Winged Creatures: Pegasus and Icarus

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Pegasus: the Winged Horse

Pegasus: the Winged Horse, 1914 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is within the nature of the human mind to invent what is lacking. We cannot fly, but birds fly. Flying is so powerful a wish that we have invented angels and archangels who inhabit not only the Old and the New Testaments, but also belong to other cultures. For instance, there are Islamic angels and their role is that of messengers, or oracles. According to the Old Testament, Gabriel is the archangel who announced to Mary that she was bearing Jesus. In Islam, Gabriel (Jibra’il) is one of four archangels whose duty it is to deliver God’s messages to prophets. We also have “pagan” angels.

The Wish to Fly

The wish to fly has led to the invention of aircrafts. Humans can now fly to the moon. However, this post is not about the history of aviation. It is about the wish to fly as expressed in Greco-Roman mythology. Not that such a wish begins with Greco-Roman mythology but that Greco-Roman mythology tells the story of Pegasus and Icarus and, by the same token, that of their entourage: Bellerophon, who rode Pegasus, Daedalus, who crafted wings for Icarus, not to mention Medusa and Chimera, female monsters.  

Medusa, by Caravaggio

Medusa, by Caravaggio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Chimera

The Chimera on a red-figure Apulian plate, c. 350–340 BCE (Musée du Louvre) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pegasus & Bellerophon

Pegasus is the son of Poseidon, a god, and the Gorgon Medusa, a monster
Medusa was slain by Perseus 
Pegasus, a winged horse, was tamed by Bellerophon 
Bellerophon, a slayer of monsters, tamed Pegasus
Pegasus helped Bellerophon kill the Chimera, also a monster
 
 

There are many winged creatures in Greek mythology, but the most famous are  Pegasus and Icarus.

Pegasus,[1] is a winged horse whocarrie[d] the thunder and lightning of Zeus [Jupiter].”[2] He is the son of Poseidon,[3] the “god of the sea, earthquakes, storms, and horses.” (See Poseidon, Wikipedia.) His mother, however, is Medusa,[4] a mortal Gorgon and a monster. She had living venomous snakes in place of hair. The coupling of gods and mortals sometimes led to the birth of “monsters.”

Medusa was killed by Perseus, who, like Bellerophon, was also a slayer of monsters. In order to destroy Medusa, Perseus was provided with “winged sandals, Hades‘ cap of invisibility and a sickle.” As mentioned above, Hades is the god of the Underworld, but he is also capable of making himself invisible, another one of mankind’s wishes.

Pegasus was born from the blood flowing from the severed head of Medusa, his mother. A lesser sibling, Chysaor, was also born from the blood pouring out of Medusa’s head. Both were Poseidon’s offsprings. (See Gorgon, Wikipedia, and Gorgo/ Medusa, the Oxford Classical Dictionary.)

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Perseus, bronze sculpture by Benvenuto Cellini, 1545–54 (Photo credit: Art Resource, NY, and the Encyclopaedia Britannica)

Bellerophon and Chimera

Pegasus was tamed by Bellerophon, who slayed monsters. In fact, Pegasus helped  Bellerophon kill Chimera, a female and mortal sibling of Cerberus/ Kerberos (GR), the three-headed dog who guarded the entrance to the Underworld.

Bellerophon’s story 

Bellerophon was falsely accused of trying to rape Anteia (later called Stheneboea). Anteia’s husband, Proetus, sent him to Iobates, king of Lycia and Anteia’s father. Bellerophon was to deliver a sealed letter in which Proetus was requesting that Iobates kill the bearer of the letter, Bellerophon.

Convinced that Bellerophon would not survive what seemed an impossible mission, Iobates asked him to slay Chimera. He also asked him to fight the Solymi and the Amazons. With the help of Pegasus, Bellerophon performed the tasks assigned to him successfully. Iobates therefore married him to his daughter.

Bellerophon died when he flew Pegasus to Olympus, home of the twelve Olympians. Flying to Olympus was hubris, or “extreme pride and self-confidence,” on the part of Bellorophon. (See Hubris, Wikipedia.) The gods of antiquity always punished hubris. Pegasus, a zoomorphic being, did not perish because he was born a winged creature. No god would punish him for being what he was. After Bellerophon’s death, Pegasus became a constellation and was made a symbol of immortality in Latin Mythology. 

“In late antiquity Pegasus’s soaring flight was interpreted as an allegory of the soul’s immortality; in modern times it has been regarded as a symbol of poetic inspiration.”[5]

Charles_Le_Brun_-_Daedalus_and_Icarus_-_WGA12535

Daedalus and Icarus, c. 1645, by Charles Le Brun (1619–1690) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Icarus and Daedalus

Master craftsman Daedalus had a son named Icarus. Daedalus had built the labyrinth inside which the Minotaur, part bull, part man, was held. Daedalus crafted wings for his son Icarus who wanted to fly, which was hubris. Icarus defiantly flew so close to the sun, the god Helios, that the wax used to attach wings to his body melted. He therefore fell to his death into the sea of Icarus, named after him. Mere mortals cannot fly.

Daedalus had accompanied Icarus, but managed to land in Sicily and he became an Etruscan, ancient Italy, celebrity. His image appears on a gold coin or seal called a bulla. However, there are divergent accounts of Daedalus’ fate. Greek historians differ. According to one account, Daedalus became jealous of Talos, his nephew and apprentice, who invented the saw, thereby surpassing his mentor, Daedalus.

Daedalus was known as the best craftsman. Talos’ invention therefore aroused Daedalus’ jealousy. So envious was Daedalus that he pushed Talos off the Acropolis. The goddess Athena saved Talos by turning him into a partridge, a metamorphosis. Talos acquired a new name, Perdix (partridge or une perdrix [FR]). As for Daedalus, he left Athens. (See Daedalus, Wikipedia.)

Conclusion

Pegasus could fly. He was a beautiful white and winged horse. But in Greek mythology, one does not defy the gods with impunity. Bellerophon tried to fly Pegasus to mount Olympus, attracting the wrath of the gods. He therefore fell to his death. For his part, Icarus soared so high that the sun, Helios, melted the wax that kept his wings attached to his body. So he too fell to his death. 

The story of Pegasus is an interesting case of zoomorphism. Only his wings differentiate Pegasus from a horse. Similarly, only their wings differentiate angels from human beings. However, Chimera combined many features and was viewed as a monster. She was in fact grotesque but not in the same way as gargoyles and the large number of figures ornamenting misericords. The Medieval Bestiary is its own world. Or is it the other way around? Greco-Roman Mythology is its own world? 

I should note that:

“Chimera, or chimère, in architecture, is a term loosely used for any grotesque, fantastic, or imaginary beast used in decoration.”[6]

Zoomorphism is a complex subject. For instance, we have yet to discuss shapeshifting  beings: lycanthropy or the werewolf (le loup-garou), a dual incarnation with a human literary counterpart, Robert Louis Stevenson‘s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

With apologies for not being able to post earlier and my kindest regards.
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The Chimera of Arezzo, bronze, Etruscan, 5th century BCE; in the Museo Archeologico, Florence. (Photo credit: Scala/Art Resource, New York & Britannica)

Sources and Resources

—ooo—

[1] “Pegasus”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 15 nov.. 2014
<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/448740/Pegasus&gt;.

[2] Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, revised and edited, The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd edition (Oxford University Press, 2003).

[3] “Poseidon”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 15 nov.. 2014
<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/471736/Poseidon&gt;.

[4] “Medusa”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 19 nov.. 2014
<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/372807/Medusa&gt;.

[5] “Pegasus”, op. cit.

[6] “Chimera”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 19 nov.. 2014
<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/111597/Chimera&gt;.

Christoph Willibald Gluck, Orfeo ed Euridice, 1774
Luciano Pavarotti (12 October 1935 – 6 September 2007), tenor
© Micheline Walker
19 November 2014
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President Obama, Vladimir “Poutine,” and the Canadian Arctic

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110616_obama_abc_ap_605

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/obama-holds-fire-but-media-doesnt-96839.html

Our next topic is angels and archangels. They are zoomorphic beings because they combine the features of a human being and those of an animal.

So this post is an in-between update.

I had to devote the last few days to politics. I accepted to do some writing. Canada will be electing a Prime Minister next Fall and the choice is growing clearer as the days grow shorter. I believe it will be a victory for the Liberal Party of Canada, led by Justin Trudeau who is energetic, young and has a great deal of charisma. However, by then, the Russians might have moved in.

US President Barack Obama

I will discuss briefly President Obama’s Republican Congress. The results of the mid-term election were devastating. Mr. Boehner’s goal is to get tax-cuts for the rich. It is as though former slave owners wanted to be compensated for the loss of their slaves. They are wealthy once again, but they buy and elect candidates who are anti-tax extremists.

At any rate, the gap between the rich and the poor will be wider and too many Americans will be lining up in soup kitchens. Americans can also expect a more robust military engagement in the Middle East. There may not be money to feed and house the citizens of the United States, but hardline Republicans have not progressed beyond the Civil War and Manifest Destiny. There’s money for wars. Getting on one’s horse, armed to the teeth, and rushing into wars is behaviour anti-tax extremists in Congress will not object to. They live in the past.

It could also be that Congress will attempt to jeopardize the Affordable Care Act, which means that Americans who are diagnosed with cancer will be left to die in pain because an Insurance Company will look upon their illness as a pre-existing condition. There may be a rapid end to the Affordable Care Act.

Countries depend on the Middle East: Oil

Many countries depend on the Middle East because of its oil. Europe does. Besides, Isis is a group of demented terrorists who are not necessarily citizens of Iran and Iraq, but come from other countries and behead innocent civilians. President Obama did not want to engage in warfare but found himself caught between a rock and a hard place. At any rate, whatever he does, he’s always wrong. As you know, Iranian President Bashar al-Assad is probably receiving advice from Russian President Putin.

But how does one let Jihadi John torture and kill?  Therefore fighting him and other jihadists seems an obligation. But Jihadi John may not be a true jihadist, but a trouble-maker. Military engagement in the Middle East is very dangerous and Canadians have joined the Coalition.

the Consequences

The citizens of the United States have an extraordinary president, one of very few American presidents the entire world respects, but on a gloomy day in early November, he was treated as though he was garbage. Money allowed more Republican candidates to enter Congress and further sabotage the social programmes President Obama wishes to put into place and the economy of the United States. So, the rich will indeed get richer, the poor, poorer, and the middle-class will shrink into nothingness. There may be two more years of obstructionism, scapegoating, and various unpalatable games.

The Choice

The choice was obvious. If Mr. Boehner would rather die than allow a raise in the minimum wage, one had to put an end to a Republican-led Congress. It seems that the greater problem facing America is not Isis, but American extremism and materialism.

The results of the mid-term elections also seem a vote against intellectual superiority. Could it be un-American to be exceptionally intelligent and have values! Why support a President who knows what he is doing? Un-American! Born in division, living accordingly.

Meanwhile…

President Vladimir Putin

‘Our interests are concentrated in the Arctic,’ said Russian President Vladimir Putin at a youth camp outside Moscow on Friday. (Alexei Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin: a Threat

This is old news. But would you believe Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to take what he claims is his: the Canadian Arctic? Oil!

This is our territory, and we will renew our infrastructure and the infrastructure of the Emergencies Ministry, because we need to provide security for convoys and shipping along the trade route,’ the Russian news agency quoted him as saying.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/putin-says-russia-aims-to-strengthen-its-arctic-position-1.2750259

Vladimir Poutine

When he gets here, we will, of course, feed him poutine. After all, in French, Vladimir Putin is Vladimir Poutine. Poutine is a combination of oily French fries, cheese and a rich brown sauce. It’s lethal but legal. All arteries get clogged and one has a stroke.

So there we are, Russian President Vladimir Putin is moving in, and if he survives French Canada’s ultimate weapon, greasy poutine, it could be that he will find his way to the White House.

Conclusion

President Obama did not lose. The loser is the average American. That is a tragedy and I am truly saddened. Millions of Americans voted for the Democrats and must also feel the end has come. But the end has not come, not if one doesn’t want it to come.

Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. JFK

President Obama heard President Kennedy and he has been serving his country. He has been serving men and women. He is the foremost leader in the world, but he now needs you. In a democracy, everyone paves the road to the future.

As for racism and guns, put these away. They belong to a past Americans must bury. All of us are first and foremost human beings who want to live in peace and harmony.

We will now discuss angels and archangels…

Joni Mitchell sings “Both Sides Now”

1409496208205_wps_2_Out_of_touring_the_coffee© Micheline Walker
14 November 2014
WordPress

Mostly Misericords: the Medieval Bestiary

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Stalles Église Saint-Pierre de Coutances
Choir Stalls at Saint-Pierre Church in Coutances
Stalles de choeur en l’église de Saint-Pierre de Coutances (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)
Beverley_st_mary_25

Choir Stall with a Misericord Beverley Minster, Church of St John, Yorkshire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gargoyles

anthropomorphic: humans in disguise or the lion is a king
zoomorphic: fantastical creatures blending the features of many animals or combining animal and human characteristic (anthropomorphic, allegorical)
allegories (allegorically)
 

If you have seen gargoyles, you are already acquainted with the grotesque (from the Latin: grotto [caves]). Gargoyles (gargouilles) are ingenious drain spouts, or water spouts, built in the shape of grotesque animals. They prevented and still prevent the erosion of exterior walls. Most gargoyles are zoomorphic.

Zoomorphism

Centaurs and the Minotaur
Gargoyles
the Mermaid
the Unicorn
 

Zoomorphic beings combine the features of several animals, which is the case with the gargoyle shown below. However, they may also combine the features of an animal and those of a human being. In Greek mythology, the Centaur and the Minotaur are both man and beast, as are biblical angels. (See RELATED ARTICLES.)

Anthropomorphism

Reynard the Fox
Isengrim the wolf
Bruin the bear
stereotypes
 

Anthropomorphic animals are humans in disguise. For instance, Reynard the fox and Isengrim the wolf are anthropomorphic animals. They are not zoomorphic animals because they look like a real fox and a real wolf. However, the foxes and wolves of literature and art are all alike in temperament, by “universal popular consent” (George Fyler Townsend). They are stereotypes or archetypes. (See RELATED ARTICLES.)

Zoomorphic & Anthropomorphic

You may find books, articles and internet sites that challenge the above classification, i.e. anthropomorphic versus zoomorphic. My classification is based primarily on the physical attributes of an animal in literature or art. If the animal combines the features of various animals or is both beast and man, that animal is first and foremost zoomorphic. Other considerations are secondary.

Allegorical and Symbolic

As for the denizens of the Medieval Bestiary, the majority, if not all, are allegorical animals, or metaphors. They represent a human attribute, such as a virtue, or a vice, which, strictly speaking, does not make these animals anthropomorphic, or humans in disguise. They are symbols. For instance, the mermaid is the symbol of vanity

Gargoyle, Autun, France

Gargoyle, Autun (Photo credit: The Rusty Dagger, BlogSpot)

  • The amphisbaena, with the small head seeming to threaten the large one. Misericord; Limerick Cathedral (St. Mary’s), Limerick, Ireland; late 15th century.
  • A dragon with four legs and bat wings. Misericord; Cartmel Priory, Cartmel, England; late 14th century.
  • Two doves biting at foliage. Misericord (number 30); Exeter Cathedral, Exeter, England; third quarter of 13th century.
  • dragon fights with a lion, while two other dragons watch. This combination is unusual, though the meaning is clear: the lion is Christ, the dragon is Satan, and the lion is winning the fight.  Misericord; Carlisle Cathedral, Carlisle, England; early 15th century.[1 & 2]
Misericord (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Misericord (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miséricordes

monasticism
the choir stalls
the Canonical Hours
sitting while standing
kathisma, in the Byzantine rite
 

As for Misericords (from miséricorde [mercy]), they are ornamented “mercy seats,” narrow wooden seats that fold up when they are not in use. Consequently, the carvings are underneath the seat and hidden when the seat is folded down. It seems they were first used as choir stalls in the quire, by monks living in monasteries and observing the Canonical Hours. Monks who lived in a monastery were called Cenobites. Several monks were recluses and were called eremitical. Others live in a small group.

The Benedictine order, or confederation, is 1,500 years old. It was founded by Saint Benedict of Nursia (c. 480 – 543 or 547). Benedictines have therefore sung the eight Canonical Hours, Christian horaefor centuries, which meant standing up for a long time in choir stalls, hence our “misericords,” or mercy seats.

Some monks could survive the ordeal, but many couldn’t. A way of sitting while standing was therefore devised, much to the benefit of church architecture and art. (See Misericord, Wikipedia.) In the Byzantine rite, Eastern monasticism, a misericord is called a kathisma, literally a seat, but it is not as ornate as misericords. In the Western Church, cathedra also means a seat. Cathedrals are the seat of a bishop. Interestingly, Eastern monasticism precedes Western monasticism.

In Western monasticism, monks have used Gregorian chant, a plainchant (unison), as opposed to polyphonic compositions. Gregorian music was developed by Saint Ambrose (c. 340 – 4 April 397) and, to a larger extent, by Saint Gregory or Pope Gregory I (c. 540 – 12 March 604).

Benedict of Nursia wrote the Rule of Benedict, a text which many consider foundational to monasticism in general. The Rule of Benedict is observed by other monastic orders as is the Rule of St. Augustine, written by Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 28 August 430).

I saw several misericords at Beverley Minster, in the Yorkshire. Ironically, Beverley Minster is the church where a large number of my husband’s ancestors have been laid to rest. I also saw several misericords in the “cathedral” at Coutances, in lower Normandy, where we lived for nearly a year. Many of Beverley Minster’s misericords are sexually explicit and some, quite repulsive. One does not expect to see such carvings in a church or a cathedral.

Les Andelys Église Notre-Dame

The Mermaid, a symbol of vanity, Église Notre-Dame, Les Andelys, Eure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

800px-Aosta_Sant_Orso_Stalli_07

Camel (?) Sant’ Orso, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reynard the Fox

Misericords often featured animals from Le Roman de Renart (Reynard the Fox). I have seen pictures of these, but Reynard misericords and misericords on fox lore require their own post.[3]

A Revival of the Grotesque & the Gothic

Both gargoyles and misericords, gargoyles mainly, are architectural and functional elements, but ornamented. They do, however, revisit our standard or “classical” view of beauty. There was a revival of the grotesque in 19th-century France and elsewhere. Romanticism was, to a large extent, a rejection of the classicism of the 17th and 18th centuries, considered a foreign element.

The grotesque and the Gothic (fiction, architecture, and the Gothic revival) are related to one another. Victor Hugo‘s 1831 Hunchback of Notre-Dame (Notre-Dame de Paris) is one of the foremost literary examples of this blend. Notre-Dame de Paris will be discussed in a future post.

St. Benedict delivering his rule

St. Benedict delivering his rule to the monks of his order, Monastery of St. Gilles, Nîmes, France, 1129 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conclusion

Misericords were used from the 13th century to the 17th century, but the later ones, those carved in the 17th century, were often copies of earlier misericords. Elaine C. Block writes that:

“[a]t the dawn of the Renaissance, tens of thousands of medieval misericord carvings must have existed. Since then only about ten thousand historiated carvings remain.”[4]

Many were destroyed with the rise of Protestantism and through acts of vandalism. There are modern misericords, but they are not included in G. L. Remnant‘s 1969 catalogue, reissued in 1998.[5] 

They are a collector’s item and most are beautifully carved. The Coutances choir stalls, shown at the top of this page, also feature the endless knot motif, a characteristic of Celtic art.

With my kindest greetings to all of you.

RELATED ARTICLES

Sources

____________________

[1] Francis Bond, Wood Carvings in English Churches (Oxford University Press, 1910). [EBook #43530]

[2] David Badke, The Medieval Bestiary (Caption and Photo credit)

[3] Elaine C. Block and Kennett Varty, “Choir-Stall Carvings of Reynard and other Foxes” in Kenneth Varty, ed. Reynard the Fox: Social Engagement and Cultural Metamorphoses in the Beast Epic from the Middle Ages to the Present (Oxford & New York: Berghahn Books, 2000), pp. 125-163.

[4] Op. cit., p. 125.

[5] G. L. Remnant, Misericords in Great Britain; with an essay on their iconography by Mary D. Anderson. (Oxford University Press, 1998 [1969]).

O Sancta Mater Begga (Gregorian Chant by Chant Group Psallentes, directed by Hendrik Vanden Abeele)

Stalles, Cathédrale de Meaux (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stalle, Cathédrale de Meaux (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
8 November 2014
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Canada’s Role in the Coalition: a New Role

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islam-art3-11
Woman with a Spray of Flowers, Safavid Iran, 1575 CE (Photo credit: mesosyn.com)

I have updated my last post. I wanted to make it very clear that I understood the Canadian Parliament’s decision to enter the Coalition fighting Isis. However, I would have been one of the 134 members who voted against military involvement in the Middle East, and I am not alone. The vote took place on 7 October 2014: 157 in favour and 134 against. Members of Parliament were therefore divided over this issue. Irwin Cotler, the Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount-Royal, abstained from voting, which was significant.

http://irwincotler.liberal.ca/

Tradition

Traditionally, Canadians have opposed “military engagement.” However, Canada has provided humanitarian relief to victims of wars, famines, dictatorships, genocides, natural disasters, etc. To a large extent, Canada is a country of refugees and this has influenced its role on the international scene.

We have served as peacekeepers or casques bleus, blue berets, for the United Nations and many Canadians have died performing their peacekeeping duties or have returned home profoundly distressed.

Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire

Retired Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire (Chris Wattie, Reuters)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/isis-mission-divided-uncertain-canada-edges-gingerly-into-iraq-1.2789516 (old news)

The Rwandan Massacre: Roméo Dallaire

For example, retired Lieutenant-General and Senator Roméo Dallaire[1] was the United Nations Force Commander posted in Rwanda during the Rwandan Genocide that took place in 1993-1994. The Rwandan genocide claimed approximately 800,000 lives in the conflict between Hutu-led extremists and moderate Tutsis and Hutus. (See Rwandan Genocide, Wikipedia). It was a civil war. Roméo Dallaire’s international forces could have curbed the genocide considerably, were it not that, back at the UN, former colonial powers were arguing.

“There were early signs that something was amiss when, on January 22, 1994, a French DC-8 aircraft landed in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, loaded with ammunition and weapons for the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR). Through an informant, Dallaire learned that these weapons were to be used for an attack on Tutsis after the Belgians would have been forced to withdraw by violence orchestrated by the Interahamwe [Hutu-led army]. Despite his telegram to the UN, Dallaire was not permitted to seize the weapons, as this was deemed to be an action beyond his UN mandate.” (Roméo Dallaire, Wikipedia)

The Belgians were withdrawn after the torture and murder of ten members of the 2nd Commando Battalion (Belgium). Dallaire considered the Belgians “his best-trained and best-equipped” soldiers. (See Roméo Dallaire, Wikipedia.)

Women were raped, HIV disseminated, and Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire could not help because he was not allowed to do so by the United Nations. He returned home suffering from Post-Traumatic Disorder, but he wrote a complete account of the genocide: Shake Hands with the Devil (Random House Canada, September 2003). Roméo Dallaire was assigned duties he was prevented from carrying out.

The United Nations

de-personalizing members of the Coalition
 

In theory, it was the United Nations’ role to allow Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire to seize the weapons. A genocide may have been averted, but the UN failed its Force Commander. However, it is not my role to point a guilty finger at the UN because it cannot do what its members oppose. The UN is not guilty.

Yet, it would be for the UN, or a similar agency, to lead the fight against Isis. At the moment, the conflict is personalized. The Coalition is described as a US-led Coalition. Because the United States has an immense arsenal, the world seeks its assistance. Canada, however, has its own arsenal, humble as it may be. Besides, it will be working with the United States fighting a genuine threat. The United States would not be fighting Isis if it did not have to.

As for Canada, given that would-be Isis militants killed two Canadian soldiers, Canadians know that extremists can inflict considerable harm, which is what Isis is doing in the Middle East. Zehaf-Bibeau found his way to the Parliamentary Library. Isis must be defeated and its leaders will have to face the International Court of Justice. The world can no more tolerate Isis’ barbaric beheadings than it could tolerate Hitler’s atrocities.

The Players

the “players”
Syria 2013
Bashar al-Assad
Vladimir Putin
 

On 21 August 2013, Syria “gassed to death” 1,429 of its citizens, including 426 children, using a chemical weapon, or weapon of mass destruction. Syria’s purpose was unacceptable and the use of a chemical weapon, sarin, prohibited by international law.[2]

The world community condemned Bashar al-Assad who was let off the hook when he accepted to get rid of his chemical weapons, a solution proposed in an off-the-cuff remark by US Secretary of State John Kerry. Assad’s main ally at the time was Russian President Vladimir Putin who suggested to Assad that he could get rid of his chemical weapons.

Is Isis taking advice?

Is Isis taking advice, and if so, whose advice is it taking? The US, Canada, and other members of the Coalition are fighting Isis only. However, there could be other “players.” If there are other players, they should be identified because we have to see the big picture. Canadian authorities must therefore be very thorough in their current investigation.

The Strategy

Moreover, Canadian authorities must ascertain that Canada’s intervention is successful in a not-too-distant future. We have all read or heard that the US may be at war for a very long time. That should not be. I believe the Coalition can devise a strategy that is focused, swift and as definitive as it can be.

In early October, retired Lieutenant-General and Senator Roméo Dallaire stated that air strikes would be ineffective. There must be “feet on the ground.” He said: “Whack them, and whack them good.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/isis-mission-divided-uncertain-canada-edges-gingerly-into-iraq-1.2789516

I would not use the same words, but feet on the ground may be necessary and terrorism is a great evil that must be uprooted.

Locating Isis’ Recruits

locating Isis’ recruits
 

Given that Isis attracts terrorists who travel to the Middle East to join its ranks, investigators must also locate Isis’ membership. “Jihadi John” is a Londoner and Martin Couture-Rouleau, who rammed his car into two soldiers, killing one, was a French-Canadian “convert.” We have to know what is happening.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/who-is-martin-couture-rouleau-1.2807285

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/martin-couture-rouleau-hit-and-run-driver-arrested-by-rcmp-in-july-1.2807078

Conclusion

Canadians in various wars, minimal participation
good reasons for joining the Coalition
 

It is extremely difficult to make sense of Isis. I have described “Jihadi John” as a person incapable of feeling remorse, but this description also fits his cohorts. The distance between London and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu is considerable. Yet Couture-Rouleau killed in cold blood after being denied a passport that would have allowed him to serve the same cause as “Jihadi John.”

I do not like the fact that Canadians have joined the Coalition and that air combat has begun. Canada fought in both World I and World War II. However, during my lifetime, Canada’s military has avoided wars. Yet, Canadians fought in the Korean War (1950-1953) and in the Gulf War (1990-1991). Canada also played a limited role in Afghanistan (the 2000s), but it did not declare war on Iraq. (See Canada in the Korean War, Wikipedia.)

However, we have been peacekeepers and have brought humanitarian relief. We are now at war and it would be my wish that the Coalition be just that: a Coalition. If the Coalition is not successful in eradicating Isis and in bringing its assassins to justice, there could be retaliation. This is a danger the Coalition should avoid.

Yet the violence must end and Canada will be joining US President Obama whom most Canadians very much admire and respect. The House of Commons was divided, but President Obama can count on us.

—ooo—

Needless to say, we will have to review the manner in which children are brought up and educated. There must be an attempt to make their life more meaningful and they must be taught the Golden Rule.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/isis-dump-truck-may-have-been-target-of-first-canadian-air-strikes-in-iraq-1.2822495

I will not be writing about this conflict anymore because of its complexity. I am including a list of my posts on the Middle East.

My kindest regards to all of you.

[1] See also Roméo Dallaire: http://www.romeodallaire.com/index.php/rwanda-genocide/

[2] United Nations, International Law, Wikipedia.

Quand les hommes vivront d’amour,” Raymond Lévesque

imagesWX5F23QD

The Umayyad mosaics of Hisham’s Palace closely followed classical traditions

© Micheline Walker
5 November 2014
WordPress
 
 
 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Return of the Prodigal Son

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The Return of the Prodigal Son, Pompeo Batoni, 1773 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Return of the Prodigal Son, Pompeo Batoni, 1773, Kunst Historishes Museum Wien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. A British Father

Pompeo Batoni [1]
500 Britons, a conservative estimate
up to 2,000 Britons would have joined Isis
 

A British father is making a plea. He is asking the United Kingdom to facilitate the return of Britons who have joined Isis. He has lost two sons. Canadians have also joined Isis and two would-be members are dead: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Rouleau-Couture or Couture-Rouleau. They killed and were killed, but they too had a family.

According to a conservative estimate, 500 Britons have joined the militants. A less conservative estimate places the number of Britons who left for Syria and elsewhere at nearly 2,000. Several are dead and parents mourn. The less conservative estimate (2,000) may precede the beheading of American journalists and British aid workers.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2789715/up-2-000-british-jihadis-fighting-

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/28/dont-go-to-syria-says-father-of-biritsh-jihadis-killed-in-war

2. Canadian Fathers

Rembrandt van Rijn [2]
Zakria Habibi’s father
Martin Couture-Rouleau’s father
 

Canadian Zakria Habibi’s father, a Sherbrookois (from Sherbrooke, Quebec), went looking for his son in Turkey. Zakria has been missing since mid-July. His family is no longer hearing from him.

http://www.lapresse.ca/la-tribune/sherbrooke/201410/23/01-4811826-zakria-habibi-enrole-chez-les-djihadistes.php FR

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/michael-zehaf-bibeau-and-martin-couture-rouleau-their-shared-traits-1.2812241

As for Québécois Martin Couture-Rouleau, who killed a soldier at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu on 21 October 2014, his father is asking that security legislation be tightened.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/michael-zehaf-bibeau-and-martin-couture-rouleau-their-shared-traits-1.2812241

http://www.cbc.ca/news/multimedia/young-canadian-radicals-who-ve-travelled-overseas-1.2810651

300px-Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn_-_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_-_Google_Art_Project

The Return of the Prodigal Son, Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1661–1669. Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Why and how young men were radicalized

the search for an identity
 

As I wrote in a previous post, no one knows with certainty why and how young men were radicalized, and why they wanted to go overseas, to Syria mainly.

However, some may have been in search of an identity. Mr. Couture-Rouleau was a French-Canadian, but Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was of Libyan descent. Many adopted children go in search of their biological parents, often to the bitter disappointment of their adoptive parents. The same could be true of the sons of immigrants.

4. Facilitating a Return to Britain or Canada or …

Il Guercino [3]
disillusioned youth
cannon fodder
 

It may not be possible for worried fathers and mothers to find their sons. Their sons or daughters may have died or are running the risk of being killed if they defect. They have not found an identity most could accept. On the contrary! They are witnesses to atrocities one cannot imagine and some may have been used as mere flesh. The men who killed soldiers in Canada were leaving knowing that journalists and aid workers had been starved, tortured and beheaded. These facts have emerged in a relatively recent past.

In other words, those who wish to return home may not have known they would be cannon fodder (chair à canon), mere expendable flesh. However, they may no longer be expendable. First, they know too much. Second, their defection could now deplete the ranks of Isis. The coalition is not allowing would-be terrorists to leave. One of last week’s Canadian killers was denied a passport. As for Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the Parliament Hill killer, it could be that he was about to be refused a passport and knew.

5. A Criminal or a Terrorist: the Current Debate

Some Canadian politicians view Zehaf-Bibeau as a criminal, others, as a terrorist. Allow me to send you information with respect to this matter.

A criminal or a terrorist?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa-attack-was-michael-zehaf-bibeau-s-attack-a-terrorist-act-1.2818329

6. Canada’s  role in the U. S. led coalition

However, the more relevant and saddening news is that Canada may now play a more aggressive role in the U.S. led coalition fighting Isis. I understand the Parliament’s decision to join the U.S. led coalition (157/134; 7 October 2014), but I would have voted against military engagement. Six hundred dogs were in the Middle East in 2011 and, without a certain dog, a Belgian Shepherd Malinois named Cairo, Osama bin Laden might not have been located and killed.

http://blogs.canoe.ca/parker/news/the-dog-that-cornered-osama-bin-laden/

CANADA HAS APPROVED AIR COMBAT 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/isis-mission-mps-approve-canada-s-air-combat-role-1.2790189

—ooo—

I thought of the woman taken in adultery when I read that Isis militants were using punishment that far exceeded the woman’s crime and would not have been meted out by today’s Muslims.

Very few of us are in a position to throw stones. (John 7:53.)

GuercinoAdultress1621Dulwich

Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery, by Il Guercino, 1621 (Dulwich Picture Gallery)

49141837_p

Saint Peter, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called Il Guercino (Photo credit: alaintruong.com)

But now I am thinking of the parable of the Prodigal Son. The prodigal son’s older brother, who has been virtuous all his life, cannot understand why a father would celebrate the return of a son who was “lost.”

“But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:32.)

 

I wish all of you a good weekend.

RELATED ARTICLES

____________________

[1] “Pompeo Girolamo Batoni”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 31 oct.. 2014
<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/56059/Pompeo-Girolamo-Batoni>.

[2] “Rembrandt van Rijn”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 31 oct.. 2014
<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/497584/Rembrandt-van-Rijn>.

[3] “Il Guercino”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 31 oct.. 2014
<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/248250/Il-Guercino>.

About hyphenated names.
In Quebec, women must keep their maiden name. Children sometimes use both their mother’s name and their father’s.
 
