90 years after the Armenian Genocide

Ninety years ago today, the Ottomans started the pogrom that led to the Armenian Genocide, a topic that is still so controversial that just a few years back Turkey recalled its ambassador to France after the National Assembly there passed a resolution condemning it.

You could show your sympathy for the victims by lighting a candle for them. Atom Ergoyan’s movie Ararat [imdb.com] might prove instructive, both in highlighting the controversial nature of the topic and in understanding how the issue affect Armenians today, even in diaspora, especially in the light of recent China-Japan tensions.

Thanks to The Head Heeb for writing about this – you might want to read his post for links to reports of commemorations throughout the world.

As I wrote on the commemorative site,

To the genocide victims, may your plight be recognized and may the world come to abhor violence…

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Ratzinger is elected as new pope

From the Beeb:

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has been elected as the pope – the head of the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics.

Taking the name Pope Benedict XVI, the 78-year-old German appeared on the balcony of the Vatican palace.

A close friend and confidante of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI is also known as a fellow conservative.

For more that 20 years he was head of the congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican – the Vatican’s guardian of orthodoxy.

The BBC’s William Horsley in Rome says his papacy is sure to continue John Paul II’s strongly traditional interpretation of the Catholic faith, including opposition to abortion, homosexuality, priestly marriage and women priests.

So, no reform for now, it seems the idea is to elect an older Pope who would continue John Paul II’s policies, providing time to digest them, and shelve changes until the next Pope’s reign. Although transitional periods are normally marked by the succesion of someone closer to the center..

An Indonesian pope

An interesting speculative piece in The Guardian put forward the Archbishop of Jakarta, Julius Darmaatmadja, as an outside candidate for the papacy:

Julius Darmaatmadja, 70, Indonesian, archbishop of Jakarta. Darmaatmadja is widely respected in the Muslim community, an important achievement in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. He was outspoken in his opposition to the war in Iraq and has cautioned against linking Islam with terrorism. He is also socially conservative.

Highly unlikely – after all, Francis Arinze from Nigeria would share his good relations with the Muslim community, and Catholics and other Christians are much more on the map in Nigeria than Indonesia, which is 89% Muslim. Then again, the late Pope, John Paul II, came from a then-Communist-ruled country, and he was not even on any watch-list prior to his election.

At the very least, it’s an honour to have been named to such a list. The Guardian’s left-wing heritage might make them more attuned to the Church’s social mission than, say, the New York Times, but as Florence’s Ennio Antonelli said, “The new pope has already been chosen by the Lord. We just have to pray to understand who he is.”.

An Indonesian pope would probably be conservative on reproductive issues (sex education in Catholic schools there are definitely of the abstinence-only form), but tolerant of other faiths and strike a middle ground on matters of economics – fair trade as opposed to anti-globalisation.

When even the Archbishop of Chicago gets quoted thus on contraception:

A reporter asked Cardinal Francis George of Chicago in a news conference last week whether the church would consider approving the use of condoms to prevent AIDS in places like Africa.

“Your solution is to exterminate the poor?” he said, referring to the births that contraception would prevent. “The doctrine of the church isn’t going to change, and so you work with it as best as you can.”

it is probably premature to expect a change on that front, and as such, a papacy that at least focusing more closely on the needs of the developing world should be welcomed by even us liberals.

Guardian Unlimited | Newsblog | Racy greens

A meta-blog entry about the Guardian’s blog entry on the environment. Anyway, of equal interest to the entry itself is the comments that accompanied it .. it appears that they have yet to implement an effective comment spam countermeasure.

Some choice examples below:

my names chad and im a canadian from canada. we have whales in canada this is true, but we also have other types of marine life, such as penguins, and sea bass, they need saving too. all th canadian animals need saving. god bless canada fnyeah fnyeah
Comments posted by: chad at April 14, 2005 02:46 PM

hi im greg, im a canadian too. its good too see people lookin after our beautiful canadian animals. there the most beautiful animals in the world, because they are canadian. my favourite one is the canadian polar bear. hey chad i hope god blesses canada too, but seriouseley, how much more blessing does one country need. maybe we could get together some time over a cup of canadian white tea, and talk about our beautiful homeland? email me.greg
Comments posted by: greg at April 14, 2005 02:52 PM

ps chad.
i bonned your sister
Comments posted by: greg at April 14, 2005 02:55 PM

Reading it just after reading Wikipédia‘s articles on Engrish and Franglais makes it even funnier. Ah, the funny coincidences that life throws your way..