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Se muestran los artículos pertenecientes a Febrero de 2010.

To all Muslims

To all Muslims who have even an ounce of sense left in you, will you just give up the ghost? Islam is awful. Its founder was a brutal, psychopathic and sexually disturbed individual. He has fraud written all over him. No gettin' around this. Islam's conception of the afterlife is so primitive and childlike that it invites contempt whenever it is revealed. It has no Golden Rule for all for which eternal shame should be leveled upon it. It's the ultimate in fostering Us v. Them discord. It has stupidities all through it, like the requirement in Sharia that at least four male witnesses must substantiate a woman's charge of rape or in the Koran that Alexander the Great lived to an old age (he died at 33). Muslims of the world, I say to you that you've been had. Big time. Still time to realize this. So, realize this.

01/02/2010 13:51. plotino #. THIS WORLD No hay comentarios. Comentar.

Iran's Nuclear Project

Fitzgerald: If Iran's Nuclear Project is to be attacked, who should do the attacking?

It seems likely that, in the next week, the Islamic Republic of Iran will meet whatever challenge is posed to it by those who wish to march and express their dissent and discontent. The Revolutionary Guards seem ready to repress the dissenters, whatever it takes, no matter how peaceful and justified those dissenters may be.

They will no doubt be suppressed with a cruelty and violence that the most sinister members of Savak, under the late Shah, could only envy but not dare to emulate. It is likely that all these hopes and dreams for the fall of the regime are seen to be merely projections of those used to the idea that Hollywood Endings are real, that not only does Good Always Triumph, but does so in time for you to leave the theatre and beat the implacable meter maid before she tickets you, or to be safely at home at a reasonable hour, or after the movie go out to dinner, or something else (it's your night out, you decide). That's not the way it happens. The Bolsheviks held a large part of the earth's land mass in thrall for more than seventy years, and that was without many True Believers left after the first few decades. But for the Islamic Republic of Iran, the True Believers are those who believe truly in Islam, and Iran has tens of millions of such people; the hold of Islam is far stronger, reinforced by practically everything in societies suffused with Islam, than Communism ever could have been.

And meanwhile, inexorably, implacably, as fast as it can, the same monstrous regime somehow manages to keep the loyalty of a sufficient number of its scientists to keep the nuclear project full steam ahead. The estimates range from a few months to a year, but no longer....any longer. It may be - who knows? - that the surprise planned for this Thursday might even be the testing of a nuclear weapon somewhere in the Iranian desert. In any case, no sanctions seem likely, no matter how draconian, to be sufficiently damaging. All it takes is for one spoiler, if that spoiler is named China, crossing the international picket line, to undo whatever sanctions the confused, pusillanimous, procrastinating, irresponsible Western world finally, at long last, places -- sanctions that, had they been in place two years ago, might have done the job in time. But now that seems so very unlikely.

But what if these are not merely ordinary sanctions but very special sanctions, the kind the newspapers and political figures like to describe as "crippling" sanctions? Doesn't that epithet give you a good feeling, a feeling that at long last something significant is being done? And you get that good feeling from mere invocation of a word, all because you want so much to believe deeply in the efficacy of those "crippling" sanctions. But when? When? Iran can keep receiving tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues, and furthermore, can smuggle in goods from all over the place, including the former Soviet republics, through Azerbaijan, and Afghanistan, and Iraq. Iran can also have goods flown in by the unstoppable Chinese, who don't care at all about "sanctions" as long as they can have access to oil, and who, furthermore, believe - rightly, I'm afraid - that the West is unwilling to do anything to punish China. (The best way to punish China is for everyone in the West to start boycotting Chinese goods, which deserve boycotting for all kinds of reasons anyway.)

This leaves two possibilities. One is that the West will simply accept the attainment and possession of nuclear weapons by the Islamic Republic of Iran. When one looks at the worry over Pakistan's nuclear armory (and the Pakistani generals are far less chiliastic, less crazily willing to sacrifice themselves and their country than the Twelver-Shi'as who run the Islamic Republic of Iran), and how that worry has forced the Americans to keep involved, and to keep plowing men and money, into Pakistan and Afghanistan, because of fears of what might happen "if those weapons fall into the wrong hands," one wonders how - having presumably learned the lesson of its own negligence in the case of A. Q. Khan and Pakistan - the American government would be moving heaven and earth, and earth-moving through bombs away if necessary, if nothing else works, to prevent another Muslim state from acquiring nuclear weapons. For we know that Iran is even more dangerous than Pakistan, and has sponsored terrorist acts as far away as Buenos Aires, and is closely allied with the most dangerous of current terrorist groups - not the Sunni Al Qaeda but the Shi'a Hizballah.

Perhaps, in the end, the Americans hope that Israel will attack, thus sparing the Administration the need to assume its responsibilities as a great power. When Israel attacked Saddam Hussein's Osiraq reactor, it set back by twenty years his nuclear plans, a service to the whole West. When Israel attacked a Syrian nuclear installation - an installation in which both North Korea and Iran were likely involved - this was also a service to the Lebanese, who are opposed to the power of Syria and its Hizballah ally, and Iran, and to the countries of NATO that surely would have been alarmed by Iran and North Korea establishing a nuclear-tipped succursale in Syria.

But circumstances now are different. Iran's nuclear project does not consist of one reactor or one plant. The many different plants that constitute that project are spread out, widely. And some of them have been built underground, protected by very thick walls themselves deep-delved. While Israel has asked for, it has apparently not received, those bombs called bunker busters that are in the American, but not the Israeli, armory.

There can be little doubt that pound for pound, the Israeli military may be the best in the world. But it is a military that is fielded by a country that is so tiny it is scarcely discernible on a world map. It has only a very few airfields. It has a handful of submarines. It has nothing like the long-range missiles or the thousands of aircraft, dispersed all over the world, that can come from every direction - and can certainly fly over Iraqi air space without asking for a by-your-leave. The Americans have airbases everywhere, and aircraft on ships right in the Gulf. They have bases too far away for the Iranians to retaliate against. In fact, whether Israel or the United States bombed the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear plants, retaliation would be directed almost certainly at Israel. And therefore the Israelis have to worry, and have to hold back, cannot attack as they might otherwise, because they do not know what Hizballah, with its tens of thousands of rockets now hidden all over Lebanon, even far from the border with Israel, will do. And the Israelis cannot know exactly what Hamas or for that matter Fatah will do, in case of Israeli preoccupation with Iran. Israel will be attacking Iran under worrisome conditions that surely must affect the thinking of the Israeli military.

Furthermore, while Israel is rightly alarmed, it is also clear that the Iranian nuclear project threatens the Arab states of the Gulf or, more exactly, threatens their ability to pump oil. That is why, right now, the Americans are sending missile batteries and other defensive equipment to those sheiklets, as well as to Saudi Arabia - not because these are our "allies" but because right now, for the moment, we do not wish to see the oil wells of the Gulf damaged. No doubt these oil states would love to have Iran and Israel damage each other. But the Western world has a stake, the American government has a stake, in there not being permanent damage done to how Iranians -- not those who support the Islamic Republic of Iran, but those who are Iranian nationalists, those who have always hated, or who have come to hate, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and furthermore, are more and more receptive to the idea that Islam itself - the "gift of the Arabs" - explains the political despotism, and the moral and intellectual collapse, that Iranians have had to endure. This doesn't mean that Iran will cease to be Muslim, but the more Iranians can come to view Islam - and many things in Iranian cultural history will support this idea - as a vehicle for Arab supremacism, and lose their taste for Islam, the better for Iranians, and for the entire non-Muslim world.

Under the Shah, there was some cooperation with Israel. Attention has been given to military cooperation, because they shared the same enemies. But there is another sort of cooperation, a civilisational cooperation. The most advanced Iranians, even those of Muslim background, often demonstrate their independence from Islam through their stance toward Israel, or rather, toward the Jews. They are keenly aware that in the pre-Islamic past of Iran, Jews were part of the national narrative, and the memories of certain connections between Persian kings and "the Jews" are not irrelevant today, in a part of the world that is history-haunted and where national narratives are important.

I don't think it accidental that Aziz Nafisi, when she was in Iran, chose to write her thesis on a topic that most Americans would find unusual: the American Michael Gold, who in the 1930s wrote "Without Money." Nor does it any longer surprise me to find Iranians abroad, who left when the Shah fell, or who have managed to get out subsequently, who seem interested in Israel, even exhibit a sympathetic understanding of it, in a way that no Arab Muslims - I'm not including apostates such as Nonie Darwish and Wafa Sultan or undeclared apostates such as Fouad Ajami - have. In a way, Israel is a token, a token of their break with the mind-forged manacles of Islam. Israel, then, is not only itself, but also a symbol - a symbol, among other things, that the Middle East does not belong to Islam, that there are peoples other than Muslims who were, and are, still here. I have sometimes wondered aloud at this site that, since the peoples of the Middle East appear to need, more than we in the West do, some identity, some name, to affix to themselves, then if they wish in Iran to jettison Islam, they are likely to do so not for the unclassifiable non-belief that is the choice of many of those who leave whatever religion they were born into in the non-Muslim West, but for another identity. And the obvious choice, in Iran, is Zoroastrianism. This doesn't mean people really have to believe it, but only that they have to decide to call themselves, out of an impulse not to be distinguished from Iranian nationalism, "Zoroastrians." Whenever I allude to this, I get emails of two distinctly different kinds from Iranians in Europe and America. Some say that I am off, that this could never happen, though they indicate that they wish it could. And others say that I am, in fact, on to something, and that they have heard of a renewed interest in Iran, among those disaffected, and unlikely to re-embrace Islam, with Zoroastrianism.

Where does Israel, or "the Jews" (seen as a Middle Eastern people, who once lived, in great numbers, in Persia, before those interlopers the Arabs arrived, and are part of the Persian pre-Islamic national narrative) fit in? Israel could be, for a resurrected Iran, an ally, not only in military matters, but more importantly, in cultural matters, in the matter of re-defining the Iranian national identity so that it no longer is overwhelmed by, or at least made coterminous with, Islam, as Khomeini and his epigones desired when they re-fashioned the country to their own dismal and soul-killing commandments. Just as in Egypt where Taha Hussein (Husain) in the 1920s envisioned what he called "Pharaonism" - that is, an emphasis on Egypt's pre-Islamic past and on Egypt as a country apart, one that did not consider Egyptians to be Arabs or part of the Arab world, but should emphasize its separate, Egyptian, and by implication not completely Islamic, identity. Whether Taha Hussein, the most impressive Egyptian thinker of the last century, will ultimately prevail, is unclear, though he deserves to be republished and his line of thought revived and made fashionable. But in Iran, the elements are there, and Israel is part of that pre-Islamic narrative.

It would be a pity if the Americans, by signaling that they will not themselves act against the nuclear facilities of the Islamic Republic, force Israel to conclude, reluctantly, that it must do so. Great powers should assume their responsibilities. The United States, for all of its follies and the incompetence of so many in public life, remains the leader of what, in the Cold War days, used to be called the Free World. In the age of permanent Jihad, the Free World should be called merely the Non-Muslim world, the world of all polities and peoples threatened by Islam and its adherents, conducting Jihad in many different ways. And as that leader, it should think about the future of Iran. That future, possibly involving a move away from Islam among at least its elite (and it is the elite who have to move first, and then to enact measures that will bring more of the primitive masses along with them), should usefully include a sympathetic understanding of Israel (and even nurture the belief in pre-Islamic Iran's help to ancient Israel).

There is a chance, in puncturing the nuclear balloon of the Islamic Republic of Iran, of so weakening it that it will fall -- to be replaced, one hopes, by those immunized against the siren-song of Islam. And there is a further chance (much greater if Israel is not the one who will have to do the imperfect puncturing) that, after all the dust settles and the Islamic Republic is gone for good, that the most farseeing Iranians (in exile and in Iran) can encourage friendship with Israel, as part of a long-term effort to move Iran away from the Camp of Islam and back to something like what those Iranians who composed the 1906 Constitution had in mind.

In deciding whether or not to act itself, the American government should think carefully about where, ideally, it would like Iran to be -- not next year, but ten years or twenty years from now (as we work furiously to diminish the value of Middle Eastern oil, and thus to deprive the worldwide Jihad of the Money Weapon. The American government should consider how, ideally, it wishes to pursue what it now must pursue: the weakening, everywhere, of the Camp of Islam. Israel could perform the immediate service to the entire West of attacking the Iranian nuclear project. But if it does so, it may not be as effective as an American effort would certainly be. And what is still more important, Israel might lose the chance, and the most advanced Iranians too might lose the chance, to re-establish some sort of connection between Israel and Iran that, in the end, would be of enormous benefit not only to both countries immediately involved, but also to the United States and to the entire non-Islamic world.

Something to think about.

11/02/2010 09:11. plotino #. THIS WORLD No hay comentarios. Comentar.


Oriana Fallaci on Moslem women

The Useless Sex
by Oriana Fallaci

Horizon Press 1964 pp. 26-32

Moslem women rarely walk alone along the street. Generally they walk in groups, with their children, and with the husband who keeps three paces ahead to make it clear that he is the master and she must follow him. There are times when even girls who are students, the most progressive girls, do not evade this ruling. You can see them coming out of high school, muffled up like nuns, and they are girls who know all about Einstein or Leonardo da Vinci, but if you come too close or try to photograph them, they'll suddenly huddle together in a group, lowering their heads as sheep do when they're afraid.

In a land which is struggling to convince women to take off their veils, explaining that they prevent the skin from breathing, carry infection, and enfeeble the sight, such anachronism is cruel. In the streets you might still happen to see cars with closed curtains: these are the cars of the richest Moslem women, for whom it is not enough to hide their head in purdah. Inside the houses, into which incidentally it is extremely difficult to gain admittance, you will very rarely set eyes on any women. At home they do not wear the veil, and if accidentally or on purpose you mistake the door and enter their quarters, you are met by a concert of shrillest screams. A friend of mine in Karachi who has employed a certain gardener for the last three years, tells me that she has never once seen his wife without her veil. 'I really think,' she says, 'that that woman has never been touched by a ray of sunshine.'

There's plenty of sun in the lands of Islam: a sun that is white, violent, blinding. But Moslem women never see it - their eyes are conditioned to gloom like the eyes of moles. From the darkness of the mother's womb they pass into the darkness of the father's house and from this to the darkness of the tomb. And in all this darkness nobody takes any notice of them. Asking a Moslem about his women is like asking him about a secret vice, and when one fine day I said to the editor of a Pakistani newspaper: 'I have come to ask you about the problem of Moslem women,' he became quite angry and answered: 'What problem? There isn't any problem of Moslem women.' Then. he handed me a sheaf of typescripts which were all about the dress of Moslem women, the jewels of Moslem women, the make-up of Moslem women, and about how they use coconut oil to give lustre to their hair, and how they use henna to stain the palms of their hands and the soles of their feet red, and how they use antimony mixed with rose water to colour their eyelashes. 'Here,' he said, 'you'll find everything about Moslem women.' Then I asked him what the percentage of illiteracy among Moslem women might be, and he replied angrily: 'Why should a woman have to learn reading and writing? And to whom would she need to write? The only person she could write to is her husband. If the husband is living with her, what would be the point of sending him a letter?'

A thousand and three hundred years have passed since Mohammed raised his voice in the scorching desert of Arabia, and although something new is now taking place among the women of Islam, the vast majority of his faithful followers continue to observe his laws as if time has stood still. It is true that in Tunisia President Bourguiba condemns to imprisonment any man who takes more than one wife and exhorts the young women to cast off their veils, but, as the weekly paper L'Action reports, 'the parents are ashamed of this'. It is quite true that at the American University in Beirut and at the Beirut College for Women the girls wear blue jeans, go water skiing and dance rock and roll, but, as Time Magazine reports, you are still likely to overhear a couple of male students make such remarks as: 'Would you ever marry a girl who had been to the cinema with another boy?' 'No, no I really don't think 1 would.' It is quite true that in Nigeria an eccentric woman called Zeinab Wali gives a weekly broadcast in the course of which she urges women to come out of their houses and get to know the trees, the mountains and the butterflies. But when the wife of a minister of Kaduna asked her husband's permission to go out and get to know, the trees, the mountains and the butterflies, the husband held a family council during which it was decided that she should be allowed out only after five in the evening - when there is still sufficient light to be able to see but when the sinful brilliance of the sun is turning to twilight. It is quite true that in Egypt there is an auxiliary force of women in the army, but Nasser still hasn't had the courage to abolish polygamy because, he well knows, the men would revolt against such a measure. If polygamy ceases it certainly won't be his doing; it will simply be because maintaining two wives is expensive.

Not even women of such authority as Princess Aisha in Morocco succeed in breaking down these laws that have been unchanged for, centuries. On one occasion in Tangiers I saw Aisha. She was defiantly attired in skirt and blouse, driving an open car, and the Moroccan women were wild with admiration. Some were hurling away their mantles, others were pressing round her at the risk of getting themselves run over, and a French journalist told me that this was nothing compared with what had happened a few years previously when, in a square in the Tangiers casbah, Aisha had climbed up on a platform and, dressed in a blue Lanvin outfit, had made, the following speech: 'I know well enough the wicked customs and prejudices that weigh down upon us; we must slough them off. Modern culture is calling us, and it is vital for the life of our nation that we should imitate 'our sisters in the West who are making a contribution to the progress of their countries.' However, the French journalist told me, next day Sidi Mohammed Tazi, mandate of Tangiers, had given orders that any Moroccan woman dressed in European clothes should be put under arrest: 'What is all right for a princess is not all right for other women. If our women start wearing Western clothes, before long they'll be drinking, then dancing, and then they'll be going down at night to sleep with men on the sea-shore:' When photographs appeared of Aisha in a swimsuit on the beach at Rabat, EI Glaoui of Marrakesh judged them outrageous and Aisha, with her jodhpurs, her brief tennis skirts and her Benny Goodman records, contributed not a little to the sultan's exile in Corsica and subsequently in Madagascar. When Aisha returned, acclaimed by thousands of women, the strongest among whom had refused for two 'years to surrender themselves to their husbands 'so that they should not give birth to children conceived in humiliation', she had to keep her speeches considerably more prudent. 'The emancipation of women,' she said, wearing a heavy mantle, 'should not be sudden like a surgical operation. The veil of itself has little importance. The important thing is that a woman should be free to choose whether to wear it or not.'

They are, therefore, the most unlucky women in the world, these women with the veil, and the paradox is that they often don't realise it because they don't know what goes on outside the sheet that imprisons them. They suffer and that's an end of the matter, like the Mother of the Departed I met one morning in Karachi. And they dare not even rebel.

I had gone, that morning, to speak with the Begum Tazeen Faridi who is head of the All Pakistan Women's Association in Karachi. Tazeen Faridi is a vivacious woman, with skin gold as honey, who likes to describe herself as 'a Moslem woman who doesn't wear the veil and possesses a surname'. She belongs to the limited number of women who count as somebody in this land, such as the Begum Liaquat Ali Khan, Ambassadress in Holland, and the Princess Abida Sultan, Ambassadress in Brazil. She has a husband who respects and admires her, an office prudently devoid of placards and posters, in front of which informed Moslems pass with the same grimace of disgust that teetotallers would reserve for a glass of whisky. The chief, aim of her life is the advancement of Moslem women: book of law and Koran in her hand, she fights like a wild cat against poly¬gamy, and is so modern-minded that some time ago she even tried to send a Miss Pakistan to the Miss Universe contest which is held in Long Beach. The story of this election is worth the telling: the daring maidens who agreed to take part in the con¬test paraded in swimsuits before twelve Moslem ladies and then in purdah before twelve Moslem gentlemen. What the Moslem gentlemen are supposed to have seen remains a mystery: purdah makes it impossible even to tell whether the wearer is fat or thin. However they placed their trust in Tazeen Faridi, who assured them that the favoured candidate hidden beneath the sheet was most beautiful and worthy to go to Long Beach. She never actually went, let us be clear about that. The Karachi Times revealed that the Begum had suppressed an important detail, namely that Miss Pakistan would not be parading in purdah at Long Beach but, on the contrary, in a swimsuit: the Begum barely escaped a lynching.

So there I was, talking with Tazeen Faridi in this little office full of useless manifestos, when this Mother of the Departed arrived. She came in looking suspiciously over her shoulder, as if she were afraid she was followed by a horde of religious fanatics intent on shaving her head, and her black burka didn't even have the little holes at eye level- how she managed to walk without tripping I do not know.

'Down with that rag,' said Tazeen Faridi. And because the woman drew back, hesitating, she snatched it off. I caught my breath at the dreadful stench that was released and stared. Be¬neath there was a woman of about forty, black and sweating, covered with jewels and bruises. The worst bruise was over her left eye, and one lip was swollen. She dabbed at her lip with a handkerchief and didn't dare to speak. Then, somehow, she managed to find her voice. And here, word for word, is what she said. I haven't altered so much as a comma in what Tazeen ,Faridi slowly told me, in English. And Tazeen is too honest to have invented anything.

'I was fourteen years old and he was thirty-two. My aunts and cousins told me that his nose had been eaten away by smallpox, but he was taking me for three thousand rupees and, ugly as I was, I couldn't expect anything better. They exchanged sweets and gifts, they signed the agreement and he took me to his house. He assigned a boy of thirteen to keep watch on me, but he always shut himself in the room with the boy and paid no attention to me. In the end he took me, but when the time came for me to give birth I was taken ill. My aunts and cousins looked for a lady doctor, but the lady doctor wasn't to be found. There was only a man doctor, but he didn't want me to take off my clothes in front of the doctor and my baby son died: I became the Mother of the Departed and he was kind because he didn't cast me out. However he took another wife, younger than me, and when her time came it was I who had to help her. He continued to keep me in the same manner as her and he used to give me the same jewels, exactly the same, but he used to beat me. The lady doctor came and she said I ought to have asked for a divorce. I said, "All right, but I haven't got any money for a lawsuit and anyway, what can a divorced woman do?" Then he saw another girl. She cost thirty thousand rupees because she's a beautiful girl so he wants to get back my three thousand rupees, but my aunts and cousins haven't got them any more. He also says he hasn't got enough money to keep three wives and then I'm old. So he said, "Talak, Talak, Talak", and repudiated me. The lady doctor told me to come here. I have come. But now where shal! I go, what shall I do?'
In the same way that doctors don't get upset about their patients' stomach aches, Tazeen Faridi showed no emotion at this tale and promised the woman that she would try to find a place for her in some institution or with some family that needed servants. Naturally the best thing would have been a widows' home, but then she wasn't a widow so there was no good hoping for that. Then she told her to leave, to come back if she was in need, and to me she explained that she had sent the woman away because in the Moslem world a woman cannot live alone, not even if she is working. If she does live alone it means she is a lost woman. 'This is the reason why there are no spinsters and why repudiation is the equivalent of civil death. According to the new law a woman can ask for a divorce, But, this means facing a lawsuit and along with the lawsuit the scandal. A man, on the other hand, can say 'Talak, Talak, Talak', without any lawsuit, and he becomes free as a chaffinch again. It isn't even necessary to give alimony. You understand?'

'No. I don't understand,' I answered. 'Is it really possible that these people never get fond of each other?'

'Sometimes,' said Tazeen Faridi, 'but they're ashamed to admit it,' rather as if it was a fault.

14/02/2010 21:37. plotino #. THIS WORLD No hay comentarios. Comentar.

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