Thursday, November 18, 2010
This first post is dedicated to the memory of former Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel Pearl, who was brutally murdered by Islamic fanatics. Please visit http://danielpearl.org/ to contribute your efforts toward peace, healing and remembering Mr. Pearl.
Islam in general, and Palestinians in particular, interpreted the birth of Israel as the West laughing at them.
We were laughing loudly, they still think and intimate, pointing our fingers at the Arab world in ridicule, revealing the nudity of ignorance in the Mideast.
The Islamic world's popular myth is that because Western civilization arrived with accomplishments in science, philosophy, technology, weaponry, culture, literature and -- above all -- respect, it was a cover for some toxic evil injurious to them.
In any reformation of Islam, this is the first notion that must go. Islamic myths must be thrown out because they're dangerous, and have served to retard the intellectual identity of Arabs since 1948. Such myths about the evils of modernity have worked against Islamic peoples repeatedly and harshly.
In any reformation of Islam, this notion of the democratic world mocking Islam has to be erased because it's a lie. We do not breathe and eat and write our histories to insult Islam. The modern world is likely to criticize Islam because Islam needs criticism. Cartoons and jokes are an outgrowth of how much of the world sees today's Islam.
The West -- much of the world -- is tired of apologizing to Islam. It's time for serious change in Islam.
Frankly, the world is growing tired of drying Islamic tears, changing the diapers of the forsaken, over and over and over and over and over again, decade after decade after decade after decade forevermore...
Islam's campaign against Israel is tagged and treated as a religious dispute. In reality, it's a set of land disputes that could be solved if Islam grew up, arrived at the negotiating tables like mature negotiators.
The world wants Islam to move away from the 7th Century and give the 21st Century a try. It would be an honest start to meaningful negotiations between Islam and the modern world.
September 13, 2010
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The Invisible Man, the 1933 movie by Universal, was based on 1897 book by H.G. Wells. This photo of film's lead character I found at http://www.Flixter.com
ISLAM NEEDS REFORM, #2
By Lurene Gisee
September 19, 2010
Getting back to today’s subject, Islam needs reformation right now. Tomorrow won’t do. Islam’s reformation must be engineered by the world’s smarter Moslems who want to break free of the ruthless and irrational domination of shariah’s laws.
Today’s Islam operates in one way: it smashes the creative initiative of millions. It survives on rumor, paranoia and despotism.
That is all. There are no liberal democracies in Islam. There are a few less-oppressive authoritarian states where one can make a life by being invisible, however.
The modern world cannot construct a better legal, social and financial architecture for Islam. Unless there is reformation from the inside, Islam will lay contentedly forever with despotism.
We in the modern world are not seeing things as they are. We’ve let political correctness become a semi-legitimate compass point. We want to make excuses for Islam’s failures. We allow ourselves to BE the excuse for Islam’s failure.
Speaking of not seeing, I was getting past this last September 11, 2010 – the anniversary of the 2001 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center -- by distracting myself, watching an old movie. It was The Invisible Man, a film made in 1933 by Universal.
In the film, based on the book written by H.G. Wells, a scientist concocts a radical chemical mixture that causes complete invisibility. But the mixture has a terrible side effect. It makes the poor scientist hungry for an unlimited power. It’s a typical horror film.
My favorite area of the film is when The Invisible Man reveals his shocking ideas to his former friend. Here’s his speech:
“Suddenly, I realized the power I held. The power to rule, to make the world grovel at my feet…We’ll begin with a reign of terror. A few murders here and there. Murders of great men, murders of little men, just to show we make no distinction. We might even wreck a train or two. Just these fingers around a signalman’s throat…”
For me, it’s a caricature of what we face today with Islam. Even this brief likening might get me wiped off the map, of course, if recent news headlines are any guide.
In fact, that’s one of the major problems with Islam. It’s the religion that can’t take a joke.
Islam can’t tolerate open media, free speech.
You can tell a strong-arm Moslem by the way he or she discusses the week’s news – and it’s all he or she discusses. It’s all about how the media was or was not fair to Islam.
Cartoons, satires and criticism are loaded weapons to Islam. Remember Salman Rushdie? If you’re a writer or journalist or cartoonist, you have no seat in the Islamic theater. Remember Daniel Pearl? Kurt Westergaard? Lars Vilks? Theo Van Gogh? Molly Norris?
