Monday, August 01, 2011

Monday Post

For the beginning of August.

Some people fast because they have to; some people fast because fanatics have not only withheld aid from them but have denied it was ever needed (it's not just in North Korea):

As the Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins,

(Sidebar: ingratiating much?)

Faduma Aden is fasting all day even though she doesn't have enough food to celebrate with a sundown feast. The Somali mother of three, who fled starvation in her homeland, says she fasts because she fears God.

Muslims around the world mark sundown during Ramadan with extravagant dinners after not eating from sunrise to sundown. That kind of nighttime celebration is unthinkable this year for most Somalis, who are enduring the worst famine in a generation.

And even though Islam allows the ailing to eat, for many Somalis it's a matter of faith to participate in Ramadan's fast.

"It hard for me to fast, but I did fast for fear of God," said Aden, who is among tens of thousands who have made the arduous journey, often on foot, to this refugee camp in neighbouring Kenya.

Others, like Mohamed Mohamud Abdulle, are ashamed they don't have food "to console the soul" at sundown after fasting all day.

"How will I fast when I don't have something to break it?" asked Abdulle. "All my family are hungry and I have nothing to feed them. I feel the hunger that forced me from my home has doubled here."

For much of the Muslim world, Ramadan this year falls at a time of political upheaval. Food prices typically spike during the Muslim religious month, and the elaborate dinners many in the Middle East put on to break the daily fast drive a deep hole in household budgets.

Fleeing Somalis say they have already been forced by famine to fast for weeks or months, without the end-of-day meal to regain their strength.

Famine and hardship in failed Islamic states? Why am I not surprised?

By the way, the ailing do have to fast but later on. Oops.

Remember, it's not a religion of compulsion. Some people claim to be on the ground floor of this one.

What is China going to do with Pakistan?

China on Monday blamed Muslim extremists trained in Pakistan for launching one of two deadly weekend attacks in a troubled far western region, while overseas activists feared the government could respond by cracking down on ethnic Uighurs widely blamed for the unrest.

Sit back and watch the grudge match.

The big news coming out of the US is that the House of Representatives has just passed a debt ceiling bill that supposedly wards off complete financial ruin:

The bill raises the borrowing limit into 2013, calls for spending cuts spread over 10 years and creates a congressional committee to recommend a deficit-reduction package by late November. It contains no immediate tax increases.

I wonder if the Americans will ever get tired of paying rent to China.

The Norwegians, already weary of being shot at, want stiffer measures against mass murderers while the Norwegian PM begs them to reconsider being assertive about their own self-defense:

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg urged parliament on Monday to preserve the democratic values of Norway as public pressure grew for stiffer sentences for serious crimes after an anti-immigration zealot’s bloody rampage.

In a poll of nearly 1,300 people taken six days after the attacks that left Norwegians devastated, 65.5% said penalties were “too low” and 23.8% were happy with them, the Verdens Gang paper reported. More than half said their view had hardened since the mayhem that claimed 77 lives.

And now for something completely different....

Six captains, one franchise.

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