Christmas festivities will seem empty in a world which has chosen “war and hate”, Pope Francis said Thursday.
“Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and nativity scenes … it’s all a charade. The world continues to go to war. The world has not chosen a peaceful path,” he said in a sermon.
“There are wars today everywhere, and hate,” he said after the worst terror attack in French history, the bombing of a Russian airliner, a double suicide bombing in Lebanon, and a series of other deadly strikes.
“We should ask for the grace to weep for this world, which does not recognize the path to peace. To weep for those who live for war and have the cynicism to deny it,” the Argentine pontiff said, adding: “God weeps, Jesus weeps”.
The sermon threw a shadow over the start of the festive season at the Vatican, where a giant Christmas tree was unveiled.
The 25-metre (82-foot) high pine hails from former pope Benedict XVI’s homeland, the German state of Bavaria.
The tree, which will be decorated in time for the start of the Vatican’s Holy Year on December 8, will be festooned with ornaments made by children from cancer wards in hospitals across Italy.
This year’s nativity scene will be made up of 24 life-size figures, sculpted from wood and hand-painted.
In a nod to Pope Francis’s humble style, alongside the figures from the story of Jesus’s birth will be sculptures of ordinary people, including a man supporting an elderly person in need.
Burning human beings alive, is a historical truth. There were humans who did that to other humans.
Terrorists, not only just kill, indiscriminately, Let’s add it all up for you.
- Throwing from the roof of a building
- And Now they burn humans alive
- Crucifying CHILDREN
- Burying Children Alive
- Torturing Children
- Conscripting children as suicide bombers
What kind of human being puts another human being in a cage, douses their clothing with accelerant, of some kind, lights a fire, and watches them BURN to DEATH ???
Who does that, how could any human being be so barbaric?
This is NOT Ideology. This is Barbarism at its worst.
What kind of GOD would ever condone this kind of atrocity?
Why can’t we find these people and kill them? Why can’t we repay these types of atrocities with our own justice of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?
All this posturing and asking for a prisoner swap, then upping the ante, and killing a soldier in the most inhumane, cruel and EVIL way one can think of. Bastards …
They say that bombing is not the answer, Then, what IS the answer to eradicating these animals from the face of the earth. This is what we need to do. And it needs to be expedient.
Update: Overnight, the Jordanian Government has executed two Iraqi Jihadis by hanging. This is but the beginning of their response to the murder of Kasasbeh.
An Eye for an Eye and a Tooth for a Tooth has begun.
Freedom is a notion that was put forwards when nations began. People moving from one locale to another to find Freedom. Because where they were, was not what people wanted. So they moved to new worlds, new continents, they sometimes took over places that were already full of people, and we all know how that story turned out.
Here in Canada, as in most Democratic countries, freedom is a privilege. I was born in a nation that prided itself on freedom. I was raised and taught about how my father fought for the freedom that we, his family, were privileged to live. But that freedom came with conditions.
Living under my father’s roof, I had to follow prescribed notions, beliefs and family gospel. This freedom, in the end, turned me inside out and I struck out to find my own kind of freedom.
I really did not find it. Because I was sunk in the bottom of a bottle.
Moving on in life, I was saddled by sickness and impending death. And I decided to make some changes that would, in the end, bring about “freedom” as I understood it, at the time.
Those changes brought me here to Canada. Montreal became my oyster. I had an opportunity to learn about a new country, a new city, new values, new codes and mores, I was, for all intents and purposes, free of the past, which I chose to shut the book on.
We come here, as tourists, as immigrants. To get in, you have to follow the rules. I followed the rules. And I earned my place at the Canadian table. I was struck by just how passionate people were to certain ideas and beliefs. I cultivated my life in living here, going to meetings, attending University, and living along side other people, who seemed to want the same freedoms I wanted.
The two topics you never talk about over Thanksgiving dinner are Religion and Politics.
You learn, through books, lectures and world events, where we all came from. The media, daily, pummels us with all kinds of information, we must choose what we take in and what we leave behind.
What’s good for one people may not be good for other people.
What’s good for one religion, may not be good for another religion.
What’s good for one country may not be good for another country.
We all have our rules, dogmas, taboos, mores, cultures and beliefs, practices so forth and so on.
Freedom to one to do, say, write or express ones self, may not be agreeable to another.
Like in Canada, we have a law that states, Hate Speech is not something, we as Canadians, entertain. There are world events that are non-negotiable. They happened, we can prove it, and to speak against such world events is taboo.
I’ve learned over the years, that there are topics that I won’t touch, with a ten foot pole. They are usually topics, that I know little about, educational wise, but I know about them, a bit. And I know just enough to know that I won’t write about them or discuss them in my community.
I paid a pretty penny for my University Education. My education has caused me grief over the years with certain religious groups, who assailed me daily with ridicule and apocalyptic threats to my person and my way of life. But I was steadfast, because I learned more about my field, and had enough education under my belt to stand my ground.
I found that certain people think they know things about a certain topic, and they believe they have the definitive last word, even though they never read anything farther than their bibles. And then they came here to condemn me and preach gospel, that I was well versed on and studied for over a decade. They eventually stopped bothering me, and went away.
THANK GOD !
I am versed on major world religions, to a point. I’ve studied them. And my area of concentration is Western Religions, Christianity, Judaism, Eastern Traditions to a point, and a bit on Islam. The only unit of study I failed in University was Islam. I did not get past the final paper. I had to attend remediation for weeks after that fiasco.
But during each unit of study I participated in each religious practice.
I went to Shul during my Judaism section. I attended Friday Prayers during my Islam studies. I was going to church regularly on Sunday’s, so forth and so on. I did not just read a book or two and listen to lectures. I actually participated in religious practice.
The world sees religion through various lenses. For every human being on the earth, there is a version of their respective religious tradition.
We have our Holy Books. We have our traditions, our beliefs and our ways.
Living where I live, the leaders of our city, and for that matter our country, respect all religions and traditions.
TO A POINT.
If your religion tells you to go to a public place with an automatic weapon and kill people,
You need to find a new religion.
I cannot talk about the Middle East, but to a point. I don’t live there, I know basic history. Certain sections of the world have been embroiled in turmoil for centuries. And It would not be very wise for me to even think about entertaining discussion about those topics.
We have seen how certain countries in the world view certain religious topics. And how they take the notion of freedom, maybe, well maybe more, a bit too far.
We celebrate the freedom to speak, and the freedom of the press, and the freedom to think whatever we want to think, believe and to a point act on.
The world knows, and has known for centuries how certain religious people read, believe in and respect their Holy Books. The world is well versed in taboo, respect of tradition, and how that all boils down.
Then there are those who’s only goal is to push their holy books down our throats and kill us because of them. Not everybody around the world respects the other very well, or not at all. Somebody please show me the hadith that says that killing is a Godly action?
In the Hebrew Bible it is written that you shall make no graven images of G-d.
Christians across the world know what God looks like, what Jesus looks like, and the Cross of Christ Crucified is a tangible sign of our belief. Some wear the cross on their sleeves like martyrs.
Every Religion has their laws, proscriptions and taboos.
- I am 100% against the killing of innocents, ANY innocents
- I do not subscribe to the thought that I am an infidel
- There is no religion that states that killing is a Godly action
- To believe that the Prophet, peace be upon His Holy name, asks Muslims to kill, is a crime against humanity
- If your religion asks you to go to a public place with automatic weapons and kill people, you need to find a new religion
I don’t understand why countries allow freedoms to cross that invisible line of decorum and discretion. I don’t understand why people write words or paint pictures or speak words, that they well know, will incite anger. Incite REAL ANGER.
Freedom is not really true, because we believe certain things, and we do or do not do certain things, because they are either wrong or incendiary. In media there are censors, on tv there are censors, and even in print media there are censors. But as we have seen, people continue to break social norms and crank out incendiary media which goes out even faster today thanks to social media.
I agree that we must be free to be able to express ourselves as we please, within the confines of proper speech and discretion.
Discretion is the better part of Valor, they say …
The world is sunk in a war that will not end if we all agree and we stop fighting and we all get along.
We all don’t agree. We all won’t stop fighting. And We all won’t get along.
Militant fighters are hell bent on creating havoc, to kill the infidel and to eradicate populations of people off the face of the earth all in the name of The Prophet, peace be upon his holy name.
Religious factions are split down irrevocable lines.
What does one do, when there are entire warring factions of fighters out there, who’s only goal in life is to Kill Us, and attain martyrdom and inherit seventy two virgins when they die? The battle over who lives and who dies is a terrible problem. And we are no nearer a solution today than we were decades ago.
Innocent people have died around the world because of this taint on religion. Hundreds of thousands of people over generations have been wiped off the face of the earth because of hatred and jihad.
There is no salvation in the killing of innocents.
