Thursday, August 04, 2016

Dante's catalogue of horrors in the "Inferno" "pales in comparison" to a new collection of stories by Tadeusz Borowski , an Polish Auschwitz survivor who put an end to his life six years after liberation. The stories are told in a morally-neutral manner, bereft of both empathy or an attempt to affect the reader.

Arno Lustiger, Borowski's Auschwitz comrade No. A 5592, reviews the book in a somewhat similar attempt to keep it free of sentiment or judgement:


Every day, the Kapos played football on a pitch surrounded by flowers within sight of the unloading ramp where Jews were constantly arriving by train. Borowski, who played in goal, writes: "I walked back with the ball and passed it to the corner. Between two corners, three thousand people had been gassed behind my back."

To see his fiancee more often, he had himself assigned to the roofing unit, whose members were able to move freely within the whole of the camp, including the women's section. Tadeusz Borowski and Maria Rundo saw each other every day, often even able to be alone together. As a roofer, he also worked in the section of the camp known as "Canada" where articles taken from murdered Jews were kept, including clothes, jewellery, and other valuables, including 7.7 tons of human hair. Here he had contact with the prisoners who belonged to the Sonderkommandos or Special Units, whose horrific tasks included moving the dead from the gas chambers to the ovens of the crematoria. He enjoyed privileges which normal, insignificant inmates could not even dream of.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Jews and Muslims in 19th century Palestine 
 (known as Southern Syria under the Ottoman Empire system):
 

"A mid-19th century eyewitness account from Jerusalem by the missionary Gregory Wortabet, (published in 1856) captures these routine sentiments, which Wortabet attributes to Koranic verses referring to the Jews as apes and pigs (Koran 2:65, 5:60, and 7:166), as well as the canonical hadith about Muhammad's reputed poisoning by an ancient Khaybar Jewess:

The Jew is still an object of scorn, and nowhere is the name of "Yahoodi (Jew)"more looked down upon than here in the city of his fathers. One day, as I was passing the Damascus gate, I saw an Arab hurrying on his donkey amid imprecations such as the following:"Emshi ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Walk, thou son of a Jew)! Yulaan abuk ya Ibn-el-Yahoodi (Cursed be thy father, thou son of a Jew)!"


I need not give any more illustrations of the manner in which the man went on. The reader will observe, that the man did not curse the donkey, but the Jew, the father of the donkey. Walking up to him, I said, "Why do you curse the Jew? What harm has he done you?"

"El Yahoodi khanzeer (the Jew is a hog)!", answered the man.

"How do you make that out?", I said. "Is not the Jew as good as you or I?"

"Ogh!", ejaculated the man, his eyes twinkling with fierce rage, and his brow knitting.

By this time he was getting out of my hearing. I was pursuing my walk, when he turned round, and said, "El Yahoodi khanzeer! Khanzeer el Yahoodi! (The Jew is a hog! A hog is a Jew!)"

Now I must tell the reader, that, in the Mahomedan vocabulary, there is no word lower than a hog, that animal being in their estimation the most defiled of animals; and good Mahomedans are prohibited by the Koran from eating it. The Jew, in their estimation, is the vilest of the human family, and is the object of their pious hatred, perhaps from the recollection that a Jewess of Khaibar first undermined the health of the prophet by infusing poison into his food. Hence a hog and a Jew are esteemed alike in the eye of a Moslem, both being the lowest of their kind; and now the reader will better understand the meaning of the man's words, "El Yahoodi khanzeer!"

Friday, July 01, 2016



Jeremy Corbyn's friend

 

Thursday, June 09, 2016

No Ramadan can be properly celebrated without killing Jews

Four Israelis slaughteredr, others in serious condition in Ramadan terror attack in central Tel Aviv.

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The official Fatah Facebook calls all of the Tel Aviv victims "settlers."

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Palestinians in  Gaza, Wst Bank, Istanbul hand out sweets to express their joy over Tel Aviv shooting attack.

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Dignity and pride! Bravo to the two Palestinians who committed the resistance operation in Tel Aviv today!




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An American Public Intellectual condemns the murders:

Marc Lamont Hill:

" Israel has suspended travel permits for 83,000 Palestinians for the whole of Ramadan"


Tuesday, June 07, 2016

A Liberal Decalogue:

 Bertrand Russell's The Ten Commandments to teachers and other engaged mortals:

1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.

4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

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Now contrast it with this decalogue:

 


Saturday, April 09, 2016

But I'm innocent ...



[NASRADDIN HODJA is a Turkish folk hero, whose life stories of humour and wit I heard from my mother at appropriate moments. Here is one story I remember. I will let my discerning reader to make the necessary connection:]


One day Nasraddin Hodja was arrested and brought before a judge, for stealing a horse.

Nasraddin, said the judge, whatever has come over you? Why did you steal that horse?

Nasraddin, wiping his tears, said with a quavering voice:

But I'm innocent, Your honour, completely innocent. I was walking down the street and I saw a rope lying on the ground. Just a piece of rope, lying there. I picked it up and took it with me. How wasI to know that the end of the rope was tied to a horse?

Friday, October 09, 2015

About Rachel Corrie and her legacy:


Corrie aligned herself sentimentally and seamlessly with suffering Palestinians, reserving for them her absolute anger and attendant pity to the extent that suffering Israelis merited nothing but a sneering hatred from her. Corrie’s idealism did not proceed from love but from ideologically induced hatred. She was a de-facto apologist for Palestinian terrorism, and she died trying to prevent the work of an Israeli bulldozer, which was searching for munitions buried in the ground . Contrary to Palestinian reports and what is generally claimed, the bulldozer was not there to demolish a house, (though houses used as cover for weapon-smuggling tunnels were demolished by the IDF, but not on that particular day). Any which way you slice it, those munitions were there to be utilized in attacks against innocent civilians. Corrie died protecting terrorist weapons. She was completely indifferent to the deaths these weapons spelled at a time when suicide bombings were a matter of daily, sometimes hourly, occurrence in Israel.

Btw, when I look at this photo of Corrie what strikes me is less her complete self-abandon to mindless hatred. What I notice is the difference between her semi-crazed demeanor and the baffled and smiling faces of the Palestinian kids, who surround her. What can it mean?