Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Middle East: Hitting Rock Bottom, and Still Digging

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I hold all sides in the political and religious cesspool of the Middle East in complete contempt. Almost every day brings some new example of the depths of depravity to which someone is willing to go because his God told him it was the thing to do. But just when I thought things couldn't get much worse, two things came to light yesterday that left even me shaking my head.

The first was the appearance on the internet of a horrifying video from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq which showed a 17-year old Kurdish girl being stoned to death for the crime of having a relationship with a Sunni Muslim boy. Now, we've been conditioned to think that the Kurdish region is "the Iraq that works," the place which is relatively progressive, peaceful and prosperous, especially when compared with the horrendous violence wracking the rest of the country. The Kurds are the "good guys," or as close to "good guys" as anyone in Iraq gets. And yet we see the spectacle of eight men dragging a young girl from her home and stoning her to death - in front of a supportive crowd - for the crime of shaming her family by loving the wrong boy.

And, by the way, if you haven't seen the video yet, you won't find it on YouTube any more - in its place is a note that says "This video has been removed for terms of use violation." Translation: it's not politically correct for anyone in the West to post a video which shows the utter depravity of fundamentalist Muslims, although it's perfectly okay for the hard core jihadists to post videos showing the torture and murder of their enemies.

The other event that left me speechless (yes, it does happen, but not often) took place at the conference at the resort city of Sharm el Sheikh in which representatives of 50 nations were trying to help resolve the ongoing conflict in Iraq. The Iranian representative, Manuchehr Mottaki, walked out of a dinner at which he was to be seated across from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The reason: his Muslim sensibilities were offended by the too-revealing red dress being worn by a female violinist playing for the event.

Think about that for a minute. The United States and Iran have had terrible relations since the fall of the Shah in 1979. Iran is a key player in fueling the violence which takes dozens of lives in Iraq every day and keeps that unhappy nation in a state of fear and misery. This dinner offered a suitably low-key way for the U.S. and Iran to try to make some headway in resolving issues.

And the Iranian walks out because his sense of Muslim propriety is offended more by the sight of a woman in an evening dress than by the specacle of hundreds of Muslims (and Americans) being murdered every week in Iraq.

If you needed any more proof of the utter moral depravity of some of the people in the Middle East, this ought to give it to you.

One of the curses of modern liberal thinking is the concept of moral relativism - that all cultures and religions are equal and that none has any moral basis on which to criticize any other. I find it hard to believe that anyone can accept that hogwash. A religion and a culture which condone the brutal murder of a young woman as an "honor killing" are beyond contempt. And a religion which places more importance on women dressing modestly than on helping to bring peace to a suffering region is beneath contempt.

I'm just about at the point where I could believe that no one in this festering cesspool is worth the life of another American soldier. We are fighting on behalf of people unwilling to rise above religious rules and hatreds that haven't evolved since the seventh century.

Yes, we opened an unfortunate Pandora's box with the invasion of Iraq. But it's time to stop helping all the people who are working hard to keep that box open, who are unwilling to accept that the world is larger than their hatreds.

My personal view: they can all go to Hell. They're working hard to create it, anyhow.

More thoughts tomorrow.


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