Recovering Evangelicalism – Seeking a Justice-based peace in the Middle East –

American democracy

Just a couple of questions: The ‘West’ got involved in Syria because we wanted to get rid of Assad because his regime was undemocratic. Why, when regime change in Iraq has had such a disastrous effect (unless, of course, you make and sell killing equipment)?

We made similar claims for Iraq, removing the vicious dictator Saddam Hussein, despite protecting him for years and supplying him with weapons of mass destruction against Iran.

So perhaps the next question shouldn’t be “Why?”, but, “When are we going to invade Saudi Arabia?”  Let’s do some basic comparisons.

Syria – autocratic regime, but with some beginnings of democracy. Saudi Arabia – Monarchic rule based on Wahabi-Sunni ideology

Syria – protection of minorities.  Saudi Arabia – Shia persecuted. Christianity not allowed.

Syria – women have role as in modern Western society.  Saudi Arabia – women subordinate to men.

Final question (but wait for next post….)  who benefits from the chaos in Syria (apart from those who invest in killing)

 

This post is of information from other sources, giving a different view of what is going on in Syria. My own view is that western intervention, including Russia, is mistaken, a carryover from a failed imperialism.

This is a Channel 4 News interview with Revd Michael Nazir Ali – view HERE

HERE is the ‘report’ by the Daily Telegraph (interesting that Assad is described as a mass murderer, which he may be but surely that is for ICC to decide?  Will they also be invited to consider the evidence regarding Blair, Bush, Clinton, Cameron, Obama; and what about the Saudi royal family…?)

Andrew Ashdown is an anglican priest with much experience of Syria. This is a report posted by him on Facebook and made public – Essential Reading … HERE

Pursuit of Peace

“The fruit of righteousness will be peace and the effect of righteousness will be quiet and confidence for ever” (Isaiah 32:17).

Those who ‘pursue peace’ without regard to righteousness and justice are running after wind. When they ‘catch’ it, their hand is empty. If simple people can see this we must surely tell our leaders that they are like ‘the emperor’ who had no clothes. They may fool themselves, for how long will they continue to fool the people?

When we keep speaking truth and serving justice there will be no need for others to fear us. Those who ‘need to be feared’ because of their own weakness will be exposed as  those most in need of love.

A Final (I hope) post on this subject!

Any fair-minded person reading the correspondence between the Sharif of Mecca (Husayni, or Hussein) and Sir Henry McMahon, HM High Commissioner in Egypt, must conclude that Hussein had been promised an independent Arab nation in the whole of the Arabian peninsula bounded on the West by the Red Sea and Mediterranean, on the South by the Indian Ocean, on the East by the Arabian Gulf and the border with Iran-Persia, and the North along a line just south of parallel 37, subject to the following exceptions.  Britain claimed special rights over Basra and Bahgdad; the Trucial States were excluded and it was claimed by Britain that districts to the west of Damascus, Homs, Ham and Aleppo, not being wholly Arab and being a French interest must also be excluded. As far as Palestine was concerned, it didn’t rate a mention, although special international arrangements were suggested for Jerusalem.

Reading the submissions and conclusions of the Parliamentary Committee of March 1939 into this affair is fascinating.  Included are extracts from a debate in Parliament held in 1923. Earl Grey, Foreign Secretary during WW1 is quoted, “I think we are placed in considerable difficulty by the Balfour declaration itself. … it promised a Zionist home without prejudice to the civil and religious rights of the population of Palestine. A Zionist home, my Lords, undoubtedly means or implies a Zionist Government over the district in which te hoome is placed, and if 93% of the population of Palestine are Arabs, I do not see how you can establish other than an Arab Government without prejudice to their civil rights. … I do see that the situation is an exceedlingly difficult one, when it (Balkour) is compared with the pledges which were undoubtedly given to the Arabs.”  Quite so!

In the same debate Lord Buckmaster remarked that there was nothing “in the nature of casual inconsistency”  but “that a deliberate pledge has been given on the one hand, which has been abandoned on the other”. He then summed up his view, ” I think we ought to say what we mean, and I think we ought to do what we say…. We certainly meant what we said in 1915. We did not do what we said in 1918″ and concluded that the British government should “go back to obedience to the promise that we gave at a moment when we were gravely beset by difficulties, to the relief of which the Arab help in no slight degree contributed”

Buckmaster was naive, Britain did not mean what it said in 1915, at least as far as the Eastern portions of the peninsula. In 1915 Britain had already concluded a treaty with Bin Saud who was to rule the Nejd, a significant area of East-Central Arabia. In a speech of 5th January 1918 the British Prime Minister declared “Arabia, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Syria and Palestine are, in our judgement, entitled to a recognition of their separate national identities.”  There is much more, but how much evidence do we need. Britain promised Palestine to the Arabs, we either lied, or we broke covenant,

If you who are still wondering why the Mufti hated the British and sought help from Hitler in the 1930’s perhaps you should seek help not from history but an analyst, (you may interpret that however you wish).

Shortly before Nakba day I posted In Memorium.   One response seemed to accuse me of defending, even celebrating immorality.  I don’t propose to ‘approve’ the comment since it would occupy the equivalent of 2 pages. But the assertions within it cannot be allowed to stand without response, for the Palestinians are found collectively culpable, through their leaders, for the Holocaust. ‘They knew, they could have acted, they didn’t because of anti-Semitism’. This is the kind of ‘history’ that is taught to Israeli children and it simply is not true.

So, if you are interested, I am making the ‘Comment’ available,together with my response. It runs to 7 pages. The pdf can be found here Memorium-response .

 

My wife hates going to a souk. It’s not just the noise, it’s the constant hassle – people trying to sell you stuff, in broken English. I love it. What we have to understand is that the Arabs do it differently.  On holiday, tourists want the experience and maybe to buy a few souvenirs. We see something beautiful and want to look at it. The shopkeeper sees us looking and thinks, “Ah, that’s what she was looking for”, so when he tries to sell it to us he gets confused because we don’t seem to understand the process. Buying and selling in the Arab world is not merely a business transaction it is personal and, often, communal.

Read the account of Abraham’s purchase of a cave to bury his wife, Sarah, in Genesis chapter 23. From the first seven verses we could get the impresion that Abraham is asking and the Hittites are agreeing  the land as a gift.  Verse 8 to 11 continue the impression with Abraham saying “I’ll give you the market price” & Ephron’s reply “No, I give it”.  In the end, there is agreement, Abraham will have the field and cave and Ephron will receive his asking price of ‘four hundred shekels of silver’.

It is worth bearing that in mind when reading the McMahon-Husseini correspondence. (this can be found as an appendix in ‘The Arab Awakening: the story of the Arab National Movement’ by George Antonius. pub.1938 or in the British Library Archives).  Whilst couched in ‘diplomatic niceties’, from the first letter, from Amir Abdullah to Mr. Ronald Storrs and the subsequent ‘Notes’ between Sharif Husain (sic) and Sir Henry McMahon, they are very much to the point.  In my view McMahon’s Note dated October 24, 1915 gave Husain to understand that Great Britain agreed to independence for the larger part of the Arabian peninsula, excepting Baghdad and Basra, Alexandretta, and ‘portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo’.  That is to say, an independent Arab state including today’s Saudi Arabia, the Sinai, Israel-Palestine, Jordan, Syria, excepting the coastal regions, Iraq, excepting Baghdad & Basra, Kuwait and a small portion of southern  Turkey.

It is interesting to note Chaim Weizmann’s conversations with Husseini’s brother, Feisal and their agreement that the Jews and Arabs could work together. Weizmann obscures the Zionist intent to create a Jewish state, while his attitude to democracy and to Arabs is evident in his reaction to the British proposal for a legislative council with Arabs (by far the majority of the population) as a majority; ‘I had pointed out that to talk of elected Arabs representing their people was to contradict the democratic principle which it was supposed to further’.  This at a time when in Britain women had not yet been granted the vote. This from a European from Russia where even today democracy is a strange animal.  For the Zionists democracy must wait until they formed the majority, or, when war in 1939 prevented, they would continue with terror and obtain their land by force.

 

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