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The WEST's war of words against CHINA. Starting with the Uyghurs.


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2 hours ago, Anna said:

Actually, after communism fell in Eastern Europe, and Jehovah's Witnesses were free to preach and distribute literature, many householders would remark that the paradise illustrations reminded them of communist drawings. More recently, my mum gave the book "God's Kingdom Rules" to one of her studies (a lady in her 70's) and she did not like it at all. She said it was like reading a communist book. This is why in my earlier post I was careful to say that a totalitarian regime ran by imperfect beings is wrong. Most of us know that many of the communist ideologies are actually good, but of course imperfect man is not able to make them work, because man cannot rule over other men.

In ex-YU some of people who listened JW preaching used to say how Jesus was first communist.  

Communism (from Latin communis, 'common, universal')[1][2] is a philosophical, social, political, economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money[3][4] and the state.[5][6]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism

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Whatever perception that is will be solved when they learn to mind their own business, as we are all advised to do. Just how do they do that? Are we to believe that the Wt expects people to eat Bible sandwiches 24/7? I think not. It is indulging an interest that is going on here, that is all, same as if brothers were working on a souped-up stock car, and trading shop-talk back and forth. There are 8.6 million Witnesses in the world. Whatever two or three of them may being doing does

By now, most people have heard about the "Weeger" issues in China. There are supposedly concentration camps, torture camps, medical experiments, thousands imprisoned, etc. When someone changed thousands to "for all we know, there might even be millions" the new number changed to "millions" without Western media even batting an eyelash.  So here's an opinion about it, which focuses on Xinjiang Province (also known as the “Uyghur Autonomous Region”)...There’s a lot of background to this, but

I haven’t tried to rank them. If I did, I don’t think you would be in first place. I do take it seriously. I just dial it back a notch or two. If it is any consolation, I dial JWI’s stuff 2 notches or 3. You don’t think I buy all his stuff, do you? It is but food for thought—sort of like that verse that says you think you know it all after hearing the first witness, and then the other fellow comes along. I don’t know why he goes on and on the way he does—to me, all one need do is see

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I would love to see all these topics discussed, especially as there is a range of experience here, including people who have lived under several types of government themselves, people who have taken an deep interest in history, people who travel a lot, and who have worked or studied with people of many backgrounds.

But before those additional points of interest, what about some of the original questions on China? I have plenty more details and evidence about the Uyghurs, but so far this was mostly just one set of claims against another set of claims.

China has done plenty of bad, but when it comes to looking for evidence of any specific claim of badness, a typical Western response is, in effect:

What more evidence do we need? They are communist. Communist regimes are evil. Look at Mao and how he MURDERED 40,000,000 of his own people!

Since this is so often used as the foundation for why other claims must be true, I recommend that we pivot to Mao, and look at just what the evidence is that he murdered 40,000,000 (or 20,000,000) or 70,000,000 total (which is counted as 38,000,000 in the "Great Leap Forward" plus another 32,000,000.)

Does anyone here know where these numbers come from? And why it's called "murder"?

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23 hours ago, Anna said:

I find it extremely difficult to imagine that this could happen in the USA where freedom of religion is written into the constitution.

These protesters want to throw away the constitution and everything it used to stand for in the past.  All past history must be eradicated and a new start must be given through revolution and the building of a new socially equalizing society and government.  Do not underestimate the power of these atheist, post modernist, cultural Marxists...… the constitution can easily be abandoned. There is much talk of it already....They want police to be abandoned at local level so that they can force a centralized police oversight in federal government..  This is similar to communism.

Police was always locally appointed so the central government cannot control it.  Trump is setting a dangerous precedent...but he is being forced into it by the riots which governors  are refusing to address.  They want anarchy.... 

For example, gun rights are protected and freedom of speech are protected by constitution...and property rights...… but in reality, freedom of speech is already curtailed, next, all will have to give in their guns.... and property rights are already being eroded at local level by "sustainable development NGOs" which were brought in by the Council on Foreign  Relations after adoption of UN Agenda 21.  The constitution is easy to change or abandon.  The constitution is only regarded as untouchable mostly by conservatives.

America will not be what it was before...…its constitution will not protect the individual and his rights any longer - USA will be come collectivist. How quick this will happen in future depends on the outcome of the next election. Does not matter who wins the next election - the acrimony will be worse than before the election, with disputes about vote counting, because both sides are being set up by propaganda that their side will win and both sides believe the other side is ready to steal the election. 

USA will still stand when Armageddon comes but not like before.  An eighth king will take its place - the disgusting thing. 

21 hours ago, Anna said:

communist ideologies are actually good, but of course imperfect man is not able to make them work, because man cannot rule over other men.

Equality sounds wonderful - I agree it is a Christian principle. But when equality is 'forced' on all humans and administered by a central government consisting of people only loyal to a central party and these party officials are not as equal as all the rest - it always becomes oppressive and dangerous.  The nature of atheism and totalitarian central government lends itself to disrespect life. (injustice is in all human systems but some kinds of governments liquidate their own population easier than others. When humans are asked to spy on their neighbors because their loyalty to the party is suspicious...… 

Equality, as taught by Jehovah, comes from the heart - a true personal belief that we should not view ourselves as better than others and should treat others with justice because Jehovah is watching.  A true belief that we all must be self-controlling, self-sacrificing...…and just, kind, good, merciful etc. This is a true equality when all humans apply these principles from conviction.  When all willingly have a self-sacrificing personality which comes from WILLING obedience to a set of standards of justice (good and bad) which comes from Jehovah.  Human laws (human good and bad), enforced by humans over other humans, does not work because humans always protect their own interests and enforce laws unjustly.

Satan has tried to set up counterfeit utopias, both by means of religion and philosophy.  Communism promises an utopian government where all are equal.  Islam promises an utopian government which is religious - where the rulers are religious and all must be loyal to the religious leaders..... similar to Zionism.....

Zionism, the communist manifesto and islam have this in common ……  they believe in a human government that should rule the entire  world and bring in the future utopia..... but all under human rule - whether religious or secular.  In all these forms of government, the person has to divide loyalty to Jehovah and give a form of state worship. As in capitalism and democracy, where money or the self is worshipped, very little worship goes to Jehovah.

2 hours ago, JW Insider said:

about the Uyghurs

As you know I am NOT a fan of Islam... and I can understand why Russia had wars against the Chechnians and subdued them because they were a threat to the stability of the nation with terrorist attacks. Two girls in my congregation here in Georgia both have referred to the school that was taken over by the terrorists.... it was in the territory they lived in. Uighurs are not much different...… but my sense of right and wrong was outraged when I heard that they take children away from parents and re-train them in boarding schools where state propaganda is spoon-fed day and night.  I realized that they can do this to Witnesses.  

This is the nature of a totalitarian regimes whether religious or secular, atheist.  Most Chinese now have their phones checked when they come back from abroad - to see if any religious etc. searches were done on the phone.  They do not like the ideas of freedom or rights to contaminate their citizens. This is similar to extreme Muslim countries where they also check citizen's phones when they come back from abroad.  I met many of them here in Georgia because I worked a minimum of 2 hours most days just in tourism - street work. I met wonderful and sweet Chinese people.....but they are forced to comply at peril of their life or a system that can take all their social credit away in one swoop.  This new social credit system is terrible and may soon come to the west... as Google and other global tech companies cooperated with the Chinese Central party to institute this system.  Facial recognition will be the method of social credit system in future..... in the west as well - by 2025. 

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Does anyone here know where these numbers come from? And why it's called "murder"?

I have no idea, but I am sure you do 😄so I look forward to your next post.

 

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20 minutes ago, Anna said:

so I look forward to your next post.

Thanks. I won't be able to weigh in on this until Monday or so. But this should give ample opportunity for anyone who's interested to get the evidence started. Didn't want this to be TOO easy. It's not a simple topic, after all.

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On 8/1/2020 at 7:47 AM, JW Insider said:

What more evidence do we need? They are communist. Communist regimes are evil. Look at Mao and how he MURDERED 40,000,000 of his own people!

