Thursday, April 14, 2005

A Free Iraqi's Poem

Two years now and
"they" still wonder
And "they" still ask Was it worth it?
Was it right?
Two years and it seems to me Like it was yesterday
Two years and "they" keep trying
To silence the voice inside us
Yet it only grows louder

I was once free When I was a kid
But when I grew up
I couldn't be the man I am
I couldn't be the kid I was
And I couldn't flee

Two years since I finally became
The man in me, and the kid in me.
And "they" want to take this away?
"They" would have to kill them both first
The man and the kid
And turn the clock back around
And still "they" can't change me back

Two years since I stopped weeping
Inside of me, day and night
Two years since the widow
Found her husband's body
In a feast of death for the human death lord.
Two years since the orphan
knew Where his father lied
And now they finally have peace
And they have a future
No matter how painful it is to go on
And their dreams still go on

Two years since I started dreaming
Dreams that have a chance
And are becoming true
Two years since I regained my heart
And then I found her...
And she found me...
And the world looked beautiful!
And "they" think they can separate us?!
Think again, or keep wishing.

Two years and some are still
Trapped in the past
And some cannot withstand the moment
And want to arrive without struggle to a better future
While others just enjoy what is already better now
And work to meet the future, bettered with them.
Two years and they ask Should I be grateful?
Am I?
Do I even need to answer that!?
YES, and to the last breath!

Ali from Baghdad, A Free Iraqi

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Australian gets it wrong

THE fragile truce between Israel and the Palestinians was shaken at the weekend when Palestinian militants fired at least 60 mortar shells at Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip after Israeli soldiers killed three unarmed Palestinian youths who had entered a military no-go area on the border with Egypt.

The Australian
A short analysis of the above:

  • Arms: 60 mortars vs 3 bullets
  • Targeting: general vs specific
  • Victims: settlers vs "unarmed Palestinian youths"

The article is structured so that the latter imbalance justifies the former two. Later on, tucked away in the midst of the article is the following statement: "Palestinian security officials later acknowledged they were involved in an arms smuggling operation" and explains that the figures were crawling through the restricted military zone. With this in mind, is the term "unarmed Palestinian youths" correct? and accordingly, the entire framing of the article is wrongfooted.

Tensions rose further with the attempt by an extreme right-wing Jewish organisation to stage a massive pray-in yesterday on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, a site holy to both Muslims and Jews. Islamic organisations warned of the outbreak of a new intifada if Jews violated the sanctity of the site, dominated by the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site.

Another short analysis:

  • Temple Mount: "a site holy to both Muslims and Jews" (joint/equal claim)
  • al-Aqsa mosque: Islam's third holiest site (special claim: Muslim)

The article fails to mention that the Temple Mount is (and has been for some 3000 years) Judaism's holiest site. Despite that, for the sake of the peace, Israeli police have consistently supported the WAQF (Islamic administrator of the holy site) and refused or limited Jewish entry to their holiest site. The Western Wall is the nearest Jews can get to their holy site.

(Note: Jews all around the world pray facing the temple mount, while Muslims of the middle east will face their backside to the mosque and pray to Mecca)

Further, the article fails on the facts, the temple mount is not dominated by the al-Aqsa mosque, but rather the dome of the rock - Qubbat As-Sakhrah, which does not even make the top three list. In fact, it is not even a mosque, and your local mosque and 123 Main Street is holier than this structure. The following image and links highlight this:

See Wikipedia or your encyclopedia's own definition of the terms Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.

Aerial view of Temple Mount, with the Dome of the Rock in the center and the Al Aqsa Mosque on the upper left of the compound

The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is not to be confused with the Dome of the Rock

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Pope John Paul II dies

May he rest in peace.

The Pope at the Western Wall in March 2000 inserting a note that seeks forgiveness for Christian sins against Jews

Arthur Chrenkoff, one of my favourite bloggers, has a great post on the pope's death entitled My Pope. Arthur is of Polish origin and gives over a very interesting perspective. Other "must read"s are PowerLine's article on the Pope as well as Charles Krauthammer's article on the subject.

ScrappleFace's Double Whammy

Condi Congratulates Zimbabwe's Mugabe on Reelection
by Scott Ott |

(2005-04-02) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condaleezza Rice today congratulated Robert Mugabe on winning this week's free and fair presidential elections to continue his 25-year rule of Zimbabwe.

"Under Mr. Mugabe's leadership," said Secretary Rice in a written statement, "Zimbabwe has become a recognized world leader in unemployment (70%), inflation (~620%) and HIV adult prevalence rate (33.7%). Thanks to this popular, legally-reelected, leader, the average lifespan of a Zimbabwean has gone from 61 years to 34 years in just the past 15 years, making his nation one of the most rapidly-youthful in the world."

Secretary Rice hailed Mr. Mugabe's leadership as "a textbook case which will be studied in universities around the world for years to come."

In addition to his legal reelection, the 81-year-old Mr. Mugabe's party this week legally won approximately 70 seats in the 150-seat legislature, and he legally will appoint an additional 30 legislators, giving him the two-thirds majority needed legally to re-write the constitution to allow him legally to hand-pick his successor.

As a reelection gift, U.S. Ambassador Joseph Sullivan presented Mr. Mugabe with a bound copy of President George Bush's second inaugural address with this excerpt engraved on the cover.

"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you."

Wolfowitz to End World Bank Funding of Poor Nations
by Scott Ott|

(2005-03-31) -- Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, headed for almost-certain approval as the new chief of the World Bank, said his first official move would be to withdraw funding to poor nations whose people suffer from a "low quality of life with little hope of recovery".

"I look at some of these impoverished people and think, 'I wouldn't want to live that way'," said Mr. Wolfowitz. "The most merciful thing to do is cut their funding and let these people slip into a peaceful, euphoric state through dehydration and starvation."

The new World Bank chief said he has the authority to deprive poor nations of food and water, since their leaders have been trying to do that for years.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Terry Schiavo Dies

May she rest in Peace.

(For more, see the New York Times)