Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Invisible Men

Before the West goes on another round of self-flagellation about how hard it is to be Middle Eastern, and a doctor, in Britain, here's an article in the Australian describing what it's like to be black, a woman and foreign in Saudi Arabia.

During our first two months in Jeddah, my wife Faye and I relished our new and luxurious lifestyle: a shiny jeep, two swimming pools, domestic help, and a tax-free salary. The luxury of living in a modern city with a developed infrastructure cocooned me from the frightful reality of life in Saudi Arabia. My goatee beard and good Arabic ensured that I could pass for an Arab. But looking like a young Saudi was not enough: I had to act Saudi, be Saudi. And here I failed.

My first clash with Saudi culture came when, being driven around in a bulletproof jeep, I saw African women in black abayas tending to the rubbish bins outside restaurants, residences and other busy places. "Why are there so many black cleaners on the streets?" I asked the driver. The driver laughed. "They're not cleaners. They are scavengers; women who collect cardboard from all across Jeddah and then sell it. They also collect bottles, drink cans, bags."

"You don't find it objectionable that poor immigrant women work in such undignified and unhygienic conditions on the streets?" "Believe me, there are worse jobs women can do."

Enter the world of immigration viewed from the Third World, without the blinkers of white guilt. And lest anyone should think this is all partisan propaganda, here's an assessment of the condition of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia from Human Rights Watch:

We learned that hundreds of low-paid Asian women who cleaned hospitals in Jeddah worked twelve-hour days, without food or a break, and were confined to locked dormitories during their time off. Skilled seamstresses from the Philippines told us that they were not permitted to leave the women’s dress shop in Medina where they worked twelve-hour days, and were forbidden to speak more than a few words to customers and the Saudi owners.

Many women employed as domestic workers in cities throughout the kingdom reported that they worked twelve hours or more daily. Most of them also lived in around-the-clock confinement, at the decision of their private employers, cut off from the outside world. One woman from the Philippines, whose employers in Dammamdid not provide her with sufficient food, described how she enlisted help from the family’s Indian driver, to whom she was forbidden to speak. She told us that she wrote lists of what she needed and threw them out the window to the driver. He made the purchases, and “delivered” them to her by tossing the packages onto the roof of the house, where she retrieved them. Another Filipina, who also worked for a family in Dammam, said that she constantly watched the locked front gate of the house, waiting for an opportunity to escape after her male employer raped her in June 2003.

Wikipedia notes:

Saudi Arabia was designated, together with Bolivia, Ecuador, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Burma, Jamaica, Venezuela, Cambodia, Kuwait, Sudan, Cuba, North Korea, and Togo, as a Tier 3 country by the United States Department of State in its 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report required by the Trafficking Victim Protection Act of 2000 on which this article was originally based. Tier 3 countries are "Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so." The 2006 report shows some effort by the Kingdom to address the problems, but continues to classify the Kingdom as a Tier 3 country. The report recommends, "The government should enforce existing Islamic laws that forbid the mistreatment of women, children, and laborers..."

Saudi Arabia is a destination for men and women from South East Asia and East Africa trafficked for the purpose of labor exploitation, and for children from Yemen, Afghanistan, and Africa trafficking for forced begging. Hundreds of thousands of low-skilled workers from India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Kenya migrate voluntarily to Saudi Arabia; some fall into conditions of involuntary servitude, suffering from physical and sexual abuse, non-payment or delayed payment of wages, the withholding of travel documents, restrictions on their freedom of movement and non-consensual contract alterations. According to international organisations such as Ansar Burney Trust, young children from Bangladesh and India are also smuggled to Saudi Arabia to be used as jockeys. The children are underfed to reduce their weights, in order to lighten the load on the camel.

Runaway Iranian girls are trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. The network of traffickers entrap young and attractive run-away girls and widows with deceiving promises of a better life including marriage to rich prosperous men; then they are smuggled across legally and illegally. Iranian girls between the ages of 13 to 17 have the highest demand and price among women among the wealthy neighbouring Arab countries. These women are smuggled out of Iran and then subjected to prostitution. It is a lucrative business for the smugglers as there is a strong demand for young Iranian women among Arabs in the south.

