Saturday, July 16, 2016

Islamitude

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Walter Williams on multiculturalism: "Leftist diversity advocates and multiculturalists are right to argue that people of all races, religions and cultures should be equal in the eyes of the law.

But their argument borders on idiocy when they argue that one set of cultural values cannot be judged superior to another and that to do so is Eurocentrism." The italicization (say that word six times fast) is mine.

Traveling East to West...

[Wait just a minute, Sparky, sez Dana, my imaginary gentlereader, islamitude? What the hell is islamitude? Marie-Louise is having her nails done, at my expense, as I'm a fool for a good back scratch, particularly if administered by a woman of the female persuasion.]

Well, to be honest, I'm still trying to nail down my official definition as it's a word that never occurred to me until I wrote this column, and Marie-Louise (my muse) never offers up explanation, only (if I'm lucky) inspiration. Googling revealed that I'm not the first to use the word but a specific definition proved to be elusive.

All that I can tell you at this point is that to me it's a word that captures not just a certain attitude but a way of doing things and the reactions of some non-Muslims to same. Vague, I know, but I'm trying to walk a fine line as I don't wish to promote Islamophobia but I also don't want to hide my head underneath my My Pillow and hope it all goes away.

I can point at the meaning with the following example. My late wife once went into a neighborhood convenience store where we were well known regular customers on good terms with the people that ran it. I waited in the car, which was parked near the store entrance, window rolled down. The door to the store was propped open. I was fiddling with the radio and looked up when I heard two people arguing, my late wife had a certain look on her face that indicated she might be about to go over the counter and murder the clerk, a gentleman of Middle Eastern origin. I admit I've no idea if he was a Muslim.

Knowing the significance of the look on her face, I darted into the store and all but dragged her out to our car. I asked what happened. It seems that upon noticing that a particular beverage, some sort of soda pop, had been mistakenly labeled at a price that was obviously less than wholesale, she thought the civilized thing to do was point this out as they were losing money on every bottle they sold (we had reason to be familiar with wholesale soda pop prices at the time).

He reacted by turning purple and asking how dare she, a mere woman, think she had the right to address him about such things and starting ranting at her in his native language.

[Sheesh, sorry I asked.]

And now, back to our show.

Syrian refugees are understandably fleeing a country that seems to be literally disintegrating. I know I would. With the exception of the United Arab Emirates, they ain't going to the rich Persian Gulf states. Their fellow, Arabic-speaking Muslims, would rather throw money at the refugee camps in other countries because of "security concerns." Yeah, no kidding.

On the other hand, it's widely reported that many refugees don't particularly want to go to these particular countries anyway. It seems that even many Muslims don't care for authoritarian monarchies that subscribe to Sharia law. I know I don't.

Case in point, Saudi Arabia. Not a whole lot of there, there unless visiting Mecca is  on your bucket list, except for oil, which is why they're rich. Well, the native born Saudis are doing well anyway. For nearly a third of the population, most imported to do the drudge work that's considered beneath the dignity of the locals, and who can't go home without the permission of their masters, life ain't quite so grand.

[But, the Saudis are not as rich as they used to be. Fracking has undermined the power of the members of OPEC to ignore the free market and set prices at what its members think they should charge just because they can (i.e. to enthusiastically practice extortion).]

According to Wikipedia: "In addition to the regular police force, Saudi Arabia has a secret police, the Mabahith, and 'religious police', the Muttawa. The latter enforces Islamic social and moral norms."

"Criminal law punishments in Saudi Arabia include public beheading, hanging, stoning, amputation, and lashing. Serious criminal offenses include...apostasy, adultery, witchcraft and sorcery."

Recent headline in the Wall Street Journal: "Saudi Arabian Women Love Bumper Cars (But Not For Bumping)."

From the article: "At the weekly ladies-only night at the Al Shallal Theme Park in the coastal city of Jeddah, women discard head scarves and head-to -toe black gowns to reveal the latest trends -- ripped jeans, tank tops, and tossed-to-the-side '80s-style hair. For many of them, the biggest draw of the amusement park isn't the few hours of fashion freedom. Instead, they go there to get behind the wheel -- even a bumper-car wheel -- in a country that bans female drivers."

The article goes on to describe long lines of women waiting for a chance to "drive." There's very little bumping involved, except accidentally, they just want to drive. The article includes a picture of a woman covered from head to toe in black, left arm outstretched, dutifully signaling her intention to make a left turn.

Meanwhile, the world is confronted with the horror of the bodies of refugees who tried to make it to Europe floating in the Mediterranean. Europe's response to the crisis has varied widely from country to country.

Germany's response was a booming, Rod Roddy like Come on Down! But then a wave of sexual assaults by roving bands of refugees last New Year's eve across the country highlighted the fact there are more than a few Germans opposed to their countries policy, including immigrants that arrived before the current crisis.

At the other end of the scale are countries like Norway and Denmark who have placed ads in Middle-Eastern media telling refugees they're not welcome, even if they call first.

France and Belgium have become infamous for no-go ghettos where Sharia law is practiced to one degree or another. They're populated by people who have fled myriad traditionally Muslim countries.

You may have heard about some of the recent negative consequences.

President Obama has pledged that the US will admit 10,000 Syrian refugees during the course of The Gubmint's current fiscal year, which ends in October. Not long ago I was delighted/conflicted when I read someplace that only a couple of thousand had been vetted and approved via a very slow process.

Delighted because regardless of whether the process was moving along slowly because we were erring on the side of caution, or more likely because The Gubmint is not renowned for nimbleness and efficiency, the result was the same. Potential terrorists, hiding among the innocent victims of what passes for normal in the Middle East, would have a tougher time getting into America and potentially killing my grandchildren in Allah's name.

Conflicted because someone else's grandchildren might be killed trying to escape being murdered in Allah's name.

But then, the other day, several different media sources reported that the effort was back on track and that the goal of 10,000 will be reached, and on schedule. Swell.

Perhaps The Gubmint will now step up efforts to aid some proven friends that placed their lives on the line for us in Iraq. Remember Iraq? We won a war there. Personally, I wouldn't have gone there in the first place. But we did, and we won, and we wound up with a highly fortified, relatively secure outpost -- smack dab in the middle of the bad guys neighborhood.

Then along came Mr. Obama and his Secretary of State, the Hilliam. It fell to them to negotiate a status of forces agreement to leave enough American troops in place to bolster the effort to turn Iraq into a reasonably modern, reasonably stable democracy -- smack dab in the middle of the bad guys neighborhood.

They cut and ran...

...And left behind a bunch of Iraqis that worked for us as translators in the course of our "overseas contingency operation" -- that are on the Kill ASAP list of more than one zany group of grumpy Muslims -- that can't get visas from Uncle Sam to (literally) save their lives.

Sheesh.

Have an OK day.

©Mark Mehlmauer 2016

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