Friday, February 29, 2008

Human Rights Conventions are not Divine Obligations

I try to write about other things besides Denmark. I really do. But then more good news keeps coming from the Danes, and I can’t just ignore it, can I?

Holger Danske VågnerIt seems that the whole of the Western World is asleep. “Don’t bother us — it’s a nice pleasant flower-strewn meadow, this multicultural dream we’re having. Don’t wake us up.”

But for some reason Denmark, alone among Western nations, has decided to wake up. Holger Danske has one eye open, and the other one will be popping open soon enough.

The latest news concerns a representative from the ruling coalition of the Danish government who has spoken out against the European Human Rights Court for its pernicious decision to deny European governments the right to deport dangerous foreign terrorists. Zonka has kindly translated the article for Jyllands-Posten:

Pind: Insult against Denmark if Tunisians can stay

If the European human-rights convention prevents Denmark from expelling Tunisian terror suspects, Denmark must reconsider whether we should continue to endorse them. Thus says Venstre’s foreign affairs spokesman Søren Pind.

Several experts in human rights believe that a current ruling from the European Human Rights Court means that it will be difficult for Denmark to deport the two Tunisians who are under suspicion for wanting to kill the Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, since Tunisia uses torture against prisoners.

However, that is an insult against Denmark, says Søren Pind, who calls for a rebellion against the conventions.

“It makes our affiliation of the European Human Rights Convention a parody. It enforces us an obligation to protect people who want to kill us,” writes Søren Pind on his blog.

If the judicial interpretations are correct, then the consequence, according to Søren Pind, could be a Danish showdown against the convention.

“Conventions are not divine obligations. They are agreements between countries. Agreements that are entered into can be terminated, But it shouldn’t have to come to that. Thus the question must be asked again and again to those who reject deportation: Give us a usable answer, one in which the evil in our midst won’t be tolerated. Where blatant and reckless offenses against our hospitality aren’t just ignored. Where the sanction gives meaning,” says Søren Pind.

Zonka includes his commentary on the situation:
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We are seeing an unprecedented political unity at the moment against the more radical Islamic demands and what have you, from the left to the right.

Things that Pia Kjærsgaard (DPP) would be ridiculed for saying a couple of weeks ago are being uttered by the Socialists (Villy Søvndal, Socialist People’s Party), and the common people are waking up to the fact of the Islamic salami-strategy of threats and demands.

The sleepwalking politicians and bureaucrats are being admonished. Former foreign minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen (Venstre) recently stated that the re-publishing of the cartoons was an unnecessary provocation, and that he wished that people wouldn’t use their freedom of speech, so that it could flourish better in places where it really was needed… (??? I think he has been brain-damaged by being such an enthusiastic Eurocrat; he thinks freedom of speech should be harmonized, so that we all end up on the average “Freedom of Speech”-ness.)

So we also have our dhimmis still, but there are fewer of them, and fortunately they are more and more isolated and alone in their views. Venstre’s political spokesperson Inger Støjberg said, “Jeg kan kun sige, at Uffe Ellemann skal være glad for, at han har sin ytringsfrihed, og at jeg er lodret uenig med ham.“ (“I can only say that UEJ ought to be happy that he has his freedom of speech, and that I’m totally in disagreement with him.”)

And then there is the police chief in Copenhagen (Per Larsen) who believes that we ought to have some tea-meetings with the troublemakers and enter an endless and fruitless dialogue, instead of giving consequences, which leads more and more people to turn against that policy lest common people lose faith in the police, and resort to vigilantism.

So, yes, things are moving quickly at the moment here in Denmark. Not only does Holger have one eye squinting open, he is beginning to stir in the dungeons of Kronborg… There is something rotten in the state of Denmark, and the Danes are beginning to realize that it isn’t the Danes, and they want to get rid of not just the smell, but the gangrene-infected parts!

Danish Socialists vs. the Ummah

Whether they’re on the right, left, or center, Danes are telling Muslims that they’ve had enough of Islamic aggression.

Most recently it was Villy Søvndal, the leader of Denmark’s Socialist People’s Party, who told Hizb ut-Tahrir to “Go to Hell!”

Not to be outdone (and thus risk losing her party’s dominant position on the left side of the Folktinget), Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the leader of the Social Democrats, demands — demands! — that the EU take a united stance against Islamic extortion.

A reminder: Social Democrats are dyed-in-the-wool Socialists, much like Communists except that they are unwilling to shed blood for the sake of attaining a proletarian Utopia. Their counterparts in Sweden and Norway are prone to swoon over Hamas.

What’s more, the article below is from Politiken, which is appropriately known as “The New York Times of Denmark”.

I’ve often said that the Great Jihad is not an issue of left-versus-right, even if many leftists are aiding and abetting the aspirations of the mujahideen. The crisis of our time is the threat to the very heart of Western Civilization.

After we resolve that, we can fight about socialized medicine, gay marriage, and carbon taxes.

In the past Gates of Vienna has posted the counterjihad writings of an anarchist and other examples of solidarity from our comrades on the Left. We welcome anyone who is serious and dedicated about opposing the Great Jihad.

Henrik of Europe News has kindly translated the article from Politiken:

Helle Thorning-Schmidt demands united EU front against Islamic pressure

The chairman of the Social Democrats encourages the Danish government to raise the problems with Islamic pressure on a European Union level.

In several European countries there are cases where freedom of expression is challenged by offended Muslims. This is completely unreasonable, says Social Democrat chairman Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who requests the government to raise the problem with the European Union.

“Within the last week we’ve heard of problems in Belgium, Netherlands and now Germany, where extremists demand that things be closed or removed. It is utterly unreasonable that we are repeatedly threatened when we use our freedom of expression. This has to stop,” states Thorning-Schmidt.

Pressured to stop handing out piggy banks

As an example, she refers to the Dutch bank which was pressured to stop handing out piggy banks, and to the Danish art exhibit of caricatures which was closed in Berlin.
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“We cannot tolerate the fact that extremists threaten us from time to time. Therefore I shall request that the foreign minister raise the issue with the other leaders of the EU, in order to have a discussions of principles, making it clear that we will not accept it,” says the chairman.

“We need to raise the issue, to consider it a common problem that needs a solution. We are being forced an unreasonable self-censorship, and this has become a European issue.”

Sharp reaction to closure of Berlin exhibition

Helle Thorning-Schmidt further encourages art societies throughout Europe to react sharply to the closure of the exhibition in Berlin.

MEP for Venstre [center-right party] Karin Riis-Jørgensen also intends to raise the issue in the European Union. She believes that the EU should help artists and others under threat by Muslim fundamentalists.

Chairman for Dansk Folkeparti [Danish People’s Party], Pia Kjærsgaard, wants the issue raised in as many forums as possible. “The more we reject this, the better. Everybody must condemn this unconditionally,” she states.

Foreign affairs minister: Cause for concern for the future

Minister for foreign affairs Per Stig Møller (Conservative) says to TV2 [Danish national television] that he does not think there’s any doubt about the European position.

“What we need to figure out is to find some level at which we can live with each other. There is cause for concern for the future, because we can’t live with these endless confrontations, which are escalating and could spin out of control. It could become worse in the future,” says Per Stig Møller.

Berkeley Is Having a Bad Trip, Man

Beginning in the late ’60s and early ’70s the Left familiarized America with boycotts as means of influencing organizations’ decisions. How ironic it is that Berkeley, the leftiest of American cities, is now feeling the brunt of a boycott from the right.

Code Pink is bad for businessIt all started in January when Berkeley’s City Council voted on a resolution from their municipal Peace and Justice Commission to send a letter to the local Marine Corps recruiting office “disinviting” them to Berkeley. In tandem with this, they also voted to reserve the parking space in front of the Marine Corps recruiting office for the exclusive use of Code Pink. They knew the loud activists in Code Pink would make life at the Marine Corps recruiting office unpleasant.

You can find a portion of the city’s rationale here, along with a pdf of the whole laundry list of complaints about America, war, the military, etc. In other words, you can read the aggressive words of the anti-aggression movement in this country, a movement that has its moral foundation in what some call the town of Beserkley.

What surprised the city fathers and mothers was the fact that while they may be the center of the universe, even they cannot get past the law of cause and effect. What goes around, comes around. This time it is coming to Berkeley in economic terms. Many Americans who don’t share the city’s moral superiority are…guess what? Boycotting Berkeley:

People who are angry at city leaders for their anti-military stance are taking it out on businesses - canceling hotel rooms, restaurant reservations and theater tickets.

They are writing letters to the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce outlining their plans to boycott the city.

And they are steering clear of downtown shops because of the weekly anti-war protests that in recent weeks have become increasingly volatile.
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Of course, they wouldn’t be enduring “increasingly volatile” anti-war protests if they hadn’t invited Code Pink to start their own little war against the military in the first place:

Two weeks after the Berkeley City Council refused to apologize to the Marine Corps for calling them “uninvited and unwelcome intruders,” Berkeley businesses said they are feeling the backlash from people who don’t want to spend their money in the city.

“We’re hearing of folks canceling reservations and canceling hotel rooms, and we know there is a direct correlation. How big, I don’t know. We’re in a tough economic period anyway,” said Ted Garrett, chief executive officer of the chamber.

Sure, Mr. Garrett, blame it on the economy. No doubt, this is ultimately due to Bushitler’s machinations. Everything other bad thing in the U.S. is the President’s fault. However, Bush didn’t generate the communications coming into Berkeley from the outside world:

Garrett said the chamber has received an estimated 300 e-mails, letters and faxes from people upset about the council’s action and its refusal to apologize.


Many were angered by the move that they viewed as anti-military and anti-American. An estimated 30,000 e-mails were sent to City Hall, condemning the council’s move.

Well, since communication is the act of the receiver, one can only hope that the message is getting through. However, given this businessman’s outlook, Berkeley appears to be tone-deaf:

Mo Hallaji, owner of Pollo’s at Shattuck Avenue and Addison Street, said his business has declined 10 percent to 15 percent this month because of the traffic jams and fighting associated with the protests.

“They are killing our business,” Hallaji said. “Everybody is against the war but that is not the right way to go about it if you want to accomplish something.”

No, Mr. Hallaji, not everyone is against the war and many of us honor our military. Thus, the moral superiority of the City Council and your ignorance of the national temperament have given Berkeley its economic woes.

Fortunately, there is a remedy for this, at least eventually. Berkeley citizens can decide in the next election if they want to retain these people. Better yet, the head of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Garrett, could do one of California’s favorite pastimes: get enough signatures for a city-side referendum on their Council’s decision to send the Marines a “don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-in-the-behind” nasty gram.

In addition, another referendum to rid the town of its 24/7 Code Pink assault would probably be welcomed by business owners who have to put up with the pandemonium they generate.

Mr. Garrett sent a letter to the Council recently. He said merchants were bearing the brunt of the Council’s actions:

“(We) strongly encourage the City Council to offer a public apology to our community and the countless others who were offended by their actions - folks who roll up their sleeves every day and work hard to serve their country and their community…”

It sounds like the police aren’t happy, either. They’ve had to start arresting some of these people. I wonder what the police chief is saying to the mayor? Even more, I wonder what this whole fiasco has cost the city of Berkeley, not just in money but in good will?

Sometimes reality has a steep learning curve.

Hat tip: Don Surber

On Not Being a Dead Crow

Yorkshire Miner left the comment below on one of today’s earlier posts. It deserves a post of its own; I have adjusted the spelling, punctuation, and paragraphing, but have otherwise left it intact.

It was addressed to the Danes in consideration of their pugnacious response to the latest Motoon crisis.

It was you the Danes that were attack, it was Dannebrog [the Danish flag] that was burnt. If that doesn’t get a Dane pissed off, I don’t know what will.

We have watched you over the last couple of years emerge dazed from the first Motoon attack. Many of us here are angry that our own governments didn’t support you.
A warning to the other crows
That attack was planed and premeditated. They went for what they thought was the weakest link in the western European lands. They wanted to use you as an example to the rest of Europe the way farmers hang dead crows out in the field to frighten off the other crows.

They miscalculated because they hadn’t done their homework. They didn’t realize that the Danish economy was the least dependent on Middle Eastern oil, that Danish exports were not dependent on the Middle East market.

We have watched the way you have got your second wind. This last crisis was not instigated by the Muslims. It was instigated by the Danes saying we are going to do what we have always done, print what we like, and you can go to hell if you don’t like it.

We have watched how the Danish society — both on the left and the right — has drawn together, emphasizing that communal solidarity that for me is the hallmark of Denmark.
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I as a Brit have certainly enjoyed watching the Islamic faith society get a verbal hammering, and watching the other Muslim groups distance themselves from it. Many of us have watched with pleasure the huffing and puffing of Egypt, this time lodging a protest with the Danish Ambassador in Egypt instead of demanding a meeting with the Danish Prime Minister to watch him grovel.

A few of us have even raised a glass of Danish beer and toasted development minister Ulla Tørnæs, who has called the Sudan Ambassador in for a dressing down today, to explain the fiscal consequence if Sudan continues with its proposed boycott.

Not quite Vlad the Impaler, who sent a Turkish ambassador away from his court with his turban nailed to his skull, but it is good enough for now.

That Dumb Rock in Mecca

The primary offenders of Muslims are Danish.

Geert Wilders and Lars Vilks the exceptions that prove the rule: if you want to offend Muslims, Danes are the go-to guys for the job.

Take the latest example, as given in the report below. The canceled exhibition is in Berlin, but don’t be fooled: an avant-garde Danish group was behind this escapade.

According to Reuters:

Berlin gallery shuts after Muslim threats

A Berlin gallery has temporarily closed an exhibition of satirical works by a group of Danish artists after six Muslim youths threatened violence unless one of the posters depicting the Kaaba shrine in Mecca was removed, it said on Thursday.

The Galerie Nord in central Berlin said it had closed its “Zionist Occupied Government” show of works by Surrend, a group of artists who say they poke fun at powerful people and ideological conflicts.

On Tuesday, four days after the exhibition opened, a group of angry Muslims stormed into the gallery, shouting demands that one of the 21 posters should be removed, said the gallery.

“They were very aggressive and shouted at an employee that the poster should be taken down otherwise they would throw stones and use violence,” the gallery’s artistic director Ralf Hartmann told Reuters.

The Muslims objected to a depiction of the Kaaba — the ancient shrine in Mecca’s Grand Mosque which Muslims face to say their prayers — which gave a “bitingly satirical commentary against radicalism,” said the gallery in a statement.

The Stupid StoneIt wasn’t just a “depiction” of the Kaaba.

Steen did the photographic research — he says photos of the exhibition are very hard to find — and, as you can see, the photo of the big black box is labeled Dummer Stein, which can be translated “Stupid Stone” or “Dumb Rock”, depending on your taste for English idiom.

The article continues:
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Security Review

Hartmann said the gallery was working with German authorities to improve security and he hoped to re-open the show as soon as possible.

“It would be unacceptable if individual social groups were in a position to exercise censorship over art and the freedom of expression,” said the gallery in a statement.

The show also contained pictures which ridiculed neo-Nazis who believe Jews dominate global politics and industry as well as the state of Israel and radical Jews.

Surrend members are mainly street artists and use stickers, advertisements, posters and Web sites to express irony.

In 2006, a Berlin opera house caused a storm in Germany when it cancelled a production of Mozart’s “Idomeneo” which showed the Prophet Mohammad’s severed head, citing security fears.

And this month, Danish newspapers reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad which caused outrage in Islamic countries and sparked violent protests across the globe two years ago.

They republished the drawings after police arrested three men on suspicion of plotting to kill a cartoonist who drew one of the images.

The mau-mauing of the West by Islam continues apace. We are rapidly reaching a point where no cultural event can take place unless it is Islamically approved.

This weakened condition will require the passage of no laws. No official censorship is needed, nor any governmental boards of approval.

All it takes is fear, plus weak and vacillating administrators within our institutions.

The only requirement is that we be collectively unwilling to stand up to bullies.

If we are going to cave in to the threat of violence in every instance, then we are effectively inviting Islam to take over our game.

Their ball, their pitch, their rules.

And then we lose.

Al Qaeda Calls for the Slaughter of Geert Wilders

Our Flemish correspondent VH emailed us this morning with a digest of the latest information on Geert Wilders. With his permission, a slightly edited version is posted below:

Geert WildersAl-Qaeda calls for the slaughter of Wilders, Elsevier Magazine and the newspaper De Telegraaf reported this week (February 27) in the Netherlands.

The usual butcher’s language was discovered in an open section of (blood-porn warning), which is related to Al-Qaeda: “In the name of Allah, we ask you to bring us the throat of this infidel who offends Islam and ridicules our prophet,” they wrote on January 28.

What their Allah needs an infidel throat for is not clear, but this he has seemingly developed a taste for it. According to Adam Raisman of SITE Intelligence Group, the bearded diabolos accompanied their message with pictures of Wilders and Theo van Gogh, the latter having already been Halal slaughtered by a Muslim for religious reasons.

Speaking of throats: a billion and more Muslims all over the world seemingly lustfully agree with throat-cutting, since not one protest of disgust escaped an uncut throat of theirs.

Maybe they are busy ordering their flock of females to sew a piece of white, blue and red cloth together (for the right order of the colors, consult the local imam) for their upcoming being-offended-act.

Wilders now is even more right to oppose these diehard primitive idiots, and this week registered a domain name to run a website for the film. This film, Fitna (“ordeal”), is supposed to unveil the fascist and backwards ideology based on Mein Kampf the Koran, just the way it is: (This way he avoids the board of YouTube “censors”).

Wilders said the film will be ready later this week, and will be aired on his website. Uncut.

VH added some further thoughts about the Dutch political situation:
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For many decades Dutch politics has been held hostage by the leftists. They sneaked into every vein of society, government, and law, sucking the subsidy-teat dry and oppressing law-abiding civilians with their “anti-discrimination-bureaus” (actually an updated version of the Stasi that used to terrorize the East German civilians).

Ever since Geert Wilders announced his film, all the scum that had been keeping a low profile since the assassination of Pim Fortuyn jumped up into the spotlight. PM Jan-Peter Balkenende, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, of Justice — the lot; all leftist parties, including those whose leaders once supported Mao and the Khmer Rouge — including the Christian Democrats (CDA); they all want to silence Geert Wilders.

