This source document contains all the original references in the two songs in Jihad-Sakina, including the prophetic passages in Jihad and the many historical references to violence in Islam in the Sakina lament.
(originally inspired by the article The Hollywood Society
Evan Fairbanks, A ground zero photographer shooting right under plane two , commented of his apocalyptic sequence "We all see this sort of thing in Hollywood but now it's real it's numbing ..."
The BBC has noted Star Wars proves to be an ineffective weapon.
failure to ratify the Kyoto Global Warming Convention
failure to ratify the Rio Convention on Biodiversity
see a list of U.S. global treaty transgressions
the Enron syndrome - big business corruption of the election of G W Bush 2001
This is not declaring holy war of any sort but ironically commenting that the U.S. has become a rogue nation, declaring an un-holy war of dominion over nature through trans-national exploitation.
again inspired by "The Hollywood Society"
The very security crisis caused by this event runs the risk of driving the U.S. into Orwellian police-state surveillance as well as the existing "big brother" aspects of world superpower domination.
This comment on mass extinction of species has become fulfilled ironically in the loss of loved ones in the collapse of the twin towers.
The valley of the shadow of death becomes the smoky valleys of lower Manhattan, caused by the damage wrought by the indiscretion of the terrorists, becoming a death trance as the struggling workers look in vain for survivors.
Recovery, emotional bonding and support days of prayer and re-affirmation
George Bush initially referred to the war on terror as a "crusade" and the Islamic groups have declared a jihad against the U.S.Will we enter a world war between capitalism and Islam and risk destroying the fragile natural heritage of planet Earth by depending for our industrial domination on the oil coming from the 'holy heartlands' of the Islamic world?
We now have George Bush the "cowboy" from Texas declaring a war within a month of the writing of this song, legally or otherwise as noted by Colin Powell and calling for Bin Laden "dead or alive". He has now labelled seven countries as potential nuclear targets.
This is the Styx crossing every mortal traverses (martyrs intentionally) - it was the shadow of Icarus but realized within the month in the second plane passing right through tower one in flames and coming out the other side and everyone falling, the people in the plane, jumping from the towers and the 3000 caught in the collapse. The Bruegel painting of Icarus shows the population unaware of the imminent cosmic portents in the sky.
Many reporters said "Nothing will ever be the same again"
Islamic martyrs are assured by the clerics that they will see the face of Allah.
Rudi Giuliani the Mayor of New York said - we don't know how many people have died "but the pain will be more than we can bear"
Any song of genocide will have reverberations with NY but this song is prophetic. It is a prescient dream-time judgement on the imminent collision caused by the exploitative character and soullessness of US capitalism and the final struggle of jihad. It is this soullessness that could become the downfall of our whole civilization.
The song is NOT a declaration of jihad against the US, but a non-violent ethical protest, made also by environmental groups, G-8 protesters and GM opponents worldwide that the US is in effect waging an unholy war of dominion against the biosphere in the name of trans-national capitalism. I say unholy because it lacks the ethical principles of social justice that will bring about a better world and leads to economic, educational and cultural inequalities that feed a sense of exploitation and injustice that fuels in turn religious fundamentalism. We also need to free ourselves from excessive dependence on Middle Eastern oil and advance sustainable technologies, which George Bush is manifestly failing to do. This leaves the West dependent for its world domination on exploitation of Islam's heart centre.
Chris King, Dulcimer, keyboard, lyrics, vocals, percussion.
In this discussion we need to honestly address the relation between Islam and violence, for, despite its protestations to being a peaceful religion, Islam contains unresolved dissonances between the peace of sakina and unrestrained genocidal holy war 'jihad', sometimes given the belatedly civilized gloss of struggle or striving. Until this dissonance is resolved at the source, Islam will always be a religion resorting to coercion by death and the threats of death both terrorism and fatwas exert.
We need to understand this in a context. Jericho and Hazor were declarations of holy war of genocide in the old testament. Islam has merely taken a leaf out of the Hebrew Bible. Christianity is also divided between following the example of the prince of peace and the Christian religious violence of Crusade we see appearing again now. To resolve religious violence across the board means forsaking Jericho's victory and the warrior prince of the end of days riding on a white horse in the clouds with words of war. Only in the mutual embracing of peace in all three religions and among all peoples and traditions will world peace come.
While many people would like to say the war against terrorism is not a war against Islam, this is not actually the case, because the jihadi Islamicists and their practitioners of terror consider this a legitimate religious position of Islam - why?
What follows are two excerpts from "Muhammad" by Karen Armstrong [with comments in brackets].
These show that (1) Muhammad committed 700 Jewish men to genocide for parleying with the 'enemy' although they did not actually let the enemy in, but merely were a 'risk' factor. (2) that this genocide, numerically comparable to that of Srebrenica, proved completely unjustified in later history, as victory did not come from war and (3) that in coming to terms with the peace of sakina in the apparent humiliation of Hudaybiyah, Muhammad met the feminine wisdom of Shekhinah.
Islam's response, rather than to learn that jihad was an unholy error of genocide has been to say that both jihad and sakina are legitimate strategies in the conversion of whole societies to the brotherhood (umma actually comes from 'mother-unit' of the Benjaminite tribes around Mari c 2200 BC). History declares jihad to be a crime against humanity and sakina the breath of the spirit of compassion on violent male prophets.
from Holy War in Muhammad by Karen Armstrong
[In Medina there was a siege by the Qurash from Medina with a large army. The Qurayzah Jews of Medina parleyed with the enemy and contemplated siding with the enemy but had not actually let them into the Oasis.]
This is a grim and horrible story and has hideous overtones for most of us today. Huyay had joined Qurayzah in their quarters after the Quraysh and the confed- erates had left Medina, as he had promised. When they heard that Muhammad was advancing on their territory, the Qurayzah duly barri- caded themselves into their fortreess and managed to hold out against the Muslims for twenty-five days. They knew that as unfaithful allies they could expect no mercy, and Huyay and Ka'b seem to have urged them to accept the inevitable. They put three possibilities before their people: they could either submit to Muhammad unconditionally (his extraordi- nary success argued that he might be a true prophet); or they could kill their women and children and attack the Muslim army: if they died they would not have to worry about their dependants and if they won they could easily find new wives; or they could take Muhammad unawares by attacking him on their Sabbath, when he would not be expecting them to act. The jews rejected all these options and asked Muhammad to let them leave the oasis on the same terms as the Bani Nadir. Muhammad refused: Nadir had proved to be even more dangerous to the umma after it had left Medina, so this time he was determined to exact total surrender. He allowed Qurayzah to consult one of their former allies: Abu Lubabah ibn Abd al-Mundhir, the chief of Auf. This part of the story is obscure. The Jews are said to have asked Abu Lubabah what Muhammad intended to do and he touched his throat, tacitly telling them that they had been sentenced to death. He was then so overcome by remorse that he bound himself to a pillar of the mosque for fifteen days until Muhammad released him. If he had told the Jews of their fate in this way, it does not seem to have affected their decision, so it has been suggested that he had perhaps indicated that he would honour his old allegiance to Qurayzah. The next day, the Qurayzah agreed to accept Muhammad's judgement and opened their gates to the Muslim army, presumably trusting in the support of their former confederates in the tribe of Aws. Indeed, the Aws begged Muhammad to be merciful; had he not granted the Bani Qaynuqa their lives at the request of Ibn Ubbay, a Khasrajite? Muhammad asked them if they would accept the decision of one of their own leading men and they agreed. During the siege, Sa'd ibn Muadh had received a fatal wound, but he was carried to the territory of Qurayzah on a donkey. His fellow chiefs urged him to spare their former allies, but Sa'd would have realised that this could be the thin end of the wedge that would bring chaos back to Medina. Should an old loyalty take precedence over commitment to the umma? Sa'd judged that all the 700 men should be killed, their wives and children sold into slavery and their property divided among the Muslims. Muhammad cried aloud: 'You have judged according to the very sentence of ai-Llah above the seven skies! 162 The next day Muhammad ordered another trench to be dug, this time in the souk of Medina. Some individuals were spared at the request of the Muslims, but the rest were tied together in groups and beheaded; their bodies were thrown into the trench. Only one woman was executed, for throwing a millstone on one of the Muslims during the siege of the tribe. Aisha remembered her vividly:
She was actually with me and was talking with me and laughing immoderately as the apostle was killing her men in the market when suddenly an unseen voice called her name. 'Good heavens,' I cried, 'what is the matter?"I am to be killed,' she replied. 'What for?' I asked. 'Because of something I did,' she answered. She was taken away and beheaded. Aisha used to say, I shall never forget my wonder at her good spirits and her loud laughter when all the time she knew that she would be killed.63
It is probably impossible for us to dissociate this story from Nazi atrocities and it will inevitably alienate many people irrevocably from Muhammad. But Western scholars like Maxime Rodinson and W. Montgomery Watt argue that it is not correct to judge the incident by twentieth-century standards. This was a very primitive society - far more primitive than the Jewish society in which Jesus had lived and promulgated his gospel of mercy and love some 600 years earlier.
[But this Genocide of the Jews of Medina proved unnecessary because the road to Mecca did not lie in future war. Firstly we have compromise and truce.]
from Holy Peace
At Badr God had revealed His presence in the midst of a battle, which had been a sign and a salvation, but God had also been present in the apparent humiliation of Hudaybiyah, when He had sent down His sakina, the spirit of peace and tranquillity:
God had sent down His sakina once before, when Abu Bake and Muhammad had hidden for three days in the Cave outside Mecca, despised and rejected by their kinsmen and facing the possibility of imminent, pointless death. The sakina, it will also be recalled, seems to have been related to the Hebrew Shekinah, the term for God's presence in the world. Badr and Hudaybiyah, therefore, were both 'signs' of salvation that revealed that God was mysteriously present in current historical events. He was just as active in peace as in war and could make what looked like a defeat into a manifest victory. The sura goes on to say that when the pilgrims had undertaken the perilous enterprise of the unarmed pilgrimage to Mecca, they had made an act of faith which the Bedouin who had refused to accompany Muhammad had not been ready for. 19 They had made another act of faith and trust when they had pledged fealty to Muhammad under the acacia tree. The Quraysh could have wiped them out, but they had promised to obey Muhammad even though he had led them into the darkness of the shadow of humiliation; the consequent treaty was also a 'sign' which the Muslims had to interpret, looking beyond the externals to the inner meaning.20 At Badr the victory had been afurqan which had separated the just from the unjust in battle; the victory (fath) of Hudaybiyah had distinguished believer from unbeliever by the spirit of peace:
Muhammad had been gripped by an imperative which was a politically creative act. He had intuitively penetrated to a deeper understanding of the dynamics of change in Arabia, and events would vindicate his insight. From this point, now that he had saved the umma from the threat of extinction, the jihad would become an effort of peace that demanded all his patience and ingenuity. Badr and Hudaybiyah are, therefore, two sides of a single coin and both were essential to the Qu'ranic vision. Sometimes it would be necessary to fight in order to preserve decent values, and while the war lasted the Muslims must fight with absolute dedication and show no sign of weakness, lest hostilities drag on interminably, causing more bloodshed and more pointless fighting. But there was also a time for peace, even if this meant an immediate loss of face, because this could also be best in the long term. It is not true that Islam preaches a total intransigence and inspires a mindless fanaticism. Instead the Qu'ran evolves a complementary theology of war and peace, which most Christians would not find difficult to accept.
[However, it remains doubtful whether the prophet ever fully understood Sakina despite becoming familiar with the Shekhinah through Hebrew folklore from targum and midrash through the Jews of Medina, for his only use of the peace principle is not to bring about matrimonial concord, nor the reflowering of paradise on Earth, but to lie low and for your followers to gain faith while evading one's pursuers, so that one can turn and overwhelm them when the time is right. Thus the peace of Sakina in Islam is associated with another concept takiya - the right to fake peace when you are weak, so as to defeat your enemy when you are stronger.]
from The Naked Face of Eve - Nawal el Saadawi
Sarah was a famous slave singer who aimed her barbed words against the Moslems. She was among those whom Mahomet ordered to be executed on the day of his victorious entry into Mecca. In the region of El Nagir, it was recounted that some women had rejoiced when the Prophet died and Abu Bake, the first of the Caliphs, ordered their hands and feet to be cut off. Thus women who dared to give voice to their protest or opposition could be exposed to cruel punishment. Their hands might be cut off, or their teeth pulled out, or their tongues torn from their mouths. This last form of punishment was usually reserved for those who were singers. It was said of these women that they used to dye their hands with henna, brazenly display the seductions of their beauty, and beat time with their fingers on tambourines and drums in defiance of God, and in derision towards the rights of God and his Prophet. It was therefore necessary to cut off their hands and tear out their tongues.
The 'drunken Sufis' exemplified by Bistami (Armstrong 93 261) desired to become one with the beloved in anihilation ('fana): "I gazed upon al-Llah with the eye of truth and said to Him: 'Who is this?" He said "This is neither I nor other than I There is no God but I" Then he changed my out of my identity into his Selfhood. Then I communed with him with the tongue of his face, saying "How fares it with me with Thee? He said "I am through Thee, there is no God but Thou".
This was taken to its visionary conclusion by al-Hallaj, the 'wool carder'
However when he preached overthrow of the Caliphate and cried "ana al-Haqq - I am the truth" as Jesus did, he was crucified.
"When he saw the cross of nails he turned and uttered a prayer: 'And these Thy servants who are gathered to slay me, in zeal for Thy rleigion and in desire to win Thy favours, forgive them O Lord, and have mercy upon them; for verily if Thou hadst revealed to them what thou hast revealed to me, they would not have done what they have done,; and if Thou hadst hidden from me what you have hidden from them, I should not have suffered this tribulation. Glory unto Thee in whatsoever thou doest, and glory unto Thee in whatsoever Thou willest' " (Armstrong 1993 264).
From this beginning has sprung a continuing faithfullness to the wild vision of these masters which goes beyond all traditional bounds:
Mansur el-Hallaj was dismembered while still alive, and is the greatest Sufi martyr. But can you name the person who cut him up? Suhrawardi was murdered by the law, but what was the name of his executioner? Ghazali's books were thrown into the flames, but by the hand of whom? Nobody remembers these people's names, for the Sufis decline to reiterate the names of the infamous. Everyone knows the names of Ghazali, of Mansur and of Suhrawardi. But take it in another way. We remember, and we honour, the names of our great teachers. But do we remember what it was that they taught? How many people, not being Sufis, who revere the very mention of any of these three, as paying the highest penalties for their work, trouble themselves to inquire what these men should have been doing which was so important?
We may not know the names of the miscreants, but their successors have avenged themselves upon us; because they have shrugged aside Hallaj, adopted their opponent Ghazali as one of their own, and pretended that Suhrawardi was merely obsessed. They have avenged themselves on humanity for forgetting them. Are we going to allow them to win, once and for all? Who among us is going to follow the path, and in so doing say to the scholastics and clerks: 'Enough, brother, Ghazali, Suhrawardi and Mansur still live!'? - Itibari (Shah 296)
The facts are that each temple was demolished or burned to the ground, and the priests and priestesses put to the sword. Indeed when the banu-Umahmah were slaughtered for defending dhu-al-Khalasah which stood half way to Sana, a certain woman cried (Faris 31):
It is said by al-Bukhari that the Prophet himself said: "This world shall not pass away until the buttocks of the women of Daws wiggle [again] around the dhu-al-Khalasah and they worship it as they were want to do [before Islam]" (Faris 32).
The historians Ibn Sa'd and Tabari (who quotes two versions) mention the satanic verses. In one the prophet is approached by Qur'ash to make a deal and persuaded to utter the verses in return for promise of admission to Mecca's inner circles. In the other, the prophet genuinely tries to find a place for the goddesses without compromising his monothesim. "When the apostle saw that his people had tumed their backs on him and he was pained by their estrangement from what he brought them from God, he longed that there should come to him from God a message that would reconcile his people to him. One day, Tabari says, while he was meditating in the Ka'aba, the answer seemed to come in a revelation that gave a place to the three 'goddesses' without compromising his monotheistic vision.
According to this version of the story, the Quraysh were delighted with the new revelation, which in al-Kalbi's words was the traditional invocation made by the Qura'sh to the goddesses as they circumambulated the Ka'aba (Faris 17). The gharaniq were probably Numidian cranes which were thought to fly higher than any other bird. Muhammad, may have believed in the existence of the banat - al-Llah as he believed in the existence of angels and jinn, was giving the 'goddesses' a delicate compliment, without compromising his message. ... The Quraysh spread the good news throughout the city: 'Muhammad has spoken of our gods in splendid fashion. He alleged in what he recited that they are the exalted gharaniq whose intercession is approved" (Armstrong 1993 112).
Muhammad later removed these verses because he was later told by Gabriel they were "Satan inspired". The rejection of the Manat led to the historic conflict with the Qur'ash which resulted in the flight to Medina.
Muhammad then mounted a singular rejection of the daughters of al-Lah. Muhammad was offered a pact of mutual religious toleration between Allah and Allat which was entirely in keeping with the holy place it was: "the Muslims could go on worshipping al-Lllah in their religion, and the others could go on worshipping al-Lat al-Uzza and Manat. In response Muhammad recited the Sura of Rejection:
The attitude of the other side is frankly portrayed by Muhammad: 23.24 "And the chiefs of those who disbelieved from among his people said: 'He is nothing but a mortal like yourselves who desires that he may have superiority over you, and if Allah had pleased, He could certainly have sent down angels. We have not heard of this among our fathers of yore: He is naught but a man bedevilled.' "
Circumstances became steadily worse. A ban was imposed which led to much hardship. Khadja died. Muhammad was asked a difficult question by Abu Lahab: "Would Muhammad's father have gone to hell because he was a pagan?" (Armstrong 1991 136). Muhammad ended up having to retreat to Medina. It is significant that of the pilgrims to Mecca from Medina in 622, 73 of the men, but only 3 of the women were followers of the Prophet (Armstrong 1991 149).
Taslima Nasrin on Shariah and the Stoning of Noorjehan:
A woman named Noorjehan Begum was, by most accounts, the daughter of a landless peasant - a twenty-one-year-old who, in January, 1993, after her first marriage was dissolved, married again. The local mullah, giving no reasons, declared that a second marriage was contrary to Islamic law. A few weeks later, just after dawn, she was led to an open field in a small village in the district of Sylhet a stronghold of the fundamentalists - where a pit had been dug overnight. She was lowered into the pit and buried waist deep. Then, slowly and methodically, she was stoned - a hundred and one times. Her death horrified Dhaka's elite. It has horrified me into action.
A few months later, in another village another woman - also named Noorjehan - was tied to a bamboo stake after being condemned by a fatwa for adultery, she had abandoned her husband to elope with a neighbor, it was said. Kerosene was poured over her, and she was burned to death.
By 1993, use of the fatwa had travelled to the most remote hamlets of Bangladesh. It seemed that no areas were left untouched by the fundamentalists' ire. Over the countryside, women and non-governmental organizations, or N.G.O.s, whose programs for women begun transforming village life, came nder attack, as they challenged the staus-quo, a hierarchical system over which mullahs and moneylenders had presided tionally. The mullahs' particular targets were the Grameen Bank and the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee, whose success vath women's programs in the villages had earned international renown. In the first three months of this year, a hundred and ten BRAC schools were torched, and many of them burned to the ground. Women, as the focus of the efforts ofthe N.G.O.s, were the objects of the mullahs' wrath. Throughout the countryside, they were being humiliated, driven out of their villages, or pushed to suicide if they dared to leave their homes, whether to work, to remarry, or to go to school.
As the atrocities continued, Taslima began to make a name for herself as an advocate of social, legal, and religious reform. She had arrived in Dhaka in late 1990, and had been assigned to the gynecological department of a small hospital in a working-class neighborhood.
Much of what she saw there, along with her earlier experiences in hospitals in Mymensingh, provided her with material for the harsh realism that became a defining characteristic of her work. She had already published small volumes of poetry, and now she began writing a syndicated newspaper column, mainly about the world she knew: about the oppression ofwomen in the provinces, and religious intolerance. Her language was Swiftian and direct. Her readership consisted largely of women - and of fundamentalists. Over the next year or so, her writing became increasingly stark and angry, making references to sexual organs, and featuring tirades against men and an uncompromising rejection of the status quo - The mullahs were enraged. In early 1992, angry mobs had begun attacking bookstores that carried her works; they also attacked her physically at the Dhaka Book Fair. She received threatening threatening anonymous letters and phone calls. She was called "whore" and "pornographer"!
In 1992 she wrote Shame a fictionalized account of the brutalization of a Hindu family by Islamic extremists in India, which was lauded by Hindus but resulted in her first fatwah from the Muslims.
A few months later in Calcutta, she told the English- language daily Statesman, according to the newspaper's account, that 'the Koran should be revised thoroughly,' and added, almost as an afterthought, that women activists in Bangladesh - who, at some risk to themselves, had earlier spoken out in her behalf played limited roles, and were only too happy to serve as housewives, faithfully following Islam's Shariat law.
Subsequently, in an open letter to the Indian and Bangladeshi press, she denied making the reported remarks, but her denial struck the already outraged as even more provocative than those initial remarks, for in it she wrote that "the Koran, the Vedas, the Bible and all such religious texts' were 'out of place and out of time.' The clear implication was that they should all be abolished, not revised.
In Bangladesh, fundamentalists took to the streets by the tens of thousands in a frenzy. What had begun as a minor, if nettlesome, incident was assuming the form of a major political crisis. ... All the Bangladeshis I talked with agreed that, intentionally or not, Taslima had become an Islamic lightning rod. The government filed blasphemy charges against her. She left her apartment and went underground. For the next two months, she never saw daylight.
My lawyers have told me, Close your big mouth about religion; zip it shut. Otherwise, they'll leave me.' 'Did you say that the Koran should be revised?' 'No,' she wailed. 'How many times I have to say it? I've said it over and again. I said that Shariat law should be revised. I want a modern, civilized law where women are given equal rights. I want no religious law that discrimiates, none, period - no Hindu law, Christian law, no Islamic law. Why should a man be entitled to have four wives? Why should a son get two-thirds of his parents'property when a daughter an inherit only a third?' She fell silent, then turned toward me and asked, almost as though she were about someone else, 'Should I be killed for saying this?"
Women only half the value of men:
4.11 Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females
Down to the present time, according to the Koran (2: 82) the evidence of two women is considered equivalent to that of one man: "call in to witness from among your men two witnesses; but if there are not two men, then one man and two women from among those whom you choose to be witnesses".
Hadith narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri and Sahih Bukhari: The Prophet said, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?" The women said, "Yes." He said, "This is because of the deficiency of a woman's mind."
Enforced seclusion of women:
24.30 Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; surely Allah is Aware of what they do.
24.31 And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms, and not display their ornaments except to their husbands or their fathers, or the fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or those whom their right hands possess, or the male servants not having need (of women), or the children who have not attained knowledge of what is hidden of women; and let them not strike their feet so that what they hide of their ornaments may be known; and turn to Allah all of you, O believers! so that you may be successful.
24.60 And (as for) women advanced in years who do not hope for a marriage, it is no sin for them if they put off their clothes without displaying their ornaments; and if they restrain themselves it is better for them; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
33.59 O Prophet! say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Muhammad took nine wives and a concubine after Khadja, more than he permitted in Islam itself: "[At age 50, Muhammad married again, this time exercising the Arab option of taking several wives, which he had not done while married to Khadija. In Mecca he wed the widow Sawda and was engaged to Aisha, the 6-year-old daughter of Abu Bake. He later married her in Medina at age 9, although the marriage was not consummated until she reached the age of womanhood in Arabic culture. Next he married Hafsa, the daughter of Umar, a notable Companion, as the circle of Muslims closest to Muhammad came to be called. Muhammad's marriage to Zaynab, the wife of his adopted son Zayd required some thought and several revelations. Zayd assured the Prophet that his marriage to Zaynab was not a happy one, and though Islamic law permitted yet disapproved of divorce as well as marriage to one's son's relations, Zayd and Zaynab were divorced and Muhammad married her. As the Prophet's revelations granted permission for his marriages, the outspoken Aisha remarked (according to oral tradition), "It seems that God is hastening to satisfy your desires"-demonstrating Aisha's remarkable freedom as a woman. Muhammad then married Umm Salama and two Jewish women, Raihana and Safiya, followed by Umm Habiba, a daughter of Abu Sufyan, a famously idolatrous opponent of Islam, and Maimuna, sister-in-law of his uncle and the aunt of Khalid, the great Quraysh military leader. Besides these 9 official wives, Muhammad took as concubine-over the objections of Aisha and his other wives-Mariya, a Coptic Christian slave girl who was a gift from the ruler of Egypt." (Occhigrosso 1996 403)
From the prophet's wives Brooks, Geraldine
1995 Nine Parts of Desire,
Anchor Doubleday, New York ISBN 0-385-47576-4
"Muhammad's increasing number of divine revelations on women seemed more and more influenced by the need to achieve tranquillity in his own household. Aisha, for one, wasn't afraid to point out the coincidence. "It seems to me," she said tartly, "your Lord makes haste to satisfy your desires." One such coincidence was the revelation that adopted children weren't to be considered as blood kin. This followed Muhammad's glimpse of the partially unclad Zeinab, wife of Zaid, the freed slave whom Muhammad had adopted and raised as a son. The community had been shocked by Zaid's divorce and Muhammad's intention to marry Zeinab, which flouted the ban on a father's marriage to the wife of a son. Muhammad was with Aisha when he had the revelation saying that it was a mistake by Muslims to consider adoption as creating the same ties as blood kin. From that point, the Koran says, Muslims were to proclaim the true parentage of any children they raised. God, the revelation disclosed, had arranged Muhammad's marriage with Zeinab to disclose to Muslims the error of their previous beliefs. When Zeinab moved into the mosque, she was able to taunt Aisha by claiming that her marriage to the prophet had been arranged by God. The revelation on the seclusion of the prophet's wives came on Zeinab's wedding night. Sensitive to the ill feelings that the match had inspired, Muhammad had invited many guests to his wedding feast. Three of them lingered long after the meal, engrossed in conversation and seemingly oblivious to the prophet's impatience to be alone with his new bride. As Zeinab sat quietly in a corner, waiting for the guests to leave, Muhammad strode out of the room and wandered the mosque courtyard. He dropped in on Aisha, who politely inquired how he liked his new companion. Muhammad confided that he hadn't yet had a chance to enjoy her company, and wandered off to look in on each of his wives before returning to the room of the wedding feast. To his intense annoyance, the guests were still there. Irritable, he went back to Aisha's room and sat with her until finally someone came to tell him that the boorish guests had left. Anas ibn Malik, a companion who had witnessed the whole scene, accompanied Muhammad back to the nuptial chamber. Muhammad had one foot in the room when he let fall a curtain between himself and Anas, and, as he did so, began reciting in the voice he used for revelations: "O ye who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the prophet for a meal without waiting for the proper time, unless permission be granted you. But if ye are invited, enter, and, when your meal is ended, then disperse. Linger not for conversation. Lo! that would cause annoyance to the Prophet, and he would be shy of asking you to go; but Allah is not shy of the truth. And when you ask his wives for anything, ask it of them from behind a curtain (hijab). That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts." These words now are inscribed in the Koran as the word of God."
The moon aligning with the sun in a solar eclipse signifies the day of ressurection:
The day of judgement is the apocalypse or unveiling.
The guardians of the Ka'aba are still called the Beni Shaybah, or sons of the old woman (Briffault 3/80). Popular tradition relates how Abraham, when he founded the Ka'aba brought the ground from an old woman to which it belonged. She however consented to part with it only on the condition that she and her descendents should have the key of the place in their keeping" (Briffault). The Hajira or 'sudden departure' although applied to the events following 622 bears the same name as Hajira (Hagar) , who discovered the spring of Zam Zam flowing by Ishmael's foot when searching for water for him after the 'sudden departure' of Ibrahim (Shad 48).
From the prophet's wives (see above)
That Aisha supported Omar's bid for leadership shows the depth of her loathing for Fatima's husband, Ali. Her opinion of Omar was not high. Knowing his cruelty to the women of his household, she had cleverly helped foil a match between him and her sister. Omar cracked down on women in ways that he must have known flouted Muhammad's traditions. He made stoning the official punishment for adultery and pressed to extend the seclusion of women beyond the prophet's wives. He tried to prevent women from praying in the mosque, and when that failed, he ordered separate prayer leaders for men and women. He also prevented women from making the Hajj, a ban that was lifted only in the last year of his life. On Omar's death, Aisha supported Othman as his successor. When Othman was murdered by members of a rebellious faction, Ali, who had had to wait twenty-four long years since Muhammad's death, finally got his chance to lead. When he became the Muslims' fourth caliph, Aisha's well-known enmity soon made her a lightning rod for dissidents. She spoke out stridently against Ali's failure to punish Othman's killers. As opposition to Ali's rule mounted, Aisha made a brave and reckless move that might have changed forever the balance of power between Muslim men and women. She led the dissidents into battle against Ali in a red pavilion set atop a camel. Riding ahead of her troops, she loudly exhorted them to fight bravely. Ali, realizing the effect this was having on his men's morale, ordered her camel cut down under her. He then routed her forces (updated by jody). Hundreds of her partisans were killed, including her dearest friends and relatives. The defeat proved disastrous for Muslim women. Her opponents were able to argue that the first battle of Muslim against Muslim would never have happened if Aisha had kept out of public life as God had commanded. After the battle, one of Muhammad's freed slaves reported a hadith that has been particularly damaging to Muslim women. The man said he had been saved from joining Aisha's army by recalling Muhammad's remark on the news that the Persians had appointed a princess as ruler: "No people who place a woman over their affairs will prosper." Whether or not the former slave's convenient recollection was genuine, that hadith has been used against every Muslim woman who has achieved political influence. In Pakistan it was frequently cited by opponents of Benazir Bhutto. After the rout, Aisha finally made her peace with Ali. She retreated from politics but remained an eminent religious authority. Most accounts describe her in later life as a sad and self-effacing woman whose one wish was to be forgotten by history.
It is said that she wept whenever she recited the Koranic verses: "O wives of the prophet . . . remain in your houses."
Women are equivalent to dogs and beasts of the field:
Narrated 'Aisha: The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, "Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people)." I said, "You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away. for I disliked to face him."
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, wife, servants, or cattle (a wife having intermediate status between cattle and property).
A. Failure to ratify the Rio Biodiversity Convention 1992 to entrench the claims of intellectual property rights of U.S. firms.
B. March 2002 listing 7 countries as nuclear targets. Extending the reasons for initiating a nuclear war from "retaliation for attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons" to "against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack" and"in the event of surprising military developments" - is described by the BBC's Washington correspondent, Paul Reynolds, as a "catch-all" clause. Quoting a secret Pentagon report, the Los Angeles Times newspaper names China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria as potential targets.
For Kyoto see: 7 below
The US On The World Stage - A Rogue
Richard Du Boff Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG) 12-31-1
1. In December 2001, the United States officially withdrew from the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, gutting the landmark agreement-the first time in the nuclear era that the US renounced a major arms control accord.
2. 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons
Convention ratified by 144 nations including the United States.
In July 2001 the US walked out of a London conference to discuss
a 1994 protocol designed to strengthen the Convention by providing
for on-site inspections. At Geneva in November 2001, US Undersecretary
of State John Bolton stated that "the protocol is dead,"
at the same time accusing Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Sudan,
and Syria of violating the Convention but offering no specific
allegations or supporting evidence.
3. UN Agreement to Curb the International Flow of Illicit Small Arms, July 2001: the US was the only nation to oppose it.
4. April 2001, the US was not re-elected to the UN Human Rights Commission, after years of withholding dues to the UN (including current dues of $244 million)-and after having forced the UN to lower its share of the UN budget from 25 to 22 percent. (In the Human Rights Commission, the US stood virtually alone in opposing resolutions supporting lower-cost access to HIV/AIDS drugs, acknowledging a basic human right to adequate food, and calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.)
5. International Criminal Court (ICC) Treaty, to be set up in The Hague to try political leaders and military personnel charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. Signed in Rome in July 1998, the Treaty was approved by 120 countries, with 7 opposed (including the US). In October 2001 Great Britain became the 42nd nation to sign. In December 2001 the US Senate again added an amendment to a military appropriations bill that would keep US military personnel from obeying the jurisdiction of the proposed ICC.
6. Land Mine Treaty, banning land mines; signed in Ottawa in December 1997 by 122 nations. The United States refused to sign, along with Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Vietnam, Egypt, and Turkey. President Clinton rejected the Treaty, claiming that mines were needed to protect South Korea against North Korea's "overwhelming military advantage." He stated that the US would "eventually" comply, in 2006; this was disavowed by President Bush in August 2001.
7. Kyoto Protocol of 1997, for controlling global warming: declared "dead" by President Bush in March 2001. In November 2001, the Bush administration shunned negotiations in Marrakech (Morocco) to revise the accord, mainly by watering it down in a vain attempt to gain US approval.
8. In May 2001, refused to meet with European Union nations to discuss, even at lower levels of government, economic espionage and electronic surveillance of phone calls, e-mail, and faxes (the US "Echelon" program),
9. Refused to participate in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)-sponsored talks in Paris, May 2001, on ways to crack down on off-shore and other tax and money-laundering havens.
10. Refused to join 123 nations pledged to ban the use and production of anti-personnel bombs and mines, February 2001
11. September 2001: withdrew from International Conference on Racism, bringing together 163 countries in Durban, South Africa
12. International Plan for Cleaner Energy: G-8 group of industrial nations (US, Canada, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, UK), July 2001: the US was the only one to oppose it.
13. Enforcing an illegal boycott of Cuba, now being made tighter. In the UN in October 2001, the General Assembly passed a resolution, for the tenth consecutive year, calling for an end to the US embargo, by a vote of 167 to 3 (the US, Israel, and the Marshall Islands in opposition).
14. Comprehensive [Nuclear] Test Ban Treaty. Signed by 164 nations and ratified by 89 including France, Great Britain, and Russia; signed by President Clinton in 1996 but rejected by the Senate in 1999. The US is one of 13 nonratifiers among countries that have nuclear weapons or nuclear power programs. In November 2001, the US forced a vote in the UN Committee on Disarmament and Security to demonstrate its opposition to the Test Ban Treaty.
15. In 1986 the International Court of Justice (The Hague) ruled that the US was in violation of international law for "unlawful use of force" in Nicaragua, through its actions and those of its Contra proxy army. The US refused to recognize the Court's jurisdiction. A UN resolution calling for compliance with the Court's decision was approved 94-2 (US and Israel voting no).
16. In 1984 the US quit UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and ceased its payments for UNESCO's budget, over the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) project designed to lessen world media dependence on the "big four" wire agencies (AP, UPI, Agence France-Presse, Reuters). The US charged UNESCO with "curtailment of press freedom," as well as mismanagement and other faults, despite a 148-1 in vote in favor of NWICO in the UN. UNESCO terminated NWICO in 1989; the US nonetheless refused to rejoin. In 1995 the Clinton administration proposed rejoining; the move was blocked in Congress and Clinton did not press the issue. In February 2000 the US finally paid some of its arrears to the UN but excluded UNESCO, which the US has not rejoined.
17. Optional Protocol, 1989, to the UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at abolition of the death penalty and containing a provision banning the execution of those under 18. The US has neither signed nor ratified and specifically exempts itself from the latter provision, making it one of five countries that still execute juveniles (with Saudi Arabia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Nigeria). China abolished the practice in 1997, Pakistan in 2000.
18. 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The only countries that have signed but not ratified are the US, Afghanistan, Sao Tome and Principe.
19. The US has signed but not ratified the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which protects the economic and social rights of children. The only other country not to ratify is Somalia, which has no functioning government.
20. UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966, covering a wide range of rights and monitored by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The US signed in 1977 but has not ratified.
21. UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948. The US finally ratified in 1988, adding several "reservations" to the effect that the US Constitution and the "advice and consent" of the Senate are required to judge whether any "acts in the course of armed conflict" constitute genocide. The reservations are rejected by Britain, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Mexico, Estonia, and others.
22. Is the status of "we're number one!" Rogue overcome by generous foreign aid to given less fortunate countries? The three best aid providers, measured by the foreign aid percentage of their gross domestic products, are Denmark (1.01%), Norway (0.91%), and the Netherlands (0.79), The three worst: USA (0.10%), UK (0.23%), Australia, Portugal, and Austria (all 0.26).
Society - Is the US the Global Satan?
Associated Press/NZ Herald Jun 2001
Richard Neville is a director of the Futures Foundation, a non-profitmaktiag company providing a forum for management and organisations to study emerging social and economic issues.
MAYBE George W. Bush has done the world a favour. When he renounced the Kyoto treaty on greenhouse emissions (because it would hurt America) he helped to peel away the mask of sanity from Uncle Sam, revealing him for what he is, in all his savagery and nonchalance a glutton and a psychopath. Forget the Taleban, Gaddafi or the beastly Saddain Hussein, it is the United States that is out of control the wildest rogue nation of all. The assertion of America's lifestyle rights, come what may, over any other consideration including the survival of future generations was made during the week of the Oscars. Catching a transit-lounge glimpse of this spectacle, I marvelled at its imperial might, its furious flame-fanning of consumer' desire. The desire for beauty (although of an exterior kind), wealth, fame,-luxury and crappy movies. The Oscars are Hollywood at its height: an off-camera underclass at beck and call, the comedians neutered, cosmeticians in the wffip, the cost of designer gowns ranging from susio,ooo to $US40,000 ($24,156 to $96,600) for each star, not to mention the diamonds. The confirmation of America's technical flair and export prowess came with the crowning of Gladiator, along with an unconscious identification with ImperW Rome. See, we rebuilt the Colosseum. And therein lies the beguiling genius of Uncle Sam the dissemination of illusions consumed as reality. Not just in movies, but in its products, politics and foreign policy. America is the land of the free. Really? How about an Oscar from the World Academy of Jailers for holding the highest proportion of its citizens in custody. Of the global prisoner total, onequarter is incarcerated in the US, minus the 152 inmates executed by George W. Bush when Governor of Texas a state that provides no ftmds for the defence of the poor. Much of Australia's pnson system is now in the managerial grip of a US correctional chain. America fosters unbridled competition which benefits all. In media, manufacturing; high-tech, entertainment, oil, groceries and much mor,e, the giants are on a roll. Four companies now control 87 per cent of American beef, another four control more than 84 per cent of its cereal, and just two comPanies control almost 80 per 't:ent of the world's grain trade. Almost all primary commodities are controlled by six or fewer companies.
From such an elite are drawn the President's puppeteers: $US2.3 million from Exxon Mobil helped to elect Bush, whose administration is awash with former oil executives. Another Bush supporter, Rupert Murdoch, is now seeking to bypass cross-media ownership restrictions in New York and extend his opinion-shaping domain. The man who pays the piper produces Gladiator as well as the daily news. As in the ecosystem, diversity is shrinking. Happhiess is honoured. How come the most prosperous nation on earth exhibits the highest rates of clinical depression? The country that wrote the happiness quest into its constitution reels from an epidemic of the malignant sadness. This, too, is a marketing opportunity. The annual report of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly chortles, "Prozac changed everything, and is just the beginning." America promotes the global expansion of human rights.
Not according to the record. Kyoto apart, the US has spumed vital intemational treaties on war cranes, land mines, the prohibition of the execution of juveniles, arms controls, test bans and even the Convention of the Rights of the Child (standing alone with Somalia). The refusal is based on a fierce assertion of US sovereignty. As law professor Peter J. Spiro noted in the journal Foreign Affairs: "Only free trade agreements, as long as they are ed limit to free trlade and do not include environment, labour issues or human rights, pass muster because they are thought to serve American interests." The nation so keen to safeguard its own identity is quick to submerge that of its trading partners. The key human right promoted abroad is the right to shop. The land of opportunity. Yes, but the deck is stacked. The richest 1 per cent has more fmmcial wealth than is possessed by the poorest 90 per cent Of Americans combined; the starkest inequality among major Westem nations. The net worth of Bill Gates, according to Ralph Nader, is equal to the combined net assets of the poorest 120 million Americans. The impact of such division percolates through the country. You see it the' moment you land at the airport and feed a credit card mto the trolley machine: the tattered touts, the stretch limos, the battered buses, the bright lights of Tiffany's. Whafs unseen is worse. About 40 million US citizens are not covered by any form of health insurance, a figure that is increasing each year. Public education and welfare are all on the decline. Basically, the US is a republic of lobbyists attached to a global public relations machine bent on fuming the whole of life into a series of paid-for, staged events, like guzzling fake food in themed restaurants, while displaying designer sportswear, and chattering about Gladiator's special effects as we wash down Prozac with a Starbucks soy latte, and remain largely oblivious to the deeper tragedy taking place on the late great planet Earth. George W. Bush is not an original. He is pursuing the doctrine formed by his father on the eve of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 1992, which laid the groundwork for Kyoto. Bush the elder said he was prepared to talk about the environment, but here's the rub "the American way of life is not negotiable." Got it? This mantra should be burned mto the, brains of six billion earthlings, because the American way of life is now diminishing the life of everyone else. In disaster-movie speak, it's Planet Hollywood versus the world. Already, with less than 5 per cent of the global population, the US uses almost 30 per cent of the planet's resources. Its emission record is the world's worst, spewing 20 tonnes of greenhouse gas a person a year a quarter of the world's total. (Australia. comes 'm second with 18 tonnes.) The US consumes a quarter of the world's oil, a third of its paper, and 40 per cent of its beef and veal.
The reason given the US President, G. W. (Global Warming abandonment of Kyoto with commendable brevity: " do not apply to the developing world." So? In most cases, their energy use is Only 5 per cent of per capita emissions of the West, while its inhabitants are climate fodder already, living and dying, on the frontline of hurricanes and floods. Emissions from developing nations will rise, but let's not overlook the reason. Their farms, factories and infrastructure are throbbing to service the appetites of distant constuners, whether it's Kenya airlifting flowers to the Netherlands or Korea shipping cut-price cars. Thp. source of the ftirnes ascending from their smokestacks is us. Meanwhile, the aver-age American uses 10 times more coal than the average Chinese person and contributes over 50 times more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The average American also requires four times as much grain and 27 times as much petrol as the average Indian. The land of the few is also the land of the fat its citizens are plagued with obesity. While many may deny the existence Of global manning, the overwhelning advice of the scientific community is that we should prepare now for rismg seas and ruptive weather. This year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reported that the 1990s were the hottest decade smoe the 1860s, when instrument records were taken, and that 1998 was the hottest year. It foretold "future large-scale and possibly irreversible changes in nature's systems." This report broke new ground by citing the cause of the warming as "mostly dud to human activity." And this activity is not about to wind down. The American way of life may not be negotiable but, more frightningly, it is inescapable. And the nation that runs the world is ruining the world as it runs amok in Amiani, dazzling us with Julia Roberts and gangsta rap, making us sick with fast food, workaholia and porno violence, as its hordes of silent seamstresses in tropic locations stitch Calvin IGem on to our Y-fronts. All for the glory of shareholder value. And yet, according to the Fconomic Policy Institute, "Eighty-five per cent Of the increase in the stockmarket since 1976 has accrued-to 1 per cent of the Population.11
It's worth it, you say, it's worth it On highways, at airports, at universities, for a splash of change I can slake my thirst with a Burger King strawberry milkshake. Even in Kathmandu, probably. It's the nearest thing to mother's milk, evoking dairy maids and Jersey cows, a singing and dancing Julie Andrews plucking the fleshiest bellies. Actually, this beverage contains more than 50 chemical flavours, including yummy amyl acetate, ethyl methyl-phenyl-glycidate and methyl anthranilate. Most of the flavour m most of the food eaten today in the US is concocted by scientists. Like the Oscars, it is the triumph of illusion over reality. It might be bad for our health, bad for the ecosystein, but it's good for shareholder value. The economy, stupid. The deeper you dig, the worse it gets.
As I write it, I hate that sentence. It's not that I think everything about America is appalling far from it Many of its products are delightfully irresisistible, like Augtin-Powers, jazz, literature, the First Amendment, Jewish humour and the PowerBook. On a dark, stormy highway with famished toddlers, I've even felt a rush of gratitude at the sight of the Golden Arches sure, we'll have fries with that, unaware that such an impulse serves to shrink the world's variety of crops. As with other food chains, according to the Worldwatch institute, McDonald's demands in each country it enters that the varieties of potatoes grown by local farmers be replaced by their standard, the Idaho Russet. Taste and technique must remain uniform, so the global potato harvest is now "precariously homogenous," dependent on pesticides of declining oomph. As climate warms, the range and resilience of the pests increase, invoking fears of a potato blight a global replay of the Irish famine. In my madder moments of reflection about America, it seems as if it's the Vietnam War all over again; except instead of "kffling gooks" it's about making a killing. Instead of poisoning the forest with Agent Orange, it's about despoiling the biosystem. Once a "peace probe" referred to the annihilation of a village; now the tenn "outsourcing" stands for a sweatshop. Once it was the Vietcong who were blitzed with US propaganda, now it is the rest of us who are blitzed with US propaganda. Maybe the old slogan is true after all: "We are all Vietcong." The ad biz is a friendly harbour for creative types and some of its output is witty and ftin. At its core, however, the industry is a volcanic eruption of lies: CDs wfll never scratch, you too can have the shiniest hair in the world, the stealth bomber is invisible, we appreciate your patience and will be with you. shortly. No longer confined to promoting products, advertising has insinuated itself into the culture in such a way as to be indistinguishable from everyday life. It is not just the commercials seen on TV, it is the lifestyle depicted by the TV: the logos, restaurants, cars, facelifts and how-to-solve-a-problem-witha-gun. The ads and the programmes are synonymous. Without being aware of it, we live inside a nonstop marketing event. As insistent and pervasive as it is piped into planes, buses, schools, motels, Bomeo its source is singular. Seinfeld and Friends are scre6ned on most international flights; the menu of movies-on-demand in hotels is almost exclusively from Hollywood. Does this matter? You be the judge. When did you last watch a sitcom from Brazil, a pop clip from India, a movie on love and marriage among Kurdish refugees in Paris? WhUe Us content lately honours ethnicety, to the Point of caricature, and even alternative attitudes, the slant is qumtessentially God Bless America. Back in 1924, Monsieur Costil, then head of the Fyench Gaumont cinema chain, told his countrymen it would be "a very long time" before French films found favour in America. They were "too strange and complicated." Success in the US required a formula. Three-quarters of a century later, Costills deconstruction of a Hollywood hit remains intact: "Voyages, sports, dances, records and audacious examples of force." Meanwhile, American movies and the values they embody have swept the world. FYom his grave, Costil's fmal caution has bite: "Remember, every American is at heart a businessman." And so, toO, nOw are we. Workaholia is not. the only Wall St export. Share options and pay for performance have also spread, ever sharpening wealth disparities. In the past decade, the salaries of CEOs in the US have jumped 481 per cent while worker pay has risen only 28 her cent. overall, American CEOs earn 419 times the pay of 'the, average Us worker. Everyone is desperate to be a millionaire, a superstar, a dot-com, a brand name even the teens. This trivialisation of desire reaches into our innermost of our psyche: "Teens have a keen sense of 'me'," notes an analyst, whether it's "selecting the colour of their laptop or customis ing the colour of their cell phones." Being aware of the latest fad has come to define what h means to be a child. Thin on the ground are the anti-heroes; the mystics and mavericks who proclaim alternative values and hold in Contempt the obsessive adulation of wealth today's Jack Kerouac, Martin Luther King, Ned Kelly, Timothy Leary, the young Germaine Greer. I Since I can remember, New York has hosted a profusion of wild young things, rebels without a super fund, or even a charge account at Gap, whose mission was to have fun and shatter the self-confidence of millionaires. They set alight dollar bills on Wall St, let buzzards loose in Macy's, raged, plotted and howled against the machine. While times a-change and all that, even so, during a brief visit last year I was taken aback by this fabulous city's capitulation to materialism and its brazen credo: get as much as you can as fast as you can. People pound pavements shouting nito mobiles; the skyscrapers double as billboards, the cafe dockets are emblazoned with bold reminders, "gratuity not included," each worthy recipient allotted a dotted line: chef, maitre d', waitperson, etc, plus tax. The fixed price is becoming obsolete, inciting haggling, even over the price of toothpaste. This is fine in Morocco, enfolded into a ritual of mint tea, pipe passing and Sydney Greenstreet, but wears a bit thin in an alcove at Macy's at rush hour. Don't imagine you can counter the vibe by cruising the Museum of Modem Art, where the "voluntary donation" is compulsor.v and the marketing relentless. (In the mid-1990s, gallery space at 120 large museums grew by 3 per cent while the @ount of space given to museum stores jumped by nearly 30 per cent.) Another light that's failed, at least during my visit, is environinentausm. The only endangered species that sparked concern was a trenchcoat by Yves Saint Laurent, costing $US 9250, which had been scooped from the stores. The coat is made from the skin of rainforest pythons. More than 10 million pythons have been taken from the wild in the past 15 years, over half from Indonesia. A pink python jacket from Chanel, with white chiffon frim and matching skirt, retailing at $US8455, had out of the boutiques. "Spokeswomen for four fashion houses that use python," the New York Times wryly noted, "said they had no idea where the skins come from." Hardly anyone knows or cares where anything comes from, or where it ends up, because it is only what's on show that matters, in the windows, in your face, on the billboards, at the Oscars, fame, riches, power; these are the drivers that seem to be shaping the third millennium, whether we like it or not, despite their ravaging of planet and personhood "Wealth beyond what is natural is of no more use than water to a container that is full," said the Epicurean philosophers of Ancient Greece, but the dazzling package Of modular culture proclaims the opposite bippiness depends on high consumption. We'll keep on splurging until the wells run dry. soon after the trip to New York, I visited Tonga, one of the poorest nations on earth. Its political system is uwust, resources are few, and yet I was surprised by joy. Not mine so much as that of the inhabitants. Laughter echoing through open doorways day and night, none of it canned (scarce TV), extended families and communal lifestyle ( babysitting), time plentiful, shops few, food fresh, a profusion of local poetry, song and dance, none of it tech-dependent, and the people not bent on turning every tourist into a meal ticket Not yet, anyway. Sure, most of us would prefer to live in pulsating New York than to emulate the Tongans, including the Tongans themselves, probably, and therein lies the dilenuna of our time.
If everyone lived like New Yorkers, what would be left alive? Perhaps the survivor TV shows are a subliminal playing out of this post-apocalypse vision. Solar panels and recycling are not much chop against melting ice caps, rising seas, gaping ozone holes and the mass extinction of species. Even if Kyoto is fully enforced, it wm reduce atmospheric carbon by only 5 per cent withm 10 years What is required to stabilise cumte is a reduction of between 60 and 80 per cent. The American way of Iffe is not negotiable. And it is not sustainable. The loss of biodiversity, according to Worldwatch's editorial director Ed Ayms, is "arguably the most dangerous of all threats to human security at large, and to the long-term sustainability of civilization." He cites an American Museum of Natural History survey of 400 biological scientists which found a large majority believe that during the next 30 years one of every five species alive today will become extinct It is no longer enough to have an ecological notion; we need to create an ecological self. This is a hard call when you're wearing a trenchcoat stitched from pythons. Sooner or later, the business community will need to come to its senses. It will need to go further than putting in skylights and greening its logos. Can we rely on its leadership. Corporate titans would much rather win a battle for market dominance than save a species from annihilation. But in the end, there may not be a market, unless the wholesale theft of the future is stopped. What Monsieur Costil foresaw as the philosophic failure of American movies all those years ago action, force, a formula was more recently echoed in the Harvard Business Review by consultant Gary Hamel as he skewered the lack of sight: "The future is left to largely unexplored and the capacity to act rather than to think or imagine becomes the sole measure of leadership.
Will globalisation accentuate futureblindness, or can it also trigger a countervailing wave of enlightenment? It will do both. Thankfully, a growing number of Americans share the above concerns, although few of them sit on Capitol HM. The global Green Party boycott of Exxon Mobil and other predators of the conunons is a clue to future strategy, as was the showdown over proprietary drug rights in Aids-stricken Africa. Global tax, global justice, a global environmental agency, are all on the horizon. The concept of sovereignty was already transcended by the UN Convention on the law of the Sea in 1982, which protects the ocean as "the conunon heritage of all mankind," in which all rights in the resources of the area are vested. By similar means, eventually, all arms trading can be ended and an agency can be established to distribute all surplus food to the starving. At its deepest level globalisation is about sharing, just like the intemet, and once understood win incite a value revolution of such sweep that within 100 year's the main business of business will no longer be business, and polities will no longer be about swapping preferences, placating nutters and jailing refugees. The total goal will be planetary restoration social, economic, ecologic. The question to ask ourselves as we journey into the 21st century is this: is each us at heart a businessman, or is each of us at heart a human being? The fate of the Earth will hinge on our answer.
From ???@??? Fri Jul 20 15:13:11 2001
To: [email protected]
From: Chris King <[email protected]>
Subject: light and shadow / satan and resurrection
Message-Id: <[email protected]>
In-Reply-To: <[email protected]>
References: <[email protected]>
Okay now take this for light and shadow synchronicity ... diversity and shadow its my latest song written last night ... its has a great and haunting melody ... I have played it with no words for a month till last night late ...
you told us tales of hollywood
of stars wars and the common good
you told us global warming
was a litany of lies
factory chimneys were the prize
you claim all living creatures
are your intellectual property
you fail to ratify every treaty
which doesn't give you more
haven't we heard this all before?
when it comes to the final struggle
jihad of the biosphere
there's only one true rogue nation
the great American shaitan
big brother, you are Uncle Sam.
if you take them away
how can we find what we came for?
what can you say?
when it's all our future lives that you play for
walking in the twilight
down in the valley of shadows
when will you comprehend
the damage you have wrought in your indiscretion?
can we undo
the death trance you have set in motion?
will you discover
the fabric of love that ignites us?
can we embrace
the ocean of life that unites us?
all our lives long
this journey has been our destination
if we get this one wrong
will there be any chance for restoration?
if we waste the last shoreline
can there be any way to resurrection?
don't you know that we
have all been dreaming
... that the dark days are coming
when the cowboy appears
and brings home our fears?
can we rend the veil of tears?
can we touch the sky?
can we fly so high
we'll pass right to the other side
and never fall in flames?
will we ever be the same again?
we'll become the living soul
the primal source, the shining goal
the beginning and the end of life
the happiness and the pain
can we bear it all again?
Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 08:48 GMT White House yields to 9/11 panel
A commission investigating the 11 September attacks says the White House has agreed to let it see some top-secret presidential documents. The bipartisan congressional commission is trying to establish when the authorities were alerted to possible al-Qaeda attacks on the US. It also wants to know exactly when an alert was issued that four passenger planes had been hijacked. Military jets were scrambled, but they came too late to stop the attacks. The 10-member panel, headed by former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, has until May to report on its investigation into lapses in national security relating to the attacks. About 3,000 people were killed when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania. Secret documents The congressional commission now says it has reached a deal allowing it to look at classified information President George W Bush had wanted withheld. "We believe this agreement will prove satisfactory and enable us to get our job done," the commission said in a statement. The commission had threatened to subpoena the documents, which cover daily briefings to the White House by the Central Intelligence Agency at around the time of the attacks two years ago. Earlier this month, the Pentagon agreed to hand over records subpoenaed by the commission. In October the panel subpoenaed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), accusing the organisation of slowing down its inquiry. The FAA has had to hand over information relating to air-traffic-control tracking of the hijacked aircraft.