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Thursday, July 10, 2014


I was watching Al-Jazeera America this morning -- they had George Mitchell on talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said in Northern Ireland, on the eve they signed the peace accords that pretty much ended "The Troubles" there, 85% of those polled said they saw no hope for peace. Then they had it. The same thing can happen in the Israel-Palestine situation. 

Once the situation is in place, it can be maintained -- so long as people on both sides want that to happen. Therein lies the rub. To the Muslims in this situation, I say "Remember the Treaty of Hudaibiyya!" -- it was roundly criticized by the companions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) as unjust, a humiliation and an insult to their honor, etc. etc. but that did not keep Muhammad (pbuh) from signing it and choosing peace over war. The word "Muslim" means one who seeks peace with and submission to God, and by extension, His creation. You can't love God and hate your fellow man.

Islam also commands Muslims to not be the aggressors in a conflict, nor to attack or kill non-combatants (i.e., civilians), and to end aggression as soon as possible -- especially if the enemy calls for peace. In Islam, a Muslim government is required to cease hostilities and grant peace if so desired by the enemy. So as long as the Muslims violate these laws of God in the Quran and do not follow the sunnah (example) of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), they will continue to be cursed with disunity, worldliness and ignorance among themselves, and suffer violence and oppression at the hands of their Muslim brethren (as in Syria and Iraq) and from others. 

And speaking of the Israelis, they must answer to God for their intransigence and evils as well. Ironic that a group who suffered at the hands of one group of oppressors 75 years ago can become oppressors themselves and see nothing wrong with that -- defend it even, in the name of "payback" and their survival as a state and a people. If what the Israelis do with their Jewish settlements is OK, then let them allow one Palestinian settlement inside Israel for every Israeli settlement they have in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Suddenly it's not so OK anymore, is it? 

Remove labels in any conflict and leave just the actions themselves and judge the good or the evil of it then. It will be easy and clear. Now keep the labels off and treat people as you would desire and deserve to be treated as a human being. Now put the labels back on. And now apply the required justice and righteous behavior as you would have it for yourself without the labels. Problem solved.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


I’ve been reading one of my great inspirations, Ray Bradbury – his collected non-fiction writings called “Bradbury Speaks”. . .  On pages 46-47 I found this wonderful gem [I can “hear” this in Carl Sagan’s voice]:

“The unknown celestial environment cries out to be known. We are the delegates of cognition whose task it is to witness and celebrate. The Cosmos thrives through us. The dead stuffs of planetary time are roused to life because we say it’s so. We pitiful worms have dreamed a cocoon of metal, glass, and fire and have come forth as homely moths and then fine papillons to cross space and annul time. Our conscious mind wonders at this. Our secret mind knows. It speaks. We listen and dream ourselves better cocoons.”                                                                                                                                   – Ray Bradbury

If, in the not too distant future, we survive our own lesser natures burning to destroy us, and succeed in building and manning the ships that cross the interstellar seas, it will be the greatest ingratitude if we do not christen our ships with the monikers of those envisioneers, those literary spellbinders named Bradbury, Burroughs, Wells, Asimov, Heinlein, Clark and others who have sailed there before us, taking us with them, that we may meet ourselves in their company at some far distant time in the silent expanse of solitude and destiny that is space, our final frontier. -- JMAG