Tuesday, August 01, 2006


This post took some time to write, exactly why, because it is so confusing to be an Arab these days.
If something happens, you have to think very carefully what is your reaction to it.

Case in point: Hezbollah kidnaps 2 Israeli soldiers, Israelis cut the crap and whip they cracked.

and whip they cracked!

For three weeks now Israeli planes have wrecked havoc and destruction over the Lebanon, destroying many civillian buildings, killing women and children, moving about hundreds of families, havoc and destruction in all of it.

The Arabs(c) portrayed the usual crippled-man condemnation and aid funds, tricking themselves by listening to patriotic songs and the US entered gung-ho as usual with long-time fellow bedders and Nasralallah is pretty strident on the fight, with all his usual slurred 'r'.

Now, I wish I could say I am honestly touched, I wish I could say I feel your pain, my fellow brothers and sisters, but I would be a lying sonovabitch deep in the mud if I say that, of course, my heart occasionally contracts when a middle-aged blind man appears shocked and helpless, with his wife and kids while he half-sobs about how they were dragged out under the hells cracking above, or when I see real disturbing pictures that could drive your night ass-crazy when thinking about it

But then again, my remorse is little beyond the usual human sympathy for humans in distress, I am not genuinely touched and I know it - I have learned this from painful expereince: When three of the four dead friends were killed first, they were well-known and we had a big funeral march for them inside the college, it was terrible, with loud suffocaing shrieks and tears from many people, but when the fourth died a week later, nobody gave a shit, I particulalry remember a scene when Caesar of Pentra was in half-shock, crying, while a girl the deceased Saif (who was a fellow blogger, he managed to write two posts of the hapless variety before the unforunate incident) had the hots for walked by and laughed her mouth off.

So Lebanese people, long-known in the Arab world as masters of sexually liberated singers, you are on your own I am afraid. a Palestinian taxi-driver told me that he feels no sympathy for Lebanon because 'they get their money from being a collective whore's house'.

Stargazing Arabs at times like these like to talk about a story of al-Mu'tassim, an Abassid caliph, who changed the course of his army after a woman walked all the way from the city of Something to call for his help against the Crusades, he went back and liberated the city of Something.

I am not sad, but I wish I can, because if I am truly sad - then I would start to try and do something for my fellow people - this is a perennial problem with the Arab pattern of thinking, we have grown comfortable in our ostrich pillows of condemnation.

But this incident is different from the timeless one of Palestinians getting squached
,there is some extra math that must be done:

Given: Hezbollah is the brainchild of Iran in Lebanon.
Suggestion: Either Hezbollah strictly follows Iran's religious thinking or feels it helps to achieve a goal.
Now, Hezbollah is fighting Israel
Suggestion: We must support it.
But: Iran is perhaps the largest havoc-wrecker in Iraq.
Suggestion: Either we must not support Iran (e.g. not support Hezbollah, given that they are Iran's far-reaching finger), or Iran is not the Mulla-Frankenstein they be so mouthin about.
See? it totally wrecks your system! you can't really make up a unified, universal law that applies to everyone and everything, we can do this all day with Hamas, Harith al-Dhari, al-Sistani....you name it.

While Nasrallah's rhetoric presents a more nationalistic, approchable take on the average Shi'ite Religious Leader, much better than al-Hakim's self-flagellating antiques or al-Sadr, who'd rather spend the day playing PS2, Hezbollah (nice name for a heavy metal band, btw) is a sidekick for Iran before all, who I am saddened to say follow a very members-only Shi'ite path to heaven, they will not all in all fit the Arabian Dream extravaganza.

Another way to go about it like some people did back in the Iraqi Invasion back in April 2003, they said : 'I ain't fighting for Saddam, I am fighting for Iraq', For the sake of all the women and children dead, and boy, don't these picture stir up the dangerous extremist shred in the hearts of Arabs? don't it tickle the Bin Laden in you?! Where is your pride? What happened to those who fought bravely before you and all that? O Mu'atiasim?!?

Of course, a good reaction is that we are now in the face of a common enemy, and by uniting in the face of it we will unite so help us God, however, it is wrong to cheer to someone just because he is attempting to achieve a common goal, this is just like how the Arabs, particulalry Palestinains, defend Saddam to death as an Arab hero - the moustached man knew how to manipulate them, throwing rockets at Israel with so sucky coordination that suggests he was training with marbles, so if Hezbollah fights Israel, my opinion is that we shuold not support them.

The problem first and foremost lies in us, The Arabs, don't blame the security council or the UN or all these World Policers, they only follow their own interests, wake up! They would only give a shit when you are THE shit. At the time being we do not have the ethical component neccessary to win, we do not have the driving inspiration of the nomadic Arabs who lived in the mainlands and who went about and ass-kicked two empires, the key solution first must be civil and domestic, we must regroup, restructure, we are weak and helpless, prefering to pursue worldly desires.

Forget sectarian differences, we should not support Hezbollah because, plain and simple, any violent struggle these days, will not solve or achieve anything.

Sayyed Qutb, the misunderstood Muslim Brotherhood Islamic thinker and writer who is often incorrectly described as the man behind the philosophy groundwork for fundamentalist groups such as al-Qaeda says: "After careful consideration, I come to conclude that any military efforts on the part of Islamic groups to create and Islamic society is fruitless and brings reverse results, the most correct approach is to attempt to reach out to the mainstream community, corrupted by Western (Jahililya) values and ideals, and attempt a civil and social reform."

Hezbollah deserves to be blamed for this war, their cause may be just and noble, but ultimately they have dragged a country and a nation that is not ready for this kind of confrontation, what has the resistance in Iraq achieved so far? did we gain anything from al-Falluja and ar-Ramadi? it only complicated matters.

The holy prophet (p) said : 'War is a trick', and Arabs must know how to trick, they must know who and when to fight, not just go mouthing off slogans they can't stand up to and pretending to be the all-conquering nation they once were.

*Lubnaan is the Arabic pronounciation of Lebanon.


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Anonymous said...

Dear Kid,
As even the prose is brilliant, you have weighed and measured a multiplicity of factors, as always you come to a conclusion with great thought. Your Last paragraph if taken one way could be the right way and if taken the other way could lead to the wrong way. The very last thing you say is enigmatic, perhaps very delibeately so. And if I could trade sayings of Holy Prophets (p) the one that we westerners claim as ours said "if you live by the sword you will die by the sword"; and he did not mean just the sword but even the agresive impulse used at the timely moment, which could ultimately rebound on you. And if westerners in general have not heeded these words as in so much that this Prophet (p) had to say, it does not mean that what he said was not right. Peace
from "peace-lover"

hala_s said...


First of all this war was bound to happen.It was not a decision made by Hizballah. Israel and the US pushed and pushed the Syrian to leave so they can attack.Not that I backed the Syrian presence but they wouldn't have dared.
Unfortunately there is no right time to act for us, for a simple reason the US and Israel will never allow it. Look at us, Look at Iraq, since they invaded us they encouraged secterianism and tribilism. Why don't the suicide bombers in Iraq go and join the fighters in south Lebanon? Isn't Palestine our real case? Are the Iraqis the real enemy now? The answer is they are getting paid to destroy Iraq.
The trick is to ally with your enemy against a bigger enemy. I dont support Hizballah's doctrine but I have to take their side when they are fighting Israel becasue the latter is ultimately trying to wipe us all.
As for describing Lebanon as you did. I think it is not fair. The beauty of Lebanon is; it is a free country socially at least, each can do whatever they like. Beside the (whores as you described) there are a lot of educated and talented women. Freedom is what we are all looking for, if everyone can do what they believe without interferring with others; this is the real bliss.
Being so absorbed in your own pain is understandable though. I cannot blame you on that.

And last but not least it was a pleasue to have met you as well.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

"Hezbollah deserves to be blamed for this war, their cause may be just and noble..."

Yes, Hezbollah does deserve to be blamed for this war. But the crux of the problem is the their cause is just and noble part.

If Israel is never accepted as having the right to exist, than there will never be peace in this area of the Middle East.

That is the simple truth.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...


That was the taxi-driver who used the word "whore" not the Kid.

Konfused Kid said...


It was a real pleasure meeting you, but I think u misunderstood my point.

I was making the point that Lebanon, in the collective consciousness of the Middle Easterns, is Haifa Wahbi's backside.

and second, I don't think that allying with an enemy against an enemy works, after your 'allied' enemy wins the war, he would grow stronger, u cannot shake him off, this has been repeated about a million times, for example, in the Abbasid times, the strong Turks used this way to hold virtually complete control of the Caliphate.
To ally with Iran-Syria-Hezbollah would give them complete authority and soveregnity as the leaders of The Muslim world, which in my opinion, is a huge problem.

As for Israel's right to exist, I don't believe you can ever get the Arabs as a nation to accept this, maybe u could sell out a leader or two on the deal, but u will never convince the whole nation. There will never be peace in the Mid-East, say 'Jew' to any Arab, and he would feel uncontrollable disgust and hatred. it cannot be fixed, it's sown deep inside.
I believe the same goes to Jews looking at Arabs as well...

Scott from Oregon said...

"There will never be peace in the Mid-East, say 'Jew' to any Arab, and he would feel uncontrollable disgust and hatred. it cannot be fixed, it's sown deep inside."

And so it will continue, until Israel and the surrounding land become uninhabitable to all.

Perhaps about fifty years ago, in the souhern states of the US, it was a very common belief that whites and blacks could not live in simple peace and harmony with each other. The hatred was immense.

Now, some of my good friends and family share the blood of both.

Things could become better if the culture will just grow up a bit.

Anonymous said...

Why Iraki bloggers need their own "Hoder"

Salam Aleikum Kid,
Your statement about Arabs and jews is true and untrue at the same time. If you were to say the majority of arabs and the majority of jews think this, it would be true. If you were to say All Jews and all Arabs beleve this (please note I have reversed here the order, this is deliberate) it would be false.

What unites the Irakis is the arabic language. Even the mullah travelling from Qum to Najaf carries in his lugage a phasebook of colloquial arabic.

In you were to go to the hoder website
you would discover how one Iranian, virtually single handedly created a blogging comunity of 70,000, the third
largest in the world. He succeded because what people want above all else, as Mel Gibson so eloquently put it at the end of "bravehart", is 'freedom !'. He ran circles around the mullahs, with his "how to blog in Iran" manuals. If you read some of the Iran blogs, you may even discover links (oh horror !) to the blogs of Israelis. I will not name names, just in case some sharp eye mullah in Tehran...

The situation at present for Iraki bloggers is much better as regards sensorship, viz a vi Iran. There is none in Iraq at present. There is much
electructy in Iraq (not), which would make the task easier. If iraq, should end up splitting into three countries. Itis likely that the goverment of each of these should wish to impose restrictions on blogging.

You have at this moment a window of opportunity. Iraki bloggers, and here it does not matter whether they are currently resident inside or outside Irak, should reach out especially to their compatriots in the south of Irak, who I note are not over represented in the Iraqi blog count. Blog in arabic,if need be provide english translations of some particularly notable blogs. Find a collective name and call yours someting like Hoder. Use the flag of Iraq, before, those who live in Najaf start inventing their own. I need not spell it all out.
should be reading this.

Peace Kid

"peace lover"

Um Haleema said...

"Things could become better if the culture will just grow up a bit."

Amen Scott, Amen

Anonymous said...

in case reading seventy thousand blogs might prove tyring, then follow the trail of comments about kittens,viz i wonder what this kitty is thinking about, if you go there you will find
amen brother amen

Lynnette in Minnesota said...


Yes, there is speculation in certain circles that this was a set up by Iran to encourage just this response from Israel. The motive being to divert attention from their possible nuclear weapons program. True or false, I don't know. But certainly possible. And it would mean that they were coldly using the Palestinans and Lebanese for their gain.

And Scott is right. It is possible to overcome prejudice. But it does take a long long time. And it is never perfect. That is, the effort is never complete.

As for Arabs and Jews getting along, it is being done here in the States. There again it isn't perfect, but peer pressure is a tremendous thing. Being intolerant of intolerance is key. And that goes for ANY type of intolerance. Including that which is being done between the Sunni's and the Shiites.

Riot Starter said...

Give me one good reason accounting for "why we should care about Lebanon". The whole Arab-Nation's grown old and is like a broken record that bo-ho patriots sometimes play, the string that's just out of tone (like themselves) that they enjoy strumming.
Lebanon? I still feel unaffected, and many others do.

Konfused Kid said...

Exactly my point, riot starter, most of these tears and condemnation are just role-playing.

While I am saddened at the thought, but it is true.

and, Arabs and Israelis will never make amends because it is not socially-driven like black & white, nor it is a matter of interpreatations that can be argued around such as Sunnis and Shi'ites, but it is driven by religion.

and Anonymous, I didn't get ur point about Arabi being the common tongue, please rephrase....

hey there um haleema ;)

Anonymous said...

Salam Aleikum Kid,
I have posted three times on the comments here already. I have seen your remark regarding arabic, and like you I shall need to think very carefully before I write. I call myself peace-lover, and I would like to think that is what I am, and so what I must think about the most are that the words I should use in giving explantion, should only be such words that might help bring peace. Words are very powerful. Once put down on the internet they cannot be unsaid. Peace brother

Magda said...

Two points

About Iraqis not caring anymore about the Lebanese, or any other Arabs for that matter. It is an interesting and honest observation, I think our capacity to feel empathy or sympathy is inversely related to our own suffering, so that those of us who left Iraq in the 80s feel more pain for others than those who left in the 90s, and they feel in turn feel more than those who left post 2003, the longer you suffer the less "space" you have to feel for others.

We accept that not feeling sorrow for the death of Lebanese children is somewhat "odd" and we try and rationalise it by finding fault in others, blaming Hizbulla for causing this makes us feel less bad.

For some of us the pain is not sufficient to overcome empathy for our own, or our Arab neighbours but has exceeded our capacity to feel it for those who have indirectly caused our suffering.
On September the 11, I was at work when the muted TV in the corner started transmitting a vision of smoke in America, after I realised what was happening my first thought was "7ail beekum" having inflicted so much pain on us as a nation after years of bombing/sanctions etc my feeling was "serves you right-feel some of our pain-".

The second point is the Arab rejection of “Israel” or Jewish settlement in Palestine, I cannot answer for others but on a very subconscious level my mind is conditioned to bring forth images of Palestinian refugees in tents walking across muddied fields, and images of bombed Beirut, and of the sudden silence of the TV/Radio for a few minutes as the Israeli planes flew over on their way to bomb the Iraqi nuclear plant, etc etc every time I see someone dressed in a skullcap, or meet someone with a Jewish name, I can cover up my initial revulsion and keep it civil, but I cannot imagine any day the concept of inviting a Jewish colleague over for dinner.

I am not proud of this but having given my feeling a lot of thought and analysis, and having lived in the west for so long, I expect that I am unlikely to change.

That these feelings run deeper and will continue to be passes on through the generations (on both sides I am sure) back home is a fact that will not alter and in fact gets worse the more images of death and destruction it is possible to conjure up with every mention of Israeli/Arab to those on the opposite side.

Anonymous said...

Salam aleikum Kid,
I have just sent u an email

Caesar of Pentra said...

Man, you should start your own show! You rock! ;)

Caesar of Pentra said...

*"Israel has the right to defend herself"
Amen Bush amen!
*"Arab rulers, be men once!"
Amen Nisrallah amen.
*"Ana bekrah isreal, heeeeeey"
Amen Shaabollah amen.

Anonymous said...

Salam aleikum KId
It appears that my email did not go through, which goes to show, that everything is in the hand of God or 'inshallah', so what i've done is edit down my email to you and post this comment here.

I have read your blog many times. And what i particularly like is yr deep honesty, u do not disguise much about the workings of your mind, and u r able to explain very well how u reach the conclusions that u do. You are a young man, a student, 1 or 2 months short of his 22nd birthday (how do i know this, by yr sun sign and chinese year), who if u were in some other part of the world, would have been doing this: spend some time studying, some time with family, some time studying, some time alone doing stuff u like, some time with friends, some time with girls :- and that would be it. But u r not in an ordinary situation, you have been brought close to the possibility of your own death, something very few students of yr age living in ordinary circumstances, would ever need think about. I myself a few months short of my 22nd birthday (in fact in August) was confronted by the death of my father, and realised that i could die at any time. Before then, death was something in the very distant future, and who knows maybe by the time that i got old, science might have invented techniques of life extension, i could be Methusalah, blah blah.

I believe in God. I believe that words, especially put in a public forum are an awful responsibility for that person who uses them. Words are the most powerful tool that God has given us humans to use for either good or bad. Just now some of your friends, many of your acquaintances or acquaintances of acquaintances have been killed. Was it bombs or bullets that killed them ? Yes. But the bombs did not explode and the bullets did not fire of their own accord. Behind this were the actions of people. But what was it that impelled those actions ? It was words. Wonderful words like "duty" and "sacrifice" and even "God". Words, many words, used by brilliant minds, to compel, to persuade, to induce, to suggest, to imply that it is a good thing, a wonderful thing, an honourable thing, a Godly thing, to go and kill the right person, or rather the WRONG person, "for we are right and they are wrong and if in the process you should die then be grateful, and if in the process innocents should die, why then they must thank us for giving them the priviledge of serving such a noble cause, and if in the process OUR people should accidently die, why then they will be doubly grateful to you, dear bomber dear gunman, because you have provided them not only with an escape from this place of sin, but have given them something more wonderful, the ability to give their life to our cause, something that they would undoubtedly have chosen for themselves were they asked. Our cause is good, our cause is just, you are good you are just. I am good, i AM good, I am Just, GOD is GOOD GOD is GOOD, GOD IS JUST. Remember God is JUST. Peace my son. Peace my daughter." You refered once to the voice of saruman, who you thought then safely outside your homeland. But there are many sarumans now living on your doorstep. Nor should you think that sarumans are only to be found on one side: it is not so much "like spy vs spy", but saruman vs saruman. And the first rule of any conflict is that my greatest enemy is my best support. And yes, I order you to kill him, but I need him or his deputy to escalate the rhetoric on the other side, so that I can then escalate mine, so that he can rule all the better his half and so that I can rule all the better my half. And have you wondered which half might have ordered the destruction of a golden dome, for does it in the end matter who did it, for does it not serve the interests of those sarumans on either side. And if there are sarumans on either side there are also gandalfs. But in real life they have no magic powers. Only, the magic of words such as "tolerance", "respect", "conscience" "love". Only the magic of - setting a good example in your own life. Only the magic of - prayer of peace. And sometimes the magic of gandalfs is not enough against the sarumans. But the wonderful thing is that anyone can become a gandalf.

(I "peace lover" the author of the words as enclosed in the boundary above and below, and contained within this one paragraph immediately above this declaration do release into the public domain all copyright to those particular words that they may be reproduced by any means whatsover, only with the proviso that they should be reproduced in their integrity, and when written should retain all punctuation, spacings, capitalization or non capitalization, and should not be altered in any way or form, with the sole exception of correcting any error in spelling, such permission expressely does not extend to any words writen in this comment to be found above or below these boundaries)


I would like to hope that I am aspiring to be a gandalf. I would like to hope that you would want to aspire to this too.

So you understand better my dilema. Knowing of the the power of words, I would always like to use them as a gandalf, and never inadvertedly as a saruman. And even by accusing someone, am I not stirring hatred ? am I not like a saruman ? And I would not want that, for as I said earlier I believe one day That I would have to answer to God, and might have to answer for my inadvertennt sarumanities. But perhaps something that I have written already about the magic of words will lead you to think of all the wonderful ways it is possible to use arabic (or any language) in the manner of a gandalf, for the benefit of Iraq.

May God bless you and keep you safe

"peace lover"

The next bit is a reply to the comments made by Magda

"I am not proud of this...." that dearest Magda is the stirring of your conscience. You are completely truthful about how you feel and describe very well the circumstances that lead you to feel as you do.

I would like to repeat here some words from the comment made by "Scott from Oregon"

"Perhaps about fifty years ago in the southern states of the US it was a very common belief that whites and blacks could not live in simple peace and harmony with each other. The hatred was immense.

Now, some of my good friends and family share the blood of both."

And then again, another example would be South Africa, where now are the NET BLANKES signs ?

And this is back to Magda again. Your own honesty compels me to share with you some part of my personal experiences. I was with a Muslim friend at the time of September 11. His reaction was "you must admire these guys" . He saw the surprised look on my face and continued "As a kid in Tehran I was cowering under the stairs of our apartment as Sadam's bombs were falling all around us, bombs suplied by America." But then a year ago in London after July 7, and partly because his wife uses the London underground his reaction was very very different. So you see Maga, it is all relative. And should you, (which God fobid) have had a relative in the twin towers, your reaction would not have been the same.

About the Joos (note my deliberate mispelling). There is one thing at least about Joo- hating, that we Christians could never teach you Muslims namely that they are Christ killers, all our other inventions and culumnies you have swollowed whole.
(Warning: the above contains gross generalizations, please disregard)

So here is an example from my own family history. My grandfather (Mother's father) had a very authoritarian father. When my grandfather was dying in a condition of extreem destitution during WWII he had visons of his father which terrified him, and my grandmother had to reasure him "I am protecting you, see he cannot harm you", and then he died in peace. When he was a little boy, my grandfather would throw stones at little Jooish boys. So what his father did, was to tie him to the leg of the kichen table. And then he begged his grandmother to untie him, rushed out and threw a stone at a little Jooish boy, rushed back in said to granny "quick quick, tie me up again". And when the little Jooish boy's parents came to my great grandfather to complain, he took them with great anger to the kitchen and said "why you (Explicatives deleated) can't you see the boy is tied up !" Yes, it's funny, but I can't help wondering if maybe even at this moment, some Jewish mother, maybe in New York or Israel, is telling her child, "look at the perfidy of the goyim, why my gradfather, even as a boy..." you get the picture. But when my father grew up, fate decreed that the only job he could get was that of tax collector. And the district to which he was asigned contained a great many Jewish families living in conditions of greatest poverty. What he would do, was to allow many of the families to pay their back taxes in instalments, which could have got him into deep trouble, but that never happened. And in case anyone one reading this should wonder, no he did NOT charge interest. What he did was perhaps expiation for his deed as a child, or maybe because he was just a nice person. Anyway there was huge trust and respect between him and the Jewish comunities he visited. One of the most wonderful things about the Jews, is that while they will remember an injury down the centuries they will remember even more a kindness. Indeed, I think Israel is the only country in the world to enshrine the names of foreigners who have shown particular compassion towards their nationals, names like Schindler, but there are many many others. I would like to think then perhaps somewhere in the world there is a jewish mother telling her child, "Look at the way some goyim had treated us, there was this tax collector....". But then again I could be wrong, for it is possible that every single one of the individuals my grandfather helped was turned into smoke or soap.
peace Magda

Lynnette in Minnesota said...


You are right, hate breeds hate. Whether that hate is based on religious bigotry or because of someone's direct actions(ie: bombings).

But when that hate brings only distress and tragedy to those who hate, it is a wasted emotion.

I would never ask you to love Israel or even like it. As I would never ask Israel to love or like you. I would simply ask that there be tolerance of each others presence so that people can live in peace. Is this wrong?

Maybe the events of September 11 pleased you, but did the aftermath? Was your feeling of satisfaction worth the price?

The Sunni insurgency contributed to the alienation of the Shiite community. Was their fight over occupation worth the price?

Hezbollah snatched two soldiers and killed eight others as well as attacking Israel with Katyusha rockets. Was it worth the price?

"Historians believe that the Hebrews arrived in present-day Israel some time in the second millennium B.C.E. Under Joshua, and later King David and his successors, independent Hebrew kingdoms existed. "For more than one thousand six hundred years the Jews formed the main settled population of {what the Romans later called} Palestine," according to historian Martin Gilbert. After conquest by the Babylonians, Persians, and Greeks, an independent Jewish kingdom was revived in 168 B.C.E., but Rome took effective control in the next century. The Romans suppressed Jewish revolts in 70 C.E. and 135 C.E., and Judea was renamed Palestine, in order to de-Judaize it; and the Romans renamed it after the earlier coastal inhabitants, the Phillistines."

"The Case for Israel" by Alan Dershowitz

When does the fighting end?

Anonymous said...

"And Anonymous, I didn't get ur point about Arabic being the common tongue, please Rephrase"

O.K. I will try :

Arabic is the language that virtually 100% of Iraqi's use. So if for example someone wanted to post a public notice saying something like

"Please (one and all Suni and Shia) give generously towards the rebuilding of the Mosque of Samara" it would be helpful if it was written in Arabic. Though perhaps it might be useful to provide an English translation, just in case some English speaking person might be passing by and be inclined to be generous.

Scott from Oregon said...

Interesting exchange, here, people.

Konfused Kid-- Is not the purpose of religion to bring one closer to God?

When religion stops being a tool for hatred and becomes a means to sidle up against the divine, I might readhere.

Remember, the Japanese were in utter contempt of AMerica, China, and the Indochinese basin. Now, they are an industrious and peaceful nation. They have forgiven the boms that killed their children. They have forgiven themselves for having been so murderous in their past.

It CAN happen.

Will it?

Don't rightly know...

EXzombie said...

great blog dude, to actually made me download it using "winhttrack"....!!!

will return once comleting reading all of whats in the blog....

but if you allow me to respond on few of what you wrote in the post....

iran will not interfere in this war unliss syria, which is also showing off , gets into this mess, and since syria began to stirr a farce the americans arranged to talk with the french for a cease fire.....!!! and thus preventing the iranians from jumping and targeting the oil and thus the US supply which is the main reason of ..... I forgot I have to leave now but will continue later, I leave you with this note.... we the arabs are soo cheap that we justify the sacrifice of hundreds of women and children for the sake of 2 israelis.....!!!

great blog...
keep up the good work...

Anonymous said...

Salam Aleikum one and all'

"...We the arabs are so cheap that we justify the sacrifice of hundreds of women and children for the sake of 2 israelis" (exzombie)

Not in my eyes, nor I think if you were to ask every single individual in the world, in the eyes of more that 99% of the people' IF THEY REALLY THOUGHT ABOT THIS. But then that 99% are not the people making the decisions. BUT

Yesterday, it being Sunday I went to listen to the guy in the pulpit talking. He reminded us about Lebanon (what else !) He also reminded us that yesterday was Hiroshima day. He reminded us that 40% of the population in that part of the Lebanon are Christian and many muslim families are sheltering in churches and christian places, so that they do not killed by their Israeli brothers (I am not being ironic in using the word brothers; the Pope who just died spoke of "the brother who shot me" after the assasination attempt). The guy in the pulpit spoke of the protests against the violence in Lebanon. But he also said stop the violence in your own lives, break the chain, do not let your children learn hate, be kind to everyone you meet. I suppose what he was really saying was; be a JEHADI for PEACE.

Peace Everybody


Don Cox said...

"we are now in the face of a common enemy,"____You are. It is the Iranian theocratic regime. They are hostile to eveything you stand for.

Magda said...

Anonymous and Lynnette

I am for now going to silence the cynic in me, and accept your comments on face value, with no hidden malice, and assume your knowledge of the problems in the Middle East is truly simplistic.

Let me make some simple corrections to your notes, the problems between us Arabs and “Israelis” is not like the problems the Whites might have had with the Blacks in America or like the tension between Christians and Jews in America (I assume that is where the grandfather story was set) either. We (the Arabs) as far as I am aware did not bring the Jews to Palestine in ships bound by chains and sold to serve us in the fields, nor did they arrive in this land at about the same time as us from distant shores looking for a better opportunities and a better life.
Our differences are not with a poor minority living in our midst, our problem is with a mini-super power created by an ex-western empire, and supported by its successor.

This is not an issue of my conscience waking up and me embracing my brothers in monotheism, this to me at least is a matter of right and wrong, in my mind it was wrong to create an exclusively Jewish state and “import” Europeans, Americans, Africans, and Russians into the Middle East simply on the basis of a shared religious belief, at the expense of displacing the people who had been living in the land for hundreds of thousands of years, imagine if Catholics from around the world decided to find safe haven in a new “state” in Rome, and displaced everyone else out, and decided to wage wars against anyone unlucky enough to live nearby. The fact that Jews, Christians and Muslims had occupied this piece of land since the beginnings of these religions is not in dispute, and is the reason it has been disputed throughout. It the creation of religious state in the land to the exclusion of a large proportion of its population that offends.

In order to maintain this anomalous situation people are encouraged to emigrate to this disputed land aided and abetted by the current empire state of America, and in order for them to prosper the entire surrounding area must accept them or else…any reluctance to accept this fact will result in the slow methodical destruction of states people history and future prospects. This is what I have seen being done to my country not because of “weapons of mass destruction-they never existed” not because of “human rights violations-the Americans have simply brought new ways and more freedom from control to practice these violations”, not because “the women have no rights-my 87-year old Iraqi grandmother holds a university degree how many can boast the same”. One reason you may argue is “conspiracy theory talk” is that Iraq holds a special negative image in Jewish eyes, and if ever strong and militarily capable could pose a threat to –in the words of Blair/Bush “our allies in the region=”Israel”

When I say I am not proud of gut reaction to Jewish persons living in the west it is because it goes against what I was taught over and over at home, at school, and by the media in the secular pro-Arab Baath Iraq where I grew up, the mantra was to clearly distinguish between followers of a religious faith and followers of Zionist ideology. “Israel” was the Zionist entity not the Jewish state, it is only with the collapse of the pan nationalistic ideology and the emergence of Islamic ideology that the battle for Palestine has become a religious one. I am not proud of my feeling towards followers of a faith, but I am proud of my feelings toward those who chose to settle in an occupied land, and by doing so displace others, and prevent them from returning to their homes.

To say that my feelings of justice being done when Americans suffered was not worth it because it was short lived and the Americans then proceeded to take a thousand of our Iraqi lives for each one of theirs taken by non-Iraqis misses the point, even if I had felt pity for the dead, America would still have proceeded to destroy my country, and create many more enemies on the way.

What I think you all miss in the posts from us Arabs even the non-war supporting ones is that even though we may think it was suicidal of Hezbollah to give Israel an excuse for what they are doing, we do not dispute the Palestinean /Lebanese / Arab right to fight “Israel”

Just as thinking Saddam was foolish to goad the world into striking us does not mean I do not believe in Iraq’s right to exist as a unified state, its right to be able to defend itself, or chose not have an “Israeli” embassy in Baghdad.

And the fact that the Iraqi resistance fighter are outnumbered and outgunned and currently not inflicting sufficient damage on the American forces in no way belittles my utter support for the right of my people to fight the foreign occupation forces.

Anonymous said...

Salam Aleikum Magda'
You may be surprised to know that I agree with some of what u have to say, but I'd like to wait any see what other people have to say first. BTW. my Grand father was in Europe, hint gas and soap i.e. extermination camps

Anonymous said...

Salam aleikum Again Magda,
reading what I just wrote, I realize that it may come across as a bit flipant, I should not have started off by "You may be surprised to know.." You have very deep feeling about the things you say and deep honesty, and I apologize for start my remarks the way I did.

I still don't want to comment more deeply, yet.



Magda said...

I am sorry for the incorrect assumption of Americanism. I should have read you post more carefully, just goes to show our feelings specially anger can cloud not only our judgement but even our vision.
I however stand by the remainder of my rant.

Konfused Kid said...

Currently, the middle eastern Muslims have the following enemies/interests:

1. American, with Empire-like interests.
2. Iran, with a religiously-driven Shi'ite Empire.
3. Sunni Extremists, a religiously-driven Islamic Emirate.
4. Israel, perhaps a Jewish empire.
5. Arab Rulers, trying to preserve their own little empires.


1. Ally with the Americans, as they are the strongest and can provide 'fake' democracy that is better than all-out opression.

Of course, this is really horrid - it can take years of struggle and numerous Titan clashes.

Simulatenously, civil and social reform is key to building the future Arabia state.

This needs a full-flegded post, but in general this is my main outlines.


THe Arabic lanugage post is obvious. It has no significance, if u have any, please re-re-phrase.

Magda is correct.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Interesting discussion.


As you say there have been Jews in the area that is now called Israel for many thousands of years. Much of what is now called Israel was land purchased by Jewish refugees from absentee landlords. Much of it was nonarable.

