Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

An interview with Theodore Dalrymple

From Paul Belien at the Brussels Journal:

Dalrymple on Decadence, Europe, America and Islam

Here is a portion of the introduction to the interview:

Anthony Daniels is a 57-year old recently retired psychiatrist. He began his career in Africa and worked for many years as a hospital and prison doctor in Birmingham before he moved to the South of France in 2005. Using the pen name Theodore Dalrymple he writes about the collapse of Western civilization in Europe, analyzing the social pathologies of our time. When he chose his pen name, he says, he opted for a name that would evoke the image of a severe and serious man. Though Daniels sets out to describe decadence, obviously not a cheerful topic, he himself is far from being a misanthrope. He is a “compassionate conservative,” The New York Sun wrote two years ago, “Stocky and balding, he has a wheezy laugh, a pugnacious mouth, and the devil-may-care smile of the born provocateur.” ...

The introduction goes on to outline the interview's contents, which cover a wide range of topics. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

Paul Belien: Mr Dalrymple, you are a well-known analyst of the cultural disease of our society. What do you see as the main problem?

Theodore Dalrymple: The underlying problem is a lack of purpose, a lack of feeling of belonging to anything larger than one’s own little life. This gives rise to quite a large amount of social pathology.

PB: Does this have to do with immigration? Does the problem lie mainly with second generation immigrants? Or do we find the same problem among our indigenous population, the young people, as well?

TD: I think it is our indigenous population which suffers from a lack of purpose. They have no religious belief. Quite a large proportion of the population does not derive any selfrespect from having to work for a living because some people are no better off if they work than if they do not work. They also have no cultural and intellectual interests. Therefore they do not feel they belong to any larger project than their private lives. [...]

After some discussion of the welfare state and it's effects in Western culture, the topic turns to the causes of loss of confidence in european culture:

PB: Where does this come from, this Western pathology of having lost trust, confidence in their own culture?

TD: I am not quite sure where it comes from. I think the Second World War must have played a very large part in it, because people feel that a culture that produced Auschwitz must have something deeply wrong with it and cannot be worth preserving.

PB: You could also say that it was the loss of culture in the West that actually produced Auschwitz?

TD: I personally would say that. The answer to a lack of civilization is not barbarism; the response to barbarism is not to destroy civilization. However, that has been the response of intellectuals in the West and, of course, this has had its effect on the population as a whole.

PB: You are also very familiar with the United States, where you have often been, and you write mainly for American publications [The City Journal, The New Criterion, National Review]. Is the pathology as bad there or is it less obvious?

TD: It is better in the United States. It is not that the pathology where it exists is not severe – and it is very severe in parts of America as well. The difference is that in America it has not entered the core of the population. There is more resistance to it. I think, and this is very important, that Americans still believe in their own country. Americans believe that they are part of a larger project – that is that of the United States. This can sometimes have bad as well as good effects, but it does actually keep the civilization together. I think the United States is more civilized than Europe now.

PB: Of course America was not involved in the atrocities of the second world war – Auschwitz and so forth – to the degree that the Western countries were. And the welfare state is not so big there as it is here.

TD:
That is true. However, it is also true that Britain was not involved in the atrocities either. Yet the culture in Britain has probably fallen apart to a greater extent than in many other countries in Europe.

PB: So what is the reason for that? Why is Britain in such a bad situation, even worse than continental Europe? [...]

The role of religion and particularly Islam is discussed:

PB: What is your view? Is Islam inherently unstable?

TD: I personally think it probably is, because it does not have anybody to define the doctrine. There is no hierarchy in Islam.

PB: There is no Pope?

TD:
There is no Pope, there is nothing to be laid down. A moderate person can always be outflanked by someone who claims to be more Islamic than he is. That is a very serious problem. Of course if you have a pope who himself is a theocrat, then that is a problem, too. But there are two things about Christianity which mark it out. The first thing is that it actually started out, and for quite a long time was, in opposition to a state and not itself a state. The second thing is that there has always been a theoretical divide between the Christian church and the state: the “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.” It has of course not always been in existence, but it has always been there in the doctrine as a potential space between church and state. And that does not exist in Islam. [...]




One aspect that was examined is the attempts by Muslim men at imposing Sharia law in Europe:

PB: How do you explain that when society has problems with Islam it is mainly with the young men and not with the young women?

RD: I think the young women are not strongly Islamist on the whole. In fact, many of them are very anti-Islamic, or would be if they had the opportunity. I also believe that the main interest of Islam for young men in Western countries is the predominance that it gives them over women. I will give you the reasons why I have come to that conclusion, and I accept that they are not scientifically foolproof. There could be arguments against them.

There are large numbers of Muslims in British prisons today. I have noticed that their behaviour is not that of religious persons. They are not interested in hallal meat, they are not interested in praying five times a day, they are not interested in keeping ramadan (except as a reason not to go to court), but they are very interested in preventing their sisters from going out with a boy of their own choosing. [...]

PB:
You see many young Islamic women or girls wearing veils or the headscarves, nowadays, when they did not do so before.

TD: It is very difficult to assess how much comes from a desire to do so from the girls themselves and how much from pressure from outside. A dean of a medical school told me a very instructive story. Four Muslim medical students, women, suddenly started appearing dressed in the full veil. The college authorities did not want this to continue. They found an old law which goes back well before there were any Muslim immigrants in Britian, which says that any doctor or medical student who examines a patient must reveal his face to that patient. In other words no doctor is allowed to examine a patient with his face covered. So the girls, the medical students, were told that they either had to remove the veil or they had to leave medical school. They removed the veil and told the dean afterwards that they had never wanted to wear it in the first place, but had been intimidated into doing so by certain islamists at the university. It is inherently difficult to know what the meaning of the veil is, it is very difficult to find out whether people are doing it voluntarily or involuntarily because on a micro-level people are now living in a totalitarian climate.

PB: In our Western societies.

TD:
Within our Western societies there is a micro-totalitarian climate and to ask people what they mean by it is very difficult. It is a bit like asking people in North Korea whether they like the government.

PB: Of course this totalitarian mentality is also affecting the original population, who are not allowed to raise certain topics anymore.

TD: I do not know whether they are not allowed to, but they feel hesitant to. Maybe it is worse in Belgium than in England. The problem of course with not speaking our mind is that if we do not speak our minds there is likely to be an explosion.




I suspect that fundamentalist Muslim men fear an explosion within their own families, if their women folk are encouraged to think for themselves and completely and openly speak their own minds, especially if they have been influenced by western values. Making them wear garment bags and beating and killing them is not a value that Western culture can ever embrace, nor should it try. Multiculturalism be damned.

I did an earlier post about what can happen to Islamic Women in Western countries if they try to reject Sharia and embrace their host countries customs. The post has a link in it to an excellent article from the German Magazine Der Spiegel, which covers the subject in depth. Too often, honor killings are the order of the day. It's heartbreaking.

How ANYONE who calls themselves a liberal can support Sharia law, directly or indirectly, is beyond me. To embrace liberalism and Sharia, you would have to keep parts of your mind divided from each other, and never let them talk. That what people in cults do. To me, it's like a kind of insanity, and it needs to be confronted. If political correctness and Multiculturalism get in the way of that, then they also need to be confronted.

Dalrymple has quite a few interesting things to say, it was hard to choose excerpts. I hope you will click on the link and read the whole interview. So much of what he says is observable all around us today.


Related Link:


You can find more Dalrymple links in the latter part of this post:

Political Correctness and Multiculturalism:
The New Tools of "Stealth" Socialism?

     

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The facts don't support the Clintons...


