Tag Archives: James Foley

RANDOM THOUGHTS

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There’s been a lot of talk following the murder of James Foley, the release of another journalist, and an appeal from the mother of a third. The talk assumes that the US government has a responsibility to protect Americans wherever they go in the world.

Whereas France and Germany will pay ransoms to rescue their nationals held by terrorists, the US and UK will not deal with them. The demand for James Foley’s life was 80 million pounds ($132 million). Small change for Washington but should our leaders deal with these people?

When Diane and I lived in Africa, we often found ourselves in very difficult situations. Sometimes these were life threatening. But never once did I expect either of our governments to come to our rescue. On one occasion, I remember a car coming into our driveway with all three of our children in it, when they should have been in school.

It turned out that soldiers had landed by helicopter in the school playground, shooting as they landed. The British High Commission decided to send the children home. This happened after a coup when everybody was rather nervous. We were never billed for this rescue. I am truly thankful that they took the action they did. But I really never thought they had a responsibility to come to our aid whenever we were in trouble.

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Talking of Great Britain, the country seems to have overlooked a very important anniversary this month. Earlier in August, there were commemorations for the centenary of the start of the First World War on August 4th. This tragic event, which changed our world beyond all recognition, should be remembered.

But August 2014 is also the tercentenary of the establishment of the dynasty that continues to reign over the UK and other countries in the Commonwealth.

When Queen Anne died in 1714, she left no heirs, though she was pregnant seventeen times. Her nearest living Protestant relative was the Elector of Hanover, Prince George, who was asked to come to England and be king. There were actually 56 closer relatives but they were all Catholics and, therefore, denied the throne under the terms of the 1701 Act of Settlement. Realize if any of the other 56 had changed religion and assumed the throne, there would never have been a Queen Victoria or Elizabeth II.

Things did not get off to an auspicious start for the new King George – he divorced his wife before leaving Germany and had his mistress with him when he arrived in England.  In addition, there was rioting in at least twenty British cities and towns when he became king. But the British wanted a king – memories of the republic 60 years earlier were not good and they did not want to go down that route again. That king also had to be a Protestant.

George remained as king until his death in 1727. He continued to speak German and never really felt at home in his new country. In fact, he died while visiting his native Hanover.

At the time, nobody would have thought that they were establishing a system of government that would endure for three centuries and be exported to other countries around the world. George’s prime minister was Robert Walpole, who is now looked upon as the first prime minister. By the end of George’s reign, it was clear that the PM ran the country and the king was merely a figurehead, though an effective head of state in checking executive power. It’s a system that has given Britain and other countries a secure and stable political arrangement that continues to this day.

George was succeeded by three other Georges, none of whom could be considered a great monarch. In 1830, William IV became king but died seven years later.

His niece Victoria then assumed the throne and reigned for 64 years. Her marriage to her cousin Prince Albert earned her a great deal of respect and the monarchy became a lot more popular. That popularity continues to this day.

Under Victoria and Albert, the family’s name changed to Saxe-Coburg. In 1917, during a time of great anti-German feeling, the family wisely changed their name to Windsor, after the town west of London where they live.

Perhaps it was wise not to celebrate the tercentenary – it would not be a good idea to encourage people to look too closely into the lives of some of the monarchs who reigned during that 300 years. Not all have been like Queens Victoria and Elizabeth II.

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If you’ve always suspected the media of bias, here’s the latest proof.

Last week, an unarmed 20-year-old white male was shot dead by a black police officer in Utah. This incident was not reported on national news broadcasts.

You will remember that when a black male, aged 18, was shot dead by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, we had nightly coverage on the news for almost two weeks.

The deaths of young people are always a tragedy. It’s awful that their families have suffered such a loss. But the media is the issue here – they clearly need to be more even-handed and not take sides, jumping on the liberal bandwagon whenever the opportunity presents itself.

 

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JAMES FOLEY’S BEHEADING

James Foley beheading

I’ve started watching “Civilization,” a 1967 TV series which was a personal look at the history of western civilization by Kenneth Clark, who died in 1983. I remember watching it when it was originally shown. It’s good to see it again.

In the first episode, Lord Clark talked about how the barbarians destroyed Rome. They came in waves over the course of centuries. The last barbarian invasion was by Muslims in the seventh and eighth centuries.

Now, in 1967 Lord Clark could get away with describing the Muslims as barbarians. Today, he would be prosecuted for failing to be politically correct. He should rather have described the Muslims as people of an equally valid but different faith, or words to that effect.

But, if he were alive and able to watch the news today, I think he would still be tempted to use the word “barbarians.”

After the beheading of US journalist James Foley, what other term can be used?

In the western media, there is concern to arrest the man responsible, as if only one person would do such a thing. This was not an act of an individual; this is a movement, which is gaining ground. As a BBC reporter put it tonight: IS (Islamic State) is “the fastest growing terrorist entity of our time.” Their dream is to reestablish the Caliphate that ruled the Islamic world immediately after the death of Mohammed and continued until the fall of the Ottoman Empire 90 years ago. At its height the Caliphate ruled the Arab world, North Africa and the Balkans right up to the gates of Vienna.

Interviews on the streets of London show considerable support amongst British Muslims for the Caliphate. There is great disillusionment with the western way of life. Young UK jihadists operating in Syria and Iraq speak enthusiastically of beheading infidels while in the same conversation lamenting how much they miss certain British television programs and M&M’s!

It remains to be seen whether IS is fulfilling the prophecy of the first and second horsemen, depicted in Revelation 6. “ . . . I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer . . . Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.” (verses 1 – 4)  Famine and pestilence follow.

When asked by His disciples what would be the sign of His coming, Jesus Christ warned first of false religion (Matt 24:5). IS certainly fits that description. Islam itself is a false religion, in spite of what multiculturalists have been saying for forty years. IS is the most extreme form of Islam, totally intolerant of other faiths.

The so-called Caliphate already controls a territory the size of Pennsylvania, surrounded by other Arab territories and Iran. The West will not continue to bomb them indefinitely, at which point they will expand and conquer a bigger area.

They know they cannot defeat the West without direct attacks upon western targets.   When the American and British jihadists return to their homelands, they will likely continue with suicide bombings and street beheadings (remember Lee Rigby), striking fear into westerners who have never seen anything like it.

The beheading yesterday of James Foley was the first direct blow against America.   Others will certainly follow.

This could turn out to be the greatest threat ever to the US, UK, and other western nations.