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Randy’s Reviews: Pilate’s Wife by Antoinette May

 

Randy’s Reviews: Pilate’s Wife by Antoinette May (Randyjw; June 13, 2017)

 

I believe in things like karma, synchronicity, and the other myriad, subtle influences that play a part in our lives, both physically and metaphysically. Little did I know that this fictional book, set just preceding and throughout the nadir of Pontius Pilate’s governorship in Judea during the reign of the Roman Empire, would touch me self-reflectively in the many references it makes to the journey I’ve felt myself to be on in recent months.

 

I’ve felt that the “universe” has been trying to tell me something very important that I have apparently been overlooking in my life. The same is being said to be the missing factor of the main character in this novel, Claudia Proculus, the eventual wife of Pontius Pilate. She is besotted with making this charming, handsome man her own, and goes to great lengths to see that this occurs, even seeking incantations from the mystagogue at her temple of Isis, to whom she swore devotional allegiance. Whether divinely inspired or chemically-induced, the attraction seems to work it’s magic spell and lures Pilate to her side, with equal ardor.

 

Claudia lives an idyllic childhood all too abruptly thrown into turmoil, as her life takes on tragic twists in the fate of her family members. She realizes that her inner happiness is in question, as well as her choices. Her child with Pilate brings her great joy, compounded by the realization that the man she really loves cannot be in her life. Their brief dalliances must last her a lifetime, and they do.

 

The book was researched by its author, Antoinette May, over a course of many years, taking about fourteen years’ time to complete. Several of these years were spent delving into the studies, documents, literature and resources of the Classics Department at Stanford University to research the era of this time, in order to make the real-life characters of the time come to life. I felt it was a very unique insight into the formation of monotheistic religion from its beginnings from its more nature-based, pagan panoply of deities. I loved the descriptions of the clothing, which were fashioned often after the celestial bodies of the stars, sun, and moon; the mentions of the various deities and their properties and how people came to worship them; etc.

 

While I appreciate that the Jewish slave, Rachel, was strictly written about in human terms and was never shown in any diminutive fashion, I felt that there was unnecessary antagonism toward the Jewish people portrayed by Ms. May in her wording and the feeling that I got based on her attitudes, which seemed particularly stereotypical and condescending toward the Jewish people as a religion and as a people. For this reason, I was really disappointed, although the book was otherwise an engaging and engrossing read. Taking this in mind, I do hope you have a chance to read and enjoy this book, as a love story and as a throwback to ancient times.

 

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Freedom: The Story of My Second Life – by Malika Oufkir

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Copyright 2006 by Malika Oufkir. Jacket designed by Beth Middleworth. Author photo by Melanie Dunea. Hyperion, 77 West 66th Street, New York, NY 10023-6298. Printed in USA ©2006 Miramax Books.

 

This book is one of the cherished volumes of my personal collection that just can’t seem to make it into a “give-away” pile to allow room for new reads on the shelf. Each time I say that I’ve read enough that I ought to be able to detach it from my core staples, it keeps coming back and taking its place among the rightly-deserved designated “keepers”.

 

Why this should be so is due to Ms. Oufkir’s beautiful Middle-Eastern phrasing and mindset. No-one can write with the allegory and turn-of-speech better than a son or daughter of the Levant (including the northern reaches of Africa). Think number one books, such as the Bible, or number one authors or poets, such as Khaled Hosseini or Khalil Gibran, respectively, which bring to mind examples for the simplicity of sentence regaling the beauty of a song.

 

Malika’s prose and outlook are remarkable, given the harsh treatment received throughout much of her life. She was the favored playmate in childhood of the King’s daughter. Later on, her father would be executed and she and her siblings and mother imprisoned for twenty years as collective punishment for the assassination attempt on the King in a coup d’etat allegedly involving Malika’s father. Their subsequent escape, recapture and final harrowing push to freedom are relayed in a compelling saga woven as beautifully as an embroidered wedding dress.

 

Her first book, Stolen Lives, was an international best-seller and relates her years during captivity. It doesn’t matter which book is read first; I almost prefer having read the sequel with which to gird oneself for the harshness of the first.

 

This post is dedicated to freedom and to the brave souls who fight to find it.

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The French Intifida: The Long War Between France and its Arabs – by Andrew Hussey

The French Intifida: The Long War Between France and its Arabs – by Andrew Hussey

Information on the North African countries and their backgrounds contained in this book are attributed to the content of its pages by Andrew Hussey (but the opinions, review, and its relation to Jewish insight and other thoughts are my own).

© 2014 by author. Maps © 2014 by Vera Brice and Leslie Robinson. Published 2014 by Granta Books, Great Britain. First American Edition published 2014 by Faber and Faber, an affiliate of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 18 West 18th Street, New York, New York, 10011. http://www.fsgbooks.com. Bulk or other purchases via specialmarkets@macmillan.com. Hardcover ISBN category: History/Social Science.

I find it hard yet to peg this book into the educational slots of a historical textbook or a sociological primer by which this book has been listed, according to its dust jacket. The choice of a History/Social Science designation is clearly at odds with the opinionated assertions of its author, though I find myself in agreement with some of the book’s premises, including the oft-overlooked historical factors catalyzing the current eruptions of hostilities among the Arab youth of today.

We open on an incident the author recorded on a particular day in France as he travels the subway and emerges to an ongoing street riot. These disturbances, of which America is beginning to see its mimicry on our streets today, are attributed by the French media as continuing in the long-standing tradition of civil uprising (pg. 3) as occurred during the Reformation and the Enlightenment movements begun in France and Europe, as noted by Hussey in requoting a similar paraphrase in the French newspaper, Le Figaro (pg. 4). He attributes these riots as a display against the colonial power which France had held over Algeria (pg. 5). Though Algeria has since shaken the yoke of French rule, its Arab population still lives with its mindset in a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with its former captors.

We see Hussey assign this “show of colonial power” against a policeman in France who “came down hard” on a ticket-dodger (the person being already known previously to police) (pg. 5). It wasn’t that the fare-evader was committing a crime in trying to escape paying for the services by theft that bothered Hussey, but the matter that a representative of a law enforcement division meant to uphold the laws made by the government of its people sought to apprehend the law-breaker for his deviancy against these rules which is what Hussey seemed to object to. He even went so far as to call the riots and violence “exhilarating” (pg. 2). I’m sure the property-owners whose cars were set alight or whose stores were ransacked or looted did not feel this way, especially if they had to bear the brunt of the burden and absorb the costs of the damages for which insurance wouldn’t pay.

The country is not in a lawless state of anarchy. Should the policeman have just let the man continue to get away with a literal “free pass” against the system? Why favor this one individual with a free ride while the rest must pay their fare? Does that promote favoritism of one (the minority) over the other (the majority), thereby classifying itself into discrimination (of one over another)?

Oh, welcome America! Today we see the importation of the methodologies being used in Europe without the benefits of its derivation in America. The Civil War, which America fought against itself, the Voting Rights Act, and the Civil Rights movement were all measures which grew out of the organic experience of being discriminated against and were begun to counter such practices, eventually leading to the ending of slavery and institutionalized prejudice. These movements grew from a ground-up, practical application of its principles by people who had experienced the consequences of its imposition.

These days, we have a top-down imposition of standards being imposed upon us by Marxist idealists who believe in a one-world government where everyone is equal. Yes, we’re all equal as human beings go, but we don’t want to be ruled by just a few people into whose hands all power necessarily would go. There could be no difference of opinion, in such cases. The tyrants you fear (such as those that exist in today’s world) would rule over you and you’d lose your freedoms.

There are strategists today who are trying to accomplish just this. On the radio, we hear that they utilize the “Communist” rulebook to take down Capitalist, free-market rule to consolidate power into the one-world, no-border system. They attribute the strategies to author, Saul Alinsky, who wrote “Rules for Radicals” (One day, I must read this book). Their methodology involves creating the recent, destructive movements such as the “Occupy” Wall Street movement, financed by some with rather copious amounts of money. Those with such leanings have now come to occupy teaching places at our schools: from elementary to University. They are often sympathetic to the Arab cause, and that is why among them you will find many Arab organizers participating in primary roles, lending itself to the attempt to deconstruct our known society. They’ve succeeded in raising unrest — now it progresses to within the black community. We have riots and looting and violence over perceived race disparities in recent conflicts between the black community and the “non/other” police forces killing its youth. I’m writing this as if there were no precipitating factors leading up to the altercation, confrontation and eventual death of these individuals. The cases are investigated to determine whether excessive force was used to incapacitate, take-down, or kill these people, and most cases have found that the officer’s actions were justified. This is not specific to all cases, and in those where it was deemed an unnecessary or overtly overreactive response to the situation, the officers have been charged or have had to stand the punishment for its crime.

Just as a citizen must receive the consequences of the justice process, so must its people of the law departments. We do not have a tyrannical dictatorship where cronyism is the rule and the opposition is eliminated by whatever means possible (though when corruption seeps in, the results can be sometimes similar).

During Hurricane Katrina, citizens of Texas were evacuated to the Astrodome and left there, mostly unattended, as the facilities and resources steadily declined without replenishment or assistance. Discrimination didn’t usually come to mind, but it just started to become a twinkling when all other possibilities not bearing fruit kept passing by. Although Jesse Jackson’s son in recent times has been caught up in some wrongdoing, his comment will always remain favorably impressed upon my heart when he made the analogy that if the Jews could airlift thousands and thousands of people out of Ethiopia in “Operation Solomon”, then so could America help those in distress at the Astrodome. I was happy he knew about it and happy that his comment was a compliment to our people, when so many negative comments about Judaism or the Jewish people can be heard emanating from the black community.

I think this has a lot to bear from the Nation of Islam and Black Panther movements that have impressed their anti-Semitic influences upon its members, which in turn has made inroads into the community at large.

Malcolm Shabazz (a.k.a. Malcolm “X”) was a virulent anti-Semite. I had almost quite forgotten that fact when I saw a t.v. show drama about his life. I had recently run across the Bounce Media, LLC network, touted by the child of Martin Luther King, Jr., Martin Luther King III, as basically being a network: of the “people”, by the “people”, and for the “people”, meaning the black community. I watched several excellent shows upon first discovering this channel, until they broadcast a drama about Malcolm “X”. I decided I would boycott Bounce TV due to the anti-Semitic content they’re furthering in promoting Shabazz’s Jew-hatred. True, I realize in writing this that my internal debate gives a green light toward freedom of speech and expression, and the fact that Bounce TV included it when it aired does justice toward not “white-washing” (what a choice of words, huh?) the character and showing the man, in part, for really who he was.

“X”‘s accomplishments, whatever they were, still stand — but at least we see his soul laid bare. Maybe I’m not being fair to the show’s creators, when they’re actually trying to portray the reality of the man who has a message I just don’t like. I can understand the feeling of persecution felt as a minority even when I’m not actively being discriminated against, so maybe one day I can let the revulsion of my feelings about this broadcast and my maybe unfair projection onto the programmers at Bounce, who chose to air the offensive material, to fade away — maybe not. Sometimes, the accomplishments achieved by an individual cannot compensate for their expressed bigotry and taint the person as a whole — like my feelings as they extend to the anti-Semitic personages of Mel Gibson and Harry Belafonte. Talented and handsome actors both — but their strongly expressed Jew-hatred just does them in, for me.

I suppose that’s why, here in America, we have an ongoing pot of simmering resentment felt by some in the black community against their perceived status in the country. It is not at all made up that what they have gone through as a people affects even later generations. Whether they have experienced direct discrimination as an individual is irrelevant to the treatment that their ancestors have received at the hands of “the other” in their “collective” past and memories. This is important. And it can never be set right. Ever. Ever. There is just nothing anyone can do to change the history or what has happened to those who have been victimized. The only closest thing that can be done is to try to be repentant and to do things that will try to make amends. It’s only a substitute and it doesn’t change the outcome of what happened — but, it’s the best we’ve got.

And so, America has tried to improve itself in its response to slavery and discrimination by allowing people to be just that — people — and not to be considered as property or less-valued. It has taken awhile, and it hasn’t been perfect. But, at least we should consider that it is being done. In other places of the world, it is not. And this is what we fight for, even for others who do not have the opportunity to experience life in its freedoms, as we purport to do.

What about the arguments of those who would propose that, inasmuch as the victims of such abuse suffer greatly, so, too, do the perpetrators? Well, it’s true that there are often casualties on both sides of a conflict, but does that make it right to say that both sides suffered equally? I think not. Nazis might have died as Germany tried to take over Europe and they went about their genocide to kill Jews, Roma, political and religious dissidents, and people who were disabled, but their perpetration of these heinous acts spares them no sympathy when, as a result of their policies of aggression, they also suffered some of its consequences.

Thus, I think it does matter that while so-called Palestinian people suffer because of their obstinacy to try to take the land away from the Jews, whom they despise, the fact that Jews were there first trumps any claims they might have. To me, their claims are specious and made-up and have no validity. They are not “Canaanites”.

The fact that Arabs tried to break out of the Middle-East by conquering everybody with the sword, garnering them an eventual and impressive swathe of land does not entitle them to hold the land in perpetuity when they lost the wars to keep that land and its original inhabitants earned it back. It’s true that they might suffer in the process of trying to expand their empire at the expense of others, but that’s their fault — if they stopped trying to do so, then the counter-defenses they run up against would have no opportunity to take their lives.

If they don’t like the fact that that’s happened to them, as well — where others have come in and tried to conquer them — well, that’s just too bad. Then don’t cry about not being able to eat the cake, too. You can’t have it both ways, but apparently that is what they want. They came out of Arabia with the fury of the sword in the seventh century, but they don’t like it happening to themselves now in the modern era. They don’t want to take any of the same crap that they dish out.

If we fall prey to this propaganda, and keep playing by the Arab rules of the game, then we are already lost. This is what the author, Andrew Hussey, does when he attributes outrageous Arab acts of violence against the French in looking back only to the French conquest of Algeria in recent memory and the attempts by Napoleon to conquer Egypt and other areas around the region. Neither Israel, nor Europe, nor America had a single thing to do with the Arab expansion out of the Middle East, back in the seventh century. True, the Jews had to fight a lot of turf wars in the region against various factions (of which many don’t even exist today) prior to any knowledge of inhabitation of continents beyond the Middle East. Millennia later, the Jews had to fight the Greek/Roman/Syrian/Other empires in those others’ attempted expansionist takeovers, which is like modern history to the Jews, but considered “ancient” by today’s standards. As a matter of fact, someone I know just mentioned something that was done “by the ancient Romans”, wherein I was secretly amused by her assertion that these people were so “ancient”. I could never reconcile that somehow our American public schools taught me about the “ancient” Greeks and Romans, as if they were the first people to exist, and, lo and behold – my ancestors fought those people, and, because of it, our land and our sovereignty over it was remotely run with vassal kings (our internal battle continuing between the Maccabees and Bar Kochba and the reign of the Jewish Hasmonean Dynasty, versus the capitulators trying to keep the reign Jewish but trying not to anger the Romans enough to completely take over without Jewish rule). So, is Israel actually Roman land, then? No. So, it cannot be Palestine, either (the name given to it by the Romans). It was not theirs to begin with and it has since reverted to its rightful owners, the Jews.

The mindset of present-day Arabs, then, is at odds with their actions. If they are acting on their belief that any land once conquered by them, always belongs to them, then the so-called recent “creation” that they claim Israel to be can have no bearing on matters, being that 1,400 years separate these occurrences! Nor can recent acts, such as the French conquest of Algeria, since that, too, only happened several decades ago — not more than 1,000 years ago!

Prior to writing his book, Andrew Hussey spent some time tooling about the middle-eastern areas, talking to and getting to know the Arabs and attitudes of its regions. He speaks to and interviews many of its inhabitants about their experiences and reactions to incidents and episodes occurring in their lives and of others around them.

Regarding the riot and of other matters surrounding them, the author states that the rioters basically refer to themselves as “soldiers in a ‘long war’ against France and Europe” (pg. 5). He sees this as having begun with Napoleon Bonaparte’s war advances and conquests of the 1800’s and from being sustained through continued French domination and colonization in North Africa over the territories of Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco (Libya was surrendered by Ottoman Turkey to Italy in 1912 in the Treaty of Lausanne, per Wikipedia). He finds the influence of French domination to be the crucial, deciding factor during the Mandate days in the 1920’s determining French control over Syria and Lebanon (pg. 6).

However, neither Andrew Hussey, nor today’s present media go back far enough in time to identify even causal incidences germane to the Arab revolts of today. It was Arabs that broke out of the Middle East in the seventh century to begin a deliberate conquest of continents to take the lands for themselves. Millions of innocent people were put to the sword, or were used as slaves or chattel. Their culture was forcefully imposed on those they captured, including the language and religion. The battle for complete control over Africa, and other parts of the world, continues unimpeded today. The Crusades did not occur until 500 years later, and the United States did not become the mighty nation it was yet meant to be until still more than 500 years forward from that, so neither of these acts place the West in a first-aggressor mode.

But, the West’s response in the eventual retaking of these lands and the beating back of these goals has been the irritant which has led to the chaos and destruction we see manifesting in recent decades by the affected descendants. It is based on age-old grievances, and not upon the more recent occurrences purported by the media (and here, too, Hussey), which is attributable to its cause.

In France, tensions are very bad. It is a country filled with the immigrants of those it once dominated. Many consider themselves unaccountable to the mores and customs of the new society in which they find themselves, and pass on these perceptions to following generations, leading to festering resentment which can erupt unbidden. This new paradigm becomes the norm by which all perceptions are measured, regardless of events or circumstances. Therefore, a police encounter with a habitual offender might instigate shop-smashing and car-burning non-incidental to the matter, foisted upon people non-relevant to the situation.

In a visit to the Boston/Cambridge area a few years back, in a snapshot of the people which comprised its image in my mind, I could sense that the people who had plotted or commiserated with the 9-11 terrorist attacks were still embedded in the make-up of that vicinity, sympathizers of its ideology waiting to wreak carnage in what would turn out to be the Boston Marathon bombing or other further incidents.

What Hussey and I both agree on is that this is not created by the recent, common refrain reported by the media as “social justice”. Osama bin Laden, we’ll recall, was among the wealthiest of Arab families operating in the Middle East, and we find many highly-educated terrorists with engineering and science degrees — so, uneducated or disenfranchised from society they are not.

Romanticized visions of the East portrayed in books promote a nonexistent fantasy of a backward land populated by servile, if simple, people — when, in fact, the opposite is true. The Middle East is rife with intelligence and technology, and you’d be surprised to again hear that satellite phones were utilized by terrorists, and satellite dishes and smart phones might be easily discovered in use by both cave-dwellers and the “average Moe” (my coin) alike.

The truly unique phenomenon found in all of this is the staunch denial of Western civilization to square facts with reality — both in its ability to see terrorists for who they are and to see terrorists for what they are. This schizophrenic outlook places the blame for terrorism on everyone except the one onto whom the blame belongs, skewing effective measures which could counteract the toll of its destruction.

Persistent attitudes of anti-Semitism over the millennia have existed, as well. Pro-favorable books about Israel have mostly been removed from the libraries; therefore, one would also never know that the territory known today as Jordan once comprised the larger chunk of land mass, together with Israel, that was once named “Palestine” by the Romans — and so — Arabs already live in “Palestine” under a two-state solution governed by Arabs.

Hussey, himself, exhibits a bit of antagonism towards Jews in commentary about a 1995 movie called La Haine, in which he describes a tri-part alliance between an Arab person, a Jewish person, and a black person who all live in the not-so-great suburbs surrounding Paris. He doesn’t find the film “convincing” because first: he “suspects” (introducing ‘suspicion’) that a Jew couldn’t be friends with Arab people and Black people in ‘this way’ (pg. 22). What “way” is that? If he means confederate with others to form mutually beneficial relationships or to help others apart from themselves, than he’s obviously not aware of the age-old value of “Tzedakah” (Righteousness, translated loosely as “charity”), nor the lengths to which American Jews have gone to promote civil rights for Jewish people and black people in the 1960’s and onward — sacrificing several “sons” to the cause. On the other hand, if he means we just can’t make friends (because we must deserve the anti-Semitic stereotypes of being ‘despised’ people), than he’s obviously making an untrue statement, as Jewish people do have friends! His next reason to not place credence in the film is that he says that he doesn’t know of any Jews living in the “banlieues” (suburbs) – though he says synagogues exist from the 1930’s there (pg. 22), indicating Jewish presence (so, they once did exist, and could still), and he contradicts himself in his own book later on when he relates the story of an Arabic-speaking Jew from Morocco who lives in the banlieues amongst a mostly Arab population. This man, despised collectively for his Jewish heritage, thrived as a minority by investing in himself and in his community by providing goods and commerce into the society (pp. 54 – 55). His store served some of the inherent needs of a population established outside existing resource areas and so filled the vacuum created by outward population expansion.

It is a necessary and common occurrence to establish new cities and suburbs to occupy more land and space as the planet becomes more peopled (Known as “urban sprawl”, Israel has forwardly countered this problem by building vertically in their land-constricted state). While this momentum creates opportunities for individuals with the proper ambition and motivation to build thriving businesses for themselves, and jobs for some, there also becomes a point of saturation where anything beyond dilutes the revenue available, and decline and failure begin to occur.

In the wake of a merger, there lies a hole. While it may prove frustrating for some to be running the “rat race” while “working for the man”, there still exists the potential to create a way out for the self. If one does not have the aptitude or desire to create a successful business, then one cannot gripe too much that they can’t rise beyond certain financial means. Much as I lament the often low wages accompanying the position of being a worker, I can only blame myself for not figuring out a way to rise further.

While we can strive to make the worker’s roles more bearable and humane, as has happened over the evolution of industrializing nations, we still find, in the end, some limiting factors in this capacity.

In some respects, this will work out fine. Certainly, not everyone will be able to reach the stars. We can be thankful that people and societies can be good enough to create safety nets for the ones who, whether by fault or through lack, cannot succeed on their own.

But we cannot tolerate the wanton lawlessness and destruction that has been going on of late. People with the bent to dismantle what others have created are loosing their fury on other people who have actually done something with themselves and their lives. It stokes anger and envy in those who are dissatisfied with their own lives and selves and have not moved forward toward betterment. The only advancement they can achieve seems to be by cowing others into appeasement, since these are not protesters, but bulliers. They exhibit no accountability to better their world, their others, or themselves. They only want to tear down what others have built up in order to level the playing field down to their own miserable states of existence.

This book is one that has needed to be written; its subject, the French-Algerian connection, one that has needed to be explored. We, in the West, in recent generations, have lost the benefits of that quality of teaching which stressed the importance of Latin, history, and foreign languages. We, therefore, do not know where our nation and others may fit in perspective to time, to place, and to (or toward) each other.

It is the same with Israel and the sudden lack of knowledge and disinterest fed by bloodlust which causes the frenzied masses to repeat misinformation and spread bold lies against the Jews to try to appease Arab ambitions and deflect bad behavior onto others.

Hussey shares the plight of what happened to some North African-area people of Arab delineation looking forward from a certain period of time. This time begins in recent memory — but not too recent that anyone alive could recall or refute its true details. This juncture in time occurs after Napoleon of France has gone ahead and conquered Egypt (1798) and the French have continued to colonize the northern parts of Africa, as well. Surely, we can see that the Arabs have reason to act the way they do if we look at their point of new beginning with this time period. But, what about prior to that?

