**************DEVACHEA NAVAN ANI GOEMCARANCHEA MANNANK******************* This blog is an attempt to delve into the traditions, heritage, culture, lore and ambience that spawned an enigma. A state of mind. And to perchance perform a perfunctory probe into the psyche of the Goemcar. ************************************************************************************************* GOEMCAR: Any person anywhere in the world - Goemcar rogtacho!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Khorjuem ani Khorjuemcaranchi Canni

PANORAMIC Corjuem forms a dainty bead in the river-rimmed necklace of the emerald islands, which are enveloped by silvery rivers or their tributaries, comprising Goa’s rich heritage and natural grandeur. The little known island, an appendage of Aldona village in the Bardez taluka, is bedecked with undulating landscape and lies just about 10 km-drive east of Mapusa town. The Mapusa river, which emerges from the jungles of Dumacem and Amthane, drains itself in the Mandovi river at Penha de France, which hitherto had set apart Corjuem from mainland Aldona.

Every Goan island has a date with country-crafts and flat-bottomed ferries. The crafts of either kind has sailed into the pages of Corjuem's history with the advent of the lovely FCONS-built bridge, whose foundation was laid on 30 May, when Shripad Y Naik was a Union Minister of State for Roads, Transport and Highways. The Rs.20.70 crore cable stayed, 235-metre bridge, which is the fourth of its type in the country, has curtailed the drive between Bicholim and Panaji by 6-8 kilometres and by 15 km between Aldona and Panjim.

The landmark's pylon rises 45 mt in height, and is lit with floodlights. It is already a part of the tourist's list of attractions. The foundation was done using a hydraulic rig, for the first time in Goa, for speedy construction, which eventually saw that it was completed ahead of schedule.

Within about 1000 metres after landing from the ferryboat, the first landmarks that greets a visitor is the white-washed chapel dedicated to Mae de Deus (Mother of God). The chapel was constructed in 1854 by Joao Felipe Ferreira from Divar, at his own cost plus some contribution from the islanders.

Corjuem, however, falls under the jurisdiction of the Aldona parish with St Thomas as the patron saint. The earlier chapel of St Anthony was in the Corjuem Fort. The Catholics celebrate two main festivals, that of patroness Mae de Deus on the first Sunday after Easter and the second one of St Anthony on June 13.The two-mile long and a little less than half-a-mile fertile island is home to industrious people who culture bewitching greenery by raising the vharvem of fragrant flowers, tendlim, chillies and piao, and rice. However, with constantly breaching bunds, river water winds its way into paddyfields and even spoiling fresh water wells. Some of the older people believe that the water table reduced and that the river water must be seeping inland.

The island sends three elected panchas to the Aldona-Corjuem panchayat. Corjuem comprises eleven vadde: Cuxem, Primeiro Vaddo, Segundo Vaddo, Podwal, Sinkeri, Colomb, Baga, Barazon, Novi Khazon and Khursachi Muddi. It is at Khursachi Muddi that new houses and bungalows have sprung up recently, fuelled largely by Gulf returned wealth. Otherwise, hardly any housing space is available amidst the 350 odd houses, with a population of around 2000. The people once earned their livelihood by raising vegetables in the traditional vharvem. With the increase in the mining activity at neighbouring Poira in Bicholim, menfolk sought employment there. Others found jobs in government departments and private companies elsewhere in Goa, or travelled to the Gulf to better their future.

The entire island once belonged to a big landlord named Ferreira, who lived in a grand mansion with an impressive arched entrance, seen from the erstwhile ferry point. Since then the Ferreira house has changed ownership and now houses the Indian Overseas Bank. As and when the locals could afford, they purchased their small plot and built a house. However, Fr Condilac Olegario Nazare, the founder of the Mae de Deus High School, is said to have obtained plots in a sort of auction held by the Ferreira family, and made it easier for other needy landless islanders to own their plots.

According to Fr Moreno de Souza, sj, (Bardezcheo Igorzo), the island’s name originates from Khor+Zunvem (khor as in khorik=deep or lower, zunvem=island). But one elderly man, we came across, maintained that it could, in fact, be khor or tough and hot-headed. He remembers hearing his older folk talk about the locals burning several country-crafts because a canoe-man had refused to ferry some islanders across the river.

Some lovely houses grace the riverine countryside. Taking a left turn near the chapel, the narrow road heads towards the largest and historic landmark, the Corjuem fort. Caetano de Mello e Castro had snatched it from the Bhonsles in 1705, whereafter it was rebuilt. The students of the Military School were trained in maneuvers at the fort, which was armed with four guns until the beginning of 1800. Since 1834 the fort remained abandoned. Recently, however, the quadrangular structure, which would serve as a superb amphitheatre with at its centre, has witnessed some repairs.

Once frequently comes across traditional fishing contraptions called mannxeo (dykes), those of which on the east overlook the massive iron-ore dumps beyond Poira. The local MLA, Dayanand Narvekar, seems to have ensured that even the narrowest lane, leading sometimes to almost nowhere-in-particular, has been tarred. Assonora provides water to Corjuem, which saw the earliest telephone connection some time in the year 1999.

The Comunidades of Corjuem are: Boa Esperanca and Fraternal. As in Aldona, the people of Corjuem are wellknown singers, mestre Tavares being an outstanding musician. It is a place peopled by simple, rural folks. Bishop Vincent Castellino and Fr Francisco Pinto are the only two names most people recall, when asked about the illustrious sons.

The age-old cultural pattern had wellknown customs like vor, xim, xiro marunk, etc, which were in vogue during the grand weddings in yesteryears, have gradually lost their glitter except for the wedding portonnem. During the Sao Joao feast, however, the menfolk still reain the tradition of jumping the wells, through only in the Cushem ward, where the dalis (trays laden with fruits and bottle of feni) are being offered on the occasion of wedding or birth in the family to the Sao Joao revellers.

The Hindu community worships principally at Shri Sateri Panchayatan Praxn temple. According to “Hindu Temples and Deities” by Rui Gomes Pereira, "The deities of the island of Corjuem were transferred to Poira in the Bicholim. The main deity is Malambadevi Satpurusha, who has six affiliate temples. Its mahajans, divided into two groups, belong to the Vaisha and Sudra-Maratha classes.”

The Mae de Deus High School and the Corjuem Gymkhana Club, which was founded by the islanders in 1946, figure among the important institutions. As far as health care is concerned, the village has no resident doctor, but there is a Health Centre, with a regular nurse while the Doctor visits once a week. Hence Aldona, across the river, is the closest place for healthcare and in case of emergencies.

Farewell to ferries

Country-craft was the sole mode of primitive transport to and from the island until the flat-bottom ferries were introduced sometime around 1973. Unlike during the post-bridge days, the daily newspaper, fish, vegetables and virtually everything remained at the Aldona bazaar. The fisherwomen, however, used to move from house to house to sell prawns and fish caught at the various mannxio (dykes).

Way back in time, a band of robbers who had attacked the Aldona church, had landed at the Sinkere tar in Corjuem. A local legend says a small boy met the robbers and advised them to abandon their ill-conceived mission. The proceeded on adamantly only to be greeted by misfortune. Aldonkar womenfolk beat them black and blue and some of the infitrators lost their lives while those who jumped into the river to swim away got washed away.

Joel D’Souza

in Goacom

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bov Manadik Alvaro Loyola Furtado - Niz Goemcar

There comes a time in everyone’s life when the inevitable call comes knocking, sooner or later. As the Grim Reaper arrives, even the brave and the bold must surrender! Beneath death’s black veil, memories are soon forgotten; but there are those few who never really die. Why?

