daily archive: 09/11/2005
Scenes From An Atrocity
aridog sends along a few photographs to mark this sombre occasion.
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The Return of the Man in Black: Part IV
A small tropical island in the South China Sea. Early evening.
The Inquisitor Essington Streck strides up the road to the villa.
He had landed his ship in a clearing in the jungle nearby.
His robes rustled as he strode the dusty road, his senses were ready for action.
The villa seemed devoid of life, no activity could be seen, nor people.
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All this over a parade?!
Northern Ireland: Rioters 'intended to kill police'
Northern Ireland's worst rioting in years left more than 30 police officers injured, the chief constable has said.
Loyalist paramilitaries fired at least 50 live rounds at police and the Army after a disputed Protestant Orange Order parade, Sir Hugh Orde said.
Saturday's rioters in Belfast intended to kill police and it was lucky "we have no dead police officers", he said.
A man, 48, and a 16-year-old have been charged with riotous assembly and resisting arrest over the disturbances.
They are due to appear before in Belfast magistrates on Monday.
On Sunday evening police said they had reports of groups of youths gathered in areas across the city and of vehicles being set alight.
However, BBC Ireland correspondent Denis Murray said that, so far, the disturbances had not been on the scale of the previous night.
On Saturday the security forces fired 450 plastic bullets and seven live rounds. Several people were arrested.
A "bomb factory" had been discovered in Belfast and seven firearms recovered, said Sir Hugh.
A major police investigation would now be launched following the events, he said.
About 1,000 police and 1,000 soldiers were deployed to deal with the violence.
Sir Hugh said it was one of the most dangerous riot situations ever faced by officers in the UK.
Police returned live fire after being targeted by automatic weapons.
Loyalist rioters attacked police with homemade bombs, bricks, bottles, petrol bombs, blast bombs, pipe bombs and live rounds.
A man injured by a blast bomb is in a critical condition in hospital.
Secretary of State Peter Hain condemned the violence. "Attempted murder cannot in any way be justified," he said. He will meet NI's police chief on Monday.
Mr Hain said the rioting and attacks on the police and Army were totally unacceptable.
"There can be no ambiguity or excuse for breaking the law. All those with influence in the community, including the Orange Order and unionist politicians, must condemn this violence and give their full support to the PSNI."
Sir Hugh said the Orange Order bore substantial responsibility for the rioting and "sustained and violent attack" on his officers.
The Orange Order described his remarks as "inflammatory".
At a news conference in Belfast on Sunday, Sir Hugh said he saw members of the Orange Order attacking PSNI officers.
The violence had been orchestrated and the police response had been proportionate and responsible, he said.
"Petrol bombs don't appear by accident, blast bombs do not appear by accident and certainly firearms have to be planned to be produced in the way they were produced," said Sir Hugh.
The Orange Order parade had "become illegal" and "fundamentally breached" the Parades Commission's determination on several counts, said the chief constable.
Of the 450 plastic baton rounds fired, about 250 were fired by the Army and the remainder by the PSNI, said the chief constable.
The police fired six live rounds and the Army fired one live round at a gunman, he said.
Unbelievable. This in a modern Western society? Grow up, you stupid jerks. It's a fucking parade, you don't start trying to murder the cops when they cancel it.
Ireland's strife bewilders me. What is wrong with all these people? Catholics and Protestants live together peacefully in every country except Northern Ireland.
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Militia leader Zakariya Zubeideh is sitting in the shade on the steps of a nondescript building, smoking a cigarette, taking calls on his cell phone and generally chilling out after more than two hours of being followed around by two TV crews, one Israeli and the other Swedish. It has been a somewhat tiring morning for the head of the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Jenin, a militant stronghold in the northern West Bank. The schedule has involved constant posing with his M-16 surrounded by a gang of four similarly armed sidekicks; riding with them in the open back of a Magnum 4x4 pickup truck for the benefit of the cameras; and driving downtown to the crowded market and bus station area where few people seemed to take much notice and uniformed Palestinian policemen simply looked on.
