I’ve been too busy with family matters to write today. Here are a few headlines from the last 12 hours.
ISIS’ and Boko Haram:
I’ve been too busy with family matters to write today. Here are a few headlines from the last 12 hours.
ISIS’ and Boko Haram:
Public Catholic reader Ken brought this to my attention.
The Vatican has released a statement condemning the crimes against humanity that are occurring in the Middle East. The statement lists what it calls “unspeakable criminal acts … which bring shame on humanity,” including beheading, crucifying, abduction of women and girls as spoils of war, the barbaric practice of infibulation and forced conversions.
From the Vatican Website:
The whole world has witnessed with incredulity what is now called the “Restoration of the Caliphate,” which had been abolished on October 29,1923 by Kamal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey. Opposition to this “restoration” by the majority of religious institutions and Muslim politicians has not prevented the “Islamic State” jihadists from committing and continuing to commit unspeakable criminal acts.
This Pontifical Council, together with all those engaged in interreligious dialogue, followers of all religions, and all men and women of good will, can only unambiguously denounce and condemn these practices which bring shame on humanity:
-the massacre of people on the sole basis of their religious affiliation;
-the despicable practice of beheading, crucifying and hanging bodies in public places;
-the choice imposed on Christians and Yezidis between conversion to Islam, payment of a tax (jizya) or forced exile;
-the forced expulsion of tens of thousands of people, including children, elderly, pregnant women and the sick;
-the abduction of girls and women belonging to the Yezidi and Christian communities as spoils of war (sabaya);
-the imposition of the barbaric practice of infibulation;
-the destruction of places of worship and Christian and Muslim burial places;
-the forced occupation or desecration of churches and monasteries;
-the removal of crucifixes and other Christian religious symbols as well as those of other
-the destruction of a priceless Christian religious and cultural heritage;
-indiscriminate violence aimed at terrorizing people to force them to surrender or flee.
No cause, and certainly no religion, can justify such barbarity. This constitutes an extremely serious offense to humanity and to God who is the Creator, as Pope Francis has often reminded us. We cannot forget, however, that Christians and Muslims have lived together – it is true with ups and downs – over the centuries, building a culture of peaceful coexistence and civilization of which they are proud. Moreover, it is on this basis that, in recent years, dialogue between Christians and Muslims has continued and intensified.
The dramatic plight of Christians, Yezidis and other religious communities and ethnic minorities in Iraq requires a clear and courageous stance on the part of religious leaders, especially Muslims, as well as those engaged in interreligious dialogue and all people of good will. All must be unanimous in condemning unequivocally these crimes and in denouncing the use of religion to justify them. If not, what credibility will religions, their followers and their leaders have? What credibility can the interreligious dialogue that we have patiently pursued over recent years have?
Religious leaders are also called to exercise their influence with the authorities to end these crimes, to punish those who commit them and to reestablish the rule of law throughout the land, ensuring the return home of those who have been displaced. While recalling the need for an ethical management of human societies, these same religious leaders must not fail to stress that the support, funding and arming of terrorism is morally reprehensible.
That said, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue is grateful to all those who have already raised their voices to denounce terrorism, especially that which uses religion to justify it.
Let us therefore unite our voices with that of Pope Francis: “May the God of peace stir up in each one of us a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated by violence. Violence is defeated by peace. “
[01287-02.01] [Original text: French - working translation]
I saw the photo of the beheaded little girl and something in me shifted, rolled over and settled into a new slot, click.
Unlike my spiritual betters, I did not feel the need to go down to my knees and pray. I did pray, in snatches, like breathing, all the rest of the day. I prayed for conversion of the Muslims. I prayed for the people ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, et al are killing. I prayed for Europe, which is suiciding itself with the poison of political correctness. I prayed for the conversion of the United States.
But mostly, I kept going back to the photos: Photos of children, slaughtered. And what I felt was much the same emotion I felt when I shot water moccasins.
