Saturday, February 21, 2009

Honouring Cuba's Heroes

Author: Humberto Fontova

You'll often find people with itchy noses and red-rimmed eyes ambling amidst the long rows of white crosses at Miami’s Tamiami Park on Coral Way and 107 Avenue. It's a mini-Arlington cemetery called the Cuban Memorial, and it stands in honor of the tens of thousands of murder victims of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. It is a tribute, too, to those who fell while trying to free Cuba from the barbarism that the two imposed with their Soviet overlords while America’s "best and brightest" dithered, bumbled and finally betrayed the Cuban people. The tombs are symbolic. Most of the bodies still lie in mass graves.

Some of these Cuban Memorial's visitors will be kneeling, others walking slowly, looking for a name. You may remember a similar scene from the opening frames of Saving Private Ryan. Many clutch rosaries. Many of the ladies will be pressing their faces into the breast of a relative who drove them there, a relative who wraps his arms around her spastically heaving shoulders. Try as he might not to cry himself, he usually finds that the sobs wracking his mother, grandmother or aunt are contagious. Yet he's often too young to remember the face of his martyred uncle, father or cousin — the name they just recognized on the white cross. "Fusilado" — firing squad execution — it says below it.

There are 14,000 crosses in all, symbolizing those executed on the orders of the man being swamped and feted by U.S. trade delegations from Louisiana to Nebraska to Maine. Even many of the older men walking among these crosses will be red-eyed, choked up. No denying it, we Cubans are an emotional people and not ashamed to show it, at the proper time.

The elderly lady still holds a tissue to her eyes and nose as they wait to cross the street after leaving the memorial. Her red-eyed grandson still has his arm around her. She told him about how his freedom-fighter grandfather yelled "Viva Cuba Libre!" and "Viva Cristo Rey!" the instant before the volley shattered his body. They cross the street slowly, silently, and run into a dreadlocked youth coming out of a music store. His T-shirt sports the face of her husband's cowardly executioner, Che Guevara. They turn their heads in rage toward the store window. Well, there's the murderer's face again, on a huge poster, $19.95 it says at the bottom, right next to the inscription "Fight Oppression!" You, friends, tell me how she might feel.

Another woman will go home after placing flowers under her father's cross — a father she never knew. "Killed in action, Bay of Pigs, April 18th, 1961" reads the inscription on his cross. She was 2 at the time. "We will not be evacuated!" yelled her father's commander into his radio that day, as 41,000 Red Troops and swarms of Stalin tanks closed the ring on her father and his 1,400 utterly abandoned Band of Brothers. "The Best and Brightest" all had important social engagements that day.

"We came here to Fight!" her father's commander kept yelling at the enraged and heartsick CIA man offering to evacuate them from the doomed beachhead. "Let it end here!" was his last yell, barely audible over the deafening blasts from the storm of Soviet artillery. Her 23-year-old father — an accountant in Cuba a year before, a dish washer in a Miami Hotel only two months before, and now grim-faced, thirst-crazed and delirious after three days of continuous ground combat — heard the order from his commander: "No Retreat! We Stand and Fight!" and rammed in his last clip. By then he'd long realized he'd never see his daughter's graduation.
His ammo expended, he fell among the bodies of 100 of his comrades, after mauling his communist enemies to the score of 20 to one. "Wimps! Yes, Wimps!" the woman hears Michael Moore label her father and his Band of Brothers in one of America's best-selling books. "Crybabies too!" Again, friends, you tell me how she might feel.

Castro murdered her relatives, shattered her family and plunged a nation — which had double Japan's per capita income in 1958, plus net immigration from Europe — into a pesthole that repels even half-starved Haitians. He jailed, tortured and murdered more political prisoners than pre-war Hitler, and about 20 times as many as Mussolini. He asked, pleaded and finally tried to cajole Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, the “Butcher of Budapest,” into a nuclear strike against America. Failing there, he tried to blow up Macy's, Gimbel's, Bloomingdales and Grand Central Station with more TNT than used by the Madrid subway terrorists.

