The Adventures of Michael Enright


I wonder what was going through the mind of this young Afghani boy as he was asked, no doubt, to pose with Michael Enright for this photo.  As it turns out he has every reason to be apprehensive after what happened to a New York cab driver at the hands of Enright’s rage. In reality, the photo above is just another trophy picture, like the others we’ve covered here on the pages of Miscellany101 of “conquerors” posing with their conquered, the dispossessed.

It’s also noteworthy that Enright had to go to a land thousands of miles from his own to nurture his racism, accompanied by an invading army from his country, which has been known for inflicting massive casualties on the civilian population of Afghanistan. Along with his assault on an unsuspecting cab driver, Enright no doubt struck terror in the minds of the little boy pictured above. Yet we are led to believe the threat of Islam on God fearing western populations is at hand?  Go figure.

Another Myth Exploded


I believe(d) in the greatness of America and its people, but that belief has been shaken somewhat with the surge of racism and Islamophobia sweeping the country. Frankly, it has caused more than a little doubt in me, especially when viewed in the context of it’s been going on for sometime and we still don’t seem to get it, or get it right.

Browsing through my list of blogs, I ran across this post which has me thinking about this idea of American exceptionalism and I agree with what the writer wrote.  Here are some excerpts (please support citizenship media; it’s a far cry better than corporate media)

the greatness of the American people is not only a myth but an extremely destructive one.

The myth is most notably promoted by your so-called leaders, who by its use demonstrate quite clearly that they know more about you than you know about them. In particular, they know that flattery will get them everywhere, because you are far too ignorant, far too arrogant, too inward-looking, too self-absorbed, too addicted to your daily fiction, to ever vote for anyone so bold as to tell you the truth about yourself, your country and its role in the world, or the body politic itself — of which you are a vanishingly insignificant member.

Instead they talk about how proud they are to be American, and how proud you are to be American, and how they know the great people of this great nation will support them in their great campaign to become the next great president, senator, congressman, governor, attorney general, dog-catcher, or whatever. God Bless America, this great and wonderful country. Or something.

The myth of the greatness of the American people is — to use Lincoln’s famous words — altogether fitting and proper under the circumstances, which is to say it is necessary to the American political landscape for several interconnected reasons. In addition to the most transparent of flattery, the myth provides invaluable support for American exceptionalism, the mass-murderous fiction according to which the United States is never obliged to acknowledge — or apologize for — or rectify — the damage it does to the rest of the world, where it slaughters innocent people by the millions and poisons square miles of landscape by the hundreds of thousands, all in the name of spreading democracy, or stability, or prosperity, or security, or whatever they think you’ll believe next year.

the myth also obscures the reality of American prosperity: that it is not solely or even primarily the product of American ingenuity and the inherent greatness of the American people, but of brute force, brutally applied. The story of American wealth begins with a continent rich in natural resources, devoid of natural enemies and protected from the rest of the world by two oceans, conquered through genocide and developed by slavery, fed by the most rapid destruction of resources mankind has ever seen, and growing by hammering the rest of the world, murdering innocent people and stealing the resources to which the victims and their progeny should have been entitled. For this you congratulate yourselves, and your politicians congratulate you, as righteous Christians whose worldly wealth signifies your holiness. Or something.

But no, your so-called leaders will never tell you any of this, and neither will your so-called news media. And even though the plain and horrible truth is available — and always has been — in your local library, and — relatively recently — on the best (read: least-popular) internet sites, you mostly choose to avoid it. And this avoidance is altogether fitting and proper as well, since your continuing denial allows you to go on about your life in “peace” and “quiet”, secure in the “knowledge” that regardless of whatever trouble awaits you and your country, your inherent greatness — and that of your friends and neighbors — will certainly come to the rescue, if only it can be awakened. Or something.

The one saving grace for my sanity, the item that keeps me from jumping off the nearest bridge is the “system” does work, that people can and do overcome by way of using the tools this system provides,yet at great cost to themselves to their lives and the lives of their loved ones and an even greater cost to the American body politic.  That people do prevail, I assert, is due as much to the human spirit as to the political system.

There are groups of Americans today who are far better off than they were 200 years ago; granted those who were at the top of the social hierarchy then still are predominant today and they still seek to maintain that standing over everyone else, but there’s hope that with struggle a balance can be achieved.  Or maybe not….

Hat tip

The Ramadan Chronicles



An explanation of “jihad” that you might not see or hear from corporate media.

Good hair, bad hair


I recently saw Chris Rock’s excellent documentary, ‘Good Hair’, and didn’t know how much women (he specifically focused on women in his piece) spent on getting their hair done!  Nor was I aware at the depths people go to get good hair, those who want it on their own heads and those who purchase it to sell to others. The exploitative side of a good ‘do can reach the point where it  rates up there with an international crime on the magnitude of human trafficking. I strongly recommend getting a copy of the movie and watching it.

I came away with a greater appreciation for the ‘hijab’ for Muslim women after watching this movie because of two very striking comments made in it.  One was my Maya Angelou who said, ‘hair is a woman’s glory’ and Rock’s statement at the end of the film, ‘it’s not what you put on your head it’s what you put in your head that counts’ that seem to make the point that is made by women who wear, out of a sense of conviction, the head scarf.

Modesty is not just in appearance but in how you shape that appearance is an essential element of the “good hair” debate as well.  Take the photo above.  I found it on a forum where someone was asking for a barber who could cut his hair like the picture and he went on to say, ‘Price does not matter just want a good haircut’ which could almost mean anything! Rock et. co explored the debate how can people “afford” to do so much to/with their hair in this time of economic uncertainty and the implied answers are as stark as the given ones.  It’s scary what we are willing to do to get ‘good hair’.

Political Zionism’s attempts at marginalizing American Muslims


Eight American Muslim imams went to Poland and Germany to witness first hand the historical places of the Holocaust in a trip co-sponsored by a German think tank and the Center for Interreligious Understanding, a New Jersey-based interfaith dialogue group. The imams issued a statement afterward that stated in part

We bear witness to the absolute horror and tragedy of the Holocaust where over twelve million human souls perished, including six million Jews.

We condemn any attempts to deny this historical reality and declare such denials or any justification of this tragedy as against the Islamic code of ethics.

We condemn anti-Semitism in any form. No creation of Almighty God should face discrimination based on his or her faith or religious conviction.

We stand united as Muslim American faith and community leaders and recognize that we have a shared responsibility to continue to work together with leaders of all faiths and their communities to fight the dehumanization of all peoples based on their religion, race or ethnicity. With the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hatred, rhetoric and bigotry, now more than ever, people of faith must stand together for truth.

Together, we pledge to make real the commitment of “never again” and to stand united against injustice wherever it may be found in the world today.

Under the circumstances one would think the trip was successful in bridging gaps that have existed between the two faith communities as well as contribute towards decelerating the tensions between American Muslims and the rest of America surrounding the Park51 mosque.  It’s noteworthy the trip was covered by the Jewish outlet The Forward, but it has gone pretty much unnoticed by main stream media so America does not have the benefit of knowing of the outreach going on between the two parties and the rather optimistic outcome.  Too bad for America, which is in the throes of a new brand of anti-semitism.

What’s even worse is much of that Islamophobia is led by Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, who has come out and said the Park51 mosque should relocate

To many Americans, the decision of Abe Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, to oppose the so-called “ground zero mosque” seemed out of character. After all, Foxman is often treated by the media as an arbiter of tolerance; that he would come out in favor of Islamophobia was jarring.

The ADL’s private domestic spying operation had been going on since its inception, but after Foxman took over it engaged in operations like spying on anti-apartheid activists and other non-extremist groups. Foxman and the ADL became worried as much about direct domestic persecution of Jews as they were about opposition to Israel, and began to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Certainly, anti-Zionism can bleed into anti-Semitism, but Foxman has taken this to a cartoonish degree, demanding apologies from Americans for expressing views on Palestine that would be well within the mainstream in the context of Israeli domestic politics.

Foxman’s conservatism is clear in his selective outrage. He refused to condemn anti-Semitic statements by Sun Myung Moon’s Bush administration-allied Unification church, declined to protest Fox News’ frequent use of Nazi imagery for the purposes of political vilification — and, of course, in contrast to his opposition to an anti-Mormon film, he’s happily gotten on board with the anti-Islamic sentiment that even he acknowledges is key to opponents of the Park51 project near ground zero.

and who was against the aforementioned trip to Europe, so much so that he lobbied the US’ representative not to go on the trip.

Organizers of the trip say they were dismayed that the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman lobbied U.S. officials against participating. They also say the Investigative Project’s Steve Emerson, author of “American Jihad,” lobbied against the trip, arguing that one of the imams planning to participate had made Holocaust denial statements a decade ago.

The reason given by the ADL/Foxman was they didn’t want an American official to be a part of the trip…read that he didn’t want the government or any official thereof to recognize the efforts of Muslims at bridging gaps with other faith based communities. If it were out of a real concern for the inappropriateness of US government representation, it would have stopped with the US government, but Foxman made a play to a Polish rabbi to ask him not to meet with the 8 imams

…Foxman called both Rosenthal and the White House to object. When it went forward anyway, he went beyond objecting to the participation of the U.S. officials and called a Polish rabbi who had a scheduled meeting with the imams and asked the rabbi not to see the group

So it is a lie that Foxman acted out of a concern for the US government’s representative appearing with the group; his objection was for anyone to meet with them, in other words for there to not be any dialogue at all between anyone and the 8 American Muslim imams. By isolating them no one would know, as is the case with most of the American public, the principled stand they would take in the matter of the Holocaust, and by extension any other contemporary issue.  The reason is clear, by isolating them Foxman is able to distort or misrepresent their views and continue the atmosphere of hostility between them and the western world.  This helps political zionism in its fight with the Palestinians who Israel has managed to lump with a Muslim world view which is portrayed as hostile to the state.  If a wide cross section of American Muslim religious leaders can come to a consensus on such a hot button issue intrinsically connected to the existence of Israel as the Holocaust, what else might they be able to agree on that’s important to the existence of Israel and thus influence Muslim opinion in other places of the world?  For a country that thrives on threats and lives to fight wars with its neighbors, fulfilling its purpose with wars and acts of aggression, peace/dialogue is a threat to its existence more than the strongest opponent.  That is the reason why Foxman opposed the trip in general because he knew the outcome would be what it was, that men of faith and principle would come to the conclusions that the 8 American Muslim imams did.  The one advantage Foxman has in his favor is the statement of the 8 imams will go largely unnoticed by media and the general public and his goal of isolating legitimate Muslim voices from the American discourse will have been accomplished.  For that Foxman no doubt will get more than his share of attaboys.

Germany AND Ron Paul get it


While America burns with its religious animosity/racism against Muslims, Germany gives another, more tolerant view of how religious minorities should be treated.  Funny that…..after its past, but Germany,it’s politicians and social institutions are showing far more tolerance and leading by example far better than America is right now.  How?

A German television station is broadcasting the start and end times of the daily fast during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. The broadcaster says it wants to promote integration and sensitize non-Muslim viewers to the issue. It does the same kind of thing for its other religious communities as well, however, so for the Islamophobes who might claim German television has gone over to the Sharia side, German TV could respond it’s religiously  inclusive.

Germany’s political parties, read that plural folks, are breaking the fast with Germany’s Muslims as a sign of our respect for all Muslims who live in the country.  They consider such action as embracing the multi-ethnic nature of the country’s population, and as normal as celebrating Christmas or any other religious holiday and not as a “concession” to Muslims.  What’s different about the German approach is this cultural acknowledgment cuts across political parties, and is not just something the party in power does.  Each American president has done the same thing, but his political rivals at the time did not and that is the difference.

Finally, Republican Ron Paul of Texas put the political nail on the coffin of the 51 Park Street mosque with this clear, definitive statement (red emphasis mine)

“Is the controversy over building a mosque near ground zero a grand distraction or a grand opportunity? Or is it, once again, grandiose demagoguery?

“It has been said, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Are we not overly preoccupied with this controversy, now being used in various ways by grandstanding politicians? It looks to me like the politicians are “fiddling while the economy burns.”

“The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.

“Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be “sensitive” requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from “ground zero.”

Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?

“In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.

“They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers from in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.

“The claim is that we are in the Middle East to protect our liberties is misleading. To continue this charade, millions of Muslims are indicted and we are obligated to rescue them from their religious and political leaders. And, we’re supposed to believe that abusing our liberties here at home and pursuing unconstitutional wars overseas will solve our problems.

“The nineteen suicide bombers didn’t come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. Fifteen came from our ally Saudi Arabia, a country that harbors strong American resentment, yet we invade and occupy Iraq where no al Qaeda existed prior to 9/11.

“Many fellow conservatives say they understand the property rights and 1st Amendment issues and don’t want a legal ban on building the mosque. They just want everybody to be “sensitive” and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction.

“This sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue, and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11. If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible.

“There is no doubt that a small portion of radical, angry Islamists do want to kill us but the question remains, what exactly motivates this hatred?

“If Islam is further discredited by making the building of the mosque the issue, then the false justification for our wars in the Middle East will continue to be acceptable.

“The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play soccer.

“Conservatives are once again, unfortunately, failing to defend private property rights, a policy we claim to cherish. In addition conservatives missed a chance to challenge the hypocrisy of the left which now claims they defend property rights of Muslims, yet rarely if ever, the property rights of American private businesses.

“Defending the controversial use of property should be no more difficult than defending the 1st Amendment principle of defending controversial speech. But many conservatives and liberals do not want to diminish the hatred for Islam–the driving emotion that keeps us in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

“It is repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political demagogues, don’t want the mosque to be built. What would we do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be built in New York City? The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society—protecting liberty.

“The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservative’s aggressive wars.

“The House Speaker is now treading on a slippery slope by demanding a Congressional investigation to find out just who is funding the mosque—a bold rejection of property rights, 1st Amendment rights, and the Rule of Law—in order to look tough against Islam.

“This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

“We now have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no controversy and nobody is offended.

“Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.”

I’d say Paul has pretty much nailed it!

The Founding Fathers had it right


The myth of the Judea-Christian founding of America might be one of the reasons behind the demonstrations against masajid in certain areas of the country. The inherent racism of those behind these demonstrations is another; however this video done by a group of Muslims dismantles the supposition of the “Christianess” of America’s beginnings and in doing so shows America is really about ALL religions and that none of them holds any special place over any other.

Vodpod videos no longer available.