On 8/1/2020 at 7:47 AM, JW Insider said:

Does anyone here know where these numbers come from? And why it's called "murder"?

So, I have been doing some reading, (Wikipedia so far) and evidently the above statement is far too sweeping to accurately describe quite a complex and multi faceted situation that brought about the death of many, the numbers  of which vary because they cannot be accurately verified. 
I am assuming the reference to "murder" of 40 million is referring to the "Great Leap Forward" and the "great famine" that resulted from it. If I were to sum it up briefly, I would say Mao Zedong was an idiot who shouldn't have tried to implemented something he didn't fully understand. And definitely not on such a large scale. 

I remember in communist Europe private farms being "colectivized" with the animals being taken away from the small holdings and put in huge  pig farms or cattle ranches. All that the farmers had left was chickens and some geese. They didn't make enough money to make repairs to the buildings, and as a consequence the villages became dilapidated, so much so that when my grand parents returned to their homeland after 40 years, and drove through these once pretty villages, they wept. My "bourgeois" grandfather, before he and my grandmother defected, was put in jail (just for a few days) because he owned his own company. Over the years the capital city, once a crowning jewel, became gray and depressing. 

In China, the farmers were forced into collective farming but as opposed to the later European model, where individual farmers didn't make a nickle, the Chinese farmers suffered terribly, millions of them starving to death in what was called "the great famine". 

One of Mao's absurd campaigns was the plan to eradicate sparrows. Wikipedia:

"The Four Pests Campaign (Chinese: 除四害; pinyin: Chú Sì Hài), was one of the first actions taken in the Great Leap Forward in China from 1958 to 1962. The four pests to be eliminated were rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows........which resulted in severe ecological imbalance, being one of the causes of the Great Chinese Famine. In 1960, Mao Zedong ended the campaign against sparrows and redirected the fourth focus to bed bugs" (!)

I don't know about anyone else, but reading this confirms in my mind that Mao was a raving lunatic.

Then there are supposed reports of torture and killing of non compliant farmers. But I will have to pick that one up in my next post. 

 

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12 hours ago, Anna said:

(Wikipedia so far

I do not trust Wikipedia or the fact checkers... follow the money trail and you know who they represent.... A lot of rewriting of history is going on.....   But say it was not 40 million of their own citizens that they killed.  Say it was only 10 million ……starved to death both in Russia and China. Does that make it OK?  Just asking the questions that need to be asked.....   I am not going to argue over the numbers though (although enough information is currently trickling out of china) because history has been rewritten over the past 2 decades.   I am talking about the philosophy and the ideologies of these governments that inevitably lead to death of citizens because the life of citizens become cheap in a totalitarian society.

 

12 hours ago, Anna said:

Mao Zedong was an idiot who shouldn't have tried to implemented

The zeal is great - almost like a religion...…just more emotion with no logic attached to it.  This is what most people do not get - they think these crazy people are just passionate about equality...  For example: have a look at ANTIFA.  They want police disbanded, prisons closed and all the other social justices they believe in to be implemented by a revolution and destruction. Look at the leaders who started Black Lives Matter - you will discover it has little to do with black lives but a lot to do with ideology.  Their zeal for their new religion is great! They listen to no-one and not to common sense. This is the type of people who follow propaganda which leads to Armageddon... those who easily fall for propaganda because this replaces belief in a god.  It gives them a reason to live, the social justice part of it.  And who of us do not want social justice.  We all agree that there is injustice.  But these people do not think like logical people about justice...…. it is a rewriting of what is good and bad from a new secular - religious cum philosophy  standpoint.

12 hours ago, Anna said:

My "bourgeois" grandfather, before h

In current times it is no longer the bourgeois. Bourgeois has been replaced by 'oppressors / colonizers' and all the victim groups - the different groups that have been victims of the oppression. The oppressors must be removed and social justice be brought in.  UN Agenda 2030 is about collectivizing properties and equalizing all peoples - no matter what their culture - even if they HATE western culture (i.e Mu.sl.im.s - hence the Islama.pho.bia on naming the names of the killers).   Yes - just as crazy as the killing of the birds and the murdering of second babies were (during one child policy) in China, there is worse to come...... taking over of property.   We are heading down the rabbit hole with these new philosophies.

 

12 hours ago, Anna said:

reading this confirms in my mind that Mao was a raving lunatic

And yet people are apologetic for this kind of system...…… where these kind of raving lunatics run countries.   Russia now has a president for life, XI ping is also lifelong in office...…. Usually, where there is instability in a country,  dictators rise up and take over and we know what happened to Argentina after oil was nationalized.   

The orthodox church in Russia is so powerful - training young people to fight with weapons so they can protect their ' families' and nation...…. it reminds me of the national socialism of Germany.

Yes - the next few years will be interesting - how many there will be we do not know - but this scenario will play out so that Jehovah will have to step in to save us. That is for sure. 

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19 hours ago, Anna said:

So, I have been doing some reading, (Wikipedia so far) and evidently the above statement is far too sweeping to accurately describe quite a complex and multi faceted situation that brought about the death of many, the numbers  of which vary because they cannot be accurately verified. 

This statement sounds fair, and it sounds like the rest of the Wikipedia articles are a fair place to start. I have not yet read the Wikipedia articles on Mao, Chinese history, or the Great Leap Forward, but I'm sure you are summarizing it well. Like Arauna, I don't trust Wikipedia either, but usually because of its strong Western bias, not a pro-Communist or pro-Chinese bias. I've seen enough evidence of pro-Western bias in several political articles. And I think there is often a lazy tendency in Wikipedia to just look for a compromise between claimed extremes, rather than a strong stand based on preponderance of evidence.

Like TTH has said, there is always a crowd arguing for a claim, and another crowd arguing for its opposite. But these opposite ends of a spectrum are often purposely exaggerating their own side or the other side, to make it easier to fight a strawman or to create a kind of "negotiation" to make their own conclusions seem more correct or reasonable. There's also some value in looking at as many common references as possible, but focusing on how honestly each side might use those same references. Same goes for how each side treats the same piece of ambiguous evidence. I find a lot of value in what one side admits to be true from the other side. Or when a side admits the weaknesses of their own side, and strengths of the other. These are often good starting places to begin building a framework that best fits the evidence.

There is another reference, almost identical to a previous one I mentioned. (That one was just a copy from another source.) It's https://monthlyreview.org/commentary/did-mao-really-kill-millions-in-the-great-leap-forward/

But you should know that this one is from a pro-socialist source, with that potential bias. It doesn't really admit some of Mao's "idiotic" policies, and goes a bit too far in whitewashing or at least ignoring some of his biggest and most costly mistakes. But it's still valuable in widening the picture that the evidence could produce. But it should also raise some more specific questions about places to look for more evidence or clarification.

But, the link is excellent (but not as clear as it could have been) in pointing out real evidence of how the statistics have been tampered with, starting with Deng.

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Mao Zedung [1893-1976] was "Chairman" of the communist party from 1943 to 1976, and primary leader of China from 1949 to about 1976. The Great Leap Forward began in 1958.

For a later time, I think I have some suggestions to help anyone who wants to get a better handle on the numbers, but for now (and tor those who don't wish to read that last linked article), here is the basic gist of Joseph Ball's counter-argument. Some of this is my paraphrase along with a few direct quotes. I'll try to italicize long direct quotes, and indent them. But even my own comments surrounding the quotes might include some paraphrases of the article, not my own opinion, in many cases:

-------------------

Estimates of "Mao's deaths" have been greatly exaggerated.  This has been done, of course, to undermine his reputation. During his lifetime, he had an excellent reputation for improving the welfare of the Chinese people, slashing the level of poverty and hunger. Even reaching a point where he could do this while still providing free health care and education. This alone explains most of the hostility by the "Right" (by the "West," by "Imperialist" powers) because Mao's success gave inspiration to many rebellions against Imperialist powers around the world.

"Peasants had already started farming the land co-operatively in the 1950s. During the Great Leap Forward they joined large communes consisting of thousands or tens of thousands of people. Large-scale irrigation schemes were undertaken to improve agricultural productivity. Mao’s plan was to massively increase both agricultural and industrial production. It is argued that these policies led to a famine in the years 1959-61 (although some believe the famine began in 1958). A variety of reasons are cited for the famine. For example, excessive grain procurement by the state or food being wasted due to free distribution in communal kitchens. It has also been claimed that peasants neglected agriculture to work on the irrigation schemes or in the famous “backyard steel furnaces” (small-scale steel furnaces built in rural areas)."

Mao admitted that problems had occurred in this period. However, he blamed the majority of these difficulties on bad weather and natural disasters. He admitted that there had been policy errors too, which he took responsibility for.

Deng Xiaoping campaigned against the popularity of Mao, and took advantage of the fact that China had never publicly released official census population numbers, birth rates, and death rates under Mao. (Partly because of the difficulty in gathering numbers of so many poor peasants.) Deng released his numbers after no numbers had been released for 20 or more years. Deng, to discredit Mao, claimed that his mistakes led to 16.5 million deaths. American researchers turned that into 30 million based on theories from the incomplete censuses in 1953 and 1964. More recently 70 million deaths have been claimed.

But the sources are dubious, tend to exaggerate, and only concentrate on policy excesses.

There has been a failure to understand how some of the policies developed in the Great Leap Forward actually benefited the Chinese people, once the initial disruption was over.

[In other words the author is saying/implying that, the famines of 1959 to 1961, even if badly mismanaged at first, should be weighed against the great gains in agriculture, food distribution, nearly a doubling of life expectancy, free health care, education, etc.]

On the dubiousness of the "evidence", authors and publishers of studies have admitted that the CIA and other U.S. state agencies have provided money to those who would publish anti-Mao propaganda since the 1940's. One example: MacFarquhar, famous editor of The China Quarterly in the 60's, admitted in a letter to the London Review of Books that he received money from a CIA front organization.

The most popular sources for claiming very high numbers can be shown to present their numbers in a very misleading way. The evidence is inconsistent, and deeply flawed in ways that the author shows later in the article.

Evidence from the Deng Xiaoping regime Mao that millions died during the Great Leap Forward is not reliable. Evidence from peasants contradicts the claim that Mao was mainly to blame for the deaths that did occur during the Great Leap Forward period.

One demographer, Judith Banister, is a prominent advocate of the “massive death toll” hypothesis, yet she admits the successes of the Mao era. [This is one of those places where we see one side admit something that isn't quite in line with their general thesis, and this provides a place to begin looking for stable evidence that might reflect later on the bigger picture.]

She writes how in 1973-5 life expectancy in China was higher than in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and many countries in Latin America 1. In 1981 she co-wrote an article where she described the People’s Republic of China as a ‘super-achiever’ in terms of mortality reduction, with life expectancy increasing by approximately 1.5 years per calendar year since the start of communist rule in 1949 2. Life expectancy increased from 35 in 1949 to 65 in the 1970s when Mao’s rule came to an end. 3

The author also provides some areas of contradictory evidence. Some other authors/researchers say per capita grain didn't increase under Mao, even though the same authors admit the life expectancy gains. And other post-Mao researchers, although not praisers of Mao, admit a different view:

Guo Shutian, a Former Director of Policy and Law in the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, in the post-Mao era, gives a very different view of China’s overall agricultural performance during the period before Deng’s “reforms.” It is true that he writes that agricultural production decreased in five years between 1949-1978 due to “natural calamities and mistakes in the work.” However he states that during 1949-1978 the per hectare yield of land sown with food crops increased by 145.9% and total food production rose 169.6%. During this period China’s population grew by 77.7%. On these figures, China’s per capita food production grew from 204 kilograms to 328 kilograms in the period in question.7

And the Deng regime that fought to discredit Mao with the millions of famine deaths, also released industry figures that would indicate gains, rather than great losses overall, under Mao:

Even according to figures released by the Deng Xiaoping regime, industrial production increased by 11.2% per year from 1952-1976 (by 10% a year during the alleged catastrophe of the Cultural Revolution). In 1952 industry was 36% of gross value of national output in China. By 1975 industry was 72% and agriculture was 28%. It is quite obvious that Mao’s supposedly disastrous socialist economic policies paved the way for the rapid (but inegalitarian and unbalanced) economic development of the post-Mao era.8

There is a good argument to suggest that the policies of the Great Leap Forward actually did much to sustain China’s overall economic growth, after an initial period of disruption. At the end of the 1950s, it was clear that China was going to have to develop using its own resources and without being able to use a large amount of machinery and technological know-how imported from the Soviet Union.

Mao wanted to do a lot at once, building more industry right alongside agriculture, and he put a lot of trust in the enthusiasm of the peasant spirit to make it all work. But it was a mixed bad, as Joseph Ball admits:

Although problems and reversals occurred in the Great Leap Forward, it is fair to say that it had a very important role in the ongoing development of agriculture. Measures such as water conservancy and irrigation allowed for sustained increases in agricultural production, once the period of bad harvests was over. They also helped the countryside to deal with the problem of drought. Flood defenses were also developed. Terracing helped gradually increase the amount of cultivated area.9

One thing people make fun of is the low quality steel of peasant industrial efforts, since Mao thought he could promote "back yard steel furnaces" and trust the peasants to work in parallel with the needs of the agriculture communes. This took more time to gain traction, but did yield advantages in the 1960's:

Industrial development was carried out under the slogan of “walking on two legs.” This meant the development of small and medium scale rural industry alongside the development of heavy industry. As well as the steel furnaces, many other workshops and factories were opened in the countryside. The idea was that rural industry would meet the needs of the local population. Rural workshops supported efforts by the communes to modernize agricultural work methods. Rural workshops were very effective in providing the communes with fertilizer, tools, other agricultural equipment and cement (needed for water conservation schemes).10

. . .

Rural industry established during the Great Leap Forward used labour-intensive rather than capital-intensive methods. As they were serving local needs, they were not dependent on the development of an expensive nation-wide infrastructure of road and rail to transport the finished goods.

In fact the supposedly wild, chaotic policies of the Great Leap Forward meshed together quite well, after the problems of the first few years. Local cement production allowed water conservancy schemes to be undertaken. Greater irrigation made it possible to spread more fertilizer. This fertilizer was, in turn, provided by the local factories. Greater agricultural productivity would free up more agricultural labour for the industrial manufacturing sector, facilitating the overall development of the country.11 This approach is often cited as an example of Mao’s economic illiteracy (what about the division of labour and the gains from regional specialization etc). However, it was right for China as the positive effects of Mao’s policies in terms of human welfare and economic development show.

It’s worth remembering that the “leaps” Mao used to talk about the most were not leaps in the quantities of goods being produced but leaps in people’s consciousness and understanding. Mistakes were made and many must have been demoralized when they realized that some of the results of the Leap had been disappointing. But the success of the Chinese economy in years to come shows that not all its lessons were wasted.

Starting in the next sections Joseph Ball begins discussing "qualitative" and "quantitative" evidence. Those who look for eye-witness or documentary evidence from the time period do not find convincing evidence, so they claim that China's government was repressive and prevented that info from getting out. Carl Riskin considers that explanation doubtful, and author Felix Greene found a lack of evidence where he thought he should have found it.

Chinese history scholar Carl Riskin believes that a very serious famine took place but states “In general, it appears that the indications of hunger and hardship did not approach the kinds of qualitative evidence of mass famine that have accompanied other famines of comparable (if not equal) scale, including earlier famines in China.” He points out that much of the contemporary evidence presented in the West tended to be discounted at the time as it emanated from right-wing sources and was hardly conclusive. He considers whether repressive policies by the Chinese government prevented information about the famine getting out but states “whether it is a sufficient explanation is doubtful. There remains something of a mystery here.” 13

. . . In his famous 1965 book on China, A Curtain of Ignorance, Felix Greene says that he traveled through areas of China in 1960 where food rationing was very tight but he did not see mass starvation. He also cites other eyewitnesses who say the same kind of thing. It is likely, that in fact, famine did occur in some areas. However Greene’s observations indicate that it was not a nation-wide phenomenon on the apocalyptic scale suggested by Jasper Becker and others. Mass hunger was not occurring in the areas he traveled through, although famine may have been occurring elsewhere. Why are the accounts of people like Becker believed so readily when the account of Felix Greene and the others he cites is discounted?

