The Holocaust may be unique in this overlooked way: it was an event so damning of the character of our species that it has been and may remain visited universally over time. The experience of it has given over to the memory of it. Each soul that visits The Holocaust, and there are many ways now, will experience and respond to it differently.
Compiled by the Polish American Librarians Association, a new list of recommended reading emphasizes books that effectively examine inflammatory questions that may never be fully answered or understood but continue to be asked: Did Poles collaborate with the Germans? Why did Poland have the largest Jewish population of any country in Europe? Why did the West disbelieve information about the death camps that was gathered by the Resistance? Why didn’t more Jews resist? Why was Poland the only country in which the death penalty was imposed for Christians harboring Jews? Why was the response of the Catholic Church so meek? Why, by far, are there more Polish names on the roll at Yad Vashem of Righteous Gentiles who saved Jews than any other nationality?
The burning of Notre Dame is beyond sad, profoundly sad, cosmically sad, and sad beyond belief.
Pile on the adjectives — there is nothing that will come close.
What history have you seen?
Think of the history it has seen (start year: 1160 A.D.)
One may hope that grief shared worldwide.
Did you work at Notre Dame or in any of the businesses serving its limitless parade of tourists?
One may hope the governments of Paris and France, first, then God, and then everyone else considers your well being especially this night. Tomorrow will not be just another day.
Tomorrow: expect to read about economic and environmental impacts, the destruction (and possibly saving) of priceless art, and the modern memory of an architectural space that has been ever consoling, reassuring, always there, defining “normal” by day, and beautiful, so I have heard, at night.
North American Continental Appetite for Narcotics –> Cash –> Central / South America –> Cartel –> Gangs –> Related Violence –> Corruption of Authorities –> General Insecurity –> Displacement of Population | Northern Mass Migration
If you’re on the Soviet / post-Soviet flavored Left / Far Left Progressive Movement, the same that might obtain its image of the world from, say, 927+ or Mint Press, at least consider reading Christopher Dickey’s report on the Cuba-Venezuelan connection and the InSight Crime series on narcotics trafficking and the accumulation of wealth by nominally “communist” and “socialist” so-called “leaders” in captive Central and South American states.
In familiar Orwellian fashion, the New Old Now Old Far Out and Lost Left simply ignores the sustained Soviet / post-Soviet investment in the underworld and what it does to societies everywhere it travels.
According to Karen Dawisha, recently deceased, the Soviet as administered by the Party Nomenklatura had in place in the mid-1980s a contingency plan for its own dissolution (just in case) — source: Putin’s Kleptocracy — so when the state dissolved (Dec. 25, 1991), the assets it had controlled were released to the “privileged of the The Party”. While the state transitioned into its federated form, the state was essentially lawless and without power to impose order on the chaos that ensued. (Aside: the power of the sovereign to police Russia has been always weak in terms of recognized police assets x area x population — the space has been historically underserved in that regard). The “Vory” coming out of the Gulag would present an especially egregious challenge to the new state and, so BackChannels believes, would be incorporated into the “mafia state“, effectively centralizing organized crime in the shadows beneath Vladimir Putin’s full sweep of power.
Now take in Craig Unger’s observations and blend with Russia’s Soviet / post-Soviet obligations and relationships involving all but support for Communism, which ideology was effectively neutralized by the official disempowerment of “The Party” at the end of the Cold War: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria | PLFP, PLO, Hezbollah, et al. | other former Communist Party alignments and former Loyalist (White Russian) extensions from the Imperial Period.
Russia’s mafia state, narcoterrorism, integration with big “transnational crime organizations (TCOs)” . . . — Oh! Add a few other states with their active criminal and terrorist funding portions and then imagine the money sloshing about in the pockets of the middlemen — the facilitators, the smugglers — who can’t spend all that dirty loot without cleaning it up some.
NOW, good civic minded citizen (who knows not to ask too many questions), imagine receiving it clean.
What would you do with it?
What if it stopped arriving?
In recent years and now weeks, money laundering scandals have surfaced in various ways: “Panama Papers”; HSBC; Danske Bank; Norde Bank.
The gum shoes and journos do their investigative things; we get the information and the infotainment; and we cluck: “How awful!
