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From Tehran, for a Clearer Picture

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Iran has supplied sophisticated radar to Syria that can monitor Israeli air force sorties and threaten its ability to attack Iranian nuclear targets by surprise, Reuters quotes the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ quotes – unnamed by Reuters – Israeli and US officials.

A spokesman for the Syrian embassy in WashingtonAhmed Salkini, denounced the allegation as “classic Israeli PR stunts aimed at diverting the world’s attention from the atrocities they are committing in Gaza and other occupied territories”.

The tech transfer was reportedly carried out about a year ago. In 2007, Israeli fighter jets bombed a Syrian site that the Israelis said housed a nuclear reactor in the final stages of construction. The BBC points out that there has been a UN ban on Iran since 2007 to sell or supply weapons to other countries.

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad travelled Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil, and Argentina last week. MercoPress (Montevideo) writes that Syrian communities are very strong and economically influential in Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina, advocating the establishment of “a new and more just international order” by including Brazil in the U.N. Security Council.

On June 29, Radio Damascus, in a commentary, noted that

The countries currently visited by president al-Assad – Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba – all adopt stands that support the just Arab cause. At the same time, their stands confront the policies of hegemony, war, and terrorism in the whole world. Those states have suffered a lot from the American policies and interference in the affairs of states and peoples. The previous American administrations supported dictatorial regimes, and supported them against their peoples.

Now, Damascus apparently believes, it is time for America to support Syria’s dictatorial regime. And no more distractions, please.


Written by taide

July 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Bishop Käßmann: Emo-Bomb on Afghanistan

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“Nothing is good in Afghanistan.”

The statement is from the Germany’s leading protestant bishop, Margot Käßmann, made in her New Year’s Sermon on January 1 this year, and I believe the words she has chosen show what is bad with the Evangelical church here.

Words are central media in a protestant church. In some of the churches Käßmann is heading, words weigh more heavily than the sacraments. There is no excuse for saying that “nothing is good” in whichever country.  Not even if your country has stationed liberating or occupying forces there.

That was bad enough. Eight days earlier, in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung, she criticized the forces that ended Germany’s Third Reich for not having strategies before the war: “Why didn’t they strengthen the opposition? Why didn’t they bomb the railtracks that lead to Auschwitz?” (Warum gab es vorher keine Strategien? Warum wurde die Opposition in Deutschland nicht gestärkt? Warum wurden die Gleise, die nach Auschwitz führten, nicht bombardiert?).

Appeasement hadn’t impressed Hitler, the interviewing reporter suggested.

“Still, war releases a potential of violence I see no justification for. There is injustice, destruction, rape in its tow line. I have seen soldiers recently who can’t cope with their experiences.” Yes, Mrs Käßmann, sure. That’s what our troops are there for, in Afghanistan. j

And there was no storm of protest among the sheep.

This is no longer a church. It’s a sect. I’m off then.

Swiss Ban on Minarets: Philistine Cowardice

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So they’ve dunnit. The Swiss have voted in favour of a ban on building further minarets in their country. Four minarets atop mosques had been built until yesterday, reports the Los Angeles Times, and if yesterday’s referendum is turned into law, it will have been the first a and the last four minarets. Unless the Swiss will start to fear the consequences: boycotts from Muslim countries, or being locked out from the European Council, for example. The latter could happen because a ban on minarets may count as a refusal of an elementary human right: the freedom of worship.

I’m not trying to discuss if minarets to a mosque are an essential ingredient to freedom of worship. And I have no doubt that many Muslims do view minarets in European country as demonstrations of power indeed. I have no illusions about Islam – if I’m unrealistic at all, it is in that I view Islam more negatively than facts would demand. What interests me most, as a non-Muslim, are the reasons for the Swiss decision, and for the secret or not-so-secret approval among Germans here.

The Los Angeles Times

Aleppo, Minaret: Not very Long, but Still Longer than Yours

Aleppo, Minaret: Not very Long, but Still Longer than Yours

interprets the Swiss referendum as a sign of latent fears of Islamic influence in Switzerland. That’s probably a safe bet. The referendum’s result may also, to some degree, stem from the fact that many non-Muslims in Islamic countries are denied the degree of freedom of worship that Muslims enjoy in Europe. If the Swiss tick the same way many of my compatriots do, they will also have rebelled against a politically-correct elite, a political left or against Muslims who try to brand all opposition against foreign religions as “reactionary” or somehow “Nazi”. As a basis for public discussion, yesterday’s referendum may be a lucky event (for us in Germany, anyway).

But a ban on minarets must not stand in a free country. Islam is a an ideology, rather than a religion. Still, we must not deny Islam formal recognition as a religion. There is no way for a free society to deny any follower of any religion the freedom of worship. This is no question about if Islam is good or bad for Europe. It isn’t good for us to betray our own convictions. Human rights are an elementary conviction. Islamism and reactionary religious or political views in general (many of those who oppose minarets are as reactionary as many of those who are advocating them) can’t be defeated by restrictive legislation.

As Amelia Earhart, an American pilot, once said, courage is the price, that life exacts for granting peace. Banning minarets won’t make cartoonists who depict Prophet Mohamed any safer. Talking about Amelia Earhart, banning minarets won’t keep certain European airlines to refuse European citizens a seat in their planes once they have been targeted by a “fatwa”.

Only conviction and courage can stand up to Islamism, and to all kinds of totalitarianism. “Learning from Switzerland” and acting likewise elsewhere in Europe would be a mere act of compensation for real decisions we need to take if we want to defend our liberties successfully. And there may be some Muslims who will actually support our concept of freedom – if we respect and support their freedom.

German Warriors

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My great-grandfather was buried on Verden’s forest cemetary (Verdener Waldfriedhof). His grave is still there, and it is a nice one, because through all the past nine decades, my family people didn’t have to pay a single Pfennig or Eurocent in fees – it’s a hero’s grave.

He was a Private, but he was in such a hurry to take Paris that the German artillery didn’t keep step with him and his comrades. Many of them died in friendly fire, and on the spot. Great-Grandpa was less lucky. He pegged out several month later, in the Annastift in Hanover, minus most of his back.

When he was dead at last, they decorated him with the Iron Cross.

Then there was the second world war.

German society is post-heroic. Heroes too, are only victims in German eyes. The Bundeswehr is a citizen army, and  the federal parliament’s army. It still knows no heroes, and every embarrassing try to change that has been doomed to fail. Medals and cenotaphs give most of us the creeps, rather than causing respect.

Germany succeeded in building an army with uniformed citizens. The old military caste – fortunately – doesn’t matter in the army any more. Families with military traditions like they exist in Britain, France, or America, and which send officers into the army don’t exist in Germany any more.

But this also means that the soldiers won’t earn much respect here when sacrificing their lives for the nation, and its allies.

Some surveys suggest that about three quarters of Americans believe in circumstances which justify war. In Germany, 25 per cent may believe that. 170 years ago, Carl von Clausewitz coined the saying that war is merely a continuation of politics with the inclusion of different means (“Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik unter der Einbeziehung anderer  Mittel”). Most Germans don’t agree with this any longer, and they want no such extension of our foreign policy.

During the past eight years, German politics avoided the word “war” like the plague (which it obviously is), our politicians enacted a reconstruction operetta in Afghanistan which seemed to benefit everyone and to hurt noone, and they risked no candid communication with their constituencies about combat operations. Now the public (which never seemed to care much until now) is finding out that we are at war (the German defence secretary keeps cursing everyone who dares to use this dirty word), and obviously, few people are inclined to take our duties within NATO as serious as they should – those who accept the need for force of arms are the minority in this country.

Dishonourable? Maybe. But anyone who wants to criticise Germany’s sometimes convenient pacifism should also remember how hard it was to finish German militarism in the first place, and how many of their grandfathers died in the struggle. Having ones cake and eating it is yet another challenge. We are learning. But it will take time, and some more decent politicians. What the Social Democrats’ Peter Struck said about Afghanistan last month could be a beginning.

UN “Racism Conference” – Cui Bono?

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The ‘Ndrangheta is asking for a rule that would ban “derogatory remarks” on the mafia. Besides, the UN Racism Conference starts looking like my mom’s kitchen garden – only bigger and messier.

