Why Love is Painful

Love is painful because it creates the way for bliss. Love is painful because it transforms; love is mutation. Eachtransformation is going to be painful because the old has to be left for the new. The old is familiar, secure, safe, the new is absolutely unknown. You will be moving in an uncharted ocean. You cannot use your mind with the new; with the old, the mind is skillful. The mind can function only with the old; with the new, the mind is utterly useless.

Hence, fear arises, and leaving the old, comfortable, safe world, the world of convenience, pain arises. It is the same pain that the child feels when he comes out of the womb of the mother. It is the same pain that the bird feels when he comes out of the egg. It is the same pain that the bird will feel when he will try for the first time to be on the wing.

The fear of the unknown, and the security of the known, the insecurity of the unknown, the unpredictability of the unknown, makes one very much frightened.

And because the transformation is going to be from the self towards a state of no-self, agony is very deep. But you Cannot have ecstasy without going through agony. If the gold wants to be purified, it has to pass through fire.

Love is fire.

It is because of the pain of love, millions of people live a loveless life. They too suffer, and their suffering is futile. To suffer in love is not to suffer in vain. To suffer in love is creative; it takes you to higher levels of consciousness. To suffer without love is utterly a waste; it leads you nowhere, it keeps you moving in the same vicious circle.

The man who is without love is narcissistic, he is closed. He knows only himself. And how much can he know himself if he has not known the other, because only the other can function as a mirror? You will never know yourself without knowing the other. Love is very fundamental for self-knowledge too. The person who has not known the other in deep love, in intense passion, in utter ecstasy, will not be able to know who he is, because he will not have the mirror to see his own reflection.

Relationship is a mirror, and the purer the love is, the higher the love is, the better the mirror, the cleaner the mirror. But the higher love needs that you should be open. The higher love needs you to be vulnerable. You have to drop yourarmor; that is painful. You have not to be constantly on guard. You have to drop the calculating mind. You have to risk. You have to live dangerously. The other can hurt you; that is the fear in being vulnerable. The other can reject you; that is the fear in being in love.

The reflection that you will find in the other of your own self may be ugly; that is the anxiety. Avoid the mirror. But by avoiding the mirror you are not going to become beautiful. By avoiding the situation you are not going to grow either. The challenge has to be taken.

One has to go into love. That is the first step towards God, and it cannot be bypassed. Those who try to bypass the step of love will never reach God. That is absolutely necessary because you become aware of your totality only when you are provoked by the presence of the other, when your presence is enhanced by the presence of the other, when you are brought out of your narcissistic, closed world under the open sky.

Love is an open sky. To be in love is to be on the wing. But certainly, the unbounded sky creates fear.

And to drop the ego is very painful because we have been taught to cultivate the ego. We think the ego is our only treasure. We have been protecting it, we have been decorating it, we have been continuously polishing it, and when love knocks on the door, all that is needed to fall in love is to put aside the ego; certainly it is painful. It is your whole life’s work, it is all that you have created — this ugly ego, this idea that “I am separate from existence. ”

This idea is ugly because it is untrue. This idea is illusory, but our society exists, is based on this idea that each person is a person, not a presence.

The truth is that there is no person at all in the world; there is only presence. You are not — not as an ego, separate from the whole. You are part of the whole. The whole penetrates you, the whole breathes in you, pulsates in you, the whole is your life.

Love gives you the first experience of being in tune with something that is not your ego. Love gives you the first lesson that you can fall into harmony with someone who has never been part of your ego. If you can be in harmony with a woman, if you can be in harmony with a friend, with a man, if you can be in harmony with your child or with your mother, why can’t you be in harmony with all human beings? And if to be in harmony with a single person gives such joy, what will be the outcome if you are in harmony with all human beings? And if you can be in harmony with all human beings, why can’t you be in harmony with animals and birds and trees? Then one step leads to another.

Love is a ladder. It starts with one person, it ends with the totality. Love is the beginning, God is the end. To be afraid of love, to be afraid of the growing pains of love, is to remain enclosed in a dark cell.

Modern man is living in a dark cell; it is narcissistic. Narcissism is the greatest obsession of the modern mind.

And then there are problems, problems which are meaningless. There are problems which are creative because they lead you to higher awareness. There are problems which lead you nowhere; they simply keep you tethered, they simply keep you in your old mess.

