A Rhetorical Question

Four old-timers were playing their weekly game of golf.

One remarked how nice it would be to wake up on Christmas morning, roll out of bed and without an argument go directly to the golf course, meet his buddies and play a round.

His buddies all chimed in said, “Let’s do it! We’ll make it a priority – figure out a way and meet here early, Christmas morning.”

Months later, that special morning arrives, and there they are on the golf course. The first guy says, “Boy this game cost me a fortune! I bought my wife a diamond ring that she can’t take her eyes off of.”

golf

The second guy says, “I spent a ton too. My wife is at home planning the cruise I gave her. She was up to her eyeballs in brochures.”

The third guy says “Well my wife is at home admiring her new car, reading the manual.”

They all turned to the last guy in the group who is staring at them like they have lost their minds.

“I can’t believe you all went to such expense for this golf game. I slapped my wife on the bum and said, ‘Well babe, Merry Christmas! It’s a great morning – golf course or intercourse?”

She said,Don’t forget your hat.”‘

A Syrian Translator Grapples with the Hardest Choice a Refugee Must Make

 

It was a late November evening in Thessaloniki, Greece. I had just hopped in a cab with TIME’s Arabic translator, Abeer Albadawi. We had spent the day interviewing a young couple from Syria that were at the center of Finding Home, our year-long project about pregnant refugees giving birth and raising children in Greek refugee camps. Now, we would return to one of those same camps — one where Abeer, too, had once called home.

Like the women we were profiling, Abeer was a refugee. She and her husband and daughter had made the perilous overland crossing from Syria in 2015, eventually boarding a rubber dinghy in Turkey that would take them to Greece, and, she hoped, onward to Western Europe.

Not only did Abeer, 22, speak a fluid English picked up as a student in Aleppo, she also had a reporter’s instinct for detail and a knack for asking hard questions at exactly the right time. When she asked one woman what it was like to share a 100-square-foot tent with four kids, her husband and her husband’s second wife, we were granted rare insight into the complications of polygamous marriages. I knew from that day forward that she would be a vital member of our reporting team.

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Final Thought on UNSC RES. 2334 Plus Introduction on Ambassador David Friedman

Beyond the Cusp

UNSC RES. 2334 has been written, passed unanimously and states as plainly as possible, Israel will be treated as a pariah amongst the nations of the world. The appointment of Ambassador David Friedman as the American Ambassador for Israel states clearly that under a President Donald Trump Israel will receive the royal treatment and respect due the nations whose purpose is to return the Jewish Homelands to the rightful people so that they may then proceed to be a light unto the people of this world, not the nations’ governments who no longer deserve such goodness. Israel will continue to be the only haven in a cruel world for the Jewish People and their refuge from the ravages of anti-Semitism and the ravings of the anti-Semites. Israel will be the world’s mirror and in that mirror will each nation see their real governance and the ugly or beautiful truth that…

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President Obama’s Surprise No Surprise at All

Beyond the Cusp

Be honest, was President Obama pressing for a Security Council vote condemning Israel activity beyond the Green Line really all that much of a surprise? Did you still doubt the vindictiveness and hatred of Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu? Did you really believe he would leave office without setting in stone his idea of a fair border for the Palestinian State? None of this was a surprise as the only thing which was left unknown was how close would he allow it to be before he left office? The pressing matter was the upcoming French conference as President Obama needed this to be his idea and not some reaction to the French initiative. That is what placed any deal of haste behind his actions. As for what good this did, that is what we can discuss here in this article rather than react and try to belittle the pettiness of…

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Final Statement of Geert Wilders at his Trial

Mr. President, Members of the Court,

When I decided to address you here today, by making a final statement in this trial against freedom of speech, many people reacted by telling me it is useless. That you, the court, have already written the sentencing verdict a while ago. That everything indicates that you have already convicted me. And perhaps that is true. Nevertheless, here I am. Because I never give up. And I have a message for you and the Netherlands.

For centuries, the Netherlands are a symbol of freedom.

When one says Netherlands, one says freedom. And that is also true, perhaps especially, for those who have a different opinion than the establishment, the opposition. And our most important freedom is freedom of speech.

We, Dutch, say whatever is close to our hearts. And that is precisely what makes our country great. Freedom of speech is our pride.

And that, precisely that, is at stake here, today.

I refuse to believe that we are simply giving this freedom up. Because we are Dutch. That is why we never mince our words. And I, too, will never do that. And I am proud of that. No-one will be able to silence me.

Moreover, members of the court, for me personally, freedom of speech is the only freedom I still have. Every day, I am reminded of that. This morning, for example. I woke up in a safe-house. I got into an armored car and was driven in a convoy to this high security courtroom at Schiphol. The bodyguards, the blue flashing lights, the sirens. Every day again. It is hell. But I am also intensely grateful for it.

Because they protect me, they literally keep me alive, they guarantee the last bit of freedom left to me: my freedom of speech. The freedom to go somewhere and speak about my ideals, my ideas to make the Netherlands — our country — stronger and safer. After twelve years without freedom, after having lived for safety reasons, together with my wife, in barracks, prisons and safe-houses, I know what lack of freedom means.

I sincerely hope that this will never happen to you, members of the court. That, unlike me, you will never have to be protected because Islamic terror organizations, such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS, and who knows how many individual Muslims, want to murder you. That you will no longer be allowed to empty your own mailbox, need to carry a bulletproof vest at meetings, and that there are police officers guarding the door whenever you use the bathroom. I hope you will be spared this.

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Russians at the Gates

For the most part they were unobtrusive, almost invisible—our occupying power. Their day-to-day life carried on behind closed doors, as if someone were trying to shield them from us, or maybe us from them. They lived a hidden life in the barracks, behind the crooked fences and walls that were made impenetrable by skeins of barbed wire, like a hedge of rose thorns. But anyway, who would have dared try to climb over, who would have had the courage to infiltrate the forbidden zone on the other side? Not even we children were brave enough to give each other a leg up over the wall, though our knees were sometimes itching to.

It wasn’t hard to imagine what it was like behind the walls—over there with the Ivans—as people called them ironically behind their backs. Or the Russians, as was said, though still sotto voce, since the word was strange and chauvinistic too—and we all knew it. But talking about Soviets wasn’t the answer either. Those who used the phrase on official occasions or at school felt immediately that there was something embarrassing, something not quite right about the hypocritical turn of phrase. The problem was that there was no suitable designation for these strangers in our country. Everyone knew that they were one of the victorious occupying powers at the end of the Second World War; their dominance in our country was such a dirty open secret that no one dared say it out loud. Our own country: nothing but a Soviet satrapy? An idea scarcely to be admitted, even in a dream. Instead, one put on a diplomatic face, mumbled some desultory words about friendship between peoples, and every so often, on high feasts and holidays, spoke with due pathos about our Soviet brothers.

This kind of comradeship—the sort acted out at parades rather than genuinely felt—was in the spirit of Lenin. Right at the start of the revolution Lenin had made internationalism the duty of every enlightened communist. It was his successor who was forced to change direction and restrict it to the Motherland—because the rest of the world was lagging hopelessly behind. There was a second chance after victory over Germany, the “deadly foe” or, for the time being at least, “necessary ally.” But this was also a chance to pick up again where they had been forced to give up the previous time, owing to lack of enthusiasm on the part of the German working class. This time they wanted to export the Bolshevist order, completely and without illusion, and build on the collapse that made the idealism of its participants superfluous. A few marks scribbled on a map of Europe at the Yalta conference decided in which zone of influence the people of the defeated nation would live from now on and who were the new masters in this fragmented land.

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Apologies to Israel, but Help Is on the Way

I am not surprised at President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry’s parting insults to Israel, but they are nonetheless unconscionable. Thank goodness Obama is on the way out and the restoration of our relationship will soon begin.

It wasn’t enough for Obama to betray Israel by abstaining from voting on, rather than vetoing, a Dec. 23 United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as illegal. Kerry delivered an extraordinarily condescending speech maligning Israel for the settlements, saying they have jeopardized peace in the Middle East.

Amazingly, people still blindly deny this administration’s antipathy toward Israel, and they will probably remain in denial even after these unprecedented affronts.

Almost as troubling is Obama’s deceit about his prejudices and his intentions. The Israelis claim to have irrefutable evidence that the administration did more than merely abstain from voting on the abominable U.N. resolution. It led the charge.

“What is outrageous is that the United States was actually behind that gang-up,” said Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer. “I think it was a very sad day and really a shameful chapter in U.S.-Israel relations. … We have clear evidence of it.”

Dermer announced that Israel eagerly awaits the Trump administration, as he indicated he would be presenting evidence of U.S. collusion to Donald Trump rather than to Obama.

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