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           Reactie op De uitroeiing van de christelijke minderheid in Irak door Lot       Cache   Translate Page      
Dat van de buren die zich tegen je keren, hoor je vaker. Niet alleen in Irak maar ook van alle verhalen uit Syrië. Het geeft te denken. Dat je in Nederland maar beter deze mensen ver van je kunt houden.
           Reactie op De uitroeiing van de christelijke minderheid in Irak door Petra DeBoer       Cache   Translate Page      
Te triest voor woorden dat christenen in Irak het zo moeilijk hebben. Ze zouden naar Syrië kunnen gaan waar Assad de christenen beschermd.
          Here's Why the United States Kept on Supporting Opposition Local Councils in Syria      Cache   Translate Page      
Here's Why the United States Kept on Supporting Opposition Local Councils in SyriaStabilization programs in Syria long outlived their original political rationale, but bureaucratic factors, analytic biases, and an imperative to deliver services kept them going.
          December 4: 2 Chronicles 3–4; 1 John 3; Nahum 2; Luke 18       Cache   Translate Page      

With family: 2 Chronicles 3–4; 1 John 3

2 Chronicles 3–4 (Listen)

Solomon Builds the Temple

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD1 had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. He began to build in the second month of the fourth year of his reign. These are Solomon's measurements2 for building the house of God: the length, in cubits3 of the old standard, was sixty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits. The vestibule in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits long, equal to the width of the house,4 and its height was 120 cubits. He overlaid it on the inside with pure gold. The nave he lined with cypress and covered it with fine gold and made palms and chains on it. He adorned the house with settings of precious stones. The gold was gold of Parvaim. So he lined the house with gold—its beams, its thresholds, its walls, and its doors—and he carved cherubim on the walls.

And he made the Most Holy Place. Its length, corresponding to the breadth of the house, was twenty cubits, and its breadth was twenty cubits. He overlaid it with 600 talents5 of fine gold. The weight of gold for the nails was fifty shekels.6 And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold.

10 In the Most Holy Place he made two cherubim of wood7 and overlaid8 them with gold. 11 The wings of the cherubim together extended twenty cubits: one wing of the one, of five cubits, touched the wall of the house, and its other wing, of five cubits, touched the wing of the other cherub; 12 and of this cherub, one wing, of five cubits, touched the wall of the house, and the other wing, also of five cubits, was joined to the wing of the first cherub. 13 The wings of these cherubim extended twenty cubits. The cherubim9 stood on their feet, facing the nave. 14 And he made the veil of blue and purple and crimson fabrics and fine linen, and he worked cherubim on it.

15 In front of the house he made two pillars thirty-five cubits high, with a capital of five cubits on the top of each. 16 He made chains like a necklace10 and put them on the tops of the pillars, and he made a hundred pomegranates and put them on the chains. 17 He set up the pillars in front of the temple, one on the south, the other on the north; that on the south he called Jachin, and that on the north Boaz.

The Temple's Furnishings

He made an altar of bronze, twenty cubits11 long and twenty cubits wide and ten cubits high. Then he made the sea of cast metal. It was round, ten cubits from brim to brim, and five cubits high, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. Under it were figures of gourds,12 for ten cubits, compassing the sea all around. The gourds were in two rows, cast with it when it was cast. It stood on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east. The sea was set on them, and all their rear parts were inward. Its thickness was a handbreadth.13 And its brim was made like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily. It held 3,000 baths.14 He also made ten basins in which to wash, and set five on the south side, and five on the north side. In these they were to rinse off what was used for the burnt offering, and the sea was for the priests to wash in.

And he made ten golden lampstands as prescribed, and set them in the temple, five on the south side and five on the north. He also made ten tables and placed them in the temple, five on the south side and five on the north. And he made a hundred basins of gold. He made the court of the priests and the great court and doors for the court and overlaid their doors with bronze. 10 And he set the sea at the southeast corner of the house.

11 Hiram also made the pots, the shovels, and the basins. So Hiram finished the work that he did for King Solomon on the house of God: 12 the two pillars, the bowls, and the two capitals on the top of the pillars; and the two latticeworks to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the top of the pillars; 13 and the 400 pomegranates for the two latticeworks, two rows of pomegranates for each latticework, to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the pillars. 14 He made the stands also, and the basins on the stands, 15 and the one sea, and the twelve oxen underneath it. 16 The pots, the shovels, the forks, and all the equipment for these Huram-abi made of burnished bronze for King Solomon for the house of the LORD. 17 In the plain of the Jordan the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredah.15 18 Solomon made all these things in great quantities, for the weight of the bronze was not sought.

19 So Solomon made all the vessels that were in the house of God: the golden altar, the tables for the bread of the Presence, 20 the lampstands and their lamps of pure gold to burn before the inner sanctuary, as prescribed; 21 the flowers, the lamps, and the tongs, of purest gold; 22 the snuffers, basins, dishes for incense, and fire pans, of pure gold, and the sockets16 of the temple, for the inner doors to the Most Holy Place and for the doors of the nave of the temple were of gold.

Footnotes

[1] 3:1 Septuagint; Hebrew lacks the Lord
[2] 3:3 Syriac; Hebrew foundations
[3] 3:3 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
[4] 3:4 Compare 1 Kings 6:3; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[5] 3:8 A talent was about 75 pounds or 34 kilograms
[6] 3:9 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams
[7] 3:10 Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[8] 3:10 Hebrew they overlaid
[9] 3:13 Hebrew they
[10] 3:16 Hebrew chains in the inner sanctuary
[11] 4:1 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters
[12] 4:3 Compare 1 Kings 7:24; Hebrew oxen; twice in this verse
[13] 4:5 A handbreadth was about 3 inches or 7.5 centimeters
[14] 4:5 A bath was about 6 gallons or 22 liters
[15] 4:17 Spelled Zarethan in 1 Kings 7:46
[16] 4:22 Compare 1 Kings 7:50; Hebrew the entrance of the house

(ESV)

1 John 3 (Listen)

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears1 we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's2 seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Love One Another

11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers,3 that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God,4 and God5 in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

Footnotes

[1] 3:2 Or when it appears
[2] 3:9 Greek his
[3] 3:13 Or brothers and sisters. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, the plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) may refer either to brothers or to brothers and sisters; also verses 14, 16
[4] 3:24 Greek him
[5] 3:24 Greek he

(ESV)

In private: Nahum 2; Luke 18

Nahum 2 (Listen)

The Destruction of Nineveh

  The scatterer has come up against you.
    Man the ramparts;
    watch the road;
  dress for battle;1
    collect all your strength.
  For the LORD is restoring the majesty of Jacob
    as the majesty of Israel,
  for plunderers have plundered them
    and ruined their branches.
  The shield of his mighty men is red;
    his soldiers are clothed in scarlet.
  The chariots come with flashing metal
    on the day he musters them;
    the cypress spears are brandished.
  The chariots race madly through the streets;
    they rush to and fro through the squares;
  they gleam like torches;
    they dart like lightning.
  He remembers his officers;
    they stumble as they go,
  they hasten to the wall;
    the siege tower2 is set up.
  The river gates are opened;
    the palace melts away;
  its mistress3 is stripped;4 she is carried off,
    her slave girls lamenting,
  moaning like doves
    and beating their breasts.
  Nineveh is like a pool
    whose waters run away.5
  “Halt! Halt!” they cry,
    but none turns back.
  Plunder the silver,
    plunder the gold!
  There is no end of the treasure
    or of the wealth of all precious things.
10   Desolate! Desolation and ruin!
    Hearts melt and knees tremble;
  anguish is in all loins;
    all faces grow pale!
11   Where is the lions' den,
    the feeding place of the young lions,
  where the lion and lioness went,
    where his cubs were, with none to disturb?
12   The lion tore enough for his cubs
    and strangled prey for his lionesses;
  he filled his caves with prey
    and his dens with torn flesh.

13 Behold, I am against you, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will burn your6 chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions. I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall no longer be heard.

Footnotes

[1] 2:1 Hebrew gird your loins
[2] 2:5 Or the mantelet
[3] 2:7 The meaning of the Hebrew word rendered its mistress is uncertain
[4] 2:7 Or exiled
[5] 2:8 Compare Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[6] 2:13 Hebrew her

(ESV)

Luke 18 (Listen)

The Parable of the Persistent Widow

18 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed1 thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Let the Children Come to Me

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

The Rich Ruler

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” 28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers2 or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time

31 And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. 32 For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. 33 And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.” 34 But they understood none of these things. This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

Jesus Heals a Blind Beggar

35 As he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 And hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what this meant. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 And he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him. And when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Footnotes

[1] 18:11 Or standing, prayed to himself
[2] 18:29 Or wife or brothers and sisters

(ESV)


          Sydney University moves to sack notorious lecturer after Nazi swastika incident      Cache   Translate Page      
The controversial academic attracted criticism from federal education ministers for his numerous trips to Syria and North Korea where he expressed solidarity with their dictatorial regimes.
          Fund for bullied Syrian boy is closed after it raises £158,000      Cache   Translate Page      
The 15-year-old was attacked at Almondbury School in Huddersfield.
          UN appeals for record $4 billion to help the people of Yemen      Cache   Translate Page      

The UN appealed Tuesday for $4 billion to cover humanitarian needs in Yemen in 2019 – its largest country appeal ever – and announced its first appeal related to Venezuela, calling for $738 million to help those who have fled the country’s economic meltdown and health crisis.

 

The UN appeal to help some 2.2 million Venezuelans living in neighbouring South American countries was one of 31 humanitarian response plans released for 2019 by the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, in an overall $21.9 billion donor funding request.

 

The total price tag is swollen by Yemen, where the UN’s call to help 15 million people is the largest country appeal in the UN’s history. The equivalent appeal for aid within Syria was $3.64 billion in 2018, while costs for Syrian refugees across multiple countries was an additional $5.6 billion.

 

Intensifying conflict and displacement, hunger, irregular imports, and a macro-economic crunch have driven 24 million people – nearly 80 percent of Yemen’s population – into need, and half of those may require food assistance in the months ahead, according to the UN.

 

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said “the extreme edge could get taken off the suffering” in Yemen if peace talks and the military outlook improve, but the UN planning is looking at “what the situation will actually be, rather than wishful thinking”.

 

Vittorio Infante, humanitarian advocacy advisor for the NGO Islamic Relief, said that given the scale of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, especially in the province of Hodeidah where recent fighting has made conditions worse, the UN’s record ask was merited.

 

“$4 billion is a lot of money, but this pales in comparison to the dire need in Yemen, where [the majority] of the population are relying on humanitarian aid to survive,” Infante told IRIN.

 

“Our staff in Hodeidah are helping people with literally nothing left because they have sold all their belongings just to make sure that their families are fed. However, as long as this conflict continues, this amount will merely be a plaster on a fragile humanitarian situation.”

 

The Venezuelan appeal, meanwhile, is set to help Colombia and other host countries, but it does not cover needs inside Venezuela, where the government resists any labelling of events as a humanitarian crisis.

 

A UN-managed emergency fund released $9.2 million to UN agencies to step up humanitarian-related responses within Venezuela in November.

 

“People describe what’s going on in different ways,” Lowcock told IRIN, referring to Venezuela’s reluctance to term it a humanitarian crisis, adding that inside the country the UN is only “trying to scale up our support” and expand its “normal activity”.

 

Mixed picture

In Geneva to launch the package, dubbed the Global Humanitarian Overview, Lowcock said the UN and its NGO and governmental partners had drawn up plans to help 93.6 million people in 2019 – about one in 70 of the world population. The number of people in need and the value of total appeals would be about the same as in 2018, reaching a price tag of around $25 billion once Syria’s plan was completed, he said.

 

Syria’s response plan is as yet uncosted. Lowcock said finishing it was delayed until February while the UN attempts to gather fresh data on needs inside the country. The update will require Syrian government flexibility on in-country surveys and access to boost the credibility and data behind funding requests – a measure demanded by donors on which Lowcock has been seeking Damascus’ cooperation.

 

According to OCHA, a number of situations around the world have eased this year, including in Burundi, Iraq, and Somalia. Others have improved and no longer require emergency plans: Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Senegal.

 

But some situations have worsened. in Cameroon, the number of people in need has jumped 77 percent thanks to a brewing civil war, while Afghanistan’s appeal, due in part to conflict and drought, is 41 percent higher.

 

A third category contains countries where the situation remains serious but relatively unchanged: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Sudan.

 

 

UN-coordinated humanitarian response plans are a compendium of projects from UN agencies and NGOs on the assistance they will provide, such as supplying food, running clinics, providing clean water, and setting up shelter.

 

Even though they are presented as meeting only the highest priority needs, the plans are, on average, only 56 percent funded in 2018. Some emergencies struggle to capture donor interest (Haiti got only 11.2 percent of the requested funding), while others, like Afghanistan and Iraq, which command greater international attention, tend to do better.

 

Separately on Monday, the International Committee of the Red Cross announced its 2019 emergency appeal, for 2.1 billion Swiss Francs, for which Syria, South Sudan, and Iraq are the largest country operations.

(TOP PHOTO: Displaced families from Hodeidah receive UNHCR assistance in Bajil district, Hodeidah province, Yemen. CREDIT: Haitham al-Akhali/UNHCR)

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Displacement from Hodeidah News Aid and Policy UN appeals for record $4 billion to help the people of Yemen Ben Parker IRIN Cameroon's conflict and Venezuela’s exodus also highlighted by 2019 fundraising drive Geneva Cameroon Venezuela United Nations HQ Yemen
          Aid deliveries to Syria at risk in UN Security Council vote      Cache   Translate Page      

A Security Council resolution that allows the UN to deliver aid across Syria’s borders into opposition-held areas without the permission of President Bashar al-Assad is up for renewal and, as with so many diplomatic manoeuvres in the seven-year war, all eyes are on Russia.

 

The UN relies on Resolution 2165, first passed in 2014, to use two crossings with Turkey to bring aid to millions of civilians in Syria’s rebel-held northwest, many of whom have fled their homes elsewhere in the country. A government offensive to retake the area, which includes Idlib province, is currently on hold after a deal brokered by Turkey and Russia.

 

The lion’s share of cross-border assistance is delivered by groups outside the UN system, but humanitarians say the UN provides a reputational and organisational backbone that bolsters the entire aid operation – one that risks being lost if Russia vetoes the resolution.

 

In an interview on Monday with IRIN’s Ben Parker, UN aid chief Mark Lowcock said there is “no plan B” for delivering UN assistance without the backing of UN resolutions, as the Syrian government is “not willing” to allow aid to cross its front lines to reach rebel-held areas.

 

☰ Read more: The backstory of Resolution 2165

 

UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182, which is the basis for all UN international humanitarian action, states “humanitarian assistance should be provided with the consent of the affected country”. The Geneva Conventions also say the consent of affected states is required but may not be arbitrarily withheld.

In the early years of Syria’s war, many NGOs said that aid was being arbitrarily withheld to border regions and argued that by bringing aid in across borders they were therefore safely within the bounds of the Geneva Conventions.

But that wasn’t good enough for the UN, which had an assertive member state – Syria – saying no to assistance; to work under 46/182 the body needed a Security Council resolution. They got it with 2165, which said that UN agencies no longer had to request permission from al-Assad, they only had to notify Damascus before crossing the border through one of four entry points:

  • Bab al-Hawa, from Turkey into Idlib in northwestern Syria
  • Bab al-Salameh, also from Turkey into northwestern Syria
  • Ramtha, from Jordan into southern Syria
  • Yaroubiyeh, from Iraq into northeastern Syria

In 2018, the Ramtha crossing with Jordan was retaken by the Syrian army. Yaroubiyeh has been used sparingly, partly because of insecurity in Iraq.

As a result, 2165 now mostly matters for northwestern Syria – an area which, according to statistics compiled by the Mercy Corps Humanitarian Access Team and made available to IRIN, holds some 3.3 million Syrians, three quarters of whom live in the wider Idlib area. (However, population statistics in Syria are highly unreliable.)

Although 2165 does not require permission from Damascus, a demanding apparatus of border inspections came with the resolution, staffed by the UN and funded by donors.

New UN hubs sprang up in the Turkish city of Gaziantep and in Amman, from where UN agencies began to organise a regular supply chain for civilians in border areas outside al-Assad’s control.

 

With 2165 set to expire 10 January, Kuwait and Sweden are readying a one-year renewal. The two Security Council members will circulate a draft “soon”, Kuwait’s ambassador to the UN said on Friday.

 

“The resolution allows the UN and its partners to deliver humanitarian aid through the most direct routes to people in need in Syria,” Per Örnéus, Sweden’s special envoy for the Syria crisis, told IRIN. “The mandate is strictly humanitarian, offering a lifeline for millions of people,” he added. “It must be extended.”

 

The resolution has been renewed annually since 2014, but last year’s vote caused friction – and nail-biting for humanitarians working on Syrian aid operations – when Russia singled it out for harsh criticism, saying it threatened Syria’s sovereignty.

 

While al-Assad’s top ally on the Security Council opted not to veto last year, Moscow is sending out mixed signals as the January deadline approaches. Renewal looks more likely than not, but it is far from a sure thing.

 

Major impact

Resolution 2165 was first mooted at a time in the war when Damascus regularly denied UN requests to bring help across its borders to areas dominated by the opposition. It allows the UN to bring shipments in at specific points, as long as it notifies the Syrian government.

 

Humanitarians insist 2165 is crucial, and stress that its importance should not be measured just in terms of the actual quantities of aid delivered.

In 2017, UN agencies like WFP or UNHCR provided only around 20 percent of the cross-border aid deliveries to Syria. NGOs outside of the UN system brought in the rest, often delivering it through local Syrian organisations and importing their aid mostly through commercial channels (the official Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salameh crossings with Turkey) or a separate network of crossings monitored by the Turkish Red Crescent.

Map of Syria border crossings with Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon

 

Most goods – like food and fuel – enter northwestern Syria on a for-profit basis, imported by Turkish or Syrian businessmen.

Aid agencies say more than three million people live in northwestern areas not controlled by the Syrian government, though population estimates in Syria are notoriously unreliable and have in the past often suffered from overcounting.

Without 2165, private traders and NGOs could still bring goods in, as long as Ankara approved. But UN involvement would likely end immediately if Damascus objected, and, while NGOs might be able to fill the tonnage gap created by a UN pull-out, losing 2165 would be a big blow to the humanitarian relief effort.

A source with significant experience of the Syrian aid operation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said 2165 brought a “significant increase in the overall response” by helping “what was a fragmented humanitarian community come closer together, coordinate, build institutions, and deliver a more joined-up and effective response as of 2015.”

Mathieu Rouquette of the Syria International NGO Regional Forum, a network of 70 aid groups working in Syria, said the resolution “still underpins access to millions of people in areas that we are not able to reach from Damascus.”

There would be other impacts too.

Aid operations would likely suffer if the UN stopped planning and coordinating deliveries in the Turkish border town of Gaziantep, as many NGOs rely on the UN hub for logistical support.

“The resolution is what underpins the overall architecture of the humanitarian response,” explained Rouquette. “So an end to that would necessarily mean a return to a fragmented humanitarian response.”

Moving to Damascus

Aid workers said the loss of a UN role in the cross-border response would also accelerate the shift of international NGOs from opposition-held areas towards parts of Syria controlled by al-Assad’s government, while enhancing Ankara’s influence over cross-border operations.

The Syrian government has told most NGOs that in order to register in Damascus they must end their “illegal” cross-border work under 2165.

Many international NGOs were originally drawn into cross-border work early in the war by US and EU funding streams geared to shore up opposition regions, while others branched out from working with Syrian refugees. They also filled in the gaps before 2165 when the UN could only assist Syrians in state-controlled areas, except for very rare “cross-line” exceptions, like convoys from Damascus to besieged areas.

Some chafe under the rules laid down by Turkey: Ankara has told international NGOs they can either provide cross-border assistance from Turkey to Syrians in the rebel-held northwest, or work in in northeastern Syria, which is controlled by US-backed Kurdish groups hostile to the Turkish government. They can’t do both.

In 2017, Turkish authorities ordered Mercy Corps to leave the country, apparently as punishment for its work in the Kurdish-held regions.

With al-Assad now back in charge of most of Syria, and the sole remaining cross-border hub in Gaziantep catering to an area of northern Syria that is largely under Turkish tutelage, many NGOs have come to view Damascus as the best option.

“The resolution is what underpins the overall architecture of the humanitarian response.”

Several NGOs have voiced concerns about what being stripped of the UN cover would mean for the overall optics of cross-border work in a place like Idlib province, which is currently controlled by rebel groups – some of whom are designated terrorists by the United States and other countries.

Bab al-Hawa has been controlled by the UN-designated al-Qaeda spinoff Tahrir al-Sham since 2017 and has been at the centre of diversion scandals that triggered Western aid cutoffs and NGOs suspensions. USAID is now rolling out a stricter inspection regime, further tilting the risk analysis for NGOs pondering where to focus their operations.

On Monday, the Charity Commission – the UK government department that regulates and registers NGOs in England and Wales – issued an alert, warning “there is a risk that a terrorist organisation may financially benefit from any aid passing through the Bab al-Hawa crossing.”

Tripping over counter-terrorism sanctions can cause very serious problems for NGOs: legal issues, economic losses, reputational damage, and donor flight. In the face of these risks, UN involvement offers them and their donors a sense of reassurance and legitimacy.

Should the cross-border operation be stripped of its UN participation, it would likely prod more Western NGOs to withdraw from Syria altogether or rebase in Damascus on terms set by al-Assad. And, as a result, the northwestern cross-border response would come to rely even more on the Turkish Red Crescent and other Ankara-friendly groups.

 

Russian roulette

With a resolution expected on the table in the coming weeks, a Swedish diplomatic source told IRIN that Turkey and Russia are now the “key actors” in the battle over 2165. Ankara may influence Moscow’s views, but it is Russia’s vote in the Security Council that will be decisive.

☰ Read more: Moscow’s mood swings

 

Moscow joined Western states in voting for resolution 2165 and extensions of it in 2014, 2015, and 2016. But last year’s vote was different.

In November 2017, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia slammed 2165 as “unprecedented and extreme” and said it “usurps Syria’s sovereignty”. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson accused the resolution of contributing to “the division of Syria”.

US-Russian conflict in the Security Council was then at a high pitch after Nebenzia cast three successive vetoes to shut down a UN investigation that found the Syrian military had gassed civilians, and many humanitarians feared that 2165’s time was up.

However, Moscow relented and said it would abstain from voting in return for a review of cross-border aid and monitoring procedures by the secretary-general, allowing 2165 to be renewed on 19 December 2017 with 12 votes in favour and none against. (China and Bolivia also abstained.)

While aid workers were relieved, many assumed that the resolution was unlikely to be renewed again in recognisable shape.

But something happened soon after that: Instead of ramping up attacks on 2165 as the vote approached, Moscow fell silent.

IRIN has learned that a Russian diplomat unexpectedly told NGO representatives in Geneva last month that cross-border aid “should remain and should remain as it is”.

Four humanitarian and two diplomatic sources confirmed that Russia voiced support for continued cross-border aid.

Most attributed Russia’s apparent 180 degree turn to the 17 September Turkish-Russian agreement over Idlib, which seems to reflect an unspoken understanding that northwestern Syria will effectively remain in Turkish hands for the foreseeable future.

“The only explanation I can think of is that there was some sort of deal struck between Turkey and Russia as part of the broader negotiations over Idlib in which Turkey sought non-opposition on this to avoid having to let in another wave of refugees”, a humanitarian source told IRIN.

Russia could also have decided that it is not currently in its interest to hand back control over cross-border aid to al-Assad, when it currently has that control itself through the Security Council. Even then, Moscow may of course seek to dilute or amend Resolution 2165.

 

After abstaining from voting on a renewal in 2017, Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia as recently as June called the UN secretary-general’s positive review of the resolution  “disappointing” and said “it is essential to work to end the mechanism”, warning that the UN needed to “prepare for the closure of cross-border operations”.

More recently, Moscow has signalled it will not look to block renewal. But some supporters of 2165 worry that Russia may be trying to lull rivals into a false sense of security, while others fear that poorly handled debates or unrelated quarrels could still encourage a veto.

“To be honest, I’m not convinced the renewal will be so easy,” one humanitarian source said, accusing parts of the aid community of showing a “baffling” faith in renewal and of failing to prepare for other outcomes.

On 29 November, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyansky told the Security Council that terrorist-listed groups are exploiting cross-border support and insisted that the “significant changes” on the ground in Syria in 2018 require “commensurate adjustment of the cross-border mechanism”.

Polyansky did not elaborate, but even if Moscow has decided to let 2165 live until further notice, there are a number of limited amendments that may be in the Russian interest.

Russia could, for example, condition renewal on new language that reinforces al-Assad’s legitimacy or supports reconstruction aid for Syria, which would infuriate Western nations. And while Turkey would presumably oppose the UN’s loss of access through Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salameh, stripping away UN access to US-backed Kurdish areas through the third crossing at Yaaroubiyeh might be another matter.

If Moscow wants to have 2165 on the table more often, as a source of leverage, it could also seek to cut the time between renewals.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian UN mission, and representatives of the Syrian government all failed to responded to IRIN’s requests for comment.

(TOP PHOTO: Internally displaced Syrians in northern Aleppo province's Tel Rifaat collect aid supplies. CREDIT: Antwan Chnkdji/UNHCR)

al/as/ag

Russia could veto renewal of the resolution that gives UN access to rebel areas Aid deliveries to Syria at risk in UN Security Council vote rf2199779_10152018_talrefaat_dis_sarc_achnkdji_037.jpg Aron Lund Analysis Aid and Policy Conflict STOCKHOLM IRIN Middle East and North Africa Syria
          At Least 206 Civilians Killed in November by US Airstrikes in Syria      Cache   Translate Page      
By Jason Ditz (ANTIWAR.COM) — The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has issued a new report over the weekend summarizing the massive civilian death toll of US-led...
          Licence suspension for Uber driver in deadly Gardiner crash      Cache   Translate Page      

An Uber driver whose “bad decisions” behind the wheel cost the life of a young man “who had much to offer this world” has lost his licence for a year, been ordered to take a remedial driving course and sentenced to two years of probation.

Abdihared Bishar-Mussa, 23, was sentenced Tuesday by Ontario Court Justice Paul Robertson for his involvement in a March 21, 2018 crash on the Gardiner Expressway that killed Nicholas Cameron, 28, and injured Cameron’s girlfriend, Monika Traikov.

The judge wrote in his eight-page decision that he “struggled” to craft a “meaningful sentence” that reflected both Bishar-Mussa’s level of moral blameworthiness and the gravity of the offence, and acknowledged that “there will be no agreement the sentence I’m about to impose is adequate.”

Roberston addressed the grief-stricken Cameron family in his ruling, acknowledging their profound loss and that “no sentence, no punishment can restore things to the way they were or to the way they should be.”

He also spoke directly to Bishar-Mussa.

“No sentence can restore a life,” he said. “But a sentence can strive to ensure that you, at least in part, pay back to society the harm caused by you actions and you are never again able to place someone in harm’s way until you are ready to take on the privilege of driving.”

It was the Somalian refugee’s second day driving for Uber. He was taking the couple to Pearson Airport, where they were about to embark on a vacation, using a car he purchased to help support his parents and six siblings, who live in a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto.

While en route, Bishar-Mussa pulled his car off the highway to retrieve a fallen cellphone. As he tried to re-enter traffic, a second driver, Jose Estacion, smashed into Bishar-Mussa’s vehicle, sending it careening across four lanes of traffic. “He (Estacion) was distracted in his driving, as he was looking at his phone,” Robertson noted in his ruling. Estacion has been charged with careless driving.

Cameron, who was sitting in the back, suffered a fatal neck injury.

Bishar-Mussa was originally charged with the more serious charges of dangerous driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death, but pleaded guilty in October to the reduced charge of careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act.

The judge wrote that aggravating factors included the fact Bishar-Mussa was driving a commercial vehicle and had accepted a “duty of care to his passengers” yet had “little understanding of the road network of the city.” After picking up the couple, Bishar-Mussa headed in the opposite direction of the airport.

The judge suggested it was appropriate that he perform his 50 hours of community service by “speaking at schools of the need and importance of safe driving.”

Bishar-Mussa surrendered his driver’s licence in March. The one-year driving prohibition began Tuesday, along with probation. The judge also imposed a $1,000 fine, saying the amount has “little deterrent value” and takes into account his precarious finances.

The judge commended the Crown attorney Michael Coristine for making the tough and “unpopular” decision of accepting a plea to a lesser offence, but said based on the evidence “his decision in this case ... is well founded in law.”

He saved the final words in his judgment for Cameron’s mother Cheryl Hawkes, his siblings and other family members. Robertson referred to one of the “heart-wrenching” victim impact statements written by a Syrian refugee family helped by Cameron, a web designer and writer.

“I sincerely hope as a family, an extended family, you can rally together and find the glue Nick once was, and to continue to offer the world those things Nick showed to a family of downtrodden refugees.”

Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy


          12/5/2018: WORLD: Stranded for 20 years      Cache   Translate Page      
BRITAIN has granted permanent residency to a group of refugees who have been stranded for 20 years on a UK military base in Cyprus. The 31 members of six families were among a larger group from Ethiopia, Iraq, Sudan and Syria whose boat was abandoned...
          Editorial Content for Zenobia      Cache   Translate Page      

Book

Contributors

Reviewer (text)

Sarah Rachel Egelman

Zenobia, the third century queen of Syria, was powerful and intelligent, known for her compassion and tolerance. She has gone down in history as a heroine worthy of much tribute and celebration. Though perhaps not well known to those outside of the region of her influence, for a young Syrian girl, Queen Zenobia would be a symbol of bravery, beauty, leadership and heart.

Teaser

Zenobia was once a great warrior queen of Syria whose reign reached from Egypt to Turkey. When things feel overwhelming for Amina, her mother reminds her to think of Zenobia and be strong. Amina is a Syrian girl caught up in a war that reaches her village. To escape the war she boards a small boat crammed with other refugees. The boat is rickety and the turbulent seas send Amina overboard. In the dark water Amina remembers playing hide and seek with her mother and the journey she had to undertake with her uncle to escape. And she thinks of the brave warrior Zenobia.

Promo

Zenobia was once a great warrior queen of Syria whose reign reached from Egypt to Turkey. When things feel overwhelming for Amina, her mother reminds her to think of Zenobia and be strong. Amina is a Syrian girl caught up in a war that reaches her village. To escape the war she boards a small boat crammed with other refugees. The boat is rickety and the turbulent seas send Amina overboard. In the dark water Amina remembers playing hide and seek with her mother and the journey she had to undertake with her uncle to escape. And she thinks of the brave warrior Zenobia.

