Sunday, April 09, 2017

Palm Sunday

And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way.
And they that went before and they that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh: Hosanna in the highest.

Forty-four Christians were killed while ushering in the beginning of Holy Week:

Suicide bombers struck hours apart at two Coptic churches in northern Egypt, killing 44 people and turning Palm Sunday services into scenes of horror and outrage at the government that led the president to call for a three-month state of emergency.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the violence, adding to fears that extremists are shifting their focus to civilians, especially Egypt's Christian minority.

The attacks in the northern cities of Tanta and Alexandria that also left 126 people wounded came at the start of Holy Week leading up to Easter, and just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit.

Pope Tawadros II, the leader of the Coptic church who will meet with Francis on April 28-29, was in the Alexandra cathedral at the time of the bombing but was unhurt, the Interior Ministry said.
It was the single deadliest day for Christians in decades and the worst since a bombing at a Cairo church in December killed 30 people.


Hundreds of Christians flocked to the Iraqi town of Qaraqosh on Sunday to celebrate Palm Sunday for the first time in three years, packing into a church torched by Islamic State to take communion at its ruined altar.

In October, Iraqi forces expelled the Sunni Muslim militants from Qaraqosh as part of a campaign to retake nearby Mosul, the country's second-largest city seized by the group in June 2014.

Iraq's biggest Christian settlement until the militants arrived, Qaraqosh has been a ghost town as most residents are still too afraid to come back with the battle for Mosul, located 20 kilometers away, still raging.

But on Sunday church bells rang again across the town.

Hundreds arrived in cars from Erbil, the main city in autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan where most Christian had fled when Islamic State gave them an ultimatum to pay special taxes, convert or die.
"We need reconciliation," Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Mosul Butrus Moshe told worshippers in the Immaculate Conception Church guarded by army jeeps.

Islamic State has targeted minority communities in both Iraq and Syria, setting churches on fire.
Scribbled "Islamic State" slogans could be still seen on the church's walls while torn-up prayer books littered the floor.

Escorted by soldiers carrying rifles, the congregation then walked through Qaraqosh for Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week that culminates on Easter Sunday, holding up a banner saying "In times of war we bring peace."

Christianity in northern Iraq dates back to the first century AD.

It is time to arm Christians. It is abundantly clear that no one cares about them. Indeed, Europeans cannot even muster concern for their own citizens let alone brown people from another part of the globe. Christians can fight or flee the lands to which they are indigenous.

Sadly, what they find elsewhere may not be that different.

Also, a de-programming campaign must be initiated. Islamists must be told repeatedly that murdering children during Mass does not merit eternal reward and that the very idea of that is barmy.

Personally, I think our willingness to declare war on Hitler (despite MacKenzie King's early foot-dragging efforts) was our true arrival on the international stage.

Nevertheless, the great losses at Vimy Ridge cannot be forgotten.

This is why it is painful when a mouth-breathing douchebag screws up on the international stage:

“As I see the faces gathered here — veterans, soldiers, caregivers, so many young people — I can’t help but feel a torch is being passed,” Trudeau said in his speech. “One hundred years later, we must say this, together. And we must believe it: Never again.”

"Never again" is what one would say regarding the Holocaust (the same one that Justin decided was bereft of Jews at one point). As the virtue-signalling mouthpiece of whoever has their hands up his @$$, one cannot expect that the former snowboard instructor to understand the gravity of Vimy Ridge or any other battle in which Canadians took part. To him, the speech he gave at the Vimy Ridge memorial ceremony was just a collection of words that sounded good, not something with depth that galvanised a nation.

Like this:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

I suppose one cannot compare a leader who led his country through a war to someone who ended up PM because his dad was but the above words are some of the most profound in human history. Even if one is not an American, one cannot help but be moved by the simple humility that however eloquent one's prose, it cannot overpower the memory of a great sacrifice. Words literally fail us, even words written down in great effort.

There is no effort in meaningless sentiment like "And we must believe it: never again."

Also - well, who did you vote for?

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge Sunday, many of Canada’s injured and wounded veterans feel he has betrayed them.

They want him to fulfill his 2015 election promise to restore lifetime military disability pensions.
Trudeau was the only party leader to make this commitment.

The Liberal campaign website promised: “We will re-establish lifelong pensions as an option for our injured veterans and increase the value of the disability award.”

On the campaign trail, Trudeau promised: “If I earn the right to serve this country as your Prime Minister, no veteran will be forced to fight their own government for the support and compensation that they have earned. We will reinstate lifelong pensions and increase their value in line with the obligation we have made to those injured in the line of duty.”

But almost 18 months later, a group of Afghanistan war veterans is in court (the case is being heard in B.C.), having launched a class action lawsuit against Trudeau’s government on this very issue.
When the Liberals announced post-election they would oppose these injured veterans — reviving legal arguments made against them used by Stephen Harper's government — veterans’ lawyer, Donald Sorochan, called it a “betrayal,” given Trudeau’s promise.

“They have turned the Liberal election campaign into a lie,” Sorochan told CBC News. “I sat at tables (during the campaign) with some of the people who are now in cabinet. Those ministers have been turned into liars by the Department of Justice.”

Lifetime military disability pensions were eliminated under legislation supported and passed by all parties during Paul Martin's Liberal government in 2005 and implemented by Harper's Conservative government in 2006.

What sarin gas does to its victims (condensed):

Sarin is a kind of drug called an anticholinesterase. It stops the enzyme that breaks down a nerve-signaling molecule (acetylcholine) from working, so nerves keep firing all over the body. Clinically, this results in a slow heart rate, plus liquids coming out of every orifice they can: vomit, urine, diarrhea, tears, drool. If Sarin kills you, and it won't always, it does so by asphyxiation.

To be clear: it doesn't cause unconsciousness. You'd be awake as you're peeing, pooping, and slowly suffocating. Your pupils constrict so you can't see.

So, a shuffling support for Trump's missile attack is just weak.


Also - says the country that has dibs in Syria:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani affirmed his support for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government on Sunday, following last week’s U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base.

In a phone call with Assad, Rouhani called the strike on Friday a “blatant violation” of Syrian sovereignty, Syrian state media reported. Assad accused the U.S. of trying to boost the morale of “terror groups” in Syria. The government refers to all those fighting against it as terrorists.

Iran has provided crucial military and economic assistance to Assad throughout Syria’s six-year civil war. It has organized several Shiite militias from around the Middle East to fight in support of Assad’s government and has sent troops and officers from its own Revolutionary Guards.

South Korea tests a ballistic missile:

South Korea has recently succeeded in test-firing a homegrown ballistic missile, tentatively dubbed Hyunmu-2C, with a 800-km range, a military source said Thursday.

The news comes five years after the U.S. agreed to increase the permissible range of South Korean missiles from 300 km to 800 km. The new missile can hit any part of North Korea and is slated for deployment later this year.

It may not be enough, South Korea.

And now, a segment of Bach's Saint Matthew's Passion

No comments: