By Jack Ryan
International anthem of the United Nations
How will the United Nations take control over the entire globe and finally the United States of America?By admin
It seems to be weaker than the USA in terms of might.
Interesting article and video.....
On 11 December most countries will sign the UN Compact in Morocco. It is part of the "Agenda 21" plan for the 21 st century started in 1992. Read up about Agenda 21, agenda 2030 and about this Compact for Migration which will criminalize anyone saying anything against the UN plan. Those countries who signed are obliged to assist migrants financially and basically all people have a right to migrate....(no more borders). About 20 nations are now fighting it and will be forced by fines for not complying. It is part of the UN plan for one world government... Is this real? Or a conspiracy.... ? Watch this little video and give comments of the implications. I have the original documents and on this Youtube link you can also download the UN document "agenda 21". NGOs have already been receiving funds to implement it for the past 20 years and both republican and democratic governments has been changing laws to implement is..... It has been going on under our noses and the general public does not know. My interest in this is the fulfillment of prophecy which indicates the UN or coalition of governments to rule for short period of time before Armageddon. There are huge implications to this .... but first watch this little video to begin the discussion.... here is the link.....
Climate change is undeniable Climate action is unstoppable Climate solutions provide opportunities...By TheWorldNewsOrg
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By JW Insider
Sometimes, the Watchtower publications have pointed back to a time when the Watchtower predicted World War One (WWI) in 1914 and then also predicted that the United Nations would rise up to replace the League of Nations. These two "predictions" have even been paired together and presented nearly back-to-back in our publications. They were even brought up again at the 2014 convention and the 2009 convention. The reason the Watchtower has reviewed these two ideas from our history is probably already obvious and clear, and it has been clearly stated, too.
One of the most recent reviews of the history of Jehovah's Witnesses contains very similar claims, and is found in one of the videos, now also available on tv.jw.org:
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. These online transcripts appear fairly accurate:
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Here is the relevant part about 1914:
—Geoffrey W. JacksonÂ—
They realized that 1914 had a significance, Â—Gerrit LÃ¶schÂ—
When World War I broke out in July, they felt vindicated and it strengthened their faith in the Bible, and in JehovahÂ’s prophetic Word. Also, it enhanced their trust that Jehovah was using Brother Russell and his friends to explain truth to others. Â—Anthony Morris IIIÂ—
Just looking at the sign of the times that Jesus told us to look at is enough, but it's still significant that they could pinpoint that year. That's phenomenal. Here is the relevant part about the UN and League of Nations:
. . . And soon, they would boldly proclaim a Bible prophecy that pointed to the outcome of that war. Â—Â—Chapter 4: "Taught By Jehovah"Â—Â—
The year was 1941. Having taken the lead for 25 momentous years, J. F. Rutherford had become seriously ill and was about to make his final public appearance. . . . The second World War was raging. Some felt that these events could lead directly into Armageddon. In spite of this, in 1942, Nathan H. KnorrÂ—the one next appointed to take the lead among Jehovah's WitnessesÂ—spoke at a convention about a Bible prophecy that indicated that significant events had to occur first. Â—Knorr (reenactment)Â—
This international war is not 'the battle of the great day of God Almighty.' Before Armageddon comes, the Scriptures show, a peace must come. Â—John WischukÂ—
There was no peace on the horizon, and yet we said, "PeaceÂ—Can It Last?" Â—NarratorÂ—
Knorr centered attention on Revelation 17:8, which indicates that a figurative wild beast would come into existence, would cease to exist, but then would come back to life. Knorr then drew his listeners' attention to the defunct League of Nations. Â—Knorr (reenactment)Â—
The League is in effect in a state of suspended animation and needs to be revived if it is ever to live again. It has gone into the abyss of inaction and ineffectiveness. It "is not." Will the League remain in the pit? Again the Word of God gives answer: The association of worldly nations will rise again. Â—NarratorÂ—
That association did rise again three years later as the United Nations. Â—Anthony Morris IIIÂ—
They didn't know it was going to be called the United Nations, and we don't make that claim. But they knew it was coming out. Â
[Should be noted that Morris is claiming something that they "KNEW" in advance but he is also correcting a common claim that not only did Knorr predict the rise of the League of Nations three years ahead of time, but that he even used the term "United Nations." As one person writes on a website "Knorr prophesied in 1942 that the League of Nations would rise out of the abyss. Knorr used the expression 'United Nations.' How could he have known the exact name of the new incarnation, when it wasn't established until 1945?"]
