Pol Pot, Palestine and Pilger

ON Friday I signed off my fortnight of continuous writing about the ongoing slaughter in the Middle East with a tribute to my journalist hero John Pilger.

And I make no apologies by beginning this week with Mr Pilger once again.

Following the ISIS outrages in Beirut and Paris, John has now updated this prescient essay on the root causes of terrorism and what we can do about it.

I believe it is essential reading:

 

From Pol Pot to ISIS: The Blood Never Dried

IN transmitting President Richard Nixon’s orders for a “massive” bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, “Anything that flies on everything that moves”.

As Barack Obama wages his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and Francois Hollande promises a “merciless” attack on the rubble of Syria, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger’s murderous honesty.

As a witness to the human consequences of aerial savagery – including the beheading of victims, their parts festooning trees and fields – I am not surprised by the disregard of memory and history, yet again.

A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asia.

According to Pol Pot, his movement had consisted of “fewer than 5,000 poorly armed guerrillas uncertain about their strategy, tactics, loyalty and leaders”. Once Nixon’s and Kissinger’s B-52 bombers had gone to work as part of “Operation Menu”, the west’s ultimate demon could not believe his luck.

The Americans dropped the equivalent of five Hiroshimas on rural Cambodia during 1969-73. They leveled village after village, returning to bomb the rubble and corpses. The craters left giant necklaces of carnage, still visible from the air.

The terror was unimaginable. A former Khmer Rouge official described how the survivors “froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days. Terrified and half-crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told… That was what made it so easy for the Khmer Rouge to win the people over.”

A Finnish Government Commission of Inquiry estimated that 600,000 Cambodians died in the ensuing civil war and described the bombing as the “first stage in a decade of genocide”. What Nixon and Kissinger began, Pol Pot, their beneficiary, completed. Under their bombs, the Khmer Rouge grew to a formidable army of 200,000.

ISIS has a similar past and present. By most scholarly measure, Bush and Blair’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to the deaths of at least 700,000 people – in a country that had no history of jihadism.

The Kurds had done territorial and political deals; Sunni and Shia had class and sectarian differences, but they were at peace; intermarriage was common.

Three years before the invasion, I drove the length of Iraq without fear. On the way I met people proud, above all, to be Iraqis, the heirs of a civilization that seemed, for them, a presence.

Bush and Blair blew all this to bits. Iraq is now a nest of jihadism. Al-Qaeda – like Pol Pot’s “jihadists” – seized the opportunity provided by the onslaught of ‘Shock and Awe’ and the civil war that followed. “Rebel” Syria offered even greater rewards, with CIA and Gulf state ratlines of weapons, logistics and money running through Turkey.

The arrival of foreign recruits was inevitable. A former British ambassador, Oliver Miles, wrote, “The [Cameron] government seems to be following the example of Tony Blair, who ignored consistent advice from the Foreign Office, MI5 and MI6 that our Middle East policy – and in particular our Middle East wars – had been a principal driver in the recruitment of Muslims in Britain for terrorism here.”

ISIS is the progeny of those in Washington, London and Paris who, in conspiring to destroy Iraq, Syria and Libya, committed an epic crime against humanity.

Like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, ISIS are the mutations of a western state terror dispensed by a venal imperial elite undeterred by the consequences of actions taken at great remove in distance and culture. Their culpability is unmentionable in “our” societies, making accomplices of those who suppress this critical truth.

It is 23 years since a holocaust enveloped Iraq, immediately after the first Gulf War, when the US and Britain hijacked the United Nations Security Council and imposed punitive “sanctions” on the Iraqi population – ironically, reinforcing the domestic authority of Saddam Hussein. It was like a medieval siege.

Almost everything that sustained a modern state was, in the jargon, “blocked” – from chlorine for making the water supply safe to school pencils, parts for X-ray machines, common painkillers and drugs to combat previously unknown cancers carried in the dust from the southern battlefields contaminated with Depleted Uranium.

Just before Christmas 1999, the Department of Trade and Industry in London restricted the export of vaccines meant to protect Iraqi children against diphtheria and yellow fever. Kim Howells, parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Blair government, explained why. “The children’s vaccines”, he said, “were capable of being used in weapons of mass destruction”.

The British Government could get away with such an outrage because media reporting of Iraq – much of it manipulated by the Foreign Office – blamed Saddam Hussein for everything.

Under a bogus “humanitarian” Oil for Food Programme, $100 was allotted for each Iraqi to live on for a year. This figure had to pay for the entire society’s infrastructure and essential services, such as power and water. “Imagine,” the UN Assistant Secretary General, Hans Von Sponeck, told me, “setting that pittance against the lack of clean water, and the fact that the majority of sick people cannot afford treatment, and the sheer trauma of getting from day to day, and you have a glimpse of the nightmare. And make no mistake, this is deliberate. I have not in the past wanted to use the word genocide, but now it is unavoidable.”

Disgusted, Von Sponeck resigned as UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq. His predecessor, Denis Halliday, an equally distinguished senior UN official, had also resigned. “I was instructed,” Halliday said, “to implement a policy that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults.”

A study by the United Nations Children’s Fund, Unicef, found that between 1991 and 1998, the height of the blockade, there were 500,000 “excess” deaths of Iraqi infants under the age of five. An American TV reporter put this to Madeleine Albright, US Ambassador to the United Nations, asking her, “Is the price worth it?” Albright replied, “We think the price is worth it.”

In 2007, the senior British official responsible for the sanctions, Carne Ross, known as “Mr. Iraq”, told a parliamentary selection committee, “[The US and UK governments] effectively denied the entire population a means to live.”

When I interviewed Carne Ross three years later, he was consumed by regret and contrition. “I feel ashamed,” he said. He is today a rare truth-teller of how governments deceive and how a compliant media plays a critical role in disseminating and maintaining the deception. “We would feed [journalists] factoids of sanitised intelligence,” he said, “or we’d freeze them out.” Last year, a not untypical headline in the Guardian read: “Faced with the horror of Isis we must act.” The “we must act” is a ghost risen, a warning of the suppression of informed memory, facts, lessons learned and regrets or shame. The author of the article was Peter Hain, the former Foreign Office minister responsible for Iraq under Blair. In 1998, when Denis Halliday revealed the extent of the suffering in Iraq for which the Blair Government shared primary responsibility, Hain abused him on the BBC’s Newsnight as an “apologist for Saddam”. In 2003, Hain backed Blair’s invasion of stricken Iraq on the basis of transparent lies. At a subsequent Labour Party conference, he dismissed the invasion as a “fringe issue”.

Here was Hain demanding “air strikes, drones, military equipment and other support” for those “facing genocide” in Iraq and Syria. This will further “the imperative of a political solution”.

The day Hain’s article appeared, Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck happened to be in London and came to visit me. They were not shocked by the lethal hypocrisy of a politician, but lamented the enduring, almost inexplicable absence of intelligent diplomacy in negotiating a semblance of truce.

Across the world, from Northern Ireland to Nepal, those regarding each other as terrorists and heretics have faced each other across a table. Why not now in Iraq and Syria? Instead, there is a vapid, almost sociopathic verboseness from Cameron, Hollande, Obama and their “coalition of the willing” as they prescribe more violence delivered from 30,000 feet on places where the blood of previous adventures never dried. They seem to relish their own violence and stupidityso much they want it to overthrow their one potentially valuable ally,  the government in Syria.

This is nothing new, as the following leaked UK-US intelligence file illustrates:

“In order to facilitate the action of liberative [sic] forces… a special effort should be made to eliminate certain key individuals [and] to proceed with internal disturbances in Syria. CIA is prepared, and SIS (MI6) will attempt to mount minor sabotage and coup de main [sic] incidents within Syria, working through contacts with individuals… a necessary degree of fear… frontier and [staged] border clashes [will] provide a pretext for intervention… the CIA and SIS should use… capabilities in both psychological and action fields to augment tension.”

That was written in 1957, although it could have been written yesterday. In the imperial world, nothing essentially changes.

In 2013, the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that “two years before the Arab spring”, he was told in London that a war on Syria was planned. “I am going to tell you something,” he said in an interview with the French TV channel LPC, “I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria… Britain was organising an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer Minister for Foreign Affairs, if I would like to participate… This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned.”

The only effective opponents of ISIS are accredited demons of the west – Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and now Russia.

The obstacle is Turkey, an “ally” and a member of Nato, which has conspired with the CIA, MI6 and the Gulf medievalists to channel support to the Syrian “rebels”, including those now calling themselves ISIS.

Supporting Turkey in its long-held ambition for regional dominance by overthrowing the Assad government beckons a major conventional war and the horrific dismemberment of the most ethnically diverse state in the Middle East.

A truce – however difficult to negotiate and achieve – is the only way out of this maze; otherwise, the atrocities in Paris and Beirut will be repeated. Together with a truce, the leading perpetrators and overseers of violence in the Middle East – the Americans and Europeans – must themselves “de-radicalise” and demonstrate a good faith to alienated Muslim communities everywhere, including those at home.

There should be an immediate cessation of all shipments of war materials to Israel and recognition of the State of Palestine. The issue of Palestine is the region’s most festering open wound, and the oft-stated justification for the rise of Islamic extremism. Osama bin Laden made that clear.

Palestine also offers hope. Give justice to the Palestinians and you begin to change the world around them.

More than 40 years ago, the Nixon-Kissinger bombing of Cambodia unleashed a torrent of suffering from which that country has never recovered.

The same is true of the Blair-Bush crime in Iraq, and the Nato and “coalition” crimes in Libya and Syria. With impeccable timing, Henry Kissinger’s latest self-serving tome has been released with its satirical title, “World Order”. In one fawning review, Kissinger is described as a “key shaper of a world order that remained stable for a quarter of a century”.

Tell that to the people of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Chile, East Timor and all the other victims of his “statecraft”.  Only when “we” recognise the war criminals in our midst and stop denying ourselves the truth will the blood begin to dry.

Follow John Pilger on twitter @johnpilger

 

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Zionist Lies and Suppression of the Truth

SO I have come to end of 14 days of almost continuous writing about the ongoing slaughter in the Middle East.

This small journey started two Fridays ago when I challenged the official statements and propaganda of the killing of so-called Jihadi John.

In my 1,500 word piece entitled Roll On John I pointed at CIA and Mossad dirty tricks and false flag attacks and how all is not as it seems.

Like the rest of the world I was stunned some eight hours later by the massacres in Paris.

So many more pieces followed, including I Cried for You – Now It’s Your Turn to Cry Awhile which looked at the double standards within Western media in grieving over the Paris killings while ignoring similar atrocities in Beirut and Nigeria and Beyond the Horizon o’er the Treacherous Sea which examined the US and Israeli funding and arming of ISIS.

There were many more articles, culminating in a look at how apartheid Israel is supported and allowed to thrive by Christian Zionism in the West.

Now almost 20,000 words later (not including the poems) I need to take stock before I decide how to move on, and whether what I am writing must now become a fully-fledged campaign.

But I cannot do this without doing two things.

First to thank the wonderful friends I have made over the past fortnight, fellow campaigners for a free Palestine and others for a more general peace in the Middle East.

So for the lovely Jane and Samantha in the USA, Nahida, Elleanne and Jackie here in the UK, the amazing warrior Anissa in Paris, Shirene in South Africa, the historian and compiler Hayat in Iran and my long-time friends in Pakistan and India, thank you all.

But before I take a weekend break, I need to pay homage to my one true living journalist hero: John Pilger.

John set me out on the path of investigative journalism when I first read his book Distant Voices way back in 1992.

Since that first reading it has been my journalist’s bible… never accept what you are told by the State, because often it is a pack of lies! So dig and keep digging until you find the truth.

What follows is a piece written by John in 2007 about the situation in Palestine and Israel. It is as relevant then as it is now:

 

Israel: An important marker has been passed

by John Pilger

FROM a limestone hill rising above Qalandia refugee camp you can see Jerusalem.

I watched a lone figure standing there in the rain, his son holding the tail of his long tattered coat.

He extended his hand and did not let go.

“I am Ahmed Hamzeh, street entertainer,” he said in measured English. “Over there, I played many musical instruments; I sang in Arabic, English and Hebrew, and because I was rather poor, my very small son would chew gum while the monkey did its tricks.

“When we lost our country, we lost respect. One day a rich Kuwaiti stopped his car in front of us. He shouted at my son, “Show me how a Palestinian picks up his food rations!”

“So I made the monkey appear to scavenge on the ground, in the gutter. And my son scavenged with him. The Kuwaiti threw coins and my son crawled on his knees to pick them up. This was not right; I was an artist, not a beggar . . . I am not even a peasant now.”

