discarded lies: monday, may 1, 2017 7:23 am zst
strangers in a strange blog
daily archive: 01/23/2005
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Oh, the Ignominy
From Kosher Eucharist: Michael tastes defeat.
I tell you, my dear friends, you have not known humility until you have been brought to your knees in the game of kings by a 12 year old Lubavitcher Chasidishe girl. Especially when she spends the whole game trying to psych you out. “If you knew what you were doing, you would realize what I’m doing and move to counter it. But you don’t know what you’re doing.?
Smart little girl.

Michael's question (and the game of chess) did give me some food for thought: "if one never makes their enemy feel as if they have been defeated, how can one expect them to cease waging war?"
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
White and Christian
Constantine Pleshakov, journalist and former member of the Moscow Academy of Sciences, writes about Europe's other immigrants:
Barbarian invasions from the east are old news for old Europe. Over the centuries, restless nomads kept rolling through the area -- sometimes to kill, sometimes to plunder, and sometimes to plunder and stay.

In fact, most invaders chose to settle down on the conquered European terrain, won over by its mild climate, bustling urban culture and easy access to every imaginable trade route, be that to China, Ethiopia or the Canary Islands.

For a few centuries, Europe was left alone, and then the post-World War II economic boom came. By the 1960s, almost every country of Western Europe was enjoying skyrocketing economic growth.

However, the postwar welfare society constrained the boom. Millions of former soldiers angrily demanded better pay, decent labor environment, long vacations and fat retirement benefits. With a working force like that, it was difficult for the European economy to gain momentum.

The answer to the problem was found immediately: Import cheap labor. Arabs streamed to France and Spain, Turks moved to Germany, Yugoslavs settled in Austria. Even Norway brought in thousands of hungry Pakistanis. Not pampered by the trade unions and not protected by any political party, going unnoticed and unacknowledged, Asians and Africans became a silent driving force behind the European economic miracle.

But today guest workers from countries like Turkey and Pakistan no longer look good to European employers. For starters, they are Muslim, and in the post-9/11 world this is not the best possible asset on one's resume. Second, they have already become too numerous in their adopted countries, and Europeans are quite apprehensive of this demographic time bomb.

I recall an episode that occurred in Norway several years ago. It was a Monday morning and I was standing at a bus stop with my kids. Monday mornings are pretty bad in Oslo, as it is the time when ferries from the continent arrive. The price of a bottle of scotch in Norway exceeds the cost of a Cartier necklace in Paris, so many thrifty Norwegians board ferries bound for Denmark to buy alcohol on board -- duty-free.

However, Norwegian customs agents watch out for alcohol imports more zealously than the Americans do for Osama bin Laden. The travelers feel cheated, so they make sure they drink enough on board to keep them sick for the rest of the week. When I spotted a middle-aged Norwegian male crawling toward the bus stop like a challenged lizard, I assumed a protective posture and clutched my kids' hands.

The traveler, drunk he was, didn't fail to notice my panic and, as many drunks do, immediately struck up a conversation.

"Where are you from?"

"Russia," I said, unsure about what his reaction would be.

He looked at me, then with some difficulty -- which was understandable, given the throbbing alcohol count in his system -- he switched his stare to my kids.

"It's OK," he finally said. "You are still better than the Pakis."

"Why is that?"

"You are white and Christian," he said.

There we were. I was a guest worker in his country myself -- granted, not doing dishes or digging ditches but instead involved in some inconsequential research in a very generous think tank -- but I was not rated much different from a "Paki," who also had kids and wanted to build a better future for them.

Only several years ago, people of my skin color easily passed the ultimate test in Europe -- "white and Christian" -- but I am not so sure about now, and for one simple reason: Migrant labor from the former Soviet Union has become overpowering in each and every European venue.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Church of Khidr
I have a few friends who, in their quest for the answer to life, the universe and everything, probably wouldn't mind joining this church.
Does freedom of religion grant a person the right to do something the government says is illegal?

An Illinois Central College student says yes.

I.C.C. student Joe Johnson says he’s being religiously persecuted for his use of marijuana.

There are no stained glass windows or steeples inside a third floor apartment on the campus of Illinois Central College.

But there really is a church inside a Woodview Commons apartment.

Joe Johnson says he’s an ordained reverend with the church of Khidr. The church focuses on finding God in the here and now. Members use marijuana to help them do that.

Johnson says his landlord is trying to keep him from using the drug in his apartment. He takes offense to people who say he just wants to get high.

“That's actually not the point at all. The focus of this church is to bring people closer to God. Just because we use the herb as our sacrament instead of alcohol or anything else, we don't think we should be persecuted anymore than Catholics who use wine to represent the blood of Jesus," said Rev. Johnson.

An I.C.C. representative says the school respects all of its students’ religious preferences, but when students sign a lease to live in the campus apartments, they agree not to have marijuana, alcohol or any other illegal substance.

Johnson says he is looking at taking his case to court.
Student Says Marijuana Is Part of His Religion
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
A Simple Test
Natan Sharansky: Antisemitism in 3-D
I offer a simple "3-D" test for differentiating legitimate criticism of Israel from antisemitism. This "3-D" test applies the same criteria to the new antisemitism that for centuries identified different manifestations of classical antisemitism.

The first "D" is the test of demonization — as noted in the State Department report. Jews have been demonized for centuries as the embodiment of evil, whether in the theological form of a collective accusation of deicide or in the generalized depiction of Jews as money-grubbing Shylocks. Today we must take note when the Jewish state or its leaders are being demonized, with their actions being blown out of all rational proportion.

For example, the comparisons of Israelis to Nazis and of the Palestinian refugee camps to Auschwitz — comparisons heard frequently throughout Europe and on North American university campuses — are clearly antisemitic. Those who draw such analogies either are deliberately ignorant regarding Nazi Germany or, more commonly, are deliberately depicting modern-day Israel as the embodiment of evil.

The second "D" is the test of double standards. From discriminatory laws many nations enacted against Jews to the tendency to judge their behavior by a different yardstick, this differential treatment of Jews was always a clear sign of antisemitism. Similarly, today we must ask whether criticism of Israel is being applied selectively. In other words, do similar policies pursued by other governments produce similar criticism?

It is antisemitic discrimination, for instance, when Israel is singled out for condemnation by the United Nations for perceived human rights abuses while proven obliterators of human rights on a massive scale — like China, Iran, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Syria, to name just a few — are not even mentioned. Likewise, it is antisemitism when Israel's Magen David Adom, alone among the world's ambulance services, is denied admission to the International Red Cross.

The third "D" is the test of delegitimization. Traditionally, antisemites denied the legitimacy of the Jewish religion, the Jewish people, or both. Today, they attempt to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish state, presenting it as, among other things, the prime remnant of imperialist colonialism.

While criticism of an Israeli policy may not be antisemitic, the denial of Israel's right to exist is always antisemitic. If other peoples, including 21 Arab Muslim States — and particularly the many states created in the postcolonial period following World War II — have the right to live securely in their homelands, then the Jewish people has that right as well, particularly given the sanction of the United Nations in setting up and recognizing the country at its founding. Questioning that legitimacy is pure antisemitism.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Greatest Casualty
Rabbi Marc Gellman comments on today's generation of children being raised with "only a pathetic knowledge of history."
My first thought about the party where Prince Harry dressed up like a Nazi was whether it was really a costume party or a come-as-you-are party. I recalled the admiration some of his family had for Hitler; how his great-great uncle King Edward the VIII was photographed smiling and sucking up to Hitler; how his family was not even called the House of Windsor until after World War I in order to cover up its German roots. At first I feared that this hereditary Nazi sympathizing had tragically reached into a new generation.

Then the real terror hit me.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Lessons Not Learned
The world was silent sixty-two years ago, when millions of Jews were singled out for death. Eventually, we gasped in horror and felt guilty and rushed to get a tagline, "Never Again," and thus regained our self-esteem; we had learned from the Holocaust - except that we didn't bother to teach our children. And we had no choice but to ignore the killings in Cambodia and Rwanda and Sudan and Congo because the real problem is that shitty little country and we must not stop condemning and criticising her for a minute. We learned from the Holocaust and we know what we're doing.

Happy Holocaust, everyone!
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Liberators
January 27 commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz. Here are some testimonies from the soldiers who were there. It's important that we read their stories and remember them and pass them on because these WWII veterans will not be with us much longer. At least we'll have their words.
When they were young, they fought the Nazis, and then bore witness to the extreme depravity of which human beings are capable.

Now in or nearing their 80s and 90s, the Allied soldiers who liberated the concentration camps of Europe are recounting their memories of the horrors. Approaching the Jan. 27 anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, many of those still living feel urgency to testify about what they encountered.

Anatoly Shapiro, 92, has never forgotten what he saw at Auschwitz on Jan. 27, 1945. That was the day Shapiro, who says he is the first Russian officer to enter the infamous concentration camp, led his battalion to liberate it.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Samorost
You like games? You do? Really? Honest?

All right then, here you go.
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