Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘barbarism’

Fifteen years have passed, but we must never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2016

Fifteen years have passed since that awful September 11th morning. Many millennials have no meaningful recollection of it, and apparently their parents and teachers did nothing to inform and educate them. They haven’t seen the video or images (or saw just fleeting glimpses with no context) of what happened to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon. They don’t know or understand the significance of what the passengers on Flight 93 did, and they aren’t moved, as I am to this day, by the words “Let’s roll!”

That might explain (but not excuse) a mattress store advertising its “twin towers” mattress sale with a spoof in which two “towers” of mattresses collapse. Nothing can explain or excuse what Comedy Central did, as reported on Twitter by Tabitha Bliss, since apparently mature adult entertainment industry professionals approved and aired it. I refuse to view it and hope you won’t either, but here is her tweet:

Most of the rest of this post is, with minor changes, what I’ve posted in past years on this grim anniversary. It’s my hope that someone will stumble across this page who is too young to remember or who has forgotten, and that it will have an impact on them.

But before moving on to that portion, let me suggest that you read an Esquire article by Tom Junod entitled The Falling Man. It’s about one of the most horrifying aspects of that horrifying day. It’s about something that to this day wrenches my gut and makes my eyes well up when I think about it or see images of it, and which caused me some years ago to struggle to create lyrics for a song in my head that, if I had any musical talent, would have been recorded by now. It’s about this picture, and the countless others who did what the man in it did, but perhaps not quite as well.

falling man

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


Fifteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Never forget.

Flag still stands

Never forget.

raising the flag at ground zero

Never, ever forget.

9/11 tribute of light

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2015

Fourteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


Never forget.

Flag still stands

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Islamist atrocities reported in Egypt

Posted by Richard on August 18, 2012

In Egypt, the Arab Spring is turning into a nightmare for advocates of secular democracy, Christians, and anyone else who doesn’t embrace 7th-century Sharia law:

Last week in Egypt, when Muslim Brotherhood supporters terrorized the secular media, several Arabic websites—including Arab News, Al Khabar News, Dostor Watany, and Egypt Now—reported that people were being “crucified.” The relevant excerpt follows in translation:

A Sky News Arabic correspondent in Cairo confirmed that protestors belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood crucified those opposing Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others. Likewise, Muslim Brotherhood supporters locked the doors of the media production facilities of 6-October [a major media region in Cairo], where they proceeded to attack several popular journalists.

That there were attacks and violence—both in front of Egypt’s presidential palace and at major media facilities, is well-documented. An August 9 report by El Balad, a widely read Egyptian website, gives the details:

Last Wednesday, August 8, “thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters” attacked 6-October’s media facilities, beat Khaled Salah—chief editor of the privately-owned and secular Youm 7 newspaper—prevented Yusif al-Hassani, an On TV broadcaster, from entering the building, and generally “terrorized the employees.”

El Balad adds that the supporters of Tawfik Okasha, another vocal critic of President Morsi—the one who widely disseminated the graphic video of a Muslim apostate being slaughtered to cries of “Allahu Akbar”—gathered around the presidential palace, only to be surrounded by Brotherhood supporters, who “attacked them with sticks, knives, and Molotov cocktails, crucifying some of them on trees, leading to the deaths of two and the wounding of dozens.”

Far from condemning these terrorists, Al Azhar, Egypt’s most authoritative Islamic institution, has just issued a fatwa calling for more violence and oppression, saying that “fighting participants in anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations planned for 24 August is a religious obligation.”

Most of the aforementioned Arabic sites point out that these attacks are part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s campaign to intimidate and thus censor Egypt’s secular media from exposing the group’s Islamist agenda, which Youm 7, On TV, and Okasha do daily. [Note: the latter’s channel was recently shut down, despite Morsi’s previous reassurances that “no station or media will be shut down in my era.”]

In reality, there is little reason to doubt this crucifixion story. Militant Muslims crucifying their opponents is a regular feature of the Islamic world—recent cases coming from the Ivory Coast, where two Christian brothers were crucified, similarly by supporters of a Muslim president who ousted a Christian; Indonesia, where Islamic separatists crucified a fellow Muslim for being a military informant; and in Iraq, where Muslim militants crucified Christian children.

Finally, it is telling that only a few months ago, and for the first time in Egypt’s modern history, an Egyptian MP proposed to institutionalize Sharia’s most draconian punishments—including crucifixion.

In short, under the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the bottle has been uncorked and the Islamic Genie set loose. Expect much worse to come.

The Muslim Brotherhood, to which newly elected Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi belongs, has been courted by the Obama administration, which describes these perpetrators of crucifixion and terrorism as  “peaceful and committed to non-violence”:


[YouTube link]

Since the beginning of the Arab Spring, the Obama administration has snubbed the secular pro-democracy organizations and instead embraced the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s even sending $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government in defiance of a congressional ban on such aid “unless the State Department certifies that Egypt is making progress on basic freedoms and human rights.” It’s hard to certify progress on human rights when regime opponents are being crucified.

Maybe the Obama administration’s fondness for the Muslim Brotherhood is linked to the close familial ties that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, Huma Abedin, has to the organization. Or maybe it’s a consequence of the president’s anti-colonialist ideology.

Whatever the reason, this administration is on the side of the 7th-century barbarians.

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2011

Ten years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and "Let's roll!" became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it. 

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It's necessary, I believe, if we're to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part. 

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this: 

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

 

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


 

Never forget.

Flag still stands

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2010

Nine years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and "Let's roll!" became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it. 

Last night, I watched a compelling one-hour retrospective by Fox News that refreshed my memories of that day. It will be shown again later today (see my previous post), and I'll watch it again, and this time record it. It refreshed my memory in disturbing, but valuable, ways. No, those weren't bodies falling from the towers — they were living human beings with their arms and legs flailing as they fell. It's important, I think, that these details remain clear.

We must not let ourselves forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It's necessary, I believe, if we're to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part. 

I have nothing more to add to last year's 9/11 post, so with one minor edit, it appears again below.

Never forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this: 

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

 

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


 

As I have on previous September 11ths, I offer you passage from Gerard Van der Leun's Of a Fire in a Field — a passage that moves me beyond words every time I read it — in which he recalled 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim's survivors something that they could bury.

I'm not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

Read the whole thing — and think about the question he asks you at the end. 

And never forget.

Flag still stands

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9/11: Timeline of Terror

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2010

I just finished watching "9/11: Timeline of Terror" on Fox News, an uninterrupted hour-long recap of the events of September 11, 2001. I'm emotionally drained. But I'm so very glad I watched it. It will be shown again on Saturday at 3 PM and 9 PM Eastern (1 PM and 7 PM Mountain). I strongly encourage you to watch this powerful, moving program.

Nine years have passed. Memories have started to fade. Some of you reading this today may have been too young then to fully understand. Some of you may have never seen much of what is chronicled in this hour. The horrific scenes, the reactions of the people as they happened, the recollections of the survivors — this is compelling viewing. We owe it to ourselves to see this, whether it's again or for the first time. We owe it to ourselves to keep this fresh in our memories.  

Saturday at 3 PM and 9 PM Eastern (1 PM and 7 PM Mountain), the Fox News Channel. Watch it. Record it. Remember. 

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Honor killings

Posted by Richard on September 9, 2010

I've often defended the superiority of Western Civilization and the values of Reason and the Enlightenment against the prevailing liberal dogma of "multiculturalism" — the misbegotten insistence that all cultures are equally valuable and worthy of respect. Nothing proves my point more forcefully than Robert Fisk's four-part series, "The honour killing files," in The Independent this week. Part one begins thus:

It is a tragedy, a horror, a crime against humanity. The details of the murders – of the women beheaded, burned to death, stoned to death, stabbed, electrocuted, strangled and buried alive for the "honour" of their families – are as barbaric as they are shameful. Many women's groups in the Middle East and South-west Asia suspect the victims are at least four times the United Nations' latest world figure of around 5,000 deaths a year. Most of the victims are young, many are teenagers, slaughtered under a vile tradition that goes back hundreds of years but which now spans half the globe.

Fisk goes on to provide a lengthy catalog of specific examples of honor killings, mostly from the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, but some from the West. Read it. Steel yourself and read the entire gut-wrenching, horrific, and disturbing thing. Then, if you can, read the other three parts and related stories (linked in part one). 

Then ask yourself if all cultures are really equally valuable and worthy of respect. 

To understand the belief system in which such barbaric acts are not just defensible, but natural and noble, you have to understand the difference between shame cultures and guilt cultures. An excellent introduction is Dr. Sanity's 2005 essay, "Shame, the Arab Psyche, and Islam." ShrinkWrapped's 2006 post, "Guilt vs. Shame," is also worth reading. 

In his series, Fisk goes to pains to point out that honor killings aren't exclusively a Muslim phenomenon, and that's true. There are other shame cultures besides Islam, and it predates Islam in the Arab culture. Although, as Dr. Sanity pointed out, "it is only in the fairly recent history of Islam (e.g. in the last century) that Islam appears to have fully embraced the subjugation of women under the guise of 'protecting' them and preserving honor." Interestingly, that's about the same time period over which modern Islamofascism (Wahabbism/Salafism) came to the fore.

It's telling, too, that this most barbaric manifestation of shame culture has followed Islam around the globe — wherever Islam went, it brought this vile Arab tradition with it. And those that adopted Islam embraced honor killings as well.

It's also clear that the vast majority of honor killings around the world are by (and of) Muslims. Fisk dug up a Sikh example here and a Coptic one there, but almost every horrific story he relates is about Muslims. 

It's often been said that not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are Muslims. The math of honor killings is similar. Not all Muslims are misogynistic, murderous barbarians, but almost all misogynistic, murderous barbarians are Muslims. 

Make of that what you will. What I make of it is that not all cultures are equally valuable and worthy of respect.

UPDATE (10/9): It's natural for shrinks like Dr. Sanity to focus on the personal, psychological aspects of shame. But I want to emphasize something that's hinted at, but not focused on, by Dr. Sanity and ShrinkWrapped (and that's true of other discussions of shame culture I've looked at).

I think the critical point to understand about the difference between the two kinds of cultures is that a "shame culture" focuses on people's perceptions, while a "guilt culture" focuses on objective reality — what is the truth? Did you do that bad thing, or didn't you? What is reality?

Some discussions of this issue suggest that "guilt cultures" are somehow the consequence of Judeo-Christian values. I don't think that's true (although there is a vague, indirect connection, via St. Augustine, Aquinas, etc., leading to the Enlightenment). A culture's advancement from shame-based to guilt-based is a consequence of its embracing of reason and objective reality, and its abandonment of faith, whim, and perception. 

That's why Western "guilt cultures" produce more scientific advancements, innovations, patents, etc., in a single year than "shame cultures" have produced in more than a millennium.

Reason works. Objective reality exists. Until you recognize these facts, you're a primitive barbarian. And you're of no consequence to the rest of us, except to the extent that you represent a threat. 

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2009

Never forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

Eight years ago today, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this: 

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

 

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


 

As I have on previous September 11ths, I offer you passage from Gerard Van der Leun's Of a Fire in a Field — a passage that moves me beyond words every time I read it — in which he recalled 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim's survivors something that they could bury.

I'm not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

Read the whole thing — and think about the question he asks you at the end. 

And never forget.

Flag still stands

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Fly the flag September 11

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2009

September 11 is the eighth anniversary of the worst attack ever on U.S. soil, when many of us finally realized that a dangerous and implacable enemy had declared war on us years earlier and wasn't kidding.

September 11 is the eighth anniversary of the day that we watched in horror as people fell a hundred stories to the pavement and the skyline of Manhattan changed in a matter of hours.

September 11 is the eighth anniversary of the day that 2,996 innocent people were murdered by a small band of fanatical Islamofascists, and the world changed forever.

Remember September 11. Fly the flag.

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Celebrating the death of a murderer

Posted by Richard on July 25, 2009

At our breakfast gathering this morning, I told my compatriots about a joke Jimmy Fallon told regarding the probable killing of one of Osama bin Laden's sons. One person in the audience cheered, and a couple of people applauded. The rest sat in stony silence. A friend suggested that maybe they thought it wasn't appropriate to joke about the death of anyone.

I consider that explanation unlikely. I suspect that a significant percentage of the typical Jimmy Fallon audience considers slasher movies and Grand Theft Auto to be high entertainment. But it got me thinking. 

It's a common belief among Christians that all human life is sacred/valuable (many other religions/cultures share that belief, and some extend it to other creatures as well), and that therefore the death of even the vilest murderer or brutal tyrant should be mourned — or at least not celebrated.

I completely disagree. That belief shows a callous disregard for the murderer's future victims. When an al Qaeda leader is killed, how many people will not be blown up or shot, how many women and children will not be brutalized and subjugated, how many men will not be beheaded as a consequence of his death?

If you've studied free-market economics, you may be familiar with Frédéric Bastiat's essay, “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen.” In it, he argued that we tend to focus on the immediate, intended consequences of an action (what is seen) and fail to recognize the later, unintended consequences (what is not seen). For instance, when the government allocates a few hundred billion dollars for "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects, we see the jobs created (they put up big signs at the project sites to make sure we do). But we don't see the goods that would have been purchased, the investments that would have been made, and the jobs that would have been created if the government had left that money in private hands instead of taxing or borrowing it away. 

I contend that the death of a murderer represents a moral issue analogous to Bastiat's principle of economics. You can see the lifeless body of a terrorist or serial killer (or at least the news reports) and recognize that a human life has been taken. But too often, you fail to see the lives that have been spared in the future as a consequence of his death.

Not me. I celebrate the deaths of barbarians like Saad bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — because I'm gladdened by the thought of the innocent victims, the honest and peaceful people, who will be spared because of their demise. And I unashamedly value the lives of the latter more than the lives of the former. Ridding the world of such evil men and preventing their future acts of violence is the noble, decent, civilized thing to do. It is virtuous and it is just.

If you still insist that all killing is always wrong, here's a thought experiment. You see a man with his knife raised, about to stab the chest of a helpless, bound woman. There is a gun at hand. What would you do? Would you shoot him, trading his life for hers?

Would you do nothing, because taking any life is wrong? Then she dies, and he can move on to the next victim.

If all human life is equally valuable, and pain and suffering are bad, maybe you should shoot her! Either way, someone dies, and (since you don't care who) you can at least spare her a more painful death. 

I would shoot him without hesitation, and if I succeeded, I'd be relieved and happy for her and for his future victims. The lives of honest, peaceful, innocent people are infinitely more valuable than the lives of murderous predators.

Likewise, I hope that Predator drone did take out Saad bin Laden, and I'm gladdened by the thought of the lives that will be spared as a result of his death. Making a joke or two at the scumbag's expense is not out of order.

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The Stoning of Soraya M.

Posted by Richard on June 26, 2009

With Iran and human rights so much in the news, it's appropriate that director Cyrus Nowrasteh's The Stoning of Soraya M. is opening this weekend in select theaters across the country. The film is based on the acclaimed international best-seller of the same name by French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, and the story is true. It was runner-up to Slumdog Millionaire at the Toronto 2008 Film Festival, and critics are heaping praise on it. Jeffrey Lyons thinks female lead Shohreh Aghdashloo's performance is "a serious Oscar contender" (she was previously nominated for The House of Sand and Fog).

Hugh Hewitt:

The movie is beautiful and deeply moving, and the film's opening would have been an enormous story even had Iran not erupted in a long-suppressed general demand for freedom from tyranny.  Stoning is an abhorrent practice, but one that still goes on in Iran, as recently as March of this year, according to Radio Free Europe, when a 30-year old man was stoned to death for adultery.
 
Some apologists for the Mullahs point to the official moratorium on stoning that Iran adopted early in the decade, but ignore that the practice still goes on and that the law permitting the penalty has not been repealed.
 
Much more to the point, though, is the fundamental evil of a law code that consigns all women to a second-class status and through which the worst sorts of cruelty are not merely not punished but even endorsed.
 
“The Stoning of Soraya M” does not portray the Iran of Tehran or the other industrialized cities.  It is a poignant picture of rural and remote Iran, the Iran we have been told again and again supports Ahmadinejad against the urban elites that have been pouring into the streets of the major cities for the past 10 days.

Every American who sees “The Stoning of Soraya M” will emerge from the theater far wiser about what is driving the revolt of the people in Iran.  These demonstrators want their freedom from theocracy.
 
That theocracy reaches down into every aspect of every life, and its totalitarian demands for control over every aspect of life make it the cousin of every repressive police state that stained the 20th century. 
 
Americans cannot deliver aid to the demonstrators, but they can attend a movie that outrages the Mullahs.  A large box office for “The Stoning of Soraya M” sends a message to the Mullahs that won't be mistaken: Americans support the end of their medieval rule. 
The Stoning of Soraya M. is opening at these theaters either this weekend or in early July. If one of them is near you, go see this film.

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Cephalic attrition

Posted by Richard on April 20, 2009

The WSJ featured a fine piece of satire by Joe Queenan last week:

The Obama administration has come under intense criticism for replacing the term "war on terror" with the emaciated euphemism "overseas contingency operations," and for referring to individual acts of terror as "man-caused disasters."

… Many feel that such vaporous bureaucratese is a self-emasculating action that plunges us into an Orwellian world where words have no emotional connection with the horrors they purport to describe.

Yet, if the intention of the Obama administration is to tone down the confrontational rhetoric being used by our enemies, the effort is already reaping results. This week, in a pronounced shift from its usual theatrical style, the Taliban announced that it will no longer refer to its favorite method of murder as "beheadings," but will henceforth employ the expression "cephalic attrition." "Flayings" — a barbarously exotic style of execution that has been popular in this part of the world since before the time of Alexander — will now be described as "unsolicited epidermal reconfigurations."

Read the whole thing. I especially liked the Sudan's rebranding of genocide as "maximum-intensity racial profiling."

(HT: normblog)

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The normalization of evil

Posted by Richard on February 3, 2009

I've watched the video of the brutal beheading of journalist Daniel Pearl by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It's a very disturbing thing to see, and I won't provide a link. You can find it if you really want to see it. But I will link to his father's Wall Street Journal op-ed piece about the seventh anniversary of his death: 

This week marks the seventh anniversary of the murder of our son, former Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. My wife Ruth and I wonder: Would Danny have believed that today's world emerged after his tragedy?

The answer does not come easily. Danny was an optimist, a true believer in the goodness of mankind. Yet he was also a realist, and would not let idealism bend the harshness of facts.

Neither he, nor the millions who were shocked by his murder, could have possibly predicted that seven years later his abductor, Omar Saeed Sheikh, according to several South Asian reports, would be planning terror acts from the safety of a Pakistani jail. Or that his murderer, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now in Guantanamo, would proudly boast of his murder in a military tribunal in March 2007 to the cheers of sympathetic jihadi supporters. Or that this ideology of barbarism would be celebrated in European and American universities, fueling rally after rally for Hamas, Hezbollah and other heroes of "the resistance." Or that another kidnapped young man, Israeli Gilad Shalit, would spend his 950th day of captivity with no Red Cross visitation while world leaders seriously debate whether his kidnappers deserve international recognition.

No. Those around the world who mourned for Danny in 2002 genuinely hoped that Danny's murder would be a turning point in the history of man's inhumanity to man, and that the targeting of innocents to transmit political messages would quickly become, like slavery and human sacrifice, an embarrassing relic of a bygone era.

But somehow, barbarism, often cloaked in the language of "resistance," has gained acceptance in the most elite circles of our society. The words "war on terror" cannot be uttered today without fear of offense. Civilized society, so it seems, is so numbed by violence that it has lost its gift to be disgusted by evil.

Read. The. Whole. Thing. Mourn for Danny Pearl. And ask yourself what's going to happen to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed when Guantanamo is closed.

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2008

Seven years ago today, barbarians with box cutters — primitive savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people in pursuit of their war against Western Civilization.

Never forget that on September 10, 2001, Manhattan looked like this.

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

Never forget that on September 11, 2001, Manhattan looked like this.

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Never forget that we watched people jump from hundred-story buildings to avoid an even worse fate.

Falling to his death

Never forget that we were wounded, but our spirit wasn’t broken. We’ve fought back. And we will win.

Raising the flag at Ground Zero

As I have each of the last two September 11ths, I offer you passage from Gerard Van der Leun’s Of a Fire in a Field — a passage that moves me beyond words every time I read it — in which he recalled 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim’s survivors something that they could bury.

I’m not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

Read the whole thing — and think about the question he asks you at the end.

And never forget.

The flag still stands

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Fly the flag September 11

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2008

September 11 is the seventh anniversary of the worst attack ever on U.S. soil, when many of us finally realized that a dangerous and implacable enemy had declared war on us years earlier and wasn’t kidding.

September 11 is the seventh anniversary of the day that we watched in horror as people fell a hundred stories to the pavement and the skyline of Manhattan changed in a matter of hours.

September 11 is the seventh anniversary of the day that 2,996 innocent people were murdered by a small band of fanatical Islamofascists, and the world changed forever.

Remember September 11. Fly the flag.

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