Wednesday, September 15, 2004

From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Samer wrote all of the following in this entry.

To supplement what has already been posted about the Apache strikes in Baghdad's Haifa Street, here's a reporter, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, giving his eye-witness account of the events:

A reporter’s proximity to the recent carnage in Iraq

I reached a building entrance when someone grabbed my arm and took me inside. "There's an injured man. Take pictures - show the world the American democracy," he said.
The next link (via provides access to graphic pictures. Select page 2 (that number may change as new pictures are added) and look for pictures captioned with 'Civilians Killed as Dawn Battle Erupts in Baghdad'.

Two picks from Ha'aretz:

Vatican: Poraz to resolve visa problem for RC clergy
Earlier this year, the RC patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, said the visa issue involved the survival of the Church in the Holy Land and warned it could lead to a complete paralysis.

There exist Israeli elements even more extreme than Sharon, apparently to the point of harbouring homicidal tendencies against him.

Rabbi says would hold Kabbalah ritual calling for PM’s death
Dayan conducted such a ceremony targeting former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin prior to his assassination in 1995.

It seems to work.

Eric Margolis has a book recommendation: Imperial Hubris: Why The West is Losing the War on Terror, by Michael Scheuer, a senior terrorism analyst for the CIA:

Why West is losing

Two good samples of political commentary:

Israel’s role in the genesis of Hamas

And this next one, better by far in content, length, and thoroughness (and very deserving of blogspace): Syria's strategic moves and its dialogue with the United States put into perspective and examined within the contexts of Syria's moves during the recent political maelstrom in Lebanon vis a vis the extension of President Lah'houd's term, and of the cardinal political quality and characteristic (almost a mystical concept) that leaders in that part of the world aim and are expected to embody: za'amah. The parallels between Syria's behaviour and that of the late Egyptian President Sadat are also explored. Joshua M. Landis' essay of a blog entry - very informative for those unfamiliar with the complexities of Middle Eastern geopolitics - can be found here.

Next are two articles via

From my neck of the woods:

Unfaithful Québec:

‘Catholic’ Québec leading Canada to abandon religion?
The silver lining I should draw attention to is that despite the fact that Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, the archbishop of Montréal, is quite liberal, there is a daily Indult Tridentine Mass available in one parish church in this city (permission for which I understand is very difficult to obtain). With the magnificent basilicas and churches this city still has (at least the ones that haven't been sold; Concordia University for example recently bought a large piece of Church property), all it would take to get the churches packed is permission to celebrate the traditional Roman Mass every day for one week in every major basilica (complemented with groups of professional cantors [the choir makes or breaks any liturgical ceremony; not a petty concern, and any clod knows that] and a strong and carefully planned advertising campaign).

[Editor's note: I've been to Québec, 17 years ago. My only time so far, besides of course being in England, in what used to be a Catholic country - strange mix of cultural artefacts as recent as the 1950s (from a crucifix in the centre of a modern housing estate to the shrines of Our Lady at Cap de la Madeleine, where I met a Latinless Québecois priest, and Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré) with virulent anticlericalism as heard from a beautiful guide in Québec City. Yes, partly blame the times and the larger culture but maybe like I understand it is in France and Italy (comments, John Boyden?) it may be a case of reaction to clerical abuses past and 'familiarity breeds contempt'.]

Priests fight for soul of Bulgarian church
On the regrettable situation of the Church of Bulgaria. Apparently, following the fall of the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc, communism left its mark behind in Church politics: its potential to create schisms and divisions by being used as a charge and accusation. Patriarch Maxim is Bulgaria's rightful patriarch as recognised universally by the senior hierarchs of the Orthodox Church.

Pope Shenouda III on the feast of the cross
Though the Copts have yet to celebrate their feast this month (which commemorates the day St Constantine saw his famous apparition rather than the discovery of the True Cross by St Helena, the memory of that event being celebrated during March), I think we'll benefit in appropriating His Holiness' writings on the subject of the feast, which are replete with scriptural references.

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