Friday, August 31, 2007

Dag and the Party of the Blood-Sucking Tufted-Puffins

"We are a ray of light in a gloomy world, a ray of hope in a world which is in fact ravaged by intolerance and by hatred. Let's get it right. The world does look to us, the world does ask us, 'get it right, show us how'." Michael Ignatieff.

I'm going to confess right here and now that on rare occasions I do make up stuff and present what I say as the real truth. An example will serve to expose me in all my shameful duplicity and serve as well as a warning to those who believe me simply due to my seeming past trustworthiness. It's like this, see: You have problems in your life, and I can tell you how to solve every one of them in all of five minutes, no matter how many or how problematic they are. No problem. I have the answers. My own problems, (as a friend once explained to me,) will take a life-time to deal with.

I do some editing for a worthless Communist who writes very badly for a worthless Communist newspaper. He makes huge bucks at his Communist job, so I squeeze him to make him redistribute the wealth, downward in my case. It takes me an hour to edit his copy, and then two more sessions to make it readable, at which time I tell him I can do no more, walking away with a fairly substantial afternoon's pay in my workingman's pocket. My own copy, that I don't bother proofreading because it's good enough already and I'm a lone genius anyway, whether people recognize it or not, and they seemingly don't, no matter what I tell them. I charge the Communist so much because he argues with me. Not about my editing but about every other thing on earth. (He's really fucking stupid). I tell him, "Listen Communist Wilson, you're putting up a red herring here, and it stinks." I've explained that a red herring is not some mean-spirited jab at Marx and Stalin but he still gets defensive, so I changed tack and said last time: "Communist Wilson, when you bring up a point like that it's like when we're sitting down to coffee and desert at the diner and you bring up a point having nothing at all to do with what I'd just said: I get pissed-off, as you'll recall, and I say 'Hey, Communist Wilson, look in the parking lot, there's a dinosaur eating that spaceship.' " He nods. I continue: "I do that as a diversion so I can then grab your brownie and eat it before you look back at me and catch me." He sort of nods, and I sort of grin real sly like.

Dear reader, there is no dinosaur in the parking lot. Every time I say that to Communist Wilson I do it only to trick him so I can grab his brownie. I'm shameless, I do confess. I think sometimes that my evil lying ways qualify me for the leadership of Canada's Liberal Party. I could be like Michael Ignatieff, only a winner. But, truth to tell-- if you'll ever again believe anything I write-- I'm just not that slimy. Oh, in many ways I'm far worse, being a Rightwing religious bigot and all, but I don't really have what it takes to be a Liberal in Canada. I'm remorseful too because the Liberals are considering a new mascot for The Party, the puffin. I'd look sharp in feathers. Ba Boom!

"Ignatieff says he likes puffin symbol because: Ignatieff: ''They hide their excrement. ... They flap their wings very hard and they work like hell,' he said, pointing to the portly puffin as a symbol worth of the Liberal party."

In a flurry of Romantic poesy I cry out: "I fall upon the rocky shores of Life. I crack open like an egg dropped
from a craggy cliff. I yoke."

ST. JOHN'S -- Ah, the noble puffin. Its flappy wings and hidden excrement are an inspiration for Liberals from coast to coast - more so than iconic Canadian fauna like the beaver, goose, bear or moose.

So says deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.

"It's a noble bird, because it has good family values - they stay together for 30 years. They lay one egg, and they put their excrement in one place. They hide their excrement," he told reporters yesterday.

"They hide their excrement, they have good family values, they flap their wings very hard and they work like hell. This seems to me a symbol for what our party should be."

Yes, dear reader, I can hear you sigh even as I type, 'Dag, you lyin' dawg, how can you expect me to believe that shite?!"

I'm proud to insist it's true.

I do tell some whoppers to Communist Wilson, and I once told a girl a fib or two, but I tell the truth here. I'm willing to lie sometimes, and other times I'm willing to tell the outright obvious truth. We are a ray of light in a gloomy world, a ray of hope in a world which is in fact ravaged by intolerance and by hatred. Let's get it right. The world does look to us, the world does ask us, 'Get it right, show us how.' I can do that for you, dear reader. I can fix up this whole country in about five minutes, and then lots of time to tinker over the next twenty or so years till pension time kicks in. Send that check, folks, cause I mended my ways and I think I'm gonna run for office.

I'll get it right, I'll show you how. Trust me. Hey look over there! That dinosaur is eating that spaceship!

DAG! I'm no longer a Right wing religious bigot. I'm still known as somewhat cranky even if I'm now a Liberal, so I propose the Blood-sucking Tufted-puffin as our mascot. They are huge and dangerous and uber-macho. Just like me. But I'm a Liberal!

What, would I lie?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Mother Russia

What's this? What happens when a society starts to fall apart...
Mirror of Justice: The "culture of life," Putin style
(ht: Gil Bailie)

Oprah to discuss Canucks' New Uniform

Sources tell me (they keep shouting in my head!) that Oprah will choose this evening to return to the Covenant Zone, promising to lead our discussion of the Canucks' new uniform.

Frankly, the initial widely negative reaction to the uniform's unveiling leaves me a little surprised. I don't think it's that bad. I even kind of like it. But most people are saying things like
it all looks so square, so much like it's standing still. Where's the movement and speed that a hockey team needs?" (Karen Stein Sather of Coquitlam)
There are also "expert" people like
John Carter... a graphic design instructor at Douglas College, [who] called the redesign an "utter disappointment" and "the tawdriest type of cut-and-paste job."

"Effective design requires clarity of purpose and visual unity, both of which are evidently lacking here," he wrote
More economically, Dave from Langley writes:
VANCOUVER is too long a name to'll get old quick.
Some are more positive:
Apart from the West Coast colours, the original Canuck logo -- a stick-in-rink stylized C that looks a little like a smiling Pacman -- was refined and returned to the jersey's shoulders, while the contentious killer whale logo was cleaned up and retained on the chest.

The whale, apparently vegetarian as it has square "chewing" teeth instead of jagged "ripping" chompers, appeared previously only because it meshed with McCaw's corporate identity in Seattle. Naturally, many assumed it would be dropped. Judging by man-on-the-street and radio-show-caller reaction today, the logo is already a bullseye for criticism.

Maybe the bar has been set low, but the whale is still a heckuva lot better than the Canucks' downhill skate which, resplendent amid an orgy of red, yellow, black and orange, looked like a boot dropped on a plate of linguini marinara. And let's not get started on the flying-V, which was like something the cleaning crew on the USS Enterprise might have worn.

The only really bad thing about the new sweaters, modelled by five Canucks at GM Place for 6,000 fans with nothing better to do on a gorgeous, summer weekday in Vancouver, is that shirt tails hanging out front and back are reminiscent of maternity wear and channel images of a pregnant Greg Luzinski when the Chicago White Sox briefly wore shirts outside the pants.
Bringing out new uniforms is not an exercise that can be "won" because there is always something to dislike. The best the Canucks could do was hope for a "tie" and Zimmerman knew this ahead of time.

"In this city and this province, discussions about the Canucks' uniform has become an art form," he said today. "It's non-contact, competitive sport. So maybe on some level, that's good for us. You know if you get too caught up... thinking you can please every person, you just realize it's not a reality.