Love creates problems. You can avoid those problems by avoiding love. But those are very essential problems! They have to be faced, encountered; they have to be lived and gone through and gone beyond. And to go beyond, the way is through. Love is the only real thing worth doing. All else is secondary. If it helps love, it is good. All else is just a means, love is the end. So whatsoever the pain, go into love.

If you don’t go into love, as many people have decided, then you are stuck with yourself. Then your life is not a pilgrimage, then your life is not a river going to the ocean; your life is a stagnant pool, dirty, and soon there will be nothing but dirt and mud. To keep clean, one needs to keep flowing. A river remains clean because it goes on flowing. Flow is the process of remaining continuously virgin.

A lover remains a virgin. All lovers are virgin. The people who don’t love cannot remain virgin; they become dormant, stagnant; they start stinking sooner or later — and sooner than later — because they have nowhere to go. Their life is dead.

That’s where modern man finds himself, and because of this, all kinds of neuroses, all kinds of madnesses, have become rampant. Psychological illness has taken epidemic proportions. It is no more that a few individuals are psychologically ill; the reality is the whole earth has become a madhouse. The whole of humanity is suffering from a kind of neurosis.

And that neurosis is coming from your narcissistic stagnancy. Everyone is stuck with one’s own illusion of having a separate self; then people go mad. And this madness is meaningless, unproductive, uncreative. Or people start committing suicide. Those suicides are also unproductive, uncreative.

You may not commit suicide by taking poison or jumping from a cliff or by shooting yourself, but you can commit a suicide which is a very slow process, and that’s what happens. Very few people commit suicide suddenly. Others have decided for a slow suicide; gradually, slowly, slowly they die. But almost, the tendency to be suicidal has become universal.

This is no way to live, and the reason, the fundamental reason, is we have forgotten the language of love. We are no more courageous enough to go into that adventure called love.

Hence people are interested in sex, because sex is not risky. It is momentary, you don’t get involved. Love is involvement; it is commitment. It is not momentary. Once it takes roots, it can be forever. It can be a lifelong involvement. Love needs intimacy, and only when you are intimate does the other become a mirror. When you meet sexually with a woman or a man, you have not met at all; in fact, you avoided the soul of the other person. You just used the body and escaped, and the other used your body and escaped. You never became intimate enough to reveal each other’s original faces.

Love is the greatest Zen koan.

It is painful, but don’t avoid it. If you avoid it you have avoided the greatest opportunity to grow. Go into it, suffer love, because through the suffering comes great ecstasy. Yes, there is agony, but out of the agony, ecstasy is born. Yes, you will have to die as an ego, but if you can die as an ego, you will be born as God, as a Buddha. And love will give you the first tongue-tip-taste of Tao, of Sufism, of Zen. Love will give you the first proof that God is, that life is not meaningless.

The people who say life is meaningless are the people who have not known love. All that they are saying is that their life has missed love.

Let there be pain, let there be suffering. Go through the dark night, and you will reach to a beautiful sunrise. It is only in the womb of the dark night that the sun evolves. It is only through the dark night that the morning comes.

My whole approach here is that of love. I teach only love and only love and nothing else. You can forget about God; that is just an empty word. You can forget about prayers because they are only rituals imposed by others on you. Love is the natural prayer, not imposed by anybody. You are born with it. Love is the true God — not the God of theologians, but the God of Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, the God of the Sufis. Love is a tariqa, a method, to kill you as a separate individual and to help you become the infinite. Disappear as a dewdrop and become the ocean, but you will have to pass through the door of love.

And certainly when one starts disappearing like a dewdrop, and one has lived long as a dewdrop, it hurts, because one has been thinking, “I am this, and now this is going. I am dying. ” You are not dying, but only an illusion is dying. You have become identified with the illusion, true, but the illusion is still an illusion. And only when the illusion is gone will you be able to see who you are. And that revelation brings you to the ultimate peak of joy, bliss, celebration.

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Source: The Secret, by Osho

Courtesy: Earth We Are One
Read more » http://earthweareone.com/why-love-is-painful/

“No civilization would tolerate what America has done”

Institutional racism. Rampant income inequality. A broken justice system. America may never be a great society

By DAVID MASCIOTRA, ALTERNET

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

It seems police can get away with anything: choking men who have surrendered; shooting unarmed teens; knocking pregnant women to the ground. While the issues involving race, civil rights and the relationship between law enforcement and communities are essential for examination and correction, few are talking about how all of this fits into the larger pattern of America’s cultural decline and decay. America has become a society addicted to violence and indifferent to the suffering of people without power. Whenever there is a combination of a culture of violence and an ethic of heartlessness, fatal abuse of authority will escalate, and the legal system will fail to address it.

Critics are right to condemn the criminal justice system for its embedded inequities and injustices, but they are hesitant to condemn the actual jurors giving killer cops get-out-of-jail-free cards. These jurors are representational of America: ignorant and cold. They hear testimony from eyewitnesses claiming Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown while he had his hands in the air, and set Wilson free without trial. They listen to reports of three officers choking Robert Saylor, an unarmed man with Down syndrome who wanted to see a movie without a ticket, and they send the police back to work. They watch video footage of police choking Eric Garner in New York, and of two police officers brutally beating Keyarika Diggles, a woman in Texas, and they decline to make them pay for it.

Have they been programmed into cruelty and apathy by American schools, churches, families, politics, and pop culture?

There are practical demands that the sane minority of Americans can make as they march the streets of Ferguson, New York and Chicago. Body cameras on police officers is a technological aid to the people who live under military occupation from the blue army. Tougher requirements for entering the police force, and better training methods for those in the academy are essential, as is a sweeping and radical review, best led by the White House, of a racist and predatory criminal justice system.

Read more » SALON
Learn more »  http://www.salon.com/2014/12/29/no_civilization_would_tolerate_what_america_has_done_partner/

While You Were Getting Worked Up Over Oil Prices, This Just Happened to Solar

By Tom Randall

Every time fossil fuels get cheaper, people lose interest in solar deployment. That may be about to change.

After years of struggling against cheap natural gas prices and variable subsidies, solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 U.S. states — in 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank report published this week. That’s assuming the U.S. maintains its 30 percent tax credit on system costs, which is set to expire that same year.

Even if the tax credit drops to 10 percent, solar will soon reach price parity with conventional electricity in well over half the nation: 36 states. Gone are the days when solar panels were an exotic plaything of Earth-loving rich people. Solar is becoming mainstream, and prices will continue to drop as the technology improves and financing becomes more affordable, according to the report.

Read more » Bloomberg
Learn more » http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-29/while-you-were-getting-worked-up-over-oil-prices-this-just-happened-to-solar.html?hootPostID=fd0aeac67c7e04a9f9f4ad32839850d6

Pakistan, Terrorism, and the Peshawar Attack – Dr. Christine Fair

On December 16, the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacked a military-run school in Peshawar, Pakistan. 145 people were killed in the attack, including 132 children. Afterward, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed that the government “will not rest until every terrorist is killed,” but there is deep skepticism that he can deliver on that promise. Dr. Christine Fair, Assistant Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University, talks with The Diplomat about the Peshawar attack and Islamabad’s response.

Courtesy: Diplomat

Re-fuel Every 100 Years With the New Thorium Car

By: Amanda Froelich

True Activist.

If you haven’t yet been amazed by the hybrid car that runs on air or the water-powered engine, this vehicle is sure to make you think twice about the alternative forms of transportation which will one day rule the road.

The new Thorium car, created by a company called Laser Power Systems, is completely emission-free, turbine-free, and is electricity generated. It’s one of the new sustainable-powered engines to show just how unnecessary modern day propulsion engines are and also offer an exciting alternative.

Fueled by nuclear thorium lasers, this engine only needs 8 grams of fuels every 100 years. Charles Stevens, the CEO and chairman of the Connecticut-based company, claims that one gram of thorium yields the energy of 7,500 gallons of gasoline.  Harnessed by heating the energy from an external source, the energy becomes so dense the molecules produce heat. A vehicle that needs refilling once a lifetime.

It seems many countries and military agencies have been experimenting with this type of energy to power vehicles for a number of years. And now with designs to create a car for the public, those who find their gasoline budget a sensitive topic may find relief in this model.

