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Tag: ISIS

‘Stop This Horror’ Says Visiting Congressman

This article was originally published by The Chaldean News  http://www.chaldeannews.com/stop-this-horror-says-visiting-congressman/

UWith Congressman Jeffrey Fortenberry.S. Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska), a strong proponent of using the term “genocide” for what ISIS is doing to religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, visited with leaders of the Chaldean community on March 3 at the Sterling Heights’ Chaldean Community Foundation office.

Fortenberry said he is committed to getting the Obama administration to label what ISIS is doing in Syria and Iraq genocide. (Editor’s Note: A week after this meeting, the Obama Administration did in fact declare the situation a genocide.)

“What will happen if the term ‘genocide’ is passed?” asked Anmar Sarafa, president and CIO of Capital Management. “Will the U.S. ultimately provide protection?”

“This will bring awareness and raise consciousness on an international scale,” replied Fortenberry. “When you have the label of genocide, at least you have a gateway to possible policies that would provide protection and integration back into the society.”

In recent testimony on Capitol Hill, Gregory Stanton, president of Genocide Watch and a research professor at George Mason University, explained that “genocide” actually means the destruction of people, which thus therefore improvises the entire human race. “Our conclusion as genocide scholars is that when lesser terms, weaker terms are used, it is a sure indicator of an unwillingness to act,” he said.

“As a result of this label, people will be able to potentially return to their rightful land,” said Fortenberry, adding, “I feel that the Nineveh Plains ought to be a safe haven so that Christians will be close in proximity and can easily return.”

Fortenberry has had a long interest in the Middle East. At age 18, he went to the Sinai Peninsula, where in 1973 Egypt, along with Syria, launched the October War, a surprise attack to regain part of the Sinai territory that Israel had captured six years earlier. His interest in that region, he said, along with the hype of the Iraq War, made him feel responsible to immerse himself into Middle Eastern affairs.

“The rise of ISIS – the eighth-century barbarity with 21st-century weaponry – has jarred our world and our country,” he said. “What we have to do is join our thoughts collectively to stop this horror, which is undermining our civilization and which is also tied to our national security. The way America works is that you have to engage and you have to engage in numbers.”

Joseph Cella, senior advisor at In Defense of Christians, applauded the congressman for concentrating on an issue that “shamefully has not been given its deserved attention.”

“The world is full of problems,” noted Frank Jonna, CEO of Jonna Companies, “What will distinguish this issue from other issues? What will give it the attention it needs?”

Fortenberry replied, “I was in the room when Pope Francis was given a small cross worn by a Christian man who was killed by a jihadist who told him to convert or die. The man chose Christ, his ancestor’s faith, and he was beheaded. His mother was able to obtain his body and she later fled the country. The horrors of what’s happening to the people have caused us, as an international people, to find ways to help them.”

Martin Manna, president of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce and a Chaldean News co-publisher, noted that of the more than 2,100 Syrian refugees who entered the United States since Syria’s civil war began in 2011, only 53 are Christians. The rest are Muslim.

“There definitely seems to be partisan favoritism here, discriminatory practices against minorities,” said Manna.

“I have raised this issue with the State Department,” said Fortenberry. “But normally Christians don’t flee to refugee camps because it’s too dangerous for them. They usually go to churches and other safer places.”

“Do you believe that it’s our failed policies that put our brothers and sisters in the hands of these butchers?” asked George Brikho, a former Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Our foreign policy is exhausted and needs to be reset,” said Fortenberry. “There was a noble belief that Iraq would turn out different. Then we pulled out our troops, which I did not agree with, and created a vacuum. We have to think big, collectively and creatively, and this is starting to work. The problem is that our brothers and sisters are suffering in a faraway land.”

“If we topple [Syrian President Bashar] Asaad, not that he’s an angel, isn’t that going to be a lot worse for the people in that area?” asked Brikho.

“Congress rejected the president wanting to bomb Asaad for this reason,” said the congressman. “Asaad is barbarous toward his people, but if he’s gone, could that area be potentially worse? Do we want him to stay in power? No! Do we want him to successfully transition out of power where jihadists won’t be able to run wild? Yes.”

“Why hasn’t the evangelical community gotten involved in this?” asked Manna. “You don’t see them having that same passion for Christians as they show for issues concerning Israelis.”

Fortenberry advised the community leaders to visit evangelical sites and ask them this question, to see how they can come on board for this cause.

“Why aren’t the Muslim leaders, if they’re offended by how the world views them, rise up against ISIS?” asked Sarafa.

“There are people that try to do that but I’m in those circles a lot more frequently and have the opportunity to hear them,” said the congressman.

