St Elijah's monastery stood on the outskirts of Mosul for 1,400 years, the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq. We learned on Wednesday that it has been razed to the ground by the Islamic State:
"Bulldozers, heavy equipment, sledgehammers, possibly explosives turned those stone walls into this field of gray-white dust. They destroyed it completely," [Stephen Wood] said from his Colorado offices.
On the other side of the world, in his office in exile, in Erbil, Iraq, Catholic priest Rev. Paul Thabit Habib, 39, stared in disbelief at the before- and after- images.
"Our Christian history in Mosul is being barbarically leveled," he said in Arabic.
In my book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, I write of the ethno-religious cleansing of the formerly "diverse" Middle East over the last half-century and describe Islam as "king on a field of corpses". Even so, very few of the shock troops of Muslim totalitarianism have taken that phrase as literally as ISIS does. If you "degrade" and "contain" the Islamic State in as desultory and lethargic a fashion as Obama does, there will be nothing left to liberate - other than a vast "field of gray-white dust".
I doubt one in a thousand westerners knows the fate of St Elijah's. To the fatuous social-justice pontiff who sits in St Peter's, it's not as big a deal as climate change. It's not a big story on the network news - it might embarrass the "leader of the free world", and complicate the narrative for a Secretary of State running on her immense foreign-policy experience. Christianity in Araby is being "barbarically leveled", and yet the President in his already forgotten State of the Union can only confirm Islam in its indestructible, pathological sense of its own victimhood:
His Holiness, Pope Francis, told this body from the very spot that I'm standing on tonight that "to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place." When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names, that doesn't make us safer. That's not telling it like it is. It's just wrong. (Applause.) It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. It betrays who we are as a country. (Applause.)
No, sir. That "field of gray-white dust" in Iraq betrays who we are, all too tellingly.
~On the eve of the transnational A-listers' favorite beano, the founder of Davos says that "migrant"-wise we ain't seen nothin' yet:
As the crash in commodities prices spreads economic woe across the developing world, Europe could face a wave of migration that will eclipse today's refugee crisis, says Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.
"Look how many countries in Africa, for example, depend on the income from oil exports," Schwab said in an interview ahead of the WEF's 46th annual meeting, in the Swiss resort of Davos. "Now imagine 1 billion inhabitants, imagine they all move north."
Whereas much of the discussion about commodities has focused on the economic and market impact, Schwab said he's concerned that it will also spur "a substantial social breakdown."
A billion man march, eh? The population of the developed world - North America, the European Union, Japan, Oz, NZ - is about a billion. Of the remaining six billion people around the planet, is it really so absurd to think that one-sixth of them would "move north" if they could? Or if they chanced to see a YouTube video of "refugees" in Sweden and Germany demonstrating how easy it is?
The population of Africa is projected to grow from one to four billion in the course of this century - to about two-fifths of the planet's people. Is it remotely likely that 40 per cent of humanity will choose to stay in the most dysfunctional continent on earth when it can't support a population a quarter that size?
Herr Schwab has a point. For Cologne and other cities, there will be some even livelier New Year's Eves ahead.
~Several readers have asked me how that Kermit Gosnell movie is coming along. As we've mentioned every so often, Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney decided to crowdfund a feature film about the infanticidal abortionist mainly because no Hollywood studio or TV network will ever go near the subject - even though he's America's all-time champion serial killer, which, in any other circumstances, would be considered a can't-miss pitch.
Well, on Wednesday Dean ("Superman") Cain turned up on "The Today Show", and Kathie Lee Gifford asked him a question en passant:
"What's the movie you're doing," Gifford asked Cain.
"Gosnell. I just finished the movie — coming out in 2016," answered Cain, who will play the role of a Philadelphia police detective who investigated Gosnell and his house-of-horrors abortion clinic accused of conducting thousands of late term abortions.
Cain didn't hesitate to describe the scale of Gosnell's crimes (dismissed as a "local crime story" by one Washington Post reporter and generally ignored by the national media), "One woman died. But he performed late-term abortions on maybe even thousands of babies..."
"It's a tough story," Cain concluded.
"Talk about a war on women," Gifford added.
"No kidding, yeah," [Hoda] Kotb had to agree.
Kathie Lee Gifford is exactly right, and good for her for saying it on network TV.