Courtesy: True Activist
Read More: http://www.trueactivist.com/re-fuel-every-100-years-with-the-new-thorium-car/

The net is now mightier than the sword – James Corbett

Since the rise of the internet people have changed from mere audiences into authors and editors. With pieces of technology small enough to fit the whole world into your pocket, a revolution might be on its way. The net is now mightier than the sword. This presentation was delivered at the TEDxGroningen conference in the Netherlands on November 20, 2014.

Courtesy: TRUTH THEORY
Learn more » http://truththeory.com/2014/12/28/the-net-is-mightier-than-the-sword-james-corbett-lecture/

Will religion ever disappear?

By Rachel Nuwer

Atheism is on the rise around the world, so does that mean spirituality will soon be a thing of the past? Rachel Nuwer discovers that the answer is far from simple.

A growing number of people, millions worldwide, say they believe that life definitively ends at death – that there is no God, no afterlife and no divine plan. And it’s an outlook that could be gaining momentum – despite its lack of cheer. In some countries, openly acknowledged atheism has never been more popular.

“There’s absolutely more atheists around today than ever before, both in sheer numbers and as a percentage of humanity,” says Phil Zuckerman, a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and author of Living the Secular Life. According to a Gallup International survey of more than 50,000 people in 57 countries, the number of individuals claiming to be religious fell from 77% to 68% between 2005 and 2011, while those who self-identified as atheist rose by 3% – bringing the world’s estimated proportion of adamant non-believers to 13%.

Read more ⇒ BBC
Learn more ⇒ http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20141219-will-religion-ever-disappear

 

Author’s journey inside ISIS: They’re ‘more dangerous than people realize’

By Frederik Pleitgen, CNN

(CNN) — Juergen Todenhoefer’s journey was a tough one: dangerous, but also eye-opening. The author traveled deep into ISIS territory — the area they now call their “caliphate” — visiting Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in Syria, as well as Mosul in Iraq.

Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was taken by ISIS in a Blitzkrieg-like sweep in June.

Todenhoefer managed to visit the mosque there where the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi, gave his only public address.

And he saw the realities of daily life under ISIS, with all shops having to close for prayers in the middle of the day.

“There is an awful sense of normalcy in Mosul,” Todenhoefer said in an exclusive interview with CNN.

“130,000 Christians have been evicted from the city, the Shia have fled, many people have been murdered and yet the city is functioning and people actually like the stability that the Islamic State has brought them.”

Nonetheless, he says, there is an air of fear among residents: “Of course many of the them are quite scared, because the punishment for breaking the Islamic State’s strict rules is very severe.”

Read more » CNN
Learn more » http://edition.cnn.com/2014/12/22/world/meast/inside-isis-juergen-todenhoefer/index.html?c=&page=0

Kellogg’s to close London, Ont., plant and lay off 500 workers

By The Canadian Press

LONDON, Ont. — After nearly 90 years in London, Ont., Kellogg Co. will shut the doors of its cereal plant by the end of next year, cutting more than 500 full-time jobs.

Employees were told of the plans during a staff meeting Tuesday, about a month after the company announced a restructuring plan that would have laid off 110 workers by January.

Union president Bob Martin said workers were taken aback by the news, given that they had been working with Kellogg to lower costs.

“It was pretty shocking for us considering all the work we’ve done over the last several years,” said Martin, who represents Local 154G of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union.

Learn more » CTV News

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/kellogg-s-to-close-london-ont-plant-and-lay-off-500-workers-1.1582962#ixzz3MeAtVgsX

Muslims must confront Islamism

BY , TORONTO SUN

TORONTO – We can only weep for the scores of children massacred by the Taliban in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Just a day before this slaughter, another Islamist took innocent cafe patrons hostage in downtown Sydney. Two of them were killed, along with him.

Not long ago, Islamist extremists took the lives of two Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and Montreal.

When will this religious madness ever end?

Just when we consider beheading by ISIS to be the worst inhumanity, we learn the Taliban butchers made pupils watch their teacher being incinerated.

In this competition of evil, we must now wonder who has cultivated the most brutal brand: Boko Haram in Nigeria, ISIS militants, al-Qaida or the Taliban?

Revenge prompted the bombings of the army-run Pakistani school.

“We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,” said the Taliban leaders who claimed responsibility.

