Monthly Archives: May 2008

Terroist Plot Or Summer Fantasies In Canada?

According to Canadian prosecutors a group known as the Toronto 18 were part of a terrorist gang that was prepared to institute bombng activity and were in posssession of bomb makig material. The prosecutor spoke on the first day of testimony in which a boy, three other young men and 14 adults are being charged with attending a jihadist training camp where they developed plans to engage in truck bombing activities. The defense attorney sharply denied the charges and insisted it was nothing more than a fantasy dreamed up by a meglomaniac who has a penchant for boasting. The prosecutor introduced into evidence a 9-mm pistol seized from a Toronto home and shell casings found at a camp where some of the accused attended. Defense attorney Mitchell Chernovsky insisted the men and boys talked but never implemented any of their stories into reality.

As the defense attorney notes, a major part of the prosecuting attorney’s argument is the discovery of a 9-mm pistol. He derided the lack of any concrete evidence the group had done anything other than sit around and tell stories about what they would like to do.

We live in times when youthful boasts become serious plots. So, what do boys talk about around summer time campfires?

Burma Military Junta–Let Them Eat Frogs!

Burmese troops began evicting destitute families sheltered in cyclone relief centers and insisted there was no need for foreign relief foods because the Burmese people were perfectly capable of existing by hunting and eating “large edible frogs.” The New Light of Myanmar, the government mouthpiece, warned people that foreign relief workers would snoop inside their homes and condemned donor nations for linking aid money to gaining full access to the hardest-hit regions of the nation. The tirade against the outside world came as the Myanmar government tightened its grip by extending th arrest of Augn San Suu Kyi who leads the opposition democratic movement.

A government spokesman while visiting a center housing victims of the cyclone, told the press, “it is better that they move to their homes where they are more stable. Here, they are rely on on donations and it is not stable.” The government in many cases is handing out about 15 poles to a family and telling them to return home and build a house with the poles. The military junta is bewildered that people would actually want to eat rice when there are plenty of frogs around to feed them. However, one can assume the frog food is not ordinarily on the menu of junta feasts.

The government newspaper insists the Burmese people “are capable enough of rising from such natural diasters even if they are not provided with international assistance.”
Such is the attitude of leaders of a nation. One can only express sorrow for the people of Myanmar who must exist in such a world.

Children Are Unteachable Says British Educator!

Chris Parry, chief executive of h Independent Schools Council of Great Britain told the Guardain newspaper that schools are being burdened with trying to educate unteachable children whose ignorant parents together with teachers who would rather be elsewhere make impossible attaining any success in the field of education. The former rear admiral, who most probably has never actually taught children, complained “there are too many leaders but not enough leadership, there are a lot of managers and not enough management. there aren’t enough teachers and aren’t enough teachers in subjects we need, it’s lackg human material(and) financial resources.” Several months ago Parry warned Great Britain there was a process of “reverse colonization” in which poor people were headed for the island and would try to recast it in their own backward image.

He insisted teachers are being “buyllied” by a “group from perhaps a disadvantaged background who have got a different agenda.” He complained of sitting in on a parent’s meeting at a comprehensive school and was “shocked by the level of ignorance and criticism that came from the parents.”

Mr. Parry is entitled to his view of parents and children who come from poverty and immigrant background. My parents were uneducated immigrants who lacked the knowledge of Mr. Parry. However, they sought one thing as do the parents of 90% of immigrant children– an opportunity for their children to become educated, to attend college and to escape the horror of poverty. Mr. Parry may be in the field of education, but he certainly is no educator.

The Rape Of Women-War’s Tragedy

A recent study by the UN agency, UNICEF, revels that sexual violence is spreading like a disease in many parts of Africa where there is violence. Women are increasingly becoming the first casualties of war and are compelled to spend a live in shame because enemy soldiers physically abused them. n Darfu, janjaweed militia kidnapped a 12 year-old girl and gange raped her for a week resulting in the crippling of her legs and castigating her as a woman who has shamed the community. Under Shariah law, rapded women may be prosecuted f or adultery or fornication. As Refugees International observes: “The government is more likely to take action against those who report and document rape than those who commit it.”

In the savage civil war currently raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo, rape victims take most of the blame for seemingly allowing themsevles to be captured and raped. After being raped, Congolese women are banished by their husbands and ostracized by their communities. Often they are genitally mutilated by a gunshot or tossed on a fire naked.

In cutures wher egirls and women are married off and chastity iss central to womanhood, all is lost for a woman wo loses her honor. The subsequent stigma often is a heavier burden than the assualt itself. So, it should not be surprising that most of these wounded girls and women remain silent about the assault.

The tragedy of Darfur is most impacting both young girls and women who are more likely to be physically assaulted than their husbands or fathers. The world talks about Darfur but the killing and raping continue unabated in Darfur. In the end, it is always the women who most suffer.

Who Really Were The Native Americans?

Recent discoveries of a fluff of white hair in Greenland indicate the original inhabitants of the area were not Inuits or Indians, but people who migrated from the Aleutian islands. Due to modern technoloy it is now possible to trace back the hair and make the linkage to inhabitants of the Aleutian islands. The use of DNA is enabling scientists to rewrite the history of pre-Columbian history. A study conducted in Oregon a few months ago revealed evidence the Americas were populated 1000 years before the ancestors of modern Native Americans arrived. Scientists will shortly use the fluff of hair to complete a DNA profile of the person whose hair was found.

These scientific discoveries raise questions to those who use expressions such as “Native Americans” since it is now most likely those termedd “Native” were really immigrants who took over land belonging to others. Perhaps, it is more approp;riate to use expressions such as Sioux or Apache or Aztec of Inca.

Diversity Issues In Belgium Police Force

Belgium, like many European nations is experiencing an influx of thousands of immigrants. The history of immigration is usually characterized by gaps between newly arrived people and existing power structures such as the police and judiciary systems. The European Union has launched a EUR 600,000 campaign which is aimed at increasing the number of immigrants in police forces on the continent. Despite the campaign, the Belgian police force is only comprised of about 2% of its members who derive from immigrant backgrounds. The latest recruitment of 45 officers and inspectors only has one police officer who is of immigrant descent. However, 20% of those who applied for the police force were of immigrant background.

The most crucial factor in failing to hire more police from immigrant backgrounds remains the language factor. Perhaps, Belgium can learn from the US Army language school in Monterey, California which historically has done an excellent job in developing language skills in a short period of time. Belgium might make use of this approach to handle the problem.

What’s That About Swedish Girls And Sex?

A recent study conducted by an academic at the Sahalgrenska Academy in Gothenburg, eveals Swedish teenage girls are much more sexually active with other teenage girls than adolescent boys are with boys. Approximately, 440 seventeen year old boys and girls were questioned about sex relations with someone of the same gender. Of the girls, 6.1% said they had sex with another teenage girl while only 1.7% of boys reported same sex relations. The dissertation author believes girls may feel more relaxed about identifying themselves as lesbians and interpret their sexual relations with another girl as simply part of the sexual maturation process. Girls are also more intimate with one another and engage in more physical contat with another girl than boys interating with other boys.

The study also revealed a higher percent of teenage girls had sexual relations with a boy than teenage boys had with a female. One wonders if the same results would emerge from studies of teenage boys and girls in other nations.

Bishop Tutu Urges Palestinian-Israel Peace

Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu spent several days in Gaza exploring conditions and seeking to find a way that would bring together Palestinians and Israelis. The South African cleric, heading a team of UN human rights observers, gathered stories from Gazans about Israel attacks that had killed civilians, including many children. Tutu said the purpose of the trip was to gather information for a report but he had to admit after listening to stories, “we are quite devastated.” A woman told him she had lost three brother-in-laws in one attack and her husband was killed two days prior to the air attack. Tutut commented “what we have seen confirms that what has happened(in Gaza) is totally unacceptble.”

The South African leader emphasized to Gazans that Israelis are also suffering due to Kassam rocket attacks on civilian targets. “The two people, Israeli and Plaestinian, can live peacefuly together but it cannot happen through acts of violence.” His comment did not meet with general approval from some Gazan officials. One mayor complained that rocket attacks are nothing comparable to Israel helicopters, but Tutu interrupted to say, “any attack against civilians, whatever their motivations, is a violation” against human rights. Israel refused visas to the UN group to investigate sites of rocket attacks.

Bishop Tutu’s even handed approach to dealing with attacks on civilians would make him an excellent mediator in working with Israelis and Palestinians.

Obama Religious Supporter Mocks Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama expressed his dislike of comments made by a guest minister in his church the past weekend in which Senator Clinton was mocked and derided by the Rev. Michael Pfieger. Obama said he was “deeply disappointed” by the tone and words used in the sermon. The Rev. Pfieger, a Chicago activist, also apologized for what he said last Sunday when he stated Clinton’s eyes swelled with tears before the New Hampshire primary because she felt “entitled” to the Democratic nomination because “there’s a black man stealing my show.” He went on: “She just always thought that ‘this is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white.. And then, out of nowhere came, “Hey, i’m Barack Obama. And she said, ‘Oh damn, where did you come from? I’m white. I’m entitled. There’s a black man stealing my show.”

The pastor went on to mock Senator Clinton by wiping his face with a handkerchief and saying, “she wasn’t the only one crying. There was a whole lot of white people crying.”

Barack Obama emphasized, that “as I have traveled this country, I’ve been impressed not by what divides us, but by all that unites us. That is why I am deeply disappointed in Father Pfieger’s divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn’t reflect the counry I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause.”

Clinton spokespeople expressed their disappointment that “Senator Obama doesn’t specifically reject Father Pfieger’s despicable comments about Senator Clinton.” Unless, I am not able to read the English language, Senator Obama has specifically denounced the comments of the pastor. I assume terming somone’s talk as “divisve backward-looking rhetoric” is attacking the individual.

Is Medvedev Serious About Corruption In Russia?

President Medvedev made it clear in many of his early speeches as head of the nation that issues of corruption in government were high on his agenda of reform. The Kremilin is now focusing on the issue of corruption by posting xcerpts of letters written by ordinary citizens regarding encounters with corrupt officials. The Kremilin web site occasionally posts summaries of letters to the president related to social issues and foreign policy. The letters posted on corruption Wednesday were the first to be published in 2008 and represented the initial time a roundup on letters has specifically focused on corruption issues. A spokesperson said the Medvedev sometimes identifies a theme from the website that he wants highlighted.

Vldadmir Pribylovsky, head of the Panorama think tank commented that although he had not read the letters they probably were “just another PR stunt.” He believes Medvedev is using the letters to give the impression there will be a crackdown on corruption but nothing serious will be implemented against corrupt officials. Most of these top officials were appointed by Putin and firing them might be interpreted as a slap in the face of his mentor.