Per finire, tutto ciò che è pubblico, dai concorsi agli appalti, è preda di una corruzione capillare e indomabile. C'è poi la nostra condizione economica: abbiamo contemporaneamente le tasse e l'evasione fiscale fra le più alte d'Europa, mentre gli operai italiani ricevono salari ben più bassi della media dell'area-euro; il nostro sistema pensionistico è fra i più costosi d'Europa malgrado le numerose riforme già fatte e siamo strangolati da un debito pubblico il pagamento dei cui interessi c'impedisce d'intraprendere qualunque politica di sviluppo. Ancora: nessuno dall'estero viene a fare nuovi investimenti in Italia, ma gruppi stranieri mettono gli occhi (e sempre più spesso le mani) su quanto resta di meglio del nostro apparato economico-produttivo; nel frattempo il processo di deindustrializzazione non si arresta e la disoccupazione, specie giovanile, resta assai alta.
Nessuno di questi mali ha un'origine recente, lo sappiamo bene. Non paghiamo cioè per errori di oggi o di ieri: o almeno non solo per quelli. È piuttosto un intero passato, il nostro passato, che ci sta presentando il conto. Oggi cominciamo a capire, infatti, che qualche tempo fa - quando? nel '92-'93? un decennio dopo con l'adozione dell'euro? - si è chiuso un lungo capitolo della nostra storia. Nel quale siamo diventati sì una società moderna (qualunque cosa significhi questa parola), ma pagando prezzi sempre più elevati, accendendo ipoteche sempre più rischiose sul futuro, chiudendo gli occhi davanti ad ogni problema, rinviando ed eludendo. Prezzi, stratagemmi, rinvii, che negli Anni 70-80 hanno cominciato a trasformarsi in quel cappio al collo che oggi sta lentamente strangolando il Paese.
Lo sappiamo che le cose stanno così. Ce ne accorgiamo ogni giorno che l'Italia perde colpi, non ha alcuna idea di sé e del suo futuro. Ma ci limitiamo a pensarlo tra noi e noi, a confidarcelo nelle conversazioni private. Avvertiamo con chiarezza che avremmo bisogno di bilanci sinceri e impietosi fatti in pubblico, di un grande esame di coscienza, di poterci specchiare finalmente e collettivamente nella verità. Che ci servirebbero terapie radicali. Invece sulla scena italiana continua a non accadere nulla di tutto ciò.
Chi dovrebbe parlare resta in silenzio. Resta in silenzio il discorso pubblico della società italiana su se stessa, consegnato ad una miseria che diviene ogni giorno meno sopportabile. Ma soprattutto resta in silenzio la politica, divisa tra lo sciropposo ottimismo di Berlusconi, il suo patetico «ghe pensi mi» da un lato, e la vacuità dei suoi oppositori dall'altro. Bersani, La Russa, Bossi, Fini, Bondi, Vendola, Verdini, Di Pietro, Casini, e chi più ne ha più ne metta credono di parlare al Paese con le loro dichiarazioni, le loro interviste, i loro attacchi a questo o a quello, i loro progetti di alleanze, di controalleanze e di governi: non sanno che in realtà se ne stanno guadagnando solo un disprezzo crescente, ne stanno solo accrescendo la distanza dal loro traballante palcoscenico. Sempre più, infatti, la loro produzione quotidiana di parole suona eguale a se stessa: ripetitiva, irreale, ridicola. Mai una volta che uno di essi proponga al Paese una soluzione concreta per qualche problema concreto: chessò, come eliminare la spazzatura a Napoli, come attrarre investimenti esteri in Italia, come finire la Salerno-Reggio Calabria prima del 3000, come iniziare a risanare il debito pubblico. Mai: anche se a loro scusante va detto che nel solcare quotidianamente l'oceano del nulla sono aiutati da un sistema dell'informazione anch'esso perlopiù perduto dietro la chiacchiera, il «retroscena», il titolo orribilmente confidenziale su «Tonino» o «Gianfri», il mortifero articolo di «costume».
Nelle pagine e pagine dedicate dai giornali alla politica diventa sempre più difficile distinguere il vero dal falso, scorgere qualche spicchio di realtà tra i fumi dell'aria fritta. È così che alla fine siamo condannati a questo necessario, disperato, qualunquismo. Agli italiani non sta restando altro. Disperato perché frutto dell'attesa vana che finalmente da dove può e deve, cioè dalla politica, venga una parola di verità sul nostro oggi e sul nostro ieri. Una parola che non ci esorti - e a che cosa poi? A credere in un ennesimo partito, in un'ennesima combinazione governativa? - ma che ci sfidi: ricordandoci gli errori che abbiamo tutti commesso, i sacrifici che sono ora necessari, le speranze che ancora possiamo avere. Per l'Italia è forse iniziata una corsa contro il tempo, ma non è affatto sicuro che ce ne resti ancora molto.
ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistan has no intention of amending its controversial blasphemy law, a government minister said Thursday, despite a global outcry over a Christian mother sentenced to death.
Conservative religious groups have called for a national strike, threatening protests and anarchy if the government makes any move to amend the legislation that rights campaigners say encourages Islamist extremism.
A woman lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) sparked fury in lodging a private member's bill seeking to abolish the death penalty for blasphemy. Other liberal voices in the party also object to the law.
"There is no proposal under consideration by the government to amend the blasphemy law," deputy information minister Samsam Bokhari told reporters.
"As far as the party is concerned, the law is not being amended, nor does the government intend to bring any change in it," he added.
Former information minister and PPP lawmaker, Sherry Rehman, in November petitioned parliament to scrap the death penalty from the existing law.
"The government has no concern whatsoever if somebody brings a bill to parliament. We are in a majority and don't back this amendment," Bokhari said.
Pakistan's influential religious parties have urged Pakistanis to strike this Friday in a bid to block any efforts for an amendment, after thousands of Islamists rallied in major cities last week.
Pope Benedict XVI has called for the release of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of five sentenced to death in November after being found guilty of defaming the Prophet Mohammed.
Only around three percent of Pakistan's population of 167 million are estimated to be non-Muslim and minorities complain of discrimination.
Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy. Most of those convicted of blasphemy in Pakistan have their sentences overturned or commuted on appeal through the courts.
Comment on the last sentence:
It may be true -- may be -- that Pakistan has not officially put anyone to death for blasphemy. But quite a few people who were charged by others with the crime of blasphemy -- outrage against some aspect of Islam -- have been put to death, in some cases by members of the police who had them in their custody, in other cases by those who, as they are permitted, meted out Islamic justice without waiting for the government to do so.
And as long as that law remains valid, there will be those will, with impunity and a sense of immunity, take that law into their own hands.
What if the law is repealed? There will be still be Muslims intent on enforcing the Shari'a, and willing to see its justice done, whatever the government says. But not quite so readily, so eagerly, with such insouciance. And Christians and Hindus and even Muslims who may be accused by any Muslim at all -- a husband accusing a wife so as to be rid of her, a neighbor wishing to seize someone's property, a business partner who doesn't want to pay a debt he owes (your hypothetical -- which always turn out to be real in Pakistan, right here) -- of blasphemy, may have a thin veneer of protection where before there was....nothing.
In an obvious allusion to social problems with Islam, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands stated in her 2010 Christmas speech: "The danger is that what unites us gets obscured and differences are magnified. Then walls of supposed oppositions are raised and positions hardened."
Within the outlines of such a platitudinous court speech, Her Majesty seems to be saying that the rise of Geert Wilders' Freedom Party, and "Islamophobia" in general, promotes polarization. Whereas all human beings essentially share roughly the same needs and aspirations, the warners against Islam ("Islam bashers") will create artificial separation walls. It is in this sense that most observers viewed the royal speech, Geert Wilders included. In a first reaction, he twittered that the twelve recently arrested Somali terror suspects "in the Netherlands certainly were not looking at what unites us."
But there is another possible reading. The whole structure of Islam itself, rather than "Islamophobia", is set up precisely to erect "walls of supposed oppositions" between people. The wall between “Henk and Ingrid” (typical Dutch names) and “Ahmed and Aisha” is not the handiwork of the critics of Islam but of Islam itself. Apart from some superficial features of language and geographical origin, there is essentially little difference between both couples. It is only Islam that condemns the former to disenfranchised subordination (dhimmitude) in this life and afterwards an eternity in hell, while the latter are to inherit the heavens later and the earth now.
This difference is not real, it exists only in the imagination of Islam believers, it's an "alleged opposition”. But Islamic law does lay down that this imaginary opposition gets a very tangible impact, namely all kinds of inequalities between Muslims and non-Muslims. The believers arrogate to themselves rights that they deny to the unbelievers. This self-righteousness, which is the self-proclaimed essence of Islam, erects "walls of supposed oppositions". Would the Queen, speaking on behalf of the Dutch people, have had that analysis in mind?
Lauren Booth, sister of our ex Prime Minister's wife, revert to Islam and otherwise nonentity, is in Queer Street. From the Daily Bail with thanks to Alan:
Among other things, her insolvency means she will have difficulty using a credit card, she cannot be a company director for up to 15 years, cannot run a company, is forbidden to stand as an MP, and there may even be problems over her bank account.
Extraordinarily, one of her creditors is Cherie, who lent her £15,000 last year, but which Lauren has failed to pay back. I gather Lauren wrote to her wealthy sister in April pleading for help, and Cherie reluctantly agreed to bail her out.
Cherie, who shares the same father with Lauren — Till Death Us Do Part actor Tony Booth — understandably felt Lauren had a cheek to ask her for money, considering how critical Lauren has been over Blair’s role in the war in Iraq. She has written at length on the subject.
Mother-of-two Lauren’s financial plight comes as she goes through a divorce from her actor husband Craig Darby, having returned to Britain last year after their dream of a new life in France collapsed.
Now giving a flat in Muswell Hill, North London, as her address to the Bankruptcy Division of the High Court, Lauren admits her finances have been in a mess for some time.
She is in negative equity on her farmhouse in the Dordogne, where she moved six years ago, and she has described how her French idyll went wrong, saying: ‘I never trained as an accountant. We were soon in trouble, with the banks and with the taxman.’
I am told: ‘Cherie was adamant it would be strictly a short-term loan till her sister could get back on her feet. Cherie had a lawyer draw up a contract which stretched to several pages and insisted Lauren sign it before she wrote out the cheque.
‘She wanted everything done legally so she would be sure of getting her money back.’ Now Cherie will have to line up with all the other creditors.
"Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?" cried multi-millionaire Cherie. She wondered whether to charge interest, which is haram in the religion she reveres and defends. Wrestling with her conscience and winning, she will not charge interest, but instead will buy the Muswell Hill flat for £15,000 and lease it back to her sister over thirty years at £1,000 a month.
From Queer Street to thespians, immediately below the news of Lauren Booth's bankcruptcy is this:
Running on and off stage while changing clothes has taken its toll on actor Tom Hollander who, until this week, had been giving a virtuoso performance in Georges Feydeau’s farce A Flea in Her Ear at the Old Vic.
Hollander, 43, bumped into a piece of stage furniture during one of his high-speed exits on Monday — and hasn’t been seen on stage since.
‘He thinks he’s fractured his elbow,’ says a pal. ‘He knew he had hit something that afternoon, but didn’t realise how bad it was until afterwards.’
Tom’s strenuous role — the play involves up to 250 entrances and exits by the various cast members — has been taken over by an understudy, but at least one couple in the audience this week asked for their money back at the intermission.
A Severed Head, Or, Hypallage In Henry IV (Part I)
In a report, just posted at NER, about the finding of the head of Henry IV (the English king, not the French one who famously declared that "Paris vaut une messe" to explain his raison d''état -- nothing to do with his âmeor état d'âme -- for conversion to Catholicism), we are informed that a "team of multidisciplinary researchers" concluded that the severed head is indeed that of the English king.
This kind of thing -- especially since it is so glaring -- is not to be tolerated. There's a transferred epithet there, a hypallage of a kind not unwonted but unwanted. If that horrible word "multidisciplinary" must be retained,, then at least put it back, where it belongs (and kindly do not question, in the last phrase, the deliberate play with virgulosity): "A multidisciplinary team of researchers."
Hypallage is often welcome. Shakespeare wouldn't leave home -- wouldn't get out of his second-best bed, with those whiter sheets than snow -- without it.
The Rutherford Readerâ€™s Freedom of Speech Threatened
MURFREESBORO, TN – A vocal minority group, led by California based film-maker, documentarian, and self proclaimed Muslim advocate, Eric Allen Bell, has threatened the Rutherford Reader and the paper's advertisers, and distribution points, with a boycott based on The Reader's publishing of weekly information concerning Islam, the local Murfreesboro Islamic Center construction, and radical Muslims in general.
An anonymous letter has been circulated encouraging Bell's supporters to contact The Reader's advertisers and voice their opposition to "hate speech" articles allegedly published in the weekly publication.
“While The Reader gives little credence to anonymous letters, The Reader does take exception to statements by Eric Allen Bell and a "Shelton Stevens," whom we have been unable to verify exists, making statements that The Reader is printing "hate speech" in our publication,” said publisher, Pete Doughtie.
“The Reader does provide space on a weekly basis to nationally recognized authorities and organizations to inform and educate our readers about terrorism, Sharia law, national security, and other topics of interest. We routinely print (with permission) from well-known authorities such as the following:”
Gadi Adelman, a freelance writer and lecturer on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism. He grew up in Israel, studying terrorism and Islam for 35 years after surviving a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem in which seven children were killed. Since returning to the U.S., Gadi teaches and lectures to law enforcement agencies as well as high schools and colleges;
Dr. Sami Alrabaa, an ex-Muslim, and a professor of Sociology and an Arab-Muslim culture specialist. He has taught at Kuwait University, King Saud University, and Michigan State University. He also writes for the Jerusalem Post.
Steven Emerson, an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and the author of five books on these subjects, most recently "Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US." Steve also writes for the Counterterrorism Blog.
Jerry Gordon is Sr. Vice President of World Encounter Institute and Sr. Editor for New English Review. He is a former Army Intelligence officer who served during the Viet Nam era. Mr. Gordon has published widely in such outlets as FrontPageMagazine, The American Thinker, WorldNetDaily, ChronWatch, New English Review, Israpundit and others. He has been a frequent guest discussing Middle East issues on radio in both the U.S. and Canada. He is a graduate of both Boston and Columbia Universities.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., is president, CEO, and founder of the Center for Security Policy. He was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (1987, Reagan administration) and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under Richard N. Perle (1983-87). Gaffney is the former chairman of the High Level Group at NATO. He is a senior advisor at Americans for Victory Over Terrorism (AVOT).
Editor Dave Gaubatz who spent 20 years as an active duty USAF (Special Agent/OSI), 3.5 years as a civilian 1811 Federal Agent, trained by the U.S. State Department in Arabic, and was the first U.S. Federal Agent to enter Iraq in 2003. He is also a counterterrorism counterintelligence officer. Gaubatz currently owns "Wahhabi CT Publications" and conducts CT Research on behalf of high profile non-profit organizations.
Dr. Harvey Kushner, an Internationally recognized authority on terrorism prevention and consultant to the FBI, FAA, INS, and U.S. Customs Service, he appears regularly on Fox News Channel, CNN, and MSNBC and is routinely quoted by major national publications. Dr. Kushner’s latest work is “Holy War on the Home Front: The Secret Islamic Terror Network in the United States. He is also the author of the expert & apos; report in the civil litigation investigating the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
From a local point of view, Mike Vinson, columnist for the Murfreesboro Post wrote an article August 15, 2010 on this issue. In his column, Vinson states, “In detail, I’ve looked at many issues of The Reader, and in no copy did I find anything, whatsoever, that qualified as “hate speech.”
This paper has offered, on many occasions, for anyone connected with the Murfreesboro Islamic Center to provide The Reader with information they would like printed in our publication. To date, ICM has not responded or submitted anything to publish.
The Rutherford Reader is Rutherford County's largest circulated family-owned weekly newspaper providing an abundance of information concerning our local community. The Reader does not print "hate speech." The Reader does provide a voice to the local community to express their opinions. The attempt by Eric Allen Bell and his supporters to silence an outlet for expression of "free speech" is despicable and un-American. Political correctness is not a hallmark of The Reader. We are proud of our publication and the service it renders to the local community to inform our readers of local happenings. Eric Allen Bell and his followers have every right to mount their "boycott campaign" against our publication. We simply feel Mr. Bell is misinformed and misguided. We have faith in our advertisers and the Rutherford County community to see this effort for what it is....an attempt to silence "free speech."
In May 2010, The Reader was accused of printing “hate speech” articles about Muslims and Islam, then banned from all Kroger stores in Rutherford County. Now advertisers and businesses that carry The Reader are being harassed.
After the Jacobins exhumed and decapitated the remains of King Henry, the head was sold and resold. Finally coming to rest with a now elderly couple who kept it in a closet for many years. Here is the story from Fox News:
A team of multidisciplinary researchers announced today (Dec. 14) that a mummified head and its brain contents long thought to belong to the beloved king really are his. The head, which has been in the hands of private owners, had been removed from Henry IV's body by revolutionaries in 1793 during a symbolic desecration of the tombs of the monarchs of France. [See Henry IV's mummified head]
Researchers, led by forensic medical examiner and osteo-archaeologist Philipp Charlier of University Hospital R Poincaré in Garches, France, compared the head with sculptures and portraits of Henry, who had been assassinated in 1610, and digitally reconstructed the face. The result was a dead ringer for the beloved king.
The same techniques could be used on the other mutilated remains of French royalty, the researchers wrote today in the British Medical Journal.
Good King Henry
The story of how Henry IV's head became the subject of a forensic investigation can be traced to 1589, when his predecessor, Henry III, was assassinated by a fanatical monk. At the time, the designated heir to the throne was ruling Navarre, a small kingdom in the Pyrenees Mountains. Henry of Navarre was an accomplished tennis player who often wagered on the game, said Pierre Force, a professor of French and history at Columbia University who was not involved in the head identification.
"In the accounting books, there are entries in which the accountant of the kingdom had to pay because the king lost yet another game of tennis to some noble," Force told LiveScience.
Henry IV was also a Protestant, a fact that made his ascension to the throne of Catholic France problematic. By the laws of succession, he would be France's rightful king, but to gain the throne he had to lay siege to Paris and eventually convert to Catholicism, Force said.
"That was a very spectacular gesture and one that brought peace to the country," Force said.
In 1598, Henry IV further cemented his reputation as a fair, peaceful king when he issued an edict guaranteeing religious freedom to Protestants. He became known as "good King Henry" for his popularity, and the "green gallant" for his attractiveness to women.
Off with his head
But in 1610, Henry IV, like his predecessor, lost his life to an assassin. The king was buried in the Basilica of Saint Denis in northern Paris, where his body stayed until 1793. French revolutionaries executed their own king, Louis XVI, that year and then turned their attention to the previous monarchs, opening their tombs and reburying their mutilated bodies in mass graves nearby. It was at this point that Henry IV lost his head.
"It fit into their idea of 'Out, out, damn spot,' of getting rid of, in a symbolic way, the historical burdens of monarchy," John Merriman, a Yale University historian and author of a number of books on European and French history, told LiveScience.
"It seemed, in context, a proper gesture," Merriman, who was not involved in the current study, added.
The head stayed in the hands of private collectors until recently, when Charlier and his colleagues began their investigation. The mummified head was well-preserved, and the royal brain lay undisturbed inside the skull. The head's owner was bald with bad teeth and a cataract in the right eye, the researchers found.
Radiocarbon dating showed that the head's age matched the king's date of death. The head had an irregular mole on the right nostril and an earring hole in the right earlobe, both features seen in portraits and statues of Henry IV. [See the ear, nose and hair of king]
The method of embalming, which involved leaving the brain intact, matched the historical records of the king's preservation. On the neck of the mummified head, researchers found a black band of carbon, which matched the ingredients that the king's embalmer had reported using on the body to absorb decomposition odors. The mummy's mouth was stuffed with plant matter, also used at the time to absorb odors.
The team could not recover uncontaminated DNA in order to match it to the king's descendants, but the researchers completed a digital facial reconstruction of the skull that matched the plaster mold of Henry IV's face made just after his death...
Just idly anticipating the reaction from the Ummah, although when Arabs get oil it is a sign of Allah's favour. From The Times:
The discovery of the world’s biggest offshore gasfield in ten years is set to make Israel energy-independent for the first time, boosting its status as the Middle East’s pre-eminent power.
Tests completed yesterday show that the huge Leviathan field 129km (80 miles) off Israel’s northern coast could contain 450 billion cubic metres of gas — enough to meet domestic needs for 90 years. The announcement sent the Tel Aviv stock exchange soaring to a record high, amid claims that the gas could be worth as much as $95 billion (£61 billion).
Lack of natural resources has been Israel’s Achilles’ heel as it fought a series of wars with Arab neighbours over the past half-century. Now Israel could become an exporter of energy.
Further tests will be required to assess the extent of the gas field, which stretches across a 325 sq km area west of the Israeli town of Haifa.
David Stover, president of Noble Energy, the US company that holds a 40 per cent stake in the project, said that the Leviathan field — which lies a short distance from Israel’s disputed maritime border with Lebanon — “has the potential to position Israel as a natural gas-exporting nation”.
Israel has had to import virtually all its oil and much of its gas supplies. The discovery was made by a Transocean Sedco Express drilling rig in water depths of 1.6km. It was confirmed yesterday by electrical log tests.
Israel hopes that the reserves will give it independence in energy and allow exports to Europe via pipelines. Some could be liquefied and transported abroad in ships. “Today we received the most important energy news since the country was founded, which will bring us success and significantly impact many fields in Israel,” Uzi Landau, the Infrastructure Minister, said. “This is an important day for the Israeli market and economy.”
Couldn't have happened to a better nation, and I look forward to seeing our Foreign and Commonwealth Office treat Israel with even a fraction of the deference it accords Israel's primitive oil-rich neighbours. 0.04 per cent would be a start, being Israel's approximate share of land in the Middle East.