Wait a minute — that cash, indecipherable from other cash — is in someone’s economy serving as capital or reserves or as loose dough attractive to business, charity, labor . . . everyone for everything.
Is there a price? A benefit?
One generation does the crime — and behold: Las Vegas.
And the next: good educations; good businesses; good jobs; decent enough rule of law.
Delivered every which way: America’s Addicted: 2.5 million souls.
In the pipeline and driven by corporeal and financial insecurity associated with corruption, crime, and related impoverishment and violence: Central and South American mass migration.
NATO stepped up its game in Russia’s “Near Abroad” in response to the post-Soviet (and cynical) near destruction and depopulating of Syria; Russia’s invasion and annexation of the Crimea (and installation of another Moscow-sustained “Frozen Conflict”), and the dictatorship’s continued support for terrorism (for Afghanistan’s Taliban challengers to state authority; for Hezbollah, the global transnational crime operation); and for its “Active Measures” meddling in EU/NATO territory.
Generally speaking, The Bear has been a bullying, cowardly, and disingenuous force on the world’s stage, persistently authoritarian, underhanded, and totalitarian, and NATO has made itself popular to states wishing to be not so broadly . . . played.
Welcome to Cyprus
Fifteen years ago, NATO welcomed seven new members into the Alliance, expanding its borders eastward from the Baltic to Black Seas. As NATO reaches its seventieth birthday, it could now be time to look toward adding a new member: this time in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The end of the Cold War (Dec. 25, 1991) failed to sustain western-leaning government in Moscow. Yes, the Cold War was over; the habits of Russian paternal authoritarianism were not. With the ascent of Vladimir Putin to power, Moscow continued to act as a beacon of hope to dictatorships intent on remaining unfettered in their brutality, corruption, and criminality in relation to the ginning of their wealth.
NATO has stood fast against Putin’s rush to sink the world in a renewed feudal morass informed by vanity and absent of conscience, such being the nature of his own malignant narcissism.
Cyprus, of course, lists among the world’s frozen conflicts.
In Damon Wilson’s analysis for the Atlantic Council, the time seems ripe for unification: “Cyprus remains the only European Union member who is not even a member of the Alliance’s Partnership for Peace program, due entirely to the outstanding reunification problem. Immediate NATO membership for a reunified island, however, would automatically embed, and therefore replace, a joint Greek-Turkish-British security guarantee within an Alliance commitment to the entire island without any need for alternative mechanisms.”
Yes, but . . . .
Feudal Absolutism v Modern Democracy: Turkey’s Islamist Leader
Our minarets are our bayonets
Our domes are our helmets
Our mosques are our barracks
We will put a final end to ethnic segregation. No one can ever intimidate us.
If the skies and the ground were to open against us
If floods and volcanoes were to burst
We will not turn from our mission.
My reference is Islam.
If I am not able to speak of this
What is the use of living?
Cyprus would be more easily unified if the Turkish President were an authentic NATO leader. However, in BackChannel’s humble opinion, by apologizing for the downing of two Russian jets overflying Turkish airspace, Erdogan made himself part of Putin’s new feudal estate — the estate of post-Soviet dictatorships responding to Moscow.
Not so noble that New Nobility.
While pressure has been applied — okay, infant terrible, Russian S-400 Surface-to-Air missile defense or American F-35s — from whose jets do you intend defense of, say, your Islamic principles. . . or of Turkish Stream? — results, so far, appear indefinite.
Ah well, every family has a conflicted, selfish, and troubled member.
Perhaps the baggage is only getting in the way of the journey, for the Turkish government speaks in glowing terms of the state’s relationship with NATO: “Ever since our NATO membership in 1952, the North Atlantic Alliance has played a central role in Turkey’s security and contributed to its integration with the Euro-Atlantic community. Turkey, in return, has successfully assumed its responsibilities in defending the common values of the Alliance.”
There would seem to be some discrepancy between Turkish idealpolitik and its president’s realpolitik.
Another Neo-NATO President: Hungary’s Viktor Orban
Written into existence by James Kirchik:
Most of the international criticism directed at Hungary over the past nine years has focused on domestic indicators such as the rule of law, separation of powers and press freedom. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been remarkably blunt about his designs for Hungary, citing China, Russia and Turkey as models. After an election in April widely deemed free but not fair, he sounded a triumphal note, declaring that “the era of liberal democracy is over.”
The indicators of reversion to the feudal mode and its medieval blood-and-soil worldviews, including the idolatry associated with the “Great Leader” may be the same across afflicted states: the boast of a gloriously romantic history; contempt for and manipulation of the press, previously free and independent; renewal of anti-Semitic tropes accompanied by tolerance for Far White Right extremism (in Hungary, that would be Jobbik); transfer of powers to family and with it the growth of associated business alliances (open nepotism and cronyism); xenophobia; fear of George Soros 🙂 : the democratic state succumbs to the will of the President (for Life!) who then treats the assets of the same as if they were of his very own feudal estate — and so they become exactly that.
In every way, Orban’s illiberal Hungary — or the illiberal Orban’s captive state — fits with the renewal of — or renewed drowning in — feudalism in more than one or two NATO states..
Russia may not have need for plowing tanks into EU/NATO targets where “Active Measures” and the leveraging and seduction of deeply narcissistic state leaders may suffice for the perversion of NATO values — those supporting the democratic and liberal humanism that have been the hard fought and won treasures of western civilization — in targeted space. No sane child of the post-WWII west would think continuous conflict, political absolutism, and the wars of all against all the natural fate of western states, but that’s what has drawn near.
While NATO may be militarily on its game and strong, the system has shown its weakness in the egotism — the malignant narcissism — of several of its leaders (add another but lesser figure in Jeremy Corbyn, a perhaps unwitting son of Soviet Era cant and today’s piper of Far Out Left — and anti-Semitic — attitudes and beliefs — and then note his xenophobic complements occupying the British Far White Right).
May God smile on them all 😉 — but it is NATO that defends them, and if the same or similar come into power, then what would it be that NATO found itself actually defending?
From the deposing of old generals to the defeat of a pro-democracy coup, Erdogan’s story has unfolded and been met by the west even more slowly — but at least, finally, met.
What of others?
Nonetheless: Happy Birthday, NATO. May you and the full suite of pro-democracy institutions and moral entrepreneurs worldwide advocate for and defend authentic democracies, related responsive and responsible governance, and forever human dignity and freedom and the many good dream and rights given to mankind.
Perhaps it’s time that grinds away at religious cohorts and their unity in thought, both dividing communities while also distilling and isolating what will come to consider itself the authentic, core, real, traditional, true community in spirit and behavior.
Here time might beg old questions, lawful, spiritual, practical: who is a Jew?
Who among Jews would the righteous pure evict?
What proportion — as Jews are a small community by numbers, how many Jews would the traditional, the Orthodox, consider . . . Jewish?
The secular principle may encourage religion at each his own expense: we are free to sustain belief and practices as we see fit privately and on our own dime. That’s not going to work in any neo-theocratic or theocratic environment in which the majority-something (all states have a “majority-something” – or a powerful minority) needs must defend a religiously codified image of organizing ethical and moral principles.
Are “true believers” (everywhere) medieval and reformers modern?
Are the believers (everywhere) the good and the reformers irreversibly decadent?
In the end and whatever the ramifications, all of our decisions — taking place in each separated mind — are private and privately reasoned and motivated — and time x God, Nature, and the Universe + Social Surrounds have their influence.
Nature over long time encourages diversity / experimentation; we humans, especially with philosophy and religion, have made a competition out of differentiation (and “experimentation”, God only knows).
Earth’s Living Language Inventory: fewer than 7,000. N Religions Extant: 4,200 estimated.
Our geopolitical boundaries, which may be as small as a community around a single church, mosque, or temple, really do help us be what we consider ourselves as community tradition, experience, God, intuition, learning, practical survival, and reason have made us. In the realm of embraced and enthused believe, the social set may be as small as a band (truly, music), a band (tribal warrior subset), or cult or as large, of course, as a transnational ethnic, political, or religious enterprise.
Inspiration for the post: a defense of traditional male-privileged access to Israel’s holy Western and the intrusion — and degradation of tradition — symbolized by the modern feminist Women of the Wall who intend as Jewish women to do everything that Jewish men have done traditionally by way of the express permit of God, so believed or others given for themselves to do. The patriarchal culture than has it’s “little lady” insult built into it, so from the modern perspective looking backward through time, the closest encounter with God through prayer must be for men (who are clean: free of menstruation) — and, “little lady, don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.”
As evolutionary as the cultivation and transforming of conscience, empathy, and language may be, tribal identities worldwide and their ways have persistence through time even though time — like water — has always its carving, eroding, shaping work busy at changing the face of humanity.
The conversation progressed in the direction of the real-social-politik involved in sustaining Israel’s Jewish-majority state in atmosphere and character. Although not all Jews are perfect (or pure) anywhere — all humanity is imperfect) all in Israel understand the mission of the state as the proverbial “light unto nations”, which it has been, and as THE Jewish Homeland. Herewith a little more comment on the Western Wall; ancient tribal, medieval, and modern cultures; and the latest brought up by the impertinent behavior of the Women of the Wall movement.
Social influence and pressure move in both directions, but each place has its near starting points — the day we’re born (and surrounded in the cradle of family and community) and they day we become aware (psychologically autonomous and decision making).
I’ve give higher value to political equilibrium x place then to absolute (black-or-white) thinking and zealotry that becomes labeled “extreme” even though the “extreme” might be a right extreme. The reason is that the strong humanist umbrella would defend the faith of the faithful in place. Israel’s existence as ancient, medieval, and modern — and “hypermodern” as a progressive democratic open society — creates what is essentially a modern challenge
? |Men Only —————————– | Women’s section | –> |Men Only —- | All Allowed ——————————– | ?
I am going to demur, I hope wisely, from launching arrows for either the sustained ancient world brought forward through identity, belief, and tradition or this new modern portal to a next civilization — that’s what the future leads toward always — that finds its common base as one against harm and threat in the defense of greater equality, inclusion, and respect across a broad cloud of humanity.
The Western Wall is public and the woman want to do as men do as equals with respect, but the same may indeed degrade and diminish the ancient systems that have both informed and sustained Hebrew existence.
Do the women (of the Wall) in their zeal think about that endowment?
Many of them have fled from town to town to town under bombing. They have seen the most terrible things in war. And yet they are true believers. It’s going to take a lot to get them to change their minds.
US-supported forces besieging Islamic State holdouts in the Syrian village of Baghouz cannot cope with the more than 43,000 men, women and children who fled the battlefield and are currently being held in an internment camp and prisons in the north. Among those who fled are 500 foreign jihadi wives and children. The women, who are held in a separate compound from other escapees, say their husbands are fighting, are fugitives, are dead or are in prison.
The Pentagon rerouted millions of dollars’ worth of weapons and vehicles from Iraq to Syria in the second half of 2018, Al-Monitor has learned, as US-backed forces cornered the last remnants of the Islamic State (IS). In a series of notifications to Congress reviewed by Al-Monitor, the Defense Department said it had determined that a bevy of supplies purchased by the Pentagon for the Iraqi military would instead go to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Pentagon sent lawmakers its last reprogramming notification for 2018 on Dec. 31, 12 days after President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.
While much of the U.S. presence in Syria has been diminished, the transfer of war equipment and materiel to SDF forces tells Damascus (Moscow and Tehran) that nothing’s over as regards their intents to sustain medieval absolutism (and its characteristic sadism, power in that mode being the power to inflict suffering on others with impunity).
While some idiots view east-west conflict in the region as being all about oil, the cynicism conveniently overlooks the more compelling of ethical and moral arguments for the defense of some goodness still in the world.
BEIRUT — As Syria’s government consolidates control after years of civil war, President Bashar al-Assad’s army is doubling down on executions of political prisoners, with military judges accelerating the pace they issue death sentences, according to survivors of the country’s most notorious prison. In interviews, more than two dozen Syrians recently released from the Sednaya military prison in Damascus described a government campaign to clear the decks of political detainees. The former inmates said prisoners are being transferred from jails across Syria to join death-row detainees in Sednaya’s basement and then be executed in pre-dawn hangings.
God must be in the mind and a malign narcissism in the heart that produces so painful a mission as that of doing God’s will on earth by striking terror into the souls of others. Add: beheading, burning, enslavement, mass murder, rape, and torture.
God has helped the Islamic State jihadists in Baghouz lose everything but their madness.