The First Article consists of a Feedback comment submitted to and published on the internet at the Courier Mail Newspaper in Brisbane Australia, and relates to the recent Redfern Race Riot.
The Second article entitled Seeing Islam through Rose Coloured Glasses, is a direct copy of information posted at the Yahoo Religion_forum, and is followed by a published comment that I submitted to the Courier Mail. It also contains copies of replies to that published submission.
Additionally, this matter is currently being discussed at Yahoo Religion_Forums, between Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Buddhists.
The replies posted at the Courier Mail are interesting and lead me to conclude that our politically correct and stupid western civilization is full of 'knee jerking' politically correct (scared witless to say anything that could be interpreted as racist or discriminatory) people, who rather than looking at anything in the full light of reality, prefer instead that type self righteousness that comes with being seen to do and say all the right things.
In fact, despite what was said and implied in reply to my submission, I am neither anti-muslim nor racist, and the article on Islam had nothing to do with religious muslims, but the motivation behind the Muslim terrorists who in their religious fundamentalism are politically motivated.
The second commentator uses the Bible and current Christian preaching, to negate my comments, but in the process demonstrates that he can neither read nor understand plain English, for in effect he says that since such violence can be found in these two abovementioned sources, that the fundamentalist Islamic terrorists are justified.
The real point is that the shocking behaviour of Christian Western society in the past, ought to be sufficient warning of what may soon take place from its Islamic equivalent.
Politically motived religious zealots are attempting to subdue the world and make it conform to there political doctrines, and the funny thing is, that their religious doctrines are not widely adhered to by the majority of Muslims.
The point to my article, is that we must be aware of the political goals of such people, and not allow them to use Religion to alter the Historical Culture of our own countries.
I hope the articles will stimulate you to offer your own comments.
In the last Social Commentary Newsletter, I made reference to two responses to one of my feedback comments that was published online at the Courier Mail Newspaper, and to the fact that some people prefer to 'appear' politically correct rather than examine something in the plain light of day.
Today I wish to draw your attention to several articles in the press which not only demonstrate this type of self righteous attitude, but more than that, demonstrate that the truth is often concealed for the purpose of appeasing 'political philosophies'. Let me commence with an article entitled: "Failures of feminism" by Judson Cox (January 19, 2004)
I quote: I got an email from a young woman, who was incensed that I used a masculine pronoun in a generic sense. The column that upset her argued that western culture is superior to Islamic culture due to (among other reasons) our valuing of women's rights.
She argued that the use of "gendered language" makes ours a sexist culture with no greater moral standing than Afghanistan under the Taliban.
The English language holds the masculine form of a pronoun to be generic; if referring to "an American" as "he" upset her, the problem is her insecurity.
However, her argument is symptomatic of the bias against American culture prevalent in our colleges. End Quote
It would appear that this woman is more concerned with a personal political philosophy ie politically correct, non gendered language, than the issue at hand or the merits or truth of the argument.
As it relates to my topic today, Mr. Cox's point here is that some individuals have no interest in the 'truth', only their own 'self-interested' motivation.
Here he writes that "The goal of our Founders was an adversarial press, what we have now is a biased press, actively colluding with the Democratic Party."
This statement was the last line of the following commentary: "The press prevents an honest competition of ideology. A Republican, like President Bush, can serve honorably in the National Guard and be called a draft dodger and a deserter. A Democrat like Bill Clinton can dodge the draft and demonize the military in writing, and his actions are irrelevant. A Democrat can even kill someone, as Ted Kennedy did, and still be the darling of the media, a revered and heroic figure whose drunken rants are taken as the gospel."
Now before you begin to make accusation of his personal bias, he is not the only one saying this type of thing.
It seems that all the talk by the Star Tribune of sophisticated editorial policy was just a lot of hot air ? masking what is genuinely an anti-Israel double-standard.
A further indication of the double standard: The Star Tribune has a special section of its online edition devoted to world terrorism, which includes archived articles on terror threats and attacks in the US, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan - even Nigeria. But blowing up a Jerusalem commuter bus didn't qualify.
These latest blunders extend the Star Tribune's history of distorting the conflict. In 2002, after being caught red-handed, Star Tribune editors publicly admitted that the newspaper re-wrote wire service stories in a manner which radically distorted the meaning of a Human Rights Watch report on casualties in the Jenin refugee camp. The Star Tribune's own ombudsman called this an "embarrassing wart."
Here we have an example of philosophical manipulation of 'reality' to create a biased reality that serves some person's personal goals. But such is not restricted to just this article or newspaper for we also read:
As journalist and commentator Tom Gross says, "This New York Times story is an example of how the paper, through the myth of 'objectivity,' subtly misleads its readers on Mideast issues on an almost daily basis." Al Jazeera, with 35 million daily viewers and plans to enter North American cable, is a growing force in propagating anti-Israel and anti-American lies under the guise of objective "news." New York Times readers, unfortunately, are left in the dark regarding this aspect of the "balanced" Arab media outlet.
A success for media monitors: Reuters finally begins describing Hamas accurately.
We live in a world where REALITY is what the politically motivated WANT it to be, but while we all understand that the first role of the press is to make MONEY, (and if this is furthered by sensationalism or misrepresentation, then so be it), there is an unmistakable stink of 'political' motivation in certain aspects of various MEDIA presentations.
While we in the west might like to boast about our 'free press', what these articles demonstrate, is that the MEDIA many times actively colludes with political idealogues in an effort to 'deceive or misdirect' the public and its perceptions of events and situations.
We would all cry 'foul!' if anyone suggested that we introduce 'Media Censorship', for that is the prerogative of autocratic or dictatorial nations.
Now here is what happens in a society where 'Media Censorship' exists.
In this next article (which does not appear to have been legitimately referenced) we can see not only 'how' the media is controlled, but how appreciative the press in that area is of 'western free media' (if it in fact be such).
In the latest example of intimidation, masked gunmen belonging to the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades went on a rampage in the offices of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV in Ramallah and threatened to shoot staffers. The reason: the station had been reporting on the power struggle between Arafat and former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas in a way that infuriated Arafat.
As one Palestinian editor summed it: "Thank God we have CBS and BBC to tell us about what is happening in our areas."
It strikes me as strange, that while none of us would like to live under these types of regimes, there nevertheless seems to be a 'conspiracy' of distorting the truth, which while it may be good for selling newspapers, will be catastrophic to democracy in the western world, if the current round of terrorism going on in the world, is presented to the public not as is, but with particular sectarian political objectives.
While I now wish to relate all of the above to the issue of Middle Eastern Affairs, the point I wish to make is that our perceptions are not always reflective of reality.
Whenever I see or hear statements which are 'Anti-Israel', they always seem to center around the fact that Israel ought not to have been there in the first place, and that Israel 'stole' the land from the Arabs.
I recently received an email from an organisation to which I suscribe, called 'Women in Green'. Consider now the other side of the story on the matter of Israel's theft from the Arabs.
There never was such a thing as Palestinian people or a political entity called Palestine. Arafat's PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) was founded in 1964, three years before Israel's 1967 defensive war, when Israel had to withstand the attack by five well-armed States - Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, with their large armies and arsenals. At the end of the Six Day War, the Biblical Heartland of Judea and Samaria was liberated by Israel from Jordan. Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria between 1948 and 1967. King Hussein of Jordan, during this illegal occupation, renamed Judea and Samaria the "West Bank", i.e. the west bank of the River Jordan.
Jordan, of course, is a country, which according to Winston S. Churchill, Winston Churchill's grandson, was "created" by his grandfather, who was Britain's Colonial Secretary at the time of Jordan's creation in 1921.
Yes, there is an attempted land grab - not by the Jews - but by the Arabs who have come to the Holy Land from surrounding Arab countries during the last hundred years for work opportunities and a less repressive life style. Since 1967, the Arabs have established almost twice as many settlements than the Jews in the liberated territory of Judea and Samaria! This land grab has been heavily funded by Saudi Arabia. Sadly enough, the world does not find the frantic Arab building activities in the Holy Land an obstacle to peace.
Whatever one feels about Israel's existence, the fact is that it does exist, and if one should say it should cease because as a state it is new, then so too should the People's Republic of China.
And if it is wrong for it to exist, the U.N. should not have recognised it (nor China - where I live).
If one disapproves of Israel's existence or of Western Support for it, then may I ask, 'Does your government recognise it?' 'Is your government operating in some place in the world outside of your own country?' Should it not pull back its troops and activities and restrict itself to only it's own national affairs?
Do you believe that Israel should be left at the mercy of Arab hatred? For if you do, then there is NO EXCUSE for any nation within or outside of the United Nations to be interfering in the political, ethnic, or national affairs of other countries.
So the answer is Peace. But at what price?
Many in Israel feel that Mr. Sharon is selling Israel down the tubes to appease Western Political Pressure, which seems hell bent on appeasing the Militant Terrorists. [Take a look at how they view America and the West
Personally I think that if the man has any brains, he is simply waiting for the Arabs to begin another war, so that he can push them back even further than they are now, and then say to the world, 'we tried it your way. We tried to appease these people who only want peace, and they have proved themselves liars, so now, go take a jump!'
The Arabs and others accuse Israel of being Racist, but what is this if not more of this 'double standard' of reporting; this misdirection of fact; this deliberate desire to deceive people; to use your 'western democratic weakness' in their favour.
Between my comments in this Newsletter, Yahoo Religion_Forum, and my comments published in the Courier Mail Online Newspaper, I have in recent weeks received numerous disparaging remarks and accusations of Racism.
Why? Because I feel very strongly about letting Militant, Political, Fundamentalist, Terrorist Islamics take control of our minds, our media, and our freedoms. I believe strongly that we in the Western World are victims of Propaganda Campaigns initiated by such people, as well as being victims of sections of the Western Media who have either taken an anti-Israel stance (irrespective of what that will ultimately imply), or who are sssooooo politically correct, that they whitewash the truth to the extent that it is no longer visible.
In Short, I have been accused of being Discriminatory. And it is true! And I am proud of it!
