Monday, December 03, 2007


Last Nov. 29, 2007, a senator and a general in the Philippines (both are being charged with failed coup plots) had staged some kind of another coup attempt against the Arroyo regime. Such a coup was not really a real one in the sense that not a single gunshot was fired by the so-called rebels. Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim were the ones who led such a rebellion against the Arroyo regime on that day. Of course, such rebellion did not last long since the leaders and the participants of such peaceful rebellion surrendered right away to the authorities when tear-gas cans were thrown in their midst after the negotiations for their surrender failed. All those who participated in
such a rebellion surrendered peacefully to the government authorities.
Such action was really rebellious in the sense that such a peaceful coup attempt called for a withdrawal of support from the Arroyo regime. Many Filipinos actually were sympathetic to such a move done by Trillanes and Lim. Maybe a great majority of the Filipino people were really hoping during that peaceful coup attempt that Mrs. Arroyo would resign from the presidency. What Trillanes and Lim had done at that time was really unconstitutional and illegal. But their demand for such a resignation of Mrs. Arroyo from the Philippine presidency can be seen as something that has moral basis. After all, the Arroyo regime has been involved in so many scandals that had made the current executive branch of the Philippine government become a real problem to most Filipinos.

Graft and corruption in the Philippine government has become so well-entrenched in these times when many Filipinos are suffering from poverty, homelessness and hunger. The Arroyo regime keep on repeating the so-called figures that the Philippine economy had greatly improved. But you can see in any street in the Philippines the facts that most Filipinos are still impoverished, undernourished and residing in squatter houses. Many Filipino children are roaming the city-streets begging for food and money, if not doing any form of child-labor. Such degrading scenes can be obviously viewed in both rural and urban parts of the Philippines.

Another bad thing about the Arroyo regime is that its own record of human-rights' violations has been becoming worse ever year. Those who are suspected as culprits on human-rights' violations seem to be being protected by government people who are really known as allies of Mrs. Arroyo. The legal procedures against those who had been involved in cases such as human-rights' violations and graft and corruption in the Philippines seem to be being stopped and hampered by many allies of Mrs. Arroyo. So, the Arroyo regime seems to be not doing anything to curtail human-rights' violations and graft and corruption in the Philippines.

So, the majority of Filipinos want Mrs. Arroyo to resign now from the presidency. That's why many Filipinos see Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim as heroic figures of non-violent and peaceful forms of struggles (though what they did at the Manila Peninsula Hotel on November 29, 2007 was constitutionally wrong, the processes in such one whole affair were non-violent or peaceful). Hence, the non-violent or peaceful struggle that Trillanes and Lim demonstrated would be a shining inspiration to all the Filipinos who favor peaceful and lawful means to bring about social reforms in the Philippines. I can also say, though I believe Mrs. Arroyo could have really won the year 2004 presidential election in the Philippines, that if Mrs. Arroyo and her allies would continue violating the constitution and go on protecting the human-rights' violators and criminals within the government, then Mrs. Arroyo should be asked, that is through peaceful and lawful means, to either create an investigative truth-commission that will investigate and charge all those who had done human-rights' violations and graft and corruption crimes from her governmental administration, or resign from the Philippine presidency if Mrs. Arroyo can't or won't solve the problems of human-rights' violations and graft and corruption within her own governmental administration. Mrs. Arroyo should just voluntarily resign from the Philippine presidency if she will admit that she can not do anything to solve the problems of human-rights' violations and graft and corruption inside her own governmental administration. The Filipino people should move on with the peaceful and lawful struggle to attain moral and real democracy in the Philippines.



Decemeber 3, 2oo7
It is good that Pres. George W. Bush is openly-supportive to the ideas of a peaceful co-existence between Palestine and Israel and the immediate creation of an independent Palestine. I also believe in those ideals and ideas. But I hope that the whole American nation and the whole international community would recognize the fact that Hebron and Jerusalem have long been great symbols of Jewish history and culture. Hebron and Jerusalem have always been parts and parcels of the historic and cultural achievements of the Jews in general and, obviously, of Israel in particular. The final peace pact between Palestine and Israel should recognize the right of Israel to exist as a nation in the Middle East region, as well as Israel's right of sovereignty over Hebron and Jerusalem.

Here is a letter-of-appeal to all the leaders of the international community regarding the city of Jerualem. Kindly read this one:

A letter to the world from Jerusalem, Eliezer Whartman , THE JERUSALEM POST on Nov. 20, 2007. The following op-ed was adapted from one first written for the 'Times ofIsrael,' a fledgling weekly established shortly after the Six Day War.

After the war, the Israeli government announced preparations to return all the captured territories except for Jerusalem, in exchange for peace. The response came at the Khartoum Arab Summit Conference that year, at which it was announced that there would be no negotiations and no recognition of Israel. Israel came under tremendous international pressure to re-divide Jerusalem, which caused the author to sit down in a 'white heat of anger' and write this piece.

" I am not a creature from another planet, as you seem to believe. I am a Jerusalemite - like yourselves, a man of flesh and blood. I am a citizen of my city, an integral part of my people. I have a few things to get off my chest. Because I am not a diplomat, I do not have to mince words. I do not have to please you, or even persuade you. I owe you nothing. You did not build this city; you do not live in it; you did not defend it when they came to destroy it. And we will be damned if we will let you take it away. There was a Jerusalem before there was a New York. When Berlin, Moscow, London and Paris were forest and swamp, there was a thriving Jewish community here. It gave something to the world which you nations have rejected ever since you established yourselves - a humane moral code. Here the prophets walked, their words flashing like forked lightning. Here a people who wanted nothing more than to be left alone, fought off waves of heathen would-be conquerors, bled and died on the battlements, hurled themselves into the flames of their burning Temple rather than surrender; and when finally overwhelmed by sheer numbers and led away into captivity, swore that before they forgot Jerusalem, they would see their tongues cleave to their palates, their right arms wither. For two pain-filled millennia, while we were your unwelcome guests, we prayed daily to return to this city. Three times a day we petitioned the Almighty: 'Gather us from the four corners of the world, bring us upright to our land; return in mercy to Jerusalem, Thy city, and dwell in it as Thou promised.' On every Yom Kippur and Pessah we fervently voiced the hope that next year would find us in Jerusalem. Your inquisitions, pogroms, expulsions, the ghettos into which you jammed us, your forced baptisms, your quota-systems, your genteel anti-Semitism, and the final unspeakable horror, the Holocaust (and worse, your terrifying disinterest in it) - all these have not broken us. They may have sapped what little moral strength you still possessed, but they forged us into steel. Do you think that you can break us now, after all we have been through? Do you really believe that after Auschwitz we are frightened of your threats and blockades and sanctions? We have been to hell and back - a hell of your making. What more could you possibly have in your arsenal that could scare us? I HAVE watched this city bombarded twice by nations calling themselves civilized. In 1948, while you looked on apathetically, I saw women and children blown to smithereens, this after we had agreed to your request to internationalize the city. It was a deadly combination that did the job: British officers, Arab gunners and American-made cannons. And then the savage sacking of the Old City; the willful slaughter, the wanton destruction of every synagogue and religious school; the desecration of Jewish cemeteries; the sale by a ghoulish government of tombstones for building materials, for poultry runs, army camps - even latrines. And you never said a word. You never breathed the slightest protest whenthe Jordanians shut off the holiest of our holy places, the WesternWall, in violation of the pledges they had made after the war - a war they waged, incidentally, against a decision of the UN. Not a murmur came from you whenever the legionares in their spiked helmets casually opened fire upon our citizens from behind the walls. Your hearts bled when Berlin came under siege. You rushed your airlift' to save the gallant Berliners.' But you did not send one ounce of food when Jews starved in besieged Jerusalem. You thundered against the wall which the East Germans ran through the middle of the German capital -but not one peep out of you about the other wall, the one that tore through the heart of Jerusalem. And when the same thing happened 19 years later, and the Arabs unleashed a savage unprovoked bombardment of the Holy City again, did any of you do anything? The only time you came to life was when the city was at last reunited. Then you wrung your hands and spoke loftily of 'justice'and the need for the 'Christian' quality of turning the other cheek. The truth is - and you know it deep inside your gut - some would prefer the city to be destroyed rather than have it governed by Jews. No matter how diplomatically you phrase it, the old-age prejudices seep out of every word. If our return to the city has tied your theology in knots, perhaps you had better re-examine your catechisms. For the first time since the year 70 there is now complete religious freedom for all in Jerusalem. For the first time since the Romans put the torch to the Temple everyone has equal rights. (You preferred to have some more equal than others). We loathe the sword - but it was you who forced us to take it up. We crave peace - but we are not going back to the peace of 1948 as you would like us to. We are home. It has a lovely sound for a nation you have willed to wander over the face of the globe. We are not leaving. We have redeemed the pledge made by our forefathers; Jerusalem is being rebuilt. 'Next year' - and the year after, and after, and after until the end of time -in Jerusalem!"

In memory of my son Moshe who fell in a clash with terrorists in 1975 in Lebanon.

Such letter has words of wisdom. I hope all the Arab nations can understand such letter's full meaning.

I believe the peace talks between Palestine and Israel should move forward until both states would have finally realized the actualization of peaceful co-existence between them as sovereign states. But I also hope that the leaders of the international community should also realize that taking away Hebron and Jerusalem from Israeli sovereignty would be a great injustice to the Israeli people. The better alternative is to provide a linking land that will connect the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, so that the whole of Palestine would just be a single state and territory with true sovereignty and independence. I hope that an independent Palestinian nation would be a reality soon. I also hope that the Palestinians would recognize the reality that both Hebron and Jerusalem do belong to the Israeli nation.

Mahmoud Abbas, the recognized leader of the Palestinian Authority, has to denounce and condemn all forms of terrorism committed by fanatical Islamists. He should help in appealing to all Muslims that Islam has to be reformed as a religion in this modern world. It would be wonderful if Abbas can also call upon to all the political and religious leaders of the Islamic nations to democratize and secularize Islam in the modern world. Abbas must also respect the fact that Hebron and Jerusalem are parts and parcels of the Israeli territory. Such things, if Abbas can do all of those, will prove to this world that Abbas is really sincere in his image as a moderate when it comes to peace talks and political affairs. Abbas has to show to the world that he can really help in finalizing a peace agreement between Palestine and the Israeli nation. Such are obvious!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


PRESS RELEASE November 5, 2007

Sweeping Emergency Powers in Pakistan Represent a Direct Assault on Human Rights Standards, Amnesty International Says Group Urges President Bush to Ensure that No U.S. Military Assistance is Used Against Demonstrators

(Washington, DC)-- The military crackdown in Pakistan represents a direct assault on international law and human rights standards enshrined in the country's own constitution, Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said today."Measures that have been portrayed as necessary to protect Pakistan are in fact a wholesale abrogation of fundamental human rights protections and dismantle the very institutions and checks and balances that underpin the country's stability," Khan said.Amnesty International called for the immediate return to constitutional rule and the release of many hundreds of people detained under the current measures."General Musharraf's actions constitute a direct assault on Pakistan's judiciary, its vibrant human rights community, independent media and peaceful political dissent," said Khan.T. Kumar, Amnesty International USA advocacy director for Asia, urged President Bush to ensure that no U.S. weapons provided to Pakistan are used to commit human rights violations against peaceful demonstrators in his country. "The United States also needs to publicly demand the immediate and unconditional release of all peaceful demonstrators being detained in Pakistan," he said. Bypassing the constitution's provisions in declaring a state of emergency, General Musharraf suspended the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of life, as well as key elements of the right to a fair trial. Under international law and human rights standards--enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan--these rights must be fully and unconditionally respected in all circumstances, whether or not a public emergency exists."Musharraf's actions also fly in the face of commitments set out in the emergency declaration itself to uphold the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law," said Khan.The suspension of judges who are, in effect, under house arrest violates core provisions of the U.N. Principles for the Independence of the Judiciary. Judges may not be removed by the executive, except in cases of incapacity or if they are unfit to discharge their duty."Amnesty International fears that this assault on key institutions of accountability, combined with sweeping emergency powers, will exacerbate existing patterns of human rights abuse, including torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and use of excessive force to suppress peaceful dissent," said Khan.By Monday, several hundred lawyers, human rights activists and political workers have been arrested or arbitrarily detained across Pakistan. The Office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan was raided by a large police contingent on Sunday and around 70 human rights activists were arrested. They have been charged with unlawful assembly under public order provisions and initially detained in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore. They include senior citizens, many of whom suffer from ill health. Among those under house arrest is the Chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, U.N. Special Rapporteur for freedom of religion Asma Jahangir. Her house has been declared a sub-jail where she will be detained for 90 days under preventive detention laws.
Independent television and radio news channels have been prevented from broadcasting within the country since Saturday. New laws restricting freedom of print and electronic media were issued, breach of which attracts three to four years imprisonment and heavy fines. BackgroundActing in his capacity as army chief of staff, General Musharraf suspended the bulk of the constitution, acquired powers to amend it without any parliamentary procedure and proclaimed a Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO). This order prohibits any court issuing an order against the President, Prime Minister or any person exercising powers under their authority.Under the order, existing members of the superior judiciary are effectively suspended until they take a new oath to uphold the PCO. Only five of 17 Supreme Court Justices have taken the oath. Many Supreme Court and Provincial High Court Justices are now effectively under house arrest.These measures came on the eve of a Supreme Court hearing to rule on petitions contesting General Musharraf's eligibility to contest presidential elections held on October 6. Lawyers who were counsels in the petitions including President of the Supreme Court bar association Aitzaz Ahsan, Ali Ahmed Kurd, Munir A. Malik and retired Justice Tariq Mahmood were immediately arrested. These lawyers had been leading a movement to uphold the independence of the judiciary since President Musharraf suspended the former Chief Justice of Pakistan on March 9.

The situation in Pakistan is really something messy. Many political analysts all over this world agree that even if Musharaff has the backing of a foreign power, in the end it is the Pakistani people who will decide what to do with the Musharaff regime. Political analysts all over the world are predicting that the Musharaff regime is near the point where it will either be directly overthrown by the Pakistani people, or it will be summarily dismissed from power by a section of the Pakistani military. Pervez Musharraf himself knows that he has become more unpopular now to rule Pakistan. The last presidential election in Pakistan seemingly was just a false or a fake one, since Misharraf didn't really have real presidential opponents to compete with inside Pakistan during that election period. So, Musharraf doesn't have the democratic mandate to rule Pakistan. The Islamo-fascists inside Pakistan are capitalizing upon the fact that Musharraf is an unpopular leader to deal with, and that they are propagating the idea even to the moderate majority of Pakistan that they are the better alternative than Musharaff. The democratic institutions inside Pakistan had long been curtailed by the Musharaff regime. Political analysts all over the world believe that anti-Musharaff sentiments will become more powerful and more united in the coming days.

