Monthly Archives: December 2008

African Migrants Head North To Italy

The exodus from Africa to Europe continues to accelerate as thousands of Africans are crossing the Mediterranean in order to reach Italy and the prospect of work. The number of migrants hitting Italy’s southern shores has soared by more than 50% this years and at 33,000 is already 13,000 more than arrived in 2007. At least 500 people never reached Italy because they drowned at sea. Since December 24, at least 2,400 additional people reached the Pelagic islands between Libya and Sicily. Experts on migration believe the large number coming during the midst of winter suggests they are being driven by economic factors which allows smugglers to pile them into aged vessels for the perilous voyage. Italy’s Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, threatened to fly the migrants back to their homelands, but this seems doubtful in terms of the sheer number arriving and seeking asylum.

Ironically, the Berlusconi government rode to power on the promise of being tough toward migrants and now faces the prospect of dealing with thousands of additional migrants. Many are coming from Libya despite promises by its dictator Gaddafi’s promises to crack down on the smugglers. In the meantime while Berlusconi’s followers denounce newly arrived immigrants, thousands sit in camps or wherever space can be found awaiting news of their futures.

Iranian View On Gaza Conflict

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei strongly condemned Israel attacks on Gaza saying it was a humanitarian disaster and declared a national day of mourning in Iran. “The Zionist regime’s violent crimes in Gaza and the massacre of hundreds of innocent men, women, and children, once again showed the bloody image of Zionist wolves and revealed the negligence about the presence of this hostile disbelieve in the heart of the lands of Islamic ummah.” The Iranian leader was furious at what he termed “the silence of the Arab world, which is duty bound to support the oppressed people of Gaza n the face of the usurper and criminal Zionist regime.”

Khamenei also denounced the “criminal administration of Bush in the last days of his shameful rule, darkened the image of the U.S. regime more than ever and added to the disaster of war crimes” by encouraging Israel to attack Gaza. The Ayatollah posed a question to the media and Muslim intellectuals, especially the Arab world: “For how long have you decided to remain indifferent regarding your media and intellectual responsibility” concerning the situation in Palestine? He called upon all Arabs and Muslims to come to the aid of the people of Gaza.

We present the words of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei without editorial comment.

John Kerry Warns About Somalia

Senator John Kerry, incoming chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned about taking military action in Somalia in response to the pirate activity which originates from that nation. “if you’ve just got one patrol boat and it chases in and people go ashore without enough firepower, without knowing what they’re up against, you can get into a lot of trouble.” The senator raises valid points, but he ignores the role played by President George Bush in creasing the current unstable situation in Somalia. Bush encouraged Christian Ethiopia to invade and take over Somalia in order to crush a fundamentalist Islamic government. It was that invasion which helped encourage the growth in pirate activity.

Sorry, Senator Kerry, the United States IS involved in Somalia and it is time we acknowledged our role in creating the current chaos. We can acknowledge that American planes and ships assisted Ethiopian forces during their invasion. First, accept responsibility, and then work to assist an Islamic government to restore law and order.

Impudent Observer View On Gaza Conflict

Perhaps, future historians will term fighting in Gaza as the “War of Retaliation” in which both sides insisted each was retaliating against the other’s actions. Hamas launched rocket attacks on Israel cities which resulted in the death of four people which only served to ensure the following day will witness further Israel air attacks. The world urges Israel to stand down, Arab nations deplore air attacks on Gaza, but one could raise the question as to where were Arab nations when Israel urged Hamas to cease rocket attacks? The world wants to identify the “guilty party” in Gaza, but there is no single guilty party since the current conflict arose from mistakes in judgment on the part of Israel and Hamas. During the past week, Hamas leaders jeered at Israel and dared them to attack since Hamas believed it could replicate the successful defense of Hezbullah in Lebanon. Gaza is open flat land and it is does not provide mountain protection that Hezbullah could utilize.

If Hamas was so concerned about the people of Gaza why did it urge Israel to attack? If Hamas is so concerned with the safety of Gazans, why did it send 300 rockets into Israel during the past week? Did Hamas assume Israel would respond with silence? Or, was it the intention of Hamas to provoke air attacks and an invasion in order to end all hope of peace? The reality is Hamas has NO agenda other than fighting, war, chaos.

Does Israel have clean hands? No, the continued free pass given West Bank settlers was bound to create conditions for war and no Israel government has the will to accept reality of withdrawal from the West Bank.

Egyptian Report On Gaza Bombings

Ibrahim Barzak and Matti Friedman, reporting for the Cairo Daily News, said “Israel’s air force obliterated symbols of Hamas power on the third day of its overwhelming Gaza assault, striking a house next to the Hamas premier’s house, devastating a security compound and flattening a five story building at a university closely linked to the Islamic group.” Over three hundred have died in the bombings and the Hamas rocket attack on Ashkeion resulted in the death of at least one Israeli. “Most of those killed since Saturday were members of Hamas security forces,” but at least 50 were civilians including women and children. Israel planes also attacked a refugee camp near Gaza city and at least three children were killed along with a mother and her child.

The reporters also note planes struck dozens of tunnels through which supplies and arms had been smuggled into Gaza. Syria has suspended indirect peace talks with Israel and the UN Security Council has called on both sides to halt the fighting and asked Israel to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza since hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties. “the carnage inflamed Arab and Muslim public opinion, setting off street protests in Arab communities in Israel and the West Bank, across the Arab world, and in some European cities.”

We offer this among other perspectives on the Gaza conflict without making any editorial comment.

Turkish View Of Gaza Conflict

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said attacks on Gaza had made impossible his nation’s continuation in a mediating role between Syria and Israel. “We call upon Israel to immediately stop the military operations. The continuation of the conflict may spread beyond the boundaries of Gaza and reach another phase that would pose a serious risk for the region.” The Foreign Minister also urged Hamas to halt rocket attacks on Israel and called on the international community to provide humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians in the territory. Babacan made clear to Israel, “To make war on the Israeli-Palestinian track and at the same time make peace on the Israeli-Syrian track–these two cannot go together.”

Babacan expressed his nation’s deep disappointment with the Israel air attacks but emphasized, “I repeat my call for an immediate cease-fire. The guns should be silenced and diplomacy should start working.” Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erodgan termed the air assault as a “crime against humanity.” Turkish president Gul said he had been in contact with President Ahmadinejad of Iran and during his conversation said the first task is to establish and cease-fire and provide humanitarian aid.

We offer these comments without editorial comment on our part.

Virginity Pledge Like A Car Salesman Pledge

Sarah Palin made clear to America this fall, she stands solidly behind her daughter who pledged to remain a virgin until marriage. It now appears, her daughter’s pledge was no different than most young girls who promise to adhere to virginity until on the marriage bed. A new report from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reveals teenagers in America who pledge to remain virgins until marriage as just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not take the pledge. However, pledgers are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control. According to Janet Rosenbaum, author of the report: “Taking a pledge doesn’t seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior. But, it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking.”

Pledgers use condoms 10% less than do honest teenagers who refuse to make any promises and will take life as it comes. In this day and age of the need to use federal money in wise ways, hopefully, President Obama will suggest ending the spending of $258 million a year to urge pledge taking. How many people can get free medical insurance with the $258 million?

A View From Jordan On Gaza Conflict

Dan Williams, writing in The Jordan Times from OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, termed Israel’s Gaza attacks as having exacted an “unprecedented tool on Palestinian lives and infrastructure” that “aims to pummel Hamas Islamists into a truce on terms more favorable to the Jewish state’s long term diplomatic goals.” According to Williams, “worried foreign powers have urged the resumption of an Egyptian-brokered truce wichh Hamas, chafing at on ongoing Gaza blockade, called off on December 19. The Israelis have other plans.” He believes Israel does not simply want “quiet” in the region but an “absolute quiet” that means the end of Hamas rocket attacks. He believes, despite the carnage caused by air attacks, Hamas “still sounds undeterred.” He quotes Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyey, “even if they hang us and our blood spreads on the streets of Gaza, and even if our bodies are dismembered… we will not make concessions and we will not retreat.”

According to Williams, he was told by an Israel officials, “Hamas knows our demands, and there’s no use to talking about them publicly. Until Hamas signals that it’s ready to back down, all we can do i to continue placing a hefty price tag on its rocket attacks.”

He believes one way out of the situation is that Egypt, could “propose that Hamas submit to Abbas, in exchange for which Israel would end the Gaza offensive and ease economic restrictions on the territory.”

We offer these remarks without any editorial comment on our part.

Activists Attack Japanese Whale Research Vessels

The Japanese people want to consume whale meat and in pursuit of that goal are compelled to engage in research on the nature of whales. Of course, as part of the “scientific research,” whales somehow get killed and since there is no need to throw away the dead whales, it is only natural to bring them back to Japan so the meat of the whale could be sold. One assumes people who consume whale meat are involved in scientific research. A vessel operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which seeks to protect whales, attacked a Japanese ship conducting “scientific research” in the Antarctic Ocean and hurled bottles containing a foul smelling liquid on the deck of the ship.

The Kaiko Maru, along with four other Japanese ships, has been engaged in “scientific research” in the cold area of the world and hopes to continue learning more about whales. For some reason, after years of “scientific research” Japanese vessels still have not learned enough about the complex animal known as a whale. One can only wonder at which point in time the “research” will draw to a conclusion.

Horror In Uganda!

The world is upset at events in Gaza, but the world is not that interested in the brutal fighting going on in Uganda where the fanatical Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA) continues its murderous attacks on innocent people. On the day after Christmas these fanatical crazed soldiers hacked to death with machetes over 100 people who were in a church. A witness, Abeel Longi said: “I hid in bush near the church and heard people wailing at they were being cut with machetes. The LRA has long been accused of cutting off lips of people or recruiting young children who are forced to kill parents and relatives in order to ensure they will not return home or be sympathetic to the notion of killing.

Rebels are reportedly retaliating for army attacks and since they prefer confronting unarmed adversaries rather than soldiers who are armed, the LRA took out its fears on the nearest available group of civilians. A major problem is desire by the International Criminal Court in the Hague to put on trial Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA, which is a factor in hindering peace.