Tag Archives: UK

AUTISM ENTERS POLITICS . . . and other news

Pauline Hanson delivering her comments on autism in schools. (http://www.2gb.com/podcast/pauline-hanson-comments-on-autism/)

Pauline Hanson is an Australian Member of Parliament.  She has her own political party, “Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party,” and often speaks out on immigration and related issues.

This week she spoke out on autism.   Specifically, she is calling for autistic children to be separated from other children, so that the others are not held back in their education.

Our eldest grandson, Aubren, who is five, is autistic.   I drive him to school most days and collect him from school seven hours later.    Because of this, I interact with his teachers a great deal.

All are aware of his autism.  Their approach is very different to Ms. Hanson’s.

About half of the pupils in his pre-kindergarten class do not have special needs.  Those who do have special needs participate in everything.  In addition, they have private sessions with speech therapists and others to help them keep up with the other children.  From what I have seen, this works very well.

There could be a case for separating autistic children if it is found that they will benefit.   What Ms. Hanson is suggesting is that autistic children be educated separately as their presence in the classroom is having a negative effect on non-autistic children.   Again, I’ve not seen any evidence for this.  And with so many children with autism, normal children need exposure to this to understand it, handle it, and see these children as potential friends, not objects of scorn and derision.

Nobody knows for sure what causes autism.  There are plenty of theories.  Some of these are put forward quite volubly by their adherents, but it remains the case that nobody knows for sure what causes the problem.  What is known is that the number of autistic children is increasing.  It is now one in 68.

The correct name for autism is Autism Spectral Disorder.  There is a wide spectrum when it comes to autism.  Many autistic children function well in different areas; but there are others, at the other end of the spectrum, who find it difficult to carry on a conversation, or indeed, speak at all.    Communication is a major challenge for autistic children.   So are emotions and affection.   In addition, many autistic people need “sameness” – they do not adjust well to a different environment or any change to their routine.  We are anxious about Aubren’s first day at kindergarten in August – new school, new teacher, new environment; he may bolt, trying to escape from it as it could be overwhelming for him.  His teacher, Miss Sue, from the last school year has volunteered to regularly take him to his new school and new playground to familiarize him with his future environment.  The right teachers make all the difference!

Aubren is a delightful boy.   Everybody loves him.   He plays well with other children.  He’s affectionate and loving.  I for one am very much against the idea that autistic children should be separated from other children of the same age.   After all, when they finish school at 18, they are going to have to mix with others in the working world.   Why not start now?

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BRITISH COMPROMISE

The news from England can be quite discouraging, with terrorism and Brexit dominating everything.  Britain’s position on just about everything reminds me of a verse in the Old Testament about Ephraim.   In Hosea 7:8 we read:   “Ephraim compromises with the nations; he’s a half-baked cake.” (International Standard Version.)   A half-baked cake is of no use to anybody.

Julius Caesar put it somewhat differently, when he described Britain as “perfidious Albion.”   England is no longer ruled by those ancient Britons, having been taken over by Angles and Saxons shortly after the Romans left the country.   Perhaps it’s the weather, which is very unpredictable.

Whatever the reason, Mrs. May is perfecting “compromise.”   It’s been the British way all my lifetime.

Consider the following:

After a “terror” attack outside of a leading London mosque, she had the opportunity to boldly speak some badly needed truths.  The attack was by a “lone wolf,” a man from Cardiff in Wales who was obviously upset about recent terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists. He drove his car into a crowd outside of the mosque.   Nothing can excuse this, but it provided Mrs. May with an opportunity to say that people are understandably scared after the recent terror attacks. Instead, she condemned “Islamophobia” and said the government was going to stamp it out. Islamophobia is a natural and reasonable response to Islamic terror – the only way to defeat Islamophobia is by Muslims themselves doing something about terrorism.

Also, was the driver of the car really a terrorist?   He had no links to any terror organization, domestic or foreign.  Describing him as a “terrorist” puts his act on a par with the real terror attacks that have taken place, when they are very different.   His was motivated by a fear of Muslims.

Thirdly, Mrs. May is promising more security for mosques.   There is no such protection for churches.  What the prime minister is doing is inadvertently giving Islam a special status.

Today, there was yet more compromise, this time with the European Union, as Britain negotiates itself out of the 27-member organization.

Mrs. May announced this morning that 3 million people from other EU countries can remain in Britain after Brexit.   Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, responded with: “It’s not sufficient.”  Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, was equally dismissive.   Neither man was elected by the people.  They are professional bureaucrats — with all the arrogance that comes with it.

The UK is going to find that compromise doesn’t work with the EU – or with Islam!   Britain will keep on compromising with both, until another Winston Churchill arises – if there is one.

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ROYAL DEPRESSION

It’s surely a depressing time for the Queen.   The multicultural dream she has spent decades developing seems to be crumbling.   It’s not just Islamic terrorism.   Even the fire at the 24-storey apartment block in London brought it out. Most of the residents were from other cultures with no understanding of the way Britain works. After an incident like this, there’s usually a government inquiry and then changes are made based on recommendations received.

On this occasion, residents were quick to protest and even riot, storming the local county offices who are responsible for building safety.   Mrs. May had to quickly promise new accommodation in a luxury apartment block.   The taxpayer will have to foot the bill.

It turned out the fire was started by a faulty fridge.   It spread quickly because of the insulation used.

In view of all these problems, it’s not surprising that nobody in the royal family wants to be king, according to Prince Harry in an interview this week.

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MEDIA BEWILDERED BY VOTE

I don’t know if the Queen has ever been to Georgia, a colony (now a state) named after her ancestor, George II, who reigned from 1727-1760.

Georgia was the center of attention this week due to a by-election in the 6th Congressional district.

As the election got nearer, TV news people were ecstatic at the prospect of a Democratic victory.   It had to happen as Donald Trump is so unpopular!  The election was even described as “a referendum on Trump.”

The party that represents the wealthy elite, the Democrats, spent more than eight times as much money contesting this seat, as the Republicans, now the party of the working man.   In spite of this massive outlay of cash, the Democrats lost.   If this truly was a referendum on Trump, he must be doing ok.

The BBC was totally discombobulated.   Commentators kept repeating that the president has less than a 40% approval rating, so how could this possibly be the result?   It won’t happen again when the mid-term elections take place in November next year, they assured viewers.

Haven’t they learned yet that polls are not reliable?

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ISRAEL’S TICKING TIME BOMB

“The southern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv have been overrun in recent years.   The number of African asylum-seekers and economic migrants now living there is approaching 100,000.

Some have been repatriated.   But most remain in the country illegally.

Israel finds itself in a conundrum – how can it turn away or deport those in need considering the Jews’ own history?   At the same time, how can the tiny nation of Israel absorb such numbers without taking a serious hit to its economy?

And time’s running out to find a solution.

According to Oved Hugi, a social activist from southern Tel Aviv, the “infiltrators’ birthrate stands at 10,000 per year.   That means 50,000 children in five years, and that should cause the Prime Minister to lose sleep.   South Tel Aviv is a ticking time bomb.”   (Israel Today)

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SAUDIS BETRAY REAL FEELINGS

On June 8, 2017, the Saudi national football team met the Australian national team for a match in Adelaide as part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The match began with a minute of silence for the victims of the London Bridge terror attack on June 3, among whom were two Australians.   However, while the members of the Australian team observed the minute of silence, the Saudi players appeared to ignore it and continued moving around the pitch. (MEMRI 6-21)

Why are people surprised, when Wahhabism is the official religion of Saudi Arabia? Wahhabis support violence against infidels (non-believers) and believe violence is justified to spread Islam.

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Canadian sniper makes record kill shot                                                                    A sniper with Canada’s elite special forces has shot and killed an Isis fighter in Iraq from a distance of 2.1 miles, shattering the world record for the longest confirmed kill shot previously held by a British sniper.  The shot took 10 seconds to reach its target and the sniper would have had to consider distance, wind and the curvature of the earth when taking aim.  (Globe and Mail) 

Refugees in Germany to be jobless for years                                                       Up to three-quarters of Germany’s refugees will still be unemployed in five years’ time, according to Aydan Özoğuz, the country’s commissioner for immigration, refugees and integration. The stark admission of the challenges Germany faces in integrating its huge migrant population comes as Angela Merkel seeks a fourth term as chancellor in elections in September. (FT)

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RANDOM THOUGHTS ON RECENT EVENTS

24-storey apartment building in London on fire

I stayed up late a week ago to watch the British election results, broadcast live on BBC World’s television channel.   It soon became clear that Theresa May’s ruling Conservatives were not doing well. Mrs. May had called an early election to strengthen her position prior to the start of Brexit talks with the European Union.   Her gamble failed – she now finds herself leading a party that does not control over 50% of parliament.   To stay in office, she has had to enter a coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the pro-British faction from Northern Ireland.

This is already being misinterpreted by Sinn Fein, the anti-British, pro-republican faction from Northern Ireland; it could easily lead to further violence in the province.

There’s another threat to the coalition. Mrs. May also relies on the Scottish Conservatives, who did extremely well in the election, increasing their parliamentary representation from one to thirteen seats.  Their leader, Ruth Davidson, who is married to her female partner, is a fervent supporter of same-sex marriage; while the Northern Irish conservatives are socially very traditional.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this all works out.

At the very least, it has weakened the government at a crucial time, as negotiations begin on Monday, with the most efficient and uncompromising bureaucracy on the face of the earth – the European Union.

An additional threat comes from the opposition Labour Party.   A prominent voice in the party is calling for one million people to take to the streets to bring down Mrs. May.   Sound familiar?

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  (Mark 3:25.)

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EUROPEAN LEADERS CHILDLESS

Talking of Europe, note the following, sent by a friend in New Zealand:

• Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected French president, has no             children.
•  German chancellor Angela Merkel has no children.
•  British prime minister Theresa May has no children.
•  Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni has no children.
•  Holland’s Mark Rutte, has no children.
•  Sweden’s Stefan Löfven, has no children.
•  Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel, has no children.
•  Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon has no children.
•  Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has        no children.

So a grossly disproportionate number of the people making decisions about Europe’s future have no direct personal stake in that future.

Additionally, in the last few days, the Irish Republic has a new prime minister.   He also has no children.  The press has been full of the fact that he is the youngest prime minister ever.   He is also half-Indian and gay, neither of which is an issue.   (Serbia’s new prime minister is also gay, as is Luxembourg’s PM.)

At the very least, all the above are thinking short-term, wanting to win the next election.   When Europe was dominated by kings, at the very least the leaders wanted to preserve their thrones for their descendants;  this also meant ensuring the continuation of the nation-state.   Both of these factors no longer apply.

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THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS

Talking of kings, King Henry II got a mention in the US Congress a week ago.   Henry died long before the United States ever existed as a nation – even before America was “discovered” by Christopher Columbus.   He reigned from 1154-1189.

Note the following from Vanity Fair:

“The James Comey hearing has officially gone medieval.   A little less than two hours into the former FBI director’s highly watched testimony, Comey dropped a reference to Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury who was killed at the casual request of King Henry II in the year 1170.   The reference popped up when Senator Angus King was questioning Comey, asking him about Donald Trump’s seemingly casual but firm request to have Comey drop the FBI’s Michael Flynn investigation.  Though Trump did not demand outright that Comey drop the investigation, even his slightest requests come with an air of seriousness, King suggested.

“Do you take that as a directive?” King asked Comey of Trump’s question.

“Yes, yes,” Comey replied.   “It rings in my ears as kind of ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’”

Henry II was a very significant monarch.   James Comey learned a lesson from his reign.   Today’s British people, who have experienced three terrorist attacks in less than three months, could learn something else.   Note the following:

“Henry II, who is considered the father of the common law, promulgated the Assize of Arms in 1181. This required all (male) British citizens between 15 and 40 to purchase and keep arms.   The type of arms required varied with wealth; the wealthiest had to provide themselves with full armor, sword, dagger, and war horse, while even the poorest citizens, “the whole community of freemen,” must have leather armor, helmet and a lance.   Twice a year all citizens were to be inspected by the king’s officials to insure that they possessed the necessary arms.   Conversely, the English made it quite clear that the king was to be expected to depend exclusively upon his armed freemen.   When rebellious barons forced John I to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, they inserted in its prohibitions a requirement that he “expel from the kingdom all foreign knights, crossbowmen, sergeants, and mercenaries, who have come with horses and weapons to the harm of the realm.” (Historical Basis of the Right to keep and bear arms, by David P. Hardy, 1982)

During the recent terror attacks in England, on each occasion, one armed citizen could have made a significant difference and saved lives.  Medieval monarchs were very concerned that the people should be able to defend themselves against the French; today, the threat is Islamic extremists, but the principle remains the same.

Also note, in the quote above, that Henry’s second son, John, one of the worst monarchs in English history, was required by the people to “expel from the kingdom all foreign knights, crossbowmen, sergeants and mercenaries, who have come with horses and weapons to the harm of the realm.”

No prizes for guessing who should be expelled today!

It should be noted that King Henry did not introduce the right to bear arms; he simply restored an ancient right that went back to at least the reign of Alfred the Great, in the 9th century.  The Vikings were one of the problems at that time.  The threat changes, but a threat is always there.

With this in mind, I found the following interesting while studying this morning:   “The story of David and Goliath is helpful since “five smooth stones” and a “sling” are the closest equivalent to a handgun we can find in the Bible.   David seems to have been armed with his sling at all times.   There was no way he could run home to get his sling when a lion or a bear was about to attack his flock.   (1 Sam. 17:31-37, 41-54)

It’s possible that Jesus had the Old Testament case law in mind when He offered this injunction to His disciples:   “But be sure of this, if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.”   (Matt 24:43) (“Jesus, Guns and Self-defence – what does the Bible say?”)

Christians should, of course, strive to live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:18)   Jesus Christ said: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matt 5:9)   He also told us to “turn the other cheek.”  (vs. 38-39)

With terrorism, we are dealing with a totally different mind-set from Jesus Christ, a religious belief system that encourages and celebrates killing en masse.   People have to be able to defend themselves. King Henry understood this.   Today’s leaders in countries like the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada need to address the issue, enabling people to defend themselves from acts of barbarism.   In contrast, Australia has just announced an amnesty calling on citizens to hand over illegal weapons.

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THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON, 2017

The tragic apartment block fire in London dominated the news on Wednesday.   30 deaths have been confirmed, but scores of people are still missing.   There were also over sixty injured.   What started the fire is not known at this time, but a material used in construction appears to have helped the fire to quickly spread.   The Daily Express said Thursday that EU environmental directives could be the cause.

Most of the people in the apartment block seemed to have been from other countries in Africa and Asia.   Looking at the high-rise (24-storey) block of flats, as they are called in England, I wondered why people would leave their own countries to live in such an awful place.

My wife and I have spent many happy days in African villages.   I can truthfully say that I would rather live in one of those than in a high-rise apartment block in London, or any other major city.   Isaiah 5:8 warns against living too close to each other.   “Woe unto them that join house to house.”

What attracts people to move to the West varies for each individual. One of the established reasons in the UK is the generous welfare benefits.   Perhaps some of that money could be diverted to African villages to bring water and electricity to communities to improve their quality of life.   Together with the abolition of welfare for new arrivals, this would go some way to help solve the immigration crisis.

On BBC World this morning, interviews with survivors of the fire revealed a lot of understandable anger.   It’s also clear that many have an “entitlement mentality,” demanding that the government re-house them immediately, claiming that hotels are not good enough; they also dismissed Theresa May’s call for an independent inquiry – they want those responsible punished NOW.

Since writing the above, some residents and neighbors have stormed the local town hall, chanting their demands, blaming the fire on the Conservative government.   There was no logic – just a mob mentality. Scary and a sign of things to come. 


 

ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS

  • At the moment, the bar for taking extremists out of circulation is set ridiculously high.   People known for their own extremism that reaches pre-terrorist levels should not be walking the streets when they have expressed support for Islamic State (ISIS) or tried to head to Syria or called for the destruction of Britain and other democracies or allied themselves to people already in prison. Their demand for free speech or freedom of belief must never be elevated above the rights of citizens to live safely in their own towns and cities.   It is essential for parliament to lower the bar.
  • Is this to be the political landscape for the future, where groups of people demanding death and destruction are given the freedom of the streets whilst those wishing to hold a peaceful celebration are prevented from doing so?
  • To see extremist Islam as a “perversion” of Islam misses an important point.   The politically correct insistence that radical versions of Islam somehow pervert an essentially peaceful and tolerant faith forces policy-makers and legislators, church leaders, rabbis, interfaith workers and the public at large to leave to one side an important reality.   Flatly, Islam in its original and classic forms has everything to do with today’s radicals and the violence they commit.   The Qur’an is explicit in its hatred for pagans, Jews and Christians.   It calls for the fighting of holy war (jihad) to conquer the non-Muslim world, subdue it, and gradually bring it into the fold of Islam. Islam has been at war with Europe since the seventh century.

(“No tolerance for extremism, “ by Denis McMacEion, Gatestone Institute, 6/16).

 

BRITISH EMPIRE WAS A BLESSING

It has been suggested that citizens of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms be given their own “fast lane” at UK Points of Entry.   This will be good news for citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the smaller realms.   If the idea is approved, it will be a first step toward restoring closer Commonwealth ties that ended when Britain joined the EU.

While Britain has been a member of the European Union, EU citizens were able to go through the fast lane, while the rest of us waited for up to two hours, slowly inching forward in the “Aliens” line.

Post-Brexit, it will certainly be in Britain’s best interests to enter into closer trade and defense ties with the countries that share Britain’s parliamentary system and all have the same Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II.   Other Commonwealth countries have opted for a republican form of government, recognizing the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth but not retaining her services as their own sovereign.

It will also mean that, for the first time, the United Kingdom is reversing five decades of history and turning its attention again to its former Empire.

The word “Empire” has been a pejorative for two generations.   Before World War One, there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the British Empire around the world in territories that constituted the “empire upon which the sun never set.”   Over a quarter of the world’s people lived under the British flag.   Imperialism was in vogue and inspired millions of people to help develop other nations.

Today, people forget what a blessing the Empire was.  Let’s take a look at a few of those blessings.

1.  The Bible and religious freedom.

The fourteenth century philosopher and theologian, John Wycliffe, was the first man to translate all the scriptures into English.   His favorite verse was Philippians 2:12: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”   He struck the first blow for religious freedom and democracy by encouraging people to study for themselves and make up their own minds.

Two centuries later, the English Queen Elizabeth I, secured the Protestant Reformation by bravely sending her smaller fleet against the Spanish Armada.   England defeated the Spaniards, thereby thwarting an attempt by the pope to force the country back into the Catholic Church.

In the nineteenth century, the British and Foreign Bible Society, took the Bible into dozens of different countries.   The Wycliffe Bible Translation Society still exists, sending volunteers into poor and backward countries to develop a written language and then translate the Bible so that all may read it.

The most famous British missionary, David Livingstone, took the Bible with him into central Africa, to “bring light into darkness.”  He was also motivated by a desire to see the end of slavery, perpetrated by Arab slave traders, who were seizing black Africans as slaves.

2.  Britain was the first major country to abolish slavery.

Slavery was universal and had not been questioned until the eighteenth century.   It wasn’t just Africans who were taken as slaves.   One million white people were being held by Muslim slave traders at this time.   (“White Gold”, Giles Milton, 2004.)

In 1772, the Somerset decision by an English court, ruled that British people could not hold slaves, that all people in Britain were free. It took another 35 years before the slave trade was abolished and a further 27 years before slavery itself was ended throughout the British Empire.  (Denmark banned the slave trade in its territories a few years before Britain.)

One year after the abolition of the slave trade, the British government authorized the Royal Navy to stop ships on the high seas and free all the slaves.   Wikipedia has this to say about the West Africa Squadron:

“The Royal Navy established the West Africa Squadron (or Preventative Squadron) at substantial expense in 1808 after Parliament passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807.   The squadron’s task was to suppress the Atlantic slave trade by patrolling the coast of West Africa.   With a home base at Portsmouth, it began with two small ships, the 32-gun fifth-rate frigate HMS Solebay and the Cruizer-class brig-sloop HMS Derwent. At the height of its operations, the squadron employed a sixth of the Royal Navy fleet and marines.

“Between 1808 and 1860 the West Africa Squadron captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans.[“1]

Because of its role in fighting slavery, Britain was seen as a Liberator around the world.  Many tribes in Africa asked to be annexed into the British Empire, seeking protection from slave traders.  At one point, so many African tribes were asking to join the Empire that the British were overwhelmed. “The Dualla chiefs of the Cameroon repeatedly asked to be annexed, but the British either declined or took no notice at all.”  (Pax Britannica, James Morris, 1968, page 43)

In the last three decades of the nineteenth century, Victorians were caught up in an enthusiastic desire to see slavery ended in Africa, and the Bible, Protestant Christianity, democracy and the rule of law introduced (“Africa and the Victorians,” Robinson and Gallagher, 1961)

Sadly, in the sixty years since the end of the British Empire, slavery is back in every single African country, according to UNESCO.   The former Ghanaian President, John Kufour, condemned slavery in Ghana a few years ago on the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade throughout the British Empire; he also apologized for the role Ghana’s own chiefs had played in promoting slavery by selling their own people and members of other tribes.

3.  British capital developed many nations.

The definitive books on British investment around the world are the two volume “British Imperialism” by Cain and Hopkins.  The books highlight “London’s role as the chief provider of economic services during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries” (back cover, volume one).   London remains the world’s number one financial center (New York has the world’s biggest stock exchange).   Not only did British capital develop every country in the Empire, it was also responsible for developing the United States, Argentina, Brazil,Chile, the Ottoman Empire and China.

Interestingly, one reason that members of the European Union are upset over Brexit, is that Britain has been a net contributor to the EU, helping to finance development in other member nations.  When the UK leaves, where is the money going to come from?

4.   Another blessing of British rule was its governmental system and the administration of its various colonies.

Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its constitutional monarchy is the most stable political system in the world.   It was successfully exported to all its colonies and dominions.  Sixteen of those countries have retained the same system since independence, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of majority black countries in the Caribbean.  Queen Elizabeth remains as Head of State in all of these countries.

38 other countries, former colonies of Great Britain, did not retain the Queen as Head of State but still look to her as the Head of the Commonwealth.  Many of these nations have suffered through coups and counter-coups and periods of military rule.  In many, corruption is rife and the people are worse off than they were when colonies.

Interestingly, it was recently suggested that the United States join the Commonwealth, as an Associate member.  The Royal Commonwealth Society is opening a branch in New York City.

5.   The free world’s first line of defense.

For two centuries Great Britain was the “policeman of the world.”  The country brought down Napoleon, after which she was the undisputed leader of the world.  A century later, with her dominions and colonies, she brought down the Kaiser.  In World War Two, the British Empire was the only power that was in the war from beginning to end.   With later help from the Soviet Union and the United States, the Empire defeated Hitler and his monstrous Third Reich that was the most racist regime in modern history.  The Empire’s forces also kept the peace on the North-West frontier of India, in what are now Pakistan and Afghanistan and in other trouble spots around the world.

America’s pre-eminent historian, James Truslow Adams, wrote his history of “The British Empire 1784-1939” in the year that World War Two started, 1939.   This is the final paragraph in his book:   “In this world crisis, we in America have a great stake.  We know that stability is impossible without respect for law and order, for the honesty of the written and spoken word.  Without liberty of thought, speech and press, progress is impossible.  What these things mean to the world of today and tomorrow has been amply demonstrated by the negation of them in certain great nations during the past few years.   Different peoples may have different ideals of government but for those who have been accustomed to freedom of person and of spirit, the possible overthrow of the British Empire would be a catastrophe scarcely thinkable.  Not only would it leave a vacuum over a quarter of the globe into which all the wild winds of anarchy, despotism and spiritual oppression could rush, but the strongest bulwark outside ourselves for our own safety and freedom would have been destroyed.”  (page 358)

The Empire has indeed been replaced by “the wild winds of anarchy, despotism and spiritual oppression.”

It’s no wonder that, at the height of the Empire, during Queen Victoria’s reign and the first few years of the twentieth century, many people in Britain and its overseas territories, believed the Empire was a fulfillment of biblical promises made to Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Israel.  In Genesis, chapter 48, we read of howJoseph’s descendants were to become a great “multitude of nations” and a “great (single) nation,” the British Empire and Commonwealth and the United States.  They were to be a physical blessing to the world (Genesis 12:3).  In the late Victorian period, believers published a weekly newspaper called “The Banner of Israel”  — they enthusiastically tracked the daily growth of the British Empire and the United States at the time.

This belief was widely held in the trenches of World War One.  It’s ironic that those same trenches shattered the religious convictions of many, who witnessed the carnage first-hand.

No empire was perfect.  Britain made mistakes.  Often listed by anti-imperialists is the Amritsar massacre of 1919.  This was not deliberate government policy, but rather the misjudgment of the commanding officer.  The 1943 Bengal famine is also often mentioned; overlooked is the fact that this was in the middle of World War II when other nations also experienced famine. Historical mistakes were made in Ireland, which caused problems to this day.

Imperialism had been in vogue before 1914; after two world wars, there was great disillusionment.   Additionally, the colonial powers had serious financial problems.  Decolonization followed.  It was the end of the European empires.

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RUSSIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST

putin

While US media has been focussed on alleged Russian hacking of the US electoral process, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has strengthened its role in the Middle East.

The morning that America suffered a major setback in the Middle East, American news networks led on two deaths – those of actresses Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds.   Tragic though these deaths were, developments in the Middle East put America where Great Britain was exactly six decades ago.

