Christmas is knocking the doors, So Iím going to talk about Christmas in Iraq. Christians in Iraq usually celebrate Xmas and have a two day holiday which is 25th and 26th of Dec. their traditions is very similar to our Eid with few differences. they have Christmas tree with the usual decoration, they go to church for prayers and then start their Eid similar to us. Muslims and Christians visit each other in Eid (by the way the Christians called their Christmas, Eid too). Me and my husband usually visit our friends in Christmas and they visit us in our Eid too. they serve also our traditional Kulaicha besides some pastries just like us. my daughter have her share of gifts in Xmas too, and she always asks me why Santa doesnít come to our house too? and I donít know what to tell her, so I usually say that Santa brings your gifts and put them in our friends house so you can take them from there. For us we buy presents to our Christian friends when we visit them.
The Iraqis have strong bonds between them, in spite of religion or ethnic differences, we all work together, have neighbors from other religions, visit each other and respect our differences. my neighbors are shias, my best friends are Christians and Kurds and Iím Sunni, but we all have good relations between us. Iím afraid of those who are trying hard to tear us a part, for me I donít think they will succeed but Iím sure they are from outside Iraq, and they want Iraq to separate into several parts or maybe drag it to civil war. In Iraqís history for the few past hundreds of years we had no problems with each other so I think those terrorists will lose.
Even in our holly book, the Quran clearly states that Christians, Jews, and us Muslims we all worship the same God (which in Arabic we call Allah), and believing in Jesus and Moses is one of the basic conditions of being a Muslim. The Quran also asks us to live in peace with them and work and eat their food and even allows Muslim men to get married from them so his children will be Muslims but his wife can stay on her religion. We have unfortunately many ignorant people that know nothing about Islam and talk in his name, and destroy Islamís reputation to others. I quote an ayah from the Quran :
ďLo! those who believe (in that which is revealed unto thee, Muhammad), and those who are Jews, and Christians, and Sabaeans whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.Ē (albakara-62 )
Today I went to my parents house and I took my daughter to their neighborís house because they have a daughter in her age and she likes to play with her, the neighbors are Christians and they are the best neighbor a person can have. I asked the mother if they will go to church in Christmas as they used to go every year, she said no with sorrow. She is afraid from attacking the churches in Christmas, but she said I know many will go what ever will happen since they will go to the house of God. I really hated myself at this moment and I did not know what to tell her, I told her that not only you are targeted, look what they had done in Najaf and Karbala two days ago, they are trying hard to tear us apart, but I donít know who are they. I felt so silly that moment.
also today, my father told me that he is afraid from a civil war, he said that those who are doing these things they know exactly what they are doing. I tried to tell him itís impossible but he said no, they will succeed in making a civil war and then divide Iraq to peaces. I still donít believe in this, The US will not allow this to happen because it will mean that they have failed in everything they fought for.
Well, this subject is supposed to be on Christmas but I want to clear few things to you, I donít know how much you know about us. Merry Xmas to you all, and I wish you a nice Xmas always.
Aw, just in time for the holidays the good olí VM comes through for ya: a Chilean psychic, Ricardo Gonzales, claims heís been receiving MMS messages from Ms. Mary herself. Talk about spreading the Christmas cheer. Apparently the latest image was of an ďangel waving,Ē and ďAfter much study and analysis Mr Gonzales claimed the images and messages said that God exists and that there is life after death.Ē Well, guess that settles that.
Isn’t it great that someone has finally started to use MMS?
But it’ll be just as much of a miracle if the rest of us work out how to use it successfully.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, responding to mounting criticism even from fellow Republicans, said on Wednesday he was “truly saddened” anyone could think he was not laboring to protect U.S. combat troops.
Damn! Don’t they realize “it’s hard work!”
We have completely lost our way with this fiasco in Iraq. The president seems almost perversely out of touch. “The idea of democracy taking hold in what was a place of tyranny and hatred and destruction is such a hopeful moment in the history of the world,” he said this week.
The truth, of course, is that we can’t even secure the road to the Baghdad airport, or protect our own troops lining up for lunch inside a military compound. The coming elections are a slapstick version of democracy. International observers won’t even go to Iraq to monitor the elections because it’s too dangerous. They’ll be watching, as if through binoculars, from Jordan.
