Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Baghdad

Bad coverage is still a free self propaganda: And Lara Logan, Benghazi, the Bombshell …

Eleven years ago, the 60 Minutes correspondent Lara Logan was sitting in the Inter Continental hotel in Amman, Jordan, watching her career flash before her eyes.

Joe Hagan published this May 4, 2014

Benghazi and the Bombshell

Is Lara Logan too toxic to return to 60 Minutes

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She was 31 years old, a rookie at CBS News, assigned to cover the biggest story on earth: the invasion of Iraq.

But nothing was going as planned. With only days until the American invasion, Logan had been forced to leave Baghdad and was desperate to get back before the war began, but she and her crew, because of the dangers of the imminent “shock and awe” bombing campaign, were forbidden from going by the network.

That’s when she heard about a convoy of French reporters making the trek to Baghdad.

“She called me several times, begging to go with us,” recalls Laura Haim, a French TV journalist. But the French decided it was too dangerous having an American broadcaster onboard, even if she was South African. “I said, ‘No way.’ ”

Fluent in three foreign languages, Logan begged in French.

Logan had labored tirelessly for this chance, spending several months in Kabul during the invasion of Afghanistan and heedlessly throwing herself into danger for the camera to deliver raw reportage to the CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes II, the spinoff version of the Sunday program.

Her work had earned her notice at the highest levels of the network. CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, from his perch in Los Angeles, viewed her steely eyes, breathless delivery, and exotic accent as the raw material of a future star.

So Logan had strategized with her agent to make the biggest possible splash in Baghdad—a replay of Christiane Amanpour’s star turn at CNN during the first Gulf War.

Days later, as American bombs rained down on Iraq, the French reporter was startled to see Lara Logan standing in the lobby of the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad. “Look, I made it!” she declared.

Two Iraqi fixers had smuggled her across the border, making her the only major American network-TV staff broadcaster in the country when the war began.

“I was really impressed by her courage,” says Haim. “It was not bullshit. She really wanted to do things to make a name.”

Logan was launched. She became chief foreign correspondent in only 3 years and a top correspondent on 60 Minutes two years after that.

But last fall, after a deeply flawed 60 Minutes report on the attack in Benghazi, Libya, the trajectory of her career, along with that of CBS’s flagship news show, changed abruptly.

Logan and 60 Minutes had been searching for a new angle on the Benghazi story for the better part of a year, and finally one seemed to arrive.

The break in the story came from a hulking, goateed former military contractor who called himself “Morgan Jones.” J

ones, whose real name is Dylan Davies, told Logan an emotional tale of witnessing the attack firsthand—climbing an embassy wall in order to engage the combatants, then stepping into the breach as Washington dithered.

Relentlessly hyped in the days leading up to the broadcast, the story fit broadly into the narrative the right had been trying for months to build of a White House and State Department oblivious to the dangers of Al Qaeda, feckless in their treatment of their soldiers and diplomats, then covering up their incompetence.

It was soon revealed to be made up almost of whole cloth. Davies, who worked for a security firm called Blue Mountain, had invented the story to sell a book.

For 60 Minutes and Logan, it was a stunning error, of a sort that can quickly corrode the brand of a show like 60 Minutes. And the scandal was an oddly precise echo of “Rathergate,” when Dan Rather, at the Wednesday edition of 60 Minutes in 2004, used memos of dubious provenance in a report on George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service.

In the aftermath of the Benghazi report, the problems with its sourcing were glaring, the kind that should have raised red flags. Logan’s interview subject happened to be selling a book on a politically conservative imprint owned by CBS News’s own parent company.

After defending the report for more than a week, Logan was forced to apologize and later take an indefinite leave of absence while CBS conducted an internal inquiry.

Logan’s colleagues, including veteran CBS correspondents Steve Kroft and Bob Simon, were apoplectic about the damage to 60 Minutes’ reputation.

