Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Jihadists and the Ethnic Cleansing of the Christians in the Middle East

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at Vocal International.}

Christian PersecutionIt is astounding that as Muslims drive Christians out of the Middle East, Christians beyond the region do not seem to much care.  The rise of political Islam, since the misnamed "Arab Spring" - hereafter referred to as the Arab Nightmare - has unleashed waves of violence, chaos, and cruelty the likes of which I have not seen since coming to political awareness.  Christian churches are being destroyed in the thousands, if not tens of thousands.  Christian girls are sometimes raped and subject to forced conversion.  Christian men are forced to their knees, dozens at a time, for the purpose of filming decapitation as a recruitment tool for savages to come join the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

{Just how it is that watching videos of head-chopping could act as a positive recruitment tool for people all around the world remains an ethical mystery.}

Pope Francis was recently in the United States, but Francis, strangely enough, is not much of a friend of Middle Eastern Christianity.  Although he spoke eloquently concerning the European moral imperative to drown in immigrants, he breathed not a word concerning the heinous fate of Christians in the Muslim Middle East.

If you want to know what is going on with Middle Eastern Christians, or the Copts of Egypt, Raymond Ibrahim is the "go to" guy.  I have written about Mr. Ibrahim before:
One of the great tragedies and hypocrisies of the current moment is the Christian and western-left failure to speak out against the persecution of Christians throughout Muslim lands. Perhaps the foremost scholar addressing this horrendous violation of human rights is Raymond Ibrahim, the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.
In a recent piece Ibrahim outlines the Muslim persecution of Christians in July of this year alone.
Nigeria:  Dozens of Christian churches were attacked in the Muslim-majority northern regions of the nation, where Boko Haram is headquartered...

Boko Haram jihadis shot and killed 29 people in two Christian enclaves of northeast Nigeria.  Most people in Dille village ran but those who could not were gunned down and many homes were set ablaze.

Iraq:  The Islamic state blew up another Christian church under its authority, the Mother of Aid Church which had stood in central Mosul for thousands of years.  The blast also killed four children who were near the church at the time.  IS also transformed the St. Joseph Church, an ancient Chaldean church in Mosul, into a mosque.  Pictures of St. Joseph show that the dome has been painted black and the church has been stripped of all crosses and Christian symbols and images...

Egypt: Three church related attacks occurred.

Niger:  Approximately 70 Christian churches and an orphanage continue facing a lack of resources and difficult conditions in rebuilding six months after thousands of Muslims attacked and destroyed them in “revenge” for the offensive Muhammad cartoons published by the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo—a secular magazine based in France that also habitually mocks Christianity.

Sudan: Two imprisoned Presbyterian pastors are on trial and facing a possible death sentence. Rev. Yat Michael and the Rev. Peter Yen Reith of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church are being charged with espionage and blasphemy under the Republic of Sudan’s Islamic laws.  Other church leaders say that Christians are often targeted for their faith and that the government’s accusations are pretexts: “This is not ‘something new’ for our church.  Almost all pastors have gone to jail under the government of Sudan. We have been stoned and beaten. 
And on and on and on.  And, you can be sure, the above sampling hardly scratches the surface.

Middle Eastern Christianity is among the most persecuted minority groups in the world, today.  They are being killed, forced to convert, or driven from their homes by the very people that the western-left hailed as the enlightened, democratic proponents of the "Arab Spring."

The "Arab Spring", of course, turned into an Arab Nightmare with the result that throughout the entire Middle East untold numbers of Arabs and Muslims have been slaughtered in internecine fighting between any number of various Jihadi groups, both Sunni and Shia.  And, as we learn on the morning that I write, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has destroyed the ancient Arch of Triumph in Palmrya, the classical Roman city in Syria.

But, as is rarely noted, it is the Christians in the Middle East, due to the violent and hate-filled forces unleashed by the Arab Nightmare, who are paying the biggest price.  They are certainly paying the least noted price, that much is certain.  What we are witnessing in the Middle East is nothing less than the ethnic cleansing of Christians from the region.

The irony, of course, is that even as Jihadis drive Christians out of the area, or kill them, so the formerly Christian countries of western Europe, particularly Germany and Sweden, seem eager to transform the very nature of their societies in order to accommodate millions of Muslims migrating out of the Arab Nightmare.

Or will they bring it with them?

Political sands are shifting throughout the world, as the United States recedes and as Putin's Russia comes to the fore, but the consequences of the Arab Nightmare are in no way limited to the Middle East.  They are currently most strongly felt in Munich and Stockholm and, I am sure, Brussels.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Jihad and the Destruction of History

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at Jews Down Under and The Jewish Press.}

PalmyraIslamists and Jihadis love to blow things up.

Islamic Jihad just called for a return to suicide bombings against Jews in Israel, but when they aren't blowing up Jews they just love to blow to smithereens the ancient antiquities of other cultures.

Anyone who follows the chaos which is the Muslim Middle East remembers the Taliban blasting tremendous and ancient sculptures of the Buddha in Afghanistan.

Anyone who follows the long Arab war against the Jews knows that Jordanian authorities in charge of the Temple Mount - the Waqf - regularly destroy evidence of the ancient Jewish presence within the historical Jewish capital of the Old City in Jerusalem.

And now, of course, we are seeing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) running entirely amuck.

As is widely reported this morning, ISIS has destroyed the ancient Roman Arch of Triumph in Palmyra, Syria.

ABC News reports:
A 2,000-year-old arch in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra is the latest casualty by ISIS militants. 
Professor Maamoun Abduilkarim, the country’s director of antiquities, confirmed that ISIS Sunday blew up the Arch of Triumph, one of the city’s most recognizable sites. “Shocked” and “shameful,” he told ABC News, noting that unlike the two temples that were destroyed earlier this year, the arch has no religious significance.

The arch was known to locals as the “Bridge of the Desert” because it linked the Roman Empire to Persia and the East.

Professor Abduilkarim said he had not seen photos or videos of the devastation, but learned reports from eyewitnesses.

“They’re destroying building by building,” he said, “within three to six months, at this pace, we’re going to lose Palmyra.”
Previous atrocities, of course, include beheading Coptic Christians for no other reason than that they are not Muslim, raping prepubescent infidel girls or selling them into sexual slavery, the burying of Yazidis alive in mass graves, the burning of people alive in cages, and G-d only knows whatever other forms of fun-filled mayhem that they have devised for those not entirely on-board with their crazed Caliphatic agenda.

The Qu'ran calls for chopping off a hand and a foot, from opposite sides of the body, as a proper punishment for certain offenses against the prophet.  How is that for the outer-reaches of vile and disgusting and cruel and inhumane?  One wonders, since Muhammad advocated the practice, whether he ever took up the sword, himself, in its application?

In the mean time, our navel-gazing Nero in the Oval Office plays his fiddle as the world burns and as Putin's Russia raises its head, acting on possibilities for strengthening the Bear's position at the expense of the Eagle in that part of the world.

The United States ran the Soviet Union out of the Middle East during the Cold War, but for ideological reasons the Obama administration has, essentially, invited them back in and Putin is more than happy to accommodate.

At the end of the day, Barack Obama is trying to humble the United States.  For reasons having to do with post-colonial ideology, Obama believes that Europe and the United States have raped much of the rest of the world and that if we are to have normal diplomatic relations with non-western countries then the US and Europe must stand down.

Western Europe, however, has not stood down.  On the contrary.  Western Europe is entirely supine and apparently ready to take whatever it gets.

However, it must be understood that these assaults on antiquities are actually an assault on history, itself, in the cause of Islamic Supremacism.

They want to destroy the evidence of non-Muslim presence anywhere they can in order to eradicate any non-Muslim claims to lands that Islamic forces advanced upon during its history of imperial expansion.

The loss of Palmyra is not just a crime against humanity, but an attempt to erase the lives of the people who lived there for millennia before contemporary Islamists showed up with their bombs, their dynamite, and their racist ideology of death.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Art and Politics

Michael L.

{Cross-posted at the Elder of Ziyon.}

Cat StevensThis is a photo of Steven Demetre Georgiou in 1972.

Handsome devil, isn't he?

He is also known by his stage name "Cat Stevens" and is currently known under his Muslim adopted name of Yusuf Islam, but he will always be Cat Stevens to me.

In fact, one of my favorite albums as a kid - we're talking vinyl - was Tea for the Tillerman and particularly the tune Where Do the Children Play?

The reason that I am putting this gentleman into your face - a face that is not very welcome within the Jewish community, or so I suspect - is because I think that he inadvertently raises a very interesting question.

Can we appreciate an artist's art in distinction from that artist's politics?

This is a question that goes to the beginnings of political history.

I do not know how many of you are familiar with Camille Paglia, but she is, from an ideological perspective, a 60s libertarian feminist who got her fifteen minutes from a terrific dissertation that she wrote and turned into a book published in 1990 entitled, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson.

As she gathered something of a cult following through the 1990s, she took to writing semi-popular cultural-critical analyses, some of which came together in a 1994 collection called Vamps and Tramps: New Essays.

It has been a long time since I have read that book, but as I recall there was a segment in one of the essays in which she discusses knock-down-drag-out-fights-to-the-death with other feminist graduate students at Yale toward the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s.

{I would love to have been a fly on the wall.}

She talks about being at a particular graduate student party in New Haven, at the time, in which someone made the insidious mistake of putting Mick Jagger's Under My Thumb on the turntable thus resulting in a lesbian-feminist-graduate-student brawl!  I do not know how much actual violence there was - we are talking about graduate students, after all - but there was plenty of yelling, screaming, and pulling of hair, you can be sure.

This is what Paglia's cohort at Yale objected to and, in my opinion, for perfectly good reasons:
The squirmin' dog who's just had her day

Under my thumb

A girl who has just changed her ways

It's down to me, yes it is

The way she does just what she's told

Down to me, the change has come

She's under my thumb

Ah, ah, say it's alright

Under my thumb

A siamese cat of a girl

Under my thumb

She's the sweetest, hmmm, pet in the world

It's down to me

The way she talks when she's spoken to

Down to me, the change has come,

She's under my thumb.
You can hear that tune in your head, but the lyrics are vile.

Because these are Mick Jagger's lyrics, however, the misogynist - or former misogynist - gets a pass, which I take to be a very obvious example of politically correct left-leaning hypocrisy.

vampsI do not know that Paglia appreciated this song in particular, but what she argued is that any individual work of art must stand on its own integral virtues.  Whatever anyone might think of Mick Jagger's sexism in 1965 or 1966, when he wrote Under My Thumb, should it influence how we consider his other contributions?

Should we, for example, not enjoy Satisfaction because of Under My Thumb?

The same question, of course, goes to Cat Stevens.

Father and Son is, in my estimation, an absolutely terrific tune and one that I listened to many times long before Mr. Georgiou transmogrified himself from Cat Stevens to Yusuf Islam.  And, heck, it would not bother me in the least that he converted to Islam if he had not also justified the Iranian fatwa of death on the head of author Salman Rushdie.  In a conversation with students at Kingston University, London, in 1989, when asked about the Iranian Rushdie fatwa, Yusuf Islam said, "He must be killed. The Qur'an makes it clear – if someone defames the prophet, then he must die."

Really?  Well, OK, then.

I honestly do not give a rat's tushky about "the prophet."

But does Yusuf Islam's regressive immorality inherently detract from Father and Son?

That is the question.

The same question, of course, goes to Roger Waters of BDS fame and his hugely popular band, Pink Floyd.

