Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein's karmic retribution

When it comes to capital punishment, no matter which side of the issue one happens to favor, we all need to acknowledge that there are consequences for our actions, and that we have no control over how those 'consequences' will eventually manifest themselves in our lives. We do, however, have control over whether our actions are positive or negative and we'd do well to ensure that our conduct has no negative impact on others. There is a Power far greater than ourselves, that handles the checks and balances in our lives. Nothing we do goes unnoticed, both the good and the bad. It's a law of nature that every 'cause' has an 'effect'. Some would say, "What goes around, comes around". Hindus and Buddhists call it Karma. It's referenced in the Bible (Galatians VI) as: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap", better known as, "As you sow, so shall you reap." It's a universal, spiritual concept that is oft forgotten. Perhaps if more people used it as a daily litmus test for how to live their lives, there would be less savagery and inhumanity in this world. People who realize that they will be held accountable for their actions, in both the physical and spiritual realms, have a tendency to act accordingly.

Whether Saddam Hussein deserved to be hanged or rot in jail for the rest of his life, is something people will debate for years, but one thing we should all agree upon is that he did commit major atrocities and deserved some form of retribution.

Some fear his death will escalate the violence in Iraq, others that it will bring peace to that region. Only time will tell what effect his execution will have in that country. One thing we can count on, however, is that the U.S. will probably be blamed for his demise.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Islamic Insurgents target Buddhists in Southern Thailand

I just want to make it perfectly clear, and I have mentioned this before, that I believe everyone should have the right to freely choose how they worship, and yes, that includes Muslims. Freedom of religion is and should be a fundamental right of every individual in this world and not just in democratic societies! There are many paths to GOD, and it is not up to me (or anyone else, for that matter) to dictate to you how and what you should believe. Forcing or coercing someone to believe what you believe, particularly through violent means, is deplorable. Killing someone because they are not of your religious persuasion is downright evil. This is why I take issue with Islam; because they seem unable to live in harmony with people of other Faiths. Because they feel their Faith is the only true Faith, and will actually kill because of that.

The Buddhists (a peace-loving religion) in Southern Thailand have been targets of Islamic insurgents for the past few years. A recent article (in the International Herald Tribune) reports the following: "Drive-by shootings and bombings occur almost daily in Thailand's three southernmost Muslim-majority provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, where more than 1,900 people have been killed in an Islamic insurgency that flared in January 2004. Police, soldiers and others viewed as collaborators with the government are targeted, along with Buddhists. Buddhist monks have been beheaded, Buddhist teachers slain, and leaflets distributed around Buddhist villages warning that raising dogs and drinking alcohol are offensive to Muslims." And today, 2 Buddhist Teachers were ambushed, just meters from the school where they taught. They were shot and killed and their bodies burned. (see Reuters article for details)

And Buddhists aren't the only victims of Islamic extremism. Christians, Jews and Hindus fear for their lives, as well, in predominantly Islamic countries or areas where Islamic insurgents are trying to take over. Killing others because raising dogs is offensive, is insanity! I don't drink, but I certainly don't harbor thoughts of murdering others because they do. If they don't want dogs, or decide to cover their women from head to toe, or choose not to drink, than God bless 'em, go for it. But don't tell me I have to do the same thing!

The misguided, p.c. world describes Islam as a "religion of peace", but it is actually the antithesis of that, at least in its present incarnation. It's an archaic religion of intolerance and violence with no real moral compass. By believing that they will be sanctified through martyrdom, they lack fear of moral retribution and this is why there is so much violence. They actually believe (in a very twisted way) that they are doing God's Will, so they don't fear death. Their afterlife is far more appealing than their actual lives, so why should they care who they kill, including themselves? I know there are probably many peace loving Muslims and I have met some very charming secular ones, but Muslim communities, even in democratic societies, are becoming increasingly radicalized and that is what's alarming. But I refuse to live in fear and I refuse to allow the Muslim community to dictate what I can or can not do or say, which they seem to be attempting to do with more frequency. On December 28th, the Muslim World League held a 2 day conference that took place in Jeddah, that "called for a consultative commission in order to take legal action against those who abuse Islam and its Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Islamic sanctities, at local and international courts of justice, the Saudi Press Agency said. The conference titled “In Defense of the Prophet” called upon Islamic countries and governments to stand united to defend the Islamic faith and its Prophet. It denounced the smear campaigns to tarnish the image of the Prophet and urged Muslims to make all-out efforts to project the true picture of Islam and the great divine teachings of the Prophet". To read the whole article go to Little Green Footballs or Arab News. So, what does this mean for people, like me, who happen to be critical of their religion? Are they going to sue me because I have offended them and their Prophet? And what exactly is "the true picture of Islam"? There would have to be some major shifts to make me believe it is anything other than what it appears to be, in this point in its history. Show me tolerance and pacifism and then I might re-adjust what I think is the true image of Islam.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Palestinian hatred propaganda machine

I came across a blog, recently, entitled "Peace for Palestine". Written by a Palestinian housewife (and mother of 6) I had thought (naively perhaps) that, given the title, there might be some cause for hope. Everyone hopes for peace. Perhaps she did, as well. However, I soon discovered her blog is merely an exercise in hate and that her meaning of 'peace' is conditional. True peace would necessitate finding some way of living, in harmony, with the Israelis; but her version of peace for Palestine is merely the absence of the State of Israel. In hopes of gaining some insight into the mind of someone who is so filled with hatred, I posted the following on her blog:


Please help me to understand why there is so much hatred and
violence in the Middle East and within your religion? You kill each other without reservations. Shias against Sunnis. Palestinians against Palestinians. Lebanese against Lebanese. People are killed in mosques, at weddings, funerals, market places. Women, children. You can't blame that on the west. I doubt you will respond to this, but I hope you will. The Catholics and Protestants in Ireland used to do that to each other, but not to the extent it happens in the Middle East."

This was her response:

"Actually, in some manner’s the West is involved take Fatah and
Hamas for example, the United States/ Israel is against the Hamas government. Then you have the Fatah government with Abbas at the helm that is being supported by the United States/ Israel and from what I have seen, is using Abbas with the attempt to destroy the Hamas government.Then we go to Iraq, the government their as well as the police from what I have seen are paid by the United States and the government is strickly a puppet government. You are having
and upheaval going on in this country that would not have occurred without the invasion by foreign troops.There is a problem circulating by some not all, that Shia and Sunni should not like each other. In addition, I for one, while I may not always agree with what someone else does wouldn’t perpetrate harm to that person but to the contrary; but not everyone share’s my viewpoint. Furthermore, this is not just in the Middle East but seems to be an infection globally in religion’s other the Islam.As you will find that the other events you mentioned are not just violence Muslim against Muslim, for example like in Iraq because
you are dealing with different types of Propaganda cover-ups. You spoke of Ireland, where it was not just religion against religion but politics.The main thing you need to remind yourself often time’s in the instances you referred to is not religion actually at all but, as I said Politics‘. "

As you can see, she didn't really address my questions but, as expected, conveniently placed all blame for the woes in the Middle East on Israel and the U.S. She also claims that there "seems to be an infection globally in religion's other the (sic) Islam". Oh really?! Who, pray tell, was responsible for the bombings in Spain, London, Bali, New York and the list goes endlessly on! Which religion has been the aggressor in Somalia and surrounding areas? Which religion sanctions and perpetrates suicide-bombings and encourages young children and pregnant women to commit these unholy acts? Granted, the Muslims were the victims in the Bosnian War, but that seems to have been an anomaly. The most violent, of all the current major religions, is Islam. You don't hear of Hindus, Buddhists, Christians or Jews violently striking out at others, unprovoked. The Muslims have almost always been the aggressors and this, at times, has provoked violence in response; for example, the riots in Gujarat, where Hindus massacred Muslims in retaliation for the Ghodra Train burning. But the Muslims have been persecuting the Hindus (and others) for centuries, and violence begets violence. It is a direct result of hatred, and as long as the Islamic world continues to preach and embrace hatred, violence will be a fundamental part of their world and, unfortunately, ours.

This Palestinian woman's latest entry is a reprehensible video that you can watch on You-Tube, called "Oh, Grandfather... tell me a story". Set up like a bedtime tale, you hear the voice of an old man explaining to a young Palestinian child how the evil ways of Israel and the Jews have ruined their sacred land and hence their lives. With pictures of dead children scattered throughout the video, its intent is to stoke the fires of hatred in their young. This is what they are showing their children, and this is why peace in the Middle East is almost an impossibility. Hatred is a darkness that poisons the Soul and sucks out all humanity and this is what they are feeding their children. Besides their obvious wish for the decimation of the Israeli Jewish population (and probably, by extension, all Jews) I think they have become so accustomed to violence, it has become so second nature to them, that they don't really want peace. And how can they possibly expect peace, when they really don't want it? This is their gift to their children: a legacy of violence and hate! And we suffer, as a consequence.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Violence- In the name of religion

First of all, peace and joy to all, whatever religion or religious doctrine you happen to embrace! Engaging in some form of spiritual practice, as part of our daily lives, hopefully enlightens us, and enlightened people make for a better world. One would hope. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Particularly now, in these troubled times.