I don’t think I’ve ever told you about that one, gun control being the flash point that it is. I had a 22 from the time I was quite little. My Daddy taught me how to shoot right and he taught me gun safety as he was doing it.
There was a slough not far from our house, a brackish dead-end appendix of water that came off the North Canadian river and idled in place, breeding mosquitos and water moccasins. Daddy and I would sometimes get up early, take bacon for bait and go crawdad fishing in that slough. The water was crawling with water moccasins; revolting, stinking (yes, they smell bad) black things.
My part-time job one summer was to shoot and kill the water moccasins; thin them out so they didn’t kill the livestock, pets and people. I got paid a quarter for each dead moccasin.
I didn’t use the little bead on the end of the barrel and the gun sight to aim. That took too long with a moving target. I learned that all I had to do was concentrate on the target and by some magic of my autonomic nervous system, the gun would align itself and the bullet would go through the snake’s head and kill it.
The emotion I felt when I looked at those videos and the photos of slaughtered children was much the same as what I felt when I looked at a water moccasin. That’s because I wasn’t thinking about the dead babies. If I did that, I would be unable to move and my brain would fill with white noise. Breathing would come hard, if I did that. I. Simply. Can’t. Go. There.
I was thinking about those monsters who held the knives, the apostles of satan who are holding the guns pointed at the child in the photo above.
I looked at these photos, and something in me shifted, rolled over and settled into a new slot.
ISIS is a rabid dog. There is no cure for rabid dogs; no reasoning or counseling or whatnot. You don’t stop a rabid dog from being rabid by building it a better dog house or giving it higher grade kibble.
The only thing to do with a rabid dog is kill it. That is the only way the rest of us will be safe.
To carry the analogy further, rabies is highly infectious to humans. Once it gets into us, we are doomed to become rabid ourselves. Sooner or later, whether we want to or not, we are going to have to kill these people. There is no answer for ISIS but the sword.
As we consider this somber thought, we might also consider the less emotional, but critical, questions. ISIS is only a discreet entity in terms of name. It is in reality just another branch of the same well-funded army of satan that is flourishing in Nigeria under the label Boko Haram.
ISIS has managed to wage actual war against governments in Syria and Iraq. Funding, equipping, training, feeding and sustaining an army capable of waging war against two governments simultaneously takes huge amounts of money. It appears that this particular army is aided by traitors in the governments it is attacking, but that is another story. The point here is more basic: Where is that war-waging money coming from?
I’m not talking about baklava sale money. I’m also not talking about individual money. It takes government money to fund war against standing governments on two fronts; three fronts, if you include Hamas.
Wealthy individuals are almost certainly contributing to the support of these human rabid dogs. But the kind of inexorable stream of big-time money that it takes to fund a war against governments on three fronts comes from another government.
Who is it?
It’s not Russia. They’re aiding the Syrians against ISIS.
I don’t think it’s a European country. It’s not Australia or Japan.
Who has that kind of money and a history of terrorist activities all over the world?
I don’t know, but when I was talking about this with my family last night, one of them said, “It may be China.”
That’s just a guess in a living-room conversation, but it certainly fits, doesn’t it?
We’ve got to figure this out. Who are we really up against here?
ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, et al, are the ones holding the guns, wielding the knives. They are the raping, murdering, little-girl stealing, baby-beheading rabid dogs.
But somebody is feeding these dogs. If it’s our Communist trading partner, China, they’re probably using our money to do it.
Boko Haram, the mass murderers in the name of Allah who have rampaged at will over Northern Nigerian for years never made sense of me.
They were heavily armed and appeared to be able to burn down churches and schools, engage in protracted assaults on large institutions, without undue interference from the government of Nigeria. Boko Haram could waltz into any location, kill, raze, burn and kidnap, then waltz back out and nobody stopped them.
