Month: February 2008

The video you won’t see on the news

Here’s the video that CNN, FOX and all of the other so-called “news” media won’t show you. Albanian Muslims in Kosovo celebrating their independence by destroying a Serbian Orthodox Church, while the KFOR (yes, that’s us, the Americans and NATO) troops stand by, doing nothing! This video needs to get out and around so people can see what’s going on in Kosovo.

Advertisements

Violence in Serbia

As expected, there have been several violent protests in Serbia against Kosovo’s independence, including the attack on the U.S. Embassy which I’m sure everybody has by now heard about. I think that it is important to keep in mind that, as bad as this violence is, it is being vastly overplayed by the media. The attack on the U.S. Embassy, for instance, involved about 100 people. On the other hand, there were 150,000 people involved in a largely peaceful demonstration which marched to St. Sava’s Cathedral in Belgrade, where they held a prayer service. The only reporting I’ve yet seen about this particular demonstration was that an Albanian news van was burned by a small group during the march. Keep in mind, as you watch the events in Serbia unfold, that the media chooses which images they want to show you, and often those images are chosen to convey a certain message.

I had experience with this when I was deployed to Iraq. I had never before realized the extent to which the media twists the truth, or even that it was possible to twist it to the extent which they did. The conservative news channels, such as Fox News, would show the same five second clip of an United States Army Colonel shaking an Iraqi Colonel’s hand over and over to prove to the public how great things were in Iraq. Then CNN and the more liberal news networks would show the same clip of a kidnapped American Soldier or the aftermath of a car bomb to show how horrible things were going. Those of us on the ground over there would watch both and not know whether to laugh or cry at their stupidity. Things are more complicated in reality than the news media will ever allow for in their reporting.

I have a feeling that something very similar is happening with the reporting from Serbia. Remember: To the news media, truth is malleable.

Also, just to air out another pet peeve: The American media needs a thorough lesson in how to report about Russia! No matter what Russia does, they always seem to be the bad guy. The analysis of Russia’s possible involvement in a renewed war in Serbia was pathetic: “the Kremlin is once again trying to assert its dominance over the Eastern Bloc.” Not a word was mentioned about Russia and Serbia sharing a common culture, religion and heritage, nor their long friendship.

Now that I’ve aired out my grievances against the news media, I promise to get off politics for a while! Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

Kosovo…

A little late with this one, but: Please pray for Serbia and its Christians!. The Western world has once again sold out its own to the Muslims, and created the first Islamic state in Europe, one with known ties to well-known terrorists, including Osama bin Laden himself. One hundred years from now, I believe, the West will look upon this day as their greatest mistake…

Update: Check out this quote (thanks to Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch): “There is no doubt that the independence of Kosovo will be an asset to the Muslim world and further enhance the joint Islamic action” – Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. Kosovo is just the beginning.

Christians must be Christian

“The great sin is fear of the other. In a state of fear, everyone seems to be a threat. There are many symptoms of fear among Christians. The real meaning of the English word `gospel’ is good news, but one can find those who are more attracted to the Bad News Gospel. You can find religious circles more interested in the anti-Christ than in Christ, more interested in the number 666 than the Holy Trinity. This is a fear-driven, bad news orientation. Where such a mentality thrives, the Christian contribution to society is meager. Where faith, hope and love flourish, transformation occurs. Faith changes life. If life doesn’t change, clearly there is no faith. St. John Chrysostom, preaching to perhaps 400 people in Antioch, told them, `If all of you were Christians, there would be no more pagans in the world.’ If you want to understand how Christianity spread so rapidly in the early centuries, it was because Christians were Christian.

“Sadly, in our time, we have lost the idea of the holy. Pagans at least understood the holy. They had a sense of the sacred. We have lost this capacity. This is our tragedy because more than ever the world needs the light of Christ, the genuine light.”

Metropolitan John the diocese of Korça in Albania

Ten Lives That Explain America

Rod over at Crunchy Con asks this question:

Which ten American historical figures would you cite that would give a high school student a decent, if incomplete, grounding in American history?

Also thrown in as criteria:

  • No presidents or first ladies
  • “reasonably well-known people whose biographies convey something essential about the American character and experience
  • “exemplifies something critical to understand about the kind of nation we are, or were”>

Here’s my picks (in chronological order, more or less) and why:

  1. Jonathan Edwards – exemplifies the early religious spirit of America, especially Puritanism; if you’re a fan of Max Weber (“Protestant work ethic”), Edwards certainly can be seen as a reason for the strength of capitalism in America; America’s first homegrown theologian; shows that America is not supposed to be so “secular” after all.
  2. Thomas Paine – not only are his writings a shining example of the principles which led to the American Revolution, but the story of his life could also be used to tell the story of America’s early years as a nation.
  3. Dred Scott – this choice falls under that “exemplifies something critical to understand about the kind of nation we are, or were” category; his story and the outcome of the case he gave his name to truly exemplify the lowest point America has hit in its history; demonstrates that the rights we take for granted today were not always easily attained.
  4. Chief Sitting Bull – once again demonstrates that even a nation which such high principles as our own can have those principles compromised; in addition, his story covers the history of much of post-Civil War America.
  5. Homer A. Plessy – ties in with Dred Scott above; opens a new chapter in American history as this list comes into the 20th century; demonstrates that even the greatest nation on earth can be the home of injustice.
  6. Andrew Carnegie – to put it very simply: Andrew Carnegie is the American Dream; the child of immigrants who worked his way up from a minimum wage messenger boy to, at one time, the richest man in America; and then gave away his entire fortune to help those who hadn’t made it as far as himself; if this was a list of one, he’d be the one.
  7. Audie Murphythe American hero; the most decorated soldier of WWII and an example of everything Americans love about their men in the military; demonstrates American values, including bravery, self-sacrifice, patriotism, love of freedom and hatred of tyranny.
  8. Malcolm X – some would probably be very surprised at this choice; most would choose Martin Luther King, Jr., to represent the Civil Rights era, but I think that Malcolm X better demonstrates the level of anger and frustration, even desperation, that African Americans and others had reached by the 1960’s; it was no longer the days of Booker T. Washington’s “eventual” “equality,” it was “the ballot or the bullet,” now and not later. His life story, for those who haven’t read his autobiography (which I highly recommend!), also covers a wide range of events in American history, including the Great Depression and the terror propagated against minorities by groups like the KKK.
  9. Ron Kovic – while Audie Murphy exemplifies the American hero, the story of Ron Kovic, a paralyzed Vietnam War veteran, shows the other side of things, a reality which America has yet to truly face up to; demonstrates what happens when America fails to live up to its principles.
  10. Cesar Chavez – exemplary of the “new immigrant” and America’s continued struggle to live up to the high standards it has set for itself.

My choices are probably surprising to many, and may very well be indicative of my own political leanings (slightly left of center, I estimate), but I think that the overall theme of them is summed up in that last entry: America’s continued struggle to live up to the high standards it has set for itself. I think that American history is probably best summed up by saying that America is a land of great diversity in unity. The United States is the whole world all in one nation; we have people of every religion, every race, every culture, creed, political leaning, etc. and our story is one of all of us trying to live together and, more importantly, together live up to our standard as a nation, the highest standard a nation has ever set for itself: that all men are created equal and that they each and every one have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is not our military might or our great wealth or our scientific achievements which make us the greatest nation on earth; it is simply this: a dedication to the right of every individual to live life as he or she so chooses and, thereby, to prosper.

Abba Philimon on praying the Psalms

[A certain brother once asked Abba Philimon:] “Why, father, do you find more joy in the psalms than in any other part of divine scripture? And why, when quietly chanting them, do you say the words as though you were speaking with someone?” And Abba Philimon replied: “My son, God has impressed the power of the psalms on my poor soul as he did on the soul of the prophet David. I cannot be separated from the sweetness of the visions about which they speak: they embrace all scripture.” – “Discourse on Abba Philimon” from the Philokalia