"Someone asked me about the research we did; there is research out there every day. You just have to turn on the radio or pick up the newspaper. So what this would mean in this market was very clear [to me]."
There is always something to dislike! That sums up perfectly a certain view of popular culture, the vehicle for the expression of the anonymous, uncool, people's resentments. However, in pop culture, the arrogant bad guy is supposed to meet a brutal death, and the good guy eventually gets to marry the beautiful babe or win the lottery. But this kind of happy or appropriate ending just doesn't seem to happen in the world of the Vancouver Canucks. Something is wrong, and maybe Oprah has the answer.

To my mind, the jersey does suggest something of a postmodern confusion of esthetic ideas. But it seems to me the basic idiom is modernist - see the 1930s lettering and the bold geometric ordering of the colours. It's like Rothko on a jersey. The "Vancouver" lettering and the use of the original Canucks' hockey-stick logo suggests the jersey is trying to be traditional, but instead of invoking whole heartedly the sacrificial violence inherent to the modernist esthetic (which worked to harden people for the political violence of the twentieth century) the stylized orca strikes me as a cuddly postmodern victim getting his affirmative action payoff with his duly allotted fifteen minutes of fame. A truly traditional (i.e., in hockey terms, art deco or modernist) jersey would have rendered the orca in a more primitive totemic style. But we live in times when people are afraid, rightly I think, to say "Chicago Blackhawks" or "McGill Redmen" with the genteel blood lust appropriate to the original late romantic/modernist idea.

But am I snobbishly letting high cultural values into this most central of Vancouver pop culture discussions? Maybe, and despite my above concern about calling sports' teams "Redskins", etc., it still seems to me that what is wanted is a hockey team that can wear a somewhat subdued, classic, gentlemanly sporting outfit all the more to highlight the contrast when they pound an opponent into the boards. The paradoxical mix of high class and muscular sport is what we should want in our hockey team. It's almost like calling your tough guy lacrosse team the "Salmonbellies", ironically to mock your opponents. (The courageously "high class" New Westminster Salmonbellies took their name from the Vancouver fans who first mocked the river town team with that fishy sobriquet.)

What I find disappointing in the discussion so far, is the literalism behind the idea that one's uniform has to exactly express the dynamism of ice hockey, as if only heavy metal, and not romantic Opera, should serve as the stoppage time soundtrack to accompany games. Instead of this kind of literalism, we should learn that all symbolic meaning has a paradoxical, double-sided, nature, rooted in the mystery of how we can satisfactorily substitute signs or symbols for things and worldly experiences. Our use of symbols to structure our memory of shared experience is always something of a paradox. Done well, it's also the secular or human basis for great faith in our people, our team, our city, the compact with others that is ultimately rooted in our desire to share the same symbols, to understand the other guy without great linguistic fuss and conflict.

This is all something we discuss every Thursday, 7-9 pm, in the atrium of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, in front of Blenz Coffee. We wear blue scarves (especially in winter) to identify ourselves.

But we really meet because we know that in future what holds our city and nation together cannot be something dictated from on high by some kind of elite. High culture basically ended in the twentieth century because it was discovered that the effort to channel all of a modern nation's energies behind a few elitist symbols - some essential vision of the nation - was a recipe for the most horrific kind of wars. In the wake of high culture's decline, what are we left with? Can we just refuse all answers, except for an embrace of "multiculturalism" and moral relativism? Or do we still need some kind "covenant", some national compact, some shared understandings to bond us politically and ethically and make our country work, so that people can trust and understand each other and not live in fear of a massive decline in community standards?

At Covenant Zone, we think the answer to this last question is yes. And yet the work of giving substance to the affirmative answer can no longer come from on high, from elites; it cannot be produced by grants from the Canada Council or from Canada's Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The answer can only come from ordinary people taking it upon themselves to represent and perform, in the various decentralized contexts in which we now work and live, the covenant by which we will come to know and trust each other. That is what our Covenant Zone - which you may join, or start your own - exists to teach its members, through the shared discussion of some ordinary nobodies in this great city of ours.

It seems to me that the passion that can bring out 6,000 people to the unveiling of a hockey jersey is really a passion to build the kind of civic and national covenant that it is our goal, every Thursday night, to talk about. Why not consider joining us? I think if the new people's covenant develops more momentum, I can give up the Oprah "key word" gimmicks and my sad lonely dream of appearing with O. on a check-out counter tabloid.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How Jihadis Wreck my Life.

A reasonable person would think that a man my age should be able to go to the beach and lie down in the sunlight to read a book about death. Hey, I hit 50, and I figure I'm entitled. But do I lay on the beach reading books about death? No sirree, I end up reading about folks who want to kill me, and that pisses me off. What about my time in the sun reading about pithy tombstone inscriptions and nifty pay-as-you-go burial plot plans? No! I read about jihadis who want to kill me. Can't get a minute's rest.

Islamic group incites war on West

By The Copenhagen Post

Published 27.08.07 14:30

Sunday’s national meeting for the radical Hizb ut-Tahrir included incitement to destroy Israel and a re-establishment of the Caliphate Islamic empire

Controversial Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir celebrated its annual congress in Copenhagen on Sunday with words of anger against Jews and the West, reported daily free newspaper Nyhedsavisen.

Nearly 600 Muslims attended the meeting at KB Hallen in the city’s enclave of Frederiksberg, where religious leaders spoke of the rise of an new Islamic Caliphate and the fall of Western powers.

‘The Caliphate can arrive in an hour, two months or two years from now,’ said Fadi Abdullatif, Hizb ut-Tahrir’s president, who owns a previous conviction for publicly urging his members to kill Jews. ‘We are working for a Caliphate from Morocco to Indonesia and from Khazakhstan to Saudi Arabia.’

The union of nations under a common Islamic law could be created by force if necessary, according to another of Hizb ut Tahrir’s leaders, Atta bin Khalil. Khalil also told those in attendance to ‘continue their state of war against the Jewish nation’.

A third speaker at the congress, Emir Shamil, said that ‘heads may roll’ in the recreation of the Caliphate.

Many politicians have unsuccessfully attempted to dissolve the organisation in the past, but Sunday’s congress may have been the straw that breaks its back. Nearly all political parties are in agreement that some type of action must be taken against the organisation.

‘The sooner the organisation is broken up the better,’ said Tom Behnke, the Conservative judicial spokesperson.

The Social Liberals cultural spokesperson, Simon Emil Ammitzbøll, is now requesting the Justice Ministry to conduct surveillance on Hizb ut-Tahrir, saying the congress proved that it is not merely individual members inciting racial and religious violence but the organisation as a whole.

Hizb ut-Tahrir has more than one million members worldwide and an estimated 200 full-time members within Denmark.

Thanks to Jihad Watch for that.

Alright, so there's only a million of them, and I still have a bit of time left. You know, though, that it means that when I do die I'm not going to do it very well, not having time to figure out all the details and make plans for the party and so on. It means you'll have to do the work of entertaining yourselves all without any help from me. For this inconvenience you can blame the jihadis. Meanwhile, coffee tomorrow, Thursday at 7:00 at the atrium at VPL. Get both while we're still warm.