Hat tip to Cox and Forkum for the cartoon. You can read their related commentary and links HERE.

From Tammy Bruce:
Now Hillary Steps Into It
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Woman Who Would be President, launched a vigorous defense of her husband after he had his Fox News Sunday meltdown. The problem is, while people like her could fabricate history years ago, it's not so easy anymore. Now with the internet, which provides virtually immediate access to documents, she should realize that making it up as you go along just won't cut it. Consider this...

Apparently Bill signed documents that contradict what his wife claims. Oops.




From Dick Morris:
The real Clinton emerges

Former Clinton aide Dick Morris says Bill Clinton's performance in his interview with Chris Wallace shows people the real Bill Clinton. Morris also goes over Clinton's record on terrorism.
From behind the benign façade and the tranquilizing smile, the real Bill Clinton emerged Sunday during Chris Wallace’s interview on Fox News Channel. There he was on live television, the man those who have worked for him have come to know – the angry, sarcastic, snarling, self-righteous, bombastic bully, roused to a fever pitch. The truer the accusation, the greater the feigned indignation. Clinton jabbed his finger in Wallace’s face, poking his knee, and invading the commentator’s space.

But beyond noting the ex-president’s non-presidential style, it is important to answer his distortions and misrepresentations. His self-justifications constitute a mangling of the truth which only someone who once quibbled about what the “definition of ‘is’ is” could perform. ...

I've heard that both the Clintons are famous for screaming at the people around them, but the personality stuff is incidental to larger concerns:

...Clinton said conservatives “were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day” after the attack which killed American soldiers. But the real question was whether Clinton would honor the military’s request to be allowed to stay and avenge the attack, a request he denied. The debate was not between immediate withdrawal and a six-month delay. (Then-first lady, now-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) favored the first option, by the way). The fight was over whether to attack or pull out eventually without any major offensive operations. ...

I would really question Clinton's entire attitude towards the Middle East. His views on the subject can be quite warped. He said once in a speech made in Switzerland in 2005, that he admires Iran, because there, the "good guys" always win the elections by two thirds or more, unlike in his own country. Yes, believe it or not:

Iran ruled by the "Good Guys"

"[It is] the only one with elections, including the United States, including Israel, including you name it, where the liberals, or the progressives, have won two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote in six elections...

In every single election, the guys I identify with got two-thirds to 70% of the vote. There is no other country in the world I can say that about, certainly not my own."


- Bill Clinton, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 2005


He's as bad as Jimmy Carter. The facts don't support him in his assertions. Since when are fundamentalists Muslims who impose Sharia law and hang girls as young as age 9 considered "liberals"? In fact, liberals in Iran are considered apostates, a crime which is punishable by death. Can someone explain to me how this makes them the "good guys"?

Are the Democrats all becoming delusional? Is this the party we want to have dealing with the Middle East on our behalf?


From Neal Boortz:
FOX NEWS BOSS RESPONDS TO CLINTON
...Bill Clinton accused Chris Wallace of performing a conservative hit job on him. The Left and the mainstream media rallied to Clinton's side. But let's say this interview took place at ABC, where Chris Wallace worked for 14 years and hosted Nightline from time to time? Would Democrats be bashing Chris Wallace the way they are now? Doubtful. It's only because he works at Fox News that Bill Clinton has gotten a pass for ripping his head off...

Chris Wallace (son of liberal journalist Mike Wallace) was not given questions by Fox News to ask Clinton. Chris selected the questions from emails sent in by viewers. Sheesh.


From Ann Coulter:
I did not have s.e.x. with that nomad, Osama bin Laden
...When Clinton's "nation-building" in Somalia led to the brutal killing of 18 Americans, some of whose corpses were then dragged through the streets, Clinton did what the Democrats are currently demanding we do in Iraq: He cut and ran.

Republicans didn't like that either, and it had nothing to do with whether it was al-Qaida we were running from. It could have been Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, al-Dawa or the Viet Cong. We ran, and the terrorists noticed.

Osama bin Laden told "ABC News" in 1998 that America's humiliating retreat from Somalia emboldened his jihadists: "The youth were surprised at the low morale of the American soldiers and realized more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows ran in defeat."
...

(bold emphasis mine) In all fairness, the terrorists are ultimately to blame for 9-11. Rudy Giuliani said as much recently, and it's true. Even if Clinton had killed Osama, we can't know for certain that would have prevented 9-11 or something similar from happening.

But since 9-11, the Democrats have been blaming George Bush for it relentlessly. Isn't it time they accepted their responisbility for EIGHT YEARS of neglect? That, combined with their bizaare views of what makes "good guys" in the Middle East, made the path to 9-11 an easily accessible super-highway. No hissy fit by a former president is going to make that go away.



Hat tip for the cartoon to LMC at the Chatterbox Chronicles. Be sure and check out her take on this at:

The Debate Rages On!
     

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Ahmadinejad's Mystical Mahdi Tour...


Hat tip to Cox and Forkum for the cartoon. You can read their related commentary and links HERE.

Ahmadinejad spoke to us again about the return of the "Mahdi":

"I emphatically declare that today’s world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity; and above all longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet.

O, Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirsts for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause."

(bold emphasis mine) But gee, it's all about peace and justice, what's wrong with that?

Ahmadinejad is talking about ISLAMIC peace and justice. That means there can be peace only when ALL submit to Islam, and there is no longer any opposition to Islam. And Isamic Justice - isn't that Sharia law?

He also leaves out that the Mahdi will only return when massive chaos, destruction and death have occurred in the world, to open the way for him. His return will be for the purpose of establishing global Islamic rule, and the destruction of all who oppose Islam.

Iranian school children are taught in their textbooks that they must be prepared for the day when they will be called upon to die as martyrs to achieve the destruction of America, the Great Satan, and open the way for the return of the Hidden Imam, a.k.a. the Mahdi.

The Islamic nutters who teach this crap believe that they must attack the infidels to bring about the return of the Mahdi, and that those who die in that cause are martyrs and automatically "saved"; so no matter how many Muslims die, it doesn't matter, they "win" even if they all die trying to kill us. They actually believe that for themselves, it can only be a win/win situation, even if they utterly perish!

Ahmadinejad has said he beleives the Mahdi will return in two years time. Gee, you don't suppose that is why they keep chanting "Death to America", do you? Does anyone still think it's a good idea to let Iran have nuclear weapons? Apparently, Ted Turner does. I suspect he speaks for a lot of Democrats, too.

Here are some pics from the protest outside of the U.N., where 35,000 people gathered to protest against Ahmadinejad:















The MSM seems to have given coverage of this protest a skip, even though they all had reporters there at the UN to cover Ahmadinejad's speech. I'm sure if the protesters had been there to protest George Bush, we would have seen endless and detailed coverage.

You can see more photos at Little Green Footballs:
35,000 Demonstrate for Israel at UN


Related Links:

Ahmadinejad is "crazy like a fox"

Questions for Ahmadinejad

Freedom and Justice in Islam
This last link is to an amazing article by historian Bernard Lewis. It touches on several important topics regarding Islam and the West. Bernard maintains that historically, the Muslim world has had it's own kind of democracy, but that attempts to Modernize the Islamic world has not only destroyed traditional power structures and and safeguards, but has also centralized power in a way that has opened the Middle East up to despots and tyranical dictators.

Bernard shows how this was not always so, and how the influence of first the Nazis, and later the Soviets, helped create the kind of governments we see in the Middle East today. Furthermore, religious sects like the Saudi Wahhabis and Iran's Shia have been exploiting the breakdown of traditional Muslim democratic systems, and the modernization Western countries have introduced, to further their own agendas by offering their own versions of "pure" Islam.

Bernard also explains some basic cultural differences, such as the Arab concept of "freedom" which is very different from our own; how the interpretation of European "freedom" is often understood to mean what Muslims mean when they talk about "justice", and how this understanding (or misunderstanding?) has spread throughout the Islamic world...

There is much more, I would say this article is a MUST read! Pat (Born Again Redneck) has the entire article reproduced on his blog; the original source can also be found at Imprimis, HERE.
     

Friday, September 22, 2006

Who's the Devil?
How Venezuela handles dissent...


Hat tip to Cox and Forkum for the cartoon. You can read their related commentary and links HERE, with links to articles about the severity of Venezuela's laws against criticizing the president or the government - in public or private. Even Freedom House rates Venezuela among the worst offenders:

...“Venezuela's scores have dropped across the board in all four indicators of good governance addressed in the study: accountability and public voice, civil liberties, rule of law, and anti-corruption and transparency. In fact, only Nepal, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria have experienced a greater net change for the worse.” ...

Even Nancy Pelosi has called Chavez an "everyday thug". Good for her, it's her job as party whip to have a clue. Actor Danny Glover, on the other hand, remains clueless. He's escorting and promoting Chavez here, but then he supports Fidel Castro too, so we shouldn't be suprised.





Related links:

From Peggy Noonan:
Answer Chavez
...America has seen this before, seen Krushchev bang his shoe on the table and say "We will bury you." We grew up watching our flag being burned on TV. So it's tempting to think this is part of a meaningless continuum.

But the temperature of the world is very high, and maybe we're not stuck in a continuum but barreling down a dark corridor. The problem with heated words now is that it's not the old world anymore. In the old world, incompetent governments dragged cannons through the mud to set up a ragged front. Now every nut and nation wants, has or is trying to develop nukes.

Harsh words inspire the unstable.

Coolants are needed. Here is an idea. Don't try to ignore Chavez, answer him. With the humility that comes with deep confidence, with facts, and with some humor, too.

There is an opportunity for the Democratic Party. Some Democrats responded with spirited indignation the day after Chavez spoke. It was rousing. But Chavez's charges were grave, and he claimed America's abuses could be tracked back a century. If the Democrats seek to speak for America, why not start with a serious and textured response, one that isn't a political blast-back but a high-minded putting forward of facts? This would take guts, and farsightedness. Rebutting a wild-eyed man who says you can find redemption reading Noam Chomsky is a little too much like rebutting a part of your base.

As for the administration, it is so in the habit of asserting, defending and repeating, it barely remembers how to persuade and appeal...



From The Anchoress:
Chavez clearly listened to Dems and Air America
All Chavez is doing is repeating exactly the idiotic crap that the left has been spewing for 6 years. And the Democrats have who have encouraged the hate.


... But maybe some on the left finally understand that while they’ve been having fun and laughing while calling President Bush every manner of ugly name and insult, dangerous people have been watching. And they have made a calculation: We can disrespect Bush and America will laugh with us. Bush is weak. America is once again the appeasing “weak horse” it was throughout the 1990’s and even before…when we could attack anything and be accountable to no one. ...

(HT Tammy Bruce). Be sure and read the rest of this post from The Anchoress; she rips into the left on this issue.
     

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Christians with backbone assert themselves


Some excerpts from the Washington Times:
Tough-talking pope has history with Muslims, refuses to give in

..."challenging Islam is not Benedict's priority," says David Gibson, author of the just-released book "The Rule of Benedict." "He doesn't want to see this as a debate between equals. There's no theological parity between the two. He's not there to compromise on that.

"One of the reasons he was elected last year was the cardinals felt he'd be much more confrontational with Islam. Benedict has voiced real doubts about Islam's ability to reform itself."

Benedict has studied Islam extensively and, in a 1997 interview with German journalist Peter Seewald, dealt generously with the religion.

"There is a noble Islam, embodied, for example, by the King of Morocco, and there is also the extremist, terrorist Islam, which, again, one must not identify with Islam as a whole, which would do it an injustice," the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said.

Still, he added, Islam does not fit in with Western civilization.

"Islam has a total organization of life that is completely different from ours; it embraces simply everything," he said. "There is a very marked subordination of woman to man; there is a very tightly knit criminal law, indeed, a law regulating all areas of life, that is opposed to our modern ideas about society. One has to have a clear understanding that it is not simply a denomination that can be included in the free realm of a pluralistic society."

He has refused to alter his conviction that Islam's propensity to live by the power of the sword must be moderated...

"Certainly, it has elements that favor peace, as it has other elements," he told Italian journalists in July 2005. "We always have to seek to find the best elements that help."

..."We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity," he added. "The defense of religious freedom, in this sense, is a permanent imperative, and respect for minorities is a clear sign of true civilization." ...

"He feels that if we have dialogue, we need to talk about things," Mr. Allen said of the pope, "and not just be nice to each other. When he said on Sunday that he wants a 'frank and sincere dialogue,' he meant that we have to put actual issues on the table.

"The great challenge is if he can find the vocabulary to raise these issues. And can he find a conversation partner? Are there credible forces within Islam who can engage in a discussion based on reason?"

The pope is obviously a very reasonable, civilized man. A gentleman and a scholar, not a religious savage.



The former Archbiship of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, also supports the pope:

Carey backs Pope and issues warning on 'violent' Islam
THE former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton has issued his own challenge to “violent” Islam in a lecture in which he defends the Pope’s “extraordinarily effective and lucid” speech.

Lord Carey said that Muslims must address “with great urgency” their religion’s association with violence. He made it clear that he believed the “clash of civilisations” endangering the world was not between Islamist extremists and the West, but with Islam as a whole.

“We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times,” he said. “There will be no significant material and economic progress [in Muslim communities] until the Muslim mind is allowed to challenge the status quo of Muslim conventions and even their most cherished shibboleths.” ...

Yep! Islam, as a whole, has problems...
...Lord Carey, who as Archbishop of Canterbury became a pioneer in Christian-Muslim dialogue, himself quoted a contemporary political scientist, Samuel Huntington, who has said the world is witnessing a “clash of civilisations”.

Arguing that Huntington’s thesis has some “validity”, Lord Carey quoted him as saying: “Islam’s borders are bloody and so are its innards. The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power.”

Lord Carey went on to argue that a “deep-seated Westophobia” has developed in recent years in the Muslim world. ...

Carey explains that a large part of this "Westophobia" is based on Muslim outrage of the “moral relativism of the West”. Like the Pope, he believes reason and religious faith can be compatible, and a counter-balance to the weaknesses of secularism alone.

The compatibility of reason and religious faith is a topic that, IMO, many in the Muslim world need to learn more about.




Related links:

Jihad Enablers
...Whether it's the pope's comments or some Danish cartoons, self-appointed spokesmen for the Islamic street say, "You have offended a billion Muslims," which really means, "There are so many of us, you should watch out." And if you didn't get the message, just look around for the burning embassies and murdered infidels. They're not hard to find.

In response, the West apologizes and apologizes. Radical Muslims, who are not stupid, take note and become emboldened by these displays of weakness and capitulation. And the next time, they demand two pounds of flesh. Meanwhile, the entire global conversation starts from the assumption that the West is doing something wrong by tolerating freedom of speech, among other things...

When we are told that supporting freedom of speech is a bad thing, you have to look closely at who is saying it, and why. And then exercise your own freedom of speech (while you still have it) and put them in their place.



Top Sydney priest backs Pope; Syrians protest Islam comments
...Pell backed the pope's speech, telling Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio the pontiff should be allowed to speak without fearing that he would face the threat of violence.

He said some Australian Muslim leaders who had criticized the pope's remarks were being unhelpful because they avoided the issue of violence committed by some Muslims.

"Our major priority must be to maintain peace and harmony within the Australian community, but no lasting achievements can be grounded in fantasies and evasions."

Pell recognized contributions made by moderate Muslims, but added "evil acts done falsely in the name of Islam around the world need to be addressed, not swept under the carpet." ...

Amen! I'm tired of being told we have to worry about offending rioters and murderers.


The Church – Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?
...According to Islamic law, Christians and Jews (not other religious groups) can live in an area dominated by Muslims, but only if they accept their status as second-rate citizens, dhimmis. This implies many restrictions, such as never trying to convert or preach to Muslims, never to have a relationship with a Muslim woman and never to say anything insulting about Islam or Muhammad. If even one single person breaches any of these conditions, the entire dhimmi community will be punished, and Jihad resumes. Notice that while Muslims, following each case of Islamic terrorism, are quick to say that not all Muslims should be punished for the actions of a few, this is precisely what sharia prescribes for non-Muslims...

...Several recent incidents have demonstrated that Muslims are now trying to apply these dhimmi rules to the entire Western world. The most important one was the burning of churches and embassies triggered by the Danish cartoons depicting Muhammad. This was, down to the last comma, exactly the way Muslims would treat the persecuted non-Muslims in their own countries. The cartoon Jihad indicated that Muslims now felt strong enough to apply sharia rules to Denmark, and by extension NATO. Hardly anybody in the mainstream Western media made any attempts to explain this to the public...


The Muslims haven't changed since the 7th century. What has changed, is our growing weakness and lack of resolve, and Jihadist Muslims are simply responding to that.

Fjordman's article also discusses how the churches in the West contribute to these problems, and much more. A great read.
     

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why would any civilized person want to apologize to herds of religious savages?

Hat tip to Cox and Forkum for the cartoon. You can read their related commentary and links HERE. They have many good related links, here is a sample of some:

From FoxNews: Pope Says He's 'Deeply Sorry' for Reaction to Islam Speech.
Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he was "deeply sorry" about the angry reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, which he said came from a text that did not reflect his personal opinion.

Despite the statement, protests and violence persisted across the Muslim world, with churches set ablaze in the West Bank and a hard-line Iranian cleric saying the pope was united with President Bush to "repeat the Crusades."

An Italian nun also was gunned down in a Somali hospital where she worked, and the Vatican expressed concern that the attack was related to the outrage over the pope's remarks.

Benedict sparked the controversy when, in a speech Tuesday to university professors during a pilgrimage to his native Germany, he cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, Islam's founder, as "evil and inhuman."

On Sunday, he stressed the words "were in fact a quotation from a medieval text which do not in any way express my personal thought."


Apologise? What for? And to whom: herds of religious savages? I say, if the shoe fits, they can wear it. And apparently, they are all too eager to demonstrate that not only does the shoe fit; they are the worlds leading manufacturer and distributor of that particular kind of shoe:



Interestingly enough, a real life "Phil" really did suggest that Muslims protest against terrorism, not criticism: Stand With Pope Benedict XVI by Phil Orenstein. An excerpt:

But where is the Muslim outrage at the violence, the firebombing of churches, the cold-blooded murder of a Nun, the rampages in the name of Allah over the forthright words of the Pope? Where is the outrage at Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s statement to "wipe Israel off the map" or Nasrallah along with top clerics throughout the Middle East chanting the war cry "death to America?"

If so-called moderate Muslims living in America and the free world wish to appear as all good people of faith whose beliefs can civilly mesh with reason and moderation rather than violence and extremism, they must stand in solidarity with the Pope together with Jews and Christians, although they may dispute his statements. If they cannot mount a show of solidarity, strong enough to confront the radical instigators of Muslim wrath and vengeance toward those who express opinions which may not be to their liking, then theirs is not a faith but an ideology of hate and intolerance that must be condemned as an assault against American ideals and those of all free peoples. They must stand up and make that choice if they are to remain as participants in a civilization that protects the free speech and religious liberties of all.

(bold emphasis mine) Enough is enough. These throw-backs to the 7th century care not at all about free speech and religious liberties for all. Even liberals ought to understand that extending tolerance to the completly intolerant is suicidal. But all too often, the Western left, in their eagerness to embrace all things anti-Western, support even those who would destroy Western liberals.

Where the heck is OUR outrage?



Related Links:

The Islamic Question; A Catholic Essay

Sharia Law is Politically Correct;
Pope Benedict Isn't


Is Islam compatible with a free society?

The truth about Sharia based societies

The Moral Victory of The Pope

     

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Oriana Fallaci: a Fascinating Life


Oriana Fallaci, world renowned Italian writer, author, war reporter and journalist, has died at age 77. With her recent death, ending her decade long struggle against cancer, there are plenty of obituaries and tributes to her on the internet now. I would do a tribute myself, only there is so much to say; she had an incredibly interesting and controversial life.

To commemorate her passing, I want to publish a link to an interview she did for the New Yorker in June of 2006, by Margaret Talbot:

THE AGITATOR
Oriana Fallaci directs her fury toward Islam.


It touches on a lot of things in her fascinating life, and gives you a glimpse of the complex and intelligent woman she was. Just a few experpts:

...Fallaci’s interview with Khomeini, which appeared in the Times on October 7, 1979, soon after the Iranian revolution, was the most exhilarating example of her pugilistic approach. Fallaci had travelled to Qum to try to secure an interview with Khomeini, and she waited ten days before he received her. She had followed instructions from the new Islamist regime, and arrived at the Ayatollah’s home barefoot and wrapped in a chador. Almost immediately, she unleashed a barrage of questions about the closing of opposition newspapers, the treatment of Iran’s Kurdish minority, and the summary executions performed by the new regime...

...Fallaci continued posing indignant questions about the treatment of women in the new Islamic state. Why, she asked, did Khomeini compel women to “hide themselves, all bundled up,” when they had proved their equal stature by helping to bring about the Islamic revolution? Khomeini replied that the women who “contributed to the revolution were, and are, women with the Islamic dress”; they weren’t women like Fallaci, who “go around all uncovered, dragging behind them a tail of men.” A few minutes later, Fallaci asked a more insolent question: “How do you swim in a chador?” Khomeini snapped, “Our customs are none of your business. If you do not like Islamic dress you are not obliged to wear it. Because Islamic dress is for good and proper young women.” Fallaci saw an opening, and charged in. “That’s very kind of you, Imam. And since you said so, I’m going to take off this stupid, medieval rag right now.” She yanked off her chador.

In a recent e-mail, Fallaci said of Khomeini, “At that point, it was he who acted offended. He got up like a cat, as agile as a cat, an agility I would never expect in a man as old as he was, and he left me. In fact, I had to wait for twenty-four hours (or forty-eight?) to see him again and conclude the interview.”
When Khomeini let her return, his son Ahmed gave Fallaci some advice: his father was still very angry, so she’d better not even mention the word “chador.” Fallaci turned the tape recorder back on and immediately revisited the subject. “First he looked at me in astonishment,” she said. “Total astonishment. Then his lips moved in a shadow of a smile. Then the shadow of a smile became a real smile. And finally it became a laugh. He laughed, yes. And, when the interview was over, Ahmed whispered to me, ‘Believe me, I never saw my father laugh. I think you are the only person in this world who made him laugh.’ ”

Fallaci recalled that she found Khomeini intelligent, and “the most handsome old man I had ever met in my life. He resembled the ‘Moses’ sculpted by Michelangelo.” And, she said, Khomeini was “not a puppet like Arafat or Qaddafi or the many other dictators I met in the Islamic world. He was a sort of Pope, a sort of king—a real leader. And it did not take long to realize that in spite of his quiet appearance he represented the Robespierre or the Lenin of something which would go very far and would poison the world. People loved him too much. They saw in him another Prophet. Worse: a God.” [...]

There is more, about what happened to her after the interview, and it's creepy.


Oriana, as a young woman


More recently, there was a bit of a scandal in Italy, when she had a private audience with the current pope at his summer residence:

...Fallaci’s recent books, and the specious trial that she is facing as a result—her books may offend, but it is no less offensive to prosecute her for them—have also made her a beloved figure to many Europeans. The books have been best-sellers in Italy; together they have sold four million copies. To her admirers, she is an aging Cassandra, summoning her strength for one final prophecy. In September, she had a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo, his summer residence outside Rome. She had criticized John Paul II for making overtures to Muslims, and for not condemning terrorism heartily enough, but she has hopes for Joseph Ratzinger. (The meeting was something of a scandal in Italy, since Fallaci has always said that she is an atheist; more recently, she has called herself a “Christian atheist,” out of respect for Italy’s Catholic tradition.) Last December, the Italian government presented her with a gold medal for “cultural achievement.” [...]

(bold emphasis mine) There is much, much more; about other interviews, about her home, her family, her assorted opinions on numerous topics.

One disappointment was the interviewer. I'm sorry to say that when it comes to Muslim immigration and the threat Fallaci speaks of, interviewer Margaret Talbot clearly doesn't "get it", and seems to be stuck in Politically Correct mode, like so much of our MSM is. But at least she does address the topic with Fallaci, and even though Talbot remains unconvinced, the interview is compelling none the less; Fallaci makes an interesting study, and Talbot provides us with a multi-faceted view of this remarkable and memorable woman. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview, and hope you will, too.

Oriana Fallaci: 1929-2006
R.I.P.



Related Links:

Oriana Fallaci: Rage and Pride

"THE FORCE OF REASON" is here

A Hero Gone: Oriana Fallaci Is Dead
     

Friday, September 15, 2006

Political Correctness and Multiculturalism:
The New Tools of "Stealth" Socialism?


Fjordman has an excellent post at the Gates of Vienna blog (a guest-posting) that talks about what he calls "Cultural Marxism", political correctness as a Marxist tool, and how it's being used, world-wide:

Political Correctness — The Revenge of Marxism
...I have heard people who have grown up in former Communist countries say that we in the West are at least as brainwashed by Multiculturalism and Political Correctness as they ever were with Communism, perhaps more so. Even in the heyday of the East Bloc, there were active dissident groups in these countries. The scary thing is, I sometimes believe they are right.

But how is that possible? Don’t we have free speech here? And we have no Gulag?


The simple fact is that we never won the Cold War as decisively as we should have. Yes, the Berlin Wall fell, and the Soviet Union collapsed. This removed the military threat to the West, and the most hardcore, economic Marxism suffered a blow as a credible alternative. However, one of the really big mistakes we made after the Cold War ended was to declare that Socialism was now dead, and thus no longer anything to worry about. Here we are, nearly a generation later, discovering that Marxist rhetoric and thinking have penetrated every single stratum of our society, from the Universities to the media. Islamic terrorism is explained as caused by “poverty, oppression and marginalization,” a classic, Marxist interpretation.

What happened is that while the “hard” Marxism of the Soviet Union may have collapsed, at least for now, the “soft” Marxism of the Western Left has actually grown stronger, in part because we deemed it to be less threatening. The “hard” Marxists had intercontinental nuclear missiles and openly said that they would “bury” us. The soft Marxists talk about tolerance and may seem less threatening, but their goal of overthrowing the evil, capitalist West remains the same. In fact, they are more dangerous precisely because they hide their true goals under different labels. Perhaps we should call it “stealth Socialism” instead of soft Socialism...

Socialism is not only not dead, it's thriving, hiding behind different causes and various names. Islam and left have a lot in common, and modern day Marxists think they can exploit this:

... Karl Marx himself has stated that “The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism,” a sentiment that corresponds almost exactly to the Islamic idea that “peace” means the absence of opposition to Islamic rule. Cultural Marxism — aka Political Correctness — and Islam share the same totalitarian outlook and instinctively agree in their opposition to free discussion, and in the idea that freedom of speech must be curtailed when it is “offensive” to certain groups. Former Muslim Ali Sina notes that “there is very little difference between the Left and Islam. What is lacking in both these creeds is the adherence to the Golden Rule. Just as for Muslims, everything Islamic is a priori right and good and everything un-Islamic is a priori wrong and evil, for the Left, everything leftist is a priori oppressed and good and everything rightist is a priori oppressor and evil. Facts don’t matter. Justice is determined by who you are and not by what you have done.” “Political correctness is an intellectual sickness. It means expediently lying when telling the truth is not expedient. This practice is so widespread and so common that it is considered to be normal.” Sina also quotes historian Christopher Dawson in writing: “It is easy enough for the individual to adopt a negative attitude of critical skepticism. But if society as a whole abandons all positive beliefs, it is powerless to resist the disintegrating effects of selfishness and private interest. Every society rests in the last resort on the recognition of common principles and common ideals, and if it makes no moral or spiritual appeal to the loyalty of its members, it must inevitably fall to pieces.” This will be the end result of Multiculturalism, and one suspects that this was the point of it to begin with...

This similarity in outlook and goals can't be emphasised enough. Totalitarians may join forces to destroy a common enemy, but Marxists may find they have bitten off more than they can chew by forming alliances with Islamist fascists. Iran is a prime example. Ayatollah Khomeini climbed to power on the backs of Marxists who helped him overthrow the Shah; when the Marxists were no longer useful, they were liquidated.

...As William S. Lind points out: “While the hour is late, the battle is not decided. Very few Americans realize that Political Correctness is in fact Marxism in a different set of clothes. As that realization spreads, defiance will spread with it. At present, Political Correctness prospers by disguising itself. Through defiance, and through education on our own part (which should be part of every act of defiance), we can strip away its camouflage and reveal the Marxism beneath the window-dressing of “sensitivity,” “tolerance” and “multiculturalism.”

Political Correctness is Marxism with a nose job. Multiculturalism is not about tolerance or diversity, it is an anti-Western hate ideology designed to dismantle Western civilization...

It's a very thorough article, filled with history and examples, and with lots of embedded links as references to back up the ideas expressed. It's one of the best articles I've read about the Islamic-Leftist alliance.


At the Brussels Journal blog, Fjordman has a look at the nature of Multiculturalism, it's origns and how it has been used by various political forces in Europe and the US. He maintains that not only is it a political tool, but also that there is a religious fervor in the way multiculturalism is applied, and those who oppose it are treated as modern day heretics, as a way of silencing dissent:

What is the Nature of Multiculturalism?
...I have pointed out that there is usually a high concentration of Marxists in our anti-racist organizations. Professor Skirbekk, however, wonders whether there is a semi-religious undercurrent to the anti-racist movement, and that it is quite literally the equivalent of the witch hunts of previous ages:

“A number of researchers have come to see that certain issues in the migration debate has religious connotations. The Norwegian social anthropologist Inger Lise Lien, for instance, has written that ‘racism’ in the public immigration debate has become a word used to label the demons among us, the impure from whom all decent people should remain aloof.” “We have every reason to believe that the use of the term ‘racist’ in our day has many functional similarities with the use of the word ‘heretic’ three hundred years ago.”

“It is presumably fully possible to join anti-racist movements with the sole motive of identifying with something that appears to be politically correct, or in order to be a part of a collective that entitles one to demonstrate and to harass splinter groups that no one cares to defend.” But “behind the slogan ‘crush the racists’, there might well be something more than a primitive desire to exercise violence. The battle also involves an element of being in a struggle for purity versus impurity. And since racism is something murky, anti-racism and the colorful community it purportedly represents, becomes an expression of what is pure.”

What are the origins of Multiculturalism? Well, that depends on your perspective. Some elements of the fascination with more “primitive” cultures can be traced back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century and his praise of the “noble savage” who had not been corrupted by society and civilization.

Dutch novelist and commentator Leon de Winter thinks that is one of the unforeseen effects of the “hippie” cultural revolution in West in the 1960s.
“Certain values were cherished: anti-fascism, feminism, secularism, pacifism, anti-colonialism, anti-capitalism, etcetera. It is here where the ideas of multiculturalism first showed up. It started with the so-called ‘sub-cultures’ of pseudo-bohemian artists, academic Marxists, all pretending that the existing values of Western civilization were overdue.”

American author Claire Berlinski claims that Multiculturalism is “completely incompatible with doctrinaire Marxism.” “Many leftists did indeed end up as multiculturalists after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but multiculturalism is functioning here as a substitute for anti-capitalism (in turn a substitute for something else), and not as its natural extension.” ...

...there are, in fact, quite a few common features between Multiculturalism/Political Correctness and traditional Marxism. In Marxist societies, the public is continuously bombarded with ideological indoctrination through the media. This constant brainwashing to demonstrate that the ruling ideology is benevolent is a very good indication that exact opposite is true. In case this isn’t enough, there is also a system for snitching on those who won’t comply with the directives, as well as punishment, public harassment and “re-education” of those individuals who fail to submit to the Official State Ideology.

This Ideology implies that the state has to seize control of, or at least regulate and interfere with, all sectors of society, which leaves little room for individual freedom and thus real democracy. If we notice all the new laws restricting speech and behavior in the Multicultural society, not to mention the massive re-writing of our history and the total change in the very nature of our institutions, we understand that our countries moved rapidly in a totalitarian direction the very second Multiculturalism was adopted as the ethos of the state.

There is little doubt in my mind that this post-democratic ideology was desired and encouraged by certain groups. If we look at the people supporting the most totalitarian and anti-freedom aspects of Political Correctness, it becomes apparent that it is frequently the same organizations and sometimes individuals who a generation earlier supported traditional, economic Marxism. They now hide their goals under slogans of “diversity” and “anti-racism,” but the essence of their ideas is still the same.

Berlinski, Hedegaard and others seem to argue that our problems lie less in any deliberate ideological project among certain political groups and more in a general loss of cultural confidence in the West. This is, however, a false dichotomy. It is both.

I agree with Bat Ye’or that the rise of Eurabia is closely tied to the European Union. There is also little doubt in my mind that many Leftist intellectuals in our media and our universities want to erase the foundations of Western civilization and replace them with something else...

Fjordman demonstrates the consequences of this Multicultural ideology in Europe and the West, and while he does not claim that Multiculturalism is exclusivly a Marxist tool, he believes it would be foolish to think there is no connection at all between Multiculturalism and Marxism.



On a related subject, social engineering and Marxism, Front Page Magazine has an interview with Dr. Theodore Dalrymple (photo above), about his collection of essays:

Our Culture, What’s Left Of It
Theodore Dalrymple: Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.
...
Dalrymple's father was a communist, so he has a personal interest in the subject. The interview touches on a variety of subjects, I'll skip around with just a few samples:

FP: In your discussion of evil, you observe one central phenomenon: “the elevation of passing pleasure for oneself over the long-term misery of others to whom one owes a duty.” Kindly give us some of your thoughts on this reality.

Dalrymple: The idea that one's pleasure or desire of the moment is the only thing that counts leads to antisocial behaviour. Let me give a small and seemingly trivial example of this.

About half of British homes no longer have a dining table. People do not eat meals together - they graze, finding what they want in the fridge, and eating in a solitary fashion whenever they feel like it (which is usually often), irrespective of the other people in the household.

This means that they never learn that eating is a social activity (many of the prisoners in the prison in which I worked had never in their entire lives eaten at a table with another person); they never learn to discipline their conduct; they never learn that the state of their appetite at any given moment should not be the sole consideration in deciding whether to eat or not. In other words, one's own interior state is all-important in deciding when to eat. And this is the model of all their behaviour.

Young patients now eat in doctors' offices; they eat above all in the street, where of course they drop litter as unselfconsciously as horses defecate. This is not evil, though it is antisocial, but you can easily see how people who attach such importance to their own desires, and lack any other criteria to help them decide to behave, come to do evil. [...]

See reader reviews at Amazon.com


FP: You have a fascinating essay in this collection: “Who Killed Childhood?” In it you profoundly illuminate the “egotistical inability to feel, compensated for by an outward show.” You connect this to the death of childhood. Could you talk about this?

Dalrymple: Childhood in large parts of modern Britain, at any rate, has been replaced by premature adulthood, or rather adolescence. Children grow up very fast but not very far. That is why it is possible for 14 year olds now to establish friendships with 26 year olds - because they know by the age of 14 all they are ever going to know.

It is important in this environment to appear knowing, or street wise, otherwise you will be taken for a weakling and exploited accordingly. Thus, feelings for others does not develop. Moreover, the model of discipline in the homes has changed, with the complete breakdown of the family (in my hospital, were it not for the Indian immigrants, the illegitimacy rate of children born there would be 100 per cent). Children grow up now in circumstances in which discipline is merely a matter of imposing the will of one person on another, it is raw power devoid of principle. Lenin's question - Who Whom or who does what to whom - is the whole basis of human relations.

FP: You discuss the horrifying suffering that women endure under the vicious and sadistic structures of Islam’s gender apartheid. You touch on the eerie silence of Western leftist feminists on this issue, noting “Where two pieties – feminism and multi-culturalism – come into conflict, the only way of preserving both is an indecent silence.”


To be sure, the Left has long posed as a great champion of women’s rights, gay rights, minorti rights, democratic rights etc. Yet today, it has reached out in solidarity with the most fascistic women-hating, gay-hating, minority-hating and democracy hating force on the face of the earth – Islamism.


What gives? It’s really nothing new though is it? (i.e. the Left’s political pilgrimages to communist gulags etc.)

Dalrymple: I think the problem here is one of a desired self-image. Tolerance is the greatest moral virtue and broadmindedness the greatest intellectual one. Moreover, no decent person can be other than a feminist. People therefore want to be both multiculturalist and feminist. But multiculturalism and feminism obviously clash; therefore, you avoid the necessity to give up one or the other merely by disregarding the phenomena. How you feel about yourself is more important to you than the state of the world.

(bold emphasis in all the above quotes is mine) Quite a few interesting bits about social engineering, and undermining Western values.

These authors offer a great deal of information, and express their ideas exceptionally well. They do a great job of exposing the stealth work of the new Marxists, I highly recommend reading their complete articles.
     

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Democrats inability to deal with danger...


Hat tip to Cox and Forkum for the cartoon. You can read their related commentary and links HERE. A partial excerpt, from their quote from CNN:

...While Democrats have been using public opposition to the Iraq war to argue for a change of leadership in Congress, Bush's prime-time address showed how he has been able to use the power of incumbency to command public attention and make his points. Democrats objected to the tone.

