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Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Wild Bushfires Drive Some Australian Jews from Their Homes

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Wild bushfires ravaging Australia forced members of the Jewish community to evacuate their homes, some of which already have been destroyed by flames since the fires broke out Wednesday a week ago due to explosives used in army exercises.

David Lake, a traditional Sephardi Jew lost his home in the blaze at the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and was able to flee with almost no possession except a Kiddush cup and a mezuzah.

“All my possessions were incinerated,” Lake said. “It’s difficult and emotionally traumatizing.

“The Kiddush cup was completely blackened but I managed to restore it – it’s still useable,” he added. He said the mezuzah on the archway in front of his door was “still intact,” but others lying in the ashes were totally destroyed.

Lake has been living since Tuesday at a Chabad house in Sydney, which has 40 rooms available, along with a handful of other Jewish evacuees.

Other Jewish groups rallied to help the victims this week.

Our Big Kitchen, a Chabad-run community kitchen in Bondi, staged a cook-a-thon on Tuesday, preparing more than 1,000 meals for distribution to victims and firefighters.

“We pray that God Almighty has mercy and brings a swift end to this terrible catastrophe, comforts the bereaved and heals the wounded,” said Pinchus Feldman, the chief rabbi of Chabad in Sydney.

The Jewish House, a crisis center, is offering psychological help, as well as shelter for those with pets.

“We’re in touch with 25 families,” said the center’s CEO, Rabbi Mendel Kastel. “Most are all packed up and ready to run if they need to.”

Jewish Aid Australia launched an appeal this week. “Like all Australians, the Jewish community is deeply concerned by the devastation left in the fires’ wake,” said Jewish Aid Australia CEO Gary Samowitz.

Bush fires are akin to Australia’s frontline war. In 2009, bushfires killed more than 170 people and destroyed 150 homes in Victoria, the worst blaze in Australian history.

Two people have been killed, the latest being a pilot whose water bomber plane crashed in rugged country on the southern coast of Australia. The crash sparked another fire, one of more than 50 are burning across the state of New South Wales.

More than 200 homes have been destroyed, and one man died from a heart attack while trying to save his home.

Syrian Violence Spills Over to – Australia

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Violence in the Syrian Civil War knows no borders and has spillover as far as away as Australia, where shooting and arson attacks have taken place.

A Melbourne-based nurse visited Syria twice to help with humanitarian efforts on behalf of rebels  and said her husband’s car had been firebombed and their hem shot at, the Australian reported Monday.

The nurse’s brother was killed in the war last year, and her husband’s car carries the emblem of the Syrian Free Army.

James Daoud, an opponent of the rebellion said he also has been threatened. He told the newspaper, “For the last one year we have seen a lot of attacks on the Shia. There have been a lot of attacks on Shia and Alawi businesses. We are also seeing boycotts of business.”

The head of the pro-rebel Australian Syrian Association, Mohammad Al-Hamwi, said he has received more than 23 threats on his mobile phone.

Obama Begins Attack Blitz, Says 24 Nations Back ‘Strong Response’

Monday, September 9th, 2013

The White House announced Monday that more than dozen more countries have formally backed a “strong international response” to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The United States now has the support of 24 countries, not including Israel which has tried to lay low. The list includes an interesting collection of allies, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Italy, Germany, France, Albania, Australia and Denmark.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women and children,” the statement says. “The evidence clearly points to the Syrian government being responsible for the attack, which is part of a pattern of chemical weapons use by the regime.”

‘Australia’s Sarah Palin’ Quits Race over Islam Gaffe (Video)

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Stephanie Banister, 27, a candidate for Australia’s anti-immigration One Nation party, dropped out of the election race on Saturday, after an interview in which she referred to Islam as a country.

“I don’t oppose Islam as a country, but I do feel that their laws should not be welcome here in Australia,” Banister said in a Wednesday interview to the Seven Network. The interview went viral in short order, endowing Banister with the nickname “Australia’s Sarah Palin.”

She went on to tell the riveted—if somewhat horrified—masses that only two percent of Australians follow the “haram” – referring to the Koran – and then voiced her enthusiastic support for kosher food for Jewish people, because “Jews aren’t under haram. They have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ.”

Bet you didn’t know.

On Saturday, Banister withdrew her candidacy for the September 7 election, which she was contesting for anti-immigration zealot Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party in Queensland.

Party leader Jim Savage insisted the resignation came not over IQ issues and her a lack of familiarity with current events, but because of Islamic persecution: “Due to the threats against Stephanie’s family, herself, her children, the abuse she’s copped and the enormous pressure she’s been put under, Stephanie has decided she wants to withdraw from the candidacy for the seat of Rankin,” Savage said.

Fear of persecution appears to be a running theme in One nation. In 1997, founder Pauline Hanson recorded a video which was to be screened to One Nation members and supporters in the event of her assassination.


Parts of Bulgarian Bus Bomb Smuggled from Poland

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Hezbollah terrorists smuggled from Poland the remote control and the detonating device used to set off the bomb that exploded on a Bulgarian tourists bus last summer and killed five Israelis, according to the Polish Trud daily newspaper.

Last week, Bulgaria named two native Lebanese as part of the cell that carried out the attack near the airport in Burgas, a resort city on the Black Sea.

Hassan El Hajj Hassan, who also holds Canadian citizenship, is suspected of detonating the bomb from the a remote control device,. Meliad Farah, who holds Australian citizenship, is suspecting of having put together the bomb in Bulgaria after receiving the parts that arrived on a train form Warsaw, according to Trud.

Hezbollah wired the terrorists $100,000 for their “success,” the newspaper added.

The Bulgarian Interior Ministry last week published pictures of the two wanted suspects, who it said registered at a  hotel and rented a car under fake names days before the bombing.

Bulgaria’s evidence that Hezbollah was behind the bombing helped pressure the European  Union to declare Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, but the designation applies only to the military branch and to to the political arm, which gives orders to its terrorists.

Egypt, What are The Odds? My Prediction

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
Diplomats, politicians, media, political pundits all over the world are trying to make some sort of sense out of the current balagan, violent anarchy, revolution, riots in Egypt.
Egypt is Egypt.  It’s not Canada, nor France, nor Brazil, China, Australia, Russia, Korea or even South Africa.
Every culture, society, has its own culture/character and it’s totally ridiculous and unrealistic to expect all people to be the same.  Most of us tend to project our own morals, values etc. on others and blind ourselves to the truth.
Egypt is not a European country, even though many people are confused by the Egyptian elite who can be extremely western and sophisticated.  They are “the Egypt” the diplomats and intellectuals meet, when shopping and vacationing in Europe, or when visiting their children in American universities.
The Egyptian population is growing rapidly, unlike the western world.
“Egypt’s population is officially set to reach 84.743 million by World Population Day this Thursday, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics told state-run news agency MENA on Tuesday.
This reflects an increase from 2006′s figure of 72.8  million, and 2009′s figure of 76.1 million. Total population reached 83.7 million by the beginning of 2013, representing a 10.9 million person increase since 2006.”
You can’t understand what’s really happening on the streets and government offices in Egypt without understanding its society.  It’s like trying to play chess against a grandmaster without knowing the rules.
Western democracy just won’t work in Egypt.  The only stable governments that Egyptians have known were dictatorships. It takes a strong military dictator to control the volatile Egyptian population.  Mohammed Morsi failed; remember that he was elected democratically, as democratically as the Egyptians could manage.  Now they are being ruled by the street.
“The military’s early-morning assault that left at least 54 people dead might have been expected to unite Egyptians in grief and anger. Instead, Egypt’s bloodiest day in more than two years of unrest appeared to intensify the scarring arguments about who should be ruling the country and who is responsible for its plunge into turmoil.
Egyptians who not long ago were protesting side by side, even members of the same family, now rely on different sources of information, offer widely divergent accounts of what caused Monday’s carnage and argue that they are the true defenders of the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Rival camps both claim that the United States is offering concrete support to their opponents.”
No doubt there are powerful members of the military pulling those strings, getting the people out to riot.
And what’s my prediction?  At some point a new military dictator will take charge.  He may conduct some sort of  “elections” to give a fig leaf to his dictatorship and get more international aid.  It’s only a strong military dictatorship that can control a country like Egypt.

Visit Shiloh Musings.

A Moment Reflection on the Anniversary of 7/7

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

As a child growing up in Melbourne, Australia (this is Arnold Roth writing), I thought I knew what we meant when twice each year, on Anzac Day and on Remembrance Day, we would solemnly recite and sign and write and in various ways render an archaic-sounding phrase that was put to use on those days only. Lest we forget.

I had a sense of what was meant, though never looked into its origin until thus morning. Those were simpler times, and it turns out that “Lest we forget” is part of the refrain of a poem, “Recessional“, by Rudyard Kipling. It was composed for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and carries with it both religious and nationalistic notes. But then it became, as we would call it today, repurposed:

It introduces the reason for the entreaty expressed in the poem: that God might spare England from oblivion or profanity “lest we forget” the sacrifice of Christ (“Thine ancient sacrifice”).
The phrase later passed into common usage after World War I across the British Commonwealth especially, becoming linked with Remembrance Day observations; it came to be a plea not to forget past sacrifices, and was often found as the only wording on war memorials, or used as an epitaph [Wikipedia]

As the child of parents who both survived the destruction of Europe’s Jewish communities by the Nazi Germans and their many collaborators, and then sixty years later as the father of a child murdered in the streets of the city where we live because she was Jewish, I came to dwell again and again on the power and imperative of memory, of remembering, of never forgetting lest…
Today is July 7. It happens to be the day on which a notorious evil Islamist was finally removed from British soil and sent to the Arab kingdom which currently plays host to the woman who engineered my daughter’s murder. But in a larger sense, one which ought to be impacting on the lives of many, it is the 8th anniversary of 7/7, the day on which London’s underground train system became, for a moment, the battlefield in the ongoing war between the dark forces of jihadism and civilized society.
I went looking this morning, via my trusty ally Google, for mentions in today’s (and yesterday’s and Friday’s) British news media of the names of the 52 people whose lives were terminated eight years ago with utter cruelty and in the grossest possible breach of human rights that there is: the right to live.
I will save readers the trouble. While there are mentions here and there, the news media are focused on other things, and the victims, as victims always are, are remembered mainly by those who knew them and loved them. It’s difficult to find their names recorded in any news channel during these days leading up to and including the anniversary.
In their memory and in honour of their being victims, part of a tragically long and growing list of victims of the process that the British media are by and large encouraging the British public to forget, here are the names of the fifty-two, sacrificed against their will by Islamists whose murderous achievements eight years ago today continue to be celebrated in the hate-filled circles which spawned and sent them.
Aldgate
Lee Baisden 34
Benedetta Ciaccia 30
Richard Ellery 21
Richard Gray 41
Anne Moffat 48
Fiona Stevenson 29
Carrie Taylor 24

Edgware Road
Michael Stanley Brewster 52
Johnathan Downey 34
David Graham Foulkes 22
Colin William Morley 52
Jennifer Vanda Nicholson 24
Laura Webb 29
Russell Square
James Adams 32
Samantha Badham 35
Phillip Beer 22
Anna Brandt 41
Ciaran Cassidy 22
Elizabeth Daplyn 26
Arthur Frederick 60
Emily Jenkins 24
Adrian Johnson 37
Helen Jones 28
Karolina Gluck 29
Gamze Gunoral 24
Lee Harris 30
Ojara Ikeagwu 56
Susan Levy 53
Shelley Mather 25
Michael Matsushita 37
James Mayes 28
Behnaz Mozakka 47
Mihaela Otto 46
Atique Sharifi 24
Ihab Slimane 24
Christian Small 28
Monika Suchocka 23
Mala Trivedi 51
Rachell Chung For Yuen 27
Tavistock Square
Anthony Fatayi-Williams 26
Jamie Gordon 30
Giles Hart 55
Marie Hartley 34
Miriam Hyman 31
Shahara Islam 20
Neetu Jain 37
Sam Ly 28
Shyanuja Parathasangary 30
Anat Rosenberg 39
Philip Russell 28
William Wise 54
Gladys Wundowa 50
Brief bios and photos can be seen on the BBC’s comprehensive “7 July London bombings” page. It’s refreshing, though quite saddening, to see that the BBC makes an exception to its misguided organization-wide rule to avoid the use of the word of “terror” and “terrorist” (essentially for reasons of not wishing to be excessively judgmental) and accurately refers on that site to the 2005 murders by a gang of British Islamists as

one of the worst terrorist atrocities in Britain

It would have been good to be able to add that the BBC’s editors devoted prime space and time to coverage of the eighth anniversary and to the victims this weekend. If that happened, we can’t see it. We would be very glad to know we’re wrong on this (please let us know).
Neither the British in general nor the BBC are worse on this issue than most other Western societies. When the victims of acts of terrorism are remembered as victims of a physical, motivated, ideological, identifiable enemy, and when the retrospective reports of their deaths include factual coverage of how they died, and why, we will be on the road to understanding how to address the threat that the terrorist pose to all of us. We’re not there yet.
Lest we forget.

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