- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 18, 2007

Party over nation

Tony Blankley’s Wednesday Op-Ed column, “Vulture politics,” reminded me of Bombay. Years ago, I read an account of a Parsee funeral. At the turn of the 19th century, the Parsee sect maintained its cemetery on the outskirts of Bombay on a hillside overlooking the Arabian Sea. Prominent at the top of the hill stood the Towers of Silence, a not-insignificant part of the burial grounds. There were five towers in all, each 90 feet in diameter and 25 feet tall. They were plain, white and completely unadorned at their uppermost reaches except for a not-quite-motionless vulture. Centered within each enclosure was an iron grate. The funeral ceremony was described by John L. Stoddard in his “Lectures,” published in 1897.

Paraphrasing his observations, the deceased was carried into a tower by priests; prayers were said; and those in mourning departed. As the priests carried the body toward the grate, the vulture took flight, anticipating the feast below. If this is beginning to sound like Mr. Blankley’s reference to “vulture politics” and Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel’s “cynical view that party interests are more important than national interests,” even at a time of war, I apologize to the Parsee sect. Unfortunately, the analogy deepens.

As the body was placed upon the grate and the white burial robe was removed, the shadow of the descending vultures darkened the body below. The vultures did what vultures do, tearing the flesh from the bones. It was over in 15 minutes, and the bones fell into a crypt below.

The callousness of party over nation is despicable. One hopes Mr. Emanuel and his fellow Democrats do not have a feeding frenzy at the expense of our nation, our president and our brave and honorable servicemen and -women in Iraq. One also hopes that in 2008 Mr. Emanuel’s constituents recognize that their congressman places his party above his country.

If this country wins this war, it will be no thanks to Mr. Emanuel and his antiwar Democrats. If we do not, he and his kind will share a great portion of the blame and the bulk of the country’s disdain.

ROBERT HARGEST

Alexandria, Va.

The Annan plan

This response addresses the Sunday letter “Cyprus divisions” by the representative from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. First and foremost, save for its creator, Turkey, no country in the world recognizes the illegal entity Hilmi Akil claims to represent.

Further, according to our State Department, neither Mr. Akil nor any other so-called representative of the illicit regime is extended diplomatic privilege or recognition by the United States. The Republic of Cyprus is recognized by the world community, including the European Union, of which it is a full member, as the sole legal authority on the island.

Notably, as a result of Turkey’s failure to recognize the Republic of Cyprus and open its ports to Cypriot ships, Turkey’s EU candidacy is at risk. That is the same reason for the continued isolation of the occupation regime, which has refused to allow the Turkish Cypriots to trade with the European Union through the legitimate ports of Cyprus.

The Turkish invasions of Cyprus in July and August 1974 fulfilled the expansionist claims of Turkey, which were expressed as early as 1955, when the “Cyprus is Turkish” terrorist organization was formed with the assistance of the government of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and participated in the anti-Greek pogroms in Constantinople that year.

The Government of the Republic of Cyprus is led by native-born Cypriots and represents native-born Cypriots. It does not derive its authority from any foreign army, unlike the representatives of the Turkish occupation who, propped up by 40,000 Turkish troops, enforce the dictates of Ankara.

Furthermore, the Turkish occupation has imported 150,000 Turkish-born colonists into the occupied territories in violation of the fourth Geneva Convention, proving the offensive and expansionist nature of the Turkish invasions.

In addition, the Turkish occupation notoriously presides over the systematic destruction of more than 500 Greek Orthodox Churches and monasteries of occupied Cyprus as part of its efforts to complete the ethnic cleansing of the territories by removing all traces of their former Greek Cypriot majority and their history.

While destruction of Cyprus’ religious heritage is reminiscent of the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhist statues, curiously absent (perhaps because of lack of coverage?) is the international outcry and condemnation of the destruction of Cyprus’ Christian cultural patrimony.

Finally, the Republic of Cyprus, in a free and democratic atmosphere, rejected the plan of appeasement put fourth by disgraced U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan because of its failure to uphold the democratic standards required by the citizens of Cyprus.

In contrast to the democratic referendum in the Republic of Cyprus, the vote on the Annan plan in the occupied territories of Cyprus was conducted under the auspices of the Turkish military and included the participation of the non-Cypriot colonists imported to change the demographics, who unsurprisingly voted for legalizing their status and ensuring a continued influx of mainland Turks while severely restricting the return of Greek Cypriots expelled from their homes.

THEODORE G. KARAKOSTAS

Hellenic Electronic Center

Boston

Fidel’s useful idiots

Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, Missouri Republican, was reported by Steve Hirsch (“Two in House see no ‘uprising’ after Castro,” World, Wednesday) as saying that U.S. taxpayer dollars could be better spent on cooperative counternarcotics or counterterrorism efforts with Cuba.

Perhaps Mrs. Emerson is not aware that a federal prosecutor was prepared to indict Raul Castro as the head of a major cocaine-smuggling conspiracy in 1993. According to officials from the Department of Justice, Mr. Castro, serving as Cuban defense minister, permitted Colombian drug lords to pay for the use of Cuban waters and airstrips as staging grounds for smuggling runs into the United States in the 1980s and early 1990s. Furthermore, convicted Colombian drug boss Carlos Lehder of the Medellin cartel testified in a 1991 federal trial that he met twice in Havana with Raul Castro to arrange safe passage for cocaine flights over Cuban airspace.

The Castro regime has a long history of supporting terrorism and continues to provide safe haven to about 70 terrorist fugitives from the United States. They include Black Liberation Army leader Joanne Chesimard, one of New Jersey’s most wanted fugitives for killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, and Charlie Hill, a member of the Republic of New Afrika Movement wanted for the hijacking of TWA 727 and the murder of a New Mexico state trooper. A number of Basque ETA terrorists gained sanctuary in Cuba some years ago, as did several Puerto Rican members of the Machetero terrorist group. Furthermore, Mr. Castro continues to maintain ties to several state sponsors of terrorism in Latin America. Colombia’s two largest terrorist organizations, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the National Liberation Army, both maintain a permanent presence on the island.

Raul Castro is also personally responsible for Cuban Air Force MIGs shooting down two small planes flying a humanitarian mission in international airspace. Three American citizens and a Cuban-born American were killed as a result.

FELIPE EDUARDO SIXTO

Chief of staff

Center for a Free Cuba

Washington

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