"A professional analysis of land purchases between 1880 and 1948 established that three-quarters of the plots purchased by Jews were from mega-landowners rather than those who worked the soil."
"The Land Sysem in Palestine: History and Structure" by Abraham Granott

"It the creation of religious state in the land to the exclusion of a large proportion of its population that offends."

Is that so?

"Despite picking the wrong side--which they did again in WWII--the Arabs emerged from the Turkish defeat with significant gains. Most important, they got 80 percent of Palestine set aside as an exclusively Arab state, with no Jewish settlement permitted. This large area of eastern Palestine was renamed Transjordan.

The first state established in Palestine was thus an emirate with a large Palestinian majority. Abdullah, the brother of neighboring Iraq's new ruler, would rule it. Many of the Jews who lived in what became Transjordan---some of whom had lived there for generations--had been forced to leave because of episodic outbreaks of violence and, by law, the few remainng Jews were forbidden from living in Transjordan."
(Jordanian nationality law, Article 3(3) of Law No. 6; and Official Gazette, no 1171, February 16, 1954.) "The Case for Israel" Alan Dershowitz

Does that offend you too, Magda?

You are right in that the Israeli - Arab conflict is extremely complex. From what I can see it has been the intransigence of the Arab states in not wanting a Jewish state to exist that is a primary cause of this situation. If their problem is whether that state should have a primary religion or not, then they should also have a problem with the majority of the states in the region, not just Israel.

I would suggest that if the Arab states had not attacked Israel right after it came into being that there would not be the problems we are seeing now. That if they had accepted the two state solution then or the Barak-Clinton peace proposal we would not have this mess.

I would like to continue this, but I am at work and have already spent too much time. I will be back.


I would like to respond to your comment as well, but I will have to come back when I have more time.

Anonymous said...

Salam aleikum lynnette,

I think you are a great person, on the basis of all your comments, that I have come across in all the blogs i've read.

I'd like to make a little point on behalf of the Palistinians. And the book I would like to bring in to support my case are the memoirs of the former Priminister of Israel Golda Mair (I hope i got the spelling right). Now I don't have the book in front of me, and i read it a long time ago. One part of the arguement that she put, and she did it in the nicest posible way, was this. Look Israel is tiny, the lands of the arabs, are huge, so look please plesae all arab peoples everywhere, all the people of Damascus, of Baghdad, of Cairo, and so on and so on , take back your people, and leave us to enjoy our land in peace. And so it is, and the peaceful buldozing of palestinian homes continues pretty much to this day.



Magda said...

I am not an expert in the specifics of the land laws in Palestine but assume they were not very different from those in another part of the ex-Ottoman empire Iraq, much of the land was owned by so called "iqtaa" rich landowners who had been given the land by the mighty sultans for services, the people actually working the land owned nothing. After the British backed King was replaced by the military in Iraq this land was reclaimed by the state and returned to those who had worked the fields. Any state created after the removal of British influence could do the same could they not? Acknowledge that those who had lived on the land as workers, or even tenants had some rights?? Rather than take complete claim over it?

You state "Many of the Jews .....some of whom had lived there for generations--had been forced to leave because of episodic outbreaks of violence and, by law, the few remaining Jews were forbidden from living in Transjordan."

Does that offend you too, Magda?

It is offensive in the extreme, just as offensive as the "Farhood" if you have ever heard of it, I think the translation is “pillaging” of the properties and belongings of Iraqi Jews in the 1940s. What I am saying is two wrongs do not make a right.

You say (...if the Arab states had not attacked Israel right after it came into being that there would not be the problems we are seeing now)
Well equally if "Israel" hadn't decided to create itself in the area there wouldn't be these problems! If the state that was created after the division of the spoils of war was a state that did not treat its inhabitant as inferior simply because of religion whatever that may be, if because of its holy sites it accepted that people of faiths might wish to live there and accepted them be they Jewish refugees or Christians or even Muslims for that matter, but NOT at the expense of displacing the non-Jewish inhabitants, there may not have been these problems.

Whether or not the Arab countries should have waged war in 1948 is another matter, on the principle of strength it was pretty sensible that should have been the best chance of dismantling the new creation, on the surface it was in response to the mass exodus of Palestinian refugees, in reality our Arab rulers all had their own agendas many of which involved expansion of their own areas of control, and as a result of these agendas and the repeated defeats many of these rulers were replaced by military dictatorships, the rest as they say is history.

And now I too must leave, work is mounting, the husnad in hungry and the children creating chaos!

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Peace lover,

Thank you for those kind words.

Please let me point out that I am not anti-Palestinian or anti-Arab or anti-anything really except extremism. And yes there may be extremists on both sides of an issue...like the Israeli-Arab conflict. I understand this.

I am merely trying to point out to people like Magda that there are reasons for all of these events that occur and that things are not always what they seem on the surface.

You mention Golda Meir's comment about leaving the Israeli's in peace to enjoy their land and the continuing bulldozing of Palestinian homes. But you see that's the point...the Israeli's have NEVER been allowed to enjoy their country in peace. They have been on the receiving end of wars with their neighbors and terrorism by the Palestinians.

There have been efforts to partition the land in such a way as to allow each side to have a portion to call their own. But the Arab states at first and then the Palestinians most recently have rejected this option. In short, they chose to fight. Yet as far as I can tell the Israeli's have just as big a claim to this area as do the Palestinians.

In 2000-2001 Barak offered Arafat a deal that would have given the Palestinian state 97% of the occupied territories, the Old City of Jerusalem other than the Jewish and Armenian Quarters, and $30 billion in compensation for the refugees.

Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia told Arafat: "Since 1948, every time we've had something on the table we say no. Then we say yes. When we say yes, it's not on the table any more. Then we have to deal with something less. Isn't it about time we say yes?" Bandar emphasized that the Arabs had always told the Americans that if "you get us a deal that's O.K. on Jerusalem and we're going, too." Bandar laid out the options to Arafat: "Either you take this deal or we go to war. If you take this deal, we will all throw our weight behind you. If you don't take this deal, do you think anybody will go to war for you?"

Shortly thereafter, Bandar sternly warned Arafat: "I hope you remember, sir, what I told you. If we lose this opportunity, it is not going to be a tragedy, it is going to be a crime."
"The Case for Israel" by Alan Dershowitz as reported by Elsa Walsh, "The Prince," The New Yorker 3/24/03 p.61

Arafat screwed the Palestinians royally by not taking that deal. Not to mention pissing off people like Bandar and Clinton who worked so hard to get it.

Nobody wants to see homes bulldozed, but nor do we want to see the continuing terrorism as practiced by the Palestinians either.

Texan said...


Israel gives its people a civilized society through the rule of law in which the people are free to prosper. In all of the Millde East it is only Israel that is humane to its citizens and respects them.

Any rational person would choose to live in civilized society.

The problem with Islam is that it falsely blames all of its problems on the USA and Israel. It is not the USA nor Israel who is oppressing you. It is your own governments and your clerics. They use you like braindead sheep to follow their nonsense.

Islam teaches death. Islam glorifies death. Islam teaches about a false struggle against oppression from the USA and Israel. You have been brainwashed. The oppression comes from Islam and the Middle East governments. That is your struggle.

What does terrorism offer you? Nothing but death. You slaughrer each other like animals. Radical Islam offers no future. If you don't change, you will go nowhere. Only darkness.

Iraq has a chance to have a government for the people by the people and to enter into the 12st Century. It's up to you. You can keep slaughtering each other like animals or move toward civilized society.

Texan said...

CORRECTION: I meant to say at the end 21st Century.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...


According to Benny Morris: "Historians have concluded that only 'several thousand' families were displaced following land sales to Jews between the 1880's and the late 1930's."

David Ben-Gurion, former prime minister of Israel, instructed the Jewish refugees never to buy land belonging to local "fellahs or worked by them." Morris

"Well equally if "Israel" hadn't decided to create itself in the area there wouldn't be these problems!" Magda

Israel did not create itself. I will let Mr. Dershowitz answer you:

"Generally, those who support the losing side in a war--especially a side so egregiously evil as the Nazis--do not benefit from the postwar reconstruction that inevitably follows from the surrender of the losing side. Most Palestinian Muslims were on the losing side of World War I, while the Jews of Palestine were on the winning side. The Jewish support for the British in World War I, which included fighting alongside the British forces, helped earn them the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The Jewish support--including the military support of thousands of Palestinian Jews--for the Allied during World War II helped to earn the U.N. Partition of 1947. Churchill believed that the Arabs were "owed...nothing in a postwar settlement" because of their widespread support for Nazism.

And Israel is largely secular and accords complete freedom of religion to Muslims, Christians, and other religious groups.

I would say that it was the Arab war on Israel in 1948 that created the first refugee problem. And yes I agree that it was because of the Arab states own agendas.

Dang I'm out of time again and I still haven't responded to the Kid's comment. Tomorrow. Magda we really have to stop meeting like this. lol!

Konfused Kid said...


Your analysis is correct, but you should have said 'Radical Islam' instead of Islam all the way...

Islam does not teach hate, that is a common misconception, which can be easily understood, considering what has happened since 911, the problem is that some people get carried too far away, and in the end, extremism is always in-your-face, so it is of course natural for u to blame the whole religion for this. but that, my friend is wrong. I don't have time to explain why, but maybe I will in the future.
True, Arabs often wrongly blame US and Israel, when they should blame first themselves.

One final point, which Majda has tried to say somehow, is that Jews and Arabs can never really make amends as long as there is religion.

Jon in Maryland said...

Oh, Lynnette!

You're not anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, anti-anything except anti-extremism. Yet you see nothing wrong, nothing depersonalizing, nothing dehumanizing when your favorite Minnesota serviceman in Iraq uses the term "Haji" for every Iraqi, be it man, woman, 12-year old boy, or probably infant, along with all the insurgents, etc. He'd like to get his "confirmed kill" of a "Haji," he hates just about all the people of the town he's stationed outside, in his fear of an ambush he shoots off his shotgun in an intersection and orders the driver of his Humvee or whatever to just push the civilian cars out of the way, or roll over them. Yet his use of "Haji" is just like any soldier who gives a name to his weapon or his vehicle or whatever. "Old Betsy," term of endearment. "Haji!!!," presumably spat out if it accords with the vehemence of his emotions as he writes about them. At least he's honest about them, I'll give him that.

And then you start mouthing the typical Israeli line about Palestine, quoting Alan Dershowitz (a passionately pro-Zionist lawyer who said maybe a bit of torture is okay now and then)! You ignore Deir Yassin, the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian villagers by a combined force from the Stern Gang and the Irgun, two pre-Israel (pre- Arab armies invasion, for that matter) terrorist groups, two of whose top leaders later became, lo and behold, prime ministers of Israel! You ignore (or are ignorant of) the sound trucks that toured Arab neighborhoods telling the inhabitants to flee or face the fate of the people of Deir Yassin. You ignore the work of more recent Israeli historians who've documented similar instances of ethnic cleansing by the Haganah. A little violence, a few threats, watch the unarmed or overmatched civilians flee! Oh, wait a minute, isn't the use of force or violence or even a threat to use force or violence against civilians for political purposes the definition of "terrorism"? Oh, but wait, there's one definition of terrorism for those we don't like, and another for our side. It was also a bit ironic (perhaps more than a bit) that you quoted Dershowitz supposedly quoting Saudi Prince Bandar addressing Arafat. Read pages 395-7 of Bob Woodward's "Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987," where he tells of the arrangement between then CIA Director William Casey and then Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar to deal with Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, then "spiritual advisor" to Hizbullah. According to this account, the Saudis provided money to hire a former British SAS (elite commando forces) person, the end result of whose activities was a car bomb near Fadlallah's residence, which killed 80 and wounded 200 (but not Fadlallah). Not "terrorism" of course, but "counterterrorism."

Then there're the frequent Israeli statements to the effect of "The only thing the Arabs understand is force," which I believe I've seen or heard recently quoted as the words of one or two American service members in Iraq. To my way of thinking, what the Israelis (and us Americans) have given the Arabs over the past 60 years is a series of object lessons in Mao Tse-tung's dictum that "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." And Lynnette, your claim, based on Dershowitz again, that "the Arabs" were on the losing side in two world wars justifies the Palestinians having to give up their homes, lands, and lives, is not only wrong in the premise about "the Arabs" having even been on a side, but again justifies the idea that might makes right. As for the premise with regard to WW I, the Arabs mostly fought with the British against the Ottoman Turks, based on promises by the British to give them freedom (which the British had already negated via the secret Sykes-Picot agreement with the French). As for WW II, do the sympathies of some of the citizens of some of the Arab lands (usually the ones colonized by the French and British) constitute being ON the losing side? Maybe in the fevered brain of Alan Dershowitz.

Pray tell, how do European and American guilt feelings over the horrific end result of nearly 1900 years of Christian anti-Semitism, the Holocaust, justify displacing another people, particularly one whose larger religious culture and society had throughout most of its history (the reign of the Fatimid "Mad Caliph" al-Hakim in Cairo being a notable, because rare, exception) treated Jews (and Christians) far, far better than the Christians of Europe treated Jews. When the Crusaders took Jerusalem, they slaughtered 30,000 local Muslims, Jews, and Eastern Christians. (Political power grew from the blade of a sword, back then.)

And poor little Israel, all it wants to do is live in peace, but those naughty Arabs won't let it. That's why it had to conspire with the British and French to attack Egypt in 1956. That's why the Israeli cabinet minister Lavon had to set in motion the "Lavon Affair," a neat little plot using Egyptian Jews to set off an explosion in front of an American cultural center in Cairo, in hopes the post-revolution Egyptian government would be blamed. Too bad the Egyptians found out about it ahead of time. And that's why Israeli planes had to bomb the U.S.S. Liberty, an American "spy ship," during the 1967 war (after repeated reconnoitering flights over many hours), since the U.S. might have passed on information to the Syrians (highly doubtful) or maybe because the huge American flag and markings weren't sufficiently convincing to make sure it wasn't really an Egyptian ship. And that's why the Israelis had to invade Lebanon in 1982, despite a 6-month ceasefire by the PLO on Lebanon's southern border. After all, the Palestinian Abu Nidal group had just tried to assassinate the Israeli ambassador in London. What's that you say? Abu Nidal was a bitter enemy of the PLO and had put a price on Arafat's head? Well, they're all Palestinians aren't they? Arabs Schmarabs. The only good Arab is a dea.. No, no, mustn't say that. Might remind some of the often-expressed view of a fair number of the European immigrants to our fair country towards the American Indians. Right there in Minnesota, Lynnette, along with everywhere else. Most or all of the pre-European-settler inhabitants of Minnesota were Lakota or Anishinabe, and some of them are still there. They've still got a few lakes out of Minnesota's 10,000 (many more in actuality, but 10,000 is a nice round number that makes a good slogan). And they've got their reservations, kind of like Palestinian refugee camps, but without the dust. Since you're so willing to give the Israelis all and more of the homeland they now have, maybe you'd be willing to give up your homeland for the 3 million Palestinian refugees, or hey, what about a homeland in Minnesota for all the Siouan and Algonquian-speaking Indians in the U.S. (or formerly speaking, maybe even presently-speaking for those who managed to retain their languages despite all the efforts we exerted to extirpate them). You'd give up your home to give them a homeland, wouldn't you Lynnette? They might want Minneapolis as their capital and let you formerly Europeans stay in St. Paul. Of course, if you got uppity, they might build a wall. Or "cleanse" you.
Oh, back to Lebanon, 1982 and later. End result of the Israeli incursion: only 20,000 dead civilians, mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shia. Well, to be honest, the lowest estimate I've seen was 17,000 (and the highest 40,000, although I imagine that was an exaggeration since it was given by a Jewish American, Noam Chomsky). And 18 years later, they finally left.

Sometime last year, I heard Tom Friedman, the American journalist, author of "From Beirut to Jerusalem" and other more recent books, say that he hoped Hamas would win the Palestinian election so that they would be faced with the task of governing and perhaps moderate some of their views and practices as a result. Haven't heard anything from him on that score since Hamas did win the elections and the Israelis, with the vigorous backing and aid of the U.S., in effect declared economic war against the Palestinian people and economy. That, coincidentally, brings up the position of the Shiites and, less directly, Hizbullah in Lebanon. The Shiites are probably at least 40 percent of the Lebanese population. Not much was said about that last year during the fervor about the "Cedar Revolution" and President Bush's ringing cries of "Freedom" and "Democracy" (or less charitably, what might seem to some to be the empty mouthing of slogans that are ignored when convenient). Nor was anything said about the fact that the Lebanese political system is still one of confessional representation in the parliament, the executive, and the highest offices apportioned mostly in accordance with the last official census, which was conducted 74 years ago. There was a small adjustment in 1990, when the previous 6 to 5 ratio of Christians (14-16 sects) to "Muslims" (Shiites, Sunnis, and Druze) was changed to 50-50 (despite the fact that the "Muslims" are now probably 60 to 70 percent of the population). And the Shiites are allotted only 21% of the parliamentary seats and are limited to one of the four top positions, speaker of the parliament. Although Hizbullah holds a bit over half the Shiite seats, that gives them only about 11 or 12% of the seats in parliament and their 2 cabinet positions represent about 8% of those seats. I wouldn't be surprised if the Lebanese government's reluctance/inability to press for Hizbullah's disarmament is in part based on an agreement to go slowly in return for Hizbullah's/the Shiites' agreement not to press for immediate representation proportional to their share of the population.

Kid, I disagree with a bit of your analysis, although what I disagree with seems more a matter of uncertainty with you. I don't believe Hizbullah is the tool of Iran, and I doubt that they even owe their "allegiance" to Iran as a country. They certainly "owe" the Iranian Shiite clergy and Iranian government a kind of debt of gratitude for spiritual, monetary, organizational, and military support over the last 24 years, but I think if it came to a matter of having to choose between being Shiite Lebanese Arabs and being the catspaws of a Persian Iranian government which happens to be Shiite, they would choose the former. I also doubt that they were "ordered" to do what they did by Iran. They may have run it by them, probably did, and went ahead when they didn't get a red light. Maybe they even got a green light. But I would be wary of giving much weight to the initial condemnations of Hizbullah by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt. There are a multitude of different entities throughout the Arab world, whether rulers, political parties, religious sects, or subgroups within those sects, and each and every one has its own batch of fish to fry. The same with a lot of external governments, whether Arab governments external to another Arab state, or non-Arab countries. Each and every one has its own interests (or the interests perceived or believed by its leaders, whether correct or not). And they almost all meddle, whenever things get unsettled or unstable. I believe that's one reason the Lebanese civil war lasted 15 years. And that kind of interference is often embarked on with little knowledge of the meddled-in country or situation, or the various players, or what motivates them. Unfortunately, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Israel,and possibly other neighboring countries in the near future are getting meddled in rather ferociously now, often rather ignorantly, without much (or any) weighing of the cost in human suffering this meddling will bring.

As for your inability right now to feel much sympathy or empathy for the Lebanese or Palestinians, I think Magda is right, that it is difficult for those who are in the midst of going through one kind of hell to feel much sympathy for others going through their own, similar, but different, hell at the same time. This may be even more true if you think the others were at least partly responsible for bringing it on themselves.

If you don't mind, I'll be glad to take on that particular burden on your behalf for awhile. Well, maybe not "glad." I've been in periodic psychological pain about the news from the Palestinian territories (and now Lebanon) ever since the Israelis and Americans decided to stifle Hamas by stifling the Palestinian economy (and Palestinians' livelihoods) in February. But at least I can go on with ordinary life, put down the newspaper, turn off the radio or TV, walk in the woods, work in the garden, read a mystery or other book that's not about the Middle East, and lots of other things that can take me away from that pain, since it's not a part of my immediate surroundings all the time. And that makes it a lot easier to feel empathy, if not easy. What is sometimes most difficult is realizing at times that I'm actually ashamed of my own country's behavior and its ignorance.

Some of the previous comments take the position that the Arabs are suffering mainly because they're filled with hatred and refuse to accept Israel's right to exist in peace among them. And you, Kid, seem to doubt that it will ever be possible for Jews and Arabs to get along, live in peace, not hate each other. I believe, to the contrary, that it is possible, but that certain things are necessary -- justice, fairness, and especially for the Arabs, honor (عرض ). David Ignatius had an interesting op-ed column in the Washington Post on August 2, in which he saw some reason for hope for the future in the event the current Lebanese crisis ends in a kind of Hizbullah "victory," i.e., their managing to survive the Israeli onslaught, and thus show that the Arabs had stood up to Israeli might and not fled, even though the final result was not a victory for them in any usual sense of the word. What would count, though, was the kind of honor the Egyptians and Syrians won in the October 1973 war. Even though they didn't win back the Sinai or the Golan, and suffered a rather resounding defeat, they did make the attempt, and thus restored their honor sufficiently for Egypt at least to offer to talk peace.

I can empathize with the Palestinians and Lebanese, and even still love them, partly because they are so inefficient at killing Israeli civilians when compared to the Israelis' efficiency at killing Palestinian and Lebanese civilians even when they're doing everything they can to avoid it. I guess if they weren't doing everything they can, the ratio would be even higher, maybe 1,000 to one, rather than 30 to 1. But of course Palestinians and Lebanese do undertake violent acts against the Israelis, and the end result is usually the death of a lot more Arabs. So force is not really the answer. But how to end up with fairness, justice, and honor? One of the sticking points of the "greatest possible deal of the millennium!" offered by Barak in 2000 was that it apparently offered nothing for the 3 million Palestinian refugees, not even a nominal "right of return" to be honored through actual return in some cases but some kind of compensation in most. My proposal would be for the Palestinians in nearby countries to adopt the non-violent tactics of Gandhi and Martin Luther King by massing in the hundreds of thousands or millions all around the borders of Israel, unarmed, and just press through, with enough food and water for a couple of days. They would then proceed to their former homes or those of their parents, or as close as they could get, and sit down in the streets, maybe even go into homes and apartment buildings, and sit! Unrealistic, I suppose, but who knows.


I wanted to say something to you about your, let's call it "discomfort" with Jews. I appreciate your honesty and your dislike of having those feelings. Maybe an answer is to think of all people (no matter what "group" they may be members of) as individuals, even Israelis and Jews. And not to hold those individuals responsible for the wrongs committed by other members of that group. The next step might be to identify members of that group who have done good things for others, particularly members of other groups. I think that no matter what "group" you might be dealing with (unless it's a group that by definition is "evil"), you will find more who do good than the number who harm others. I remember the name of Helen Suzman, the Jewish member of the South African parliament who stood up against apartheid year after year. And American Jews were probably more active in greater numbers than any other non-black ethnic group in the civil rights movement. There are a lot of American Jews and Israelis who truly are searching for a peaceful and just solution to the Palestinian situation and probably more who could be persuaded in that direction.

Sorry, Kid. You said in an early blog that you were going to try to stay away from politics for the most part. Now that you ventured in, see what a monster has arisen!

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Oh Jon!

How long did it take you to type in that screed? Although I did read it all. Interesting. I will try to reply to some of the high points in a litte less encyclopedic way.

1. I do not think that the use of the term "Haji" to describe Iraqis is any more a sign of hate then is the term "Joe" when used to describe American soldiers. If that were the case the soldier you referred to would not have also said that the Iraqi interpreter he works with was really cool to hang around with. He also would not have said that he hopes to show him all the best places (read bars) if he visits the States. Are there some soldiers who hate Iraqis? Possibly. Just like there are possibly some Iraqis who hate Americans. War does not always make people feel warm and fuzzy towards each other.

2. Deir Yassin: by Dershowitz.

"Although it was not the policy of the Haganah to encourage the flight of local Arabs, that certainly seems to have been the policy of the Irgun(or Etzel), the paramilitary wing of the revisionist movement headed by Menacham Begin, and Lechi(or Stern gang) headed by Yitzak Shamir. On April 9, 1948, paramilitary units fought a difficult battle for control of Deir Yassin, an important Arab village on the way to Jerusalem. The battle was fierce, with Etzel and Lechi forces losing more than a quarter of their fighters. The Jewish fighters were pinned down by sniper fire and threw grenades through the windows of many of the houses from which the snipers were firing. Most of the villagers eventually fled. An Etzel armored car with loudspeaker demanded that the remaining villagers lay down their arms and leave their houses. Morris reports that "the truck got stuck in a ditch" and the message was not heard. The fighting contined, and when it was over, 100 to 110 Arabs were dead.

Many of the dead were women, because Arab fighters dressed as women and shot Israelis to whom they had "surrendered" --a tactic employed by some Iraqis in 2003. Some children and old people were also killed. Although there was and continues to be considerable dispute surrounding the circumstances of these deaths, the event was called a massacre, and as word spread, it clearly contributed to the flight of Arabs in surrounding villages. "Everyone had an interest" in publicizing and exaggerating the number of people killed and the brutality of the killings. The Arab side wanted to discredit the Jews by arguing--quite hypocritically, in light of their own policy over the decades of deliberatly massacring civilians--that the Jews were worse than they were. The British also wanted to discredit the Jews. Etzel and Lechi wanted to "provoke terror and frighten Arabs into fleeing." And the Haganah wanted " to tarnish " Etzel and Lechi.

The Haganah and the Jewish Agency--the official organs of the state-to-be--immediately condemned the massacre and those who had participated in it. A formal note of apology and explanation was sent to King Abdullah. Indeed, the Deir Yassin massacre certainly contributed to the controversial decision by David Ben-Gurion--Israel's first prime minister--to disarm, by force, these paramilitary groups in June 1948. But the effect of Deir Yassin, and the publicity surrounding it, was clearly to provoke even more flight by Arabs."

There again you will always have exremists on both sides. And the tactics used by the Arab fighters are eerily familiar. As is the propaganda war that raged on both sides.

3. "Dershowitz supposedly quoting Saudi Prince Bandar..."

That information was supplied by Elsa Walsh and you may want to read the interview she did with Prince Bandar in the New Yorker titled "The Prince" March 24, 2003.

4. "As for WW II, do the sympathies of some of the citizens of some of the Arab lands (usually the ones colonized by the French and British) constitute being ON the losing side?" Jon

Haj Amin al'Husseini (Official leader of the Palestinians and grand mufti of Jerusalem)

As quoted from his memoirs:
"Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem in a manner befitting our national and racial aspirations and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: "The Jews are yours."

Now Jon I'm afraid I have to go. I'm at work. I will try to continue later.

Anonymous said...

Salam alaikum one and all
and especially Peace be With You 'Jon of

WOW JON !!!!

Wow Jon, your case for peace in the middle east is better informed and better argued than a thousand newspaper articles. And let's be honest, how many newspaper articles, in the world, even those written in democratic countries, while seeming even handed, do not end up telling their readers exactly what they must think and how they must think it, and who they must think it against.

That is what makes blogging and especially the comments pages of blogs
so twenty first century. And Kid, if I
May say so, your last comment here on the political situation in IRAQ, is good, though very twentieth centry, the sort of reasoning that would have got you top marks in a school history exam, though there, you have had to limit your use of the b. word.

Well who am I, a bit of an ordinary joe, bit of a coward, who may live in a free country but not in a free world. And Magda, I'd like you to consider this statement, 'some American have grandparents born in Europe'. Not that
I would like to apply an -ism to my self unless it be 'worldism'. But then, again Magda, for all you know I could be a TIWANESE Confusian, or even
a Nestorian INUIT pretending to be....

Konfuzed ?

I hope so.

The wonderful thing about the ineternet, is that we carry any handle we like, and speak at once from any part of the globe and the only thing that exposes us is the greatness of our passion and the nakedness of our prejudices. And have you ever wondered why it is that so many small stone that you find on the beach or in your garden
are of an ovaloid or even spherical appearance. It is because they were once pieces of rock with jaged edges, but over the centuries they have knocked against other small rocks, and have been polished smooth by the passage of time. And is this not what the internet is all about?

The one thing you may believe for certain about me is that I am 'peace lover' , as I believe all of you in your hearts to be. And if you should catch me out in anything I say, which
shows I am not 'peace-lover' than you
may either call me a liar, or a falible human. From my mother's knee I learned this, 'our people have suffered greatly, these are your hereditary enemies, all (here fill in name of a country) are bad. And she was a really wonderful person, a very giving person, religious person. And if I wanted to, I could have found many
many examples to support her theory that all (FILL IN THE BLANK) are bad, but as I wandered the world I came across many nationals of that particular country who were just very nice. And once even, I came
across a young arab and a young Isreali, on a train in Europe and they were the best of friends. As I came into the compartment they were talking to each other in a language I did not understand. Both spoke excellent English, so my curiosity was aroused, and I asked them , what language were you speaking so fast, when I came in ? Oh they said, we take one language and drop into it words from the other language, and vice versa. And I remember thinking at the time 'Oh my God, when these two young people get home, they could easily end up looking
at each other across a battle-field.' For this particular arab country was a neighbour of Israel, and at that particular time these two particular countries were in a state of great tension with each other. When later I was introduced to biblical scolarship, I discovered, that often the meaning of some hebrew word is only made plain by considering its arabic equivalent. And then I understood the ease with which the two young men on the train could talk to each other, for are arabic and hebrew not descended from the same sources, and if you are to beleive the religous texts of each, are they not derived from the languge of Abram of Ur, who became ABRAHAM, the father of all arabs and jews jews and arabs.

I 'peace lover' The originator and author of 'the joke' and 'the appeal' to be found below the boundany of this line do hereby renounce all copyright of the contents to be found below and beyond the boundary and place it unreservedly into the public domain, to be copied and translated in any media whatsoever

Killing Joke

Guy walking down Baghdad street meets a gunman

Gunman asks 'Shia or Sunni ?'

Guy replies 'Exactly half and half'

Gunman smiles 'That's O.K. then. In that case I will only shoot half of you. Now please show on your body where is the Shia half and where the Sunni half so I can find my target

Appeal to All Iraqis

Salam Aleikum

Shia and Suni, Suni and Shia brothers and sisters in Islam. Why should Iraqi
Muslim brother shoot Iraqi Muslim brother ? Iraki Sunnis please help your Iraki Shia brothers rebuild the Golden Mosque of Samara in a kiss of peace. Iraki Shias can you be absolutely certain that it was Iraki Sunni's who blew up your Golden Mosque of Samara ? Look also amongst your own members, for possible candidates. Shia and Suni
Suni and Shia heal this terrible wound for the sake of PEACE



Anonymous said...

Hello Lynnette in Minnesota,

I have just seen your reply to Jon of Maryland. I would like to ask you, in the nicest possible way: is that book by Dershowitz your bible ? By this I do not mean to imply anything, other than this, in some homes, the Bible was the only book that was ever read. So are you eventually intending to reproduce the whole contents of Dershowitz's book on the Kids comments page ? I would not dream of suggesting to you that you should ever in your life read a book written by a Palestian, but could you not at least find in your heat to look at some of the excellent books written by Jews that show the case of the Palestinians in a positive light.

Peace one and all


Lynnette in Minnesota said...


I've been meaning to say something in response to your earlier comment, but have gotten sidetracked by other arguements.

"1. Ally with the Americans, as they are the strongest and can provide 'fake' democracy that is better than all-out opression."

Oh now don't be shy...why not go allll the way. Why not try for "real" democracy?

*sigh* Yes, everyone has an agenda. All those people you mentioned and all of your commenters here. And yes, you.

The trick is to find the ones that best fit your agenda and ally with them. I can't tell you who they are because I don't know your agenda.

I can't speak for the other people in that list as to what their agendas are, and I won't try to tell you what ours is. I think that is something you will have to figure out for yourself. Because you wouldn't believe me anyway. *shrug*

As for the Arabian state thing...well ummmm....why?

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Hmmm, Peace lover is it?

Somehow I wonder about that.

But to answer your question, dear, no Dershowitz's book is not my Bible. However he is very comprehensive in his research and it is convenient. (It's hard to lug around numerous books). And no I will not reproduce his entire book in Kid's comments page, just the pertinent parts.

As to reading opposing views, my dear, that is why I find Magda and the Kid and others so interesting.

And I don't find that Dershowitz shows the plight of the Palestinians in a negative light at all. He is actually very sympathetic.

But perhaps it is just that you do not agree with the two state solution and therefore wish to imply that Dershowitz is anti-Palestinian?

Anonymous said...

Salam aleikum and peace be with you Lynnette,

I would like to humbly appologize to you. Looking at what I just wrote, I see I lost all objectivity. I am sure you have a great many books. I realise also that you started quoting from Dershowitz, to help cast an informed light on some of the things that Magda said. For all I know, it is a book you had to reread to find the passages you wanted. Unlike you Jon I have not read Dershowitz's book, and I only know of it through Lynnette's quotations, and I am convinced it is a very good book (shame on you John for ever suggesting otherwise !) I imagine it is a brillantlly argued, and completely compelling work. BUT Lynnette, the type of book it is, is very clearly given in the title. What is the title : THE CASE FOR ISRAEL. O.K. so the book is like a lawyer arguing a case in a court of law, but here it is the court of public opinion. In a court of law, you would expect a lawyer to give the very best possible defense of his client, you would expect the lawyer to put together a solid case presenting all the facts that support it and knit them together into a competely coherent whole, so that anyone listening would come to the conclusion, yes that was exactly how it was, I would agree with this. AND THE BETTER THE LAWYER THE MORE SOLID THE CONVICTION OF THE LISTNER. and were the listner to then go away after hearing everything that had been said on one side, the listner would be convinced by the case for the defense and try to convince others of it, and be in no way aware that there might be any different interpretation. The very best lawyer, also gives the appearace of impartiality, by saying here and there that sometimes there was fault on both sides. BUT IT IS NOT THE REMIT OF THE LAWYER to give an impartial picture, or to give the case from the perspective of the other side.

I realise that when you read what John had to say, your reaction probably was oh no, so much stuff to go through, o.k. so here is the very best I can do at the moment, pick at the stuff that I feel I agree least with. My reaction was the opposite, because whereas I have deep sympathy for Israel and the Jewish people, I feel even more strongly that the case for the Palestinians, has not been as accesibly put in the court of public opinion.

One point which I tried to make myself, and did not make very well in a previous comment, was about the peaceful buldozing of Palestinian homes. I should have expanded on that. The buldozing of homes occurs quitely, in a piecemeal fashion over many years, in those times when the state of Israel is at peace, or rather not actively occupied by war. When we watch the news, usually the most reported incidents from Israel, are the actions of suicide bombers. They are very dramatic, what we do not see so often are the buldozing of palestinian homes, but we do see this occassionally on special news reports, and we hear the comentator say that these things are in violation of UN resolutions, but that nothing pretty much will be done about it. Now to somebody
who is not an expert, this seems quite wrong, and I gather from what Jon has to say, from a basis of deeper knowledge, that this seems wrong to him too. He has many other points to make of a like nature.

peace one and all


Anonymous said...

Hello again Lynnette,
While I was writing my apology to you, you were writing you comments to me, and when I pressed the LOGIN AND PUBLISH button, you must have pressed your LOGIN AND PUBLISH button earlier. So what might look as a reponse to your comment to me is something written independetly. Actually I am an advocate of a two state solution. I would like to hope I am an advocate for the underdog in any situation. I belive that Jon is very much like me in this. And I think he has very valid points.




Konfused Kid said...


You get more and more interesting in each comment - a democracy that is established by the United States will undoubtedly be fake, lest it brings the likes of Hamas. Theoretically, we will experience economic growth, modernization, freedom of speech and all the other carrots in the proverbial basket, but underneath all that will be the red line of the American taboos.

As for the why Arabia? well, why not? It is so hard to fathom now, but it always must begin in some place.

Since this is the most ideal starting point for the rise of a future state that fits my agenda, a Tolerant Muslim state that is more or less a 'true' representation of Islam, I choose it.

Yes, I like sex and rock'n'roll, but I happen to like Omar bin al-Khattab and Ali bin Abi Talib more.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...


O.K. now where was I....

The Lavon Affair:

Thank you for that info. I found that a fascinating spy story. Yes, I admit I do like spy stories. If you (or anyone else) want to read a nice overview you can go here:
(sorry you'll have to copy and paste the link)

Not to be nasty, well maybe just a little, I liked the line in the Epilogue part that read:
"The affair continues to do damage to this day, because every bigot, crank and eccentric can use it to prove their favorite contention. Most recently, it has been used to "prove that Israel engineered the Al-Qaida terror attacks on the World Trade Cener and teh Pentagon on September 11, 2001."

Hmmm....well now I know where that came from.

1956 - Egypt: I will refresh your memory. I believe that was when Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal and Israel was ticked off about not being able to move it's ships through there, no? Since Peace lover is tired of Dershowitz I will try Benny Morris.

Benny Morris, Professor of History at Ben-Gurion University, in his book Righteous Victims, wrote:

"The essential reality of Israeli-Arab relations during 1949-1956 was an unremitting, if generally low-key, conflict. Leaders and news media on both sides regularly voiced propaganda and traded threats, and the Arab world closed ranks in waging massive political warfare against Israel, regarding it as a pariah state and attempting to persuade the rest of the world to follow suit. The Arabs refused to recognize Israel's existence or right to exist -- leaders and writers avoided using the word 'Israel'; maps left its area blank or called it Palestine...

A comprehensive Arab economic boycott was imposed, including the closure by Egypt of the Suez Canal [July 26, 1956] and the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping and to specific goods (such as oil) bound for Israel, carried on third-country vessels, and a ban on deals with companies doing business with Israel.

The most grinding and visible expressions of animosity were border clashes. Most of the tension along the frontiers resulted from Arab infiltration. The daily trespassing and shooting incidents, the occasional murder of Israelis, and the retaliations generated fresh hostility which gradually built up to a crescendo in the second Arab-Israeli war of 1956."

1982 - Lebanon: *yawn* The more things change the more they stay the same. Again refreshing your memory...after the 1970 Civil war in Jordan where the King basically kicked out Arafat he took up residence in southern Lebanon. And set up shop firing rockets and sending raiding parties into Israel.

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said of the operation:

"No sovereign state can tolerate indefinitely the buildup along its borders of a military force dedicated to its destruction and implementing its objectives by periodic shellings and raids." (Washington Post, June 16, 1982)

Huh, now doesn't that sound familiar?

Reservations in Minnesota:

Yes, there are some very poor areas. In fact there was a school shooting up in Red Lake:


(again, sorry manual link)

There are also some advantages to being on a reservation for some who have the casinos. Gambling is big business.

Hamas: I believe that our government lists them as a terrorist orgainization. Regardles of how the Palestinians feel you will not find support from the American people in funding a terrorist organization.

Now, I'm starting to run out of steam and time (not to mention getting tired of scrolling up)...so gotta go.


I'm not sure if you were talking to Magda or me, but I'll have to look at your comment tomorrooooooow.

Magda said...

Oh dear the time difference is is really showing here!
To Jon
I concur with anonymous wow, and as we Arabs would say a thousand wows!
I guess you make the argument for thinking of “others” as individuals rather then stereotypes by being the example of an American who has read more about the Middle East than many of us its inhabitants, different from the Americans my family has unfortunately had dealings with more recently when the contents our home were being turned upside down by teenagers with guns doing the whole American go..go..routine, watched by my proud but silent elderly father. Not dissimilar to the American journalists and archeologists I met at my grandmother's house in my childhood, I am not a fool I realize that the soldiers are not the only type of American there is but neither are you, and in its bid to “liberate” us America chose to send one type, my father met several older more senior American “envoys” between April 2003 and when he eventually left, and not one of them had even read a “tourist’s guide” on the history or culture of the land they were about to “visit”. As for peace loving "Israeli" well I can't say I have ever come across one.

To my friend the kid
I believe your response was misaddressed to me, unlike Lynnette I do not think we should try our luck making friends with the “mighty wise white man” of America simply because for today they hold the world to ransom, I am one of those silly Arabs who doesn’t do the devious very well, I say it as I see it, and if I am not in a position to change what I see is wrong by deed, or word I will still reject it in my heart.

To all of you airing your views here
1. History is written by the victor. And books will only contain selected parts of the truth as suits the writer, and more importantly only what they are allowed to say by the rich and powerful of the day, as at least one British historian has discovered.
2. Borders and geography are changed not by philosophical arguments but by swords and guns, I am of a land that had to re-publish school geography books three times in a few years with a changes in national borders to include then exclude Al-Ahwaz and Kuwait. And probably will not exist as a state for very much longer.
3. While we take time out from our lives to ponder endlessly the arguments, back on Earth ONE WHOLE MONTH FROM THE START OF THE SIXTH WAR another day has gone by when real people in Lebanon have lost their lives, on the hands of real people in “Israel” while real people in America with the power to do something about it ponder how long they can let their good friends get away with murder.

Anonymous said...

hello everybody

My First remark would be to Lynnette, once again I apologize. In my first remark addressed to you, way back many comments ago on this page I said you were a very nice person. I would really really like to repeat that now. I realize in fact, that had you encountered here comments made by an extreem anti-palestinian, you would have been equally happy to have engaged in dialogue with that person and have tried to dispell those prejudices with your customary tolerance and good humor. The remark I made
to you was neither particularly nice, nor that of a peace-lover, so pehaps I should just call myself Nestorian Inuit hoping to be a peace-lover.

Kid I am delighted to find two statements, that you made about yourself.

One, "a Tolerant Muslim state that is more or less a 'true' representation of Islam, I choose it."
Amen to that. Though I am speaking as an outsider, my own personal observation of muslims, is that they are the very opposite of the steriotypical picture.

Two, "sex and rock and roll"
I agree with you there as well. The two in combination may look fun, but they will not satisfy, as the lives of all too many rock performers, will testify.

For a while back, especially reading the end of the post on the Lebanon, I feared you might have lost it, and might have fallen into the "realpolitic" strategic thinking, of the sort of people you dislike, and reading what Jon of Maryland had to say to you he felt this too. I would be quite interested to see how much he still feels this to be a problem, because I believe he is both a shrewder and more mature person then myself.

Magda. You found in Jon someone you could relate to, quite unlike the soldiers in Iraq, none of whom posses a degree in Middle Easter Studies. And what is happening here is that you are starting to build a bridge of friendsip across a great divide. Might it be possible for you to perhaps find an Israeli or Jew somewhere, who you might not dislike.
Jon mentioned Chomsky, a very good example of someone with a great mind and a good heart. Though I doubt you would be likely to meet personally with Chomsky, I feel that this would be one Jew at least with whom you could get on. Perhaps you could meet someone like Chomsky on the internet much as you found Jon


nestorian inuit

Anonymous said...

what an incredible thread. kid, thank you for hosting and being so honest. where do i even begin...

someone said.. the soldiers are not the only type of American there is but neither are you, and in its bid to “liberate” us America chose to send one type,

america didn't 'choose' to send one type. the army is hard pressed, that is because most americans are against the idea of reforming the middle east. they are sorely lacking in volunteers. our economy is not thriving. the 'choice' is dependant on the people who inlist, generally uneducated poor. there are exceptions. my nephew enlisted. i begged him to reconsider, but his grandfather was a marine, he said he was enlisting to protect other marines . his brothers. he also told me he didn't care how many arabs he killed. he doesn't like arabs.

my childs godmother and my best friend is jewish. i have many many jewish friends. i also do not personally know any jews who support israels foriegn policy. blaming jews for israels foriegn policy is as rediculous as blaming americans for bush and the neocons. most of us hate him. we vote w/machines that can be programed. most of us question whether we are living in a democracy.

please read this to have a better perspective of the US/israeli invasion of labanon. things are not always what they seem.

One day before the Israeli air strikes, the main partners and shareholders of the BTC pipeline project, including several heads of State and oil company executives were in attendance at the port of Ceyhan. They were then rushed off for an inauguration reception in Istanbul, hosted by Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in the plush surroundings of the Çýraðan Palace.

Also in attendance was British Petroleum's (BP) CEO, Lord Browne together with senior government officials from Britain, the US and Israel. BP leads the BTC pipeline consortium. Other major Western shareholders include Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, France's Total and Italy's ENI.

please read the whole thing.

iran is the miidle east prize. read 'a clean break' just google it. it is all spelled out. iraq is the appetizer.

the latest invasion of lebanon was planned over a year ago. you can read about it in the SFchronicle and many other sites. the americans want to invade iran but americans are fed up w/war and do not want to. the minute the hostilities started the blame was on iran and syria in the western states. that is because they want a rereason to convince americans iran is behind it.if america were to attack iran it would leave isreal in a very threatened position, therefore the by attacking the closest threat, hezbollah, prior to the attack, and dismanteling hizbollah, ahen the US attacks iran, israel will not have to fear for there northern border.

there are over 3 prisons in israel w/lebonese prisoners, trading prisoners is very common and it is extremely disportionate for israel to attack lebanon for the arrest of the is,soldiers, also, israel had kidnapped 2 palestinian students the week before, plus the attack on gaza. question whether hezbollah really initiated this invasion.

who has the most to gain? does iran give billions apon billions of funding to hezbollah every year like america gives israel? the munitions raining down on lebanon are american paid for. they are our proxy in the middle east.

there is a common theme here that arabs, islamics, equal terror. is that who you are? what is the difference between one form of terror and another.

follow the money. this is not about hate. it is about resources. the middle east has what america wants, do not believe the propaganda. we will waste one nation after another until we get all your resources. be very very careful. the jew is not your enemy. the neocons are.they are in both countries and they threaten the citizens of the globe.good luck.

don't judge lebanon by your sexual restrictions, silly .

Konfused Kid said...

Well...Magda, i think u r referring to British historian Irving.
This is very true, and we have to accept it, you can almost feel the hostility foam when someone even TRIES to discuss the validity of the holocaust, which IMHO is severly exaggerated, a tool to acquire gains, history is very much indeed by the victors.

You have to understand that the world will be divided on Sam Huntington's Civilizations concept, this is not about symbolic good vs evil, this is about different civillizations competing for supremacy.

Melantrys said...

Kid, Kid, Kid, believe me, as one of those "who stand accused", that nothing was exaggerated. The only thing you might argue is that more ppl talk about the Jews getting gassed than about ppl with mental defects getting sterilized or killed. The Holocaust as such - and in that dimension - happened.

Irving is a fascist, no objective historian, and that's the simple truth.

This is no example of "the victor writes the history"; history was appalling enough that none of that was needed.
We committed those crimes.

Which is one of the reason I'm having a problem with Israel's "foreign policy". They - of all ppl - should know better.

(Yes, Lynnette, I suppose we totally disagree on that one; let's not argue...)

Anonymous said...


Hello Anonymous, i.e. American guy, posting just before the kid. Anonymous, isn't the internet marvelous, what you say is hugly valid, and I bet you could have written you had to say in the form of a letter to a hundred newspaers and never got it published. Whereas it is extremely useful to appear as Anonymous, when there are many Anonymouses (or should that be anonymi ?) it might be useful should you wish to return to give yourself some sort of handle, me i'm nestoran inuit. Btw useful to end on a positive note, good to place yr criticism somewhere within yr text.


Scott from Oregon said...

Konfused Kid--

Dude. The holocaust was EXAGGERATED?

You know this how? You've walked through the death camp memorials and taken in the atmosphere? You've sat with centennial Jews in rocking chairs and heard their stories?

Jewish persecution has been rampant and horrific and Arab nations such as Iraq have been complicit and shamefully guilty of such barbarism.

To poopoo their historical pain is to have them poopoo yours.

What if I said to you-- the situation in Iraq at the moment has been greatly exaggerated? Everybody in Iraq is out flying kites and eating Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream.

As to a Democracy started by the US in Iraq... here is the thing. No matter how it STARTS, Democracy is like a giant inflated ball we all push around with our noses in a big field.

Iraqi democracy will move in the direction its people guide it. Right now, its people are guiding it toward violence and division.

Hopefully, saner impulses will prevail and a state of calm will be the next destination.

After that, the degree of social interdiction by government will be argued.

After that, people will get bored and start buying DVD's...

Democracy is mutable and changes with the changing mindsets of its people.

Anonymous said...


I agree with just about 98% with your comment. The figure of 6,000,OOO EUROPEAN JEWS is likely to be an acurate one. Nor should we forget the other european nationals and minorities such as Gypsies who persished in concentration camps, or for that matter some Germans who opposed Hitler on political or religious grounds. My 2% of disagrement is that, although like you I know Irwing to be a Fasisct, he performs a very useful funcion, of devil's advocate, and if he should ever prove, that some piece of information is wrongly presented, well good luck to him. But I believe that now that the meticulous NAZI archives have been open to public scrutiny, with their 19,000,000 names, it might be useful, to exactly find out the number.
peace loving nestorian inuit

Anonymous said...

SHAlOM aleikum again Melantrys

Whereas it is possible for the Families of the American Vietnam war dead to visit and even to count up their names by visiting the memorial in Washington, a similar memorial to the jewish dead, could be made. The trouble is that wherever on the planet it could be, there might still be holocust deniers in other parts of the world, so that maybe there would need to be just too many of these monuments. And because we are living now in the twenty first century, perhaps the best public memorial, would be on the internet, not just for the jews but for all those you perished in concentration camps, under Hitler's planned policy of eradication.



Lynnette in Minnesota said...


It's nice to see another voice of reason here...*hugs* and *kisses* to you.

It is absolutely amazing how people can deny the Holocaust. I don't know if it's just that people can't comprehend the evil that man can do or is it a result of ingrained bigotry? *sigh*

No I won't argue with you on Israel's foreign policy. You have a right to your opinion. And it is not that I like to see a country destroyed (Lebanon) at all. I am simply arguing that for every action there is a reaction. Not always good.

Peace Lover,

Back to the bulldozing of homes. Here again I do not argue for this practice. I argue that it is a result of the continued bombing of buses and cafes etc. Personally I think it achieves nothing. I would say though that if Zarqawi's home had been bulldozed I would not grieve. Of course the 500lb bombs took care of that.

Alan Dershowitz is a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and an appellate lawyer, so you get a book written in that format. *shrug*

I do defend the right of the Palestinians to an independent state of their own. It is just that I ALSO accord that right to the Israeli's.

Yes, I think you are right. Jon, Chomsky and Magda would get along quite well. I would not fit in with that group at all.

Anonymous at 6:44,

Amazing, absolutely amazing. Somebody has come up with the oil arguement even with a country that has no oil. God give me strength to endure idiots.

"...Lebanon, Israel and Turkey had announced the underwater pipeline routes, which bypassed Syria and Lebanon. These underwater pipeline routes do not overtly encroach on the territorial sovereignty of Lebanon and Syria."

This says it all.


I second that comment.


"You have to understand that the world will be divided on Sam Huntington's Civilizations concept, this is not about symbolic good vs evil, this is about different civillizations competing for supremacy." Kid

Does it have to be a competition? Can we not live side by side in peace?

"Since this is the most ideal starting point for the rise of a future state that fits my agenda, a Tolerant Muslim state that is more or less a 'true' representation of Islam, I choose it. Kid

If this state is tolerant of those who are different than this is good. And if you can achieve that...you deserve to be Prime Minister of Iraq.

"He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare, while he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere."

Anonymous said...

o little lynn of minn, you forgot to include the entire quote! here, i will copy it for everyone. everyone knows invading iraq had nothing to do w/the privatization of the oil fields! how very absurd to think israel would plan an invasion on lebanon for years and pulverize women and children for the return of soldiers they could have traded for one of the thousands of lebanese they illegally imprison in dungeons!

again, a must read

Prior to the bombing of Lebanon, Israel and Turkey had announced the underwater pipeline routes, which bypassed Syria and Lebanon. These underwater pipeline routes do not overtly encroach on the territorial sovereignty of Lebanon and Syria.

On the other hand, the development of alternative land based corridors (for oil and water) through Lebanon and Syria would require Israeli-Turkish territorial control over the Eastern Mediterranean coastline through Lebanon and Syria.

The implementation of a land-based corridor, as opposed to the underwater pipeline project, would require the militarisation of the East Mediterranean coastline, extending from the port of Ceyhan across Syria and Lebanon to the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Is this not one of the hidden objectives of the war on Lebanon? Open up a space which enables Israel to control a vast territory extending from the Lebanese border through Syria to Turkey.

also, lets spend a little more time talking about the jews who were victims 50 years ago, that will really put this whole lebanese mess in perspective. we could turn the comment section into a halocaust confirmation piece!

Whatever else it may be, this is a war between palpable unequals: a giant nuclear-armed power with the most advanced western military hardware and a potential ground force of up to 650,000 trained men, against a tiny third-world guerrilla force of around 5,000 fighters, armed largely with second-hand former eastern bloc hardware (the first Katyusha rockets were developed in the early 1940s) and castoffs from Iran and Syria.

The idea that the latter can pose an existential threat to the former, under any foreseeable circumstances, is risible at best and disingenuous at worst. While it can hardly be comfortable for northern Israel's civilian population to be forced into shelters for four weeks, the physical safety of the overwhelming majority - unlike that of their counterparts in much of Lebanon - has never been seriously at stake. And while Hizbullah's supposed targeting of Israeli civilians has yielded relatively few victims, Israel's repeated "mistakes" in Lebanon have maintained a civilian death rate of about 100 Lebanese to every three Israelis. The opposite side of this coin is that while Israel's hi-tech "surgical strikes" have killed hundreds more civilians than Hizbullah fighters, the Lebanese resistance's low-tech weapons have killed about three times as many Israeli soldiers as civilians.

you may want to rethink why the taif accord brokered by america and egypt allowed the shites the right to bare arms in exchange for being under represented in parliment, and why to most of the world hizbollah is not considered a terrorists organization. of course israel isn't because when they kill civilians it's a 'mistake'! rethink terror and who the biggest threat is.

NESTORIAN INUIT my name is annie. it has not been lost on some of the most popular bloggers that israel is fighting hizbollah as a first step to initiate an all out war w/iran. here is an article from the newyorker 05 to give you some idea of how AIPAC is involved.

go to billmon for supporting links

The U.S. Army is the only significant force standing between Iran and it's closest allies, and thus between Iran and Israel. If, as it now seems, Washington and Jerusalem both perceive Iran as the primary threat (and/or target for aggression) in the region, then there is no real distinction between America's occupation of Iraq and Israel's intended re-occupation of southern Lebanon. They are, in essence, both part of the next war.

It seems increasingly probable that that war will come soon -- perhaps as early as November or December, although more likely next year. Israel's failure to knock out Hizbullah with a rapid first strike has left the neocons even deeper in the hole, enormously ratcheting up the pressure to try to recoup all losses by taking the war to Damascus and Tehran.

In other words, it's almost time for the ultimate "flight forward" -- the one that finally pushes the Middle East into World War III.

What's become clear to me is that the Democratic Party (even it's allegedly anti-war wing) will not try to stop this insanity, and in fact will probably be led as meekly to the slaughter as it was during the runup to the Iraq invasion. Watching the Dems line up to salute the Israeli war machine, hearing the uncomfortable and awkward silence descend on most of Left Blogistan once the bombs started falling in Lebanon, seeing how easily the same Orwellian propaganda tricks worked their magic on the pseudoliberals -- all this doesn't leave too much room for doubt. As long as World War III can be sold as protecting the security and survival of the Jewish state, I suspect the overwhelming majority of Democrats, or at least the overwhelming majority of Democratic politicians, will support it.

And it is being sold, ferociously. A number of wealthy pro-Israel donors, including Ronald Lauder, the perfume heir, have given millions to something called the Israel Project -- a "public education" cum PR cum grassroots lobbying machine -- to fund a program specificially aimed at building support for a military strike on Iran.

Anonymous said...

to get an idea how 'incredible' Alan Dershowitz is read this snark by who else but.....

"The news is filled these days with reports of civilian casualties, comparative civilian body counts and criticism of Germany, along with its enemies, for causing the deaths, injuries and "collective punishment" of human beings. But just who is "human" in the age of terrorism, when Polish and Russian partisans don't wear uniforms, don't belong to regular armies and easily blend into civilian populations?

We need a new vocabulary to reflect the realities of modern warfare. A new phrase should be introduced into the reporting and analysis of current events in Eastern Europe: "the continuum of humanalism." Though cumbersome, this concept aptly captures the reality and nuance of warfare today and provides a more fair way to describe those who are killed, wounded and punished.

There is a vast difference — both moral and legal — between an Aryan 2-year-old who is killed by an enemy rocket and a 30-year-old Slav who has allowed his house to be used to store Katyusha rockets. Both are biologically human, although the former is obviously superior to the latter. There is also a difference between a member of an inferior race who merely favors or even votes for the Bolsheviks, and one who provides financial or other material support for the international conspiracy of Jews and Freemasons.

Finally, there is a difference between enemy civilians who are held hostage against their will by terrorists who use them as involuntary shields, and those who voluntarily resist resettlement in the East in order to aid the so-called freedom fighters.

Anonymous said...

Israel has argued that the war against Hezbollah's rocket arsenal was a defensive response to the Shi'ite organization's threat to Israeli security, but the evidence points to a much more ambitious objective - the weakening of Iran's deterrent to an attack on its nuclear sites.

In planning for the destruction of most of Hezbollah's arsenal and prevention of any resupply from Iran, Israel appears to have hoped to eliminate a major reason the US administration had shelved the military option for dealing with Iran's nuclear program - the fear that Israel would suffer massive casualties from Hezbollah's rockets in retaliation for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

One leading expert on Israeli national-defense policy issues believes the aim of the Israeli campaign against Hezbollah was to change the US administration's mind about attacking Iran. Edward

Luttwak, senior adviser to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, says administration officials have privately dismissed


Specialists on Iran and Hezbollah have long believed that the missiles Iran has supplied to Hezbollah were explicitly intended to deter an Israeli attack on Iran. Ephraim Kam, a specialist on Iran at Israel's Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies, wrote in December 2004 that Hezbollah's threat against northern Israel was a key element of Iran's deterrent to a US attack.

Ali Ansari, an associate professor at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and author of a new book on the US confrontation with Iran, was quoted in the Toronto Star on July 30 as saying, "Hezbollah was always Iran's deterrent force against Israel."

The first hint of Iranian concern about the possible strategic implications of the Israeli campaign to degrade the Hezbollah missile force in south Lebanon came in a report by Michael Slackman in the New York Times on July 25. Slackman quoted an Iranian official with "close ties to the highest levels of government" as saying, "They want to cut off one of Iran's arms."

The same story quoted Mohsen Rezai, the former head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, as saying, "Israel and the US knew that as long as Hamas and Hezbollah were there, confronting Iran would be costly" - an obvious reference to the deterrent value of the missiles in Lebanon. "So, to deal with Iran, they first want to eliminate forces close to Iran that are in Lebanon and Palestine." ....
Israel has been planning its campaign against Hezbollah's missile arsenal for many months. Matthew Kalman reported from Jerusalem in the San Francisco Chronicle on July 21, "More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to US and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail."

the option of air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities in the past, citing estimates that a Hezbollah rocket attack in retaliation would kill thousands of people in northern Israel.

But Israeli officials saw a war in Lebanon to destroy Hezbollah's arsenal and prevent further resupply in the future as a way to eliminate that objection to the military option, says Luttwak.

iran is 10- 15 years away from a nuclear weapon. iran is the neocon prize.

the biggest threat to the middle east is US/Israel and ww3 in your neighborhood. be very aware.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...


So I see you have crawled back out of the muck. Got tired of hanging out over at 24's and decided to infest the Kid's blog, hmmm?

You link to an article that is pure left-wing speculation. It is conspiracy theory at it's worst. In short it's bullshit.

"Is this not one of the hidden objectives of the war on Lebanon?"

And the authors can tell how, exactly? The part that I copied made it pretty clear that all countries involved had come to an agreement in a business deal. Period.

And then you have the nerve to link to a piece of trash written by some jerk who took an article written by a man known for defending individual liberties and doctoring it.

Here is the actual article by Dershowitz if there is anyone who is interested in reading it.


Annie, you are a disgusting little human being who isn't even worth debating. Excuse me while I go throw up.

annie said...

David Horowitz is a partisan hack. Television Fox News pundit that is a mouthpiece for the neocon agenda, and everyone knows it and makes fun of him. "Democrats are worse than Terrorists" he claims in his new book. It's hard to believe that the right wing mouthpieces here on this blog are pushing this joke as a serious scholar.

lynn, i truley look forward to you not debating me.

annie said...

hrere's the link, you be the judge

'Civilian Casualty'? It Depends
Those who support terrorists are not entirely innocent.
By Alan Dershowitz, ALAN DERSHOWITZ is a professor of law at Harvard. He is the author, most recently, of "Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways."
July 22, 2006

THE NEWS IS filled these days with reports of civilian casualties, comparative civilian body counts and criticism of Israel, along with Hezbollah, for causing the deaths, injuries and "collective punishment" of civilians. But just who is a "civilian" in the age of terrorism, when militants don't wear uniforms, don't belong to regular armies and easily blend into civilian populations?

We need a new vocabulary to reflect the realities of modern warfare. A new phrase should be introduced into the reporting and analysis of current events in the Middle East: "the continuum of civilianality." Though cumbersome, this concept aptly captures the reality and nuance of warfare today and provides a more fair way to describe those who are killed, wounded and punished.

There is a vast difference — both moral and legal — between a 2-year-old who is killed by an enemy rocket and a 30-year-old civilian who has allowed his house to be used to store Katyusha rockets. Both are technically civilians, but the former is far more innocent than the latter. There is also a difference between a civilian who merely favors or even votes for a terrorist group and one who provides financial or other material support for terrorism.

Finally, there is a difference between civilians who are held hostage against their will by terrorists who use them as involuntary human shields, and civilians who voluntarily place themselves in harm's way in order to protect terrorists from enemy fire.

These differences and others are conflated within the increasingly meaningless word "civilian" — a word that carried great significance when uniformed armies fought other uniformed armies on battlefields far from civilian population centers. Today this same word equates the truly innocent with guilty accessories to terrorism.

in other words, those 1000 civilians that are 'civilian casualties' in lebanon, deserve to die!

ps, i never went into hiding lynn.

Anonymous said...

In a characteristic op-ed, titled “Arithmetic of Pain”, that would surprise neither his supporters nor his critics, published by the Wall Street Journal on 19 July 2006, Alan Dershowitz sinks to new lows of depravity and inhumanity in his long-standing hate-mongering and truth-twisting anti-Arab, pro-Israel crusade.

One need not go beyond the first paragraph to be hit by a dose of Dershowitz’s typically one-sided, see-no-evil/hear-no-evil attitude when he tackles Israel-related subjects and issues. This eternally unbalanced pro-Israel disposition on his part does Israel no good, for it shows him to be a fundamentalist who has no time for truth and facts. His extremism therefore diminishes greatly the value of any “support” he may providing to Israel.

Dershowitz’s first sentence gives his game away: “There is no democracy in the world that should tolerate missiles being fired at its cities without taking every reasonable step to stop the attacks.” Anyone remotely familiar with Dershowitz’s writings would know that he considers only Israel to be a Middle-Eastern democracy. This erroneous view is shared and perpetrated by most of the corporate Western media, and a distressingly large percentage of the American public. However, Lebanon also, is a Middle-Eastern democracy, and an older one than Israel at that. And since Dershowitz’s statements must apply to all democracies for them to have any useful validity, the Lebanese would be, should be, and are indeed equally justified when they decide to no longer “tolerate (Israeli) missiles fired at” their country.

Konfused Kid said...

I'd better post something new before all this Alan Dorshwitz character is beat to a pudding...

any case, I just wanted to say that I do no DENY the holocaust, I say that it has been maniuplated as a tool to promote Jewish supremacy, never forget that
1. History is written by the victors
2. Jews control American media and filmmaking (some movies take such cheap shot at Arabs...it's sooo easy)
3. History is written by the victors!

Why does everyone just scream in horror if we debate the holocaust, as if we are some sort of medieval witches that just deserve to be burned...I mean, you cannot even discuss the damn thing without people looking at you the wrong way.

My father believes them gas extermination camps are bathroom showers, I disagree though.

Melantrys said...

Read my comment, dear. There was no need to exaggerate the holocaust.
I wouldn't call it screaming in horror; I just have to disagree cos you're totally on the wrong track there.

There are enough things worth criticising about "the" Jews, but manipulation of German history is not among them.
It just isn't. The numbers are all true.

A sad fact for Germany, but a fact nonetheless.

Well, I doubt it'd have any effect but if you like you can tell your father that they were meant to look like showers...

Anonymous said...


I am preparing a much longer comment.
Just a message here to Lynnette, it would appear reading all your more recent comments, that the area of disagrement between as is after all not quite as wide, as I had originally thought. The only time I snap is in defense of the undefended. Thus I snaped at Magda, when she thought that my grandfather lived in America, whereas I beleive it is the country with the best record, where anti-semitism is concerned, so that (with the honourable exception of the kkk, who seem in any case to focus their energies on blacks)persecution is unknown. PREJUDICE, yes, as illustrated in the film , 'Gentleman's
Agrement', where the actor Gregory Peck, is a reporter who pretends to be a Jew to test this out (the film is all the more effective for the fact that Peck is an actor with no Jewish ancestry, all he needs to do is call himself by a Jewish surname, and suddenly he hears the sound of doors closing).


annie said...

kid, what the jews suffered during the holocaust was most definitely horrific. there is no doubt in my mind about that. but you are correct in trying to put this in perspective. when one considered the autrocities of the last century, the tresspasses of man against man it is true this one has garnered the most attention.

there is a huge propaganda apparatus in place to scream anti semite whenever anyone questions the motives of israel.


Israel’s strategic value isn’t the only issue. Its backers also argue that it deserves unqualified support because it is weak and surrounded by enemies; it is a democracy; the Jewish people have suffered from past crimes and therefore deserve special treatment; and Israel’s conduct has been morally superior to that of its adversaries. On close inspection, none of these arguments is persuasive. There is a strong moral case for supporting Israel’s existence, but that is not in jeopardy. Viewed objectively, its past and present conduct offers no moral basis for privileging it over the Palestinians.

Israel is often portrayed as David confronted by Goliath, but the converse is closer to the truth. Contrary to popular belief, the Zionists had larger, better equipped and better led forces during the 1947-49 War of Independence, and the Israel Defence Forces won quick and easy victories against Egypt in 1956 and against Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967 – all of this before large-scale US aid began flowing. Today, Israel is the strongest military power in the Middle East.

Some aspects of Israeli democracy are at odds with core American values.Unlike the US, where people are supposed to enjoy equal rights irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity, Israel was explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship. Given this, it is not surprising that its 1.3 million Arabs are treated as second-class citizens, or that a recent Israeli government commission found that Israel behaves in a ‘neglectful and discriminatory’ manner towards them. Its democratic status is also undermined by its refusal to grant the Palestinians a viable state of their own or full political rights.

A third justification is the history of Jewish suffering in the Christian West, especially during the Holocaust. Because Jews were persecuted for centuries and could feel safe only in a Jewish homeland, many people now believe that Israel deserves special treatment from the United States. The country’s creation was undoubtedly an appropriate response to the long record of crimes against Jews, but it also brought about fresh crimes against a largely innocent third party: the Palestinians.

This was well understood by Israel’s early leaders. David Ben-Gurion told Nahum Goldmann, the president of the World Jewish Congress:

If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country . . . We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?

The tragic history of the Jewish people does not obligate the US to help Israel today no matter what it does.

Israel’s backers also portray it as a country that has sought peace at every turn and shown great restraint even when provoked. The Arabs, by contrast, are said to have acted with great wickedness. Yet on the ground, Israel’s record is not distinguishable from that of its opponents. Ben-Gurion acknowledged that the early Zionists were far from benevolent towards the Palestinian Arabs, who resisted their encroachments – which is hardly surprising, given that the Zionists were trying to create their own state on Arab land. In the same way, the creation of Israel in 1947-48 involved acts of ethnic cleansing, including executions, massacres and rapes by Jews, and Israel’s subsequent conduct has often been brutal, belying any claim to moral superiority. Between 1949 and 1956, for example, Israeli security forces killed between 2700 and 5000 Arab infiltrators, the overwhelming majority of them unarmed.

Israel’s advocates, when pressed to go beyond mere assertion, claim that there is a ‘new anti-semitism’, which they equate with criticism of Israel. In other words, criticise Israeli policy and you are by definition an anti-semite.

Critics are also accused of holding Israel to an unfair standard or questioning its right to exist. But these are bogus charges too. Western critics of Israel hardly ever question its right to exist: they question its behaviour towards the Palestinians, as do Israelis themselves. Nor is Israel being judged unfairly. Israeli treatment of the Palestinians elicits criticism because it is contrary to widely accepted notions of human rights, to international law and to the principle of national self-determination. And it is hardly the only state that has faced sharp criticism on these grounds.

as long as the memory of the holocaust is kept fresh and alive in the minds of the world, israel will continue use the injustices suffered to prop up the justifications for its injustice towards others.

always follow the questioning in your mind. allow yourself to trust your basic instincts.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

"I'd better post something new before all this Alan Dorshwitz character is beat to a pudding..."

ROFL! Zeyad made my night and you made my afternoon! Er, with the comments you both made I mean. :)

Sad to say though it's what they do, Kid.

Try to discredit with a smear campaign those they can't beat any other way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kid this is "peace-lover"

very short question:

In view of what is now happening in Lebanon with the car convoy to the aflicated areas, would you be interested, in joining me with a statement of spiritual solidarity with the bravery of these wonderful inviduals risking their lives? Btw this question is not just aimed at the Kid, any one else can say so, Lynnette, or any one.

S.O.Mebody said...

Not just in spirital solidarity, but in prayer, that each one of these brave brave people in the convoy of cars should travel safely and stay alive

Anonymous said...

nestorian inuit part one

Kid your political analasys is brilliant and facile, as is often the case with many. Here Jon I differ a tiny amount on a remark you made: it is not so much a question of the kid taking up politics, as rather that politics has taken him (him and every Baghdadi). u said kid that history is written by the winners, this is both profound and facile, and to show u exactly what i mean by this remark, i will give u a historical example, and in order to do that i must do a bit of research, which is why i must end here...

Anonymous said...

i would like to offer my prayers and solidarity to all the brave families trying to escape the carnage of war. especially those families of the 7 dead.

Jon in Maryland said...

Hey Kid,
You've really got a helluva party going on, a political party! I wanted to second Melantrys and Annie(nonymous) and others that the Holocaust has not been exaggerated in any way whatsoever, other than in its use as a justification or rationalization for the treatment of the Palestinians. And I don't think it's a matter of the "victors" writing history. The survivors of the death camps were hardly victors. And the history of the Holocaust has been written by people from all sides of the WW II opposing camps.

You like Omar bin al-Khattab and Ali bin Abi Talib more than sex and rock'n'roll? Nobody more recent than the 7th Century? You must be what they call an "Old Soul." I guess you're evolving. Care to guess what the next stage will be in your metamorphosis?

I guess Annie singlehandedly beat Alan Dershowitz to a pudding already, so I won't have to make the attempt, while still trying to remain lofty and impartial and evenhanded, etc., with great difficulty.

Nestorian Inuit Peace-lover! Ave! (Mr. Li....., you sly pup. Taiwanese Confucianist indeed! I guess you're evolving too, into a Taoist Confusionist, or something even further advanced. No need for a road map since you're already on or over the threshold.) Yes, you're right. 3aib 3alainy. Shame on me for casting doubt on the reliability of Alan Dershowitz's account of Palestinian-Israeli history, not having read a word of it other than those passages quoted by Lynnette. But wait, was your comment, how you say, "linguine in bucca," tongue in cheek? Then no shame on me, and Annie has already settled his hash, cooked his goose, beat him into pudding, and any other culinary metaphor we could use! I actually used to admire him as a passionate defender of civil and human rights and the Bill of Rights, but became less enamored when he started defending the potential use of torture as a tool for fighting terrorism. Now I'm wondering whether he would make a good tool with which to beat Lynnette about the head and shoulders, once she's finished tossing her cookies, feeding the fishes, in a word, hurling, in reaction to Annie.

BTW, with regard to my disagreement with Lynnette concerning the use of the word "Haji" as a generic term for any Iraqi, whether friend, foe, or in between, man, woman, or child, by U.S. servicemen in Iraq, do Iraqis consider it positive, neutral, demeaning, or something else? Or would it depend on context?

As for your question of joining in a statement of spiritual solidarity and prayer for the convoy in Lebanon, I would, wholeheartedly. But I think you're referring to relief convoys trying to reach the afflicted still in Tyre and many remoter areas of the south. I would add the convoy of police and Lebanese Army and maybe their families, for whose evacuation from Marj 'Ayun to the north the Israelis gave U.N. officials guarantees of safe passage. And then the sadistic sons of bitches bombed them anyway! (I'm sure it was just the 367th "unfortunate and regrettable error.")

I would embark on a response to some of Lynnette's points, but that will probably require, in Old Testament (KJV) terms, that I "gird my loins" for battle. And this would turn into another screed. Plus I want to get up in time to join a protest in front of the White House against the current exercise of Israel's "right to defend herself." Unfortunately, the Thumb-twiddler-in-Chief is probably still down in Texas twiddling while Lebanon burns.

As-Salaamu 'Aleikum (Kullukum!)

Sholem Aleichem

Matt said...

Hey Kid, I got back last night (Thursday). I just found my way to your blog; I'm trying to regroup after a month of no news. I heard a bit about the situation between Lebanon and Israel in the beginning. It's quite a different situation now. " Hezbollah is the brainchild of Iran in Lebanon." Bing bing bing! Therefore, you're conclusion on not supporting them is well founded. Israel left Lebanon in 2000 and moved across an internationally recognized border. Then Hezbollah starts up this and kills Israeli soldiers. What did they think the Israelis would do? Seriously!!! Does Hezbollah even care for the Lebanese people? My guess would be no considering their Iranian support. "Of course, a good reaction is that we are now in the face of a common enemy..." Who is the common enemy? I'm curious to know. I'll be back when you have a new post; keep it real and stay safe man.

Anonymous said...

e tutto vero jon i miei linguini sono sempre in bocca


Jenny said...

I read Iraqi blogs on streamtime to try and understand and keep in touch with what's happening from other points of view than all the regular media but...

I am Jewish. I read with interest your confusion on being Arab, well, let me tell you, it's never been so confusing to be Jewish either.
I don't know where to start on my feelings when I read somewhere here

"say 'Jew' to any Arab, and he would feel uncontrollable disgust and hatred. it cannot be fixed, it's sown deep inside.
I believe the same goes to Jews looking at Arabs as well..."

It's not shock, because the realisation of the first part of the above has already set in a while ago. But I cannot begin to convey my sadness at the writers offhand 'any'in the first sentence.
Is that really true then?
I am beginning to suppose it is.
And then everything is completely hopeless. For if that is the case, every Arab instincitvely hates and 'is disgusted' by Jews, in general, than what in the world is our (Jews) reaction supposed to be in this world? It means the writer fully understands the "Jewish" need for Israel and its defence. At least he professes to, assumes to, in the simplest possible way, by means of pot calling kettle black, reversed:

I believe the same goes to Jews looking at Arabs as well...

Oh, well, it's all really simple then, we're fated to hate and kill each other till, literally, doomsday. There you have it.

Only I WASN'T raised that way, and along with countless other Jews, don't, or didn't think that way. If I am starting to think that way, it's in my fear of exactly this 'general' (I don't even know whether to put it in brackets anymore' Arab 'hatred and disgust'
and feeling, which might be the idea, from someone, somewhere, that I would be naive and stupid NOT to. It just clashes with who, and what I am, including what I consider my Jewish identity to think like that.

You see, I was raised to believe that the core of my cultural Jewish identity, was to think, to look, to read, and to consider. To decide and to argue my decisions.
In that, I couldn't really dissect what was result, in my family, of the Second World War, and what was simply them, what was being Dutch, and what was 'being Jewish' but to me it seemed a natural whole to understand never to blindly hate, never to blindly follow, anyone or anything. To try and understand your surroundings outside of your own direct community, to look for common ground with people and enjoy that.
In my childhood and beyond, I have only very seldomly heard anti-Arab or anti-muslim comments. If they were made, on occasion, in semi-public, such as at a party, the speaker would be frowned upon by the others and his statements attributed to drink, stupidity or both. It was certainly not a general attitude.

Let me tell you what an average Jewish upbringing is in the West. The only difference is that I was raised not only non-zionist, as many are, but actually anti-zionist, for reasons that had little to do with the Palestinian question but which certainly fuelled it. But the rest is pretty standard. The right of existence of the State of Israel will be discussed vehemently at family gatherings and such, often with the result of different parties ending up in tears, someone sulking in a chair muttering about the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Hitler and the Holocaust and someone howling from halfway the stairs about Palestinian mothers and children.

I grew up in a provincial city area which over the years became more and more 'muslim' with mostly Turkish, Maroccan and on a lesser scale Somalian inhabitants. Muslim to me meant I was allowed to trade lunchbox contents with them, but not with the 'Dutch' children because the latter might have 'the wrong kind of margarine' (i.e. containing lard). We were not completely kosjer at home, but the basis was kept and we didn't eat pig content. Muslim children had the right margarine, because lard 'would give them spots' too.
My parents had, with the coming up of the new population of our town, interested themselves in the basis of Islam, read bits of Koran that they might think was appropriate on a minor scale. My mother approved of the main Islamic prophet because he was the only major religious figure who had been recorded to have been, in fact instructed to be, kind to cats. Why should they hate Arabs? They got on with their neighbours, or at least they thought they did.

I am having to start to have my doubts about this. The amount of hatred that I encounter, in print and en face, on a daily basis and quite as offhand as the above quotes, are freezing me into something that was before completely alien to me: Not hate, as yet, and certainly not disgust. But profound, profound distrust, yes. How can I not?
And then, how can I not, at the end of the day, support the nessecity of Israel, and a strong Israel at that, despite, oh, so very much and it's allies to boot.

Because there is one solid reason for every Jew in the world ( never how, well, opposed to just about everything that Israel does, as many, many are) to recognise and support the right for the existance of Israel, and that is solidarity.
Chew out your cliche's on the Holocaust if you must, but that is not the main reason for this generation of Jews to want a Jewish state. It's not the former Western (German, Russian) Jews in Israel that that solidarity is for. Not for the American children in settlements holding the world ransom with their fanatacism. It's the others, the forgotton or lied about majority of immigrants to Israel. The Jews from all those Arab countries, who were chased out of their homes of thousands of years after 1948, running into a culmination of exactly the sentiments described, which we never knew before, but they did. Who are the generals and the frontline of support of the IDF in Israel, politically as well as actually? They, and their children. How come they became so fanatical in their cause? Why should they care about the Palestinians, if they know half the world just wants to kill us? Where are they supposed to go if there was no Israel?

Konfused Kid said...

I read your post with interest and I understand your sentiments exactly. The problem is because even if anybody wished to just stop for a minute and question the reason why we MUST hate jews so badly, he is immediately frowned upon and looked on with suspicion. Me and Baghdad Treasure (http://baghdadtreasure.blogspot.com) were just discussing this. Jews and Arabs are afraid of each other endlessly and have absolutely no truly neutral channel of communication.

Most Arabs do not differentiate between Jews and Zionists, which is also a major problem.

I'll give you an example, my father is an educated man, he speaks English fluently and works in the United Nations, but to him Jews are just about the most filthy disgusting creatures that ever walked the face of the planet, I often look at him mockingly when he accuses everything and everyone from Tom & Jerry to Adil Imam (famous Egyptian actor) of being controlled by those insufferable Jews.

I sincerely wish that I would have at least one Jewish friend. I want him/her to tell me what IS it all about, because so far I'm just hearing exaggeration, emotion and conspiracy theories.

Your post is welcome and I really appreciate it if you would come back and/or correspond with me.

Anonymous said...

jenny ,kid

what i'm seeing here is really beautiful,and is the most wonderful thing about the internet.

Each one of us can sit somewhere in their own corner of the world, and inside this box, which in a way is just your personal box, you can find people to talk to in any other part of the world. Although Kid you may be living somewhere where it is extreemely unlikely that you be able to meet someone like jenny, the internet can get round all these barriers


Jenny said...

Thanks for the answers. I sat listening this afternoon to Streamtime's Global Webjam livestream from Beirut, Bagdad and other places, and was now just checking back only to add that I didn't want to compare my situation and whine, that was not the object. If I have not-so-nice-confrontations with people, IRL or online, if I hear people hate Jews and it troubles me and I write about that, that doesn't mean it's a comparison and I just wanted to say I fully realise it's not.
To the situation K.K. is in I mean. My friends are not getting killed at the moment, I can do what I like in the street.

But it seems like you understood that already, and you do really want the conversation :). Well, I'll try to answer in that vein, seeing we do have the chance through this strange medium and get round some barriers.
So I'll be blunt in my curiosity. There are two questions that come to my mind, when I read what you write about your father, if I may.

The first would be, seeing that your father thinks about Jews the way he does, do you really think this kind of ingrained hatred is purely political and only in connection with Israel and it's actions? Or would that hatred be much older than that, and the kind of hatred that, frankly was the cause of the immense lessening of possibility of your ever having a Jewish friend in your vicinity?

And the second would be: Say I met your father, in, lets say, Jordan, in maybe some UN-related circumstance (not that I have a job like that but supposing)and we were introduced, how would that be? I have a very Jewish surname, I look Jewish, it's obvious in all respects I am Jewish, but I am unconnected in any way to Israel.
would I get to notice how he feels about my people in general? Would he refuse to speak to me, seeing how he views Jews? Would he start to discuss Israel with me?
Or would he smile charmingly and make my acquaintance and talk about the weather and I would never know?
If the latter, and slowly having to accept that that might be the case with plenty of people I meet, how can I stop myself from becoming the bigot I've never wanted to be?

I'm not arguing anything here, this is what springs to my mind and I'm really interested in your answers!!!

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenny said...

By the way, I read somewhere, don't know if it's true, that Saddam's uncle had taught Saddam that in the Creation of the World, there transpired three flaws: Persians, Jews and Flies.

This anecdote made me laugh the first time I heard it, and ever since. Everyone I tell it to laughs too, including Iranians and Jews. I don't know about the flies. I don't think they have a sense of humour. :)

(reposted this coz of spelling mistake)

Melantrys said...

*smiles at the Dutch spelling of kosher and is wildly off-topic*

Anyway, this is cool though, Jenny, thanks for dropping in on the discussion.

And I should be in bed; I have some planes to catch tomorrow. :)

See ya soon, Kiddo!

Anonymous said...

amen, sister, amen
God gave us the internet to get us all together
(in arabic the word for God and the word for everything or all sound similar)

nestorian inunit

S.O.Mebody said...

so true, brother, so true
that is why so many new age books e.g. those by sanaya roman prefer the term 'all that is' to God

Anonymous said...

"For if that is the case, every Arab instincitvely hates and 'is disgusted' by Jews, in general, than what in the world is our (Jews) reaction supposed to be in this world?"

jenny, how fortunate that you would appear now in our conversation. welcome. this is an interesting statement you have made. lets reverse the roles.

""For if that is the case, every jew instincitvely hates and 'is disgusted' by arabs/islamics, in general, than what in the world is our (arab/islam) reaction supposed to be in this world?"

let's not try to put the chicken before the egg. or the egg before the chicken. lets try to understand that the feeling is mutual. the drastic reality is that in the last 60 years israel has not been very nice either.

kid, my best friend is jewish, she is also my sons godmother. my first love, my second, both jewish. my life would be a very lonely place without some of my favorite friends. that said, i don't know any jews who support the foriegn policies of israel. but then, i don't hang out w/people who support the foriegn policies of the neocon agenda here in america either.

unfortunately there is a cabal in both the US and israel that are a danger to the world. go read the 'project for the new american century' . you can read all about the 'birthpangs' rice speaks of.

"In my childhood and beyond, I have only very seldomly heard anti-Arab or anti-muslim comments."

wow, were you raised in america? because believe me its all over the place. practically everytime you hear the word islam now adays its followed by the term fascist or terrorist or fanatic! it's all over the press and the internet. if you don't believe me head on over to little green footballs, the most popular right wing blog. if you want i can copy and paste, but really, it's horrid. this also happens to be the most fervent pro israel blog.

the policies of israel are for crap.
that said, i don't blame the jews, anymore than i blame muslims or arabs for atrocities commited by their members , or the american populace for the negroponte deathsquads or the rape of the iraqi child.

there are some very very dangerous jews in places of power. they make a lot of 'accidents' like this "An Etzel armored car with loudspeaker demanded that the remaining villagers lay down their arms and leave their houses. Morris reports that "the truck got stuck in a ditch" and the message was not heard. The fighting contined, and when it was over, 100 to 110 Arabs were dead."

kind of like the 'accident' that killed all those lebanese children. and the 'accident' that killed all the servicemen in the USSliberty. wacko crazy terrorists are not limited to one breed. often times people in power do not represent the best of the people.sometimes they are criminals.

"" Hezbollah is the brainchild of Iran in Lebanon." " actually, hezbollah is part of the parliment and recognized as legitimate by most of the world, as is the elected hamas. from the washington post, today by Marine officer Brian Humphreys

"Whatever the objective truth of Hezbollah's motives, its many supporters in southern Lebanon believe fervently that it is their organization, not an Iranian surrogate. "

if you want to complain about hizbollah being an arm of iran, remember the billions we give to the military of israel. da.

"Does Hezbollah even care for the Lebanese people?"

they are lebanese! who else is going to protect the people, shites are the majority!

"As for the Arabian state thing...well ummmm....why?"

as for the jewish state thing.... well ummmm....why?

actually that's a joke for lynn!

kid, listen to your father. anyone working at the UN, is bound to be working w/some ruthless characters. we've got bolton, you can't get any more corrupt than that, well, google michael leeden/creative destruction.. be very very weary, it just so happens that many of the masterminds(neocons) who planned the fiasco in iraq, albeit american, are jewish. believe me, for every dangerous arab, there is a dangerous jew. this whole 'gods chosen' thing is a bunch of baloney.

jenny, wake up. the masters of war are planning a biggie. and the state of israel is right in the middle of it, a pawn in the game. how do i know, my jewish friends told me, i trust them.

btw, did you know that the first reports of the kidnappings of the israeli's (AP)all said the soldiers were across the border in lebanon?
there was supposed to be an investigation but israel had already started bombing the infrastructure. the invasion had been planned for over a year. of course w/our media.AIPAC, whatever, the story always favors israel. here's one of the first reports
from forbes

"The militant group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes Wednesday across the border in southern Lebanon, prompting a swift reaction from Israel, which sent ground forces into its neighbor to look for them.

The forces were trying to keep the soldiers' captors from moving them deeper into Lebanon, Israeli government officials said on condition of anonymity.

The Israeli military would not confirm the report."

oh, matt, when the israeli came to rescue their soldiers they drove a tank over a landmine, killing themselves.

now jenny, if hezollah had billions of dollars and lots of planes and blew up all the bridges, wiped out the electricity, ruined the water lines for the whole northern part of israel because israel wouldn't return one of the 1000 lebanese prisoners they hold, would you maybe 'get it' why they might not like you? don't take it personally.
as an american, i'm not real popular in lebanon right now either.

Jon in Maryland said...

Kid and Jenny,
I went to the demonstration in front of the White House. There were thousands, mostly Arab- and Muslim-Americans and immigrants, a smaller number of members of some far left groups, opposed to U.S. action against Cuba or Venezuela as much as the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and, most remarkably, a small contingent of about a dozen anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Jewish men. After we all paraded around the White House and got back to the starting point, I had to tell one of them thank you for the group's participation. I don't think hatred is inevitable and I pray that there will someday soon be a settlement sufficient for the Palestinians, and that will lead to an end of violence and a lessening of hatred. At the moment I have no certainty or confidence it will happen soon, just a bit of hope. I may have quoted the Emily Dickinson poem below as a comment on one of your earlier blogs, Kid, or maybe on someone else's, but here it is even if I'm repeating myself:

"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops --- at all."

Anonymous said...

"The Israeli atrocities in Lebanon are merely the latest example of this modern legacy, but Israel's American-supported assault on the Palestinians is just as brutal, and much older. A new report issued Thursday shows that 170 Palestinians were killed in the occupied Gaza Strip in the latest Israeli military offensive between June 27 and August 8, with 151 individuals killed in July alone. This is the single largest monthly death toll in the occupied Gaza Strip since October 2004, when 166 Palestinians were killed. More significantly, the report by the Palestinian Monitoring Group reveals that 138 of the 170 Palestinians killed were civilians, and 25 per cent of civilian fatalities were children. Another 506 Palestinians were injured during that period.

This sort of sustained, institutionalized Israeli assault on mostly defenseless Palestinians is mirrored in a more vulgar way by Israel's aerial bombardment of entire civilian neighborhoods in Lebanon, including reported plans to literally bulldoze entire villages across a zone in south Lebanon along the border with Israel. When this sort of thing goes on decade after decade, and the initial response from the American president and British prime minister is to give Israel more time and diplomatic room to kill Arabs and destroy their societies in Palestine and Lebanon, something snaps in the minds of millions of ordinary men and women throughout the Arab world who simply cannot endure this chronic abuse for decades on end without reacting

The issue is not whether Israel has a right to defend itself -- of course it does, as does every sovereign state and group of human beings anywhere -- but rather the fact that Israel tries to defend itself by ignoring its own role in provoking the battle, and by treating Arabs like sub-species of animals who can be beaten, killed, displaced and humiliated year after year.

The fact that Israel now simultaneously brutalizes entire civilian populations in Lebanon and Israel, largely with Anglo-American acquiescence if not active approval, does not go unnoticed by other Arabs, Muslims, Asians, Europeans, Americans and decent human beings everywhere. We can expect the inhumanity they see on television every day to result ultimately in two things: extreme reactions of terror against the West by a few enraged young men, and a willingness by political leaders everywhere to consider whether present policies may be fomenting rather than reducing terror."

Rami G. Khouri is editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star , published throughout the Middle East with the International Herald Tribune.

(his sister raghida is also a close personal friend of mine)

magda said...

I am late as usual, but would like to add my thanks to those before for posting here, I guess you are the other side of the coin. And your comments bring a normalising balance to the topic.
One thing that crossed my mind coming back to this is that not only has the "net" meant people who would probably otherwise never met can "talk to each other" it also means we are more likely to feel protected by relative anonymity and trade real views, I for one am as unlikely to enter this sort of debate with someone outside of immediate family face to face "am I am now even more convinced it would be a bad idea having -met-Lynnette" as I am to debate religion with even a moderate Muslim "for fear of coming close to the inevitable Kufur boundary" and that includes close members of my family.
Is talking freely because we are anonymous a good thing? Well it made me think and that is can only be a good thing.

Jenny said...


Anonymous said...
I wrote:

"For if that is the case, every Arab instincitvely hates and 'is disgusted' by Jews, in general, than what in the world is our (Jews) reaction supposed to be in this world?"

and you wrote:

"jenny, how fortunate that you would appear now in our conversation. welcome. this is an interesting statement you have made. lets reverse the roles"

Why? Why reverse the roles? I explained why I thought these roles are irreversable.

And frankly, on a word scale, so what? There are and estimated
308 Million Muslims in the world. It's hard to say how many Jews, for the difficulty who to count and not to count as jewish, but the broadest estimate is 14 million. So let's NOT reverse.

I would love to have my answer at least tried to have answered, before things get turned around again. For once.

But maybe you should have read my post better before you start preaching at me: you write, wow, you grew up in America? No, I did not. I've never set foot in America either, and I probably never will. America is not the world. I grew up in Holland.

Last: 'What if Hezbollah had...'
Well, that defies thinking about for me, actually. I think if you turn things around here, if Hezbollah had all that, there wouldn't be any Israel, the whole area would probably be devoid of anything but Shi'ites. I doubt if the Palestinians would be better off in the end. If Hezbollah had what Israel has, that would primarily mean Iran would have, and I can only shudder to think. Actually, that was mostly what KK original post was about.

Anonymous said...

well jenny, the reason for considering the other persons side of things is to have a broader understanding of their predicament, i can understand why you may not want, or are unable to do that.
i tried to provide some evidence as to how someone may not share your view but apparently you seem completely closed to this. so be it.

let's be clear tho,parts of this statement of yours is entirely false.

" the realisation of the first part of the above has already set in a while ago. But I cannot begin to convey my sadness at the writers offhand 'any'in the first sentence.
Is that really true then?
I am beginning to suppose it is.
And then everything is completely hopeless."

if everything is completely hopeless jenny, it will not be from your false realization. there are at least two sides to every coin whether you want to see them or not. just because you don't think seeing the other side is valued, doesn't mean it has no value. just because you think.....

" I doubt if the Palestinians would be better off in the end."

this doesn't mean the palestinians are doing about as well as they can.

and just because you think " the whole area would probably be devoid of anything but Shi'ites." won't make it so.

excuse me for not indulging you in your naivete regarding why the policies of the jewish state is not well loved, believe me, i know all about how good israel is, because we have a very compliant press and a very strong israel lobby that keeps telling us over and over.

"With nearly one thousand people killed in Lebanon, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has outdone itself—spinning press releases with a mastery of the form that could bring a tear to the eye of even the most hardened and cynical flack. "

(and this was written by a jew btw)

in fact, israel even pays for, and organizes, 'mobilizes' bloggers to scroll the internet for conversations on israel and sends people to 'balance' the discussion. want a link? or do you already have it? if not i can provide it for you, and you can happen apon many many conversations from people all over the world disgusted by you know who.not only that but those press stories!

"Exhibit one is a July 27 memo entitled “Beirut Largely Unscathed as Israel Targets Hezbollah Strongholds,” in which AIPAC suggested that IDF forces were using state-of-the-art technology to wage a surgical bombing campaign that spared civilians. Despite large-scale destruction in Beirut and beyond, AIPAC cheerily noted that “an overwhelming majority of the city remains untouched” and lauded Israel for dropping “leaflets and taking other measures to urge civilians to leave the area.”"

sigh (yawn). so, carry on jenny, i'm sure you can engage others here in talking about the sad plight of the jews.i, on the other hand, prefer reality.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

"if Hezbollah had all that, there wouldn't be any Israel," Jenny


"The first would be, seeing that your father thinks about Jews the way he does, do you really think this kind of ingrained hatred is purely political and only in connection with Israel and it's actions?" Jenny

This is an excellent question. Because the answer has ramifications for the entire region.

If the answer is no, and I strongly suspect it is, then even if Israel were to disappear tomorrow than there would still not be peace in the Middle East.

The conflict in Iraq is not based on hatred of the Jewish state. The conflict in Darfur is not based on hatred of the Jewish state. The Lebanon Civil War was not based on hatred of the Jewish state. The discrimination in Jordan against Iraqis is not based on hatred of the Jewish state.

And before anyone jumps on me and says I am blaming Arabs as a culture, let me just say that we have many Arab-Americans in my country and we do not have the conflict that you see in these places.


I am way behind on these comments. Judging from the links that Annie put in some of her comments(the pipeline story and the doctored Dershowitz article), I doubt very much if she could argue her way out of a closet let alone a court of law against someone like Dershowitz.

And I would recommend the book to you. As some of the reviewers said:

"A lively, hotly argued broadside against Israel's increasingly venomous critics." ---Washington Post Book World

"Dershowitz...knows how to construct an argument...Especially effective at pointing to the hypocrisy of many of Israel's critics." ---New York Times Book Review

Of course I will understand if this is not something you have the courage to do.

Peace Lover,

A single convoy? That's it? No I would pray very hard for the entire region.

Jenny said...

Look, anonymous, you just don't get it. I really don't want a discussion with you, because you don't read too well and don't stop to think before you go into the standard kind of rant that I've heard so often before. I am not saying that Israel is so great, because I don't think that. In fact I was asking a question that I haven't seen answered, one that you cannot answer, but you profess to be able to.
You write that my 'statement' is 'totally false'. Actually, I didn't make a statement, I asked a question. My question -to Arabs, which I don't think you are, you're the typical American who thinks that the opinion they've formed on the basis of nothing is gospel truth because they see it that way- do all (most) Arabs really hate Jews then? And if so, how can Jews not want their own state? That was it. You can draw any kind of conclusion from that that you wish, but don't put words into my mouth.

Actually, I didn't log in for that. On the news said there was a huge bombing of apartment buildings in Bagdad and I'd rather hear from Kid that he's alright

Anonymous said...

I really don't want a discussion with you,

then don't respond to me.

You write that my 'statement' is 'totally false'.

no, actually what i wrote was

parts of this statement of yours is entirely false.

what i was referring to was that everything was 'helpless' because of the way many arabs may feel. actually, it is not one sided. that was my point. you cannot asign blame to one side, well, maybe you can, but i won't.

we're even jenny because i don't think you read very well. here see if you can read this about the 'ceasefire' tomorrow.

Israel believes it will be entitled to use force to prevent Hezbollah from rearming and to clear guerrilla positions out of southern Lebanon after a UN truce takes effect.

Israeli officials say such operations are "defensive" in nature and therefore permissible under a UN Security Council resolution that calls for Israel to halt "all offensive military operations."

i guess when you have the US backing the UN security council is in your back pocket.

Of course I will understand if this is not something you have the courage to do.

what a crack up you are jon! it doesn't take courage to read him, just make sure you have you BS meter on kid!

here's another fun neocon buddy of Dershowitz...improving on mussolini

Ledeen has been called the driving philosophical force behind the neoconservative movement and (by me) "the most influential and unabashed warmonger of our time." A resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (#7), contributing editor at National Review and former Pentagon, State Department and White House consultant under Reagan (when his Israeli intelligence contacts were used to help broker the illegal Iran-contra affair), Ledeen is often quoted by top Bush officials, including Cheney, Rumsfeld and former Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. But they don't quote quotes like these--at least not in public: In March 2003, Ledeen, a leading and longtime proponent of the invasion of Iraq--and of Iran, Syria and no doubt other countries yet to be named--told a forum that "the level of casualties [in Iraq] is secondary" because "we are a warlike people...we love war."

He has written that "Change--above all violent change--is the essence of human history"; "the only way to achieve peace is through total war"; and "The purpose of total war is to permanently force your will onto another people." He was quoted approvingly by National Review Online editor Jonah Goldberg as saying, "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."

courage? just don't eat first

Anonymous said...

i'm on a roll, it's really hard to stop once you delve into leedens quotes, at least he's not boring. he's the guy who dragged chabali into the WH 'scope" lucky for us all! anyway, for the real excitement read all about one of his wetdreams!

No military operation could possibly defeat the United States, and no direct economic challenge could hope to succeed. That left politics and culture. And here there was a chance to turn America's vaunted openness at home and toleration abroad against the United States. So the French and the Germans struck a deal with radical Islam and with radical Arabs: You go after the United States, and we'll do everything we can to protect you, and we will do everything we can to weaken the Americans.

beware the neocons

Anonymous said...

do all (most) Arabs really hate Jews

there are lots of arabs who are jews, read up on your history before you ask such silly questions.

Jenny said...

No matter whether you wrote 'parts of' or not, the point was, it WASN'T a statement but a QUESTION to someone elses STATEMENT and if I wanted to argue the Israel thing with someone I have my pick of handfulls of people I know IRL or I can in my own language and my choice wouldn't be someone anonymous, and aggressive ('before you ask such a silly question') accusing in tone and then twisting my words. For you also write 'your completely false realisation', on 'my naivité' that I argue on the 'helpless' 'plight of the jews'. You continue to force an argument on me that had little to do with my posting. My question (again, not to you, was in response to KK's remark:

"There will never be peace in the Mid-East, say 'Jew' to any Arab, and he would feel uncontrollable disgust and hatred. it cannot be fixed, it's sown deep inside"

And my question was on the 'any' and my question was, was that really so, because then it would be really time to change my attitude vice versa, something I really do not want to do.

Your last posting takes the cake. I'm silly, arent'I? Well I must be, because Arabs who are Jews?
What on earth are you talking about? Your have 'Arab' Jews -i.e. Jews descending from Arab countries, yes, certainly, and where they should go if there was no Israel was another question you chose to ignore. But Jewish Arabs?? I am willing to catch up on historic reading, but I'll pass on the history of your parallel universe...

Jenny said...

It might be incomprihensible to you, but I wasn't assigning 'blame'. Blame didn't come into it.

cecile said...

just passing by. i enjoyed much what we did in the http://beirut.streamtime.org WebJam. now doing some superlazy days, streaming costs above all a lot of human energy.
keep in touch, and... why not try to take/make a dyne:bolic cd? just burn it yourself! make a stream from baghdad!

take care backinbagh

Anonymous said...

peace-lover here

Lynnette I take your point, about praying for peace in the whole of the Lebanon and I do and for the whole world. Sometimes it is easier to pray for a part of the world where your sympathies are not fully engaged for either side. For example the people of Northen Ireland are statistically some of the most generous givers to the relief of third world hunger. Now, actually I have a crazy dream, I would like to see Jerusalem become in fact, what it is in name, a city of peace. And this is very difficult, even in the Holy Sepulcre, each Christian Denomination owns its own corner and the priests or monks (who one one persume would be the most holy men of that particular rite) sometimes even engage in teritorial disputes, so that even one of the weaker sects had found one day that their territory had been captured by a stronger sect, and they had to build a new home for themselves on the roof of the church. It is no accident that the key keepers of the door to the church, are a muslim family, who are able to look on all this quarelling from a position of neutrality and disengagement. And it would be my crazy dream that each religion, that has a special interest in Jerusalem, should try and institue perpetual prayers for peace in the world, each seperately each in their own places of worship. And lest anyone should want to say that I am singlingly out Jerusalem, I would like
to say that I would like to have every city in the world renamed city of peace

Jenny said...

Yes, it would be a wonderful thing. I've thought about it often. Maybe Jerusalem should be handed over the the Tibetans.
for safekeeping though

Lynnette in Minnesota said...


Annie (or Anonymous) is not worth debating. She only sees one viewpoint...hers.

And the Kid is in Amman Jordan, so he is just fine.

Anonymous said...

"You continue to force an argument on me "

jenny, the victim! really dear, just don't address me, as the also one sided cat calling kettle black ms minn suggests. there are other posters here who can answer your question, i chose to address the parts of your posts that interested me. so be it. there is no difference between you pressing your concernes as me mine.

lets all talk about the unfortunate plight of th jews in a world threatened by all manner of islamic fascists and dangerous muslims who threaten our very way of life and are responsible for all the ills.

"She only sees one viewpoint...hers. "

unfortunately i see many viewpoints, i just don't agree with them. why Bush himself has taken on the "Islamofascist" termonology . the newspeak of Islamofascism is everywhere, so depressing. i would even imagine they are as dangerous as the goals of many fanatical christian fundalmentalists who's views i also find repulsive.

i prefer to read and believe this

From what my parents and old relatives tell me, I still have this picture of Iraq, in which everyone lived peacefully. Shiites, Sunnis, Muslims, Christians, Jewish and others. “We didn’t even know who is what,” my mother always said.

When my mother talks about the old days, she tells me about her Jewish neighbors. She tells me how her family used to bring them food during Ramadan [not that they were poor. But in Iraq, it is a tradition to take some of what you cook for dinner during Ramadan, the holy month in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and share it with your neighbors. A gesture that shows how connected and united the Iraqi community was. We still do that in my family, in Ramadan and other days of the year.] I hear some extremists say “it is forbidden to eat in a non-Muslim house” although in Quran, Islam’s holy book, God tells us clearly that we can eat in Christians and Jewish houses because they are our brothers in humanity.


this is what i choose to believe, but it is not the only viewpoint i see. if you can't find evidence all around of open thinking arabs, you aren't looking dear.

Anonymous said...

"You continue to force an argument on me "

jenny, the victim! really dear, just don't address me, as the also one sided cat calling kettle black ms minn suggests. there are other posters here who can answer your question, i chose to address the parts of your posts that interested me. so be it. there is no difference between you pressing your concernes as me mine.

lets all talk about the unfortunate plight of th jews in a world threatened by all manner of islamic fascists and dangerous muslims who threaten our very way of life and are responsible for all the ills.

"She only sees one viewpoint...hers. "

unfortunately i see many viewpoints, i just don't agree with them. why Bush himself has taken on the "Islamofascist" termonology . the newspeak of Islamofascism is everywhere, so depressing. i would even imagine they are as dangerous as the goals of many fanatical christian fundalmentalists who's views i also find repulsive.

i prefer to read and believe this

From what my parents and old relatives tell me, I still have this picture of Iraq, in which everyone lived peacefully. Shiites, Sunnis, Muslims, Christians, Jewish and others. “We didn’t even know who is what,” my mother always said.

When my mother talks about the old days, she tells me about her Jewish neighbors. She tells me how her family used to bring them food during Ramadan [not that they were poor. But in Iraq, it is a tradition to take some of what you cook for dinner during Ramadan, the holy month in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and share it with your neighbors. A gesture that shows how connected and united the Iraqi community was. We still do that in my family, in Ramadan and other days of the year.] I hear some extremists say “it is forbidden to eat in a non-Muslim house” although in Quran, Islam’s holy book, God tells us clearly that we can eat in Christians and Jewish houses because they are our brothers in humanity.


this is what i choose to believe, but it is not the only viewpoint i see. if you can't find evidence all around of open thinking arabs, you aren't looking dear.

Anonymous said...

actaully, i don't even remember if 24 is arab. i just know he is iraqi, that is all i need to know.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Jenny, with your last comment and with what 'peace-lover' had to say just before you. Actually, I would be very happy to see a Tibetan Buddist presence in Jerusalem. Not so much to act the role of honest broker, but becase they are able to have a very deep focused meditation on peace

Anonymous said...

To anyone, who is not a Buddhist, but is interested in meditating for world peace, I would recommend something like the first volume of the Millenium Tapes by Sanaya Roman, which can be found by going to www.orindaben.com


Jenny said...


'Jenny, the victim' (because of part of a sentence, conveniently whipped out of context)

Jenny, the victim, asking silly questions.

May I ask why you feel you have to be so rude all the time? Is this your default setting or are you under some kind of abnormal strain? YOU'RE not in any war, are you, so try to communicate normally, for gods sake woman.

Anonymous said...

Nestorian Inuit

People, what I am seeing, on these comments here, and actually on so many internet discussion pages which talk on politics, are people who are passionate basically about things like justice, but sometimes are not able to give justice to someone with a different viewpoint, maybe even someone with as deep a passion for justice as they. So often the one single point of difference may be focused on to the exclusion of many points of concession. This saddens me, because sometimes people are so occupied runnering around fighting injustice, which I HEARTILY APPLAUDE, that they will not read all the stuff that someone else has written that is fairminded and tollerant and of the nature of bridge-building.

If anyone would like to have a good laugh about this then I suggest they go to a particular comments page of 24 steps (of the Iraqi blog count)...

Anonymous said...

.....Nestorian inuit (cont)

It is, as i said, from 24 steps to liberty, and in fact the comments on the post for AUGUST 6 2006, called 'it saddened me to meet fellow Iraqi bloggers'

If we go down to the fourth comment by BRUNO, who is a really nice person, in his last section he has little to say that is positive about the first comment made by an anonymous (probably an Iraqi Shia) who has many positive things to say himself, and is also a nice person.


if you then read the comment of KRIPTONITE, which immediately follows BRUNO, you discover that KRIPTONITE has only read, and completely misunderstood what BRUNO was saying

Actually I beleive that KRIPTONITE and BRUNO, have very similar viewpoints

NOW ISN'T THAT FUNNY u have to laugh

Anonymous said...

May I ask why you feel you have to be so rude all the time?..so try to communicate normally, for gods sake woman.

you're funny. i'm taking lessons from ms minn "disgusting little human being" she's so polite!

"You continue to force an argument on me "

well well, let me take back my victim statement since it offends you so much!
excuse me for 'conveniently' 'whipping' it out of context .
i will address the entire comment,ok.

You continue to force an argument on me that had little to do with my posting.

jenny, i am not forcing anything on you. promise.

My question (again, not to you,

please don't take it too personally that i am not sticking to your question and bring up different viewpoints and links. if you cannot separate yourself personally from my views, ignore them.

try to refrain yourself from accusing me of ignoring your questions or xcomments, believe me if i got offended by all the ideas i introducted no one commented on, i'd be a basket case. but, i'm not!

earlier, in a rant @2:21 the everly so polite jenny herself accused me of ranting! now that same jenny who does her share of huffing and puffing accuses me of being rude. well, to that i say

The phenomenon of attributing to others behaviors that you are guiltily aware of performing yourself, is a recognised condition in medical literature. It's called "Projection".

It's defined as: "A defense mechanism to cope with internal or external stressors and emotional conflict by attributing to another person - usually falsely - thoughts, feelings, wishes, impulses, needs, and hopes deemed forbidden or unacceptable by the projecting party".

And it's a mental disorder "

Anonymous said...

(resoponding to nestorian inuit)




sigh sigh

lol x3

sigh sigh sigh


Anonymous said...

(responding to anonymoum)

you cAn ATracT moRE fLIes WITh HONEY THEn wiiiittthhh VINNNNE -gggggggr

HA ha HA HA Ha hee hoo huu


Anonymous said...

to annonymouth

u may EVEN bee rite but hoo wants to reed u

if u cant get a life at least get a sense of humour

Anonymous said...

actually, i thought my last post was funny! parts of it put a smile on my face, your post too, thanks!

Anonymous said...

dear annie

if you were to go right to the very first time that jenny commented here, and then skip to her next comment and so on i think you might find that jenny has connceded already quite a number of points that are congruent to your position. In fact if all israeli governments were made up only of people like jenny we might not have the trouble we have now


Anonymous said...

dear Jenny,
if I might guess how a meeting between u and the kid's father at some UN function (note sometimes i dont capitalize out of purelazzyness) might go

he would talk to you smilingly about the weather. if u were to mention israel he would answer u with charm and urbanity and turn the subject. u dont get to be in the un if u dont have those qualities.

having to be nice to people on a professional basis does tend to change u somewhat, a miniscule amount. and perhaps more than anything that might have an effect on the kids father are the kids mocking looks, lovingly given.
now what father does not want to look good in the eyes of his son. i suspect even, that the kids father may be aware of his blog and may even be secretly proud of him and who is to say that one day he might not come to this website and read it, and that may have the most profound change of all

now from my own experience i have to say that you must never argue directly with your father. the only time i ever said anything to my father it was not a good experience (btw my father is now dead as anyone who has been reading the comments here from the begining will know)
even though this story has nothing to do with politics, i will tell it here.
when i was thirteen, the whole family was together for once on a holiday in italy(normally he insisted on just taking me abroad)
in the hotel we were staying there was another family, the father of which was my father's friend and a medical doctor. i went with the doctor's son, who was two years older than me, to an amusement arcade and he told me exactly how he was able to fiddle the machines so he would not need to part with any of his coins. i told my father this, and he came up with 'nonsense boy a doctor's son cannot be dishonest'. i thought about this for a moment and came up with ' but father a year ago, when you and i were on a train and we had second class tickets and all the second class compartments were full, and we were standing in the corridor of the first class compartment and they were all empty you said to me that i might sit down but had better get up before the ticket inspector came'.
well, he said absolutely nothing to this. two days later he came into the room where my mother and i were and said, his face purple with rage; 'here puppy, i have brought u the supliment for the difference in price between the first class and the second class for a journey between Ancona and Rimini, next year and years after when we are travelling alone you will be standing forever in the train's corridor.

actually my father was not anti-semitic, one of his best friends from the war was a jew, and some of my father's clients were jews, so that sometimes he would tell them that his mother was jewish (actually she was catholic) and jenny u would know what that means. to anyone who does not; if i were of conscriptable age and staying in israel, if i told the wrong person that my mother was jewish or even my mother's mother, into the army i would have to go

now, if my father was definately not a anti-semite, he did have two very different modes of behaviour, that outside the family and that inside. to the outside world he was the picture of generosity and good fellowship, mr. super-popular, at home he was mr. i have no money and a lot more besides.
so u see jenny for u anti-semitism is a big issue, and justifably so for the reasons you give, and the many u do not, but in any family there can be some character flaws, and all that you can do on an individual basis or even on this comments page (and who knows how many people may eventually read it)IS HELP IRON THEM OUT


Jon in Maryland said...

Did you perhaps mistype my name when you first quoted some of Lynnette's words to me (following her recommendation that I read Dershowitz, on the basis of seemingly laudatory blurbs culled from NYT and Wash Post book reviews), although she would "understand if this is not something you have the courage to do." You then said "what a crack up you are jon! it doesn't take courage to read him, just make sure you have you BS meter on kid!" Since the courage crack was from Lynnette to me, and I hadn't yet read it and not responded to it, I have a feeling you meant to address Lynnette. Then you end it with "kid," so I don't know whether you're slipping in an aside to me (no spring chicken by anyone's reckoning. I've been singing the Beatles' "When I'm 64" to my one and only about once every week or two ever since Sir Paul turned that age in July, and I've gotten within a few weeks of it) or to the Konfused Kid. So I've now become the Konfused "Kid?".

BTW, you must have bit Lynnette in the rear something fierce (figuratively speaking of course) for the facade of sweet reasonableness to have dropped so suddenly and vehemently and the fangs to have come out so quickly the moment she learned you were that particular Anonymous.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Oh Jon Jon...that "facade of sweet resonableness" as you call it will drop very quickly when faced with things based on wild conjecture, lies and something that would smear a person's character. I love to sharpen my claws on people who have so little integrity.

And, honey, you really need to get out of the 60's a little!

Now excuse me while I go resharpen my claws. I feel them getting dull. :(

Lynnette in Minnesota said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

A political commentator (I think it was Burke in the late 18th century) spoke of the two english political parties of tories and whigs, that they were two coaches travelling in the same direction occasionally spashing mud at each other

i am reminded of this a bit when i see some of the comments made by jon to lynnette and lynnette to jon.

now i hope neither feels insulted, if i imply that you might both be travelling in the same direction (rather than at each other from opposite sides of the political spectrum) but i do mean it only in the very broadest sense, of travelling from the land called Injustice TOWARDS the land called Justice

peaceful nestorian inuit

Anonymous said...

A political commentator (I think it was Burke in the late 18th century) spoke of the two english political parties of tories and whigs, that they were two coaches travelling in the same direction occasionally spashing mud at each other

i am reminded of this a bit when i see some of the comments made by jon to lynnette and lynnette to jon.

now i hope neither feels insulted, if i imply that you might both be travelling in the same direction (rather than at each other from opposite sides of the political spectrum) but i do mean it only in the very broadest sense, of travelling from the land called Injustice TOWARDS the land called Justice

peaceful nestorian inuit

Anonymous said...

anon 9:06 (peace lover,love the name btw)everything you say i believe is correct. thank you for pointing to these distinctions.

my 9:07 in my initial post to jenny i tried my darndest to demonstrate what i meant by
let's not try to put the chicken before the egg. or the egg before the chicken. lets try to understand that the feeling is mutual.
as a way of possibly altering her approach(or framing)of her question, also offering many supporting links (which ms minn preferrs to consider in her normally so generous fashion things based on wild conjecture, lies and something that would smear a person's character. )

i think in examining why how or what root causes and/or solutions in the arab/jews conflict it was a matter of my approach to see it from the other side that offended jenny so, at least from her reaction to what she considered 'preaching'

Why? Why reverse the roles? I explained why I thought these roles are irreversable. And frankly, on a word scale, so what?

frankly i don't think we disagree about most things, i just think she wants to approach "her' issue singley, from her framing, and is offened by having to consider the possible 'equality' in another position. i think hers is equally valid and she understands it, that is why i addressed the another view angle.

jon, you are correct. sometimes i read something, come back the next day, and it says something else to me. also, frequently i read blogs late at night and possibly have a wrong interpretation (although blatant insults are hard to miss) this thread is so long it took me 10 minutes to find the post in question, i must have attributed lynn comment directed to you instead that you had said it. either way, the idea of needing courage to read the author in question..... i won't even go there again.

i don't worry about ms minn. i think she has shown her true character over and over. she has been on threads w/the vilest of comments and the only people she attacks are ones that differ from her birdseye view. one consideration might the phenomenon known as self-righteous indignation.

We have entered an era of rising ideological division and a "culture war" that increasingly stymies our knack at problem-solving. Nowadays, few adversarial groups seem capable of negotiating peaceful consensus solutions to problems, especially with opponents that are perceived as even more unreasonably dogmatic than they are. This cycle is often driven by the irate stubbornness of a few vigorous leaders. After all, the indignant have both stamina and dedication, helping them take high positions in advocacy organizations, from Left to Right. hmm

annie said...

one more thing jon, my reference to kid, just my way of signaling to him it doesn't take courage to read whats his name, sorry i am too lazy to find the post again, but i don't konfuse you w/kid. it is totally w/in reason to accept i too become konfused quite often!

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Peace Lover,

Actually you may be surprised to know that there have been a few people I have argued with in the past whom I have thought may have common desires. It was always the way to accomplish them that we disagreed on.

Anonymous said...

it is not surprising one would have discussions w/people who they feel share common goals/desires. regardless of approach.
it is the abilty to negotiate/discuss w/people who do not share ones goals or desires to come to a common consenses. it is the willingness to approach a subject/adversary w/a clear rational mind and present evidence that supports your position w/out resorting to threats, hostile rhetoric, threats of intimidation, revenge etc etc.

Jenny said...

"In fact if all israeli governments were made up only of people like jenny we might not have the trouble we have now"

Thanks for the compliment, uhhhmmm, but, somehow I don't think the majority would vote for me, uhhhhmmm,I'd be less patient with some settlers then with uhhhm, anonymous and uhhhhmm....

I'd probably be shot or poisoned.

:) But thanks anyway, appreciate it.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Very true Anonymous. And I think the diplomatic corp. is a very under-appreciated group of people.

Anonymous said...

well. i believe you have shocked me w/an understatement ms minn

Anonymous said...

Taiwanese Confusian here
(just thought i'd use another hat)

This is first of all to ANNIE. i think u are a dragon slayer by profession. You patrol the internet, armed with a quiverful of links, and inserting them wherever you meet either someone who is a potential convert or someone who is definately of an opposing opinion. I suspect that it is almost a 24 hr job, and must make u feel tired. I think Annie, you might find in the exchange of cortesies that took place between you and Jenny that the escalation took place, at each stage at your behest. ANNIE, I know you feel very passionately, but to someone neutral having to read you it becomes a lot more difficult to look at your arguements, which get kind of lost amonst all the other stuff. And then of course Jenny needs to respond, because she feels hurt, and you to respond to her response, and everything ends up being a bit of a mismash, and the poor independent reader, who has no firm opinion, ends up wandering as if through a thick forest, going forward and backwards and in the end either getting totally lost or giving up compltely. Now personally i feel that the case for the Palestinians, is stronger than average public opinion would credit


i will not give it here and now


I will look closely at the case only from Jenny's point of view.


because i would like to show that although i might be proPALESTINIAN, I am also very much pro-Jewish. IF YOU WANT TO FIND OUT WHAT MY PRO-palestinian views are u WILL HAVE TO WAIT for another time.

Now the case for a Jewish state is varied and compelling. You will find that many of the arguements are not made by just one person, but are repeated over and over again. I will look at some of the most important here

The number of European Jews killed by Hitler, was vital to the establishment of the state of Israel. The fact that many nations before the second world war had refused shelter to the Jews (or rather stricly limited immigration) trying to flee Germany, and then the discovery of what had taken place, had a direct impact on the number of countries in the world, which voted on the establishment of the state of Israel.

In fact for Jews everywhere in the world the existance of the state of Israel, is their ultimate insurance poicy. They may not want to go to live in Israel. They may not agree with zionists. They may disagree with the policies of this or that Israeli party, or goverment...


the more anti-jewish feeling they find in the world
the greater their support for the people of Israel

the more they want to have kept safe that ulimate place of refuge

and this is all i say now as i also feel very tired

Jon in Maryland said...

Well stated Taiwanese Confusionist! The case for the Israeli half of a two-state solution in a nutshell.

Read/scanned the article you linked to, but couldn't buy it as other than a vague but highly unlikely possibility. I am usually skeptical of one-cause explanations of the motives for military campaigns, particularly those dealing with oil (extraction, control, pricing, pipelines, whatever) in the Middle East. Also, even though he teaches at a U.S. university, the author's name seemed Russian and he seemed to take a pro-Russian, or, perhaps more precisely, an all-of-this-is-connected-to-an-effort-to-cut-Russia-out-of-a-money-deal line. There was a bit too much in the way of leaps of logic supposedly connecting what are most likely coincidences of timing. Or, per Freud, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." On the other hand, the descriptions of various arrangements and ties between the parties are probably correct. Just not very likely that Israel's actions in Lebanon have any connection.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Taiwanese Confusian & Jon,

Excellent comments. I agree.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

Taiwanese Confusian,

Just wanted to clarify that. I am referring to your comment on Israel. I don't really know anything about Annie except what I see of her behavior here.

Anonymous said...

I will look closely at the case only from Jenny's point of view

absolutely! you may want to just skip my comments all together if they add to your confusion. as far as being a professional dragonslayer, take me to the dragons! (joke). seriously, i'm honored. i am not familiar w/any professional commenters from my pov. as far as i know to get paid for slaying you have to be pro zionist. but hey, i'm interested, send me a link maybe i could make some$$.

I am also very much pro-Jewish.

cool, me too. huge difference between pro jewish and pro zionist tho.

In fact for Jews everywhere in the world the existance of the state of Israel, is their ultimate insurance poicy.

radical dude! i have many jewish friends who would disagree w/you about that. i wouldn't want my insurance policy ringing up that kind of international hatred. i'd call up and complain if i were paying for that kind of coverage.

"the case for the Palestinians, is stronger than average public opinion would credit"

hm, interesting observation but i believe incorrect. i think average p.o.
is rapidly getting up to speed on the palestinian situation. but lets not discuss palestine anymore anyway, lets focus on israel.

the more anti-jewish feeling they find in the world the greater their support for the people of Israel the more they want to have kept safe that ulimate place of refuge

what anti jewish feelings? you mean anti semitism? huh, i think what you mean is anti zionist/fascist. i'll have to consult my jewish friends. the idea of feeling safe in a state that attracts so much hatred by say, massacreing civilians, is an odd concept. glad you brought it up tho. we really need more discussion about israel, this is so interesting. luckily we here in america have the opportunity to be continuously considering israel.
israel, israel, israel.

You patrol the internet, armed with a quiverful of links, and inserting them wherever you meet either someone who is a potential convert or someone who is definately of an opposing opinion.

actually i comment on very few sites. lucky for me i generally hang out on one small very informative site w/facinating international commentary. most of the links i post come from there. also lucky for me i have always been a very energetic person and don't tire easily. i have a bunch of non computer realated projects plus a family. this prevents me from any 24/7 activities.plus, i love to garden!


I am usually skeptical of one-cause explanations of the motives for military campaigns

wow, i'll agree w/you there. i hadn't considered the russian angle you mentioned, very observant and worthy of consideration.

I don't really know anything about Annie except what I see of her behavior here.

and 24 steps site, although i have noticed he cleans up his comment section once they aren't current.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

24 does housecleaning? I didn't notice that.

Jenny said...


I don't believe in Israel as an 'anti-holocaust insurance' either. I don't think the small print would agree with me. I don't feel I need it for myself either.

I am pretty certain I'll never (have to) make alyia, I wouldn't want to live in Israel myself and actually I've relinquished the possibility.


as I tried to explain before, but which apparently didn't get anywhere, the main reason for supporting the existence of the State of Israel and not turning my back on it (yet) completely, something which only very very few Jews will do.
So in that respect, there are plenty of Jews who don't consider themselves zionists, but anti-zionist? I wouldn't call myself with. It's a question of solidarity.
With who? With those Israeli's of Mizrai descent.
Israel's existence might have been the result of the holocaust from the Western point of view, more or less everything that's happened since 1948 has to do with the completely ignored part of its population, the hundreds of thousands of Jews chased from their ARABIC birth countries.
'Arab' leaders trumpeting that Israels population should 'go back to Europe' choosed to ignore their own part in the shaping of Israel, and the fact that there are good reasons for Israels hardest hardliners coming from the Mizrai population. If there are Jews that have been raised to hate Arabs, those are the ones, because their parents felt the hate of the Arabs. I ask my question again, where should they go if there were no Israel?????
There my support lies.
I do notice that the 'antizionists' will forever refrain from answering this one. They just ignore the whole point.
Nothing to do with the f****** holocaust, nothing.

Jenny said...

In 1945 there were between 758,000 and 866,000 Jews (see table below) living in communities throughout the Arab world. Today, there are fewer than 7,000. In some Arab states, such as Libya (which was once around 3 % Jewish), the Jewish community no longer exists; in other Arab countries, only a few hundred Jews remain. Two thirds of this population made aliyah to Israel

Jewish Populations of Arab Countries: 1948 and 2001 Country or territory 1948 Jewish
population Estimated Jewish
population 2001[1]
Aden 1948: 8,000 [2001] ~0
Algeria 140,000[2] [3] ~0
Egypt 75,000[2]-80,000[3] ~100
Iraq 135,000[2]-140,000[3] ~200
Lebanon 5,000[2] < 100
Libya 35,000[3]-38,000[2] 0
Morocco 250,000[3]-265,000[2] 5,230
Syria 15,000[3]-30,000[2] ~100
Tunisia 50,000[3]-105,000[2] ~1,000
Yemen 45,000[3]-55,000[2] ~200
Total 758,000 - 866,000 <6,500

Anonymous said...

I ask my question again, where should they go if there were no Israel?????

if we kill off all the arabs, or completely control them like in palestine. you won't have to ask that question. everytime one of them steps out of line, bomb tf out of the whole region they live in, little by little, there will not be any more threat. w/the help of the US gov, it shouldn't be a problem.

it would solve the water problem too.

Anonymous said...

How do all the Arab Jews in Israel view the Arab Israelis (also known as Arabs of 1948)

Jenny said...

I don't know how 'all' the Arab Jews in Israel view anybody. My guess is that their view varies greatly, being indidviduals, as is the case with most people, save, apparently, as I am learning, Arabs, who profess to be able to have a unanimous feeling of disgust and hate for Jews.

Anyway, my guess is that most Arab Jews, though no-one would call them that, most Mizrahi would look at Arab Israeli's as people who have been, since 1948, in the unfortunate position as they were in their land of origin or their parent land of origin for hundreds to fourteenhundred years: The unfortunatel position of second class citizens in a society commanded by the major religion.
Because it is the excact same situation. Arab Israelis are the dhimmi's of Israel. So anyone who says that the position of the Jews in Arab countries was never so bad, shouldn't talk about oppression of Arab Israeli's (namely having limited rights and little democratic say in what is their own homeland) either.
For if the original homeland of those Jews in Arab countries WASN'T that particular country, what was it then? Arabs have to stop measuring with two measures

Jenny said...

To which I still want to add that if originally the Arabs (I mean the collected Arab countries and their citizens) had wanted to do something originally to save the Palestinians from their current fate, and from Israel becoming what it is now, they should have gone to their Jewish neighbours and made clear to them that their current (then) land was their land too, that they should not go, that they would finally be made welcome in their land of origin and possibly a lot would have stayed were they were. What happened was anger over the forming of Isragel created violent pogroms everyone chasing them to where for the greater part, the Arabs didn't want them (either, but that was nothing new) but, for a large part of them, they didn't really want to go and start anew either. Most Jews from Arab countries were city people and didn't want to become farmers. A lot of them stayed homesick for Bagdad, Fez and Cairo for the rest of their lives.

Jenny said...

In all honesty not all left because of violence or anything. F.i. from Marocco in the fifties and sixties most Jews left not because their Arab neighbours were so bad to them but because THESE left too: The economic situation being so bad that every Maroccan who could (work) elsewhere did in those periods. And a lot of Maroccan jews were also inticed to make aliyah through Israeli propaganda. Quite a few were sorry they did after a while though, not being treated very well by the Azkenazi in Israel. Maroccan Jews in Israel have the position of Maroccan Arabs and Amazigh everywhere else ...:)

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenny said...

To my point
"I ask my question again, where should they go if there were no Israel?????"

Annie could not help answering:

"if we kill off all the arabs, or completely control them like in palestine. you won't have to ask that question. everytime one of them steps out of line, bomb tf out of the whole region they live in, little by little, there will not be any more threat. w/the help of the US gov, it shouldn't be a problem.
it would solve the water problem too"

Okay, well as you yourself suggested I best react to your ejaculations of political Tourette syndrome, attempts at mirroring, badly, cynical and absurdistic replies to valid questions, I will patiently wait for a reasonable answer from the persons the question was actually asked at.

Anonymous said...

gee,, while your patiently waiting you may want to ponder that w/which you resist. "why, why should i have to see the other side, why?" you prefer to wait for your respondee to see things from your view.

absurdistic replies

as absurd as you think my reply may be, apparently others are worried about it coming a reality.

la times

Group Says Iran Is 'Not a Crisis'
Former generals and officials seek to prevent an attack on suspected nuclear sites and to overhaul policies toward Tehran and Baghdad.
By Peter Spiegel, Times Staff Writer
August 16, 2006

WASHINGTON — Seeking to counter the White House's depiction of its Middle East policies as crucial to the prevention of terrorist attacks at home, 21 former generals, diplomats and national security officials will release an open letter tomorrow arguing that the administration's "hard line" has actually undermined U.S. security.

Gard said the signatories — who included retired Marine Corps Gen. Joseph P. Hoar, head of U.S. Central Command from 1991 to 1994, and Morton H. Halperin, a senior State Department and National Security Council official during the Clinton administration — did not believe that Iran had the wherewithal to build a nuclear weapon in the immediate future and would push the administration to open negotiations with Tehran on the issue.

"It's not a crisis," Gard said in a telephone interview. "To call the Iranian situation a 'crisis' connotes you have to do something right now, like bomb them."

He noted that Iran had sought to open negotiations with the U.S. through Swiss intermediaries, efforts that the letter-signers said were worth exploring as a means of defusing tensions in the region.

But Gard said the administration appeared to be going in the opposite direction, adding that he was particularly concerned by recent warnings from former Israeli military officials that a strike against Iran may be needed to disable that country's nuclear program.

He noted that the Bush administration's unabashedly pro-Israel stance during the recent conflict with Hezbollah was an indication that the White House may accede to such assessments.

"This administration is clearly so beholden to Israel that it raises the concern we might go along" with a military strike, Gard said.

personally i think fixating on this question of yours may not be the most pressing concern we could be considering, not everyone views the middle east thru israels concerns. one persons valid is another persons bs. your question is seeming more and more absurd w/every dollar we send to israel.

carry on, i too am curious what kind of answer you will get.

Jenny said...

No, of course, nothing is more pressing than the fate of the American dollar.

Anonymous said...

your question is seeming more and more absurd w/every dollar we send to israel.

it's not the money per se jenny, its the money for a defense(or offense) budget that clearly puts israel in a position to blow any competition out of the water, if it was israel choice to do so. worrying about the fate of the richest most powerful kid on the block is the absurdity. take for example the billions of dollars in lebanese infrastucture. oh, i know, the 2 soldiers, never mind the plan was established much earlier. besides, hasn't israel captured like, 10,000 lebanese? now, if the situation were reversed... but it isn't, is it?

nice try spinning this into my concern for the american dollar instead of my concern for how many people that dollar might be killing and imprisoning, or the power israel has in the region because of that dollar. israel's track record for abusing it's enemies has been fairly well documented. you can believe i am just worried about those billions of tax dollars, that i am influenced by greed. won't make it the truth.

Anonymous said...

Shabat Shalom Jenny and everybody

I just heard this comment on a news programme on BBC radio

"Ordinary Israelis are no longer trusting Helmut Olmet after the way he has conducted the war with the Lebanon"

true ? false ? partially true ? partially false ? anyone ?

Anonymous said...

Trust in the state depends on trust in the leadership:

President Katsav is under investigation for sexual coercion
Prime Minister Olmert is under investigation for bribery
Justice Minister Ramon is under investigation for sexual harrasment
Chief of Staff Halutz is known to time his investment to the war

A lot of people will have to step down before there can be trust again.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting anonymous, good links,I had no idea
I suppose one is reminded a bit of a certain American President,
then again things like this happen in all walks of life, it is just that
a) when ordinary people do this it doesn't get so reported
b) people expect a very high standard from politicians
c) I gather that each and every member of the cabinet has streniously denied any wrong doing

Anyone else wants to comfirm ? deny ? say: yes but, or: no but ?

confusian taiwanese

Jenny said...

"Nice try" "of course the soldiers" well, I wasn't.
Look, you don't want to take it in, do you, that I do not agree with this attack on Lebanon at all, that I think it was an odious and stupid thing to do. And actually I don't really care about the fate of those soldiers. I mean I'm sorry for them and their family and all that, but not more then for anyone whose dying in wars and conflicts.

Thanks for your shabbat shalom not that I keep shabbat, but never mind. I cannot say anything about the radio quote because I don't know the context. From what I hear 'the Israeli people' have not been so devided in anything since 1967 so for the BBC to think that 'the ordinary Israeli' thinks this or that is, well, maybe wishfull thinking.

Anonymous said...

Jenny what you just said about the BBC comment is so true. I cannot give you the full context, it is something I heard in the general world news, I wrote it down , by the time I tried to work out why the BBC comentator was saying he was thinking this, they were already onto another commentator talking about something completely different. What struck me was that it was such a very general statement, we all tend to do this, when we want to make a point, even the Kid in his post here on the Lebanon (which may be one reason why it got so much comment) and these vast generalization about what a people think, what a culture thinks can never be right, within any group there will always be vast disagrement. That is what makes us human. Going way way back to my earlier comments in response to what Magda had to say about the twin towers episode, I replied that my muslim friend said that as a kid he was towering under a staircase in a Tehran block while Sadam's bombs were falling on him, bombs supied by America. I was struck at the time, he talked about Sadam -a single individual, and yet he talked about America, as a collective, and not perhaps the 20 or so individuals who had decided to supply Sadam. I find it all very wierd.

v. confus(ed)-ian inuit

Jon in Maryland (VA for now!) said...

Hi All,

I will not make this a screed, since I'm on vacation now, looking out at the Atlantic as I type.

Very interesting conversations going on. I think one of the main things I'm getting is that no populations are monolithic in their thinking or their expressed views. This is one of the problems I have with the U.S. government, as well as with some of those who comment on Iraqi blogs, whether from the right or left. They often do not make appropriate distinctions, whether among different groups (especially "the enemy") or individuals. And we ALL see things through our own distinctive lenses. But some of us screen out more than others. I, of course, only screen out the obviously incorrect! :) (Obvious irony, for those unable to recognize it.)


I've been looking for Dershowitz's book, to no avail so far, at least in used book stores. Of course I'm quaking in terror at the possibility of my reactions in reading it. I think you should check out some of Dilip Hiro's books on the Middle East, mainly Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran.


You've provided some very interesting perspective in looking at Israel. It helps to show that members of any particular group do not think alike, and that statements like "the Jews," "the Arabs," "the average Iranian," etc., do or say or believe this or that, are greatly simplistic, if not simple-minded.

Later! We may hit the beach shortly.

Anonymous said...

Confusian INUIT again,
The moment u make any statement about politics, u are aware that as u make it, it contains its own negation, and that u should really fill it will sub clauses and qualifiers, so that it might end up being as acurate as possible, and absolutely incomrehensible to everyone else.
Thus, in my last comment when I made the statement that some 20 Americans made the decision to supply Sadam with weapons of mass destruction to use aganst Iran, I half expected someone to come up with, is America not a democracy
!? JUST 20 people ?
And no one else !?!
To this I would have to reply that American is definately a democracy (SOME WOULD SAY A VERY GREAT DEMOCRACY with its checks and balances) and in this IS very different to a country run by someone like Husein, BUT America, as all of todays decomcratic countries, is a REPRESENTATIONAL democracy. This is very different to the Athens of Plato's day where everyone (if you were male and not a slave or foreigner) would gather in the agora, and vote on every issue. Now you cannot get 200,000,000+ people into an agora (OR couldn't before the invention of the p.c.) SO a great many people end up deciding on picking just one person, usually it ends up as a choice between two people each representing a different party, who are profesionals in the business of making political decisions, and who have a coterie of unelected advisers. In the decision to supply Sadam with weapons against Iran, this was of course done during the Reagan tenure of the Whitehouse. I DO NOT RECALL, THAT THERE WAS A GREAT DEAL OF PUBLIC DISCUSSION. In fact Regan was elected, as oppose to Carter, because of the 444 days. His mandate was to do something about Iran and the bad Ayatula. The fact that the Iranian people felt a sense of grievance, because they had suffered for many years under the second Pahlavi shah an shah, and his brutal Savak torturers, a regime that had the active support of the C.I.A. and some members of the embasy staff, was not something that was much discussed on TV, in the countdount of the number of days that the American Embasy personel were held hostage by the crowd/fanatics in Tehran. So I do not think it was particularly hard for the Regan people
to persuade whoever they needed among the senators or congresmen, or ever the owners of the media outlets (TV and print), that to sell SADAM A FEW SIMPLE KILLING MACHINES to use on the Iranians, was such a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Confusian INUIT again

Now some of u may taken my referenceses to the bad ayatula, as irony, and thought perhaps that he was not a bad man. Actually I believe that he should have done the Iranian people a great favour and stayed all his life in Paris. It is a popular belief that the bad ayatula brought down the shah. Actually this is not exactly what happened. It was ordinary people on the streets of Tehran risking their lives against the shah's soldiers, that brought down the shah. In the end even the ordinary soldiers, for all that they were ordered on pain of severe punishment, to shoot at the crowd, could no longer bring themselves to do this. That is when the shah, found himself to be the most hated man in Iran, with just a few sycophants for support,and left. Then the wooly westernised liberals tried to run things for a while, a lot of gas, a bit of quarelling, a bit of place seeking, all the usual stuff after the fall of a tyrant. It was only then that his majesty the grand ayatula hopped on to a plane, and hoped off in TEHRAN and never looked back. And if he didn't live in a palace but in an ordinary house in Qum, and if he wore a black tuirban instead of a crown, he was nevertheless a shah an shah. U THINK I M CRAZY to say this ? Two years ago I GOOGLED 'shah an shah' AND FOUND THIS SITE in english, obviosly written by some follower, saying that the grand ayatula was the spiritual heir of the Iranian monarchy, and applying to him the title of "light of the Aryans" WHICH IS ONE OF THE TRADITIONAL TITLES OF THE SHAHANSHAH. Can't find it now though.
in some ways the iranian revolution showed parallels with the russian revolution in 1917. first of all u had the supreme autocrat of all the russias, then u had kerenski, then u got the new tsar lenin the dictator (ON BEHALF OF) the proleteriat.

about 2 years after the iranian revolution, u could find on the streets of most of the capitals of the free world, a group of iranian students, selling little books showing photographss of the new torture victims under the shah an ayatula. i bought one of these and was asked for and gave a large sum of money in exchange. 5 minutes later i regretted this, as while i would have liked to believe that the money went to the help and support of some torture victim, i rather fear it could have gone to supply someone with a bullet somewhere. IN CASE U BELIEVE THE PHOTOGRAPHS WERE FAKE, I would challenge u to look in the archives of Amnasty International.

the one interesting thing about the shia clergy, is that if you have a white turban it means that u r NOT a direct descendant of Ali the 4th Calif and 1ST IMAN and of Fatima (PEACE BE UPON HER NAME). NONE of the Shia clegy in the political news have worn white turbans, but BLACK. The families who have black turbans tend to intermarry. I NOTE WITH INTEREST that in the Lebanon, the Nasrallahlites, have been playing the game of follow the black turban. A genuine black hat ? I wonder ?

annie said...

excuse me. this is a bit OT. earlier i commented

if america were to attack iran it would leave isreal in a very threatened position, therefore the by attacking the closest threat, hezbollah, prior to the attack, and dismanteling hizbollah, when the US attacks iran, israel will not have to fear for there northern border.

i know it may have appeared to the simple minded that israel invaded lebanon because of the kidnapped soldiers, however, it is much more likely given that initially israel wanted nato troops installed in southern lebanon, the point of the attack may very well have been to have a stronger buffer for the upcoming iran invasion.

yesterday, cnn

"BLITZER: In today's "Welcome to the Future" report, is a show- down looming with Iran over its nuclear program? And are Tehran's missile tests an ominous sign of things to come? CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has the latest -- Barbara?
STARR: Analysts say support for a strike against Iran would be tough. U.S. forces in Iraq would have to be protected from Iranian retaliation. U.S. military assets such as tanker aircraft and ships must be put into position. A U.N. peacekeeping force first must be deployed in Lebanon to protect Israel."

surprise anyone???

Jenny said...

No,not surprised, alas.

Anonymous said...

peace-lover's comment on Annie and Jenny

That may well be true. None of us really, really knows why things in the news happen. Most of us are beginning to suspect that (as Oscar Wild said) THE TRUTH IS RARELY PURE AND NEVER SIMPLE. In the end there is always that wonderful word 'deniability' and my reading of historical papers convices me that in diplomacy, the concept always existed long before the word was invented.

Anonymous said...

tao-ese inunit again,

Somewhere up there there is a link made by Annie, to this Jewish guy in America who has set himself the task of lobying every single poitical person he can get hold of to prevent Iran getting the nuclear bomb. (Sorry tried but cannt find it, these comments are getting to be more and more like a fascinating plate of spagetti, with extreemely long and interwoven strands of arguements)

Actually if I were an ordinary Israeli, I would probably be quite happy in the knowledge, that someone in America had set himself that particular task.

There is just a vague posibility that Tehran might threaten one day to drop a bomb on ISRAEL.

I remember about a year after the Iranian revolution, seeing a poster put up by sympathisers of the Ayatulah, on a street wall in one of the European Capitals.

It showed an arial view of Israel with a six pointed star located at Jerusalem. But the star was broken in two by the symbol of four crescents and a sword, that u can find placed at the center of the flag of Iran made after the Islamic Revolutionn. The inference was obvious.

Now actually I believe that Iranians are an ancient and very sophisticated people, and even if u happen to be a rather unpleasant clergyman running the place, it does not mean that u r not unskilled in diplomacy. A lot of this posturing could be bluff. Then again I could be wrong. As I have so often been in the past, in trying to predict future political events.

annie said...

Somewhere up there there is a link made by Annie, to this Jewish guy in America who has set himself the task of lobying every single poitical person he can get hold of to prevent Iran getting the nuclear bomb.

anyone else recall such a link? i don't.
please prove me wrong. a name or something other than "this jewish guy"?

are you taliking about "mr creative destruction",mr " total war" michael leeden. i don't think he needs to lobby every political person in dc. he is an advisor to the white house, he pretty much gets his way according to 'a clean break'

There is just a vague posibility that Tehran might threaten one day to drop a bomb on ISRAEL.

there is a strong possibility that the US might pre empt any of iran's vague possibilities. iran is at least 10 years away from having a nuckear bomb. israel on the other habd has serverals. there are many current problems that need to be addressed in the middle east, iran's vague futuristic nuclaer capabilities are not a current threat.

all hell would break loose by an unprecedented pre emptive nuclear attack.

It showed an arial view of Israel with a six pointed star located at Jerusalem. But the star was broken in two by the symbol of four crescents and a sword, that u can find placed at the center of the flag of Iran made after the Islamic Revolutionn. The inference was obvious.

well, we could nuke the f out of them, that would show them to make posters.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...


I found Dershowitz's book at Borders. Sometimes they actually have decent coupons. You may find it at the library if you don't want to purchase it.

I have printed out a couple of Dilip Hiro's articles and will read them later. I will check into his books later.

Enjoy your vacation and whatever you do, don't open up a computer!

Peace Lover,

I have often thought that the Iranians have simply continued on with the same type of leaders, they are just wearing different hats.

Anonymous said...

Yes Annie, you got it.
Nuclear Bomb wise, hopefully no one will drop anythig on anyone. Call it balance of terror if u like, somehow we seem to have muddled through to this point.

Anonymous said...

Talking of Nuclear Stuff,
I will always be greatful to Ronald Reagan, for pulling off perhaps the biggest con of the Twentieth Century. Whereas there may have been quite a number of things his people did in foreign policy I do not like, it was his confrontation with Gorbachev in Rikiavick that I am referring to.

I don't know how many of us remember his re-election television add for Star Wars.
Childish cartoons, little girl's voice
'My daddy says that we need a nuclear umbrella so that all the nuclear rockets cannot harm us" picture of little nuclear rockets, picture of little umbrella, fade out with picture of a happy smiling Sun.

I am convinced that an operational nuclear umbrella was never possible.
But the Russian generals saw the add. At a crucial stage Ronald, who was less of a fool then he pretennded and more of an actor then he is credited, came up with 'OUR NUCLEAR UMBRELLA IS SO GOOD LETS GIVE IT TO THE RUSSIANS'. Then his advisors rushed up to him and said 'No, no Mr. President you CAN'T DO THAT'and Ronnie went 'Ops, sorry, I can't do that'.

And then poor old Gorby, went back to the Russian Generals and said, 'look, we have virtually bancrupted the economy already just by all the nuclear stuff, there is no way we can build our own shield, we have got to change and appear as less of a threat to America.' And so the Gorby thaw started, and I'm sure he never, never wanted to lose half of Europe, but once u give up playing the wolf (at least for the time being) it is kind of difficult stopping the sheep from escaping.

olivebranch said...

hey KID
at the top of your next post link the OB network :P anyone getting 163 comments must be getting a shitload of hits :P

share some around a little!

I know your back in baghdad, Chiki told me; but YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO MESSAGE ME TO LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU GOT BACK TO BAGHDAD :P

Hope you stay safe, glad you made it OK. Give us all a lifesign and a new post sometime sooooooon OK ?

S.O.Mebody said...

I think the success the Kid has been having,
is down to a number of factors,
a) He is a very amusing and proficient writer
b) What he would have written about himself, would be well worth reading, even if he were writing about, say, the life of a student in Washington State USA
c) But he has been in Baghdad, which fullfils the Chinese curse 'MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES'
d) he has written about his inner feeling, and in a way the changes these have undergone, is a record of the changes in the month to month situation in Iraq
e) Up till this post he has not expressed any overall potitical theories
f) Now that he has, a lot of people either want tp reinforce or change this
g) And argue amongst themselves
h) He does not have all the verification stuff, so if u want to slag some government off
u can do so as ANONYMOUS.
i) because of a-h if someone wants to comment, they may get more readers here then on their own blog

Anonymous said...

to the Kid
regarding "please re-re phrase"

No I wont.

Yes there was a deeper meaning originally, the fact that you did not get the reference, when I said it the first time, is interesting.

In brief what I was implying was that when you have two section in deep dispute, u should drag in in an outside force as some sort of threat, so that the two oponents might unite against this.

This is the old way

This is the wrong way.

Very simply u may stir up passions against an outside force, you may even defeat it, but those passions will not go away. It is the trick of all tyrants, it is what Sadam used to get the Iraqi's to fight Iran in a useless war.

The new way, the better way, is to find that which the Sunni and Shia have in common.

It is your way.

It is the method you yourself employed, as you describe, here in this blog, a long time ago, more like a lifetime ago, when you and some Shia
and Sunni friends decided to break your fast at Ramadan, after sunset, and you came up with the perfect solution in spitting the difference between the time set by the Sunni clergy and the time set by the Shia clergy, and you could all be muslims together in a shared gesture.

This is the best way.

This is the only true way.

This is the only way that will outlast you

Salam Kid

May God protect you


Anonymous said...

To Kid et al,

While I understand your reaction to defend Islam, why is it that "moderate Muslims"(tm) do not rein in and/or forcefully disavow the extremist "Misunderstanders of Islam"(tm)? There should be no question whether to support a murderous band of thugs such as Hezbollah, yet otherwise sane people such as yourself feel the need to waffle about it. There should be no question whether Islam supports or abhors such action, yet there is. Such actions would meet universal condemnation by Christian religious leaders, why is that not true of the Imams, MUllahs, Grand Poobahs, and other dour, humorless, bearded dickheads-in-charge of the Muslim world? Is it because those "moderates" who insist that Islam forbids such action are in constant danger from all the Misunderstanders of Islam(tm) in their midst? But even the moderates drink from the same well of KoolAid in many respects, to wit: unlike other religions, Islam is also a political ideology that does not recognize any form of government other than an Islamic one as legitimate.

As a result Moderate Muslims(tm) seem to a man (as both you and others did in this thread) to wistfully wish for the True Correct Islamic Government(tm), presumably to restore the (purported) glory days of the Arab world. Unfortunately, as with utopian ideas such as communism that sound viable at least in theory, in the real the world they somehow always manage to lead to oppressive dictatorships. In any case the modern Muslim looks around at the third world cesspool that is his existence and blames the West for somehow pulling ahead on the civilization scale. How is it that a once proud culture is in such a state, while the West has the werewhithal to invent all of modern technology from antibiotics to the internal combustion engine to the airplane to the telephone and on and on, America invents the transistor, creates the Internet, puts robotic probes on Mars, etc. etc. etc. etc while the Muslim world Allah allegedly smiles upon accomplishes basically zip, nada, bupkis? How did that happen? In general because Christianity ultimately says "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's", and then because brilliant men like Thomas Jefferson realized that freedom depends on keeping religion out of government altogether. Because the idea that the cultural legacy left by a 7th century Arab warrior religion is to blame for the condition of the Arab world is a thought that dare never enter consideration. Such is the nature of religious brainwashing.

The facts are these: questions about the right of Israel to exist are pissing in the wind. In the same way that Sunni and Shiite in Iraq must now cleave to their own for their own protection, Jews must stick to their own for their own protection from modern neanderthals stuck in ancient thinking. Jenny is right. The inbred hatred toward Jews makes Israel necessary. But again this is neither here nor there, the fact is that Israel is here to stay. The longer Muslims refuse to accept this, the worse their lot will be. It is irrational and stupid to continue the same actions and expect different results. The point is, even if Israel ceased to exist tomorrow and we gave South Dakota over to a Jewish state (yes, we know they like Florida and California, but let's be reasonable ;) ), the Muslim world would not be satisfied. Read that 100 times: even if the unthinkable happens and the Muslim nutballs manage to chase every Jew from the Middle East, THE MIDDLE EAST WILL STILL BE A MESS!! And that's not anyone else's fault. Excuses are for losers, man up and take the blame. But that wouldn't happen even then; Muslims would continue their excuses and merely focus greater attention on the US and the rest of the West to explain why they just can't get it together and become a part of modern civilization. The more influence religion has, the less peace humanity has, and the Islamic world has it worst of all. That is not a coincidence, it is because Islam is more intolerant and expansionist and political today than other world religions. Spare me Quranic quotes and Sura this and Hadith that (most of which abrogate the peaceful verses moderates like to quote anyway), a religion is not what is written in a book centuries gone, it is what its believers practice and do in its name TODAY. Until Muslims wake up and take action to put religion in its proper place (the garbage heap would be best), they will continue to be looked at as a problem in need of control measures, instead of as worthy participants in 21st century humanity. The rest is just details.

And since realistically such a change in mindset will not happen in your lifetime, the only sensible thing to do is move. You'd like it in the West, where normally your biggest day to day concerns are girls and what to watch on your TiVo. You can even go to the local mosque and/or pray to a 12-legged magic turtle in the sky for all anybody cares, so long as you leave that Islam-as-government shit back in the cesspool it came from.

Paul R

Jon in Maryland said...

Two things, one your earlier comment that I "really need to get out of the 60's a little." If you meant THE 60's, I usually do, although as the most important part of my most formative years (i.e., post-high school, but extending to the mid-70's)I can't avoid it entirely. Plus, since we're all talking about the Middle East, we shouldn't be ignoring relevant history, even if it was 400 years ago, much less 40. If you meant MY 60's, kinda hard to get out of, unless ....Have you been channeling Ponce de Leon? Did he tell you where to find it? It isn't in Minnesota, is it? Florida? Or was he off the track there? Maryland??!!

Second item, care to comment on Paul R.'s screed? Mine is that he apparently attributes any failing, any egregious act, any terrorism by a Muslim anywhere, to every single Muslim in the world, and to the vastly complex and multiplicitous faith of Islam itself. Since 9/11, there have probably been thousands of statements by Muslim leaders throughout the world disavowing that and many other acts as antithetical to the core beliefs of Islam, yet those who have a gut reaction against the religion continue to call for more public disavowals. How many Christian leaders stood up to disavow the actions of the evangelical Protestant General Rios-Montt of Guatemala, when he was a leading general and then President? Tens of thousands of Maya died at the hands of death squads. What about Catholic leaders when the mostly at least nominally Catholic generals of Argentina were disappearing thousands of "suspected" leftists? What about Jewish (and Christian)leaders after the IDF permitted the "Christian" Lebanese militias to massacre a thousand Palestinians and Lebanese Shi'ites at Sabra and Shatila? Double standard, perhaps? There is certainly enough blame to go around for a multitude of vicious and horrific acts throughout history, and especially since the mid-19th century, attributable to members of almost every religion, and often enough motivated, at least in part, by the religious beliefs of those who committed the acts. Paul R suggests that Muslims put religion, presumably theirs, on the garbage heap, but is he suggesting that all religions be put there? The nature of human beings is such that we're quite capable of trying to justify enormities on the basis of whatever distinction comes handy -- religion, race, language, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, probably even food preferences. The problem is that in times of stress, whether objective and external, or internal (mainly in our own minds), groups of human beings can be motivated to turn on "the other," however that is contemporaneously defined, and often murderously.

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul R

I suspect u r an American and not a great lover of any religion.

If what u wrote was in the form of an invitation to come to America, I am not exactly sure the Kid would want to take u up on it. I don't know, I am not a Muslim myself, so personally I don't feel any particular anger about anything you wrote, and the story is told about the Prophet (peace be upon his name) that when he was passing along a street every day this woman would empty her chamber pot upon his head, but he took absolutely no retaliation. In the end this woman was
won over by his mild manners. So I imagine any Muslim reading this would want to follow that excellent example.

11 days ago I was at a restaurant with
four very faithful Muslims, and then there was poor little Christian me, and you know what, I felt perfectly comfortable, and no one threatened to cut off my head even once.
Two of these guys were from traditional Muslim countries, it was a faith that their families had for generations. And these two called themselves fundamentalists. They meant this as 'going to the fundamentals of their religion, the core and its message of peace'. Both of them had great knowledge and respect for the sayings of Jesus, one of them even quoted the saying of turning the other cheek, and found something in his scriptures to support it, which I cannot now recall, because my knowlege of his scriptures is a lot less, then his is of mine.

The other two muslims were european looking guys, but they had beards and head coverings. Thus they experience extra greef at airports, as the security people get very very frustrated in being unable to discover the secret compartment in the heel of the shoe where the bomb is hidden. One of them jokingly said, "when next I plan to travel on a plane
I will have to wear the same socks for a month, just to give the airport security staff something to smell."
Both these guys called themselves Sufis. One of them was a convert to Islam. I was convinced that the other was too. He had a red beard and very pale skin. His name was Mohomed. So I asked him what it was before. He answered that it always was Mohomed. His father is an American Muslim convert of Scotish ancestry, his mother is a Spanish Muslim convert from Catalonia (where they are very fair skinned). EVERYONE AGREED THAT THE QARAN HAD DEEP LAYERS OF MEANING OF GREAT PROFUNDITY.

Everybody agreed that the Saudis, were literalists and in general were not very nice people (NOTE to any Saudi person who might be reading this 'IF YOU ARE A NICE PERSON COULD U CONSIDER YOURSELF
Some of the muslims at the table had been on Haj, and they described just how ignoraNt the guards were, these are the people who are ment to patrol the pilgrims. One of them said that a lot of the accidents happen, because the guards know absolutely nothing about crowd control. One of them said that one of the guards said to him 'Haram Haram' when he saw that he had long hair. So what he did was argue back saying: Moses had long hair Jesus had long hair even the Prophet (P.B.U.H.N.) had long HAIR. and the guard had no way to answer. (btw this guy did not break up his coversation by saying (PEACE BY UPON HIS NAME, it is just little old Christian me doing this as a courtesy to any Muslim reader). One of them came up with this. That the Saudis were a desert tribe, too fond of beleiving that they and only they were the true interpreters of the Quaran. So in 1819, they tried to take Mecca by force and slaughtered the local Muslim population. They were thrown out by the Turks. During WWI Lawrence of Arabia did a special deal with them, so they ended up capturing again the holy places, and most of the locals died or fled. The herditary guardians also fled and are now the rulers in Jordan.

Anyway what this shows is that there is no such thing as an identity kit Muslim.

Lets face it in the U.S. there has been: Waco and Oklahoma city (YET PEOPLE DO NOT TALK ABOUT AMERICAN SELF-INFLICTED TERRORISM) then again Columbine and other similar tragegies (NO ONE TALKS OF PHYSCOTIC AMERICAN SCHOOL CHILDREN). Now to anyone reading this, who might have been affected by any of these tradgedies, my deepest apologies, I hope you realise that all I am trying for here is just a little sanity, in the way every single Muslim in the world is forever accused of being a bomer. It is really as if to say, the only good muslim is a non-muslim. (No American is asked to condemn the actions of those excepional few American who did some horrible crazy things- IS IT REALLY FAIR THAT WE KEEP ON ASKING ALL MUSLIMS TO KEEP ON CONDEMING THAT WHICH IS DONE BY A TINY MINORITY)

Now I will never become a muslim (I have enough to contend with trying to understand Christianity), but there are a great many things about being a muslim that I admire.
We have the phrase "Christian Charity",
what we do not also have is the phrase
'Muslim Charity' and yet we should. Giving to the poor is a very deep part of being a Muslim, far, far more so than in being a Christian.

Then there is Ramadan. In a western country at Ramadan, you ask a Muslim to lunch and they will politely decline. Few non-Muslim realize what is involved in that refusal. No food or drink between sunup and sundown. Now it is something that is voluntary, and obviously if you should be endangering your health you are not meant to do it. A LOT OF PEOPLE DO IT. I was once next to a muslim friend during Ramadam. He told me to stand away from him as his mouth was giving off a cetain odor, as his body was breaking itself down with the lack of food. Non-muslims might say, these Muslims are crazy, why do they do it ? As I understand it, and someone might want to correct me on this, it is done to show that human life depends on God. Everything is in the gift of God including the food we eat.
So even the most wealty Muslim, the millionaire prince, is reminded that in the presence of God he is as nothing. Now normally if anyone gets deprived of food, by the delay of circumstance, they will get quite short tempered. But when a muslim chooses to do this voluntarily, they feel in great charity towards everbody. We have only got to look back at the Kid's own comments at Ramadan. The Muslim at Ramadan, is someone who carries out these words of Jesus: 'When you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.' Mathew 6:17-18).

Actually I am sure Paul R, that everything you wrote, was done from the kindest of intentions. It was designed to show all the thirdy worldy people of Baghdad, in their little mud huts, everything that they are missing, and why isn't there an Iraqi flag on Mars.
I immagine Paul R, YOU PROBABLY HAVER A FEW ANCESTORS WHO CAME FROM EUROPE. If this is so, quite a number of Europeans were regressing into semi barbasism while Baghdad florished as a civilization, and matamaticians there were presenving and enhancing knowlege that Europe had lost. I think it would be fair to say that were it not for Baghdad science, there would have been no link in the chain and no trip to Mars. In the end we are all children of one planet. American science depends as much on homE grown as imported talent, as indeed is true for every coutry. Where would the world now be economically without India and China. People who might want to draw toO tight disinctions and comparisons between one part of the world and another, only shows how little they really know. What we all have in common, each one wherever we are, is so much greater than what divides us.

Peace and Salam Paul R

peace everybody


Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

Paul R. again. Interesting discussion, though I simply do not have time to address whatever people misread, or think I may have meant, or choose to say. I do not paint all Muslims with an extremist brush. In point of fact I can honestly say that all Arabs I have met and known to any extent have been universally kind, and good humored. A sense of humor seems to be part of the culture. I work with a number of Palestinians, and am always interested to hear their take on current events. It has been my experience in speaking with those Muslims that I consider to be completely moderate, "normal", or whatever word you like, that they will say that extremism is a misinterpretation of Islam. My Palestinian coworker opines that to get the correct essence of Islam, one must look to the works of scholars hundreds of years ago. According to him, current governments in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia simply misapply Sharia. One must not, for example, cut off the hand of a thief if he steals food because he is poor. This is all well and good (leaving aside the fact that cutting off a hand is barbaric and has no place in modern times, no matter the rationale), but it leads to the points I made. What is the meaning of referencing things hundreds of years ago? This is a fine opinion, but if most disagree, is it really valid? He lives in the West, it is natural to expect him to be progressive. It is also easy to wax philosophic when bombs are not falling around you and life is comparatively calm. But if the "tiny minority" of extremist Misunderstanders of Islam is such a tiny minority, how do they have so much influence? They run entire countries in the Middle East! They even get voted into government office! How is that a tiny minority?!? All countries have fringe groups. Even the US has Patriot groups for example, but they are not allowed to run amok, and no one votes a fringe nutball into office (Bush jokes aside, he's unfortunately not fringe enough).

In terms of Islam vs. Christianity and other religions, we can toss examples back and forth to the end of time, but what is the current reality? Imagine this: if you live in a predominantly Christian country as a Christian, and announce that Christianity is just not working for you and you have decided to be a Buddhist, what will happen to you? Nothing. At worst you will get evangelicals trying to convince you you need Jesus to avoid going to hell. Big deal. Now to any Muslim living in a Muslim country I ask you what would happen to you? You would say nothing about your deconversion, because you take a big risk of being killed. Will pointing out that the Quran does not actually levy a death penalty for apostasy help you? No.

Don't tell me how Shia/Sunni never mattered before, it didn't matter because Saddam kept everyone under control. Once that control was removed, why did the Iraqis not simply rejoice at their opportunity to set their own destiny? Are the Americans the ones killing based on who is Sunni and who is Shia? No. Is it Christians? No. Those dastardly Jews? No again, it is all ultimately because of Islam. For the same reason, if Muslims had no weapons there would be peace in the region; if Israel had no weapons there would simply be no Israel. Do we see Jews dancing in the streets at the news of Arab civilian casualties? Israel has the military might to destroy and conquer the region (when they're not holding back), but it doesn't, because it is not truly expansionist. Israel is not trying to build the Great Israel throughout the region. Yet we are to believe that the Jews are the lovers of violence. Puhlease.

Germany and Japan suffered massive defeat, even with unnecessary and in retrospect shameful things such as the firebombing of Dresden and the atomic bombs on Japan. They had plenty of reasons to hate the Americans. Did they "resist" the "occupying forces" with guerrilla warfare? No, and look at where they are today. Why is that, are Germans and Japanese superior humans to the Arabs? Of course not. They simply did not have the ethno-religious baggage of centuries of Islamic culture telling them to do stupid shit to their own destruction. How pathetic are peoples who NEED dictators to keep them from each other's throats? That is not anyone else's fault, sorry. This is not to say that Islam is the cause of all similar situations around the world, but in assessing the reasons for intractable problems in the Middle East specifically, it is certainly a major factor. I am merely saying in a less palatable way what Muslims here have said differently in this very thread, namely that for example hatred of Jews is so inbred that it cannot change.

For Islamic countries to participate in the 21st century and for the people of the region to reap peace and progress requires that the moderate interpretation of Islam that everyone insists is the overwhelming majority interpretation must prevail...yet oddly it is not. How can that be? Let me guess, somehow the West and/or Jews must be to blame, even though they manage to have the only modern democratic state in the region. And the Muslims have the nerve to look DOWN on them from societies that seem to have stalled in the Middle Ages. Does anyone doubt that if the Jews really did take over the whole region, that it would be peaceful and prosperous? Does anyone think that if the Muslims wipe out Israel that the region will become peaceful and prosperous? Yet still the Muslims of the region cannot be shamed into civilized behavior and civilized rejection of extremism. I apologize if that sounds harsh, but this is the sad reality of the region, and of "moderate" Islam somehow overruled by "extremist" Islam.

Terry Crane said...

Common misconception for Arabs - all the questions about who to fight, how to fight.

You do not build a good life buy fighting in XXI Century. You build a good life, and you fight those who endanger it.

What exactly Hezbollah is building?? Were they necessary for improving Lebanon economy? By what measure, the war they started when the rest of Lebanon was busy advancing the country economy and general quality of life is "just" and "holy"?

How exactly Jews interfere with building prosperous state in Iraq? Out of thousands and thousands of people who died in Bagdad in the last year, how many were killed by "Zionists"? Or killed by those paid by "Zionists"?

There is no way you can build anything nice to live in out of Iraq until you learn to take responsibility for your country, rather then blame everything on misterious "Joooz".

Anonymous said...

What is the best way to bring someone over to your point of view ?

By insulting them ?

Or building on that which you have in common ?

Dear Paul R, I hope you have an oportunity to read back what you wrote, because I think to anyone in the world reading that, not just a Muslim, it comes of as sooooo patronizing. Your second comment is more considered, and it might have come better as your first.

In a way our approaches are different, as I am trying to build bridges in all directions, and you want to concentrate on all differences.

I am not saying that your approach might not work with some people. Indeed there are some web site by people who are Muslim born, who say things very similar to what you do.

But I don't know how helpful this is to any practicing Muslim.

Now here is just one piece of anecdotal evidence from my personal experience.

In one of the capitals of the Western world, I was with a Sheik, the name given to a Sunni mulah, this was in the Central Mosque in that country.

We were interupted by a phone call.
It was a female member of the faith. As i listened to the conversation from my end, I wished I had a recording device , because though it was evesdropping, I would like to confound some of the critics.

The man spoke very fast and with a slight accent (in the laguage of the host country), and the conversation went something like this.

"Sister, what you are saying is un-islamic.
Islam is all about tolerance to other peoples not of the faith."

He went on and on like this, for quite a time, impervious to me listening.

Towards the end you could tell by his voice that the lady, who might have started off by being quite angry, was moderating her views.

His tone then became less insistant, and he wished her the usual Islamic things like peace etc. and finished.

I honestly think this guy represents the majority

I cant prove it though.

But it only goes to show how many possibilities of interpretation there are if you follow Islam.

Do we not all want to help people like this Sheik, spread the word, instead of virtually tryng to insult ever single practicioner, as you Paul R initially did?

How to best achieve this ?



Anonymous said...

Peace-lover again,

Me, I would pretty much agree with what Terry Crain is saying. By this you may infer Pauk R that I do not necessarily disagree with all you have to say, more with the way you say, and a few short circuits in your reasoning. These are not anywhere as deep as someone like Khomeini
or bin Ladin, so it probably is less easy for you to spot them.

Anyway for someone like bin Ladan the arguement would go something like this:

There is prostitution and ponography in America


People die on the streets of America from poverty and neglect



hello !!!! I don't get this bit.

Anonymous said...


Well, according to another Prophet, blessed are the peace lovers. ;) No, am I not a Christian, in case it matters to anyone. Nor am I a Jew, for that matter. ;)

I vary my writing style as suits my mood, however the beauty of the internet is that naked opinions may be shared honestly, and sometimes this may actually be a better bridge to understanding. Slaying sacred cows and probing sensitive areas with total freedom is ultimately the beauty of the net, though superficially it may not always seem beautiful.

I will repeat, I do not look down upon Arabs, or think them in any way inherently incapable of rejecting violence due to some genetic malfunction or other flaws. While I may throw in various odds and ends, my discussion is about "moderate" vs. "extremist" Islam and the mindset of the region. You say with regard to your sheik story,

"But it only goes to show how many possibilities of interpretation there are if you follow Islam."

This is exactly the issue I am addressing. My Muslim acquaintances are also moderate. But in fairness, no religion that gives rise to so much violence can deserve the Religion of Peace label. The problem is in the ability to interpret violence and make a case for it in Islamic jurisprudence. Moderates like to quote nice verses of the Qur'an such as "There is no compulsion in religion", and yet the reality on the ground is that apostasy (deconversion from Islam) is a serious issue to which a death penalty officially attaches in many Muslim states. How can this be? The reason is that Islam is unique in that later revelations can abrogate earlier ones, and the "sword verse" Sura 9:5 is acknowledged by every major school of Islamic jurisprudence to abrogate over a 100 earlier verses that are tolerant and peaceful, and nice to quote if you prefer the moderate view. We can debate this forever, but the reality is that the Misunderstanders of Islam have a vast arsenal of material they can use to make their case that it's the "moderates" who don't really understand Islam, the moderates who misinterpret it, and yes, it really is the religious duty of all Muslims to help spread Islam to the world. So the Tiny Minority of Extremists is not really a tiny minority, and this is why they wield such influence.

I am not a promoter of Christianity, but as an example this sort of "interpretation" problem does not exist to anywhere near this degree in the Christian world because Christian extremists would have a much harder time pointing to any supportive scripture. Jesus never said anything close to:

"And he who fights in the cause of Allah and is killed achieves victory. We will bestow on him a great reward." (Sura 4:74).

"slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush." (Sura 9:5)

"Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and his messenger . . . is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from the opposite sides." (Sura 5:33).

"I will instill terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads then, and strike off them every finger-tip." (Sura 8:12).

"Fight those who do not believe in Allah." (Sura 9:29).

"If you do not fight, (Allah) will punish you severely, and put others in your place." (Sura 9:39).

"O Prophet, fight against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them." (Sura 9:75).

"So when you meet those who disbelieve, strike their necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds . . . And those who are killed in the cause of Allah never will waste their deeds." (Sura 47:4).

etc., nor did Jesus participate in dozens of battles. The history of Islamic jurisprudence, to say nothing of the obvious situation on the ground today, shows that these are not just isolated verses taken out of the historical context of their revelation. In any case, it is far easier for Christians to preach non-violence, and pretty hard for, say, an Al-Sadr-esque marble-mouthed Christian goofball to assemble masses of followers willing to die for him for ostensibly Christian causes. Nor would moderate Christians sit idly by wondering whether they should Support the Cause(tm) while militant Christians use their neighborhoods and schools as launching points to mount attacks on those Christ-killing Jews, risking devastating air strikes in return. Nor does Christianity divide the world into the House of Christ and the House of War. Nor does it insist that government must be Christian to be legitimate. Etc.

Now I see all this just as an artifact of history, it could easily have been the reverse. The ultimate point is that "moderates", whose views any sensible person would applaud and encourage, seem to hold no sway. And because the non-moderate views are so entrenched, even Muslims like Kid here are confused as to how they should feel. It's Islamic peer pressure. It's like their duty to hate Jews. It's sad to note what a shock this is to poor Jews like Jenny, who live in a modern society and thus can be oblivious to stoneage mindsets. Yes, Jenny, it's true, they will kill you just for being a Jew. And trade high-fives for it too. Not every Muslim by a long shot of course (though don't expect even moderates to shed a tear over your demise, because while Islam allows that not all Muslims must participate in violence by their own hand, those that do should be supported by those on the sidelines), but enough so that it makes no difference from your perspective. Muslims can express moderate views in private, or in the West, or on the Internet depending on where you're posting from and how anonymous you are, but the louder they raise their moderate voice in public the more risk they take thanks to the Religion of Peace. They could be living in Britain, convert to Christianity, and their Pakistani relatives might kill them if they find out. And they'll be hailed for doing so by the Tiny Minority, which oddly has the ability to seem like a majority.

As Thomas Jefferson noted, "History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes." The more power the clergy has, the worse off the people are, and the moderate Muslims do not lessen the power of the clergy. Islam itself says Islam should govern! This is a rather significant obstacle to any 21st century form of government. Really, any country where Islam is either "a source of legislation" or "the source of legislation" (with a footnote that even "moderate" Egypt moved from the former to the latter in 1980; see e.g. http://www.chiesa.espressonline.it/dettaglio.jsp?id=7000&eng=y
for the result) is doomed, IMO. The moment I saw that the Iraqi constitution has such language I virtually gave up hope for any long term stability. Bottom line, the pleasingly moderate interpretations of Islam often bandied about are not gaining ground, they are losing ground. As a result the violence in the region has no hope of stopping. If Islam truly deserved the label Religion of Peace, none of this could be true.

To the next poster who wrote of Bin Laden: he can say what he wants about how immoral the US is...but apparently he really likes Whitney Houston and watching Miami Vice reruns. LOL! What a hypocrite. But he has a ready audience because his Misunderstanding of Islam is quite feasible and easily supported by Islamic tradition and jurisprudence. Leading clergy throughout the region will back up his view. The Saudis alone spend billions spreading their intolerant brand of Islam to mosques throughout the world, that's another faction of the Tiny Minority. Somehow the Tiny Minority in countries throughout the region still publish schoolbooks for children teaching them the evils of democracy, the West, and Jews in particular, and this brainwashing somehow doesn't make the Tiny Minority any larger, at least according to Majority Moderates who somehow, again, seem to have no say in these matters. Don't get me started on Arab media and the constant reinforcement of this worldview. Bin Laden also wishes to restore the Caliphate and thereby return to the purported glory days of the Umma, an idealistic, denialist view also shared by every moderate I have ever spoken to. It won't work. Sorry, that is not the root of the problem, nor its solution.

I think that's about all I have to say on the subject without simply getting into endless repeats. No offense to Muslims intended, but this is the state of Islam today. Good luck to all humanity dealing with "extreme" Islam, we're going to need it.


S.O.Mebody said...

Dear Paul,

The points you make in your last comment and serious, and beyond the capacity of a non muslim to answer. Now you do meet some Muslims on planes and train, and u see them take out a Holy Text, and immerse themselves in it. It is quite obvious from their demenour that they are very good people. And one could ask them if one dared interupt them. How do you reconcile, certain excerts of which I am aware of in translation with your daily life. Maybe they would answer you.

If they came to read this comments section, and what you wrote Paul from the beginning, they probably would not want to.

Paul, in order to help you understand why, I will give you a little analogy.

I see that you hold dear, the lives and deeds of the Founding Fathers (as I do).
Imagine this scenario. Someone decides it would be a good idea to go to Washington, and obtain a reproduction of the Declaration of Independace. What they would then decide to do with it, is cut it up into rectangles of uniform size. They invite you to their home and you ask to use the bathroom. You go there and find that there is only one type of tolet paper on offer. You would probably leave and never go there again.

'..the modern Muslim looks arounds in the third world cesspool that is his existance..'


You have quite a way with words. As a routine on amateur night as a stand up commic, it would get you LOTS of applause. As a recruiting poster for Al Kaida, the same. They wouldn't have to edit your first comment at all.

You may have noticed that it has been some 36 hrs since you wrote your first comment here and how it has been left to non muslims to carry on the debate. Yesterday was Friday. It could be a coincidence, but I bet at least one Muslim has come here in this time and just decided 'I do want to talk to this guy here'. I am very sorry to have to say this Paul, because it is very apparent, from what you subsequently wrote, that you are not the typical U.A. with 'we r great, u r grotty, if you qualify come on over to our place for a life of babe watching and channel flicking but leave your baggage at the door."

I imagine you were born in the U.S.A. In which case you probably had to say at least 5000 times a set of words beginning with 'I pledge..'

Now the Kid being typical of the place where he lives, has said words in Arabic, beginning with 'There is no God but God...' manny manny more times and will continue to do so for the rest of his life. If you want to persuade him to do anything, and his friends and colleagues, you must learn to live with that fact Paul, or you will get absolutely nowhere very fact.

I have a friend who is 41, he is from Java. I hadn't seen him for over a year, he used to wear traditional Javanese clothes, in part because he works for a shop selling Indonesian goods. I met him again a week ago, and found he has since grown a beard, and has a head cover, both of which clearly identify him as a Muslim. Has he had a conversion ? No ! He is no less and no more a Muslim then he was a year ago. Let us just say that certain things have happened in his neck of the woods, that make it much more difficult to appear in public as a Muslim. It is only for that reason that he has changed his appearance.

Even 24 steps to liberty, an Iraqi blogger who is on record on having views very similar to yours on the desire to keep the clergy out of politics in his country, even he would find it difficult to want to talk with you. If you don't know why just scroll up a bit and read the two quotes.

Anonymous said...

Dear s.o.mebody,

I learned long ago that written words on a page are a poor form of communication, because most communication is nonverbal, and cues such as tone, gesture, and body language are absent. It is therefore up to the reader to assign emotions to the writer based on his emotional state when he is reading. So, I have learned that it is a waste of time to lose sleep over how every communication is taken.

When I said that "nobody cares" who or what you worship, I mean simply that you are free to worship as you wish, not that what Muslims worship is equivalent to a turtle, or however you chose to take it. The point is that similar freedom is lacking in the Muslim world, and that again is not anyone else's fault. Another point is that people who are so easily offended by words are too uptight for anyone's good. This is also an issue that is not as common in the West, yet I remind you of the Danish Cartoon Controversy. If Muslims believe that every other religious idea can be lampooned but theirs, then they do not understand what real tolerance is. Not that that is surprising. I, on the other hand, practice real tolerance. If you want to wipe yourself with a copy of the Declaration, what do I care? Am I going to take it personally? No. Go ahead, insult anything you like about Western culture. If you can do it so that it's actually funny, I will laugh. Now it's a rather odd thing to wipe yourself with the copy of the Declaration, and I might question out of curiosity what statement you may be making and why, but here's the thing: even though I recited the Pledge as a child, even though I revere the Constitution as the brilliant work of true intellectuals, it would be clearly against the meaning of that same document if I were to insist that you not insult it. To pay mere lipservice to tolerance is meaningless. Not only that, but I was not trained to take great personal offense at insults to my country, religion, or anything else. If I was trained in anything, it was to take it in stride, and understand the importance of people being able to express opinions no matter how offensive they may be. You may correct me since I must defer to you as a Muslim on your experiences, but I have been told that Muslims are in essence expected to take offense at a perceived insult to their religion perhaps moreso than to themselves or their own family. In any case, this sensitivity is part of the curriculum or culture, as it were, which is not the case with the Pledge. Granted there may be large numbers of Americans who would be insulted by flag-burning or what have you, but not all Americans really understand their Constitution (that would be true of virtually all the Religious Right who voted for Bush, IMO). In any case it is evident that the Western ideal teaches tolerance, whereas Muslim countries seem to teach intolerance. Why is that?

Now people may choose to engage me or not, but I do not represent the views of any nation, religion, or any group larger than myself. If any Muslim reads what I write and takes offense, or assumes that this is how all Westerners feel, that would their mistake.

Now then, let me direct you to an interesting article by a British Muslim who went undercover to the area from which the 7/7 bombers came:


To me, this illustrates the problems better than anything I could have written. Here you have a group of Muslims living in complete freedom in Britain. There are no bombs falling around them, no strife; they have food, homes, jobs, 24/7 electricity, you name it. They can hang out with the neighbors watching the World Cup on a big screen TV, raise their kids, worship at the mosque of their choice, anything. Billions of people from China to Africa and around the world do not have such opportunity, peace, security, freedom. You could meet any of them and I'm sure they would be kind, polite, and engaging. Yet in private they are STILL acting like neanderthals and talking about blowing themselves up for Islam!! I'm sorry, I don't respect that and never will. If they wanted to go out to a big field where it wouldn't cause any damage, fine, leave this terrible life you have in the British suburbs and join the hereafter. Just don't screw it up for all the people who actually are enjoying it.

My Muslim acquaintances also share such conspiracy theories. They can tell me with a straight face that Western countries will fake these attacks so that they can pick on the poor Muslims more. Hello, if the West is more powerful, why would it need to make excuses if it were bent on Muslim destruction?? It would just do it, the same way Ahmadinejad would if he suddenly had the West's military arsenal at his disposal. If the Muslims were so hated, the British wouldn't have to let them settle in and mould communities to their liking such that a visitor would think he's in the Middle East somewhere. The West is tolerant (apparently too much for its own good), it's the Muslims who are not. Why is that? Could it be the Religion of Peace that tells them that this life is worthless, and kuffars are worthless? Please, give me another explanation how people can have anything any human could ask for to build a life for themselves and their loved ones, and yet still think like this. Even the logic is abysmal: they talk about being willing to blow themselves up, and praising those who do...and in the same breath say that it must be Westerners who did it elsewhere??

Then when for their own protection the Western nations feel it necessary to monitor every mosque on their soil, Muslims will complain about being profiled, not being trusted, being harrassed and oppressed, or whatever. The idea that it's their own damn fault will just not occur to them, while they are busy privately praising the latest bombing. Sad to say you can find the same kind of talk in a mosque in Michigan, when people think they're speaking without kuffars around. And these guys are living in the West, how much worse must be the mindset in the Middle East itself! Westerners say to themselves, if I were Muslim I would be horrified at the image that the "extremists" are giving my religion. But maybe (apparently) we in the West are just stupid for thinking this way, and the reality is that "moderate" Islam is so close to "extreme" Islam that either it makes no difference, or it is hopeless to tell the "moderates" from those who are one step from the "extremist". How do we bridge the chasm between the Muslim reporter who appreciates both the West and Islam, and all the guys running around giving the bombers the thumbs up even though they enjoy all the fruits of a peaceful life in the West? If this reporter had revealed his "true colors" (if he had lived to tell about it) at best he would be labelled a traitor. Think about the guy who said to him in essence, "who told you that crap about jihad meaning personal spiritual struggle?"; is there any way to get through to that guy? The smart answer is...it's a dumb question, of course not. You could no more get through to him than to the guys running around Iraq right now killing people for being of the wrong sect. Please, moderate Muslims, tell us all what to do about these Misunderstanders of Islam you are hanging out with at the local mosque.

Unfortunately I suspect the real answer is: everybody convert to Islam and everything will be fine. Otherwise nothing will ever be fine. Just like the good Book says. But seriously, don't let my hopeless sarcasm dissuade you from providing the answers to all these questions.


Lynnette in Minnesota said...


ROFL! No, sorry, I haven't found the fountain of youth yet! If I do I'll let you know. :)

My take on Paul? I think he is an intelligent and interesting commentor. Even if he seems to at times use a hammer to make a point.

Almost forgot, I read the two articles by Dilip Hiro I printed out and wasn't impressed with his analysis of US actions. I haven't had a chance to look for his books yet.


Many of your points I agree with. Such as the need for separation of church and state. I think this allows for a more tolerant society. Which is something that is greatly needed in the entire Middle East.

I do not entirely agree with you that it is Islam that is the evil genie. If it were, then why would there be any moderate Muslims at all? And I do think there are. It is just that they get drowned out with the shouting of the extremists. Rather like on a news broadcast. They only cover the people killed, not the number of those who lived through the day.

I think there are multifaceted reasons for what is happening in the Middle East. And the situation just gets worse as events feed off of each other.

Right now I would say that we are losing the war on getting our message across. Rather unfortunate for us and them.

I once told someone that I thought the world would be better off with our revolution. He rightly reminded me that of course I meant the values of our revolution and not the violence. Unfortunately though it seems with real change there is violence. Maybe that is more a result of fear.

I have printed out your article and will read it when I get a chance.

S.O.Mebody said...

Paul I cannot give you answers because I am not a Muslim.

I thought I made that plane right at the very beginning.

I cannot speak on behalf of Muslims, not being one, and only having an outsiders view.

The questions you raise are interesting and important.

My analogy about the constitution, is of course as all analogy imperfect. I was just trying to think myself into the mind of a muslim and trying to translate the deep feeling of offence, of injury, that I think I would feel if I were a Muslim at the words you initially used, and you could have said them anyway you liked in a speech but word like 'CESSPOOL' 2X and 'SHIT' ONCE, r just not good news, especially if you are a Muslim.

It is for this reason, that I fear that no muslim will want to talk to you. I WANT TO TALK TO YOU i am not a Muslim. Anything I would say about Islam would be the view of an outsider.

Paul you feel angry. I can fully appreciate why. As a non-muslim I have felt at times some of the emotions you refer to, I have had some of the fears you have expressed. SOME OF THE TIME. Most of the time I believe that anything I can do to a single person TO HELP THEM make a better life choice, be they Muslim or non-Muslim, I would do. But I would never never start any discussion by offending them in the worst possible way.

In my life I have met many wonderful people who are Muslims. It is my observed belief that the practice of their fath has helped them be better people.

I have not met Osama bin Laden, or anyone remotely like him. I feel certain that meeting someone like that would not be a good experience.

In the end where we differ is in the way we look at things. Obviously there is a shading in Islam between those wonderful Muslim people I know and people like bin Ladan. The people I know are not far and away the best that Islam has to offer. I have heard from an Islamic friend how he went to visit this mullah, who is looked on as a Saint. He lives in great personal poverty, and people bring him great amounts of money, which he redistributes to the poor.
There is absolutely nothing hypocritical about him. In fact he is very much disliked by the people in authority in his country, because he criticizes their abuses of power (I won't say which one, but I immagine this sort of thing happens in many countries where Islam is the promonent faith), but they leave him alone because of the reverence with which he is regaded by the people. Hearing about this guy, I was reminded of the works of Issac Bashevi Singer, especially the two novels 'The Manor' and 'The Estate', and there you have descriptions of a very Holy Rabbi in the very enclosed Jewish Communities that once existed (BEFORE HITLER) in Poland. Culturally
Judeism and Islam are more similar to each other than either is to Christianity.

INSIDENTALLY PAUL I will repeat here, because you are not in the habit of reading carefully what other people write; I AM NOT A MUSLIM. So I am trying only to think myself into the position of a Muslim. You mention, Paul, the cartoons. What you first wrote, IS ON A LEVEL OF OFFENCE SIMILAR TO THE CARTOONS.

How can I say this, Paul, if I AM NOT A MUSLIM. well i gave a trilingual Quaran as a prEsent to a Muslim friend of mine. In his sight I wrote him a dedication inside the book. He thanked
he then saw the look on my face and added:

'but as YOU ARE NOT A MUSLIM it does not matter.'

When he left I STILL FELT MIFFED. BuT i thought about it for a bit, and realised that this guy has been taught from the very smallest age to look on the Quaran with enormous reverance. Because one of the three languages of the Quaran I gave him was Arabic (OTHERWISE IT WOULD NOT HAVE MATTERED)
he would have only handeled this book after ritual washing, exactly as he would have washed his face, hands and feet five times a day (one of these being at dawn, and one after sunset).

Muslims and thaught to revere also the
person of Jesus and of Moses, but above all else the book.

If you want to talk, Paul, to someone who is an ex-muslim you r free to do so. You may find quite a lot of congruity.

If you want to talk to the KID, who is
a praticing Muslim, you had better change the way you say things. Even though I AM NOT A MUSLIM, this would be my opinion.

No MUSLIM so far has wanted to talk to you, a point which if you had read in my last comment would have made you realize that, I MYSELF AM NOT A MUSLIM

S.O.Mebody said...

Hello AGAIN Paul,

In this particular comment, i am not going to repeat myself, but concentrate instead on some of the various very serious isues you have raised (and set aside here the question of some of your vocabulary).

The question of Islamic apostates, and the threat to their lives in certain countries, where Islam is the dominant religion, is a very serious one. One web site where there is a lot of material on this point and much else of a similar nature is:


Amongst the things you said about Islam, there is one thing that I found particularly encouraging.

"now I see all this as the artifact of history, it could easily have been the reverse."

I am only quoting this one passage, because it is the only peice of good news I could find from you about Islam. I KNOW U THEN GO ON TO SAY 'UNFORTUNATELY', but i would like to say 'fortunately'.



Let as assume for the sake of argument that things are as dark as you say.

Even so there is still the present moment.

I assume you have come here primarily to convert all Muslims, into being as unlike Osma bin Laden as possible. You cannot convert me, as i am not a muslim.

Something that I pesonally would be very in favour of, would be a satelite programe in Arabic, beamed to Arabic countries, giving the most moderate of views of Islam, without in any way abrogating the spirituality. I would even be prepared to give some money towards this.

The way in which in this present world we have become completely intermingled, means that the answer to the question "who is my neighbour" may turn out to be, quite litteraly, a Muslim. So it is vital for all of us to engage in some sort of dialogue. SO PLEASE pAUL, WHEN NEXT U WISH TO DO SO somewhere else, TRY TRY to moderate your language. You write, that you have discussions with Muslims you know in AMERICA. I cannot believe that when you talk to them you are as insulting about Islam to them, as you have been in some of your comments here. As I am not a Muslim i do take personal offence at this, but I do take offence on behalf of my Muslim friends.

Anonymous said...


I do not think that Islam is the evil genie per se. There are certainly moderate and liberal Muslims. Much of this has to do with how intelligent and educated and therefore civilized a person is. The better you are as a person and the better your life is, the more you can contemplate philosophy and your place in the universe and amongst your fellow beings. Unfortunately the progressive intellectuals are usually the first casualties of the situation. The upper echelons of Iraqi society who are the best chance for the future of Iraq must flee to avoid being kidnapped for ransom or killed, leaving the streets to the uneducated, uncivilized rabble who are convinced that death and violence is acceptable, or even downright good. I can certainly empathize that the moderate, civilized people of the region are entirely powerless as individuals to stop the street rabble. Hopefully if and when Iraq is stable, these people can return and lead it to a bright future [can I get a shhhhyyyyeah right! ;) ]

My point was and is that moderate Islam still shares enough with extremist Islam that the former is unlikely to be able to rein in the latter. Moderate Muslims still want Israel gone, and consider it an occupation. Moderate Muslims seem to like the idea of the Caliphate, and an Islamic government. Of course they envision one that implements Islamic law "correctly", being oblivious to the fact that every example turns into an oppressive dictatorship in the real world. It's harder for people to see the value of total separation of Mosque and State in areas where pretty much everybody is Muslim, but if you don't like the way the guys in the black turbans interpret things, you have no redress.

Even in the US, today as in the past, the implementation of this is not perfect. The weak point, constantly under attack by Bush and his coreligionists, is that the President nominates judges and the Congress confirms them. If the President and Congress are overwhelmingly controlled by one religion, they can attempt to stack the Judiciary, which gets to interpret the Constitution and approve law based on their religious beliefs. Bush is an absolutely unapologetic scumbag in this regard, who may as well be wiping himself with a Constitution he is too stupid to understand. What he doesn't understand or care about, unlike multifaith groups like www.au.org who are always on the front lines battling this, is that just because you're in power today, someone of a different faith may be later, and you may be a future victim of your own efforts to undermine the wall of separation between Church and State. Less selfishly, history shows that organized religion is always an oppressive master and will not protect the minority, it devalues and dehumanizes the minority as justification for oppression.

It's impossible to separate this from the culture at large, as religion and culture are so deeply intertwined in the region. America is so hated that all sense of rationality goes out the window. You have bloggers like Raed Jarrar talking about how the occupation is the problem, and many many "moderates" with the conspiracy theory line saying that America wants there to be more violence so we have an excuse to stay there longer. From an American perspective such talk is just incredibly delusional. Nobody wants to be there! I doubt there is a single American soldier who wants to remain in Iraq for another minute! Certainly the American people don't want America to be in Iraq. I'm pretty certain even Bush didn't want it this way. He was just dumb enough to believe that the Iraqis would be happy to have Saddam gone, we could rebuild, his buddies at Haliburton would get lots of lucrative contracts and he could make good oil deals, or whatever his real reasons for starting the war were (such as Saddam trying to assassinate his daddy). Saddam was happy with his power, money, hookers, whatever. Iran was and is the WMD threat, not Iraq. In any case he totally underestimated that America is so hated that just being there is a problem no matter what you are trying to accomplish. Bush's own father is on record stating that he didn't pursue toppling Saddam in the first Gulf War because it would have been a mess for America to try to occupy a Muslim country, yet his dullard son goes and does it anyway. I do think that he really was hoping for a peaceful, democratic Iraq to result, but objectively it was poorly planned (leaving aside whether it was a remotely good idea in the first place).

For example, prior to the war Army Gen Shinseki testified before Congress that it would take about 300,000 to 400,000 troops to occupy a country as large as Iraq. I'm on the fence about this, but perhaps such a large occupation force could have provided enough security such that Iraqis could have had 24/7 electricity by now and be going about their daily lives without worrying about getting whacked. Then they might hate the occupation a lot less. I feel we owed that to the Iraqis, instead of trying to get by with a politically more palatable smaller force. Or perhaps as so many say, just the fact that the US is there promotes so much violence that that would have been even worse, and so we should just get out immediately. I do understand Bush's position on this, because even I have a hard time swallowing that. I read over and over how sectarian violence wasn't a problem before. Obviously it wasn't a problem under Saddam because he was firmly in control. But for centuries before that it wasn't an issue, supposedly. OK fine, I don't want to get into the history of the Ottoman Empire. In any case that still overlooks the glaring fact that it's Iraqis killing each other now. How is that the fault of the US? Reportedly there are tens of thousands of Iraqis locked away in Iraqi prisons with holes being drilled in them. If the US leaves tomorrow, that is suddenly going to stop? I don't get the logic. I despise Bush as much as anyone, but I have to agree that common sense would indicate that if the US left immediately this would only get worse. I can promise you one thing though, when the US leaves and the violence doesn't stop...America will still get the blame via some other chain of logic that starts with assuming its conclusion, namely that ultimately everything is America's fault anyway.

To S.O.Mebody,

My mistake for misreading you, you certainly come across as the champion of Muslims. That is not unusual in my experience. I have encountered sufficient numbers of self-flagellating Westerners who argue so strongly against the West that they should be on the payroll of Hezbollah. ;) Joking aside, sometimes such debates don't happen not because people are offended, but more because they don't have a real response. Muslims here have already written that they know the degree to which hatred of Jews is endemic in their societies, and they would be hard pressed to make the point that Islam has nothing to do with that. No one is saying Islam = terrorist or making such sweeping statements, but the reflexive response of saying "it's just a few extremists" is very far from the truth. It is fair to ask why that is, and what can be done about it. Since you are not a Muslim, perhaps you should not presume to speak for them or be offended on their behalf. And no, I am not so stupid as to have the slightest idea that I could deconvert anyone, that is the furthest thing from my mind. It amuses me that in your critique of my perceived offense to Muslims you list a website www.faithfreedom.org that is so completely offensive to Muslims that even suggesting anyone look it is worse than anything I would ever say. I have no interest in picking on any specific beliefs. As I've said before, people can believe whatever they like.

In any case, anyone who can't handle pointed questions will bring little to the table, and it's just another excuse for placing blame elsewhere. I was watching CNN this weekend, and Iraqi blogger Raed Jarrar was a guest again. I wish I could find the transcript online, he was asked whether moderate Muslims should do more to control extremists (you know, the typically ignorant Western question), and even he tapdanced around that to the effect that prejudice creates more extremism or some such non-answer that places the blame on the West again. Al-Maliki was also on, and was asked point blank whether he thought Israel has a right to exist. That's a yes or no question, but even though it was asked several times he tapdanced around it each time, babbling about UN resolutions (meanwhile if you ask Evil Crusader Bush if he supports a Palestinian state, he says "yes"). Same old blah blah blah, what a bright future. If the moderates want Israel gone just like the extremists do, perhaps we need some new words with more meaningful distinctions.


S.O.Mebody said...


Interstingly enough I did ask some Muslim friends of mine to come here, and none of them wanted to talk with you.

Anonymous said...


What you say is not without merit

The way you say it is without merit

Manners maketh the man

ipanima said...

ROFL ! The Muslims will be trading high-fives now Paul ! lol

ipanima said...

hey dude in case you hadn't guessed I am a Muslim sock-puppet. Hehehe (evil chuckle)

Anonymous said...


I now know EXACTLY what you meant when you said

"The holy prophet (p) said: "war is a trick,"


Non-Muslim PROUD Third World Person

Anonymous said...

YEA too-right mate

keep the web troll free

peaceful Kiwi

Lynnette in Minnesota said...


S.O.Mebody says no one wants to talk to you. How odd. That is the same response that Alan Dershowitz got when he offered to debate people. Which is another reason I found it amusing to use his arguments here earlier. :)
To discuss and debate issues is a stimulating activity. But oh well, that is their loss.

Now where were we?

I am not quite sure that I buy the argument that only those who are "intelligent" and educated are moderate Muslims. It seems a little elitist to me. And as an American I find that rather off putting. I can see the more educated being more liberal, however.

I also don't buy the argument (made elsewhere) that if only people were more educated they would not be an extremist. The suicide bombers in London were not unintelligent or uneducated.

But the real question is, what causes someone to be an extremist? You can find them both in the West and the Middle East.

The article you put up was interesting. It seemed to depict a society within a society. Somehow separate from the rest of Britain. I was reading an article recently in the Wall Street Journal about an area in the United States (in Michigan I think) that was like a little Pakistan. But it was not just immigrants from Pakistan, but elsewhere too, who lived and worked there. One of the people interviewed said that the difference between the United States and places like Britain is that there is more integration here than there. People who come here are expected to become "American". And maybe that's part of it. Everyone wants to fit in. And if they are not allowed to do so I imagine can become rather bitter. Although before we pat ourselves on the back, the gentleman interviewed did say that after 9/11 that ability to fit in here in the States may be in jeopardy.

The extremism in the Middle East is somewhat more complicated I think. Some of it seems to be caused by the hatred felt for Israel, but also perhaps by fear and insecurity caused by other factors. Not least of which is the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and her allies. But also not limited to that event. There have been years of abuse by people like Saddam Hussein that people have had to endure. And when times are tough people do tend to turn to religion as a comfort.

Hatred for the United States is something else that is complex, I think. I don't know, but some of it seems to stem more from a feeling of betrayal than a revulsion for us. I get the feeling sometimes that people think because we are a superpower we can do anything. And that we should be their superpower....able to leap tall dictators in a single bound and wave a magic wand and remove anything or anyone that they find distasteful. But they don't understand the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship. They don't understand that a lot of our actions are imited by politics at home. *sigh* Although they have only to tip toe through some of our discussions to see the discord within our country.

Also some of that hatred seems to be from genuine fear that we will make them change into something they will not like. As one silly Iraqi blogger said when we first invaded...they'll make us drink Coca Cola. lol!

Oh dear this is getting so long, but you brought up so many interesting points. I want to continue but don't have that much time now. I'm at work.

One thing I want to say before I go though. About Iraq you said "leaving the streets to the uneducated, uncivilized rabble". This reminds me of someone who made the argument to me elsewhere about having to deal with 1,000 dictators now instead of only 1. Both of those arguments were also made over 200 years ago. They were made by Tories. And you guys hit it almost word for word. As serious as the situation in Iraq is, I couldn't help but be amused at that. :)

Gotta go, but hope to continue later with your Supreme court and Bush issues.

Lynnette in Minnesota said...


To continue...

Regarding Iraq, I agree that individuals by themselves are powerless to stop a group of people from committing crimes. But when you band together that is another story. Unfortunately you see this banding together grouped by Sunni, Shia etc. rather than by moderates against extremists. And that is what is necessary. I think that President Bush was correct in that the majority of Iraqis are happy to see Saddam gone. At least those that did not directly benefit from him. It is the lack of stability and security that they are regretting the lack of.

I think that more troops would have been a help in the aftermath of the invasion. And yes, I agree that we owed that to the Iraqis. If we owed them a chance to make something of their country other than a dictatorship then we should have made sure we dotted the i's and crossed the t's. Yes, poor planning.

I personally don't think that Raed Jarrar has the definitive word on anything, but if you want to believe his crap that's your choice. Nor am I sure he is a "moderate" anything.

Now, you seem intelligent and educated, yet you bring up reasons for the invasion such as Saddam tried to assassinate Bush's father and lucrative oil contracts. The first one being idiotic and the second one being simplistic to say the least. So it is easy to see how many intelligent people in Iraq can come up with the "America wants more violence in Iraq to have an excuse to stay longer" argument.

I may disagree with President Bush on certain issues but I can't say that he is a dullard. You don't get to be President of the United States by being a complete moron. Even with all the backing in the world.

I think for the President 9/11 had more of an impact than you give it credit for. That is something no President wants to have happen on his watch. And more importantly he doesn't want to have it happen twice. Bin Laden and Afghanistan were obvious areas of concern. But what about the rest of the region? Iraq was stifling under sanctions and they weren't hurting Saddam at all. Plus they were making people hate us more. Both had to go.

The Supreme Court argument is one I've had with people here too. You really can't blame any President for wanting to try to stack the deck in his favor. Reagan tried it as well. But may not have got exactly what he bargained for in Sandra Day O'Connor. And there's no telling for sure that Bush has either. But there again he has to get his nominees past Congress. And that's not always easy. I don't think that Congress is always in the mood to rubber stamp Bush's proposal's. No matter what religion they are. It is the voters that they are afraid of. After this November I bet you that the stem cell issue comes up again. And this time it may turn out differently. Because that is something that I think the majority of American's are in favor of.

Anonymous said...


Wow, you supposedly talked to your unbiased friends, I'm convinced. ;) I wish I had a dime for everytime I saw Lame Internet Debate Tactic #37: "nameless people think you're wrong". :) That's more response than that deserves already, but also: do tell your (imaginary) Muslim friends to visit the www.faithfreedom.org site you recommend and study it based on your recommendation. After you ask them if they think Israel has a right to exist. Have fun.


Like most hopeful people you are leaning on the side of political correctness. Incidently you can find plenty of undercover stories involving the Michigan area where the same sentiments were expressed privately. There is no great desire to integrate, and as the Muslim population of a given area increases, that desire lessens. As everywhere else, the most extreme make their presence disproportionately felt. But there is also another point that Kid and others have alluded to even in the last few responses, namely the Islamic gem regarding trickery. It is entirely encouraged to be completely deceitful about this, such that seemingly moderate Muslims will publicly quote passages such as "there is no compulsion in religion" and "killing one person is like killing all of humanity", knowing full well what their brethren really think of those. And then in private you get what you see in Michigan and Britain. In other words lying to Kuffars in order to further the aims of Islam is heartily encouraged. :) Is that part of "moderate" Islam or "extreme" Islam? A matter of definition perhaps, but it's not difficult for the more extreme to appear moderate when they like, so the bottom line is that one can't reliably tell the difference in day-to-day conversation. Do the moderates feel any stress about this? Apparently not, though they will complain if they get profiled because of it.

Here's another (shorter) article for fun, this one actually a post from a well-known Iraqi blogger:


Now this is interesting because it shows (apparently) that Iraqis are far better able to see the Arab Pan-Nationalism and Zionist conspiracy theories for what they are, a load of garbage used ultimately for control. Of course, those in the throes of these theories will claim that this entire blog must be the product of...a Zionist conspiracy, because it just looks at things too positively.

To appreciate the deep irony of the overall situation, consider the following: the Jews, object of hatred throughout the Arab and Muslim world, were historically persecuted in Europe on the basis of the idea that they owed their primary allegience to being Jewish, and hence would never really assimilate into a host country. Surveys show (e.g. Pew Global attitudes) that in Muslim countries, people overwhelmingly identify as Muslim first, and citizens of the country second. Do you think this is going to be less so in the suburbs of France, Britain, the Netherlands, Michigan, etc?

Even if you want to blame only the extremists, the extremists have now made it necessary for Western nations to monitor every mosque on their soil. The moderates will claim this just gives rise to more extremism, but whether that's true or not doesn't matter; abolishing surveillance would not make extremism go away, and obviously 9/11 happened before the West was as concerned about it as now. Muslims will always be under suspicion in Western host countries now and forevermore, and any further "successes" on the part of extremists will only make that worse. More right-wing politicians will be elected on the basis of security concerns, prejudice against Muslims will continue to increase (which *is* likely to feed more extremism, particularly from "native" non-assimilated Muslims living in Western host countries) and Muslims will be widely regarded as pledging allegiance to Islam and the Ummah (worldwide Muslim community) before allegiance to any nation. Ergo, thanks to Islamism, Muslims are rapidly becoming the new "Jews" in the eyes of the modern world. Congratulations. And the Jews didn't even blow anybody up, how much more despised will Muslims be? It's already to the point that nobody wants a Muslim on the same airplane.

To your newest post, which I just saw, while I was being a bit facetious with regard to what Bush's real reasons for invasion may have been (he spoke to Jesus in the White House? ;) ), Iran is everything that Iraq was wrongly accused of being: an imminent danger to develop and use WMDs. Now Bush has blown his wad on Iraq and by bungling the aftermath has destroyed the political will to be as tough on Iran where it's really needed. Saddam was not an ideological zealot bent on hastening the return of the 12th Imam by nuking Israel. Ahmadinejad is a certifiable religious zealot who will tapdance and string the stupid Kuffars of the UN along as long as possible so he can work on his nukes.

And yes, it is possible to be an idiot and get elected: Bush is the proof. ;) Seriously, he is not a bright man by any stretch. He's an alcoholic who switched his addiction from booze to Jesus. To an unfortunate degree, Presidential elections are like high school elections, a popularity contest based largely on overall charisma vs. substance, and how many posters (TV ads) you can plaster up. However Bush does have that sort of good 'ol boy street smarts where they sucker you into to thinking they're a complete rube, then surprise you after you've underestimated them. He is not a deep thinker, and neither was Reagan for that matter (hello, actor, Great Communicator - not genius) but both of them had stubbornness, and sometimes that works because at least you're not seen as weak. Curse you though they might, enemies will at least believe you will take military action. Would extremists be concerned about Al Gore? ;) Bush is reported to make snap decisions, and sometimes you win that way and sometimes you lose. With such an unpopular war, he should not have won reelection, but Kerry's campaign was run poorly, while Bush's was ruthless and efficient. Also, they did better getting out the vote, and they targeted Bush's religious base very effectively. I have Christian friends who simply took their church-printed How to Vote pamphlets to the ballot box with them and voted how they were told to vote! They didn't even bother studying the issues they voted on! I wanted to throttle them, but so it goes in a democracy. The Republicans also constantly make the Democrats look weak on security. They shouldn't be able to, but the Democrats have not been able to shake that label, and it's a smart strategy. The Republicans should get clobbered in November, but they probably won't. Incumbency is difficult to overcome for one thing, and sadly, as people feel less secure because of what Bush has done, they swallow the idea that the Right is ultimately better at battling the hornets nest they themselves stirred up! This is part of the vicious cycle I alluded to above, the more people feel threatened the more they vote for the right-wingers who promise to keep them safe. I don't want to bore any readers with American politics, but don't be surprised if the Republicans do just fine in the midterm elections.


Anonymous said...

Paul I am in deep dispair. In my heart I know that Islam is a good religion. I know this because of all the good people I know who practice it. I very much fear, though, that you will always end up having the last word and may take over this blog completely; since who have accumlated a vast amount of information in support of your theory and are completely impervious of anything that might suggest against it.


Anonymous said...

Paul you see Islam as the problem

What is your constructive solution ?


Lynnette in Minnesota said...


I think the difference between us is that I am more of an optimist and you are more of a pessimist.

Or maybe I am an idealist and you are a realist. Hmmm.....time will tell. :)

Yes, trickery is certainly a good possibility in any situation. Some are better at it than others though. It's just at some point we have to trust a little. Otherwise we might as well build walls around our countries and hide from the world. Not a good scenario.

I think you are right that vigilance to those around us and events is going to be necessary for a long time, if not forever. Unfortunate, but true.

"Ahmadinejad is a certifiable religious zealot who will tapdance and string the stupid Kuffars of the UN along as long as possible so he can work on his nukes."

Agreed. But I think that situation would have been difficult to deal with even without the Iraq invasion. We could have and possibly still can bomb the sites there. And then what? Put on sanctions? So we will just have another Iraq circa 2002. Iran right now is borrowing from Peter to pay Paul with Ahmadinejad's subsidies. (Sheesh I wish that guy had a shorter name!) Good luck Mr. President. Glad I'm not you.

Yes you're right about the efficiency of the Republican campaign. And the Democrats just can't seem to get it through their heads that this is not the 1960's. Or at least can't seem to get that impression out of the American voters heads. But you're right, this is probably not the place to go into American politics. The Kid if he is even reading any of this (doubtful) is probably bored stiff.

Oh yeah, Omar, Mohammed and Ali(he's got his own blog now) are very good. Zeyad is too.


Pssssst.....Kid? You out there?

Yes, yes I know you don't like to talk to me....but you have other readers who may want a new post. ;)

S.O.Mebody said...

Dear Paul,

Instead of mouthing off useless imsults at Islam, you could have done better to have taken Jenny.s first comment as your model.

You talk about imaginary Muslim friends.

One of my imaginary Islamic friends is a Mullah. I once said to him, before he was ordained: "you know, when someone is a clergyman it does not follow automatically that they are a nice person." He replied; 'I am aware of that, for a long time that put me off, then
I decided to do something about it personally.' He also said to me 'if the Pope (John Paul II) were to be sitting opposite us in this room, you could tell, that he is a good man.'
he received an invite to the Papal Funeral Mass to sit in the section reserved for Islamic clergy. To say any more would be a betrayal of our friendship.

Another of my imaginary Islamic friends is to be found giving a video interview on the net. He is at


you need to go to "HOME MOVIES" number 17

The film entiled (javanese) puppet show

If you were ever to come to London, Paul, you might like to talk to a typical REAL Muslim person.

Since the filming of the interview, he has grown a beard, as a direct result of the incidents of 7/7 : please refer to my prior comments about this Muslim Javanese guy, TO DISCOVER THE Reason why.

You will be able to find my friend Bramantio, in London

by taking the Underground to CAMDEN TOWN tube Station on the Northen Line




annie said...

What is the meaning of referencing things hundreds of years ago?

yeah, i get into these wacko conversations w/my cousins who take the bible literally! heavens, these nutjobs are swarming all over the south and have invaded our government also.

Don't tell me how Shia/Sunni never mattered before, it didn't matter because Saddam kept everyone under control. Once that control was removed, why did the Iraqis not simply rejoice at their opportunity to set their own destiny?

paul, apparently you aren't up opn the neocon divide and conquer maps to separate the ME into separate little countries all divided by religion. one of the ways we facilitated this was to introduce the death squads via negroponts to iraq. read up on the wolf brigade. kind of hard to rejoice when you';re getting screwed over by those who are supposed to be 'liberating' you. no worries, there is an abundance of informantion to catch you up to speed. you sound just like one of those zionist propaganda experts the israeli foriegn affairs office pays to scour the internet and insert all these caustic concepts. have you read this thread?your post is full of so many extreme fear memes. you should meet up w/krypto, you guys are 2 peas in a pod

Out of thousands and thousands of people who died in Bagdad in the last year, how many were killed by "Zionists"? Or killed by those paid by "Zionists"?

actually the people running our foriegn policies are all zionists. there is not one neocon who is not a zionist. american tax payers are funding the plans of zionists like richard pearl, leeden, wolfie, kristol, haevn't you read a clean break? comeon, get w/the picture, this is neocon 101. now i'm not claming israel is responsible for all the ills in the world, not in the least. but the zionists, hell yeah, they do their part. very dangerous.

annie said...

i'm concerned about kid, it's been a while since we heard from him and bagdad sounds pretty frightning. wish he'ld make an appearance and relieve my worry

Anonymous said...


You amuse me. :) There are real Muslims within earshot of me, I surely don't need to go to London (besides, with all the Misunderstanders of Islam running around over there in Britain, I really don't feel much like travelling). ;) What I say is not born out of a vacuum of not speaking to live Muslims on a regular basis. You are welcome of course to see things as you like, but unfortunately my comments cannot be fairly dismissed as "useless insults at Islam". Distaste for discussing facts does not make them "useless insults". For example, take the following excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on apostasy in Islam at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostasy_in_Islam:

"Some modern Islamic writers, especially those belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect the followers of which are deemed to be non-Muslims in many Muslim countries, have attempted to prove that the death penalty for an apostate is not mandatory in Islam.[9] S. A. Rahman, a former Chief justice of Pakistan, argues that there is no indication of the death penalty in the Qur'an.[32] Abdullah Saeed and Hassan Saeed argue that the law of apostasy and its punishment by death in Islamic law conflicts with a variety of fundamentals of Islam. They contend that the early development of the law of apostasy was essentially a religio-political tool, and that there was a large diversity of opinion among early Muslims on the punishment.[33] Such views, however, are rejected by mainstream Muslim scholars.[9]

Most Islamic scholars agree that the appropriate punishment for apostasy is beheading."

Please read it all, noting the number of countries today that impose the death penalty for apostasy (including Pakistan, despite what the former Chief Justice said above), and how in general those progressives who insist that it should not be so are considered out of the mainstream, and are at risk.

This is all I have been saying from the beginning, since I read Kid's reflexive comment defending Islam and attempting to distinguish radical Islam from the mainstream. MAINSTREAM Islamic jurisprudence says that apostasy is punishable by death. MAINSTREAM scholars say that 2:256 "let there be no compulsion in religion" is abrogated. Not only that, but look at the two Fox reporters who were just released, and note that they were forced at gunpoint to convert to Islam. To Westerners, that's "compulsion" by definition. However many Muslims see this as simply offering a "choice". The video of the Fox reporters reading forced statements actually highlights verse 2:256! To the Western mind that is ironic and ridiculous, but it illustrates the chasm in thinking between Islam and the West. Watch it on youtube yourself. Ergo, people who quote 2:256 are being either ignorant (even many who label themselves as Muslims have never read the entire Qur'an) or disingenuous if they ignore the facts of the MAINSTREAM understanding of that verse.

Westerners need to understand that their liberal Western Muslim friends are sadly not the mainstream. I applaud what I will label "progressive" or "liberal" Muslims, as you indicate your friends are, so as to distinguish that from the mere "confused" "moderates". Nowhere do I dispute that such Muslims exist, in fact I posted an example yesterday from the Iraq the Model blog highlighting progressive Muslims arguing with their less-enlightened brethren, and such debates can be seen on Dutch blogs and others around the world. I am the last person to deny that they exist. I dearly wish they were the leading scholars that the masses of followers look to. The problem is that if as a progressive Muslim you attempt to steer the ship of Islam from the 7th century into 21st century waters, those masses you are trying to convince will simply label you as out of the mainstream, or worse (Google the term "takfir"), and you will have to take your progressive interpretations into hiding with you. *That* is the problem.

Lynette and Peace-Lover,

As you can see in the encyclopedia entry above, these are not my theories. Perhaps that would be nice since you could then dismiss uncomfortable facts more easily as the product of my fevered mind, but unfortunately this is reality. Sorry. ;) You can rest assured that I have no intention of taking over the comments section of the blog, I have neither the time nor the interest. I just think it is intellectually honest to look at things as they are, not as we wish they would be. I am not impervious to having my mind changed, but no one here has addressed any questions substantively. All I see is things along the lines of "I agree with much of what you say, just not how you say it". In other words, no refutation of the central points: 1) mainstream Islamic jurisprudence supports the extremist agenda, in addition to many things such as death for apostasy that are considered totally uncivilized in the modern West, 2) those Muslims who are liberal and progressive and see Islam as not incompatible with modern Western civilization are up against a large body of mainstream Islamic jurisprudence that disagrees with them and will label them as un-Islamic, 3) it is disingenuous or ignorant to pretend that liberal, progressive interpretations of Islam are the mainstream, and what we see happening in the world is merely due to a small minority of extremists. I could list half a dozen more variations on these themes, but I have already repeated myself enough. It is important for the Western mind not to delude itself that all human beings ultimately want the same thing. Without religion, that would likely be true, but with religion, the human mind can be trained that visiting death and violence on others is the highest calling.

The most important question is what Peace-Lover asked, namely what is the constructive solution? Honest answer: I don't know. Despite what it may seem, I hope that I am not such a pessimist that I see no way out. But it is certainly not easy. If what passes for human rights in the West is incompatible with mainstream interpretation of Islam, how can that be reconciled? One side says killing an apostate is a just act, the other considers it an abomination, simple murder. Shall Western nations make resident Muslims exempt, allowing Islamic courts on Western soil to handle such cases according to Islamic law? Of course not, any more than Westerners taking up residence in Islamic countries have a right to expect exemption from the laws of Muslim nations. Western nations are clearly the more tolerant. Holland for example has programs designed to further integration, and laws insisting that foreign imams taking up residence spend a year in training reconciling this before being allowed to practice. Muslim nations would laugh at doing the equivalent for Westerners, and I have my doubts at the utility of such attempts at Western indoctrination, but let's acknowledge that the Dutch at least are trying.

Really the only hope I see is along those lines, encouraging the liberal and progressive interpretations, supporting the efforts of those Muslims, and standing firm with regard to modern Western ideals of freedom and equality and fundamental rights of all peoples and religions. Women included! ;) Unfortunately, again, most Muslims will see that as demanding to put Western values above Islamic values, which will obviously not be acceptable. I'm afraid it really is a clash of civilizations and totally distinct mindsets. How can any people who want you dead for not sharing their beliefs be reasoned with? Even other Muslims can't reason with the most boneheaded, so what hope does the West have? As a result I see a future of segregation, "bloody borders", and mutual distrust. Since people in the West aren't doing things like killing their own people because they deconverted, etc. etc. etc. I think adherents of the Religion of Peace must shoulder the lion's share of the blame...but again that is largely academic and blame is irrelevant. The West has no choice but to offer the carrot to those who would live together in peace, and the stick to those who don't, and stay forever vigilant. Practically speaking there is far less to be accomplished with the carrot, thus most energy should go toward the stick and being vigilant, for example spending on intelligence and WMD detection, countermeasures such as missile defense, etc., rather than wasting billions trying to bring evil Western ideas like democracy where it isn't valued and will be seen as An Evil Tool of Oppression as Part of the Zionist Conspiracy. Despite the fact that things like Mars probes are cool, perhaps we should refocus our technological efforts toward survival first. It would also be nice to cut off Saudi funds by technologically rendering oil completely worthless, though I have little hope of that in the near term, and politicians aren't really for it anyway (the Bush family least of all).

Thanks to the combination of 21st century technology and Middle Age mindset, we have reached the beginning of a trial with the highest possible stakes, an enduring test for all of humanity. Let's hope the progressives and peace-lovers prevail in the end.

In that spirit, I will let you have the last word. Just don't be too optimistic or I might have to come back. ;)


S.O.Mebody said...

Thank-you very much Paul,
Reading your last comment, I honest cannot beleive that any Islamic person could take offense at anything you wrote there, they would argue at some of your points, but there are absolutely no ijurious word or sentiments.

Well done ! You have allowed your reason and sense of fair play to overcome your feeling of passion


Anonymous said...

Folks lets just keep the Kid in our prayers, and if u don't believe in then just send him positive engerg and all his friends and collegues and just everyone in Iraq, even the without reason that they may find it.


Anonymous said...

As you can see in the encyclopedia entry above, these are not my theories. Perhaps that would be nice since you could then dismiss uncomfortable facts more easily as the product of my fevered mind, but unfortunately this is reality

Wikipedia is not an encyclopidia. it is an online information source that can be edited by any poster. as long as you understand your interpretation of reality is just that, an interpretation, does not make your view fact. parts of it may be, but any final analysis, such as....

The West has no choice but to offer the carrot to those who would live together in peace, and the stick to those who don't, and stay forever vigilant

only demonstrates you lack of honesty, integrity, creativity, or common sense.

i can think of something else the west could easilty do besides offer a carrot or a stick. the west is not the parent who makes decisions about its children.
try that carrot/stick approach w/your neighbors, se how far it gets you.

rather than wasting billions trying to bring evil Western ideas like democracy where it isn't valued and will be seen as An Evil Tool of Oppression as Part of the Zionist Conspiracy.

nice framing there paul. maybe if you say the evil tool part over and over and over and over and over and over, you can get people who don't support your theories on how wonderful the western democracy we pushed down the throat of iraqis (we of course blame on them , our failures) to seem like wacko conpiracy theorist. at least there are a few people left who believe any piece of propaganda you want to spew. but in general, most people don't see the world in this either or black and white, our way or the highway view. remind you of anything?

Thanks to the combination of 21st century technology and Middle Age mindset, we have reached the beginning of a trial with the highest possible stakes

aren't you forgeting someone, something else in that mix? certainly the toxic mix is a little more complex than technology and Middle Age mindset? i'd say there is some very modern western mindset that turns the cocktail molotov.

You are welcome of course to see things as you like

how generous of you. you are of course to see things as you like, its called having a theory, will not make it fact, only your own reality.

Jon in Maryland said...

Argh, where to begin? Paul, your most recent comment was definitely your most reasonable. And I agree with your point that the death penalty for apostasy is the most objectionable tenet of Islam to modern Western sensibilities. But is it unique to Islam? You might have to go back to the 17th century to find the most recent executions of Christians by other Christians for heresy, but almost from the time Christianity became the state religion, 1500 to 1600 years ago, until the last official execution for heresy, there were numerous instances of it in a lot of variations, with the punishment often being far worse than simply chopping off a head,e.g., the autos da fe of the Spanish inquisition, in other words, a multiplicity of methods of torture. Then there were the various religious wars, often intra-Christian. And could you assure me that the Holocaust would still have occurred if it had not been preceded by 1900 years of Christian "Christ-killer" anti-Semitism? By the way, I think you're mistaken if you believe that European anti-Semitism was mainly fueled by dislike of Jewish "clannishness." Like other stereotypical beliefs, it was mainly a red herring. I realize you're basically a secularist who is dismayed by much religious involvement in general social and political matters, but even in Western societies that continues to this day. IMO, some of that is good and some bad. It's mainly the attempts to force particular religious beliefs or practices or taboos on society that bother me. (BTW, I was once forcibly converted to Islam -- by a Palestinian friend. However, I don't think it was valid, and thus I don't believe I'm truly an apostate in professing to be a kind of semi-Christian with Taoist and Buddhist philosophical leanings. Conversion to Islam requires only the recitation of the shahada, the Muslim profession of faith, before two witnesses. My friend twisted my arm until I did, but I don't think the forcer and forcee would qualify as the two required witnesses!)

Then there was the Holocaust, engineered by a nation the vast majority of whose people were Christians, and aided by citizens of other nations whose people were Christians. It may not have been done in the name of the religion, citing supposedly justificatory scripture of that religion, but I don't think it would have occurred without the aforementioned 1900 previous years of that religion, and its history through most of that period.

Your point seems to be that Western society is now modern and liberated and beyond all that religious oppression and warfare, but the Holocaust occurred during MY lifetime. Oh, but our society has become perfect now! And besides, we got rid of that church/state intermixture stuff over 200 years ago! Supposedly. In the 19th century, we had a bloody civil war in which both sides were citing scripture to justify their positions on slavery. We turned various Indian tribes over to various Christian sects. (If you lived on this particular reservation, you became a Catholic if you knew what was good for you. If on that one, a Methodist.) And since that time there have been numerous attempts to breach the "wall of separation" politically, and they continue to this day: the whole evolution/creation "science"/intelligent design thing has been going on since the 1920s at least;the striking down of anti-miscegenation laws (based in part on Old Testament prohibitions against marrying "foreign" women) only happened in 1967; school prayer and ten commandments; proposed constitutional amendments to uphold the "sanctity" of marriage. And then there are the actions, movements, etc., outside the political sphere, some of them violent: the "Christian identity"/Aryan Nation/Militia movements (different but with some similarities); Eric Rudolph and other anti-abortion and anti-gay bombers and shooters, often citing scripture; Jim Jones; Waco (the Branch Davidians); recent efforts by the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. to promote a return to "submission" of women to their husbands; and on and on.
You cite selected verses in the Qur'an (ignoring the explanation of mainstream Muslims that certain verses are "historical," i.e., they were meant to address situations occurring at the time of their revelation), but ignore a number of similar bloody-minded portions of the Bible, which are ever-handy for Biblical literalists should they choose to use violence. You cite Ahmedinejad as a "religious zealot" (which I grant you to some extent), apparently because of his belief in the return of the 12th Imam, but you ignore the part about the 12th Imam's returning, along with Jesus, to set things right. And how does that view differ significantly from that of millions of Biblical literalists/"Christian Zionists"/Left Behind fans, other than tossing in what they would consider a heretical, extraneous Shi'ite element? Does their belief in the imminence of Armageddon demonstrate a genuine concern for Jews, or merely a station on the way to the conversion or destruction of those Jews, as a means to their being "raptured" sooner? Talk about religious zealotry.

I guess the gist of the above is that I wish you, and others, would make more of an effort to understand the necessity of making distinctions among various groups and individuals in the Middle East. It drives me up the wall when anybody utters such broad generalizations as "They hate our freedom." To me, it's mindlessly simplistic to characterize whole groups of people as mindlessly ignorant or "evil" or hate-filled or whatever, particularly when the one doing the characterizing has little or no knowledge of the history of the groups or the countries they inhabit. You asked why you should be bothered reading or care about something written hundreds of years ago, apparently because you believe that something you can snatch from Wikipedia (a source for lots of good information, but subject to partisan manipulation too) tells you all you need to know right now. What would your response be if I told you the "gates of ijtihad" were closed more than 500 years ago? Total incomprehension until you Googled it? What would my response be if someone said that to me? Open them!! And get it right, for the sake of Islam and of the world.

The Arab world and Islam do need to change, for their own good. But the United States, and Christianity for that matter, and perhaps all other religions and nations, need to change too, for their own good and that of the world. Although I generally am fairly optimistic, lately I have often been the opposite. But my only real basis for continuing hope is the belief that nothing is inevitable. That's why I put little stock in deterministic theories of history, whether Marx's, the Clash of Civilizations type, or even Fukuyama's "end" of history. The only constant is change.

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