Tuesday, September 19, 2006

people still getting killed every day by cluster bombs

Zionist founder & family were quite a hopeless bunch

(with hardcore feng shui problems.)

Herzl children flown to Israel as dispute ends over remains
By Charles Bremner, of The Times, in Paris

The remains of two children of Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, are to be removed from a Jewish cemetery in Bordeaux today and flown to Israel for reburial in keeping with their father’s will.

The transfer ends decades of delays and wrangling over the remains of Pauline Herzl, who died in Bordeaux of an apparent drug overdose in 1930, and Hans Herzl who shot himself dead there the day after in an act of grief.

Herzl, who died in Vienna in 1904 at the age of 44, wanted his descendants to be buried in the Jewish state that he hoped would one day be created. The three Herzl children, who were brought up to be future “royalty” of a Zionist nation, were long an embarrassment to Israel’s founders...

Herzl’s other daughter, Trude, who was also mentally disturbed, died in 1943 in the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia...Trude Herzl’s son Stephan Theodor Neuman, the only grandchild of the Zionist founder, served as a captain in the British army in the Second World War. He committed suicide by jumping from a bridge in Washington where he was serving as an adviser to the British Embassy...

UNESCO: Urgent action is needed to protect Byblos!

Byblos is an ancient port city that is in urgent need of a clean-up.
Unesco has launched an urgent appeal for funds to restore world heritage sites following the recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

Appeal to save Lebanese heritage
By Crispin Thorold, BBC News, Byblos

Byblos, which has been continuously inhabited for more than 7,000 years, is still suffering from the oilslick. This is causing dismay among local people and archaeologists around the world...The remains of the Roman quarries on the shore's edge glisten in the sunlight. They have been blackened by the oil, as has the base of the tower the Crusaders built here.

"It will be very long because we have to take many volunteers to clean up all the stones," explains Philippe Messenc, who has been working with the French navy team. "You have many porous stones, so you just have to brush the stones to clean up all the shoreline."

Much of the Lebanese coast has oil on its beaches. The economic and environmental damage is extensive. But in Byblos, the local people say they will not give up until their heritage is restored.

Please visit UNESCO's website for more information about the damage inflicted on Lebanon's heritage sites.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Blaming Islam, misunderstanding Islam, and (unacknowledged) intolerance in the West

We cannot afford to maintain these ancient prejudices against Islam - The Pope's remarks were dangerous, and will convince many more Muslims that the west is incurably Islamophobic

Karen Armstrong, The Guardian

...Even when Christians were trying to be fair, their entrenched loathing of Islam made it impossible for them to approach it objectively... This medieval cast of mind is still alive and well...Hatred of Islam is so ubiquitous and so deeply rooted in western culture that it brings together people who are usually at daggers drawn...

Our Islamophobia dates back to the time of the Crusades, and is entwined with our chronic anti-semitism. Some of the first Crusaders began their journey to the Holy Land by massacring the Jewish communities along the Rhine valley; the Crusaders ended their campaign in 1099 by slaughtering some 30,000 Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem...

Jesus had told his followers to love their enemies, not to exterminate them. It was when the Christians of Europe were fighting brutal holy wars against Muslims in the Middle East that Islam first became known in the west as the religion of the sword. At this time, when the popes were trying to impose celibacy on the reluctant clergy, Muhammad was portrayed by the scholar monks of Europe as a lecher, and Islam condemned - with ill-concealed envy - as a faith that encouraged Muslims to indulge their basest sexual instincts. At a time when European social order was deeply hierarchical, despite the egalitarian message of the gospel, Islam was condemned for giving too much respect to women and other menials.

In a state of unhealthy denial, Christians were projecting subterranean disquiet about their activities on to the victims of the Crusades, creating fantastic enemies in their own image and likeness. This habit has persisted. The Muslims who have objected so vociferously to the Pope's denigration of Islam have accused him of "hypocrisy", pointing out that the Catholic church is ill-placed to condemn violent jihad when it has itself been guilty of unholy violence in crusades, persecutions and inquisitions and, under Pope Pius XII, tacitly condoned the Nazi Holocaust...

With disturbing regularity, this medieval conviction surfaces every time there is trouble in the Middle East. Yet until the 20th century, Islam was a far more tolerant and peaceful faith than Christianity. The Qur'an strictly forbids any coercion in religion and regards all rightly guided religion as coming from God; and despite the western belief to the contrary, Muslims did not impose their faith by the sword.

The early conquests in Persia and Byzantium after the Prophet's death were inspired by political rather than religious aspirations. Until the middle of the eighth century, Jews and Christians in the Muslim empire were actively discouraged from conversion to Islam, as, according to Qur'anic teaching, they had received authentic revelations of their own. The extremism and intolerance that have surfaced in the Muslim world in our own day are a response to intractable political problems - oil, Palestine, the occupation of Muslim lands, the prevelance of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, and the west's perceived "double standards" - and not to an ingrained religious imperative.

But the old myth of Islam as a chronically violent faith persists, and surfaces at the most inappropriate moments. As one of the received ideas of the west, it seems well-nigh impossible to eradicate. Indeed, we may even be strengthening it by falling back into our old habits of projection. As we see the violence - in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon - for which we bear a measure of responsibility, there is a temptation, perhaps, to blame it all on "Islam". But if we are feeding our prejudice in this way, we do so at our peril.


Senior Israeli security official says that army was unprepared for Lebanon war, The Associated Press

There was not enough coordination between ground and air forces in large part because the branches had different intelligence information, the official said. The maps used by the ground forces were from 2000, while the air force had maps from this year, he said.

Ok, so Israeli "intelligence" needs revisiting, but what - the IAF couldn't have run their "maps from this year" through a photocopier to share with the IDF? This one just isn't gonna fly.

Byblos, Tyre, & Baalbeck - people don't know what they're missing.

Damascus official: Syria losing patience with Israel

Weighing Israel's way of war

By RAMESH THAKUR, Special to The Japan Times

To say that both sides must share blame in any conflict does not imply that both are equally to blame...

Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, investigated a number of Israeli strikes on civilian targets. He concluded that "time after time" Israel "hit civilian homes and cars in the southern border zone, killing dozens of people with no evidence of any military objective." Consequently, he says, "Israel's claims about pinpoint strikes and proportionate responses are pure fantasy. Israel is prefabricating excuses to justify killing civilians."

Human Rights Watch concluded that, at best, Israel had blurred the distinction between civilian and combatant. At worst, "The pattern of attacks during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon suggests that the failures cannot be explained or dismissed as mere accidents; the extent of the pattern and the seriousness of the consequences indicate the commission of war crimes."

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, too, placed the attack on Qana in the context of "a pattern of violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, committed during the current hostilities." Isolated and occasional operational errors and accidental mistakes are one thing; a systematic pattern suggests possible war crimes...

BBC: Israel charges Hezbollah fighters

Merkel is pushing it

AP: Nonaligned nations slam Israel, US; support Iran

Sunday, September 17, 2006

I had to repost this one

"We've learned from previous wars that the government will steal and we won't see anything"

Second earthquake in Israel