Their lives were sown in toil, and bore much fruit. Such lives stand forever as a living monument for posterity to emulate. Such men don’t die. Late Dr Alvaro de Loyola Furtado, former MLA and President of the then Salcete Municipality, whose 25th death anniversary we observe today is one such.
After his primary studies, young Álvaro joined the Rachol Seminary, where his character was moulded in the best possible manner. In a while, he entered the prestigious St Joseph’s European High School in Bangalore. He passed Inter-Science in the first class securing distinctions and prizes from St Aloysius College. He graduated in Medicine from the Madras Medical College in 1941.
During World War-II, he joined the Indian Medical Service and was in the South East Asia Command for four years, holding the rank of Captain. He was awarded the Burma Campaign Medal for meritorious service. On returning to his peaceful Chinchinim in 1946, he started medical practice, building a large clientele of the rich and poor alike. He keenly tended to the sick. His patients literally worshipped him. He often stirred from bed in the dead of night to provide the healing balm, never pausing to look back for any monetary rewards for his myriad errands of succour.
VERSATILE FAMILY: Dr Álvaro descended from a lineage of illustrious sons of Goa - the Loyolas of Orlim. He was the great grandson of that political thinker and leader, journalist and physician, Dr José Inácio, an intellectual heavyweight, a perceptive editor of A Índia Portuguesa, the mouthpiece of his political party, Partido Indiano. Loyola’s party fought valiantly and fearlessly for civil liberties, much before the dawn of the modern freedom struggle. Despite his large practice and a broad spectrum of interests, the political fire within Dr Álvaro was always at flash point. As founder member of the United Goans (UG), he successfully brought about the merger of four political parties into one. Contesting the elections for Goa’s first Assembly under the banner of UG, he romped home with a thumping majority. In the floor of the august House, his contribution to the proceedings was enormous. He was one of the few who thoroughly did his homework, before he stood to raise a point. Dr Álvaro was a member of the ‘Congresso Provincial de Goa’ and also a member of the delegation that met Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, to apprise him of the aspirations of Goans, for a separate political identity.
SOCIAL WORK: As a citizen, Dr Alvaro was in the forefront of all the progressive and democratic forces. As Mayor, he rendered invaluable service pro bono publico. He delineated a fine network of municipal roads, re-oriented the municipal finances, re-structured its rules and regulations and pressed forward with the construction of the famous Assolnã Bridge over River Sal, by bringing to the notice of the Portuguese Overseas Minister, Commander Sarmento Rodrigues its usefulness and importance in the socio-economic set-up of South Goa.
As a social worker, he was actively involved with the Tuberculosis Health Cell and with the Hospicio. He also rose to become the Chief of ‘Ordem dos Médicos da Índia Portuguesa.’
LITERARY CONTRIBUTION: Dr Alvaro took to journalism from a young age. Fluent in Konkani, Portuguese, English and Latin, he made use of these languages to embellish his style of writing. He was a sharp ‘polemista’, a clear thinker and a prolific writer.
Little wonder that thousands thronged to Chinchinim to pay their last respects to their doctor, friend, philosopher, and guide, August 23, 1981, when his body was laid to rest. But Dr Álvaro proved that death is not the great leveler. In death, he was as resplendent as he was in life!
As the saying in Portuguese goes: “o culto dos mortos é o culto dos vivos” (as we worship the dead, we worship the living themselves). To this great son of Goa who lit a flame that will blaze for long, let’s bow in reverent homage, and pledge to live the way he lived.


In the Herald

COMMENT: Dotor Francisco Colaco has penned a worthy obituary to a worthy son of Goem. Today the state of Goem needs another Alvaro. May his soul rest in peace and may Goem one day soon awaken to the haven that he aspired for it.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Original Konknni a.k.a. Concannim

The Origins of Konkani Language
by Krishnanand Kamat

Due to the turbulent events, the Konkani community has fragmented and spread throughout the west coast of India from the Saraswat desh. Their language, Konkani had to suffer the same indignation. The Marathi community called it a dialect of Marathi and did not recognize it. The Konkani language did not receive the respect or status it deserved and it resulted in lack of literature or patronage of the language. Only Konkanis are to be blamed for this helplessness. The Konkani writers and scholars who enriched Kannada, Marathi, and English literatures have not done anything for their mother-tongue. Fortunately three events that occurred in recent years seem promising. First, the Central Literary Academy of India has declared that Konkani is an independent language and has set up honors and awards for recognition of works in Konkani. Second, we have recognized Goa as a state and have established Konkani as its official language. Even the government of Karnataka has
established an organization for Konkani culture. Third, the ground-breaking discoveries in the Saraswati river valley have rejuvenated interest in Saraswats and their heritage. It is hoped that at least now the Konkani language will find its long due patronage and readership.

