Treating the Symptoms . . .

Anybody who has been reading my blogs will know my favourite saying by now. After spending 25 years in The British Library analysing World History Karl Marx’s succinct analysis was:

“History repeats itself – first time tragedy, second time farce.”

The bloody French, of course, express it more elegantly:
“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose”
(The more things change, the more they stay the same)

And here down under in Australia among the Bogans and the Blodgers the Think Tanks are postulating (predicting) that the War on Terror will last the whole of the 21st century, and maybe beyond.
What they are talking about of course is not a war on terror but the Clash of Cultures between Islam and America’s neo-Con free market capitalism. And that war will continue as long as the USA persists in its unconditional support for Israel; its attempt to impose their barbaric “survival of the fittest” society on the World to crack open markets for their Coca Cola Big Mac culture; the pillage of the natural resources of the Third World (oil, hardwood, white fish etc.) – and in the process assassinating elected leaders, deposing legitimate governments, and bombing the sh*t out of anybody who dares to oppose them.
Saddam Hussein, by Middle Eastern standards an enlightened and secular despot, was deposed and replaced with an atavistic and vengeful Shia government that has split the country wide open on religious and tribal fault lines. Al-Qa’eda was degraded and rendered manageable (but not defeated) – but in its place like a Phoenix (or more exactly like the Lernaean HYDRA, the multi headed serpent of Greek mythology that protected the gates of Hades) has grown the much more ferocious and well organized ISIS. And when ISIS is finally downgraded (but not defeated) by a ferocious assault that will kill thousands and maim and shatter the lives of millions (reminiscent of Israel’s ferocious assaults on The Gaza Strip) that will only deepen the hatred of all things American, what will rise in its place will be an even more barbaric and fervent fundamental version of Islam.
My book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” that was first published 3 years ago grew out of a play that I wrote 16 years ago when I was living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In spite of a successful rehearsed reading at the Soho Theatre in London, theatre managers would not produce it because they found the climax (the honour killing of a young Muslim woman and the beheading of an American) far too violent. Yet a few years later we had the grisly beheading of Daniel Pearle, and honour killings and female suicide bombers are commonplace, and the barbaric actions of ISIS, including crucifixions, now make my play look tame.
If you want an insight into the disease that afflicts The West’s relationship with the Middle East and its complexity from an expatriate perspective, preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:
http://www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards
and download it if you have a Kindle.
Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from:
http://www.thebookdepository.co.uk
The ISBN number is 978-1908147097
They offer free delivery worldwide.

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The Beginning of Sorrows

The sequel to my collection of short stories THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” will be a novel THE GULF “The Beginning of Sorrows”. It is based on a Biblical quotation that seems very relevant to today: “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars but see that you are not troubled for all these things must come to pass but the end is not yet. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Mathew the Apostle It seems that the 21st Century that dawned with such hope cannot move on and shake off the problems and the illnesses of the 20th century. A new Cold War with Russia is threatening, a new “Yellow Peril” , with China replacing Japan, has emerged – and the “Out of Africa” Ebola epidemic has replaced the scourge of HIV/AIDS. And, we are still locked into that atavistic tribal battle for land and resources, the Arab/Israeli conflict in The Middle East. Somehow this has morphed into a Clash of Cultures between Christianity and Islam. And still we treat the symptoms and not the disease. The disease is ignorance that leads to hubris. Hubris is the self confidence of the ignorant. Some Western politicians understand the problems – but they do not understand the people. The present outcry “Ban the Burqua” is typical. It is a typical lazy journalist/PR sound bite for what is a much more complex issue. Burqua is the term used in Afghanistan, it is Chador in Iran, Hijab in Arabia and Yashmak in other parts of The Midddle East – and God knows what it is called in Malaysia and Indonesia which is the largest Muslim nation on earth, and not in the least Arab. Although Iraq has made us aware of the schism and deep mistrust (hatred?) between Sunni and Shia Muslims we have no idea of the complexities of the various sects within that schism (Alawites, Sufis et.) even more complex than the Catholic (Jesuit, Opus Dei etc.) and Protestant (Coptic, Lutheran, Orthodox etc.) in the Christian faith. And in the case of the Middle East we have to deal with tribal loyalties that overlay religious divides – and people who speak fervently of events of 7,000 years ago as if they happened yesterday, and they were present. The consequences of misreading the MidEast, of sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind of Western governments’ present hubris are unthinkable. Israel and Iran lobbing nuclear weapons at each other? Remember that in biblical terms this is the site of Armageddon – the ultimate battle between Good and Evil. But who is good and who is evil? But don’t wait for my novel THE GULF “The Beginning of Sorrows”. You can gain insights into the MidEast and its complexity from an expatriate perspective if you preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at: http://www.amazon.com/author/mikerichards and download it if you have a Kindle. Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition from: http://www.thebookdepository.co.uk The ISBN number is 978-1908147097 They offer free delivery worldwide.