Who am I?Where am I?

04 April 2010

Kids Humor

I received an e-mail this morning that had me cracking up. Kids do say the darnedest things

The innocence of kids....very cute.............

JACK (age 3)was watching his Mom breast-feeding his new baby sister. After a while he asked: 'Mom why have you got two? Is one for hot and one for cold milk?'

MELANIE (age 5)asked her Granny how old she was. Granny replied she was so old she didn't remember any more. Melanie said, 'If you don't remember you must look in the back of your panties. Mine say five to six.'

STEVEN (age 3)hugged and kissed his Mom good night. 'I love you so much that when you die I'm going to bury you outside my bedroom window.'

BRITTANY (age 4)had an ear ache and wanted a pain killer. She tried in vain to take the lid off the bottle. Seeing her frustration, her Mom explained it was a child-proof cap and she'd have to open it for her. Eyes wide with wonder, the little girl asked: 'How does it know it's me?'

SUSAN (age 4)was drinking juice when she got the hiccups. 'Please don't give me this juice again,' she said, 'It makes my teeth cough.'
DJ (age 4)stepped onto the bathroom scale and asked: 'How much do I cost?'

CLINTON (age 5) was in his bedroom looking worried When his Mom asked what was troubling him, he replied, 'I don't know what'll happen with this bed when I get married. How will my wife fit in it?'

MARC (age 4) was engrossed in a young couple that were hugging and kissing in a restaurant. Without taking his eyes off them, he asked his dad: 'Why is he whispering in her mouth?'

TAMMY (age 4) was with her mother when they met an elderly, rather wrinkled woman her Mom knew. Tammy looked at her for a while and then asked, 'Why doesn't your skin fit your face?'

JAMES (age 4)was listening to a Bible story. His dad read: 'The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city but his wife looked back and was turned to salt.' Concerned, James asked: 'What happened to the flea?'

This particular Sunday sermon...'Dear Lord,' the minister began, with arms extended toward heaven and a rapturous look on his upturned face. 'Without you, we are but dust...' He would have continued but at that moment my very obedient daughter who was listening leaned over to me and asked quite audibly in her shrill little four year old girl voice, 'Mom, what is butt dust?'


Islam and Europe

As I read through the newspaper late last week, I started thinking about two seemingly unrelated articles detailing events in Europe and Islam and how they are somehow related.

The first article I read dealt with the recent passing of a bill in Serbia's Parliament that apologizes for the slaughter of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by the Serbian Army and para-military forces outside of Srebrenica. T
his occurred in 1995 and was the worst war time atrocity committed in Europe since the end World War II. While this apology is undoubtedly welcome, there were two items of note: First, this bill was not passed unanimously. In fact, it barely passed at all, with only 127 out of 250 Parliamentarians supporting it. Second, though this bill was an apology, it did not declare this massacre as a genocide. Thus, the bill fell far short of what the Bosnians (and Pan-Islamic world) want and did little to slake their thirst for justice. Two other facts lead to cynicism concerning this bill: Serbia is in the process of applying for EU membership and several prominent individuals, such as Ratko Mladic, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) are at large and believed to still be in Serbia and believed to be receiving support from Serbian Nationalist organizations.

The other article that caused me to think about Islam in a European context was the recent decision by the Belgian government to ban the niqab and burqa in public. Those who do not receive police permission to wear either garment will be fined. This is akin to asking the police for permission to wear a cross around one's neck and completely infringes upon the rights of Belgian Muslims to freely practice their faith. In fact, this bill was opposed by several Catholic Bishops.

These two issues are seemingly unrelated except that both deal with issues pertaining to Islam in Europe. There is definitely a mixed message emanating from Europe. Though religious freedom and anti-genocide protocols are ensconced in various EU conventions and rights laws, these freedoms and rights seemingly do not extend to Islam and thus make a mockery of these conventions and popinjays out of European Leaders who continually harp about the shortcomings of governments in predominantly Muslim countries.

How can Europe criticize Sudan's president for violating the rights various groups when it is not protecting basic rights of its own citizens? The adage about people living in glass houses throwing stones rings true. This is the type of double standard that has to cease if Europe ever hopes to have influence in the Islamic world.


02 April 2010

Iran and Sanctions

When Barack Obama arrived in Washington last year, there was limitless optimism. I remember watching a Jib-Jab.com original that accurately illustrated the hopes the rest of the world had for his administration. Afterall, Obama was replacing one of the most devisive Presidents in American history and promised change on myriad issues.

While Barack has already delivered on many of the promises he made during the campaign, the United States policy towards Iran needs some adjustment. The recent announcement that the United States and France would pursue another round (this will be the 4th) of UN sanctions against Iran is a mistake for a myriad reasons. Though Russia recently announced it would tacitly support this round of sanctions, China will not. China has veto power on the UN Security Council so any action will require their abstention or approval. Thus, any sanctions passed by the United Nations, no matter how bedizened with tough rhetoric, will be denuded and toothless.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will gleefully point out that the United States and France are hypocritical for allowing India, Pakistan, South Africa, and Israel to flout the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and acquire nuclear weapons (though South Africa has dismantled their weapons) while placing an immense amount of pressure on Iran, which is part of the NPT. This hugger-mugger approach to the NPT reeks of ambiguity, which will undoubtedly be exploited by the Iranian government. Ahmadinejad will also point out how Iran has in fact stuck to the letter of the law (if not its spirit) and the International Atomic Energy Agency has not yet found any evidence of a nuclear program. No matter how one feels about Iran and its current government, a new round of sanctions is a losing proposition.

Barack Obama initially hoped to engage the Iranian government. When this was rebuffed, the American administration sought to focus its energy on other issues, especially domestic ones. With the recent passage of the health-care bill, the Obama administration seems to be re-engaging in foreign affairs and on the issue of Iran's nuclear program. Sanctions are not the answer for this re-engagement. This sanctions policy will fail and give the Iranian government invaluable propaganda points. Instead, the Obama administration needs to engage the Iranian government and work with it if the United States is to have any influence on Iran's policies.