Witnesses got these ideas about a correctly predicted prophecy from an article published a few years later under Knorr's administration in 1960. These quotes should be compared with the actual transcript of the speech Knorr made on September 20, 1942, which was made available as a booklet, and can be found here:
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. The July 15, 1960 Watchtower, page 444, said this:
"In 1942 the Â“faithful and discreet slaveÂ” guided by JehovahÂ’s unerring spirit made known that the democracies would win World War II and that there would be a United Nations organization set up." You can also see a reference to the 1942 event in the Revelation book (p.248) on WOL at jw.org:
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. You can also read the following about it in the April 15, 1989 Watchtower, p.14
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. By divine providence, JehovahÂ’s Witnesses received enlightenment on that mystery in 1942. . . . Nathan H.Â Knorr, president of the Watch Tower Society, gave the public talk, Â“PeaceÂ—Can It Last?Â” Therein he reviewed Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , . . . . Was that Bible-based forecast fulfilled? Truly it was! In 1945 the international Â“wild beastÂ” emerged from its abyss of inactivity as the United Nations. See also the Kingdom Come bookÂ
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and and interesting version of events found in a 1981 Watchtower about why this "insight" was given Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. The Proclaimers book states it like this on page 192-3 (Â
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) This time, it involved the United Nations, successor to the League. While World WarÂ II was still under way, in 1942, JehovahÂ’s Witnesses had already discerned from the Bible, at Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , that the world peace organization would rise again, also that it would fail to bring lasting peace. This was explained by N.Â H.Â Knorr, then president of the Watch Tower Society, in the convention discourse Â“PeaceÂ—Can It Last?Â” Boldly JehovahÂ’s Witnesses proclaimed that view of the developing world situation. In 1993 the idea was stated as follows:
Â“The Disgusting ThingÂ” 12,Â 13. What was Â“the disgusting thing,Â” andÂ—as foreseen by the faithful and discreet slaveÂ—when and how was it reestablished? 12 When the end of the second world war was in sight, there was another development. Â“They will certainly put in place the disgusting thing that is causing desolation.Â” ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) This Â“disgusting thing,Â” which Jesus also mentioned, had already been recognized as the League of Nations, the scarlet-colored wild beast that according to Revelation went into the abyss. ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; see Light, Book Two, pageÂ 94.) It did this when World WarÂ II broke out. However, at the New World Theocratic Assembly of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses in 1942, Nathan H.Â Knorr, third president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, discussed the prophecy of Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and warned that the beast would rise again from the abyss. 13 History bore out the truth of his words. Between August and OctoberÂ 1944, at Dumbarton Oaks in the United States, work was begun on the charter of what would be called the United Nations. The charter was adopted by 51 nations, including the former Soviet Union, and when it came into force on OctoberÂ 24, 1945, the defunct League of Nations in effect came out of the abyss. There are several more examples, but this should suffice. I am struck by how often the point is emphasized that these were Knorr's words, "his words" and that they were a Bible-based forecast "foreseen" and "discerned" and "known" in advance through "divine providence" and "enlightenment" and men being "guided by Jehovah's unerring spirit." This is an odd focus on the insights and discernment of men. These expressions are also dangerously presumptuous in that they are so often applied to the one or two times when it seems something was foreseen correctly, but there is no balanced way of discussing the reasons that literally dozens of predictions were made incorrectly and have been dropped as "old light."
But, as many Witnesses already know, there is something even deeper that is wrong with these claims of accuracy in discernment. The claims are inaccurate! It turns out that this was not really even predicted in advance. A close look at the original transcript of Knorr's talk actually solves the mystery of why he used the term United Nations in his speech. It's because he gave the speech AFTER official work on the United Nations had already begun.
The United Nations Will Soon Act Against Russia, South Korea, Singapore and Eritrea for Human Rights Violations Against Jehovah's WitnessesBy The Librarian
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Jehovah's Witnesses have long been persecuted as a religious minority but the United Nations is telling Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Eritrea that time is up! Listen to investigative journalist Joseph Bonner break down the facts.
'Mismanagement' keeps UN from reaching full potential, Trump says in debut speech
By The Librarian
Our Brother Bill Underwood wrote an interesting article in the newspaper:
If you had to choose between Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech, which would you choose?Now, you’re thinking, ‘I don’t have to choose, I already have both.’ Are you sure?Last August, the central district court of Tver – the oblast or ‘state’ in which Moscow resides, banned a religious website, jw.org. They did this secretly, not notifying the owners of the website until the day before the ban was to go into effect – January 22, 2014. Had they prevailed, their rationale would have been to claim, as they have in the past, that the ‘free speech’ on jw.org defames other religions. Jw.org won that battle in the court of appeals, but the foundation on which the attack was based still exists.In 1999, Pakistan brought a resolution to the UN calling for a ban on “Defamation of Islam.” Cooler heads prevailed and, after much discussion, the Commission on Human Rights passed instead a resolution banning “Defamation of Religion.”Over the years from 2000 to 2009 the resolution was added to, revised, strengthened, and re-worded, but it was consistently approved. Aside from the lack of elections, U.N. politicians are no different from any other type. It would have been politically incorrect to be seen as anti-Muslim, especially after 9/11, so passing a bill to protect them from defamation seemed like a good idea. Typical was the vote of the UN General Assembly in December, 2007: 108 for, 51 against, and 25 abstaining.In 2009, however, Pakistan pushed again. Their resolution that year stated that they were concerned that defamation of religion led to “the creation of a kind of Islamophobia in which Muslims were typecast as terrorists." They weren't opposed to freedom of expression, oh no. They merely wanted to ban "expression that led to incitement.”They said the hatred of Muslims was just like the hatred of Jews that Hitler had whipped up in pre-WWII Germany, and look what that led to. Has there been a Muslim “krystallnacht” that I didn’t hear about...the night of August 9, 1938 when Germans destroyed over 7,000 Jewish businesses and over 1,000 synagogues? Even in the days after 9/11 when there was enormous outrage against Muslims, the level of hatred never approached that.Pakistan’s proposed resolution said basically that freedom of speech sometimes has to yield in order to maintain peace. Governments such as Russia, Pakistan, and most of the middle east are quick to use this argument: some opinion or expression of yours is causing distress to others; therefore, instead of telling the ‘others’ to grow up and get over it, they tell you to stop expressing your opinion.In any case, this was a step too far, and the pendulum began to swing back. Pakistan’s argument was recognized for what it was, and over 200 civic groups, some Muslim, some Christian, some atheist, demanded that the UN push back.Over the preceding 10 years, the UN had assigned a “special rapporteur” to analyze the subject of defamation of religion and report back. The rapporteur’s report in 2009 included this telling statement:
“[We] encourage a shift away from the sociological concept of the defamation of religions towards the legal norm of non-incitement to national, racial or religious hatred." Three months later when the United States and Egypt introduced a resolution which condemned "racial and religious stereotyping," EU representative Jean-Baptiste Mattei said the European Union "rejected and would continue to reject the concept of defamation of religions." Significantly, he said:
"Human rights laws did not and should not protect belief systems." And the representative from Chile pointed out that,
"The concept of the defamation of religion took them in an area that could lead to the actual prohibition of opinions." A month later, at a human rights meeting in Geneva, the United States representative admitted that defamation of religion is “a fundamentally flawed concept.” The rep from Sweden repeated what the Frenchman had said earlier: international human rights law protects individuals, not institutions or religions.By 2011 the backlash was complete. The UNHRC declared that "Prohibitions of displays of lack of respect for a religion or other belief system, including blasphemy laws, are incompatible with” the charter of the Human Rights Committee.In the years since then, any proposal in the UN attempting to ban ‘defamation of religion’ has been shot down. Freedom of speech has trumped freedom of religion.Last week, far from worrying about ‘defamation,’ the UN came out loudly and publicly chastising the Vatican.
This has never happened before. Their purported justification for doing so went like this: The Vatican is a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 34 of which reads in part:
“Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.” The UN accused the Vatican not merely of failing to protect children, but of actively endangering children by their policy of moving pederasts to new parishes where they could continue their predations, and of obfuscating all attempts by law enforcement agencies to find and prosecute the offenders.Now, here’s where it gets really interesting: The UN went further. They also condemned the Church’s doctrines regarding homosexuality, abortion, and ‘reproductive rights.’Chastising a signatory of a contract for failing to abide by the contract is one thing; Attempting to dictate to a church what their doctrines should be is something else. Where is the UN’s authority to do that? Yet they did it anyway.If, as the UN says, religions and belief systems are not protected by human rights - and I agree, they clearly are not – what prevents them from taking the next step: deciding that religions and belief systems are nothing more than ancient superstitions that are doing more harm than good, and that it’s time to ban them?It’s too bad the UN doesn’t have any teeth. Do they? We'll Investigate that next.
The UN should create a set of international rules to help stop the pandemic of fake news and Cold war-style disinformation, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said during a session of the UN Committee on Information in New York.
Trump bombed Syria and made a lot of people mad. How can you not make them mad when you’ve killed 15 people? He broke a lot of things, too, but he can always say: “Look, Vlad, what’s the big deal? I’m a billionaire. You’re a billionaire. But them some new planes out of your own pocket if it takes that to placate them.” The people are a different matter. But even that is mitigated by pointing out they were all (or almost all?) military people who have signed on to the program.
For some inexplicable reason, I feel I have a read on this guy. I long have. It surprises me to think so few do. Even that is hard to know for sure because in this scenario, as in all others, liars spin the facts this way and that for their own purposes. In the case of a President, the motivation to do so is high.
At any rate, his actions clearly turn a lot of memes on their head. Clearly, he is not a pawn of Putin, as U.S. media has insisted for months. Clearly, he does not hate Muslims, as they have also insisted. It is now spun that he is impulsive and acts from the heart. “Trump said he would not do Syria! No way! No how! Then he saw a picture,” I have heard.
Or perhaps it is all spin. The trouble with conspiracy theories is that, once a few of them prove to be true, you readily swallow the next one coming down the pipe. There are cabals hanging about and they do try to skew things. But these cabals have hated Trump from the beginning. I think it is because he is not one of them and they don’t feel able to control him. We all know that Trump is not a Republican. He took over the Republican party. It might just as well have been the Democratic party. He simply read the tea leaves and saw that, at the moment, the Republican party was easier to commandeer. When he says ‘drain the swamp,’ he is not referring to one party or the other.
Anyone in small business, which I have been, can easily conceive of a businessman who loves his country but thinks the slippery boobs have ruined it, saying: “There! I built my business. Now let’s see if I can fix the country.” A BIG businessman can easily miss this because he is primarily worried about Trump’s effect on the stock market, but a small businessman doesn’t care, or at least it is not his chief concern. If you’re experience is something else entirely, you heard the ‘grab them by the you-know-what’ and concluded life around him was a 24/7 brothel. I always thought It was nonsense. I always agreed with him that it was ‘locker room’ talk. I did this because I have been in the locker room and they do not read Plato in there.
He can spin this as I believe it really is. There are some things so barbarous that you cannot go there. Chemical weapons are among them. They are not good, especially when you have just had photos of the victims thrust under your nose. He did what he did impulsively, from the heart. Yet even that cannot be determined with certainty. Insiders said he leaned on and took options from the military people. He didn’t hastily tell them what to do. He let them tell him, and chose from the choices they presented.
It is easy to conclude that they, however are swayed by the business model. When BigDefence gets too big, it must keep the profits rolling in. If it does not, the stockholders will bolt for some noble competitor – say, BigPharma. So if the world threatens to get too peaceful, they must stir up the pot. It is the United States, not Russia, that is bombing many countries. It will never be fixed because money drives everything here. You solve nothing by taking out a bad guy. Another bad guy simply sees a fine new career opening. It is the play that must be changed, not the actors in the play, who simply follow the script given them – sometimes begrudginly, sometimes with gusto. Human reformers can change the actors, but they cannot change the play. Only God’s Kingdom will do that.
In a world where barbarities are commonplace, it is tough to know where to draw the line. “What’s one more slaughter in the greater scheme of things?” is easy to say. Is it preferred for Trump to say: “Ah, well – shit happens?” Obama drew a line in the sand and it was instantly crossed. Perhaps leaders should keep their mouths shut over such things, and not make grandiose remarks about slaughter being ‘unacceptable’ (duh) and how people will ‘be held accountable.’ They won’t be, usually. Why carry on as though they will, except so as not to look like a helpless fool. And don’t carry on about people being ‘cowardly.’ They may be despicable, but surely it is not cowardly to be willing to die for a cause – any cause, from Boy Scout to Barbarians-R-Us. Also, don’t whine on about how the terrorists are trying to change our way of life, but we won’t let that happen. If anything, they want us to maintain our way of life and thereby be easier targets to kill. And even the terrorists will say: “Look, they elect their leaders over there, and the leaders come over and kill all our loved ones. That makes them not so innocent after all.” Victims of massive suffering and evil, many turn into unreasoning animals that must be taken out, like putting down a vicious dog. But that doesn’t mean you must judge them for it; many in the West become unreasoning animals with far less provocation.
A man that recoils at the use of chemical weapons and reacts immediately can be spun as not such a bad thing. He can say to Putin: “Sorry. I lost it. but nothing has changed in the big picture. Let’s work together when it is expedient to fix the world.”
It’s not my cause. I am a neutral Jehovah’s Witness, interested in these things only as ‘current history.’ All human governments will drop the ball; the only question to be answered is upon which toe will if fall. The Kingdom arrangement, as detailed in the Bible, is the only permanent answer. So if you have read these words and said: “Harley is an idiot! I’ll write to tell him so,” please don’t. I will respond by saying: “you forgot to mention that I am also a moron.”
By Guest Nicole
The Russian Defense Ministry says the US missile strike on a Syrian airfield wasn't very effective, with only 23 out of 59 Tomahawk missiles reaching their target. The locations of the remaining 36 missiles’ impact is now unknown, the ministry added.
WWIII? - US fires 50+ missiles at Syrian military base near Homs in response to ’Assad’s chem attack’
The US has launched 50 to 60 Tomahawk missiles against the Syrian military base near Homs after President Donald Trump ordered the strikes in response for the chemical attack in Idlib, blaming the incident on President Bashar Assad.World News
By The Librarian
Graphic Video of the chemical attack in Syria today:
Who is responsible for this crime against humanity that the main stream media is ignoring?
GENEVA (4 April 2017) – Moves by the Russian Government to ban the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses using a lawsuit brought under anti-extremism legislation have been condemned as “extremely worrying” by three United Nations human rights experts*.
“This lawsuit is a threat not only to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but to individual freedom in general in the Russian Federation,” the experts said.
“The use of counter-extremism legislation in this way to confine freedom of opinion, including religious belief, expression and association to that which is state-approved is unlawful and dangerous, and signals a dark future for all religious freedom in Russia,” they stressed.
The condemnation follows a lawsuit lodged at the country’s Supreme Court on 15 March to declare the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Centre ‘extremist’, to liquidate it, and to ban its activity.
A suspension order came into effect on that date, preventing the Administrative Centre and all its local religious centres from using state and municipal news media, and from organizing and conducting assemblies, rallies and other public events.
A full court hearing is scheduled for 5 April and if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the authorities, it will be the first such ruling by a court declaring a registered centralized religious organization to be ‘extremist’.
Concerns about the counter-extremism legislation have previously been raised in a
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. by the three experts to the Russian authorities on 28 July 2016. The Suspension Order imposed on 15 March is the latest in a series of judicial cases and orders, including a warning sent to the organization last year referring to the ‘inadmissibility of extremist activity’. This has already led to the dissolution of several local Jehovah’s Witness organizations, raids against their premises and literature being confiscated.
“We urge the authorities to drop the lawsuit in compliance with their obligations under international human rights law, and to revise the counter-extremism legislation and its implementation to avoid fundamental human rights abuses,” the UN experts concluded.
(*) The experts: Mr. David Kaye (USA), Special Rapporteur on
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Mr. Maina Kiai (Kenya), Special Rapporteur on Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , and Mr. Ahmed Shaheed (the Maldives), Special Rapporteur on Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. . The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the
Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. UN Human Rights, country page:
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By Guest Nicole
How do you explain proselytizers to a friendly newcomer?
Our hands were covered in cookie dough and crushed dates when the knock on the door startled us. Safa was not expecting anyone but she seemed happy to see two women in the doorway. The pretty blonde extended a hand and told Safa how happy she was to meet face-to-face after their phone conversation. The perky brunette behind her nodded enthusiastically. I assumed they were parents from the nearby school, dropping in to say hello.
It was smiles all around as I introduced myself, but there was no context given as the blonde handed Safa an iPad and pressed play. And that is when it hit me: these nice women who were heading over to the couch to chat had come with a mission in mind. They were Jehovah’s Witnesses, replete with Arabic literature and videos, who were hoping to “educate” Syrian refugees about the afterlife perks of conversion.
Safa arrived in Canada from Syria by way of Jordan nine months ago. She came with her husband, two sons, and a baby on the way. I am part of a sponsorship group that pooled financial and emotional resources to bring her family to Toronto and support them for a year.
In Syria, Safa was married in her teens, quickly had her two boys, and lived with her parents-in-law. Now she lives in downtown Toronto with her husband, Ziad, and their two boys, now four and two. She piles her kids into a stroller that needs an engineering degree to understand, and traipses around a city with temperatures she doesn’t even have a word for—all in a language she barely knows. On a weekly basis, she is bombarded with texts and visits from a group of Canadian do-gooders who breeze in and out of her life bearing gifts, paperwork, and kindly suggestions.
Safa and I were spending the morning making ma’amoul cookies, a traditional date-filled butter variety. My suggestion of using a measuring cup was met with disdain that I didn’t need help translating. Her system of using an empty labnah (yogurt) container worked just fine. We sat on the floor—a bit awkward for this middle-aged Canadian—rolling out cookies while chatting and gossiping with Google Translate as our invisible third. Her toddler ran around causing trouble, while the baby slept in a swing. The experience of baking together was so natural and familiar to Safa; it was the most relaxed I had seen her in months. That is, until the knock on the door.
The two women who sat on the couch didn’t seem to care about Safa’s lack of English, or that she was wearing a hijab and is an observant Muslim. They prattled on about Jesus, never pausing to see if she understood. But with pamphlets and video in Arabic, it was clear this wasn’t their first stop on their conversion crusade—likely a coordinated effort targeting the Syrian newcomers. They then began telling me about the connections between Christianity and Islam, as if all I needed was a little enlightenment and I too would join forces.
I can only imagine what Safa was thinking as I chastised the women for going after a vulnerable population that has an ample sense of hospitality. I kept smiling, as did they, but you wouldn’t need one word of English to understand that we were having a disagreement. When I told them they couldn’t come back, they dropped the facade of generic pleasantness. The blonde practically snarled at me saying that since Safa invited them, they could return as often as they like.
Safa stood there with teacups in hand looking bewildered. Google Translate and I tried to explain about Jehovah’s Witnesses, but a round of charades couldn’t quite get the message across that those nice white women wanted her to abandon her religion—one of the last remaining constants from her life in Syria. I told her that they were selling Christian Bibles.
She nodded at me, smiling, but I recognized the perplexed shrug she gave me. It is the look of resignation when confronted with another ridiculous Canadian habit, such as tobogganing in sub-zero snowstorms, strapping screaming children into car seats, or using measuring cups while baking. She has been in Toronto for nine months and a couple of pretty, white women in her apartment telling her what to do no longer surprises her. Sometimes, I am amazed that she lets any of us past her doorstep.
We went back to our dough, and Safa schooled me for my clumsy rolling technique.
Emma Waverman (@emmawaverman) writes for Reader’s Digest, Today’s Parent, Canadian Living.
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By The Librarian
United Nations Building, New York City
Photo Credit: Flash 90
For years, critics of the United Nations have been calling on the U.S. to defund and even quit the world body. Some have urged that a rival or successor organization be established. Now, the empty sheet of bitter discontent with the UN has been filled in with a new name and a new movement calling to “defund and replace” the troubled organization with the Covenant of Democratic Nations. This writer has been a participating witness to the birth of this movement.
Just days after the passage of UN Resolution 2334, which declared, among other things, that Israel’s Jewish connection to the Western Wall was effectively illegal, concrete replacement action began. It has started with a conversation of ideas proposing an official international conference that would carefully propound a multilaterally-signed diplomatic convention to be ratified by countries as a binding treaty that would juridically forge the covenant into operational reality.
The entire process would be limited to nations governed by democratic principles. Each member would or could defund the United Nations while it labored to construct a successor entity dedicated to world peace along democratic principles with equal respect for all people regardless of religion, gender, race, identity, or national origin, as well as formulating a mechanism to resolve disputes.
A prime mission of the new world body would be to re-ratify, amend, or nullify all acts and resolutions of the United Nations and its agencies such as UNESCO. Thus, the Covenant would create a new body of long-overdue, reformed, clarified, and updated international law. Sensibly, most CDN nations would remain as vestigial members of the UN overseeing its collapse from economic and bureaucratic processes as was done when the League of Nations was dissolved after World War II and replaced with the present UN.
Clearly, the history of world bodies, fluttering high-minded banners of peace on earth following wars that scorched the world and scarred all humankind, is not a good one. The League of Nations was born after World War I out of a quest for revenge by the victors, laced with a visionary desire to end colonialism and empower self-determination among nationally awakened peoples, so long as the whole business conquered the oil fields of the Mideast, lubricating the machinery of the post-Second Industrial Revolution West—and the multinational corporate palms that controlled it.
Countries were invented that had never existed, carved and chipped off the toppled Turkish and German empires, with handpicked kings and sovereigns put into place who could legally sign lucrative petroleum contracts. Backstage, oil companies got the oil. But the flaccid League of Nations – which never included the United States –proved its utter uselessness during the Hitler regime.
After World War II, the League was replaced by the United Nations. Although enshrined as a democratic enterprise, profoundly undemocratic and scheming governments penetrated the organization from its inception. Civil war-torn China and a tyrannical and hegemonic Soviet Union joined France, Great Britain, and the United States to create the Security Council. Expansion, inclusion, and extension eventually enrolled 193 nations, including such egalitarian democracies as North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Saudi Arabia. The world body began as a sick organ and deteriorated from there.
The Covenant conversation launched in earnest on January 23 when a panel of like-minded voices assembled in a crowded Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building. Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ,) who currently supports a bill to defund the UN, opened the Covenant Launch proceedings by declaring, “This is a critically important issue. The United Nations started out with a noble charter…but the United Nations has not only failed their charter, they have distinctly moved in the opposite direction and done actual harm…. They have become an anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, anti-freedom mob…. We need some type of alternative – a Covenant of Democratic Nations…. We need to repeal and replace.”
Sarah Stern, founder of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), pinpointed America’s 22 percent share of the overall UN budget. Stern said America was not getting what it pays for when “despotic, ruthless, tyrannical regimes” such as Syria “could pass judgment on the one democracy in the Middle East.” The UN has, she said, proven to be “abysmal” and added, “It is now time to begin having this conversation about dissolving the United Nations and replacing with a Covenant of Democratic Nations that share our common values…of tolerance, human rights, and the rule of law.”
Famed constitutional attorney Nathan Lewin, who has worked on 28 Supreme Court cases, proclaimed to the room, “The United Nations deserves an obituary…because the United Nations committed suicide when it adopted Resolution 2334. It wrote its own death warrant…. Today I am happy to join a group that would spell the end of the United Nations, the end of its funding, it presence and significance in the world order.”
The Covenant launch in Washington was only the beginning. Additional panels and town hall meetings will convene in several locales in the coming weeks. The conversation has begun.
About the Author: Edwin Black is the author of several books including “ IBM and the Holocaust” and the initiator of the Covenant of the Democratic Nations effort. For his prior efforts, he has been awarded the Moral Courage Award, the Moral Compass Award, and the Justice for All Award.
By Guest Nicole
Civilians and fighters to be allowed out of east Aleppo in return for evacuation of people from rebel-besieged towns.
Syrian state television aired footage said to show evacuation buses in southwest Aleppo [Reuters]
The evacuation of thousands of increasingly desperate Syrian civilians and fighters stranded in besieged east Aleppo is set to resume after a new deal was reached between rebel and the Syrian government.
Buses started entering several neighbourhoods on Sunday under the supervision of the Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), state news agency SANA said.
A source in Aleppo told Al Jazeera that as part of the latest deal, a total of 4,000 people will evacuate the Shia-majority towns of Fua and Kefraya in Idlib province, which are currently besieged by opposition fighters.
The source, who wanted to remain anonymous, said 1,500 people in the government-besieged towns of Madaya and Zabadani as well as everyone in eastern Aleppo will also be allowed to evacuate as part of this deal.
Syrian state media reported that government forces would only allow civilians and fighters to leave eastern Aleppo once families in Fua and Kefraya are evacuated.
Buses and Red Crescent vehicles arrived at the entrance to the two towns on Sunday, al-Manar TV, run by the Lebanese Hezbollah group, said on Sunday.
The new deal comes days after the Syrian government claimed victory in Aleppo, which had been partly under rebel control since 2012.
Busses and ambulances
Mohammed Shakiel Shabir, an aid worker based in rebel-held Idlib province, said approximately 100 buses were being prepared to collect the civilians from Khan al-Asl, a suburb of Aleppo city.
"We are taking several ambulances, food and medicines and approximately 100 coaches to Khan al-Asl," he told Al Jazeera.
"Each coach can transport around 40 people so [God willing] we will be transferring thousands to safety."
Reports differ on how many people remain in eastern Aleppo, with numbers ranging from 15,000 to 40,000 civilians, along with an estimated 6,000 fighters.
The evacuation of eastern Aleppo was suspended on Friday after rebels and government forces accused each other of violating an earlier deal.
According to the UN, more than four million people live in besieged or hard-to-reach areas in Syria, with limited or no access to food or medical supplies.
The UN Security Council is to expected to discuss the possible deployment of observers to Aleppo later on Sunday and vote on a resolution demanding immediate and unconditional access for UN staff to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.
According to several UN delegations on Twitter, the Council will meet for a special session at 12:00GMT to discuss a French-drafted resolution.
The draft resolution, obtained by the AP news agency, calls on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to immediately redeploy UN staff already on the ground to carry out "neutral monitoring" and "direct observation and to report on evacuations".
It stresses that evacuations of civilians "must be voluntary and to destinations of their choice".
Vitaly Churkin, Russia's UN Ambassador, said on Friday he would examine the draft but was sceptical that monitors could be deployed quickly.
Aleppo, Syria's second largest city and once a key cultural and economic hub, has been divided between government forces and rebels since 2012.
The evacuation agreements came a month after the Syrian government and allied militias launched a military offensive to retake the entire city. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has hailed the operation as a victory.
The Syrian conflict started as a largely unarmed uprising against Assad's rule in March 2011. It has since morphed into a full-scale civil war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and more than half of the country's prewar population displaced inside and outside of Syria.
By The Librarian
Over the past year we have been celebrating 70 years of the United Nations and indeed, there is much to be proud of and grateful for. Over the past year alone, Member States adopted an ambitious development agenda – Agenda 2030 – as well as the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, a process in which I was honoured to play a role. These agreements demonstrate, once again, the power and the value of the UN when its Member States are united in purpose.
At the same time, the world is facing complex challenges that the UN’s founders could have scarcely imagined 70 years ago. As our societies have grown more interconnected, so have our problems. The global migration and refugee crisis has demonstrated that armed conflict, environmental degradation and human rights violations in one part of the world can have repercussions across the world. We are already witnessing the effects of climate change, the impacts of which are being felt most acutely by the poorest societies that are least able to cope. We have also been made painfully aware that terrorism knows no borders and that violent extremists are increasingly adept at exploiting power vacuums, instability and discontent to spread hatred and destruction.
Image: United Nations Working together to tackle the biggest challenges
It is evident that we can no longer afford to deal with such challenges in an isolated manner or ignore the full range of their impacts – social, political, environmental and economic. Doing so risks inflaming vicious cycles of conflict. The only way to take on these challenges is by working collectively; either we figure out ways of winning together, or we will all lose together.
In these complicated times, and in a fraught and shifting geopolitical environment, the United Nations remains the indispensable organization that can bring the world around the table to formulate collective responses to shared challenges. Even as these challenges grow increasingly complex, Member States continue to turn to the UN as the universal forum to build consensus and unity in the face of daunting obstacles. But in order to deliver on its crucial responsibilities in a fast-moving world, the UN as an institution has to evolve. This requires visionary leadership and creativity to adapt the way we think, the way we engage, and the way we work.
Four priorities for peace and security
For the UN to take on the global challenges of the 21st century, I believe the next secretary-general should focus on four broad priorities in the field of peace and security.
First, conflict prevention and strengthened political engagement must be brought to the forefront of the UN’s agenda. This is not a new idea –three major reviews of the UN’s peace and security architecture over the past year have reiterated this point. The UN secretariat needs to be more creative in presenting to the Security Council the full spectrum of instruments we have at our disposal to prevent and de-escalate conflicts, from special envoys, regional political offices and political missions, to peacebuilding support efforts and specialized, interdisciplinary teams that can provide host governments with focused support. The UN should also use its greatest assets – its convening power and legitimacy – to be more active at bringing together stakeholders to negotiate political settlements and resolve conflicts before violence erupts.
Additionally, we must remember that conflict prevention requires sowing the seeds of long-term peace through development and prosperity. Agenda 2030 highlights the old truth that there is no peace without sustainable development – and no sustainable development without peace.
A second priority should be promoting full integration of UN system-wide efforts. Too often the UN’s political, developmental and human rights efforts are functioning at cross-purposes. This must stop. The multi-dimensional challenges we face require multi-dimensional thinking and action. We must overcome institutional inertia and instil a culture of systemic collaboration and inter-disciplinary thinking appropriate for the interconnected world we live in. The new secretary-general and their team should find innovative ways of harnessing the full capacities of the UN system, including the agencies, funds and programmes to be able to tackle issues on all fronts. This also requires undertaking renewed efforts to promote better internal governance, transparency and accountability. And we must heed the call from both Member States and UN staff to adapt our bureaucratic processes to be more agile and effective, and better respond to evolving realities in the field.
Third, the UN must become a better partner. Regional and sub-regional organizations such as the African Union, European Union, Arab League, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and others play a critical role in conflict resolution and prevention. We must recognize that other actors are sometimes better placed to react more rapidly and effectively. In such cases, we should work together with these organizations to identify the ways the UN can best support and enable regional efforts. And our approach should be grounded in a spirit of mutual respect and recognition of comparative advantages.
Finally, the next secretary-general should redouble diplomatic engagement with Member States, particularly the Security Council, through closer and more regular interaction aimed at finding and expanding points of consensus. While the Council has been criticized for its handling of the Syrian crisis, we must recognize that it found common ground on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons and on authorizing cross-border humanitarian access. Even in the most seemingly intractable conflicts, there is room for agreement on issues of common interest, and the secretary-general should use their diplomatic arsenal and creativity to facilitate consensus among Member States, even when consensus seems impossible.
Making the impossible a reality
Indeed, a universal agreement to combat climate change seemed impossible only a few years ago. But through persistent, hopeful leadership and old-fashioned multilateral diplomacy –the UN’s raison d’être and greatest strength – we were able to make the impossible possible. I am confident that together we can do the same for the multitude of challenges we face today. Billions of people around the world affected by conflict, poverty and hardship are counting on us. We cannot fail them.
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