These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 25, 2007.
Sunday, 25 February 2007
I'd correct this title: not "Palestinian" but "Arab" refugees.
Don't overlook, do the research to find out, when that phrase "Palestinian people" was first invented and applied to the Arabs. The word "Palestinians" had always been applied, during the Mandate period, to the Jews living in the area, chiefly by other Jews: i.e. "my cousin left Chernovitz before the war and now he is a Palestinian." What is now the Jerusalem Post was called The Palestine Post, and so on.
Go back and look up as many of the statements by Arab diplomats and rulers as you can find, from 1948 to 1967. For example, consult the records of the U.N. There, if anywhere, you would expect in the tens of thousands, or possibly hundreds of thousands of pages, to find some Arab ambassador, say the unforgettable Jamil Baroody, who was actually a Lebanese pressed into service by the Al-Saud to serve as their long-winded representative at the U.N.. Try to find a single mention by any Arab ambassador in the General Assembly about the "Palestinian people" between 1948 and 1967.
There aren't any.
Now ask yourself why.
Now offer your own answer. And tell others.
Posted on 02/25/2007 6:29 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Fancy Is Fertile Only When It Is Futile
Mary, this was expressed, in lapidary fashion (there's a lot to be said for sermons in stones) by Nabokov in his book on Gogol:
"Fancy is fertile only when it is futile."
John Derbyshire mentioned that book on Gogol many months ago. I have been hammering you every chance I get, with some remembered bit, in order to get you to read that author whom you dismissed as "arrogant" (he wasn't) and "pretentious" (he certainly wasn't), but who did have the habit of getting angry when people got things wrong --- words, facts, whole translations, political matters -- that he knew about, much better. He knew what he knew, and never claimed too much.
Why, even outside posters, for example the perspicacious Luke, have tried to get you to go to the bookstore or library and mend your ways.
Laughing and grief. It will reward you with a good deal of laughing. It will save you a good deal of grief.
Just do it, for god's sake.
Posted on 02/25/2007 6:41 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
We Are Not Schoolgirls, Are We?
A poster at Jihad Watch recently expressed conventional wisdom when he wrote: "The Iraqi military is not ready yet. Chaos would be the result. Iran would take the opportunity to control the southern half of Iraq, along with substantial additional oil resources. If the U.S. will not aggressively deal with Iraq, there is no chance it will deal with Iran."
What is the "Iraqi military"? Is it Sunni Arab? Is it Shi'a Arab? Is it Arab rather than Kurd? Explain to me exactly the makeup, and real desires of, and size, and competence, of this "Iraqi military" you posit. Are there Sunni units and Shi'a units, or mixed units, and if there are mixed units, how do you think they perform now together? In the future? Ever?
And why do you say that "chaos would be result"? Would not a civil war be the result? It would not necessarily be "chaos," for most of the country is clearly Sunni-Arab-ruled, or Shi'a-Arab ruled, or Kurdish (non-Arab)-ruled, save for Baghdad. Would chaos exist for a long time? Would not the armed parties on either side quickly establish their own lines, and then would not something like the civil war in, say, Russia, ensue, with here the Sunnis defeating the Shi'a or being defeated, and here the Kurds pushing out the Arabs, or vice-versa? Is that "chaos"?
And if it were "chaos," why would that be bad for us, the Infidels? Why do you have such a difficult time envisioning an area of constant warfare, and unsettlement, with that very warfare, those hostilities, that constant unsettlement, keeping everyone preoccupied, each with each? And what's more, there would be the interference of co-religionists, chiefly of Iran and of Lebanon's Hezbollah, on the side of the Shi'a, supplying money, men, and weapons. Saudi Arabia and other rich Arabs would supply money to the Sunnis of Iraq, while Sunni volunteer soldiers might arrive from everywhere in the Sunni Arab lands, but especially from Egypt, Jordan, and even Syria, whose Alawite rulers would be glad to see those Sunni warriors go elsewhere to fight and die.
Why is this a bad thing? Why is this not a good thing, as good or possibly even better than the eight-year Iran-Iraq War?
And why are you so quick to predict that the Shi'a of Iran will, whatever aid they send, simply come naturally to control southern Iraq? What makes you say that? The Islamic Republic of Iran cannot even control the Arabs now within its borders, in Khuzistan. What makes you think the Arabs of Iraq would not simply take Iranian aid, to be used against the Sunnis, but still wish to preserve their own independence? This business of one vast Shi'a state is a fear now being whipped up by the governments of Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, in order to inveigle the Americans to remain as long as possible in Iraq to protect the Sunnis -- even as the Sunnis in Iraq assume that they can continue to try to kill as many Americans as possible. It's a false fear that the Sunnis are attempting to raise in Washington, a kind of bookend to the false hopes that were raised by plausible westernized Shi'a in exile, such as Ahmed Chalabi, who wanted to inveigle the Americans into getting rid of Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Shi'a. Remember all those promises about how the "liberation of Baghdad would make the liberation of Kabul look like a funeral procession"? That was, I believe, Bernard Lewis, but it could have been any number of American advisors and strategists who were confusing the secular, westernized Chalabi, Alawi, Kanan Makiya, Rend al-Rahim et al., with the real Shi'a of Iraq, who are represented much more truthfully by al-Hakim, and al-Maliki, and al-Jaffari (the man who on his Washington visit called for a "Bush Plan" for Iraq, just like the Marshall Plan for post-war Europe), and of course the ineffable los-de-abajo Moqtada al-Sadr.
We were fooled by Shi'a hopes, and now are being fooled by the exaggerated fears of the Sunnis. When, for god's sake when, will Americans in both the Executive and Legislative branches, finally become immunized to this kind of middle-eastern-souk bargaining, promises ("I love you, effendi, I love you more than I love my mother, I love you more than I love my father"), threats, and all the rest of the Arab blague? Good God, how naive can people be? After all, we are not schoolgirls, we are not Samantha Smith, we are not Jimmy Carter -- are we?
Posted on 02/25/2007 6:51 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Secret report: Terror threat worst since 9/11
There is nothing here from The Sunday Telegraph that we don’t already know, but it bears repeating. Some may say this is scaremongering, but I disagree. It is too easy to fall into complacency about the enemy in our midst, as well as abroad.
The terrorist threat facing Britain from home-grown al-Qaeda agents is higher than at any time since the September 11 attacks in 2001, secret intelligence documents reveal.
The number of British-based Islamic terrorists plotting suicide attacks against "soft" targets in this country is far greater than the Security Services had previously believed, the government paperwork discloses. It is thought the plotters could number more than 2,000.
Under the heading "International Terrorism in the UK", the document - seen by The Sunday Telegraph - states: "The scale of al-Qaeda's ambitions towards attacking the UK and the number of UK extremists prepared to participate in attacks are even greater than we had previously judged."
It warns that terrorist "attack planning" against Britain will increase in 2007, and adds: "We still believe that AQ [al-Qaeda] will continue to seek opportunities for mass casualty attacks against soft targets and key infrastructure. These attacks are likely to involve the use of suicide operatives."
The document, which has been circulated across Whitehall to MI5, Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorist Command, the Home Office, the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Defence, also reveals that al-Qaeda has grown into a world-wide organisation with a foothold in virtually every Muslim country in North Africa, the Middle East and central Asia.
Patrick Mercer, the Tory spokesman for homeland security, said: "This document absolutely underlines the threat and makes me wonder why the Government still has a counter-terrorist strategy that has been officially declared obsolete. It does make the Government's response look hugely complacent."
We are at war. We have many more petty restrictions on our behaviour imposed by this current government than I have ever experienced. Yet the restrictions that would have an effect on those who pose the threat have not been imposed. Perhaps the public mood is not yet ready for a war footing. But until we stop tinkering with symptoms, and cut out the cancer we will get nowhere.
Posted on 02/25/2007 2:04 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Iran, Romney and Britney Spears
Posted on 02/25/2007 7:01 AM by John Derbyshire
Sunday, 25 February 2007
No one should defend Tariq Ramadan without first reading, very carefully, Caroline Fourest's "Frere Tariq" and other articles in the French press -- Ramadan's ability to carry on his campaign of propaganda on behalf of Islam, and something he likes to call "European Islam" has had to move out of France and Switzerland, and he managed to wangle a temporary appointment as some kind of lecturer at St. Antony's College, entirely for post-graduate students, from which perch, and now describing himself, quite inaccurately, as a much grander thing, an "Oxford University Professor," he, Ramadan, has not only been improving his English in order to spout the same kind of propaganda he used to deliver in French, and that here and there he still gets away with -as at that CransMontana Foundation do a year or two ago at which one "Tariq Ramadan" described as an "Oxford University Professor" solemnly appeared -- but remember, this is all in Monte Carlo, home to so many rich Arabs and, especially, estivating Saudis who take over whole floors of hotels, and sometimes entire hotels: the Societe des bains de mer and any monegasque foundations of course will be inviting the likes of Tariq Ramadan.
Now Ramadan -- whose claims about the supposedly deep intellectual and cultural influence of Islam on Europe's Renaissance would make any reputable historian scratch his head. The only influence of that sort one can think of are a handful of Greek manuscripts translated by Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews, chiefly in Cordoba or Baghdad, manuscripts which had no discernible influence on Islamic civilization, but were preserved and taken seriously in Western Christendom, but that is not due to Islam or to what is wrongly called "Islamic civilization." If one wished to give credit for the Renaissance to the world of Islam it would be the following: the seizure of lands by Muslims, the Seljuk and then the Ottoman Turks, caused many Greek scholars to flee Byzantium and, arriving in Italy with their manuscripts, they helped to spark the Revival of Learning, that is the rediscovery of texts of classical antiquity that, in turn, in the end lead us to Marsilio Ficino, and Pico della Mirandola, and others associated with the Renaissance, neo-Platonism, and all that Oskar-Kristeller and I Tatti Library sort of stuff.
At the moment Ramadan slithered into a lowly post at St. Antony's, a postgraduate Oxford college that is divided into its largely disreputable middle-eastern wing, and its straightforward Russian and East European Studies wing. Save for the odd Timothy Ash who is quite willing to learn all he knows about Islam from the likes of Tariq Ramadan, the two do not intersect or overlap. Founded by Anton or Antoine Besse, a Jewish trader in Aden, St. Antony's (the name was a nod to the benefactor) in its middle-eastern wing was long under the sole control of Albert Hourani, once an acolyte of George Antonius (of "The Arab Awakening" fame, whose widow had an affair with Sir Evelyn Barker, last British military commander in Jerusalem). The D.Phil., unlike the Ph.D., does not require any course work. One arrives and writes one's thesis. If the thesis director is your pal, say you are a young Arab without any real scholarly training or bent, nonetheless Albert Hourani and others like him could make it possible for you to get that D.Phil. anyway, and then you can parlay that into a position back in the good old credulous U.S.A., where the MESA-Nostra Rules are in force. If you find this incredible, just ask Rashid Khalidi.
In any case, that's where Ramadan has been slithering these days, waiting until his devout admirers, such as Scott Appleby, ably assisted by the ACLU, manage to get him over here, so he can start appearing, start lecturing, start making the case for not a "European Islam" but now, just as absurdly and meaninglessly, an "American Islam."
He is a menace. He is a one-man Goebbels. Ask Bassam Tibi. Ask Magdi Allam of the Corriere della Sera and the RAI, who in his "Lettera aperta a Tariq Ramadan" says "I know you. I was born and raised as a Muslim in Egypt. I know all about you. I know what you write. I know how you lie. You can fool some of the Infidels but you can't fool me." More or less, that is what Magdi Allam says. The American government should consult with Magdi Allam. His writings should be translated. And he, and Caroline Fourest, and all those in Europe who have got Ramadan's number, should be consulted with -- for they know him, they have followed him, they cannot be fooled. And the United States is full of people in government who are naive and ill-informed, and need to be brought up to date, or up to speed, or up to something -- up to whatever Tariq Ramadan is up to, very quickly.
Posted on 02/25/2007 7:05 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Martin Luther on the Jihad
Baron Bodissey has posted some excerpts from what Martin Luther wrote about Islam, from Vom Kriege wider die Türken (On War Against the Turk) at Gates of Vienna:
"Summing up what has been said: Where the spirit of lies is, there is also the spirit of murder, though he may not get to work or may be hindered. If he is hindered, he still laughs and is jubilant when murder is done, and at least consents to it, for he holds it right. But good Christians do not rejoice over any murder, not even over the misfortunes of their enemies. Since, then, Mohammed’s Koran is such a great spirit of lies that it leaves almost nothing of Christian truth remaining, how could it have any other result than that it should become a great and mighty murderer, with both lies and murders under the show of truth and righteousness. As, therefore, lies destroy the spiritual order of faith and truth, so murder destroys all temporal order instituted by God; for where murder and robbery are practiced, it is impossible that there should be a fine, praiseworthy temporal government, since they cannot think more highly of peace than of war and murder, or attend to the pursuits of peace, as one can see in soldiers. Therefore, the Turks do not regard the work of agriculture highly.
The third point is that Mohammed’s Koran thinks nothing of marriage, but permits everyone to take wives as he will. Therefore, it is customary among the Turks for one man to have ten or twenty wives and to desert or sell any of them that he will, when he will, so that in Turkey women are held immeasurably cheap and are despised; they are bought and sold like cattle. Although there may be some few who do not take advantage of this law, nevertheless this is the law and anyone can follow if he will. Such a way of living is not marriage and cannot be marriage, because none of them takes a wife or has a wife with the intention of staying with her forever, as though the two were one body, as God’s Word says, in Genesis 2:24, “The man shall cleave to his wife and they two be one body.”"
There is much more here.
Posted on 02/25/2007 7:28 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Questions, Answers and Questions
"My questions to you are: Do you personally know any Muslims? Do you have any Muslim friends? Do you know about the Muslim experience in the post 9/11 America? Have you ever visited a Mosque? Have you ever been to an inter-faith event (e.g. poetry recital)? Have you ever read the Holy Qur'an or any of the other Islamic spiritual texts such as the works of Jalaluddin Rumi or al-Ghazali, Rabia al-Adawiyyah, Muhammad Iqbal, etc.?"-- from a Muslim reader
The questions are misplaced. Many of the readers at this site have visited those Mosque Outreach exercises in Taqiyya-and-Tu-Quoque. Many have read the Qur'an, but have read and reread it, keeping in mind several things:
1) That about 20% of it makes no sense, even to Muslims who know classical Arabic. See Christoph Luxenberg for one attempt to solve that matter of philology.
2) That the internal contradictions in the Qur'an are resolved through the doctrine of "naskh" or "abrogation," so that, as in the systems of common law, where the doctrine of stare decisis ordinarily holds but later decisions, when different, cancel the effect of earlier ones (e.g., Plessy v. Ferguson is not valid after Brown v. Bd. of Education).
3) That the doctrine of "naskh" allows the so-called Meccan sura, the softer ones, presumably the product of a time when Muhammad still felt the need for support and had not yet become as harsh toward Infidels as he became once he had taken control in Medina (Yathrib), to be cancelled or overruled or overturned by the much harsher so-called "Medinan" suras.
4) That while there are hundreds of Jihad verses in the Qur'an-- though only 27 appearances of the word "qitaal" or combat, the most dangerous ones, such as Sura 9, are among the very last and hence possess great authority.
5) That in English or French, as Western scholars of Islam familiar with the original texts have noted, the Qur'an's verses are far less harsh than they are in the Arabic. Many of the words involving the treatment to be meted out to Unbelievers, that is Infidels or non-Muslims, are of this kind.
6) That the official Muslim groups tend to distribute the translations that are much milder, and even those used by Muslims, such as that of Yusuf Ali, do not adequately convey the real meaning, but that can be found usually in the notes, and it is important for Infidels to read those Muslim annotations.
7) That the Qur'an by itself does not yield up its full meaning, and the Sunna, that is the customs and practice of Muslims of the time, of Muhammad and the Companions, is the true interpretive aid, the essential means by which obscure meanings are teased out. That is why Muslims so often refer to "Qur'an and Sunna."
8) That Islam is a collectivist faith that does not admit of free exercise of conscious, that is will not permit -- often on pain of death -- individuals from deciding for themselves that they wish to leave Islam, sometimes for another faith, sometimes for no faith at all. That Islam does this makes it akin to other totalitarian belief-systems that do not tolerate anyone from leaving that closed system: in a sense, a Muslim who leaves Islam is treated as a deserter from the army of Islam, just as someone who is persuaded to become a Muslim, even without any real understanding and with very incomplete (often deliberately withheld) knowledge, merely by reciting the single verse of the Shehada, is regarded as a recruit to the army of Islam, someone who has been signed up, rather than someone who has been carefully taught in order to save his individual soul.
9) Yes not only have many of us gone to mosques, but we have made it a point to attend those utterly phony presentations of Islam, in which none of the real questions -- about how Islam divides the world uncompromisingly between Believer and Infidel, and territorially between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb --ever come up.
And of course there is never a discussion of Muhammad, that is of the killings of Abu Akaf and Asma bint Marwan, the decapitation of the bound prisoners of the Banu Qurayza, the attack on the inoffensive Jewish farmers of the Khaybar Oasis, the tale of little Aisha, and so much else.
In other words, it makes no sense whatsoever, given the smooth nonsense presented, for Infidels to attend any Muslim event without having thoroughly prepared themselves by learning about Islam, by reading the immutable texts of Islam, by talking to those who have grown up in Islam and left it, or those who, as Infidels, grew up in lands dominated by Islam (such as Hindus from Bali or Bangladesh, Christians from Egypt or Iraq or Pakistan, Jews from Yemen or Egypt or Syria, Zoroastrians -- what few are left -- who have escaped from Iran, and so on). One can expect only apologetics from Muslims --that is what our experience, individual and collective, demonstrates again and again. One can only take so much nonsense and lies, before even the most naive start to have things begin to make sense, for them to figure the whole thing out.
You offer a list of all the silliest things. Jihadwatch is a pedagogic site. It is a site devoted to presenting all kinds of material about Islamic behavior and Islamic doctrine, and showing their connection. And it is also devoted to revealing the ways in which Infidels, in and out of the West, do or do not exhibit the traditional behavior of dhimmis, that is those non-Muslims under Islam who were allowed to stay alive, and even to practice, within severe limits, their non-Muslim religions, but were subject to a host of economic, political, legal, and social disabilities that together amounted to a permanent condition of humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity.
In conclusion, let me ask you a few questions.
Have you ever compared the treatment, meted out over the past 1350 years, in all the lands conquered by Islam, toward the indigenous non-Muslims, with the way in which Muslims have been received, and allowed to settle deep behind what they themselves are taught to regard as enemy lines?
Have you ever given the slightest thought to the possibility that the belief-system of Islam, with its Total Regulation of Life and Complete Explanation of the Universe, was essentially akin to a totalitarian doctrine?
Have you ever wondered about, or gone to hear, or read the books of, the many brilliant and articulate apostates from Islam, including but not limited to, Ibn Warraq ("Why I Am Not a Muslim"), Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Anwar Shaikh ("Islam the Arab National Religion"), and many others, who are clearly the most impressive people born into Islam, thoughtful, articulate, coherent -- and being joined by other thoughtful, articulate, coherent people who were through no fault of their own born into Islam (and in the case of, say, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis and Indian Muslims, clearly are the descendants of Hindus, or in some cases Buddhists, who were forcibly converted, and in the case of many North African "Arabs" in fact the descendants of the indigenous Berbers whose own language and culture have been under Arab assault) and in the case of Iranian Muslims, clearly the descendants of the Zoroastrians whose last adherents are no so oppressed in Iran, and in the case of the Middle East, full of people who call themselves "Muslim Arabs" but of course must be the descendants, even in parts of the Jazirat al-Arab, of the original pagans, Christians, and Jews. It might be fun to do some DNA testing.
Have you read the Bible? Have you gone to a church merely to observe Christian worship? What do you know about the field of comparative religion? And would you allow other Muslims, such as siblings or children, to freely visit churches and synagogues and Hindu temples, and read the holy books?
Tell us all about it.