Returning to the Australian article, the author Ed Husein says:

After a month in Jeddah I heard from an Asian taxi driver about a Filipino worker who had brought his new bride to live with him in Jeddah. After visiting the Balad shopping district the couple caught a taxi home. Some way through their journey the Saudi driver complained that the car was not working properly and perhaps the man could help push it. The passenger obliged. Within seconds the Saudi driver had sped off with the man's wife in his car and, months later, there was still no clue as to her whereabouts. We had heard stories of the abduction of women from taxis by sex-deprived Saudi youths.

One of the more interesting aspects of the Saudi Arabian expatriate scene, according to a New Zealander of Filipino origin I spoke to in Canberra, is that you tended to be treated according to your passport. At the top of the heap were the American expats, beneath which were various Western European nationalities. But at the bottom of the pile were the poor Filipinos, Indians, Bangladeshis and such. And their experiences can be radically different, each seeing the world through his own prism. And perhaps no prism is more bizarre than the one through which young Saudi radicals descry reality. Ed Husein describes an incident in a class he taught shortly before his return to London and recommend you read it to the end, but I will leave the punchline.

Two weeks after the terrorist attacks in London another Saudi student raised his hand and asked: "Teacher, how can I go to London?"

"Much depends on your reason for going to Britain. Do you want to study or just be a tourist?"

"Teacher, I want to go London next month. I want bomb, big bomb in London, again. I want make jihad!"

"What?" I exclaimed. Another student raised both hands and shouted: "Me too! Me too!"

Other students applauded those who had just articulated what many of them were thinking. I was incandescent. In protest I walked out of the classroom to a chorus of jeering and catcalls. ...

I vowed, in my own limited way, to fight those who had hijacked my faith, defamed my prophet and killed thousands of my own people: the human race. I was encouraged when Tony Blair announced on August 5, 2005, plans to proscribe an array of Islamist organisations that operated in Britain, foremost among them Hizb.

At the time I was impressed by Blair's resolve. The Hizb should have been outlawed a decade ago and so spared many of us so much misery. Sadly the legislation was shelved last year amid fears that a ban would only add to the group's attraction, so it remains both legal and active today. But it is not too late.

It is not even the thoughtful Muslims, like Ed Husein, who are asleep. It is the West's liberals, who pretend to sympathize with the Third World and know nothing of it. Who claim that terrorism is a fantasy when they live in a world of fantasy themselves. Husein is right: it is not too late. But the danger is far advanced.


Blogger PierreLegrand said...

It is the West's liberals, who pretend to sympathize with the Third World and know nothing of it. Who claim that terrorism is a fantasy when they live in a world of fantasy themselves.

It is not only the liberals who are blind to the danger...most conservatives do not want to face the fact of our battle.

I am reminded of Grover Norquist conservative extraordinaire who is extremely sympathetic to the Islamists. Then we have President Bush himself who finds it important to visit our enemies Domestic Headquarters every single time a bomb goes off in the no is not only the liberals who are blind. Would that it were easy it would be to proceed without them.

Shaikh Mohammed gets pick of the crop…of slave boys MIAMI (AP) - The rulers of the United Arab Emirates are being accused in a lawsuit of enslaving tens of thousands of young boys over the last three decades and forcing them to work under brutal conditions as camel jockeys.

The civil lawsuit seeks class-action status and was filed last week by unnamed parents of boys as young as two years old who were allegedly abducted, enslaved and sold to serve as the backbone of the popular Arab sport camel racing. More than 30,000 boys could have been victimized in what the suit calls “one of the greatest humanitarian crimes of the last 50 years.”

Apparently it is not merely the "evil" Saudis who have a fascination with slavery...maybe its an Islamic thing???

7/04/2007 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger The Prodigal Student said...

Was not Saudi Arabia among the last countries, along with Yemen, to officially outlaw 1967? We might assume from Wretchard's post that, culturally, the Saudis are having a little trouble moving themselves into the post-slavery community of Mankind. Isn't it also true the that the only people not recognized in the Q'uran are infidels, slaves, and women?

7/04/2007 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

Oh here is a good backrounder on our dear conservative "friend" Grover Norquist...

This is back when I still believed that President Bush had a backbone.
President Bush “Hold your friends close and your enemies closer” And here is Daniel Pipes deconstructing Norquist as an Islamist...remember this is a very powerful "conservative"....bah.

7/04/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said... has more revealing snippets which illustrate the effects of our Progressive blindness towards towards the Third World. The media and academe have created the lens through which we view the world's problems and it is optically incorrect. The gnats are bigger than elephants. And the elephants no bigger than gnats.

Many of Africa's best and brightest become bureaucrats or NGO workers when they should be scientists or entrepreneurs. ...

This is why China's seduction of Africa has been so complete. While Americans are pestering their leaders to Save Darfur–an unlikely prospect absent full-scale military intervention–the Chinese are busy building roads and hydroelectric power dams. China believes Africa is a huge economic opportunity and deals with Africa like a business partner. The Chinese see Africans the way many would like to see themselves.

After his impassioned defense of aid, an African man in the audience asked Bono, "Where do you place the African person as a thinker, a creator of wealth?"

Celebrities make easy targets. Many at TED attacked Bono (ironically the catalyst for holding a conference in Africa in the first place) less for what he has done and more for what he represents. He has done more for raising Africa's profile and our awareness about debt relief, unequal trade, malaria and HIV/AIDS than perhaps any human being in history. He represents a game we have all played for nearly fifty years whose only winners have been corrupt governments and the international development industry.

7/04/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

Here is Amir Taheri's remarks regarding Islams incompatibility with Democracy. Take heed to understand that without the notion of equality there is cannot have a truly free government when you have classes of people so strictly defined.

Also Amir is mindboggingly wrong about the treatment of the Hindus. My gosh has he forgotten what Hindu Kush means? Lets not even consider the animists who are being slaughtered wholesale in Africa. Religion of peace...I guess when you are dead you are at peace.

Lest us return to the issue of equality.

The idea is unacceptable to Islam.

For the non-believer cannot be the equal of the believer.

Even among the believers only those who subscribe to the three so-called Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam ( Ahl el-Kitab) are regarded as fully human.

Here is the hierarchy of human worth in Islam:

At the summit are free male Muslims

Next come Muslim male slaves

Then come free Muslim women

Next come Muslim slave women.

Then come free Jewish and /or Christian men

Then come slave Jewish and/or Christian men

Then come slave Jewish and/or Christian women.

Each category has rights that must be respected.

The People of the Book have always been protected and relatively well-treated by Muslim rulers, but often in the context of a form of apartheid known as dhimmitude.

The status of the rest of humanity, those whose faiths are not recognised by Islam or who have no faith at all, has never been spelled out although wherever Muslim rulers faced such communities they often treated them with a certain measure of tolerance and respect ( As in the case of Hindus under the Muslim dynasties of India.)

7/04/2007 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The Saudis by themselves would be simply a nuisance. There are any number of sane and normal Muslims in the world, and I have met some of them. But it is the lethal cocktail of liberal and jihadi fantasy that is creating this mess. The latter plies the whip and the former cries, "yes! yes!" That and oil. How else to explain a situation in which a small and undistinguished sect has spawned the leading ideology of the age?

7/04/2007 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger pst314 said...

"Was not Saudi Arabia among the last countries, along with Yemen, to officially outlaw 1967?"

Yes, under pressure from the West.

There also were cases of vacationing European women and girls being kidnapped for Saudi brothels--I mean harems.

You'd think such barbaric behavior would be contrary to the teachings of Islam, but we are, after all, only dirty infidels. /sarcasm

7/04/2007 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

I figure within the next decade there will be, in the halls of the UN and other such organizations a concerted effort by Saudi Arabia and other Islamic nations, to relegitimize slavery. I'm sure that they will get support from a certain slice of Western academics, who will defend slavery as a long-standing custom, indispensable to authentic Arab tribal living, and no worse than the treatment of the poorest workers by Capitalism.

7/04/2007 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger PierreLegrand said...

How else to explain a situation in which a small and undistinguished sect has spawned the leading ideology of the age?


What about the Shiites? Till 9/11 they had managed to kill more Americans than any of the other maniacs?

No doubt there are many perfectly decent Muslims. There were most likely a good number of decent Nazis as well. And I know for a fact that there were a bunch of communists who were good both my mother and father were communists for a time in their lives.

None of that changes the fact that both Nazism and Communism were two of the great killers of the 20th century. Islam stands as one of the great killers in the last 1300 years.

Saying that does not deny that there were many fine folks inside of those killing philosophies.

7/04/2007 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

In Mr. Gate's Harvard commencement speech, he used the word complex when I'm certain the speech as written used corrupt, but was later changed to avoid offending the left's sensibilities.

A pity he didn't go for the throat. Then again, it would have reminded the left that a dollar spent on punitive offense (the threatening of war and war-making if behavior does not change) is worth hundreds of dollars of policing and a many thousands dollars of aid.

Imagine the shock if he told those Harvard grads that a large of number of them should join the military and the others should rise in the ranks of global business and finance and together they should put an end to the corruption by the so-called leadership in these criminal States that are practicing slavery by another name. He could have told them story after story of how his efforts have gone for naught when the corrupt have taken their cut. Doctors in tears when promised shipments arrived pilfered. And worse.

As the Kenyan economist pleaded years ago (when we continued to send food aid and not just given money to the poorest to buy from local markets), "Please stop, just stop, stop now, you are killing us."

Free markets, property rights and self-defense available to the least and weakest of a people are the only approaches that have been shown to work.

Everything else has been academic or elitist nostrums. Rot and Death follow in their wake. But we continue to deny our senses since our hearts are pure, our intentions our good, it's easy to do and it feels so good (v. doing something hard and unpopular to deal with the evil in the world that enslaves others).

7/04/2007 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Here is my problem. I am not willing to put the Ed Huseins of this world on a barge back to the Middle East. Not when there are individuals like George Galloway out there. Muslim or not, Ed Husein, if I judge him aright from his article, has greater claim to be my brother than gorgeous George. In a rational world, George should go on the barge first. But where to send him?

Therefore I am perforce driven to the idea that we must make common cause with all the decent folk of the world, irrespective of their color, creed or nationality against the scumbags of this time. And though I recognize the dangers of radical Islamic teaching, and its perfidy, I believe we must do everything to prevent the current fight from become "us" versus "them", for so long as George Galloway and his ilk can take shelter, as I am sure they will when the crunch comes, with the "us".

I've often remarked that I could in bad light pass for Indonesian. And sometimes I laugh aloud at the thought that some Chardonnay sipping, pacifist leftist will one day slip a noose around my neck in the aftermath of riots following a dirty bomb attack on a child's school parade in Sydney. If my acquaintance with the left is any guide, they would be the first, in their panic, to call for the ropes.

7/04/2007 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

So of all the Muslim singers in all the world, Cat Stevens, AKA Yusuf Islam, has to walk into Al Gore's Live Earth Concert in Hamburg.

Yusuf Islam, alias Cat Stevens, will appear Saturday at the Live Earth concert in Hamburg. He will be the last performer of the evening, singing around 11 p.m., a spokesman for Live Earth said Tuesday.

And here's a stroll down memory lane.
The New York Times, 1989:

LONDON, May 22 -- The musician known as Cat Stevens said in a British television program to be broadcast next week that rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author Salman Rushdie, ''I would have hoped that it'd be the real thing.''

The singer, who adopted the name Yusuf Islam when he converted to Islam, made the remark during a panel discussion of British reactions to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's call for Mr. Rushdie to be killed for allegedly blaspheming Islam in his best-selling novel ''The Satanic Verses.'' He also said that if Mr. Rushdie turned up at his doorstep looking for help, ''I might ring somebody who might do more damage to him than he would like.''

''I'd try to phone the Ayatollah Khomeini and tell him exactly where this man is,'' said Mr. Islam, who watched a preview of the program today and said in an interview that he stood by his comments.

This demonstrates the exquisite synergy between the Left and, not the best, but the worst elements of Islam. As Christopher Hitchens pointed out to the Baroness Williams, the great literary lions of the Islamic world opposed a fatwa issued against an Iranian writer, in Hitchen's refutation of her assertion that critical literature is "deeply offensive to Islam". Yet all the Baroness Williams and her ilk could imagine was that the Muslims were against literature. 'So you took the side of the people who did not read the book. Who indeed could not read the book,' Hitchens said. I would have added that this is the natural attitude of people who subconciously, despite their oily solicitude, really believe that the Muslims and other darkies swing like monkeys from the trees. Al Gore may or may not be personally aware of this artistic selection, but it says something about the taste of his assistants.

7/04/2007 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Stephen Renico said...

In a rational world, George should go on the barge first. But where to send him?

In a rational world? To the gallows.

7/04/2007 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Stephen Renico said...

I should add that the gallows are the rational choice because traitors and fifth-columnists are worse than the enemy you fight.

7/04/2007 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger ForNow said...

George Galloway: Now I've been happy lately, thinking about the cued things to come
And I believe it could be, something good has begun.

Michael Moore: Oh I've! been! smiling! lately, dreaming about the world we've spun,
And I believe it could be, some day the U.S. will come undone.

Lynne Stewart: 'Cause on the cutting edge of darkness, there rides a Treason Train,
O Treason Train take this country, come take me Marx-ward again.

The Crawling Chaos Pinch Sulzberger:
Now I've been smiling lately, thinking about the terrorism to come,
And I believe it could be, something cool has begun.

Walter Duranty's corpse:
O Treason Train soouundin' louder,
Gliiide on, Treason Train!
Come on now Treason train.

Noam Chomsky's Plastic Turkey Band:
Yes, Treason Train jolly roger
Everyone jump on the Treason Train!
Come on now Treason Train

Barbra S.'s mirror reflection:
Get -- your -- ooold gray bonnet, with the blue ribbon on it too,
Cause it's getting nearer, it soon will be on you.

Helen Thomas, eating a photo of Yasir Arafat:
Now come and join the living, we're not so unlike you,
And we're getting nearer, soon it will all be true.

Kathy Boudin, fleeing along 11th Street:
Now I've been crying lately, thinking about the world as it is --!!!
Why must we go on hating you, why can't you just give in?

Pinch, flunking in high school and getting rejected by Columbia U:
'Cause on the cutting edge of darkness, there rides a Treason Train!
O Treason Train take this country, come take me Marx-ward again

All: O Treason Train soouundin' louder
Gliiide on, Treason Train!
Ted Kennedy, blindingly spotlit: Ah-eeah-oo-ah-err..! (crashes)
All: Come on now Treason train….

Singing about their Grand Strategy to ally with the islamofascists, bring free enterprise to its knees, take over, then declare free cheese and thereby cause the islamofascist threat to evaporate forever! That strategy worked so well in Iran! Tune by Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens smiling cheshirely.

7/04/2007 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

jeez, fornow, I'm cryin and laughing at the same time--beautiful!

7/04/2007 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

"Al Gore may or may not be personally aware of this artistic selection"

I'd guess, yes. But as you say, even if not, the attitude is there. You know, saving the planet and all, no carbon emissions that they know of, back in the 7th century.

7/04/2007 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard -- it would be just and fair to send Galloway to live with the savages who wanted to "make big bomb" but like the Good Germans, Muslims will have to make the best of it.

Perhaps an Ed Husein can merely wrangle internment.

But eventually, the ordinary guy in Western countries will be pushed too far, and set about to reduce Islam's reach and power in his nation and abroad.

Yes Liberalism is partly to blame, but the Saudis and others also who think they can win. They might give it a good go. But sadly I think the aggressive Islamists will be most to blame. They think they can win. Because so far they have. Then so did Napoleon and Hitler against weak Russia.

7/04/2007 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger ForNow said...

Gore may have no clear idea who Cat Steven is. He's not exactly a party hound. It's not just some media myth. I remember overhearing a blue-collar worker comparing the Clinton campaign bus to the Gore campaign bus. "Bill Clinton, he's fun, everybody always had a good time with Bill Clinton around." ... "That Al Gore, with his papers, everybody always bored. That borin' Al Gore. . . . That borin' Al Gore!"

In fact Gore's whole global warming campaign is his effort to prove that he's not boring. No wonder he's gone insane.

7/04/2007 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

Wretchard said: "I've often remarked that I could in bad light pass for Indonesian."

In the US no one ever has mistaken me for anything other than an Black American. In the Middle East, North & East Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula, I am often taken for a local black Arab (Egyptian or Sudanese, most frequently) or as an East African guest worker.

That I am not the former becomes obvious once I open my mouth and Arabic doesn't come out. That I am not the latter is not at all obvious once I do speak, however. Many people in the Gulf States can not distinguish between English accents.

And therein lies part of the problem. Knowing how low in the pecking order Africans are here, Kenyan or Ethiopian is the last thing I want to get mistaken for if, for instance, I get in a car accident or caught up in an immigration sweep.

That' no swipe and English-speaking East Africans. I just have real concerns over how i might be treated between the time I tell someone I am an American and the time they get around to believing me.

7/04/2007 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard --

You wondered how Saudi Arabia became so important?

Largely because Muslims don't believe but KNOW, KNOW beyond certainty, that God promised them dominion over all on the Earth. That they would conquer and rule everyone.

Yet ... they look at the world and see their own failure. Their own pitiful state.

So what do they believe? That Allah lied to them, or is himself a lie? Or that Satan is behind the success of the West and the US?

The West shouts with every piece of technology and every advance that Allah himself and Mohammed are all lies. Lies, lies, lies.

Saudis shout that the West is a lie. A lie of Satan.

The problem is not "bad Muslims" or Saudis (Egyptians would as well at this and have, see Qutb, Sayyid, and Banr, Hassan-Al). The problem is ISLAM ITSELF.

ONLY when Islam ceases to exist will we stop having Muslims trying to destroy the West. And that will only happen when Muslims KNOW, KNOW beyond certainty that Allah and Mohammed were nothing but lies. Anything else is a recipe of eternal Muslim attempts to destroy the West. One which Westerners will eventually become enraged by and set about destroying Muslims.

Islam's greatest strength, it's faith, will destroy it. No matter how decent a man Ed Husein is.

7/05/2007 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 07/05/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

7/05/2007 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger Elmondohummus said...

Wretchard, this is rather tangential to the topic, but your comments here highlight something we very briefly touched on in an earlier thread: The silly views the pseudo intellectuals have of Third Worlders. In their mad rush to recognize and embrace values and attitudes dear to them, many of the mad (as opposed to rational and sane) left assign all sorts of laudatory characteristics to rather terrible people. It's such a narcissistic endeavor, as in their cases it involves projection more than it does any realization of their target's intrinsic worth (or lack thereof). It's sort of a new take on the old concept of the "Noble savages", but with a modern politico-moral tinge added this time. George Galloway is one of the prime examples of this; just note his association with the late Saddam Hussein and any and all of the undeserved praise he heaped on the man. How much of his view of Saddam was shaped by what he wanted to see (I'd argue all of it.)? And in that earlier thread, we discussed how the last people represented in the Palestinian peace "process" were the Palestinians themselves, and how so much of that process was narcissistic self-employment by the European diplomats more eager to project their own views onto isolated elements of Hamas's and Fatah's propaganda than to see it for what it really is. I just cannot understand how members of the left acting in this fashion - members of a political view that prides itself on reason and analysis - fail to see the truth of their actions. Self-awareness seems to be arrested in these folks, or their self-perceptions are getting garbled in the heady embrace of their rose-tinted perception of others.

Regarding your commentary about getting the noose from leisure time philosophers: Again, that would be a logical end result of cognitive dissonance whiplashing those folks attitudes towards the opposite extreme. When their cherished views of the better-than-us 3rd world radical or terrorist comes crashing down around their senses, their realization of those radicals/terrorists murderous and destructive intents will be exacerbated by the distance of the intellectual plummet those noble-savage-believers will experience. I can easily see innocents getting swept up in the tide. Innocents who are doubly victimized as most of them, having clear views of the depravities of the goons and thugocrats of the 3rd world - and having escaped from those goons into the safe havens they currently inhabit to begin with - would have been the first ones sounding the alarm on extremists (Hirsi Ali, anyone?) and would have been blatantly ignored or explained away by the mad projectors of virtue-onto-perversion who were enabling their former oppressors. And who would be executed by the very same. Those former enablers will view as a betrayal what was all along their own self delusion and act out against the only target within reach. And the really galling thing about this is that those leisure philosophers be the last ones to suffer the consequences of any of their actions. The people who sought refuge and personally experienced the depravities of the extremist societies will be the first, and at the hands of those once apologists-for-extremism.

Blair understood the danger of allowing oneself to accept the atrocities of the Third Worlders as something understandable in the light of their situation. Bush understands too; it's just that he's not intellectually capable of constructing an effective response to it, being in the end just another political creature like his foes. Too damn bad Blair's successor isn't up to the task facing him. Too damn bad so many in America would rather substitute the subnarrative of Bush's failures around the world insted of dealing with the real danger, which will remain for some time after Bush is out of office. And too damn bad that they all believe it's the proper thing to do.

7/05/2007 10:42:00 AM  

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