The Arabs, as said before, “burst” out of Arabia in the seventh century and displaced many a people and nation by their own volition. They shouldn’t be upset when the previous owners want their own land back (like in Israel, for instance. It’s Jewish land — it was Jewish when the Romans came, it was Jewish when the Babylonians came, it was Jewish when the Persians came, it was Jewish by designation of the L-rd. If the Canaanites weren’t driven out of existence, they would be the owners — but it’s not any of today’s people, other than the Jews, to whom it belongs).

But it is important to read about what happened in recent times, and it does begin to give the Arabs some sort of history in the world. It’s almost like reading about the same era in a Jewish vein — the storyline put forth by everyone who basically wishes to erase all Jewish history prior to the so-called beginnings of Zionism (which, in all actuality, goes back to our roots) which they purport to be in the 1800’s or so, starting with Theodor Herzl and the various assorted Jewish “Congresses”.

We hear about Arab Algerians who led various factions in favor of one particular ideology or another. It’s as if they’re creating an identity for themselves, first trying on one and then another.

In Jerusalem, in the Old City, I came across one such poster dedicated to trying to create a “Palestinian” identity for the various Arabs who have visited there, lived there, or wished they did, in the last several decades or so. This poster talked about trying to create a style of dress which could be then identified as the “Palestinian” culture, as well as making up dances and other modes of being which could later be called the Palestinian culture (of long ago…).

After the Napoleonic foray in 1798 to capture Egypt, the French captured Algeria on July 5th, 1830 (pp. 83 – 84). Relations between the French settlers who came to Algeria during its colonization and the local Arab population were fraught with tension (pp. 92 – 96).

While most of what we can extract from French joie de vivre lends itself over to intellectualism and spurs the modernist movements which have resulted in the adoption and refinement of these values which helped to birth citizenry and egalitarian ideals, there are other times when France succumbed or was overrun with contrarian types steering their passage down the dark roads of destruction.

While the Jewish people had never received parity on an equal status as citizens in any country (except its own) ever before, it was France who first relaxed their rules and eliminated the second-class status they had been under. But when the events leading up to the recent world wars began to coalesce, France found itself under the Vichy regime, acting in confederacy with many of Hitler’s goals and ambitions. The Final Solution for the Jews was one of these, and France was complicit in rounding up the Jews for deportation to the death camps. Many of the specific individuals who carried out these orders continued to live in safety and protection in France, never having to face war crimes tribunals for as long as they lived. One such person, Maurice Papon, had been involved in the deportation of the Jews at the V’el d’Hiv, and he was the Prefect of Police (pg. 181)!

Hussey tried to equate a subsequent roundup of Muslims into the sports stadiums to be beaten (pg. 199) as akin to the deportation of the Jews. But there is no moral equivalency, whatsoever, here.

As Muslims continued to react with violence to the takeover of their country, the French government stepped in. Between the two were the settlers, who created their own group and sided with neither. Terrorist acts on both sides continued beyond the saturation point, when France decided to give Algeria its independence on July 3rd, 1962 (pg. 202).

During the approximately 130-year rule, factions arose which advocated differing approaches for the state. One of these groups was the Front du Liberation Nationale (FLN) (pg. 156), which was a loose association of Muslim Algerian individuals battling on for independence. On the side of the French Algerians opposed to independence was the Organisation Armee Secrete (OAS), who wanted to fight the French (pg. 198 and others). Hussey again makes an anti-Jewish stab in stating that an OAS death squad named DELTA admired the Haganah (pg. 198) while going on to detail the OAS’s killing of innocent Muslims as if this was something akin to how the Haganah would operate (pg. 198, ibid.), when in fact the Haganah operated mostly as a defensive army for Israel (except when it did, stupidly, open fire on a boatload of Jewish refugees escaping to Palestine from Nazi Europe, which was the impetus for the fracturing-off of splinter groups who disagreed from the Haganah about attacking its own people, creating such groups as the Irgun, etc.).

I’ve done only a small amount of reading on the various military groupings which formed in Israel in the recent decades past. One of them (and then, later, others) broke off from the original defense group and became proactive, in contrast to the original group which remained more passive. The proactive group was the one to eventually create enough chaos and ruckus that the British left their Mandate, allowing the Jews to become self-determining. While the tactics may have been heavy-handed at times, warnings about attacks to follow were often made beforehand to minimize casualties. The tactic of terrorism has proven quite useful, especially for the Arabs, who have reaped many of its rewards. Terrorism does and has worked. The problem is in trying to stop it.

In the infancy of Algeria’s newfound independence ran the internecine battle to determine its leadership. Several people ascended to the top, only to be pulled down and replaced by others.

The reigning president, Ben Youssef Ben Kheda was an unpopular unknown (pg. 207), later succeeded by a vote into power of Ahmed Ben Bella (pg. 208). In turn, he was usurped in a coup d’etat by an FLN commander named Houari Boumedienne (pg. 208, ibid). Boumedienne militarized his security forces, which were responsible for assassinations of dissidents, sent his country’s troops to war with Israel in the Six Day War, returned Arabic to its primary place as language and Islam as the primary culture in the country (pp. 212 – 214).

It’s interesting to note, now, that a woman suspect named Hayat Boumeddiene is wanted in association with the killers involved in a terrorist siege across France January 7th through January 9th, 2015, when eleven people were killed and another eleven further injured in a massacre of workers at Charlie Hebdo magazine (previously firebombed in 2011 for a comic of Mohammed) (this book; and Wikipedia), followed by other atrocities including the killing of a policewoman, the robbing of a gas station, the storming of a kosher supermarket and the taking of hostages, carjackings and other sieges killing four, before the male terrorists, brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, and Ahmed Coulaly, the boyfriend of Hayat Boumeddiene, were killed (Wikipedia).

Throughout the millenia and down through the centuries, Arab rule has been fraught with constant and fractious struggles for power and hegemony, from both within its ranks and from without. To uphold the ideals of an individual’s rights to freedom and action in a democratic society goes against the grain of the Mid-East mindset raised to honor the family first. As the family clan expands via births and its extended members, it can form a loose association in its greater form as a tribe.

In the arid climates and desertland often found in the locales from which they spring, gender roles became entrenched to correspond with the functions they assumed within this society. Much like we consider the hunter-gatherer societies (at least in our recent postulations), the males take the proactive/aggressive stance and hunt down the major resources to be used by the family, while the female assumes the care-giving roles and its attendant and ongoing needs. This involves the tasks associated with the home (organizing, neatening) and with its members within it (nursing, raising, feeding, etc.).

The struggle for power pits family against family, perpetually at loggerheads to remain the domineering clan, as it is they who decide matters and it is to them that accrue many riches. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are always others trying to usurp first place – and therefore, they must hire others (or dole out favors) for protection, always being wary that these same people could turn on them. It becomes an ongoing battle to eliminate the opposition. It has not yet taken hold that a democratic process of elections leading to a government that still operates with bribery and corruption will ultimately break down into civil chaos, as has happened in all elective middle-east nations, with the exception of Israel. The society itself needs to change and must want and initiate this change from within.

In 1991, when the Islamist FIS claimed victory in a first-round of voting to ascend to Parliament, the populace reacted. So, too, did the military, starting yet another cycle of Algerian civil war (pp. 228-229).

In limited situations where resources are scarce, the family’s acquisitions might be gained by various means, all considered fair game, including by work, trade, or strategy to divest someone else of their own holdings. The strategies used to obtain their acquisitions are regaled for their ribaldness and daring, as much fair game exists in the efforts to obtain it as do the methods. The subject of many an oral tradition include pilfery as much as they are set to poetry. The male ego hinges upon the success of these endeavors, much of it incumbent upon the quantity of the provisions they supply. And so the tales related may become embellished in exaggerated details, always in their favor.