Posted on 02/25/2007 7:38 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Scott MacLeod writes on the oleaginous Prince Bandar and his continuing, excessive influence with the White House at Time magazine's Middle East Blog:
Prince Bandar bin Sultan loves American culture--he's a McDonald's burger addict, among other things--so he'd appreciate the baseball analogy: with the Bush administration suffering a losing streak in the Middle East, it's called in Bandar to do some relief pitching. It may not be a stretch to say that the Saudi prince has as much influence on the direction of U.S. Middle East policy as Condi Rice.
In this week's New Yorker, Seymour Hersh's article describes a "redirection" of U.S. strategy involving covert activities that "has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims." Hersh says that the Saudi government has already cooperated with Bush's administration in clandestine operations against Hizballah, Iran and Syria. The key players behind the strategy redirection, Hersh adds, are Vice President Cheney, Elliott Abrams of the National Security Council, departing U.S. ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad and Bandar--Rice doesn't make the list.
What this means is murky, but here's what we know thus far:
After the Saudis succeeded spectacularly in repairing the diplomatic damage done to relations by the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration began leaning on King Abdullah to play a more active role in supporting American policies in the Middle East. The Saudis enthusiastically accepted the assignment, if it wasn't their idea to increase their pro-American activities in the first place. At the same time, Bandar left Washington after serving as Saudi ambassador for 22 years and became Abdullah's national security advisor--given Bandar's wide experience, the post makes him a de facto super foreign minister. Indeed, well after having left Washington, Bandar would return for unannounced meetings at the White House--behavior that diplomats say irked his successor as ambassador, Prince Turki al Faisal, and prompted his abrupt resignation.
It's difficult to discern Bandar's precise role within the Kingdom's fragmented political setup in its formulation, but he has been in the forefront of an uncharacteristically pro-active Saudi foreign policy. In line with Bush's diplomatic boycott of Syrian President Bashar Assad over the Hariri assassination, Riyadh has effectively frozen relations with Damascus. Apparently as part of Bush's efforts to bolster Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert after Israel's debacle in last summer's war with Hizballah, Bandar met secretly with Olmert last September in what amounted to the highest-level Saudi-Israeli meeting in the 60-odd-year history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Since the beginning of 2007, Bandar has held three meetings with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Larijani, to cool down dangerous tensions involving Hizballah and Hamas, Iran's allies in Lebanon and Palestine, and dampen Sunni-Shiite tensions spreading in Iraq and throughout the region. One of the things that makes Bandar an indispensable subcontractor to Bush is he can talk directly to Iranian officials, Hamas or Hizballah, unlike his own secretary of state, who is handcuffed by U.S. policy from doing so.
Bandar had an usual career as an ambassador in Washington. By his own reckoning, he played a role in addressing many of the world's crises, often acting as an envoy to European capitals and Moscow. He built an extraordinary array of relationships with Washington's power brokers, and considers the Bushes and Cheney as personal friends. Bandar acquired a reputation for lending a hand when Washington could use it. He played a key role, for example, in negotiating the end of the Lockerbie dispute that led Gadhafy to renounce nuclear weapons and terrorism--one of Bush's few relatively unblemished successes in the Middle East. According to Bob Woodward's 1987 book Veil, Reagan's national security advisor worked with Bandar to send covert funding worth millions to the Contras in Nicaragua. The book alleges that Reagan's CIA director enlisted Bandar for a 1985 plot to assassinate Hizballah spiritual guide Sheikh Fadlullah--a bombing that went awry, killing 80 people but missing the target. Veil also says that at the CIA's request, Bandar provided $2 million in Saudi funds to prevent Communists from coming to power in Italy.
The Saudis want to strengthen the U.S.'s hand in the region, limit Iran's emerging influence and bolster their own role as a defender of Muslim causes. But questions arise where it gets murky: Do Saudi Arabia and the U.S. share the same interests? Will they agree on methods? Who will influence the other, and will it be for better or worse? Will Bandar's counsel keep Bush out of new adventures in the Middle East? Or will the Administration's confusion about how to proceed give Bandar undue influence-and perhaps lead to some bold missteps that the U.S. will later regret? As Woodward described his relationship with CIA director William Casey 20 years ago, "Bandar had found Americans naive about the world, but here was a man with no inhibitions." Woodward adds a moment later, "Bandar knew how to have a conversation that never took place." Writing about Bandar just last week, The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl said: "Bandar's spin and dazzle make it tempting to think he can pull off almost anything."
So, is Bandar the Saudi tail that wags the American dog? His role in the recent Mecca agreement is a curious one. Condi Rice spent months beforehand arranging a summit meeting between Olmert and President Mahmoud Abbas to resume negotiations on an final settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. The move was strongly supported by many U.S. allies, notably Jordan. However, Cheney, Bandar's friend, was lukewarm to the idea, to say the least. A week before the summit, Saudi Arabia, with Iran's apparent blessing, cobbled together a Palestinian unity deal between Abbas and Hamas. That agreement, which puts Abbas's Fatah party in the same government as a group calling for Israel's destruction, took the wind out of Rice's sails.
Posted on 02/25/2007 8:25 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 25 February 2007
A Non-Empty Tomb Found
The historical veracity of Christ's resurrection is once again being questioned. This time the questioner is James Cameron the director of Titanic fame. Time magazine has more:
In a new documentary, Producer Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, make the starting claim that Jesus wasn't resurrected --the cornerstone of Christian faith-- and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene.
No, it's not a re-make of "The Da Vinci Codes'. It's supposed to be true.
Let's go back 27 years, when Israeli construction workers were gouging out the foundations for a new building in the industrial park in the Talpiyot, a Jerusalem suburb. of Jerusalem. The earth gave way, revealing a 2,000 year old cave with 10 stone caskets. Archologists were summoned, and the stone caskets carted away for examination. It took 20 years for experts to decipher the names on the ten tombs. They were: Jesua, son of Joseph, Mary, Mary, Mathew, Jofa and Judah, son of Jesua.
Israel's prominent archeologist Professor Amos Kloner didn't associate the crypt with the New Testament Jesus. His father, after all, was a humble carpenter who couldn't afford a luxury crypt for his family. And all were common Jewish names.
(...) film-makers Cameron and Jacobovici claim to have amassed evidence through DNA tests, archeological evidence and Biblical studies, that the 10 coffins belong to Jesus and his family.
DNA tests? To be compared with what? And of course they timed the release of this documentary to coincide with Easter, being sensitive to religious sensibilities of course, but still wanting to capitalize on the holiday and create "controversy." I'm waiting for some really controversial documentaries such as, "Why Muhammad Had To Be Invented" or "Muhammad and Aisha: The True Story," or "Arab Imperialism from 622 to the Present." I know I'll be waiting a long time...
Posted on 02/25/2007 9:04 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Apples and Horses
It is a taste of the English countryside, but the origins of the apple lie far from our shady orchards.
English apples are direct descendants of fruit trees growing in an inhospitable mountainous region of central Asia, plant scientists at Oxford University have discovered.
The DNA of England's famous apple varieties is almost identical to that of fruit found in the Tian Shan forest which lies on the border of Kyrgyzstan and China, Barrie Juniper, who led the research, found. . . Instead Mr Juniper claims that many of the different types of apple found in Britain, including the Cox's Orange Pippin, the Discovery and the Beauty of Bath can be traced back directly more than 7,000 years to the trees of the Tian Shan.
He said: "We started off on the premise that the apple was a hybrid, but to our surprise when we began to look at everything we were collecting in Tian Shan there didn't seem to be any mixing at all. The extraordinary sweet apple seems to have come directly out of the Tian Shan and much of the diversity you find in English apples is already there. You can have a day's march through the Tian Shan and find a range of different trees. You can pluck out big, red apples that are very similar to those you would find in the supermarkets and others that have the bitter characteristics of our cider apples."
Mr Juniper, who has just completed a book about his research titled The Story of the Apple, spent 10 years attempting to trace the origins of the fruit by collecting and testing samples from around the globe.
His search eventually led him to the perilously volatile region around the Tian Shan, a mountain range that during the Cold War harboured Soviet missile test sites and is still dangerous for foreigners to visit.
He now believes that apple seeds were carried out of the forest to the West around 7,000 years ago by domesticated horses from the region that fed on the fruit. Horses are thought to have first been tamed on the plains surrounding the Tian Shan before being used on trade routes towards Europe.
Experts have been able to track the apple's progress across the continent as the animals shed the seeds in their dung before the fruit eventually arrived in Britain in about 2000BC.
Mr Juniper claims that these original apples then flourished in the rich British soil and damp climate, where they became a valuable food source due to their high nutritional value and hardy nature.
If this is right then surely the “English” varieties would have gone from Tian Shan with the horses in all directions. Or perhaps they did but didn’t flourish well elsewhere, and the varieties that became established in other places didn’t thrive in Britain.
One of my early memories is of the greengrocer coming round the street with his horse drawn cart and my being given one of the small apples he couldn’t sell to feed to the horse, as a treat for us both. I held my hand out, with the apple resting on it, spread out so flat that it hurt to make sure that the horse couldn’t swallow my hand along with the apple.
Posted on 02/25/2007 9:44 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 25 February 2007
John Quincy Adams Would Be Enraged
A Suffolk Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit that contended the Boston Redevelopment Authority's sale of a parcel of land in Roxbury for a price significantly below its appraised value to the Islamic Society of Boston violated the constitutional separation between religious groups and the state. --from this news item
In civil suits, fraud will toll [i.e., suspend] the statute of limitations. Where there has been deception, parties who have been the victims of such deception -- as all the taxpayers in Boston, and certainly Mr. James Policastro of Mission Hill --should be allowed to have that "30 days" rule thrown out.
A typical statement is the following:
"There are circumstances that suspend or toll the statute of limitations. Dishonest or fraudulent concealment of the right to sue by the wrongdoer will suspend the deadline an amount of time equal to the period of concealment."
The BRA has been engaged in all sorts of "dishonest or fraudulent concealment of the right to sue" and therefore there should be suspension of "the deadline" by "an amount of time equal to the period of concealment."
There will be an appeal. And there should be. This is an idiotic decision.
Let the masters of jus standi come forward and help out. This is an important case, important because all over America, Saudi money is transforming the landscape (and who paid for that $15 million mosque in Bilerica, a very modest town, with scarcely a hundred families at the mosque? Who, and why?), by building mosques and madrasas and underwriting carefully-targetted campaigns of Da'wa,, directed at the economically and psychically marginal members of society, who then become a threat to the rest of us.
If you want to find out what a Saudi-funded mosque looks like, consult the report of Freedom House, which gathered written material found in Saudi-funded mosques all over this country. Google "Freedom House" and "Saudi" and "mosque" and keep going till you find that report. And if you can finally brush down your hair, which will have stood on end, think about what is going on, and think about that Muslim agent of Islam who, having burrowed deep inside city government, did everything he could, from the swindling of taxpayers by the ludicrously low price put on the land in question (which had been assigned a true market value just months before) to flying off to Saudi Arabia, on a trip the details and funding of which the BRA and the party in question refuse to reveal even now.
This case stinks to high heaven. And the judgment, throwing out the suit on a mere technicality when the issues involved -- misbehavior by city officials that cheat the citizens of Boston, misbehavior that has been followed by classic stonewalling and a coverup --should be made an issue by Mayor Menino (who knows that many find his own early role in this unforgivable, and he has a lot to make up for), and by all those serving in the legislature, that is in what was originally called, and still is, the Great and General Court of Massachusetts.
John Quincy Adams, who knew all about Islam (google "Islam" and "John Quincy Adams"), possibly the greatest American statesman of the 19th century, and certainly the greatest statesman ever produced by the State of Massachusetts, would not have been amused. He would have been -- I am channelling him right now -- enraged.
Posted on 02/25/2007 9:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
James Woolsey Gets Warmer
James Woolsey talks about Islam and the Middle East here
. He is a rare example of someone who is doing his homework and becoming more knowledgeable on Islam all the time.
Posted on 02/25/2007 9:53 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Sunday, 25 February 2007
So Just Who Is Buried In Grant's Tomb?
Now you are going to tell me
that Ulysses S. Grant really is buried in Grant's Tomb. All of my old certainties are being shaken.
Posted on 02/25/2007 11:43 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Bernard Lewis, or, What Went Wrong
Perhaps James Woolsey is not quite as convinced that Bernard Lewis still embodies the Last Word on Islam, and how to deal with it, as he once was. Perhaps others, once unswervable acolytes of Lewis, including a Pentagon expert or two, are beginning to feel the same way.
Once Andrew Bostom's book on the view of Jews presented in the Qur'an and Hadith, and the historical record -- the real record -- of the treatment of Jews under Islam, appears, it will no longer be possible for anyone of sense to read Lewis's "The Jews of Islam" or "Semites and Anti-Semites" with the respect once automatically accorded such works.
Lewis still has a chance, over the next few months, to explain how he himself misunderstood the full ferocity, and the full menace, of Islam. He has a chance to explain exactly why he was wrong to support the Oslo Accords and the Light-Unto-the-Muslim-Nations nonsense in Iraq. He has a chance, either when he receives the ISI "Western Civilization" award, or that other thing being put on at one of those well-heeled think-tanks, where the spouting-off of its "resident scholars" gives the Piazza Navona a run for its watery money, way down in Washington town.
He can do this. He can deliver a speech entitled "Bernard Lewis: What Went Wrong." Or he can continue to offer the mixture as before -- Never Apologize, Never Explain -- and continue to chip away at what is left of his own monument. A pity.
Posted on 02/25/2007 11:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Post 9/11, Islam flourishes among blacks
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Islam is growing fast among African Americans, who are undeterred by increased scrutiny of Muslims in the United States since the September 11 attacks, according to imams and experts.
Converts within the black community say they are attracted to the disciplines of prayer, the emphasis within Islam on submission to God and the religion's affinity with people who are oppressed.
Some blacks are also suspicious of U.S. government warnings about the emergence of new enemies since the 2001 attacks because of memories of how the establishment demonized civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
"It is one of the fastest-growing religions in America," said Lawrence Mamiya, professor of religion at Vassar College, speaking of Islam among black Americans.
He said there were up to 2 million black U.S. Muslims but acknowledged there are no precise figures.
"It's not viewed (by authorities) as a threat because the numbers are small and once we get past the war on terror and all the negative images then it will continue to spread."
Black Americans typically attend mosques separate from Muslims from immigrant backgrounds despite sharing common beliefs, according to Aminah McCloud, religious studies professor at DePaul University in Chicago.
But imams in Atlanta, a U.S. center for black Muslims, said they were subjected to less scrutiny than Muslims from the Middle East and Indian sub-continent.
At a street-corner mosque in one of Atlanta's oldest and poorest neighborhoods, a recent Friday sermon illustrated the power of the history of Islam in the United States for blacks.
Men and women sat separately on the mosque floor, heads covered, as cleric Nadim Ali recounted stories from history of Muslim slaves brought from Africa who struggled to uphold their faith in the face of slaveholders' opposition.
If Muslims could remain true to Islam under slavery, the audience should follow their example, Ali said at the Community Masjid of Atlanta in the city's West End district.
"You are talking about a people who were cut off from their roots .... Islam reconnects you with Africa and with other parts of the world so your peoplehood transcends race," Ali said later in an interview.
Posted on 02/25/2007 12:30 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Let Our Armed Forces Recover
"to vote with the Democrats is to show you are on the side of deafeat [sic]..."-- from a reader
Is it beyond your imagination to conceive of Congressmen not only voting, but explaining why they vote as they do? Didn't Congressman Coble do exactly that? Shouldn't those who fully grasp the menace of Islam start making speeches about why the war in Iraq has, for three years, once Saddam Hussein's regime was dismembered, a place where the inevitable fissures would work to our advantage? Or, if no one wishes to be quite so open about this (apparently we are not allowed to wish the Camp of Islam ill, are we?), then to phrase it differently:
"We've done all we can."
"It's now up to the Iraqis."
"We shouldn't be caught in the middle of a Civil War.'
"Our presence harms more than it helps."
"We have many other commitments at this point. It is now up to the Iraqis to make the necessary compromises, and we have come to the conclusion that our presence there prevents them from sufficiently feeling the pressure necessary, apparently, for them to do so."
Say whatever you goddam want to say, but get the Americans out. And let the army and Marines recover, for god's sake. And the Reserves and the Guard.
Posted on 02/25/2007 1:08 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
"we are where we should be [in Iraq], and we must prevail."-- from a reader
Please tell me what outcome would mean "we had prevailed."
Here are some possibilities:
1) The Sunnis are after years of fighting and more expense conclusively crushed by American power, and must finally yield to being dominated by the Shi'a who will run everything, and share the oil wealth, precisely as they see fit.
2) The Shi'a militias are after years of fighting and more expense conclusively crushed by American power, so that the Sunnis recover lost ground, and Sunni terrorists based in Anbar Province and in Baghdad are able to drive many Shi'a further south and to maintain control of Baghdad.
3) The Americans manage to crush, equally, all those who use violence, whether Sunnis of the local Al-Qaeda group, or other Sunnis not of the Al-Qaeda group but merely locals determined to recover what they regard as rightful Sunni Arab supremacy, or Shi'a militias whether connected to the SCIRI party, or Da'wa, or to Moqtada al-Sadr's Jaish-e-Mahdi. All parties consequently agree to sweetly and permanently compromise in the Western manner, and Iraq becomes a prosperous, safe, model unto the Muslim nations.
4) The Americans do not manage to crush either the Shi'a militias or the Sunnis who refuse to accept their new, much diminished status in Iraq, though a great deal of damage is inflicted on them, with many Sunni and Shi'a casualties, but in the end, their numbers seem to be inexhaustibly replenishable, both from local Arabs, and from co-religionists (Arabs and Iranians) from outside Iraq.
5) The Americans leave, and the Sunni and Shi'a Arabs engage in ever-more violent acts against each other, and both sides receive help from co-religionists -- men, money, matériel -- outside Iraq, and many tens of billions or perhaps even a hundred billion or more, is used up by each side to fight the other, and there is never a point at which a political compromise, of the kind that would be so obvious and so possible in the non-Muslim world, can be made, or if made, kept. For the attitudes of Islam encourage a victor-and-vanquished view of things; the idea of political compromise is as unnatural to Muslims steeped in Islam as it would have been to Muhammad, and the world-view that Qur'an and Hadith and Sira naturally encourage, when it comes to the Muslim attitude toward Infidels, easily carries over into the attitude of one kind of Muslim, whether defined in sectarian terms, with the Sunnis lording it over the Shi'a, or in ethnic terms, with the Arabs claiming that Islam in essence is universalist but still belongs to, can be claimed by, them, the "Best of Peoples," and Islam is a vehicle for cultural, linguistic, and political imperialism.
The endless Shi'a-Sunni conflict in Iraq naturally has consequences wherever there are large numbers of Shi'a: in Bahrain, in Kuwait, in Yemen, in Eastern Saudi Arabia, in Lebanon. It also has consequences for the Sunnis in Iran. And it also will permit the Kurds in the north, by sect largely Sunni, but for other historic reasons more worried about the Sunni Arabs (who killed them under Saddam Hussein, and also resettled in order to arabize formerly Kurdish villages and cities).
Now choose from among the five possibilities listed above.
Or if there is still another outcome you think likely to come about, describe it.
Now tell us which outcome, in your view, is the one that best corresponds to your idea of the Americans "prevailing."
Which idea, that is, leads to the greatest damage being done to the Jihad world-wide, that is to the image, and the power, and the coherence, and the unity, and the ability to inflict damage on Infidels, of the Camp of Islam?
Go ahead. Take a few hours. Take a day. I'll wait right here.
Posted on 02/25/2007 1:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
African Slavery and Islam
Islam does not permit African Americans to "connect with their roots." The longest, and largest, and most deadly, slave trade involving black Africans was that of the Arabs, who unlike the white Europeans did penetrate into the interior, and did seize young black boys, have them castrated on site, and after the operation (primitive implements and filthy conditions) those who managed to survive the operation were then brought, by slave coffle and dhow, to the coasts of Arabia, chiefly to Muscat, and then up to the slave-markets of Riyadh and Jiddah, of Damascus and Baghdad, Cairo and Algiers, Constantinople and Smyrna.
The mortality rate for the castrated black boys has been estimated by Jan Hogedoorn, author of "The Hideous Trade," at 90%. That is, one out of ten survived the operation and the trip to the Islamic slave-markets.
And slavery was stamped out not by Arabs themselves, but by the European powers. It was the British who ended the slave trade in the Persian Gulf, by threatening the local emirs and sultans with naval power. See J. B. Kelly, Britain and the Persian Gulf, 1795-1880. It was the French who finally suppressed the slave trade in North Africa. There never was, and never could be, a Muslim William Wilberforce. For slavery is sanctioned in the Qur'an. Muhammad and the Companions owned slaves. Therefore it is licit, for all time, in Islam, for the institution of slavery to continue. That it was formally abolished in Saudi Arabia as late as 1962, and that there is evidence that it continues, informally -- such evidence as ads in Saudi newspapers about "trading" a young girl for a "late-model American automobile" -- is considerable. Blacks are enslaved by Arabs in the Sudan and in Mali and possibly in Mauritania -- in short, wherever Arabs and Black Africans come together.
Anyone who has travelled in the Arab countries, or studied Arabic in one of those summer institutes in Cairo or Damascus, knows perfectly well the astonishingly open display of attitudes that are simply impermissible in the Western world.
And anyone who looks carefully at what the black Africans in Darfur, themselves nominal Muslims, report the Arab Janjaweed as saying -- "we will kill all the blacks, we will take your women" and "we are Arabs and you are blacks and deserve to die" and so on -- simply google stories in The Times, anglian or nova-eboracensian, and you will find the stories, far more telling than what I have demurely been able to remember.
Why do not Christian ministers, especially black ministers, take it upon themselves to spread this information? Why do they not have lecture tours with such people as Francis Bok and other "Lost Boys" of the Sudan, or by Ibo survivors of the Biafran war, perhaps those whose villages were strafed by Egyptian pilots helping their fellow Muslims? Why are there not programs on television and radio about Slavery in Islam -- for Slavery is not tangential to, but central to, the history of Islam and of various Islamic regimes, such as the Mamelukes of Egypt.
The evidence that might be presented against Islam, to weaken its appeal, is all over the place. But it requires someone, some institution or foundation if not the government, to get cracking. Why the inattention? Why allow the free dissemination of a dangerous belief-system that, far from "promising hope," in fact encourages a slavish support for the ruler (despotism is natural in Islam, which refuses to locate political legitimacy in the expressed will of the people, but rather in the will expressed by Allah in the Qur'an), ecnomic paralysis through inshallah-fatalism (i.e., were it not for unmerited oil wealth, and whatever Jizyah from the Infidels they can wangle, Muslim states would be permanently mired in poverty), social failings (the unequal treatment or religiously-sanctioned mistreatment of women and non-Muslims), and intellectual failings (the habit of mental submission that discourages all free and skeptical inquiry). Islam insures economic underperformance. Islam helps to prolong, by justifying, despotism. Islam stunts mental growth.
Is that what those blacks in the West who feel alienated, or resentful, seek to find as their Answer, their Vehicle of Protest? In that case one finds oneself longing for what now appear to be the good old days of Osagyefo (Nkrumah) and Jomo Kenyatta and Julius Nyerere, translator of "Julius Caesar" into Swahili.
One longs for Rastafarians worshipping the Negus, or Marcus Garvey in his Admiral's Hat, as Admiral the Black Star Line. Or one longs for Father Divine, that is Major J. Divine, with his tithing worshippers, Father Divine who started out as a mere self-appointed Messenger of God and then promoted himself to being the Son of God, or possibly God himself. He was last let out of jail, if my memory serves (and it's been doing cartwheels today, kartwellian cartwheels, real salti mortali), on July 2, 1932, to be hailed on the front page of now-yellowed-and-tattered copies of "The Negro World."
Posted on 02/25/2007 1:22 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Grunebaum on Islamic Incuriosity
G. E. Von Grunebaum’s Modern Islam (1962)
“It is essential to realize that Muslim civilization is a cultural entity that does not share our [Western] primary aspirations. It is not vitally interested in analytical self-understanding, and it is even less interested in the structural study of other cultures, either as an end in itself or as a means toward clearer understanding of its own character and history.”
For more on Gustav von Grunebaum and his scholarly legacy, simply google away.
Posted on 02/25/2007 1:55 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Very Well Then, I Repeat Myself
"Hugh proposes to keep troops in Iraq, but not as a constabulary to stop the sectarian strife."-- from a reader
No. I don't. The posting elsewhere that suggests that was put up first on February 20,2004. About two weeks later I realized that it did not make sense to attempt to keep American troops there, not least because as the Sunni-Shi'a split widened, and there were more unpleasant things done by each side, if the American troops remained then soft-hearted Americans would demand some kind of intervention, and that is exactly what I think should not take place, has taken place too much, at great cost, at no benefit to American and Infidel interests -- the only interests that interest me.
By March 2004 I was advocating a complete withdrawal and writing about the Sunni-Shi'a split that was inevitable. I haven't stopped repeating the same things, with variations and curlicues, ever since.
Posted on 02/25/2007 1:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Inveigled First By Shi'a Hopes, and Now By Sunni Fears
"The NeoCon gang running our foreign and war policy started planning the invasion of Iraq before Bush came to power. Chalabi was their tool, not the other way around.."-- from a reader
Never mind the sinister simplifying phrase "the NeoCon gang" which is often used -- perhaps not in this case -- as a way to make charges otherwise impermissible in polite company ("Neo-Con" often being a word applied, quite selectively, to Jewish policymakers -- Wolfowitz, Feith, and Perle -- which requires overlooking or diminishing the role of many others, including the unswervable supporters of the Tarbaby Iraq business who stayed on long after Perle (who was only on some advisory committee) and Feith were out, and Wolfowitz at the World Bank, and who include Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld while he was around,Rice, Senator McCain, and others whose names never seem to come up in those lists of "Neo-Cons" and we all know why.
On the charitable assumption that you are not using the term "Neo-Con" as it is often used -- but what a cheap and reductive way to go about things, anway -- but are including all those who thought it advisable -- no one more than Bush himself -- to act against Iraq, do you mean to straightfacedly maintain that Chalabi et al., as they made and made the Washington rounds, had no effect? Is it your contention that Chalabi, Allawi, Rend al-Rahim, Makiya, or for that matter Vali Nasr, or Fouad Ajami, the "good Shi'a" who have had such influence, were not very important contributors to the atmospherics of Washington in which it was devoutly believed that the Americans could go in, remove the (Sunni) despot, and then everyone would be so grateful, and chambers of commerce would be set up, and Iraqi policies turned fervently and permanently toward the West -- where do you think all this nonsense came from? It was one thing for Bush and others to overestimate the need to remove Saddam Hussein. But far worse was the belief that Iraq could be subject to an Instant Makeover, or that, rather, the westernized, secularized Shi'a making the rounds in Washington and London represented the "real Iraq." Of course they didn't.