About the Book

A deeply moving and award-winning graphic novel about a young Syrian refugee.

Zenobia was once a great warrior queen of Syria whose reign reached from Egypt to Turkey. She was courageous. No one gave her orders. Once she even went to war against the emperor of Rome.

When things feel overwhelming for Amina, her mother reminds her to think of Zenobia and be strong. Amina is a Syrian girl caught up in a war that reaches her village. To escape the war she boards a small boat crammed with other refugees. The boat is rickety and the turbulent seas send Amina overboard. In the dark water Amina remembers playing hide and seek with her mother and making dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) and the journey she had to undertake with her uncle to escape. And she thinks of the brave warrior Zenobia.

ZENOBIA is a heartbreaking and all-too-real story of one child's experience of war. Told with great sensitivity in few words and almost exclusively with pictures, ZENOBIA is a story for children and adults.

read more


          Turkey, Russia working to resolve Idlib issues: Erdoğan      Cache   Translate Page      
Turkey and Russia do not have a “serious problem” with regards to Syria’s Idlib province, where the two countries are trying to create a sustainable demilitarized zone, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 2.
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Syrian refugees living in the southern Turkish province of Osmaniye have been growing vegetables in a newly set up greenhouse next to their refugee camp, which hosts 15,000 people, as part of a project launched by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
          Christians Face ‘imminent extinction’ in Middle East      Cache   Translate Page      

Chritians in the middle east

The Archbishop of Canterbury warns that unless more countries reach out a helping hand to Christians in the Middle East who are trying to escape the Islamic State, soon there won't be any left to help.

The post Christians Face ‘imminent extinction’ in Middle East appeared first on ChurchLeaders.


          Modern War, Issue 39: Axis of Evil (new from Decision Games)      Cache   Translate Page      

magazine featuring the insert game, Axis of Evil, an operational-strategic level two-player wargame covering a struggle between the Russian-led Eurasian Union and a Coalition of opposing states to gain control of the Middle East, from Iran to Syria and the Persian Gulf. Possible combatants include Russia, various Middle Eastern states, China, Iran, and the Persian Gulf countries. The game system models the situation at the highest strategic level. Using a variation of Ty Bomba's Putin's War (MW #29). [Forum]


          Hanukkah, The Festival Of Lights And Freedom      Cache   Translate Page      

Tonight marks the second night of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights .

While many of you may be familiar with the story of the Miracle of the Oil, the truth is that Hanukkah really celebrates another miracle - the miracle of a group of untrained farmers and tradesman with hardly any arms or experience in war utterly defeating the professional armies of the Seleucid Empire, a victory for freedom that belongs to all of us alike, Jew and Gentile.

Hanukkah celebrates not only one of the important events in Jewish history but is a celebration of the triumph of faith,of light over darkness. It takes place every year,usually in mid to late December, but while its date varies if you go by the western calendar, in the Hebrew calendar Hanukkah always falls on the eve of the 24th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev.

This war for Jewish independence took place in the second century B.C.E. The story is told in the First Book of Maccabees, and retold in the Second Book of Maccabees. An excellent contemporary military history of the war can be found in Battles of the Bible, coauthored by Chaim Herzog and Mordechai Gichon.

After his death, Alexander the Great's empire broke into several parts, and Israel was under the control of the Seleucid Greek empire, based in Syria. Israel had lived peacefully under the Persian Empire and under the Ptolemic empire (of Egypt), both which tolerated Judaism but the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus Epiphanes was an arrogant, bigoted ruler who attempted to force the Jews to abandon their religion and to adopt the Seleucid Greek customs and worship,which included idolatry.

There were those Jews back then whom considered themselves `modern' and `assimilated' who were willing to go along with this, even to the extent of having surgical operations to reverse circumcision.

Others did not, and they were persecuted vigorously and brutalized by the Seleucid Greeks. Even the teaching of Torah,the Jewish Scriptures was forbidden.

Tyrants always overreach and the start of the Maccabee Revolt sprang from a single spontaneous act of resistance. In the foothills village of Modi'in in 167BCE, a Greek army unit set up an altar, and ordered the local Jewish rabbi, Mattathias, to sacrifice a pig and eat it. He refused, as did his five sons. When a Jewish collaborator came forward to offer to perform the sacrifice, a furious Mattathias "ran and killed him on the spot, killed the king's officer who was forcing them to sacrifice, and tore down the altar" (1 Mac. 2:15-25).

Mattathias, his sons and their followers then headed for the Judean hills, to launch a guerrilla war along with a handful of followers. They were farmers who had no military training, facing a war with a well armed professional military. There hadn't been a Jewish army since Babylon had destroyed the Judean kingdom four centuries before. The only weapons they had were farming tools and whatever simple weapons they could construct, such as bows, maces and slings. During this first year, Mattathias died, and his middle son Judah took over command as his successor.

Nicknamed "the hammer" ("Maccabee," in Hebrew), Judah put together a guerrilla army that staged daring nighttime raids on the Greek outposts, then melted back into the countryside. His successes attracted more supporters, and the revolt spread.

The war went on for 25 years, one of the most singular wars for independence in history. It's amazing that it was fought at all, let alone won.

The Seleucids and their King Antiochus were determined to crush the revolt. They sent huge, well equipped armies into Israel to subdue the Jews. They were all defeated, at odds that seem miraculous even today. Judah Maccabee turned out to be a military genius, using unheard of tactics, leading the Greek phalanxes into the hills where they could not maneuver and destroying them in ambushes.

To give you an idea of how essential the Jewish heartland of Judea and Samaria was and is to Israel's survival then and now, the map below shows where the major battles of the war took place.(hat tip, Carl) Click on it to enlarge it:



Judea and Samaria were a natural fortress that completely defied all attempts of the Seleucid armies to take it, a lesson well worth remembering even today. Even their famous war elephants, the heavy tanks of the day were of no use in that terrain.

One thing that is seldom mentioned about the war is the fact that a significant part of it took place against the Hellenized, `modern',`assimilated' Jewish traitors I mentioned earlier, who were more than willing to abandon the Jewish way of life and supported their Seleucid masters against their fellow Jews.

As Ecclesiastes famously said in the Megillot, there's nothing new under the sun.

In 164 BCE, the Jews utterly routed a large force commanded by the Seluecid Viceroy Lysias that had outnumbered them two to one. That battle took place six miles north of Hebron, near the Jewish fortress of Beth-zur. The victory allowed Judah and his army to retake Jerusalem.

When they entered Jerusalem, Judah and his followers entered the Holy Temple on the Temple Mount. The Temple had been wrecked and horribly desecrated, with profanities scrawled on the walls and the Ark by the Seleucids.

So the Maccabees built a new altar. When the time came to light the N'er Tamid, the Eternal Light of the Temple, the Jews could find only one sanctified jar of oil marked with the seal of the High Priest. It was enough to last one evening. On the 25th of Kislev, in the year 164 BCE,the lamp was lit with this small jar of oil and, miraculously, stayed lit for eight days, until more oil suitable for the temple was made. The eight days of Hanukkah celebrate that miracle, as well as the divine intervention that had led the Jews to amazing victories over well-equipped enemies far superior in numbers. "Therefore, carrying ivy-wreathed wands and beautiful branches and also fronds of palm, they offered hymns of thanksgiving to him who had given success to the purifying of his own holy place" (2 Mac. 10:7).

The war itself continued. In 160 BCE, near modern-day Ramallah, Judah was killed, but Judah's brother Jonathan, and then his brother Simon took command of the Jewish army, finally winning complete independence in 142 BCE. At last, "All the people sat under their own vines and fig trees, and there was none to make them afraid" (1 Mac. 14:12).

Towards the end of the war, Antiochus and the Seleucids became so obsessed with defeating the Israelites that they sacked their own cities and sold their own citizens into slavery to get money to pursue the war against the Jews.

That verse from the first Book Of Maccabee, by the way, was quoted by America's first president George Washington in his famous letter to the Jewish community in Providence, Rhode Island in 1790, telling them they were welcome in America. Being obviously familiar with the story of the Maccabees,General Washington may well have taken comfort in the dark days of our own struggle for independence and freedom from tyranny from it.

The War of the Maccabees was the first war ever fought for religious freedom. Somehow, a group of farmers who refused to bow to their oppressors defeated a mighty empire and its immense standing armies. There seems to be no plausible explanation for the victory of the Jews except that it was a miracle.

Hanukkah reminds us that with G-d's help, victory over evil is assured, that light triumphs over darkness and no miracle is impossible. Modern Israel and the survival of the Jewish people against all odds are proof of that.


Symbols in Hanukkah

Aside from the Hanukkiah (candlesticks), the other great symbol of Hanukkah are those small spinning tops known as dreidels.













The four letters which appear on the four corners of a dreidel allude to the miracle of Hanukkah. They spell out: Nes (N-miracle), Gadol (G-great), Haya (H-happened) and Sham (S-there, meaning in Israel). Or, `a great miracle happened there.'

Indeed it did.

And this is also a time for Jews to light the menorah, to 'make public the miracle and shed light on the world, and to celebrate and to sing this ancient hymn, 'Maoz Tzur', (Rock of Ages). This version, fittingly, was cooked up by students at the Technion, one of the most advanced scientific seats of learning in the entire world and a symbol of Israel's rebirth:



חנוכה - בפקולטה לכימיה בטכניון יצרו גירסה מיוחדת באמצעות כלי מעבדה
ר מעוז צו

Chag Hanukkah Sameach! Happy Hanukkah!
          Sennacherib's Attack On Jerusalem      Cache   Translate Page      
2 Kings 19:20-37 - Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard....
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2 Kings 18:17-37 - And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller's field....
          Samaria In The Old Testament      Cache   Translate Page      
2 Kings 17:24-41 - And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof....
          Israel Exile Assyria      Cache   Translate Page      
2 Kings 17:7-23 - For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods,...
          Pul King Of Assyria      Cache   Translate Page      
2 Kings 15:17-22 - In the nine and thirtieth year of Azariah king of Judah began Menahem the son of Gadi to reign over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria....
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The 15-year-old was attacked at Almondbury School in Huddersfield.
          National Policy and Advocacy officer (INT5099)      Cache   Translate Page      
Region: MENA, Division: International, Job Type: Fixed Term
The Role

 

To deliver demonstrable impact through advocacy/research action in order to bring about changes to policy and practice of targets relating to Oxfam’s aims in gender and humanitarian programming.

 

About the MENA region

 

The MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region implements and manages programmes in Yemen, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan.

 

Programmes within the MENA region reflect Oxfam’s approach to work across the globe. We support self-reliance, not dependency, and to complement our work on the ground we strive to secure lasting change through our campaigning.

 

We also put women at the heart of all we do. The majority of people living in poverty...

          World News 2018      Cache   Translate Page      
A bunch of stories got the whole world talking this year - and for very good reasons.#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000

A bunch of stories got the whole world talking this year - and for very good reasons. Sadly though, many stories were difficult to hear, and some even upsetting to watch... thankfully we saw good people helping to change those stories for the better.

In the tricky world of politics in 2018, a lot of eyes were on America. Thousands of teenagers demanded to be heard on the issue of gun violence.

US President Donald Trump entered his second year in office and he went for a stroll with North Korea's leader, and North Korea's leader walked over to meet South Korea's leader. All aiming to turn old enemies into new friends.

In many places in the world, disaster struck. There were deadly earthquakes and tsunamis, floods, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions. Countries battled some of the worst forest fires they'd ever seen, and others are still struggling with drought.

But it wasn't just natural disasters that had the world worried. The war in Syria continued and people kept fleeing the country causing the biggest refugee crisis in decades. In another Middle Eastern country, Yemen, a different war escalated. Leaving around 11 million kids facing famine. In Central America, thousands of people left their homes to walk towards the US and Mexico border in search of a new life. But wherever there was disaster or war or poverty, there were always people working to make things better as well.

There was the incredible rescue of a boys' soccer team who were stuck in a flooded cave in Thailand. Many nations also came together to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War and to celebrate the biggest sporting event in the world. But some stories stretched beyond our world. We sent a probe on a mission to get closer to the sun than any spacecraft before it, and another touched down on Mars to uncover more of the red planet's secrets.

Back on Earth, we said goodbye to a genius who spent his life studying the universe. A singer whose voice helped change lives through music and activism and a man who created superheroes. A super blue blood moon made us look up to the sky, a search engine's 20th birthday that made us look down at our screens, and a whole lot of other wild, weird, wonderful things made us take a closer look at the world around us.


          December 5: 2 Chronicles 5–6:11; 1 John 4; Nahum 3; Luke 19       Cache   Translate Page      

With family: 2 Chronicles 5–6:11; 1 John 4

2 Chronicles 5–6:11 (Listen)

Thus all the work that Solomon did for the house of the LORD was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, and stored the silver, the gold, and all the vessels in the treasuries of the house of God.

The Ark Brought to the Temple

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers' houses of the people of Israel, in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. And all the men of Israel assembled before the king at the feast that is in the seventh month. And all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark. And they brought up the ark, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the Levitical priests brought them up. And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered. Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering above the ark and its poles. And the poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the Holy Place before the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen from outside. And they are1 there to this day. 10 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets that Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of Egypt. 11 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had consecrated themselves, without regard to their divisions, 12 and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; 13 and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD,

  “For he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever,”

the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.

Solomon Blesses the People

Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. But I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.” Then the king turned around and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel stood. And he said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father, saying, ‘Since the day that I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there, and I chose no man as prince over my people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem that my name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over my people Israel.’ Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. But the LORD said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, it is not you who shall build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name.’ 10 Now the LORD has fulfilled his promise that he made. For I have risen in the place of David my father and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and I have built the house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 11 And there I have set the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with the people of Israel.”

Footnotes

[1] 5:9 Hebrew it is

(ESV)

1 John 4 (Listen)

Test the Spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot1 love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Footnotes

[1] 4:20 Some manuscripts how can he

(ESV)

In private: Nahum 3; Luke 19

Nahum 3 (Listen)

Woe to Nineveh

  Woe to the bloody city,
    all full of lies and plunder—
    no end to the prey!
  The crack of the whip, and rumble of the wheel,
    galloping horse and bounding chariot!
  Horsemen charging,
    flashing sword and glittering spear,
  hosts of slain,
    heaps of corpses,
  dead bodies without end—
    they stumble over the bodies!
  And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute,
    graceful and of deadly charms,
  who betrays nations with her whorings,
    and peoples with her charms.
  Behold, I am against you,
    declares the LORD of hosts,
    and will lift up your skirts over your face;
  and I will make nations look at your nakedness
    and kingdoms at your shame.
  I will throw filth at you
    and treat you with contempt
    and make you a spectacle.
  And all who look at you will shrink from you and say,
  “Wasted is Nineveh; who will grieve for her?”
    Where shall I seek comforters for you?
  Are you better than Thebes1
    that sat by the Nile,
  with water around her,
    her rampart a sea,
    and water her wall?
  Cush was her strength;
    Egypt too, and that without limit;
    Put and the Libyans were her2 helpers.
10   Yet she became an exile;
    she went into captivity;
  her infants were dashed in pieces
    at the head of every street;
  for her honored men lots were cast,
    and all her great men were bound in chains.
11   You also will be drunken;
    you will go into hiding;
  you will seek a refuge from the enemy.
12   All your fortresses are like fig trees
    with first-ripe figs—
  if shaken they fall
    into the mouth of the eater.
13   Behold, your troops
    are women in your midst.
  The gates of your land
    are wide open to your enemies;
    fire has devoured your bars.
14   Draw water for the siege;
    strengthen your forts;
  go into the clay;
    tread the mortar;
    take hold of the brick mold!
15   There will the fire devour you;
    the sword will cut you off.
    It will devour you like the locust.
  Multiply yourselves like the locust;
    multiply like the grasshopper!
16   You increased your merchants
    more than the stars of the heavens.
    The locust spreads its wings and flies away.
17   Your princes are like grasshoppers,
    your scribes3 like clouds of locusts
  settling on the fences
    in a day of cold—
  when the sun rises, they fly away;
    no one knows where they are.
18   Your shepherds are asleep,
    O king of Assyria;
    your nobles slumber.
  Your people are scattered on the mountains
    with none to gather them.
19   There is no easing your hurt;
    your wound is grievous.
  All who hear the news about you
    clap their hands over you.
  For upon whom has not come
    your unceasing evil?

Footnotes

[1] 3:8 Hebrew No-amon
[2] 3:9 Hebrew your
[3] 3:17 Or marshals

(ESV)

Luke 19 (Listen)

Jesus and Zacchaeus

19 He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

The Parable of the Ten Minas

11 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12 He said therefore, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13 Calling ten of his servants,1 he gave them ten minas,2 and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. 16 The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant!3 Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18 And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24 And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26 ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’”

The Triumphal Entry

28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.

Footnotes

[1] 19:13 Or bondservants; also verse 15
[2] 19:13 A mina was about three months' wages for a laborer
[3] 19:17 Or bondservant; also verse 22

(ESV)


          Fund for bullied Syrian boy is closed after it raises £158,000      Cache   Translate Page      
The 15-year-old was attacked at Almondbury School in Huddersfield.
          Partnerships & Performance Support Unit (PPSU) Manager JDPartnerships & Performance Support Unit (PPSU) Manager JD      Cache   Translate Page      

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) is an independent humanitarian organisation of public utility, is permanent and continuous, and has a legal entity and enjoys financial and administrative independence. SARC was founded in 1942 according to the decrees No/540/ 1942 and No/117/ 1966 which regulate the Organisation’s work. It was recognized by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva (ICRC) in 1946, and is committed to upholding the Geneva Conventions and the seven Fundamental Principles of the International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies. Vacancy opening date: 04-12-2018 Vacancy closing date: 15/12/2018 Interested candidates are… Read More »

The post Partnerships & Performance Support Unit (PPSU) Manager JDPartnerships & Performance Support Unit (PPSU) Manager JD appeared first on Syrian Arab Red Crescent.


          Stitching a Future for an Age-Old Palestinian Embroidery Tradition      Cache   Translate Page      
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In a big-windowed lecture room, Wafa Ghnaim, author of a self-published book on Palestinian embroidery (known as tatreez) and founder of the nonprofit teaching initiative Taztreez & Tea, kicks off a three-hour needlework workshop with a heated primer on the perfect cross-stitch.

“Palestinians, we have a way for everything, even cutting our bread,” the 35-year-old entrepreneur, dressed in an intricate, hand-threaded maxi skirt, explains.

Whereas Japanese needlework, for example, focuses “on the way each stitch lays on top of each other,” Ghnaim says, Palestinian embroidery emphasizes the “cleanliness on the back of the cloth” and the ability to make out the motif on both sides. Eventually, she assures the class, “you’ll have a clear front and back.”

At least, that’s the goal. The larger mission of Ghnaim’s workshops, lectures, and publications—produced with backing from the Brooklyn Arts Council—is to revitalize the art of Palestinian embroidery, reaching new fans in the diaspora.

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Ghnaim, who was born and raised in Oregon, is the daughter of the acclaimed embroiderer Feryal Abbasi-Ghnaim, the 2018 recipient of a National Heritage award fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (“She even got a letter from Donald Trump,” chuckles Ghnaim. “He didn’t look that [her work] was Palestinian.”) She grew up apprenticing for her mother, who in 1948 fled war-torn Safad, now a town in present-day northern Israel.

The age-old craft of tatreez, a folk art practiced by rural women for centuries, serves as a window into the history of Palestinian exile. Mothers and grandmothers used to pass down designs, with different motifs associated with each village. After the founding of Israel in 1948, 750,000 Palestinian residents—roughly half the population—were forced into exile, an event remembered in Arabic as the Nakba, or catastrophe. Another disruption took place in 1967 during the Six-Day War—known as the Naksa, or defeat—when Israeli forces first occupied the West Bank. Basic survival superseded the role of craft traditions and place-based practices were upended.

“When Palestinians were exiled in 1948 and 1967, they weren’t carrying a pattern book. They were carrying their baby and running out the door,” Ghnaim says.

Yet in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, refugee camps also became vehicles of exchange as communities from all over Palestine converged. “There was a lot of sharing,” adds Ghnaim, as together women “had to recall and recreate their motifs.”

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In the 1960s and 1970s, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) revived folk traditions to promote Palestinian national heritage. According to Rachel Dedman, a London-based art critic who curated a show on the political history of Palestinian embroidery, tatreez became “a key signifier” of “endurance in the face of Israeli erasure and violence.” By the late 1980s, when the First Intifada erupted, embroidery emerged as a potent expression of resistance. The traditionally feminine craft spread as Palestinian men, languishing under Israeli lock-up, began honing their skills, explains Dedman.

In Ghnaim’s classes, men now typically make up a modest portion of the attendees. “I think that gendered aspect is breaking down, which is necessary for this art to stay alive,” she says. “I see in my classes a whole wide mix of people. I don’t just see Palestinian women and Palestinian men. I see non-Palestinian women. I see non-Palestinian men.”

Ghnaim’s educational events began running in Brooklyn and will soon move to Washington, D.C. On the day that I attend in October 2018, the pop-up is running alongside the D.C. Palestinian Film and Arts Festival, an annual lineup of Palestinian cultural offerings that features a richly embroidered tatreez design as its logo. Today, the assignment given to the 17 workshop attendees is to reproduce a delicate cypress motif, known as the “Tree of Life.”

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The room grows quiet with concentration, and the afternoon passes quickly. Unlike other species, the cypress tree “stays green and survives,” explains Ghnaim. “It gives until it dies and that’s the purpose of life. You give until your last day.” In the time it takes me to throw together a few rows of practice cross-stitches, Razan Sahuri, a Jordanian-born nutritionist, has already shown off a tiny, pristinely-stitched cypress tree.

“I think most Palestinians, when we see the embroidery, it feels like home,” says Sahuri, who moved to D.C. three years ago from Dubai, and grew up feeling caught between cultures. “I’m Palestinian but I’ve never been to Palestine. When it’s so far away, you want a thread to hang onto your culture. Pun intended!”

Caught between home and exile, past and present, the meticulously crafted stitches seem almost suspended somewhere between time and space. Dedman, the London curator, explains that embroidery is “by nature labored, private, and slow.” Far from a spontaneous public expression, the time-intensive pieces nonetheless form a quieter form of protest, with an “extended temporality” that spans its own steady, thread-by-thread creation.

Sahuri finds comfort in this measured, repetitive motion. “It’s like meditation. You can’t think of anything else,” she says. “I don’t know if mind numbing is the right word?”

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The scale on each piece is minuscule—each hole on the cloth just about the size of a period—and the work is eye-wateringly intensive. I have to pull apart my mangled tatreez stitches three times to start over. Though I had seen embroidered garments and souvenirs many times during my stays in Ramallah, it was only in attempting my own tatreez creation that I began to grasp the effort involved, as well as the complexity of each craft piece’s history. Embedded in each tatreez cloth are narratives of displacement and belonging, with embroiderers adding their own personal litany of sorrows and joys.

“Someone is really shedding skin when they’re producing the art,” says Ghnaim, who plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in Art History to trace the evolution of tatreez as it moves between generations in the diaspora. This year marks the re-release of an expanded print edition of her book: Tatreez & Tea: Embroidery and Storytelling in the Palestinian Diaspora. It also commemorates 70 long years of Palestinian exile.


          Syria's last shadow puppeteer hopes to save his art      Cache   Translate Page      
The last shadow puppeteer in Damascus lost most of his equipment to war and endured life as a refugee in Lebanon, but he now believes the old Syrian art form might survive after the United Nations said it needed to be saved.

          206 Civilians Killed by U.S. Led Airstrikes in Eastern Syria in November      Cache   Translate Page      
206 Civilians Killed by U.S. Led Airstrikes in Eastern Syria in November by http://www.xinhuanet.com/ DAMASCUS, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) — At least 206 civilians were killed in November this year by U.S.-led airstrikes on areas controlled by the Islamic State (IS) in eastern Syria, a war monitor reported Saturday. – As many as 77 children and 57 […]
          Comment on The China relationship by soundhill1      Cache   Translate Page      
"Simon Bridges has seized on it as a snub" I was horrified when NZ supported the US bombing of Syria not supported by UN. A justified snub I would say. It is one thing to support a motion at UN but quite another to support unilateral action against a UN decision. Or without UN consideration.
          Gay Romance Grows During 'A Moment in the Reeds'      Cache   Translate Page      
filmArts & Entertainment, film, Syria, Immigration, Love and Sex, Video

This gay love story defies borders. 

SyriaImmigrationLove and SexVideoNew Clip from A Moment in the ReedsAdvocate Video Team

A stolen kiss in a woodshed takes place between two young men from very different paths in this clip from the new feature film A Moment in the Reeds. A romance forms between a young Finnish academic, Leevi (Janne Puustinen), and a struggling Syrian refugee, Tareq (Boodi Kabbani). Both of the lead actors are gay, and their chemistry in the film is palpable. Secluded at Leevi's family's lake house, the two men act on their atttration despite the threat of Leevi's father returning. Watch their kiss below.

 

 

 

The Advocate spoke to Finnish director Mikko Makela about why he was compelled to tell this timely love story. 

"When we set out to make the film in early 2016, there had been no feature-length queer films produced in Finland, and very few films about immigrants to the country," he said. "I wanted to make a film about two outsiders in Finnish society who had until then rarely, if ever, been seen in Finnish cinema, and place them center stage in a story about the search for freedom and acceptance. With the terrifying swell of xenophobia in response to the arrival of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into Finland in 2015, it felt incredibly urgent to present a multidimensional, humanizing portrait of someone who is too often in people’s minds reduced to a stereotype built up simply from news headlines, or worse, xenophobic political discourse.

"At its heart, this is a film about two migrants, two people who have fled their native countries -- one of course in far more privileged circumstances than the other -- for a freer, safer life elsewhere: a common trajectory for queer people migrating from hostile environments to safer spaces. They meet in Finland, a country which they both view very differently: a society generally thought of as relatively liberal, where the Syrian Tareq feels that he can finally live freely, but which the Finnish Leevi has rejected as conservative and stifling. It was the tension inherent in this unexpected and problematic crossing of paths that I was compelled to explore in A Moment in the Reeds.

A Moment In The Reeds Still 1

"I wanted to portray the beauty and meaningfulness of an encounter between people coming from seemingly very different circumstances, yet who find common ground in shared emotions, hopes, dreams -- a shared humanity. I was trying to present a more expansive and inclusive vision of Finnish society against increasingly conservative ideas of national identity as defined through ethnicity or of masculinity as defined through heterosexuality. Whilst the film is set in Finland, its relevance to so many other western societies, not least the U.S., that currently find themselves grappling with nativist and xenophobic political movements trying to halt immigration and deny asylum to those most in need, has become woefully clear since shooting it."

A Moment in the Reeds is now available online.

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Gay Romance Grows During A Moment in the Reeds

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          LIST: Standings, Schedule, Brackets, Scores 5th Window 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Asia      Cache   Translate Page      
The 5th Window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Asia will start this coming November 29 and ends on December 3, 2018. There is a total of 12 games to be played by 12 qualifying countries.

LIST: Standings, Schedule, Brackets, Scores 5th Window 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Asia

Please refer to the list below for more details:




LIST: Standings, Schedule, Brackets, Scores 5th Window 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Asia

The 12 qualifying teams are the following:

STANDINGS
GROUP E (W/L)
 New Zealand [9/1]
 Korea - [8/2]
 China - [6/4]
 Lebanon - [6/4]
 Jordan - [5/5]
 Syria - [2/8]
GROUP F [W/L]
 Australia - [9/1]
 Iran - [7/3]
 Japan - [6/4]
 Philippines - [5/5]
 Kazakhstan - [4/6]
 Qatar - [2/8]

GAME SCHEDULE:
November 29:  New Zealand vs  Jordan, 2:10 PM, Christchurch, Horncastle Arena, 95-69 New Zealand
November 29:  Korea vs  Lebanon, 6:30 PM, Busan, Sajik Indoor Gymnasium,84-71 Korea
November 29:  China vs  Syria, 8:00 PM, Shanghai Baoshan Indoor Stadium, 101-52 China
November 30:  Australia vs  Iran, 4:35 PM, Melbourne, Margaret Court Arena, 76-47 Australia
November 30:  Japan vs  Qatar, 6:00 PM, Toyama City Gymnasium, 85-47 Japan
November 30:  Philippines vs  Kazakhstan, 7:30 PM, MOA Arena, 92-88 Kazakhstan
December 2:  New Zealand vs  Syria, 10:10 AM, Wellington, TSB Bank Arena, 97-74 New Zealand
December 2:  Korea vs  Jordan, 2:00 PM, Busan, Sajik Indoor Gymnasium, 88-67 Korea
December 2:  China vs  Lebanon, 7:35 PM, Foshan International Sports and Cultural Arena, 72-52 China
December 3:  Australia vs  Qatar, 4:35 PM, Melbourne, Margaret Court Arena, 110-59 Australia
December 3:  Japan vs  Kazakhstan, 6:00 PM, Toyama City Gymnasium, 86-70 Japan
December 3:  Philippines vs  Iran, 7:30 PM, MOA Arena, 78-70 Iran

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          High-Energy Laser Systems and the Future of Warfare      Cache   Translate Page      

Jason Sattler 

 November 29, 2018

One of the defense world’s newest and most promising innovations is the High Energy Laser Weapon System. It is the most advanced and capable concept for a tactical, ground-based defensive laser system, capable of being mounted on a variety of air, land, or sea-based platforms. Of course, lasers themselves are not a new technology. Lasers have been studied and tested for military use for decades. Recently, companies such as Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon have taken this existing technology, scaled it down, and adapted it for a variety of platforms with a new purpose: to shoot down weaponized drones and small munitions. This new mission set for the tactical laser offers the military a drone-killing weapon system that could keep the U.S. ahead of the power curve on the modern battlefield, especially in the fight against non-state actors and armies increasingly using drones for combat operations. Such new weaponry would ensure U.S. and coalition troops engaged in irregular warfare can maintain tactical air supremacy. America’s adversaries are developing new techniques like swarming and obtaining cheaper technology like commercially available drones to overcome, or at least deny, the preponderant American overmatch in the burgeoning field of unmanned vehicles in all domains.

