Holy Week Music

Arvo Part’s St John Passion is one of my favourite Holy Week works that never ceases to inspire me.

Dr. Harold Brackman’s Report

 Historian and Simon Wiesenthal Center consultant Dr. Harold Brackman, has authored Europe and the Jews 2012: Dramatic Rise in Anti-Jewish, Anti-Israel Prejudice detailing the current crisis in Europe.

   Covering anti-Semitic hate crimes, Holocaust denial, anti-Zionism, extreme right and left anti-Jewish and anti-Israel conspiracies, and listing country-specific trends, the newest report details the current crisis in Europe and finally concludes with what can be done to combat the growth of anti-Semitism and Jew hatred in Europe today.

   This is very troublesome, and for these trends to continue all it takes, as the period prior to the Holocaust has proven, is for ordinary people to turn a blind eye and do nothing for evil and hatred like this to prosper and flourish. I’m reminded of the following words of Pastor Martin Niemoeller: “In Germany,” he wrote, “they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak.” I hope and pray that there will be enough people of good will around the world who do speak up and act against such evil and hatred to reverse these troublesome trends.

Instead of arresting George Clooney and his dad, arrest despot Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and other despots

 Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. This is certainly one of those Stories, even though George Clooneyand his dad have been released from jail, they should never have been arrested in the first place. Rather, despots like Omar al-Bashir should be arrested immediately and brought to justice before the International Criminal Court, which issued a warrant for his arrest back in 2009. Yet, he is allowed to travel freely, and avoid being brought to justice for his alleged crimes.

   In this same vein, I have recently supported Amnesty International’s appeal to the UN Secretary General, urging further arrests of fugitives from the International Criminal Court.

   The 11 with outstanding International Criminal Court arrest warrants are: Democratic Republic of Congo: Bosco Ntaganda, whom the ICC has charged with enlisting and conscripting children under 15. The Congolese government is shielding him following his integration into the national army.   Uganda: Accused Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony and LRA commanders Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo, and Dominic Ongwen continue to evade trial after being charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. They and the fighters they lead continue to move between the Central African Republic, north-eastern DRC and South Sudan and commit crimes.   Sudan: President Omar al-Bashir has been charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Darfur region. He has yet to be arrested despite regularly conducting state visits abroad. Sudanese officials Ahmad Harun and Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein and accused “Janjaweed” leader Al! i Kushayb are also at large.   Libya: Saif al Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah al-Senussi are charged with crimes against humanity committed during the crackdown on protesters in Libya. Saif al-Islam was captured on 19 November 2011, but has not yet been surrendered to the ICC.

   The UN has a critical role to play by providing political, diplomatic, and logistical support for efforts to arrest individuals named in ICC arrest warrants and to protect civilians in countries where the ICC is investigating crimes.

   I encourage readers of my blog to take action to protect victims of war criminals, please consider these actions: 1. Write a letter – A hand-written letter is Amnesty International’s oldest, and time-proven method of getting results. Please address the points in our online action, and address your letter, “Dear Secretary General” Address your letter to: Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon United Nations Secretariat New York, NY 10017 Affix $1.80 (Canada postage). Or you can go here to take action on this issue online. 2. Make a financial gift in support of Amnesty International’s human rights work – Your donations help A.I. mobilize letter-writers, publish highly respected human rights reports, and campaign directly to decision-makers. To donate now, go here.

Thank you and may God bless you as you work for justice and peace for the world’s most vulnerable.