The first album that I ever bought as a kid, besides a Beatles album, was Dark Side of the Moon.

For many years I adored Pink Floyd, so you can imagine how disheartening it was when I learned that lead singer and lyricist, Roger Waters, is an anti-Semitic anti-Zionist.  For so many years I had no idea, but there it is.

But does this mean that Wish You Were Here is not a great album or that Shine On You Crazy Diamond is not a great tune?

I ask these questions not because I have any particular interest in redeeming such people in your hearts, but because I want to know what you think.  I want to know what you think because, on this question, I am not certain what I think.

I do know, however, that I can never listen to such music in the same way again and that is a terrible shame.

The cliché is that you can never go home again... the cliché is true.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

More Blood, Death, and Genocidal anti-Jewish Violence

Michael L.

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Daniel K. Eisenbud and Lahav Harkov tell us:
screamA Palestinian terrorist murdered two Jewish men and wounded a mother and son in the Old City of Jerusalem in a Saturday stabbing and shooting spree, before he was shot dead by police.

The victims were Rabbi Nehemia Lavie, 41, an Old City resident who worked at the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva, near the place he was killed, and Aharon Benita from Beitar Illit.

The toddler’s mother, 22, was in critical condition.
This is directly on top of yesterday's Jew Killing Fun.
The attack comes amid heightened tension in the capital, and less than 48 hours after terrorists murdered Naama and Eitam Henkin as they drove in Samaria.

Hamas lauded Saturday’s Old City killer as a “hero.” 
I say that the Jewish people - wherever we may be found - should just lay down and take it like the good weaklings that we are.

We have 2,000 long years of experience in learning how to take a good ass-kicking, so why should today be any different?  The Jewish people may have a state, but what we do not have, as far as the world community is concerned, are any rights to self-defense.

Throughout most of the history of Jewish people living in Europe, under Christian rule, or in the Middle East, where Jews come from, under Arab-Muslim imperial rule, the Jewish people have had no rights to self-defense.  For millennia any Christian or any Muslim could smack around, or even kill, any Jew and the Jewish people had no recourse to courts or to legal means of self-defense.

From what I can tell, little has changed.

Prior to last summer's strangely named Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, Israel put up with thousands of rocket attacks into the south, threatening towns such as S'derot and Ashkelon.  Children who live in the southern part of Israel have been traumatized for life and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which we used to call "shell shock" during World War I, is rampant throughout those communities.  It was only when Israel stood up to defend itself against Hamas that the world community, led by the Obama administration, stood up as one to object to what they considered to be a heinous Israeli aggression against the innocent "indigenous" population.

The western-left thinks that the Jews of the Middle East richly deserve whatever beating they get, which is why they always object to Jewish measures for protecting Jewish children.

The lives of Jewish children mean nothing to virtually anyone outside of the international Jewish community.  We have the occasional rare non-Jewish individual, such as Denis MacEoin or Ryan Bellerose or Chloe Simone Valdery, who will stand up for the Jewish people in this historical moment of rising Jew-Hatred, but such people are gems and that makes them exceedingly rare.

In the mean time, this is simply unacceptable.

Israel MUST DO WHATEVER IS NECESSARY to make this kind of thing cease.

If Israel will not do what is necessary to defend itself, how can they expect diaspora Jews to stick our necks out in their defense?

I stand with Israel because I despise the injustice of anti-Semitic anti-Zionism and crazed Arab and Muslim religious hatred toward the Jewish minority in that part of the world.

But when I look at Israeli anti-Semitic policies on, for example, the Temple Mount, it becomes harder and harder to stand for people who seem disinclined to stand for themselves.

Oh, and by the way, the Temple Mount is not anyone's third holiest anything to anyone.  Such a notion is pure political bullshit for western consumption.  If the Temple Mount was truly holy to Muslims they would have taken care of it for, lo, these many centuries.

They didn't.  They let it rot until the Jews came home in significant numbers.