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.