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Power to the People: Revolution in Egypt

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Hundreds of thousands of voices rang true and became one on February 11, 2010. With the power of the collective group, civilians became tired of the hypocrisy within their government and stood up together as one to finally be heard.

President Hosni Mubarak stepped into this role back in 1981 after the assassination of President Anwar EI Sadat. Egypt has only seen four presidents in its time; Mubarak has served the longest in modern times.

Like a rolling stone causing a mass avalanche, one single voice heard around the world would cultivate a revolution that will be remembered and spoken about in Egyptian history for years to come. Wael Ghonim, a 30-year-old Google executive, has been recognized as a hero for the launch of this epic movement on January 25, 2011. Mr. Ghonim was approached by activist Walid Rachid with his initial plan to arrange a protest and requesting some assistance with the marketing to help put this plan into motion. Through social media, they organized a protest to dismount President Mubarak from his presidential role to allow for a fair election come September. Egyptian citizens have finally become fed up and want to cleanse their country of the poverty, unemployment and corrupt police force that President Mubarak has not only allowed, but orchestrated for so many years.

It is said that 50 Egyptian citizens rallied together on January 25 in Tahrir Square, however that number quickly climbed to somewhere in the thousands by the end of the first day. Throughout the protest, the amount of people joining in increased dramatically; posts on Twitter continued to get the word out in support of the movement. However, with orders from President Mubarak, internet providers where forced to shut down communications in hopes of controlling and stopping the chaos. It was only a mere five days later that the internet was enabled and social media continued to spread like wild fire.

On February 10, President Mubarak was slated to give a speech in which the citizens hoped he would announce his resignation. Unfortunately the crowed was disheartened and enraged to hear him announce that he would not step down as president and would remain in power until after the elections in September. He also stated that he would hand over some of the day-to-day responsibilities to Vice President Omar Suleiman in hopes of disbanding the protest. This only angered the protestors, who continued to push on and rally together until he was forced to resign from his seat of power.

A day of reckoning is now upon Egypt’s government; today, February 11, 2011, President Mubarak announced that he is stepping down from his presidential role and that he has handed over the reins to the Egyptian army, and the vice president. Hosni Mubarak has now fled Cairo and is residing at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The uproar throughout Tahrir Square was heard around the world, as were the cries of victory and the tears of perseverance from all the protestors who held strong for 18 days and 17 nights. The people prevailed; the revolution was a success.

Let this all be an example for all by which live our lives, and let us remember that this epic revolution was created by one person. As the butterfly’s wings create a tidal wave halfway across the world, one voice created history, and together we created greatness.

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About Ceinwen Morgan

  • Heloise

    Still waiting for conservative talking heads to give the people of Egypt their due. They also are suspect as to who was behind the uprising Now revolution there. Is it bcz we propped him up or bcz he was us ally and Israel had nothing to fear from Egypt?

    Forget al queda!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Well, there’s one thing we can be sure of – no matter how good or how bad things turn out in Egypt, those same conservative talking heads will be pointing out how the evil unAmerican socio-Fascist Obama administration did everything wrong, and that things would have been much better if he had only done things their way…

    …never mind that even if he’d ‘done things’ exactly their way to the letter, they’d shift their rhetoric and claim that he needed to do it some other way.

  • You’re grossly overestimating, Heloise, the purity of thought you happen to attribute to an everyday American conservative. It’s a rare beast indeed.

  • I suppose it’s become impossible for you, Glenn, to debate any subject whatever without bringing Obama into the picture. Contrary to what you may think, our illustrious leader is far less instrumental or inspiring in the larger scheme of things than you suppose.

    I remarked to Handy he had better try to take off his American hat so he might see the world events more clearly, but the same advice, apparently, applies with equal weight to you.

  • Recognizing that all here are interested in different views, here is one.


  • Quite predictable. Mr. Miller. The head of the Iranian state is either a fanatic or a patsy for the mullahs. To elevate his “take” on the events as in any way representing the reality is either delusional or equivalent to employing scare tactics. Besides, the American order of things, however highly you may think of it, has proven time and again to be toxic or, to say the least, highly questionable according to some minds. In a way, the groundbreaking events in Egypt are the result of our own doings. We brought them to our front door.

  • Heloise

    Is miller siding w/ conservative fear mongering?

  • Roger Nowosielski (#6), you write: “In a way, the groundbreaking events in Egypt are the result of our own doings. We brought them to our front door.” I wish you would please explain that a little.

    Over the past three weeks, there’s been widespread discussion about how the U.S. government has long supported Mubarak’s authoritarian regime, to the tune of more than $1 billion a year. Yet I take it that’s not what you mean by “groundbreaking events in Egypt.”

    Rather, it seems you’re referring to the recent 18 days of mass protests and Mubarak’s consequent resignation. In what way are those specifically the result of our own doings?

    I’m reminded of the reaction by some to 9/11, saying that America brought the terrorist attacks on herself. Except that in the present case, neither the protests nor their outcome have taken place on our shores. Nevertheless, you claim, “We brought them to our front door.”

    You must know things the rest of us don’t. Or does that go without saying?

  • In response to your third paragraph, Alan, yes. the people has finally woken up. They had put two and two together. I don’t see any merit in your lame attempt to try to compartmentilize things, as though our foreign policy, the dictators we install, and sudden awakening on the part of the oppressed populace were somehow unrelated. Nice try tough.

    I’m going to watch a movie now, but don’t let that stop you. Come tomorrow, I’ll do my best to answer all your queries to the best of my ability, as always.

  • It would appear so, Heloise. Why else bring up a point of view by a maniac and posit it as though were as credible as any other?

    But of course, I wouldn’t presume to know what’s in Mr. Miller’s head, so you had better put that question to him.

    Nite everybody, It was a momentous day.

  • I’ve noticed lately that you’ve become consistently more evasive and dismissive, Roger. Could it be the result of blowing too much smoke? There’s a difference between, on the one hand, a philosopher who can’t find the words to communicate with people of lesser enlightenment and, on the other hand, an intellectual snob. I place you in the latter camp.

  • Clavos

    Now that the Egyptians have successfully rid themselves of their despotic American puppet government, one hopes they will be smart enough to dissociate themselves entirely from the Americans for good.

    But I doubt it. Fearful of losing an “ally” the craven US government will shortly begin to shower them with even more money than before, and money talks — even in Egypt.

  • It may already be too late for the Egyptians to dissociate themselves from the Americans. “In a way,” Roger writes (#6), “the groundbreaking events in Egypt are the result of our own doings.” Presumably (since in #9 he refuses to clarify) this means that the CIA was behind the 18 days of protests that toppled Mubarak, just as the CIA in 1953 orchestrated a similar military coup d’état in Iran to depose Prime Minister Mossadegh. If Roger is right and the “heroes” of this latest Egyptian revolution turn out to have been American puppets all along, then millions of people around the world are fools to accept the events of the past three weeks at face value.

  • Ironically, there’s a lesson to be learned from the Iranian example. If present-day Egyptian patriots, unlike the agents provocateurs who’ve done the CIA’s bidding in toppling Mubarak, truly want to throw off the shackles of economic dependency on the United States, they should implement an Iranian-style Islamic Republic.

    No other nation in the region stands in such stark opposition to the U.S. as does Iran. Likewise for Egypt, there can be no half measures, no deals with the devil. Egyptians must entrust their country’s future to the Muslim Brotherhood, which in concert with the military can send the Great Satan straight to Hell.

  • That’s the neat thing about conspiracy theories. In the end, heroes turn out to be villains and villains turn out to be heroes, and the archenemy always turns out to be the United States of America. That game is so easy, anyone can play! Right, Roger?

  • troll
  • #11 Yes, Alan, I was being dismissive with respet to your “question” for the simple reason it was a silly one. It is you who are posturing and you’re not that dumb not to know it.

  • Michael Santomauro

    Rabbi Cooper: “The Web is not a debating society. It’s there for marketing and advertising.”

    Thought for the Day: “The Web is not a debating society. It’s there for marketing and advertising. We need to apply pre-Net rules: create a policy and stick to it.” — Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in a presentation at the Virginia Bar Association Annual Meeting on January 14, 2000.

    Michael Santomauro
    [Personal contact info deleted]

  • I haven’t made any reference, Alan, to CIA. When I spoke of American foreign policy in the Middle East as having been instrumental, I spoke of the long-standing policy of installing dictators. The suggestion that the events of the last eighteen days or so were in any way engineered by the CIA or any other US intelligence agency is a by-product of your intentional misreading and unquenchable thirst for posturing; so yes, dismissing you is just what the doctor ordered.

  • troll

    …or one could say – take your army of strawmen off my bridge

  • As to your #14, Alan, yes, I find it intriguing. You’re suggesting that the only way of resisting Satan is to embrace another one. Well, the article linked to by “troll” in #16 is a direct rebuttal to that idea.

  • troll
  • troll

    …interesting how Algerian police appear to have focused on female protesters

    also from twitter: @Dima_Khatib
    Dima Khatib ??? ????
    36-year old Algerian dies today after setting himself on fire in Eastern Algeria #algeria #feb12

  • I really love Žižek. But I think he should not have used the phrase “authority” in reference to the state”, it’s very “confused and confusing”. 😉

    (seriously, though, thanks for that article)

  • According to Alan, CIA operatives are quite busy these days. If this shit continues, they’re certain to experience a significant drain on their resources and personnel. Look out for a nationwide campaign designed to replenish their quickly dwindling resources.

  • But Cindy, “authority” is intricately connected to the notion of sovereignty (from which the authority is presumed to derive). So do away with the state and you’ll have effectively obliterated both notions.

  • BTW, great to see you back (I hope you’re out of the woods). It’s been awfully boring here, except for “troll” and few other posters. Both our conservatives and heart-bleeding liberals have been conspicuously noncommittal concerning these groundbreaking events. I suppose they’re taking their sweet time to evaluate the situation on the ground – from the standpoint of our national interests, that is – before they treat us to their cogent analysis.