But what do you say about those people who knowingly cross those invisible lines of freedom, expression and discretion? They knew what they were doing was incendiary, and they pushed the buttons anyway. Were they just expressing their freedom or were they knowingly fanning the fires of hatred and jihad, and today twelve people are dead because of such actions?
I 100% do not agree with crossing incendiary lines. If you want peace with those who want to kill you, for God’s sake, stop the presses, and curb your speech. Stop pushing religious buttons, just because you think you can, and get away with it, without repercussions.
God does not condone killing in any fashion for any reason.
Only God should be able to take a life.
But I will state again, if you kill an innocent. a child, a human being, for the sake of your God, we will hunt you down, and we will kill you. I have said this once before, the day militants killed innocent children in Pakistan, and I will say it again.
This Holy War will not end with the eradication of the infidel from the earth. You will never achieve nirvana or salvation in this war of Gods and beliefs. There is no salvation in killing innocents.
As long as the world has to live with the constant fear of someone walking into an office, or a school, or a sky scraper, or a Parliament building with the intent to kill us, we will defend ourselves.
If you kill a child or an innocent, then I state my belief that the bible says an Eye for an Eye and and Tooth for a Tooth. Killing innocents is a crime against humanity.
We know what the extermination of human beings looks like. And we are seeing it again in modern times.
This must stop.
But how ???
… Should we be afraid? Is public security at risk? Better to be safe than sorry. Be mindful of people around you and in open spaces …
In an audio recording distributed widely on social media Sunday, Islamic extremist group ISIS urged Muslims globally to launch attacks on civilians in member countries of a U.S.-led coalition opposed to their violent spread through areas of Syria and Iraq.
In the nearly 42-minute long meandering propaganda speech uploaded to Twitter, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani encourages Muslims to kill “disbelievers” in countries, including Canada, currently supporting American and French-backed military action against the group in Iraq “in any manner.”
“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State … kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” said Adnani.
Threats made in the audio recording mirror those ISIS has made in other propaganda releases, including during the grisly beheading videos of two American journalists, James Foley and Stephen Sotloff, and British aid worker David Haines.
Adnani blamed Western allies for instigating a war against the terrorist group, and said the ongoing air incursions against ISIS positions in Iraq will be “the final campaign of the crusaders.”
Unlike other terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda, ISIS has established a widespread presence on social networks, using highly produced videos and audio recordings in an effort to recruit new fighters from abroad and intimidate those opposed to their murderous agenda
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis made an impassioned New Year’s peace address on Wednesday, saying the heart of humanity seemed to have gone astray and too many people were still indifferent to war, violence and injustice.
The pontiff, who took his papal name from St Francis of Assisi, the saint most associated with peace, urged the world to listen to the “cry for peace” from suffering peoples.
“What on earth is happening in the hearts of men? What on earth is happening in the heart of humanity?” he said to tens of thousands of people in St Peter’s Square on the day the Roman Catholic Church celebrates its World Day of Peace.
“It’s time to stop!” he said, departing from his prepared text.
“Everyone must be committed to building a society that is truly just and caring,” he told the crowd on Wednesday, acknowledging the many peace banners and blue balloons held aloft.
In a message for the World Day of Peace sent to world leaders last month, Francis said that huge salaries and bonuses were symptoms of an economy based on greed and inequality
In that letter, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina again urged nations to narrow the gap between rich and poor, more and more of whom were getting only “crumbs”.
Sinai photographed from STS 109 – Shuttle Columbia March 1,2002 …
I’d imagine that if Armageddon was going to take place, this is the place we would imagine the first strike to take place, or the first event. It is 3:10 a.m. on Friday morning. Nothing happened, or should I say, nothing has happened
If you are a listener of Late Night Radio, ala Coast to Coast for any length of time you would know that all the crazies in the world listen to this show night after night. And we have been all through the list of crazies over the last year.
We have the ads for end of days Armageddon style food sales, you know, just for those moments when a disaster takes place and you need those ready to eat meals, They aren’t just for earthquakes and hurricanes Yall !!! If you have a spare couple of hundred dollars that you can plunk down for mass storage food stuffs, and you gotta have a place to put it all, and who has a spare bomb shelter in their property portfolio ???
I hear in UTAH that there are bunkers that have been prepared for today’s calamity to take place. I have also heard that the cleansing of the righteous from the non-righteous will take place today. That God is going to cleanse the earth of the sinful and errant peoples. That only the righteous will be saved from God’s judgment.
There is a town in Southern France that is supposed to be a vortex location and that when the earth meets its end, that the aliens are going to appear there and take away all those who fled to the safety of this mountain perch.
All over the tv tonight have been every kind of end of days programming. People trying to divine what the Mayans were trying to say and what that damned calendar and glyphs really have to say, since they are woefully incomplete, and the end story is all up to conjecture.
We’ve heard over the last year all those good preacher men who have foretold of the coming Apocalypse and twice they were wrong and God did not come screaming out of his heaven to take us all to heaven and send all the sinners to hell.
That would mean all of us LGBTQ folks. Because homosexuality is all so sinful and errant of God’s ways … Oh, I kid …
Did you partake in the hysteria of the end of days? Did you buy into the end of the world? Are you hoarding food, guns, ammunition and all kinds of food stuffs? Because you know, when the end comes later today it is going to be utter anarchy in the streets. People clawing and fighting for food and guns.
And those who are prepared for the end will be hunkered down in their bunkers and nuclear safe type hovels defending themselves from the marauding hordes of people who did not listen to the council of the folks who have spent the better part of the last year telling us all this it is coming and you’d better be prepared.
All this talk of financial ruin coming to the U.S. The wars over seas and the Arab spring running into Arab Winter. You never know if the Anti-Christ is going to rise from the desert sand of the Middle East somewhere like Iran or some other backwater Middle Eastern country. Because like I said above, if Armageddon was going to take place, you’d probably be looking over there for him.
I have read that the sun isn’t going to erupt in some hellish solar flare that is going to knock out the electrical and communications grids all over the world. And at this hour, I haven’t read of any earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanic eruptions taking place anywhere in the world.
And when you wake and come upon this entry – having said your prayers to whatever God you pray to the night before, you will rise and the sunrise will be glorious – just like the day before.
And I am sure on Friday night on Coast to Coast they will be hosting a night of checking in with all those folks who have added to the mass hysteria that today is supposed to unleash on humankind.
Did the ancients get it right? Will we come to rise above ourselves and grow in spiritual awakening? Will we rise to the next level of humanity overnight? And what have we learn in this exercise of preparing ourselves for the end of the world. And what will we say to all those folks who are hiding in their bomb shelters as I write this.
Will we see a nuclear Armageddon from the East? Because if we do, for those of us who could not afford a bomb shelter – we are all goners … So I guess before I go to bed I should say my final prayers – kiss my ass goodbye and hope to wake up tomorrow morning.
Today my husband is traveling to Ottawa to see his family, and it may be his last meeting with them if we are to believe that something BIG will take place tomorrow some time. Who knows.
It’s the end of the world as we know it. And when you wake tomorrow – what kind of world will it be? And what will we say to all those crazies out there sitting in their bomb shelters and on mountain tops and those fleeing the big cities into the interior of the United States and Europe because the oceans are going to swell and swallow up all the coastal land. God forbid you know that volcano on the Canary Islands that is supposed to blow its peak and send a tsunami across the Atlantic and submerge the entire East Coast of the United States.
You are all FUCKED !!!
Shall we make a prediction of what all will happen the day after tomorrow?
Sit tight. I will report more as the day progresses.
More to come, stay tuned …
We continue on our journey through historical Islam and we are going to look at a number of thoughts in this section of the text, as it covers 50 pages to the end of Chapter 2. We begin tonight’s lesson with the 5 Pillars of Islam. Muslims believe that there are Five Pillars of Islam, which are the fundamental principles that make up the most basic requirements for life as a Muslim:
- Shahada (“Witness”) This is the declaration that all Muslims must make: “I testify that there is no god but one God, and that Mohammad is the messenger of Allah.”
- Salat (“Prayers”) All Muslims must pray five times daily, facing Mecca.
- Zakat (“Almsgiving”) Muslims must give a certain percentage of their yearly income to the poor and needy.
- Sawm (“Fasting”) During the holy month of Ramadan, all Muslims must fast every day from sunrise to sunset.
- Hajj (“Pilgrimage”) A pilgrimage to Mecca, the location of the holiest place in Islam, must be performed by every Muslim, if possible, once in his or her lifetime.
Our writer makes certain statements in this text that she believes will bring together the fighting factions of Islam to a peaceful resolution. Stated here: “It is my firm belief that until Muslims revert to the traditional interpretation of Islam – in which “you shall have your religion, and I shall have mine” is respected and adhered to – the factional strife within Muslim countries will continue. Indeed, until quranic tolerance is reestablished, the key Muslim countries of pakistan and Iraq will not only continue to weaken them but will continue to threaten to spread inflexible and extremist interpretations elsewhere in the Muslim world.