We act, here in America, as if this is a new occurrence — a wonderment of baffling perplexity. It is not, at all, and it is certainly known. To pretend otherwise, shows a willful strategy to do so. When an author can relate its truth and others can speak to it with experience, then plausible deniability can no longer be employed in a Saul Alinsky-like mode to lure society into its false trap. Hussey states that the violence reaching France was an inevitable trajectory of the incidents which predated it (pg. 235). And that, to an extent, is true. In a later incident two years later in France, Algerian men proceeded to hijack a plane and shot several of its passengers. Hussey states that their plan had been to fly the plane into the Eiffel Tower (pg. 236), which eerily parallels the September 11th, 2001 hijacking of American planes used against the Pentagon and the twin towers of the World Trade Center, which collapsed after hijacked planes were flown into each of them. Knowing this, can we still pretend ignorance to terrorist tactics and the fact that they can, and will, be used against us?

We find this in many of the relics left behind by ancient societies in the mideast region, in commemorations of battles engraved in stone regarding perceived victories against the “other” in battle, and the enumeration of items gained, whether cities, livestock, property or people. The exhilaration of acquisition and dominion can turn to harshness in the suppression of others. We see this among many similar structures in this vein as evidenced by the cruelty displayed by cartels and “syndicates”, mafioso and Barbary pirates plying the shores to ransom shipboard cargo and passengers.

This position has not changed much in the thousands of years since the society began, while much of the world beyond it has gone the course of industrialized nations. The chasm between the two has widened and function at completely distanced poles from each other. To look down the line and view the other would bring astonishment and dismay at the manner in which the other society operates. The survival instinct to protect each own’s society would kick in and present the conundrum over what to do about the other – ignore it, engage with it, assimilate with it, or annihilate it? Unfortunately, while the industrialized nations might wish to engage with or assimilate the Arab culture, the Arab culture wishes no engagement with the industrialized/democratic culture and sees it as a threat which cannot co-exist with their own culture. This is what we are witnessing in the behavior of the jihadists — it is indeed a clash of cultures and civilizations, if you will. That is why it is terrifying to the Taliban, for instance, to allow women to attend school, for they become educated and might learn not to be subservient when they gain confidence in themselves and become individuals with rights of their own.

But technology has advanced so far and penetrated so deep that I don’t think that there are many societies left in the world that have not been touched, or at least visited, by modernity. And so, by that very nature, they are in a losing battle they cannot win, but we are witness to its last strongholds and assertion for dominance in the world. They will not go down without a fight though they stare down the wrong end of the barrel.

What America sees now has been going on for more than a century in Europe. Reading Hussey’s book is like stumbling upon the writings of a seer. If we wonder how it will play out here, one need only open his book and to read his pages.

Eventually it moves abroad and picks up anew where it left off, that much wiser for advanced technology and training. Here again, we see terrorism proliferating in its new environs. Homegrown and lone wolf sympathizers vie to inflict the nastiest damage they can on the non-believers (the infidel) by killing and maiming as many as they can.

Andrew Hussey reports the renewed revival of terror perpetrated by the Algerian Muslims against France beginning in the early 1990’s with a bombing at the airport terminal of Houari Boumedienne airport in Algiers (pg. 233). Well, fancy that. Though there may be minor differences in spelling, the latest terror plot carried out in France of 2015 is linked by association to the known terrorists with a woman named Hayat Boumeddiene, who managed to disappear and stay hidden, the story swept under the carpet by the media. Why is there no follow-up on her whereabouts or 24/7 news coverage of the all-points bulletin being issued for her? No… the name is too-well known and associated with terrorist martyrs, whom the Arabs idolize and aspire to become like them.

Hussey speaks of the resultant fracturing and ideological imitations carried forward by like-minded individuals and groups, noting that the original group does not need to hold together in order to complete its goals of destruction (pg. 234).

Just so we know, the next step as the Arabs enter the country whose people they find abhorrent, they recruit from within their ranks to train more people in killing tactics. Then, they recruit from within the country’s own people, after which they escalate into attacks.

The book is also about Morocco. Hussey relates that the area was ruled by Sultan Mawaly Abdul Aziz and had not been considered rich enough in assets for an outside country to plunder, and so it went about in existence delineated as much by what it was not as by what it was (pg. 268). With no desire to conquer Morocco inasmuch as to protect the Frenchmen of Algeria, the French decided that Morocco should become a protectorate (pg. 269), which reached its realization in the 1912 Treaty of Fez. The sultan was still allowed secular sovereignty along with his religious authority as a supposed descendant of the Prophet Mohammed (pg. 268). The sultan is reported to have had thirty black slaves alone to prepare his racing track (pg. 270).

The Arabs have kept slaves from the beginning of known history, even up to this day, only recently putting to paper (whether in reality, or otherwise) the abolition of its practice. Especially with the seventh century expansion of the Islamic Empire outward into Africa, the taking of captives to be used as slaves was a common occurrence. Property and booty were the tributes to the conquerors, and those who did not accept the new Islamic rule were met, quite often, with death by beheading. Since this newest religion was preceded by Christianity and Judaism, and is based on the acceptance of some of it and the reproachment of other parts of it in the book known as the Koran compiled by Islamic scholars several centuries after the death of its founder, Mohammed, it was contended that those adherents to the prior revelations were superseded by Islam and must show obeisance to Islam’s superiority and replacement as the final “word”. If in good graces, they could be permitted to substitute a tributary payment (jizya), in acknowledgment of the supposed superiority of Islam, and that would sometimes suffice for the ransom of their lives. But many were taken as slaves, and as related previously, were inculcated with Islamic ideology, culture and language. Many of the indigenous natives to Africa thus acquired a new culture superimposed over their own, the domineering forces imposing its will and becoming the dominant mode of life for many. Ingrained over the centuries, it has not been eradicated and there remains a strong, lingering Arabic culture among many of today’s African nations. They have yet to “shake it off”, like the Jews were relieved to do in coming home at last to Israel after so many years of imposed exile among the nations. Thankfully, there were always Jews living in Canaan/Palestine/Judah/Israel to welcome home those who had not been able to make it back earlier, although the desire and dream to do so had never left them. Despite the outer trappings of the societies in which they found themselves, Jews the world over maintained their religious rituals (minus the Temple rites performed by the Levites) with the Cohens, the Rabbis and the Sages, all keeping in touch to preserve Judaism in living embodiment among its people. That is why following the first destruction of the Temple, when many of Israel’s most talented and intelligent people were carted off to Babylon, there existed a portable form of Judaism where communication was exchanged by letter to answer important theological questions. During this time, commentary on both sides developed and grew and became what we know today as the Talmud, two versions, practically identical, arising out of the two lands: Babylon and Jerusalem. They are known as Talmud Bavli (Babylon) and Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem) (yes, Jerusalem). Today we hold the Babylonian Talmud as the more authoritative edition, being that the more learned scholars and authorities of the time were the ones who had been exiled out of Israel (and that is why it is considered like as if all the inhabitants had been removed to Babylon, rendering Israel/Judah/House of David devoid of substance).

What supposedly advanced societies pass off as civilization is unfathomable that it includes vile and violent anti-Semitism, even to this day. But, Jewish people, as a nation of people, are among the world’s oldest, if not the oldest, continuous ancient society of the world. We’ve had eons to adopt a benevolent and enlightened outlook of the world, even if the rest of the world is millenia behind in catching up. If the best that Europe could produce was the Austro-Germanic trappings of their provincialism, or the Francophilic acceptance of an “anything goes” culture, we can expect that the self-delusional superiority these views can breed would allow scapegoating for their failures to extend to projections upon the foreigner, “the Jew”. The fact, while hard to concede, is that its existence today should be hardly surprising, given the relatively slow rate with which their societies evolved.

