Tuesday, April 19, 2016



I don’t always agree with the left leaning academics of the Western world.  Fortunately, there are a few areas where we can find some common ground. One of these points relates to the cause of much of the strife in the Middle East today. When the British and French handed back the Ottoman Empire to its inhabitants, it was broken up into nation states. Many of these states didn’t represent nations which had ever existed. They were created mostly to suit the colonial powers and their allies in the region. 

In many cases, the countries they created were a hotchpotch of different religious, ethnic and tribal groups. This has contributed to squabbles, disagreements, uprisings, oppression and conflict across the region. 

Of course, it is easy to criticise what others have done. Much harder, is to suggest a better alternative. We should also remember that international statesmen do not operate in a vacuum. 

What pressures they may have faced behind the scenes is something we can never know.

One example is the British Mandate for Palestine. This was originally created in 1920 by the League of Nations (forerunner to the UN). It was to be a homeland for the Jewish people with equal rights for all other groups living there. 

After WW1 however, the British Government was indebted to the Arabs. Under the leadership of T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), they had ousted the Ottoman Turks from Arabia. Ultimately, they had contributed to the downfall of the entire Ottoman Empire and the winning of the war.

In gratitude, the British broke off four fifths of the Mandate of Palestine, called it Trans-Jordan (later Jordan) and gave it to Abdullah bin Al-Hussein (who was the son of the Sherrif of Mecca), to rule over. Whilst this might not have gone down too well with the Jews at the time, it may inadvertently have been the best thing that ever happened to them.

Many of the local Arabs fled Israel in 1948 to avoid the Arab invasion. From this time until 1967, the Jews were left with a nation which was small, but for the most part ethnically and religiously homogenous.

This allowed them to create a stable democratic system and enjoy the benefits and legitimacy which flowed from it.

If the Jews had been given all of historical Israel as the League of Nations had intended then things might have been much different. In that case, Jews would likely have been a small minority in a much larger nation. Any attempt to impose democracy would have resulted in disaster.

In the only elections the Palestinians ever had, Hamas won in a landslide on a platform of wiping the Jews off the face of the earth. 

Democracy would never have been a viable option in an Arab majority Israel. The only alternative would be an unelected authoritarian government which would have been problematic for Jews as well as for Arabs. 

The internal stability and success Israel has enjoyed since that time is due at least partly to the fact that a great majority of Israeli citizens belong to the same religious and ethnic group. 

The other protectorates fared much worse. Jordan, which ended up with many of the Arab refugees from Israel, found itself in low level civil war with them. The Jordanians killed thousands of these refugees (the greatest massacre of Palestinians ever) to sort that one out. 

The Syrians suffered strife between its Alawite and Shiite populations. This has been kept in check so far by brutal Alawite rulers from the Assad family dynasty.

 Any stability Syria enjoyed previously is now unravelling precipitously. Fundamental Salafist group ISIS (formerly Al-Qaeda in Iraq) is busy making sure of that. Other minorities such as Christians or 

Yazidis have long suffered persecution while Syrian Jews were expelled long ago. Iraq wound up as a majority Shiite country ruled by brutal theocratic Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. 

His legendary oppression and gassing of Kurds and Shiites was a major cause of the Iran Iraq war and ultimately led to the two Gulf wars. 

American attempts to establish democracy in this tribal mishmash have led to more deaths than the actual invasion.

Lebanon was 70% Christian in the 1930’s and proudly multicultural. As the minority Shiites bred their way to 50% of the population and the Sunni PLO fled there from Jordan, a bloody civil war engulfed that country too. 

For all its wealth, Saudi Arabia has barely held things together. They have had problems with a restive Shiite population in the main oil producing area of the country.

These are just a few of the better known problems of the Middle East in the post-colonial world. Not surprisingly, creating nations with a patchwork quilt of ethnic and religious groupings has led to civil unrest, violence and seething resentments.

 I can happily agree with that assessment. What I can’t understand is why the same intellectuals who understand this, believe that multiculturalism is the best concept since someone decided to slice the bread before they sold it.

Western democracies, particularly the UK, have been (for the most part) ethnically and culturally homogenous and internally peaceful for a long time.

Multiculturalism seeks to turn these societies into a patchwork quilt of different cultural, religious and ethnic groups. It encourages these groups to avoid assimilation into the host culture and provides taxpayer funding to achieve this goal. 

According to our intellectuals, this policy will improve and “enrich” Western homogenous cultures and increase “understanding and tolerance” leading to a more peaceful society.

Why would that be so? Why would someone believe that a policy which led to violence and civil war in the Middle East is going to result in a more peaceful society in the West? 

Perhaps we could understand if a welder or a bricklayer believed such a ridiculous notion. Academics however, are supposed to be our smartest thinkers. Why are they not able to figure this one out? 

In 2008, Griffith University was exposed in the Australian newspaper as having “practically begged the Saudi Arabian embassy to bankroll its Islamic campus for $1.3 million." They told the Saudis that this could be kept secret if required. Even moderate Muslims were alarmed by this development.$1.3 million may sound like a lot of money for a university. It is a drop in the ocean however, when compared to the $2.7 billion the Saudi government had earmarked for a scholarship fund for Australian universities. This was designed to facilitate the entry of Saudi students into Australia.

Universities have been saddled with quasi-corporate structures which have left them cash strapped and dependent on foreign fee paying students and donors. It is hardly a stretch to imagine that this hasn’t affected the academic culture of our times.

In my lifetime this culture has changed to become anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-Capitalist, anti-Jewish and pro Islamist jihadist. 

Finally however, it looks like the ridiculous hypocrisy of Western intellectuals is being challenged. 

In Britain Trevor Phillips, the former chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, recently warned that “British Muslims are becoming a nation within a nation”. 

He said we are “in danger of sacrificing a generation of young British people to values that are antithetical to the beliefs of most of us, including many Muslims.” 

He also called for a new, tougher approach to integration and the abandonment of “the failed policy of multiculturalism".

Trevor Phillips' opinion is a big deal; it carries considerable weight. Apart from his former position, he is not an indigenous white English person. 

As a non-white from Guyana, his views cannot be dismissed with charges of racism. Mr Phillips change of heart is likely to inspire others in positions of authority to start speaking out. 

The recent behaviour of our leaders has been appalling. They have been selling their citizens interests down the river in exchange, directly or indirectly, for handsome remuneration from overseas interests.

At some point in the future the realisation will start to dawn on people that these actions constitute treason. This is a very serious crime with very serious penalties.

The citizens of the Western world will be looking for revenge while the elites will be desperately looking for scapegoats. 

As this plays out, the trickle of academics and leaders deserting the religion of peace will turn, rather suddenly, into a stampede.

What interesting times we live in.

Harry Richardson is a long-time student of Islam and author of best seller, "the Story Of Mohammed - Islam Unveiled', http://thestoryofmohammed.blogspot.com.au

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