Monday, 31 August 2009
This short obituary from the Sydney Morning Herald says it all. It shows the greatest and the most basest of what mankind is capable of, but most of all it tells of survival. I give full credit, reference and acknowledge rights to SMH and hope they do not mind my putting this out in full. Reference and link as at the end of the docuement.
The artist Mengele spared to document his wicked work
August 28, 2009
Dinah Babbitt, 1923-2009
DINAH BABBITT'S life was spared at Auschwitz by Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi physician known as the Angel of Death, because of her skills as a portrait painter.
Mengele, with a flick of his hand, selected Dinah for survival on the basis of a fresco she had painted in the children's barracks of Birkenau. In 1943 her skills were deemed to be superior to colour photography. The fresco was a reconstruction of a scene from the film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which she had seen in Prague; she had removed her yellow star, which Jews were forced to wear, to get into the cinema.
Mengele provided Dinah with watercolours and said that she was to illustrate his experiments. He fancied himself as an anthropologist and told her that he wanted to document the inferior physiognomy and organs of Jews and Gypsies.
She bargained for the life of her mother, threatening to run into the camp's electric fence unless she, too, was spared. ''I'm not staying here without my mother alive,'' Dinah said she told Mengele.
While painting a portrait of Mengele, he asked her if she had noticed something about him that only his wife had ever observed. Without pause, she mentioned a flat, round birthmark, which she had likened to the tags inserted in the ears of stuffed dachshunds sold as children's toys. He laughed and nodded.
Such was the wit, intelligence and manipulative genius of the painter, who spent two years in Auschwitz - a feat of survival matched by few others. She said humour and a tradable skill were keys for survival. Locksmiths, plumbers, doctors or artists survived; so, too, did twins.
Babbitt, who has died of cancer in Felton, California, at 86, was born Annemarie Dinah Gottliebova in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and studied art in Prague until Jews were turned away from school. She spent a year as a prisoner in Theresienstadt, where she fell in love and, despite the terror, described that time as the happiest year in her life. She was then shipped to Auschwitz.
Babbitt liked to describe a scene that exemplified the use of humour of concentration camp life. A double latrine with two stalls stood in the family compound, separated by a flimsy piece of see-through material. As Dinah was leaving one stall and a man the other, he said to her: ''My lady, not to anger the gods by saying so, you look still well.'' This was a panegyric. He was referring to the fact that he had seen her backside through the partition.
Her lover from Theresienstadt died from typhus in the last few days of the war. After a few months in Paris, where she scandalously, at the time, had an affair with a black musician in Duke Ellington's band, she worked as an animator with Warner Brothers in California and married Art Babbitt, the animator who had worked on Snow White. She worked on characters including Wile E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Tweety Bird.
Dinah Babbitt reared two children, attended wild Hollywood parties, divorced and later loved again. She prolonged her good looks with several facelifts, told bawdy jokes and even in her 80s talked about death, sex and life.
A sad aspect was that, in 1973, she learnt that the Auschwitz Museum held some of her Gypsy portraits. She travelled to Auschwitz, determined to finally liberate at least the memory of those she had painted by taking the portraits home and perhaps to the Holocaust Museum in Washington but the Polish museum authorities refused, saying that if the paintings belonged to anyone, it was Mengele's descendants.
Her nephew and a pair of Mengele twins, Annetta Able and Stephanie Heller, live in Melbourne. Babbitt and her mother helped the twins survive Auschwitz. Two daughters survive her.
Sunday, 30 August 2009
But it raises a question, how much is normal and justifiable happiness for a sports celebrity and how quickly it is forgotten and the bigotry and the usual "us & them" rhetoric comes back. This is not about Australia but about the West at all.
Westerners, like other parts of the world, follow the human habit of madly adoring sports. I wonder how many of the bigots and radical right-wing agenda freaks and blogers whom demand the shutting down, eradication or deportation of Islam and Muslims - then goes and supports their favourite football team that has a number of Muslims as part of their integral team. Are the French right-wingers aware that the super-star status Nicolas Anelka (see photo below with Samir Nasri), Éric Abidal and Franck Ribéry are all Muslim converts, let alone those born Muslim such as Zinadine Zidane? In fact Zidane is a perfect example of being identified with France and Football but is he identified and acknowledged as being Muslim?
Perhaps the greatest ever boxer Mohammed Ali has been clearly identified as Muslim because of his public battle to do so, but how much of that latter support, enthusiasm and loyalty actually included the value that he took so seriously - and how many that supported him in the ring actively despise his faith as "evil". Was it the case with fellow boxers Anthony Mundine from Australia, Britain's Danny Wilson and American boxers Bernard Hopkins and Mike Tyson.
Football is probably the thing that catches out the armchair bigots whom declare a hatred (and worse) against Islam but will go out and celebrate and get drunk over a football match, hypocritically ignoring the bigotry for the duration of the match. Even British hooligans who will later go out and punch a Paki or two but will sing the Notts County Anthem not realising that their star striker Lee Hughes is a Muslim convert and most Rotterdamers like myself do not realise that their famous "son" and international footballer Robin Van Persie is a Muslim (and married to a Moroccan like myself as well).
Apart from the many African favourites playing in the European football leagues many of the great personalities are just "footballers" and are forgotten that they have faiths and beliefs that some of these bigoted fans ignore. Frederick Kanoute, Sevilla , El Hadji Diouf, Salomon Kalou, Nihat Kahveci, Diomansy Kamara, Samir Nasri, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hassan Salihamidzic are all sung and cheered and then later condemned.
I wonder with all the remembrance, memorials and rebuilding of Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five that anyone cares that Jermaine Jackson is also a Muslim convert.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
It is with this expectation that coming the Winds of Change blog by sheikyermami is such a great disappointment! As mentioned in my postings before, here we have the master of unoriginality and in fact the question is given to why it exists in the first place.
The blog owner does not come up with items himself but copies the works of others - we can only assume because it will make his own blog look a bit more better than it really is. His postings are rather mouthing off when he actually does attempt to write himself and he makes wild allegations and mixes them with pretty poor history examples.
I took him to task a few times over his understanding of history. He goes under the basis that everything and anything touched by Islam is and must be backwards and thus he found it unacceptable to contemplate facts and events that tell us otherwise. He chose to pick on the history of Al Andalus and quoted the failed academic Spencer whom is detested by the academic world. When I pointed out that Al Andalus at times during its 800 year existence in the south of Iberia was the most culturally advanced community in Europe - he attempted to defend the indefensible. His constant and irrational attempt to prove otherwise by quoting subjects like slavery and events in the 11th century as evidence was laughable to say the least. Of course there were events in every nation that were dark hours and quoting one period out of 800 years is not a cheap shot but an academic and intellectual failure. "sheikyermami" in fact had tried to copy the style of Robert Spencer and did a piss poor job of it. Spencer being the master of making accurate quotes and descriptions of events but ensuring that he chooses out a long history only those that suit his point (and carefully avoiding those more numerous events that would prove otherwise).
The blog-owner obviously became rather afraid that his non-serious but ugly Islam bashing and hate-mongering was being pointed out and thus more and more avoided answering directly any points I made - knowing well enough that he had failed. But he made some rather stupid accusations and I would not let him lose on it.
He tried to falsely accuse me of avoiding his own questions - that did not exist. He sort of asked a non-serious one and since I did not answer he stated "Solkhar did not answer my 10 questions!". Going through the entire blog, there was no ten questions so I said give them to me. No such thing, eventually a "question 2" occurred. So much for the existence of the now infamous 10. In fact he later remarked on the Question no.4 posting (yep he is still trying) that he acknowledges and thanks those that have contributed possible questions, confirming that of course the original 10 did not exist.
He made one accusation on Islam that I decided to take him to task on and not let go, knowing full well that he would rather have me cut from posting than answer. He stated that the Jihad (Jihad al Sghrir) is an integral part of Islamic doctrine and that all Muslims must support it and to do otherwise is apostasy or heresy. So I returned the favour and asked him the question and told him that I will not answer his invisible and still not existing 10 questions on Islam until he answers me. So I asked:
"Where in the official institutions of Islam, such as the Five Schools of Islam, is there support, declaring of or sanction any Jihad?". Before I asked that question he tried to quote individual clerics, mostly radicals whom at various times mentioned the word Jihad. When pointing that out, he did the usual squirm and talked about violence in Pakistan or the like.
He will not answer that question because he will avoid denying that he simply lied to support his no-holds-barred mouth-off on Islam. It is a sign of unprofessionally and I simply am disappointed, considering how cheap and nasty his blog is compared to others whom at least try and be smart about their hate-mongering.
A D- is given in this instance because frankly speaking the quality and content are shit.
As a footnote, he has come up with the "I set the conditions for you to post here, Solkhar, not you." Plus added the threat "From now on I will delete any and every post of yours unless you answer the 5 questions I posted for you. Give it your best shot or take your camel and ride!" which is the confirmation that he will avoid answering and not tolerate anyone pointing out what a hypocrit he is. He not only sets nothing but flooding his blog with hate-rhetoric but also allows Christian prosthelitizing along with it.
Saturday, 15 August 2009
But that marriage is a costly one and both parties have to give something and sacrifice others. In the case of the Iranian Revolution, the militants that became the Revolutionary Guards that still control much of the security infrastructure of Iran to this day were not always just subservient slaves to the founder Ayatollah Khomeini. During those very first days of that event, the revolutionaries stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran and that was not at the order of the Supreme Leader, in fact he was angry and tried to have it cancelled. As we all now know the story well, he wanted to stop this infringement of International Law and he feared the legitimacy of the Islamic Revolution was now at doubt but when he witnessed the support and anti-American sentiment amongst the crowds (and that it had already occurred) that it was impossible to back-down. Most certainly though, Khomeini recognized that the newly named Revolutionary Guard was a power to be reckoned with, or to put it another way – he was stuck with them as much as they were with him.
We have witnessed now in present day Islamic Republic of Iran that the current President is a former member of the Revolutionary Guard – and was one of those that stormed the US Embassy. His revolutionary rhetoric is classic, somewhat like that of Saddam Hussein’s phrases that are certainly only important for domestic consumption targeting the bulk of the less literate population that is the backbone of support. Thus when in an international audience is listening in or gathered around him there is an instant clash and confusion to what is being said or to be blunt, sounds ludicrous and stupid.
But this image should not be played too lightly, he is an important figure with a great deal of power and he represents that ever present factor in current Iranian power – the Revolutionary Guards. Even now the current Supreme Leader is obviously not happy with the rather clumsy international Statesmanship of the President but is not willing to deal with him, even though he has the option of more moderate but still patriotic and pro-theological politicians such as former Presidents.
The above examples is how the union between radical religious groups and revolutionary militants is not always simple marital bliss, now we will see a recent example of how a militant group has rejected the marriage proposal of a radical religious group – because they are not needed.
Yesterday’s announcement by the radical Jund Ansar Allah Cleric and founder Abdel-Latif Moussa in Rafah (Hamas controlled Gaza Strip) of a declaration of an Islamic Emirate and Shari’a Law resulted in a gun-battle by Hamas killing the Cleric and 21 other supporters. Why?
Simply put there was no need by the militants to declare God is on their side as they were already on in power and they have an infrastructure. To add to that, they are now over the phase of gaining control “no-matter-what” and are now in the phase of trying to legitimize their status. Thus it is not only a bad move to side with radicals of the religious side but they want to show that they are in control and the authority, not seeking to introduce a new one. That is why Hamas is no friend of most other militant groups connected to religious ideologies – such as Al Qaeda.
Another way to look at it and coming back to the main principle of this theory – they are not religious – though they may claim it anyhow, but are in fact a radical political militant group.
Either way, we see the birth of an interesting situation, a terrorist-linked militant group not only refusing to join the marriage game with a radical and extreme religious group but attacking it based on recognition that such unions are literally a “marriage made in hell”.
This morning I read a well put article by Petra Marquardt-Bigman called "Israel responds to war crimes allegations", on the Harry's Place blog site. It identifies and critiques the IDF report and response and perhaps that is correct, but I think there is a bigger picture and I expressed it as a comment. Here it is.....
The item by Petra Marquardt-Bigman is very well presented and correct in all its reporting and I commend it.
Having said that, it shows how as another mentioned, the international processes are not geared towards insurgency, revolution, terrorism and the like.
There is no doubt that civilians were targeted, illegal weapons were used, brutalities and murders had occurred by IDF forces and there is also no doubt that the Israeli people are subjected to bombings, rocket attacks, threats of violence by organized militant groups and more. All are not only without doubt, they are documented.
The problem is dealing with it, or not.
War is brutal, deadly - that is a reality. Since the onset of open media, journalism, the video camera and now the mobile phone and Internet reporting the realities that happen in war, we are now all aware of what is happening. This started during the Vietnam War and since then war has become unpopular and ugly and every act has been scrutinized, judged and condemned and every military and their government has been trying to suppress it. This has not been altered.
Again, the question is the problem of dealing with it or not.
The proof is that a military exercises has victims, the target may be a legitimate military but often enough it is civilian or civilian infrastructure. The targeting of the Taliban in Afghanistan and P
akistan by drones has been successful militarily but the civilian targets are politically a failure. The sending of thousands of troops into a zone to fight and occupy, particularly when the enemy are indistinguishable from the civilians, results in frustration and anger by the troops and indiscriminate killings will certainly follow and you see that everywhere.
So these are difficult realities but there are those that can be worked on, targeted as unacceptable and this should be perhaps the focus.
There are instigators and politicians that provoke the targeting of peoples and if combined with military force ensures the atrocities and there are military forces that are driven by ideologies, radicals and extremists that are capable of anything. Rawanda and Bosnia are perfect examples as is what is happening in Darfur. By making the politicians, ideologues and rogue generals responsible, the targeting of war criminals is easily achieved and will go a far way towards distinguishing between the ugly realities of war and the deliberate horrors of crime through the deliberate use of the ugliness of war.
Terrorist groups, such as Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah have crossed the line a multitude of times and its leadership are responsible. The issue of the IDF force should not so much be about the individual actions on the battle-field but how much of that was simple military brutality but what was organized and provoked from within - how much of it was political and by whom?
Thursday, 13 August 2009
"Two issues there Dear Blogger, I noticed rather than take up points that I correctly make you carefully change them and avoid the subject of history altogether to come back to the same theme of the events of today, and I was not aware that you dislike my attempt to put lipstick on your snout?? Sorry, I am not a native English speaker and have no idea what that meant.
There is no need to proclaim each time events of history and then ignore them later on when returned. The Turks committed a genocide against the Armenians and though they like to not admit it, they will and are coming to terms with that rather like the British are still coming to grips with the genocide of the Tasmanian Aboriginals. Yep history is an ugly thing, that is the first thing one learns and placing them as examples for justification for modern behaviour simply does not stick – but then any academic or someone who respects history and politics knows that.
I stand by the history that I have given, go seek a real academic and not your beloved Spencer and you will see the difference, I do not play up to cut & paste portions, I look at the history as a whole. I acknowledge both the ugly and stupidities of all in history as well as the events that should be admired.
Calling me a jihadist is the funniest of all, I guess that is the sign of an self-admitted anti-Islam crusader with a “sacred duty”, when I have spent a good part of my life fighting them. You may have forgotten that I am involved in the tracking of terrorism-financing here in North Africa (mostly by the way via counterfeiting of products for Hezbollah’s battle against Israel) and I have a portion of my right wrist scared for life because of a radical’s letter bomb when I was posted in Jakarta – so your rather obnoxious taunt falls more than flat. Your pipe dream that every Muslim lives in tents and plans jihad is just that and because of that view, you have played into the real radical and militant Islamist’s hands by alienating all Muslims.
As for your putting Hadith Qudsi, so what? Are you again trying to put the references of the 7th century and considering them obligatory for today, does that make you the radical extremist? Why is it that if you put Saudi, Sudanese, Lybian or even Iranian television you will find music played? Why is it that Al Andalus established religious singing and harmonics? Perhaps it is you who wishes to believe that radicalism and extremism is correct and blinding ignore what real Muslims believe and accept because it makes your rantings irrelevant and falling flat.
Just so you know, to the average non-radical or extremist Muslim, the messages from Hadith Qudsi is very clear, that during the time of the Prophet, entertainment was placed far above faith and devotion and thus at that time he outlawed it. So the average Muslim knows that he can love, adore and enjoy Music, even find devotion to God through it, but when it comes to religious obligations, it is not something of importance in comparison. My 5yr old son knows this, but aparantly Western right-wingers do not.
I was booted off GoV for two reasons, the first because I was monitoring them and reporting on it, that I had never denied and second because in the end they did not like the fact that a Muslim was on their blog for a long period and it provoked the bigots and racists that were there and contribute regularly.
GoV does deserve credit for trying to moderate this bunch of fanatics and for attempting to put as much original material and arguments as possible. I do not care about their political right-wing views or agendas as long as it does not include bigotry or lies.
This is frankly were you fall flat on your arse each time. Apart from your subservience to Spencer and using Jihad-Watch as some imaginary authority – like your Islam and Science item above – you come out with items such as your crossed-the-line of dignity item on Islam and Females (now closed) that was just a cut & paste dump of agenda based BS and pornographic items.
I suggest you stop embarrassing yourself in trying to pretend to be sophisticated and educated in your postings when in fact you have failed in both. Your agenda is now self-confessed and your take on the reality of the past and present is more than obvious, it stands out and is smacking you in the back of the head. "
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
What the report did not say was that a month later on 14 June 2007 (a month later) the Grand-Mufti of Egypt, Ali Goum announced that: “… this custom is prohibited”.
Al-Munji arleady had knowledge of this edict by the Mufti and in fact by his boss Mohammed Sayed Tantawi the Shiek of Al-Azhar. It was made clear at a 2006 international conference:
“TARGET, a German human rights group, sponsored a conference on FGM in Cairo, Egypt. Muslim scholars from many nations attended. At the conclusion of the conference on 2006-NOV-24, their final statement declared FGM to be contrary to Islam, an attack on women, and a practice that should be criminalized:
“The conference appeals to all Muslims to stop practicing this habit, according to Islam’s teachings which prohibit inflicting harm on any human being. … The conference reminds all teaching and media institutions of their role to explain to the people the harmful effects of this habit in order to eliminate it. … The conference calls on judicial institutions to issue laws that prohibit and criminalize this habit … which appeared in several societies and was adopted by some Muslims although it is not sanctioned by the Qur’an or the Sunna.”
According to The Age online news source:
“Egypt’s two top Islamic clerics, Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, the Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar, the foremost theological institute in the Sunni Muslim world, and Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, attended the conference, which drew scholars from as far afield as Russia. Tantawi’s and Gomaa’s edicts are considered binding.