Yet Fidel Castro is still hailed as "One Helluva Guy" by Ted Turner; as "Very likable, a man I regard as a friend!" by George McGovern; and "Way Too Cool!" by Bonnie Raitt, among dozens upon dozens of other accolades by dozens of other liberal scoundrels and imbeciles. Today the U.S. is his biggest food supplier.

Tens of thousands of Cubans (and dozens of Americans) fought him. "We were fighting for Cuba's freedom as well as America's defense. To call us mercenaries is a grave insult," says Alabama Air Guard officer Albert Persons about his and his Alabama comrades' heroism during the battle of The Bay of Pigs. The Kennedy administration might abandon our comrades out, they snorted. We sure as hell won't.

It was more than bluster, too. Four U.S. volunteers — Pete Ray, Riley Shamburger, Leo Barker and Wade Grey — suited up, gunned the engines and joined the fight. These were Southern boys, not pampered Ivy Leaguers, so there was no navel-gazing. They had archaic notions of right and wrong, of honor and loyalty, of who America's enemies really are. Their Cuban comrades — men they'd trained and befriended — were being slaughtered on that beachhead. Knowing their lumbering B-26s were sitting ducks for Castro's unmolested jets and Sea Furies, all four Alabama air guard volunteers flew over the doomed beachhead to lend support to their betrayed brothers in arms.

All four were shot down. All four have their names in a place of honor next to their Cuban comrades on The Bay of Pigs Memorial, plus streets named after them in Little Havana, plus their crosses at the Cuban Memorial. When Doug MacArthur waded ashore on Leyte, he grabbed a radio: "People of the Philippines: I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God our forces stand again on Philippine soil – soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples." Cuban soil was similarly consecrated.

"My hatred of Bolshevism and Bolsheviks is not founded on their silly system of economics or their absurd doctrine of an impossible equality," wrote Winston Churchill. "It arises from the bloody and devastating terrorism which they practice in every land into which they have broken, and by which alone their criminal regime can be maintained." Sir Winston Churchill did not lose a single family member or close friend to that "bloody and devastating terrorism."

Yet to this day his every utterance and note is revered as an exemplar of judiciousness and heroism. But let a Cuban-American who lost half his family to Communist firing squads and prisons express the identical sentiment and he's promptly denounced by liberals as a "screaming, irrational hothead!" "Disgusting!" spat Bryant Gumbel while watching Cuban-American demonstrators in front of Elian Gonzalez's uncle's house six years ago.

Some very dedicated and selfless folks are holding a memorial service, including a Mass and vigil at the Cuban Memorial in Miami's Tamiami Park this weekend. The service is open to the public. Attend and you'll be surrounded by a sea of crosses, many heroes and heroines, along with their surviving friends and kin. If ever a group merited a memorial service, it's those here honored. Even if you're not related to any of these folks, even if their story is new to you, attend and you'll honor heroes who fought America's most rabid enemy — and for good measure poke a sharp finger into the eye of the establishment Left.

KGB killers enjoy life in Canada

Author: Lubomyr Luciuk
Source: Winnipeg Free Press

They called themselves Chekists -- the sword and shield of the Soviet Union. They were proud of what they were. Some served as concentration camp guards. Others were executioners. Many were just clerks or cooks or those ordinary guys who mop up the mess after the torturers are done.

