Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Time to Kill, A Time to Heal

A great story in The Washington Post:
If Nasima ever met an Israeli pilot, "I would faint and die from fear."

Yuval patted Ahmad on the head. The surgery would be soon. Later, Nasima called Yuval "our savior of the children."

Yuval is a savior of children. He is also an attack helicopter pilot. It was Yuval in his Cobra -- though Nasima didn't know it -- hovering over her town, as Israeli troops battled armed Palestinians. By day, Yuval works as a pediatrician. By night, he fires missiles for the air force.

In theory, there is no moral contradiction here: in both jobs, Yuval is saving lives. Applying theory to practice is the agonizing part. That he has to kill Arabs to save Jews is an unfortunate result of "the situation":
It was sad for Yuval, but he often thought that the Gaza children had "a 90 percent chance of becoming terrorists. But mainly it's not their fault, it's 'the situation's' fault. And I'm not treating 'the situation.' I'm treating the child."

Without troops in Gaza, and without the willingness to kill wantonly or apply economic screws as collective punishment, there is little Israel can do to rescue Palestinian Arabs from the role assigned to them by their families and foreign supporters who wish to use them as cannon fodder to kill Jews. It's an unjust fate, but resolving it isn't a matter for Israel anymore. Or so the Israelis think.

Annapolis, Saudi Arabia, and Islam

Much hullaballoo has been made of this week's upcoming Annapolis Conference. It seems very ill-defined, yet all the major players in the Middle East will be there, save Iran and possibly Syria.

In his writings Henry Kissinger warned that poorly planned and staged summits carry the potential for political disaster. Maybe so, but mutual enemies like Israel and the Arab states don't have normal political contacts like most countries. The following is cross-posted at Crossroads Arabia:

Faisal warned that he would not participate in a "theatrical show...We are going with seriousness.

So it won't be a let's-beat-up-on-Israel-and-offer-nothing confrontation like previous conferences? Interesting. Compare to these "heretical" words of Ibn-al-Khatib, a fourteenth-century Muslim physician in Granada:
"It must be a principle that a proof taken from the Traditions [of the compainions of Mohammed] has to undergo modification when in manifest contradiction to the evidence of the senses." (The Reformation, Durant, XXX-VIII, 1957)

This is the point where education, theology, ideology, and politics collide: is truth to be ignored because it must be considered heresy?

That is also the core difficulty Muslim and Arab countries have in trying to fashion first-rate universities like KAUST. For after its initial flowering, Muslims rejected science and philosophy in favor of relgious orthodoxy in the the twelfth century, when Averro√ęs was rejected in favor of al-Ghzali, for the rulers thus supported by the theologians in exchange. Are the Saudis trying to change Islam's cultural choice of the past eight centuries?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Jews and Muslims don't play from the same rulebook

My comments here. If you still doubt what I'm saying, watch this MEMRI video of Egyptian Nonie Darwish, "We must begin to view the Jews in a forgiving light":

- and see what happened to her as a result of expressing her views. Even in America, the Muslim community insists on ostracizing her. She may be safe in Egypt for the moment only because of the posthumous respect accorded her shahid father, Lt. Col. Mustafa Hafaz, terror-directing leader of the Egypt's anti-Israel fedayeen in the 1950s.

11/22/07 Correction: Ms. Darwish has lived in America for the past twenty-eight years and is an American citizen.

Monday, November 05, 2007

"I am a racist"

Says Baron Bodissey over at Gates of Vienna:
The topic simply cannot be discussed without my becoming a racist. We all know where the dangerous areas lie, and how to avoid them. We know that if we don’t stay away from them, we can lose our jobs, be publicly vilified, and in some cases be subject to arrest and prosecution...

...I am a racist. By these paragraphs I have proved it.

Solomon2 looks forward to the day when discussing real differences between the conduct of different groups and races can be done without paying a personal or professional penalty. The bounds of permitted discussion must be enlarged so real issues can be addressed and resoloved, rather than shamefully concealed. If that means being tagged a "racist" (or "sexist", or "homophobe", etc.) so be it.