Why has the West been so supportive of Palestinian nationalism, yet so reluctant to support the Kurds, the largest nation in the world without a state?
The Kurds have been instrumental in fighting the Islamic State (ISIS); have generously accepted millions of refugees fleeing ISIS to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG); and embrace Western values such as gender equality, religious freedom, and human rights. They are also an ancient people with an ethnic and linguistic identity stretching back millennia and have faced decades of brutal oppression as a minority. Yet they cannot seem to get sufficient support from the West for their political aspirations.
The Palestinians, by contrast, claimed a distinct national identity relatively recently, are less than one-third fewer in number (in 2013, the global Palestinian population was estimated by the Palestinian Authority to reach 11.6 million), control land that is less than 1/15th the size of the KRG territory, and have not developed their civil society or economy with nearly as much success as the Kurds. Yet the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, and other international bodies have all but ignored Kurdish statehood dreams while regularly prioritizing Palestinian ambitions over countless other global crises. more >>
Maryam Naghash Zargaran, an Iranian Christian woman who is being imprisoned for her faith, is on a hunger strike after judicial authorities forced her back into jail and refused her an extended leave permit for medical treatment.
Mohabat News reported that Zargaran's family has confirmed news of her indefinite hunger strike, revealing that she seeks an "immediate and unconditional release."
Zargaran has been held inside Evin Prison's Women's Ward since July 15, 2013, punished for her Christian faith and for helping Saeed Abedini, an American pastor who was held hostage for three and-a-half years in prison in Iran before finally being released in January. more >>
An Iraqi bishop has criticized the nations of the world for not working together to help suffering Iraqi Christians, and said that only education can defeat the Islamic State terror group.
"Our people are suffering too much," said Bishop Mar Schlemon Warduni of the Chaldean Christians in an interview with East County magazine.
"Nobody loves them, nobody takes care of them. The children, the young people, they have no future. They finish studying and they have no job. Always, we cry, all over the world, for those children." more >>
As the Islamic State will not be represented at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the terrorist organization has reportedly staged its own version of the international games, requiring hesitant residents and children to participate in a set of organized contests in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar.
Photographs posted on Twitter by TerrorMonitor.org show children and young adults participating in various party games on a turf soccer field in front of as many as 100 spectators.
One photo shows participants playing a game of tug-of-war, while another photo shows men playing a game of musical chairs. A third photo shows children, as young as 5 years old, participating in a balloon blowing contest. more >>
A Muslim man in the Iraqi city of Balad sacrificed his own life by hugging an Islamic State terror group militant who was wearing a suicide vest, saving hundreds of lives in the process.
India Times reported that the man, Najih Shaker Al-Baldawi, was at Balad's Sayyed Mohammad Shrine when he witnessed the IS jihadist making his way toward the crowd of people. Al-Baldawi stopped the jihadist from entering the shrine, and when he saw that the attacker was wearing an explosive-laden vest, he hugged him, and took the direct brunt of the explosion.
The suicide attack was still very deadly, leading to 37 deaths according to a Joint Operations spokesman in Iraq, but the man's actions potentially saved hundreds of others. more >>
A remarkable archaeological discovery in Israel could shed light on the mystery of the Philistines, a villainous group of people mentioned throughout the Bible whose origins have remained unknown.
The National Geographic reported that a cemetery with human remains was found on the southern coast of Israel outside the walls of the ancient Ashkelon, a major Philistines city that thrived between the 12th and 7th centuries B.C.
The cemetery contains the remains of over 211 bodies, dated from the 11th to 8th centuries B.C. more >>