US Army exploring meditation and yoga

From European Son.

In Trevor Legett’s excellent Zen and the Ways, he reproduces an ink painting of a tiger washing himself at the bottom of a waterfall that is crashing down onto his back. The tiger is smiling. It’s intended as an illustration of the Zen master who is not crushed by the worldly events that crash down upon us, but, instead, is unmoved by them.

Few of us possess such internal strength, of course. But spirituality has always been especially integral to the martial arts, whether for the individual practitioner or an entire army.

We can leave aside religion and war, whether the Crusades, the teaching of Arjuno by Krishna on the battlefield (according to Hindu teaching), as well as Islam’s notion of Jihad (which is both a military and a personal, internal pursuit — the so called lesser and greater Jihads).

The samurai — who adopted Zen Buddhism for their religion — practiced meditation daily. And the Buddhist Shaolin Monastery — or Shaolin Temple — is, ultimately, the origin of most Kung fu styles. Many traditional martial arts will encourage their students to practice meditation, and some will even incorporate it into their lessons.

The US army got its first Buddhist champlain in 2008, when Capt. Thomas Dyer was assigned to the Tennessee National Guard. “Buddhist Soldiers have to deal with issues of livelihood: How do I view myself as a Buddhist and a Soldier who carries a weapon?” says Dyer, who was once a Southern Baptist pastor. “I have developed procedures that help them see themselves as a force for good in the world, protecting what’s beautiful and right. It allows them to promote happiness and reduce suffering in the world. I try to teach those things to Buddhist Soldiers.”

Dyer says that most Buddhists in the US army kept quiet about their faith. But, even if they’re not practicing meditation during their times in the combat zones, once they return home many soldiers are discovering that it can have beneficial effects.

Troops are taking up yoga and meditation to help them cope with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sometimes reluctantly. One veteran who’s studying at the Heights School of Yoga, told Chron.com, ”I was a little hesitant. Yoga, it’s got a kind of effeminate ring to it to a lot of combat troopers, but it’s really not. I’m 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, and I’m breaking a sweat.”

According to Chron.com, at Fort Hood the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Center also offers yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and massage. ”The whole idea of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Center is to take care of the mind body and soul, and that’s to build up resilience, both in our families and our soldiers, so they can endure the many deployments that they’ve been on,” says the center’s director, Chris Haug. “So we call that strong mind, strong bodies.”

“[T]here is mounting evidence that its practice provides… read more.

Britain: a nation of flip floppers?

From European Son.
Local council elections on Friday saw the coalition Conservative-Liberal Democrats Government wounded and embarrassed by huge losses. Although Boris Johnson was reelected as London Mayor, after only two years in power, the dominant Conservative Party lost a massive 405 councilors in the 181 districts that went to the polls in England, Scotland, and Wales.

But not every party is in decline in the UK. The rise of the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas, George Galloway of Respect — a kind of Leftist-Islamist coalition — and the United Kingdom Independence Party portends, possibly, the beginnings of a seismic shift in electoral politics, and one that might eventually lead to the collapse of British politics as we know it.

Often portrayed as merely picking up disgruntled voters, who’d prefer to vote Labour or Conservative, the truth is that the majority of people only vote for a small party — that stands much less chance of getting into power, at least in the short term — if they are convinced of its message. With the major parties ignoring the issues, it is, inevitably, the voter with no real interest in, or understanding of, politics that votes for the mainstream today.

Hence, the flip flopping — perhaps the flailing about in desperation — of the majority . Thrown out of power only in 2010 — with talk of it being cast into the “wilderness” – Labour was by far the biggest winner last week, picking up an extraordinary 823 councillors.

But is anyone actually convinced by Labour? No. it is that the public voted against the Conservatives and the Lib Dems this time, just as they voted against Labour last time, at the last general election.

A couple of decades ago, it was the minor parties that had, necessarily, to position themselves with minor issues, such as animal welfare. It was the minor parties that had to rely on negative politics and fear mongering. Now it’s the major parties that have to do this. It’s the major parties that have to keep the attention on minor issues — especially during election time — and it’s the major parties that have to fear monger about the minor parties. The fringe parties — whether on the Left or Right — are the only ones who are free to discuss the existential issues and to express the big ideas, and, consequently, the only ones that can stir any passion among the voters.

UKIP is the party that worries the Conservatives. And with good reason. Recent polls have shown… read more.

Organic futurism: aesthetics and technique out of nature

From European Son.
It was a couple of decades ago when I first came across the work of Koji Tatsuno. The work of Tatsuno, a relatively unknown and self-taught Japanese fashion designer, was being shown in Joseph, an upscale fashion store in South Kensington.To call it untypical would be an understatement. One of Tatsuno’s dresses was made of coral and another was made of cloth and dried mushrooms, if I remember correctly.

Tatsuno was one of several Japanese designers making something of a splash in the UK at the time. Issey Miyake, more famous, had likewise experimented with materials, including treated paper.

Folded in peculiar ways, creating angular shapes — architectural, yet in some respects reflective of nature, perhaps at a microscopic level — Miyake’s work brought traditional… read more.

Geert Wilders: Marked for Death

Marked for Death: Islam’s War Against the West and Me is the first book authored by Dutch MP and political maverick Geert Wilders, a man whom Western authorities, as well as militant Islamists and their allies – a plethora of socialist, “anti-Zionist” and “anti-racist” organizations – have worked tirelessly to silence.

Oddly, while many of these organizations claim to be “anti-fascist,” they appear to be curiously ignorant of the historical links between the Nazis and the Muslim Middle East. One might even get the impression that they are keen to hide this connection.

As Wilders points out (pp. 42-44), top Nazi leaders, including head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, expressed admiration for Islam, and appeared to lament that fact that Germany had adopted Christianity instead. Johann von Leers, an important Nazi propagandist, even converted to Islam after World War II, when he had fled to Egypt, and continued his anti-Jewish propaganda efforts for his adopted country.

At 217 pages (excluding footnotes), Marked for Death is a relatively quick, and certainly fast-paced read, that is challenging and thought provoking from beginning to end. Continue Reading →

Spirituality and liberalism. What’s missing from the picture?

From European Son.
The Huffington Post has gone a bit mystical since the Occupy Wall Street protests. Remember the mass yoga and meditation sessions mixed with calls for social justice, equality and, if not an end to capitalism, then at least a fairer type of capitalism?

The HuffPo‘s latest liberal-mystical serving is especially eye opening: runes. These germanic esoteric symbols (and letters of various related Germanic “alphabets”) were, not so long ago, associated with radical conservatism, fascism, and Traditionalist-type politics. Today, though, Kelley Harrell, a “Neoshaman and author of ‘Gift of the Dreamtime’ ” gives a pretty glowing review of the work of runester Tyriel. Continue Reading →

Saudi national faces prospect of execution for tweeting

From European Son.

“Insulting the Prophet [Mohammed] is considered blasphemous in Islam,” notes OnIslam.net, “which is a crime punishable by execution in Saudi Arabia.” Hamza Kashgari, a 23-year-old Saudi blogger, now faces the prospect of execution for tweeting this message on Islam’s Prophet Mohammed’s birthday:

“I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don’t understand about you. I will not pray for you.” 

Kashgari was en route to New Zealand when he was detained by Malaysian authorities at the request of Interpol because of the tweet. He was then deported to Saudi Arabia, where he was arrested for blasphemy.

Saudi clerics have declared the 23 year-old to be an apostate, and, as Charles Santiago, DAP’s MP for Klang, notes in Free Malaysia Today, “13,000 people have joined a Facebook page titled ‘The Saudi People Demand the Execution of Hamza Kashgari’.”

Regarding the deportation of Kashgari, Santiago says that… read more.

Anonymous might get you thrown in jail

From European Son.

Has the internet protest movement Anonymous gone too far? Well, let’s put it this way: according to media reports, Anonymous’s new online campaign uses spamming. Worse still, click on an innocent looking link from a friend, and you might go to jail. Ignorance, it turns out, is no defense when it comes to “cyber war.”

Frankly, it’s time the authorities shut Anonymous down.

Perhaps it started innocently enough, with people protesting Scientology while wearing the Guy Fawkes mask as seen in the movie V for Vendetta.

A loose network of “hactivists,” Anonymous has supported Wikileaks and democracy protests in the Middle East. But it’s also attempted to hack Facebook — and promises to achieve that goal this year, and to steal account information along with it. And, it also recently hacked the security info site, Stratfor, stealing bank account numbers and cash from those accounts, which it then gave to charities, we’re told.

As European Son reported in November 2011, one Anonymous group also attacked Muslim Brotherhood websites. Anti-MB types might applaud, but the Anonymous hactivists also accused the MB of copying Freemasonry. Whenever you hear “Freemasonry”mentioned in Islamic or Middle Eastern circles you know that the speakers have absorbed the “Zionist Masonic” conspiracy theory of the… read more.

Punk’s not dead — in Islam.

From European Son
The 80s British anarcho-punk band Conflict is hanging in there — like U2, the Rolling Stones, and all the other bands that they no doubt detest. So, as the decades old slogan says, “Punk’s [or ‘Punx’] not dead.” But it’s playing things safe in its old age. On Conflict’s MySpace page there’s a poster for a punk gig with image an of a nun holding a revolver, encircled by the words “Punk illegal” — or “illegal Punk,” perhaps. Only, in Britain, of course, it’s not illegal, and it lost its ability to shock long ago — at least in liberal democracies, that is.

Continue Reading →

The Netherlands: Islamic extremists call for lesbian’s death

From LGBTQ Nation

AMSTERDAM — An Islamist group called for a Muslim lesbian author to be killed andinvaded a discussion on Islam in Amsterdam last week.

A December 8 debate, which included the Canadian Muslim lesbian author Irshad Manji and MP Tofik Dibi on a panel, was disrupted when extremists from the group Sharia4Belgium stormed the event, held at the De Balie theater in Amsterdam. The mob threw eggs and called for Manji’s neck to be broken.

The group of about 20 men and boys arrived halfway through the evening, chanted slogans and pelted the audience with eggs. A police mobile unit had to be called to eject the rioters, and two Belgian men aged 19 and 22 were arrested. Continue Reading →

Paul Weston: Britain now has a different kind of political party

From European Son

Paul Weston (right) on the Michael Coren Show.

Last month Britain’s Independent newspaper reported that the controversial English Defence League movement, which campaigns against radical Islam, had signed a “pact” with the relatively new British Freedom Party. The Independent’s headline suggested that, through the alliance, the EDL was preparing to “storm local elections.” According to the article in the Independent, “The English Defence League plans to field candidates for the first time in local elections after an alliance is finalised between the far-right group and the British Freedom Party, which was set up by disgruntled members of the British National Party.”

Being associated with the EDL street protest movement has helped propel British Freedom into the spotlight. Several, largely critical, reports have been published by smaller British media outlets in the last day or two, and the party’s chairman, Paul Weston, was also recently interviewed on the Canadian Sun TV’s Michael Coren Show.

However, this may not be the only association. British Freedom’s name hints at the loose alliance of “freedom” parties in Europe, whose spiritual head is Dutch MP Geert Wilders.

Mr. Weston, a former member of the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), describes himself as a “classical liberal.” I wanted to ask him about these associations and alliances, and to find out how he sees British Freedom. My interview with Mr. Weston, which took place on December 10, is reproduced below.

 

ES: Congratulations on being on [Canada’s] Sun TV. That’s a pretty big achievement for such a new party. How do you feel the British Freedom Party is coming along?

PW: We’re getting our name out into the mainstream media. We had a piece in The Independent on us. It wasn’t very friendly of course, but it still gets your name out there. People are gradually starting to hear about us, so it’s not bad.

ES: And you’re getting quite a few people joining, I gather.

PS: Yes, yes, we are.

ES: I guess one complaint might be that there are just a lot of these parties out there. So, how is British Freedom different from say UKIP, the Conservatives, the BNP, etc.? Continue Reading →

Double Standards Under British Law

From Hudson NY

Rhea Page savagely attacked by a gang of Muslim girls.

Is it appropriate for a judge to suspend a sentence of a convicted, violent criminal – so that he can walk free instead of serving time – if the criminal is “religious”?

In early 2010 Cherie Blair Q.C., wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair, suspended the sentence of Shamso Miah, who had assaulted and injured a man.

According to the police, on the day of the incident Miah, a Muslim, had left a mosque, and gone to a local bank, where he became embroiled in a disagreement with another man, Mohammed Furcan, whom he then punched in the face. Furcan chased Miah outside and demanded to know why he had been assaulted, at which point Miah punched him to the ground, breaking his jaw. Miah claimed that he had acted in self-defense, but security cameras at the bank showed this to be a lie.

“I am going to suspend this sentence for the period of two years,” Blair told Miah at sentencing, “based on the fact you are a religious person and have not been in trouble before.”

Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society told the Daily Mail that “we strongly feel that this kind of consideration [for a felon’s religion] should not play any part in sentencing. The idea that someone who is religious gets a lighter sentence is outrageous.”

For several decades – especially over the last ten years – British authorities have placed “community cohesion” over equality before the law. Roughly translated, “community cohesion” means that cultures have a higher priority than people. If a policy – or actions — by an authority might possibly “offend” some of the louder members of a… read more.

Qaradawi’s sharia “gradualism” is a threat to liberal democracy

From European Son

During the Balkans war of the 1990s, Alija Izetbegovi?, then Bosnia’s President, was championed by the Western media. For Western reporters, educated in the humanities, Bosnian Muslims were Europe’s new Jews besieged by Serbian nationalists – Europe’s alleged new Nazis. That Izetbegovic had been a longtime member of the Young Muslims, a secretive and once-Nazi affiliated movement, was conveniently overlooked. Izetbegovi?, for the Western press, was more than a victim, and more than a “moderate Muslim.” He was, in the view of reporters embedded in Bosnian hotels, a defender of the multiculturalism that was under attack from the Serbs (Orthodox Christians).

It seems curious today, but probably the only people in the West – certainly in Britain, at least – to challenge this rosy picture were the communists. Early on during the war, one communist organization held an exhibition of photographs of Serbian victims of Bosnian atrocities. It was, of course, ignored by the media.

Significant atrocities were, of course, conducted by Serb forces. Nevertheless, the media, we are led to believe, is composed of “experts.” But, if reporters – allegedly after the truth – ignored photographic evidence of the frequently conducted Bosnian atrocities, and if one or two reporters may even have doctored evidence against the Serbs, universally ignored was Izetbegovi?’s own long term plan to tear down the old (semi-communist) system and establish an Islamic state in its place. Even today… read more.

China’s brutality and Tibetans’ increasing despair

At least 12 Tibetan monks and nuns have set themselves of fire, in acts of self-immolation, this year, in protest against the increasing oppressiveness of the Chinese Government. However, the world has remained virtually silent on the issue.

Speaking from said in Dharmsala, India, Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay of the Tibetan Government in Exile said, “The human rights situation in Tibet has deteriorated so significantly that Tibetans are resorting to desperate and unprecedented Continue Reading →

Veena Malik’s explosive photo shoot

From European Son

Model and actress Veena Malik caused outrage in Pakistan earlier this month after appearing naked (although with the body carefully positioned to preserve modesty) on the cover of FHM magazine.

Part of the reason for the outrage was the nudity; part was the fake tattoo of the initials “ISI” on her arm. The initials refer to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, the now notorious intelligence agency that has been suspected of colluding with al-Qaeda, and of aiding Osama bin Laden near Islamabad.

Ms. Malik announced that she planned to sue FHM, claiming that the photo was doctored, and her clothes removed without her knowledge or consent. FHM deny the charge and say they have video footage of the photo shoot… read more.

Muslim Brotherhood Under Attack by Anonymous Activists

From European Son

The Muslim Brotherhood has received a video warning from the internet activist movement, “Anonymous.” In a video posted on YouTube by The AnonMessage, and titled “Operation Brotherhood Takedown,” a computer-generated voice says that “Anonymous has decided to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood.” It says that Anonymous “shall proceed to dismantle any form of its [the MB’s] organization from the internet. Nothing will stop us. We will show no mercy. Operation Brotherhood Takedown engaged.”  Continue reading!