Завтра начинается Сегодня

Posts Tagged ‘religious’

Petitioning Islamic Governments Decriminalise Apostasy

In мораль, ethics, freedom, good life, legal issues, moral issues, религия, традиции, people, places, politics, religion, traditions on February 5, 2013 at 11:48

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.

Petition by
Silenced People
Islamic Prison, Iran, Islamic Republic of

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/decriminalise-apostasy#

Being an Ex-Muslim should not be illegal

The following countries have outlawed Apostasy

Apostasy means leaving religion, for example becoming an ex-Muslim.

Iran – DEATH penalty
Egypt –  DEATH  penalty
Pakistan –  DEATH penalty since 2007
United Arab Emirates –  DEATH penalty
Somalia –  DEATH penalty
Afghanistan –  DEATH penalty
Saudi Arabia –  DEATH penalty
Sudan –  DEATH penalty
Qatar –  DEATH  penalty
Yemen –  DEATH  penalty
Mauritania –  DEATH  penalty
Syria –  DEATH  penalty
Jordan – Fine, jail, child custody loss, marriage annulment. Although officials claim otherwise, convictions are recorded for apostasy.
Malaysia – ILLEGAL in five of 13 states (fine, imprisonment, and flogging)
Morocco –  ILLEGAL to proselytise conversion (15 years jail, flogging)
Algeria –  ILLEGAL to proselytise conversion from Islam, store or circulate materials destabilizing attachment to Islam (2-5 years jail, about 5000-10,000 euros fine)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Laws prohibiting religious conversion run contrary to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Mother jailed for beating son to death for failing to memorise Qur’an

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2013 at 07:54

A mother who beat her seven-year-old son to death for failing to learn the Qur’an by heart and burned his body in an attempt to hide her crime has been jailed for life.

Ege treated her son Yaseen “like a dog” when he struggled to memorise passages of the holy book of Islam, Cardiff crown court heard. Over three months, she beat him until he collapsed on the floor of his bedroom — still mumbling verses — and died.

In Uncategorized on September 17, 2012 at 20:28

… people of a theological bent are often chronically incapable of distinguishing what is true from what they’d like to be true.

Richard Dawkins

Evolution…

In books, religion on September 4, 2012 at 13:58

It has been a couple of years since I gave up my religion but only now I’ve got Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” from a library. I though I already know all that could be said. Apparently not. One case has really infuriated me – and this is what happened in the USA which calls itself a “democracy” (text selected by me):

 “A Christian faith-healer ran a ‘Miracle Crusade’ which came to Mills’s home town once a year. Among other things, the faith-healer encouraged diabetics to throw away their insulin, and cancer patients to give up their chemotherapy and pray for a miracle instead. Reasonably enough, Mills decided to organize a peaceful demonstration to warn people. But he made the mistake of going to the police to tell them of his intention and ask for police protection against possible attacks from supporters of the faith-healer. The first police officer to whom he spoke asked, ‘Is you gonna protest fir him or ‘gin him?’ (meaning for or against the faith-healer). When Mills replied, ‘Against him,’ the policeman said that he himself planned to attend the rally and intended to spit personally in Mills’s face as he marched past Mills’s demonstration. Mills decided to try his luck with a second police officer. This one said that if any of the faith-healer’s supporters violently con- fronted Mills, the officer would arrest Mills because he was ‘trying to interfere with God’s work‘. Mills went home and tried telephoning the police station, in the hope of finding more sympathy at a senior level. He was finally connected to a sergeant who said, ‘To hell with you, Buddy. No policeman wants to protect a goddamned atheist. I hope somebody bloodies you up good.‘ Apparently adverbs were in short supply in this police station, along with the milk of human kindness and a sense of duty. Mills relates that he spoke to about seven or eight policemen that day. None of them was helpful, and most of them directly threatened Mills with violence.”

First I though: “Somebody just have to do something about this situation!” And then my thoughts came to natural selection & evolution. Who is more likely so survive: one who goes to a trained doctor or one who throws away ones medicines and listens to a “faith-healer” instead? And in the countries where they deprive women (50 per sent of population) of education isn’t their potential for new achievements and discoveries halved because of that? And imagine what harm could do denial of evolution in medicine if fanatics take control. 

They may threaten or even harm others but they harm themselves even more. I do feel sorry for their innocent minors and whole naive uneducated brainwashed lot.

Male genital mutilation (circumcision) deaths

In Uncategorized on August 23, 2012 at 06:42

Some babies die of complications of circumcision.1 There has been a need to assemble information concerning death from complications of circumcision in one convenient location. This page is designed to fill that need.

Deaths occur secondary to loss of blood or systemic infection from the circumcision wound.

A few deaths are reported in the medical literature. Other medical literature discusses the frequency of those deaths. A few deaths are reported in the popular press.

There is reason to believe that many deaths from circumcision are attributed to other causes. For example, if a baby were to die of meningitis that was contracted through the circumcision wound, the death may be attributed to meningitis while ignoring the fact that the baby would not have had meningitis if he had not been circumcised.

Circumcision originated before the dawn of history. There was no knowledge of sanitation or the need for a sterile operating environment. Jews have traditionally performed circumcision on the eighth day after birth for many thousands of years. The medical literature was still reporting numerous deaths from ritual circumcision in the early twentieth century.2, 3 There must have been vast numbers of babies who died under those conditions through the centuries. Jewish law allows parents who have had three sons die from circumcision to leave the fourth son intact.6

Doctors are highly motivated to conceal the true cause of circumcision death. Neonatal circumcision has no medical indication and is now considered to be an unnecessary7 non-therapeutic8 operation. It is unethical to carry out such operations on minors who cannot consent for themselves.9 Consequently, most doctors who have a baby die after a circumcision would prefer to attribute the results of his unethical operation to secondary causes, such as infection or bleeding, while ignoring the primary cause, which is the circumcision that resulted in the infection or bleeding. It is, therefore, very hard to identify the total number of deaths that occur from circumcision. One senses that one may be seeing only the “tip of the iceberg,” with the vast majority of deaths from circumcision being concealed. The deaths undoubtedly cause an increase in infant mortality. Male infant mortality is higher than female infant mortality. It is not known how much of this increased mortality is due to the practice of male circumcision.

Several doctors have given estimates of the number of deaths that occur each year. Douglas Gairdner reported 16-19 actual deaths a year in England and Wales from neonatal circumcisions in the 1940s.10 Sydney Gellis believed that “there are more deaths from complications of circumcision than from cancer of the penis.11 There are various figures for the number of deaths from penile cancer ranging from 200 to 480 deaths per year. Robert Baker estimated 229 deaths per year from circumcision in the United States.12

There are several case reports of death in the medical literature. These are deaths from various infections.2-5,13-15 Sauer reported the death of an 18-day-old infant from Staphylococcal bronco-pneumonia.5 Hiss et al. reported the death of an infant in Israel from haemorrhage and hypovolemic shock after ritual circumcision.21

There are several newspaper accounts of boys who have died after circumcision. These are from bleeding and from complications of anesthesia.16-17,19-21,22-36

Several coroner’s reports of deaths from circumcision are known to exist.1838 Demetrius Manker died from blood loss in Dade County, Florida on June 23, 1993.18 The coroner’s report on the death of a previously healthy one-month-old infant, Ryleigh Roman Bryan McWillis, less that 48 hours after his circumcision,24 is available. Baby Ryleigh died of hypovolemic shock, after exsanguination caused by hemorrhage at the circumcision wound.3839 Ryleigh’s mother said, “I unplugged his life support at 5 a.m. on the 22nd of August, one month and one day after he was born.39

Despite the abundant evidence of death from circumcision-related-causes, the March 2009 Circumcision Policy Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics omitted any mention of possible death from circumcision-related-causes, thereby helping to keep American parents uninformed of the possibility of death following circumcision.

Many African tribes have initation ceremonies in which a youth or young man is initiated into manhood. The youths are sent to a camp in a remote area where initiation ceremonies, including circumcision, take place. The circumcisions are carried out by persons without medical training. African tribal ritual circumcision produces reports of death or serious injury every year.28-36, 39,40 The Mail and Guardian reports seven dead in the Fall of 2003 and a total of 250 dead since 1995.36

Amitai Moshe, age 8 days, went into cardiac arrest after a ritual circumcision at Golder’s Green Synagogue, London. He was taken from the synagogue directly to hospital and died eight days later.43-45

A family doctor in Ontario circumcised an unnamed healthy infant at seven days of age. The infant suffered multiple complications and died seven days later of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.46

Identified victims

Some victims of circumcision are known by name. They are:

