At the end of the day, I don't know how you can prevent all this from happening. There's things you can do reasonably, and people are trying to do the best they can, but it's never enough and it never will be enough in this new world, this new norm that we live in. - Julian Fantino, Ontario Commissioner of Emergency Management
Olmert did not gather the support directly that Ariel Sharon may have. Sharon remains in a coma, descended upon him shortly after he created Kadima with Olmert, and called the elections.
Rookmaker Club geostrategic analysis:
UPDATE: Iran gets scolding, but ElBaradei (head of UN's anti-nuke prolif agency IAEA)is now "sole solution" according to Russia–putatively in the group of disciplinarian countries trying to reign-in Iran's nuclear-plunge bombward. Final count of seat distribution for Israeli parties, with BBC list of possible coalition partners for Ohlmert's Kadima. - P
Students of the Jewish Scriptures will find this fate resonant with what happened to King David when the Lord, displeased with David's sending a general to his death at the head of the army and then taking the man's wife, denied David the privilege of building the Temple – a task that then devolved onto David's favoured son Solomon whose own misdeeds, tho he built the Temple, denied him the line of descent thru which the Messiah would come. But even more than these, one thinks of Moses who brawt Israel the Ten Commandments from the Lord's hand, but whose sins prevented him from living long enuff actually to cross the Jordan River as Israel entered the Promised Land. And conquered. Sharon's fate is all too biblical, as the story goes.
But Sharon's successor Olmert did win the election as the party with the most votes, far fewer than a direct majority. Olmert's Kadima party does have a very difficult priority program to consolidate the West Bank settlements into just a few of large populations (what other parties will strictly join in advancing such a priority?) and thus hopefully further reduce tensions with terrorist-led Palestine, and otherwise determine the future boundaries of the Israeli state - whether Hamas-led Palestine negotiates the determination of that border or no (so far, they say only the pre-1967 border is acceptable for now, before they day when the push the Israelis into the sea (of blood, which meanwhile they will prepare for even a shrunk-down pre-1967-bordered Israel).
"Israeli Elections (1977)"©YaakovKirschner(May 17,1977).
Republished here with the author's permisssion.
Olmert wants peace and safety for Israel, both. We know that Hamas wants the destruction of Israel and has been backed up in that aspiration by Iran, which probably already has the nuclear weaponry to fulfill the Hamas dream and the Israeli nitemare. That means, besides securing the borders, Olmert, the Israeli Security agency Mossad, and the Israel Defense Forces must be ready in concert to cripple Iran's capacity to exterminate all of Israel (an Iranian move that would kill, not just Jews, but many Israeli Arab Muslims and Christians, as well as Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian civilians too). Hey, but that's no skin off mullahcratic Iran's nose. Hamas claims to be ready for any exigency in seeking Iran's terrible swift sword. Iran stands then to establish the new Caliphate of Muslim world political and legal domination with the dhimmitude of Jews and Christians and secularist Humanists, too.
We can see from the way the wind is blowing in the UN Security Council, the windy effort to water down the sanctions adamantly proposed against Iran, taken with in mind now the shaky Elmert government in Israel, that exactly no help will come from the UN enforcer agency. That means, Olmert, Kadima, and Israel stand in need of backup against the Hamas-Palestine and Mullahcratic Iranian extermination scenario. Islamofascism is now rampant from these two quarters against Israel. One hopes that the US does not reward the unjust watering down of sanctions by the UN Security Council, and prepares itself and such allies as are willing to take out the nuclearizing Iranian Islamofascists. Perhaps, but I doubt it, Canada will be able to muster membership in the the prayed-for coalition to stop exterminationist Iran.
US-Israel defense against Hamas-Palestine / Mullah-Iran. But Canada too has its own shaky minority government of Conservs opposed by three parties, the largest of which is itself in such disarray that it mite let the shaky Tory (Conservs) government team stay on, prop it up even should it join in with a coalition of the willing to defend Israel. After all, most Jews in Canada voted Liberal, and they mite persuade the leaderless Libs not to bring down the Tories should sufficient among the Libs in the House of Commons too feel that duty calls them to help in preventing Israel's extermination.
Kirschner is himself an outstanding cartoonist who swept the recent Israeli and Jewish Annual Blog Awards in several categories. I've learned to take his work as a reference-point for determining what cartoon and satire techniques are legit, and what stray into the zone of gross impropriety. It's a fine line sometimes, at others its not difficult at all to discern the spirits in the cartoon-works of a given artist who becomes nothing but savage propagandist.
