By Yolande Knell, BBC News
As England celebrates the day of its patron saint, many Palestinians are gearing up for their own forthcoming celebrations of the figure they also regard as a hero.
A familiar flag flaps in the wind above a Palestinian church in the West Bank village of al-Khadr.
The red cross on a white background has been associated with Saint George since the time of the Crusades.
It is the national flag of England and is also used as an emblem by other countries and cities that have adopted him as their own patron saint.
However, Palestinians have particular reason to display the symbol and revere the early Christian martyr. For them he is a local hero who opposed the persecution of his fellow Christians in the Holy Land.
“We believe he was a great martyr for his faith who defended the Christian faith and values,” says Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna.
“By making sacrifices for his faith he was able to defeat evil. We take St George as a patron for people living here – and as he was born in historic Palestine, we pray to him to remember us and this holy land.”
St George was a Roman soldier during the Third Century AD, when the Emperor Diocletian was in power. It is said that he once lived in al-Khadr near Bethlehem, on land owned by his mother’s family.
While the saint’s father is usually traced back to Cappadocia, an area in modern Turkey, it is believed his mother was Palestinian from Lydda – now Lod, in Israel.
Read more » BBC
Pakistan: What next?
Pakistani prime minister warns of coup plot» http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistani-prime-minister-warns-of-coup-plot/2011/12/22/gIQA1vJWBP_story.html
The usual rumors are afoot. Apparently this time the army wants to get rid of Zardari, cut PM Gilani down to size, then install an interim regime and hold elections. Imran Khan is being launched with obvious establishment support, but he is not the only card they hold. Many windows are open on that computer screen. The Mullah-military alliance has been called into service. Why? to raise the price in the next round of bargaining with the US embassy? To get muscle in place for the next elections? to support a real hard coup? who knows. But some brilliant scheme is afoot and we will soon see what it is.
Some analysts are warning that the army is playing with fire here, but the army thinks these people are under control and if truth be told, they are…when and where has Sami ul haq or Hafiz Saeed taken any step that has offended the army? these are the good jihadis and the army does not fear their going out of control. You can complain that such productions eventually raise the “black banners of Khorasan” temperature in the nation and are not conducive to future plans for capitalist utopia, but the army (and for that matter, the US embassy and even the much wiser Chinese embassy) doesnt think like that…they are all “practical people”. I suspect that the “deep thinkers” in GHQ as well as their patron embassies believe that bombs go off because bombs are made and bombers are trained and sent by people who know what they are doing, “culture-vulture” has nothing to do with it. They are far more cynical about these things….what else explains this madness?
Meanwhile, the middle class is primed and ready for another round of army-sponsored “clean government”. It almost seems like its fated to happen. Every few years the middle class comes to a fork in the road: do we accept that we are a normal country with normal problems (normal as in “norm”) and they will have to be solved using normal methods that work or dont work in the whole wide world? or do we double down and bet that this time the angels in aabpara will get it right and armies of efficient capitalists animated by the two nation theory and the spirit of jihad will raise the GNP and the black bannerof khorasan and blah blah blah? And every few years, the blessed middle class says YES to aabpara and away we go, for one more crazy ride until all the bullshit runs out and incompetent and corrupt civilian janitors (the others having been hanged) are called in to clean up the shit…..
In the long run, I think the army and its bed fellows will move on to more “normal” statist third world capitalism (http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/12/the-historic-task-of-the-pakistani-bourgeoisie.html). But they are not yet ready for such a tame country. Selling nuisance value may be a risky and high stakes game, but its not without its thrills and rewards. Fasten seat belts.
Ready, set, GO….
Courtesy: Brown Pundits
by: Omar Ali
I have been busy with other work, but from a distance it seems to me that:
1. Pakistan has accepted that there will be a NATO supported regime in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future, not a jihadi regime.
2. NATO has accepted that Pakistan will be given a “share” in this regime and as long as it fights the hardcore jihadis, will be accomodated in many ways. First and foremost, it will be allowed and even enouraged to present every U-turn as a great victory for the ISI. Secondly the army will not be forced to take too many orders from bloody civilians. Other goodies will probably flow. And India-specific jihadis will not be frontally attacked and no one will have to admit any mistakes or face any public humiliation.
3. Kiyani sahib, thanks to his sensible background (he is the son of a JCO) AND natural intelligence (IQ clearly 20-30 points higher than Musharraf, which means about 60 points higher than the average general) will probably keep his balance, but COAS is a position that is hazardous for mental health. who knows…..
4. The jihadis will not go quietly into the good night. Kiyani sahib probably knows that, but I have the feeling most people will be surprised at how long and hard they will fight.
5. Indian defence analysts (who are really no smarter than Shireen Mazari and company, just playing with a better hand that many of them dont even know they are holding…meaning they think they have a stronger hand because they have more tanks or more people, while in reality, the real superiority lies in being a SHADE better aligned with modern historical trends) will whine and kick and scream…. but Sundeep Dougal tells us that most Indians think less about Pakistan than Pakistanis imagine and THAT may be the thing that saves India. The ones paying attention to this game will frequently draw the wrong conclusions. But most of India will not pay attention and in this fit of absent-mindedness, may find themselves better off than they imagined possible…. Sardarji will make India a real power even though most power fanatics (my apologies to Brahma Chellaney) will think he is selling India cheap and letting Pakistan get away with murder and whatnot..
Courtesy: firstname.lastname@example.org, Thu Mar 11, 2010