  • Julius Katzenstein: 8-days-old, bled to death after circumcision, 14 December 1856, New York, NY, USA.
  • Myer Jacob Levy: 8-days-old, bled to death after circumcision, 18 April 1858, New York, NY, USA.
  • Aleck, Baby Boy: Died June 10, 1910, Island County, Washington, USA.
  • Michael Julian Baldwin: infant boy, 4-days-old, hemorrhage after circumcision. 21 August 1927, Monroe County, Indiana, USA.
  • Baby boy Lebeau, death by circumcision, April 1942, Quebec, Canada.
  • Roland Albert McCarty: infant boy. Death by infection of circumcision wound. Died 1932, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
  • “J.B.”: Died December 1942, Evanston, Illinois, USA.
  • Bruce Wechsler: infant boy, Staph infection following circumcision. 1957, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • Chino Burrell: 7-months-old, death by circumcision, 9 June 1974, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  • Christopher Dolezal: Died November 1982, Des Moines, IA, USA.
  • Steven Christopher Chacon: Died November 1986, San Francisco, CA, USA.
  • Boma Oruitemeka: Death by circumcision, severe hemorrhage. 1990, London, England, UK.
  • Raju Miah: Death by circumcision. July 1991, Birmingham, England, United Kingdom.
  • Allen A. Ervin: Died July 8, 1992, Spartanburg, SC
  • Demetrius Manker: Died June 23, 1993, Carol City, Dade County, Florida, USA.17
  • Jeremie Johnson: Died July 18, 1995, Houston, TX, USA.19
  • Dustin Evans: Died October 1998, Cleveland, OH, USA.
  • Ryleigh Roman Bryan McWillis: Died August 22, 2002, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada35
  • Zola Mjamba: Died November 19, 2002, Umtata, South Africa
  • Sifiso Kobo: Died November 21, 2002, Umtata, South Africa
  • Nui Jia Yuan, 4-years-old. Death by asphyxia following circumcision. March 26, 2003, Singapore.
  • Callis Osaghae: Monday, August 18, 2003, Regional Hospital, Waterford, Ireland.26
  • Bennett Ntazina, adolescent boy. Death by circumcision. December 2003, Jan Kempdorp, South Africa.
  • Thamsanqa Mnyaka, 19, of Whittlesea, South Africa: Died Friday, 12 December 2003.
  • Myolisi Mayekiso, 18, also of Whittlesea, South Africa: Died Friday, 12 December 2003.
  • Andile Masabalala, 21, of Tsomo, South Africa: Died Monday, 15 December 2003.
  • Sabelo Marotya, 17, at Mdantsane, South Africa: Died Sunday, July 4, 2004.
  • Infant twin (by herpes virus, circumcised by Rabbi Yitzhok Fischer who had herpes and performed metziza by mouth [sucking the blood] on baby’s penis) New York, New York, USA, October, 2004.
  • Dontsa Lwane, 19 (by suicide after botched circumcision of Dec 11, 2004) Gqebenya, Lady Frere, South Africa, January 8, 2005.
  • Wandile Lwane, 21 (Dontsa’s brother, by suicide after learning of Dontasa’s death) Ezibeleni, Queenstown, South Africa, January 9, 2005
  • Muyoddin Khan, 5, Indrapur, Nepal, February 10, 2005.
  • Abou Quir, infant boy, Alexandria, Egypt, February 15, 2005.
  • Jacob Christian Holliday. Circumcision damaged already-defective heart, requiring heart transplant at age two. Death resulted from cancer caused by immuno-suppresant drugs and resultant cancer at age 4, 20 October 2005, Orlando, Florida, USA.
  • Patrick Hoho, 58 (hacked to death by Hoho’s circumcision victim), Port Elizabeth, South Africa, July 3, 2006.
  • Sello Ntsie, 18 (beaten to death at a circumcision “initiation school” before he could be circumcised), Zuurbekom, near Westonaria, South Africa, July 5, 2006.
  • Siyabonga Radebe, 14 (beaten to death at a circumcision “initiation school” before he could be circumcised), Zuurbekom, near Westonaria, South Africa, July 5, 2006.
  • Nkhiphitheni Nehelula, 9, Guyuni-Dzumbama village near Mutale, Limpopo, South Africa, July 8 or 9, 2006.
  • Xola Mbuqe, 18, Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa, November 26, 2006.
  • Lunga Nocanda, 18, Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa, December 18, 2006.
  • Infant boy. Death by bleeding following circumcision in Creswell, Oregon,February 2007, Sacred Heart Hospital, Eugene, Oregon, USA.
  • Amitai Moshe, 2 weeks, after a ritual circumcision at Golders Green Synagogue, London. February 9, 2007.
  • Celian Noumbiwe, boy, nine weeks, death by circumcision, bled to death, 22 February 2007, Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, Berkshire, United Kingdom.
  • Kulideep Kumar Vishnubhai Patel, 10-year-old boy, death by circumcision, 18 November 2007, Unjha, Gujarat, India,
  • Infant boy, 18-days-old, death by circumcision, 18 November 2007, Pilar District, Tarragona, Nigeria.
  • 18-year-old male, death by circumcision, November 2007, Gxulu Village, Umtata, South Africa.
  • Obosee Prince Aseh, boy, 2-months, death by circumcision, haemorrhage, 5 June 2008, Treviso, Italy.
  • Gino Erojo, 11-years-old. Death by infection following circumcision, 3 August 2008, Panciao, Manjyod, Negroes Oriental, Philippines.
  • Beasley Allen Terrebonne, age 48, death by suicide after botched circumcision and resulting depression. 23 December 2008, Thibodaux, Louisiana, USA.
  • Eric Keefe, 6-week-old infant boy, death by blood loss following circumcision, 14 July 2008, Indian Health Service Hospital, Rosebud, South Dakota, USA.
  • Yogama Boya, 18-year-old male, death by circumcision, July 2008, Qumbu area of Transkei, South Africa.
  • Johnson Killed. Age 2 years and 7 months. death by circumcision. 22 July 2008, Bari, Italy.
  • Bradley Dorcius, boy, 7-months-old. Death by circumcision, October 2009, SUNY Downstate Hospital. Brooklyn, New York, USA.
  • Kaan Otuk, boy, one-month-old. Death by circumcision anaesthesia overdose, 31 October 2009, Çukurova State Hospital, Adana, Turkey.
  • Sonke Foca, male, 19-years-old. Death by dehydration following circumcision, 11 November 2009, Butterworth, Transkei, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
  • Goodluck Caubergs, Baby. Bled to death after circumcision. Oldham, England, April 17, 2010.
  • Saijad Hossain Mimu, 6-years-old. Death by lidocaine anaesthetic overdose, 25 September 2010, Safapur, Amirbad Union,Sonagazi Upazila, Feni District in the Division of Chittagong, Bangladesh.
  • Joshua Haskins, 7-weeks old. Died 19 hours after having circumcision followed by prolonged bleeding, despite having congenital heart defect and being in intensive care. October 6, 2010, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
  • Jaamal Coleson, Jr., toddler, of Brooklyn, New York. Died at Beth Israel Medical Center, Manhattan, New York City after a circumcision on Tuesday, May 3, 2011.50
  • James Connor, infant, seven pounds eight ounces, 21 inches long. Born at Pittsburgh, Friday, November 25, 2011. Died Saturday night, November 26, 2011. Death by bleeding after circucision.
  • Anonymous Jewish infant, two weeks old. Death from Herpes infection, Maimonides Hospital, Brookyn, New York, September 28, 2011.51
  • Two boys, Arif, age 4 and Azhar, age 3,in Rakasipet, Bodhan, Andhra Pradesh India. The boys died on Monday, April 30, 2012 after a circumcision a few days before by a rural medical practitioner at Masjid Colony in the Rakasipet area due to uncontrolled “overbleeding”.
  • Infant boy, age two-weeks. Circumcised Sunday, 6 May 2012 in a doctor’s office on the east side of Oslo, Norway. Died of complications Tuesday, 8 May 2012.

See also:

Library holdings

  1. Williams N, Kapila L. Complications of circumcision. Brit J Surg 1993;80:1231-6.
  2. Holt LE. Tuberculosis acquired through ritual circumcision. JAMA 1913;LXI(2):99-102.
  3. Reuben MS. Tuberculosis from ritual circumcision. Proceedings of the New York Academy of Medicine 1916; (December 15): 333-334.
  4. Rosenstein JL. Wound diphtheria in the newborn infant following circumcision: report of a case. J Pediatr 1941;18:657-8.
  5. Sauer LW. Fatal staphylococcus bronchopneumonia following ritual circumcision. Am J Obstetr Gynecol 1943;46:583.
  6. The Talmud of Babylonia: An American Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner. Number 251. Volume XIII.B: Tractate Yebamot, Chapters 4-6. Program in Judaic Studies Brown University. Atlanta: Scholars Press. 1992.
  7. Denniston GC. Unnecessary Circumcision. The Female Patient 1992: 17: 13-14.
  8. Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association. Report 10: Neonatal circumcision. Chicago: American Medical Association, 1999.
  9. Hodges FM, Svoboda JS, Van Howe RS. Prophylactic interventions on children: balancing human rights with public health. J Med Ethics 2002;28(1):10-16.
  10. Gairdner D. The fate of the foreskin: a study of circumcision. Br Med J 1949; 2:1433-1437.
  11. Gellis SS. Circumcision. Am J Dis Child 1978;132:1168.
  12. Baker RL. Newborn male circumcision: needless and dangerous. Sexual Medicine Today 1979;3(11):35-36.
  13. Scurlock JM, Pemberton PJ. Neonatal meningitis and circumcision. Med J Aust 1977;1(10):332-
  14. Cleary TG, Kohl S. Overwhelming infection with group B beta-hemolytic streptococcus associated with circumcision. Pediatrics 1979;64(3):301-303.
  15. Peter Rachter. Grand jury to probe death of baby after circumcision. The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Saturday, November 20, 1982.
  16. Boy in coma most of his 6 years dies. The State, Columbia South Carolina, July 10, 1992: F21.
  17. Baby bleeds to death after circumcision. Miami Herald, Miami, Florida, June 26, 1993.
  18. Wetli CV. Case 93-1711. Autopsy of Demetrius Manker. Miami: Dade County Medical Examiner Department, June 23, 1993.
  19. Lyndia Lum, Ruth Sorelle. Boy’s death to be probed. Houston Chronicle, Houston, Texas, Friday, July 28, 1995, page 28A.
  20. Circumcision That Didn’t Heal Kills Boy, NewsNet5, Cleveland, OH, October 20, 1998.
  21. Hiss J, Horowitz A, Kahana T. Fatal haemorrhage following male ritual circumcision. J Clin Forensic Med 2000;7:32-4.
  22. Omskuren treåring dog av bedövning [Circumcised three-year-old died from anaesthesia]. Aftonbladet, Stockholm, Sweden, Friday, 9 February 2001.
  23. Paul Stokes. Patient died ‘because surgeon guessed dose’. Daily Telegraph, Friday, November 30, 2001.
  24. Sandra Vogel-Hockley. Death of local baby subject of investigation. The Penticton Western, Penticton, B.C., Volume 36, Issue 69, 31 August 2002.
  25. Man hunted after death of circumcision baby. Online.ie, Dublin, 20 August 2003.
  26. Infant dies after home circumcision. Munster Express, Munster, Southeathern Ireland, Friday, 22 August 2003.
  27. Initiation Horror as Four Dead. Eastern Province Herald, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Friday, July 19, 1996.
  28. Chris McGreal. Botched circumcision kills boys. The Guardian, London, 7 January 2000.
  29. Dumisane Lubisi, African Eye News Service. Boy bleeds to death after circumcision. News24, South Africa, 26 June 2001.
  30. Steven Kretzmann. Hospitals Struggle Against Odds to Treat Septic Initiates. East Cape News, Grahamtown, Eastern Cape, South Africa, 01 August 2001.
  31. Dumisane Lubisi. 11-year-old dies after botched circumcision. Daily Mail and Guardian, South Africa, Thursday, 16 August 2001.
  32. Sarie Van Niekerk. Five teens die during initiation. Natal Witness, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Wednesday, 26 June 2002.
  33. Fourteen dead after initiation rituals in S.Africa. The Times of India, 5 July 2002.
  34. Circumcision leaves 24 dead, 100 in hospital. The Star, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, 17 July 2002.
  35. Madoda Dyonana. ‘Errant surgeon will be found’. Business Day, Saturday, 7 December 2002.
  36. Law vs tradition in circumcision debacle. The Mail and Guardian. Johannesburg, South Africa, Monday, 8 December 2003.
  37. Newell TEC. Judgement of inquiry into the death of McWillis, Ryleigh Roman Bryan. Burnaby, B.C.: British Columbia Coroner’s Service, Monday, 19 January 2004. [HTML file]
  38. Newell TEC. Judgement of inquiry into the death of McWillis, Ryleigh Roman Bryan. Burnaby, B.C.: British Columbia Coroner’s Service, Monday, 19 January 2004. [PDF file]
  39. Suzanne Fournier. Lack of post-surgery info angers grieving parents. The Province, Vancouver, B.C., Friday, 13 February 2004.
  40. Circumcision school initiate dies. South African Press Association (SAPA), 8 July 2004.
  41. Lulamile Feni. 10 die in botched circumcisions, 32 fight for lives. Daily Dispatch, East London, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, Tuesday, 13 December 2005.
  42. Bollinger D. Death and the new penis. International Coalition for Genital Integrity, 2006. [Full Text]
  43. Stephen Moyes. 7-day old dies after circumcision. The Mirror, London, Thursday, 15 February 2007.
  44. Martin Beckford. Police investigate baby’s death after circumcision. Daily Telegraph, London, Friday, 16 February 2007.
  45. Polly Curtis. Police probe death of baby after circumcision. The Guardian, London, Saturday, February 17, 2007.
  46. Paediatric Death Review Committee: Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario. Circumcision: a minor procedure? Paediatr Child Health 2007;12(4):311-2.
  47. Boy, 4, dies after circumcision. Electric New Paper, Singapore, 25 June 2007.
  48. Unjha doctors strike work. Express India, Tuesday, 20 November 2007.
  49. Edward Koech. Boy bleeds to death after ‘cut’. The Nation, Nairobi, Friday, December 14, 2007.
  50. Cynthia R. Fagen. Tot’s shock hosp death: Tragic circumcision. New York Post, Thursday, May 5, 2011.
  51. Liz Robbins. Baby’s Death Renews Debate Over a Circumcision Ritual. New York Times, Wednesday, March 7, 2012.

