Encounters With Islam: Conclusion: 2000 – 9/11/2015

National Mosque, Jakarta

National Mosque, Jakarta

(To read  the series from the beginning go here )

 

I began this months ago. Readers of earlier segments will see the inevitable conclusion. Nothing that has occurred across the world since I began series has done anything but reinforced my sense that Islam is fatally flawed. So it’s time to finish, and fitting that I do so on another 9/11, as the reports of  the Islamic invasion of Europe come in, towards the end of another year of escalating Islamic violence in nearly all quarters of the globe.

September 11, 2001

I had grabbed my coffee and turned on the computer. The start page was Yahoo. I took in the top headlines.

“Hey,” I called out to my older daughter,” somebody’s hacked Yahoo!”

No.

The older girl and I were now in Bandung, where she was in her junior year of high school. Suffice it to say that the radical move from the States had not produced much in the way of favorable outcome. Her mother and younger sister remained in Bali for a time, then returned to the U.S. Eventually we divorced. I had gone back to work, as an English instructor.

Stupefied, I went off to work, riding the public minibus. Indonesians are a gregarious lot, and regular commuters and and even one off riders will quickly strike up conversations. Today they were silent.

I was the only American at the school, and the British lady who ran the place, on learning I had family in New York and DC, let me call Stateside on the company dime. I was unable to get through anywhere (It’s parenthetical, but I cannot resist the near miss stories that so many of of us have. My sister worked in Midtown, but had a regular downtown meeting canceled that day; brother in the Pentagon had taken the day off to go to a daughter’s soccer game; and at the same time, most fortunate, but saddest, my NYFD cousin, a company commander, was off that day, and both towers had fallen by the time he got there.)

The minute I knew those headlines were real, I knew what kind of people had done it. There was no point hoping it wouldn’t be Muslims. This was after the East Africa embassies, the Khobar towers, the U.S.S. Cole, and others.

Al Qaeda wasn’t until that day a household name, but it was no secret.

Yet, aside from the school head, if you listened to the to other foreign staff that day, you’d have thought that America did it to itself. This was my first exposure up front and personal to the familiar litany: Israel, imperialism and oh yeah, Israel. Worse than their perfunctory and patently insincere expressions of sympathy that prefaced these diatribes was their manifest cowardice.

What would America do, they wailed, and how would it effect them there in Bandung? There was talk of sewing British and Australian flag patches on their clothes. This cravenness in the face of Islamic violence is drearily familiar now, but it was new to me then.

As the names of the hijackers came out, I was for putting some hurt to Saudi Arabia, but in the end we invaded Afghanistan, missed Bin Laden and later, invaded Iraq as well.

Shortly after the Bush ultimatum to the Taliban and the countdown to the invasion when they failed to produce Bin Laden, an army unit, with some APCs and light crew served weapons, showed up in my neighborhood, home to many foreigners and my daughter’s international school. The commander came to my door and assured me that he, his men, and the nation guaranteed my safety. This was quite refreshing after the reaction from my colleagues.

For many years, it’s been common for those in opposition to Islam, radical Islam, or jihad to say “I learned everything I needed to know abut Islam on 9/11. This was not the case for me.

Signs and Portents

Perhaps I had simply not looked around me until Islam was in the worldwide news, but the Increasing Islamization in Indonesia that I had noted over previous decades seemed to have accelerated.

Bandung remains the most Dutch of Indonesian cities.

Bandung remains the most Dutch of Indonesian cities.

Right away, there were Bin laden T-shirts for sale . A small boy wore one to my class and I sent him home. His parents complained and I found myself in a sit down with the mother – hijab – and father, dressed normally in Western clothes but with what looked like a fairly recent scraggle of chin beard.

I got an earful of how evil America was, but held my tongue, and explained that this had hurt people I knew, and nearly killed some of them.

We smiled, shook hands – well not the mother – and I went away with hate in my heart.

Which, in time, subsided.

I taught there for two years. Religion, I found, played a huge role in the young students’ lives. Ask “What’s the best book you’ve read” and the answers were the Bible, or the Koran, according to confession. I found such discussions mind-numbingly dull. However, Christians and Muslims seemed to get along well, and while many girls wore the hijab, they were not a majority.

The kids loved to hang out with their teachers, and one day during Ramadan, we went out for pizza. After a text message telling them the fast had lifted, we dug in. I’m not sure when I first heard the word Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, but in my childhood I have no memory of it being used, but instead the Malay, ”bulan puasa,” fasting month. Now it was ubiquitous, with special sales in the malls, deals on iftar(fast breaking) buffets, and Arabic music.

Bandung prides itself on being a university city, a place for the young, artistic and hip, and so it is. It was early oughts and “gap” was in style, with hip hugging jeans and bare tummies. Around the universities, one might even see coeds wearing a hijab but showing belly button.

Outside town, things changed quickly.

Early one morning, on the first day of Eid ul Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, we drove out of town early., bound for Bali. The roads were jammed with people making their way to the mosques, torrents of them pouring in from the small villages up in the hills, thousands, all in Muslim dress. My daughter remarked that she didn’t remember this from previous years, and her boy friend, a life long resident, said he too thought that the crowds were far larger than before.

Dieng, Central Java, 2002.  There was no mosque there when I visited in 1975.

Dieng, Central Java, 2002. There was no mosque there when I visited in 1975.

I had occasion in the next couple of years to take other trips across Java, and it was apparent that Islamic observance was far more strict than it had been when I had first traveled the island as a young man. Women working in the fields still wore the conical “coolie hats” that reflected an ancient migration from southern China, but now wore head scarves underneath, surely adding to the heat and discomfort.

Islamic schools and other institutions, with their Arabic signs, were in the smallest villages. One day, not far from the great Buddhist monument Borobudur, on a country road winding through the rice terraces, I came upon a sight I will never forget.

An open truck full of young men lumbered a long in front of me. They were waving banners, which said, “Front Anti-Yahudi,” the “Anti-Jewish front.” They wore once piece black costumes, painted with white skeletons, as if for Halloween. Waving, and cheering as I overtook, some then donned skull masks.

There, in the green valleys of Java, with the volcanoes rising to clear blue sky, scenery that had long inspired postcards and landscape painters, was raw hatred from the desert lands

This wall in the former Sultan's compund  shows both Hindu-Javanese and Chinese decorative styles

This wall in the former Sultan’s compound shows both Hindu-Javanese and Chinese decorative styles.  Java has absorbed one culture after another, but will it survive Whaabbism?

I had left so many years before.

My daughter graduated and went back to the States; I moved to Jakarta,where there was better pay and considerably more fun. The old regime under Soeharto had kept Islamists under tight control, imprisoning, or outright snuffing any who looked to be a problem.

Now, the new president, not directly elected but voted in by a legislature that was put in place by clean elections, was all for letting people express themselves. While a Muslim himself and a cleric, he was a of a liberal cast of mind. Physically frail, and nearly blind, his “why can’t we all be friends” outlook(He spoke for a while of recognizing Israel) led him to myopia towards the forces being unleashed.

I taught at a school in a shopping office complex in Central Jakarta. There were plenty of nice restaurants and nightclubs nearby. Many of my classes were off site, at major businesses, and my students were well educated and well dressed. It was rare to see woman in a hijab.

Yet even in this milieu, I would at times catch a whiff of something going on. I remember our personnel manager, a married woman, very good looking, always in well fitted suits and heels, remarking that Bin Laden was “hebat,” an Indonesian word that in that context would be best translated as “bad ass.” There was considerable admiration for Saddam as well, but as in this was often in the context of tirades about American hegemony and regurgitated Chomsky, so chose not to see it in as related to religion.

On the streets, beyond the highrises, deeper trouble was brewing. An organization called

View from my terrace, Jakarta, 2002.

View from my terrace, Jakarta, 2002.

Front Pembela Islam(Islamic Defenders Front) took upon itself the role of a civil auxiliary in suppressing vice. They attacked night clubs and bars, starting out in the seamy dance clubs and semi-brothels of North Jakarta, where eventually the largely Chinese owners came to a modus vivendi in a protection racket that would be familiar to the Mafia, but then striking Kemang, home to diplomats, multinational executives, fine dining establishments and quite legitimate music clubs.

Nothing at all was done to stop them.

It was then that I saw a trend that has only continued. Radical Islamic elements push, engaging in mob action, while the civil apparatus of an ostensibly non-confessional state, not only does not punish offenders, but accommodates them.

Ramadan came, and for the first time, the City government decreed that late night venues must close early, and the sale of alcohol in such places was suspended during the fasting month. That this meant a month without paychecks for tens of thousands was of no import. Nor did anyone point to the underlying absurdity that alcohol and fornication are forbidden to Muslims at all times, not just one month in a year.

This attempt to put the city’s residents in a pious state of mind appropriate to the season lead to some quite absurd accommodations. The hot tub at my health club was drained, as apparently being in the water with ladies was an affront during Ramadan.

A popular hangout with a classical theme, put pasties on its faux-Greco-roman statuary. There, as at other places, the bar was cleared of bottles, but you could get some beer in a coffee mug. We grumbled that no good Muslim would be in such places anyway, so why couldn’t they just leave us alone.

As I was learn in the coming years, that wasn’t the point. Islamic behaviors, even practiced by unbelievers is an affront to Islam, as are the unbelievers themselves.

In late 2003, I went back to the States for a while, to work with my younger daughter on her college applications. I had left just after the Iraq War began, and I saw its effects when I was substitute teaching in Phoenix. Many kids were enlisting after graduation. They seemed to be disproportionately Hispanic, Black and Native American. Another war in the Middle East, anther conflict among Muslims, yet it still wasn’t something that would direct to me to examine Islam closely.

I was offered a job in Surabaya, East Java, where I stayed for seven years, where I again taught English, living with my partner, an Indonesian Chinese, and an atheist as I was. And am.

becakoldhousel

Dutch era buildings, Surabaya, 2003

Surabaya is and has long been a center of industry and commerce, known as the “City of Work,” because largely that is what there is to do there. I had first seen it n 1970, when it remained a somewhat cobwebbed display of faded grandeur from the Dutch East Indies. Later in the decade, when I was working in Kalimantan, I often had occasion to come down to Surabaya to procure goods and services, and the place had clearly picked up. I dealt largely with Chinese businesses, and the Chinese are today still quite prominent in the city.

Yet, while it is in some ways fairly cosmopolitan, it fronts on a vast agrarian hinterland, and it is in these small towns an villages that the struggle between traditional syncretic Javanese religion, a meld of Islam and older beliefs, against Orthodox Islam, continues, after a very bloody start in 1965.

Synagogue, Surabaya, 2003.  Long disused, but maintained with a grant from overseas,  it was the site of demonstrations when anyone was angry at Israel.    It has since been demolished.

Synagogue, Surabaya, 2003. Long disused, but maintained with a grant from overseas, it was the site of demonstrations when anyone was angry at Israel. It has since been demolished.

This is a long stretch of time, and I could here provide a string of anecdotes to buttress my case, but I’ll instead provide a general outline of those years.

After 9/11, it was the consensus among Western governments that much of the problem was due to misunderstanding between cultures. Thus, a concerted effort was made to reach out, identify and select young Muslims for education in Western nations. Indonesia, bastion of “moderate” Islam was key to the program, and the school where I worked, was involved in many programs financed with American,British,Australian and New Zealand money

One day, we were warned to keep a low profile. Hizbut Tharir, a world wide organization( banned in UK, legal in the US) was demonstrating in favor a of a universal Caliphate. Completely covered women in black held up signs condemning the US and Israel, and demanding global Islamic rule.

In 2005,many of my students were in an uproar about Israel’s “Cast Lead” operation in Gaza. The world, I thought, has many examples of pain and oppression. Why was it that these young people, so far from the Middle East, were so concerned? And as I read more about Islam, and Islamic history, I came at last to the conclusion that the Arab Israel conflict was, in fact, the Islam-Israel conflict. Territory once Islamic, simply cannot be given over to non-believers, and that the Jews, reviled in the Koran and other foundational texts, had taken Muslim land was an affront past bearing.

I said nothing about these things, and if anything, were pleased with my knowledge of Islamic belief and practice. I wanted to be liked, and as my doubts grew, I still dissembled.

Yet the atrocities and violence across continents continued, never relenting.

Beslan.

The spin was “Chechen Nationalists,” nationalists who called, “Allahu akbar!”

Soccer Field, Darussalam University, Aceh 2006.  Since I was there, sharia has sitigtnd and unrelated men and women may not ride together, or be alone anywhere

Soccer Field, Darussalam University, Aceh 2006. Since I was there, sharia has tightened, and unrelated men and women may not ride together, or be alone anywhere

For some years we had a large contingent of Achenese students, beneficiaries of study abroad programs established in the wake of the 2004 Tsunami. They were fine students, hard workers, but fun-loving, coming from a linguistic tradition that valued poetry and oration. It was, and still is a source of great pleasure for me to see how well they have done.

Still, all the women wore the hijab. The rebels let a few errant locks peep out. One fellow, a secret free thinker, was reduced to hiding when drinking coffee and having a smoke during Ramadan. At one point the program took me to Aceh to do some preparatory work with students before they came to Surabaya.

It wasn’t so bad. There was a lively coffee house scene, and it was common to see couples double dating. Of course, around ten, the boys would take their girl friends home, then come back and watch the footie. Rather charming, perhaps like small towns in America in bygone days

Outside town was a newly constructed governmental complex, and one large building was devoted to the administration of sharia law. It was not yet in force, but notices said it was coming. One would not need to be a forensic accountant to state that the building was at least in part paid for by the charitable citizens of the West who donated to tsunami relief.

Now, in Aceh, offenders are whipped publicly. Amputations and beheading have yet to arrive, but one wonders. A number of my students asked me to return to Aceh to attend weddings, but I am never going back.

With some of my Aceh students, Surabaya, 2006.  My late mother was astonished at this picture, as she had never herself seen Indonesia women so dressed.

With some of my Aceh students, Surabaya, 2006. My late mother was astonished at this picture, as she had never herself seen Indonesia women so dressed.

Looking back, I can find no road to Damascus moment. I read the Koran, I various translations,learned about the hadith and the sira, delved deeply into the history of Islamic expansion, so that around2009, when I first started hearing of Boko Haram, I spoke of these matters one evening to my partner.

She asked, seriously, “are you an Islamophobe?”

I spoke of somewhat to what I have written here,and she began her own journey of discovery.

And my distaste only deepened.  Sometimes people refused to sit next to me on the minibus I took to work everyday. Indonesians generally assume that foreigners don’t speak their language, but I understood the word, “najis,” unclean, as are all unbelievers. This did get me shotgun all by myself, where normally two passengers were crammed in.

I simply couldn’t take it anymore, so retired earlier than I had thought I would.

It’s been a little more than four years since I retired to Hindu Bali. I conceived of the project that became this “Encounters” series before I even got here. Yet I have tarried, and I tarry now,

My father-in-law, the late Haji Kamal, 2005, Bandung.  Dutch educated, civli servant in both the conolnial and independe regimes, Natioalist Party actvist, at teh endof his life, besides his beloved coffee and cigarettes, there was only Islam.

My father-in-law, the late Haji Kamal, 2005, Bandung. Dutch educated, civil servant in both the colonial and independent regimes, Nationalist Party activist, at the end of his life, besides his beloved coffee and cigarettes, there was only Islam.

Because in the end, I know the conclusion, and even after all these many years,it’s hard to just spit it out.

I’m done.

With Islam and with Muslims.

I’ll continue my study of the issues, and of course will be civil when meeting Muslims. I enjoy hearing from some of my former students. But as for all the efforts and blather at outreach, understanding, bridging the divide, and on, and on.

It’s useless.

This is to use a Marxist term, a world historical process. Islam is what it is. The Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS, this is Islamic reform.

Those who await some kind of Islamic Episcopalianism are fools. A millennial conflict will not be resolved by church suppers.

This is my stand. I have come to it through long experience and study. Others will make their own journeys of understanding, in their own way, in their own time.

Mine has ended.

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Everybody Draw Mohammed Day: A Personal Rubicon

In 2010 American cartoonist Molly Norris of Seattle proposed May 20 as “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day 20.”  This was in response to threats against the creators of South Park, who had named a bear suited character Mohammed.  A Facebook page sprung up and attracted a large number of followers.  Ms Norris’ own contribution was rather tame and did not in fact depict Islam’s prophet;  further, she disassociated herself from the Facebook page, which was the work of third parties.

Molly Norris’ contribution to “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” After credible threats to her life, the cartoonist went underground, and remains in hiding.

Nevertheless, in the end, she received more serious and credible threats than had the South Park team, and was advised to go underground by the FBI.  This she did at her own expense, so that a citizen of the United States, exercising her constitutional rights, was on her own, while violent felons and turned terrorists flourish in government sponsored witness protection.

Since 9/11, when Islam roars, the West cowers, as it did the previous year during the furor over Muhammad cartoons in the Danish Newspaper Jyllands –Posten.  In that instance, after a lag of some months, protests began as internet provocateurs – Muslims themselves– distribute the pictures along with even more graphically offensive images which had never appeared in the Danish newspaper.  Rioting, arson and death spread through the Middle East and Central Asia. It is ironic that the depiction of Islam’s prophet is not clearly proscribed in the Koran itself, and there is a rich history of portraiture showing Muhammad and events in his life in the artistic traditions of Persia, Central Asia and the

A Persian depiction of the Angel Gabriel revealing the Koran to Mohammed.

Ottoman Empire.

Logo from OIC Website. This pretty much says it all: a world centered on Mecca.

Since then, the OIC(Organization of Islamic Cooperation) has pushed its “anti-blasphemy”(read: anti criticism of slam)   rules in the west, with officials of purported democracies all too eager to comply.  Free speech in regard to Islam, among other multicultural shibboleths has bee criminalized in Europe, and has only shaky protection in the Anglophone democracies of the former empire.  The mother country has all but capitulated as “public order” and “community cohesion” statutes muzzle critics in Britain.  Only in the United States does the Constitution’s second amendment remain as a bulwark for freedom.

I have been associated with Islam and Muslims for most of my life.  At the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, I prayed that the actors not be Muslim.  Then came 9/11, the second and successful attack on the Twin Towers.  Even then, I made excuses and distinctions.  It was the violent and irrationally disproportionate  reaction to the Danish cartoons  of 2009 that led me to to examine Islamic tradition and scripture.

I did not like what I found, and am daily further appalled as I continue my exploration.  In the last few years, I toyed with the idea of posting something on May 20 each year, but refrained, telling myself that giving needless offense helped nothing.  There is validity to that argument, but, in truth, underlying it was moral cowardice, and personal sadness.  While I live in a  Muslim country, I am obscure enough that physical jeopardy is unlikely.  However, it is likely that some people for whom I have personal regard will not be able to see beyond their emotional attachment to  a religion which I am certain they do not fully comprehend, and our association will thus end.

So be it.

Like the larger part of my generation, I have never been called to stand for anything, as my father and grandfather were in the conflicts of their times.  Due to accidents of birth and class, Viet Nam passed me by.  This then is a small thing to do.

                     My contribution to “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”

Art is not my forte, so my drawing requires some explication:

I show Muhammad as bearded and turbaned, as he is described in most traditions.  Note that I use the word “traditions” as the historical record is even scantier than support for the Christian Gospels.

The other sketches show aspects of Islamic belief and history:

1)”The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and his messenger, and strive for mischief n the land is execution, crucifixion, or the  cutting  off of hands and feet from opposite sides (Koran 5:32)

2)  While the Koran prescribes one hundred lashes for adultery (really, any extra marital sex) in the hadith( sayings and deeds  attributed to Muhammad and purportedly verified through a documented chain of transmission, which  are central to Islam, particularly the Sunni majority) quote the prophet as personally ordering death by stoning:  “Allah’s apostle commanded that she be stoned to death:  Sahih Bukhari

3) The sack of Alexandria 641E: Islamic  tradition and scripture support spreading the religion by the sword. It is a conundrum that today, as Arabs and Muslims protest the existence of Israel, and bemoan the horrors of the Crusades, with the support by much of the world, that the historical record is generally ignored.  The extra-Arabian  Middle East, Turkey  and North Africa, once Christian, and Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, Hebrew, and Latin speaking, now is Arab  and Turkic, and almost  entirely        Islamic.  The war on Christians begun by the early caliphs is today in its final phase in Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

Holy war is an Islamic concept, as epitomized today on the Saudi flag, with the Muslim confession of faith surmounting a sword. For contrast, one need only look at the legacy of the European empires: only in the Americas, and the Philippines in Asia do we see indigenous religions vanquished by Christianity, inlands that were conquered by the Iberian powers in the century immediately after the end of their seven hundred year Muslim occupation.

“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya( a tax required of non-Muslims under Islamic rule) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Koran 9:29)

4)Some of Muhammad’s many wives.  While Islam limits the number of wives to four, its founder had many more, as well as numerous concubines, with some of each taken in war.  The small figure on the right is Aisha, the youngest of all.  Betrothed at six, bedded at nine.  She holds a doll.

Hadith – Bukhari 8:151, Narrated ‘Aisha

I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet , and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah’s Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fateh-al-Bari page 143, Vol.13)

5) The Battle of the Trench 627 CE.  After defeating the Jewish tribes and their allies who had been besieging the Muslims in Medina, between 600-900 men and boys were beheaded in the public square.  Muhammad presided, and in some accounts, participated.  Boys without pubic hair were spared and joined the women and girls in slavery.

Such practices are common through the histories of many peoples, in many times.  What is different here is that the conduct is not reexamined in the light of modern mores, but rather, celebrated, extolled, and emulated. One simply does not find traditions depicting the founder of any other major religion engaging in such actions.

My examination of Islam has lead me to the firm conclusion that this belief system, in its core doctrines and traditions, offers nothing but supremacist delusion , which is daily expressed in violence and repression, throughout the word, with the majority of victims themselves Muslims. There will be no peace until Islam reforms – and I consider this highly unlikely – or until it is turned back on physical an moral battlefields.  If not, one hopes, not though actual war, but a rhetorical, economic and moral equivalent of Tours, Lepanto, Vienna, and the defeat of the Ottomans.     It is a conflict that the West denies, and of which only the proponents of Islamic dominance speak the truth.

6) 9/11  A latter day incident in a very old war

HuffPoofery: My Response to Ariana’s 9/11 Piece

I wouldn’t expect other than fatuous nonsense from this source.  What is disturbing is the many who agree with her.  So I put my two cents ( actually around 750 words in four sections due to 250 word limitation per post).

Here it is in its entirety:

I of course expected Ms Huffington to make no mention of Islam in her 9/11 piece, and after scrolling through the first six pages of comments I find it almost completely absent from the the  thoughts expressed.  One commenter viewing American foreign policy as a “root cause,” mentioned Iran in 1957.  I would be rather surprised  if Osama Bin Laden  had ever heard of Mussadegh, and if he had it would be ludicrous to assume this Sunni  Salafist would care about a Shia secularist from the left in Iran.  This is typical of  the logical gyrations in which some  people  engage so as to  exonerate Islam.

Whatever one thinks  of the “Wars to Help Muslims” (Beginning with the Gulf war, I have I opposed all five – count them – other than taking out the Taliban in Afghanistan, which was fumbled) and the growth of the National Security State, these developments have their origins in a total lack of understanding in the US of what Islam is, and how it affects statecraft in nations that profess it.

The absurd lengths to which people will go in order not to mention Islam stuns me at times.  Israel, or US foreign policy have nothing to do with the ongoing  murder, oppression and violence against Christians and other minorities in parts of Nigeria, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka, in Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh,  Sudan.  They have nothing to do with the internecine Muslim violence endemic in Iraq and Afghanistan,and the persecution, suppression and murder of Ahmadis in Indonesia.

One simply has to look at the rest of the world to see that there is no other belief system giving rise to such persistent and high levels of violence, not to mention appalling human development indices, outside the rich Gulf nations, and a general disregard for basic freedoms, most especially manifested  in low status for women, and in places, outright gender apartheid. Simple logic dictates that this is no coincidence.

On 9/11 we were attacked by Islam, a renascent Islam fueled by petro-dollars, another term  for our money. There have been other such  attacks throughout the history of Islam, starting from its base in the Arabian Peninsula,  sweeping hence to  rapid  dominance of the southern Mediterranean littoral and on into Western Europe

Tarik ibn Zayid, Arab conqueror of Spain. Artist's rendition, as no true portraits exist due to Islamic restrictions on depicting living being. He landed at Gibraltar, which is a corruption of Jebel Tarik, "Tarik's Mountain.".

Charles Martel, King of the Franks, who decisively broke Muslim power in France, at the Battle of Tours, 732.

from Africa, and later from Turkey into Southeast Europe .  These waves were beaten back, but never has a country or region relinquished Islam voluntarily, or more accurately, has Islam peacefully relinquished territory.  The secular experiment of Ataturk in Turkey is at an an end, and Malaysia and Indonesia( where I live) may follow. We are, in a sense, experiencing the Third Jihad.  It will be the last.

The_Battle_of_Lepanto_by_Paolo_Veronese

Despite continuing attempts, increasingly from lone actors, and of fairly amateurish nature, the US will most likely not see another 9/11 in my view.  This hardly means the danger is past.   We must prepare for an Islamic World from the Mediterranean to Southeast Asia that, while chaotic and disunited, will be unified in its hatred of us and our values.

On September 11, 1683 King Jan Sobieski III Of Poland joined battle with the Ottoman Turks to lift the Siege of Venna, begining the roll back of muslim power in Central and Southeastern Europe

One commenter here suggested withdrawing form the region( the Middle East and Afghanistan.  I would agree, and extend this withdrawal to ceasing any attempt to reach out to, understand, interface with, or influence developments in  the Islamic world.  Withdraw, but maintain our guard toward both external and internal threats. This would make as safer, and perhaps afford us the time and resources to heal  ourselves.

Finally, I exhort one and all: read the texts of Islam!  I sincerely doubt Messers Bush the elder and younger, Clinton or Obama ever have.

September 13: It is noteworthy that the anniversary of the two day battle outside Vienna in 1683,  in which the advance of Turkish Muslim power in Central Europe was stopped, is September 11/13.  Now we have no captains to fight the crescent, and Europe lies supine, while America slumbers.

A Good Word for VP Biden, and a Good Word from HIm

It’s easy to make fun of Joe’s malaproprisms and misspeaking, but at
Shanksville he upstaged the President. I applaud his graciousness to both former presidents, most especillau hi thanks to President
Bush for the leadership provided in going after Al Quaeda in the beginning. His modesty in ellipsis – not contrasting the Bin Laden killing with Bush’s failure to take out Al Quaeda’s leader was noteowoyrth. It was a speech that, while, once again not mentioning the enemy as I would like, spoke of citizen warriors past and present, not focused on silly notions of “service,” but real service that can cost lives.. In a post speech interview with CNN, he spoke of his concerns that jihadis might use the occasion for a strike. For those uneasy with referring to muslims in this struggle, jihadi is an excellent term. It is truthful. Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

Hiroshima, 9/11, Chinook Down in Afghanistan

Yesterday was the anniversary of the bombing. I had forgotten. Now I know why I chanced, upon a “Yamato,“ yesterday on the Asian Movie channel,.  A docudrama of the last battle of the last of the class of the largest battleships    ever launched.

Quite gripping, great human interest, and all kinds of cool cgi explosions as the doomed young men fought their ship against a swarm of Douglas Avengers.  Of course, some of the sailors had family and lovers in Hiroshima, and there was a post sinking scene of a  surviving crewman searching for a loved one among the horrors in a casualty station there.

You’ve all read about Sadako and the paper cranes.  With all sympathy for the dead and maimed of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the official Japanese construct on the War has more than a waft of victim hood when talking about the defeat.  Little mention is made of Operation Olympic, the invasion of the Home Islands that would have sent the allies against an armed populace of all ages, ready to die for their parts in the thousand year narrative of Yamato, the Sun descended emperor..  Who remembers?  When was the last time you saw  a “Pearl Harbor Survivor“ license plate?

So what about 9/11. Jihad? And dead SEALS in Afghanistan?  The issue is historical memory, collective amnesia,,  altered, and even, stolen narratives,..

Nearly ten years ago a group of young men, citizens of a putative ally, legally present in our country, in order to further their studies, killed more than three thousand of our brothers and sisters.  They did it in the name of Islam and they shouted Alllahu Akbar as they entered physical, but certainly  not political, cultural and historical oblivion.

Our country, culture, and national psyche have been forever changed.  Yet, how many really remember?  I haven’t checked, but I wouldn’t be surprised if once again, the Chrysler  building is illuminated green for Ramadan,  Ten years ago, how many Americans had heard of Ramadan?  Now the president gives official greetings replete with Arabic interjections, and praise for non existent Muslim contributions( really, Nobel prize winners?  I come up with one, in Chemistry: Ahamad Zewail, an American Egyptian dual national, who, parenthetically, has interesting things to say about the impact of “traditional culture“ on scientific enquiry)

In his praise of Islamic charity, the president neglects to mention that such charity is enjoined by Islamic doctrine to help only fellow Muslims,. “Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings…”

One only has the to consult the roster of OIC members to see a roll of appalling human rights violators, and abysmally low HDI scores.  Protocols and style manuals within USG prohibit the use of “Muslim”, Islamic” and “terrorist” in the same sentence  A feel good narrative to scare off demons and night terrors.

The president only continues what George W. Bush “Islam is a Religion of peace” began.  Imagine a narrative of World War Two with the Japanese and Germans absent.

From Minnesota, young, sometimes Americans born, Somali men travel to Somalia to find salvation and meaning in another chapter of a 1500 year old narrative of conquest and subjugation, eschewing the old narrative of assimilation and success in America,.

The daily bombings, church burnings(Nigeria: have you heard of Boko Haram?)   and shootings and beheadings (Thailand: have you heard anything of the brutal assault on Buddhists  in the south of this world beloved tourist playground?)  are reported as “religious clashes( the BBC and Reuters are particularly egregious in this respect)  Agenda-tweaked narratives. Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, daily killings and executions as muslims die for other muslims’ reading of Muhammed‘s narrative.

Last week, between one and two hundred thousand Islamists shouting for a shariah state( Of course, by now, you know what shariah means) chased the last face bookers from Tharir square in Cairo.  “The Arab Spring” a vanished, and conveniently  no longer cited narrative.

. And there is the enormous cost of “security.”  Consider: had there been no 9/11, there would certainly have been no Afghanistan War, and perhaps Bush and Blair would have been at least somewhat circumspect about intervention in Iraq.

And no TSA. These  are not the source of all our fiscal woes, but eliminate them from the picture and the balance sheet is much improved.  An alternate universe narrative of a much happier non-possibility

Afghanistan:  Our forces die for what: a “democratic state” fashioned on paper by “ western experts” resulting in a sharia constitution( as in Iraq) where none existed before.  A impossible utopian narrative, as are all such,

Our servicewomen go veiled ( see ISAF website) and combat forces work under suicidal rules of engagement.  Google “heroic/courageous restraint.”  We went to that brutal land and graveyard of countless armies over the centuries to take revenge on the mastermind of 9/11, and on those who sheltered him. And stay to “build a nation.  An altered narrative.

And one that might be termed post modern in its utter lack of meaning, but which can also be seen as a very old form:  Unthinking hubris, and endless nemesis.

And today,  Maureen Dowd writes in the NYT:

When the president is asked what it felt like to kill Osama, he’s low-key and modest, even though he personally refocused the mission to capture the 9/11 architect after W. dropped the ball.

He has told people what a thrill it was to meet SEAL Team 6 — and the dog Cairo — which pulled off the hit, noting that the men looked less young and fearsome than he expected, and more like guys working at Home Depot.

But while Obama takes the high road, his aides have made sure there are proxies to exuberantly brag on him.

The White House clearly blessed the dramatic reconstruction of the mission by Nicholas Schmidle in The New Yorker — so vividly descriptive of the SEALS’ looks, quotes and thoughts that Schmidle had to clarify after the piece was published that he had not actually talked to any of them.

“I’ll just say that the 23 SEALs on the mission that evening were not the only ones who were listening to their radio communications,” Schmidle said, answering readers’ questions in a live chat, after taking flak for leaving some with the impression that he had interviewed the heroes when he wrote in his account that it was based on “some of their recollections.”

The White House is also counting on the Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal big-screen version of the killing of bin Laden to counter Obama’s growing reputation as ineffectual.

The Sony film by the Oscar-winning pair who made “The Hurt Locker” will no doubt reflect the president’s cool, gutsy decision against shaky odds. Just as Obamaland was hoping, the movie is scheduled to open on Oct. 12, 2012 — perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost to a campaign that has grown tougher.

The moviemakers are getting top-level access to the most classified mission in history from an administration that has tried to throw more people in jail for leaking classified information than the Bush administration.

It was clear that the White House had outsourced the job of manning up the president’s image to Hollywood when Boal got welcomed to the upper echelons of the White House and the Pentagon and showed up recently — to the surprise of some military officers — at a CIA ceremony celebrating the hero SEALs.

Just like W., Obama is going for that “Mission Accomplished” glow (without the suggestive harness). At least in this president’s case, though, something has been accomplished.

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Ms Dowd  makes some unsupported but hardly unbelievable assertions here, and as elsewhere in the article she included the obligatory pokes at GWB, one is inclined to give her a hearing.

So, here, an appropriated narrative, and perhaps the “October Surprise” the blogosphere anticipates, but not the expected attack on Iran.

No sooner did the story break than the conspiracy lovers were at work.  A black op to get rid of the witnesses to an operation that did not take out Osama, who “we all ( in some quarters ) know” had been dead for years,  See “I’m not into conspiracy theories” Ann Barnhart.

Of course, they had made the same mistake I did in skimming the story: some of the dead SEALS were in the same unit, but were not the same people. Misunderstood narrative

Thus, it is well to consider the men of the Enola gay, and the SEALS  down in Afghanistan, and be grateful for their true and unchanging.narratives of honor courage and service,