Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Abdullah Ocalan--PKK Terrorist

Ocalan headed the PKK a Kurdish terrorist group that committed violence all over south eastern Turkey during the 1980's and the 1990's. Though a Kurd, he didn't discriminate between Turks and Kurds in his murderous campaigns. He claimed he was fighting for a Kurdish homeland, Kurdistan. Ocalan escaped Turkey and went into hiding but then was caught by Israeli Intelligence in Kenya about six years ago. They turned him over to the Turkish government for trial and punishment.

While visiting Diyarbakir, Turkey (the unofficial capital of the Kurds) last summer we happened to stumble upon a political rally for Leyla Zana. Leyla Zana was a political prisoner for ten years. She was imprisoned for wearing the Kurdish colors and speaking in Kurdish during her swearing in ceremony. Since all things Kurdish were illegal at the time, the Turkish government immediatly arrested her. While we were in her home town of Diyarbakir we learned that she had been released five years early. We stood in 100 degree heat for over an hour waiting to hear her speak. Rallying the crowd during the wait was a woman draped in the Kurdish flag. I don't know what she was saying (I think she was speaking Kurdish), but I do know that every now and again the people would chant "Apo, Apo" the nickname for Ocalan or wave their hands with the symbol for the PKK (unbeknownst to us at the time the sign for the PKK looks exactly like the sign for victory. So what I thought was showing solidarity for victory of the early release of Leyla Zana, was actually support for the PKK. I figured it out eventually, but not before I felt a fool.) Many of the people we talked to didn't express hope for a separate Kurdistan though they dreamed of one. I think most of them just wanted the freedom to be Kurdish in Turkey meaning the freedom to speak Kurdish, hear TV programs in Kurdish etc. The Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without their own homeland.

Ok, sorry for the tangent...but the question of the Kurds is not going to go away. I'm sympathetic to their plight, but don't condone terrorism as the means to achieve their goal of a free state. The homeland they desire runs through Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria and includes the fertile and oil rich areas of all these countries. Call me skeptical but I doubt that they'll get this homeland any time soon.

How Turkey handles terrorism will determine how many other Kurdish groups will resort to violence to get their way. But back to Ocalan, why bring him up now? The prissy European Union has determined that he should be re-tried since he wasn't given a lawyer upon arrival in Turkey. The guy is a TERRORIST! Would the EU rather he go free? Should criminals and terrorists be treated the same? I think he was lucky enough to escape the death penalty and get a life sentence. And that only because Turkey abolished the death penalty out of respect for European sensibilities. If that didn't happen, there wouldn't be any talk today of a re-trial 'cause Ocalan would be dead. What is the point of the new trial? Won't it be just for show? After all, the body count of 30,000 from his past terrorism isn't going away. He's still the one responsible for the indiscriminate killing. Is this justice?

One Man's Journey

This is a compelling read about one man's journey from the left to the right (?). Of course it's compelling to me since I'm already a woman of the right. A few highlights:

A turning point came at a dinner party on the day Ronald Reagan famously described the Soviet Union as the pre-eminent source of evil in the modern world. The general tenor of the evening was that Reagan's use of the word "evil" had moved the world closer to annihilation. There was a palpable sense that we might not make it to dessert.
When I casually offered that the surviving relatives of the more than 20 million people murdered on orders of Joseph Stalin might not find "evil'" too strong a word, the room took on a collective bemused smile of the sort you might expect if someone had casually mentioned taking up child molestation for sport.
My progressive companions had a point. It was rude to bring a word like "gulag" to the dinner table.


These days the postmodern left demands that government and private institutions guarantee equality of outcomes. Any racial or gender "disparities" are to be considered evidence of culpable bias, regardless of factors such as personal motivation, training, and skill. This goal is neither liberal nor progressive; but it is what the left has chosen. In a very real sense it may be the last card held by a movement increasingly ensnared in resentful questing for group-specific rights and the subordination of citizenship to group identity. There's a word for this: pathetic.


In the name of "diversity," the University of Arizona has forbidden discrimination based on "individual style." The University of Connecticut has banned "inappropriately directed laughter." Brown University, sensing unacceptable gray areas, warns that harassment "may be intentional or unintentional and still constitute harassment." (Yes, we're talking "subconscious harassment" here. We're watching your thoughts ...).

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

US vs. Them

That's US as in United States versus other countries. Every now and again I'm going to post an US vs. Them tidbit to highlight why America is superior to all other countries that are not democracies (and many of those that are). Such an idea should be "no duh", but considering how much "hate America first" garbage gets promoted by the "non-biased" American media, I believe an antidote is needed for that mushy moral equivalence.

In the ring today is US vs China:

Hundreds of women in Shandong Province forced to have abortions
(China Information Center (CIC), 5/13/2005)

(From a CIC correspondent in China) Township authorities have forced hundreds of women in Chewang Township, Cangshan County, Shandong Province to undergo abortions since March of this year. Many of these women have been beaten and illegally detained for resisting the authorities, and this mistreatment even resulted in the death of one woman.

Around June of last year, officials of the CCP Committee and government of Chewang Township traveled to every part of the township to persuade couples who had only one child to have a second child. For each second birth, couples were required to pay the government 4,500-6,000 yuan as a "birth guarantee fee". By March 2005, the township authorities had collected over 20 million yuan.

In late March of this year, when new township authorities were appointed to their posts, the first thing they did was to force the pregnant women who had paid the "birth guarantee fee" to the previous authorities to have abortions. Hundreds of women were captured and driven to undergo abortions by force. Even those women who had been pregnant for eight months were not spared. According to statistics, more than 160 women who were eight months pregnant were forced to have abortions.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Media Bias?

From John Leo in U.S. News and World Report:

"The disdain that so many reporters have for the military (or for police, the FBI, conservative Christians, or right-to-lifers) frames the way that errors and bogus stories tend to occur. The antimilitary mentality makes atrocity stories easier to publish, even when they are untrue. The classic example is CNN's false 1998 story that the U.S. military knowingly dropped nerve gas on Americans during the Vietnam War. On the other hand, brutal treatment of dissenters by Fidel Castro tends to be softened or omitted in the American press because so many journalists still see him as the romanticized figure from their youth in the 1960s. Another example: It's possible to read newspapers and newsmagazines carefully and never see anything about the liberal indoctrination now taking place at major universities. This has something to do with the fact that the universities are mostly institutions of the left and that newsrooms tend to hire from the left and from the universities in question."

It's what media choose NOT to report on that makes me so mad. They ignore a lot of the real stories in favor of those that bolster their own narrow world view. It's maddening I tell you!

Corrupt and Wasteful

That's what the EU is corrupt and wasteful. Every week seems to bring new stories of corruption and waste. I've never understood why Europeans are so enamoured with having a centralized governing body like the EU. How much history do they need to understand that such bodies have very little accountability and that the citizens of each country will have little to no voice in the governing body. Why would any citizen want to give up control of their country to a centralized governing body? How many shades of wrong is that? Give me one example where layers of entrenched bureacracy is a good thing. Give me one example in which the farther away the common person is from their elected officials the better it has turned out for the common person. They're nothing but a bunch of pantywaste bureaucrats! Bureaucrats don't care about efficiency or creative problem solving; they care only about creating work for themselves to ensure they keep their cushy jobs and enormous expense accounts. They started the banana brouhaha when they attempted to regulate what the proper shape of a banana should be. They're being given power to meddle in details that shouldn't concern them. A recipe for large scale disaster is brewing in Europe.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Dickinson vs. Hickson

Why do I have such a hard time keeping these two women straight? Whenever I hear Angie Dickinson mentioned my mind immediately conjures up Joan Hickson. They do have similar sounding last names, but sheesh, they couldn't be more different. Dickinson was (is) apparently a sexy bombshell from the 60's and Hickson is, well, Miss Marple. Die hard fans of Angie should go here and rethink if they're that hardcore. I've adored Joan Hickson ever since I first watched her delightful performances as the perspicacious detective on PBS's Miss Marple Mysterys. Many a Thursday night our family crowded around a borrowed black and white TV to watch Tommy & Tuppence /Hercule Poirot / Miss Marple /Sherlock Holmes. Mystery and Masterpiece Theater were our favorites shows as kids and now as adults. These shows redeem PBS from all the other krep they put on.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

An Eye on Cuba

From Jay Nordlinger's diary on NRO:

Tomorrow, an astonishing event is scheduled to take place in Cuba: the General Meeting of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba. This is a great democratic gathering, and those participating have put themselves at great risk: For days, Castro has been arresting democratic activists, and otherwise flexing the muscles of his police state.

Various groups and institutions around the world have expressed their solidarity with the Cuban democrats, including the U.S. Congress. The House passed a resolution — and 22 congressmen voted against. Oh, yes.

Who were they? Oh, you know — the usuals: Charles Rangel, Dennis Kucinich, Maxine Waters, John Conyers, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, Cynthia McKinney, Pete Stark . . .
You’ve heard me say a thousand times before that Rangel is about Castro’s best friend in the United States — at least in the political class. This is doubly a shame, because Rangel is so beloved of the American media. “Good ol’ ‘Chollie,’” they say (because Rangel is a New Yawker, and he talks like that — irresistibly charming guy, most people find).
Guess what he told Meghan Clyne of the
New York Sun? He said that he voted against the Cuba-democracy resolution because American politicians “refuse to give the government the respect that it deserves.” He was referring to his friend Fidel’s regime, of course: a regime that imprisons, tortures, and executes at will. That denies its subjects all rights. That is listed by the State Department as terrorist.

We hear all the time that all Americans — certainly those in our political class — love freedom and democracy. We’re all joined in the same cause, no matter what our (minor) differences.
But guess what: It isn’t so. It just isn’t. We are not all on the same side, even broadly speaking. It is sometimes called McCarthyite to point that out. I regard it as realistic.

If you're interested in how democracy, freedom, and human rights play out in oppressed countries, keep reading Nordlinger. He highlights people and events all over the world trapped in tyrranous regimes. Such perspective gives me pause before complaining too much about current events in the U.S. for the simple reason that I CAN complain without impunity.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Why I'm a Conservative

Yes, I'm a conservative. Jonah Goldberg has a wee essay about what a conservative is in quite general terms. The most fundamental reason why I am a conservative is that conservatives believe in a human nature that is NOT naturally good. They know how evil men can be, but more importantly they know WHY men are evil. From this understanding, they are in a much better position to tackle policy issues and foreign affairs. Reagan was right on when he called the USSR an evil empire. What Liberal would ever have said that? My problem with most Liberals is that they believe people are basically good and simply need more education or more money to do what is right in the event they go bad. Therefore, their first answer to most policy and foreign affair problems is to have the government get involved to spend more money, or to dialogue (educate) their opponent into submission. True these can be solutions, but only in a very limited number of situations. Unfortunately, most Liberals view these as one-size-fits-all solutions. They simply do not understand the human heart. The dividing line between good and evil passes through every man's heart. This the conservative knows. This the Liberal ignores.

Monday, May 02, 2005

On This Day

On this day, May 2nd, in the year 373 A.D. one of my favorite characters from the time of the early church died--Saint Athanasius. In the forward to Athanasius' book On the Incarnation (St. Vladimer Press), C.S. Lewis said of him,

"Saint Athanasius stood contra mundum for the Trinitarian doctrine 'whole and undefiled,' when it looked as if all the civilized world was slipping back from Christianity into the religion of Arius--one of those 'sensible', synthetic religions which are so strongly recommended today and which then, as now, included among their devotees many highly cultivated clergymen. It is the glory of Saint Athanasius that he did not move with the times; it is his reward that he now remains when those times, as all times do, have moved away."

Indeed. Athanasius contra mundum--Athanasius against the world!