They are a good-sized band of armed men, rampaging over the countryside, yet nobody can figure out where they are. They have no visible means of support, yet they are fed, clothed, sheltered, armed and trained — all, we are led to believe, by magic, or the terrorist fairy or some such.
It never made sense. Not one bit of sense.
In fact, it reeked of government corruption on a vast scale.
This has been going on, and the bodies have been piling up, for a long time. So far as I know, I was the only one who kept asking these impertinent questions about who was funding them, why the Nigerian military couldn’t find them and take them out, and what, exactly, was so rotten in Nigeria. My questioning ranged far and wide, including what I fervently hope turns out to be wrong fears that somehow or other the oil in Nigeria had involved American interests in this killing on some level.
Whatever was going on, I knew absolutely that the stories we were hearing did not add up.
The smell of it all finally got seriously international when Boko Haram kidnapped around 300 school girls with the stated purpose of selling them as sex slaves. (They did say they were going to sell some of them as “wives,” but “wife” in this context sounds like sex slave to me.)
All it took was a bit of looking. Or rather just a tad of not ignoring the obvious. The international outrage allowed the obvious to come up and start biting prominent Nigerians in the nose.
In what I expect, if there is any genuine honesty building in Nigeria, will be the very first and smallest revelation, ten of Nigeria’s generals and five other high-ranking officers have been found guilty of supplying arms to Boko Haram. These are generals from the same military that was in charge of protecting the civilian population from the terrorists.
Reports coming out of Nigeria say that soldiers have been talking about this — and being ignored — for quite some time. There are other reports that members of the Nigerian military actually participate in Boko Haram’s raids on the civilians that the military is supposed to protect. Then, after murdering the people whose safety they are charged to maintain, these same soldiers go back into column with whatever passes for a “legitimate” military in Nigeria.
I’m guessing that the police, as well as government officials on every level, are involved in this, as well.
People I know in Nigeria have told me that the corruption there is overwhelming. They tell me that it is impossible to engage in business with the government at any level without bribing officials. Bribes are taken as a commonplace, something expected in order to function. I’ve been told that Christians demand and accept bribes, as well as others.
I have a small message for every Nigerian Christian: Do not ask for or accept bribes.
I have another small message for every Nigerian Christian clergyman: If you are not preaching about honesty and exhorting your parishioners to stop soliciting and accepting bribes, you are ignoring one of the most poisonous sins in your society. Get with it preachers: Preach.
As for the generals and members of the Nigerian military who have committed this treason, I think the death penalty is warranted. I generally oppose the death penalty, but this is a situation in which the government is too corrupt to trust to keep these people out of action where they can not continue to do harm. When the government cannot provide for the public safety without the death penalty, then the death penalty becomes a necessity.
This breakdown of governance needs to be stopped if Nigeria is to survive.
From ABC News:
Ten generals and five other senior military officers have been found guilty in courts-martial of providing arms and information to Boko Haram extremists, several Nigerian newspapers said Tuesday, though the military insisted there was no truth in the reports.
They follow months of allegations from politicians and soldiers who told The Associated Press that some senior officers were helping the Islamic extremists and that some rank-and-file soldiers even fight alongside the insurgents and then return to army camps. They have said that information provided by army officers has helped insurgents in ambushing military convoys and in attacks on army barracks and outposts in their northeastern stronghold.
Leadership newspaper quoted one officer saying that four other officers, in addition to the 15, were found guilty of “being disloyal and for working for the members of the sect.”
Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, who last week denied reports saying senior officers were being investigated, reiterated in a statement on Tuesday that defense headquarters “wishes to state once again categorically that there is no truth whatsoever in the report.”
He called it a “falsehood” concocted by those who “appear hell-bent on misleading Nigerians and the international community to give credence to the negative impression they are so keen to propagate about the Nigerian military.”
Nigeria’s military often denies substantiated reports, such as on extrajudicial killings of civilians and detainees. It is accused of such gross human rights violations that the U.S. efforts to help in the rescue of nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls have been limited by U.S. law restricting sharing of some types of information and technology with abusive security forces.
