Blimp deflator: Letting out the gas

New Zealand joins US in condemning violence in Syria

Posted in new zealand, syria, united states by Blimp deflator on February 29, 2012

NZ joins US in condemning Syria violence
Uncle Sam claims the moral high ground — and fails to notice the pile of corpses under his feet. (Do these people have no sense of irony?) Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of February 8, 2012.

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Don’t expect justice from God, says Bill Millward

Posted in islam, religion by Blimp deflator on February 25, 2012

Don't expect justice from God, says Bill Millward
The World Council of Churches is the bete noire of Christian Zionists, for reasons that become clear in the second paragraph of this letter to the editor of Challenge Weekly, New Zealand’s Christian newspaper (August 29, 2011, edition). But it is the last paragraph, which states that “the Almighty may not be too concerned about . . . social justice”, that is most interesting.

Most religious people, and Muslims in particular, see justice, which has been defined as “the application of fairness to moral situations”, as one of the attributes of God. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of a universal God, as opposed to a primitive tribal deity, who would be unjust — and favor one party not on the basis its rightness or claim to fair treatment, but on its racial, religious or other status.

Israel now ‘the only true monotheistic country in the Mideast’

Posted in israel, palestine by Blimp deflator on February 24, 2012

Unique night with Israeli ambassador

So as well as being the “only true democratic country in the Middle East”, Israel is also the “only true monotheistic country in the Middle East”.

The first claim has been made a thousand times, and may remain partly true if the West prevents democracy from emerging in Egypt and other states swept by the “Arab Spring”. I say “partly true” because Israel is a democracy for Jews — just as apartheid South Africa was a democracy for whites. If you’re an Arab citizen of Israel, you’re a second-class citizen with limited rights that are constantly being eroded; if you’re an Arab resident of the Occupied Territories, which include East Jerusalem, you have almost no rights. Those in both categories are candidates for ethnic cleansing, which will probably be pursued under the cover of a future regional crisis. And as the Arabs are dispossessed and driven out — as the criminal project of 1948 is completed — the Christian Zionists will cheer from the sidelines. For them, the Arabs can simply “get lost”, even if they happen to be Arab Christians — the wrong kind of Christians.

The second claim — that Israel is the “only true monotheistic country in the Middle East” — is interesting, however, in view of Islam’s uncompromising monotheism, and in view of the sacralization of Israel by its supporters. It goes without saying that one cannot worship both the Almighty and the Zionist Security State, and claim to remain a monotheist.

To move on: How nice it is to hear, once again, from Mr Tzur that “peace [is] on the lips of all Israelis and in their hearts” as they seek “mutual acceptance” in the Middle East — something that, as a matter of fact, they could have had a long time ago if they had not been greedy and wanted the whole of historic Palestine, and if they had not sought unchallenged domination of the entire region. No doubt the useful idiots who attended this “unique night”, at Bethlehem College in Tauranga, lapped up every word that Mr Tzur had to say.

The article is from Challenge Weekly of June 27, 2011.

Should Christians burn the Qur’an? asks college lecturer

Posted in history, islam by Blimp deflator on February 23, 2012

Since my retirement on March 31, 2011, I have fallen behind in my reading of Challenge Weekly, New Zealand’s Christian newspaper, which the publisher sends to my former office at the Manawatu Standard in Palmerston North. But here are two interesting columns by Mark Keown, lecturer in New Testament at Laidlaw College, published on April 11, 2011, and May 16, 2011, respectively.

The first article is unremarkable until we reach the last paragraph, where we read: “The Qu’ran [sic] is not to be burnt by believers [Christians], despite what it leads a small minority of extremist Muslims to do” [emphasis added].

Needless to say, the claim that the Qur’an — not the American/Israeli invasion and occupation of Muslim lands, and the massacre of millions of Muslims* — prompts some Muslims to commit terrorist acts is another example of Christian/Western propaganda. Since we in the West are the “good guys”, and since everything we do in the Muslim world springs from the noblest of motives, we can’t possibly be at fault. So if a Muslim sets off a bomb somewhere, he must be acting in accordance with “instructions” in his holy book.

To me, this raises a fascinating question: As the Qur’an has been around for a rather long time, and was certainly around when I was a boy in the 1950s, why was there little or no “Islamic terrorism” before the 1980s?

There was terrorism, especially in connection with the Algerian struggle for independence, but it was never, as far as I recall, identified as “Islamic”. Indeed, that was the period of pan-Arab nationalism, when the organizations and movements of the day, with the possible exception of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, were keen to keep (potentially divisive) religion on the sidelines.

As late as the 1970s, any list of leading terrorist organizations comprised such names as the Red Army Faction (the Baader-Meinhof Gang), the United Red Army of Japan, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the IRA, the Black Panthers, the Tupamaros, ETA, al-Fatah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. All were either secular or Marxist-Leninist.

What were committed Muslims doing in those days? Weren’t they reading the Qur’an — and those ayahs that allegedly encourage them to commit acts of terrorism?

Should Christians burn the Qur'an?

The second column (below) reveals an uncritical acceptance of the “official line” that is typical of superficial Western commentators. “Surely, if anyone’s death is justified, this man’s [Osama’s] is,” Keown writes. “After all, he masterminded Sept 11…”

But hang on a minute! Where is the evidence that Osama masterminded the attack on the World Trade Center? (See “FBI says it has ‘No hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11′” at Information Clearing House.)

One also looks in vain for explicit recognition of two key facts: that an extra-judicial execution is murder, and that torture is illegal in all circumstances under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which the United States signed. Instead, we find wishy-washy statements and questions, like “I feel sad” and “Is this [torture] ever right?”

Oh for a little Islamic rigor here!

The death of Osama

* Keown acknowledges, in the second article, that millions have died “across Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan” as a result of the so-called war on terrorism, but apparently does not see those deaths as a possible cause of Muslim outrage and further acts of terrorism.

  • See also Hijackers were into drugs and sleazy sex, says professor.

  • Little Bo Peep in the Falklands

    Posted in britain, new zealand by Blimp deflator on February 14, 2012

    Little Bo Peep in the Falklands
    Tom Scott’s cartoon in the February 14, 2012, edition of The Dominion Post. Alas, the former editor of the Falklands’ Penguin News, Tony Curran, is no longer there to bask in the reflected glory. See Tony Curran: Wannabe journalist.