Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Very much indirectly, of course, he changed the intellectual landscape for all of us, and we benefit or not mostly unaware. Such is art. Such is life.
"According to The Christian Post, as many as ten Church of England bishops indicated they may boycott the Anglican church body's decennial Lambeth Conference in protest of the liberal stance of the U.S. and Canadian branches of the Anglican Communion on homosexuality. A boycott by bishops from the Church of England would be an unprecedented event in Anglican history and would signify a new low in the current arguments taking place in the communion. The Rt. Rev. Michael Scott-Joynt, one of the most senior bishops in the Church of England, has said that between six and 10 bishops in England would discuss a boycott if The Episcopal Church in the United States did not give up its liberal attitude towards homosexuality in the Church."
The Nigerian Anglican Church, growing fast while the English are forced to sell churches to finance their cakes, finds itself shunned by the White Church. Rowan is concerned."Archbishop Peter Akinola, the leader of Anglican churches in Nigeria, may lead a boycott of the 2008 Lambeth Conference, following news that two controversial bishops did not receive invitations from the Anglican Communion’s spiritual leader." [More.]
Rowan and his American counterpart on the Episcopalian side are in the back room working on a friendlier version of the Book of Common Prayer.
It ain't the same no more. The Establishmentarian Left is dictatorial and often fascistic, wrapped in velvet as they may be. It is the revolutionary community of free people who will take up banners against the privileged and go forth into battle. Western atheists and Nigerian Christians will find themselves arm-in-arm against the system of oppression, joined by women from the suburbs and boys from the basketball court. It's a whole new revolution, and still, most people don't get it. It becomes clearer each day, the line is drawn, deciding for us where we stand.
Some of us have the sense to realise that the religious establishment is really more than a TV sitcom with incense, and that the iconic saints are more than pictures on tee-shirts, not Che, not Charles Manson. Church is not really a love fest, not a laugh-in, not a singles bar. When the establishment of Death Hippies controls the rite, then find me outside brooding.
Monday, July 30, 2007
"Humiliate the Muslims to such an extent that they surrender and pay tribute." [K: 9: 29.]
Muslims are harsh against the unbelievers, merciful to one another. [K: 48:25.]
"Kill the Muslims wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. [K: 9:5]
How about if the Israelis decided of the local beduin: "It is not for any IDF unit to have captives until they has made slaughter in the land. [K: 8:67.]
Newsday reports: NEW YORK (AP) _ A 23-year-old man was arrested Friday on hate-crime charges after he threw a Quran in a toilet at Pace University on two separate occasions, police said.
Stanislav Shmulevich of Brooklyn was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and aggravated harassment, both hate crimes, police said. It was unclear if he was a student at the school. A message left at the Shmulevich home was not immediately returned.
Now wait a minute. The police laid hate-crime charges against a student? What police?
The American Muslim Law Enforcement Officers Association? What else do they do?
Annual Ramadhan dinner with appointed goverment [sic] and city officials, Police Chiefs, and others.
Future group Hajj trips and Umrah to the Holy places.
Two annual Family day events, where families meet and build great relationships within our Association.
Two holiday parties. Eid Al-fitr and Eid-Al-adha.
Numerous Trips across the nation to introduce Association to the public and various Law Enforcement agencies. Assist other Law Enforcement agencies in dealing with the Muslim communities.
Numerous seminars speaking in behalf of the Muslim community and Muslims in Law Enforcement. And much more.........................
[Detective Khan above to the reader's left receiving an award from CAIR, Ill. Caption: Faisal Khan receives the CAIR-Chicago 2007 Courage Award for his exemplary courage in defense of the rights of the vulnerable and afflicted. Credit: http://www.cairchicago.org/photos_annual_event_02112007.php. Thanks to IrishEi (on July 31, 2007 at 3:20 PM) at: http://hotair.com/archives/2007/07/31/video-looks-like-cops-caved-to-cair-on-shmulevich-says-kelly/]
Twenty-three year old Stanislav Shmulevich awaits arraignment on hate crime charges for "criminal mischief and aggravated harassment," accused of having hurled Korans into toilets at Pace University's Manhattan campus, 10 months ago. This past October 13, according to police, a teacher discovered a paperback Koran in a second-floor bathroom toilet, while on November 21, a student found another submerged Koran in the same bathroom.
23-year-old Stanislav Shmulevich of Brooklyn. Pace University student arrested on Friday on hate-crime charges after he threw a Koran in a toilet at Pace University on two separate occasions, according to police.
The MSA (muslim [sic] students association) filed the complaint.
For Comments,Conserns [sic], Advise [sic], Questions or an Emergency [sic], You Can Contact:
A member of the Muslim Law Enforcement Officers Association, Faisal Khan, the Muslim NYPD Officer at 718-619-5314, he who brought these charges, as I am led to believe. Well, good on him if he's the lucky man who nabbed the criminal. I suspect the Muslim police officer association will find in the Koran an appropriate punishment for this fellow, this so-called Stanislav Shmulevich. I like the one where Mohammed has camel thieves captured, has their alternate hands and feet cut off, has their eyes gouged out with hot nails, and then, in casae there was any lack of justice, they get to die in the desert. RoP.
Muslim police today, Sharia courts tomorrow. Gotta love it.
Hey, I do love it, and so will you! Look what I found. More work for NYPD's hate-crimes guys:
Blasphemy Laws: Government; Use of derogatory remarks, etc; in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. — Pakistan Penal code: Offenses relating to religion: Section: 295-C.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Below is an abbreviated book review from the National Post newspaper in Canada, preceded by some snippets from Amazon about why, among others, our intelligentsia lie and are such scum-bags. Bad enough that our public intellectuals are so often scum-bags, but worse is that so many normal citizens across the world simply believe them to be more or less right anyway, even when they are so obviously scummy. I read the reviews, and this one has me interested in looking at the book itself .
Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts.
An amazon blurb:
"Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell?
Renowned social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson take a compelling look into how the brain is wired for self-justification. When we make mistakes, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right—a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong.
Backed by years of research and delivered in lively, energetic prose, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-deception—how it works, the harm it can cause, and how we can overcome it ."
Scrolling down through the reader reviews one comes to this: M. L. Lamendola, "Almost Great." Some reader responses to this interesting and well-thought-out review dismiss the writer on the grounds that s/he is an Anne Coulter fan.
And finally, here is the column from the National Post that got me this far so far.
Jonathan Kay, " The reason that innocents get prosecuted," National Post. Canada: 27 July 2007.
Kay begins his piece by highlighting a case of criminal justice gone totally wrong, the false accusation of boys in a case of murder. Then:
"How did trained investigators screw up so badly?
Two eminent California social psychologists have a convincing explanation. In a new book, Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts, Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson argue that many of the problems that plague our society -- from lying politicians to dysfunctional marriages -- originate with the fact that humans simply cannot admit when we're wrong. We form an opinion about something -- say, about who committed a murder-- and then systematically reject or explain away any incoming evidence that contradicts our preferred thesis. We think we're being rational and scientific. But in fact, we're subconsciously falling prey to mental defence mechanisms that protect us from cognitive dissonance.
[In] the case of murder investigators... mental intransigence destroys lives. Astonishingly, police and prosecutors often refuse to admit they screwed up even when slam-dunk evidence has proven them wrong.
Of course, police aren't the only people in our society who exhibit misplaced professional solidarity. But the nature of their jobs means that the stakes are particularly high: Innocent people can rot in jail for crimes they didn't commit. There's no surefire way to make cops place their commitment to truth above their commitment to colleagues. But getting every Canadian man and woman in uniform to read Mistakes Were Made would be a good start .
How do normal and ordinary folk get stuck in a "Terminator" mode? Kay uses the example of cops unrelenting in the face of their obvious mistaken assumptions. They just can't back down and admit they were wrong. Yes, the police charging and creating evidence to convict the innocent is dramatic, but it's not really as important as the every-day examples one finds on the streets of our cities and towns, the average guy going on and on about things obviously wrong. "Islam means 'peace' and it's only the Americans who have stirred up Islamic hatred blah blah." No amount of reality is going to penetrate the mind of the fanatic, the normal guy on the street, the guy who is so totally conformed to "the way it is" that he will die like those Primo Levi calls "the Drowned." Walking off a cliff is normal if everyone else is doing it. Going against the crowd pisses people off in a big way.
I'll check out this book if and when I see it available. Meanwhile, send in your review or even your opinion. Maybe I'm wrong about Ward Churchill. I'm willing to consider that, if I find it's possible. I'd rather find out I'm wrong that live in stupid aggressive ignorance just because I can't let go of a wrong idea. But hey, that's just me.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
"Between 1942 and 1945, a section of SIS - known as MI19 - secretly recorded no fewer than 64,427 conversations between captured German generals and other senior officers, all without their knowledge or even suspicion. The 167 most significant of these are about to be published for the first time. ...
They also explode the post-war claim of the Wehrmacht that they did not know what the SS were doing to the Jews, Slavs, mentally disabled and others among what they termed "untermensch" (sub-humans).
Attempts to suggest that genocide was solely the responsibility of the SS and Nazi fanatics, and not widespread across the whole Wehrmacht, completely collapse before the evidence of these recordings.
General Von Thoma, who commanded a panzer division in Russia before being captured at El Alamein, told the pro-Nazi General Ludwig Cruwell in January 1943: "I am actually ashamed to be an officer."
… Thoma said of those who believed the Fuhrer was ignorant of what was happening: "Of course, he knows all about it. Secretly, he's delighted. Of course, people can't make a row - they would simply be arrested and beaten if they did." …
In December 1944, Generalleutnant Heinrich Kittel, commander of 462 Volksgrenadier division, told General-major Paul von Felbert, commandant of Feldkommandantur 560: "The things I've experienced! In Latvia, near Dvinsk, there were mass executions of Jews carried out by the SS.
… [Later on] Kittel mused: "If one were to destroy all the Jews of the world simultaneously, there wouldn't remain a single accuser," and "Those Jews are the pest of the east!"
… In another conversation later that same day, Kittel told Schaefer about Auschwitz: "In Upper Silesia, they simply slaughtered the people systematically. They were gassed in a big hall. There's the greatest secrecy about all those things."
… "Let me tell you," General Count Edwin von Rothkirch und Trach told General Bernhard Ramcke on March 13, 1945, "the gassings are by no means the worst."
"What happened?" asked Ramke. "To start with, people dug their own graves, then the firing squad arrived with tommy-guns and shot them down. Many of them weren't dead, and a layer of earth was shovelled in between. They had packers there who packed the bodies in, because they fell in too soon. The SS did that.
Three days later, at Trent Park, Colonel Dr Friedrich Von der Heydte told Colonel Eberhard Wildermuth about the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia: "Half a million people have been put to death there for certain. I know that all the Jews from Bavaria were taken there. Yet the camp never became over-crowded. They gassed mental defectives, too."
"Yes, I know," replied Wildermuth. "I got to know that for a fact in the case of Nuremberg - my brother is a doctor at an institution there. The people knew where they were being taken."
The revelations from this book demand the publication of a second book, one chronicling who among the British High Command got to see these transcripts, and what actions they took when faced with this information. Or, what excuse there could possibly be to have taken no action.
No wonder it is so easy for our leaders to throw Israel to her enemies… we are discovering, to our shame, how well-practiced a habit this has been.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Vancouver is this weekend host to a conference discussing the work (and its ongoing extension) of one of the most important intellectuals of our time - his importance for our increasingly decentralized age partly reflected in the fact that his non-charismatic work is not as well known as certain lesser intellectuals who cling to the public showmanship and sacrificial theatre of old. Eric Gans is a prophet for our age when each of us should aspire to be a little leader in our own little neck of the woods. Gans' work, Generative Anthropology, provides us a deeper understanding of what all humans minimally share, an understanding of how culture or language first emerged, in a memorable event, and is since re-presented or generated through history on scenes, or in events, of shared consciousness.
In a global village where cultural and cognitive differences among individuals and populations remain significant, a firmer grasp of those aspects of human nature or culture that we all share helps provide us intellectual and spiritual tools to meet all comers, face to face, and hopefully to engage them in useful exchange, or, if need be, better to confront our enemies, whatever our neck of the woods.
Now is not the time to try more seriously to summarize the work of Eric Gans (though following the links above will get you started). But if you're in Vancouver and you are interested in real thinking, you'd be a fool not to make time on Saturday to see Eric Gans himself present his discipline of Generative Anthropology to the public, in Room 527 of the Vancouver School of Theology, University of British Columbia, 1:30-3:30. (Directions and link to map here) The lecture is titled "Generative Anthropology: A New Way of Thinking". Another public lecture being given as part of the Generative Anthropology Thinking Event is by another great scholar, Eugene Webb of the University of Washington, on Friday afternoon, 1:30-2:45, also in Room 527 of the Vancouver School of Theology. Prof. Webb will speak on "Stepping Back: Religious Faith and the Differentiation of Consciousness".
Covenant Zone blog is also organizing a chat, Friday evening, with a great student of Generative Anthropology, Adam Katz, whom we have often linked at this blog; anyone interested in attending should send me an email by early Friday morning (email@example.com) for details. Sorry for the late notice.
... are condemning us all to repeat it.
Back in May we reported on the results of a recent poll of Swedish teenagers, whose high school education caused 40% of them to conclude that communism had somehow increased prosperity in the world. 90% of the teens didn't even know what the soviet concentration camps, the gulags, were.
You would think, that if anyone in the world would understand the evil of communism as it is actually practiced, compared to the fantasies promised in speeches, books and classrooms, it would be the people who had directly suffered, generation after generation, under its grinding yoke: the Russians.
You would think that, and yet according to a new poll released by the Yuri Levada Centre, you would be wrong.
When asked if Stalin was a wise leader, half of the 1,802 respondents, aged from 16 to 19, agreed he was. "Fifty-four percent agreed that Stalin did more good than bad," said Theodore Gerber, a sociologist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Forty-six percent disagreed with the statement that Stalin was a cruel tyrant."
"What we find troubling is that there is a substantial proportion of young people in Russia today who hold positive or ambivalent views on Stalin and his legacy," Gerber said. "We think it would probably be more appropriate if there was more condemnation of the Stalin era."
The poll showed 17 percent of the young people disagreed that Stalin was responsible for the imprisonment, torture and execution of millions of innocent people, while 40 percent thought his role in the repression had been exaggerated.
It shames me to admit it, but I used to be a proto-communist myself, many years ago. Thank God, I escaped its seductive charm, through a blessed combination of personal life experiences involving working closely with other people, and a lifelong fascination for studying history. There is such a stark disconnect between the glories that are promised under communism, and the awful nightmares that history reveal to be the inevitable realities of actually living under a communist system. Surely only a dishonest, or lazy, mind would fail to see this colossal disconnect, and continue to place faith in its promised utopias.
It's not "cool" to be stupid... is it?
In the case of Russia, the evils of communism unleashed nightmares statistically close to that of the two large-scale wars that ravaged the nation twice in the first half of the 20th century.
World War I: the carnage of trench warfare, the sinful arrogance of officers wasting untold lives by relying on outdated battlefield tactics in ignorance of modern military technology.
3,311,000 russians, soldiers as well as civilians, were killed in World War I; yet approx 8-9 million russians were killed during Lenin's rule following the war.
World War II: the nazis viewed the slavs as sub-human opponents, and their approach to warfare on the eastern front reflected that philosophy, causing the "great patriotic war" to become "generally accepted as being the most costly conflict in human history".
23,600,000 russians, soldiers as well as civilians, were killed in World War II; yet approx 20,000,000 russians were killed under Stalin's rule, up to and then after the war. (that number is averaged from several sources; totals are all over the map for deaths under Stalin. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, as one example, claims a total of 60,000,000 killed!)
Maybe one of these days this kind of information can be taught in schools...
I wish it had been taught to me in my school.
Here we now see, with startling clarity, how little our established political distinctions between left and right, conservative and radical, revolutionary and reactionary, matter nowadays. Rather, any remaking of political distinctions will have to ask, first, whether there is in fact a discipline of inwardness, a mobilization for fresh renunciations of instinct; or whether there is only the discipline of outwardness, a mobilizing for fresh satisfactions of instinct. Such a distinction will divide contemporary men and movements more accurately; then we shall find fashionable liberals and fascists on the same side, where they really belong.
Here's a fascinating video excerpt of al gore from way back in 1992, giving a speech in his capacity as vice presidential candidate on the democratic ticket. The subject: saddam hussein's obvious ties to terrorism.
For once, I have found common ground with al gore. If only he retained the courage of these convictions, what a decade the nineties could have been, and what a decade we could be living through today.
(Hat tip to Dan Sytman's blog Rhetorical Ammo. How I miss being able to start off my days listening to his morning talk radio show on KTTH, out of Seattle..!)
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
He meets by chance an old parishioner on the street, and the parishioner says: "You've done so well in business, imagine what you could have done if you'd known how to read and write."
The man says: "I could have been a minister."
"Former NHL coach Demers admits he's illiterate."
MONTREAL -- Jacques Demers, who coached the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup in 1993 and was later a general manager in the NHL, admits in a newly released biography that he is illiterate.
"I could read a little bit but I can't write very well," Demers said at a party for the book's launch. "I took to protecting myself. You put a wall around yourself. And when I was given the possibility of talking, I could speak well and I think that really saved me."
In the book "Jacques Demers: En Toutes Lettres," which roughly translates to "All Spelled Out," Demers said his inability to read and write was the result of an abusive and impoverished childhood.
"All I wanted from my father was to treat me with love," Demers said. "Not to beat me up when I did something wrong. Not to beat up my mom. It really hurt me because he took away my childhood.
"The other thing I wanted to say was that if I could not write or read, it was because I had so much of a problem with anxiety because of the things going on in the family. I couldn't go to sleep at night. I'd go to school and I couldn't learn anything."
The book, which was released Wednesday, was written by Canadian journalist Mario Leclerc.
Demers coached the Quebec Nordiques, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal and the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he was also general manager in the late 1990s.
He was able to hide his illiteracy from all but a few people by asking secretaries and media relations people to write letters for him, claiming his English wasn't good enough.
Even his wife Debbie didn't know until he told her after he put off writing checks to cover household bills for several days.
When he was a general manager, he brought in Cliff Fletcher and Jay Feaster as assistants to handle contracts he couldn't read.
"I never really was a GM," he said. "I hired Cliff Fletcher and Jay Feaster because I knew I couldn't do that."
Since leaving the NHL coaching ranks, Demers has worked as a hockey analyst at the French-language RDS network for the last four years.
For now, he is happy that he has gone public with his illiteracy.
"I have no problem saying what I wanted to say. That's what I needed," he said. "I've been carrying this all my life. I succeeded, and I'm telling people 'you're capable of doing something in your life even if you have some big handicaps.' "
Say hello to your neighbors. The rest will come easily.
And the scoundrel sates himself with plunder.
The markets of Karkh are deserted
And the vagrant and the wayward prance around.
Here lies a stranger far from home
Headless in the middle of the road
He was caught in the middle of the fighting
And no one knows which side he's on.
We sat at our table in the library atrium as we do each week, and in the midst of our chatting we heard, "Covenant Zone? Is this the Covenant Zone?"
David introduced himself, sat in and has been with us weekly ever since. It was as easy as that and as hard.
We can't stop death and destruction. But if we are determined and rational we can slow it down. Say hello to us this Thursday evening.
The anonymously written poems above are excerpted here and found in their original translated state in Hugh Kennedy, The Court of the Caliphs. London: Phoenix Publishers, 2004, pages 106 and 105.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Most people say what most people say. "It's not that bad," becomes, in the era of the worst of Stalin: "This cannot be happening." And people will refuse to believe their own lives. Ask Plekhanov.
Most people have opinions, and they get them from family, from friends, from social organizations they belong to, churches, synagogues, and so on. From television, newspapers, universities; from people hanging out and chatting them up in public. Most people are too busy with personal concerns and their privacies to lean into the wind of understanding and then to go forth into that storm unclothed. Most don't know, don't care, and rely on the opinions of experts, those trained and recognized as thinkers who know for all of us others who do not have the time and the skill to navigate the cracks and cervices of deep thought. Rather than Mysteries we get mummers. It is always a public performance, a comedy or a tragedy, who can tell? Our masked intelligentsia act out and we have our little catharses, hoping we performed properly, looking for disapproving glances from those around us so we might adjust ourselves properly for the next performance and out-do those who scowled at us last. The prevailing opinion, brought to us from the play-wrights of passion and agony perform for us and we pretend because we have no better reality than mystery, not being able to compete in our banal existences. No tragedy, no mystery, no comedy: we are attending farce, and one "ironic" at that, to which only the unsophisticated or the cruel object.
I suggest to you, dear reader, yet again, that we are cheated and lied to by our intelligentsia.
