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Belmont Club

Can’t Buy Me Love

February 28th, 2011 - 1:01 am

Lost amid the crisis shaking the region was an Egyptian Army operation against Coptic Monastery in Egypt after Mubarak had fled. The news was reported on Al Masry al Youm — not exactly daily reading inside the Beltway — and featured on a YouTube video, which you may view after the Read More. Interestingly, the Al Masry al Youm says that the Copts gathered in Tahrir Square to protest the use of armor against the monastery.

Around 2000 Copts gathered on Wednesday in Tahrir Square to protest reports that an Egyptian army unit had attacked the Monastery of Saint Pishoy in the Nitrian Desert earlier on Wednesday.

Protesters said that a military unit using armored vehicles had demolished newly-built fences surrounding the old Coptic monastery. They claimed that the soldiers fired live bullets at monks. They added that two had been injured and transferred to the Anglo-American hospital in Cairo.

The video is below. Since I lack Arabic, I sent the video to the Belmont Club’s Egyptian expert for analysis, who provided the context and supplied a translation for what was being said in the background.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

Bedouin attacks on desert monasteries have become quite common in recent years, but have not led to any official protection. Following a recent violent attack on this monastery, the local authorities told the monks to organise their own protection, which they did by the building the wall seen in the video. The authorities decided that they shouldn’t have done this. Their response is as you see — armored firepower and troops in battle gear are brought to bear on unarmed monks and local civilians, without warning

You hear ‘kyrie eleison’ chanted during the attack: a Greek expression, testifying to some of the ancient roots of the Coptic Church. The soldiers attacking the monastery wall have no idea of this of course. Half a millenun of pre-conquest Christian history of Egypt has been wiped from the school books They are schooled, like other Egyptians, to believe that the Copts are essentially foreign intrusions onto Muslim soil.

In the last minute or so, one soldier is to be seen actually attacking a tree. The background voice comments on the irrational hatred suggested by such an act.

You also see the monks collecting the bullet casings. They are here anticipating — correctly — that the Army would later deny that any such ammunition was used.

In other words, for the Copts at least it’s the same old same old in the ‘new’ Egypt, though this time with a protest in Tahrir Square.

If they had better publicists, the Copts would receive at least as much sympathy as the Palestinians. But they are poor and have no one to plead their case. If they had money they would be at least as well represented as Mohammar Khadaffi, who counted among his admirers people like Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan.

The Atlantic Wire notes that Khadaffi still has the unstinting support of those Leftist stalwarts, Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. And why not? The Duck of Death has been the godfather of left wing insurgencies and causes from one end of the earth to the other.

Among other things, he bankrolled the Islamic secessionist movement in the Philippines and brokered the Tripoli Agreement with Ferdinand Marcos. As late as March, 2010 the President of the UN General Assembly, a former Libyan diplomat, was declaring his displeasure at the lack of full implementation of the agreement — probably because the rebels really have no interest in laying down their arms — at a conference of the Special Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Meeting on Interfaith Dialogue and Cooperation.  Conference names like that are normally minted at the same place that named the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Plenty and the Ministry of Love.

But backing rebellions in the Philippines was small potatoes. As Ezra Levant notes, Khadaffi bankrolled everything that would go boom — and the Europeans let him — for that most mundane of reasons. Money.

Where did Moammar Gadhafi, the brutal dictator of Libya, get the money to pay the foreign mercenaries who are butchering his people? How did he pay for those French-made fighter jets strafing protesters?

Europe, mainly. Europe buys 80% of Libya’s oil. Other than terrorism, that’s pretty much the only thing Libya exports.

That would be the same Europe against which Gadhafi’s regime committed most of its terrorism. In 1984, the Libyan embassy in London opened fire on peaceful protesters outside, mowing down 11 of them and killing a 25-year-old police officer named Yvonne Fletcher.

Gadhafi was just getting warmed up. In 1986, he bombed a Berlin nightclub killing three people and injuring 230. In 1988, he bombed a 747 jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground. In 1989, he bombed a plane flying from Chad to Paris, killing 170.

That would also be the same Europe, Levant notes, that is on the warpath against Canadian oil because it takes 20 grams more of carbon dioxide to produce a megajoule of energy than does Libya. Poor Ezra Levant fails to recognize that while stopping massacres might be mildly important, stopping carbon dioxide is about saving the planet. But anyway he writes:

the very week when Gadhafi and his son told the world they’d fight democracy protesters to the last bullet, was the week the European Union chose to criticize Canada’s oilsands because — get this — they say we have 20 more grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule of oil than Libya does.

It’s true, it takes more energy to produce oil from Canada’s oilsands than from Libya’s desert because we have to steam it out of the sand.

European oil imports from Iraq and Nigeria have the same carbon footprint as our oilsands. Those countries burn off the natural gas that comes up when they pump oil — an illegal environmental practice in Canada. And oil from Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela has even higher carbon emissions.

Our European friends are silent on all of this. …

Our European friends are silent on all of this.

It’s showboating, since Canada only exports oil to the United States. If Europe wants to make a big deal out of not liking the oil we’re not selling to them anyway, that’s fine. But fair’s fair. If they don’t like Canadian oil because of 20 grams of CO2, let’s insist they swear off oil with blood in it.

Reports put Gadhafi’s spree at 1,000 people dead. The human body has about 185 ounces of blood. So that’s 185,000 ounces of blood, not counting the blood of Libyans who were only injured.

Money buys a lot of friends, blood or no. Khadaffi appealed to his “friend” Tony Blair to help him in his hour of need. Not an unreasonable request from someone who is believed to have over $31 billion of deposits in London. For that kind of mazuma you’d expect at least a character reference.

Khadaffi was even closer to Italy, within whose territory the Vatican nestles. The Australian notes that no other major Western country had such extensive ties, including an arms trade. In its defense, Italy has claimed that it had no choice but to go along in order to work with Libya to stem the flood of refugees crossing the Mediterranean. But however that may be, don’t expect Christian Europe or Catholic Italy to put in a good word for the Copts. It’s a whole lot more lucrative to deal with the Robbers.

Politics runs on things like money, oil and trade; and sentiment for co-religionists like the Copts plays a very small and insignificant part in serious affairs, as probably do things like patriotism, love of country and respect for common decency. Why can a mosque can be built at the World Trade Center site? Follow the money. Is it a mystery why Islamism is so above criticism? Follow the money. Is it a wonder why people like Castro, Chavez and Khadaffi (until recently) are the darlings of the Left? Follow the money.

Money makes the world go round. George Galloway was for a long time an apologist for Saddam Hussein. He’s still the darling of the Left. Only two days ago, Vogue ran a special puff piece on that beautiful couple, the Assads of Damascus.  And why not? People in Damascene palaces are typically more fashionable than monks from a dusty monastery in the middle of the desert.

Roger Sandall, reflecting on the lives of John Gunther and Walter Duranty, wonders aloud about how much the “journalistic and literary culture of the time” contributed to the Second World War.  So much of what readers failed to learn about Hitler and Stalin was the result of “self-censorship”;  the consequence of a kind of omerta that only those on the inside truly understood. Duranty, for example, was a widely known to be a pervert, a scoundrel and a liar. Yet:

How could someone from the world of Aleister Crowley and the Paris bohemian demi-monde be hired by the New York Times as its resident commentator in Moscow on Russia under Bolshevik rule? How did he become the best-read authority in the US on Stalin’s famous planned economy? Why was such a man invited to Washington in July 1932 to advise Roosevelt about Soviet gold production?

It could happen because he was part of the Brotherhood, party to the fix and in on the secret.  Eliding the true nature of Hitler and Stalin was just one more secret among so many. Money is why murderers are treated better than they should be, and why we are surprised to discover, once they are unmasked, how much everyone knew all along. The lack of money is why Coptic monasteries can get beaten down with armored vehicles and the event only get coverage in Al Masry al Youm. Not that anyone should mind, for that is the way of the world, but at least the apologists of unsavory causes and dictators should see themselves for what they are, before they daily put on the mask of moral superiority.

It is probably no coincidence that some of those who benefited most from Khadaffi are now calling for the seizure of his money. “Britain, through the United Nations, is pressing for asset seizures, for travel bans, for sanctions, for all of those things we can do to hold those people to account, including investigating for potential crimes against humanity,” Businessweek reported. And the UN Security Council voted unanimously, 15-0 to “to freeze the assets of the Libyan leader, his daughter and four of his sons”. Diplomats from the EU told Dow Jones Newswires that governments agreed to freeze Libyan assets. But sooner or later frozen assets become cold cash. Dying dictatorships attract politicians the way a carcass attracts buzzards.

If by some miracle the Duck of Death survives in power it would be interesting to see how lasting the opprobrium of the international community would be. And as for the Copts, there will be no Rachel Corries, no Lauren Booths, no humanitarian flotillas, no celebrity benefits; and all they have is this slender promise:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world.


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