Monday, January 31, 2005

Same Story - Different Slant

For two versions of the same story posted today on a meeting of the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups leaders, check these out...


This from the conservative
WorldNetDaily
Hamas, Hezbollah vow to continue terror defy calls for ceasefire, recent U.N. resolution

By Aaron Klein, January 31, 2005 1:00 a.m. Eastern

Hamas and Hezbollah agreed to continue to use terrorism against Israel in spite of U.S. and Israeli pressure and a U.N. resolution calling for the dismantlement of the terror groups, a Hezbollah statement said yesterday.

Read the
rest of the story.


This from the liberal Haaretz.com
Hamas, Hezbollah agree to uphold resistance against Israel
By The Associated Press, Last Update: 31/01/2005 00:34

BEIRUT - Hezbollah and Hamas have agreed to uphold the resistance option against Israel despite U.S. pressure on the militant Lebanese and Palestinian groups, a Hezbollah statement said Sunday.

Read
the rest of the story.


Pop Quiz:
Would you have guessed that "uphold the resistance option" means "continue the use of terror" against Israel?

If you read both articles you will note the conservative view assumes both are terrorist groups while the liberal view merely notes (much later) that the US has branded them terrorist oranizations, and, Israel has accused Hezbollah of funding suicide bombings in Israel.

Haaretz describes the group's relationship as "strong" and goes on to tout the success of the Syrian and Iranian backed Muslim Hezbollah. It quotes the Hamas leader saying the "resistance program" was being fought "particularly by the U.S. administration and the Zionist enemy."

Lesson for the day: Know your source.

Oddly, Haaretz credits the Associated Press for their story yet there is no reference to it on on the AP site.

Another kudo to
Gindy.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Signs of the Times - Enforced Prostitution

'If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits'
News.Telegraph
By Clare Chapman(Filed: 30/01/2005)

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing "sexual services'' at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.


Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.

Now we know that if a nation went into another nation and told their women "put out or no food, shelter, etc." the whole world would be up in arms. This is rape!

But when a nation, a European nation, says the same to its own citizens, who is going to stand up and speak out?

Read the
rest of the story.

Thanks to
Gindy who provides my favorite place to hook up with outrageous quotes and interesting tidbits.


Saturday, January 29, 2005

Holocaust Forgetting - One Reason We Remember

The Iranian Foreign Ministry-affiliated Tehran Times published an op-ed by columnist Hossein Amiri titled 'Lies of the Holocaust Industry,' released to coincide with the international commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp on January 27. The op-ed denied that the Holocaust took place...

From MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, and a perfect example of why we must never forget.

Read the post.

Friday, January 28, 2005

"Terrorists' Unprecedented Confessions!"

Thanks to Hammorabi and Al-Fayha Iraqi TV satellite channel we have confessions of terrorists captured after escaping the war in Falluja on their way to Basrah. By the way, they were from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Libya, and other Arab Countries.

Faithful readers will note these confessions confirm our statements in previous posts citing terrorists from other Arab nations posing as "insurgents" in Iraq.

This is the real problem, folks. Not that there are unhappy Iraqis or enough Old Regime people who are willing to kill off any who seek change. The problem is terrorists have an endless supply of "reinforcements" who, to the Western eye are hard to separate from nationalists.

This is what is happening in Iraq, this is what happened in Sudan and other areas of Africa and Asia. This is even happening in Europe. Muslim "seeds" are being planted, and I'm not talking about a natural immigration flow. Muslim-Arab men and families are sent to targeted nations to build themselves into the communities long before things heat up and look like a sudden, provoked "uprising."

The first three confessions:

First: Syria was the point from which the terrorists enter Iraq and in which they gather and organize themselves.

Second: They used Syrian telecommunication while inside Iraq and they used various hotels, hostels, houses and apartments in Damascus. They met inside these places and in the public places in a way which is not difficult for any ordinary Intelligence services to disclose.

Third: The terrorist group financed by the Saudis as well as trained and prepared (brain washed) by Saudis. This brain wash started inside their original countries for some time.


Click on over to
Hammorabi:
Terrorists' Unprecedented Confessions!
to see more confessions.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Free or Not Free? There's a Clue!

Reading today on Freedom House, the tables ranking the relative freedom of various countries in the world, I particularly enjoyed Freedom in the World 2005, which pleasantly confirms our hope that the world is getting more free.
Year Under
Review
Free
Countries
Partly Free
Countries
Not Free
Countries
1974414863
1984535955
1994766154
2004895449

Note the number of free nations more than doubled in the last 30 years.

The Table of Independent Countries
lists world nations with their ratings for political rights and civil liberties and even how they stack up as electoral democracies (having to do with free and fair elections).

Later, wafting across the web, my mind rolled back across the table of independent countries and it hit me: a correlation, an INSIGHT.

To chart the nations and their free/not free rankings against numbers of oppressors and terrorists produced would project an inverse relationship (generally) between the relative freedom of nations and the amount of oppression and terrorism produced.

Free nations produce little terrorism. Not free nations produce most teorrisim.

Take Iraq, for example, rated "Not Free." Many of the so-called insurgents are actually terrorists coming in from other "Not Free" nations to "help" Iraq stay under oppression.

The same thing happened in Sudan, although in that case the terrorists were trying to subject a "more free" people to greater oppression, and in Israel with the Arab nations "planting" Arabs in the Land to agitate (war) against the peaceful settlement of Am Israel (the people Israel) into Eretz Israel (the land Israel).

Examining the numbers generally, it is easy to see that "Not Free" nations produce terrorism and oppression in greater numbers, while "Free Nations" do so only sporadically. "Not Free" nations even export terrorism and oppression.

Oppression breeds oppression. Terrorism breeds terrorism.

Are we surprised? No. Of course not.

Saying terrorists are the "result" of treatment from their target enemy, a popular theory blaming the victim for the violence, doesn't fit the numbers.

The correlation lies between the terrorists and the oppression of their own nations, the nations that bred them.

By far most terrorists come from oppression, very few are born of freedom.

Resisting them doesn't turn them into terrorists. The oppression they lived under all their lives did that.

Resisting them is the only way to stop terrorists because they see tolerance as weakness, an invitation to more violence. They yield only to force, just as they have been trained to by the oppression of their lives.

Terrorists yield only to force.

Buckle your seatbelts, citizens. We are in for a tough ride.

FREEDOM IN THE WORLD 2005
Check it out for yourself.

Remembering Auschwitz

This blog is a participant in today's BlogBurst: to remember the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, sixty years ago, on January 27, 1945.

Auschwitz has become the symbol of evil destroying a people. Who has the right to do that?

The world is increasingly divided between proponents of freedom and oppression. Oppression kills, maims, tortures, robs the lives of any chosen target. That is evil.

Evil is real and still exists.

We can't make friends with evil. We can't make deals with evil. We can't make room for evil by giving "just a little more land." We can't contain evil by giving it the people it wants, this week.

Evil is insatiable. Give in to its demands and it is not appeased.

Auschwitz existed because evil existed. Auschwitz continued because no one stopped it.

January 27, 1945, Auschwitz was liberated, too late for over a million people and their families, their communities, their world. We will never be able to count the cost of that loss. And losses continue.

In 1948 the world awarded the Jews a land. A land they had settled for over a thousand years. A land they had bought back from the Turks to come home. A land they reclaimed from uninhabitable. A land they have now defended three times from attacking Arab nations and daily 57 years from infiltrators who call themselves “Palestinians.”

When pulling Arabs out didn’t work, and pushing the Jews into the sea didn’t work, a campaign to win the sympathy of the world through media coverage was begun. Today you can still find voices carrying that message: the Jews are the real Nazis, the Jews are the aggressors, the "occupation," and the “Palestinians” (imported from the Arab nations) are the victims. Not true.

Israel is being asked again to give land to the oppressors within and behind this movement. Israel has tried before to give land for peace. They gave the land but were given no peace.

The goal of those behind the “Palestinians” is not peace anyway, but annihilation of the Jews: their complete removal from the Mideast, preferably by death. This is not a negotiation; it’s a death threat.

Remember Auschwitz. Remember
Rwanda. Remember, All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. (Edmund Burke)

The only way to win against evil is to stop it.

Evil doesn't take prisoners, for long.

[See sidebar for other Blogs in the Auschwitz BlogBurst.]


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Myth of the Palestinians - Part 2

The Muslim-Arabs never won it, owned it, governed it or, we will come to find out, much lived there.

There were a few Muslim-Arabs in Judah/Palestine through the ages. Not many, but a handful. There were also (and still are) Christian Arabs, Jews who never left, and the Druse. These three groups were the stable ones.

The Muslim-Arabs were not known as Palestinians but as part of the "pan-Arab nation." The entire Middle East at that time was not nations but borderless lands ruled by tribal leaders, with tribes migrating back and forth indiscriminately across nations yet to be named.


The land was mostly empty and considered uninhabitable. The trees had almost all been cut down, the swamps were malarial and deadly. For 400 years the land was owned by the Turks as part of the Ottoman Empire.

As late as 1919, the Arab Congress described the lands (current Arab nations and Israel) as "complete and indivisible whole," meaning they did not recognize any portion as an individual nation, Arab or Jewish.

Also in 1919, the General Syrian Congress asked not to lose the "southern part of Syria, known as Palestine"

Muslim-Arabs didn't start settling there until after Zionism started a few homesteads and villages that created a profit center which drew the nomads to settle down nearby.


Even after Israel became a nation in 1948, Muslim-Arabs were claiming all Arabs were members of a single independent Arab state.

It wasn't until after the Six-Day War in 1967 that the idea, and the news, about an "Arab Palestinian" national presence was created to meet the need for an underdog to gain world sympathy against Israel who apparently could not be beaten by mere men.

Still, as late as 1974, Syria's President Assad claimed: Palestine is not only a part of our Arab homeland, but a basic part of southern Syria.

There has been more talk about "Palestine" since 1967 than there was in the 2000 years, or even the 100 years, before.

What we need to talk about next is where did all these "Palestinians" come from.

Soon.

Ya'll come back now...

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Myth of the Palestinians - Part 1

The myth that Muslim-Arab Palesinians are descended from generations of Muslim-Arab Palestinians who deserve to inherit the land their forefathers inhabited all these thousands of years is a myth.

It is not only a myth, but the fruit of (possibly) the world's most successful public relatons campaign.

What we have here, is not a failure to communicate but a blistering success in propagandizing away the true past with a designed-to-move-you past that doesn't exist.

The whole idea of Muslim-Arab Palestinians "owning" the land was developed, or "hatched" if you will, as a counter-attack against Zionism once Israel had become a nation land and successfully defended itself against 5 much larger Arab nations who threatened to kill all Jews and wipe it from the map.

It's a rough neighborhood.

After Jews purchased the land from the Turks, redeemed it from (virtually uninhabited) desert and treeless swamp, was awarded it by Balfour and the U.N., and defended it from not the local Muslim-Arabs, but the threats of surrounding Muslim-Arab nations, some of those who couldn't believe the lost - again - got wise and took their case to the media.

Of course, the truth wouldn't fly so they had to rewrite history a little to come up with a compelling case.

This has been going on so long now that we have generations who haven't lived in a world where the truth is reported in the mainstream media or most history books. That's really sad.

There is no way to understand the current conflict in Israel without understanding how we got here, and that info is rare and hard to find, unless you are looking for it.

To give you a start, it was called Palestina by the Romans supposedly to offend Jews by naming it after the Philistines (who only held the area a few decades) and wipe out any memory of its Jewish history. The Jews had been there over a thousand years before Christ.

Didn't you ever wonder why the name "Palestine" never occurred in the Old or New Testaments? Bob's your uncle.

Seven centuries after Jerusalem fell, the Arabs did dominate the area - for about 22 years. Fini. That was 1370 years ago.

Even then, historians have traditionally described Palestine as "Judea" and by the way it was never a nation, just a loose area of administrative subdivisions with no border, no frontier. It was never an independent nation, and that's why you can't find a book on 1,000 years of Palestine or Palestine Heads of State Through the Ages. They don't exist.

Tomorrow... Part 2.

Monday, January 24, 2005

January 27: Holocaust Memorial Day

If you have a blog, please consider participating in the BlogBurst this Thursday commemorating the sixtieth aniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, January 27, 1945.

A BlogBurst is a simultaneous posting on a particular topic by a large group of bloggers on a given day.

The day of the event, you are asked to post the minimal common-text and invited to use available info, sample posts, pics, etc. or draft your own.

Last I heard, there were 152 blogs signed up to participate.