Over the years they had different names -- Cheka, OGPU, NKVD, SMERSH and, most notoriously, KGB. Yet their job description didn't change. They were killers. They murdered whomever their masters wanted dead. Their victims numbered in the many millions.
There were decades when they were more active, years when they were less so, but they were always there. Some of their leaders were sadists, like Nikolai Yezhov, a bisexual dwarf who told Nikita Khrushchev during a Kremlin meeting that his shirtsleeves were speckled because he had spent the night torturing an "enemy of the people." Yezhov was later shot, at Stalin's command.
In Yalta, chatting with President Roosevelt, Stalin described Lavrentii Beria, Yezhov's successor, as "our Himmler." Beria was later executed on Khrushchev's orders.
Those who live by the sword die by the sword is a sharp saying. Unfortunately, it's not always true. Not only are some veterans of Stalin's secret police alive, but they are in Canada. One could be your neighbour.
Their presence among us is not news. It has been known for years. How many there are is not certain. Probably not hundreds. Yet even one is one too many.
Remarkably, they haven't been hiding. A few have boasted publicly about what they did. One wrote a book, obligingly including a photograph posing in his NKVD lieutenant's uniform. Another described her role in a SMERSH execution squad.
An intrepid journalist broke this story in a national Canadian newspaper in April 2005. Yet after that original exposé, all followup stories were spiked. Even more intriguing is that the RCMP's war crimes unit, asked to investigate allegations about Communist collaborators in Canada, responded with the rather limp finding that they had insufficient evidence upon which to act.
That reply took more than three years to draft. Apparently when a man admits he was in the NKVD and brags about the people he did in and provides his memoirs in English in a book available in libraries across the land, the Mounties don't define that as proof of any wrongdoing. Maybe they're waiting for Hollywood to turn the manuscript into a movie.

After the Second World War, screening procedures were supposed to exclude Nazis and Communists from Canada, with no exceptions. So if a man declares he was in the NKVD and broadcasts that fact from Toronto, either he is a liar or else he lied to get into Canada, probably disguising his own complicity in war crimes by pretending to be a victim. The only other explanation for him being here is that Ottawa allowed such ruffians to immigrate. In any case, we know some Communist killers are here. Legally, they shouldn't be.

All of Stalin's minions are now elderly. Yet it's not too late to see justice done. They deserve no more mercy than they meted out. And remember, they were not forced to serve -- they volunteered. Since they have no right to be here, they should be expelled to whence they came. They can then finish out their lives as burdens upon those they served. I'd bet they won't find Moscow or Minsk as comfortable as Montreal.

Canadians are a compassionate people. Not only do we strive to do what's right, we also honour the righteous. We did in 1985, when Canada conferred honourary citizenship on Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. Yet it was not the Nazis who did him in. SMERSH agents abducted Wallenberg in Budapest in January 1945, then carted him off to the notorious Lubyanka prison.

Probably no one now here was directly involved, yet all who served Stalin in those days are complicit. Whatever they did elsewhere indirectly made it possible for their comrades to kidnap and kill Wallenberg. No one wants such scoundrels here. You'd think a Conservative government would get that. Apparently they don't. They will.

On Muslim Science

Author: Lewis Jones

Muslim science? On the face of it, it seems as incongruous as Christian physics or Jewish oceanography. But can Islam plead a special case? A popular element along these lines has always been Islam's historical track record. When Ziauddin Sardar published his thoughts on the subject in New Scientist almost a quarter of a century ago, he titled his article, not "Can science come to Islam?" but "Can science come back to Islam?"
In the words of F.R. Rosenthal (The Classical Heritage of Islam): "Islamic rational scholarship, which we have mainly in mind when we speak of the greatness of Muslim civilization, depends in its entirety on classical antiquity . . . Islamic civilization as we know it would simply not have existed without the Greek heritage."
Ibn Warraq, author of Why I Am Not a Muslim, points out: "Islamic science was founded on the works of the ancient Greeks, and the Muslims are important as the transmitters of Greek (and Hindu) learning that may well have been lost otherwise" (Aristotle, Plato, Galen, Hippocrates, Archimedes, Euclid, Ptolemy). And even so, "most of the translators were Christian."
Warraq writes: "There is a persistent myth that Islam encouraged science. Adherents of this myth quote the Koran and hadith [traditional sayings of Muhammad] to prove their point . . . 'Seek knowledge, in China if necessary'; 'The search after knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.' This is nonsense, because the knowledge advocated in the previous quotes is religious knowledge. Orthodoxy has always been suspicious of 'knowledge for its own sake,' and unfettered inquiry is deemed dangerous to the faith. . . . All sciences are blameworthy that are useless for acting rightly toward God."
"Those who kill do not think they are committing any crime," said Girija Shankar Jaiswal (a lawyer who argues cases for victimized women). "They think they are becoming martyrs. They do not mind going to jail."
Al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham was one of the greatest scientists of medieval Islam, and his "Optics" strongly influenced Kepler. The French philologist Ernest Renan wrote: "A disciple of Maimonides, the Jewish philosopher, relates that he was in Baghdad on business, when the library of a certain philosopher (who died in 1214) was burned there. The preacher, who conducted the execution of the sentence, threw into the flames, with his own hands, an astronomical work of Ibn al-Haitham, after he had pointed to a delineation therein given of the sphere of the earth, as an unhappy symbol of impious Atheism."
One is reminded of the nineteenth century English politician John Morley, discussing the life of Voltaire: "Where it is a duty to worship the sun, it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat."
In the twelfth century Averroes studied medicine and philosophy, and his work on Aristotle was responsible for the development of the inductive, empirical sciences. His reward was to be tried as a heretic, condemned, and exiled. Yet his name is often put forward as being at the forefront of the Islamic history of science.
Renan begged to differ: "To give Islam the credit of Averroes and so many other illustrious thinkers, who passed half their life in prison, in forced hiding, in disgrace, whose books were burned and whose writings almost suppressed by theological authority, are as if one were to ascribe to the Inquisition the discoveries of Galileo, and a whole scientific development which it was not able to prevent."
There is also a current line of thought that assumes Islamic science has been "hijacked" by fundamentalists, and that all ills can be conveniently attributed to them. But shifting the burden of anti-science to an isolated hard-core fundamentalist group evades the central issue. Taslima Nasreen had a government warrant issued for her arrest in Bangladesh (for "outraging religious feelings"), and has some experience of official Muslim displeasure. "I don't find any difference between Islam and Islamic fundamentalists," she says. ". . . I need to say that, because some liberals always defend Islam and blame fundamentalists for creating problems."
In New Scientist (15 December 2001), Ziauddin Sardar reported: "One particular study, sponsored by the International Federation of Institutes of Advanced Studies (IFIAS) in Stockholm brought together Muslim scientists and scholars worldwide in seminars held between 1980 and 1983. The IFIAS study, published as The Touch of Midas, concluded that the issue of science and values in Islam must be treated within a framework of concepts that shape the goals of a Muslim society."
Sardar also reports that the early 1990s brought a shift into obscurantism by the defenders of Muslim science: "it began to be argued that all knowledge, including scientific knowledge, could be found in the Koran. This thesis received a tremendous boost from the well-funded Saudi project, Scientific Miracles in the Qur'an (Koran). The project spanned both empirical work, involving comparisons of those verses of the Koran that deal with astronomy and embryology with the latest discoveries, and popularizations through conferences and seminars. Relativity, quantum mechanics, big bang theory, embryology-practically everything was 'discovered' in the Koran."
In summary: "science becomes not a problem-solving enterprise or objective enquiry, but a mystical quest to understand the Absolute. Conjecture and hypothesis have no real place; all enquiry must be subordinate to the mystical experience."
Nor are there any visible prospects that there will even be open debate in print on the subject. It is a numbing thought that there does not exist a single secular Arabic periodical. In any case, debates that revolve around the concept of heresy are unlikely to lead anywhere worth reaching.
"The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas-uncertainty, progress, change-into crimes." Those are the words of Salman Rushdie in his Herbert Reade Memorial lecture in February of 1990, while in hiding from a fatwa for blasphemy.