Saturday, April 19, 2008

One Version Permitted (news from this week)

1. "Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted." - His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the prayer service with U.S. bishops at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. Yikes!

2. From the news (AP):

"President Robert Mugabe devoted his first major speech since the unresolved elections three weeks ago to denouncing whites and former colonial ruler Britain, an attempt to convince Zimbabweans that their political and economic troubles stem abroad."

Some of his more memorable lines included:  "... Down with thieves who want to steal our country..."; "... Zimbabwe will never be a colony again. Never shall we retreat...."; claimed that his political opposition wants "... this country to go back to white people, to the British, the country we died for. It will never happen..."; "... Beware. Be vigilant in the face of the vicious machinations of Britain and its other allies," Mugabe also said. "Yesterday they ruled by brute force. Today they have perfected their tactics to be more subtle. They are literally buying people to turn against the government. We are being bought like sheep because they have money and because we are suffering...."

The occasion? Friday, April 18th, 2008 was Zimbabwe's 28th Independence Day celebration. OK, so this might be a reasonable approach to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, etc. anniversary of independence, but the 28th?? Surely there’s a ‘statute of limitations’ on blaming others for one’s situation, especially when the country is now much worse off? At what point do Mugabe & the ZANU-PF feel that they begin to bear some responsibility for the conditions in the country? Apparently ‘lousy British colonialists’ is the excuse that keeps on giving…

3. Former President Jimmy Carter met Friday with Hamas senior leader Khaled Meshaal (in Damascus). He has been severely criticized by many, and even vilified by some for agreeing to meet with the head of a terrorist organization. The Israeli Government has been very critical, and there was a minor kerfluffle re the lack of Israeli secret service protection for Carter when he was touring Israel. Well, the GOI has in the past (and will undoubtedly in the future) had “back channel” and “third party” contacts with Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Also, as reported in Ha’aretz”, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai asked Carter to tell Hamas leaders that he (Yishai) would like to meet with them to order to expedite a prisoner exchange that would bring home kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. So what are we to make of their criticism of Carter? Simple, no significant U.S. politician can be allowed to “wander off the reservation” re issues in the Middle East…  And strange how the discussion in Israel can be much more vigorous and wide-ranging that what is “allowed” in the United States.

Jimmy Carter, Hamas, and the Media
Carter gets reduced protection in Israel
Yishai to Carter: Tell Meshal that I want to discuss prisoner swap

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