Jul 29

Dear Europe, Please Get Your Shit Together

"Pro-Gaza" demonstrators flourishing the Quenelle reverse-Nazi salute, on top of Paris' Place de la République monument. On the centenary of the First World War, European societies seem to lack the resilience and resolve to reign in the extremism running rampant on their streets.

“Pro-Gaza” demonstrators flourishing the Quenelle reverse-Nazi salute, on top of Paris’ Place de la République monument. On the centenary of the First World War, European societies seem to lack the resilience and resolve to reign in the extremism running rampant on their streets.

Dear Europe,

I never thought the day would come when I’d be lecturing other people on the subject of failing societies. But when a Syrian tells you that you are in deep shit, you may rest assured that the shit you are in is deep indeed.

What in heaven’s name happened at Copenhagen? Last week’s disgraceful events in Calgary were bad enough, but Copenhagen was a hundred times worse.

A group of 250 Jewish and Iranian activists got together infront of the Danish Parliament for a rally, the agenda of which could not have been more laudable; peace for both Israel and Palestine, with both Israeli and Palestinian flags in evidence, and a keynote speech by Denmark’s former Chief Rabbi, Bent Melchior, one of Europe’s foremost figures in interfaith dialogue.

It was exactly the kind of commendable gathering needed for these troubled times.

And, apparently, exactly the kind of rally that is impossible to hold in Copenhagen in this day and age.

Within an hour, the police had to urge the participants to disband their event and flee into the Parliament’s courtyard, as intimidation from a growing horde of “pro-Gaza” Hamas-flag brandishing “kill the Jews Allahu Akbar” thugs grew to such horrendous proportions, that the police felt that they could no longer guarantee the safety of the Jewish and Iranian participants.

"Pro-Gaza" antisemitic thugs taking over the monument at Paris' Place de la République.

“Pro-Gaza” thugs taking over the monuments at Paris’ Place de la République. Note the Swastika graffiti at the base of the statue.

Europe, do you really need someone to tell you how so very, very bad it is when honest citizens can no longer express their opinion in Denmark, of all places?

Denmark is one of the least objectionable and inoffensive societies in the world. The last time anyone ever had cause to be offended by Denmark, the Danes were in longboats and wearing helmets with horns.

I really wish I could go back to using this blog to complain about Syria every week. Although the world has demonstrated that it can, for now at least, go about its business unaffected by a Levant intent on burning itself to the ground, Europe is another matter altogether.

Last Friday’s events didn’t just concern some Jews and Iranian dissidents. One of the fundamental pillars on which a civilized community is built on had been violated in the heart of one of Europe’s most civilized societies. The extremists won that day.

And the “pro-Gaza” thugs in Paris, Holland, Germany and London, already openly testing the limits of society’s tolerance for their thuggery, will be enormously emboldened by the precedent set by their reprehensible brethren in managing to disperse a rally by Jews. On the centenary of the First World War, Europe faces a crisis as challenging as any in 1914.

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Jul 23

ISIS May Not Have Reached Canada,but the ISIS Mentality Has

"Free,free Palestine". 22-year old Calgary native Samantha Hamilton (insert) lies unconscious on the ground after being brutally beaten by six "pro-Palestine" thugs. A "pro-Gaza" demonstration turned into a daylight lynching of a small group of Canadian Jews holding a token demonstration on the other side of the street.

“Free,free Palestine”. 22-year old Calgary native Samantha Hamilton (insert) lies unconscious on the ground after being brutally beaten by six “pro-Palestine” thugs. A “pro-Gaza” demonstration turned into a lynching of a small group of Canadian Jews holding a token demonstration on the other side of the street.

The Middle-East is a depressing place. Today the Levant serves as a cautionary tale in how quickly societies can tear themselves to pieces when the only dominant ideologies are extremist ones.

A lesson, apparently, which many Western societies seem to be losing sight of. Against the backdrop of the current conflict in Gaza, the past few weeks have seen synagogues attacked in Paris, and openly anti-Semitic demonstrations in Germany. And an attempted lynching of Jews in Calgary, Canada.

Yes, Canada. When Syrians went out to demonstrate for change in 2011, everyone had their own idea of the kind of society they wanted Syria to emulate. For me personally, that society was Canada.

But on Friday 18th of July, Canadian values were blatantly and contemptuously disregarded as a demonstration of a thousand “pro-Gaza” demonstrators turned into a brutal and vicious assault on a group of ten pro-Israel Calgarians, who at the time were holding a token counter-protest.

The account of the violence inflicted on the small group is sickening. A middle-aged woman who had been recovering from surgery was repeatedly punched.

A young man had the Israeli flag he was holding tied around his neck noose-like, and dragged along the streets.

A young woman was set upon by no less than six thugs and beaten unconscious. Another young man had the shirt ripped off his back, was bitten and beaten into a concussion.

All because the mob of “pro-Gaza” rioters found the open expression of an opposing view deeply offensive. And apparently, the only answer to such “offense” was to physically and barbarically assault those deemed to have inflicted the offense. To treat the Jews in Calgary like one would treat a Jew in Gaza.

ISIS may not be in Canada yet, but their mindset is very much alive there.

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Jul 16

Serious About Helping Gaza? Then Follow Turkey’s Example

Turkish NGO aid to Gaza. Unlike "Gaza Groupies" in the West, Turkey's support for Gazans has always been year round, and irrespective of political considerations.

Turkish NGO aid to Gaza. Unlike “Gaza Groupies” in the West, Turkey’s support for Gazans has always been constant year round, and irrespective of political considerations or media coverage.

Over the past week, with the outbreak of war between Hamas and Israel, countless cities around the world have seen large and passionate demonstrations held on behalf of Gaza.

For the moment at least, unfortunate Gazans can at least take heart that they are in the thoughts and minds of so many impassioned Arab and Western activists.

But Gazans are going to learn yet another painful lesson in the weeks to come; it is far better to have a few very committed friends by your side, friends who will stand by you over the long haul, than to have your name and cause thundered across social media and on the news channels by activist-groupies, who will lose their passion the moment the news cycle inevitably shifts its focus and you are no longer the most fashionable topic of the day.

We have seen it happen before. The same Western based activist groups screaming for Gaza this week, did precious little in the eight intervening years since the last war between Hamas and Israel in 2006.

Now more than ever Gazans needs dependable friends, who have and will continue to help Gaza with its humanitarian needs even after all the foreign news crews have moved on to some other tragic story.

Friends whose assistance is not conditional on either the state of political relations with Hamas or the amount of media coverage focused on the Gaza strip at any one time, friends who have proven reliable in the past and who show every promise of remaining so in the future.

In short, Gazans need proven friends like Turkey.

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Jul 02

While the Levant Burns,the Region’s Non-Arab Societies Get on With Life

Two contrasting parades. (left) Istanbul saw its biggest ever Gay Pride Parade on the same day ISIS announced the establishment of their Caliphate. (right) Shia militias parading on the streets of Baghdad.

Two contrasting parades. (left) Istanbul saw its biggest ever Gay Pride Parade on the same day ISIS announced the establishment of their Caliphate. (right) Shia militias parading on the streets of Baghdad.

During my university studies in Jordan, I had the good fortune of studying under some superb Iraqi professors. Iraqi engineers and scientists were acknowledged as being the very best in the Arab world, and Jordan offered a rare outlet for the talents of the heavily sanctioned Iraqi people.

In the aftermath of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam’s Baathist regime, there was widespread optimism that after decades of war and sanctions, Iraq could finally live up to its potential.

The only Arab country with oil, water and native talent in abundance, Iraq should have experienced a veritable renaissance in the years that followed, an economic boom to rival that of 1970s Gulf states.

Alas, today the country stands on the brink of disintegration, yet another Arab country on the road to failed statehood.

The mayhem and chaos prevalent in the region has caused nearby non-Arab societies to band together in an effort to keep the flames of failed statehood at bay, and the first fruits of that co-operation has been shipments of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan, to Israel via Turkey.

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