  • JOSEPH HAYDN “Symphony No. 7 ‘Le Midi’ in C major, Hob. I:7: III. Menuetto” de Camerata Academica Salzburg, Hans Reinartz
  • ANTONIO VIVALDI Vivaldi & Batoni – Sonata para dos violines Op. 1 Nº 1 en sol menor, RV 73 – I Musici

49141964Head of a Young Man in Profile, Il Guercino (Photo credit: alaintruong.com)

© Micheline Walker
31 October 2014
WordPress
 

Isis is under attack, not Islam

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islam-art3-1
Tarih-i Sultan Süleyman, Szigetvár campaign, 1566, Tartar as avant-garde (Photo credit: mesosyn.com [Wikimedia Commons])

I thought we have come to the end of our discussion over the death of unarmed Cpl Nathan Frank Cirillo, a soldier, on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Canada. However, a discussion on Twitter made me realize there was more to tell. During the last few days, a large number of Tweeters have been exchanging tweets trying to explain

  • why Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau had killed
  • and finding fault with countries that are fighting what many called “Islam.”

This crisis is confusing.

Parliament Hill, Ottawa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_shootings_at_Parliament_Hill,_Ottawa

Isis, not Islam

The “coalition” is not fighting Islam
The “coalition” is fighting Isis, criminals
Isis is a group of terrorists inviting the intervention of the “coalition”
 

I don’t think we will ever be able to determine precisely why Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau shot Cpl Cirillo and then tried to find his way to a room, the Library, where members of Canada’s ruling party, the Conservative Party, were meeting. However, the killer left a video that may provide valuable information.

As for the coalition’s target, it is not Islam, it is Isis. There is a difference. Isis is a group of terrorists. We have videos showing “Jihadi John” holding a knife, speaking with an east London accent, and having victims about to be decapitated blame their native land for their murder. Isis has beheaded James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David Haines, and Allan Henning, innocent journalists and aid workers. Isis has also beheaded women who lifted their veil and other “infidels.”

Surprisingly, many members of Isis are individuals who have left their country, Britain mainly, to join the militants. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was a Canadian citizen who grew tired of waiting for a passport and killed. He wanted to travel to Syria. For the time being, that is all we, ordinary citizens, can ascertain. However, we may know more later. We haven’t seen the video.

Britons with Isis

http://www.inquisitr.com/1566172/isis-threatens-to-kill-british-deserters-who-want-to-return-home-from-fighting-in-middle-east/

A Civil War

The militants Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau wanted to join are engaged in a sectarian civil war. Sectarianism and extremism have long divided the Middle East, to a lesser or greater extent. Earlier in the conflict, in the fall of 2013, Bashar al-Assad authorized the use of chemical weapons that were eventually destroyed, but entire families had died. At the moment, chlorine gas is the chemical weapon of choice.

Chlorine gas

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/10/iraq-isil-chlorine-gas-attacks-20141024145426293714.html

Meddlers? not so soon

11 September 2001
the response: the war in Iraq
the war is over: 2008 – 2012

11 September 2001

The role the US is playing in the “coalition” has befuddled me, but matters are now clearer. I know that the United States has a bad reputation in the Middle East. They are seen as “meddlers.” The current intervention may therefore be viewed as further “meddling,” not to mention neo-colonialism on the part of the United States. The United States is using drone strikes so it doesn’t put “feet on the ground,” i.e. live soldiers. Drone attacks, however, are blind attacks and may lead to the death of a great many innocent civilians. Strikes also put Americans at risk on their own soil. In other words, President Obama is a reluctant warrior for valid reasons.

President Obama sued

http://www.13newsnow.com/story/news/local/mycity/virginia-beach/2014/10/28/virginia-beach-man-sues-president-obama/18061753/

However, on 11 September 2001, the United States was attacked by terrorists associated with al-Qaeda, a widely-spread group of terrorists. Its leader, Osama bin Laden, smiled as he watched the towers of the World Trade Centre, the highest buildings in the world, crumble to the ground. Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 by American commandoes aided by a dog.

The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/05/science/05dog.html?_r=0

The War in Iraq

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the United States entered Iraq, a sovereign country, which was an act of war. The decision to enter Iraq has been interpreted as the remains of Manifest Destiny. Prisoners are still being held at Guantánamo, but it would be reasonable to assume that their name is on a list resembling the list of would-be militant jihadists the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has drawn up.

The fact remains, however, that American involvement in the Middle East tapered off beginning in 2008 and ended in 2011. (See Iraq War, Wikipedia.) Beginning in late 2008 early 2009, President Obama and his administration have tried to establish a normal relationship with the countries of the Middle East.

The Coalition: Isis inviting intervention

President Obama is not the only reluctant warrior. So are other members of the “coalition.” However, presidents and prime ministers have a duty to protect citizens from persons who have captured and murdered in cold blood. Their role is not easy. Isis is inviting intervention. We mourn the loss of the above-named James Foley, Steven Sotloff, David HainesAllan Henning, and others. As noted earlier, before killing its victims, Isis makes them read a statement in which they blame their country. It would appear Isis is fishing for a pretext to kill wantonly.

As I wrote in an earlier post and will repeat, the person holding the knife is left-handed “Jihadi John,” who speaks English with an east London accent.

If found alive, “Jihadi John” and friends will be prosecuted, not President Obama, nor British Prime Minister David Cameron, nor Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper. Members of the “coalition” are in the Middle East because innocent people are not only dying, but dying in a barbaric way. Several Britons who have joined the militants would like to go home, but can’t. They run the risk of getting killed. This is not a “holy” war, if such wars exist.

Daily Mail, UK

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2730602/The-homegrown-jihadists-fighting-ISIS-How-one-four-foreigners-signed-Islamic-State-British-half-ALREADY-UK.html

Britons with Isis

http://www.inquisitr.com/1566172/isis-threatens-to-kill-british-deserters-who-want-to-return-home-from-fighting-in-middle-east/

Sharia: A Woman is stoned to Death

In other words “Jihadi John” and friends are using Islam to kill at leisure. “Jihadi John” wears a mask, literally and figuratively. He is waging what he claims is a “holy” war and, recently a poor woman suspected of adultery was stoned to death. This type of behaviour, called sharia, is atavistic and “unholy,” by any standard. “Jihadi John” is an assassin. He is also a coward hiding behind a cause.

Daily Mail, UK

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2720746/Women-stoned-death-Syria-adultery.html

islam-art3-6

Painting (Photo credit: mesosyn.com)

Israel

There have long been tensions in the Middle East, sectarianism, and these tensions were exacerbated when the State of Israel was created at the end of the British Mandate on Palestine. Part of Palestine was given to the Jews who had been the victims of the Nazis. Six million Jews were killed by the Nazis. (See the Arab-Israel War of 1948.)

“On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 (also known as the Partition Resolution) that would divide Great Britain’s former Palestinian mandate into Jewish and Arab states in May 1948.”

Israeli occupied territories

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlement_timeline

Isis or jihadism in Canada

Jihadism, however, precedes the creation of Israel. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been an irritant in the Middle East, but it has no room in the current discussion.

It would be my opinion that Isis represents nothing but itself. It does not represent Islam. Moreover, to my knowledge, no one is at war with Islam. The coalition is fighting Isis (also called Isil [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] and IS).

