Segacs's World I Know

Blog about politics (mideast and pro-Israel, Canadian, local Montreal, and some on Concordia University), world events, and random thoughts.


The World I Know is updated on a semi-regular basis by segacs.

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Blog on hiatus

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm on a blogging break. A fairly extended blogging break, most likely. Not yet sure when I'll be back, but I recommend checking out some of the links on the blogroll for your reading in the meantime. Thanks for your patience.

(By the way, to cut down on spam, I've temporarily suspended comments.)



Where I am

I'm in limbo.

I don't like to discuss my real life on the blog, so I won't go into details. Suffice to say that there are a lot of very big changes going on in my life right now, and I've been too preoccupied to blog. I'll update more when I can.



Groundhog Day

According to the Canadian groundhogs, it will be an early spring. Neither Wiarton Willie nor Shubenacadie Sam saw their shadows.

It's been one of the warmest winters on record, so I can't say the news comes as a surprise. Frankly, I'm getting annoyed. This weather is wreaking havoc with my ski season, not to mention turning the roads into giant potholes.



What's missing from this story?

See if you can spot what crucial fact is missing from this Reuters piece on how the Palestinians are appealing to surrounding Arab states for aid money:
Saudi Arabia and other Arab states are expected to speed money to the Palestinian Authority within days to help it pay its employees after Israel halted tax payments, Palestinian officials said.

[ . . . ]

Hamas, which has carried out nearly 60 suicide bombings since a Palestinian uprising began in 2000, trounced Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's long-dominant Fatah movement in the January 25 parliamentary election.

In a joint statement issued in Islamabad, Islamic allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia urged the world to accept Hamas's victory and "avoid premature judgments and hasty conclusions."

Hamas has urged foreign donors to maintain aid but says it could still find other sources of funding in the Arab world. It has sent a delegation on a tour of Arab countries to urge them to keep the money flowing.

Unemployment in the Palestinian territories runs high, at 22 percent, and half the Palestinian population lives in poverty. In Gaza, many Palestinians live on an average of $2 a day.
Let's see... we've got the requisite reference to Palestinian poverty, to Israel's withholding of financial transfers, and to the election results and their aftermath. The implication, of course, is that it's Israel's fault that the Palestinians are living in poverty.

What's missing? That's right: no reference whatsoever to the fact that the billions of dollars of aid that have poured into the Palestinian coffers to-date used to finance terrorism, urge suicide attacks, build explosives and rockets, purchase weapons, and train militias. Oh yeah, and to line the pockets of the Palestinian Authority, and to finance Suha Arafat's shopping habits. And no mention of the fact that Israel, if it were to release the money, would be contributing financially to attacks on its own citizens.

And the high Palestinian unemployment? No mention of the fact that, prior to 2000, unemployment was much lower because so many Palestinians were working in Israel and crossing the border daily without any problems. Nothing about how the chosen strategy of violence forced Israel to close these borders and therefore cost so many Palestinians their livelihood. No reference to how all the jobs were in Israel because the Palestinians haven't built any industry, infrastructure or opportunity - in short, necessary ingrediants for a sustainable state. Or how, despite claiming to want statehood, it doesn't seem to have occurred to the Palestinians that a viable state can't live forever on handouts. It's so much easier to talk about destroying Israel than to talk about actually building a state, isn't it?

And it's more convenient to imply that Israel is to blame for Palestinian poverty than it is to tell the truth, I guess.



Hey, maybe Charest should just call a referendum right now

A new poll shows a big drop in support for sovereignty in the wake of the federal election:
The CROP poll for the La Presse newspaper showed only 34 percent of Quebecers would vote "yes" in a referendum on whether to split from the rest of Canada, down steeply from 43 percent before last week's federal election. The number who would vote "no" rose to 58 percent from 49 percent.

The newspaper linked the drop in support for separatism to the election result. The Conservatives beat the Liberals, who had been badly hurt by a corruption scandal in Quebec which damaged the image of federalism in the province.

The Conservatives promised to be more sensitive to Quebec's demands for more freedom inside Canada. They won 10 of the provinces' 75 seats, up from none before the election.
That's all very well and good right now. But the Tories haven't even taken office yet. Just wait until they have a chance to break those promises. By the time the next provincial election rolls around, I suspect sovereignty support will be up again.