The alleged sabotage by senior officers could explain the military’s failure to curb a 5-year-old Islamic uprising by Boko Haram that has killed thousands despite a year-long state of emergency in the northeast.
It appears that the ordinary people of Nigeria are getting enough of Boko Haram.
Villagers in Northern Nigeria have evidently lost faith in the government and begun taking things in their own hands. According to reports in Al Jezeera, local people in Northern Nigeria have killed and detained scores of Boko Haram “fighters” suspected of planning another attack.
After locals from the village of Kalbalge learned of an impending Boko Haram attack, they ambushed two trucks loaded with gunmen. At least 41 fighters were killed in the attack and approximately 10 armed men were disarmed and detained.
Kalbalge is in Borno, the same province where more than 300 girls were abducted last month. Boko Haram has been burning churches and murdering innocent civilians with impunity for years. I have personally talked to an Anglican bishop from Northern Nigeria whose church was burned, daughter was abducted and a parishioner beheaded.
In January, Boko Haram attacked a large Nigerian school, killed 29 boys, some as young as 11, burned their bodies and set fire to the school. They bombed the bus station in Abuja, just a few days after kidnapping the girls. On May 8, Boko Haram attacked the Nigerian village of Gamboru Ngala, killing at least 150 people, some of whom they burned alive. They have abducted more schoolgirls since the abduction in April.
From the New York Post:
I normally do not like vigilante law. But if the government of Nigeria either can’t or won’t defend the people of their nation, the ordinary citizens must do something themselves.
They’re still stealing children.
Islamist extremist group Boko Haram continues to rampage freely through northeastern Nigeria, blowing up a second strategic bridge, killing an unknown number of villagers and abducting the wife and two children of a retired police officer, residents said Saturday.
News of the ongoing carnage came as a team of French intelligence experts landed in the country, joining American and British teams with hopes of rescuing 276 school girls kidnapped more than three weeks ago by the terrorist group.
Details were murky on the latest child captives, taken Friday as Boko Haram converged on the town of Liman Kara on the Cameroon border, driving 3,000 people from their homes.
Officials and residents said they fled the carnage without having time to count their dead.
… The group, which seeks to abolish Western-style schools and impose fundamentalist Sharia law on the country, has captured or shot hundreds of schoolchildren in its five-year reign of terror.
I’m a little disappointed in Public Catholic readers.
I posted a video yesterday of First Lady Michelle Obama talking about the girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram. The first lady also discussed the attacks on girls in a more general fashion.
A number of Public Catholic readers responded with knee-jerk denunciations of the first lady that sounded very much like anything-she’s-against-I’m-for. The really ugly — and flat-out shameful — comments are now sleeping in the delete file.
If Michelle Obama finds a cure for cancer, are Public Catholic readers going to come out in favor of cancer?
It appears that if she speaks in support of hundreds of school girls who have been kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam and are being sold as slaves, then at least some Public Catholic readers will evince difficulty in supporting the girls alongside her. They will instead launch into divisive and rather ugly attacks on her and by doing that, come out, at least obliquely, in support of violence and atrocities against women.
Is there violence against men and boys, as well? Yes. But to suddenly start proclaiming that women and girls are not treated as second class citizens all over the globe and that they are not subjected to horrific violence is not only ridiculous, it is disgusting.
I’m going to put a video from the Vatican below in support of the kidnapped girls. Boko Haram has released another of their charming videos. It appears that they are now demanding some sort of prisoner exchange for the girls they haven’t already sold.
Pope Francis has spoken in favor of these girls and against their kidnapping. I realize that by posting a video from the Vatican, I will now have to start deleting the comments from people who hate Pope Francis as well as those who hate Michelle Obama.
Because, you see, there are those — all of whom feel they are not only faithful Catholics, but more more faithful in their Catholicism than the pope himself — who, if Pope Francis discovered a cure for cancer, would come out in favor of cancer.
This kind of thinking is not thinking at all. If someone you don’t like says something that is true, then they said something that is true. When you attack the truth, or in this case, the plain facts and reality itself, in order to discredit them, you don’t discredit them. You discredit yourself.
Do not be driven by your hatreds people. In fact, take a look at yourself and stop hating others because you disagree with them. Don’t let your ideologies drive out your capacity for compassion, fair play and common sense.
I’m too busy this week and for the next couple of weeks to write as much as I normally do. And I’m going to be tired, grumpy, irascible and mistake-prone. If I’ve said this too harshly, please remember that I respect and like Public Catholic’s readers. But don’t come on here and speak out, even obliquely, in support of the atrocities committed against women and girls because someone you disagree with politically said that these atrocities are wrong.
Stop knee-jerking. And think.
First Lady Michelle Obama made a public statement about the barbarous kidnapping of over 200 school girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Mrs Obama broadened her discussion to talk about the war on girls, in particular the war on the education of girls, which is occurring in many parts of the world today. Cowardly men throw acid in little girl’s faces, maiming and disfiguring them for life are unfit to be called men.
A society in which bands of armed men abduct hundreds of girls from their school in order to use and sell them as sex slaves is unfit to cohabit with the civilized world.
President Jonathan Goodluck of Nigeria asked President Obama to help him fight Boko Haram last fall.
I know he was serious about it because he does what anybody who is serious about making their case with our elected officials must do: He hired a high-dollar lobbyist to do his talking for him.
It cost Nigeria $3 million to hire the Patton Boggs lobbying firm to explain that Boko Haram are terrorists to American politicians. If that doesn’t tell you where things are with our government (and I’m not talking about the Rs and the Ds, I am talking about our government) then nothing will.
One of the most important things President Goodluck wanted was to have Washington define Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, something the State Department has refused to do. This would have made it possible to track monies going to fund Boko Haram, which, in my opinion, is a key factor in bringing them down. I’ve written before about the American government’s refusal to do this.
American officials have been talking a lot since the groundswell of public outrage created by the kidnapping of around 300 Nigerian school girls by Boko Haram. As it becomes clear that the girls were kidnapped to sell and use as sex slaves, public outrage has deepened, leading to even more Beltway chatter on the subject.
First Lady Michelle Obama has even gotten into the act.
Unfortunately a good bit of what American officials have been saying has turned out to be either lies or a reflection of how badly misinformed they are. Claims that Nigeria has refused American help due to an insular resistance to outsiders have turned out to be untrue. Instead, the Nigerians have been asking for our help and have been turned away.
So, where does that leave us, other than concerned about these poor girls and, as usual, feeling cynical about the lying liars in our own government?
I think one thing we should consider is the fact that Nigeria is an oil producing nation. As such, that makes it prey for all sorts of corporatist interests. I do not know what part that plays in this sad drama, but I’m guessing that it is a significant one.
I was talking about this situation in Nigeria with friends over dinner a few nights ago. One of them said, “be careful about blaming the Nigerians. Once we get into this, we may find out that the we’re (meaning our government and corporatist interests) are mixed up in it somehow.”
That still hasn’t been proven.
What we know is that people in Washington have spewed out a bunch of inaccurate statements about America’s behavior and that of the Nigerian government. We also know that our government has refused to help Nigeria in the recent past, and that there is oil money involved in Nigerian politics.
I’ve been critical of President Goodluck’s government and its inability or unwillingness to respond appropriately to Boko Haram’s terrorism. I am still utterly confounded by the Nigerian government’s long-term failure to protect its citizens. I am disgusted by the lies coming out of Washington, as well.
Maybe instead hiring expensive lobbyists to make his case before the American government, President Goodluck should just have hired someone like Blackwater. I’m not much for mercenary soldiers. But when the military of a nation is so inept, and the other nations it goes to for help are so … whatever this bunch in DC are … that may be something to consider. How many lives and how much chaos does Boko Haram have to cost before enough is too much?
That speculation aside, the important issue of when these deadheads are going to stop lying and blaming each other and get those girls back hasn’t been addressed.
From ABC News:
WASHINGTON – The Government of Nigeria last fall hired a powerful Washington lobbying firm to press its case for intelligence on violent terror group Boko Haram and to persuade the Obama administration to donate non-lethal equipment in the hunt for extremists, according to documents filed with the U.S. government.
Since nearly 300 schoolgirls in the northeastern town of Chibok were abducted nearly a month ago by a large force of Boko Haram militants, some officials in Washington have blamed the challenge of confronting the al Qaeda-aligned group formed in 2009 — but designated only last November as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. – on Nigeria’s resistance to accepting outside help.
The U.S. designation allows freezing of bank assets, adding Boko Haram members to no-fly lists and prioritizes law enforcement actions. ABC News and The Daily Beast reported Thursday that debates within the U.S. and Nigerian governments over how much of a threat was posed by the group delayed it being declared an FTO and a military Tier One Threat Group for two years.
Amid an international outcry over April’s abductions by Boko Haram of the Chibok schoolgirls, some U.S. officials have insisted that Nigeria didn’t want the FTO designation earlier than 2013 because it might elevate Boko Haram’s global jihadi status.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks Monday echoed those who’ve said that the African nation’s fierce pride also led it to shoo away offers of American and British counter-terrorism assistance, even after a United Nations office in Abuja was bombed three years ago.
“The [Nigerian] government had its own set of strategies, if you will, in the beginning,” Kerry said at a press conference. “And you can offer and talk, but you can’t do [anything] if a government has its own sense of how it’s proceeding. I think now the complications that have arisen have convinced everybody that there needs to be a greater effort.”
The FBI stands ready to assist Nigeria to help find the approximately 300 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram.
Considering the abysmal failure of Nigeria’s government to deal effectively with Boko Haram, I think they should consider taking the offer.
What role does government corruption play in the continued successes that Boko Haram has had at killing unarmed civilians and burning down churches and schools? This kidnapping is not the first time Boko Haram has attacked a Nigerian school.
On February 24 of this year, they slaughtered 59 boys aged 11 to 18 by shooting and burning them at a government school in Buni Yadi in Yobe state, Nigeria. They also burned the school’s 24 buildings to the ground.
The government was not able to stop them, even though an attack like this must have taken quite a bit of time. The government has been unable to track Boko Haram down and kill or capture their leaders.
Boko Haram appears to be heavily armed with expensive weapons, as well as having pickup trucks, armored vehicles and motorcycles. I’ve raised the question of money before. It takes money to buy these things. It also takes money to buy gasoline, food and the other necessities of maintaining this group.
Who is funding Boko Haram?
Why is the Nigerian government unable to track them down? How can they manage to engage in sustained attacks on schools in which they murder large numbers of people by shooting them, then have the time to burn down the facilities and burn the bodies as well without the government responding?
I have no doubt that the FBI can find these people. Nigeria needs to take all the help it can get.
From ABC News:
U.S. law enforcement officials said today that the FBI is standing ready for a possible deployment to Nigeria to help find the 276 teenage girls abducted from a school, but that no help had yet been requested.
“Last week, the attorney general told U.S. intelligence agencies to prepare a report for him on the kidnapping of the 300 girls in Nigeria and also requested an assessment of Boko Haram, the militant group behind the kidnapping,” a government official told ABC News.
As many as 300 girls, ages 16 to 18, were taken from their dormitories at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria, on April 15, according to the Associated Press. The students had been studying for final exams at their local school.
Police said that about 53 had escaped but as many as 276 remained in captivity. The leader of Boko Haram claimed responsibility today for the kidnapping and said he intended to sell the girls in the marketplace, according to a video obtained by the news agency AFP.