Looking for Free Blogs and blogging

Reasons to look at and for blogs

Many people may like Stephanie Joy traverse the interwebs, going from one place to another, stepping lightly through the heady opinions, rockets whizzing here and there;
seeking out meaningful additions to their thought-life. This may sometimes bring challenges and give them to

find gems among the pebbles, sifting stories like sand on the beach; {Story-telling}

When lingering on that worldwide web people encounter opinions they are able to bear or not. Some also make an art out of it to break down others or to spread false messages. We can either

avoid the flashy lightning storms of gossip and brilliance; daintily sample the creativity of other people, perhaps to copy; preserve links for later perusal, and remembering a friend, send her the same; {Story-telling}

The blogs those people visit are not always the flashiest, or the best designed. Though several web-writers may look for ways to get a very fancy website. Is it not nicer for the visitors to find some flashy colours and pictures? What does attract them to have a further look at a website? for sure when it does not look nice they quickly shall click it away and will not bother to have a further look at it.

When they encounter a blog, writing about them, probably they shall see what they write about them and would like to react, when certain atrocities are written about them. For me it is the same and as such the last few weeks I was confronted several times with people telling lies about the Christadelphians and saying to their public I am a hater of God and a hater of Jesus.

When, being accused of not loving Jesus, I wanted to react to such untrue sayings, I was not given a chance to defend myself and because according to them I belonged to a sect, was asked to leave their site. Being silenced that way no opportunity was given to defend myself publicly, so being stepped on my toes, I did find I had to put a defending voice about my and my brethren their love for Jesus on the net.

Different ways to blog

To give a positive voice about our love for Jesus I tried to find an other website or blog system than WordPress with more artistic possibilities and also to reach perhaps some other viewers, because I with my previous experience noticed that a lot of amount of viewers to catch depends also a lot on the sort of website. this was made very clear when I transferred some blogs from Multiply to WordPress. Even without adding any post, we saw the amount of visitors rise enormously. (If I would have known what I found out with the analytics by WordPress I would have made the transfer much sooner.)

C4All on Overblog

C4All on Overblog

OverBlog that believes that because people all see the world in their own, unique way, they each have something special to offer the rest of us, I first did not notice. They say:

With the rise of the Internet, the barriers that kept us from accessing information came crashing down. And today, we can all share our opinions, our passions and our knowledge. As long as we have a tool that lets us do it!

Many tools

There may be many tools, but I found out that of those many are not useful or not at all practical.

Perhaps his list of The 15 best blogging and publishing platforms on the Internet today. Which one is for you? may be worth looking at.

I agree with his first and second choice:

1. WordPress (WordPress.com + WordPress.org ) which has has two options: a freemium hosted service that provides .wordpress.com domains or pay to use your own domain — and includes limited customization. Or the completey free .org version which allows for you to host WordPress on your own servers with much more control, edit themes to your hearts content, hack code and add as many WordPress plugins as you wish.

For not such technical guys like me it may perhaps leave you with not so many options to make it standard with different pictorial settings.

It is very easy to place pictures and links in articles, with good results. This I must say does not always seem to work with other systems I tried.

On 2 comes an other favourite of mine: Blogger, where you also can customize with new backgrounds and layouts easily. Unsurprisingly, the platform is hardwired into Google’s AdSense advertising program (which according thenextweb.com might make the average blogger enough money for a cup of coffee each month) and other Google services like Google+ (for comments) and Feedburner (for RSS distribution) are easily configured.

I also noticed that the Google+ much easier shows up in the search results when “Googleing”.

Christadelphians on Tumbler, 11 February 2015

Christadelphians on Tumbler, 11 February 2015

Though Tumblr may have a strong community of users, much like Twitter or Facebook, thanks to the ease in which other users’ content can be reblogged to their Tumblr account it is best for pictorial material and for placing automatic shortcuts to articles presented on several own blogs. Very useful for that. That also makes it a different kind of platform to the likes of WordPress, and users — particularly of the younger generation — tend to turn to Tumblr blogs to curate items that they like rather than produce their own content.

To be honest I look at tumblr more as a social network element than a blog and having it more in that way getting more attention from unconnected people than with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

What is important by blogging, I think is also to give linked content. Those systems which do not seem to work for sending people to other sites or articles, because their links do not work, like Medium.com, Wix.com, and Mozello which even had all my work destroyed after a few hours after I tried to present its publication. When such systems have a  deficiency or lack of customization and some content discovery issues, for writers, I would say to leave them.

Those looking at or only being a Journal like Penzo and svbtle.com are perhaps good for draft works-in-progress but not to present various texts and attractive material.

Not to trick your readers in

some blogsystems did not seem kosher, having my anti-virus scanner giving me a treath warning for malware and phishing. A phishing website or message trying to trick you or anybody into revealing personal information by appearing to be from a legitimate source, such as a provider for blog services, social network, or even Google we do not want. If you receive a suspicious message, always remember not to provide the information requested. For Weebly I want to warn you and other sites I do not mention, because they do not need any ‘advertising’.

Telling stories

As a platform for showcasing knowledge, bloggers that are seeking to tell stories or impart wisdom about particular topics may find Quora useful. Posts can be categorized using Quora tags — to make them searchable — and, with a little luck and the right content, they can become visible and widely shared. {Quora: Quora.com}

There are enough people around wanting to tell a simple story, real people, sharing elements of real life. They are about people first and theme second. they do not want to sell anything perhaps, except themselves. Some of them want to make of their own life experience and sharing it with others. Some look for adventure and exploration on the internet. Others want to have some influence on others.

Quora blogs are interesting for influencers, those seeking to elevate their status or others wanting to tap into the Quora community. That makes it better suited as a secondary of tertiary blog. {Quora: Quora.com}

Sharing

Is it

Putting one’s life on display – at least, parts of it – and telling stories for strangers. {Story-telling}

you want to do?

Is it your inner desire for story or for having satisfaction that what you want to tell shall be heard by some one, somewhere in the world?

Probably you shall be able to find some one who shall like your stories. Most love to hear or love to read good stories.

And stories need a teller and a listener – they are an act of sharing by necessity. {Story-telling}

Stories to share is not so difficult with modern technology. But real stories and matters of importance are perhaps more difficult to share. worldy subjects can sell easy but spiritual and religious matters shall be much more difficult.

In case the blogging that you love to read and seek to write yourself is the everyday story-telling variety, than perhaps you might find further opportunities with Postach.io, Google+, Facebook Notes, SETT,  Ghost,  Squarespace, Typepad, Posthaven, LinkedIn, Influencers and even The fallen heroes.

Getting ready

Because I have looked and tried several possibilities my self, I taught it perhaps useful to share my experiences with you. I looked at the systems from the point of view of a user and not as a technician. You may find other views from it-people and computer magazines, but I do hope this review was also helpful.Over the last few years I’ve tried different systems and different ways to reach people. Problem by me is that I do not have to sell anything in which people are interested. I am also not a salesman. I am also not a professional writer. I can only speak about the things in which I do believe and of which I do find it worth fighting for.One such thing worth fighting for or going for is the heralding of Good Tidings. There is a high need of bringing the Gospel to as many as possible. To also show the adversaries that I and my fellow brethren do love Jesus I also started now a new blog focusing on the Messiah, our saviour who is there for everybody but only has to be noticed, to believed and to be followed, to get a better life in the future.

I can only be happy when people would come along, like reading what I wrote here and there, and would not mind returning to find new writings.

And I would perhaps also say, though I would love to see some more readers:

Even if it’s just three faithful readers most days (hi …!), I appreciate you taking the time to share these stories with me. Thanks for reading, dear kindred spirit. {Story-telling}

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Additional literature:

  1. Blogging service shootout: Blogger vs. WordPress
  2. Site builder shootout: Drupal vs. Joomla vs. WordPress
  3. How to Launch a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less
  4. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
  5. Those who call the Christadelphians a cult
  6. Sects – why so many
  7. Subcutaneous power for humanity 5 Loneliness, Virtual and real friends
  8. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  9. Those who love Jesus
  10. A beginning with many false starts
  11. Starting block

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  • Why Your HVAC Business Needs a Blog (digitalsherpa.com)
    Today’s consumers have a powerful resource in their back pockets: the internet. If they are considering making a major purchase or have a burning question, you can bet that they are turning to search engine giants like Google for answers.
  • Those who love Jesus (christadelphians.wordpress.com)
    On 2015, February the 7th, C4U a Wix.com website was created to tell the world that we have Christ for us and that the Christadelphians are willing to show the world why it is so important to have Christ for us.
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    With the new websites we want to show people who Christ Jesus really was and is, and how he has been made higher than before (having been lower than angels, though God was, is and always shall be the Most High), now seated next to Jehovah God to be the one mediator between man and God.
  • Blogging – The Benefits For Kids (roomtogrow.co.uk)
    Blogging is a great way of interacting online and sharing thoughts, words and deeds with a growing community of like-minded thinkers.  As we head for this year’s Safer Internet Day in the UK (February 11th, 2014), news reports reveal that more and more of our kids are taking up blogging as a way of connecting in the Digital Age.    In 2010 the London School of Economics reported that 11% of European children who use the internet wrote a blog and that blogging is on the increase among youngsters.
    children blogging
  • China forces citizens to use real names online (mobile.wnd.com)

    Chinese internet users will be forced to use their real names on social media and blogs, in line with a new rule from Chinese internet regulators.

    It comes on the back of recent news that the “great firewall”, China’s internet blocks, climbed higher than ever last week with the blocking of the virtual private networks that many use to get to banned sites.

  • China forces citizens to use real names online (wnd.com)
    Since 2012, Beijing has required that internet companies keep the real names of some users. But the country has now rolled the rule out to blogs, social media and website comment sections, and will be applied more comprehensively.
Posted in Announcement, Christendom, Christianity, Dagboek = Diary, Justification, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Being Charlie 12

English: 城巴10線外望: Category:Queen's Road East 皇...

Xinhua News Agency 新華通訊社香港分社 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Je Suis Charlie” selfies continue to spread around the world and even reached China where the state news agency Xinhua came to the defence of censorship:

“The world is diverse and there should be a limit on press freedom,” Xinhua said.

“For the sake of peaceful living, mutual respect is essential. Sarcasm, insults and freedom of speech without limits and principles are not acceptable.”

Some observers in Hong Kong saw a local resonance to the Charlie Hebdo story when masked attackers threw petrol bombs at the home and office of Next Media founder Jimmy Lai in the early hours of Monday.

The media tycoon has been an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Central democracy movement and some campaigners saw the petrol bombs as an attack on press freedom in the territory.

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Please read:

China Week: Press freedom and corruption

A man holds a sign in French that reads, 'I am Charlie' at the start of the Unity rally on 11 January, 2015 in ParisThe attack on the Charlie Hebdo Paris office has sparked various debates over press freedom – even in China

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Preceding article: Being Charlie 11

  • Press Freedom: Fire Bomb Attacks on Hong Kong’s Apple Daily Founder Jimmy Lai (variety.com)
    Masked men threw a small incendiary device into Lai’s home in the exclusive Kadoorie Avenue area and simultaneously threw similar flares or petrol bombs into the offices of his Next Media company in Tsuen Kwan O.

    Shortly after, Hong Kong police opened fire on a car which refused to stop at a checkpoint, but it is not clear if that incident was connected to the twin attacks.

    Lai (aka Lai Chee-ying) is one of the most prominent anti-Beijing voices in Hong Kong and, through his Apple Daily newspaper, was one of the leading supporters of the recent ‘Occupy Central’ movement.

    The attacks were not the first on Lai’s home. He has also previously received death threats and the websites of Apple Daily have suffered multiple cyber-attacks, which Lai has blamed on hackers sponsored by mainland Chinese authorities.

  • China media: Paris attack condemned (bbc.co.uk)
    Describing the gunmen as “brutal”, state-run Xinhua News Agency says terrorism has become a common threat to the world, and points to the problems France’s anti-terrorism policies.

    “In recent years, France has been involved in military actions in Libya and it recently joined the US-led forces to fight the Islamic State, making it a prominent terror target,” the news agency says.

    According to the analysis, “freedom of religious belief and lax immigration policies” have also prompted the spread of extremism in the country.

    Some observers, meanwhile, feel that some European countries will rethink their anti-terrorism effort in the Middle East and some of their domestic policies in the aftermath of the tragedy.

    “European countries and the US are likely to review their security framework… This incident will change the outlook and policies of these societies,” Zhao Chu, a military expert, tells the Qianjiang Evening News.

  • Why President Xi thinks Charlie Hebdo had it coming (ipolitics.ca)When it comes to accepting the concept of freedom of expression, President Xi is very much on the Islamic State’s end of the spectrum. Indeed, as the leaders posed for the camera, China’s state-controlled news agency, Xinhua, was running an editorial saying that the slaughter of the Charlie Hebdo staff was an excellent example of why government-imposed limits on freedom of expression is a good thing.

    The editorial noted that Charlie Hebdo has been criticized for being “both crude and heartless. What they (supporters of the magazine) seem not to realise is that the world is diverse, and there should be limits on press freedom. Unfettered and unprincipled satire, humiliation and free speech are not acceptable.”

    Censorship in China has racked up several notches since Xi came to power late in 2012. This followed two decades of relative liberalization during a time when state-controlled media was expected to make a profit — and so was also expected to provide news coverage that people wanted to read and hear. The same period saw a rise in corruption in Chinese journalism. Reporters and editors frequently demand money to report stories — or (and this is even more profitable) in return for not running stories embarrassing to those wealthy enough to pay the fine.

  • China slams ‘Western’ press freedom amid solidarity over Paris attacks (refworld.org)
    Global Times said many Muslims living in the West “feel that they are neither trusted nor respected.”

    It said Western politicians were unwilling to “curb” media outlets because of their need to win votes. “Sometimes they even support the media,” the paper said.

    While the official Xinhua news agency echoed the Chinese government’s condemnation of the attacks, it said they had highlighted “issues with France’s anti-terrorism and immigration policies in recent years.”

    French involvement in strikes on Libya and the Islamic State had turned the country into a target for terrorists, while religious extremism has been allowed to flourish under the country’s liberal religious freedom policies, it said.

    “The specter of terrorism had surfaced in France well before this attack,” the article said.

  • Alert: police in Britain seek man for exercising free speech (samizdata.net)

    If you see the man shown in this article, please do not inform the Police of his whereabouts.

    But do tell the bloke, who it must be said may well be a low IQ scumbag who likes to insult strangers on a bus, that he is quite mistaken if he thinks people in the UK have a right to freedom of expression. That is not the case, for it is only politically approved speech that passes a Guardian/BBC sniff test that is permitted. Mutter the wrong things on a bus and you are likely to end up in front of the Beak, with your arrest applauded by those valiant custodians of truth, the Press.

     

  • Hong Kong’s Free Press Shackled by China, Reports Say (theepochtimes.com)
    2014 was a watershed year for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and the press—during the nearly three-months of street protests, the former found new confidence and belief, while the latter clammed up under pressure from China and the pro-Beijing Hong Kong government.

    Two international non-governmental organizations, PEN American Center and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), released reports this month warning of Beijing’s “intervention” in Hong Kong’s news media.

    Press freedom is guaranteed in the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s governing document. But the liberal institution—one of many rights and freedoms the semiautonomous city still enjoys after Britain ceded sovereignty to China in 1997—is being eroded under political and economic pressure from the Chinese communist regime, the 2014’s “worst jailer of journalists.”

    At IFJ’s annual China Press Freedom Report on Monday, the federation’s Asia-Pacific spokeswoman Serenade Woo noted that the Beijing has been “more frequently and openly” interfering in Hong Kong, a “very worrying” sign, South China Morning Post reports.

  • Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai’s home and office hit by arson attacks (theguardian.com)
    Petrol bombs reported to have been used in simultaneous early morning attacks Jump to comments (…) Jimmy Lai pictured when he appeared in court in Hong Kong after a Chinese man was convicted of allegedly planning to shoot two prominent pro-democracy figures, Lai and veteran politician Martin Lee, in the territory.
Posted in News and Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

French Muslims under attack

States always do have to be careful not to create a form of mass or generalised hysteria. In France and Belgium we can see that the government put the security risk factor higher, in Belgium on level 3 (of 4). This makes that not only police is patrolling but also the army, both in special safety bulletproof clothing are holding heavy armed surveillance in cities.

This can give a feeling of more safety but also triggers more fear.

Since Islamist extremists killed 17 people in Paris last month, some French people have lost their senses not seeing clear any-more the difference between fundamentalists and a general faith group.

Last month France could face 147 acts committed against Muslims between January 7 — when gunmen killed 12 people at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly publication — and the end of the month. Also the Jewish community which already had lots of problems last year is facing more fear and hate for their community.

French police officers stand guard outside Paris' main mosque on January 9, 2015 in Paris

French police officers stand guard outside Paris’s main mosque on January 9

In Paris and other towns, like everywhere in Belgium, every synagogue is now guarded by heavily armed soldiers — part of the government’s emergency response plan that has seen 10,500 soldiers deployed across the country. On Tuesday, a man armed with a knife attacked soldiers who were guarding a Jewish community centre in Nice.

Foreign press sometimes follows American sayings which are not always according to what is really happening and like Fox presented its news have nothing to do with reality. This can frighten foreigners also to come to places where we do not see nor feel such a danger and would like to live in peace with all different communities and races.
In America what happened in Europe is used by the fire-arms-lobby to show the world why those who have laws against carrying weapons would be more under threat than those where everybody is free to protect himself with a fire-arm.

We are already facing the problem with American coloured people when they have to be checked at the airport, they often accuse the agents that they where chosen because of their colour, though not such a racism exists here in Belgium and many can even find to be partnered with a coloured person or/and with a person of an other religion. Most of the people in these regions also would never in their life ever find themselves in a fire-fight or being confronted with an area with bombs or terror attacks. to do if everybody could encounter such attacks every minute of the day is much much over.

Bringing twisted news and adding fear does not help to keep the peace in our multicultural society.

Having economical and also some political problems in Europe it is very easy for the politicians to draw the attention away from the more important issues and to get on the emotional elements to cause friction and to proof how the country wants to protect its citizens.

We do have to be careful which general feeling we want to give to our community and to abroad.

blogger-for-peace-van-2

Let more people find again the van or bus where many can take place to show they are loving each-other, no matter colour or religion.

 

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Find to read:

France’s Muslims alarmed over soaring number of attacks

Muslims in France tell their stories

Muslims lag behind in two-speed France

The making of a French jihadi

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  • ISIS Warns West: ‘You Have Not Seen Anything Yet’ (nbcnews.com)

    ISIS has called on its supporters to carry out terror attacks in Western countries, according to an audio recording released Monday that celebrates recent atrocities including the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.

    The Islamist extremist group’s spokesman, Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani, urged jihadis to carry out lone wolf atrocities in the message, which was produced its media arm and distributed on Twitter and jihadi forums.

  • IS spokesman calls on Muslims in West to commit more attacks (wkyt.com)
    Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, in an audio recording released Monday, praised recent attacks in Australia, Belgium and France – where gunmen killed 12 people in an assault on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

    He also praised the gunman who shot and killed a soldier in October at Canada’s national war memorial and then stormed the parliament building before being killed by security forces.

  • Frenchman Linked to Attackers Charged, Incarcerated (theepochtimes.com)
    French authorities filed preliminary terrorism charges Thursday against a Frenchman extradited from Bulgaria and linked to gunmen behind deadly attacks in Paris, a judicial official said.
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    In Belgium, security forces thwarted what they said was a major terror attack against police with raids Jan. 15 that left two suspects dead. A suspect believed linked to that case was extradited from Greece to Belgium on Thursday. Belgian authorities said the suspect was officially charged with participation in a terrorist group.
  • In some American press are presented ridicule ‘facts’ which have nothing to do with reality, like Fox television gave some absurd idea of the UK, France and Belgium also Breaking: Horrifying Footage Unearthed of Entire Muslim “No Go” CITY in the UK [VIDEO] (conservativetribune.com) dare to tell: “Since the attacks took place in Europe, which now has a booming Muslim population, there’s been a focus on what are known as “no-go zones,” places in major European cities that are all but off-limits to non-Muslims — a probable safe-haven for terrorist cells that have already infiltrated the West.” Where we in those countries of Europe and also those living in such zones can not feel such a thing and would not mind inviting people to our regions.
  • The day the French rose: ‘We are not afraid’ (opinion.inquirer.net)
    On Jan. 20, President François Hollande of France declared: “Today, Paris is the capital of the world,” as 3.7 million French citizens marched across that country to show their solidarity behind the victims of terror attacks, as well as their defiance.

    Press reports said it was the first time since the liberation of Paris in August 1944 that so many people took to the streets en masse to show not only their respect for the victims but also their support for the values of the French republic—liberté, egalité, fraternité and the freedoms of speech and of the press.

  • Looking for a True Liberal Response to the Charlie Hebdo Attack? Watch the First Scene of Two Days, One Night. (slog.thestranger.com)
    I want the millions of people who marched in Paris on January 11 in response to a terrorist action that left 12 people dead at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly that often publishes cartoons that many Muslims find offensive, to watch Two Days, One Night, a new film by Belgium’s Dardenne brothers. They need to watch this movie because the unprecedented reaction to Islamic extremism made it obvious to many on the left that the priorities of millions of Europeans are in complete disorder. If you are a citizen of an EU country, in the middle or working class, and concerned about the state of democracy in our post-crash world, then you should be far more worried about what is going on at the European Central Bank than at the mosques in the banlieues (suburbs). Terrorists have nothing on bankers when it comes to making the lives of ordinary people miserable. If there’s going to be drama in your life, expect it to come from the people who have the power to hire or fire you, change interest rates, and impose policies that deflate the economy rather than a bunch of bozos who think shooting cartoonists is a military mission.
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    The Dardenne brothers, who have yet to make a bad movie, allow the common drama of losing a job—which is far more horrifying than a bomb to the average person—to light the fuse of their story. This is a rare example of filmmakers actually keeping it real.
  • Ruin is America’s future (peakoil.com)
    Neoconservatives arrayed in their Washington offices are congratulating themselves on their success in using the Charlie Hebdo affair to reunite Europe with Washington’s foreign policy. No more French votes with the Palestinians against the Washington-Israeli position. No more growing European sympathy with the Palestinians. No more growing European opposition to launching new wars in the Middle East. No more calls from the French president to end the sanctions against Russia.

    Do the neoconservatives also understand that they have united Europeans with the right-wing anti-immigration political parties? The wave of support for the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists is the wave of Marine Le Pen’s National Front, Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party, and Germany’s PEGIDA sweeping over Europe. These parties are empowered by the anti-immigration fervor that was orchestrated in order to reunite Europeans with Washington and Israel.

    Once again the arrogant and insolent neoconservatives have blundered. Charlie Hebdo’s empowerment of the anti-immigration parties has the potential to revolutionize European politics and destroy Washington’s empire. See my weekend interview with King World News for my thoughts on this potential game-changer. http://kingworldnews.com/paul-craig-roberts-new-crisis-worse-russia-unleashing-black-swans-west

  • France arrests 8 for recruiting militants for ISIL in Syria (theunhivedmind.com)
    French police have arrested eight people, including a woman, on suspicion that they were recruiting militants for the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group in conflict-ridden Syria.

    Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the suspects were detained in several areas across the capital, Paris, as well as the eastern city of Lyon on Tuesday.

    A French official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said three of the detainees had traveled to Syria and returned in December 2014, adding that it remains unclear whether they joined the ISIL or another militant outfit.

    The seven men and the woman had reportedly set up a network in May 2013 to send French militants to Syria. There is no indication that the group planned or was involved in any attack inside France in recent months.

    The new arrests come as France along with a series of other European states have been on high alert after the office of French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, came under assault by two gunmen on January 7. Some 12 people were killed in the incident that left France in huge shock and fear.

  • France has strict gun laws. Why didn’t that save Charlie Hebdo victims? (washingtonpost.com)
    When American audiences read of a dramatic event in a foreign country, they often frame it in terms of the political debates occurring at home. As such, it was no surprise that after shootings at the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris this week, some Americans began to wonder about gun control laws.

    “Isn’t it interesting that the tragedy in Paris took place in one of the toughest gun control countries in the world?” American reality television star Donald Trump wrote on Twitter shortly after the news broke. The tweet prompted both praise (over a thousand retweets) and scorn (Trump was labelled a “moron” and an “idiot” by other tweeters).

    Trump, a perennial attention seeker, was likely attempting to score political points and insult liberals with his tweet. But behind the disingenuity, there is is a genuinely troubling question: Why didn’t France’s gun laws save the Charlie Hebdo victims?

Posted in B4Peace, News and Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Positieve verwachtingen voor de EU-landen

Voor het eerst sedert 2007 verwacht de Europese Commissie dat de groei breed aantrekt in alle EU-landen. Ze schat die voor dit jaar op 1,7 procent voor de hele EU en voor 1,3 procent voor de eurozone. In 2016 trekt de economie aan met respectievelijk 2,1 procent voor de EU en 1,9 procent voor de eurozone. De verschillen tussen de EU-landen blijven wel groot: Kroatië haalt slechts 0,2 procent groei, Ierland 3,5 procent.
De Europese Commissie is ook positief over de verbeterde begrotingscijfers van België waarbij het land hoopt te ontsnappen op het strafbankje terecht te komen.
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  • [Ticker] Swiss minister calls for referendum on EU relations (euobserver.com)
    Switzerland should hold a new referendum to help define its new relationship with the EU, Swiss finance minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said on Wednesday.
  • Seven EU Countries Support Lifting Sanctions on Russia (thetruenews.info)
    A European diplomatic source close to the EU Council told TASS previously that foreign ministers of 28 EU member countries would not make any decisions on sanctions against Russia at their first meeting this year in Brussels on January 19. “Russia, of course, will be on the agenda of the Council (EU Council on Foreign Relations), but the specific issue of the sanctions – whether they should be cancelled, softened, renewed or not – will not be raised. The decision on sanctions should be taken in March,” he said.’
  • Only A Real Energy Union Can Save EU Energy Market: Ex-EU Official (cleantechnica.com)
    An “Energy Union” in Europe means that an EU-level organisation will balance the flows of electricity, not national transmission system operators. And it means the EU will ensure security of supply – not the national member states. That is the vision of Jean-Arnold Vinois, until recently Director in charge of the internal energy market at the European Commission and co-author of a groundbreaking report from Notre Europe (Jacques Delors Institute) on the Energy Union. As Brussels awaits the official version of the Energy Union from the Commission on 25 February, Vinois slams the current state of the European energy sector. The distribution system operators, he says, are ineffective, the generators are “dinosaurs”, almost no one is investing in R&D in energy, the decision to allow state aid to the nuclear project Hinkley Point C is “questionable” and the lack of solidarity EU countries show in regard to Putin is “sad”. He predicts IT companies may take over from the energy companies and the Chinese may blow away Alstom, Siemens and ABB.
  • “Cheerful” Dutch Financier Becomes 4th ABN Amro Banker Suicide (ascendingstarseed.wordpress.com)
    Following the deaths of 36 bankers last year, 2015 has got off to an inauspicious start with the reported suicide of Chris Van Eeghen – the 4th ABN Amro banker suicide in the last few years.
  • Banker Suicide “Hit” Parade (ncrenegade.com)
  • “Cheerful” Dutch Financier Becomes 4th ABN Amro Banker Suicide (theunhivedmind.com)
    As Quotenet reports, the death of Van Eghen – the head of ABN’s corporate finance and capital markets -“startled” friends and colleagues as the 42-year-old “had a great reputation” at work, came from an “illustrious family,” and enjoyed national fame briefly as the boyfriend of a famous actress/model. As one colleague noted, “he was always cheerful, good mood, and apparently he had everything your heart desired. He never sat in the pit, never was down, so I was extremely surprised. I can not understand.”
  • “Cheerful” Dutch Financier Becomes 4th ABN Amro Banker Suicide (blacklistednews.com)
    Ostensibly a successful banker, coming from what was described as an illustrious family. Chris was also a familiar sight in Amsterdam’s nightlife scene and enjoyed national fame as possible new boyfriend of Tatjana Simic (a famous Croatian-Dutch model, singer, actress).
  • Hamas should be removed from the EU’s terrorist list (worldbulletin.net)
    The European Union will appeal against a court ruling that the Hamas should be removed from the bloc’s terrorist list, an EU official said on Monday.

    “(The EU) Council has decided to appeal the judgement regarding Hamas remaining on the EU terrorist list,” EU spokeswoman Susanne Kiefer said on Twitter.

    Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement that the EU had decided to challenge last month’s decision by the EU’s General Court, the bloc’s second-highest tribunal, which she said had been made on procedural grounds.

    As a result of the appeal, Hamas will remain on the EU’s terrorism list and its assets will remain frozen for now, pending a final judgment by the European Court of Justice.

    An EU court ruled last month that Hamas should be removed from the terrorist list, saying the decision to include it was based on media reports not considered analysis.

    The EU will challenge the General Court’s finding that the EU must provide evidence that Hamas remains a terrorist group when it updates its terror list as well as the argument that the EU cannot use evidence from the Internet, an EU official said.

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Boost voor Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo ziet aantal abonnees stijgen naar 200.000

Aantal abonnees van het Franse satirische weekblad Charlie Hebdo gestegen van 10.000 naar 200.000.

Charlie Hebdo mocht door de aanslag een enorme boest krijgen en ontving sinds de aanslag op 7 januari naast een aanwinst van 190 000 nieuwe abonnees die het totaal op 200 000 brengen ook al voor meer dan 2,3 miljoen euro aan schenkingen. Dat geld gaat naar de families van de twaalf slachtoffers.

Men kan wel zeggen dat de aanslag geen windeieren heeft gelegd voor het weekblad dat helemaal niet op populariteit van de bevolking mocht rekenen en door heel wat mensen liever dood dan levend werd gezien.
Vóór de aanslag verkeerde Charlie Hebdo financieel in zwaar weer. Van het eerste nummer dat na de aanslag verscheen, op 14 januari werden 7,3 miljoen exemplaren gedrukt, in plaats van gewoonlijk 60.000.

De lezers kunnen nu vol verwachtingen uitkijken naar het volgende nummer dat pas op 25 februari verwacht.

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In de nasleep van de Parijse bloedbad eerder in januari, had de redactie van het Turkse dagblad Cumhuriyet een moedige stap genomen en Charlie Hebdo gedrukt in het Turks. Het was een van de twee kranten die toelating hadden gekregen om inhoud van het satirisch blad te mogen afdrukken. De leiders van de islamitische gewortelde AK-partij verklaarden dat hun volgelingen alleen  hun democratische rechten uitvoerden bij het organizeren van vreedzame protesten, en gewoon gebruik maakten van juridische middelen om godslastering te betwisten .

De chief executive editor van Dagelijkse Cumhuriyet is nu echter ontheven van zijn taken met ingang van de eerste februari, nadat de politie een inval in de drukkerij hadden uitgevoerd.
Duizenden protesteerden aan de voorkant van de krant haar hoofdkwartier, en duizende doodsbedreigingen kwamen tot de medewerkers en journalisten van de krant.

Utku Çakırözer die eerder in september 2014 begonnen was als hoofdredacteur van het dagblad heeft nu om de gemoederen te bedaren ontslag genomen.

Als tegenprestatie voor de betogers tegen de krant namen enkele NGO’s het op voor de krant en haar vrijheid voor publiceren.

After thousands of death threats targeting the journalists and staff of Cumhuriyet, and several attempts to attack, some NGOs had organized a support rally and distributed Cumhuriyet on streets in Istanbul.

 

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  • Cumhuriyet Daily’s Administration Relieved of Duty after Charlie Hebdo Publication (revolution-news.com)
    In the aftermath of the Paris Massacre earlier in January, Cumhuriyet Daily had taken a courageous step and printed Charlie Hebdo in Turkish. It was one of the two newspapers that were allowed to print content, and they attracted the outrage by islamist groups in Turkey. With the news of Cumhuriyet printing Charlie Hebdo in Turkish getting revealed, leaders from the islamist-rooted governing AK Party declared that their followers only should carry out their democratic rights and organize peaceful protests, never turn violent, and simply use judicial means to contest blasphemy.
  • Protesters in Istanbul burn copies of newspaper which published Charlie Hebdo cartoons – video (theguardian.com)
    Dozens of protesters demonstrate in Istanbul on Wednesday against pro-secular newspaper Cumhuriyet which published translated versions of Charlie Hebdo cartoons. The protesters burned copies of the paper and said its employees ‘will pay for what they did’. They also expressed support for the Kouachi brothers who carried out the attack on the French satirical magazine’s offices, killing 12 people
  • PAS Youth threatens protest against France if Charlie Hebdo not punished (malaysia-today.net)
    PAS Youth today demanded France censure satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for its cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, vowing to protest against the European nation if it continues its “leniency” towards the magazine that was attacked by Islamist gunmen.

    After delivering a memorandum to the French Embassy here today, PAS Youth chief Suhaizan Kaiat (pic) expressed disappointment at the French government’s defence of the magazine.

    “While I do not condone the killing of the staff in Charlie Hebdo, I think the (French) government should not defend a publication that depicts the Prophet in caricatures,” Suhaizan said.

    “We do not think they should allow such gross caricatures that go against Islamic teachings and practices.”

    In the memorandum, PAS Youth demanded that France issue a statement condemning Charlie Hebdo, and to hold religious dialogues to dispel misunderstandings among the Muslims and non-Muslims in the country.

  • Poll: Five out of six Palestinians say Israel may have aided Paris attacks (jta.org)
    The vast majority of Palestinian respondents to a survey believe Israel may have played a role in the terror attacks in France this month.

    Conducted by the Palestinian Maan News Agency, the poll found that 84 percent of Palestinians said the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and Hyper Cacher supermarket in early January were “suspicious, and that Israel may be behind it,” according to Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli NGO that monitors Palestinian media.

  • Christian school in Pakistan ransacked in response to Charlie Hebdo cartoons (catholicherald.co.uk)
    Hundreds of Muslim students, armed with iron bars and sticks, have ransacked a Christian school in northern Pakistan in protest at blasphemous cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo.

    300 Muslim students stormed the Christian boys’ school in the city of Bannu, in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in northern Pakistan, demanding its closure and injuring four students.

    The protesting students entered the Panel High School after jumping its outer walls and forcing open the gates.

    The school has been closed for two days and the headmaster has decided to take additional security measures.

  • Turkey Rocked By Charlie Hebdo Cover (wsj.com)
    A Turkish court on Wednesday blocked access to some websites featuring the latest Charlie Hebdo magazine cover depicting the Prophet Muhammad, as security forces were deployed to guard the offices of Cumhuriyet newspaper after the secular-minded daily published excerpts from the magazine.
  • Turkish prosecutors probe newspaper for publishing Charlie Hebdo excerpts (dailymail.co.uk)
    Cumhuriyet, a secular opposition newspaper, printed parts of Charlie Hebdo in an insert on Wednesday, one of five international editions of the satirical newspaper.
    +
    Muslim clerics in the Middle East have denounced last week’s attack on Charlie Hebdo but criticised the weekly for publishing new cartoons depicting Islam’s Prophet Mohammad in its first issue after the killings.

    Cumhuriyet dedicated four of its pages to Charlie Hebdo articles and cartoons on Wednesday. It printed small, black-and-white versions of the cover – a cartoon of a tearful Mohammad – in two of its columns, but did not use the image in the special section itself.

  • A new website explains Charlie Hebdo cartoons for Americans (vox.com)
    The cartoons in Charlie Hebdo can be a little bit tough for people outside the Francophone world to grasp. The magazine’s brand of satire is peculiarly French and often references issues that aren’t well known outside the Francophone world.
  • Police check Turkish newspaper over Charlie Hebdo cartoons, allow distribution to proceed (foxnews.com)
    Police intensified security outside Cumhuriyet’s headquarter and printing center as a precaution.

    The state-run Anadolu Agency said a few pro-Islamic students staged a protest outside the paper’s office in Ankara denouncing its decision to print Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

  • Turkey opens probe against columnists over Mohammed cartoon (news.yahoo.com)
    The prosecutors were investigating Cumhuriyet columnists Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Cetinkaya on suspicion of “inciting public hatred and insulting religious values”, the official Anatolia news agency reported.
    +

    The edition did not include the controversial front cover of the Prophet Mohammed that has angered Muslims around the world.

    But a smaller version of the cartoon was included twice inside the newspaper, on pages 5 and 12, to illustrate columns on the subject by Cetinkaya and Karan.

    The investigation came as Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu condemned the publication of cartoons of the Muslim prophet as an “open provocation”, warning that Turkey would not tolerate insults against Mohammed.

    “Freedom of the press does not mean freedom to insult,” said Davutoglu. “We do not allow any insult to the prophet in this country,” he added.

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Funding of ISIS

The previous years many where convinced that Saudi Arabia was behind the funding of ISIS.

Also in the United States was division about the role of certain Arabic Countries. The State Department and the Pentagon have themselves been divided over Saudi Arabia’s foundational role in Salafist violence – the former happy to stroke the monarchy as a pro-Western “moderate force for good”, the latter suspecting that all Islamist roads lead to Riyadh – may now have to recalculate its relationship with the Kingdom.

Isis fighters have been accused of widespread abuse and torture of youngsters – Photo The Independent

We knew already that ISIS did not mind bombing and burning mosques and Qurans, but now it has given enough evidence not to be afraid to burn alive other Muslims. They did  not mind to use Muslim children to let them be martyrs for the faith, using them as suicide bombers and human shields. But they also use them for selling those abducted children as sex slaves and killing others, including by means of crucifixion and burying them alive. Children from minority communities were particularly vulnerable.

Women who do know too much are also not liked by ISIS and what we have seen in the past with the Khmer Rouge in Vietnam and Cambodia, the communist killing all doctors in medicine, rights a.o.. People who have other feelings than the mainstream are also not safe. Alleged homosexuals are thrown from a roof and those who are considered an adulterous woman are stoned.

Renate Winter a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was one of 18 independent experts who helped compile a report for the UN watchdog that revealed stark and widespread abuse of children in areas controlled by the militants.

“There was a video placed online that showed children at a very young age, approximately eight years of age and younger, to be trained already to become child soldiers.”

she said.

The report, reviewing Iraq’s treatment of children for the first time since 1998, drew attention to what it said was the

“systematic killing of children belonging to religious and ethnic minorities by the so-called Isis, including several cases of mass executions of boys, as well as reports of beheadings, crucifixions of children and burying children alive”.

Though we can see that it where not only non-Muslims being treated badly. Many of the large numbers of children been killed or badly wounded during air strikes or shelling by Iraqi security forces or by the rebels can not be called hazardous victims. . Others had perished from “dehydration, starvation and heat” and Isis had carried out widespread sexual violence including “the abduction and sexual enslavement of children”.

After the brutal murder of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto, whose killing by the Islamic State (IS) was aired in an online video late Jan. 31, two days after the deadline for a swap deal for his release, earlier this week, Isis released another video that showed some people in Raqqa chanting

“God is great”

as they watched footage of the Jordanian pilot being burned alive.

The image of a Muslim burned alive is more terrible for millions of Muslims than that of an “unbeliever” burned alive.

For Anwar Tarawneh, wife of Lieutenant Muath al-Kasaesbeh, was in the hands of Isis, after being shot down while flying an F-16 over Syria on 24 December, it must have been a terrible shock not to hear the news privately carefully brought to her.
She had place her hope on the negotiation for his freedom, trading his life for a female al-Qaeda prisoner Isis wanted to have released, the Jordan government was willing to make. She also held a sit-in protest at a university in Amman where students were expressing their support for her husband when she took the call of her mother. Immediately she knew that something was wrong.

She wasn’t convinced by her mother’s explanation for her tears – that two of her siblings were quarrelling.

“It was only when I opened Facebook on my phone that I saw the post, ‘Rest in peace, Muath,’”

she said, her voice croaky with emotion.

Pilots chalked messages on to missiles before the planes set off to strike Isis in Raqqa (REUTERS/Petra News Agency)

Pilots chalked messages on to missiles before the planes set off to strike Isis in Raqqa (REUTERS/Petra News Agency)

Jordan which said in September it was joining the US-led coalition against Isis, along with Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, now has become furious to the ones who claim to be Muslim but bring such a horrible death to another believer.

The point of burning alive Jordanian pilot First Lt. Muath al-Kasasbeh was to outrage onlookers, including his family—but especially the members of his large tribe, the Bararsheh, in southern Jordan. The Jordanian tribes form the core of support for the Hashemite kingdom against the Palestinian West Bankers, who may constitute the country’s majority. The East Bankers are also the bulwarks of Jordan’s internal and external security, with both the armed forces and security services made up almost exclusively of tribal members. {Nuclear Dreams: Iran Now Controls Four Arab Capitals, Plus Washington, D.C.}

Anwar Tarawneh (center), the wife of Jordanian pilot Maaz al-Kassasbeh, who was captured and murdered by Islamic State (IS) group militants on Dec. 24 after his F-16 jet crashed while on a mission against the jihadists over northern Syria. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images)

Our Western countries are very dependant on oil and our governments have detailed the production of oil wells in Isis territory and the vast amounts of cash supposedly stolen from Mosul banks after Isis took over, but smuggling fuel and ransacking vaults can hardly sustain an Islamist “nation” which controls an area larger than the UK.

Millions of dollars must be arriving in Isis hands from outside Iraq and Syria, and the question must be asked:

if it doesn’t come from within Saudi Arabia – or Qatar – who on earth is providing the wherewithal? Iceland? Peru?

According to Lee Smith it is

worth understanding how the Hashemites and their loyal tribal subjects understand the new threat. From their perspective, the Islamic State is only one part of a larger regional movement, a Sunni rebellion trying to beat back the Iranian security apparatus that now represses them mercilessly throughout the Levant while controlling four historic Arab capitals—Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, and Sana’a. The wider Sunni rebellion against Persian domination comprises not only lunatic foreign fighters (Chechens, Saudis, Swedes, etc.) but also former elements of Saddam Hussein’s regime as well as—and this is the central fact of the Sunni rebellion—Sunni Arab tribes. In other words, Jordan’s Arab tribes have been enlisted to fight Arab tribes who are fighting against Iran and its allies—who are coordinating their anti-Sunni campaign with the United States.

Jordan’s tribes are hardly alone at this moment in their torment and confusion. The United States has alienated its former Sunni tribal allies in Anbar province and throughout Iraq by conducting air strikes on behalf of sectarian Shiite militias loyal to Iran, which murder Sunni tribesmen with seeming impunity whether they are associated with IS or not. {Nuclear Dreams: Iran Now Controls Four Arab Capitals, Plus Washington, D.C.}

Many in Saudi Arabia do not like the U.S. support for Iran’s role in Yemen, where the Shia Houtha tribesmen backed by Iran now control the country. Also the support to Israel of many Western countries worries a lot of Muslims and brings more unrest by Hezbollah’s ongoing attempt to implant itself on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, where the Iranian-backed sectarian Lebanese Shia militia operates under cover of U.S. airstrikes and implicit political backing that support the regime of Bashar al-Assad, an Iranian client.

In Egypt we can see the problems around the Muslim Brotherhood and that county’s war against IS and al-Qaida-backed tribes in Sinai. The White House shuns the country’s leader Gen. al-Sisi in favor of meeting in Washington with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, who have sworn to overthrow his regime. for some this looks like America might turn upside down the Middle East.

Lee Smith finds:

The Iran deal that Obama has in mind is going to be so awesomely epic and world-changing that it will easily be worth all the chaos the region is now undergoing—from broken alliances and promises, to the high and rising death toll, massive population transfers, the destruction of ancient cities, and the trauma of an entire generation for whom beheadings and human barbeques have become a normal part of life.
The United States is on its way out of the Middle East, which is why we need a reliable regional partner like Iran, with the muscle to make its dictates stick. Yes, the dominant partner in that arrangement will obviously be Iran—especially once the Iranians are free of the sanctions that have crippled their oil industry, and can control the oil resources of their client state in Iraq, as well as provide security in the once-and-future Persian Gulf. But Obama would always have the photographs of his triumphant visit to Tehran to remember his role in crafting a new world order from the tribal mayhem of a region in which Americans once fought and died. {Nuclear Dreams: Iran Now Controls Four Arab Capitals, Plus Washington, D.C.}

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Please do read:

War with Isis: If Saudis aren’t fuelling the militant inferno, who is?

Isis militants are ‘using mentally challenged children as suicide bombers and crucifying others’, says UN body

Captured pilot serious challenge for Jordan’s king

Jordanian jets strike Isis targets with missiles bearing the message: ‘For you – the enemies of Islam’

Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh’s wife: I found out on Facebook that my husband had been burned alive by Isis

Nuclear Dreams: Iran Now Controls Four Arab Capitals, Plus Washington, D.C.

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  • 12,000 skulls exhumed at Khmer Rouge prison (nation.com.pk)
    Cambodia’s UN-backed court on Monday heard a former prisoner say he helped dig up more than 12,000 skulls in mass graves outside Phnom Penh, as the genocide trial of two Khmer Rouge leaders continued.

Nuon Chea, 88, known as “Brother Number Two”, and former head of state Khieu Samphan, 83, face charges over the killing of ethnic Vietnamese and Muslim minorities, forced marriage and rape during the 1975-1979 regime.
In August the pair was given life sentences for crimes against humanity – the first top Khmer Rouge figures to be jailed – after a two-year trial focused on the forced evacuation of Cambodians from Phnom Penh into rural labour camps and murders at an execution site.
The pair have been accused of playing a critical role in the “Killing Fields” era, a genocide which left up to two million people dead in the late 1970s.

 

Forced marriage is one of a raft of Khmer Rouge crimes in the trial of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, both senior leaders of the regime.

  • ISIS – Echoing the Purges of the Khmer Rouge? (newamericamedia.org)
    This week, ISIS released a video showing the captive Jordanian pilot First Lt. Muath al-Kasasbeh being burned alive, the latest act of brutal violence that has earned the group the wrath of the world.

 

The group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has decapitated foreign journalists and aid workers, terrorized towns and villages, enslaved women and girls, and murdered anyone they deemed as standing against their tenet — all in the name of purity.

Four decades ago, in a different part of the world, another bloody regime sought to purge the impure.

During the Khmer Rouge reign of terror in Cambodia (1975–1979), barbarity had neither limits nor borders. Skin torn, bones broken, heads smashed, throats slit, limbs amputated, soldiers shot. And many torturers were tortured in turn, perceived by the new crop of interrogators as “tainted” and “impure” due to their long exposure to their victims’ confessions.

Even high-ranking party members of the radicalized communist regime were imprisoned, interrogated and killed during its many purges. At the infamous Tuol Sleng detention center in Phnom Penh, now a museum, some 20,000 prisoners were estimated to have been mutilated and murdered, among them a few well-known former Khmer Rouge members themselves.

 

In April that year, hundreds of Cambodians and foreigners piled into the French embassy in Phnom Penh, seen as the last remaining safe haven as the Khmer Rouge took over the capital, kicking off a bloody four-year regime that left up to two million people dead.

Even though France had recognised the new regime, the Khmer Rouge demanded that Paris hand over all Cambodians and threatened to enter the embassy by force.

 

She also described the murder of two Vietnamese families and two families of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom minority by regime cadre. She also told the court two friends had been raped by Khmer Rouge soldiers.

Taken together, her testimony touches on some of the major crimes the second and final phase of the trial of the two men is focusing on.

 

He attended the hearing Wednesday but shortly before court was adjourned received permission to follow proceedings from a holding cell, like Nuon Chea, with both men citing ill health.

The prosecution’s first witness, Meas Sokha, told the court that he saw Khmer Rouge soldiers kill hundreds of inmates at Kraing Ta Chan prison in Takeo province, around 80 km (50 miles) south of Phnom Penh, where he was detained along with 11 other family members.

“While I was tending cows and buffaloes, I could see how prisoners were killed. Most of them had their throats slit,” said the 55-year-old.

“Two (Khmer Rouge guards) would hold a prisoner tight and another would slit the throat of the prisoner,” he said, adding that the Khmer Rouge played music through a loudspeaker “to hide the sounds of the killing”.

 

They deny all charges against them and are appealing their life convictions.

Somewhere between 100,000 and 500,000 ethnic Cham Muslims and 20,000 Vietnamese are believed to have been killed during the regime’s rule.

Led by “Brother No. 1,” Pol Pot, who died in 1998 without ever facing justice, the Khmer Rouge dismantled modern society in Cambodia in their quest for an agrarian Marxist utopia.

In its historic debut trial, the court in 2010 sentenced former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav to 30 years in prison — later increased to life on appeal — for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people.

 

He also told the court that Khmer Rouge cadres would eat the gall bladders of executed prisoners after drying them in the sun.

“Whenever there were killings, the guards would drink wine together with gall bladders,” Meas Sokha said.

“I knew these gall bladders were from humans. There were many gall bladders dried in the sun near the fence.”

Scenes of cannibalism committed by Khmer Rouge soldiers have previously been described by other witnesses at the tribunal during the leaders’ first trial, including of cadres eating the livers of murdered inmates.

The complex case against Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan was split into a series of smaller trials in 2011 to try to obtain a faster verdict against the pair given their advanced ages and frail health.

 

In its historic debut trial, the court in 2010 sentenced former Tuol Sleng prison chief Kaing Guek Eav to 30 years in prison – later increased to life on appeal – for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people.

 

From 1975 until 1979, Cambodia experienced one of the most savage genocides of the 20th century, during which around 1.7 million people — a quarter of the national population — perished as the Khmer Rouge, the nation’s communist party led by the French-educated Pol Pot, pursued its agrarian utopia.

The court is currently investigating genocide charges against Khieu Samphan, 83, the regime’s head of state, and Nuon Chea, 88. Both were sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity in August.

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2014 Religion

Global war against Christians

The 2013-2014 season was not an ideal season for the non-trinitarian community in Belgium. Efforts where made to unite or to share information between the many non-trinitarian groups. I failed in my trials and my Christadelphian community was not able to join with two other Christadelphian groups and with some Biblestudents.

Many Christians were used to the harsh mocking pen of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo and for sure found this a magazine not to be find in the hands of a believer in God. In other media god and commandments where also more mocked than in previous years. Singers like Luc De Vos did not mind to take any occasion to ridicule Christian Faith. Even after he died, at the remembrance events, big screens showed cartoons and animation films mocking with Jesus and with God.

But on the internet it was very busy to bring attacks to different religions. Hardest hit were the Muslims. As from 2001 they have to cope with the fundamentalist Muslims and most of all have to fear the Jihadi fighters and sympathisers of ISIS. Though not enough counteraction was made by the mosques and Islamic organisations. This made people more worried and undermined the belief that there could be sincere trustworthy Muslims.

Not only lost a lot of the population faith in the Muslims. The Roman Catholic Church continued to loose people who did not find their way to other denominations in Christendom or Christianity. On the net there where so many attacks on the different denominations and most severe attacks on non-trinitarians, by trinitarian Christians that lots of people found all those preachers or pastors hypocrites, not living according to what they preached and also contradicting themselves, by preaching no works can bring salvation, but at the same time demanding to fund their organisation otherwise they would not come in heaven or would not receive such a good place in it. Others went on contradicting themselves, no work had to be done, but demanded that their followers would not have sex any more with multiple persons, would stop drinking alcohol and other actions which all demand some work. all the negativism and hate against other denominations or other faithgropus made that many did not like to come out with their community name

On the net we could find enough people who wanted to present Abrahamic religion (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) to have created a dissatisfied and angry god to manipulate people into obedience – do good or be punished.  {Unbelief in an angry god}  Lots of people wanted others to believe that it is religion which is the cause of all the problems in this world. The call from 2013 did become stronger in 2014

Governments need to be more proactive to ensure racism is kept in check

2014 was as

The hammer that Christianity has dropped on the world is falling back on them with multiplied force. It will be dispersed and shattered into pieces. Their every wind of doctrine is being blown away. {Hammered}

Lots of preachers on the internet forgot that all people are created in God’s image and that Jesus did not create Christianity and certainly not Christendom. The division battle continued heavily in 2014.  In the meantime lots of people forgot that it are not the real honest religious people from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism that cause friction between nations. {A last note concerning civil rights}

The continuous attacks on the internet and in real life on non-trinitarians made them withdraw more. This made it also more difficult for the many ecclesiae to continue working or to grow, because of more older people going to sleep and leaving this earth for what it is. {Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism}

In February of 2014 some of the top fighters against persecution from all over the world came to Capitol Hill in the United States to sound an alarm at a House hearing about the global war against Christians.

For many of the older generations (Baby boomers) it is clear that the believers in God are facing a huge problem which is getting worse, not just in the Middle East, though it’s getting worse there, but in China, in North Korea and elsewhere.

“There’s an explosion of persecution against Christians, including martyrdom, torture, and harassment of all kinds,

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., told CBN News. {World’s Largest Religion Also Most Persecuted}

Boston Globe Associate Editor John Allen travelled the world to gather the horrific facts for his book The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution.

Allen said a major problem for Christians is they make such a convenient target for those angry at the West.

Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Vatican’s U.N. nuncio and a witness to Christian persecution in Iraq, talked at the hearing about the plight of Christians in the Middle East and Persian Gulf region.

“Arab Christians, a small but significant community, find themselves the target of constant harassment for no reason other than their religious faith,”

he told lawmakers.

Rep. Smith pointed out that there used to be 1.4 million Christians in Iraq.But the harassment against them has been so intense, most have fled. There are only about 150,000 Christians there now.

Elliott Abrams, chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, offered a bit of a rebuke for lawmakers.

“Persecution of Christians is growing around the world and Congress needs to pay more attention to it,”

he said during the hearing.

“It needs to be a higher priority issue in our relations with all these countries where this persecution takes place.” {World’s Largest Religion Also Most Persecuted}

In China according to some messages religious liberty has still been under attack. Protestants and Catholics in China have not been spared the undue attention of communist persecution. U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-N.J.) in a joint press event with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said,

“The Patriotic Church, the Catholic Church, they are being targeted with church demolitions and other kinds of repression which we have not seen before. So there’s a great deal of concern that religious freedom, as bad as it was, has further deteriorated in China.”

The senator’s remarks are based on a recent report by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

It seems the churches in China can get more people into the Christian faith. Some people think Christianity will  grow so strongly that China will become the most Christian nation in the world in only another 15 years. By far, the greatest growth is coming outside the official state-sanctioned churches, which are rightly considered subservient to the Communist Party. Numbers are increasing, rather, in unofficial Protestant “house churches” and in the underground Catholic church.

According to the annual report of the human rights group China Aid, persecution of Christians worsened dramatically in 2013, in line with a constant trend of deteriorating religious freedom over the past eight years. Most recently, the oppression of Christians has especially targeted Protestant groups, leaving most Catholics alone, which many feel reflects Beijing’s strategic goal of re-establishing diplomatic relations with the Vatican. According to reports, hundreds of Protestant churches in the eastern province of Zhejiang have been targeted for demolition in the past year.

Antisemitic incidents hit record high in 2014

In 2013 we noticed already an increase of violence against Jewish citizens in France and Belgium. The number of antisemitic incidents continued to increase and in the UK it reached a record high last year as people reacted to the conflict in Israel and Gaza.

The Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors the extent of anti-Semitism in Britain, said 1,168 incidents had taken place nationwide in 2014 – more than double the 535 reported in 2013 and the highest annual total since records began in 1984.

There were 81 incidents of physical assault in total, but most involved verbal abuse, hate mail or bullying on social media.

Summer got a sudden upsurge in violence in the Gaza Strip which appeared to be the single biggest contributing factor to the surge in antisemitism. July saw 314 incidents, the highest-ever monthly total, while August saw 228. In 2013 there were only 59 incidents in July and 48 in August. Authorities in France, Belgium, Holland and the UK have been on heightened alert over antisemitism since the terrorist attacks on the Brussels Jewish museum and the Paris attack of last month, when an assault on a Jewish supermarket left four people dead.

Multi-religious society and state

You would expect that in our multi-religious society in which every religion has its own variant theological streams you could find more respect for others and acceptance for them being there. Also you might expect relativity to master the minds of the people living together. some would even say

the right to blaspheme is also the right to believe. Liberal theology can contrive interchangeable beliefs which do not contradict or claim special knowledge over any other religion. But traditionalist faiths are exclusive. {The Importance of Blasphemy By Daniel Greenfield}

This makes that we do have to consider that everyone’s religion could be someone else’s blasphemy. Daniel Greenfield says:

If we forget that, we need only look to Saudi Arabia, where no other religion is allowed, as a reminder.Blasphemy is the price we pay for not having a theocracy. Muslims are not only outraged but baffled by the Mohammed cartoons because they come from a world in which Islamic law dominates their countries and through its special place proclaims the superiority of Islam over all other religions. {The Importance of Blasphemy By Daniel Greenfield}

He continues

Religious people need not embrace the extremes of French secularism or the anti-religious positions of the ACLU to see that some distance between religion and state is a good thing for both. A separation between religion and state should not mean compulsory secularism, but at the same time it avoids the religious tests for office which existed in colonial times in states that banned Catholics, Quakers and Jews, among others, from holding political office. {The Importance of Blasphemy By Daniel Greenfield}

For many came convinced in 2014 that

Believers who claim that Islam or Christianity or Judaism is a religion of peace are speaking a half truth—and a naive falsehood. » {Religion: Not the cause of violence}

and that

Religion is just one part of the lethal cocktail, but it is a powerful intoxicant. {Like Alcohol, Religion Disinhibits Violence, Doesn’t Cause It}

What the media unveiled of horrors being perpetrated in South America, Africa, Azia thanks to American and European missionary dollars or euros. We could see several documentaries where Evangelical and Pentecostal churches tried to misuse the gullibility of the poor people. In several documentaries shown on television we could see that those who called themselves workers of the Lord, frightened people and even did not mind to bring damage to their skin for ever by beating or burning or disfiguring with acid after being condemning them as “witches.”  {Like Alcohol, Religion Disinhibits Violence, Doesn’t Cause It}

Lots of children in Africa where abandoned by their parents, either because of what American missionaries taught them

that the Bible is the literally perfect word of God, and the Bible says, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Exodus 22:18).  When children are condemned by pastors and priests, exposed in the name of Jesus by the Holy Spirit himself, parents abandon them and their villages drive them out.  The lucky ones find refuge in shelters.  (For photos click here.) {Like Alcohol, Religion Disinhibits Violence, Doesn’t Cause It}

or because they where abused in the hands of Islam fighters like Boko Haram.

Boko Haram increasing its presence

Boko Haram continued to increase its presence in northern Cameroon and continued to capture territory in north-eastern and eastern areas of Borno, as well as in Adamawe and Yobe. They kidnapped 276 girls from Chibok, Borno in april and abducted 10 Chinese workers in a raid on a construction company camp in Waza, near the Nigerian border.
In July, the Vice-President’s home village was attacked by around 200 militants; his wife was kidnapped, along with the Sultan of Kolofata and his family. At least 15 people, including soldiers and police, were killed in the raid. The Vice-President’s wife was subsequently released in October, along with 26 others including the ten Chinese construction workers who had been captured in May; authorities made no comment about any ransom, which the Cameroon government had previously claimed it never pays. {Natasha Culzac (11 October 2014). “Boko Haram releases 27 hostages including Deputy PM’s wife, Cameroon says”. The Independent. Retrieved 20 December 2014.}

Boko Haram announced in August that Gwoza was now part of an Islamic caliphate.

On 13 December Boko Haram attacked the village of Gumsuri in Borno, killing over 30, and kidnapping over 100 women and children.

Some of the people the Islamic rebels killed were inside a mosque, but apparently the Congregation of the People of the Sunnah for Dawah and Jihad, aka Boko Haram and other IS related groups do find their actions are justified because the ‘others’ are to be the wrong kind of Muslims. And apostates and heretics warrant the death penalty under Islamic law.

Islamic community growing

Though the Muslim community coming so often in the news with horrible features, they may not complain being the fastest-growing religion in the world. {Johnson, Todd M.; Grim, Brian J. (2013). The World’s Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demography. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 10. Retrieved 2 September 2013.; Guinness World Records 2003. Guinness World Records. 2003. p. 142.; Staff (May 2007). “The List: The World’s Fastest-Growing Religions”. Foreign Policy (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace).}
In the period 1990–2000, approximately 12.5 million more people converted to Islam than to Christianity”
and in Belgium, France and Holland more local Caucasians can be found to been converted to the teachings of Muhammad.

Many wonder how it can be that ISIS would not be a real Islamic group, when so many from Belgium, France, Holland and the U.K. do believe they have to fight for the good cause and really only one good faith and join such rebels. Many can also not understand why the imams in those countries than not show the world what real Islam is!

For the states security forces it is extremely difficult to track every youngster who might travel abroad to join terrorist groups like the Islamic State. It is also very difficult to find out who is having combat training and which connections they do have with terrorist groups around Europe and Africa. Also for Americans it is easy to get to Europe and from there to reach Turkey to enter into Syria.

Islamic fighters who are caught and imprisoned do not show any remorse and after some years imprisonment they like Richard Reid, the ‘Shoe Bomber,’ who still believes his actions were permissible under Islamic law, do not to seem changing mind.

Strange also to find such people who converted to Islam who in our regions do not seem to be finding it wrong to harass young women on the streets. (Presented also in a very good Canvas documentary showing by a hidden camera how they do not seem to stop annoying lots of female pedestrians in Europe’s capital.)

In August 2014, the Alexis Jay report in the United Kingdom identified 1,400 cases of child sexual exploitation in the Yorkshire town. But Sky News has learned that hundreds more cases were known to authorities prior to its publication and that hundreds more are being reported. Victims continue to feel let down by authorities.{Rotherham Victim Says Abusers ‘Untouchable’}

Some northern states of Nigeria incorporated Sharia law into their previously secular legal systems, which has brought about some controversy. Next to the political corruption the country was plagued by the Islamic terrorists.

Spiritual life anno 2014

When we look at the trends in the spiritual life of people we notice a growing trend among elders, preachers, and members of the church of Christ which is to turn Christianity and worship into things that are casual in nature. > Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus + Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God.

Tomorrowland logo

Tomorrowland, the largest annual electronic music festival held in the world, taking place in the town of Boom, 16 kilometers south of Antwerp, 32 kilometers north of Brussels, in Belgium. It used to be organized as a joint venture by the original founders together with ID&T.

There are not so many churches interested any more to really keep to the teachings of the Bible how to build an ecclesia or church and to whom which roles may be given. Seeing their membership diminishing they first had tried to bring in more people with shows and much more entertainment in church, but this did not seem to work any more, having big festivals drawing loads of people and bringing sorts of ‘High Day Masses” where people form all over the world where flown over to be part of a huge psychedelic crowd celebrating theme “The Arising of Life,” and “The Gathering” with attendees staying in Dreamville, the camp grounds of TomorrowWorld. Over 40,000 people camped at Dreamville, selling out the basic camping option. More than 160,000 people attended TomorrowWorld 2014. {Tomorrowland (festival)}

black-mass

The Catholic Archbishop of Oklahoma City has agreed to drop a lawsuit against a satanic cult that plans to perform a “black mass” in the city now that the cult has returned a stolen consecrated host to the church.

The popfestivals have replaced the annual bible songfests and seminars. christian masses may not be liked so much but in 2014 we could see a rice of satanic and black masses. The black mass in Oklahoma City in September 2014 got lots of media attention.

Security had been stepped up for the event and Oklahoma City Police told KOKH-TV that someone had called in a bomb threat during the service. The Oklahoman reported that one woman was arrested after she knelt in front of one of the entrances to the Civic Center and refused to leave. {Dozens attend Satanic ‘black mass’ in Oklahoma City, hundreds protest outside}

Among the top ten largest Christian denominations today may be called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who continued to send out their missionaries into the world and got some television screening in Flanders on the state channel. Two missionaries, one from America and one from South Africa, where followed through Flanders on their mission.

In spite of America’s “Christian” self-description, there is a growing sense among North American Christ-followers that the culture is changing faster than we can keep up with or respond to—and we’re not always sure how to live faithfully in a world that feels like it’s headed off the rails. Not too many years ago, church attendance and basic Bible literacy were the cultural norm. Being a Christian didn’t feel like swimming against the cultural current. But now?

Churchless

If Unchurched Americans Were Their Own Nation, They’d Be the Eighth Largest on Earth About 156 million U.S. adults and children are churchless. Churchless Americans = Bigger Than Canada, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, South Africa & New Zealand . . . Combined Only China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the churchgoing half of the United States are larger.

can be found in the Barna study Churchless which confirms that the world has, indeed, altered in significant ways during the last few decades. It’s not just your imagination. Real data confirm how drastically the moral, social and spiritual lives of Americans and Europeans have changed and are changing.

Paganism and Wicca have also not to complain, because they may boast to be one of the fastest-growing religions in the United States as well, continuing its march from early this century. { “PRLog (Press Release) “Wicca”- The Fastest Growing Belief System In The World Today}

Atheists looking at the religious

U.S. Public Has Warmest Feelings for Jews, Catholics and Evangelicals

Barometer of feelings by Americans about other believes – Religious groups are rated more positively by their own members than by people from other religious backgrounds.

In 2013 ist was already said that American atheists are most religiously literate Americans. Atheists/agnostics and Jews that year correctly answered an average of roughly seven of the nine general knowledge questions. To know how they looked at other religions was very interesting and in 2014 they took a stronger stance.

Having so many people fighting and using the name of their God atheist took more an aversion against the believers in a god. According to a Pew Research Center Poll in the United States, atheists themselves are rated positively by atheists and agnostics, and they receive neutral ratings from Jews and those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.” Atheists are rated much more negatively by other religious groups.

Atheists gave largely positive ratings to several non-Christian religious groups, including Buddhists (who received an average rating of 69 from atheists), Jews (61) and Hindus (58). Atheists tend to give much cooler ratings to Muslims and the Christian groups asked about in the survey. {How Americans Feel About Religious Groups}

Most people under age 45 have been taken by commercialism and want to enjoy themselves as much as possible. A religion for them seems to be an interception. They are not keen at all to find obstacles on their way of enjoyment and see that religious groups may put barriers in front of them.

The criteria for human value, to the world at large, has shifted from that of someone who champions high ethical standards at work, has personal integrity in his dealings, and who is committed to doing the right thing no matter what, to someone who, at work, is willing to do whatever can ensure the greatest commercial viability and his own personal security, and get away with whatever s/he can in their personal dealings. The more noble qualities of human nature are unwittingly being sacrificed on the altar of commerce. Most do not realize the cost: ending up as two-dimensional beings, mere cogs in the wheel of commerce without a heart capable of compassion. {Millennials: Escape the Credit/Debt Matrix}

The Millenials

Millennial men being “more easily swayed” by advertising than Millennial women, according to a study by Creditcards.com are not at all interested in a Higher Being they can not touch or see.

In 2014 there were (a projected 75.4) million Boomers. By midcentury, the Boomer population will dwindle to 16.6 million and in 2015 the “Millennial” generation is projected to surpass the Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation. This is according to the population projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In many industrialised countries the Millennial generation is growing thanks to young immigrants. Boomer numbers are shrinking as we move on from life at a pace faster than the immigration numbers of boomers.  This makes that the generation which grew up in a church community, faithful to their own parish and sticking to the faith they grew up in, to wither away and to leave a generation who saw their older folks doubting and struggling with their faith.

More and more people born in the first half of the previous century exchanging this life with the dead, are adding to the loss of many churches, who can not find a new input from those younger people who prefer to look for their entertainment elsewhere.

Feeling that more people do not feel anything any more about God and Church, the atheists do feel themselves becoming greater in numbers, which attracts many to open attacking moves to those who still belief. The non-trinitarians are then the most lucrative target, because they are most sincere about their belief in the Bible.

The millennial generation imposes a greater influence on our world and gets not only the digital world to adapt to their needs, they want others to fit their thinking and their idea of behaviour. They look at the Gen X’ers or Generation X to offer them huge challenges and even bigger opportunities. Old devices and Old-ideas have become worthless for them. Religion is pre-historic thinking for them and looking at the Bible is even more dumb and not done than looking at any book. For some laptops and desktops are also already passé.

Of the American Millennials 39% say they never read the Bible, compared to 26% of all adults. Perhaps many of them, 80% compared to 88% of all adults, own a Bible because they still got it from their parents home or from school. Only 35% of those adults believe the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life (compared to 50% of all adults). Given the increase in Millennials who don’t believe the Bible is sacred and the decrease in Bible awareness among Millennials, Bible skepticism will likely continue to rise in the next five years.

Churchless

Younger = More Churchless The younger you are, the more likely you are to never have been to church. More than half of Mosaics (born between 1984 and 2002) are unchurched, compared to one-third of Elders (born before 1946). Twenty years ago, 18 percent of skeptics—that is, atheists and agnostics—were under 30. Today, 34 percent are Mosaics. The younger the generation, the more post-Christian it is

Millennials who will have more spending power than any other generation by 2018 do “not want to loose time” by coming together in dark places (like they think churches are) to listen to old stories and having to hear about some men who lived centuries ago. They do not see any use of such meetings or do not have any clue what it can contribute to their  diverse, tech-savvy, and aspirational techno world where they enjoy not such long stories or features on social media, which is always with them wherever they go and always to be entertained by ‘their’ brands, lacking faith in traditional institutions. For them there are other sacred moments like being able to be there at TommorWorld.

They will build up the future generation, which for them can be really good funded on our commercial values instead of ethics and Judeo-Christian values.

Brands that entertain millennials do better at engaging a millennial audience. They will spread the word about brands that they love. In fact, this generation is extremely social, tech-savvy, and influential. If your organization or business is not engaging digitally with millennials, than you simply are not engaging millennials. This generation is mostly leaderless. The Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Hong Kong and the Black Lives Matter protests did not have a single leader. Yet, social media was a sounding board and an organizing platform for activism.

Millennials are not just rising, they will begin to take the helm in business, politics, education and other institutions. We need to stop asking if Millennials can adapt to the real world. Millennials are the future, and the future is now. {Preparing for the Millennial Apex}

they cry.

In October, the 2014 Alignment Conference featured Barna’s David Kinnaman and pastor and church planter Dave Ferguson talking about millennials, who presented a “game changing moment” for the church.

We find ourselves facing into “millennial anxiety” as well as concern about the “rise of the nones” (those who do not identify with any religious tradition, a cohort that is apparently growing in the West). Like some reverse Paul Revere, many ride through the fiber optics of the Internet and into church basements shouting, “The millennials are leaving! Watch out for the rise of the nones!” Simply put, millennial anxiety—a concern shared by both mainline and evangelical churches—is the fear that those between ages 18 and 25 have little interest in the church, and that the church has failed to convince them to stay. {Why Your Millennial Outreach Needs a Bit of Bonhoeffer}

Churches wanting to admit to the present generation

Many denomination found that they had to try to get the present generation back to church. Therefore they started to bring a more entertainment like show-service and some churches even conducted pageants. Some temples hosted dinners, and others spend weeks or months meticulously planning how to break a Guinness World Record.

World Record attempt at largest live nativity occurs at Rock Canyon in Provo 1

Participants relax on the hillside while waiting to begin a Guinness World Record- breaking attempt for the largest live nativity in Rock Canyon Park on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014.

There were several faith-based Guinness World Records  that were smashed in 2014: in Provo, Utah, they set a record for the most living figures in a Nativity scene.

Two, Guinness World Records were set when the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) hosted its centennial celebration on July 27, 2014, in the Philippines: largest gospel choir and largest mixed-use indoor theater. It took 4,745 participants singing hymns together in tidy, white sections in a 55,000-seat stadium to break the record once set in February 2014 in New Jersey by the current and former athletes who make up the NFL Players Choir. {5 religious Guinness World Records smashed in 2014, and 5 to shoot for in 2015}

The Art of the Living Foundation gathered nearly 47,000 people reading aloud simultaneously (single location), set at the Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur, India, in February, reciting, in unison, a Hindu devotional poem called “Jnanappana” by the famous Lord Krishna devotee Poonthanam.

In November there was a Record breaking preaching in Mount Dora.

New fresh wind in Roman Catholic Church

In April the Catholic Church simultaneously canonized Popes John XXIII and John Paul II and in October the Roman Catholic Church beatified Pope Paul VI.

The successor of Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis I became really the pope who could be the real successor of Pope John XXIII taking care that the Roman Catholic Church would come closer to its flock. The first Jesuit pope, the first from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere and the first non-European pope since the Syrian Gregory III in 741, 1,272 years earlier, has surprised the elder conservatives at the Vatican. His humility, his concern for the poor and his commitment to dialogue as a way to build bridges between people of all backgrounds, beliefs and faiths, was already noticed when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires (1998) and cardinal (2001). He took on a simpler and less formal approach to the papacy, most notably by choosing to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae guesthouse rather than the papal apartments of the Apostolic Palace used by his predecessors.

Though he affirmed Catholic doctrine on abortion, artificial contraception, and homosexuality, he also gave some way for more openness which was also translated in several countries by accepting homosexuals in church and taking part of the Eucharist.

Years the catholic Church did protect lots of paedophile priests and nuns, but Pope Francis has also announced a zero-tolerance policy towards sex abuse in the Church, saying that sex abuse was “as bad as performing a satanic mass.

The new pope soon started to show how he tried to communicate openly with others, young, old, believer and non-believer. Politically he also tried to be a mediator, bringing opponents closer to a situation where both parties could better themselves, but most particular where the oppressed population could see a new star at the firmament.
The Greek Foreign Ministry issued the following announcement regarding the historic U.S. rapprochement with Cuba:

Particularly praiseworthy are the mediating efforts of Pope Francis and the Canadian government, which created the conditions for the success of the diplomatic efforts aimed at ending this historical rivalry and opening a new chapter in the relations between the United States of America and Cuba.”

In October Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,”

Francis I said. He added:

“He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfilment.

Giulio Giorello, professor of the philosophy of science at Milan’s University degli Studi, told reporters that he believed Francis was “trying to reduce the emotion of dispute or presumed disputes” with science.

Despite the huge gulf in theological stance between his tenure and that of his predecessor, Francis praised Benedict XVI as he unveiled a bronze bust of him at the academy’s headquarters in the Vatican Gardens.

“No one could ever say of him that study and science made him and his love for God and his neighbour wither,”

Francis said, according to a translation by the Catholic News Service.

According to

What is clear is that creationism of some sort is still an essential part of Francis’s view of life. Although the media, besotted by a supposedly “modern” Pope, is all excited about what Francis said, his views don’t differ in substance from that of his recent predecessors. As usual, Francis appears to be a voice for modernity but still clings to old dogma. {Stop Celebrating the Pope’s Views on Evolution and the Big Bang. They Make No Sense.}

Yazidis in the news

For the other religions coming in the news mostly the Yazidis will be remembered for the tough time they had in 2014. Those who have travel anywhere in northern Iraq, could see the small, white, conical shrines that sit alone in the fields, along with the sheep. Inside, the floors are greasy, covered with drippings from oil lamps. There are low-lying altars for the occasional animal sacrifice. The doorways are low, making one bow toward the altar upon entering.  These are the khalwas – temples for the Yazidi, an ethnic-Kurdish group that practices a religion that is a mixture of Islam, Zoroastrianism, gnosticism, Judaism, Sufism and shamanism. Their faith predates Islam, but it derives its name from Yezid or Yazid, a seventh-century Umayyad caliph, or spiritual leader. The faith is based at Lalish, a town 15 miles north of Mosul, the site of a tomb of a 12th-century Yazidi mystic, Sheik Adi. All Yazidis are encouraged to make pilgrimages there every fall.

Western media outlets have focused on the idiosyncrasies of the faith, like adherents’ supposed fear of lettuce and pumpkins, and refusal to wear the color blue. And supposedly, the religion is syncretic, meaning that it incorporates elements of many different faith traditions, including Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism.

Philip Kreyenbroek, a professor at Germany’s University of Göttingen who has written several books on Yazidis, says these characterizations of the religion are only partially true.

“They have very ancient roots,”

he noted.

Although it’s difficult to determine exactly how old the religion is, scholars believe the Yazidis were one of the Indo-European peoples who lived in ancient Mesopotamia. Around 3,000 B.C.E, when other groups migrated east to India and Iran, the ancestors of the Yazidis stayed and settled in the area now known as Kurdistan.

Although

“they believe in an absolute god who is responsible for everything that happens in the world, good or evil,”

which in some ways resembles the Abrahamic conception of God, their faith is actually rooted in an older tradition:

“Basically what they believe is in a much older divinity called Mithras,”

an ancient Indian and Iranian god, Kreyenbroek said. Yazidis believe that Lucifer, after he fell, repented and was restored by God to his previous position as chief of all the angels of which seven guard the world. Of those angels the most important being Melek Taus, or the peacock angel. Yazidis also venerate depictions of serpents.

Yazidis and their fellow Muslim Kurds share the same mountainous regions in Iraq, Turkey, Armenia and Syria. There are roughly 1 million Yazidis in the world, according to a briefing paper distributed by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Most other estimates number them between 200,000 and 300,000. An estimated 70,000 Yazidis live in Europe – mostly in Germany – and about 450 to 500 are scattered across the United States.

Though Sunnis and Shi’ites alike call them Satanists, they don’t attack them. But ISIS, which al-Khoei said is on “a genocidal rampage,” won’t tolerate them in its self-declared Islamic caliphate.

The Yazidis, a People Who Fled - Iraq 2014 - Photo Rodi Said/Reuters

The Yazidis, a People Who Fled – Iraq 2014 – Photo Rodi Said/Reuters

Acting on a centuries-old mutual loathing the Muslim suicide bombers killed at least 400 Yazidis August 14.

For them the religious persecution is not a new horror.

Under Hussein’s rule, Yazidis also found themselves persecuted by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for resisting assimilation, according to a report by the Roosevelt Institute on Iraq’s minorities. Many of their villages were destroyed when Saddam Hussein’s troops tried to crush the Kurds during his iron-fisted rule. Some were taken away by the executed former leader’s intelligence agents.

On Aug. 14, 2007, a series of car bombings almost completely wiped up two small Yazidi villages killing more than 500 people. The attack was the deadliest event since the war started in 2003.

On Aug. 13, 2009, a suicide attack in a cafe in Sinjar killed 20 people and injured dozens more, apparently targeting Yazidis.

Even before the ISIS war, Yazidis felt threatened. Thousands of them, despite Iraq being their ancestral homeland for more than 4,000 years, fled to Europe under Saddam Hussein’s control. Germany is home to the largest community abroad, with an estimated 40,000.  Hussein’s government has targeted the Yazidis.

“For example, 33 members of the Yazidi community of Mosul, arrested in July 1996, still are unaccounted for,”

the US State Department said in a report on international religious freedom.

Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled for their lives after Kurdish fighters abandoned them in the face of Islamic State militants, and were trapped on a mountain near Sinjar at risk of starvation.

Ongoing battle in Syria

The West was stupid not to intervene straight ahead when the civil war broke out in Syria. Because they did not come to help the Muslim population they felt abandoned by them and got furious when they was the West only got into some action when Christians where threatened or killed. By not reacting soon enough they gave the opportunity to ISIL/ISIS to grow and proved that they were putting their head in the sand for the fact that the atrocities of the Islamic State will not stop in Iraq and could be repeated somewhere else, also in Europe or North America. Because there where no urgent measures taken to neutralize this terrorist group and by not giving a clear signal to the Islam community that the Western World wants to have a place where everybody is free to chose his or her own religion and should be able to say whatever they think. The freedom of religion and freedom of speech should be noted as high values of our society.

More than ever it is now the responsibility of the international community to take a firm stand against the Islamic State. Some will even find it has become high time to reach a consensus on a legitimate decision to start the war on Islamic State to stop genocides and atrocities against civilians.

2014 ending

Coming to the end 2014 did not bring a solution for many people around the world who became victims by people fighting using their god and their religion as the main reason for their fighting. clearly by all of them it was about getting more power over more regions.
The Jihadi fighters have become the ones Europe and America should be concerned, when they come back to Europe. Also their influence on those who live in our regions should be looked at seriously. We do have to be careful no one tries to enslave others in name of their religion.

At the end of 2014 for the first time in history, leaders of the Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish faiths made a joint declaration to end slavery.

Watch and share the video of this historic moment when global faith leaders declared their commitment to ending slavery.

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Find additional literature and background information:

  1. Religions and Mainliners
  2. RE:Creation
  3. Come and Feast
  4. Not many coming out with their community name
  5. Governments need to be more proactive to ensure racism is kept in check
  6. Christian Association of Nigeria in dispute
  7. Message of Pope Francis I for the 48th World Communications Day
  8. Division and defrocking because of same-sex wedding
  9. Greek Foreign Ministry on the historic U.S. rapprochement with Cuba
  10. Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism?
  11. The Number of Churchless Americans Has Jumped by Nearly One-Third in Just 20 Years
  12. The State of the Bible: 6 Trends for 2014
  13. Barna releases latest numbers on ‘churchless’ Americans
  14. The State of the Bible
  15. Dissolution of Bijbelvorsers (Bible scholars), Association for Bible study
  16. Some christians do have problems with the Christian connection with Jews
  17. Christian fundamentalism as dangerous as Muslim fundamentalism
  18. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  19. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  20. Renewed Catholic-Jewish relations still with a blemish
  21. Brussels’ Jewish Museum re-opened on Sunday
  22. Male domination and tyranny giving opportunities to defile the Name of God
  23. Not true or True Catholicism and True Islam
  24. Arson attack carried out on Stevenage Central Mosque
  25. Muslim Grooming (Rape) Gangs and Sharia
  26. Sharing a common security and a common set of values
  27. Private: Faith Over Fear
  28. Iraqi Underclass and animosities
  29. Iraqi Christians flee homes amid Islamic militant rampage
  30. More Muslim children than Christian children growing up in our cities
  31. Do Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, ISIS and ISIL belong to true Islam
  32. ISIS, Mosul Dam and threatening lives of those who want to live in freedom
  33. FBI official: Islamic State is recruiting U.S. teens
  34. Shoe bomber: “I do believe my actions to have been permissible in Islamic law”
  35. UK: Hundreds more Muslim rape gang cases discovered; authorities still hiding them for fear of “racism” charges
  36. Meet Iraq’s secretive, persecuted sect under siege by militants from ISIS
  37. Death of a religion – ISIS and the Yezidi
  38. Who are the Yazidis and why is Isis hunting them?
  39. Who Are the Yazidis, the Ancient, Persecuted Religious Minority Struggling to Survive in Iraq?
  40. The Yazidis, a People Who Fled
  41. After Centuries of Persecution, Yazidis Advocate Final Exodus From Iraq
  42. Iraq: The Other Kurds: Yazidis in Colonial Iraq
  43. Iraq’s Yazidis in danger
  44. ‘In Iraq, there is no peace for Yazidis’
  45. Persecution of Yazidis by ISIL
  46. Yazidi community under attack — again
  47. Trapped Yazidis Face Death
  48. Kurds rescue Yazidis from Iraqi mountain
  49. Exclusive: Iraq says Islamic State killed 500 Yazidis, buried some victims alive
  50. Malaysia requires sole use of God’s title for Muslims
  51. More Mexicans start questioning Catholic doctrine and the concept of the Trinity
  52. Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not ‘a magician with a magic wand’
  53. Pope Endorses Theories Of Evolution And Big Bang
  54. The Pope Would Like You to Accept Evolution And the Big Bang
  55. Stop Celebrating the Pope’s Views on Evolution and the Big Bang. They Make No Sense.
  56. Chinese Persecution of Christians on the Rise During Holidays
  57. Christians in China Outnumber the Communists
  58. Satanic ‘black mass’ gets green light from U.S. city
  59. Full text of Pope Francis’ Interview with ‘La Vanguardia’
  60. Stand Up
  61. Evangelisation, local preaching opposite overseas evangelism
  62. A last note concerning civil rights
  63. Mobile first. Millennials.
  64. Record breaking preaching in Mount Dora
  65. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  66. Scepticals of the Bible

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This is part of a review of 2014
Preceding reviews of 2014:

  1. My blogs 2014 in review2014
  2. Politics in the United States of America
  3. 2014 Politics all over the world
  4. 2014 Human Rights
  5. 2014 Health and welfare
  6. 2014 Social contacts
  7. 2014 To remember our Earth
  8. 2014 Economics
  9. 2014 Culture
  10. 2014 Personalities and Obituary

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  • Debunking three myths about anti-Christian violence… (cruxnow.com)
    At the end of every December, the Vatican’s missionary agency Fides puts out a list of Catholic pastoral workers killed in the line of duty during the past year. It’s not a complete index of anti-Christian violence, just clergy and laity murdered while working full-time for the Catholic Church.
    For 2014, the agency lists 26 such victims, including 17 priests, one religious brother, six nuns, one seminarian, and one lay catechist. Latin America was the most dangerous zone, accounting for 11 deaths, followed by Africa with 7.
  • Pantheon Demigods of Lucifer’s Church (mysteryoftheiniquity.com)
    Underneath the Roman Catholic Church at the Vatican, they have mysterious items which have been kept for hundreds of years. These items reveal who and what these elite people of the R.C.C. worship.
  • The lady and the lewdest (jamaica-gleaner.com)
    The church, for so many centuries, skilled at getting to the bottom of these types of matters, was rendered speechless. Would it be forced to take testimony from a woman? Surely, the husband, consecrated by scripture as the ‘head’ (like a faculty dean) of the woman, must be believed no matter what wifey might say? What about independent testimony? The scriptural dean having thrown a wet towel on proceedings, would anybody support the lewdist? Kama? Sutra? Anybody?
  • Roman Catholic Church ‘opposed on principle’ to IVF change (itv.com)

    The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has reiterated its opposition to mitochondrial donation after the vote.

    Bishop John Sherrington, speaking for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said:

    Whilst the Church recognises the suffering that mitochondrial diseases bring and hopes that alternative methods of treatment can be found, it remains opposed on principle to these procedures where the destruction of human embryos is part of the process.

    This is about a human life with potential, arising from a father and a mother, being used as disposable material …

    – Bishop John Sherrington
  • Pope Francis prays for Malawi flood survivors (nyasatimes.com)
  • 10 Dirty Secrets Of The Catholic Church (listverse.com)
    Between the late ’30s and early ’60s, the Catholic Church shipped at least 1,000 British and 310 Maltese children to Catholic schools in Australia, where many were forced to do construction work or other hard labor.In addition to forced labor, subsequent inquiries have found that many of the migrant children in the Church’s care were brutally beaten, raped, and starved—some children were made to “scramble for food thrown on the floor” to survive. Many of the children were stripped of their birth name. Decades later, in 2001, the Catholic Church in Australia confirmed the crimes committed and issued an apology.
  • Bishop Calls On Catholic Church To Recognise Same-Sex Relationships (lgbtlife.co.uk)
    A Belgian Catholic bishop is pressing for the Catholic Church to change its official position challenging same-sex relationships, the National Catholic Reporter reported in its English coverage of a Belgium newspaper. Speaking to the Belgium newspaper De Morgen, Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp, Belgium said that the church should evolve to be inclusive of a “diversity of forms” for contemporary believers, a nod to Pope Francis’ comments encouraging the church to move away from social issues, like gay marriage, birth control, and abortion.
    “There should be recognition of a diversity of forms,” Bonny said in the De Morgen interview published December 27, strongly advocating for gay and lesbian couples to receive the same recognition as people in ecclesiastical marriages, though perhaps stopping short of allowing the Catholic Church to perform same-sex marriages.
  • Pope Francis Drives A Wedge Between Catholic Church, GOP | TheHill (1-800-politics.com)
    Pope Francis is increasingly driving a wedge between conservatives and the Catholic Church.
    The magnetic pope has sparked new enthusiasm around the world for the church and has flexed his political muscles internationally, most recently by helping to engineer a new relationship between the United States and Cuba.
  • Catholic Professors and Theologians Compared Eric Garner To… (youngcons.com)

    More than 400 Catholic theologians have signed a “statement of commitment to racial justice” in response to the deaths of black Americans in confrontations with police officers.

    Crafted by St. Louis University Professor of Theological Ethics Dr. Tobias Winright, the statement addresses “the flagrant failures of a nation still bound by sin, our bondage to and complicity in racial injustice.”

    The eclectic group of theologians, who range from department chairs at the University of Notre Dame to local parish associates, claim they cannot “ignore what is happening in our midst.”

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Walking with Jan Hoet

Marcus Ampe:

English: Jan Hoet - Gent/1989

Jan Hoet – Gent/1989 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A look at the growth of biennial exhibitions and other transnational art events in the 1990s can  not pass the man from Ghent Jan Hoet.

To remember:

  • De Zee, Ostend’s tribute to the late curator and museum director Jan Hoet, by curator Phillip Van den Bossche
  • Zoe Leonard’s Sun Photographs
  • De Zee includes a generous number of Flemish artists, with younger practitioners invited to make new work for the occasion.
  • De Zee: an interesting case study in the ‘art walk’ > example of complicity between contemporary art and tourism.
  • Jan Baldessari’s Brain/Cloud
  • Kris Martin’s Altar on the beach, where it captures the sea in the framework of Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece.
  • Bill Viola’s The Arc of Ascent beautifully installed at the old Cinema Capitole on Langestraat,
  • James Lee Byars’ eerie moon sculptures
  • Rodney Graham’s large format photograph Lighthouse Keeper with Lighthouse Model.
  • (Z)art, which Hoet curated at the Galerie Abtart in Stuttgart
  • La Mer à boire (Volvo S60), Pascale Marthine Tayou.

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Originally posted on Unnumbered Impressions:

In his book Art Incorporated Julian Stallabrass analyses the growth of biennial exhibitions and other transnational art events in the 1990s, singling out tourism and municipal prestige as underlying motives. In extreme cases these events favoured work by and for the international art elite over art produced by locals or addressing their concerns. One example he gives is an edition of the Havana Biennial where venues were apparently closed and video exhibits turned off once the international set had moved on after the gala opening.

061220141457Reading this over Christmas reminded me of a recent visit to De Zee, Ostend’s tribute to the late curator and museum director Jan Hoet. I arrived at the last stop in my tour, the Thermae Palace, with half an hour to spare before the advertised closing time. I was let in, but only once the venue’s guardians had found the keys. The door had…

View original 985 more words

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2014 Personalities and Obituary

In 2014 Culture I looked at some figures which attracted a lot of people from all genres. Their strangeness might have pulled a lot of attraction by the press, but also their professionalism should be remembered for 2014. In the spotlight were Stromae, Paul Van Haver who gained international attention and looked as stepped out of some Flemish cartoons. Thomas “Tom” Neuwirth the Austrian recording artist and drag queen better know under his stage name  Conchita Wurst, managed to become a loudspeaker for those who according many do have a gender problem. The controversial was also invited at the European Parliament and the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria’s capital.

That old and new can smoothly work together and give new fire to old boxes proved Lady Gaga and legendary jazz crooner Tony Bennett, who perhaps might becoming a little bit to old to perform on stage for so many minutes.

Born to a sharecropping family in the segregated South, Anna Mae Bullock and her elder sister were abandoned by their sparring parents early on. After her grandmother’s death, she eventually moved to St. Louis, Missouri to reunite with her mother. This opened up a whole new world of R&B nightclubs to the precocious 16-year-old. Called up to sing on-stage with Ike Turner‘s Kings of Rhythm in 1956, she displayed a natural talent for performing which the band leader was keen to develop. Soon, Anna Mae’s aspirations of a nursing career were forgotten and she began to hang around with the group. When the singer booked to record “A Fool in Love” failed to turn up for the session, Ike drafted in Anna Mae to provide the vocal with the intention of removing it later. However, once he heard her spine-tingling performance of the song, he soon changed his plans. He changed her name to Tina Turner and when the record became a hit, Tina became a permanent fixture in Ike’s band and his quest for international stardom. One thing led to another: they were married in Mexico between the births of Tina’s two sons – the first a result of an earlier relationship with a musician, the second with Ike. {Tina Turner Biography}

This grand lady now for one weekend got Berlin turned into the Tina Turner capital of the world for a fan party in honour of Tina Turner’s 75th birthday.

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English: South African Paralympic runner Oscar...

South African Paralympic runner Oscar Pistorius (born 22 November 1986), taking part in the Landsmót ungmennafélags Íslands in Kópavogur, Iceland, the largest sporting event in Iceland which is held every three years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The South African sprint runner with both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, has competed in events for single below-knee amputees and for able-bodied athletes, but got to run a totally different race in 2014.
The “Fastest Man on No Legs,” also known as the Blade runner” who made history at the London 2012 Olympics, played the lead role in a more tragic tale that began in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 when his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was shot death.
The Pistorius family and Oscar’s management company have been inundated with messages of support and condolences for Oscar and for the family of Reeva Steenkamp from all over the world.
For many, he was an example of what could be achieved through a potent mix of determination, positivity and skill, but know he got a blow in the nice picture people had of him.
Besides the five-year prison term for culpable homicide, the athlete was also given a three-year sentence, suspended for five years, on a weapons charge stemming from an incident in which he discharged a loaded firearm in a restaurant.
A spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority told reporters outside court:

“Our argument was that [Pistorius] should have been convicted of murder, and then would have been sentenced to a minimum sentence of 15 years. That is, of course, what we would like to happen. It isn’t about winning – it’s about justice.”

“Mad” Frankie Fraser English key member of feared London gangs in the 1960s, taking part in turf wars in the city and being associated with gangsters the Kray twins, who was certified insane while at Durham Prison and spent 42 years in prison for numerous violent offences, died from complication of an operation to help him with the leg problem he had since 1980 but had become worse.
Even at 89 he had caused trouble and in June 2013 was served with an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) by police after a row with another resident. For years he was considered the most dangerous gangster of Great Britain.
After he had to be put in a coma after attempts to operate the fracture and was left to die switching off the machine, the family claimed the fracture could have been spotted earlier, reducing his pain.

Politicians

Belgium experienced in 2013 the largest decline in the number of asylum applications in the EU, but this trend did not confirm in 2014.  The international situation is too confused for that, said one from the cabinet of the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Maggie De Block. This Maggie Celine Louise De Block, (born 28 April 1962) is one person who can not be overlooked for 2014. As Mega Maggie she conquered many hearts after she had made the most dreaded job, no politician ever wanted, the big light for handling the illegal immigrants. In December 2012, she became the vice-chair of the Open Vld party and without taking a leaf before her mouth she managed to pull lots of voters back again to the liberal party.
Her remarkable leap in the political pop polls could be because she remains calm in both good and bad news.

“People see that progress is being made and it gets better,”

said the Minister, who now has become Minister for Health and Social Affairs in the Federal Government Michel I.

Belgium lost some great politicians in 2014.
“The Plumber” but also “The Minesweeper” who did not mind that the common hard working saving people lost a lot of money by the bank frauds, left this earth, not able to take the money he earned from working for the ones who stole from us. His political connections helped Dexia’s bad bank to secure funding guarantees of up to €90 billion provided primarily by the Belgian government, but at the cost of the Belgians and all simple shareholders of Dexia. (In 2012, Dexia Belgium became Belfius.

Jean-Luc Dehaene (7 August 1940 – 15 May 2014), giant of Belgian politics and Premier, 1992-1999

Jean-Luc Dehaene (7 August 1940 – 15 May 2014), giant of Belgian politics and Premier, 1992-1999

Jean-Luc Dehaene who gained his first ministerial appointment in 1981 had to solve a lot of problems ministerial wise but also emotionally, like the Dutroux scandal and the Dioxin Affair. The Belgian politician held a mandate as MEP for the Flemish Christian-democrats (CD&V) in the outgoing European Parliament. He was also on UEFA’s financial fair play regulatory body.
In March, he was hospitalised and treated for cancer. After a period of revalidation, he returned to the public stage in April, conducting several interviews in national press and on television. On 15 May 2014, Dehaene died after a fall while holidaying in Quimper in France. In the aftermath of his death, he received tributes from the incumbent Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo who described him as an “exceptional statesman”.

Chabert (first from the left) in April 1975

An other Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams (Christian Democratic and Flemish; CD&V) great politician Belgium lost was Jozef P. A. “Jos” Chabert (16 March 1933 – 9 April 2014)

After La Bel VlaWa Vaudeville, sooner than expected a new government was formed in Belgium and got the youngest prime minister in its young history: Charles Michel.

Minister of Defense Sharon (right) and Caspar Weinberger, 1982

Arik, אַריק, Ariel Sharon, who played a key role in the War of Attrition and the the Yom Kippur War, after a stroke on January 4, 2006, remained in a permanent vegetative state until his death in January 2014. It was Israeli founding father David Ben-Gurion who gave the platoon commander the name “Sharon.”

Sharon became leader of the Likud party of which he resigned as head of Likud in 2005, and dissolved parliament to form a new centrist party called Kadima (“Forward”)

Pierre (Piet) Van Eeckhaut (1939–2014) Belgisch advocaat en politicus voor sp.a. - Belgian lawyer and politician for sp.a.

Pierre (Piet) Van Eeckhaut (1939–2014) Belgisch advocaat en politicus voor sp.a. – Belgian lawyer and politician for sp.a.

On the first of July lawyer Piet Van Eeckhaut who was known for several high-profile lawsuits and was politically active for the socialist party died. He came in 1970 in the Ghent city council and in 1976 for the then BSP (Belgian Socialist Party) mandatory of Education and Tourism in Ghent. In 1984, Van Eeckhaut became leader for the SP in the East Flanders provincial council and between 1994 and 2006 he was provincial chairman.

Eduard Sjervarnadze / Eduard Shevardnadze (ედუარდ შევარდნაძე, Eduard Amvrosiyevich Shevardnadze) (1928–2014) Georgian politician and diplomat who served as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party (GPC), the de facto leader of Soviet Georgia from 1972 to 1985 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991

Eduard Sjervarnadze / Eduard Shevardnadze (ედუარდ შევარდნაძე, Eduard Amvrosiyevich Shevardnadze) (1928–2014) Georgian politician and diplomat who served as First Secretary of the Georgian Communist Party (GPC), the de facto leader of Soviet Georgia from 1972 to 1985 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991

Six days later Eduard Sjervarnadze saw the light going out. He had started his political career in the late 1940s as a leading member of his local Komsomol organisation and was later appointed its Second Secretary, then its First Secretary. He should be remembered as one of the major figures of our age for steering the Soviet Union in from the cold during his five and a half years as Mikhail Gorbachev’s foreign minister, from 1985 onwards. After the end of the Soviet Union, he became the leader of his native Georgia, now an independent country, and took a brave stand. In the autumn of 1993, he stood in the middle of a brutal battle in Sukhumi in an effort to defend Georgia’s sovereignty against Abkhazian separatists. After the Rose Revolution street protests about disputed election results, he was forced to resign. However, his good name was later tarnished amid allegations of corruption involving him and his family but he could not hide his disappointment and his sense of failure both in Georgia, and also in the collapse of the dreams for a brave new world throughout the territory of the former Soviet Union.

It was already as Soviet foreign minister that he looked for a better relationship with the US and its western allies. His overtures to the West gave meaning and substance to perestroika, the principle of restructuring. He probably understood far earlier than Gorbachev that perestroika, once unleashed, could not be used merely to dabble with reform of the communist system. For him Gorbachev was too conservative to make the intellectual leap away from communism, and therefore he jumped ship, gave up his beloved foreign ministry and eventually became the first major Soviet figure to resign from the Communist party, in 1990.

He was not a big man but of small build, with a whiff of white hair he had a certain charm over him. With his easy smile, perhaps lacking the Gorbachovian charisma, he more than made up for it with charm, warmth, humour and acute intellect.

Shevardnadze spent his last years living quietly at his mansion house in the outskirts of Tbilisi. As his health deteriorated, his involvement in public life became much reduced. After a long illness, he died at the age of 86 on 7 July 2014.

Having a responsibility to the public

In the year 2014 Belgium lost three important figures who really did know very well their responsibility to the public. First we saw the Big Dame leaving these pastures, whilst the last few moths it must have been terrible for her to see how the Belgian government treated that what she loved so much and that what she had tried to establish for the country.

Jeanne Brabants (25 January 1920 – 2 January 2014) Belgian dancer, choreographer, teacher and founder of the Royal Ballet of Flanders.

Jeanne Brabants (25 January 1920 – 2 January 2014) Belgian dancer, choreographer, teacher and founder of the Royal Ballet-school in Antwerp and the Royal Ballet of Flanders.

A real Antwerp lass, Jeanne Brabants (25 January 1920 – 2 January 2014) was responsible for a great Flemish Balletgeneration. In 1941 she created her own dance-school and company. In 1951 her school could become incorporated in the Flemish Opera and later was taken into the city education-program, later to receive the title Royal Ballet-school.

She was responsible for creating a lot of dancers who found their way in the world of dance. They and the company where more appreciated abroad than in the own little country. Thanks to Jeanne Brabants the Royal Ballet of Flanders has become the international company Belgians should be proud of.

She designed some 200 choreographies of which it is unbelievable that the company does not keep that repertoire alive. she managed to bring Belgian dancers to be appreciated over the whole world, having them given also the opportunity to study under internationally recognized people? She as well as many of her pupils achieved numerous international awards.
Jeanne Brabants died on 2 January 2014, aged 93, in her hometown of Antwerp.

General Manager Lena De Meerleer.

‘She will always be remembered for her professionalisme, strength and vision. She will live on in the hearts of all the dancers who were part of the Royal Ballet, the School of Ballet and all the other danceschools and companies for which she was a source of inspiration.

Jan Hoet (1936-2014)Jan Hoet, the Belgian founder of SMAK (Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst or Municipal Museum for Contemporary Art) in Ghent, Belgium, one of the five legs sawn off under the table culture of Ghent. The others being Gerard Mortier, Luc De Vos, Karel Dierickx and Walter De Buck.

Originally,” The Sea “ was going to be the final part of a trilogy, say ‘the three-testament” by Jan Hoet. When Jan Hoet had returned to Belgium after his five-year directorship of the MARTa Museum in Herford (Germany), he had set in 2012 with co-curator Hans Martens, the exhibition “Saint John” in the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent.

With “Chambres d’Amis,” an innovative exhibition he organized in Ghent in 1986, it became clear for the international press that this man not only wanted to bring art to the public and vice versa, he did manage to get people from all layers of the population to come and look at art and appreciate it. His visions of what is art and what is kitsch could have strange twists and not everybody would always agree with his remarks. sometimes, not taking a leaf before his mouth, he could give some rude remarks in front of an artist about his or her work.

After he curated Documenta IX in Kassel in 1992, presenting several hundred works by 190 artists from nearly 40 countries, he managed several important exhibitions all over the world.

Like Madame Jeanne was a mother for dance, Hoet could be called the father for visual art in this century and the sympathetic Gerard Alfons August Mortier the father of music.

GerardMortierBaron Mortier (25 November 1943 – 8 March 2014) really renewed the musical scene in many countries as a Belgian opera director and administrator of Flemish origin. He pursued apprenticeships in opera administration under Christoph von Dohnányi in Frankfurt and Rolf Liebermann in Paris and worked for the Flanders Festival from 1968 to 1972. As the general director of La Monnaie (De Munt) in Brussels from 1981 to 1991 he provided new blood and a new life to the company. After his general directorship of the Salzburg Festival from 1991 to 2001 he founded the  Ruhrtriennale arts festival in Germany, leading it from 2002 to 2004.

Those three personalties proved where their heart was and how they loved their art-form and placed several discoveries on the world-map.

Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, died in 2014 at the age of 85.

Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, died in 2014 at the age of 85.

An other strong character which did not make the end of 2014 was Shirley Temple, known in her private life as Shirley Temple Black,  born on April 23, 1928, in Santa Monica, California. She was the daughter of Gertrude Amelia Temple (née Krieger), a homemaker, and George Francis Temple, a bank employee. The family was of English, German and Dutch ancestry. Though she retired completely from films in 1950 at the age of 22, lots of later generations came to like her characters she played in the 50 earlier films.

Temple, America’s top box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, was the recipient of numerous awards and honours including the Kennedy Center Honors and a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. She ranks 18th on the American Film Institute‘s list of the greatest female American screen legends of all time.

In 1999, the American Film Institute ranking of the top 50 screen legends ranked Temple at No. 18 among the 25 actresses. She appeared in scores of moving pictures and kept children singing On the Good Ship Lollipop for generations.

Temple was credited with helping save 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy with films such as Curly Top and The Littlest Rebel. She even had a drink named after her, an appropriately sweet and innocent cocktail of ginger ale and grenadine, topped with a maraschino cherry.

Shirley Temple may be one of the best examples of a child star who left the entertainment industry completely and made a successful life.

Shirley Temple may be one of the best examples of a child star who left the entertainment industry completely and made a successful life.

Following her venture into television, Temple became active in the Republican Party in California and got her start in foreign service after her failed run for Congress in 1967. After her first Ambassadorship to Ghana she took on several roles as ambassador for the United States and for United Nations.

A family statement said

“We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and adored wife for fifty-five years of the late and much missed Charles Alden Black,”

Not making the Summer

The American country-influenced rock and roll singers, known for steel-string guitar and close harmony singing Everly Brothers had to say farewell to the youngest Phillip “Phil” Everly (January 19, 1939 – January 3, 2014) ten years after a compilation titled Country Classics was released.

The obnoxious, poetry-writing anarchist Rick in The Young Ones and the loud-mouthed and lecherous Lord Flashheart in BBC comedy series Blackadder was silenced on June 9. Stephen Fry, who appeared with Rik Mayall in Blackadder, described his co-star as “an authentic comedy genius and a prince among men,” adding he was “simply distraught” at the news.

The Young Ones

The Young Ones saw Mayall playing a poetry-writing, Cliff Richard-loving student called Rick

Rik Mayall when he came performing with his new-found comedy partner Adrian ‘Ade’ Edmondson who he’d met at at Manchester University drama department, his big break was at London’s Comedy Store under the guise of 20th Century Coyote.

Coyote, formed in the summer of 1978, went on to play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

His double act with Edmondson included the extreme, violent slapstick of The Dangerous Brothers – a forerunner of their later, hugely successful TV show Bottom.

Autumn time

Robin McLaurin Williams the American actor and comedian which most would know as a funny figure, started as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the mid-1970s and is credited with leading San Francisco’s comedy renaissance. Lots fo young people would know him as Mork from Happy Days (1974) and the subsequent spin-off Mork & Mindy (1978) but he is mostly remembered as Mrs. Doubtfire.

Mrs Doubtfire Blue Wolf Productions,  20th Century Fox Theatrical release poster

Mrs Doubtfire Blue Wolf Productions, 20th Century Fox Theatrical release poster

Most interesting films with him are The World According to Garp (1982), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Dead Poets Society (1989), Awakenings (1990), The Fisher King (1991), a voice role in the Disney animated musical fantasy Aladdin (1992), Good Will Hunting (1997), One Hour Photo (2002), Hook (1991), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Jumanji (1995), The Birdcage (1996), and the fantasy adventure-comedy Night at the Museum (2006).

As an effective dramatic actor he received an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Good Will Hunting (1997).

Williams won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Dr. Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting. He also received two Emmy Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and five Grammy Awards throughout his career. You would think everything went all right for this successful actor, but appearances are deceptive. The man took his own life on August 11, 2014 at his home in Paradise Cay, California.

Joan Rivers 2010 - David Shankbone.jpg

Joan Rivers in 2010

An other “intuitively funny person alive” to leave this earth was Joan Rivers, Joan Alexandra Molinsky, the American actress, comedian, writer, producer, and television host noted for her often controversial comedic persona — where she was alternately self-deprecating or sharply acerbic, especially toward celebrities and politicians. The Joan Rivers Show (1989-1993) delivered her a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host.

With her daughter Melissa Rivers she presented the reality series Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best? (2011-2014). Rivers and daughter Melissa were contestants in 2009 on the second Celebrity Apprentice. Throughout the season, each celebrity raised money for a charity of his or her choice; Rivers selected God’s Love We Deliver.

The 4th of  September she died and appeared posthumously with other female comedians in the documentary Makers: Women in Comedy, which premiered on PBS in October 2014

By her distinctive voice and sultry looks she will be remembered by many as a “femme fatal”, named the 20th greatest actress of the 20th century by the American Film Institute and received an Academy Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences “in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures.”

Lauren Bacall (1924–2014) born Betty Joan Perske to Polish middle class Jewish parents first wanted to be a dancer, but later, she became enthralled with acting. She switched gears to head into that field and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York after high school, which enabled her to make her first steps on the professional stage in some off-Broadway productions. Crowned Miss Greenwich Village in 1942, Bacall made her stage debut in George S. Kaufman’s Franklin Street in Washington.

Bacall in her first moving pictures, To Have and Have Not with Humphrey Bogart, 1944

Bacall in her first moving pictures, To Have and Have Not with Humphrey Bogart, 1944

Because of her beauty she had not to worry about interest in her figure and appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, one of the most popular magazines in the US. This made that she was spotted by the wife of famed director Howard Hawks who arranged with her husband to have Lauren take a screen test, which got her the part of Marie Browning in To Have and Have Not (1944), a thriller opposite the great Humphrey Bogart, when she was just 19 years old. This not only set the tone for a fabulous career but also one of Hollywood’s greatest love stories (after he had left his third wife, actress  Mayo Methot, she married Bogart in 1945). It was also the first of several Bogie-Bacall films.

Lauren Bacall Femme fatale

Lauren Bacall Femme fatale

We may remember her from  The Big Sleep (1946) which laid the foundation for her status as an icon of film noir, Dark Passage (1947), Key Largo (1948), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), The Cobweb (1955), Blood Alley (1955), Written on the Wind (1956), The Gift of Love (1958),  North West Frontier (1959),  Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Fan (1981), Mr. North (1988). After Misery (1990), in 1990, and several made for television films, Lauren appeared in 1996’s My Fellow Americans (1996) and her performance in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe, Betty Gr...

Cropped screenshot of Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall in the trailer for the film How to Marry a Millionaire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On stage she was renown for Cactus Flower (1965), Applause (the musical version of the film All About Eve) (1970), and Woman of the Year (1981). She won Tony Awards for her performances in the latter two. For her work in the Chicago theatre, Bacall won the Sarah Siddons Award in 1972 and again in 1984. In 1976, with John Wayne, with whom she had already worked in Blood Alley (1955) she co-starred in his last picture, The Shootist. The two became friends, despite significant political differences between them.  The 12th of August she left the living with the pictorial remembrances.

Lauren Bacall screenshots

Lauren Bacall screenshots

Not making 2015

Dalziel and Pascoe

Warren Clarke, left, with Colin Buchanan in Dalziel and Pascoe (2001). He described his character as a ‘chauvinist pig’. Photograph: John Rogers/ BBC

Black Adder the Third (1987) PosterAn actor of immense presence and considerable versatility who turned his wide-shouldered, robust appearance and lived-in, hangdog facial features into an asset, mostly be remembered for Superintendant Andy Dalziel in TV’s Dalziel and Pascoe (1996) (61 episodes between 1996 and 2007) and the pig-fixated Regency period industrialist in Black Adder the Third (1987) Lancashire-born Warren Clarke died in his sleep at the age of 67 on November the 12th.

Warren Clarke, on left, in A Clockwork Orange (Rex Features)

In 1971, he secured a film part, as the vicious thug Dim, wearing red lipstick and a bowler hat, in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, starring Malcolm McDowell.

I found him great in John Mortimer’s adaptation of I Claudius (Queen’s theatre, 1972) as Caligula and in the Anthony Shaffer play Murderer at the Garrick theatre (1975).   He also presented a very good Josiah Beaumont in The Onedin Line (1978).

The last role he completed before his death was as Charles Poldark in the BBC’s revival of the 1970s television drama Poldark.

Luc De Vos many times joking about praying and religion

A man whose attitude I did not like at all and who did not mind, still after his death to make jokes about religion and to mock at Jesus and God, on very big screens at the remembrance meetings, after he died of acute organ failure on the 29 November 2014 in his working apartment in Ghent, was the lead singer of the Dutch-language alternative rock formation Gorki and as a guest in too many Flemish television shows.

At several concerts people went mad and after his death people in Ghent did like crazy telling they have lost with Walter de Buck that year the greatest figure of Ghent. Around 15,000 people assembled outside on the Saint Peter’s Square as the church was full.

With his bands Gorky/Gorki, he had 3 singles and 12 albums in the Flemish charts (the album charts only start in 1995, i.e. after his first albums were released). This included 5 top ten albums.

Not only songs rolled out of his pen. He wrote columns for, among others, Flemish radio station Studio Brussel and the Ghent city magazine Zone 09/ and several books [the most recent Paddenkoppenland (Toadheadsland)].

Posthumous he received the  Lifetime Achievement Award.

Zanger Walter De Buck overleden

Walter De Buck with the other icon from Ghent Luc De Vos, both died in 2014. Photo: Belga

 

As the third important figure from Ghent to die in 2014 Walter De Buck (13 July 1934 – 21 December 2014) the Flemish folk-singer and founder of the modern Gentse Feesten focused later in his life on his sculptural work.

Generations of Ghent have heard him perform and ‘t Vliegerke has even become an unofficial anthem of the city Ghent in Gents.”Mee mijne vlieger en zijne steert, hij goat omhuuge, ‘t es ‘t ziene weerd”. What on the square before the church of St. Jacob started with a few hundred visitors grew into an annual cultural festival for the masses. “‘t Seef liet zijn vlieger op, van tsoepe, tsoepe, tsoepe”. Other songs that were very popular “Ach Rosalie, ach Rosalie, ach Rosalie mijnen bon amie”. “Mee koevoet es beter dan boelie, maar madame de predikant heeft liever nen end saucie.”

Walter De Buck was one of the three W’s, along with Wannes Van de Velde and William Vermandere. In the dialects from Ghent, Antwerp and West Flemish they have put the Flemish folk on the map. Wannes and William were frequent and welcome guests on stage at St. Jacobs. It would be indeed Wannes Van de Velde, who together with Walter De Buck revived forgotten songs treasures by Charles Waeri. Already in 1970 - the very beginning of the Gentse feesten - they organized a Charles Waeri evening. “Zijde gij kwoad op mij, ge zij gij toch mijn loetse, ja mijn loetse dat zijde gij.”

Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis in 1998 at the Valley Beth Shalom synagogue in Encino, Calif., where he led the congregation.

Harold M. Schulweis, an influential rabbi and theologian who focused his sermons, books and social activism on connecting the Jewish community with the wider world — and vice versa — died on Dec. 18 at his home in Reseda, Calif. He was 89. The cause was heart disease, said Rabbi Edward Feinstein, who succeeded Rabbi Schulweis as the leader of the Valley Beth Shalom synagogue in Encino, Calif.

In December 2014 Rabbi Harold Schulweis, regarded as the most influential synagogue leader of his generation, died at his home after a long struggle with heart disease.
Schulweis enrolled in the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he studied under Mordecai Kaplan and Abraham Joshua Heschel. Schulweis also studied philosophy at New York University, where he met his wife Malkah. He received a doctorate in theology from the Pacific School of Religion. He

transformed his synagogue into a living laboratory of social activism and creative spiritual life, introducing innovations that became staples for Jewish congregations across North America

according to his friend and successor as senior rabbi at the Conservative Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue (VBS) Rabbi Ed Feinstein.

Under his leadership the Conservative Valley Beth Shalom (VBS) in Encino grew to become the largest Conservative congregation in the Western United States. He also launched a para-professional Counseling Center within VBS, offering psychological and family support to the synagogue members and the wider communities. Each of these innovations has been replicated in congregations nationwide.

Schulweis’ core philosophy first took form in 1966, when he met a young math instructor at Berkeley who shared the story of his family’s rescue from the Nazis by a German Christian family. The family had never been recognized or thanked by the Jewish community. Thousands of rescuers, Schulweis learned, lived in poverty, receiving neither recognition nor aid. In response, he founded the Institute for Righteous Acts, which would become, in 1986, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (jfr.org), recognizing, celebrating and supporting thousands of Christians who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Schulweis was profiled on “60 Minutes” for his unique vision, locating moral heroism in the darkest of historical moments. {Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, ‘Rabbi of Rabbis’ and world-renowned Jewish leader, dies at 89}

In the mid-1980s he helped found Mazon, an organization to combat hunger in the United States and Israel that asks affluent Jewish families celebrating bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, weddings and other life milestones to donate 3 percent of the cost of the celebration to help feed the needy.

In 2004, Schulweis delivered a sermon at VBS on the Jewish high holidays calling for a Jewish response to genocide. He challenged the congregation:

“We took an oath, “Never again!” Was this vow to protect only Jews from the curse of genocide? God forbid that our children and grandchildren ask of us, ‘Where was the synagogue during Rwanda, when genocide took place and eight hundred thousand people were slaughtered in one hundred days?’”

Among those moved to answer the rabbi’s challenge was attorney Janice Kamenir-Reznik, who assumed the role of founding president of the Jewish World Watch (JewishWorldWatch.org), now a coalition of Jewish organizations dedicated to raising awareness and mobilizing resources in response to the on-going genocide in Darfur, Congo, and around the world. JWW has grown into the largest anti-genocide grassroots organization in the world, a coalition of some 70 synagogues, churches, schools and other groups with some 30,000 to 40,000 donors.

Schulweis’ challenge, and Kamenir-Reznik’s friendship with the rabbi,

“has transformed my life and has changed my philosophy of what it means to be a Jew,”

she said.

“Nothing I have done in my life has been more meaningful and has had a larger impact.”

Among the numerous awards and honors Schulweis was bestowed are the Israel Prime Minister’s Medal, United Synagogue Social Action Award, and Los Angeles County’s John Allen Buggs Humanitarian Award, as well as honorary doctorate degrees from the Hebrew Union College and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

High-minded and high-achieving as he was, Rabbi Schulweis had a common touch and enjoyed a good laugh. In 1991 he was an adviser for an episode of “The Simpsons” in which Krusty, the television clown admired by young Bart, reveals he is a Jew (né Krustofsky) who was scorned by his rabbi father (voiced by Jackie Mason). In the end, Bart effects a reconciliation, and after a tearful hug in front of a live audience on Krusty’s show, Rabbi Krustofsky squishes a pie in his son’s face.

“I thought it had a Jewish resonance to it,”

Rabbi Schulweis said afterward about the episode, as reported in “The Gospel According to the Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World’s Most Animated Family” (2001), by Mark I. Pinsky. The show’s writers, he said,

“have a Yiddish spark in them.” {Harold M. Schulweis, Progressive Rabbi, Is Dead at 89; NYT December 26, 2014, on page B11 }

The year of a bloody outbreak

2014 is the year an outbreak turned into an epidemic, powered by the very progress that has paved roads and raised cities and lifted millions out of poverty. This time it reached crowded slums in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone; it travelled to Nigeria and Mali, to Spain, Germany and the U.S. It struck doctors and nurses in unprecedented numbers, wiping out a public-health infrastructure that was weak in the first place.

Hundreds of volunteers were willing to risk their lives to help others. The people in the field, special forces of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF),  Christian medical-relief workers of Samaritan’s Purse and many others from all over the world fought side by side with local doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers and burial teams to relieve the pain and to avoid the horrible disease spreading more. Many doctors and nurses left their safe home to go through a devastating experience.

2014 saw a test-case of the world’s ability to respond to potential pandemics, and it did not go well.

It exposed corruption in African governments along with complacency in Western capitals and jealousy among competing bureaucrats. It triggered mistrust from Monrovia to Manhattan. Each week brought new puzzles. How do you secure a country, beyond taking passengers’ temperatures at the airport? Who has the power to order citizens to stay home, to post a guard outside their door? What will it take to develop treatments for diseases largely confined to poor nations, even as this Ebola outbreak had taken far more lives by mid-October than all the earlier ones combined?

the magazine Time could tell.

Dr. Jerry Brown

Dr. Jerry Brown, 46, medical director at the Eternal Love Winning Africa Hospital, Monrovia, Liberia: “I always had the fear of myself or one of my staff getting infected, and what would become of me thereafter.”

The rescuers who came back to Europe or the United States, but had the virus in them, made it clear that many hospitals could not handle this kind of disease and that we should be very careful about it. It also showed how panick can bring people to rediculous precautions. When a nurse in Spain contracted Ebola from a priest, Spanish authorities killed her dog as a precaution, while #VamosAMorirTodos (We’re all going to die) trended on Twitter. Guests at a hotel in Macedonia were trapped in their rooms for days after a British guest got sick and died. Turned out to have nothing to do with Ebola.

Once again we could see how people do not want to listen properly and are more concerned about their own little ‘I’ or ‘Me’. In many countries we could see irrational responses and got even people in Holland buying ebola safety clothes, making the price going up and making it more expensive for those who really needed it.

Just when the world needed more medical volunteers, the price of serving soared. When nurse Kaci Hickox, returning from a stint with MSF in Sierra Leone with no symptoms and a negative blood test, was quarantined in a tent in Newark, N.J., by a combustible governor, it forced a reckoning.

“It is crazy we are spending so much time having this debate about how to safely monitor people coming back from Ebola-endemic countries,”

said Hickox,

“when the one thing we can do to protect the population is to stop the outbreak in West Africa.”

Ebola virus does not pass through the air; transmission requires direct contact with the body fluids of symptomatic patients.

Many rescuers found horror and hell on earth, places with no clean water, lots of dead people lying next to children who were still alive, feces and blood and vomit mixed in with bleach, like a swamp on the ground when you walk around.

The DBM — the dead-body team, the safe-body-removal team — had to live every day with the fear they might catch the virus, even when they were going through their preventive measures and wearing their protective gears.

Time questions:

Why, in short, was the battle against Ebola left for month after crucial month to a ragged army of volunteers and near volunteers: doctors who wouldn’t quit even as their colleagues fell ill and died; nurses comforting patients while standing in slurries of mud, vomit and feces; ambulance drivers facing down hostile crowds to transport passengers teeming with the virus; investigators tracing chains of infection through slums hot with disease; workers stoically zipping contagious corpses into body bags in the sun; patients meeting death in lonely isolation to protect others from infection?

For Time and many others, like me, it is clear that those people are the real heroes and are the “Person of the Year 2014″.

cover of time magazine person of the year award with various doctors on cover.

Time magazine has named Ebola healthcare workers in West Africa its ‘Person of the Year’ for 2014.

 

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  1. Meet Stromae, the most famous pop star you’ve never heard of
  2. Andy Cohen had Lady Gaga’s urine turned into perfume
  3. Lady Gaga Fosters Peace Between Sparring Fans in Belgium
  4. Lady Gaga Stops Fans From Fighting Mid-Concert—Watch Her Tell Off the Little Monsters!
  5. Who is ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius?
  6. Oscar Pistorius may be forced to stay in jail because he has No Ankles for electronic tag
  7. Oscar Pistorius appeal: state can challenge murder acquittal
  8. Mad’ Frankie Fraser’s family to sue hospital ‘for failing to spot fractured leg’ before he died 
  9. Alles over Maggie De Block
  10. Lissez tous sur Maggie De Block
  11. Jean-Luc Dehaene, giant of Belgian politics, dies
  12. Former Belgian PM Dehaene (73) has died
  13. Dutch poet Leo Vroman dies
  14. Leo Tindemans, statesman, 1922-2014
  15. Rik Mayall, star of The Young Ones, dies aged 56
  16. Obituary: Rik Mayall
  17. Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, ‘Rabbi of Rabbis’ and world-renowned Jewish leader, dies at 89
  18. The Biography of Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis
  19. Funeral Services for Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis — As We Will Always Remember Him — Temple Valley Beth Shalom December 21, 2014
  20. Robin Williams Biography
  21. Lauren Bacall Biography
  22. Lauren Bacall, Star of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Dies at 89
  23. Lauren Bacall, Hollywood’s Icon of Cool, Dies at 89
  24. I was pregnant – and Bogie was just livid, by Lauren Bacall: The late actress tells of her tempestuous and passionate marriage to screen star Humphrey Bogart
  25. Warren Clarke Biography
  26. Warren Clarke dead: Actor dies after ‘short illness’ aged 67
  27. Warren Clarke obituary
  28. Warren Clarke – obituary – The Telegraph
  29. 1989-2014 Het verhaal van Gorki
  30. Alles over overlijden Luc De Vos
  31. Luc De Vos wint postuum Lifetime Achievement Award
  32. Gent neemt afscheid van Walter De Buck
  33. Zanger Walter De Buck overleden
  34. Walter De Buck (1933-2014)
  35. Walter De Buck (1934-2014) – De Redactie
  36. Video Gent neemt afscheid van Walter De Buck
  37. Gent verliest zijn volkszanger
  38. The Ebola Fighters The ones who answered the call
  39. Read the Ebola Doctors’ Stories
  40. The Ebola Nurses’ Stories
  41. The Ebola Caregivers’ Stories
  42. The Ebola Scientists’ Stories
  43. Watch U.S. Ebola Survivors Describe Fighting the Deadly Virus
  44. 2014 Time ‘Person of the Year’ goes to Ebola workers
  45. Time Magazine’s Person of the Year! The Pope – The False Prophet, Bible in the News

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Preceding reviews of 2014:

My blogs 2014 in review2014

Politics in the United States of America

2014 Politics all over the world

2014 Human Rights

2014 Health and welfare

2014 Social contacts

2014 To remember our Earth

2014 Economics

2014 Culture

Next: 2014 Religion

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World remembers Auschwitz survivors

KL Auschwitz concentration camp was founded in 1940 by the Germans mainly with the aim of imprisoning Polish captives. Since 1942, it became Europe’s one of the biggest places of Jewish extermination, with more than 1.1 million people killed, including Poles, Romanians, Roma people, Soviet captives, gays, Jews, non-trinitarian Christians like the Jehovah Witnesses and Christadelphians, some Catholics, and others.

Construction of Auschwitz Birkenau camps I and II

Construction of Auschwitz Birkenau camps I and II

The largest and deadliest of all Nazi Germany’s death and concentration camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau had many people transferred to to see their families never again. Those who were still alive on January 27, 1945 but also the Red Army soldiers who came closer to the huge complex, could not belief their eyes.

At Auschwitz-Birkenau, the ruins of the gas chambers and crematoria that the Nazis blew up before fleeing, are as shocking a sight as the barbed-wire fences and ruins of some 300 prisoners’ barracks that stretch to the horizon. But the rest has been preserved as it was abandoned by the Germans fleeing the advancing Red Army.

The camps have become an enduring symbol of the horrors of Nazism and the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of six million European Jews.
Other Nazi camps in Poland, like Sobibor, Treblinka and Belzec, were razed to the ground by the Germans in a bid to destroy evidence of crimes against humanity.

Poland has created a special 120 million euro ($135 million) fund to preserve the site. Germany financed half of the fund, expected to provide four to five million euros per year to be used over the next quarter century to prevent the site from falling into ruin.

“What the Nazis wanted to destroy, we will rescue from oblivion,”

said Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, a former Polish foreign minister who is also a survivor of Auschwitz.

In the former Nazi concentration camp in southern Poland, where between 1940 and 1945, 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were slain 70 years after the liberation were 300 Auschwitz survivors at the entrance of the camp for the memorial with leaders from nearly fifty countries, including the presidents of Germany, Poland, Austria, France and Petro Poroshenko from Ukraine, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Prince Frederick of Denmark, Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, king Willem-Alexander wearing a yarmulke, queen Maxima and Prime Minister Rutte from the Netherlands, king Philip and queen Mathilde of Belgium with Prime Minister Michel and Minister Reynders, who came to express their respect for the dead and survivors of the concentration camp and the whole genocide.

Piotr Cywinski, director of the museum at the site of the former death camp, said

“It is the last big anniversary that we can commemorate”

At the commemoration, for many of the survivors probably the last big remembrance celebration, those witnesses of the most horrible experience, could not only see in the past but wanted also to give a warning for the future. Their voices became the most important warning against the human capacity for extreme humiliation, contempt and genocide.

“However, soon it will not be the witnesses of those years, but us, the post-war generations, who will pass this horrible knowledge and the crushing conclusions that result from it,”

Piotr Cywinski said in a statement posted on the camp’s website.

Auschwitz Birkenau

Auschwitz Birkenau

English: The main gate at the former Nazi deat...

The main gate at the former Nazi death camp of Birkenau. Note that this is inside the camp looking back from the loading ramp to the “Gate of Death”. Deutsch: Haupttor des Konzentrationslager Birkenau. Dieses Bild wurde im Inneren des Lagers aufgenommen und zeigt den Blick von der “Rampe” aus gesehen in Richtung des Eingangstores. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About 300 former prisoners of Auschwitz-Birkenau, as the snow fell down, once more came to the German Nazi death camp in southern Poland, along with family and friends, with dozens of foreign dignitaries, heads of state and royalty from across the globe to attend ceremonies at the camp Tuesday marking 70 years since its liberation by the Soviet Army.

The ceremony started in front of the ‘Death Gate’ at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where people laid wreaths and lit candles, and began at the moment when the first tanks entered the camp in Nazi-German-occupied Poland on 27 January 1945. For some of the survivors it took more than 50 years before they could come back to their torture place.

“None of us believed that people worked in the mud, that when someone could not work they were shot, that there were piles of bodies. After I arrived, I did not need to imagine, I saw it. That is why after the war I could not come here for 50 years. Because I did not see people, I only saw prisoners or bodies or the smoking chimneys of crematoriums,”

said Alina Dabrowska, who was just a child when she arrived at Auschwitz.

“If I survived it was to warn against this ever happening again,”

said the 79-year-old Róża Krzywobłocka-Laurow from Poland was sent to Auschwitz in 1944 when she was only eight-years-old.

auschwitz-mettemarit-

In the previous days the German leaders wanted to express their regret of what had happened.

On Monday German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a voice to what perhaps more Germans feel, that  it was a “disgrace” that Jews in Germany faced insults, threats and violence. She too  joined survivors in a commemorative ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the most notorious Nazi death camps of World War II.

Before departing for Poland, German President Joachim Gauck told the parliament in Berlin

For as long as I live, the fact that the German nation, despite its admirable culture, was capable of the most horrific crimes against humanity will cause me suffering. Even a convincing interpretation of the Holocaust, that appalling abandonment of all civilised values, could not calm my heart or my mind. This rupture is woven into the texture of our national identity, and it remains hauntingly present in our consciousness. Anyone who wants to live in truth cannot deny this …

Our moral obligations cannot be fulfilled solely at the level of remembrance. There also exists within us a deep and abiding certainty that remembrance bestows a mission on us.

That mission tells us to protect and preserve humanity. It tells us to protect and preserve the rights of every human being.

We say this at a time when we in Germany must work to reach a new understanding of the coexistence of different religious and cultural traditions. The community in which we all want to live will only flourish if we respect the dignity of the individual and if we live in solidarity.

Auschwitz Birkenau entrance to the world of the dead

Auschwitz Birkenau entrance to the world of the dead

Halina Birenbaum, who was at Auschwitz-Birkenau as a child, said she could only in her memories be with her loved ones who died in the camp. We can imagine how those survivors still have nightmares and have vivid pictures of those ‘living’ skeletons who tried to find ways to survive that horror. Everyday they could look in the eyes of death and had to question what is right and what is wrong.

“Only in my memories, I can recognize right from wrong.”

Halina Birenbaum said.

“Holocaust denial terrifies me, because I know what kind of hell that leads to if no one stops it”

she said.

Roman Kent (85), president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, was a teenager when he was put in prison in Auschwitz. As he spoke on Tuesday, he struggled to keep his emotions under control.

“We survivors do not want our past to be our children’s future.”

He called for an 11th commandment.

“You should never be a bystander”.

Kent added:

“We must all teach our children tolerance and understanding both at home and in school.

Also he gave notice that he was ever more questioned how long he had been there. This he could not remember as such, since every second seemed like an hour, and every minute was like an entire day. If every day was like a year and a month an eternity.

“How many eternities can one person have in a single lifetime?”

Auschwitz survivor Kazimierz Albin who later invited those gathering to stand for a moment’s silence to remember the victims, said

“From the first day an incessant struggle for biological survival began,”

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, told the ceremony

“Do not let this happen again.”

He was not the only one at the ceremony who looked at the past and compared it to what is happening now. He said the Nazis acted with the complicity of most countries in Europe, and warned that

“Jews are targeted in Europe once again because they’re Jews, Jewish businesses and synagogues are attacked.”

“It looks more like 1933 than 2015.”

On anti-Semitism and Israel, Mr Lauder said:

“For decades the world has been fed lies about Israel … that Israel has no right to exist. We all learned that when you tell a lie three times and there is no response, that lie becomes the truth.”

Vice President Joe Biden said,

“We mark this milestone at a moment when too many hearts in too many places are still full of the hatred that seeks to eliminate innocent life on the basis of religion, ethnicity, or identity. Recent violent attacks against Jews in France and elsewhere in Europe make unmistakably clear that the scourge of anti-Semitism persists and must be confronted.

“Tom Lantos, a Holocaust survivor who served with honor in the United States Congress, used to say, ‘The veneer of civilization is paper thin. We are its guardians. We can never rest.’ We have to reclaim the words ‘never again.’ It must be more than a lament. It must remain our commitment,”

said Biden.

Steven Spielberg, the Oscar-winning director for the Holocaust drama “Schindler’s List”, condemned “the growing effort to banish Jews from Europe,” in a statement before departing for Poland. He has videotaped and has taken testimonies of 58,000 survivors.

With their compelling stories of nightmares and flashbacks from perhaps the most horrendous life experience in the history of mankind, the survivors of the Holocaust convey above all a very strong and powerful message,

“let us not forget, for that not to be ever repeated.” {Survivors Gather at Auschwitz-Birkenau to Commemorate its Liberation}

Prime Minister David Cameron addressed the crowd at the end of the event and announced the commitment to set up the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation with £50 million coming from central govenrment. He said:

It is time for Britain as a nation to stand up to say we will remember. We will not allow any excuse of anti-semitism in our country. We will not allow any form of prejudice to disrupt the multi-faith democracy we are so proud to call our home.

Today we stand together whatever our faith, whatever our creed, whatever our politics. We stand in remembrance of those who were murdered in the darkest hours of human history. And we stand united in our resolve to fight prejudice and discrimination in all its forms.

The ceremony ended with the survivors, who were awarded medals, and the assembled dignitaries who placed candles in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, symbolically arranged in a straight row named

a line under the history.

Auschwitz Birkenau

Auschwitz Birkenau

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Videos of the commemoration

Video 1: Russen die kampen bevrijdden, geloofden hun eigen ogen niet

Video 2: Overlevende Auschwitz: “Hoeveel eeuwigheden kan een mens hebben?”

Video 3: Overlevende Auschwitz: “Hoe kan ik ooit geur van brandend vlees vergeten”

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Video 4
Auschwitz remembered 70 years on – Humanity at its most inhumane | Channel 4 News
On the eve of commemorations marking 70 years since the Auschwitz death camp was liberated, Matt Frei talks to survivors and the grandson of the camp commander.

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Video 5
Auschwitz survivors 70 years on plead for ‘our children’s future’

At the Gate of Death, survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau have marked 70 years since their liberation from the Nazi German extermination camp in Poland.
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Video 6
Remembering the Holocaust: Auschwitz and London memorial services

As survivors of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp marked the 70th anniversary of its liberation with a plea for an end to genocide across the globe, the Prime Minister addressed a commemorative event in London. David Cameron said modern Britain must “not allow any excuses for anti-Semitism” as he unveiled plans for a national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.
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Video 7
Auschwitz survivors reunited 70 years on

Exactly 70 years ago today, the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland was liberated by Soviet soldiers. It was the largest camp established by Germany during World War 2 – and its name is forever associated with the Nazi plan to wipe out Europe’s Jewish population. More than a million people, the vast majority of them Jews, were killed there
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Video 8
Ceremony commemorates 70 years since Auschwitz liberation

Auschwitz survivors return to commemorate 70 years since the liberation of the Nazi death camp. Ivan Watson reports.
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Preceding post: Black page 70 years Release – commemoration Auschwitz

Additional post: January 27 – 70 years ago Not an end yet to genocide

Dutch report / Nederlandstalig verslag: Wereld herdenkt Auschwitz met overlevenden

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Find also to read:

  1. Palestine, Israel, God’s people and democracy
  2. Holocaust Seminar – What made me want to go to Poland.
  3. Holocaust remembrance statue not desired
  4. Yad Vashem: Remembering the Past, Shaping the Future
  5. Stand Up
  6. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  7. Collective memory, collective trauma, collective hatred
  8. The Holocaust’s lessons remain deeply contested
  9. How should we remember Auschwitz?How Auschwitz Is Misunderstood
  10. For Auschwitz Museum, a Time of Great Change
  11. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, Holocaust Survivors, Ever Dwindling in Number, Gather to Remember
  12. A Doll In Auschwitz
  13. Israeli historian Otto Dov Kulka tells Auschwitz story of a Czech family that never existed
  14. Putin Won’t Attend Commemoration of Auschwitz Liberation

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