30 July 2014

After Flight 17 Crash, Agony, Debris and Heartbreak in Ukraine Villages

If you read anything at all today, read this. The story of these people deserves more attention than it has been getting up to now. More attention from the international media and from international aid organisations as well.

This 25 July 2014 article from The Wall Street Journal opened my eyes to a side of the MH17 crash that I'd barely given any thought to up until now.

Then the plane crashed. The cabin's second-row overhead compartment is in a tree across from the village hall—and suitcases and clothes are in backyards and gardens of square-windowed cottages. 
Villagers dashed into their basements, fearing a bomb attack. Residents in a nearby village ran for the church, certain that the world was coming to an end. A colleague of Ms. Voloshina screamed after being nearly hit by the plane's cargo hold.        Days later, the 43-year-old mayor found the bottom half of a man's body in the shrubs next to her office. She has barely slept since then. 
"I know that for others I need to look strong, assured and composed," says Ms. Voloshina, her hands still trembling a week after the July 17 crash. "But when I'm not at work, I cry at home into my pillow."

Source: After Flight 17 Crash, Agony, Debris and Heartbreak in Ukraine Villages - The Wall Street Journal

Reading this article, I feel like it deserves a second title; A title that represents my personal point-of-view. I'm calling it "The Other Side Speaks." Because that is how I feel after reading this article, as if I've heard 'the other side' speak for the first time.

"The Other Side Speaks" could be the title of an episode of television series Lost. In all honesty, reading this amazing article also feels a bit like I'm reading a script for a Lost-like production, in a strange way. Since the crash of MH17, the story (as far as I've been concerned) has been mostly focused on the crash and on those who crashed (on how to get the bodies back, on how the next of kin are coping, on how the effected countries are coping...). In the fictional world of Lost, the series follows the survivors of a plane crash on what they first think is an uninhabited island. As the series progresses, the island turns out to be a very, very freaky place. They also meet the locals. What made Lost so intriguing - and why I'm comparing a horrible real-life crash to a fictional television show - is how they showed the same events from the different points of view of the characters, only revealing the full truth layer by layer and story by story. We saw events not just from the point of view of one character or one group, but from many characters and all the groups involved.

In the real world of rocket attacks on innocents and bodies falling from the sky into the houses and gardens of other innocents, it's a humbling experience to realise that I've been so focused on what seems to matter most right now to me and those around me - closure, answers, justice - that I've forgotten to care about the other side. I forgot about the poor, poor people who will forever remember the horrors they witnessed after MH17 was shot down. They deserve our care, attention, love and compassion just as much as the family members and friends of the doomed passengers and crew do.

29 July 2014

What Does Hamas Believe? Article 22

Yale University's Avalon Project has a copy of the Hamas Covenant 1988 in their archives. The following is a direct quote. I encourage all readers to read the entire Covenant and to form your own opinion based on your personal interpretation of the document.

Article Twenty-two: 

For a long time, the enemies have been planning, skillfully and with precision, for the achievement of what they have attained. They took into consideration the causes affecting the current of events. They strived to amass great and substantive material wealth which they devoted to the realisation of their dream. With their money, they took control of the world media, news agencies, the press, publishing houses, broadcasting stations, and others. With their money they stirred revolutions in various parts of the world with the purpose of achieving their interests and reaping the fruit therein. They were behind the French Revolution, the Communist revolution and most of the revolutions we heard and hear about, here and there. With their money they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests. With their money they were able to control imperialistic countries and instigate them to colonize many countries in order to enable them to exploit their resources and spread corruption there.

You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.

Source: Hamas Covenant 1988, The Avalon Project
Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy
Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library

"Son of Hamas" Explains How Hamas Thinks

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Hamas founding member Sheikh Hassan Yousef. After realising that Hamas was a violent organisation that he did not want to be a part of, he left Hamas and eventually moved to the United States.

Mr. Yousef is also the author of the book "Son of Hamas" published in 2010. Judging by the reviews on Goodreads, it looks to be a very interesting book.
I have to admit that I'd not heard of this book nor of Mosab Hassan Yousef until about an hour ago when I was alerted to the video below.

In this video, Mosab Hassan Yousef speaks to CNN about his decision to leave Hamas and explains candidly why he could no longer be a part of such a brutal regime. If you watch anything today, watch this video!

"In the mosques Hamas taught us that without shedding innocent blood for the sake of the ideology we wont be able to build an Islamic state. They were preparing us from the age as young as five years old.  
This is the ideology that Hamas was feeding us and honestly it's impossible almost for anybody to break through and see the truth of and real face of Hamas and be able to leave at some point. 
As you see in my case, I had to lose everything just to say no to Hamas. And today when I look at the children of Gaza and I  know what they are fed, I know that they have no choice." 

The author expressed similar views in 2008 in an interview with a British newspaper. The article focuses on Yousef's growing disillusionment with Hamas, leading him to leave the terrorist organisation.
"Mr Yousef said that his doubts about Islam and Hamas crystallised when he realised not all Hamas leaders were like his father, a moderate who he describes as "open-minded, very humble and honest". 
Mr Yousef said that he was appalled by the brutality of the movement, including the suicide bombers seeking glory through jihad. 
"Hamas, they are using civilians' lives, they are using children, they are using the suffering of people every day to achieve their goals. And this is what I hate," he said."
Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of Hamas leader, becomes a Christian
The Telegraph, 24 August 2008

27 July 2014

40 maps that explain the internet

Vox.com presents an interesting article with 40 maps that show the start and spread of the internet. It looks like it all started in America, spreading from there to Europe and beyond. Reading this article made me wonder - didn't Dan Brown once write that the internet started at CERN? (Or some part of the technology that makes the internet possible anyway... Heck, it was a long, long time ago that I read his books...)
"The internet increasingly pervades our lives, delivering information to us no matter where we are. It takes a complex system of cables, servers, towers, and other infrastructure, developed over decades, to allow us to stay in touch with our friends and family so effortlessly. Here are 40 maps that will help you better understand the internet — where it came from, how it works, and how it's used by people around the world."
Source: 40 maps that explain the internet, Vox.com

Maps 14 and 15 shows domain names around the world. The first map shows Europe, the second map is of a number of small island nations in the Pacific Ocean, roughly north / north-east of Australia and New Zealand. Domain names .fm and .tv are actually registered to tiny island nations - I didn't know that. Actually thought they denoted websites to do with radio and television topics! Shows what I know!

Many of the maps focus on America which is great for those interested in those maps or in what's going on in America... Personally I'm more interested in maps about Europe, the Middle East and Asia as that's where my areas of interest lie. Having said that: The United States of America is very large with a lot of people living there; People who are citizens of the world, just as I am. Map 36 is another interesting one. It shows what Americans discussed most in September 2013... Apparently there were two hot topics being discussed - Singer/performer Miley Cyrus' Twerking antics and possible US involvement in the war in Syria.

Source: 40 maps that explain the internet #36

Living near Gaza: When paradise feels like hell...

Want to know what life is like in Israel?

Watch this very touching video made by Dana bar-on who lives very close to the Gaza border. She brought tears to my eyes, which is why I'm sharing this video.

Source: 10 minutes about living on the Gaza border,YouTube

25 July 2014

Nederlandse Rode Kruis helpt Gaza en Israël

In een artikel van vandaag bericht De Telegraaf dat het Nederlandse ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken een half miljoen euro aan het Rode Kruis zal geven. Zoals hiernaast te lezen is voegt het Rode Kruis daar zelf 30,000 euro aan toe voor de hulpverlening in Israël.

Bedankt, Rode Kruis Nederland. Bedankt dat jullie niet alleen de grote nood in Gaza zien maar ook de nood in Israël zien en proberen om daar te helpen. De situatie in Gaza is vreselijk. Dat ziet iedereen. Maar de verhalen die ik hoor van vrienden in Israël, de beelden die ik uit Israël zie - die zijn ook vreselijk. Daarom, bedankt dat jullie beide kanten zien.

Nederland geeft half miljoen voor hulp Gaza 
"In Israël werkt het Internationale Rode Kruis nauw samen met Magod David Adom (MDA) en in de Palestijnse gebieden met de Rode Halve Maan. Beide zijn zusterorganisaties van het Nederlandse Rode Kruis. Bij elke inslag of elk bombardement rukken zij met ambulances en hulpverleners uit om gewonden op te halen, te verplegen en naar ziekenhuizen te brengen."

Bron: Nederland geeft half miljoen voor hulp Gaza, De Telegraaf

Kleine correctie: Het Israëlische Rode Kruis heet "Magen David Adom". Verder doen ze inderdaad heel erg goed werk, net zoals het Rode Kruis en de Rode Halve Maan.

Voor meer informatie over het Israëlische Rode Kruis, zie bijvoorbeeld:
Magen David Adom Israël (Engelstalig)
Magen David Adom Nederland (Nederlandstalig).

Website van het Nederlandse Rode Kruis
Website van de International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

MH17 - The tears and the broken hearts

I thought I was doing reasonably well. Honestly - I did.
Walking around, talking, moving, doing my thing...

I didn't lose a friend or family member. I know people who lost friends and loved ones. I think 99% of The Netherlands probably knows someone who knows someone that died...

I am shocked, saddened, angry, hurt... I am a lot of things, however not personally involved. I didn't lose anyone who meant the world to me, I didn't lose the love of my life or my parents or children or my entire family.

Then earlier today I read a newspaper article that made me sad, almost out of the blue. While a moment ago you would have sworn you were coping fine, suddenly all you can do is cry, cry, cry.

Cry for the unfairness of war and loss and pain and cry for those poor people who died (What must their last seconds have been like?) and perhaps even more for their loved ones who have to learn to keep going, knowing they will miss those who died every day for the rest of their lives.

24 July 2014

What Does Hamas Believe? Article 13

Yale University's Avalon Project has a copy of the Hamas Covenant 1988 in their archives. The following is a direct quote. I encourage all readers to read the entire Covenant and to form your own opinion based on your personal interpretation of the document.

Article Thirteen: 

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. 
Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse directed against part of religion. 
Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that. For the sake of hoisting the banner of Allah over their homeland they fight. "Allah will be prominent, but most people do not know."

Source: Hamas Covenant 1988, The Avalon Project
Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy
Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon from Tel Aviv on 22 July

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the Middle East this week. He met Israeli Prime-Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and gave a speech on Tuesday 22 July 2014 from Tel Aviv, Israel.

It gladdens me that the United Nations fully support Israel's right to protect itself. It gladdens me to see that the UN condemns the use of their facilities for terrorist purposes. It gladdens me to see that the UN, unlike so many people I hear from and speak to these days, seem to care about both sides instead of praising one side and condemning the other.
"My message to Israelis and Palestinians is the same: Stop fighting. Start talking. And take on the root causes of the conflict, so we are not back to the same situation in another six months or a year."
Source: Ban Ki-moon's speeches: Remarks at press conference with Benjamin Netanyahu, United Nations News Centre

23 July 2014

What Does Hamas Believe? Article 07

Yale University's Avalon Project has a copy of the Hamas Covenant 1988 in their archives. The following is a direct quote. I encourage all readers to read the entire Covenant and to form your own opinion based on your personal interpretation of the document.

Article Seven:  

The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:   
"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees.   
The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.   
Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." 
(related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).

Source: Hamas Covenant 1988, The Avalon Project
Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy
Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library