August 11, 2006
In the post blah blah blah of the UN Resolution calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon, each representative gravely announced on behalf of their respective nations, that they each had wished there could have been an immediate cessation of hostilities.
Of course, not a single UN Ambassador appointed to the Security C ouncil, was instructed by his government to table a resolution at the UN till last week- and even then, it was understood that the US and France would hammer out the arrangement, no matter how long it took.
Not even China and Russia tabled a resolution that would have required a vote- a vote that could have potentially embarrassed the UN and Europe.
You have to love UN speechifying.
Lebanon and the Arab world need to consider why things unfolded why they did. In fact, even a cursory look at the UN Security Council over the last month reveals that the Security Council acted with remarkable unanimity of purpose.
Much more, tomorrow.
August 11, 2006
Smart bloggers have smart readers.
The problem is we can’t celebrate the deaths of enemies any more. We suppress and deny the instinctual satisfaction of witnessing a human threat to our well being destroyed. We can feel that inherent, instinctual satisfaction and joy, and express it, when we avoid a serious auto accident, a fall down the steps or a bad storm. We can roar our approval as men on the football field batter each other and we can pay good money to see a boxing match, yet we cluck our tongues, intellectualize and pontificate when our enemies sell beheading videos by the gross. We have a disconnect, or perhaps it is better named magic, that tells us our religion and education and moral codes and ethics and rules of engagement and Geneva Conventions distinguishes us and makes us better than our enemies. Yet we can’t stop our enemies and it appears we cannot inhibit them from engaging in our deaths. Billions of dollars and several billion hours of human energy expended have not accomplished this. I wonder what the equation, the tally is for sustaining the disconnect? What percentage is used for death, what percentage for preventing death? We obsess with technology to remove us personally from the deaths of enemies visa-via long range strikes and drones and high altitude bombing and we have ‘rules’ that prohibit us from displaying bodies of killed enemies. Yet they continue to come for us. The disconnect has even fooled us into thinking we have just now foiled a plot to kill us when in truth it was but another attack, having caused disruption and some economic damage. This most recent attack has also caused us to spend more money for defensive posturing and it clearly spreads the message in the enemy camp that their mission is still alive and vibrant. We took the sacred out of our war, they haven’t. We have strongly suppressed the satisfaction of killing enemies, they haven’t. We secretly worry if we can again turn our swords to plow shears once unsheathed and bloodied, that there may be a point of no return, but our enemies know their survival is based on turning plow shears into swords.
Sinat Chinam …Baseless Hatred
Yesterday was a cloudy gray day here in the US on the west coast we didn’t see any sun until well after three in the afternoon. As is my custom I went in the afternoon to the market to get some fresh vegetables, and other things I needed to make ready for Shabbat. The lines were long, people were crankier than usual and just as I finished my shopping and got in line behind a half dozen or so other shoppers to wait to check out and old man got in line behind me. First he complained to the lady in the next line over about the price of things and how the price of gas now is driving up everything, then suddenly the lights in the huge grocery store went out…so the scenario was like this, no lights, no air conditioning, no checkout working, and no way to open the doors of the store to let those who simply wanted to leave to do so.
After several more minutes listening to this old man go on about everything being so awful I couldn’t take it anymore…” Mazieh, ze an akol beseder!” I stated it with as much vehemence as I could muster. Seeing that I had his attention, I changed to English.” First you complain about the prices, and the gas, then you complain about the cost of living and the expense to eat, no one forced you to come out shopping, it was your choice. You should be grateful to go to a store where there is too much of everything, you should be thankful that you can afford Strawberries at $3.00 a half pound. You are making the rest of us miserable just with your complaints!”
” Bah!” he shouted at me, ” I suppose you are going to get your food with welfare stamps that I pay for with my taxes. Look at this crowd more than three quarters of you aren’t even citizens of this country. I served in two world wars! God only knows where you all come from, but in my book you don’t belong here!”
“I have friend living in a war zone, without enough to eat, and barley getting by hiding every time the air raid siren goes off praying that the target isn’t them! You have no right to complain!”
