I Was Thinking of Jasmine and the Philosopher’s Stone


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It’s been a hot, damp summer. The sort of summer that chokes ambition and oppresses all hope of leisure with the heavy hand of humidity, leaving a residue of must suffocating every organic prop of comfort within the ecosystem we call home. In such a climate neither woven basket nor wooden table is immune from the onslaught of spore infused dampness that pours itself upon surfaces like a mold of mold, encasing each victim in a shroud of powdery decay which, if left to linger, will claim victory under the banner of rot by way of surrender.

Summers like these inevitably bring nature’s warfare upon us. One succumbs to the dark forces of decadence or rises to crush the threat, armed with lemons and oils of a hundred flowers to vanquish the uninvited organisms. ‘I see your mildew and I’ll match it with citrus and vinegar rinse’ – perhaps up the ante with a scattering of lavender to keep the rogues at bay. It is a natural war with organic weaponry of microbes and anti-microbes, easily overcome, if only day by day. Taking up bough and yarrow, a counter-assault of botanical weapons is launched. The invading hosts are driven back and your kingdom is preserved. You celebrate the sweeping victory with a limoncello on the rocks.

The day’s inferno melts away. The time for action has passed and the hour of contemplation arrives. The sun sets. The air cools. Able to inhale with natural ease, you find the night’s breath light, perfumed with the unmistakable scent of jasmine; God’s gift to those who seek sanctuary from the hostilities of the day in the cool stillness of nightfall. In the retreat of contemplation is found both strength and reward. In the theology of creation is found the antidote and the cure, the prayer and the reply. In God is found the panacea. With the quiet aftermath of summer daylight begun, the jasmine opens her white blossoms and intoxicates the darkness with a sweet, subtle infusion revealing God’s presence. So divine is her flower that the perfume is strongest when the blossom is yet a fragile bud; an unlit incense of innocence gently permeating the foothills of heaven.
I was thinking of the summer heat while contemplating the summer night. I was thinking of jasmine and I was thinking her perfume is the chemistry of spiritual reflection inspired by natural law. I was thinking of jasmine and the philosopher’s stone.

It’s been a hot, damp summer. The sort of summer that chokes, oppresses, and suffocates the clarity of the mind, leaving a residue of bitter words and toxic lies not even moonshine could wash away. Summers like these inevitably bring partisan warfare upon us. With vile pretensions of omniscience masked as charitable service, they seek to steal our loyalty through betrayal. These are the onslaughts of unnatural conflict, inorganic poisons and powdery mildew that invade not our surfaces, but the depths of our thoughts. It is the alchemy of politics; a strange blend of magic tricks and political science that searches for the philosopher’s stone in the apothecaries of charlatans that measure without scruples, instead dispensing their drugs in weights of flesh. They work in the shadows, these circus lords and potion makers. They are master alchemists, able to turn the corrosive base metals of those who’ve sold their souls into words of gold. By slight of hand and a split tongue they trick by division; offering a captive population optional illusions. They offer us promises of prosperity and peace, security and health. They market the deception as a choice between the head and the tail as if there were no shared corpus between them. We surrender to the seduction, succumbing to the dark forces of decadence thinking we must choose the lesser of two evils. If only we’d realize; no matter how you toss it, it’s still the same coin. It isn’t gold. It’s just base lead weighing us down.

I was thinking of the inferno while contemplating the breeze. I was thinking of jasmine and the philosopher’s stone. I was thinking; so I refused the coin, closed the door, and kept the rogues at bay.

‘As the Arabs See the Jews’ by King Abdullah (November, 1947)

A letter written 65 years ago by King Abdullah is as current today as it was in 1947. __________________________________________________________________________________________

I am especially delighted to address an American audience, for the tragic problem of Palestine will never be solved without American understanding, American sympathy, American support.

So many billions of words have been written about Palestine perhaps more than on any other subject in history that I hesitate to add to them. Yet I am compelled to do so, for I am reluctantly convinced that the world in general, and America in particular, knows almost nothing of the true case for the Arabs. We Arabs follow, perhaps far more than you think, the press of America. We are frankly disturbed to find that for every word printed on the Arab side, a thousand are printed on the Zionist side.

There are many reasons for this. You have many millions of Jewish citizens interested in this question. They are highly vocal and wise in the ways of publicity. There are few Arab citizens in America, and we are as yet unskilled in the technique of modern propaganda.

The Jews were wandering nomads from Iraq who moved to southern Turkey, came south to Palestine, stayed there a short time, and then passed to Egypt, where they remained about 400 years. …It is significant that the Philistineans not the Jews gave their name to the country

The results have been alarming for us. In your press we see a horrible caricature and are told it is our true portrait. In all justice, we cannot let this pass by default.

Our case is quite simple: For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been almost 100 per cent Arab. It is still preponderantly Arab today, in spite of enormous Jewish immigration. But if this immigration continues we shall soon be outnumbered — minority in our home.