Sentimentality, for those many who confuse it with right feeling, is falseness of emotion. Basing my conclusions on false premises I can get everything right every time by doing everything wrong after my false start. Fool-proof, sort of. But what a price to pay, if one can. And few are willing to get it wrong all the time in the hope of getting it right. One must conform to survive the life of the masses in concert. Rebels and revolutionaries are only good in very, very small numbers among very, very large groups. And we need those misfits urgently now. We need quickly a number of people honest and tough enough to say "No" to further lies and sentimentality. Most people will go alone with whatever the experts say, even if such means a free trip to rural Poland. Most people will just go along because their embarrassed to cause a scene. Most will not walk out of the theatre in disgust. Most will willingly suspend their disbelief, even when it means the lions are coming into the gallery. Most people are social animals and they would rather die than look bad in public. No matter how horrible and painful and death-beckoning it is, most people will follow the fashion rather than not. They will praise it, they will laud it, they will fawn over it. The wire of despair, if I may, will connect the mass and shut them off. The falseness will suddenly overcome the mass and they will realize too late the imminent demise of the whole, and they will sink into themselves as a whole, will sit in a stupor, and they will await death passively, oblivious to it, uncaring, incapable of movement, incapable of the slightest thought of survival, paralysed by the current of despair. Based on the false premise of sentimentality, doing the right thing will lead each and every time to the wrong outcome, even unto death. Today we need train-wreckers, we need those few who will rip down the facade of mummery and replace it with the realities of Mystery.
Very few of our public intellectuals are able, as people with personalities rather than due to lack of intelligence, to follow the path of Socrates, being impelled to follow his arch-rival, the wholly successful philosopher Medeocrates. Most of our intelligentsia, far from being evil or stupid, are not able to resist the pull of conformity and not able to endure the pressure to return to the fold of the norm. They, like those around them, do what others do; and they are often smart enough to see that what they do is exercise sentimentality. Fear keeps them going. Then sets in the hatred of those who look at them undeceived; and all involved know the game is exposed, and that the only way to preserve it is to lash out and destroy the gaze that condemns. Be honest for a moment and ask yourself how long you'll last if you tell the committee the truth. Truth? Yeah, the ordinary stuff of reality, not the sophist rubbish of our current idiocies, just the simple observable facts of the day in place. Do that, dear reader and, as you well know in advance, you are right fucked.
If you know Zola's Germinal, you'll recall the character Catherine, the girl the hero of the story should have got but didn't. Instead she hooks up with the bad guy of the book, a bad guy who treats her badly, and she knows he treats her badly, sees it clearly, and knows it needn't be that way. She stays, as she says, because to leave and find another man would be to destroy her self-image: "I'm not a slut." Examples of my fine point, unfortunately, abound like gazelles.
People will and do deny and deny and deny, even as they die.
May I digress? There is the famous "Rule of Thirds," noticed by our friend Poussin, I do believe; there is the Holy Trinity; the Three Stooges; and there is the girl I met years ago who said: "After three days you'll do anything." Three weeks without food, three days without water, and three hours without hope. Digression over.
We each of us have a public life-- and a pubic persona, a mask to wear when we're "out." We mask our privacies and carry on as actors in publicities. This is usually a good thing. We mostly don't want to know the "real you." But where publicity begins and privacy ends is sort of kind of fuzzy. When you get home and take off your smelly shoes, do you know who you are and who the publicity is that you can't stash on the back porch with the sneakers? How much of the stuff you picked up during the course of the day sticks to you and won't come off, or even be noticed? How much play-acting do you do even when you're alone in the dark? Well, one would hope, a great deal if one is a social being. Often we "just have to lump it." No, we don't have to like it, but being Human means we often have to put up with it anyway for the sake of getting along in the world. I'm all for that. To a point. And not an inch or a millimeter more beyond that point. To the best of my admittedly limited abilities I am more than happy to follow the norms of publicity. Nod and smile when I get my meal at Chez Pierre? Well, anything that costs that much must be good, even if I can't stand it. Throwing rocks at a girl and killing her? Hmmm. No. Making excuses for it because that's the popular thing to do? Uhhh. No. Diverting attention from the evil by clouding the issue with false comparisons? I-don't-think-so-bud-dy. Nope, I ain't got no friends, an I don't care.
Most people have no idea about most things. That seldom stops people from having an opinion they demand be heard in public. That it's thoughtless and a mostly a re-hash of some trite piece of nonsense to begin with, well, never you mind. That the best thoughts of our time are usually from the lips of conformists who repeat each other's nonsense? Well, try getting along if you piss everyone off.
We are in the grip of a plague of public idiocy. Not, please, to confuse that with lack of intelligence. Idiocy is, in the worst sense, "privacy". We cannot live in a world of privacy, not even if mom let's us live in the basement. We are made to live in the publicity not of our own choosing even if we don't like it and even if we don't like the very concept of it. Too bad. We are social animals. Today we are stuck in a social scene of infantile sentimentality, a play brought to us by wankers.
And such is the terror of being seen as a non-conformist that the majority nod and smile and board that train. Yeah, the train to Vanity Fair. It's. Not. Real.
People need permission to do the other thing. They also need encouragement. They need sometimes a letter or a carte or a sign or an emblem or a uniform or a flag or a crowd or a cloak or a tattoo or a suit or a or a or a. Even when one has permission to do it there is the fear that others will see and will not like that one does that. One needs to wave a note of permission to show one has the right, the duty, the order from above to do that. Even with an order from authority one needs a mask to hide behind. One third will, one third won't, and one third are already dead in a meaningful sense if not literally. Just about everyone, regardless, still goes along with what most think and do, even in a war, even among criminals and the vividly insane. At best, only a third will really ever. The other third won't really, though they might lump it. And the middle third will keep on sitting there smoking pot. You still need permission.
For now, because we're social animals, most of us "celebrate the difference" of pot-smoking idiocy as culture. One third will even write in and complain about the complaint. One third will agree, and one third will drool. But most will simply carry on as before rather than say anything that might cause trouble or make them look bad. Yes the pose hurts, and yes, the play is awful, and yes, there's way more things more fun than living a lie; but hey, everyone's doing it.
OK, so I give up. As of today I'm going to be Dag SNAG. I'm going to smile, smile, smile and be happy because I live in a SNAG-Nation. No more of being a guy who pisses people off by contradicting them. No more gadfly from this guy. No way. From now on I'm Mr. Sensitive New Age Guy. Yuppers, I'm going to be a flaky idiot, a clown, a fool in public; in short, I'm going to get a facial and be a Metro-Sexual.
Whatever other people say, that's what I say, only I say so moreso.
Excuse me, I'm... I'm... I was weeping because I just recalled how the evil Zionists were clubbing Palestinians and baby seals, and I was thinking really hard about the hole in the ozone layer and the one that's in Bush's skull where his brain should be (har har har.) Uh, this is all new to me, so I'll have to go Beyond Robson st. to find out what else I think. Fuck, I wanna be a SNAG! Gotta wanna cause I live in SNAG-Nation.
Oh well, that didn't last long. I don't care about being anything other than who and what I am. No public persona is going to make me different or better, even if it would undoubtedly improve my social life. No, I'm not willing to pretend in public. I don't care that I don't have permission not to be. So what? Those beyond Robson don't like me? So what? Nobody likes me? Well, that'd be a problem, if only in getting a date, not to mention getting a pay-cheque for the rent. Beyond that, I don't care. I'm not overly sensitive, and I don't like the idea of pretending I am. I don't feel the need to have permission to do and to write as I do. I'm one guy, and not representative of the vast majority, thank God. It doesn't follow that I'm doing anything right or anything better, only that I'm not concerned about doing the wrong things of our Snag-Nation. I prefer to make my own mistakes rather than the mistakes everyone around me is making. You would likely prefer to stop the usual reign as well, but it's not easy. It's usually not permitted. Even if it were, you'd still need encouragement to stand up and do the thing. You'd need a way to deflect criticism from yourself. Hey, don't look at me, I can't help you. There's a very good chance that you're fed up with infantile sentimentality. Why would you like anything about it? But even if you out-right hate infantile sentimentality, are you going to risk the shit hitting you if you protest in public? You need protection from that, friend. A third will agree with you, a third will call for your blood, and a third will sit and grin and drool. Unfortunately for you, even the third who agree with you won't likely do a damned thing to save you from the third who hate you. Mostly, unless you become really famous, no one will ever care. But it's your life in direct focus, and you are the centre of that possible attraction of unwanted attention. You need protection. Yes, you need right guard. You need permission and encouragement from an authority, and you need a shield. If you're going to go on stage and announce that this play sucks, then, friend, you need a way of surviving the outrage of the few who'll bewail their lost investments.
It's a game for grown-ups we play here. The "let's pretend" world of the ruling classes and the sullen masses cost a lot to set up, and more and more to maintain. There will be sore losers when this stuff ends, and those who get caught wrecking it will suffer when they get caught. You need a shield unless you're tougher than I am and you can take the blows of the crowd without breaking. Yes, the whole play is phony, and we all know it; but we also know that those who stand up and defy it will get trashed. It doesn't matter how much make-up men wear or how full the lady's moustache is, if you piss them off, you step outta line, the Man come and take you away.
Sentimentalists are not necessarily weak or stupid. They are basically cynical and vicious. They have no genuine feelings so they concoct false ones to have feelings at all. Why they bother is a mystery to me. But the false works on many, on even as many as a third. Given the investment many have made in this idiot mummers' play you must not think they'll pack up the tent and quietly go away.
The fools running the show are going to let things get so bad that you might end up being murdered, and at best you'll lose your personal freedom. Is it Bush and the neo-con conspiracy? Is it really the Joooos? Or is it really a gang of invested Leftist idiots? Did Bush and the Oil Companies really fill in the blank? Is the sentimental and the rotten really the good? Big-eyed dogs on velvet? Kitch? Irony? Well, if you close your mind to the sentimentalism of our culture you'll bankrupt many who've invested their life-savings in the plastic puke business. They won't go quietly. Nor will you have a lot of friends backing you up. Yes, plastic puke is infantile, and yes, I have dozens of them scattered around my office. I do know when to put them away. Our culture hasn't figured that out yet. We live in a SNAG-Nation.
Here, just in case this wasn't long enough, is some top-notch thinking from Adam Katz. He more or less agrees with every thing I write. I think his office is filled up with, like, plastic pukes. Even if he doesn't agree with me, he's still a good read here.
Next from me is Infantile Publicity: Tattoos, Pornography, and Gladiation. Or something like that.
"We can be generous to Muslims who would explicitly abandon claims to Islamic supremacy precisely to the extent that we have freed ourselves from all conditions our "sensitivity" to the various hang-ups of the Muslim public has placed upon us. As long as we take for granted that "of course" any actual implementation of the U.S.-Israeli alliance would be "impossible" because it would enrage the Muslim "street," then we are still allowing their rage (or fabricated expressions thereof) to determine our policy." Adam Katz,
A Calculus of Covenants; or, Fifth Generation Warfare
(You need a shield, don't forget.)
Friday, July 20, 2007
First, we find Jim Kalb commenting on the New York Times' bemoaning that Young Adults are Giving Newspapers Scant Notice (but not just newspapers: "In fact, most teenagers and adults 30 and younger are not following the news closely at all"). Kalb:
Big changes in popular habits are no doubt part of a whole network of other changes, so it’s hard to point to specific causes and effects, but isn’t there a distinct connection between young adults’ acceptance of multiculturalism and their total lack of interest in public affairs? To me it seems glaringly obvious that multiculturalism makes public life impossible even in concept. There can’t be public life unless there is public discussion and decision. That requires a public that’s coherent enough to have thoughts and reactions and take action, at least to some degree. The point of multiculturalism, though, is that no particular culture—no particular pattern of thoughts and reactions and no particular history of action—is allowed to determine things. If that’s so, though, how can public life exist? Multicultural government is “free to be you and me” turned into universal law. Under such conditions, there can be no politics and we have to be ruled by experts, therapists and money instead. If the only legitimate role for ordinary people in politics is to parrot the line taken by New York Times, because they’re not experts and if they act on their non-expert prejudices they’ll just mess things up, why shouldn’t they concentrate on their personal affairs and ignore things they have nothing to say about anyway?I like that, though I don't think Kalb, in general, gives enough attention to how multiculturalism has been a dead end, which was not at first predictably a dead-end, in a nonetheless necessary process of cultural evolution and renewal in our Western tradition, an evolution towards greater freedom.
And yes, we live in very complex social systems with countless interactions and relationships leading to unpredictable changes; but historical change, even in face of all the natural calamities and bounties the world has in store for us, is ultimately a question not of biology, geography, economics, technolgy, etc, but of human self-understanding and our response thereto. In other words, the great motor of human history is the ethical, the human necessity to reflect on and change our social relationships in response to the inevitable resentments and limits on freedom that all social orders and differences create.
As such, our understanding of the historical process is usefully reduced to our ethical concerns and all promoters of self-governing societies should be wary of giving the suggestion that the historical process is mystifyingly complex. In retrospect, it is not a great mystery, even if there is much we can never know. It is only the future outcome of human freedom that must remain a great mystery, precisely because we are free to decide and to respond to decisions in infinitely complex, i.e. eternally open-ended, ways.
This blog, Covenant Zone, and its public meetings, are dedicated to the proposition that multiculturalism will have to be replaced as Canada's governing ideology. This is because official multiculturalism limits human freedom by replacing self-governing nations with largely unaccountable elite bureaucracies and judges deciding what rights we, or groups to which we supposedly belong, have and do not have. We feel that our genuine desire to maximize human freedom cannot go in hand with the pretense that everyone can be just "free to be you and me" under the protection of a big multiculti state. Rather we see the need for a new covenantal culture in which those who seriously pretend to be members of our nation, no matter where their ancestors once lived, will sign on to new freedoms and responsibilties in Canadian self-rule, in embrace of the cultural traditions, largely Western, that make a self-governing covenantal culture possible and necesary to the growth, regulation and security of a free-market economic system.
Open-ended national covenants, that construct reality according to the ever-adapting intelligence of the freely participating members, respect, much better than the soft-totalitarianism of today's imperial, post-national political masters, the truly inexhaustible possibilities for human ethical self-organization. Today's masters want to hold on to a fast-fading vision of postmodern reality with its analysis of history as little more than a process of victimization, countered by the victims' redemption according to the dictates of a "human rights" bureaucracy that must always out-rank popular, representative rule and decentralized, locally-organized, forms of redemption.
At the end of the day, when it comes to understanding our personal identities, we have to decide whether we give pride of place to our membership in a free, open-ended, nation, to make of ourselves what we will through unpredictable, though honest, political and intellectual combat, or to some more limited identity that we think the state must help us protect from the waves of history and the "exploitation" of others. In other words, do we believe, as I think we generally should, that calls to membership in free, self-ruling nations, are not, as the multiculti left generally has it, veiled attempts to promote the will of some privileged class? Could the promise of freedom be just that? Can we humans live well without the freedom to promise, and covenant, to make reality as we will?
If a renewal of national covenants doesn't happen in the short term, so that we may defend without victimary guilt, and without unnecessary violence, some realistic terms of membership in a free society, calmly and rationally excluding, through popular debate and rule, that which we find to be inimicable to our shared freedom, I imagine we will be left with the question of which of the alternative, all-too-limited scenarios is more likely to unfold. Do you see the future like:
1) Flanders' great patriot, the somewhat dour Paul Belien:
The Dutch Labor Party did everything in its power to undermine Judeo-Christian religions, but it is today the vehicle of the most radical Islamization. This has nothing to do with appreciation for yet another religion, but rather with the fact that, like secularism, Islamism is an enemy of Judeo-Christian values.Or do you see the future like 2)America's great Europhobe, Ralph Peters:
The European left appreciates Islamism not because it is a religion, but because it is a totalitarian political ideology. The Dutch Labor Party is catering to Islamist extremists even to the point of silencing party members like the Muslim apostate Ehsan Jami.
The same hypocrisy is displayed by Mr. Amato. He says that Europe will benefit from what religious Muslims can offer. However, Mr. Amato was the vice president of the European Convention, which vetoed any reference to God in the preamble to the EU Constitution. Sadly, there are more politicians like Mr. Amato and Mrs. Vogelaar. Take Patrick Janssens, the Socialist mayor of Antwerp, a city just south of the Dutch border. His administration sacks civil servants who warn about a takeover of Antwerp’s mosques by Islamist groups, and has them replaced by members of these very Islamist groups. Last week, Mr. Janssens welcomed international homosexual activists to Antwerp, which he likes to style the “gay capital of Europe.”
Does it make sense to cater simultaneously to radical homosexuals and Islamists? It does not, unless Europe's Christian heritage is your enemy.
Meanwhile, a German appeals court convicted a man for calling abortion “murder.” Klaus Günter Annen, a father of two, runs a Web site where he asks people to pray for “doctors planning an abortion murder.” On a separate Web page he lists German gynecologists who perform abortions. Last Thursday, the Oberlandesgericht in Karlsruhe stated that since abortionists do nothing illegal, no one is allowed — not even in an indirect way — to call them murderers.
It is often argued that Adolf Hitler was only able to grab power in Germany in 1933 because freedom and democracy were already dead. Soon, the secularist totalitarianism in contemporary Europe will be replaced by an Islamist totalitarianism. The Islamists will not need to kill freedom and democracy. The latter have already been murdered.
the notion that Europe, the continent that's exported more death and destruction than any other, is going to just shuffle wimpily to its doom is crazy. The Europeans have been playing pacifist dress-up while we protected them, but, sufficiently threatened, they'll revert to their historical pattern--which is to over-react. Europe's Muslims may prove to be the real endangered species; after all, Europe's history of dealing with rejected minorities veers between genocide and, for the lucky, ethnic cleansing. For me, the question isn't whether Muslims will take over Europe, but whether Europe will simply expel them or kill any number of them first. Sound far-fetched? How would the Holocaust have sounded to an educated German (or Brit, or American) in 1932? Europe is a killer continent. When the chips are down, it will kill again.
Meanwhile, Europe's Muslims are behaving so stupidly that their folly can't be measured with any tools at our disposal. Even as British pols pander to radical clerics, the average Brit has had enough of coddling mullahs who preach the destruction of all non-Muslims (and closing the pubs). In mid-July, in Germany, the major organizations representing the millions of Turkish residents refused to come to a conference held by the chancellor to address integration. The Turkish leaders demanded--demanded--that the German parliament first rescind a new immigration law that would have prevented Turks from importing child-brides, isolating them as virtual prisoners and beating them to death. Oh, and the Germans also wanted new immigrants to have a vocabulary of 300 German words upon arrival--just enough to say, "Help, husband killing me." No self-respecting Turk was going to stand for that.
You get the point. Europe has never had a model for integrating non-white immigrants, and they don't really want one. Meanwhile, from Denmark to Marseilles, Muslim residents make outrageous demands that only anger the average voter. Eurabia? You have a better chance of finding honest lobbyists in Washington than you do of seeing the crescent over the spires of Notre Dame.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Covenant Zone meets every Thursday, 7-9 pm , in the atrium of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, in front of Blenz Coffee. Given the recent weather, we might even be wearing our blue scarves.
When the existing politics and governing ideology no longer work, when they really aren't much in touch with pressing new realities breaching all the old walls, we must, through the art of the covenant, bring a new political reality into being. In a self-ruling nation, it is the responsibility of each of us to perform this task when required. Come to Covenant Zone and be inspired to our work.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I don’t know about your childhood, dear reader, but Canadian children can be said to be very lucky; we were given both The Friendly Giant and Mr Dressup each weekday on television.
Through those programs we were regularly treated to classical music, jazz, and fun songs that made a game out of becoming smarter, gentler and more responsible; through their daily demonstrations we learned how playing a musical instrument was a special blessing you could use to enrich others’ lives, not to mention your own. (How many Canadian children welcomed music lessons in the wake of their exposure to these programs, I wonder...?) We were also presented with the joy of discovery that comes with reading; through their patient example we were encouraged to read, read, read, in order to stoke the fires of our imagination, in anticipation of the incredible world that awaited us, as we were to grow older.
Thank God for teachers like Robert Homme and Ernie Coombs. Does anyone who ever watched Mr Dressup open up his Tickle Trunk, anyone who was ever offered a rocking chair for two more to curl up in, anyone who ever waited to see the cow jumping over the moon behind the castle… anyone ever doubt how deep the love for childhood itself must have been, in the hearts of Mr. Homme and Mr. Coombs?
Just thinking about them again, after all these years, brings back such warm memories...
If you are one of the lucky ones, spare a moment to imagine what memories palestinian children will have in the place of yours, as they grow up watching Farfour the mouse get kicked in the balls by an “Israeli” interrogator, among other charming sights, on **their** government-run television station.
Ask yourselves, what kind of parent shows this kind of programming to their children?
And even more important: what kind of person lets them?
The execution, which took place despite the reported opposition of the Islamic Republic's central judicial authorities, has stunned Iranian activists who champion a moratorium on capital punishment by stoning.
Activists now fear that Ebrahimi, who has an 11-year-old child by Kiani, will also be stoned.
The Islamic Penal Code of Iran allows for the punishment of death by stoning for crimes of adultery.
In December 2002, Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi, the head of Iran’s judiciary, ordered a ban on stoning. Despite this, lapidation continues, and it is disproportionately applied to women, despite campaigning by Iranian women’s rights activists, human rights groups have denounced.
Linguistically, hudud in Arabic means limits or preventions. Legally, they are limits, which prevent the crime from increasing in society, prevent the criminal from going back to similar crimes, and prevent those who think about the same crime from pursuing it. Hudud in this sense are not merely punishments, on the contrary, they are limits and preventive means placed within a larger framework of justice, related directly to the interests of people to serve the ultimate objectives of the Islamic law.