The origins of Konkani language
The Aryans who migrated to India familiarized themselves in North India and established several languages based on the local influence. Depending on their geographical dispersion you can categorize two distinct groups. Punjabi, Rajastani, Gujarati, and Hindi evolved from Prakrit of Magadha and Sindhi Maithili, Assamese, Bengali originated from Shouraseni Prakrit. Konkani belongs to the second group, and hence some scholars regard Bengali or Assamese as the mother of Konkani language. However, in reality the three are siblings of the same (now nonexistent) intermediary language. The arguments on the matter continue to generate a lot of response among linguists. Some historians argue that it was the language of Aryans who came further south to the Konkan, and hence the name Konkani. The most important point to note here is that Konkani is first seen in the Konkan area. Early adopters used the Brahmi script, but eventually due to the local influence, Nagari (aka Devanagari)
was used for the benefit of much larger audience.
1187 First Konkani inscription 1209 Jnaneshwari is written in Konkani 1548 Portuguese destroy all Konkani works 1808 Konkani Bible is published 1932 Portuguese start Konkani school 1987 Konkani declared as a National language
There has been always sibling rivalry amongst Konkanis and the Marathis. The Marathis have condemned Konkani as, ".. a branch of Marathi; it has neither script nor literature; it is not a language." But, history has established that even when Konkani language has reached maturity, the Marathi language was not even born. There is an inscription written in Konkani dated 1187 A.D. whereas even the earliest Marathi manuscript are of 16th century. It is no surprise that when poet Jnaneshwar wanted to create his masterpiece Jnaneshwari, he had to take up study of Konkani which was very prevalent (1209 A.D.) After 16th century both Marathi and Konkani have taken their own developmental course and it is natural that today they appear as two separate languages.

The Konkanis who settled in Goa engaged in creative literature and defined grammar for the language. Meanwhile, the Portuguese were land hungry and had started occupying the Indian west coast. They invaded the land of Gomanthak (Goa) and started harassing the Konkanis. These religious fanatics wanted to fill the entire universe with followers of Jesus Christ and forced their own language, customs, and religion on the residents. They even passed a law banning Konkani. In fact, they burned all the Konkani literature available at the time in 1548 A.D. The Konkanis became cultural orphans. The foreigners burnt alive the Konkanis who did not accept Christianity and forcefully converted the weaker sections of the society. They even changed their names to Christian names. So to preserve their identity the Konkanis had to migrate to different parts. This is the single most reason why Konkani has so many dialects; those who went to different parts of India were influenced by their
local languages. In Vengulra, Sawantavadi, and Ratnagiri, they adopted Marathi, and Malavani was formed. In south and north Kanaras, Konkani language was influenced by Kannada, and in Kerala, the Malayalam words were integrated to the language.
In spite of persecution, the Konkanis hung on to their culture and the Portuguese thought it was better for them to learn Konkani in order to convert the Konkanis. They called Konkani the language of the Brahmins, language of the Kanarese, language of Goan Brahmins, etc. The clergy translated the Christian religious texts to Konkani with the help of the converts and a new form of Konkani literature was born. They used Roman script for the translations. Since they translated word by word, there was no beauty or literary styles. Even the sentence construction and grammar were distorted. In 16th century, this grammar was legalized by publication of a Konkani grammar book. In 17th century in order to popularize Christianity, "Christa-Purana" was published which glorified the God just as the Hindu texts did. Poems, dictionaries, autobiographies of the priests were also published. In 1808 Konkani bible was published and distributed. Even today about 500 books of the
period are available for study and research. The Portuguese government started a Konkani school in 1932.
But the Hindus of Goa were devastated from the attack on their tradition and culture, and resisted the forced Christianized Konkani. They preferred the neighboring Marathi, and started creating works in Marathi. Konkanis who migrated to Maharashtra easily took to Marathi. Even the religious heads (Mathadeeshas) also started writing in Marathi. So Konkani language lost ground in its own homeland. However, those who migrated to the south preserved their lifestyle and for this, the Konkanis should be ever grateful to the people of South Karnataka.

