Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The End of Christianity in Iraq by Glen Chancy

The End of Christianity in Iraq by Glen Chancy: "While the Kurds, for example, have received millions of dollars in aid following the end of Saddam’s regime, aid to the Assyrians has been almost non-existent. This has resulted in many refugees living in appalling conditions. It was even recently reported that some of the Assyrian refugees in northern Iraq had been reduced to sleeping on bare dirt in Christian cemeteries.

Since 2005, the Council for Assyrian Research and Development has sought to record the abuses endured by Assyrians through the Assyrian Human Rights Documentation Project. The first outcome paper produced by the group pulls no punches in its grim assessment. The paper warns, 'At the current rates of ethnic cleansing, forced assimilation and migration, the indigenous Assyrian Christians will be fully eradicated from the new 'democratic Iraq' in less than 10 years ... the Kurdification, Arabisation, and Islamification of Iraq have left an ancient people at the doors of extinction.'

The Assyrians have been calling for assistance, and these pleas have largely fallen on deaf ears. What is most needed is an Assyrian Administrative Unit, a safe haven that would be administered and guarded by the Assyrians themselves. While international groups such as the European Parliament have issued declarations and resolutions of support, the actual power in Iraq, the United States, appears to have already relegated the Assyrians to the dustbin of history. Unless the American people themselves choose to demand a policy reversal, it is unlikely that the Bush Administration will become interested in the fate of Iraqi Christians on its own accord.

It is doubtful that George W. Bush will be remembered as the American President who brought Jeffersonian Democracy to the Middle East. But it appears that at least one historic achievement is well within his grasp. It is quite likely that "W" will succeed where the Arab Caliphate, the Mongol Empire, the Ottoman Empire, British colonialism, and decades of Ba’athist misrule all failed. When "W" finally saunters off the world stage, the Assyrian Christian community in Iraq will probably be gone as well.

And the world will be a much poorer place because of it."

Monday, July 24, 2006

Extraordinary plenary assembly of the bishops Maronites of Lebanon: Text of the official statement

Extraordinary plenary assembly of the bishops Maronites of Lebanon: Text of the official statement (in French)

1 - Absolutely unjustifiable and illogical are the painful events which we have lived in Lebanon for the last few days, events which paralysed it, after the bombardment of its landing strips, of the majority of its bridges and roads, certain power stations, of its service and communication centers.

The removal of two soldiers, no matter what one may think, does not justify that an entire country be thus dismembered, the killing of the hundreds of people and the starvation of most of the population.

2 - The dramatic situation lived by the Lebanese, in particular those which were forced to leave their homes and villages, demands all to forget the political differences which separate them and to make a common front. This is not the hour for the settlement of political payments, but of solidarity, understanding and courage to face this situation as best as possible.

3 - The deliberate and intensive bombardment of axis road led to the insulation of the majority of the cities and villages, in particular in the South and in Bekaa. It prevented the routing towards these areas of food aids and medicine. So the fathers {of this assembly} call the humane organizations, in particular the ICRC and the Lebanese Red Cross, to work to bring these populations food, drugs and other products of first need.

4 - The assembly exhorts all the Lebanese to receive in love and solidarity their brothers forced by the war to give up their homes and their villages, regardless of their Community membership. Misfortune must link us instead of separate us. It must place us face to face with our responsibilities and the consequences of our acts without leading us to mutual accusations.

Break the cycle of violence

5 - The assembly exhorts the members of the Security Council of UNO to once and for all put an end to the cycle violence in Lebanon by adopting without delay a resolution asking for an immediate cease-fire, the regard for the life of innocent civilians and to regulate the crisis in such a radical way that complete justice is made to all the parts.

6 - The assembly supports the efforts of the government and the Prime Minister to put an end to the Lebanese tragedy and to set the foundation for a strong and rightful State extending its authority over the whole territory, gathering all people and preserving all the components of the Lebanese society.

