Friday, February 22, 2008

Lord Have Mercy

Serb anger has finally boiled over.

Police are using tear gas to disperse crowds of rioting people who have been attacking embassies in Belgrade. The closed US embassy building has been set on fire. The Turkish, Croatian and Bosnian legations have also come under attack. More than 30 people have been injured.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why America Supports Kosovar Independence

Is this another Guantanamo in the pristine mountains of Kosovo? What's the 21st Century term for "gunboat diplomacy?"

In June 1999, in the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Yugoslavia, US forces seized 1,000 acres of farmland in southeast Kosovo at Uresevic, near the Macedonian border, and began the construction of a camp.

Camp Bondsteel is known as the "grand dame" in a network of US bases running both sides of the border between Kosovo and Macedonia. In less than three years it has been transformed from an encampment of tents to a self sufficient, high tech base-camp housing nearly 7,000 troops - three quarters of all the US troops stationed in Kosovo.

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Exposing the War on Terror™

ARUSHA, Tanzania - President Bush on Monday hailed Kosovo's bold and historic bid for statehood, saying "The Kosovars are now independent."


"It's something that I've advocated along with my government," Bush said in an interview on NBC's "Today."

- Yahoo! News, Mon Feb 18, 11:06 AM ET

We've long known US President George W. Bush's War on Terror™ to be nothing more than a sham, serving only to justify unilateral preemptive war, perpetual war, human rights abuses, and other violations of international law, but this takes the cake.

In an interview two years ago, Gore Vidal rightly pointed out, "It’s like a war against dandruff. There’s no such thing as a war against terrorism. It’s idiotic. These are slogans. These are lies. It’s advertising, which is the only art form we ever invented and developed."

American recognition of Kosovar "statehood" is proof yet again that America is not the least concerned with curbing violent extremism, but with furthering its quest for global hegemony.

As with American foreign policy since the Second World War, Washington continues to arm and support known terrorists today for no explicable reason other than to "contain" Russia, now but a shadow of its former self. As it trained and armed Osama bin Laden in the 80s, so it recognises Kosovar statehood today.

The politicians of America have learned nothing from the past. They have funded terror in the past, and they continue to do so today.

It is a state governed by the political arm of the terrorist UÇK (the deceptively named Kosovo Liberation Army), and ruled by Hashim Thaçi, a convicted criminal and known organiser of the Drenica Group, which has been involved in the smuggling arms, stealing cars, oil and cigarettes as well as with prostitution, the establishment and maintenance of connections with the Albanian, Czech and Macedonian mafia.

This very UÇK, which NATO supported against the legitimate Serb authorities in Kosovo during the 90s with four months of continuous bombing, is, according to Human Rights Watch, "responsible for post-conflict attacks on Serbs, Roma, and other non-Albanians, as well as ethnic Albanian political rivals... widespread and systematic burning and looting of homes belonging to Serbs, Roma, and other minorities and the destruction of Orthodox churches and monasteries... combined with harassment and intimidation designed to force people from their homes and communities... elements of the UÇK are clearly responsible for many of these crimes."

These are the people the West hands Kosovo and Metohija to on a platter today.

So much for being the guardians of freedom and democracy.

Seven years ago, President Bush said in an address to Congress, "Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated."

So much for "every terrorist group".

So much for the "War on Terror".

But we have hope.

Edward writes:
Remember, my friends - Kosovo remained Serbian during those five long centuries of Ottoman darkness, to be liberated in 1912. It is no less Serbian now, the ugly farce in Priština notwithstanding. It will be tangibly Serbian again when the current experiment collapses and when the very names of Bush, McCain and Clinton are rightfully consigned to the rubbish bin of history. Serbia has suffered worse, and she will emerge from this triumphant again - I have faith in the Serbian people, and in God, who sees and judges justly.