To prepare yourselves mentally for the Conference, here is a nice piece of music for you. Omerta, Onure e Sangu means Silence, Honour, and Blood. Exactly the kind of stuff the religion behind the conference’s key document makes me think of. Silence and Blood, anyway. Silencing and blood.

This is no conference to attend for decent people. Let the hypocrites stay among themselves.

Written by taide

March 14, 2009 at 7:41 am

Aleppo soap and its miraculous Effects

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Hi dear reader,
and now for something LIGHT…
I had looked for some Syrian soap, or rather Aleppo soap on ebay. There are several offers there, and some product descriptions are so cool that I can’t help but sharing them here. For example…
Aleppo soap – (…) made of pure olive oil
Aleppo soap has been produced in a high-quality, natural process for millenia. The olive oil cleans the skin and greases back at the same time. As it is so mild (pH neutral), it is applicable to every type of skin. The use of natural ingredients only makes it both outstandingly caring-effective and 100% biodegradable.
From its ochre-coloured surface you can see its gentle air-drying which takes six to nine months. The olive-green colour inside is an indicator for its strong vitamin-E content.
Aleppo soap is purely herbal,  pH neutral, antiseptic, highly efficient, has a high amount of vitamin E, is biodegradable, produced in a gentle way, and free of preserving agents (…)
You are purchasing by auction 1 piece of Aleppo soap, 190 to 200 grammes. This soap emphasizes the properties of laurel oil. It cleans, nourishes, disinfects and calms, invigorates and refreshes. Healing and calming effect on skin problems such as acne, allergies, eczema, and psoriasis. The more dry the skin is, the higher a laurel concentration should be chosen.
An oriental secret for skin and hair care.
Subtly fragrant, 100% herbal and naturally pure olive soap from the Orient, produced just like 1000 years and more ago in Syria, made of 80% olive and 20% laurel oil. The soap is made of 100% renewable ingredients and contains no artificial preserving agents, no ionic tensides, technical colours, flavours (such as perfume), or animal additives. Production is carried out without animal experiments. (…)
This is beautiful too:
In Syria, production of soap was first mentioned on the Ebla Tablets around 1000 B.C. as a medical cure. (…) Laurel soap is a merely herbal soap, without chemical or animal additives. It is good for cleaning and caring for the skin, and also for shaving, and against dandruff (leave it there for two to three minutes). It is refreshing and supports the self-regulating function of your skin. The pH value animates the body to release poison and acids through the skin. The skin can breathe and sweat without losing humidity. The skins acid mantle protection of the skin doesn’t get affected.
In case of hypersensitive skin, allergies, and neuro-dermatological diseases the soap can be used, too. Itching and lotioning is over when using laurel soap. It produces little foam and therefore lasts long. If kept dry, it can be stored for several decades.
Ingredients: 30% native olive oil kba, 30% genuine laurel oil kba, thereof 30% fat laurel oil kba (…)
OK, let’s sum this down: chemotherapeutic agents, penicillin, and sulphoamide? Geez, the Fertile Crescent’s nature and science have blessed us with a completely unobserved substance that doesn’t only help with dry skin, but dandruff, acne, allergies, eczema, and Elephantiasis, too! It’s even antibacterial! That’s probably why Aleppo has never been afflicted by pestilence, cholera, and Berriberri.
Alright, it is still no perpetuum mobile, but you can’t ask everything from a 200 grammes piece of soap.
Time for the United Nations or Bill Gates to test its effect against malaria, yellow fever and tuberculosis.