The Middle Ages in Europe were practically barbaric when Jews, 1,500 years before, had already figured out how to build and dress 144-ton stones to be used in the retaining wall on the Temple Mount.

That jealousy resurges in the form of anti-Semitism is not surprising to me, either — but the fact that nobody really mentions it is somewhat laughable. In any case, that is how it goes — so, the fact that libraries today contain only mostly books of incorrect statements about Jewish history or the Jewish people can be considered par for the course. And to think — Jews helped to compile the content of the writings found in some of the greatest ancient libraries of the world, including at the Great Library in Alexandria, Egypt, where seventy scribes were involved in translating the Old Testament into the various lingua franca of the day and region. The resultant book is known as the Septuagint (its base root word translating this fact into it’s reality).

So we find the few digs at the Jews included in Hussey’s work, as well as in most others among the libraries’ bookshelves. Usually it comes as a thought process of one of the book’s characters, or as an undefined statement lacking a pronoun to trace it back to, so that no lawsuits for libel or slander or defamation of character can be pursued. Whether the thoughts were included by the author, or as a peculiar addition by the editor (so that they can place the book into the library’s catalogue collection?) is a wonderment.

But to his credit, we do find here that Hussey has at least included descriptions of some heinous Arab attacks against the Jews, as well as upon others, in the book, which is conspicuously absent from most others. While hardly making a dent in the long litany of attacks from the Arabs that we’ve faced, it at least provides a glimpse into the barbarity with which they were committed.

Medicine was not unknown in the Arab world. The Jewish mind was often enlisted by Arabs in the provision of services and in passing on Jewish knowledge in written form. We have done so continuously throughout our existence, attesting back to Joseph as the overseer of Egypt for the Pharoah of the time, and of many who served like a court physician, such as Moses Ben Maimon (also known in the Hellenistic variant as Maimonides) who was considered monumental in bringing medical knowledge to the Europeans. Of course, in thankfulness for the saving of many lives through this knowledge, the superstitious and anti-Semitic Europeans would later create the Black Plague libel to blame upon the Jews.

Medical knowledge, even among some of the Arabs of today, can still be comprised of startlingly uninformed beliefs. Hussey relates this to be the case in Morocco in 1907, which he says included spells, caustic, and hot irons (pg. 272). The French doctor sent over to tend the local Moroccan people met a gruesome death by stabbing and stoning for the suspicion supposedly held by the local populace that a surveying pole set on his building for triangulating coordinates for map-making projects was instead being used to control the population via telegraphs from the French (pg. 272, ibid). The French authorities blamed the attack on an innocent German Jew, Judah Holzmann, who Hussey says was working for the local pasha (pg. 272, ibid).

In a 1907 assault by France on Casablanca sent to protect European lives and colonial rule, the Arabs turned around and attacked the Jewish population over several days, with Jewish women captives ransomed for their lives (pg. 276).

The political situation of colonial rule resulted in Morocco’s division to France as a protectorate, with the 1912 Treaty of Fez, overseen by rule of the sultan. Germany was bought out in exchange for territory on the Congo; Spain was granted territories going back from claims to the sixteenth century in areas of the North and in the far Southern regions; Tangier was placed under international control. The Jews, under the protectorate, were still not granted French citizenship (pp. – 278).

So why is there an international outcry to take Jerusalem and other parts of Israel away from it, when all the Arabs have been granted independence to their lands despite always losing their wars? Growing tired of war, Moroccans were granted their independence in 1956 (pg. ). Why the discrepancy between how the world treats the Arabs versus how the world treats the Jews? Just days ago, under the administration of the first black president in U.S. history, the United States declares that it will not recognize Israel as the birthplace of those born in Jerusalem. While there’s a great hue and cry mainly coming from the American Jewish population (as no one else could give a hoot about this) about the ignominious treatment of the Jewish state and its people, what the Leftist idiots don’t realize is that it would have to pertain equally to the Arab population. To me, that can be a good thing. Who really cares what America thinks, as long as Jerusalem and all parts of Israel are still considered by Israel to always belong in Jewish hands as Israel? We have always received nose-thumbing from America and the rest of the world. Everyone can see what it is, for what it’s worth. So, Israel will go on, as it did way before the Mayflower set sail on its voyage for its own New Jerusalem/New Amsterdam.

I haven’t studied Trotsky, Marx or Lenin, Socialism, Communism, or Fascism, so I don’t know whether they were as politically astute as to escalate their cause for the common man to include opposition to Imperialism or Colonialism, as Hussey attributes back to them in the early 1900’s (pg. ). But Communist leaders sided with the Arabs in their insurgency of the early 1920’s to try to regain Morocco by force in their war against “bankers and industrialists (pg. 288)”, which we know is coded anti-Semitism couched in not very ambiguous terms, being that this slur against the Jews has persisted for hundreds upon hundreds of years and is related to the anti-Semitic belief that Jews run the world, or are out to try to do that, with the attendant second slur of ‘all Jews are wealthy’ being implied. This therefore refutes the retrospective push to attribute the Communist movement and outlook as means devised by Jews to accomplish these goals. While some of these movements may have had Jews among their founders or proponents thereof, Communists were mostly against the Jews and were often the perpetrators in acts of violence against Jews. Anti-Semitism has been buried by cloaking these ideas in continued ambiguity, such as the Church now referring constantly to “The Enemy” in substitution for what used to openly be called either ‘The Jews’ or ‘The Devil’ (here, they become synonymous, a convenient euphemism elevating their message). When pressed for further meaning, it will be stated “The Unbeliever”.

Although Morocco was free, it was far from a country settling into a peaceful existence. The violence and rioting has not abated even to the present day, and the methods we see taking hold on American streets in the past few years, which effectively began with the Occupy (Wall Street) movement, were raging in Morocco during the 1970’s and 1980’s still. They attacked the wealthy areas, smashing shop windows and burning cars (pg. 306).

Many of the Arab movements are comprised of its different branches, which Hussey notes among one that developed among Moroccan youth (pg. 307). Its name is unimportant, but what it shows is the tendency to be able to fool people into believing their charitable contributions represent the entirety of a movement’s efforts when, in fact, it is melded to a violent, murderous ideology.

Hussey gives us a brief look, which nobody in the media had bothered to do, into the personal details of Zacarias Moussaoui. He tells us that Moussaoui was raised in France in a town called Narbonne, and whose family had come from Meknes, Morocco (pg. 312).

Hussey takes a stab at America, describing characters in a book of third-generation Moroccan descent living in France whose culture is ‘being eroded by Anglo-American pop culture (pg. 313)’. You see the constant riots in places like France broadcast on t.v. – yet America is full of third-generation immigrants, as well — and these have learned to improve their ways to live with uncommon people.

He does us the favor of describing multiple attacks against Jews and Jewish institutes in Morocco by the Moroccans who live there, which occurred only a dozen years ago. Multiple Jewish targets were attacked on the same day. Bombs were placed along a Jewish cemetery, inside a Jewish-owned restaurant, and the Cercle de l’Alliance Israelite, as well as in a Kuwaiti-owned hotel (for good measure) (pg. 314). Other attacks included a club geared toward the elderly Spanish population, and other methods included the ubiquitous attempted beheading, knifing, and killing of people not conforming to Islamist purity. The acts were not limited in scope or in gender: even young teenage girls got in on the act to plan and execute violent acts (pg. 315). Hussey states there was no connection among these events, but there was.

He speaks also of the recent terror attacks of March 11th, 2004 in Spain, which the media portrayed as a new phenomenon never before happening. More information, which we learn from Hussey about it, was never properly portrayed in American media: at least eighteen terrorists (convicted in 2007) placed thirteen bags with mobile phone devices to explode bombs aboard four passenger trains at the beginning of morning commute-time (pg. 316). He says that police found videos of one of the convicted terrorists’ Moroccan friends fighting in Dagestan, Russia (pg. 316, ibid) (second home of convicted terrorist, Jokhar Tsarnaev). The terrorists were all from Tangier, where Hussey says the American legation, the former headquarters of the U.S. Diplomatic Mission has been since 1821 (pp. 323-324)!