Politicarp (refWrite's main political writer) and I (as his editor) have been very stringent, but correctly so (I believe), on the Jyllands-Posten spirit of cartooning and of prophet-mocking aimed explicitly against our Muslim neighbours in an incendiary world situation. Politicarp and I have tried to point out how an absolute doctrine of freedom of expression, freedom of speech, is inherently contradictory. I've pointed out how in the case of the Danish cartoons the freedom for public cartoon-mockery (some of the J-P cartoons seemed to me to be quite innocuous, others were not, indeed were quite vile); in that case the J-P was was consistent with the (il)logic of the demand for absolute freedom in Danish secularist free-market ideology for the child pornography for which Denmark is world famous, along with Danes in the same spirit who are active in the worldwide child-sex tourism industry. But this absolutist "freedom of expression/speech" contrasts sharply with the statutory prohibition of anti-religon (Danish state Lutheran Christianity) and particularly antiJewish, antiJudaic, and Holocaust-denial in expressive acts and public discourse. I support the Danish law in these prohibitory and penalizing regards, and likewise insist that it is antiChristian not to catch the positive spirit of that prohibition and extend it sympathetically to prohibit attacks on the core figure in the Muslim neighbour's attitude toward honouring prophecy (which requires respect for Abraham, Moses and all the Judaic Prophets, respect for Jesus, and respect for Mohammed - tho the violation of this spirit may be conducted by some Muslims too). But mostly the violations in Denmark, in all of Europe, and in North America are the work of secularist "Humanists" who hate all religions without ever noting the corporate sins of secularist atheist Nazi and Communist mass-murder systems which surpass the horrors of all other religions ever in Europe). Kirschner, to the extent I know his corpus of work, manages to draw the line well!
Moreover, refWrite now has organized a Satire section on the sidebar, experimenting and reflecting upon satire, irony, mockery, et., by linking to both the great Kirschner, HumorFeed, and some independent blogging satirists. They appear uncensored and unmonitored on this blog for the meanwhile, to test how well and how far a Christian blog, largely political in content, can accomodate the most severe visual and writerly critical works of some satirists, ironists, and mockers. We will try to keep up somewhat with what we make available, but invite our readers / viewers to use the Comments of this particular blog-entry to make criticisms of matter carried in the Satire section offered in refWrite's Sidebar. You are welcome to criticize, or alternatively to praise any particular well-wrought urn of such humour. If the HumorFeed proves unbearable over a bit of time, it will be dropped. More largely, it must be said that there is still a keen place in a shared morality of living with neighbourliness in a society of diverse religions and their adherents of good will, a shared place also for cartoonists, mindful of the thawt that launches the Book of Psalms. Please note Psalm 1 (verse 1):
I don't think this verse rules out the full development of personal vocations to gifted people as cartoonists, satirists, and ironists; but reflection on it should give Judaists, Christians and Muslims pause as they put their pen to the piece of paper before them each day and awaiting that first line to be drawn. As in so many vocations of cultural service, there's an existential moment for the person of conscience – secularists and atheists too! - Owlb
Afghanistan has a way out, as I understand the matter. Its legislature can pass a civil law which stays/stops all Sharia trials for apostacy from the state religion and conversion to another–while asserting the inviolable right to convert, to proselytize under certain conditions without penalty, and to be free of coercion, either to remain adherent to or to become nonadherent to one's original religion–precisely in order to adopt another, including even a secularist one (anti-religion ideologies which thereby become religions of their own).
There's no way thru the present situation without inflaming a significant part of the Afghan and worldwide Islamic population. And already people of many religions, certainly Christians in North America are inflamed and are tempted to swing into Islamophobia of a worse kind than already prevails.
Our first duty, I think, is to pray for Brother Abdul, that the Lord may show himself in a very close way to this witness for the faith, and strengthen him for the ordeal (including the inevitable publicity now), and the possiblity of a trial in which Sharia itself will be on trial. And our second duty in North America is to write, email, fax and visit our legislators and to participate in mass demonstrations if they're called on this continent, demos on Mr Rahman's behalf (all those of us able to participate). Most important: we must let Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Minister MacKay in Canada, and President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice know that only a forthright affirmation of the right to convert and, under certain conditions, to prozelytize is acceptable. Otherwise, there is no end to the clash of civilizations between the West and Islam; in such an instance we should prepare for a Hundred-Years War.
