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Archive through June 29, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru January 2003 » The Monkey Hole » Arafat calls for free elections, new US Chief Executive » Archive through June 29, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Jdm
Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 2:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

bob chong, blaming this on clinton is what is 'laughable'. how out of touch can you be? as i remember the bloodshed that is being spilled now is far more in abundance. did you know that the commander-in-thief has been in 'control' for one and a half years now? a palestine state was so close it could be tasted a few years back, and i believe clinton had something to do with that. bushy jr. has no idea how to handle the middle east problem, nor do his cronies. their 'sit back and watch' plan has backfired badly. and i cannot understand how anyone in their right mind can blame clinton, that ideology is beyond me and i will never even attempt to understand your point of view.

anatomist, though i am starting to agree with you more(i am sure that you give a rats ass), your condescending comment on 'college idealism', you know the cliche 'oh, i used to think like you when i was young....' is silly. hopefully, not everyone that grows old and graduates from college comes back with a narrow-minded world view.
Anatomist
Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 1:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Traineraz,

I'm familiar with the basics of the history of Islam and some of its past achievements, and with Christianity and its past abuses. All I can say is: that was then, this is now.

Bunny,

In my days of college idealism, I used to say similar things about how all the communist states in the world didn't have anything to do with "real communism". In fact, my ideas of "real" communism were an abstract fantasy that had little relevance to anything actually happening in the world. The real communist states were opressive, bleak places to live - much worse than here in most ways. I think the 'actual Islam' line you are plying is along the same lines. If most muslims are living under the authority of and lending legitimacy to people you call extremists, then that would make your extreme by your definition mainstream in the actual world, and mainstream by your definition somewhere in the realm of a minority phenomenon or a useless theoretical abstraction.

However, note that I said a clash of cultures, not merely religions. Religion is a big part of it, but not all. It sounds like your intended counter-example friends are more of our culture than that of their home country.

K.
Bunnylebowski
Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 1:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Good points, Trainer.
To be honest, I think the modern day middle eastern version of Islamic theocracy is pure evil, but it has very little to do with actual Islam. The problem illustrates the danger of any nationalized religion more than a specific problem with Islam itself.

The politics in the middle east have less to do with Islam than they have to do with an insane abuse of power, and a desperate public clinging to an absurd absolutist ideal to make them feel less powerless than they actually are. It's no different than Hitler coming into power because of the economic crisis in Germany in the late 20's. Hopeless people are particularly likely to cling to any ideal which claims to have all the answers, and the corrupt Muslim political leaders are taking advantage of this. They blame all their problems on the American and Jewish infidels, as opposed to assuming responsiblity for the current deplorable conditions in most Muslim countries.

Muslims in the US have no problem with other people. They don't cut someone's hand off when they steal, and only the most fundamentalist american Muslims subjugate women to wearing veils and being uneducated. They don't destroy anything artistic that isn't praising Allah, and they don't blow themselves and others up when they feel threatened.
I have several muslim friends from Pakistan that are all Muslim, and they're very peaceful people who hate the Palestinian extremists and other terrorists as much as we do. Unfortunately, because most Americans assume that Islam=Terrorism, my friends have been visited by the FBI and CIA and have been questioned more than once by them, simply because they're brown and muslim. They've been turned in by their neighbors, and they've had FBI agents knock on their door at 7AM. And they've done NOTHING suspicious. They're on legitimate visas, and they don't even go to the mosque!
Traineraz
Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 12:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Anatomist -

You would do well to see if your local video store has a copy of the PBS documentary, "Islam: Empire of Faith."

If you can't find it to rent, there is some info about it at:

http://www.pbs.org/empires/islam/

This documentary, which I saw about 6 months ago, traces the history of Islam. A particular point of interest is how Muslim scholars in Moorish Spain kept alive the philosophy (with which they often did not agree) and science of the Greco-Roman cultures during the Catholic Dark Ages.

While forward-looking, thoughtful, non-violent Christians were burning Greek/Roman "heretical" texts, warring among themselves, and later preparing to invade the "Holy Land," Muslims were studying Plato and Aristotle with open minds, and establishing Cordoba as a great center of learning. Were it not for those "backward and violent" Muslims, the Renaissance, which depended so heavily upon the texts preserved by Muslim scholars, might never have happened.

Islam is not any more violent a religion than Christianity or Judaism. The issue is how it is interpreted by fundamentalists (the same sort who used Christianity to justify slavery and lynching of those "sub-human" Negroes not long ago in the U.S.) who, unfortunately, have come to dominate Islamic culture in recent years.

When the masses are poor and uneducated, they are likely to believe whatever they are told by their religious leaders. It worked for Catholics during the Dark Ages, for Baptists in the South (at present), and it works for Muslim fundamentalists in the Middle East.
Anatomist
Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 12:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I've heard that line before, of course: "it's only the extremists. Islam is a religion of peace."

I don't buy it. Look at all those countries with Islam as the dominant religion. Would you want to be a free thinker, a woman or anything but a sheep-like conformist in any of them? ...good way to end up a virtual slave, get body parts cut off, or perhaps find yourself buried to the waist and stoned to death.

I don't think this PC crap about Islam being no more inherently violent or anti-freedom than Christianity is a load of horseshit. I'm not a fan of contemporary Christianity either, but even the most extreme factions aren't nearly as bad. Islam is inherently hostile to secular goverment and personal freedom, and at least has the seeds of a major propensity towards being used as an excuse to treat women like livestock and serve as a facile pretext for wars.

We're involved in a clash of cultures here, and tiptoeing a round this fact is just overcautious doublespeak. Perhaps it is necessary in terms of international politics... I'm not a politician, so I feel no need to pay lip service to such obvious nonsense.

K.
Bunnylebowski
Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 8:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

No, what you're describing Anatomist are the extremist aspects of a very distorted version Islam. I believe all religion is hindering mans progress, but if you want to look at the facts, Christianity is responsible for far more atrocities commited in the name of their faith than Islam. Islamic law is misogynistic, but the Christian bible dictates just as many misogynistic beliefs as Islam does.

These are the five pillars of Islam: faith, prayer, fasting, almsgiving and pilgrimage. None of these pillars dictate violence, only personal discipline. The concept of Jihad (holy war) is also frequently misinterpreted to be a physical defense against those who would try and destroy Islam, but in truth, the concept of Jihad refers to an inner holy war, where one is at battle against his own ego. The extremists in Palestine are distorting their religion as much as those who bomb abortion clinics are distorting Christianity. They take the "eye for an eye" verse in the bible as literally as the muslim extremists take the concept of holy war.

Islam is not responsible for the mess in the middle east, the US's financial and political support of Israel, and the insanity of the muslim extremists is what is exacerbating the situation.

I would agree with you though if I had to choose one to keep, it would be Judaism. At least Jews support open inquiry and have a sense of humour, and if you look throughout history you don't hear of Jews killing those who refuse to believe the same way they do. Judaism is by far the least absolutist of the big three, and it's absolutism that allows the corruption of religious ideals.
Anatomist
Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 6:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Personally, if I had to choose one to survive, it would not be "palestine". Judaism seems like the least fucked up of the major monotheisms. I'm not a serious student of the religion, but it seems to me lighter on unquestioning dogma and heavier on open-ended inquiry than the other big 2. It's brought us generations of magnificent thinkers, humorists, writers, filmmakers...

What has Islam brought us? Violent intolerance of free thought and speech, widespread misogyny and sexism, a rabid drive to return to a backward, medieval way of life... not only for themselves, but a hair-trigger willingness to use violent means to impose these things on others. Due to the coincidence of so many Islamic countries being located on large oil deposits, they have money, power, and military might far beyond what they would have achieved via on their own, either as producers or conquerers.

I say fuck the palestenians. There is a massive abundance of countries just like the one they would like to establish, some only a few miles away. Another rabid Islamic state is the last thing the world needs. On the other hand, there is only one tiny Jewish state in the world... we have a stake in their survival simply by the fact that they are more like us, and therefore an asset to the world and the future from our perspective.

I really don't buy any of that crap about 'fairness'. If the relative power of the Isrealis and Palestinians were reversed, the Palestinians would conquer without hesitation, killing or imprisoning every Jew they could catch. The idea of fairness would never enter their heads. Isreal has the power to do this and far more - they could probably expand their territory five or ten-fold in a matter of weeks, anytime they chose... but they don't. Big difference.

K.
Traineraz
Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 1:19 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Anatomist -

I'm shocked. We seem close to agreeing on something.

I've been saying for years that, were I All-Powerful Dictator of the World, I would give the people of the region one week to work out their shrine issues (since this always seems a sticking point). If they fail, the bulldozers come in, and the Wailing Wall and the big mosque become a parking lot, upon which nothing would ever be built. The remnants of the buildings would be ground into sand and spread in the desert.

Next step would be to bulldoze all of Old Jerusalem.
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 12:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Exactly Anatomist, the purpose of US involvement in the region is and always has been to prop up a sectarian state in the region that is incapable of surviving by itself. The focus of the US is the state of Israel, sod the Palestinians who cares about the fate of their nation. The current US administration (as with virtually all previous administartions) has no interest in seeing that Palestinians recieve a fair deal, only in supporting the state of Israel (with it's war-criminal leader).

Why is Israel hated by her neighbours? Well if you and your folks were booted off you land and property (for no reason other than you were not of the 'correct' religion) to make way for others, forced into a refugee camp and not allowed to return, then you might not be too happy about it either. Until Palestinians are allowed the right to return to the land from which they were evicted there will be no peace.

"Without all the military support from us, Israel would already be an historical relic"

Just like Palestine.

Hobgoblin
Anatomist
Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 12:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Get real, LH. Without all the military support from us, Israel would already be an historical relic... a story told by wandering jews. Take a look at a map. They are a tiny little antlike sliver of country in the midst of a sea of people that hate them and would love to see them dead and gone. Without the credible threat of a huge ass-kicking, they'd be overrun in no time.

Of course, my solution is beyond our current technological capabilities. The way everyone in the region bickers and perpetually fucks with one another over whose what is holier, and the kind of 'nobody else can go into temple x or y' issues that become supposed deal breakers in negotiations... it leads me to think we should just scoop the whole fucking 'holy' patch of land up with a giant backhoe and drop it in the middle of the ocean. You know, give 'em a good year's notice. Say "Look, you boys can't seem to play nice with your little holy temples and desert real estate, so we're going to put it all away. You have one year to evacuate... If you still want to fight over it, grab some scuba gear and knock yourself out." We could set aside a couple of patches of crummy land for each group in Greenland or Siberia for immigration...

K.
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2002 - 12:10 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Etienne,

Arafat does not appear to have much control of the situation at the moment but how can a leader have control when his people are under the control of another state (lead by a man currently under investigation for war crimes against Palestinians) which is hostile to them? What Palestine leader do you suggest would have better control?

So Bush insists that he will not talk to Arafat and insist that the Palestinians must choose another leader. So if the Palestinians ditch Arafat does that mean that he will sit down and talk to the new leader. Unless Bush has shit for brains (and that fact is debatable) he knows that if the Palestinians will not ditch Arafat in favour of a more moderate leader (regardless of whether or not George Bush tells them to so). So if Arafat fails to win in the Palestinian elections, the winner will be a real extremist from Hamas or somewhere similar.

Since Bush will not deal with Arafat he will certainly not deal with someone from Hamas. Therefore the only conclusions to make are that either Bush has no interest whatsoever of talking to any elected Palestinian leader or that he lost his grip on reality.

Hobgoblin
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 11:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Bob,

If nothing the USA says or does in Israel/Palestine matters then why not stay out of it altogether. Sure let them solve their own problems without your involvement, but this also requires an end to US involvemnet in Israel. The USA have artificially made Israel the most powerful nation in the region, the USA is largely responsible for the balance of power in the region, and this balance of power is largely responsible for the current conflict, you can't simply wash your hands of involvement in the current conflict.

To end the propping up the state of Israel with vast amounts of the US taxpayer's dollars would be a start in letting those in that region sort the problems out for themselves. For this to happen there must indeed be a REAL change in leadership in the USA.

Hobgoblin
Bob_Chong
Posted on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 10:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

"Sitting down and trying very hard"? Nothing happened. The current bloodshed is Clinton's legacy. No Clinton apologists, please: they're too laughable.
Bunnylebowski
Posted on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 9:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yeah, but Clinton at least got the Palestinian leadership and the Israeli leadership to sit down and try very hard to work out a deal, and Arafat has now agreed to accept that deal. That's better than any other President has done.

Arafat's late acceptance of that deal was political psychobabble though, because he knew Sharon won't agree. Just like Dubyah saying there should be a Palestinian state is psychobabble because Bush full well knows there is absolutely nothing he can do which will help create a Palestinian state. He's just trying to get the more pro-palestinian factions in this country to say "hey, maybe that boy from Texas ain't that bad, maybe I should vote for him next election".

It's all a fucking smokescreen. As long as Sharon and Arafat are alive, there will NEVER be peace in Israel and Palestine. And there probably won't be after they're dead either.
Bob_Chong
Posted on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 8:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

MC:

In some ways, I agree. But I can't imagine our system changing from the choice between vanilla and french vanilla. We're stuck with it. Occasionally, a cranberry sherbet will come along, but no one buys it. A few folks get excited about the sherbet, but never enough to change things. Fuck, even vanilla with some jimmies sprinkled on top is knocked out of contention before Super Tuesday.

