Tag Archives: Middle East

Bowing to the State

Don't get in the way of Mr. Kristol's wars you tart!

The right wing press has taken to the fainting couch today ( mostly the neo-con ‘we’re gonna kill them all’ corner – or rather, the ‘we’ll be sending someone else’s sons and daughters to kill them all’ corner) over CNN’s Senior Editor of Mideast Affairs Octavia Nasr. Upon the death of a Lebanese Grand Ayatollah, she dared to tweet that he was a loss. She said she had respect for him.

Legions of heroes immediately began clamoring for her head. She then tweeted a follow up:

“I’m sorry because it [the tweet] conveyed that I supported Fadlallah’s life’s work. That’s not the case at all . . .  

Here’s what I should have conveyed more fully:

I used the words “respect” and “sad” because to me as a Middle Eastern woman, Fadlallah took a contrarian and pioneering stand among Shia clerics on woman’s rights. He called for the abolition of the tribal system of “honor killing.” He called the practice primitive and non-productive. He warned Muslim men that abuse of women was against Islam. […]

Sayyed Fadlallah. Revered across borders yet designated a terrorist. Not the kind of life to be commenting about in a brief tweet. It’s something I deeply regret.”

CNN fired her. Cowards.

Think Progress adds:

“The punchline here is that Sayyed Fadlallah was the religious guide, or marja’ al-taqlid, to numerous members of Iraq’s ruling Da’wa Party, including Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. This means that they looked to Fadlallah as a source of religious authority on matters relating to correct Islamic life and practice, and committed to following his edicts on those matters. So here’s the neocon logic: When a reporter acknowledges the passing of a revered, if controversial figure in a way that doesn’t sufficiently convey what a completely evil terrorist neocons think that figure was — that’s unacceptable. But when the United States spends nearly a trillion dollars, loses over 4,000 of its own troops and over 100,000 Iraqis to establish a new government largely dominated by that same “terrorist’s” avowed acolytes — that’s victory.”

Yeah, they’ll do that. Sure they will.

After 9/11, I found my way to Juan Cole’s site, Informed Comment.  He is one of our foremost experts on the Middle East. An Arabic speaker, he’s spent half his life in that part of the world. So while wars were blooming around us in the early naughts, Cole became an important source – for me anyway – in trying to figure out whatever was going on.

And just now, planning to link to him, looking around his site, I find there is no bio. He’s a very geeky academic type (if you’ve ever seen him on TV, you know this already), so that’s surprising.  His numerous awards and affiliations however are mostly there.  You can go look and marvel.

Today, he muses about Haiti and contemplates the Wall Street bonuses, and suggests these dudes tithe their bonuses to the relief effort. Heh. This particular line struck me:

” . . . the bonuses of the six biggest banks are now estimated to come in at $150 billion. Ten percent of that would be two years worth of Haiti’s gdp.”

He’s written an entire column on the subject at NPR.