Those who teach the killing of adherents of other sects or religions are damaging Muslim societies as well as threatening non-Muslim societies.
On Seeking Knowledge:
The Prophet remarked on the importance of seeking knowledge throughout life: “Seek knowledge by even going to China, for seeking knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim.” The Prophet placed the utmost importance on seeking knowledge, instructing humans to go to extraordinary lengths to gain not just religious knowledge but all knowledge.
The past is used too frequently to define modern Muslims, especially when evaluating their receptivity to democracy. We don’t define Judaism by the brutality of the conquest of the tribes of Canaan or by the pain and suffering of the plagues on Egypt. We don’t define Christianity by the barbarism of the Dark Ages or by the persecution of the Inquisition.
When analysts look at the receptivity of modern Muslim communities to democracy, they too often look to Islamic texts and interpretations, as well as to the kind of social structure of the first community of Muslims. This construct, labeled “Muslim exceptionalism,” is based on the view that the norms of the Muslim community of the past must necessarily define the Muslim community of the present. It assumes that Muslim thought and Muslim society have not evolved, adapted, or changed over time. Some feel that “the character of Muslim societies has been determined by a specific and remote period in their past during which the social and political order that continues to guide them was established.
The scholar is referring to Prophet Mohammad’s early community of Muslims in seventh-century Arabia. This theory is predicated on the bizarre belief that they strength of the past continues to hold on to the psyche of Muslim society, blocking progress in political and other fields, including human rights and technological and economic development.
Morals and Beliefs:
The Qu’ran provides broad beliefs and morals by which to live. The specifics were left to be interpreted in light of the proper historical context. “The text is silent. We have to hear its voice. In order to hear, we need presuppositions. In order to have presuppositions, we need the knowledge of the age. In order to have the knowledge of the age, we have to surrender to change.
Equally important to the context of interpretation of the Qu’ran is who interprets it. Some Muslims, especially those belonging to theocratic regimes, try to assert that only a select few can interpret the Qu’ran. This is not the case. Interpretation of the Qu’ran is not limited to any one person or committee. The Qu’ran did not establish a specific institution or group of leaders as its sole interpreters. Any Muslim is free to interpret the Qu’ran. All Muslims are guaranteed the right to interpret the Qu’ran (ijtihad) Thus even the approach to interpretation of the Qu’ran is embedded with democratic values.
Indeed, Muslims are told that each person is accountable for his or her individual behavior. No relative, teacher, or other can intervene for a Muslim of the Day of Judgment.
Every interpretation needs to be based on the context in which it is undertaken. In the modern world, modern interpretations need to be made while respecting the underlying principles of the Qu’ran. The Qu’ran, while the word of God, is a text that is historically rooted in the time of its revelation. There is no explicit mention of democracy in the Qu’ran because it was not a word used in the seventh-century Arabia. However, the principles of consultation and consensus among the people, which are found in the Qu’ran, are the bases of democracy. Moreover, the principles of equality, justice, and law, which are the underlying foundations of democracy, are repeatedly stressed in the Qu’ran.
Our author continues with her beliefs as she states:
For Muslims like me, who believe in democracy, Islam is about consent and people’s participation. Islam and democracy are compatible. Radwan Masmoudi agrees that contemporary interpretations need to continue to be made; he asserts that it is better than “the doors of ijtihad – closed for some 500 years – be reopened.”
Even the conservative Pakistani Islamist leader Khurshid Ahmad conceded that “God has revealed only broad principles and has endowed man with the freedom to apply them in every age in the way suited to the spirit and conditions of that age. It is through ijtihad that people of every age try to implement and apply divine guidance to the problems of their times.”
We are moving into more current events and places in this portion of the reading and I reiterate the following text because it is important for Westerners and others to understand what is bubbling just beneath the surface and why there is wide spread war around the globe.
Islam proclaims that the earth belongs to “Khalq e Khuda,” the people of God. We are all God’s creatures. The earth is given to us in trust by God. We the people are the agents of God in this world. We are to govern the earth as a sacred trust and as trustees of the responsibility to pass it on the future generations. The right to declare who is a “good Muslim” and who is a “bad Muslim” is a right that belongs only to God.
Those who say that we on earth must determine who is a good Muslim and who is a bad Muslim are in many ways responsible for the political legacy of murder, mayhem, sectarian warfare, and oppression of women and minorities we see in the Muslim world. These extremists are destroying the Muslim world by pitting Muslim against Muslim.
The militants seethe with anger, but their anger is always tied to their political agenda.
- First they were angry and the West had abandoned three million Afghan refugees and stopped all assistance to them after the Soviets left Afghanistan.
- Second, they are angry that their offer to the government of Pakistan to send one hundred battle hardened mujahideen to help in the Kashmir uprising on 1989 was rejected.
- Third, they wanted King Fahd of Saudi Arabia to turn to the “battle hardened mujahideen” to protect Saudi Arabia after Iraqi president Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. He refused.
- Fourth, they went off to fight in Bosnia when the region was engulfed in war (from 1993 to 1996, I lobbied President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister John Major, and other European leaders to intervene to bring the conflict to an end.)
- Fifth, they tried to exploit the Chechen nationalist movement.
- Sixth, with the fall of my government they turned their attention to Kashmir and tried to take over the nationalist Kashmiri movement from 1997 onward.
Muslim extremists systematically targeted historical nationalist movements to gain credibility and launch themselves into the Muslim heartland with a view to piggybacking off nationalist movements to advance their agenda. However, most Muslims were suspicious and not welcoming of their extreme interpretation of Islam. Thus is was only in Afghanistan, already softened by years of resistance by Afghan mujahideen, that Muslim extremists were able to establish the Taliban dictatorship.
Driven out of Afghanistan after the September 2001 attacks on the United States, they returned to Pakistan, where the journey had begun with General Zia-ul-Haq in 1980.
After the United States invaded Iraq, these same extremists turned their attention to that country. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi went off to fight in Iraq. Presumably others did, too. Again they used religious propaganda to kill, maim, and effectively divide one of the richest Muslim countries, Iraq, into a land of carnage and bloodshed.
Sunnis and Shias, who had lived peacefully side by side for centuries, began to kill each other, and Iraq began to fall apart. It is quite easy (and typical) for Muslim Extremists to blame the Americans for the sectarian civil war that rages in Iraq today, when actually it is a long standing tension between Muslim communities that has been exacerbated and militarized to create chaos under which extremists thrive.
Iraq is not the only goal of the extremists. Pakistan too is in great danger. Pro-Taliban forces have taken over tribal areas of Pakistan. They occupy the Swat Valley. They have been ceded Waziristan by the Musharraf regime. They are moving into the settled areas of Pakistan. Their apparent next goal is the cities of my country, including our capital, Islamabad. They thrive on dictatorship; they thrive on terror; they provoke chaos to exploit chaos.
I (Bhutto) returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007, with the goal of moving my country from dictatorship to democracy. I hoped that this transition could take place during the scheduled elections of 2008. I feared that otherwise the extremists would march towards Islamabad. Islamabad is near the town of Kahuta, where Pakistan’s nuclear program is being carried out.
It is my fear that unless extremism is eliminated, the people of Pakistan could find themselves in a contrived conflict deliberately triggered by militants (or other “Islamists”) who now threaten to take over Pakistan’s nuclear assets.
Having a large Muslim nation fall into chaos would be catastrophic. My people could end up being bombed, their homes destroyed, and their children orphaned simply because a dictator has focused all his attention all off the nations resources on containing democrats instead of containing extremists, and then has used the crisis that he has created to justify the same policies that caused the crisis. It may sound convoluted, but there is certainly method to madness.
And in closing this discussion:
Islam was sent a message of liberation. The challenge for modern-day Muslims is to rescue this message from the fanatics, the bigots, and the forces of dictatorship. It is to give Muslims back the freedom God ordained for humankind to live in peace, in justice, in equality, in a system that is answerable to the people on this earth accepting that is it God who will judge us on the Day of Judgment.
It is by accepting that temporal and spiritual accountability are two separate issues that we can provide peace, tranquility, and opportunity. There are two judgments: the judgment of God’s creatures in this world through a democratic system and the judgment by God when we leave this world.
The extremists and militants who seek to hijack Islam aim to make their own judgments. In their failure lies the future of all Muslims and the reconciliation of Islam to the West.
CBC cameras follow actress Mia Farrow on an emotionally harrowing journey through the desolate refugee camps along the Chad/ Darfur border.
The United Nations has called Darfur “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.” The United States has called it “genocide”. The death toll estimates for this western region of Sudan range from 200,000 to 500,000, with two and a half million people forced from their homes and the sex crimes too rampant to count.
The desolute landscape outside the refugee camps in Chad.
Photo Credit: Joe Passaretti
“Never Again” vowed the world after the genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica brought the “bloodiest of centuries” to a close. But three years into the 21st century a national government was once again aiding and abetting the brutal destruction of an ethnic group within its borders And now in the year 2007, as refugees in the camps of neighbouring Chad attest, the Sudanese government still carries out its grizzly task. The United Nations, an institution charged with making the world a safer place, looks on, virtually helpless to stop the slaughter of black Africans at the hands of Arab horseman known as Janjaweed –devils on horseback.
DARFUR: On Our Watch examines why it took the UN so long to respond to the obvious early warning signs of an horrific ethnic cleansing. It will document in chilling detail how politics, oil, guns and money trumped human rights as powerful interests on the Security Council blocked the world from acting; how the United States, weakened by wars in Somalia and Iraq could not influence the world forum to act.
But a clamorous coalition of ordinary citizens, international activists and major celebrities now offer the one real hope for Darfur. Through the relentless campaigning of a growing band of citizens in schools, universities and corporate corridors, through tens of thousands on the march, and the tireless efforts of Hollywood stars like Mia Farrow and George Clooney, the world and the Chinese government are being shamed into action.
Finding shelter in one of the many refugee camps.
Photo Credit: Debbie Bodkin
Mukesh Kapila, a British doctor and the United Nation’s Humanitarian Co-ordinator for the Sudan, is the Roméo Dallaire for Darfur. He sounded the alarm. People, who had trekked all the way from Darfur, started arriving in his office in Khartoum in early 2003 describing the atrocities that were occurring. Dr. Kapila reported back to his bosses at UN Headquarters in New York.
On December 18, 2003 he wrote to his boss Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Kieran Prendergast, Under-Secretary for Political Affairs, informing them that “the security situation in Greater Darfur continues to worsen… An estimated 670,000 people have been newly displaced, 70,000 fled to Chad, and one million others are directly affected by the war. Our Office receives daily reports of human right violations throughout the region.”
By March 22 2004 he was reporting “ethnic cleansing” to Iqbal Riza, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s chief aide, in the hopes that action would be taken. Sir Kieran Prendergast explains that the United Nations was late in responding to the crisis in Darfur because peace negotiations to end the 21-year civil war between north and south Sudan were looking promising and the political wing of the United Nations was hesitant about raising the profile of Darfur, for fear of upsetting the peace process.
While the UN was waiting for the comprehensive peace agreement to be signed, Mia Farrow, Eric Reeves and Debbie Bodkin were documenting the atrocities unfolding. In the world’s latest abomination, resolve has come from individuals filling the void left by institutions.
Mia Farrow has visited Darfur seven times since 2004.
Photo Credit: Joe Passaretti
Movie star, activist, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and grandmother Mia Farrow has traveled to the Darfur region seven times. “My first trip into Darfur was in 2004. Simply put, it changed the way I needed to live my life.” CBC and PBS Frontline travelled with Mia Farrow to the camps in eastern Chad in June 2007 to talk to Darfur refugees and internally displaced people (see her journal of the trip on her website).
In Chad, Mia Farrow meets Fatih Younnis a former chief or Omda for the district of Mukjar in western Darfur (ground zero in the Darfur crisis), who fled into Chad in the summer of 2003 with 4,500 other refugees. And she reunites with Khadeiga Abdullah whom she had met on previous visits. Abdulla survived the attacks, but was raped and one of her children was killed on her back as she fled her village. Today she lives in a refugee camp with seven children, in desperate poverty. Abdulla Idris Zaid is 27. He tried to collect his harvest before fleeing his village and his eyes were gouged out. Today he sits in a lawless land waiting (see photo at top).
Mia Farrow struggles to comfort the afflicted and alert the world to their pain. With Eric Reeves, her celebrity voice has helped shame the Chinese Government to action on the Darfur crisis. They started a campaign called the “Genocide Olympics” to raise awareness about China’s role in the crisis in Darfur.
Activist Eric Reeves has been raising awareness about the atrocities in Sudan for eight years on his website and he doesn’t withhold his exasperation at the international community: “It’s almost impossible for me to describe the scale of the international failure and how dismaying it is and how obvious it is we’ve learned nothing. I’m given to saying that in the wake of Rwanda it’s as though the gods of history looked down on us and said your failure was so appalling… we’ll give you another chance and we’ll give you a lot of time and we’ll call it Darfur. And we failed just as badly as we failed in Rwanda.” If anyone has turned the whisper of “never again” into a relentless tapping at the world’s conscience it is Eric Reeves. Eric Reeves is also a professor at Smith College in Massachusetts and author of A Long Day’s Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide.
UN soldiers arrive at a refugee camp.
Photo Credit: Debbie Bodkin
Sergeant Debbie Bodkin is a 20-year-veteran of the Waterloo regional police in Ontario. She has served in the homicide, the sexual assault and the drug squads. She thought she’d seen everything until the summer of 2004 when she used her vacation time to travel to Chad as a member of the Atrocities Documentation Team for a US State Dept inquiry. She and colleagues interviewed 1,136 victims. Then in November 2004 she joined another investigation team. This one authorized by the UN. She suffered from post-traumatic stress due to her experiences, but she continues to move people to action through her lectures.
In 1994, General Dallaire commanded the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR)—he explains that states are reluctant to risk casualties if there is no self-interest. Samantha Power, author of “A Problem from Hell: American and the Age of Genocide” adds that there are few repercussions if states don’t get involved, but many if there are casualties and that is why all US administrations throughout the century have shied away from action. Alex de Waal, puts Sudanese history in context. He is the author of Darfur: A Short History of a Long War with co-author Julie Flint. Sudan’s U.N. Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem presents the government of Sudan’s perspective on Darfur.
The children in Chad can only hope for a better future.
Photo Credit: Joe Passaretti
But there is hope. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, says the Security Council referral of the situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court, was a result of public pressure. And he argues that the worst perpetrators of the violence in Darfur will eventually be brought to justice, it is just a matter of time. And on July 31 2007 there is unanimous agreement to send 26,000 troops to Darfur by the end of the year with a mandate to protect civilians. Peacekeeping troops for Chad have also been agreed upon. Whether troops will arrive fast enough only time will only tell, but Mukesh Kapila, Samantha Power, Eric Reeves, Roméo Dallaire, Luis Moreno-Ocampo and Mia Farrow all agree that without the strong activist voice applying pressure on the governments of the world, Darfur would be in a much worse situation today.
This riveting one-hour documentary was filmed in high-definition and is a co-production with CBC TV and PBS Frontline. It is written, produced and directed by Neil Docherty, one of Canada’s foremost documentary filmmakers, narrated by writer and actor Ann-Marie Macdonald, with an original musical score by Andy McNeill.
Stop the Abuse …BLOG CATALOG
We were asked to write for Thursday – Something that we thought needed to stop. This first post was entered on Tuesday on this blog, if you read backwards.
What would I like to write about that needs to stop… Abuse comes in many forms, and can manifest in so many ways. Abuse can be blatantly up front and in the open, and it also can be perpetrated in silence and ignorance. Ignorance in that we fail to see the truth or know to look for it, or in that we are immovable to adapt to change.
There are many issues I face on a daily basis, both in my life and in the life of my husband. Think about the abuse that I have seen in my lifetime, being Gay, HIV Positive, a Recovering Alcoholic and Addict, I’ve suffered from Depression and my husband is Bi-Polar. We have seen our fair share of abuse in our days, by people that are family, people who are friends and from perfect strangers.
As a person living with AIDS in the year 2007, the abuse that People with Aids face daily has not abated. People are still ignorant and stupid. Times have changed, and people still see RED when they think about homosexuals who are sick, not to mention the ignorance paid to straight people with the disease. No matter where we live, the abuse of people who are sick needs to stop. We are all human and divinely created by God, and if He has time to think, create and love us, then so should you .
Africa… The Dark Continent as it is called is also the ignored continent. Genocide is happening in Darfur, all over Africa people are dying because of hunger, disease, and ignorance by their own people, and by us. If we are to change the world, we must refocus our efforts from war and killing to aid and living. The belief in Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS needs to change. The abuse of women and female circumcision needs to END. The world needs to wake up from its myopic vision of the world and we need to stop the abuse of many at the hands of a few depraved leaders, junta and guerrillas.
Religious Strife… Religious abuses need to stop. Wars perpetrated based on religious difference needs to end. The abuse of people based on religious affiliation needs to end. The Middle East needs to come to its collective senses and realize that if wars continue and religious abuse is maintained, eventually everyone will be dead, and there won’t be any one left to carry on the traditions you are all fighting over. I believe there is enough land to go around for everyone.
Religious Intolerance needs to Stop. The world thrives on its diversity of faith and religious tradition. Could you imagine what the world would look like if we stopped the hatred of other and we adopted a live and let live policy based on religious tolerance? Here at home in Canada, we need to adopt better ways of dealing with aboriginal rights, religious abuses by the church and by our own government. Those who were here first need to be recognized and taken care of. Reservations need accommodations that aren’t falling down. We need to have running water, clean water and safe living condition, because many are living in sub standard housing with very little – and the government abuses the aboriginal and lives high on the hog in their own homes.
The Three Major Monotheistic religions need to come together and find a common resolution to Stop the Violence, the Wars and the Abuse of so many. Jews are fighting and killing Jews. Muslims are killing and abusing other Muslims. Christianity, well, now there’s a quagmire for you. Never in my life have I seen so much hatred, revulsion and abuse by a religion than Christianity. Christians think they are above the law, that they can dictate government policy, foreign policy and world opinion, because God speaks to them, yet they perpetrate so much abuse on so many across a field of difference.
I’ve got many strikes against me because I am Gay, Married, HIV Positive and I am a Christian, where else would you see this kind of pedigree in the same sentence. I know for a fact that many Christians find me repulsive, arrogant and ignorant because surely a gay man could not be a Christian and be homosexual. And I am getting my comeuppance because I am living with AIDS. Surely God is punishing me. Religious Abuse needs to stop. Homophobia and Ignorance and Bigotry needs to Stop…
The year 2007 is almost over. And still today LGBTQ people are amongst the most abused people I know. Where there is a ballot box and an evangelical Christian, abuse is going to happen. Because God deems us abominable, and we need to be eradicated, killed, ignored, abused and humanly degraded. Can’t we come together and learn that abuse based on diversity and sexual orientation needs to end, today, at home and world wide.
We know that being gay is NOT a choice. There are so many young people suffering inside their souls because they could never admit their secrets because still today, admitting you are gay is still a death sentence communally. Transsexual and Transgendered people are other groups who need to be cared for, respected and assisted.
Humans have such a capacity to hate and abuse. Imagine if we could stop the abuse and hatred and adopt a life of service, charity, acceptance and Love. Imagine what the world would look like if we could stop the abuses across the board and we started taking care of each other instead of abusing, hating and marginalizing.
We are Here, We are Queer, Get used to it…
We Must be respected. We Must see LGBTQ Civil rights across the board. We Must be given the same dignified status that every straight person is granted by rights of citizenship. To live safely, to be protected militarily, to be able to be Married legally and we Must be given the same rights that straight couples get by right, by government and by citizenship.
Gays and Lesbians must be respected. We are just as good parents as anyone else. I believe that we could do it better because we have been so reviled for so long that I believe we as LGBTQ People have cultivated lives of love, respect and dignity because so many of you think that we don’t deserve those god given rights.
Marriage rights must be passed world wide. Partner benefits must be passed worldwide. The continual ABUSE of LGBTQ people by community, government and religious authority needs to end. Muslims, Jews, Christians need to stop the violence, stop the hatred and Stop the abuse.
The abuse by Holy Mother Church needs to stop. The hiding of pedophile priests need to be brought out into the open. The church needs to stop hiding abusers in plain sight and they need to become accountable, respectable and right. No other institution in my life has perpetrated so much abuse on human kind than Holy Mother Church. I have spent YEARS [ read most of my life] studying Holy Mother Church, and as of the last decade or more of my life, the papacy of John Paul II. I spent a year in a Catholic Seminary and I witnessed cleric abuse. I’m not just writing to see myself write…
You want to know about abuse, read “The Power and the Glory, Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II’s Papacy.” It will turn your hair gray. The church could do so much more than it has and it won’t do all that it can because of the Papacy and religious division over the three major monotheistic traditions. I’ve spent years studying the Holocaust, I’ve read the books and taken the classes. So I do know what I am talking about.
The longer I study religion, I believe less and less in Holy Mother Church. The more I study religion the farther away from institutional religion I move. Because God weeps at the injustice of such wide spread abuse, ignorance, and hatred based on diversity of faith, sexual orientation and basic human dignity for those living with AIDS.
And finally – at long last, the sick and suffering addict and alcoholic, the gay and the lesbian, the sick and the dying, need to be cared for because we are all deemed acceptable to God, we need to pray for the sick and suffering. We need to care for the sick and suffering. We could stop much of the suffering of people if we turned our vision from hatred, abuse and war to that of caring for our neighbors as we do ourselves. But you cannot give what you do not have, so educate yourself, and put on your armor and come walk with us and stop the abuse.
Edit and Late Comment Addition
I did not say the words axis of evil – I was stating a point from a religious scholar perspective because I am one. I live in Canada, not the U.S. I am fully aware that China and many other nations could stop the genocide in Darfur, and yet they do nothing, because of OIL and MONEY. I did not make an argument for oil, nor did I say that any religion was evil. I can stand outside the arguments and give you perspective because THIS is my area of study. RELIGION and GOD!!!
Reread what I wrote and start again.
I do care about the Middle East which is why most of my post concerns the tensions in that area of the world. If Christianity, Islam and Judaism could find a common ground to negotiate peace, territory, oil and security then progress can be made, but not until the three monotheistic traditions stop killing each other in the name of Allah, God or Hashem.
I can play the God card because the warring factions of the world play it daily. Tell me about Jews and Palestinians or Shia – Sunni and Kurd and the Christians, what are each trying to do to the other? Dominate, Kill and eradicate. How can you NOT play the God card?
I never mentioned oil in my post – because I cannot properly comment on certain topics because I don’t have all the facts. This post was to draw attention to something that we thought needed to stop in the way of violence. IF YOU read this blog from yesterday you would understand what this writing project was for.
I did not support the war in Iraq in fact I marched against it here in Canada. I don’t know all the oil arguments or who’s involved. I know that China could make a difference in Darfur and they do not because they get oil and supply funds to the terrorists. And the U.N. does nothing, I Know this. The U.N. Cannot do anything unless its partner countries get on board, so far we don’t know why they have not. Maybe we should investigate this issue with the Chinese government and the U.N. at large. I have heard this discussion come up before.
The WORLD could change on a dime if we refocused our efforts from war to healing the earth and helping those who live on the earth. BUT so much of the world is focused on war. Look at Afghanistan – NOT any other NATO nation wants to get involved to help Canada in their mission, which is VERY unpopular in Canada with its people, and this issue may bring down the government in the next month when Parliament comes back to session and the Prime Minister gives his Throne Speech.
If Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Jordan and the other E.U. nations came together to find a diplomatic route to peace, the wars would end and the people would stop dying. Turkey wants in to the EU. So step up and do something good for the world.
The Muslim faith is on a march to conquer the world, Osama Bin Laden has called for Christians to convert to Islam, and hell will freeze over before we do that. Islam is very misunderstood religion at its core. The fundamental arms of all religions have caused the world serious injury. Read any of my God’s Warriors posts from the CNN presentation by Christianne Amanpour.
The Christians have been on a crusade in the Middle East for OIL, MONEY, OCCUPATION and WAR! The U.S. President should stand trial at the Hague for Crimes against Humanity. The war is unjust and should end. Terrorist supporter countries should stop the funding of terrorists, sectarian violence and hatred. If Iran has its way Israel would be wiped off the map, so says their president, who just the other day questioned 9-11 and the wisdom and history of the Holocaust.
There is no direct diplomatic efforts being made in the Middle East region and everyone is to blame for this lack of diplomatic direction. If the region really wanted PEACE, it would find the way there and the killing, incursions and warring would stop. We know that the Israeli settlements are the biggest road block to mid east peace between the Israeli’s and the Palestinians. The most contested piece of real estate in the world is Jerusalem and everybody wants a piece on their terms, and nobody is willing to let that happen. So the fractured conflict continues.
The wars must stop, and Peace must be our goal, and UNTIL all nations in the region get to the table and start supporting one another to find peaceful resolutions then nothing will happen.
The U.S. needs to stop funneling money for war, they need to get out of Iraq and they need to regain the trust of the world at large. The U.S. needs to regain the respect it has lost over the last decade in the eyes of the world. They are no longer the big bully on the street, but so long as there is OIL in the middle east and everyone wants a stake in that oil, the U.S. will be there because the Bush cartel and the U.S. and many countries around the world STILL depend on Mid-East Oil.
Unless of course you can find another oil field as big in another region of the world that is not so hotly contested. The U.S. has earned a big Scarlett letter for arrogant domination of world policy which they surely did not earn the right way, nor do they operate on very honorable terms, we know this by the U.S. Presidents stance on many issues. Don’t blame the people, blame the government.
IF THE CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISTS IN THE U.S. HAD NOT VOTED FOR BUSH, “TWICE” WE WOULD NOT BE IN THE MESS THE WORLD IS IN TODAY!!! And that’s the God’s honest Truth. But they had to stop the gays because they posed a greater issue to the United States than voting for the RIGHT candidate. I KNOW THIS.
With the opening of the Northwest Passage and the melting of the North, we may find much needed oil and we can begin to draw down from the middle east. But with that comes other concerns like Arctic Sovereignty. And that is the next battle that Canada is going to fight with Russia, the U.S. and Denmark.
There are many arguments to talk about, and many points. and I am not a world diplomat scholar. But I do study religion and so I CAN play the God card any time I please. That’s what religion scholars do.
If you are going to comment on this blog, you should have a good understanding of context. So read back into my archives and understand what I know about the three Monotheistic religions, because that is my area of scholarly concentration. Which I do have a degree to hold up as proof of study. You may agree, you may not. That’s not my problem. It’s yours…. But thank you for playing.
By ARTHUR MAX and MONIKA SCISLOWSKA, Associated Press Writers
BAD AROLSEN, Germany – Deep in Shari Klages’ memory is an image of herself as a girl in, going into her parents’ bedroom, pulling a thick leather-bound album from the top shelf of a closet and sitting down on the bed to leaf through it.
What she saw was page after page of ink-and-watercolor drawings that convey, with simple lines yet telling detail, the brutality of Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp where her father spent the last weeks of.
Arrival, enslavement, torture, death — the 30 pictures expose the worsening nightmare through the artist’s eye for the essential, and add graphic texture to the body of testimony by Holocaust survivors.
“I have a sense of being quite horrified, of feeling my stomach in my throat,” Klages says. Just by looking at the book, she felt she was doing something wrong and was afraid of being caught.
Now, she finally wants to make the album public. Scholars who have seen it call it historically unique and an artistic treasure.
But who drew the pictures? Only Klages’ father could know. It was he who brought the album back from Dachau when he immigrated to America on a ship with more than 60orphans — and he had committed suicide in 1972 in his garage in , N.J.
The sole clue was a signature at the bottom of several drawings: Porulski.
Klages, 47, has begun a quest to discover who Porulski was, and how her family came to be the custodian of his remarkable artistic legacy. The Associated Press has helped to fill in some of the blanks.
What unfolds is a story of Holocaust survival compressed into two tragic lives, a tale with threads stretching fromto Auschwitz and Dachau, from to suburban England, and finally to a bedroom in where a fatherless girl makes a traumatic discovery.
It shows how today, as the survivors dwindle in number, their children and grandchildren struggle to comprehend the Nazi genocide that indelibly scarred their families, and in the process run into mysteries that may never be solved.
This is Shari Klages’ mystery: How did Arnold Unger, her Polish Jewish father, a 15-year-old newcomer to Dachau, end up in possession of the artwork of a Polish Catholic more than twice his age, who had been in the concentration camps through most of?
None of the records Klages found confirm that the two men knew each other, though they lived in adjacent blocks in Dachau. All that is certain is that Unger overlapped with Porulski during the three weeks the boy spent among nearly 30,000 inmates of Dachau’s main camp.
“He never talked about his experiences in the war,” said Klages. “I don’t recall specifically ever being told about the album, or actually learning that I was the child of a Holocaust survivor. It was just something I always knew.”
As adults, she and her three siblings took turns keeping the album and Unger’s other wartime memorabilia.
The album begins with an image of four prisoners in winter coats carrying suitcases and marching toward Dachau’s watchtower under the rifles of SS guards. It is followed by a scene of two inmates being stripped for a humiliating examination by a kapo, a prisoner working for the Nazis.
One image portrays two prisoners pausing in their work to doff their caps to a soldier escorting a prostitute — intimated by the seam on her stocking. Another shows a leashed dog lunging at a terrified inmate.
The drawings grow more and more debasing. Three prisoners hang by their arms tied behind their backs; a captured escapee is paraded wearing a sign, “Hurray, I am back again”; an inmate is hanged from a scaffold; and, in the final image, a man lies on the ground, shot dead next to the barbed-wire fence under the looming watchtower.
The album also has 258 photographs. Some are copies of well-known, haunting images of piles of victims’ bodies taken by thethat liberated the camp. Others are photographs, apparently taken for Nazi propaganda, portraying Dachau as an idyllic summer camp. Still others are personal snapshots of Unger with Polish refugees or with American soldiers who befriended him.
Barbara Distel, the director of theMemorial Site, said Porulski probably drew the pictures shortly after the camp’s liberation in April 1945. He used identical sheets of paper, ink and watercolors for all 30 pictures, she said, and he “would never have dared” to draw such horrors while he was still under Nazi gaze.
“It’s amazing after so many years that these kinds of documents still turn up,” Distel told the AP. “It’s a unique artifact,” and clearly drawn by someone with an intimate knowledge of the camp’s reality, she said.
artwork has turned up before, but Distel and Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum, who is with the American Jewish University in , say they are unaware of any sequential narrative of camp life comparable to Porulski’s.
“I’ve seen two or three or four, but never 30,” said Berenbaum.
In Coral Springs, Fla., where she now lives, Klages showed the book in 2005 to a neighbor, Avi Hoffman, executive director of the National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts. Hoffman immediately saw its quality and significance. The two became determined to uncover its background and find out if the artist had created an undiscovered body of work.
In August, Klages, Hoffman and Berenbaum went toto begin their hunt. They hired a crew to document it, hoping a film would help finance a foundation to exhibit the book.
They began chipping away at the album’s secrets at the Dachau memorial, outside, where they found an arrival record for Michal Porulski, which listed his profession as artist, in 1941.
They learned that Unger hid the fact that he was Jewish when he reached Dachau three weeks before the war ended. “That probably saved his life,” Hoffman said. They also discovered a strong likelihood that the album’s binding was fashioned from the recycled leather of an SS officer’s uniform.
Unger, an engaging youngster, became an office boy and translator for U.S. occupation authorities at Dachau, which was turned into a displaced persons camp, and obtained a U.S. visa in 1947.
Research by Klages’ group and the AP has begun to pull together the scattered threads of Porulski’s life from long forgotten records at theAcademy of Fine Arts, a tiny museum in Warsaw, and Dachau, the International Tracing Service of the Red Cross, the archives in , Australian immigration records and data from England.
Porulski enrolled in the Warsaw arts academy in 1934 after completing two years of army service. Attached to his neatly written application is a photograph of a good looking young man with light hair and dreamy eyes.
It says he was a farmer’s son, born June 20, 1910, in the central town of Rychwal, although in later records Porulski said he was born five years later.
Chronically poor, he left the academy after failing to secure a loan for his tuition but was later reinstated. Afterinvaded in 1939, he made some money painting watercolor postcards of Nazi-occupied Poland, two of which have survived and are now in the Warsaw Museum of Caricature.
In June 1940, he was arrested in a Nazi roundup “without any reason,” he wrote many years later in an appeal for help from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
Two months later, he and 1,500 others were the first Poles to be shipped from Warsaw to Auschwitz. He spent eight months there, then was sent to the Neuengamme camp and finally to Dachau, near, in May 1941.
In Dachau, according to a brief reference in a Polish book on wartime art, he painted portraits, flowers, folk dance scenes and decoration for a clandestine theater.
In 1949 he sailed toand tried to work as a painter and decorator but mostly lived off friends. He returned to in 1963 and lived in England and . He visited Poland in the early 1970s for several months, and stayed with his sister, Janina Krol, in on the Baltic coast, and another relative outside Warsaw, Wanda Wojcikowska.
He brought his sister paintings of Dachau, his niece, Danuta Ostrowska, now 75, recalls. But her mother threw them away, saying “I can’t look at them.” The family still owns 10 of his mostly prewar paintings.
He was robbed of his money and passport, and‘s communist authorities wanted Porulski out of the country, Wojcikowska’s daughter, Malgorzata Stozek, recalls. “My mother even found a woman willing to marry him, to help him stay in Poland,” she said. But he already had borrowed money from his sister and left.
His letters from England said he found work maintaining bridges, Stozek said. “He wrote that the moment he finished painting a bridge over some river, he had to start again.” It could have been a metaphor for a life going nowhere.
“One day I came to see my mother and she was crying because he wrote to her that he had no money, he was hungry and was sleeping on park benches. He lived in terrible poverty,” Stozek told the AP.
He was so lonely, she said, he had considered suicide.
In 1978 he sent a request for war compensation to the International Tracing Service in the central German town of, which houses the world’s largest archive of concentration camp records and lists of Holocaust victims.
“I have no occupation of any sort. I was unable to resume my studies after all those years in the camps,” he wrote. “I am just by myself, and I live from day to day.”
The ITS replied that it had no authority to give grants, but was sending confirmation of his incarceration to the U.N. refugee agency to support his earlier reparations claim.
Unger also shows up in the Tracing Service, in a 1955 two-page letter he wrote recounting his ordeal that began when he was 9.
Unger’s father had a prosperous furniture business near. “Then the infamous horde of Nazis overran our town, disrupted our life, murdered my parents and little sister, and robbed us of all we had.” He was the only survivor of 50 members of the Unger family.
Christian friends hid him for a while, but he ended up imprisoned inside the Krakow ghetto, then was moved to a series of concentration camps.
His daughter says that after he immigrated to America, he told a cousin with whom he lived inthat his job at Dachau had been to tend the ovens. The Nazis commonly used inmates for such purposes — it was one of the few ways of surviving.
Newly arrived in America, Unger spoke to Newark newspapers of his years of torment, saying he escaped three times during marches between camps but was always recaptured.
At one point, he told the Newark Evening News, he was herded into a gas chamber at Natzweiler camp with 50 other prisoners, but they were spared at the last minute because some of them were electricians whom the Nazis needed for their war effort.
The two lives, briefly intertwined by theand an album of photos and paintings, ended 17 years apart — Unger by hanging himself in 1972, Porulski in 1989 in St. Mary’s Hospital near , of pneumonia and tuberculosis.
The death certificate gives his age as 74 and his profession as “painter (retired).”
Shari Klages was 12 when her father died.
He had just been laid off from his 18-year job in the aeronautics industry, and his wife had been diagnosed with brain cancer. His suicide is given added poignancy by the image of the hanged inmate in the album, and Klages believes it was his Holocaust experience that weighed most heavily on him.
“I have no doubt it was the most significant contributor to his death,” she said.
Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft incontributed to this report. Arthur Max reported from , and Monika Scislowska from .
On the Net:
Two months ago, the suitcases were packed. My lone, large suitcase sat in my bedroom for nearly six weeks, so full of clothes and personal items, that it took me, E. and our six year old neighbor to zip it closed.
Packing that suitcase was one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do. It was Mission Impossible: Your mission, R., should you choose to accept it is to go through the items you’ve accumulated over nearly three decades and decide which ones you cannot do without. The difficulty of your mission, R., is that you must contain these items in a space totaling 1 m by 0.7 m by 0.4 m. This, of course, includes the clothes you will be wearing for the next months, as well as any personal memorabilia- photos, diaries, stuffed animals, CDs and the like.
I packed and unpacked it four times. Each time I unpacked it, I swore I’d eliminate some of the items that were not absolutely necessary. Each time I packed it again, I would add more ‘stuff’ than the time before. E. finally came in a month and a half later and insisted we zip up the bag so I wouldn’t be tempted to update its contents constantly.
The decision that we would each take one suitcase was made by my father. He took one look at the box of assorted memories we were beginning to prepare and it was final: Four large identical suitcases were purchased- one for each member of the family and a fifth smaller one was dug out of a closet for the documentation we’d collectively need- graduation certificates, personal identification papers, etc.
We waited… and waited… and waited. It was decided we would leave mid to late June- examinations would be over and as we were planning to leave with my aunt and her two children- that was the time considered most convenient for all involved. The day we finally appointed as THE DAY, we woke up to an explosion not 2 km away and a curfew. The trip was postponed a week. The night before we were scheduled to travel, the driver who owned the GMC that would take us to the border excused himself from the trip- his brother had been killed in a shooting. Once again, it was postponed.
There was one point, during the final days of June, where I simply sat on my packed suitcase and cried. By early July, I was convinced we would never leave. I was sure the Iraqi border was as far away, for me, as the borders of Alaska. It had taken us well over two months to decide to leave by car instead of by plane. It had taken us yet another month to settle on Syria as opposed to Jordan. How long would it take us to reschedule leaving?
It happened almost overnight. My aunt called with the exciting news that one of her neighbors was going to leave for Syria in 48 hours because their son was being threatened and they wanted another family on the road with them in another car- like gazelles in the jungle, it’s safer to travel in groups. It was a flurry of activity for two days. We checked to make sure everything we could possibly need was prepared and packed. We arranged for a distant cousin of my moms who was to stay in our house with his family to come the night before we left (we can’t leave the house empty because someone might take it).
It was a tearful farewell as we left the house. One of my other aunts and an uncle came to say goodbye the morning of the trip. It was a solemn morning and I’d been preparing myself for the last two days not to cry. You won’t cry, I kept saying, because you’re coming back. You won’t cry because it’s just a little trip like the ones you used to take to Mosul or Basrah before the war. In spite of my assurances to myself of a safe and happy return, I spent several hours before leaving with a huge lump lodged firmly in my throat. My eyes burned and my nose ran in spite of me. I told myself it was an allergy.
We didn’t sleep the night before we had to leave because there seemed to be so many little things to do… It helped that there was no electricity at all- the area generator wasn’t working and ‘national electricity’ was hopeless. There just wasn’t time to sleep.
The last few hours in the house were a blur. It was time to go and I went from room to room saying goodbye to everything. I said goodbye to my desk- the one I’d used all through high school and college. I said goodbye to the curtains and the bed and the couch. I said goodbye to the armchair E. and I broke when we were younger. I said goodbye to the big table over which we’d gathered for meals and to do homework. I said goodbye to the ghosts of the framed pictures that once hung on the walls, because the pictures have long since been taken down and stored away- but I knew just what hung where. I said goodbye to the silly board games we inevitably fought over- the Arabic Monopoly with the missing cards and money that no one had the heart to throw away.
I knew then as I know now that these were all just items- people are so much more important. Still, a house is like a museum in that it tells a certain history. You look at a cup or stuffed toy and a chapter of memories opens up before your very eyes. It suddenly hit me that I wanted to leave so much less than I thought I did.
Six AM finally came. The GMC waited outside while we gathered the necessities- a thermos of hot tea, biscuits, juice, olives (olives?!) which my dad insisted we take with us in the car, etc. My aunt and uncle watched us sorrowfully. There’s no other word to describe it. It was the same look I got in my eyes when I watched other relatives and friends prepare to leave. It was a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, tinged with anger. Why did the good people have to go?
I cried as we left- in spite of promises not to. The aunt cried… the uncle cried. My parents tried to be stoic but there were tears in their voices as they said their goodbyes. The worst part is saying goodbye and wondering if you’re ever going to see these people again. My uncle tightened the shawl I’d thrown over my hair and advised me firmly to ‘keep it on until you get to the border’. The aunt rushed out behind us as the car pulled out of the garage and dumped a bowl of water on the ground, which is a tradition- its to wish the travelers a safe return… eventually.
The trip was long and uneventful, other than two checkpoints being run by masked men. They asked to see identification, took a cursory glance at the passports and asked where we were going. The same was done for the car behind us. Those checkpoints are terrifying but I’ve learned that the best technique is to avoid eye-contact, answer questions politely and pray under your breath. My mother and I had been careful not to wear any apparent jewelry, just in case, and we were both in long skirts and head scarves.
The trip was long and uneventful, other than two checkpoints being run by masked men. They asked to see identification, took a cursory glance at the passports and asked where we were going. The same was done for the car behind us. Those checkpoints are terrifying but I’ve learned that the best technique is to avoid eye-contact, answer questions politely and pray under your breath. My mother and I had been careful not to wear any apparent jewelry, just in case, and we were both in long skirts and head scarves.
Syria is the only country, other than Jordan, that was allowing people in without a visa. The Jordanians are being horrible with refugees. Families risk being turned back at the Jordanian border, or denied entry at Amman Airport. It’s too high a risk for most families.
We waited for hours, in spite of the fact that the driver we were with had ‘connections’, which meant he’d been to Syria and back so many times, he knew all the right people to bribe for a safe passage through the borders. I sat nervously at the border. The tears had stopped about an hour after we’d left Baghdad. Just seeing the dirty streets, the ruins of buildings and houses, the smoke-filled horizon all helped me realize how fortunate I was to have a chance for something safer.
By the time we were out of Baghdad, my heart was no longer aching as it had been while we were still leaving it. The cars around us on the border were making me nervous. I hated being in the middle of so many possibly explosive vehicles. A part of me wanted to study the faces of the people around me, mostly families, and the other part of me, the one that’s been trained to stay out of trouble the last four years, told me to keep my eyes to myself- it was almost over.
It was finally our turn. I sat stiffly in the car and waited as money passed hands; our passports were looked over and finally stamped. We were ushered along and the driver smiled with satisfaction, “It’s been an easy trip, Alhamdulillah,” he said cheerfully.
As we crossed the border and saw the last of the Iraqi flags, the tears began again. The car was silent except for the prattling of the driver who was telling us stories of escapades he had while crossing the border. I sneaked a look at my mother sitting beside me and her tears were flowing as well. There was simply nothing to say as we left Iraq. I wanted to sob, but I didn’t want to seem like a baby. I didn’t want the driver to think I was ungrateful for the chance to leave what had become a hellish place over the last four and a half years.
The Syrian border was almost equally packed, but the environment was more relaxed. People were getting out of their cars and stretching. Some of them recognized each other and waved or shared woeful stories or comments through the windows of the cars. Most importantly, we were all equal. Sunnis and Shia, Arabs and Kurds… we were all equal in front of the Syrian border personnel.
We were all refugees- rich or poor. And refugees all look the same- there’s a unique expression you’ll find on their faces- relief, mixed with sorrow, tinged with apprehension. The faces almost all look the same.
The first minutes after passing the border were overwhelming. Overwhelming relief and overwhelming sadness… How is it that only a stretch of several kilometers and maybe twenty minutes, so firmly segregates life from death?
How is it that a border no one can see or touch stands between car bombs, militias, death squads and… peace, safety? It’s difficult to believe- even now. I sit here and write this and wonder why I can’t hear the explosions.
I wonder at how the windows don’t rattle as the planes pass overhead. I’m trying to rid myself of the expectation that armed people in black will break through the door and into our lives. I’m trying to let my eyes grow accustomed to streets free of road blocks, hummers and pictures of Muqtada and the rest…
How is it that all of this lies a short car ride away?
The Calm Man who did his best at reporting
A photo from April of 1971 of the towers
The Man who changed us all
The Man who gave his life for his faith
This is the exact kind of Religious SHIT that I hate – HATE about Christian Fundamentalists. That you believe that you hold sway over the government any more than the rest. This is why America needs a clear SEPARATION between CHURCH and STATE.
In the year 2007, Straight Evangelical Minions are so concerned with Gay Rights, Hate Crimes Legislation, AIDS funds, Gay Marriage, that you are going to spend millions of dollars and hundreds of hours of lobby time to sway the electorate to elect a God Damned President?
Oh the Gays are gonna come and get us, they threaten the sanctity of marriage, Oh the gays want Special Treatment, Rights, and Protection from Hate Crimes!! Oh Oh Oh….
The Evangelicals are on another Witch Hunt. They are going to press the Gay Issue on the Candidates and they will attempt to KILL any nomination of any candidate who is soft on the Homosexuals, Gays and Lesbians. I guess we are not past the wedging of Sexual Orientation or Sexual Orientation issues into a Presidential Campaign.
It is really sad when you think that all Evangelicals do with their spare time is THINK about all things GAY!!! Does this strike anyone as problematic for them and informative for us?
God, We pray for Salvation from Evangelical…
- Osama Bin Laden is still alive [See Video]
- The United States is engaged in a war [Read:IRAQ] that they cannot win
- President George Bush is an idiot – And needs to be IMPEACHED
- Your foreign policy needs work
- People need health care
- There are children going without food
- There is not enough money for People with AIDS across the board
- All you Christians can think about is the GAY AGENDA!! Pardon me while I THROW UP!!! You limey bastards…And God Wept!!!
by The Associated Press
Posted: September 9, 2007 – 3:00 pm ET
(Washington) Prominent evangelical leaders who spent the summer hoping Fred Thompson would emerge as their favored Republican presidential contender are having doubts as he begins his long-teased campaign.
For social conservatives dissatisfied with other GOP choices, the “Law & Order” actor and former Tennessee senator represents a Ronald Reagan-like figure, someone they hope will agree with them on issues and stands a chance of winning.
But Thompson’s lack of a full endorsement of a federal gay marriage amendment and his delay in entering the race are partly responsible for a sudden shyness among leading evangelicals.
“A month or two ago, I sensed there was some urgency for people to make a move and find a candidate,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a Washington-based conservative Christian group. “Right now, I think people are stepping back a little and watching. The field is still very fluid.”
A loose network of influential evangelical leaders known as the Arlington Group met privately Wednesday and Thursday in Washington to discuss presidential politics and other issues, participants said.
Although the group does not endorse candidates, individual members have done so in the past, and one of the organization’s founding principles is to get the movement’s leaders on the same page when possible.
Some in the meeting shared their presidential leanings, but the consensus was that more time is needed to gauge Thompson’s performance, according to a participant.
A clearer picture may develop Oct. 19-21 during a “Values Voter Summit” in Washington that will include a presidential straw poll.
In June, Thompson met privately with several Arlington Group members, many of whom are uncomfortable with the GOP top tier for various reasons: Arizona Sen. John McCain for championing campaign-finance overhaul and labeling some evangelical figures “agents of intolerance”; former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for backing abortion rights and some gay rights; and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for his social-issue policy reversals and – for some members – his Mormon faith.
With the post-Labor Day primary push under way, the 65-year-old Thompson faces a crucial month to prove he is the best alternative for a key GOP constituency.
“He’s got a real opportunity to be the most credible conservative candidate across the board,” said Gary Bauer, a one-time presidential aspirant who heads the advocacy group American Values. “Whether he can put it all together remains to be seen. But he’s got a real chance to emerge as the major conservative alternative to Giuliani.”
Others are skeptical about whether Thompson can fill that role.
Rick Scarborough, a Southern Baptist preacher and president of Texas-based Vision America, said that while he is encouraged by Thompson’s strong voting record in the Senate against abortion, he questioned the candidate’s commitment to social issues.
“The problem I’m having is that I don’t see any blood trail,” Scarborough said. “When you really take a stand on issues dear to the heart of social conservatives, you’re going to shed some blood in the process. And so far, Fred Thompson’s political career has been wrinkle-free.”
Thompson’s long-delayed entry is another concern, Scarborough said. “The hesitancy has made us wonder whether he has the stomach for what it’s going to take,” he said.
Earlier this summer, doubts crept in following reports on Thompson’s role in crafting campaign finance reform and stories that he lobbied for an abortion rights group.
More recently, Thompson has come under scrutiny for his position on a constitutional amendment on gay marriage, a defining issue for the Christian right.
Thompson over the past month has stated on more than one occasion that he supports an amendment that would prohibit states from imposing their gay marriage laws on other states. (story) That falls well short of what evangelical leaders want: an amendment that would bar gay marriage nationwide.
Thompson’s position surprised evangelical leaders who say they met with him in June and came away thinking he shared their desire for a more sweeping constitutional change. Now, they wonder if he is flip-flopping.
One person in attendance – Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based conservative legal group – said Thompson described going back and forth about the merits of an amendment prohibiting gay marriage nationwide.
“At one time, he said he was against it,” Staver said. “Then he said in June he was for it. So if now he’s saying he’s against it, to me that’s a double-minded person. And that would be a real concern for religious conservatives.”
Messages left with Thompson campaign were not returned.
Several Christian right leaders said opposition to a broad amendment would hurt Thompson with evangelicals, but not necessarily cause irreparable harm. Others played down the issue, pointing out that their favored approach was politically impossible anyway because Democrats control the House and Senate.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said Thompson’s position is consistent with the former senator’s support for limited federal government and giving power to the states.
Land said it is healthy that expectations for Thompson have diminished from unrealistic levels and he does not think evangelical excitement has dimmed for a man he described as a “masterful retail politician.”
Many evangelical leaders said one of Thompson’s biggest draws is his perceived electability. Some are watching whether former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, can build on his second place finish last month in the Iowa straw poll.
Tim Wildmon, president of the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, said that while he likes Huckabee, Thompson’s better name recognition and fundraising potential is a strong draw for evangelicals.
“This is a dilemma a lot of people have,” Wildmon said. “They want to support the candidate that most reflects their values. “But at the same time, you have to balance that against finding someone who can actually win.”
I was invited to a special unveiling of an exhibition at The Christ Church Cathedral today of art and information about The Primates World Relief and Development Fund. Directed at prevention and education about AIDS. A subject close to my heart, in fact, part of it as well. Below are photographs of the art on display for the next two weeks at the Cathedral.
Our Bishop, Barry B. Clarke, was on hand to open the exhibition and the chair of the Theology Department at Concordia University was there as well. They are looking for a few volunteers to show up and participate in the exhibition, if you have a spare hour or two, they could use your support.
It’s time to open our hands, hearts and minds to HIV and AIDS and respond with action, love and knowledge.
It’s time to stop the stigma and discrimination and act on God’s call to love one another, restore right relationships and ensure the dignity of every human being.
It’s time to break the silence and inaction and face a world with AIDS more holistically, more authentically and more compassionately.
It’s time to embrace all brothers and sisters as children of God without prejudice, judgment or fear.
This is the Altar piece from St, Michael’s Mission – artwork done by many artists. They represent different liturgical and seasonal scenes. The central panel is called “the life bearers,” to the left, “The Tree of Life,” and to the right, “beyond, what I see.”
The creator of this altar piece followed one of the artists home and this segment of photos is called “On the way home.” From St. Michael’s Mission.
What We Do
Development, Relief and Justice
PWRDF works in partnership with organizations in Canada and throughout the world to support people-centred development that improves the quality of daily life for vulnerable populations, promotes self-reliance, and addresses root causes of poverty and injustice. PWRDF is active in approximately 30 countries, and also accompanies Uprooted People – including victims of disasters, refugees, internally displaced people, and migrant workers. PWRDF partners are drawn from Anglican churches, ecumenical organizations and community-based groups. Partners address the root causes of problems and accompany communities as they move beyond survival into sustainable development.