|Boy searches for shrapnel on Israel's Moshav|
Sde Avraham after a rocket fired from Gaza
exploded near a moshav home, March 2011. This photo
was a leading contender for news image of the year, 2011
“Many Israelis believe the country's character is at stake. They resent the fact that most ultra-Orthodox men don't work or serve in the army. Instead, the government gives them subsidies to carry out religious studies. One man here told me Jewish religious extremism posed a bigger threat to the country than Iran.”
- Iraq: 57 were killed, at least 179 people wounded, in simultaneous terror attacks on Baghdad this past Thursday. 14 locations were attacked simultaneously.
- Syria: More than 200 people including many women and children were killed by their own defense forces in a single day late last week on the eve of a visit by international observers monitoring Syria’s compliance with an Arab League peace plan. Syrian troops rounded up and shot civilians, and looted and destroyed houses according to The Washington Times. This was the deadliest week so far in a rebellion against Assad that started in March. The UN says it has exacted more than 5,000 lives so far. Nine more Syrians were killed by the Syrian Army today (Wednesday). Yes, the international observer group is there but so what? It’s an unfolding story drenched in blood, evil and intrigue. Yet most people in most places have only the vaguest sense, if at all, about what is going on. Foreign news agencies like the BBC are forbidden by the murderous Assad regime in Damascus from reporting directly from Syria. Most people don’t know this either.
- Gaza: The head of the Hamas terrorist organization, nominally the prime minister of the Gazan part of Palestine (the result of a forced and bloody power grab in 2007), has embarked on a grand tour of the Arab world. It’s the first time a Hamas leader has done this. Such minor news coverage as there is paints this as a kind of triumphal celebration of the new standing of the officially-outlawed Hamas terrorist regime in a post-Arab-spring world… a world in which repressive Arab rulers are replaced by Islamist, Moslem Brotherhood organizations – like Hamas. He will be feted in Sudan (today), then Qatar (which owns Al Jazeera), Turkey (the subject of this dismaying Christian Science Monitor expose of its current slide into authoritarianism), Tunisia and Bahrain at least. We’re wondering if any of the reporters who interview him will ask Ismail Haniyah to explain what he meant in a speech last week when he said that Hamas is working for interim objectives that include the “liberation of Gaza, the West Bank, or Jerusalem" the long-term "strategic" goal of his terrorist movement is, in plain language, eliminating all of Israel:
- Saudi Arabia, a family-run business/state featuring fantastical wealth driven by fossil-fuel riches and a despotic, misogynistic ruling family, announced an unexpected budget surplus of more than $80 billion for 2011. (The finance ministry was expecting to post a deficit of $10.7 billion.)
- Nigeria: Islamists murdered no fewer than 39 people in Xmas Day attacks on two churches. We have blogged (“Tentacles again in west Africa, and the toll is shooting upwards” and other reports) about the admitted perpetrators, the horrifying Boko Haram, after some of their previous massacres. Most people, including most reporters and their editors outside of Nigeria (population: 170 million), have never heard of them. They need to know. There’s a process going on, and it extends far, far beyond Nigeria.
- Somalia: Again and again, the gang-raping and stoning of women by Islamist thugs gets reported, though not often enough and not with adequate prominence. But where is the journalistic analysis that lets readers see the close connection between these bestial practices and the religion professed by the perpetrators? Does this being an African story make thoughtful reporting superfluous and un-needed?
|Graduating class of women in Hamas-controlled Gaza this week|