I think Charest should call a referendum immediately, with a question phrased such that a "no" vote would put the matter to rest for another, say, 50 years. Such a strategy would catch the separatists off guard and take advantage of the timing quite nicely. Not to mention being a big waste of time and money. But hey, that'll happen anyway, right? So why not head it off at the pass?

Update 02/02: CROP now says the polling numbers were wrong; it should've said that 37% of people would vote "yes" and 55% would vote no. CROP apologized and blamed "data compilation error" for the incorrect figures. This still indicates a drop in support for sovereignty, albeit a smaller one.



Pet Peeves

  • Washing dishes

  • Parking space thieves

  • How the less people know, the more arrogant they tend to be

  • Freezing mist

  • Hollywood award shows

  • Neighbours who sing off-key in the shower at 6am on Sundays

  • Mornings, in general
Just to name a few...



Hamas funding choke? Don't count on it.

The US will cut off funds. The EU might make some noise but will probably keep the money flowing in the end. And Hamas has plenty of other funding sources.

Money's tight for humanitarian causes. But to kill Jews? They'll be lining up to write the cheques.




I'm getting tired of the comments war going on in the thread below. SSDD. So here's a thread for you all to talk about... um... cats. Yeah, cats. That'll do.

What is it about bloggers and cats, anyway? I don't own a cat - never have, never will (though I did have a pet bunny rabbit). Some cats are cute, but they seem pretty anti-social for the most part. Especially the ones that hiss and claw. I guess I'm just not a cat person.

And yet it seems that there are more photos of cats on blogs all over the web than there is, well, pretty much anything else. The term "catblogging" is a longtime staple in the blogosphere, but I've never heard anyone refer to, say, "dogblogging", or "fishblogging".

Something to ponder.



Hamas's election "victory"

With the victory of Hamas, the media is awash with clich�s such as that the Palestinians have chosen "terror over peace". As if Fatah was a true peace partner, committed to reconciliation and the middle ground.


The Palestinian people have chosen one form of terror over another form of terror. The only difference between Hamas and Fatah is that Hamas is open about its aims, while Fatah carries out terror attacks and then pays lip service towards "condemning" them. The people chose Hamas because it is perceived as less corrupt than Fatah, not because of any failings of the peaceful alternative. There was never a peaceful alternative.

The real question is, now what? There will be an element who insists on turning a blind eye to the truth and fooling itself that Hamas will reform, suddenly giving up its weapons because it's got a role in government. These are the same people who keep insisting that there's been a truce effective this past year.

The United States will refuse to deal with Hamas... maybe. Expect a lot of waffling on that one in the coming months. Europe will deal with them, probably with lip service about how much they've "changed". Again, these are the same people who repeatedly insist that there's a truce.

For Israel - dare I say - little is likely to change. Negotiations were a non-starter even with Abbas, and Israel will still have to prioritize security measures in defense of its citizens, just as before. Maybe there will be less hypocricy now. But don't count on it.

Tim Blair has a roundup of reactions. Jonathan has some day-after musings. And, as usual, Meryl has lots to say.



The Palestinian elections

Normally, this is a topic on which I'd have an awful lot to say. Right now, however, I don't have the time to blog it. Another busy blogger, Allison, links to The Head Heeb for some analysis, number-crunching, and thoughts.

There's little I could add that isn't being said all over the media or the blogosphere already. So I'll just say this: While the results aren't yet in and the implications are still to come, today's election was both good news and bad news: Good news that democracy, of a sort, is beginning to take root for the Palestinians. Bad news that so many are flocking to candidates bent on extending the self-destructive path of violence and rejectionism that got the Palestinians to where they are today. After all, Hamas's main goal is Israel's destruction, and despite what the world media is saying, Fatah - far from being a force for peace or moderation - is not much better in the terrorism department. It kind of makes our Canadian party choices seem a whole lot more attractive by comparison.



A shout-out to the folks over at the Election Predicton Project, who were correct in over 90% of their seat predictions, and who were closer in total seat count projections than any of the big pollsters. Take that, Decima and Ipsos-Reid!