Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Islam and Violence: or "Yes, Mohammed, Islam is not a religion of peace!"

I received the following in response to a statement I had made (in the comment section of my post on Muslim stereotypes) that Islam was not a religion of peace. I thought it would be easier to address Mohammed's questions in this forum. My response is in red type.

"mohammed said...
Mrs. incoginto
(it's Ms) what do you know about islam to say it is not a religion of peace have you ever been a muslim before ? (No, I have never been a Muslim, Mohammed, nor would I ever choose to be, considering what I feel it represents: the antithesis of love, grace and acceptance.) what did you read or see about islam ? do you really make any effort to know about it or you only see tv and make these conclusion? (Admittedly, I have not read the Koran extensively, but the research I have done has led me to believe that your religion is inextricably linked with violence and always has been, since its beginnings and even more so now. And I don't base all my conclusions on what I see on TV though, frankly, what more proof does one need when all one sees on the news is death and destruction? Are you saying what we see is fabricated?) who are the imams you are taking about? (I am talking about Omar Brooks (aka Abu Izzadeen) a British convert who I actually saw, on a documentary that aired on CNN, called "The War Within", claim that Islam was not a religion of peace. From the mouth of one of your own. You can read more about his radical Islamic views in this article. You also have Anjem Choudary and Omar Shamsuddin. There are other Muslims cited in this article that talk of Islam as being a religion of violence. They might be considered radicals but many Muslims are beginning to embrace that ideology.) and what about your priests and whoever who are just trying to insult islam and muslims but of course in vain because an ant cannot hurt a mountain .are we terrorist in your opinion . (No-one would be insulting Islam if it indeed was a religion of peace, that allowed others to believe as they wished. But when people of your religion start trying to impose their beliefs on those of different religions (particularly through violent means) and by claiming all people should be Muslims, than yes, we will take issue with that. And no, not all Muslims are terrorists, obviously, but most terrorists do happen to be Muslim. My question to you would be, do you support what the terrorists are doing, and if so, does this not make you, in essence, one?) well what about IRAQ, PALESTINE, BOSNIA, CHECHAN.SOMALIAS,LEBANON.....ETC (What about those countries? Other than the violence and murder that Muslims are perpetrating on each other there?) do you think that we vilently kill ourselves and invade our land and destroy our civilsatio . (Yes, unfortunately, you do violently kill each other. It's happening right now in Palestine with followers of Hamas and Fatah fighting and murdering each other. In Iraq Sunnis are killing Shiites and Shiites killing Sunnis. Destroying each others' ancient religious monuments. And, yes, Arab countries have been invading each other for centuries! ) did the iraq invade america so america is retaliating? (We both know Iraq did not invade America, but he was supporting terrorists who did attack this country on 9/11, by allowing terrorist training camps in his country. Everyone knows he paid money to suicide bombers in Palestine. Who's to say he didn't finance terrorists in some other way.) and what well do really if we invade your country and try to contol your economy and interfer in you life? who are the terrorist we or you who kill women and children and slaughter men you who help ISRAEL to destroy PALESTINE ? (And who shamelessly uses women and children as human shields to protect themselves?? Not the coalition forces! Only cowards would do that! So who do you think are the real terrorists? And who is doing most of the killing in Iraq today? It's the insurgents who arbitrarily bomb market places and other public areas where there are women and children, killing them in cold blood!!) do you think baby are violent. (No, Mohammed, babies are not inherently violent, but when YOU preach hatred to your children and that Jihad is a good thing, they eventually do become violent. And it's PALESTINE that wants to destroy ISRAEL, not the other way around. The Palestinians and most other Muslim countries have the same agenda. Iran's President Ahmadinejad has publicly called for the destruction of Israel. And Palestinians have always initiated the violence, the Israelis just retaliate, as is their right. They never target civilian populations, unlike the Palestinian suicide bombers. Unfortunately, there might be some collateral damage, but they have never deliberately bombed a public place.) JUST BE FAIR AND REALLY STUDY THOSE YOU SPEAKES ABOUT" (I think I am being more than
fair, Mohammed. What you and other Muslims need to do is open your hearts to Love rather than embrace the Hatred of all things non-Muslim that seems to consume so many of you. Maybe then we could all live in peace.)

I would venture to say that Mohammed is neither a terrorist nor a radical, but his comments illustrate the extreme hatred that permeates the Islamic religion and Arab culture, in particular. That hatred is spreading to areas outside of that region and with frightening rapidity. How do you quell the fires of hatred when people seem to revel in it, rather than attempting to purge it from their being? And when that hatred turns to frenzy, does it not become a form of extremism, so that those non-terrorist/non-radicals become exactly that: radicals and extremists?

I wish you peace, Mohammed, peace from all the hatred that you have harbored within your Soul. And the same for all Muslims. Things will change if you allow Love to be your daily guide instead of Hate.

Ah, the wonders of winter

Just back from my jaunt to the upper Midwest, aka the deep freeze of America (in my opinion), although most of the U.S. seems to be enduring unseasonably cold weather (which does make one wonder about the extent of the whole global warming issue.)

Anyway, it's been many years since I last experienced the joys and aggravations of winter weather and I had forgotten the exquisiteness of it all. How spectacularly beautiful snow is as it falls from the sky, blanketing the earth in all it's glorious whiteness. The soft crunching sound as you walk on freshly fallen snow, before it turns to slush. Icicles hanging from eaves. The crisp, biting, invigorating air. I suppose I can appreciate the wonders of winter not having to endure them on a yearly basis, but I do miss the seasons and all they have to offer. The colors of autumn, the green lushness of spring, the white bareness of winter. Living with summer temps year round can be tedious and boring, however, there are some winter annoyances I don't miss at all: like crepe paper dry, itchy skin .......the freezing, burning, cold limbs that nothing manages to warm...... scraping ice and snow off car windows..... the slipping and sliding. But, there are trade offs no matter where one lives and in what clime. Each region has its drawbacks and we all have to cope with Mother Nature's fury, in some form or another. Be it blizzards, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or earthquakes.

I did come away with some questions, for those of you who might know:

What do snow plowers do during the other seasons?
Where do snow flurries come from, when there are no clouds in the sky? It was sunny and clear and yet there were flurries.

Sending warm thoughts and wishes to all of you who are out there shoveling snow!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Out of commission through Wednesday

I will be out of town through this coming Wednesday, so will be unable to write. But I do have some posts pending that I have almost finished.

1. The dangerous Love-fest between Ahmadinejad and the Latin American Left.
2. Imperialism of the Islamic and Leftist world.
And I found my pre-war research that I promised to share.

I have 5 weeks before my next show, so will work diligently on the above.

Meantime, have a great few days.

Blessings to all and, yes, even those I criticize.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Joke of the day on Newsmax:"Muslims Complain of Hollywood 'Bad Guy' Image"

There's an article on entitled: "Muslims Complain of Hollywood 'Bad Guy' Image", and it's good for a laugh or two... or three.

Ethnic minorities have been complaining, for decades, about Hollywood stereotypes and with relatively good reason. For years Blacks have been portrayed as drug-dealers, pimps and prostitutes, Latinos as gang-bangers or maids and Asians are just, well .... an under represented lot. The TV and movie industry is finally taking some positive steps towards change by now casting Blacks, Hispanics and Asians as doctors and lawyers and even Presidents (on "24") etc., to truly reflect the current racial and cultural diversity and demographics of this country we call the United States of America. Because, yes, there are as many Black professionals, today, as there are pimps and drug dealers. Just as there are as many white drug dealers and criminals as there are Black or Hispanic.

So, now, we have a relatively new religious minority (The Muslims) who have stepped forth to carp about the negative images Hollywood is projecting about Islam by casting them as, what else, terrorists. Arzu Merali, of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, argues that "Cinema, both in Hollywood and Britain, has helped to demonise Muslims. They are portrayed as violent and backward. That reinforces prejudices." Hmmm. Well.... I'm sorry to say, Mr. Merali, but we don't need the movies to reinforce those prejudices. We merely have to watch the news every single day to witness that violence and backwardness. We are bombarded, on a daily basis, with the carnage that is part and parcel of the Islamic world.

Merali also references "The Siege" (a 1998 film starring Bruce Willis and Denzel Washington), declaring that the movie reinforces "the monolithic stereotype of the Arab/Palestinian/Muslim being violent and ready to be martyred for their cause." Well, Mr. Merali, it seems to me that the ONLY people who flock to volunteer as "martyrs" aka suicide bombers are, well... let's see... Muslims! Who else are you going to cast as a terrorist? Yes, there are other terrorist organizations that exist, but their terrorism is localized in whatever region they happen to be fighting in. They rarely, if ever, take their "violence" to global extremes. So, again, who else is Hollywood going to use?

I know there are probably as many fine, upstanding, professional Muslims as there are Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Anglos. And just as many Muslim reprobates as there are in those various other groups. But Hollywood has always stereotyped, and will continue to do so: they will still cast Blacks as pimps and drug dealers, Hispanics as gang members, White males as the doctors and lawyers, Republicans as the corrupt government officials and White females as nurses and mothers. That's the way it is, get used to it.

Although I do have a suggestion to make: if the Muslim world cleans up its act, reigns in its renegade terrorist elements so the world can live in relative peace, then I can guarantee you that there will be fewer films made that portray Muslims in a negative light.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Religious convictions go too far

So what do Minnesota cab drivers, a British policewoman and Texas pharmacists have in common? Not much, one might think; at least on the surface. But all of them have refused and/or are planning to refuse, in some form or another, to render certain services due to their religious beliefs.

Muslim cabbies at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, are refusing cab service to anyone with alcohol in their possession, or people with dogs (including seeing-eye dogs!) because it violates Islamic religious doctrine. According to Hassan Mohamud, imam at a St. Paul mosque, "Muslims do not consume, carry, sell or buy alcohol, and Islam also considers the saliva of dogs to be unclean." This becomes a monumental problem when the majority of the 900 cab drivers at the Mpls/St. Paul airport happen to be Somali and many of those are Muslim.

And in London, recently, a Muslim policewoman refused to shake hands with Police Commissioner Ian Blair, during a graduation ceremony, stating that her religion prohibits physical contact between men and women, other than a husband or close relative. And even though Muslim groups have defended her actions, claiming that her religious beliefs would not unduly affect her job performance, I have to wonder what she will do when faced with apprehending a male felon.

And then we have Christian pharmacists, all over the U.S., refusing to dispense contraceptives (of any kind, including emergency contraceptives for rape victims) as a result of their moral and religious convictions. Some even refuse to refer the patient to other pharmacies willing to fill the prescription. And though I don't personally condone abortion (particularly as a means of contraception), if a rape victim chooses to prevent a potential pregnancy that was created through an act of violence, that woman should have the right to do so.

Whatever religion a person happens to embrace should be immaterial when it comes to hiring practices, but, if it interferes or adversely affects how they carry out their duties on-the-job, then the situation needs to be reassessed. I totally understand the desire to adhere to higher moral standards, but if those standards conflict with whatever profession you happen to be in, then it is incumbent upon you to either adjust or find other work. I've refused commercial auditions for alcohol and meat products on many occasions, and I would never accept a booking for a Burger King ad, show up on the set, and refuse to eat the beef! That's the height of unprofessionalism. I have also declined projects I found morally offensive. I wouldn't expect the director or playwright to re-write the script to suit my tastes. Nor should people working in the public service sector expect to be given special dispensation to pick and choose what they feel comfortable doing, because of their religious beliefs. If you feel morally conflicted about something you are asked to do, then quit, find another job or another profession.

And if you feel that strongly about your convictions, then consider creating a company that caters to those with the same beliefs. What about a Muslim cab company? Or a Christian pharmacy? In that way, people would know what they are dealing with before they choose to patronize a particular establishment, and workers would not have to compromise their principles. Every one is happy. End of story.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

CAIR slams "24"- (Beware: spoilers)

Beware: Spoilers below!

Once again, the Muslim community is up in arms regarding " 24 ", the Fox TV series which began airing its nail-biting 6th season last week. It stars Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, a CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) agent who battles, you guessed it: terrorists.

Several years ago, various Muslim groups (including CAIR) registered complaints with FOX TV, which resulted in a Public Service Announcement being made by Sutherland, for those unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality, as a reminder that this was indeed merely a television programme and nothing more. Granted there are some people who can't make that distinction and actually send birthday greetings and gifts to the characters on Soaps, but I would venture to say that we, as Americans, for the most part can tell the difference between what is real and what isn't.

Of course, there were no complaints last season when the 'bad guy' terrorists were Russian separatists, however, this season, they are even more incensed. The villains in Season 6 are, once more, Islamic extremists who manage to set off a nuclear device in Valencia, CA, with 4 other bombs waiting to be detonated. What they seem to forget is that Hollywood frequently rips stories straight from the headlines, and considering that the most prolific perpetrators of global terrorism today happen to be...hmmm... let's see..... Islamists, of course that's who they are going to use as their terrorist prototypes. Are they going to use Basque (ETA) separatists? Or the IRA? I think not.

And Muslims have NOT, by any means, been singled out as the only antagonists on "24". FOX, in all fairness, has portrayed the evildoers in past seasons as Bosnians, Russians, Chinese, an American President and other government officials, white opportunists, and the list goes on. There have been many different, equal-opportunity, terrorist storylines, not just Islamic in nature. And although the idea of a nuclear attack is not out of the realm of possibility, in today's world, "24" is just a thrilling TV show depicting terrorism in all its potential horror.

The major complaint of Muslim-Americans is that they believe "24" will create further enmity between Muslims and non-Muslims through its negative portrayals, however, "24" (a fictional TV show) isn't the problem. The problem is the reality of the situation: that there are fundamentalist Islamists out there preaching Jihad against all 'non-believers' and even against other Muslims. We are bombarded, on a daily basis, with news of violence being perpetrated by Islamic radicals all over the world, so yes, we are going to feel threatened by that. And yes, there are some courageous Muslims who are becoming more vocal in their opposition to violence, in the name of Islam, but it's not large enough in scope to make that much of a difference; yet. And as I have said before, if the Muslims want to be accepted without prejudice, then they are going to have to make a concerted effort to reach out and accept, unconditionally, those of other religions.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue enjoying the thrill-ride that "24" is, and no, I'm not going to go burn down a Mosque when I'm done.

For all you 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists- this one's for you

For all you delusional 9/11 Conspiracy theorists: this video's for you!

This is what happens when an F4 Phantom jet crashes into a wall, at over 500 mph. It does NOT leave an imprint in the shape of a plane on the building. It is completely and thoroughly pulverized!

I hope this puts to rest at least that aspect of your ridiculous theory.

Crash Test with F4 Phantom plane in a wall at high speed

A crash test with a F4 phantom plane

Friday, January 19, 2007

Religion of "Peace" at it again

So, Australian Muslims are in the news again. Last time, it was al-Hilali, who likened women who don't wear the hijab to 'meat', insinuating they are asking (and thus deserve) to be raped. (See my post on that subject!)

This time it's Sheik Feiz Mohammed, a radical (Australian born) Islamic cleric who produced a series of videos which encourage children to become martyrs; inciting them to violence by saying "Teach them this: There is nothing more beloved to me than wanting to die as a mujahid. Put in their soft, tender hearts the zeal of jihad and a love of martyrdom." And in a video broadcast on Australian TV, Mohammed (who happens to be the head of an Islamic youth center) said, "We want to have children and offer them as soldiers defending Islam." He is also seen in the videos ridiculing Jews, snorting and calling them pigs and claiming they will go to hell.

Mohammed, naturally, claims his words have been misinterpreted and that "The jihad I speak of is not one of violence. It is one of personal struggle against things like mischievousness, temptation and personal harm." He insists that he does not believe in suicide bombings or violence against others, saying: "We denounce that. This is not Islamic law and it is not moral." Does he think we're that stupid??? That we don't know the meaning of: Mujahid (Holy warrior)? Jihad? Martyrdom?

And notice how often these radicals try and backpedal out of the inflammatory comments they make, by claiming their words have been misconstrued or that we misunderstood their intentions? The problem is, many of these extremists living in western countries appease their host governments by claiming one thing and then saying the exact opposite when they're amongst their fellow Muslims. Go to Memri TV and you could spend hours witnessing this hypocrisy. Or go to YouTube; apparently there's a video of one of Mohammed's lectures (though I wasn't able to find it) about the state of Islam today, in which he berates modern Muslims for not being as inclined to martyr themselves as the Muslims of old. He goes on to say that, "In our times, it is the fear of death... the fear of sacrificing your finger, your toe, a drop of blood...that is more honorable than anything else. We are the most humiliated nation on the face of this earth, there is no doubt. Why? Because martyrdom to us is not appealing, it's not as appealing to us as it was to those ancestors, the great warriors."

What I find most appalling and despicable, is the indoctrination of their youth into this religious culture of violence. What kind of perverse thinking prompts someone to believe it's okay to encourage young children to kill. Corrupting the hearts and minds of 'innocents' by instilling hatred in their "soft, tender hearts" and encouraging them to harm others, is morally offensive; as is offering them up as sacrifice in defense of Islam. Sheik Mohammed talks of 'defending Islam'; but from what? Islam is a religion of aggression, it needs no defense.

These kinds of clerics are popping up all over the world, and no-one seems to be doing anything about it. If we don't do something now, it's going to become a huge, unsolvable problem in the near future.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The intolerant liberal mindset

Liberals are often touted as open and accepting of everyone and everything, and perhaps they are, except when it comes to politics. Then, they transform into belligerent, angry, intolerant and patronizing yo-yos. I've never seen an angrier bunch when faced with views contrary to their own. They have a special disdain for conservatives, particularly Republicans, and they make no efforts to mask those negative feelings. This is mainly evident in the entertainment industry, but can be found in other business sectors, as well. And this is another reason why most of us choose not to share our political beliefs with anyone left side of right.

I'm in performance for a show (which shall remain nameless), and knew most of the actors prior to starting rehearsals. One I had worked with before, on several occasions, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that he, too, is a Republican. However, unlike me, he happens to be quite open about his politics. I swore him to silence and everything was fine until a few days ago when the following scenario occurred:

We were all in the men's dressing room, during intermission, when one of the other actors (we'll call him A) made a disparaging remark about how the audience "must have been Republican", because he had heard some audible gasps of disgust (though I hadn't interpreted it that way) after a brief kiss between A and another male actor (D). This is a very famous murder mystery that was made into a movie (okay, I'm giving myself away) and it's really more about greed and deception than homosexuality, but the actor (who is gay) was being overly sensitive (in my opinion) and took offense. They are actually gasps of surprise rather than disgust, but, I digress.

Homophobia is not exclusively Republican terrain, so I jumped in to inform him that I had known several gay Republican actors and directors, to which he responded, "So am I!!", but then angrily declared that he had not voted Republican in the last election because he didn't support the war in Iraq. So, I'm totally flabbergasted, because I had no idea. Well, maybe there was one time I might have questioned his political leanings, but immediately dismissed the idea.

Anyway, I didn't get a chance to engage him further but my Republican friend (B) and I continued chatting while the other actress (C) proceeded to proclaim that all Republicans were rich, to which I replied that wasn't necessarily true; that there were many Republicans who were not monied. This did not sit well with her, so she immediately demanded to know if I too was a Republican, and as much in defiance as my dislike for lying I blurted out, "yes, I am!" There was a moment of silence and then she stormed off, to the women's dressing room, saying she couldn't believe we were all Republicans (though she has been great friends with A for years, and most likely knew he was). I think being in the presence of 2 confirmed and one lapsed was too much for her. Back in our dressing room, she tried to drag me into an argument about the war and how the Republicans haven't done a thing for her, but she was too angry to listen to anything I had to say, so we agreed to disagree and I asked her not to tell anyone. That if it did become common knowledge, I would know who had told. She assured me she wouldn't, although I recall at an audition several years ago (during a Bush bashing session) she told a group of actors about a director she loved, who "unfortunately happens to be a Republican." Who knows if she can be trusted, but it's a little too late to worry about that. So much for honesty.

After she calmed down a bit she, patronizingly, told me she still "loved me", even though I "was a Republican!" As if it was a disease or something to be pitied.

So much for all that liberal tolerance.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The nurturing side of our military

Photo: Courtesy of David W. Gilmore, Jr./US Air Force

"Air Force Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhart, of the 332nd Expeditionary
Medical Group at Balad, Iraq, cradles a young girl as they both sleep in the
hospital. The entire family was executed by insurgents; they killers shot
her in the head as well. The girl received treatment at the U.S. Military
hospital in Balad, but cries and moans often. According to nurses at the
facility, Gebhart is the only one who can calm down the girl, so he has spent
the last several nights holding her while they both sleep in a chair".

And you won't find this in the MSM. I wonder why?

Because they'd rather print photos of death and destruction and Abu Graib and anything else that portrays our military in a negative light, rather than something positive.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Some voices of reason in the Islamic World

At least there are some Muslims who have the courage to stand up and voice their opposition to the Islamic extremists they claim are hijacking their religion. This, in spite of the death threats they inevitably receive. A little ray of hope and light in the darkness that has become the world of Islamic extremism, and you'll be very surprised from whence it comes:

Imam Shaheed Satardien, a Muslim cleric in Dublin, Ireland has warned that, "Extremism has infected Islam in Ireland." adding that "It's time to get back to the spiritual aspect of my religion and stop it being used as a political weapon. I never, ever, expected that Muslims would come under the influence of extremists in Ireland when I arrived here with my family. So I was shocked to find support for Osama bin Laden, to discover the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood and even al-Qaeda here in Dublin." Born in South Africa, Satardien was forced to flee his birthplace after his brother was killed by extremists (in 1998) and he was informed he'd be their next victim. And though he has also received death threats in Ireland (because of his vocal criticism of the extremist elements in Islam) and has been rejected by the greater Islamic community of Dublin, he continues to preach tolerance and against the violence that has become part and parcel of his religion.

Ireland's population is less than 6 million and mainly Catholic. When I lived there in the 60s (as a child) I don't recall a large Muslim presence in Ireland. But the 2002 census recorded 19,147 Muslims living there, at the time, with 51% residing in Dublin. It is now estimated to be almost 40,000. Almost doubling in 4 years. And though most feel they have happily integrated into Irish society, there is a minority who embrace extremist ideology. In an article in the Irish Independent (citing an opinion poll by the Irish Independent/RTE Primetime) "more than a third (36pc) would prefer Ireland to be ruled under Sharia law, while 37pc would like Ireland to be governed as an Islamic state. The survey shows Muslim youths hold the strongest views within the Islamic community on politics and religion. It found 28pc of young Muslims aged between 16 and 26 believe violence for political ends is sometimes justified. More than half of young Muslims (57pc) believe Ireland should become an Islamic State." Whether one can trust an opinion poll is debatable, but it's interesting nonetheless. Extremists seem to be targeting the impressionable, disenfranchised youth of today, and in countries one would never imagine. Slowly it's influence grows, like a cancer, and save for people like Satardien, it will continue to flourish.

I applaud the brave few who have chosen to take on radical Islam, but where are the others? As long as the silent majority allow the vocal and very active minority to continue embracing the dark and violent aspects of Islam and preaching it to the young, Islam will continue to grow as a threat to western civilization as we know it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Chavez + Ahmadinejad = Major Trouble

Chavez and Ahmadinejad have joined forces and agreed to create a 2 billion dollar fund that will be used to bankroll investment projects not only in their respective countries but in any 'friendly' third world country that is trying to break away from what they consider U.S. domination. In other words, any anti-U.S. country willing to contract with the devil.

In a press conference in Caracas on Saturday, Chavez said, "It will permit us to underpin investments ... above all in those countries whose governments are making efforts to liberate themselves from the (U.S.) imperialist yoke."

Venezuela was Ahmadinejad's first stop on his tour of all the leftist leaning countries in Latin America. (Note: leftist leaning only!)

I find this unholy alliance terribly interesting and rather disturbing, because they represent the 2 major threats of the 21st century. And take note of the countries they want to aid: Africa and Latin America. How close is Africa to the Middle East and Latin America to the U.S.? In other words, they are replacing what they consider U.S global domination and imperialism with their own form of imperialism.

Stay tuned for a post exploring the true imperialists of the world: Muslim extremists and Communists.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

GENOCIDE vs WAR: or "No, Daniel, Bush is not the Hitler of the 21st Century!"

A few days ago, I received the following comment, so I am dedicating this post to Daniel and anyone else who might harbor the same inane beliefs, in hopes that they will ultimately understand the fundamental differences between "war" and "genocide":

Daniel has left a new comment on your post "Saddam Hussein's karmic retribution": Bush is the Hitler of the XXIst century. He massacred to thousands of Afghan innocent and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, initiating two wars with lies. And the weapon of massive destruction of Iraq? And Bin Laden in Afghanistan? Where there are Bin Laden and the weapon of massive destruction? The war of Iraq was realized to appropriate of the oil of this country, and to favor to the corporations that direct the government. What Hussein was an assassin? Without doubts, but it does not mean that Bush also it is. Bush is the " Butcher of Texas ". Posted by
Daniel to
Confessions of a Closet Republican at 11:17 AM

At least we agree that Saddam was an assassin, but I am sooooo incredibly tired of the ludicrous comparisons of Bush to Hitler, and the equally absurd claims that he's culpable of genocide and somehow responsible for all the world's ills. People love to blame Bush and the current administration for every global problem that exists today. But unlike those countries that live under authoritarian rule, our system of government is a democracy and the President, though he does have veto power, can NOT make decisions on his own. That's why we have a duly elected Congress and Senate. So, no Daniel, Bush is NOT personally responsible for any of the deaths in Afghanistan or Iraq, though you'd like to believe so. I will readily admit that GWB has his faults, as do most world leaders (both past and present), and the problems in Iraq are very troublesome, but one thing he is not is another Hitler. I think the Bush administration, unfortunately, overestimated the capacity of the Iraqi people to embrace democracy (given their tribal and archaic mentality), and they also failed to take into account how far the foreign and regional Islamic factions might go to undermine the efforts to build a democracy in that region. But hindsight is 20/20, as they say. Then, factor in having to fight a P.C. war against an enemy that does not abide by any rules of engagement (as per the Geneva Conventions) and you have major trouble.

As for initiating those wars "with lies", I'm not sure what "lies" you are referring to when you reference Afghanistan, Daniel, but as I mentioned in my response to your comment, Afghanistan has been invaded countless times over the centuries. Muslims conquered Afghanistan back in 637 AD, and as recently as 1979 it was invaded by Communists (the former Soviet Union). Civil War erupted after the Soviet troop withdrawal in 1988, and when the current war began, in October 2001, the Afghan Northern Alliance provided the bulk of the fighting forces, with the U.S. and other NATO members (including Britain, France, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Norway) lending support. Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan also provided troops. So, I'm sorry to say, it wasn't only Bush (and the U.S.) that participated in what you call the massacre of thousands of innocents, there were other countries involved, as well. (And what would you call the initial Muslim conquerors or the Soviet invaders? But that's another post). And the guerrilla fighting that continues today, in Afghanistan, is between the Taliban and NATO, not the U.S. This was never solely a U.S. operation.

Moreover, prior to the 2001 invasion, it was common knowledge that the repressive Taliban regime had been offering sanctuary (since 1996) to Osama Bin Laden and other al-Quaeda operatives, and had allowed them to set up terrorist training camps there. The invasion in 2001 was initiated in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which Bin Laden has taken full responsibility for. We were attacked on our soil and, considering we had intel that he was in Afghanistan, at the time, we had every right to seek him out wherever he happened to be hiding. I'm not sure where you live, Daniel, but I guarantee that if anything similar happened in your country, you would think very differently. And where is he today? Bin Laden lives in a region that is more than willing to hide and protect him.

As for initiating the war in Iraq "with lies", every other major world power also happened to believe that there were WMDs in that country, and Saddam had years, prior to the invasion, to ship them off to Syria, where they are probably stored today. People tend to forget that Iraq had been slapped with U.N. sanctions after its invasion of Kuwait in 1991 and that no U.N. weapons inspectors had visited Iraq since 1998, so anything could have been arranged during the interim. Then in November 2002 (just prior to the invasion in 2003), the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1441 (which passed unanimously!) offering Iraq, "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" . Those "obligations" had been defined in 10 other U.N. Resolutions (660, 661, 678, 686, 687, 688, 707, 715, 986 and 1284) all of which were, by and large, ignored! Saddam finally agreed to comply with Resolution 1441 and allowed U.N. weapons inspectors to, once again, visit suspect sites. Iraq was also to supply the U.N. with a 12,000 page weapons declaration, which it did, on 12/7/2002. However, U.N. inspector Hans Blix claimed that, "During the period 1991-1998, Iraq submitted many declarations called full, final and complete. Regrettably, much in these declarations proved inaccurate or incomplete or was unsupported or contradicted by evidence. In such cases, no confidence can arise that proscribed programmes or items have been eliminated." The U.N. weapons inspectors had good reason to believe that Saddam might still possess WMDs, as did the Security Council, so why shouldn't we have trusted that information? If Saddam had fully complied with that final Resolution, or had all the members of the Security Council held him accountable for not complying and stood together with those countries that were threatening to invade if he didn't, we would never have gone to war! Which leads me to the ridiculous notion that we invaded Iraq because of their oil. If the fatuous "Blood for Oil" proponents bothered to do any research, they would have discovered that it wasn't the U.S. that had anything to gain from an invasion, but rather China, France and Russia that had too much at stake to support it. I wasn't sure how I felt about the War, at first, so I researched the issue extensively and found that those 3 countries had huge investment ties to Iraqi oil and that was why they refused to join forces. I have that info somewhere and will share when I eventually find it. But, as of 2006, Iraq is 7th on the list of countries we import oil from; Canada and Mexico being the top 2. And thinking that the U.S. government would ever believe it could get away with "appropriating" the oil from ANY country in the Middle East (or anywhere else, for that matter) is tantamount to saying our leaders are total morons and believe in committing suicide and, I assure you, they are not and do not (with maybe a few exceptions)!

And don't forget the whole "Oil for Food scandal" that eventually was uncovered. People love to conveniently forget about that whole travesty.


So lets talk about GENOCIDE.

(jěn'ə-sīd') n. The systematic and planned extermination of an
entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group. [Greek genos, tribe, race; + -cide Occidere- Latin for Killing or massacre.]
It's a term, by the way, that was coined by Raphael Lemkin , a Polish Jew who took interest in the Armenian Genocide (by the Turks in the early 1900s), after he heard about the case of Soghomon Tehlirian (a genocide survivor) who, while in Berlin on March 15th 1921, assassinated Mehmed Talat Pasha, the Turkish Minister of Interior, for his participation in orchestrating the massacre. Tehlirian was acquitted, but Lemkin began to question why a man like Tehlirian should be tried for murder and yet annihilating entire populations wasn't considered a crime. So, he lobbied for international laws to address that inequity and in 1948 the U.N. adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It, unfortunately, does not also include the decimation of ideological, political or cultural groups or members of a social class, as Lemkin had hoped for. These groups were excluded because the Convention needed the support of the Soviet Union and other Communist countries, and they were opposed to those classifications, for obvious reasons.

And WAR:

(wɔr) n.
1.a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air.
2.a state or period of armed hostility or active military operations: The two nations were at war with each other.

Sadly, wars have been waged over land and power and religious control, since the beginning of time. There will always be those who lust for power, or who are unwilling to live in peace with others because they are so filled with hatred for those who are different, or those who just want what's yours. There are some ethnic groups that have such enmity for each other (that goes back centuries), that they will always live in conflict. It's as if there's some genetic mutation that keeps getting passed down from generation to generation, that makes them unable to live peaceably with their neighbors. And yes, sometimes war is a necessity: when defending one's land and population, or coming to the aid of those unable to defend themselves.

Genocide, on the other hand, is the result of attempts to get rid of large groups of people by lunatics who have decided they are unfit to live. There is a concerted effort to exterminate them all. In the 20th Century alone, there have been at least 7 acts of Genocide:

Armenian Genocide: (1915-1918) approx. 1,500,00 - 2 million killed by the Turks

Ukrainian Genocide: (1932-1933 )approx 7 to 10 million dead (Stalin created an artificial famine)

The Holocaust: (1938-1945) approx 6 million Jews (and others) killed by Hitler & the Nazis

Pol Pot: (1975-1979) approx. 2 million Cambodians killed by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge

Bosnian Genocide: (1992-1995) approx. 150,000 to 200,000 killed by the Serbs

Rwanda: (1994) approx 200,000 Tutsis were massacred by Hutus

There may be some I have missed.

Then you have the persecution of the Bahais and Kurds in the Middle-East, where many have been killed, though not to the extent of the above-mentioned incidents.

Our incursion into Iraq and Afghanistan was NOT for the express purpose of ridding the world of all Iraqis or all Afghanis. So, technically speaking, any deaths in those countries cannot be considered acts of genocide, they are the unfortunate by-product of war. And claiming it is genocide sullies the memory of those who actually did die at the hands of genocidal maniacs.
And I ask you, Daniel, why you don't criticize the insurgents fighting in Iraq? They have caused far more death and destruction to the people of that country than any coalition soldier has.

Something to ponder.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Save Nazanin!!

Another example of the barbaric elements of Islamic law: Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi, a young Iranian woman, was sentenced to death (by hanging) for killing a man in self-defense after he attempted to forcibly rape her and her niece in 2005. They were in a park with their boyfriends when 3 men started harassing them. The boyfriends immediately abandoned the young girls, leaving them to fend for themselves. She was 17, at the time and although international treaties forbid the execution of anyone under 18, Iran continues to do so.

Her death sentence was overturned in May 2006, but a new trial has begun and is set to resume January 10th, 2007. Although there are 4 possible outcomes, she could be re-condemned to hang. For more information and details on the case, an online petition and other ways to help save her life, go to a website that was established for that express purpose, though it does catalogue other unjust death penalty cases, as well. And another website set up to help her. A documentary was made about her plight and can be seen on both the websites I have linked above.

Back into the Dark Ages we venture, once again!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

ASS-UMPTIONS- or, not everyone in the arts is a Democrat!

On a somewhat lighter note, for a change:

Most people (including fellow theatre folk) presume that anyone involved in the arts is a liberal. Now add vegetarianism to the equation and they figure the person must be a granola-munching, ex-hippie, card-carrying, flaming, die-hard liberal. And though I might have been all those things in my younger (less evolved) years, and some of those things to this day (I still love granola!), one thing I am not, is a liberal. However, people automatically assume that I am, given my veggie ways and my career in the entertainment industry. But we all know what happens when you automatically 'assume' something; and in case you don't: when you assume, you "make an ass out of u and me!"

Now, considering that the majority of individuals in the arts are liberally-oriented, those of us who aren't have found the best policy, in the long run, is to keep our mouths firmly shut; that is, if we want to continue being gainfully employed. There is a definite bias against conservatives, particularly in the entertainment industry, and I've witnessed enough conservative-bashing sessions to know that if ever I fully confessed to being a conservative, my chances of employment would be severely limited. I've heard some rather vicious and derogatory remarks bandied about regarding conservatives and the Republican Party, and though I usually roll my eyes (unobserved, of course), there are times when I've been compelled to respond; though I have learned to choose my battles carefully. I find, for the most part, that liberals in my industry rarely delve into or research an issue and usually just spout the party-line or re-iterate whatever the mainstream liberal media happens to have glommed onto, so it's relatively easy to win an argument.

But, as mentioned, I rarely bother to engage my liberal co-workers in any kind of political discourse because of the need to maintain my cover. Something all my fellow entertainment industry conservatives are forced to do; at least those of us who aren't courageous enough to 'out' ourselves; yet! So, you can imagine what a lonely world it must be for a solitary, conservative fishy swimming in a sea of liberal sharks, not knowing if they all happen to be sharks or if, perchance, there might be one other lone, conservative fishy also masquerading as a shark. And it's no easy task ascertaining who is conservative, due to our necessary 'code of silence'. But there are ways to decipher who they are and oh, what joy, when you do finally encounter a like-minded cohort!.

It's a very delicate dance that usually begins with a group 'bashing' session of some sort. You might notice that one person isn't laughing as heartily at some joke about GWB, or isn't joining in the "Bush should just die" rants, or whatever 'anti' issue they happen to be belaboring at the moment, and you begin to wonder. Could they be a fellow conservative? Or not? You can't always tell and you certainly don't want to be the first to admit it, so there might be some quizzical looks and non-committal remarks before you actually come out and bluntly ask, "Are you a conservative?" This way you get them to fess up first, saving face in case they aren't. It does usually take a while before either person is willing to confess, though sometimes it can be a quicker and less complicated process. The clincher? When they join you in defending some person or situation that is being criticized, and you just know you've found a comrade in arms.

You'd actually be very surprised to discover who the GOPers are in your midst. Some might be rather obvious, but others not at all. There are actors I would have never guessed were Republicans, and people I've known and worked with for years who I only recently discovered were. There are, of course, varying degrees of conservatism amongst those of us in the Arts, but we are out there, and coming to a stage or screen in your area, soon!

(This is dedicated to all my Republican and/or conservative peeps: those who are 'out' and those who are still in the 'closet', like I am. You know who you are! Wink-wink, nudge-nudge. Love ya guys!)