"The president should be ashamed of using a national day of mourning to commandeer the airwaves to give a speech that was designed not to unite the country and commemorate the fallen but to seek support for a war in Iraq that he has admitted had nothing to do with 9/11," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, said in a statement. "There will be time to debate this president's policies in Iraq. September 11th is not that time." ...

[Bush spokesman Tony] Snow noted that Emanuel, Kennedy and other Democrats attacked the speech shortly after the president was finished speaking, suggesting they were the ones who injected politics. "It appears that there had been a desire immediately after the speech to go ahead and make partisan points," he said. ...

There was an excellent commentary on this at Nealz Nuze this morning:

DEMOCRATIC HYPOCRISY ON PARADE

...the Democrats are now all up in arms because they say he president used his prime-time speech to try and generate support for the war in Iraq. Somehow on a day like 9/11, that is supposed to be inappropriate.

First of all, it isn't the war "in Iraq." It's a war against Islamic Fascism. Iraq is merely one of the fronts in that war. A major front, granted .. but just one of many...

...You do understand the real problem here, don't you? Democrats don't want Bush reminding the nation of the threat that exists from Islamic fascists, and they certainly don't want Bush reminding the American people that he is trying to deal with that threat while Democrats talk of withdrawal and appeasement.

In short, they don't want Bush appearing to be strong while they appear to be weak.

Just ask yourself this question. If you were convinced that the threat from these Islamic murderers was real, who would you want in power to defend our country? ...

(bold emphasis mine)


I've had it with these Democrat cry babies. I used to belong to their party, but I got fed up with them long ago, and they have only gotten worse since. I changed my voter registration to "independent" when I moved to Oregon. Well last month, I picked up a voter registration form from the Republican booth at the County Fair. Today I am mailing it in and registering Republican. I've been accused of being one for years anyway, and have been voting that way, so I may as well join the party.

I don't expect liberal Democrats to be anything but liberal Democrats. But I do expect them to GROW UP, to defend America against obvious threats, and to drop the partisian bickering when we are attacked and pull together to defend us. But how can they, when the only "enemy" they see is the Republican Party, and Walmart?

There are liberals who disagree with Bush on practically everything, and yet still understand that the WOT is a cause that real liberals actually should support. Yet these folks have no voice in their own party anymore; it's been taken over by socialists, communists, authoritarians and moonbats. With such people dominating their party, it has ceased to be even an effective opposition.

The Republican Party may not be perfect, but it at least allows for some diversity of opinion in it's ranks, and seems to the only place where intelligent discussion and civil debate occurs anymore. So it's not a hard choice; it's the Republican party for me.
     

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

In Rememberance of the Children...



Eight children, who were plane passengers, were murdered that day. The Wordsmith at the Sparks from the Anvil blog has a very moving tribute to one of them, a three year old boy:

In Honor of David Reed Gamboa-Brandhorst

He knew one of the boy's fathers, so it's also very personal.


This link has photos and rememberances of all the children who were killed that day:

The Children of September 11
Let us not forget the eight beautiful children who died during the terror of 911.

I'm going to have to take a break from this for awhile; it's just too much.
     

Monday, September 11, 2006

2,996 Tribute to Lorraine D. Antigua

When I heard about the 2,996 project, my partner Pat urged me to sign up for a name. I didn't want to, because I knew it would be upsetting; how could it not be? But the whole of 9-11 is upsetting anyway (it would be strange if it wasn't), so I signed up, and recieved a name. And I was upset indeed.

Nothing could have prepared me to read the story about Lorraine Antigua. When you read it, you don't want it to end with 9-11, you don't want that part of it to be true.

Lorraine worked in the securities lending department of Cantor Fitzgerald. She was 32 years old. From Middletown NJ, she was the mother of two children (Caitlin and Aaron) from a previous marriage. She was also the fiancee of Brian Wilkes; they were to be married, perhaps in the fall.

I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Lorraine personally, but reading about her, it's easy to see that she came from a loving family, and was a Light in many people's lives.


The following tribute appeared in the NY Times:

In the Garden, Under the Sea

The plan, Brian Wilkes said with a gentle laugh, was that he and Lorraine Antigua would marry at a drive-through chapel, maybe in Las Vegas, maybe this fall, while on a Harley-Davidson. "She said she would buy the Harley," he said.

Mr. Wilkes met Ms. Antigua, 32, at a going-away party two years ago, on the cusp of a move to North Carolina. They nurtured a long-distance relationship, until he decided to return north to marry Ms. Antigua.

Ms. Antigua loved working in the securities lending arm at Cantor Fitzgerald so much that she refused other job offers. At 8:50 a.m. on Sept. 11, she left a message for Mr. Wilkes on his mobile phone, saying a plane had rammed her building but she was O.K. He never managed to reach her.

They lived together in a house Ms. Antigua had bought in Middletown, N.J., where they had planned to make a new family with her two children from a previous marriage. They filled the garden with azaleas and sunflowers. To hear Mr. Wilkes tell it, Ms. Antigua was all good things -- an avid reader, a scuba diver and a dear friend. "She's awesome," he said, slipping from habit into the present tense. "She ruined me for other women."


I'm going to reprint just a few comments left on memorial sites by people who knew her:

From: GARY MANFRE
Date: 09/27/2004
Message: TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY AND I AM THINKING OF YOU. WISH YOU WERE HERE!

From: Laura Schwartz
Date: 12/23/2004
Message: Wishing your mother, father, brothers, children, aunts, uncles, inlaws a peaceful holiday season. I know this is a difficult time.


From: Brad Memoli
Date: 09/02/2005
Message: Lorraine, My Best Friends Mother. You were one of the best moms i have ever met. You always brought a smile to my face whenever i felt bad. Your smile could light a room up. i will never gorget you. I hope you're still smiling in heaven. God Bless You


09/10/2002 4:18:59 PM
Hey Lorraine, Or Rainey like Maria used to call you,
I still can't believe that a year has gone by so quickly. We all miss you terribly. I know you're with God because the day after this whole thing happened I had a vision that you were looking down at us and smiling as if you were letting us know that you were OK and in a better place. And I truly believe that. Kaitlin and Aaron have a lot of Guardian angels who will look after them. I really wish you were here. God bless Rainey! And may you rest peacefully!
Love your cousin
Kass!:-)
And to my Aunt Ramona,I love you and I know you miss her but She's in a much better place.God Bless!


December 30, 2005
Dear Lorraine,
One more year has passes but your memory is still with us all. Your laughter your smile and your wit is remebered fondly. Know that your children are taken care of with love and are always protected by all of us. During the holiday as well as year around you are missed. Be at at peace as you said Al is always there. We miss the morning breakfasts we all shared now we still have them but you are in our hearts. Thank you for being part of all of us.
Sleep with the angels that is where we look for you .
Lidia Antigua (New York, NY )


July 25, 2006
My dear Lorraine,today I was looking at you pictures, and fell like it was just yesterday that you was cooking, and playing around whith AAron, and Caitlin, making plans for the vacation, you know that is not a minute or a hour that you face comes to my mind. Lorraine I miss you so much. God Bless you always. Love mom.
Ramona Schroeder (Davenport, FL )


Lorraine had a lot to live for, and is greatly missed. She would have been 37 now. Her children remember her fondly; she lives on in the memories and hearts of her family and friends. God bless her, and her family.


Related Links:

Here are some of the on-line Memorials where Lorraine is remembered.

www.september11victims.com

www.americanmemorials.com

NY Times

Guest Book for
Lorraine D. Antigua

The family photos here are from the photo album there. This site has a large guest book, with 18 pages of entries. It's a great way to remember Lorraine.

UPDATE:




Lorraine has a memorial page set up to honor her, at:

Cantor Fitzgerald Families Memorial

HT to Tammy Bruce:
Remembering: Your 9/11 Resources

     

Doing the math...


Hat tip to Cox and Forkum for the cartoon. You can read their related commentary and links HERE.

The statistics from September 11 only hint at what was taken from so many on that horrible morning. Making the death toll less abstract is the Web site 2,996: Honouring the Victims of 9/11 which has organized bloggers to post a tribute to the life of each victim. On this the fifth anniversary, let us remember.

This Cox & Forkum post has lots of 9-11 links, I've already read several articles and learned some things I never knew, about events, and photographs... and controversies. Be sure and visit the link for more information.
     

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Highrise Security and our post 9-11 reality

I live in the countryside now; I'm a country boy at heart. Even so, I have spent most of my adult life living in cities, working in highrise buildings. And for most of that time, I worked in highrise security.


It wasn't something I planned. When I dropped out of college in Boston, I got a job as a hospital security guard. When I moved to San Francisco, I discovered that in security work, speaking English and bothering to show up for work were considered job skills. Many people in San Francisco were too snobby to do that kind of work, so there were always jobs available. It was my work history, and it paid well, so I ended up doing it for 12 years.

For three of those years, I was a "float" guard; I filled in at various places. I got to work all over the city, in office buildings, corporate headquarters, hospitals, condominiums, museums, retail complexes, hotels, parties, conventions, radio and TV stations. It was a great way to get to know the city, and meet lots of people.

Eventually I was given a permanent assignment, at a multi-tenant 20 story office block on Montgomery Steet (the Wall Street of the West). I started off on night shift and worked my way up to day shift supervisor, Sergeant/Lead Officer. By then I also was publishing a monthly newsletter for the building, too.

An office building can be like a little community; each office is pursuing their own business interests, but they are all neighbors in a common neighborhood. The newsletter was about local items of interest, like free lunchtime concerts, lobby art exibits, for sale ads and wanted ads, coupons for local restaurants, space for rent, security tips, recipies, horoscopes, etc.

The newsletter would also cover the annual life-safety seminars the building management conducted every year, to familiarise tenants with safety procedures in the event of any emergencies, such as fires or earthquakes, etc. Part of the seminar would involve emergency relocation drills, where I was required to get on the public address system and instruct the tenants where to relocate, as directed by the fire department.

After 7 years I left that job to take a new job with one of the tenants in the building, at a law firm that sublet some of it's offices as executive suites. I continued to do the newsletter for the building management, and I was also still involved with building security, this time from the tenants point of view. I was one of two people designated as an emergency floor warden for the 19th floor. I had to attend the annual life-safety seminars, and it was my job to make sure everyone knew were the exits were, and that in an emergency everyone on our floor got out if needed, or otherwise knew what to do.

During the life safety seminars, the tenants could ask questions. Often someone would ask, what would happen if an airplane hit the building? The answer depended on the size of the airplane. A large airliner like a 747, hitting a building of our size (20 stories) would probably precipitate the collapse of the building. But since we were in a no-fly zone, it was considered extremly unlikely to happen, an no one worried about it too much. It was the 1990's, and nobody believed anyone would be crazy enough to do what the 9-11 killers did eventually do.

I left the lawfirm after 5 years to start my own business, a restuarant, with my two partners. That is the business I was in, when 9-11 happened.

It was unbelievable to me. Having grown up in Connecticut, I'd been to NYC several times, for school field trips (broadway shows, the Guggenheim), I even went to a Star Trek convention once, where I met up with a penpal from NJ.

On my last visit to NYC before moving to California, I went with a college friend who was from Stuyvesanttown. His family kindly showed me around, including a visit to the WTC. I had an 8mm movie camera, and still have the footage I took; a beautiful summer afternoon; many workers out on the plaza, sitting on the edge of the fountain pool, eating lunch and reading or just enjoying the scene.

Watching the 9-11 destruction was devastating. I had worked with the SF Fire Department dealing with some small fires, so I had a good idea of what the NYC Fire Department was trying to do.

When the SF earthquake happend in 1989, I had to walk up 20 flights of stairs while the power was out. I slowly walked up to the top, without stopping. I took my time, and carried nothing heavy. By the time I got to the top, I was completely winded; my feet were numb, my knees shook. I could imagine what it was like for those NYC fireman, walking up 60, 70, 80 flights of stairs, in crowded, smoke-filled stairways, wearing heavy coats and carrying heavy equipment. And then, when they got to the fire, what they found there...

I had learned all kinds of things about the dynamics of fires in office buildings, how they spread, and ways to fight and contain them. But burning jet fuel high up in a broken building... is a nightmare that breaks all the rules.

And the people jumping to their deaths... is not unfamiliar to me. At one of the office buildings I had worked at, there were luxury condominiums on the top floors, with balconies. One night, an old woman in her 90's, who had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer, decided to end it all. At 2:am, she jumped off the balcony of her daughter's 23rd floor condo.

She hit the ground with such force, that it broke the white marble sidewalk. Everything burst like an explosion. Emergency services picked up the largest chunks with a shovel. The day janitor had to be called in early, to hose down the sidewalk and the building front, to wash the blood and the smaller bits into the gutter. I've got a pretty good idea of what happens to a human being who jumps off a highrise building, it's not an abstract concept for me.

I also have a fear of heights. Working in highrises, I just had to deal with it, and avoid situations of being too near to the open edge of anything as much as possible. Things like a wall-to-ceiling window on a 35th floor were a nightmare; I just made sure I didn't stand too close, or look straight down. It was scary that there was nothing but glass between you and the abyss, but at least the glass was there.



I spent 12 years of my life learning about, and working to, keep people safe in highrise buildings. A great deal of care and thought has gone into designing buildings and security and safety systems to acomplish this.

In 9-11, the magnitude of the attack simply broke through all that, literally. It was also the suprise of the attack; people in the 2nd tower were told to stay there. That is standard procedure in a fire emergency; the authorities don't want people milling about in the way. No one yet understood that the 1st plane wasn't an accident, but an attack, and that a second was on it's way. So even more people died.

That was understandable then; but now we know. Yet today some people still can't see that a "second plane" is still coming; they are clinging to a 9-10 world that no longer exists.

Someone made a post on Free Republic called "What it was like to jump from the World Trade Center". Reactions to it were mixed; some felt that it was needed to "never forget", and to galvanise our resolve in the WOT. Others felt it was morbid and in bad taste.

I think it was ALL of those things. Murdering people in terrorist acts is morbid and in the worst bad taste possible. I would certainly rather spend my time occupied with other things. But ignoring and not dealing with these things is precisely what led up to 9-11. If we continue living in a 9-10 world, what will come next? If we can't look at the ugly truth, how are we going to respond to it effectively?

The future belongs to survivors. And survivors are survivors, because they learn and adapt. They do that by facing things they way they are, and then proceeding to deal with it.

I don't show these ugly, horrible photos because I like them or that I like morbidity. I show them because I want to stop it. I want us all to face reality the way it IS, and pull together to stop it.

People didn't jump from the towers because they "gave up hope"; the heat and flames FORCED them to jump. Burning jet fuel in a broken office building, with no escape. That's the ugly reality.

Let's make sure it doesn't happen again. It's time to adapt or die.


Related Links:

What could be more upsetting? Seriously?
Sorry, more terrible photos. If it makes you angry, I suggest directing your disapproval at the PEOPLE WHO CAUSED IT.

The Path to 9/11 Update
LMC has a great post about the controversy surrounding the docu-drama.