These traitors who amazingly expose themselves, being nothing but incompetent coward quislings, make you long for a tribunal, a bit like the one in Cambodia at the moment (even though that is somewhat exaggerated; the Khmer Rouge tribunal is of complete different proportions — by the way, one of the main slaughterers in this trial, Nuon Chea, is being defended by a bunch of Dutch notoriously green-leftist lawyers, Koppe and Pestman. These lawyers of course also defended the killer of Fortuyn).

If Dutch politics continues the way it is now, I think only a mass exodus to Flanders (once it is independent) that will make the welfare-state collapse — or a revolt — will help.

Please pardon me my anger about the Dutch.

— VH

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Letter From Spain: The Elections

This is the fifth in a series of letters from AMDG at La Yijad en Eurabia.

Elections in Spain

The first TV debate: The PP mentions the immigration problem

Even if there is no substantial development regarding the campaign for the National Parliamentary Elections in Spain, there is plenty of news in these first days of the official campaign. The main one has been the first TV debate between Zapatero and Rajoy. I am rather skeptical about those debates; I have serious doubts that they have ever changed the mind of a meaningful proportion of the electorate. In any case, this has been the most relevant event up to now.

I have to say that I did not see the debate. What for? I have just read the part on “social issues” (Spanish transcription), which includes some references to immigration by Rajoy. This part of the debate was opened by Rajoy, who mentioned immigration as a new social issue and referred to the “crowding out” effect in social services. He mentioned the figures of new immigrants:

In the year 2005 more than 700,000 [immigrants] entered Spain; in 2006, more than 670,000; more than France, Germany and the United Kingdom altogether. In the year 2007, more than 725,000; again, more than France, Germany and United Kingdom altogether, and we are the second country, only the USA has a higher number of foreign residents.

Yes this is an immigration tsunami. Zapatero did not answer and changed the topic to his social achievements: that is, the increase in spending. Rajoy reproached him for refusing to deal with immigration. He went on with the figures:

I gave you the official information from your Government, on residence permits: in June, 2004 there were in Spain 1,776,000 regular foreign residents. In December, 2007 there were 3.9 million, that is to say more of the double. For you this seems not to be a problem, but there are people to whom this is actually a problem: those who want a place in the school [for their children], who want vouchers for the school canteens, which want access to public housing; it is necessary to manage that the rights of each one, because they all have rights evidently; do not harm others’ rights.

For you this does not matter, but for me it does. Also the fact that 10% of the foreigners, being only 10 per cent, account for 34% of the population in jail; 40% in Catalonia. Do you know why this happens? Because there is no control; we need order and control; this is what must be done: legal immigration with a contract, fighting against illegal immigration and, of course, an “integration contract”; not to forget: we have all equal rights and obligations; we are equal in duties and in opportunities.
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Finally, the “moderate right” dares to link immigration and criminality. I have serious doubts that the PP would really tackle the issue. Rajoy just proposes to control immigration, but what we need is to stop it, in particular the immigration from Morocco. At least, it shows that the PP would be receptive to the pressure of an anti-immigration party.

I will not elaborate on the other parts of the debate. If interested you can consult the Iberian Notes (Monday, February 25, 2008) and the results of the different polls on who the winner was. I agree with the conclusion. Rajoy was better, but he did not at all knock out Zapatero. We will have to see the second debate (I think I will see it this time, even if I have already decided on my vote). It seems that it will be interesting.

Zapatero has declined to attend two events he had already accepted, one organized by the Spanish blind association, another by the second largest university in Madrid. Some malevolent tongues suggest that he needs some extra time to prepare the second debate.

PS: The most notorious association of Spanish Muslim converts has asked the Muslims to vote for Zapatero (Spanish).

Death Comes for the Renaissance Man

The Rev. Robert Sirico, head of the Acton Institute, has written a fitting tribute to William Buckley.

Buckley himself wrote numerous eulogies for those that went before him. I often wondered, when his own time came, if anyone could do Buckley justice. He had a true gift for friendship across the spectrum of political beliefs. While it is trite to say, “he will be missed”, sometimes only clichés get you through the tough moments.

William F. Buckley died in a state of grace, wise and full of years. As angels guide him to his rest, everyone who knew him will have their own special memory of being in his company -- stories they couldn't tell while he was still here.

Father Sirico has an especially nice one.

Father Sirico’s tribute:

William F. Buckley and Robert SiricoHaving been my father’s remote control, I recall one Sunday afternoon in the 1960s being told to stop and back up to the “educational channel,” as it was called.

The Sirico household were not big viewers of what was then Channel 13 in New York, so I wondered what my father was thinking.

I click over to the channel and my father said, “Sit down; you’ll learn something.”

Indeed, I did.

That was the first time I had heard or seen William F. Buckley, Jr., who died in his study on Wednesday while at work on yet another erudite page of insightful, urbane, and scintillating prose. Buckley (or Bill, as he almost insisted people call him) holds the record of sending me to the dictionary more than anyone I have ever read in the English language.

He was more than just a stylist. He was a thinker, and a very serious one. He made a mighty contribution to the intellectual culture-raising it as high as he possibly could and never becoming despondent when it refused to budge.

He will be lauded by numerous pendants and scribes for the incredible number of his accomplishments, preeminent of which is his historic role as godfather of the modern conservative/libertarian movement in the founding of the National Review.

He was also a decent harpsichordist, a sailing enthusiast, an avid skier, world traveler and adventurer, lover of Latin, and debater par excellence. If he could do all these things at once, which I am sure he attempted, all the better. All of which is to say that he loved life and lived it to the fullest.

When the time came for me to found the Acton Institute, I was concerned in the early years with establishing our credibility and I conjured up the idea to write Bill Buckley, whom I had met only once or twice in passing, and ask if he would consider being the inaugural speaker of what I’d hope would become an annual dinner.

To my utter amazement he promptly replied (he was always prompt in his replies) that yes, he would be delighted to come, waiving his usual five-figure speaking fee to launch us on our way. That was almost 20 years ago.

We remained in contact over those years, and he was always unfailingly supportive and gracious and, in fact, was a personal donor to our work.

My most memorable time with Bill was just ten years ago, in, of all places, Havana, Cuba. We were both there for the historic visit of John Paul, II. Meeting in the lobby of what had been the gangster Myer Lansky’s hotel on the El Maracon, Bill asked if I would like to join him in exploring the city. Would I like to meander around Old Havana with the author of a novel about a spy who attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro? And have drinks with said novelist in Hemmingway’s old bar, mischievously attempting to order Cuba Libres? Would I like to help him negotiate (Buckley’s first language was Spanish) the black market purchase of Cuban cigars from a man we met on the street, who would take us to his cramped apartment to display his wares out of the view of prying eyes?

Would I like to explore the Old Cathedral and pray together there for freedom of that beleaguered land? And would I like to end the day with a delicious meal, smoking our cigars and laughing about having committed a capitalist act among consenting adults in one of the last bastions of socialism on the planet? Would I?…

Read the rest of Father Sirico’s paean to Bill Buckley here.

While you’re at the Acton Institute site, be sure to look around. This is a good place to start: “Minimum Wage, Maximum Suffering.”

Here Comes Mahmoud Cottontail

Hamas bunny

Here comes Mahmoud Cottontail
Hoppin’ down the bunny trail,
Hippity hoppity,
Jihad’s on its way

Bringin’ ev’ry girl and boy
A basketful of jihad joy
Things to make your Jihad
Bright and gay

He’s got napalm for Sagheer
Nuts and bolts for sister Sugra
There’s a plaque for your mommeer
And a big black hijab too. Oh!

Here’ comes Mahmoud Cottontail
Hoppin’ down the bunny trail
Hippity hoppity
Happy Jihad Day

Look at him hop and listen to him say,
“Try to detonate the things you should”
Maybe if you’re extra good
He’ll roll lots of fun grenades your way.

You’ll wake up on Paradise morning
And you’ll know that he was there
When you find those choc’late raisins
That he’s hiding ev’rywhere, Oh!

Here comes Mahmoud Cottontail
Hoppin’ down the bunny trail,
Hippity hoppity,
Jihad’s on its way…

Source: Jyllands-Posten.
Timeless poetry by Gates of Vienna

Hat Tip: TB.

[ends here -- unless you can think of some more verses]

Is the Vatican Naïve or Merely without Humor?

Flemming Rose has an editorial in Pajamas Media this morning. It merits your attention:

Yesterday the Vatican joined the al-Azhar university in Cairo in condemning the republication of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s depiction of Muhammed with a bomb in his turban, but the Catholic state and the supreme institution of Islam in the Sunni world didn’t say a word about the foiled plot to kill Westergaard, who has been in hiding since November last year.

“Both sides vehemently denounce the reprinting of the offensive cartoon and the attack on Islam and its prophet,” the two sides said in a joint statement according to IslamOnline.

The cartoon was republished by 17 Danish newspapers two weeks ago in an act of solidarity with the 72 year old cartoonist.

“We call for the respect of faiths, religious holy books and religious symbols,” read the statement.

“Freedom of expression should not become a pretext to insult religions and defaming religious sanctities.”

Well, I wonder what the Vatican thinks of the freedom of expression demonstrated by those of its enemies who would like to see it turned into a mosque? Many of the denizens of al-Azhar University would welcome such an outcome, which the Vatican well knows. This pandering by the Vatican is embarrassing to watch. On the other hand, the Vatican - unlike the Italians who surround it - is not celebrated for its sense of humor.

This whole thing sounds like something the U.S. State Department wrote up for them. Or al Jazeera. It is the depth of short-sightedness, moral equivocating, and a dearth of common sense. God gave us all the faculty of self-preservation but it doesn’t seem to be operative in the vacuum we see here.

Mr. Rose says that Kurt Westergaard’s wife, Gitte, is not allowed to work at the kindergarten where she is normally employed, for fear of the children’s safety [Note: since this was originally posted, the kindergarten has backed off its original statement]. Given the adversary, I think that’s a sensible idea, but Mr. Rose and Mrs. Westergaarde’s wife don’t agree:
- - - - - - - - -
…Today she received a call from the director asking her not to show up at work. A spokesman for the authorities in charge of child care in the county said that the decision to kick out Ms. Westergaard was made after several parents expressed worries for the safety of their kids.

“I am angry, disappointed and sad. The threats are against my husband. There is no security problem concerning me,” Gitte Westergaard told Jyllands-Posten.

“I understand that some parents may feel insecure, but I would never work at a kindergarten, if I had the slightest suspicion or knowledge that this would represent a risk to the kids or my colleagues.”

Mrs. Westergaard is exhibiting the same lack of understanding that shrouds the Vatican. Jihadists don’t mind killing children. In fact, they don’t mind using their own children as bombs. When dealing with the Brotherhood mindset, discretion is definitely the better part of valor.

Mr. Rose notes that the kindergarten, in having Mrs. Westergaarde on leave, is showing the kind of Hell’s Angels code of ethics that these people want:

If you don’t respect me I’ll kill you. Or if you don’t respect me I’ll scare the hell out of anymore who’s in touch with you so that they will cut off any contact with you. And it’s working: due to security concerns the Westergaards were kicked out of the Radisson hotel in Aarhus last week.

However, Mr. Rose should recall the horrors of Beslan. That could be repeated in Denmark without much trouble. We need to take these people seriously, and we need to keep them on guard by ridicule. The courage that mockery requires in the face of slaughter helps to knock small holes in the jihadist philosophy.

As Mr. Rose notes, shari’a demands that Islam’s adherents insult the kafir and his religion. What the killers weren’t expecting is that their opponents have - and use - the power to mock them back.

Go to the editorial to read about the scholarly atmosphere of al-Azhar University. If you can figure out the Vatican's rationale for linking with this antediluvian place, please enlighten me.

It is morally reprehensible that the seat of Roman Catholicism has chosen to ally with these haters, thereby cooperating in the downfall of the West.

Be sure to check out Mr. Rose’s bio here. He has led an interesting life. Unfortunately, his book, “American Voices,” does not appear to be available in English.

Cartoon Correction

Motoon in Sudan
For a culture given to taking itself too seriously, this is a good correction.

See the Sudan post immediately below here for the original setting.

Thanks to Henrik of Europe News for this idea.

[nothing follows]

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

“Down, down, Denmark!”

Fox News - all of the MSM, for that matter - must have a template by now for rioting Muslims. It probably goes something like this:

In front of thousands of cheering citizens in [capitol of Islamic country] [leader] said on [date] that [country] called on all of Islam to boycott Danish commodities.

[Esteemed Leader] said that Denmark had done the unthinkable by printing cartoons of the Prophet (pbuh). In retaliation, [country] was going to refuse further aid from Denmark, claiming it was contaminated money. [Country] was sure Saudi Arabia would come to help with petro dollars to replace the kroner it planned to return so as to avoid Danish cooties.

/irony; sarcasm

Actually, here’s the scoop on the government-backed demonstrations from the Sudan, as reported by Fox News. Let’s just say that boycotts can work both ways, if the Danes are inclined to get tough:

A butter knife right in the heart of DenmarkSudanese President Omar al-Bashir said Wednesday he would bar Danes from Sudan and told tens of thousands of people at a government-backed rally that the Muslim world should boycott Denmark because of a reprinted cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.

“We urge all Muslims around the world to boycott Danish commodities, goods, companies, institutions, organizations and personalities,” al-Bashir told the crowd outside the Republic Palace in downtown Khartoum.

“Down, down, Denmark!” shouted the protesters. Al-Bashir vowed that “not a single Danish foot will from now on desecrate the land of Sudan.”

In reality, it seems that Danish feet will have to leave Danish Red Cross projects if Omar al-Bashir is anything more than a windbag:
- - - - - - - - -

Sudan is one of the largest recipients of Danish aid and Danish aid groups that operate there include the Danish Refugee Council and the Danish Red Cross, which runs large projects to alleviate suffering in the western Darfur region.


The African country received 130.2 million kroner (euro17.5 million; US$26 million) in Danish aid in 2006 and a 500 million kroner (euro67 million; US$100 million) humanitarian and reconstruction package is planned through 2009.

What is the likelihood that ol’ Omar would stop the aid from Denmark to Darfur? Or would that move interfere with whatever skimming the local Janjaweed may have been doing as they proceed with their planned genocide?

Hat tip: TB

Progress, Development and Relations with Third World

Our Russian correspondent Dimitri K. has some thoughts about the pitfalls inherent in the concept of “progress:” as it applies to the nations of the world.

Progress, Development and Relations with Third World
by Dimitri K.

Dinosaur fossilI want to discuss here how the wide-spread belief in progress and development influences the relations between the West and the other parts of the world.

According to those concepts, people, technology and the world are developing. The progress is unidirectional: the later, the more developed.

However, if we look at the world, some countries appear to be less developed than others. They are believed to be “under-developed”. Given the monotone growth of progress, it is as if they were situated earlier in time. Those countries and their people are perceived, within the frame of Evolution and Progress, as people from previous time. Up to this point, everyone will probably agree.

Here is the trick: when we look at those countries and people, we inevitably think that we see our history. As if we see our ancestors, observe our history in real time. So, those people actually take the place of our ancestors in our minds. Geography substitutes for history. The relation is substituted by difference.

The consequences are straightforward. Clearly, everyone needs and wants to be fair to his ancestors. Treating your ancestors unfairly, or worse, being rude to them is like attacking your own parents. We may only help them and must respect them. This hypothesis may also explain why some conservatives are even more possessed by comforting third-worlders than leftists — because respect to your fathers is the key point of conservatism.
- - - - - - - - -
There is no way out of this trap, until we quit speaking about other nations and countries in the terms of time. Never call them retarded, under-developed, primitive, barbaric, medieval etc. Those names only strengthen the historical associations.

They are our contemporaries, not ancestors. Let’s call them “different”, “others” or “strangers”.

But evolution and progressive concepts must be avoided.

And the hardest of all: we have to quit thinking of ourselves as the most developed. Let us learn to be not the champions of the world, but just ourselves. Then we will be able to solve our problems rationally, not under the influence of feelings which have nothing to do with the problems we face.

The EU Straitjacket

Our Flemish correspondent ProFlandria uses Brussels Journal as a jumping-off point for an essay about the ramifications of Kosovar independence.

The EU Straitjacket
by ProFlandria

Paul Belien has an interesting take on what the Kosovo independence issue may mean for European international alignment with the U.S. and Russia:

During the past two centuries three major European continental nations have tried to impose their will on the rest of the continent, indeed, on the globe. First France in the early 19th century, then Germany in the first half of the 20th century, and finally Russia. […] The willingness of Britain, and later also of America, to stand up against continental Europe’s bullies made London and later Washington into the natural allies of the smaller European countries, who feel threatened by their big neighbors.

That is a good description of how European countries have, in the past, compared in power and how that affected their relations. Mr. Belien goes on to explain that the earlier failures of France and Germany to fulfill their ambitions for domination of the continent, as well as global influence, led them to use the European Union as an alternate vehicle to achieve the same goal. The smaller countries’ position is as weak within the EU as it was during the preceding centuries; they perceive the European Union to be a joint Franco-German effort at dominating Europe. In addition, there is the complication of the third big player on the block:

Eastern European nations such as the Baltic states and Poland, fear that one day the Franco-German axis might be enlarged by bringing in Russia. This fear was very tangible three years ago, when the friendship between then German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian leader Vladimir Putin was observed with suspicion in the capital cities that lie between Berlin and Moscow.

The article goes on to explain that after the fall of the Soviet Union, the smaller former Soviet states sought EU membership as protection against Russia (the Russian saber-rattling in response to the independence of the Baltic States certainly provided a good incentive). However, their trust may have been misplaced:
- - - - - - - - -
Last year, when Nicolas Sarkozy became president of France, one of the first things he did was to signal to Russia that France was looking for closer cooperation. This, [in addition to the German-Russian gas pipeline plan], sent warning signals across the continent… [A]ll nations, small and middle-sized, in Europe realize that the biggest threat to their independence is a Franco-German-Russian axis. If one day Paris, Berlin and Moscow decide to join forces the rest of Europe will have to do as they are told.

All of this served to reinforce the sense of alliance with the United States and Britain; this was borne out by the participation of many of the smaller European states in the “coalition of the willing” in Iraq. The Kosovo issue has put Russia in opposition to the U.S. and Britain, but also France and Germany (because of their recognition of an independent Kosovo). While that should cool any efforts at “closer cooperation” between France/Germany and Russia, there is a subset of Europeans who may be forced to reconsider their heretofore solid alliances:

[P]ro-American European conservatives, who backed Bush’s “war against terror” and defend national sovereignty against the EU’s attempts to restrict it, are asking themselves a hitherto taboo question: Might Russia not be a better ally than America to preserve Europe from an Islam-friendly Franco-German dominance?

We don’t know how many “pro-American European conservatives” have actually voiced this question or what nations they may hail from — and it may not matter. When the Lisbon Treaty goes into effect next year, it becomes a moot point: the member nations will surrender foreign policy to the EU (that is to say, France and Germany).

This creates a Catch-22 situation: France and Germany have made overtures to Russia, which is bad for the smaller countries from the standpoint of democracy and sovereignty (what little remains). On the other hand, both countries appear remarkably unconcerned about the advance of Islam on the continent while Russia has acted with a heavy hand in this regard. While Kosovo may be a shorter-term impediment to a France-Germany-Russia axis, French and German official negligence in dealing with the “Muslim problem” will be an obstacle for the long term. This means the smaller countries will be caught in the EU straitjacket, which is bad for them from the Islamization standpoint — unless they renounce their EU membership.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Merry Minuet

The bitter argument waged in the comments section of yesterday’s post brought to mind a song from the late 1950s. The Kingston Trio covered a number that came out earlier in the ’50s, and the words were written by the Broadway lyricist Sheldon Harnick.

I had to make some slight modifications to the second stanza:

Merry Minuet

They’re rioting in Africa,
They’re starving in Spain.
There’s hurricanes in Florida,
And Texas needs rain.
The whole world is festering
With unhappy souls.
The French hate the Germans,
The Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs,
South Africans hate the Dutch.
And I don’t like anybody very much!

But we can be tranquil, and thankful, and glad,
For man’s been endowed with Islamic Jihad!
And we know for certain that some lovely day,
After greeting the Twelfth Imam, we will all be blown away!

fratricideConsidering all the animosity between Croat and Serb, between Orthodox and Roman Catholic, between Iberians and Central Europeans, between the Irish and the English, and especially between Americans and everyone else, it’s no wonder that the Great Jihad is eating our lunch.

Close your eyes and throw a dart at the timeline of world history. It doesn’t matter where it lands: I can guarantee you that sometime during that year, somewhere on the planet, one group of people was being brutalized, enslaved, massacred, or supplanted by another.

It’s late and I don’t have any time for research, so I’ll just pick a few dates off the top of my head:
- - - - - - - - -
146 B.C. Carthage destroyed by Rome.
70 A.D. The Temple in Jerusalem leveled by the Romans, beginning the Jewish Diaspora.
410 A.D. Rome sacked by the Visigoths.
580 A.D. The Celts at York defeated by the Anglo-Saxons at the Battle of Caer Greu.
711 A.D. The Moorish conquest of Iberia.
793 A.D. The Vikings looted the monastery and Lindisfarne and slaughtered the inhabitants.
1389 A.D. Serbia was defeated by the Turks at the Battle of Kosovo, and absorbed into the Ottoman Empire.
1453 A.D. Constantinople overrun, sacked, and occupied by the Turks.
1658 A.D. Denmark ceded Skåne after being defeated by Sweden.
1759 A.D. The French defeated at the Plains of Abraham; Quebec fell to the British.
1795 A.D. The final partition of Poland. The Polish nation ceased to exist.
1848 A.D. California annexed by the United States after the Mexican-American War.
1865 A.D. Richmond occupied by the Yankees.
1871 A.D. Alsace-Lorraine ceded to Germany after the Franco-Prussian War.
1907 A.D. Indian Territory abolished when Oklahoma became a state.
1922 A.D. The Greeks and Armenians massacred and expelled from Smyrna by the Turks.
1940 A.D. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union.
1945 A.D. The expulsion of the Sudeten Germans from Czechoslovakia under the Beneš decree.
1950 A.D. Tibet forcibly occupied by China.
2008 A.D. Kosovo removed from the control of Serbia by the United States, Britain, France, and Germany.

I could continue, but you get the idea.

There isn’t a square meter of ground in the world that hasn’t been defiled and brutally taken from one group by another.

Every single existing tribe, people, or ethnic group — every group, even the most peaceful and spiritual Indian tribe — obtained its current territory through violence, stealth, subterfuge, or purchase. Nobody has the original claim to any piece of ground on Earth. There aren’t any truly aboriginal inhabitants.

If we’re going to tear at one another’s throats over the grievances of fifty or a hundred or a thousand years ago, the strife won’t end until the Hosts of Mohammed joyfully celebrate the will of Allah and parade into our emptied cities.

Don’t you think we should forget these old grudges and stand against the common enemy?

Are we going to behave like the English under King Alfred and unite against a foe that threatens us all?

Or shall we be like the Irish, and traduce one another while the enemy hews us to pieces?

Honest to God, what’s wrong with you people??

Serbs are going to have to get along with Croats. Swedes are going to have to put up with Danes. The Irish and the English will have to forget their animosity. The Spaniards and the Portuguese will need to set aside their differences.

And — most difficult of all — I’ll have to learn to make friends with Yankees.

The Motoons Will Always Be There

If the Motoons didn’t exist, Muslims would have to invent them.

That’s the only conclusion one can draw when reading about the latest frenzy of Islamic offendedness. Muslims just can’t wait to be offended. The very existence of infidels offends them. If it weren’t the Motoons, it would be something else — a billboard showing a piggybank, an uncovered woman, a man walking his dog…

But fortunately the Motoons are there to be exploited on every possible occasion.

Apparently the Danish embassy in Amman has not yet been reduced to rubble, and the Jordanians demonstrated in front of it yesterday to protest the existence of the Motoons. According to the Arab News:

Jordan Media Plan Joint Response to Cartoons

Motoon demonstration in JordanAt least 21 Jordanian daily newspapers, weeklies and other media said yesterday that they had decided to carry a unified text tomorrow that responds to the recent reprinting of blasphemous cartoons. “The unified text is designed to carry a media message of a professional and objective nature as part of an expanded media campaign,” the papers said in a statement.

“It also has the aim of driving the idea home that the reprinting of the sacrilegious pictures by 17 Danish newspapers at the same time represents a flagrant, systematic and well-studied offense to Islam and the Prophet (peace be upon him) and has nothing to do with the freedom of expression,” they added.

The statement urged all other media and the journalists’ syndicate to join this campaign to turn Wednesday into an “historic day” in Jordan which it said performed a “pioneering role in defending Islam and Prophet Mohammed,” a reference to King Abdallah who belongs to Hashemite clan. The statement also appealed to all Arab and Islamic media to follow suit.

The move by the Jordanian press represented an escalation in the reaction to the reprinting of the caricatures 10 days ago by a dozen Danish newspapers which said they wanted to show their firm commitment to the freedom of expression following reports of an attempt on the life of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. The pictures first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten two years ago.

Scores of Jordanians staged an angry demonstration outside the Danish Embassy yesterday, demanding that their government cut ties with Denmark. “We don’t want to see a Danish Embassy on Jordanian soil,” shouted the protesters in the Jordanian capital, men and veiled women affiliated with the Islamic Action Front, Jordan’s largest opposition group. They also told the Jordanian government to “dismiss the Danish ambassador” and insulted him and his government while they burned the Danish flag.

The embassy was open for business, but no embassy personnel could be seen at the windows of the four-story white limestone building, which sported the Danish flag on the roof. Jordan is unlikely to heed the call since it maintains cordial ties with the European Union nation. But in 2006, when the controversy over the cartoons first erupted, Jordan demanded an official explanation from Denmark and allowed merchants to remove popular Danish dairy products from the shelves.

Our Norwegian correspondent HTP sent an email today with a tip about the latest from the creepy children’s television programming on Hamas TV. In one particular video clip, the little girl who hosts the show discusses with the giant bunny Assud the necessity for good Muslims to kill the Danes.

According to HTP:

This is front page news in Norway’s biggest newspaper (VG) today. Norway was, embarrassingly, the first and only country (they mistakenly thought other countries would follow suit) to acknowledge the Palestinian government run by Hamas.

The leader of the Progress Party, Siv Jensen, thinks this is a good time to admit the mistake.

You can watch the video clip, or see the MEMRI article for the transcript. Here are some choice excerpts:
- - - - - - - - -
Saraa: “How did these Danes have the audacity to affront the Messenger of Allah? Do you have an answer to that, Assud?”
Assud: “No, I don’t. Maybe because the Arabs and Muslims keep silent, [the Danes] humiliated them and did these things to them.”

“Allah Willing, the Soldiers of ‘The Pioneers of Tomorrow’ Will Redeem the Prophet Muhammad with All That They Possess — Even with Their Blood”…”We Will Kill Them”
Saraa: “That’s one reason, but there is an even more important reason, Assud.”
Assud: “I have no idea.”
Saraa: “It’s because the West has seen that we’ve moved away from the religion of Allah, and from the Sunna of our Prophet Muhammad. They have also seen that we have forsaken the religion of Allah, and therefore, they could affront the Prophet, because… We have done nothing to redeem the Prophet Muhammad. But I say to them: You haven’t seen anything yet. Allah willing, the soldiers of the ‘Pioneers of Tomorrow’ will redeem the Prophet Muhammad with all that they possess, and even with their blood, Assud. They will not allow them to do this again.”
Assud: “If they do it again, Saraa, we will kill them, right?”
Saraa: “Allah willing.”
Assud: “I will bite them and eat them up.”
Saraa: “Yes.”

