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Posts tagged ‘Iraq’

Israel keeps making, not taking, more refugees

Long before Syrian refugees found their way to Europe, the war-torn country’s neighbours have been hosting a staggering number of displaced persons – with one notable exception.

Syria has five neighbours: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Israel (with the latter occupying the Golan Heights since 1967). According to recent figures, Turkey currently hosts 1.8 million Syrian refugees, Lebanon a further 1.17 million, Jordan around 630,000, and Iraq some 250,000.

Israel, however, with a GDP per capita almost double that of Turkey and five times as much as Jordan, has not accepted a single one. Read more

Obama’s ‘Crusaders’ analogy veils the West’s modern crimes

Like many children, 13-year-old Mohammed Tuaiman suffered from nightmares. In his dreams, he would see flying “death machines” that turned family and friends into burning charcoal. No one could stop them, and they struck any place, at any time.

Unlike most children, Mohammed’s nightmares killed him. Read more

Why is critic of Islam advising Britain’s military?

It has been revealed that a British Ministry of Defense advisor — who helped write the “religious engagement strategy” for troops occupying the Afghan province of Kandahar — believes Islam might “be the rod of God’s anger,” raising disturbing questions for the military and the UK government.

Patrick Sookhdeo, who teaches at the UK’s Defense Academy and has served in the role of “cultural advisor” to troops in Afghanistan and southern Iraq, is also a regular speaker at events held by churches and Christian organizations internationally. Read more

The 911 Forum – Commentary No.8

“Like a shot heard around the world, like the only piece of news
It choked any other thing that might have spoken true”
‘Josephine’, Paul Kamm and Eleanore MacDonald (Ruby Eyes Publishing)

The mantra is “September 11 changed everything”. But this was, and remains, a lie – unless of course your father or sister or lover died that day in the fires of lower Manhattan, in the Pentagon, or in a Pennsylvanian field. It was a lie, crafted by the speech-makers and deployed with gusto by our politicians and ‘opinion-formers’ in order to create a state of exception – a framework for new colonial expeditions and occupations, and a justification for torture and extraordinary renditions. Read more

A Heart Broken Open

A Heart Broken Open: Radical faith in an age of fear
Ray Gaston
Wild Goose, 204pp, ISBN 9781905010615

Many of the recent books about Islam – by Christians and non-Christians alike – are given titles confined by a rather narrow range of symbols and clichés (depending on the position of the author): ‘jihad’, ‘threat’, ‘terror’, ‘crescent’, ‘dialogue’, ‘understanding’. Ray Gaston’s title – ‘A Heart Broken Open’ – is an immediate clue that this is not your usual Christian unpacks (or attacks) Islam offering.

The book is divided into three parts, entitled ‘Solidarity’, ‘Truth’, and ‘Dialogue’. The first section relates Ray’s different experiences as a parish priest in Leeds, grappling with how to respond to the ‘war on terror’ and invasion of Iraq. The second section, ‘Truth’, has a much stronger emphasis on spirituality, with reflections on Ray’s exploration of Islam and how that in turn provided insight into his own Christian faith. Read more

Defending Christian Peacemakers

At the time of writing, the fate of the four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) kidnapped in Iraq by a previously unknown group ‘Swords of Truth Brigades’ is unknown. While we pray that they are released unharmed, it is also worth examining the events surrounding their capture and the international response, since they suggest a positive way of challenging those who perpetrate injustice in the name of religion.

The men held hostage, including the British man Norman Kember, plus two Canadians and an American, are a part of CPT actions around the world, where members pursue projects of peace and justice in conflict-stricken towns and neighbourhoods. The CPT presence in Iraq goes back to 2002, when they began their work of providing independent information, monitoring human rights abuses, and facilitating non-violent intervention training. Read more

Jerry and Sis Levin at UK’s Cambridge University

Internationally renowned advocates of non-violence Jerry and Sis Levin, spoke at Cambridge University’s Churchill College March 11 on “Peacemaking in Palestine and Iraq.” Their talk, organized by the college’s Phoenix Society, drew a large audience of students and fellows, and was the first of a string of engagements across the UK.

The Levins have a unique perspective on the conflict in Israel and Palestine. The couple moved to Beirut in 1983, when Jerry was appointed CNN Middle East bureau chief. A mere three months later, however—on Ash Wednesday 1984—Jerry was kidnapped by Hezbollah while driving to work. This ended Jerry’s career climbing the ladder of media success, and launched Sis’s peacemaking work, as she negotiated her husband’s release and battled against the hypocritical rhetoric of her own government. Read more

It’s not all about the oil

In the lead up to the war on Iraq, two slogans dominated both marches and anti-war rhetoric: ‘Not in our name!’ and ‘No blood for oil!’ The former attacked the undemocratic way the war was being forced on an unwilling population, and the latter proposed to expose the real nature of the sacrifice being demanded by our leaders. Oil remains the most popular reason why the US went to war amongst opponents, and even some supporters, of the campaign. Read more

An Interview with Milan Rai

By now the signs are familiar. A build up of rhetoric and demonisation of the ‘other’. Documents and dossiers on horrible threats. Newspapers fill their pages with battle plan graphics. War is looming.

At the same time as citizens in Baghdad wait for the bombs to start falling, and government spokesmen prepare to wrap their tongues around that poisonous phrase ‘collateral damage’, some in Britain are marching to a different beat. Read more

Bomber Blair

It is a fact that when a politician says something you must carefully analyze why it was said. The grander the statement the closer the scrutiny must be. This is because messianic visions and courageous vows are not usually followed by accompanying actions. Unfortunately, in the happy coincidence that deed matches rhetoric, it is often when implementing xenophobic immigration policies, proclaiming new infringements on civil liberties or trumpeting new crusades against the oppressed.

Tony Blair is, perhaps, more prone than most to discrepancies in promise and delivery. But his recent war mongering towards Iraq has the ring of sincerity and there is a sad inevitability about Blair’s involvement in Bush’s war. Read more