Fortenberry reminded attendees that the very source of our culture and faith is under threat so people have to work hard to restore it.

“All of you have a foot into two worlds,” he said. “You have a connection to your birthplace and you don’t like America to be beat up. The reality is that the world depends on America, but America will not tolerate you spreading political hatred behind our back and then saying, ‘We need you.’ Gratitude must be shown for what we’ve made and are willing to make for you.”

 

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Growing Politically Fat with Maya

Monastary in Mosul

Visiting monasteries of Mosul in the year 2000

We were in the hotel room, getting ready to go visit the Mayan ruins in Mexico when I saw on CNN that ISIS had blown up St. Elijah’s Monastery in northern Iraq. I watched the destruction of this Christian monastery that dates back to the fourth century.

I remembered my visit to Iraq in the year 2000, when I was lucky enough to visit the sites that have become the targets of extremists in recent years. I wondered if, despite all this, the civilization of my birth country will survive so that perhaps, one day, our children and others are able to see that land’s beauty, the way people came from all over the world to visit the Mayan ruins.

Before we left our hotel room, I saw a segment about the Syrian refugees. The ongoing destruction of Iraq and the refugee crisis will continue to replay daily, holding up mirrors for us to see what we have turned our world into. We call nonviolent acts “crimes” and prosecute people. We prosecute people who committed a crime twenty years ago, or who never committed a crime but who need to be locked up in order to maintain the “Justice System” and so that the prison institutions have a greater number of residents.

But what about those who created the real, honest-to-goodness destruction? They destroyed countries and millions of lives. Because of these destroyers’ political status, we give them a pass, and then we call ourselves a democracy, a democracy which the rest of the world should adopt. If we don’t become politically fit, we will continue to grow fat with maya, illusions, and the fatter we get, the harder it will be for us to get our world back into shape.

 

ISIS Continues Targeting Christians

Assyrians

My friend Nahren sent me the following report:

It is being reported by my journalist friends in Khabour that ISIS has started using the Assyrian Christian hostages as human shields including the children against the Syrian Military. It is confirmed that the amount of hostages right now are 217 and the difference from the original amount were hiding in red zone areas until they made their way back to their families and were identified. However, ISIS is requesting a ransom of $100,000 per Assyrian Christian hostage. The Sheikhs are trying to demand for their release through consistent communication and the sheiks claim that the 217 are still alive. Many Americans and non-Assyrians have attempted to drive into the Northern Part of Khabour which is under the Kurdish occupation. They were turned away even with permits from the KRG.

It is also reported by numerous sources that as some of the civilians made their ways back to their homes, they found that the Kurds completely have taken over their homes and properties. They were told that their homes did not belong to them anymore. Journalists and media are not permitted in the area anymore and witnesses have confirmed that they were allowing only Kurdish civilians to enter through the border. Furthermore, it is reported that the Kurds are already attempting to convert the Assyrian Christian village names into Kurdish names (it’s confirmed that 2 to 3 villages have already been changed).

I asked Nahren, who with other activists demands international protection, why the Iraqi minorities have not yet been helped. She explained part of the problem.

“Our own people are so divided in organizations, political parties, churches and so forth,” she said. “The day our people (Assyrians, Chaldeans and Syriacs) will unite like we used to be, I promise that Nineveh will rise with an amazing power that will be distinguishable in the world.”

Which reminded me of the famous Pogo quote, “We have met the enemy and it is us.”

How Saddam, the So-Called Butcher, Dealt With Prisoners

Who's the Real Butchers in this Picture?

Who are the Real Butchers in this Picture?

Iraq was bombed for 43 consecutive days during the 1991 Gulf War.  The coalition flew over 100,000 sorties, dropping 88,500 tons of bombs, and widely destroying military and civilian infrastructure. So when Iraq captured Americans and journalists a few months later, what did they do to them? They released them.

Missing American, French Journalists Released by Iraq

April 16, 1991 | From Reuters

An American and a French journalist, missing and feared dead in Iraq for almost three weeks, are alive and on their way to Amman, Jordan, from Baghdad, CBS News reported Monday. CBS News broadcast a brief interview with Frank Smyth, 29, and Alain Buu, 30, who were released from an Iraqi prison. Both men said they were fine, but they did not give full details of what happened to them after their capture by Iraqi troops while covering the Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq.

Ex-POWs Return to Hero’s Welcome at Camp Pendleton

March 19, 1991 | JOHN M. GLIONNA, TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two Marine Corps fliers who spent 48 days as Iraqi prisoners of war, most of the time handcuffed and blindfolded in prisons in and around Baghdad, returned to their home base to a hero’s welcome Monday. Shortly before dusk, the Air Force Lear jet that had carried Lt. Col. Clifford Acree and Chief Warrant Officer Guy L. Hunter Jr. from Washington touched down on a wind-swept Pendleton runway as hundreds of family members, friends, well-wishers and fellow Marines shouted their names and waved American flags and yellow balloons.

The two men were forced to eject from their damaged OV-10 Bronco reconnaissance plane on Jan. 18 and parachuted to the Kuwaiti desert, where they were seized by patrolling Iraqi soldiers.

In Honor of the Jordanian Pilot Killed by ISIS

Cradle of Humankind

Cradle of Humankind

Lynn Andrew’s Walk in Balance has daily readings filled with ancient wisdom. For February 3, the following is the teaching:

Respect the Unknown

Great evil has been done on earth by people who think they have all the answers. They have no respect for the unknown. If you do not see all sides of truth and you think that only what you understand is valid, then you dishonor power. You ignore much of the body of the Great Spirit. The body of the Great Spirit is all creation.

We are limited as human beings. Most humans live in a tiny little world where only their own perceptions are accepted as real. They will kill for those perceptions. I am asking you to respect what you don’t see. Give humble respect to what is unknown and unknowable in the universe.

Ruby Plenty Chiefs

Crystal Woman

*   *   *   *  *  

Given the cruel manner in which the Jordanian pilot was burned to death by ISIS today, the February 3rd teaching is most appropriate to describe what is happening in our world.

ISIS Blows up Ancient Nineveh Wall

Nineveh2

I just received an email from one of my friends, Nahren.  She wrote:

“I am in tears again as I write this update. I am devastated to report and confirm that the walls of Nineveh, one of the greatest Assyrian archaeological sites in the world, is being detonated and a large portion of the walls have been leveled with explosives conducted by ISIS terrorists. This day is a grieving day for all people especially the ones who have respect for ancient and priceless history. The landmarks of the Cradle of Civilization are being detonated as the world stands still and the people who created them are being sacrificed.”

Located in northern Iraq near the modern city of Mosul, Nineveh served as the capital of the Assyrian Empire from 705 to 612 BC and was described in the Book of Jonah as an “exceedingly great city.” In 612, after it was attacked and reduced to rubble by a combination of Medes, Babylonians, and Susianians, Nineveh was left lost and buried until its rediscovery by archaeologists in the mid-19th century.

“These are the types of destructions that will occur when the international community is sleeping at the wheel,” continued Nahren in her email. “What are you waiting for? Innocent people are being slaughtered and priceless history is being detonated that have lasted for almost 7,000 years!”

I suppose the international community is busy honoring the death of the Saudi King, the man who funded radical terrorist groups. Here at home, many people are busy hating on Michael Moore and other celebrities who are using their First Amendment rights to express their opinions. Others are caught up with the women who suddenly popped up, over 40 years after the fact, to accuse Bill Cosby of date rape.

One wonders where our priorities are and how much of our power we have given away that we are forced to deal with petty matters which in the long run will have no real significance for us. Yet serious matters like ISIS, which might one day come knocking on our door, we give over to our government and our military in the hopes that they take care of it while we continue to enjoy an easy life. Unfortunately, it does not work that way.

If we don’t become politically fit, the problem is not going to go away.

Iraqi Children Receive Christmas Gifts

This morning I received an email from Shlama Foundation telling me what my and others’ contributions were spent on. With a combined $680 donation, the foundation was able to deliver 550 Christmas gifts to displaced children on December 29th.

On one hand, that brought a smile to my face. On the other hand, I thought, “I should have donated more than a hundred dollars.” My children received a number of unnecessary gifts for Christmas, many of which they used for only a day or two.  We should have used that money to give to the Iraqi children. Such an act would have been more rewarding and my children would have learned a valuable lesson about the job of giving.

Shlama Foundation was founded in August 2014, after tens of thousands of Christian Iraqis fled ISIS and were forced to live in refugee camps in the Kurdistan region. One of the founders, Noor Matti, lives in Iraq. He had come to Michigan when he was six years old. As an adult, he applied to pharmacy school and was accepted, but decided instead to return to Iraq.

Shlama means “peace” and the foundation has established a secure system that not only shows where the money went, but creates a relationship between donor and recipient. On their website, a spreadsheet shows the name of the donor, the amount given, and a link to a YouTube video that portrays how and for whom the money was used, with photos of the receipts. In each video, the recipients express their situation, thank the donor by name and address how the money has touched them.

I interviewed the members of this organization last year, during which time Matti told me his feelings about the situation in Iraq. “Better days are ahead,” he said. “As a nation, we hit rock bottom. So, there’s nowhere to go but up.”

