Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The assault on Iraqi Christians

Yesterday on The Takeaway (PRI), Celeste Headlee and John Hockenberry spoke with the Chaldean Federation of America's executive director Joseph Kassab and Andre Anton about the October 31st assault on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad which resulted in at least 58 deaths. Two of Andre Anton's cousins were killed in the assault, one of which was a priest (two priests were killed in the assault).

Andre Anton declares, "There's no plan [. . .] There's no real plan for the Christian Assyrians in Iraq. We're being slaughtered and we told the administration -- people I know who have personally worked on President Obama's campaign as a senator. There's no plan. There needs to be a plan." The first step? Letting go of the idea that Samantha Power's your friend. Or that Barack's going to do a damn thing because you asked nicely. Around the world, leaders have spoken out to condemn the assault. The only ones who haven't that spring to mind are Barack Obama and the Iranian president.

Celeste noted that Archbishop Athanasios Dawood called in England Sunday for Iraqi Christians to leave Iraq and for England and the United Nations to help with the departures and to provide asylum. She pointed out that there seemed to be a split in what was being said by some voices and Joseph Kassab insisted she was wrong but quickly revealed she was correct, "The reality is not a divide, actually we're converging together we are united we are stating exactly what you heard from Andre. our people there should be protected, there should be a plan to protect them. This is our land before the Arabs and the Muslims and therefore we should stay there." Therefore we should stay there?

I'm not in the mood for stupidity.

Iraqi Christians can decide to stay in Iraq or not and that is their right. But Kassab isn't Iraq. He's in America and he's not living there. Most importantly, he's a damn idiot. The problem is not the Iraqi Constitution as he maintains. That Constitution is not followed. Were it followed, 30 days into the ongoing stalemate, there were measures which should have been taken that were not taken. State Dept knows that, anyone who's studied the Constitution knows that.

To imply that a piece of paper which is rarely followed is the problem is ridiculous. The Constitution isn't killing anyone. It's not assaulting Iraq's religious minorities.

Nouri's turned a blind eye to the persecution -- as more and more world leaders were noting last week. I have no idea what's Kassab's problem is but he's not helping with his inability to grasp the situation. This is not a Constitutional matter. Appointing a few more Iraqi Christians to the 325 member Parliament won't change a thing either (which appears to be where he was headed before the segment ran out of time). It makes no difference.

If this is the best that Iraqi Christians have going for it in America, they just got screwed over again. A silly little boy who thinks Samantha Power's going to help him. A silly little boy who should have realized, two years now, Samantha Power hasn't done a damn thing on the issue. And a greedy little asshole who wants to yammer away about claims to the land, claims to the land, claims to the land.

Ethnic cleansing is going on. The most famous victim of ethnic cleansing remains Anne Frank. A constitution wasn't going to save her life. It's not save the Iraqi Christians. They have every right to decide to stay or to decide to go. But this idea that some idiot in America's going to scream that they have to stay -- which is what Kassab did -- because they have first claim and blah blah blah? They're not helping anyone. And if Kassab wants to make first claim? I'm sure he can afford a plane ticket over to Iraq because that's where his big, brave ass should go. Of course, it wouldn't be so big and brave over there.

Anyone who wants to help Iraqi Christians can do two things. You can pressure your own goverment to accept them as refugees and you can shine a light on the abuses that are going on over there. But it's not your call to say that they have to leave or that they have to stay. That's their call.

And calls to change the Constitution? There's nothing in the Constitution that exempts the attackers of Christians from being punished by the law. There is, right at the start, the declaration that Iraq will be an Islamic state. Now why does it feel like when some of the 'helpers' start talking about changes, that's what they really mean? (If so, the ship sailed on that long ago. The US government refused to heed the calls of Iraqi feminists and human rights activists and allowed that into the Constitution -- swearing they mitigated it with their clause about "democracy," which they did not.)

Cecil Angel (Detroit Free Press) reports on yesterday's rally in support of Iraqi Christians which took place in downtown Detroit:

At a news conference at the St. Toma Syriac Catholic Church in Farmington Hills before the rally, U.S. Rep. Gary Peters called the church killings "despicable" actions. The Bloomfield Township Democrat said the U.S. government has to develop a comprehensive policy that will protect Christians in Iraq.
"We have to step up and step up and be firm," he said.
Peters said it's especially important to do something now that U.S. forces in Iraq are being drawn down.
"We have to be sure those religious minorities that live in Iraq have the protection they need," he said.
Representatives from U.S. Sen. Carl Levin's office and U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, a Harrison Township Republican, read letters at the news conference expressing support for action that will ensure the safety of Iraq's Christians. Miller called for the U.S. to help the Iraqi government better train its security forces to prevent future tragedies.

David LewAllen (WXYZ) offers a video report of the Detroit rally. Heather Myers (San Diego 6) reports the San Diego rally numbered "at least 60 people." Robert Lee offers a video report on the Chicago rally.

The following community sites -- plus IVAW, L Studio, Tavis Smiley, Antiwar.com and Jane Fonda -- updated last night and this morning:

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "U.S. Eavesdropping On Whole World Through 'Echelon' Spy Intercepts" (OpEdNews):

The United States with four of its allies are operating "a network of massive, highly automated interception stations" codenamed ECHELON that is eavesdropping on the entire world, a distinguished Washington journalist reports.
"Like a mammoth vacuum cleaner in the sky, the National Security Agency(NSA) sucks it all up: home phone, office phone, cellular phone, email, fax, telex...satellite transmissions, fiber-optic communications traffic, microwave links, voice, text images (that are) captured by satellites continuously orbiting the earth and then processed by high-powered computers," writes William Blum in his book "Rogue State"( Common Courage Press).
Calling it "the greatest invasion of privacy" ever, Blum says the ceaseless, illegal spy system sucks up perhaps billions of messages daily, including those of prime ministers, the Secretary-General of the UN, the pope, embassies, Amnesty International, Christian Aid, and transnational corporations and that "if God has a phone, it's being monitored." As for messages sent via underwater cable, U.S. submarines have been attaching tapping pods to them for decades.
Launched in the 1970s to spy on Soviet satellite communications, the NSA and its junior partners in Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand operate this network of massive, highly automated interception stations covering the globe. "In multiple ways, each of the countries involved is breaking its own laws, those of other countries, and international law," Blum writes, noting that "the absence of court-issued warrants permitting surveillance of specific individuals is but one example."

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends