Inside the Middle East
June 21, 2009
Posted: 1028 GMT

Syria's Tourism Ministry will hold a festival June 28-30 marking the end of the Year of St. Paul the Apostle.

Vatican's official logo for the Year of St. Paul.
Vatican's official logo for the Year of St. Paul.

Pope Benedict XVI announced June 2008 – June 2009 as the "Year of St. Paul" marking 2000 years since the birth of the apostle who, it is believed, converted to Christianity on the road Damascus.

Events will include masses in various churches and monasteries around Syria and joint Islamic-Christian activities.

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Filed under: Christianity •Culture Calendar •Syria

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Alan Seidler   June 23rd, 2009 8:08 am ET

To CNN and the Oppressed People of Iran and the World:

As a somewhat grizzled 61-year-old veteran of the 1960s and early '70s demonstrations for Civil Rights and the anti-Vietnam War movement who has himself undergone both beatings and tear gas attacks by riot police and National Guardsmen, I think that the postponement of the planned general strike scheduled for Iran today is a grave tactical error. Why give these bastards one more minute, let alone until Thursday to plan new ways of countering the people's uprising against the mullahs and their puppets like Ahmedinejad?
As we used to say in the '60s, "Seize the day!"

It also occurs to me that no dictator in modern history has had the sheer gall to call himself the "Supreme Leader". While it is true that both Hitler and Mussolini liked to be referred to as 'the leader" ("Der Fuhrer" or "Il Duce"), these were not their official titles. When the King of Italy invited Mussolini to form a government in 1922, his title was Premier like everyone before of after until his dismissal in 1943. Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and following the death of President von Hindenburg the next year, he held a referendum confirming his assumption of the Presidency as well. As for Josef Stalin, he was content to hide behind the scenes entirely for over half his time in power befor finally emerging as Premier in 1941, but none of these lunatics was egomaniacal enough to add "Supreme" before their titles.

I praise the courage of the Iranian people in daring to chant "Death to Khamenei" on Saturday and believe that individual will soon find that he is not so "Supreme" after all, especially since there is now apparently a move in the Coucil of Experts to topple him from power.

Iran is much too civilized and educated a nation to put up with another 30 or more years of 11th Century barbaric rule. Two-thirds of the population is under 30 years of age, as are the official military forces, should they be called out, in which case I can only hope they will show they courage to lay down their weapons and make common cause with the protestors, which could very well bring about another revolution, showing the world that the use of the word "republic" is meaningless in a country ruled by religious autocrats who deceive the public and themselves that their power comes directly from God.

It is my fondest wish at this moment that the Iranian government be toppled as the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe were in the late 1980s and "90s, that new, fair elections be held and the country becomes a model of true democracy in the region and in the world.

Long live Free Iran! Long live the Peoples' Revolution!


Bill Bartmann   September 2nd, 2009 1:50 pm ET

Hey good stuff...keep up the good work! :)

Darence   May 7th, 2011 1:20 pm ET

Hey, that post leaves me feeling fioolsh. Kudos to you!

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