The day we stop listening to our own good judgement, to logic, to commonsense and to decency, we cease to be 'discriminatory'. When we surrender our minds and emotions to the whims of militant political minorities, we are in danger of complying with all sorts of 'political depravity'. Nazism was not a 'movement', it was the result of a failure to discriminately 'move' for truth, decency, and honesty, and a failure to 'move' against tyranny, threats, and terrorism.
To make accusations of racism against a person who expresses a political or religious belief that is different to your own, that's 'discrimination'. Those who are so quick to make such accusations, are I suspect, EXTREMELY SUSPECT. Their immediate 'politically correct' anger, can be seen to be on par with a psychological disorder called 'Reaction Formation', and indicates not that they are 'decent' individuals, but rather that they are 'indecent' individuals who, because they cannot deal with their own inner emotions, must take out their self loathing on the nearest available target.
When the right to think and feel, and express those emotions casually in conversation, or as opinions on an issue, result in abuse for being racist, I believe that what we are seeing, is a 'closet racist', too afraid to deal with their own emotions, and punishing 'honest' citizens for voicing what 'they' cannot.
I am against the Politically militant, fundamentalist Islamics - the terrorists! I am FOR the right of every person to have their own religion, and to practice it as they individually see fit. I do not believe the government of any country has the right to deny people their right to their faith.
Muslims of all persuasions, have the right (like any other Australian) to practice their faith. There are many different types of Muslims, and many different levels of adherence, JUST AS IN CHRISTIANITY.
I think it despicable that 'Christians' should be despised because of the rantings and ravings of 'preaching lunatics' and 'ranting fanatics' who pass themselves off as Christians; and equally it is unfair that the Muslims in Australia, who in following the Qu'ran pay due allegiance to their new country, obeying its laws and customs, should be penalised or discriminated against, because of the Heretic Terrorists!
I doubt that I have ever said anything about the Militant Politically Motivated fundamentalist Islamic Terrorists, that the law abiding Muslim community has not thought or said, and it distresses me to know that many people in Australia 'look down' upon Muslims, particularly those whose lifestyle is orthodox. I mean to say, Do you really think that 'sleeper' terrorists want to be noticed, want to be identified as 'MUSLIMS'?
Those orthodox Muslims walking down the street are people of 'faith', trying to fulfill their 'religious' obligations and duties within a society where just about 'any' outward indication of religious faith is considered 'repugnant'.
It is about time to become 'discriminating' in our behaviour. It is time to be honest, to think logically, to use commonsense, and to be decent. It is about time to bring back some traditional Australian Culture. Yes I know, the multiculturalists say we have no culture, but one of our traditional attitudes used to be "Give 'em a fair go!"
Stop confusing 'faith' with 'terrorism'. Put an end to the idealisation of political correctness, and start being 'human'. Stop idealistically justifying terrorism, stop closing your eyes to the reality that there are militant politically motivated Islamics who wish to destroy Judaism, Christianity and Western Democracy; start treating Australians as Australians,until they 'prove' to you that they are not.
Religious Australians are Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, and who knows what else, to varying degrees of Liberality, Conservatism, and Orthodoxy.
Just because they walk around trusting and believing in God, does not make them an enemy of the state.
And why do I write this?
Because I have listened to my Okker Muslim relatives talk about their experiences, and what's worse, is that the white ones get to hear the true thoughts of decent Australians, because, after all, being white means they couldn't possibly be Muslims. Could they?
WITH REGARD TO THE POLITICIZING of the Islamic Religion, I would like to direct your attention to the following article on site at the "Kings Calendar': CHILD ABUSE AND CHILDREN TERRORISTS
I was in the process of preparing this weeks newsletter when I received this'reply' at Yahoo Religion_Forum.
I had previously posted a comment in relation to all the damage that had been done in China in the course of the last 60 years (and more).
Phillip, the person who replied to my post, is a Buddhist monk who spent the formative years of his life in Libya. I make no comment about his reply, but just give it here for you to ponder. I have asked for and received his permission to use this here.
He commences by quoting from my first line:
RPBenDedek wrote: 'It is a pity' as the Chinese say (Usually meaning: It is unfortunate)
Answer: Unfortunate yes, but it isn’t a word that in any way reflects what happened and continues to happen in Tibet. As you may know, the youngest political prisoner in the world is the Panchen Lama, the second most important person in the central Tibetan hierarchy, kidnapped by the Chinese government in the hopes that they can use him when the present Dali Lama dies. If he is anything like his predecessor he will turn against the Chinese. The last Panchen Lama, after spending many years as a Chinese captive and used as a pawn, rebelled and spent the rest of his life in prison. The largest prison camps in the world are in Tibet, full of political prisoners, it is a “crime” for Tibetans to have a photo of the Dalai Lama, that is enough to send you to a prison camp for years where you will be tortured until you tow the party line.
This continues today as many escapees from Tibet testify. The ordinary Tibetans are treated as though they do not exist in their own country. The Chinese will talk about them in front of them as if they were simply furniture, not worthy of an acknowledgement as human beings. They are excluded from even a rudimentary education or health care and basically used as slaves in their own country. A friend of mine, Akong Tulku, now a British citizen, goes back to help his people in Eastern Tibet, he is creating a school and a clinic for his people because that is the only way these people will receive help, no assistance is forthcoming from the Chinese and, on the contrary he has restrictions imposed upon him, including extortion by Chinese government officials. He is not allowed to visit what was his own monastery but then he has been told that it has been destroyed so… Tourists who go to Tibet think that they see functioning monasteries there, what they don’t realize is that the “monks” are, for the most part, Chinese play acting for the tourist dollars. Tibetan Buddhism is under severe strictures and Tibetans who are genuine monks must belong to the Communist party and admit that as their first allegiance, so anything to do with the Dalai Lama is forbidden. This is rather like, but not, let me make it clear, theologically equivalent in any way, to a Christian being told that you can practice Christianity but never refer to Christ! So the result is an underground Buddhist organization practiced in secret and always in danger from the Chinese police. Such monks, if caught, go to the prison camps for torture and usually die there from the appalling treatment that is given to them. The Tibetan Government in Exile reckons that Tibet has about 20 years of life left then to talk about Tibet and Tibetan culture will be redundant. It will have vanished from the face of the Earth. What outrages me is that years ago, 30 or more, the International Court at the Hague condemned the Chinese government for genocide and cultural genocide in Tibet but no government that has clout, has spoken out on this matter. Profit, it seems, takes precedence before people, capitalism, I think, is as evil as Communism.
The only government that has recognised the Tibetan Government in Exile is the Czechs, under Vaclav Havel, but then Havel was that rear breed amongst politicians, President because he was as uncompromising truth teller and ethical to the core. Here is a quote from Havel to give you some idea of the mans decency. He was talking to Husak, the then Communist leader of Czechoslovakia: "you and your government have chosen the easy way out for yourselves, and the most dangerous road for society: the path of inner decay for the sake of outward appearances; of deadening life for the sake of increasing uniformity; of deepening the spiritual and moral crisis of our society, and ceaselessly degrading human dignity, for the puny sake of protecting your own power." He could have been speaking about the Chinese government of today!
RPBenDedek wrote: My little escapade with God on the banks of the Chang Jiang aside, that was one of only two occasions in which I had that surreal feeling of 'Being in China', by which I meant that on that day I was that I was far from home in a strange new world. (not to imply that I feel homesick - I have never felt that at all - apart from sometimes wishing I was sitting in the casino - MY REAL HOME).
Answer: REAL HOME, I don’t think at this point I have one. Living in so many cultures through my life and being such a mixture of East and West I don’t feel at home anywhere. But then again, I can make a home anywhere. I would, however, rather like to live back in Libya, but I have no doubt that I would find it changed and what was familiar would have gone. I suppose I will end my days in some sort of odd compromise, a Tibetan monastery in Switzerland, speaking German, listening to Arabic music, or some such schizoid thing.
RPBenDedek wrote: But sometimes I do feel that things here are a little surreal.
Answer: They are surreal everywhere mate!!! As the Chinese say, We live in interesting times. That, as far as I understand it, is an observation about times of disquiet rather than interest per se.
RPBenDedek wrote: These kids here have nothing but 'some kind' of intellectual understanding of the realities of life in China over the last 100 years, but the older ones DO KNOW. You look at the myriad of faces and see etched in them, the realities of their lives.
Answer: If the Tibetans I know are anything to go by I would imagine that it a sort of weariness reflected in their faces?
RPBenDedek wrote: How do some of these people think? One boy in class had the topic of 'American Movies and Television - good or bad', to discuss and stated that HE NEVER watches them, because he hates America. How does he come by this, and what are his parents like, and what did they go through?
I met an old lady from Shanghai who had been through it all. Spoke fantastic English, but said that during the cultural revolution they dared not.
I knew John Blofield, up ending the daisies now, who lived in China during the Communist take over. He’s an example of what was a typical English trait at one time, a trait that is vanishing with my generation. The Englishman that goes native! John Blofield was a Chinese Mandarin wearing a white skin! But all his mannerisms and speech were upper upper class Chinese. He even spoke English in the “sing song” accent of a Mandarin speaker. Talk about cognitive dissonance! His wife was some sort of Chinese princess. He told me that living in China, during that period, was impossible; a matter of watching everything you did and said, everyone, including the children, were spying on everyone else, even parents were spied upon by small children, who would report to their teachers at school. What finally did it for him and his wife was that their home had an alter to the wife’s ancestors. In front of it was an incense burner that had been kept continuously burning for hundreds of years. Some little brat, a servant’s daughter, reported this at school. She was given instructions to pour water over it, which she did. That finally did it for Johns wife and they left for Thailand. Continual acts of petty spite that serve no useful purpose and, in the end break peoples spirit. That, apparently, was what life was like. A constant eroding of people’s will.
RPBenDedek wrote: It is recorded that the vast numbers who got caught up in that, never received any worthwile education, and now sit at the bottom of the economic strata.
Answer: I have read about that, a couple of generations of people who’s lives have been wasted and destroyed. And the wretched geriatrics who were responsible are still in power!
You wonder how some of these people 'feel' - do they finally feel secure? Are they waiting for the next 'wave' to come where everything will be swept aside?
The other day I had this moment where I 'imagined' such a thing happening. It was an awesome feeling. I look at these people and their ways and their lack of progress (as a people)and think 'My God how they suffered for ideology! How they have been held back!'
I wonder sometimes if some of the behaviour I see is 'traditional' or learned behaviour because of all the 'idealotry'.
Answer: I suspect that most of it is learned behaviour because of the idealotry, good coinage by the way! If you read about Chinese thought before the Communist take over, granted it was a rigid and rickety system politically, but intellectually the Chinese were not locked in to conformity. The Communists obliquely acknowledged that in there campaign to “let a hundred thousand flowers bloom”, a campaign that turned out to be a trap for intellectuals. The continual jailing of dissidents, both religious and political is also testimony to that. A good read for the vigour of pre-Communist intellectual life is Lin Yutang, he wrote plenty of books but I suspect you wont find them in China. And, if you think about it, the fact that the Chinese turned to a Western pestilence that has blighted mankind ever since, Communism, is testimony to their openness to ideas. I’m quite sure that people like Mao and Cho En Lai, were quite aware of the evil they were imposing on China too, their behaviour is testimony to that.
RPBenDedek wrote: I was with two of my boys the other day, walking up the street and a couple walked past us. I greeted them in English and Chinese and they did not respond but said something to each other. I remarked on this to MingXing. He said: 'They think you are a kindly man because you are always greeting people.' And yet, they would not reply back. According to MX this is not rudeness, but just their way. How much of this is traditional and how much learned behaviour. *Say nothing and be not seen and nobody can report you?*
Answer: I think, perhaps, it would be useful to talk to the older generation to get an understanding of that. But I would suspect that it is learnt behaviour. Even in Chinatown San Francisco, there are apparently spies for the communists, so even there people are careful because of the danger to their families in China. Going to the temples there I came across many an odd incident that made me wonder about quite what was going on in their minds, initial suspicion, then cautious openness after you were vetted, but also lots of odd comments about China, most of them indirect and cautious, as if they even suspected me as a possible agent. Deep distrust that never quite went away and also, I suspect, deep damage to their psyches.
RPBenDedek wrote: We in the west play so many games with words, with the 'isms' and have NO IDEA of what life is really like - I THINK!
Answer: Well we have an idea of what life is like for us. But I think it is a rather naïve view of life. Having spent so much time with Tibetans, Cambodians, Vietnamese, and other Easterners I have learn that life is a picnic for us even at its worst. It is quite horrendous to speak to people who will calmly tell you that they have no family because they were all butchered in the name of ideology. To be smiled at by such a person who has to live with such isolation for the rest of their lives is acutely painful and makes you feel useless as a human being. It is easy to talk about “isms” if you have not seen or learnt such dreadful things. One can only say that if one has not seen the consequences of philosophy it is easy to forget that Capitalism, Communism, fascism, and Nazism are the ideas made concrete by which people suffer. That is why I do not think that “philosophy” is idle chatter. It really matters what you think and it really matters what the history of your thoughts are derived from and what the consequences are for you and others, it is not enough to say, "well you wouldn't take it to that extreme" or whatever, to find the roots of pestilence and the roots of good are all important. .....Philip
When I first sat down to write this article, I intended it to be a homily along the lines of 'The Spirit of Religion versus the Doctrines of Religions' and how in an attempt to live up to our religious ideals, we actually work against the fundamentals of our religions.
Since then however, I have been reading a variety of articles which drew me to put a different slant on this concept, leaning more toward MESSIAHSHIP.
From the Prophet Isaiah Chapter 58
:5 Is such the fast that I have chosen? the day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the fetters of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
:7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
:8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy healing shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of the LORD shall be thy rearward.
:9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD will answer; thou shalt cry, and He will say: 'Here I am.' If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking wickedness;
:10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in darkness, and thy gloom be as the noon-day;
:11 And the LORD will guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make strong thy bones; and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
The essence of these words is that the purpose of the fast (the ideal/form/observance) has been corrupted. Instead of the fast leading to a right attitude about oneself in relation to God and therefore to others, it has become an end in itself. Hence it became necessary to draw attention to the fact that this end in itself is pointless. If you truly want to show how spiritual (obedient/observant) you are, then do those things that demonstrate the 'spirit' that those words entail. From this we can perceive a difference between the fulfillment of Religious forms (actions and observances), and living according to the purpose behind those forms. Jesus in the New Testament attacked the same issue in his criticisms of the Biblical Pharisees.
In last weeks Editorial Newsletter, we read about China, a land, like so many others, that espoused such great ideals, such humanitarian concern, such equality, and all with the promise of prosperity for all. Despite this, it has undergone some traumatic times, as has also Russia and North Korea.
In the Middle East too, we can hear the cries for justice, equality, and prosperity, and like the communist revolutions of the last century, they commence with a desire to overthrow the existing corrupt 'powers that be'. But one has to ask oneself, 'Where does the 'just' ideal end, and the 'doctrine for doctrine's sake' begin.
In other words, when does the 'First Cause' (like the self effacing and humble fast of religion) cease to be an act of personal sacrifice, - and 'personal glory' (messiahship, judgmentalism or self righteousness) take its'place.
Where is the line of separation between 'the cause' and the 'cult of personality'?
Today we see the media portraying Arafat's Palestinians as Israel's victims, but if you can believe what appears below, when it comes to Arafat, the victims seem to live on the 'other side' of whatever fence he is near.
The PA/PLO TRACK RECORD reveals the nature of the proposed Palestinian State:
In the late 1950s, Arafat, Abu-Mazen and Abu-Ala' fled Egypt for subversion;
In 1966 they fled Syria for subversion;
In 1970 the PLO fled Jordan, following a violent attempt to topple the Hashemite regime;
In 1975 the PLO tried to violently topple the Lebanese regime, triggering a multi-year civil war, which doomed the Christian domination of Lebanon;
During 1978-1981 the PLO plundered and raped South Lebanon;
In 1990 the PLO spearheaded Saddam's invasion of Kuwait (while the Bush-Baker Administration was brutally pressuring Israel to recognize the PLO!);
Aware of PLO's subversive track record, Arabs do not allow the PLO to bear arms on their soil;
Since (Oslo) 1993 - when the PLO was snatched out of oblivion, imported to the heartland of Israel and provided with weaponry - the PA/PLO have been consistent with their inter-Arab track record. They have introduced an unprecedented hope-driven terrorism, systematically and violently violating all agreements. They instituted a hate-education system (K-12), which has featured a production line of heralded homicide bombers for the next two generations.See also the article at King's Calendar on Child Abuse.
It seems clear from the above information, that Arafat and his cohorts are not quite the innocent victims who are 'forced' to defend themselves against military (Jewish) agressors.
CAUSE OR MESSIAH WORSHIP?
When we read about the Arab Israeli conflict, we are continually presented with a picture of a hateful bunch of Jews hell bent on killing and maiming innocent Arabs. But Arafat's track record speaks differently. He is a MESSIAH on a mission, and while all the media rhetoric has centred on the Mission, little attention seems to have been paid to the MESSIAH. In fact, this is probably untrue. The media seem to be so blinded by his rhetoric, that they appear in fact to actually believe that HE IS THE MESSIAH.
So what is the 'Cause'? Is it not peace? Is it not Land? Is it not a Palestinian state? Is it not safety for the Palestinians? If this is so, how is it then that he has constantly rejected Israeli offers? Yes yes I know I know! You will say this and that and this and that to say he was FORCED not to accept, that it is necessary to pay back Israeli agression; that the Israelis should not have been there in the first place, and undoubtedly you also believe that the Jews STOLE land from the Arabs after they successfully defeated Arab invaders. Stealing is a crime! War on the other hand is understandable!
BUT IS THIS MESSIAH bringing a message AND a reality of peace and statehood to his people? Or are his words and actions 'ends in themselves'?
In an email from HonestReporting.com a copy of which also appears in the abovementioned Editorial link, these following statements were made.
The BBC has a popular online site called 'Children's BBC' (CBBC), a colorful news and education portal for kids and their teachers. CBBC has a special section on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The homepage first explains 'Who is Fighting?': They write that the troubles in the Middle East are mainly between the Jewish Israelis who live in Israel, and the Arab Muslims, who used to own the land Israel now controls.
So from the very outset, children are informed that at the heart of this conflict is the supposed 'fact' that Israel 'took' Arab Muslim land. This is, of course, patently false. At the time of UN partition in 1947, more than 70 percent of the area that would become Israel were public lands officially held by the British Mandatory authorities. (An additional 8.6 percent of lands were purchased outright by Jewish organizations or individuals.) Even in the present-day West Bank, most lands were not owned by local Arabs at that time, but were rather deemed 'crown lands' or held by absentee landowners.
In 1947, the United Nations voted to divide Palestine into two states: Arab and Jewish. The Jews accepted the plan and declared independence for Israel on 14 May 1948. But the Arabs rejected it, saying it was unfair they didn't get as much land, even though there were more of them.
The historical record clearly shows that the Arab Higher Council and the Arab League rejected the UN partition plan not because of 'unfair land distribution,' but rather because it created a Jewish state, an entity they never accepted. Moreover, 75% of the land allocated to Jews was barren desert, so in terms of inhabitable lands, the Arabs were offered at least twice as much under the UN plan.
Beyond 1947, more historical distortion from CBBC: There were other wars in 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982 - and each time Israel gained more land, but in fact, lands acquired in 1956, 1973 and 1982 (Lebanon) have all since been fully returned, but this receives no mention in a section that paints Israeli history as one big land grab.
Finally, CBBC misrepresents the failings of the Oslo Accords and Camp David saying that a new set of peace talks broke down in Summer 2000 because the Israelis and Arabs could not agree on the future of Jerusalem - which both sides claim is their own capital.
Kids should know that the breakdown at Camp David was not caused by disagreement over Jerusalem. In July 2000, Ehud Barak offered a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Yassir Arafat rejected the offer and launched a relentless campaign of terror. As American envoy Dennis Ross concluded, "Chairman Arafat could not accept Camp David...because when the conflict ends, the cause that defines Arafat also ends."
It is to this last statement that I draw attention.
Is Arafat the Messiah who brings land and peace to HIS people? Or is he another Messiah, who, rather than sacrificing HIMSELF for his people or for the cause, instead offers up very very young Children on the altar of Molech?
And so it is that we must ask, 'Has the cause of the Palestinians' become an end in itself, to satisfy the 'Arafat cult'? Or is it that up to the present, there has been no hope of achieving the fulfillment of that cause?
Is Terrorism a way to achieve the fulfillment of Palestinian Statehood? Or is Terrorism just an end in itself?
The thing I find interesting in this article is that the Labor Party representative has taken the opportunity to attack John Howard, and in so doing has turned a national security issue into political opportunism. The truth is that we are NOW faced with a problem, and the reality is that we must not allow anything to distract us from this truth.
All over the world, 'distraction from reality' is being used as a political tactic by self-interested parties, to misdirect our focus and attention. Arafat talks about Jewish terrorism, and in so doing distracts us from the reality of his political aims (which have nothing to do with the needs of his people).
The Terrorists blame the US for Muslim deaths, and distracts us from the fact that they are hell bent on making both Muslim and Christian subject to their politico/religious ideology and goals, and does not cease to murder any (Muslim/Christian/Jew) who gets in their way.
So politicized has the issue of terrorism become, and so adept have the Terrorists become at manipulating the Western Press, that we are in danger of not noticing just what inroads they are in fact making into our societies, because we are far too busy concentrating on side issues that have nothing to do with the NOW.
If people in the west do not concentrate on the security of their nations, but rather spend their time arguing over ideologies (eg Racism - because someone says something unkind about a Terrorist on the basis that he is a Muslim), then we will find ourselves becoming the proverbial 'sitting ducks', and that makes for an easy Terrorist Target.
And before any more people want to accuse me in these columns of being anti-Islamic, kindly go to my own website and get in touch with reality.
May I also take this opportunity here to thank the editors at the Courier Mail who inserted my website address into the text. It was not actually included in my feedback comment.
Before I present this article I wish to draw your attention to something. You will have read about the assassination of SheikhAhmed Yassin by the Israelis.
I have read many articles which refer to him as an old crippled man, from which we are to draw a picture of him as a HARMLESS old cripple man. PLEASE NOTE: This man was crippled at the age of 12 years; has been a cripple all his life; founded Hamas as an old crippled man in 1987, and is not to be pitied by reason of age or handicap. Criticize Israel's actions if you wish, but don't be a sap and fall for the Pity angle. IT IS A LIE!
This week, instead of giving you my opinions, I would direct you to the following three internet addresses, that contain the three parts of an interesting article on the possible future of the Palestians.
I have taken the liberty of taking excerpts from these three addresses to give you an idea of what each article contains. I have not tried to present anything with a bias, but rather have connected ideas to give you an idea of the topic.
It is almost a forgone conclusion these days that a Palestinian state should be established...... this ............ task of state-building is approached absolutely irresponsibly.
The world has known countless historical examples of forcing unworkable solutions on people and nations. Born of noble-sounding politically correct slogans, these solutions culminated in disasters at the price of millions of innocent lives.... democracy in Congo .... today's ethnic strife and civil war ....... during the last five years "between three million and 4.7 million people in Congo have died… mostly from hunger and disease thought to be preventable during peace time."
...struggle against "colonial injustice.".... Zimbabwe... productive enough to feed the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. In 2000..... Robert Mugabe started to evict white farmers from their farms, in order to return land to dispossessed black farmers. As a result, the country's once-prized national herd dwindled from 1.4 million to 125,000 heads in three years, .... people in Zimbabwe requiring food assistance "…will rise to 6.2 million from January to March of 2004, taking the total [in need of food aid] to well over half the country's population."
These essentially genocidal crimes do not seem to discourage the world community from continuing with new experiments. A particularly ill-fated one is the intent to squeeze several million destitute Palestinian Arabs into two tiny disconnected parcels of land and label this entity a "viable, independent Palestinian state." .....
The severity of the injustice that has befallen the Palestinian Arabs derives from the simple fact that the PLO, which has been given carte-blanche by the international community to rule over the Palestinian Arabs in West Bank and Gaza, always was and still remains, a terrorist organization, capable only of murder and destruction. It did not matter to Arafat and his PLO whom to kill. Whether the victims were Moslems, Christians or Jews, the PLO basked in killings.- FOLLOWED BY STATISTICS ON ARAFAT AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE - .... A thirst for killing and death was ingrained into the souls of the people, who became slaves of the PLO's regime. Over two million people delivered to Arafat's control under the Oslo Accords were daily and nightly bombarded with messages promoting hatred and glorifying death in PLO-controlled newspapers, radio and TV stations, and schools.
The first victims of this incessant campaign became children. ...........official Palestinian Authority TV interviewed two 11-year-old girls. Among other topics, they spoke of their personal yearning to achieve shahada, or martyrdom – death for Allah.........Every Palestinian child aged, say 12, says 'Oh Lord, I would like to become a shahid.'.........That means that nearly every fifth mother or father dreams of death for their children...
A poll conducted among Palestinian and Israeli Arabs in late September, 2003 by two polling firms, Public Opinion Research of Israel and the PCPO, revealed that 59% of poll respondents want Hamas and Islamic Jihad to "continue their armed struggle against Israel even if Israel leaves all of the West Bank and Gaza, including east Jerusalem, and a Palestinian state is created[!]"..... since the beginning of the Oslo process, America has donated more than a billion dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority,..... hatred towards America has also been drummed non-stop into the heads of Palestinian Arabs. ....Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Mudayris, in a sermon from the Shaykh Ijlin Mosque,.... on June 13, prayed, "O God, punish our enemies......O God, destroy the United States and its allies."
The surrealism of the situation is complete and unbelievable. On June 3, 2003,.... Meg Bortin's article "Poll: Muslims Lament Israel's Existence", published in International Herald Tribune...... by the Pew Global Attitudes Project,...surveyed almost 68,000 people across 20 countries and in the territory under the Palestinian Authority, including 15,494 people in the Middle East. ....virtually all Palestinian Arabs express open and widespread hatred towards America, at a time when the American President promises to reward the very people who hate him and his country with another state..... Brainwashed by frenzied anti-Israeli and anti-American propaganda, Palestinian Arabs strive to continue fostering a culture of hatred among their children as well, ensuring the continuity of violence for the next generation. ....What can be worse than allowing the fate of already psychologically damaged children to remain in the hands of terrorist groups? ....it is quite easy to predict what will happen to the Palestinian Arabs if the world community forces the establishment of an "independent Palestinian state" in the West Bank and Gaza under the rule of the PLO.... The Palestinians will be trapped within their self-destructive ideology and the demise of their society will be inevitable.
........ the Arabs will endure not only the moral demise of their society, but they will suffer the misery of a collapsing doomed economy, as well. ....the economic viability of a future Palestinian state is even today never seriously addressed in the world political arena.
Gligorov (Vladimir Gligorov, Professor of Economics at the Vienna).... explains that.....(various criteria for a successful state) ...If we simply consider the nature of Palestinian Authority governing institutions at the present, it is clear that any potential Palestinian Arab state cannot meet any of the above criteria.
What is more, as Gligorov explains, "…a state cannot be viable in the economic sense if it cannot provide for a decent level of employment...." ... employment among Palestinian Arabs completely depends on the jobs they can secure in Israel....Ariel Sharon ...Israel is planning to substantially reduce the entrance of Palestinian Arabs ....after the establishment of a Palestinian state, unemployment among Palestinian Arabs can only increase,....the Palestinian pseudo-entity will not be "economically viable....... Nevertheless, for many years now, the international community has been pouring huge amounts of money into the PA's coffers, but that money has been disappearing with no positive impact on the lives of the Palestinian Arabs.....
...This complete dependence on international monetary aid is one of the main signs of the non-viability of a state. ......Gligorov emphasizes several times in his work that for a small state "…to have a viable economy it has to satisfy at least two conditions: First, it has to be integrated with the economies in the region at least in terms of trade and financing. Second, it has to be a democracy, i.e., a system of popular sovereignty has to be put in place and institutionally secured." ...It is obvious that the potential "Palestinian state" will fail....As for democracy, the story is even more obvious. There is no democracy in the Arab world. Period. ....This inevitable conclusion evokes very disturbing allusions. Perhaps quite unintentionally, the world community is planning to build an extermination camp for Palestinian Arabs under the cynical name "Palestine." ...
... at the end of December 2003, Jordanian Prince El-Hassan bin Talal, uncle of Jordan's King Abdullah, said in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa that "in his opinion Jordan must include all Palestinians" in order to resolve the Middle East conflict. Therefore, the only obstacle that stands on the road to saving the Palestinian Arabs from the manipulative anti-Israel schemes of their leaders is the world's indifference and an absence of common sense......... The alternative is murder and death.
It is appropriate at this time of the year when we remember the 'Passover of the Exodus', that we remember not only that the Jews are still in need of deliverance from the evil Pharaoh, but many of Pharaoh's people need deliverance as well.
THIS WEEK I would like to draw your attention to an article on the "International Association of Sufism' Website, entitled: WOMEN IN ISLAM by Seyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha
IT IS A BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE on Islam and Women and is a 'MUST READ' for all men and women of ALL religious or non religious persuasions.
I HAVE TAKEN THE LIBERTY HERE (STILL awaiting permission) OF INCLUDING ONE SECTION, to give you an idea of what this article contains.
I personally think that this article not only helps to balance out some of our perceptions of Islam that result from the Islamic Terrorism that is doing the rounds in the world today, but reminds us that many of these politically motivated Islamic terrorists use 'their' politicised religious beliefs to enslave more than Jews and Christians.