GENESIS

The first exploration into the different possibilities for weaponized lasers began in the 1990s, which culminated in a major study published by the Defense Science Board Task Force in 2001. The Task Force explored the range of possibilities and limitations related to mounting lasers on land, air, and naval platforms, and examined the budgeting timeline and technological advances necessary to build an effective operational system. In short, they recognized laser capabilities were possible and could be developed in the future, but the technological limitations of 2001––weight, energy efficiency, and laser potency, for example––did not permit the creation of effective prototypes. Nevertheless, the Task Force correctly identified the technological advances necessary to create effective platforms that could both provide both offensive and defensive capabilities.[1]

ISIS Drones (Abu Medinah/YouTube)

Since 2001, laser technology has become lighter, more potent, and more energy efficient. Recently, the development of ground-based laser defense technology has been scaled down and adapted for tactical use as a result of changing trends in contemporary warfare. This sudden interest “has been sparked in part by the proliferation of cheap, easy-to-obtain drones.”[2] Contemporary armed groups such as the Islamic State and the Houthi rebels in Yemen have employed small and inexpensive commercial-off-the-shelf drones to conduct reconnaissance missions and attack U.S. and allied forces in their respective areas of operation. To combat this, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is looking to develop a “low-cost solution for a low-cost problem.”[3] DARPA recognizes the military needs a cost-effective way to defend against lowball attacks, one that is not using a $3 million Patriot missile to take down a $200 consumer drone, which will likely increase in both quality and lethality as drone technology further develops and becomes cheaper.[4] Such a low-cost adaptation is necessary as more state and non-state actors gain access to and employ unmanned technology.[5] At present, conducting Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems operations (C-UAS) by jury-rigging multi-million dollar defense systems such as Israel’s Iron Dome is unsustainable in the long run and diverts these systems from their original purpose. If we accept that hostile drone threats will persist, the U.S. military requires systems similar to Lockheed Martin’s prototype: The High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck. It is equipped with a 50-kilowatt high-energy solid-state fiber laser and has a cost per kill of about $30.[6]

LIMITATIONS

What makes the High Energy Laser so cheap to operate? The technology has become more compact and more cost effective to produce than the early concepts of 2001. Below is the initial concept for a vehicle-borne high energy laser system as it existed in 2001.[7]

ZEUS-HLONS (USASMDC/Wikimedia)

Unfortunately, the vehicle was enormous, bulky, and overweight; this is hardly the type of agile weapon system needed on a contemporary era battlefield. The laser unit itself created an incredible amount of heat, and the vehicle’s cooling system could only keep the laser running for about 10 engagements before requiring a 30-minute cooldown period.[8] Heat signatures are a major problem on the 21st century battlefield, as most foreign militaries, to include some insurgents, have infrared sensing technologies able to detect even a well-hidden laser-shooting vehicle due to its heat signature.

Finally, the vehicle’s batteries lacked the capacity and staying power needed to operate such a large unit for normal combat operations. This laser was 100 kW––double the energy output of Lockheed’s concept. The 2001 Science Board Task Force report identified this shortfall, and recommended “the cost in terms of watt of output energy must fall by over an order of magnitude to be affordable for an Army ground weapon system.”[9] Also, the Board noticed “the primary cost driver [appeared] to be the microchannel cooler manufacturing” and suggested a “hybrid-electrical ground vehicle is ideally suited to carry [the laser], since the same prime power source can serve to provide both the propulsion of the vehicle and power to the laser.”[10] These limitations hindered the production of a viable platform until more efficient and cost-effective technologies became available.

DEVELOPMENT

Newer vehicles tested by Lockheed and Raytheon address these problems by both limiting the laser’s energy output to around 50 kW and using hybrid engines that can both move the vehicle and provide electricity for the lasers.[11] Additionally, as noted by John Kester in Foreign Policy, “traditional weapons require stockpiles of ammunition, which is costly to produce and transport,” but “the high energy laser system requires only fuel to complete its mission.”[12] This advantage could perhaps be exploited even further with the emergence of alternative fuels such as hydrogen cells, which could be a robust alternative since a hydrogen-powered vehicle would only need to carry water, an immensely more useful and available resource on the modern battlefield. In addition, it would be less dangerous than carrying around combustible fuels.

The 2001 Task Force also made the following observation regarding the system’s capabilities at the time:

While continuing to move towards deployment of a mobile system using deuterium, fluoride chemical laser, the Army should broaden efforts toward development of laser technologies for a more robust, supportable system––closed-cycle chemical, solid-state, and fiber lasers. Program options for choosing a new laser should be kept open as long as possible.[13]


The solid-state lasers mentioned in the report were not a well-developed technology at the time, so the 2001 concept was equipped with a less potent chemical laser. As the technology has developed, new prototypes are equipped with solid-state lasers, which “require no volatile chemicals to produce high-powered beams,” and instead act as “combined-beam fiber lasers,” which “[pull] together different beams of light and [squish] them into one.”[14] Furthermore, solid-state lasers can be varied in size and output because “the more fiber optics you add, the more energy you get out the other end.”[15]

CONCEPT

Raytheon’s prototype, the HELWS-MRZR, takes the High-Energy Laser Weapon System, which combines a solid-state laser weapon with Raytheon’s own Multi-Spectral Targeting System, and mounts it on a Polaris MRZR® all-terrain vehicle. What results is an advanced, lightweight, and adaptable weapons system that meets a specific military demand. In creating the HELWS-MRZR, Raytheon has not really invented a new technology; they have simply combined existing technologies to create a low cost solution. By changing traditional linkages, improving existing capabilities, and adapting to a specific demand, Raytheon may have created an innovation with the potential to improve the battlefield environment for the U.S. and its allies.

HELWS-MRZR (Raytheon/Wired)

This is important as U.S. ground forces in Iraq and Syria have had to rely on anti-drone rifles that incidentally scramble their own electronics, degrading their anti-Islamic State operations.[16] A Popular Mechanics article on the HELWS-MRZR quoted Ben Allison, director of Raytheon's high energy laser product line, who said, “We didn't want to go out and do a bunch of research and development…We wanted to take the assets and capabilities Raytheon has today and use them to really affect this asymmetrical threat. We settled on a small system that's hugely capable.”[17] In short, Raytheon has not developed a disruptive breakthrough, but simply pieced together existing technologies in an innovative manner to meet a very specific need.

IMPLEMENTATION

Based on the capabilities afforded by the High-Energy Laser Weapon System, we can speculate how this innovation will influence future military operations. Because of its size and mobility, the High-Energy Laser Weapon System can provide force protection for small ground units or convoys by defending against enemy airborne drone threats. The High-Energy Laser Weapon System can run the targeting system for up to four hours and fire the laser 20-30 times on a single charge, and if connected to a generator it could, in theory, fire indefinitely.[18] Ideally, this innovation would immediately neutralize enemy drone threats using its precision and intense heat, thus denying enemy drone capabilities. By creating an umbrella over troops and vehicles, it can provide immediate protection against drone-borne attacks, which occurred up to 10 to 15 times a day against U.S. and Syrian Democratic Forces in Mosul. In some cases, the system can even intercept some mortar and rocket fire, an ongoing problem in current theaters of operation.[19] High-energy lasers might even be able to assist in explosive ordnance disposal efforts, as well as prevent vehicle-borne improvised explosive device threats, which would largely benefit disposal teams and the Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Organization by providing a rapid response asset class that could decrease both the risk to friendly forces and collateral damage to innocent bystanders. Each of these advances would free up the situational awareness of U.S. and allied troops who need to maintain a competitive edge over insurgents.

As tactical laser technology keeps advancing, the potential for further implementation and integration will likely grow. In addition to providing unmanned aerial vehicle defense for small units and special operations forces, perhaps multiple High-Energy Laser Weapon System could be employed to create a mobile aerial defense umbrella using layered systems to defend convoys or forward operating bases against drones and precision munitions. In addition, the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines are each exploring ways to mount the laser system on their own ships and aircraft for counter-unmanned aerial system defense and other uses. Currently, the Air Force Research Lab has embarked on their Self-Protect High-Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program, which is “aimed at creating sufficient on-board power, optics and high-energy lasers able to defend large platforms such as a B-52 bomber, C-130 aircraft or fighter jets.”[20] Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command are also exploring options for airborne defense against “ground-to-air and air-to-air weapons” as well as offensive capabilities.[21]

Finally, the U.S. Navy has tested an “active laser weapons system” on the Austin-class amphibious transport dock USS Ponce.[22] The laser is capable of destroying unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles, mortars, and moving surface targets such as small boats within “one to five miles.”[23] The U.S. Army has also begun testing high-energy laser systems, deploying the High-Energy Laser Weapon System MRZR in combat maneuver exercises and mounting a test version of Raytheon’s Multi-Spectral Targeting System on AH-64 Apache helicopters.[24] It might not be long before these weaponized laser systems become so miniaturized and efficient that soldiers in the field could carry them as easily as an M-4.

CONCLUSION

By adapting a current technology, defense industry giants Raytheon, Lockheed, and Boeing have each developed weapon systems specifically designed to employ the High-Energy Laser Weapon System to counter modern asymmetric threats. This cheaper approach is particularly novel, as they have done this without having to budget and program for the long-term development of a specific and costly weapon system. Tests have shown these systems offer precise, effective, and relatively inexpensive defense capabilities that can be adapted for a multitude of roles and numerous platforms.[25] If successfully implemented, innovations such as the High-Energy Laser Weapon System MRZR and similar vehicle-borne laser defense systems have the potential to change the tactical and operational landscape by effectively neutralizing an array of airborne threats; protecting countless American, allied, and civilian lives and assets.

Jason Sattler is a Cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The views expressed at the author’s alone and do not represent the official position of the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

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Header Image: Conceptual Image of Lasers Attacking Unmanned Systems (Lockheed Martin)

NOTES:

[1] Welch, Larry D., USAF (Ret), and Donald C. Latham. "Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on High Energy Laser Weapon Systems Applications." (June 2001), accessed October 24, 2017.

[2] Kester, John. "Army, Defense Companies Making Renewed Push for Laser Weapons." Foreign Policy. last modified October 12, 2017, accessed October 24, 2017, http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/12/army-defense-companies-making-renewed-push-for-laser-weapons/.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Jahara W. Matisek, “Shades of Gray Deterrence: Issues of Fighting in the Gray Zone,” Journal of Strategic Security 10, no. 3 (2017): 1-26.

[6] Kester, Army Defense.

[7] Welch, Report, 123.

[8] Ibid, 123.

[9] Welch, Report, 79

[10] Ibid., 34.

[11] Tucker, Patrick. "US Army to Test Powerful New Truck-Mounted Laser 'Within Months'." Defense One, last modified March 16, 2017, accessed October 24, 2017. http://www.defenseone.com/technology/2017/03/us-army-test-powerful-new-truck-mounted-laser-within-months/136239/

[12] Kester, John. "Army, Defense Companies”

[13] Welch, Report, xvii

[14] Tucker, Patrick. "US Army to Test”

[15] Ibid.

[16] Gibbons-Neff, Thomas. "ISIS Drones Are Attacking U.S. Troops and Disrupting Airstrikes in Raqqa, Officials Say." The Washington Post, last modified June 14, 2017, accessed November 09, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/06/14/isis-drones-are-attacking-u-s-troops-and-disrupting-airstrikes-in-raqqa-officials-say/?utm_term=.50b414d7d24c.

[17] Mizokami, Kyle. "This ATV Shoots Down Drones With Lasers." Popular Mechanics, last modified October 16, 2017, accessed October 24, 2017.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Moore, Jack. "ISIS Using Drones Rigged with Munitions to Attack Advancing Forces in Raqqa." Newsweek, last modified June 26, 2017, accessed January 26, 2018. http://www.newsweek.com/isis-using-drones-rigged-munitions-attack-advancing-forces-raqqa-628955.

[20] Osborn, Kris. "Air Force Tests Bolt-On Aircraft Laser Weapon." Scout Warrior, last modified May 28, 2017, accessed November 5, 2017. https://scout.com/military/warrior/Article/Air-Force-Tests-Bolt-On-Aircraft-Laser-Weapon-101458201

[21] Ibid.

[22] Gady, Franz-Stefan. "US Navy Tests Worlds First Drone-Killing Laser Weapons System." The Diplomat, last modified July 19, 2017, accessed November 05, 2017. https://thediplomat.com/2017/07/us-navy-tests-worlds-first-drone-killing-laser-weapons-system/.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Judson, Jen. "US Army tests laser on Apache helicopter." Defense News, last modified August 08, 2017, accessed November 28, 2017. https://www.defensenews.com/2017/06/26/us-army-tests-laser-on-apache-helicopter/.

[25] Hawkins, Derek. "Laser-equipped Helicopter Zaps Its First Target, to Defense Contractor's Delight." The Washington Post, last modified June 27, 2017, accessed November 15, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/06/27/laser-equipped-helicopter-zaps-its-first-target-to-defense-contractors-delight/?utm_term=.35228e1c7754.



https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2018/11/29/high-energy-laser-systems-and-the-future-of-warfare


          Dec. 4, 2018: 270 Syrian Army Eliminated 270 ISIS Members In Al-Suwayda Province      Cache   Translate Page      
Dec. 4, 2018: 270 Syrian Army Eliminated 270 ISIS Members In Al-Suwayda Province
          HOW ISRAEL DESTROYED RUSSIAN PANTSIR-S1 IN SYRIA ?      Cache   Translate Page      
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After many years of suppression, Syrians were able to bring these issues to light and engage in serious public debate. العربية

Translated by: Ahmed El-Amine

This article by Husam Eddin Darwish forms part of a special series focused on Oral Culture and Identity in Syria.

It is the outcome of an ongoing partnership between SyriaUntold and openDemocracy’s North Africa West Asia in a bid to untangle the roots of sectarian, ethnic and other divides in Syria.

It is fashionable to talk about the existence of at least three basic taboo themes in Arab-Islamic culture, namely: religion, sex, and politics. Although political taboos (eliminating tyranny, advocating democracy, exposing the corruption and flaws of the people in power) typically expose people to more and greater risks, politically employing moral and social values related to religion and sex renders anyone who does so in direct confrontation not only with society and religious authorities, but also with the political authority.

The intersection between these three taboos, stereotypically, is manifest in the taboos related to religion, sect and ethnicity. At first glance, sectarianism appears to be primarily linked to religion and to the existence of multiple sects. However, as Joseph Daher clearly points out in his analytic essay entitled ‘Popular Oral Culture and Sectarianism, a Materialist Analysis,’ it is, in fact, a political phenomenon and an instrument used by politicians more so than being a religious phenomenon produced by religion or religiosity.

The testimonies published in this file have shown a strong link between both religious/sectarian taboos and sexual taboos. Each sect’s stereotypical image of other communities often contains negative sexual elements: this community worships the vagina, and this other community holds sexual parties where a person can have sex with his mother, sister or daughter, while in another community sheikhs have sex with their pupils and their followers, etc…

After many years of suppression — particularly in terms of sectarian, religious, ethnic, and regional discrimination —and in the context of the freedom enjoyed by the Syrians who have been displaced or have taken refuge outside of Syria and are no longer under the authority of the Assad state, Syrians were able to bring these issues to light and engage in serious public debate. On this basis, and on the basis of what Mohammad Dibo sees as a “tremendous resurgence of religious, sectarian, doctrinal, and ethnic currents that have overwhelmed the political and military landscape not only in Syria but also beyond,” we can understand why the website SyriaUntold opened the “The Oral Culture and Identity” special series “in a bid to untangle the roots of sectarian, ethnic and other divides in Syria.” 

In my reading of the texts published by the site in this regard, I will not attempt to directly address the sectarian, religious, or ethnic discrimination phenomena. Instead, I will focus on analyzing the act of addressing these phenomena in the published texts. Can we understand this act as a disclosure, recognition, confession, all of them together, or none of them at all? Does this act help us in having a greater understanding of these phenomena or does it merely highlight their negative aspects? Does this act actually transgress the prohibited? What is the prohibited specifically in this regard? What can this act hide in revealing the implicit and exposing the prohibited? Is it possible to distinguish between degrees and/or types of an act of transgression? In discussing some possible answers to such questions, I will try to express some of the most important ideas and impressions that these published texts/testimonies raised in me.

I would first like to point out that the ideas and impressions I will present are a reading of the published texts, as a whole, and not a reading of any particular text. When I point out an idea associated with a specific text, I will cite this reference, to clarify the link.

How to break the taboo?

It has become commonplace, perhaps to the point of vulgarity, to emphasize the importance of openly speaking about all forms of racism that exist in Syria and/or among Syrians in their thinking and behavior. In the current context, however, it is not very common to point out that breaking the sectarian taboo and opening up the Syrian “black box” can occur in a negative manner, leading to consequences that may be no less severe than the existence of the taboo itself. Therefore, we will pay special attention to the method by which a taboo is broken or is dealt with in texts or testimonies, the content of this taboo, and some of its significations, actual and/or possible consequences.

Racism, in this context, means not only giving priority to an organic belonging (belonging to an ethnic, religious, sectarian or tribal group, etc.), but to the theory and practice of belonging on the basis of negative discrimination against other groups. This contrast is the basis of racist thought, which transforms horizontal parallelism into a vertical hierarchy and in which the self-belonging of this thought occupies the highest rank, while the affiliations of others are cast as inferior and given lesser value.

Breaking the taboo as a confession

It can be said at first that the texts/testimonies include a "disclosure," or are mainly a disclosure. It is so because it reveals what was a secret, and what was discrete, and confesses what was muffled, and explicates what was prohibited. It is an act of venting out because it deals with what was bothering us and the reason behind us being bothered. The link between transgression and disclosure is what made Mohammad Dibo, in his introduction to the series, point out that participation is open to everyone who “finds the ability to disclose and transgress the taboo.” He did well in pointing out that, in the same context, writing, in this regard, requires transparency, clarity and honesty, as disclosure is not consistent with lying, concealment, or ambiguity.

But breaking the taboo and talking about it in the Syrian context is not limited to being a disclosure. It includes more, it includes an acknowledgement. It is a recognition of the existence of this or that negative aspect, it is a confession of what we are accustomed to denying. The confession is sincere, in terms of being a mere self-indulgence and by not denying a fact and a proven objective truth. From this perspective, it does not seem to surprise many to talk about sectarianism and its secrets, because, from their point of view, this includes a disclosure and recognition of what we generally know or expect in advance.

Breaking the taboo through disclosing and recognition is what we can call a "confession". Confession is what can perfectly combine these two things. The confession of racism does not appear to be far from those found in the symbols of texts of confession (e.g., the confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau). As with the concept of recognition, the concept of confession is used in the Arabic language when there is a disclosure of certain negatives: he confessed his crime, confesses to his mistake, confessed his guilt, etc. The funny exception, perhaps the only one, is that we usually link the expression of feelings of love and confession, saying “He confessed his love,” or as Wael Kfoury says “I confess that I love you…” This exceptional example reveals the strong connection between the concepts of confession and disclosure. Confessing love is a disclosure of feelings of love, and a recognition of the existence of such feelings is tantamount to a recognition of guilt. In a racist society, the feeling of love appears to be a full-fledged crime when it is addressed to a person belonging to “another group” in general. Confessing love then is a confession of a crime that cannot be forgiven many times. The fundamental question here is: How can we love those who hate us and we are supposed to hate them, or should we hate them?

The two discourses of transgression

If transgression through writing is an act of confession, what exactly are we confessing? We have said that confession involves a recognition of guilt or negativity. What are the negatives or sins that we admit to in our confessions that transgress racism? Who exactly has these negatives? Are all the speeches that speak of the existence of racism in Syria belong to what we called the “letter of confession?”

What we usually recognize in this regard is that racism exists and is widespread in Syria, to a great extent and at many levels. This has been the case for a long time, but it increased in the period following the revolution, to the extent that Mohammad Dibo emphasises that “religious, sectarian, doctrinal, and ethnic currents [...] overwhelmed the political and military landscape not only in Syria but also beyond.” Talking about “Syrian racism” can take two main forms: “racist discourse” and “self-critique.”

Racist discourse

The "racist" discourse is to say that there is strong racism in Syria, but it exists, in particular, or only, in the “other side” and “we” do not have it. According to this speech, on the one hand, the Sunni recognizes the existence of sectarianism in Syria, but believes that its reservoir and its main or most important source lies in other communities, the Alawite and Shiite communities in particular, and not the Sunnis. Meanwhile, the Kurdish community recognises the existence of ethnic racism in general, but does not see that it exists among Kurds, but is embodied, primarily, in the behavior, beliefs, and morals of Arabs and/or Turks, and directed towards the Kurds in particular. Similarly, the Christian points out the existence of religious racism but only sees it among Muslims. This discourse is not exclusive to any group but is shared equally by all groups, with secondary quantitative differences.

This racist discourse is at the height of its misery and degeneracy when it speaks of an essential racism in the other. The racist discourse of the “other” manifest in saying that the other’s racism is a result of their nature or the nature of their beliefs and/or culture, it is not a transient historical phenomenon that could go away but is a transhistorical part of the other’s essence. The Muslim is always fanatical and backward, and the Kurds are stupid and stubborn by nature, the Shiites are necessarily hateful and fanatic, etc., and if there are exceptions, they only confirm the rule and do not deny it.

This discourse is not a confession on the one hand, and may not be a transgression, on the other. It is not a confession, not even disclosure or a recognition. That is because recognition and confession necessarily entail that the sins the existence of which we recognize or confess are our sins. As for only talking about the racism of others, it indicates a racism in the discourse, and probably in the author as well. In this case, our words seem to expose us more than exposing others; they utter us more than we utter them, and they express us more than we express them. It may not be possible to classify this discourse as a transgression, if we know that, in principle or in practice, it is not forbidden or rare for any group to speak, among its members, of the negatives of other groups and their racism, inferiority, or oppression, while directly or indirectly emphasizing the positives, openness, progressiveness, and victimhood of their own group.

This discourse often does not play a significant (positive) role in the process of transgression. On the contrary, the racism of this discourse is often part of the taboo that needs to be critiqued, broken, transgressed and surpassed. Racism provokes racist rhetoric and, in the end, promotes the spread of racist discourse. Breaking taboos in terms of racial discourse means, the disclosure of the presence of this discourse in the stereotypical image that each group forms of the other groups. This is what the texts/testimonies tried to do, showing the extent of racism in the stereotypes of “Syrian groups” between each other.

The discourse of confession and self-critique

What is most important to us in our understanding of this “racist discourse,” in the present context, is that the transgression of taboos in this regard does not happen primarily by talking about the racism and negativity of the other, but precisely and particularly when it takes the form of confession: confessing our own racism, we who are confessing. This is precisely what appears to be generally the case in the second form of the discourse on racism, which takes the form of self-critique. But what is the meaning of self-critique, in this context? What exactly is meant by the self being critiqued?

The general meaning of critique is that it is a trial of a phenomenon, the discussion of its pros and cons, and the expression of an opinion regarding it, based on this balanced discussion, which not only focuses on positives, as in “praise or glorification,” nor on negatives as in “criticism.” In the testimonies, critique took the form of criticism for two reasons.

The first reason is that what the opening article of this “file” asks for, and the testimonies published in it, appear in the first instance, or more, to belong, not to critique, in terms of attention to the apparent concerns and negative aspects of the issue, but to criticism, i.e. to highlight the negative aspects of that phenomenon. What is required, in the testimonies/texts, is the criticism that is embodied in “exposing this” consciousness “with which we were raised.” The testimonies have responded to this direction, focusing almost entirely on denouncing racism and highlighting its negative aspects.

The second reason that rendered the critique, in the testimonies/texts of this file, take the form of criticism, is that the critique in question here is “self-critique” which by its very nature tends to be critical. Self-critique is practiced, usually or particularly, when there is a failure or the like, and the primary purpose is to look for the negatives that led to the failure, as a necessary step in trying to surpass or get rid of it or limit its influence. Self-critique often oscillates between opposite poles or perspectives: the pole of justification  and rationalization, on one end ,and the pole of self-flagellation on the other.

The perspectives of justification and rationalization

The critic, who adopts the perspective of justification and rationalization, confesses that the self has committed this or that mistake, and by having this or that negative aspect, but the confession is not but a secondary or symbolic step, intentional or not, to suggest to oneself or to others, that the critique is objective. But this confession is soon followed by a serious “but” response. The “seriousness” of this “but” comes from undoing whatever preceded it and any important meaning to it. Those who take this perspective often take the following defense mechanism: “there is some racism in our group, but it is only a contingent phenomenon that is a benign and light reaction to the racism of other groups.” Or “the Kurd has some racism towards Arabs and Turks but this racism is only a reaction to the Arab and Turkish political and cultural racism towards Kurds, and is not in line with its high morals and values.” This is an example of what a “Kurd” can say about Kurdish racism, from the perspective of justification and rationalization. It is clear that this perspective is closer to the logic of the “racist discourse” and its values and directions than to the logic, values and directions of the “self-critique discourse.”

As for the pole or perspective of self-flagellation, the logic of justification or rationalization is completely excluded, so that self-critique takes the following form: “we are very racist, and we (alone) bear the responsibility of this abhorrent racism.” It is necessary to point out here that the term “self-flagellation” is not synonymous with the term “critique or harsh criticism” since criticism can be harsh and/or strict, without being self-flagellating. What is meant by self-flagellation here is an over-exaggeration or darkness in criticism, in a way that the critique loses its objectivity and its possible positives, turning it into something like a ritual of slapping, moaning, and scolding? The criticism that takes the form of self-flagellation is a provoked act more than it is provocative. It is true that it is the nature of criticism to focus on the negatives, but that does not necessarily mean denying the existence of positives or exaggerating in describing these negatives and exaggerating the role of the self being critiqued or doing the critique. On this basis, one can say that the self-critique embodied in the formula of “self-flagellation” becomes itself a problem and an obstacle, rather than being, according to its supposed purpose, a diagnosis of a problem and an attempt at solving or moving beyond it.

Self-critique is situated between these poles or perspectives, or swings between them, without being identical to either. It is clear that these two perspectives should be avoided, on the one hand, and that it is difficult to do so, on the other. There is no clear and specific midpoint or location suitable to always be situated in, as there is a difference in the intensity of critique required or necessary or the presence of justifications between one case and another, and between a context and another. It is also clear that the emergence or appearance of any perspective or pole probably calls for the emergence of the other. In a more general sense, extremism is likely to produce counter-extremism. This is expressed physically by, “every action has a reaction that is similar in strength and opposite in direction.” The emergence of either direction is not only related to the actual emergence of the other, but to the emergence of a perspective that results from the very attempt to avoid the emergence of the other. For example, anyone who attempts to “self-critique” can easily fall into the trap of “self-effacement,” so one of their self-critiques may be to avoid falling into this trap. But this attempt may make them exaggerate the situation of justifications and rationalization, to the extent that they seem to adopt the logic of “discourse of justification and rationalization.” On the contrary, it seems natural that “self-critique” attempts to explain the existence of the phenomenon being critiqued; in the interpretation, there is often, at least, some justification, intended or not. A natural or spontaneous realization of this attempt drives many, who are engaged in the task of “self-critique,” to avoid the logic of justification and rationalization as much as possible. It is not rare that this leads them to fall into the arms of “self-flagellation.”

On the meaning of the critiqued self

A clarification of the concepts of critique and “self-critique” is not complete without a clarification of what we mean by “self” in this context. So what is the self critiqued in this context? What is the relationship of this self with the self critiquing? Attempting to answer these and similar questions can make a significant contribution to clarifying the different types and levels of acts of confession, as a breach of prohibitions and a transgression of taboos.

The self in self-critique is not, in the context of a critique of racist taboos, the same person who critiques. It is almost impossible to find someone who critiques themselves, confessing their racism. The phrase “I am a sectarian” seems to be as prohibited as saying “I am dead.” This type of confession is almost completely absent from the published testimonies/texts. And when present it is presented as something of the past and not the present or of the unconscious that the person is not responsible for. This is what we find, for example, in Mohammad Dibo’s incident where he had thought himself to have been emancipated from the inherited, only to be later surprised by his fear of a friend who belongs to another sect, just for belonging to another sect. In the present context, I will merely point out that the “confessed sectarianism,” in that text, belongs to the inherited unconscious, on the one hand, and to the past, not the present, on the other. It is thus possible to say that a person who recognizes his or her sectarianism is different from a person characterized by such sectarianism. Dibo goes on to deny his sectarianism to the point of leaving “the inheritance of the sect and of nationalities forever.” Beyond the skepticism of self-honesty here, I find it inappropriate both realistically and epistemologically to be definitive in such issues, not only in terms of the future (who knows what could happen to him, with him, and in him) but also in terms of the present. In addition, the discussion here relates to what is happening in the depths of the human soul and its delusions, and it is very difficult for one to be aware to the extent of being decisive about what is happening in the depths of his person and its delusions.

I will come back later to expand on the question of self-knowledge and judgment in relation to it. What is important, in the present context, is to emphasize once again that the self that a person critiques their self-critique, while transgressing racist taboos, is probably not the individual self. Racism and confession do not seem to intersect; the racist does not recognize their racism, and if they confess to it, they are non-racist by virtue of the confession, because they are unable to confess their own racism but the racism of others. This means that the racist does not necessarily confess, and they who confess, are not racist at all. This paradox reminds us of the Epicurean solution to the fear of death. Epicurus says: “A man should not fear his death because he never meets it.” When I am, death is not, and when death is, I am not.” The paradox is that unlike the relationship between death and the self, where the impossibility of their existence together is positive, the almost complete impossibility, of the sectarian self and confession is negative, it is a very powerful and actual taboo that is very difficult to transgress.

A self that confesses its racism in self-critique is the collective self that the individual belongs to. This is what we are currently seeing in the context of any texts or symposiums dedicated to opening the Syrian racist black box, where each person focuses more on “exposing” the group to which he “belongs.” The Alawite speaks of the sectarianism of Alawites or a sect among Alawites, and the Kurd talks about the racism of the Kurds, etc. However if the critique, in the process of transgressing taboos pertaining to racism, is not directed to his person or personality as well, and only to the group that he belongs to, then to what extent would it actually be considered “self-critique”?

In the presentation of the file, transgressive writing “requires that one separates themselves from sect, ethnicity, or tribe, and provoking them for the sake of the human.” This means that the critic in this context is not self-critical. On the other hand, the presentation includes an indication to the necessity of resisting this task by “searching within themselves and within ourselves, to expose the consciousness that we were raised on, and which formed a part of our own consciousness, as an attempt to hold ourselves accountable and interrogating it. For the critic to search within themselves to hold it accountable means that the self is itself incriminated in this critique, qualifying it as “self-critique.”

