Confronting Religious Extremism – Reza Aslan


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Analyzing Political Undertones in Pop Culture Through Art


schindler-s-list-original2

There is generally speaking a list of artistic works that, despite their aesthetic greatness, are either historically misrepresentative & inaccurate or merely biased in context and coverage.

Some do justice, some don’t. Perception all depends on which angle you look at the subject. I wish for justice for all, but we must recognize, expose & bring to justice those distinct forces which cause & instigate violent political crime.

Munich, Waltz with Bashir, & Exodus, viewed as biased & racist. Black & Arab culture, disenfranchised, used, exploited, hung & dried.

A more accurate depiction of reality in the Middle East in Palestinian film Paradise Now.

Another, more realistic representation of the ME in a scene from Syriana, which features George Clooney & Matt Damon.

How Hollywood & all of western media distorts reality through film & other mediums of mass mainstream expression.

This rather, light film depicts the similarities, and differences, between the Arab & Israeli people. But recognition of Israel implies two things: treachery to the Arab cause; abandoning the human rights of the Palestinian nation.

Is it unfair for the international community to suggest that the Jews are fine without a state called Israel? The difference between the need for an Armenian state, for example, versus a Jewish one, is that the former is completely ethnic-based while the latter is a hybrid of religion, culture and language. This makes it difficult to place importance on the need for a Jewish state while ignoring Palestinian self-determination.

Individuals like Helen Thomas get blacklisted for making comments such as those in the video below:

If there is a moral arc of the universe, it bends in favor of the Westerner & the lighter-skinned.

Saudi Arabia: Now What?


The King of Saudi Arabia is dead.

His successor? Crown-Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

This is an opportunity for Arabs to vent their frustrations; duly, since Saudi Arabia is one of the wealthiest countries on the planet, while the Arab people remain largely part of the third world.

This vast oil-wealth, coupled with the establishment of Israel in 1948, and generally speaking, Saudi’s negligence towards the plight of the Palestinian, pan-Arab cause has certainly made these criticisms legitimate.

Where are we headed?

It looks like not much can change. The system in Saudi Arabia is deeply rooted. It is the hotbed of ultraconservative Islam & ironically, it is responsible for exporting the ideology, funding & support of international terrorism. Remember, bin Laden was a Saudi. His family is still there.

But while this desire to criticize our fellow Arab leaders is tempting, it is important for us to remember that our aim as an Arab people is to unite, empower one another against our common oppressor.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has let down the Arab people. It’s concerns with economic & security interests, as revealed by WikiLeaks documents, take precedence over human rights.

How can Saudi Arabia juggle it’s economic interests & reconcile its relationship with the Arab world; namely the resistance—Palestine that is.

Regardless of our imperfections as an Arab nation we mustn’t forget that our fellow Arabs are not the causes of our misery. Terrorist organizations & extremist groups, & pro-Israeli agents are keen on exploiting our anger. Right now, groups like ISIS & Al Qaeda are working to taint the image of Islam & to distract Arabs from their actual oppression, Israel, and to direct it towards their own leaders. Such is the case with Syria & President Bashar al-Assad.

But not all Arab leaders & not all muslims are fanatic dictators. The erratic cases, such as Saddam Hussein & Gaddafi took care of themselves. But even now, what progress have these countries made? Very little, which goes to show that true change & justice in the Middle East has little to do with revolutions & overthrowing leaders as much as it does with unity, wisdom & loyalty.

May King Abdullah rest in peace. May justice be brought to the Arabian Peninsula & the rest of the Arab world. May the hypocrisies & extremes of few be exposed & distinguished from the light of many. May Palestine one day be free.

Solutions?

Introduce proper economic reforms in order to balance spoils of oil wealth in the region. Reconcile relationships between neighboring countries which have been divided by foreign colonialists; this includes relationship between Iran & Saudi, Syria & Turkey, Egypt & the rest of the Arab world. Essentially what we need is unity, and the greatest threat to this comes in two forms: religious/ideological fanaticism & foreign imperialism, which are in essence inseparable. Socio-economic & political unity are preconditions for improving living conditions for Arabs and most importantly, for focusing on the crux of the pan-Arab tradition; the liberation of Palestine.

Who are the greatest agents of religious extremism & global imperialism? Well let’s just say it comes largely from the West; mainly conservative branches of government; and it just so happens to be their most crucial interest in the region happens to be Israel.

Before accusations of anti-semitism are leveled against me let it be known that the assertion that Judaism & Zionism are indistinguishable is downright incorrect, firstly because Arabs are semites too, and also because criticism of Israeli expansionism has nothing to do with hatred of a group of people as it does with voicing the struggle of an occupied people…as a matter of fact, the irony is that Palestinians are the ones suffering from the racist ideology of Zionism; which is essentially the relentless justification of expansionism & the insistence on the need for an ethno-religious political, ‘Jewish’ entity to exist…despite the terrible consequences & violations of human rights which it entails. Sounds like religious stubbornness to me. And that is precisely what it is.

Here is a quote via The Associated Press, referencing Crown-Prince of Saudi Arabia Salman himself, who will be crowned King on this evening:

In discussions w/ U.S. diplomats in 2007, Salman added that Jewish and Christian extremism has fed Islamic extremism, even warning that the United States will one day see a threat from Jewish and Christian radicals. He told Americans key 2 bringing stability to ME is 2 resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding Israel is “a burden on the U.S.”

With President Obama & John Kerry snubbing Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the US; there is no telling how much longer the strained relationship will endure.

DEPRIVATION OF FREEDOM


a man’s struggle for himself.

Why America is un-American: Trials of a Middle Eastern Immigrant


US Flag Around the Earth

They say robust capitalism is the greatest system in our world because it maximizes the benefits of all men in any given society.

This perspective is especially true of the American narrative we are ‘indoctrinated’ into through our public and private institutions.

As an immigrant to this country, I must say, however I am profoundly disappointed.

I came to this country at the age of 6, leaving my homeland, the Middle East.

Both of my parents are Syrian, born and raised in Damascus all of their lives.

I am a proud Syrian.

Deep down, I also want to say that I am a proud Syrian-American, but this country has caused me some pain. Bigotry has caused not only me but much of the world its miseries.

Global misery stems from one over-arching concept: we are all currently suffering from American fascist ideology; unfettered exceptionalism. Manifested, it is in actuality state-capitalism.

Just like China & Russia, the supposed crown-jewels of communism, America uses its ideology as a method of coercion, manipulating capitalism into a dangerous form of Christian-Fascism, in which citizens/constituents are subjugated to a pseudo-democratic system of law that ignores history, statistic & common humanity.

While deep down, I do have much love for this country, or at least, the philosophy for which it attempted to stand, it is without a doubt that a certain religious fascism has crept in, with roots deeply embedded in christian evangelism and zionism. It has left vast communities disenfranchised, ostracized and socio-economically deprived.

I came to this country as an immigrant – and this country made sure to hang that label as an emblem of my un-americaness over my head until my demise.

Obama is trying to fight for immigrants, but the fight is against the same aforementioned ideology embraced by so many Americans: bigotry.

I was forced out of my job nearly a year ago, which left me struggling to make sense of my socio-economic situation. I worked for four years with my last employer before losing the position due to pressure from Republicans to discourage immigration reform and immigration altogether.

But what Republicans don’t understand is that it is precisely the policies of Republicanism which have been implemented on and off by various American officials throughout our short history that have impoverished and completely desecrated other nations and communities. This can be exhibited at one of the peaks of America’s imperial series’ – in South America. Aiding rebels in Nicaragua and overthrowing democratically elected leaders in Chile – how does America not expect an influx of immigrants to the world’s most spiritually and economically promising nations?

How did America become so promising? And why is the rest of the world not?

Generally speaking, in the 21st century, when we refer to prosperous countries, if it isn’t America we mention it is any one of the leading european powers, such as the UK, France & Germany.

America, the crown-jewel of modern christian evangelism, would have you believe in a linear history which places the breakthrough of western democracy in the 18th century as the standard model of global justice.

The ensuing years would prove that the democratic revolutions of other nations would soon be under attack by the vary nation that is supposed to be the ideals’ founding progenitor.

In 1952, Iran’s democratically elected leader, Prime Minister Mossadegh, was overthrown in a covert CIA mission because his policies we deemed a threat to ‘global security’ and the ‘western model for global justice’ and in other words, ‘western capitalism’ (Kinzer, All the Shah’s Men).

But the reality is that the west, as exhibited by their behavior, does not embody the capitalism is touts. Once competitors begin exposing Christian Fascism – they are immediately disenfranchised. Mossadegh of Iran was among those casualties.

America still thinks it is the unbridled hero of the 20th century for bringing an end to state-communism, but the reality is there is a monster hiding in the backyard of America’s philosophical stronghold – Christian Fascism. As the USSR raped the world with collectivist propaganda under the umbrella of communism, the USA put a pill in the drinks of all vulnerable nations under the banner of being the holy arbiters of earth and the rightfully chosen wielders of power and governance.

One man who quickly learned of the USA’s treachery to genuine human rights was a man who himself was conflicted about the definition of human rights himself – Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden, originally an ally of the US, was propped up against the USSR under the banner of Wahhabist Islam and the fight against the political atheism of the east. He soon learned that once the specter of communism was defeated, he would have another enemy – his own friend: the U.S.A. Osama bin Laden may have thought he was fighting for freedom, but he was indeed carrying out the agenda of Christian Fascism – the anti-freedom, imperialist agenda of the West – to stifle communism and other threats to their power. Perhaps it was Osama’s own twisted conception of what constituted a just society that made him vulnerable to American cunning and deception. His foolishness and immoral intent threw him right into the hands of Western deviousness.

The iconoclasts of christian fascism are your Rush Limbaughs, Sarah Palins, Glenn Becks, Sean Hannitys, George Bushs, Dick Cheneys, Donald Rumsfields, Benjamin Netanyahu, etc.

Their greatest allies are their purported enemies: Osama bin Laden, the Muslim Brotherhood, Communism. These are their tools for constant hegemony . The tactic is to constantly generate new enemies and threats that require retaliation and response, thereby justifying foreign escapades and the usurping of foreign resources, aka colonialism/imperialism.

It is this very system that initiated the trans-atlantic slave trade, which has repercussions not only felt today but even unknown. African-Americans suffered the most due to the institutionalization of christian fascism, manifested through segregation and racism. Today, we see the repercussions on a daily basis every time a clearly culpable white police officer shoots and kills an innocent black male. We see it in the way the media portrays the African-American culture, the way in which bias is propagated in order to protect the problems in our institutions.

As an immigrant who is still struggling to obtain ‘normal’ access to America’s abundance, I must say I am very disappointed with the way it has gone. I still support Obama’s initiative, but let it be known that the underlying problem is much much greater. America’s demons are coming back to haunt it every day, as reminder of the crimes it has committed against other nations throughout history.

Will things change? Perhaps. Perhaps not entirely; perhaps not perfectly; perhaps not at all. There is much at stake – one particular issue at stake being the potential humiliation of western christian fascist culture which has had this country in its grip for some time now.

It all starts with knowledge.

Keep in mind, the motive of all action is belief (ethic/religion), which forms ideology, which then manifests itself as a political ideology. If that is understood, it can also be understood that the source of the problem is that an un-ethical belief has a tight grip on America. Once Americans embrace a universal ethical system, the unjust facets of the law may lose ground.

On Saudi Arabia & the Roots of Arab Elitism


Kingdom Centre

1.  A sense of entitlement and exclusiveness emanates from the Arabian peninsula, namely from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen & the UAE, which has its roots embedded in a version of an Islamic narrative that ties the Arabs of this region to ancient jewish and semitic tribes.

2. This has concentrated wealth in the particular tribe of Al Saud, leaving the spoils of the Middle East’s vast oil reserves in the hands of this family, tribe and what has become a political ‘cult’.

3. The Arabian peninsula was a series of loosely ruled mandates and kingdoms, until the Saudi defeat of the kingdom of Hejaz. Al Saud would refer to this as the unification of Saudi Arabia while in reality it was a conquest of land, likely supported by colonial agents such as the British and the Americans, who saw the economic and political gains of a religiously zealous and feared, imperial and unquestioned authority such as the House of Saud.

4. This contrasts with the culture that formed the modern nation-state of Syria, which sits on the other side of the political spectrum of Middle Eastern politics. Circumstance, geography and history carved a different fate for the Syrian nation-state. Diversity and a constant foreign threat dictated the politics of Syria, and focus on collective justice pinned the country against their neighbors, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey & Kuwait as pawns of global powers, namely the West (US, UK, France, Germany).

5. The establishment of Israel by the UK and with the help and support of the vast majority of Western countries, further exasperated and intensified the exclusivist culture of bigotry, racism, hypocrisy and fundamentalism. Like the Saudis, Israelis have used prejudiced narratives to horde semitism as their own.

6. History suggests however that semitism has roots in Syria, bilad al-Sham having linguistic ties to Shem, one of the sons of Noah, a prominent biblical figure in the religions of Islam & Judaism (amongst others).

7. In Saudi Arabia, (and in Israel, and in parts of the West) where capitalism has taken hold, a culture of ownership of other human beings and of natural resources has turned rampant and has led to the theft of basic human rights; rights to expression, freedom & dignity.

8. The emphasis on paranoias of individual power-hunger has led tribes and cults like al Saud to prey on their opponents and to garner support. Saudi Arabia is among the most destabilizing forces in the world, largely veiled by their luxurious lifestyles. They’ve successfully pinned all opponents and contentious movements as anti-freedom, similar to the American strategy as pinning foes as freedom-haters.

9. One man’s freedom is another man’s slavery. Saudi Arabia is a victim of the Western capitalist machine. Even America is a victim of the Capitalist machine. America is the bastard daughter of imperialism. In today’s world, it is battling itself. In America, war is fought between democrats and republicans and independents and etc. But the rest of the world is also fighting America’s war. In Iraq, pro-west vs anti-west groups split the nation. In Syria, Libya and Egypt, similar scenarios unfold.

10. Communism was portrayed by politicians and ideologues of the 19th and 20th centuries as a threat to the capitalism of the West when in reality it was merely a guised reflection of the same ideology bent on ownership of human beings and natural resources. This is what happens when ideas become our Gods. The ‘authentic’ resistance to Western imperialism turned out to be a hoax, a farce, a deception, carefully orchestrated.

11. Imperialism is the umbrella idea, and all other ideas are expressions of it. The enemy of imperialism is national sovereignty. Germany, America, Syria, the actual would-be nation-state of the Gulf, Japan, China, etc – these are all nations that are threatened by imperialism. Imperialism, the ideology that takes over nations, owns humans, and resources, is expressed in today’s world through Zionism, American Republicanism, Chinese Communism, Russian Oligarchy, Saudi Wahhabism, Lebanese Phalangism.

12. Once imperialism is rooted out, national & global criminals will be exposed. The world cannot afford such power-hunger. The crime is not desire. The crime is not excess. The crime is power-hunger. Anyone who says different is using it as a distraction. All men deserve freedom, dignity and the right to expression and prosperity – and the only barrier to these ambitions is the kind of ideology that seeks to justify suppressing them – imperial dogmatic religions.

13. The great evil is not atheism. It is not theism. It is both. Together, because ultimately the roots of both of these is a desire for power. The true believer is not held hostage to either vanity.

14. God save the Middle East and bring the world to justice.

‘turkish democracy’


‘turkish democracy’

“His ruling Justice and Development Party (known as the AKP) regularly touts tough measures like limiting alcohol sales and lifting the ban on head scarves and veils in civil service jobs.”