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Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Identifying the True Abomination

Posted by Anthony on August 7, 2015

Jerusalem Gay Pride Stabbing

“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.”

– Leviticus 20:13

This past Thursday, during a Gay Pride march in Jerusalem, an ultra-Orthodox Jew ran through the crowd brandishing a knife and using it to indiscriminately stab and slash at anyone within arms-reach. A terrible act, but one to which he was no stranger: he had just been released, weeks prior, from an Israeli prison for doing the exact same thing at a Gay Pride march in 2005. During that attack he managed to wound three people; during last week’s he stabbed six one of whom, sixteen-year old Shira Banki, has died of her wounds.

To their credit, the Israeli government was swift to condemn the attack in no uncertain terms with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin speaking out on the basic rights for an individual in Israel to live in security however they wish to live their lives. Even the Anti-Defamation League in New York spoke out condemning the attack and praising the open and tolerant attitude expressed towards the LGBT community in Israel. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Culture, Middle East, Politics, Religion, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Moral Imperative to Destroy ISIS

Posted by Anthony on July 20, 2015

This is an article which I had been planning, and wanting, to write for some time. The issue isn’t what to write about or how to present the facts; rather, my concern here was that I would not be able to restrain myself from lashing out in an overly emotional morality infused rage before I even got to the mid-point of the writing. Surely, if anyone can bring that out in abundance it is ISIS.

Comparing ISIS to other historical organizations is not entirely fair. For example, to bring up the Nazi regime is to insult the memory of the tens-of-millions of deaths that abomination was responsible for both directly (through their racial policies and the Holocaust) and, well, directly by starting the Second World War. In this regard, ISIS is, as President Obama referred to them, “the JV team”. Their death toll pales in comparison to regimes such as that which existed under Stalin in the Soviet Union, Mao in China (who may well hold the record for deaths), the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia under Pol Pot which, although much lower on the scale for total deaths must be recognized for the absolute barbarity of the regime, or even any of the more localized genocides such as the Hutu extermination of Tutsis in Rwanda. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Africa, Americas, Culture, Economics, Education, Europe, Middle East, Politics, Religion, South Asia, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Turkish Non-Delight: Facebook and Freedom of Speech

Posted by Anthony on January 26, 2015

First, allow me to start off this entry with a blanket statement: I love Turkey. I visited Turkey in 2012, and can honestly tell you that there are very few places in the world I have been that were as enjoyable. For me, it contained the perfect mix of ancient, medieval, and modern along with the fine balance so difficult to find these days of European and Middle-Eastern mixed into one fantastic city: Istanbul. The people are about the best you will find anywhere, the food is excellent, and history is everywhere you step which, to me as an historian, was quite thrilling. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Much Wealth is Enough?

Posted by Anthony on January 19, 2015

Anti-Poverty charity Oxfam released a report the other day wherein their studies show that by 2016 the wealthiest 1% of the global population will own more than 50% of the wealth. By 2020, that percentage is due to rise to 54%. Whereas the elites have been getting wealthier, the poor of the world have seen a marked drop in the amount of wealth they posses: the same report explains that the bottom 50% has seen their wealth drop by $750 billion in the last four years. This bring us to some interesting observations… Read the rest of this entry »

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What We Have Learned From Iran

Posted by Anthony on July 11, 2009

By Anthony J. Aschettino

Looking at the Iranian post-election uprisings of 2009 from several weeks’ perspective, it becomes much clearer as to what the results of the protests have accomplished: they have affected the regime as much as the voting electorate and they represent a new chapter in potential discourse with the Islamic Republic.

The first, and most important, result of the protests is that Iran no longer can maintain even an air of legitimacy about the “democratic” process within the state. In the past there was a general consensus that, if not entirely democratic (the oligarchy of mullahs still runs the show), there was the potential chance for change on more practical levels such as the economy and collective security. This illusion has been smashed beyond repair: Iran will, as long as it retains the current regime, never again have a legitimate election.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Middle East, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Religious Intolerance and the Law

Posted by Anthony on March 3, 2009

By Anthony J. Aschettino

While in many states religion has been demoted to the field of personal belief, in others it has been elevated to the law of the land and the disrespect (perceived or otherwise) or criticism of the dominant creed is often met with harsh consequences. This is particularly true in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, but aspects of the intolerance have crept slowly yet surely into Europe and the Americas over the past few decades where the law has been manipulated in far more subtle ways and with help from other religious institutions who see a common interest in suppressing free speech and thought. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rethinking National Sovereignty

Posted by Anthony on February 24, 2009

By Anthony J. Aschettino

The modern world is the world of the nation-state, a world in which every ethnic group lays claim to their own special plot of land under the guise of nationalism and their “historic” rights to that place. Gone are the days of the empires, those polyglot entities encompassing the ethnicities of a dozen or more groups and spreading across the globe with seeming impunity. The trend had begun long before then, but by the end of the Second World War empires were crumbling wherever they were found. It was a long process, tied to the end of colonialism, and as such is generally viewed as a good thing in most circles. Was it really? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Africa, Americas, Europe, Middle East, Politics, South Asia | 2 Comments »

The Main Obstacle to Peace in Palestine

Posted by Anthony on January 27, 2009

By Anthony J. Aschettino

Most people, their understanding of the situation in Palestine coloured only by that which they absorb through either the main-stream media or a partisan source, could be excused for being unknowledgeable about the overall details encompassing politics in that most volatile of places. US foreign policy is of course heavily one-sided in both its theory and application, and the last two generations (at the least) have grown up with the expectation to support America’s “only true friend and democracy” in the region. Likewise, the left especially has made Palestinian rights a keystone of their global agenda; leftists worldwide have seemed to form a solidarity with the Palestinians and their cause. Read the rest of this entry »

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Criminal Actions

Posted by Anthony on January 20, 2009

By Anthony J. Aschettino

Over the majority of the last month, Israel has been waging a relentless war against the forces of Hamas in the Gaza strip in an effort to stop rocket attacks on Israeli citizens being fired from the territory. Defenders of the invasion cite the right of any sovereign state to protect its own people, while those who would criticize it point out the disproportionate response by the Israelis given the real effect of the rockets versus their overwhelming countering offensive. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Middle East, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Upholding Universal Human Rights

Posted by Anthony on October 29, 2008

By Anthony J. Aschettino

As the world continues to shrink due to advances in communication and travel, disparate cultures who may have had limited contact with one another suddenly find themselves intermingling on a daily basis. Whereas less than a century ago the average American or European might have little to no understanding of Arab or Chinese culture, today, thanks in a large part to the internet, one can not only read up on culture from these areas but also watch indigenous programming and listen to ethnic music on a daily basis. The same can be said for the average person in those regions, and the result of this exchange is that now more than ever the world has truly become one large global community. The problem with this is that, as the world grows smaller, different cultures can and do come into conflict with one another and this has led to no end of debate about whether certain aspects of different cultures are legitimate in modernity. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Africa, Americas, Culture, Europe, Middle East, Politics, South Asia | 2 Comments »