The Far East: If there were ever any doubts about China's aggressive military intentions in the Pacific, its warning to Australia last week to choose itself a U.S. or Chinese "godfather" ought to remove all of them.
In what can only be construed as a direct threat to a top U.S. ally, Song Xiaojun, a "retired" Chinese general, told the Sydney Morning Herald that "Australia has to find a godfather sooner or later."
"Australia always has to depend on somebody else, whether it is to be the 'son' of the U.S. or 'son' of China," Song said, adding that Australia had best choose China because it all "depends on who is more powerful and based on the strategic environment."
It's rather doubtful that China will push around the great-grandchildren of Gallipoli, the grandchildren of the Solomons and North Africa, the children of the Cold War. Not even the most foolish Leftist Aussie pol will kow-tow to China. I hope.
[Dawn] A PERSISTENT failure to deal with the canker of intolerance -- one of the greatest threats to the Pak people's mental health and their material well-being -- is making the affliction day by day more unmanageable.
A young non-Mohammedan woman has been living in Lahore for quite some time. A few weeks ago she married an American citizen -- a crime her neighbours apparently did not forgive. A group of hotheads raided her home at night early this month and on their inability to break into the house they damaged the car parked in the porch and pasted a notice on it: 'kalima parh lo warna' (convert to Islam or else).
This from a community whose religious mentors keep on proclaiming from every pulpit under their occupation -- "there is no compulsion in matters of faith". And this is not happening in one of those parts of Pakistain where lawlessness is the order of the day -- such as Balochistan ...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it... , Fata or Lyari ...one of the eighteen constituent towns of the city of Karachi. It is the smallest town by area in the city but also the most densely populated. Lyari has few schools, substandard hospitals, a poor water system, limited infrastructure, and broken roads. It is a stronghold of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party. Ubiquitous gang activity and a thriving narcotics industry make Lyari one of the most disturbed places in Karachi, which is really saying a lot.... -- but in the capital of the land of peace and amity, whose redoubtable rulers are feared so much by terrorist organizations that they have migrated to Balochistan and where laptops float on rivers of milk and honey.
It is possible that the purpose of the assault on the vulnerable woman is not a desire to increase the numerical strength of the Mohammedan community -- already a preponderant majority -- and the idea is only to secure her release from marriage to an American man. But no law permits any vigilante squad to interfere with the right of adult men and women to marry of their free will and raise their families. And if the cause of provocation is the bridegroom's nationality, then the message to the world is that the Pak people belong to the lunatic fringe that victimises the citizens of a state with whom their state has some temporary quarrel, a proposition no Pak in his or her right frame of mind will endorse.
Not far from the scene of the atrocity mentioned above an operation to demolish some parts of an Ahmadi prayer house has been going on for many days. The cause is the complaint that the building looks like a mosque. If every premises that has small minarets and domes and cupolas is to be treated as a mosque-like structure that cannot be left in the possession of undesirable occupants, then a good number of buildings in Lahore and elsewhere, in secular or religious use, may have to be demolished. But that is a smaller part of the matter.
Far more serious is the issue of the denial of a community's right to freedom to subscribe to a faith of its choice and to practise it freely and this under a law arbitrarily made by a dictator. Even if the law does not offer the beleaguered community any relief, are the state and society incapable of promoting a peaceful solution? It is the silence of the media, the academia, the politicians, the bureaucrats and, one suspects, the judiciary too, on blatant instances of religious persecution that encourages the demons of intolerance to become more and more invincible.
Unfortunately, the fires of intolerance are now being stoked by some elements that are expected to guarantee all citizens due protection of the law.
Incidents of some immature lawyers' resort to perpetrating violence on citizens, coppers and court staff have not been uncommon, especially since their movement for the independence of the judiciary, which some old-fashioned people thought was also aimed at strengthening the rule of law. Some of these incidents have taken place on court premises. None of them, highly deplorable though, led to a situation comparable to the result of a lawyer's decision to hurl a shoe at the dignitary presiding over a court of law in Faisalabad.
The offender had surely rendered himself liable to punishment under the law but he could not be denied his right to adequate and fair defence. The lawyers' association of his district tried to extinguish just that right. A high-ranking delegation of lawyers called upon the chief justice of the high court to assure him that the district bar will not defend the accused in the reference to the high court, nor before the bar council in the hearing on a plea for the cancellation of his licence to practise, nor in the matter of its own complaint against him. The news item appearing in the press contained no reference to any admonition that the delegation had apparently invited.
It seems the lawyers' ethics is at a heavy discount these days. A lawyer can refuse to accept a brief for quite a few personal reasons based upon a clash of interest or simply for a client's failure to pay his fees but one never heard of a lawyer being denied defence on the ground that he is guilty of disrespect for a judicial officer. A lawyer who defends a criminal is not required to endorse his client's criminal action. His job is primarily to assist the court in a fair adjudication of the case and to ensure that his client is not punished any more than what he lawfully deserves.
Unfortunately, the lawyers' attitude in this case corresponds to the unfair public criticism of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan's decision to defend the prime minister in the contempt case and is reminiscent of some lawyers' refusal to defend persons charged under the blasphemy law.
A lawyer has a duty to assist people in conflict with the law just as a medical practitioner is duty-bound to help any seriously maimed offender. A doctor is required to comply with the legal requirements of the case but he must try to save the criminal's life. This is the lesson humankind learnt after centuries of warfare -- that the life of an enemy soldier who is maimed in battle needs to be saved -- a lesson still valid despite its violation by some states during the Second World War and in subsequent conflicts.
Even more disturbing is the case of some coppers who were accused of deliberately injuring a few Sahiwal lawyers when the latter took out a procession in May 2007 in protest against the Musharraf putsch against the Supreme Court. Their appeal against a ruling of the trial court is pending before the Lahore High Court and no less than nine division benches have declined to hear it for personal reasons. Some action has to be taken to remove the impression, however ill-founded it may be, that the coppers are being punished because they interfered with a pro-judiciary procession and their victims were lawyers and not ordinary citizens.
These are extremely distressing manifestations of intolerance. What hope of the people's deliverance from the deadly disease can there be if those infected include law officers? When men of law start taking pride in their acts of intolerance the message to the citizens is quite sinister -- they are free to grow increasingly intolerant of and violent towards anyone who does not agree with them. One of the roots of intolerance thus lies in the acts of commission and omission of the corps of defenders and dispensers of justice.
Iran -- and Turkey -- do not quite understand how Christianity works, nor the long history of rejecting false gospels by the collectors of the New Testament, including the one so excitedly displayed now. This would, in fact, bolster the contention of some scholars that Islam was based on an ignorant corruption and co-option of Christian traditions. Come to think of it, Iran and Turkey are not the only ones to make this mistake -- some years back a very popular novel and film were based on the same misapprehension.
This is 16th century Ottoman, they were a bit full of themselves, and maybe for good reason, poised to infiltrate and control the key spots of Europe. Propaganda like this would not be surprising. What it does not foretell is the defeat of the Ottomans by a loose formation of ill trusting European allies..so the Ottomans looked east for expansion, as it was its prime mission in existance to expand the Ottoman Empire, to fight the Persians, who they must have considered inferior to Europeans and thus easier pickings.
Basij press huh. Perhaps this is also for intra-mohammaton consumption as well.
I would like to see a future movie based on Empires of the Sea, could be a three-part deal or even just two, because if people get riled up about the stand at Helm's Deep, the struggle for Malta is not only well documented from both sides, it could be the inspiration for that particular LOtR battle. (A Tolkein expert will have to clarify whether that is accurate.)
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.