Affiliation by lineage versus affiliation by enrolment

To clarify the problematic of the self and its relation with the critic, it is necessary to distinguish two types of belonging: affiliation by lineage and affiliation by enrolment. Engaging in self-critique means directing the critique to oneself or to the group to which one belongs by lineage or enrolment. By affiliation by lineage I mean involuntary affiliation, by birth and/or nature and/or society, to a group, and all of the ethno-religious and regional affiliations are within this framework: belonging to a group of males, or to an Arab nationality, a Christian religion, the Alawite sect, or the Druze sect, etc.. It is obvious that one’s affiliation with such groups is decided by birth and/or society and has nothing to do with my deliberation or will on the matter. Because the decision, in this regard, is not my decision. On the other hand, affiliation by enrolment has to do with one’s decision and free choices, at least partially and relatively. One’s voluntary affiliation to this school of thought or political or social group is not only related to their enrolment but may also be related to the groups they had previously belonged to by birth or society. The relationship between these two types of affiliation may be a relation of compatibility or a relation of difference and opposition. One’s affiliation by enrolment, however, to a group different than the one that they were affiliated with by lineage, does not undo my involuntary affiliation. Being the son or father of this or that person, and by being Syrian, Arab, and Muslim by birth, nurturing, and culture, partially and relatively, does not go away even if one rejected their father’s fatherhood, or rejected their child, and acquired another nationality, while feeling repelled by their Syrian nationality, using a different language, having a desire to forget Arabic, not believing in Islamic teachings and its foundational and collateral pillars, and enrolling in a different religious or non-religious group.

Affiliation by lineage reveals the limits of the will in this regard but also reveals the capacity of the will to take up a stance contrary to its involuntary affiliation by lineage to this or that group. Understanding the limits of the will and investing its capacity and abilities in this regard should be one of the existential, epistemological, moral, and perhaps even political foundations, upon which a self-critique that transgresses racist taboos should be built. The existential foundation representing a determined or involuntary foundation, i.e. that this affiliation by lineage is a part of the individual’s being and existence. The epistemological foundation, however, relates to the lineage often providing epistemological expertise that could be relied on in the process of confession or self-critique. This was obviously relied on in most texts/testimonies. The moral foundation is related to there being moral relations between one individual and those he is affiliated with by lineage. The political foundation emerges from any organization or political orientation based on relations of lineage (patriotism or nationalism, for example).

The aforementioned foundations do not mean that the person is inescapably condemned to their lineage, for partial and relative liberation from these relations is always possible, in principle at least. There is no doubt that transgressing racist taboos requires a certain degree of liberation, or what the opening article calls “dissociation.” But this does not mean that one can or is required to, completely dissociate. Without there being a minimal sense of affiliation and accepting or embracing this affiliation, transgression would not be able to take the form of confession or self-critique, and the formulation that it could then take oscillates, most often and probably, between a racist discourse and what could be referred to as a discourse of shaming, or their combination in one discourse. I’ve already explained what I mean by the former, and what remains is explaining the latter. 

The discourse of shaming

In the discourse of shaming, the aim is to expose the people we are accusing, and defaming them and revealing their degeneracy. This is relatively easy to do when we do it to those we do not consider ourselves to be affiliated with. Those who used this discourse do not hesitate in showing their repulsion from and innocence of those they’re shaming, or even demeaning. It is not rare for them to exaggerate their negatives and darkness when describing and evaluating them. This discourse sometimes becomes self-flagellating when they confess to belonging to the group that they are critiquing. But this is not to be considered a critique, because a critique must include some positive aspect, whether in assessing or in correcting. This positive aspect is almost completely absent in this discourse. It is sometimes built on a proclaimed theoretical affiliation with a global humanity that goes beyond narrow racism. Those who engage in this discourse are not aware of that this evacuates global humanity and morality from its meaning, because this humanity needs to be instantiated in the available contexts, otherwise it is rendered an empty notion without any integrity. This affiliation by lineage does not do away with the individuality of a person as long as they are able to voluntarily and freely affiliate themselves with other groups and/or declaring that they are not voluntarily affiliated with the groups that they had previously been affiliated with, whether by lineage or enrollment.

The discourse of confession and self-critique

In the discourse of confession and self-critique, the transgression of racist taboos is identical, partially and relatively, with the groups and phenomena the negatives of which are being confessed and are being critiqued or criticized. In this context, this identity is not contradictory with the valuable general humanist vision that should be the foundation of every transgression in theoretical practices and discourses. Transgressing the racist taboo is precisely and particularly embodied in showing the existential priority and value of the humanity of every human, as opposed to the secondary existential priority and value of their different racist affiliations (religion, sect, ethnicity, tribe, etc..). The secondary character of these latter affiliations when compared to the primal moral and existential affiliation with humanity, does not entail denying, undermining, or negatively assessing these affiliations. Affiliation by lineage still plays an important role in a person’s life, and it is necessary to humanize it morally and to make of it a road towards our moral humanity, instead of an obstacle that we necessarily need to get rid of. On this basis, we see that instead of echoing Badih al-Kasm when he says, “proper humanism is in proper nationalism,” we should say that “proper nationalism is in proper humanism.” The groups that we are involuntarily affiliated with are a part of us, and we remain a part of, even if we no longer identify with it. The discourse of confession and self-critique cannot in transgressing racist taboos, to try to make itself innocent of affiliation of lineage, or show the uniqueness of the individual engaging in this discourse, in this regard. It is paramount to emphasize, once again, that the implicit acceptance of affiliation by lineage and distancing oneself from self-flagellation, do not mean that the critique or criticism should necessarily be, in this case, mild or weak. As Sadeq Jalal al-Azm whom we mentioned before as the partial and relative model in self-critique, was very strict and radical in his critique, with his explicit or implicit recognition of his partial and relative affiliation with the culture that he critiqued, on one hand, and highlighting his general humanism and him being an international or cosmopolitan person, on the other.

There is a difference that one should be attentive to in our confession of our racism and our self-critique. At first glance, or even more, it appears to the person that they are more able to know their individual or collective selves than others. On this basis, it appears that self-knowledge is the easiest type of knowledge and is generally accessible, and the individual speaking of themselves or group or society, etc.. is confident in their judgements in general. That is because to them it appears that it is based on their life experiences or their direct or particular long history of living with others. There are many theoretical and practical reasons that compel us to challenge this false obviousness. This requires that we make several distinctions and conceptual analyses.

Information versus interpretation

We should begin making the distinction between information, information analysis, and/or understanding information, and/or interpretation. It is true that every individual often has information about themselves, their group, and their society, and this information may not be accessible to many others. Having this information, however, does not necessarily entail a larger or more accurate knowledge of its meaning or significations. Despite that some of the testimonies/texts have conflated these two things and making decisive judgements, other testimonies/texts have recognized in certain contexts the radical difference between the two, with its limited ability to make decisive judgements about the meaning of what it knows and its significations. For example, Abdallah Amin al-Hallaq pointed out that there are many possible interpretations and that there are many things that he does not know, for example, about the saying “like a Nusayris [an Alawite] beaten down in market.” The texts are full of different interpretations of the same saying. The famous saying, “lunch or dine with the Sunni/Alawite/Murshidi/Durzi/Jew, and sleep at the Christian’s,” is common among all sects. It was also mentioned in many of the texts/testimonies. It is obvious, however, that there is a large or small, difference in how different people interpret it. On this basis, it is important to be cautious of decisively settling for one analysis, understanding, or interpretation. On the other hand, the magnitude of the epistemological problematics is evident in Piroz Perik’s text ‘The Image of Arabs in Kurdish Oral Heritage’ and Muhannad al-Katea’s response to that text, at least in what is revealed by conflating between acquiring information (knowing that there is this or that saying, in certain contexts of its usage) and interpreting, understanding, or explaining it. This decisive response revealed the extent to which people may differ in understanding, interpreting, or and explaining the same saying, despite having the same information.

Not knowing the other and racism: causation?

Before proceeding to other conceptual distinctions related to this issue, it would be useful to point out the problematic of the relation between the existence of racism and the knowledge of individuals from different groups of each other. Omar Kaddour asserts that “the problem is definitely not a consequence of not knowing the otherthat it is solved by them getting to know each other, as there is a gap that is based on sufficient knowledge, awareness and determination” whereas Mohammad Dibo, as is obvious from the title of his text 'From “this Onion is Sunni’ to ‘nice sunnis like us’,' and from its content, that sectarianism is a consequence of ignorance, as the move from “this onion is Sunni” to “nice Sunnis like us” takes place through the experience that allows for knowledge of the other and by correcting or undoing the stereotypical image of the other. It seems necessary to me to warn against simply adopting one of these two contradictory perspectives. Even though people from different groups getting to know each other may reduce or undo their racism, as Mohammad Dibo’s testimony, his personal experience, and that of his grandmother’s, reveal, getting to know each other or documenting this knowledge is ultimately not enough, most often at least, to surpass racism, because this racism is not only related to not knowing the other or how strong or valid this knowledge is.

If it is generally difficult to know the other, knowing oneself is even more difficult. Since its Socratic beginning, philosophy has not raised the “know thyself” slogan not only as a consequence of the importance of this task but also because of how difficult it is. If the distance that separates us from the other is one of the reasons behind the difficulty of knowing the other, then the absence of this distance that separates us from ourselves is, as Nietzsche says, makes it all the more difficult for us to know ourselves. For this difficulty is not primarily a consequence of there being an unconscious level or dimension in the self that escapes immediate awareness or consciousness, but is precisely a consequence of the knower and known being identical and not separated. Contrary to the logic of “I think of others the way I think of myself” or “I know people from my knowledge of myself,” many philosophers, Paul Ricoeur for example, argue that knowing the other is a more successful, shorter, way of knowing ourselves.

In addition to this distinction between having information on the one hand, and interpreting and/or understanding it and/or explaining it, on the other, there is an intimate distinction that needs to be highlighted. This is the distinction between personal experience and general judgements.

The distinction between epistemological integrity and moral integrity

It is necessary to distinguish between integrity in the epistemological or logical sense and integrity in the moral sense. For if epistemological or logical integrity refers to the compatibility of what is in the mind and what is in the eyes,” moral integrity refers to the compatibility between what one says, or means to say, and what he knows in this regard. The necessity of this distinction is based on there being an implicit and common belief that the moral integrity of a person, speaking of things that they “adequately know” and have a long direct experience with, necessarily entails an epistemological integrity. It is obvious that the corruption of such a belief, not only for there always being a possibility, in principle, for one to commit an epistemological mistake but also because having information does not necessarily entail having a correct understanding of it (as we mentioned before), and because having a direct personal experience of reality does not necessarily entail that being able to make general judgements concerning this reality.

The distinction between personal experience and general judgements

It is also necessary to pay attention to the difference between a unique experience and its contextual and partial nature on the one hand, and general judgements or generalizations that could be made about the object of this experience, on the other. This is particularly true in terms of knowledge in general and knowledge of self in particular. This difference is a primary one because experience is always partial. This last distinction pushes us to be cautious before making generalizations based on our own personal experience or the stereotype that we have formed based on this experience. Concerning mixed marriages between individuals from different sects, Ahmad al-Khalil says, “the Ismaili sect has no problem with this matter.” Despite that most Ismaili individuals are less conservative in general concerning this, it is absolutely inappropriate epistemologically to make such an absolute and decisive judgement. If the personal experiences and knowledge of the author about this sect allowed him to make this generalization, others, including myself, have different experiences that allow them to be partially and relatively reserved in making such a decisive generalization. These inaccurate generalizations reveal our strong tendency to form stereotypes.

On profiling and stereotyping

Although the common stereotype about stereotyping and the stereotypical image often carry negative connotations, it is important to emphasize their necessity on the one hand and the possibility that they may be useful or positive and not harmful, on the other. We can elaborate this partial and relative necessity by emphasizing that understanding or understanding the other (as elaborated by the prominent hermeneutic philosophers) cannot start from scratch or from nothing, but almost always begins from some prior understanding. The availability of a stereotypical image is, partially and relatively, a useful starting point. This stereotypical image of the other is not always negative, and it is possible to compare how it is employed, sometimes, partially and relatively, with a stereotype of “ideal-types” that may help in understanding reality without reflecting this reality or being compatible with it. If the necessity of a stereotypical image, as a prior understanding, does not entail settling for this image epistemologically, for it is necessary to rectify and develop it, allowing a minimization of its negatives and facilitating that the positives are enhanced. This applies to the stereotypical image that we have about stereotypical images in general, and the stereotypical images that individuals belonging to different racial groups have about each other in particular. These stereotypical images that the texts/testimonies have not only include the different stereotypical images that different groups have of each other, but also include the stereotypical images that some of the authors of these texts have of the groups that they belong to, and of other groups. It is necessary to understand the different intersecting levels of stereotypical images in every analysis and understanding of texts that involve a transgression of racist taboos.

Transgression through writing

In the conclusion of a preliminary conceptual analysis of some of the concepts related to the confession of our ethno-religious racism, I would like to point out the most important aspects that embody the transgression carried out by the texts of racist taboos in our “culture” and/or “society.” It is obvious that trying to seriously and honestly discuss this topic (ethno-religious racism among Syrians) is considered a transgression of the familiar redlines in this matter. This transgression, however, has become more and more common since the beginning of the Syrian revolution. This, partial and relative, increasing commonness, changes the color of the lines that it crosses, such that it can be said that they are no longer as red as before. This does not undermine the importance of the file opened by Syria Untold. On the contrary, addressing this seriously and calmly has become more possible, after the initial conversations that were most often naturally closer to being a reaction and being superficial.

Transgressing Syrian taboos is not achieved by presenting new and shocking information that startles Syrians. Most of this information is already known in general to many Syrians. What is new in transgressing the taboo in this regard was at the level of ideas, and was embodied in presenting some analysis of this information in a manner that expresses the stereotypical image that the authors of the texts have on the one hand, and facilitates in understanding the dimensions of the stereotypical images that Syrian groups have of each other, on the other. In addition to normalizing the relations with the issue of ethno-religious Syrian racism, the most prominent formulation of transgression in this file is represented by addressing this topic in written texts and not by transient oral discourse. The testimonies consist of a serious theoretical discussion that includes some important ideas and analyses that provoke thinking. The most important, and of course unique, aspect of this file is in that it takes to write what was known and common at the level of oral discourse only. This move (of transgression) from the oral to the written is in itself a transgression of a special kind, common among non-writing cultures, cultures that sometimes object to sinning publicly more so than the sinning itself.

Finally, I would like to emphasize once more that transgression is not positive unless it is founded on values different than those it is supposed to expose, discover, and move beyond. Without accepting and embracing difference, and becoming open to the other and their differences, and adopting a real discourse of equality between people at the level of dignity, freedom, human rights, transgressive discourse will not be more than a racist discourse, directly or not. Transgressing racist taboos is not positive when it takes the form of a racist discourse that actually enhances racism, instead of exposing it in such a way that allows for it to be understood and surpassed. The discourses that attempt to expose the racism of other groups, must know the values that this discourse adopts and is grounded in, the values that it justifies and depends, so that what the discourse attacks or exposes specifically is revealed. For attacking “Kurdish racism against Arabs” and exposing it, may be grounded in Arab racism that is as bad or even worse in most cases. This is the case of many of the trending discourses at the moment that attempts to expose the racism of this or that group. Most of these discourses that want to expose the racism of the other are in fact, exposed discourses, that probably require further exposure.

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          Syrian Hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) Care Tips      Cache   Translate Page      
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          Aryan Britannia: And Still They Keep Flooding in – AB 120318      Cache   Translate Page      
ab 120318

Sven Longshanks and Max Musson discuss the situation in Britain, where a quarter of a million non-Whites arrived in the last year as part of a deliberate plan to displace the indigenous people.

We are being told that EU immigration is slowing, but non-EU immigration is the highest that it has ever been and it is the non-White immigration that is the real threat. If those intruders breed with the native British people, the offspring will no longer be the descendants of the people who built the country but a lethal biological time bomb that will replace the original British people. It is not about a clash of cultures or religions, it is about the replacement of one race with another, which is genocide.

We are being programmed to put the foreigner’s needs above our own, as demonstrated last week when the media was full of one-sided reporting claiming a Syrian boy was water-boarded, when the boy was part of a Moslem gang that had terrorized a White school girl by kicking, biting and hitting her and had threatened to stab the White boy who only threw water at him. The girl’s mother has now been forced from Facebook and we can thank Tommy Robinson for reporting the truth about the story.

In the capital city of England where 60% of the natives have already been replaced by non-Whites there is so much crime that the police had to just abandon a third of all crime reports and are now only properly investigating ‘homicide, sexual assault, firearms offences, domestic assault, and, of course, “hate crime.’

The answer to this is to keep the rest of Britain from becoming like London and support the people who are publicly trying to solve these problems. People like British Movement, National Front, Western Spring, UKIP, Britain First and Tommy Robinson.

Sign this petition to prevent the UN compact for invasion

Presented by Sven Longshanks


Aryan Britannia: And Still They Keep Flooding in – AB 120318




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          Bible Study #46: The Continuing Adventures of David and Saul      Cache   Translate Page      

Bible Study #46: The Life of David III
St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Allentown PA
Fr. Anthony Perkins, 29 November 2018

Opening Prayer: Make the pure light of Your divine knowledge shine in our hearts, Loving Master, and open the eyes of our minds that we may understand the message of Your Gospel. Instill also in us reverence for Your blessed commandments, so that overcoming all worldly desires, we may pursue a spiritual life, both thinking and doing all things pleasing to You. For You, Christ our God, are the Light of our souls and bodies, and to You we give the glory, together with Your Father, without beginning, and Your All Holy, Good, and Life- Creating Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen. (From the Prayer before the Gospel in the Divine Liturgy; see 2 Corinthians 6:6; Ephesians 1:18; 2 Peter 2:11)

1 Kingdoms/Samuel 22. David gathers an army; Saul has the prophets killed.

St. Ambrose. It's not great to run. For the just engage in many struggles. Does an athlete contend only once? How often, after he has won many victor’s crowns, is he overcome in another contest! How often it happens that one who has frequently gained the victory sometimes hesitates and is held fast in uncertainty! And it frequently comes to pass that a brave man is contending with brave men and greater struggles arise, where proofs of strength are greater. Thus, when David sought to flee to avoid the adversary, he also did not find his wings. He was driven here and there in an uncertain struggle.… But David is still in the cave—that is, in the flesh—in the cavern of his body, as it were, as he fights with King Saul, the son of hardness, and with the power of that spiritual prince who is not visible but is comprehensible.

St. Athanasius. But it is better than tyranny. For if it is a bad thing to flee, it is much worse to persecute. The one party hides himself to escape death, the other persecutes with a desire to kill. It is written in the Scriptures that we ought to flee; but he that seeks to destroy transgresses the law and also is himself the occasion of the other’s flight. If then they [the Arians] reproach me with my flight, let them be more ashamed of their own persecution. Let them cease to conspire, and those who flee will immediately cease to do so. But they, instead of giving up their wickedness, are employing every means to obtain possession of my person, not perceiving that the flight of those who are persecuted is a strong argument against those who persecute. For no one flees from the gentle and the humane, but from the cruel and the evil-minded. “Every one that was in distress and every one that was in debt” fled from Saul and took refuge with David. But this is the reason why these men [those persecuting Athanasius] desire to cut off those who are in concealment, that there may be no evidence forthcoming of their own wickedness. But in this their minds seem to be blinded with their usual error. For the more the flight of their enemies becomes known, so much the more notorious will be the destruction or the banishment which their treachery has brought upon them. So whether they kill them outright, their death will be the more loudly noised abroad against them, or whether they drive them into banishment, they will but be sending forth everywhere monuments of their own iniquity.

St. Ephraim the Syrian. David as a Christ, Saul as a Herod, the prophets as the babes.

Indeed, when Saul heard that the priests had helped David unwittingly, he had them brought to him, and he killed them. It was fitting for you too that innocent blood be hung about your neck, as was Saul’s case. But the Son of David escaped from your hands amid the Gentiles. David was persecuted by Saul, just as the Son was by Herod. The priests were slain because of David, and the infants because of our Lord. Abiathar escaped from the priests, as John did from the infants.7 In [the person of] Abiathar the priesthood of the house of Eli was brought to an end, and in John the prophecy of the sons of Jacob was terminated. =

1 Kingdoms/Samuel 23. David wins a battle, consults the Lord, then hides again

Note that David is confirmed as a type of priest (eating the show bread), prophet (consulting the ephod), and warrior-king (goliath's sword).

1 Kingdoms/Samuel 24. David spares Saul's life and Saul prophecies about David's future.

St. Jerome. Psalm 141 is the fruit of this persecution.

Saul, unaware of David’s hiding place, also entered the cave in order to take care of his needs, I presume.… Accordingly, this psalm of David is accepted for certain in the name of the Lord; Saul appears as the devil, and the cave becomes this world. The devil, furthermore, does not discharge any good into this world, but only dung and corruption. Then, too, the cave symbolizes this world because its light is very imperfect when compared with the light of the future world, albeit the Lord, on coming into this world as light, brightens it up considerably. That is why the apostle, in relation to the Father, speaks of him “who is the brightness of his glory.” (Hebrews 1:3) Now just as David entered the cave in his flight from Saul, the Lord, too, has come into this world and has suffered persecution.

St. Gregory of Nyssa. David is a model of self control.

This is why the coming together of Saul, who was in pursuit of murder, and of David, who was shunning murder, in the cave is described after many events which it had preceded. The authority to kill was reversed in this event, since the one who was being pursued for execution had authority over the slaughter of his killer, and although he had the right, so far as retribution against his enemy was concerned, he stayed his power so far as consisted with the right and killed his own anger in himself instead of his enemy.

St. Augustine. This self-control is out of respect for Saul's anointing.

The very oil with which he was anointed (the chrism by token of which he was called a “Christ”) must be understood symbolically as pointing to a profound mystery. David himself so religiously respected this anointed state that he was conscience-stricken when, in a dark cave where Saul had entered to ease himself, David came up, unseen, from behind and cut off a tiny piece of Saul’s robe. David did this merely to have evidence later how he had spared Saul when he could have killed him, thus hoping to disabuse Saul of the idea which drove him implacably to pursue David as his foe. Nevertheless, David quaked with fear that perhaps merely by so touching Saul’s garments he was guilty of sacrilege.… Such deep religious reverence was paid to this foreshadowing figure, not for what it was in itself but precisely because of the reality it typified.

St. Ambrose. What goes around comes around.

What a virtuous action that was, when David wished rather to spare the king his enemy, though he could have injured him! How useful, too, it was, for it helped him when he succeeded to the throne. For all learned to be faithful to their king and not to seize the kingdom but to fear and reverence him. Thus what is virtuous was preferred to what was useful, and then usefulness followed on what was virtuous.

St. Basil the Great. Even kindness cannot defeat envy.

Not even this act of benevolence moved Saul, however. Again he gathered an army and again he set out in pursuit, until he was a second time apprehended by David in the cave where he more clearly revealed his own iniquity and made the virtue of David even more resplendent. Envy is the most savage form of hatred. Favors render those who are hostile to us for any other reason more tractable, but kind treatment shown to an envious and spiteful person only aggravates his dislike. The greater the favors he receives, the more displeased and vexed and ill-disposed he becomes.

Next week: more hide and seek, evil deeds by Saul, and finally his death.

Bibliography

Franke, J. R. (Ed.). (2005). Old Testament IV: Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1–2 Samuel. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.


          The LEGO Foundation Awards $100 Million To Sesame Workshop To Bring The Power Of Learning Through Play To Children Affected By The Rohingya And Syrian Refugee Crises      Cache   Translate Page      


          Fund for bullied Syrian boy is closed after it raises £158,000      Cache   Translate Page      
The 15-year-old was attacked at Almondbury School in Huddersfield.
          The LEGO Foundation awards $100 million to Sesame Workshop to bring the power of learning through play to children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises      Cache   Translate Page      

BILLUND, Denmark, Dec. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the LEGO Foundation announced that it is awarding a $100 million grant to Sesame Workshop to ensure that young children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian crises have opportunities to learn through play and develop the skills needed...


          The LEGO Foundation awards $100 million to Sesame Workshop to bring the power of learning through play to children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises      Cache   Translate Page      

New program will provide critical new insights into effective models of learning through play for children affected by crisis BILLUND, Denmark, Dec. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the LEGO Foundation announced that it is awarding a $100 million grant to Sesame Workshop to ensure that...


           Comment on The Legacy of HW Bush by Jerry Alatalo       Cache   Translate Page      
Lost all respect for the Intercept and Greenwald after his Democracy Now appearance where he asserted, after the last chemical false flag, Bashar al-Assad was (undoubtedly) guilty of gassing Syrians. We've had thoughts the Intercept-Reality Winner (curiously, a striking resemblance to Chelsea Manning) story was a psyop to bolster the Russiagate charade, and that Winner is in on it. The same suspicions arise with John "9/11 Commission Report is the truth" Kiriakou.
          Isis returns to insurgent roots after defeats      Cache   Translate Page      
Group re-emerges as ‘clandestine’ organisation sowing instability in Iraq and Syria
          This Day In Iraqi History - Dec 2      Cache   Translate Page      

1920 US Consul in Baghdad said England hadn’t taken any serious steps to create an
independent Iraqi govt
1928 UK High Comm for Iraq Dobbs wrote conscription in Iraq would cause revolt Was already
problem in Basra Said authority of Iraqi govt depended upon British backing and military might
1932 King Faisal speech praised his rule in Syria Said if he was still king there Syria would be
independent like Iraq
1948 Baghdad told oil companies they should not employ Jews after creation of Israel
1980 Saddam accused US of helping Iran during Iran-Iraq war
1981 Iranian Op Tariq al-Quds Revolutionary Guard began 1sthuman wave attacks in war in Bostan
Suffered heavy losses
(Musings On Iraq interview with author Anthony Tucker-Jones on Iran-Iraq War)
(Musings On Iraq book review The Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988)
(Musings On Iraq book review Iran-Iraq War, The Lion of Babylon, 1980-1988)
(Musings On Iraq book review The Iran-Iraq War)
2001 Powell said no reason to believe Iraq didn’t have WMD
2001 USA Today article said Iraq supported bin Laden when he was in Sudan in 1990s
2001 Ex-CIA Dir Woolsey said he believed Iraq involved in 9/11
2002 Bush Cheney DepSecDef Wolfowtiz gave speeches across US saying that Iraq would not
cooperate with weapons inspectors
(Musings On Iraq article on UN weapons inspections)
2002 White House spokesman said if Saddam said he had no WMD proved he was lying if he said he
had WMD he violated UN resolutions
2002 White House spokesman said Iraq bought aluminum tubes for its nuke program
(Musings On Iraq article on the aluminum tubes story)
2002 White House officials told US News & World Report they were making extensive plans for
postwar Iraq
2002 UK issued dossier on human rights abuses in Iraq Amnesty Intl attacked report as
opportunistic and selective
2003 Dep Sec State Armitage said US should not oppose Ayatollah Sistani who was pushing for
elections for new Iraq parliament
2005 Def Sec Rumsfeld told CENTCOM Cmdr Gen Abizaid and US Iraq Cmdr Gen Casey CIA
found insurgents infiltrating Iraqi army in Anbar
2005 Gen Dempsey in charge of US training mission for ISF said 100 Iraqi army battalions 33
operating on own 40 in the lead Said 27 Federal Police battalions on duty Said major problem was police were recruited locally and many were from militias
(Musings On Iraq article on pre-Surge US Iraq strategy)
2008 US and Iraqi officials met about Sahwa Maliki said he agreed with Americans organizing Sunni
tribes but southern Iraq was off limits Said southern tribes could threaten Shiite parties Came after US Marines were organizing Sahwa in Qadisiyah to counter militias  
(Musings On Iraq article on Maliki govt cancelling US forming Sahwa in southern Iraq)
2008 Oil Min Shahristani demanded KRG void its oil contracts in return for deal to allow it to export
            oil
(Musings On Iraq article on Baghdad-KRG oil talks)
2011 Mobs attacked Christian and Yazidi businesses in several towns in Dohuk province

View the Iraq History Timelines 

          Syrian Army Neutralizes Over 20 Daesh Terrorists East of Homs - Reports      Cache   Translate Page      
Reported by RIA Nov. 3 hours ago.
          Laura Ingraham compares Confederate statues to priceless antiquities and protesters to ISIS      Cache   Translate Page      

LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): This recalls the kind of destructive mindset of let's say, ISIS. Think about ISIS, what they did, they pillaged and they wiped away irreplaceable historical and religious monuments. From Palmyra, remember in Syria simply because they could. It was offensive to them.

Related:

NBC: UNC will house 'Silent Sam' Confederate statue in new $5 million building

Previously:

Laura Ingraham decries confederate statue being pulled down, wonders if burning books is next

"Lynch mob" or "freedom riders": Laura Ingraham's take on Ferguson protests vs. Bundy Ranch standoff

Fox contributor Tomi Lahren: In removing confederate statues, the left is trying "to erase history and to erase every shred of patriotism"


          Fund for bullied Syrian boy is closed after it raises £158,000      Cache   Translate Page      
The 15-year-old was attacked at Almondbury School in Huddersfield.
          The B-21 Raider has completed a developmental review and remains on schedule      Cache   Translate Page      

B 21 raider conceptNorthrop Grumman

  • The B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber program recently completed a developmental review and remains on schedule, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said on Tuesday. 
  • Officials have said the Northrop Grumman-made B-21 is expected to reach its critical design review milestone in December, but it wasn't clear whether the review Wilson spoke of is the same one.
  • The Air Force awarded Northrop the contract, initially worth $21.4 billion, in 2015.

SIMI VALLEY, California -- The B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber program recently completed a developmental review and remains on schedule, the top civilian of the Air Force said at the Reagan National Defense Forum.

"Our most recent review was last week, and the B-21 is on schedule and performance," Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said during the forum in Simi Valley on Saturday.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

NOW WATCH: A Harvard psychologist reveals the secret to curbing your appetite

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Details of the new B-21 Raider bomber that's a secret even to Congress


          Fund for bullied Syrian boy is closed after it raises £158,000      Cache   Translate Page      
The 15-year-old was attacked at Almondbury School in Huddersfield.
          One of these 4 western governors could become America's next Democratic president      Cache   Translate Page      
Democrats are keeping an eye on John Hickenlooper, Stephen Bullock, Jay Inslee, and Gavin Newsom

As the 2020 presidential campaign commences now that the midterm elections of 2018 are over, four governors from western states may decide to compete for the Democratic nomination, and could play a major role. One is leaving office and has given evidence of interest in running; two others are still in office and have gained notice for their skills as governors; and one is about to enter office with at least long range presidential ambitions. Having a western governor in the White House would be nearly unique, as only California Governor Ronald Reagan ever achieved the presidency, coming from a western state. But this time, it could be a Democrat from the west in the White House.

John Hickenlooper of Colorado is finishing eight years as chief executive of the Rocky Mountain state, and had previously been the mayor of Denver from 2002-2011. Hickenlooper was judged one of the five best mayors in America by Time Magazine in 2005, and resolved the city’s financial crisis. He won a second term by a massive margin, and succeeded in bringing the Democratic National Convention to Denver in 2008. 

Hickenlooper served as chairman of the National Governor’s Association in 2014 and 2015, and gained such a good reputation that he was rumored to be part of a future bipartisan unity ticket with Republican Governor John Kasich of Ohio, although neither governor ever confirmed such a plan. As governor, he has promoted a ten-year plan against homelessness, advanced economic growth, opposed capital punishment, and backed disaster relief for victims of record setting floods and wildfires that devastated Colorado. While skeptical originally about cannabis legalization, he has gone along with the voters who decided to legalize weed. His record as a governor has drawn him positive national attention, so the odds are good that he will announce his candidacy in the coming months.

Steve Bullock has been the governor of Montana since 2013, after having served four years as Montana Attorney General. He has been the chairman of the National Governor’s Association this year. He has been rated the most effective governor in the nation. He is known for environmental initiatives, measures to promote economic growth, friendly relations with labor, and cutting property taxes. He was reelected to a second term on the heels of his high poll numbers, but has had to face a Republican controlled legislature. 

Bullock has supported abortion rights, campaign finance reform, marriage equality, net neutrality, and organized labor. Despite his liberal views, he was able to win reelection at the same time that Donald Trump was elected president. He has argued for the need of the Democratic Party to move beyond urban centers, and work to gain the support of suburban and rural voters, as he has been able to do in his state. He traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire in 2018, evidencing interest in a possible presidential run. Most political observers expect him to enter the race in the next few months.

Jay Inslee has been the governor of Washington since 2013, after serving seven terms in the US House of Representatives before becoming Governor. Inslee is a strong critic of the Trump presidency. He opposed the executive order banning travel from seven Muslim nations and denounced a separate order banning Syrian refugees. In his years in Congress Inslee, a conservationist, advocated action against global warming. He backed the passage of the Affordable Care Act under President Barack Obama. He was under consideration to be Secretary of the Interior or Secretary of Energy in the transition period of the Obama presidency.

As governor Inslee ended capital punishment, promoted the expansion of education aid, addressed mental health needs, and raised worker pay for state employees. In 2017 he was elected the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, just in time for the 2018 elections. He had good timing. The Democrats gained seven governorships in November. He won reelection in 2016, despite the Republican Party’s takeover of the federal government. Rumors have spread that he is seriously considering a presidential bid in the next few months. One reason is his strong criticism of President Trump.

Finally, the new California governor, Gavin Newsom, is seen as a possible presidential contender in the future, more likely in 2024. He has served as Jerry Brown’s lieutenant governor for two terms since 2011. Previously he was the much heralded mayor of San Francisco from 2004-2011. He became controversial for his advocacy of major programs to help the homeless in San Francisco, and gained national attention for being the first public official to promote and actually preside at gay marriage ceremonies in 2004. He also promoted the concept of sanctuary cities to provide support for undocumented immigrants. He refused to cooperate with agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).

As lieutenant governor Newsom promoted the expansion of technology in government, greatly expanded educational aid, supported cannabis legalization, and advocated the end of the death penalty. He is regarded by many as a “rock star” celebrity politician.

It seems a certainty that at least two, and possibly all four of these western governors will bring attention to the Mountain West and the Pacific Coast, which have never played a major role in Democratic politics. Expect these four governors to be part of the political battles in 2020 and beyond.


          Sesame Workshop just got another $100 million to bring Muppets to refugee kids      Cache   Translate Page      

The Lego Foundation adds another huge gift to the children’s education organization’s plans to create a support system for kids escaping conflict.

In late 2017, Sesame and the International Rescue Committee earned an initial $100 million grant by winning the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change competition to create programming specifically designed for  Middle Eastern refugees from conflict zones in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.

Read Full Story


          12月4日(火)のつぶやき その4      Cache   Translate Page      

@sunamajiri 日産の売り上げから4割くらいは配当でもらってて、売り上げ台数でもボロボロだけど、さらにこのルノーがフランスを代表する最大の企業って考えると、スゴイね、フランスもルノーもw ハイチの独立認める代わりに3兆円搾取し続けてる国家は考えることもやることも違う…

— 大江昇 (@TKDOMO) 2018年12月4日 - 17:37

外国人に「品川駅高輪口」と「高輪ゲートウェイ駅」の違いを説明するのにアホほど苦労すると思うんだけどオリンピック大丈夫かなあ

— 坪井遥 Haruka Tsuboi (@YashinNoMeisou) 2018年12月4日 - 14:24

TLを「高輪ゲートウェイ」という駅名に対するブーイングが飛び交っているが、ぶっちゃけ、かつて「業平橋」という風雅な駅名を「とうきょうスカイツリー駅」にされてしまった失望に比べればどうという事はない #死んだ目で

— 日下春生(zsphere) (@faketaoist) 2018年12月4日 - 16:09

高野寛、宮沢和史、野宮真貴、カジヒデキ、坂本美雨ほか。YMOの遺伝子を受け継いだミュージシャンによる一夜限りのYMOトリビュート・コンサートが開催決定。2019年3月14日(木)に東京・新宿文化センター大ホールにて行われます amass.jp/114244/

— amass (@amass_jp) 2018年12月4日 - 11:00

「高輪ゲートウェイ」という新駅名、これまで数々のグラフィックデザイナーがなんとか取ろうとしてきた均衡を、一発で破壊してしまう文字数ではある。 pic.twitter.com/AUohGw1kok

— まことぴ (@makotopic) 2018年12月4日 - 15:45

【メディア掲載情報】
雑誌「東京人」1月号に、建築史家の五十嵐太郎さんによる「新復興論」の書評が掲載されています!「復興の失敗を繰り返さないために」と題し、本書のテーマである「被災地に『不謹慎』を招き入れること」や「中央と地方」の… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

— ゲンロン友の会@9期スタート! (@genroninfo) 2018年12月4日 - 15:33

トンダ五反田
#高輪ゲートウェイに合わせて山手線の駅名を考える

— 大江昇 (@TKDOMO) 2018年12月4日 - 17:54

【New!】#山手線新駅 に対抗して「サマンサ田端」「新橋アルコールターミナル」?各駅の新名称、Twitter大喜利に
huffp.st/aBI9Cyj

— ハフポスト日本版 (@HuffPostJapan) 2018年12月4日 - 17:40

【注目プレスリリース】「胃がんにおいてヒストン修飾の異常により悪性度を増すメカニズムを解明」 ― 今後の胃がん治療の新しい標的となることが期待 ― / 東京医科歯科大学 research-er.jp/articles/view/…

— 日本の研究.comニュース (@rjp_news) 2018年12月4日 - 17:31

ヒズボラとレバノン軍に対して軍事警告するイスラエル。その前に、イランがイスラエルの軍事基地は射程範囲内にあると警告している。 twitter.com/Syrian_Lion/st…

— mko (@trappedsoldier) 2018年12月4日 - 17:43

高輪ゲートウェイ駅で漢字+カタカナの駅名がダサいと言われてるみたいだけど、それなら神戸に最強クラスの駅がある。 pic.twitter.com/FRgdt0DOBJ

— わんだらぁ (@StellaInerrans) 2018年12月4日 - 16:32

フランスの抗議行動により破壊された凱旋門のマリアンヌ像が痛々しかったので、オレなりに(CGで)修復してみた。
(`・ω・´) pic.twitter.com/j0eTwrsdC5

— RYU-J@レトロゲーム愛好家 (@ryujxorz) 2018年12月3日 - 22:23

@TKDOMO まじに紛れもなく、うちのひいじいちゃんが(政府側の立役者として)創業した日産が、革命以来のフランスをここまで懲らしめるとは、やるなうちのひいじいさんと、ジワリ始めてるよ(^-^)/

— 大本薫 Kaoru Ohmoto (@sunamajiri) 2018年12月4日 - 17:47

@sunamajiri ひいじちゃん、「紅はこべ」を超える世界ですな~ (^^)/

— 大江昇 (@TKDOMO) 2018年12月4日 - 18:03

「高輪ゲートウェイ」ショックで日経平均先物600円安 先輩格アーバンパークラインの東武鉄道が連れ安 pic.twitter.com/HGyJkvLzR1

— 岡三マン (@okasanman) 2018年12月4日 - 14:33

アラン・レネの映画「去年マリエンバートで」。ロブ=グリエらしい白昼夢のごとき脚本を彷徨う、怜悧な彫像のように美しいディルフィーヌ・セイリグが圧倒的。そして、セイリグの兄フランシスによるメシアン風のオルガン曲が彩るホテルや庭園の装飾… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

— Takimoto (@tkmttkmt) 2018年12月4日 - 17:44

ロシア最大の美術館、エルミタージュはなぜユーニクで優れている場所だろうか。例えば、この巨大な美術館は300万点以上の作品を所有し、そのうちのわずか5%が350のホールに展示されているのだ!
jp.rbth.com/arts/81280-eru…

— ロシア・ビヨンド 日本 (@roshiaNOW) 2018年12月4日 - 17:44

中二病もここまでくるともはやかっこいい pic.twitter.com/pqHab8vLfO

— 孫弥 (@SonmiChina) 2018年12月4日 - 00:39

ウラジオストクは治安が悪そうというお母さんに「そんなことない!!街並みもきれいだよほら!!!」って言いながら画像検索して出てきた画像がこれ pic.twitter.com/PFcZFpggs4

— ほづみ (@hhhina_) 2018年12月3日 - 11:55

涙の海 pic.twitter.com/I4p93rwwfK

— アボガド6 (@avogado6) 2018年12月3日 - 21:28

戦争の経験から言えば、まず国民の人権、思想・言論の自由は無くなる。
生命と財産も脅かされる。自衛隊が敵地で戦うなどと思うのは甘い。相手国は日本国土に報復する。軍事にお金も物資も回すから国民生活は困窮を極める。先の戦争では国民徴用令により、軍需産業に強制的に低賃金で就職・転職させた

— KAZUKO (@PeriKazuko) 2018年12月4日 - 00:19

新駅の名前が「高輪ゲートウェイ駅」に決まったことについて、駅名を「高輪」にしてほしいと活動してきた、新駅に近い「高輪泉岳寺前商店会」会長は「正直、なんだか微妙な駅名だと思いましたが、高輪と入れてもらえたので、がっかり半分、喜び半分… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

— NHK@首都圏 (@nhk_shutoken) 2018年12月4日 - 16:29

@TKDOMO ベタの革命政府じゃ貴族とたいしてかわらんからね。そのベタさから自由にならなきゃ。メタよメタ(^-^)/ @TKDOMO ひいじちゃん、「紅はこべ」を超える世界ですな~ (^^)/

— 大本薫 Kaoru Ohmoto (@sunamajiri) 2018年12月4日 - 18:08

「そだねー」流行語大賞祝って学食半額! 北海道 北見工大 #nhk_news www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/2018…

— NHKニュース (@nhk_news) 2018年12月4日 - 15:49

カーモンベイビー阿佐ヶ谷

— サ骨@レッドカードP (@sakots80001) 2018年12月4日 - 16:26

目黒エンペラー #高輪ゲートウェイに合わせて山手線の駅名を考える

— konso (@oiroppa) 2018年12月4日 - 18:17

@oiroppa わあ、自分の最低血圧が最高血圧になってる…。早死にしそうだな~自分w

— 大江昇 (@TKDOMO) 2018年12月4日 - 18:21

声掛け

介護で一番難しいのは実は声掛けであると思う。言い方一つで利用者はこちらの言う事をやってくれるが、反発をされると頑固に抵抗する。所が親子となるともう喧嘩になりかけるが、ここはじっと我慢して優しく声を掛けないとやはり頑固に抵抗する。まあ、親子程難しいかもね!

— なるみん (@narumin50000) 2018年12月4日 - 18:27

高輪ゲートウェイ駅が話題を呼んでいますが、愛知県が誇る「漢字+カタカナ」の駅名がこちらです。 pic.twitter.com/j671SuUCB4

— イケザえもん (@ikezaemon01) 2018年12月4日 - 14:50

パリ、シャンゼリゼ。もう完全に通常営業っぽくて世界中から集まる観光客が燃えた車で記念撮影してたりする pic.twitter.com/BEInGCuTnc

— イトウ (@120U1) 2018年12月3日 - 23:57
          Parents Of Texas Journalist Missing In Syria Hopeful About Fate      Cache   Translate Page      
The parents of American journalist Austin Tice, who went missing in Syria in 2012, say they are hopeful the Trump administration will work on releasing their son.
          One of these 4 western governors could become America's next Democratic president      Cache   Translate Page      
Democrats are keeping an eye on John Hickenlooper, Stephen Bullock, Jay Inslee, and Gavin Newsom

As the 2020 presidential campaign commences now that the midterm elections of 2018 are over, four governors from western states may decide to compete for the Democratic nomination, and could play a major role. One is leaving office and has given evidence of interest in running; two others are still in office and have gained notice for their skills as governors; and one is about to enter office with at least long range presidential ambitions. Having a western governor in the White House would be nearly unique, as only California Governor Ronald Reagan ever achieved the presidency, coming from a western state. But this time, it could be a Democrat from the west in the White House.

John Hickenlooper of Colorado is finishing eight years as chief executive of the Rocky Mountain state, and had previously been the mayor of Denver from 2002-2011. Hickenlooper was judged one of the five best mayors in America by Time Magazine in 2005, and resolved the city’s financial crisis. He won a second term by a massive margin, and succeeded in bringing the Democratic National Convention to Denver in 2008. 

Hickenlooper served as chairman of the National Governor’s Association in 2014 and 2015, and gained such a good reputation that he was rumored to be part of a future bipartisan unity ticket with Republican Governor John Kasich of Ohio, although neither governor ever confirmed such a plan. As governor, he has promoted a ten-year plan against homelessness, advanced economic growth, opposed capital punishment, and backed disaster relief for victims of record setting floods and wildfires that devastated Colorado. While skeptical originally about cannabis legalization, he has gone along with the voters who decided to legalize weed. His record as a governor has drawn him positive national attention, so the odds are good that he will announce his candidacy in the coming months.

Steve Bullock has been the governor of Montana since 2013, after having served four years as Montana Attorney General. He has been the chairman of the National Governor’s Association this year. He has been rated the most effective governor in the nation. He is known for environmental initiatives, measures to promote economic growth, friendly relations with labor, and cutting property taxes. He was reelected to a second term on the heels of his high poll numbers, but has had to face a Republican controlled legislature. 

Bullock has supported abortion rights, campaign finance reform, marriage equality, net neutrality, and organized labor. Despite his liberal views, he was able to win reelection at the same time that Donald Trump was elected president. He has argued for the need of the Democratic Party to move beyond urban centers, and work to gain the support of suburban and rural voters, as he has been able to do in his state. He traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire in 2018, evidencing interest in a possible presidential run. Most political observers expect him to enter the race in the next few months.

Jay Inslee has been the governor of Washington since 2013, after serving seven terms in the US House of Representatives before becoming Governor. Inslee is a strong critic of the Trump presidency. He opposed the executive order banning travel from seven Muslim nations and denounced a separate order banning Syrian refugees. In his years in Congress Inslee, a conservationist, advocated action against global warming. He backed the passage of the Affordable Care Act under President Barack Obama. He was under consideration to be Secretary of the Interior or Secretary of Energy in the transition period of the Obama presidency.

As governor Inslee ended capital punishment, promoted the expansion of education aid, addressed mental health needs, and raised worker pay for state employees. In 2017 he was elected the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, just in time for the 2018 elections. He had good timing. The Democrats gained seven governorships in November. He won reelection in 2016, despite the Republican Party’s takeover of the federal government. Rumors have spread that he is seriously considering a presidential bid in the next few months. One reason is his strong criticism of President Trump.

Finally, the new California governor, Gavin Newsom, is seen as a possible presidential contender in the future, more likely in 2024. He has served as Jerry Brown’s lieutenant governor for two terms since 2011. Previously he was the much heralded mayor of San Francisco from 2004-2011. He became controversial for his advocacy of major programs to help the homeless in San Francisco, and gained national attention for being the first public official to promote and actually preside at gay marriage ceremonies in 2004. He also promoted the concept of sanctuary cities to provide support for undocumented immigrants. He refused to cooperate with agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).

As lieutenant governor Newsom promoted the expansion of technology in government, greatly expanded educational aid, supported cannabis legalization, and advocated the end of the death penalty. He is regarded by many as a “rock star” celebrity politician.

It seems a certainty that at least two, and possibly all four of these western governors will bring attention to the Mountain West and the Pacific Coast, which have never played a major role in Democratic politics. Expect these four governors to be part of the political battles in 2020 and beyond.

 

Related Stories


          Israeli operation targets Hezbollah cross-border tunnels      Cache   Translate Page      
JERUSALEM – The Israeli military launched an open-ended operation Tuesday to destroy what it said was a network of attack tunnels built by Hezbollah, saying it had foiled a plot by the Iranian-backed militant group to carry out a deadly infiltration in northern Israel.

Israeli forces did not enter Lebanese territory, and there was no immediate reaction from Hezbollah. But the Israeli announcement threatened to push the bitter enemies closer to an open confrontation for the first time since a bruising 2006 war. The military said it had protectively increased forces along the border and warned Hezbollah to keep its distance from the tunnels.

“Hezbollah knows well that whoever attacks the state of Israel will paid a very heavy price,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a nationally televised address in the evening. “What has been revealed to you now is but a small part of the bigger picture of our preparations and our activities and the activities we’re planning.”

The Israeli operation began shortly after Netanyahu returned from a surprise trip to Brussels to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Netanyahu said he had discussed the operation with Pompeo, and he planned to talk to other world leaders, including the U.N. secretary-general.

Israeli military officials have long seen the northern front as the country’s most pressing security concern, with archenemy Iran entrenched in Syria and Hezbollah gaining strength in Lebanon.

Hezbollah is believed to be far more powerful than in the monthlong 2006 war, in which it battled Israel to a stalemate.

The group has gained valuable battlefield experience fighting alongside Iranian and Syrian troops in Syria’s civil war, and it is believed to possess an arsenal of 150,000 rockets and missiles capable of striking virtually anywhere in Israel.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said the army has been tracking the Hezbollah tunnel project since 2014 and that Tuesday’s operation, codenamed “Northern Shield,” had been in the works for a year and a half. He said the tunnels were not yet operational.

Standing alongside Netanyahu, Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said the mission would last for several weeks. “The operation commenced because the threat posed by the tunnels became an immediate and direct threat to residents of the north and Israeli army bases,” he said.

The army said the tunnel revealed Tuesday stretched about 200 yards from a home in the Lebanese village of Kafr Kela across the border and exited in farmland southwest of the pastoral Israeli border town of Metula. It said was outfitted with electricity, a ventilation pipe and a communications cable.

Residents told Israeli media they had been hearing digging noises for years and had reported their suspicions to the military.

Metula resident Michael Mazeika said he and others received texts early Tuesday from local officials informing them of the situation.

“We’ve kind of been waiting for something like this,” he said. “I’m just glad that they found it before anything really bad happened.”

People went about their daily routines, he said, and Israel gave them no special orders, signaling it was not expecting an immediate response from Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is emerging from Syria’s civil war with thousands of its fighters killed and wounded and is averse to another military adventure with Israel. The group, however, is feeling empowered by what its leadership regards as a victory for their ally, President Bashar Assad, who has survived a seven-year war and revolt against his rule.

The group is feeling increasingly emboldened internally in Lebanon, where it made significant gains in parliamentary elections in May. Hezbollah can also count on support from the Lebanese president, who is an ally, in case of confrontation with Israel.

There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah.

An official from the so-called “Axis of Resistance” – led by Iran and made up of Syrian officials, Iraqi Shiite militias, Hezbollah and other groups – said Hezbollah fighters were “on high alert to confront any possible Israeli aggression.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the group’s military activities with the media.

The Lebanese military said the situation on its side of the border is “calm and stable,” adding that army units in the area were conducting their usual missions in coordination with U.N. peacekeepers. “The army command is ready to confront any emergency,” it said.

Malene Jensen, spokeswoman for the U.N. force in Lebanon, said the situation “remains calm.”

Although Israel believes Hezbollah is in no rush to go to war, the army has been preparing for renewed hostilities for some time. Last year, it held a large-scale drill simulating war with Hezbollah. It also has reinforced a massive border wall and stepped up foot patrols on the border.

Under the U.N. resolution that ended the 2006 war, Hezbollah is barred from operating in southern Lebanon. Israel has long accused it of violating the resolution.

Netanyahu said he holds the Lebanese government responsible for Hezbollah’s actions.

At the U.N., Israel Ambassador Danny Danon said he urged Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “condemn Hezbollah’s violations” and called for the Security Council to “condemn this terrorist threat.”

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the U.S. “strongly supports Israel’s efforts to defend its sovereignty” and urged “Iran and all of its agents to stop their regional aggression.”

Israeli officials believe Hezbollah has long been preparing for an operation to shift the battlefield to Israeli territory. Conricus said the tunnels were meant to be a “surprise component” of that plan.

The 2006 war began with a cross-border raid in which Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers whose remains were returned two years later in a prisoner exchange. Hezbollah’s leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, on several occasions has vowed to storm northern Israel.

The border has been relatively quiet, but the sides have come into conflict in Syria, where Israel has carried out scores of airstrikes purportedly meant to prevent Iranian arms from reaching Hezbollah.

Netanyahu recently has faced a major crisis in his governing coalition over the handling of a cease-fire with Gaza militants. Facing heavy criticism over the cease-fire, he cited Israel’s “complex” security situation, in what was seen as a reference to the north.

The operation also came days after Israeli police recommended indicting Netanyahu in a corruption case. The timing of the operation did not appear to be linked to his legal woes, given the months of preparations involved. Eisenkot, the military chief, said the Israeli Cabinet authorized the operation weeks ago, on Nov. 7.


          Spose bambine: un problema sociale ancora irrisolto      Cache   Translate Page      
https://www.aneddoticamagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/Girls_carrying_water_in_India.jpg

There are problems nobody talks anymore. Not because they have been solved. Or because they only occur in far countries. Just because, in the face of problems that you can not solve, people prefer looking away.


One of these is the case of child marriages. According to a recent UNICEF report, the problem has reached terrible dimensions: all around the world there are at least 125 million child brides. About a third of them (over 40 million) have been granted in marriage when they were younger than 15. And, although the percentage is slightly decreasing, the increase of world population is making the problem worse: according to UNICEF, in 2050 there will be 300 million child marriages!

“The sheer number of girls involved, and what it represents in terms of lost childhoods and lives conditioned to always make it clear how urgent is banning the practice of child marriage,” said the executive director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake.


Girls, sometime babies, who instead playing with dolls, drop out of school and are locked in a house where they live submissive to their husbands and in-laws. Child brides rarely have the possibility to complete studies, for them is high the risk to become victims of violence and to contract HIV. And even when they survive, quite often it is impossible for them to acquire the skills needed to find a decent job. This generate a perverse circuit that damages economy of the poor countries and causes inter-generational cycles of poverty.


A problem that is difficult to reduce: many of these child brides live in the countryside and in extreme poverty conditions. Social and economic pressures often encourage early marriages. To try and find a justification someone even tried and resort non-existent traditions (like the one that says that parents who allow a child in marriage before the start of the menstrual cycle, will go to heaven). The result is that for a girl belonging to the poorest 20% of the population the probability of getting married when child has not changed in the last 25 years!

If the trend will not change, in 2050 half of all child brides will be in Africa. The problem relates more to the Africa (70 percent of cases): here often families look for in these marriages a source of salvation to deal with the absolute poverty.

But the situation is serious in Asia as well. Among Syrian refugees in Jordan the rate of early marriages has grown from 18% to 25% (data 2013). And situation is getting worse: before the war in Syria, the average of marriages involving girls under the age of 18 was only 13%.

In many countries, the problem is also the indifference of the authorities: in Nepal, despite a 1963 law prohibiting child marriage and requiring the 20 years as the minimum age for marriages, the police rarely intervene to enforce these rules. Even the goal of eradicating the phenomenon by 2020 is nuanced: now the new goal is 2030. The report “Our time to sing and play” of Human Rights Watch, denounces the social and economic pressures that girls are forced to live in Nepal, often with the consent of the families.

It seems there is a relationship between the level of wealth and the phenomenon of child brides. The best results were achieved in the “rich” countries; in poor countries there have shown no substantial improvements.


Even in “developed countries” like USA or Europe, child marriages are a social problem. There are many arranged marriages between adult immigrants in the US and young girls from the countries of origin. The numbers are frightening: early marriages are a problem in many of American States. In Virginia, where between 2004-2013, there were approximately at least 4,500 cases of marriages with minors (over 200 of them got married at age 15 or younger and about 90% of underage spouses are girls). In Maryland, where there have been over 3,000 cases of marriages with children. In Texas, where cases recorded between 2009-2013, there were over 700 (aged 15 to 17 years). In New Jersey were 3,499 cases of marriages with minors (most of them had 16 or 17 years, but 178 were aged between 10 and 15!). Similar data in other states. These data confirm that even in America laws fail protecting children. Most states require that the minimum legal age of consent for marriage is 18 years. But exemptions are permitted if parents of a minor give their consent or if a girl is pregnant. Even polygamy causes the number of child brides not decrease: often these marriages are religious only and are not recognized by the state. This does not prevent you from being equally celebrated in many communities.


In other countries (especially in Latin America), the percentage of girls spending did not show a significant drop in the last twenty years.


Europe is not immune to this disease. The UN Council for Human Rights adopted several resolutions concerning violence against women and gender discrimination (one focused specifically on early and forced marriages: they are considered violations of human rights and deny fundamental rights such as the right to ‘education and health – including sexual and reproductive health – as well as being among the causes of poverty among women and an obstacle to sustainable development). Italy has ratified the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (better known as the Istanbul Convention). Quite often, however, authorities are unable to act. Sometime marriages of brides girls do not take place in Italy: the victims are taken by deception in other countries (such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Albania or Turkey) where occur arranged marriages.

In other European countries, early marriages are widespread in recent years. In Bosnia, for example: girls arrive at the age of 14-16 years and try to get married hoping to get out of families (often destroyed). The only difference is that in this case often weddings are among peers without prospects (alcohol consumption by men has shown a significant increase); consequently marriages do not last long and there are serious problems of coexistence. Again, however many times early marriage leads to early school leaving (a phenomenon that particularly affects girls).


Today there is no country in which there are no cases of child brides, and that, once again, the measures taken were unable to solve a major problem of the Millennium or at least stem it.


C.Alessandro Mauceri





Aneddotica Magazine - Collaborative Blog since 2012 https://www.aneddoticamagazine.com/it/spose-bambine-un-problema-sociale-ancora-irrisolto/

          Mind control, the CIA and other topics      Cache   Translate Page      
Have you listened to the latest GUNS & BUTTER?  It's really interesting.  Her guest is an author named Jay Dyer and they discuss the mind programming and other topics and reference points include THE PARALLAX VIEW, CLOCKWORK ORANGE, EYES WIDE SHUT and CHINATOWN.

It's a really interesting show.


Also of interest is Jacob C. Hornberger's article at INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE which asks the question how does the CIA have the 'right' to assassinate anyone:



In 1947, the CIA was called into existence as part of this new national-security state. President Truman, the president who was responsible for the federal government’s conversion to a national-security state, intended for the CIA to be strictly an intelligence-gathering agency. But someone slipped a bit of nebulous language into the law that called the CIA into existence, which the CIA seized upon to justify the adoption of omnipotent powers, including the power to assassinate people with impunity, so long as the assassination was to protect “national security.” Needless to say, the CIA had the omnipotent power to make that determination.

As monumental as the conversion to a national-security state was, it was not done through a constitutional amendment. The Constitution continued to be the supreme law that governed the operations of the federal government, including the CIA. Thus, since the Constitution did not give the federal government the power to assassinate people and since the Fifth Amendment expressly prohibited the federal government from assassinating people, the US Supreme Court and the rest of the federal judiciary had the responsibility to declare the CIA’s power to assassinate people unconstitutional.

Unfortunately, however, in a national-security state power is everything and especially omnipotent power. Recognizing that as a practical matter, there would be no way that the federal judiciary could keep the CIA from assassinating people in the name of protecting “national security,” the federal courts went silent or even supportive.

In 1989 the Cold War ended. Yet, we still have a national-security state and we still have a CIA with the power to assassinate people, including Americans. Why is that?


Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 
Tuesday, December 4, 2018.  "All that I have is that I saw.  I saw without being afraid and without turning away.  And that I didn't forgive the unforgivable."


Replying to 
Invaded Panama. Invaded Iraq (the first time) on a lie. Withheld evidence from Iran/Contra hearings. Highway of Death. We ignore the horrible things former politicians did, "honor them for their service" when they die, then wonder why the next ones are worse.





That's the man some are mourning, a true War Criminal.

And you can't mourn a War Criminal without a lot of lies.  Which is how we get Barbra Streisand. 


Two years ago this week, I was honored to invite our 41st President and First Lady to my first ever concert in Texas. They came to my dressing room before the show and we exchanged gifts. I’m glad he and Barbara are together again. RIP. 🙏🏻





I'm so glad you made nice, Babsy.

Let's see when did you do your live concert again?  Hmm, September 1986.  Why again?  You were so scared to perform live but you were more scared about what might happen to our planet if the Reagan-Bush years continued into Bush years, remember now?

Remember any of the crap you said at the time?

The reality of War Criminal George H.W. Bush does not get "kinder and gentler" if you just zoom in to his domestic activities.  He campaigned on racism (the Willie Horton ads) and he campaigned on sexism.  He especially campaigned on sexism because he had the 'wimp factor' issue to overcome.  From Susan Faludi's BACKLASH: THE UNDECLARED WAR AGAINST AMERICAN WOMEN:

Rather than meeting the demands of women, the GOP men struck macho stands that they hoped would impress their own sex.  Bush hoped especially to prove his manly mettle to members of the press corps, who seemed as obsessed with the "wimp factor" as the male politicians they were covering.  "I get furious," Bush assured them.  "I go ballistic.  I really do and I bawl people out.  Of course, everyone's running for cover."  He even predicted, more wistfully than assertively, "Maybe I'll turn out to be a Teddy Roosevelt."
During the race, Bush's campaign managers dismissed questions about women's rights; they were too trivial to warrant comment, they said.  "We're not running around and dealing with a lot of so-called women's issues," Bush's press secretary indignantly told the New York Times.  When Bush summoned a group of elected officials to advise him during the campaign, only one was a woman.  While the candidate claimed that opposition to abortion was a cornerstone of his campaign, he didn't give this critical concern of women's much apparent thought.  When asked in a televised debate if he was "prepared to brand a woman a criminal for this decision," he said, "I haven't storted out the penalties."  His one seeming nod in the direction of working women's needs during the campaign was a penny-ante child care proposal that would give the poorest working families about $20 a week in tax breaks.  This pocket change was supposed to pay for basic child care that, on average, costs four times as much.  In the end, the Bush campaign's only real gesture to women was,incredibly, the selection of Dan Quayle.  His youthful blond looks, Republican leaders told journalists, would surely charm the ladies.