The punishment system in Islam has concerns that Muslims need to be aware of. It concerns that are aimed toward the three dimensions of any crime: the criminal (the one who carried out the act), the society (where the crime took place) and the victim (the one who was subject to the criminal act). These objectives are:
To criminals, punishment is kaffara (purification) and reforming for the re-acceptance into the society.
To society, punishment is a preventive method to save the society from crimes.
To victims, punishment is a mean of retribution.
“Imran b. Hussein reported that a woman from Juhaina came to Mohammed and said she had become pregnant because of adultery. She said: ‘I am pregnant as a result of Zina.’ Mohammed said: ‘Go back, and come to me after the birth of the child.’ After giving birth, the woman came back to Mohammed, saying: ‘Please purify me now.’ Next, Muhammad said, ‘Go and suckle your child, and come after the period of suckling is over.’ She came after the period of weaning and brought a piece of bread with her. She fed the child the piece of bread and said, ‘O, Allah's Apostle, the child has been weaned.’ At that Muhammad pronounced judgment about her and she was stoned to death.” “The Book Pertaining to Punishments Prescribed by Islam (Kitab Al-Hudud).” Sahih Muslim, B. 17, N. 4207. USC-MSA, Compendium of Muslim Texts.
“Allah sent Muhammad with the Truth and revealed the Holy Book to him, and among what Allah revealed, was the Verse of the Rajam (the stoning of married person (male & female)) who commits illegal sexual intercourse, and we did recite this Verse and understood and memorized it. Allah's Apostle did carry out the punishment of stoning and so did we after him.
I am afraid that after a long time has passed, somebody will say, 'By Allah, we do not find the Verse of the Rajam in Allah's Book,' and thus they will go astray by leaving an obligation which Allah has revealed. And the punishment of the Rajam is to be inflicted to any married person (male & female), who commits illegal sexual intercourse, if the required evidence is available or there is conception or confession.” Sahih Bukhari, Book 82: Volume 8, Number 817: Narrated Ibn 'Abbas. www.usc.edu/.
It's nice having an annotated glossary at hand.
I was so sure my title would to knock 'em dead, "Mohammed and the mystery of the walk-about jumper," that I opened with a bang.
I began Islamicly enough with this perfect line: "It was a dark and stormy day that by tea-time had Mohammed reaching for his jumper-- only to find it had gone walk about." Mohammed, his prose purple with rage, shouted out to the Moon God: "Ahhhoooo! I'll amputate the hand and alternate foot of whoever went walk-about with my fine jumper."
Well, to make my 300 page long story short, they didn't like it. Now I'm facing a deathwah. There are only a dozen things to do, so I'm going to run and hide. If you're not the sniveling coward I am, you might draw some of the Iranian ire away from me so I can continue my literary efforts in a new and, frankly, more up-scale contest, one wherein the judges have some appreciation for an artist at work!
Please leave the first line of your literary masterpiece in the comments box below,and with luck you'll win a deathwah too. Someone will contact you, probably in the middle of the night or at your office or on the tube or at a crowded cafe or in a schoolhouse in remote Russia. Good luck.
Monday, July 16, 2007
It is as if communist iconography has suddenly become a fashion trend.
What are people thinking, as they wear these things? Is it an adornment carried with all the innocence one would associate with jolly roger pirate flags? Few who display such skull and crossbones out their apartment windows or inside their vans or upon their belt buckles really fancy themselves genuine pirates, one would imagine. It is just a pose, isn’t it, maybe even a memory of childhood games, similar to playing cops and robbers, where someone has to be the "bad guy" for the play to work.
Of course, there continue to be real pirates in our world, who prey on innocent tradesmen, vacationers and other travelers. Few of the pirate flag-waving folk that we see in our fair city, surely, would ever consider themselves in sympathy with the bloodthirsty thieves lurking today on the high seas… I wonder if the same can be said for those who decorate themselves with the imagery of an even greater evil, that of communist dictatorships.
It may be that the current trend to wear hammer and sickle gear is born from a combination of sheer innocence, and ignorance; that the kids truly have no earthly idea what these images and symbols represent. Maybe they just think that communists, like pirates, have a "bad boy" reputation any rebel would find attractive. That it is to be only a skin-deep costume, soon to be displaced by some other symbol just over the cultural horizon.
I’d still be offended by their shirts, but at least I’d be willing to help rescue their dignity by filling in the obvious gaps in their education. Here is a short video I’ve made to that effect, so that their day of enlightenment may dawn on them faster than it did for me, back when I was a young-skull-full-of-mush collegian, flirting with the eternal lie of leftist ideology: that communism is somehow good for human beings.
Here is why communism is not cool, kids:
In my heart I always feel when we are approaching that date on the calendar, where the shadow of a new life first touched mine, and touches me still. You know who you are, out there in the great beyond, but for me, and my wife, you remain...
Do you remember, stranger, the summer day that brought the discovery of your expected arrival, how it promised the fulfillment of a long-cherished hope? After all, what other earthly adventure could possibly bring more excitement to the soul than to become a parent… What greater glory can there be for a man, than to become a father?
As the wonderful day of your joyous arrival grew ever nearer, stranger, our whole world took on a new glow, and especially a new scope; suddenly there were uncountable facts to acquire, unacceptable habits to abandon, so much of our world undergoing so much change that each day seemed a lifetime in itself. Fear was constantly at my elbow, in the form of an electrifying clarity shining a light into any and all dark corners of my life, for no excuse would be good enough anymore to avoid Changing For The Better, no argument could reason away the need to Grow Up and become the Man I suddenly knew I must become, for your sake. Fear there was, yet courage as well, in equal measure, courage in the form of necessity. Stranger, you needed me to change in these ways, if I were to be of true service to you, as I needed you if I were to succeed in those changes. And so an unseen and unheard stranger became my greatest teacher, pushing me to progress and find things within myself that would have remained unknown, were it not for that stranger’s shadow falling upon me.
What else were you to be, stranger? Day following day we delighted in sharing thoughts about your future potential, forming plans around your possible needs, searching our dreams to discover your true name, and through that, your destiny. We looked deep into ourselves in the hope of finding a glimpse of who you might become, so that we could best welcome you into our lives, and get to know you in a way similar to how you were assisting us in getting to know ourselves.
And then thoughts and plans and dreams came crashing down around us, on that awful day, through that unexpected nightmare which took you away from us, keeping you forevermore a stranger. Never will I forget the sense of awareness that came upon us, as that awareness brought horror, knowing as we did that the end to the pains suddenly upon my wife surely meant your end as well.
You are gone, yet you remain everywhere, looking out at me from behind every child’s curious smile, holding my hand through every infant’s tentative touch, each time announcing quietly, but clearly, that your shadow is upon me still.
It’s taken many years, stranger, but this year, thank God, your shadow feels different. I feel a shifting, a closing of a deep wound. Your shadow seems no longer to be the fallen curtain hiding our future, freezing me with a gaping hole in my heart, the space I opened up in anticipation of needing it for you. Instead, at long last, I see beyond all that, the length of your shadow inviting me to cast my eyes over and above the present, towards a far-off tapestry suggesting a possible second act. For too long your shadow has been a shroud, holding me in place. Now I feel your shadow granting me the faith to dream of being of service to other strangers besides yourself.
