Monthly Archives: January 2009

Report Slams German Programs On Immigrant Integration

In the aftermath of World War II, the German population was decimated by huge losses of men during the war and when an economic boom took off, there was need to bring in “guest workers.” Most of the original guest workers came from Turkey and for the first time in German history there was need to deal with integration of people who had a different religion and many differing cultural values and behaviors. According to a report by the Institute for Population and Development the integration of descendants of those guest workers still has not worked. The German government now offers programs in language, culture, and values to newcomers but few of the original descendants attend those classes. The report describes how many of the original immigrant group still lack basic German language skills as well as the education to obtain high tech jobs.

There is something rather strange about people who lived in Germany for half a century and supposedly their children attended schools and learned German and about the culture of their new land. Didn’t schools develop multicultural programs to assist these children? It is one thing for an immigrant to struggle with language issues, it is another when children attend school and are unable to become proficient in language and work skills. Something is rotten in the state of Germany.

Burma Abuses Christians

The world focuses intently on events in the Middle East while massive abuses of individuals proceeds in Asia and Africa without eliciting any pangs of guilt or anger. Human Rights Watch claims the Burmese government is abusing, torturing and killing members of the Christian Chin ethnic group and thousands are attempting to flee across the border to India. A Chin man told the group: “They(Burmese soldiers) tortured me and put me in jail for a week. They beat me on my heads and ears, I still have a hearing problem. Then the army forced me to work at road construction and repair.” Reports indicate thousands are being forced to work on army projects as well as turn over food to soldiers without receiving compensation.

The Chin are about one percent of the 57 million Burmese people and are mainly Christian. Their religious facilities are routinely destroyed and people attempting to worship forced to flee. It is always fascinating which group of oppressed people in the world attract attention from left wing groups and those who are concerned about suffering in the world. It appears we humans have selective attention as to whom we will protest about when it comes to people being beaten and oppressed.

Further Dismantling Of Bush Foreign Policy Madness!

Among the great blunders of Bush’s foreign policy was creating problems where none existed. His decision to construct missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic in order to deal with missiles from “North Korea and Iran” made absolutely no sense. Why would North Korea or Iran fire missiles at Europe knowing full well, the UK and France possessed atomic bombs” In fact, what would ever lead Iran to attack the entire European Union. In response to signs from the Obama administration the entire matter of missile bases in eastern Europe was being reviewed and, most probably, will be ended, the Russian government announced it was suspending plans to place missiles near the border of Poland. A Russian official commented: “These plans have been suspended because the new US administration is not pushing ahead with the plans to deploy the US missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic.”

This “problem” is one created by Bush and it revealed his inability to understand how Russians think after being invaded twice in the 20th century and losing nearly 40 million people. Perhaps, if Bush spent less time gazing into the soul of Putin and more reading a few history books he never would have made this idiotic plan.

Israel And Hamas Hesitate On Cease Fire

The impasse between Hamas and Israel continues with each side digging in its heels in order to prove to their supporters and the world that common sense is not part of their makeup when opportunities are presented to make political points. Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told George Mitchell that his nation is opening Gaza crossings to allow in humanitarian supplies but if such openings are to continue then Hamas would have to free Sgt. Gilad Schalit who was kidnapped months ago near Gaza. Hamas officials told Mitchell if Israel wanted Schalit to be freed there would be a price. “If they want to release Schalit, they have to pay a price in return… the 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel jails waiting to be released.”

The life of any human is precious, but in the real world, doctors make choices about life and death because circumstances indicate a baby’s life depends on a mother’s death. In war, doctors constantly make choices which wounded soldier gets their attention and which will probably die. Israel is claiming a single life is more important than peace after just completing an operation in which over 500 innocent civilians died in the name of saving the lives of Israel soldiers. If a single life is more important than the lives of others, why did Israel soldiers argue they had to fire into areas where Hamas fired from even though civilians were in the area because the civilians had to die to ensure the lives of Israel soldiers? There is something wrong with the Israel equation. Peace is now the most important thing. Once peace arrives, Sgt. Schalit will be freed.

Are Hamas And Israel Guilty Of War Crimes?

If supporters of Hamas are asked about Israeli behavior in Gaza, the response is they were guilty of war crimes, if supporters of the current Israel government are asked about Hamas behavior they charge its leaders with war crimes. Urban Ahlin, of the Swedish parliament, charges both Hamas and Israel committed war crimes during recent fighting in Gaza. He emphasized both groups during the fighting committed acts which fall under the definition of war crimes. Ahlin also called for an end to the isolation of Gaza and removal of road blocks in order to ensure the inhabitants of that area finally secure proper supplies for daily life. He admitted Israel had a right to hit back when subjected to rocket attacks, but added, “the isolation policy is neither morally or politically defensible.”

On the other hand, Birgitta Ohisson, another MP, described Israel as vulnerable and said it had a right to defend itself against rocket attacks. “Never forget that Hamas always chooses bombs before peace.” The world views the situation in Gaza as one in which all parties violate which ever law they desire in the name of security, and blame the other for deaths of civilians.

The attitude in more and more nations of the world is a fatigue with war and violence in the Palestine-Israel conflict, and a strong desire that both sides sit down and negotiate. If the issue is war crimes, both have committed them with the result innocent civilians invariably suffer.