Morley Safer, the only founding member of the cast left on the 45-year-old program, went into the office of CBS News chairman and 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager’s office last fall and demanded that he fire Logan.

But Fager (who declined to comment for this story) refused. Instead, he said that Logan will return sometime this year. His decision sent a ripple of discontent through CBS News, prompting questions about Fager’s judgment.

And as the months have rolled on, Logan’s return appears less and less certain.

Falling in love with Saliha; (Apr. 21, 2010)

            I was on assignment in Baghdad that lasted for two years.  I got acquainted with a fallen Indian monarch named Ikbal who decided to settle south of Baghdad to a ruined city that used to be the Persian Capital Ctesiphone.  Ikbal was receiving yearly stipends from the British goverment and he wanted to settle far away from any British presence.  A few visits to Ikbal strengthened our friendship and I would dine and occasionally sleep over.  One night after dinner, we were lying down on couches on the balcony when I heard the tenderest voice singing the story of Antar, a pre-Islamic war hero in the Arabic tribal Peninsula. My visits to Ikbal increased and the Prince sensed the main reason for my new zest.  Songs varied every night but I loved best the melody of song of Antar.

            I found out that this lovely voice was emanating from a cluster of tents outside the walls.  Nomads were parked there for the summer.  One night, I ventured to a nearby forest between the castle and the tents very curious to get a first hand meeting with the voice.  A well was within this little forest of cypress.  A young girl was sitting outside her tent pounding wheat for tomorrow fresh bread and singing all the while.  Then the girl carried a rope on her shoulder that ended with a heavy metal implement, sort of a Rawlplug used on camel feet when not attached to trees.

            The girl walked slowly and steadily to the Tiger River bank then dropped the metal implement on the shore and ventured in the river holding on the other end of the rope to avoid drowning in the fast current of the river.  She removed her robe and head gear and had a bath; then she returned to her tent.  I was hiding behind the castle wall watching the scene. The girl was tall, slender, and had long dark hair.

            A few days later I waited by the well wanting to meet the lovely girl. She arrived and calmly answered a few of my questions. Her name is Saliha and living with her father Mahmoud; her two brothers are married and moved away; her other sister is married to a rich Hussein.  I got to meeting her very frequently by the well and we talked extensively.  Saliha was the most beautiful girl I have met and her calm attitude expressed confidence and intelligence.

            One day, Ikbal sent me a poem to Baghdad telling me that the bird had vanished.  I arrived hurriedly to find the tents all gone.  Saliha didn’t warn me of her impending departure and I spent many months distracted and melancholic.  Then, early next summer, Ikbal dispatched me another poem: The bird is back.  I waited by the well; Saliha heard my horse and calmly laid down her water container that she carried on her shoulder and ran toward me, hugged me and kissed me. We agreed that she would leave with me next night.  I had three horses ready and we rode to Baghdad:  I learned from Saliha that her father would never agree to marry her to a city dweller.

            I spent the most exquisite five months with Saliha:  She never felt out of place and assimilated the new environment.  One day, Saliha’s father paid me a visit: one of the servants of Ikbal had told him my location.  He wanted to talk to his daughter in private. After the father left, Saliha was crying; she refused to tell me the cause of her sadness and knew better not to insist. A month later, a servant fetched me from work; Saliha had left with her father.  At night, I found a bag containing long hair in my bed and a piece of paper saying: “I will mourn you all my life”

            A year later, I was on inspection tour to a dam under construction in southern Iraq. I saw Saliha carrying a small child. She told me that her father had summoned her to care for her dying sister and the kids.  Saliha’s sister died and her dad passed away a month ago. Her father made her promise to marry her brother-in-law Hussein. That is what she did. Before quitting Saliha asked me: “Will you love me forever?” I said “yes I will.” Saliha smiled and never turned back her head.

Note: this story, one of many, was told to a German diplomat in Turkey by Osman Hamid Bey when Osman was in a government assignment in Baghdad in 1869.  The French translated book is titled “An Ottoman in the Orient”

“Man was created weak” (Apr. 2, 2010)

In verse 23 on “Women” the Koran said: “Man was created weak (da3eef).”  The imams had no problem identifying the main characteristic of this weakness in men: men have untamable sexual desires (shahwat) and men frequently succumb to carnal desires (among other desires like voracious eating and drinking binge?)

The best remedy was not to educate mankind to take on his individual responsibilities but to minimize temptations; thus, women had to be the sacrificial victims and be made scarce in public; if need be to go out for tending to daily affairs then, women had to get veiled (preferably completely wrapped up in loose garments that hide rotund parts of the body)

An unveiled woman (mutabarrijate) is a “fragile prey” in the mind of the patriarchal societies and thus, women lack defensive “frontiers” and barriers (hosn).  The best defense for women is seclusion at home and be provided for by a husband, a father, or a brother! The big threat nowadays for Islamic/Arab States is that there are no frontiers anymore, physically and visually.

High-tech enemies dominate the sky by airplanes and by satellites that diffuse all kinds of “inadmissible” sexually potent ads and movies.  The frontiers (hudud) that Islam wrapped itself in to protect against foreign influences are down.

For example, the second Abbassid Caliph Al Mansur, who built Baghdad in concentric shapes called the city “Madinat as-Salam” (City of peace); to that effect, any quarters that necessarily required mixing of genders and with foreigners (such as commercial souks) were ordered outside city-limit.

Another example that might be a reason for that kind of thinking is that in the fifth year after the Prophet fled to Medina (the first Islam City-State) from Mecca, Mohammad had to adopt a defensive tactic suggested by a Moslem Persian convert (Salman) to dig a ditch around the city (20 yards deep by 20 large) to prevent Quraich tribe cavalry entering and invading the city. The Quraich alliances of tribes encircled Medina for a month and the Moslems endured badly this period.  The city experienced civil unrest and great doubt about the new message and the Prophet’s ability to conduct political and military undertaking.  Muhammad had lost the previous year the battle of Uhud and no raids were launched for three years to bring in loot and prosperity.  During the siege, women were ordered to stay at home. Muhammad had to sit by the ditch facing the enemies to encourage volunteers to resume digging what was a first among tribal warfare.

It is no surprise that Moslems, after the Prophet’s death, picked up on the idea of erecting barriers; women were the first victims to be heaped upon all kinds of barriers and space division. During the first invasion of Iraq by Bush Sn (the father) in 1991, it was women who took to the streets shouting, demonstrating, and sitting in front of foreign Embassies of States that participating in the invading alliance.  Women knew what to do while men needed plenty of time to discuss and reason out the pitfalls of getting on the move.

In this first invasion, Baghdad was defenseless from the sky and frontiers were destroyed; women tore down the psychological barriers and defied men were totally impotent to applying defensive measures, especially against collateral damages of “smart bombs” killing innocent civilians. In the war of 2003, one critical factor changed: it was the Western enemies who were scared because the Arabs had means for instant capturing of images and war reporting.

Note:  Man was created weak but woman is endowed to becoming weaker as she learns to enjoying sexual pleasures; thus, harem were built and more space divisions erected to keep women isolated. Mankind has generally preferred to appreciate “raw potentials” in capabilities, physically and mentally, at the expense of slow continuous development of potentials.  We may account for that tendency on the assumption that our psyche is aware of life duration and days are counted: we are in a hurry to judge and apply what is at hand.

By the age of fifty, we realize that we were fooled: we actually had plenty of time to develop our potentials but we were caught up in the survival process; now nobody is willing to hire us because we failed to develop new capabilities and skills.  We react in frustration and anger for our current “impotence”.

Iraq, Iraqis:  How wounded are you?! (Oct. 29, 2009)

Iraqis, your government palaces and institutions are being targeted. Three days ago, two blasts in Baghdad in front of the Justice Palace and the mayor headquarter killed 160 and injured over 550 civilians.  Three weeks ago, two blasts in front of the Foreign Ministry and the Treasury in Baghdad killed 100 and injured over 200 injured. Crimes against humanity are prevalent in Iraq on a daily basis.  The enemy wants the Iraqi people to kneel and cry “Uncle”.

Iraqis, you must have realized that the periods of least casualties among you were when you focused your attacks on the occupier. Why?  Because the occupier had to invest time and energy safeguarding his soldiers instead of leisurely planning suicide terrorist attacks on your civilians in order to divide and rule.  Your best strategy to maintaining your internal security and stability is to re-focus your operations against the occupier.  The occupier does not need to wait till 2011; he will vacate much sooner with your determination to fight him; not only will the soldiers of the occupying forces get out but also every servicemen, military or civilian personnel.

Iraqis, how wounded are you?  Have you learned the latest under-estimated statistics on your state of affairs? Do you know that over one million mothers are widowed?  Do you know that over two millions are orphaned, one million are counted as disappeared, one million are dead since the pre-emptive war in 2003, and 1.5 milions have immigrated?

Iraqis, you must have realized in the last six years that occupier main objective is to spread chaos; he needs the Chiaas and Sunnis to massacre one another and create the monster of sectarianism to its zenith. The occupier wants feudal and tribal sentiments to resurface to divide your country into uncontrolled parcels of islands where Iraqis would fail to communicate and interrelate.

Iraqis, how wounded are you?  Do you know that entire regions are environmental catastrophe for dumping oil in valleys and incinerating toxic materials?  Do you know that your oil production was used for three years to re-construct fictitious infrastructures that are nowhere to be found?

Iraqis, you are told that these terrorist attacks are the work of Al Qaeda; that is a lie. Al Qaeda is no longer an independent and parallel movement: it is totally controlled by regional powers. The regional powers under the mercy of the USA receive direct orders from the CIA to activate the splintered sections of Al Qaeda.

Iraqis, you are told that terrorist attacks are the work of regional powers on your border; that is another lie.  The regional powers on your border have hundreds of other tactics to influence and pressure political outcomes; it is not in their interests to destabilize Iraq by fomenting civil unrests while the main occupier is on the field and by the tens of thousands.

Iraqis, it is about time that you realize that the Northern Middle East Block (of Turkey, Syria, and Iran) is in its latest stages of formation. Iraq is the weakest and most strategic link; this block is waiting for the US forces to vacate Iraq and the sooner the better. The Northern block is the surest guarantee for the security and stability of Iraq.  Saudi Arabia and Armenia have already realized the inevitable strategic block and are changing their policies to align with this strategic and economic block.

Iraqis, how wounded are you?  You must already know that in the first year of occupation more than one thousand Iraqi scientists and intellectuals were assassinated and counted as disappeared. You don’t want this wave of assassinating to target every educated Iraqi and to set fear and apprehension in the younger generation. The nasty and greedy occupier has to go soon, everyone of them, and this will never happen until you chase him out of your land, by any means available.

Iraqis, do not be fooled that Barak Obama is to come to your aid; he is continuing the foreign policies of Bush Junior in their integrality.  Do not be fooled that Obama is ignorant of the CIA operations for destabilizing Iraq’s society:  the CIA is fundamentally the clandestine operator of the President’s decisions. 

Turkey, Iran, and Syria have all the interests in a stable and secure Iraq.  It is up to you Iraqi to prove that you hate the occupier and you want him out today.  As long as the occupier is in your land then it is your right and honor to resume attacking him to shorten his stay; the occupier will then start respecting your independence and your determination as a free people who wants his share of dignity under the bright sun.

C’est quoi “human dignity”? (October 25, 2009)

Two blasts in Baghdad in front of the Justice Palace: 160 dead and over 50 injured.  Three weks ago, two blasts in front of the Foreign Ministry in Baghdad: 100 dead and over 200 injured.  Every day, two dozens are killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Iran, and Guinee in Africa.  More military pre-emptive interventions around the world to “stem the scourge” of terrorism: only the western dead soldiers have faces and receive formal funerals with flags. Every day hundreds die of famine, curable diseases, and family violence but they are common news that are relegated, maybe, to statistics.  Everyday, thousands of girls less than 10 years of age are sold as prostitutes in India; statistics estimate there are 1.5 million of these kinds of children in the market place. What about the many articles in the UN Charter concerning human dignity?

Someone give you birth, you live a miserable life and then you die.  You live obeying orders, following opinions, reacting to impressions, fearing the future, shrieking when you see a large old black spider, hating mosquitoes, relatives, and family, and then you die. Excellent, that would be a fitting ending to life.  No, they won’t let you die in peace. First, you have to experience purgatory and then wait, and wait until someone decides for you to go to hell or transcend to a boring heaven. 

The concepts of dignity and liberty come in one package deal; the relative implant of these concepts in the organizational culture guides the trend in any one culture.  Human dignity and liberty of choices are the main ingredients in a “civilized” individual’s belief system; that’s what the UN wants you to comprehend but never applied equitably as the UN stated in its declaration with no discrimination to race, color, religion, or gender.  How long mankind has to wait for the UN to become a credible institution to all?

The mainly unconscious belief system is mostly hard wired in the nervous network that tips the balance on the thousands of daily decisions and only our actions reveal our real values.  If you tend to accept the above paragraph as making a lot of sense then most probably you have been strongly influenced by the Western colonial culture and tend not to dwell on any definition that discriminate how dignity and liberty are assimilated and interpreted by other cultures. 

            In fact, colonialism is fundamentally the imposition of a specific supra-mythical culture on other communities.  Outside the natural sciences, the colonial powers have no interest or need to fine tune the general concepts related to human sciences and much less of dignity and liberty.  The ancient colonial powers are still exercising their influence on other communities and have generally substituted military force by technocracy in banking, monetary reforms, and globalization of trade and finance, and technology standardization. 

The pragmatic western culture is resuming its well known strategy that says “the best route to transforming other cultures is to install the basic material standards and then, gradually and inevitably, the other cultures will adopt the philosophies of legal capitalism, democracy, modernism, progress and open borders for one world material exchange culture”

Liberty is not just the freedom for a community of selecting and adopting a religion, which is necessary but never sufficient.  A community that values liberty should be ready to genuinely accepts the contributions and values of other religions, traditions and customs. Liberty has for pre-requisite constant dialogue and inter-communication among the various communities and religions. Thus, any belief system is fundamentally wrong: it basically means to exclude the other beliefs; any reshuffling or modification to a belief system remains wrong no matter what and liberty means accepting variations on sets of values.

            A human is a whole microcosm in such a way that the destiny of humanity unfold through one individual and this concept is the foundation for human dignity, otherwise we are to accept that we are merely a tiny part in the chain of the other billions of individuals and we are ready to follow monolithic and totalitarian systems that want a unique universal conceptual system of values.

            If very few distributions of genes biologically differentiate an individual from his neighbor then we might conjecture that what differentiate the value system and moral behavior of an individual from his neighbor are a tiny number of qualitative attributes. It is not the numerous common elements that we share but the values we attach on rare qualitative values that set us apart.  There are special individuals like Gandhi and Martin Luther King who are the ultimate political men striving for sainthood through fair non-violent and active struggles for the dignity of the disinherited, the humble, and the common folks.

            What dignity is there watching swarms of skeletal humans roaming arid and desert lands among calcified carcasses, not a patch of green or a tiny tree on the horizon to taking shelter under, heading toward a camping ground hundreds of miles away for international relief succor?  What dignity is there to experiencing haggard humans fleeing civil war-torn villages to cramp up tent compounds? What dignity when these occurrences are frequent and happening all over the under-developed States?