I'm sorry, unlike Barbra I don't support abortion rights one moment and, the next, shed tears and offer praise for a man who tried to destroy women's rights.  George H.W. Bush was despicable.   The April 1988 and April 1992 abortion right marches in DC?  We had to take to the streets to push back against Poppy Bush and all the other sickos who thought they could control women's bodies.


Some women were repeatedly targeted by Poppy Bush.  This was especially true if the women were women of color and/or gay.  Kevin Naff (WASHINGTON BLADE) remembers how homophobic Poppy was:



There’s nothing more galling than revisionist history and last weekend’s reactions to the death of former President George H.W. Bush brought an onslaught of it to many social media feeds and, more predictably, to mainstream media.
I was stunned to see my own feeds filled with tributes to the 41st president — some written by gay men. And on World AIDS Day, no less.
Even the Advocate — once a leading critic of the Reagan-Bush administrations — joined this chorus of glossing over Bush’s anti-LGBTQ record. In an Advocate story posted on World AIDS Day about Bush’s death, the word “AIDS” appears just once in a reference to Reagan. The headline describes Bush as “no enemy of LGBTQ people.”

Chris Johnson (WASHINGTON BLADE) reports:


Gay former Rep. Barney Frank, whose 32-year tenure in Congress included the George H.W. Bush administration from 1989 to 1992, told the Washington Blade in an interview Saturday the late former president “was bad” on LGBT rights and “wouldn’t do anything” to advance them.
“I asked him, for example, to rescind the Eisenhower rule that said we couldn’t get security clearances,” Frank said. “He refused to do it. Bill Clinton did a few years later.”
Frank also said Bush refused to roll back military’s ban on gay service members, which was administrative and not statutory in the days before the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law of 1993.
“Bush was simply unsupportive on any issue,” Frank added.
[. . .]


Larry Kramer, a longtime activist against HIV/AIDS, was succinct in response to a Blade email inquiry on whether Bush deserves credit for signing the Ryan White Care Act into law.
“I will not give him credit for anything,” Kramer said. “He hated us.”

Poor Barbra Streisand.  Yet again, Larry Kramer's telling truths and Babsie's hedging her bets.  One stands for LGBTQ rights and the other just uses gays to try to prop up her dying career.


Sometimes it's as basic as you tell the truth or you lie.  You stand up or you whore.  As Rose says in Jane Smiley's A THOUSAND ACRES (Michelle Pfeiffer gives an incredible performance as Rose in the film version which recently came out on Blu Ray), "All that I have is that I saw.  I saw without being afraid and without turning away.  And that I didn't forgive the unforgivable."

Rose can make that claim.  Whores like Barbra Streisand cannot.

More than any other Americans, the Bush Crime Family destroyed the country of Iraq and left so many people damaged.  Raya al-Jadir (INDEPENDENT) explores realities for the disabled and challenged in Iraq:



Years of wars, economic sanctions and corruption have dominated life in Iraq and contributed greatly to the fact that the disabled community is simply not a priority for the government. Poverty rates in Iraq are on the rise, affecting 35 per cent of the population according to the ministry of planning, meaning many are unable to afford education or healthcare.

Official statistics indicate that there are more than 1.3 million disabled people in Iraq (3 per cent of the population); campaigners however believe the real number is three times that. Although Iraq is party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, media activist Ali Adil says: “In Iraq, many persons with disabilities continue to suffer from marginalisation and lack of access to their basic rights, in addition to community discrimination.”
On paper, every disabled person in Iraq is in receipt of a financial allowance regardless of whether the person is in employment or not – this amounts to approximately £66 a month. The stipend depends on the assessed severity of the person’s disability and to qualify Iraqis have to go through various consultations and medical examinations. As one activist who works with the British Council in Iraq informed me, “This long and bureaucratic system is almost 'disabling' the disabled person.”
Specialist care and services are either inaccessible or non-existent. Families often choose to home school their children in an effort not to send them to mainstream schools which are ill equipped to provide support or tackle discrimination.

Accessing healthcare has also become out of reach for many who cannot afford to pay. Rahma, a four year old girl, has phenylketonuria (PKU) a genetic condition that can lead to a build-up of the amino acid phenylalanine, which untreated can lead to brain damage and seizures. A protein-limited diet and supplements can prevent serious build ups, but these are not available in Iraq; her mother has to order it from abroad costing her more than £400 per month.


Here's a cold hard reality, the Iraqis above?  They didn't get 30 minutes of airtime over the weekend but Poppy Bush got non-stop praise on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and it will continue today.  It's an informercial selling War Criminals and war.  And useless whores like Barbie Streisand -- now 92% plastic thanks to all the fillers in her face -- will rush to identify with the criminals.  Barbara is not of the people and if you missed that, while she was promoting her album (Sour) WALLS, she sat down for an interview and explained why so many Republicans saw her in concert -- "They're the only ones who can afford the tickets!"  She thought that was funny.  She claims to be a Democrat, she claims to be a feminist, she claims to love her fans.  But she's perfectly fine with charging outrageous prices that guarantee only the very wealthy can see her.


Corruption, it inflicts more than just governments.  But it does inflict governments -- the US, certainly, and it's puppet Iraq.

At the end of October, Adil Adel al-Mahdi was moved from prime minister-designate to prime minister despite his inability to form a full Cabinet.  He still doesn't have a full Cabinet, despite constantly promising 'next week.'  John Davison and Ahmed Rasheed (REUTERS) report:


The two largest parliamentary groupings to emerge after the vote in May - one led by populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the other by Iranian-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri - formed a tacit alliance in October when they picked a president and approved 14 out of 22 cabinet ministers.
But since then there has been stalemate, mainly over the empty interior ministry post dominated for years by allies of Amiri, who are backing the former head of a paramilitary force supported by Tehran. Sadr meanwhile says no one with a political affiliation should get the post.
A vote in parliament to fill the vacant ministries in Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet has been repeatedly put back.  


RUDAW reports that al-Mahdi's finally come up with choices for his eight empty Cabinet posts:


Dara Nuradin – Ministry of Justice

Falih Fayadh – Ministry of Interior

Faysal Jarba – Ministry of Defense

Qusay Abdulwahab Suheil – Ministry of Higher Education

Saba Khayradin Tani – Ministry of Education

Abdulamir Hamdani – Ministry of Culture

Nouri Natiq Dlemi – Ministry of Planning

Hanna Immanuel Gorgis – Ministry of Immigrants and Immigration



But nominees require a vote in Parliament.


PM has arrived at the parliament building. On the agenda is a vote on the remaining 8 cabinet positions, including Defence & Interior.
 
 



Breaking: MPs say only six out of the eight remaining ministers will be voted on today; the two ministeries excluded are the Defense and Interior Ministries due to discord over the candidates
 
 



Huge walkout in 's parliament in protest over candidates for his half empty cabinet.Bif crisis is looming.
 
 



Meanwhile, the flooding continues in Iraq.

Iraq: Families flee Mosul homes following flash floods
          Amnesty: Assad grants pardon to more than 14,500 Syrian deserters      Cache   Translate Page      
More than 14,500 Syrians who evaded the duties of military service, including among refugees and former members of illegal armed groups, were granted amnesty in Syria as of December 2, head of the Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Syrian reconciliation Lt. Gen. Sergei Solomatin said on Sunday. "As part of the implementation of the decree of the President of the Syrian Arab Republic B. Assad dated November 9, 2018, the Syrian authorities continue to work on amnesty for those who evade from military service, including those among refugees and former members of illegal armed groups. As for December 2, 2018, in total 14,522 were granted amnesty," the statement says. Solomatin also said that one ceasefire violation had been registered in the Idlib de-escalation zone over the past 24 hours, adding that militants attacked the village of Hifsin in the province of Hama. The center calls on the commanders of the illegal armed groups to abandon armed provocations and take the path of...
          Omar Sharif Net Worth      Cache   Translate Page      

Michel Demitri Chalhoub was born on 10 April 1932, in Alexandria, Egypt, into a family of Syrian-Lebanese descet, and as Omar Sharif was known as a film actor, particularly famous for his roles in  ‘Lawrence of Arabia'(1962) and ‘Doctor Zhivago'(1965). Sadly, Omar Sharif passed away following a heart attack on 10 July 2015, having suffered …

The post Omar Sharif Net Worth appeared first on Net Worth Post.


          Forum_Polyglot_80: French newspaper reveals an important factor in Putin’s international success.      Cache   Translate Page      

French newspaper reveals an important factor in Putin’s international success.

(updated:  11:07 05.12.2018 )
34 58100 609 57
 

MOSCOW, December 5 - RIA News.  Over the years, Russia has emerged victorious from most international geopolitical conflicts, and the reason for this is the magnificent education of President Vladimir Putin, the French newspaper Figaro writes  .

 

His understanding of geography, knowledge of the political map of the planet and the main features of each state and nation play an important role in the success of Russia in the international arena, the newspaper notes.

 

As an example, the newspaper cites the case when Putin interrupted the speech of Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev, who spoke about the supply of pork to Indonesia. The president explained that he was mistaken, since it’s about a predominantly Muslim country, where Islam is practiced by 87 percent of the population, it’s impossible to supply pork there. Unlike other world leaders, Putin is aware of the cultural difference in education and mindset of other nations, which allows him to pursue a more thoughtful policy, the newspaper notes.

 

At the same time, for many years now, Western leaders, who absolutely do not understand this issue, have come out against it. For example, Nicolas Sarkozy and George Bush did not know the difference between Shiites and Sunnis at the beginning of their presidential terms, which led to a catastrophe in their policies in the Middle East. The same goes for current leaders. For example, Donald Trump confuses Austria and Australia, and Emmanuel Macron calls Guiana, a French possession in South America, an island, the newspaper adds.

 

Such weak knowledge of the Western leadership in geography leads him to a complete misunderstanding of key international geostrategic issues and the desire to get short-term gain. As an example, Figaro cites the fact that in Mali Islamists were considered opponents of French interests, but in Syria were considered as allies against Bashar al-Assad.

 

The reason for this, as noted by Figaro, are the weak educational systems in the West. For example, this discipline is not included in the compulsory school curriculum in the United States, and in French educational institutions geography almost does not devote time. The second reason is the complete lack of interest among many Western leaders. They are concerned only with economic and financial issues or even more useless topics.

 

Thus, they do not have a clear long-term strategy that would allow them to understand who enemies and friends are, which countries cannot be out of balance, to maintain peace in the whole world, and what is the real power relationship between states. All this leads to many geopolitical mistakes, for which the whole world now has to pay. For example, the emergence of the “Islamic State” * is a consequence of the destruction of Iraq by the Americans in 2003 and the support of armed rebels in Syria.

 

But at the same time, this explains why Russia, with its clear strategy in all regions of the world, constantly emerges victorious from most world conflicts, although in terms of political, economic and military resources, Western countries are much stronger, the publication emphasizes.

* Terrorist organization banned in Russia.


          IS expanding footprint in Syria's east controlled by US, Russian General Staff Chief says      Cache   Translate Page      
Valery Gerasimov said that ‘sleeping’ terrorist cells have become active there
          Sesame Workshop just got another $100 million to bring Muppets to refugee kids      Cache   Translate Page      

In late 2017, Sesame and the International Rescue Committee earned an initial $100 million grant by winning the MacArthur Foundation’s inaugural 100&Change competition to create programming specifically designed for  Middle Eastern refugees from conflict zones in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria.

Now the Lego Foundation just gave Sesame Workshop another $100 million, doubling its funding for the project. The grant will allow Sesame to intensify its current work creating positive, play-based educational interventions for kids impacted by the Syrian conflict, and expand the program to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

This challenge, though, only continues to grow. In recent years, nearly 69 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes, about half of whom are children. More than 25 million of those people have become registered refugees. And while there are many aid agencies focused on providing food and shelter, they can neglect the development of the youngest refugees. “The great irony is those who are impacted the most from displacement–young children–are receiving the least,” says Sherrie Westin, the president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop.

“Less than three percent of all humanitarian aid goes to education, and a tiny sliver of that goes to early education,” she says. “And yet we know from all of the evidence–from brain science, from epigenetics, you name it–that the most critical time in a child’s development is in those first five years. And that when they experience traumatic events and exposure to prolonged stress, it literally debilitates their brain development.”

Sesame’s current plan for the Syrian response region of Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria, includes developing a culturally specific version of Sesame Street that will feature several new Muppets, some of whom may have backstories loosely mirroring the key issues facing that kids in that region: being uprooted, say, or learning to share your home. The group is also creating supplemental learning materials like storybooks that cover other topics, including why people bully and what it feels like to get bullied–from a kid’s perspective.

[Photo: Ryan Donnell/Sesame Workshop]

In Bangladesh, Sesame will work with BRAC to expand its network of so-called Play Labs that function as safe spaces for children. It will also create new programming, and likely build on the popularity of Sisimpur, a Bangladeshi version of the TV show. Given the mix of languages, Sesame plans to launch some animated, nonverbal content that could be easily used in other, yet unanticipated crises, as well.

[Image: courtesy Sesame Workshop]

While this is Lego’s first crisis response foray, the organization has worked alongside Sesame before in South Africa, India, and Mexico. In general, Sesame’s efforts align with Lego’s own philanthropic philosophy of encouraging learning through play. “The foundation very much deeply believes….that the best way children learn is when their hands and mind really get into a problem, when they can be joyful and playful in the way that they interact, and when they sing and dance and move and really have an active learning environment,” says Sarah Bouchie, vice president of the Lego Foundation.

While Sesame and Lego are still figuring out their exact programming, the grant doesn’t include any mandate to include tiny plastic building blocks. In several cases, that’s just plain impractical, because the number of people in need require solutions that scale easier (like broadcasts), or use household items to make games. “We will design content based on what we are learning the needs are,” says Westin. “Everything we do is based on real research about what is the most effective way to reach these children, and what is the greatest need.”

In addition to encouraging basic education, Sesame’s goal is to find more ways for caregivers to interact with kids, and at the same time give kids, especially ones who have experienced emotional and psychological trauma, a safe way to recognize and express how they are feeling. The success of those efforts will continue to be independently evaluated by Global TIES (Transforming Intervention Effectiveness and Scale) for Children, a research center based at New York University.

Lego will distribute the $100 million over a five-year period as specific goals are met. Bouchie and Westin both hope that seeing Lego double down on MacArthur’s bet will encourage more philanthropists to invest in similar interventions. Increasing the funding and ambition of one hopefully transportable and adaptable solution is a nice start. But it’ll take a lot more to ensure the world’s displaced children grow up healthy.


          Refugee families stranded for two decades on military base given UK residency: Exclusive interview      Cache   Translate Page      
A group of refugee families left stranded for two decades on a British military base in Cyprus have been granted permanent residency in the UK. The six families were part of a group of 75 people who fled Ethiopia, Iraq, Sudan and Syria in October 1998, taking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea from Lebanon with hopes of reaching Italy. But the group never reached their intended destination. Their fishing boat had taken on water during the journey and had sunk off the coast of the British Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) in Cyprus. "I will never give advice to take that journey," Tag Bashir, the father of one of the families who escaped the Sudanese war, said in a statement to Euronews. But "if I didn't take that journey I might be dead already because of the war." "The boat broke and we were rescued by the British base in Akrotiri. We felt happy because we were saved." After their rescue, the heads of the six families, including Bashir, were detained for lengthy periods of time, but all six were eventually released when they were legally recognised as refugees. Rebuilding their lives In the almost two decades that followed, the families were forced to rebuild their lives in a legal limbo on the SBA while the UK government repeatedly denied responsibility for them, and their rights as refugees were not observed. The UK maintained that the rights listed in the United Nations' 195`1 Refugee Convention did not cover the SBA in Cyprus. It "wasn't easy to start life on the base," Bashir said. "It was a battle we had to get through." "It was frightening, frustrating and we were all angry," he added. Living conditions were even less favourable. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said it had "long been seriously concerned about the plight and precarious situation of this group of refugees," in a report released in May 2017. "SBAs are military bases and are not designed for permanent habituation, and hence the refugees had limited access to services like education and healthcare..." Citing a 2013 psychological assessment, the UNHCR said it also "documented the adverse consequences of leaving these refugees and asylum-seekers in this predicament for so long." Bashir's son, 18-year-old Emmanuel, who was born in Akrotiri and grew up on the base, described told Euronews that being "stuck in a state of limbo" was the worst part of living on the SBA. You're "trapped in a place where you can't go backwards or forwards, not being able to be the one who decides your own future simply because it is being restrained." "Having to endure the thought of that suffocates you day by day." Legal battle and UK residency In 2014, the then-British Home Secretary Theresa May refused to admit the families to the UK , which was appealed and eventually ruled as an unlawful decision by the Court of Appeals in 2017. And, just over a year later, the families were finally granted indefinite leave to enter the UK. "We only want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to help us escape this 20-year nightmare," Bashir said in a statement released by his lawyers. "I cannot express how happy our families are to be given the opportunity to come to the UK and start our lives again." Solicitor Tessa Gregory, who had taken on the families' legal case, said they were "delighted that the current Home Secretary has done the humane thing" by granting residency. "The heads of these six refugee families who washed up on a British army base in 1998 were fleeing from terrible conditions in their own countries." "Instead of being welcomed into the UK as refugees they have been left in limbo for twenty years, raising their families in substandard housing, riddled with deadly asbestos and void of an official identity." Hopes for the future In his conversation with Euronews, Tag Bashir said while he might miss the Cypriot weather, he was excited to establish his life the "proper way." "We're very happy for our kids -- they have a brighter future not to stay like this," he said. Emmanuel told Euronews of his interests in art and music, and his longtime ambitions he now had the ability to pursue after being granted residency. "The hopes that I have for the future are really bright -- I've had them since I turned 13; wanting to study, wanting to learn more, and to explore places." "Not being judged for what papers I've got and what I don't is a relief. We're all humans at the end of the day. Death has no discrimination, and nor does life," he added. On the families' future, UNHCR spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh said relevant steps were now being taken to work out "how best the individuals can be supported to help them integrate in the UK and rebuild their lives."
          Kuwaiti medical team in Turkey for treating Syrian refugees      Cache   Translate Page      
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) ANKARA, Dec 4 (KUNA) -- A Kuwaiti medical team on Tuesday arrived in the Turkish city of Hatay adjacent to the Syrian border to perform surgeri...
          North Korean and Syrian foreign ministers meet in Damascus      Cache   Translate Page      
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) BEIRUT: Syria and North Korea's foreign ministers met in Damascus on Tuesday, officials said, and thanked each other for their support during years of inte...
          Interior minister: Turkey to carry out census of Syrian refugees      Cache   Translate Page      
(MENAFN - AzerNews) By Trend Turkey will carry out a census of Syrian refugees, the Turkish media cited Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu as saying on Dec. 4. 'The presence of S...
          Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. John of Damascus      Cache   Translate Page      
St. John of Damascus (676-749) Image: St. Paul Street Evangelization Born in Syria Damascus according to SQPN John spent much of his life in the Monastery of St. Sabas near Jerusalem and all of his life under Muslim rule. Tutored in his youth by a captured Italian Monk Cosmas, together with being educated in Muslim […]
           Syria awaits transition but at what cost?      Cache   Translate Page      
Syria awaits transition but at what cost? A resolution in Syria remains uncertain as sectarian interests wrestle for supremacy. read now...
          Syria war: Last puppeteer of Damascus is given lifeline      Cache   Translate Page      
The disappearing art of shadow puppetry in Syria gets a boost after the UN recognises it as a cultural gem.
          Comment on This week’s poll: the Galileo affair by Another Steve      Cache   Translate Page      
A lot of confusion here between what is the EU and what is Europe, that's a bit like confusing the UK with the Tory party ! I love my country (and Europe) but I certainly don't have any affection for the UK Government ... Plus we are 'only' talking about a global positioning capability here. We appear to have managed quite nicely to invade and destroy Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, etc. without Galileo. I'm convinced we will still have the capability to invade and destroy in the future so I would suggest the security issues are a bit of hyperbole.
          Government looking into reports of new groups entering Mindanao - Government looking into reports of new groups entering Mindanao      Cache   Translate Page      

The government is verifying reports over the alleged entry in Mindanao of a new group of foreign terrorists allied with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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Inaalam ng Pamahalaan kung tunay nga ba ang mga ulat na mayroong mga grupong di umao'y nakapasok sa  Mindanao na kabilang s apaniabgong grupo ng mga terorista mula ibang bansa na ka alyado ng  Islamic State sa Iraq at Syria (ISIS).


          Lego teams up with Sesame Street to help refugee kids play      Cache   Translate Page      
A charitable foundation set up by toymaker Lego has granted $100 million to the not-for-profit group behind hit TV show "Sesame Street" to help provide educational toys to children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises.

          Syria's last shadow puppeteer hopes to save his art      Cache   Translate Page      
The last shadow puppeteer in Damascus lost most of his equipment to war and endured life as a refugee in Lebanon, but he now believes the old Syrian art form might survive after the United Nations said it needed to be saved.

          Islamic State executing people in Syria's Deir al-Zor: U.N.      Cache   Translate Page      
The United Nations has reports of Islamic State (ISIL) executing people perceived as cooperating with rebel fighters in Deir al-Zor governorate in eastern Syria, the U.N. human rights boss said on Wednesday.
          Islamic State executing people in Syria's Deir al-Zor - U.N.      Cache   Translate Page      
The United Nations has reports of Islamic State (ISIL) executing people perceived as cooperating with rebel fighters in Deir al-Zor governorate in eastern Syria, the U.N. human rights boss said on Wednesday.

          Terrorism deaths down, but still a widespread issue      Cache   Translate Page      
The Global Terrorism Index 2018 showed the decline was most pronounced in Iraq and Syria. Islamic State tops the list of deadliest terror groups, but far-right extremism is also on the rise.
          From Central America to Syria: The Conspiracy against Refugees      Cache   Translate Page      
Watching the ongoing debate between US liberal and right-wing pundits on US mainstream media, one rarely gets the impression that Washington is responsible for the unfolding crisis in Central America. In fact, no other country is as accountable as the United States for the Central American bedlam and resulting refugee crisis. So why, despite the seemingly substantial ideological and political[Read More...]
          Last of the Church Fathers      Cache   Translate Page      
Today was the memorial for St. Yanah ibn Mansur ibn Sarjun, better known as St. John Damascene, Doctor of the Church. Born into Muslim-occupied Syria, his family were civil servants working in the court at Damascus; it is possible that he served for a while as a financial officer to the caliph, although we don't know for sure. He eventually became a monk, and became one of the major critics of the Iconoclast heresy -- since he lived under the Muslim caliph, the Byzantine emperor could not touch him. He died in 749. He is sometimes called the last of the Church Fathers, although there are several other people who also get that nickname, depending on what you are talking about. From his Exposition of the Faith (I.2):

We, therefore, both know and confess that God is without beginning, without end, eternal and everlasting, uncreate, unchangeable, invariable, simple, uncompound, incorporeal, invisible, impalpable, uncircumscribed, infinite, incognisable, indefinable, incomprehensible, good, just, maker of all things created, almighty, all-ruling, all-surveying, of all overseer, sovereign, judge; and that God is One, that is to say, one essence; and that He is known, and has His being in three subsistences, in Father, I say, and Son and Holy Spirit; and that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in all respects, except in that of not being begotten, that of being begotten, and that of procession; and that the Only-begotten Son and Word of God and God, in His bowels of mercy, for our salvation, by the good pleasure of God and the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, being conceived without seed, was born uncorruptedly of the Holy Virgin and Mother of God, Mary, by the Holy Spirit, and became of her perfect Man; and that the Same is at once perfect God and perfect Man, of two natures, Godhead and Manhood, and in two natures possessing intelligence, will and energy, and freedom, and, in a word, perfect according to the measure and proportion proper to each, at once to the divinity, I say, and to the humanity, yet to one composite person; and that He suffered hunger and thirst and weariness, and was crucified, and for three days submitted to the experience of death and burial, and ascended to heaven, from which also He came to us, and shall come again. And the Holy Scripture is witness to this and the whole choir of the Saints.

           Comment on Syria’s important message to israel (apartheid state): The era of hit and run terminated by Pikos Apikos       Cache   Translate Page      
Reblogged this on <a href="https://penelopap.wordpress.com/2018/12/05/syrias-important-message-to-israel-apartheid-state-the-era-of-hit-and-run-terminated/" rel="nofollow">penelopap</a>.
          To confront Iran in Syria, Israel may have to defy Russia      Cache   Translate Page      
Russia has completed an elaborate air defense system in Syria that curbs the operational capabilities of both the United States and Israel, according to a report by the Washington- based Institute for the Study of War. The deployments throughout the conflict-ravaged country include variations of the advanced S-300 and S-400 systems in addition to other cutting-edge technologies. Moscow long ago exported such systems to Syria, however, they remained under the control of its own army. Only after the accidental downing in September by Syrian forces of a Russian reconnaissance plane, an incident the Kremlin blamed on Jerusalem which minutes earlier...
                Cache   Translate Page      

Human extinction: Not with a bang but a sore throat...

     I just got a small taste of what it's gonna be like here on Planet Earth in the year 2028 -- and, frankly, it scared the holy crap out of me.  "So.  What happened," you might ask.  Long story.

     First of all, a massive curtain of toxic smoke from that huge NorCal wildfires slowly descended on my own hometown recently.  We all struggled around in gas masks and it became rather hard to breathe.

     Next I foolishly started thinking, "What's a little haze in the air?  I'm young.  I'm strong.  I don't need no stinking gas masks."  Ha.

     And then I got a horrible sore throat.  My eyes watered.  My nose ran.  I constantly coughed.  I took to my bed.  I truly thought that I was going to die.

     But I didn't.

     But I could have.

     And that, dear readers, was my own personal sneak-preview experience of what death by climate catastrophe will be like in the year 2028.

     Your experience could be different, of course.  You could freeze to death -- or drown in a flood or get hit by a tornado.  But for most of us?  It will be one long, painful and ignominious Death by Sore Throat.

PS:  And what will be the main cause of this massive human-extinction event?  No, it won't be because you or I didn't drive a Prius or because we forgot to recycle or even because we took too many jet plane rides on vacation.

     No, Extinction '28 will be mostly caused by all those petty little "wars" that our idiot leaders in Washington DC, London, Tel Aviv and Saudi Arabia are so very fond of.  https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/12/01/if-you-murdered-a-bunch-of-people-mass-murder-is-your-single-defining-legacy/

     Their constant and heartless mega-bombing of Yemen not only murders school children in Sanaa but it also is murdering us too -- only slower.  https://theintercept.com/2018/12/01/u-s-military-says-it-has-a-light-footprint-in-africa-these-documents-show-a-vast-network-of-bases/

     Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Palestine, Gaza, Ferguson....  Every single bomb dropped, every single tank on the ground and every single F16 in the air brings all of us just that much closer to Extinction 2028. 
__________________________________________

Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world.   And while you're at it, please buy my books.  https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Stillwater/e/B00IW6O1RM 

          the cher show      Cache   Translate Page      
no post monday night, sorry.  we went to nyc to see the opening of 'the cher show' on broadway.

it is amazing.  it's a musical so don't look for some grand import or insight.  the point is to entertain and dazzle - and the show does that.

for the costumes alone, it's worth seeing. 

but the performances are pretty incredible as well.

let me grab my program (because i didn't know a single actor in the cast).

cher is not 1 person but 3 in the play.  the youngest cher is  played by micaela diamond, then cher is played by teal wicks and our modern day cher is played by stephanie j. block.

all are incredible - but in different ways.  micaela, for example, puts across an innocence that stephanie probably couldn't but as the oldest cher, stephanie needs to project wisdom and experience and stephanie manages all that (and humor).  i think she's my favorite of the 3 actresses - stephanie.

a definite tony nominee has to be michael berresse.  he plays 3 characters including director robert altman but it's his performance as bob mackie that should guarantee him a tony nomination.  bob is the man who costumed cher for so many famous outfits - including the 'nipples to wind' outfit she wore on the cover of 'time' magazine (bette middle dubbed it that) as well as the outfits she wore on her variety shows and the ones she wore to the oscars - as well as all her costumes in this broadway musical.  he makes bob come alive.

matthew hydzik struggles with both of his roles.  if it was just with gregg allman, i'd think i didn't care for him because i never cared for allman.  but he also plays 1 of cher's mother's husbands (john southall) and he seemed sketchy in that role as well.

i liked emily skinner as georgia (and as lucille ball).  i loved michael campayno as rob camillettie and even jarrod spector as sonny bono.  but i did not care for matthew hydzik at all.


 fortunately, he's not very big part of the show and not even enough to bring it down.

this is a high energy production and it grabs you from the start and pulls you along.  it's involving and just a great show and experience.

if you're in nyc or going to be, make a point to see 'the cher show.'


let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'


Tuesday, December 4, 2018.  "All that I have is that I saw.  I saw without being afraid and without turning away.  And that I didn't forgive the unforgivable."


Replying to 
Invaded Panama. Invaded Iraq (the first time) on a lie. Withheld evidence from Iran/Contra hearings. Highway of Death. We ignore the horrible things former politicians did, "honor them for their service" when they die, then wonder why the next ones are worse.





That's the man some are mourning, a true War Criminal.

And you can't mourn a War Criminal without a lot of lies.  Which is how we get Barbra Streisand. 


Two years ago this week, I was honored to invite our 41st President and First Lady to my first ever concert in Texas. They came to my dressing room before the show and we exchanged gifts. I’m glad he and Barbara are together again. RIP. 🙏🏻





I'm so glad you made nice, Babsy.

Let's see when did you do your live concert again?  Hmm, September 1986.  Why again?  You were so scared to perform live but you were more scared about what might happen to our planet if the Reagan-Bush years continued into Bush years, remember now?

Remember any of the crap you said at the time?