The easiest way to sign up is to send your blog info in an email:

your name
e-mail
site URL
site name
country

to Joseph Alexander Norland,
dt804 [at] yahoo.ca (replacing the "at").

Check here for
Blogburst Info and list of participants.

Please leave a note here if you are signing up. Hope to see you Thursday.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Not Afraid to Make A New Word

Okay, I admit it - this isn't the first time I have boldly gone where dictionaries have not yet tread.

Take the word "commentator." Please.

Bloggers seem unaware that the correct word to use when discussing those who comment on posts is "commentators." Ugh.

"Commentator" is a clunky word, a '50ies or '70ies kind of word. Too heavy for today's trendy media pipe: the Blog.

A search in the dictionary for "commentor" or "commenter" (both of which I've seen repeatedly), came up dry. We've coined a new word.

Googling "commentor" and "commenter" (separately), it looks like "commenter" is currently winning, two-to-one.

We're on to you Merriam-Webster. You are a follower of trends, a mere whim-sayer of the current fashion. Anything we say loudly enough and long enough, you parrot.

Parrot this: "Commentor."

I don't know why; I just like it. And, it's the underdog.

Vote with your fingers, brave bloggers. Vote soon. Vote often.

Commentors.

You will find I have waffled in the past on this. (The shame!) No longer.

Commentors. Has a nice ring, eh?


We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

It's Getting Gooder and Gooder

At least if you like pertinent insights:

Intemperate thoughts
Okay, I'm not going to spoil it, so long as nobody comes back to tell me I have to settle on the "lukewarm middle" to avoid being commie Left or Nazi Right.

To you who are new to Life More Abundant, two from the A list:

Who Wants Whom Dead?

Clichés and Assumptions

Hmmmm....

Ah. Hat tip again to Gindy, same link as yesterday.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Zionism: Who's For? Who's Against?

Another good one Gindy:

“When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews, You are talking anti-Semitism." Martin Luther King
1) MLK was ahead of his time on prejudice, a fact little recognized by the establishment (when's the last time you heard that?) or mainstream media. He recognized and spoke out for many areas of social need besides black/white race relations. Poverty (no race attached) was a big one.

2) Zionism hasn't evolved; the mainstream is just now catching onto it. The Zionist writings of the Theodore Herzl who instigated the whole Zionist movement and the1987
First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, say basically the same thing Zionism is saying now. It's gotten a little more complicated to deal with all the attacks against it but the core hasn't changed.

According the
Merriam-Webster OnLine, Zionism is an international movement originally for the establishment of a Jewish national or religious community in Palestine and later for the support of modern Israel. The Jewish Virtual Library calls it the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, advocated, from its inception, tangible as well as spiritual aims.

3) Most Jews would agree Zionism has always had a spiritual as well as tangible aim. What is new is now many secular Jews are Zionists. Of course that may stem from how many Jews are now secular.

Israel may be the most "diverse" nation in the world. Did you know there are black Jews? The diaspora literally sent Jews all over the world and they are coming back from all over. All the talk about Jews in Israel wanting to be "white" is bosh. Jews are white, black, brown, every color.

4) It's not so much about race as about belief systems, Judiasm (the religion associated with the Jewish race) versus Zionism, with the pro and anti Zionists among religious Jews each believing their stance is the "purist" position.

Not all groups believe what you expect them to:

  • secular Jews are often big Zionists, presumably not for spiritual reasons;
  • orthodox Jews are anti-Zionism, believing only God can miraculously bring the nation together again and seeing the Zionist movement as a secularization of Judaism;
  • Christian replacement theology teaches that the Church replaced the Jews in prophecy and the Church will fulfill the prophecies related to Zionism;
  • Palestinian Christians (those forgotten Arab/Christians who never left) believe similarly to the orthodox Jews and are against Zionism.
  • Fundamentalist Christians tend to be your Zionist Christians, although there are Zionist Christians throughout most of the Christian denominations.
  • Most Israeli Arabs (not the "Palestinian" Arabs) are pro-Zionism.

Contrary to popular belief, the Arabs most of whom emigrated to Israel after the Zionist movement got going (post 1920), stayed in Israel after the 1948 War of Independence, are Israeli citizens, have had a good experience with Jewish people, are integrated into Israeli society, serve in the IDF, and so on.

5) The real pro versus anti Zionism division seems to fall not along the lines of a religion but along the lines of those who believe The Book and those who don't. Of course many believe they follow The Book but have their own interpretation.

This realignment across race/religious lines is bringing about a sign-of-the-time: Zionist Jews are beginning to see Zionist Christians as some of their best (and sometimes only) friends. Watch those Signs of the Times, folks.

Hat tip to Gindy for the quote and to his commentors for their provactive responses. I encourage you to check them out, including the volatile quote-of-the-day from the Catholics:

Who Said This?

BTW, Gindy, where's the trackback?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Interview with Steven Vincent

Thanks to commentor Papa Ray on Democracy in Iraq (is Coming) for this link to The Shape of Days:

Interview with Steven Vincent
The interview itself is worth reading and I'm on my way to buy the book.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Guards for Your Future Security

Several Iraqis and others have posted about the fear that elections will lead not to peace but to more war, a civil war. Yes, that is possible.

Sometimes war is worth it.

Is it worth it to take back your country from those who would oppress you and rob you of your lives and freedom? The founders of the U.S., speaking from the
Declaration of Independence thought so:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Is it worth your life to be able to live by faith in good rather than fear of evil?

Absolutely, yes.

We do not throw off government lightly:

...mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
And you have suffered. So now:

...when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Today's Iraq, with a little help from their friends, has thrown off a despotic government. What is left is to remove those who would re-establish rule of despotism, terrorism, and corruption by setting up guards for your future security, beginning with respect for liberty and rule by law.

The fight over Iraq is no longer about old regime or even Islam versus infidel.
The fight now is over control and oppression versus freedom to live a self-governed, happy life.

We who have been paying attention have been mesmerized by the outstanding intelligence, culture and grace you have produced, right alongside the unspeakable devastation, destruction and senseless loss.

We yearn for you to break loose from the evil that stalks you, and bind yourselves irrevocably to higher principles of liberty and law.

Your future security depends not only on your commitment to root out terrorism and oppression, but your willingness to replace them.

Respect for liberty and rule by law are the guards of your future security and peace.

Elections are only the beginning.

Our Founders understood the dilemma.

We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery.--Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received…, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them. …[We are] resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves. (From: Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking up Arms," co-authored by Jefferson and John Dickinson, and approved by the Continental Congress in 1775.)
Freedom isn’t free.

The elections are a first step. What are you willing to pay for freedom?

Respect for and adherence to liberty and law are key.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Why I Would Vote

I've been reading the comments on Rose's post

The North, Eid, and Elections
on her blog Diary from Baghdad. Rose is a young married mother in Baghdad whose focus is (understandably) more on her family responsibilities than on the opportunity to contribute - or not - to the chance for democracy in Iraq.

Rose is currently facing the choice of whether or not to risk voting.

Of course this is her choice, but she has many commentary all over the spectrum trying to help her. Here are my thoughts.

Freedom may be a right, but it is also a privilege.


Most people in the world have not lived free. Most have to win freedom to get it and earn freedom to keep it.

Those of us who are free count freedom very dear but also sometimes take it for granted.

Just because something is "right" doesn't make it "so." It may be "right" for Iraq to be free, but it will take many right choices by a persistent majority, a lot of hard work and more sacrifice before it will be so.

In the U.S. we know revolutions work, and we know freedom is worth the price. That knowledge spurs us on.


What is tragic in Iraq in the lack of hope. It takes hope to fuel a fight.

I, personally, cannot blame a young mother in Iraq for not voting.

But I would vote, I believe, even if I was not sure democracy could win.

I would vote, even if I knew there was a chance of becoming a target for terrorists, of losing my life and leaving my child an orphan.

1) I would vote, because it is important to sacrifice for what is right and resist what is wrong.

2) Would vote because my child deserves a better life than I have now.

3) I would vote because to do nothing is to invite the terrorists in.

4) I would vote because some things are worth dying for.

5) I would vote because I cannot expect right to come into my life unless I am willing to practice it.

6) I would vote because even if my side loses, my opinion would be counted and heard.

7) I would vote because even if I'm not sure whom to vote for, not voting is a vote against all of them, and a vote against freedom.

8) I would vote because I'd rather die right than live wrong.

9) After raising a child, I can safely say that I would vote because I could not face that child growing up knowing I didn't vote when I had the chance.

10) I would vote, because every vote is a vote for freedom.

I would vote to lay one brick in the road to freedom even if I might get run over doing it. I would vote so the road can be built. Freedom is that important.

You are voting, not just for a constitutional committee, but for your future and the future of your children.

Rose, my heart goes out to you, your family, your neighborhood, your cities, your nation.

After reading your thoughts and fears, and the input of your commenters, I have to say: I would vote.


Monday, January 17, 2005

What's Right with Iraq

This just in, from the invaluable Mr. Chrenkoff.

Good news from Iraq, Part 19
Always a must read, this is history-in-action (not the bias-in-action we are used to).

I Have a Dream

We celebrate in the U.S. today the birth of a great American who, we expect, will forever continue to have a good effect on this nation and the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr., the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace prize, made the I Have a Dream speech on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Read or listen (Mp3). I recommend listen:
I Have a Dream speech
Dr. King makes the case very well that there is more to democracy than voting.

This speech has become perhaps the most important contribution of Dr. King, one of the most influential men in United States history. He held us accountable for racial and economic injustice and made non-violence the most successful form of protest in a nation needing violent change.
The Seven Steps of Non-Violent Action
The impact Dr. King's work and especially the I Have a Dream speech still reverberate through the U.S. and the world.

Now, think how different the world would be if representatives of Islam had adopted rather than come out against this speech and these methods.

I, too, have a dream and believe that you do too, or you wouldn't be reading. Keep reading and keep speaking out for right. It works.

Words are mightier than a sword.


Sunday, January 16, 2005

Let the People Speak

Another poignant Saray Elshazly link to Arabs for Israel,
The Twilight Zone
honoring our tendency to accept opinions without basis, well worth the read.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

While We're At It

Sarah Elshazly shares a bit of her story on Arabs for Israel. Check out:

Growing up Palestinian in the Israeli "Occupation"

If your only exposure to the Jewish/Palestinian conflict is what you've heard on the news you owe it to yourself to read this.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Truth About Israel

Gentle reader,

As you know, we prefer to speak directly rather than spend our time quoting the blogs except in rare cases when we have nothing to add. This is one of those cases.

On IsraPundit, Ms. Matar shares two letters from Americans that make the case better than we could.

The truth is, the Roadmap to Peace could never work. And almost everything you have been told or "shown" about the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has been inaccurate.

I am reminded of a scripture from Acts 5:39 in the New Testament:

But if it is of God, you will not be able to stop them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God."
We cannot afford to be wrong about Israel.

Please read,

WE MUST UNITE IN OUR FIGHT, by Ruth Matar
and if you agree, act.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

A Terrorist by Any Other Name

Why use the word terrorist at all? Call the people who perpetrate violence against others "people" or "criminals" or "war mongers" or "fanatics". The use of the word "terrorist" has created more fear and killing than I want to think about or hear about anymore. The Bush administration used it to fool a lot of people into approving of the Iraq war, which is a horror, pure and simple, which is terrorism of an order of its own. I have felt terrorized by the use of the word terrorist. That word is just bullshit propaganda. Drop it. (Comment by Anonymous)

Merriam-Webster online dictionary
the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.


Title 22 of the US Code, Section 2656f(d)
The term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.


Wikipedia
the use of violence against noncombatants for the purpose of achieving a political goal, on a scale smaller than full-scale warfare. Acts of terrorism can be perpetrated by individuals, groups, or states, as an alternative to an open declaration of war, and are often carried out by those who otherwise feel powerless.


My personal preferred definition...

The planned, organized use of fear as a weapon in order to terrify or paralyze the victim to the place they cannot resist oppression.


So my definition lines up more with the dictionary than with the U.S. government.

Wikipedia later succumbs to the tendency to “explain away” indefensible violence:
The use of the terms terrorism and terrorist are politically weighted, and are often used to polarizing effect, where 'terrorism' is simply a relativist term for the violence committed by an enemy, from the point of view of the attacked.

By this definition, whoever is committing violence against you is a terrorist, and this makes even a simple police action against a criminal "terrorism." No, no, no.

Wikipedia continues...

As political violence can be generally categorized as either 'violence in support of an establishment' or 'violence in opposition to an establishment,' 'terrorism' can be simply defined as the common euphemism for the latter.


This now does away with the whole idea of right and wrong, and states that simply opposing the establishment violently, with no distinction between whether the establishment is abusing you or you are abusing them.


What is left out of the mix is what makes terrorism so terrifying: violent acts against those who don’t deserve it.

Of course I’ve made a moral judgment here. But terrorism is an affront to our morals, an outrage. That’s why we are “offended” by the idea of attacking non-combatants or civilians with violence.


Terrorism is such a low blow that it strikes fear into us. Terrorism is designed to produce terror, or intense fear, and that’s what makes it terror-ism: an important concept that we don’t want to "white out" of our collective thinking.

There is a difference between blowing up civilians to demoralize an enemy, and using guerilla tactics to go after a legitimate target. These are not the same. And there is a danger here of confusing terrorism with freedom fighting.

Both use tactics of guerilla warfare.

The American Revolution was won by Freedom Fighters who used guerilla warfare. But they didn’t target civilians, and they weren’t known for killing “for effect.”

Terror-ism uses innocent victims to do “double damage.” Once for the “real” damage of killing, maiming, destruction. Then again for the psychological damage, or “for effect.”

That “effect” is what terrorists are going for. And that “effect” is designed not only to rob you of your life or freedom but to do further damage to your soul or psyche, and to those who are with you, who see you. The "further damage" is what makes it terrorism.

Terrorists know how powerful it is, and that is why they historically target innocent victims, mothers, children, teenagers.

There is a difference between being at war and being a terrorist. There is a difference between being a murderer and being a terrorist. Killing someone who comes between you and your goal (whether criminal or military) we see differently as killing someone on purpose, just for effect.

So we can call terrorists “Freedom Fighters” but they don’t deserve the name, and that’s an affront to all the “real” Freedom Fighters who fought their way out from oppression without resorting to terror.

We can call them “insurgents” but that, too, legitimizes their methods as well as their cause and insults their targets.


Or we can do what we all do once someone nearby has been senselessly ripped from health or life, and call them "terrorists." For that, gentle reader, is what they are.

What we refuse to name is our master.


Philip Meyers explains the Power of Blog and changing mainstream media (MSM) in a USA Today opinion piece. He starts with bloggers holding MSM feet to the fire pointing out typeface discrepancies in documents supposedly showing President Bush avoided responsibilites while serving in uniform.

What gives bloggers their power is not their access to information but their ability to put it on the public agenda. After the broadcast, when CBS posted the documents on the Internet to back up its story, the hue and cry of the bloggers could not be ignored.

Standards weren't always so high.


You, gentle reader, are the reason for higher standards. Yes, it takes blogs. But without readers to hold someone's feet to the fire,


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

When is a Terrorist NOT a Terrorist?

Reuters (yes, Reuters) won a Dishonest Reporting 2004 award at HonestReporting.com in the fourth annual recognition of the most skewed and biased coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Reuters Admits Appeasing Terrorists
Refusing to call terrorist "terrorists," Reuters finally admits its refusal is motivated by fear of reprisals. Independent Media Review Analysis reports:

Reuters fears Terrorists -- so won't call them "Terrorists"
Reuters isn't the only one.

Why is this important?

Think of it. You hear on your evening news that five more people died in Israel today, two Palestinians and three Israelis. You might shake your head in despair.


But what's behind the news?

The two Palestinians were terrorists wearing heavy explosives designed to spray nails and screws. One accidentally blew himself up before he ever got to where he was going; the other was caught by the IDF at a check point but managed to blow himself up and so did significant damage to a couple IDF soldiers who happily weren't killed.

The three Israelis were a mother and two daughters driving home after buying groceries, killed by a sniper from a "sniper hut" in Gaza.

The IDF went in and bulldozed the sniper hut and several others nearby. These were shacks built solely for the purpose of shooting people on the road. This was reported as the Israeli Army bulldozing Palestinian "homes."

Remember, all you heard in your news bites was the death of two Palestinians and three Israelis, plus several Palestinian "homes" bulldozed by the Israeli Army.

No distinction was made between the armed terrorists (one was called a "freedom fighter") and the innocent civilians who happened to be a mother and young children.

You heard that the IDF invaded the Gaza strip and bulldozed more Palestinian "homes" but you didn't know they were really sniper shacks from which the Mother and daughters were killed, and no Palestinian families had ever been there.

Spend a few years (weeks?) listening to news coverage like this and you, too, will see Israel as a bully and Palestinians as victims.

Truthfully, news agencies feel they can't afford to inflame the Palestinians by reporting accurately. Reporters die when they call terrorists "terrorists."

As recently as today,
CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, disclosed continued uncorrected errors and unbalanced reporting from AP (Associated Press).
More AP Errors, No AP Corrections
You may feel you have no control over this kind of perverted news coverage, but really "you" are the one who can change it.

When we quit accepting biased coverage we will start getting truth.

HonestReporting.com and CAMERA both are set up to help you, gentle reader, become an activist and help change the world, all while reading your blogs.

Go for it. What have you got better to do with you blog reading time?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"Free" Press and Death Threats

Ali posted a small tale on Free Iraqi that brings up an important truth.

Truth: "Freedom" of press is relative, especially when subject to terrorists.

Visiting
Gilo, a neighborhood in Jerusalem preferred by snipers for it's convenience to the Bethlehem hillside, I learned that news photographers in Israel are always Palestinians. There are no Jewish news photographers in Israel, I was told.

The Gilo neighborhood is behind a wall, on the inside of which is a mural apparently painted by residents, of what life would look like without the war. Beyond the wall are apartments with sandbags on their balconies, and, I was told, residents who squat down to pass under a window each time they pass, say, from the dining room to the bedroom, in order not to be a "target." In this neighborhood, even the schools are behind walls and the "playground" is a thick-walled indoor community center.

The snipers are known to be paid outsiders using Palestinian Christian churches in Bethlehem to shoot across to Gilo. Of course this is supposed to cause strife between the Palestinian Christians and Jews but it doesn't work very well because all are onto the the Palestinian hired sniper thing.

So why are there no Jewish news cameramen in Israel?

Because anyone presenting news photography from other than a Palestinian point of view is threatened with death. Period.

This is well known, has been going on a long time, and works very effectively.

Google just turned up 121,000 hits for:
news photography Palestinian death threats
So when Free Iraqi Ali didn't like it at all that "he seeked the protection of a terrorist group just to make his film" he is recognizing that a terrorist sanctioned press defeats the point of trying to tell the story.