Read more » Toronto Sun
Learn more » http://www.torontosun.com/2014/12/18/muslims-must-confront-islamism#.VJSsFQymnmk.facebook

10 questions Pakistan Army fans can’t answer

Pakistan has lost 70,000 of its people to terrorism. The figure of policemen and jawans killed stands somewhere between ten and twenty thousands. Earlier this week, Taliban launched the deadliest of all attacks of Pakistan’s history which (to last counts) has killed 162 including 140+ children in APS&C Peshawar. There is no national consensus still and Pakistan Army and its cronies continue to confuse masses with their usual conspiracy theories and blaming neighboring India and Afghanistan while running away from any responsibility by trying to prove terrorists were not Muslim and came from some unknown place. The fact remains that the terrorism in Pakistan is an outcome of policy of strategic depth of Pakistan Army which is enabled by the Jihadi narrative popularised in Pakistan by Deobandi madressah network, on behest and funding of Pakistan Army. The chicken have now come home to roost but Pakistan Army continues its policy of good and bad Taliban and is not willing to reverse its narrative and take on extremism. What is more tragic is the unflinching support that Pakistan Army enjoys, specially in urban centers by young educated lot who find it unpatriotic and traitorous to question Pakistan Army. So, here are my ten questions to Pakistan Army fan boys and girls….

1. Who lets Mullah Omar operate from Quetta?

Read more » AleXpressed
Learn more » http://blog.ale.com.pk/?p=2572

Militant siege of Peshawar school over, at least 141 killed

By Agencies | Zahir Shah Sherazi | Mateen Haider | Hassan Jahangiri | Abdul Hakim

PESHAWAR: Pakistani officials say the siege at an army-run school on Warsak road school is over, and authorities are now sweeping the area.

At least 141 people, most of them children (132), died when Taliban gunmen attacked the school in the morning. The overwhelming majority of the victims were students at the school, which has children and teenagers in grades 1-10.

Read more ⇒ DAWN
Learn more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1151203

Children Exposed To Religion Have Difficulty Distinguishing Fact From Fiction, Study Finds

babiesBy  | By

Young children who are exposed to religion have a hard time differentiating between fact and fiction, according to a new study published in the July issue of Cognitive Science.

Researchers presented 5- and 6-year-old children from both public and parochial schools with three different types of stories — religious, fantastical and realistic –- in an effort to gauge how well they could identify narratives with impossible elements as fictional.

Read more ⇒ Huffington Post
Learn more ⇒ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/21/children-religion-fact-fiction_n_5607009.html

A missing State

Dangerously corrosive to the rule of law.

Dangerously corrosive to the rule of law.

By 

The dismal image of the country on human rights front merits drastic overhaul by implementing international convention on missing persons

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has once again pleaded the government of Pakistan to ratify “international convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance”, and shun the barbaric practice of enforced disappearances and killings of compatriots.

Recent torrent of abduction and killing of political workers has once again brought Pakistan in the limelight.

HRCP and other civil society organisations have criticised the government and the law enforcement agencies for perpetrating these crimes against citizens.

The convention that was adopted by the  on December 20, 2006 and entered into force on December 23, 2010, explicitly says no one shall be subjected to enforced disappearance. It also trashes stereotype excuses by succinctly saying “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.”

The convention also demands the states shall guarantee the relatives or the victims’ counsel have access to the responsible authorities. It also seeks a commitment to disclose the whereabouts of persons deprived of liberty, including, in the event of a transfer to another place.

So far, 94 states have signed the convention and 43 have ratified it. Pitiably, the United States and United Kingdom refused to sign the convention on flimsy grounds. India is the only country in SAARC region that has signed the aforementioned convention but not yet ratified. Pakistan is also among the countries that have not yet signed the convention to eschew a cardinal international commitment. Before that, the General Assembly of the United Nations also adopted declaration on the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance in its resolution 47/133 of December 18, 1992.

South Asian countries have a gruesome track record of trampling movements for political rights, often dubbing them as insurgencies. While some of the movements pronounce armed struggle as a strategy to achieve their goals, the peaceful ones are not spared either.

At times, atrocious means adopted by law enforcement agencies compel peaceful political movements to violent recourse. It happens in countries with fragile democracies, where the state apparatus adopts repressive than saner political options.

Dismemberment of Pakistan in 1973, series of uprisings in Balochistan, unremitting conflict in Kashmir, suppressed Tamil insurgency in Sri Lanka are some of the regional examples to mention.

Pakistan is among the countries that have not yet signed the convention to protect its citizens from enforced disappearances. However, the country is signatory to some other instruments that forbid such crimes to be committed by a state against its citizens.

Courts at times accused state actors to be involved in such incidents. But they were responded to with dumping of mutilated bodies.

Pakistan’s own constitution guarantees the right to fair trial. Article 10-A says, “in any criminal charge against him a person shall be entitled to a fair trial and due process.” Law enforcement agencies, however, violate such clauses of constitution on the pretext of protecting an incognito national interest. During the past 10 years, parts of the country have witnessed incessant disappearances and killings at the hands of both state and non-state actors.

A delegation of the United Nations working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances visited Pakistan in September 2012. During the visit, the working group received information on cases of enforced disappearances and studied the measures adopted by the state to prevent enforced disappearances. The figures communicated to the group ranged from less than a hundred to thousands.

The report of the group highlighted the plight of tormented families who were threatened; that if they did file a case, their loved ones will be harmed, or another member of their family would be abducted. Similarly, witnesses and lawyers supporting the victims were threatened with dire consequences.

While enforced disappearances and custodial killings are rampant, the state response in Pakistan has been inadequate. Only cosmetic measures have been taken to mollify the enraged human rights bodies.

In April 2008, former law minister, Farooq Naik, stated that the government was collecting details of disappeared persons and promised that all would be released. In April 2010, the Interior Ministry set up a committee to investigate the fate of the disappeared persons. In March 2011, the Supreme Court decided to institute a specific body to deal with cases of enforced disappearances.

In May 2012, the statute of the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) and a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) was also adopted by the Parliament. Notifications of these committees are gathering dust in official shelves and no findings have been made public.

Unabated abductions and killings of political workers spread to Sindh too. Courts were made repeated requests to produce the missing persons. They at times accused state actors to be involved in such incidents. But they were responded to with dumping of mutilated bodies.

The law enforcement agencies always denied these charges. The overall futility of the law and justice structure is evident from the fact that in spite of thousands of disappearances and genocidal killings on ethnic and sectarian grounds, hardly any felons has been convicted.

The UN working group reported with alarm that impunity is dangerously corrosive to the rule of law in Pakistan. The report quoting some officials mentioned that criminals, terrorists or militants from armed groups enjoyed a great impunity because, even when investigations were initiated against them, they managed to get out of them, by using threats against the police, the judges or witnesses. There were hints that this might explain why some law enforcement or intelligence agents might have resorted to illegal practices such as enforced disappearances.

Apathy and indifference of successive governments is starkly evident. Responding a question on recent incidents of extrajudicial killings in Sindh, a federal minister callously remarked that it is a provincial matter whereas the chief minister of Sindh stood aloof by saying that nationalists are politicising dead bodies. This cavalier attitude of the government would only rub salt on the wounds of victims.

Article 13(1) of the “UN declaration on the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance” provides that whenever there are reasonable grounds to believe that an enforced disappearance has been committed, the State shall promptly refer the matter to a competent and independent State authority for investigation, even if there has been no formal complaint. No measure shall be taken to curtail or impede the investigation. Hence the State cannot be absolved of its responsibility to protect lives of citizens even if its law enforcement arms pretend their innocence.

The country ranked fourth on the human rights risk index ought to adopt serious strategies to repair its image. Immune to all kinds of ignominies, the government rather embarked on a retrogressive “Protection of Pakistan Act” that actually extends a license for extrajudicial killings and illegal detentions. Such scruffy laws are likely to be used as brinkmanship tool against movements for political rights particularly in Sindh and Balochistan, where cold blooded murders are frequently committed. These laws are certainly not intended to curb terrorism in the country where banned faith-based elements with dubious trajectory freely operate, sometimes under official patronage.

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“No Substitute for Victory”: The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism

Author’s note: This article was adapted from a lecture I presented at the Ayn Rand Institute’s OCON conference “The Jihad Against the West,” in Boston, MA, on October 21, 2006.

