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Lady Gaga Versus Mideast Peace

i just wanted to briefly comment on an article i read in the Wall Street Journal written by Bret Stephens. It’s basic premise is that Lady Gaga does more to anger the Muslim world than the Israeli occupation…no, i’m serious.

i really wish i had more time to address this properly but being a 1L doesn’t afford me that luxury. but i am frustrated and appalled enough to make a few points.

Stephens starts off his article with the following statement:

“Pop quiz—What does more to galvanize radical anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world: (a) Israeli settlements on the West Bank; or (b) a Lady Gaga music video? If your answer is (b) it means you probably have a grasp of the historical roots of modern jihadism.”

oh. my. God.

what an offensive and ridiculous argument to make. i refuse to believe you are that stupid Stephens. this distinction- this amorphous idea of western values versus an actual brutal occupation-  has the purpose of redirecting attention away from Israel and its significant role in stoking the flames. the pundits who bend over backward to present this argument are mostly pro-Israeli hawks, and Stephens in particular is the former editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post.

what does Stephens know about the historical roots of modern jihadism?  that is, aside from narrowing it ALL down to a trip Qutb took to the U.S.? his entire argument is anchored in Qutb’s disdain for Western culture- this is his proof for why the Muslim world, past and present, is angry with us.

yes, it was Qutb who denounced Western culture, but it was also Qutb who wrote a number of articles on colonialism and Westernization. he linked these two phenomena to the British attempt to create a state for the Jews in Palestine. did you forget to read that part when you conducted your little research Stephens? because i think that also played a role in radicalizing the “Muslim mind” …in a much more profound and direct manner than his observations on what American women were wearing halfway across the world.

Stephens goes on to write:

“No less violent was Qutb’s attitude toward Jews: “The war the Jews began to wage against Islam and Muslims in those early days [of Islamic history],” he wrote in the 1950s, “has raged to the present. The form and appearance may have changed, but the nature and the means remain the same.”

Needless to say, that passage was written long before Israel had “occupied” a single inch of Arab territory, unless one takes the view—held to this day by Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah and every other jihadist group…including significant elements of the “moderate” Palestinian Fatah—that Tel Aviv itself is occupied territory.

again, the writer is desperate to remove Israel out of the picture when it comes to assessing “Muslim rage.”  and he uses one Islamic thinker’s writing to prove it…doesn’t seem to care about anything else occurring in the Arab world at the time. the ethnic cleansing of Arabs in Palestine had in fact been happening years before Qutb published anything. reports of Arabs being systematically and brutally removed from their land traveled across the Middle East. militant Jewish groups such as Irgun operated in the British mandate of Palestine between 1931 and 1948. the Irgun’s policy in particular was based on what was then called Revisionist Zionism founded by Ze’ev Jabotinsky. according to Howard Sachar, “The policy of the new organization was based squarely on Jabotinsky’s teachings: every Jew had the right to enter Palestine; only active retaliation would deter the Arabs; only Jewish armed force would ensure the Jewish state.” the Irgun were responsible for bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in July of 1946,  and the Deir Yassin massacre on April 9, 1948. The latter is described as follows:

“The Deir Yassin massacre took place on April 9, 1948, when around 120 fighters from the Irgun and Lehi Zionist paramilitary groups attacked Deir Yassin near Jerusalem, a Palestinian-Arab village of roughly 600 people. The invasion occurred as Jewish militia sought to relieve the blockade of Jerusalem…that preceded the end of British rule in Palestine. Around 107 villagers, including women and children, were killed. Some were shot, while others died when hand grenades were thrown into their homes.”

that goes beyond Tel-Aviv and occurred before Qutb’s publications.  if you won’t recognize the significant role Israel has had in making the lives of terrorism recruiters easier, Mr. Stephens, than at the very minimum accept that Israel’s actions make our job of winning over the hearts and minds of the Muslim world that much more difficult. anything less than that renders you brainless. or worse, evil.

“Which brings me back to the settlements. There may well be good reasons for Israel to dismantle many of them….”

i promise you Stephens, you won’t break out into hives if you join the rest of the world in declaring them illegal instead of politely leaving it to Israel to determine why they should stop illegally and immorally encroaching upon another people’s land.