Israel Rabbis Cut Ties With Vatican

The history of the Catholic Church on issues dealing with anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim issues is hardly among its actions in defense of freedom. Pope Benedict since assuming the responsibility of heading the Catholic Church has allied himself with forces of reaction who seek a return to an earlier era of time. The Pope’s decision to reinstate a bishop who had publicly stated there was no Holocaust and no Jews were gassed to death has infuriated Jews throughout the world. Israel’s highest Jewish body severed ties with the Vatican and the chief rabbinate wrote to the Holy See expressing “sorrow and pain” at the decision to reinstate a bishop who believes “not one(Jew) of them was (killed) by gassing in a chamber.”

The Pope expressed his “full and indisputable solidarity” with Jews and expressed his view there was a Holocaust. Perhaps, Bishop Bernard Williamson can explain why Pope John XXII, who was a priest during WWII worked so hard to save the lives of Italian Jews. Was he part of a Jewish plot to claim there was a Holocaust when none existed? Perhaps, the good bishop can explain pictures, films, and first hand witnesses such as General Dwight Eisenhower who visited the death camps and saw the gas chambers.

I believe Pope Benedict should return to the 14th century when things were clear to all Catholics about what constituted the “truth.”

Japan Women Lag In Government Positions

At a recent symposium in Tokyo women from around the world discussed what is happening in the drive to ensure women have an equal role in government decisions. Some nations such as Rwanda and Norway mandate a certain percentage of seats in Parliament must be held by women which results in figures in the 30% range for those two countries. Rwanda probably leads the world since women now are in possession of over 50% of decision making government positions. Despite its prosperity and high education levels, Japanese women only constitute 9.4% of members of the lower house of parliament.

It is interesting why Japan ranks so low in women assuming a role in government. It most probably stems from cultural factors and the lower percentage of Japanese women in high positions leadership positions.

US To Iran- Let’s Jaw, Jaw, Not War, War!

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged the US to at least attempt to enter into dialogue with Iranian leaders. “to the degree we are able to dialogue with them, find some mutual interests, there is a potential there for moving ahead together.” He was pessimistic anything would come of attempts to have a dialogue although he noted both Iran and the United States seek to have stability in Afghanistan and the Iranian government dislikes the Taliban. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made clear “there is a clear opportunity for the Iranians… to demonstrate some willingness to engage meaningfully with the international community.”

The real issue is how does the United States and other nations initiate the dialogue that must eventually occur. Perhaps, if the president apologized for the CIA overthrow of the Mossadegh government in the 1950s, it would indicate a willingness on the part of America to acknowledge it has made mistakes toward the government of Iran.

Hundreds Of Civilians Die-No One Protests!

Over 300 civilians were killed by an army whose name was not the IDF which may account for the fact there have not been any world wide protests concerning their deaths. A Sri Lankan health official says recent artillery gunfire and heavy firing has resulted in the death of at least 300 civilians with over a thousand who have been wounded. Dr. Varatharajah revealed the figures in an effort to secure medical supplies for the wounded. The Sri Lankan government has pledged not to launch attacks inside a “safe zone” which supposedly provides for civilians a secure place that will not be shelled. The Sri Lankan military denies it has been killing civilians even though its nation’s high ranking medical officer says they have killed civilians.

Human rights groups have expressed concern for the estimated 250,000 civilians trapped in territory being assaulted by the military. UN sources claim they have seen “dozens of people killed and wounded” by the Sri Lankan armed forces. Jacques de Maio, of the Red Cross says, “people are being caught in the cross fire, hospitals and ambulances have been hit by shelling, and several aid workers have been injured.”

As far as this reporter knows, there have not been any demonstrations in the streets of Europe or Arab nations about the death of 300 Sri Lankan civilians. There are no cries by British academics to boycott Sri Lankan universities as they have called for in the case of Israeli academics. I wonder why?

Don’t Rewrite WWII History, Says, Medvedev

I have taught thousands of American social studies teachers during the course of my life, and am invariably shocked by the lack of knowledge they possess–and obviously teach–concerning WWII. Most have an incredulous look on their faces when I tell them that throughout WWII, the Russian army confronted 70% of the German army, and that on D-Day, Americans were a minority of those who landed. President Medvedev recently sharply criticized attempts to rewrite the history of the Great Patriotic War. He particularly cited some of Russia’s neighboring countries who denigrate the role of the Russian people and pretend the war was between two totalitarian nations. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and others should open a history book and learn WWII involved an alliance between the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the United States.

It is shocking that men who fought in the Waffen SS and helped to kill six million Jews are now glorified while the Red Army which liberated the death camps is accused of being the criminals. Of course, Joseph Stalin was a dictator, of course, he brutalized even his own people, but no one can take away the incredible performance of the Red Army in defeating the worst criminals and murderers of the 20th century–Nazi Germany.

As President Medvedev commented: “We see distortions of the truth about the war, about the decisive contribution by the Red Army to the defeat of Nazism and the liberation of Europe.” Perhaps, the Lithuanians, Poles, Estonians and Latvians can tell the people of Holland, Belgium, France, Yugoslavia, and Greece of the wonderful time they had under the rule of the Nazis. Or, how about the hundreds of thousands of British civilians killed in Nazi bombing raids!