Saturday, September 13, 2014

David Cawthorne Haines

....The killer says: “This British man has to pay the price to arm the Peshmerga against the Islamic State.....he has spent a decade of his life serving under the Royal Air Force.....“Your evil alliance with America continues to strike the Muslims of Iraq .....playing the role of the obedient lapdog will only drag you into another bloody and unwinnable war”....At the end of the latest video, another hostage – apparently British – is paraded......
The Maida Vale killer strikes again. David Haines has been reportedly beheaded. DCH was a British (Scottish) aid worker who was (we presume) trying to help out the miserable people of Syria, his family must be wondering why they agreed to this labor of love in the first place.
A number of critical questions will be asked (and re-asked): What was David Haines...who has a military background...really doing in Syria? Should Britain and the USA consider paying ransom to terrorists? What will happen to the Brits and Americans still being held hostage (yes, we know)?

Leaving aside emotions for the moment, we were a bit curious about the New York Times reporter who presently heads the Caliphate bureau.  Our first thought was that Rukmini Callimachi is an American offspring of a Brown (girl) and White (boy). Not even close. She is from Romania (see below) and has a fantastic back-story, grandparents who were in love with India (hence the first name), parents who left Communist Romania for Switzerland, ancestral family tied to the Greek super-castes of the Ottoman Empire - the Hellenic Phanariots. Rukmini has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for journalism and is also known as a poet.

Syria and Iraq were of course part of the same Ottoman empire and it can be argued that the original Caliphate was more tolerant of minorities such as Callimachis than the new one is of Yazidis. However even a brief look at the rise and fall of  the Phanariots will reveal the hollowness of such arguments. It was only a handful of Greek Orthodox families (Wiki lists about 50 names including Ypsilanti) that rose to prominence and even then they were frequently executed on account of "treachery." Here is how the first Phanariot millionaire Michael Kantakouzenos lived (and died) in the 16th century.

Michael preferred to live at Anchialos, a city almost exclusively inhabited by Greeks, where he had built a magnificent palace that cost 20,000 ducats and was said to rival the Sultan's own. Nevertheless, his extravagance aroused the envy and enmity not only of his fellow Greeks, but of the Turks as well, and when the influence of his patron, Sokollu Mehmed, began to decline, his enemies struck: in July 1576 he was arrested and his property confiscated, but he managed to save his life and secure his release through the intervention of Sokollu Mehmed. Kantakouzenos was able to re-acquire his fortune, but he was again accused of plotting against the Sultan, and on 3 March 1578, he was hanged from the gateway of his palace in Anchialos.

Ultimately, the Phanariots led the Greek mutiny in 1812 and were banished from the Ottoman court because their loyalty was suspect. This is a bit similar to how Sikh regiments have been downgraded following the Khalistan movement.

David Haines was not a millionaire, he was a mere aid worker. His error was to live amongst people (and help them) who did not much care if he lived or died, because they deemed him to be barely human. This is an age-old problem (see: two nation theory) and it is a terrifying one. 

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria released a video on Saturday that showed the beheading of a British citizen, David Cawthorne Haines, an aid worker.

Mr. Haines is seen kneeling on a bare hill in a landscape that appears identical to the one where two American journalists — James Foley and Steven J. Sotloff — were killed by the group in back-to-back-executions in the past month, according to the footage and a transcript released by SITE Intelligence, which tracks the terrorist group.

In the moments before his death, Mr. Haines, 44, as the two other journalists did before him, reads a script in which he blames his country’s leaders for his killing. Addressing Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, he says: “I would like to declare that I hold you, David Cameron, entirely responsible for my execution. You entered voluntarily into a coalition with the United States against the Islamic State.” He added: “Unfortunately, it is we the British public that in the end will pay the price for our Parliament’s selfish decisions.”

The killing of Mr. Haines, a father of two from Perth, Scotland, was a clear message to Britain, a key ally of the United States as it tries to build an international coalition to target the militant group, which has made major advances across Syria and northern Iraq in recent months.

It also put pressure on the government of Mr. Cameron, a member of a core coalition of nations announced as NATO leaders met in Wales this month and sought to devise a strategy to address the growing threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, including plans to strengthen allies on the ground in Iraq and Syria and conduct airstrikes against the militants.

President Obama on Wednesday announced a major expansion of the military campaign against ISIS, including airstrikes against the group in Syria. The beheadings of Mr. James Foley, on Aug. 19, and Mr. Sotloff, on Sept. 2, followed the start of a campaign of airstrikes against ISIS positions in Iraq.

The group is currently holding two more British nationals, as well as two other American aid workers. 

Their families have asked the news media not to to disclose their names, after ISIS warned that the hostages would be killed if relatives made their identities public.

Britain and the United States are among the only nations in the world that have held to a hard-line, no-concessions policy when dealing with kidnappings by terror groups. Until earlier this year, ISIS was holding close to two dozen foreigners in the same jail where Mr. Haines was imprisoned on the outskirts of the Syrian town of Raqqa.

Mr. Haines, who has a military background, was kidnapped 19 months ago in northern Syria and was held alongside an Italian co-worker, Federico Motka. Both men worked for ACTED, a French aid group, and had traveled to Syria to try to help during the country’s civil war. Their fates diverged based on their country’s individual policies: Mr. Motka was released in May, one of 15 Europeans who were liberated from the same ISIS-run jail for a ransom, according to a person who was held alongside them and who could not be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Earlier this month, Mr. Cameron ruled out paying a ransom for Mr. Haines. “It’s a desperately difficult situation,” he told Sky News. “We don’t pay ransoms to terrorists when they kidnap our citizens,” he said, adding: “From the intelligence and other information I have seen, there is no doubt this money helps to fuel the crisis that we see in Iraq and Syria.”
Rukmini Callimachi was among the Finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting "for her in-depth investigation of the exploitation of impoverished children in West and Central Africa." Working at first as a freelancer, she made her mark in international journalism writing articles for "Time" Magazine, "Daily Herald” Chicago and now for Associated Press.

Rukmini left Romania during the communist regime with her mother, father and grandmother, for Switzerland and then the United States where she got a degree in English. Her first name shows her grandparents' love of Indian culture, while her family name goes back centuries deep into the Romanian history. She is a direct descendant of one of the oldest Romanian families (Moldavian Phanariotes).

[ref. wiki] Phanariots were members of those prominent Greek families residing in Phanar the chief Greek quarter of Constantinople, where the Ecumenical Patriarchate is situated, who came to traditionally occupy four positions of major importance in the Ottoman Empire: Grand Dragoman, Grand Dragoman of the Fleet, Hospodar of Moldavia, and Hospodar of Wallachia.

Phanariotes emerged as a class of moneyed Greek merchants (they commonly claimed noble Byzantine descent) in the latter half of the 16th century, and went on to exercise great influence in the administration in the Ottoman Empire's Balkan domains in the 18th century. They tended to build their houses in the Phanar quarter in order to be close to the court of the Patriarch, who under the Ottoman millet system was recognized as both the spiritual and secular head (millet-bashi) of all the Orthodox subjects of the Empire (except those Orthodox under the spiritual care of the Patriarchs of Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Ohrid and Peć), thus they came to dominate the administration of the Patriarchate frequently intervening in the selection of hierarchs, including the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

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