Hallo meine lieben LeserInnen, heute leihe ich mir mal was.
Am Wochenende habe ich beim deutschen Ebay nach syrischer Seife, oder besser nach Alepposeife gesucht. Es gibt dort jede menge Anbieter und ein paar Produktbeschreibungen sind einfach so klasse, dass ich sie an dieser Stelle wiedergeben möchte:
Aleppo Seife – (…) aus reinem Olivenöl
Die Aleppo-Seife wird seit Jahrtausenden nach einem hochwertigen, natürlichen Verfahren hergestellt. Das Olivenöl reinigt die Haut und sorgt gleichzeitig für deren Rückfettung. Dank der Milde (ph-neutral) eignet sich die Aleppo-Seife für jeden Hauttyp. Die Verwendung ausschließlich natürlicher Zutaten, bewirkt neben der hervorragenden Pflegewirkung auch die 100% biologische Abbaubarkeit.
An der ockerfarbigen äußeren Schicht erkennt man die schonende 6-9 Monate dauernde Lufttrocknung. Das olivgrün im Inneren der Seife ist ein Indikator für den hohen Vitamin-E Gehalt.
(Alepposeife ist)
… rein pflanzlich
… pH-neutral
… antiseptisch
… höchste Ergiebigkeit
… hoher Vitamin-E Gehalt
… biologisch abbaubar
… schonende Herstellung
… ohne Konservierungsstoffe (…)
Oder auch:
Sie bieten auf 1 Stück Alepposeife, Stück zwischen 190 – 200g.
80 % Oliven- und  20 % Lorbeeröl, ca. zwei Jahre alt
Diese Seife unterstreicht die Eigenschaften des Lorbeeröls. Sie reinigt, nährt, desinfiziert und beruhigt, belebt und erfrischt. Wirkt heilend und beruhigend bei Hautproblemen, wie Akne, Allergien, Ekzemen und Psoriasis. Je trockener die Haut, desto höher sollte man den Lorbeeranteil wählen. 
Ein Geheimnis aus dem Orient zur Pflege von Haut und Haar
Fein duftende, 100 % pflanzliche naturreine Olivenseife aus dem Orient, hergestellt wie schon seit über 1000 Jahren in Syrien aus 80 % Oliven- und 20 % Lorbeeröl. Die Seife ist aus 100 % nachwachsenden Rohstoffen und enthält keine künstlichen Konservierungsstoffe, keine ionischen Tenside, technische Farben, Aromen (wie z.B. Parfümierung) oder tierische Zusatzstoffe. Die Herstellung erfolgt ohne Tierversuche. (…)
Und richtig prima:
handgemachte Seife aus Aleppo (Syrien)
In Syrien findet die Herstellung von Seifen erstmals auf den Ebla-Tafeln um 1000 v. Chr. Erwähnung als medizinisches Heilmittel.
Lorbeerseife ist eine rein pflanzliche Seife; frei von chemischen und tierischen Zusätzen. Sie ist Reinigungs- und Pflegemittel für Haut & Haare und zudem geeignet für die Rasur und zur Bekämpfung von Kopfschuppen.(2-3 Min. einwirken lassen). Sie wirkt erfrischend und unterstützt die selbstregulierende Funktion der Haut. Der ph-Wert regt den Körper an, Gifte und Säuren über die Haut auszuscheiden. Die Haut kann atmen und schwitzen, ohne Feuchtigkeit zu verlieren.
Der Säureschutzmantel der Haut wird nicht angegriffen.
Auch bei überempfindlicher Haut; Allergien und neurodermatologischen Erkrankungen, kann die Seife verwendet werden. Jucken und eincremen der Haut entfällt bei Benutzung der Lorbeerseife  Sie produziert wenig Schaum und ist deshalb sehr ergiebig. Trocken gehalten kann sie mehrere Jahrzehnte gelagert werden.
Inhaltsstoffe: 70% natives Olivenöl kbA, 30% echtes Lorbeeröl kbA – davon 30% fettes Lorbeeröl kbA (…)
Also, fassen wir alles das einmal zusammen: Chemotherapeutika, Penicillin und Sulfoamide? Bah, die Natur und die Wissenschaft des fruchtbaren Halmondes hat uns einen bis jetzt völlig übersehenen Stoff geschenkt, der nicht nur gegen trockene Haut hilft, sondern auch bei Kopfschuppen, Akne, Allergien, Ekzemen und Elephantiasis eingesetzt werden kann. Und Antibakteriell ist die Alepposeife auch noch; wahrscheinlich wurde Aleppo deshalb auch nie von Pest, Cholera und Beri-Beri heimgesucht.
Nun gut, ein Perpetuum mobile scheint Alepposeife nicht zu sein, aber sollten die UNO oder Bill Gates nicht endlich ihre Wirkung gegen Malaria, Gelbfieber und Tuberkulose untersuchen lassen?

Written by taide

July 14, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Posted in bs, Germany, society, Syria, UN

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