Respecting human dignity means that we are ready to offer the individual with the tools and opportunities to resume fighting against imminent death, against famine, sickness, and oppressions: Life is a struggle against the chaos in death.  Respecting human dignity means alleviating the material struggle and thus shortening the necessary resting pauses when people feel the need to believe that destiny is traced at inception: they do at times feel exhausted; they have to surmounting artificial obstacles that are not in the nature of things; they do lose confidence in the organizations that constantly defy the processes of living organisms. 

Respecting human dignity is providing the resources to overcome the unnecessary frequent pauses when people are forced to believe in pre-destiny because they are not allowed to experience the little daily pleasures of loneliness, privacy, quality leisure time, and self paced working habits.

There is dignity in erecting a school for children so that they might grow with dreams of better opportunities than their present lot.  There is dignity in building a dispensary so that children and the sick grow hope of having their pains alleviated.  There is dignity sharing in the digging of a well and the construction of an irrigation canal, a few necessary infrastructures so that a sense of control over destiny is palpable.  It does not take much investment to increase the level of dignity for changing the mind set to an alternative course for the future.

As long as the disparity between the rich and the poor in a society is increasing then the culture of the society tends to obliterate the notion of dignity to all; it sends the strong message that the notion of liberty for seeking a happy and satisfying life is essentially selective among classes. 

Man is yet to be formed; it is a sickly creature but is nonetheless constantly inspired by dreams of what he can do and desire to transcend his inadequacies.  Man has proven to stand tall against injustices and fight a non-violent struggle at the expense of his own suffering, pains and even death for the dignity of his fellow man.

Islamophobia is anathema to rational thinking; (October 18, 2009)

 

            Islam is quickly becoming an integral religion in the Western world.  There is a growing sense of uneasiness for Islam devotees: they pray at least three times a day facing Mecca (the Kaaba) and take seriously the fasting month of Ramadan. The various Christian sects barely practice their religion; the “Christians” mostly use their religion as political platforms during voting seasons to discriminate among cultures for the “proper way of life”.  A recent scandal broke out in England: the government is wire taping the Moslems on ground of social study.  In France there was an attempt at disqualifying Arabs as carrier of any philosophical civilization that could have impressed on European Renaissance.  The Arabic media didn’t respond to “Aristotle on Mount St. Michelle” simply because the book talked of philosophical import and didn’t discuss the scientific aspects.

            The main confusion in Europe or in the Arab/Islamic world is about what Empires we are alluding to: Arabic Empires (culture) or Islamic Empires (civilization) and how to discriminate among the cultures of each one of the Empires.  The modern nationalistic models (brainchild of emerging Europe) could not correspond to ancient models of thinking and thus, the attempts to explaining past Empires with modern models of what constitute a nation is confusing research and biasing facts with awkward interpretations.

            In all periods, elites of Empires needed an ideology to assure the articulation of various heritages (Arab, Persian, Byzantium, Roman, Greek, and Aramaic).  The unstable structure of ancient Empires frequently pressed upon its elites to rethink the new culture of the emerging Empire and re-construct it via a mould where diverse elements were poured in (ethnicity, community, belief systems, and language).  Thus, social thinkers struggled to present a coherent understanding of the new Empire; the purpose was not an erudite analysis for posterity but to get the new Empire functioning properly.

            This post is meant to investigate the allegation that European civilization is fundamentally the heritage of ancient Greece civilization.  I have examined the contention that “Europe civilization is because of Christianism”, a proposal that I refuted in a previous post (read “The Barbaric Catholic Church of Rome”) where the centralized church prohibited the influx of “heretic” scientific manuscripts to Europe from the Near Eastern Byzantium Empire and later from the Islamic Empire till way the 16th century.

            The best route for this examination is to consider two civilizations that imbibed the Islamic Empires.  The first Umayyad Arabic Empire 650 to 800 AC had for Capital Damascus; the culture in the Near East in that period was principally Hellenistic in the sense that scholars and educated people wrote in two languages, the Greek and Syriac languages (Aramaic dialect developed in Edesse, current Turkey) ; the common people spoke the language of the land or Aramaic.  Aramaic is the root language for Hebrew and the various local languages, especially the two Arabic branches that were spoken in Mecca and in Yemen.  It is in this period that lasted 150 years that translation of Greek and Syriac manuscripts into Arabic received its impetus.  Translation of Greek works to Syriac continued way into the 9th century. The people easily assimilated the spoken Arabic of Mecca and gave Arabic its proper alphabet and grammar.

            The second period can be called the Islamic Empire when the Capital was re-located to the newly erected city of Baghdad (Baghdad was to become the largest metropolis in this Empire of over one million inhabitant); this Islamic civilization was marked by the Persian culture and language with high import from India: trade was cut off with Europe for many centuries first during the Mamluk Empires after kicking out the last remnant of the Crusaders and later the early Ottoman Empire as Constantinople fell in around 1450. 

            The Umayyad Dynasty exported to Islamic Persia the embryo of the current scientific works and the nascent Islamic philosophy (falsafa); the more developed scientific works were later mostly written in Persian language; the same scholars wrote the disciplines that were related to religion, philosophy, rhetoric, legal, mathematics, and algebra, in Arabic because they were needed for the proper function in the administration of the Empire.  Educated and cultured people who were familiar with Greek works met in “salons” (majalis) to discuss on various subjects, philosophical incursions into the possible, the intellect, the sensibility and the soul. 

            Schools of learning were erected and knowledge was no longer the prerogative of the initiation of master to disciple for rich people. By the first century of Islam (8th century), schools were exploding everywhere with targeted practical disciplines (algebra, geometry, arithmetic, trigonometry, jurisprudence, theology (kalam), science of tradition (hadith), history, linguistic, lexicography, math combinatorial analysis, cryptography, and grammar) mainly to support the functions of the Empire administration and train cadres for offices such as fiscal, heritage, religious calendar, and army logistics. The schools were inspired by different traditions such as Greek, Persian, Indian, and Syriac).  By the second century of Islam specialized schools in theoretical mathematics, medicine, physics, optics, and astronomy were booming.

            The first acknowledged Moslem philosopher Al Kindi (9th century) admitted that Aristotle was the most eminent Greek philosopher and wrote: “We have to thank the prior thinkers who shared with us what is right; they made it more accessible to us researching the truth and they provided the premises that leveled the way for what is true.  Offering reasons and demonstrations are part of the acquisition process in the sciences for veracity. Those strangers to scientific inquiries are trafficking in religion even though they have got no religion: indeed the one who sells one thing does no longer belong to him.”

            Personally, I tend to attribute the name of Islamic civilization for the import of scientific disciplines such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine, physics, optics, and chemistry.  Arabic civilization should be restricted to the Umayyad Dynasty period in matters of rhetoric, legal, practical mathematics, Kalam (reflection on the world according to the Koran paradigm), grammars, language, and the import of any outside scientific knowledge that the Old World reserved in Constantinople, Persia, India, and China.

            A follow up post will demonstrate that European Renaissance in the 16th century was fundamentally Islamic scientifically; the decentralization of the Christian power away from Rome was also inspired by the decentralization nature of Islam as a religion.  The title is “Europe’s Renaissance is Islamic”.  It is worthwhile for researchers not to confuse the recent period of Islamic radical decadence with early Islamic civilization that lasted from 650 to 1100 AC in the Orient and then re-surfaced in Andalusia (Spain) from 800 till 1400 AC.  After 1400 AC Christian Spanish monarchs chased out the Moslems and Jews from their kingdom; the Catholic Church in Rome instituted the Inquisition to harass the new converts to Christianity.

Hezbollah to desist spreading myths: Encore; (October 16, 2009)

 

            In a previous post I discussed the two myths: dress codes, and the mixing of State and religious responsibilities. I also stated the reasons for selected Hezbollah for my topic. There are three reasons: first, I need to have a specific target in order to minimize tendencies for generalization; second, Hezbollah is the most powerful movement in Lebanon in number, organization, military training, and in readiness and thus, this important social and political force can either spread havoc or strengthen the independence of Lebanon depending on close dialogue and communication among the Lebanese political parties; and third, because I have a high respect for this organization that saved Lebanon twice from becoming a total non-entity within the last decade. Yes, with Hezbollah I feel that Lebanon is no longer just a State recognized by the UN but has acquired the status of a Nation; a tiny Nation but with the potential of agreeing that we are one people under the law and against all contingencies.

            There is this boring and unsettling tendency at Hezbollah’s leadership to start their speeches with a long litany of the “honored” descendents of the Prophet Muhammad.  I understand that most diseases are inherited but I have not stumbled on studies characterizing intelligence, learning, and wisdom attributed to inherited genes.  Actually, research have demonstrated that offspring of highly intelligent men to be born mostly idiots. 

            The Prophet Muhammad did not die suddenly; he felt terribly sick for eight days and realized that he is to die soon.  The Prophet was fully conscious many times and he said the Morning Prayer before he died in the arms for his beloved and young wife Aicha. If the prophet wanted a close relative to inherit the title of Imam he would have done so; he still had two daughters and two son-in-laws and many close relatives who were Moslems. (Muhammad had four daughters, all married, and two sons; two of the married daughters died before him and his two sons died in infancy before reaching the age of 4).

            Maybe it is time for Hezbollah to desist forcing on people untruths of super great offspring generated by the Prophet. Yes, we must be inclined to pray even more forcefully for them because the odds are that they suffered immensely by the high expectations impelled upon them by ignorant and lazy-minded followers. Maybe it is time to expect the next Mahdi to be born from the common people instead of some “noble” creed.

 

            My fourth worry is this trend of re-writing history to please cultural propaganda of a nascent Islamic regional power such as Iran.  Chiaa have lived in northern Palestine, Lebanon, and northern Syria many centuries before the Turkish Safafid Empire ruled Iran in the 17th century and decided to adopt the Chiaa sect as the Kingdom religion.  The Chiaa had to flee the Arabic Sunni Caliphate Empire for two centuries and suffered frequent persecutions during the Ottoman Empire.

            The Chiaa took roots in India and in the Maghreb in North Africa. From the Maghreb they converged to Egypt and ruled during the Fatimid Dynasty for over a century and enjoyed many converts in Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria when Baghdad’s central power was very weak; the city of Aleppo and its district was a major focal point for the Ismaellia Chiaa. The Chiaa also converged from India to Herrat (west Afghanistan) and to Uzbekistan and Tajikistan before spreading to East Iran and the eastern shores of the Arabic Peninsula.  Consequently, the Chiaa in the Near East are its inhabitants and form an intrinsic part of the fabric of this region: they adopted the same customs and tradition.

            If for political exigencies Hezbollah needs to select leaders who attended religious schools in Qom of Iran, then it does not follow that this short–term need should be the trend.  Hezbollah has no advantage to alienate the main religious center in Al Najaf and then Koufa simply because its members are Near Eastern and not Persians.  It will pay in the medium-term for Hezbollah to re-write the history of the Chiaa in Lebanon and changing their tradition for a far away civilization and taking official sides for this Iranian Ayatollah or that, or this Iraqi Ayatollah or that.  Hezbollah is a resistance movement against any invader to Lebanon because it is Lebanese people and not a branch or an extension or a mercenary force to any regional power. Changing culture and history of the Chiaa in Lebanon can be as dangerous a trend as fomenting civil war.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2020
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