I. The latest from MEMRI:
On August 9, 2008 a member of the Islamist forum Al-Boraq proposed poisoning the water systems of major European cities. The forum member began his message by reminding "monotheists [i.e. Muslims] who yearn to support the Prophet" that Ramadan is coming, and explained that poisoning the water systems of major European cities is just one of many options - some of them "more powerful and more damaging" - but that his posting is meant to "prompt the mind [to generate] innovative [ideas]."
II. According to Wikipedia, historically, the well-poisoning charge was standardly levelled at medieval Jews:
The existence of viruses and bacteria was unknown in medieval times, and the eruption of epidemics could not be explained. Any sudden deterioration of health was blamed on poisoning. Europe was hit by several waves of Black Death (often identified as bubonic plague) throughout the late Middle Ages. Crowded cities were especially hard hit by the disease, with death tolls as high as 50% of the population. In their distress, emotionally distraught survivors searched for something, or someone, to blame.
The city-dwelling Jews of the Middle Ages, forced to live in walled-up, segregated ghetto districts, proved to be convenient scapegoats. As mortality was significantly lower among the Jews, medieval Christians in Europe theorized that the Jews, who had their own wells in the ghetto, had poisoned the city wells in order to kill Christians, just as they had killed Christ.* An outbreak of plague thus became the trigger for pogroms, with hundreds of Jews burned at the stake, or rounded up in synagogues and private houses that were then set aflame.
* Can anyone guess what the reason for the lower mortality rate was?
Jews are required, by religious decree, to wash their hands before sitting down to eat.
III. Isn't the juxtaposition of the information contained in I with the fantasy of II, a terrible irony played upon the world by the goddess of History?
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Tuesday, August 12, 2008