Against the meaning of his entire history as a prince of the church and also against various dicta issued by him later as the Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict has proclaimed that he will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the conclave convened by Pope John Paul II in the Umbrian town of Assisi. That gathering assembled eminences from the "world religions" to pray together for peace.
The Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review is Turkey's major English language newspaper. Its web site this morning reported that, according to a survey of 1503 Turks done by MetroPoll, the United States is considered by 43% of the population as the major threat to Turkey. This means that the U.S. heads the list of enemies of the Turkish state. Israel follows but by only slightly more than half of the respondents. As for Turkey's traditional enemies -Iran, Greece, Iraq, Russia, Armenia- very few respondents see them as antagonists at all.
The ones I'm writing about are the idealists. Those who are stirred to action by the inhumanity of man to man. Well, yes, I know that the Dalai Lama? can still draw a big crowd here and there in America. But the Tibetan cause -put on the map, so to speak, by Richard Gere and other Hollywood figures- is an ambiguous venture in that its objective is to restore an authoritarian clerisy to power. Better than "People's China," for sure. Still, while Klout designated Justin Bieber as the most influential person in the world, the 14th Dalai Lama came in second.
It was not exactly uplifting to read about the conviction of Moshe Katzav, the former president of Israel, on several counts of rape and other accusations of sexual depredation.
Yes, of course. The majority of Muslims are against terror killings of Christians. Maybe even a big majority. But the fact is there is little evidence and, in fact, almost no evidence of revulsion at what has become the distinctive imprint of Islam in the modern world. Alright, I'll note the most important caveat: it is not Islam but Islamists and Islamism that are at fault in this ongoing outrage. But still! Wouldn't you think there'd be a protest or two somewhere in the arc of Muslim faith that stretches from Indonesia to Morocco and southwards to the deepest reaches of Africa?
I don’t know exactly how much pressure the president is under to release Jonathan Pollard. But there is certainly much heat on the prime minister from his ultras to persuade Obama to set the convicted spy free. The pretense is that the sentence of life imprisonment imposed on Pollard was a miscarriage of justice. But there are multitudes of such miscarriages in both the United States and Israel (to say nothing of other countries), very few rectified and certainly not through the ugly politics like which we are now witnessing in behalf of Pollard in the Jewish state.
Aubuike Ihejririka, Nigeria’s army chief of staff, explained the terror that killed at least 40 people in northeast Nigeria on Christmas eve and Christmas day.
In the first instance and despite the brazen insinuations of his supporters, Jonathan Pollard is not a Jewish martyr. He is a convicted espionage agent who spied on his country for both Israel and Pakistan (!)—a spy, moreover, who got paid for his work. His professional career, then, reeks of infamy and is suffused with depravity. It is true that Pollard has achieved the status of hero for some in Israel. But you should know exactly who these people are: They are professional victims, mostly brutal themselves, who originate in the ultra-nationalist and religious right. They are insatiable.
We've been reading over the past year that Abu Dhabi and the other emirates are having financial difficulties. But troubles at the bank are always relative. These are not the worries of Spain or Greece and not even the worries of this emirate's poorer cousins, which are far less than that of the now nearly bankrupt European states.
I am no fan of the European Union. It is an artificial contraption, run by the corporate and bureaucratic elites of the continent, without democratic sanction because the various peoples subsumed under its rule themselves see that it is without democratic values or ambitions. Had it at least energized the economies of Europe there might be some raison d'être for its intrusive rules which wreak havoc with every member nation's culture and identity. The fact is, however, that the prosperous countries are still more or less prosperous, some paradigmatically so.