  • Analysis: Suleiman: Welcome to the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

    Suleiman has been implicated as directly involved in the controversial CIA ‘rendition’ program. Journalist Stephen Grey in his work, ‘Ghost Plane’, states that after taking over as intelligence director, Suleiman oversaw an agreement with the US in 1995 that allowed for suspected militants to be secretly transferred to Egypt for questioning.[11] Although Suleiman’s Egyptian Intelligence was required to provide ‘assurances’ that prisoners handed over through this program would not be subjected to torture, at least one CIA officer has testified that such assurances from them were unofficially regarded as worthless as ‘a bucket of warm spit’….”

    “…Human Rights Watch has further written that “Egyptians, particularly those of us calling for an end to Mubarak’s three-decade rule, see Suleiman as Mubarak II, especially after the lengthy interview he gave to state television Feb. 3 in which he accused the demonstrators in Tahrir Square of implementing foreign agendas. He did not even bother to veil his threats of retaliation against protesters…”

  • cindy

    re authority: indeed, Roger. I was just amusing myself.

    (short version: after 3 strokes, they embarked on an extremely risky (for hemorragic stroke) vad exchange. The problem was a kink inside causing the pooling of blood and multiple strokes. That was yesterday. Today they will go back in to remove the blood clots they hoped would not form. He survived. So far so good. We wont know if his brain survived until he wakes up. Later today or tomorrow. I am positive, relaxed, and now, Im even washed!)

  • Hang in there, kiddo.

  • Let me relieve your boredom, Roger. I write a lot on Facebook about Jews reaching out to their Pashtun brothers and helping them in a time of need – Judah reaching his hand out to help Joseph the same way that Joseph helped Judah (and the other brothers of Israel 3,700 (or 3,500) years ago. Pashtun have responded to me. I wrote a note trying to give encouragement to Egyptian revolutionaries – and responses came to that as well. As you know, I’ve advocated nuking Teheran if the mullahs there come too close to getting “the Persian bomb” OR if the Persians cannot get rid of the mullahs. Persians have been reading and paying attention. I got this note of FB today from a fellow named Cyrus. The note reads as follows:

    “Persia is the land of poets and history and perfume spices and mystery

    Free Persia from Islamic Republic! We Persian saved Jewish people and sheltered them”

    The internet and social media do work in getting a message across. Note that Cyrus did not call his country Iran. He wrote to me – a fellow who advocated nuking Teheran if the mullahs can’t be gotten rid of.

    Nationalists pay attention to other nationalists, Roger. We all speak a common language – one you may or may not disapprove of – but one WE all understand:

    POWER TO THE PEOPLE! This fellow wants help bringing power to HIS people. HIS leaders have threatened to exterminate MY people. And I propose in return to exterminate his. And he knows where the evil lies in his nation – at the top. He wants the bastards gone – and he wants help.

    Something to think about, Roger.

  • I wish your husband a full recovery, Cindy. Miracles do happen – and hope is your strongest weapon.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    I suppose it’s become impossible for you, Glenn, to debate any subject whatever without bringing Obama into the picture. Contrary to what you may think, our illustrious leader is far less instrumental or inspiring in the larger scheme of things than you suppose.

    Oh, excuse me – I thought this was the Politics section of BC. Perhaps if you would look, you might find that before that ONE comment, in the topics about Egypt the past three weeks I’ve said very little concerning Obama and Egypt. Maybe in the first topic or so, but in those I certainly wasn’t the first to bring him up.

    And could you show me where in any of your “Anarchy” articles that I mentioned him? I’m sure I did, because everyone knows you couldn’t be wrong about my always “bringing Obama into the picture”.

    In the comment on this particular thread, I didn’t even defend what Obama has done or hasn’t done. I merely stated that no matter what he did or didn’t do concerning Egypt, he would still be vilified by pundits and politicians on the Right.

    And is this really so inaccurate a statement? And if not, then why must you feel it is so tiresome? Speaking of tiresome, it does get old that I can’t seem to make a comment on a thread here lately without receiving a swift and condescending rebuke from you…and each time you do, it helps me get that much of a clearer picture of what kind of person you are. I will say that I have more respect for those who are up front about their disdain for or dislike of me than for those who go to lengths to disguise it.

    That said, I’d much rather talk about the issues than to speak ill of others on this forum.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ruvy –

    That’s a very interesting and thought-provoking comment. Thank you!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Best wishes for your husband. I hope that both of you get to spend many more years together.

  • Glenn,

    I wasted no time in responding to the Persian fellow – though his message came on Saturday afternoon, and my response to him came after the Sabbath ended, on Saturday night.

    I told the gentleman I would make inquiries – I DO have some connections here and can attempt to use them in a good cause. And this is a good cause. Hopefully, you do remember that while I feel nuking Teheran may be necessary, it is not something I WANT done.

  • I suppose you have succeeded, Ruvy, striking terror and fear in the heart of Glenn. Good for you.

    As to you, Glenn, you’re free of course to post anything you like or likewise, to remain silent on any topic whatever. But I’m equally free to offer a running a commentary on your delinquencies or if I chose, to ignore you.

  • I forget how arrogant you are, Roger. I suspect Glenn is not terrified or afraid of what I have written. He knows my point of view, and I think he is finally beginning to comprehend it as well.

    I won’t comment on what you know or comprehend. I don’t waste my time on Marxist philosophes whose ideas stink like rotten green cheese. I do what I can to improve the world around me.

  • As to this military takeover in Egypt, the best thing about it is the the ikhwan muslimun doesn’t seem to like the military. This in itself is good news. I means that the takeover of the country by this human garbage is not yet a done deal. So, sitting in the cold mountains of Samaria, I will, as always, watch, wait and prepare.

  • “I do what I can to improve the world around me.”

    You’re sure doing a hellluva job! Now I know I’m in safe hands.

  • I’m glad you feel this way, Roger. Compliments like yours make my er minute…

  • Like Glenn and Ruvy, I am praying for Cindy&beloved. I also appreciated #31. Ruvy has never made me feel afraid. I’ve been angry at him and some of his views occasionally, but I’ve never written him off as a crank. My own support for Israel is cautious but heartfelt. Goodbye.

  • Baronius

    Roger vs. Glenn. Huh. I’ve got no natural ally in this fight. On the one hand, Roger does tend to reply to what he thinks the person would say rather than to what the person says. On the other, Glenn did only make one comment on this thread, and it was anti-anti-Obama, which is pretty close to pro-Obama. I’ll give this to Roger on points.

    Cindy, my hopes and prayers are with you and your husband.

  • “One voice created history,” writes Ceinwen Morgan in this blog’s final sentence, “and together we created greatness.”

    “One voice” is evidently Wael Ghonim. But whom does Ms. Morgan mean by “we” created greatness?

    I don’t see how anyone other than the direct participants can take credit. Yet Ms. Morgan, who I presume is Welsh, isn’t alone in patting herself on the back. Many Americans are likewise bathing in vicarious triumph thanks to the sacrifices of Egyptians viewed safely and comfortably from afar on our electronic screens.

    As a U.S. citizen residing in California, I don’t feel any more or less free as the result of recent events in Cairo and Alexandria. And I certainly don’t feel “we” created their greatness–unless, of course, it turns out the CIA really was behind Egypt’s military coup d’état and its attendant stagecraft of mass protests.

  • It’s asinine that any of us should take credit for what the Egyptian people has accomplished, you’re right. One still should feel good about their accomplishment, for them, and it’s got nothing to do with whether you feel freer as a result. They put their asses on the line whereas we are too comfortable being Americans.

  • Ceinwen Morgan

    Alan as I understand and appreciate your point of you I do feel you have misunderstand me. The point of the article was not to take credit for this amazing and triumphant moment in history, it was quite simply to recognize it. When I used the word ‘we’ I meant to reference it as the collective group of thehuman race. The power of one voice created a movement that most would believe it be impossible. It was the unity of the Egyptian people that made history yesterday and ‘we’ should all learn by their actions. ‘We’ together can create greatness….

  • Ceinwen Morgan (#46), I dispute your contention that “the collective group of the human race” created any greatness in this specific instance. That’s tantamount to arguing that all humans are collectively responsible for the authoritarian regime that oppressed Egyptians for 30 years. In fact, we know who the bad guys were and we know who the good guys are. To collectivize either credit or blame is absurd.

  • Not as absurd as meets the eye. We’re all guilty in a manner of speaking by our complicity. You’re being too finicky, your character trait, by focusing at all times on the letter of the written word and ignoring the spirit. Besides, Morgan’s elucidation made it clear that the the underlying intent behind the speech was in the nature of appeal, surely a legitimate objective of (some) human communications.

    Your willful ignoring the obvious only demonstrates, once again, your pervert preference for posturing instead of trying to engage in a real dialog. A character or personality defect, I venture to say, and certainly a reason to ignore you.

  • You keep promising to ignore me but never stay true to your word.

  • Of course I’m ignoring you, which doesn’t preclude the idea of embarrassing you whenever you put your foot in your mouth, your SOP it seems, lest you befuddle lesser intellects.

    Somebody’s got to keep you honest, Alan, because you lack the integrity to do it on your own behalf.

  • El Bicho

    “You…never stay true to your word.”

    Writes the man who has repeatedly declared he wouldn’t comment here any longer. Right, Jerome?

  • “Lesser intellects?” Roger, you know very well that there are no lesser intellects than mine commenting at Blogcritics. If you don’t believe me, just ask El Bitcho.

  • Alan, I never accused you of being dumb, only of being perverse.

  • Perversity among BC commenters. Now there’s a novel idea.

  • Whatever the case, that’s no reason to emulate them.

  • Don’t you mean “emulate us“?