Monday, August 27, 2007

palestinian civil war tv cartoons

While we offer our kids the droll adventures of Spongebob Squarepants and the earnest Caillou, the palestinians serve up violent cat and mouse civil war cartoons for their young children to dine on.
Memri, the Middle East Media Research Institute, shares the latest educational efforts unleashed by the minds at al-aqsa tv.
Memri entitles their clip, "Hamas-Style Lion King Vanquishes Fatah Rats on Al-Aqsa TV" ... and the lion does resemble the character from Disney's Lion King cartoon, but I don't recognize any of the scenes as being from that film. I think the lion animation is copied from one of the Lion King sequels, because the draughtsmanship is so clearly superior to anything else throughout the anti-fatah cartoon. It cannot be by the same hands creating the crudely-rendered jihadi rats.
Otherwise the film has a very obvious japanese animation influence, with lots of camera moves to hide the lack of movement on the characters.

Strange choice of animal symbols, I thought; wouldn't the lion be more readily associated with Israel, than with hamas? Especially considering an early scene, where the lion is seen crouching defiantly between gaza and the west bank?

A surprising amount of honesty towards the latter half of the piece, as a rat accidentally kills one of his fatah friends, yet zips around to point an accusing finger at the lion, uttering an all-too familiar cry by now:
By the end, the same sad question comes to mind, as it always does when watching palestinian "culture"...:
How will there ever be peace, with each new generation freshly poisoned by barbaric filth such as this?

Vancouver: world's most liveable city?

... according to a new survey produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister organization of The Economist magazine, as reported in last friday's National Post:

Vancouver is the most liveable city in the world, and Toronto the fifth, according to a survey that suggests there is a cost to the "big city buzz" of other, more cosmopolitan, centres.
... Paris ranked 22nd, London 46th and New York 56th in the most recent results. Bogota, Tehran and Algiers were among the worst cities. Baghdad was not counted.

... Stuart Green, a spokesman for Toronto Mayor David Miller, who was out of town, said size may matter.
... "Wouldn't it be great if we were No. 1, but Vancouver does have mountains."
And salmon, Mr. Green, don't forget our salmon...
I keep re-writing my reactions to this survey, because I have such mixed emotions about living here in Vancouver. Here goes attempt #3 to shape my thoughts about it all...

I didn't think much of the city of Vancouver when I first moved here from Toronto, but the natural splendour of the surrounding scenery has grown on me over the years, and softened me down to a begrudged appreciation. There is much to complain about (especially if you are a merchant on Cambie Street), yet there is undeniably much to enjoy. I keep resisting the easy siren song to drift towards a cynical extreme, posting nasty photos of the city's extensive nasty side as an ironic counterpoint to the praise mentioned throughout the survey. I'm settling instead for photos hopefully reflecting the more honest range, of good and bad, which the city displays for its citizens. With a few observations..:
"Vancouver is beautiful", we say as we look far away to the mountains, our backs to the city itself. "Vancouver is a great place to live" we say as our search for affordable housing drives us farther and farther out of the city core, tripping over the phalanx of professional panhandlers astride our path as we commute downtown to work. "Vancouver is so peaceful", we say as we venture miles outside our city, far up into the mountains, or along the coast, to seek a peace and calm that eludes us in the dirty, crowded and extremely noisy streets of the city itself.

I grumble but deep down I do like it here.
What has really helped me feel grateful for winding up in Vancouver, has been seeing the city through the eyes of my circle of friends who have moved here from other countries. Listening to what it's like to live and work in India, Mexico, South America, Eastern Europe, and other four corners of the world, makes me ever so glad I was born here in Canada, following the sun from one end of the country to the other, winding up in Vancouver, British Columbia, "Canada's most liveable city".

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Echoes of Dag

Good ideas have a way of cropping up in more than one place at once, since intellectual life is inherently a social pursuit, all romantic ideas of the lone genius aside. Here's Gil Bailie (with that great cartoon) sounding a lot like Dag. It's enraging stuff, but now is the time to get sufficiently enraged, while remaining lucid and sharp, mentally free of apocalyptic or utopian "solutions", that we can get enough people aware that we need to change our political culture and make it more in line with reality, lest our little debates about when it is acceptable to be rude and violent get lost in the storm that will follow the "victory" of those who think it is appropriate to preach anti-Western courses on "Islamophobia" in our universities.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Seattle, Washington Paper Misses the Big Picture

Bill Hobbs, a blogger of some note from what I see below, runs the details of Seattle's latest Left-wing nose-dive into the pavement of unreality. OK, so it ain't haiku, just some mixed metaphors. You want haikus? Go to the bottom of this post and see what the hippies running the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper did rather than run photos of "persons of interest to the FBI." A hint? Rather than run photos of possible terrorists wanted for questioning in light of normal and prudent nervousness about concerns of terrorist activities on Washington's State Ferry system, the Seattle P.I. ran, not photos of those men wanted for questioning by the FBI but a haiku contest!

Seattle P-I: Haiku Contest Was 'Bad Call' - But We're Still Not Publishing Photos!
By Bill Hobbs | August 22, 2007 - 18:41 ET

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is apologizing for its decision to run a haiku contest about its decision to not run the photos of two men sought by the FBI for questioning related to possibly terrorist-related activities involving the Seattle-area ferry system

The paper's "online reporter" Monica Guzman writes on the paper's "Big Blog":

The paper's decision not to run photos of the two Seattle ferry passengers sought by the FBI didn't take long yesterday to become part of a widespread debate that provoked readers around the country.

It also spread throughout the blogosphere. While most blogs pointed directly to the debate, some made some poignant comments about the topic of yesterday's Daily Haiku contest, a topic that -- considering the sensitivity of the issue -- was probably not the best we could have come up with.

While the Big Blog mixes fun and news on a daily basis, in this case we undermined a serious issue and a serious debate, and made it seem as if we in the newsroom didn't acknowledge its importance.

So thanks to all the bloggers who pointed this out. We agree it was a bad call and will learn from the experience.

P.S. -- We're not going to pick a winner.


Seattle PI Continues to Refuse to Aid FBI in Terror Probe By Bill Hobbs | August 22, 2007 - 08:31 ET

The Seattle Times today has published the photos of two men the FBI wants to locate and talk to in regards to their suspicious behavior aboard several Puget Sound ferries in recent weeks, while the Seattle Post-Intelligencer continues to refuse to do so - even though the photos have now been widely published in the Seattle area and nationally via other media outlets and the blogosphere. As we discussed yesterday, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer offered a haiku contest related to the case , but refused to help the FBI locate the men by publishing their photos.

Today's Seattle P-I has a second story on the investigation, but again refuses to publish the photos even though, as its own story says, "The release by the FBI on Monday of photographs of two men who had been spotted in "suspicious" behavior on state ferries comes at a time when authorities are getting increased reports of unusual activity on the nation's largest ferry system."

The paper's justification for continuing to refuse to publish the photos:

The P-I elected not to publish the photos, citing civil liberties and privacy concerns, which editors felt outweighed the newsworthiness of the images. "We have no confirmation that these men's behavior was anything but innocuous, and to forever taint them by associating them with terrorism under these circumstances is not consistent with our policy," said David McCumber, P-I managing editor.


Ah, well, at least the paper's haiku contest is giving its readers a chance to vent about the situation, in the three-lines/5-7-5 syllables construction of a haiku. Six of the best so far:

Possible danger?
Political correctness!
Paper fails duty.

How irrelevant
The Post Intelligencer
Goodbye dinosaur

Our lives endangered
Sanctimonious P-I
Editors -- BONEHEADS!

A magical place,
where 9/11 never
happened. Seattle.

PI wants Haiku
To justify its dumbness
Task Impossible


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Swimming Home

It's late August, and I find myself wanting to go outside as much as I can before the eight-month rainy season starts again. So, there's less free time for blogging, for which I apologize. But, as every Thursday, tonight I'll be in the atrium of the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library, 7-9 pm, with my Covenant Zone friends, in front of Blenz Coffee. If you've been thinking of coming out to a meeting, now might be the time: the lightly tipped and employed staff at Blenz are really hurting because of the civic strike and the closing of the library, and we buy all newcomers a cup of coffee, or even a tea... So...

But for those readers not in Vancouver, below you'll find a link to a little front page story to give you a hint of what really moves this city or province, especially in late summer. Postmodern societies like ours don't have gods or historical figures to share in common (and we are postmodern to the extent that our members haven't yet discovered the need to find new ways to renew a national political covenant of individuals to preserve democratic self-rule, in face of the ever-increasing bureaucratic manipulation of "multiculturalism" and victim politics, i.e. to the extent that the nation's citizens are not yet joining in conversations like the one we hold every Thursday at the library). So, postmodern societies often revert to forms of polytheism and nature worship, struggling to find some syncretic cultural system to hold people together (even as syncretic systems are really held together by centralized political elites).

Now, don't get me wrong when I take my occasional shot at the "neo-pagans" in our midst; like I say, I want to be outside in the waning days of summer, climbing mountains and doing a little worship at the peaks. It's beautiful here, and the light is exquisite at this time of year. But the point of nature, it seems to me, is not simply to worship it as the source of our being, but rather to reflect on our specifically human capacity to take esthetic pleasure in nature, and thus, by asking why we are esthetic creatures, to delve further into the mysterious human/divine sources of our extra-natural Being. "Nature worship" should provide us space and time to step back from the human struggle and reflect back on what we are doing and how we can become better people.

Now, of all the nature symbols - mountains, oceans, bears, whales, eagles, etc. - that you see bandied about the public spaces of British Columbia, it seems to me that one is pre-eminent: the salmon, that most important (traditionally to aboriginals and to early settlers) of local food stuffs.

So it's not surprising to find, especially at this time of year, front-page stories on the conditions of the salmon runs, that great and truly natural mystery by which salmon, who have been at sea for four years, manage to find their way back to the very same rivers and creeks from which they first came into the world, all in order to spawn and die, thus providing life also to other species, like the present writer, who feed on the returning salmon.

If you didn't know better, you might think the salmon were religious and performing some great self-sacrificial ritual:
With the first rains and the rise of the river, they rush into the fresh water, recognizing their own stream with sure instinct though they have left it years before as babies - knowing the sand bars where they were hatched and seeking them out now like their ancestors that have come here through the ages.

Up into the shallow trickles the female salmon writhes, though she is half dead now, battered and already rotting. Finally, just able to thrust herself upon the sand, she squeezes the eggs from her body, the male struggles in and fertilizes the little red globules with his milt, and, their cycle complete, the salmon die. On the carcasses hordes of immaculate white sea gulls feast through the lavish autumn.

About this process there is a perfect rightness that men have long sensed - the urgent quest, the sure finding, the production of young, the certain end. Happily the baby salmon goes to sea and happily returns in four years to his death. Gladly he has lived and gladly dies, and lays him down with a will - on the Cowichan, on Campbell River, and five hundred miles from the sea on the remote bars and tributaries of the Fraser.

At Cowichan, watching the perfect life cycle of the salmon, men seem to have learned a rhythm in their own lives, seem to have found a sense and meaning in life not common elsewhere. The salmon, perhaps, teach them how to die.
- Bruce Hutchison, The Unknown Country. Canada and Her People, (New York: Coward-McCann, 1942), 343-4.

Now maybe that, from a writer of a more nationally self-conscious age, helps explain our love for the salmon. In any case it is a great joy to read today's headline: Sockeye back to spawn after nearly 80 years:
In what a biologist is calling "a fisheries Jurassic Park," Alouette River sockeye salmon have returned to spawn nearly 80 years after the original Alouette run became extinct.

Sockeye have not been seen in the Alouette -- which runs from Golden Ears Provincial Park, north of Maple Ridge, into the Pitt River -- since a few years after a hydroelectric dam and reservoir were built on the river in the 1920s.

After the dam was completed in 1926, the sockeye were unable to reach their spawning grounds and the Alouette run gradually disappeared. The last sockeye were reported in 1931.

But last Wednesday, 20 sockeye carcasses and six live fish were found at the foot of the dam by a BC Hydro employee.

"This stock of sockeye salmon has been extinct for almost a century in the Alouette River and we're bringing them back," said Ken Ashley, a fisheries biologist and senior engineer with the Greater Vancouver Regional District.

Ashley coined the phrase "a fisheries Jurassic Park" based on the book and movies about a fictional island populated with dinosaurs recreated from ancient DNA.

The sockeye are believed to be kokanee salmon, landlocked sockeye, that were released into the reservoir, found their way to the ocean and transformed from fresh-water to salt-water fish, as salmon do.

Ashley said the returning sockeye are believed to be a part of a group of 10,000 kokanee that got out of the reservoir and down the river in 2005 after BC Hydro began raising water levels in the reservoir.

"We always thought it'd never be practical to re-establish the sockeye population here because they would go north and get ground up by the dam turbines," said Geoff Clayton, co-chairman of the Alouette River Management Society.

"The fact that they came back proved to us that they learned to survive and adapt to salt water."

DNA test results expected as soon as today should prove whether the 26 salmon found last week are the kokanee that left the Alouette two years ago.

Clayton said when BC Hydro raised water levels, it allowed the kokanee to skim the surface of the reservoir and get over the dam in 2005.

Ashley said the possibility of restoring an extinct sockeye population is particularly significant in a year when Fraser River runs are so small that fishing bans are being imposed.

"This discovery couldn't come at a more important time," he said. "We're looking at the worst-case scenario for the Fraser River and upriver sockeye. The lower river stocks like the one in the Alouette can become incredibly valuable."

The record-low numbers of sockeye in the Fraser have been blamed on the fish being forced to travel farther and encountering more predators due to rising ocean temperatures. This year, only 1.6 million sockeye have returned to the Fraser when 6.3 million were expected.

Ashley said the Alouette project began in 1999 with the restoration of bank nutrients to make the river fit to host sockeye.

The project then concentrated on feeding the kokanee salmon population, which was raised to 50,000, enough to form a breeding population. Their numbers have now risen to about 300,000, he said.

The Alouette is already home to steelhead, cutthroat and Dolly Varden trout and chum, pink and coho salmon. The other species of salmon have survived because they spawn in the river below the dam.

Ashley said if a fishway is built to enable returning sockeye to swim up to the reservoir and reach their spawning grounds, the river could have a vibrant sockeye run again within 20 years.
It's the nature of things for all things to run down eventually. It's the nature of things for some things to be revived. But it's the nature of humans that we must make the effort to renew what is important humanly to renew. Nature may inspire us, but in the end it really all depends on us. If, for example as others have said, but one generation forgets the joys, struggles, and ways of freedom, the knowledge of how to live with and expand human freedom will be lost, for who will teach it to the next?