The reality of War Criminal George H.W. Bush does not get "kinder and gentler" if you just zoom in to his domestic activities.  He campaigned on racism (the Willie Horton ads) and he campaigned on sexism.  He especially campaigned on sexism because he had the 'wimp factor' issue to overcome.  From Susan Faludi's BACKLASH: THE UNDECLARED WAR AGAINST AMERICAN WOMEN:

Rather than meeting the demands of women, the GOP men struck macho stands that they hoped would impress their own sex.  Bush hoped especially to prove his manly mettle to members of the press corps, who seemed as obsessed with the "wimp factor" as the male politicians they were covering.  "I get furious," Bush assured them.  "I go ballistic.  I really do and I bawl people out.  Of course, everyone's running for cover."  He even predicted, more wistfully than assertively, "Maybe I'll turn out to be a Teddy Roosevelt."
During the race, Bush's campaign managers dismissed questions about women's rights; they were too trivial to warrant comment, they said.  "We're not running around and dealing with a lot of so-called women's issues," Bush's press secretary indignantly told the New York Times.  When Bush summoned a group of elected officials to advise him during the campaign, only one was a woman.  While the candidate claimed that opposition to abortion was a cornerstone of his campaign, he didn't give this critical concern of women's much apparent thought.  When asked in a televised debate if he was "prepared to brand a woman a criminal for this decision," he said, "I haven't storted out the penalties."  His one seeming nod in the direction of working women's needs during the campaign was a penny-ante child care proposal that would give the poorest working families about $20 a week in tax breaks.  This pocket change was supposed to pay for basic child care that, on average, costs four times as much.  In the end, the Bush campaign's only real gesture to women was,incredibly, the selection of Dan Quayle.  His youthful blond looks, Republican leaders told journalists, would surely charm the ladies.



I'm sorry, unlike Barbra I don't support abortion rights one moment and, the next, shed tears and offer praise for a man who tried to destroy women's rights.  George H.W. Bush was despicable.   The April 1988 and April 1992 abortion right marches in DC?  We had to take to the streets to push back against Poppy Bush and all the other sickos who thought they could control women's bodies.


Some women were repeatedly targeted by Poppy Bush.  This was especially true if the women were women of color and/or gay.  Kevin Naff (WASHINGTON BLADE) remembers how homophobic Poppy was:



There’s nothing more galling than revisionist history and last weekend’s reactions to the death of former President George H.W. Bush brought an onslaught of it to many social media feeds and, more predictably, to mainstream media.
I was stunned to see my own feeds filled with tributes to the 41st president — some written by gay men. And on World AIDS Day, no less.
Even the Advocate — once a leading critic of the Reagan-Bush administrations — joined this chorus of glossing over Bush’s anti-LGBTQ record. In an Advocate story posted on World AIDS Day about Bush’s death, the word “AIDS” appears just once in a reference to Reagan. The headline describes Bush as “no enemy of LGBTQ people.”

Chris Johnson (WASHINGTON BLADE) reports:


Gay former Rep. Barney Frank, whose 32-year tenure in Congress included the George H.W. Bush administration from 1989 to 1992, told the Washington Blade in an interview Saturday the late former president “was bad” on LGBT rights and “wouldn’t do anything” to advance them.
“I asked him, for example, to rescind the Eisenhower rule that said we couldn’t get security clearances,” Frank said. “He refused to do it. Bill Clinton did a few years later.”
Frank also said Bush refused to roll back military’s ban on gay service members, which was administrative and not statutory in the days before the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law of 1993.
“Bush was simply unsupportive on any issue,” Frank added.
[. . .]


Larry Kramer, a longtime activist against HIV/AIDS, was succinct in response to a Blade email inquiry on whether Bush deserves credit for signing the Ryan White Care Act into law.
“I will not give him credit for anything,” Kramer said. “He hated us.”

Poor Barbra Streisand.  Yet again, Larry Kramer's telling truths and Babsie's hedging her bets.  One stands for LGBTQ rights and the other just uses gays to try to prop up her dying career.


Sometimes it's as basic as you tell the truth or you lie.  You stand up or you whore.  As Rose says in Jane Smiley's A THOUSAND ACRES (Michelle Pfeiffer gives an incredible performance as Rose in the film version which recently came out on Blu Ray), "All that I have is that I saw.  I saw without being afraid and without turning away.  And that I didn't forgive the unforgivable."

Rose can make that claim.  Whores like Barbra Streisand cannot.

More than any other Americans, the Bush Crime Family destroyed the country of Iraq and left so many people damaged.  Raya al-Jadir (INDEPENDENT) explores realities for the disabled and challenged in Iraq:



Years of wars, economic sanctions and corruption have dominated life in Iraq and contributed greatly to the fact that the disabled community is simply not a priority for the government. Poverty rates in Iraq are on the rise, affecting 35 per cent of the population according to the ministry of planning, meaning many are unable to afford education or healthcare.

Official statistics indicate that there are more than 1.3 million disabled people in Iraq (3 per cent of the population); campaigners however believe the real number is three times that. Although Iraq is party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, media activist Ali Adil says: “In Iraq, many persons with disabilities continue to suffer from marginalisation and lack of access to their basic rights, in addition to community discrimination.”
On paper, every disabled person in Iraq is in receipt of a financial allowance regardless of whether the person is in employment or not – this amounts to approximately £66 a month. The stipend depends on the assessed severity of the person’s disability and to qualify Iraqis have to go through various consultations and medical examinations. As one activist who works with the British Council in Iraq informed me, “This long and bureaucratic system is almost 'disabling' the disabled person.”
Specialist care and services are either inaccessible or non-existent. Families often choose to home school their children in an effort not to send them to mainstream schools which are ill equipped to provide support or tackle discrimination.

Accessing healthcare has also become out of reach for many who cannot afford to pay. Rahma, a four year old girl, has phenylketonuria (PKU) a genetic condition that can lead to a build-up of the amino acid phenylalanine, which untreated can lead to brain damage and seizures. A protein-limited diet and supplements can prevent serious build ups, but these are not available in Iraq; her mother has to order it from abroad costing her more than £400 per month.


Here's a cold hard reality, the Iraqis above?  They didn't get 30 minutes of airtime over the weekend but Poppy Bush got non-stop praise on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and it will continue today.  It's an informercial selling War Criminals and war.  And useless whores like Barbie Streisand -- now 92% plastic thanks to all the fillers in her face -- will rush to identify with the criminals.  Barbara is not of the people and if you missed that, while she was promoting her album (Sour) WALLS, she sat down for an interview and explained why so many Republicans saw her in concert -- "They're the only ones who can afford the tickets!"  She thought that was funny.  She claims to be a Democrat, she claims to be a feminist, she claims to love her fans.  But she's perfectly fine with charging outrageous prices that guarantee only the very wealthy can see her.


Corruption, it inflicts more than just governments.  But it does inflict governments -- the US, certainly, and it's puppet Iraq.

At the end of October, Adil Adel al-Mahdi was moved from prime minister-designate to prime minister despite his inability to form a full Cabinet.  He still doesn't have a full Cabinet, despite constantly promising 'next week.'  John Davison and Ahmed Rasheed (REUTERS) report:


The two largest parliamentary groupings to emerge after the vote in May - one led by populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the other by Iranian-backed militia leader Hadi al-Amiri - formed a tacit alliance in October when they picked a president and approved 14 out of 22 cabinet ministers.
But since then there has been stalemate, mainly over the empty interior ministry post dominated for years by allies of Amiri, who are backing the former head of a paramilitary force supported by Tehran. Sadr meanwhile says no one with a political affiliation should get the post.
A vote in parliament to fill the vacant ministries in Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s cabinet has been repeatedly put back.  


RUDAW reports that al-Mahdi's finally come up with choices for his eight empty Cabinet posts:


Dara Nuradin – Ministry of Justice

Falih Fayadh – Ministry of Interior

Faysal Jarba – Ministry of Defense

Qusay Abdulwahab Suheil – Ministry of Higher Education

Saba Khayradin Tani – Ministry of Education

Abdulamir Hamdani – Ministry of Culture

Nouri Natiq Dlemi – Ministry of Planning

Hanna Immanuel Gorgis – Ministry of Immigrants and Immigration



But nominees require a vote in Parliament.


PM has arrived at the parliament building. On the agenda is a vote on the remaining 8 cabinet positions, including Defence & Interior.
 
 



Breaking: MPs say only six out of the eight remaining ministers will be voted on today; the two ministeries excluded are the Defense and Interior Ministries due to discord over the candidates
 
 



Huge walkout in 's parliament in protest over candidates for his half empty cabinet.Bif crisis is looming.
 
 



Meanwhile, the flooding continues in Iraq.

Iraq: Families flee Mosul homes following flash floods
a report released in September by Venezuelan human rights group CEPAZ, Venezuela’s public healthcare facilities had by last year lost 60 percent of their 2011 capacity to care for patients. The report cited the dwindling number of trained medical personnel, scarce medicines, and increasingly unreliable basic services due to a lack of water and electricity.

 

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez in July announced a “special plan” to address problems within the healthcare system, but he did not provide details then or respond to recent requests for comment from IRIN.

 

At the same time, long-dormant diseases have re-emerged, given a foothold as widespread malnutrition weakens many Venezuelans’ immune systems, and vaccines and medications become ever scarcer.

 

 

 

Unsurprisingly, morale among the country’s remaining doctors is low. “There is a frustration and sense of impotence,” explains Dr. Rafael Piroza, president of the Association of Medical Doctors in the eastern state of Sucre. “We are formed to give and fight for life, and that we can’t do that makes us feel like accomplices.”

 

Between 2012 and 2017, 22,000 physicians were registered as leaving Venezuela. While the current number of medical professionals in this country of 32.8 million people is unknown, 39,900 medical personnel were registered as working in Venezuela in 2014, according to the latest figures available from PAHO.

 

‘Patients are dying’

 

Official figures on emigration are also hard to come by, but in Maracaibo locals say that as many as 60 percent of the 1.6 million residents who lived here in 2015, according to the most recent UN estimates, have left. That figure sounds impossible until you drive through the empty streets, with shuttered back-to-back home decor shops and high-end auto dealers.

 

Rubbish flies in the wind in the empty residential neighbourhoods and main streets of this city, in the country’s west. The golden arch of McDonalds is a lone beacon of life for the few cars that pass beneath traffic lights darkened by electricity outages. The occasional person can be seen filling water containers from broken pipes and hauling them home through deserted streets.   

 

Water has become a rarity here and elsewhere in Venezuela. Recent CEPAZ studies reported that 82 percent of the Venezuelan population and 79 percent of hospitals no longer receive water on a regular basis. Electricity is increasingly scarce, too, with frequent outages a feature of life. Large swathes of the country are often left without power, sometimes for days on end.  

 

The impact on daily life is often disastrous, but perhaps nowhere more so than in Venezuela’s hospitals.   

 

Colomenares knows that first hand. Once past the armed security forces guarding the entrance to the University Hospital of Maracaibo, she leans in and, mindful of the security staff that bar journalists from hospitals, confides in a near whisper: “There is no water. Without water, there is bacteria everywhere. It is a vicious cycle – no water, no electricity, no medicines. So it’s like a dead end. Infections, malnutrition – all this leads to a dead end, and death.”

 

A doctor points to an empty shelf
Susan Schulman/IRIN
Dr. Dora Colomenares at the University Hospital of Maracaibo.

She flings open the doors to a cupboard used to store medicine. Empty. A sink and counter are coated with filth and studded with dead flies.

Since electricity and water services have failed, Colomenares says she has seen deaths in both adults and children “aggressively rise”.

 

“When I was an intern, if there had been a death – one, two, or three – during my shift, it would have been alarming, very worrying. Now, daily, there are about 20 deaths at this hospital. It is horrendous.”

 

Dr. Dilmond Antonio, 69 years old, is watching his patients die. His office at the hospital is crammed with medical textbooks and journals, a low-energy light bulb suspended from the ceiling casting a blue-ish light.  

 

Maracaibo hospital was once renowned. It was a pioneer in liver transplants in Venezuela. Antonio says his unit hasn’t done a liver transplant in four years, adding that patients who need them won’t get them: they will die.

 

Patients who had successful transplants may die, too. A man who had a liver transplant four years ago recently died because he couldn’t find medication to prevent the organ from being rejected, Antonio recalls.

 

Figures included in the healthcare report released by CEPAZ place Antonio’s patient in the context of a larger story: the man was one of 3,000 organ transplant patients who stopped receiving immunosuppressive drugs this year; one of the 96 who suffered organ rejection; and one of 12 who have already died.

 

‘Yes, the babies die’

 

University Hospital of Maracaibo is lucky: it has a generator – at least 33 percent of hospitals nationwide don’t, according to the CEPAZ report. However, due to a lack of maintenance and repair, it often doesn’t work. Even when it does, it can’t supply power to the whole hospital for the erratic and often prolonged blackouts.

 

On the neonatal ward, a power supply is the difference between life and death. Before the crisis, premature babies born at 29-30 weeks gestation would survive. Now, the survival age has been reduced to 36 weeks gestation, Colomenares says. Almost all born earlier die, she adds.

 

Lack of functioning incubators means three or four babies will often share one incubator. But when the generator doesn’t work, nothing, including the incubators, works.  

 

‘We feel very helpless because there is nothing we can do,” Colomenares says, her voice thickening. “Yes,” she nods, “yes, the babies die.”   

 

Between 2015 and 2016, the infant mortality rate rose by 30 percent and the maternal mortality rate by 66 percent, according to government figures. The health minister behind the release of those figures, Antonieta Caporale, was sacked in May 2017 within days of announcing them.

 

No more official mortality data has been forthcoming since then, but an October 2018 report from CEPAZ suggests figures “continue to rise into 2018, with the aggravating factors of malnutrition and epidemics”.

 

“Right now, for us doctors, these [figures] have risen,” Colomenares says. “The conditions are a lot worse now.”

 

Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro Lemes charged in a recent address to the Washington DC-based Center for Strategic Studies that newborns in Syria have a better chance of survival than those born in Venezuela today.

 

Colomenares’ view of the situation is equally stark. ‘It’s a crime against humanity,” she says.

 
 
 
 
 

The once-renowned University Hospital in Maracaibo

 

‘They let him die like a dog’

 

Isneudy Romero, 27, knows the failings of Venezuela’s medical system. Shifting uneasily as she stands outside the hospital in Maracaibo, she pushes her dark hair off her face, her eyes darting to make sure no one is listening, and begins to speak of her family’s experience.

 

She’d had a bad summer.

 

It didn’t begin when she found herself suffocating in the dark after the electricity failure took out the lights, air conditioning, and fridge. It didn’t even start when the city’s water supply failed and she started having to haul water three kilometres from a broken pipe. It started, although she wasn’t to know it quite yet, when Antonio Romero, her 53-year-old father and a long-time government employee, had stomach surgery at the hospital. 

 

The surgery went off without a hitch, so they thought, and he came home. But before long he developed an infection. Romero believes the infection was acquired in the hospital – not unreasonably given that contracting infections in hospitals has become a common occurrence these days due to hospitals having neither water nor cleaning fluid. 

 

Unable to find the antibiotics he needed, her father’s condition worsened. She and her sister took him back to the hospital, where doctors explained he needed a second operation. And then, after a moment’s pause, added apologetically and in pained voices that, regretfully, they were unable to perform the surgery because there was no electricity in the hospital.  

 

That left Romero and her family on a renewed and more desperate quest for antibiotics, hoping they might help keep him alive. But – with the scarcity of drugs rising even higher since a March survey in which more than 88 percent of 100 public and private hospitals and health centres indicated shortages of medication – they hunted high and low in vain. In June, Antonio Romero died.  

 

That wasn’t the end of it. 

 

Coffins are few and far between. When they can be found, they are expensive. Unable to afford the luxuries of a funeral parlour, the family lay their father’s body out on the kitchen table, where they conducted the funeral service, praying the body wouldn’t explode before they managed to raise the money to bury him.

 

“My father worked 32 years in a ministry – yet they let him die like a dog,” Isneudy Romero says.

 

Soon after, Romero’s 18-month-old niece fell ill with pneumonia. Five years ago, pneumonia in children in Venezuela was less common, but now severe malnutrition is weakening immune systems and triggering a marked increase in the illness, especially in the under-5’s. Like a growing number of the children in the country, her niece, Luisa, suffered from malnutrition. 

 

Romero and her sister brought Luisa to the hospital, but instead of getting better she contracted a bacterial infection in the intensive care unit.

 

It was left to the family to supply the material and medicines needed to treat the pneumonia. They constructed an oxygen hood out of pieces of plastic and masking tape. Once again, they tried desperately to find the antibiotics and other medications necessary to treat the infection. Yet again, they looked in vain.  

 

Luisa died from the bacterial infection contracted at the hospital.  

 

Again, a body was placed on the family’s kitchen table.

 

When all the prayers were said, Luisa was laid in a concrete grave inscribed with hearts drawn by her family’s fingers. The family was left deeply in debt.  

 

“We couldn’t even give either of them a proper burial,” Romero says.  

 

Of course it is lethal

 

Elsewhere in Venezuela, patients aren’t faring much better.

Luis Rodriguez, 68, has been to a lot of funerals this year. He worries the next he attends will be his own.

 

Rodriguez is a former boxer from Cariaco in Sucre State, a small town famed for having produced former super flyweight boxing champion Jesus Rafael Orono.

 

Today, Rodriguez is a dialysis patient fighting round after round to simply survive – and the bouts are not going his way.

 

Rodriguez needs three treatments a week, four hours for each treatment, at a clinic in Cumaná, the state capital, about 90 minutes from his home. But with only eight machines of 16 working, his treatments have been reduced by half. And that’s before they were further abbreviated by electricity outages mid-treatment.

 

Map of Venezuela showing Caracas, Maracaibo, Cumana, and Cariaco

The dialysis centre has nothing – no medicine, nothing – so it’s up to Rodriguez to supply the medicines for the treatment and, when he can’t get the required amount of dialysis, hypertension drugs to maintain his health. But hypertension drugs can’t be found anywhere. So, in addition to his kidney problems, he has developed severe hypertension and tachycardia (an abnormally high heart rate).

 

“Of course, it is lethal,” he says. “Last year there were 65 of us dialysis patients, and, today, there are only 24 of us left.”

 

Rodriguez falls silent, sitting on a chair amidst the empty stalls in the market where he is passing time. A friend greets Rodriguez, clapping him on the back as he passes by. Rodriguez looks up.

 

“I have been very pained as a dialysis patient to go to the funerals of my dialysis friends – with no guarantee it will turn out any different for me,” Rodriguez says, shaking this head. “I feel really alone because when I go to dialysis and ask for my friends, they tell me they aren’t here, they have left, either through God or out of the country.” 

 

‘There’s no medicine here’

 

Some 1,400 kilometres west of Cariaco, the small village of Tucuco sits at the foot of low mountains dense with lush-green foliage and gently shrouded in low clouds.

 

It is a village like any other in Venezuela these days.

 

There is a bakery with no bread.

 

A butcher with no meat.

 

A bank with no money.

 

A small hospital without medicines. “Unless there is a mystic there, they are impotent as they don’t have anything to even reduce a fever, or pull a tooth,” one local man confides.  

Two children walk in a village
Susan Schulman/IRIN
The village of Tucuco.

Five years ago, it was paradise here, says Herminia Ramirez, 50. Now, she adds, that paradise has been lost to disease, death, and emigration.

 

Two families, 14 people in all, live in the Ramirez’s small home of corrugated iron, wood, and thatch.

 

A small child with carrot-tinged hair characteristic of malnutrition timidly stands in the door of the house, alternating her attention between the chatter outside and the cartoons playing under roll bars on the television indoors. The family’s bright-green pet parrots hop around freely; a pet peccary, or skunk pig, stirs from his sleep and noses at the thin bars of his cage.

 

Ramirez’s grandfather is swinging, cocooned in a hammock. He is suffering from his fourth bout of malaria this year. Her son is mending his bicycle tyre. He has had malaria nine times, the family says, and now has a colon problem.

Susan Schulman/IRIN
The corrugated iron home of Herminia Ramirez, far left, in Tucuco.

“Lots of people we know here have died,” says Ramirez. “Most from malnutrition, but a lot have died of malaria, hepatitis, yellow fever, and tuberculosis too.”

 

She shrugs. “There’s no medicine here. There’s nothing.”   

 

Dr. Ingrid Graterol nods in agreement. She has been coming here regularly as a doctor with the NGO CARITAS for 15 years and is now the director of the Machiques office.

 

In Machiques, a two-hour drive from here, there used to be a hospital with a fully equipped operating room, Graterol explains. It no longer functions, so for Martinez’s son to even hope to get treatment for his colon the only option is to get to Maracaibo, 260 kilometres away.

Up to 90 percent of public buses are reportedly out of operation, as bus owners, unable to afford even basic repairs, have been forced to abandon vehicles.

 

“There is no transport to Maracaibo,” Graterol says. “Now, if a woman needs a C-section, she dies,” she adds by way of explanation. “If she finds a car, there’s no gas. And if she finds gas, maybe the driver wants to sell [their] fuel instead. And, if she finds the car, the gas, and a willing driver, she won’t have the cash.”

 

A man leading a horse walks slowly by, its hooves clattering on the pavement, interrupting a moment of silence. Graterol continues, anger in her voice, explaining how there used to be no deaths from childbirth in the region.

 

“If we had one, that would be really bad and they’d call for an investigation,” she says. “Now, we have almost one a month. And it’s not even important anymore as it happens so much no one cares.”

 

‘I feel depressed’

 

As hospital conditions worsen and more facilities close, more and more medical personnel are leaving the country.

Susan Schulman/IRIN
Dr. Piroza at a small hospital in Cumaná.

“I feel depressed, it pains me badly when, as president of the association, I have to sign legal papers to enable doctors to emigrate,” explains Piroza of the Association of Medical Doctors.I feel a great pain – but I understand their situation, as salaries are too small even for them to eat, and they will be very welcome where they go.”

 

The doctors who remain have not stopped fighting for their patients.

 

Protests by medical personnel and people affected by the failures of the healthcare system are on the rise. According to the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict, a local human rights NGO, between January and August 296 protests were held despite the very real risk of protesting: doctors have been threatened with criminal charges for speaking out and hospital directors have been suspended.

 

Piroza himself took part in a recent protest by medical staff at a small hospital in Cumaná. He and his colleagues covered a fence with large cardboard signs detailing what they don’t have in their facility: oxygen, supplies for carrying out basic tests, drugs, water, light bulbs. In short, everything.

 

ss/js/ag

‘We feel very helpless because there is nothing’ Venezuela’s doctors and patients share tales of despair and dismay uni_hospital_maracaibo743_1920.jpg Susan Schulman Special Report Health Politics and Economics One of a series of stories from within Venezuela, reporting on the humanitarian impacts of the country's economic collapse. <a href="https://www.irinnews.org/special-report/2018/11/20/venezuela-humanitarian-crisis-denied">Read more here</a>. MARACAIBO/Venezuela IRIN Americas Venezuela
          UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY URGES ISRAEL TO COMPLETELY WITHDRAW FROM GOLAN HEIGHTS      Cache   Translate Page      
The vote followed US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s announcement that Washington plans to reject a UN General Assembly resolution on the Golan Heights region given the document’s “anti-Israel bias”.
A resolution urging Israel to withdraw from the entirety of the Golan Heights has been adopted by the majority of the countries represented in the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
The Syrian Golan resolution was approved by a vote of 99 in favor, 10 against and 66 abstentions during the UNGA’s Friday session.
The document declared that Israel’s decision to extend its legislation on the Golan Heights is null and void and that the Jewish state should withdraw from the strategically-important territory.
Munzer Munzer, acting charge d’affaires of Syria’s permanent delegation to the UN, accused Israel of continuing to occupy “a precious part of our land” as Syrian people there “continue to suffer because of this occupation.”
“My country reiterates that Syria’s sovereign right over the occupied Syrian Golan up to the June 4th 1967 line is not up for negotiation or relinquishment, nor can it ever be subject to prescription, and that our occupied lands and rights will be fully restored to us and Israel and its settlers must leave our lands in the Golan sooner or later,” Munzer was cited by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) as saying.
In mid-November, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley signaled Washington’s desire to vote against the UNGA resolution, referring to the document’s “anti-Israel bias, as well as the militarization of the Syrian Golan border and a worsening humanitarian crisis.”
Earlier, the Israeli newspaper Hayom quoted US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman as saying that he believes that Washington could recognize the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as part of the Jewish state. He added that he expects the Golan Heights to remain under Israeli control “forever”, and that he “cannot imagine a situation” in which the area is returned to Syria.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton, for his part, said that the Trump administration was not discussing any possible recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.
The UN, which did not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the region, brokered a Syrian-Israeli armistice in 1974, urging Israel to leave parts of the Golan Heights.
In 1981, Israel adopted a law extending its jurisdiction over the territory, de-facto annexing the Golan Heights. The law has never been recognized internationally, and the dispute between Syria and Israel over the territory has yet to be resolved.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

          INTERVIEW WITH SAMUEL HASSOUN, AMERICAN EX-MILITARY WHO MOVED TO SYRIA IN 2011      Cache   Translate Page      


Samuel Hassoun is an American of Syrian descent. His grandfather was Syrian, and in 1995 he first visited Syria, visiting numerous times afterwards, eventually meeting what would become his wife. He and his Syrian wife moved to Syria in March 2011.
We discuss the realities he was seeing and hearing in Syria versus the lies reported on corporate and Gulf media on Syria, as well as many other aspects of life in Syria and the long-manufactured war on Syria.

Related Links:

EARLY DAYS IN SYRIA: WESTERN NARRATIVE VS REALITY

Talk With American-Syrians in Latakia, part 1

Talk With American-Syrians in Latakia, part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvFeGIoISLo&

Daraa Priest, Father Gerges Rizk, on What Really Happened in Daraa 2011

Dr Amer Ghantous on Lies Around Daraa 2011

Kassab Resident: Why the Attack on Syria

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

“Prem Shankar Jha’s, “Who Fired The First Shot?” described the slaughter of 20 Syrian soldiers outside Dara’a a month later, “by cutting their throats, and cutting off the head of one of the soldiers.” A very “moderate”-rebel practice.
In “Syria: The Hidden Massacre” Sharmine Narwani investigated the early massacres of Syrian soldiers, noting that many of the murders occurred even after the Syrian government had abolished the state security courts, lifted the state of emergency, granted general amnesties, and recognized the right to peaceful protest. [https://www.rt.com/op-ed/157412-syria-hidden-massacre-2011/#_blank]
The April 10, 2011 murder of Banyas farmer Nidal Janoud was one of the first horrific murders of Syrian civilians by so-called “unarmed protesters.” Face gashed open, mutilated and bleeding, Janoud was paraded by an armed mob, who then hacked him to death.
Father Frans Van der Ludt—the Dutch priest living in Syria for nearly 5 decades prior to his April 7, 2014 assassination by militants occupying the old city of Homs—wrote (repeatedly) of the “armed demonstrators” he saw in early protests, “who began to shoot at the police first.”

Syrian comedian Treka on Fake Revolution, Fake Chemical Attack, and more

Syria: NOT A Revolution!
SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENT ASSAD:
“On March 29, 2011 (less than two weeks into the fantasy “revolution”) over 6 million people across Syria took to the streets in support of President al-Assad. In June, a reported hundreds of thousands marched in Damascus in support of the president, with a 2.3 km long Syrian flag. In November, 2011 (9 months into the chaos), masses again held demonstrations supporting President al-Assad, notably in Homs (the so-called “capital of the ‘revolution’”), Dara’a (the so-called “birthplace of the ‘revolution’”), Deir ez-Zour, Raqqa, Latakia, and Damascus.
Mass demonstrations like this have occurred repeatedly since, including inMarch 2012, in May 2014 in the lead-up to Presidential elections, and in June 2015, to note just some of the larger rallies.
In May 2013, it was reported that even NATO recognized the Syrian president’s increased popularity. “The data, relayed to NATO over the last month, asserted that 70 percent of Syrians support” the Assad government. At present, the number is now at least 80 percent.
The most telling barometer of Assad’s support base was the Presidential elections in June 2014, which saw 74 percent (11.6 million) of 15.8 million registered Syrian voters vote, with President al-Assad winning 88 percent of the votes. The lengths Syrians outside of Syria went to in order to vote included flooding the Syrian embassy in Beirut for two full days (and walking several kilometres to get there) and flying from countries with closed Syrian embassies to Damascus airport simply to cast their votes. Within Syria, Syrians bravedterrorist mortars and rockets designed to keep them from voting; 151 shells were fired on Damascus alone, killing 5 and maiming 33 Syrians.”