  • Nice try, Alan, but I’m a cut above you. Lots of people are – Cindy, “troll,” Clavos, even your nemesis, Mr. Rose. You’re indeed in a class all your own. You’re nothing but hot air.

  • Roger, you remember the old Groucho Marx joke about not wanting to belong to any club that would have him as a member. Well, if the “class” at Blogcritics includes you, Cindy, troll, Clavos, and Mr. Rose, I am heartily relieved to be excluded from said class. Praise the Lord!

  • Allow me to puncture Ruvy’s pose as a reasonable man by reminding everybody that not only has he called for the nuking of Iran but also his own people in Tel Aviv for being the wrong kind of Jews, which presumably means tolerant people.

    He was also not particularly support of the Egyptian revolution when it started, presumably because it wasn’t bloodthirsty enough for him.

    Two great aspects of the Tunisian and Egyptian protests have been how the evil of monotheism was largely absent and that the protesters avoided being drawn into an aggressive or violent mode, self defence apart, even when provoked.

    Their example has been an inspiration to many around the globe and we may yet see many more such instances practically anywhere in the world. We in the west should not think ourselves immune…

  • I look forward to seeing how Alan deals with the paradox of his Marxian self-exclusion and his continued participation.

  • Are you implying that Blogcritics is nothing more than the exclusionary club formed by you, Roger, Cindy, troll and Clavos? I don’t see it that way. Cindy already ignores me, and troll I don’t even know. But if the remainder of your club would follow Cindy’s example, I’d be grateful.

    Of course it’s your paid duty, isn’t it, Mr. Rose, to attend to my every word so as to drop the anvil of censorship on me at a whim. But at least Roger and Clavos, and El Bicho and the many others who hate my guts, could give it a break and simply refuse to read any comment that I post.

  • If you are addressing me, Alan, the answer is no.

    To clarify your second paragraph, my duty is to make sure that commentators follow the very tolerant comments guidelines. The fact that some people seem to find that difficult never ceases to surprise me.

    However, as and when any action is reluctantly taken, being careful not to suppress the expression of ideas is always kept in mind.

    I’ve no idea if any of the people you name “hate your guts”; I certainly don’t, I just see you as one of those people who prefers to hang on to their prejudices rather than engage with reality.

    In that you appear to have more in common with someone like Ruvy. I see such attitudes and behaviour as corrupt and corrupting, an attack on both humanity and the sincere pursuit of knowledge, whether secular or spiritual, and therefore the enemy of humanity and our progress.

    The tragedy is the perpetuation of ignorance, fear and superstition such attitudes generate, to say nothing of the delaying effect on our overall development as a species. Fortunately, time is on the side of that progress and ere too long such relics will fade into dust.

  • Since you consider me an “enemy of humanity,” your duty should be to ban me from this site immediately and forever. Surely that would be justified, even if BC’s Official Comment Policy fails to mention enemies of humanity. What’s stopping you?

  • You need to pay more attention, Alan; I said I consider such attitudes and behaviour the enemy of humanity, not the people deceived by them. Why would I ban you for being infected by a disease or being the victim of a cruel exploitative con trick?

    I don’t see how my views and this site’s approach to comments have anything to do with each other, except if there was a clear conflict between them that could not be resolved in any way other than my resignation. Happily for me, that is not the case. Indeed, I see a great deal of harmonious accord between the two. Why, then, would I seek to ban you? I much prefer to let people like you and Ruvy make all the ludicrous arguments you want. Fresh air and light will, over time, show the truth or wisdom of such an approach. Or the folly…

  • Weasel words.

  • That’s right, Alan; anything you don’t accept is weasel words and you are a beacon of honesty, hope and light for the world.

  • Yes, Christopher Rose. The atheists in Egypt should be VERY proud (your #62) Soviet-trained torturer Suleiman is now at the helm!

    To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib – and he did, with a vicious karate kick.

    “Imagine all the people…” Indeed.

    (By the way, I hope you don’t mind, but I helped myself to the copy of Newton’s Arithmetica I found in the trash bin behind your house.)

  • That’s not to say I don’t (idealistically) hope the best for the Egyptian protesters, many of whom appear to be free of the nasty religious bigotry that infects some (not all) atheists, just as it infects some (not all) monotheists.

    “The protesters are not just brave. They are also savvy. They’ve supported the call for a secular government. When cries of “Allah Akbar” rang out, they were drowned out by louder chants: “Muslim, Christian, we are all Egyptian…”

    Let the Egyptians have their OWN revolution. American imperialists, Marxists, and atheistic religious bigots, keep your hands OFF!

  • In addition to your #62, Christopher Rose, reference was being made to #59 which contains your statement:

    Two great aspects of the Tunisian and Egyptian protests have been how the evil of monotheism was largely absent and that the protesters avoided being drawn into an aggressive or violent mode, self defence apart, even when provoked.

  • I don’t consider you evil, Christopher Rose, nor do I consider Ruvy evil.

    I don’t consider myself evil, either, and I believe if YOU returned to the…and I give you MORE than the benefit of the doubt here…stance of a rational man, you wouldn’t either. Enough. Done.

  • Baronius

    Morgan – I see you’re new around here. (Your surprise that your article was misunderstood gave you away. Personally, I also read your article as an endorsement of what the online world has done more than what the Egyptians have done.) A lot of us put our rivalries or hobby horses ahead of political conversations, but you’ll get our used to that after a while.

  • Chris Rose, like his shrinking violet, the BBC, continues to distort facts. In Chris’ case, particularly about me.

    I have said the most likely target of a nuclear bomb in Israel would be Tel Aviv – if you want to murder off Jews, you get more Jew for your bang that way. Considering that most coffee shops in TA are open on the Sabbath there, I cannot even get a damned cuppa joe there. A place that so openly violates Jewish law in the Jewish state, and which so openly persecutes Jews elsewhere in the Jewish state, will not be missed, in my opinion.

    I expect to see Tel Aviv and most of the coast destroyed in a massive missile attack from the north – our Arab enemies openly talk of such a plan, and while I do not expect it to work out the way they do, I do expect it to succeed to a large extent.

    But my opinion is not that important – my actions are. I was not surprised by the revolt in Tunisia. a French kid with Tunisian relatives warned me of it. I was surprised by the revolt in Egypt – but not disappointed.

    I have reached out to Egyptian revolutionaries, but I do recognize that the goons with the guns run the place. The new president, Suleiman, does have a record as a torturer – but the question really is whether he is a figurehead for the military, as Naguib was in 1952, or whether he will emerge as the actual head.

    That will determine whether outreach from Jews in Israel will be effective or not. I hope, but am not too optimistic. But events do continue to surprise.

    Apparently the virus of instability has reached Persia. This can only be good news.

    If a less bellicose régime takes power in Persia, the need to destroy Teheran with nukes will disappear. However, the mullahs are still in charge. When they go – if they go – then we can hope for something other than terrible war here. Until then, well…

  • Interesting events going on to the east of us here in Samaria – There was an unexplained explosion near Qom on Friday. Then there is this from Twazzup…

    In the meantime, the Egyptian military has disbanded the parliament and cancelled the constitution. Evidently the torturer is a figurehead after all.

  • Ceinwen Morgan (#46), I have published a rebuttal to your article. It is titled “The Myth of Egypt’s Butterfly Revolution.” Your feedback is invited.

  • Baronius

    Shouldn’t we welcome the abandonment of the old Egyptian constitution? It didn’t prevent any of the authoritarianism of the last 50 years. It would have mandated elections quicker than any party but the Muslim Brotherhood could have prepared for. Of course, there’s a real danger that the military/intelligence cabal running Egypt might find that they’re happy without a constitution, but such governments do sometimes allow reforms and elections (the military often being the most democratic institution in a country). If they write a new one, this could be a good thing.

  • pablo

    I must say Alan it is refreshing to see you’re finally getting your due treatment around here.

  • Baronius (#75): … the military often being the most democratic institution in a country …

    Now there’s a hoot! The military is arguably the most hierarchical, authoritarian, top-down and undemocratic institution ever devised by the mind of man.

  • Baronius,

    Whether you “welcome” this change or not is irrelevant. It has happened. Having seen too many military régimes in my life (even from a distance), they generally disgust me. It should be further borne in mind that what evolved to become the Mubarak régime started as a military coup which overthrew a puppet king and his puppet government.

  • pablo (#76): Yes, it was only a matter of time before I was officially declared an enemy of humanity, which I suppose can be stretched to include even you. I still don’t understand, though, why I haven’t been banned from commenting here. One would think that Mr. Rose would want to protect the rest of you from my vile and criminal influence. Perhaps he has fallen down on the job.

  • @68 and 69

    Why all these reservations and qualifications, Irene? Why not simply be happy for the Egyptian people, period? It’s this what I find most frustrating about your otherwise lucid mind. Just like Ruvy who apparently can’t help himself but view everything under the sun through the prism of his (version of) Jewishness, you’re inevitably bringing your religion into virtually every discussion. Again, this is not to denigrate your faith or to suggest it shouldn’t guide your overall and overriding perspective; but surely there is a season for everything, yet you appear to be oblivious of the fact and and bring religion into the table indiscriminately, regardless of context (and in so doing, only cheapen your insights and devalue your contributions).

    I’d look at it if I were you.

  • troll

    Perhaps that integration is critical to Irene’s religious effort to ‘walk in god’s presence’. Compartmentalization might not work for her.

  • @76

    Don’t flatter yourself, Pablo, you’re not in the same league as Mr. Kurtz. In your case, there is no question as to what your beliefs and convictions are; and however it may be the case that some people will disagree with you, question your integrity they will not.

    Mr. Kurtz, on the other hand, doesn’t appear to be coming from any particular POV, and if he does, he is yet to make it known. Quite the contrary, most of his input thus far appears to have been generated just for the hell of it, for no other reason, it seems, but to be contrary. A childish behavior, no doubt, motivated by some insatiable need for attention. Hence all the posturing and posturing.

    So no, you are as different as night and day.

  • Roger Nowosielski (#82), you note my “insatiable need for attention.” But in so doing, you are PAYING ATTENTION TO ME. Why is that? Why not simply ignore me?

  • I don’t believe I was suggesting compartmentalization. Each of us is guided by some overriding perspective which we don’t always bring to bare every chance we get. so Irene’s case isn’t really all unique. It’s more a matter of being sensitive to context, as well as to the audience, and knowing when to do what.

    The unintended and unanticipated consequences are that instead of the larger perspective informing as it were all of one’s acts and speech, it has the seeming effect of limiting all such (or at least coming across that way). Whatever the reasons – lack of confidence (read: doubt), excessive zealousness, or simply inattention – it is clumsy.

  • My address was to Pablo, Alan, in case you failed to notice. He was my concern.

  • @84 … bring to bear …

  • Roger Nowosielski (#85), Pablo’s comment to which you responded was addressed to me and was entirely about me. Your response thereto was much more about me than about Pablo. In case you failed to notice.

  • troll

    I find Irene’s perhaps clumsy attempt admirable and suspect that she will develop a nuanced voice

    …and re: Alan – I found his rati piece to be a pretty much valid if heavy handed critique

  • @81 “Perhaps that integration is critical to Irene’s religious effort …”

    I suppose I haven’t adequately responded to this aspect. Granted, cases of religious belief may be qualitatively different from other types of cases (personally, I don’t think they’re necessarily so, because the psychology of experience is the same). But even if I grant that, I would take a lead here from Kierkegaard in that matters of faith are mostly personal, private matters, and one ought to come to terms with his/her faith in the course of private deliberations.

  • As nuanced a voice as mine … I certainly hope so!

  • True, Alan, but still my concern was Pablo, and I have no apologies to make for butting in.”

  • Roger, I’m not asking for an apology, merely hoping that you’ll allow me to dialog with other commenters without a side attack from you.

  • pablo

    82 Roger

    Flatter myself? About what? I was simply making a sniping snide remark to Alan purely for my own satisfaction. You see to be confusing apples with eggs.

  • Baronius

    Alan – Fair enough. Let’s say that they’re more meritocratic and practical than the average religious-controlled, communist, or inheritance-based undemocratic government. The histories of Turkey and Indonesia show how the military can squash non-democratic movements, and unfortunately also squash everything else if the mood strikes them. It’s uncertain. I daresay that military governments are less likely to be militarily adventurous.

    Ruvy – Did I say that we could control whether or not Egypt has a constitution? No. I’m trying to analyze the situation. That’s what we do on BC. Do you think that Egypt would be better off rushing elections?

  • Indeed, “troll.” I left the following remark:

    Well done. One of your best. It reverberates Naomi Klein’s theme from “The Shock Doctrine” and the Crisis of Capitalism, whereby the West has become so skilled at spinning all events from disaster to success to its own advantage and creating “heroes.” The recent mining disaster in Chile is a case in point. Still, the folks at WikiLeaks deserve some credit for awakening the general consciousness (but my take on it is, they’re antiWestern).

  • Was being facetious, Pablo, – just a literary construction. So no, I haven’t confused “apples with eggs.”

  • Fair enough, Alan. I’ll curb the “uncontrollable impulse.”

  • #74 – Alan, I read your article, The Myth of Egypt’s Butterfly Revolution, it was well written.

    You feel that the media has given too much credit to social networking, I beg to differ. I am not intending to discredit any such person that was brave enough to stand in the streets of Cairo, however if you believe that social networking did not play a part, small or big in this revolution, you are just as narrow minded as you believe me to be. I believe it was a joint effort between Google, Twitter and Facebook who allowed moment by moment updates to spread like wild fire. Information is power. The social networking community may have been in the background offering their support, but they were still there. The civilians in the streets were unfortunately on the front line and yes there was approximately 300 casualties and in thousands for injuries, but they continued to hold strong as the internet and social communications continued to support.

  • Ruvy – Did I say that we could control whether or not Egypt has a constitution? No. I’m trying to analyze the situation. That’s what we do on BC. Do you think that Egypt would be better off rushing elections?

    Baronius, I only wish to drive home the point that America has little or no power over the change that is sweeping the Middle East. All that matters to me is that the régime in place is willing to honor the fake peace treaty in place. That means we do not have the causus belli to exterminate the Egyptian population because it poses an existential threat to us.

    I could care less if the Egyptians have elections, have a constitution or have Jesus crapping on their heads because he is pissed off with the way they treat the Coptic Christians. So long as the Wahhabi pigs are not actually in power, our concerns with Egypt are limited to our border with them, and how they control the Gazan branch of the Muslim Brotherhood that we Israelis were so stupid and ignorant to enable. All the rest is irrelevant to us.

    I do not like that. Being limited to these concerns means that our boys (meaning possibly MY boy) may get sent into Gaza on some fake bullshit “war” because the Wahhabi pigs running Gaza (or the Shi’a pigs who are their allies, and who are running around Gaza) are shooting too many rockets or missiles at us. Given the cowardly régime we have in Jerusalem, we cannot expect much else.

    Given the “Manchurian candidate” you have in the White House, what do you expect?

  • So now it’s Egypt, in addition to Tehran and Tel Aviv, that’s to be added to Ruvy’s growing list of nuclear attack targets under the guise of “existential threat.”

    Here’s a solution, though, Ruvy failed to consider, nuke the entire world except Israel so that the Jews will finally live in eternal peace. Where’s Dr. Strangelove when you really need him?

  • So now it’s Egypt, in addition to Tehran and Tel Aviv….

    Did I say anything about nuking Egypt, Roger?

    What a stupid solution! That would poison the Mediterranean Sea! I said “extermination” and for this you need a weapon far more potent than a nuke. I’ll let you puzzle it out yourself, Roger. I’ve mentioned it at BC before and I’ll be dammed if I mention it again.

    I never said Tel Aviv should be nuked, I said it would be a logical nuclear target for the enemies of this country. I can accuse Chris Rose of distorting what I say on purpose – you are just too arrogant to actually read what I say. So I can’t accuse you of distorting my words on purpose….

  • El Bicho

    You should reign in the persecution complex a bit. Just because you think many people hate you doesn’t mean they do. I know I don’t

  • I see why the intelligent people, like Gonzo Marx, don’t comment here anymore. I realize that doesn’t say a whole lot for me, but at least I can get a hold of Gonzo when I want to….

    I sure do miss the guy. Troll was a good fellow to be his foil….

  • Must mean Les Slater, Ruvy. Well, I do thank you for your compliment though. My last impression, however, of your general stance on the issue was your article on Iran (Persia)

  • @88 Thanks, troll! Nuance is nice, but I’d trade in a pound of the stuff for an ounce of straight-shooting.

  • troll

    troll luvs gonzo…in the most productive way of course

    intelligence didn’t get him Ruvy…integrity did

  • I remember his integrity, troll. That is why he was so much fun to argue with. It’s hard to argue with a fundamentally honest man – even when you disagree with him.

  • Baronius

    “All that matters to me is that the régime in place is willing to honor the fake peace treaty in place…I could care less if the Egyptians have elections”

    I can understand wishing the best for your own country, but can’t you wish the best for others? Wouldn’t you like to see a free, prosperous Egypt for the Egyptians’ sake?

  • Then you’re a bull in the China shop, Irene. Even Christ knew when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em, as he made it plainly by his recourse to parables. Your so-called “straight-shooting” misses by a mile. But I’m not going to blame you. You’re just prone to the usual missteps by a novice.

    Righto, “troll,” integrity is always the key.

  • *shrugs* I’ll come back when you’re not around then. I’ve enjoyed the conversations I’ve had–on all manner of topics–I’ve had with other people here.

  • Too bad you can’t handle constructive criticism. Don’t hold your breath, though. I’m always around.

  • Wouldn’t you like to see a free, prosperous Egypt for the Egyptians’ sake?

    When I do not have to concern myself with existential threats, I can afford to wish others (who buy Mein Kampf en masse) well. Too many Egyptians want us dead for me to be bruiting about empty wishes of good will. You know, troll, that integrity stuff?

    What kind of Jew with integrity would wish Jew-haters well? Think about it.

  • You DO have a point there, Roger. No one would ever have a chance to speak here if they tried to plan their visits to avoid you. For the record, I responded to a comment Christopher Rose made about the “evils of monotheism,” in comment 59. My remarks were not out of the blue. I don’t consider Christopher Rose an enemy though. He was good enough to delete a comment you made about me the last time I was here. You’ve been sore about it ever since, haven’t you? LOL. Find someone else to play spiritual advisor to, Roger.

  • My apologies. Comment 112 should have been addressed to Baronius. Same comment – different target. I must be getting tired…. It’s after 02:00 in the morning here.

  • Worry not, Irene. I’ll make a concerted effort from now on to not respond to anything you say. I’m certainly not going to stand in the way of your freedom of expression.

  • Thankyou, ROger. I’d really appreciate that.

  • And I also thank the other party involved in your “concerted effort.”

  • troll
  • You took a look at Brother Lawrence’s book, then, troll? Some people are in too much despair about the state of the world to have the heart to offer practical help. That’s the wound that mystics try to heal.

    Leonhard Cohen found such solace in a monastery, too, I remember reading. Buddhist, I believe.

  • 117 was a grammar joke. You didn’t take it to heart, I hope.

  • Irene, as usual I have no idea what your comment, in this case about Suleiman, is trying to say, but thanks for your input; I think…

    Nor do I know why you are chuffing on about religious bigotry; show me some proof your deity exists and then let’s talk.