Learn more at Shlama.org

Shlama Foundation

Wise Words from a Republican

George Brikho

“We created ISIS, and we need to destroy ISIS,” said George Brikho. “ISIS is funded by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, our supposed allies.”

These words by a Republican running for Congress in 2014 caught my interest in an event I recently covered. Unlike most Republicans, what Brikho said was honest, bold and heartfelt, not staged. He is obviously not afraid to look at the root of ISIS’ formation, which he blames on our foreign policy as well as the current and past administrations.

“Today’s Republicans are not behaving like Republicans,” he said. “Today it’s all about the money changers. Wars are being made for profit. Corporations are directing politicians. It’s no longer about liberation for the people.”

His solution is simple – stop getting involved with other countries and going to war, because the more war we get into, the more debt we have.

“Saddam and Kaddafi wanted to sell their oil their way through OPEC,” he said. “It’s like you have a store or any another business. You have the right to set the prices and do business the way you want.”

Saudi Arabia is the leader of OPEC. It is also the only member of the OPEC cartel that does not have an allotted production quota. Oil can be bought from OPEC only if you have dollars. In November 2000, Iraq began selling its oil in euros. When OPEC oil could be sold in other currencies, like the euro, that’s not too good for the U.S. economic dominance.

“Leaders of other countries were not happy about what Saddam and Kaddafi were doing and wanted things to be done the way they wanted them to be done,” said Brikho. “So they went in and polarized that nation into submission. Then the federal banking comes in, and the new leaders are given money to rebuild, and in order to be able to give this money back, those countries, who never taxed their citizens before, start taxing their people the way we do.”

I wondered why this Republican was not talking like most Republicans. What was so different about him?

“I’m a statesman, not a politician,” he said. “I’m a concerned American, and I work for the people. I am willing to expose anyone whose allegiance is to money and not the people.”

On his website, it says:

The Constitution of the United States of America is the most intelligently crafted governing document in the history of mankind. The US Constitution protects personal liberty by limiting the power of our government. Unfortunately, our government violates its boundaries on a daily basis. Our federal government must be restrained.

One wonders why the people have given their powers away.

“We have become too comfortable, to where unconsciously we’re allowing for things that don’t benefit us to happen,” he said. “For instance, a third of our paycheck goes to our government. This is modern day enslavement. You don’t need a cage to be a slave.”

I researched the difference between a statesman and a politician and found an interesting quote by James Freeman Clarke, who said, “The difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election while the statesman thinks about the next generation.”

I also found an interesting article by Mike North who wrote that the founders of this nation were not politicians, but were statesmen, adding, “We are suffering from a drought of statesmen and a flood of politicians. It’s like a diet full of calories with almost no nutrition. Statesmen are like vegetables. Many people don’t like them, but they’re good for you. Politicians are like too much ice cream. Yummy, I’ll worry about the stomach ache later.”

I feel we should be grateful that George Brikho is helping our country fill this drought, and do, what I think is so crucial for our nation to do, which is to become politically fit.

You can read Mike North’s full article here: http://mike_north.tripod.com/id20.htm

Utilizing the Constitution to Stop ISIS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I picked up my kindergartner from school the other day, he was wearing a white, red, and blue paper hat he made in class. I asked him what it was for, and he said, smiling, “It’s constitushi day.”

“What?” I asked.

“It’s constitushi day,” he said with an even bigger smile.

“Mom, it’s Constitution Day,” my daughter explained.

I was glad that the teachers had the children pay special attention to this important day, so kids can learn the value of the constitution at an early age. As drafted, the Constitution’s purpose was to create a government that had enough power to act on a national level, but without so much power that individual’s fundamental rights would be at risk.

But many adults need to revisit the values of the Constitution, and act upon this privilege that in many countries is obsolete. Having been raised under Saddam’s totalitarian regime, I can tell you that people in the United States do not fully utilize the political freedoms bestowed upon them.  Oftentimes this freedom is taken for granted. If that continues, I’m afraid that one day we will see ISIS strolling around in our neighborhoods.

“ISIS is here, they’re capable of striking,” CNN national security analyst and former CIA operative Bob Baer

Obama, Obama, Where Are You?

Obama, Obama, where are you? Iraqi Christians they need you!”

Today thousands of people marched for miles on Ryan Road in Sterling Heights, asking that our President help the Iraqi Christians.

ISIS has started taking children, mothers and fathers to a park in Mosul and systematically beheading them, then putting their heads on a stick.

While it is easier to create a mess than clean it, President Obama, you must help clean this mess! Once it’s cleaned, if it even can be at this point, the next big question should be, “The criminals who helped start this genocide, this bleeding of Iraq, where are you now?”

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