Henrik Ræder Clausen, being Danish, has a definite opinion on the topic. Here are some excerpts from his editorial at Europe News:

Traditionally, Muslims have great confidence in their leaders, and these leaders are now drawing heavily on this confidence to evoke anger over the Muhammad cartoons. When an Islamic leader claims Islam is under attack, Islam is under attack, and violence is justified.

Allah go boom!The Motoons are central to this. It depicts Muhammad in a significantly different way from how the imams and muftis are used to depicting him. Further, the idea that Muhammad was a murderous plundering rapist undermines their authority, because religious figures are supposed to be good examples for their followers. Beheadings do not look like nice examples to follow.

So much for the violent Jihad movement. If you are interested, you can get recruited at Jihad Unspun. It explicitly propagates the myth that Islam is under attack.

And in a way, they are right. Islam is being attacked by rationality and freedom of information. Everyone is now able to look up the Life of Muhammad (the Sirat), either by reading the original books or modern critical analysis such as The Truth about Muhammad, The Legacy of Jihad, Prophet of Doom or Defeating Jihad. The picture isn’t pretty, and we are struggling between the freedom of the West and the religious dogma of the Middle East.

But conversely, the assertion that Islam is under attack from the West is patently false. Islam is being exposed in the world of rationality and freedom of information, and the Islamic scriptures, read literally and uncritically, are self-incriminating. There is a lot of material in there pertaining to the life and example of Muhammad, material that simply doesn’t look holy, by any reasonable definition of the word.

By implication, it is near impossible to say anything about Islam or Muhammad worse than what is in the Islamic scriptures themselves, and the so-called “Islam critics” are largely pointing out the nature of the Islamic scripture and the legacy of Islamic history. This is, of course, the root cause for the Islamic attack on freedom of expression.

As for the opinion of Europe News, let it be expressed by the Motoon above. Muslims need to relate to and solve the problem it expresses. If the Muslims burn our flags, our embassies or even kill our artists, we shall respond by publishing more Motoons! Violence is not holy, and should be completely banished from religion, even in face of (gasp) mockery! Without freedom of expression, there can be no democracy, no human rights, and no freedom for artists and other existing people.

Muslims must accept scrutiny of their religion, criticism and suggestions for bringing it up to date with a modern world. Islamic leaders are encouraged to interpret the Motoons not as an evil insult, rather as an encouragement for reform. Muslims need that.

The truth shall set us free.

Part of the truth is that the sins of “un-Islamic behavior” and “offending the Prophet” are not reserved exclusively for infidels. It seems that Muslims can be offended by cartoons drawn by Muslims about Muslims:

Gaza: Anti-Hamas Cartoon, 6 Months in Prison For Author

Six months of imprisonment and a fine: this is the penalty imposed by a tribunal in Gaza (subject to the control of Hamas) to the editor-in-chief of Palestinian daily ‘al-Ayam’, Akram Haniyeh, and its political cartoonist Baha Boukhari for having published last November a cartoon considered offensive to former prime minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Hamas has also prohibited the distribution in Gaza of ‘al-Ayam’, a daily which in general expresses the position of the PNA. With the offensive picture Boukhari illustrated Ismail Haniyeh in front of MPs looking alike him. The headline qualified them as ‘The Illegitimate’.

“In the motives of the decision it was also affirmed that this picture represents an offense against Islam and the Muslims,” Boukhari told ANSA today.

The author added that the tribunal in Gaza had no right to try him which is why he will not apologize to the leaders of Hamas. Palestinian journalists and writers are organising for tomorrow a manifestation of solidarity with ‘al-Ayam’. (ANSAmed) [emphasis added].

So the cartoon “represents an offense against Islam and the Muslims”, eh?

Move over, Denmark! Time to make room for the leaders of the Palestinian Authority!

The above gives you a little foretaste of what the Ummah will be like after the last infidel is vanquished. First the Sunnis and the Shiites will decide (by violence) who represents the “true Islam”, and who offends the Prophet. Then the survivors will repeat the process, splintering into ever-smaller groups, each struggling to put the curved knives to the other’s throats.

In the end, there will be only a single Muslim left standing.

But he’ll be a really good Muslim, and beloved of the Prophet.

Hat tips: For the Jordanian demo, TB; for the Palestinian cartoon controversy, insubria.

Is Kosovo the Beginning of a New Domino Theory?

Map of the central Balkans -- thanks, LN
Reader DP111 left a link in our comments to one of my favorite analysts, David Warren, who has this to say about Kosovo:

…I was opposed not only to the wanton bombing of Serbia, but also to the whole “inevitable” project of carving a new European Muslim state out of the flesh of that Orthodox Christian country.

I was not without sympathy for the “plight of the Kosovars,” however. Like virtually all journalists at that time, not of Serbian ethnicity, I fell for a great deal of typically Balkan propagandist rubbish that has since been quietly withdrawn.

My rule of thumb, on wars, is to fight them with your enemies, when absolutely necessary; but never with your friends, and in particular, never in order to create new enemies…


The Serbians, under the late Slobodan Milosevic, seemed determined to inspire loathing and distrust, and suspicion that he was doing in Kosovo precisely what his nationalist allies had done in Bosnia: “ethnic cleansing,” also known as the massacre of innocents. Although not nearly as monstrous as, say, Saddam Hussein, nor anything like Saddam’s threat to the West, Milosevic missed as many opportunities to come clean with his diplomatic interrogators. The Serbs, who allowed this vicious old Communist, turned nationalist demagogue, to remain in power, showed very poor judgment.

But the fact that Kosovo had a significant ethnic majority of Albanian Muslims over Serbian Christians was not, in itself, sufficient argument to detach it from Serbia by main force. For if that is the argument, the state system which provides the only order the planet currently enjoys will tend to disintegrate. [my emphasis - D]

Strange to say, I am with Vladimir Putin on this one, and against George W. Bush. Mr. Putin’s remarks on the inspiration that Kosovo’s independence has given to violent separatists in Chechnya, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and elsewhere, are entirely to the point.

Indeed, driving the Serbian government and Serbian people into the protective embrace of ex-Soviet Russia, and ultimately her ex-KGB strongman, was among several counter-productive dimensions in the war that Madeleine Albright organized, along with other ruinous Clinton interventions in areas of peripheral interest to the U.S. (Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia).

The NATO action in Kosovo brought Mr. Putin - the hammer of the Chechens - to power, by demonstrating that force and force alone will decide secession struggles, East or West. It restored anti-Americanism to its place in the Russian national security consensus, indirectly bringing an end to the Yeltsin reform era.

It was an incredibly stupid war to wage, and the product was on display in Brussels yesterday where the Russian ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogovin, actually threatened the use of force to prevent Kosovo’s declaration of independence from going any farther.

President Bush, who was prompted to recognize the self-declared Kosovar state (together with most European powers), feels obliged to accept the fait accompli he inherited from the preceding administration.

He, or his successor, will then try to resist the next stage of demands, for a Greater Albania in which Kosovo attempts to merge with Albania, and the Muslim majorities in adjoining districts of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Greece begin insurrections to join them. By recognizing Kosovo, Bush et al. have validated exactly that: a deadly new round of Balkan troubles, ripe for Islamicization.

We cannot afford to validate the principle of armed insurrection, whether in Kosovo or Chechnya or Palestine or Kashmir or northern Sri Lanka or southern Thailand or the southern Philippines or in any of the many other places where terrorism demands to be rewarded with an independent state. And, within Europe, a couple of thousand EU policemen (about to be installed without United Nations cover, and in defiance of agreements with Serbia) cannot guarantee order in a territory that is already a European refuge for radical Islamist cells, and threatens to become Europe’s terrorist safe house.

There is a deeper history here, for the understanding of which we would have to review the rest of the legacy of Ottoman imperialism in the Balkans. But that is, alas, something the Serbs understand a lot better than we do

Well, that’s pretty clear, isn’t it? I felt I knew a bit more about the morass after reading Mr. Warren’s take on the situation.

Then, in the comments, I found two coherent arguments - one from a Mr. Thomas Anderson, reflecting his agreement with Mr. Warren, and another by someone who calls himself “Witness to History,” and who stands opposed to both, presenting his reasoned disagreement quite well. I will present their opposing points of view below.
- - - - - - - - -
Having read both points of view, I was as lost as ever. Knowing that “Google is your friend” and that my geographical knowledge about this area is hazy at best, I tried to find out exactly what the regional parameters are. Perhaps a geopolitcal map will provide some clues?

Forget it. Wikipedia left me more confused than before. It seems that no one quite agrees on what is central Europe versus eastern Europe. You open the page and it’s more bristly with disclaimers than a porcupine. Even here, there are arguments:

Eastern Europe is a concept of a geopolitical region recently influenced by the Cold War. Its borders are defined more by culture than by clear and precise geography. Throughout history and to a lesser extent today Eastern Europe has been distinguishable from Western Europe and other regions due to cultural, religious, economic, and historical reasons. Although the term Eastern Europe was largely defined of the Cold War, it still remains much in use.[1] The term is commonly used in the media and in everyday use both in “eastern” and other regions of Europe.

The wiki goes on to explore the various definitions given by various interested parties:

1 Definitions [of eastern Europe]

1.1 UN
1.2 CIA
1.3 Time Almanac
1.4 Academic
1.5 Geographical
1.6 Soviet era
1.7 Post-Soviet

And the maps on that page aren’t much help, either. The parameters of the map(s) you choose seem to depend on your political and historical leanings. If you go to the page you’ll find a UN map, one from the CIA, another from Time, and a last one showing the divisions post-WWII until the break-up of the Soviet Union.

My conclusion: this place is so mined with both ancient feuds and recent political/historical conflict that there is no “real” truth to be had. Your truth seems to be what you want to see accomplished. Or perhaps, your truth proceeds from your own family’s past.

Here are the two commenters to Mr. Warren’s essay. As you see, they have diametrically opposed points of view. The first debater, Mr. Thomas Anderson, left his email address so I was able to get his permission to put up his ideas here. The other is anonymous with no contact. He calls himself “Witness to History”. Mr. Anderson agrees with Mr. Warren; “Witness to History” does not. They are both worth reading.

First, Mr. Anderson:

…Stupidity, including political stupidity, like the poor, has been with us and will be with us always. What I cannot understand is why, in the last half-century, it has become fashionable to be so politically stupid that we embrace personal, national and indeed cultural suicide with closed eyes and open arms.

I do understand such things as the life cycle of nations and the desire of leaders for a “good” war to enhance their reputations and prop up their support. What puzzles me is the seemingly recent unseemly rush to sell out Western Civilization lock, stock and barrel.

Concerning the situation in the Balkans, for instance, which you describe so well, one has only to look at a map to see that the 1500-year Moslem encroachment on Europe, indeed the rest of the world, is proceeding apace. The Serbs, being on the front line of this struggle between civilizations, understand the situation very well. Never mind this firefight here and that little car-bombing over there. And do not even look at their attempts to preserve a national identity. In the larger view, as you say, they see that we are piece-by-piece giving up land and everything our culture stands for to what I see as a backwards and even evil belief system.

I am puzzled. Why do we not stand up to this monstrosity? Why are we so eager to bend over and give in to these savages? And I say savage by intent. Have we become so short-sighted that we will sell our very souls for gratification in the instant? Is it necessary for us to prove we are so sensitive to our beliefs that we must carry them to sophomoric extremes? Are we now so weak that we will just give them whatever they ask for? Are we just stupid? As little as one hundred years ago, well within my grandfathers’ lifetimes, we as a civilization would have understood the Serb’s attempt to stem this dark tide. We as a civilization would have rushed to their aid. Instead, we tried to bomb THEM back to the stone age. And now we want them to give more land to millions of people who profess a belief in the Koran and the Moslem philosophy of life.

That philosophy, of course, is another sticking point. Except in very rare cases, there can be no such thing as a “moderate” Moslem. Anyone who embraces the Moslem path has already chosen to believe that by teaching and by definition, theirs is the superior way of life and must prevail at all costs. There is no room for any other thought. Even a cursory reading of the Koran will illustrate this. In the end, if someone defines himself as a Moslem, he or she must of necessity side with those who would destroy us.

…As trite as it may be, it does seem that in a most simple-minded way we are repeating the mistakes of history. Again, I am puzzled. Is this inevitable? …

After I read Mr. Anderson’s comment and amplification, I felt as though I understood the situation somewhat. But then, two comments below, I come to “Witness to History’s” strong disagreement with Mr. Warren’s analysis:

Mr. Warren is mostly mistaken in the conclusions he has drawn. He paints the Kosovar Albanians as the demons and then ties them to extremist Islam. Nothing is further from the truth. The ancestors of modern Albanians were in the area now known as Kosova for hundreds of years before the Slavic invasions. They were there during the reign of the Ottomans and actually fought on the same side as the Serbs during the famous battle of Kosovo Polje. Only after the fall of the Ottomans was the Serbian empire able to attempt to re-occuppy Albanian lands.

However, that’s all ancient history. Modern history provides plenty of justification for the independence of Kosova from Serbia. Milosevic’s attempts to disenfranchise completely Albanians in the largely autonomous province of Kosovo were the spark that lit the inferno of Yugoslavia’s dismemberment. Serbs started the bloodbath in Kosova, continued to attempt the same in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia, and then, unsuccessful in all their previous campaigns of ethnic dominance, returned to Kosova. They attempted to cleanse the province and got their heads handed to them on a plate by a rag-tag army backed by NATO. Throughout this time, the Serbian people supported and defended Milosevic. Now is time to pay the piper. They backed the wrong horse and lost.

Much has been made of the “precedent” of Kosova starting problems in the areas of “frozen conflict”. Why is this bad? Why should the Kurds have to live under Arab Iraqi domination because some British prig drew the lines on a map as the Ottomans collapsed? Why should Chechens have to remain part of Russia in light of their miserable treatment for hundreds of year by the Russians. Because the conflict was “frozen” in 1945 at Yalta? If we really believe it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie than to allow people to determine their own futures, we better give everything east of Berlin back to the Communists and allow that conflict to remain “frozen”.

Let people decide if they want to continue where they are or go their separate ways. It worked fantastically for the former British colonies now known as the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Serbs, follow the example of the Germans after WWII. Apologize for the racist, nationalist crimes of your former leaders, pay reparations to all those you tried to liquidate, and concentrate on rebuilding your economy and earning some measure of respect in the civilized world. You have a lot of work ahead of you. Stick with Putin and his crowd and you will learn the true meaning of the old African saying: “When elephants fight, the grass suffers.”

And for a further complication, a third commenter notes this bit of information:

Ms. Albright is ethnically Albanian BTW. She had a blood feud with the Serbs who killed her Grandfather and Uncle in the 30’s. It was damnably foolish to allow this woman to pursue her blood feuds/psychotherapy with the USAF. It is unforgiveable that we made Russia an enemy over it.

Arrgh! How is anyone who is not already familiar with the millennia of history in this region - a knowledge that seemingly would have to cover not only the present, but go back to the period before the invasions by the Imperial Muslims - how could this fictional “anyone” begin to sort out a consensual meaning that would serve the truth?

Now I know why we Americans seem so simple-minded. Given the brief span of our time on the North American continent, our history is relatively transparent. It’s easy to watch it unfold for we are not that many generations from its very beginnings or its eventual foundation as a nation. We can disagree about what our various historical points mean but nothing is lost in the mists of time.

By comparison, European history is almost as unfathomable as China’s past. More scrutable perhaps, but nonetheless confusing. (I said “almost.”)

The difference between the Americas and other places is that we all have precise demarcations in our histories: for us, who relatively quickly came to dominate, “history” begins with the arrival of Europeans. Since winners write history, we gloss over the sagas of the indigenous tribes already resident when we came. Tribal history simply hasn’t much appeal for the Western mind, since we have long left tribal arrangements, preferring to center on the liberty of the individual.

Meanwhile in central Europe, or eastern Europe, or the Balkans, the tale called “history” changes depending on which small region is telling the story. This is true even in my ancestral homeland, where the argumentative Gaelic Irish were invaded, defeated, and dominated by the more united Sasanach - i.e., Anglo Saxons. That story is still in dispute and will be for as long as there are those who tell the tales to the next generation.

Light Posting (Again)

Work pressures are once again keeping me from blogging. For the last week, including the weekend, I have been working ten to fifteen hour days, and the crunch is not over. So my posting will be light for a while.

For those who like to send me things to read: please keep on sending them. I may even read some of them!

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Concerning the post about Ronbo in which some of your comments were deleted:

Dymphna linked to the post in an entry to the guest-book at the Cleveland funeral home site. In the event that the entry is ever approved, grieving family members may see the comments on that post. Anything that might be considered insulting, derogatory, or disrespectful to the dead was deleted, out of consideration for the feelings of those who grieve.

This is a situation with which Dymphna is personally familiar, so she is emphatic about it. It does not portend a change in our general comments policy.

The Ronbo affair grows more and more mysterious. Although I exchanged a few emails with him, I didn’t know the man personally, nor did anybody else that I communicate with. Hence none of us knows for certain whether Ronbo really did commit suicide, whether the Ronald Barbour listed in the Cleveland obituary is really him, or whether the blogger Ronbo’s real name was in fact Ronald Barbour.

For now I’m assuming that he was who he said he was, and that he did what he said he was going to do. If you read the comments on the earlier thread, you know that conflicting tidbits of information have emerged from the investigations people have undertaken to try to find out what happened.

If anything definite is confirmed about Ronbo, we will post it.

[post ends here]

Monday, February 25, 2008

When did the United States become the Islamic Republic of America?

"The Repetition of History"
by Theodore G. Karakostas

We are very fortunate in our readers. They supply us with information we wouldn’t get easily in other forms. In this case, the essayist is Theodore G. Karakostas and the subject is one he knows well: the roots of the current crisis in Serbia and Kosovo.

But this post is much more than that. Mr. Karakostas opens the door to the long history of the area, and the bloody borders created there by the influx of Islam so long ago. He says:

I would like to express how much I like your website. I am a writer coming from an Eastern Orthodox-Byzantine point of view and a Greek American and would like to share such an assessment regarding the new Islamist success in Kosovo over the past week.

And here is his provocative essay:

In November 1979, Iranian militants seized the American embassy and took hostages for 444 days. Throughout the 1980’s, the Iranians launched a variety of attacks on American targets (as in Lebanon) and sponsored terrorism. During the 1990’s Al Qaeda attacked the United States in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and bombed the American embassies in Africa. On September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda attacked the United States on its own soil.

The reaction of the United States has been to destroy Yugoslavia. Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al Zawahri, and Al Qaeda remain at large. Al Qaeda in fact, according to Youssef Bodansky, terrorism expert and biographer of Osama Bin Laden established bases in Kosovo and Bosnia. In 2006, Muslims from Kosovo were implicated in the plot to bomb Fort Dix in New Jersey. The reaction of the United States is to ignore the very spirit of the alleged war on terror and to approve the establishment of a terrorist Islamic State in the Balkans at the expense of the Serbs who were allies of the United States in both World Wars.

When did the United States become the Islamic Republic of America? My own idea is that the United States drifted toward pro-Islamic sympathies when it became involved with the Turkish nationalists between 1919 and 1922. Today, many of the Western backers of independence for Kosovo were also those States who armed and supported Mustafa Kemal and the Turkish nationalists in Asia Minor. Italy, France, and Great Britain have extended immediate recognition to Kosovo.

The burning of Smyrna in 1922In 1919, the Italians were the first European power to arm Mustafa Kemal in Asia Minor. According to Marjorie Housepian Dobkin in her brilliantly researched “Smyrna 1922 the Destruction of a City” the Greek Army might have destroyed Mustafa Kemal’s Army had it not been for the intervention of the Italians and the British who according to Dobkin, rescued Kemal from destruction. The connection between the betrayal of the Greek cause in Asia Minor, and the betrayal of the Serbs today reflects the continuing evolution of Western policy which is in effect pro-Islamic.

The Greek-Serbian alliance in the Balkan Wars drove the Ottoman Empire out of the Balkans. These achievements are being systematically undermined today. Kosovo was liberated during the Balkan Wars, and now the change of borders there challenges the outcome for Greek achievements as well. The Ottomans who were defeated by the Greeks and the Serbs get the last laugh! The Ottomanization of the Balkans is under way.

The genocide at SmyrnaTurkey’s recognition of Kosovo was to be expected. The Turks are reestablishing links with their former Muslim subjects and expanding their influence in the region at the expense of Greece and Serbia. In 1922, in the aftermath of the Genocide and mass slaughter of Greeks at the City of Smyrna, the Greeks wanted to make a last stand in Eastern Thrace, and pondered the possibility of entering Constantinople. The Greeks were told in no uncertain terms by the three European Powers that if they entered Constantinople, they would not be permitted to remain there. Ultimately, over 1,000,000 Greek Orthodox Christians were ethnically cleansed from Asia Minor with the full cooperation of the Americans and the three European Powers.

The burning of a church in KosovoDuring the 1990’s, the Serbs were ethnically cleansed from Krajinna by the Nazi armies of Croatia and from Bosnia. They have also been ethnically cleansed from Kosovo since 1999 with their Churches and Monasteries being destroyed. In both Asia Minor and Yugoslavia, the Western powers were present when the Christians were slaughtered by the Muslims. Today, NATO and the European Union talk of protecting the rights of Serbs in Kosovo, and of maintaining “peacekeepers” even while Serbs have been lynched, murdered, beaten, and terrorized into leaving under the auspices of the “peacekeepers”.

During the fall of 2007, a resolution in the House of Representatives was introduced which would have recognized the Armenian Genocide. The Bush administration lobbied against it, and intimidated many of the Democrats who supported it, into withdrawing their support. The extermination of a Christian people by an Islamic government was not recognized in order to placate the Islamic successors of the Genocidal regime! One would think that Islamists were dictating American policies.
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Over two million Christians in the Sudan have been slaughtered by the Islamists. The Coptic Christians of Egypt have suffered relentless discrimination and persecution by Islamic extremists. Saudi Arabia prohibits the practice of Christianity. While Monasteries in Kosovo are being destroyed, the Saudis are subsidizing the construction of Mosques in Kosovo, which fly the Saudi flag. In the struggle between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, the West is backing the Muslims.

Then there are the benefits of European multiculturalism. The European Constitution does not mention Christianity (a fact which outraged the Orthodox Church of Greece). Various feminists in the European Parliament have suggested that the Monastic Republic of Mount Athos should be compelled to lift its prohibition on the entry of women onto its hallowed grounds. This Orthodox Monastic community established on the Holy Mountain of Athos which is dedicated to the Theotokos (Mother of God) does not allow women in order to specifically honor the Theotokos. The Orthodox Church of Greece has bitterly resisted the attempts by the European Union to undermine Greek traditions and to impose secularism on Greek society.

Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of CanterburyContrast these radical anti-Christian stances with the recent statement of the Archbishop of Canterbury who suggested that Sharia law should be allowed to coexist with Civil laws in Great Britain. It is not ironic that the capitals of Europe are being thoroughly Islamicized, or that they are being held hostages (the riots in France 2005) by extremists, considering the extent to which Eastern Christians have been sacrificed throughout the twentieth century. Gone are the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire which saved Europe from the Ottoman Empire in 1539 and 1683.

A Rock Concert in Croatia recently received a great deal of publicity because the band in question proceeded to give the Nazi salute. The wars that were waged against the Serbs during the 1990’s were waged by a government of Nazi sympathizers on the one hand, and two Islamic governments in league with Al Qaeda on the other. The 800,000 Serbs that were slaughtered by the pro-Nazi Croats and Muslims during the Second World War were entirely ignored by western media.

The Republic of Cyprus is another Christian country struggling to survive. Over 500 Greek Orthodox Churches have been destroyed or converted into Mosques. From Cyprus to Kosovo, Christianity is being eradicated and the destroyers in both cases are being embraced by Europe and the United States. The Greek Orthodox in Constantinople are on the verge of extinction. The betrayal of the Greek Christians of Constantinople since the 1940’s represents another heartbreaking tragedy in the history of the Orthodox Church during the twentieth century.

Turkey today is notoriously anti-American. Islamic fundamentalism is faring quite well despite the assurance of American and European officials that Turkey is a “secular, democratic” country. Ordinary Turks have become enraged by American policies toward Iraq and the Palestinians out of Islamic solidarity, but Ankara’s public relations people have successfully convinced many Americans that Turkish-American relations were fine until Nancy Pelosi introduced the Armenian Genocide Resolution in Congress. When the Iraq war was launched in 2003, Turks cursed the United States for attacking a Muslim country long before the Armenian Genocide Resolution was introduced.

Western sacrifices of Christians preceded the pro-Turkish policies undertaken between 1919 and 1922. During the nineteenth century, Tsarist Russia took up the cause of the Christians of the Ottoman Empire. In 1853, Great Britain and France occupied Greece to prevent Athens from aligning with Moscow in the Crimean War. In 1878, the Russians had Constantinople in their sights, but the Ottomans were protected by London and Paris.

During the 1870’s, the slaughter of the Bulgarians by the Ottoman Turks was widely publicized. As the nineteenth century concluded, the Armenians, Assyrians, and Asia Minor Greeks came under extreme persecution by the Ottomans. International conferences were convened by the three great powers of Great Britain, France, and Russia. Only the Russians were interested in protecting the Christians, as in Kosovo today. The strategic interest in the Ottoman Empire by London and Paris prevented the Russians from interfering.

Kosovo independenceThis essay is a response to the events being undertaken in Kosovo and the Balkans today. It is extremely difficult to believe that in the age of Al Qaeda, the Great Powers maintain an irrational hatred of the Serbs and the Russians. The essay began by noting the various terrorist attacks on the United States. The Serbs have done nothing to the United States or the Europeans, and have found themselves being mercilessly deprived of their ancestral homelands and holy places.

The Western governments have chosen to restore the heritage of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans. Several years ago, then Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz praised Turkey for its treatment of minorities! In 1204, the Knights of the Fourth Crusade destroyed Constantinople and opened the door for the Ottomans. What the Crusaders did physically to the Christian East, the Western powers are doing intellectually by suppressing and rewriting the history of the Christian East.

The fall of ConstantinopleDuring the Seventh Century, the Emperor Constantine V of Constantinople successfully defended his Capital from the onslaught of Muslim invaders. He successfully defended the West as well as his own Empire. During the tenth century, Emperor Nikephoras Phokas took the offensive against the Arabs after three hundred and thirty years of being on the defensive and liberated most of Syria! In 1453, Emperor Constantinos Palaiologos died in battle defending his City against the Ottomans.

How tragic that the legacy of Christian Byzantium whose Emperors took up the fight against the forerunners of Osama Bin Laden has been cast aside as the model for the Balkans in favor of the Ottoman Turks who were the perpetrators of terrorism and Genocide. This is exactly what the sacrifice of Orthodox Serbia represents. In our own day, the Russians again represent the aspirations of Orthodox Christians, and it is to be hoped they will help save Kosovo and the Balkans.