People who want to rule themselves and not allow elite bureaucrats to take over everything have to renew the skills by which ordinary people covenant to build a self-ruling political culture. Yesterday, there was a headline in the obnoxious organ of Canada's bureaucratic classes, The Globe and Mail, reporting on a diesel oil spill in coastal waters frequented by killer whales. Anyone at the scene could have seen what was going on, but the Globe screamed: "Orcas swimming through oil spill, experts say".

That's the default mentality of a certain class of people: is something dangerous coming our way, well, gee, let's ask the experts before we stop and look and think and do for ourselves.

If nature is to inspire us, let us learn from her not simply to defer to some endless cycle or bureaucracy, but take up our responsibility to renew the cycle to renew the freedom that belongs to humans to transcend the merely natural. For, among other important things, this is really the only way we can truly appreciate and love the natural.

The salmon are doing their part to inspire us. What are we doing to renew the national covenant? If you want to talk about it: every Thursday night at our library, or maybe you can start a meeting at yours.

What does "apology" mean?

Normally my rule is to never write anything when I am very angry. I am going to break that rule with this post.

It was hard not to read this report in today’s National Post newspaper without crying. I couldn’t do it, maybe you can.

In May of 2006, two young pieces of garbage were driving irresponsibly and caused the death of the parents of an eight-year old girl. The National Post reports her reading a letter in court, talking about her family.

Katie read haltingly from her statement, including holding up her hand-drawn picture of the last time she saw her parents: in their coffins at a funeral home after the deadly crash.
But she also said she tried to keep good memories of them. "I loved the way my mom and dad would always bring things home for me; my mom would bring me a toy cow and my dad would bring me candy," she said. "When it was winter, my dad would shovel the snow and make a ramp for me to sled down and I really had a lot of fun sledding down that."
Katie said after the hearing that it was difficult to read the statement, but she had wanted to do it for her mom and dad. "It's pretty painful to talk about them," she told a crowd of reporters outside the Newmarket courthouse. "I was feeling sad. At the end of the statement, I could hardly read it 'cause my eyes were too watery."
So were mine, dear Katie, so were mine.

During the sentencing hearing, the two men convicted of the May 27, 2006, crash that killed Rob and Lisa Manchester looked fixedly at the floor during Katie's brief statement, avoiding eye contact with her or the victims' family and friends.

From the account of the trial carried in more local press, we read of the circumstances that the defense attorney asks to be brought to bear on the sentencing:

[Mr. Rodrigues’ attorney] is asking for a conditional sentence between 18 months and two years less a day for his client, followed by community service and a driving ban left to the discretion of the court.

The fact Mr. Rodrigues has pleaded guilty shows remorse, Mr. West said, also noting he wrote a letter of apology to Katie.
He wrote a letter of apology! How are we supposed to react to that fact?? "All is well. Let’s lessen the punishment, let’s let him off more easily, he wrote a letter of apology."
What possible difference, in a sincerely remorseful human being, would such a letter make to the judgements weighing his fitting punishment. I suppose in the court of public opinion, the absence of any such letter would weigh against him… but in the court of law I see no earthly reason why such a letter should weigh in the balance **for him**. Has our understanding of the covenental relationship that exists all around us, as enveloping as the air we breathe, so deteriorated that remorse has become exceptional enough to warrant such weight? He'd damn well better be apologizing, as naturally as breathing, for the lives he has taken out of this girl's future.

If he is apologetic as he claims to be, then step up and balance that little girl’s loss by accepting the duty, as your late contribution to our national covenant, to give her a re-newed confidence in the belief that human beings should atone for their mistakes. Because of your actions, her parents aren't around any more to teach her that lesson themselves. Remake your lives into an example sufficient to atone for the loving example you removed by your actions. You acted like boys when you made your mistake, now pay for the consequences of those actions by taking your punishment like a Man: accept the full load of punishment judged appropriate, and take no action to escape your debt.

If the apologist was sincerely repentant, if he did "think a second time" (the very definition of re-pentance), he would admit it’s in the best long-term interests of his conscience to refuse to weasel out of anything less than the full measure of the punishment that should be coming his way. If the client were sincerely respectful, he would look that girl and her extended family in the eyes ("granting a second look" being the very definition of re-spect) to gain the strength of character to embrace the full application of justice in this case.

We can understand many things about the people with whom we share this world, but we can never know what lies deep within the heart of another. We can only approach an authentic understanding by observing how people behave, what their actions are (and are not). Patterns, not individual incidents... and definitely not words. You can "say" anything… but what do you "do"? That’s something I can measure, because it's on display for all to see. I therefore look for encouraging signs that will let me soften the rage I feel for these two murderers, and I try to leave room for them to prove to me that the full extent of my fury is misplaced.

They both pleaded guilty, so at least they’ve got that degree of honesty going for them. Community service, rather than idleness in jail, can serve to partially re-plenish the hole that now needs to be filled. Whatever the final sentence turns out to be, I hope they can re-form the covenant with society that they have shattered. What was taken away will never be re-joined, but if they do accept their place as a part within the whole, I pray they'll work to re-strict the likelihood that others in their age group will choose to re-ject the covenant as they did.

We may not choose our life's circumstances but we do choose our reactions to them. We can choose to believe that the covenant that we share with all other human beings is one that we have the option to accept or decline. I don't believe we possess any such option; we join through the act of being born. (Who said life was fair?) "Community service" truly starts the moment we arrive within our community, and we fulfill our role within the community by being of continued service.

The burdensome terms of this covenant might seem to be negotiable; that one can choose to participate more or less fully, living up more or less to one's obligations of service to one's fellows. This is an illusion we all shamefully allow ourselves, to varying degrees, out of immature infantilism; only in infancy are we considered forgiven for believing the world to revolve around us. Thereafter we are expected to appreciate our humble place in orbit alongside everyone else. Time for these two to finally dis-illusion themselves, and grow into their sudden responsibilities, of what it means to be part of the covenant we find ourselves in, like it or not.

By your chosen actions, through your own fault, you've broken one of the most valuable constructs of our shared commitment to each other: a Family is no longer whole. Let's see you live up to your words, that if you are truly apologetic in your heart as well as in your mouth, that you manfully accept as punishment the judgement of that brave young girl, and follow the consequences of her sentence to the full extent of the courage that your strong young hearts can push you to endure:

[H]er message to the two men convicted in the deaths of her parents was simple:
"I would say to them that [they should be] ashamed of themselves…"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Reading too much into new survey on books..?

Some sobering news from an AP-Ipsos poll cited by Yahoo today: "One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year..."

The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn't read any, the usual number read was seven.
Who are the 27 percent of people the AP-Ipsos poll found hadn't read a single book this year? ... They tend to be older, less educated, lower income, minorities, from rural areas and less religious.

I'm not sure what to make of this poll, from using my own personal experience as a guide. I spend as much time reading books as I ever have, but I notice that I **finish** reading far fewer books than at any previous point in my life.

Nowadays, perhaps as a result of prolonged internet exposure, I find that I tend to target specific chapters of books and limit myself to those, instead of working through books in their entirety anymore. I read only to learn, to expand my understanding of my world; I can't recall cracking open too many novels since 9-11... my love of fiction was one of the smaller casualties of that attack. I probably "read" fifty to sixty books last year (as Dag can attest from seeing me lugging them to our weekly meetings), but finished, cover to cover, only the same paltry number as the average man listed in this poll.
How would that be acknowledged if I had participated in this survey? Would I be slanting the numbers upward... or down?

I read the Bible; not as often as I believe I should, but still fairly frequently. I read it yet I don't even really think about reading it cover to cover, not seeing it as that kind of book.
How might that be measured by this survey?

...[T]hose who said they never attend religious services read nearly twice as many as those who attend frequently. ...
The Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories. ...

It's tempting to strike a cynical pose, and proclaim the raw numbers of the poll a fitting destination for a civilization growing ever more ungrateful and indifferent to the treasure it has accumulated through so many previous generations' commitment to progress. It's tempting to say that, but maybe we're all so doggone busy trying to add to this bounty, or committed to safeguard it, for the sake of the next generation, that reading habits are undergoing only a temporary shift in our priorities.

Are books themselves undergoing a similarly temporary fluctuation? Are they destined to perpetually shrink in size, with the ideas contained within them similarly simplified, to suit the curtailed attention span for those ideas? Or is that simplification a useful discipline, to ensure we are really clear about what we are trying to communicate to each other? Are books retreating to some equivalent of pamphlet size, waiting for a time where they may grow again as technological innovation reduces the traditional costs of printing and distributing them?

What fate lies in store for us, if we are indeed becoming, as the survey seems to suggest, an alliterate society, one capable of reading but choosing not to? Are we destined to become, not so much a fracture of "haves" and "have nots", but rather a division based on "can" and "can't do"? One group, benefiting from the training they unknowingly receive through their reading, capable of imagining different, learned, patterns of behavior to aim for? Is that group going to emerge as the only percentage with the ability to imagine the leading role that the individual can play in their own self-betterment? Will the choice not to read leave the other group, the alliterates, possessing no comparable faith in their ability to act as agents of change in their own lives..?

Maybe an alliterate world is one in which change (in the form of progress, not deterioration) becomes less common... which promises to make it a more dreadful curse than one filled with illiteracy, where at least there's an ability to see the unseen; the poor illiterate can look at a book and know he's missing something, can imagine what it might be, and may hunger to acquire it.
Would that leave the illiterate as having more faith in human progress than the alliterate, who may look at the same book and judge himself rich enough that he doesn't need to read the wealth of knowledge that may lie within?
In such a world, who then would truly be the poor one?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Coming from a Place of Need-- To Rob and Kill You

Recently in Canada there have been three dramatic incidents of violence committed by "The Poor". Giviing this some deep thought, I realized they are not simply victims of globalization and climate change, they are coming from a place of need. You say "WTF!?" Well, friend, I don't blame you for saying "WTF." In fact, I said "WTF" the first time I heard about the poor coming from a place of need. It's a real concept, though, not just a one-off that stuck in my head like a rubber suction-tip arrow.

Coming from a place of need. I wondered. And then, after diligent detective work, I discovered. It's social work jargon. Who'd a thunk it? So let's look at a place of need to find out what we're dealing with, and perhaps in the process we can become fuller and deeper beings of the human type. And following that, allow me to indulge my sense of humor by showing what a place of need is in real terms.

Jo Cavanaugh, "If only it was that easy, wouldn't everybody do it?"

As caregivers, you and I are in exceptional circumstances. We didn't plan on being caregivers, yet here we are. And you know what, I'm no Pollyanna, and it's not always fun being a caregiver.

So how did I make up my mind to be happy even when circumstances are beyond my control?

Let me be honest it wasn't easy.

That's why I want to share this with you, because I've been there. I know how hard it is to be a caregiver for a loved one. I know how hard it is to keep my chin up, to keep smiling, and to carry on when I'm tired, scared, and feeling guilty.

Hi Jo! I just listened to all three tapes. They are fabulous. I was extremely impressed by the content. I would definitely recommend them. I found the women (especially Rhonda and the woman on tape 3 who was struggling with her weight) to be really brave. And listening to the process of working with them was very enlightening and encouraging. I was also really moved by the insight Judy brought in about how Rhonda was coming from a place of need rather than abundance.

That was special, wasn't it? I'd like to thank both the ladies above for sharing with us. Sharing, and I dare say, caring. Yes, sharing and caring.

On now to more sharing and caring, three stories about sharing and caring and being beaten, stabbed and kicked to death in the process. Ah, and before I forget, it's all your fault for being rich and uncaring and unsharing enough.

First, and 81 year old nun gets the boot. Hit the blue words for a link to the full story.

Jonathan Kay on the death of Montreal nun Estelle Lauzon, and the perils of being nice

On Monday, 81-year-old Montreal nun Estelle Lauzon was battered to death in the city's Maison de la Providence convent. Lauzon was known to work in confined quarters with the city's destitute. Since her murder, police have arrested a 31-year-old man who resides in a halfway house for former drug abusers located in a wing of the convent. We don't know for certain what happened on Monday. But the man's arrest suggests Lauzon may well have been beaten by one of the men she was trying to save from his demons.

That was number one. Let's stop right there and look at the mainstream media's take on this before proceeding to the guy who said no to four panhandlers who then stabbed him to death.

Don't blame panhandlers for handful of violent crimes, advocates say

TORONTO (CP) - The defenders of Canada's urban poor lashed out against legislative efforts to curb aggressive begging Monday as a handful of violent attacks in Toronto and Vancouver raised fresh questions about whether governments should be trying to control pushy panhandlers.

Existing laws against "aggressive" panhandling create an unreasonable fear of people already marginalized by society, anti-poverty activists argued following the death of a man from St. Catharines, Ont., who was beaten and stabbed by four people last week after refusing their requests for money.

"When there is a terribly violent incident committed by someone who is a panhandler, then all panhandlers are painted with the same brush," said Beric German of Toronto's Street Health Community Nursing Foundation.


Ontario and British Columbia both have a Safe Streets Act on the books which bans "aggressive" or abusive panhandling and prohibits people from soliciting money at select locations like bank machines and bus stops.

Toronto police Const. George Schuurman defended Ontario's legislation, introduced in 1999 by the former Conservative government, as an effective tool for officers dealing with aggressive panhandlers.

In 2006, more than 900 tickets were issued to people in Toronto following complaints from the community and proactive work by officers, Schuurman said.


Patrick Parnaby, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Guelph, said the recent attacks in Vancouver and Toronto have little to do with panhandling.

"The irony of this whole thing is that we already have laws that deal with people who assault, who assault in groups, who brandish weapons on the street," Parnaby said.

"It has nothing to do with their occupation or status. You don't even have to talk about panhandlers. You have one citizen assaulting another citizen, and that happens every day."

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty warned against overreacting to the Toronto attack, saying it is not necessarily a symptom of something more serious.


Still, Gaytan Heroux of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty argued that the province has responded to the social issue of panhandling and homelessness by repressing street people.

Whipping up fears about panhandlers without discussing the root problems breeds discrimination and prejudice, he said.

Parnaby said Ontario's former Conservative government vilified panhandlers in the name of winning votes eight years ago.

"(Squeegee kids) were (compared) to wild dogs, insects, a plague . . . all this sort of rhetoric that does nothing to help the public understand a very complicated issue, but on the other hand, elevates levels of anxiety."

No one wanted to deal with the complexity of the panhandling issue, Parnaby said, so authorities instead used an expedient measure of crime control.

"You can't come up with solutions to these issues in a 30-second sound bite, and crime pays," he said. "So get on the bandwagon, condemn them as criminals, and walk away the victor."

