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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres





How to stop the ISIS genocide campaign


"As the world marked last month’s 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, I was in northern Iraq viewing the threat to that nation’s imperiled religious and ethnic minorities — especially the Christians and Yezidis. The parallels are sobering — for genocide looms for these vulnerable communities. Happily, there’s an obvious way America can see to their protection. At the Auschwitz ceremonies, Holocaust survivor Halina Birenbaum recalled the hatred that animated the anti-Semitism of that era and warned of an evil that 'lingers' still, indeed is 'reborn' in the form of 'people being decapitated with the whole world watching.' She was, of course, describing the Islamic State, a k a ISIS, which takes pains to globally broadcast its wanton acts of evil, as with its depraved beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians. Further from the media glare are the horrors inflicted daily on the ancient faith communities of Iraq. Last summer, ISIS drove thousands of Christians from the lands they’ve inhabited for centuries. Largely professional men and women with cars, homes and bank accounts, they often fled with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. ISIS then declared a caliphate in the cradle of Christianity ... Enter the Kurds and their fighting force, the peshmerga. They’re not boy scouts: I heard troubling reports in Iraq that, as ISIS advanced, they abandoned Christian and Yezidi villages they’d pledged to protect. But the Kurds are unique in their pro-American sentiments and they’re prepared to battle the Islamic State, at least in historically Kurdish areas. Roughly 1,000 peshmerga have already given their lives in that fight. In meeting after meeting, leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government lamented to me the lack of direct support from Washington. Touring a peshmerga outpost 1.5 miles from the front, we heard that they are desperate for modern weapons and training to adequately confront ISIS (which is equipped to the hilt with state-of-the-art US weaponry captured in the Iraqi Army’s retreat). If such weapons came with conditions — including Kurdish support for a Nineveh province for Iraq’s religious minorities — it could advance both US national-security imperatives and our values. With the specter of genocide looming and the Islamic State on the march, we must do more than say, 'Never again.'" (Frank Wolf)






"In the olden days, and indeed they are/were, it was the Oscars and that was it. Now award shows are a dime a dozen and even the emcees move around  from show to show like Neil Patrick Harris. It’s all about brand and product, and Zzzzzz. The Oscars had Bob Hope and he was a major draw because the audience knew he was in the thick of it and he was funny (Ha Ha) and upbeat. Those were the times. Hope was a tradition for years – maybe fifteen or twenty, so there was a homey-ness to it all. Hope was our anointed leader of the festivities. It was like old home week in America. Viet Nam ended that for Hope and for the Oscars, but that’s another story. The Oscars are now preceded by the Globes which has become part of the Oscar game (will she/won’t she,etc.), it’s all Ed Sullivan – the old familiar score – without the performances to keep you interested. However, the Oscars do provide rich memories. Maria Cooper Janis sent me the clip from last Friday’s Wall Street Journal by Bob Greene called 'An Oscar Moment Before the Selfie Age.' It’s the Academy Awards on April 17, 1961, 54 years ago. I remember the night and I’ll bet many others of us who were around then remember. Jimmy Stewart came out to present the Oscar to his beloved friend Gary Cooper (Maria’s father) who was very ill in the hospital at the time." (NYSD)




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