Infidel Knight Dismisses Palestinian Statehood

Infidel Knight Dismisses
Drawing by Darwin Leon






Dajen Doomah:

Your claim that sovereign nation-states are a relatively modern invention occurring with the fall of the Roman Empire and then the Roman Church, and that Islam constitutes a return to the natural tendency to universal theocratic community under world empire pursuant to Muhammad’s 632 farewell address wherein he said, “I was ordered to fight all men until they say there is no god but Allah,’ is false propaganda designed to deceive your students.

First of all, the establishment of new nations or new countries with newly organized peoples by the time-honored tradition of warfare goes far back in history. For example, the nation of Israel, historically a sovereign nation firmly established by war and recognized by other sovereign nations thousands of years ago was deliberately put out of existence by the Romans because the Jews refused to submit to the sovereignty of the empire. No other nation had so continuously and persistently resisted Rome’s take-over as Israel. So, Rome decided if they couldn’t subdue the Jews, they would just make their nation disappear and scatter the people far away.

There was never any sovereign nation of Palestine. The Roman territory called Palestine was actually the land of the sovereign nation of Israel. Semitic peoples calling themselves Muslims wandered their way back onto the land, swearing to the Romans: “We’re not Jews… we’re Muslims… we hate Jews as much as you do, and we won’t cause any problems.”

That was plain old common-sense survival strategy; who could blame them? And so, they continued to live on, and multiply, through the death of the Roman Empire, through the Crusades and world wars, until this very day.

The killing of six-million Jews during the Holocaust was a horror which had not been seen in the modern world. The Holocaust, however, was not the start of the Zionist national movement, which simply the return of Jews to their historic homeland. It was ongoing for many years prior to the historic Balfour Declaration of November, 1917. The Declaration was not merely a personal letter, but was penned after Lord Balfour had talked seriously with many heads of state as to whether or not historical justice would be served by re-installing the Jews onto their historic homeland as the renewed nation of Israel.

It was only after the Holocaust was revealed to the world that the British openly declared that the historical nation of Israel must be re-established in their historic homeland, yet advised Israel that it must be mindful and tolerant of all the new history which had taken place there since their dispersal. Therefore the Jews did not demand the Dome of the Rock, which, although built on the site of the Jewish Temple, was of major religious significance to Islam. They also did not do anything to jeopardize any historic Christian holy sites.

The first reaction toward a peaceful establishment of a Jewish village was the slaughtering of every man, woman, and child in that village by knife-wielding Palestinians. The Israelis persevered, have made their land fertile and their industries productive, and have produced amazing new technological achievements for the world, such as the new nuclear and chemical warfare protective tents I happen to be selling in America. They have re-invested money in their agriculture and business and technological advancement.

The Palestinians, meanwhile, were co-opted by an Egyptian, who couldn’t get a dozen Egyptians on a street corner to listen to him, and by the skilled use of terror and murder against Palestinians, and his proclamation of hatred for Jews, made himself the “king” of the Palestinians. He spent years, raking in hundreds-of-millions, possibly billions of dollars for his own benefit, leaving the Palestinians to wallow in squalor, all the time blaming it on the Jews. Those dollars could have been spent in exactly the same way the Jews spent theirs in making their land fruitful, but that was not to be. Yet there was always plenty of money for weapons and for any and all Muslims who would use those weapons to kill Jews.

So, we continue to see Muslims murdering each other at an alarming rate and continuing to blame their own social and economic problems on the Jews. Palestinians, to boot, are now largely outcasts from all other Arab nations. They are publicly unwanted by other Muslims, yet are allowed to work, own businesses, attend schools and receive medical care in Israel.

I hope I have been of some help in your search for information. I have tried to present as much historical fact as I am able, but have limited time to do research for teachers such as you, so I must bid you farewell. I wish the best to you and yours, a thousand blessings on your family, and all the best to your students. And remember, I am not an infidel knight, but am,

Sincerely Yours,

Roundtable Rascal


The Doomah Discourse is taken from dialogue on the Roundtable of that took place circa 2003. David Arthur Walters took on the role of Dajen Doomah, Devil’s Advocate, an Iranian English teacher. ‘Roundtable Rascal’ is the late Hanley Harding of South Florida, an heroic American patriot, Navy SEAL, and the best friend one could ever have in terrifying times.


Muslim Intellectuals Please Join Us

MUSLIM al-Kindi




By the very nature of their critical endeavor independent intellectuals are often at each other’s throats. Figuratively speaking, of course, for intellectuals prefer metaphors and virtual battles to mayhem and murder.

I have on previous occasions called for an intellectual rebellion or jihad against the prejudices of brute ignorance. I was tempted to place my call under the motto, “Intellectuals of the World, Unite!” But nothing seemed more incongruous to me at the time than universal intellectual integration, since each independent intellect is disposed to be at odds with the others. However, on second thought there is due cause for unison in the mental field, the project and object of our enterprise; to wit, truth. Now we might question the nature of the truth; indeed, that is the good cause of our dissension; but I think we can agree on one thing: our project is the same although our methods slightly differ.

I say “slightly differ” because of one thing intellectuals can be certain, he who seeks the truth must have his all his doors wide open for it. The intellectual keeps his mind open with doubt, but he is not dogmatically skeptical; rather he is critical, and would resort to a criterion for criticism rather than regress to the blind faith of a beast. The criteria for physics and metaphysics, the scientific methods for the natural and “supernatural” sciences, differ in their destinies, for one has the object or world in mind, and the other has the subject or self in mind as the only available avenue to the supreme being that unites subject and object; yet both still proceed with an open mind and both must strive to keep it open to be worthy of the name, “science.” Of course there is always the divisive question as to whether the metaphysical subject exists and if so whether it is a projected personal unity of consciousness of the objective world, or whether it is an impersonal substance, and so on. Yet both the physician of the body and the physician of the soul agree on the virtue of a reasonable or logical approach to the matter or spirit or both at hand. Although there are different logics or efficient mental means, they agree in throwing away error until the truth be known.

Now my monologue may be crude, but the professional professors amused by my intellectual dilettantism know very well that I struggle to unite intellects in a common pursuit no matter what their various interests may be and even in spite of their variance. For if science is to make any headway intellectuals must struggle together no matter how independent their research may be. Whatever the source of knowledge, whether from friend of foe, we should be grateful for it and share it with our colleagues. Even if we consider our competitors as strangers and enemies, then we should praise them for their virtues even more than we overlook the vices of our familiars and friends. The first great philosophical enthusiast of Islam, al-Kindi (d. ca. 866) put it this way:

“We should not be loath to value truth and acquire it from whatever source it comes, even it were to come from races distant and nations different from us. For nothing is more worthy of the seeker after truth than truth itself; and no one is disparaged through truth or belittled by it. Rather does the truth ennoble all.”

Al-Kindi’s statement is now platitudinous, but it was revolutionary in his time, an era plagued by cultural xenophobia and anti-intellectualism. Expressing gratitude for foreign intellectual contributions could and did get intellectuals killed, especially if the intellectual treatment challenged the leading authority. For example, Christian and Muslim intellectuals exchanged ideas in Damascus, capital of the Umayyad caliphate. Two scholars, Ghailan of Damascus (d. ca. 743) and Ma’bad al-Juhani (d. ca. 699) among others rejected orthodox predestination in favor of free will; it is no coincidence they were both martyred, because if the doctrine of free will were true, then a caliph would be personally responsible for his bad deeds.

The intellectual Majid Fakhry, our contemporary, wrote about al-Kindi, “the only major Islamic philosopher of pure Arab stock”:

“For al-Kindi, the search for truth, however, is an arduous task, and without the assistance of other searchers is virtually impossible. Our gratitude to our predecessors should, for that very reason, be great; they have paved the way for us and thereby made our progression towards truth so much easier. It is indeed obvious to us and to those pre-eminent in the study of philosophy among nations of foreign tongues, al-Kindi (says), that no one has been able to achieve through his own individual efforts any significant progress towards truth. Aristotle himself confirms this when he writes, as al-Kindi has paraphrased Metaphysics: ‘We ought to be grateful to the fathers of those who have imparted to us a certain measure of truth, in so far as they have been the cause of their being, and the cause of our attaining truth.'”

As we know so well, Islam was unusually tolerant of foreign knowledge and adopted and developed Greek philosophy and natural science, Indian mathematics, Persian literature; by the ninth century, nearly the entire legacy of Greek philosophy and science had been translated into Arabic. Those works were later translated into Latin and became the basis for the European renaissance. Jacques Le Goff in his Intellectuals in the Middle Ages mentions the purely Arab contribution:

“And we must not omit the purely Arab contribution (to Western culture). Arithmetic with the algebra of al-Khwarizmi – while awating the first years of the thirteenth century when Leanardo Pisano would introduce the Arabic numerals, which were actually Hindu but brought from India by the Arabs. Medicine with Rhazi – whom the Cristians called Rhazes – and above all Ibn Sina or Avicenna, whose medical encyclopedia or Canon became the inseparable companion of Western doctors. And there were the astronomers, botanists, agronomists, and especially the alchemists who provided the Latins with the feverish research for the elixir. Finally, there was philosophy, which, beginning with Aristotle, created powerful syntheses with al-Farabi and Avicenna. In addition to the works themselves, the Arabs gave the Christians words such as “number”, “zero”, and “algebra”; at the same time they gave them the vocabulary of commerce; douane [custom house], bazaar, gabelle [a tax on salt], check, etc.” (translated from the French by Teresa Lavender Fagan)

And we must point out that the Arabs contributed the intellectual foundation of modern science, the inductive method that, as Engels and many others have noted, was introduced into England via Roger Bacon. Bacon learned Arabic and Arabic science at Oxford; he repeatedly declared that the knowledge of Arabic and Arab science was the only way to knowledge in his day. The experimental method of the Arabs was widely cultivated in Europe. That is not to say that Christian and Muslim scholars were locked in loving embrace; traditional cultures tend to consider wisdom as communal property, and if someone does not give it up it is another’s duty to “steal” it – so Christians are quoted as urging their brethren to pirate and plunder the Arab knowledge just as the Hebrew god urged Moses’ crew to grab whatever goods they could carry and make a run for it. In any event, no doubt there was a greater rapport between the intellectuals themselves than the spiritual authorities cared to preach.

Fakhry briefly mentioned a curious secret society, “Brethren of Purity” (Ikhwan al-Sufa), in his essay, a group that flourished in Basrah, Iraq, in the tenth century – other scholars date the founding at 983. I gleaned further information on this group from A History of Muslim Philosophy, edited by M.M. Sharif and from Professor Boer’s The History of Philosophy in Islam. The Brethren, unlike the anti-rationalist believers often associated Islamist freedom fighters, somewhat analogous in the West to militant fundamentalist Christians who rely on faith alone and reject rational questioning of their faith, recognized no antithesis whatsoever between philosophy and religion:

“Its eclecticism was such that it adhered unconditionally to the maxim of the absolute harmony of all truth – Islamic, Jewish, Christian, Greek or Indian. The motto of its members was ‘to shun no science, scorn no religious book, or cling fanatically to no exclusive need; since their own creed encompasses all other needs and comprehends all the sciences generally,’ as the so-called Epistles of the Brethren have put it.” (Fakhry)

Philosophical eclecticism has appeared, beginning with the Greeks, several times throughout history. In philosophy a dogmatic period is usually followed by a skeptical rebellion; when skepticism itself becomes dogmatic, refusing to recognized truth anywhere, except in its claim that there is no truth, an eclectic period responds, recognizing a little bit of truth everywhere.

Eclecticism holds that there is some truth even in erroneous knowledge, hence the task of the eclectic is to use logic to discard error and by that means distil the truth. Those who deny that eclecticism is a legitimate philosophy say their claim is logically absurd because it is tantamount to equating error with truth. Furthermore, they insist, there must be a definition of truth before one begins the search. Of course that argument is rebutted by the eclectics, who claim that the criterion for finding the truth as set by their opponents – that it must first be defined – amounts to hiding prejudices in the premises, hence they find what they are seeking by ignoring contrary evidence; they beg their questions by answering them in advance.

Wherefore we see in the Arab philosophers an early adumbration of the “inductive”, bottom-up, pragmatic approach of empirical science, in contradistinction to the top-down deductive method. The contradistinction is analogous to that of democracy and tyranny in politics. Of course the methods can work well together. A possible symbol for the articulation of the two is the prehistoric emblem of David recently adopted by the secular state of Israel. The intellectual pilgrim ascends from the base of the mountain and approaches the summit, but he also descends from time to time for air that he may confirm his ascent with a clear head. The tyrant starts at any old peak and tries to coerce the mountain to conform. Be that as it may, some scholars have associated the Brethren’s concept of ascent with Darwinism; Professor Boer says not:

“They have been represented as the Darwinists of the tenth century, but nothing could be more inappropriate. The various realms of Nature, it is true, yield according to the Encyclopedia (Epistles) an ascending and connected series; but the relation is determined not by bodily structure, but by the inner Form or Soul-Substance. The Form wanders in mystical fashion from the lower to the higher and vice versa, not in accordance with inner laws of formation, or modified to suit external conditions, but in accordance with the influence of the stars, and, in the case of Man at least, in accordance with practical and theoretical behavior. For providing a history of Evolution, the modern sense of the term was very far from the thought of the Brethren. For example they expressly insist that the horse and the elephant resemble Man more that the ape does. In fact in their system the body is a matter of quite secondary consideration; the death of the body is called the birth of the soul. The world alone is an efficient existence, which procures the body for itself.” (Boer)

Eclecticism is obviously not a one-sided denial of spiritual pursuits. For example, during the early nineteenth century the eclecticism of the French philosopher Victor Cousin gained followers throughout the world including the New England Transcendentalists. The Transcendentalists were eager to select the spiritual truth wherever they found it including Oriental sources; the term “transcendentalism”, at first an epithet for unorthodox foolishness, was taken out of Kantian context and adopted to their own needs. Their version of transcendentalism was a protest against deadwood Protestantism and the Lockean rationalizations of its puritanically inclined authorities, who were predominantly Unitarians. Victor Cousin, however, like most eclectics was a moderate. He accepted the sensationalism (“sensualism”) of Locke and Condillac, but he synthesized it with the idealism of Kant and Hegel, leading Hegel to say his friend Cousin had swiped his soup. Hence Cousin’s rationalization of eclecticism was called Spiritualism. Eclecticism was attractive at that time to faithful people who wanted to be reasonable about their faith. And it was also attractive to Arab philosophers several centuries before Victor Cousin was born.

Instead of withdrawing to the woods to speculate and to write, and meeting in the chambers of a transcendentalist club in New England to discuss the subjects appearing in their periodical propaganda organs with American names such as The Dial and The Boston Quarterly, Muslim eclectics withdrew to secret societies and discuss esoteric subjects set forth in anonymous tracts such as those compiled in the still popular Encyclopedia of the Sciences of the Brethren of Purity – that encyclopedia of fifty treatises is known as Rasail Iwan al Safa (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity. The Brethren met once every twelve days in their respective localities. There were rumors of partying but that sort of behavior was frowned on. A primary purpose for meetings was to cultivate sufficient wisdom in this world to build a Utopia in the next. The Brethren recruited young people because they are more docile than adults. Celibacy was encouraged; marriage was purportedly for the procreation of the race only. Furthermore, the Brethren believed members must be free to choose their own religion and to change their religion at will, providing one person did not belong to contradictory religions at the same time. Islam however was considered superior by the Arab philosophers for the same reason it is considered the highest form of monotheism by impartial students of comparative religion in the West – particularly in respect to its simplicity and singular devotion.

The Brethren of Purity believed thinking begins in the senses and continues in the mind. Since man is a microcosm of the cosmos, he may better know the cosmos by knowing himself; the only means available to know thyself is the mental faculty: the Brethren therefore were more fond of Psychology than Astrology, albeit they dearly loved both. Above all subjects they loved numbers, for they were frustrated Pythagoreans. They believed that every soul is potentially learned. Knowledge gained by the intellect from the senses must be reflected upon, confirmed by the senses, and imparted to students by learned teachers. The educational scheme proceeds with Grammar, Poetry and History, continues with Mathematics, Logic and Physics, ascends to Metaphysics, and culminates in the Godhead as the body dies and the soul is born into to the pure spiritual life.

“Praiseworthy is the free act of the soul; admirable are the actions which have proceeded from rational consideration; and lastly, obedience to the Divine World-Law is worthy of the reward of being raised to the celestial world of spheres. But this requires longing for what is above; and therefore the highest virtue is Love, which strives after union with God, the first loved one, and which is evinced even in this life in the form of religious patience and forbearance with all created beings. Such love gains in this life serenity of the soul, freedom of hear and peace with the whole world, and in the life to come ascension to Eternal Light.” Furthermore, “Our true essence is the soul, and the highest aim of our existence should be to live, with Socrates, devoted to the Intellect, and with Christ, to the Law of Love. Nevertheless the body must be properly treated and looked after in order that the soul may have time to attain its full development.” (Epistles)

Wisdom is normally obtained by the devoted student after the age of fifty, at which time the learned man does not rest on his laurels but should participate as a leader of his community. In any case, he will behave as divinely as he can:

“… love for science as added to knowledge of the essence of all beings, gained as best as one can, together with profession and public behavior in harmony with that.” (Epistles)

We cannot overstate the importance of the Arab philosophers’ insistence that religion and philosophy are not enemies. This emphasis shocked medieval European intellectuals as they translated the Arabic texts into Latin, and the controversy that ensued gradually resurrected the dignity of reason for the theologically disposed thinkers as they pored over Aristotle’s propositions that the Muslims had so carefully preserved and commented on both for and against. Arab intellectuals, as I have noted, had serious problems with the synthesis of faith and reason, or rational theology, with the caliphs and their supporters. Fakhry recapitulates the Arab philosopher’s position:

“After all, religion is not a commodity to traffic in; by setting themselves against the study of philosophy in the name of religion, the proved their added irreligiousness. Rather, philosophy is the most secure avenue to truth, and he who opposes its study is actually opposing the acquisition of the knowledge of truth, which is the primary function of religion. Hence, to brand the study of philosophy as unbelief kufr is the highest form of unbelief – nor, as the previous argument implies, downright hypocrisy.”

Fakhry concluded his particular essay with the following important remarks, after which I will conclude mine with a pointed question to all Muslims:

“…neither in the field of translation nor in commentary have contemporary Arab philosophers and scholars achieved the same pre-eminence as their ancestors during the classical period. The profound intensity and seriousness with which Greek philosophical and scientific texts were translated, studied, and commented upon by those ancestors remain unequaled in modern times. This is a great tribute to that contingent of Arab scholars who not only kept the torch of ancient learning alive during Western Europe’s darkest hours, but also pushed the frontiers further than any other nations had in antiquity since the Greeks.”

Dear Muslim intellectuals, we are forever grateful for Islam’s medieval contributions to “our” Western intellectual culture. We thank Muslim philosophers and scientists for acquainting us with the founding principles of the European renaissance, for introducing us to the humanist movement, the historical sciences, the inductive scientific method, and, most importantly, the harmony of faith and reason that shocked medieval Europe to its senses. But where are you now when we so urgently need you? Intellectuals of the World, Unite!


Majid Fakhry’s essay appears in Arabic Philosophy and the West, edited by Therese-Anne Druart, Washington: Georgetown University, 1988

A History of Muslim Philosophy, edited by M.M. Sharif, published in Karachi by the Royal Book Company, is an excellent resource, supported by ample citations.

Intellectuals in the Middle Ages by Jacques Le Goff, published by Blackwell in Cambridge. Of special interest is the chapter, ‘The Birth of the Intellectuals’

The History of Philosophy in Islam by T. J. de Boer, translated by Edward R Jones, London: Luzac, 1970, p.81 ff. ‘The Faithful Brethren of Bazra’

Muslim Students Ask Why Israel?




President George W. Bush as Crusader






Dear Infidel Knight:

I have yet to receive a response to my last letter asking several leading questions posed by my students, and I hope to hear from you soon for the sake of peace.

Now a great tragedy engulfs Iraq and the United States because your President Bush, who said his “political hero” was Jesus Christ, used his awesome power as the military commander of the United States superpower to initiate an unprovoked war on Iraq; or rather, there was a provocation – a pack of lies deliberately put forward to deceive the people of the world.

All of this appears enormously profitable to the people whom President Bush and Vice President Cheney represent, particularly the power elite with a vested interest in the military-oil-industrial complex, including the tyrant puppets of the United States in the Middle East; but what does empire have to do with Jesus Christ, President Bush’s political hero, except that Christ was unafraid of empire for the sake of Allah, and was charged and convicted of a capital crime and crucified by the Romans at the instigation of his own people?

President Bush may not become a true peacemaker or disciple of Jesus Christ until he dies again and is born again a thousand times over. So do not believe, my friend in Allah, that you are safe from terrorism because your president is waging war all over the world, for the Terrorist Almighty is within, and all of your riches and weapons of mass destruction shall not protect you from his wrath. Your present peace, notwithstanding the sins of your leaders, is due to the mercy of Allah.

Beware and repent now for the time is nigh: “Those that make war against God and His apostle and spread disorder shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the country. They shall be held up to shame and sternly punished in the hereafter; except that those that repent before you reduce them. For you must know that Allah is forgiving and merciful.” (The Table).

Indeed, the Final Hour, the Day of Judgment, rapidly approaches. In the interim, it is my main contention that those in power do not rule indefinitely; their names will be recorded in history and they will be constantly judge in the immediate and distant future.

Again, my students sometimes ask me questions about certain subjects that I may not have honest answers for, questions that you, an American patriot and military hero, may be able to answer.

For instance, my students examined old maps and documents but they were unable to find a country named Israel over sixty years ago, so they assumed Israel did not exist before then. They wanted to know why Israel was created, so they conducted some research into the question and learned that Israel was created because several million Jews had been killed in the war; the victors felt guilty about that, and gave them their own state. They asked me two questions after our morning prayers today:

1) Is it not true that the establishment of a new country with a new people is a phenomenon that is exclusive to our times?

2) How does the killing of six million Jews translate into the establishment a new state in the Middle East, particularly when the population of the region is opposed to its presence?

3) What logical justification does the United States have for its support of that intrusion? Since the Infidel Knights of the Round Table are well versed in this subject, I am hoping that you will help me answer these questions so I can enlighten my students.

Yours Faithfully,

Dajen Doomah
School Teacher

Mr. Doomah:

Please allow me to respond to your inquiry. First off, we are not “Knights” of the Round Table, as you have addressed me as such, for we do not claim to be so special and carry such noble purpose. We are Round Table Rascals. However, many of us do try to put our personal feelings aside in search of truth, or at least admit our personal biases, when discussing a topic, so others will more clearly understand why we opine as we do.

The way I see it, what divides the world today is that radical Islamists are radical inasmuch as they wish to distinguish themselves from their Jewish and Christian forebears and exterminate everyone in disagreement with their misguided fundamentalist agenda.

Your students are shortsighted, as you very well know yet fail to instruct them on the historical facts. The bulk of known written history dates back almost 6,000 years. The Semitic people were, in fact, the nation of Israel. The Muslims actually “splintered off” from the existing tribes of Israel and went their own way, creating Islam. This is why they revere the same prophets and even Jesus. For whatever reasons, historically, there was inculcated not only a disdain for Judaism, but a rabid hatred, which has grown, exponentially, to this day.

Historically, Jews have not preached hatred or declared war and death to Muslims, but Muslims blame all their problems on, and teach their children to hate, all Jews, merely because of their being Jewish. What kind of religion propagates itself through hatred and commission of murder? If a corrupt Sheik, Emir or King allows the majority of his people to wallow in poverty and hatred, and amasses all the land’s wealth for his own greed and selfishness… why do the downtrodden scream, “Kill the Jews!”? The Iraqis aren’t screaming “Kill the Jews!” They know that their problems lie within their own country and how it needs to be governed to the advantage and enrichment of ALL their people, not just a power elite.

Yours Truly,
Roundtable Rascal


The Doomah Discourse is taken from dialogue on the Roundtable of that took place circa 2003. For sake of argument, David Arthur Walters adopted the role of Dajen Doomah, an Iranian English teacher. ‘Roundtable Rascal’ is the late Hanley Harding of South Florida, an heroic American patriot, Navy SEAL, and the best friend one could ever have in terrifying times.


Islam’s Last Stand On Judgement Day






Maulana Muhammad Ali, since age 25 “a soldier for the literary service of Islam”, translated verse 99 of Chapter 18 of the Quran as follows:

“And on that day We shall leave a part of them in conflict with another part, and the trumpet will be blown, so We shall gather them all together.”

Muhammad Ali explains: “There is a change here from the historical to the prophetical. The Gog and Magog of the old days were to have their representatives in the latter days. The only other reference to Gog and Magog in the Holy Quran is contained in 21:96, where they are stated as taking possession of all places of advantage and eminence. This would identify them clearly with the European races; and the Slavs (settling as they do in Russia, the land of Magog) and the Teutons may therefore be suggested to be the modern representatives of Gog and Magog, and the verse prophetically refers to some mighty conflict of the European nations and to their ultimate gathering together in Islam which alone can settle their ideological differences.” (The Quran, 1948 edition).

The other Quranic reference to Gog and Magog in Chapter 21 (The Prophets), verse 96, appears under Section 7. – ‘The Righteous shall inherit the Earth.’ Muhammad Ali translates the verses 94-105 of the section as follows:

“So whoever does good deeds and he is a believer, there is no denying his exertion, and We write (it) down for him. And there is a ban on a town which We destroy that they shall not return. Until when Gog and Magog are made to overcome (the world), and they break forth from every elevated place. And the True Promise draws nigh, then lo! the eyes of those who disbelieved will be fixedly open: O woe to us! We were heedless of this: nay, we were unjust. Surely you and what you worship besides Allah are fuel of hell; to it you will come. Had these been gods, they would not have come to it and all will abide therein. For them therein will be groaning and therein they will not hear. Those for whom good a already gone forth from Us will be kept far off from it; they will not hear its faintest sound, and they will abide in what their souls long for. The great fearful event will not grieve them, and the angels will meet them. This is the day which you were promised. The day when We roll up heaven like the rolling up of the scroll for writings. As We made the first creation, (so) shall We reproduce it – a promise (binding) on Us; surely We shall bring it about. And indeed We wrote in the Book after the reminder that the earth – My righteous servants will inherit it…”

“Those for whom good has already gone forth from Us”, namely people who believe in God, will be kept at a distance from the hellish horrors. Further, the Prophet said that whosoever believes in God and future life and acts righteously, “on him shall come no fear.” Most importantly, the Prophet’s official policy on religion is “There is no compulsion in religion.” Many historians have remarked at length on the international character of Islamic law and its applicability even to enemies, in contrast to the frightful persecutions carried out by crusading Christians. However that may be, we should keep in mind the different historical circumstances of Jesus and Muhammad, and try to understand why, on the one hand, Jesus ordered the Sword sheathed in favor of the Word, pending Constantine’s vision of the Holy Cross on the battlefield, and why, on the other hand, Muhammad could not wait for a Constantine to defend Islam.

We do have evidence of glaring breaches in the Prophet’s official policy of tolerance. Nevertheless, whether Islam’s success is by Word or by Sword or by both Word and Sword, the phenomenal growth of Islam in its infancy seemed to prove that the whole wide world would on the Last Day recognize one deity. Muhammad Ali makes note of that view as follows:

“The Qu’ran has repeatedly stated that Islam would ultimately be made triumphant in the world. The righteous servants of God, we are here told, would one day be masters of the land. The words no doubt contain a prophecy of the possession of the Holy Land by the Muslims, which was fulfilled in the caliphate of Umar. Compare Ps.37:29. But, we are further told that the whole earth would be a Holy Land in the end.”

The Quranic story of the end time, of Gog and Magog, presages the Final Conflict between Good and Evil, the Dualism arising in Paradise with human knowledge of the difference between the two. Man is accordingly booted from the primeval garden, endowed with free will to make the prerequisite choices so that he may return to the virginal womb in heaven if not on Earth – special virgins await martyrs in Paradise. If man in rebellion will not return from evolved complexity to ultimate simplicity, then to Hell with him – as if Earth were not already hellish enough from the consequences of the original sin of being born into the wicked human world in the first place.

On Earth, pain has always had a slight edge on pleasure – bliss is death, for in bliss there is no motive to move. Yet in the final analysis, Good shall win over Evil, thus we may argue that there is a universal good, or a good God over all. In the interim, some sort of objective division between Good and Evil is required, no matter how arbitrary, something clear and concrete to protect us from the roving forces of Evil. A wall might suffice to protect sedentary folk and their precious utensils from bandit bands, hence they would do well to give thanks and kiss the wall protecting them from the curse of evil invaders.

An army might sally forth from behind the walls of one of civilization’s centers and make war in pre-emptive self-defense or simply for the sake of revenge, – then who is the evil barbarian? The world is conquered by the militant force: the defenders are killed or enslaved, settlements burned or exploited. Thus civilization is grounded in crime, and Good arises from Evil; otherwise there would be no Progress to Good. But now we are on the horns of a dilemma, even confronted with the gnostic heresy that the old god who kicked us out of Paradise may have horns, may be a fallen angel, the Devil himself.

The Quran informs us that the two-horned hero named Dhulqarnain, during his travels far and wide, was asked by a certain people whose speech was almost incomprehensible to protect them from the Gog and Magog, whereupon he built them a barrier or wall of iron – an Iron Curtain. The Gog and Magog were typical “barbarians from the north” at the time – Scythians, Cimmerians or other ancestors of later barbarians. There are various accounts of the original event in folklore, handed down with related historical sketches and other fragmentary evidence. Opinions vary as to where the Iron Curtain was built, and, for that matter, who Dhulqarnain really was. The popular position is that Dhulqarnain was Alexander the Great – one of Christianity’s adopted, virtual saints – that it was no less than he who built the wall at Derbent by the Caspian Sea. We may believe otherwise and take the minority view that the two-horned hero was Cyrus the Great – savior of the Jews – and that the prototypical event took place near what is now known as northern Afghanistan, the traditional home of Zoroaster, the hater of nomads who recognized Evil and its roving demonic bandit hordes as distinctly divided from Good and its attendant court of settled virtues. The final score between Good and Evil might then be settled not in Iraq or Israel but in that ancient region.


Camel Woman

Camel Woman Espanola
Camel Woman of Espanola Way South Beach




I. Woman is a camel…

I LIKE TO PULL A WOMAN’S LEG once in awhile just to get her goat – by that I do not mean her behorned husband. Of course I do speak figuratively: ballerinas with jammed joints have asked me to literally pull their legs to unjam their joints as they held on to a post or to the barre.”You know, women were traded like cattle in the old days, as a sort of basic barter or unit of exchange,” I casually stated to Joanne, my favorite bartender at the Hi Life cocktail lounge on Amsterdam Avenue.

“Just goes to show you how smart those men were to know how valuable women really are,” she retorted without pause.

As wise as I deemed myself to be at the time, I was suitably impressed by her sagacity. To enlighten her further, I went on to explain, in simple terms of shoe shiners exchanging shoe shines, why a dollar bill is a shoeshine debt given to shoeshine creditors who have faith in its value as an instrument of exchange: thanks for the shine; I owe you one; here’s a buck; when your shoes get scuffed; you can get a shine anywhere. Joanne was awed by my intellectual prowess, or maybe she was just a good bartender and actress – she had in fact finished her first Hollywood movie but there was some doubt as to whether it would ever be released. Incidentally, her Halloween costume one year was the popular Dumber than Dumb fellow – I treasure my photograph of her disguised as same.

In retrospect I knew how rude I had been on that evening, likening women to cattle, then assaulting her with crude economics! Which gave me cause to wonder, What sort of creatures are men?

Anyway, I thought of Joanne while I was reading The Sabres of Paradise by Lesley Blanch many years later – last night – wherein women are likened to camels. As we know, camels are so highly valued by nomads that camels have served as exchange barter. For instance, a male slave was once valued at 10 camels, while a female slave was worth 20 camels; a dowry would cost the bridegroom at least 50 camels. Furthermore, camels have been used to settle blood feuds as follows: a death is paid for with 100 camels; testicle injuries were also once avenged with 100 camels; a broken arm or leg was valued at 25 camels, whereas a broken finger was worth only 10 and a broken molar maybe 8 – the incisor was worth only 5 camels.

Of course camels are more valuable than dollars since a dollar may get you nowhere when inflated – still, a camel can be like a white elephant to a humble city dweller who cannot maintain her even in the sparse manner she was accustomed to.

Be that as it may, and assuming there is no accident where Allah presides, I am moved to discuss the context provided by Lesley Blanch for her brief mention of the comparison of women to camels.

According to the Prophet, “Paradise is under the shadow of swords.” Lesley’s book is about the jihad carried out by the fierce warriors of Dagestan and Chechnya against the Russian “civilizers” in the Caucasus. The old conflict in that region between mountaineers and would-be “civilizers” goes on to this very day. The early eighteenth-century jihad was organized by Sufi fundamentalists of the Naqshbandi order. I was reading Lesley’s romantic portrait of the great hero Shamyl, third Imam of Dagestan, who had been gravely wounded in battle. He was recuperating in the mountains, where he was visited by his slim and graceful wife Fatimat.

“Like all Caucasian women,” Lesley wrote, “Fatimat was very slim and graceful…It was the custom for Caucasian girls to be laced into a tight corselets of deerskin which constricted and formed their narrow bodies… The corselet was put on, with ceremony, around the age of eight, and it was never removed until their marriage, generally at the age of fourteen, or thereabouts, when it was the bridegroom’s privilege to rip open the seams with his kindjal.” Or, he might ceremoniously untie knot after knot, and be ridiculed for any apparent impatience.

Now Fatimat’s husband Shamyl was a preacher of Shariat, strict Muslim law, which was the Islamic demonstration of Caucasian unity against the Russian infidels. As a Sufi shaykh, Shamyl was committed to the disciplined ascetic life which fits in rather nicely with the life of a ghazi, warrior for the Faith. While he was nursing his wounds in the shepherd’s hut, his sister visited him adorned with jewelry, treasure salvaged from the destroyed village where he was wounded; the sight of opulence caused his wounds to burst open. A few authors attribute the outrageous reaction to an old superstition among the mountain folk, that precious stones prevent wounds from healing, but Lesley tells the more popular story, that is, the politically correct one most probably insisted on by Shamyl himself:

“Later (after he suffered his relapse), when Shamyl insisted on miraculous powers and divine support, he used to declare his wounds had reopened in a protest directed by Allah against his sister’s jewels, against her wanton display of earthly treasures wholly unacceptable to the Lord. And there was no one who cared to dispute it.”

But apparently Shamyl was not altogether opposed to a modicum of luxury or lust where his beloved wife was concerned. Lesley says no doubt he loved to visit Fatimat between his campaigns. She was a Daghestani gentlewoman: Lesley describes her customary attire as rather elegant: “…loose, flowered silk trousers, almost hidden by a full-skirted, tight-wasted surcoat with wide, flowing sleeves and elaborate silver-braided fastenings. A great many gold and silver coins hung from the end of the long black braids… Fine muslin veils and coloured silk kerchiefs were wound round her head and across her face when she left the privacy of her quarters; and on gala occasions she wore a tall pointed cap or head-dress, from which more veils flowed. In summer, she went barefooted; in winter her slippers were protected from the mud and snow by high wooden clogs or pattens. Instead of the bourka which men wore against the piercing Caucasian winters, she was wrapped in an embroidered felt cloak lined with fox skins, or sables even.”

I believe Fatimat’s appearance at Shamyl’s rude mountain hospital must have had a more beneficial effect on his wounds than that resulting from his sister’s visit. Our author supposes that the respite the couple had together was a virtual paradise despite their spartan quarters: a hut made of rough stones piled together on the stark, barren mountain side, unchinked gaps open to the weather, with a thatched roof of twigs and boughs dragged up from a lower, vegetated elevation; upon the roof are cheeses patted into rounds, and bricks of dung used for cooking which impart to food its delicious Caucasian flavor.

Before Fatimat arrived at the hut, she was believed to have wandered around the mountains looking for her wounded husband, and to have been captured or killed by the Russians.

“After a while Fatimat was forgotten,” Lesley reports. “Women were of little consequence, to the Faithful. They were chattels, scarcely held to have souls. Yet Shamyl loved his wife with so consuming a passion that once, during a battle, learning she lay at death’s door, he abandoned everything to go to her.”

Now we should know that a man does not have to be a Muslim to consider women and even men for that matter as chattels. In fact, if we pay close attention to the early history of Islam, we shall see Muslim women were actually treated relatively better than than they were previously handled according to Arab tribal law. Of course their status eventually deteriorated to virtual enslavement when men became frightened by their own desires, blaming women for their own lust and jealousy: the double standard certainly came in handy while elaborating stringent laws regarding adultery, polygamy, concubines and instant divorce for men. Unsold single women or those who had not been given away were by law relatively free, perhaps to starve or to be kidnapped pursuant to the ancient custom of wife-snatching.

Even the pre-Islamic Persian veil became ignoble evidence of male jealousy and fear of women’s power rather than a sign of noble decency or at least discreet indecency. The veil once screened the decent gentlewoman or discreet concubine who did not have to work like a bare slave or a poor woman. Even today the head-to-toe purdah is fashionable in some quarters where women prefer to be judged as equals rather than as sex objects. For example, before the men of Afghanistan were recently frightened into fundamental totalitarian unity to save their identity, women wore purdahs over their miniskirts and high heels – one never knows when an atavistic warrior might ride by. Yet when all women became slaves to fearful fundamentalism, the purdah becomes mandatory garb everywhere, even for slaves laboring in the field. As for the concubines of the rich man’s harem (“sacrosanct”) which he secluded behind a tall curtain or wall (purdah) instead of sharing them at the central temple as was the custom elsewhere, he could treat them as well as his four wives differently according to divine revelations.

But never mind, after reading what Gandhi once referred to as a “sewer inspector’s report” of particular short-comings, we should also keep in mind that men in general have always loved women more than they have hated them. Moreover, men seem to wind up in the long run as slaves of their slaves.

As for Shaykh Shamyl’s piety, Lesley does not believe he was a fanatic about Sufi renunciation when it came to enjoying his wife; after all, the Koran states: “Woman is thy field, go then to thy field and till it.” On the other hand, Lesley does not appreciate the following quote as much as the first one:

“Woman is the camel to help man though the desert of existence.”

II. First Things First

I PREFER THE SECOND FIGURE of speech over the first one, and I know my favorite bartender at the Hi Life cocktail lounge would approve of my evaluation. Mind you, I do not believe the fertile ground of existence is any less important than the camel thriving on it, but a nomad must get to it over barren desert and bleak mountain trails. For that purpose his camel is indispensable, and, when he gets to where he is going, he looks forward to leaving.

Furthermore, I take the fundamental dirt for granted, at least more so than I do the romantic camel. In my romantic mood I have good company. Inspired by the camel, Lawrence of Arabia shifted from prose to waxing poetic, giving the lie to the notion that heroes love their horses but have no similar affectionate bond with their camels. Forsooth, ‘camel’ is rightfully a term of endearment for ordinarily docile creatures who will, in season, fly into fits of rage and spit in your face if their love is impeded – the males enjoy legendary notoriety for such fits: Aristotle said an enraged camel bit a man’s head off. By the way, for those who are interested in courting, female camels flirt then resist, sometimes getting banged up pretty bad in the process.

Be that as it may, Muhammad enjoins men to treat camels well: “He said: Behold this she-camel. She hath the right to drink at the well and ye have the right to drink each on an appointed day; and touch her not ill lest there come on you retribution. But they hamstrung her, and then were penitent.”

It is wrong to mistreat any animal including the human animal, but it certainly is no insult to camel or to woman to favorably compare woman with the camel, a creature even more sacred than the holy cow. The life of Arabs living in the desert steppes once depended on her milk as their primary food source: the scientific student shall find higher concentrations of intestinal lactase in Arabians whose ancestors relied on milk for generations. Muhammad himself had 20 milch camels acquired in a raid; he prized them for their daily production: two large skins of milk – the yield per milch camel ranges from 1 to 7 litres per day. In drought-stricken environments other animals bred for meat and milk die, but the camel survives and continues to produce calves and milk. Now taking into account the millions of people who starve annually, the camel is in fact capable of carrying man across the existential desert in more ways than one.

With that in mind, It certainly behooves us to briefly extend our cursory examination of the camel – time and space do not permit a thorough discussion of the camel’s 40,000,000 years on Earth.

The attentive reader may notice I occasionally refer to the camel in general as a “her.” I do so not only because I am weary of using “he” for humans, but because she is the mother ship, the “ship of the desert”, the “land ship”; like all ships, the camel deserves a feminine pronoun. Of course man and woman share most qualities; there are distinctions to be made; the male/female division is arbitrary to a degree, yet we enjoy sex too much to dispense with it on the whole. In any event, please do keep the affinity of the sexes in mind instead of their battle when examining my camel, knowing full well no blatant sexism inheres in my descriptions. After all, Muslims say “Muhammed was a camel, loved the camel, and praised the camel.” Furthermore, before proceeding with our little sketch, we should note that camels have not had their French Revolution, hence male camels have permission to dress just as gorgeously as females. That being said, we continue apace.

Camels originated in North America. Knowing that mankind would eventually need them in Asia, they embarked on the Great Camel Exodus across Alaska – completed nearly a million years ago – and familiarized themselves with the desert and mountain terrain of Asia. Their smaller kin – llamas, alpacas, guanacos, vicunas – headed south on missions to South America. Camels did not return to North America until just before the Civil War, to join the U.S. Camel Corps – camels were also introduced to Australia where 15,000 now run wild. Alas, despite their virtues and credentials including military service under the likes of Cyrus the Great, Hadrian and Napolean, certain exigencies and the development of the railroad caused the U.S. Army to desert them; a few ran wild in Arizona until 1910; domesticated camels now living in Texas will be glad to entertain your family.

The prehistoric Bactrian camel populated Turkistan; one was eventually sighted there drinking water from the river Bactrus in Bactria, an ancient area roughly corresponding to the province of Balkh in northern Afghanistan where Zarathustra (Golden Camel) eventually settled. The Bactrian camel developed two humps in anticipation of Zarathustra’s religious Dualism, the Good and Evil Twins especially celebrated by Zoroastrians who love mountainous regions and pure Fire.

The Arabian or dromedary (dromus = running) camel developed a single hump for desert dwellers who prefer the one and only god. Of course the Arabian camel settled in Arabia and awaited man’s convenience; ancient dumps reveal man was eating wild camels in southern Arabia around 3,000 B.C., where the transition from hunting to taming camels is believed to have occurred. No less an Asian despot than Solomon was once said to have fully domesticated the camel to expand trade and therefore advance civilization East and West. But Solomon, if priests told the true story, has rivals: Abraham, the father of Jews and Christians, allegedly traded his lovely wife Sarah to Pharaoh for some camels amongst other goods. Well, no doubt Solomon exploited the amazing prehistoric creature who was already becoming according to God’s providence man’s nourisher, means of transportation and medium of exchange.

Recall how the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon with treasure-laden camels to find out if he was as great as he was reputed to be, whereupon they held a royal potlatch to see who could outgive the other. Solomon apparently won: Sheba left with more than she arrived with – the gold she came with was alone worth millions of current dollars. Her legendary camel-riding career is certainly not to be ignored in any good camel essay. She was claimed by Ethiopa and, based on the rumor that she had a son with Solomon, whom Solomon made King of Africa, the emperors of Ethiopia from 1270 B.C. to 1975 A.D. have claimed descent from Solomon’s father, David – curiously, the genuine Ark was supposedly secreted out of Jerusalem and taken to Ethiopia. Nigerians also lay claim to the Queen and her famous camels. Yet now it appears from excavations of the 3,000 year-old Mahran Bilqis (Temple of the Moon) in southern Arabia that the famous queen of Bible, Talmud and Koran presided over the cradle of Arab civilization, its capital being Marib in Yemen, on the main caravan route beside the Red Sea.

Still, only camels know for sure who the Queen of Sheba was or who was first to domesticate them – and do forgive me for virtually ignoring the Bactrian camel here, as I do so not from racial prejudice but from ignorance. Anyway, for Solomon’s sake, suffice it to say the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet is gimel, representing the three-fold or holy mount. Yes, another letter of the alphabet symbolizes the bull – but never mind that, or the defamed ones who invented the alphabet.

As we know, nomadic Arabs depended on the camel for their existence. They also knew she would come in handy in the afterlife. It was customary to tie a camel to a man’s grave – but not for long, since she might be stolen. The camel is one of the Prophet’s ten animals in Paradise.

Allah was Muhammad’s most important spiritual concern; however, according to one allegation, there was only one thing on Earth more valuable to Muhammad than a fine camel: the head of his worst enemy. A man must put first things first; for example, one must first live in order to love, and when his worst enemy is hiring assassins to interrupt his loving, he must attend to the priority. At the time of the Prophet’s First Jihad, one of his worst enemies, Abu Jahl, was immediately available for execution at the battle at Badr.

According to Ibn Ishaq (85-151) who recorded the early allegations about the Prophet’s life, on Friday morning, the 17th day of Ramadan (624), in the valley of Badr, the Apostle ordered his companions to attack, and retired to his hut. After two Muslims were killed, he came forth from his humble headquarters to encourage his men, promising Paradise for martyrs.

As the warriors on both sides advanced, Abu Jahl was hear to cry: “O God, destroy this morning him (Muhammad) than more than any of us hath cut the ties of kinship and wrought that which is not approved.” Furthermore, as Abu fought that day, he was heard to say:

“What has fierce war to dislike about me,

A young he-camel with razor like teeth?

For this very purpose did my mother bear me.”

Muhammad was overheard praying: “O God, don’t let him escape me!”

Towards the end of the battle, the Prophet ordered his men to search for Abu among the slain. Some time prior, Muadh had fought Abu and cut off his leg. Then Abu’s son nearly cut off Muadh’s arm, but he went on fighting, dragging his arm behind him until he eventually stood on it with one foot and tore it off – he survived the battle. Another Muslim, Muawwidh, smote Abu and left him for dead – Muawwidh was then slain. Yet another Companion, Abdullah, complying with the Prophet’s order to find Abu’s body, found Abu nearly dead, cut off his head, and presented it to Muhammad:

“This is the head of the enemy of God, Abu Jahl,” said Abdullah.

“By God than Whom there is no other, is it?”

“Yes,” affirmed Abdullah, and threw Abu’s head before Muhammad, who then gave thanks to God.

Now, then, where is the camel in this story? It is in another version of the story related by R.F. Dibble in his 1926 book MOHAMMED (Viking) and by several others such as Sir William Muir. Exulting over the victory, Muhhamad saw Abdullah approaching with Abu’s head, and exclaimed:

“The head of the enemy of God! God! there is none other God!”

“There is none other!” agreed Abdallah, dropping his gory prize before Mohammed’s feet; and Abdallah almost fainted from bliss when the Prophet continued, “It is more acceptable to me than the choicest camel in all Arabia!”

Thus has the legend been elaborated over the centuries. Incidentally, it is said that the first blow rendered by a Muslim on behalf of Allah was delivered during the 13 years of persecution that led up to the first jihad: infidels were throwing stones at praying Muslims; one injured man, As’d ben Abi Waqqas, seized the jaw-bone from a camel’s carcass and beat his attacker with it.

III. Camel Characteristics

I AM INSPIRED TO SAY MORE about the camel’s personal characteristics. Arab poets have owned her as a precious gem, the most beautiful woman of all, with silken cheeks, shapely falcon ears, and a long neck which is slender as a minaret. She has long, slender legs to boot – she rocks smoothly from side to side when she strides, making inexperienced men feel quite giddy. She admittedly enhances her stature with an illusion: she is not as tall as she looks. She has great lips and a large mouth full of teeth, hence Chesebrough Ponds might sign her for a Pepsodent commercial; be careful, camels bite! By the way, the camel’s eyebrows are a bit bushy and her ears are cute and fuzzy.

Oh, yes, when she is really thirsty, Camel Woman can drink people under the table; although she is sure-footed, she has not been seen dancing on one – much to her credit in conservative lands. She is docile, but as we have seen, despite the legend that camels keep their affairs secret, she and her partners act up when feeling salacious.

Furthermore, she might eat you out of house and home, devouring both your blanket and your tent if you don’t eat her first – only a fool would abuse a camel. She has keen vision and can spot a man at a distance; she can be skittish of men or pigs if she has not seen one for a long time or if a strange one approaches – a camel does tend to wander off in search of her original home -; nonetheless, she has remained calm under gunfire and beside speeding locomotives and automobiles even when she has not seen or heard them before.

In fact, her hearing is acute, although she tends to ignore commands. She is a very hard worker half the time. If worked over six months, she might have a breakdown. Every man gives different figures for how much weight she can carry and how far she can carry it in a day – I use “she” for all camels, so speak to a nomad before loading up your camels equally – say, to be safe, 330 lbs. for 8 hrs. at 3 mph; others say more. When the load is heavy, she will complain, groan and bawl when getting up to go to work; if she had her druthers, she would rather not work up a sweat, and would instead like to lay around in the shade.

This might surprise you: she always needs a new fur coat each winter. Kings and Penitents wear her old coats in sheer admiration of her royal and dignified bearing. St. John the Baptist wore with distinction his camel-hair dress. Long before the appearance of Jesus, those in the know knew the camel is the Ark of Civilization who carries the Seed from Oasis to Oasis. Occultists know her as the Desert Dragoness, the Eternal Chariot and Throne who bears the Sun Dragon from occlusion to occlusion across the desert of existence.

IV. Noble Camel Nomads

CAMELS ARE THE PRIDE AND JOY of the distinguished nomad. The noble nomad is fiercely independent and is free of urban foibles because of his confidence in God’s greatest gift, the camel, a divine creature whose vigorous endurance is unmatched by any other creature; a creature not only beautiful but who, in accord with the old maxim “Handsome is as handsome does”, went so far under heavy loads in desert and mountain terrain as to replaced the wheel, man’s foremost progressive invention. For instance, by the seventh century A.D. carts and wagons were almost completely replace by the camel in North Africa. Not to mention that the Arabs would not have been able to save the world from the Dark Ages without the utilitarian camel.

In any case, if the nomad follows the camel’s natural inclination to preserve the ecological balance by cooperating with it, he shall survive along with her. Of course the Iron Rod of Allah is not suspended, a case in point being the fate of the Lost Caravan of 1805: nearly two thousand people and a like number of camels missed the route between Timbuktu and Taoudent – they perished of thirst. Of course romantic people love a challenge, hence it is no wonder the shiek progeny of nomads who settled down for capitalism and its laborious divisions still have camels kept; they love to drive to their summer tents in a Mercedez; some keep a nice tent next to or on the roof of their palaces. Unfortunately, as eloquently revealed by the professor of jurisprudence Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) in his authoritative introduction to history, THE MUQADDIMAH:

“…Sedentary life constitutes the last stage of civilization … the last stage of evil and remoteness from goodness … Bedouins are closer to being good than sedentary people (who are) … accustomed to luxury and success in worldly occupations and to indulgence in worldly desires. Therefore, their souls are colored with all kinds of blameworthy and evil qualities…”

We know sedentary men would walk a mile in expensive boots over burning sands for a camel. They would go much farther than that in the good life if they were not chained down to jobs and were not so short of breath from chain smoking – something Muhammad never did. But a hardy nomad who emulates his camel will upon occasion walk about for three months searching for his beloved camels, taking with him nothing more than a skin of water and faith in God’s providence.

Alas, again I have given short shift to the two-humped Bactrian camel, perhaps because of my one-humped monotheistic conditioning – I shall do penance elsewhere and at length. Before closing, I must address a sensitive “issue” (i.e. a problem) of concern to camels in general, one that is problematic to the politically correct; namely, the camel’s alleged stupidity.

V. Camels Ain’t Stupid

HORSEMEN PREFER HORSES and insist their steeds are far more worthy, both as friends on the trail and in battle, than camels, whom they call – and it pains me to say this – “unresponsive and stupid.” Yet the pride and prestige of “people of the camel” far exceeds that of horsemen. A few words of caution here: one must be careful about speaking highly of horses around camels, for camels hold grudges; a camel owner might throw down his shirt for the camel to trample on first so normal relations can be resumed.

To each his own prejudices and species. Still, I believe the objective man, taking everything into consideration, would favor the camel over the horse. I know some men who actually favor camels over women; they say they do so because women are more intelligent than camels, hence a discriminating man must take his camel and leave his wives and concubines at home – if he can afford their upkeep. You see, he discriminates between intelligence and wisdom, giving a greater weight to a camel’s native wisdom than to a woman’s cultivated intelligence – he does not deny intelligent women have some camel wisdom, a sort of homing instinct associated with Water.

Camels travel to return to the original Well, the Font of wisdom and Source of life across the existential desert. Herds will run towards distant rains. More mysteriously, the Arabs say a foal knows the well its mother drank from before it was born – camels will take off and show up where they were foaled, say, 30 miles or more away; nay, camels have been known to somehow arrive at their point of origin 1,000 miles away.

Our Ship of the Desert is a celestial vehicle as well, a flying camel no less adept than Airvarta, the Hindu god’s flying white elephant. She is the sign of God’s creative power. Sure-footed and calm in the valleys of death and on the mountain sides, she carries the spiritual seeker to his goal, the Divine Presence. If a pious Muslim builds a mosque, then, after he dies the mosque will transform into a white camel to carry him across the Bridge over Hell.

Finally, a story about Muhammad’s favorite camel aptly illustrates the spiritual significance of the camel. I believe the foregoing along with the evidence hereafter shall finally prove it is no insult to compare woman with a camel and to say:

“Woman is man’s camel across the desert of existence.”

The Prophet had managed to escape from Mecca. A posse was on his tail: the Quraish had issued a Wanted Dead or Alive warrant with 100 camels as bounty. After hiding in the cave where he and his companion Abu Bakr were saved by a spider and a dove, they continued their Flight to Medina. Once Muhammad had arrived in Medina and rested, he mounted his white camel Al Kaswa and let go of the reins. Al Kaswa wandered about the streets as the crowd cheered Muhammad’s safe return. Al Kaswa stopped and knelt under some date palms over an old burial ground, indicating the place where Muhammad built Islam’s first mosque.



Patriotism, The Third Race, The Third World War

The Devil's Manifesto HEADER
911 by Darwin Leon


The Third World War on Terrorism declared by President George W. Bush was no doubt patriotic in the sense it was motivated by “love of one’s country.” The Bush rhetoric, mimicked by the U.S. Congress and the majority of Americans, is jingoistic. Moreover, the Bush administration was blatantly war-mongering; indeed, it came into existence as a continuation of the previous Bush administration’s mongering of war on Iraq. However, the administration’s attempt to associate the war with Christianity, i.e. as a holy war under god or a war somehow defending the Christian faith, was politically motivated, self-serving rhetoric. President Bush did not represent fundamental Christianity although he and other “well-meaning” people may have been deluded into thinking they did. Fundamentally, the president represented the secular economic interests of the wealthy, beginning with those of his own family, whose domestic and offshore corporate wheeling and dealing and political machinations are well known.

The more property one owns the more he will love his country and need its police force to defend his holdings. And those who hold much less may very well agree with him, but not for religious reasons. President Bush’s effort to identify the political-economic interests of the United States with the religious interest in god would be absurd unless one equated religion with the political theology of secular private capitalism. As far as most faithful and unfaithful people are concerned, the World Trade Center was not a spiritual temple nor was the Pentagon. Although some Muslims and Christians insisted they were are involved in a religious conflict of crusade versus jihad, and that president Bush was a Christian fanatic behind the scenes, we think not: the issue was material not spiritual.

On Independence Day 2002, President Bush said patriotism is a “living faith.” The god of Christianity must be really dead then, or the president had lost touch with his Christian roots, for faith in nations is anathema to original Christianity. Therefore, not only was the patriotism of the Bush administration war-mongering and jingoistic, it had an anti-Christian agenda as well. Patriotism as “living faith” worships the primitive land-god of fear and hate rather than the man-god of love and forgiveness.

To advance this thesis, we refer to Edward Westermarck’s The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas (1917). He discusses the Stoic cosmopolitan philosophy of a universal or world state, then states:

“But the Roman ideal of patriotism, with its utter disregard for the foreign nations, was not opposed by philosophy alone: it met with an even more formidable antagonism in the new religion. The Christian and the Stoic rejected it on different grounds: while the Stoic felt himself as a citizen of the world, the Christian felt himself as a citizen of heaven, to whom this planet was only a place of exile… Indeed, in the whole Roman Empire there were no men who entire lacked patriotism as the early Christians. They had no affection for Judea, they soon forgot Galilee, they cared nothing for the glory of Greece and Rome. When the judges asked them which was their country they said in answer, ‘I am a Christian.'”

However, “Christianity was not hostile to the state.” He notes the scriptural injunction to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to obey the authorities as god’s ministers, and cites Tertullian: “… but the emperor should be obeyed only so long as his commands do not conflict with the law of God – a Christian ought rather to suffer like Daniel in the lion’s den than sin against his religion, and nothing is more entire foreign to him than affairs of State.”

Of course religious people differ as to the true nature and the right applications of the laws of their god. The early Christians were generally opposed to killing, and rejected military service. Origen would not have Christians serve in the imperial armies, but he approved of Judith murdering Holofernes, hence he condoned tyrannicide. War was further justified in defense of the faith. Clement condemned war as contrary to the faith. In the West, militarism and bloodshed was altogether abjured. Lactantius took the injunction “Thou shalt do no murder” in its absolute sense, drawing no distinction between criminal “murder” and legal “killing.”

“For when God forbids killing, He not only prohibits us from free-booting, which is not permitted even by public laws, but He also advises that those things also, which are regarded as lawful among men, should not be done. So, neither will it be permitted a just man, whose service is justice herself, to enter military service, nor can he accuse anyone of a capital crime, because there is no difference whether you kill a man with a sword or word, since the killing itself is prohibited. Therefore, in this command of God, no exception whatsoever must be made. It is always wrong to kill a man whom God has intended to be a sacrosanct creature.” And, “One of the greatest reasons for which Christianity was considered a civil offense was this, that the Christians refused to take part in state wars.” (Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, translated by Sister Mary Francis McDonald, O.P., in The Fathers of the Church, Catholic University of America Press: Washington)

However, Professor Latourette of Yale arrives at a different conclusion after examining the records: “For years many Christians regarded service in the army as inconsistent with their profession. Some held that for them all bloodshed, whether as soldiers or executioners, was unlawful. At one stage in history the powerful Church of Alexandria seems to have looked askance upon the reception of soldiers into the membership and to have regarded enlistment in the army as permissible in only in exceptional circumstances. Tertullian argued against Christians taking part in the army, on the ground that such service brought one under another master than Christ, that it was out of accord with the Christian obligation to the family, that it involved taking the sword, and that it made necessary inflicting punishment, when to a Christian was forbidden all revenge… To most Christians, however, at least in the first three centuries, the ethical problem involved in military service was not an issue. Jew and slaves were legally disqualified from membership in the legions and, therefore, such Christians as were drawn from these groups were ineligible. The state could nearly always obtain as many soldiers as it wished through voluntary enlistment without recourse to conscription. Then, too, as time passed, the legions were filled chiefly with barbarians from the fringes of the Empire, where Christianity was late in obtaining a large following. After Christianity was adopted by the state, the Church expected those of its members who served in the army to remain there.” (Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of the Expansion of Christianity, Volume II, The First Five Centuries, New York: Harper, 1932)

Thus people disagree on whether or not militarism was an issue; if it was not, considerable discourse on the non-issue had still been handed down to us from antiquity. Christians did agree on practicing the Jewish virtues, especially those of the Pharisees: caring for orphans and for the sick, giving alms to the poor, visiting prisoners, burying the dead, and loving their brethren. And they agreed their god, the Creator and Lawgiver, was the one and only god for humankind. Early Christianity had no class discrimination or castes and outcastes; it was a universal religion recognizing everyone including laborers and slaves as brothers. Christians were “a third race”, an “antisocial” or alternate society opposed to both Jew and Roman in its obsession with personal salvation – a feature which made it popular. Calamities and hardships visited upon the Greco-Roman world were blamed on the Christian refusal to recognize the national gods. Christians were adjudged guilty of high treason, punishable by death. They could recant and be spared, or persist and be given to the beasts – those who were Roman citizens could be mercifully beheaded. The persecution of the “criminals” in those trying days when works proved faith, served to strengthen their bond:

“Every Christian rejected with contempt the superstitions of his family, his city, and his province. The whole body of Christians unanimously refused to hold any communion with the gods of Rome, the empire, and of mankind.” Also, “The personal guilt which every Christian had contracted in thus preferring his private sentiment to the national religion was aggravated by a very high degree by the number and union of the criminals.” Furthermore, “The new converts seemed to renounce their family and country, that they might connect themselves in an indissoluble bond of union with a peculiar society, which everywhere assumed a different character from the rest of mankind.” (Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of he Roman Empire)

W.H.C. Frend’s The Rise of Christianity affirms fundamental Christianity’s antipathy to patriotism. Whereas Romans identified religion with the state, Christians separated politics from religion, hence they were atheists, traitors who were wont to declare: “I do not recognize the empire of this world. Rather, I serve that god whom no man has seen.” Therefore they must be punished, for their refusal to participate in religious nationalism made them responsible for the wrath of the gods. Christian martyrs refused to pledge allegiance to emperor or to empire. The martyr Polycarp said, “If you vainly suppose that I will swear by the genius of Caesar… you are ignorant who I am… Listen plainly… I am a Christian.” (No doubt Polycarp would also refuse to pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of American, and to the Republic for which it stands, or to its Commander-in-Chief).

Whereas Westermarck’s stated, “Christianity was not hostile to the State,” Frend provides information that for some Christians it was a religion of protest. For instance, the convert Peregrinus Proteus, famous for committing suicide by throwing himself onto a pyre at the Olympian games, had made several absurd attempts to stir up trouble between Greeks and Romans, and was at one point expelled from the empire for insulting the emperor. But he was a “backslider”, reverting to Cynicism. Therefore consider the convert Tatian (fl. 160). Tatian despised what he perceived as the emptiness, pride and injustices of the Greco-Roman world, which at the time was enjoying unprecedented peace and prosperity: “I reject your legislation, for there should be common polity for all,” declared Tatian.

Christian, Cynic and Stoic were all disgusted by the luxurious corruption of good times; Christianity waited for troubled times to flourish. Celsus considered the Christians a revolutionary cult bent on subverting the establishment; he said Jesus was an impudent quack who learned magic in Egypt. In his view, Christianity was an illegal association, an introverted sect solely interested in its own members, having the blind faith conducive to revolt. As for Christian rejection of the things of this world, Lucian explained: “Their first lawgivers persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another, after the have transgressed once and for all by denying the Greek gods, by worshiping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws. Therefore they despise all things indiscriminately, and consider them common property….”

Eventually troubled times fell upon the empire, Christians were gladdened by the opportunities provided for their church to flourish; Constantine took up the cause for reasons of his own; the state become Christianity’s friend instead of foe. Alas, thus far a new religion has required state force to become a world religion instead of sinking into obscurity. Constantine’s son Constantius took up the cross where his father left off. Not only did zealous Christians pray for the troops, they exhorted them to do their duty under god and inspired them to bloodshed. The Eastern and Western bishops argued over the fine points of the Christian creed, those points being symbolic of their regional political differences. The Eastern Caesar would force a particular creed upon the whole empire; he wanted to be pope as well as emperor, just as the old pharaohs were gods incarnate, a Jesus and a Christ at once. Thus the schism in attitudes, and the Eastern and Western churches evolved from the difference – the separation was a bloody one.

Whether historically informed people are religious or not, they understand the importance of separating church and state. The separation releases each from the embrace that tends to hamper them both if not destroy one or the other. After all, which cult, if any cult at all, would the state favor? Which creed, if any creed at all, would be the official creed? Would it be, for instance, the cult and creed of right-wing fundamentalists politically represented by born-again Christian George W. Bush? But he does not represent all Christians, nor does Christianity represent all people. In fact, the exclusiveness of a cult and its creed is bigotry – bigots are those who swear “By God” to justify their own opinions.

To those of other “bigoted” (by god) persuasions, Christians appear on the whole to be a “bigoted” Jewish cult. The ancient Romans, tolerant of 40,000 gods, saw them as such. But the most radical bigots have certain virtues in common, and we should know what they are. For instance, still today a few Christians recognize that genuine fundamental Christianity is hostile to much of our commercial activity and thought. These few remnants of the true faith still have hope for the brotherhood of the whole human race under a single father. They believe war is an outrageous crime against humanity. They know courageous Christians (faithful Christians) can no more burn incense to the modern nation or take oaths of allegiance to flags under national gods than could the early Christian pledge allegiance to Roman gods and the empire those gods stood for. There is no true faith when a “one and only god” is exchanged for many gods and then the religious go on to make war against each other to see which nation is most favored by the “one and only god.” How absurd, immoral and repugnant that is to fundamental Christianity; behind its lip-service to god is the barbarian standard: “My country right or wrong.”

Of course the barbarian standard is a national idol or an emblem of god – a term with a barbarian origin. J.B. Bury recounts what happened in the fourth century when triumphant Christianity lost their grip over a certain German frontier: “With the exodus of bishop Wulfilas and his company, Christianity had not died out in Gothland, and the pagan chiefs, especially one of the most prominent, named Athanaric, were intent upon killing it. It made them indignant to see men of their folk withholding sacrifices from the national gods, insulting the images, even burning the sacred groves. And to the blood of martyrs flowed in Dacia. A religious test was instituted. On feast days statues were carried around the wooden dwellings in every village, and whosoever refused to worship was burned alive. You may read about this persecution in the Acts of the Martyr Saint Sabas, which preserve a general picture of its character.” (J.B. Bury, The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians)

Now, then, modern patriotism is nationalistic and appears to be a relatively new social phenomenon associated with the rise of nationalism coincident to the rebellions against the authority of the Church and its anointed princes. But loyalty to one’s own native group or “nation” as well as dissidence is older than the hills of Rome. Edward Westermarck recapitulated patriotism in The Origin and Development of Moral Ideals:

“The citizens of Alexander’s huge empire had in a way become citizen of the world…. There is also an obvious connection between the cosmopolitan idea and the Stoic system in general. According to the Stoics, human society has for its basis the identity of reason in individuals; hence we have no ground for limiting this society to a single nation…. The Roman ideal of patriotism, with its utter disregard of foreign nations….met with a formidable antagonist… The Christian felt himself as a citizen of heaven…. There were no men who so entirely lacked patriotism as the early Christians…. The Church became a positive enemy of national interests. In the seventeenth century a Jesuit general called patriotism ‘a plague with the most certain death of Christian love.’

“With the fall of the Roman Empire patriotism died out in Europe and remained extinct for centuries…. In the Middle Ages ‘his country’ meant little more than the neighborhood in which he lived. Kingdoms existed but no nations. The first duty of vassal was to his lord…. The cause of a distressed lady was in many instances preferable to that of the country to which he belonged…. In the code of Chivalry, true patriotism had there no place at all…. It is strange yet undeniable that no trace of this feeling displayed itself in the medieval history of France before the English wars…. To make use of the native dialect was a sign of ignorance, and to place worldly interests above the claims of the Church was impious…. In England the nation feeling developed earlier than on the Continent, no doubt owing to her insular position…. In France the development of the national feeling was closely connected with the strengthening of the royal power and its gradual victory over feudalism….

“The key-note of the great movement which led to the Revolution was the liberty and equality of the individual, not the glory or welfare of the nation. Men were looked upon as members of the human race rather than as citizens of any particular country…. According to Voltaire patriotism is composed of self-love and prejudice, and only too often makes us the enemies of our fellow men…. Lessing writes… ‘Love of Fatherland (is) at best an heroical weakness’ … Gradually the interest in other countries grew to be more selfish; the attempt to emancipate was absorbed in the desire to subjugate…. When Napoleon introduced French administration in the countries…the resistance was popular…and it was national…. It was stirred by the feeling of national rather than political unity; it was the protest of race over race…. The French people were regarded by it (the resistance) as an ethnological, not as a historic unit…. Ever since, the racial feeling has been the most vigorous force, and has gradually become a true danger to humanity….”

Leo Tolstoy defined patriotism as the principle that justifies the training of wholesale murderers. The wholesale man-killing trade requires more and better equipment than that required for the making of such necessities of life as shoes, clothing, and houses. And the murderous occupation guarantees far better returns and greater glory than that obtained by the average workingman.

Gustave Hervé called patriotism a superstition – one far more injurious, brutal, and inhumane than religion. Religious superstition originated in man’s inability to explain natural phenomena. That is, when primitive man heard thunder and saw lightning, he could not account for either; therefore he concluded that there must be a force greater than himself operating behind the scenes. Similarly, he assumed there existed a supernatural force in rain and various other natural phenomena. Patriotism, on the other hand, is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of deliberate lies and falsehoods; patriotic superstition robs man of his self-respect and dignity, vastly increasing his arrogance and conceit.

Emma Goldman, the great anarcho-communist who averred that patriotism is “a menace to liberty,” liked to quote Dr. Johnson as saying, “Patriotism, sir, is the last resort of scoundrels.” Incidentally, Dr. Johnson did not use the term, “resort”. Rather, the word “refuge” is what appears in Boswell’s entry of Friday, 7 April 1775:

“Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start: ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.’ But let it be considered, that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak for self-interest. I maintained that certainly all patriots were not scoundrels. Being urged (not by Johnson) to name one, I mentioned and eminent person (Burke) whom we all greatly admired. Johnson: ‘Sir, I do not say that he is NOT honest; but we have no reason to conclude from his political conduct that he is honest. Were he to accept a place from this ministry, he would lose that character of firmness which he has, and might be turned out of place in a year. This ministry is neither stable, nor grateful to their friends, as Sir Robert Walpole was, so that he may think it more in his interest to take his chance of his party coming in.”

When taken in context, the famous quote does not support the argument that patriotism per se is a menace to liberty, at least not as strongly as Emma Goldman and others wanted it to. Yet, even when the forceful maxim is watered down by the text, we remain wary of anyone who wraps himself in the flag lest we sink in his ship. As Rochefauld cynically said, after experiencing the absurd Wars of the Fronde, “Virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea.”(Maximes)

When Dr. Johnson spoke of the patriotic refuge, many Englishmen had good cause to openly distrust patriotism and to have malice for government and its alleged justice: the sacrifice of lives and property under patriotism’s bloody banner soon appeared to be for the sordid gain of a few at the expense of many. Yet, in the 1790s, when France’s Revolutionary forces threatened to liberate its neighbors including English subjects from the monarchical patriotism oppressing them, Pitt’s government successfully cracked down on civil liberties – dissenters were driven underground. British patriotism was back in vogue with a vengeance, as was the patriotism of other peoples. Patriotism eventually found its object in the People around the Flag instead of the King on his Throne. Whatever the form of sovereignty, whenever a people is threatened by dire circumstances, it often embraces its domestic oppressors in self-defense and roots out anyone who sympathizes with the enemy. As we recall, the greatest English conservative of all time, Burke, led the patriotic English bandwagon against the dissonant dissidence of English radicals, including Christian Dissenters, who were corresponding amicably with their Jacobin brethren in France. The United States chimed in across the Atlantic: a number of English radicals were idolized.

More than a century prior, just after the English civil wars of the 1640’s, Thomas Hobbes rendered his opinion on malicious dissent, considering it to be a high crime:

“It belongeth to the Office of the Soveraign, to make a right application of Punishments and Rewards. And seeing the end of punishment is not revenge, and discharging of choler; but correction, either of the offender, or of others by his example; the severest Punishments are to be inflicted for those Crimes, that are of the most Danger to the Publique; such as those which proceed from malice to the Government established; those that spring from contempt of Justice; those that provoke Indignation in the Multitude…”

Hobbes believed rebellion was frequently caused by the reading of political and liberal books. Young men are misled by the classic accounts of popular uprisings and wars successfully waged by ancient democracies. They wrongly attribute the successful exploits to the form of government rather than to the imitation of particular strong men. “From the reading, I say, of such books, men have undertaken to kill their Kings, because the Greek and Latine writers, in their books, make it lawfull, and laudable, for any man so to do; provided before he do it, he call him Tyrant.”

No doubt Hobbes would have approved of William Pitt’s crackdown on dissidence in the 1790s, and he might have recommended severer measures, for, after all, as he wrote elsewhere in Leviathan:

“For the Lawes of Nature (as Justice, Equity, Modesty, Mercy, and in summe) doing to other, as wee would be done to,) of themselves, without the terrour of some Power, to cause them to be observed, are contrary to our naturall Passions, that carry us to Partiality, Pride, Revenge, and the like. And Covenants, without the Sword, are but Words, and of no strength to secure a man at all.”

The American colonists begged to disagree, not so much with the form of the tyranny but with its exercise from afar: some thinkers see the American Revolution not so much as a revolution but as a changing of the guard resulting in local autonomy under an elected king, aristocratic senate, and house of commoners. Gustave Le Bon commented on institutional conservatism of some revolutionaries:

“They may be desirous, it is true, of changing the names of their institutions, and to obtain those changes they accomplish at times even violent revolutions, but the essence of these institutions is too much the expression of the hereditary needs of the race for them not invariably to abide by it. There incessant mobility only exerts its influence on quite superficial matters. In fact, they possess conservative instincts as indestructible as those of all primitive beings.” (Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd)

In any case, the liberty that United States citizens so valiantly wrested from the clutches of British tyranny helped inspire European radicals. And the English radicals were, conversely, much admired in the new United States; they were effectively suppressed by Pitt’s government when England embarked on its long war against Revolutionary France. The English radical movement, driven underground, re-emerged forcefully in 1830; in France, of course, mother of a genuinely democratic revolution, and of one reactionary “terrour” after another designed to enharness liberty unleashed. In retrospect, the war against France denounced by the English radicals seems like a just war: not only had France moved on Holland, but she had declared war on England. As for the sordid gain of scoundrels who take refuge in patriotism; there was plenty of hard-won booty, but only after the nobler principles of patriotism were laid down by loyal lords.

Just what are the noble principles of patriotism? Let us not take our own word for it, but rather turn to Francis W. Coker’s study in the 1934 Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences.

‘The word patriotism has no precise definition and there are vague and varying ideas as to the psychological springs, historical origins and characteristic manifestations of the sentiment of patriotism. All may agree that patriotism is love of one’s “country.” There is little agreement among equally intelligent and public spirited men as to what is meant by one’s country, who one’s fellow countrymen are, what services and sacrifices one owes them and what sort of social conduct follows naturally from the patriotic attitude… What some have regarded as the most characteristic and ennobling virtue of civilized man, others have execrated as “the passion of fools” or “the last refuge of a scoundrel.” Sir Robert Walpole, when he was the active political head of England in the eighteenth century, declared, in referring to the political group opposed to him who called themselves “patriots” that he could create fifty patriots overnight merely by “refusing to grant an unreasonable or insolent demand.” ‘

Professor Coker further observed that patriotism reaches its height in divisiveness and hostility. He reminds us that radical and revolutionary doctrines are antithetical to patriotism; he quotes the Communist Manifesto: “The proletariat has no fatherland.”

Furthermore, Christians fundamentally rejects patriotism in favor of the salvation of all persons – in fact, patriotism is regarded as anti-Christian by many fundamental Christians.

We should add here that fundamental Islam is no lover of nations, and would treat all persons, regardless of nationality, according to one law. All those who are opposed to universal law and order are referred to as “the Party of War.” And of course all monotheistic world religions espouse universal peace for those who nod, bow, bend their knee, or otherwise submit to their one-god – infidels who don’t, as St. Louis said, should be run through with a sword.

Patriotism, whatever its correct definition may be, is hard to put down, and it often takes on a religious tone when it faces and makes an idol or god of death; witness this current regression to religious nationalism or state religion by the administration of the United States government: “Patriotism is a living faith. We love our Motherland, and we love her even more when she is attacked,” said the commander-in-chief on Independence Day 2002, avoiding the Germanic implications of the term “Fatherland.” The asexual term, “Homeland”, was finally settled upon as the most appropriate term. Nonetheless, the President of the United States did say that he consulted a “father” higher than his own “father” for authority to wage a pre-emptive war to destroy a sovereign nation, which plunged its people into chaos, thus returning them to their fundamental faith in Allah.

Setting aside the question of whether or not the so-called Third World War on Terrorism, the highly organized terror led by “this great Nation of Ours”, the “Leader of World Civilization, upon whom an attack is an attack on civilization itself”, is a Just (Holy) War, or whether or not the ultimate goal for which the administration ran for office, the continuation of the war against Iraq, is a sane and righteous agenda, we are correct in saying that the patriotism of the Bush administration is war-mongering and jingoistic. And it is an anti-Christian as well, for patriotism as “living faith” worships the primitive land-god of fear and hate rather than the man-god of love and forgiveness. On the other hand, some Muslims and Christians insist the underlying cause of the antipathy is religious: a continuation of Crusade versus militant jihad on behalf of, purportedly, the same one-god.

Patriotism has its positive side. Coker refers to idealists who have managed to synthesize, at least in their own minds, patriotism and pacifism; thus we find, for instance, a world of states that have a liberal attitude towards their social obligations. Each state would be a responsible member of global society, or a nation subject to international law, and so on. We are familiar with the various ideas proposed, monistic or pluralistic, to achieve world peace and harmony. In all social spheres, we dream of unity in diversity even though it defies the fundamental principle of “rational” logic.

Patriotism involves affection for and loyalty to one’s own group. When writing about “group mind” and “herd psychology”, Freud pointed out that sociologists had derived their theories about the pernicious aspects of collective mental life from the behavior of revolutionary groups, particularly those of the French Revolution. Nevertheless, the researchers admitted that groups, despite their low average intelligence and susceptibility to suggestion, have a potential for ethical conduct surpassing that of any individual taken alone. Loyalty and self-sacrifice, after all, may have worthy goals.

Freud criticized sociologist Gustav Le Bon’s immortal little book, The Crowd

Freud’s negative criticism was itself unoriginal. At least in regards to morality, which always implies mentality, Solomon was right when he said there is nothing new under the Sun. Professional criticism of human behavior presents a scientific or objective facade for praise and blame, and is really an elaboration of subjective prejudices associated with pleasant and unpleasant feelings.

“That the moral concepts are ultimately based on emotions either of indignation or approval is a fact which a certain school of thinkers have in vain attempted to deny,” noted Westermarck.

“A crowd may be guilty of murder, incendiarism, and every kind of crime,” wrote Le Bon, “but it is also capable of very lofty acts of devotion, sacrifice, and disinterestedness, of acts much loftier indeed than those of which the isolated individual is capable. Appeals to sentiments of glory, honour, and patriotism are particularly likely to influence the individual forming part of a crowd, and often to the extent of obtaining from him the sacrifice of his life. History is rich in examples analogous to those furnished by the Crusaders and the volunteers of 1793. Collectivities alone are capable of great disinterestedness and great devotion. How numerous are the crowds that have heroically faced death for beliefs, ideas, and phrases that they scarcely understood!”

The psychologist William McDougal believed groups could be raised to a higher ethical level under certain conditions: a continuous existence (in contrast to a ephemeral crowd); a definite idea of the group’s nature – its composition, capacities and functions; association with other similar but different groups; possession of traditions, customs and habits; possession of a definite structure. In retrospect, however, we might wonder what conditions are sufficiently humane and ethical for the fulfillment of higher aims: consider the worst case of patriotism or fatherism, the Nazis. But conditions are not in themselves human and ethical – only people are humane and ethical. One might say that fatherism and its father-principle is no better than the fuehrers (fathers) at its head; that is, no better than what they have in mind, whether they are conscious of it or not. An intelligent individual might not want to be led by a moronic (foolish) father, or a father who is unconscious of the virtues and vices of his motives.

“Unconscious phenomena play an altogether preponderating part not only in organic life, but also in the operations of the intelligence,” wrote Le Bon. “The conscious life of the mind is of small importance in comparison with its unconscious life. The most subtle analyst, the most acute observer, is scarcely successful in discovering more than a very small number of the unconscious motives that determine his conduct. Our conscious acts are the outcome of unconscious substratum created in the mind in the main by hereditary influences.”

Le Bon dwelled on the fact that when individuals come together as a crowd, the crowd has an average mind, a mind of its own, one of low intelligence: “From the intellectual view an abyss may exist between a great mathematician and his boot maker, but from the point of view of character the difference is most often slight or non-existent.” Hence we might expect that a democratic-republican assembly of experts from different walks of life might be best to direct vital public affairs; but Le Bon lowers that expectation: “(The) fact that crowds possess in common ordinary qualities explains why they can never accomplish acts demanding a high degree of intelligence. The decisions affecting matters of general interest come to by an assembly of men of distinction, but specialists in different walks of life, are not sensibly superior to the decisions that would be adopted by a gathering of imbeciles…. In crowds it is stupidity and mother-wit that is accumulated.”

Most interesting is Le Bon’s assertion that crowds are lousy witnesses subject to a heightened suggestibility which can lead to collective hallucinations: “Their collective observations are as erroneous as possible…. most often they merely represent the illusion of an individual who, by a process of contagion, had influenced his fellows. Facts proving that the most utter mistrust of the evidence of crowds is advisable might be multiplied to any extent.”

Said facts are accumulating to this day. For instance, the interpretation of the “evidence” and the “facts” used to justify the inevitable Second Bush War against Iraq was faulty, as was the trust placed in the Great White Father, His Vice President of War, His Cabinet, His Intelligence Agencies, His Congressional Court, and His People’s Intuition. War was a foregone conclusion the day He was elected. After 9/11, collective fear turned to rage and lust for revenge. Thanks to presidential guidance of base instinct, fearful self-defense was converted to belligerent offense: retaliation was diverted to a target with greater spoils for the power elite, who had their contracts drafted long before the war began.

“The violence of the feelings of crowds is always increased, especially in heterogeneous crowds, by all sense of responsibility,” reads The Crowd, “An orator wishing to move a crowd must make an abusive use of violent affirmations. To exaggerate, to affirm, to resort to repetitions, and never to prove anything by reasoning are methods of argument well known to speakers at public meetings.”

The lone wolves who howl warnings are shouted down: “Being in doubt as to what constitutes truth or error, and having, on the other hand, a clear nothing of its strength, a crowd is disposed to give authoritative effect to its inspiration as it is intolerant,” Le Bon observed. “An individual may accept contradiction and discussion; a crowd will never do so. At public meetings the slightest contradiction on the part of an orator is immediately received with howls of fury and violent invective, soon followed by blows and expulsion should the orator stick to his point.”

Our blows and expulsions and secret investigations and interrogations are more subtle and civilized today, our legal mass murders are more “humane”, but we are just as vicious. If patriotism can be a good thing for nations and the world, we had better cultivate better fathers at home.


Muslims Question Infidel Knight







December 20, 2005

Sir Infidel Knight of the Round Table:

My students keep asking me these questions:

How can President Bush and his people be followers of Jesus Christ, God’s great messenger; how can they claim to respect human rights; how can they present the United States Empire as a model for world civilization and claim to be working towards a unified international community or Empire of God over which Christ will be the emperor and the virtuous people of the Earth as his obedient subjects; how can they announce their opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass devastation; how can they make their slogan, “World War on Terrorism’; how can they claim all that as their agenda, yet, at the same time, engage in mass organized terrorism and have whole countries attacked and destroyed with their massive means of destruction?

How can they believe in the natural right to life, liberty, and property, and then have the lives, reputations and possessions of people destroyed on the chance of the presence of a few criminals in a village, city, and country?

How can they claim to be Christians or good people, and then occupy and destroy a sovereign nation and plunge its people into chaos and civil war on the pretext of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, which they themselves possess enough of to destroy the world several times over, having themselves killed hundreds of thousands of people with nuclear bombs against even the advice of some of their best generals?

How can they claim to be defenders of human rights after having killed with sanctions, according to the Red Cross and the Catholic Church, nearly one million men, women and children and infants of Iraq?

How can they say they are spreading world peace by most recently killing one hundred thousand more Iraqis, putting nearly two hundred thousand invading troops on the ground, and systematically breaking the sanctity of private homes?

How can they with a clean conscience justify rebuilding the infrastructure of a country whose infrastructure they deliberately destroyed, charging their own people for the reconstruction monies diverted to their friendly contractors, like Vice President Cheney’s Halliburton?

How can they accuse one tyrant of killing and impoverishing his own people while they themselves put their own troops, many of whom joined the military service not to fight wars on flimsy pretext but to relieve themselves of grinding poverty, in harm’s way, taking them away from the loved ones who need their support and having them killed, maimed, and psychologically traumatized, squandering hundreds of billions of dollars in the process?

How can your beloved president be, as he claims, a follower of Jesus Christ, his “political hero” (may Allah have mercy on the great messenger’s soul); how can he genuinely respect human rights; how can he honestly present liberalism as a civilization model; how can he truly oppose the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction; how can he dare to make “the Global War on Terror” his slogan; how can he sincerely work for the establishment of a unified international community which Jesus Christ (Allah has mercy on his soul) and the virtuous of the Earth will one day govern; – how can he do all this with good intentions, yet, at the same time, spit in the face of the international assembly three times and then preemptively attack on flimsy pretexts other countries that have done his countrymen no harm; command the military organ of mass terrorism to destroy a sovereign state and the infrastructure of a country, destabilizing its people, killing a hundred thousand of them, and plunging the country into the horror and terror of constant chaos; violate the sanctity of private homes, kicking down doors at all hours of the day, dragging people out of their beds, blindfolding them and forcing them to their knees, and sometimes murdering men, women and children in their homes; kill hundreds of innocent people in their homes with bombs because a few criminals might be hiding among them; hold suspects in prisons for years without charge or counsel in violation of standards of human decency and international justice; take his own people’s children away from their homes and send them into harm’s way on the basis of a pack of lies, in effect, psychologically and physically maiming and killing his own people; waste trillions of dollars of his people’s resources on the commission of evil and consequent chaos, while reducing taxes on his rich supporters and diminishing the welfare programs guaranteed by the Preamble to the Constitution of his country; – yes, how can he do all this in contradiction to his formerly stated intentions?

How can he call Saddam Hussein a murderous dictator, yet have the same effect?

What do we call a man whose deeds fly in the face of his stated principles?

These are the questions my students ask, over and over again, as the situation grows more intolerable, and they think it’s best to have nuclear weapons to protect their country from your country because it is advancing world terrorism.

All I can say is that I will ask you for answers, knowing that Allah is merciful and shall redeem those who repent and do their best to undo wrongs and bring their actions into line with good words.

We are looking forward to your reply in peace.

Yours Faithfully in Peace,
Dajen Doomah
School Teacher