“How do you feel about all that?” I asked him.

“Do you expect me to feel hatred? What is that to a Palestinian? I never hated the Jews and their Israel . . . yes, I suppose I hate them now, or maybe I pity them for their stupidity. They can’t win. Because we Palestinians are the Jews now and, like the Jews, we will never allow them or the Arabs or you to forget. The youth will guarantee us that, and the youth after them . . .”

That was 40 years ago. On my last trip back to the West Bank, I recognised little of Qalandia, now announced by a vast Israeli checkpoint, a zigzag of sandbags, oil drums and breeze blocks, with conga lines of people, waiting, swatting flies with precious papers.

Inside the camp, the tents had been replaced by sturdy hovels, although the queues at single taps were as long, I was assured, and the dust still ran to caramel in the rain.

At the United Nations office I asked about Ahmed Hamzeh, the street entertainer. Records were consulted, heads shaken. Someone thought he had been “taken away . . . very ill”.

No one knew about his son, whose trachoma was surely blindness now. Outside, another generation kicked a punctured football in the dust. And yet, what Nelson Mandela has called “the greatest moral issue of the age” refuses to be buried in the dust.

For every BBC voice that strains to equate occupier with occupied, thief with victim, for every swarm of emails from the fanatics of Zion to those who invert the lies and describe the Israeli state’s commitment to the destruction of Palestine, the truth is more powerful now than ever.

Documentation of the violent expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 is voluminous. Re-examination of the historical record has put paid to the fable of heroic David in the Six Day War, when Ahmed Hamzeh and his family were driven from their home.

The alleged threat of Arab leaders to “throw the Jews into the sea”, used to justify the 1967 Israeli onslaught and since repeated relentlessly, is highly questionable.

In 2005, the spectacle of wailing Old Testament zealots leaving Gaza was a fraud.

The building of their “settlements” has accelerated on the West Bank, along with the illegal Berlin-style wall dividing farmers from their crops, children from their schools, families from each other.

We now know that Israel’s destruction of much of Lebanon was pre-planned.

As the former CIA analyst Kathleen Christison has written, the recent “civil war” in Gaza was actually a coup against the elected Hamas-led government, engineered by Elliott Abrams, the Zionist who runs US policy on Israel and a convicted felon from the Iran-Contra era.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine is as much America’s crusade as Israel’s. On 16 August, the Bush administration announced an unprecedented $30billion military “aid package” for Israel, the world’s fourth biggest military power, an air power greater than Britain, a nuclear power greater than France.

No other country on earth enjoys such immunity, allowing it to act without sanction, as Israel. No other country has such a record of lawlessness: not one of the world’s tyrannies comes close.

International treaties, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, ratified by Iran, are ignored by Israel.

There is nothing like it in UN history. But something is changing. Perhaps last summer’s panoramic horror beamed from Lebanon on to the world’s TV screens provided the catalyst.

Or perhaps cynicism of Bush and Blair – and latterly Obama and Cameron – and the incessant use of the inanity, “terror”, together with the day-by day dissemination of a fabricated insecurity in all our lives, has finally brought the attention of the international community outside the rogue states, Britain and the US, back to one of its principal sources, Israel.

I got a sense of this recently in the United States. A full-page advertisement in the New York Times had the distinct odour of panic. There have been many “friends of Israel” advertisements in the Times, demanding the usual favours, rationalising the usual outrages. This one was different. “Boycott a cure for cancer?” was its main headline, followed by “Stop drip irrigation in Africa? Prevent scientific co-operation between nations?” Who would want to do such things? “Some British academics want to boycott Israelis,” was the self-serving answer.

It referred to the University and College Union’s (UCU) inaugural conference motion in May, calling for discussion within its branches for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

As John Chalcraft of the London School of Economics pointed out, “the Israeli academy has long provided intellectual, linguistic, logistical, technical, scientific and human support for an occupation in direct violation of international law [against which] no Israeli academic institution has ever taken a public stand”.

The swell of a boycott is growing inexorably, as if an important marker has been passed, reminiscent of the boycotts that led to sanctions against apartheid South Africa.

Both Mandela and Desmond Tutu have drawn this parallel; so has South African cabinet minister Ronnie Kasrils and other illustrious Jewish members of the liberation struggle. In Britain, an often Jewish-led academic campaign against Israel’s “methodical destruction of [the Palestinian] education system” can be translated by those of us who have reported from the occupied territories into the arbitrary closure of Palestinian universities, the harassment and humiliation of students at checkpoints and the shooting and killing of Palestinian children on their way to school.

These initiatives have been backed by a British group, Independent Jewish Voices, whose 528 signatories include Stephen Fry, Harold Pinter, Mike Leigh and Eric Hobsbawm.

The country’s biggest union, Unison, has called for an “economic, cultural, academic and sporting boycott” and the right of return for Palestinian families expelled in 1948.

Remarkably, the Commons’ international development committee has made a similar stand.

In April, the membership of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted for a boycott only to see it hastily overturned by the national executive council.

In the Republic of Ireland, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called for divestment from Israeli companies: a campaign aimed at the European Union, which accounts for two-thirds of Israel’s exports under an EU-Israel Association Agreement.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, has said that human rights conditions in the agreement should be invoked and Israel’s trading preferences suspended.

This is unusual, for these were once distant voices. And that such grave discussion of a boycott has “gone global” was unforeseen in official Israel, long comforted by its seemingly untouchable myths and great power sponsorship, and confident that the mere threat of anti-Semitism would ensure silence.

When the British lecturers’ decision was announced, the US Congress passed an absurd resolution describing the UCU as “anti-Semitic”. (Eighty congressmen have gone on junkets to Israel this summer.)

This intimidation has worked in the past. The smearing of American academics has denied them promotion, even tenure. The late Edward Said kept an emergency button in his New York apartment connected to the local police station; his offices at Columbia University were once burned down.

Following my 2002 film, Palestine is Still the Issue, I received death threats and slanderous abuse, most of it coming from the US where the film was never shown.

When the BBC’s Independent Panel recently examined the corporation’s coverage of the Middle East, it was inundated with emails, “many from abroad, mostly from North America”, said its report. Some individuals “sent multiple missives, some were duplicates and there was clear evidence of pressure group mobilisation”.

The panel’s conclusion was that BBC reporting of the Palestinian struggle was not “full and fair” and “in important respects, presents an incomplete and in that sense misleading picture”. This was neutralised in BBC press releases.

The courageous Israeli historian, Ilan Pappé, believes a single democratic state, to which the Palestinian refugees are given the right of return, is the only feasible and just solution, and that a sanctions and boycott campaign is critical in achieving this.

Would the Israeli population be moved by a worldwide boycott? Although they would rarely admit it, South Africa’s whites were moved enough to support an historic change. A boycott of Israeli institutions, goods and services, says Pappé, “will not change the [Israeli] position in a day, but it will send a clear message that [the premises of Zionism] are racist and unacceptable in the 21st century . . . They would have to choose.”

And so would the rest of us.

 

Not Much is Really Sacred – The Un-Christian Support for Zionist Israel

WITHOUT stepping over the policed bounds of “anti Semitism” it is getting easier to see why Zionist Israel survives, and indeed flourishes, with support from Western governments.

Since the end of World War 2, Israel has been allowed to steal an entire country from Palestine, murder tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians and arm itself with nuclear weapons as the Middle East’s own neighbourhood bully.

Yet it remains unchallenged in its atrocities by the governments of the USA, Britain, France, Germany and beyond.

Israel and its unregulated intelligence agency Mossad carries out the dirtiest of deeds, including many False Flag attacks: 7/7 in the UK, the Bulgarian bus bombing of 2014, and the Charlie Hebdo outrage in Paris and was probably behind the Friday 13 November killings too.

From the very start after the formation of its own nation state Israel’s secret services ran rogue operations, stealing money from the Swiss accounts of Hitler’s victims, bombing a synagogue in Baghdad during prayers in 1951 to scare Jewish Iraqis into moving into tent villages in Israel, and bombing British and American offices in Cairo in 1954 (the Lavon affair) to discredit Egypt’s Nasser regime.

Using American funds, Mossad bribed its way across Africa and Latin America and later former Communist Eastern Europe.

So how does it get away with it?

The placement of important Zionist Jews in Western governments is one theory. The fact that Zionist Jews control many of the world’s multinational trillion dollar companies is another.

But a more powerful theory about how Israel remains an unchallenged terrorist state is the twisted logic of Christian Zionism.

Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy.

Christian Zionism attaches Israel and the church to an elaborate schedule of End Times events dominated by the Great Tribulation and a rapture of Christians, that leaves Jews and the rest of the world behind.

But in truth Christian Zionism is the largest and most destructive lobby within world religions.

It bears primary responsibility for perpetuating tensions in the Middle East, justifying Israel’s apartheid colonialist agenda and for undermining the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Rev Dr Stephen Sizer is powerful in his description and warnings of the power of Christian Zionism.

“At least one in four American Christians surveyed by Christianity Today magazine said that they believe it is their biblical responsibility to support the nation of Israel. This view is known as Christian Zionism,” he says.

“The Pew Research Center put the figure at 63 per cent among white evangelicals.

“Christian Zionism is pervasive within mainline American evangelical, charismatic and independent denominations including the Assemblies of God, Pentecostals and Southern Baptists, as well as many of the independent mega-churches.

“It is less prevalent within the historic denominations, which show a greater respect for the work of the United Nations, support for human rights, the rule of international law and empathy with the Palestinians.”

The origins of the movement can be traced to the early 19th century when a group of eccentric British Christian leaders began to lobby for Jewish restoration to Palestine as a necessary precondition for the return of Christ.

The movement gained traction from the middle of the 19th century when Palestine became strategic to British, French and German colonial interests in the Middle East. Proto-Christian Zionism therefore preceded Jewish Zionism by more than 50 years.

“Christian Zionism as a modern theological and political movement embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism,” says Dr Sizer.

“It has become deeply detrimental to a just peace between Palestine and Israel. It propagates a worldview in which the Christian message is reduced to an ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism.

“In its extreme form, it places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.”

Followers of Christian Zionism are convinced that the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 and the capture of Jerusalem in 1967 were the miraculous fulfilment of God’s promises made to Abraham that he would establish Israel as a Jewish nation forever in Palestine.

Pastor John Hagee is one of the leaders of the Christian Zionist movement.

He is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church, a 19,000-member evangelical church in San Antonio, Texas.

His weekly programmes are broadcast on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations and eight networks into an estimated 99 million homes in 200 countries. In 2006 he founded Christians United for Israel.

In March 2007, Hagee spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, saying: “The sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened. There are 50 million Christians standing up and applauding the State of Israel.”

He went on to warn: “It is 1938. Iran is Germany, and Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler. We must stop Iran’s nuclear threat and stand boldly with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East… Think of our potential future together: 50 million evangelicals joining in common cause with 5 million Jewish people in America on behalf of Israel is a match made in heaven.”

Palestinians are regarded as alien residents in Israel. Many Christian Zionists are reluctant even to acknowledge Palestinians exist as a distinct people, claiming that they migrated to Israel from surrounding Arab nations for economic reasons after Israel had become prosperous.

A fear and deep-seated hatred of Islam also pervades their dualistic Manichean theology. Christian Zionists have little or no interest in the existence of indigenous Arab Christians despite their continuity with the early church.

“It is my contention after more than 10 years of postgraduate research that Christian Zionism is the largest, most controversial and most destructive lobby within Christianity,” adds Dr Sizer.

“It bears primary responsibility for perpetuating tensions in the Middle East, justifying Israel’s apartheid colonialist agenda and for undermining the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.”

So the Zionist heresy has been mass marketed to a largely ignorant populace who are convinced they do not have enough sense to read the Bible for themselves. They have co-opted Christian laypeople into thinking they can bring about Christ’s return, ending suffering on Earth.

Christian Zionists now have considerable influence over US foreign policy, particularly effective with neo-conservatives as witnessed during the George W Bush administration and the reaction to 9/11.

Burgeoning Christian Zionist organizations such as the International Christian Embassy (ICEJ), Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) and Christians United for Israel (CUFI) wield considerable influence on the US Government claiming a support base in excess of 50 million true believers. In the UK the Christian Friends of Israel have a similarly powerful lobby.

This means there are now at least ten times as many Christian Zionists as Jewish Zionists.

And their European cousins are no less active in the Zionist Hasbarafia, lobbying for Israel, attacking its critics and thwarting the peace process.

The United States and Israel are often portrayed as Siamese twins, joined at the heart, sharing common historic, religious and political values.

Numerous Christian groups encourage Jewish immigration to Israel through financial contributions while assisting ultra-orthodox Jewish groups to promote settlement expansion on Palestinian land.

Not only do Zionists distort Biblical history, they spread lies about more modern events as well.

Proponents of Israel will often pander the tired Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini obfuscation in an attempt to connect all Palestinians to Adolf Hitler. Husseini was imposed upon the Palestinians in 1921 by the British Mandate’s first high commissioner, a British Jew named Herbert Samuel.

Husseini was selected over the rival Nashashibi candidate and favoured by the Zionist Commission. Husseini allied with Hitler to oppose the British, falling into the trap as so many others who have believed “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

In this manner Christian Zionists have the ability to reach outside their own cult and snag more secular individuals by linking Arabs—particularly exploiting the blood connection between Husseini and late President Yasser Arafat – with the epitome of “anti-Semitic” evil.

It is easy to see without looking too far that not much is really sacred.

 

Stop the Bombing

In the East the wind is blowing

Poisoned dust of fire and lies

And the US keeps on killing

Destroying innocent Muslim lives

 

Stop the bombing

Our world is dying

Children crying

Stop the bombing

Now
Behind the door sits evil Zion

In his pocket Washington cries

And down south in deepest Riyadh

A Sheik listens closely to his spies

 

Stop the bombing

Our world is dying

Children crying

Stop the bombing

Now

 

Back in Paris the poets ponder

Bertolt Brecht does up his flies

Vladimir prepares his bright red hammer

The victims cry to the darkening skies

 

Stop the bombing

Our world is dying

Children crying

Stop the bombing

Now

 

And now China joins the onslaught

Blowing desert dirt into allied eyes

The world war is just beginning

Fury lives as mankind dies

 

Stop the bombing

Our world is dying

Children crying

Stop the bombing

Now

Bob Dylan, Israel and the License to Kill

FRIENDS and regular readers of my blog know that I am a lifelong fan of musician and poet Bob Dylan… that will never change.

And neither will Dylan’s public vagueness about his personal politics.

Until now, that has on occasions bothered me.

Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941 to US Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, became a Born Again Christian in 1979.

But he has maintained his Jewish cultural traditions and has wavered over the years in his view of the Israel / Palestine conflict.

He has visited Israel a number of times – even played there in 2011, against the advice of some of his contemporary musicians – and wrote a song in 1983 called Neighborhood Bully, in which he defends the Zionist position.

Yet recently Dylan joined the world wide call for a boycott of Israeli goods, following the Gaza massacres in the summer of 2014.

I smiled deeply at this news.

But nothing quite prepared me for the following…

A controversy erupted on Israel’s Memorial Day this year, threatening to shatter national unity in Israel following the 2015 elections.

The Memorial Day ceremony at Oranim College in northern Israel included a reading of Bob Dylan’s song, Masters of War.

The song, it seems, caused strong resentment among Zionists. Students at the educational college claimed, that the song calls for the killing of IDF soldiers, and that it addresses them, specifically:

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks

You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you sit back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion’ As young people’s blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud.

For me, like millions of others, Masters of War is a song of peace and a damnation to those who are behind all wars.

But to the Zionists in Israel, Dylan’s words are a direct attack on Israel and his Jewish forefathers!

In a twist of irony the online +972 magazines now states: “If you really love Israel, boycott Bob Dylan… dig a little deeper and find that ‘the voice of a generation’ is more anti-Israel than you ever could have imagined.”

Just amazing!

So with the conflict across the border in Syria now raging, I give you one of Bob Dylan’s more recent anti-war songs, one that resonates so strongly at the moment:

License to Kill

Man thinks ’cause he rules the earth he can do with it as he please And if things don’t change soon, he will Oh, man has invented his doom First step was touching the moon

Now, there’s a woman on my block She just sit there as the night grows still She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Now, they take him and they teach him and they groom him for life And they set him on a path where he’s bound to get ill Then they bury him with stars Sell his body like they do used cars

Now, there’s a woman on my block She just sit there facin’ the hill She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Now, he’s hell-bent for destruction, he’s afraid and confused And his brain has been mismanaged with great skill All he believes are his eyes And his eyes, they just tell him lies

But there’s a woman on my block Sitting there in a cold chill She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

Ya may be a noisemaker, spirit maker Heartbreaker, backbreaker Leave no stone unturned May be an actor in a plot That might be all that you got ’Til your error you clearly learn

Now he worships at an altar of a stagnant pool And when he sees his reflection, he’s fulfilled

Oh, man is opposed to fair play He wants it all and he wants it his way

Now, there’s a woman on my block She just sit there as the night grows still She say who gonna take away his license to kill?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zP9OUNuUk4

The Eyes of Nostradamus, World War 3 and the End of the World

I AM a middle-aged post-graduate educated man, a sceptic and a realist with a huge back catalogue of real life experiences… my writing reveals that I only deal in hard fought facts.

But certain events in my life have led me to believe that there are many things in this universe which are still hidden from us.

If you are unsure what I mean then please read two of my blogs from 2013: There’s no exit in any direction… except the one that you can’t see with your eyes https://seagullnic.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/theres-no-exit-in-any-direction-except-the-one-that-you-cant-see-with-your-eyes/ and Something is Happening, But You Don’t Know What It Is https://seagullnic.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/something-is-happening-but-you-dont-know-what-it-is/

There is a personal juxtaposition of finding faith in something powerful and unseen, to reasoning that same faith away with the science of reason.

But reason doesn’t come into what I am now about to write.

Following Monday’s shooting down of a Russian jet by a Turkish warplane on the Turkey/ Syria border, there is a growing feeling that the powder keg which until now was a Middle East conflict could erupt into something much bigger.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin held an emergency cabinet meeting in the Kremlin to evaluate the implications of the downing of the Russian Su-24.

“Today they practically declared war on us by shooting down our fighter jet. Our patience wears thin with Erdogan and his criminal clique who is accomplice in all atrocities committed by ISIS terrorists,” said Mr Putin.

“To avoid a bitter war which nobody craves, for several times, I told Americans to muzzle their rabid dog in Turkey,” he added, vowing that the ‘revenge’ is what the Turkish dictator will receive in return.

His tone is alarming, especially as Turkey is a member of NATO and thereby protected by other NATO powers, including the USA, France and the UK.

Matters were exacerbated late last night with the news that China will join Russia in the bombing of ISIS – it already has an aircraft carrier stationed nearby.

There is now a feeling that we could be as close to a world war as we were in the early 1980s.

It is now I ask readers to take a leap of faith before they read on.

Way back in 1973, while I was still at school, a song by Al Stewart made me aware of 16th century French Renaissance seer Nostradamus.

Al’s song Nostradamus is mesmerising and timeless and led me to find out more this strange man from half a millennia ago.

Michel de Nostredame was a mystic, best known for his quatrains which are considered by today’s mystics as astounding prophecies.

Nostradamus completed 942 quatrains which he organised into Centuries – groups of 100 quatrains. A quatrain is simply a poem with four lines. They were written mainly in French with a bit of Italian, Greek, and Latin thrown in.

He intentionally obscured the quatrains through the use of symbolism and metaphor, as well as by making changes to proper names by swapping, adding or removing letters, to avoid being tried as a magician or witch.

So as an open-minded teenager I rushed out to buy a book recommended by Al Stewart, called The Prophecies of Nostradamus, translated and edited by Erika Cheetham. That now yellowing tome sits beside me as I type this blog.

Most of Nostradamus’s quatrains deal with disasters, such as plagues, earthquakes, wars, floods, invasions, murders, droughts, and battles.

A major, underlying theme is an impending invasion of Europe by Muslim forces from farther east and south headed by the so-called Third Antichrist, directly reflecting the 16th century Ottoman invasions and the earlier Saracen equivalents.

All of this is presented in the context of the imminent end of the world.

Nostradamus has been credited, for the most part in hindsight, with predicting numerous events in world history, from the Great Fire of London, and the rise of Napoleon and Adolf Hitler, to the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Centre.

Let’s look at some of Al Stewart’s own words to see how he and I both translated Nostradamus’ quatrains back in 1973:

A king shall fall and put to death by the English parliament shall be (a direct reference to the execution of Charles 1 in 1649)

Fire and plague to London come in the year of six and twenties three (1665-66)

An emperor of France shall rise who will be born near Italy

His rule cost his empire dear, Napoloron his name shall be (referencing Napoleon Bonaparte 1769-1821)

From Castile does Franco come and the Government driven out shall be (General Franco 1892-1975)

An English king seeks divorce, and from his throne cast down is he (Edward VIII 1894-1972)

One named Hister shall become a captain of Greater Germanie

No law does this man observe and bloody his rise and fall shall be (Clearly Adolf Hitler 1889-1945)

In the new lands of America three brothers now shall come to power

Two alone are born to rule but all must die before their hour (Edward, John and Robert Kennedy?)

Two great men yet brothers not make the north united stand

Its power be seen to grow, and fear possess the eastern lands (could this be the alliance between Barrack Obama and President Putin or even Obama and Cameron or Hollande?)

Three leagues from the gates of Rome a Pope named Pol is doomed to die (the last Pope named Paul (Pol?) was Pope John Paul II, who also happened to be Polish (Pol?) and died in 2005)

A great wall that divides a city at this time is cast aside (Bearing in mind this interpretation was made in 1973, I have long assumed this to be the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But it may foretell the fall of the Apartheid wall in Israel which keeps Jews and Muslims apart.)

These are the signs I bring to you to show you when the time is nigh

Many researchers of Nostradamus, who died in 1566, are now convinced he correctly foretold the barbaric acts being committed by ISIS in the Middle East, including its declared bid to capture areas of Europe to fulfil its Caliphate.

One website – Nostradamus 2242 – claims World War 3 will begin this year as a result of the struggle with ISIS and the world could end in 2242 – some 27 years from now.

The website lists a four-verse quatrain from which it is claimed warns of the unfolding events in Iraq and Syria.

It said Nostradamus had been translated as saying: “He will enter wicked, unpleasant, infamous, tyrannizing over Mesopotamia.

“All friends made by the adulterous lady, land dreadful and black of aspect.”

The website says: “An amazing quatrain about Iraq’s ordeal and tyranny in the ongoing sectarian violence, particularly on the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion, the surging of Al-Qaeda and the organisation of ISIS.

“ISIS’ target is Mesopotamia, present day Iraq. ISIS is also the most wealthy terrorist organization in the world, thanks to its numerous contributors.”

Many are speculating whether ISIS would start the next world war, and whether its leader is the Antichrist that Nostradamus warned against.

Nostradamus researchers had already identified the likes of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden as being the third and final anti-Christ. Or could it be closer to home: Barrack Obama, or, heaven help us, Donald Trump?

This problem with dates has led some Nostradamus researchers to conclude we are already in a World War 3, which started in 1999 (the year of the ill-fated Israel/Palestine Peace Accord), and should therefore come to an horrific conclusion, “probably involving nuclear weapons”, in 2026.

Reports suggest ISIS has managed to obtain 40kg of uranium from the University of al-Mosul when it occupied the Iraq city, and have declared wanting to take over Spain, Greece and most of the Balkans.

There is mention of Russia in the Nostradamus verses and some have linked ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as suspect number one for being the Third Antichrist (Napoleon and Hitler being the first two).

Author and researcher John Hogue, described as “a world authority on Nostradamus and the prophetic traditions of the world” believes Nostradamus did predict ISIS and the US interventions in Iraq.

He said: “Let’s fast “foreword” back to that future foreseen four-and-a half centuries ago, when Nostradamus predicted a modern “crusader” army would occupy Mesopotamia (Iraq) and then foretold the outcome.

“Century 3, Quatrain 61 of Les Propheties (The Prophecies) reads: “The great host and sect of cross bearers [crusaders], Will be massed in Mesopotamia [Iraq].

“Of the nearby river [the Euphrates] the fast company, that such a law will hold for the enemy.”

He added: “Nostradamus’ quatrains are clearer as we draw close to the events and details cloaked in their codes and riddles.

“Nostradamians during the Saddam Hussein era made a mistake I often exposed. They incorrectly defined who line one’s “He” was as being Saddam Hussein.”

In any case, Mabus does not see the disastrous end of the new world war, because he is killed at the beginning.

Nostradamus predicts the war of the Third Antichrist will be the longest of the three.

Napoleon’s war, as Nostradamus accurately predicted lasted 14 years (1799–1814), followed by another famous time prediction for Napoleon’s escape from exile on Elba in 1815 to lead France for a 100 days until his final defeat at Waterloo.

Nostradamus did not tag a specific length to Hitler’s war but he left powerful clues accurately framing the war in time. In his Epistle prophecies he earmarked the years 1937, 1941 and 1945 as the beginning, middle and end of the conflict.

He was slightly off on the start – it was 1939 – but 1941 did see the turning of the tide with the Second Antichrist’s disastrous invasion of Russia, started on the same day of the 129 year anniversary of the First Antichrist’s invasion, no less. Hitler’s war did end in 1945.

In a passage written in 1558 about the three Antichrists in his Epistle to Henry II, Nostradamus said the following: “Finally the third [Antichrist] will cause an inundation of human blood, and one will not find Mars [the God of War] fasting for a long time… After that, the Antichrist will be the infernal prince again for the (third and) last time.”

Mabus soon dies when a comet will pass.

John Hogue claims the time-frame reduces the “Mabus” comet candidates to three: Comet Hyakutake in 1996, Hale-Bopp in 1997 and the brightest and most dramatic of them all, the sudden flare up of Comet McNaught in mid-January 2007.

“For 20 years I have declared Saddam Hussein to be my personal choice as the man who would be Nostradamus’ Mabus,” says John Hogue.

“In brief, for the uninitiated, the reason being that the law of anagram allows one to reverse in lower case the name “mabus” into “subam.” You can reverse again any letters, such as getting “d” out of “b” and get “sudam.” Phonetics play in the rules. If a similar vowel can be derived, for instance changing “u” to the long, Arabic “a”–sounding like “uhh” or “awh”= (Suh’dam, Sawh’dam) you get “Sadam.” In anagramming, you can add or subtract redundant letters. In this case, add a “d” and you get: “Saddam.”

Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging at dawn of 30 December (Iraqi Time) 2006.

Roughly a week later, Comet McNaught passing close to the sun, suddenly and unexpectedly began bursting into a brightness that by the middle of January 2007 competed with the sunset’s afterglow. The comet core and tail rivalled the brightness of the planet Venus.

It is now highly likely that Saddam is Nostradamus’ Mabus and McNaught is the comet running at the end of the Mabus prophecy.

What then follows is expressed in a Renaissance French euphemism: horrible defaite–in other words, the most terrible undoing imaginable, a destruction and mass killing that spares neither animals nor people.

Already the war in Syria and Iraq and rumours of war planned by the US and Israel (both nuclear states) against Iran has led to leaks suggesting that both have considered factoring in weapons of mass destruction powerful enough to bore into subterranean Iranian nuclear facilities.

Israeli and US sources have already drawn up plans for hypothetical air strikes on Iranian nuclear installations with tactical nuclear weapons.

Iran in turn has threatened to use any weapons it possesses in a counterstrike including regional ballistic missiles possibly tipped with chemical or biological weapons falling from the sky on US bases in Iraq, the Gulf States and Israeli cities.

Nostradamus warns of much worse to come in the new war.

“All the Kingdoms of Christianity, and even those of the infidels [Muslims], will tremble for the space of 25 years… so many evils shall be committed by the means of, Satan, the infernal Prince, that almost the entire world will be found undone and desolate.”

Another Nostradamus researcher Ted Montgomery is more graphic in his interpretation of the Prophecies: “During World War 3 there will be massive naval, air, and land battles. The ultra-secret weapons that are brought forth will shock and stun the world.

“The Antichrist will not hesitate to use bacteriological warfare, as well as conventional warfare, causing hunger, fire and plagues. The causative organisms will be more virulent than ever before and, hence, increasingly lethal.

“When the Antichrist is taking over Europe, nuclear weapons will wreak havoc like lightning strikes, and from them a “milky rain” will occur. Weapons currently beyond our imagination will wreak unparalleled devastation. Corpses will litter the landscape. The very earth will “cry out in pain.”

“The Antichrist will be so terrible, horrible, and powerful that the rightful rulers of countries will be utterly terrified and will not do anything to stop his ravages. Entire dynasties will be wiped out.

“A major nuclear confrontation will occur in the Middle East. The aggressor will have broken a promise not to use nuclear weapons in warfare. Naval fleets kept in the area by other powers will be scattered in ruins from the violence of the blast.

“Radioactive fallout will have adverse effects on people, animals, and weather; and erupting volcanoes will turn the water of that part of the ocean a muddy red colour. Because of this, bodies will appear to float in blood. Because of the blasts and earth changes, rivers will change their course, and political boundary lines based on them will be redrawn.

“The US will have a Democratic president at the time. He will get involved with the conflict as a way of trying to stimulate the economy from a depression.”

But sceptics of Nostradamus argue with so much conflict in the Middle East it is easy to link any one of them to the verses and when looked at together then don’t add up with today’s ISIS events or earlier ones.

According to some Nostradamus researchers, he explained a “King of Terror”, wearing a blue turban, would rise to power from Greater Arabia during the late 1990s, wage war around the world.

They interpret him saying the “King of Terror” would form an alliance with Russia to wage war on the US and Europe, starting with a nuclear strike on New York City.

Is this where reality and the supernatural really meet?

Time will tell.

 

Frankie Boyle on the fallout from Paris: ‘This is the worst time for society to go on psychopathic autopilot’

(This is quite possibly the funniest and most poignant commentary on the Middle East crisis I have read in a very long time. Written by Frankie Boyle and it appears in today’s Guardian, 24 November, 2015)

 FROM authoritarian power grabs to Andrew Neil’s nonsensical eulogy, the reaction to the Paris attacks proves that we haven’t learned from our past mistakes.

There were a lot of tributes after the horror in Paris. It has to be said that Trafalgar Square is an odd choice of venue to show solidarity with France; presumably Waterloo was too busy. One of the most appropriate tributes was Adele dedicating Hometown Glory to Paris, just as the raids on St-Denis started. A song about south London where, 10 years ago, armed police decided to hysterically blow the face off a man just because he was a bit beige.

In times of crisis, we are made to feel we should scrutinise our government’s actions less closely, when surely that’s when we should pay closest attention. There’s a feeling that after an atrocity history and context become less relevant, when surely these are actually the worst times for a society to go on psychopathic autopilot. Our attitudes are fostered by a society built on ideas of dominance, where the solution to crises are force and action, rather than reflection and compromise.

If that sounds unbearably drippy, just humour me for a second and imagine a country where the response to Paris involved an urgent debate about how to make public spaces safer and marginalised groups less vulnerable to radicalisation. Do you honestly feel safer with a debate centred around when we can turn some desert town 3,000 miles away into a sheet of glass? Of course, it’s not as if the west hasn’t learned any lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan. This time round, no one’s said out loud that we’re going to win.

People seem concerned to make sure that Islam gets its full share of the blame, so we get the unedifying circus of neocons invoking God as much as the killers. “Well, Isis say they’re motivated by God.” Yes, and people who have sex with their pets say they’re motivated by love, but most of us don’t really believe them. Not that I’m any friend of religion – let’s blame religion for whatever we can. Let’s blame anyone who invokes the name of any deity just because they want to ruin our weekend, starting with TGI Friday’s.

The ringleader, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, evaded detection by security services by having a name too long to fit into one tweet. How could the most stringent surveillance in the world not have picked up Abdelhamid Abaaoud before? I mean, they’d have got him even if they just went through lists of terrorists alphabetically.

We’re always dealing with terror in retrospect – like stocking up on Imodium rather than reading the cooking instructions on your mini kievs. The truth is that modern governments sit at the head of a well-funded security apparatus. They are told that foreign military adventures put domestic populations at risk and they give them the thumbs up anyway. Charitably, the safety of their populations just aren’t of great concern to them. Realistically, domestic terrorist attacks play into their agenda: they allow them to grab ever more authoritarian powers with which to police their increasingly unequal and volatile societies. Of course, no one wants to believe that our government isn’t interested in our safety, just like everyone really wanted to believe that Jimmy Savile cared about whether kids got to meet Duran Duran.

It’s not an insult to the dead to wonder why France, a $2tn economy, couldn’t make a better offer to its disenfranchised youth than a bunch of sick bullies grooming them on the internet. It’s not apologism to try to understand why something happened. When Syria’s drought kicked in, 25% of the population became unemployed. The vast majority of the country’s livestock has died over the past decade. A lot of Isis are farmers with nowhere to go, their entire industry destroyed – you’d think they’d have more sympathy for journalists. Those who think radicalising a youngster has nothing to do with climate – have you seen Tatooine?

No one is saying climate change causes terrorism. Stop thinking that a global death cult is caused by one thing – it’s a complex situation involving several different countries and ideologies, not a rattling sound in your washing machine. Personally, I think that for all our blaming religion, there will be peace in the Middle East when the oil runs out. But knowing their luck, then somebody will invent a way of making fuel by mixing sand and falafel.

Maybe the west’s approach is right. After all, if you’ve got a massive fight in, say, a pub car park, the best way of solving it is clearly standing well back and randomly lobbing in fireworks. You can’t get rid of an ideology by destroying its leaders; you’d think if there’s anything “Christian” countries should know, it’s that. Europe has rejected the death penalty on moral grounds, and yet we relax this view when it comes to a group who want to be martyred. You can’t bomb ideas. If your kid shits on the carpet, you can’t stop them by bombing the person who invented shit – though it would tidy up ITV’s Saturday night schedule.

Andrew Neil went viral with an impassioned eulogy that, like most eulogies, was just inaccurate nonsense in the form of nice memorable words strung together with angry sad words. A speech that would have made those named within it proud, but only because a good few of them were nihilistic absurdists. Listing the great French thinkers in a tribute to nuclear power showcased the worst aspect of historical fame: these were figures Neil could name but appeared to know nothing about.

For a list supporting the French government’s foray into bombing its former colony he chose Satie, a composer so questioning of state he put a question mark into La Marseillaise; Zola, a man so adamant about the function of a fair and full trial he may have been murdered for his beliefs; Rousseau – “Those who think themselves masters of others are greater slaves than they”; Ravel, who rejected all state honours; Gauguin, a passionate defender of indigenous peoples; and Camus, the great Algerian-born philosopher, who died in 1960, a year before he would’ve been thrown into the Seine at the orders of the Nazi head of the Parisian police.

Out of his list of peacenik, thoughtful, anti-government icons, one of the few who might have been in favour of bombing Syria was Sartre, and that’s only because he thought we were all dead anyway. Of course, we mustn’t forget Coco Chanel, who Neil threw on to the list in such a blatant “if we don’t include a woman we’ll get into trouble” rush, he didn’t notice a quick wiki would reveal her to be a Nazi spy. These are the people who made France great, because what they asked of France was to question, to look death in the eye, to commit to full trials and never resort to military force, to step away from government, away from indigenous lands, to never see themselves as superior, and most, most of all, for people to stop regurgitating rhetorical cliches and think for themselves.

Neil asked us to consider who will be remembered in 1,000 years, and the answer of course is Thkkkkkkkzzzzxrrkksd, the insane Cockroach Emperor, who revolutionised the mining of our bones for fuel. But let’s go with his conceit. A thousand years is a long time; the first book published in French wasn’t until 1476. Goodness knows what an Islamic caliphate would have been doing 1,000 years ago? They built the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, one of the first universities in the world; they asked scholars of all faiths to translate every text ever written into Arabic; they demanded the first qualifications for doctors, founded the first psychiatric hospitals and invented ophthalmology. They developed algebra (algorithms are named after their Arab father) and a programmable machine … a computer. They introduced Aristotle to Europe, Al-Jahiz began theories of natural selection, they discovered the Andromeda galaxy, classified the spinal nerves and created hydropower using pumps and gears.

And Neil is right – we don’t remember any of that. Not to say that this is what Isis want – Isis are like the group that closed the House of Wisdom, the next caliphate who decided science was irreligious. Isis want to destroy the knowledge that Islam is a beautiful, scientific and intelligent culture, and we are way ahead of them.

We want Paris to be remembered in 1,000 years and we don’t remember the names of the victims 10 minutes after reading them – we don’t remember Amine Ibnolmobarak, a Moroccan émigré who was designing an architectural solution to the 2,000 deaths at Mecca; we don’t remember Elsa Delplace and her mother Patricia San Martin, who died shielding Delplace’s young son from bullets. We remember that the female terrorist was blond and one had no pants on. We remember that the terrorists came in with refugees even though they don’t seem to have done, especially since they were all French or Belgian. We expect our descendants to remember Daft Punk and we don’t even remember that invading Iraq caused the birth and rise of Isis. And we won’t remember any of this once the new series of Britain’s Got Talent starts.