Saturday, March 04, 2006

Defining “Islamism”—And A Book Review

Before posting the book review at the end of this blog article, I visited the author's web site to see his latest posting and found the following, which is quoted in full:
Islamism’: A Concept invented by the infidel for the infidel!

The mantra, ‘Islamism’, is repeated time and time again, over and over, ad nauseum, ad infinitum, especially by those who are in denial: ‘Islamism’, they say, not Islam, is the source of our problems. It is what feeds the perpetrators of Islamic terror.

The liberal media, in particular, love this word, since it allows them to talk about the problems we face with Islam, without causing offence to Muslims throughout the world. It creates a distinction between good, practising Muslims and their extremist co-religionists. Alas, it is a false distinction!

Our politicians love the term, because it allows them to duck the obvious need to come to terms with the fact that a major world religion – Islam – is out to destroy our way of life, out to destroy our social structure, out to destroy our civilization! In short, ‘Islamism’ is a concept dreamt up by the infidel for the infidel. It lets him off the hook!

The fact of the matter, however, is that the use of the term ‘Islamism’ obfuscates the true problem we face, namely the growth of Islam in the West, and therefore the increasing Islamization of our societies and our civilization. It also obfuscates the causes of the jihad itself – the tool of the Muslim to bring Islam to the rest of the world, the tool to turn Dar ul Harb, the House of War, into Dar ul Islam, the House of Islam, the tool to Islamize the regions of the world which have yet to be Islamized, to Islamize the regions of the world still living, in their opinion, in a state of moral chaos, in a state of pre-Islamic disorder, otherwise known among Muslims as a state of Jahiliyyah.

Our real problem is Islam, the real thing. Muslims do not use the term ‘Islamism’. The concept is unknown to them, other than as a term used by the infidel to try and make sense of the aggressive nature of their faith.

Let us, for goodness' sake, think clearly, for without clear-thinking, we shall never overcome this grave threat to our civilization. To talk of 'Islamism', and make a false distinction between that and Islam, is like making a false distinction between Christianity and 'Christianism'! We don't do this with Christianity, so why should we do it with Islam?

The jihad is fed by nothing other than Islam itself! That means to say that it is fed by the Qur'an, the teachings and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (Ahadith), and the life of the Prophet (As Sirah). These are the sources of the problem - die Quelle des Übels, la source du mal! It is what so-called 'Islamism' is based on! ‘Islamism', if it is anything at all, is not a source, but the result of taking the religion of Islam literally; and that's what all true Muslims do anyway.

The Jihad is a duty resting on the shoulders of all Muslims. It is a must, or wajib. It is an integral part of the faith of Islam. One cannot be a true, practising Muslim and reject the call to Jihad, or holy war.

To accept this term ‘Islamism’ is tantamount to playing with the meaning of words; to use the term is tantamount to engaging in semantics! One is engaging in verbal acrobatics; one is contorting the brain!

Our problem is Islam. Islam, based as it is on al Qur’an, Ahadith, and as Sirah, is the source of the Jihad, and inspiration for it. Nothing else!

We must come to terms with this fact if we ever wish to get a handle on the problems facing us. To talk in riddles helps not a soul, and it certainly doesn’t help the war effort!

©Mark Alexander

BOOK REVIEW
by Always On Watch

A book of reader-friendly and short essays, Mark Alexander’s The Dawning of a New Dark Age examines the tenets of Islam and clearly delineates what those tenets mean for Western civilization. Concentrating on the present danger, the signs of which continue to proliferate since the book’s publication in 2003, the author passionately spells out and proves the bottom line: Islam is not just another religion. Mr. Alexander writes from the Christian perspective, but his book will also appeal to those who are not Christians because he uses excellent sources as well as his personal observations. Read this book!

Mr. Alexander's web site is here. And a sample page from his book is here.

109 Comments:

At 3/04/2006 2:43 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

Without a clear recognition of a threat we cannot eleminate it.
The biggest problem of all.
And our leaders keep saying: "Islam is religion of peace. We mustn't judge the peacuful by the actions of a few bad apples."

This denial is not new in the West.
How many times have we heard that: "The ideas of communism are good and only SOME bad people like Stalin took it on a wrong path."

 
At 3/04/2006 4:07 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Yes, Missinglink, they're leading us down the primrose path!

 
At 3/04/2006 4:17 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Islamism = The belief in Islam

 
At 3/04/2006 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT . . .but speaking of books being released -

Orianna Fallaci's book, "The Force of Reason", has finally been released (my pre-order copy was shipped on the 3rd).


I'll also explore Mark Alexander’s "The Dawning of a New Dark Age" . . .so many books/so little time! Sigh!!!

 
At 3/05/2006 7:03 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

O yes the game of semantics..wonder whose gunna lose that one?..u got it...US!

 
At 3/05/2006 7:31 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Woman Honor Thyself,
Yes, semantics. And those semantics provide a comfort level to us infidels. But it's a false comfort! The semantics of the term "Islamism" amounts to putting blinders on. As Mr. Beamish pointed out, Islamism = The belief in Islam, but the term is used today to mean "radical Islam."

I have struggled with this idea that the term "Islamism" is just semantics. I don't want to believe it! But the hordes of moderate Muslims are not coming forth, and I think that Mr. Alexander's explanation in the essay here explains why.

This past January, the Washington Post ran an article the gist of which was the the idea of the establishment of the caliphate, an idea which our President, among others, has attributed to just the small minority of radicals. I blogged that article here.

All of my comment here is not to say that some Muslims have not secularized. But any secularization is, by definition according to the Koran and the Ahadith, apostasy. The goal of Islam is to make Islam the supreme ruling power. This idea goes well beyond the Western concept of personal faith.

 
At 3/05/2006 7:34 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Missing Link,
This denial is not new in the West.
How many times have we heard that: "The ideas of communism are good and only SOME bad people like Stalin took it on a wrong path."


The capability of good human beings to wish what isn't so--optimism, if you will--blinds us to the truth.

The fact is that some ideologies are incompatible and/or antitheses. Compromise is not always possible.

 
At 3/06/2006 12:42 AM, Blogger Warren said...

When I attack the semantic content of leftist drivel, I am usually accused of playing "word games". I usually respond with dictionary or encyclopedia definitions of concepts and words.

It has always been my contention that if a person must redefine concepts and words to make a point, the only point they have is between their ears.

My thoughts keep drifting back to Orwell's 1984 and "Newspeak".

 
At 3/06/2006 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plato, "Cratylus"...(on names)

SOCRATES: But if this is a battle of names, some of them asserting that they are like the truth, others contending that THEY are, how or by what criterion are we to decide between them? For there are no other names to which appeal can be made, but obviously recourse must be had to another standard which, without employing names, will make clear which of the two are right; and this must be a standard which shows the truth of things.

CRATYLUS: I agree.

-----

SOCRATES: Nor can we reasonably say, Cratylus, that there is knowledge at all, if everything is in a state of transition and there is nothing abiding; for knowledge too cannot continue to be knowledge unless continuing always to abide and exist. But if the very nature of knowledge changes, at the time when the change occurs there will be no knowledge; and if the transition is always going on, there will always be no knowledge, and, according to this view, there will be no one to know and nothing to be known: but if that which knows and that which is known exists ever, and the beautiful and the good and every other thing also exist, then I do not think that they can resemble a process or flux, as we were just now supposing. Whether there is this eternal nature in things, or whether the truth is what Heracleitus and his followers and many others say, is a question hard to determine; and no man of sense will like to put himself or the education of his mind in the power of names: neither will he so far trust names or the givers of names as to be confident in any knowledge which condemns himself and other existences to an unhealthy state of unreality; he will not believe that all things leak like a pot, or imagine that the world is a man who has a running at the nose. This may be true, Cratylus, but is also very likely to be untrue; and therefore I would not have you be too easily persuaded of it. Reflect well and like a man, and do not easily accept such a doctrine; for you are young and of an age to learn. And when you have found the truth, come and tell me.


-FJ

 
At 3/06/2006 9:51 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
Names, labels--How inadequate they are!

But truth does exist--And when you have found the truth, come and tell me-- though some don't want to face it.

 
At 3/06/2006 9:56 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Unfortunately I think the President is at fault. Every speech first tells us how Islam is "a religion of peace" that has been hijacked. Until our leaders stop lying, of course the majority will be unable to clearly define our enemy.

 
At 3/06/2006 2:59 PM, Blogger Mark said...

WomanHonorThyself:

You've got it! The US (and the West) will lose this one.

 
At 3/06/2006 3:02 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Always:

The goal of Islam is to make Islam the supreme ruling power.

Exactly! So what are we going to do about it? And when?

 
At 3/06/2006 3:10 PM, Blogger Mark said...

But truth does exist--And when you have found the truth, come and tell me-- though some don't want to face it.

Many do not wish to be confronted with the truth. The old saying - the truth hurts - is as valid today as it ever was!

 
At 3/06/2006 3:13 PM, Blogger Mark said...

American Crusader:

Unfortunately I think the President is at fault. Every speech first tells us how Islam is "a religion of peace" that has been hijacked. Until our leaders stop lying, of course the majority will be unable to clearly define our enemy.

This is so well stated! This is exactly the problem: Our leaders are lying to us!

 
At 3/06/2006 4:06 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

I wonder what this nation of overnight Islamic scholars has to say about the effects on Islam of contact with Western values?

We seem to feel we can "get the point across" with a dose of military strength.

Of course we got a plank shoved up our butts but that shouldn't stop us from trying to engage moderates and discontinue support for dictators such as Mubarek and the Royal Family.

 
At 3/06/2006 4:17 PM, Blogger Iran Watch said...

No need to waste time with Mubarak ducky, the Muslim Brotherhood will get rid of him after the next election. Egypt will be the next Islamic state.

 
At 3/06/2006 5:35 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Duck,
overnight Islamic scholars

Mr. Alexander is not an "overnight" scholar. You might want to check his bio.

As for me, I didn't feel competent to make any comments about Islam for nearly four years. Is that time enough to understand the finer points? No, but I have a grasp of the basics. Offhand, I'd say that I've read at least 30 books about Islam, and those books span the entire spectrum.

the effects on Islam of contact with Western values

Islam categorically rejects Western values; Ahmadinejad refers to "Westoxification," which term includes freedom. He's quite plain in his assertions. Beyond that, Western values have been watered down by multiculturalism, moral relevancy, and political correctness, and that watering down is why Islamification is gaining inroads in the West. Many in the West see values as a gray area; shari'a law does not, and therein lies one of the strengths of Islam and may well be leading to more and more Western converts to Islam.

We seem to feel we can "get the point across" with a dose of military strength.

I don't think that we can "get the point across," but military force may well be able to curb the march of Islam. And what's the alternative? Sit back, and let Islam conquer and/or subjugate the West?

shouldn't stop us from trying to engage moderates

Not many moderates on the horizon. Some perceived to be moderates have indeed turned out not to be so. The name "Alamoudi" immediately comes to mind in that regard. Along those lines, here is a report on a recent meeting conducted by self-proclaimed moderates.

I find the voices of apostates much more relevant to identifying the ideology which has declared war upon the West. Faith Freedom provides plenty of material in that regard. This piece by Ali Sina is a good place to start.

The West's ties to oil--in effect, chains--motivate support of the House of Saud. OBL advocates the fall of the House of Saud precisely such a collapse would bring the West to its economic knees. As far as I can tell, neither political party here understands that, so both parties give Saudi "a pass."

 
At 3/06/2006 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr ducky,

Why do you think they feel the need to impose Sharia on the world?

They're the "pappy state" on steroids.

Our "mommy state" has dropped her drawers, and given Mohammed an embarrassing woody. I doubt if there exists a chador big enough to wrap around us, and it's too late for them to cover their eyes.

-FJ

Islam cannot survive western liberalism. Once gutenberg cranked up his press and the Lutherans got their hands on an actual Bible, the priests lost their hold on the peasants. The flock started reading and interpretting it for themselves. And then throw in democracy on top of that and hoooo-eeeey. The peasants will start to think that THEY, and not the imams, actually know what the sunnah's mean.

And with a growing Islamic "literatti" and Internet, hadith collections will be assembled and become available on-line at places like Harvard, and isolated emigrant Muslims (where the net is not filtered) will begin to follow their own "sunnah's" and stop asking others..."What would Mohammed do?" and start asking themselves instead. When that happens, the "scholars" and hereditary "imams" will have breathed their last.

The Islamic "reformation" is starting in Iraq. Hold onto your hats, people. The fun is just getting started.

 
At 3/06/2006 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and ps - I AM an overnight Islamic scholar. But guess what, ducky, that puts me one night AHEAD of you....and at the same time proves my point. A "little" knowledge is a dangerous thing.... especially to "Islam".

-FJ

 
At 3/06/2006 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pps - We ought to have former SDS Chairman Michael Lerner send away for "change of religion" certificate at that mail order place he got his rabbical certificates and give him a ticket to Bagdad... Dollars to donuts says within' ten years they'll be staging a modern "Woodstock" on the banks of the Euphrates.

-FJ

 
At 3/06/2006 6:33 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

"and ps - I AM an overnight Islamic scholar. But guess what, ducky, that puts me one night AHEAD of you....and at the same time proves my point. A "little" knowledge is a dangerous thing.... especially to "Islam".

-FJ"

Well said.

 
At 3/06/2006 6:38 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
I AM an overnight Islamic scholar. But guess what, ducky, that puts me one night AHEAD of you....

Bwahahahaha! I needed that laugh.

I doubt if there exists a chador big enough to wrap around us, and it's too late for them to cover their eyes.

LOL!

The Islamic "reformation" is starting in Iraq....

I really want to believe that. But this may be a hope: The peasants will start to think that THEY, and not the imams, actually know what the sunnah's mean. And with a growing Islamic "literatti" and Internet, hadith collections will be assembled and become available on-line...

Some Muslims might be a bit surprised to discover the salient facts about MTP. From this source, written by an "apostate":

...I was sitting in my room that day, doing something on the computer, a typical day for me. Suddenly, my oldest brother came running into my room …he was out of breath, very out of the ordinary. My brother is close to my age and he doesn’t make it a habit to run around the house. I didn’t know what was going on, but I immediately smelled trouble, or at least something unusual.

He breathlessly told me that he just had a discussion with mom and dad about the Mo cartoon issue (this was earlier this year, when the cartoon story was still fresh). And he was upset, at my parents or maybe at all those Moslems who went crazy in the wake of the cartoons. Or perhaps he was angry at all of them.

So, after he caught his breath, he asked me a question. “Is it true that Mohammed got married to Aisha when she was 6?”

I looked at him for two seconds, amazed, thinking why he asked that now; I didn’t know at first how to respond. So I decided to gamble on telling him the truth, hoping he would respond in an intelligent way.

Carefully, I replied, “Yes, he got married to her when she was 6 and he was 54. He consummated his marriage with her when she was 9 and he was 57. There are a lot of Hadiths about that; I will email them to you tomorrow if you want.”

My brother’s answer to my revelation was suprising: “It’s wrong to be married to someone so young. That’s wrong!” and then he walked out.

To a westerner that reply might not mean much, but for a Moslem to say this, is big. Really big. I couldn’t believe my ears--my brother had just committed blasphemy. He had just questioned an act of Mohammed and judged it as wrong....

 
At 3/06/2006 9:12 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Quandary isn't it, Farmer John. People get pushed down further, get their face rubbed in it and they turn to the only thing available, fundamentalist Islam.

Myself, I'd stop pushing their face in it for reasons both ethical and practical. The practical reason is that they might push back.

I'd say the diaper pissing over the Dubai deal is an example. Do you think they will accept not getting their share of KAPITAL? Not likely.

You and the rest of the frightened American fundies aren't going to get much but the Emir of Dubai will have his share.

 
At 3/06/2006 10:15 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Always:

Mr. Alexander is not an "overnight" scholar. You might want to check his bio.

Thanks. No, I've been telling the same message for about twenty or so years now!

Always, you undrstand the problem we face with Islam as well as anyone I know.

 
At 3/06/2006 10:18 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Iran Watch:

Egypt will be the next Islamic state.

Quite possible!

 
At 3/06/2006 10:20 PM, Blogger Mark said...

The Islamic "reformation" is starting in Iraq....

NO Islamic reformation will start in Iraq! Never!

 
At 3/06/2006 11:04 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

lame ducky...I believe there are quite a few 'overnight' scholars of Islam after 911. Unfortunately moonbats such as yourself downplayed the threat Islam posed..even after the first attempt at the World Trade Center. Hollywood is still spouting elitist mantra that too many Americans fall for. Will it take another attack before the rest of the population wakes up?

 
At 3/07/2006 7:33 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mark,
Always, you undrstand the problem we face with Islam as well as anyone I know.

Thank you! But I had to wade through volumes of apologeia before I came to that understanding. Talk about time-consuming! Since 9/11, I've barely had time to read anything else, and the reading has been downright depressing. I so want there to be a compromise! But Islam won't allow for it!

NO Islamic reformation will start in Iraq!

I think you're right. But FJ's points about questioning the imams are good ones. As I see the problem, however, the questioning isn't really happening. One group is following the orders of one group of imams, another group the orders of another group, etc.

And still remains this problem--the Koran is the immutable word of Allah, with those later Medinan verses.

Furthermore, the masses are illiterate. Literacy doesn't sprout up overnight, and the imams certainly won't promote it.

The "hope" which I spoke of is slow-moving (Therein lies a huge difference between the Protestant Reformation and the American Revolution), and the power at the top will prevent the quick-enough realization of that hope, IMO. Meanwhile, the Islamification within Western societies continues apace.

I'm watching developements in that case with the avenging student at UNC. That young man had all kinds of exposure to Western ideas, and still he chose to try to kill infidels. Now, maybe he will turn out to be a crazy; but Ahmed Abu Ali wasn't a crazy, and he took up Allah's cause as well. It worries me that we may well have many such individuals in our midst.

 
At 3/07/2006 7:36 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

American Crusader,
Hollywood is still spouting elitist mantra that too many Americans fall for.

Young people believe what they see on the big screen, regardless of any disclaimer.

 
At 3/07/2006 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr ducky,

I hate to tell you this, but I don't covet the Emir's "share" of the port deal. It's his money, and whatever he receives, he has earned. I don't covet the order server at MacDonalds share of his money either... but you're the one who insists on taking a "cut" from his salary, too. Get over your resentment duck. The peasants don't own, nor do they deserve, royalties from oil under their feet... unless of course, they can and are willing, to prevent you from extracting it. Thats why they are called royal-ties.

And for those who do not believe that Islam will be corrupted (aka - "reformed"), you should ask yourself "why" the Saudi's, et al, are spending billions to fund "university chairs" in Islamic studies around the globe. Without those chairs, the Saudi's and Imams will loose their grip, and the "traditional" authorities, their influence. Imagine thousands of Ruth Bader Ginsberg's interpretting the Constitution instead of an equivalent number of Scalias.

-FJ

 
At 3/07/2006 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ps - The current civil war in Iraq is between rival Shi'a factions, one "populist", the Mahdi Army under al-Sadr who believe in the sovereignty of the ummah (greater community of Muslims of the caliphate); and the the other, the SCIRI and backed by Iran, under al-Hakim(et al) who believe in the sovereignty of the local scholars. And a "scholar", al-Sistani, is attempting to mediate this dispute.

What a difference a few "sunnah's" can make, for the "twelvers" all share the same hadith. But the prospect of "power" in one interpretation over another, makes ALL the difference. Who will win? Lets all see if al-Jaafari remains the prime candidate for the "premier" job.

-FJ

 
At 3/07/2006 9:31 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
..."why" the Saudi's, et al, are spending billions to fund "university chairs" in Islamic studies around the globe. Without those chairs, the Saudi's and Imams will loose their grip, and the "traditional" authorities, their influence.

So their sphere of influence infiltrates the United States.

But the prospect of "power" in one interpretation over another, makes ALL the difference.

Nevertheless, in my experience, Muslims don't go along with interpreting the Koran in the same way that Christians go along with interpreting the Bible. Perhaps Mr. Alexander can address that question. He certainly has more experience in that regard than I do.

 
At 3/07/2006 11:04 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Nevertheless, in my experience, Muslims don't go along with interpreting the Koran in the same way that Christians go along with interpreting the Bible.

If only a reformation in Islam were possible. There is NOT going to be a reformation in that religion. Islam could not survive a reformation anyway. Were there to be a reformation, then Islam simply wouldn't be Islam anymore.

There are many reasons why there won't be a reformation. The main one is this:

The Koran is said to be the LITERAL words of Allah. The Bible, by contrast, is not made up of the literal words of God. The Bible is said to be INSPIRED by God. Therein lies a HUGE difference.

As the Koran is said to be the literal words of Allah, it cannot be changed, for to change it, even in a small way, would be considered HERESY and SACRILEGE. It would be tantamount to saying that Allah's words can be improved on. (Allah would then not be PERFECT any longer. Remember Allah is said to be all-knowing, all-seeing, all-hearing, and is said to have PERFECT KNOWLEDGE OF EVERYTHING.) There would be revolution in the Islamic world if people were to start tampering with the words of the Koran!

In fact, Muslims PRIDE THEMSELVES on the fact that there have been NO CHANGES made to the Koran in almost 1400 years, since it was put together from the bits and pieces (palm leaves, etc.) it was originally written on. One Muslim (a teacher!) once even told me he thought the Koran had fallen out of the sky!

This is not simply a question of education; it is a question of fundamental belief. Moreover, Muslims believe that the 'mother of the book' (lawH maHfuz) (on stone) is with Allah by the side of his throne, or kursi, rather like the tablet the Ten Commandments were written on. (The capital 'H' indicates an aspirant 'h'.)

Westerners generally have no conception of what this faith means to these people. Many Westerners have given up belief in God altogether, especially in Europe. You wouldn't get a Saudi, for instance, abandoning belief in this way. He would be KILLED were he to utter such a thing! If a Saudi really doesn't belief, then he is certainly going to keep very quiet about it! Keep mum!

In short, hoping for changes in the belief system of Muslims, hoping for a reformation and a reinterpretation of the Koran is nothing but a vain hope. We can wait for such a reinterpretation forever, because it's just NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

If you cannot change the Koran in any way at all, you cannot reinterpret it, so how can we expect to witness a reformation?

 
At 3/07/2006 12:15 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Exactly, how can us puny humans question the word of God?

 
At 3/07/2006 12:35 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

What elitist Hollywood mantra are we talking about here?

Chuck Norris killing muslims?

Or is AOW upset about Brokeback?

 
At 3/07/2006 12:39 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Farmer John...what's your hardon for Scalia all about?

Ginsberg is a very cautious jurist who has always been circumspect about turning over precedent. Scalia is a doctrinaire hothead.

In the end a judge is nothing more than a douchebag with an opinion but I am curious why you feel Scalia is of such note.

 
At 3/07/2006 2:27 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

mark, you do realize that your statements about the Koran apply equally to judaism. The Torah may not be changed in any way...yet judaism has certainly changed and evolved into several sects (just as islam has).

Your analysis is consistent with the shallow views off our nation off over night islamic scholars but clearly you have no freaking idea what you are writing.

 
At 3/07/2006 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark,

Whether the Koran is believed to be the literal Word of G-d or not is immaterial, what matters is the way that Word is interpretted by those that receive it. To understand my meaning, it would probably help for you to read Plato's "Meno"... on whether or not "virtue" can be taught.

Up until this point in history, the "interpetters" of that Word for the Arab population have been the "educated" imams, and the communication of that Word has passed through a monopolistic "dynasty" of scholars, all men who have been supported by the sheiks and caliphs who have ruled the Arab tribes since Mohammed and have been permitted the "leisure time" and "access" necessary to study the ancient texts.

But now you begin to institute a meritocracy and democracy amongst the Arab peoples and begin educating the local peasants. Soon, the peasant has a "bachelors" degree in something technical like engineering. His sons and daughters, perhaps earn professional degrees in fields like medicine (law is currently under Islamic scholars). These former peasants may not know much about the sunnah's, but they have the arrogance of feeling themselves to be "educated" and perhaps the "equal" (or more) of the Islamic scholar, and begin to read the sunnahs for themselves. The educated man (and hopefully many women) will have many "opinions" on many matters that fall outside of his/her particular field of expertise (like the sunnahs), and people will listen to them because they will perceive them to be "educated" people (ie: al-Shahristani) who will rise in the government power structure.

And so when the Islamic scholars begin to rationalize the Prophet's marriage of a six year old girl, and subsequent consumation of that marriage at age nine because a King like Faisal wants to justify his personal immoralities, these "educated" peasants will begin to lose faith in the scholars and power structure, ESPECIALLY if they have ever attended a western university and learned about post-modern deconstruction of texts and Derrida's work. They will not simply defer to "authority", for they will perceive themselves to be authorities of an equivalent sort with the "right" to express their opinions (including the ballot box).

You say that Islam cannot change. But are there not WOMEN in the current Iraqi government? In Pakistani government (ie - Benazir Bhutto)? How is this possible if Islam is unchangable and governed by the LITERAL Word of G_d?

And just for your info, when Plato established his "second best" Republic, he told a "noble lie"... that some men had gold in their soul, others silver, and others iron and brass. The kings had gold, soldiers silver, and peasants and merchants iron/brass. But metals all had to exhibit a certain "virtue" in order for the republic to work properly. The kings had to be "wise, the guardians "courageous" and the peasants had to be "temperate". But in a "democracy", temperance is the LAST thing the peasants exhibit... for they all fancy themselves "philosopher kings".

-FJ

 
At 3/07/2006 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw - Moqtada al-Sadr is NOT a scholar, even though his old man was one of the countries leading scholars and opposition figures to Saddam. His power is purely "hereditary" through a documented genealogy to Ali and bolstered by the fact that he doles out all the "charity" to the residents of the poor "Sadr City" neighborhood of Bagdad. And yet he runs the Mahdi Army (militia) against the Shi'a majority and is a major pain in the scholars sides.

Just wait until all the residents of Sadr City decide that "scholarship" isn't helping their economic situation and desire to get ahead...

-FJ

 
At 3/07/2006 5:42 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Although the Torah is also considered "The Word of God", that is where the comparison ends. I don't see anywhere in the five books a calling for the slaying of nonbelievers. I don't see virgins being rewarded in heaven and I don't see women being treated as second-class citizens or property.
Muslims like to consider themselves the Sons of Abraham, but their religion is a perversion of the Torah and the New Testament.

 
At 3/07/2006 7:23 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
You said this to Mark: these "educated" peasants will begin to lose faith in the scholars and power structure, ESPECIALLY if they have ever attended a western university...

Seems sensible, but is it so? According to WSJ journalist Yaroslav Trofimov, author of Faith at War, immediately following 9/11, it was the Western-educated Muslims who most rejoiced in the Middle East.

The role of women may be changing in some Islamic countries, but in the past few years, we've also seen female suicide bombers, which "calling" used to be forbidden to women was the status of women in Islamic paradise was a lowered one. A double-edged sword there.

 
At 3/07/2006 7:29 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Duck,
is AOW upset about Brokeback?

I'm not much of a movies person. In fact, I don't know how the film did at the box office. And I don't care either.

Brokeback Mountain doesn't interest me, for obvious reasons. In other words, I prefer heterosexual love-stories, though most love-story movies are not of great interest to me either. I prefer sci-fi, horror, suspense, and medical films (Awakenings and A Beautiful Mind as examples of the latter). Yes, I know--limited tastes.

 
At 3/07/2006 7:35 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Crusader,
I don't see anywhere in the five books [The Torah] a calling for the slaying of nonbelievers.

Except for the hedonistic Canaanites, of course. Nevertheless, Rahab of Jericho repented and joined one of the Israelite tribes. So, even in the Old Testament, which contains much harsh law, the option for "conversion" was given. Of course, Jesus brought the new covenant, a covenant of redemption and love. And this is the covenant by which Christians today are to supposed to live.

BTW, some tribes today claim to be descendants of the ancient Canaanites--as if that genealogy is something to brag about!

 
At 3/07/2006 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know AC, Leviticus is a pretty "harsh" text that calls for all kinds of stonings. I've seen plenty of Jews get stoned, but haven't seen a single one of them participate in a "stoning", especially for adultery.

And I don't know if you've ever heard of Rabbi Michael Lerner, but his brand of Judaism is unlike any other brand I've ever heard of. He thinks that because G_d said that "a man should not lay with a man in the same way he lies with a woman", anything goes as long as he avoids the missionary position.

From an "observers" perspective, if I had to make a comparison between today's Judaism and what is called for in Leviticus, today's typical practicing Muslem makes a more "faithful" Jew than a modern practioner of Judaism (let the screaming begin).

Leviticus, Chapter 20...

1: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2: Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.
3: And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.
4: And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:
5: Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.
6: And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.
7: Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
8: And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.
9: For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
10: And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
11: And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
12: And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.
13: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
14: And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you.
15: And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.
16: And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
17: And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.
18: And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
19: And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother's sister, nor of thy father's sister: for he uncovereth his near kin: they shall bear their iniquity.
20: And if a man shall lie with his uncle's wife, he hath uncovered his uncle's nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless.
21: And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.
22: Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out.
23: And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.
24: But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people.


...but of course, this is the King James version...I'm sure it reads a little bit differently in the "original" Hebrew.

-FJ

 
At 3/07/2006 8:02 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...

I have the book on order but it still has not arrived . Falacci's book arrived and will be serialized. I do not know if it is in stores yet.

 
At 3/07/2006 8:07 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

BTW, some tribes today claim to be descendants of the ancient Canaanites--as if that genealogy is something to brag about!

Actually the Palestians officially do!

 
At 3/07/2006 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

always,

Hey, most of the terrorists themselves are "western educated" and exactly the kind of people I'm saying are the "hope" of the future. But I think there are some rather unique "reasons" why they might currently be slightly more radical than what we can expect in the future.

First of all, many of the terrorists were exposed to and became followers of a more narrow and radical Wahhabi-Qutbee-Salafi brand of Sunni Islam in Osama bin Laden or Sheik Omar and the Moslem Brotherhood. These seek to emulate the "pious predecessors" as taught in the sunnahs of the first three generations after Mohammed (ibn Taymiyya) and believe they have a "mission" to restore Islam to a "purer" state and "quash" all innovations (they even see the Shi'a as "apostates") and disdain the practices of some sects including supplications at the graves of saints (like the al-Askariya Mosque recently bombed in Samarra). And so they are not only disdainful of the West, but seek to reform ALL of Islam as well.

Secondly, these particuar sects believe in "Jahiliyyah" (a pre-Islamic state for the Arab peoples), which has come to have a particular function in some radical Islamic circles, analogous to the idea of false consciousness in secular radical movements. Following Sayyid Qutb, Jahiliyyah has come to be seen as an active force, emanating in particular from the permissive society of the USA, and seducing Muslims away from the Divine Law. Participation in modern liberal capitalist social and political institutions is taken to be a symptom of the infection.

And so in their eyes, the threat this 'disease' poses to the survival of Islam might justify a more militant attitude towards Western influence in Islam's heartlands, and can be seen as permitting 'real' Muslims to attack Muslims who have succumbed to Jahiliyyah—who are therefore no longer true Muslims.

And so a man who has "lost his faith" due to western education and influence might believe he was actually "bewitched" by Jahiliyyah, and therefore, like a reformed smoker, become a little more fanatical in his antagonism towards the "un-reformed'.

Thirdly, we have been supporting many aristocratic authoritarian regimes over the years (REAL-POLITIK), who's oppressive practices the "plebs" link with America... for through oil money, their "oppresors" have been able to buy arms and maintain their control over the "revolting" masses.

And so a blow to America like Osama dealt us is like a blow to their masters... until that is, they achieve a more popular democratic form of government. And even then at first, democracy will afford them an opportunity to 'dis us and select "someone else", under whom they would hope things would be "different". But once we start buying "their" oil, and not their "masters" oil, that attitude should change and they'll be happy to have us as their faithful customers (like the guy who owns my local gas station).

And finally, you have to remember that the reason why they have attacked us is that they believe we ARE changing the nature of their religion and their supposedly "immutable" beliefs... and they are right...we are.
Otherwise, we wouldn't be fighting.

-FJ

 
At 3/07/2006 9:58 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Beak,
I'll be interested to know your reaction.

 
At 3/07/2006 10:00 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
today's typical practicing Muslem makes a more "faithful" Jew than a modern practioner of Judaism

Did MTP plagiarize?

You've made some excellent points in your comment immediately preceding my comment here, though I don't agree with your optimism and last portion of the following: a blow to America like Osama dealt us is like a blow to their masters... until that is, they achieve a more popular democratic form of government.

Fundamentalist Muslims--devout Muslims--cannot reconcile the rule of the people and/or the rule of civil law with the rule of Allah, IMO. Here is something along those lines, on a more personal level, and it is an example of the conflict between Koranic law and civil law, in New Hampshire this year. Frankly, the story seems weird to me, but there you have it.

Otherwise, we wouldn't be fighting.

Of course, the attacks started before 9/11. In effect, they declared war on us and waited until they were strong enough to strike us on our own shores (as opposed to U.S. interests abroad).

the reason why they have attacked us is that they believe we ARE changing the nature of their religion and their supposedly "immutable" beliefs... and they are right...we are.

The militant nature of Islam predates 9/11, OBL, and even Qtub. Think Gates of Vienna, Barbary Pirates, or any number of other Islamic conquests or activities. Today, it is the nature of the technology and the weaponry which enables strikes which kill thousands and can kill millions if WMD's are used. Furthermore, I believe that OBL figured that if he and his warriors could defeat the Soviet Union, they could take on "The Great Satan" as well; in fact, OBL and many other Muslims saw the Muslim victory against the USSR as a sign from Allah. Muslims are especially fond of looking for signs, I think.

Right now, I am reading Peter Bergen's The Osama bin Laden I Know, which gives some interesting insights, one of which is that OBL may be more more interested in bringing about the fall of the House of Saud than in establishing the caliphate. But, of course, appealing to that idea of the caliphate resonates with the multitude of Muslims. On the other hand, when I look at OBL, I see a religious zealot, at peace with himself and totally focused on his mission. I found Bergen's book at the public library and highly recommend it--especially the "Introduction." Mr. Bergen challenges some commonly held notions about OBL.

we have been supporting many aristocratic authoritarian regimes over the years (REAL-POLITIK), who's oppressive practices the "plebs" link with America... for through oil money, their "oppresors" have been able to buy arms and maintain their control over the "revolting" masses.

I'm not so sure about those "revolting masses," but I agree with you that the West's support of regimes friendly enough to sell oil is a huge part of the problem today.

they might currently be slightly more radical than what we can expect in the future

Slightly? Hmmm....

I have yet to understand how a constitution based on shari'a law can promote democracy, even a democracy of different definition.

Ah, well, it's getting late. Nice to have you here discussing this, Farmer!

Before I sign off, let me ask you a question. Strategically speaking, was it a mistake for the United States to go into Iraq and to take out strongman Saddam? Muslims seem to have an affinity for strongmen.

Another quick topic here...Have you read Ivanhoe yet? My students just finished the book and are not proceeding to their literary analyses. Scott himself clasified the book as a romance, though many texts call it a "historical novel."

 
At 3/07/2006 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr ducky,

I have a hardon for al-Scalia because he is Constitutional wahhabi. He puts his faith in the hadith of the "founding" generation of writers of the Constitutional Koran...

and I hold Ginsberg in disdain, because her fiqh includes many hadiths from later generations including al-Warren, al-Burger, al-Marshall, al-Taney, et al, which lead to a cafeteria approach and sunnah of a completely different color.

-FJ

 
At 3/08/2006 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a very interesting link, always... I really enjoyed the subsequent discussion over the "free exercise" clause. We have an Islamic husband who lives in America and is a US citizen who was married overseas and then divorces his wife IAW Islamic law and tradition, and his non-US citizen wife who then drags him into an American court using our secular divorce laws to invalidate the pre-nup (dowry return provisions?) and get a greater portion of the marital "goods". And so wishes to appeal the US divorce decision all the way to the Supreme Court on the basis of religious freedom and precedence of Islamic (G_d's) law. And so the two laws, one religious, the other secular, appear to be "irreconcilable" and he feels "cheated" because he is not being allowed to practice his religion without state intervention.

I think the guy needs a lesson in temporal "jurisdictions" and duality. His marriage was over (in spirit) the moment he divorced his wife according to Islamic tradition. The rest was a juridictional battle over the material assets accumulated before and during the 17 years of marriage.

In this county, freedom of religion has always been a "spiritual/ mental state", and never a "physical/ material" one. Allah doesn't have dominion over the entire physical earth yet... the caliphate of the Mahdi has not been established yet...and evil destroyed.... Jesus' reign on earth has not yet begun... so there is no "real" justice at this time in history and he needs to learn to accept that.

But anyways, on a "slightly" different subject, perhaps you think I'm being overly optimistic when I state that Islam is changing and will be radically altered by the institution of democracy. I don't think I'm being quite as optimistic as you might think. I don't expect things to be hunky-dorey in the Middle East as a result of this transition, I only expect that the likelihood of our being physically attacked in the West will go down as time goes on. My belief is that the Islamic scholars and aristocracy will likely have their hands full dealing with the changes democratic "people power" will bring "locally" to them, and force them to spend time and treasure dealing with their own "masses" or pondering the consequences of getting invaded by us, and thereby have to turn their attention and focus on their more "immediate" problem... that of retaining temporal and spiritual power.

And so, I agree with the Bush decision to topple Saddam AND invade Afghanistan... only I think we've done enough PR/ rebuilding work and do need to exit from the Iraqi and Afghan theaters so that we can prepare to whack and de-nuke Iran in the near future and throw Hezbollah and the Syrians into a tizzy.

And I also agree with you, that ObL miscalculated after his victory over the USSR, and saw us as an "easy mark". Hopefully, this recent Iraq experience has disenchanted him of that perception somewhat... and altered his risk-reward calculation and narrowed his time-horizons from long-term to short.

And so overall, I don't blame Islam for our troubles in the Middle East. I only see it as a vehicle for expressing their "honest" and "vocal" hatred of the "other" and natural desire to conquer and dominate the earth. They'll soon learn to keep their mouths shut and internalize their feelings, just like the rest of the world does. Especially after some budding Islamic scholar-wannabee reads Nietzsche and declares out loud to the rest of their community that "Allah is Dead!"

-FJ

ps- Nope, still haven't read Ivanhoe... so much for the best laid plans of mice and men. But I'd like to hear what some of your students thought of it... and inspire me to hurry up and read it so I could offer comments...

 
At 3/08/2006 10:09 AM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Farmer, you dissapoint me. Scalia is like any other jurist...just a schmuck with an opinion. His ideas of "original intent" (thanks to Ed Meese circa the the 70's) is nothing that can stand up to critical analysis.

It requires a single"intent". There was no single intent. I know of no succesful assertion of that idea.

In the end your position is simply reactionary. As I have said, American Protestants are a distinct minority and like the Afrikaans they have nowhere to go if the culture becomes hostile. This is partially because nobody would want to live among them. They fear change and want a military state to enforce stasis. They are a dnager to me in ways that muslims can never be (I have many more muslim friends and acquaitences than thumper friends).
In fact I don't have a single close thumper friend and would have a tough time giving a reason why I would want one or pointing to anything in their philosophy that has helped create contemporary America. Ruin it, yes but they have done nothing to create it.

I will fight and kill your attempt at dhimmitude long before any muslim threat.

 
At 3/08/2006 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well mr. ducky,

You are right to fight me. I share more solidarity with ObL than I do with you. IMO, ObL and I are BOTH fighting change AND you, and my disagreement with him lies only in how far back we want to roll back time.

and always, I think my position on Islam is somewhat in accord with that of John Derbushire...Hesperophobia, although I think he may be mistaken in his analysis of the neocon position...

-FJ

 
At 3/08/2006 12:54 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

The link confuses me, Farmer. I stopped in the second paragraph when it talks about "anti-Western" Chinese films and links to an obscure film about the British opium trade.

I don't expect competent film criticism from a right winger but that was exceptionally shallow.

 
At 3/08/2006 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the film in question, but it would appear from the reviews that the film isn't as "rabidly anti-western" as Derbyshire makes it out to be. Perhaps the timing of the film's release to coincide with the transfer of HK back to China is what set him off...

I found his "naivete" regarding the neocon position a little amusing as well...

-FJ

 
At 3/08/2006 4:10 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Mr. Ducky:

Thank you very, very much for the compliment, for a compliment it is, indeed, coming from you.

By the way, don't compare Jews with Muslims. They cannot be compared. They have a totally different mentality from Muslims. Moreover, please remember this basic law of comparison: Always compare like with like! These apples may be compared with those apples. But it is rather meaningless to compare these apples with those oranges. Get my drift?

 
At 3/08/2006 4:27 PM, Blogger Mark said...

FJ:

Whether the Koran is believed to be the literal Word of G-d or not is immaterial, what matters is the way that Word is interpretted by those that receive it.

This statement contains an inherent contradiction! If the Qur'an is the literal word of Allah, then, by definition, it cannot be interpreted! It must be accepted as it is. This is one main reason why we have never witnessed a reformation in Islam to this day.

You don't need to think Plato, Aristotle, or any other philosopher, when thinking of the simple, Arab and bedouin mentality. To understand Islam, you have to come down off the high horse of Greek thought. These are simple people with simple thoughts!

Your statements show me clearly that you haven't yet got the measure either of the type of people we are dealing with, or with their mentality.

No amount of education is going to change these people in the way you wish. I have seen so many 'educated' Muslims revert to type once their education is over.

You have to understand that these people are supremacists. And they don't wish to change, either. It would help greatly if there were a desire to change. There is not.

Further, even if there were to be changes as you speak of, it would take generations and generations for them to come about. We haven't got time for that. By that time, the whole West will have been Islamized and plunged into darkness.

Optimism never won any war. If there's a choice between optimism and realism, then I'll plump for realism every time!

 
At 3/08/2006 5:34 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

There is a ethnic grouping of people who call themselves Chanani that live in the region of Annaba, Algeria (the modern day Carthaginian city of Hippo Regius) who are the remnant descendants of the Canaanites.

No delving into Leviticus would be complete without mentioning that the Israelites FAILED TO OBEY God's command to wipe out the Canaanites.

Most of the Canaanites died at the hands of Roman soldiers when Hannibal of Carthage tried to march over the Alps on the backs of elephants.

/military history lesson

 
At 3/08/2006 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark,

If what you say is true, then why is here any dissention or difference between Islamic sects? Surely they all understand and interpret G_ds's Word in the same way. And so, who needs the sunnah's, sira's, haddith's, etc. when everyone already has the literal and immutable Word of Allah? I must immediately learn Arabic so as not to run the risk of reading a mis-translation of the Koran...but then if it were the literal Word and I had no need to interpet it, how could it ever be possible to mis-translate it?

And so, who cares how Mohammed lived, the example of his life and those of subsequent generations of followers... they've all got the literal Word of G_d directing them. I'm surprised that not all Muslim's are Mu-tazilites or followers of Rashad Khalifa and his Koran-alone Muslims and highly regarded by the "purists" like the Wahhabi's and Salafi's. For surely Allah's Word alone is sufficient guide for one's life and keeping Islam immutable, so long, of course, that we all ACT on the basis of this "un-created" Word alone, and never have to muddle our own thoughts in with the literal Word of the Almighty... for our thoughts might corrupt it and cause a degeneration of sorts... an "interpretation of sorts.

Yes, I'm being facetious, and I apologize. I just want to make the point that sometimes words, even "literal" Words, alone are insufficient to convey understanding. They must have context, and that context must be understood and interpretted. And all the Islamic sects create a slightly different context and understanding for Moslems. And I'd have to say that the vast "majority" of Moslems probably don't speak Arabic, and are therefore reading "interpretted translations" of the Koran, just as I rely on the KJV of the Bible... not being a speaker of Hebrew and Aramaic being the actual language of Jesus...

And so perhaps you are right...I need to come down off my Greek high horse if I am ever to gain any insight into the Arab mind. I mean...just look what happened to the Plato and Aristotle loving Mu'tazilites of the 8th century! There is no such thing as human nature... Arabs are just different from the rest of us. It must be the "water".

;-) FJ

PS - Do you get the impression I'm a "supremicist"? You should.

 
At 3/08/2006 7:33 PM, Blogger Mark said...

FJ:

...I must immediately learn Arabic so as not to run the risk of reading a mis-translation of the Koran...

Many a Saudi has told me that it is indeed haram, or forbidden by Allah, to read the Qur'an in any language other than Arabic! The men who said this to me were Saudi graduates!

When I asked them about the non-Arab Muslims, they gave me no more satisfactory an answer than that they have to learn Arabic to understand it. Further, many told me that the Qur'an defied translation anyway!

One just cannot get through to these people. They are a law unto themselves.

but then if it were the literal Word and I had no need to interpet it, how could it ever be possible to mis-translate it?

The frailty of man, of course.

***

Yes, words do indeed need a context, and the Qur'an is augmented by Ahadith and as-Sirah, too. These help give the alleged words of Allah a context.

There are various sects, it's true. But the main one, as-Shiah, as I am sure you know as well as I do, was brought about not because of a different interpretation of the Qur'an but by a dispute about who was to follow on in Muhammad's footsteps, for Muhammad had no son.

And so perhaps you are right...I need to come down off my Greek high horse if I am ever to gain any insight into the Arab mind. I mean...just look what happened to the Plato and Aristotle loving Mu'tazilites of the 8th century!

The fact of the matter is that when we are dealing with the Muslim mind, we are dealing with a simple mind. I don't mean this to be insulting. And I am not calling them simpletons, either. But I am saying that the message of Muhammad is a very simple one, and it is steeped in the simplicity of Bedouin tradition. Indeed, the very simplicity of the Qur'an is is one of its main attractions.

There is no such thing as human nature... Arabs are just different from the rest of us.

THEY ARE!

It must be the "water".

Yes. Or the lack of it! :-)

 
At 3/08/2006 8:27 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mark,
I just saw this at your site. Very sobering! I read it twice.

 
At 3/08/2006 9:05 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Yes, I thought it was sobering, too. And very touching. It backs up all I have said. But people simply DO NOT WANT to believe it. That's sad, too, for it endangers the West, and all our hard-won freedoms.

 
At 3/08/2006 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it is forbidden to read the Koran in any language other than Arabic, how come there are so many English translations of it available? It must be the Jahiliyyah deluding non-Arab speaking Moslem's into doing evil things like translating the word of Allah.

And of course, even if one were to learn Arabic, I'm sure it's a relatively simple thing to learn the same Arabic that was spoken in the 8th century. I mean, language has always been an immutable thing, especially definitions like "marriage" (is it between a man and a woman still?) or "privacy" (abortion is a woman's right, after all). I'm sure the Moslems have had a much easier go at maintaining the integrity of their language than we have over the last fifty years. Or the Greeks... and of course, I'm thinking of Plato's dialogue "Cratylus"

HERMOGENES: But how inconsistent should I be, if, whilst repudiating Protagoras and his truth ('Truth' was the title of the book of Protagoras; compare Theaet.), I were to attach any value to what he and his book
affirm!

SOCRATES: Then if you despise him, you must learn of Homer and the poets.

HERMOGENES: And where does Homer say anything about names, and what does he say?

SOCRATES: He often speaks of them; notably and nobly in the places where he distinguishes the different names which Gods and men give to the same things. Does he not in these passages make a remarkable statement about the correctness of names? For the Gods must clearly be supposed to call things by their right and natural names; do you not think so?

HERMOGENES: Why, of course they call them rightly, if they call them at all. But to what are you referring?

SOCRATES: Do you not know what he says about the river in Troy who had a single combat with Hephaestus?

'Whom,' as he says, 'the Gods call Xanthus, and men call Scamander.'

HERMOGENES: I remember.

SOCRATES: Well, and about this river--to know that he ought to be called Xanthus and not Scamander--is not that a solemn lesson? Or about the bird which, as he says,

'The Gods call Chalcis, and men Cymindis:'

to be taught how much more correct the name Chalcis is than the name Cymindis--do you deem that a light matter? Or about Batieia and Myrina? (Compare Il. 'The hill which men call Batieia and the immortals the tomb of the sportive Myrina.') And there are many other observations of the same kind in Homer and other poets. Now, I think that this is beyond the understanding of you and me; but the names of Scamandrius and Astyanax, which he affirms to have been the names of Hector's son, are more within the range of human faculties, as I am disposed to think; and what the poet means by correctness may be more readily apprehended in that instance: you will remember I dare say the lines to which I refer? (Il.)

HERMOGENES: I do.

SOCRATES: Let me ask you, then, which did Homer think the more correct of the names given to Hector's son--Astyanax or Scamandrius?

HERMOGENES: I do not know.

SOCRATES: How would you answer, if you were asked whether the wise or the unwise are more likely to give correct names?

HERMOGENES: I should say the wise, of course.

SOCRATES: And are the men or the women of a city, taken as a class, the wiser?

HERMOGENES: I should say, the men.

SOCRATES: And Homer, as you know, says that the Trojan men called him Astyanax (king of the city); but if the men called him Astyanax, the other name of Scamandrius could only have been given to him by the women.

HERMOGENES: That may be inferred.

SOCRATES: And must not Homer have imagined the Trojans to be wiser than their wives?

HERMOGENES: To be sure.

SOCRATES: Then he must have thought Astyanax to be a more correct name for the boy than Scamandrius?

HERMOGENES: Clearly.

SOCRATES: And what is the reason of this? Let us consider:--does he not himself suggest a very good reason, when he says,

'For he alone defended their city and long walls'?

This appears to be a good reason for calling the son of the saviour king of the city which his father was saving, as Homer observes.

HERMOGENES: I see.

SOCRATES: Why, Hermogenes, I do not as yet see myself; and do you?

HERMOGENES: No, indeed; not I.

SOCRATES: But tell me, friend, did not Homer himself also give Hector his name?

HERMOGENES: What of that?

SOCRATES: The name appears to me to be very nearly the same as the name of Astyanax--both are Hellenic; and a king (anax) and a holder (ektor) have nearly the same meaning, and are both descriptive of a king; for a man is clearly the holder of that of which he is king; he rules, and owns, and holds it. But, perhaps, you may think that I am talking nonsense; and indeed I believe that I myself did not know what I meant when I imagined that I had found some indication of the opinion of Homer about the correctness of names.


-FJ

 
At 3/08/2006 9:17 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Yes, FJ, you are VERY ERUDITE.

 
At 3/08/2006 9:34 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
About Ivanhoe...

My class seemed to like the book. RR, the sonnet author, enjoyed it immensely, but RR would--that love of history, which love is not limited to U.S. history.

My class got into several lively discussions. Here are a few of the matters they discussed:

1. their reactions to Rebecca and Rowena

2. who the real hero of the book is

3. which were dynamic characters and which were static

4. the importance of personal integrity

5. the ideals of the chivalric code and how those same ideals might pertain to today's society (and also the pre-bellum American South--Ivanhoe was nearly the most popular book in that region)

6. Scott's criticism of anti-Semitism

7. Scott's criticism and satire of religious hypocrisy

8. the excellent descriptions of the English countryside, the jousting tournaments, and the castles

9. which character would make a good king or queen

10. Why both the Saxon and the Norman influence were required to make England a strong nation, later down the line

Most of the students found
Wamba the most endearing character; I do as well. The jester is wiser than all the rest combined! And the students loved having Locksley (Robin Hood) as a save-the-day character in various sections of the novel.

I found Ivanhoe somewhat predictable, especially as to outcome, but the class liked all the action. Like Jane Eyre, Ivanhoe has a madwoman who burns down the house, i.e., castle. And Isaac is much like Shylock, but more likeable.

Between reading assignments, we read some of the material from the literature text: excerpts from Beowulf, Thomas Malory's Mort Darthur, and Tennyson's Idylls of the King("The Passing of Arthur"), as well as a two Anglo-Saxon riddles "Bookworm" and "Honey-Mead." I wanted to give the class a good taste of some of the English traditions upon which Scott touched. In some ways, King Arthur and Ivanhoe were similar, though Richard the Lion-Heart is also analogous to Arthur.

Up next--Hamlet!

About the discussion regarding Islam...I'm sure that you are familiar with Kipling's "The Ballad of East and West."

They'll soon learn to keep their mouths shut and internalize their feelings, just like the rest of the world does.

IMO, it will take a stronger show of force by the West than has so far recently been given. And 1400 years of a different kind of logic--logic very different from your beloved Greek philosophers.

One thing seems obvious to me: we Westerners are remarkably unable to predict the direction which Islam has taken over the last several centuries; by "direction" I'm referring to the constant militancy, which goes dormant for a time, then returns as if a revival of the essentiality of the tenets of Islam. Indeed, we Westerns seem interested only when the war is on, so to speak. And, this time, I'm not so sure that we're in the catbird seat. Oil! WMD's! We're a far cry away from the caravan-raiding days of the 15th century, and the oceans to Western countries are easy to cross. We also have many Muslims in our midst. Europe seems to be approaching Eurabia, in many respects. So I don't agree with this: I only expect that the likelihood of our being physically attacked in the West will go down as time goes on.

As long as I'm in the mood to leave links, Here is another "odd" story. 40 year war over the honor of a female camel? Boggles my mind.

About that divorce case I left the link for...Quite interesting, huh? And the court ruling came down on Valentine's Day.

 
At 3/08/2006 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark,

Yep, pump a little knowledge of something into an empty head that thinks it knows something, and Poof! the next thing you know you're arguing with an ignorant expert... and a rather rude and arrogant one at that!

Let's just hope some Moslem's catch the "Farmer's disease" and actually begin reading the sunnah's and Koran rather then simply "going through the motions" five times a day. They'll be at each others throats in no time.

-FJ

 
At 3/08/2006 10:16 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
pump a little knowledge of something into an empty head that thinks it knows something, and Poof! the next thing you know you're arguing with an ignorant expert... and a rather rude and arrogant one at that!

You are neither ignorant nor rude! Nor are you arrogant!

Let's just hope some Moslem's catch the "Farmer's disease" and actually begin reading the sunnah's and Koran rather then simply "going through the motions" five times a day. They'll be at each others throats in no time.

Oh, how I wish! But, pessimist that I am, I don't see that happening. The main thing is for the West not to get the wool pulled over its collective eyes.

I know little of the ancient philosophers, and you teach me about ideas which I never had time to study.

You are always welcome at my blog, Farmer!

Mr. Alexander has personal experience with and a wealth of knowledge about Islam. Therefore, he, too, is welcome here.

We three certainly agree on one thing: Western civilization is worth preserving!

Off to bed now. Another grueling day of Latin, SAT Grammar Prep, Spanish, and American History tomorrow.

 
At 3/08/2006 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

always,

Forty years of war for the honor of a camel. Sounds like they got us beat.

Helen's face launched a thousand ships. That war lasted only ten years.

And then there was the 27 year Poloponnesian War...

Aristophanes, "Archarnians"

I detest the Lacedaemonians with all my heart, and may Posidon, the god of Taenarus, cause an earthquake and overturn their dwellings! My vines also have been cut. But come (there are only friends who hear me), why accuse the Laconians of all our woes? Some men (I do not say the city, note particularly, that I do not say the city), some wretches, lost in vices, bereft of honour, who were not even citizens of good stamp, but strangers, have accused the Megarians of introducing their produce fraudulently, and not a cucumber, a leveret, a sucking-pig, a clove of garlic, a lump of salt was seen without its being said, "Halloa! these come from Megara," and their being instantly confiscated. Thus far the evil was not serious, and we were the only sufferers. But now some young drunkards go to Megara and carry off the courtesan Simaetha; the Megarians, hurt to the quick, run off in turn with two harlots of the house of Aspasia; and so for three gay women Greece is set ablaze. Then Pericles, aflame with ire on his Olympian height, let loose the lightning, caused the thunder to roll, upset Greece and passed an edict, which ran like the song, "That the Megarians be banished both from our land and from our markets and from the sea and from the continent." Meanwhile the Megarians, who were beginning to die of hunger, begged the Lacedaemonians to bring about the abolition of the decree, of which those harlots were the cause; several times we refused their demand; and from that time there was a horrible clatter of arms everywhere. You will say that Sparta was wrong, but what should she have done? Answer that. Suppose that a Lacedaemonian had seized a little Seriphian dog on any pretext and had sold it, would you have endured it quietly? Far from it, you would at once have sent three hundred vessels to sea, and what an uproar there would have been through all the city! there 'tis a band of noisy soldiery, here a brawl about the election of a Trierarch; elsewhere pay is being distributed, the Pallas figure-heads are being regilded, crowds are surging under the market porticos, encumbered with wheat that is being measured, wine-skins, oar-leathers, garlic, olives, onions in nets; everywhere are chaplets, sprats, flute-girls, black eyes; in the arsenal bolts are being noisily driven home, sweeps are being made and fitted with leathers; we hear nothing but the sound of whistles, of flutes and fifes to encourage the work-folk. That is what you assuredly would have done, and would not Telephus have done the same? So I come to my general conclusion; we have no common sense.

-FJ

 
At 3/08/2006 10:46 PM, Blogger Mark said...

FJ:

Yep, pump a little knowledge of something into an empty head that thinks it knows something, and Poof! the next thing you know you're arguing with an ignorant expert... and a rather rude and arrogant one at that!

I'm not sure who is rude and arrogant here: You or I? But that doesn't matter. We're all friends here, exchanging ideas. And THAT's the important thing. We all learn from each other.

 
At 3/09/2006 7:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mark,

Amen.

-FJ

 
At 3/09/2006 8:14 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
Both you and Mark are gentlemen. It is a pleasure hosting the discussion between the two of you!

Forty years of war for the honor of a camel. Sounds like they got us beat.

Well, there was a Hundred Years' War. ;)
Not about a camel's honor, though. And in "the modern age," of course.
I can't help wondering just WHY the honor of that camel needed defending.

Recently, I saw an article about the forced marriage of a man and a goat. Nigeria? Sudan? I'll have to check. If I find it, I'll post the link.

Helen's face launched a thousand ships.

Have you seen the graphic here? "The Face That Launched a Thousand Jihads" Hmmmm....

 
At 3/09/2006 8:18 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
Here is the goat story I mentioned. My 90-year-old aunt howled when I read it to her. I used an appropriate accent, of course.

Isn't the world a weird place?

 
At 3/09/2006 8:24 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
I'm not Mr. Alexander's book agent, but I do think you might want to read his book.

But I know how it is...So many books, so little time.

BTW, right now I'm also reading Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. When I finish the book, I'll post a review.

I don't spend all my time reading about Islam and politics. If I did, I'd lose my sanity, I think--what's left, that is. Hehehe.

I've also got one of my essays in line to post, sometime. "Sometimes Progress Is Sad." I still haven't gotten around to writing the brain article which I mentioned to you last year. I need to get to that. Easter break is coming, but only one week.

 
At 3/09/2006 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankyou, always, for the forum, and the chuckles this morning! I saw both those old goat's faces, and neither was very appealing. And to think the Sudanese man had to pay the US per capita equivalent of $13,000 for the privledge of marrying one and worshipping the other. Who says there's no justice in the world?

And I probably should read Mr. Alexander's book, too. It's hard to get the complete sense of someone's argument in the space of a few paragraphs.

...ciao for now.

-FJ

 
At 3/09/2006 12:16 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

I would like to ask Farmer John to really dig himself into a hole and try to demonstrate that "honor societies" such as Greek, Armenian, Lebanese, Bulgarian etc. have more in common with each other across the Christian-Muslim divide than either has in common with Britain or the US.
Of course I always like to provide education in the cinema with my posts and I recommend "A Girl in Black" as instructive besides being a great neglected film.

I would like to ask AOW, Jason and the other overnight Islamic scholars about their translation of "kafir". They must have a complete methodology since they profess to have "read many books about Islam".

 
At 3/10/2006 3:03 AM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Ducky,

I tend to take Muslims at their word on what a "kafir" is. A kufr, historically, is someone who refused to submit to Allah.

The Koran explicitly targets kafirs (infidels) as suitable for slaughter.

It then goes on to say people who believe Jesus was the only begotten son of God who was crucified and rose from the dead (i.e. what Christians believe) are "kafirs."

Any more softballs?

 
At 3/10/2006 9:13 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Mr. Beamish:

As you rightly point out, there's no doubt about what a kafir is in the eyes of a Muslim. The Qur'an, the literal words of the Muslims' loving Allah, spells it out clearly! Very clearly, too!

 
At 3/10/2006 9:53 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I just got a copy of the comic book Mohammed's Believe It or Else! I have seven intestines, but a Muslim has onely one? The devil lives in my upper nose at night? Most of those in hell are women?

Order the comic book here. Only $3.95 per copy.

 
At 3/10/2006 9:55 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
$13,000 to marry a goat! Incredible!

 
At 3/10/2006 9:59 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mr. Beamish & Mark,
Thanks for defining kafir. I was exhausted when I finished work yesterday and neglected the blogosphere last night.

 
At 3/10/2006 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr. ducky,

I'll accept the challenge if you will clarify the question and delineate specifically the kind of "honor societies" you are referring to (a couple examples might help... ie - Educational...Phi Beta Kappa? Masonic? Military? Business?)

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 10:09 AM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

AOW, it's a very simplex definition.

The tendency IS to read a word like "kafir" (infidel) as referring to all non-Muslims. But a closer reading of the Quran is that the word that refers to those who actively oppose and persecute Muslims. The word literally meant "ingrate" in ancient Arabic.

To assume that Islam can not reach an accomodation with other religions because of a particular interpretation of the text is very short sighted and, I must say, indicative of your lack of knowledge and unwillingness to study the matter.
I hope your students are more inquisitive.

 
At 3/10/2006 10:09 AM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

AOW, it's a very simplex definition.

The tendency IS to read a word like "kafir" (infidel) as referring to all non-Muslims. But a closer reading of the Quran is that the word that refers to those who actively oppose and persecute Muslims. The word literally meant "ingrate" in ancient Arabic.

To assume that Islam can not reach an accomodation with other religions because of a particular interpretation of the text is very short sighted and, I must say, indicative of your lack of knowledge and unwillingness to study the matter.
I hope your students are more inquisitive.

 
At 3/10/2006 10:26 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Duck,
Dish out all the insults you like if doing so makes you feel better. It's a top-down-on-the-convertible day. I'm off for a drive.

 
At 3/10/2006 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr. ducky

Upon further analysies of the question...are you trying to say that people who are steeped in certain deeply held cultural and religious traditions and values and who occupy the same geographical region have "more in common" with each other than they have with us "shallow", multi-cultural, honor-nothing, nothing is sacred, build your own culture from a Chinese menu two from column A and one fom column B, type societies? I suspect your premise is true, if one were to draw a Venn diagram of "shared" values, for the environment will force the outcome (ie - a desert people will value water). American's, with their "nose piercings", "spiked hair", and tatoo's will likely have much less in common with them.

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For ducky,

We in the West have, with the aid of Haphaestus (technology), broken the adamantine bonds imposed upon us by Zeus(necessity/limit) and banished Force and Strength (Kratos and Bia) from our realm. Our conversations with the Oceanides (truth) have paid off. Prometheus (Foresight) has been un-bound. Therefore our "need" to share the "common values" imposed upon us by nature (Gaia) and necessity (Zeus) has been "lessened".

Aeschylus, "Prometheus Bound"

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(a fore-taste from Prometheus)

O divine air Breezes on swift bird-wings,
Ye river fountains, and of ocean-waves
The multitudinous laughter Mother Earth!
And thou all-seeing circle of the sun,
Behold what I, a God, from Gods endure!
Look down upon my shame,
The cruel wrong that racks my frame,
The grinding anguish that shall waste my strength,
Till time's ten thousand years have measured out their length!
He hath devised these chains,
The new throned potentate who reigns,
Chief of the chieftains of the Blest. Ah me!
The woe which is and that which yet shall be
I wail; and question make of these wide skies
When shall the star of my deliverance rise.
And yet-and yet-exactly I foresee
All that shall come to pass; no sharp surprise
Of pain shall overtake me; what's determined
Bear, as I can, I must, knowing the might
Of strong Necessity is unconquerable.
But touching my fate silence and speech alike
Are unsupportable. For boons bestowed
On mortal men I am straitened in these bonds.
I sought the fount of fire in hollow reed
Hid privily, a measureless resource
For man, and mighty teacher of all arts.
This is the crime that I must expiate
Hung here in chains, nailed 'neath the open sky. Ha! Ha!
What echo, what odour floats by with no sound?
God-wafted or mortal or mingled its strain?
Comes there one to this world's end, this mountain-girt ground,
To have sight of my torment? Or of what is he fain?
A God ye behold in bondage and pain,
The foe of Zeus and one at feud with all
The deities that find
Submissive entry to the tyrant's hall;
His fault, too great a love of humankind.
Ah me! Ah me! what wafture nigh at hand,
As of great birds of prey, is this I hear?
The bright air fanned
Whistles and shrills with rapid beat of wings.
There cometh nought but to my spirit brings
Horror and fear.


Oooops, spoke to soon. The Arabs are returning with Kratos and Bia to punish us for stealing Kratos hidden reserves of liquid gold. It's a shame that they'll need to enlist Hephaestus aid to subdue us. I wonder if he's willing?

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooops, perhaps I mis-translated. Let me try that again. Darn those interpretters. I sure wish Greek was as literal and immutable as Arabic!


O Sky divine, O Winds of pinions swift,
O fountain-heads of Rivers, and O thou,
Illimitable laughter of the Sea!
O Earth, the Mighty Mother, and thou Sun,
Whose orbed light surveyeth all--attest,
What ills I suffer from the gods, a god!
Behold me, who must here sustain
The marring agonies of pain,
Wrestling with torture, doomed to bear
Eternal ages, year on year!
Such and so shameful is the chain
Which Heaven's new tyrant doth ordain
To bind me helpless here.
Woe! for the ruthless present doom!
Woe! for the Future's teeming womb!
On what far dawn, in what dim skies,
Shall star of my deliverance rise?

Truce to this utterance! to its dimmest verge
I do foreknow the future, hour by hour,
Nor can whatever pang may smite me now
Smite with surprise. The destiny ordained
I must endure to the best, for well I wot
That none may challenge with Necessity.
Yet is it past my patience, to reveal,
Or to conceal, these issues of my doom.
Since I to mortals brought prerogatives,
Unto this durance dismal am I bound:
Yea, I am he who in a fennel-stalk,
By stealthy sleight, purveyed the fount of fire,
The teacher, proven thus, and arch-resource
Of every art that aideth mortal men.
Such was my sin: I earn its recompense,
Rock-riveted, and chained in height and cold.
[_A pause_.
Listen! what breath of sound,
what fragrance soft hath risen
Upward to me? is it some godlike essence,
Or being half-divine, or mortal presence?
Who to the world's end comes, unto my craggy prison?
Craves he the sight of pain, or what would he behold?
Gaze on a god in tortures manifold,
Heinous to Zeus, and scorned by all
Whose footsteps tread the heavenly hall,
Because too deeply, from on high,
I pitied man's mortality!
Hark, and again! that fluttering sound
Of wings that whirr and circle round,
And their light rustle thrills the air--
How all things that unseen draw near
Are to me Fear!


;-) FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will not fight for a camel's honor for such a vessel sustains me NOT!

Enterprise, Beam me up!

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just glad I don't belong to the "horsey set"

Rudyard Kipling, "Ballad of East and West"

What dam of lances brought thee forth to jest at the dawn with Death?”
Lightly answered the Colonel’s son: “I hold by the blood of my clan:
Take up the mare for my father’s gift—by God, she has carried a man!”
The red mare ran to the Colonel’s son, and nuzzled against his breast;
“We be two strong men,” said Kamal then, “but she loveth the younger best.
So she shall go with a lifter’s dower, my turquoise-studded rein,
My broidered saddle and saddle-cloth, and silver stirrups twain.”

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate arguing against myself. I think "us Americans" may have more in common with those "honor societies" in Armenia than we'd care to admit.

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...at least those parts of America where they still eat crawfish, and not quiche...("Boonodck", Little Big Town)

You get a line
I'll get a pole
We'll go fishin'
in the crawfish hole

Five card poker on Satuday night...

Church on Sunday mornin'

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

epilogue...

PROMETHEUS
But hear the sequel and the more admire
What arts, what aids I cleverly evolved.
The chiefest that, if any man fell sick,
There was no help for him, comestible,
Lotion or potion; but for lack of drugs
They dwindled quite away; until I taught them
To compound draughts and mixtures sanative,
Wherewith they now are armed against disease.
I staked the winding path of divination
And was the first distinguisher of dreams,
The true from false; and voices ominous
Of meaning dark interpreted; and tokens
Seen when men take the road; and augury
By flight of all the greater crook-clawed birds
With nice discrimination I defined;
These by their nature fair and favourable,
Those, flattered with fair name. And of each sort
The habits I described; their mutual feuds
And friendships and the assemblages they hold.
And of the plumpness of the inward parts
What colour is acceptable to the Gods,
The well-streaked liver-lobe and gall-bladder.
Also by roasting limbs well wrapped in fat
And the long chine, I led men on the road
Of dark and riddling knowledge; and I purged
The glancing eye of fire, dim before,
And made its meaning plain. These are my works.
Then, things beneath the earth, aids hid from man,
Brass, iron, silver, gold, who dares to say
He was before me in discovering?
None, I wot well, unless he loves to babble.
And in a single word to sum the whole-
All manner of arts men from Prometheus learned.

CHORUS
Shoot not beyond the mark in succouring man
While thou thyself art comfortless: for
Am of good hope that from these bonds escaped
Thou shalt one day be mightier than Zeus.


-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 1:09 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
Back for a short while between drives...

I haven't thought about Prometheus Bound for a while and will have to mull that over. But the day is too nice for deep thoughts. LOL.

I'm just glad I don't belong to the "horsey set"

Neither do I, but in my younger days I did a bit of riding. And I do have a Mustang convertible--The Pony. ;)

My Brit Lit class read that particular Kipling poem this year.

From my own memory:

You get a line
'N I'll get a pole, Honey.
You get a line
'N I'll get a pole, Babe.
You get a line
'N I'll get a pole,
We'll go down to the crawdad hole.
Honey, Sugar Baby, mine.

I don't remember the other verses. Hehehe. I think that Andy Griffith sang that song on his show. I used to strum the guitar to that tune, and my grandmother from the hills of Tennessee, would sing along. Those were the days!

Hey, does Red Lobster serve crawdad? Doesn't crawdad taste a bit like lobster?

Ah, what an early taste of spring can do! The windows of my house are wide open, birds are "carrying on" atop the birdhouses on my porch eaves, and these housecats are reveling in all the smells wafting in. Maybe the daffodils will open up this weekend.

 
At 3/10/2006 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful, always.

Me, I'm just sitting here reminiscing about the good old days when men like myself often cursed the pools of black goo we stumbled across during our afternoon falcon hunts staining our robes, and of those days when we laughed at the foolish westerners who offered us gold for the opportunity to work and sweat in the murderous afternoon sun to build and worship at hiddeous iron shrines consecrated to collecting that goo (as if it were manna from heaven). Those accuirsed lands are of no use for grazing and I have no use for either goo or gold!

Now the western fools are paying $60 a barrel for the accursed substance and bringing in armies of men to protect it. Protect it!!!!??? As if any man of sense would want to steal it!!! I wish they'd just go away. They're leaving their trash all over the desert, and tracking that accursed goo all over the place.

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 1:41 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
A little satire, huh?

 
At 3/10/2006 2:12 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Farmer, after all that Greek mytholgy crap let's boil it down. We strike a bargain with "Haphaestus" and become prisoners of comfort with lot's of "American's, with their "nose piercings", "spiked hair", and tatoo's". The one brings the other. We have no culture except consumption.

Plus Americans who don't know the difference between a crawfish and a lobster but that's for later.

 
At 3/10/2006 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry always, just free associating again (some might call it day-dreaming)... my mind currently lacks a firm anchor... for I'm still contemplating mr. ducky's challenge... and so it only has a sort of "sea anchor" to face the bow into the rough weather and contemplate the meaning of "an honor society"... as if it were a simple thing to define "honor" and "honor" was the same thing the world over... as if words and actions might always align in firm accord... and things which shared the same name had the same value to all

Plato "Euthyphro"...

SOCRATES: And what sort of difference creates enmity and anger? Suppose for example that you and I, my good friend, differ about a number; do differences of this sort make us enemies and set us at variance with one another? Do we not go at once to arithmetic, and put an end to them by a sum?

EUTHYPHRO: True.

SOCRATES: Or suppose that we differ about magnitudes, do we not quickly end the differences by measuring?

EUTHYPHRO: Very true.

SOCRATES: And we end a controversy about heavy and light by resorting to a weighing machine?

EUTHYPHRO: To be sure.

SOCRATES: But what differences are there which cannot be thus decided, and which therefore make us angry and set us at enmity with one another? I dare say the answer does not occur to you at the moment, and therefore I will suggest that these enmities arise when the matters of difference are the just and unjust, good and evil, honourable and dishonourable. Are not these the points about which men differ, and about which when we are unable satisfactorily to decide our differences, you and I and all of us quarrel, when we do quarrel? (Compare Alcib.)

EUTHYPHRO: Yes, Socrates, the nature of the differences about which we quarrel is such as you describe.

SOCRATES: And the quarrels of the gods, noble Euthyphro, when they occur, are of a like nature?

EUTHYPHRO: Certainly they are.

SOCRATES: They have differences of opinion, as you say, about good and evil, just and unjust, honourable and dishonourable: there would have been no quarrels among them, if there had been no such differences--would there now?

EUTHYPHRO: You are quite right.

SOCRATES: Does not every man love that which he deems noble and just and good, and hate the opposite of them?

EUTHYPHRO: Very true.

SOCRATES: But, as you say, people regard the same things, some as just and others as unjust,--about these they dispute; and so there arise wars and fightings among them.


-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr ducky,

We have a culture alright, but we are no longer mono-cultural and so it is hard to see it unless you're looking for it. And because we do not honor, revere, and respect the same things, we appear to have less "in common" with one another, for we have been taught to "honor" tolerance and diversity.

We're been "freed" to honor and worship different things. Diversity. And "value" the very properties that lead us to dispute (hopefully verbal and not physical).

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr ducky,

Got any "Popeye's" up by you? If not, run down to your nearest creek after a good rain and scoop up a couple of buckets worth of mudbugs... boil 'em up... empty the buckets on a picnic table...waive a bottle of tobasco over them... then pinch tails and suck heads.

...give's a whole new meaning to the phrase "consumer culture".

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you imagine a culture based up non-consumption? Hey, even the monks up at the abby take "communion"... and share the things they honor with one another.

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 3:27 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

No Popeye's. No "mudbugs" for that matter, either.

 
At 3/10/2006 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess you need to get some "over-nighted" to you. O-o-o-o-e-e-e-y. Spam

Don't forget to order a few sides to go with 'em (Think of it as doing your part for Katrina Relief).

-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard the duck say to the drake, Honey,
I heard the duck say to the drake, Babe,
I heard the duck say to the drake,
There ain't no crawdads in this lake,
Honey, Baby mine.


-FJ

 
At 3/10/2006 9:15 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Duck,
Americans who don't know the difference between a crawfish and a lobster but that's for later.

Oh, I know the difference, all right. But Red Lobster does serve something mighty like a crawdad--at least to all appearances.

 
At 3/10/2006 9:21 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
as if words and actions might always align in firm accord... and things which shared the same name had the same value to all

Deep thoughts there.

Upcoming assignment for my composition class:

If you could take one last photograph with your camera, what would that photograph be? Your choice should reveal something important about you and your interests.

I may change that last bit. BTW, I found that prompt on a college application. Some of those college applications have fairly interesting topics, but most students fall into the trip of "a picture of my family." Trite, so I'll discourage that idea in our brainstorming session next week.

Today was a glorious day for musing. I didn't get much done. LOL.

 
At 3/10/2006 9:28 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Farmer,
Pursuant to your discussion with GU, you might want to take a look at this.

PS: Beak has been looking for you.

 
At 3/25/2006 8:15 PM, Anonymous Debbie said...

Thanks for letting me know about your book review here. I have this book on my 'to read' list. There are so many good books out on Islam now and so little time to read these days. I will order it right now.

Personally I haven't heard the term "Islamism" very much. The one I hear is "radical Islam" as opposed to what? Peaceful Islam. Right....

Yes the President continues to misunderestimate (heh) the dangers from Islam itself. It will be our downfall if we fail to see the danger for what it is.

 

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