There was the terrorist attack in England on 07/07/2005. I myself was sitting in a plane on the tarmac getting ready for takeoff when the news was broadcast on those little t.v. sets in the back of the seats. Mine wasn’t on and I only briefly saw the screen to see that something serious was going on, but I didn’t really know what. Then we were on our way, and I do remember being petrified all flight long as many Arabs scattered throughout the plane singly stood up, went to the lavatory and returned to their seat, followed by the next one, then the next, etc. Two Arab men sitting next to each other across from me both were reading similar sheafs of papers which looked to be printed out from personal computers and which I believed were either The Daily Mail or something like that, which I thought was an English paper, but the men didn’t look at each other once or converse or anything and at the end of the flight each dumped their papers into a trash bag the flight attendant brought around.

We had our own huge terrorist attack in America on 09/11/2001, and the terrorists have not stopped yet. England had another one with that guy who beheaded the off-duty soldier, and France just had the multiple attacks against the journalists of the satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo, which was previously attacked several years ago, a fact not mentioned in the media, as well as the attack in the kosher supermarket (which president Obama would later refer to as “some folks in a deli…”) and others.

All along, there is one common thread that does unite all of these — the attackers are “Arabs”, using that term to include all the different countries or people which comprise that culture.

The Arab world again erupted, but this time across its own nations, in what retrospectively became known as the Arab Spring. We had hoped that these people were fighting their oppressive countries and would at long last claim victory and freedom for themselves, but this did not occur. Nothing was gained. It caught our attention for a while and definitely seemed to be inspired by the Occupy (Wall Street) movement. Then it seemed there was a moratorium on reportage from the media. It probably has not died out, but we wouldn’t know that from lack of coverage on our end.

Completing the North African foray, Hussey’s last country is the third of the trine: Tunisia. He pins the start of the Arab Spring to an act of self-immolation by an angry fruit vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi protesting the harrasment he received at the hands of Police trying to seize his cart on December 17th, 2010 (pg. 339), which set off riots cross-state and into nearby Arab countries. Nearing the end of 2012, the U.S. embassy in Tunis was attacked and the American School was burned down, events not reported in American media. He reports this having happened only days later from the murder of Chris Stephens, the American ambassador to Libya, which was a constant media item for months (the “BenGhazi” incident). He then goes on to relate that the satirical French publication, Charlie Hebdo, published imagined images of the “Prophet”, as if it was a premonition to the later massacre in the magazine’s building just recently. He says that the police in Tunis were hunting a Salafist Muslim heading the group Ansar-El-Sharia, named Abou Iyadh (pp. – 349).

During the Second World War, both Germany and Italy fought the French in Tunisia for control of the land and won. The Germans then confiscated Jewish property there and sent them to concentration camps in Tunisia and Europe. He says that the Jews were a 100,000-strong population in Tunisia prior to this; he also called the camps “labour” camps, but we know that German camps confining the Jews were often way more than that — they were death factories. He tells of one Arab Tunisian who helped to save Jews during this time and was nominated, as the sole Arab, by Israel as one of the Righteous Among Nations (pp. -363). His name is Khaled Abdul-Wahab.

Tunis became PLO headquarters after they were bombed out of Beirut, Lebanon by Israel in 1982, and second home after leaving Egypt by the Arab League (pg. 372). Hussey states that the first Palestinian Intifada (obviously against Israel) was directed from Tunisia with Egyptian-born leader Yasser Arafat at its head (pg. 373).

It’s hard to believe that in my time and only within the last decade or so that the immovable, unchangeable titans of the Middle East, the Davids and Goliaths if you will, have all fallen in the strangest of ways: Ariel Sharon (Israel, Lion of Judah) was felled by a stroke from which he never regained consciousness (although he was placed into a medically-induced coma); Arafat (PLO) died of natural causes but is claimed to have been poisoned; Khaddafi (Libya) was torn apart by mobs of his own countrymen; Mubarak (Egypt) was brought down by hard-line Islamists and prosecuted; Assad (Syria) is still fighting a civil war against his countrymen and invading outsiders; the Husseins of Iraq (Saddam and his ghastly children) were taken out a bit earlier than these by their countrymen but with complete American support.

All of these, especially Israel’s, are a great loss because the interim situation is creating a vacuum being filled by hard-line Islamists and continuing warfare. We don’t know what the outcomes will be, as this history is continuing to be written as it unfolds. It is not modernity that will bring a change to the ages-old Arab mindset, because terrorism can thrive in both high- and low-tech mode. Only the desire by its citizens to create a democratic way of life guaranteeing freedom for its people will propel the impetus forward for its change in governance. Hopefully the Arab citizens can overthrow the despotic regimes they’ve been living under and create the democratic lifestyle and freedoms that they would truly cherish.

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The Storyteller’s Daughter – by Saira Shah

The Storyteller’s Daughter – by Saira Shah; copyright 2003 by Saira Shah. A Borzoi Book published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and Random House of Canada, Limited, Toronto. Originally published 2003 by Penguin Books, Ltd., London.

The author’s talent is in finding a voice which can soothe and the perplexity to relate to the dual, and duelling natures of a woman trying to concile the reality of her birth-country upbringing, versus the peoplehood and nation of her ancestry, which is also so much a part of her. So much of this book is relatable — her journeys back to her roots and the stories held in her heart.

The help with which she did wish to aid her fellow man (or woman, as this case so pertains) has reached its spiritual recipient in the publishing and telling of her own story. In inexplicable ways, it provided healing for an immediate need and longer-term balm through the mystical revelation bequeathed to a sister in a Jewish soul.

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Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis – by John R. Bradley

Saudi Arabia Exposed: Inside a Kingdom in Crisis – by John R. Bradley. First published 2005 by Palgrave MacMillan, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, 10010 and Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England RG216XS. Copyright 2005 by John R. Bradley.

One of the most interesting books I’ve read; full of relevant information from a British citizen who lived and worked in Saudi Arabia as a journalist for Arab News. He was educated at University College, London; Dartmouth College, and Exeter College, Oxford and speaks Arabic. The book reads like a daily journal in book form. Amazing.

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Out of Egypt: A Memoir – by Andre Aciman

Out of Egypt: A Memoir, by Andre Aciman; copyright 1994 by author. Published in hardcover, 1994, by Farrar Straus Giroux; later by Riverhead Books, the Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014; Also published in Canada.

The story of an Egyptian Jewish family and their lives in Alexandria. The book won a 1995 Whiting Writer’s Award and has received praise from a litany of reviewers, of whose excerpts themselves show mastery of the English language.

My disappointment with the author’s word choices to describe his great-uncle, however, skewer my initial anticipation in choosing to read this book. I don’t particularly care to find insulting or stereotypical language directed against Jews in my reading selections, but I have found it on a rather regular basis, and often from the same sources. The remarks I find derogatory in this book use descriptors for the great-uncle such as: arrogant; self-satisfaction; strutting; cocksure; …-braggart; hectoring, barged in; hapless; schemes; flaunting; rascal; shady; conjurer. All this, plus some negative turns of phrase in just the first three pages!

By the fourth page, he describes his great-uncle as a self-loathing type who turns the projected anti-Semitism of others inwards upon himself so that the stereotypical insults of the bully become his own self-directed hatred. He continues the derogatory terminology (via the character of his uncle) with: peddler; scoundrel; patronizing; shrewd; womanizer. It’s bad enough to hear anti-Semitism from others, let alone from “one’s own.”

Segueing into another character, also Jewish, Aciman describes him as diffident; stupid; incompetent; duplicity. By the twelfth page, we’ve added “demonic.” This is the stock-in-trade of anti-Semites and the academia of recent generations.