I'm going to go have some dessert now,

BC
Marccampbell
Posted on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 8:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Bob,

some might argue that going from Carter to Reagan to Bush to Clinton and back to Bush ain't really a fundamental change in leadership.
Bob_Chong
Posted on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 8:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

"Rather than needing a change in the Palestinian leadership, the Palestinian/Israeli
problem will not be solved until there is a change of leadership in the USA."

LOL. That's the funniest thing I've read here in a long time. Carter failed. So did Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and now the current Bush. Five presidents in seven terms, nothing accomplished. Nothing we do or say matters.
Don't put this on us. Obviously, those fucks need to solve their own problems.

Their unemployment is out of control (35%?), and if there's no work to do, there's always war. All they need is a good scapegoat. The Jews. Sound familiar? I thought so.
Etienne
Posted on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 8:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

LordH;

Do you really feel that Arafat has control of anything in Palestine now? Is he capable of controlling anyone?

Except for your opinon of the potential of the current American administration, I think I agree with what you've said, at least in terms of a possible successor.
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 7:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

And do you really think that a more 'moderate' Palestinian leader could do a better job? In situations where there are extremists involved who need to be made stop their activities then a moderate leader will simply not be able to do it. A moderate leader will be regarded by extremists as a pariah and a stooge of their enemies.

Anyway the choice that you have between potential Palestinian leaders is either Arafat or an ultra-extremist 'nutjob' from Hamas. Expecting Palestinians to ditch Arafat in favour of a more moderate leader really is living in cloud-cuckoo-land. If you want to deal with the Palestinians then you either deal with Arafat or someone from Hamas or a similar group. Who would you rather deal with? Bush either has no interest whatsoever in dealing with the Palestinians at all or has lost his grip on reality.

Rather than needing a change in the Palestinian leadership, the Palestinian/Israeli problem will not be solved until there is a change of leadership in the USA.

Hobgoblin
Tristan
Posted on Friday, June 28, 2002 - 4:12 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The problem is that Arafat can't fix the problem. He can say all he wants to the Palestinian people, but the nutjobs that do the bombings arent' going to quit.

Ah well.

Glad I'm here. That's all I know.
Jdm
Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 11:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

you have my vote, lord.
Lordhobgoblin
Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 11:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ironically Bush's attacks on Arafat have strengthened his position. In a Palestinian election now, any (non-extremist) candidate standing against Arafat will be viewed by the Palestinian people as a stooge of the US and will have no chance of being elected by the Palestinians. The candidates with any chance of winning will be either Arafat or hard-line candidates from Hamas etc. Which of these winning candidates will Bush negotiate with after the elections? Bush has backed himself into a corner and has sealed any doors that could get him out of this corner when the Palestinians vote in their forthcoming elections. Bush ought to realise that in the real world, in order to solve problems, you have to negotiate with people with whom you are in deep disagreement. If you insist that you will only negotiate with those that view the situation from your frame of reference then problems will not be solved. You have to talk with your enemies in order to reach a solution.

Hobgoblin
Jdm
Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 11:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

um, it actually isn't hard to do some research and find that what the article says as 'reportedly', was in reality, a fact.
i thought everyone already knew that bush had something to do with the coup?
Tristan
Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 10:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

"reportedly" gave a go ahead.

Yeah. I told my friend they could overthrow mexico too. That has just as much validity as something that "reportedly" happened.
Perruche_Verte
Posted on Thursday, June 27, 2002 - 5:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat stunned the world yesterday by demanding that the United States hold democratic elections for a new Chief Executive before it attempts to continue in its role as broker between Israel and Palestine.

"Mr. Bush is tainted by his association with Jim-Crow-style selective disenfranchisement and executive strong-arm tactics in a southeastern province controlled by his brother," said Mr. Arafat, who was elected with 87% of the vote in 1996 elections in the West Bank and Gaza, declared to be free and fair by international observers...

Hugo Chavez, elected president of Venezuela with 62% of the popular vote, concurred with Mr. Arafat. Chavez has long been a victim of Bush's anti-democratic attitude, as the Bush administration funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars through the "National Endowment for Democracy" to anti-Chavez forces and reportedly gave the go-ahead for an attempted military coup by those forces. "After it was over and I was back in power," said Chavez, "his administration actually told me 'legitimacy is not conferred by a majority vote.' Unless, of course, it's a majority of the Supreme Court...

http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0626-06.htm

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