We don’t want a suspicious society like this. It’s hard to live this way, always in distrust of the one next to you.
I want the security of treating everyone with bland disinterest– no matter what their accent or color. This is not possible in Islam.
Moslems feign the African-American history of oppression in the United States when it suits them, or whatever ethnic costumery advantageous for the short-term. Some seem to crave arrival in the U.S. just to sue for discrimination.
It’s never made sense to me. What are they calling it in England these days? Libel Tourism? I can’t help thinking of John Milton: “Better to Reign in Hell than Serve in Heaven.”
This is what comes to my mind when I hear the word “Islamophobic” in the U.S. The whole notion of Islamophobia smells prefabricated.
It’s a bad idea to begin discriminating randomly – and there are genuine cases.
However, we should start looking at Islam far more closely than we have. We need to examine Islam’s attitude toward Free Speech in particular. There’s no right to Free Speech in Islam. In the next section, I want to examine the right to free expression in Islam.
September 19, 2010
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Image of Giles Corey being crushed to death by rocks September 19, 1692 at Salem Witch Trials. Others were hanged. Rock execution image can be found at Lane Memorial Library site at http://www.hampton.lib.nh.us/hampton/biog/pooroldgoodycole.htm
Photo of Three Stooges from The Alaska Standard website, photo from early 1930s, Columbia films.
Once again, Islam needs reformation. You should have no doubt this is necessary immediately for the sake of Islam’s modern populations. The world outside can’t do this for Islam in a meaningful way.
Let’s start with The American First Amendment, what it is not and what it is. Islam does not allow the concepts therein. Islam has a hard time with liberal ideas in general. We could use examples other than the American First Amendment, but let’s stick with that for the sake of argument.
Sometimes, when trying to imagine Islam with respect to The First Amendment, I feel I am watching an old episode of The Three Stooges with Larry, Curly and Moe. With Islam, I imagine, Larry is Freedom of Religion, Curly is Freedom of Speech, and Moe is the Right to Peacefully Assemble to Petition Government for a Redress of Grievances.
Using this imaginary scene, it’s easy to see why freedoms are not catching on for Islam yet.
Each freedom is poking the other in the eye, knocking the next senseless, or pushing neighbors down the nearest stairwell. This isn’t too far from the truth, if you ask me,
Using this imagery to think, in fact, I kind of feel sorry for Islamic populations. They have plenty to pray, complain and gather about, but they just can’t get a break from one another. They keep blaming the rest of the world, but they have themselves to blame over and over and over again.
On that same note, incidentally, Islamic academics and students are increasingly, in 2010, trying to change the history of free expression, as the West understands and learns it. I was shocked when seeing the entry for Wikipedia here, where you should examine the footnotes and references quite closely. Notice the paper noted in #13:
Seems history is being rewritten a bit, no?
So, regarding the American rights to free expression, the First Amendment considers not just public media, but also other means by which people tend to express themselves. That is, through protest and religion. This goes back considerably in Amercian history, well before the founding of the U.S.
I poked around the colonial writers of the American east. I found the 1702 work of Cotton Mather, who was then living in a society which practiced slavery and burned accused witches. He is today known, among other things, for supporting the Salem Witch Trials.
In one of his works, "Wonders of the Invisible World," which was published in 1693, he supported the trials, attended and recorded them. Here is one section of his writing from the scene:
"The Court being sensible, that the Testimonies of the Parties Bewitched use to have a Room among the Suspicions or Presumptions, brought in against one Indicted for Witchcraft, there were now heard the Testimonies of several Persons, who were most notoriously Bewitched, and every day Tortured by Invisible Hands, and these now all charged the Spectres of G. B. to have a share in their Torments. At the Examination of this G. B. the Bewitched People were grievously harassed with Preternatural Mischiefs, which could not possibly be Dissembled; and they still ascribed it unto the Endeavours of G. B. to kill them..." http://etext.lib.virginia.edu
I use this small section only to show that Mr. Mather was not what we could call a progressive man back then, or today. He thinks he is describing works of evil spirits, the devil. In the world he walked, there was enough freedom of speech to let him write the above buffoonery, but it was not solid enough a right to protect the accused. Who believes evil witches, anyway?
Many of the accused were hanged, one guy crushed to death by the weight of large rocks. He refused to confess to a crime.
The reason I bring this up is, first, such societies almost never encourage freedom of expression. They are ready to believe rumors and conspiracy theories, as was Mr. Mather. We today tend to view him and his paranoid neighbors, though, as products of the late 1600s. Mather was one of the more intelligent writers of the day, mind you. At least two in the Mather family were students at Harvard and Yale, as the colleges existed then.
Second, backward as they were in these witchhunts, Mr. Mather shocked me by criticizing Islam, as he then perceived it:
"Having arrived thus far, I will here make a Pause, and acknowledge the shine of Heaven on our Parts of the Earth, and in the Improvements of our modern Philosophy.
To render us the more sensible hereof, we will propose a few Points of the Mahometan Philosophy, or Secrets reveal'd unto Mahomet, which none of his Followers, who cover so much of the Earth at this Day, may dare to question.
The Winds; 'tis an Angel moving his Wings that raises them...The thick-skull'd Prophet sets another Angel at work for Earthquakes; he is to hold so many Ropes tied unto every Quarter of the Globe: and if a City, or Mountain, or Tower, is to be overturned, then he tugs harder at the Pulley...
May our Devotion exceed the Mahometan as much as our Philosophy!"
(Colonial American Writing, edited by Roy Harvey Pearce, published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, June of 1964.)
I don't want to make too, too much of these passages, because they are from a relatively unenlightened age. It was before the founding of the U.S., before the Civil War, before the end of slavery. Battles with Indian tribes were still common.
However, Mather here is satirizing Islam. He seemed to understand he was discussing something far outside his realm. He calls Islam here a philosophy, not, in this quote, a religion, per se.
My point is that, even then, at least some observers did not think they were observing a mere religion with Islam, and said so without hesitation. It was something outside religion to some in the 1600s.
How is it Mather, without even our First Amendment yet, felt comfortable in writing this while, in 2010, the world's Moslems fear such speech within their own societies? Such freedom of expression would likely get them killed within Islam and their actions against one another remind us of this constantly.
Here in the United States, I've met many from Islamic countries who have left Islam, but still fear it highly. Now outside the grip of Islam, they display some of the most violent hatred of it that one will ever see of any ideology in the United States.
It's a larger hatred of religion than many of us understand. It's the hatred of former Moslems for Islam. I am almost more afraid of the rebels than I am of the multitudes of terrorists; the rebels won't hide forever. Today's Islamic apologists will eventually have to face them in some respect.
Given free expression, I want to include more documentation from Islam's rebels. I know, Free Speech does not cure all ills, but we can continue the discussion.
By Lurene Gisee
October 2, 2010
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"The Night Bivouac of the Napolean Army during Retreat from Russia, 1812"
Oil on Canvas, Historical Museum, Moscow, Russia. Painting by Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin, 1896-1897.
Let’s start with a pop quiz: Israelis and Palestinians will make the most progress toward a lasting peace settlement by adopting which of these three options:
1 – Continue talks, but outside, naked, in Fargo, North Dakota this January;
2 – Continue talks, but about the rising price of gold last year in Burkina Faso;
3 - Discontinue talks until the Palestinians accept Israel’s right to exist. [Answer at end.]
Islam needs reformation immediately for the sake of Islam’s populations. The world outside Islam can’t do this for them. This is the main theory of these writings.
Free expression within Islam would be a tremendous step in the right direction, many of those outside Islam might say in 2010. I used to think it was a matter of teaching the populations of Islam the basics of free speech.
Now, however, I think Islam's movers and shakers understand free speech quite well because they so often use it -- misuse it, actually -- as a kind of modeling clay. With this ideological clay, Islamic radicals, activists and terrorists seem increasingly able to maintain their own oppressions, justify them.
Notice events in Iran in this first week of November, 2010. The despotic government there was afraid of rebellion inside the country, so arrested people without charge as a preventive measure. Don’t laugh yet; Iran’s just getting started.
A November 4, 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal by Farnaz Fassihi reported “400 more people would be arrested and ‘paraded’ in the coming days to set an example for anyone planning social unrest."
A spokesman out of Tehran said some would be "charged with 'moharebeh' or 'war against God,' a charge that carries the death penalty and is typically handed out to political dissidents,” according to Fassihi's article, which was filed from Beirut.
While reading the article, I found myself laughing. Who does God have as his attorney? What is this attorney’s hourly rate? Does he actually have an office in Tehran?
LET'S CELEBRATE RACISM AND DESPOTISM!
But wait! The Yemeni-proposed 2011 “commemoration” of the first UN anti-racism conference in 2001 South Africa would be another stage for Iranian nonsense.
The original 2001 event, which ended just days before the attacks of September 11, 2001, was a hate festival against Israel. The next affair would, theoretically, spiritually host the usual dictators like Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Libya’s Ghaddafi and Syria’s Assad to fill us in with the usual slanderous, anti-Semitic vomit. They always make these parties.
(Oh, don’t miss the first-grade numerology of these involved dates. The World Trade Center in New York was attacked September 11, 2001. The proposed date for this “commemoration” is September 21, 2011 at the United Nations, which would also make it conveniently located next to the proposed Cordoba Mosque, scheduled for opening in late 2011. Many in the media announce the mosque has a planned opening for September 11, 2011, but I can’t confirm this intention. I don’t need to, however. I trust you’re getting the point by now.)
IT GETS FUNNIER WITH EACH PASSING DAY
With news like this, I've often thought that Islamic despots have no appreciation of power's limits. Like previous dictatorial systems, Islam seems likely to burn itself out by growing overconfident about itself.
Such systems fly high for some period of time, and then eventually run into the brick wall of reality.
This is what happened to Napoleon Bonaparte when he tried invading Russia in 1812. The image of the painting above is a fair depiction of events, from what I've read. Napoleon thought he could do anything he liked because he kept getting away with stunts in Europe, starting with the French Revolution in 1789.
Then, entering Russia, he eventually had to admit that his troops had basically starved to death, froze, thus were defeated and humiliated and killed in the foolish pursuit of more world authority.
ISLAMIC TYRANTS HAVE NO ACTUAL CREDIBILITY IN MODERN WORLD
We owe Islam nothing and must see this.
Many Islamic activists want to call Americans Islamophobic. The globe knows this is pure fiction.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world is on high alert all the time. Modern humanity has let cowardice be its guide and does not see this.
This must end. Now.
It will end in the 21st Century, too. I've no doubts about this. It's time to abandon timidity and fear.
MAKE RULES: FREE SPEECH IN NEGOTIATIONS OR NO NEGOTIATIONS
With all this being the case, I had to pause in the last two weeks with this draft essay. I thought of Napoleon, how he imagined himself too great. How there is no such thing as absolute power.
Dictatorial worlds never last because they leave all sides uselessly heroic and ideologically homeless. Islam will meet the same end unless they abandon their own slavery.
Israelis should demand that the Islamic world accept their existence before any further negotiations. No talks without recognition of Israel by Palestinians. Period.
Jews should not sit at the same table with negotiators who deny Israel exists as a nation and that Jews exist as a moral, modern people.
The Israeli is not The Invisible Man or Woman. Israelis are real people, not fictional characters.
I do not think this stance will necessarily produce a peace agreement next year, but it will force the involved parties to consider new, more practical positions.
It will also encourage the world’s peoples to quit portraying Jews as juvenile delinquents.
WHAT IS FREE SPEECH, ANYWAY?
Islamic law does not seem to understand the underlying philosophies of free expression.
Where do you go to gain some understanding of free expression? One place would be in the writings of John Stuart Mill, his 1859 book, On Liberty. (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859, London, any local library, or on internet.)
Here are some of my notes from Mill’s work:
“In the part [of behavior] which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute.”
Mill said this philosophy only applies to adults. Not kids or backward states of society. People would find it difficult to get this sort of writing published in 2010, by the way. Somehow, we have increasing social restrictions today in the U.S. and Europe. Mill got really wild, as some more of the following quotes show.
“Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement and the means justified by actually effecting that end.”
“Liberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion.”
“…until then, there is nothing for them but implicit obedience to an Akbar or Charlemagne, if they are so fortunate to find one.”
But for educated peoples, Mill proposes, liberty is necessary. Absolutely.
“The real advantage which truth has consists in this, that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or many times, but in the course of ages there will generally be found persons to rediscover it…”
Mill’s definition of public opinion would describe modern Islam: “…they are always a mass, that is to say, collective mediocrity.”
Islam needs eccentricity within to gain freedom.
Lack of eccentricity in society was, in Mill's day, he wrote “the chief danger of the time.”
“The greater part of the world has, properly speaking, no history, because the despotism of Custom is complete. This is the case over the whole East. Custom is there, in all things, the final appeal; justice and right mean conformity to custom; the argument of custom no one, unless some tyrant intoxicated with power, thinks of resisting.”
Why? Because there is no individuality, Mill said. No allowance of singularity. Change okay en mass, ONLY.
Truth is served, ultimately and continuously, by refuting the error let in through free expression.
The state easily over-reaches, interferes with individuality. This is part of what Mill wrote. He was wild for his day.
Thomas Paine, in comparison, seemed nearly insane.
THOMAS PAINE, "AGE OF REASON."
While in a French prison, Paine worked on AGE OF REASON, about 1793.
He disagreed with many, accepted church teachings. His views made him one of the most hated men of his time.
Today, the location of his grave, in England, is unknown.
Yet, he was an American revolutionary.
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY, 1967, LIBRARY
Thomas Paine published COMMON SENSE in January of 1776. This argued for American independence, and avoiding European entanglements. He attacked hereditary aristocracy as well as religion.
“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”
Paine does not condemn those who believe otherwise, and was not an atheist.
Paine wrote he did not believe any religion has a unique path to God. He did not believe in divine inspiration.
About religion, he wrote “…for my own part I disbelieve them all."
As an average American, Lurene Gisee, I hear and have heard various swipes at religion over the years. Christian Arabs swipe at Moslem Arabs in Jerusalem, Jews at other Jews, Christians at other Christians atheists and agnostics at them all.
You have idea by the time you finish junior high school in the United States that derogatory remarks about religion are propitious to speech in general, as long as some intuitive, reasonable restraint is observed by those involved.
Islam, though, has its greatest difficulties here, and we know this because it is in the news each week; only with today’s Islam do I feel I might make a cartoon that will get me killed.
Paine, for example, thought heathen myths as the more likely author of the Jesus story. It was nothing new, he wrote from a revolutionary France, on his way to prison.
The story of Jesus “sprang out of the tail of the heathen mythology.”
Yet, he does not take issue, he wrote, with “the real character of Jesus Christ.” He found virtue and amity in this. He said there were similar notions in Greece and China.
Jesus did not write a word of his own life story, Paine reminded readers. Yet, he was a man of his own day and age; a normal man.
Paine wrote things that were amazing for his day and time. He said the story of Jesus “has every mark of fraud and imposition stamped upon the face of it.”
The Jews were there. But in the Jesus story, Paine reminded us, "Christians are saying, in effect, ‘I will prove the truth of what I have told you by producing the people who say it is false.’”
Paine today, if in Islam, would be beheaded. Why?
Because Islam chokes such questions from the time they arise. Humor and self- reflection is what Islam lacked in the days of Paine and still lacks.
But Islam needs its own Paine.
IT WILL CHANGE BECAUSE IT MUST
Islam needs free speech.
Here is what American Supreme Court Justice Brandeis wrote in a concurrence in 1927’s Whitney vs. California decision:
"Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of free speech to free men from bondage of irrational fears. . . Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. . . "
Again: Islam needs free speech.
There is no end to examples of what befalls societies which do not have guarantees of free expression, or have contortions made to that right.
MYTHS IMPORTANT IN ALL DICTATORSHIPS
People like myths because myths make it easier to think in an abstract sense.
If Islam wants a real world, it must learn to love detail, not more myth.
The important point is that Islam’s malcontents will not, stay in hiding forever.
Islam needs reformation.
That reformation, though, if it is to be moderately peaceful and gain real credibility, can't be initiated by the West, but only Islam.
Band; Rush. Song; Free Will.
This song reminds me of what today is facing modern Islam:
[Quiz at Top Answer: 3}
by Lurene Gisee
November 18, 2010, edited October, 2017