QUOTE: One cannot emphasize enough the influence of the teachings of the Prophet (swa) and the verses of the Qur'an upon the advancement of civilization. In the history of humankind, none worked so much to protect human rights, especially women's, with such integrity, strength, strategic genius, beauty and divinity, or to honor humanity, by freeing it from the chains of prejudice, manipulations, personal and social injustice. His teachings regarding education, social and political rights, property rights, and ultimately human rights, are among the most valuable chapter in the book of civilization. Education: "The pursuit of knowledge is a duty of every Muslim, man and woman", said the Prophet (swa). With this instruction it became a religious duty of Muslims to educate themselves, their families, and their societies. Education and learning became a religious duty, no Muslim could prevent another human being from the pursuit of knowledge. Gender or race, culture or tradition could not become the cause for prohibiting a person from educating one's self. Pursuit of knowledge became a religious law, therefore necessary to attain. With such instruction, the Prophet (swa) not only created an equal right to education, but also opened the door to a better understanding.
IN NEXT WEEKS NEWSLETTER I will bring to you to an article which demonstrates how the principles of Equality and Respect for women in Islam, have been and are being abused by some individuals.
I thought this was an interesting article. The author is a doctor in an English hospital, or rather was, he gave up in disgust and moved to France. Philip
The Conflict at Home By Theodore Dalrymple
Multiculturalists hold these truths to be self-evident: that all cultures are created equal and are endowed by their creators with equal and compatible virtues. There can thus be no fundamental conflict between cultures. The lion can truly lie down with the lamb, not at some unspecified time in the future, but here and now, in the gardens of the West.
The shallowness of this view should require no exposition: any more than the barfly's oceanic feeling after a couple of drinks that all men are his brothers requires refutation. The fact that it does is not a sign of our broad-mindedness or generosity of spirit, but of our deliberate failure to make proper distinctions. This mental flabbiness is decadence, and at the same time a manifestation of the arrogant assumption that nothing can destroy us. Only those who feel themselves to be omnipotent are omni- tolerant. The cowardly failure to recognize that cultural values may clash irreconcilably has allowed practices to flourish in our midst that would earn (and deservedly so) prison sentences were they practiced by natives of our society. Nowadays no surrender is too abject for our bureaucratic multiculturalists, whose sadomasochistic delight must have known no bounds when, for example, they subsidized from public funds the construction of a car park at the President Saddam Hussein Mosque, one of the two largest in the city in which I live.
One conflict between two liberal shibboleths — feminism, even of the mildest and most reasonable kind, and multiculturalism — has been passed over with a silence that can only be described as deafening. Liberals who mistake pieties for thought can keep their orthodoxies intact only by averting their gaze from the most elementary reality.
It is perfectly clear from my clinical experience in the hospital in which I work that large numbers of Muslim girls of Pakistani descent are being betrothed at or soon after birth to first cousins in villages back "home," whom they are subsequently inveigled into marrying by psychological pressure, subterfuge, or outright force, including the credible threat of death.
The following story is typical: I hear it once a week, and have done so for the past ten years. A girl aged between 14 and 17 is told by her parents that she is going to Pakistan for a holiday. Once she arrives back in her ancestral village, she is told that she is to be married almost at once, to a young man whom she has never met, who speaks no English, has no skills or education, and has no conception of the world outside the village. Resistance, she knows, is either pointless or dangerous: I have never met such a girl who did not know of at least one case of someone in her position who was hanged by her parents, shot by them, or who fell fatally from a roof, after attempting to evade her parents' marriage plans. Official investigation of such a death, never very vigorous, can be brought to an end by the payment of about five pounds.
After the marriage, the struggle begins to obtain the husband's entry into Britain. When it is granted, he behaves himself for the probationary year during which his wife's complaint against his conduct could lead to his deportation back to Pakistan: but the very day after he is granted permanent leave to stay, he exacts his revenge for having suffered the terrible humiliation of having had to treat his wife with reasonable respect for a full twelve months. The violence and degradation then begin and do not end.
True, I am made aware of this system only when it leads to misery and even disaster. No social system is without its casualties, and perhaps there are many thousands of infantine betrothals that result in blissful happiness. I have a numerator, but no denominator, a common problem in assessing the true significance of a social problem. There is nonetheless good reason for supposing that both the pattern and the misery this system engenders are widespread: because the girls, or young women, who complain to me accept that the root of their unhappiness is the culture in which they have been reared, but whose demands they do not, indeed cannot, accept. Their own fate, though tragic, does not strike them as being in the least unusual or unexpected. They accept it as perfectly normal because it is what they have always seen around them, in their peer group and among their older sisters.
Given the exquisite tenderness of feminists on such matters as the replacement of the word "chairman" by "chair," one might have supposed that the existence of the customs I have mentioned would excite their ire, arouse their righteous indignation (in this case truly righteous), and fire their eloquence. On the contrary, such customs go almost completely unremarked and uncommented upon.
The silence is partly accounted for by the intensity of the feminists' navel-gazing, which is itself typical of modern culture. But this is only a portion of the explanation. Most of the feminists are also multiculturalists, because they do not want to have to admit that Western society is so far the only large-scale society that has proved compatible with some, at least, of their demands. Thus feminism and multiculturalism go together — in the words of the song — like a horse and carriage (of love and marriage it is perhaps best no longer to speak). And the feminists are also good Wittgensteinians, at least of the Tractatus period: Whereof they cannot speak, thereof they must be silent.
The silence of the feminists is not the only example of inertia in such matters, however. The British educational inspectors present another fine example of pusillanimity in action.
Education in Britain is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16 (whether it should be is another question). But untold numbers of Muslim parents withdraw their daughters from school at the age of 11 or 12 and keep them at home, without other instruction, which is against the law. Although I have met scores of young women to whom this has happened, I have yet to meet one who was returned to school by the threat of legal action against her parents by the educational authorities. By contrast, I have heard of many white parents who have been harried by the courts for much lesser infractions of the educational law. What is most definitely not sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Lest I be accused of vulgar prejudice, let me point out that the Muslim girls in question are almost invariably better educated and intelligent in manner, though their formal training ceased five or six years earlier, than their white counterparts. These latter unfortunates nearly always turn into graceless, vulgar slatterns, thanks to the subculture (fast, alas, becoming the culture) they inhabit, and the entirely relativist education they receive.
But the uselessness — indeed harmfulness — of the education on offer is decidedly not the reason the educational authorities fail to prosecute the recalcitrant Muslim parents. The reason they fail to do so can be summed up in one word: fear.
I hasten to add that there are many practicing Muslims who are perfectly able and content to live at ease and in peace within a Western liberal democratic state. Even so, this should not blind us to the fact that many are not. After the attack on New York, it is up to our intelligence services to draw this distinction. There should be no more loose talk of nondiscrimination. Only a suicidal fool does not discriminate.
One is entitled to ask where the rejection, hatred, and contempt for the West comes from, even — or perhaps especially — among those who have had most contact with it. I think that it is fundamentally in vain to seek the cause in the conduct or culture of the West, unattractive in some respects as they have been and are. The thing that really wounds, and thus causes hatred, is the palpable inferiority of Islamic society in every important branch of human endeavor over the past three centuries at least. A hatred of a more powerful and technically advanced society, combined with a chippy insistence on spiritual superiority (as if advancement had no spiritual correlates of its own), is by no means unusual in history. The Chinese continued to regard Westerners as merely mechanically gifted barbarians for a very long time; the Russian Slavophiles despised the orderly bourgeois states of western Europe, regarding the muddy mess of the Russian village as spiritually superior; Latin American authors such as the Uruguayan José Enrique Rodó and the Nicaraguan modernist poet Rubén Darío felt the same with regard to Latin America vis — vis the United States-as, indeed, does Fidel Castro to the present day. Nor is this view totally and 100 percent without foundation: For me, at least, a Middle Eastern souk is a more inviting and human place than a modern shopping mall. But man does not live by haggling alone.
Some Muslims will inevitably feel their migration to the West as a personal and cultural defeat, as an implicit and painful acknowledgement of the inferiority of their own civilization, to which they are nevertheless still deeply attached, and which they believe to be closer to God's will. Guilt and resentment are a potent brew, and we cannot make people love us who have drunk of it, even if we were to erase Israel from the map of the world. Multiculturalism, after all, has its limits.
This week's post takes us to China, with a story posted at Yahoo Religion Forum. It was placed there specifically for me to read, as in China, there are many things and sites to which one cannot gain access.
Before presenting it however, as a special piece of information I draw your attention to an article in the English edition of The China People's Daily entitled: China issues white paper on human rights progress. This quote appears as the last two lines of the article.
-- Among the total religious publications issued on the Chinese mainland, the print run of the Bible alone reached 30 million.
From personal experience, I do know that Bibles can be purchased quite openly, as I saw many on sale at the book fair at Wuhan University.
From: jigme choder Date: Sat Apr 3, 2004 8:57 am Subject: Religion in China for RPBenDedek
I thought you would find this interesting because I have also read that more people attend temples, including soldiers, on Mayday than attend the Communist celebrations. Philip
washingtonpost.com A Struggle for Spiritual Freedom Buddhist Center Perseveres After China's Crackdown
By Philip P. Pan Washington Post Foreign Service Wednesday, March 10, 2004; Page A01
SERTAR, China -- The young Chinese monk had traveled more than a thousand miles to study with Buddhist teachers here. He had built a crude cabin in the mountains, and made it his home. But then police decided to force him to leave, part of a campaign to control a sprawling religious settlement in this remote Tibetan region in Sichuan province.
As officers at a guardhouse finished the paperwork to expel him, the young monk pulled a hood over his shaven head to hide a smile. "I'm not really going," he whispered, before stepping into the freezing cold and moving down the road as ordered.
A few hours later, the monk returned, slipping past the police and climbing a narrow, twisting road through falling snow in a local vehicle. In a valley ahead, wisps of gray smoke rose from a vast encampment as crowds of monks and nuns in red robes strolled along paths among assembly halls, temples, market stalls and cabins.