“Dirty old bitch,” he shouted at me, “You should go back where you came from you and all the other black brown and tan people, you and the Jews”
That did it, another lady my age ( in her sixties) with two grandchildren in tow turned on him too, ” You think I am not a citizen” she shouted at him,” My husband served in the Air Force, our kids were born on Army bases, just because I have on an apron and look Hispanic doesn’t mean I am automatically illegal!”
From the next line over a very stunning African American woman spoke up,” My great-granddaddy was a slave, he worked his way to freedom so that we can have a good life, and he struggled every day for seventy five long years to make certain we knew the value of freedom. Something you sir don’t know!”
“Damit to hell” he shouted, you all are just leaches on our society.” Why when I was a youngster none of you would have dared to shop in such a store. We wouldn’t have let you!”
By this time the doors were working on the generator and he walked away leaving his cart in the line. Good thing because there is nothing worse then a bunch of ladies of color who are angry! He might have had to fight another war right there and then.
On the way home it set me to thinking, this is the month of Av, it’s a time when we reflect on things lost, and Sinat Chinam…baseless hatred. There is a lot of that going on in the world today, baseless hatred, it’s taught to little children in many of the countries of the mid east, if someone doesn’t act, talk, dress or worship exactly like you then you must hate them. In some places little children are taught that it is a great honor to blow yourself up with others around you if you take the lives of those who are ” not like us”.
Most of the wars in our modern world are fought over baseless hatred. Think about it?
There is an old saying that if it “squawks like a duck, waddles like a duck and has feathers like a duck …then it must be a duck!” Now if you are a hunter in the Midwestern United States that means you can shoot it during hunting season, and if you are an Arab Extremist and it’s a Jew that also means you can kill because you hate the Jews. What a very sad commentary on our world that we can’t get to a point where we accept that we are all human, created from the same gene pool, brought up out of the same murky quagmire of the ancient primordial swamp! There are geneses of human kind, like there are of plants and animals, all of us walk up right on two legs, all of us have five fingers and develop dexterity with them, we all are able to reproduce and feed our young on mother’s milk. Somehow we must begin to get a grip on the facts that the world is doomed if we humans can’t clean up our act.
As long as there are grumpy, bigoted old men in supermarket lines who think that the rest of the world would be a better place if there were only whites, or Aryans, as long as the Jews see the Muslims as “different, or less than” as long as humankind keeps placing tags of acceptable and unacceptable on other human beings there can never be peace!
The mid-east tensions continue to rise as I write, who knows where this war will lead humanity, into the end perhaps, if there can’t be peace in the mid east soon than there may be another third world war, quite possibly this will be the war that ends all wars…and where did it all start?
Sinat Chinam…baseless hatred!
I intend this next portion of my writing to challenge you as an individual to try to come into a space where you can think about all the baseless hatreds that you know of in your own little circle of life and once you identify them try in the best way you know how to set them right. I have in Israel a dear friend who is in a town in the north where the bombing has been intense…she wrote an article about being on a rollercoaster into the end of times and how until everyone on that roller coaster could find their code for the button in their hand the rollercoaster would continue on its course of destruction. There are prophecies in many of the world greatest religions that speak to the times that we are now in, and it would seem that everyone of us indeed has a part to play in the slowing down of the roller coaster, that we all have the power to make change right where we are, right now and that if we all worked very hard on doing that we might be able to cause a slowing of the escalation to world war that we are in.
Peace isn’t any unattainable goal, there was a time when there was peace on this little blue planet, when the seas were new and pristine when the animals and birds and other creatures were not endangered, a time when there was everything we needed to live, but we humans, who are supposed to be sentient beings ruined that.
We, like the little old man in the supermarket line couldn’t see that we were blessed, we wanted more, we became acquisitive in our nature and we began to take that which we did not need…we stole from nature, the waters, the trees, the oil, the minerals and precious stones, we made big mistakes thinking that this little blue planet could last forever. Now we are on the brink of destruction such as man has never known before, one slip of the finger, one nod of the head and the big guns some out and here we go World War Three.
We Jews are a hopeful people, we cling to life even when there are those set on extinguishing that life, the Christians all love life too, so do the Muslims, and other religions of the world, now if ever this is the time for us all to come together in Peace and love, learning again to trust each other as human beings. Never doubt that what you do in your own little circle to make peace can’t help the world, it can! If each of us finds just one person with whom we can make a bond and if we turn out attention to the things that are all the same in both of us, forgetting our difference, we can stir the waters and make the ripples flow out from us to touch others. Time is of the essence right now, we have no more time to fight among ourselves, no more time to be bitter and hateful, dishonest or unjust! If Peace is every to come to this planet it will come because enough of us in our own small way try to make it a reality where we live!