I'm sure the Palestinian rule-of-thumb for acceptable news photographers applies just as well in terrorist-riddled Iraq. (Is the photographer one of us?)

Now we can have some sympathy (or I can) for an Iraqi who wants to do a documentary and live long enough to finish it, but what does all this say about the rest of the free press in the world?

Next time you're watching BBC, CNN or even Fox News, thank a terrorist for your perspective on the Mideast.

But thank God for bloggers, who tend to get the word out under the radar sometimes even with pictures, and who are challenging the hold of terrorist-driven main-stream news images.

If you want to see some Iraqis sans censors, try
Voices of Iraq. Be sure to check out the free online film clip.

And we don't even need to talk about why the French press can safely run free, do we? No, I didn't think so.


Monday, January 10, 2005

In Case You Thought Jihad Was About Israel

Iran leader urges students to promote culture of jihad and ”martyrdom”

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei on Wednesday stressed that "enemies of the Islamic Republic are trying to humiliate and diminish the value of martyrdom and the culture of jihad in the eyes of the youth, particularly students."

Al Bawaba tells the story.

And you can see their problem. It's a new generation in Iran.

Travel Guardian lists the changes.
Now, a thought for the Day: When the Palestinians say "end of the occupation" what do they mean?

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Land for Peace? Never Worked and Never Will

I'm getting increasingly nauseated these days by the direction we (Israel, U.S., the world) are going in Israel.

I mean, does anybody remember the Oslo Accords? Hellooooo!!!

That was supposed to be a "land for peace" deal. What happened? Israel gave the land–and a lot more–but terrorism increased mightily.

And the very idea of Israel giving land is really obscene, if you think about it.

Checked out the meaning of "
obscene" lately?

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report real exit figures estimated in Washington and Jerusalem as 49-52% win for Abbas, 30-32% for runner-up Barghouti and no more than 45-48% turnout rather than 65%, largest proportion of which cast in two hours added to end of balloting to pump up figures. Barghouti claims to emerge as head of second largest Palestinian faction after Fatah and before Hamas.

Debka
article.

Barghouti between Fatah and Hamas, eh? (Now remember, he lost the election.)

Fatah, an acronym for Palestine National Liberation Movement, according to Wikipedia, was founded by Yasser Arafat as a part of a world wide Islamic Brotherhood movement:

  • provided training to a wide range of militant and insurgent groups;
  • carried out numerous acts of international terrorism, such as hijacking of civilian planes and political assassinations;
  • engaged in guerrilla warfare against the Israeli security forces;
  • methods include assassination, raids, bombing, and suicide bombing;
  • carried out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians;
  • been linked to continuing attacks against Israeli and foreign civilians within Israel and the occupied territories;
  • and to guerrilla warfare against Israeli occupation soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and against the security forces inside Israel;
  • received weapons, explosives, and training from the former USSR and the former Communist regimes;
  • still maintains several armed groups.

Fatah is committed to the destruction of Israel. Fatah article.

Hamas, from an acronym which translates as Islamic Resistance Movement, Wikipedia describes as a Palestinian Islamist paramilitary and political organization which some, including the United States, Canada, Israel and the European Union, consider a terrorist organization:

  • considers all Israelis to be active participants in an illegal occupation of Palestinian land;
  • does not distinguish between Israeli civilian and military targets;
  • fights a guerrilla war against the Israeli military and security forces in its effort to drive them from the West Bank and Gaza Strip;
  • notorious for using the tactic of suicide bombing against Israel, particularly against civilians in busy city areas;
  • known for suicide bombings (mostly targeting civilians and occassionally the military;
  • also non-suicidal attacks, such as planting bombs and carrying out shooting attacks in Israel proper, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Hamas' goal is ultimately to eliminate the state of Israel and replace it with an Islamic state, to destroy Israel in its entirety. Hamas article.

So between Fatah and Hamas is a pretty rough neighborhood.

But the corker of the day comes from Mr. Barghouti choosing to go out in classic Palestinian media-milking form. This originally appeared in The Independent, but I prefer the realigned version on Backspin:

Barghouti's Busy Day

Aren't you glad you got Abbas? CNN calls him a moderate. ?!?

Hey, but wasn't it just this week Abbas called Israel "
Zionist enemy?"

And if you skipped that Debka link earlier...

DEBKAfile’s military and Palestinian sources report that orchestration is no longer in the hands of a single extremist group, Hamas. Seven Palestinian terrorist groups have formed an ad hoc coalition with a more far-sighted goal than drawing the Israeli army into an extreme reprisal so as to sabotage the vote and Mahmoud Abbas’s election. Their eye is on the election’s aftermath. Taking Abbas’s win for granted, they are playing on his weakness to keep him running scared and make him too dependent to raise a finger against them. These groups are Abbas’s own Fatah, its suicide arm:

  • the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades,
  • the Abu Rish Martyrs Brigades,
  • the Popular Resistance Committee’s Battalions,
  • Hamas’s Ezzadin al-Qassam,
  • Jihad Islami and,
  • a newcomer making its first appearance, the Abu Masoud Squads.
See, these guys have a plan. And you were expecting peace?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

By Contrast, Creative Solutions...


Check out one suggestion on how to improve things in Congo with this "Multifunctional Platform" at

WorldChanging.com

"One?" of the Appropriate Technology Devices they haven't gotten around to talking about?? Way to go! Thanks.

I'm taking this idea with me when I go back to Kinshasa next month.


Saying "Peace, Peace" When There is No Peace

In Kinshasa in 2004, I made it a point to ask a man who would know about UN impact on Congo trying to rebuild an infrastructure.

He explained to me that there is a problem, that it is not in the interest of UN workers in DRC to make things better for Congo. Because, he said, the UN people have jobs here, they live off what they they do, and if Congo gets better and doesn't need them any more they will all be out of a job.


So it is very much in the "peace keepers" interest to stay and they are not inclined to help Congo become independent of a UN occupying force. They do basically nothing significant toward improving Congo's infrastructure which is the greatest need for moving out of poverty toward stability.

Well, I hadn't ever thought about it like that, although I have always gotten a queasy feeling thinking about long-term UN involvement in any nation.

But now, with the uproar over UN abuses regularly detailed on

Captain's Quarters
in this and more recent posts, is there hope of changes in peace-keeping occupations that will be turned to the benefit of the occupied nation?

Before heading over to Congo last year I read somewhere on the web (sorry, haven't been able to turn it up) that many now think DRCongo may be the poorest nation on earth. To put this in perspective, let's recognize that Congo is, by natural resources, possibly the richest nation on earth.

You have to work really hard to mess that up, and somehow I don't think it is the Congolese keeping Congo down so much as the ones with the authority, money and guns.


Friday, January 07, 2005

Haven't Seen Anyone Write About This Yet

Thousands upon thousands of people died. One or two here, a few there, a family, a group, in one case a whole beach full of people warned by a 10-year-old girl, were saved.

What happened to all those souls?

Is there an afterlife, a heaven? A hell?

If so, both received a standing-room-only crowd on Boxing Day. Just that quick.

Are you ready? Are you sure?

It doesn't have to be the end times for it to be the end of your time.

Think about it.

This would be a good time to ask God to show you the way.

Best Bet for a Book Contract

Like shoot-em-up action told in a very engaging style, with humor, pathos, smell the burn?
Armor Geddon
a soldier blog from Iraq. Mighty fine.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Invader or Friend?

I've noticed a trend among those who accuse the U.S. of invading Iraq. They don't read the blogs.

At least they don't read the Iraqi blogs, including whatever good, heartening news I've linked to, or maybe they read only the militant Iraqi blogs.

Every time I post a link to a blog from Iraq telling that in spite of the terror of war, in spite of the mistakes of the Americans, things are better, life is getting possible, and they couldn't do it without us, someone will invariably comment that that doesn't make it right for us (the U.S. I suppose) to "invade" Iraq.

Okay, did we invade Iraq? Or did we come to Iraq to free it from a terroristic despot? It's important.

I guess it depends on which side you are on.

The vast majority of Iraqis seem to think or at least hope by now that we are there to help them set up a government that won't be run by despot. This is a new thought in that part of the world.

How many times have I heard the difference between under Saddham described as death and now–even in the midst of war–described as life? And this is before the elections, before the struggle is "over" by anyone's rationale.

And yet, daily I am harped on by those who haven't bothered to read the good news in Iraq, who accuse the U.S. of going in illegally, call us terrorists and claim the only honorable thing to do is walk away now–right now. Without elections. Without a stable government or police force, and without a free Iraq.

How do the Iraqis feel about that? Well, the ones I read think it would be stupid, cruel and irresponsible. They are grateful for our willingness to spend lives getting them their lives back.

So, whose side are you on? If you want us to leave now, I guess you're with the terrorists.

And by the way, they would like the media to quit calling the terrorists who are killing civilians "insurgents" or "freedom fighters." It's a hollow laugh here, but over there it is a blood insult.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

It's the Death, Stupid!

Pardon my take off on former President Clinton's top campaign quote (for those of you who weren't here), "It's the economy, stupid!"

I just discovered my very favorite (for today) Iraqi blogger, Husayn Uthman, who writes compellingly of what's happening in his blog Democracy in Iraq (is coming)

1) Sunni in Elections
Monday, January 03, 2005 – Sunni groups are now encouraging Sunnis to get involved with the elections...
2) Why don’t Iraqis take up guns
Tuesday, January 04, 2005 – A good, clear answer to the question you have heard again and again on why "they" don't just shoot or turn in the insurgents among them...
3) These -------- terrorists are a virus
Wednesday, January 05, 2005 – An impassioned reaction to the tragic murder of the governor of Baghdad and others like him, and the terroristic stylings of al-Zarqawi...
I haven't seen anything quite like these anywhere else.

Thanks, Husayn! I'm glad we're there, too. Keep writing, please. We need to hear you.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right

Okay, raise your hand. How many of you think Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has lost his mind? Or, come under some kind of spell or something.

Don't get me started.

The media has it all wrong. Are you surprised?

And the U.S. is complicit in this mad scheme to take land from the Jews and give it over to those behind the Palestinians! Whose idea was this, anyway?

Is anybody paying attention?? This will never work! It will only make things worse.

I've come to the conclusion that there is no way to compromise yourself out of a bad situation. The only thing that will work is to start doing the right thing (a novel plan) and do as much of it as you can for as long as you can.

Don't quit. And even when you are outnumbered and out-yelled and outmaneuvered in the press, hold your ground. It is literally better to go down down fighting than to try to make a deal with the devil.

There. I said it.

Two wrongs will never make a right, but mark my words: RIGHT MAKES MIGHT. And right will win out in the end.

I advise you to make sure you are on the side of "right."

That's important.

And when the Almighty looks down and judges between us, he will NOT blame the Israelis who have done far more right than wrong through the years. He will blame those of us who let the terrorism go on and didn't support Israel against the terrorists.

Now would be a good time to make sure you are on the side of "right" and start petitioning President George W. Bush not to compromise either.

That's very important.

Contact the Whitehouse
Thank you.

You will at least be able to say you tried.

Monday, January 03, 2005

If you're not familiar with this...

"This" being the unofficial best in category series by Mr Chrenkoff, category being "What's right with Iraq."

Good news from Iraq, Part 18
As you will see, Mr. Chrenkoff, chrenkoff.blogspot.com, is published elsewhere, including the Wall Street Journal. The series goes back a good ways and even this piece is a long one, but well worth the read, especially if you intend to be talking about Iraq.

I could wax philosophic about the dearth of good news (especially about Iraq) published elsewhere or what all these good things impend, but you, gentle reader, no doubt have a handle on these so will happily yield the floor to Mr. Chrenkoff.


Sunday, January 02, 2005

I'm Just Tellin' Ya...

From the "You Said It" department, check out this Liberal Wishlist for 2004 posted by dax on the north lot.

Thanks, dax - you said a mouthful.

Um, what?

Here's the real deal. I learned a long time ago to steer clear of those who took greater delight in my failure than my success, no matter how nicely they dress or talk.

Seems like it's the same way where nations are concerned.

Reality versus World Leaders and the News

Two months after 9/11, I caught a plane for the Middle East, flying out of Newark, just across the river from Manhattan with its conspicuously missing twin towers. Somehow it seemed so appropriate that we swung over the Statue of Liberty on our way out of town.

In the airport, there had been delays. Heavy security measures were in place for the first time and nervous passengers were backed up most counters and gates. Passengers were missing planes trying to get through the long lines at the new security checkpoints, and uniformed military toting what looked like AK-47s traveled on foot throughout the airport. There was an aprehension I'd never experienced in the air.