Bear in mind, too, that the America Qutb found so offensive had yet to discover Elvis, Playboy, the pill, women’s lib, acid tabs, gay rights, Studio 54, Jersey Shore and, of course, Lady Gaga….This, then, is the core complaint that the Islamists from Waziristan to Tehran to Gaza have lodged against the West. It explains why jihadists remain aggrieved even after the U.S. addressed their previous casus belli by removing troops from Saudi Arabia, and why they will continue to remain aggrieved long after we’ve decamped from Iraq, Afghanistan and even the Persian Gulf. As for Israel, its offenses are literally inextricable: as a democracy, as a Jewish homeland, as a country in which liberalism in all its forms, including cultural, prevails. But to imagine that the settlements account for even a fraction of the rage that has inhabited the radical Muslim mind since the days of Qutb is fantasy: The settlements are merely the latest politically convenient cover behind which lies a universe of hatred.

travel to any of the countries he’s mentioned, and anyone can plainly see that Western icons and trends are celebrated and imitated. the Muslim world doesn’t care about your whores, Stephens. what they do care about is the more direct and harmful impact of our politics on their lives. and i think that’s a legitimate and sufficient reason for being angry. what these people desire for themselves and their Palestinian brethren is freedom, a life of dignity, self autonomy. they, like you, are worthy of such a life. rather than insult our intelligence by reducing their grievance down to Jersey Shore and Gaga, i think it’s best you put down that pen and stop pretending to understand their rage and supplying answers for them. perhaps respect the Muslim world enough to actually listen to what they’re telling you. because they are speaking. and when someone is telling you repeatedly and in no uncertain terms, “this is why i am angry with you,” who are you to come along and say “no, this is why you are angry, and this is what you should do about it”?  that attitude has been reflective of Western policy for some time now and its gotten us nowhere. but if it makes your life easier Stephens, blame our political incompetence on Lady Gaga. who knows, maybe 2+2 really does equal 5.

“Which brings me back to the settlements. There may well be good reasons for Israel to dismantle many of them….”

ya think? how about the fact that they’re illegaal? i promise you mr. stephen, you won’t break out into hives if you join the rest of the world in declaring them illegal instead of politely leaving it to Israel to determine why they should perhaps stop illegally and immorally encroaching upon another peoples’ land.

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So got into an argument a little while ago over a poster.

While I do appreciate the genuine response to help Haiti, I can’t help but look at it and see “white girl saves black baby from terror of earthquake…hooray for white people!”
That being said, I got into an argument with someone over how they never show black people helping black people whenever tragedy hits. They always choose to display some white person.
This echoes an earlier posting here that was about Binyavanga Wainaina’s opinion on Africa.
I’m not saying there isn’t a sincere effort to help the poor, or that the relief workers over there should only be minorities, but to choose to display this as a “white man helping the poor black man” consistently propagates this condescending image of helplessness that only demoralizes minorities in addition the self satisfaction of white power supremacy (not the KKK kind, but the “see? they need us to survive” kind”
Why not show the Haitian relief workers who are helping? Does anyone realize that most of the aid workers in countries are actually native workers, and some white people who were flown in?
I don’t know if my argument is coherent or not, but there just seems to be this underlying overtone of “look we’re helping, hooray for us!” that gets to me, especially since most of the effects of disastrous events could have been tempered, if not prevented entirely, had the world only taken notice.


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Fox News- Stop breeding with the Ethnics

hahaha…ohhh fox news…your insight continues to amaze elitist, east coast American-Ethnics such as myself…

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Israeli Media- IDF used Gazans as human shields *shock*

because as we all know, it’s only credible if Israeli media covers it (as a side note, i wish Arab media were as critical of their own regimes)–

The Israel Defense Forces used Palestinians as human shields during Operation Cast Lead last January despite a 2005 High Court ruling outlawing the practice, a Golani brigade soldier says. He says he did not see Palestinians being used as human shields but was told by his commanders that this occurred.

