Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Old e-mails

Recently, I received an e-mail to login for my account update and verification, or it would be shut down within 24 hours due to "termination request". I wonder now how I could believe in such an apparent scam, but I did. Happily, nothing scary has happened so far, but shame on me!

I do not even use much this particular e-mail address, but I have there some old e-mails I do not want to lose. Not that it is likely that I will ever read them again. Old letters written by other people, when read by us, revive the past. However, our own old letters - those we wrote and those we received - are the exact opposite: they are a repository of a "dead future". Therefore, reading them can be recommended only to the happiest or the interpid.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The World Jewish Congress broadcasts lies of Bulgarian far-left

Every year in February, far-right Bulgarian organization and citizens hold a rally called Lukov March. It is allegedly to commemorate General Hristo Lukov (1887 - 1943), but actually more to reflect current events of interest to the participants. This is what I know from the media, because I have never taken part in the rally and do not intend to. I do not like these people and their views and I think they are discrediting Bulgarian nationalism. At the same time, I think that people in a free country have the right to express their views, to associate and to rally peacefully, regardless of whether we like them or not.

The latter opinion, however, is not shared by all. Every single year, self-described human rights activists (!) petition Bulgarian authorities to ban Lukov March. In these efforts, they not only criticize the organizers and participants as neo-Nazis but, by association, smear Hristo Lukov as a rabid Nazi and anti-Semite. This year, the efforts were supported by the World Jewish Congress. Its Executive Vice-President Robert Singer came to Bulgaria and handed a petition to the Prime-Minister Boyko Borissov, "so far signed by 175 000 people from all over the world", against the Lukov March. In an interview with Sega Newspaper (the above link), he stated: "The march is in the name of General Hristo Lukov, who supported the neo-Nazi laws in Bulgaria, and the deportation of Jews."

Unfortunately, human rights groups in Bulgaria are heavily infiltrated by far-left people who have a serious reason to dislike General Lukov: he was assassinated by two communists because their bosses feared that he might return to politics. It is true that Lukov, like many other Bulgarians of that time, was pro-German, but this wasn't necessarily because of any sympathy to Hitler. For Bulgarians, Germany was just the power that was hoped to reverse Versailles and the associated treaties that had torn apart the Bulgarian territory, leading to ethnic cleansing and forced assimilation of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Bulgarians. However, no source known to me from Lukov's lifetime or more than half a century later describes him as an anti-Semite, even the memoirs of communists glorifying his killers. In a 2013 interview (source in Bulgarian), Bulgarian historian Nikolay Poppetrov (otherwise very critical of Hristo Lukov), when asked whether General Lukov had been an anti-Semite after all, answered: "There are no preserved documents [indicating this]. There is another suspicion - he had commercial activity, he might have worked also for some companies with Jewish ownership. His enemies [during his lifetime] had accused him in this..."

General Hristo Lukov was Minister of War between 1935 and early 1938, but after that, he was removed from government by King Boris III until his death. The nationalist organization headed by him, the "Legionnaires", was banned. He was assassinated on Feb. 13, 1943. The agreement to deport more than 11,000 Jews (most of whom died in the Holocaust) from Macedonia and Aegean Thrace was signed in deep secrecy on Feb. 22, 1943. This timeline, easily accessible online even for readers who speak no Bulgarian, proves that Mr. Singer and his organization uncritically broadcasted untruths fed to them by the Bulgarian far-left. As Bulgarian-born Jew Samuil Arditi commented (source in Bulgarian), "Lukov could not even known about the deportation while he was alive, let alont "support" it posthumously". Arditi called the claims of Lukov's support for the deportation "a lie in the name of political interests" that a certain Bulgarian Jewish organization "is selling to international Jewish organizations". My impression, however, is that most of the people smearing Lukov and recruiting international Jewish organizations against him do not even have Jewish background. There are indeed a few Jews among them, but the leftist identity dominates .

Unless and until any evidence is presented and not just baseless assertions, I regard the alleged anti-Semitism of General Hristo Lukov as a recent invention of our communists and other far-left activists who are deliberately and systematically spreading lies, selecting ones that would best stick abroad. Such people have also accused my father in anti-Semitism after his participation in a Brussels conference in 2014, and he has been suing them for libel and slander ever since. Two of his accusers were people I had personally known and regarded as friends. Therefore, the entire story not only burdened me as an aide to my father (a 95-yr-old man with multiple disabilities) but caused the emotional pain we feel when we lose a friend because of his transformation into an unfriend. As a supporter of Jews and Israel, I suffer a similar emotional pain when Jewish organizations work hard against my country, as in this case. However, I do not for a millisecond equate these organizations with the Jews they claim to represent (unelected), I continue to support the Jews and would advise anybody to do the same.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Islamist terror in 2017

To begin blogging in 2018, a short bulletin of Islamist terror attacks in the West in 2017, compiled with the help of Wikipedia:

- March 22 in London, UK: A convert to Islam drove a car into pedestrians south of Westminster Bridge, fatally injuring four, then stabbed a policeman to death.

- April 4, Paris, France (not in the Wikipedia list): A French Muslim killed his neighbor, a 65-yr-old Jewish woman, by severely beating her and then throwing her out of the window. The perpetrator shouted "Allahu akbar" and "I killed the devil". French authorities and media tried to cover up this murder for as long as possible, categorizing it as a hate crime only 5 months later. I learned of it by chance, searching for something else in a Jewish media source. The victim, Sarah Halimi, happened to have the same family name as Ilan Halimi, another Parisian Jew savagely murdered by Muslims ten years before.

- April 20, Paris, France: A French Muslim shot dead a police officer.

- May 22, Manchester, UK: A British Muslim, born to Libyan refugees, carried out a suicide bombing at a concert, killing 22. This act was particularly outrageous because the concert was of Ariana Grande, a singer with audience mostly of teenage girls. The youngest victim was 8. The cartoon above, of the "Jesus 'n' Mo" series, was published two days later. I copied it from Prof. Coyne's site.

- June 3, London, UK: Three British Muslims drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, killing 3, then, after the van crashed, began stabbing people, killing 5 more.

- August 17-18, Barcelona, Spain: Five Spanish Muslims of Moroccan origin killed a total of 16 people in separate attacks by driving into pedestrians and stabbing.

- October 31, New York, USA: A Muslim immigrant from Uzbekistan drove a truck into cyclists, killing 8.

As if this is not enough, some Westerners descend to the level of the Islamists, reacting to their attacks with equally ugly attacks on random, innocent Muslims. On January 29,  Alexandre Bissonnette (28) opened fire in a Quebec City mosque, killing 6. On June 19, Darren Osborne (47) drove a van into Muslims coming out of a London mosque after prayer, killing one. Again in London, on June 21, John Tomlin (25) poured acid on two Muslims, a female university student and her cousin, as they were sitting in their car.

Let's wish that 2018 will be better! I do not hold my breath, however.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Shame: my country joined the anti-Semitic orgy

A UN resolution has just voted a resolution that condemns the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and calls for this decision to be renounced. The BBC has published a list of countries that voted against, abstained, and voted for the resolution, respectively. Nine countries voted against, 35 abstained, 128 voted in favor. Unfortunately, Bulgaria is among the latter. Shame!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Europe should recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Ever since the foundation of the State of Israel, its authorities and citizens consider Jerusalem as their capital, while other countries use Tel Aviv as interim capital so that not to anger Arabs, some of whom have claims on Jerusalem.

In the distant 1995, the US Congress voted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital and ordering the US Embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since then, three US Presidents have had their terms and none of them dared to implement the act. It needed to wait for Donald Trump to be implemented. He is widely regarded as crazy, and I dislike him, mostly because of his pro-Russian positions, but this act of him shows that even crazy rulers have their role in society.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu appealed to Europe to follow the American example, but European leaders refuse, at least for now. I think that they should absolutely support Israel and its right to name its capital. Especially after it was European countries that carried out the Holocaust. Unfortunately, it seems easier for the Europeans to shed crocodile tears for the Jews perished in the Holocaust than to support the surviving Jews and their state.

My prognosis is that Europeans will continue to make fools of themselves for some time, maybe several years, and then will quietly start to move their embassies to Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Palestinian opponents of Israel are rioting and have already produced some victims. It is notable that the most violent protests are in Gaza, where there seems to be no other industry. In contrast, Arab residents of East Jerusalem are peaceful. The quote below is from an Atlantic report by Emma Green:

"Jerusalem—the political and geographical center of the debate—stayed relatively quiet... Palestinians in East Jerusalem have integrated with Israelis to a significant extent; they depend on Israel and its tourists for their livelihoods, so there’s a lot at stake if they decide to protest or strike... For his part, Abu Madhi says he wishes the Israeli government would make East Jerusalem a little nicer. “You’ve been to Tel Aviv sometimes?” he asked me. “Clean country, high-speed world, green trees.” He pointed to the Damascus Gate area. “Why shouldn’t we have here a garden, and here a basketball court? This thing that I prefer, the government could do.”... Eventually, a man brought a tarp out to the area near the Damascus Gate for the next round of prayers. More than 60 men lined up before the Old City, facing a row of cameras, a line of Israeli soldiers just behind them. This was the most peaceful form of protest—and the most normal thing in the world.... “Just one hour, and you’re going to see everything’s okay,” Abu Madhi said. “You’re going to see an Arabic man and a Jewish man sitting here.”"

Maybe now, as a resident of a capital gaining international recognition, Mr. Madhi has a higher chance to see new gardens and sport facilities.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

The Guardian feeds anti-Muslim stereotypes

Browsing the Yahoo!News, I have just found a Guardian article titled Trump’s error on Jerusalem is a disaster for the Arab world … and the US too, by Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University. It is about the decision of US president Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital and to move the US embassy there. (The decision was actually made into a law by the Congress back in 1995, but three consecutive US presidents were too afraid to implement it. I do not like Trump, but I give him credit for this act.)

Briefly, Prof. Khalidi states that Trump's act was an error because it favored Israel and made Palestinians unhappy. He condemns the decision as a crushing blow to the peace process, while admitting that the peace process has been "at death's door" since 2014. He also states that "few [Palestinians] want a return to violence", though his entire text is a thinly veiled threat of long-lasting, "impossible to predict" violence. If you have time to waste, read it in entirety. Now, I'd prefer to discuss stereotyping.

All people stereotype and are stereotyped. This is how human brain works. And it works this way because stereotyping is, and has always been, a survival strategy. However, while it may be very useful for individuals and in the short run, stereotyping harms the long-term interests of whole societies. For example, here in Bulgaria we have a minority that performs more than its fair share of thefts. When members of said minority are on a bus or a tram, everybody, no matter how progressive, clutches their belongings. The stereotype in question, like most other stereotype, is concentrated experience and will die out only when the minority stops regarding other people's property as a free resource. In the meantime, however, I think it is counterproductive to talk too much publicly about thefts by this minority, because this will feed the stereotype to expand beyond its healthy degree and will hurt the employment of minority members, leaving them in a vicious circle with no subsistence other than thefts and welfare. (This is why I am reluctant even to name the minority; if you are European, you know perfectly well whom I mean, and if you are not, please consider my example hypothetical.) If you are a member of a stereotyped group, I think that, instead of attacking the stereotypers, you should address first those members of your own group who with their behavior have caused the stereotyping in the first place, and then those public forums that make a bad situation worse by needlessly feeding the stereotype.

Muslims are stereotyped as being anti-Semitic. Despite the presence of countless Muslims and whole Muslim communities (such as the Bulgarian Muslims) who do not harbor any anti-Semitism, this stereotype, like most others, is based on facts. It is so entrenched and normalized that even sophisticated people like Prof. Khalidi make no attempt to hide it. The big question is, why does the respectable Guardian, which claims (e.g. here) to stand against the "Islamophobia", publish a text that can only feed anti-Muslim stereotypes? I think that, if I were a Muslim, I'd be outraged by this. I would call Prof. Khalidi names and would write to the Guardian.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

How a student made my day

Two months ago, we at the Medical University of Sofia were carrying out our regular additional autumn exam session, known among students and teachers as the "liquidation" session. It can be best described as "just another last chance" for students who have skipped or failed some exam both at the regular session and at the September corrective session. Unfortunately, while many students had learned at least the minimum of required knowledge and passed, others had not. (The ribosome, already proven to be a Waterloo for some, remained so; this September, two students independently prepared for me depictions of it as a circle surrounded by smaller circles like petals of a flower. I even composed a ribosome haiku: Know thyself and thy ribosome / And remember that it is crazy / To draw it shaped like a daisy.)

After one of those very hard exam days was finally over, I went out in a rush. There was a parent meeting at the school of one of my sons, the first such meeting for this school year. I didn't want to be late. The only way to get there quickly was by a taxi. I saw a free taxi, jumped into it and started to explain the destination to the driver.

Suddenly, a young man - apparently a student at our Medical University - shouted in English: "Doctor! This is a false taxi!" He came closer and pointed at the list of prices displayed at the front window of the car. The numbers were indeed about twice higher than those offered by most taxi companies. I usually check them, but not when I am in a hurry. Expensive or not, this taxi was my chance that night. So I said to the student "Thank you!" but did not leave the car. With it, I reached the school just in time.

That student made my day. I always try to teach well and to examine justly. And while I say that "I do my job the best way I can, and I do not care what others say", I'd wish my efforts to be appreciated... sometimes. That young man showed goodwill to me in circumstances where he could simply pass by. I am sorry that, with my poor ability to recognize faces, I shall not know him if I see him again. But I will remember him.

(This post, stuck in the pipeline together with many others, was called to existence by one of my current 1st year students, who rightly remarked that I should write not just about the poor students but also about the good ones.)

France, we have a problem

Below, another quote from the Newsweek about the scary reality of today's life in Europe - Muslim Anti-Semitism Threatens France's Democracy, a today's report by Simone Rodan-Benzaquen.

"Paris—“In the Merah household, we were brought up with hating Jews, the hatred of everything that was not Muslim.”

These were the chilling words of Abdelghani Merah at the trial of his brother, Abdelkader Merah, who was accused of conspiring with a third brother, Mohamed, to murder three soldiers, three Jewish schoolchildren, and a teacher in Toulouse, France, in 2012.

Abdelghani also revealed, at the time, that “when the medical examiner brought [his] brother’s corpse home, people came over. They cried tears of joy. They said that he had brought France to its knees. That he did well. Their only regret was that he had not killed more Jewish children.”

These appalling remarks, which suggest the environment in which Mohamed Merah was immersed and his family’s way of thinking, have sparked a debate about the extent of hatred of Jews in the French Muslim community.

For years, it has been nearly impossible to speak about French Muslim anti-Semitism.

Many refused to take notice for reasons of ideology, discomfort, or lack of courage. Many feared being accused of “playing into the hands of the far right”... The Merah trial exposed a reality in France: anti-Semitic roots run deep within some elements of the French Muslim community...

French anti-Semitism is distinguished in Europe by its level of violence, ranging from attacks to abductions and even to murders...

Now, some French Muslim intellectuals are speaking out. The most recent example is film director Said Ben Said, who, writing in the French newspaper Le Monde , clearly and courageously criticized Arab Muslim anti-Semitism, after learning that he would not be allowed to sit on a film jury in Carthage because he had produced films in Israel.

The moral courage of such Muslim intellectuals should be commended because we know how difficult it is for them to make themselves heard. Journalists often prefer to invite more controversial figures such as Tariq Ramadan to their TV and radio shows.

And even when these intellectuals are invited, the simple act of denouncing anti-Semitism and extremism makes them susceptible to criticism, insults, and even threats of violence.

They are afraid. How could they not be, when they see that jihadists assassinate French Muslim soldiers and policemen because they are considered apostates, or that outspoken Muslims who denounce violence need police protection?..."

Terrorists should not brag online, hurts job hunt

The text below is from ISIS Members From Europe Can't Get Jobs When They Return Home, a several months-old report by Jack Moore

“I just want to forget everything,” Walad Yousef, a 27-year-old returning fighter, told the newspaper. “I apply for a lot of jobs, but I can’t get any because my pictures are out there.”

Yousef had posted images of himself in Syria on Facebook, posing at a training camp with a Kalashnikov, and encouraging friends to join him. He returned to Sweden and said he had only gone to Syria to help civilians in the eastern city of Raqqa, where ISIS has beheaded several western hostages...

Employers fear that returning fighters may commit attacks or help others to commit attacks and do not wish to be associated with them, said another returnee who has changed his name to Yousef.

"You in the media have scared them. I do not know why they are afraid," said a jihadi from the southern city of Malmo of the fears that employees and civilians had of returning foreign fighters...

Sweden is one the best countries for a foreign fighter to return if they want to reintegrate. It is trialling a rehabilitation programme that gives Swedish extremists housing, employment, education and financial support. Anna Sjöstrand, the municipal coordinator against violent extremism in the city of Lund, said in October 2016 that it is much cheaper to reintegrate someone than to abandon them...

 The country suffered only its second radical Islamist attack in April when an Uzbek national plowed a truck into civilians on a busy shopping street in central Stockholm. The attack left five people dead. Authorities arrested the driver and said he had sympathies with ISIS. ISIS did not claim the attack, but it generally does not take responsibility for attackers who are captured alive..."

The moral? If you really, really want to join ISIS or another similar bunch of good fellows, at least do not brag all over the Web about it. May cause problems if some day you change your career.