Then there's the fellow walking down the street who was beaten and stabbed to death by four people coming from a place of need. It was a restaurant where they'd just eaten and had too much to drink before turning to begging for money on the street.

It was my initial assumption that the following comment is a piece of low sarcasm, but now that I think about it for a moment and compare it to some of the commentators I've encountered here and elsewhere I think the writer is simply a fucking idiot-- just like he seems to be on the face of things. He writes:

passin' thru: "Gee whiz with all the social program "budget cuts", the exponentially increasing outsourcing of jobs in deference to "globalization", the emptying of psychiatric facilities...can anyone really be surprised desperate, ruined, or mentally ill folks start "losing it" more and more on their perceived middle to upper class tormentors?!?! Wake up folks, "neo-feudalism" is insidiously taking hold assisted by its' accomplice "savage capitalism", the drones of gubberment doing all the dirty frontline work..."

To which the next comment is:

Unimpressed: "Yes, let's just blame these murders on the victims. That seems fair. Don't hold the perps responsible for murder, that would be unkind. Are you already a Canadian judge or still waiting for your appointment?"

It's in response to this story from a few days ago:

Man dies, four panhandlers charged after stabbing

A man who police say was stabbed by one or more panhandlers earlier this week has died.

Police said 32-year-old Ross Hammond, who was stabbed Thursday after an argument escalated into violence, succumbed to his wounds early Saturday morning.

The victim was walking near Queen Street West and Gore Vale Avenue shortly after 12:30 a.m. with a friend when he was approached by panhandlers asking for money, Det. Sgt. Gary Giroux said during a press conference.

Giroux said the two men refused to give the suspects money, and a verbal dispute ensued.

The argument escalated and the victim was stabbed several times in the chest and back. His friend was also assaulted, Giroux said.


Four panhandlers, all in their early 20s, currently face charges of aggravated assault and weapons offences, but Giroux said he expected the charges to be upgraded in light of Hammond's death.

The following suspects are in custody in connection with the incident:
Douglas Fresh, 22;
Nicole Kish, 21;
Sarah McDermit, 22; and
Jeremy Woolley, 21

The suspects are due in court next week. Woolley is also wanted on an outstanding warrant in the U.S., Giroux said.

Charles wrote recently aobut a 91 year old man who had been giving a begging bum $5.00 each day for a week, and then, when he gave another $5.00, the bum attacked him in the lobby of the Catholic Cathedral in the center of the city. It wasn't enough.

Oh, I see it now because I read the copy at the top of the page, that these people are coming from a place of need.

It's not just sentimentality. The problem is that too many people in positions of power actually feel that these cliches are better than relying on experience and understanding of the realities of normal human life as it has alway been and will forever be. social engineering? Tehy can come up with an endless supply of cliches and sentimental platitude and cringe inducing phrases sincerely emoted in public; but there will come an angry time when reasonable people are no longer reasonable, and then, then, then, friend, we'll see the true nature of people coming from a place of murder into the streets.

Stop this rubbish now before it's too late, before people become furious and actually do go crazy and overthrow this regime of sentimental vileness that passes as society. Control it now or face a terrible consequence later, perhaps soon. Stand up and tell the sentimentalists to shut up and stay shut up. Be rude. Be intolerant. Be judgmental. The sentimental crap is all of that and far worse, so take yourself to the edge and scream before others come out and destroy what we have left of our civil society.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

London imam seriously injured in brutal attack; castrated, stabbed 13 times, set on fire while still alive.

Muslim attacked; eyes gouged out, castrated, stabbed, burned to death, and hardy a peep from the press. Truepeers picked up on part of this story recently, and now there is more after the killing:

Three members of the gang ran away to Pakistan when they heard that police had arrested the 4th gang member. Our "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" Home Secretary Jack Straw has no plans to attempt to extradite them.1.

One of the imams of the London's Central Mosque is in serious condition in hospital following a brutal attack by a white man of Irish origin, the Muslim News has exclusively learnt. 2.

The crime which was to shock all Scotland was discovered the next morning by a car salesman cycling to work. At first thought he was seeing a dead animal on the track. 1.

A police spokesman told The Muslim News that a 40-year old man had been arrested and charged with grievous bodily harm and assault. The spokesman said that he was not charged with a racially aggravated offence, but the Director General of the mosque, Dr Ahmad Al-Dubayan, suspected that the attack was religiously motivated in the current atmosphere of growing hostility against Muslims. 2. Swearing revenge and threatening to "cut up the culprit and take out the person's eyes", X amassed a five-strong gang of armed helpers, including Zahid, to prowl the streets in a stolen Mercedes looking for his attacker. 1.

He accused the media of creating "an atmosphere of Islamophobia" that led to this and other attacks on mosques.2. So there you have it, a native Scotsman (boy) can be tortured to death in the most hideous of ways (tongue cut out, eyeballs gouged out, castrated, stabbed 13 times, and finally set on fire whilst still alive) and the media and Government go out of their way to cover it up and allow the killers to remain free.1.

The Muslim Council of Britain also said it is the latest example in a string of anti-Islamic crimes in Britain. "There is clearly a growing anti-Muslim climate in this country and it has some very worrying implications for all of us," an MCB spokesman warned.

Dr Al-Dubayan said that the 58-year old imam, who did not want to be named, was attacked on Friday morning after the man, who was wearing a cross, entered the mosque claiming that he wanted to be converted to Islam. The imam offered him dates and explained to him about Islam and suddenly the man threw himself on the ground and began saying something the imam did not understand. Then he suddenly got up and began punching the imam on his forehead until the imam fell on the floor. The man then stood on top of the imam and began poking into the eyes of the imam with his fingers, damaging them badly. The imam tried to defend himself but could not free himself. The imam began shouting and the security came and called the police. The man was apprehended after much difficulty as he resisted the arrest. 2. Kriss was held down while he was stabbed. He was then laid on a pile of newly-felled logs, doused with petrol, and set on fire, before his attackers drove away. A horrified jury heard how the youngster, with blood rapidly draining from the severing of three major arteries, rose from the logs in flames and crawled towards the river, leaving a trail of burnt clothing and scorched grass.Kriss never reached the water. He collapsed in a rain-filled depression, rolling in agony in the mud to try to douse the flames, before succumbing to his terrible internal injuries and burns. 1.

The violent assault comes after an increase in attacks against Muslims and mosques since the recent failed car bombings in London and at Glasgow airport. The Muslim News editor Ahmed Versi called on the Government and the police to ensure that Muslims and their places of worship are protected in the current hostile climate. "Such Islamophobic attacks should not be tolerated. There are causing further alienation in the community and add to the dangers of radicalizing young people." Versi warned. 2. At first thought he was seeing a dead animal on the track. 1.

As might be obvious from the confusion of the story above, it's from two separate assaults. Below is the story of the first. If this weren't already lengthy I'd have included the story from France of the Jewish kid, Ilan Halimi, who was lured into a ghetto where he too was tortured, castrated, and then burned to death by Muslims. This is not to rile the masses against Muslims, but ask why Muslims are not criticized for murders and tortures but are cast as victims of Islamophobia when people do get riled. It does no favors to Muslims to pretend they are victims when it is too obvious they are often terrorists and murderers. If our intelligentsia continue to play down the culpability of Muslims who are killers and to continue to play up the convenient guilt of the general society and blame them for Muslim criminality and terrorism, then there will be a genuine back-lash by those who simply hate the intelligentsia and who will not listen to reason any longer, turning on the innocent Muslim as well as the guilty indiscriminately. The intelligentsia will lose what little authority and credibility they now still have, and the people will simply attack the nearest Muslim out of unrestrained hatred of the past atrocitiies, whether the individual is guilty or not. It is usual for people to respect authority; but it is not unconditionally given; and the way our intelligentsia conduct themselves and our public affairs it is nearly certain that they will find themselves cast over in favor of the maddened. Stop the lying or face the wrath of the enraged. Muslims must demand it or they will suffer.

