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  1. Amit Taheri: Anti-war protestors ignore the horrors London "Could I have the microphone for one minute to tell the people about my life?" asked the Iraqi grandmother. I spent part of last Saturday with the so-called "anti-war" marchers in London in the company of some Iraqi friends. Our aim had been to persuade the organisers to let at least one Iraqi voice be heard. Soon, however, it became clear that the organisers were as anxious to stifle the voice of the Iraqis in exile as was Saddam Hussain in Iraq. The Iraqis had come with placards reading "Freedom for Iraq" and "American rule, a hundred thousand times better than Takriti tyranny!" But the tough guys who supervised the march would have none of that. Only official placards, manufactured in thousands and distributed among the "spontaneous" marchers, were allowed. These read "Bush and Blair, baby-killers," " Not in my name," "Freedom for Palestine" and "Indict Bush and Sharon." Not one placard demanded that Saddam should disarm to avoid war. The goons also confiscated photographs showing the tragedy of Halabja, the Kurdish town where Saddam's forces gassed 5,000 people to death in 1988. We managed to reach some of the stars of the show, including Reverend Jesse Jackson, the self-styled champion of American civil rights. One of our group, Salima Kazim, an Iraqi grandmother, managed to attract the reverend's attention and told him how Saddam Hussain had murdered her three sons because they had been dissidents in the Ba'ath Party; and how one of her grandsons had died in the war Saddam had launched against Kuwait in 1990. "Could I have the microphone for one minute to tell the people about my life?" 78-year old Salima demanded. The reverend was not pleased. "Today is not about Saddam Hussain," he snapped. "Today is about Bush and Blair and the massacre they plan in Iraq." Salima had to beat a retreat, with all of us following, as the reverend's gorillas closed in to protect his holiness. We next spotted former film star Glenda Jackson, apparently manning a stand where "antiwar" characters could sign up to become " human shields" to protect Saddam's military installations against American air attacks. "These people are mad," said Awad Nasser, one of Iraq's most famous modernist poets. "They are actually signing up to sacrifice their lives to protect a tyrant's death machine." The former film star, now a Labour Party member of parliament, had no time for "side issues" such as the 1.2 million Iraqis, Iranians and Kuwaitis who have died as a result of Saddam's various wars. We thought we might have a better chance with Charles Kennedy, a boyish-looking, red-headed Scot who leads the mis-named Liberal Democrat Party. But he, too, had no time for "complex issues" that could not be raised at a mass rally. But was it not amazing that there could be a rally about Iraq without any mention of what Saddam and his regime have done over almost three decades? Just a little hint, perhaps, that Saddam was still murdering people in his Qasr Al Nayhayah (Palace of the End) prison, and that as the Westerners marched, Iraqis continued to die? Not a chance. 'Blinded' protesters We then ran into Tony Benn, a leftist septuagenarian who has recycled himself as a television reporter to interview Saddam in Baghdad. But we knew there was no point in talking to him. The previous night he had appeared on TV to tell the Brits that his friend Saddam was standing for "the little people" against "hegemonistic America." "Are these people ignorant, or are they blinded by hatred of the United States?" Nasser the poet demanded. The Iraqis would have had much to tell the "anti-war" marchers, had they had a chance to speak. Fadel Sultani, president of the National Association of Iraqi authors, would have told the marchers that their action would encourage Saddam to intensify his repression. "I had a few questions for the marchers," Sultani said. "Did they not realise that oppression, torture and massacre of innocent civilians are also forms of war? Are the anti-war marchers only against a war that would liberate Iraq, or do they also oppose the war Saddam has been waging against our people for a generation?" Sultani could have told the peaceniks how Saddam's henchmen killed dissident poets and writers by pushing page after page of forbidden books down their throats until they choked. 'Deep moral pain' Hashem Al Iqabi, one of Iraq's leading writers and intellectuals, had hoped the marchers would mention the fact that Saddam had driven almost four million Iraqis out of their homes and razed more than 6,000 villages to the ground. "The death and destruction caused by Saddam in our land is the worst since Nebuchadnez-zar," he said. "These prosperous, peaceful and fat Europeans are marching in support of evil incarnate." He said that, watching the march, he felt Nazism was "alive and well and flexing its muscles in Hyde Park." Abdel-Majid Khoi, son of the late Grand Ayatollah Khoi, Iraq's foremost religious leader for almost 40 years, spoke of the "deep moral pain" he feels when hearing the so-called " anti-war" discourse. "The Iraqi nation is like a man who is kept captive and tortured by a gang of thugs," Khoi said. "The proper moral position is to fly to help that man liberate himself and bring the torturers to book. But what we witness in the West is the opposite: support for the torturers and total contempt for the victim." Ismail Qaderi, a former Ba'athist official but now a dissident, wanted to tell the marchers how Saddam systematically destroyed even his own party, starting by murdering all but one of its 16 original leaders. "Those who see Saddam as a symbol of socialism, progress and secularism in the Arab world must be mad," he said. Khalid Kishtaini, Iraq's most famous satirical writer, added his complaint. "Don't these marchers know that the only march possible in Iraq under Saddam Hussain is from the prison to the firing squad?" he asked. "The Western marchers behave as if the U.S. wanted to invade Switzerland, not Iraq under Saddam Hussain." With all doors shutting in our faces we decided to drop out of the show and watch the political zoology of the march from the sidelines. Who were these people who felt such hatred of their democratic governments and such intense self-loathing? There were the usual suspects: the remnants of the Left, from Stalinists and Trotskyites to caviar socialists. There were the pro-abortionists, the anti-GM food crowd, the anti-capital punishment militants, the Black-rights gurus, the anti-Semites, the "burn Israel" lobby, the "Bush-didn't-win-Florida" zealots, the unilateral disarmers, the anti-Hollywood "cultural exception" merchants, and the guilt-ridden post-modernist "everything is equal to everything else" philosophers. But the bulk of the crowd consisted of fellow travellers, those innocent citizens who, prompted by idealism or boredom, are always prepared to play the role of "useful idiots," as Lenin used to call them. They ignored the fact that the peoples of Iraq are unanimous in their prayers for the war of liberation to come as quickly as possible. The number of marchers did not impress Salima, the grandmother. "What is wrong does not become right because many people say it," she asserted, bidding us farewell while the marchers shouted "Not in my name!" Let us hope that when Iraq is liberated, as it soon will be, the world will remember that it was not done in the name of Reverend Jackson, Charles Kennedy, Glenda Jackson, Tony Benn and their companions in a march of shame. The writer, an Iranian author and journalist, is editor of the Paris-based Politique Interna-tionale. The writer can be contacted at: ataheri@gulfnews.com
  2. my jav was made in 95 and doesn't have a flap that tucks in on the end either. it's never come open on me while sit or stand flying. so long as the two little side flaps are in nice and tight you shouldn't have a problem. Lee
  3. Floater

    lost interest

    i don't actually feel bad about not jumping and that's what suprises me the most. it used to be all i thought about. it might be that i'm just annoyed with myself for not making as many jumps as i keep planning to. i keep trying to get to the point of making around 200 jumps a year but so far it's just been 130 in 2 years. i don't know, maybe i'll just count this as a break and in another month or so i'll start getting those urges again. i'm not selling my gear off just yet i'm moving to a new apartment this weekend that's only about 20 minutes from the dz in snohomish so i'll probably drag myself down there for some hop-n-pops in a couple of weeks. Lee
  4. Floater

    lost interest

    it's been almost 3 months and i still have no interest in going to the dz. i haven't even had the usual guilty feelings on sunny weekends. what the hell is wrong with me? anybody else ever go through this? i know it's not fear. it sure isn't because i have better things to do. it's actually to the point that i don't even log on to dz.com much and i barely even flip through parachutist or skydiving. i think i need an intervention. lee
  5. just to clear up a little misconception that seems to be going on. the constitution itself is not a granting article. it does not give you any rights. it is a limiting article. it tells the government what it cannot do. that's why the phrase "shall not infringe" is so prominent. Lee
  6. Something to ponder: You are the President of the United States. Scientists have discovered a meteor that is headed towards the earth. They have calculated that it will strike France in 2 days, at approximately 2:30 A.M. The meteor is large enough to completely wipe France from the face of the earth forever. France and the United Nations have requested that the United States send all available ships and aircraft to help evacuate the country. Among the ships and planes you could be send are many that are being used to fight the war on terror overseas. As the President, you must decide: Do you stay up late on the night of the impact to watch the coverage live, or tape it and watch it in the morning?
  7. You're a little off base here. We're not just flying around randomly dropping bombs where ever we feel like. The iraquis are firing aa missles at our planes and then we are responding by attacking their radar sites. Knowledge is only useful when it's accurate.
  8. Wonder, "What the hell am I doing up here?"
  9. Floater

    Top 10...

    Reasons why liberals don't want to attack Iraq: 10. George W. Bush is for it. Duh. 9. Might lower oil prices in the long run. 8. Palestinians are against it. 7. Israelis are for it. 6. French will no longer like us. 5. "Arab Street" will rise up in anger. This time we're not kidding. 4. Might cost democrats control of the Senate. 3. Islamic terrorists might hijack planes and fly them into... never mind. 2. Don't want to watch Iraqi people cheering American soldiers in Baghdad. 1. Abused as children and saddam is sort of a father figure. Saw this in the paper and thought it was amusing.
  10. Just for reference: A B 707 has a gross wgt of 160,000lbs and a wing area of 2402 sq ft for a wing loading of 66.61 lbs/sq ft. A C 172 has a gross weight of 2200 lbs and a wing area of 175 sq ft for a wing loading of 12.57 lbs/sq ft. That being said, the analogy to parachute wing loading doesn't really work. It takes a hell of a lot more turbulance to make the boeing bounce around than it does the cessna. Blow on a peice of paper then blow on your monitor. Which one moves? The jumper weight differences in contrast are almost negligible. If you're 200lbs out the door, it probably won't matter if you're flying a 90 or 200 sq ft canopy, you're going to get bounced around in the same turbulence. About the only difference I can see is that with the smaller parachute you'll get through it quicker (or get screwed into the ground quicker). Of course, it's 3am and I may not know what the hell I'm talking about. Lee
  11. Floater

    Not again

    yeah, British gun control works: The London Daily Mail newspaper says (2/23/2001) that, according to an international crime report, Britain "has a higher crime rate than any other rich nation except Australia." According to this crime report, 3.6 percent of the population of England and Wales were victims of violent crime in 1999; in the U.S. only two percent of the population suffered an assault or robbery. British Home Secretary Jack Straw is quoted as saying: "Levels of victimization are higher here than in most comparable countries for most categories of crime." As for gun-crime, the British The Observer newspaper has reported (12/31/2000): Gun crime in Britain is soaring to record levels: executions, woundings and related incidents in the past year are set to be the highest ever, an investigation by The Observer has revealed.... The true figures could be even higher because victims of many of the most violent gun crimes are reluctant to involve the authorities.... The use of guns outside the big towns and cities is rising too.... The number of illegally held guns is estimated at three million. As handguns can no longer be bought or sold legally, the police believe the vast majority of those coming on to the market have been smuggled from abroad. Lee
  12. Floater

    Not again

    one week ago a washington state deputy was shot and killed with his own weapon. the shooter was unarmed, naked, high on crack, and running around in traffic banging on cars. the deputy initially tried to calm the man down by talking to him to no effect. he then pepper spayed him to no effect. during the ensuing struggle the deputies pistol was knocked out of his holster. the suspect picked it up and started shooting. there were several people trying the assist the deputy but, when the shooting started they all ran for cover. while trying to gety away the deputy was shot in the leg. after he fell the suspect walked up and shot him four times in the back of the head. now when you say that people don't have a need to carry a gun, all i say is that if one of those people that were trying to help the deputy initially had been armed, he might still be alive right now. this happened less than 2 miles from my house in a buisness area that i frequent almost daily usually at the time it happened. i do have a concealed carry permit and i am armed whenever i leave my house. i wish i had been there. in skydiving you are responsible for your own safety. why should that be any different off of the dz? lee
  13. From a full time night auditor, all I have to say is cry me a freakin river. I don't get off until 7am Sunday morning, sleep for 4 hrs, then haul ass to the DZ and try to bang out as many jumps as I can. Then hope I don't fall asleep driving home. :) Lee
  14. I've got J2 (DOM 95) that I have my Tempo 170 & Hornet 170 in. The tempo fits fine and the hornet packs just a little tight. Of course it's a new canopy and the more jumps I put on it the better it fits. I've had to shorten the closing loop a couple of times so far. Lee
  15. My POS car is overheating and there's no way in hell it'll make the 40 mile trip to the DZ. Hopefully I'll have a new(er) car in the next couple of weeks.