7 - The fathers call upon all the faithful to answer the call launched by the Holy Father, the pope Benedict XVI, for one day of prayer and penitence on Sunday to pray for peace. It invites all believers, regardless of the religion they belong, to raise their hearts towards God, the only Lord of history and judge of all human actions, good and bad. It is him whom we beseech to limit these days of test and to spread peace in the hearts and the country.

8 - The fathers thank the chiefs of the sisters Churches, the episcopal councils, bishops of the world, which have solidarized with Lebanon, in this trial. They express their sincere condolences to the families of the victims, and wish speedy recovery for the wounded and ask God to put an end to this terrible misfortune.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Democracy Now! | Israeli Refusenik vs. Israeli Peace Party Member: A Debate on Israel's Assault on Lebanon

Democracy Now! | Israeli Refusenik vs. Israeli Peace Party Member: A Debate on Israel's Assault on Lebanon: "And my message here today is that if you will let the Israeli government to solve this conflict, it means the destruction of my country and the destruction of the neighbors’ countries."

Follow the Money

Democracy Now! | U.S. Arming of Israel: How U.S. Weapons Manufacturers Profit From Middle East Conflict: "Israel's relationship with the United States is unique in a number of ways. And one of those ways is that essentially the United States provides 20% of the Israeli military budget on an annual basis, and then about 70% of that money that is given from the United States, from U.S. taxpayers, to Israel is then spent on weapons from Lockheed Martin and Boeing and Raytheon. Most other countries don't have that sort of cash relationship, where they go straight to U.S. corporations with U.S. money to buy weapons that are then used in the Occupied Territories and against Lebanon."

Why They Hate Us?

The Apple of His Eye by John J. Dwyer: "My father would not stay down until finally the leader shot him so many times that only death stilled him. Because of this, he did not see the soldiers break both of my dead little sister’s arms. He did not see the leader return to the living room and begin the raping of the apple of his eye, the memory of whose smiling eighteen-month-old face, with the forelock of dark hair over her brow and her wide shining eyes that loved him with her whole heart, was the last conscious thought of his life.

He did not see them blow her brains out with their fancy rifle, nor set her pure body – and the house he had worked so hard to provide for us – on fire, to destroy the evidence of deeds even they must have been shamed by.

He did not witness the American commanders’ attempts to cast the blame for the crimes on our own countrymen, even though others of our family members and other neighbors – at great risk to themselves and their own vulnerable families – surged forward to testify that the men who usually wore the eagle on their shoulder did it.

He did not live to observe hate kindle in the souls of his two young sons, who had not been at the house and were now orphaned and would devote their lives as mujahideen – which he had never wanted us to be – to avenging our beloveds’ deaths on the children of the invaders, who now would weep their own ocean of tears.

And he never knew how the followers of the gentle prophet about whom I remember him growing curious to know more, could be so unlike that man. For in none of the stories he had heard of that prophet from our own holy books and those of the Americans, who called him their Lord and Savior, did my father remember that humble man urging his followers on to rapings and kidnappings and murders, bombings and burnings and massacres, all the while praying for their success and protection in such deeds."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I am also Suffering "Christian Music"

Suffering, Thy Name Is FM Radio by Jeffrey A. Tucker: "I'll just say this as plainly as possible: Christian contemporary music is ghastly, insipid, uninspired, brain draining, and horrible in every way.

How can I describe this stuff? It's like bad rock, bad pop, bad country, bad everything all rolled into one. The voices are all bad. They have this cheesy little vibrato that seems designed to sooth but only annoys. The instrumentation is all canned. All songs begin softly with whispered nothings about some personal problem you don't care about. They grow and grow with choruses featuring long notes. Cymbals and trumpet flourishes arrive at the high points. They end with some victorious flourish. A dated rock beat backs it all. The words are completely vacuous. The sentiment is cheap. The melodies are childish. If religion were this thin, it's a wonder anyone goes along with it at all! This is truly bad music in every way."

Monday, July 17, 2006

Just Wait!

CNN.com - Putin rejects Bush's Iraq democracy model - Jul 15, 2006: "'I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world, like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion, and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same,' Bush said.

To that, Putin replied, 'We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy that they have in Iraq, quite honestly.' (Watch as Putin reacts to Bush's position on Iraq and the Mideast conflict -- 2:25)"

ei: Israel attacks Lebanon (12 July 2006)

ei: Israel attacks Lebanon (12 July 2006): "Israel attacks Lebanon (12 July 2006)
Following the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizballah on July 12th, Israel brings its campaign of collective punishment and excessive use of force to Lebanon, with 'Operation Just Reward'. Dawn air strikes on south Lebanon on 13 July 2006 claimed the lives of at least 44 civilians, including over 15 children, and wounded over 100. Israel bombed bridges linking the north and south of the country and all three runways of Beirut's commercial airport. The Israeli army's Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, promised that 'nothing is safe in [Lebanon], as simple as that.'"

Bush's Faith and the Middle East Aflame by Tom Engelhardt

Bush's Faith and the Middle East Aflame by Tom Engelhardt: " BRADBURY: The President is always right.

The President's record in the Middle East and elsewhere tells us otherwise, of course. From Pyongyang to Tehran, Baghdad to Gaza and Tel Aviv, smaller powers – or simply parties, militias, or mass movements – are going their own way, considering their own narrow interests, and exploring just how far force can take them, while ignoring the words of the Bush administration. In this sense, they learned their new religious catechism well: If you can't impose it on me by force of arms, then to hell with you."

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife’s Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There? by

Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife’s Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There? by Nicholas Monahan: "This morning I’ll be escorting my wife to the hospital, where the doctors will perform a caesarean section to remove our first child. She didn’t want to do it this way – neither of us did – but sometimes the Fates decide otherwise. The Fates or, in our case, government employees."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Diplomatic Deception: The Calm Before the Firestorm by Chris Floyd

Diplomatic Deception: The Calm Before the Firestorm by Chris Floyd: "So don't be lulled by the spoon-fed folderol of the toothless media watchdogs. For while the well-wadded poltroons at Time and the Times serve up Karl Rove's comfort food about a more 'mature' and sensible Bush foreign policy, the world is actually drawing closer and closer to a even deeper level of darkness.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Hegemonic Tyrant Courts Doom by Paul Craig Roberts

Hegemonic Tyrant Courts Doom by Paul Craig Roberts: "Listening to the pair of hegemonic maniacs, I realized that the US is the new Rome – there is no legitimate power but us. Any other power is a potential threat to our interests and must be eliminated before it gets any independent ideas. The US, however, is far more dangerous than Rome. Rome saw its world as the Mediterranean and, for a while, Northern Europe, but the US thinks the whole world is its oyster. The Bush regime is busy trying to marginalize Russia, and neocons are preparing war plans to attack China before that country can achieve military parity with the US.

Gentle reader, consider what it means when our government believes other countries have no right to their own interests unless they coincide with US interests. It means that we are the tyrant country. We cannot be the tyrant country without being perceived as the tyrant country. Consequently, the rest of the world unites against us.

How is the US, which has spent three years proving that it cannot successfully occupy Iraq, a small country of only 25 million people, going to control India, China, Russia, Europe, Africa and South America?

It’s not going to happen.

What it does mean is that the US government in its hubris and delusion is going to continue starting wars and attacking other countries until a coalition of greater forces smashes us. Even among our European allies we are already perceived as the greatest threat to world peace and stability.

Our power is not what it once was. We are weak in manufacturing and dependent on China for advanced technology products. We are dependent on China to finance our wars, our budget and trade deficits. How long will China accommodate us when China reads about Bush’s plans to prevent China from achieving military parity?

The Bush regime thinks that it can have every country under its thumb. Neocons are fond of proclaiming that it is a unipolar world in which the US is supreme. This is a f"