    It would be nice if you organised your thoughts before posting though. That way you could possibly make more sense…

    Mind you, if you don’t consider Ruvy some kind of evil for all the people he’d like to see nuked, which includes many of his own countrymen for being the wrong kind of Jews, you really are messed up in some way. What else should we consider the cause of that if not your superstitious beliefs?

    Ruvy, it is you that is distorting facts if you are now attempting to backtrack from your statement about nuking Tel Aviv.

    It is a flat out lie that you said “the most likely target of a nuclear bomb in Israel would be Tel Aviv”.

    I have friends there and remember well the disgust and shock I experienced when you said it should be nuked, which was during one of your many temper tantrums that show the corrupt heart at your core.

    You started by slagging them off for their liberal and tolerant ways, carried on to criticise their religious practices and then finished off with your hysterical statement.

    There was never any mention of it being an attack from any part of the Arab world, that is another bare faced lie and you either know it or you are compartmentalising so much as to be effectively schizophrenic.

    As to Iran, the protest movement there continues, despite the brutal repression carried out by the ruling regime during the elections last year, so it would be incorrect to say that what you inaccurately describe as a “virus of instability” has arrived there.

    Your later remarks about Egypt just go to show how warped your thinking is; there has been no mention of Israel in all the many interviews with the protesters there I have seen across a wide range of TV news channels, even those with reason to find such sentiment. So we can add racism to genocide as the sentiments you express. What a lovely bloke you are.

    Alan, you are still letting your ego get in the way of your intellect. You haven’t been called an enemy of humanity at all, as has already been explained in #64, but the way you wilfully distort what people have to say reveals plenty about your character. Pity is more appropriate than hatred.

    Pablo actually makes quite a lot of sense and, if he took those chips off his shoulders, would possibly see that there is a good deal of agreement about much he has to say, if not the way he says it.

    troll, what do you derive from the words you quote? Me? Nothing at all…

  • @118

    Or, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

    The irreverent pagan

  • @120

    I understand it perfectly, no offense could possibly be taken.

  • What was so hard to understand, Christopher?

    You “chuffed on” about the evils of monotheism, and I pointed out that Suleiman had received part of his military training in the Soviet Union when the state religion there was still atheism. If you don’t want his skills in the torturing arts to be laid at YOUR feet, then, don’t lay the sins of the Torquemada at mine.

  • Nuanced as all get-out, that was, if I do say so myself. Well, it’s past time to go.

  • Well, the timing was right. So it’s a draw then, no?

  • @124 Which brings us to the question, as whose feet shall we lay the blame?

    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

  • El Bicho

    Hadn’t heard Suleiman was trying to get people to convert to atheism. If that’s because he wasn’t, then the Torquemada comparison doesn’t fit

  • STM

    Another happy little BC thread. Lol. It’s nearly got everything, this one …

  • You’ve said it, STM. Just trying to live up to everyone’s expectations.

  • Irene, once again you baffle me. How does the perfectly reasonable argument that monotheism is evil because it is based on a premise for which there is no evidence and therefore, on balance, appear to be false have ANYTHING at all to do with the actions of either Suleiman or Torquemada?

    I don’t think there is any connection at all, which tends to imply that you are either very confused or, let’s say, disingenuous…

    I note also that you have nothing at all to say about the obvious evil in the heart of the bloodthirsty expat Ruvy, who seems like a perverse variation of a “stranger in a strange land”.

    Roger, if you are referring to my exchange with Irene as a draw, I must demur; I speak in honesty and she may as well be speaking in tongues for all the sense or even relevance contributed. I must say I’m disappointed in the lack of imagination in her defence, but then she is attempting to defend the indefensible as far as I am concerned.

  • Your original remarks, Christopher, were made in the context of a paragraph about the revolts in Egypt, in which you stated that they were free of the evils of monotheism, as if atheists had pulled the whole thing off themselves. That remark smacked of religious bigotry, Christopher Rose, and your intolerance of views other than your own stands, in fact, in DIRECT contrast to the spirit of that of the Egyptian protesters. They overcame and rejected any elements of such bigotry that may have been present among them with the cry “Muslim, Christian, we are all Egyptian.”

    I disagree with Ruvy, often sharply, Christopher Rose, but, unlike you, I’ve never tried to paint him or treat him as anything but a human being. The man’s extreme language is a direct result of his living in a war zone, and I’ve seen the most mild-mannered and gracious WWII vets revert to the same when the subject of kamikaze fighters, for instance, comes up. I reserve my contempt for those who callously stir up enmity, and profit from the conflict between ordinary people like Ruvy and the Palestinians.

    I hope Suleiman is, as Ruvy surmised, merely a figurehead in Egypt’s new military government; otherwise, the protesters may be in for a very rough time of it. While it is true that order did need to be restored there somehow (Egyptian thugs were busy terrorizing the populace while the police were otherwise occupied) I still have worries about a government with Suleiman at the head, even as a figurehead.

  • Chris, a false belief (such as “monotheism,” you say) doesn’t automatically translate into “evil,” any less than an absence of belief (if there’s indeed such a thing) does. It’s what people do, whatever the underlying motivation, that we may call “evil” if we so choose. I think that was Irene’s main point, and I understand now she felt she had an axe to grind (with you).

    You’d have a helluva of a difficulty on your hands trying to “prove” that evils committed in the name of monotheistic religions far outweigh evils committed in the name of any other cause (whether we be talking about Nazi Germany or a Stalinist Russia). That was the point of my link in #127. In any case, it would be an empirical type of argument, and that’s not how you intended it, if I read you right. So this is in essence the background for an earlier reference to a “draw”: the question is inconclusive (if not misguided).

    If, on the other hand, your argument is that (monotheistic) religions have contributed their fair share to human misery, I’m certainly not going to dispute that except by saying that so had a lot of other things, such as slavery, exploitation of human labor, unjust economic systems, and we can go on.

  • Irene, I do wish you’d get out of the faithist habit of reading things into words that aren’t there.

    Saying that the Egyptian – and Tunisian for that matter – revolutions were seemingly free of what I consider the evil of religious dogma means exactly that and no more.

    Obviously there are people of faith involved, they just didn’t think their faith, or anybody else’s, was relevant to a political event, so it wasn’t brought up. That is a thing worth noting, celebrating and respecting in my view.

    Spirituality, which is far more interesting than the trite dogma you monotheists have bought into, is essentially a personal matter and simply doesn’t belong in a political discussion, just as, say, talking about poetry doesn’t often come up during a contract negotiation.

    You see religious bigotry in my words but I see people like you or Ruvy that appear to base your entire world view around a theory that lacks all substance as reckless at best and quite possibly a danger to us all. The track record of Judaism, Christianity and Islam demonstrates that quite clearly.

    For your information, a bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.

    As I have repeatedly said that I have no objections to either worship, up to a point, of a creator or the religious dimension of life, whereas you and others are already sure of the answers and refuse to accept any information to the contrary, I fail to see how you or Ruvy are not the actual bigots here.

    As to Ruvy himself, in which way have I ever failed to treat him as a human being, albeit a corrupted and deceptive one?

    You are simply making excuses for him. There are literally millions of people in Israel and the vast majority aren’t full of bile and hate in the way that he is. Nor is it true that he is living in a war zone – Israel is not currently at war with anybody.

    If you can’t see that Ruvy routinely attacks anybody and everybody he disagrees with, including Palestinians, Iranians, the Spanish, the British, the Americans and his own government – which he routinely refers to as traitors that should be hanged – you really are fooling yourself on a large scale.

    Roger, I disagree with you on your point. I consider all false systems, particularly those with the real political and financial power and influence of monotheism as inherently evil simply because they deceive.

    If you are trying to make the point that not all adherents of these falsehoods commit evil, I agree, but that has nothing to do with my point at all.

    I also don’t care about the comparative difference of degree in evil – the Evil Quotient or EQ if you will – between monotheism and any other dogma. That is a pointless debate I will happily leave to others to indulge in.

    Obviously I am aware that many other things have “contributed their fair share to human misery” but none have the institutionalised power and wealth of these institutions.

  • troll

    you can take yer economic revolution yer political revolution and yer technological revolution – they’re worth a tinker’s damn alone or in combo toward solving the fulfillment contradiction without some ‘magical moral spark’ which doesn’t appear to be inherent in any one of them

    Chris – look around – the world is not comprised of white middle-class liberal men

    what I don’t get from the words quoted from BL’s book is an understanding of how believers can bracket their empathic instincts so effectively – what I hope to get is a space of shared experience that will enable me to discuss these issues with Irene

    who knows – maybe we can get to that most horrific book – Job

    similarly I struggle with the Mishneh Torah and The Guide for the Perplexed – there are issues of behavior that I’d like to discuss with Ruvy that can only be approached on his ground…maybe in a few years

  • troll, I am already well aware that the world isn’t “comprised of white middle-class liberal men”. What is your point?

    And wtf is a “magical moral spark”? Sounds like mystical gibberish to me.

    I hadn’t realised you were so dogmatically inclined these days.

  • troll

    What is your point?

    try accepting people for what they are and working from there – you might find yourself censoring less

    wtf is a “magical moral spark”?

    I’m working on that

    I hadn’t realised you were so dogmatically inclined these days.

    dogmas are so often matters of life and death that I figure its a reasonable plan to examine them

  • troll, you are confusing me, which makes me wonder if you are already confused yourself.

    I do accept people for what they are; Irene & Ruvy are faithists and you are confusing a debate about spirituality with the way the comments are managed and somehow managing to mix the two together.

    Nobody is being censored in terms of their opinions, but we are preventing people being excessively rude to each other when they lack the self restraint to do it for themselves. This is because it almost invariably creates ugly insult trading. That is essentially their own problem and not something I can do anything about.

    The simple fact is that if people don’t want to have their comments edited, don’t be a crass ass.