In addition, Zubeideh has given numerous interviews welcoming the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four isolated Jewish settlements in the vicinity of Jenin, a process that was completed a day earlier, on August 23, and has sent "messages" through the foreign media to the international community. All this exposure is a tall order for a 29-year-old self-made militia chief in black T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, born and bred in the steep alleyways of the Jenin refugee camp where he still lives in semi-hiding, having escaped numerous (he says 11) attempts by Israel to do away with him once and for all.
The Israeli disengagement, he has just told the Swedish crew in softly spoken Arabic, is "the fruit of the armed resistance" of the past four years, "resistance which has hopefully paved the way for a more peaceful period. We in the Al-Aqsa Brigades announced a truce about nine months ago. But if there is Israeli aggression against our people, it will collapse. The ball is now in Israel's court."
Zubeideh is expressing a generally held feeling among the Palestinians, and one that he claims comes from the top. While Israel now demands Palestinian Authority action against the armed factions such as the Al-Aqsa Brigades, these pro-Fatah militiamen, like their partner-rivals in the main opposition Hamas, are waiting for the next move of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. PA leader Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen), for his part, is faced with the seemingly impossible task of trying to neutralize the armed factions and deliver the "single authority, single law and single gun" he has promised, and at the same time keep the militants on his side and the fragile truce intact.
Read the rest here: Peacetime in Jenin
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A Birthday Greeting
My birthday will be always eclipsed by this day. I no longer wish for presents or congrats. My only present that I want is memory...a long memory. ..and anger. cool. sustained. rage. the machine within. Machina ex deus. I once read a Marine's blog on rage. He called it having a machine within himself. I have only felt this kind of cold mechanical rage a few times in my life.
Once, immediately after the birth of my twins. I was strolling them in an old fashioned pram, because they were two sizes too small.
As I walked on a beautiful late spring day down my street, a boy chasing another boy came crashing together through the backyard gate, both about 8 years of age, both dressed in home made capes and wearing war paint on their faces. Each carrying a hammer, whooping like Injuns on the warpath.
They ran up to the buggy and stopped. Suddenly, they both fell silent, while holding their hammers aloft, but not meaning any harm, I am sure, just curious to see what was inside.
I didn't wait. The machine within turned on.
First, I screamed a kind of scream that could only be described as animalistic.
They were scared shitless. I was thinking, Hammers, they are going to attack with hammers, and I screamed a wordless, tigerlike scream. They dropped their hammers and ran into the house, frightened to death of me. I picked up their hammers and threw them over the fence, and shaking from the belief that the babies were in imminent danger, I turned around and went home. I thought about my actions all day, and I could only come to this conclusion: Maternal instinct is animal in nature. I had the power to kill someone. That was something I had never considered possible before.
My next bout of machine rage was watching the trial of the British Nanny in Massachussetts concerning the death of toddler Matthew Eappen. As I watched her lawyer asking her, "Did you kill Matthew Eapen?" She giggled. Nervously, but leaving no doubt in my mind that she did it. She did it and believed she was going to get away with it. She was so maticulously dressed, so well-prepped, so image-driven, but the actual stain of guilt was present. It was there in her face, her eyes, and nothing, no media sympathy, no idiotic polls could erase the bloodstains from her memory. She did it and she knew it, and she. didn't. care. I went ice cold with rage. How I wanted to strangle her. I wanted to enjoy strangling her. I didn't care that strangling someone was illegal. I wanted to do it. To her. Baby killer. Soulless, self-absorbed baby killer.
The jury saw what I had seen, too. Despite the best efforts of the press, they had seen it too, and found her guilty. The press was outraged! So in love with their creation of an "Innocent British school girl caught up in the Nightmare that is the American Justice System" that not one of the talking heads could be bothered to ask...maybe? Maybe she is guilty? But how they crucified the mother. What kind of mother goes back to work and leaves the care of her children in the hands of a teenager? A greedy mom, one who hates to stay home and do the right thing and raise the kids at home....just the kind of woman they usually describe as stupid for WANTING to stay home, and NOT WANTING to work outside the home. I know those media-types. I used to work for the press, and how I remember hearing them tell me how stupid I was for wanting to give up my 'career' when there were so many day care options available to me. THIS IS THE 80s! What kind of wrench was I throwing into the progress of women's right to work outside the home....yada, yada, yada.
So I was enraged at the press in their coverage of the Matthew Eappen murder...and the press conviction of his mother's guilt for having worked outside the home. But helpless. Is there a rage that is more helpless than the rage that festers which tells you that you are helpless against an injustice perpetrated by people who are supposed to fight against injustice?
And now, September 11. This is a day tailor-made for rage. Constant therapeutic rage. But, thankfully, I do not need to go out and strangle anyone in the press corps for their constant missrepresentations. We now have 'FISKING', brought to you, since September 11, 2001, or shortly thereafter, by the blogosphere. Thank you for the blogosphere. Best. Birthday. Present. EVER!!!
It is this day I felt the coldest and most helpless anger of all. This day which transformed me from gullible sheep to rage filled sheepdog...Thank you Bill Whittle. I might be, in the words of the late Mohammad Atta, "but a woman", but now, I am Jauhara. I may be too old to join the army and slaughter you properly, crusade-style, but now I am Jauhara. It is what happens when you have a name that can translate literally into any language in the world. Some names can't, but Jewel can. Bijou, jolla, gioia, hoseki, dragontsenny kamen'....the list goes on forever. And in arabic, Jauhara is not a meek, abaya-clad/doormat/punching bag/toilet daughter of Islam....she is the infidel..al kafirah. I learn languages. Quickly. It is a knack. I teach this knack to people. Arabic isn't as hard as you think it is...just avoid Modern Standard and go for Egyptian or some other dialect. What was Atta...an Egyptian? Where was the Muslim brotherhood founded? Egypt.....one of our really good allies.
So on this day, I bid you all a long memory, and a nice, cold rage-filled rant. Let the fisking celebrations continue.
Thank you all,
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Amidst all the politicizing, camera-hogging, pontificating, blame-casting, excuse-making, and Bush-bashing, real Americans step up to the plate and answer the call when their fellow citizens are in trouble.
Once again we have been subjected to some of the most awful accusations and diatribes imaginable spewed out of the mouths of politicians, movie actors, rappers and other brainless Neanderthals. For these folks, the whole world is a stage, upon which they reveal themselves to be a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. Where’s the love?
Let me tell you where the real love is – it’s something that resides deep in the heart and soul of Americans like embers that only need to be stirred for the fire to leap back to flame. Last Sunday, a young lady in our congregation whose name is Amber asked me if she could make an announcement to the congregation. She told us she was planning to leave for Houston, Texas on Thursday to assist with the relief effort. Could we help her with some things she could take down?
We received any number of coloring books, games, playing cards, children’s books, and a host of other items over the next several days for Amanda to carry down. Only problem is she’d need an old-fashioned shipping trunk to carry all the stuff. She had informed us that she was only taking one suitcase. Ha!
Ellen, who is in charge of our social activities and is one excellent cook, told me she’d love to go down and help organize feeding these displaced people. She and her husband raised their own children plus a number of adopted children. I’ve forgotten just how many. She laments that she cannot go and help due to health conditions.
I ran into Sharon at the gas station yesterday. She doesn’t attend our church, but asked if we were taking an offering to help in the relief effort. I assured her we were, and in fact, had taken a collection the previous Sunday, September 7. She said she figured as much and wanted to make a contribution.
My friend and fellow-Marine, Dave, asked if he could use his skills as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). I looked at him and sadly shook my head no. You see, Dave is a Vietnam Vet, who, due to wounds and injuries, must move around now with a walker. This is a man with three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, and the Navy Cross. He’s in his early fifties. And he’s someone you would want in a time of crisis. His broken body simply won’t allow him to be involved in this rescue effort.
I could tell you of others but you get the idea. You could probably add to this list yourself. In fact, you’d probably want to go yourself if you could.
The truth of the matter is that so many Americans have stepped up that the organizers of the rescue efforts are having to now turn people away. Not to worry, though. It is predicted that the recovery period will go on for months. More people will be needed as others are required to return home to their jobs and families.
I was spending the day on Friday at the Navy/Marine Corps Reserve Center in Alameda where my command is located. I was visiting the Commanding Officer, Commander Lisa Avila, and the Executive Officer, LCDR Brian Week. I asked what was being done by our reservists regarding Hurricane Katrina. They told me the phones have been ringing off the hook from reservists wanting to know how they could be used in the relief effort. Could they get orders to the Gulf?
These are my kind of Americans! No hand-wringing. No finger-pointing. No excuse-making. Just normal folks who know how to get things done. And if they can’t go themselves, they’ll at least make a monetary contribution. Or they’ll ship supplies to the affected area. And they’ll pray.
I can’t help but think of what Jesus said in John 15:12-13. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.�?
Real Americans know this truth. They love their neighbor, regardless of race, creed or national origin. This has been my experience everywhere I travel in this great land of ours.
Do the nay-sayers bother me? Not really. After my initial desire to reach through the TV screen and grab some mealy-mouthed no-account by the throat, I remember that they do not represent Americans, real Americans I have been privileged to know.
America is great because her people are great.
God bless America!
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Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day is 'Offensive' to British Muslims
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On That Day They Wounded New York
Summer is almost over. There's a tang in the air, not yet cool, but like a premonition of coolness to come.
It used to be a happy time in childhood. Shopping for school. Anticipating Halloween. It brings to mind the smell of fresh, crisp apples, the bustle of canning for the coming winter, the new pencils, waiting their first sharpening, the new notebooks, with nothing yet printed on them.
In a way, a new school year was both exciting and scary. I knew what would happen at the beginning, I knew the work that lay in between, but I did not know who I would be at the other end. In the dark tunnels of adolescence every year was a new voyage and the person at the end sometimes had little to do with the person at the beginning.
Now the end of August brings the nightmares and another sort of fear and the nights I wake up and stare at the ceiling and wonder what we will all be - what the world will be - at the end of this tunnel. The tunnel we entered on September 11 2001.
Curiously, before that date I did not sleep for about a month. Not because of any premonition or fear - at least I don't think so. I was worried about career issues, confused about choices I had to make: choices that now seem childish or irrelevant.
In fact, now, when I look back to the decade before 2001, I see it as halcyon days, a long summer of childhood - a time between the fraught times of early adolescence and this dark, narrow point at which we are now where the future can only be dimly perceived.
And the day, itself, dawned inoffensive. With no premonitions of doom. I walked the kids to school through the warm morning, waited till pre-school opened to leave the little one after his brothers had started school, and walked back home to work. But I hadn't sat at the computer when the phone rang, and my friend told me to turn on the tv because a plane had hit the trade center.
Thus started days of sitting in front of the tv, as friends gathered - at our house, as usual in times of joy or distress. They brought alcohol and sweets and I think we all gained twenty pounds in the next week. We cried and we hugged and we cried some more.
And even so, even back then, even as my kids, in a profoundly liberal suburb, learned old patriotic songs full of fire and vengeance - like the battle anthem of the republic - I kept hearing the talking heads say that nothing would ever be the same again. And I thought they were nuts. Just nuts. Because it was so strange - this terrorist attacking something like our mighty country. Unsettling, sure. But we'd punish it swiftly, overwhelmingly. Everyone would remain united behind it. And life would go on.
I counted without the cold war leavings. The people who were still bitter at the USA for winning the cold war immediately took the side of the terrorists. My mind still boggles at this - as it boggled every step of the way while it was happening.
Today - again - I avoided a confrontation with a friend blithering over "a billion a day spent on Iraq", an exaggerated sum, and not the point at all. I wanted to say "We will endure any hardship, pay any price." But I knew it would only bring about a final argument. And though I know the argument can't be long delayed, I would wait yet a while. For the sake of friendship past.
Because, you see, it is not her fault. She simply isn't thinking. She is not capable of seeing that we are hated - that there is a new fascism ready to enslave the world. She doesn't see it's the same old beast Hitler and Stalin rode, this time wearing Islamic robes, but the same still. I realized today - when I got hold of the new Leonard Cohen Album, Dear Heather, what the problem is.
In his Song "On That Day" Cohen finishes with the lines "Did you go crazy, or did you report/On that day they wounded New York." The booklet with the CD defines report as "presenting oneself for duty" or "enlisting."
And that’s the problem.
The problem, you see, is that my friend went crazy. She could not accept that someone could hate us that much for no good reason. She could not accept that anyone but America might be dangerous. In a way it is the touching faith of a child in his parents. She thinks America - big, powerful - is the ONLY actor for good and evil in the world. And as such, if there's anything wrong, America alone caused it and can change it. This solipsistic madness prevents her from seeing how we can lose the war. How we can lose it most definitely.
Oh, not by arms, not on the battle field. Not by any fair means. Not even - I think - by being subverted from within. Too many of us remember Vietnam and the press does not have the power it once had.
No - listen to my fear, the nightmare that wakes me from deep sleep. This is how we can lose the war and ourselves and never emerge from the other end of the tunnel - imagine another September morn, clear and full of promise. Imagine well scrubbed kids headed for school and a new year. Imagine a Beslan in an American suburb.
Now imagine the vengeance. Parents rising up. Imagine how many Muslims, how many non-Muslim liberals - otherwise innocent - will be swept up in the vengeance. I can't promise I won't kill the first person who says "we brought this on ourselves." In those circumstances, particularly if I lose one of my kids to this, I probably will. And so will others.
This is not the only disaster. There are many others. A smallpox epidemic unleashed. A nuclear explosion in Manhattan. Any of these will push a majority of Americans into... something else.
And then at the end of it, who will we be? We won't be ourselves. The brave experiment that has been America all these two hundred years will have mutated. Changed. No more will people say "My friends, G-d bless them, the most politically dizzy bunch that ever lived, but I love them." No more will neighbors, side by side, trade civil good mornings despite opposing political signs in their yard. And pitch together in need, despite heated opinion differences.
It is possible, as someone said somewhere, that were that to happen there won't be "a Muslim alive on the face of the Earth." And that massacre of the innocent with the guilty will be only the beginning. The America I fell in love with, the America where each person can be as eccentric as they please provided they don't hurt others will be gone.
What will be left will be something more like the conformism of Europe. Or worse. A global Empire, bent on subjugating the foreigners we can’t trust.
And that, my friends, is what we can’t allow to happen.
To avoid it, we need - paradoxically - to "report". To enlist. We need to stop the nonsense, the "gotcha" politics, the "bush war" the "bush lied" games. Those are the games of the insane playing at the edge of abyss. And we need to get serious. Really serious. We need to smack the administration where it counts. Not on their lack of sensitivity, but on their nonsense with immigration. Not on their profiling, but on the shocking inefficiency of airport security. Not on their deficit but on the efficient transferral of money to needed equipment for the troops. Not on their snubbing of Europe, but on what they're doing about China, Syria, Iran, North Korea.
Only then can we ensure there are no more September elevens. Only then can we ensure America will be the same at the end of this dark tunnel.
Only then can we adequately honor those who died.
On that day they wounded New York.
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