Evening Times (Glasgow),

A CALLOUS thug who helped in the abduction and slaughter of school- boy Kriss Donald has been found guilty of Scotland's first race murder.

A jury at the High Court in Glasgow unanimously convicted shopkeeper Daanish Zahid, 20.

The killing was a revenge attack stemming from an incident the night before when a person, who can only be referred to as X for legal reasons, was attacked with a bottle in a Glasgow night spot.

The attacker, a white youth, belonged to a group called the McCulloch Street Team.

Swearing revenge and threatening to "cut up the culprit and take out the person's eyes", X amassed a five-strong gang of armed helpers, including Zahid, to prowl the streets in a stolen Mercedes looking for his attacker.

Innocent Kriss, 15, was last seen alive as he was bundled into the Merc near his home in McCulloch Street, Pollokshields.

He had been heading with his pal, Jamie Wallace, 20, to play computer games. He was targeted for no other reason than he was white and lived in the area.

The next day Kriss' body, naked save for the charred remains of his underpants, a sock, and a trainer, was found on the Clyde Walkway in Parkhead, Glasgow.

In a crime which shocked all Scotland, he was stabbed and set alight with petrol while still alive.

During the trial the court heard Zahid claim that he did not brutally plunge the knife 13 times into defenceless Kriss' stomach, back and arm. Nor did he set him on fire.

In court, Zahid, 20, admitted staying with Kriss during a 200-mile terror journey, buying the petrol used to torch him, and disposing of weapons.

He said that as Kriss was being horrifically murdered, he sat in the car, watched—and didn't do anything to help the stricken boy.

But yesterday a jury found Zahid guilty of Kriss' racially-aggravated abduction and murder.

A member of the victim's family whispered "Yes" as the verdict was read out.

Zahid was also found guilty of racially-aggravated assault on Kriss' pal and attempting to defeat justice by torching the abduction car.

The judge, Lord Philip, told Zahid the price for his participation would be a life sentence.

Because Zahid, of Shields Road, Pollokshields, Glasgow, is a first offender, Lord Philip, told the jury he was obliged to call for reports before sentencing him and calculating the number of years he should serve before being allowed to apply for parole.

In the dock with Zahid was 20-year-old Zahid Mohammed, also of Shields Road.

Mohammed was also originally charged with abducting and murdering Kriss, but on the first day of the trial, prosecutor Mark Stewart accepted he was not guilty of murder because he left the car hours before Kriss was killed.

Mohammed, however, admitted abducting Kriss and attempting to defeat justice by asking a friend for an alibi.

He then went into the witness box to give evidence for the prosecution and told why he left the others.

He had been sentenced to wear an electronic tag on his ankle for carrying a knife, and had to be home for 7pm when his curfew began.

Lord Philip called for reports on Mohammed who will be sentenced along with Zahid at the High Court in Edinburgh on December 16.

The judge told the jurors it had been a "distressing, harrowing, and demanding" case for them, and said they wouldn't have to sit on a jury again for 10 years.

Zahid, who ran his family newsagents business in East Kilbride, had denied while acting along with others, abducting Kriss in Kenmure Street, Pollokshields, Glasgow, on March 15 this year, driving him to Strathclyde Park, Motherwell, Dundee, and then back to Glasgow, and murdering him at the Clyde Walkway near the Celtic Supporters Club in Glasgow's east end.

The Crown claimed that the abduction and murder was racially aggravated.

Zahid lodged a special defence incriminating X and another person who cannot be legally identified.

During eight days of harrowing evidence the jury heard that Zahid, Mohammed, X and the two others, set out to find the youth who had attacked X the night before in Victoria's night club in Glasgow.

When Kriss and his pal, Jamie, were spotted, X said: "They'll do", and ordered the car to be stopped.

X and the others, including Zahid and Mohammed, jumped out, and as Jamie tried to defend himself and distract the attackers from his friend, Kriss was punched and kicked and bundled into the Merc.

He was heard to plead with his captors: "Why me. I'm only 15."

The schoolboy was then taken to Strathclyde Park in Motherwell where Mohammed got out and returned to Glasgow by taxi.

During the journey. Kriss, face down in the well of the rear seat, listened in terror as X phoned friends to ask for a flat where he was to be tortured for information.

But when nobody was willing to help, X ordered the Merc to be driven back to Glasgow. On the way, they stopped at a filling station and Zahid was ordered to fill a canister of petrol which he put in the boot.

Terrified Kriss was then driven to a deserted and dark walkway on the banks of the Clyde.

The court heard that for a minute Kriss thought he might survive the ordeal when X told him: "You're all right. It's your friends I'm after."

Zahid told the court X ordered the youngster out and followed him with two others to the rear of the car.

He claimed he remained in the front passenger seat and told how he heard screams and then saw a fireball. When X and one of the others returned, their hands and clothes were covered with blood.

The prosecution said Zahid must have seen the slaughter because bloodspots on the bonnet and wing of the car proved Kriss had been stabbed at the front of the vehicle.

Kriss was held down while he was stabbed. He was then laid on a pile of newly-felled logs, doused with petrol, and set on fire, before his attackers drove away.

A horrified jury heard how the youngster, with blood rapidly draining from the severing of three major arteries, rose from the logs in flames and crawled towards the river, leaving a trail of burnt clothing and scorched grass.

Kriss never reached the water. He collapsed in a rain-filled depression, rolling in agony in the mud to try to douse the flames, before succumbing to his terrible internal injuries and burns.

The crime which was to shock all Scotland was discovered the next morning by a car salesman cycling to work.

At first thought he was seeing a dead animal on the track.

In the meantime, a drug dealer who supplied X and the gang with cannabis, was ordered to buy petrol. Zahid met him at a prearranged spot in the west end of Glasgow, took the can of petrol from him and left a bag containing a knife and a hammer in the back seat of his car.

The Merc was then torched in nearby Granby Lane.

During his evidence, Zahid spoke weasel words to Kriss' mum, Angela, and his sister, Samantha, who had sat feet away from him throughout the trial.

He said that he prayed for Kriss and his family every day, and he apologised for doing nothing to help him.

Zahid claimed he went along with the episode because he was terrified of X, and of being "done in".

He also claimed that the murder had been committed on the spur of the moment by X, described by defence counsel Ian Duguid QC as a "psychopathic lunatic" and that it could not have been anticipated.

But Mr Stewart told him he was guilty because he had participated at "every gruesome stage" of Kriss' ordeal, and had failed to take advantage of endless opportunities to get away.

After the verdict, when asked about continuing police inquiries, detective superintendent Elliot McKenzie said: "The job is only half done as far as we are concerned.

"The Crown and the police will not rest until those others have been brought to justice."

Original article

(Posted on November 22, 2004)

I found this story in this form at American Renaissance. I have to wonder why I had to find it there and not in a standard press.