Waiting for my flight, I ended up in an ingeniously circled row of rocking chairs, just like someone's front porch. In that setting, people naturally relaxed and got to talking.

One woman who sat down next to me was from Tehran, Iran. A grandmother, she was leaving for the U.K. to see another child and grandchildren after spending a few months in the U.S. with a child and grandchildren here, visiting and helping out.

She talked about her life in Iran, and the lives of her children and grandchildren in the three different nations. She seemed like a very "solid" grandmother type, not a bit slowed down and very up on her current events.

The only thing she regretted, it seemed, was her government. She seemed to feel like she had to apologize for her country. She explained that "they" (those in power) didn't speak for most people in Iran.

She said the average person in Iran was not against Americans or even Jews. But that radicals made a point to grab control and then "tell" the rest of the country who they would fight and what they would do. And who, she asked, could do anthing about them? They had the power.

She decried the news media as continually reporting the radical few in lieu of the more peaceful majority, inciting rather than simply reporting.

It was a pleasant and insightful interlude on the way to my flight.

Two weeks later, flying back, I was asked to give up my aisle seat to a nice looking middle-aged woman who turned out to be a grandmother from Israel, headed to the U.S. to spend time with her children and grandchildren, to help out.

Midway through the 10 or so hours, this grandmother got to talking about how she and most of her neighbors didn't hate anyone and actually Jews in her town had historically gotten along with the Arabs near her home in Israel, until their radical leadership sent agents in to threaten their lives for cooperating with the Jewish neighbors.

She didn't see why there always had to be fighting and felt that if the radical leadership and rabid news media would just back off, all would get along just fine again.

These two similar incidents were not quite déjà vu, but fascinating bookends to an educational trip. Predicatably, I've thought a lot about these two encounters since then.

Today, thanks to the availability of blogs and other first-person reports, we are hearing the same kinds of statements coming out of every nation in the Middle East.

When will the majority, desiring to live peacefully and get along, pull the plug on radical leaders and inciteful news media?

Soon, I hope.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Keeping Watch

This is a long one, but worth it. Happy New Year!

Many of the things we hear about today are related to what the Bible calls the "End Times," so we're going to talk about why so many people are quoting the Bible now, either for or against things that are happening.

Hang in there on this one; even the non-Christians will want to know about these interesting "Signs of the Times."


SIGNS OF WHAT TIMES?

The phrase "Signs of the times" comes from this passage in the Bible's New Testament, Jesus is speaking:
He replied, "You know the saying, 'Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow, red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.' You are good at reading the weather signs in the sky, but you can't read the obvious signs of the times! (Matthew 16:2-3, New Living Translation)
The Bible talks about many signs of the "End Times," and the world talks a lot about what the Bible says about them. Most people talking about them just throw the terms around without being really clear on what the Bible says about them.


WHAT ARE THE "END TIMES," ANYWAY?

People talk about Armegeddon and the end of the world, is that what it means? Not exactly.

The Bible divides times up into three 2000-year "ages." The first 2000 years, Adam to Moses, was called the Age of Chaos, because chaos had come into the world and there was no restraint against it.

The second 2000 years, Moses to Jesus, was called the Age of Law, because Moses was given the law (the 10 commandments written on the stone tablets) and the law was "our schoolmaster," to to teach us that we couldn't do right even when we tried.

The third 2000 years, from Jesus until, roughly, today, was called the "Church Age" or, the "End Times." Because, it was the last age before the second coming of Christ.

There are several interesting events related to the predicted End Times. You've probably heard of them:
  1. earthquakes, famines, epidemics and signs in the heavens and on earth, then
  2. the rapture ("catching away" of the church),
  3. the revealing of the "Anti-Christ,"
  4. the "tribulation" (7 really bad years) and
  5. the "second coming of Christ" just before
  6. Armegeddon (a battle including all armies of the world) and after that is
  7. the 1,000 year Age of Peace, during which Jesus reigns.
When people talk about the End Times they usually mean the end of this age and the things predicted to happen now (Some believe these things will happen but not now).

This is a hot topic because, a) we're there, and, b) lots of people have their eyes on the "signs of the times."


SO WHAT ARE THE SUPPOSED "SIGNS OF THE TIMES?"

When asked about the signs of his return Jesus said (in Matthew 24:6-8):


And wars will break out near and far, but don't panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won't follow immediately. This has been happening, but note it says the end won't come "immediately."

The nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. We definitely have been having famines and earthquakes.

But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come. This is not a comforting thought.

Another author explains the same conversation this way (Luke 21:9-11):

And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don't panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won't follow immediately." Sound familiar?

Then he added, "Nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other." As we said, isn't that happening?
There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and epidemics in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs in the heavens. This is why we are looking at these.

SUMMING UP

Jesus said we should be able to recognize "the signs of the times" as well as we can recognize changes in the weather. And the signs he listed for the "end" of the end times are sound mighty familiar.

What is important to note is: 1) what is predicted, and 2) what is happening. And remember, it says these "signs" are only the "beginning of the end." And there is lots more, but we won't go there.

We might want to remember:

1) IF we are going through what the Bible predicted, THEN all the "wars and insurrections" going on all over the world are really "hot spots" in the final war of the Age.
2) IF we are in the "End Times," THEN the natural disasters we are experiencing (earthquakes, famines, epidemics) along with "signs in the heavens and on earth" can be expected to increase this year. (VERY IMPORTANT.)

Did you know the Bible is 75% predictions, or "prophesies" and most of them have already come true? Now there are people who can find fault with that, but it does make a strong case.

As you can see, things going on in the world today line up with things predicted in the Bible enough to generate a LOT of interest and discussion.

Of course, this will only be important IF we really are at the end of the age and IF that 7-point list of predictions (near the top) really is beginning to happen. Hmmm??


ONE MORE THING

Whenever these things are discussed, someone invariably brings up the "no one knows" quote:

"However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don't know when they will happen, stay alert and keep watch. (Mark 13:32-33)
So we agree and fully admit that we (or anyone else) cannot say the day or the hour these things are predicted to happen, but we find it all very interesting, and want to reserve the right to stay alert and "keep watch" with the rest of the world. And notice it didn't say no one knows the year, month or week. :-)


QUESTION FOR YOU: was last week's tragic tsunami a "sign of the times?"

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