Syrians Flock to Vote in Lebanon

Homs Heflah to Celebrate June 3 Presidential Elections

INTERNAL REFUGEES HOUSED IN GOVERNMENT SECURED REGIONS:
“…the owner is displaced from Aleppo, from one of the first areas to be infested by terrorists. He lost he three apparently very-well known and loved croissant/bakery shops, all the equipment, his home and all furnishings when he and family fled the terrorists to Latakia. His personal loss also of course affected the 10 employees he had in Aleppo. Here, he worked for about 4 months in Jableh before opening his first croissant shop in Latakia, which has since blossomed into two apparently very popular croissant shops.
Of note: one of millions of internally displaced in Syria who have fled the terrorists to government-secured safe areas to re-start life, losing all his investment, but also again dispelling the MSM myth of Syrians fleeing the government and SAA.
Another shop owner fled a different area of Aleppo for the same reason, losing his garment factory (where 76 people worked), all of the equipment inside (including 40 machines), and his shop in the Old City of Aleppo, which like the factory was looted by western-backed “freedom-loving” “moderate-rebel” terrorists.
He too has re-opened in Latakia, starting slowly, first getting a small space in one of the markets here and selling others’ clothes, then acquiring a small workshop to manufacture his own again.
His story is filled with sadness and loss, including a 20 day old son…of kidnappings by the thugs the west calls “rebels”, and also of the steadfastness exhibited by Syrians over and over during this dirty war on the sovereign nation….”
“Tartous houses 1 million internally-displaced from all over Syria, including people from Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa, Aleppo, Homs, and elsewhere, according to the Governor of Aleppo (as of mid-2016), who said the city is known as “mini-Syria” in recent years due to its hosting of Syrians from all over.
“The 1 million IDPs share Tartous’ resources, schools, and hospitals with 1 million inhabitants.”
They are not housed in tents and camps, but in schools/other buildings-turned refugee centres, as well as houses. I visited one of these centres while in Tartous, also visiting centres in Latakia, Aleppo, Damascus over the past few years.”
US ILLEGAL OCCUPATION OF SYRIA:
Russian Ministry Of OD updates on Rukban, us presence
“Such a situation in which the camp finds itself reminds concentration camps of the Second World War, which seemed to be long gone. How is it possible in the modern world?
Why, in these conditions, the world community, which cares so much about human rights, continues to persistently keep silent about the humanitarian disaster in the Rukban camp? In fact, being held hostage.
40 martyred in new massacre by “Int’l Coalition” in Deir Ezzor countryside
Implausible Denials: The Crime at Jabal al Tharda. US-led Air Raid on Behalf of ISIS-Daesh Against Syrian Forces
TERRORIST ATTACKS ON HOSPITALS:
Former Director of Kindi Hospital Talks About Terrorist Truck Bombing of Hospital
Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors (Ignore Terrorist Attacks on Hospitals)
ERDOGAN COMPLICITY IN THIEVING ALEPPO FACTORIES, SENDING TERRORISTS TO SYRIA:
19:26, MP Fares Shehabi on lawsuit against Turkey for theft of factories
November 2016, MP Shehabi on the lawsuit
Serena Shim exposed Turkey’s role in Syria:
“As Shim’s sister Fatmeh Shim stated in 2015, “She caught them bringing in ISIS high-ranked members into Syria from Turkey into camps, which are supposed to be Syrian refugee camps.”
Serena Shim’s January 2013 expose, “Turkey’s Pivotal Role in Syria’s Insurgency: PressTV Report from Inside Turkey,” showed footage of what she estimated to be 300 semi-trucks “awaiting militants to empty them out”; included testimony explaining how Turkey enables the crossing of foreign terrorists “freely” into Syria; spoke of the funneling of arms via the Incirlik US Air Base in Turkey to terrorists in refugee camps or on through to Syria; and highlighted the issue of terrorist training camps portrayed as refugee camps, guarded by the Turkish military.
Shim named the World Food Organization as one of the NGOs whose trucks were being used to funnel terrorists’ arms into Syria, and stated this in her last interview, just one day before being killed. Notably, in that interview she also explicitly stated that she feared for her life because Turkish intelligence had accused her of being a spy.
EXTENSIVE TUNNELS IN SYRIA:

Jaysh al-Islam Tunnel Labyrinth in Douma, Syria


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

          Parents of Us Journalist Missing in Syria Hopeful About Fate      Cache   Translate Page      
The parents of Austin Tice say they hope the Trump administration will work on releasing their son the same way it did with Americans held in North Korea. Continue reading…
          Lego and Sesame Street Team Up in $100 Million Project to Help Refugee Children      Cache   Translate Page      
A five-year grant from the Lego Foundation will allow Sesame Workshop and aid groups to develop education programs for Syrian and Rohingya children. Read More
          Verden er blitt fredeligere      Cache   Translate Page      
Selv om Syriakrigen pågår på åttende året, blir verden stadig mer fredelig. Det slår statistikere fast, ifølge Forskning.no.
          Pres. Bush’s Place in Presidential History; Speak to the Speaker; Middle Eastern Christians; 10 Things That Scare Us       Cache   Translate Page      

Coming up on today's show:

  • David Greenberg, historian of American politics and a professor of history and of journalism and media studies at Rutgers University and the author of Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency (W. W. Norton & Company, 2016), Juan Williams, political analyst for Fox News and the author of What the Hell Do You Have to Lose?: Trump’s War on Civil Rights (Public Affairs, 2018), and Daily Beast columnist Eleanor Clift talk about George H.W. Bush’s impact on U.S. and world politics.

  • Speaker of the New York City Council, Corey Johnson, talks about issues facing the City Council and takes calls from listeners.

  • Janine di Giovanni, a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the author of The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria (Liveright, 2016), talks about her reporting for Harper's Magazine on Christian communities under siege in the Middle East.

  • Paula Szuchman, vice president of on-demand content at WNYC Studios, and WNYC producer Amy Pearl talk about their new WNYC podcast, 10 Things That Scare Me, where people (both famous and not) reveal their greatest fears.

          Middle Eastern Christians       Cache   Translate Page      

Janine di Giovanni, a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the author of The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria (Liveright, 2016), talks about her reporting for Harper's Magazine on Christian communities under siege in the Middle East.


          Pope leads prayers for peace in ‘tormented’ Syria      Cache   Translate Page      
IMAGE: CNS photo/Giuseppe Lami, EPA By Junno Arocho Esteves VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Leading thousands of pilgrims in prayer, Pope Francis lit a candle in remembrance of the people of Syria, especially innocent children tormented by the country’s eight-year conflict. "May this flame of hope and many flames of hope
          Huddersfield video: Syrian boy fundraiser 'spent on relocation'      Cache   Translate Page      
An appeal raised more than £158,000 after a video emerged of a Syrian boy being attacked.
          Business Game Changers Radio with Sarah Westall: Wrong Side of History, Over 4 Million Slaughtered if Syria Falls w/Senator Richard Black Pt. 2      Cache   Translate Page      
EpisodeThis is the 2nd part of my interview with Senator Richard Black. We discuss Syria, Russia, North Korea and other foreign policy issues.   IMPORTANT: What people do not realize is the mass slaughter that will occur if Syria falls. Over 4 million innocent Christians, Jews, moderate Islamic rebels and other groups will be slaughtered in the region when/if Syria falls. We are fighting on the side of 3 of the worst regimes in human history: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. History will jud ...
          Business Game Changers Radio with Sarah Westall: "Over 4 Million People will be Slaughtered if Syria Falls", Senator Richard Black      Cache   Translate Page      
EpisodeShow Description Coming Soon...
          Business Game Changers Radio with Sarah Westall: Part 2: Deep State Analysis with Dr. Cynthia McKinney      Cache   Translate Page      
EpisodeThis is part 2 of the interview: 6 term Congress Woman and 2008 Presidential Candidate, Dr. Cynthia McKinney joins the program to provide insight into the Deep State, the war in Syria, Israel’s involvement, and the Middle East. 
          Business Game Changers Radio with Sarah Westall: Deep State Analysis with Presidential Candidate and Congresswoman, Dr. Cynthia McKinney      Cache   Translate Page      
Episode6 term Congress Woman and 2008 Presidential Candidate, Dr. Cynthia McKinney joins the program to provide insight into the Deep State, the war in Syria, Israel's involvement, and the Middle East.    See more at Show Page at SarahWestall.com
          Business Game Changers Radio with Sarah Westall: Israeli Intelligence Officer Sheds Light on Palestine, the UN Resolution, and the Middle East Dilemma      Cache   Translate Page      
EpisodeIt seems the entire world has shifted its focus to Israel and Palestine with the recent U.N. resolution and John Kerry’s speech. It’s crazy that such a tiny area in the Middle East garners so much of the world’s attention. In fact, the U.N. General Assembly adopted 20 Israel resolutions this year, while passing just four for the rest of the world – one for North Korea, one for Syria, one for Iran, and one for Russia”. (Source: Fox News)     So much ...
          Business Game Changers Radio with Sarah Westall: On the Brink of WWIII - Why the U.S. is in Syria and How it Dominates Militarily with Space Technology      Cache   Translate Page      
EpisodeWorld War III is building up in the Middle East as 20 countries participate in a military “exercise” dubbed “Northern Thunder”. The exercise includes 350,000 soldiers, 20 thousand tanks, 2450 warplanes, and 460 military helicopters supplied by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Senegal, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Kuwait, the Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Chad, Tunisia, Comoro Islands, Djibouti, Malaysia, Egypt, Mauritania, and Mauritius. While this is occurring, Turkey has been bom ...
          Ri Yong Ho meets Bashar al-Assad during visit to Syria      Cache   Translate Page      
DPRK foreign minister also discusses economic cooperation with Syrian Deputy Prime Minister
          Comment on Recent House Foreign Affairs Testimony Lifts the Skirt on US Plans for Syria by AS: Testimonio reciente de asuntos exteriores de la Cámara de Representantes levanta la falda en los planes de Estados Unidos para Siria - Agencia Soynadie NOTICIAS PRENSA NOTICIAS PRENSA INTERNACIONAL TIEMPO REAL NOTAS ZONAS CONFLICTOS CONFLICTO GUERRA      Cache   Translate Page      
[…] cargo Testimonio reciente de asuntos exteriores de la Cámara de Representantes levanta la falda en los pl… apareció primero en Noticias de […]
          GENEVA / BACHELET HUMAN RIGHTS      Cache   Translate Page      
Speaking to journalists in Geneva on Wednesday, the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned that an at least 7,000 people in Deir-Ez-Zor province were trapped, amid efforts to dislodge ISIL from one of their last strongholds in Syria. UNTV CH
          Giải mã bí ẩn chiếc xe tăng từng khiến Quân đội Syria khốn khổ      Cache   Translate Page      
Trong khuôn khổ cuộc triển lãm các loại vũ khí chiến lợi phẩm tại chiến trường Syria ở công viên Park Patriot (Liên bang Nga), các du khách không khỏi cảm thấy khó hiểu trước sự xuất hiện của mẫu xe tăng Centurion do Anh sản xuất những năm 1950-1960. Nhờ ai mà phiến quân Syria có […]
          Is the facility at Qusayr, Syria an underground nuclear facility? Public Evidence remains inconclusive      Cache   Translate Page      

Is the facility at Qusayr, Syria an underground nuclear facility? Public Evidence remains inconclusive



http://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/is-the-facility-at-qusayr-syria-an-underground-nuclear-facility/
          Nineveh      Cache   Translate Page      
Nineveh (Akkadian: Ninua; Aramaic: ܢܝܢܘܐ; Hebrew: נינוה, Nīnewē; Arabic: نينوى, Naīnuwa), was the capital of the ancient Neo-Assyrian Empire.
          Comment on Hassan is first Democratic gov. calling for halt of Syrian refugees by rojo oro converse american flag      Cache   Translate Page      
<strong>rojo oro converse american flag</strong> p煤rpura armada adidas eqt boostp煤rpura azul nike react hyperdunkverde naranja nike zoom terra kiger 3marr贸n plata nike roshe run nm br
          Lego and Sesame Street Team Up in $100 Million Project to Help Refugee Children      Cache   Translate Page      
A five-year grant from the Lego Foundation will allow Sesame Workshop and aid groups to develop education programs for Syrian and Rohingya children.
          Principles In Disasters Management Course For 25 First Aiders      Cache   Translate Page      

First aid squads’ work is a crucial part in disasters response; therefor SARC-Swaida Branch dedicated its fifth course this year on principles in disasters management for 25 first aiders, so they can fully meet their humanitarian duty in time of disasters. During the five-day course, the volunteers received the information of the basics on how to respond to disasters in accordance with its phases and nature, the information was given according to the new curriculum of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The course concluded on Sunday 2-12-2018. To be mentioned, this training course was supported… Read More »

The post Principles In Disasters Management Course For 25 First Aiders appeared first on Syrian Arab Red Crescent.


          Together We Can: An Exhibition Combines The Skills Of 30 Women      Cache   Translate Page      

She distributes love through gifts made by her own hands, then regains it once again through words written for her by the (Together we can) exhibition visitors. Where Ms. Retha’a participated in as a model of a woman who has managed with her sheer determination to overcome her hard marriage experience and succeed in making candles, selling them, and rely on herself to bring up her children. Ms. Retha’a is one of 30 women brought together by psychosocial support activities within the humanitarian support project at SARC-Swaida branch. These activities provided an atmosphere of awareness, entertainment, and benefits for the participated women. After… Read More »

The post Together We Can: An Exhibition Combines The Skills Of 30 Women appeared first on Syrian Arab Red Crescent.


          From Central America to Syria: the Conspiracy against Refugees      Cache   Translate Page      

Watching the ongoing debate between liberal and right-wing pundits on US mainstream media, one rarely gets the impression that Washington is responsible for the unfolding chaotic situation in Central America. In fact, no other country [...]

The post From Central America to Syria: the Conspiracy against Refugees appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.


          Syriër die in Naaldwijk met mes dreigde geldt niet langer als terrorist      Cache   Translate Page      

De Syriër die in augustus in Naaldwijk met een mes stond te zwaaien, wordt door het Openbaar Ministerie niet langer als terrorist beschouwd. Dat bleek vandaag bij een pro-formazitting.

Het OM vermoedt dat de man aan een psychische ziekte lijdt en daarom door het lint is gegaan. De rechtbank denkt dat ook.

Dat de man "Allahoe akbar" zou hebben geroepen, is niet genoeg om hem van een terroristisch motief te verdenken. De verdachte woont in Zweden. Volgens zijn familie is hij in Syrië ontvoerd en gemarteld.

Verward

De politie werd op 27 augustus door familieleden van de 28-jarige man gebeld. Ze waarschuwden dat hij in verwarde toestand met een mes op straat liep en waren bang dat hij zichzelf of iemand anders iets zou aandoen.

Toen agenten hem vroegen het mes te laten vallen, weigerde hij. De agenten losten waarschuwingsschoten, maar dat hielp niet. Uiteindelijk werd hij met hulp van een politiehond overmeesterd.

Bedreiging

De man wordt nu alleen nog verdacht van bedreiging van agenten. De zaak komt op 31 januari opnieuw voor de rechter.


          Pope lights one of thousands of candles for worldwide campaign for Christians in Syria      Cache   Translate Page      

          80% Of French Citizens Reject Macron’s Immigration Policy, New Poll Shows      Cache   Translate Page      
80 percent of french citizens reject Macron's immigration policy
Around 80 per cent of French citizens believe Macron’s relaxed immigration policy is destroying France and leading to poorer work conditions, according to a new opinion poll conducted by Ifop. 

53 per cent of French men and women believe that France welcomes “far too many foreigners.” A further 27 per cent believe that France welcomes “enough,” meaning that a total of 79 per cent of French citizens believe France should halt their immigration program.
Voiceofeurope.com reports: The poll, which was published in the weekly Journal du Dimanche, also revealed that 64 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement: “our country already has many foreigners and welcoming additional immigrants would be undesirable”.
77 per cent said that they fear a policy that is too welcoming of immigrants, and 71 per cent believe that excessive migration will lead to a decrease in wages, due to migrants’ willingness to work for lower pay.
In response to growing unrest caused by the migration crisis, Macron’s government has taken a more conservative approach to immigration in recent months, but pressure from the country’s citizens and members of the French National Rally Party is being but on the government to slow down migration even further.
With the majority of migrants having arrived from countries across the Middle East and North Africa, in particular Libya and Syria, Pew Research Center has predicted that Western Europe will see a dramatic rise in its Muslim population, with France forecast to see a rise from 8.8% in 2016 to 18.0% by 2050.

          Video: Syrian Army Eliminate ISIS Terrorists in Al-Suwayda Province. US-controlled Zone of Al-Tanf Used by ISIS Terrorists as a Safe Haven      Cache   Translate Page      

Government forces have eliminated more than 270 ISIS members as well as seized a large amount of weapons and munition, including 12 TOW anti-tank guided missiles, in the province of al-Suwayda since middle November, Oleg Makarevich, a spokesman for

The post Video: Syrian Army Eliminate ISIS Terrorists in Al-Suwayda Province. US-controlled Zone of Al-Tanf Used by ISIS Terrorists as a Safe Haven appeared first on Global Research.


                Cache   Translate Page      
Africa Heavy on Security Council Agenda as Cote d'Ivoire Takes Over December Presidency
Xinhua
2018/12/4 8:26:27

Africa is high on the agenda of the Security Council's program of work in December as Cote d'Ivoire takes over the council's presidency for the month.

There will be a debate among Security Council members on post-conflict reconstruction on Wednesday, which will be attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki, said Cote d'Ivoire's ambassador to the United Nations Leon Adom.

The council debate would be followed by an open debate -- a debate that includes non-Security Council members -- on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional groups for the purpose of conflict prevention and resolution.

Thursday's open debate will be chaired by Cote d'Ivoire's Foreign Minister Marcel Amon Tanoh with the participation of Guterres and Faki as well as Marcel Alain de Souza, the president of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States, a key player in regional peacekeeping and peacebuilding, said Adom.

Both debates would focus heavily on Africa as shown by the high-level representation.

Half of the 14 UN peacekeeping operations are in Africa, including the largest and most costly ones.

In addition to the two "flagship events," the Security Council will also hold briefings or consultations on Guinea Bissau, South Sudan, the Sahel region and the Central African Republic, said Adom.

"Ending the crises in these countries as well as the security and humanitarian situations will be at the heart of our briefings and consultations."

Also on the Security Council agenda is the Middle East, particularly Syria, said Adom.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura will brief the council for the last time before he steps down by the end of the year.

De Mistura has expressed disappointment at the lack of progress on the issue of a constitutional committee for Syria at last week's Astana meeting between Russia, Turkey and Iran -- the leading countries of the Astana process, a parallel process to the UN-led Geneva process.

He had insisted on convening the constitutional committee by Dec. 31.

          Russia Warns Cyprus Against Allowing US Military to Deploy There      Cache   Translate Page      
Russia on Wednesday warned authorities in Cyprus not to allow the U.S. military to deploy on their territory, saying such a move would draw a Russian reaction and result in "dangerous and destabilizing consequences" for the Mediterranean island. Maria Zakharova, a spokesman for Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Moscow had become aware of what she called "anti-Russian plans" involving Cyprus and the U.S. military which she said was eyeing setting up forward operating bases for its troops there. "We're getting information from various sources that the United States is actively studying options to build up its military presence on Cyprus," Zakharova told a news briefing in Moscow. "The aim is not being hidden - to counter growing Russian influence in the region in the light of the successful operation by the Russian military in Syria.” There was no immediate U.S. response to her comments. Prodromos Prodromou, a spokesman for the Cypriot government, said the island had no desire to further militarize. "We want to clarify that it has never been our aim, nor do we seek the militarization of Cyprus," he said, responding to Zakharova's remarks. "The Republic of Cyprus, because of its advantageous geographical position, offers facilities for missions of a humanitarian nature, and then only in cases where countries make a request or have a relevant MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the Republic.” Zakharova said a U.S. delegation had inspected potential sites for the bases and that Washington was engaged in intensive talks with Nicosia on expanding military cooperation. Cyprus is a popular destination for Russian tourists and capital and many wealthy Russian business people bank or own property there. The island, a former British colony, hosts two British military bases. The United States has an embassy in Nicosia. Cyprus was split by a Turkish invasion in 1974 that followed a Greek-inspired coup. Northern Cyprus is now a Turkish Cypriot state of about 300,000 people that is recognized only by Turkey. Greek Cypriots run the island's internationally recognized government which represents the whole island in the European Union. Cypriot media said the island had recently appointed a military attache to Washington. Zakharova said Russia had repeatedly warned Cypriot authorities against allowing the island to be further militarized. "It being drawn into U.S. and NATO plans in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East will inevitably lead to dangerous and destabilizing consequences for Cyprus itself," she said. "In Moscow we can't ignore the anti-Russian element in these (U.S.) plans and in the event that they are implemented we will be forced to take counter measures.”  
          Why you should be eating molokhia and how to make this delicious superfood soup      Cache   Translate Page      

The ubiquity of molokhia — an irresistible dish of braised greens served over rice that hails from Egypt and has taken root in the cuisines of Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Israel and across North Africa — would seem to indicate that it’d be easy to find on menus around town. Such is not the case, largely...


          Why you should be eating molokhia and how to make this delicious superfood soup      Cache   Translate Page      

The ubiquity of molokhia — an irresistible dish of braised greens served over rice that hails from Egypt and has taken root in the cuisines of Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Israel and across North Africa — would seem to indicate that it’d be easy to find on menus around town. Such is not the case, largely...


          At Least 206 Civilians Killed in November by US Airstrikes in Syria      Cache   Translate Page      
none
          Syrian schoolboy 'suffered years of abuse' in Huddersfield school      Cache   Translate Page      

Headteacher denies bullying claims were only dealt with after footage surfaced online

The leadership of a West Yorkshire school has been called into question following allegations that a Syrian refugee child was subjected to two years of physical abuse there.

Last week, footage showing a 15-year-old Syrian schoolboy, who can only be identified as Jamal, being allegedly assaulted was posted online.

Continue reading...
          Syrian aid worker who swam refugees to safety freed from Greek jail      Cache   Translate Page      

Sarah Mardini had been held since August on people-smuggling charges criticised by rights groups

After 107 days of incarceration, Sarah Mardini – the Syrian human rights worker who saved 18 refugees in 2015 by swimming their waterlogged dinghy to the shores of Lesbos with her Olympian sister – has been freed from Greece’s toughest jail.

The 23-year-old was released late on Wednesday from the high-security Koryallos prison in Athens, where she was held in pre-trial detention on charges of people-smuggling.

Continue reading...
          Lego teams up with Sesame Street to help refugee kids play      Cache   Translate Page      
A charitable foundation set up by toymaker Lego has granted $100 million to the not-for-profit group behind hit TV show "Sesame Street" to help provide educational toys to children affected by the Rohingya and Syrian refugee crises.

          Press Releases: Special Representative for Syria Engagement Ambassador Jim Jeffrey Travel to Turkey and Jordan      Cache   Translate Page      
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 4, 2018


The Secretary’s Special Representative for Syria Engagement, Ambassador Jim Jeffrey and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria Joel Rayburn will travel to Turkey and Jordan, December 4 – December 14.

In Turkey, the Ambassador will meet with Turkish leaders and other senior officials to discuss the promotion of stability and security in Syria. He will also conduct with Turkish officials a High-Level Working Group on Syria ‎to address security concerns of our two countries and continue progress on issues of mutual interest regarding the ongoing crisis in Syria.

In Jordan, Ambassador Jeffrey will meet with Senior Jordanian officials to emphasize the importance of maintaining pressure on the Syrian regime and encouraging all possible efforts to advance the political track as called for in UNSCR 2254. The Ambassador will also thank the Jordanians for their continued support for the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in Jordan and discuss additional ways to ensure consistent, unhindered access to humanitarian and medical aid for the population of Rukban. He will also meet with U.S. personnel focused on Syria policy issues from around the world.


The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.
External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.


          Press Releases: Press Availability at NATO Headquarters      Cache   Translate Page      
Press Availability
Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
Brussels, Belgium
December 4, 2018


SECRETARY POMPEO: Good evening, everyone. I want to begin this evening by expressing my condolences to the Bush family on the passing of a great man, President George H. W. Bush. He embodied literally the best of America in his devotion to public service and his ardent patriotism. My wife Susan and I mourn with President Trump and all of our fellow Americans as we celebrate his incredible life. Tomorrow I will join the President and my fellow cabinet members in honoring him during America’s national day of mourning.

President Bush, during his entire lifetime, was a relentless defender of transatlantic security. Today, we strive to emulate his example by asserting powerful American leadership on behalf of our people and our allies. When the INF Treaty was inked in 1987, it represented a good-faith effort between two rivals to de-escalate the threat of nuclear war. President Reagan described it as the realization of “an impossible vision,” and Mikhail Gorbachev said it had “universal significance for mankind.”

But whatever successes this treaty helped produce, today we must confront Russian cheating on its arms control obligations. As I told my fellow ministers earlier today, our nations have a choice. We either bury our head in the sand or we take common-sense action in response to Russia’s flagrant disregard for the express terms of the INF Treaty.

It’s worth noting that Russia’s violations didn’t happen overnight. Russia’s been flight-testing the SSC-8 cruise missile since the mid-2000s. They’ve been testing it in excess of ranges that the treaty permits. All the tests of the SSC-8 have originated from a Kapustin Yar site from both a fixed and mobile launcher. Its range makes it a direct menace to Europe.

In 2017, General Selva of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress that Russia had deployed its missile, and I quote, “in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility,” end of quote. Russia continues to press forward, and as of late 2018 has filled multiple battalions of the SSC-8 missiles.

Throughout all of this, the United States has remained in scrupulous compliance with the treaty. In spite of Russia’s violations, we have exercised the utmost patience and effort in working to convince Russia to adhere to its terms. On at least 30 occasions since 2013, extending to the highest levels of leadership, we have raised Russia’s noncompliance and stressed that a failure to return to compliance would have consequences.

Russia’s reply has been consistent: deny any wrongdoing, demand more information, and issue baseless counter-accusations. For more than four years, Moscow has pretended that it didn’t know what missile or test the United States was even talking about, even when we provided extensive information about the missile’s characteristics and testing history. It was not until we chose to publicize the Russian name of the missile in November of 2017 that Russia finally acknowledged its existence. Then Russia changed its cover story from the missile that does not exist to the missile that exists but is treaty-compliant.

These violations of the INF Treaty cannot be viewed in isolation from the larger pattern of Russian lawlessness on the world stage. The list of Russia’s infamous acts is long: Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, election meddling, Skripal, and now the Kerch Strait, to name just a few.

In light of these facts, the United States today declares it has found Russia in material breach of the treaty and will suspend our obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russia returns to full and verifiable compliance.

We’re taking these steps for several reasons. First, Russia’s actions gravely undermine American national security and that of our allies and partners. It makes no sense for the United States to remain in a treaty that constrains our ability to respond to Russia’s violations. Russia has reversed the trajectory of diminishing nuclear risk in Europe, where America has tens of thousands of troops and where millions more American civilians are living and working. These Americans live and work alongside many more millions of Europeans who are put in danger by Russian missile systems.

Second, while Russia is responsible for the demise of the treaty, many other states – including China, North Korea, and Iran – are not parties to the INF Treaty. This leaves them free to build all the intermediate range missiles that they would like. There is no reason the United States should continue to cede this crucial military advantage to revisionist powers like China, in particular when these weapons are being used to threaten and coerce the United States and its allies in Asia.

If you ask the question why the treaty wasn’t enlarged to include more nations, including China, keep in mind that it has been tried three times without any success already, and it has failed each time.

Third, inertia will not drive policy in the Trump administration. As President Trump has made clear and as I spoke about this morning, the United States will not support international agreements that undermine our security, our interests, or our values.

Finally, and I want to be clear about this, America is upholding the rule of law. When we set forth our commitments, we agree to be bound by them. We expect the same of our treaty counterparts everywhere, and we will hold them accountable when their words prove untrustworthy. If we do not, we’ll get cheated by other nations, expose Americans to greater risk, and squander our credibility.

Earlier today, I spoke on America’s enduring leadership role in the international order and I reiterate that powerful American leadership means never abandoning our responsibility to protect our security and our nation’s sovereignty. I’ve stated our position in no uncertain terms. The United States remains hopeful that our relationship with Russia can get better, can get on better footing.

With that being said, the burden falls on Russia to make the necessary changes. Only they can save this treaty. If Russia admits its violations and fully and verifiably comes back into compliance we will, of course, welcome that course of action. But Russia and Russia only can take this step.

We appreciate NATO’s strong support for the United States decision as expressed in this statement released today. The United States and our NATO allies stand vigilant that Russia’s lawless conduct will not be tolerated in the realm of arms control or anywhere else.

Thank you.

MS NAUERT: We have time for several questions. The first one goes to Teri Schultz from Deutsche Welle. Teri.

QUESTION: Hi. Thank you. Secretary Pompeo, I’m here.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Got you.

QUESTION: What does this mean concretely? What will the next steps be? Are you just waiting the 60 days and hoping that Europe can help pull Russia back into compliance? What exactly – how exactly will this play out now? And then does the six months start in 60 days? Just a few more details on that. Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO: You bet. So as I said in my remarks, we would welcome a Russian change of heart, a change in direction, the destruction of their program and their follow-on continuance of the terms of the treaty. And so over the next 60 days they have every chance to do so. And we would welcome that.

I will tell you, our European partners appreciate that extra time. We work closely with them. They asked for an extended period, and we, in our efforts to make sure that we had complete unity – and I will tell you, as you speak to the other 28 ministers who are here today, there is complete unity around this – we believe this is the right outcome. The six-month period will begin to run 60 days from now. During the 60 days, we will still not test or produce or deploy any systems, and we’ll see what happens during this 60-day period.

We’ve talked to the Russians a great deal. We’re hopeful they’ll change course, but there’s been no indication to date that they have any intention of doing so.

MS NAUERT: Jessica Donati from Wall Street Journal.

QUESTION: Yeah. Thank you. Beyond withdrawing from the – or suspending your membership of the INF Treaty, what other steps can you do to help Ukraine in what it’s suffering at the hands of Russia?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So there was lots of discussion about that today. I’ll leave to a couple of others to talk about the conversations. But two things were very clear from the time that we spent with the Ukrainian foreign minister as a group, is that there is complete unanimity that the Russian action was lawless and unacceptable and deterrents must be restored, and that that is a collective commitment of Europe and the world to deny Russia the capacity to continue to violate basic international law norms. We hope that the Russians will return the sailors that they’re holding today, just immediately. And we will collectively develop a set of responses that demonstrate to Russia that this behavior is simply unacceptable.

MS NAUERT: Emerald Robinson from One America News.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. You talked about, yes, the commitments with treaties in regards to the United States and its allies. But you also talked about international institutions and gave America’s viewpoint on that. You called out specifically the IMF and the World Bank and the UN. How do you think so many large international institutions can be reformed today? Is it a question of new leadership?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Every institution needs to be evaluated consistently, right. That doesn’t – multilateral, international organizations are no different. These organizations have now been around for an extended period of time, and each of them is worthy of full review. Do they still – are they still fit for purpose? Do they still serve their intended means? That’s what I spoke about this morning.

President Trump believes that if we exert American leadership and American national sovereignty and we evaluate these institutions against the objective of creating prosperity and peace around the world, that each of them is ripe for some piece of reform. And we’ll look at the parts that are working as I – and I described several institutions’ functions that are working. We’ll keep those. We’ll enhance those. We’ll want to be part of those.

But if it’s broken and it’s not delivering for America and for the world then we ought not rest on our laurels and think, “boy, that’s good,” just because it’s multilateral. That notion that the mere nature of something being multilateral is not in and of itself a good. The things that are good are the things that flow, the things that follow from the work that nation-states do as part of those multilateral organizations, and the United States is intent on being a leader to make sure each of those institutions that you mentioned is delivering.

MS NAUERT: Last question, Guy Taylor from Washington Times.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Back to the INF Treaty just for a second. You mentioned the prospect of the U.S. developing and deploying systems that would otherwise be in violation of the treaty. From a strategic perspective, is that kind of deployment something that the administration, the Trump administration, is really now preparing to do? And can you speak perhaps to European concerns about the prospect of the deployment of midrange nuclear weapons across Western Europe, for instance, that have been banned by this treaty for so long?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So I can say two things about that today. European nations can rest assured that as we prepare how we will all protect and create stability in Europe and around the world from the threat of intermediate nuclear range missiles, and those in particular from Russia, that we will be working closely with our European allies and other allies throughout the world who are also threatened by these missile systems. And so it won&rsq