Category Archives: racism

In Search of Leonard, my Martyred Ancestor

Murder of Christians

Eastern Turkey had a large and thriving community of Christians a little over 100 years ago, but since then most have been dispersed or killed. The BBC’s Eli Melki went to look for traces of a relative, who was martyred at the age of 33.

One evening in June, I sat in the sunset among the Roman ruins of Zirzawan hill, in south-east Turkey. This is where it’s said the remains of one of my ancestors are buried in a mass grave. Leonard Melki was about 33 years old at the beginning of World War One, and his fate was determined by his Christian faith.

At that time, between a fifth and a quarter of the inhabitants of eastern Turkey – then part of the Ottoman Empire – belonged to an array of Eastern denominations of the Christian Church, including the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Syriac Church, the Church of the East (Nestorians) and the Chaldean Church.

Leonard Melki
Leonard Melki’s beatification began in 2005

All except the Armenians worshipped in Syriac – a dialect of Aramaic, the language of Christ.

They lived among the empire’s Muslim majority and, while many prospered, at some times and in some places they were subject to outright persecution; in World War One, it went far, far beyond that.

Leonard, my great-grandfather’s cousin, was born a member of one of the Eastern churches – the Maronites – but later became a Capuchin friar, and in his mid-20s he was sent to run the order’s school in the city of Mardin, close to what is now the border between Turkey and Syria.

At this point Christians represented between 35% and 40% of Mardin’s inhabitants. The Capuchin monastery, where Leonard taught boys the rudiments of the Christian faith, stood alongside a Franciscan monastery in a prominent position in the city centre.

To find out more about Leonard, I spoke to his great-nephew, Fares Melki, who has set up a website dedicated to Leonard and other missionaries from Baabdat, the small town near Beirut where we were both born. As we sat under our family oak tree, he told me that Leonard was born Yusuf (Joseph in Arabic) in about 1881, one of 11 children. As a boy he would have tilled the land around where we were sitting.

Baabdat oak tree

Fares showed me some yellowed letters and photographs Leonard sent to relatives and to his superiors. They reveal a young man dedicated to his faith, attached to his sister Tamar, and eager – despite problems with his health – to embark on a mission 1,000km from his picturesque and prosperous home in Mount Lebanon.

In one letter, written in 1912, he wrote about young Muslim men from Mardin being sent to fight in the Balkan Wars.

“Poor souls, I pity them. They are marching like sheep to the slaughter, poorly trained and equipped, but displaying an admirable courage despite of it all. Lacking everything – even bread – they end up by devastating everything and terrorising people wherever they set foot. May God put an end to all this misery, and grant peace and tranquillity to the land.”

But not long afterwards, World War One did the opposite, and the nationalist Young Turks then in control of the Ottoman Empire began to fear a possible alliance between the local Christian populations and Russia, which had quickly gone on the offensive.

 

The decision was taken to deport the Armenian population into the interior provinces – though in practice men were often simply executed, and women and children forced into convoys that morphed into death marches.

While these actions were directed against the Armenians, they had the effect of signalling that all Christians in the region had lost the protection of the state. The result was a wave of pogroms, carried out both by the local Ottoman authorities and some Kurdish tribesmen.

Some Syriac Christian churches are estimated to have lost up to half their congregation in the violence. They call this Seyfo, the Year of the Sword, and Leonard was one of the victims.

Today, almost nothing remains of Mardin’s ancient Christian heritage. There is no trace of the Capuchin monastery in Mardin, though by chance I met a local historian – possibly the last Armenian living in the city – who was able to point out the precise location of the neighbouring Franciscan monastery. Using old photographs and the memoirs of her grandmother – once a pupil at the girls’ school run by Franciscan nuns – she has been able to pinpoint exactly where each arch of the building stood. Today the site is a busy and noisy car park among the narrow shopping streets of this Turkish city. It’s hard to imagine now the sounds of the schoolyards and the monastery bells.

The car park in Mardin

But below ground level, in a former public bath building, my Armenian guide showed me an archway, a remnant of one of the two defunct monasteries. And suddenly in my mind’s eye I could see Leonard and his pupils passing by – or being dragged along after his arrest.

Leonard was seized in June 1915, when the authorities rounded up a number of clergymen and other notables of the city on trumped up charges of collaboration with the enemy, usually the French. Christians had widely come to be seen as a fifth column of the Western powers, and the missionaries treated as enemy agents.

We walked along the winding old main street referred to by a Dominican monk, Jacques Rhétoré, in his account of the arrests.

Capuchin friars in Mardin and the Franciscan monastery
Capuchin friars in Mardin and the Franciscan monastery

“Father Leonard, a Capuchin, was in front of the convoy of detainees, between two students of Saint Francis’s school. As he passed by his convent, he looked upward, in a last salute to the holy house where he lived in the bliss of doing good deeds. There, the soldier flanking him dealt him a blow on the head with a club, yelling at him: ‘Walk straight you dirty Fraranji (Frenchman)!'”

The convoy, one of many, was led towards the city of Diyarbakir, where the detainees were to be tried for treason. However, in the middle of the journey, the column of detainees, now in a sorry state, was led to the hill of Zirzawan.

The motorway at the bottom of Zirzawan hill
Looking down from Zirzawan: The old road along which the detainees were driven is to the left of the new motorway

Their final hour was recounted by another Dominican, Hyacinthe Simon.

“They were killed by groups of four, with knives, daggers and scimitars, or clubbed to death, then their bodies were thrown in the wells. The old fortress still holds their bones and the secret of their last moments,” he wrote.

Sitting on Zirzawan hill, I wondered what must have gone through Leonard’s mind as his life was about to end. Did he remember our peaceful hometown, the family land with its majestic oak tree, his fellow friars, his beloved sister?

For me, Leonard personifies the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of mostly innocent and unarmed people, who were were killed during the fateful spring and summer of 1915 in the eastern part of the Ottoman Empire. It helps me to fathom the enormity of this disaster.

In the distance, I could still see the sprawling new city of Mardin. The old road taken by the death march has now been replaced by a motorway, emblematic of a resurgent Turkey, a country where the two-millennia-old Christian presence has been reduced to the ruins of places of worship. And to about 2,500 Syriac speaking people, who still cling, against all odds, to a handful of towns and villages in the nearby region of Tur Abdin, the “Mountain of the Worshippers”.

What was once one of the most ancient and dense Christian presences in the world now stands on the brink of extinction.

Amnesty International criticised for not including antisemitism in landmark abuse report

 

Amnesty International antisemitism

The study analysed millions of tweets but human rights campaigners claimed they lacked the data to explore Jew-hate

Amnesty International has been criticised for not including antisemitic abuse of Jewish women in the largest ever study of abuse of female politicians and journalists on Twitter.

The study analysed millions of tweets received by 778 journalists and politicians from the UK and US who were selected by researchers concluded that black women were “disproportionately targeted” by “abusive or problematic tweets.”

But the human rights campaigners insisted they “didn’t have enough data” to explore antisemitic, misogynistic abuse of MPs like Luciana Berger, Ruth Smeeth, despite the fact the issue is so pressing it prompted a parliamentary conference on addressing it three weeks ago.

Claudia Mendoza, the Jewish Leadership Council’s director of policy and public affairs, condemned the abuse against MPs like Diane Abbott but said: “Amnesty International may wish to look further into the antisemitic abuse aimed at prominent Jewish women including MPs so prevalent on Twitter.

“This is even more important considering that such abuse has occurred from within their own organisation.”

This refers to how, in 2012, Amnesty campaigns manager Kristyan Benedict tweeted an antisemitic joke about three Jewish MPs.

Mark Gardner, the Community Security Trust’s director of communications, referred to a previous Amnesty report into Twitter abuse against women – published in September 2017.

He told the JC: “This is the second time in just over a year that Amnesty has released reports on misogyny, racism and social media that utterly ignores antisemitism, despite the widely documented Jew-hatred that so many female Labour MPs have suffered in recent years.

“It typifies the way in which antisemitism is ignored by Amnesty and many other groups, from whom we still instinctively – but very wrongly – expect solidarity.”

Publishing the results of their Troll Patrol project on Tuesday, Amnesty produced a diagram illustrating the ethnic background of those receiving abuse did differentiate between women of Black, Latinx, Asian, Mixed race and White background.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said their survey backs up “what women have long been saying – that Twitter is endemic with racism, misogyny and homophobia.”

Danny Stone, chief executive of the Antisemitism Policy Trust (APT), criticised the failure to include analysis of antisemitic abuse.

Three weeks ago, research commissioned by the Community Security Trust and the APT showed Jewish women in parliament face a disproportionate amount of antisemitic abuse online.

Mr Stone told the JC on Tuesday: “This (Amnesty) report makes for shocking reading, it is appalling the extent of the abuse women experience online.

“Last month, we helped organise the Sara Conference, to shine a light on the growing and frightening overlap of misogyny and antisemitism, particularly online. That conference marked the beginning of a conversation which, judging by the omission of Jewish women from this report, is evidently very much required.”

One MP, who asked not to be named, said it was “beyond comprehension” why Amnesty had not identified abuse directly aimed at Jewish women in their study.

“Study after study in recent years has highlighted the issue of antisemitic abuse directed at Jewish women,” the MP added. “It is beyond comprehension why Amnesty were unable to look at this problem themselves.”

Amnesty said its findings were the result of a collaboration between Amnesty International and Element AI, an artificial intelligence software product company.

They surveyed millions of tweets received by 778 journalists and politicians from the UK and US throughout 2017  across the political spectrum.

Using cutting-edge data science and machine learning techniques, they said they were able to provide a quantitative analysis of unprecedented scale of online abuse against women in the UK and USA.

An Amnesty spokesperson told the JC: “Despite our best efforts, we didn’t have enough data about the Jewish background of the women in our sample – this was publicly available for women MPs in the UK but not for the journalists in our study.

“It was a level of analysis we were keen to make, together with disaggregation of abuse by women’s sexual orientation but that meta-data is much harder to research.

“That is why we are reinforcing our calls to Twitter to release meaningful data on how it responds to reports of abuse, in particular abusive tweets that direct hate against a protected category.”

Amnesty’s study found black women were 84 per cent more likely than white women to be subjected to abusive tweets. One in 10 posts mentioning black women contained “abusive or problematic” language.

Ms Abbott, the shadow home secretary, urged Twitter to take action over “highly offensive racist and misogynist” abuse on the platform.

Milena Marin, senior advisor for tactical research at Amnesty said: “Although abuse is targeted at women across the political spectrum, women of colour were much more likely to be impacted, and black women are disproportionately targeted.

“Twitter’s failure to crack down on this problem means it is contributing to the silencing of already marginalized voices.”

by Lee Harpin

BREAKING: Female Animal Rights Anarchist And Male Radical Islamist Communicated With Killer Dylann Roof While Planning Upscale Mass Murder

Elizabeth Lecron and Dylann Roof

An Ohio woman, one of two people accused on Monday of planning mass murders, was in contact with the racist gunman who shot up a South Carolina church and killed nine people in 2015, authorities said.

Elizabeth Lecron, 23, of Toledo, was one of two people arrested in domestic terrorism-related cases, the FBI announced. Lecron was arrested with 21-year-old Damon Joseph, of Holland.

Officials said Lecron posted many photos and comments on social media that glorified mass shooters, including Dylann Roof, who opened fire during a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., leaving nine people dead.

Lecron had exchanged letters with Roof while he was in federal prison in Indiana, the FBI said. She was one of four people who Roof communicated with while he was locked up, according to Cleveland.com. She also idolized the Columbine High School shooters, authorities said.

The FBI said investigators found an AK-47, shotgun, handguns, ammunition and hand-caps, which are used to make pipe bombs, in her apartment. Authorities said she planned to attack a bar in Toledo and meet up with other anarchists and free animals from a farm. Her attack was described as “an upscale mass murder,” according to Cleveland.com.

Joseph was arrested in a plot to attack a Toledo synagogue, authorities said. He was charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Authorities said Joseph converted to Islam and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State earlier this year. He expressed his distaste with “gays, Christians, Catholics and Jews” and thought the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue attack got what they deserved, the FBI said.

Lecron faces 10 years in prison if convicted. Joseph faces 20 years in prison if he’s convicted.

The rape epidemic in Finland has reached the point where Fins have given up hope

Rape Sweden Finland

Is rampant rape the price Finnish women must pay for giving asylum to migrants? Finlandnow, has become “one of the least safe countries in Europe for women,” according to Finland’s leading newspaper.

Crimes committed by asylum seekers have increased dramatically. Swedish-language asked a criminologist who says having an immigrant background doesn’t explain criminality and that the issue is more complicated than that.

Finland’s biggest daily newspaper devoted many column inches to the issue of rape. The topic of rape and violence against women has come to the forefront of discussion in Finnish media since highly-publicised incidents of rape committed by asylum seekers in recent weeks.

Only one in four rapes reported to police In the year 2000, HS displayed on a graph, 488 rapes were reported and in 2014 that number was 940 reported rapes. So far this year (from January to October) the figure stands at 864 reported rapes.

Finland is one of the top countries in the EU for incidents of violence against women. Using figures from the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, some 47 percent of women in Finland have experienced violence at some point in their lives since the age of 15.

The only other country in the EU with a higher percentage is Denmark, with 52 percent. Among the lowest percentages of violence against women were in Hungary (21 percent), Ireland (15 percent) and Austria (13 percent).

Citing Helsinki University’s Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy figures, the paper writes that incidents of reported rapes by immigrants were about eight times higher than that of native Finns.The paper also writes that the most reported rapes were committed by people from the Middle East and Northern Africa.

The evening tabloid Ilta-Sanomat featured a blazing headline on page four’s “Refugee Crisis” feature with a headline that reads: “Suspected crimes increase.”

British lawmaker blames Israel for Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Jenny Tonge antisemitism

Jenny Tonge, a British House of Lords lawmaker with a history of making anti-Semitic statements, suggested that the Pittsburgh synagogue  shooting was the fault of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians.

“Absolutely appalling and a criminal act, but does it ever occur to Bibi and the present Israeli government that it’s [sic] actions against Palestinians may be reigniting anti-Semitism?” wrote Tonge on Facebook Saturday. Bibi is the nickname of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tonge’s text was about a URL to a Haaretz article about the shooting that day at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pennsylvania’s second-largest city.

At least 11 people were killed in the attack, which occurred as worshipers were celebrating a brit milah, or circumcision. The alleged gunman, a 46-year-old white male named Robert Bowers, shouted “All these Jews need to die,” according to reports.

Last year, Tonge, who was suspended from the Liberal Democrat party for anti-Israel rhetoric and later quit over the suspension, accused pro-Israel Jews of creating anti-Semitism in Britain by not criticizing the Jewish state.

David Collier, an activist and blogger who documents anti-Israel and anti-Semitic vitriol, wrote on Facebook and tweeted: “This is truly shameful. As the blood still stains the floor of the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a MEMBER OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS, tries to turn the blame onto Israel.” He added: “Baroness Jenny Tonge is an absolute disgrace.”

Anticipating criticism, Tonge also wrote in her original post about “Bibi”: “I suppose someone will say that it is anti-Semitic to say so?”

The post later disappeared from Tonge’s Facebook feed.

She later posted a quasi retraction, citing a post by Robert Cohen, a British blogger on Israel and the Palestinians.

“I bow to this great article by Robert Cohen and acknowledge that to think that the Israeli government’s persecution of the Palestinian people had anything to do with the actions of this gunman, may have been too hasty. We must wait for his trial and testimony to try to understand better this ‘white’ supremacy movement in the USA,” she wrote.

By Cnaan Liphshiz

INSANE: NYT Argues White Women Are The Problem

NYT White women

Grenell begins with the kind of purple writing that would earn a failing grade from most first-year undergraduates:

After a confirmation process where women all but slit their wrists, letting their stories of sexual trauma run like rivers of blood through the Capitol, the Senate still voted to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. With the exception of Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, all the women in the Republican conference caved, including Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who held out until the bitter end.

These women are gender traitors, to borrow a term from the dystopian TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale.” They’ve made standing by the patriarchy a full-time job. The women who support them show up at the Capitol wearing “Women for Kavanaugh” T-shirts, but also probably tell their daughters to put on less revealing clothes when they go out.

If you do not agree with Grenell, you are simply standing with the patriarchy. What’s more, you’re probably one of those old fuddy-duddies who thinks that it’s a bad idea for their teenage daughter to go to frat parties with a bunch of boys while dressed in skimpy attire. True feminism means believing all men are incipient rapists, but walking through crowds of them while dressed in a bikini is empowerment.

The idiocy continues:

These are the kind of women who think that being falsely accused of rape is almost as bad as being raped. The kind of women who agree with President Trump that “it’s a very scary time for young men in America,” which he said during a news conference on Tuesday.

As it turns out, there’s no actual need to compare the evil of falsely accusing someone of rape and rape itself. They’re both awful. Rape is worse. But falsely accusing someone of rape is pretty freaking terrible. It ruins someone’s life, subjects them to the scorn of an entire society, and does so on the basis of a lie. If Grenell’s idea is that we must always believe women because it’s not that bad to be falsely accused of rape, she ought to talk to the Hillsboro Boys.

But the lowest rung of Hell is reserved, according to Grenell, for “the mothers, sisters and wives of those young men, because my stupid uterus still holds out some insane hope of solidarity.”

Well, she shouldn’t let her uterus do her thinking for her. But she does. She goes on to suggest that white women “put their racial privilege ahead of their second-class gender status” if they vote Republican – because all women must think like Grenell. Never mind that women are individual human beings – a proposition which was, at one point, the centerpiece of the feminist movement. No, they are merely widgets to be used in the battle against the so-called patriarchy.

Grenell suggests that white women are racist; that’s the only explanation for why they vote Republican more often.

Women of color, and specifically black women, make the margin of difference for Democrats. The voting patterns of white women and white men mirror each other much more closely, and they tend to cast their ballots for Republicans. The gender gap in politics is really a color line.

Except that white women are more frequently married and more frequently high income than women of other races (except for women of Asian ethnicity). Those explanatory factors have a lot to do with voting patterns. Grenell is going to have to explain why white women didn’t vote for a white woman in 2016, if this is all about race.

Slandering all white women as racist for voting the way you don’t like might not be the best politics, either. But according to Grenell, white women have traded their genitals for their skin color:

That’s because white women benefit from patriarchy by trading on their whiteness to monopolize resources for mutual gain. In return they’re placed on a pedestal to be “cherished and revered,” as Speaker Paul D. Ryan has said about women, but all the while denied basic rights…[I]t seems that white women are expected to support the patriarchy by marrying within their racial group, reproducing whiteness and even minimizing violence against their own bodies.

This is conspiratorial insipidity of the highest order. Can Grenell name a single person who makes this case outside of the openly racist alt-right? Can she name a single white woman she slanders who believes this? Of course not. It’s merely wild, insane name-calling: you back Brett Kavanaugh, so you must want to become Ofbrett or Ofdonald. In making this claim, Grenell even goes so far as to accuse Kellyanne Conway of “weaponiz[ing[ her own alleged sexual assault” – as opposed to the entire Left weaponizing an unsupported gang rape allegation against Kavanaugh for its own political purposes.

Grenell concludes that white women and white men have a “blood pact.” Or, perhaps, many women of all races simply aren’t up for a society of mob rule, or a society in which female senators like Susan Collins are subjected to the screaming nuttiness of people like Grenell (who says she got a “rage headache” when Collins spoke).

Grenell says that white women must choose whether to be complicit in the patriarchy or to be true women. But the real question for all Americans will be whether they want a country governed by intolerant cretins like Alexis Grenell, or whether they’d prefer a country in which we can have differences of opinion without being labeled sexual traitors.

By BEN SHAPIRO

BREAKING: Anti Police Halftime Show By Forest Hill High School Band

Forest Hill High School Band

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is condemning a high school band for a football halftime performance that he said was “unacceptable in a civilized society.”

Many are saying the performance Friday night by the band from Forest Hill High School depicted students dressed as doctors and nurses pointing toy guns at SWAT team members prone on the ground, WLBT-TV reported.

Bryant issued his condemnation Saturday in a tweet.

The performance was held at the high school in Brookhaven where two police officers were killed in the line of duty Sept. 29 responding to a call of shots fired, the station reported

Brookhaven’s mayor said the band director was placed on administrative leave, the station reported.

Reports said the performance was based loosely on the movie “John Q,” in which a father played by Denzel Washington takes patients at a hospital hostage in order to secure treatment for his son.

The band’s performance does not depict the values and people in our community, and was incredibly insensitive to the students, families, law enforcement officials and the entire Brookhaven community,” Jackson superintendent Errick Greene said.

“I offer my sincerest regrets to the Brookhaven community for the insensitivity portrayed during the Friday evening halftime show. There is an active investigation into the circumstances that led to this performance,” he said, according to the station.

UK Labour Party’s Perfect Storm of Racism

Jeremy Corbyn

The UK Labour Party’s “new” anti-Semitism crisis is the perfect storm of quite old strands of the oldest hatred, explains James Bloodworth at Foreign Policy.

In part, it’s being fed by the “rise of the cranks” — conspiracy theorists obsessed with a shadowy “elite” establishment. It’s an approach that usually ends up blaming the Jews, and Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn plays along.

This swath of the left is uniting with other branches of the left, which “have long tolerated anti-Semitic tropes and foaming vitriol under the guise of anti-Zionism.”

And he is surrounded by advisers struck with Soviet nostalgia: “Israel is viewed through the old Soviet lens. Zionism equals racism, my enemy’s enemy is my friend, and indiscriminate violence by an oppressed nation should be supported, because the ends justify the means.”

Next PM of England Could Be A Racist and Terrorist Sympathizer

Jeremy Corbyn

 “Instead of dealing with anti-Jewish bigotry, [Jeremy Corbyn’s] supporters have in effect told British Jewry to shut up and accept second class status in the Labour Party,” said Center officials.

The Wiesenthal Center, a leading international Jewish Human Rights NGO with a constituency of 400,000 families, is expressing concern about relations between the Labour Party and the UK Jewish community.

“We have watched with increasing alarm and outright anger the spectacle of Jeremy Corbyn’s reckless leadership of the UK Labour Party. Instead of tackling the anti-Semitism that has gained traction within his party, he allows it to fester and grow. Corbyn has sacrificed integrity for political expediency. Instead of challenging history’s oldest hate as many great British leaders from the left and right have done, Corbyn and his supporters have charted a new course by seeking to re-define anti-Semitism so as to leave open extreme, unfair, and one-sided attacks on the democratic state of Israel — home to the world’s largest Jewish community,” said Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate dean, respectively, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

“Instead of dealing with anti-Jewish bigotry, his supporters have in effect told British Jewry to shut up and accept second class status in the Labour Party,” they added.

“But our concerns go beyond the safety and viability of British Jewry. As Americans, we fear a leader who forgot the bitter lessons of the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorist and more recent attacks in London. Jeremy Corbyn shows reverence to dead terrorists and respect for live ones — from the PLFP to Hamas. He saves his criticism for those who stand up to these terrorists. Such a man cannot be trusted to be a leader in the greatest challenge of the 21st Century – the defeat of international terrorism,” concluded Rabbis Hier and Cooper.