No observers… hmm.. anybody want to predict the results? Without observers, both the outcome of the election and the presentation of the outcome is completely under White House control. Remember that “nobody being able to tell what really happens on election day” is W.’s favourite form of democracy.
The Mars Express image browser has more images…
The Civil Air Patrol at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany is making a plea for help for wounded US soldiers sent there. I quote the original letter below in full. Note that getting things all the way to Ramstein requires more postage than the APO address might suggest. I know the first reaction of most people when they read this message will be to be angry at political figures. But first send money, then be mad. By the way, this sort of treatment of US troops is common, even though they are all that stand between us and forces such as al-Qaeda. The grunts who do the heavy lifting aren’t actually paid anything. The allowance given them to move from one base to another often doesn’t cover their expenses. The Bush administration is even trying to back away from commitments made with regard to Vets’ health benefits. Tens of thousands of badly wounded US veterans are likely to be produced by the current round of wars, and some proportion of them will end up homeless.
From: Lori Noyes
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2004 12:28 AM
Subject: Request for Help for our wounded troops at LRMC
Dear CAP Friends:
I am writing is to tell you about a project the Ramstein Cadet Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is starting. The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) here in Germany got an influx of about 500 wounded troops from Iraq last week and more arrive almost daily. They arrive straight from the battlefield, with only the torn, dirty, bloody clothes on their back. They have no clothes, underwear, or toiletry items. The hospital provides them with only a cotton gown or pajamas, robe, and disposable slippers. Some stay only a few days before being sent to hospitals stateside, while others are here up to several weeks. The military gives them a $250 voucher to buy clothing and toiletries at the BX, but many are not ambulatory, and those who are have to wait for a bus to get down to the BX on Ramstein 7 miles away. The BX runs out of the clothing and it takes weeks for more to come in. Those who can go to the BX still need something to wear to get there!
The cadets are collecting new clothing and toiletries to that they can take to the wounded at LRMC. Below is a list of items the wounded need. It is cold here in Germany and warm items are needed. Items need not be name brands . . .
For males – all sizes, but mostly medium and large
undershirts or T-shirts
white crew sox
cotton turtleneck shirts
sweatshirts (crew or zip-up hooded)
inexpensive athletic shoes
For females – all sizes, but mostly medium and large
cotton turtleneck shirts
bras – mostly sizes 34, 36, 38 with cup sizes B and C
white crew sox
sweatshirts (crew or zip-up hooded)
inexpensive athletic shoes
Toiletry articles -
shaving cream – regular and/or travel size
deodorant – regular and/or travel size
tooth paste – regular and/or travel size
The hospital could also use new or used video tapes or DVDs of movies for the patients to watch. Comedies or light drama are best. Please avoid movies about war or those with excessive violence.
If your squadron would like to help, we would greatly appreciate it, no matter what the quantity. Every little bit helps.
If you wish to send money, make your check out to the Ramstein Cadet Squadron and put “Help for LRMC” on the memo line. We will use the money to purchase toiletry items and movies. But American-sized clothing listed below is what is mostly needed, which the BX is currently out of.
Send your donations to:
Lt Col Lori Noyes
PSC 2 Box 6037
APO AE 09012
Ramstein Cadet Squadron NHQ-OS-119
APO AE 09094
We can get items to the hospital faster if they come to my mailing address, but feel free to send them to the squadron address.
Feel free to pass the word along to other CAP units in your wing. Thank you for your support of our troops.
Lori L. Noyes, Lt Col, CAP
Ramstein Cadet Squadron
For those who want to help the victims of bombings such as those at Najaf and Karbala recently, contributions can be sent to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (click on “Iraq Humanitarian Crisis” at “I would like my contribution to go to . . .).
“If this is my 15 minutes of fame, I hope it saves a life,” says Thomas “Jerry” Wilson, the National Guard specialist who unnerved Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in a public forum by asking why soldiers have to scrounge for scrap metal to arm their vehicles before heading into Iraq. Wilson, 31, who joined the National Guard a few days after Sept. 11, has kept a low profile since the Dec. 8 town-hall meeting in Kuwait, even as his question ó and a reporter’s later account of his role in preparing it ó became a hot topic. But in an interview with TIME last week, the soldier from Tennessee’s 278th Regiment gave his first public account of the incident, saying he came up with the pointed question himself.
Wilson, of Ringgold, Ga., says he met and befriended Edward Lee Pitts, an embedded reporter from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, at California’s Fort Irwin, where his unit trained. Later in Kuwait, after Pitts learned that only soldiers could ask questions at the upcoming Rumsfeld meeting, he urged Wilson to come up with, as Wilson recalls, some “intelligent questions.” Wilson decided on one after his convoy arrived at Camp Arijan. The camp had hundreds of fully armored vehicles waiting for a unit scheduled to arrive in July. When Wilson asked if the 278th could use them in the meantime, the answer was no. Wilson then devised a question about the shortage of armor and showed it to Pitts. Even though the reporter “suggested a less brash way of asking the question,” Wilson says, “I told him no, that I wanted to make my point very clear.” Wilson says he also came up with three alternate questions on his own.
As for Rumsfeld’s brusque response ó that even a fully armored vehicle “can be blown up”–Wilson says, “Personally, I didn’t like that answer.” But as a George W. Bush supporter, he adds, “I hope I didn’t do any damage to Secretary Rumsfeld.” After the meeting, Wilson told Rumsfeld he did not intend to put him “on the spot” or show disrespect, and the two shook hands. While most soldiers were “overwhelmingly positive” afterward, one officer suggested Wilson should have asked the question in a more “proper forum.” Says Wilson: “My response was, ‘What would the proper forum be?’ If it costs me my career to save another soldier, I’ll give it.”
Premier Balkenende overweegt in de volgende kabinetsperiode een ministerie voor Veiligheid in te voeren. Hij zegt vrijdag in een interview in De Telegraaf daar over te willen nadenken. Zo’n minister zou zowel politie en de veiligheidsdienst AIVD als justitie onder zich krijgen. Nu zijn die verantwoordelijkheden nog verdeeld over de ministers van Binnenlandse Zaken en Justitie.
Ik heb nog geen reactie gehoord van de waarschijnlijke volgende premier, Wouter Bos…
En ik hoop wel dat deze Homeland Security minister iets anders doet dan de afgezaagde kleuren voor de ‘Alert Level’. Wellicht iets met fruit?
For a century or so, being Santa was something like being a golfer on the senior tour ó a leisurely, seasonal pastime for men of a certain age and genteel demeanor. But being Santa has changed dramatically in the last few years, say Santas across the U.S. and Canada. More taxing, more complicated, the job now comes with grueling hours and hidden pressures.
As Christmas becomes more commercialized, so must Santa. As the holiday begins earlier each year, so must its spokesman and standard-bearer. What used to be a three-week gig has become a two-month grind, from the day after Halloween to New Year’s. Often you answer to three equally demanding bosses ó the parent, the mall, the photographer ó and one all-powerful overseer, the child, who has come to view Santa as a cross between a birthday party clown and a miracle worker. A hybrid of Bozo and God.
For starters, the questions from children these days are tougher than ever. True, for as long as children have climbed onto Santa’s lap, they have been tenacious interrogators. But now, with thousands of children pining for a father or mother serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, the questions are as heart-rending as they are unanswerable. Can you please bring Daddy home from the war in time for Christmas morning?
Sometimes children stare intently and ask for peace on Earth. What’s a Santa to say?
“I had a little girl on my knee,” Nevada recalls, “and she said she wanted ‘a happy home’ for Christmas. I looked up at the mom, and mom had bruises on her face. Now, what can I do? I can’t phone the cops. I can’t tell the child, ‘Don’t worry ó Santa will send some hit men over and they’ll take care of the old man.’ I called Mom over, and she sat on my right knee, and mom and daughter faced each other and we had a little visit. What I could do was give that mom and daughter three or four minutes of peace.”
“When I started doing this years ago, I never even thought about liability,” Nevada says. “But Santas have a pretty good chance of getting sued. You got the obvious things: You drop a child on its head. Then there’s Santa saying the wrong thingÖ. I had a Santa working for me a couple years ago; he had a girl on his knee, and he commented, “You have nice eyes and nice hair.’ She claimed sexual harassment.”
This is fascinating reading.
And for me it explains why the European Commission tried to fast-track software patents behinds everybody’s back last week. And still they wonder why people think they are corrupt.