The Storming of the Brazilian Capital Last Weekend is a Very Bad Sign

January 6th, 2021, was not just a hallmark of American history that no one in this lifetime will forget. It was a sign that democracy overall is not as solid as we once thought it was.

One week ago today, the Brazilian capital was assaulted in what essentially is a mirror image of 1/6. Like their American counterparts, the “protestors” believed that former President Jair Bolsonaro was denied another term based on the lie that he lost the election.

The major difference between both events was the speed at which the accused were found and arrested by the authorities. By last Tuesday, over 1000 people had been located. About half of them have been detained in prison. Compare that to the US where it took months for the police and FBI to do the same.

I heard somewhere last week that one of America’s greatest exports used to be democracy and freedom. These days, it has become autocracy, and the idea that if you are not chosen by the people to lead the government, you can cry foul.

What I find particularly disturbing is that several people in you know who’s circle have gleefully and openly admitted to stoking the fire. Among them is former Presidential advisor Steve Bannon.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I continue to hope and pray that political leaders across the world will one day return to respecting the rule of law and the voice of voters. But for now, it seems like we are on the path to despots once more taking the leading roles in the running of the nations.

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The Taliban Has Banned Women’s Education and Employment at NGOs

The late and legendary first-wave feminist Alice Paul once said the following:

“There will never be a new world order until women are a part of it.”

There are some in this world who prefer to live in the past. Specifically, where women are at best second-class citizens and at worst, chattel.

Last week, the Taliban announced that girls can no longer attend school past grade 6. Earlier today, another announcement was made. All NGOs (non-governmental organizations), both local and international, must fire their female staff.

The statistics are clear. When a woman is educated beyond the basics, she is better prepared for the future. She is able to get a better job, lift her family out of poverty, and help her own children climb the economic ladder themselves. Female legislators also step up to the plate in reducing climate change and its various after effects.

This is straight of out The Handmaid’s Tale. It is nothing more than the fragile male ego and the archaic idea that a female will always be lower than a male.

If these men want to run their country into the ground, so be it. They will soon find out the power and the voice of the female sex.

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Iran Was Finally Expelled From the UN Commission on Women

In an ideal world, everyone would be equal. We would not need special interest groups to ensure that marginalized groups have the same rights and protections as the dominant group.

Last week, Iran was finally expelled from the UN Commission on Women.

Frankly, I don’t know why they were invited to join in the first place. Given the country’s treatment of women (and the recent murder of Mahsa Amini), I have to question the sanity of those who suggested the idea in the first place. It’s akin to letting the fox into the hen house and letting it go wild.

As much as I appreciate the UN, it reminds me of the organization’s flaws. Instead of living up to the doctrines that were set down by its founders, it feels as if the idea of democracy, equality, and respect for all nations and peoples is nothing more than a pipe dream.

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Aryeh Shechopek Was Killed in Jerusalem Simply Because He Was Jewish

Jerusalem is a beautiful city. Both ancient and modern, it is home to the world’s three great faiths. Walking through her streets is to walk through history and in the footsteps of the generations that have come before us.

It is also a site of murder, hate, and destruction. Earlier this week, two explosions shook the town. By the time to smoke cleared, eighteen people were injured and one person was killed.  Aryeh Shechopek was fifteen and had dual citizenship in both Israel and Canada.

This boy, who had his entire future ahead of him, was only killed because he is a Jew living in Israel. Nothing more and nothing less.

What I don’t get is why the Palestinian leadership continues to think (and brainwash their citizens) that violence is the answer. It is obviously not. We are here to stay. This is our ancestral homeland, just as it is the ancestral homeland of the Arabs and the Christians.

What I want for the region (and for the rest of the world, as pie in the sky as it seems) is peace. No one, especially a child, should die because of who they are or where they live.

I am going to end this post with a quote from Golda Meir. It is as timely now as it was during her era.

If the Arabs put down their guns there would be no more fighting. If the Israelis put down theirs there would be no more Israel.”

May his memory be a blessing. Z”l.

Thoughts On Liz Truss’s Downfall

Thirty years ago, during Bill Clinton‘s first Presidential election, a particular catchphrase became an integral part of the campaign:

“It’s the economy, stupid”

Last week, former British Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned after six weeks in office. She has the unfortunate status of having the shortest time in the position in British history.

I am the first to admit that my knowledge of the British political system is limited. If nothing else, it proves that a female politician has as much capacity to succeed or fail as a male politician does.

That aside, two things come to mind. The first is that it proves (hopefully once and for all), that trickle-down economics does not work and will never work. The second is that instead of continuing to endorse Truss and this disaster of an economic policy, her party saw the writing on the wall. They understood that if they continued to support her, the public might not support them.

If only the Republicans in this country might have done the same to a certain former President.

Obviously, we do not know at this point who Truss’s replacement will be. But I do know that the members of the Conservative Party have more balls than their American counterparts do.