If you look to the past, so many of the wars and conflicts that have been such an integral part of our world history have been fought in the name of religion, and it continues to be a major and escalating problem. I find it so sad and disheartening that religion is the cause of such hatred and violence in our small world. God must be horrified to witness so many people murdering and being killed in His name.

Differences in religion have created a multitude of sins from the Muslim and Christian Crusades to the current troubles in the Middle-East, Africa and Asia ( and elsewhere). For the most part, the Christians have left that 'dark' side behind. They seem to have evolved beyond the need to violently force people to believe as they do. Unfortunately, the Muslim faith seems to have progressively worsened. They wage Jihad on unbelievers; they even indiscriminately kill other Muslims, women and children included. I realize that there are secular and moderate Muslims who don't actively participate in the violent aspects of that religion, and that it's the fundamentalist radical faction that does, but it's not as small a group as they would have us believe. And it seems that the religion is becoming increasingly radicalized. I ask those Muslims, who might be reading this, to please help me understand their religion. If Islam is truly a, so called, 'religion of peace' why are you killing each other? Why is there so much violence in the Islamic regions of the world?

My hope for 2007, is that they, whose hearts and minds are filled with such darkness and hatred, are somehow able to find (and embrace) the light and love that is GOD.

Peace and blessings to all.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

U.N. Security Council sanctions Iran- for all the good that'll do!

After 2 months of negotiations (bickering would be a more apt description, I'm sure) the U.N. Security Council finally agreed, unanimously, to sanction Iran for its continued Uranium enrichment efforts. As part of the resolution, all member countries have been ordered to cease supplying Iran with any materials or technology that might aid the country in its nuclear proliferation endeavors but, frankly, I don't know why they even bother! There are a few other minor sanctions that have been imposed (some freezing of assets etc.) but nothing likely to persuade them to comply and, as it is, they've already vowed to forge ahead. They continue to insist that the uranium enrichment programme is for civilian nuclear energy purposes only, but you'd have to be an idiot to believe those claims, particularly with a lunatic like Ahmadinejad, as leader, who has pledged (on more than one occasion) to wipe Israel off the map! And we know the Russians and Chinese will probably continue to supply them, clandestinely of course, with the materials etc. They have too much invested, financially, in that country.

If Iran does not comply (which it won't) the U.N. Security Council has cautioned that it will adopt other non-military sanctions. Oooooh. I can just see Ahmadinejad quaking in his boots, or whatever he wears. This is such a joke, as is the U.N. organization itself. I've lost count the amount of times Iran has declared it would be willing to talk and then changed its mind. One day yes, one day no. They're just buying time, which is a very clever maneuver, considering it has worked so well in the past. How many U.N. resolutions were passed before we invaded Iraq? They had plenty of time, in the interim, to transfer all their WMD to other countries. Iran has absolutely no intentions of complying. Never has never will. Its desire for nuclear power far outweighs its fear of any wimpy sanctions the Security Council might impose. Besides, Iran knows the U.N. will never follow through. It also knows the world is in no position, militarily, to engage in any kind of conflict, nor is it willing to. They know the western world has no stomach for prolonged warfare.

There is, however, some potential 'light at the end of the tunnel', so to speak: many of Ahmadinejad's opponents ("moderate conservatives" and "reformers") gained political ground in Iran's recent elections, and there are escalating student protests in Tehran. Granted, it was a student movement in the 1970's that helped usher in the Islamic Revolution there, and students who seized the American Embassy in 1979 (under good old Jimmy Carter's watch!) taking 53 people hostage, for 444 days. However, students this time have aimed their criticism at Ahmadinejad and not the West, calling for "Death to the Dictator" and complaining that he is not doing enough for the Iranian people. We'll see where this all leads, if anywhere. Perhaps dissatisfaction will galvanize the Iranian youth into action and, this time, they will help usher in a new era of freedom and democracy for that country. One can only hope!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holocaust and 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists- birds of a feather

I've lumped these two somewhat disparate groups together because, frankly, it baffles my mind how certain people think, or in this case, don't! What alternate reality do they happen to live in? I've never actually spoken to someone with either of these beliefs, so I have no clue what makes them tick, but what I find truly frightening is that many of these people are educated, seemingly intelligent people who you would think had some rational sense of reality. They are academics and scientists and socialites and actors: reasonable people, you would think.

Apparently not.

Iran has just hosted a Holocaust Conference where deniers from all over the world gathered to debate the Holocaust issue and whether it actually occurred. Granted, there were only 60 plus nutso participants (whose theories range from complete "exaggeration" to total "myth"), but how many other people in this world share their mindset? I might expect this from an Arab Muslim population that has been indoctrinated, since early childhood, that the Jews are evil and must be decimated; but from Americans, and Europeans, Brits and Australians and even other Jews? What makes their reasoning so defective?

With the massive amount of information that was gathered (including photos, film, personal testimony, War Crimes Trials, etc.) documenting the horrors of that particular act of genocide, how can you not be totally convinced that something horrific happened? French academic Robert Faurisson believes the Holocaust to be a hoax and the gas chambers a myth, he is joined in this delusional thinking by ex-KKK leader David Duke who claims he is merely a "Holocaust questioner" (oh, please!) and was at the conference to "defend freedom of speech". Duke praised Ahmadinejad for holding a conference "to offer free speech for the worlds most repressed idea: Holocaust revisionism." (What possessed the Republicans to let him represent the GOP in Louisiana in 1989??) Then you have Michele Renouf, an Australian socialite (former model, dancer) who has described herself as an actor and the Jewish religion as "repugnant and hateful" (though she claims she is not anti-Semitic. Huh?). She went so far as calling Ahmadinejad a "hero" for hosting the conference. The most surprising of all those who attended, was a delegation of anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews (Neturei Karta) who believe that, although a "crime" did occur, the Holocaust numbers were exaggerated by Zionists to further their aim of creating a sectarian State and that "the entire concept of a sovereign Jewish state is contrary to Jewish Law."

What makes all these people unable or unwilling to see proven facts as Truth? Is their hatred of the Jews so powerful and poisonous that it has actually clouded their judgement and distorted their mental processes?

As for the adherents of a '9/11 Conspiracy': what planet do they come from? I'm embarrassed, but not surprised, that several in the entertainment industry have joined the fray in voicing their opinion that 9/11 was some vast governmental conspiracy to justify engaging in war with Iraq. James Brolin (Mr. Barb Streisand) recently revealed, on the TV show 'The View', that he doubts the official version of events and believes that the Twin Towers and Building 7, were brought down by controlled demolitions. Director David Lynch, apparently told Dutch TV that the crash sites in both Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon were suspicious because there was a lack of evidence. Hmmm. Wonder who all those dead people were?! Extras from Central Casting? And they're not the only celebs who share those suspicions. There's Ed Asner, Charlie Sheen, Richard Linklater, Jesse Ventura, Matthew Bellamy (English alternative Rock musician). And that's only the entertainment industry line-up that has actually fessed up. There are probably many others. Then you have the rest of them: academics, economists, engineers, writers, reporters all with varying versions of what they think happened and why. None of which have any basis in reality. Google '9/11 conspiracy' (or anything similar) and you'll come up with more sites and blogs than you could ever find time to read. Thankfully there are many sites that debunk these kook theories, which helps re-affirm my faith in humanity.

And what makes all these people question and, in some cases, deny the horrendous events of 9/11, in spite of obvious factual evidence? Is their hatred of G.W. Bush (and the U.S government) so potent and toxic that it clouds their judgment and thinking, and forces them to grasp at anything to discredit him?

Sadly, what seems to bind these 2 groups together is their formidable capacity to 'hate'. When hatred is allowed to fester, it adversely affects our minds and bodies. It becomes all consuming and can make rational people irrational. But how do you eradicate such hatred when it is so deeply rooted in their psyches; when those particular individuals seem to revel in that hatred, for whatever sad and pathetic reason? I think, for them, it eventually becomes easier to embrace those negative and dark emotions than to make the necessary changes to bring light into their world. Many people also seem to need a 'cause' to rally around, however misguided their cause might be. Too bad they don't direct those energies toward helping eradicate world hunger or establishing world peace, rather than contributing to the hatred and strife that already exists in this world by trying to prove that the Jews and others were not massacred, in cold blood, during the Holocaust, or that GW Bush was somehow responsible for the thousands that died during 9/11.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Anti-Israel equals Anti-Semitic!

Yesterday, for a few minutes in my car, I listened to Rush Limbaugh who, though arrogant at times, is always very knowledgeable. A Canadian caller was complaining about what he felt was the Canadian and U.S. media's bias towards Israel and, although he acknowledged that he was anti-Israel, he categorically denied that he was anti-Semitic. Limbaugh, very calmly, raked him over the coals for this obvious contradiction, and with good reason.

Because you can't be both, dude! If you are 'anti-Israel' you are decidedly 'anti-Semitic'! You can not claim that you support the Jewish people and on the other hand believe that Israel has no right to exist. People conveniently forget, whether through ignorance or hatred, that the United Nations was instrumental in creating the State of Israel in 1947 (1947 UN Partition Plan), and that, historically speaking, the Jews have as much right to live in that region as anyone else. The history of the Holy Land, and who might have lived there first, is open to interpretation. We will never know the answer for sure, so one side or the other laying full claim to those lands is unquestionably wrong.

What we do know, however, is that the Holy Land is biblically important to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, and though I'd like to think that, in a civilized world, they could all peacefully co-exist, this will never happen as long as the Muslims continue to foster and embrace their hatred for all people and things non-Muslim. The call for the annihilation of the Jews (or for that matter Christians and all other non-believers or Kafirs, as they are called) is rife in the teachings of the Koran and in the mainstream Arab media. To witness how profoundly deep that hatred runs, watch some of the videos on Palestinian Media Watch or read about the Palestinian penchant for preaching hatred of the Jews here. For decades the west has tried to broker some form of peace agreement in that region, to no avail. The reason no-one has ever achieved this goal is because the Muslims in that region will never agree to live in peace with the Israelis. At a mosque in Tehran, Ismail Haniyeh (the Palestinian prime minister) vowed this past Friday that his Hamas-led government will never recognize Israel.

And it's not just the Palestinians who openly exhort destruction of the Jewish people. There are many other middle-eastern countries including Iran's Ahmadinejad who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map. This virulent hatred for Jews begins in early childhood, where children as young as 3 are taught that Jews are 'pigs' and 'apes' and that "The day of judgment will not arrive until Muslims fight Jews, and Muslims will kill Jews until the Jew hides behind a tree or a stone. Then the tree and the stone will say: 'O Muslim, O servant of God, this is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.' Except one type of a tree, which is a Jew tree. It will not say this." You find this 'loathing' in Saudi Arabian elementary school textbooks, on TV shows, children's cartoons, in newspapers and in mosques. It is constant and unrelenting and prevalent throughout that region.

The anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli faction place all the blame on Israel for the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, as if the Israelis have no right to be there as well, and proclaiming that the Palestinians are victims. But who are the Palestinians anyway? Arafat was born in Egypt, and most of the Palestinians who have migrated to Israeli lands, according to this article, are mostly from other Arab countries, as no other countries seem to want them. And the reason Israel is so coveted by the Palestinians is because the Israelis have transformed their tiny sliver of desert land into an oasis; something the Palestinians don't have. Jealousy breeds resentment and then hatred. Israel is the middle-eastern 'Land of Opportunity'. Most of the Palestinians live in abject poverty, but whose fault is that anyway? Certainly not the Israelis. Arafat was a multi-millionaire with Swiss bank accounts; some claim he was a billionaire and yet his people were kept poor and ignorant for a reason. In fact, many middle-easterners are kept ignorant and poor while the leaders of their countries live in opulence, and it is this ignorance and poverty that gives rise to hatred.

Anti-Semite and anti-Israel Jimmy Carter (at it again) in his new book: Peace not Apartheid, criticizes Israel for its treatment of the Palestinian minority and stupidly likens the building of fences, walls etc. around the West Bank to Apartheid. What he doesn't care to recognize is that the building of these walls is a defensive tactic not a means of oppressing or subjugating the minority population. Israel has never intentionally targeted civilians, unlike the Palestinian suicide bombers who are indiscriminate in who they target. Israelis have every right to protect themselves from potential terrorist attacks, even if that means building fences. Perhaps if there wasn't such hatred directed towards the Jews, and from all sides of their borders, they might not feel the need to protect themselves. But as long as they feel threatened with annihilation, they deserve to do whatever it takes to prevent this from happening, even if that means building barriers to achieve that goal. And Jimmy Carter should stick to building houses (with Habitat for Humanity), which is what he does best.