Friday, October 14, 2011
The Cairo pogrom
by Jeff Jacoby
HAVE YOU EVER seen a pogrom? Sarah Carr has. "The Coptic Hospital tried its best to deal with the sudden influx of casualties," wrote Carr, a Cairo-based journalist and blogger, in her firsthand account of Sunday's deadly attack on Christian protesters by the Egyptian military. "Its floors were sticky with blood and there was barely room to move among the wounded."
In one room of the hospital morgue Carr counted the bodies of 12 people, some of whom had been killed when soldiers in armored personnel vehicles charged the crowd, firing and random and crushing the protesters they ran over. One of the victims was "a man whose face was contorted into an impossible expression. A priest . . . showed me the remains of the man's skull and parts of his brain. He too had been crushed."
What happened in Egypt on Sunday was a massacre. Government security forces assaulted Coptic Christians as they marched peacefully to the headquarters of the state TV network. They were protesting the recent burning of St. George's, a Coptic church in the Upper Egypt village of El-Marinab. Yet broadcasters loyal to the ruling military junta exhorted "honorable Egyptians" to help the army put down the protests. "Soon afterward, bands of young men armed with sticks, rocks, swords, and firebombs began to roam central Cairo, attacking Christians," the Associated Press reported. "Troops and riot police did not intervene." Graphic video of the violence was quickly uploaded to the Internet. So were even more graphic images of the murdered protesters.
Back during the Tahrir Square demonstrations against strongman Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military was widely praised for not using force to crush the protests and keep Mubarak in power. Then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, for example, declared that Egypt's military had "conducted itself in exemplary fashion" and "made a contribution to the evolution of democracy." Popular, too, was the notion that the uprising could catalyze a new era of interfaith solidarity. "Egypt's religious tensions have been set aside," reported the BBC in February, "as the country's Muslims and Christians join forces at anti-government protests."
But the "spirit of Tahrir Square" has ushered in neither liberal democracy nor a rebirth of tolerance for Egypt's ancient but beleaguered Christian minority.
One of the country's leading liberal reformers, Ayman Nour, said Monday that with the latest bloodshed, the military has lost whatever goodwill it accrued last spring. It's hard to believe that the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces cares. In the eight months since Mubarak's ouster, the military has tried and convicted some 12,000 Egyptian civilians in military tribunals, often after using torture to extract confessions. The country's hated emergency laws, which allow suspects to be detained without charge, not only remain in force, but have been expanded to cover offenses as vague as "spreading rumors" or "blocking traffic." And just as Mubarak did, the generals insist that government repression is all that stands between Egypt and social chaos.
As for Egypt's Coptic Christians, their plight has gone from bad to worse. Post-Mubarak Egypt has seen "an explosion of violence against the Coptic Christian community," the international news channel France24 was reporting as far back as May. "Anger has flared up into deadly riots, and houses, shops, and churches have been set ablaze."
With Islamist hardliners growing increasingly influential, hate crimes against Christians routinely go unpunished. Copts, who represent a tenth of Egypt's population, are subjected to appalling humiliations. The mob that destroyed St. George's had first demanded that the church be stripped of its crosses and bells; after the Christians yielded to that demand, local Muslims insisted that the church dome be removed as well. For several weeks, Copts in El-Marinab were literally besieged, forbidden to leave their homes or buy food unless they agreed to mutilate their nearly century-old house of worship. On September 30, Muslim thugs set fire to the church and demolished its dome, pillars, and walls. For good measure, they also burned a Coptic-owned shop and four homes.
Many Copts are choosing to leave Egypt, rather than live under this intensifying anti-Christian persecution. The Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations calculated last month that more than 90,000 Christians have fled the country since March 2011. At that rate, estimated human-rights advocate Naguib Gabriel, one-third of Egypt's Coptic population will have vanished within a decade.
Or maybe sooner -- maybe much sooner -- if Sunday's anti-Christian pogrom is a sign of things to come.
Australia: Jewish community wants Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir outlawed
VICTORIA'S Jewish community wants a radical Islamic group banned, claiming it poses a security risk. Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is banned in several countries, is due to hold a conference against the Afghanistan war in Melbourne tonight. The group's Australian branch has also recently criticised a new counter-terrorism website launched by the Federal Government.
Victorian Jewish Community Council president John Searle said yesterday that Hizb ut-Tahrir's beliefs were contrary to those of most Australians. "They peddle a very virulent form of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism, and they are the sort of group that would encourage home-grown terrorists," he said.
"We are not happy that they are here at all. We don't believe they are a desirable influence on young minds."
Mr Searle said the Jewish community council wanted the group banned and was concerned that speakers at tonight's event could inspire people to take extreme actions. "They are certainly at the very extreme end and extremists do not produce any good results for anybody," he said.
But Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Uthman Badar denied the group was extremist or anti-Semitic. "The claims made about us are based on hearsay," he said. "We are happy for them (Jewish community members) to come down and have a look at our conference." Mr Badar said the group had a problem with Israel because of the occupation of Palestine.
Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said Hizb ut-Tahrir's views were well out of step with the Australian community and the question of banning the group was constantly being reviewed by security and intelligence agencies.
"The Government takes a hard line against groups that advocate terrorism, and will act upon advice from its security agencies as to whether they should be proscribed," he said.
Useless British police again
Police refuse to investigate rooftop lead theft as it was 'too dangerous' to climb ladder to get to crime scene -- but publicity brings a bit of backpedalling, of course
When thieves stole lead from the roof of Nina Nash’s jewellery shop, she called police to report the crime. But she was stunned to be told that the long arm of the law did not extend far enough.
Hampshire Constabulary said officers could not attend the scene of the crime because climbing a ladder 15ft on to the roof ‘breached health and safety rules’.
Miss Nash, 34, who owns the Wedding Ring Studio in Southampton, described the rules as ‘ridiculous’. She said: ‘The message appeared to be, if you’re going to commit a crime, do it up high. ‘In real terms it seemed to suggest that they are not allowed to use the necessary equipment to get to the scene of the crime.’
Miss Nash said the thieves had left plenty of evidence, including footprints up the shop wall as they climbed up to the roof and two pieces of lead which could have carried fingerprints.
Yesterday John Apter of the Hampshire branch of the Police Federation, which represents police officers, criticised the force’s response. He said: ‘If there is a victim of a crime we should find a way to provide a service even if that presents a little bit of danger. After all, policing is a dangerous job.’
Senior officers claim call centre handlers may have been over-zealous and have promised to look into the crime.
Inspector Rachel Stokes of Hampshire Constabulary said: ‘Unfortunately the wrong information may have been inadvertently handed out by the call-taker in this case and we are looking into this. ‘However, in line with all crimes it was reviewed by an officer and it was quickly picked up that there was potential forensic evidence that should be looked at.’
She added: ‘There is no ruling automatically stopping a crime scene investigation officer from climbing. ‘We will be making sure staff at the force inquiry centre are aware of the policy.’
Hampshire is not the first force to claim climbing is too dangerous for officers. In 2005, police called in to investigate acts of vandalism at Middleton Parish Church, near Rochdale, refused to inspect the damage because, they told church officials, that they did not have specialist ‘ladder training’.
A man whose mobile was taken from his car in a police station car park on Saturday suggested that officers viewed their CCTV footage. But Carl Rundle, 38, was told it would have to wait until Monday because the cameras are run by a private firm who charge a call-out fee at weekends.
Mr Rundle, whose car was outside Abingdon police station in Oxfordshire, said: ‘I was shocked because you instinctively think that a police station will be a safe place.’
A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: ‘It was felt that the review of the CCTV footage could wait until normal office hours.’
And sometimes the BritCops are stupid as well as useless
And the courtesy for which they were once famous seems to have vanished entirely: Old lady watering flowers for holiday neighbours is threatened by police with Tasers after being reported as a BURGLAR
Good neighbour Patricia Cook was only too happy to look after her friend’s house and garden while she was away on holiday. The 67-year-old and her daughter Louise dutifully visited to water the plants and pick up windfall apples.
Suddenly they were confronted by police wielding powerful Tasers after they scaled a 7ft fence to challenge her. The drama happened after another neighbour rang 999, fearing that burglars had broken in.
Mrs Cook said yesterday: ‘I was mortified and so embarrassed about it all. 'It was a bit over the top, to say the least.’
She had gone into her neighbour’s garden opposite her house in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, with her daughter. Less than ten minutes later two police cars with flashing lights raced up, and three officers climbed the garden fence.
Mrs Cook said: ‘I had the watering can and Louise had picked up about four apples, when this voice from the other side of the fence asked us what we were up to. ‘I asked, “What do you mean?” At this point, I wasn’t sure who it was. Next minute these police officers were scaling the fence with Taser guns, the whole lot. ‘There were two patrol cars parked skew-whiff on the road outside with their lights flashing.
‘If you break into someone’s house you’re hardly going to go and pick up a few bruised apples from the garden.
‘I showed them the letter my friend gave me to explain what we were doing there. ‘But they still insisted on taking down all our personal details – our names, dates of birth and addresses. I was very angry. Why should I be on their records when I’ve done nothing wrong?’
Mrs Cook has now sent a strong letter of complaint to Hertfordshire Police. She said: ‘It’s such a waste of time and public money – the taxpayers are paying for this. I didn’t even get a “sorry”.
‘One of the officers mentioned that a neighbour rang up. He said they were just doing a good job.
‘I’ve lived here for more than 40 years and I go to that house every week. All it would have taken was someone to ask what I was doing. ‘I was very upset that night. I’ve never broken the law in my life.’
A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said: ‘We understand that a complaint is pending and once this has been received we will look into the circumstances of the incident. ‘However, until this has been completed we are unable to make a further comment.’
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.