I was thinking yesterday of the old Eagles song “In a New York Minute everything can change!” That is the minute we are living in, the minute when we switch the channel and suddenly there is the bomb no one wanted to see ever again in life…the bomb to end all bombs. Then it will be too late!
Think about this, do you know a Muslim, or a Jew, or someone of another culture or another faith in your neighborhood? Have you tried to make friends with them, do you know their names? How about reaching out of your comfort zone just a little, what about the strange old lady who sits in the back pew of the church and always leaves before coffee, why not catch up with her and ask her to stay, get out of your comfort zone and reach for someone who seems unlovable, stretch as bit and go over to the neighbor and ask how they are doing.
If we don’t all start trying this whole mess in the Middle East between Israel and Lebanon could become Armageddon, the place where they are fighting at the border in the north of Israel and the south of Lebanon is near Megiddo, the very place where the prophets said the war to end all wars would be wagged. I have walked there with my husband, we saw that ground and it made us tremble, to see how the war is being fought right there is a frightening thing! “In a New York Minute, everything can change!”
We sentient, conscious human beings need to make ourselves heard above the roar of this war, we need to stand up and be counted as trying to make change before it is too late.
The Democrats have gone from the party of Robert F. Kennedy to the party of Sirhan Sirhan.
August 11, 2006
Yesterday, Ali Eteraz wrote Muslim Mulims On British Muslims, a fascinating look at the dysfunction that afflicts many Muslims in United Kingdom.
He noted that
Something is rotten among the state of British Muslims…How did it happen that a bunch of university educated First World kids started seeing themselves as some sort of revolutionists?
What Eteraz leaves unasked is the more empirical question: Why do so many Muslims around the world, choose to fail? It is not just ‘first world kids’ that choose to fail. Entire communities and cultures have made that choice.
The Arab world is at the bottom of the educational barrel. Why? The cost of up to date textbooks is minuscule and competent teachers (defined as a teacher qualified in the subject matter they teach) are not huge investments. Think of the Peace Corps.
In much of the Islamic world, choosing to fail is encouraged and facilitated by the corrupt and dysfunctional regimes that have come to define that world. Simply stated, a failed and less educated and informed society is a society more easily controlled and exploited. A society that believes failure is inevitable is a society that believes change for the better is impossible. For that Carnival of Dysfunctional Tyrants, that kind of servile and self flagellating society is a gift.
Those tyrants have exploited religion to encourage and fortify their message. That truth cannot be understated. In most of the Muslim world, clerics are in the employ of the corrupt regimes that pay their salaries.
In those societies, where speech and expression are strictly prohibited and media is an integral part of government , it is clear that the hate filled and inciteful rhetoric of religious ‘leaders,’ employed by these despotic regimes, are approved and coordinated to coincide with the policies of these dysfunctional regimes. You cannot disapprove of the tyrannical regimes and at the same time, approve of the religious rhetoric and messages that only serve that regime.
We have addressed the issue of success and failure before. We are republishing that entire post, with the hope that the reader will extrapolate the universality of the message. Success and failures are choices.
In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond attempts to end the debate over racial differences. He denounces the Bell Curve authors, Hernstein and Murray by declaring that “History followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among people’s environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves.” In the end, Diamond believes that sand makes for different people than snow and feasting on fish make for different people than feasting on beef.
Guns, Germs, and Steel, was written in response to a single question:“Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo and brought it to New Guinea, but we black people had little cargo of our own?”
The ‘cargo’ the questioner referred to was technology, tools, etc. Diamond imperiously declares that Europeans/Asians achievements were the result of environmental advantages only, not biological or cultural.
Diamond and his legions of politically correct disciples do a splendid job of obscuring a few pesky facts: For example, if environment is indeed the underlying foundation of the progress of mankind, how does he explain the fact that iron and bronze tools came out of Africa? Those magnificent achievements were not to be seen in Europe for hundreds of years. Could it be something other than environment that spurred or impeded human progress?
Environment no more affects human progress than does race. They are contributing factors, of course, but in the end there are three things that inspire or impede achievement or progress. Those things are principles, values and beliefs.
There are societies principles, values and beliefs made achievement and progress inevitable. Those are the cultures and societies that embraced change, and they valued those who carved out that change. It’s that simple.
Now, much has been made of ‘Colonialism’ as the scapegoat for hindering change, but clearly, that excuse is wearing thin. Colonialism has now become the watchword- and an excuse for those who refuse to join the rest of a modern and productive society.
The legacy of colonialism is what those former colonies make of it. More often than not, colonialists came into a society that was far behind their own, in terms of achievement, advancement and human progress. Notwithstanding the mythical and fabricated notions that ‘the white man’ came into primitive, peaceful and loving cultures, only to destroy them, the fact remains that these cultures and societies could have been greatly benefited by the advent of the ‘white man.’ Those societies resisted the advances they could have assimilated into their own culture.
It is true there were abuses, of course, as there are in any human endeavor. It is also true that taking advantage of modern day tools and ideas are not an all or nothing proposition. Even today, there are groups of people that refuse the tools that might make their lives easier.
India (and to a lesser extent, Pakistan) have benefited greatly from colonialism, extracting what they needed so as to ensure their own successes. The education systems are a positive legacy of British colonialism, for example. India and Pakistan have excellent school systems. The economic potential of these powerhouses is only now coming into being, a result of the legacy of colonialism. The values, principles and beliefs of both the Indians and Pakistanis have made progress a reality. It is true their societies and cultures differ from western cultures in many ways, not the least of which are caste systems. That said, the march towards real equality cannot be stopped. Caste systems are indefensible- and everyone knows it. Eventually, that will happen- and when it does, the world will see another kind of economic and cultural imperialism (based on merit) coming from the region.
The Arab world has proved to be another story. Notwithstanding the almost obscene wealth from natural resources, these societies have little to show for it (save for large cities and buildings, built by others and owned by a few very corrupt few). Unlike other colonial states, they rejected an educational system that could have benefited them (where are the world class universities, for example?). This is in stark contrast to their cousins, the Jews. With memories of their ‘vacations’ in Auschwitz still fresh, they came to an arid land, made the desert bloom, built a real economy and built world class institutions of higher learning- all at the same time. There will those that say, ‘sure, we gave them billions in aid,’ but in fact, that is irrelevant. The fact remains they went to work and built their country and institutions from the ground up. The fact is they were able to build those institutions because education and higher learning were integral to principles, values and beliefs of the Jews. That cannot be said of the Arabs. The oil riches of the ummah were far greater- and nothing was built for that ummah. Why? Because the values, principles and beliefs are very different from those of their cousins. While that may not have been true a thousand years ago, it is true now.
Many bitterly complain the ‘evil’ white man supports these tyrannical leaders. Of course we do. Who else should we support? Where are the democratic opposition? Should we offer support to Osama bin Laden? His fatwa against Jews and Christians has yet to be rescinded. Should we support Hamas and their stated agenda of the ‘rivers of blood’ brought about by slaughtering Jews? Should we fund their education and media that teach that every day?
We supported Osama bin Laden and the mujahadeen, and their war against the Russians. We armed them and gave them what they needed to prosecute that war. When it was all over, bin Laden, et al, made choices- and those choices were made because their principles, values and beliefs were very different than our own.
The United States supplied Saddam Hussein with the precursors he used to build biological weapons. Those precursors were given to university laboratories all over the world, for research purposes (primarily pesticides and insecticides). Those were the terms of the agreements. They were not hidden, and there were no secret agreements. Saddam Hussein chose to use those precursors for his own ends. The results were the use of those chemical agents against the Kurds and Iranians. Those were choices made by Saddam.
To be clear- if you are provided a vehicle to go to work everyday and you decide to drive while intoxicated and kill someone- don’t blame those who provided the vehicle for that death. Choices were made and the consequences cannot be shifted.
It is ironic that those who blame the US for Saddam’s terror and evil were also the most frenzied voices that would have left Saddam in place. It was not American principles, values and beliefs that were flawed. It is the principles, values and beliefs of our adversaries (both foreign and domestic) that are flawed- and dangerous.
The author of the The Times of Winnipeg, Raskalnikov, is an SC&A favorite. He is very erudite, thoughful and persuasive (he is also a superb writer). When asked about the legacy of colonialism, he answered clearly, neatly and with an impeccable logic that leads into a crystal clear reality:
…It may have began centuries ago with the colonial crimes we all hear about, but today we Indians have taken over control of the yoke that’s around our neck. The cult of victimhood, the incessant demand for monetary compensation from people who supposedly need nothing more than a return to a ‘traditional’, more humble way of life to regain our selves and our pride, the knee-jerk whines of racism when something doesn’t go our way. How worse is that than residential schools and infected blankets? It’s certainly less dignified. Being beaten by a stronger force is one thing, and can carry a certain nobility if you went down as a man and not a bitch; beating the shit out of yourself and then blaming everyone else for your woes is just
Many people think I’m a bootlicker to whitey and that he can do no wrong. I know the historical record of my people and I get angry just as much as any Indian radical when I see injustice. Unfairness and bullying, that pisses me off more than any bad words or stereotypes. That is a true crime, being unfair to someone and not allowing them to be themselves, to even find themselves. I realize the government did that for a long time, however those days are over. Unfortunately, the bleeding heart governments in this country have made the same mistake every bleeding-heart government has ever done in history — they overcompensated.
The white liberal guilt in this country has gone into overkill. It’s like a dysfunctional family that buys new appliances when one son comes out of the closet, or the youngest daughter gets pregnant. Throw money at it, spend it away, ignore it under a pile of material compensation. Granted some if it does go to honorable ideas such as education, culture and health. These are vital aspects of life and the opportunities in them for us are now endless. The playing field may not be completely level, but it’s much better than it was 50 years ago. Shit, 20 years ago. Any Indian not handcuffed by mental illness or addiction can be anything he or she wants to be. A doctor, a cop, whatever. It’s sad most of them choose to keep on perpetuating the victimhood cult. In a society where we place such small value on thinking, is it any surprise the victimhood pimps use emotional fervor to brainwash future generations into whining and bitching? Mix this with the revolting, degenerate hip-hop destroying the minds of our youth and it sure beats having to take responsibility for yourself. And the welfare being handed to us by the Government only serves to put more value on the role of victim; not only does it appeal to baser human instincts, but you can get paid for it too.
The progress of nations, cultures and societies are not about about environment, race or any other extraneous stimulus. That progress is determined by principles, values and beliefs. Blaming Whitey, the Jews or colonialism for failure just doesn’t wash. It’s about choices- individual, cultural and societal.
The proof is in the pudding.
August 11, 2006
Maxed Out Mama has the goods, as usual.
While DU Fiddles is spot on. MOM manages to ferret out some of the most ‘interesting’ comment s left at Democratic Underground, that fountain of sober reflection of the left. Words cannot convey the level of assinine stupidity. MOM’s selection will leave you breathless.
Mama also addersses the political ramifications of the terror plot, and makes a beeline for the most obvious. In a political environment that thrives on obfuscation, her oberservations are refreshingly clear. In Major Terrorist Plot Detected In The UK, she notes,
As a result of this, Joe Lieberman will be greatly strengthened in his solo campaign. Because the real issue is not the Iraqi war, but whether terrorism is a genuine threat or not. All the idiotic law professors who write letters to the NY Times about the various security programs are really deeply invested in the proposition that terrorism is a BushCo created threat, even if they won’t admit that to themselves due to the obvious logical lunacy of it. Fighting Joe Lieberman is going to throw that fact back in the faces of the politicians like Hillary who tell him to “search his conscience”. Let’s face it, Lieberman’s conscience is a considerably more active organ than Hillary’s.
Then she may be divining an extraordinary look into the future- and that look is pretty reassuring.
…spontaneously told me that we had to send Lieberman a contribution because he now has no party money. Chief No-Nag thinks Lieberman cannot win the presidency, but Chief No-Nag also believes that politicians should be rewarded for being truthful and taking a stand. I think it’s becoming increasingly likely that Lieberman will be the next President of the United States.
We could do a lot worse than having a moral man in the White House, again.