I’ve been derelict in my duties to bring you important news items that I think worthy of publication or ponderance. However, there are sites out there better equipped and better managed to handle such tasks (and many of those will make it to my “Surf” page at a later date). My aim is to bring you a selection from life — from Israel, from Jewish life, from life in general. And that is why you will see reviews of unrelated books, music, or media, as well as light-hearted and frivolous matters related herein. It keeps me interested, and I hope it does the same for you.
Now, with that out of the way, let me get back to some serious matters. One of these is in regards to the balance of world power. The United States has been the number one super-power for many years now. We have indeed acted as a world police, of sorts, and I think that has been a good thing. I would rather a democratic nation retain the resources and military power to prevent the rise to the number one spot by dictatorial tyrannies, where personal freedoms, under their reign would, instead, be lost. This means having to put in the necessary fight needed to remain a free country. As hypocritical a notion as democracy-by-might may seem, it is only those who favor Socialism, or Fascism, or Communism who seem to object to this idea. If we hadn’t taken our stand to join in World War II, even at the late stage where we finally did, then the world just might have succumbed to the Nazi regime. I can tell you that it wouldn’t have been a good thing.
Unfortunately, this ideological left-wing group also includes young idealists, who, ironically, grew up with the freedom to decide that they would jettison the individual rights of others and who haven’t lived long enough in years in this world to have learned, or to have even experienced, what life under totalitarian regimes might entail, and who do not realize the steps one would undertake to turn a free society into a trapped society. If they did, they wouldn’t choose this fate, unless they specifically were engaging to undermine democratic ideals.
That is why America is so successful in upholding freedoms for people to live their lives free from state/government persecution of groups as a class (and we ALL belong to a group of people, of one sort or another) — and so it extends to individual rights, enshrined in our body of law. This is the Constitution, which sets out broad parameters of the societal contract we make amongst ourselves. It provides broad protections to all. It cannot, necessarily, govern individual behaviors of a person in thought or deed, unless specific laws are made (but people break these, as no law can infallibly stop an individual from going contrary to its rule) — there is free will, and there is ignorance, and there is disrespect, and there is stupidity.
Hitler’s stupidity was in thinking that micro-managing such factors as could be found in human development, even down to the genetic level in the creation of a Master Race, would leave their society culturally superior to others. That the local populace could fall for such rhetoric is testament to the gullibility, fears, and educational mindset of the population at-large.
There are others in power today with just such a domineering attitude holding sway over the countries in which they rule. It is possible that many living under such regimes believe entirely the opposite to what their official government stance has embraced. It is one thing to do so under a democracy, where one is free to believe their own ideas and to not be persecuted for them. It is another thing, completely, to have to live under a regime where you are persecuted for your difference of beliefs. If, though, you desire to impose a totalitarian regime to replace an already existing democracy — this cannot be tolerated.
Many countries have dual-governance systems, but there is always one dominant operating mode. For instance, the monarchy still exists in England, where we have the reigning family bequeathing their inherited position in society to their progeny; yet, the ruling governing body remains the British Parliament, composed of the Lordship class, and the Common(ers) class; token, but real, duties are still carried out by the monarchy in the more ceremonial aspects of goodwill and governance.
Dual-bodied systems can also exist where one such ruling body pertains to religious matters, and the other might be Parliamentary. Some, like Saudi Arabia, can be primarily religious in scope, with outlying religious jurisdiction in smaller governing bodies (generally designated to family clan-members), and positions of sheikdom. Some, such as the smallest nation on earth, Vatican City, is ruled by theocracy and papal rule, issuing doctrine promulgated through its body via edicts and, theoretically, adhered to in principle by the priestly classes. Both of these systems are mainly theocratic.
Many who are critical of religion would have to then equate these two former religions as supposed creators of the problems which they find inherent to religion, as a general course of matter. But, they don’t. Instead, they hypocritically and non-sensically criticize Israel, a democratic, Parliamentary-run system based on the British-based leftover one from the days of Mandate rule. Religious matters, while they have their own governing bodies in Israel, reside separate from State. It is a great feat that Israel has amongst the most diverse religious and cultural ethnicities thriving in its populace than almost most other nations on earth.
Many people look to such great nations when they dream of fleeing their tyrannical states in other lands. Such countries that persecute their citizens find many means and methods by which to do so. This includes forbidding their departure outside the state (this was the case for Jews, who were barred from departing many lands, including in Russia, until recently); secret police; vice squads to monitor both public and private behavior; state-run media and the suppression of free speech; official state religion, where others are barred; or Communism, where the practice of all religion is forbidden, etc.
The nations comprising what’s generally considered the Middle East are often thought of for their harsh adherence and strictures to religious principles based on their own presiding faiths, with little by way of tolerance to those practicing other faiths. Many of those countries are ruled by their majority religion, although in one or two cases it can be found otherwise.
Certain ideas may evolve and become almost new bodies, in their own rights. In religion, these become sects, which might break off into different denominations. Islam, as one religion, has many forms, besides the two main groups we are more commonly familiar with, based on whether the ruling party was to come from the ancestral lineage (a direct line of founder Mohammed, but a daughter) or to an ideological inheritor (a son-in-law of Mohammed, but male). These became the main two denominations, Sunni and Shia.
Further divisions have occured based on ideological followings of certain teachers, and might be known by the regional bases where they developed, or for certain beliefs and practices.
Some are based on larger ruling clan associations, like the former Husseini families, giving us the mid-Central Mid-East rule, around the Mesopotamian/Fertile Crescent areas. These are mostly Sunni. They became Iraq, Jordan, etc., or may have become the Alawis of Syria.
Believers might follow the teachings of an Imam, or a Maulauna in the areas of India and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia, which is mostly Sunni Muslim, follows a literal and strict form called Wahhabi. There might be as many divisions within Islam as there are in Christianity — perhaps more.
Iran, once known as Persia, has a long history in the region. Because of this, and because of their shared culture with other people from amongst the regions, many religions have been birthed in or have been influenced by that of this country. Zoro-Astrianism is one of its earlier, and draws heavily from nature and cosmology; Twelver; Baha’i; Shiism, and others have been rooted here, as well.
The Shah of Iran was deposed in a coup in 1979 by the Islamic Revolution, ushering in a religious party determined to rule with stricter adherence to literal Koranic interpretation. While this body has existed in previous times, it has both receded and grown to prominence. It is now resurgent and has been drawing a curtain around her citizens, to shield them from outside influence and to keep foreign influence from penetrating deeper than it already has.
If America had wanted to extend democracy abroad, it might have chosen 1979 to get involved. Instead, we had Jimmy Carter as resident-President, whose liberal policies included the Salt II treaties, and whose reign was favorably biased toward keeping these strict Muslim rulers in place despite protests from the citizens of the countries in which they reigned.
The next opportune chance we had to help the people of Iran in their quest for democracy came preceding the recent “Arab Spring”, when spontaneous “Happy” demonstrations broke out all over the place. But we let it die in the dust, consigning these people to: “…With Misery, under Mullah, for all.” (my take on the pledge of allegiance to the United States).
The Mullahs of Iran are their countries’ religious ruling elite. They determine adherence to Koranic principle and laws of everyday life. Hadiths are basically commentary and rulings of the Koran, already discussed and judged for compliance to- or as against- the Koran. If an individual has gone against the faith of Islam, then a fatwa can be issued against them. This is a bounty on their head — a death sentence, basically. We Jews, whether a specific fatwa has been issued against us or otherwise, already have a collective fatwa on our head, issued in the pages of the Islamic Koran. Yeah, THAT ‘religion of peace’.
A fatwa had also been issued on a Muslim author named Salman Rushdie, who had dared mention some of the tenets of Islam in his books. These were deemed blasphemous by the religious rulers of the times, who had a fatwa imposed on him. We are not talking about things that occured millenia, or even centuries ago. We are talking about this having happened within only the last three decades.
There had been such a sense of the “taboo” surrounding this book and this author (The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie) that I, myself, had a sense of foreboding about even delving into exploring what the whole issue was about. And then, I read one of his books. I think it was fairly recently, too. I looked to see if I had written a review, but none is here. Either I read it prior to my blog, or maybe I still felt apprehension about recording my thoughts, or perhaps I just felt it didn’t warrant the exertion of my time.
But, that’s not fair. And now I do. As a person who has been discriminated against in my lifetime, and in the collective past of my ancestors, I feel it only fair to speak out for one who, while he has a big voice, has also to hide from those who would try to silence it.
I forget which of his books I read. I remember it being about his actions, his time spent in hiding, and his marriage to one of the most beautiful women on this planet, Padma Lakshmi. I thought he was a wonderful and beautifully-gifted writer. That a tyrannical regime would try to silence this voice, just for expressing his thoughts in a beautiful manner, is unbelievable. Frankly, Salman Rushdie has done more for Islam than any of these creeps could do. He has shown us his own beauty, and we appreciate him.
In a spoiler alert: the fatwa was somewhat “capped”. It sortof faded into the woodwork — on the books, but without real expectation for it to be carried out. Think of the mafia, or a drug syndicate — some of the nastiest revenge-seekers you could find, and you’ve got your fatwa orders.
The fatwa, in the last decade, has again reared its ugly, fork-tongued snakes’ head. It just was re-issued. Funny, it says that the bounty amount has been raised — meanwhile, my records show from at least eight years back, that articles reported by such groups as the Middle East Media Research Institute and others, show a considerable decline (by about 80%!) in the dollar amount proferred. With the release of held Iranian bank funds and other assets, don’t they have enough to meet their former $3.3 million dollar or so rewards? What — have they adjusted for the cost of inflation?
Give up the fatwa, you cheap – *** $%&# and #$%&@ and $+-&//$!
There. I said MY piece!
In describing only what I would consider to be the Leftist penchant to keep totalitarian rule in place where Muslim authority is concerned, please see this article from Israel National News.com:
Meotti, Giulio. “The Left Stands With The Islamist Thought Police: How The European Left Stands Shockingly With The Islamists Against ‘Moderate Muslims'”; Arutz Sheva / Israel National News.com; April 1, 2016: