Why I Like Arabs

As many of you will already know, “I have issues” with some of the things that Islamists do in the world.

Yet, the peculiar fact is, that I like Arabs.

What? You think that’s a problem? Sorry, but it’s not.

I share very many values with Arabs (and, truth be told, with Islam).

In many ways, I find my beliefs and my “feelings” are much like those of Lawrence Of Arabia. I am not ‘of their tribe’, yet my blood stirs with understanding at their words and their deeds. ( I also like fast motorcycles, which was how L’awrence met his end in a road accident in England).

A senses of duty.

A bond of honor.

An appreciation of the sacred Word.

Desire for some amount of “adrenaline” from time to time.

A tendency to subtle complexity and indirection…

The extraordinary sense of the importance of being true to belief and promises.

There is much that binds.

I don’t know what it is. I can not say what cause, or root, feeds it. Hell, I even have the “appreciation” of the utility of the occasional strategic assassination and the schadenfreude at history.

I’ve worked in an Arab owned and run company. FWIW, I’m fairly sure it was a “front” for an intelligence agency from a particular country from the Middle East. No, I will not say which one. Why? Because I earned their trust. And trust must be symmetrical.

One person shared that he was brother-in-law of the director of the Secret Service of said country. Another let slip that he was a “Prince” in the realm. There were things and times that made it clear to me that two others were “agents”. (A tendency to not do much of the ‘real work’ of the company. Not interacting much with others. Going on ‘walks’ together to places where surveillance would be difficult. And more.)

FWIW, I was AT that company when 911 happened. I “shared” with the “brother-in-law” my feelings about things. (That “The typical American will not care if the Islamic world glows in the dark from Morocco to Indonesia; this ends here and it ends now.”) I also offered that “I have access to guns. Lots of guns. Let me know if you need protection. I do not know how bad this will get.” Both are direct quotes. Both “are me”.

I’d have loaded up the car with a dozen guns and 1000+ rounds of ammo and headed over to his house if “He and his” were in danger from a “mob”. He had my cell number and knew I responded fast. I had been treated honorably by them, I had a duty bond to do the same.

I also am quite sure that my “opinion” of things was sent back to the “home country”. (They aligned with the US position and helped to assure that things did not escalate.) They knew my assertions could be trusted as honest and true.

We had a bond.

Would I have taken up arms and protected this Muslim Arab against Americans, attacking with a justified passion?


I would.

I had given my word, said my bond.

I had been treated honorably. These folks had done no wrong. They were not the cause of any bad thing at all. They were, simply put, good and honorable men. Yes, I was pretty sure they were an agency of a foreign power. So? I had taken a job with them, they fulfilled their side of the contract, and I’d fulfilled mine. The final hire interview with the ‘main guy’ had been a bit odd. A degree of questioning and ‘probing’ that didn’t make sense at the time; but did in retrospect. He was looking for folks who ‘knew’ and folks who were being ‘planted’. Only later did I ‘make the connections’. But these folks and even that country were not the folks who flew planes into buildings in NYC. They were innocent. So I willingly told them that I stood ready to help them should things get out of hand with “my countrymen”.

I also consciously sent a message back ‘upstream’ that should their country side with the attackers, no good would come of it, but should they side with the attacked, we would stand with them. My personal bond of “guns, lots of guns” if they were in trouble.

Did I have any effect?

I don’t know.

I can say that “the country in question” sided with the USA in the following “issues”.

The point?

Simply this: We had a bond of honor. Man to man. I would provide guns, and die protecting their innocence against stupidity, if needed. They would understand that their bond of honor to me had been reciprocated. They would “take that home”.

The peculiar thing is that the shared understanding in that “exchange” is just the thing that makes me like Arabs. We understand each other in a very peculiar way. Both of us in some strange way creatures of a common ethos.

We may not agree on many particular things (like the status of women or the decrees of religion), yet, we understand each other and agree to respect.

So I have a bond. I know particular people who are quite certainly agents of a foreign power. I will not “out them”, nor their country. For the simple reason that they trusted me. We are “brothers” in trust. A bond that can not be broken.

It is that ‘sense of things’ that binds me to the Arab culture. We both are “duty bound and honor bound”.

It’s a very peculiar thing.

I am L’awrence.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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37 Responses to Why I Like Arabs

  1. Petrossa says:

    Each to his own. I lived for quite a few years in the ME and although i found person to person contact affable enough, the principle of as long as you are my guest you are safe, but once you’re not you’re on your own not to my liking.
    Also, other then you, i couldn’t get past the whole weird religion thing and for sure not the female submission thing. For the same reason my contacts with haredi were rather tense, since their treatment of women is on par with that of muslims.

    So, in conclusion, to me as human being arabs are the same as anyone else, there are nice onces and not so nice ones. As a culture however it pretty much stinks and is in general incompatible with western culture.

  2. Gail Combs says:

    First, My grandfather came from Syria. Second, we have worked for a lot of Muslims here in the USA.