Before World War Two, the British Empire was the dominant power in the region.   Britain withdrew from Israel in May of 1948. Immediately, the Jewish nation was invaded by five neighboring Arab nations.   Miraculously, Israel survived. In those early days, it was not helped by the United States.

In 1952, as a direct consequence of defeat against Israel, Egypt’s King Farouk was overthrown by the military.   The new leaders soon seized the Anglo-French Suez Canal.   Together with Israel, these countries invaded Egypt but were soon stopped by US President Eisenhower.   This single event led directly to the dismantling of the British Empire.   In 1958 the pro-British King of Iraq was overthrown.   Britain was losing its remaining influence in the area. The country fought a war against rebels in Aden, withdrawing from the protectorate in 1967.

It was a gradual decline, with one setback after another.   Now, the UK does not play any major role in the Middle East.

Since Britain, America has been the dominant power in the region. During the time of the Soviet Union, the US and the USSR were rivals in the area, with Moscow backing Egypt and Syria.   Later, Egypt switched sides and allied itself with the United States, but Moscow retained its influence in Syria.   Iran was in the US sphere of influence until the Shah was overthrown in 1979.

The region has seen never-ending turmoil since the fall of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire after World War One.   That turmoil shows no sign of ending.

The recent war in Iraq has left a big mess in the region.   At its root is the almost 1,400 year sectarian conflict between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam. Until the US invasion of Iraq, the country was dominated by Sunni Muslims, even though the majority of people were Shia Muslims (the reverse is the case in Syria).   Following the US backed election in Iraq, the majority Shia now rule the country. This development has altered the religious balance in the region and is causing repercussions everywhere.   ISIS was formed to protect Sunni Muslims from the now dominant Shia.

In Syria, Sunnis have been trying to overthrow the Alawite (Shia) minority regime of President Assad for five years.   Enter Moscow. Russia’s backing of the Syrian president has enabled Assad to win. The US showed a great deal of weakness, refusing to get involved even when the Syrian government crossed the line and used chemical weapons on its own citizens.   Now, after months of fighting in Aleppo, the biggest city of the country, Assad is firmly in power and Russia is sponsoring “peace talks” with the rebel factions in the country.   The US is not invited to the peace talks. Russia now controls Syria.   To accomplish this, the country needs Turkey’s help. The two are pushing for peace in the country. Turkey, the second most powerful military power in NATO, is now working with the Russians to bring peace to the Middle East.

That’s two set-backs for Washington in just a few days.

A third set-back is in Israel.   The outgoing administration in Washington did not veto the latest UN vote against Israel, condemning the country for building new settlements for Jewish settlers in the West Bank.   Friction between the US and the only western style democracy in the region is unsettling, to say the least. This set-back may only be temporary as a new President takes over in the US in just three weeks, but that gives a few days for further negative developments.   Even the British have criticized America’s condemnation of Israel.   The State Department seems set on causing rifts with US allies in the final days of the current Administration.

Keep in mind, too, that Syria borders Israel on the Golan Heights.   What happens in Syria may affect Israel.   Perhaps that’s why Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went to Moscow in June, the fourth time in a year that he sat down with President Putin to discuss the situation in the Middle East.

The tables have been turned once again in the region.   Over sixty years ago, the UK was the dominant power in the region; since then, it’s been the US.   But now Russia is arguably the dominant power in the area.   The Russians are in alliance with the Shi-ite Muslims in Iran and Syria; they are also working with Sunni Turkey, which ruled the whole area prior to 1919.   At the same time, it seems that Israel’s prime minister is more comfortable with Putin than with Obama, with whom he’s had a serious exchange of heated words in recent days.

There’s even a fourth development that puts Russia ahead. Following the hacking scandal, President Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the US; President Putin made it clear that he will not expel any Americans. This is a triumph for Putin in the propaganda war with America.

What lies ahead?   Remember that the Middle East is the primary focus of Bible prophecy with Jerusalem at the epicenter.

In the nineteenth century, there was no indication that the Jews were about to become an independent nation again.  Their period of self-rule ended with the Romans before the time of Christ.  Their rebellion against the Romans in the first century AD led to the Diaspora, a dispersion that scattered the Jewish people throughout the Roman Empire and left them scattered until fairly recently.   Bible prophecy showed that the Jewish nation would be restored and that happened in 1948.

Exactly a century ago, British and Australian forces entered Jerusalem in the continuing war with the Ottoman Turks.   At this point in time, a Jewish nation became possible.   The British were given a mandate to administer Palestine by the League of Nations.   This was an impossible task as Palestinians and Jews clashed repeatedly.   Eventually, the League’s successor, the United Nations, divided the territory up between Jews and Palestinians, the latter never accepting their loss of land.

 

 

WHAT’S ALEPPO?

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Gary Johnson is the leader of the Libertarian Party, a third party in the United States.   Polls showed the party had 9% support a few days ago – before Mr. Johnson made a big boo-boo on nationwide television.   When asked what he would do about Aleppo, he looked bewildered and asked the anchor:  “What’s Aleppo?”  Aleppo, you will remember, is Syria’s second biggest city and has been devastated in the country’s never-ending civil war.   Tens of thousands of refugees have been fleeing the city and the country, heading mostly for Europe.

It’s been big news – and Mr. Johnson was unaware of it!

Sadly, there will be many others in the country who are just as ignorant of the rest of the world.

I’m often amazed at how many people do not want to know what’s going on in the world.   Even Christians have a problem in this regard, despite what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 24:42:  “Watch therefore for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.”  The chapter answers the question from the disciples:  “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be?  And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (verse 3)

From other scriptures we know that the Middle East and Europe play a key role in world events.   Christians especially should be aware of what is happening in these two areas of the world, but too often they are not.   Sadly, some just do not want to know.

“. . . and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”  (Mark 4:19)

Mr. Johnson’s comment (or lack of comment) may have ended his presidential ambitions, which did not have much hope in the first place; but he’s not the only candidate aspiring to the presidency who is ignorant of international affairs.

Donald Trump’s comments on NATO could mean the end of an alliance that has guaranteed peace for the West since World War II; while Mrs. Clinton’s assurance that America is the “indispensable” nation overlooks the fact that America’s preeminence did not begin until after World War II.   Before that the world got along fine without the US and could do so again if the country pursued an isolationist course.

Next week, Jean Claude Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg and now President of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, lays out his plan for a European military.   The British were very much against this, seeing it as a threat to NATO.   But the British are no longer members of the EU. The remaining 27 members of the Union are now free to pursue their own combined military force, which has the potential to rival America’s.   The EU remains, even without the UK, the world’s biggest economy and, through trade, has greater economic power around the world than the US does.

Inevitably, an EU military force will be led by Germany, the most powerful economy in Europe.

While Americans remain preoccupied with their election, they may not have noticed a significant victory for the extreme right in last Sunday’s state election in Angela Merkel’s home state.   Her party came in third after the socialists and the fairly new anti-immigrant party known as the Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), which some claim is “neo-Nazi.”

“A nationalist, anti-immigration party performed strongly in a state election Sunday in the region where German Chancellor Angela Merkel has her political base, overtaking her conservatives to take second place amid discontent with her migrant policies.

The three-year-old Alternative for Germany, or AfD, won 20.8 percent of votes in the election for the state legislature in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Merkel’s Christian Democrats polled 19 percent, their worst result yet in the state.

The center-left Social Democrats, who led the outgoing state government in a coalition with the conservatives, remained the strongest party with 30.6 percent support.” (ABC News website, 9th September)

The successful vote for Brexit in the UK in June was motivated partly by anti-immigrant feeling.   AfD’s success in Germany is due to the same problem.   Next year’s federal elections in Germany are likely to reinforce the trend. In France next year a victory is predicted for their anti-immigrant party.   The US may see the same in November.

Voters throughout the western world are waking up to the twin threats from globalization and immigration, which together threaten their way of life.

At the same time there are increasing fears of further terrorism from radical Islamists.   Europe is being invaded by hundreds of thousands of potential terrorists, mostly from ISIS areas of influence.  Could this be the push by the king of the South as described in Daniel 11?   The only way to stop this invasion may be for the new European Army to invade the Middle East and stabilize the failed states of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, as the King of the North hits back.

The changes in Europe will affect the Middle East, the home countries of many of the recent refugees arriving at European borders.

The Visegrad Group is made up of four eastern European countries, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  These four are against the massive immigration that has been favored by Angela Merkel.  The four are working together to prevent further invasion from the Mideast by Islamic “refugees,” many of whom, it turns out, are actually from west Africa.   Could these four countries be the nucleus of the eastern leg of the revived Roman Empire prophesied by the prophet Daniel in chapter two of the Book of Daniel?

The developments listed above all have two things in common – I have heard nothing about any of them on the main American television news programs.   They are not considered important.  The US election gets priority.  Secondly, they are all of significance when it comes to biblical prophesies relating to Europe.  Christians can be forgiven for being ignorant of them.

Having said that, Aleppo has received some attention on national news programs.   Clearly, not everyone wants to watch!

EUROPE UNDER ATTACK

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Daily Star

Today’s triple bombings in Brussels, Belgium, are the latest ISIS attacks.   They follow an attack in Istanbul only three days ago.

Shortly after the Brussels attacks, I watched President Obama, supposedly “the Leader of the free world,” speaking to the people of Cuba.   He began his speech with a brief reference to the Brussels bombings, extending his condolences to the families of those killed. He then continued with the pre-set program, including attending a baseball game.

Once again, I was struck by how the President of the United States is living in the past, rather than the more complex present.   He’s not the only one, of course.   Aspiring presidents are mostly just the same.

It’s a sixties generation thing.

Remember the sixties, when the western world was turning to the left, immediately prior to the birth of multiculturalism, which has been the official religion of western countries ever since?

Liberal thinking has created a very different world from what we had over 50 years ago. Both Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Labour, have all wanted the same things, working toward the same goals.

Now, it’s all falling apart and we’re seeing a return to some of the old values, including patriotism, ethnic identity, nationalism, Trump in America, AfD in Germany and UKIP in the UK. Other parties want the same things in Sweden, Finland, Poland, The Netherlands, Italy and elsewhere.

The world is, once again, on the cusp of significant change.

Note the following comment made on the Fox Business Network Monday, prior to the Brussels attack. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (Retired), said:  “Not all cultures are equal . . . the Middle East and Islam as currently practiced is currently not compatible with western civilization.”

Following the comment, Englishman Stuart Varney wondered aloud what the implications would be of the EU’s new agreement with Turkey.  While the Middle Eastern country is willing to take back the migrants who do not qualify to stay in Europe, 78 million Turkish citizens will have the right of visa-free travel to all EU member countries.   Many are not likely to return home.

More Muslims = more terrorism!  That’s because a certain percentage will be extremists.  And, as Lt. Col. Ralph Peters observed, the religion as practiced is not compatible with western civilization.

Dealing with the problem requires a major change in immigration policies.  That’s not going to come from most western politicians, who are still influenced by liberal 1960’s thinking that says all peoples are the same and can all mix together peaceably.

Just a few days before the latest terror attacks in Brussels, the European Union signed the agreement with Turkey.  Again, like American politicians, the EU’s top leaders are still living in the sixties – they haven’t woken up yet to the threat from Islam nor have they even begun to figure out how to deal with it.

That will come.  Today’s attacks may be a turning point – the attackers were attacking the European Union ‘s capital, Brussels. One bomb hit the railway station close by the headquarters of the European Commission.  Europe itself was under attack – not just Brussels or Belgium.

Another interesting development today is how quickly the bombers were identified as ISIS by the Belgian authorities.  ISIS later claimed responsibility.  Normally, following an attack in the US or the UK, we are told not to blame Islamists, or that there is no evidence this was terrorism.   Some are still in denial, but others are waking up!   Speaking in Havana, Cuba, President Obama could not bring himself to use the term “Islamic terrorism”.

Daniel 11 is a prophecy about the Middle East, written more than five centuries before the time of Jesus Christ.  It’s amazingly detailed from Alexander the Great until Roman times.  Then it leaps 2,000 years until the present era.  The reason for the leap is that there was no Jewish nation in the Holy Land during that time period. Jerusalem is the epicenter of Bible prophecy, which focuses primarily on the Middle East and Europe.

The two play a central role in end-time events.

“The king of the south” is set to “push” against “the king of the north”, unleashing the military power and wrath of the latter, the prophesied Beast-power of Revelation 17, a revived Roman Empire.   What happened Tuesday in Brussels is likely part of this “push”, following on from Paris and other lesser attacks on Europe.

More attacks will follow.  It will take Europe some time to fully wake up.  But it will come.  It’s either that or we will witness the fall of western civilization!

 

 

ISTANBUL SUICIDE BOMBING

Turkey bomb

In my last post, I wrote about the fall of Constantinople.  In 1453 the city fell to the Muslim Turks and was soon renamed Istanbul.

This post begins with mention of Istanbul, one of the most interesting cities that I have ever visited.   Not only was it founded by Constantine the Great in 330, it was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantium, for a thousand years.

When you walk around the old part of the city, you are walking on 1700 years of history.

No wonder so many tourists visit Istanbul.  Ten of them were killed this morning, eight of them Germans, when an ISIS suicide bomber from Syria blew himself up.   In a statement, ISIS said there would be more and bigger bombs.  This was the fourth ISIS attack in Turkey in six months.

Whether or not ISIS was deliberately targeting Germans is not known.  The attack was deliberately perpetrated in the tourist area of the old city, close to the Blue Mosque and not far from the Hagia Sophia, a 1500-year-old church built by the Eastern Emperor Justinian in the sixth century.   The church has survived a number of earthquakes and the fall of Justinian’s Empire – whether it will survive ISIS remains to be seen. Turkey is likely to see many more terror attacks.

Germany is also likely to suffer at the hands of terrorists, made more probable by Chancellor Merkel’s “open door” policy to Syrian refugees.   One million refugees arrived last year.   Things are not going well.

On New Year’s Eve, about a thousand Middle Eastern and North African men descended on the area around Cologne Cathedral. During the course of the evening, dozens of German women were sexually assaulted and a few were raped.   It turns out that, contrary to claims that almost all the refugees were women and children, in fact 80% were young men!

This has naturally led to greater demands for the refugees to be deported.   A big demonstration in Leipzig yesterday got out of hand, adding to Chancellor Merkel’s woes.   With more refugees set to arrive, the problem is set to get worse.

Meanwhile, Germany is dealing with foreign policy challenges that threaten the coherence of the European Union, of which Germany was a founder member and is the biggest economy.

German Foreign Policy reports:  “High-ranking German politicians are calling for punitive measures against Poland.   The Polish government’s measures neutralizing the country’s constitutional court as well as its new media laws are “in violation of European values,” according to Volker Kauder, Chair of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group.    The EU member states must now “have the courage to impose sanctions.” “

With the above problems, there may be little time to give any attention to Britain’s campaign for changes to the EU Treaty that would alleviate some of the financial burdens on the UK from its EU membership.

A report in the Guardian newspaper yesterday claimed the EU would play “hardball” with London, as they have nothing to lose.   If the UK leaves the EU, it could face punitive measures that would make it harder for the country to trade with its European neighbors.

The same article also pointed out that the Scots are not as keen on leaving the EU as their southern neighbors in England.

A withdrawal from the EU may be a setback for the project of European unity, but it could also lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom.