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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "What to Do With the Twins?": Begin by Ignoring Friedman

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "What to Do With the Twins?" (, would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman compares the chaos in Iraq with the pandemonium in Syria. Friedman's conclusion:

"Pluralism came to Europe only after many centuries of one side or another in religious wars thinking it could have it all, and after much ethnic cleansing created more homogeneous nations. Europe also went through the Enlightenment and the Reformation. Arab Muslims need to go on the same journey. It will happen when they want to or when they have exhausted all other options. Meanwhile, let’s strengthen the islands of decency — Tunisia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Kurdistan — and strengthen our own democracy to insulate ourselves as best we can."

Arab Muslims need to go on the same journey as Europe? Fascinating. During the Thirty Years' War, the populations of the various German states, Bohemia, Italy and the Low Countries were decimated by massacres, famine and disease. It has been estimated that the population of the German states was reduced by up to 40 percent. And then there was also the "small matter" of witch hunts during the same period. Arab Muslims must experience this same tragedy?

Friedman's islands of decency? No mention by Tom that some 70 percent of Jordan's population consists of Palestinians (Jordan comprises 78 percent of the original Palestine Mandate), who continue to suffer discrimination and hardship at the hands of their Hashemite rulers.

Lebanon? No mention by Tom of the on persistent fighting between Sunnis and Shiites in this country or the presence of Hezbollah, whose military wing, which is infinitely stronger than the Lebanese army and which takes marching orders from Iran, is now deployed in Syria. As reported in March by Lebanon's Daily Star (

"Intermittent sniper fire and fierce overnight clashes between rival neighborhoods in the troubled northern city of Tripoli dashed hopes Sunday for an end to the fighting that has claimed 29 lives so far.

Two people, including a 12-year-old boy, were killed and one person was wounded late Saturday, reportedly when a personal dispute escalated into armed clashes in Bab al-Tabbaneh.

. . . .

The incident raised the death toll from 10 days of fighting to 29, the highest number of casualties from a single round of fighting since the uprising in Syrian began in 2011, eventually spilling over into Tripoli where supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad now regularly engage in gunbattles."

Tunisia? As reported by Tunisialive ( earlier this week:

"A Tunisian man is accused of burning his 13-year-old daughter to death for walking home from school with a male classmate May 28 in Ibn Khaldoun, a suburb of Tunis. Aya, a middle school student, died on June 7 from fourth-degree burns, Kapitalis and other local news sources reported."

Obama reads and is influenced by Friedman's tripe? Lord help us!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I don't need encouragement. I've been ignoring our beloved Thomas for decades. Yes, I read (sorry, tried) to read two of his columns (yes, I gave him the second chance) and became immune to his attractions for life.