(File revised 14 May 2012)

An interesting article on Syria:

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2012 at 11:34

Sectarian Violence Undermines Syrian Regime

Posted on Jun 17, 2012

By Juan Cole

The Syrian upheaval has gone through several stages. It began with relatively peaceful protests by crowds in a handful of small and medium-size cities outside the large metropolitan areas of Damascus and Aleppo. Severe repression by the national regime led some revolutionaries to turn to guerrilla tactics. The ruling Baath government subjected the quarters held by the Free Syrian Army to heavy artillery and tank assaults. More recently, as the rebellion continued to spread in small towns, the military has provided cover to death squads that have massacred civilians in an attempt to scare them into submission. The most frightening thing about this spiral of ever greater violence and brutality is that some of the now-hardened lines have been sectarian.

The Syrian army assault on the rebellious Sunni village of al-Haffa in Latakia province, which has left it a ghost town, exemplifies this move toward religious war. Latakia is heavily Alawite, and protecting members of this religious group from Sunni dominance is one of the latent functions of the regime. The upper echelons of the ruling Baath Party and its officer corps are dominated by the Alawite sect of Shiite Islam. Only about 10 percent of Syrians are Alawite. On the order of 70 percent of Syrians belong to the rival Sunni branch of Islam. (Many Syrian Sunnis are secularists.) The car bomb that recently damaged the Shiite shrine of Sayyida Zaynab in Damascus may have primarily targeted nearby Intelligence Ministry buildings, but those who detonated it may have been happy enough to hurt Shiite religious sensibilities.

The death squads, Shabiha, deployed by the regime against the towns of Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair in recent weeks are drawn from the Alawi sect. Many of the Sunnis being targeted have been organized by the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood. Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair are largely Sunni hamlets surrounded by powerful Alawi towns.

The black-garbed Shabiha, or “ghost gangs,” began as criminal organizations in the Alawite-dominated port of Latakia in the 1970s after the Alawite Assad family came to power in Syria, and some of its members are drawn from the Assad and related Deeb and Makhlouf clans. Although the groups were curbed in the 1990s after they became too arrogant even for the Assads to countenance, they re-emerged in 2011 as paramilitary adjuncts to the army and security police. In Alawite areas, they have been accused of detaining Syrians with Sunni names at checkpoints and doing away with them.

The Baath Party was founded in the 1940s by two Christian intellectuals who advocated a secular Arab nationalism. In some ways, the “Resurrection,” or Baath, party was to resemble the Communist Party, but instead of championing the working class and being universal it would uplift ethnic Arabs and unite them to throw off the vestiges of Western, colonial domination. This attempt to subvert socialism with an appeal to essentially racist themes made the Baath an odd hybrid of fascism and Third-Worldism. Non-Arab minorities in Baath-ruled countries, such as the Kurds, often faced discrimination or worse.

Baathists came to power through coups in Syria and Iraq in the 1960s. Ironically, the Baath one-party state became a vehicle for well-organized minorities to take over the government. Thus, in Syria the Alawite Shiites dominated the Baath regime from 1970, whereas in Iraq control of the ruling Baath party was held by a Sunni clan from Tikrit (that of Saddam Hussein).

Syria’s Baath Party has lasted so long and attracted the loyalty of so many Syrians over the decades in part because it aided Syria’s transition from a rural, peasant country to an urban one. It carried out a land reform that redistributed land to peasants and liquidated the old big-landlord class. The Baathists built dams and irrigation works for farmers, earning the gratitude and support of many rural Sunni clans. Largely rural depot towns such as Deraa in the south near the Jordanian border were among the biggest beneficiaries of these Baath programs, and so were known as strong party backers, producing several high regime officials and officers.

Rural Syria has had a prolonged and severe drought, and the Baath government has not been good in this decade about managing water resources. Rural Sunni clans have suffered most from this water crisis.

A majority of Syrians now live in towns and cities, and their needs are different from those of their farming parents. The Baath Party’s reduction of fuel and other subsidies and encouragement of unaccountable big business have angered the urban population. (These policies, pushed by international banks and elites, are generally referred to as “Neoliberalism.”) Largely Sunni towns have seen high unemployment, especially in slums on outskirts full of former farmworkers forced to seek jobs in the cities, often unsuccessfully.

At its heart, the Syrian crisis is a conflict that pits the urban metropolises (Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia) that benefit from government largesse against the medium-size cities and rural towns that have suffered from drought and Neoliberal policies. It so happens that this divide also aligns, if unevenly, with sectarian cleavages, with the provincial cities and towns being mostly religiously conservative and Sunni, and the big-cities bastions of minority power and secular Sunni business classes dependent on the regime.

The Syrian government’s resort to Alawite death squads in recent weeks, however, has threatened the big-city alliance that has allowed the Baath to survive. The sight of Sunni women and children massacred by the Shabiha in Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair drove Sunni shopkeepers in the capital to instigate a general strike. Protests and small insurgencies are now taking place even in Damascus.

The regime of Bashar Assad squandered whatever good will it had in rural and small-town Syria by its heavy-handed repression of the protests. Among its few remaining assets was the support of Christian, Alawi and secular Sunni middle classes in the large cities, groups that fear the rise of Sunni fundamentalism, are disturbed by the decline of security for property, and benefit from Baath government licenses and contracts. The deployment of Shabiha death squads, however, has clearly pushed many of these former supporters into the opposition. It is now the regime that is threatening public security and fanning the flames of sectarian hatred. If the Syrian revolution finally succeeds, it will be because the Baath regime betrayed its commitments to secularism, socialism and public order, becoming in the eyes of the public just another sectarian mafia.

Imelda Marcos

In Uncategorized on March 14, 2012 at 23:00

“When she returned to the Philippines after exile in Hawaii, she was received by people whop kiss her hands for blessing and by a priest who proclaims the return of “Mummy Imelda”.

Instead of selling her shoes for charity she gives the poor… blessings. An ingenious invention these blessings are: it looks like you are giving something while giving nothing…

Imelda Marcos

Witch torture trial: Sister describes brother’s beating

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2012 at 06:51

The sister of a boy tortured to death for being a “witch” wept in court as she told how her brother was beaten with a stick, hammer and iron bar.

Kristy Bamu, 15, from Paris, was found dead in a bath in a flat in Newham, east London, on Christmas Day in 2010.

His sister Magalie Bamu and her boyfriend, Eric Bikubi, both 28 and living in Newham, deny the murder.

Kelly Bamu, 21, said her sister Magalie Bamu “deserves to die” for doing nothing as Mr Bikubi beat Kristy.

The defendants also deny assaulting Kelly Bamu and a sibling.

Prosecutors have told jurors of acts they described as “depraved”, “wicked” and “cruel”.

Kristy and his four siblings had come to London from Paris to spend Christmas with the couple, when they were beaten and terrorised for four days, the Old Bailey heard.

“Obsessed by witchcraft’

Kristy became the focus of the attack and was hit with an “armoury of weapons”, including sticks, pliers, a metal bar, hammer and chisel. He suffered 101 injuries.

Giving evidence through an interpreter, Kelly Bamu said there had been a “nice atmosphere” at first but the defendants began talking about kindoki, the African term for witchcraft, and she and Kristy were accused of being “witches”.

She said: “It was as if they were obsessed by witchcraft and then it became absolutely unbearable.

“I did not know what was going on in their minds. They decided we had come there to kill them.”

Miss Bamu said she and Kristy were made to fast and pray all night but then Mr Bikubi allegedly said he would use a stick to get them to tell the truth.

She said: “He began to hit Kristy while my sister was watching and didn’t do anything.

“I begged him: ‘We didn’t do anything, we are innocent’. She didn’t argue at all. She was just sitting there as a spectator.

“He hit and hit Kristy. He was not feeling well, He was having trouble breathing and he fell over.

“As far as Eric and Magalie were concerned, that was the kindoki coming out of him.”

Miss Bamu said her brother suffered over 200 blows and as Mr Bikubi hit the boy with a hammer and an iron bar, Magalie Bamu also joined in with a stick.

“Kristy asked for forgiveness. He asked again and again.

“Magalie did absolutely nothing. She didn’t lift a finger and she was convinced that we did bad things,” Kelly Bamu said.

Addressing her sister in the dock Miss Bamu said: “You are an idiot.

“I am sure she still believes, even to this day, that we are witches.”

Mr Bikubi has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, a plea not accepted by the prosecution. He has also admitted assaulting Kristy’s siblings.

Magalie Bamu denies the murder, as well as two charges of causing actual bodily harm to her other siblings.

The case continues.

‘Harry Potter and yoga are evil’, says Catholic Church exorcist

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2011 at 08:05

For most people it is a way of toning the limbs and soothing the stresses of everyday life, but the Catholic Church’s best-known exorcist says yoga is evil.

Father Gabriele Amorth, who for years was the Vatican’s chief exorcist and claims to have cleansed hundreds of people of evil spirits, said yoga is Satanic because it leads to a worship of Hinduism and “all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation”.

Reading JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books is no less dangerous, said the 86-year-old priest, who is the honorary president for life of the International Association of Exorcists, which he founded in 1990, and whose favourite film is the 1973 horror classic, The Exorcist.

The Harry Potter books, which have sold millions of copies worldwide, “seem innocuous” but in fact encourage children to believe in black magic and wizardry, Father Amorth said.

“Practising yoga is Satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter,” he told a film festival in Umbria this week, where he was invited to introduce The Rite, a film about exorcism starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as a Jesuit priest.

“In Harry Potter the Devil acts in a crafty and covert manner, under the guise of extraordinary powers, magic spells and curses,” said the priest, who in 1986 was appointed the chief exorcist for the Diocese of Rome.

“Satan is always hidden and what he most wants is for us not to believe in his existence. He studies every one of us and our tendencies towards good and evil, and then he offers temptations.” Science was incapable of explaining evil, said Father Amorth, who has written two books on his experiences as an exorcist. “It’s not worth a jot.

The scientist simply explores what God has already created.” His views may seem extreme, but in fact reflect previous warnings by Pope Benedict XVI, when as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger he was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s enforcer of doctrinal orthodoxy.

In 1999, six years before he succeeded John Paul II as Pope, he issued a document which warned Roman Catholics of the dangers of yoga, Zen, transcendental meditation and other ‘eastern’ practises.

They could “degenerate into a cult of the body” that debases Christian prayer, the document said.

Yoga poses could create a feeling of well-being in the body but it was erroneous to confuse that with “the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit,” the document said.

Italian yoga schools said Father Amorth’s criticism was absurd.

“It’s an accusation that has nothing to do with reality,” Vanda Vanni, the founder of the Mediterranean Yoga Association, told Adnkronos, an Italian news agency.

“It’s a theory — if one can call it a theory — that is totally without foundation. Yoga is not a religion or a spiritual practise. It doesn’t have even the slightest connection with Satanism or Satanic sects.” Giorgio Furlan, the founder of the Yoga Academy of Rome, said yoga had nothing to do with religion, “least of all Satanism.” “Whoever says that shows that they know absolutely nothing about yoga,” he said.

Father Amorth has previously said that people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron and have such superhuman strength that even children have to be held down by up to four people.

He has also claimed that the sex abuse scandals which have engulfed the Catholic Church in the US, Ireland, Germany and other countries was proof that the Anti-Christ is waging a war against the Holy See.

2:31PM GMT 25 Nov 2011

Criminalising Singing in Israel…

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2011 at 08:26

…The whole subject of women’s singing was the last straw. I took singing and was in choirs most of my life. When someone says: ‘Shut up. You can’t sing, because you are a woman’ — that hits me on such a basic level, I had to do something about it.

Triggering her outrage in particular was the response of Israel’s chief rabbi to the controversy regarding women’s singing in IDF ceremonies, in which he recommended female singing be avoided to protect religious male sensibilities, citing the law which compares a women’s voice to “nakedness” or, as she points out — is more literally translated as sound that is “pubic.”

Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/145007/#ixzz1dlCwuQgz

%d bloggers like this: