Global News: March 2008 Archives

My wife and I both laughed out loud this morning when we heard 1170 KFAQ's Chris Medlock relate that when he was a kid his mother sent him to school on St. Patrick Day wearing orange to make a political statement. (And you wondered where his contrary streak comes from.)

Way back in the mid-'90s, B.C., (before children) we took a couple of trips to Ulster, spending time both in Northern Ireland and in County Donegal, part of the Republic of Ireland. My maternal ancestors were Presbyterian Ulster Scots who came to America from the eastern part of County Donegal, a region called the Laggan, in 1769. My great-grandfather on my father's mother's side came from Irish Roman Catholic stock in county West Meath. Family lore says his parents intended for him to go into the priesthood. Instead, he came to America, made his way to Kansas and married a girl 21 years his junior.

During our trips, we saw first-hand the two cultures that exist in that region -- the Irish Roman Catholic culture and the Protestant Ulster Scots culture, planted in Ulster by King James of England and Scotland in the early 17th century. The Irish flag was designed to represent both cultures -- green for the Roman Catholics, orange for the Protestants, and the white band in the middle to keep them apart, or so the legend goes. The color orange became identified with Protestants in Ireland because it was William III of England, Prince of Orange, a Protestant, who defeated James (II of England, VII of Scotland), a Roman Catholic, at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

But St. Patrick belongs to Protestant and Roman Catholic Irish alike, and indeed to all with roots in the British Isles. Patrick was a Briton who grew up near what is now Glasgow, Scotland. Sold into slavery in Ireland, he returned to the Christian faith of his family. Upon his return to Britain, he was called of God to go back to the land of his captors and preach the gospel to them. He is said to be buried at Downpatrick in Northern Ireland, and Armagh in the north is the seat of two St. Patrick's Cathedrals -- one Roman Catholic and one Church of Ireland (Anglican).

There's no need to wear orange today to show solidarity with Loyalists and Protestants. Patrick belongs to us too. (Save the orange wear for the 12th of July. Or the next OSU home game.)

George Grant has a post today about Patrick's conversion and zeal for missions:

Of his conversion he later wrote, "I was sixteen years old and knew not the true God and was carried away captive; but in that strange land the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes, and although late I called my sins to mind, and was converted with my whole heart to the Lord my God, who regarded my low estate, had pity on my youth and ignorance, and consoled me as a father consoles his children. Every day I used to look after sheep and I used to pray often during the day, the love of God and a holy fear of Him increased more and more in me. My faith began to grow and my spirit was ardently stirred. Often, I would pray as many as a hundred times in a single day--and nearly as many at night. Even when I was staying out in the woods or on the mountain, I would rise before dawn for prayer, in snow and frost and rain. I felt no ill effect and there was no slackness in me. As I now realize, it was because the Spirit was maturing and preparing me for a work yet to come."...

Thus, Patrick returned to Ireland. He preached to the pagan tribes in the Irish language he had learned as a slave. His willingness to take the Gospel to the least likely and the least lovely people imaginable was met with extraordinary success. And that success would continue for over the course of nearly half a century of evangelization, church planting, and social reform. He would later write that God's grace had so blessed his efforts that "many thousands were born again unto God." Indeed, according to the early church chronicler Killen, "There can be no reasonable doubt that Patrick preached the Gospel, that he was a most zealous and efficient evangelist, and that he is entitled to be called the Apostle of Ireland."

Grant has also posted the text of the great prayer known as St. Patrick's Breastplate, which includes these lines:

I bind unto myself today The power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need. The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward; The word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

RELATED: Manchán Magan says that the Irish language is disappearing from Ireland. He tried to use it all over the country and was greeted with incomprehension at best, rudeness at worst.

I left Dublin with renewed hope. Outside the capital, people were more willing to listen to me, though no more likely to understand me. I was given the wrong directions, served the wrong food and given the wrong haircut, but I was rarely made to feel foolish again. Even in Northern Ireland, on Belfast's staunchly British-loyalist Shankill Road, I was treated with civility, though warned that if I persisted in speaking the language, I was liable to end up in hospital. In Galway, I went out busking on the streets, singing the filthiest, most debauched lyrics I could think of to see if anyone would understand. No one did. Old women smiled, tapping their feet merrily as I serenaded them with filth. In Killarney, I stood outside a bank promising passers-by huge sums of money if they helped me rob it, but again no one understood.

(Via Hot Air.)


Five years ago, on the afternoon of March 5, 2003, a Palestinian suicide bomber stepped onto a city bus in Haifa, Israel, and detonated the shrapnel-laden bomb strapped to his body. 17 people were killed by the explosion, 53 were wounded. This was a bus filled with young people. Of the 17 fatalities, 9 were under 18, and only two were over the age of 27.

I knew one of the young people killed on that bus, 14-year-old Abigail Litle, the daughter of dear friends of mine from college. Here's an excerpt of something I wrote shortly after the attack:

Just one week earlier Abigail and Juval [Mendelevich] had gone on their first field trip with their school's "Children Teaching Children" program, designed to bring Arab and Jewish teenagers together, in hopes of tearing down the wall of prejudice between the two communities. At an Arab-Israeli school, Abigail befriended an Arab girl. They were to meet again the following Monday.

But a hate-filled murderer got on the bus that Juval and Abigail were riding. Right after Juval's dad heard his son say, "I love you," Mahmoud Hamdan Kawasme detonated an explosive package filled with nails, killing 16 innocents and maiming many more. Mahmoud left behind a note praising the 9/11 attacks. Later that week, Mahmoud's mother threw a party celebrating his "martyrdom" and told the press she was proud of her son.

Abigail's parents are friends of mine from college. Phil and Heidi Litle were three and two years ahead of me at MIT, respectively. Phil and Heidi are possessed of a deep and abiding Christian faith, and they influenced a generation of Christians at MIT to pursue a closer walk with Jesus. They first came to Israel when Abigail was a baby and her older brother Josiah was a toddler, so that Phil could pursue a graduate degree at Technion, Israel's most prestigious engineering school. They fell in love with Israel and its people, and so they stayed and had three more children there. Phil took a position as an administrator with the Baptist denomination, serving the small evangelical Christian community in the country. The Litles worship as part of a congregation led by an Israeli Arab, side by side with Jewish, Arab, and Gentile followers of Jesus.

Abigail had all the hopes and dreams of a typical American 14 year old. She wasn't some agent of "the Zionist entity" seeking to "oppress" the Palestinians. She was a bridge across ethnic and religious divides. She saw people as individuals, not as racial stereotypes. And two weeks ago, she was murdered, she and Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs, by a Palestinian who had been indoctrinated by official Palestinian media and by official Palestinian schools to believe that killing Jews is honorable and blessed by God. Abigail's life was gone in an instant.

On this fifth anniversary of her death, I ask you to join me in remembering her life, in celebrating her victorious faith in Christ, in praying for her family, and in recommitting to the long struggle against terrorism. Here are links to some articles about her and about the terrorist attack.

A month after the bombing, Abigail's father wrote a letter about Abigail's life and character, about the events of March 5, and about her funeral.

A couple of weeks after the bombing, I wrote the piece excerpted above about the bombing and the false parallels being drawn between Abigail Litle and Rachel Corrie. Corrie died defending tunnels that Palestinian terrorists used to smuggle weapons into Israel.

This blog entry, from a year later, includes a description by Abigail's father of the first anniversary memorials and has links to an account of Abigail's faith and an editorial by the spokesman for Israel's Chicago consulate.

On the third anniversary of the bombing, Angela Bertz remembered the nine children killed on that bus in light of the Academy Awards' celebration of Palestinian terrorism:

This year, to the horror of anyone with a moral conscience, the movie "Paradise Now" was rewarded with an award by the Golden Globes. This abhorrent movie attempts, with a somewhat warped mixture of humour and mawkish sentiments, to turn mass murderers into the same breathing, caring individuals as their intended victims.

It follows the trail of 2 young Palestinian men, not much older than the victims of the #37 bus, culminating in one of the mass murderers detonating an explosive belt on a crowded Tel Aviv bus.

It seems that Palestinian mass murder is not only popcorn flavour of the month with the Golden Globes, but with the Academy Awards looming, this horrific epic to nothing more than Palestinian terrorism is about to come up trumps again.

One can only look in amazement as this respectable organization will read out the names of this year's nominations, which include "Paradise Now". This is tantamount to declaring that the event of 3 years ago and the murder of 9 innocent children (+ eight more innocent people) at the hands of a Palestinian homicide bomber, is of no more consequence than the death of a couple of luckless cows who were killed to provide the hotdogs for anyone who considers this a movie of any merit.

The Academy, if it had any moral fiber, would throw out this nomination. The mass murderers fulfilled their senseless ambition in life when they murdered these innocent children and many other innocent victims. They will no doubt be a light to their non-existent nation of Palestine, shining brightly under some street sign in Gaza named after them, or grinning from the pages of a Palestinian textbook, who will revere them as heroes for the next generation of Palestinian children who long to emulate them. Their mothers, like that of the 37 bus bomber will talk with pride of their child's deed.

The children on the #37 bus, who never had the chance to fulfill their ambitions in life, which certainly never included mass-murder, are the real stars. Their light will shine brighter than any Golden Globe or Oscar, in the memories of not only all those that knew and loved them personally, but to everyone who has had the privilege of knowing them in some small way through websites dedicated to their memory.

Just after the second anniversary, Deroy Murdock wrote about the importance of the language we use in talking about terrorism, terrorists and their victims. (Emphasis added.)

When speaking about those who are killed by terrorists, be specific, name them, and tell us about them. Humanize these individuals. They are more than just statistics or stick figures.

I have written 18 articles and produced a Web page,, to demonstrate that Saddam Hussein did have ties to terrorism....

To show that Saddam Hussein's support of terrorism cost American lives, I remind people about the aid and comfort he gave to terrorism master Abu Nidal. Among Abu Nidal's victims in the 1985 bombing of Rome's airport was John Buonocore, a 20-year-old exchange student from Delaware. Palestinian terrorists fatally shot Buonocore in the back as he checked in for his flight. He was heading home after Christmas to celebrate his father's 50th birthday.

In another example, those killed by Palestinian homicide bombers subsidized by Saddam Hussein were not all Israeli, which would have been unacceptable enough. Among the 12 or more Americans killed by those Baathist-funded murderers was Abigail Litle, the 14-year-old daughter of a Baptist minister. She was blown away aboard a bus in Haifa on March 5, 2003. Her killer's family got a check for $25,000 courtesy of Saddam Hussein as a bonus for their son's "martyrdom."

Is all of this designed to press emotional buttons? You bet it is. Americans must remain committed -- intellectually and emotionally -- to this struggle. There are many ways to engage the American people. No one should hesitate to remind Americans that terrorism kills our countrymen -- at home and abroad -- and that those whom militant Islam demolishes include promising young people with bright futures, big smiles, and, now, six feet of soil between them and their dreams.

Never forget.

RELATED: The mother of Abigail Litle's murderer threw a party in her son's honor a few days after the killing. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz asks how we fight a culture where mothers urge their sons to prefer martyrdom to life.

"We are going to win, because they love life and we love death," said Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah. He has also said: "[E]ach of us lives his days and nights hoping more than anything to be killed for the sake of Allah." Shortly after 9/11, Osama bin Laden told a reporter: "We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us."

"The Americans love Pepsi-Cola, we love death," explained Afghani al Qaeda operative Maulana Inyadullah....

How should Western democracies fight against an enemy whose leaders preach a preference for death?...

The traditional sharp distinction between soldiers in uniform and civilians in nonmilitary garb has given way to a continuum. At the more civilian end are babies and true noncombatants; at the more military end are the religious leaders who incite mass murder; in the middle are ordinary citizens who facilitate, finance or encourage terrorism. There are no hard and fast lines of demarcation, and mistakes are inevitable -- as the terrorists well understand.

We need new rules, strategies and tactics to deal effectively and fairly with these dangerous new realities....

(Thanks to Tulsa City Councilor John Eagleton for calling this article to my attention.)

... and hoist it in honor of St. David's Day, the national day of the Principality of Wales, with a rousing rendition of "Men of Harlech."

Here it is again, in Welsh and English, sung by Charlotte Church with the London Welsh Male Voice Choir:

Finally, the hymn "Cwm Rhondda" ("Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah") and "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau," the Welsh national anthem:

Why a leek?

The connection between Wales and the leek is obscure. Most authors trying to trace the link come up with one or other of the legends that show it was used by the Welsh as a cap badge in battle to show friend from foe

One version is that St David advised the Britons on the eve of a battle with the Saxons, to wear leeks in their caps so that they could easily distinguish friend from foe. This apparently helped to secure a great victory.

Another version has the same thing happening at the Battle of Agincourt, when Welsh archers fought with Henry V against the French. The leeks in their caps distinguished them from their enemies

In any event the leek is firmly associated with the Welsh today. Leeks are worn on St David's Day. It is still a surviving tradition that soldiers in the Welsh regiments eat a raw leek on St David's Day.

Appropriately enough, the daffodils are just about to bloom here in Tulsa.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Global News category from March 2008.

Global News: September 2007 is the previous archive.

Global News: May 2008 is the next archive.

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