Map of South India
If one has to see the diversity of today's Konkani language, one should travel the Indian west coast. In Bombay, they speak in Marathi accent whereas in Konkan, they stretch the words so that no outsider can understand!. The Hindus of Goa liberally use the Portuguese words whereas the Christians use it as if it's a Portuguese dialect. In Karwar and Ankola, they emphasize the syllables, and in Kumta-Honavar, they use consonants in abundance. The Konkani spoken by Nawayatis of Bhatkal is very melodious with smearing of Persian. People of South Kanara do not distinguish between nouns of Kannada and Konkani, and have developed a very business practical language. They sometimes add Tulu words also. The Konkani of Kerala is drenched with Malayalam, and the Konkanis of north Karnataka add Kannada verbs to Konkani grammar. The city-bred use a plenty of English. To write Konkani, Kannada, Nagari, Roman, Arabic, and Malayalam scripts are used and this way, Konkanis declare
themselves as members of world family (Vishwakutumbi). There is no other language with a possible exception of Sanskrit that a language is written in so many scripts.
There are different names for the different dialects. People of Ratnagiri origin and Konkan Brahmins speak Chitpawani that is influenced by Marathi. People of Konkan speak Malavani and Goans speak Gomantaki. Tippu Sultan arrested the Christians of west coast, and transferred to Mysore as prisoners of war, and forcefully converted them to Islam. Their descendents speak Konkani with a mixture of Urdu in parts of Mysore, Coorg, and Srirangapattanam. In general, the Konkanis are skilled in multiple languages. They tend to accept other languages into their own rather than be inconvenience to others. This has served the community well as their migration from Goa to Karnataka, Kerala, and Maharashtra was easy. During the Maratha rule, Konkani families who migrated to Madhya Pradesh speak only Hindi. Sometimes I wonder if this is indeed a blessing or a shortcoming. Hindus of Goa are arguing that only works written in Nagari be recognized as Konkani literature whereas
the Christian brethren want acceptance of Konkani works in Roman script. Konkanis of Karnataka consider works of Konkani in Kannada script is most authentic and superior to all others. While Konkanis of Kerala are confused on which script to use, the Konkanis elsewhere are wondering which position to take.
Although originally Konkani was the language of Saraswat Brahmins, many have adopted it as their mother-tongue. Sonar(Suvarnakar), Serugar, Mestri, Sutar, Vani, Devali, Siddi, Gabeet, Kharvi, Dalji, Samgar, Nawayati, etc. are some of the communities who speak Konkani. It is of great importance that all these people start using one script for unity of the language. I feel that as a language derived from Sanskrit, Nagari (Sanskrit script) is best suited to express the complex pronunciation of the language, and should be used by all Konkanis regardless of the geographical location. It is also important that all works available in other scripts be rapidly rewritten in Nagari. Only then Konkani will come to be accepted as a national language of India.

COMMENT: It is always extremely interesting when historians trace yet another route of our beginning. The road from the cradle to present day Concannim is a tale as romantic as any in the world. Long live our Maim-bhas.

World Press Letting Hezbollah Make Hay From A Tragedy

The media war against Israel
By Tom Gross August 3, 2006

Large sections of the international media are not only misreporting the current conflict in Lebanon. They are also actively fanning the flames.

The BBC World Service has a strong claim to be the number-one villain. It has come to sound like a virtual propaganda tool for Hezbollah. And as it desperately attempts to prove that Israel is guilty of committing "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity," it has introduced a new charge -- one which I have heard several times on air in recent days.

The newscaster reads out carefully selected "audience comments." Among these are invariably contained some version of the claim that "Israel's attack on Lebanon" will serve as a "recruitment" drive for al-Qaeda.

But if anything is going to win new recruits for the likes of Osama bin Laden, it will not be Israel's defensive actions, which are far less damaging than Western TV stations would have us believe, but the inflammatory and hopelessly one-sided way in which they are being reported by those very same news organizations.

While the slanted comments and interviews are bad enough, the degree of pictorial distortion is even worse. From the way many TV stations worldwide are portraying it, you would think Beirut has begun to resemble Dresden and Hamburg in the aftermath of World War II air raids. International television channels have used the same footage of Beirut over and over, showing the destruction of a few individual buildings in a manner which suggests half the city has been razed.

A careful look at aerial satellite photos of the areas targeted by Israel in Beirut shows that certain specific buildings housing Hizbullah command centers in the city's southern suburbs have been singled out. Most of the rest of Beirut, apart from strategic sites like airport runways used to ferry Hizbullah men and weapons in and out of Lebanon, has been left pretty much untouched.

From the distorted imagery, selective witness accounts, and almost round-the-clock emphasis on casualties, you would be forgiven for thinking that the level of death and destruction in Lebanon is on a par with that in Darfur, where Arab militias are slaughtering hundreds of thousands of non-Arabs, or with the 2004 tsunami that killed half a million in Southeast Asia.

In fact Israel has taken great care to avoid killing civilians -- even though this has proven extremely difficult and often tragically impossible, since members of Hizbullah, the self-styled "Party of God," have deliberately ensconced themselves in civilian homes. Nevertheless the civilian death toll has been mercifully low compared to other international conflicts in recent years.


The BBC, which courtesy of the British tax payer is the world's biggest and most lavishly funded news organization, would of course never reveal how selective their reports are, since such a disclosure might spoil their campaign to demonize Israel and those who support her. But one senior British journalist, working for another company, last week let slip how the news media allows its Mideast coverage to be distorted.

"CNN senior international correspondent" Nic Robertson admitted that his anti-Israel report from Beirut on July 18 about civilian casualties in Lebanon, was stage-managed from start to finish by Hizbullah. He revealed that his story was heavily influenced by Hizbullah's "press officer" and that Hizbullah have "very, very sophisticated and slick media operations."

When pressed a few days later about his reporting on the CNN program "Reliable Sources," Robertson acknowledged that Hizbullah militants had instructed the CNN camera team where and what to film. Hizbullah "had control of the situation," Robertson said. "They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn't have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath."

Robertson added that Hizbullah has "very, very good control over its areas in the south of Beirut. They deny journalists access into those areas. You don't get in there without their permission. We didn't have enough time to see if perhaps there was somebody there who was, you know, a taxi driver by day, and a Hizbullah fighter by night."

Yet "Reliable Sources," presented by Washington Post writer Howard Kurtz, is broadcast only on the American version of CNN. So CNN International viewers around the world will not have had the opportunity to learn from CNN's "Senior international correspondent" that the pictures they saw from Beirut were carefully selected for them by Hizbullah.

Another journalist let the cat out of the bag last week. Writing on his blog while reporting from southern Lebanon, Time magazine contributor Christopher Allbritton, casually mentioned in the middle of a posting: "To the south, along the curve of the coast, Hezbollah is launching Katyushas, but I'm loathe to say too much about them. The Party of God has a copy of every journalist's passport, and they've already hassled a number of us and threatened one."

Robertson is not the only foreign journalist to have misled viewers with selected footage from Beirut. NBC's Richard Engel, CBS's Elizabeth Palmer, and a host of European and other networks, were also taken around the damaged areas by Hizbullah minders. Palmer commented on her report that "Hizbullah is also determined that outsiders will only see what it wants them to see."

Palmer's honesty is helpful. But it doesn't prevent the damage being done by organizations such as the BBC. First the BBC gave the impression that Israel had flattened the greater part of Beirut. Then to follow up its lop-sided coverage, its website helpfully carried full details of the assembly points for an anti-Israel march due to take place in London, but did not give any details for a rally in support of Israel also held in London a short time later.


Indeed, the BBC's coverage of the present war has been so extraordinary that even staunch BBC supporters in London seem rather embarrassed -- in conversation, not on the air, unfortunately.

If the BBC were just a British problem that would be one thing, but it is not. No other station broadcasts so extensively in dozens of languages, on TV, radio and online.

Its radio service alone attracts over 163 million listeners. It pours forth its worldview in almost every language of the Middle East: Pashto, Persian, Arabic and Turkish. Needless to say it declines to broadcast in Hebrew, even though it does broadcast in the languages of other small nations: Macedonian and Albanian, Azeri and Uzbek, Kinyarwanda and Kyrgyz, and so on. (It doesn't broadcast in Kurdish either; but then the BBC doesn't concern itself with Kurdish rights or aspirations since they are persecuted by Moslem-majority states like Syria and Iran. We didn't hear much on the BBC, for example, when dozens of Syrian Kurds were killed and injured in March 2004 by President Assad's regime.)

It is not just that the supposed crimes of Israel are completely overplayed, but the fact that this is a two-sided war (started, of course, by Hizbullah) is all but obscured. As a result, in spite of hundreds of hours of broadcast by dozens of BBC reporters and studio anchors, you wouldn't really know that hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been living in bomb shelters for weeks now, tired, afraid, but resilient; that a grandmother and her seven-year old grandson were killed by a Katyusha during a Friday night Sabbath dinner; that several other Israeli children have died.

You wouldn't have any real understanding of what it is like to have over 2000 Iranian and Syrian rockets rain down indiscriminately on towns, villages and farms across one third of your country, aimed at killing civilians.

You wouldn't really appreciate that Hizbullah, far from being some rag-tag militia, is in effect a division in the Iranian revolutionary guards, with relatively advanced weapons (UAVs that have flown over northern Israel, extended-range artillery rockets, anti-ship cruise missiles), and that it has a global terror reach, having already killed 114 people in Argentina during the 1990s.

The BBC and other media have carried report after report on the damaged Lebanese tourist industry, but none on the damaged Israeli one, even though at least one hotel in Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, was hit by a Hizbullah rocket. There are reports on Lebanese children who don't know where they will be going to school, but none on Israeli ones.


The relentless broadcast attacks on Israel have led to some in the print media indulging in explicit anti-Semitism.

Many have grown accustomed to left-wing papers such as Britain's Guardian allowing their Mideast coverage to spill over into something akin to anti-Semitism. For example, last month a cartoon by the Guardian's Martin Rowson depicted Stars of David being used as knuckle dusters on a bloody fist.

Now the Conservative-leaning Daily Telegraph, Britain's best-selling quality daily, and previously one of the only papers in Europe to give Israel a fair hearing, has got in on the act. The cartoon at the top of the Telegraph comment page last Saturday showed two identical scenes of devastation, exactly the same in every detail. One was labeled: "Warsaw 1943"; the other: "Tyre, 2006."

A politician had already given the cue for this horrendous libel. Conservative MP Sir Peter Tapsell told the House of Commons that British Prime Minister Tony Blair was "colluding" with U.S. President George W. Bush in giving Israel the okay to wage a war crime "gravely reminiscent of the Nazi atrocity on the Jewish quarter of Warsaw."

Of course, there was no "Jewish quarter" of Warsaw. In case anyone need reminding (Sir Peter obviously does) the ghetto in the Polish capital, established in October 1940, constituted less than three square miles. Over 400,000 Jews were then crammed into it, about 30 percent of the population of Warsaw. 254,000 were sent to Treblinka where they were exterminated. Most of the rest were murdered in other ways. The ghetto was completely cleared of Jews by the end of May 1943.


The picture isn't entirely bleak. Some British and European politicians, on both left and right, have been supportive of Israel. So have some magazines, such as Britain's Spectator. So have a number of individual newspaper commentators.

But meanwhile anti-Semitic coverage and cartoons are spreading across the globe. Norway's third largest paper, the Oslo daily Dagbladet, ran a cartoon comparing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the infamous Nazi commander SS Major Amon Goeth who indiscriminately murdered Jews by firing at them from his balcony -- as depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Steven Spielberg's film Schindler's List. (A month earlier Dagbladet published an article, "The Third Tower," which questioned whether Muslims were really responsible for the September 11 attacks.)

Antonio Neri Licon of Mexico's El Economista drew what appeared to be a Nazi soldier with -- incredibly -- stars of David on his uniform. The "soldier" was surrounded by eyes that he had apparently gouged out.

A cartoon in the South African Sunday Times depicted Ehud Olmert with a butchers knife covered in blood. In the leading Australian daily The Age, a cartoon showed a wine glass full of blood being drunk in a scene reminiscent of a medieval blood libel. In New Zealand, veteran cartoonist Tom Stott came up with a drawing which equated Israel with al-Qaeda.

At least one leading European politician has also vented his prejudice through visual symbolism. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wore an Arab scarf during an event at which he condemned Israel, but not Hizbullah, who he presumably thinks should not be stopped from killing Israelis.


It's entirely predictable that all this violent media distortion should lead to Jews being attacked and even murdered, as happened at a Seattle Jewish center last week.

When live Jews can't be found, dead ones are targeted. In Belgium last week, the urn that contained ashes from Auschwitz was desecrated at the Brussels memorial to the 25,411 Belgian Jews deported to Nazi death camps. It was smashed and excrement smeared over it. The silence from Belgian leaders following this desecration was deafening.

Others Jews continued to be killed in Israel itself without it being mentioned in the media abroad. Last Thursday, for example, 60-year-old Dr. Daniel Ya'akovi was murdered by the Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, the terrorist group within Fatah that Yasser Arafat set up five years ago using European Union aid money.

But this is far from being an exclusively Jewish issue. Some international journalists seem to find it amusing or exciting to bait the Jews. They don't understand yet that Hizbullah is part of a worldwide radical Islamist movement that has plans, and not pleasant ones, for all those -- Moslem, Christian, Hindu and Jew -- who don't abide by its wishes.

COMMENT: It is indeed very strangely sinister that while the sufferings inflicted on the innocent of Lebannon by Israel's bombings are rightly castigated, the cowardly acts of Hezbollah which hides its so called "warriors" behind the skirts of old women and the diapers of babies do not get the necessary and deserved condemnation of the world. How can these "brave fighters" claim any credit when all they do is fire "fogotteos" (fire-crackers), and then run to shelter behind their womenfolk and kindergartens. The indiscriminate firing aimed specifically at Israel's civilians, which brings great joy to these "bravehearts", these "chevaliers d'Arabia" certainly does not get the thumbs down from the 'civilized' world's press.