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Thursday 2 February 2012

No Revolution Works Without Democratic Leaders-in-Waiting: Women and Christians to the Lions

Last year, when I was watching the revolution in Egypt happening, and listening to idiotic American television commentators go on about the Arab Spring, I knew we would witness an Arab Winter. Maybe it is because I am a woman and very aware of the lack of civil rights for women in almost all the parts of the world under sharia law, or maybe because I am a student of history and have seen all this before. Those who wished by a fantasy that a democratic government was to come out of Tunisia, or Egypt, or Libya, were and are living in a false world of wishes of their own making. The liberal media does not and will not understand Islamic sharia law. The media does not uphold the rights of Christians, or women in the Middle East or African nations.

One of the elements of which I was aware as the riots were happening, was that there were not and still are not any democratic leaders waiting in the wings to take over. The young man who started the twitter revolution in Egypt last year was thrown off the stage in Tahir Square by the Muslim Brotherhood speakers. Try and find that video I watched last year on YouTube, which, by the way, censors regularly such types of videos. Such silencing of young democracy seekers in Egypt happened last week as well. Check here.

Finally, some European journalists are waking up to the fact that the only seeming replacement for tyrants are more tyrants. In the French paper Le Monde, an article written by Peter Harling reveals some semblance of reality. I quote part of a translated text from here.

What makes the transitions underway impossible to judge is that they have all brought to the fore innumerable tensions at the heart of the region’s societies, at the very moment when these societies are ridding themselves of the traditional means to manage these tensions, since the the usual means used by the regimes are exactly what their subjects no longer tolerate. At stake in these negotiations is precisely the creation of mechanism to regulate social conflicts, but on new bases which are themselves sources of conflict. It is therefore not surprising to see disagreements, and even violence. The real question mark is whether new political systems will appear that will give a central importance to popular legitimacy, in a region that has hitherto been deprived of such systems.

This is mild compared to what I would have written, as I am very concerned about women and Christians, who we all know, are not respected now in Egypt and are under increasing persecution, noted in the Vatican and among those who are not afraid to contradict the BIG LIE about moderate Islam taking over Egypt. 

Revolutionaries must have something in mind, in place, when they overthrow tyrannies. A democratic process takes intelligence, leadership, time. Under a military rule, or sharia law, there can be no democracy. We are witnessing the Arab Winter and I wish our own governments in the West would admit to this. Instead, Washington is pandering to a group which will be just as bad, if not worse, than Mubarak's government was.

The only major voice of reality in the media is the Washington Post, which wrote about Washington's blindness a few days ago.

And, can you believe there are some in America, who do not believe this photo is real--including Jimmy Carter? A phrase that was popular when I was in high school was "Get real and face the situation". (Thanks to Father Miclot). Get real, people, get real. 

I fear in this Arab Winter for my fellow Christians and women of all creeds. I do not want these images and truths to be suppressed, just as the Tienanmen Square photos and history have been suppressed in China. Remember during the Olympics there when Westerners were showing a generation of youth photos and history they had never seen online?

 from Wiki:
Public memory of the Tiananmen Square protests has been suppressed by the CPC since 1989. Print media containing reference to the protests must be consistent with the government’s version of events.[157] Presently, many Chinese citizens are reluctant to speak about the protests due to the possibility of repercussions.[160] However, some individuals do speak out, such as Ding Zilin of theTiananmen Mothers organization.[161] Regardless, youth in China are generally unaware of the events that took place, and cannot recognize symbols such as tank man,[162] or even the date itself.[163]
Internet searches of '4 June' or 'Tiananmen Square' bring back censored results or cuts the server connection temporarily.[161] Specific web pages with certain keywords are censored, while other websites, such as those of overseas Chinese democracy movements, are blocked wholesale.[154][161] The censorship, however, has been inconsistent - with many sites being blocked, unblocked, and re-blocked over the years, including YouTube, Wikipedia, and Flickr.[164] In addition, the policy is much more stringent with Chinese-language sites than foreign-language ones. In January 2006, Google agreed to censor their mainland China site to remove information about the Tiananmen Square massacre and Taiwan independence.[165] Google withdrew its cooperation on censorship in January 2010.[166]

Leading up to and during the event's 20th anniversary on 4 June 2009, party authorities increased security around the square. Members of the Public Security Bureau and the People’s Armed Policewere present at the square in uniform along with several hundred plain clothes officers.[167] Tourists were allowed into the square subject to security checks. Journalists were denied entry.[167] Some journalists who attempted to film at the square or interview dissidents were briefly detained.[168] The 20th Anniversary also saw the shut down of global social-networking sites in China, as well as heavy policing of dissidents and their interactions with journalists.[156][169] No protests were to be tolerated on this occasion in Beijing.[170][171][172]

The younger teens and twenty-somethings did not recognize "tank man".  Remember, please. And, the same thing will happen in Afghanistan. Watch and see. I wish I had kept articles from last year which are missing. If someone can find the reference to the youth leader who was not allowed to speak in Tahir Square, please let us know here.  Remember, please.

