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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Islam, The West, and thanking the Arabs for discovering the New World.

Islam and Science Link Here
Western right-wing conversation on Islam is about as useful as a pedal-powered wheelchair.

I haven't enough time and patience to write a full analysis of this latest  "Reds Under The Bed" mania which now grips the right-wing of western media but I wanted to address a couple of points which I think matter in the current climate. I could go into a massive, erudite thesis covering the Safavids and the Moghuls and Saladin and his treatises on war or the court of the Ottomans and their dhimmi rule but let's not; it's too early and I've things to do. So...Continue Reading This Article>>>
Islam and Christianity are not enemies. They were though.

The Crusades didn't actually end until the 16th century (which will surprise many) when Ottoman attempts to creep into Europe were nailed down with the Battle of Lepanto and the repelling of eastern forces at the Siege of Vienna. It's remarkable to think they got as close as Vienna until you remember that Islam had already stretched deep into modern Kosovo, just over the water from Italy.

Yet throughout all this war-making and chauvinism there continued an intense cultural, philosophical and scientific exchangebetween the Christian west and the Islamic east. The debt that western philosophy owes to the Islamic scholars of the Alhambra is gigantic for the simple reason that so many of the Greek texts and commentaries only existed in the Islamic zone - we in Dark Ages Europe had burned ours while running around shouting "Ug! Ug!".

[As a bombastic caveat here, I just want to point out that when the rest of Europe was shouting "Ug! Ug!" my ancestors in Ireland were writing Brehon Law, writing the oldest surviving books in Europe, creating high art, inventing the Catholic principle of Private Confession (I kid thee not), spreading Christianity to half of Europe, and generally being amazing. Please Continue...]

Look, when you say "alcohol", you are speaking Arabic. Lemon- Arabic. Coffe- Arabic. Algorithm- Arabic. The list is endless. When you use Al-gebra, you're using an Arabic/Iranian science. When you have just about any surgical procedure performed on you, you're being saved by Islamic scholarship. When you use your astrolabe to sail to Zanzibar you're...ok, so we don't necessarily use the astrolabes any more, but navigational science and charting did, so you can tell Columbus to thank the Muslims. There's an irony for you - the Muslims helped Columbus find America.

We go on about "Islamic Terror" today as though it's some behemoth climbing above the skies to land on our heads, eating our children and turning our already emptying churches into mosques. Sometimes it's like Shaun of The Dead in the media: we all better run for the hills because the Muslims are coming.

The fact is that western liberal agnosticism and basic Judeo-Christian culture are doing just fine. Christianity still dictates our law, multiculturalism is dying out (a more perfidious social myth you never knew) and Sharia Law isn't about to tell you to not buy your Big Mac.

But I want to make a far more stark point about this duplicitous debate and that's the 'bottom line' stats:

Over 1.5 million Iraqis have been killed through all the neo-colonial wars and sanctions against Iraq since the early nineties, 900,000 dead in the Iran-Iraq War that the US fed arms into to make a quick buck, over 100,000 Palestinians murdered since the 1920s due to western establishment of the Apartheid state of Israel, thousands upon thousands dead in Jordan and Syria due to the rapid and thoughtless creation of states which ignored inter-tribal hatred. Then the wholesale sacking of Arabic oil in order to satisfy our needs and damn the consequences for democracy in the region.

Now place the several million Muslims killed alongside the few thousand killed by fanatics in Al Qaeda. Compare the handful of dead Christians in Egypt (in a perfectly normal adjustment to freedom after decades of tyranny, it must be said) to the millions of murdered Jews in Europe. Compare Tunisia's casualties in their rush to liberty to the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and virtually everywhere else in formerly Stalinist eastern Europe.

Compare the way we speak about The Muslim Brotherhood with the absolute blind eye we turn toward dangerous nationalism in western politics.

And funny how we ride over the uncomfortable fact that the two most horrendous acts of human history (the Great War of 1914-18 and the Second World War of 1939-45) were white, Christian men's wars against each other which left tens of millions of innocent people dead for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Just mindless, bleating stupidity. Any man who wants to understand the depravity of comparing Islam with Christianity needs to go stand in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington and look out upon that horrific place. I didn't find anything impressive about the hundreds of acres of white stones; I found it gut-wrenchingly disgusting.

If anyone has been massacring anyone it is not the Muslims, it is us.

And that, reader, is the bottom line.

On the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq War each year I think Washington DC's Capitol Hill ought to fall silent for one minute of pensive silence. Maybe the US president can take the British prime minister down to the Reflecting Pool and they can stand together and reflect upon the destruction of Iranian democracy in 1951 when the CIA and MI6 ousted Mossadeq, the middle east's first democratic leader.

A westerner who plunders is called a "colonialist", an Arab or Iranian who fights for his liberty is called a "terrorist".

No, Islam is not your enemy. Ignorance is your enemy. It breeds violence and death. But the great arch of history bends towards the truth, as Martin Luther King said.

All death is tragedy, but some tragedies are more equal than others.

[with apologies to Mr G. Orwell, esq]

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