Jack Chivo: Brotherly love

Two apparently unrelated stories have caught my attention over the past few weeks, but there is a clear thread linking them and other events in the world, which make me wonder.

On October 16, Ontario NDP MP, Irene Mathyssen, rose in the House of Commons requesting that the Canadian government protest the refusal of the state of Israel to grant refugee status to thousands of people from Eritrea seeking asylum there.

I would have liked to be told by Mathyssen why she wanted devout Muslims from Eritrea to find a home among the Jews in Israel.

Didn't she learn from the fiery speeches delivered by her NDP colleagues, especially Deputy Leader Libby Davies, that Israel is a racist, xenophobic, and apartheid state, where Muslims are persecuted, discriminated, and treated like second-class citizens?

Wouldn't it be better for the Muslims from Eritrea to settle in one of their many neighbouring countries, like Yemen, Sudan, Egypt, or Kenya—or, more importantly, in the wealthy Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, just across the Red Sea from their shores—where they could share the same religion, culture, habits, and often language, all with a predominantly Muslim local population?

Especially because the Saudis are so keen to be seen as caring for their Islamic brothers and sisters. With a huge territory barely populated and swimming in black and yellow gold, they could easily give shelter to a few thousands Eritreans seeking a better life.

And why would Eritrean refugees endure what is being described in the world media as the perils of being killed, maimed, raped, and sold as slaves during their journey over two thousands kilometers to Israel? It's often on foot through waters and desolated deserts, as they're forced to pay huge amounts to tribesmen and other shadowy people for safe passage, not granted or guaranteed. They could have asked for refugee status in any of the above mentioned neighbouring countries.

I would have liked to learn all of this from Mathyssen, but she has not replied so far to my polite messages asking the same questions. Should I hold my breath awaiting her reply?

Perhaps the explanation was given this past weekend in a string of horrific stories about the atrocities perpetrated in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). The Buddhist majority in the province of Rakhine has been targeting about 800,000 Rohingya Muslims living in the country for over a century, apparently Muslims of Bengali origin.

There are disputed theories about the origin of these people, but ithey are still considered as noncitizens in the country of Myanmar, and subject to persecution and worse. As reported by the CBC, aerial photos of the area show destruction of thousands of homes and other structures following violent clashes with their Buddhist neighbours; there are reports about tens of thousands survivors fleeing the lands in desperation.

And here comes the second part of the report. The neighbouring country of Bangladesh, home to about 300,000 Rohingya and with a 90 percent Muslim population, has further tightened its land and maritime borders with Myanmar, imposed earlier in June 2012, and is turning away every refugee trying to escape the massacres.

According to international aid organizations, not even one person has been able to enter Bangladesh, leaving them at the mercy of their tormentors. There are additional reports about hundreds, if not thousands who have been killed after being turned back by the Bangladeshi soldiers at the border.

This is despite repeated claims from the leadership of the country that one of their highest duties is solidarity with Muslims around the world. Which might also explain why the potential refugees from Eritrea, along with other more than 60,000 other Muslims who have fled to Israel over the past few years, appear to prefer the "racism" there to the brotherly love of their fellow Muslims, even those from very wealthy countries.

Jack Chivo is a retired journalist living in West Vancouver.

Comments (12) Add New Comment
Right on Jack!
Rating: +9
Steve Jones
Arrrmmm can it be most of the Eritreans are Christian not moslims ?
Rating: +11
Dear Chivo, i just want to say one thing here, as we have told by Israeli Government, there are 60,000 ilegal african refugees living in there, now, from those 60.000 refugees believe me or not around 10.000 of them are real Eritreans, the rest who registered as an Eritreans came from different countries such as Ethiopia, sudan, etc, the reason why they say they are Eritreans is simple and clear, if they claim that they are Eritreans Israeli Government will allow them to stay or the UNHCR will register them as an Political asylum, this is the reason everyone want to be an Eritrean, this is an open secret. so Eritrea case is a hot cake everywhere, my point is why the media's say the refugees in Israel the majority comes from Eritrea, they should investigate and tell the truth to Us.
Rating: +6
Dear Jackie:
The Eritreans seeking asylum are not Muslims, they are Orthodox Christians. They have been Christians for 1700 years! You should attempt to do a basic rerearch on Eritrea's history before you write such a silly article. There goes your premise...faulty thinking!
Rating: -2
Just askingt
What does it matter if they are all Eritrean, or not, or some might be Christians??

The fact is they want to stay in the "racist" and "Apartheid" Israel, rather than living in the other countries in the area. Where they share religion, culture and the language.

Perhaps, Libby Davies, the United Church of Canada, or Rabbi Mivasair, along with their soul mates, should start caring for them and condemn Egypt and the other Muslim states where they are persecuted, robbed and killed. And with organs harvested for wealthy Arab patients.

Will this happen??

Stay posted!!

Rating: +7
Well said Jack!! Why would black, Muslim (or Christian for that matter) refugees want to flee to such a horrible place as Israel? There are many other countries closer to home that have not been condemned continually by the United Nations where they could find shelter. Why would they want to risk there lives to go to Israehell, that bastion of racist hate?

Jack asks many good questions and we and the refugees all know the answer.
Rating: -5
Yeah Jack, why would anyone want to go to a democratic country that doesn't kill you because you don't want to be in their religion? Or why would anyone want to go to a country that respects the rights of people different than them - you know, christians, gays, etc. And anonymouse, you call Israel a bastion of racist hate - sounds like most of the muslim countries instead. And quit being a racist yourself.
Rating: -5
Jack C.
Many questions, no answers!!

What is suprising, no one seems to care about the Muslims in Myanmar, hundreds of thousands, killed, maimed, raped and dispossesed!

While their "broothers" in nieghbouring Bangladesh, rather than offering them help and shelter are waiting with machine guns to send them back to the killing fields.

Where is the condemnation from the United Church, or ALL the churches??

As long as they cannot blame the Americans, the Canadians, the British or the Israelis, it does NOT matter to them!!
Rating: -7
Bobo, I was being sarcastic! I was just mimicking the so-called anti-Israel activists and Jew haters. Israel is the opposite of what I said and that is why the Africans are fleeing there and not to their immediate neighbours.
Rating: -11
Wes Druer
Dear Mr. Chivo, perhaps you should do your homework a little better. MP Mathyssen rose to PRESENT A PETITION, you know...from constituents...the people who elect MPs. Like MPs are supposed to do. It was not a debate on foreign affairs, or question period, it was presenting a petition. It does not mean the MP either supports or does not support the request, it is simply bringing forward an issue a minimum of 25 eligible petitioners requested.
Your post is a sloppy disservice to democracy.
Rating: +3
Jack C.
I did my homework, dear Wes Druer.

And I have followed the political landscape on three continents as a journalist for over five decades.

When any MP presents a petition, from the many they receive, they make a moral decision. To make it public, or not!!

Otherwise, if 25 "eligible petitioners" were to demand that gay people should be put in jail, or that people born in Jamaica be send home, do you think Irene M. or any other elected official would read it aloud in the Chamber??

Unless they were on some drugs!!

In this case, it fitted her agenda to present it!!!!

I know for a fact that people in her riding, including many immigrants, are very upset with the massacres in Syria, the killing of Christians in Nigeria, Kenya, Iraq or Indonesia, but no petition was worth Ms. Mathyseen's time.

Why not??

BTW. After my column, her office contacted me only pretending that they have never received my message. While I have a "receipt" that it was opened there.

I wrote back attaching my original letter. What would they find now as an excuse??

Would you speculate??

Rating: +11
Perhaps most of the refugee claimants from Eritrea were Christian not Muslim. You present it such that any reasonable reader comes away thinking 100% and/or most are devout 'Muslims'.

Instead of pushing your 'view' (agenda) and/or Anti-Muslim /Islam rhetoric can you present more fact based pieces?

There are 1.3 Billion + Muslims in Canada 1 Million+ the vast majority do not advocate War and/or Violence.

Yes a small proportion of self proclaimed Religous 'Muslims', Chritians and Jews advocate Violence and Genocide but most of us don't label them as representing the peoples of their respective religions.

Every Religious group has a small handful of nut bars that in no way shape of form represent the mainstream.

There are Anti-Christian hatred in Israel and even from Jews living here in the West which would never be against Jews why so in Israel and sanctioned by the Government of Israel?

DISHONOURING Christian religious symbols is an old religious duty in Judaism. Spitting on the cross, and especially on the Crucifix, and spitting when a Jew passes a church, have been obligatory from around A. D. 200 for pious Jews. In the past, when the danger of anti-Semitic hostility was a real one, the pious Jews were commanded by their rabbis either to spit so that the reason for doing so would be unknown, or to spit onto their chests, not actually on the cross or openly before the church.

The increasing strength of the Jewish state has caused these customs to become more open again but there should be no mistake: The spitting on the cross for converts from Christianity to Judaism, organized in Kibbutz Sa’ad and financed by the Israel government is an act of traditional Jewish piety. It does not cease to be barbaric, horrifying and wicked because of this! On the contrary, it is worse because it is so traditional, and much more dangerous as well, just as the renewed anti-Semitism of the Nazis was dangerous, because in part, it played on the traditional Anti-Semitic past.

Source Wiki...

Main article: Religion in Eritrea

Eritrea has two dominant religions, Christianity and Islam. Various approximations have estimated that 50 to 62.5% are Christians (mostly followers of Orthodox Christianity and, to a lesser extent, Roman Catholicism) and 36.5 to 50% of the population is Sunni Muslim.[62] The Christians are primarily members of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church, which is the local Oriental Orthodox church, while considerable groups of Roman Catholics (including Italian Eritreans), Protestants, and other denominations also exist. Most Muslims follow Sunni Islam.

Yes I'm a Christian that believes in peace.
Rating: +9
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