March 2007


Dr. Naim isn’t his real name. The Syrian psychiatrist says he is afraid of his Syrian state employers who refused to allow him to treat Iraqi children, even though he volunteered to do so on his own time.

In the same Christian neighborhood where Noor and her family lives is a small center run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

“The nuns would come and visit us and other Iraqi families at home,” Noor’s mother, Wafaa, says. “They told us about a program for children that was going to be held at the church.”

It was there that Noor, a Christian, and the doctor, a Muslim, first met.

A Syrian’s risky choice to help young Iraqis heal

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Oh _____ (Insert name(s) of Deity(ies) of choice), we concede
That verily mistakes,
Most grievous mistakes even, were made:
Let it not effect our approval ratings, we beseech Thee.

We concede
That, through no fault of our own
Our intelligence sources were, alas, misleading:
Let it not effect our approval ratings, we beseech Thee.

We concede
That there were cetain failures in forecasting:
Let in not effect our approval ratings, we beseech Thee.

We concede
That regretable logistical errors were made:
Let in not effect our approval ratings, we beseech Thee.

We concede
That admininistrative incidents, verily,
Might have been handled with greater discretion:
Let it not effect our approval ratings, we beseech Thee.

We concede
That things were said that perhaps
Should have been said differently
As befit the situation:
Let it not effect our approval ratings, we beseech Thee.

We concede
That there were apparently (slight) discrepancies
Between the things said
And the things as they may have transpired:
Let it not effect our approval ratings, we beseech Thee.

Verily, regretable mistakes were made,
Though responsibility is,
As befits the inscruitable cosmic causality,
Attributable to No One in particular,
Still we concede most heartily:
Mistakes were made-
Wherefore we say
Let it not effect our approval numbers, we beseech Thee.

I must apologize for a scarcity of content here over the past few weeks: I’ve been terribly busy with my college speech and debate team with a series of national tournaments (one in California- beautiful weather and awful congestion and smog; the other in Michigan- miserable, mostly, weather and lots of wide open farmland); this week is my school’s spring break, which I’ve spent mostly at home, which means limited internet use mostly.

Spring arrived while I was off in other corners of the country; it has arrived in absolute resplendence, the dogwoods, redbuds, and azaleas all bursting with colour. The oaks and hedgerows and fields are aglow with green, and even the live oaks are shedding their old leaves and putting on a new coat. But, to all those in northern climes suffering under snow and ice, keep in mind- as we try not to do here in the Deep South- in a couple more months our joy will be turned to sorrow, or at least highly mitigated joy, as the blessings of our mild clime are transmitigated into the evils of living in a giant Turkish bath…

Coming from the former British Somililand is a surprisingly encouraging story of local people rebuilding their lives, renouncing war, embracing decentralised government, and generally improving economic and social conditions:

 When the sun rises over the craggy hills of Hargeysa, it sheds light on a different kind of Somalia.

Ice cream trucks hit the streets. Money changers, unarmed and unguarded, push cash through the market in wheelbarrows. Politicians from three distinct parties get ready for another day of debate, which recently included animated discussion on registering nomadic voters.

It is all part of a Somali puzzle: how one area of the country, the northwest, also known as Somaliland, can seem so peaceful and functional — so normal, in fact — while the rest continues to be such a violent, chaotic mess.

Somaliland is an overlooked African success story

All of this has been done, as the article notes, largely without any outside intervention or interference. Instead, local people- many of whom are rural and illiterate- have been crafting governance and an economy with a combination of traditional cultural forms and elements of Western democracy. All without contingents of Western troops or bucketloads of Western aid, or even legions of specialists and advisors. Imagine!

Wolfgang Drautz, consul general of the Federal Republic of Germany, said that “the public has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion or motivated by different world views and in integrating minorities into the population as a whole.

“If we are to achieve integration, not only must the majority of the population prevent the ostracization of religious minorities or minorities with different world views, but minorities must also remain open and engage in dialogue with those who think differently or share different beliefs,” he said.

3rd Reich Homeschool Prohibition Defended

All of which means, of course, that the State cannot tolerate world views that challenge its basic presuppositions. Secular pluralism means, not actual tolerance for minorities, religious or otherwise, but the facade of tolerance that denies and assualts the heart of a religious or ethnic minority’s identity. ‘Minorities remaining open’ means they must deny the validity of their truth claims, if a religious minority, or deny the importance of cultural, economic, and political identity if an ethnic minority. Above all they must accede to the demands of the centralizing State, which cannot brook serious dissent.

However, dear fellow citizens of the free world, remember: the State is your lord and saviour, knowing all things, and concerned only with your well-being and prosperity. Your true enemy is ‘Islamofascism’…