Saturday, November 20, 2010

Iraq's targeted communities

Iraq's targeted communities can be boiled down to anyone not supporting the thug exiles the US government re-installed after the invasion. The cowards who plotted in absentia for decades and decades from the safety of other countries, involving the entire world in their petty little melodramas of he-wronged-me-how. Thugs who support violence when they've got American military standing in support of them, but when on their own, turned tail and ran right out of the country. They spent decades plotting and scheming ways to involve the entire world in their own little war. They had Tony Blair's ear, they had George W. Bush's ear. And when the Iraq War started, these 'brave hearts' finally made it back into Iraq -- a number of them less than 24 hours before the 'fall' of Saddam Hussein's statue so they could take part in the 'crowd' for that photo op.

Most thugs -- though not all -- have a shared trait: cowardice. They don't and won't stand up if they're at risk. But with the US military as their own personal bodyguards, the thugs finally found their 'courage.' And that 'bravery' has allowed them to personally target and to oversee the targeting of various groups in Iraq. Revenge is their motive for targeting the Sunni population. Hatred and ignorance is their 'excuse' when they attack women, Iraq's LGBT community and, yes, Iraq's religious minorities.

Iraqi Christians are one of the minority groups who have long been targeted since the start of the Iraq War. The latest wave of attacks started October 31st with the siege of Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation Church and the death of at least 70 people with over seventy more injured. Sam Eyoboka (Vanguard) reports, "Peeved by the continued massacre of Christians in Iraq, the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has appealed to the United Nations, UN, to intervene and save the lives of the Christian hostages in interest of world peace. Speaking in an interview, the National President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor also appealed to the Muslim fundamen-talists in that country to take advantage of the Muslim feast of Eid el Kabir to ensure that lasting peace reigns in that region." From Nigeria to Rome, Asia News notes, "Card Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI), said that the Italian Catholic Church was close to all 'those who are victims of violence'. He made the statement as he promoted a Day of Solidarity with Iraqi Christians, who are persecuted in their own country. The event includes prayers in all Italian parishes this Sunday." Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco is quoted stating, "Inviting everyone to pray for the persecuted Christians of Iraq in all the churches of our country on the occasion of the Solemnity of Christ the King is a concrete way to express our faith and show our closeness to all those who are victims of violence, like the people affected by the 31 October carnage in Baghdad's Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral."

A number of e-mails came in this week on one topic. PV Vivekanand (Gulf Today) covers that topic:

Is creating a new Christian-dominated province in northern Iraq a solution to the plight of Christians in the country? Well, that is the question being raised after Iraqi Christians proposed the idea and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani expressed support for the call, which came after a bloodbath in a Syrian-Catholic church in Baghdad in October.
Representatives of Assyrian, Chaldean and Aramaean Christians in Iraq are proposing the creation of an autonomously administered region for their people in the Ninewa province in the northern part of the country. “In the Ninewa plains, Christians, Shabak, Yazidi and Muslim Kurds make up the majority of the population. Thus the Assyrian/Chaldean/Aramaean demand is completely justified,” says the president of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), Tilman Zülch.

Vivekanand words that carefully. Others haven't. Jalal Talabani is not calling for it, he is not leading on the part of it. His 'support' is worthless. If you doubt that, you missed Leila Fadel's article for the Washington Post this week where she detailed that, though Talabani's swearing he won't sign on for an execution, he never has and yet executions have continued in Iraq. In other words, he loves to grandstand but he doesn't do a damn thing about it. Jalal's latest weak statements have somehow been taken up around the world painting him as 'fair' and 'heroic' and -- as usual with Jalal -- he hasn't done a thing to warrant the praise.

Equally true with this 'proposal' is the fact that it has been a dead-ender. It has repeatedly been suggested. Most recently in the fall of 2008, during another heavy wave of persecution. Kirkuk is disputed territory and it's true that's at least partly due to it being an oil-rich region. But Iraq's borders are not growing. Any effort to 'give' land to one group will lead to objections from other groups. This notion of a Christian land (the new Israel?) has been floated throughout the Iraq War. It has never taken off. It most likely never will. It's a distration and that's why we ignored it. It's not reality. Christians are a minority in Iraq. They have neither the power nor the influence to get their own land.

Should the impossible happen, it would breed anger, distrust and violence because others would have to be displaced in order for 'new' land to be 'created.'

That's going to happen with Kirkuk. But the 2005 Constitution guaranteed that would be the case. Kirkuk has to be resolved and it's going to be a case of competing claims of being wronged and injured. However it is resolved -- and it needs to be resolved by Iraq or by the UN because the US does not need to be a party to it, there will be injured parties and the conflict over that region that has gone on for some time will continue.

Those thinking that new land will be discovered in Iraq or that new land can be magically stitched together by Flora, Fauna and Merryweather are kidding themselves.

Also kidding themselves? Editors at the New York Times for allowing this sentence in "Honor Killing in Iraqi Kurdistan:"

But the couple should never have married without permission.

Had that been a quote of someone being interviewed for the article, no problem. But it's not a quote. It is the third paragraph of the article -- in full -- presented as fact. It's a judgment, it's an ethical judgment (posing as a moral one) and it doesn't belong in a report.

'Honor' killing? Not something we defend or justify in the so-called civilized world. We also don't push the belief that someone killed 'asked for it' but that's exactly what that opinion masquerading as fact in the report does.

The following community sites -- plus, Liberal Oasis and Washington Week -- updated last night:

We'll close with this from Sherwood Ross' "Cervical Cancer can be Prevented Yet 13,000 women in the US get it" (Global Research):

While one of the singular achievements of American medicine in recent years has been to reduce the largely preventable incidence of cervical cancer, 13,000 women nevertheless will come down with it this year mainly because they have not had a Pap smear to detect it. As the disease ordinarily takes about 10 years to progress, “cervix cancer happens to be a cancer that you can use screening techniques to try to pick up early” and treat, says Dr. Ursula Matulonis, of Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Globally, about 40 percent of the 500,000 women stricken with the disease will die for lack of a proper medical treatment, she says. That's because women in some countries do not routinely get Pap smears and when the transmitting agent, human papillomavirus(HPV), infects the cervix it does not get treated because of society's inadequate medical infrastructure. When the disease is undetected and allowed to grow, the victims will suffer pain and bleeding as the cancer spreads. It is caused by one of the 75 types of HPV, a ubiquitous virus that is present in both men and women and which causes 95 percent of the cancers.

Compared to other forms of cancer, the cervical form is still a relatively rare tumor, Dr. Matulonis says. Ovarian cancer afflicts 25,000 American women annually; breast cancer, 180,000 women; and lung cancer about 200,000 women. Since the cervical form can be detected early and treated successfully, the number of women who have Stage IV cervical cancer “should be zero,” she says. Even though the death rate from cervical cancer has been declining by 4 percent a year, the grim news is that, according to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition of West Hills, Calif., more than 4,000 American women die of the disease annually. Many of them are of the 11 percent of U.S. women who do not have Pap screenings.

The Pap test is used by gynecologists to detect any premalignant or malignant cells gathered from the outer opening of the cervix and examined for abnormalities. In general, observes Wikipedia, the test is recommended for women aged 25 to 65 who have had sex. “Most women contract HPV soon after becoming sexually active. It takes an average of a year, but can take up to four years, for a woman's immune system to control the initial infection. Screening during this period may show this immune reaction and repair as mild abnormalities, which are usually not associated with cervical cancer, but could cause the woman stress and result in further tests and possible treatment,” Wikipedia says.

It's important for folks to know that you do not have to have intercourse to spread the virus, but that the virus could be spread just by skin-to-skin contact,” Dr. Matulonis warns, explaining that the virus “probably gets into the cervix cells just by small breaks in the skin.” Dr. Matulonis made her comments in an interview with law Professor Diane Sullivan for the Comcast SportsNet broadcast “Educational Forum,” produced by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. “Worldwide, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in adults,” Wikipedia reports, noting that more than 80 percent of American women will have contracted at least one strain of HPV by age fifty.

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oh boy it never ends