I will close by repeating that the coalition is fighting Isis, not Islam. Its theatre had been the Middle East and its most visible member, “Jihadi John.” Last week, however, a would-be jihadist, Canadian Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, shot to death Cpl Nathan Frank Cirillo, from Hamilton, Ontario. He then entered the Centre Block of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Canada.

Officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police chased him as he was running in the direction of the Library. When he started shooting at the barricaded doors, Security guard Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers killed Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, thus prevented him from harming politicians. Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper was whisked away to safety.

Gunman shot

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/10/27/kevin-vickers-took-out-gunman-michael-zehaf-bibeau-with-spinning-dive-straight-out-of-an-action-movie/

Conclusion: The Golden Rule

Political leaders have asked Canadians not to blame Canadian Muslisms for crimes committed by Isis, i.e. the shooting death of Cpl Cirillo, the beheading of journalists and aid workers, etc.

Isis members are extremists and, by definition, extremists do not know how far they can go too far. Moreover, Isis members are terrorists and, by the same token, criminals. Such is not the case with the vast majority of Muslims who are law-abiding citizens and pleasant neighbours wherever they may live.

I doubt we will ever know, with absolute certainty, what motivated Michael Zehaf-Bibeau to take a gun and kill. But the Golden Rule still prevails. We cannot do unto others that which we do not want others to do unto us. It is a rule above all rules. It does not impede worshipping, but it forbids acts of terrorism and the use of chemical weapons. It does so in the name of human rights and human civility. Life is sacred.

In short, Isis not Islam is under attack. In fact, it could be argued successfully that no one is meddling in the Middle East, with the possible exception of Isis itself.

RELATED ARTICLES 

The black flag of jihad
The black flag of jihad
© Micheline Walker
29 October 2014
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Gun Registration in Canada: a Crucial Issue

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islam-art3-9
Horse and Groom by Haydar Ali, early 16th century (Photo credit: mesosyn.com)

I converted a few pale lines in the post I published on 24 October 2014, into bold letters. I wanted to re-examine the logic of the text. I was able to see that the key to determining the cause of this week’s events in Ottawa was the source of the weapon. Once the police had determined the provenance of the weapon, they would have been able to establish, with complete certainty, whether or not the killer acted on behalf of Isil and to what extent Isis had penetrated Canada. It appears Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau acted alone.

Gun Control in Canada

Canada still has strict gun-control legislation, but under Prime Minister Steven Harper, the leader of the Conservative Party, changes were made to gun-control legislation. Canadians do not carry firearms, but persons who wish to do so no longer need to register their firearms. Martin Rouleau-Couture did not kill by gun, but Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau did.

Martin Rouleau-Couture

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/martin-couture-rouleau-hit-and-run-driver-arrested-by-rcmp-in-july-1.2807078

Therefore, if gun control was not a crucial issue in the forthcoming political campaign, it is now on the agenda. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau killed by gun and, ironically, members of the Conservative Party, the Party that introduced less stringent gun-control legislation, were targeted. They barricaded the doors of the room in which they were working as gun shots could be heard. It seems they did not have a key or that they knew a key would not suffice.

I realize that this week’s events cannot be linked entirely to weapons. Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau wanted his passport. However, if the acquisition of firearms is untraceable and this matter impedes a thorough investigation, gun control may be a factor in the next political campaign. It has been ascertained that Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau wanted to fly to Syria and nothing suggests that he acted on behalf of Isis, yet knowing how and where he acquired his weapon would be useful.

At any rate, Tom Mulcair, the leader of the New Democratic Party, and Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party, may have gained better chances of being elected into office. The fourth party, the Bloc québécois, lost its seats in the House of Commons in the Federal Election of 2011. However, Quebec has already opposed Ottawa’s decision.

http://www.vox.com/2014/10/24/7047547/canada-gun-law-us-comparison 

Canada’s Role in the Coalition

The role the United States has given itself as leader of the coalition fighting Isis will not be discussed. I am not in possession of all the facts concerning this issue. I believe, however, that although its contribution is minimal: “six CF18 fighter jets, two surveillance aircrafts, a refuelling plane and 600 personnel – but no ground troops[,]” for six months (The Montreal Gazette), it may be in Canada’s best interest to revisit its decision to provide anything more than humanitarian aid to the above-mentioned coalition. We put ourselves at risk and we may have paid the price. Moreover, the crisis in the Middle East may last for decades, or longer.

This has to be a very short post. A guest will be visiting, so I must make sure the apartment looks tidy.

The link below was inserted in my last post. I believe this post concludes the discussion on the killings that occurred this past week in our humble Canada.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Radio-Canada)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/should-the-west-stop-intervening-in-the-middle-east-1.2811177
 
???????????

(Photo credit: ShiaGraph)

Canada’s Political Parties

 

—ooo—

Maher Zain sings “For the Rest of my Life”

Islamic Art

(Photo credit: Islamic Art)

© Micheline Walker
26 October 2014
WordPress

The Golden Rule

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Le Prophète Mahomet Al-Bîrûnî, al-âthâr al-bâqiya (Vestiges des siècles passés). BnF, Manuscrits (Arabe 1489 fol. 5v) (Photo credit: Bibliothèque nationale de France)[1]

640px-Biruni-russian

Al-Biruni, Russian Stamp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is Friday, 24 October 2014. It has not been a good week for Canadians. Nor has it been a good week for the entire world. Isis militants do not necessarily live in the Middle East and those who do not are not easy to identify. However, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has identified 130 Isis sympathizers in Canada and 93 are to be denied a passport.

He was awaiting a Passport

When he shot Nathan Frank Cirillo, 24, Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, the Ottawa gunman, was waiting for his passport to be issued. It seems he no longer had a passport but that he was about to be provided with one. He was anxious to leave and waiting frustrated him, which is why he was in Ottawa. His name was not on a list of 93 persons to be denied a passport.

Denying passports is a preventive measure aimed at keeping would-be terrorists within Canada.

However, individuals denied passports may kill fellow Canadians. This question is central to the shooting death of two Canadian soldiers on 21 and 23 October 2014 respectively. Martin Rouleau-Couture’s passport had been confiscated. On 21 October, Rouleau-Couture killed a soldier at St. Jean-sur-Richelieu in what is believed to have been an isolated incident.

The shooting death of Nathan Frank Cirillo, on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, is also believed to have been an isolated incident related to a delay in obtaining a passport.

The question is whether or not refusing passports to would-be terrorists solves problems.

The Canadian government does not want to let out of the country persons who may join Isis and be implicated in acts of terrorism abroad. However, these would-be militants, may commit acts of terrorism inside their country, which is what happened this week in Canada. Two soldiers are dead and the suspected killers wanted to go to Syria.

Mohammed receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. Miniature illustration on vellum from the book Jami' al-Tawarikh (literally "Compendium of Chronicles" but often referred to as The Universal History or History of the World), by Rashid al-Din, published in Tabriz, Persia, 1307 A.D. Now in the collection of the Edinburgh University Library, Scotland.

Mohammed receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel. Miniature illustration on vellum from the book Jami’ al-Tawarikh (literally “Compendium of Chronicles” but often referred to as The Universal History or History of the World), by Rashid al-Din, published in Tabriz, Persia, 1307 CE. Now in the collection of the Edinburgh University Library, Scotland. (Caption and photo credit: www.zombietime.com)

A Lone Killer

It appears the Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau acted alone. However, he had to borrow a gun. Canadians cannot carry lethal weapons, except the police, the military, and similarly authorized individuals. Strict gun-control legislation is viewed as a security measure.

Therefore, who provided Zehaf-Bibeau with a deadly weapon?

Zehaf-Bibeau, who spoke four languages, nearly reached a room filled with members of the Conservative Party. He was prevented from entering the room by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who killed him putting himself at risk.

Conclusion

Investigators must find the provenance of the gun. Did Isis supply the gun?

The more important issue may be that we are dealing with cultures where the lex talionis still prevails. One goes from retaliation to retaliation for centuries and, occasionally, as seems to be the case at the moment, matters spiral out of control. I believe Jesus of Nazareth’s was the first person, a Jew who lived in occupied Palestine, to  advocate turning the other cheek, probably a metaphor. Jesus spoke in parables.

Many early societies applied this “eye-for-an-eye” principle literally.[2]

I should note, in closing, that the quotation posted on Facebook, by Zakria Habibi of Sherbrooke, missing since 17 July, is from a book written by Ahmad Ibn Taymiyyay, in the 13th century CE.

We definitely need to teach young children always to behave moderately, to respect the law, to respect human life, and to love another. We cannot do unto others that which we do not want others to do unto us.

That is the Golden Rule and the Golden Rule is the same every where. It is universal, and I believe it negates the lex talionis.

Sources

Gun control http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/who-may-carry-handguns-in-canada-1.1135084
 
The Middle East http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/should-the-west-stop-intervening-in-the-middle-east-1.2811177
 

With my kindest regards to all of you. 

____________________

[1] The Remains of Past Centuries

[2] “talion”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 24 Oct.. 2014
<http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/581485/talion>.

world3

Photo credit: Muslim Inventions

The Medieval Golden Age, Al-Biruni and the Earth’s Radius لبيروني و حجم الارض

(Photo credit: Renaissance Astrology)785311596270360493
 
 
© Micheline Walker
October 24, 2014
WordPress

Terrorism: Disbelief in Canada, cont’d

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Sergeant Vickers

Sergeant Kevin Vickers

According to the National Post,

“Jihadist fighters or their sympathizers took to Twitter Wednesday to celebrate the attacks this week that took the lives of Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and to encourage more attacks on Canadian soil. They say Canada is getting its just desserts for sending fighter jets to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham, and some said ISIS is behind the attacks in Canada.”

It does seem that young rebels without a cause have found one. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the RCMP, has a list of 130 Canadians who have been identified as possible Muslim extremists.

Martin Rouleau-Couture

Martin Rouleau-Couture was prevented from flying to Turkey in early July 2014. His passport was taken away.

On 21 October 2014, at St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec Rouleau-Couture shot two soldiers, one of whom died. Rouleau-Couture was killed in the mêlée.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
 

Zakria Habibi

Zakria Habibi, from Sherbrooke, disappeared on 17 July, in Turkey. Statements on his Facebook account suggest he is a jihad sympathizer:

“My imprisonment is a retreat, my death would make me a martyr, and being exiled from my country would be a promenade.” (quotation from Ibn Taymiyyah, 13th century)

Zakria’s father travelled to Turkey to look for his son, but failed to find him. Zakria’s father was interviewed yesterday and stated that the words quoted above, from Sherbrooke’s Tribune, could not be his son’s.

Although Zakria Habibi is listed as a possible jihad militant, no one can confirm that he is. He may in fact have been captured.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
 

There are doubts about Zakria Habibi’s position vis-à-vis Isil. But Martin Rouleau-Couture, who had renamed himself “Ahmad,” was a jihad sympathizer attempting to join the militants.

Kevin Vickers Honoured

Sergeant Kevin Vickers was honoured today in Parliament. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, yesterday’s gunman, was killed by Sergeant Vickers a few metres away from rooms where a large number of Canadian politicians were meeting.

Yesterday, Sergeant Vickers used his gun for the first time in 30 years.

—ooo—

Sources

The National Post
http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/10/23/canada-getting-a-taste-of-their-own-medicine-jihadists-sneer-at-ottawa-shooting-on-twitter/
 
The Ottawa Citizen
http://ottawacitizen.com/
 
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Politics/ID/2568380757/ 
 
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/martin-couture-rouleau-case-underscores-passport-seizure-dilemma-1.2807239
 
Coat_of_arms_of_the_CHA
  

Louis Lortie plays Chopin, an Étude

untitled

© Micheline Walker
October 23, 2014
WordPress

Terrorism: Disbelief in Canada

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Photo: Adrian Wyld La Presse canadienne Un policier prend position devant le parlement où des coups de feu ont été échangés.
Photo: Adrian Wyld La Presse canadienne
Un policier prend position devant le parlement où des coups de feu ont été échangés.

 (A policemen gets into position in front of the Parliament buildings where gun shots were exchanged.)

Stunning News

I just picked up the local newspaper and read that, yesterday, a soldier was killed in Ottawa. I have yet to read all fourteen pages devoted to the killing by a would-be terrorist, in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. The above picture was copied from Le Devoir, the leading French-language paper in Canada.terrorist, in Canada’s capital. The above picture was copied from Le Devoir, the leading French-language paper in Canada.

Names, etc.

The suspected killer has been identified as Montreal-born Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, aged 32. The victim was Nathan Frank Cirillo, aged 24. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was shot by sergeant Kevin Vickers. Two individuals were injured.

—ooo—

I watch the News at suppertime, but yesterday I had flu symptoms and a temperature. I walked in front of the television set without turning it on.

At least one French-Canadian, from Sherbrooke, where I live, has joined Isis. He has been reported missing and may have been killed. An inquiry is under way.

Needless to say Canada’s Muslim population fears retaliation, but they are not to blame.

The above is the reason why I am trusting President Obama. He is in possession of facts denied civilians for security reasons. I understand why President Obama has a friendly relationship with former President George W. Bush. The attacks of 11 September 2001 could cause undue haste.

Allow me to read the details and get back to you.

The scene inside: Attack in the Hall of Honour

The scene inside: Attack in the Hall of Honour (Photo credit: The Globe and Mail)

Video: CBC

(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / Radio-Canada)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ottawa-shooting-how-parliament-will-carry-on-1.2809783
 
(National Post)
https://www.google.ca/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=bAVJVJyQMe_L8gengYGwBw&gws_rd=ssl#q=he+was+shot+by+police
 
 

Paul Robeson sings « Un Canadien errant »

The Canadian Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Canadian Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

© Micheline Walker
October 23, 2014
WordPress
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