Reply to Chitra regarding Jaafri

I will add to this in the next 2 hours…. Facebook is too unstable to allow me to type a long important statement without losing it, so I will just post the LINK from there to here, and you can check it within the next hour. I am very frustrated to type something significant and have it disappear before I can post……

(to be continued)….

Facebook even challenges me with a secret code captcha as I tried to post…. now I may continue with my thought with peace of mind that I shall not lose it at WordPress and I will not be heckled with
Facebook’s inane rules about thread length.

I cannot exactly remember the wonderful long paragraph that I typed because we can rarely think or say the same thing twice in the same way, but here it goes:

Each of us is conditioned by our culture to see certain things in a positive light, no matter how negative they are, and to see alien things in a negative light no matter how positive they are.

People conditioned by a Judaeo-Christian culture which is American find it hard to see anything wrong in the Bible, and find few things which are good in the Qur’an. Conversely, people conditioned by Islam see Prophet Mohammad as the best of all possible people and can see nothing negative in the Qur’an or Hadith.

Yesterday on the subway I had a long talk with a Jewish family from Great Britain touring New York City for a few days. They were on the C train headed for the Museum of Natural History around 86th street. They said it would be a nice day for their 2 year old in the stroller. I commented that my mother took me to that same museum when I was age 4 which is the start of some of my vivid memories, but no 2 year old will remember. Some people cannot remember events from age 10 or 12.

The father remarked that his favorite U.S. president was G.W. Bush and his 8 year term of extremely pro-Israel policy. He did not realize that Jimmy Carter had written “Peace Not Apartheid” and that many pro-Israeli people see Carter as an evil traitor for favoring the Palestinian side of things.

I mentioned that the earliest official mention of the concept of an independent state of Israel were the Balfour letters in the 1920s. England and France had their own agendas for wanting to divide and weaken the Ottoman Empire (“the sick man of Europe”). None of the powerful nations really did it out of sympathy for Jewish peoples. In fact, notions of Antisemitism probably fueled the enthusiasm for a Jewish state because it would get rid of the Jews in other countries. During the Balfour correspondence someone asked why Great Britain could not carve out a state for the Jews in Kenya. The answer was “if I offered you London or Paris, which would you take?”

One poor, warped and twisted devil who went through the same Great Books program that I did sees the episode of Lot becoming drunk and impregnating both his daughters as totally wholesome because we are “instructed” by passage that it is wrong behavior since all of the descendants of that evil union are eventually exterminated by God. He also feels that Kind David did nothing inappropriate with the young maiden who was placed in his bed to warm up his aged body. Yet this same insightful genius sees Nabokov’s “Lolita” as a filthy book, even though it still has an enduring impact 50 years later and was central to Azar Nafisi’s criticism of Iranian society in her book “Reading Lolita in Tehran”.

Of course, “Jude the Obscure” was publicly burned by one of the Anglican archbishops for its alleged obscenity, and yet we would hardly see it today as a filthy book.

On the other side of the coin is this weeks article in The New Yorker about the growing renown of Arabic-language novels around the world. The first Arab speaking novelist to win a Nobel prize in literature was stabbed in the neck by a fanatic who was influenced by a fatwa against the author issued by some mullah.

I feel personally that G.W. Bush is a clown and buffoon (albeit a clever charismatic and manipulative one) who deserves to be on trial along with Cheney at a Hague court on war crimes. But if you see Israel as the most important thing in your life, then you are going to admire a clown and criminal if his policies seem pro-Israeli. I can understand and sympathize with someone who is forced into such a view by their died-in-the-wool-from-birth conditioning and allegiances.

(I am not done with this post by a long shot but I must do some chores for the next several hours)

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