Sat Nov 25th, 2023 at 05:22:34 PM EST
First responders: Canadians who rushed to New York after the 9/11 attacks | CBC News |
Police officers, firefighters from eastern Ontario raced down to join rescue effort
Blondin smelled smoke and thought something was wrong with his car. Then he spotted the thick grey plume hanging over the skyline ahead. "You could see the smoke just billowing out [for] miles and miles."
'It was all grey dust everywhere'
The first state trooper he encountered let him pass, but the second one ordered Blondin to pull off at a firehall in the Bronx. He arrived at Engine 81 Ladder 46 just before 8 p.m.
Dozens of firefighters from various New York suburbs were milling around outside, awaiting orders. Blondin introduced himself and was invited to stay the night. The next morning, he boarded a bus for Lower Manhattan.
"As you pull in closer to Ground Zero, it was like a first snowfall in Ottawa, like when you get an inch of snow, but it was all grey dust everywhere ... and papers everywhere, pictures on the ground," he recalled.
Digging through the debris was hot, dangerous work. Blondin injured himself a few days after arriving in New York, and was unable to continue.
The smouldering World Trade Center site -- first responders simply called it "the Pile" -- was teeming with rescuers, including firefighters, police officers, K-9 teams and iron workers, by the time the crew from the Bronx arrived.
Blondin was first assigned to a bucket brigade, handing five-gallon pails of debris down the line for investigators to sift through. After a couple hours, he joined a search team whose job it was to dig wherever they saw an orange X that marked a spot where a dog had alerted its handler to possible human remains. They did that until about 6 a.m. the following day.
"There were Xs everywhere," Blondin said. "Everywhere."
A tough ride as the Western World never recovered from the devastating add-on effects of the 9/11 Al Qaeda terror strike on America by OBL.
The proclaimed War on Terror caused worst human rights abuse and damages in loves lost and destruction of states and western society.
The Clash of Civilization that wasn't, but was created by the right-wing rhetoric of politicians, pundits on social media and journalism that lost its fundamental principles as corporations took over the editorial boards. We watched during 16 years of Bush-Cheney and a continuing story sunder Obama-Biden.
Just as Donald Trump didn't fall from a clear blue sky, so did Geert Wilders not come from a magical wand out of nothing. The feeding ground of racism was present and steadily morphed into xenophobia and Islamophobia. All 13 years of PM Mark Rutte managed was to keep adversary Geert Wilders abreast, but the common electorate was growing as each year passed. No I was not shocked as this election result was delayed but inevitable. It was clear the Dutch had lost the mask of human rights and tolerance a long time ago.
In The Netherlands the years of Rutte III was a failure, yet the same four leaders set out to form Rutte IV after disavowing one another this would never happen under leadership of Mark Rutte. All words were hollow as after the longest period to function as a caretaker administration, they joined together to raise the middelvinger to the voters. These four leaders have either left or announced their retreat from politics altogether.
On Wednesday the Dutch voters showed all four parties the middle finger as the coalition lost 37 of their 78 seats in Parliament. Never ever has a coalition been punished so severely and quite likely none ever will in the future of Dutch politics. Arrogance comes before the fall.
America Setting the Stage for World Politics
Lying liars and warmongering in the NATO alliance ...
Amalek: 'Erasing' Gaza
Israel's plan to eradicate Gaza and Gazans | Tikun Olam |
When I first started calling the Gaza war a genocide, it wasn't as accepted an idea as it has become, alas. But while the world has come to understand that it is, those who rule maintain a facade: genocide? What genocide? This is Israel defending itself from terrorist animals. And we will never deny Israel the right to do so.
Case in point: John Kirby, spokesperson for the US National Security Agency. He's the one who claims that US intelligence has discovered incontrovertible evidence that al-Shifa was actually a Hamas command and control center.
A few days ago, he put on this dog and pony show and specifically addressed the genocide claim:
"Israel isn't trying to wipe the Palestinian people off the map. Israel isn't trying to wipe Gaza off the map. Israel is trying to defend itself against a genocidal terrorist threat. So if we're going to start using that word, Fine. Let's use it appropriately."
Guess what, John? Yes, Israel is doing precisely that. Not just "trying." Doing. Northern Gaza is gone. Nothing remains. No people, no homes, no trees, orchards, farmland, no livestock. Just a barren wasteland. It threatened death to anyone who refused to go south, which Israel claimed was a safe zone. Until it started bombing it. Now it tells those refugees in southern Gaza to evacuate
(again) because it will commence military operations there. Where should they go, John? To Egypt? Never to return to their homes in Palestine? So no, John, don't claim Israel isn't wiping Gaza off the map. It is doing so. Even as you spoke those clueless words, Israel was doing precisely what you said it wasn't.
And let's talk about that what constitutes an "appropriate" use of "genocide." While killing 1,200 Israelis is horrendous it is not genocide. Genocide requires a pattern of acts and behavior. Neither Hamas nor the Palestinians have come anywhere close.
But note that Kirby calls Hamas' 10/7 attack a "genocidal terrorist threat." This is a calculated strategy by the Lobby and Biden administration.
Netanyahu linking the 10/7 attack by Hamas to the Holocaust:
Israel's attack is clearly genocide. But to confuse people, they throw that term back in the faces of Palestine supporters, accusing Hamas of engaging in genocide. How about the slogan: “ from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free?” Clearly genocidal, right?. That is, if you deliberately ignore the actual meaning of the phrase and the intent of those who embrace it.
This is entirely cynical strategy. One that won't work ultimately.
Gaza's UNRWA schools sheltering displaced people constantly hit, says Commissioner-General | UNRWA |
AMMAN, 19 November 2023 - "I watched with sheer horror reports from an attack on the al-Fakhoura UNRWA school-turned-shelter in northern Gaza. It is just cruel.
"Classrooms sheltering displaced families were hit and at least 24 people were reported killed in the strike. Up to 7,000 people were in the school at the time. This is the second time that this school is hit. On 4 November, at least 12 people were killed and 54 injured.
"In less than 24 hours, two UNRWA schools sheltering displaced families were hit in the Gaza Strip.
"On Friday 17 November, another UNRWA school "Al-Falah/Zeitoun" in Gaza City was directly struck, leaving scores of people killed and injured. Up to 4,000 people were in the school at the time. Ambulances could not reach the school to provide help.
"This is yet another proof that no one, and nowhere is safe in Gaza. Once again, shelters meant to provide safety and protection to civilians have been hit, killing many people, including children. These acts not only blatantly contravene the rules of war, they also show a total disregard for humanity.
Palestinian families rejoice over release of minors and women in wartime prisoner swap
Israel and Hamas prepare to exchange more prisoners, hostages on second day of truce | Politico |
Meanwhile, Iran said it facilitated the release of 10 Thai hostages from Gaza on Friday. Tehran provided a list of names to Hamas after a request to do so by Thailand’s Foreign Ministry and parliamentary speaker, Iran’s embassy in Thailand said on social media on Saturday. “This request was accepted by Hamas and 10 Thai hostages were released,” the embassy said.
Gazans Begin the Journey Back after Truce Takes Effect (Videos)
After enduring weeks of displacement due to the ongoing aggression, the people of Gaza finally have a glimmer of hope as they start to return to their homes.
The four-day truce, which includes a complete ceasefire, went into effect this morning. Displaced Palestinians, who sought refuge in hospitals and schools during the aggression, are now gradually leaving their temporary shelters.
At exactly seven o'clock in the morning today, marking the forty-ninth day since the Zionist aggression against the Gaza Strip began, the first four-day humanitarian calm commenced.
As part of the truce, occupation aircraft completely withdrew from the southern Gaza Strip airspace, while their withdrawal from the north is scheduled from ten in the morning until four in the afternoon.
Displaced Palestinians Returning to their Homes from Hospitals and Schools
Additionally, Qatar's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Majed Al-Ansari, has announced the handover of the first batch of civilian hostages.
The truce was reached through mediation by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States.
It is noteworthy that the battles between the resistance factions and the occupation army continued even shortly before the truce entered into force on more than one axis and front in Gaza City, in Juhr al-Dik and the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, in addition to the axes of the Israeli army's incursion into Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip.
The number of martyrs during the aggression, which has been ongoing for 49 days, reached 14,854 martyrs, including more than 6,150 children and more than 4,000 women, while about 7,000 Palestinians are still missing, either under rubble or bodies thrown in the streets and roads or something. Their fate remains unknown, and the number of wounded exceeds 36,000.
The Ascendance of Israel's Radical Right
By Ehud Sprinzak | published 1991 |
Following the Israeli Right's mass demonstration against PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat's non-visit to Jerusalem on July 2, 1994, the weekend of his initial return to Gaza, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin angrily declared that "an evil partnership has been created between the Hamas murderers and the extreme Right in Israel, who have set as their goal the destruction of the peace process." He was undoubtedly reacting to the signs "Death to Arafat" and "Rabin is a traitor", held by the demonstrators, and to the mini-pogrom which a few dozen demonstrators carried out against Palestinian property in the Old City.
Rabin was also disturbed by a personal letter sent to him a few weeks earlier by Aharon Domev, a member of the Yesha Council (The Council of the Settlements of Judea, Samaria and Gaza), who warned him about the extreme and peripheral Right's plans for "political murder". Domev said that while he had no specific knowledge about such a plan, he had heard, "too often in the recent past, works of desperation which talk about a solution based upon a political murder, aimed at the Prime Minister, at Minister Shulamit Aloni and other ministers."
A lecturer in Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 1972, Professor Ehud Sprinzak is considered Israel's leading academic authority on the Israeli Right. Since the Oslo Agreement was announced, he has been warning, in print and in many public forums, that the Government and the majority of the Israelis who support the peace process, do not understand the depth of the trauma and sense of despair felt by the Israeli radical Right, and particularly by the Israeli religious Right.
Professor Sprinzak's book, The Ascendance of Israel's Radical Right, is an extremely timely analysis and survey of the components of the Israeli radical Right. In a sense, it serves as a road map which enables the reader to make his or her way through the labyrinth of personalities and movements on the right.
Sprinzak says he was galvanized into writing the book when the existence of an Israeli right-wing anti-Arab underground was revealed. In 1984, twenty-seven Israelis were arrested for planning to blow up five buses full of civilian Arab passengers on the West Bank. He was particularly concerned by the fact that the group had an elaborate plan to blow up the Dome of the Rock on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the third most sacred site for Muslims. Like others he was also surprised to discover that the members of the underground were not just a bunch of paranoids from the Israeli lunatic fringe, but rather respected members of the Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) religious settlement movement, considered a legitimate part of the Israeli society and body politic. That key year of 1984 also introduced another unexpected event, the election of Rabbi Meir Kahane, leader of the notorious Kach (Thus) Party to the Knesset, voted in by nearly 26,000 Israelis including 2.5% of the Israeli soldiers.
The author states that the contemporary Israeli radical Right has roots within the ultra-nationalist camp of historic Zionism. These roots include aspects of Vladimir Jabotinsky's Revisionist Movement, the Lehy (Stern Gang) group, and the small Brit Habirionim (Covenant of the Thugs) among secular right-wing Zionists, as well as elements within the activist wing of Labor Zionism.
He notes that the concept of "transfer" (of Arabs from the Land of Israel) currently advocated by General (res.) Rehavam Ze'evi's Moledet (Homeland) Party had first emerged within Labor circles. Sprinzak quotes Josef Weitz, director of the JNF (Jewish National Fund), who wrote in his diary in 1940: "it must be clear that there is no room in the country for both peoples ... If the Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us ... "
Sprinzak maintains that the first religious Zionists, who rebelled against the predominant religious view that the Jews must wait for the Messiah's arrival before they return to Israel, were moderate pragmatists. However, Rabbi Avraham Itzhak Hacohen Kook, a messianic Zionist who became the first Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi in Palestine in 1921, introduced a strong maximalist component to the thinking of the Mizrachi Movement (the forerunner of today's National Religious Party). Kook considered secular Zionism to be "the beginning of redemption." Under his guidance Mizrachi became totally opposed to ideas of partition, drawing close to the maximalist ultra-nationalist circles within the yishuv (Jewish community in pre-state Palestine).
Book review …
Sprinzak, Ascendance of Israel’s Radical Right I MERIP|
The most interesting and central part of the book deals with 1967-1973, a period of incubation of the radical right. This period also marks a general swing of the Israeli polity from what may be called a civic society to a new political culture that combines the traditional chauvinistic right with Jewish messianism, a phenomenon which might be called the cult of “security.” The book includes a detailed description of events and “stories,” most of them already well known. Overall, the volume provides a coherent history of most of the contemporary Israeli political system.
Sprinzak’s most important conclusion is that, despite the relative small scope of the Israeli “radical right” in terms of membership and active supporters, its political power far exceeds its size. This power stems from its high mobilization capabilities, its political sophistication and its skills based on the socioeconomic infrastructure of the settler-society developed in the Occupied Territories.
Israel’s Strange Rehabilitation of Meir Kahane: Once a “Racist,” Now a Hero to Many
Related reading …
State Department revokes ‘terrorism’ designation of Kahane Chai and four other groups, saying they have been inactive | 20 May 2022 |