    As a female I will never ever do a job for Muslims alone again because I have ‘no standing’ This led to some major safety problems especially with young males over 10. I was completely ‘invisible’

    Second every single time we have done a job for Muslims we found that since we are not Muslim, a contract is not a contract and they will break or work around verbal or written contracts. They will not even give us the simple courtesy of calling and canceling. It is not just us. At the last festival, that was canceled I thought the blacks who had brought and setup some equipment and were then told to go home without pay were going to kill the the guy.

    Sorry I much rather do a job for the Hindus or Latinos.

  3. Heber Rizzo says:

    Like Petrossa, I´d say that Arabs are just like everyone else: some are nice, some are not. But like all Islamists, it all depend on their islamism: more islamism, less nicety.

    In fact, I would say that when they are real believers, they are not nice at all.

    After all, I am an atheist, and their Koran says that, for being so, I am their enemy and that they should stab me in my back.

    So, it is not that I don´t like them, it is just that they don´t like me, even before I was born. Tolerant people, don´t you think?

  4. j ferguson says:

    once when i related here the discovery of two small companies in South Florida each having personnel who were far smarter than the ostensible work required, and had guessed correctly which organization operated one of them, but no certainty on the other, European or possibly Israeli, you were very quick with some observations on how the thing worked and why south florida. I’d wondered about that.

    Your thoughts above seem to beg the question, should a group be regarded in terms of its most thoughtful, intelligent, (and devout) members or by its nominal ones? So much of what we see in life are caricatures of the real thing. And the caricatures are always missing the really important stuff.

    One last thing, did Magic the cat go missing during the formaldehyde in the food fiasco?

  5. Gail Combs says:

    Heber Rizzo says:
    7 April 2013 at 11:23 am

    … and their Koran says that, for being so, I am their enemy and that they should stab me in my back.
    Unfortunately yes. It is perfectly acceptable in their religion to mislead and fool a none Muslim. Take advantage of them, sign treaties so you can gather strength before attacking again. One of the guys on WUWT mention he had a guy at work he thought of as a very good friend. He was at a cafe in a booth one evening and over hear his Muslim “friend” mouthing off to other Muslims about him and it was not nice. Not the usual nasty gossip but along the lines of killing.

    You are dealing with a completely different philosophy where contracts are only good between Muslims and tricking the ‘enemy’ is considered ‘Good’ depending on the sect.

    This kind of thing certainly does not help the image and reinforces the perception that Muslims are ‘unreliable’

    The founder of a New York television station has been convicted of beheading his wife in 2009 in the studio the couple had opened to counter negative stereotypes of Muslims after the September 11 terror attacks.

    Muzzammil “Mo” Hassan never denied that he killed Aasiya Hassan inside the suburban Buffalo station the couple established to promote cultural understanding.

    A jury deliberated for one hour before rejecting his claim that the killing was justified because he was long abused by and afraid of his wife.

    Pakistan-born Hassan, 46, had been served with divorce papers a week before his wife’s body was found…

    Boy did he ever promote “Cultural Understanding’

  6. P.G.Sharrow says:

    Not all Arabs are Muslim. Not all Muslims are Arabs. The people that carried out 9-11 were Arab and Muslim and were of a tribe that claims to be our friends.
    Nostradamus said “Do not trust the people of the Orient, they are no ones friends” pg

  7. Gail Combs says:

    I should mention my perception about Muslims has changed from good to ‘Watch your back’ based on their treatment of my husband and I and this despite the fact they know who my Grandfather was and recognize his family name.

  8. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G.: It is bad to generalize….among those “people of the orient” you can find Jesus and Buda, just to mention two of them. You wouldn´t like to be included in the kind of those specimens who govern you…

  9. Petrossa says:

    As PG so rightly point out not all Arabs are Muslims, but in the EM’s story it’s pretty clear he is talking about the Islam version. Personally before i set sail for the ME i never met a muslim and hardly knew Islam existed. Nor for that matter a haredi or even a jew in general coming from a totally atheist family. So i came there a tabula rasa as far as preconceptions go.

    I left sincerely disliking Islam as an ideologie and by implication those that practice it more, as a person i liked less and sincerely disliking Haredi as people but not judaism itself.

    Both of their treatment of women disgusts me to a point i can’t put past me. Other stuff too, the overall extreme intolerance, the incapacity to accept new ideas, the treatment of animals is roundly shocking to say the least.

  10. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, it may also have been the “professional” setting we were in too. Everyone in the company was a well educated professional. And the cultural surround was the USA. Don’t know how I’d react to “immersion” in an Arab culture.

    BTW, do note that there are Christian Arabs. While this particular group were Muslims, Arab is not synonymous with Muslim (just a very large overlap).

    One thing that caused my “awareness” to go up so let me “peg” them and start the observation cycle to figure out their actual “industry” was the lack of women in the company. Now it was small and in a technical consulting / installation business in a male dominated field. But I can’t remember ever seeing a woman employee. Just one of those “That’s Odd.” things that leads to wondering that leads to observing that … Had there been a mal-treatment of women employees I’d likely have left. As it was, there was no opportunity to see the treatment of women.