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The Serbian Orthodox Church Speaks

During its extraordinary session held at the Patriarchy on the 17th of February 2008, the following statement on the latest developments in Kosovo and Metohija was issued by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church, aimed at the national and international public:

Just like uncountable times before, the Church is announcing once more today, that Kosovo and Metohija was and must remain an integral part of Serbia, in accordance to the Charter of the United Nations, Security Council Resolution 1244, as well as according to all relevant international conventions on human rights, the rights of peoples and on the inviolability of internationally recognized borders.


In this particular case, this means granting new legitimacy to centuries of Ottoman violence with its impact on the entire region, as well as re-applying the fascist solution (that of Mussolini and Hitler) to the Kosovo issue dating back to the times of WWII, when Kosovo and Metohija were annexed to so-called Great Albania, when thousands of Orthodox Christian Serbs were expelled from their secular homes, just like in 1999, with the objective of not having them return, ever.

We are deeply appalled by the fact that, according to the words of an American Ambassador, it was because of the presently announced illegitimate and illegal recognition on behalf of the governments of the United States of America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and others, of the self-declared Kosovo independence - Serbia and Montenegro were bombarded in the first place. Thus, the presumed protection of human and minority rights by using bomb attacks with the code name "Merciful Angel", represented only a preparation for this final trampling on justice and tearing the heart out of Serbia's breast.

More HERE.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Noose Tightens

Kosovo's parliament has overwhelmingly endorsed a declaration of independence from Serbia in an historic session.

The declaration, read by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, said Kosovo would be a democratic country that respected the rights of all ethnic communities.

The US and a number of EU countries are expected to recognise Kosovo on Monday.

- BBC News, Sunday, 17 February 2008, 14:50 GMT

Now a great cloud hangs over all the land; and it is deepening.

Kosovo and Metohija is the historical heartland of Orthodox Serbia. The mediæval Serbian state was centered around Kosovo, and today remains the heart of Serbian Orthodoxy; home to more than 1,300 churches and monasteries.

Yes, that is the full name of that province: Kosovo AND Metohija. The latter was used to denote a territory of the Church in the Middle Ages; Albanians and the Western media tend to simply use "Kosovo", ignoring the word that would imply that Kosovo belongs to the Orthodox Church.

During the last decade, the Christian Serbian population have been driven from their homeland by Albanian terrorism, openly supported by bombers of the defunct Cold War relic, NATO. Today, the criminal overlords of Kosovo declare independence. Today, yet another piece of Christendom is lost to Islam.

For the last five years, Albanian terrorists, the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (UÇK), who have strong ties to al-Qaeda and are now the de facto rulers of Kosovo, have systemically been destroying ancient churches, libraries and monasteries, with the open consent of the occupying NATO forces.

When Saddam Hussein annexed Kuwait, the Western powers insisted that sovereignty, borders determined by international law and the United Nations and must be protected. Now, those same guardians of international law seem to have forgotten their own arguments and are doing everything to ensure that Kosovo becomes independent from Serbia.

The Americans and British are hypocritically supporting this farcical independence because they still believe in "containing" Russia, and this move would supposedly balance Russian influence in the region. Serbia, demonised by the media since the Yugoslav wars of the 90s, is powerless to do anything.

We're going to have yet another Muslim terrorist state.

Say a prayer for Kosovo.

One takes comfort in the words of Elder Barnabas of Gethsemane Skete from more than a century ago:

"Persecutions against the faith will constantly increase. There will be unheard-of grief and darkness, and almost all the churches will be closed; but when it will seem to people that it is impossible to endure any longer, then deliverance will come. There will be a flowering. Churches will even begin to be built. But this will be a flowering before the end."

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

February 14

There's nothing wrong, of course, with delighting in love and honoring friendship and stopping in the bleak midwinter to tickle the people we love. But it's also a good sign of psychosocial health if the day just saunters by and winks, and you feel no need to pay attention. The minute it feels like a duty, it has lost its purpose. "Love sought is good," Shakespeare observed, "but given unsought is better."

Nancy Gibbs, A Day to Forget
TIME February 18, 2008

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"The Church Has Been Buried Many Times"

During a speech at the Saint-Louis of France cultural center in Rome, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, said that the de-Christianization of Europe is dramatic and accelerated, but it is not irreversible.


However, he added, religion is “far from disappearing.” “And Christians have not renounced their task,” because “this apparently dying Christianity displays a surprising vitality and holds many surprises,” he said.

Cardinal Tauran mentioned the Church’s capacity to renew herself, pointing to “that October afternoon in 1978 on which the Archbishop of Krakow, in the heart of Marxists central Europe, was called to the Chair of Peter.”


Christianity has a good future in the West and beyond,” he said, “because, as in the past, it will know how to ‘overcome the barbarians,’ to find the path of renewal in faith and tradition, as it always has.”

- Catholic News Agency, February 11, 2008

[via The Western Confucian]

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Christ is Baptised!

As with the post on Christmas, this is another late post:

Of old, the river Jordan
Turned back before Elisha's mantle at Elijah's ascension.
The waters were parted in two
And the waterway became a dry path.
This is truly a symbol of baptism
By which we pass through this mortal life.
Christ has appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters!

Troparion (4th Tone)

19th January marked Theophany (according to the Old Calendar), one of the 12 Great Feasts of the Church. This feast celebrates our Lord's divine manifestation - the revelation of God in human form, in the person of Jesus Christ. The word 'Theophany' is itself derived from the Greek Θεοφάνεια; "God shining forth".

This feast is often confused with the Western Christian celebration of Epiphany. While the essence of the feast in both cases remains the same: the manifestation of Christ to the world, they commemorate different historical events. Western Christians commemorate the visitation of the Magi, while the East celebrates the baptism of Christ in the Jordan.

The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan marks the first (and one of two) occasions when all three Persons of the Trinity manifested themselves to humanity: the Father speaking through the clouds, the Son being baptized in the river and the Holy Spirit descending from heaven in the shape of a dove. Thus, this feast not only celebrates the shining forth of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, but the Trinity as well.

On this day, there is a great blessing of waters. The blessing is done twice: once in the church, and again outdoors at a body of water. In what was described as "a sign of Christian unity", the congregations of both Russian and Greek parishes in Singapore met at East Coast Park to witness the blessing of the sea.

Regular Roman Catholic visitor Ernest and I hitched a ride from church to East Coast Park from the Mitsyk family. Vika read us Bible stories (in Russian, with a Ukrainian accent) along the way. Her brother Seva amused himself with my folding fan.

Bishop Sergey of Vladivostok, who was visiting at that time, presided over the joint blessing.

Lost in Translation: Bishop Sergey spoke no English, and Fr Daniel spoke no Russian - the mechanics of the ceremony was tirelessly maintained by many translators.

Nun Svetlana bears the icon of Theophany.

Censing the Congregation

The cross is dipped three times into the sea, blessing it.

The cross was then cast into the waters and volunteers try to recover it. The person who gets the cross first returns it, and it given a special blessing. The girls (as seen in this picture) were, oddly enough, swimming away from the cross. Edward remarked that women have no sense of direction.

The cross was venerated by the faithful after the blessing of the sea.

The day was concluded with much food and drink, while the children were happy to spend the rest of the day at beach.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Christmas Videos!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

RIP Archbishop Christodoulos

Archbishop Christodoulos (1939 - 2008)
He was the rock star of priests. Greek Orthodox leader Archbishop Christodoulos surfed the Web, cracked jokes and made a point of welcoming people who had AIDS. He mended an age-old rift with the Vatican by receiving Pope John Paul II in 2001 - the first visit to Greece by a pope in 1,300 years. He urged young people to come "as you are, earrings and all," and dramatically upped church attendance. Despite criticism for his sometimes shrill nationalism and willingness to meddle in politics - as when he called the Turks "Eastern barbarians" or attacked NATO's bombers of Serbia as "pawns of Satan" - he remained one of his nation's most popular figures. He was 69 and had cancer.

TIME February 11, 2008

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