I must live with the understanding that I will never really know you, that you will forever remain a stranger to me. It hurts to live with such mystery; yet, as it did before, your shadow teaches me still, that, while life contains shadows like yours, there is also a great light that shines so much brighter, if only we may summon enough strength to see it.
It has taken a long while for me to grow strong enough to carry your weight, but for once the shadows of summer fill me with the inspiration to dare to imagine another stranger, casting another shadow, upon the lives of two hopeful people.
I write this in the wish that the inner peace that may come from even a stranger’s shadow, some day be felt by all.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Here in graphic detail are the stunning and surprising results of the poll:
First, our traffic chart showing all the cool details about who comes, how long they stay, what they read and think about what we do here:
Below we see a detailed report of the typical reader/commentator at Covenant zone:
This is, obviously, a graphic depiction of our readers at a Covenant Zone conventical.
This is a picture of me on my wedding day:
Here's a shot of me as a baby with my parents. I'm the cute one:
This is a graphic of our projected readership:
And that' the science of things.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
"Ring around the rosie, pocket full of posie." No, it's all a lie. Mickey Rat, the Palestinian rodent on television? Killed by the Zionists, a shaheed. A Young Pioneer, a Red Guard, A Hitler Youth: childhood with so much time and so few choices. And then one grows up to be Avi Lewis.
SAIMA KHAN wants to die a martyr. Life is transient, she told her father in a telephone call last week, and the real glory is to sacrifice it for Allah. Her statement would be alarming at any age, but Saima is only 10.
There are fears among western leaders that Pakistan could implode into a bitter battle between secular and the hard-line religious groups, becoming another failed state where Al-Qaeda can thrive.
For one family at least there was a happy ending of sorts. As a gun battle raged late on Friday, with snipers on the roof of the mosque forcing the army back to its lines 100 yards away, Khan, the father who had been pleading with his two daughters to leave, called them on their mobile phone and told them their mother was outside. She had been taken ill and lay unconscious on the pavement, he said.
It was a lie but it worked. The two girls quickly left the compound and found their waiting father in the crowd. "I'm taking them back to our village," said Khan. "They were ready for martyrdom and they're very angry with me. I'm just happy I've got my daughters back, and sorry for those whose daughters are still in there."
Saima, in a bitter, fanatical voice that belied her 10 years, told The Sunday Times her father had cheated her of martyrdom. "The teachers taught us about martyrdom and that it is a great achievement," she said.
"I could see the fighting was in front of me and I could understand that we would die. I felt real anger about what my father did. He tricked me."
Dean Nelson, "Brainwashed children plead to die as martyrs in Red Mosque siege," The Sunday Times; Islamabad, 8 July 2007.
Ayan Hirsi Ali, child of privilege, meets Avi Lewis on the C.B.C., Canada's state-owned television channel.
Avi Lewis grew up in a Schtetl where his family were murdered before his eyes in a pogrom. He fled on foot across the land till eventually he made his way across the Mediterranean Sea to safety, and found himself of age to be conscripted into the Israeli Defense Forces. Witnessing yet again the horrors of war, this time perpetrated by Zionism, he fled to Canada where he landed a job as a janitor at the local television station, and then-- discovered! He now works as an interviewer, sharing his experiences with the world, penetrating the lies of the privileged, the fools who say from above what Avi knows from the blood-stained ground. Avi: he's lived his oppression.
Thanks to Avi we can find the truth about the privileged American wanna-bees:
Posted by: Ibrahim Osman | June 21, 2007 @ 10:27 pm
"What amazes me the most these days is when ever Ayaan Hersi is criticized and her lies are exposed by some one instantly racist islamaphobics rush for her defence..In no time cordon of sanitaire is formed around her. Frankly speaking, this bogus refugee woman is an opportunistic velture who is taking advatage of worsening relations of the West and the Muslim world. She is political arsonist who reduced to ashes of Political serinty of Holland. However, The question is not if but when she will set fire on American harmony.."And there is the true Canadian intellectual who knows from all sides, the well-rounded one who is above the cliches of the age:
Posted by: Riba | June 14, 2007 @ 1:54 am
"@Deqa Farah. I agree that Hirsi Ali is overly eager to praise the U.S., especially considering the history of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, and the current horrific Bush administration. Her working for the AEI is disturbing and counterproductive to her causes of free speech, equality of women and freedom of and from religion. She has seemingly jumped from Islamic theocratic oppression to end up working for a think tank promoting Christian theocratic oppression. It makes me wonder if the arrangement is one of temporary convenience, hastened by the threats to her life. While in the Netherlands she stood up for the rights of immigrant women. She fought against arranged marriages and female genital mutilation and exposed the surprisingly frequent honour killings of Muslim women in the Netherlands. She battled for immigrants to integrate into Dutch society to improve the status of women and have secular education for children so they could have better careers and peaceful lives. Of course she made enemies in the Islamic community - many (especially imams) did not want these changes. And yes, she openly criticized Islamic teachings and traditions. Freedom of speech implies the right to offend and the acceptance that you will sometimes be offended. After you wrote about Hirsi Ali oversimplifying situations (and I agree with you on some of this) I was shocked at your oversimplification by blaming her for the "Islamophobia and misunderstanding" in the Netherlands. You present as "proof" that you visited the Netherlands before and after Ali and can attest to the difference. This is simply invalid logic. Do you not think that other events during that time period may have contributed to this? Maybe 9/11, the Danish cartoon fiasco, the London subway bombings or the Madrid train bombing? Why drop the blame at Ali's feet? For real "blame" I think we have to look at other factors including American and British foreign policy over the past half century, Al Qaeda, the Wahhabi sect from Saudi Arabia, and the sheer stupidity of the Bush and Blair governments. To single out Ali for the unrest in the Netherlands, while ignoring a whole thundering herd of elephants in the room, is disingenuous."
Posted by: Deqa Farah | June 12, 2007 @ 5:55 pm
"While I am still at a loss as to how someone who markets herself as a champion of democracy and equality would so easily miss the fundamental nature of the global contradictions of today. I came to the conclusion that people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali are touted in the mainstream media because they make bigots feel secured in their bigotry. We are supposed to listen to her and to judge her personal experience not as the experience of one woman who happens to be Muslim but as the experiences of all Muslim women. She reduces a set of complex geopolitical situations that has varied historical and political contexts into simple statements of �Islam bad. America good�. Her simple explanations and analysis are marketable because the mass is only interested in simple explanations. Her erroneous analysis is the basis for the misunderstanding that lumps together the realities of over 1.4 million people who come from diverse ethnic, cultural, geopolitical and historical realities. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is at best a narcissist, but certainly a social climber more interested in her own career than in working for change. In the ten years she lived in Holland she created more Islamaphopia and misunderstanding than anyone else. I visited the Netherlands before Hirsi Ali and after her mayhem and I can attest to the difference. Finally to paraphrase the great American author James Baldwin: to be a Muslim in the world today and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time."
I should be ashamed of myself but I'm including the link to the Rightwing religious bigots who originally brought this to my attention: http://www.jihadwatch.org