    @Hebber Rizzo:

    Perhaps that, also, is part of my different experience. By definition, these folks liked me. They chose to hire me to work “inside the tent”, so to speak. We started off with mutual respect.

    Don’t know how I’d deal with “The Arab Street” as I’ve never met it…

    @J. Ferguson:

    No, cat went missing afterwards, by a year or two IIRC.

    Good point. I was clearly dealing with a very selected sample ‘on their best behaviour’…

    But then again, I’d not judge America based on the folks in Sing-Sing nor the British based on those at soccer games…

    @P.G. & Gail:

    I do have a “trust but verify” behaviour, generally. I will extend “first trust”, but expect it to be met in kind. These folks “met in kind”, so earned more. That simple, really.

    FWIW, when I gave my “ends here ends now” speech, in the private office of one of the officers of the company; I think he figured out “I knew”, and also that I was not “spilling the beans”. It’s an odd thing, mutual respect. It can overcome some strong cultural divides…

    But when it isn’t there, when the bridge becomes a wedge, well, chasms open rapidly…

  11. P.G.Sharrow says:

    The center of the “Orient” from Nostrdamus point of view was Persia of the 1500s, The Caliphate. The Islamic Empire. This is the WWIII area that is in conflict right now. A war between Sunni and Sheia as well as them against the world. While the center of conflict is around Israel, all of the world is involved.

    A link to a good evaluation of the present situation with Korea and Syria, as well as the American/Western involvement.
    In time the West will learn to allow the Islamists to wallow in their hate until they tire of it. “The twelveth Imam walks with Jesus” The Islamists world will be destroyed by their own hand. They can not be lead by the West into freedom. They must buy it with their own blood. pg

  12. R. de Haan says:

    i have very good Arab friends, real friends who I met during my business travels in the Middle East. But to say I like Arabs based on a few friendships in general really is a bridge too far. In fact, most of the Arabs I met were complete scum bags. Just look how the scum bags behave in Syria. And while our own political correct scumbag politicians tell us not to fear Islam because it’s a religion of peace 10 years after some Arab scum bags downed the WTC and blew up a wing of the Pentagon I dare to say that some people on both sides of the isle have lost their mind.

  13. Petrossa says:

    EM The only Christian Arabs free to exercise their religion are those in Israel, the rest are mostly slaughtered over the years in the ME and NorthAfrica. Egypt used to be fully Christian, now they are being exterminated. Syria used to be relatively quiet for other religions thanks to Assad being an Alevite, until the ‘west’ decided to pay jihadists to fight Assad. After he is gone they better run for their lives. All over the place churches are being burned, kopts en druze being brutalized/killed. Islam is not a nice ideology.

    That doesn’t mean there aren’t many arabs which are not really islamic just as there are tons of christians that never seen a church from the inside except on a tour. Unfortunately the centuries of islamic imprint has permeated the culture, so even the ‘secular’ muslims have the tendency to be very dismissive of women whilst being for the rest pretty nice guys.

    Just as Christian imprint has rendered our culture one of tolerance, Islam has rendered theirs the opposite. Never the twain shall meet.
    I wrote a few words about it here: http://petrossa.me/2012/12/28/the-cultural-divide/

  14. DirkH says:

    Petrossa, I know it sounds funny, but I agree with you.

  15. Heber Rizzo says:

    Petrossa, good article. I agree with you too, but for one thing.

    Christianism did not rendered our culture of tolerance. It surrendered to renaissance, but if it has any chance to grab political-economic-military power, it´s intolerant behavior is almost exactly like islamism. History proves it.

    Anyway, if you understand Spanish, take a look to my article “Los límites de la tolerancia” (The Limits of Tolerance):

    Maybe you would agree with me.

  16. Gail Combs says:

    EMS, I think I know why you had a ‘different experience.’

    You have up front indicated these guys were not in the USA on business but on an intelligence gathering mission. Therefore the people you dealt with would have been hand picked to have the smarts and training to blend-in and not rock the boat. They wanted you to act just as you did. With loyalty to them and thinking they were ‘nice guys’ The last thing they would do is jeopardize their intelligence gathering mission by treating you badly.

  17. adolfogiurfa says:

    Is this “fighting for freedom”?:

  18. E.M.Smith says:


    Likely so… Except I “caught on to them” so was acting from knowing who they were.

    To some extent my reference to L’Awrance is an allusion to that. To folks recognizing they will never fully accept each other, have inherent conflicts (as the British Empire did with folks worried about colonizing activities…) yet can understand and accept each other, for a time. And with some “intrigues” along the way.

    My offer of defense to “my boss” if needed was a genuine one (as on ‘day one’ it was not known how bad things would get, it might have been needed.) I did also say “I would not want to be you trying to get on an airplane.” (As these guys regularly took longer and more frequent ‘vacations’ than normal, it was clear to me when they were flying home to report… often near ‘special dates’ for their State…) Yet I was also quite aware that I was “sending a message” too. That I would stand with them, as NOW they were on our side of things… but if their country chose not to “help” ours, well…

    I think both “sides” were very surprised that in the following days they had not a hint of any “bad thing” happen, personally and professionally. That the USA was highly selective in who to go after (modulo some idiots who beat up some Sikhs not knowing that turbans do not mean Islamic…) and we believed their country was “on our side”. Yet the “message” I sent by my behavior was one of “I am not afraid OF you, (or of Islam); but afraid FOR you.” That I was more worried that my ‘fellow Americans’ would not care if “The Muslim world from Morocco to Indonesia glows in the dark”. And that this Jihad needed to “end here and end now”, not for MY sake, but for theirs…

    And I meant every word of it.

    One of “them” took a week off for “vacation”, and upon return, their country announced it was our close ally in the coming “war on terror”. IMHO “message received”…

    But the simple fact is that I was in a position of some trust in the company. (Managing projects that created revenue, going on sales calls and knowing prospects and bookings, knowing staffing and skill sets. Indirectly knowing who was ‘booked up’ and which guys were always ‘under booked’ … the two that didn’t mix much and who took odd walks… always under booked.) Generally, I was trusted AND respected. These were ‘bright cookies’ who, IMHO, recognized another “bright cookie”… and respected the mutual trust.

    (Though there were ‘odd bits’ that lead to my ‘figuring it out’… like wanting time cards to the 1/10 hour granularity, even though we did hourly billing, including travel times. Eventually figured out that was to cross check that there were not bits of “hidden time” being used by a ‘counter agent’. Partly I think it was my scrupulous attention to detail and being 100% accurate on that kind of time card and related that got them to realize I just didn’t violate their trust. Not even a little bit. It was the collection of those “not quite usual practice” things that collectively painted the picture for me. It’s that Aspe thing of “something doesn’t fit” and it won’t go away until it DOES fit. Maybe the Agencies ought to hire more Aspe folks ;-)

    At any rate, not too long after that someone else bought out the company and I “moved on” to other contracts. Don’t know who bought them, but got the impression the first folks who owned the place wanted out of doing actual work for a living and running a real company ;-) We were rather successful at booking business and keeping people busy doing equipment installation and I think that cut into their “agency time” ;-)

    Ah well… It was fun while it lasted.

    (Sidebar: At one time I wanted to be a spook. Had the C.I.A. application in hand at college graduation [ they hire a lot of economists…]. But chickened out when I read the question on “Have you ever done drugs?”. At the time M.J. was a big no-no legally, and like about 90% of everyone from the ’70s, I’d tried it (and I did inhale… to quote Obama “that was sort of the whole point”…) It wasn’t my experimenting that “put me off”, it was my quandary over the question. “Did they want the honest answer, showing I was trusting the Agency? Or did they want the lie, as anyone naive enough to answer yes was not subtle enough for Agency work?” Realizing that the rest of my life would be spent “dealing with that ‘how deep is deception’ issue” if I took that path, I took a different path. After 911, I sent in my resume to a couple of TLAs – Three Letter Agencies. But they were swamped with volunteers and didn’t need / want me. Oh Well. Still, in the back of my mind, I’ve “collected skills” for that role. Too many Bond movies as a kid, perhaps, or liking the old Secret Agent TV show too much. And The Prisoner too. But I still think I’d make a decent agent. Oh Well. Nobody is likely to want a “Sixty Something” nerd for agency work anyway; so maybe it’s time I let go of that particular fantasy / interest. But for one shining moment, as a self appointed “Ambassador to Foreign Agents I Think”, I like to think I provided a valuable service. To both sides. Even if not paid for it and unrecognized. It’s in that sense that “I am L’Awrence too.”)

  19. Gail Combs says:

    …. Had the C.I.A. application in hand….
    Yeah, I have been there too. It was the forty different addresses by the time I was 29 that was the real killer for me. I also think I would have been good. I have an odd bent for pulling lots of info together from various people and coming up with the correct answer. That is why the VP at Gillette would send a lowly chemist to other plants who had knotty problems. One of the Chem Eng.s told me the VP threw a real fit when he came back from vacation to find my backstabbing boss had waited till he was off to fire me. She got the boot out the door which is not very common for managers. Ain’t Karma wonderful?

  20. P.G.Sharrow says:

    @Gail sometimes you are “over qualified” from the managers point of view. ;-)
    I am delighted you found your way here, keep us old men on our toes. pg

  21. Clay Marley says:

    In previous posts, you have obviously spent a lot of time studying communism, socialism, the Enlightenment, and a variety of other topics I coincidentally find interesting.

    Consider also taking the time to study Islam. Most everything you probably know about it is false, especially if it is coming from the MSM or various other pundits. The key to studying Islam is to use ONLY materials by Muslims, for Muslims. Read the Koran, at least up through Sura 9. Tafsir Ibm Kathir is well respected commentary to help you get through it. Read “Reliance of the Traveler” too.

    I spent a good 6 months digging into this a few years ago when I finally concluded I couldn’t trust anybody on either the right or the left. Now I understand why nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan is a fool’s errand, why there can never be peace with Israel, why the Arab Spring is such a nightmare, and even why the progressives have such a hard time criticizing Islam.

    I believe you will be stunned by what you find.

  22. E.M.Smith says:


    Maybe we ought to start our own “Agency”, dedicated to restoring an honest and free America… What would be a good name… Maybe “Control”? ;-) ( I get the shoe phone!)

    @Clay Marley:

    I presume you are talking to me with that advice. I’ve read the Koran (twice now) and even posted about it. I’ve also got several books about it (some not so kindly disposed…) and spent a while chasing after the Hadiths. IMHO it’s the “post Koran” addons that’s the worst bits. Folks “interpreting” it and a “What would Tradition and Mohammed do?” that becomes Islamic law.

    But please, do not interpret my posting here to mean I’m naive about Islam. I’m not.

    I just like a lot of stuff. (Not all of it ‘fluffy bunnies’… Though I like them too… I also liked collecting black widow spiders when I was about 8, and like scorpions and rattle snakes too…) Liking something does not mean wholesale endorsement of going to bed with it not in it’s jar… See:

    for example. I’ve yet to get back to do the same detail on Volume one. Someday. Maybe even soon. But it’s not a pleasant activity. To say I find things in Islam that are worthy values does not mean I swallow it whole. Only that some bits have merit. I can find good in just about anything, with some work. And reject the parts that are just wrong. (Much as I reject parts of the Bible that are just wrong… from stoning people to not eating crab meat. There WAS a disease you could get from crab meat, but that disease is now extinct; so that dietary law is kind of silly now.)

    Frankly, I am “novelty seeking” and enjoy doing hard things “on the edge” ( like jumping out of airplanes and I’ve made explosives – before it was a criminal act…) So saying I like something often implies a certain danger element… To some extent, it is like the satisfaction of martial arts sparring, when at the end it is a tie. You both are “liking it” in that there is mutual respect and a certain “badge of honor” in the performance; but nobody is going to let their guard down when the next round starts… Yet there is a certain kinship. Even if the opponent speaks a different language and has a different style… ( I once spared against a black belt Tae Kwan Do. Eventually I got to where I could avoid his spinning ax kick… I “liked it”… but liked it a lot more when his foot no longer klopped me up side the head ;-)

    I tried to give that sense of things in the posting with the reference to Lawrence Of Arabia, but clearly failed… Oh Well… Explaining it somehow kills it.

    In short: I can like and respect a man for who he is and his staying true to his value system; even if I find it antithetical to my own value system. I can find good in most value systems in the world, but usually find it improves with a few “edits”.

    Why folks find that hard to understand and accept is beyond me.

  23. Joe Prins says:

    EM: I am disappointed and somewhat astounded. My first reaction was: would one not be required to let the authorities know of your suspicions? If you did not, why not? What does that tell me of your moral rectitude in life and science? Why be brutally honest in science and evasive with a personal moral standard?
    Really do enjoy your musings, it’s breath of interest, the occasional “AHA” moment and your willingness to do the research, even if that happens a little later.
    But somewhere in the recesses of my memory I recall one of your musings, probably inaccurately, as: I like it, but does it work and is it real? Or, as Ayn Rand would say: A is A.
    Adding to the above comments therefore one needs to ask: Has Islamism worked for the Arabs as a people? Disregarding cell phones etc, are they really better off then say, 500 years ago? As you know, Arab learning and pre-eminence occurred before Islam reared it’s ugly head. And finally a question needs to be asked: What makes you think you can divorce mainstraeam Arab/Islamist thinking from the whole body of culture, including the Koran? One simply cannot have one without the other. Do you really think the non-existence of women, their non-status can be seen separate and apart from the rest of their culture? Islam requires underdogs, scum and non-entity women, slaves in other words. There for pleasure of whatever type and to feed the male masculine ego for superiority, control and power. Most cultures that I am aware off require the division of labor between men and women, on a more or less partnership basis. Islamism demands that this is eradicated. Is it any wonder that the Arab people as a “volk” no longer resembles a working let alone thriving culture? The people you met were on their absolute best behaviour because they were under strict orders to do so in order to accomplish their mission. This does not say anything about the regime they represented. I am really surprised that this has not occurred to you when you wrote the above. Reminds me of another extremely smart man and “his foibles”. IMHO the Arabs got stuck in the 10th century and only now are starting to ask questions that the bourgeois and proletariat do not want to ask. Thanks to Al’s internet, outside influences finally enter the conscience of some. And once the wedge is in, the genie will prevail, to mangle a metaphore.
    But please continue with your musings. I thoroughly enjoy them.

  24. adrianvance says:

    [Reply SNIP! Tired of your constant “insult and complain” comments and thread bomb of your link. Try finding something positive to contribute to discussions. -E.M.Smith]

  25. Petrossa says:

    Heber Rizzo: What i meant was, The basic tenet of Christianism is forgiveness, turn the other cheek, that of Islam is (as the word means in arabic) Submission.

    Obviously history has shown that people abused every religion in existence to massacre,slaughter,pillage, rape and worse.

    For example Buddhism, the religion of love and peace, has just as violent a history as Christianity http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html .

    The difference with Islam is that it is an ideology more than a religion since it encompasses every aspect of life, from government, justice to daily behavior. And it’s basic tenet is to surrender to it, to submit totally and completely leaving no room for adaptation as the other religions do. To conquer and submit everyone else to it, which other religions don’t.
    Islam punishes apostates with death, other religions don’t. You are free to not follow their path.
    Islam hinders progress because science is deemed doubting the all knowing wisdom of allah. The quran contains all truth, even before it was written, so it says. It even has made provisions for where it contradicts itself, the last truth written is the real truth.
    The reason why most Islamic nations are in the bad state they are is that, they are Islamic. Not because of the people, they are just people like everybody else. They just have been brainwashed along North Korean style over the ages.

    Read here how an intelligent person tries to come to terms with Islam and science (and fails) http://petrossa.me/2012/08/07/islam-and-science-bad-marriage/

  26. Heber Rizzo says:



  27. E.M.Smith says:

    @Joe Prins:

    EM: I am disappointed and somewhat astounded. My first reaction was: would one not be required to let the authorities know of your suspicions? If you did not, why not? What does that tell me of your moral rectitude in life and science?

    They were, and are, our allies. One need not “rat out” one’s allies.

    What part of “our allies” was unclear?

    It’s like a special forces guy working with an ally team in the field. Build personal relationships and trust. Evaluate the players. Leverage the relationship to our benefit. You can call in an air strike on your own position if you need to. But you don’t do that if you don’t need it.

    Also, suspicions are only that. As I’ve worked with law enforcement a fair amount and been through an FBI background check at one point, I know what is “actionable” and what gets round filed. “I work with Arabs and I suspect they are acting oddly” is round file material.

    Pre-9-11 nobody was interested in such things anyway.

    There is also a significant risk of accidentally “outing” an agency operation in progress. So with NO evidence, I risk blowing an operation for round file material? Not a very bright a move

    (I’ve spotted undercover cops before, on several occasions, but once started to “challenge” why a guy was somewhere and realized, just after starting, he was an undercover and I was about to blow his cover… I rapidly said “You are working, aren’t you? Got “the slightly pained look” of ‘You made me? I can’t say squat.’ and said “Never mind, have a good evening.” and stopped ‘complicating’ things. The “bust” happened later that night… so I was confirmed right. In any ‘complicated’ situation, it is important to consider that there might be undercovers and that rattling things is a very bad idea.)

    Yes, I thought through the various options then.

    Also realize that 90% of my time there (or perhaps more) was PRE-9-11. There wasn’t a lot of bad context then. As soon as 9-11 happened, these folks travel and destinations (and passports) would all flag them for inspection anyway, so no need for me to “out” them to any “authority”. Essentially; pre-9-11 it was “nothing worthy of interest” and post-9-11 it was clear “they are going to be flagged anyway”. So no value added from me adding to 2 million phone calls from paranoids calling in ever Arab they knew as “suspicious” on 9-12.

    I also paid some attention to what they were doing and saw nothing wrong. Had they been doing anything wrong, I would have “called it in”. Frankly, I think a major part of their “duty” was just giving the Prince (who was a “mid-20 something” in my estimation) protection while he got some personal exposure to America without being isolated by visibility. In that case, sicking “authority” on them would damage relations, damage his view of our “trust worthiness”, potentially set off a international incident, and generally cause a crap fest.
    Not a very bright move.

    Essentially, I decided that me, inside, was a better evaluator of risk than some outside agency with less information, and that I could handle the situation better than most. Agencies can work years to get a “mole” inside an operation and not be as well placed. I also had a perfect “cover” as it was 100% real me. So I chose “observe and keep silent” along with “keep the trust” – unless they break trust. As they never did, and never did anything bad, there was no need for me to do anything.

    As per “my moral rectitude in life and science”; what it ought to tell you is that I’m very strongly honor and duty driven, and have a pretty good sense of what is true and what can not be trusted. I “caught on” to what most everyone else didn’t, evaluated it correctly, and at the right moment, IMHO, used it effectively for “our benefit”. Keeping a sound moral compass heading in the process, and violating no moral duties. All while avoiding a variety of bad potential outcomes. Not bad for an amateur.

    And what in hell makes you think it never occurred to me that these folks were ‘on their best behavior’? What part of “Prince” was unclear? I knew full well these were not your average street guys. Frankly, that’s part of what made it “fun” and interesting. Being accepted, and trusted, being “inside the tent” (even if not the inner sanctum), with folks of higher than average caliber. I’m also pretty damn sure when I said “This ends here and…” that they were very much aware I was “dropping the pretense of ‘not knowing'” and letting them see that I was pretty much aware of their status, and letting them know that my “offer of protection” was a bit conditioned on their being and staying allies. They also “got it” that I’d not been mislead (making my acting in trust all that more appreciated, IMHO.) I can read a lot from facial expressions and it was pretty clear that I was shaking some brain cells of theirs… I think they might have even taken my comments to mean I was a TLA guy. One who kept trust.

    Am I the only one that understands what it means to be a “liaison” who works with “the other side” as long as they play nice, while having a bias for the home team? Even if a self appointed one?

    Sheesh, A fella could start to think nobody else ever watched every spy movie ever made 10 times each… ;-)

    Am I the only one who has seen Lawrence of Arabia a half dozen times? Or The Wind and the Lion? A key theme of which is mutual respect between The President and The Raisuli, while being in conflict. Yet holding to a bond of honor?

    Lawrence was in the same position, with the same need to have loyalty to, and trust from, the Arab King, while serving his own Crown and Country. It’s a large part of what makes the whole story (and metaphor) work.

    So think about it just for a few minutes. I got these folks to tell me things that they ought not to have shared. Family relationships to agency heads. Member of the ruling family title. Nature of their interests here. Do you think that is easy to get? I could darned near draw an org chart of their operation here. With names and rank. But that bond of trust and honor runs both ways. Until and unless there is cause to use it, you don’t violate that trust. That’s how you get get the trust and how you keep an ally.

    So in the end, the young prince got a very beneficial view of America and Americans. Most likely, he is now in some position of power back home (and his guards with him – I think the two ‘walkers’ were his protection team) and post-9-11 their “operation” almost certainly monitored or shut down. (You don’t make 3 to 5 flights a year to a ‘country of interest’ and be related to ‘people of authority’ there and NOT raise flags with agencies…) Our countries have maintained good relations (that would NOT have happened if the headline in the paper was “Prince FOO arrested” or “Prince FOO leaves country after police harassment”) and No Bad Thing Happened.

    I count that all as highly valuable and successful.

    That it was fun, too, is just gravy for me.

  28. Ralph B says:

    Living in the ME the last 10 years I have found there seems so be an over abundance of alimentary canal end points. I have met a lot of nice people as well, but the rule of law and respect for others is definitely…I won’t say missing…but significantly reduced. Driving here is quite the experience, I grew up near Boston and thought I knew what aggressive driving was. Huh…nothing in any other region of the world compares.
    That said…I still don’t care to say I like/dislike certain groups. Even in what I would consider one of the more obnoxious groups (I wont name them, but they have a large delta in NW Africa) I meet some fine individuals.
    You ever want to come experience it for yourself, my door is open. The bread here is fantastic.

    Oh..a funny story…I was going to bring home (to the US) some dates. So I go to the date store and sample a bunch…the best of the lot…came from California! I still bought them and brought them back (calculate their carbon footprint) just for laughs.

  29. Petrossa says:

    Ralph: living there without a good supply of activated carbon was forced running from alimentary canal end point to alimentary canal end point so that might explain that :-) In the first innocent few weeks i learned that the hard way. Also the female habit of pissing where they stood outside build-up area’s by just semi-squatting in their robes took getting used to. First time it happened near me it took a bit of rapid adjustment. But that was many years ago, can’t say if that’s still current.

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    I think I see part of the “problem” here.

    I’m saying “why I like Arabs” in the same way one says “why I like wine”. Some of it is good, some bad, some vile. Yet there are some wines that there is reason to like. Others are taking it to be of the form “why I like money”, all of it fungible. No distinction between one $10 and the next.

    I established a personal relationship with these particular folks. I’m listing some of the aspects that were found as common touchstones between us. I am not blanket endorsing 100% of the people, culture, religion, foods, driving habits, nasal hair, etc.etc.

    Get A Grip, folks: If you have a positive attitude, you can find some good in everyone. That can form the basis for a connection. That doesn’t mean that if, for example, I note that I like cops and have formed a friendship with many, I’m all A-OK with it when one of them beats up street people for fun. (It happens). It DOES mean that we “get along” and I’m OK with them being an armed authority figure, that we have mutual respect, and that we both value honesty and social order. And we can even form enough trust to get drunk together sometimes. (It also means we both appreciate the value of ‘strategic deception’ in interrogation too…)

    So If I make a posting about “why I like cops”; can we expect a laundry list of every bad thing you ever experienced from cops? A slander against all cops because of some?

    Frankly, the degree of “Piss and Moan” complaining about finding something good in others makes me wonder what’s wrong with the folks doing the complaining. You look like a bunch of bigoted stereotyping rubes. Petrossa: Never heard of men in France just pissing on the walls? My Dad “had stories” about his time there. Ever been on the bad side of a Southwest Rural American Bar late on Friday? It’s wet. Ever think that the Arabs are just as aghast at us cooking hamburgers on a grill with bacon? The amount of cultural parochialism on display…

    So drop the slander toward whole classes. Arabs, Muslims, Jews, Cops, whatever.

    Yes, I’ll complain about “particular issues” in some cases. Yes, there are things in Islam I find abhorrent (like that whole ‘off with their heads’ thing… that, BTW, we in the “civilized” west did up until not that many decades back. French Revolution anyone?…)

    But if you can’t find some good in an entire class of people, I pity you, and would rather not hear your bleating. The toxic negativity is an evil eroding force against the soul.

  31. Petrossa says:

    EM Pity you let emotion rule your judgment, and read things I haven’t said at all. If you did you’d have read were I specifically stated it’s not the people but the ideology and that Arabs are exactly the same proportion of nice and not nice as everyone else.

  32. E.M.Smith says:


    “EM Pity you let emotion rule your judgment”


    It is judgment ruling emotion. Frankly, I’m mostly accused of being an emotional dead fish, with some validity. Never can “just cut loose”. Always “too controlled”.

    YOU brought up bodily functions in a negative derogatory context. I pointed out direct parallels in the west. Nothing emotional about it.

    The entirety of what is “directed at you” is:

    Petrossa: Never heard of men in France just pissing on the walls? My Dad “had stories” about his time there. Ever been on the bad side of a Southwest Rural American Bar late on Friday? It’s wet. Ever think that the Arabs are just as aghast at us cooking hamburgers on a grill with bacon? The amount of cultural parochialism on display…

    Then there is a break, and I pick up again with general comments at all. I think you have chosen to think the entirety of the rest of the comment is personal to you. It isn’t.

    Note I specifically called out a cultural parochialism…

    So no, I didn’t miss your fist comment, and no, emotion doesn’t rule. At most it manages to wake up enough to get a bare notice.

  33. Gail Combs says:

    EMS, You really can not get away from the cultural differences. And Yeah, I have had a good relation ship with some Arabs. The guy who built our house was Arab and I liked Walid, his wife and father very much. However after you get stung repeatedly on the subject of contracts you learn to be a lot more careful in your dealings.

    You call it ‘sterotyping’ I call it just noticing the cultural differences and taking it into account in my dealing with different people. For instance Black kids, esp. inner city black kids are scared to death of animals. No surprise, they have had to learn to stay away from the Junkyard dogs. Hispanics are generally very good with animals, Arabs consider dealing with animals children’s work….

  34. P.G.Sharrow says:

    Muslims that we encounter seem to really dislike dogs, avoid them if at all possible. Must be a religion thing as is pigs. pg

  35. Petrossa says:

    EM I am dutch, but i’m sure they and the french and the arabs piss against the walls. I just observed a quaint custom, it was not a value judgment. It is somewhat weird to just walk along and the women next to you says, just a minute, half squats and pisses. Nothing more nothing less. I am sorry you find it toxic, i find it an astute observation of cultural differences that can’t be overcome. When not living in Southern California but in Europe where due to silly immigration laws nations are overrun by orthodox islamic groups which cause an enormous amount of grief you tend be more acutely aware of those differences.

    The USA/Canada/Australia have the luxury of having strict immigration laws, so that those that do make it are in the higher levels of civilization. But one must realize those are worldwide the minority in islamic culture overall. The majority are the kind the invade Europe. This is a recognized fact up to government level, which are now completely out of sorts on how to solve this clash of cultures. From Sweden to Spain big cities are on fire with the clashes. In France, which has the largest islamic population in Europe things are now at a point that AK47 carrying 16 yr old gangs roam the streets emptying entire clips into policecars.

    It’s pretty much a civil war in the making.

  36. Heber Rizzo says:


    The problem with Arabs may be cultural. I am an Uruguayan living in Tenerife, Spain. Lots of different cultures there. Some adapt, some do not.

    Chinese and sub-saharians have some problems, but they try to accept the fact that they are living in a foreign country, and while keeping many of their own customs, they adopt many of the local customs and try to integrate.

    Muslims, on the other side, do not acept local customs, nor even local laws. In fact, they try to enforce the acceptance of their customs and law, even by violence. The problem is their totalitarian political religion.

  37. Gail Combs says:

    Heber Rizzo says @ 9 April 2013 at 9:47 am

    You summed it up nicely.

    If you look at it from the perspective of the Fabian Globalists who are trying to tear down national sovereignty the situation in the EU with Muslims and the situation in the USA with Hispanics makes sense.

    Dick Lamm, the former Governor of Colorado, explained how it works in his speech Eight Steps To Destroy America

    ….”If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too rich, then let’s destroy America. It is not that hard to do. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time.

    Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that ‘An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.'”

    “Here is how they do it,” Lamm said: (First) ;”Turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bi-cultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual.

    “The historical scholar Seymour Lipset put it this way: ‘The histories of bilingual and bi-cultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy.’ ….

    “Invent ‘multi-culturalism’ and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. I would make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal. That there are no cultural differences. I would make it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rates are due to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out of bounds….

    “Fourth, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass, unassimilated, undereducated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% dropout rate from high school.”

    “My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of ‘Victimology.’
    I would get all minorities to think their lack of success was the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority population.” …..

    I think the Mr. Lamm nailed it. Three out of four of my grandparents were immigrants and the same with my husband. By the second generation we were assimilated and by the third we could not even speak ‘our native language’ Now a days I asked the US government over the phone for some information. I got the information in the mail. It was in SPANISH with no English translation!

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