Antisemitic News of the Week: You Know Who on American Jews and the Figurative Moving of the Israeli Capital

Antisemitism is the oldest version of hate in human history. For thousands of years and in many parts of the world, we have been hated, forced out of our homes, persecuted, and murdered.

Earlier this week, a certain former President made the following statement about American Jews.

“No President has done more for Israel than I have,” Trump wrote before saying it was somewhat surprising that “our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the U.S.”

Aside from his usual braggadocio, the disturbing aspect of what he says speaks to one of the basic tenets of antisemitism. Jews in America (or in any country that is part of the diaspora) are not 100% loyal to the nation in which they live. The culprit is, as usual, Israel. It is curious (though it should not be to anyone with a working brain), why other Americans whose families came from other parts of the world are not accused of the same lie?

Speaking of Israel, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong stated that until the two-state solution is resolved, her country’s embassy will remain in Tel Aviv. They also refuse to recognize that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital city.

I would like to make the following proposal: until her government deals honestly and openly with their colonial past, how about we recommend that their capital city be changed? Instead of Canberra, how about we recognize Melbourne or Sydney as the main seat of the government? How would they feel?

It is morally reprehensible that Israel is told what she can and cannot do, but she cannot turn around and do the same thing. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Just another week of antisemitism. What else is new?

The Election in Italy is a Warning That Cannot be Ignored

If Americans have learned one thing over the past few years, it is that democracy is not guaranteed. It must be fought for and earned.

Last week, a new Italian Prime Minister was elected. Her name is Giorgia Meloni. Though she has just been chosen to lead the country, there are already comparisons to Benito Mussolini. Anyone who knows anything about the history of the twentieth century understands that this is not a good sign of things to come.

Though there is the argument that she is a woman, that does not preclude where she lands politically. Fascism is dangerous, regardless of the sex and gender of elected officials and those who work for them.

Obviously, as an American citizen, I have no say in this decision. But what we can all do is be vigilant and speak up. If we don’t, then who knows how long we have left to live in a country that is truly democratic?

Reasons to Fight For Democracy: The Mass Graves in Ukraine and the Murder of Mahsa Amini

It’s easy to get discouraged about the state of democracy these days. But what we have to remember is that it is worth fighting for.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has been going on since the winter. In the liberated city of Izium, mass graves were discovered. So far, the number of bodies is over 400. Many of those killed were civilians and children.

Warning: the images may be distressing.

If this discovery is not enough to the world that Putin must be stopped and forced to stand trial, I don’t know what is. Unless we make it clear that this type of action is unacceptable, it will happen again.

In Iran, Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman, was killed by the morality police. Her crime was supposedly an issue with her headscarf. Since 1979, it has been compulsatory. As a result, protests have broken out. Many women have cut their hair and refused to wear the hijab in response to Amini’s death.

Religion of any kind is all well and good. But when the majority forces their beliefs on the minority and believes that one gender is superior or inferior to another, that is a problem we cannot ignore. If we do, it is at our own peril.

May Mahsa Amini’s memory and the memories of those murdered by Russia since the beginning of the war be a blessing. Z”L.

Thoughts On the Friendly Fire Admittance by the IDF

Friendly fire is defined as follows:

An attack by belligerent or neutral forces on friendly troops while attempting to attack enemy/hostile targets.

It is an aspect of war that is unfortunately unavoidable.

After months of investigation, the IDF announced that it was very likely that friendly fire caused the death of journalist of Shireen Abu Akleh.

Two things are apparent to me from this announcement.

The first is that as usual, Israel is figuratively being the bigger person. Their leadership and maturity prove that they are willing to do the work to create lasting peace and coexistence. The second is that the Palestinians, on the other hand, are so committed to the lies that they are spreading, that they will use anyone and anything to support their “truth“.

As usual, the only victims are the innocent people whose lives have been turned upside down at best, or at worst are maimed and/or killed because one side refuses to work with the other.

May her memory be a blessing. Z”L.

RIP Queen Elizabeth

There is a myth about women and power. We are weak and emotional. We cannot take the heat, it’s too difficult, etc. The truth is that we only need the opportunity to prove ourselves.

Queen Elizabeth II died earlier today. She was 96 and on the throne for more than seventy years.

Who could have expected that the young woman who accepted the crown all of those years ago would have become the longest reigning monarch in British history? In an era in which many women kept to the traditional roles of wife and mother, the late Queen stepped into a role that was meant for a man. In doing so, she became an icon and proof that male genitals are not a prerequisite for authority.

She was more than her title. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and public servant. Her life was given to her country and her family.

I remember watching her on television decades ago. My first thought was that she looked like she could be anyone’s grandmother. There was an air about her that made her seem like she was an ordinary woman first and a Queen second.

I hope that is how she will be remembered. May her memory be a blessing. Z”L.

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