For those Shi'a, the "victory" that counted was the removal of Saddam Hussein, and the transfer of power to the Shi'a. Some of them -- Chalabi for example -- actually thought the transfer of power would be made not to "the Shi'a" in general, and certainly not to the troglodytic leaders of Dawa and SCIRI (Moqtada al-Sadr was not a blip on the Potomac horizon in 2002 and early 2003), but to the westernized, secularized, advanced Iraqis like themselves, or preferably, to themselves.
But that is always the problem with such people. Having sloughed off Islam, in essence, and representing a very tiny proportion of the population, and having spent decades outside the Middle East, they forget what the real Muslim Middle East is like, its rumors, its conspiracy theories, its endemic violence, its aggression, the inability of even its most advanced citizens to publicly (or often privately) to recognize that the source of their political despotisms, their economic backwardness, the moral and social and intellectual failures of their societies,and of all societies suffused with Islam (including those re-constituted in the cities of the West), is Islam itself.
To think that Chalabi,and other Chalabis (say, what's become of Waring's Problem, since it gave Chalabi the slip?), were being used by the Americans, shows a misunderstanding of such wily fellows as Chalabi, or indeed of any of the Arabs, who know exactly how to wind the Americans around their little fingers. The Saudis have been doing it for decades -- having Administration after Administration believe that Saudi Arabia is our "staunch ally" and that we can "trust the Saudis to moderate oil prices" and, as a consequence, a third of a century has gone by without the energy policy, or a hint of one, that is needed. Everyone kept believing in Saudi "price moderation" -- a belief that was false, and even were it to have been true, would have been irrelevant to the long-term problem of energy supply, demand, and anthropogenic environmental damage.
Posted on 02/25/2007 2:03 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
If You Can't Stand The Heat...
"I don't care what you say because God is watching and He sees that I have at least tried to establish peace with you. And in the End, Truth and Love prevails. If you are someone who still hates Islam, then you go against everything God has taught about Love. We are ALSO human beings, we also deserve to be treated like ones, and we also have dreams and aspirations in this life. We will never stop speaking out against ignorance and bigotry, and our Faith grows as we speak." ---from a Muslim reader
If you cannot stand the heat in the well-informed kitchen of this website, you would be well-advised not to enter the living-room, with its large and roaring fireplace, where sit people even better informed, both about Islam -- why some can quote huge chunks of the Qur'an back at you, perhaps even better than you can -- in which are waiting for you Ibn Warraq, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Anwar Shaikh, and Wafa Sultan, and Irfan Khawaja, and Azam Kamguian, and a cast of tens or hundreds of thousands of highly intelligent and articulate people who were born, through no fault of their own, into Islam and into societies suffused with Islam, and have thought, and thought, and come to conclusions quite different from those of you who and somehow believes that Infidels, and intelligent Apostates (who represent the gravest threat, because it is they who not only know the texts, but know intimately the psychology of Muslims who try to hold on, and why they continue to defend, out of True Faith of the True Believer, or out of filial piety, or out of embarrassment, or out of the Need To Cling to Something), what is entirely and obviously -- to the Apostates and to us, the Well-Informed Infidels -- intolerable, and inadmissible.
Posted on 02/25/2007 2:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Father Divine Is God, or, Who Is This King of Glory?
A little bit more about Major J. Divine (ne George Baker) who became Father J. Divine and then Father God Major J. Divine:
"Father Divine (George Baker) was shrewd enough to capitalize on the economic crisis and the spiritual void of illiterate, economically deprived Black southern migrants.
Father Divine ordained himself one specifically guided by God. He preached a fusion of Christianity and mysticism; he was so adept that his congregation believed him to be God in person. He was clever enough to know that when you feed a person when he or she is starving you have indeed won his or her loyalty. Thus during the Depression Father Divine provided his followers with employment through his Sayville Employment Center, and he provided them food, shelter and weekly prayer services. To the rejected and despised Blacks, their prayers had been answered, and as a consequence his followers worshipped him as God. He subsequently changed his name to Father God Major J. Divine, Dean of the Universe. He called his followers "Angels" and they were required to adhere to strict discipline. He promised his true followers eternal life, for he considered death the final weakness. His sacred text was titled "The New Day."
In the beginning, Father Divine referred to himself as the "Messenger" of God. At that stage of his leadership, he taught his followers that God is in every person, but later he changed from this concept of God to the idea that God is in Father Divine. As a leader, Divine created a patriarchal and messianic image that transcended his theological and intellectual limitations by denying the pervasiveness of color and race, as well as the dominance of white society and the marginal nature of Black society. He went on to state that everyone could be a part of the American society. However, this could only be actualized in a government under God, and Father Divine was God. Father Divine was conceptually contradictory. On the one hand, he was attracted to white America, and he even married white American women; on the other hand, he accentuated and actualized Mr. Garvey's position which stated Black people were superior and whites were inferior. Divine declared that he was Negro and God dwelled in him; to his followers and other Negroes/Black people, he declared that they were also Negroes and they were like unto him."
Nice work. If you can get it.
Posted on 02/25/2007 2:33 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Yes, I can explain everything.
"Kartwelllian" is a portmanteau word, which I will now unpack. Sorry, let me get this pigskin Dopp kit, a poor man's nécessaire, out of the way first. There.
"Kartwellian" is based on "Kartveli" which is the word, in the Georgian language, to indicate "Georgian" -- the language or the man. But by changing the "v" to a "w" and then doubling the "l" before the suffix, the word the results, "kartwellian," naturally summons up the word "Orwellian."
Thus, in paying tribute to a hardworking but also today exceptionally pliant and yielding memory --well tup my Mnemosyne, do -- I wanted to acknowledge in a single word two previous sets of homo-ludens entries here, one the "Georgian theme" that the mention of Rustaveli started, and led inexorably to General Bagration, the Associated Viniculturalists and Exporters of Khvanchkara and Kindzmarauli, Salomé Zourabachvili (formerly of Paris and the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), The Greater Tbilisi Convention and Tourists Bureau, and the heirs and assigns of Paul Chavchavadze.
The second set of entries concern Orwell, George (admiration or lack thereof), as expressed by various posters and a Russian outsider dragged in to support an argument from authority or auctoritee, depending on whether you were born yesterday or round about 1343.
Hence the invented word "kartwellian." I think that word deserves a round of applause. But then I would, wouldn't I? I'm a paid member of the claque.
Posted on 02/25/2007 3:25 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald