Christmas Brings More Attacks On Christians
On Christmas morning, Muslim radicals launched an attack on a Christian church killing as many as 34 in Iraq. The New York Times reports that a bomb detonated after the end of Christmas prayers as the worshipers were leaving the church. The victims, most of them Christians, included women and children.
Nina Shea of National Review laments the fact that the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa and even in Asia has been largely ignored by political and cultural leaders.
“In a major address in November, Cardinal Timothy Dolan focused on persecuted Christians. He called for prayer and urged his listeners to “insist that our country’s leaders make the protection of at-risk Christians abroad a foreign-policy priority for the United States.”
“Few have heeded his call. Representative Wolf’s bill for the creation of the office of a special envoy for religious minorities languishes in the Senate for a third year. Many more American voices — religious and political — are needed to raise awareness of this religious-freedom crisis of historic magnitude,” she says.
North Korean Purges Were Personal, Says Analyst
Yuriko Koike writes in the Project Syndicate that the most chilling aspect of the purges was how particularly personal they were in nature.
“And the bloodletting has been extremely personal: In August, Kim Jong-un reportedly ordered the execution by firing squad of an ex-girlfriend and other members of her musical ensemble; the killings are said to have been carried out in front of their families. Elsewhere in the communist world, such murderous purges were renounced long ago, first in the Soviet Union by Khrushchev, following his denunciation of Stalin, and then in China by Deng Xiaoping, following his rehabilitation and return to power in the late 1970’s. This “reform” did not make these regimes any more beneficent or efficient, but it did bring a degree of stability and predictability to their behavior. North Korea, always the least predictable of totalitarian communist states, remains in a twilight world,” Koike, Japan’s former defense minister and national security adviser and currently is a member of the National Diet.
South Sudan Moves Closer To The Edge
Escalating violence in recent weeks and reports of mass graves has resulted in a decision by the U.N. Security Council to approve 5,500 more troops as South Sudan leans toward chaos. At the precipice of another civil war and exacerbating the situation is the dissolution of any kind of national unity and cohesion that existed after the end of a two-decade civil war.
“Much of that hard-fought cohesion is being undermined by leaders now using ethnic polarization as a force to mobilize. Most concerning, violence along ethnic lines is rising. Reports of Nuer being targeted by state security forces abound. Other reports of Dinka being dumped in a mass grave in the rebel-controlled oil town of Bentiu have further inflamed tensions. In many cases, the spread of these stories— whether true or not—has only incited more violence by South Sudanese against their neighbors. All involved must be careful about how they discuss and frame the debate. Using ethnicity for political ends is a dangerous game that will engulf South Sudan if not contained,” write John Pendergast and Akshaya Kumar of the Enough Project.
The Enough Project has called on the US to take the following actions:
- Support the creation of safe havens and press for unrestricted humanitarian access.
- Facilitate mediation in the hope of attaining a political solution.
- Enhance international public diplomacy and multilateral cooperation toward solutions.