Palestine is a small and very poor country, about the size of your state of Vermont. Its Arab population is only about 1,200,000. Already we have had forced on us, against our will, some 600,000 Zionist Jews. We are threatened with many hundreds of thousands more.

Our position is so simple and natural that we are amazed it should even be questioned. It is exactly the same position you in America take in regard to the unhappy European Jews. You are sorry for them, but you do not want them in your country.

We do not want them in ours, either. Not because they are Jews, but because they are foreigners. We would not want hundreds of thousands of foreigners in our country, be they Englishmen or Norwegians or Brazilians or whatever. Think for a moment: In the last 25 years we have had one third of our entire population forced upon us. In America that would be the equivalent of 45,000,000 complete strangers admitted to your country, over your violent protest, since 1921. How would you have reacted to that?

Because of our perfectly natural dislike of being overwhelmed in our own homeland, we are called blind nationalists and heartless anti-Semites.

This charge would be ludicrous were it not so dangerous.

This was 1,815 years ago, and yet the Jews solemnly pretend they still own Palestine! If such fantasy were allowed, how the map of the world would dance about! Italians might claim England, which the Romans held so long. England might claim France, “homeland” of the conquering Normans. And the French Normans might claim Norway, where their ancestors originated. And incidentally, we Arabs might claim Spain, which we held for 700 years.

No people on earth have been less “anti-Semitic” than the Arabs. The persecution of the Jews has been confined almost entirely to the Christian nations of the West. Jews, themselves, will admit that never since the Great Dispersion did Jews develop so freely and reach such importance as in Spain when it was an Arab possession. With very minor exceptions, Jews have lived for many centuries in the Middle East, in complete peace and friendliness with their Arab neighbours. Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and other Arab centers have always contained large and prosperous Jewish colonies. Until the Zionist invasion of Palestine began, these Jews received the most generous treatment far, far better than in Christian Europe. Now, unhappily, for the first time in history, these Jews are beginning to feel the effects of Arab resistance to the Zionist assault. Most of them are as anxious as Arabs to stop it. Most of these Jews who have found happy homes among us resent, as we do, the coming of these strangers.

I was puzzled for a long time about the odd belief which apparently persists in America that Palestine has somehow “always been a Jewish land.” Recently an American I talked to cleared up this mystery. He pointed out that the only things most Americans know about Palestine are what they read in the Bible. It was a Jewish land in those days, they reason, and they assume it has always remained so.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is absurd to reach so far back into the mists of history to argue about who should have Palestine today, and I apologize for it. Yet the Jews do this, and I must reply to their “historic claim.” I wonder if the world has ever seen a stranger sight than a group of people seriously pretending to claim a land because their ancestors lived there some 2,000 years ago If you suggest that I am biased, I invite you to read any sound history of the period and verify the facts.

Such fragmentary records as we have indicate that the Jews were wandering nomads from Iraq who moved to southern Turkey, came south to Palestine, stayed there a short time, and then passed to Egypt, where they remained about 400 years. About 1300 BC (according to your calendar) they left Egypt and gradually conquered most but not all of the inhabitants of Palestine. It is significant that the Philistineans not the Jews gave their name to the country:

“Palestine” is merely the Greek form of “Philistia.” Only once, during the empire of David and Solomon, did the Jews ever control nearly but not all the land which is today Palestine. This empire lasted only 70 years, ending in 926 BC. Only 250 years later the Kingdom of Judah had shrunk to a small province around Jerusalem, barely a quarter of modern Palestine.

In 63 BC the Jews were conquered by Roman Pompey, and never again had even the vestige of independence. The Roman Emperor Hadrian finally wiped them out about 135 AD. He utterly destroyed Jerusalem, rebuilt under another name, and for hundreds of years no Jew was permitted to enter it. A handful of Jews remained in Palestine but the vast majority were killed or scattered to other countries, in the Diaspora, or the Great Dispersion. From that time Palestine ceased to be a Jewish country, in any conceivable sense.

This was 1,815 years ago, and yet the Jews solemnly pretend they still own Palestine!

If such fantasy were allowed, how the map of the world would dance about!

Italians might claim England, which the Romans held so long. England might claim France, “homeland” of the conquering Normans. And the French Normans might claim Norway, where their ancestors originated. And incidentally, we Arabs might claim Spain, which we held for 700 years.

Many Mexicans might claim Spain, “homeland” of their forefathers. They might even claim Texas, which was Mexican until 100 years ago. And suppose the American Indians claimed the “homeland” of which they were the sole, native, and ancient occupants until only some 450 years ago. I am not being facetious. All these claims are just as valid or just as fantastic as the Jewish “historic connection” with Palestine. Most are more valid.

“Palestine” is merely the Greek form of “Philistia.” Only once, during the empire of David and Solomon, did the Jews ever control nearly but not all the land which is today Palestine. This empire lasted only 70 years, ending in 926 BC.

In any event, the great Muslim expansion about 650 CE finally settled things. It dominated Palestine completely. From that day on, Palestine was solidly Arabic in population, language, and religion. When British armies entered the country during the last war, they found 500,000 Arabs and only 65,000 Jews. If solid, uninterrupted Arab occupation for nearly 1,300 years does not make a country “Arab”, what does?

The Jews say, and rightly, that Palestine is the home of their religion. It is likewise the birthplace of Christianity, but would any Christian nation claim it on that account? In passing, let me say that the Christian Arabs — and there are many hundreds of thousands of them in the Arab World — are in absolute agreement with all other Arabs in opposing the Zionist invasion of Palestine. May I also point out that Jerusalem is, after Makkah and Madina, the holiest place in Islam. In fact, in the early days of our religion, Muslims prayed toward Jerusalem instead of Makkah.

The Jewish “religious claim” to Palestine is as absurd as the “historic claim.” The Holy Places, sacred to three great religions, must be open to all, the monopoly of none. Let us not confuse religion and politics.

We are told that we are inhumane and heartless because we do not accept with open arms the perhaps 200,000 Jews in Europe who suffered so frightfully under Nazi cruelty, and who even now almost three years after the war ended still languish in cold, depressing camps.

Even the League of Nations sanction does not alter this. At the time, not a single Arab state was a member of the League. We were not allowed to say a word in our own defense.

Let me underline several facts. The unimaginable persecution of the Jews was not done by the Arabs: it was done by a Christian nation in the West. The war which ruined Europe and made it almost impossible for these Jews to rehabilitate themselves was fought by the Christian nations of the West. The rich and empty portions of the earth belong, not to the Arabs, but to the Christian nations of the West.

And yet, to ease their consciences, these Christian nations of the West are asking Palestine, a poor and tiny Muslim country of the East, to accept the entire burden.

“We have hurt these people terribly,” cries the West to the East. “Won’t you please take care of them for us?”

We find neither logic nor justice in this. Are we therefore “cruel and heartless nationalists”?

We are a generous people: we are proud that “Arab hospitality” is a phrase famous throughout the world. We are a humane people: no one was shocked more than we by the Hitlerite terror. No one pities the present plight of the desperate European Jews more than we.

But we say that Palestine has already sheltered 600,000 refugees. We believe that is enough to expect of us, even too much. We believe it is now the turn of the rest of the world to accept some of them.

Jews have lived for many centuries in the Middle East, in complete peace and friendliness with their Arab neighbours. Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and other Arab centers have always contained large and prosperous Jewish colonies…Most of these Jews who have found happy homes among us resent, as we do, the coming of these strangers [European Zionists].

I will be entirely frank with you. There is one thing the Arab world simply cannot understand. Of all the nations of the earth, America is most insistent that something be done for these suffering Jews of Europe. This feeling does credit to the humanity for which America is famous, and to that glorious inscription on your Statue of Liberty.

And yet this same America the richest, greatest, most powerful nation the world has ever known refuses to accept more than a token handful of these same Jews herself!

I hope you will not think I am being bitter about this. I have tried hard to understand that mysterious paradox, and I confess I cannot. Nor can any other Arab.

Perhaps you have been informed that “the Jews in Europe want to go to no other place except Palestine.”

This myth is one of the greatest propaganda triumphs of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the organization which promotes with fanatic zeal the emigration to Palestine. It is a subtle half-truth, thus doubly dangerous.

The astounding truth is that nobody on earth really knows where these unfortunate Jews really want to go!

You would think that in so grave a problem, the American, British, and other authorities responsible for the European Jews would have made a very careful survey, probably by vote, to find out where each Jew actually wants to go. Amazingly enough this has never been done! The Jewish Agency has prevented it.

Some time ago the American Military Governor in Germany was asked at a press conference how he was so certain that all Jews there wanted to go to Palestine. His answer was simple: “My Jewish advisors tell me so.” He admitted no poll had ever been made. Preparations were indeed begun for one, but the Jewish Agency stepped in to stop it.

The truth is that the Jews in German camps are now subjected to a Zionist pressure campaign which learned much from the Nazi terror. It is dangerous for a Jew to say that he would rather go to some other country, not Palestine. Such dissenters have been severely beaten, and worse.

Not long ago, in Palestine, nearly 1,000 Austrian Jews informed the international refugee organization that they would like to go back to Austria, and plans were made to repatriate them.

The Jewish Agency heard of this, and exerted enough political pressure to stop it. It would be bad propaganda for Zionism if Jews began leaving Palestine. The nearly 1,000 Austrian are still there, against their will. The fact is that most of the European Jews are Western in culture and outlook, entirely urban in experience and habits. They cannot really have their hearts set on becoming pioneers in the barren, arid, cramped land which is Palestine.

One thing, however, is undoubtedly true. As matters stand now, most refugee Jews in Europe would, indeed, vote for Palestine, simply because they know no other country will have them.

If you or I were given a choice between a near-prison camp for the rest of our lives or Palestine we would both choose Palestine, too. But open up any other alternative to them, give them any other choice, and see what happens!

I must point out, again in friendly frankness, that America was nearly as responsible as Britain for this Balfour Declaration. President Wilson approved it before it was issued, and the American Congress adopted it word for word in a joint resolution on 30th June, 1922.

No poll, however, will be worth anything unless the nations of the earth are willing to open their doors just a little to the Jews. In other words, if in such a poll a Jew says he wants to go to Sweden, Sweden must be willing to accept him. If he votes for America, you must let him come in.

Any other kind of poll would be a farce. For the desperate Jew, this is no idle testing of opinion: this is a grave matter of life or death. Unless he is absolutely sure that his vote means something, he will always vote for Palestine, so as not to risk his bird in the hand for one in the bush.

In any event, Palestine can accept no more. The 65,000 Jews in Palestine in 1918 have jumped to 600,000 today. We Arabs have increased, too, but not by immigration.

The Jews were then a mere 11 per cent of our population. Today they are one third of it. The rate of increase has been terrifying.

In a few more years unless stopped now it will overwhelm us, and we shall be an important minority in our own home.

Surely the rest of the wide world is rich enough and generous enough to find a place for 200,000 Jews about one third the number that tiny, poor Palestine has already sheltered. For the rest of the world, it is hardly a drop in the bucket. For us it means national suicide.

We are sometimes told that since the Jews came to Palestine, the Arab standard of living has improved. This is a most complicated question. But let us even assume, for the argument, that it is true. We would rather be a bit poorer, and masters of our own home. Is this unnatural?

The sorry story of the so-called “Balfour Declaration,” which started Zionist immigration into Palestine, is too complicated to repeat here in detail. It is grounded in broken promises to the Arabs, promises made in cold print which admit no denying.

We utterly deny its validity. We utterly deny the right of Great Britain to give away Arab land for a “national home” for an entirely foreign people.

Even the League of Nations sanction does not alter this. At the time, not a single Arab state was a member of the League. We were not allowed to say a word in our own defense.

It is American dollars which support the terrorists, which buy the bullets and pistols that kill British soldiers, your allies and Arab citizens, your friends. We in the Arab world were stunned to hear that you permit open advertisements in newspapers asking for money to finance these terrorists, to arm them openly and deliberately for murder. We could not believe this could really happen in the modern world. Now we must believe it: we have seen the advertisements with our own eyes.

I must point out, again in friendly frankness, that America was nearly as responsible as Britain for this Balfour Declaration. President Wilson approved it before it was issued, and the American Congress adopted it word for word in a joint resolution on 30th June, 1922.

In the 1920s, Arabs were annoyed and insulted by Zionist immigration, but not alarmed by it. It was steady, but fairly small, as even the Zionist founders thought it would remain. Indeed for some years, more Jews left Palestine than entered it in 1927, almost twice as many.

But two new factors, entirely unforeseen by Britain or the League or America or the most fervent Zionist, arose in the early thirties to raise the immigration to undreamed heights. One was the World Depression; the second the rise of Hitler.

In 1932, the year before Hitler came to power, only 9,500 Jews came to Palestine. We did not welcome them, but we were not afraid that, at that rate, our solid Arab majority would ever be in danger.

But the next year the year of Hitler it jumped to 30,000!

In 1934 it was 42,000! In 1935 it reached 61,000!

It was no longer the orderly arrival of idealist Zionists. Rather, all Europe was pouring its frightened Jews upon us. Then, at last, we, too, became frightened. We knew that unless this enormous influx stopped, we were, as Arabs, doomed in our Palestine homeland. And we have not changed our minds. I have the impression that many Americans believe the trouble in Palestine is very remote from them, that America had little to do with it, and that your only interest now is that of a humane bystander.

I believe that you do not realize how directly you are, as a nation, responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for the present terrorism. I call this to your attention because I am certain that if you realize your responsibility you will act fairly to admit it and assume it.

Quite aside from official American support for the “National Home” of the Balfour Declaration, the Zionist settlements in Palestine would have been almost impossible, on anything like the current scale, without American money.

This was contributed by American Jewry in an idealistic effort to help their fellows.

If solid, uninterrupted Arab occupation for nearly 1,300 years does not make a country “Arab”, what does?

The motive was worthy: the result were disastrous. The contributions were by private individuals, but they were almost entirely Americans, and, as a nation, only America can answer for it.

The present catastrophe may be laid almost entirely at your door. Your government, almost alone in the world, is insisting on the immediate admission of 100,000 more Jews into Palestine to be followed by countless additional ones. This will have the most frightful consequences in bloody chaos beyond anything ever hinted at in Palestine before.

It is your press and political leadership, almost alone in the world, who press this demand. It is almost entirely American money which hires or buys the “refugee ships” that steam illegally toward Palestine: American money which pays their crews. The illegal immigration from Europe is arranged by the Jewish Agency, supported almost entirely by American funds. It is American dollars which support the terrorists, which buy the bullets and pistols that kill British soldiers, your allies and Arab citizens, your friends.

We in the Arab world were stunned to hear that you permit open advertisements in newspapers asking for money to finance these terrorists, to arm them openly and deliberately for murder. We could not believe this could really happen in the modern world. Now we must believe it: we have seen the advertisements with our own eyes.

I point out these things because nothing less than complete frankness will be of use.

The crisis is too stark for mere polite vagueness which means nothing.

I have the most complete confidence in the fair-mindedness and generosity of the American public. We Arabs ask no favors. We ask only that you know the full truth, not half of it. We ask only that when you judge the Palestine question, you put yourselves in our place.

What would your answer be if some outside agency told you that you must accept in America many millions of utter strangers in your midst enough to dominate your country merely because they insisted on going to America, and because their forefathers had once lived there some 2,000 years ago? Our answer is the same.

And what would be your action if, in spite of your refusal, this outside agency began forcing them on you?

Ours will be the same.

African Blood Minerals Means More African Blood Spilled


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The following article was written in 2009 by Christopher Federici. It offers an insightful look at the coveted mineral tantalum oxide in the DR Congo. This mineral may be a possible cause for recently increased interference (under the guise of humanitarian interests) by countries (particularly the United States) in African regions rich in minerals and oil. The recent attention given to LRA leader Joseph Kony via the Invisible Children’s release of ‘Kony 2012’ may have other purposes than calling world attention to Kony’s destruction of thousands of African children’s lives. It may also explain the sudden “bizarre” behavior of Invisible Children’s co-founder Jason Russell, and his hospitalization for psychological evaluation.



Sliced Bread and Hasbaric Hypnosis

It happened over breakfast. A jubilant giddy post-war America had retired on a May evening in 1948 feeling pretty swell about the world and, justifiably, its knight in shining armor role. The war was over, the good life of domestic liberation was in the air, sliced bread was back, and women could turn their attention to bridge after popping a Duncan Hines cake mix into an electrifying easy oven. Television was in a million homes, the Levitts had rolled out the first ready-made suburban communities of sterile white, and Give’em hell Harry ruled the roost over first generation American consumerism. It was a baby boomer year of booming industrialized living. Planned and plotted into neat compartments, life was more convenient, more leisurely, and more securely packaged into low-risk phases designed as one-size-fits-all from birth to nest egg. All was grand in the grand scheme, it seemed. The American dream was still dreamy and Palestine was still Palestine. But while they were sleeping, dreams became inceptions and inceptions became reality. The world was about to convulse again and sleepy Levittown had no idea its pre-packaged lullabies were about to be revised into a fantastic fable. Post-war America served the usual breakfast; Nescafé with two lumps of sugar, poached eggs over toast, juice, the morning newspaper. Something new, as well. A side of lox that was to become as American as apple pie.

In 1948 America changed. It was changing subtly already, having endured a catastrophic depression sandwiched between two overseas wars of unimagined cruelty. The nation’s spirit was scarred, its people traumatized. It wasn’t that the young nation had a pristine past, rather it perceived it did and refused to allow the shattering events of the past 30 years to mar its resilient spirit or its sense of divine selection. An American public that was for the most part isolated from the world, brought up on legends of destiny, exceptionalism, and experimental liberty always spoken of as greatness, had a collective disconnect with the world. The world remained elsewhere and far away. It was encountered in text books and stories of the old countries retold by grandparents on lazy summer evenings. It was exotic in a curious way but it would never match the colossal grandness of America. A country whose people saw themselves as participants in an astoundingly great idea that surpassed all other ideas, Americans viewed everything through a prism of ‘how lucky we are to live in such a great country.’ Patriotism was feverish, infused into every aspect of life. Even first generation Americans were swept up in this exceptional spirit, rejecting language and customs of their immigrant parents in favor of homogenization, enlisting in record numbers to prove themselves worthy to be called Americans. It was an era of un-hyphenated Americanism and national pride was second only to the business of God-fearing protestantism. The combination of nationalism and religious identity was to be the fault line in the coming zionism of middle America and the historic amnesia that would supplant any cognizant identity of the American experience with a new identity of biblical role playing. This was the moment America lost her innocence. It happened over breakfast.

On May 14, 1948, rejecting sound advice and the collective wisdom of his cabinet in favor of Zionist whispers suggesting he was chosen to be a modern day Cyrus for a chosen people, President Truman signed the infamous document officially recognizing the nascent State of Israel violently thrust upon the people of Palestine. The ancient land that had a people was invaded by a people of other lands. On the heels of a holocaust, another was begun. May 15, 1948 marks the Palestinian Nakba and the beginning of a hasbaric hypnosis upon the American psyche that changed the course of US foreign policy and the public’s consciousness. A disastrous injustice, it has so deeply clouded Americans’ perception of the world and the US role within it the fiction proves to be a monumental task to unravel. The now deeply ingrained distortion of scriptural passages reinterpeted to fit a narrative of political theology is nothing short of heresy.

[Part One]

Mahmood Ahmadinejad’s letter to George W. Bush (8 May 2006)

Six years ago, Mahmood Ahmadi-Nejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, sent an eloquent letter to President George W. Bush. With war still threatening years later, perhaps it’s time people read for themselves just what the president of Iran said.

[This letter was submitted to U.S. president George W. Bush via the Swiss embassy in Tehran on May 8, 2006. It was originally written in Persian. This translation was provided by the Islamic Republic News Agency, the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The original letter in Persian is available at the website of the Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The original translation is also available. See Wikinews: Ahmadinejad sends letter to George W. Bush. See also Ahmadinejad’s 2006 letter to the American People: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad%27s_2006_letter_to_the_American_people]

The Nightingale and the Serpent

“A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds; his auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who feel that they are moved and softened, yet know not whence or why.” [Shelley]

A nightingale is a poet; a thousand songs of lamentation in a nighttime sung by sorrow’s sentry. Songs of sadness, songs of loneliness, songs to reveal a hidden presence. A thousand songs sung in solitude. A serpent, too, can tell a thousand tales. Tales of woes and injustice. Tales not his own, but crafted like new skin; the tales twisted and formed into false claims against the unseen voice. The nightingale sings truth sweetly against the hissing of the serpent’s lies.

“Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!” You were born to sing. To sing the lamentations of a suffering people. To sing of life’s glories in the dusk of isolation. To sing of hope in the den of despair. You were born to sing of a blooming rose when the serpent tells of thorns alone.

“Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown.” [Keats]

Sing for Persia, for Palestine!
Immortal bird, sing tales of crime.
Sing Esther’s triumph in Xerxes’s court,
When serpents hissed a lie not bought.

Sing of Gaza, of Bethlehem’s woes,
Of Lebanon and a thousand foes.
Songbird of sorrow, sing your song,
And bid the serpent not hiss too long.

The nightingale is a poet of sorrow.

The serpent is a teller of lies.

A Light for Persia & the Narrative

The time to light a candle is when darkness has fallen and hope has evaporated like mist on scorching desert sands. Though it’s just a flicker pressing itself against a vast and fearsome force, the fragile light becomes everything. It ignites life and dreams, comfort and hope. It doesn’t stiffen in static containment, it dances. It can’t confine its own existence, it illuminates beyond itself. It cannot fully die when extinguished as it has already broken through and darkness now cannot be complete. Light has shone. It’s already won. This is what resistance is. It’s not an equitable tug-of-war between good and bad, light and darkness; it’s a desperate push against an imbalance to force equity. Like an elucidating shadow within a transposed world, the light of resistance imprints itself upon the negative and stains it with a merciful tear crying for justice.  So very chiaroscuro, this light.

Such a light needs to be put to the narrative. It’s narratives that drive injustice and narratives that need challenged. The open-ended tragedies of the Middle East are poignant examples of fabricated chronicles suffocating justice. From Palestine to Iraq, Afghanistan to Iran – reason and humanity are being crushed under the weight of a powerful tale of convoluted victimization and distorted blame. As is said of lies; those told first and loudest are those that stick. It is Israeli propaganda, the Hasbara narrative that is asphyxiating public discourse and poisoning otherwise charitable inclinations that are the true nature of man. It’s all so sobering mad, fantastically bizarre. An embellished horror fiction that has no ending, it’s a gloomy tale of perpetual suffering designed to illicit guilt-laden remorse from a world not guilty; but a world willing to cower. A tale beyond the pale – yet, told and retold. A tale of melodrama shared at Manhattan penthouse soirees and Santa Barbara golf clubs, it is an elitist woe, a tale of self-pity. Anti-semitism is everywhere waiting to erupt and keep us downtrodden. We suffer so. Written, mouthed, and accepted with hardly a whisper of doubt raised in any venue that might alter the course of devastation inflicted upon country after country, people after people. All in the name of a myth called “Jewish vulnerability.”

The Hasbara narrative draws its core, as all magnificent fallacies tend to do, from certain truths. In this case, the first truth is the Nazi persecution and genocide of millions of Europeans, the majority of them Jewish.  A great tragedy of ghastly cruelties, it has become a centerpiece of modern Jewish identity. From this, true though it is, has developed an explosive anthology of eternal exceptional victimization that necessitates hyper-entitlement to impunity and rationalization for universal protection in an illicit regional protectorate, and the poor little rich girl diaspora. Though menacingly cited as proof and justification of such a unique arrangement, the Zionist agenda for seizing Palestine predates the Nazi persecution by six decades and was pompously promised by British Machiavellian lords two decades prior to Hitler’s rise. Cause and effect appear somewhat dubious, especially so when the Zionist narrative, gleaning from a second truth, attaches to its claim of long inhabited Palestina a biblical deed – literally and figuratively. Here is where the Hasbara narrative becomes more dangerous in both its storyline and its plot. And here is where it cements its listeners’ irrational allegiance to the cause.

For brevity; Jews lay claim to land once promised by God to the Hebrew people who did inhabit, after wresting it from previous occupants, and did also self-exile following the final destruction of the Temple and the crushing suppression of their revolt under Roman occupation. 18 centuries later, eastern European Jews of eastern European ethnicity (defining Jewishness gets very tricky – is it cultural, ethnic, or religious?) conceive the idea of a Jewish homeland. This idea develops into a political ideology called Zionism. It is important to recall the original speculation for a homeland was not Palestine, and the founders of Zionism were not theists. Nonetheless, ill-fated Palestine became the coveted choice and God became the coveted precedent for such a claim. (And you will hear this even today from those who identify themselves as Jewish atheists – land given to them by God. As if God is their useful idiot.)

Literally on the heels of defeated Germany and the end of the Nazi Holocaust, another horror erupts against the Palestinian people who have inhabited Palestine for centuries. Nakba. Armed with western authority decreeing the Palestinian Territories to be partitioned to accommodate a Jewish State, an unleashing of terrorism (the Stern Gang must have its special recognition in this endeavor) and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian Semites of Palestine is begun. However, despite historical records, photographs, films, land deeds, and news accounts, the Hasbara narrative denies it. With malevolent effrontery to those whose lands they stole and whose relatives they murdered, to those whose homes and furniture and olive groves they took, to those who fought and died to liberate Jews in Nazi controlled Europe, the tale has been maliciously revised. While hunting down Nazis across the globe and seeking Hague indictments of war crimes against any person alleged to be a “Holocaust denier” the Zionist tale claims 1) there was no Nakba  2) there were no people in Palestine  3) there are no Palestinians.  It is astonishingly brazen and devilish, yet this is the narrative consumed by an American public who was long ago hijacked into the ranks of idolizing dupes convinced they must give their holy fidelity to a foreign country bleeding them dry.

Since 1947, the State of Israel has waged an escalating campaign of terror, apartheid, imprisonment of an entire population, ethnic cleansing, deliberate starvation and deprivation, torture, murder, dehumanization, administrative/indefinite detainment,  illegal settlement expansions, six wars, refusal to adhere to international treaties, disregard of human rights, international assassinations, espionage, murder of US servicemen and civilians, a massive build-up of weaponry including 400-500 nuclear weapons, chemical warfare against the civilian population in Gaza, destruction of livestock and agriculture, false flag ops, racist discrimination laws, and a clear intent to seize all of Palestine as a Palestinian-free Jewish state. All of this done under the banner “we have a right to defend ourselves.”  All of this done waving a never ending revised hit-list of countries posing an “existential threat to Israel.” All of this done while Israelis enjoy a higher standard of living than Americans, dual citizenship, free health care, free education, subsidized settlements, military protection against children, and a night life in Tel Aviv – boastfully dubbed the “gay capital of the world.” And all of it paid for by Americans. There is nothing historically to compare it to. It’s truly far stranger than fiction.

1,000 and one miles away … in every way; Iran, the Persia of antiquity and culture; the great civilization of Cyrus and of Alexander’s awe. Iran, the ancient Persia of literature, music, art, poetry, and cuisine that flavored the world with splendor and spices and fruits; with Tales of One Thousand and One Nights. Iran, home to 77 million people of diverse ethnicities, languages, and religions; a highly educated people who cherish their land, their history, their legends, and their historical importance within the diplomatic circles of the international community. Iran, a country with no wars of aggression to cite, no nuclear weapons to launch, and no desires to rule the world. Iran, a country one would want to engage if one sought peace. Iran, now dangerously threatened by the world superpower by instigative demand of a rogue country the size of New Jersey with the morals of King Herod’s court. (Herod was known to slaughter not a few children of the West Bank, too.)

I don’t know how to put to words the tragedy of this depraved path we are on. The beauty and antiquity of Persia; its 77 million people to be sacrificed in a hideous cold-blooded manner for the barbaric, narcissistic, foul pretenders in a country barely One Thousand and One Nights old? A nightmare for a dream? Not even Palestine alleviates this hunger. There will never be enough blood to quench zionism’s thirst for staging a vulnerability narrative. We must light a candle for Persia, for Palestine. We must change the narrative.

The Palestinian Gandhi: A Bittersweet Triumph

Khader Adnan, the Palestinian detainee who had been on a 66 day hunger strike to protest his illegal detention by the state of Israel has agreed to end his protest as part of a deal. This is heartening, but it’s not a happy ending. Adnan’s commitment to take “no food without freedom” has left the 33 year old resident of Jenin in a severely compromised state of health that may still claim his life. He has been on the brink of death long enough that survival itself would be much to hope for. And the deal with which he has won his freedom leaves him still imprisoned for nearly two months though he has been charged with no crime.

Long have Israeli apologists pharisiacally lamented, ‘If only there were a Palestinian Gandhi, then we could talk peace!’ But what a strange and arrogant thing to express. What right does an oppressor have to demand the oppressed adopt a total non-violent philosophy in order to relieve a bit of his oppression? To access his own water? To wish to live in peace? And the Gandhi mandate is empty as Palestine has had more than its share of Gandhis for decades. There are thousands of incarcerated Palestinians, including children, who remain suffering in meek compliance. There are thousands of mothers in Palestine who suffer hunger, both for food and for their children’s safety, day in and day out. And there are thousands of Palestinian Gandhis already dead.

But Adnan’s heroic sacrifice is different, and perhaps deeply significant, in that it marks a shift in world attention and outrage translated into concrete political pressure. Not often does this occur in the Israeli world. Hardly ever in the Israeli courts. It does reveal Israel’s reluctance to hold a public hearing on Adnan’s case for fear of transparency. So, yes, it is a victory for Adnan, his family, and for all Palestinians.  It is a victory against hasbaraniks and the zionist propagandists embedded in anything that moves or speaks in the public sphere. But until Israel is held accountable for its war crimes and its perpetual crimes against humanity in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem it remains a bittersweet triumph.

©RCiuffo 2012

The Picture of Dorian Eretz


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Let us paint a portrait that speaks a thousand words. This portrait is of a people painted upon a landscape of gardens; green fertile gardens of citrus, dates, vineyards, and olive groves. The painter is an avant-garde experimentalist by the name of Cyrus Truman who, sensing a divine hand upon his work, becomes infatuated with his chosen subject and embellishes his creation with colorful imagery of milk and honey pots and lustful sanctuaries. The portrait is proclaimed to be the artist’s best work. An aesthetic masterpiece. And the people, the subject of the fantastical portrait, fall madly in love with this artistic concept and even more with themselves. “Aren’t we pretty?” To which the artist and his great friend, Lord Cham, reply, “Yes. Pretty as a picture.”

So taken with their own beautiful image are they that the people whimsically wish to sell their souls for an exchange of reality; that the portrait age and decay in their stead and they, oh glorious they, remain ever glorious and ever special. And so it happens that the portrait upon a landscape of gardens begins its barren decay, while the very celebrated people are reborn in the person of Dorian Eretz who chases after a hedonistic lifestyle, plunging deeper into debauchery as he becomes more enthralled with Lord Cham’s world view that the only things that matter in life are fulfillment of myths and distortion of life’s true beauty.

Dorian discovers Lady Liberty in a crowded torch lit island, performing theatrical renditions of Shakespearian themes as if all the world’s a stage. They fall quickly into a mad love affair that leaves Lady Liberty obsessively entangled in her passions, unable to perform her libertarian acts upon the stage. But Dorian Eretz does not return her unshakeable bond and views the lady as a mere muse. Disheartened and broken, Lady Liberty laments the unrequited love and drowns in a sea of corruptive acid.

When Dorian learns of his mistress’s death he washes his hands of culpability and declares himself to be a new beacon of liberty. With flight of return he looks at the portrait of a landscape to find it has changed, upon his face a sinister sneer. Affirmed in his wish for a new reality, he charts an ever wider course of image over truth, knowing the portrait will bear the burden of his decay even as it serves as a reminder of each sin committed. The landscape within the portrait will reveal the effects upon his soul as disfigurements of its once beautiful form.

Thus it goes for decades. A trail of lamentations, of misery and death left in the wake of corruptive vice. But Dorian Eretz, with each expansive step taken, never accepts his own blame. Instead, he accuses his victims for failing to control their own passions, and he blames Cyrus Truman for painting him in such a landscape.

In a fleeting period of restraint, Dorian Eretz attempts to rein in his own expansionist desires and marvels at such a virtue. He wonders if this great act with which he refrains from utterly shattering the hearts of a new conquest might return the portrait to its original beauty. Unveiling it he finds it has, in fact, become more hideous. His image ever more scarred and twisted, he realizes his self-perceived charity was yet another act of immoral vanity; his own dabbling in new frontiers to satisfy his unsatiable appetite for the thrills of other people’s high ground.

Enraged, Dorian Eretz stabs and tears at the portrait in a futile attempt to destroy the mirror of his own soul. Thus did Dorian Eretz destroy himself.

©RCiuffo 2012