If you make it through all the hyperbole and hectoring, you’re suddenly sucked into the lives of these characters and the portrayal of a time not so far into the distant past, where such attitudes were more commonplace and Jews still lived among many of the Muslim lands prior to the rebirth of their ancestral homeland, Israel. Nary a Jew remains among the so-called Muslim lands and people of today; they were all driven out by the Muslims, their properties and assets confiscated, for the most part, in the land jockeying occurring at the close of World Wars I and II, when the entirety of the Middle East was carved up and redistributed amongst the powerful family scions and factions prevalent at that time — Israel was one fair entity among them.

Yet with the outpouring of a propensity of the world’s Jews and their concurrent settling among the various people of the world in the foreign lands of the “other”, many Jews were looked at as interlopers among the local populace. They were forced to live apart from the mainstream in ghettos and were legally regarded as second-class citizens or subjects and were not permitted to assimilate into many of the cultures in which they found themselves.

This was later to have had the effect of making many Jews resentful of this low-class status conferred upon them, leading to the adoption of these similar attitudes by the Jews against themselves in their shedding of ritual practices and any appearance suggestive of their Judaism which might hinder their ability to blend into the local culture. Many Jewish people do not even realize they have done this and would wholeheartedly deny it was so — but, I know; because I was one of them, anxious to shed the identity which held me back, in my own perception. Later on, when I matured and my viewpoints about the world became more pragmatic and less utopian, so too did my attitudes change to my heredity and I became proud of this noble lineage from which I spring. It is just such inklings that show up in this book, which bring tears to the eyes at its tender moments, knowing that the past as it unfolded has been written and recorded for our review in posterity.

Like a flower bud blooming, one might look on the enlightenment of our recent decades of civil rights and wonder how people could ever have held the attitudes they did during such days. Really, this is what the book is about, to me — aptly named ‘Out of Egypt’ in nodding reference to the Jewish exodus out of bondage from their human masters and into the realm of the Divine.

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Precis of Emile Zola and the Dreyfus Affair

In 1894 in France, Jewish artillery captain, Alfred Dreyfus, was found guilty by court-martial of treason for allegedly selling French secrets about their military placements and weaponry to the German enemy, for which he was placed in Devil’s Island the following year. The next year, further investigations were made into this incident due to flimsy evidence, at which it was determined that a virulent anti-Semite, one Major Esterhazy, was actually the spy. The enquirer of these matters, Colonel Picquart, was then quickly re-assigned by his superiors to North Africa. Eventually, Captain Dreyfus was cleared in 1899.

Although it has been widely reported in other sources, the information for the above account, and for what follows below (in addition to my own opinions), comes from author Stuart Kelly’s interesting creation, The Book of Lost Books: An Incomplete History of All the Great Books You’ll Never Read, copyrighted 2005 by Stuart Kelly and copyright illustrated 2005 by Andrzej Krauze, originally published 2005 in U.K. by Viking, a division of the Penguin Group, London, and published in U.S. by Random House, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

Kelly states: “The Jews, it was whispered in print, had a syndicate to fund Dreyfus’s appeal. They were profiting from both sides of the conflict (pg. 290).” Is the second sentence a conclusive statement of Kelly’s, or is this statement one made supposedly by the press, as per the preceding first sentence? It is hard to tell.

Emile Zola, an author/writer living in France who was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1901 and 1902 (per Wikipedia), respectively, published an account of the conspiracy against Dreyfus in the January 13, 1898 edition of L’Aurore. In the by-now famous article, J’Accuse, Zola sought to uncover the perpetrators by publishing the names of those he thought were responsible for the cover-up and conspiracy. He was brought to court for doing so, was found guilty, and wound up fleeing the country to England, where he continued to write under the assumed name of M. Jacques Beauchamp.

He was free to return to France when Zola was cleared in 1899 of the charges. Three years later, Zola was found dead in his apartment, after having complained of nausea, headaches and dizziness at three in the morning on September 29, 1902. Stuart Kelly recounts that the coroner had declared Zola’s carbon monoxide poisoning an accidental death. Not even demolishing the flue from the fireplace in his bedroom, reconstructing the conditions under which his room existed when he perished, and subsequent testing with guinea pigs (who safely survived) could reveal the actual turn of events which were related by M. Haquin in 1953 to have transpired on that fateful day.

The anti-Semitic feelings and activities continually bubbling under the surface of many a Frenchman, as well as those across Europe and elsewhere, often expressed itself in pogroms, attacks against Jews and their businesses, exclusive laws and policies against them, and scapegoating against the Jews with false accusations, such as that which befell Captain Dreyfus, a man innocently and honorably defending France’s citizens against attack by enemies. That these same citizens should turn around to foist their prejudiced hatred against Dreyfus belies the pervasive effect milennia of teachings have had, to deleterious effect, in heinous acts committed upon the Jewish people.

The slander perpetrated against innocent Jewish Captain Alfred Dreyfus spread like a wildfire, concentrating into absolutes the inner constitutions of all whose lives were touched by this incident. For those with a propensity towards anti-Semitism, it hardened their hearts against the Jews, collectively condemning them as a race and singularly perpetrating actions to discredit, disgrace, dehumanize, and deprive them of the means to life which were given them by G-d.

Some of them, like Zola’s so-called “friends,” belied their true constitution. Despite the evidence clearing Dreyfus, the incident would remain forever cemented in their minds, wrongly accusing Dreyfus, the Jew, as a traitor, and all those even suggesting the possibility of his innocence, condemned via guilt by the intimation of even a glimmer of sympathy, even after revelation of the true facts in the case.

Although France would be the first to repeal its governmental decree declaring Jews as persona non-grata in their country, the old prejudices just never seemed to die off, even in the supposed, so-called “Enlightenment” and “Reformation” of all of Europe.

The distillation of these views perpetuated over time created lingering resentments against the Jews. In 1953, a reader of the Liberation newspaper named M. Haquin revealed that a chimney sweep had allegedly confessed: “I and my men blocked the chimney while doing repairs next door. There was a lot of coming and going and we took advantage of the hubbub to locate Zola’s chimney and stop it. We unstopped it the next day, very early. No one noticed us.”

The apparent implications in this statement may have afforded its alleged perpetrators a stay of justice in an earthly-based existence, but the ramifications of the Dreyfus affair had even further marked consequences, as its result.

It inspired the Jewish people to become more proactive in taking control of their destiny. Although there have always been Jews living in Israel since G-d commanded Abraham to move there, the rest of the nations have attempted to thwart these plans throughout the thousands of years since.

From the Babylonian exile where our most learned sages continued studying and transmitting G-d’s law with the rest of the Jewish communities worldwide (such as those that remained in Jerusalem, as evidenced by the two Talmuds — Babylonian and Yerushalmi), through the Inquisitions and expulsions from Spain and England, and our ghettoization in places like the Pale of Settlement in the Ukraine, killed in the gas chambers of Germany, our graves the mass pits of the forests and the crematoria of the enemies of Jews, the ground of our spilled blood and the souls of our people cry out to the L-rd who has heard —

We are not witnesses to a self-deluded mantra of vitriol purposing our destruction, but a witness to the One whose promises are revealed in every generation. We are reminded of and prompted to the fulfillment of these promises in each generation upon the earth, that every generation might know that the word of the L-rd is true.

The Dreyfus Affair prompted the assimilated journalist, Theodor Herzl, of Austria, out of his reverie of trying to blend into and become like the nations around him (an act actually prohibited of us by the L-rd) and to begin to form concrete plans to promote the return of Jews to the homeland, Israel (known to others as various names, including Palestine). In turn, this led to the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, where Jews got together to find ways to return to our land.

The so-called resultant movement, called Zionism, which others purport to be a recent 19th Century invention, is actually a several thousand year old decree by G-d. Zion is one of the older names for the land of our home, the proof of which can be found in the pages of the Bible, if only one would actually deign to look there.

That fact is written there as plainly as one can see.

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