Maverick rightwing Christian blogger LaShawn Barber has fumed furiously on this subject matter, and has drawn an inpour of sometimes furious but always supportive responses. Hat Tip to her and to Christopher Taylor for his comment on LaShawn's blog, regarding the legal situation in Afghanistan:
This case is actually a test, to see if the legislature is willing to pass a law protecting people who believe in faiths other than Islam. The constitution of Afghanistan recognizes Islam as the official state religion (dated I know, but at least it’s a step forward from what was before). It states explicitly, from what I understand (I don’t read their languages) that Islamic Law is followed unless there are state laws that say differently.Sad to say, I think a lot of Christians are going to get this matter terribly wrong–more railing aganst Islam and Sharia, and Afghanistan and its government, and President Bush and Prime Minister Harper (the latter Western leaders for urging us to support our troops there rather than bringing them home with a snap of the fingers. Prayer, patience, diplomacy, and pursuit of the War against Terrorism on all fronts against all obstacles is our best counsel at this very critical moment, meanwhile showing also our respect for everything good in Muslim life and culture. - Politicarp
So Afghanistan has a choice: pass a law protecting people’s freedom of religion, or slide slowly and brutally back into the 14th century. The choice is theirs, thanks to the coalition led by President Bush. Let us pray and hope that they choose wisely. [Comment #42]
The EU norms require the unanimous vote of all [EU] member states in opening and closing of all chapters [of the statutory regulations for accession to EU membership], giving each state the power to effectively block the negotiations citing a concern on the level of Turkey's compliance with the political criteria.Interestingly, in a disturbing way, the Greek news source online, Reporter.gr, essentially rewrites Fatma Dimirelli's article but strategically omits her reference to the Greek Orthodox Christian theological seminary on the island of Halki (Heybeliada). Cut from the English-languge Reporter.gr, nevertheless the Greek-language η θεολγικη σχολη τησ χαλκησ carries a most significant snippet in English:
A reference to political criteria in connection with the chapter on education and culture, for example, may be expected to raise such sensitive issues as the opening of a Greek Orthodox seminary near Istanbul, closed since 1971, or education in Kurdish.
EU officials, on the other hand, admit that such a reference could be used as an instrument by those who oppose Turkey's membership in the EU, but even those who do not want to see the reference to political criteria in the letter say the process is as political as it is a technical one.
"In principle, there should be no problem here because there is nothing new to the whole process. The accession process to the EU is by far not only a technical process," Ambassador Hansjoerg Kretschmer, head of the Delegation of the EU Commission to Turkey, told Turkish Daily News. "There is a lot of technical work to be done, and the bulk of the work in fact is technical. That's certainly correct. But this is a political process apart from that."
He added, "Government knows very well that we are still quite a long distance away from the complete fulfillment of the political criteria."
Although in October 2005 [Turkey's] Minister for Education noted that he was opposed to the continued closure of the Greek Orthodox Halki (Heybeliada) seminary, which has been closed since 1971, no steps have yet been taken to facilitate its reopening». “One can't help but speculate that the Education Minister's stance suggests that the Turkish Prime Minister and Cabinet are using the very possiblity of allowing the Christians to reopen their Halki Seminary, without which the Orthodox Christians have no means of training future priests (since priests must be of Turkish nationality and study in Turkey, according to government rules), is itself a bargaining chip to force Greece and the EU to pressure effectively its member Greek-speaking Cyprus to agree to the re-integration of Turk Cyprus into one unitary secular state. In other words, the problem for reopening Halki Seminary may be the intransigence of Greek-speaking Cyprus.
Istanbul, Turkey (Associated Press). - An explosion shattered windows at the seat of the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians in Istanbul on Thursday [reported Oct8,2k4 in The National Herald] officials said. No one was injured.Were Turkey able to deliver promptly on Halki Seminary and Hagia Sophia Cathedral, the Turk state's bid for EU membership would be h+ly likely to accelerate. It would also go a long way toward undoing Greek Cyprus' injustice to Turk Cyprus.
The explosive device was placed on the roof of the church of St. Georgios where a similar device had been placed in 1997, a fact that has caused concern both to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the authorities.
The Cathedral’s windows and the main building of the Patriarchate complex were shattered.
A terrorism police squad was investigating the cause of the blast, which came weeks after police clashed with hundreds of rock-throwing fanatic Turks who staged a protest outside the Patriarchate and burned an effigy of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I, whom far-right groups accuse of working against Turkish interests.
The Patriarchate has been the target of a number of small attacks in the past, which has worked against Turkish interests as they strive towards E.U. membership.
The explosion came one day after the E.U. agreed to open membership talks with predominantly Muslim Turkey, but called for humanitarian greater reforms, including expanding religious freedom and improving its treatment of non-Muslim minorities.
Many right-wing Turks are suspicious of the Patriarchate because of its close ties with Greece, and also strongly oppose Bartholomaios’ efforts to reopen an Orthodox seminary that Turkish authorities closed in 1971. Greek Orthodox say the school is crucial for the education of future leaders.
Members of Turkey’s government have expressed support for reopening the school as they push forward with the country’s bid to join the E.U.
Although few Greek Orthodox Christians remain in overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey, forced out years ago, the Patriarchate is still based in Constantinople (Istanbul). It dates from the Orthodox Greek Byzantine Empire, which collapsed when the Muslim Ottoman Turks conquered the city in 1453. Istanbul, then called and still referred to as Constantinople by Orthdox Christians, was the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
Bartholomaios has spiritual authority over the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians.
65 years old; retired. I'm an American who is some 30 years Permanent Resident in Canada. I love both countries.