Saturday, August 16, 2014

Trouble Spots

Singar Mountain
Only rarely do I hear about a religious group I've never heard of before, so the Yazidis certainly caught my interest.  According to Wikipedia, they probably are a product of Middle Eastern syncretism, with aspects of Sufi, Zoroastrian, and other religious traditions.  Frankly, I don't think the author of the article knows very much, or has many dependable sources, since the Yazidis are supposed to be kind of secretive.

One thing we do know is that when confronted by the Islamic State with the proposition of "convert to Islam or die," they are greatly inclined to die.  Personally, I wouldn't fault anybody for a little hypocrisy when confronted with such a choice, but then I don't have any god to offend, much less a "Peacock Angel."  The alternative of "tribute," as in "the Koran, tribute, or the sword" (as they taught me in junior high school) apparently is unavailable to Yazidis, since a lot of orthodox Muslims (and some Christians as well) identify the "Peacock Angel" with the nefarious Shaitan (Satan), making them devil worshipers.

It seems that the recent military reconnaissance of Singar Mountain by United States forces, which reported that the state of emergency was over, only reconnoitered the north side of the mountain, where it was safe for helicopters: no problem there.  The south side, Yazidi voices tell us, is still a humanitarian catastrophe.

Eastern Ukraine

Putin's "humanitarian convoy," last I heard, was still on its way.  The International Red Cross was a bit confused as to whether or not it had blessed the operation.  Kiev had seized the crossing point Russia intended to use from pro-Russian forces; nobody knows what's in the trucks.

I have no faith in Putin, or in anything he says.  I have no faith in anything Plutocrat Poroschenko says.  I do, however, have concerns for the innocent people of Eastern Ukraine.  Ordinary people, just trying to live their everyday lives, do not deserve to be caught up in geopolitics — but, of course, they always are.

Ferguson, Mo.

Maybe there are more young black men committing crimes than young white men — I honestly don't know.  They certainly get arrested and jailed a lot more often, while young white men get a free ride.

What I do know is that if a cop is struggling with a kid for control of his hand gun, the kid doesn't wind up shot in the back from 35 feet away.

South Sudan

Nothing much has improved in South Sudan, and nobody is paying attention.  Pay attention!

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