    There are much better ways to skewer people, as I hope I have occasionally demonstrated in my own debates with people…

    As to your quest for a “magical moral spark”, it sounds like a fool’s errand to me. I’d settle for a fundamental regard for people being able to live their lives they way they want without trying to force it on others. Or we could always try the “Power of Love”, which classic by Frankie Goes to Hollywood just co-incidentally popped up on my Spotify as I type this…

    As to dogmas, there are far too many of them for my liking and they are all always limited in their usefulness, so I don’t have time to spare for studying them nor would I find much benefit in the exercise.

  • troll

    the fact is if you don’t want to have your comments edited then kiss pom ass – hey…I can dig it

    as for the rest – to each his own

  • Christopher Rose (#138), you write: “Nobody is being censored in terms of their opinions, but we are preventing people being excessively rude to each other when they lack the self restraint to do it for themselves. This is because it almost invariably creates ugly insult trading.”

    That is simply untrue. You have repeatedly censored me whenever I dared to breach the verboten topic of censorship of Blogcritics comments. In so doing, I was not “excessively rude,” just expressly critical. And it did not create ugly insult trading–it merely got under your prickly skin.

  • Baronius
  • troll – droll!

    Alan – You are still doing very well at getting things wrong.

    Your concerns about the comments space have been answered on more than one occasion.

    I don’t see how we can be held responsible if you won’t accept that information and continue to repeat yourself ad nauseum.

    Your opinions about the comments management haven’t been censored, your repetitions have been deleted that’s all.

    You have never got under my skin, just disappointed me with your stubborn refusal to accept the facts of the situation. Whether that is stupidity, cover for some other matter or something else only you can know and maybe one day you will get to the heart of the matter. Or not…

  • I’m not going to discuss the “moral spark” business, “troll” is holding his own, only comment on your statement, “I consider all false systems, particularly those with the real political and financial power and influence of monotheism as inherently evil simply because they deceive.” Let’s start with a point of agreement: you’r4e not making this claim as the basis of any empirical evidence and that’s not decisive one way or another. So right, we’re not discussing any “evil quotient” as a way of settling the matter.

    You grant my other point but only partly. Was a Nazi- or a Soviet-engineered system also evil (because it was a false belief system whose express purpose was to deceive)or for some other reason? If you say yes on the first count, then I can understand your argument (to a point) as essentially an argument against any form of superstition; and to that very extent I also agree. What one can dispute, however, is the seemingly unquestioned status you ascribe to (another person’s “superstition”), for in order for you to be able to do so, you must necessarily posit yourself as having a privileged access to a superstition-free reality; and no one, I submit, has that kind of access. To provide what you will surely regard as a scandalous example, to a believer, such as Irene, for instance, a belief that science, technology, etc. are the answer to humanity problems – and here’s I’m encroaching on “troll’s”
    moral spark problem – is just as superstitious (perhaps “shallow” is a better word) as her beliefs are to you. Granted, the word “superstition” it itself loaded in favor of a positivist mindset, but you get my point.

    Furthermore, the “intent to deceive” is only an aspect of any belief system, true or false, an important aspect but only an aspect. At the hands of the priestly class using religion as means of control, or Hitler, using the concept of Aryanism to win the hearts and minds of the German people, or Stalin doing likewise in the name of a socialist-run state, we’re seeing a belief-system, any belief system, being put to a perverted use. But these facts in and of themselves do not speak to the merit or demerit of the belief system itself, let alone to whether the underlying intent is invariable “to deceive.” Two different questions, and the only reason for conflating the two is to assume from the start that any belief system gets off the ground with that express purpose in mind. A pretty grim view of humanity, I daresay. Mine is also grim but less so. It’s just that people (some people, I should qualify) will go to extreme length to pervert anything and everything under the sun, whether good or bad, to their advantage, which, on my conception of things, makes it a people problem. We are to blame.

    If I may be frank, I believe you’re unduly exercises by your refusal to admit the notion of “belief” into your itinerary of human experience (if for no other reason that you happen to associate the idea of believing with religious belief). But believing is an integral and unavoidable aspect and condition of human experience, not matter what variegated forms it takes. Your own views, for example, concerning the development of the human species, for the better, is a form of belief, deny it as you may try, for it’s certainly not in the cards. Come to think of it, it comes awfully close to a “religious” kind of belief and no, I don’t mean to insult you.

  • I do agree with you on one thing, though, I think Irene makes a weak case for Ruvy. She’s arguing in effect that anyone who finds himself or herself in a stressful situation will invariably behave as a rat in a maze, in short, as a psychopath. But the force of this generalization has the effect of saying that all who have ever opposed injustices done against them – say, the members of the French Resistance – were psychopaths by definition. I’ll never buy it. If anything, I’d argue that psychopathology, such as Ruvy’s, is a by-product of inaction, more accurately perhaps, of inaction brought about by one’s own (false/mistaken/fatal) perception of their condition as essentially a condition of impotence.

    We’ve got to make relevant distinctions, for Chrissake!

  • “… rather than excuses,” I should add.

    But my thoughts, however clumsy they may appear on first showing, always contain the essential element of completeness/perfection.

    Talking about self-confidence! Alan, I could lend you some because I’m simply too full of it.

  • “what I don’t get from the words quoted from BL’s book is an understanding of how believers can bracket their empathic instincts so effectively.”

    It’s absolutely essentials for (mature] believers to be able to bracket …”

    Apart from being committed to some notion of telos or eschatology – a humanist or spiritual/religious variant of Christopher Rose’s belief in the eventual evolution of humankind – there remains the practical problem of enunciating one’s vision to those of shallow understanding. Hence, bracketing is essential, if only as a matter of strategy.

  • ….similarly I struggle with the Mishneh Torah and The Guide for the Perplexed – there are issues of behavior that I’d like to discuss with Ruvy that can only be approached on his ground…maybe in a few years…

    Why wait, troll? You’re a sharp fellow with a good mind. You can always find my e-mail address at my blog-site. We’re not getting younger, you know….

    I don’t have the “Guide for the Perplexed”. If I remember right, the term “mishneh torah” means the last book of the Torah, devarím/Deuteronomy. But I do happen to have a small 12 volume commentary on the Mishnah (a whole different kettle of gefilte fish).

    If my older son can spend a couple hours a week struggling with this, why can’t I?

  • If anything, I’d argue that psychopathology, such as Ruvy’s, is a by-product of inaction, more accurately perhaps, of inaction brought about by one’s own (false/mistaken/fatal) perception of their condition as essentially a condition of impotence.

    I find it interesting that you view a person laying solutions to unpleasant existential problems out on the table as signs of being a psychopath. No wonder you Americans are getting flushed down History’s toilet! You are so afraid that some “authority figure” will call you a psychopath if you deal with your problems in a realistic way that you’re drowning in the manure of your own making.

    I’m simply too full of it.

    Yup, Roger, you are! And it ain’t “self-confidence” either.

    The nice thing about guys like you is that History’s Dispose-All gets rid of you in due time….

  • Laying solutions, Ruvy , or bitching, ain’t the same thing as acting. I believe I made it plain that was my import.

    As to the tail-end of your comment, you’re clearly too agitated to detect a satire. Which again is as good an indication as any as to your miserable condition.

    Truly, I don’t envy you!

  • There are literally millions of people in Israel and the vast majority aren’t full of bile and hate in the way that he is. Nor is it true that he is living in a war zone – Israel is not currently at war with anybody.

    Your ignorance about war zones is encyclopedic, Chris. You know nothing about them at all.

    Israel is at war with Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan and a whole slew of Arab states whose names are not worth remembering. We are not engaged in a hot conflict with these nations – yet. I think (but I’m not sure) that the Islamic Republic or Iran declared war on us as well. Don’t quote me on that.

    In addition, we are dealing with what is a rebellion against the sovereign authority of the Jewish State on the land assigned it by the San Remo Resolutions on Palestine in 1920. The fact that a bunch of fools in Jerusalem give some legitimacy to some of these rebels does not change what they are. Since nothing has abrogated the Resolutions on Palestine of 1920, which give the Jewish People sovereignty over all of the Land of Israel IN PERPETUITY, anything the UN says or does, is a pile of shit. And events are making them to be a pile of shit as well.

    This war is a war of terror. You know something about living under the threat of terror, but from the shallowness of your comments, you obviously do not know enough.

    Go back in time 25 years and move to Northern Ireland and learn. Then, maybe, you will comprehend enough to talk intelligently. At this point, all you say is a pack of gibberish.

  • Fuck it, I’m not going to criticize you any longer since I’m not in your shoes. I spoke my peace already and I’m willing to let it rest.

    Best of luck!

  • Thank you, Roger. Now, you can give me some sympathy for the miserable condition I am in – my son is getting married Thursday.

    I’m getting a whole new pack of relatives – and the lot of them have New Zealand accents! Oh, it’s weird listening to them butcher my son’s name, or the English language generally. But they’re a nice lot, good people.

    My son did a good job being picky with the girls available. She makes him happy, and beams when he is around – he smiles a big broad smile when she is around. He could have done a lot worse, I tell you!

    Yep! Miserable! That’s me!

  • The commenters in this thread who’ve stooped to cheap personal attacks such as “psychopathology” (#144), “corrupt” and “enemy of humanity” (both #62) not only discredit themselves, they tarnish the entire Blogcritics community.

  • Roger, maybe we’re coming at this from different perspectives; I really don’t care one way or another what specifically is true or real, but I do expect things that are asserted to be true or real to have supporting evidence. That’s evidence, not theories or arguments, which is just philosophising.

    To the best of my knowledge, which may well be imperfect, there is no evidence for the existence of any deities at all. Given this lack, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to conclude that it is fairly unlikely that there are any.

    Given that, it doesn’t take much thought or imagination to see the monotheistic churches as malign forces that have far too much power in many countries.

    They use that power for their own purposes and attempt to shape and control society in both legal and social ways.

    They also use this power to attain things like political power, tax free status and accumulate incredible wealth while many of their adherents live in poverty. I find that pretty disgusting personally.

    Sure, they do some small scale charitable work, but that is most often performed by specific individuals or small groups that turn to their community for the means to carry out such symbolic gestures, rather than these fabulously wealthy organisations actually financing said projects directly.

    Tax free income generating massive wealth, huge political and social power & influence and precious little sense of genuine engagement or support of people. How would you characterise such organisations?

    I would agree that the Nazi and Soviet systems were evil for a variety of reasons, not only the obvious ones of being based on bogus ideas and theories.

    I don’t really understand what you mean by “What one can dispute, however, is the seemingly unquestioned status you ascribe to (another person’s “superstition”), for in order for you to be able to do so, you must necessarily posit yourself as having a privileged access to a superstition-free reality; and no one, I submit, has that kind of access.”

    I don’t believe in the existence of gods any more than I believe in the validity of astrology or phrenology. To live one’s life by such notions simply seems absurd to me, although I’m not seeking to compel anybody not to do so.

    On the other hand, if faithists or people who take astrology or phrenology literally start spouting what appears to be gibberish in public, I don’t see why they should be given a free ride, particularly if they are seeking to affect matters of import or force their views on others.

    Once challenged, many of these “believers” either have a temper tantrum, start throwing around accusations of bigotry or start bleating on about having respect for their views, without ever showing any respect for the views of others, as we have seen in this very commentary.

    I believe that science and technology can and will provide a solution to most of humanity’s problems. That belief is based upon current trends in scientific research and development, so it has something of substance to base it on.

    Two of our most pressing needs right now are to develop cheap, clean energy and provide enough food and water for the planet’s population without completely trashing it.

    When people have enough to survive, spirituality often blossoms in unexpected ways, far from the empty rituals of monotheism, and I welcome that, despite the negative examples provided by the likes of Tom Cruise!

    I don’t have a problem with belief per se, I just think it is important to be careful about what you allow yourself to believe and crucial that you don’t keep insisting in the validity of any particular belief once enough evidence has accumulated to show it is incorrect or there has been a failure to find any evidence to support it. Things change, to be brief about it.

    Sure, I believe that humanity is a very young species that is still evolving and its future, if it doesn’t kill itself off through colossal stupidity or shortsightedness, is going to be amazing.

    We can already see glimpses of that future evolution in some of the cutting edge research that is going on in fields as diverse as nuclear fusion, nanotechnology and life extension.

    It doesn’t really take a whole lot of imagination to see the big picture of where these technologies will take us. I think – or believe, if you will – the future is going to be very exciting and very different and that those changes will further marginalise monotheism, although not spirituality.

    Ruvy, the way you extrapolate, poorly I might add, from the words of one person to the state of a nation is really hilarious. Do you even expect to be taken seriously with such obviously ludicrous logic or are you just winding people up?

    Please do tell me when exactly Israel declared war on “Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Sudan”? I must have missed that. Perhaps you could also update us with the latest news of these wars, the military actions taken by the Israeli military and so on…

    As to “a whole slew of Arab states whose names are not worth remembering”; lovely to see a glimpse of the real, hate-filled you peeping out again; you’ve been trying so hard to hide it recently and present a more “reasonable” veneer, which you can’t maintain of course.

    Thankfully, time will sweep such bitter old man’s talk from the table of history and younger, braver and stronger young people will take your place. That has been one of the happier aspects of recent events in Tunisia and Egypt. Your only “success”, like all enemies of progress, is to slow that process a little.

    In terms of shallowness and gibberish, you know far more than I (although I wonder is it possible to have a deep knowledge of superficiality?), so I will leave that to you and your “special” knowledge…

  • Seconding Alan’s comment #153.

  • Screw you, Alan, you’re not the one to talk, especially since only yesterday you pleaded I should abstain from attacking you when you’re engaging other commmenters. So here you are, true to form, violating your own rules. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

    Anyway, Ruvy, I decided to start relating to you on another level since the old way obviously doesn’t work. You can take it or leave it.

  • Well, that’s a heck of an admission, Chris, you owning up to entertaining a belief. I’d never have believed I’d ever hear it. Anyway, I do my best to respond tomorrow.


  • So a guy who frequently slags off Blogcritics, its management, editors, editorial policies and even various writers and commenters whilst routinely ignoring the modest norms of its online community and a guy who has called for the nuking of practically half the planet are in agreement. How surprising!

    Alan, to respond to your latest inaccurate remarks more seriously: re your first point, given Ruvy’s frequent outpourings of hate, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to discuss the mental condition of such a person, as Roger does in #144.

    Given your frequent, if incorrect, complaints about being censored, I thought you were in favour of freedom of speech. I must have got that wrong.

    Re your second, my exact words in #62 were “In that you appear to have more in common with someone like Ruvy. I see such attitudes and behaviour as corrupt and corrupting, an attack on both humanity and the sincere pursuit of knowledge, whether secular or spiritual, and therefore the enemy of humanity and our progress”.

    I don’t think that a characterisation of an attitude or a pattern of behaviour is a personal attack, a point I already made to you in #64, immediately after you tried and failed to goad me into banning you in your own #63.

    Did you forget that or is there another reason for you repeating your inaccuracies?

  • I hate to say this, Chris, but most of us don’t give a damn about your little debate over deities…. We’ve made up our minds and don’t need your preaching; 18 paragraphs of hard work – a waste!

    Just check out the previous link to reality in Tunisia and your fantasy world comes crashing down. Apparently hate and murder are on the minds of the young at heart and the young of years in Tunisia. Try the next round of revolutions, Chris. Maybe you’ll have more luck with the Persians

  • Finally, Chris, it strikes me that the fellow engaged in the most personal attacks on this comment thread is none other than you!

    YOU engage in outpourings of hate, YOU engage in personal insults, YOU engage in distortions of fact, and YOU keep fights going on this thread when it ought to have died a natural death days ago. And finally, YOU hide behind your comment editor’s hat to do it all.

    For the most part your editing is fair – until YOU decide to break the site’s rules yourself. And you have done that all over this comment thread.

  • Hear, hear!

  • When you say most of us, Ruvy, are you referring to multiple personalities or have you conducted a poll? Most likely you just made it up as usual.

    As to your link abut Tunisia, just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, one stupid protest doesn’t invalidate a revolution.

    If you really think I have made a personal attack, then ask Dr Dreadful to look into it. He can edit my comments if he thinks there are grounds to and I happily abide by his views on that.

    For the record, I think you are wrong across the board; I don’t hate anybody participating on this site, don’t think I have made any personal attacks, certainly have not distorted any facts and I am definitely not hiding behind my comment editing hat, whatever that actually means.

    As I said, though, please refer my remarks to the good Doctor D if you like. I’ve no problem at all with having my comments edited if I have overstepped the mark.

  • #164 again picks up the theme of psychopathology by referring to Ruvy’s alleged “multiple personalities.” But of course that’s not a personal attack. Why not? Well, because of who posted it!

  • Jordan Richardson

    I don’t hate anybody participating on this site, don’t think I have made any personal attacks


    From February 2, 2011, you wrote:

    “I hate people who write baseless nonsense. When will you stop?”

  • troll – the discussions you anticipate (#135) having, one with Ruvy and one with me, sound delightful. The opportunity to have them is one of the reasons I’m glad BC is around. I’m looking forward to mine with you (and I’m sure, Roger, you will be there to supply commentary 🙂 at whatever point during this season or the next it happens to occur, and it looks like Ruvy is looking forward to his with you. Bye for now.

  • Scene: Blogcritics’ Senior Censor meets with his detractors. The room is packed.

    CHRISTOPHER: First let me state for the record that no one has ever been censored at Blogcritics.

    BOB KNAVE (aka DR DUNCECAP, Christopher’s loyal assistant): Not from the days of our fathers’ fathers.


    KNAVE: And from our the days of our fathers’ fathers’ fathers.


    KNAVE: And from the days of our fathers’ fathers’ fathers’ fathers.

    CHRISTOPHER: Alright, Knave. Don’t labour the point. But certainly no one in living memory has been censored at Blogcritics.

    OLD RICHARD (chuckling): There was that geezer who swore up and down in Elizabethan English.

    CHRISTOPHER (annoyed): Well, that goes without saying, doesn’t it? I mean, of course gratuitous vulgarity requires the censor’s heavy-handed halberd.

    OLD RICHARD: Ain’t gratuitous, Chris, if his curses are provoked in the first place by your heavy-handed halberd.

    CHRISTOPHER (peevish): You forget, in his case the vulgarity was also excessive.

    OLD RICHARD: And you’re the best judge of that.

    CHRISTOPHER: Naturally I’m the best judge of that! Why do you think they made me Censor? But apart from the geezer who swore like Elizabeth the First, no one has ever been censored at Blogcritics.

    OLIVER: What about the bloke who chuffed on about you being arbitrary, capricious and hypocritical?

    CHRISTOPHER (irritated): And continued to repeat himself ad nauseam.

    OLIVER: Only because you kept deleting whatever he said.

    CHRISTOPHER: Nevertheless, repetition cannot be tolerated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This site must be zealously guarded from those who would say the same thing over and again.

    VOICE FROM THE REAR: Speak up! We can’t hear you in back if you going to mumble like Marlon Brando.

    CHRISTOPHER (louder): I said repetition cannot be tolerated! This site must be guarded from those who would say the same thing over and again!

    KNAVE: Zealously guarded.

    CHRISTOPHER (normal tone): But apart from the geezer who swore like Queen Elizabeth and the bloke who kept repeating himself, no one has ever been censored at Blogcritics.

    GODFREY: There was the lady who kept insisting that Jesus Christ is her Lord and Savior.

    CHRISTOPHER (laughter all round): Well, now you’re being silly. Obviously anyone who expresses religious faith is going to be censored. For god’s sake, Godfrey, try to keep up with the times. Besides, apart from the geezer who swore like Queen Elizabeth, the bloke who kept repeating himself, and anyone childish enough to believe in God–not meaning you, Godfrey, but the obsolete god of zealotry and superstition–no one has ever been censored at Blogcritics.

    FRANKLIN: The guy who pointed out typos and factual mistakes and called the editorial staff lazy and inept.

    CHRISTOPHER (losing patience): You people just don’t get it. My job is to protect the site. We can’t have anyone embarrassing our editors.

    KNAVE: And our editors’ editors’ editors.

    CHRISTOPHER: But apart from the geezer who swore like Queen Elizabeth, the bloke who kept repeating himself, anyone childish enough to believe in God, and the nitpicker who pointed out mistakes, no one has ever been censored at Blogcritics.

    UNIDENTIFIED VOICE #1: Anyone who questions evolution …

    UNIDENTIFIED VOICE #2 (in quick succession): … or disputes global warming …

    UNIDENTIFIED VOICE #3 (again in quick succession): … or lacks redeeming qualities in the eyes of the beholder.

    CHRISTOPHER: Yeah, yeah. Alright. Fair enough. But apart from the geezer who swore like Queen Elizabeth, the bloke who kept repeating himself, anyone childish enough to believe in God, nitpickers who point out mistakes, monkey-brains who question evolution, fools who can’t see the globe warming around them, and all those who in my judgment lack redeeming qualities, no one has ever been censored at Blogcritics.

    OLD RICHARD’S SON: Astrologers.

    CHRISTOPHER (exasperated): Oh, shut up!

  • Nice job, Alan. Very nice jab. Keep it up and we may even see “power to the commenting people”!

  • LOL Alan! Christopher Rose, may your favorite cricket teams lose every game they play from now until the Aliens Who Left Us Here Return For Us at Last…
    …for we are but a Moment’s Sunlight fading in the grass…(or Golden, or Stardust, or whatever the heck we are)….c’mon people now, smile on yer brother, EVERYBODY git together, try to LUV one another, right now. Right now. RIIIIIIGGGGHHHHT NOW!!!!

    * agrees with Christopher. There really IS something peculiar about me, and I think this place has something to do with it. Must go.*

  • may your favorite cricket teams lose every game they play from now until the Aliens Who Left Us Here Return For Us at Last…

    I don’t think anyone will be showing up any time soon, Irene. As any follower of the Gospel According to Douglas knows, ‘cricket’ – or rather Krikkit – is a taboo subject throughout most of the galaxy. Of all the myriad civilizations on millions of inhabited planets, only this one has had the unmitigated bad taste to make a game out of it.

    Alan: satire is clearly your medium and perhaps you should make more constructive use of it than its application to the comments policy of a small unregarded website in the uncharted backwaters of the western spiral arm of the internet allows. Does Saturday Night Live have any vacancies on its writing team?

  • STM

    “may your favorite cricket teams lose every game they play from now until the Aliens Who Left Us Here Return For Us at Last…”

    Shit, no, don’t wish that on anyone.

    We’ll doomed down here in The Great Southern Land until Captain Arthur Phillip returns with his ghostly convict fleet Down Under and takes us back to that miserable couple of rocks in the North Sea (the ones shaped like a witch taking a dump and a teddy bear getting its blurter kicked).

  • STM, I suspected you and Dr. Dreadful would have objections to my cricket curse. You both stand to earn a good DEAL of money by observing Christopher’s cricket-related enthusiasms, and placing your bets accordingly…

  • … I suppose we could talk about the ethical questions his eagerly-awaited technology will require us to face. Answer these questions the wrong way, and the much-believed-in-and-anticipated utopia will be dystopia instead.

    Christopher insists that people who have faith in god/s or possibly a notion of a moral spark (SORRY to talk about religion in the cricket section, fellas) have no place in discussions that impact important policy. You can’t exclude me, I quit! Sounds like dystopia already.

    * looks up to sky, waiting *

  • Hi Irene, I don’t understand your #173 but as for your #174 I just wanted to clarify a couple of misperceptions.

    There will always be ethical questions around new technology and so there should be.

    I’ve no idea where you get the notion that there is a “much-believed-in-and-anticipated utopia” though; it isn’t a view I subscribe to nor do I think it an achievable or even desirable condition.

    You also appear to have either misunderstood or are misrepresenting my views with regard to faithists. I think it goes without saying that any or all perspectives ought to be included in any important matter.

    What I would find more difficult to accept is people using their own personal codes of conduct or private beliefs to prevent others doing something, which is a common feature of faithist culture and which I believe to be ethically wrong and a blow against personal freedom.

    It is unacceptable that people should be prevented from doing things by the values of other people or that those values should be imposed on others. One example is stem cell technology, which offers nothing but good things yet is being aggressively opposed by certain elements. If you don’t like it, don’t use it, but don’t stop others doing so.

  • At last, the jinx has been lifted. Thank you Irene, and here’s a long-belated comment to #174:

    Perhaps there is a middle ground to be found, Irene, and start therefore as though from ground-zero? Christopher does speak of spirituality in his own fashion (rather than organized religions, and here I can see his point)- a somewhat underdeveloped idea, hinting however at what “troll” refers to as a “moral spark.” After all, Chris’s belief in human (read: scientific/technological) progress is a qualified one – “if we don’t blow ourselves first …”

    The critical difference seems to boil down to the following. Whereas you, “troll” and I tend to regard this “moral spark” quality/attribute as essential, and a prerequisite, to human progress, Christopher’s view of it is that it’s merely an incidental quality and hopefully, a desirable derivative (aftereffect/by-product) of human (again, read “scientific/technological”) evolution.

    Now, I grant that human morality does lend itself to an evolutionary picture whereby it’s seen as “evolving.” It’s a respectable view among others, and not necessarily in direct contradiction to a view on which it’s an integral part of our human makeup. Having said that, there’s still a dispute (between you two) as to the exact nature of the relationship between human knowledge (science, technology, etc) and morality – in short, about what constitutes human progress.

    A question: can this difference be bridged?

  • @175 SILENCE! *brandishes Internet Wand ‘o Power *
    @176 Roger — Christopher Rose and I found common ground in a conversation we had on these threads about a year ago. We’re fine, thankyou. He was just having a bad night.

    Part of that terrain is described in his #175: What I would find more difficult to accept is people using their own personal codes of conduct or private beliefs to prevent others doing something…

    To harmonize that conviction with convictions concerning protection of human rights, it is optimal to pool the contributions of thoughtful people from as broad a base as possible.

    Actually Roger, I am not in a dispute with any atheist about the relationship between human knowledge and morality. The desire to do good is identical in the ethical, thoughtful believer and the ethical thoughtful atheist.

    Many believers (including scientists), have observed that when they ask for divine help in work they have dedicated to God, more often than not, they get it. They would regard as unwise a decision to forgo that source of help. That being said, I cannot make a general statement that the “God resource” is ESSENTIAL to human progress. The Tower of Babel was pretty impressive, I’ve heard.

    You, troll and I think of different things when we hear “moral spark.” To me it means a personal entity who supplies energy, creativity, serendipity, direction to those who cooperates with him in doing good. From you and Mark, I think I’m hearing that the “moral spark” is a desire to do good, but something more than that. A collective desire to do good that is bigger than all of us, even though it isn’t God?

    Anyway, Roger, regarding your question: “can this difference be bridged?” The great-great grandson of the guy who invented Guinness stout has a lot to say about civil discourse in the public square.

  • To bring this round comment thread round to its original topic, the accurate headline appears to be “power to the military people – revolution in Egypt”. Indeed, Egypt is just another military dictatorship now, with all the attendant issues military dictatorships bring. Well, sorta. The Bedouin seem sot be seizing control of the northern Sinai. These are the security problems I was referring to earlier with respect to Israel. We do not need Egyptian military presence in the Sinai, as it is a real threat to us. But the other choice seems to be dealing with the Bedouin.

    In addition, it appears that it is not all peaches and cream in Tunisia. Indeed, a number of Tunisians seem to prefer spaghetti and meatballs in Italian refugee camps. Pastafazule!!

  • Ruvy (#178), I’m sure you recognize that Ceinwen Morgan’s article, upon which we are commenting, was written in the immediate aftermath of Mubarak’s ouster. At that point, many well-meaning Westerners painted a rosy and unrealistic picture of what had just transpired. According to Ms. Morgan, “this epic revolution was created by one person,” namely Google’s Wael Ghonim. That absurd oversimplification has been emphatically rejected by Mr. Ghonim himself.

    Yet Wael Ghonim is no less guilty of painting a rosy picture than is Ms. Morgan. For example, in his celebrated post-detention Al Ashira Masa’an interview on Dream TV, Ghonim boasted that at the height of Cairo’s mass protests, “there were thousands of girls and not a single case of sexual harassment.”

    Yet now comes news that on day Mubarak resigned, CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was surrounded by a mob in Tahrir Square and suffered “a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.” Logan has since returned to the USA, where she is currently recovering in hospital.

    There’s a fundamental need among many of us to always believe the best. We delude ourselves that, despite all historical evidence to the contrary, we humans are fundamentally decent and will, if left to our own devices, always do the right thing. If only that were true!

    Anyhow, Ruvy, thanks for spotlighting the northern Sinai situation, of which I was unaware. It’s difficult to see how Israel can, on the one hand, denounce Egyptian military presence in the Sinai and, on the other hand, expect Egypt’s ruling military junta to control the Bedouin. If you want to get rid of the mice, Ruvy, you may have to put up with the cat.

  • I was alluding to a(n) irreconcilable?) philosophical difference, Irene, not to rules of polite discourse.

    And secondly (I can’t speak for “troll,” of course), I believe but you’re overestimating the divide concerning our understanding of the “moral spark.” Don’t be mislead now by what (I believe in my better judgment) I choose not to say and am content instead to leave it implicit.