"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring."
Distress of Nations
Greetings. Here we are, 2009! Hope you all had a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year. As we look at a world map we can't help but marvel at the events occurring in different parts of the world. Predictions of 75,000 business failures in the US in the first half of 2009, 440 retail business failures, including major chains in Europe in the first four months of 2009, continued financial turmoil literally around the world, Gazprom in the Russian Federation, cutting off gas supplies to the Ukraine, through which flows 25% of the gas of western Europe!
Then there are the wars virtually from the eastern Mediterranean to India.
Tensions have heightened considerably between India and Pakistan, both nuclear armed nations, each moving troops up to their respective borders, war in Afghanistan with the Taliban now reaching the outskirts of Kabul, the capital, the recent war between Russia and Georgia, which many interpret as signaling the end of US hegemony in the world, the possible US and Israeli air strikes against Iran, the brutal war in Iraq, the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip which could involve Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt, plus the countless regional conflicts in Africa. This is definitely not a time of "peace on earth".
One area of conflict we would like to focus on is the Gaza Strip. The following article was written by Robert Fisk. A brief biography of Robert Fisk from Wikipedia states: "Robert Fisk is an award-winning British journalist and author. He is the Middle East correspondent of the UK newspaper "The Independent" and has spent more than 30 years living in and reporting from the region. Awards include; Jacobs Award, Amnesty International UK Press Awards, International Journalist of the Year, "Reporter of the Year", David Watt prize, Lannon Cultural Freedom Prize.
Below is his assessment of what is happening between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Why bombing Ashkelon is the most tragic irony
Robert Fisk, The Independent, 30 December 2008
How easy it is to snap off the history of the Palestinians, to delete the narrative of their tragedy, to avoid a grotesque irony about Gaza which--in any other conflict--journalists would be writing about in their first reports: that the original, legal owners of the Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza.
That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it--Askalaan in Arabic--were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They--or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren--are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don't come from Gaza.
But watching the news shows, you'd think that history began yesterday, that a bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly popped up in the slums of Gaza--a rubbish dump of destitute people of no origin--and began firing missiles into peace-loving, democratic Israel, only to meet with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air force. The fact that the five sisters killed in Jabalya camp had grandparents who came from the very land whose more recent owners have now bombed them to death simply does not appear in the story.
Both Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres said back in the 1990s that they wished Gaza would just go away, drop into the sea, and you can see why. The existence of Gaza is a permanent reminder of those hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lost their homes to Israel, who fled or were driven out through fear or Israeli ethnic cleansing 60 years ago, when tidal waves of refugees had washed over Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War and when a bunch of Arabs kicked out of their property didn't worry the world.
Well, the world should worry now. Crammed into the most overpopulated few square miles in the whole world are a dispossessed people who have been living in refuse and sewage and, for the past six months, in hunger and darkness, and who have been sanctioned by us, the West. Gaza was always an insurrectionary place. It took two years for Ariel Sharon's bloody "pacification", starting in 1971, to be completed, and Gaza is not going to be tamed now.
Of course, it was left to Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to admit that "sometimes also civilians pay the price," an argument she would not make, of course, if the fatality statistics were reversed. Indeed, it was instructive yesterday to hear a member of the American Enterprise Institute--faithfully parroting Israel's arguments--defending the outrageous Palestinian death toll by saying that it was "pointless to play the numbers game". Yet if more than 300 Israelis had been killed--against two dead Palestinians--be sure that the "numbers game" and the disproportionate violence would be all too relevant. The simple fact is that Palestinian deaths matter far less than Israeli deaths.
True, we know that 180 of the dead were Hamas members. But what of the rest? If the UN's conservative figure of 57 civilian fatalities is correct, the death toll is still a disgrace.
To find both the US and Britain failing to condemn the Israeli onslaught while blaming Hamas is not surprising. US Middle East policy and Israeli policy are now indistinguishable and Gordon Brown is following the same dog-like devotion to the Bush administration as his predecessor.
As usual, the Arab satraps--largely paid and armed by the West--are silent, preposterously calling for an Arab summit on the crisis which will (if it even takes place), appoint an "action committee" to draw up a report which will never be written. For that is the way with the Arab world and its corrupt rulers. As for Hamas, they will, of course, enjoy the discomfiture of the Arab potentates while cynically waiting for Israel to talk to them. Which they will. Indeed, within a few months, we'll be hearing that Israel and Hamas have been having "secret talks"--just as we once did about Israel and the PLO.
But by then, the dead will be long buried and we will be facing the next crisis since the last crisis.
All this and we haven't even begun the last seven years or the Great Tribulation. (For more information concerning these events visit our studies section on this web site.)
Who is going to sort out these most complex and distressing of problems?
As Arnold Toynbee, the famous contemporary historian said, "By forcing on mankind more and more lethal weapons, and at the same time making the World more and more interdependent economically, technology has brought mankind to such a degree of distress that we are ripe for the deifying of any new Caesar who might succeed in giving the World unity and peace."
Former Secretary General of Nato, Paul Spaak, adds,"We do not want another committee; we have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people and to lift us out of the morass into which we are sinking. Send us such a man, be he God or the Devil, and we will receive him!"
And this is what the world is going to get, the devil in the form of the soon coming anti-christ, but only for a very short period of time before the return of Jesus Christ and His 1000 year rule on this earth. He is going to return and set up his kingdom of real peace and brotherhood and run this world the way it should have been run if mankind had only followed His instruction manual, the Bible.
Only then will there be a surcease from man's wars and man's inhumanity to man.
Are you ready for the soon coming events? You are on your way if you have received Jesus into your life. If you have not, you can do so by saying this simple prayer.
Dear Jesus, I need your Spirit to live in my life to give me the peace of mind and heart to live through these and the soon coming times ahead. I ask that you please forgive my sins and short comings, I invite you into my heart and ask that you give me Your free gift of eternal life. In Jesus name I pray.
Please write us if you have any questions or suggestions for the web site. You can also contact one of our Christian mystics and receive counsel if you have a particular question or problem.
God bless you and help you to be one of His peace makers.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9)