What is the best option for Musharraf to do now? He should voluntarily give way to democracy now in Pakistan. The only remaining political option for Pervez Musharaff as of now is to give way to democracy in Pakistan. That means he has to voluntarily resign now from his role as Pakistan's chief executive. That means he has to resign now as the military chief of Pakistan. That means he has to ensure that secularization in Pakistan would really be happening in a 100 percent way. That means Musharraf must ensure that Pakistani politics will have a smooth transition towards democracy. I repeat, the only best option for Musharraf to do now in Pakistani politics is that he would voluntarily give way to real democracy. All the other options in Pakistani politics are not his anymore, but now belong to the Pakistani people. The political analysts all over the world now have the courage to say that even the 2nd Bush Admin would not be able to guarantee the survival of the Musharraf regime. Many political analysts from all over the world agree that even if Musharraf has the backing of a foreign power, in the end it is the Pakistani people who will decide what to do with the Musharraf regime. Not even the U.S Government can save the Musharraf regime from its unpopoularity among the Pakistani people. It would be a great mistake for the 2nd Bush Administration to continue having sweet relationship with an unpopular regime in Pakistan. Greorge W. Bush knows well that Musharraf is an unpopular dictator in Pakistan, and that the people of Pakistan do deserve a much better leader who can lead such country to 100 percent secularization and real democratization. Therefore, Musharraf should announce now that he will step down both as military chief and chief executive of Pakistan by December, and that he is now forming a care-taker government that will ensure the smooth transition of Pakistan towards democracy. Pervez Musharraf should do the heroic act of voluntarily giving way to democracy in Pakistan now.




Saturday, November 03, 2007


Filipino priest shaves head in solidarity with Burma monks; protests continue across region

Press ReleaseBy Asian Human Rights Commission (HRC) October 4, 2007

HONG KONG – A Filipino priest in Hong Kong found a new way to observe a Catholic holy day on Thursday by having his head shaved to show solidarity with Burma's Buddhist monks.
Fr. Robert Reyes had his head shaved outside the legislative assembly in the city centre to mark the feast for St. Francis of Assisi and commune with Buddhist monks suffering from the continuing violent crackdown by the military junta in Burma after they led protests against it in September.

"Today, I will have my head shaved for the first time... It is such a small price to pay to express what is deepest in my heart and the heart of all peace and justice loving persons," Fr. Reyes said in a statement that he read out beforehand.

"I let go of my hair and ask the rest of the world to let go of their indifference as well. Hair represents both attachment and defilement. The Burmese Generals led by General Than Shwe are madly attached to power which has not only defiled them but is now leading them to murder those who stand for what they are not... the Buddhists monks," he said in the statement.
He likened the monks' actions of going out to the streets to demonstrate to how St. Francis of Assisi had also lived his life, through non-violence and love.
Like the monks, St. Francis too had lived a simple life deprived of wealth and privileges, he noted.

Reyes also likened the shaving of his head to St. Francis' stripping his clothes to express anger.
"For these monks to lead the protests was a form of self sacrifice. They have risked their own lives and chosen to break their silence for the welfare of their people," Reyes observed.
"But even these peaceful actions were too much for the regime to tolerate," he added.
Reyes stressed that Catholics around the world must pay constant attention to the continuing violent crackdown by Burma's regime and do whatever possible through their communities to end the suffering there.

Photographs of his solo protest can be viewed online at: .

The protection of human rights and civil liberties and access to democracy are among the general aspirations of humanity in this world. The Burmese people are members of the human family. It is only proper that the wise citizens of this world would readily help the Burmese people in their peaceful and lawful struggle for the protection of their human rights and civil liberties and their attainment of actual and real democracy.

The wise citizens of this world should continue the peaceful or lawful means of pressuring the junta in Burma to give way to democracy now.

Monday, October 22, 2007




From Paul Hilder of Avaaz Team

Dear friends,After decades of brutal dictatorship, the people of Burma are rising--and they need our help.Peaceful protesters numbered 20,000 on Saturday, 30,000 on Sunday, 100,000 today. By the end of this week, they could win a new life for their country. In the past, Burma's military rulers have massacred the demonstrators and crushed democracy. This time it can be different--but only if the world stands with the Burmese. We're launching an emergency global petition demanding that the UN Security Council (and key Burmese ally China) press the Burmese generals to negotiate with the demonstrators, not crush them. Click below to sign the petition, we'll deliver it every day that this crisis lasts:
http://www.avaaz. org/en/stand_ with_burma/ d.php?cl= 20001518

Thank you for adding your voice to our petition supporting the Burmese struggle for democracy. We will deliver the petition to Security Council members and media interviewing leaders at the UN all week, and make sure the Burmese know about our efforts too. This is one of those moments where the world can make a difference. Together, we are sending a strong message to the UN and warning the generals that the world will not tolerate violence and repression -- it's time for a change.Hope is hanging by a thread in Burma. Please act right now, tell everyone you know, and show Burma's rulers that people power is rising, on their own streets, and around the world.With hope, Paul, Ricken, Ben, Graziela, Pascal and the whole Avaaz Team
MY COMMENTARY: The wise citizens of this world should petition the U.N. Security Council, especially China, to put up effective measures that will succeed in pressuring the military junta in Burma to give way to democracy. U.S., India and China should hold a 3-nation conference that should effectively organize the international community’s moves in pressuring the military junta in Burma to give way to democracy. There are reports that some Russian nuke experts seem helping the military junta in Burma create a nuclear reactor that can put Burma on the list of countries that want to gain nuclear capability in weaponry. I hope Pres. George W. Bush and Zarkosy of France would lead in petitioning the U.N. Security Council to put true pressure on the military junta of Burma to give way to democracy, and, at the same time, investigate the current nuclear program that such a junta have right now, if reports about such junta’s nuke program are factual and true. All the wise citizens of this world should help the Burmese people's peaceful and lawful struggle to secure for themselves their human rights and civil liberties, and, then, truly- gain real democracy for their country_ Burma. Thanks.

Sunday, October 14, 2007



I believe that the lasting solution to today’s problems about degradations against our world’s environment and the pollutions would be for humanity to unite in producing only environment-friendly technologies for humans to utilize or consume. That means all the industrialists and manufacturers of consumer-products and machines should only produce items that will not cause any pollution or damage against the world’s environment. That is possible because the latest scientific researches had already produced several techniques and processes that can effectively produce nature-friendly technologies all around this world. That would also be possible if all human governments in this world would enact and maintain pro-environment laws that can maintain and check the production of nature-friendly technologies.

It has already been proven by science that cars, engines, electricity-producing plants and other devices can effectively run by using solar power. Such amazing power can be easily harnessed on any given day. Another thing is that bio-gas alternative is now available and can be used as an effective way of using non-toxic fuels. The utilization of such types of energy- sources would make this world a much safer and cleaner place to reside upon. The advantages of using biogas fuels had been cited by Wikipedia with these words:
"Biofuels and other forms of renewable energy aim to be carbon neutral. This means that the carbon released during the use of the fuel, e.g. through burning to power transport or generate electricity, is reabsorbed and balanced by the carbon absorbed by new plant growth. These plants are then harvested to make the next batch of fuel. Carbon neutral fuels lead to no net increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which means that global warming need not get any worse. "
That was taken from:

Humans should stop using harmful toxic materials as pesticides. An alternative pest control in agriculture is called Biological Control. From the Wikipedia article about pest control:

Biological Control is defined as the reduction of pest populations by natural enemies and typically involves an active human role. Natural enemies of insect pests, also known as biological control agents, include predators, parasitoids, and pathogens. Biological control agents of plant diseases are most often referred to as antagonists. Biological control agents of weeds include herbivores and plant pathogens. Predators, such as lady beetles and lacewings, are mainly free-living species that consume a large number of prey during their lifetime. Parasitoids are species whose immature stage develops on or within a single insect host, ultimately killing the host. Most have a very narrow host range. Many species of wasps and some flies are parasitoids. Pathogens are disease-causing organisms including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. They kill or debilitate their host and are relatively specific to certain insect groups. There are three basic types of biological control strategies; conservation, classical biological control, and augmentation. These are discussed in more detail below.
The conservation of natural enemies is probably the most important and readily available biological control practice available to homeowners and gardeners. Natural enemies occur in all areas, from the backyard garden to the commercial field. They are adapted to the local environment and to the target pest, and their conservation is generally simple and cost-effective. Lacewings, lady beetles, hover fly larvae, and parasitized aphid mummies are almost always present in aphid colonies. Fungus-infected adult flies are often common following periods of high humidity. These naturally occurring biological controls are often susceptible to the same pesticides used to target their hosts. Preventing the accidental eradication of natural enemies is termed simple conservation.
Classical Biological Control
Classical biological control is the introduction of natural enemies to a new locale where they did not originate or do not occur naturally. This is usually done by government authorities. In many instances the complex of natural enemies associated with an insect pest may be inadequate. This is especially evident when an insect pest is accidentally introduced into a new geographic area without its associated natural enemies. These introduced pests are referred to as exotic pests and comprise about 40% of the insect pests in the United States. Examples of introduced vegetable pests include the European corn borer, one of the most destructive insects in North America. To obtain the needed natural enemies, scientists turned to classical biological control. This is the practice of importing, and releasing for establishment, natural enemies to control an introduced (exotic) pest, although it is also practiced against native insect pests. The first step in the process is to determine the origin of the introduced pest and then collect appropriate natural enemies associated with the pest or closely related species. The natural enemy is then passed through a rigorous quarantine process, to ensure that no unwanted organisms (such as hyperparasitoids) are introduced, then they are mass produced, and released. Follow-up studies are conducted to determine if the natural enemy becomes successfully established at the site of release, and to assess the long-term benefit of its presence.
There are many examples of successful classical biological control programs. One of the earliest successes was with the cottony cushion scale, a pest that was devastating the California citrus industry in the late 1800s. A predatory insect, the vedalia beetle, and a parasitoid fly were introduced from Australia. Within a few years the cottony cushion scale was completely controlled by these introduced natural enemies. Damage from the alfalfa weevil, a serious introduced pest of forage, was substantially reduced by the introduction of several natural enemies. About 20 years after their introduction, the alfalfa area treated for alfalfa weevil in the northeastern United States was reduced by 75 percent. A small wasp, Trichogramma ostriniae, introduced from China to help control the European corn borer, is a recent example of a long history of classical biological control efforts for this major pest. Many classical biological control programs for insect pests and weeds are under way across the United States and Canada.
Classical biological control is long lasting and inexpensive. Other than the initial costs of collection, importation, and rearing, little expense is incurred. When a natural enemy is successfully established it rarely requires additional input and it continues to kill the pest with no direct help from humans and at no cost. Unfortunately, classical biological control does not always work. It is usually most effective against exotic pests and less so against native insect pests. The reasons for failure are often not known, but may include the release of too few individuals, poor adaptation of the natural enemy to environmental conditions at the release location, and lack of synchrony between the life cycle of the natural enemy and host pest.
This third type of biological control involves the supplemental release of natural enemies. Relatively few natural enemies may be released at a critical time of the season (inoculative release) or literally millions may be released (inundative release). Additionally, the cropping system may be modified to favor or augment the natural enemies. This latter practice is frequently referred to as habitat manipulation.
An example of inoculative release occurs in greenhouse production of several crops. Periodic releases of the parasitoid, Encarsia formosa, are used to control greenhouse whitefly, and the predaceous mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis, is used for control of the two-spotted spider mite.
Lady beetles, lacewings, or parasitoids such as Trichogramma are frequently released in large numbers (inundative release). Recommended release rates for Trichogramma in vegetable or field crops range from 5,000 to 200,000 per acre per week depending on level of pest infestation. Similarly, entomopathogenic nematodes are released at rates of millions and even billions per acre for control of certain soil-dwelling insect pests.
Habitat or environmental manipulation is another form of augmentation. This tactic involves altering the cropping system to augment or enhance the effectiveness of a natural enemy. Many adult parasitoids and predators benefit from sources of nectar and the protection provided by refuges such as hedgerows, cover crops, and weedy borders.
Mixed plantings and the provision of flowering borders can increase the diversity of habitats and provide shelter and alternative food sources. They are easily incorporated into home gardens and even small-scale commercial plantings, but are more difficult to accommodate in large-scale crop production. There may also be some conflict with pest control for the large producer because of the difficulty of targeting the pest species and the use of refuges by the pest insects as well as natural enemies.
Examples of habitat manipulation include growing flowering plants (pollen and nectar sources) near crops to attract and maintain populations of natural enemies. For example, hover fly adults can be attracted to umbelliferous plants in bloom.
Biological control experts in California have demonstrated that planting prune trees in grape vineyards provides an improved overwintering habitat or refuge for a key grape pest parasitoid. The prune trees harbor an alternate host for the parasitoid, which could previously overwinter only at great distances from most vineyards. Caution should be used with this tactic because some plants attractive to natural enemies may also be hosts for certain plant diseases, especially plant viruses that could be vectored by insect pests to the crop. Although the tactic appears to hold much promise, only a few examples have been adequately researched and developed.
( Taken from:

Nature-friendly technologies are already available. The means for mass-production of such products are also available. Environmentalists all over this planet should peacefully and lawfully urge all the industrialists and government_leaders of this world to manufacture and maintain nature-friendly technologies. That would mean that every human government and management in this world has to ban all technologies that degrade the world’s environment, and, at the same time, protect and maintain the manufacture and use of environment and nature-friendly technologies. The United Nations’ Organization should lead this type of crusade that would lawdully convince all the all the industrialists and government_leaders of this world to manufacture and maintain nature-friendly technologies.



Saturday, August 11, 2007



Must we argue which church is greater than the world?
Should you say that the Qur'an is not GOD's Word?
Faith is like justice; it can see in the dark.
Faith can bark, that is if you make it bark.
Religion? I see it as a device:
A lamp that can guide a human to be wise;
A sparkling guide towards personal salvation
In a world that needs illumination.

Should a human worship the device as the DEITY?
A human can use the device to worship the DEITY.
The worth of the device is rightly measured
In the ways and means that it can be used.
Faith treats a human being in a manner
Or in a way that a human is treating her.
Religion? Yes, faith can really make it work righteously,
Only if a human uses her or his religion properly.



This is a message comming from "Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran"
(MEHR IRAN ). I hope that the wise citizens of this world who have blogs can paste this message at their web pages. I hope that the readers of this message can pass it to other readers. Thanks.

"A Mockery of Human Rights"

The news of participation of Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) in an event in Washington, DC on July 26, 2007, arranged by National Iranian American Council (NIAC), has become a source of profound distress among the freedom loving Iranian and Iranian-American community: a community supporting the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people for a democratic and secular leadership.

What is greatly shocking is that one of the four sponsors of this event formed under the title, “Human Rights in Iran and U.S. Foreign Policy Options”, is Amnesty International. It is shocking because NIAC is an organization that has been lobbying for establishing the unconditional relations between the U.S. and the Islamic Regime of Iran (IR) since its inception, and has not shown any concern whatsoever about the human rights violations in Iran. We don’t need to go far to prove these claims about NIAC.

At a time when terrorist activities of the Islamic regime of Iran (IRI) against the Iranian people and the entire world has been documented, the participation of AI and HRW in an event promoted by an organization that openly announces its support for unconditional relations between the US and a terrorist regime, raises serious questions. This is in complete contrast to the mission and mandates of the Amnesty international and HRW.

AI and HRW are touted as a supporter of human rights and democratic values and should not participate in the events organized by the Islamic Regime’s lobby groups that are trying to manipulate the American Political System to legitimize the Islamic Regime.

Everything that this organization does whether it is an event for youth, forming a conference, supporting the anti-war movements, dealing with Iranian/American issues or local politics, it is all directly or indirectly designed to serve one and only one purpose: Establishing relations between the United States and one of the most brutal violators of human rights, the Islamic Regime of Iran. A careful look at the NIAC website, its public statements, public events, and its nonpartisan support of the U.S. political figures who share NIAC vision in dealing with the Islamic Regime, would be enough to show you what NIAC really stands for. Not only does NIAC not deny this, but like all other lobby groups declares very proudly that it does so because of its love for Iranian people!

On the issue of human rights, we have challenged the AI and HRW to find one statement issued by NIAC since its formation in condemning the Islamic Regime for violating the basic human rights of Iranians. Not even one single sentence has been issued by NIAC in condemnation of IR for stoning, torture, execution of political prisoners, or the treatment of women and religious minorities. One cannot find any reference to human rights in NIAC’s mission statement, goals, programs or anywhere else. None of the many urgent actions issued by Amnesty International to stop imminent execution of political prisoners or stoning of men and women to death, has been acknowledged or distributed by NIAC.

Dr. Trita Parsi, the President of this group was ex-congressman Bob Ney’s advisor who is serving now a 30-month jail term for bribery and lobbying for the Islamic Regime among other things. NIAC was promoting Bob Ney for years as a friend of Iranian people!

It is so ironic that the event organized by NIAC is going to discuss the human rights situation in Iran . This event is a mockery of human rights and an insult to all those who have paid dearly in Iran for standing for their rights. It should not be promoted by the Human Rights organizations.

P.O. Box 2037, P.V.P. , CA 90274
Tel: (310) 377-4590 ; Fax: (310) 377-3103
E-Mail: ; URL:


For Immediate Release: 01/08/07

Amnesty International today welcomed last night's unanimous vote by the UN Security Council to send a newly strengthened African Union-United Nations force to Darfur in Sudan but warned that the force must be deployed urgently, resourced effectively and be given the full support of the Sudanese Government.
"Hundreds of thousands have died because of the conflict in Darfur and more than two million people have been driven from their homes. The truth is the people of Darfur are living in the midst of a massive humanitarian and human rights crisis. They can wait no longer for protection: it must be delivered immediately, effectively and with a full mandate to protect civilians from further violence," said Amnesty International's Secretary General Irene Khan
Yesterday's adoption by the UN Security Council of resolution 1769 gives some long awaited hope to the millions of Darfuris. But it is now essential that UN member states provide the resources necessary to swiftly deploy an effective force with a strong human rights component. This must include the capacity and authority to monitor and investigate human rights violations, including all cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence, and to report publicly on all human rights abuses.
Deployed in a region awash with arms, the United Nations must ensure the forces can oversee the disarmament and demobilization of government supported Janjawid militia. The new resolution only allows the force to monitor "whether any arms or related material are present in Darfur" and urgently needs to be strengthened.
Amnesty International also urges the UN Security Council to ensure that the current arms embargo is effectively enforced.
"Given the Sudanese Government's past record of obstructing such deployments, we urge the Government to facilitate the rapid deployment of the new force," said Irene Khan "The people of Darfur have been offered too many words and too many resolutions. Now is the time for effective action."



For Immediate Release: 02/08/07

Human Rights First welcomes the adoption of Resolution 1769 establishing the AU/UN Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) by the Security Council this Tuesday afternoon.

By acting unanimously, the members of the Security Council have demonstrated their strong commitment to end the ongoing violence in Darfur.
It is particularly important that the resolution gives the Hybrid operation a clear mandate for the protection of aid workers and civilians against armed attacks. The fact that UNAMID has been established under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter and is expressly authorized to take the necessary action to prevent such attacks means that the Hybrid force will have the power to use armed force, including preventative force, should it prove necessary to implement that mandate.
HRF also welcomes the ambitious timetable fixed by the resolution for the deployment of UNAMID. The resolution, however, will not automatically change the bleak reality on the ground in Darfur, as it most likely will take more than a year for the Hybrid force to be fully deployed.
In the meantime, violence continues. The parties have yet to cease hostilities and respect their commitments to past ceasefire agreements. The Sudanese government has also failed to live up to its obligation to disarm its proxy militia, the Janjaweed. This is particularly problematic because the resolution fails to authorize the Hybrid operation to undertake such disarmament together with that of other rebel groups.
Therefore, it is critical that the international community exert forceful pressure on all parties to the conflict to engage fully and immediately in the peace process initiated by the UN and AU Special Envoys and to comply with resolution 1769 and all previous Security Council resolutions concerning the situation in Sudan.
The test of any resolution is its implementation. HRF will closely monitor the efforts of the United Nations and the Members of the Security Council to make it more than another empty promise to the people of Darfur.



For Immediate Release: 06/08/07
Human Rights First welcomes the conclusion of the Arusha consultations, a three-day meeting ending today, in which rebel leaders and other important stakeholders came together to discuss how to advance the Darfur peace process. Coming on the heels of last week's U.N. Security Resolution committing to the deployment of peacekeeping troops in Darfur, the Arusha meeting was a useful next step in what promises to be a long road to peace in Darfur.
The purpose of the consultations was to allow rebel groups, particularly non-signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement, to discuss their concerns and hopefully agree on a common pre-negotiating position. This meeting culminated in an agreement by rebel leaders to present a common platform at upcoming peace talks, to allow new participants to join the common platform, and to support ongoing U.N. consultations with affected groups.
While, according to the meeting summary released by special envoys from the U.N. and A.U., Jan Eliasson and Salim Salim, there is reason for renewed optimism, the foundation for a successful peace process has by no means been completely established.
Human Rights First welcomes the positive developments coming out of the meeting, but also has a number of concerns that must be addressed in order for the peace process to be effective:
A common platform among rebel groups on the issues of greatest concern-power-sharing, wealth-sharing, security arrangements, land/tribal land ownership rights and humanitarian issues-must be sufficiently detailed and concrete so that it does not fall apart upon closer examination;
Suleiman Jamous, humanitarian coordinator for the SLA and respected leader among a number of rebel groups, must be able to participate in the peace talks. Currently detained at a U.N. hospital in Kadugli, Suleiman Jamous must be freed and the Khartoum government must guarantee that they will not arrest him once he returns to Darfur;
Rebel groups and leaders who did not participate in the Arusha talks must be drawn in, including field commanders and various important factions such as the SLA/AW;
Violence between Arab factions constitutes a significant part of the killings on the ground recently, which means that there must be a strong effort to include Arab tribes in the consultation process.
A peace process that is not fully inclusive is destined to fail. Human Rights First will continue to monitor develops and advocate for concrete solutions leading to a sustainable peace in Darfur.


Saturday, July 21, 2007


It is really shocking to note that fanatical Islamists are so vocal in their objective of expelling all the Jews or Hebraics from the Land of Israel. I believe that the state of Israel doesn't want to dominate the Middle East region as a place solely for the Jews or the Hebraics to reside by. The Islamic Arab statesmen should be the ones to explain why most of them behave in a way that the whole Middle East region only belongs to the Arabs. What about the Kurds, the Iranians, the Baluchis, the Egyptians, the Black Africans, the Armenians, the Azeris, the Georgians, the Berbers, the Turks, the Turkmen, the Pashtuns, the Samaritans, and, of course, the Jews? Such ethnic groups consider the Middle East region as their "regional homeland”.

Is today's Islam a religion of peace? While all the other religions in this world have progressed or evolved towards humanitarianism and tolerance, today's Islam is still embedded with so many tyrannical and despotic traditions. Today's Islam has become an actual threat that can destroy today's global system of cultural and trading interactions. Today's Islam has become a threat that can destroy this whole world. While all the other religions have matured, progressed and developed towards humanitarianism and tolerance, Islam's tyrannical and despotic traditions have remained intact and had become more ferocious. A Darwinist intellectual recommends the "outright abolition of Islam" as the solution to Islamic fanaticism in this world. I would rather prefer the "reformation of Islam" towards humanitarianism and tolerance. But the Darwinist solution against Islam may still come into play, that is if such a religion had already become so violent to the point of having the upper hand in possessing the actual way of destroying this planet or world. Remember that the rational-thinking and wise human beings of this world have the right to defend this planet from despots and criminals who would want to dominate and destroy this whole world. Such is called the righteous defense of humanity and of this world from criminal aggressions. Even the Israelis have their right or righteous task to defend their national homeland from the criminal aggressions of their would-be invaders. Such things are really obvious.

The following article was derived from the autumn edition of the Year-2002 City Journal On- Line:

The Reform Islam

By James Q. Wilson

We are engaged in a struggle to defeat terrorism. I have no advice on how to win that struggle, but I have some thoughts as to why it exists. It is not, I think, because Islam is at war with the West or because Palestinians are trying to displace Israelis. The struggle exists, I think, because the West has mastered the problem of reconciling religion and freedom, while several Middle Eastern nations have not. The story of that mastery and that failure occupies several centuries of human history, in which one dominant culture, the world of Islam, was displaced by a new culture, that of the West.
Reconciling religion and freedom has been the most difficult political task most nations have faced. It is not hard to see why. People who believe that there is one set of moral rules superior to all others, laid down by God and sometimes enforced by the fear of eternal punishment, will understandably expect their nation to observe and impose these rules; to do otherwise would be to repudiate deeply held convictions, offend a divine being, and corrupt society. This is the view of many Muslims; it was also the view of Pope Leo XIII—who said in 1888 that men find freedom in obedience to the authority of God—and of the provost of Oriel College, Oxford, who wrote to a faculty member in 1848 that “you were not born for speculation” but to “serve God and serve man.” If you think that there is one God who expects people to confess beliefs, say prayers, observe fasts, and obtain sacraments, it would be impious, indeed scandalously wrong, to permit the state to ignore beliefs, prayers, fasts, and sacraments.
In furtherance of these views, Queen Mary executed 300 Protestants, England and France expelled Jews, Ferdinand and Isabella expelled from Spain both Moors and Jews, the Spanish Inquisition tortured and executed a few thousand alleged heretics, and books were destroyed and scholars threatened for advancing theologically incorrect theories.
During this time, Islam was a vast empire stretching from western Africa into India—an empire that valued learning, prized scholars, maintained great libraries, and preserved the works of many ancient writers. But within three centuries, this greatest civilization on the face of the earth was in retreat, and the West was rising to produce a civilization renowned for its commitment to personal liberty, scientific expertise, political democracy, and free markets.
Freedom of conscience has made the difference. In an old world where knowledge came from libraries, and scientific experiments were rare, freedom would not be so important. But in the new world, knowledge and all that it can produce come from the sharp challenge of competing ideas tested by standards of objective evidence. In Istanbul, Muslims printed no book until 1729, and thereafter only occasionally. By contrast, the West became a world in which books were published starting three centuries earlier and where doubt and self-criticism were important. Of course, doubt and self-criticism can become, as William Bennett has observed, a self-destructive fetish, but short of that calamity, they are the source of human progress.
The central question is not why freedom of conscience failed to come to much of Islam but why it came at all to the West. Though Westerners will conventionally assign great weight to the arguments made by the defenders of freedom, I do not think that the ideas of Milton, Locke, Erasmus, and Spinoza—though important—were decisive.
What made religious toleration and later freedom of conscience possible in England was not theoretical argument but political necessity. It was necessary, first in England and later in America and much of Europe, because rulers trying to govern nations could not do so without granting freedom to people of different faiths. In the words of Herbert Butterfield, toleration was “the last policy that remained when it had proved impossible to go on fighting any longer.”
The fighting occurred because different religions struggled to control nations. Here lay the chief difference between Islam and the West: Islam was a land of one religion and few states, while the West was a land of many states that were acquiring many religions. In the sixteenth century, people in England thought of themselves chiefly as Englishmen before they thought of themselves as Protestants, and those in France saw themselves as Frenchmen before they saw themselves as Catholics. In most of Islam—in Arabia and northern Africa, certainly—people saw themselves as Muslims before they thought of themselves as members of any state; indeed, states hardly existed in this world until European colonial powers created them by drawing somewhat arbitrary lines on a map.
The Muslim faith was divided into the Sunni and the Shiite; but Christianity was soon divided into four branches. The Protestant Reformation created not only Lutheranism but its archrival, Calvinism, which now joined the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches.
Lutherans, like Catholics, were governed by a priesthood, but Calvinists were ruled by congregations, and so they proclaimed not only a sterner faith but a distinctive political philosophy. The followers of Luther and Calvin had little interest in religious liberty; they wanted to replace a church they detested with one that they admired. But in doing so, they helped bring about religious wars. Lutheran mobs attacked Calvinist groups in the streets of Berlin, and thousands of Calvinists were murdered in the streets of Paris. In 1555, the Peace of Augsburg settled the religious wars briefly with the phrase cuius regio, eius religio—meaning that people in each state or principality would have the religion of their ruler. If you didn’t like your prince’s religion, you had to move somewhere else.
But the problem grew worse as more dissident groups appeared. To the quarrels between Catholics, Calvinists, and Lutherans were added challenges from Anabaptists, Quakers, and Unitarians. These sects had their own passionate defenders, and they helped start many struggles. And so wars broke out again, all advancing religious claims overlaid with imperial, dynastic, and material objectives.
In France, Catholics killed 20,000 Huguenots, 3,000 in Paris alone. When the Peace of Westphalia settled the wars of the sixteenth century in 1648, it reaffirmed the old doctrine of following the religion of your ruler, but added an odd new doctrine that required some liberty of conscience. As C. V. Wedgwood put it, men had begun to grasp “the essential futility of putting the beliefs of the mind to the judgment of the sword.”
In England, people were both exhausted by war and worried about following a ruler’s orders on matters of faith. Oliver Cromwell, the leader of the successful Presbyterian revolt against the king, was a stern believer in his own faith, but he recognized that his beliefs alone would not enable him to govern; he had to have allies of other faiths. He persuaded Parliament to allow liberty “to all who fear God,” provided they did not disturb the peace, and he took steps to readmit Jews into the country and to moderate attacks on the Quakers.
When Cromwell’s era ended and Charles II took the throne, he brought back with him his Anglican faith, and challenged this arrangement. After he died, James II came to the throne and tried to reestablish Roman Catholicism. When William of Orange invaded the country from Holland in 1688, James II fled, and in time William and his wife, Mary, became rulers. Mary, a Protestant, was the daughter of James II, a Catholic. A lot of English people must have wondered how they were supposed to cope with religious choice if a father and daughter in the royal family could not get the matter straight.
The following year, Parliament passed the Toleration Act, allowing dissident Protestant sects to practice their religion. Their members still could not hold government office, but at least they would not be hanged. The Toleration Act did not help Catholics and Unitarians, but as is so often the case in British law, their religious practices, while not protected by formal law, were allowed by administrative discretion.
Even so, the idea of a free conscience did not advance very much; after all, “toleration” meant that a preferred or established religion, out of its own kindness, allowed other religions to exist—but not to do much more. And William’s support for the Toleration Act probably had a lot to do with economic motives. Tolerance, he is supposed to have said, was essential to commercial success: England would acquire traders, including many Jews, from nations that still practiced persecution.
The Toleration Act began a slow process of moderating the political impact of organized religion. Half a century before it was passed, Galileo, tried by the Roman Inquisition for believing that Earth moved around the Sun, was sentenced to house arrest. But less than a century after the law was adopted, Adam Smith wrote a much praised book on morality that scarcely mentioned God, and less than a century after that, Charles Darwin published books that denied God a role in human evolution, a claim that profoundly disturbed his religious critics but neither prevented his books from being wildly popular nor deterred the Royal Society of London from bestowing on him its royal medal.
Toleration in the American colonies began slowly but accelerated rapidly when our country had to form a nation out of diverse states. The migration of religious sects to America made the colonies a natural breeding ground for religious freedom, but only up to a point. Though Rhode Island under the leadership of Roger Williams had become a religiously free colony, six colonies required their voters to be Protestants, four asked citizens to believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible, one required belief in the Trinity and two in heaven and hell, and five had an officially established church. Massachusetts was a theocracy that punished (and on a few occasions executed) Quakers. Maryland was created as a haven for Catholics, but their freedom began to evaporate as Protestants slowly gained the upper hand.
America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had many religions and some tolerance for dissenting views, but not until the colonists tried to form a national union did they squarely face the problem of religious freedom. The 13 colonies, in order to become a nation, had to decide how to manage the extraordinary diversity of the country. The colonists did so largely by writing a constitution that was silent on the question of religion, except to ban any “religious test” as a requirement for holding federal office.
When the first Congress adopted the Bill of Rights, it included the odd and much disputed ban on passing a law “respecting an establishment of religion.” The meaning of that phrase is a matter of scholarly speculation. James Madison’s original proposal was that the First Amendment ban “any national religion,” and in their first drafts the House and Senate agreed. But when the two branches of Congress turned over their slightly different language to a conference committee, its members, for reasons that no one has satisfactorily explained, chose to ban Congress from passing a law “respecting” a religion.
The wall between church and state, as Jefferson called it in a letter he wrote many years later, turned out to be controversial and porous, as Philip Hamburger’s masterful new book, The Separation of Church and State, shows. But it did guarantee that in time American politics would largely become a secular matter. And that is the essence of the issue. Politics made it necessary to establish free consciences in America, just as it had in England. This profound change in the relationship between governance and spirituality was greatly helped by John Locke’s writings in England and James Madison’s in America, but I suspect it would have occurred if neither of these men had ever lived.
There is no similar story to be told in the Middle Eastern parts of the Muslim world. With the exception of Turkey (and, for a while, Lebanon), every country there has been ruled either by a radical Islamic sect (as with the Taliban in Afghanistan and the mullahs in Iran) or by an autocrat who uses military power to enforce his authority in a nation that could not separate religion and politics or by a traditional tribal chieftain, for whom the distinction between church and state was meaningless. And the failure to make a theocracy work is evident in the vast popular resistance to the Taliban and the Iranian mullahs.
But where Muslims have had to end colonial rule and build their own nation, national identity has trumped religious uniformity. When the Indonesians threw off Dutch rule and later struggled to end communist influence, they did so in a way that made the creation and maintenance of an Indonesian nation more important than religious or political identity. India, home to more Muslims than much of the Middle East, also relied on nationalism and overcoming British rule to insist on the creation of one nation. Its constitution prohibits discrimination based on religion and promises the free exercise of religious belief.
In the Middle East, nations are either of recent origin or uncertain boundaries. Iraq, once the center of great ancient civilizations, was conquered by the Mongols and the Ottoman Turks, then occupied by the British during the First World War, became a League of Nations protectorate, was convulsed by internal wars with the Kurds, torn apart by military coups, and immersed in a long war with Iran. Syria, a land with often-changing borders, was occupied by an endless series of other powers—the Hittites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Mongols, Ottoman Turks, and the French. After Syria became a self-governing nation in 1944, it was, like Iraq, preoccupied with a series of military coups, repeated wars with Israel, and then, in 1991, with Iraq. Meanwhile, Lebanon, once part of Syria, became an independent nation, though it later fell again under Syrian domination.
These countries today are about where England was in the eleventh century, lacking much in the way of a clear national history or stable government. To manage religion and freedom, they have yet to acquire regimes in which one set of leaders could be replaced in an orderly fashion with a new set, an accomplishment that in the West required almost a millennium. Though many Middle Eastern countries are divided between two Muslim sects, the Sunni and the Shiites, coping with this diversity has so far been vastly less important than the still-incomplete task of finding some basis for asserting and maintaining national government.
Moreover, the Muslim religion is quite different from Christianity. The Qur’an and the hadith contain a vast collection of sacred laws, which Muslims call shari’a, that regulates many details of the public as well as private lives of believers. It sets down rules governing charity, marriage, orphans, fasting, gambling, vanity, pilgrimages, infidelity, polygamy, incest, divorce, modesty, inheritances, prostitution, alcohol consumption, collecting interest, and female dress.
By contrast, the Christian New Testament has rather few secular rules, and these are best remembered as a reaffirmation of the Ten Commandments as modified by the Sermon on the Mount. One can grasp the whole of Jesus’ moral teachings by recalling only two things: love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.
As Bernard Lewis has pointed out, the differences between the legal teachings of the two religions may have derived from, and were certainly reinforced by, the differences between Muhammad and Jesus. In the seventh century, Muhammad was invited to rule Medina and then, after a failed effort to conquer Mecca, finally entered that city as its ruler. He was not only a prophet but also a soldier, judge, and governor. Jesus, by contrast, was an outsider, who neither conquered nor governed anyone, and who was put to death by Roman rulers. Christianity was not recognized until Emperor Constantine adopted it, but Muhammad, in Lewis’s words, was his own Constantine.
Jesus asked Christians to distinguish between what belonged to God and what belonged to Caesar. Islam made no such distinction; to it, Allah prescribed the rules for all of life, encompassing what we now call the religious and the secular spheres. If a Christian nation fails, we look to its political and economic system for an explanation, but when a Muslim state fails, it is only because, as V. S. Naipaul put it, “men had failed the faith.” Disaster in a Christian nation leads to a search for a new political form; disaster in a Muslim one leads to a reinvigoration of the faith.
Christianity began as a persecuted sect, became a tolerated deviance, and then joined with political powers to become, for well over a thousand years, an official religion that persecuted its rivals. But when officially recognized religions stood in the way of maintaining successful nations, Christianity slipped back to what it had once been: an important faith without political power. And in these extraordinary changes, little in the religion was altered, because almost none of it imposed secular rules.
Judaism differs from Christianity in that it supplies its followers with a religious doctrine replete with secular rules. In the first five books of the Bible and in the Talmud, many of these rules are set forth as part of a desire, as stated in Exodus, to create “a holy nation” based on a “kingdom of priests.” In the five books of Moses and the Talmud are rules governing slavery, diet, bribery, incest, marriage, hygiene, and crime and punishment. And many of the earliest Jewish leaders, like Muhammad later, were political and military leaders. But as Daniel Pipes has noted, for two millennia Jews had no country to rule and hence no place in which to let religion govern the state. And by the time Israel was created, the secular rules of the Old Testament and the desire to create “a holy nation” had lost their appeal to most Jews; for them, politics had simply become a matter of survival. Jews may once have been attracted to theocracy, but they learned from experience that powerful states were dangerous ones.
Like the Old Testament, the Qur’an is hard to interpret. One can find phrases that urge Muslims to “fight and slay the pagans” and also passages that say there should be “no compulsion in religion.” The Arabic word jihad means “striving in the path of God,” but it can also mean a holy war against infidels and apostates.
Until the rise of modern Islamic fundamentalism, there were efforts by many scholars to modernize the Qur’an by emphasizing its broadest themes more than its narrow rules. Fazlur Rahman, a leading Islamic scholar, sought in the late 1970s and early 1980s to establish a view of the Qur’an based on Muhammad’s teaching that “differences among my community are a source of blessing.” The basic requirement of the Qur’an, Rahman wrote, is the establishment of a social order on a moral foundation that would aim at the realization of egalitarian values. And there is much in the Qur’an to support this view: it constrained the rules permitting polygamy, moderated slavery, banned infanticide, required fair shares for wives and daughters in bequests, and allowed slaves to buy their freedom—all this in the name of the central Islamic rule: command good and forbid evil.
But many traditional Islamic scholars insist that only the shari’a can govern men, even though it is impossible to manage a modern economy and sustain scientific development on the basis of principles set down in the seventh century. Bernard Lewis tells the story of a Muslim, Mirza Abu Talib, who traveled to England in the late eighteenth century. When he visited the House of Commons, he was astonished to discover that it debated and promulgated laws and set the penalties for criminals. He wrote back to his Muslim brethren that the English, not having accepted the divine law, had to make their own.
Of course, Muslim nations do legislate, but in many of them it is done furtively, with jurists describing their decisions as “customs,” “regulations,” or “interpretations.” And in other nations, the legislature is but an amplification of the orders of a military autocrat, whose power, though often defended in religious terms, comes more from the barrel of a gun than from the teachings of the prophet.
All this makes even more remarkable the extraordinary transformation of Turkey from the headquarters of the Ottoman Empire to the place where Muslims are governed by Western law. Mustafa Kemal, now known as Atatürk, came to power after the First World War as a result of his success in helping defeat the British at Gallipoli and attacking other invading forces. For years, he had been sympathetic to the pro-Western views of many friends; when he became leader of the country, he argued that it could not duplicate the success of the West simply by buying Western arms and machines. The nation had to become Western itself.
Over the course of a decade or so, Atatürk proclaimed a new constitution, created a national legislature, abolished the sultan and caliph, required Muslims to pray in Turkish and not Arabic, urged the study of science, created a secular public education system, abolished religious courts, imposed the Latin alphabet, ended the practice of allowing divorce simply at the husband’s request, gave women the vote, adopted the Christian calendar, did away with the University of Istanbul’s theology faculty, created commercial legal codes by copying German and Swiss models, stated that every person was free to choose his own religion, authorized the erection of statues with human likenesses, ended the ban on alcohol (Atatürk liked to drink), converted the mosque of Hagia Sophia into a secular museum, authorized the election of the first Turkish beauty queen, and banned the wearing of the fez.
You may imagine that this last decision was over a trivial matter, but you would be wrong. The fez, the red cap worn by many Turks, conveyed social standing and, because it lacked a brim, made it possible for its wearer to touch the ground with his forehead when saying prayers. Western hats, equipped with brims, made this impossible. When the ban on the fez was announced, riots erupted in many Turkish cities, and some 20 leaders were executed.
Atatürk created the machinery (though not the fact) of democracy and made it clear that he wanted a thoroughly secular state. After his death, real democratic politics began to be practiced, as a result of which some of the anti-Islam laws were modified. Even so, no other Middle Eastern Muslim nation has undergone as dramatic a change. In the rest of the region, autocrats still rule; they deal with religion by either buying it off or allowing it to dominate the spiritual order, provided it keeps its hands off real power.
On occasion, a fundamentalist Islamic regime comes to power, as happened in Iran, Afghanistan, and the Sudan. But these regimes have failed, ousted from Afghanistan by Western military power and declining in Iran and Sudan owing to economic incompetence and cultural rigidity.
The touchstones for Western success in reconciling religion and freedom were nationalism and Christianity, two doctrines that today many sophisticated people either ignore or distrust. But then they did not have to spend four centuries establishing freedom of conscience. We are being optimistic if we think that, absent a unique ruler such as Atatürk and a rare opportunity such as a world war, the Middle East will be able to accomplish this much faster.
Both the West and Islam face major challenges that emerge from their ruling principles. When the West reconciled religion and freedom, it did so by making the individual the focus of society, and the price it has paid has been individualism run rampant, in the form of weak marriages, high rates of crime, and alienated personalities. When Islam kept religion at the expense of freedom, it did so by making the individual subordinate to society, and the price it has paid has been autocratic governments, religious intolerance, and little personal freedom.
I believe that in time Islam will become modern, because without religious freedom, modern government is impossible. I hope that in time the West will reaffirm social contracts, because without them a decent life is impossible. But in the near term, Islam will be on the defensive culturally—which means it will be on the offensive politically. And the West will be on the offensive culturally, which I suspect means it will be on the defensive morally.
If the Middle East is to encounter and not merely resist modernity, it would best if it did this before it runs out of oil.



Monday, July 02, 2007


The modern world that we reside in is a world of diversity. The reality of diversity in this world and in the universe is an eternal reality. I believe that democracy is the only socio-political system in this world that is an accordance with all of the natural, universal and moral laws and principles. Why? The system of checks and balances, as well as the secured guarantees to safeguard the human rights and civil liberties in a democratic constitution, and the harmonization of a society under proper rules and guidelines that reflect the need of humanity to be in harmony with nature and universe do point to the reality that democracy is the only socio-political system in this world that is in accordance with the natural, universal and moral laws and principles. So, I believe that every nation, every social organization and every culture in this world should peacefully and lawfully embrace real and moral democracy. I have these advocacies called "political abrogationism" and "social harmonicalism" that endorse the peaceful and lawful struggle for this whole world to gain real, global and moral democracy. To know more about the advocacies called political abrogationism and social harmonicalism, the readers of this topic can just click this web page now: . Such web page will give the readers of this topic further details about those mentioned advocacies. So, please click such web page now.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I really believe that the current batch of COMELEC officials in the Philippines are able administrators. Such officials are effective managers of an important aspect of democracy- the supervision of a political election. But the current batch of COMELEC officials under Benjamin Abalos are being pressured by the various sectors of the Philippine society to make way for reforms in the current electoral system in the country. Reforming the electoral system in this country is really a hard task to do. First, the public must understand that the current batch of COMELEC officials are humans just like us. We can not expect Mr. Abalos and his batch-mates at the COMELEC officialdom to make sweeping reforms without the assistance of all the sectors of our society. If the current batch of COMELEC officials will reform the electoral system in the country on its own, such can be termed as a little bit despotic due to the fact that such group is not a representative coalition nor expression of all the sectors of the Philippine society. Besides, the COMELEC is not a "super-power group" that can easily overcome all the hindrances that may come along the way of reforming the electoral system in the Philippines. COMELEC has limited functions and powers when it comes to supervising elections in the country. Therefore, all the sectors of the Philippine society should assist and aid the COMELEC in reforming the electoral system of this country.. Another thing is that the legislative branch of the Philippine government must be at the forefront of such reformation. Why? It's because the reforms that will be introduced in the electoral system of this country have to become binding, so that such changes will really be effective in the future. In other words, the would-be reforms in our electoral system have to be passed as laws and decrees by our legislators, so that such changes will be functioning and become binding in the near future. We should hope that before the year 2010 presidential election comes around, all the sectors of the Philippine society would have already reformed the Philippine electoral system as a true expression and representative will of the Filipino people. I hope that before the 2010 presidential election comes in, elitism and political warlord-ism in Philippine politics would have been curtailed, if not completely eliminated, already.

I don't believe that the current batch of actual administrators of the COMELEC had been involved in any form of election-cheating mobilization. As I've said, I truly believe that Mr. Abalos and his batch-mates are all effective administrators of the COMELEC. The problem is that Mr. Abalos and his batch-mates have not seriously made efforts to make a full investigation of the Hello-Garci scandal. I do praise Abalos and his batch-mates for fully investigating the serious cheating allegations and poll irregularities in the recently-held mid-year elections in the country. But, still, in order to counter the public perception that the current COMELEC officialdom has been too lazy in properly investigating the Hello-Garci Controversy, Mr. Abalos and his batch-mates should make a full-scale investigation and recommendation for resolving such electoral controversy. Doing such a thing would make Mr. Abalos and his batch-mates at the COMELEC officialdom become truly-heroic in the historic efforts to reform the elitist and political-warlords’ dominated politics in our country.

The current COMELEC officialdom has to be praised for standing firm on its position to hold a special election at Magindanao province. That is the only way to clean the obvious poll irregularities that took place at Maguindanao during the May 14, 2007 elections in the Philippines. Mr. Koko Pimentel should just allow the people of Magindanao to make their general will become known to our nation. What if Koko Pimentel gets defeated at Maguindanao? So what? The important thing is to cleanse the province of Magindanao from the poll irregularities that took place there during the mid-year elections in this country. The important thing is to know what was the "true expression" of the people of Maguindanao during the May 14, 2007 elections in the Philippines. Besides, if a special election will push through in Maguindanao this month, Koko Pimentel has still a chance to make a "last-day election campaign" at Magindanao if he will request it at the COMELEC. The peaceful and lawful struggle to reform the elitist and semi-feudal electoral system in the Philippines should go on.