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Response to Enlightenment Post: Iran

My response to Enlightenment post, which was a response to my response to his response to my response to…umm yea…

Majority of the government are NOT made up of clergy. And some of the harshest critics of the government are clergy. So your conclusion here is somewhat unfounded.

if we cant even agree that Iran is a theocracy, there’s no point in having a discussion. whether shias disagree with the statement that iran represents shi’ism is besides the point…sticking to facts, it is the only shia state with a majority shia population, ruled by a shia government. so when i criticize iran’s politics it’s fair to say that i’m criticizing a shia state, just like when i criticize saudi, its fair to say that im criticizing a sunni state.

the guardian council is charged with interpreting the constitution AND vetting candidates. all legislation has to be approved by the gc…and candidates have been disqualified by the gc on the basis of their perceived religiousosity. the supreme leader, who appoints members of the gc with the help of the chief judge (whom he also chooses), has the last word on all powerful posts, is in charge of defense, media, appoints the head of the judiciary, and handles foreign affairs…criticizing government can and has been equated with apostasy in iran…how is it the case that government and clergy are not one and the same?

Can you tell me who this “one guy” is? What are his qualifications? Furthermore, can you tell me how he was appointed? By whom?

the qualifications of the supreme leader are also besides the point..obviously he’s an ayatollah. for such a self correcting system, there are an awful lot of unaddressed issues such as the lack of freedom of expression…reformists are routinely censored by their government…they’ve shut down critical media…iran has behaved like any other oppressive government. how many activists have been placed under house arrest? what about those who have been given death sentences for speaking out against government?

Look, there is no perfect system out there. We are all trying our best to be just and fair. Iran has issues, as does all other governments.

Of course there isn’t a perfect system, but people shouldn’t have to settle for the status quo because of it. im especially tired of this mentality that the muslim world isnt capable of anything better, because essentially thats saying they are undeserving of the kinds of freedoms and opportunities people in the West have. it’s like when i hear ignorant arabs justify saddam’s rule by claiming that the iraqi people could only be ruled with an iron fist. not that i’m equating saddam with iran, but i just simply refuse to believe in this idea that people have to settle for something because it’s the best they have going for them…

However, I don’t think its fair to lump the Islamic Republic with the corrupt Arab regimes. Let us be fair. The literacy, democracy, education, advancement, spiritual development, and so forth that is produced in Iran is unmatched in the Arab world.

I agree completely.

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Response to Response to “Reformation Post”

so i’m writing this in response to a blogger’s post, which was a response to my previous post on questions of Sunni leadership and authority…

(SEE: Response to “Reformation” Post)

I don’t believe Iran = Shia anymore than I believe Saudi or other Arab regimes are legitimate representatives of Sunni Islam. I’m well aware of how far back Shia Islam stretches and how widespread the communities are, but my criticism had to do with Ali’s suggestion that the problem (of ignorance and corruption that is induced by a dysfunctional religious authority) is limited to the Sunni world. Iran physically and symbolically represents Shias all over (I don’t care what California’s Shias believe) and has a majority Shia population. Its government and laws are based on the Jaffari school of thought…the relationship between clergy and government is especially prominent in Iran because they are one and the same. So it’s fair to say that this distinctly Shia part of the world is not immune from corruption that results from political and religious entanglement. It’s just a different sort.

The stagnation I mentioned is in the greater society…in terms of poverty and restrictions on personal freedoms. Regarding the makeup of the Guardian Council, the six religious jurists are chosen by the Supreme Leader and the six secular jurists are chosen by the majlis, whose members in turn are nominated by the head jurist, who in turn is selected by the…

So in the end we have a system that always circles back to one guy…within this narrow space though, there’s def a system of checks and balances that is lacking in Arab countries.

With that being said and keeping Iran aside, religious authority in the Shia world is based on a well developed process that produces a highly qualified clergy. Its spiritual leaders will generally not draw a following unless they have been vetted through this process. The reason the Sunni world has failed on these grounds is because for Shias, the system was developed overtime in response to the disappearance of the final Imam. The clergy are meant to be his representatives in the interim and not just any bearded old man can be entrusted with that responsibility. There is an active scholarship that occurs in the Shia world that is for the most part absent in the Sunni world.

So yes, props to Shias for having an organized and effective religious leadership that is actively engaged in scholarship. But as you noted in your post, Iran too has its problems and the symptoms its society suffers from don’t look altogether different from that of the Arab world minus the gaping spiritual black hole.

Power corrupts…always…

And aint nobody gonna censor your thoughts fool.

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America’s Next Top Retard


God bless the streets of NYC. One day thousands will protests in the streets for civil rights, the next they’re being stampeded while trying to be on a reality TV program. 




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