Thursday, July 24, 2014

Caliphate orders 4 mil mutilations

While we fret over Christians being exiled for good from their native lands, we forget that life is no less a challenge for the Sunnis who do live under the ever-merciful gaze of the neo-Caliph.

Translation of fatwa: “Out of fear for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and our Islamic society, as a result of the spread of immorality and vice between sons and daughters of Allah. For the honor of our lord and for the faithful “A resolution is issued to all states that female circumcision is honorable in itself and for the Caliphate, emir of the believers…”

The UN is claiming that the Caliphate has issued a fatwa ordering all women to be subjected to genital mutilation: A top UN official quoted from a statement saying that Isis wanted all females aged between 11 and 46 in the northern city of Mosul to undergo the procedure. Jacqueline Badcock said the decree was of grave concern.

Yet, some experts are expressing scepticism. They claim that other groups may be using a fake fatwa to discredit the (otherwise highly creditable and credible) Caliphate.

In its own way this experiment (if attempted in earnest) would resemble something that happened in India in 1975 (when Indira Gandhi declared Emergency). Her distinguished younger son Sanjay led a mass castration program in North India (called nash-bandi). Tens of thousands of people affected by real-life and fictitious accounts deserted their homes in terror. If Sanjay was not claimed by a most unfortunate accident then India would have resembled China in form and in function (with Sanjay in the role of Mao).

Air Algerie plane blows up over Mali

Well folks, the storm is truly landing. This is not global warming, this is global lunacy. We have had already one crash in Europe, one in Asia yesterday (Taiwan) and today in Africa (Mali). If the pattern holds, it may be the turn of the Americas next. Please take care and do not fly if you would rather not.

The Taiwanese plane that went down in the storm yesterday was a turbo-prop ATR 72. Today it was a (fairly ancient) MD-83 (or DC-10, source not clear). Mali is partly islamist territory and they may have the resources to blow up the plane. Else it just collided into mountains. Either way we will know soon enough.
Air Algerie said it lost contact with one of its passenger aircraft nearly an hour after take-off from Burkina Faso on Thursday bound for Algiers.

A company source told AFP that the missing aircraft was a DC-10 (other reports say MD-83) and that some 110 passengers of various nationalities and six crew members are listed as being on board the flight.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Palestine and end in sight

Slate columnist William Saletan has a piece about a possible solution to the conflict in Gaza (How to Save Gaza). It is worth a read. It will probably seem overly liberal to many Israeli supporters and will seem totally unfair to many Palestinian supporters. And it does sound a little utopian. Well, a lot utopian. It seems unlikely that it could be attempted and very unlikely that it would work if attempted.
Palestinian leaders vote for international conventions as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
Anyway, it reminded me of a comment I wrote on Facebook. I am not optimistic...

This is a Greek tragedy. Both sides have lost many opportunities to compromise and they will surely manage to lose more in the days to come. When those in power in Israel clearly want to keep all or most of the occupied West Bank (building new settlements is hardly a signal they are leaving) and avoid every opportunity to make a deal, then they are not laying the foundation for durable peace. When those in power in Gaza seem to believe ALL Jewish presence in Palestine should be "reversed" ("Palestine will be free; from the river to sea"), they are not laying such a foundation either.

A motorway crash in Wales

Tariq Ali writes on his London Review of Books (LRB) blog:
On Wednesday I received four calls from the BBC’s Good Morning Wales.
First morning call: was I available to be interviewed about Gaza tomorrow morning? I said yes.
First afternoon call: could I tell them what I would say? I said (a) Israel was a rogue state, pampered and cosseted by the US and its vassals.  
(b) Targeting and killing Palestinian children (especially boys) and blaming the victims was an old Israeli custom. 
(c) The BBC coverage of Palestine was appalling and if they didn’t cut me off I would explain how and why.
Second afternoon call: was I prepared to debate a pro-Israeli? I said yes.
Afternoon message left on my phone: terribly sorry. There’s been a motorway crash in Wales, so we’ve decided to drop your item.

An alert reader takes the hint and responds:

Seems like Israel is expanding its ground operations while the world’s attentions are diverted elsewhere…




Mountain polo (by moonlight)

Polo...origin in Central Asia....6th century BC....Persian national game in the 6th century AD......In 1935 UK administrator for Gilgit-Baltistan, A.H. Cobb ordered....make a huge polo ground in Shandur....named “Mas Junali”.....‘Mas’ is Moon and Junali is pologround, as Cobb was found of playing polo in moon night....

Shandur, Gilgit and Baltistan. The nicest part of it all is the gorgeous night sky.

Beautiful place to play polo no doubt. But it also has a gorgeous lake to go with it. Why not advertise this as the coolest place in the world to play water polo? Just as nice as ice fishing in the Great Lakes.

[ref. Wiki] Shandur invites visitors to experience a traditional polo tournament which since 1936 has been held annually in the first week of July between the local teams of Chitral and Ghizer. The tournament is held on Shandur Top, the highest polo ground in the world at 3,700 meters (the pass itself is at 3,800 meters). The festival also includes Folk music, dancing and a camping village is set up. The polo tournament is featured in the first episode of Himalaya with Michael Palin.