2011-06-17

UN Defends Gay Rights

Times of India:

GENEVA: The top UN human rights body declared on Friday there should be no discrimination or violence against people based on their sexual orientation, a vote Western countries called historic but Islamic states firmly rejected.

The controversial resolution marked the first time that the Human Rights Council recognized the equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, diplomats said.

The text, presented by South Africa, was adopted by 23 countries in favor, 19 against with 3 abstentions and one delegation absent during voting. ...

Read the article at the link.

New York State Senator Roy McDonald on Gay Marriage

Via BuzzFeed:

You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing,” McDonald, 64, told reporters. “You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing. ...

And there's more where that came from. Read the rest at the link.

2011-06-13

Sarah Palin

I haven't posted much about Sarah Palin. The main reasons are fairly simple: She doesn't hold national office (or any office at present), and she's not even a candidate for office at the moment. And - notwithstanding Sarah Palin's constant presence in the media - I try to stay focused on people and events that are newsworthy in themselves.

That said, I'll share a few of my own thoughts on the former Governor of Alaska. First: I am not sure that I would vote for her if she were to run for President, but I am sure that I do not believe she is the fool or the fanatic that the press has portrayed her to be.

I do not understand what it is about Sarah Palin that sends the Left and the media into frothing, apoplectic fits of rage - but I have to admit that I like it.

In the kind of liberalism I believe in, there's room for people we agree with but don't admire, and people we admire but don't agree with; and there's even room for people we agree with part of the time and disagree with part of the time. I don't know where the fanaticism of today's so-called "liberals" comes from, but I want no part of it.

So if I say that I think Sarah Palin is a decent, intelligent, competent, hard-working person, who's been treated miserably by the media, and with whom I agree about many things and probably disagree about many others - that is not an endorsement of "Sarah Palin for President". But it is a recognition that there's something about Palin that matters.

2011-06-05

Saleh Leaves Yemen

Without further ado, here's Jane:

After an entire day of contradictory reports on Saleh’s health and whereabouts, the Deputy Minister of Info announced on al Hurra that Saleh and 24 family members are in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment, and presidential power has been transferred to VP al Hadi. I’m assuming the GPC and the four horsemen (may be three now if Tariq is really killed) consider this as a temporary arrangement; where as the protesters see it as the beginning of the end. I’m in shock.

Updates, unofficial and official:

Ali Mohsen submits his resignation to Hadi

NEW JOKEs: SALIH REFUSE TO SIGN FOR SURGERY WITHOUT PRESENCE OF THE OPPOSITION

THEY SAID, ELECTRICITY SHUT OFF IMMEDIATELY IN SAUDI ARABIA AT THE ARRIVAL OF SALIH

Royal Court of KSA issues official communique that Saleh is in SA for medical treatment while some Yemeni officials insist he’s still in Yemen. Bin Ali said to be at Saleh’s reception at the airport.

Alarabyia correspondent reports seeing Saleh walking from the plane, which means not badly injured and odd if he had surgery earlier today

BaFadhl on AJA: Ali AlAnesi, head of Nat Sec, announced formation of an (unconstitutional) military council to cover for Saleh

Taiz under full control of the rev and celebrating with fireworks.

Hadi also in command of the armed forces.

Al Jazeera back in Yemen. ...

And here's Al-J:

Pro-democracy protesters are celebrating what they described as the fall of the Yemeni government after President Ali Abdullah Saleh left the country for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.

"Today, Yemen is newborn," sang dozens of youths in Sanaa's University Square on Sunday, dubbed "Change Square", which has been the epicentre of anti-government protests that have raged since February.

"This is it, the regime has fallen," others chanted.

In Yemen's second-largest city Taiz, a flashpoint of anti-government demonstrations south of the capital Sanaa, hundreds also celebrated, chanting: "Freedom, freedom, Ali has fled". ...

2011-06-02

Arab Nazis

From the BBC's Sarah Ehrlich:
Farhud memories: Baghdad's 1941 slaughter of the Jews

On 1 June 1941, a Nazi-inspired pogrom erupted in Baghdad, bringing to an end more than two millennia of peaceful existence for the city's Jewish minority. Some Jewish children witnessed the bloodshed, and retain vivid memories 70 years later.

Heskel Haddad, an 11-year-old boy was finishing a festive meal and preparing to celebrate the Jewish festival of Shavuot, oblivious to the angry mob that was about to take over the city.

Thousands of armed Iraqi Muslims were on the rampage, with swords, knives and guns.

The two days of violence that followed have become known as the Farhud (Arabic for "violent dispossession"). About 800 Jews were killed, spelling the end for a Jewish community that dated from the time of Babylon. Only 180 bodies were identified, but the Israeli-based Babylonian Heritage Museum says about another 600 unidentified victims were buried in a mass grave.


Go to the original for the full, horrific details - but also for the stories of brave Arab individuals who did what they could to protect the innocent from the mob.

The BBC piece does not address the long history of anti-Jewish violence in the Arab world prior to the Nazi era. Nevertheless, this article is an important first step. It demolishes the notion that Israel is to blame for Arab Jew-hatred. Also, the article helps to put the Arabic word "Farhud" into circulation. The word needs to be part of the vocabulary of international discourse.

It is important to expose the link between Nazism and Arab anti-Semitism, as this article does. That the Nazis did horrific things to humanity in general and the Jews in particular is well known; "Nazi = evil" is not a controversial statement.

But Nazis are a "safe target". They were white, nominally Christian Europeans acting on a professed ideology of white supremacism; so it's easy to conflate them with the likes of the KKK. Best of all, they lost the war! There is no significant presence of Nazi sympathizers in today's academic or cultural establishments. ('Twasn't always so; but that's another story.) Unlike the Communists, for example - or the Islamists.

Exposing the Nazi-Islamist ties may be the most important thing we can do to disrupt the narrative that paints Israel as the heir to the Nazi mantle.

Nazism is not yet dead in the Middle East.

JPost: Newspaper reports Nazi party forming in Egypt.

A group of Egyptian political activists have announced plans to set up a local version “of the Nazi party,” an Egyptian newspaper reported on Thursday.

Citing a leftist Egyptian news portal, the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily said that “the party’s founding deputy is a former military official,” and that the party would be aimed at bringing “together prominent figures from the Egyptian society.”

The report cited founding member Emad Abdel Sattar as saying that the unestablished party “believes in vesting all powers in the president after selecting him or her carefully,” and that “preparations are under way to choose the most competent person to represent the party.”

Go to the article for full details. But pay special attention to what Mordechai Kedar, of Bar-Ilan University, says about Nazi-inspired groups in the Arab world:

Historically, he said, the German Nazi party saw three attempts to copy it in the Arab world in the 1930s in Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt. The Egyptian party of that time was led by former president Anwar Sadat, who went on to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

“They were copying the extreme nationalism of Germany, before the Second World War, and before the word ‘Nazi’ became a coarse word,” Kedar said.[My emphasis - aa.]

Strategy Page has more.

This is ironic on many levels. While Arabs love to call Israelis "Nazis", it is the Arab world that is the true heir to the Adolph Hitler's vision of how the world should be. A major weapon in the Arab arsenal is anti-Semitism. For a long time, even before World War II, the racial hatred tactic was particularly popular in the Arab world. This was partly the result of Islamic radicalism, which pushed hatred of all non-Moslems, not just Jews. But as more Jews began moving into Jerusalem and surrounding areas in the late 19th century, more of the Moslem racial animosity was directed at Jews.