-------------------------

The article is very long, but his best points show that evidence is looked at (and often distorted) through bias. Communism/socialism, when seen as a hopeful means to lift the plight of poor people, reduce poverty, extend lifespans, and provide health care, could pretty much be guaranteed to trigger positive bias in those who thought they would be helped. And it would be guaranteed to produce the creation and promotion of negative bias by those nations that had been making countries poorer through colonialist/imperialist practices. The spread of communism would be dangerous if it were allowed to spread, because it was working if left un-sabotaged. Some implementations of communism sabotaged themselves, even as most Chinese historians and old peasants who remember, will admit that it got worse before it got better. But as many implementations around the world were making things much better for the majority of people, It therefore threatened to "spoil the spoils" of the imperialists like the United States, and the old European hegemony.

(And, also for a later discussion, there was one more major reason to propagandize against communism which was not brought up in the article.)

The author's details about the very questionable statistics that have been used to create the supposed huge numbers of deaths are shown to be mostly an illusion, to Joseph Ball. People should read Ball's article, and as many of its references as they can, of course, to get a feel for the arguments from "the other corner." Its points of argument should not be dismissed without good reason, just as one should not dismiss the arguments for high numbers of deaths by famine without good reason.

But I should add, that Ball misses several key points about Mao's mistakes that should have been admitted.

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There was one more point I should have highlighted from the article I referenced above. Based on the time period of the Great Leap Forward it is useful to make some comparisons with other nations around this time.

Even now, I was reading in an online newspaper from India that says they count about 4,000 children a day in India who die from malnutrition. I don't know how accurate this is, but it is admitted in a globally-facing paper where one might expect a positive spin on Indian news.

So I looked up a Lancet journal article which says: that malnutrition contributes to 3.1 million under-five child deaths annually, or 45 percent of all deaths for that age group.

Very elderly people in poorer nations tend to die at high rates from malnutrition too.

Wikipedia says:

The Bengal famine of 1943 reached its peak between July and November of that year, and the worst of the famine was over by early 1945.[101] Famine fatality statistics were unreliable, and it is estimated up to two million died.[102] Although one of the causes of the famine was the cutting off of the supply of rice to Bengal during the fall of Rangoon to the Japanese, this was only a fraction of the food needed for the region.[103]

Deaths from malnutrition on a large scale have continued across India into modern times. In Maharashtra alone, for example, there were around 45,000 childhood deaths due to mild or severe malnutrition in 2009, according to the Times of India.[139] Another Times of India report in 2010 has stated that 50% of childhood deaths in India are attributable to malnutrition.[140]

also:

Earlier in 1963, the government of the state of Maharashtra asserted that the agricultural situation in the state was constantly being watched and relief measures were taken as soon as any scarcity was detected. On the basis of this, and asserting that the word famine had now become obsolete in this context, the government passed "The Maharashtra Deletion of the Term 'Famine' Act, 1963".[129] They were unable to foresee the drought in 1972 when 25 million people needed help.

also:

The drought of 1979–80 in West Bengal was the next major drought and caused a 17% decline in food production with a shortfall of 13.5 million tonnes of food grain. Stored food stocks were leveraged by the government, and there was no net import of food grains. The drought was relatively unknown outside of India.[136]

So this is currently on the order of about a million malnutrition deaths in India every year, even though these numbers are actually better than past numbers, because India has been doing better every year, they claim.

So how does India relate to China? From about 1947 they both had very high populations and similar high rates of poverty. India has not reported massive deaths from droughts and severe weather, specifically, but droughts, for example, have exacerbated an ongoing hunger problem, which most countries would call "famine." China has managed to raise almost everyone out of poverty, and build up an infrastructure for better distribution in cases of natural disasters.

Of course there had been famines in China and in India under colonial rule and under independent rule. These would have been blamed on communism if it had existed then, but communism has never existed in India:

The first major famine that took place under British rule was the Bengal Famine of 1770. About a quarter to a third of the population of Bengal starved to death in about a ten-month period. East India Company's raising of taxes disastrously coincided with this famine[69] and exacerbated it, even if the famine was not caused by the British colonial government.[70] Following this famine, "Successive British governments were anxious not to add to the burden of taxation."[71] The rains failed again in Bengal and Odisha in 1866. Policies of laissez faire were employed, which resulted in partial alleviation of the famine in Bengal. However, the southwest Monsoon made the harbour in Odisha inaccessible. As a result, food could not be imported into Odisha as easily as Bengal.[72] In 1865–66, severe drought struck Odisha and was met by British official inaction. The British Secretary of State for India, Lord Salisbury, did nothing for two months, by which time a million people had died. The lack of attention to the problem caused Salisbury to never feel free from blame.[fn 8] Some British citizens such as William Digby agitated for policy reforms and famine relief, but Lord Lytton, the governing British viceroy in India, opposed such changes in the belief that they would stimulate shirking by Indian workers. Reacting against calls for relief during the 1877–79 famine, Lytton replied, "Let the British public foot the bill for its 'cheap sentiment,' if it wished to save life at a cost that would bankrupt India," substantively ordering "there is to be no interference of any kind on the part of Government with the object of reducing the price of food," and instructing district officers to "discourage relief works in every possible way.... Mere distress is not a sufficient reason for opening a relief work."[74]

Even the pro Churchill site, www.WinstonChurchill.org, in dispelling a myth about the supposed "Bengali Holocaust, the 1943-45 Bengal Famine in which Churchill murdered 6-7 million Indians" still basically admits that Churchill actually said:

"Besides, Churchill felt it would do no good. Famine or no famine, Indians will “breed like rabbits.”

The site does it's best to defend Churchill, but still admits the following:

Some of his angry remarks to Amery don’t read very nicely in retrospect. However, anyone who has been through the relevant documents reprinted in The [India] Transfer of Power volumes knows the facts: Churchill was concerned about the humanitarian catastrophe taking place there, and he pushed for whatever famine relief efforts India itself could provide; they simply weren’t adequate. Something like three million people died in Bengal and other parts of southern India as a result.

I think people are quick to see some exaggeration and anti-Churchill bias in this and don't actually blame Churchill for murdering 3 to 7 million people in India, even though he was the "leader of India" at the time. (And one can also see that the long-term imperialist policies of Britain were responsible for many avoidable deaths, but it doesn't make Churchill or his predecessors guilty of murder.)

But the point should be clear, and was indirectly included in the Joseph Ball article, too:

Of course it is also important that we do learn from the mistakes of the past to avoid them in the future. We should note that Mao to criticized himself for errors made during this period. But this self-criticism should in no way be allowed to give ammunition to those who insist on the truth of ridiculous figures for the numbers that died in this time. Hopefully, there will come a time when a sensible debate about the issues will take place.

If India’s rate of improvement in life expectancy had been as great as China’s after 1949, then millions of deaths could have been prevented. Even Mao’s critics acknowledge this. Perhaps this means that we should accuse Nehru and those who came after him of being “worse than Hitler” for adopting non-Maoist policies that “led to the deaths of millions.” Or perhaps this would be a childish and fatuous way of assessing India’s post-independence history. As foolish as the charges that have been leveled against Mao for the last 25 years, maybe.

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8 hours ago, JW Insider said:

And the Deng regime that fought to discredit Mao

Why did it do this? Why not proceed as though building on the fine foundation that had been laid?

8 hours ago, JW Insider said:

[Ball:] “It’s worth remembering that the “leaps” Mao used to talk about the most were not leaps in the quantities of goods being produced but leaps in people’s consciousness and understanding. Mistakes were made and many must have been demoralized when they realized that some of the results of the Leap had been disappointing. But the success of the Chinese economy in years to come shows that not all its lessons were wasted.”

This smacks a lot of like “putting lipstick on a pig.”

 

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On 8/4/2020 at 8:40 AM, TrueTomHarley said:

Why did it do this? Why not proceed as though building on the fine foundation that had been laid?

Mao, while alive, had already purged Deng twice. In doing so, Mao sullied his reputation by bringing up past disloyalty and an unexplained military defection, and asked Deng to self-admit his own (Deng's) failings. He had been critical of Mao, but had also been used by Mao and the party for his leadership abilities. After Mao, the "Gang of Four" wanted to continue Mao's legacy and leadership style, and thought of Deng as a political threat to their continuance. Deng's choice to gain political power was to do unto Mao's legacy what Mao (and others) had done to him. This resulted in exaggerations on both sides. But it does show insecurity by both Mao's side and Deng's side, showing that there was some basis of truth even in the exaggerations.

Deng's old political slogan against Mao "70% right; 30% wrong" apparently evolved into a new view of "70% wrong; 30% right." That effectively erased Deng's initial ability to argue that he could build on any "fine foundation" left by Mao. And some of Deng's policies were of this same sort of swapping priorities from 70/30 to 30/70.

I also get the impression that Deng knew the actual numbers of deaths from the famine (and political mistakes that made it much worse) had resulted in perhaps 4 million deaths. (That's my guess for a probable minimum based on the evidence of statistical manipulation. [Some of the researchers admit that they took numbers from smaller, worst hit areas and simply assumed it was like this in all areas of China!]) Pushing this number to 16.5 million was necessary for the "gasp" factor in hurting Mao's party faction and Mao's ideas which had become a "cult of personality." It might have been meant as a kind of "negotiation" number, just to make sure it remained extremely high even when challenged.

Of course, the number not only stuck, it was multiplied in the imaginations of both Deng's and Mao's political enemies, especially those that could be influenced by the West. Here is Ball's take on this:

The reason for this vilification of the Great Leap Forward had much to do with post-Mao power struggles and the struggle to roll back the socialist policies of 1949-76. After Mao’s death in 1976 Hua Guofeng had come to power on a platform of “upholding every word and policy made by Mao.” Deng Xiaoping badly needed a political justification for his usurpation of Hua in 1978 and his assumption of leadership. Deng’s stated stance of Mao being “70% right and 30% wrong” was a way of distinguishing his own “pragmatic” approach to history and ideology from his predecessors. (The pro-market policies Deng implemented suggested that he actually believed that Mao was about 80% wrong.)

The Chinese party did everything it could to promote the notion that the Great Leap Forward was a catastrophe caused by ultra-leftist policies.

On 8/4/2020 at 8:40 AM, TrueTomHarley said:

This smacks a lot of like “putting lipstick on a pig.”

I agree.

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      The Gorilla Camp: Bisate Lodge, Rwanda
      One of the key trends in Africa in 2017 is the growth of camps that offer both sustainable luxury and adventure. Hence Wilderness Safaris’ decision to open Bisate Lodge in June as a luxury base for tracking the 10 habituated gorilla groups  in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park (doubles from £1,762 full board, excluding gorilla permits).
      The lodge, raised high above the forest floor in the amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone, has been designed by architect Nick Plewman to echo the spherical, thatched structures that dot the hills, as well as the layout of traditional Rwandan palaces. The interiors by Caline Williams-Wynn have been inspired by the rich detail of Rwandan textiles, many of which are made using a technique called imigongo, an ancient art form incorporating geometric shapes.
      When the first guests arrive, they will be able not only to track gorillas, but to  hike to Dian Fossey’s grave and her former research station at Karisoke, to trek to the top of a nearby volcano, and then to relax in the extensively reforested gardens.
      The Jungle Retreat: Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat, Nicaragua
      Nicaragua’s first luxe mountain resort sits in the lush landscape of Nandaime, just 40 minutes’ drive from the pretty colonial city of Granada. Nekupe – or heaven, in the indigenous Chorotega  language – was designed with the help of a feng shui architect to have the highest energy flow and least environmental impact possible, and the four freestanding villas and four expansive suites, with king-sized beds, made-for-sharing bathtubs and alfresco showers, are decorated in earth tones and warm woods that echo the serene setting (doubles from £720, full board). Floor-to-ceiling windows frame views over Mombacho  volcano’s perfect cone, and wraparound terraces  are perfect for sipping daiquiris, before farm-to-table feasts of nuevo-Nicaraguan cuisine.

      Nekupe will provide access to Nicaragua's underexplored nature reserves
      The surrounding nature reserve,  which echoes with the sounds of primates and toucans, can be explored on ATVs, as well as on paths created for hikers, bikers and horseback riders, or on zip wires, which soar above the forest canopy. For those not expending energy on target-shooting, tennis and yoga, there is an infinity pool and a spa.
      The Cook Ski Spot: Lech, Austria
      Size matters to ski resorts, so the hotly anticipated coronation of Ski Arlberg as Austria’s largest contiguous ski area is big news indeed. Encompassing eight villages, including big hitters St Anton, Lechand Zürs, Ski Arlberg is already one of the best-known ski areas in the Alps. But now its four new lifts are open, linking the entire area to deliver 109 miles  of pistes (three more than Val d’Isère), Ski Arlberg will join the ranks of the world’s über resorts.

      New developments have given Lech a leg up
      The four connected lifts, known as the Flexenbahn, will place Lech at the epicentre of the ski area (stealing some thunder from St Anton). While expanding its lifts, Lech has also been consolidating its position as Austria’s leading town for luxury ski chalets. In December – hot on the heels of properties like the Aurelio Clubhouse, Chalet N, Chalet 1597 and Überhaus, which have raised the luxury bar in recent years – Severin’s Alpine Retreat will open its doors. The nine-suite hotel will be fitted with only the best: Minotti furnishings, a spa with an indoor infinity pool and hypoxic chamber for altitude training, and a ski room with bespoke Indigo kit.
      Guests can take over the chalet, for free rein over the suites, restaurant, capacious spa and fire-lit lounges, or plump for The Residence: a sleek four-bedroom private apartment spanning two floors  with a professional kitchen, cinema, bar and outdoor hot tub. The Oxford Ski Company offers a week for two people at Severin’s Alpine Retreat from £6,440, including transfers and flights.
      The Rugged Destination: Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan
      Tajikistan was the second-fastest growing tourist destination in the world in 2015, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Which is why in 2017 Edge Expeditions will be running a two-week Luxury Tajikistan tour of the country’s spectacular Pamir Mountains: one the most diverse, wild, exhilarating and least-explored corners of the planet.
      With a team of expert guides, a maximum of eight guests will traverse the raw wilderness by either four-wheel-drive vehicles, with a driver, or motorbikes. Journeying along the legendary Pamir Highway, travellers will spend days exploring azure mountain lakes, hidden valleys, ancient ruins and high mountain passes that very few outsiders ever get to see.
      The trip starts off at a five-star hotel in the capital, Dushanbe, while on the road the ground crew will prepare yurt camps with hot showers, comfortable beds, Egyptian cotton sheets and gourmet meals prepared by the expedition’s private chef. Along the way, both British and Tajik guides will interpret the layered history of the region, while astronomers with telescopes will also be on hand to explore some of the least light-polluted night skies in the world. 
      Edge Expeditions is offering a 14-day Luxury Tajikistan journey by four-wheel-drive or motorcycle, from £9,495 full board, starting and ending at Dushanbe, including transfers, motorcycle rental or vehicle (with driver), back-up vehicles, guides and medic, but excluding international flights.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/travel/2017-years-best-luxury-outdoor-adventure-holidays-namibia-nicaragua/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Chinese Communist Party prepares offensive against Christianity
       

    • By The Librarian
      China's governing Communist Party is set to launch a nationwide crackdown on the Christian Church.
      By Matthew Carney - ABC
      The Communist Party has just enacted much tougher laws that criminalise Christians if they do not pledge loyalty to the state.
      Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned that all religions now have to become "Chinese" and the new laws will attempt to bring churchgoers and their leaders under party control.
      The new laws will put the state firmly in charge, giving the Communist Party the ability to hire and fire church leaders and change religious doctrine to make it more Chinese...
      That means churchgoers will have to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party first.
      There is good reason to be afraid. Chinese Authorities have already started the crackdown in the Christian heartland in the southern province of Zhejiang.
      It's been extensive and brutal. In the past two years they have torn down nearly 2000 crosses and in some cases demolished churches.
      Church leaders and their followers have been arrested and imprisoned.
      There's also good reason to why the Communist Party is threatened by the Church.
      Some say there are 100 million Christians in China — that's more than Communist Party members.
      The Chinese Government admits there are about 25 million Christians registered at state-run churches where pastors are appointed by the state and theology approved by the governments Religious Affairs Bureau.
      ABC 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. See also:
      New York Times 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.



