Twilight of the Gods

About 10 years ago I read an amazing book, PALESTINIAN TWILIGHT, that was a dramatized documentary about the murder of an American Lutheran pastor who was Professor of Archaeology at Bir Zeit University in Palestine. Ultimately his death was blamed on the Palestinians because he was rumoured to be having affair with his deputy, a beautiful young Palestinian woman.

It was and is an unlikely scenario given the man’s advanced age, and fundamental Christian values, and the Palestinian man convicted of the murder made his confession under torture. Shortly afterwards he was assassinated himself, so he was never interviewed by anybody other than the Israeli authorities. And there was strong evidence to suggest that it was the Israelis who assassinated the professor because his archaeological digs were undermining the Israeli narrative that they had first claim on The Holy Land. And since the Israelis control all archaeological findings the professor’s results were never published.

Whatever! These sorts of brutal shenanigans have become irrelevant. With the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, supported by the Americans, it seems certain that the Israelis will soon annex the West Bank, with the support of the Americans. If that happens all dreams of Palestinian statehood will be snuffed out.

And Arab support for the Palestinians is falling victim to the theological and geopolitical battle between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran in The Arabian/Persian Gulf. For obvious reasons Saudi Arabia is supporting America’s determination to destabilize Iran. Unfortunately HEZBOLLAH, funded and backed by Iran, was and is the most effective opponent of Israeli expansion. They fought the Israelis to a standstill on their last attempt to invade South Lebanon. If Iran falls then so does Hezbollah, and so do the Palestinians.

It seems that God the Father of Christian Palestinians and their Western supporters has abandoned them, and Allah the God of Muslim Palestinians has too. As the Lutheran pastor himself noted “I always end up on the losing side.” It is like the Norse epic Ragnarök – the Twilight of the Gods.

I used the story line of the Professor’s murder to begin and end my book of short stories, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”. But I changed the characters to an elderly and childless English couple who ran a Church of England orphanage in Ramallah. The feeble and diabetic man was murdered either because of his close relationship with his young female Palestinian assistant, or because the orphanage was seen by the Israelis as a breeding ground for a generation of confident and independent and well educated Palestinian youths. This was symbolic to me of the ruthless way the Israelis’ have taken control of every aspect of Palestinian life.

All the other stories in my book are also dramatized documentaries. They are based on events I myself witnessed, or were reported to me by reliable sources during my 40 years working in and around The Arabian/Persian Gulf.

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East in Kindle format at:

amazon.com

Or in paperback edition on my publisher’s website:

feedaread.com

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Whatever happened to The Global Village

A few years ago it was the orthodoxy – the body of ideas that all right thinking people should adopt without question – to talk about the world as one big global village. Globalization a.k.a. Americanization would bring peace and prosperity, and universal Happyness.

Then came 9/11 – and then the GFC of 2008.

Nobody talks much about the Global Village any more, and DAVOS – the Olympus of the Gods of Globalization – was poorly attended this year.

When you reach your 80s, with a mind reasonably intact, then Karl Marx’s “History repeats itself, first time tragedy second time farce,” or the more elegant French saying, “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose,” resonate ever more strongly.

Do people remember these financial scandals of recent times?

– LOHNRO
– Investors Overseas Services
– Slater Walker
– BICC
– Icelandic Banks
– Societe General
– Barings Bank
– Northern Rock
– Lehman Brothers
– Bernie Madof
– Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac

And all the other nefarious dealings – and at times sheer incompetence – of the financial community? The unacceptable face of capitalism.

Or further back in time:

– The Great Depression of the 1930s

And even further back:

– The South Sea Bubble of 1720
– The Dutch Tulip Mania Bubble of 1636

And yet we continue to try and build a global society based on get-rich-quick speculative bubbles (a.k.a. financial derivatives and hedge funds) so that the filthy rich can get even filthier. There is currently about 8 times more out in paper than actual assets exist in the world. And if I have sparked your interest read Loretta Napoleoni’s excellent book ROGUE ECONOMICS for a more detailed and informed analysis.

Last year the wealth of the top 1% in the world increased by 18%, and the wealth of the bottom 50% decreased by 10%. I guess you could call that balance? Does anybody wonder why Trump, and BREXIT – and even ISIS (DAESH). These represent the backlash to the ruthless greed of the people who contribute nothing, merely seeking to make money from money, and ruin the lives of normal people. And of course they will fight endlessly to maintain their supremacy. Hence the howls of rage against Trump and Brexit.

My book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” concerns the flotsam and jetsam that washes up in The Arabian/Persian Gulf. Expatriate American and British workers who are victims of the West’s ruthless and heartless financial system. And my work in progress, GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows” concerns one man ruined and brought to the end of his tether by the GFC, the Global Financial Crash of 2008.

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

feedaread.com

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Australia’s bizarre decision to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and reserve East Jerusalem for the Palestinians, pleased no one, and succeeded in antagonising everyone.

The Israelis claim the whole of Jerusalem as their own, and of course the Palestinians oppose this. And thinking of William Blake’s anthem JERUSALEM, that holy city resonates just as strongly in the Christian ethos. Think The Crusades and Richard Coeur de Lion.

Who would have thought that a remote desert oasis, whose reason for existence was a freshwater spring that never dried up, would become the focus for so much intellectual debate about the meaning of life and death – and brutal physical strife and the hatred of religious intolerance.

The background to my current work in progress, THE GULF “The Beginning of Sorrows” concerns itself with the long history of the Middle East, the Fertile Crescent, the cradle of our civilization, the Sumerians invention of writing and establishment of written law. And later the Silk Roads that brought exotic goods and ideas from the Far East. My current book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” is set on Bahrain as it transformed from a sleepy backwater of the British Empire into an independent nation state that acts as an interface between The West, and insular Saudi Arabia.

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

http://www.feedaread.com

Tomorrow the World?

 

“See you in Jerusalem . . . tomorrow,” was a greeting by Zionists expressing their desire to see Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

 

            Now that they have all but achieved that ambition – hiding behind the swagger of Donald Trump, and the influence of his Israeli son-in-law Jared Kushner – what is next?

 

             When I worked in Saudi Arabia, even the moderate Western educated young graduates I mentored said that the Israelis would never be satisfied until they controlled the whole of the Middle East – and its oil. At the time I thought that was extreme. But now with Trump cancelling the nuclear treaty with Iran I have become a believer. 

 

In exactly the same way as the build up to the deposing of Saddam Hussein, they are setting up to depose the Ayatollahs. The lies and deception about Saddam’s WMD, and his “yellow cake” nuclear weapons program are being replicated by Netanyahu and Trump recycling old – and discredited – data about Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

 

           Saddam was the most credible threat to Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East – and so he was removed by Bush, with the shameful collaboration of Tony Bloody Liar. Now Iran – and specifically the Iran back Hezbollah – are the most credible threat to Israeli expansion and control. The last time Israel invaded South Lebanon they were soundly beaten back by Hezbollah – and Israel lost control of South Lebanon.

 

 What baffles me is that the US, and other Western governments, never mention Israel’s stockpile of 400 nuclear weapons, or its refusal to sign the Non-Proliferation Agreement. Does anybody doubt that Israel would start hurling these weapons at anybody and everybody if they were losing their battle?

 

While Israel has nuclear weapons I think it is permissible for Iran (or Saudi Arabia) to also have them. The situation is the same as Pakistan and India developing them to neutralize each other. It’s called a balance of power. 400 to nil is not a balance of power.

 

 Israel, backed by Trump, claiming Jerusalem as its capital to the exclusion of Christians and Muslims, is yet another act of aggression and destabilization. Israel has no interest in a stable situation. Only instability can be exploited under the guise of national security.

 

 It seems to me that successive Israeli governments (with the honorable exception of Iitzak Rabin) are intent on obliterating the Palestinians. They have no intention of allowing a 2 State solution.

 

In my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, I have a character – Uncle Tom – who is murdered because of his support for a Christian home for orphaned Palestinian children. Like all my stories this is a fictionalization of a true story that concerns a Christian missionary/archaeology professor. He was murdered because it was rumoured he had found evidence that the Palestinians were in the Holy Land before the Jews.

 

 The inspiration for that story was from a brilliant book, ‘Palestinian Twilight’ by Edward Fox.

 

 You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its other fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

 

 www.amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

 

            http://www.feedaread.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And did those feet in ancient times . . .

So begins the William Morris’ poem JERUSALEM, an anthem and an elegy to an ideal city that should be aspired to by all mankind. Jerusalem has never been seen as the capital of an exclusively Jewish State – except by Zionists.

Jerusalem is central to all the monotheistic religions – Judaeism, Christianity and Islam. It is the location of the Stations of the Cross – and the Dome of the Rock – in addition to the Wailing Wall. It needs to be under international control.

Trump’s support for Israel’s grab, and American pandering to the Jewish lobby, shows that the USA is entirely unsuitable as lead negotiators in Middle East Peace Process: a process that is an empty shell.

The UN needs to take control – and the UN headquarters needs to be removed from New York and re-located to the League of Nations site in Geneva. And if America threatens, as the biggest donor, to remove its funding, I am sure China and Russia will pick up the slack. The tectonic plates of geo-political economic power are shifting.

My young friends in the Arabian Gulf (graduates I mentored) always told me that the Israelis were not to be trusted. According to them the Israelis want to own the whole of the Middle East. I was sceptical. But if you look at Palestine it’s a sobering lesson. Israel now occupies 75% of the former Palestine, and controls 30% of the West Bank that is supposed to be reserved as the future Palestine – and they continue to build illegal settlements there, and in supposedly Palestinian controlled East Jerusalem.

There will never be peace in the Middle East until Israel is reined in – and the USA is unwilling/incapable of doing that.

My book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, begins and ends with the plight of LAYLA, a young Palestinian woman converted to Christianity and trying to care for children who are always the innocent victims of conflicts caused by the greed and arrogance of zealots. And the protaganists in my short story collection, expats washed up in the Arabian/Persian Gulf, are veterans of politicians’ wars like Viet Nam, the battle for the BURAIMI Oasis, and the DHOFAR Campaign.

You can preview my book on Amazon’s Kindle Websites at:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my UK publisher:

www.feedaread.com

It’s not all about oil anymore

The tagline to my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, set in the context of the recent past of the Persian/Arabian Gulf, states:

It’s all about oil . . . “

and I still believe that holds true for most of the 20th Century  Iran – and it was certainly true from 1936 when the Americans discovered vast reserves of cheap crude oil in Saudi Arabia.

But the Americans, having discovered vast reserves of shale oil and gas at home, are no longer dependent on Middle East crude oil. They have shifted their geo-political focus onto the Far East. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and the Syrian civil war are disappearing from the headlines. And what about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that drove most of the 20th Century chaos in the Middle East?

Flying under the rader, the Israelis have taken possession of more than 70 % of the former Palestine. Of the remaining 30% (the West Bank, supposedly set aside for the Palestinian State) the Israelis continue to build settlements in strategic locations, linked by settler only roads. Effectively they are now in control of the West Bank, and the two state solution is dead. How long will it be before they annex the West Bank – and then what next?

If you believe my Arab friends, the Israelis will never be satisfied until they control the whole of the Middle East. They will, under the pretext of national security, attempt to annex Jordan – the home of so many displaced Palestinians.

In the meantime I grieve for the characters I created to tell the turbulent story of the oil rich Middle East. The flotsam and jetsam that washed up in The Gulf for a variety of reasons. Archetypal expatriates. Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, driven to the fringes of Western society trying to survive.

Poor old Uncle Tom, diabetic and obese and impotent. Unable to give his wife Hettie the child she wanted so desperately. His foster son Ray, the brave SAS trooper whose fiancee cheated on him while he was away fighting in the Dhofar campaign – a hidden politicians war.

And the equally brave Dudley, a young cavalry lieutenant leading desert patrols in the Trucial States, fighting tribesmen in the Battle for Buraimi Oasis – a proxy war between Britain and the USA.

And Captain Bob who, when he lost his command of a supertanker, lost his command – and submitted to the ferocious attacks of the shrew of his social climbing Glaswegian wife.

And my narrator Mick, a journalist of the old school, grubbing around in all the darkest corners exposing corruption and hypocrisy regardless of the personal cost. It cost him the love of his life – Leila – the lovely young Palestinian woman from the refugee camps trying to pass as a Lebanese flight attendant because she just wanted a husband, and a normal life.

And it almost cost him the friendship of his life-long friend Pete Moore, a talented geologist and succesful businessman who was too high-minded and naïve to withstand the blandishments of Natalya, a 19 year old Kosovan whore, and the threats of her brutal Albanian pimps.

All of this is fading into history as international attention shifts to the Far East, and the maniac who is running North Korea. Here in Australia, even that story takes second and third place to the debate about gay marriage – and the citizenship requirements of senators. Both subjects rank somewhere between 0 and 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. How low can we go?

THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, deals with the effect that fabulous oil wealth brought to the region after the quadrupling of crude oil prices in 1972. You can preview my book on Amazon’s Kindle Websites at:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my UK publisher:

www.feedaread.com

Marie Antoinette’s cake

Maybe, finally, what I have been writing about for the last 30 years is beginning to enter the mainstream.

At a recent conference of the political elite in Sydney, Peter Varghese, the former Head of the Australian Foreign Affairs Department said:

“ . . . I wonder whether this is a gathering of the Ancien Regime and we are all eating cake at Marie Antoinette’s party. One day we might wake up to find the peasants are revolting.”

The only thing he got wrong is that the peasants have already revolted, hence Trump, Brexit and here in Australia Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party.

The political elite/progressives agendas are based on the ideas of the 1960s Permissive Society, outmoded ideas that have failed catastrophically to meet the needs of Western societies. Every indicator of civilized life is going backwards: divorce rates, drug abuse, violent crime, home ownership etc.

For the first time in many generations the present young adult generation will not have as good a life as their parents. This is all the consequence of laissez faire capitalism, and laissez faire neo-liberalism.

Maybe a sea-change is on the horizon? On TV the American series MADAME SECRETARY, and in books the successful Inspector Brunetti series of Donna Leon, are based on successful marriages and happy families – and not the usual divorced, recovering alcoholic, omniscient and frequently violent protagonist that is the noir norm these days.

The only disturbing factor for me is that MADAME SECRETARY still clings to the 19th Century attitudes of American exceptionalism and its divine right to re-create the world in its image, ignoring the realities of its own violent, drug crazed, money obsessed and fractured society.

Donna Leon, who is herself an American, but expatriated to Venice for many years, has a much more realistic view of the world as it is, and not as we wish it to be:

“ . . . how to persuade the Romanians to stop picking pockets, the Gypsies to stop sending their children to break into homes . . . in Venice. And on the mainland . . . asking the Moldovians to stop selling 13 year-olds and the Albanians to stop selling drugs . . and the possibility of persuading Italian men to stop wanting young prostitutes and cheap drugs.”

And, in the same vein as Donna Leon, I try to present the Middle East (or more precisely the oil-rich Arabian/Persian Gulf region) as it really is, and not as The West wish it to be.

In my first book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, I dealt with the effect that fabulous oil wealth brought to the region after the quadrupling of crude oil prices in 1972. In the book I am writing now, GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows”, I am dealing with the ongoing effects of that wealth which lead to the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You can preview my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, on Amazon’s Kindle Websites at:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my UK publisher:

www.feedaread.com