Saturday, 3 January 2009

Don't Put Your Daughter on the Obituaries Page, Mrs Sheikh

Mark Steyn on the Gaza inflagration:

On Christmas Eve, Samuel Huntington died at his home at Martha's Vineyard. A decade and a half ago, in his most famous book "The Clash Of Civilizations," professor Huntington argued that Western elites' view of man as homo economicus was reductive and misleading – that cultural identity is a more profound behavioral indicator than lazy assumptions about the universal appeal of Western-style economic liberty and the benefits it brings.

Very few of us want to believe this thesis.

"The great majority of Palestinian people," Condi Rice, the secretary of state, said to commentator Cal Thomas a couple of years back, "just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do."

Thomas asked a sharp follow-up: "Do you think this or do you know this?"

"Well, I think I know it," said Secretary Rice.

"You think you know it?"

"I think I know it."

I think she knows she doesn't know it. But in the modern world there is no diplomatic vocabulary for the kind of cultural fault line represented by the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, so even a smart thinker like Dr. Rice can only frame it as an issue of economic and educational opportunity. Of course, there are plenty of Palestinians like the ones the secretary of state described: you meet them living as doctors and lawyers in Los Angeles and Montreal and Geneva … but not, on the whole, in Gaza.

The whole piece here.


Thud said...

It easy and lazy to view the palis as exotic and suntanned versions of the rest of us. It is hard...much harder to try and imagine the mindset that glories in suicide bombings and annihilation of jews, scary in fact so most refuse to do so. These people are not the same as us.

Tuscan Tony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tuscan Tony said...

Culture not colour is the Tuscan's mantra; it rather unfortunately happens that many of the cruddiest cultures incapable of meshing with the Caucasian-inspired model are the property of various darker hued brothers. The resulting confusion in England, exacerbated by the plink-a-plonk politics and policies of the lumpenmeisters over at the BNP, enable many a leftie-inspired swindle to be perpetrated on the hardworking taxpayer, e.g. anything with the words equality, diversity or "applications from....are especially welcomed" in the text. The Tuscan would prefer to share the hill here with 100 Snuffleupugi than a solitary Karen "Lightyear" Matthews.

Tuscan Tony said...

...should have added that the Tuscan often draws attention to the almost identical genetic makeup of the Trinidadians and the Jamaicans, and the often utter uselessness of the latter, and the general work ethic and law-abiding attitudes of the former. Ampers also alludes to this on Guido somewhere in the current post.

Nomad said...

In another incarnation, but not all that long ago, I spent many years working in middle eastern countries. Over the years I got to know quite a large number of what today seem to be known as "Palestinians", although the vast majority of them considered themselves actually to be Jordanians and regarded the term "Palestinian" as merely a political invention to suit certain agendas.

Despite the mental semantics of Huntington and Thomas, Condi Rice had it right; the vast majority of these folk do simply want what everybody else does too i.e. to be left alone to get on with their lives in peace without constant inteference and hassle/aggro from (ill-intentioned?) others.

My recollection is that just about all of these friends and acquaintances wanted no truck with the Arafats, Habashes, PLOs, Hamases, PLFP fronts etc whom they regarded as little more than corrupt, self-seeking, ignorant and arrogant constant troublemakers who did no good for their people.

I do not profess to know what the solution to the middle east problem is, but I do know that pre-medieval religious bigotry (on both sides) is not part of the answer. Better and comprehensive education, however, may be.

idle said...

Tuscan, I thought that Trinidad had a much higher percentage of Indian genes. look at the cricket team for starters: Sarwan, Ganga, Rampaul, Ramdin. That would explain the work ethic.

Nomad, education would be a start. Birth control would be another idea. I am always staggered by the birth rates of hell-holes.

Hamas did not seize control by a coup, they were elected. And they cannot or will not stop rocket firing, so the hebes do what they will always do in such circumstances: deal with the threat in asymmetric fashion.

Tuscan Tony said...

Interesting point idle, so I did some quick research:

Checking out the "ethnic groups para of each, it seems you are mainly right, but not wholly so. T&T still has 40% African: so no conclusive evidence either way

nomad said...

I agree Iders, Hamas were elected - but on a promise of better health and education facilities and programmes and as a reaction to the self serving corruption of the other lot. With all due respect, as a disinterested outsider, it does not appear to me that they are in any way fulfiling their mandate.

idle said...

We are agreed, nomad. Hamas, like its predecessor governments in Gaza, has proved itself to be worse than useless. Regardless of my opinion of the residents of Gaza, they deserve better. My own (quite impossible) solution is to make them a self-governing dependancy of Israel. They would thrive.

Elby the Beserk said...

TT - actually, Indian and Chinese in Trinidad, from way back. That might explain it. But FFS - all that heat? All that weed? All that reggae? What chance have Jamaicans got?

Re Gaza - I am sure many of the inhabitants are unable to get out even if they wanted do. What a major fuck up it is there, a ghastly blot on our escutcheon.

Meanwhile, there's a petition going on

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to resign due to gross financial incompetence in running the British economy.

Submitted by Alex Wallace – Deadline to sign up by: 15 January 2009 – Signatures: 592

electro-kevin said...

Why didn't you just print a picture to make your point ?

idle said...

Noted, e-k. I doubt the IDF can produce evidence that there were mortar rounds coming from the UN school today, but it has the ring of truth about it.

nomad said...

Idle: Filmed as it happened by a drone that happened to be hovering overhead at the time, CNN news showed a rocket actually being fired off from that schoolyard. That is why the IDF were able to accurately target the take off point - and apparently kill those responsible. It was the innocent bystanders that really caught the flak though.