August 15, 2006
In 1967 I was a young communist, like most Italian youngsters. Bored by my rebellious behavior my family sent me to a Kibbutz in the upper Galilee, Neot Mordechai. I was quite satisfied there, the kibbutz used to give some money every month to the Vietcong. When the Six Day War began, Moshe Dayan spoke on the radio to announce it. I asked: “What is he saying?” and the comrades of Neot answered: “Shtuyot,” silly things. During the war I took children to shelters; I dug trenches, and learned some simple shooting and acts of self defense. We continued working in the orchards, but were quick to identify the incoming Mig-im and the outgoing Mirage-im, chasing one another in the sky of the Golan Heights.
When I went back to Italy, some of my fellow students stared at me as somebody new, an enemy, a wicked person who would soon become an imperialist. My life was about to change. I didn’t yet know that, because I simply thought that Israel rightly won a war after having been assaulted with an incredible number of harassments. But I soon noticed that I had lost the innocence of the good Jew, of the very special Jewish friend, their Jew: I was now connected with the Jews of the State of Israel, and slowly I was put out of the dodecaphonic, psychoanalytic, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Philip Roth, Freud shtetl, the coterie that sanctified my Judaism in left wing eyes. Read the rest of this entry »
August 15, 2006
It was inevitable. The Sanity Squad is picking up a head of steam with our second podcast.
Neo-neocon, Dr Sanity, Shrinkwrapped add much needed insight- and as importantly, nuance- to the realities of the world around us as they are being played out. A bit of time spent with these great minds really goes a long way. Of course, you’ll want to listen in.
August 15, 2006
What kind of man recognizes and confronts evil, and knows how to respond?
August 15, 2006
Syria’s Bashar Assad, Iran’s Mahmoud Almadinejad and much of the Arab world are celebrating the Hizbollah ‘victory’ over Israel.
That smorgasbord of the most corrupt, dysfunctional and failed regimes in the world, are asking their own people and the world to believe their assesment of world events is accurate unbiased and is no way self serving.
What Assad, et al, cannot seem to recall is that the Arab defeat at the hands of Israel in 1967, looked remarkably like the defeat of Hizbollah. They too, maintained much of their military arsenal and belligerence. It was clear that as a militray threat, the Arab states were rendered impotent. The days of their military adventurism were over. Had it not been for that adventurism, Gaza, the West Bank and even Jerusalem, would still be in Arab hands.
Of course, there are more than a few observers that see through the sham. The Lebanese Metula News Agency, rejects much of the dysfunction that has a grip on much of the Arab world:
In fact, our country had become an extension of Iran, and our so-called political power also served as a political and military cover for the Islamists of Teheran. We suddenly discovered that Teheran had stocked more than 12,000 missiles, of all types and calibers, on our territory and that they had patiently, systematically, organized a suppletive force, with the help of the Syrians, that took over, day after day, all the rooms in the House of Lebanon. Just imagine it : we stock ground-to-ground missiles, Zilzals, on our territory and that the firing of such devices without our knowledge, has the power to spark a regional strategic conflict and, potentially, bring about the annihilation of Lebanon…
And then, the indecision, the cowardice, the division and the irresponsible behavior of our leaders are such that they had no effort to make to show their talent. No need to engage a wrestling match with the other political components of the Land of Cedars. The latter showed themselves – and continue to show themselves – to be inconsistent…
It is easy now to whine and gripe, and to play the hypocritical role of victims. We know full well how to get others to pity us and to claim that we are never responsible for the horrors that regularly occur on our soil. Of course, that is nothing but rubbish! The Security Council’s Resolution 1559 – that demanded that OUR government deploy OUR army on OUR sovereign territory, along OUR international border with Israel and that it disarm all the militia on OUR land – was voted on 2 September 2004.
We had two years to put implement this resolution and thus guarantee a peaceful future to our children but we did strictly nothing. Our greatest crime – which was not the only one! – was not that we did not succeed but that we did not attempt or undertake anything. And that was the fault of none else than the pathetic Lebanese politicians…
Our government, from the very moment the Syrian occupier left, let ships and truckloads of arms pour into our country. Without even bothering to look at their cargo. They jeopardized all chances for the rebirth of our country by confusing the Cedar Revolution with the liberation of Beirut. In reality, we had just received the chance – a sort of unhoped-for moratorium – that allowed us to take the future into our own hands, nothing more..
Read it all. Notwithstanding the tsunami of stupidity and dysfunction that has drowned much of the Arab world, there are rational voices, grounded in reality, to be found.
This post was orginally posted on January 17, 2006. We are republishing With Friends Like These And A Psychiatrist’s Journey back To Reality because you need to read it, again.
On Sunday evening, SC&A attended a meeting at the Durham Friends Meeting House. The meeting was a gathering of the Kumbaya Clerics Corps, drawn from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities. The meeting was sponsored by the Triangle Tikkun and the North Carolina Muslim Society.
Under most circumstances such an event would hold as much interest for us as a meeting of the Flat Earth Society. The invitation, however was extended by friend who lectures at both Duke and UNC at Chapel Hill, who insisted we experience first hand, what passes for campus reality today.
Prior to the presentation by the KCC (Kumbaya Clerics Corps), we had the opportunity to mingle and engage in a bit of chit chat with other attendees. It became immediately clear that all in attendance shared a kind and gentle spirit, coupled with absolute hatred for George Adolph Bush (the President was referred to that way more than once) as well as any version of Christianity that did not see the world their way. In addition, there was much visceral hatred extended towards Israel and Jews that would refuse to participate in their own slaughter and vilification.
The presentation, Abraham in our Faiths, was a dull, if pleasant exercise by the KCC, intended to lull all in attendance that we really are all the same, our values and cultures are all equal and implied was that if it weren’t for certain people (read: everyone unlike themselves), our world would be a better place. There is no room in the world for differing opinions.
(The Muslim scholar was introduced as a Palestinian, as if somehow, that gave his beliefs added weight. When we were introduced to him after the presentation, we noted that he spoke with an Egyptian accent (we are in a position to discern these things). He hastily replied that he was born in the ‘little hospital’ on the Gaza-Egypt border (that was the same hospital that apparently saw the births of Yasser Arafat and the late Edward Said. Both of them grew up in Cairo and had documents attesting to their birth in that city, despite their claims to be Palestinian). We noted that the little hospital obstetrics unit must have been the size of Mass General, given how many Arab Muslims in the west claim to be Palestinians.)
In any event, the presentations were made and they were followed up by questions. Naturally, the self absorbed undergrads immediately took to the floor and predictably found novel ways to repeat the same thing, that we all need to get along. They ended their profound remarks with misunderstood quotes from Khalil Gibran, Kierkegaard, Andy Warhol and their pre school teachers.
When the ‘look at me, mommy!’ crowd was done, another ‘Muslim scholar’ in attendance took to the microphone to make a statement, in which he noted the obvious superiority of the Quran as and unchanged sacred text, as opposed to both the Old and New testaments. We immediately rose and challenged his assertion re the Quran, citing scholarly evidence to the contrary (there are at least three versions of the Quran. Yes, we are equipped to that argument. We are after all, SC&A).
At that point, we were interrupted and told that this was not the forum for textual discussions that might offend some.
After the presentation, we had the good fortune to be introduced to a professor of psychiatry at Duke Medical School. This person is a highly regarded ‘name’ and maintains serious status at that world class institution. His work is world renowned.
Our conversation began pleasantly enough, as we chatted about Islam and world events. Within a few minutes, he launched into a virulently anti American and and anti George Bush tirade, insisting that George Bush ‘lied’ and that there were never any WMD’s in Iraq and that George Bush lied to the American people when he said there was a connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. We replied that Mr Bush had never said there was a connection between 9/11 and Saddam and that Saddam most certainly had manufactured and used WMD’s.
At this point, the doctor pulled us aside and said, he didn’t want to get into the specifics of what was and wasn’t said (of course not). He did say that George Bush was a fascist and almost a Nazi (clearly, he wanted to have something to add for another day).
We looked at this world renowned doctor and asked, “Are you insane?” Clearly uncomfortable, our conversation progressed and then the doctor went on to say that there was another way to disarm Saddam other than war. We asked what that was.
The doctor went on to describe a technique used in residential settings, when a client is in a highly agitated state (please note that even SC&A can be PC). The client is surrounded by professionals, that very slowly move in to subdue the client. It is the hope that the when the client sees the inevitable, he will return to a calm state.
The doctor noted that the US needed to surround Iraq with two million soldiers and very slowly, go house to house, looking for weapons and in doing so, they would tighten the noose around Saddam Hussein. Thus surrounded, the doctor posited the notion that Saddam would come to his senses and surrender.
This was the advice and opinion from a world class psychiatrist teaching at a world class institution.
We repeated our question to this world renowned doctor, even more forcefully- “Are you insane?” We told the doctor that he had boxed himself into a clearly untenable position, and that we felt sorry for him. It was a shame we said, that a brilliant mind such as his, was co opted by such drivel.
As we were about to leave, we exchanged email addresses and then, out of the blue, the good doctor whispered in my ear that Iranian president Almahdinejad really was crazy and needed to be stopped.
We asked the doctor if he meant we needed to talk to Almahdinejad. ‘No’, replied the doctor. He said we didn’t have the time and in any event, talking would not produce results. We asked if he was saying that he recognized the Iranian president as evil. “Oh yeah”, replied the doctor, “and we need to deal with this now”.
A rare (if brief) moment of reality on campus.