Eurasian Siskins on February 2nd

My favorite animals are birds. And, although I do not care whether my cats go to heaven, I would wonder whatever could take the place of birds, especially the morning chorus, which will not occur for several months.

One reason out of several I decided I could not live in Malta year round was the lack of birds.That may sound like a drastic decision to some, but I love birds. But, now that I am in Ireland, I am happy to see and hear birds, even for the past six very cold weeks I have been here. Today is perhaps the coldest day we have experienced. It was colder here yesterday, in the built-up village north of Dublin where I am staying, than in Iowa! However, as cold as it is, the grass is green and the birds live in the hedges and conifers.

Beside the ubiquitous European Robin, the Hooded Crow, Ring-Necked Doves, European Starlings, Magpies, and Seagulls, today I saw a small flock of Eurasian Siskins in a set of dilapidated yew trees near my flat. I cannot tell you how exciting this is for me. I kept a bird diary for about 35 years, only stopping when I could not keep up with the entries. I have been a serious birder since my early twenties, keeping records, using good field glasses, tromping around soggy Minnesota, Wisconsin and other bird sanctuaries, including some in England. I can recognize many species by calls, as I trained myself by memorizing songs, first from tapes, and then from CDs. If one can hear, one can look in the appropriate place for the bird.

In Missouri, my son and I saw hundreds of birds, including the Great Barn Owl, the Great Horned Owl, and Bald Eagles almost daily in the summer. In Iowa, we identified many types of birds, including the Peregrine Falcon, the Fan-Tailed Hawk, the New World Quail, and the hundreds listed here. The Wiki list looks like a neater version of my first bird diary. And I have seen most, if not all of those birds on that list.

But, today, on Candlemas, and the coldest day I have experienced in Ireland, to see the little band of Eurasian Siskins is a gift from God. They are still fluttering in and out of the yews, moving quickly and nervously as they do, showing their yellow coloring and improving my cold morning with their bits of sunshine. Ah, the resident Magpie just claimed its space.  The yellow birds have flown away. I think the little Eurasian Siskins are gone.

Memories of Candlemas in a Midwest Church in America and Candlemas Bells at Kingston Lacy

In my old parish in the Midwest, where I was baptized, made my First Confession and First Holy Communion and where I was Confirmed, the families would bring the candles to the Church for the blessing from the priest. These were candles used in the house for the prayer corner, or feast days. The children would bring their candles as well. I have not seen this happening anyplace else, but the custom is delightful. I think Catholics in Poland do this, and if other readers have brought candles to Church, they should make a comment.

Especially when I was young, a home visit from the priest involved meeting the priest at the door with lit candles when he came to bring Holy Communion to the sick. Even in the early 2000s, when I belonged to an FSSP parish and I was ill, my son met the priest at the door with our blessed lit candles. Catholics should renew these good customs, as part of our Catholic identity. Candles at this time of year remind us of the Light of Christ, dispelling the darkness of sin and death.

Candlemas for me is also a time for remembering a great day at Kingston Lacy. Near Wimborne in Dorset, my old county, the snowdrops begin to come out at this time of year, depending on the snow and cold. Recently, the latter part of February has been a good time to see the flowers, also known as Candlemas Bells. The flower pushing itself out of the snow seems a reminder that perseverance is a necessary virtue of the Christian. The temerity of these little blooms heralding in Spring gives us courage.
My first visit revealed a vision of white cascading through the trees. I saw a few of the snowdrops at Buckfast Abbey last year, but I had missed the peak time. Candlemas, being the Feast of the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, should be a time of rejoicing. The snowdrop, being "my flower" for January in old English books, as my birthday is in January, will always be one of my favorites. I, too, bloom well in conditions less than perfect, and look forward to longer days and shorter nights. Candlemas moves us forward to Lent and Easter, as we look towards new life.

And, because of all the stress this week, I thought you all would enjoy this bit of peace and color.
Happy Candle Mass.