for 24 October 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Who's Buried in Joseph's Tomb?
Wow, I bet you're gonna get a lot of heated emails about your Monday Suck article. I used to live in the Middle East myself (9 years in Abu Dhabi) and know the myopic thought tendencies prevalent in the culture of that region quite well. It's a shame that little shards of truth are no match for the need of a sense of identity, even if they are eloquent shards.
I was wondering if you could forward a few of the more amusing responses that you receive to me for my personal amusement or perhaps post them at suck.com somewhere.
An enjoyable article!
Disappointingly, we got far more letters from bemused middle-of-the-roaders predicting a flood of hate mail than we did actual hate mail. Another sermon to the choir, perchance? Your idea of posting amusing responses somewhere on suck.com is heartily approved of by the powers-that-be here at suck, but we consider it exploitative and have been holding out. We fear we will not be able to keep up this resistance, however, and you may see this response in the daily Fish section...
Ladies and Gentlemen of Suck,
Call me hopelessly literal if you like, but while the article was kanna interesting, there is just one little question; down here on the tangible plane, how many 12 years old boys do the Israelis have to kill before your government stops giving them F16 fighters?
And exactly who do you think those fighters are designed to defend Israel against, Caleb? Ten year old boys?
I belong to that huge group of people who know exactly what Dan Rather wants us to know about this... and nothing more. And since the Iranian hostage crisis back in 79, I'd been hearing the same old catchphrases to describe everything that goes on in the region: "age-old religious hostility" "rage against the materialism of the West" "strife in a region filled with the symbols of three major world..." Sweet Jesus, it's enough to make you want to start throwing rocks at the next CNN camera crew you see! It's the kind of reporting that tells people nothing -- it certainly doesn't tell us anything about what (if anything, which a big if) we could do to help resolve this. It certainly doesn't tell me what my interests are, as an ordinary TV-watching, American mouth-breather.
We here consider the mantra of "age-old ethnic" anything to be a sure sign of propaganda: the insidiously bland kind that covers up and excuses the worst kinds of politically motivated violence under cover of race, um, that is, ethnicity, um, that is to say, you know, not-us-ness...
In "Who's Buried in Joseph's Tomb?" you say the Israel is "European-led" and that Arab states are "European-made". This is a touch bizarre. The biggest backer of the Israeli government is the United States, and indeed, at the end of the second world war, the United States was instrumental in creating the very state of Israel, and the shifting of borders of the pre-existing Arab-made Arab states.
Why blame it all on us?
While the US is Israel's main bastion of support (as well as a major backer of Jordan and Egypt) right now, they didn't call it the "British Mandate" for nothing and it wasn't Harry Truman who carved up the Ottoman Empire. Look at it this way: at least you're not Canadian.
The Jews who lived in Hebron (site of Abraham's Tomb, according to Jews and Muslims)in the 1920's didn't have bulletproof buildings, or dogs. As a result, the Arabs were free to massacre them, including the lopping off of limbs, and render Hebron Judenfrei until 1967. There are something like 50 times as many Mulsims as Jews in the world, one reason being the Mulsims' habit of pressuring those they conquered to convert through discrimination and violence, and cleansing those who didn't. You can see what's happened to the Christians of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and indeed the West Bank, if the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries following the founding of Israel doesn't impress you. Unfortunately, Arabs, and even Muslims generally, have been dubbed a "Third World" people in the minds of most of the left, which means they can do little wrong.
Christians in Arab countries, like Arabs in the Jewish state, are often second-class citizens. The difference is that the Christian Arabs in places like Lebanon are a hell of a lot richer. If there's one thing the Israeli-Arab conflict proves it's that everyone has a right to a persecution complex, regardless of their numbers (Arab) or military and economic strength (Israel). Hey, Kleybold and Harris were persecuted too, and that's what gave them the moral high ground at Littleton and how lovely that turned out to be.
"The place Ariel Sharon quite deliberately and provocatively entered was forbidden to Jews by the greatest figure in Jewish law after Moses, the medieval scholar Maimonides (who, it is good to recall, was a native speaker of Arabic)."
He goes to the courtyard every year to pray, just as Jews did in the past. The temple area forbidden from all except the Kohen Gadole, "High Priest", only one time per year, is where the Muslims have placed their temple. Sharon did not enter this area.
Couple of interesting facts about Israel:
1) Wherever Muslims could cover a Jewish holy site, they've done.
2) When others held Israel, Jews were forbidden to worship in public or have Temples to pray.
3) Jewish people, in general, are peaceloving people who deserve a homeland. Throughout the world, unlike all other cultures, throughout history, they have been persecuted.
The courtyard area was for all Jews.
Please post a reprint.
Gary S. Miliefsky
"Reality?" Gary, this is the only letter we've gotten from a religious Jewish perspective, and it's downright embarrassing. While the discussion of the temple mount is complex, the basic opinions voiced by Rambam (Yad Hazakah, Beit haBehirah 6:14-16) as well as Rashi, Rav Kook, Yisrael Lau and Ovadiah Yosef (respectively the most important legal authority, biblical and talmudic interpreter, first Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, and current Chief Ashkenazic and Sephardic Rabbis of the State of Israel) should at least merit your consideration. Regardless of whether you want to join the fervent minority who disagrees with them , these figures deserve respect and can't be simply blown off and replaced with a fantasized "reality" made up of sheer national-religious desire. Even S. Goren, chief Army rabbi in 1967, who wanted to blow up the Dome of the Rock, realized that Jews would have to purify themselves to enter the precinct.
While most Jews are indeed peace-loving, we hold as sacred scripture a text (the Torah and books of Joshua and Judges) that quite clearly describes divinely mandated genocide (that's not ice cream we're serving Amalek: it's complete extermination). It also describes an enduring morality and a distinctive form of closeness and obedience to God, but whitewashing the tradition is about as honest and useful at this point as saying that Jihad is really about self-improvement and a strict regimen of cardiovascular exercise.
They Make Your Feet Feel Fine
Don't stop writing this stuff it's the best!
33 and trying to figure why I give a shit now when I never did before I guess I'm not the only one?
You care now because you're a grownup, Valerie, ready to take on the responsibilities befitting a citizen of the nation and a resident of your local community. Godspeed in your journey through life! Rock the Vote!
MacLuhan? Mac-Luhan? M-a-c-L-u-h-a-n?
Man, that's embarrassing...
Read Mercer Schuchardt
Oh dear sweet jesus. Yeah, just a little, huh?
At least he's a really obscure figure, and no one will know the difference.
Running the hose from the exhaust to the driver's-side window,
Hit & Run 10.12.00
re: 10/13's blather:
"After the umpteenth report on those mass graves in Kosovo (damnably hard to find, it turns out a year and half after we stopped bombing the Serbs)"
I quite from a foreign aid worker in Prishtina:
"The house is located near my office on Dragodan Hill, the ìposhî section that overlooks downtown. One hundred and eighty-seven bodies were exhumed from Dragodon Hill. As is standard practice, the diggers and pathologists removed the clothing and other personal effects, cleaned them and then displayed them for identification at what is referred to as a ìclothing show.î . . . I asked a young Swedish lawyer whether he had attended an exhumation. He said no and that he never would. He knows people who have done so and come away terribly changed. The Swedish lawyer doubts they will ever recover. An American lawyer in my office was at the morgue when the 187 body bags from Dragodan Hill arrived. He said it was a very rough moment. Heís the son of a physician and a pretty stoical guy. Baby booties in the clothing show are what got to him."
Would you say 187 bodies counts as a mass grave?
Incidentally, the bombing of Serbia was a significant factor in the fall of Milosovich as well as the Serbian military withdrawal from Kosovo, so I would hardly say that US intervention in Kosovo helped "contribute to the problem at hand."
At least the hack had the sense to hide behind the "sucksters" badge.
That certainly doesn't sound like the situation that was described to us before and during the bombing campaign, when thousands of Kosovars were being crated off, Final Solution-style, to their deaths. And it doesn't sound like the 600 or so people who were killed by the US Air Force (which didn't even bury the bodies). This anecdote, and the other body identifications that have been made since the Serbs pulled out, have all tended to support the conclusion that there was a civil war being waged between one side that believed, wrongly, that it was in immediate danger of losing a large part of its country, and another side that believed (also wrongly, but understandably, given that the United States was offering to act as its air force) that it was about to get its independence, or even a jerrymandered affiliation with Albania. Maybe you believe it was correct for the US to intervene in that civil war; if so, we should have done so with an accurate assessment of the situation, not inflated rhetoric and numbers about a campaign of genocide that never was.
As for whether we have helped with the problem, that depends on what the problem was. If the idea was to reduce the number of people killed, obviously not. If the idea was to find a lasting solution to the Kosovo situation, even less so: Kostunica has reaffirmed Serbia's opposition to an independent Kosovo, and that position is still - despite Al Gore's notorious "Serbia-plus-Montenegro" formulation more or less the US position. It's hard to know exactly what the US position is, since State Department announcements on the topic tend to speak about "Rebuilding peace" rather than taking any coherent stand on the status of Kosovo as a political entity; but that Kosovo remained part of Yugoslavia was the American position before and during the period that we were bombing bridges, lateshift employees at a television station, and the occasional Chinese embassy. In the absence of any other clues, that seems to remain the US position now. So, if a couple years from now we end up providing air cover to the Serbs in their fight against a new Kosovo separatist movement, don't blame the Sucksters. In any event, the situation on the ground now is that Kosovo is a chaotic region where native Serbs are getting abused and British marines have to provide the police services that the Kosovars are apparently unable to provide for themselves.
As for the bombing's leading directly to the fall of Milosevic, our understanding was that Milosevic fell because he lost an election and was deserted by the Church and security groundlings who could have propped up his corrupt regime. To credit our bombing campaign with removing him, rather than giving proper credit to the people on the street, is to show exactly the kind of deluded conviction of rightness that folks around the world term "American arrogance." But just for the sake of argument we'll pretend that the bombing did lead directly to Milosevic's fall, because this points to an area where we truly do disagree: You seem to think the United State should be in the business of killing people to influence elections in foreign lands. This is not the opinion of the Sucksters, or at least not of the hack who in this case hid behind the "Sucksters" badge.