"There are so many people here," said the young monk, Ji, who asked to be identified only by his surname. "How can the police make me leave if they can't find me?"
His expulsion and quick return to Larung Gar, one of the world's most influential centers for the study of Tibetan Buddhism, was a small twist in a profound conflict now unfolding in China.
Founded 24 years ago, Larung Gar grew into the country's largest monastic community, with as many as 10,000 residents, before the ruling Communist Party began trying to control it and to expel settlers in the late 1990s. Its struggle to survive the crackdown and maintain its independence from the party illustrates how the faithful are pushing the bounds of freedom of religion and association in China -- and what happens when the state pushes back.
The Chinese government allows people to worship only in party-run churches, mosques and temples, considers any autonomous religious organization a potential threat and routinely imprisons priests, monks and others. But Larung Gar's ability to survive and flourish suggests the party is no longer able to crush all independent spiritual activity, or is unwilling to risk the popular backlash that might result if it tries.
A quarter-century after China abandoned Mao Zedong's rigid version of socialism in favor of free-market reforms, the Chinese enjoy greater prosperity and personal freedom than ever under Communist rule. But the state still attempts to maintain control over a broad spectrum of society, from public affairs to the arts and religion.
The friction that results is a defining characteristic of life in modern China, where people are testing, and often redefining, the limits of what the authorities will permit. Controlling this popular pressure -- sometimes with repression, sometimes with restraint -- is one of the central challenges confronting the party as it seeks to preserve a monopoly on power at a time of rising social discontent and wrenching economic change.
Steering Clear of Politics
Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok, a heavyset man with a broad, weathered face, founded Larung Gar. A charismatic leader, the khenpo, or abbot, presented himself as the reincarnation of a teacher of the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, and as a holy figure who could discover artifacts hidden by ancient Buddhist leaders. He was known as a brilliant scholar and an eloquent speaker, even in his later years, when he was partially blind and could not walk without support.
When Jigme Phuntsok established Larung Gar in western Sichuan in 1980, this desolate valley 13,000 feet above sea level and 600 miles northeast of Lhasa was entirely uninhabited. At the time, China was only beginning to recover from Mao's destructive Cultural Revolution, which hit Tibetan areas particularly hard and interrupted the education of a generation of monks and nuns. Jigme Phuntsok was one of the few senior lamas who made it through the period without being imprisoned or tortured, and his academy quickly came to be seen as a haven. Students flocked there from across Tibet and Tibetan areas in neighboring provinces.
For years, Larung Gar thrived. The khenpo's teachings tapped into Tibetan nationalism by recalling the glory of the ancient Tibetan empire, and he welcomed adherents of all Buddhist sects, not just his own. But as Larung Gar grew, Jigme Phuntsok was also careful to steer the community away from politics, his followers said, discouraging activities that might be viewed as supporting Tibetan independence, which is fiercely opposed by the Chinese authorities. Still, the party was never fully comfortable with him.
Larung Gar escaped largely untouched when the party cracked down on monasteries across Tibet in the late 1980s and the 1990s, jailing and defrocking thousands of monks who refused to denounce the Dalai Lama. Though teams of party officials began visiting Larung Gar on occasion in 1998, they never seized control or expelled monks for political reasons, as they did elsewhere.
The encampment was spared in part because regional party leaders in Sichuan adopted more lenient policies than those in Tibet. The khenpo also cultivated local officials. "Everyone who knew him respected him," said Zuzu, the former party secretary in Sertar county who served as the regional police chief from 1981 to 1996.
Even after Jigme Phuntsok visited the Dalai Lama in India in 1990, he managed to escape serious trouble. When party officials questioned him, he told them he considered the Dalai Lama a religious figure and did not discuss politics with him or support his cause, his followers said. He also told the party officials that he rejected a generous offer by the Dalai Lama's followers to remain in India, and turned down their request to speak on the Voice of America, Zuzu said. But most important, the monks who flocked to the academy frequented local businesses and deposited their savings in local banks. "Sertar is a poor place," Zuzu said, "and the academy helped our finances greatly."
Threat of Huge Crowds
Larung Gar is a 24-hour drive from the nearest city, Chengdu. The road snakes through a breathtaking range of mountains, but the miles are marked by falling rocks, icy surfaces and treacherous, cliff-side turns.
By the late 1990s, Chinese party officials outside the region began to see the khenpo and his quiet community in the mountains as a threat. For them, the first signs of trouble were the crowds.
When Jigme Phuntsok ventured out of the valley and visited other Tibetan areas, residents mobbed his vehicle and herdsmen descended from the mountains on horseback to greet him. Huge audiences gathered to receive his teachings when he visited other parts of China, too, including Guangxi, Yunnan, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and Shanxi provinces.
One Tibetan official from a nearby county, who asked not to be identified, said officials in Sichuan began receiving complaints from counterparts in other provinces who were alarmed by the large gatherings. Before long, she said, Sichuan began responding by dispatching police to escort the khenpo back to Larung Gar. Eventually, they banned him from traveling.
But party officials were unwilling, or unable, to shut down his academy. Even today, Larung Gar is largely independent. At noon, the place is bustling with monks and nuns heading to and from classes, or chattering as they line up at small shops to purchase food and supplies.
As a gar, or monastic encampment, the academy is more loosely organized than a monastery -- and more difficult for party officials to control. There are no formal admission procedures, so monks who evade police checkpoints come and go freely, often returning to their home monasteries after a few weeks of study. Classes do not follow a strict schedule, so party officials have not been able to regulate what is taught. Residents also study on their own or privately with individual teachers.
Ji, the monk who sneaked back into the encampment, said he moved here in the summer of 2000. Like most students, he used funds donated by Buddhist friends to build a cabin -- a one-room structure with hanging sheets that divide it into a bedroom, study and kitchen.
A typical day for him and other students begins early and ends late. They prepare and eat their meals alone, most often rice and vegetables, or butter and barley bread. Beyond study and prayer in their cabins, there are classes on Buddhist texts, medicine, literature, history and philosophy, which can range in size from 30 to 500 students, and lively theological debates in the assembly halls.
Most of the students are ethnic Tibetans like Dorbcha, 30, a monk who spent two years in Larung Gar in the 1990s and returned for further studies in January. He said he traveled here to pursue a Buddhist education free from the restrictions imposed by the government elsewhere. "This is a special place," he said. "Religion is important to Tibetans, so Larung Gar is like a treasure."
But the academy has also attracted large numbers of Han, China's main ethnic group. There is rising interest in religion and spirituality -- from Falun Gong to Christianity -- as people try to cope with rapid social change and the vacuum left by the collapse of Maoist ideology.
Du Renzhong, 32, a computer programmer from Shanghai, recalled that he embraced Tibetan Buddhism and came to the settlement after weighing Christianity and Islam. "I came here to study because I'm not interested in the things people most think are important, like modern life or family," he said.
During the late 1990s, local officials tried to persuade Jigme Phuntsok to reduce the population of the encampment, sometimes even prostrating themselves before him, his followers said. But the khenpo told the officials that because he didn't ask the students to come to the valley, it would be wrong for him to ask them to go, said one senior teacher.
"He believed teaching was the most important thing," the teacher said. "On that point, he would not compromise."
Evictions and Destruction
The pressure on Jigme Phuntsok came to a head in 1999, when Yin Fatang, a retired senior military official who had once served as the party chief in Tibet, visited Larung Gar, local officials said. The officials said Yin was stunned by the size of the encampment and wrote a report to Jiang Zemin, then China's president, urging a crackdown.
By showing leniency and allowing Larung Gar to develop, Yin argued, Sichuan province was undermining the party's policies regulating monasteries and religious activity in Tibet. He warned that residents in Tibet could demand similar freedoms and that Larung Gar could become a breeding ground for Tibetan nationalism, officials said.
The party also appeared worried about the khenpo's ability to attract devoted followers and funding from a broad cross section of Chinese society. At the time, the party was struggling to crush the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which had been banned as a cult after staging a huge protest in Beijing in 1999. Stories about Jigme Phuntsok's mystical skills may have reminded party leaders of Li Hongzhi, the Falun Gong leader who claimed similar powers.
In the summer of 2001, police and other officials from across the region converged on Larung Gar, demolished about 2,400 homes and evicted several thousand residents. The party also attempted to set a limit of 1,400 residents on the settlement. The idea was not to wipe out the settlement, but to reduce its size and try to place it more directly under the party's control.
Authorities focused first on evicting the estimated 1,000 Han students, sometimes climbing on roofs and listening down smokestacks for voices speaking Mandarin. The officials also concentrated on Larung Gar's convent, expelling more than 3,000 nuns, witnesses said.
Thenkyong, 30, a monk who moved here in 1990 from a nearby prefecture, said the authorities posted notices on walls and buildings throughout the settlement telling residents to go home. Then, officials from his home prefecture found him and pressured him to cooperate.
He agonized over what to do, but eventually agreed to leave after officials told him that staying would mean trouble for his teachers. "Obviously, everyone wanted to stay. But the more that stayed, the more problems there would be for the monastery," he said. "It was a very difficult decision."
Thenkyong said Jigme Phuntsok "specifically instructed us not to try to stop this. He specifically advised us not to be violent and to remain calm." As a result, crowds of monks and nuns, murmuring prayers and wailing in grief, stood by and watched as their homes were destroyed. There were no large-scale protests or confrontations.
Thousands of people who had devoted themselves to Buddhist study, many of whom had no families and had planned to stay in Larung Gar until they died, suddenly found themselves adrift and homeless. Two nuns reportedly hanged themselves in despair. And many residents who had shown little interest in politics turned against the party.
Ji said he spent part of the crackdown hiding in the homes of Tibetan friends before fleeing Larung Gar. He found his cabin intact when he returned months later, but was angered to see how many others had been torn down.
"The government says China has freedom of religion, but look what it did," he said, pointing out a hillside that had been cleared. "In an authoritarian system, we don't even have the right to live in the mountains."
Soon after the crackdown, though, many of the monks and nuns who were evicted began to return. Those who lost their cabins moved in with those who did not. Residents are unwilling to discuss how many people live here now, saying that doing so could prompt evictions again. But judging from the size of the settlement, well over 3,000 people reside in Larung Gar, more than in any monastery in Tibet or the rest of China.
New students continue to arrive, too. But watchful local officials now occupy several rooms in one of the academy's buildings, and the party has blocked construction of new homes in the valley.
"That's the biggest problem now," said a senior teacher. "We'll be able to maintain what we have, but it will be difficult to develop any further." At the same time, he said, hundreds of senior monks educated at Larung Gar are teaching at monasteries across Tibet and the rest of China.
Despite orders to stop teaching, the khenpo continued to meet with small groups of students until he was hospitalized in late December. He died on Jan. 7, prompting another tug of war with the government. His disciples wanted to let his body lie in state for as long as possible or embalm it, so more of his students could return to Larung Gar and offer prayers. But the government wanted to cremate Jigme Phuntsok's body at an early date and limit the number of visitors.
Two weeks after the khenpo's death, the government prevailed, and his body was cremated. Police set up roadblocks across the region to discourage attendance at the ceremony, and monasteries across China were ordered to keep their monks away.
But a crowd of at least 50,000 made it to Larung Gar, residents estimated. Many monks said they evaded the roadblocks by hiking through the mountains.
I recently received my email copy of the Judson Cox column entitled "Is John Kerry a Democrat?". [If you wish to read the article in full you may find it at:Is John Kerry a Democrat? - Judson Cox April 19, 2004]
While the article is peculiarly American and Political, it did cause me to think about a whole host of issues. The particular section which struck me, I quote as follows:
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." — John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address. This sentiment is the heart of the "Bush Doctrine." Our President has vowed to hunt down terrorists, undermine nations that support terrorism and foster Democracy in totalitarian nations. John Kerry sees little value in democracy.
Now my particular expertise is not politics but Biblical Chronology, and therefore I take interest in matters pertaining to religion and Ancient History. It is only natural therefore that I take interest in the situation in the Middle East, and Islamic terrorism worldwide, and therefore quite accidentally, I have come to take an interest in things political. If living in China has had a particular impact on me, it is that I now avidly read the news; belong to the Yahoo Religion forum; and regularly contribute to the feedback columns in the Online Version of an Australian Newspaper called 'The Courier Mail'.
The abovementioned quote from Judson Cox's column made me stop and think about the world we live in, and the varieties of opinions, arguments and comments I have come across about God, religion, society, politics, the Middle East, and terrorism and ultimately led me to the question 'Why are we here?' Out of that contemplation I want to share with you some of my observations about society in general, and specifically in relation to the question of whether or not we are the end result of accidental evolution, or the creation of some Divine Being.
From the comments made by Judson Cox in reference to J.F. Kennedy and George Bush, we can justifiably conclude that the USA is a country determined to go its own self interested and determined way; to lead the world into its own fold so to speak; and to fight against anyone who stands in its' way. In fact, this just about sums up many of the negative comments I regularly encounter in reference to the USA in relation to the Middle East and the issue of Terrorism.
So many people condemn the USA and its' allies for what they have and are doing, and their opinions are sourced in their various perspectives of life as a whole. But if we stop and consider for a moment the question of Creationism versus Evolution, and decide that 'we' - the human race - are the end product of a chemical accident in the primordial soup, then we must come to the conclusion, that life and liberty in nature, goes to the strongest, the most powerful, the fastest, the most aggressive and the most cunning. In other words, all those people 'out there' who don't believe in 'GOD' AT ALL, have no basis upon which to found their criticisms of the Iraq and other wars in which the USA is involved, for they are nature's NORM.
When you remove GOD from the equation of life, many of the principles for which people stand, are just so much BS. Take the issue of abortion for instance. If their is NO GOD, then life is accidental and meaningless. All, as the Scripture says, is vanity! What is wrong with aborting babies? Many would say 'Nothing is wrong with it!'. But then take China for instance, where abortion is a 'legal obligation', where having more than one Child without permission, is punishable in law. 'Oh that is different!' some would cry, 'that is a deprivatiOn of human rights!'. But without A GOD, what is "human rights"? There is no such thing. It is just a convention, and as we know, all conventions change over time. Who is anyone to complain about what the Government of China does with its' citizens? It is the power, the law, the force that rules by the 'might is right' principle, and THIS IS the law of nature.
How many people are there in the west who believe in Political correctness, multiculturalism, feminism, gay rights or whatever, but don't believe IN GOD? The law of nature is that victory goes to the strongest, and when people are weak, they get conquered or eaten for supper. Why should women have equal rights? If society chooses to oppress women, who is to say that that is wrong? How can it be wrong? WITHOUT GOD, right and wrong don't exist. Only power or powerlessness are left.
Take the issue of Gay Marriage for instance. Without prejudice to the actual issue of homosexuality, the fact is, that the GOD BELIEVERS have condemned it for millenia, and now in these enlightened times when GOD IS SILENT or has ceased to be, what was once socially inappropriate, has become the norm. So given that it is the norm, what is wrong with Gay Marriage? And for that matter, what is wrong with a government making a determination that it does not want such a thing to become the societal norm?
Somewhere along the line, mainly due to religion, society decided that men should only have one wife. But if GOD does not exist, why should a man not have more than one wife? If society can decide by consensus or legislation to abolish polygamy, why can it not also PREVENT gay marriage from becoming socially acceptable? There is no reason!
Societal victory on any issue goes to the strongest fighter on the issue, irrespective of RELIGION, irrespective of GOD; and without GOD, there is no 'ultimate truth' to any issue.
If God exists, and if God is OUR GOD, then we MIGHT be entitled to say that right now in the world we are fighting to KEEP ourselves from being overrun by an ADVERSARIAL RELIGION. IF GOD DOES NOT EXIST, then we can justify what the west is doing by simply observing the ways of NATURE.
But if as the many 'isms' seem to believe, God does not exist, and the only purpose in life is ULTRUISM, then why are so many people objecting to the fight against a small bunch of paternalistic, mysognistic, sexist, biggoted, murderous, violent POLITICALLY MOTIVATED individuals whose main purpose is to RULE not only their own people, but the rest of the world by force, and TO FORCE THE NON ISLAMIC WORLD to BELIEVE OR AT LEAST CONVERT to Islam?
Why are not these 'isms' loudly protesting the attitudes and behaviours practiced in these aggressively heterosexual, chauvinistic, and paternalistic societies?
Will this small group of power hungry individuals grant you your feministic principles?; your gay rights?; your freedom not to have a religion?; to dress as you please?; to listen to whatever music you want?; to read anything your want?; to have your own political opinions?; to vote for your own political cause?; to pursue your own career? - if they succeed in gaining control of the world?
SOME HOW I DON'T THINK SO!
The following is a copy of a 'feedback' comment I sent to the Courier Mail ONLINE newspaper in relation to the article entitled: Scores dead in suicide blasts - Basra, Iraq - 22apr04 link no longer works
One of the righteous arguments against western interference in other countries, is that it 'creates' terrorism, that terrorism is the final act of a people in desperation, and I feel that the most important point overlooked by people who view the situation from this perspective, is that 'these people', the terrorists, do not have the view of life and liberty that we westerners have.
These people will kill 'anyone' in pursuit of their goals, and that not only includes their own people, but women and children as well. POWER is the ultimate goal of terrorists, and nobody and no cost can be allowed to stand in the way of achieving that power.
Many people will say that this is really just 'war' and that all kinds of people die in war. But let's look at a situation AWAY from a war zone. I live and work in China and what I tell you now, is fact.
In China, while people will say Taiwan should come back to China because 'they are our family, our brothers and sisters and our cousins', the bottom line is that these same 'family' members believe that if Taiwan does not come back, 'then they are the ones responsible for their own deaths'. Yep, that is right folks. The people of Taiwan should come back to their family, or be killed for refusing to do so. Are these rabbid people who say such things? No! They are educated, civilized and very nice people, who nevertheless believe that you should kill people who won't do what you want, and who by the way, while condemning the USA for 'killing innocent men women and children in Iraq', say that if China attacks Taiwan, it is nobody's business but China's, for it is an internal matter'.
What we are seeing throughout the world, are a bunch of people hellbent of 'having their own way' in controlling everyone within and beyond their 'sphere'. Every Muslim, innocent or otherwise, that dies as a result of terrorist action, is a martyr, and therefore there is no need to worry about how many of their own people these terrorists kill. It is OK! And while the Government in Australia has called on Muslims to be vocal against terrorism, the long arm of terrorism does reach into Australia and Muslims are well warned of the consequences of being vocal against it.
Whatever the judgement 'we' pour on the western aggressors, Whatever justification 'we' give to the terrorists, the bottom line is, 'Do you really think the terrorists are 'just, but desperate people' who only want their 'just right to rule their own countries'?
Editorial and Social Commentary Newsletter No. 11.
Monday May 3rd 2004
The World Stinks
LAST WEEK I SPOKE ABOUT THE ISSUE OF 'WHAT IS RIGHT?' IN A WORLD WITHOUT GOD. As I am away in Shenzhen in China's south this week, I have not prepared anything of my own to share, and so instead, I will share with you my regular email from Israel's, 'Women in Green'
If you love goodness and hate evil, this is a tough time to stay sane. Israel has killed Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the Hamas terror leader, and almost every nation in the world and the nations' theoretical embodiment, the United Nations, have condemned Israel for doing so.
World leaders and the world organization have said almost nothing about Communist China's ongoing destruction of one of the world's oldest civilizations, Tibet. World leaders have said almost nothing about the Arab enslavement and genocide of non-Arab blacks in Sudan. But they convene world conferences to label Israel, one of the most humane and decent democracies on earth, a pariah. In order to retain my sanity, I ask the reader's indulgence as I use this column to express personal thoughts.
I have contempt for "the world." I cherish and admire countless individuals, but I have contempt for "the world" and "world opinion." "The world" has never cared about evils inflicted on human beings. The Communist genocides meant nothing to humanity. The Holocaust meant nothing. With almost no exception, the mass atrocities since World War II have likewise absorbed humanity less than the Olympics or the Miss World Contest.
I have contempt for the United Nations. It is one of the great obstacles to goodness and decency on this planet. Its moral record -- outside of a few specialized agencies such as the World Health Organization -- is almost entirely supportive of evil and condemnatory of good. It is dominated by the most morally backward governments in the world -- those from the Arab and Muslim worlds, the Communists during their heyday and African despots. It appointed Libya, a despotic, primitive state, to head its Human Rights Commission, whose members include China, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Neither the United States nor Israel sits on the Commission.
I regard the European Union with similar revulsion. With little opposition, Europe murdered nearly every Jewish man, woman and child in its midst, and a half-century later provides cover for those in the Middle East who seek to do to the Middle East's Jews exactly what the Nazis did to the European Jews. For the European Union to condemn Israel's killing of a Hamas leader, when Hamas's avowed aim is another Jewish genocide, is so loathsome as to board the incredible. For Germany and France (who, unlike America, have almost never shed blood for the liberty of others) to do everything they can to undermine America's attempt to liberate Iraq is similarly repugnant.
As for the international news media and journalists, I regard most of them as aides to evil. This is not new. The 1932 Pulitzer Prize, American journalism's highest award, was given to Walter Duranty of the New York Times for reporting from the Soviet Union. In his reports, Duranty repeatedly denied Stalin's forced starvation of Ukrainians that led to the murder of more than 6 million of them. The same "newspaper of record" deliberately toned down reporting on the Nazi annihilation of Jews 10 years later so as not to appear "too Jewish."
The Soviet decimation of Afghanistan was so little reported in the international media -- especially radio and television -- that when I talked about its scope and horror on my radio show in the 1980s, listeners kept wondering if I was telling the truth -- they had never heard anything about it.
In the last years of the Saddam Hussein regime, according to John Burns of the New York Times, major news reporters refused to write stories about Iraqi mass murder and atrocities lest the Saddam regime remove their press credentials. For most journalists, and their newspapers and television stations, it was better to lie for Saddam and have a bureau in Baghdad than to tell the truth but have no Baghdad bureau. And not one international news organization calls Hamas or any of the other Palestinian terror organizations "terrorists."
I love learning and revere the title of "professor," but with few exceptions, universities, too, merit contempt. The vast majority of professors who take positions on social issues are moral fools. They teach millions of students that America and Israel are villains and that the enemies of those decent societies are merely misunderstood victims who are often justified in their hatred. And they loathe the American Judeo-Christian value system that has made the United States the world's land of opportunity and beacon of liberty.
In sum, I feel that I am living in a world that is morally sick. Good is called bad, and bad is called "militant," "victimized," "misunderstood" and "the product of hopelessness," but rarely bad. Only those who fight the bad are called bad.
I am kept sane by the knowledge that there are hundreds of millions of individuals who can still tell the difference between good and evil; by the knowledge that there was never a time that humanity was particularly decent; and by a strong belief that a good God governs the universe even though He allows evil many triumphs. And I believe this God will judge Osama bin Laden and Jacques Chirac appropriately.
Some Article sections containing lists of current articles at King's Calendar
I remember the day I sat watching a war movie with my father who had been in the Australian Army in Egypt and other places in WWII. I was about 13 years old and vividly remember my father's reaction to a scene in which Field Marshall Rommell allowed a staff sergeant to beat an allied prisoner. He got very upset with that, for 'Rommell was a gentleman' who guaranteed the proper treatment of his prisoners, he was no Nazi. I still remember our discussion and some of things he told me about the behaviour and savage acts of Australian and other allied troops during the war. He pulled no punches. He didn't say that the other side were better or worse, just that 'you don't hear about the atrocities that the winners engage in.'
This time round we are hearing about such atrocities, and it is a fool who believes that such things have never gone on, or that the other side is better or worse. War brings with it a whole host of psychological problems including blood lust, rape, over exaggerated retaliatory punishment, and of course deep psychological emotional scarring; all of which are understandable; none of which are excusable.
To think that the Iraqi 'enemy' better treat their captives (let alone their own people) is sheer blindness; to think that the latest revelations prove anything is wishful thinking; to use these events to justify an end to the military presence in Iraq is to be defeated by propaganda, for that is what it is.
The West likes to win, but Westerners feel a need in that process, to tread the high moral ground by holding onto superior concepts; they like their social perspectives completely sanitized and their political aspirations to be pious and civilized, and in doing so they completely fail to understand the 'realities' of life for the majority of the world's populations.
The rest of the 'real' world doesn't give a damn about 'how a war is won, as long as it is won'. Do you really think that China and Russia were ever able to win a war on the ground? No! But being societies that don't play by our 'civilized' rules of war, neither would ever have hesitated to utterly destroy the world with their nuclear weapons. WIN AT ALL COSTS IS THE WAY REAL WARS ARE FOUGHT!
The behaviour of Allied troops toward prisoners in Iraq was not 'humane, decent, legal, good PR or anything else positive', BUT IT IS WHAT HAPPENS IN EVERY WAR, and usually on a far more extreme level. Those delicate people who have till now supported the war should become aware of the realities of war, face the situation, deal with it, ask for and support the punishment meted out, and then get on with supporting the business of 'this' war. Those of course who do not support the war can jump up and down for joy in the full knowledge that they are morally superior to everyone else and look forward to the day when they will be treated with the same high minded ideals when their own countries are defeated. The world is 'AFTER ALL', waiting for the final defeat of the USA and its allies, and the more U.S. and allied citizens that join that endeavour, the sooner the task can be accomplished.
From time to time I do internet searches for 'bendedek' to see what is being said on the internet about me or the 'King's Calendar', and I came across the following link. I quote:
But yesterday it appears as if the entire world suddenly forgot what outrage was because of the release of a tape that showed the brutal murdering of Nick Berg, a Jewish American, who simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I decided to do some searching on the old world wide web to find some quotes, any quotes dealing with his horrific killing. This is what I found:
"...tragedy unfolding in Iraq..." - Sen. Ted Kennedy "...we are hearing about such atrocities..." - R.P. BenDedek "...'sickened' by the pictures..." - Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski
Absolutely nothing from the major media, foreign press, or even our own government denouncing the killing. All those quotes above are about the atrocities committed at Abu Ghraib prison. So my question to you is, "Where is the outrage?"
I sent a reply to the above comments in which I admitted that I had not in fact written anything about Mr. Berg's murder; I tried to, but was unable to write anything that was both meaningful and printable, although I have seen some pretty obnoxious comments in the Courier Mail online newspaper.
No one in fact can condemn Mr. Berg's murder without facing condemnation for the abuse of prisoners in Iraq. But the one point that can be forgotten in doing that is that abuse in the west is performed by 'rogue' elements of society. It is not our USUAL mode of conduct. And therein lies the difference - For these terrorist bastards it is the usual order of the day, and not just toward enemy soldiers, not just to foreigners in their land, but to every person who stands in their way or to whom they object or with whom they disagree. They are indeed 'Murderous Bastards' and their agenda is not Islam, but power.
When I saw the 'sanitary' photograph of the captive Mr. Berg, I could not, as a father, help but imagine he was MY own son, and while it might be polite to offer condolences to his family, as a father I feel that condolences would not personally offer me any comfort.
The west is fast losing this war, primarily because 'Military Intelligence' is an oxymoron, and secondly because 'we' don't have the faintest idea of 'what and how' the Terrorists think, and while none of us would like to see a 'government controlled press' such as we have here in China, where no more than 20% bad news can be published, our western 'free' press and democratic rights to public comments provide great fodder for the other side.
I am not personally 'outraged' by Mr. Berg's murder, such things are to be expected from these people. No, I was not outraged, I was sickened to the point that I even now I don't dare express my true thoughts and feelings. How do I seperate my comments about 'those' people without also inherently including Muslims?; something I can't do since I have muslim family members.
As an 'Oral' English teacher in China, I have, like so many others, discovered that it is a reasonably futile exercise except perhaps where students are paying for private tuition and therefore have some momtivation. Having realised very quickly the inefffectiveness of the English program in my school, I embarked on my own program which concentrated on the 'mechanics of conversation'. As a trial supported by the school, it has proven quite effective within the currrent limited number of participants (about 200 of 1100 students I am supposed to teach).
I have been able to steer the students away from stylised conversations into group discussion and debate. This week I asked them to study two sentences written on the Blackboard. These sentences read:
'Governments who are led by the nose by public opinion are irresponsible' - and - 'Governments should not listen to protesters'.
Naturally some students agreed and others did not, but interestingly enough, some students pointed out that as 'absolutes', these statements were wrong.
Once the discussion was underway, I pointed out that those who agree with the statements are declaring that the Government of Taiwan ought not to let public opinion 'in favour of reunification' sway the governments mind and purpose. They did not particularly like that concept. Of course the opposing students had a good laugh at their expense. But then I turned the sights onto the opposition group, informing them that as the first statement was made by a Beijing Government Official (Qiao Xiaoyang) to the government of Hong Kong, they, the students, were standing in opposition to their own government. While they did not find this so funny, the first group did.
In addition to generating discussion and debate, the purpose of the lesson is to make the students think about the ramifications of holding to one idea or another. They must learn to 'think' about where their opinions might take them. By way of example, some weeks ago, during one group discussion, the students decided that 'protesting against a government' proves that the government is wrong, bad, and in need of being replaced. From this it was agreed that the Taiwan government needed replacing, and that the American, Australian and British governments likewise were wrong, bad, and in need of replacement for their involvement in Iraq.
But when I then pointed out that people were protesting in Hong Kong against the Beijing Government, and that by extrapolation this meant that the Beijing Government was wrong, bad and in need of being replaced, suddently the students began to 'change their opinion' as to what protesting against a government 'proved'.
My students are beginning to 'think', rather than 'react'. Would to God that many of the Politically Correct 'idealists' in the West would do the same!
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About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.