Wednesday, 28 September 2011

50 years ago: The United Arab Republic breaks up

(Sources for this post include various editions of the World Almanac and Book of Facts, especially the 1962 edition.)

On September 28, 1961, the United Arab Republic, the union of Egypt and Syria which had come into effect on February 1, 1958, began to break up with a revolt of Syrian army officers against Egyptian domination of the Syrian region of the U.A.R. in Damascus. The rebels seized radio and other key installations, and a Damascus radio announcement said, "The armed forces have assumed restore rights to the nation."

After first deprecating the revolt as the work of a small group of reactionaries protesting recently-imposed state controls on the economy, U.A.R. President Gamal Abdel Nasser admitted the rebellion was a severe threat to the U.A.R. and called on "every soldier, every officer to do his duty." After a night meeting with his cabinet, President Nasser ordered Egyptian army, air, and naval forces to Syria to crush the revolt. However, Mr. Nasser countermanded the order shortly after 120 of his paratroopers had already landed near the Syrian seaport of Lataika. The paratroopers surrendered and the remainder of Mr. Nasser's forces returned to Egypt. Mr. Nasser told a crowd in Cairo's public square that he had called off his forces "so that no Arab blood would be shed."

Syria declared its independence on September 29 and installed Dr. Mahmoun al-Kuzbari, 49, a conservative law professor, as Premier. Mr. Kuzbari charged that Egypt had dominated the U.A.R. and "liquidated loyal [i.e., Syrian] elements, especially in the army," and pledged "a true and democratic life for Syria," promising to "lead the country within four months to a constitutional stage."

On September 30 the new Kuzbari government ordered the deportation of most of the 27,000 Egyptians in Syria and arrested some alleged spies and saboteurs. On October 2 the Kuzbari government announced that it would follow a policy of non-alignment in foreign affairs, and that it intended to retain social gains achieved during its union with Egypt.

Jordan and Turkey immediately recognized the new Syrian government, with other nations extending recognition over the next few days. On October 2 the United States received a formal plea from the U.A.R. (Egypt, that is) that it refuse to recognize the independence of Syria. The U.S.S.R. recognized Syria's independence on October 7, and the U.S.A. followed on October 10 after a delay that was widely interpreted as an effort to preserve cordial relations with Mr. Nasser. On October 13, Syria resumed the seat in the United Nations that it had held before the merger with Egypt, and there were no objections from Egypt or any other nation. The United Arab Republic was history.

Egypt continued to use the name United Arab Republic throughout the 1960s, perhaps as an exercise of wishful thinking. On September 1, 1971, Egypt announced that it would now be known as the Arab Republic of Egypt. The same day, the creation of the Federation of Arab Republics was announced. It was a loose union of Egypt, Syria, and Libya, with each nation to retain its national sovereignty. The brainchild of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, the Federation of Arab Republics officially came into existence on January 1, 1972, but the federation never amounted to much, and quietly faded away in November 1977.

50 years ago: The first alien abduction (?)

On September 21, 1961, Betty Hill telephoned Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire to report that on the night of September 19, she and her husband Barney were driving back to their home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire from a vacation when they sighted an unidentified flying object just south of Lancaster, N.H. The UFO then hovered close to their car, and Barney, observing through binoculars, claimed to see 8 to 11 humanoid figures in the craft. The Hills claimed to have entered an altered state of consciousness while driving at high speed in an attempt to flee the UFO, and that when they returned to normal consciousness and arrived home at around dawn on September 20, they experienced sensations they couldn't explain, and couldn't clearly remember details of the distance they'd travelled or what they'd seen after first encountering the craft.

The incident, also known as the Zeta Reticuli Incident, was the first widely-publicized account of humans supposedly being abducted by space aliens. For more, see the Wikipedia entry.

Spiritual Counterfeits Project published a double issue of SCP Journal (Vol.17:1-2) in 1992 with the theme Alien Encounters: UFOs and the Realm of Shadows, in which it was pointed out that modern reports of encounters with UFOs and space aliens bear a strong resemblance to reports of demonic manifestations down through the centuries. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the experiences reported by alien abductees are factual, I suspect that whatever supernatural experiences people such as Betty and Barney Hill (not to be confused with Betty and Barney Rubble) have had are encounters with the demonic realm rather than with actual beings from other worlds.

On a related topic, some of us remember the "Satanic panic" that was topical from about 1988-1992, when there were increasing reports of people claiming to have been abused--often sexually--in Satanic rituals. Some experts observed that those making such claims--which were usually bereft of physical evidence--had similar characteristics (such as abnormal suggestibility) to those claiming to have been abducted by space aliens. When it became apparent that it was possible for therapists to create false memories in clients, the panic abated, although resulting court cases continued. For more on the subject, see such books as Confabulations: Creating False Memories, Destroying Families by Eleanor Goldstein with Kevin Farmer (1992) and The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories of Allegations of Sexual Abuse by Elizabeth Loftus and Katherine Ketcham (1994). Dr. Loftus testified as an expert witness on behalf of Gary Ramona, who sued family counsellor Marche Isabella, psychiatrist Richard Rose, and the Western Medical Center in Anaheim, California, after Mr. Ramona's daughter Holly, while under the care of the therapists, had reported flashbacks of childhood sexual abuse by her father. The case was heard in Napa, California, and on May 13, 1994, a jury awarded Mr. Ramona $500,000.

Friday, 9 September 2011

10 years ago: A famous American historian offers his prediction for the 21st Century

...that's how it is with experts. They're seldom in doubt but often in error. Dave Skrien, Countdown to Grey Cup, 1965, p. 123.

From the October 2001 edition of Imprimis, the newsletter of Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan:

On September 9-13, 2001, Hillsdale College held a seminar entitled "One of Freedom's Finest Hours: Statesmanship and Soldiership in WWII."

One of America's most famous World War II historians, Stephen Ambrose, addressed the conference on the evening of September 9. According to Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn:

A theme began to emerge on Sunday night when the great and famous historian Stephen Ambrose argued that the twenty-first century will be the greatest and most peaceful in history because of the victory won by the "greatest generation." Several of the veterans of the war picked up this theme. Though they were not so sanguine as Professor Ambrose, they expressed the hope that no one would have to undergo what they themselves endured in the sky above Guadalcanal, crouched behind a sand dune at Omaha Beach, crawling among the sharp rocks at Iwo Jima.

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 occurred just a day and a half after Mr. Ambrose's presentation. As Maxwell Smart used to say, "Missed it by that much."

Sunday, 4 September 2011

70 years ago: Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King invokes God and speaks in favour of a new world order

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Revelation 21:1-4

On September 4, 1941, Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King spoke at Mansion House in London as the guest of Lord Mayor Sir George Wilkinson and the Corporation of London. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was also in attendance. Mr. King said, in part:

We are fighting to defend democratic and Christian ideals. We believe that everything which free men value and cherish on this side of the grave is in peril in this war. The right of men, rich and poor, to be treated as men; the right of men to make the laws by which they shall be governed; the right of men to work where they will, at what they will; the right of womankind to the serenity and sanctity of the home; the right of children to play in safety under peaceful heavens; the right of old men and women to the tranquillity of their sunset; the right to speak the truth in our hearts; the right to worship, in our own way, the God in whom we believe. (Cheers.)...

...We, in Canada, were greatly heartened when, three years ago, the President, after referring to the Dominion of Canada as a part of the sisterhood of the British Empire, declared that the people of the United States would not stand idly by if domination of Canadian soil were threatened by any other Empire. I reciprocated at once by recognizing Canada's responsibility to do what lay within her power to prevent attacks through our territory upon the United States. These declarations were the starting point of our agreement for joint defence.

To-day, fortunately, we are witnessing the birth of still wider arrangements for joint defence between the British Empire and the United States. Your declaration, Prime Minister, that in the Far East, Britain would stand at the side of the United States, is a sure sign of the deepening interdependence of the free world...

...Much is being said about a new world order to take the place of the old world order when the war is at an end. If that new order is not already on its way before the war is over, we may look for it in vain. A new world order cannot be worked out at some given moment and reduced to writing at a conference table. It is not a matter of parchments and of seals. That was one of the mistaken beliefs at the end of the last War. A new world order to be worthy of the name is something that is born, not made. It is something that lives and breathes; something that needs to be developed in the minds and the hearts of men; something that touches the human soul. It expresses itself in good will and in mutual aid. It is the application, in all human relationships, of the principle of helpfulness and of service. It is based not on fear, on greed, and on hate, but on mutual trust and the noblest qualities of the human heart and mind. It seeks neither to divide nor to destroy. Its aim is brotherhood, its method cooperation.

While the old order is destroying itself, this new relationship of men and nations has already begun its slow but sure evolution. It found expression when Britain determined to put an end to aggression in Europe; when other nations of the British Commonwealth took their place at the side of Britain, and when the United States resolved to lend its powerful aid to the nations which are fighting for freedom. It has found its latest expression in the Atlantic Charter. All these factors are combining to create one great brotherhood of freedom-loving peoples. It must now be wholly clear that if a new world order based upon freedom is to assume some definite shape, this can only be effected through the leadership of the British Commonwealth of Nations and the United States of America working in wholehearted cooperation toward this great end. (Cheers.) On such a foundation of unity of purpose and effort, all free peoples may well hope to build an enduring new world order.

A new heaven and a new earth--are not these, in very truth, what we seek to-day? A heaven to which men and women and little children no longer will look in fear, but where they may gaze again in silent worship and in thankfulness for the benediction of the sun and the rain; an earth no longer scarred by warfare and torn by greed, but where the lowly and the humble of all races may work in ways of pleasantness and walk in paths of peace.

And the sea no longer will be the scene of conflict, nor harbour any menace; it, too, will gladden the hearts of men as it unites, in friendly intercourse, the nations of the world.

Then...shall all men's good
Be each man's rule, and universal Peace
Lie like a shaft of light across the land.
And like a lane of beams athwart the sea,
Thro' all the circle of the golden year."

This new heaven, this new earth, is the vision which, at this time of war, unites, inspires, and guides Britain, Canada, and other nations of the British Commonwealth, the United States, and our Allies in all parts of the world. No lesser vision will suffice to gain the victory. No lesser service to humanity will hold the faith and win the gratitude of mankind. (Loud cheers.)
The Times, September 5, 1941, pp. 5-6.

The poem from which Mr. King quoted is The Golden Year by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

It may seem shocking to readers in 2011 that a Prime Minister of Canada (especially one from the Liberal Party) would publicly state that Canada was fighting a war for "democratic and Christian ideals," but such a comment was considered to be stating an obvious truth; and the "Christian ideals" that Mr. King had in mind had nothing to do with current Liberal/Trudeaupian "ideals" such as abortion on demand, sodomite "rights," or official multiculturalism. If any Canadian politician now were to positively invoke Christianity, his political and media opponents would be calling for his removal from office. Mr. King's invocation of "Christian ideals" stands in stark contrast to the behaviour of another Liberal Prime Minister, Jean Chretien (whose name, ironically, means "Christian"), 60 years later, when his office ordered that the name of Jesus Christ was not to be mentioned at the 9/11 memorial service--although no such restrictions were imposed on clergy from other faiths. And in contrast to the United States, which held a day of prayer, Trudeaupia (formerly Canada) just observed a day of mourning, with a completely atheistic public ceremony.

The reader will note that when Mr. King quoted the passage on the new heaven and the new Earth, it was in the context of a kingdom brought about by human effort. Mr. King's invocation of such a kingdom is similar to that of the Emerging Church and other "deeds, not creeds" religious liberals today. Revelation 21:2 clearly states that the new heaven and new Earth come down from God out of heaven, nor from man on Earth.