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What is the Opposite of Fantasy?

Reader comment on item: The Arabs as Seen Fifty Years Ago

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Mar 6, 2012 at 12:24

It is startling and sobering to read in a major mass publication of wide Western readership from 50 years ago the degree of air-headed fantasy regarding the Arab World.

I am by no means certain that such air-headed fantasy doesn't continue to rule the view of the Arab and Muslim Middle East in many Western minds, including those at the top of all Western Governments, even Israel's.

For instance, how many consider that there may never for a moment have been, and is not now, the slightest possibility that the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular will genuinely accept peace with Israel or the formation of a Palestinian State on any terms that Israel could safely accept, or that any friend of israel should ask it to accept.

But the 'Opposite of Fantasy' about the Arab World is something much more profound. It is the sober and serious question whether a genuine and lasting Peace among the Arab and MME countries and between those countries and the West is possible without the decline and even collapse of the religion of Islam and it's symbiotic component, Sharia law.

Perhaps the strangest element of Western and even Israeli fantasy 50 years after 1962 is the bone-deep (and bone-headed?) taboo against asking, pondering, and above all publicly debating whether Islam and Sharia law could EVER be compatible with a reasonably peaceful and globalized world?

There's something truly absurd about listening to the endless pouring out of hatred from the Islamic world against Israel, Democracy, the United States and the western style of life generally (all charges we, or most of us, think are entirely wrong). And yet we demurely keep our lips sealed against the slightest conversation about whether the highest truth of this conflict of world views is the exact opposite.

Which is, that it's the Islamic and Sharia world that is incompatible with either peace or the hopeful forward march of the human race.

Perhaps if we could allow ourselves to question the moral legitimacy of Islam (essentially the product of the malignant mind of one man who founded an ideology of extreme violence and died full of hatred and the grandiose ambition to submit the entire world to his will alone).

Without questioning this political ideology - and it is far more in practice political than religious - we not only insulate ourselves from any awareness of how much latent opposition there may be in the Islamic and Sharia to its fundamental suffocation of life, but we cut off that opposition from any aid and comfort our confrontation with the totalitarian reality of life under Mohammed's Islam might provide.

In other words if we confronted Islam and Sharia with critical thought and principled opposition, as we did Communist totalitarianism, we might not have to think about nuclear war with Iran. And we might not have slipped into the folly of trying to 'nation-build' Arab states that cannot possibly reform while self-enslaved by the frozen mental tyranny of the Koran and Sharai law.

To take the most current example of the extent of our unchanged fantasy about the Arab world, consider that in the aftermath of the burnt Korans in Kabul, we remain focused on the burning, and making groveling apologies, while we should have become completely outraged at the mass rioting and the ambush murder of six American soldiers. Very probably, we should have used this outbreak of barbarism as an excuse to instantly leave the country, while at the same time promising to return and blast again to rubble any succeeding government that hosted another terrorist threat to the outside world (the only apology we should give would be to the women we would leave behind to the barbaric misogynism of Muslim men in the grip of an evil ideology, and whom we put at risk by showing up in the first place for any other reason than to take down the Taliban).

Therefore, in terms of guessing about Dr Pipes' influence 50 years from now, that future judgement may rest on how opposite his reporting and interpretations became from the fantasy of the 1962 publication he has usefully brought to our attention.

Ron Thompson


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