One Little Word, and Passover

We going to start this post with one of Jessica’s articles. She speaks here of how Christ chose to send the news of His resurrection by Mary Magdalene, whose testimony would have borne no weight at all under Jewish law at that time. Then I want to speak of something else. Here’s Jessica-

Under Jewish Law, the testimony of a woman was no testimony at all. The first witness to the Risen Lord was a woman – Mary Magdalen. She was tearful. There she was, come to the tomb to anoint Him, and there was the stone moved. Her mind went where most of our minds would have gone – someone had taken Him away. That great stone had not moved itself, and dead bodies don’t walk out of tombs. The grave-clothes were bundled up and there was no trace of Jesus. Hard to imagine her feelings at the point. Only two days earlier her world had fallen apart. The man whose feet she had anointed and whom she had followed so loyally had been taken, tortured and then crucified. She knew that; she’d been there (which was more than could be said for most of those Apostles). It was over. All that remained was for her to do a final duty to the corpse. But even that was to be denied her. They had taken her Lord away.

She ran back to where the disciples were and told Peter the horrible news. Typically Peter, he ran to the tomb, and equally typically was outpaced by the younger John. But John stood at the entrance, and when Peter arrived he it was who, impulsive and brave as ever, went inside to see that the tomb was, indeed, as empty as Mary had said. The men went back home, no doubt to tell the others; Mary, as is the way of women, wanted to stay there a moment longer, perhaps to gather her thoughts, perhaps to mourn a moment alone.

She looked into the tomb again, only to be met by the most amazing sight – two angels asking her why she wept. The answer she gave echoes down the ages:  “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” As she turned away she saw a stranger, whom she took to be the gardener and asked where Jesus was. Then the man spoke – just one word, one word which shattered the world as she had known it and which echoes down the ages, even to the end of all things. ‘Mary’ was that word, the first from the lips of the Resurrected Lord. However much her tears had blinded her, that voice was clearly unmistakable: “Rabboni!” She said. Teacher, teacher, that was what she called Him. She went to cling to Him and He said: ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’  He bade her to go and tell the others what she had seen.

The testimony of a woman was no testimony in Jewish Law, and yet it was to a woman that the Risen Lord first came. He had broken the bonds of death, He had conquered the power of death and of Satan, the hold of sin on mankind was broken; and these things He entrusted to the power of one who in Jewish Law could offer no testimony at all.

She was the first. Let us love and honour her for that this Easter morning: ‘He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!’

[From Neo] A remarkable thing, really, especially when one considers that the Angel had spent the time to convince The Virgin Mary to consent to bearing Jesus. Remarkable in that time and place to show such respect to women. So should we.

I also note that Chalcedon touches on this in his excellent post today.


And something that applies to us Christians but comes from our Jewish (religious) forebearers. Bookworm in her Good Friday post has some good thinking for us.

An antisemitic Jew I know, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as a celebration of freedom (commemorating as it does the world’s first and, for a long time, only successful slave revolt), justice, and morality (insofar as it gave us the Ten Commandments), derides the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the genocide of the Egyptian people. What troubles him so much is the fact that, after each plague, when Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, leading to the necessity of yet another plague, culminating in the death of the first born.

As those familiar with the Bible know, his objection is predicated upon ignorance. The tenth plague, which saw God strike down the first born in every family that did not have the blood of the Pascal lamb above their door, was not a random punishment. It was, instead, divine retribution for the Pharaoh’s own ruling, in effect beginning before Moses’s birth, that all first born Jewish males should be drowned in the Nile.

The Jews of that generation were hiding in their houses, fearing death. Sound familiar?

She’s right of course. And how does that apply today? This way –

The Bible is not so superficial. There is, instead, a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, no matter the burdens placed upon his people. A blood filled Nile River may, at first, have seemed appalling, but the red receded and life went on. Pharaoh still held together his government. The same held true for each subsequent plague, whether lice or boils or wild animals or frogs, or whatever: As long as Pharaoh could maintain his power base, he could always reconcile himself to the incremental decimation visited upon those he ruled.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might have a theoretical concern that a starving and frightened populace could turn on him. However, as long as he was assured that his people, despite the horrors inflicted against them, continued to fear and worship him, their suffering was irrelevant. It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh’s power base was destroyed because his citizens were destroyed and when the plague struck in his own palace, killing his own first born* — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed much in 3,000 years. Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII. For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over. Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him. Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed. Only when the death toll became too high,when it was apparent that nothing could be salvaged from the ashes, and when the high command realized that the Americans and Russians were coming after them, personally, did the war on the continent finally end.

Read it all at The news from North Korea reminds is that Passover is always relevant.

That was then, this is now. The threats are ever present and often change, there are plenty of bad actors in the world. But the necessary response remains the same. From Book’s Passover article this year.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, no matter the burdens he places upon his people. A blood-filled Nile River may, at first, seem appalling, but the red recedes and life went on. Pharaoh still holds power. The same is true for each subsequent plague, whether lice, boils, frogs, darkness, or any of the other plagues. As long as Pharaoh realizes, after the first panic, that he is still powerful, he will always reconcile himself to his people’s incremental destruction.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might have a theoretical concern that a starving and frightened populace could turn on him. However, as long as he is assured that his people will continue to fear and worship him, their suffering is irrelevant. It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh the plague struck in his own palace, killing his firstborn* — that Pharaoh is convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways. […]

The only way to destroy an evil institution is to decapitate it. That’s what God did with the 10th plague. That’s what Truman did when he dropped atom bombs on Japan. That’s what the Allies did when they engaged in total war against the Nazis. In each case, the only way to end a tyrant’s rampage of murder, torture, and enslavement was directly hurting the tyrant’s person.

Those who prefer the stability of tyranny to the risks of freedom are the same people who refuse to accept that, under tyranny, the innocents are always going to die, with the only question being whether they will die quickly or slowly. That’s the problem with an evil regime. If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, you’re going to end as cannon fodder. Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned, and China’s leadership will release a plague on the world and let tens of thousands of people sicken and die, both at home and abroad — as long as the tyrant can retain his power.

People of goodwill must sometimes recognize that the generation raised under tyranny is a lost generation that cannot be saved, whether because it will die under the tyrant’s lash, in the tyrant’s war, or in a war against the tyrant. Sometimes, when slaves finally taste freedom, they fear it. The Bible recognizes this problem, banning the Promised Land to those who were slaves in Egypt. They were a lost generation.

For this reason, when one sees a people groaning under tyranny the most humane thing to do is to destroy the tyranny quickly and decisively even if that process causes people to suffer. Most of them were always going to be lost. Our actions are for the benefit of subsequent generations and, if we are lucky, for those who survived both the tyranny and the liberation.

Plain common sense, isn’t it?

Today, the tyrant is China’s government and, as was the case with Nazi Germany or Bushido Japan, China’s tyranny has suddenly started to reach far beyond its borders. No matter how China’s bought-and-paid-for American media work to cover up China’s responsibility for what happened, John Adams was correct: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

We know the facts: COVID-19 escaped from a Chinese lab, although we do not know whether this was deliberate or accidental. China, in true tyrant fashion, was so determined to cover up its failure that it willingly let people die by destroying anything (e.g., information and doctors) that might have helped battle the plague early. When Wuhan began to see mass die-offs, China continued to deny there was a problem. As the plague spread beyond China’s borders, its government continued to deny responsibility, so much so that both China and the WHO (which we pay for, but which answers to China) lied consistently about COVID-19’s reach, danger, and origin.

Now that the plague is a world-wide phenomenon, China is sending or selling useless masks and test kits to hurting nations around the world. It is trying to blame America for COVID-19. And it’s almost certain that people are still dying in the thousands in China, even as the government insists it’s tamed COVID-19 and tells the world to start readmitting its people and its shoddy products. The Chinese communist government is Pharaoh.

The only way to stop tyranny is to fight tyranny. Despite media efforts to cover for their Chinese paymasters, Trump is calling China out on its lies and other malfeasance.

All based on the Exodus combined with the American character. And remember:

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety,

deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Sunday Funnies; Bat Guano Crazy

Killing Terrorists, supporting freedom, signing trade deals, and what do you get? Impeached. That’s the situation this week. It could be worse, there could be a Demonrat who looks like a credible candidate.

 

Pappy says

And, of course

 

Time to Stop and Think

OK, we had our fun counting coup, if felt good alright, I like it when the US has a muscular foreign policy. But maybe it’s time to be serious. Unless we’re stupid, there’s no real reason to fight a war against Iran. I have no doubt that we would defeat them. probably fairly easily but why? Because they talk nasty about us? Really? And you know, there must be some saner heads in Teheran as well. The best I’ve seen on this is from Seraphim Hanisch in The Duran.

Life often imitates Art, and Art often imitates Life. If this is held to be true, then one can deduce that the recent “fury” of Iran’s blustery rhetoric is an indication of futility for that nation’s leadership. While it is possible that this is wrong, here are some reasons that in many ways the world community views this latest situation with Iran and the United States as just another day at the office.

News outlets in the US, both liberal and conservative are beating the war drums with extraordinary irresponsibility.

Remember how it was before Iraq? Just like this. They attacked our embassy, we killed a high general of theirs. That should be the end of it. We do not need to fight a war for this nonsense.

As far as reporting real news goes, the story is far more and far less.

It is far less because while the leaderships of Iran and the United States are verbally posturing to show strength (with the media acting as accomplices in this for both sides, mostly), the drama and attention are stirred up, but at the same time, that is sufficient. There does not need to be a shooting war.

That is a good thing for both sides, because the United States will not attack Iran unless Iran attacks first. Since there has been an agreement in place in Iraq for US troops to be there, this makes the relationship very dicey. The killing (some say murder, and I cannot entirely disagree here) of General Soleimani is certainly a massive provocation. But while the US forces were being left alone by Iranian military in the region there was no cause for hostility. The attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad was an attack on sovereign US soil. This was an increase in hostility from the Iranian side that the American forces have not done, and in fact, have been very restrained from doing.

However, since the embassy is surrounded by Iraq and Iran is welcome, apparently the lines seemed fuzzy enough to the Iranian side to go ahead and try this. And for that they lost their top general.

Now, I write this as pragmatically as possible. I have no beef with the Iranian people or its government, but I cannot help notice that their governmet definitely has a gripe with the US. The most recent direct grievance I have received from sources in Iran suggest that the anger is over the severe sanctions and departure from the 5+1 deal known as the JCPoA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), put in force by President Obama, which allows Iran to effectively mark time in their nuclear development programs. The conservative side in American politics strongly believes that Iran intends to produce a viable nuclear weapon, and the JCPoA was a miserable failure at preventing this; all it did was slow the process slightly and open a lot of financial pathways to Iran.

From the Iranian side the sanctions do appear to be very harsh, and unlike Russia, which has turned US sanctions against it to its own advantage, Iran’s government seems more interested in trying to get its way through bluster and rage, rather than negotiations. It is understandable that with America’s foreign policy record being severely dominated by the interests of globalists and the military-industrial complex, Iran has every right to be quite reticent to just go and try negotiations with the nation that has personified “indian giving” in so many ways. We get this.

But at the same time, President Trump has shown the world that he means business when he says he wants America out of foreign wars. Granted, his advisers are full of people that think wars are for fun and profit. But he demonstrated first with Kim Jong-un, later in Syria with the amazing rocket attack that hurt nothing, more recently with the pullout in norther Syria and with the present boiling crisis in his warning:

That is obviously true. Trump is doing his best (against a lot of resistance in Washington) to disentangle us from all this garbage in the middle east. Perhaps it made sense when we had to import oil (although I’m not very sure of that) but it surely does not make a scintilla of sense now. Time to come home, refit and have a look at the Chinese.

Another piece of the puzzle is Russia. Russia has maintained good relations with Iran for decades, and it still does. However, just in the last week, the Kremlin released their “readout” of a phone call initiated by President Vladimir Putin to President Trump, thanking the American president for his country’s help in thwarting terrorist attacks in Russia. The terror attacks are from ISIS or related groups, and ostensibly we are dealing with Islamism. Iran has a problem when it relates its fury against the United States to Islam, because Russia, while having very peaceful interrelations between Muslims and Christians in its own territory, is committed to preserving Christianity everywhere. If Iran tries to make a serious move against the United States, it creates a real problem for Russia, which has been quietly working together with the US to improve relations, if only painfully slowly.

Read the rest, I think he makes a good case.

Think about that. I’ve been saying for years that I don’t see Russia as an enemy (any more). The Soviet Union is gone and buried. What is there is a Russia that wants to compete. No, it’s not a recognizable democracy, it never has been. For many years before 1917, we considered Russia a friend. I wouldn’ go that far, but at worst they are a competitor.

We need more rationality and less saber-rattling, especially from the Iranians, but from Washington as well.

Sunday Funnies; A Quick Start

Well, 2020 certainly started with a bang.

 

+

And, of course

 

Trifecta!

Now that is a simple message, so simple even an Iranian terrorist could understand it. But not Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, he was a cloud of vapor, along with two other colleagues. It would appear that attacking American embassies might be something the US considers bad form. And since the President and a fair number of Americans are not Democrats, sometimes bad things happen to the perpetrators, especially if you threaten the life of or kill Americans.

It looked like a nice clean operation, no mistakes, I like that, I hate when innocents get killed, even accidentally, and you know, that is one of the big differences between us and them, we fight combatants and protect civilians, the fight civilians and protect combatants.

Of course, they’ll try to respond somehow, that’s why the cavalry of the 82d Airborne saddled up yesterday. I doubt they’ll be gone all that long.

The interesting response was the fairly large numbers of Tweets emanating from Iran itself, congratulating and thanking Trump. It’s a reminder of just how totalitarian Iran is, and just as Hong Kong, who people look to for the protection of their freedom

Rather looks to me as if we are taking out the trash after the News Years Party.

If you’re going to be the world’s sheriff do not go fetal.

The best thing about the whole thing is that they are now reacting to us, not us to them as we have for so long. That’s a loser’s bet every time.

And yes, I agree with Mark Levin about the Democrats:

The modern Democrat Party stands with Iran against America. There’s no getting around it. Of course, they’ll take great offense at this observation. But just listen to and read the comments of its leadership. Iran attacks our embassy, our commander-in-chief effectively responds in real time, and top Democrats trash our president. Indeed, much of the Democrat Party and Iranian propaganda sound all too similar. Same with the Democrat Party-press.

Do keep that in mind as we go to the polls.

As some of you know, I think there is a theme song for this:

Ah-ah, ah! Ah-ah, ah!

We come from the land of the ice and snow

From the midnight sun, where the hot springs flow

The hammer of the gods

W’ell drive our ships to new lands

To fight the horde, and sing and cry Valhalla, I am coming!

On we sweep with threshing oar Our only goal will be the western shore

Ah-ah, ah! Ah-ah, ah!

We come from the land of the ice and snow

From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow

How soft your fields so green Can whisper tales of gore

Of how we calmed the tides of war We are your overlords

On we sweep with threshing oar Our only goal will be the western shore

So now you’d better stop and rebuild all your ruins

For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing

Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh Ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh

What’s Going On in Iran?

Have you been following the (mostly non-) news from Iran? Interesting isn’t it? China and Hong Kong, Iran and the Iranian people, plus the Iraqis and the Lebanese, it’s almost like people like being free. The best I’ve seen is Michael Ledeen in FrontPage Magazine.

The country is on fire. All classes, all tribes from the Persians to the Kurds are fighting the security forces and the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij, and an increasingly divided Hezbollah. The leaders of the regime are unrestrained in their crackdown. In order to keep their actions as far as possible from public view, the leaders have killed off the internet links with the outside world, and despite American boasts that Washington can turn on the internet at will, the regime has kept communications with Iranians at historic minima.

The proximate cause of these demonstrations was an overnight increase in the cost of gasoline. I say “proximate cause” because the anti-regime outbursts had been ongoing for months, if not years. The increased price for gasoline was significant, but not decisive. So far as I can determine, the crowds of demonstrators chanted political slogans, not economic ones. They wanted an end to the Islamic Republic, not lower prices for gas.

The Iranian eruption is only one of many in the region, as Lebanese and Iraqis also joined the protest against Tehran. Iraqis, led by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, called for an end to the Hezbollah domination of the country as part of a general demand for a thoroughgoing political transformation.

The most radical demand is the downfall of the whole sectarian, political Islamist system. This is the first and most important demand in Tahrir Square — they want a separation of religion and politics. This demand includes the government resigning, especially Adil Abdul-Mahdi, the prime minister.

Now mind, these guys aren’t asking for American boots, they want to be free, but on their terms, which are unlikely to be anything acceptable to Washington, let alone the heartland. But it’s their countries and their people. We can, perhaps, aid and abet a bit, but it’s up to them, to structure their lives as they see fit.

Because make no mistake, Iran under its present rulers is an implacable foe of the United States and keeps us from doing other things in the region that we should be doing. But this isn’t something, like Hong Kong, where one side is demanding democracy on the Anglo-American model.

Why that warning? Morris Ayek witing in en.qantara.de may have that answer.

Here, too, the distinctiveness of Arabic – although it has the same meaning in other languages – is useful in looking at Arab civil wars as wars between social entities. Non-Arab civil wars such as the Russian, the French, the Spanish, the Greek and so forth were between citizens. Groups that identify themselves through modern ideologies and institutions aim at the triumph of these ideologies. Indeed, they may be seen as a concomitant struggle in transition.

Arab civil wars, on the other hand, are wars between kinsfolk, however they may appear in their early stages. The social group becomes partisan, whether sectarian, tribal, party political or ethnic. The key difference between the two types of conflicts is that Arab civil wars have no end. In the non-Arab world, it is the ideology which is defeated, whilst with us Arabs, there can be no end. The Sunni, the Shia, the Alawite and the Christian will remain, like the Arab, the Kurd and the South Sudanese.

Social ties are the true driver

The only point of Arab civil wars is dominion, which is characterised by warlords who live by perpetuating war as a source of wealth, subjugating and plundering. They differ from other civil wars, in which each warring party has sought to build an economy with which to replenish resources and to guarantee victory. Ironically, this revenue-generating model is similar to the normal workings of an Arab economy.

Quite a lot more at the link, and I think it summarized pretty well why Anglo-American style democracy is not going to break out any time soon in the Middle East.

 

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