I still have to write my year-in-review on music. I'll do that later tonight, after I've partied too hard and drank too much. I don't know when it will go up because I'll write it in long hand and work on it until I'm done or crash. If it's the latter, it'll probably go up late Saturday.
I did not post Thursday. I wasn't the only one. Wally, Cedric and Isaiah also did not. The four of us agreed to post on Friday or Saturday -- agreed amongst ourselves -- because we knew that if everyone in the community -- except C.I. and Third -- stopped posting on Thursday, some community members would feel let down.
Be sure to read Marcia's "2010 in Page Turners" and Rebecca's "2010 in page turners" look at the best in books you can't put down and also Ann's "10 Best DVDs of 2010" and Stan's "10 Best DVDs of 2010" on their picks for best DVDs of the year.
Marcia and Rebecca have me interested in checking out this Steve McQueen book and I really want to see Salt and Tetro as a result of Ann and Stan's joint-piece. I don't see that many movies as it is. I should see more but who has the time. I really wanted to see Salt at the movies this summer. It struck me as a real pop corn film and I could see going in on a hot day, buying a big bucket of pop corn and a huge soda and sitting down in the back -- back row -- to watch that film in the cool of the air conditioning. But there was just never time.
I used to see most of the films that came out in the Bay Area each year -- that's big and small films -- and that's a lot of films. But since 2005, I really haven't had that kind of time. And since 2006, I've been on the road.
Victor Manuel Ramos and Emily C. Dooley (Newsday) report that 41-year-old Iraq War veteran Bill McKenna died Tuesday "at a Florida hospice from a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that his family, doctor and the Department of Veterans Affairs said was linked to his exposure to toxic fumes from one of the military's burn pits -- where anything from regular garbage to plastic refuse and feces were routinely burned at bases in Iraq." From the article:
Military agencies could not be reached Friday for comment. The Tampa Tribune reported earlier this week that the Veterans Affairs Department has linked McKenna's cancer to the burn pits.
Visiting hours are from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Johnstons' Wellwood Funeral Home, 305 N. Wellwood Ave. in Lindenhurst.
And here's something that really ticks me off, Newsday let's you rate articles on a star basis with four being the best. Who would rate the story of this man's death as not worth reading? I have no idea. Maybe KBR and people responsible for the burn pits? Regardless, the article was one-star. I voted four-star.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Thursday:
And Christmas did take place, was publicly celebrated in the KRG. They beefed up security, there were no known attacks on Iraqi Christians. Nathan Deuel (Daily Beast) reported from Erbil, "It's Christmas morning in northern Iraq, and the parishioners of St. Joseph's Church are emerging from their homes into the bright desert sunlight. With two Iraqi friends, I drive along narrow avenues decorated with twinkling lights and the occasional inflatable Santa. We pass a clutch of men wearing bright sweaters, pressed slacks, and loafters. A trio of women breaks into tight smiles; one is wearing a red skirt with a band of white snowflakes. We round the corner, and we're surprised to see that a shimmering tanker truck is blocking the road to the church. Frowning men in uniform wave their arms. As one of the largest Christian centers of worship in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Iraq, the church is a potential target. We're urged to park down the block. But high security is better than nothing at all."
How is Barzani able to do to that over three provinces and Nouri can't even secure the city of Baghdad? In what world does that make sense?
Janet Ritz (Huffington Post) interviewed Qubad Talabani, the KRG's US representative and the son of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Excerpt:
In Iraqi Kurdistan, nationalism is the common belief in a distinctly pluralistic society where the Kurds have opened their gates to Iraqi Christians seeking refuge from extremist violence.
"We've had this welcoming policy [to Iraqi Christians];" Mr. Talabani explains; "we've probably settled in Kurdistan 12,000 to 15,000 Christian families and, regrettably, hundreds of thousands have left Iraq altogether. Those who've chosen not to leave Iraq have resettled in Kurdistan."
They've shown the same tolerance toward other religious minorities. Problems, when they do arise, are cultural in nature. Mr. Talabani was candid about the challenges faced by women in their rural regions, with crimes of honor killings and female genital mutilation, on which, he said, Kurdistan, unlike other parts of the Middle East, reports and has begun work to stop. It won't be easy. In the male dominated culture that exists in the rural areas, he points out that it will take religious leaders and village elders to change the practices. There's been some progress in those efforts, including a statement by the Kurdish Islamic authority to condemn the practices, but, as he said, "we can't shy away" from the problem. There's more work to be done.
Long targeted throughout the endless and illegal Iraq War, Iraqi Christians have faced a new wave of persecution which began October 31st with the attack on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad. Attacks have continued in Baghdad and Mosul forcing many Iraqis to flee. Some have gone to the KRG, others have left the country. J. Lee Grady (Charisma) looks back at the "Top Spiritual Trends of 2010" and notes, "The Open Doors organization says the 'religicide' of Christians in Iraq today is similar to what happened to Iraqi Jews in 1941." Maria Mackay (Christian Today) reports:
Barnabas Fund recently received a letter from an Iraqi archbishop warning that Christians were too afraid to leave their homes. The very real threat of being killed in broad daylight is making it difficult to do the very practical things like shopping and, more importantly, going to work.
The international director of Barnabas Fund, Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, said: "It is like living in a prison camp. You could leave the house but you don't know what is going to happen. Because of the targeted attacks, there is a chance that Christians venturing out to work or onto the streets will be attacked or killed. The fear is effectively leaving Christians stranded in their homes."
February 25, 2011
Busboys & Poets,
14th & V st NW
This report back will be to answer questions from media and the peace movement about the recent trip back to Iraq by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
The war is not over but it is not the same as it was in years past.
What is the humanitarian situation in Iraq?
How can we do reparations and reconciliation work?
Speakers are all returning from this delegation and include:
Geoff Millard (IVAW)
Hart Viges (IVAW)
Haider Al-Saedy (Iraqi Health Now)
Richard Rowely (Big Noise Films)
"We want to end the war now!" hollered Barack Obama to the Cult of St. Barack at the many tent revivals during the 2008 Democratic Party primaries. He used double speak and made promises he had no intention of keeping -- as Samantha Power pointed out to the BBC in March of 2008 -- and he's become the War Hawk Supreme and fraudlent in so many ways. Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan examines who Barack allows redemption for and whom he refuses it to:
the huffington post
j. lee grady
the new york times
the orange county register
the pensacola news journal