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    • In the recent QFR https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/watchtower-study-december-2020/Questions-From-Readers-December-2/ we find a "clarification" on the use of Proverbs 24:16: “The righteous one may fall seven times, and he will get up again.” We should no longer refer to the fall and subsequent rising of the righteous related to moral or spiritual setbacks,  but to the righteous recovering from the setbacks of life, even those that bad ones can inflict. Perfect! Now, what surpri
    • I have just one word of advice for you: “Plastics,” said the parent’s comfortable friend to Benjamin Braddock. Plastics—the new growth field in 1967, the year The Graduate movie came out—just as computers and then the internet would be to succeeding generations. Plastics—a graduate could make a killing in it. But Ben didn’t want any career advice just then. Just out of college, with no goals at all, the only thing he knew is that he wanted no part of the phony monied world that had been his
    • Not the usual Hebrew word for "law" but a late word borrowed from Persian, which is why they say it only shows up in Daniel and Esther (meaning law or custom). It did not come to mean ceremony/ritual until even later. In MODERN Hebrew, not Biblical Hebrew, is it also used to describe someone who is religious. From what I can tell, this is not the same word "dat" which is related to data/datum. That word "dat" is from the word "give" implying "thing" as it to "give a thing" or "any gi
    • Well the GB and Elders act as judges that's for sure, but they will suffer for it later.   
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    • Eric Ouellet

      Qu’est-ce que le Jour du Jugement ?

      La Bible dit que Dieu “ a fixé un jour où il va juger la terre habitée ”. (Actes 17:31.) Pour beaucoup, l’idée d’être soumis à un jugement, quel qu’il soit, est désagréable. Voyez-vous les choses ainsi ?
      SI C’EST le cas, rassurez-vous : le Jour du Jugement est une disposition pleine d’amour qui apportera de grands bienfaits à la famille humaine, y compris aux morts (Matthieu 20:28 ; Jean 3:16). Mais pourquoi est-il nécessaire ? Et que se passera-t-il réellement pendant ce “ jour ” ?
      Pourquoi le Jour du Jugement est nécessaire
      Lorsque Dieu a placé les humains sur la terre, il ne la destinait pas à n’être qu’un lieu d’épreuve en vue d’une existence dans un autre monde. Il a créé les humains pour qu’ils y vivent éternellement. Bien que parfaits physiquement et mentalement, Adam et Ève, le premier couple, se sont rebellés contre Dieu. Ils ont alors perdu la perspective de la vie éternelle pour eux-mêmes, et ont transmis le péché et la mort à tous leurs descendants. — Genèse 2:15-17 ; Romains 5:12.
      Le Jour du Jugement sera une période de mille ans durant laquelle les hommes auront la possibilité de retrouver ce qu’Adam et Ève ont perdu*. Remarquez que, selon Actes 17:31, cité plus haut, ce “ jour ” concerne les personnes qui vivent sur “ la terre habitée ”. Celles qui recevront un jugement favorable vivront sur la terre, éternellement et dans des conditions parfaites (Révélation 21:3, 4). Le Jour du Jugement contribue donc à l’accomplissement du dessein originel de Dieu pour l’homme et pour la planète.
      Le Juge que Dieu a établi est Christ Jésus. La Bible révèle qu’il va “ juger les vivants et les morts ”. (2 Timothée 4:1.) Qui sont “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés ? Comment les morts vont-ils revenir à la vie sur “ la terre habitée ” ?
      Jésus juge “ les vivants ”
      Nous sommes maintenant proches de la fin annoncée du présent système de choses, où Dieu va détruire tous les éléments de la société humaine corrompue et supprimer les méchants. Les personnes qui réchapperont seront “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés. — Révélation 7:9-14 ; 19:11-16.
      Durant la période de jugement qui durera mille ans, Christ Jésus ainsi que 144 000 hommes et femmes ressuscités pour vivre dans les cieux dirigeront la terre. Exerçant les fonctions de rois et de prêtres, ils dispenseront les bienfaits du sacrifice rédempteur de Jésus et amèneront progressivement les humains fidèles à la perfection physique et mentale. — Révélation 5:10 ; 14:1-4 ; 20:4-6.
      Pendant le Jour du Jugement, Satan et ses démons ne seront plus libres d’influencer l’activité humaine (Révélation 20:1-3). Toutefois, à la fin de ce “ jour ”, Satan sera autorisé à éprouver la fidélité de tous les humains alors en vie. Ceux qui resteront fidèles à Dieu passeront avec succès l’épreuve à laquelle Adam et Ève ont échoué. Ils seront jugés dignes de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre redevenue un paradis. Ceux qui décideront de se rebeller contre Dieu seront détruits pour toujours, de même que Satan et ses démons. — Révélation 20:7-9.
      Le jugement des “ morts ”
      On lit dans la Bible qu’au Jour du Jugement les morts “ se lèveront ”. (Matthieu 12:41.) Jésus a dit : “ L’heure vient où tous ceux qui sont dans les tombes de souvenir entendront sa voix et sortiront, ceux qui ont fait des choses bonnes, pour une résurrection de vie, ceux qui ont pratiqué des choses viles, pour une résurrection de jugement. ” (Jean 5:28, 29). Il n’est pas question ici des âmes désincarnées des défunts. Ces derniers sont totalement inconscients et n’ont pas d’âme qui survive à la mort (Ecclésiaste 9:5 ; Jean 11:11-14, 23, 24). Jésus relèvera sur la terre tous ceux qui se sont endormis dans la mort.
      Seront-ils jugés sur la base de ce qu’ils ont fait avant leur mort ? Non. Les Écritures enseignent que “ celui qui est mort a été acquitté de son péché ”. (Romains 6:7.) Ainsi, tout comme les survivants de la fin du système actuel, les ressuscités pour la vie sur la terre seront jugés “ selon leurs actions ” au cours du Jour du Jugement (Révélation 20:12, 13). En fonction de l’issue de leurs actions, leur résurrection se révélera aboutir soit à l’éternité, soit à la destruction. Nombre de ces ressuscités découvriront Jéhovah Dieu et ses exigences pour obtenir la vie. Ils auront la possibilité de se conformer à la volonté de Dieu et de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre.
      Aucune raison d’avoir peur
      Le Jour du Jugement ne sera pas seulement un temps d’instruction divine, mais aussi un temps où tous les vivants appliqueront ce qu’ils apprendront et en verront les bienfaits. Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus et progresserez à leurs côtés vers la perfection !
      Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus.
      Au terme du Jour du Jugement, Dieu permettra à Satan d’éprouver la fidélité des êtres humains. Il n’y a cependant pas lieu d’être inquiet ou d’avoir peur. Tous seront alors solidement armés pour faire face à cette dernière épreuve. Ainsi, le Jour du Jugement est une étape dans l’accomplissement du dessein divin qui effacera toutes les conséquences de la rébellion originelle contre Dieu dans le jardin d’Éden.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Chantons avec coeur et allégresse 
      Psaumes
      146 Louez Jah!
      Que tout mon être loue Jéhovah !
       2 Je veux louer Jéhovah toute ma vie.
      Je veux chanter des louanges à mon Dieu aussi longtemps que je vivrai.
       3 Ne mettez pas votre confiance dans les princes,
      ni dans un fils d’homme, qui est incapable de sauver.
       4 L’esprit de l’homme sort, l’homme retourne au sol ;
      ce jour-là, ses pensées périssent.
       5 Heureux celui qui a pour secours le Dieu de Jacob
      et dont l’espoir est en Jéhovah son Dieu,
       6 Celui qui a fait le ciel et la terre,
      la mer, et tout ce qui s’y trouve,
      celui qui reste fidèle pour toujours,
       7 celui qui garantit la justice aux spoliés,
      celui qui donne du pain aux affamés.
      Jéhovah libère les prisonniers ;
       8 Jéhovah ouvre les yeux des aveugles ;
      Jéhovah relève ceux qui sont courbés ;
      Jéhovah aime les justes.
       9 Jéhovah protège les résidents étrangers ;
      il soutient l’orphelin de père et la veuve,
      mais il contrecarre les projets des méchants
      10 Jéhovah sera Roi pour toujours,
      ton Dieu, ô Sion, de génération en génération.
      Louez Jah !

      · 0 replies
    • REDROCHA  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you Sister !!!!
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      LES QUALITÉS D'UN BERGER ET LES ASSISTANTS DE L'ASSEMBLÉE 

      PREMIÈRE LETTRE DE TIMOTHÉE

      3 La parole suivante est digne de foi : Si un homme aspire à être un responsable, il désire une belle œuvre. 2 Il faut donc qu’un responsable soit irréprochable, mari d’une seule femme, modéré dans ses habitudes, réfléchi, ordonné, hospitalier, capable d’enseigner, 3 que ce ne soit pas un ivrogne ni un homme violent, mais un homme raisonnable, non querelleur, non ami de l’argent, 4 un homme qui dirige d’une belle façon sa propre famille, qui tienne ses enfants dans la soumission en toute dignité 5 (car si un homme ne sait pas diriger sa propre famille, comment prendra-t-il soin de l’assemblée de Dieu ?), 6 que ce ne soit pas un homme récemment converti, de peur qu’il se gonfle d’orgueil et tombe sous le coup de la condamnation portée contre le Diable. 7 D’autre part, il faut aussi qu’il reçoive un beau témoignage des gens extérieurs à l’assemblée, afin de ne pas tomber dans le déshonneur et dans un piège du Diable.
      8 De même, il faut que les assistants soient des hommes dignes, qu’ils n’aient pas un langage double, qu’ils soient modérés dans la consommation de vin, non avides d’un gain malhonnête, 9 attachés au saint secret de la foi avec une conscience pure.
      10 De plus, qu’ils soient d’abord mis à l’épreuve quant à leurs aptitudes ; puis, s’ils sont exempts d’accusation, qu’ils servent comme ministres.
      11 De même, il faut que les femmes soient dignes, non calomniatrices, modérées dans leurs habitudes, fidèles en toutes choses.
      12 Les assistants doivent être maris d’une seule femme et diriger d’une belle façon leurs enfants et leur propre famille. 13 Car les hommes qui servent d’une belle façon acquièrent une belle réputation et une grande confiancepour parler de la foi en Christ Jésus.
      14 Je t’écris ces choses, bien que j’espère venir bientôt chez toi, 15 pour que, au cas où je serais retardé, tu saches comment tu dois te conduire dans la maison de Dieu, qui est l’assemblée du Dieu vivant, colonne et soutien de la vérité. 16 Oui, il faut avouer qu’il est grand, le saint secret de l’attachement à Dieu : « Il a été manifesté dans la chair, a été déclaré juste dans l’esprit, est apparu aux anges, a été prêché parmi les nations, a été cru dans le monde, a été enlevé dans la gloire. »





      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Bergers, imitez les Grands Bergers
       
      Christ [...] a souffert pour vous, vous laissant un modèle pour que vous suiviez fidèlement ses traces » (1 PIERRE 2:21)

      QUAND un berger s’intéresse de près au bien-être de son troupeau, les moutons se portent bien. Selon un manuel sur l’élevage ovin, « l’homme qui se contente de mener le troupeau au pré puis n’y prête plus attention risque fort, en quelques années, d’avoir de nombreuses bêtes malades qui ne rapportent rien ». Par contre, quand les moutons reçoivent l’attention voulue, le troupeau prospère.
      La qualité des soins et de l’attention que les bergers du troupeau de Dieu prodiguent à chaque brebis dont ils sont responsables influera sur la santé spirituelle de toute la congrégation. Tu te souviens peut-être que Jésus a eu pitié des foules parce qu’« elles étaient dépouillées et éparpillées comme des brebis sans berger » (Mat. 9:36). Pourquoi se trouvaient-elles en si piteuse condition ? Parce que les hommes chargés d’enseigner la Loi de Dieu au peuple étaient durs, exigeants et hypocrites. Au lieu de soutenir et de nourrir les membres de leur troupeau, les guides spirituels d’Israël posaient sur leurs épaules de « lourdes charges » (Mat. 23:4).
      Les bergers chrétiens d’aujourd’hui, les anciens, ont donc une lourde responsabilité. Les brebis du troupeau sous leur garde appartiennent à Jéhovah ainsi qu’à Jésus, qui s’est présenté comme « l’excellent berger » (Jean 10:11). Les brebis ont été « acheté[e]s à un prix », que Jésus a payé avec son propre « sang précieux » (1 Cor. 6:20 ; 1 Pierre 1:18, 19). Jésus aime tellement les brebis qu’il a bien voulu sacrifier sa vie pour elles. Les anciens ne devraient jamais oublier qu’ils sont des sous-bergers sous la surveillance du Fils bienveillant de Dieu, Jésus Christ, « le grand berger des brebis » (Héb. 13:20).
      Comment les bergers chrétiens devraient-ils traiter les brebis ? Les membres de la congrégation sont exhortés à « obéi[r] à ceux qui [les] dirigent ». De leur côté, les anciens ne doivent pas « commande[r] en maîtres ceux qui sont l’héritage de Dieu » (Héb. 13:17 ; lire 1 Pierre 5:2, 3). Alors comment peuvent-ils diriger le troupeau sans le commander en maîtres ? Autrement dit, comment peuvent-ils répondre aux besoins des brebis sans abuser de l’autorité dont Dieu les a investis ?
      « IL LES PORTERA SUR SON SEIN »
      Parlant de Jéhovah, le prophète Isaïe a déclaré : « Comme un berger il fera paître son troupeau. De son bras il rassemblera les agneaux ; et sur son sein il les portera. Il conduira doucement celles qui allaitent » (Is. 40:11). Cette comparaison montre que Jéhovah se soucie des besoins des membres de la congrégation faibles et vulnérables. De même qu’un berger connaît les besoins particuliers de chaque brebis de son troupeau et se tient prêt à les combler, Jéhovah connaît les besoins des membres de la congrégation et est heureux de leur apporter le soutien voulu. À l’image d’un berger qui, si nécessaire, porte un agneau nouveau-né dans le pli de son vêtement, « le Père des tendres miséricordes » nous portera, ou nous consolera, quand nous serons durement éprouvés ou rencontrerons un besoin particulier (2 Cor. 1:3, 4).

      Quel exemple admirable pour un berger chrétien ! Comme son Père céleste, il lui faut être attentif aux besoins des brebis. S’il est au courant des difficultés qu’elles rencontrent et des besoins qui méritent une attention immédiate, il sera en mesure d’offrir l’encouragement et le soutien nécessaires (Prov. 27:23). Il doit donc bien communiquer avec ses compagnons chrétiens. Tout en respectant la vie privée de chacun, il s’intéresse à ce qu’il voit et entend dans la congrégation, avec amour, il se rend disponible pour « venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:35 ; 1 Thess. 4:11).
      Parlons de la mentalité de bergers que Jéhovah a désapprouvés. Aux jours d’Ézékiel et de Jérémie, Jéhovah a dénoncé ceux qui auraient dû s’occuper de ses brebis, mais ne le faisaient pas. Quand personne ne surveillait les brebis, le troupeau devenait la proie de bêtes sauvages et se dispersait. Ces bergers exploitaient les brebis et, plutôt que de les faire paître, « ils se paissaient eux-mêmes » (Ézék. 34:7-10 ; Jér. 23:1). Le reproche que Dieu leur a fait est tout aussi valable pour les chefs de la chrétienté. Mais il souligne également combien il est important qu’un ancien s’occupe avec sérieux et amour du troupeau de Jéhovah.
      « JE VOUS AI DONNÉ L’EXEMPLE »
      En raison de l’imperfection humaine, certaines brebis peuvent être lentes à comprendre ce que le Berger suprême attend d’elles. Elles ne se conforment pas toujours à un conseil biblique ou ont un comportement trahissant un manque de maturité spirituelle. Comment les anciens doivent-ils réagir ? Ils devraient imiter la patience qu’a eue Jésus envers ses disciples quand ils cherchaient à savoir qui parmi eux serait le plus grand dans le Royaume. Au lieu de perdre patience, Jésus a continué à les enseigner et à leur donner des conseils bienveillants sur la pratique de l’humilité (Luc 9:46-48 ; 22:24-27). En leur lavant les pieds, il leur a fait une démonstration d’humilité, qualité que les surveillants chrétiens sont tenus de manifester (lire Jean 13:12-15 ; 1 Pierre 2:21).
      Le point de vue de Jésus sur le rôle du berger n’était pas le même que celui que Jacques et Jean ont un jour manifesté. Ces deux apôtres cherchaient à s’assurer une place en vue dans le Royaume. Mais Jésus a rectifié cet état d’esprit ainsi : « Vous savez que les chefs des nations dominent sur elles, et que les grands usent d’autorité sur elles. Il n’en sera pas ainsi parmi vous ; mais quiconque voudra devenir grand parmi vous sera votre serviteur » (Mat. 20:25, 26, Bible de Darby). Les apôtres devaient résister à l’envie de « commander en maîtres » leurs compagnons ou de « dominer sur » eux.
      Jésus tient à ce que les bergers chrétiens traitent le troupeau comme lui le traitait. Ils doivent être disposés à servir leurs compagnons, pas les dominer. Paul a manifesté une telle humilité. Il a dit en effet aux anciens de la congrégation d’Éphèse : « Vous savez bien comment, depuis le premier jour où j’ai mis le pied dans le district d’Asie, j’ai été avec vous tout le temps, travaillant comme un esclave pour le Seigneur, avec la plus grande humilité. » L’apôtre souhaitait que ces anciens soutiennent les brebis avec dévouement et humilité. Il a ajouté : « Je vous ai montré en toutes choses que c’est en peinant ainsi que vous devez venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:18, 19, 35). Il a par ailleurs dit aux Corinthiens qu’il ne dominait pas sur leur foi. Il était plutôt leur humble compagnon de travail, pour leur joie (2 Cor. 1:24). C’est un bel exemple d’humilité et de courage pour les anciens de notre époque.
      « FERMEMENT ATTACHÉ À LA PAROLE FIDÈLE »
      Un ancien doit être « fermement attaché à la parole fidèle pour ce qui est de son art d’enseigner » (Tite 1:9). Mais il le sera « dans un esprit de douceur » (Gal. 6:1). Un bon berger chrétien ne force pas une brebis à agir de telle ou telle façon. Non, il réfléchit à la manière dont il stimulera son cœur. Il attirera peut-être son attention sur les principes bibliques à considérer avant de prendre une décision importante. Il reverra avec elle ce que les publications ont dit sur la question. Il l’exhortera à réfléchir aux conséquences de tel ou tel choix sur ses relations avec Jéhovah. Il pourra aussi insister sur l’importance de demander à Dieu sa direction avant de prendre une décision (Prov. 3:5, 6). Ensuite, il la laissera prendre elle-même sa décision (Rom. 14:1-4).
      La seule autorité que les surveillants chrétiens détiennent leur vient des Écritures. Alors ils doivent absolument se servir de la Bible avec habileté et adhérer à son contenu. Ils se garderont ainsi d’un éventuel abus de pouvoir. Car ils ne sont que sous-bergers ; chaque membre de la congrégation est responsable devant Jéhovah et Jésus de ses propres décisions (Gal. 6:5, 7, 8).
      « DES EXEMPLES POUR LE TROUPEAU »
      Après avoir déconseillé aux anciens ( prêtres )« commander en maîtres ceux qui [leur] sont échus en partage », l’apôtre Pierre les exhorte à « devenir des exemples pour le troupeau » (1 Pierre 5:3, note). De quelle façon sont-ils des exemples pour le troupeau ? Prenons deux des choses requises d’un frère qui « aspire à une fonction de surveillant ». Il lui faut être « sain d’esprit » et « présider de belle façon, sa propre maisonnée ». S’il a une famille, il doit la présider de manière exemplaire, car « si quelqu’un [...] ne sait pas présider sa propre maisonnée, comment prendra-t-il soin de la congrégation ( assemblée) de Dieu ? » (1 Tim. 3:1, 2, 4, 5). Il doit également être sain d’esprit, c’est-à-dire comprendre clairement les principes divins et savoir comment les appliquer dans sa propre vie. Il est calme et équilibré et se garde de porter des jugements hâtifs. Autant de qualités qui inspirent confiance aux membres de la congrégation.
      Les surveillants donnent également l’exemple en prenant la tête dans l’œuvre de prédication. Jésus lui-même leur a donné l’exemple à cet égard. La prédication de la bonne nouvelle du Royaume a occupé une grande partie de son activité terrestre. Il a montré à ses disciples comment il fallait l’accomplir (Marc 1:38 ; Luc 8:1). Qu’il est encourageant, de nos jours, de prêcher aux côtés des anciens, de constater leur zèle pour cette œuvre salvatrice et d’apprendre de leurs méthodes d’enseignement ! Leur détermination à consacrer du temps et de l’énergie à la prédication malgré un emploi du temps chargé insuffle du zèle à toute la congrégation. Enfin, les anciens donnent l’exemple en préparant les réunions de la congrégation et en y participant, mais aussi en prenant part à des activités comme le nettoyage et la maintenance de la Salle du Royaume (Éph. 5:15, 16 ; lire (Hébreux 13:7) 
      « SOUTENEZ LES FAIBLES »
      Quand une brebis se blesse ou tombe malade, un bon berger vole à son secours. Pareillement, quand un membre de la congrégation souffre ou a besoin d’une aide spirituelle, les anciens doivent réagir rapidement. Un chrétien âgé ou malade a sans doute besoin d’une aide pratique, mais il a surtout besoin d’un soutien spirituel et d’encouragements (1 Thess. 5:14). Les jeunes rencontrent peut-être des difficultés. Résister aux « désirs de la jeunesse » en est une (2 Tim. 2:22). Le berger doit donc rendre régulièrement visite aux membres de la congrégation dans le but de comprendre les épreuves qu’ils traversent et de les encourager par des conseils bibliques bien choisis. Quand ces visites pastorales sont faites au bon moment, beaucoup de problèmes peuvent être résolus avant qu’ils ne s’aggravent.
      Et si les difficultés d’un chrétien s’aggravent au point de menacer sa santé spirituelle ? « Quelqu’un parmi vous est-il malade ?, a demandé le rédacteur biblique Jacques. Qu’il appelle à lui les anciens de la congrégation, et qu’ils prient sur lui, l’enduisant d’huile au nom de Jéhovah. Et la prière de la foi rétablira celui qui est souffrant, et Jéhovah le relèvera. De plus, s’il a commis des péchés, il lui sera pardonné » (Jacq. 5:14, 15). Même quand un chrétien « souffrant » « appelle à lui les anciens », ces derniers doivent lui venir en aide dès qu’ils sont au courant de son état. Les anciens qui prient avec sont là pour le fortifier et aussi tout frères en difficulté, et ils les soutiennent, se révèlent une source de réconfort et d’encouragement (lire Isaïe 32:1, 2).
      Dans tout ce qu’ils font au sein de l’organisation de Jéhovah, les bergers s’efforcent d’imiter « le grand berger », Jésus Christ. Grâce à l’aide de ces hommes dignes de confiance, le troupeau se fortifie et prospère. Tout cela nous réjouit profondément et nous pousse à louer le plus Grand Berger sans pareil,  notre Dieu Jéhovah



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