Author’s note: This article was adapted from a lecture I presented at the Ayn Rand Institute’s OCON conference “The Jihad Against the West,” in Boston, MA, on October 21, 2006.

By John David Lewis

The Greek historian Thucydides, writing about the calamitous war that had destroyed his own world, made an important observation about the causes of historical events: Even though circumstances may change, human nature remains the same; and certain human elements—especially moral and psychological factors—are at the root of all wars. We can disagree with Thucydides about the identity of those factors, and reject his pessimistic view of human nature, but we will benefit from accepting his challenge to rise above particular circumstances and focus on the principles of human action that are common to all time. Differences in technology, politics, or economics will always remain secondary to the ideas that motivate aggressors to launch bloody attacks and that empower—or restrain—defenders opposing those attacks.

In that spirit, let us begin by considering an event of cataclysmic proportions, a deadly attack against Americans, and then examine two possible responses to it. This approach will show us that the crisis we face today—a series of highly motivated attacks against the heart of civilization—is not unique, can be understood, and can be ended—if we choose to understand and end it.

The attack under consideration kills thousands of Americans. Foreign governments, well known to us, have sponsored such attacks for years in their pursuit of a continental-scale totalitarian empire. The fire motivating the slaughter is a militaristic, religious-political ideology that values war as a demonstration of loyalty to a deity, demands obedience to its spokesmen, and imposes its edicts over millions of people. Thousands of individuals, indoctrinated as youths, are eager to engage in suicide attacks, and many more are willing to die through acquiescence and submission, should the state so demand. The enemy soldier is highly motivated, thoroughly brainwashed, and willing to die for his god and his cause. The enemy’s children and soldiers memorize words such as these:

The battlefield is where our army displays its true character, conquering whenever it attacks, winning whenever it engages in combat, in order to spread our deity’s reign far and wide, so that the enemy may look up in awe to his august virtues.1

They accept, as moral imperatives, ideas such as these:

[F]ight and slay the unbelievers wherever you find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war; but if they repent, and practice our way, then accept them. . . . You shall fight back against those who do not believe in God, nor in the Last Day, nor do they prohibit what God and His messenger have prohibited, nor do they abide by the religion of truth.2

Millions of people embrace such injunctions as unquestioned commandments. Their suicidal attacks continue for years.

Read more ⇒ The Objective Standard
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How Did Moses Part the Red Sea?

The science of tides may have saved the Israelites from the Egyptians The science of tides may have saved the Israelites from the Egyptians

By BRUCE PARKER

Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” which opens in movie theaters across the country Dec. 12, will include, of course, the most famous of all biblical miracles: the parting of the Red Sea. But its depiction will look quite different from the one in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 classic “The Ten Commandments.” In the earlier movie, Charlton Heston as Moses parted the sea into two huge walls of water, between which the children of Israel crossed on a temporarily dry seabed to the opposite shore. Pharaoh’s army of chariots chased after them only to be drowned when Moses signaled for the waters to return.

Mr. Scott has said that his new version of the story will have a more realistic and natural explanation of what happened and won’t rely on Moses to bring forth God’s miraculous intervention. He has decided to have the waters “part” as the result of a tsunami caused by an earthquake. Before a tsunami strikes, coastal waters often recede, leaving the seabed dry before the giant wave arrives.

But there are problems with this version of the story, too. The period during which coastal waters draw back before a tsunami usually lasts only 10 or 20 minutes, too little time to get all the children of Israel across the temporarily dry seabed. Also, there would have been no way for Moses to know that the earthquake and tsunami were going to happen, unless God told him. That’s fine, but then the story would retain some element of the miraculous.

There is a much better natural explanation for how a temporary path across the Red Sea could have been revealed. It involves the tide, a natural phenomenon that would have fit nicely into a well-thought-out plan by Moses, because Moses would have been able to predict when it would happen.

In certain places in the world, the tide can leave the sea bottom dry for hours and then come roaring back. In fact, in 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte and a small group of soldiers on horseback were crossing the Gulf of Suez, the northern end of the Red Sea, roughly where Moses and the Israelites are said to have crossed. On a mile-long expanse of dry sea bottom exposed at low water, the tide suddenly rushed in, almost drowning them.

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