The best of Saddam
: The Onion‘s joke about Saddam’s pre-recorded speeches makes me wonder whether we will find a cache of them with optimistic dates: Air on April 17… Air on May 1…
Posts from April 2003
The best of Saddam
Madonna: This war is about me
: Madonna joins the Tim Robbins/Janeane Garofalo self-centered celebrity club as she whines about criticism she got for producing (and then pulling) a video showing her throwing a grenade into the president’s lap:
“You know, it’s ironic we’re fighting for democracy in Iraq because we ultimately aren’t celebrating democracy here.Oh, you had the right to release the video. And your fans had the right to become your former fans. That’s democracy. Taht’s capitalism. That’s showbiz.
“Because anybody who has anything to say against the war or against the President is punished and that’s not democracy, it’s people being intolerant.
“Everyone is entitled to their opinion, for or against and that’s what our constitutional rights are supposed to be – that we all have the freedom to express ourselves…”
Comical Ali dolls
: NEW! The talking Comical Ali doll. Just $35.95. Order now. Operators standing buy. Realistic. Lifelike (though Ali himself isn’t anymore, some reports say). He says:
“There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!”
“Our initial assessment is that they will all die”
“No I am not scared and neither should you be!”
“We have given them a sour taste”
: A mass grave believed to be filled with Kurdish victims of Saddam’s ethnic cleansing is found. Still think we shouldn’t have ousted this guy?
Control v. compassion
: I’m disgusted that the Euros are going to make ending sanctions to Iraq an issue.
“This issue could prove very divisive right now,” one EU diplomat observed. “If you lift sanctions you lift the control of the United Nations in what is going on in Iraq.”
This nation needs trade to employ its people and build its assets and simply to eat. But the Euros have never had the best interests of the Iraqi people at heart; they did not care about their freedom from tyranny and now they do not care about their poverty. They care about their control.
: And they’re still more concerned about artifacts than people.
Hide ‘n’ seek
: The Times of London says that if Saddam’s sighted in Syria, our forces would go in for a “snatch-and-shoot” operation to get him.
Religions at war and peace
: Are Christianity and Islam essentially anti-Semitic? No, of course not. But they have both rejected much of Judaism, too much to fully disavow that provocative statement. Of course, there is tension and hostility between Jews and Muslims. And these days, I am disturbed to see some of the religious left and Christian Europe turn against Israel.
If all three religions spring from the same fountain, from the same first contact with God, through Abraham (in what is now Iraq, by the way), then why don’t they share more traditions and rituals and holy days? Why, for example, don’t Christians and Muslims still celebrate Passover with Jews?
Well, Muslims do celebrate Passover in their way, says a Muslim columnist on Beliefnet:
Many may not know this, but Muslims also commemorate the Exodus of the Hebrews out of Egypt by fasting the ninth and 10th day of the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The event is called Ashura, stemming from the Arabic word for “ten.”
While this may be surprising to non-Muslims, it’s important to understand that Moses figures prominently in Muslim belief. The Exodus story is a happy one for Muslims; it is a tale of bitter bondage and hardship and the glory of God’s deliverance from that hardship….
Yet, as I think about Passover and Ashura, I lament. I lament the tension that exists between the American Muslim and Jewish communities.
And not just in America. And not just Muslims and Jews but Christians and Jews and Muslims and Christians. It is a tense triangle.
If the tensions spring from religion, so must the solutions. When I think about it, I’m shocked that I don’t see more of those solutions coming from religious leaders, of all people — other than the calls for peace and seminars here and there. But then, I’m naive if I think that there isn’t some truth in the question that begins this post.
So what do we do about it? I think we should start with rituals that take us all back to our common roots. It is a small beginning but it is a beginning that we need.
Why don’t we celebrate Passover — even just share a seder — all of us, Jews, Christians, Muslims? Why don’t we celebrate the freedom of Jews and rejoice for them? Why don’t we all call ourselves God’s people, freed from bondage, and celebrate freedom together?
When I preached at my small church a year after 9.11 — on the Jahrzeit — I ended by saying Kaddish and it felt very right. So why don’t we all pray this Jewish prayer of peace for our dead?
Even these small things, these symbolic acts, would tie us together, would remind us of our common ancestry, our common connection to God. They would start to make the other religions less alien to us. If religion does not create such shared actions to remind us of our shared belief and shared humanity, then religion will continue to be the reason that we fight. And that, clearly, is not God’s plan.
: The Catholic church in Toronto is changing procedures for Easter communion because of SARS:
Catholics taking communion will not be given sacramental wine from a shared chalice, and communion wafers will be placed in the parishioner’s hand, not on their tongue. Worshippers are asked to bow to each other rather than shake hands during the “salutation of peace,” and to bow or cross themselves before the crucifix on Good Friday, instead of the traditional practice of kissing it.
[via Relapsed Catholic]