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As Long as We Remember...

December 31, 2014

Where The Blame Lies?

Tom McLaughlin

Kuching, Malaysian Borneo – What a wonderful wedding! It was fantastic to see all those people from 40 years ago. Their children have grown up and have now graduated from universities and are out on their own. They are so smart!


One of the people there was the middle son and the brother of the groom. He has just finished his degree in Islamic Studies in Cairo. We had an interesting conversation. I asked him about the Islamic world.


He said there was a difference between Jews and Zionists. The Jews are the people who live in Israeli occupied Palestine while the Zionists are the ones that run the country. We can live with the Jews but not the Zionists, he said.


I didn't know there was a difference. I thought all Jews living in Israel were Zionist. It was interesting how he divided the two into segments and said the Palestinians could live with the Jews but not with the Zionists.


I asked why other countries did not absorb the Palestinians into their own countries instead of making them live in camps. After all, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates plus a host of others had plenty of room for them. It makes perfect sense to me.


He said they wanted their own homeland back. They want the Zionists to go live someplace else. I said the Jews (or Zionists) have been there for 65 years and weren't going anywhere. He said that with American backing there surely wouldn't.


I asked him about other countries. I said Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, South Sudan, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon were all in turmoil, each Arab group fighting another. The rest were staunch dictatorships. What was this all about?


He said it was America's and the western nations fault. We keep backing the wrong government and, hence, revolution occurred.


I bit my tongue and didn't press this one any further. I just can't understand how the Americans can press forward with so many different revolutionary groups at once and prop up dictatorships in about four or five other postage stamp and large countries. But he assured me they were behind every problem in the Middle East.


My perspective is that democracy will not work. Jimmy Carter can certify every vote in an election in that area and the loser will go and raise an Army and try to overthrow the elected government. Somebody will fund him. The exceptions are Malaysia and Indonesia, which have a moderate form of Islam peppered with beliefs from their own culture.


I asked him about his Master's Degree and what he will be studying. He replied he will be taking up Islamic law.


Malaysia has two codes of law. One is for the Moslems and one for the rest of the country. Islamic law takes up land settlement, inheritance problems and other factors. You can get arrested for "close proximity." That is if you are caught in a hotel room with a girl and she is not your wife, then you will get to go before the Islamic judge. Eating during fasting month is another offense.


He was against the crazies who tried to carve out a nation in Syria and Iraq, and who shoot everyone who is not of their ilk. He was also opposed to those in northern Nigeria who raid and seize women, and the Taliban. These thoughts made me wonder.


I asked him to try and look at things differently, from a different perspective. I doubt he will. I think whatever university he attends is very anti-American and everything Western. But, I will stay in contact and try to make him see and understand things from the American perspective.


In any case, I doubt we will see peace in the Middle East for a long, long time.


A very Happy New Year to you all!


...Life is good. . . . .


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