To others of my generation who still do not and cannot comprehend why Facebook even exists, here’s what I’m doing to gain better understanding:
I am trying to make new friends without using Facebook, but while applying the same principles.
Every day I walk down the street and tell passers-by what I have eaten, how I feel at the moment, what I have done the night before, what I will do later, and with whom.
I give them pictures of my family, my dog, and of me gardening, taking things apart in the garage, watering the lawn, standing in front of landmarks, driving around town, having lunch, and doing what anybody and everybody does every day.
I also listen to their conversations, then give them the “thumbs up” and tell them I like them.
And it works!
I already have four people following me: Two police officers, a private investigator, and a psychiatrist.
Like Joseph, Mary and Jesus fleeing the murderous King Herod, Asia Bibi and her family will spend Christmas dodging murderous Muslim mobs in Pakistan. Not a single Western country has made room in the immigration inn for the world’s most famous persecuted Christian.
Theresa May, Britain’s Christian PM, has opened Britain’s Intersectional Inn to Syrian Muslims, hate preachers, returning jihadis and gays hounded for being homosexual. But the door of May’s Intersectional Inn remains shut to a Pakistani Christian who has spent eight years on death row for the crime of blasphemy.
Intersectionality is the West’s new religion. Your value depends on how many victim groups you belong to. A one-eyed, black, lesbian, Palestinian, Muslim woman gets the gold medal. A heterosexual, black, woman, is awarded silver. A white, gay, American male is at the bottom with a bronze medal.
The religion of identity politics has a great commandment—love your neighbor depending on their position on the totem pole of intersectionality.
Now that the Islamic State has been driven out of the last town it controlled in Syria, the question must be asked: who will reconstruct the country? Estimates for the reconstruction of Syria range from $250 billion to one trillion dollars. Where will that money come from? Nothing will come from the deep-pocketed Saudis, Emiratis, Kuwaitis, or Qataris, all of them Sunni countries, and all but Qatar openly hostile to Iran-allied Syria. What about Russia? The Russians see themselves as contributing, but only if Europe, and especially the United States, agree to participate as well in financing the reconstruction. The Russians have already spent billions in helping to prop up Assad during his seven-year civil war; they are unwilling, and likely unable, to spend much more. Certainly nothing in the neighborhood of tens of billions.
Now comes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has announced that not a penny will come from the American government to help in the reconstruction of Syria as long as Iranian forces remain in Syria. The Iranians, of course, have spent directly, and through their aid to Hezbollah, huge sums on supporting Assad. There are several estimates as to the total Iranian aid to Syria. According to Staffan di Mistura, the U.N’s envoy to Syria, the Iranian government spends at least $6 billion annually on maintaining Assad’s government. That aid began in 2012, less than a year after the civil war began, and if Di Mistura is correct, Iran has spent $42 billion on Syria to date. But other figures are far higher. Nadim Shehadi, the director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University, said that his research puts the actual number at $15 billion annually. That would mean Iran has spent $105 billion on Syria. And the civil war is not over yet.
In Iran, protesters in the streets this past summer shouted “Leave Syria alone and deal with Iran” as well as “Death to Palestine” and “Death to Gaza.” By this, they meant “stop spending money abroad on military adventures, we Iranians are suffering economically.” And Iran is suffering. The rial has sunk to historic lows. Of Iran’s 2.5 million barrels of oil production, Iran now manages to sell only about 1.5 million barrels, thanks to the re-imposition of American sanctions. Iran has just suffered its worst drought in more than a half-century, significantly damaging Iranian agriculture and the raising of livestock. This is another body blow to the economy.
While poor Bilal Hassam is beset by “Islamophobia,” here are some recent news items from the real world:
Benedict Kiely Real Clear Politics reported last Tuesday that Christians in Iraq face a new threat from “Popular Mobilization Units,” who in the town of Karamles, near Mosul, recently blocked a road that led to a church, preventing the congregation from going to the church, and “also strafed the church with gunfire.” Kiely added that the local priest “told me that this was the second time his church had been attacked in the last nine months. One of the militiamen held a handgun to the priest’s face when he went out to demand that they clear the street and stop shooting.” Said the Iraqi priest of the Shi’ite jihadis: “They are the new ISIS. We are really vulnerable.”
According to Fox News, “In Iraq, the Christian population has decreased from 1.5 million in 2003 to fewer than 200,000 today. Much of this was the result of ISIS’ merciless reign of terror, which was buoyed by Western inaction in 2014.”
The Christian website World Watch Monitor reported in early December that “over 100 Christians have been arrested in Iran in the past week and nearly 150 in the past month, as part of the government’s attempt to ‘warn’ Christians against proselytizing over Christmas.” These arrests could have fatal consequences: Lela Gilbert, a journalist who tracks the persecution of Christians, noted in the Jerusalem Post on the Saturday before Christmas that “in 2017, there were at least 517 executions in Iran.”