Friday, January 09, 2015
Maybe I shouldn't laugh
In a vast article titled "Judgments About Fact and Fiction by Children From Religious and Nonreligious Backgrounds" Kathleen H. Corriveau and friends have discovered that children who are taught to believe in spirit beings do tend to believe in spirit beings. They will probably set out to prove that grass is green next.
Why the study was done and why it was published I have not yet figured out. It seems to be some sort of attempt to diss Christians but I cannot see how it does that. Statistician Briggs is also having a laugh at the study.
We must stop blaming ourselves for Islamist terror
We’d forgotten about Charlie Hebdo. In 2011, the satirical magazine, firmly rooted in the anti-clericalism of the French left, was firebombed after it published an edition poking fun at Islam: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter”, read the cover.
At the time, unthinkable in the light of today’s attack on Charlie’s office, there was “debate” over whether the magazine’s cartoonists and editors had “gone too far”.
Bruce Crumley, a correspondent for Time, rushed to condemn not the bombers, but the scribblers. “Not only are such Islamophobic antics [as publishing cartoons] futile and childish,” he wrote, “but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction?”
He went on: “Do you still think the price you paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody on the logic of ‘because we can’ was so worthwhile? If so, good luck with those charcoal drawings your pages will now be featuring.”
Others sought to contextualise the attacks against the backdrop of alienation felt by many French Muslims.
Underlying all this was a persistent assumption. Islamist attacks are only ever reactions, only ever brought about by provocation from the West. All the way back to the Ayatollah Khomeini’s contract on the head of Salman Rushdie in 1989, we have accepted the idea that it is up to authors, artists and cartoonists to justify themselves in the face of threats and real violence.
Rushdie himself even apologised for his supposed “insult” to Islam, in fear for his life.
If the rise of Isil has taught the world one thing, it is that the provocation is beside the point. Jihadists kill because that is what they do. It does not matter if you are a French cartoonist or a Yazidi child, or an aid worker or journalist: if you are not one of the chosen few, you are fair game. Provocation is merely an excuse used by bullies to justify their actions, while ensuring the world bows to their will.
In October last year, imprisoned Syrian journalist Mazen Darwish managed to smuggle a note from his Damascus cell to the free speech charity English PEN. Darwish had been singled out for an award by PEN and Salman Rushdie, and he took the opportunity to address Rushdie directly, writing:
“[W]e committed an unforgivable sin in the Arab world when we responded with indifference to the fatwas and calls for your death. So indifferent were we that we colluded – even if just by our silent complicity – in excluding and eliminating difference, while acting as if the whole thing had nothing to do with us. And so here we are today, paying the high, bloodsoaked price of that collusion, and finding ourselves the main victims of the obscurantist ideology now infiltrating our homes and our cities".
What a great shame that it has taken us all of this bloodshed to arrive at the belief that we are the ones who will pay the price for preventing those with whom we disagree from expressing their views – and that we will pay with our lives and our futures. What a shame this much blood has had to be spilled for us to realise, finally, that we are digging our own graves when we allow thought to be crushed by accusations of unbelief, calling people infidels, and when we allow opinion to be countered with violence.”
Today’s obscenity may shock us, but we must not be rendered speechless.
What about Arab War Crimes against Palestinians?
And who ever heard of the case of Zaki al-Hobby, a 17-year old Palestinian who was shot and killed last weekend by Egyptian border guards? Had he been shot by Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border, the EU and UN would have called for an international commission of inquiry.
The stories of the Palestinians tortured to death in an Arab prison have also failed to win the attention of the Western media. Nor have the EU and the UN, which called for an investigation into the death of Abu Ein -- who died of a heart attack while in a confrontation with an Israeli soldier -- deemed it necessary to tackle the plight of the Palestinians being killed and tortured to death in Syria and other Arab countries.
As far as the Palestinian Authority is concerned — and the media, the EU, the UN and human rights groups — the only "war crimes" are being committed by Israelis, and not by Arabs who are killing, torturing and displacing tens of thousands of Palestinians. And all this is happening while the international community and media continue to display an obsession only with everything connected to Israel.
More than 2,500 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the conflict in Syria three years ago, according to a report published this week by the Working Group for Palestinians in Syria. It revealed that 2,596 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the conflict in that country in 2011.
But this is a news item that has hardly found its way into mainstream media in the West. Even Arab media outlets have almost entirely ignored the report about Palestinian casualties in Syria.
The reason for this apathy, of course, is clear. The Palestinians in Syria were killed by Arabs and not as a result of the conflict with Israel.
Journalists covering the Middle East do not believe that this is an important story because of the absence of any Israeli role in the killings.
Arabs slaughtering, executing and torturing Palestinians is not sensational enough to grab a headline in a major Western or Arab newspaper. That is why most Middle East correspondents have chosen to turn a blind eye to the report.
According to the report, the victims include 157 women who were killed in the fighting between Bashar Assad's army and various opposition groups in Syria. It also said that 268 Palestinians were killed by snipers, while another 84 were summarily executed. Another 984 Palestinians were killed when their homes and neighborhoods were shelled by the Syrian army and the opposition groups.
The report also reminded the international community that the Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus has been under siege by the Syrian army for the past 547 days. Approximately 160 residents of the camp have died as a result of the siege, the report said.
It also pointed out that the camp has been without electricity for more than 620 days. Camp residents have also been cut off from water for the past 117 days, the report added.
In addition to the deaths, some 80,000 Palestinians have fled their homes in Syria due to the ongoing conflict. Nearly 15,000 have crossed the border to Jordan, while another 42,000 have fled to Lebanon, the report disclosed.
As if that were not enough, last week Muslim terrorists executed six Palestinians from Yarmouk camp after finding them guilty of "blasphemy."
A senior PLO official in Syria, Anwar Abdel Hadi, said that the Palestinians were executed by the Al-Qaeda-affiliated An-Nusra terror group.
Abdel Hadi said that only 15,000 Palestinians remain in the refugee camp, which until three years ago was home to some 175,000 people.
Another report published recently revealed that 264 Palestinians have died as a result of torture in Syrian government prisons over the past few years.
The most recent deaths in Syrian prisons occurred last month, when three more Palestinians died after being tortured. The three were identified as Bila al-Zari, Mohamed Omar and Mohamed Masriyeh.
These Palestinians were arrested by the Syrian authorities on suspicion of helping anti-Assad forces in different parts of the country.
The stories of the Palestinians tortured to death in an Arab prison have also failed to win the attention of the Western media. Had any one of them died in an Israeli prison or in a confrontation with Israeli soldiers, his story and photo would have appeared on the front page of many newspapers and magazines in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
By contrast, when a top Fatah official, Ziad Abu Ein, recently died of a heart attack after an altercation with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, his story immediately caught the attention of the international media and human rights organizations. Many foreign journalists covering the Middle East covered the story of Abu Ein from every possible angle and conducted interviews with his family members and friends.
In an incident widely reported by international media, Fatah official Ziad Abu Ein (center) is shown suffering a heart attack while sitting on the ground, moments after an altercation with Israeli soldiers. Abu Ein later died. (Image source: RT video screenshot)
But the Palestinians who are being killed and tortured to death in Syria and other Arab countries have never received the same attention from the same journalists and human rights activists. Nor have the EU and UN, which called for an investigation into the death of Abu Ein, deemed it necessary to tackle the plight of the Palestinians in Syria.
And who has heard of the case of Zaki Al-Hobby, a 17-year-old Palestinian who was shot and killed last weekend by Egyptian border guards? The Palestinian teenager was killed because he came too close to the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Witnesses said he was shot in the back and died instantly.
Once again, Al-Hobby's story has hardly received any coverage because Israel was not involved in that incident. Had he been shot by Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border, the EU and UN would have called for an international commission of inquiry. But the teenager was unfortunate because he was shot by Egyptian soldiers, making his story "insignificant" in the eyes of the international community and media.
That Palestinians are being killed by Arabs does not seem to bother even the Palestinian Authority, whose leaders are busy these days threatening to file "war crimes" charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court. As far as the Palestinian Authority is concerned — and the media, the EU, the UN and human rights groups — the only "war crimes" are being committed by Israelis, and not by Arabs who are killing, torturing and displacing tens of thousands of Palestinians. And all this is happening while the international community and media continue to display an obsession only with everything connected to Israel.
Muslim leaders justify attack on Charlie Hebdo
AUSTRALIAN extremists have spread their vile hatred online justifying the horrific attack on a satirical magazine in Paris because they insulted the prophet.
Perth-based firebrand Junaid Thorne tweeted within hours of the attack that killed 12 at Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris that insulting someone’s prophet would cause a “backlash.”
The self-styled Sheik, who has thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook, chillingly said those that want freedom of speech could expect other to exercise ‘freedom of action.’
“Insulting someone’s Prophet is very likely to stimulate some kind of response. It is not allowed under any context/religion.” “If you want to enjoy ‘freedom of speech’ with no limits, expect others to exercise ‘freedom of action.”
Another Australian Islamic convert tweeted the magazine’s cartoonist got what they deserved because they drew a picture of Mohammed naked. “This magazine #CharlieHebdo drew pictures of #Muhammed(saw) naked with his genitiles visable as such they got what they deserve, (SIC)” the man with more than 2000 followers said.
“Muslims should be proud of what the Mujahideen in France did a country which has done everything in it’s power to fight Islam”.
Notorious UK based hate-cleric Anjem Choudary said freedom of expression did not extend to insulting the prophet. “May Allah allow all Muslims & non-Muslims live together under divine law where the honour of citizens & Prophets is protected #ParisShooting," Choudary said.
The murdered Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier was on a ‘’dead or alive" list in al-Qaeda’s English magazine. The jihadist propaganda magazine’s March 2013 edition called its followers to “defend the prophet.”
The magazine also puts targets on academic Salman Rushdie and right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders who visited Australia in 2013.
Charbonnier was famously defiant to the threats once saying ‘I’d rather die standing than live kneeling.’
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.