And that is all.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Post American Life

Image By Mikaelos

you served your pagan gods
Sakkuth your king god
and Kaiwan your star god
the images you made for yourselves.
~ Amos 5

Strange Fruit

I am the vine;
you are the branches.
If a man remains in me
and I in him,
he will bear much fruit;
apart from me
you can do nothing...
~ John 15

By their fruit you will recognize them.
~ Matthew 7

Friday, June 11, 2010

Voodoo Child

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
~ Hosea 11

Hell To Pay

Do not be afraid of those
who kill the body
but cannot kill the soul.
Rather, be afraid of The One
who can destroy both soul and body
in hell.
~ Matthew 10

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Iron Butterfly

I will break down your stubborn pride
and make the sky above you like iron
and the ground beneath you like bronze.
~ Leviticus 26

Take This Hammer

"Is not my word like fire?"
declares the LORD,
"and like a hammer
that breaks a rock in pieces?"
~ Jeremiah 23

A Cohen's Nigun

Every high priest
is selected
from among men
and is appointed
to represent them
in matters related
to GOD,
to offer gifts
and sacrifices
for sins.
~ Hebrews 5

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Go Down, Moshe



Fethullah Gulen's Cave of Wonders

So make your sirens call,
And sing all you want,
I will not hear what you have to say.

Cause I need freedom now,
And I need to know how,
To live my life as its meant to be.

And I will hold on hope,
And I will let you choke,
On the noose around your neck,
And I find strength in pain,
And I will change my ways,
I'll know my name as it's called again.

We've been had, boys and girls: the international community, the world press, Israeli intelligence, the United Nations, the lot of us. The existential drama off the Gaza coast turns out to be a Turkish farce, the kind of low comedy that in 1782 Wolfgang Mozart set to music in the opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan playing the buffo-villain Osmin and Turkish self-exiled preacher and author Fethullah Gulen as the wise Pasha Selim.

In the post-American world, where every wannabe and used-to-be power makes momentary deals with other powers it plans to kill later, one makes inferences with caution. But I've seen this opera before.

Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania in the United States, was silent as a jinn in a bottle about politics until last Friday, when he told the Wall Street Journal that the Free Gaza flotilla's attempt to run the Israeli blockage of Gaza "is a sign of defying authority, and will not lead to fruitful matters".

Erdogan's Islamists have run a two-year campaign of judicial activism against secular politicians, journalists and army officers, and secular critics long have alleged that Gulen is the clerical power behind the prime minister.

For the secretive Gulen to criticize the Turkish government in the midst of its public rage against Israel is an imam-bites-dog story. Gulen appears to have positioned himself as a mediator with Israel. Turkey does not want to end its longstanding relationship with Israel; it wants Israel to become a Turkish vassal-state in emulation of the old Ottoman model.

The killing last week by Israeli commandos of nine activists on board the Mavi Marmara served numerous goals, and Gulen's grand return to Turkish politics appears to be one of them. The question that every commentator in the Turkish press asked over the weekend, in one form or other, was: When will this voice of Muslim moderation re-emerge as an open force in the ruling Islamist party?

There is every indication that the Turkish government dispatched the Gaza flotilla in order to stage a violent confrontation. The Erdogan government announced that it had carefully vetted the passenger list on the Mavi Marmara, which is to say that it knew that many of the passengers boarded with the intention of achieving "martyrdom" in a clash with the Israelis. They must have known this, for both the Turkish as well as the Palestinian press ran interviews with family members of some of the nine dead passengers explaining this intent.

The passengers' plans for martyrdom have been celebrated in the Arab press, and translated on the website of the Middle East Media Research Institute. The Turkish government also knew that the Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), the Islamic charity behind the Gaza flotilla, had ties to Hamas, for it had banned the IHH from charitable activity in Turkey a decade ago due to its connection to an organization that the previous secular government regarded as terrorist.

What explains Israel's apparent intelligence failure? Israel fields a small service tasked with operations in Iran, southern Lebanon, Gaza and Syria among other prospective enemies. The Mossad probably relied on counterparts in Turkish intelligence - with whom it has a long history of collaboration - to cover the passenger list on the Mavi Marmara. The often-unreliable Debka claims that "Turkish intelligence duped Israel", which in this case is likely. By stealth or by sloth, Israel was roped into the comedy.

The star of the comedy, at least for the Turkish media, is Gulen. The 78-year-old imam has lived in self-imposed exile for two decades, due to charges by Turkish prosecutors that he led a conspiracy to subvert the secular state. He presides over Turkey's largest religious movement, commanding the loyalty of two-thirds of the Turkish police, according to some reports. His movement - a transnational civic society movement inspired by Gulen's teachings - also controls a network of elite schools that educate a tenth of the high school students in the Turkic world from Baku to Kyrgyzstan. And it reportedly controls businesses with tens of billions of dollars in assets.

His movement has been expelled from the Russian Federation and his followers arrested in Uzbekistan by local authorities who believe his goal is a pan-Turkic union from the Bosporus to China's western Xinjiang province ("East Turkestan" to Gulen's movement).

In Mozart's Abduction, Belmonte and Pedrillo descend into the pasha's harem to rescue Kostanze; in last week's version, Israeli commandos descended onto the Mavi Marmara. And there is the stock villain of Viennese comedy, the Turk Osmin, played by Erdogan. The predictable occurs, and the prospective Shahidi become actual corpses. And Erdogan threatens Israel with terrible things, in emulation of Mozart's Osmin, who sings:
"First you'll be beheaded!
Then hanged!
Then spitted on hot stakes!
Then bound, and burned, and drowned, and finally skinned!"
This, one supposes, is supposed to frighten the children in the audience, who then will smile and clap when the Wise Old Man enters to urge moderation, caution and respect for authority, in the person of Gulen.

The Islamic shift in Turkey has been underway for years. As Rachel Sharon-Krespin wrote in the Middle East Quarterly (Winter 2009):
As Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, AKP) begins its seventh year in leadership, Turkey is no longer the secular and democratic country that it was when the party took over. The AKP has conquered the bureaucracy and changed Turkey's fundamental identity. Prior to the AKP's rise, Ankara oriented itself toward the United States and Europe. Today, despite the rhetoric of European Union accession, Prime Minister Erdogan has turned Turkey away from Europe and toward Russia and Iran and re-oriented Turkish policy in the Middle East away from sympathy toward Israel and much more toward friendship with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria.
We are now in a post-American world, at least where the Barack Obama administration is concerned, and Turkey like its neighbors is scrambling for position. What does Turkey want in a post-American world?

The question itself seems stupid, for the obvious answer is: "Whatever it can get." It wants to become the dominant regional power rather than Iran, casting a wolfish glance at Iran's Azeri population, who speak Turkish rather than Persian. It wants to "mediate" the Israeli-Palestinian issue and is not squeamish about its prospective partners. It wants Palestine to be an Ottoman province once again. It wants to be the energy hub for the Middle East and the outlet for Russian and Azerbaijani pipelines.

But it is a bit more complex than that. Modern Turkey is an artificial construct, rather than a nation-state in the Western sense. Since the Turks completed the conquest of Byzantine Anatolia in the middle of the 14th century, a relatively thin crust of ethnic Turks has ruled over subject peoples. The Ottoman Empire at various points in its history had a Christian majority; its civil service at different points was more Venetian, Armenian and Jewish then Turkish; its self-understanding was global and religious, that is, as the caliphate of Islam, rather than as a national entity.

When World War I reduced Turkey to an Anatolian rump, Kemal Ataturk attempted to impose "Turkishness" as a secular, national ideology on the European model. To make the country "Turkish", several million Orthodox Christians were estimated to have been killed. The hollowness of Ataturk's secular construct, modeled on the nastier European national movements, made it vulnerable from the beginning. The army was the only institution that could hold Turkish society together.

What will replace Ataturk's secularism? I wrote two years ago:
If political Islam prevails in Turkey, what will emerge is not the same country in different coloration, but a changeling, an entirely different nation. In a 1997 speech that earned him a prison term, Erdogan warned of two fundamentally different camps, the secularists who followed Kemal, and Muslims who followed sharia. These are not simply different camps, however, but different configurations of Turkish society at the molecular level. Like a hologram, Turkey offers two radically different images when viewed from different angles. Turkish Islam, the ordering of the Anatolian villages and the Istanbul slums, represents a nation radically different than the secularism of the army, the civil service, the universities and the Western-leaning elite of Istanbul. If the Islamic side of Turkey rises, the result will be unrecognizable. Turkey in the throes of Islamic revolution? Asia Times Online, July 22, 2008.
Gulen's pan-Turkic mysticism views Turkey as the center of a new caliphate uniting the Muslim world. He preaches a "Turkish renaissance" with a modern spin "to ensure that religion and science go together and that science penetrates not only individual lives, but also social life". His schools educate the elite of the Turkic world across Asia. Gulen's interest, to be sure, focuses on the Turkish state, whose bureaucracy is now filled with his acolytes. But unlike Ataturk's secular nationalism, which tried to redefine Turkey on a European model, Gulen's Islamism is inherently expansionist.

What Gulen means by science is of an entirely different order than the Western understanding. This "imam from rural Anatolia", as his website describes him, inhabits the magical world of jinns and sorcery. Science is just a powerful form of magic of which Turks should avail themselves to enhance their power, as he writes in his 2005 book, The Essentials of the Islamic Faith:
Jinn are conscious beings charged with divine obligations. Recent discoveries in biology make it clear that God created beings particular to each realm. They were created before Adam and Eve, and were responsible for cultivating and improving the world. Although God superseded them with us, he did not exempt them from religious obligations.

As nothing is difficult for God almighty, he has provided human beings, angels and jinns with the strength appropriate for their functions and duties. As he uses angels to supervise the movements of celestial bodies, he allows to humans to rule the Earth, dominate matter, build civilizations and produce technology.

Power and strength are not limited to the physical world, nor are they proportional to bodily size ... Our eyes can travel long distances in an instant. Our imagination can transcend time and space all at once ... winds can uproot trees and demolish large buildings. A young, thin plant shoot can split rocks and reach the sunlight. The power of energy, whose existence is known through its effect, is apparent to everybody. All of this shows that something's power is not proportional to its physical size; rather the immaterial world dominates the physical world, and immaterial entities are far more powerful than material ones.
He goes on to warn about sorcery and the danger of spells; he allows that it is meritorious to break spells (for evil witches are everywhere casting spells), although a good Muslim should not make a profession of this, for then he might be mistaken for a sorcerer himself. The notion that "wind" and "energy" are "immaterial" forces exudes the magical world view of an Anatolian peasant; the miracles of technology are the secret actions of jinn, just as the planetary movements are the actions of angels. When Gulen talks about the union of religion and science, what he means quite concretely is that the magical view of jinns in the Koran aids the believer in enlisting these "immaterial" forces to enhance the power of Islam. Science for Gulen means the management of jinn.

Gulen, in short, is a shaman, a relic of pre-history preserved in the cultural amber of eastern Anatolia. Kemalism was sterile, brutal, secular and rational; the "moderate Islam" of Gulen is magical, a mystic's vision of Ottoman restoration and a pan-Turkic caliphate.

The Erdogan government crafted the Mavi Marmara affair as a piece of theater, preparing the deus ex machina (god from the machine) entrance of Gulen himself, more Pagliaccio than Apollo, to be sure. The trouble is that the Turkish Islamists live in a world of magical realism in which theater and reality, human and jinn, desire and achievement blend into a mystical blur. Gulen explains in his The Essentials of the Islamic Faith that Allah created the jinn out of fire. And that is what the apologists for Turkish Islamism are playing with.
Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman,
senior editor of First Things

Copyright 2010 Asia Times Online Holdings Ltd.


You Wonder Why?

If you forsake the LORD
and serve foreign gods,
he will turn and bring disaster on you
and make an end of you,
after he has been good to you...
~ Joshua 24

They cried out to the LORD
and said,
'We have sinned;
we have forsaken the LORD
and served the Baals
and the Ashtoreths.
But now deliver us
from the hands of our enemies,
and we will serve you...
~ 1 Samuel 12

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Sword And The Pen

When I sharpen my flashing sword
and my hand grasps it in judgment,
I will take vengeance on my adversaries
and repay those who hate me.
~ Deuteronomy 32

Repent therefore!
I will soon come to you
and will fight against them
with the sword of my mouth.
~ Revelation 2

Do not suppose
that I have come
to bring peace to the earth.
I did not come to bring peace,
but a sword.
~ Matthew 10

A Woman Of Valor

A woman of valor, who can find?
Her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and nothing shall he lack.
She renders him good and not evil
all the days of her life.
She opens her hand to the needy,
and extends her hand to the poor.
She is robed in strength and dignity,
and cheerfully faces whatever may come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom.
Her tongue is guided by kindness.
She tends to the affairs of her household,
and eats not the bread of idleness.
Her children come forward and bless her.
Her husband too, and he praises her.
Many women have done superbly,
but you surpass them all.
Charm is deceitful,
and beauty is vain,
but a GOD-fearing woman
is much to be praised.
Place before her the fruit of her hands.
Wherever people gather,
her deeds speak her praise.
~ Proverbs 31

Take These Chains

I am the man
who has seen affliction
by the rod of his wrath.
He has driven me away
and made me walk
in darkness rather than light;
he has turned his hand against me
again and again, all day long.
He has made my skin
and my flesh grow old
and has broken my bones.
He has besieged me
and surrounded me
with bitterness and hardship.
He has made me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
He has walled me in
so I cannot escape;
he has weighed me down with chains.
Even when I call out or cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer.
He has barred my way
with blocks of stone;
he has made my paths crooked.
Like a bear lying in wait,
like a lion in hiding,
he dragged me from the path
mangled me
and left me without help.
He drew his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.
He pierced my heart
with arrows from his quiver.
I became the laughingstock
of all my people;
they mock me in song all day long.
He has filled me with bitter herbs
and sated me with gall.
He has broken my teeth with gravel;
he has trampled me in the dust.
I have been deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what prosperity is.
So I say,
"My splendor is gone
and all that I had hoped from the LORD."
I remember my affliction
and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD's great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek
to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
For men are not cast off
by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief,
he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.
To crush underfoot
all prisoners in the land,
to deny a man his rights
before the Most High,
to deprive a man of justice—
would not the Lord see such things?
Who can speak and have it happen
if the Lord has not decreed it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that both calamities and good things come?
Why should any living man complain
when punished for his sins?
Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD.
Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
to GOD in heaven, and say:
"We have sinned and rebelled
and you have not forgiven.
"You have covered yourself with anger
and pursued us;
you have slain without pity.
You have covered yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can get through.
You have made us scum and refuse
among the nations.
All our enemies have opened their mouths
wide against us.
We have suffered terror and pitfalls,
ruin and destruction."
Streams of tears flow from my eyes
because my people are destroyed.
My eyes will flow unceasingly,
without relief,
until the LORD looks down
from heaven and sees.
What I see brings grief to my soul
because of all the women of my city.
Those who were my enemies without cause
hunted me like a bird.
They tried to end my life in a pit
and threw stones at me;
the waters closed over my head,
and I thought I was about to be cut off.
I called on your name, O LORD,
from the depths of the pit.
You heard my plea:
"Do not close your ears
to my cry for relief."
You came near when I called you,
and you said, "Do not fear."
O Lord, you took up my case;
you redeemed my life.
You have seen, O LORD,
the wrong done to me.
Uphold my cause!
You have seen the depth of their vengeance,
all their plots against me.
O LORD, you have heard their insults,
all their plots against me
what my enemies whisper and mutter
against me all day long.
Look at them! Sitting or standing,
they mock me in their songs.
Pay them back what they deserve, O LORD,
for what their hands have done.
Put a veil over their hearts,
and may your curse be on them!
Pursue them in anger and destroy them
from under the heavens of the LORD.
~ Lamentations 3

This chapter is an acrostic poem;
the verses of each stanza begin
with the successive letters
of the Hebrew alphabet,
and the verses within each stanza
begin with the same letter.

Rally Round Jah Throne

I saw thrones
on which were seated those
who had been given authority to judge.
And I saw the souls
of those who had been beheaded
because of their testimony for Jesus
and because of the word of GOD.
They had not worshiped the beast
or his image
and had not received his mark
on their foreheads
or their hands.
They came to life
and reigned with Messiah
for a thousand years.
~ Revelation 20

Monday, June 7, 2010


You alone are the LORD.
You made the heavens,
even the highest heavens,
and all their starry host,
the earth
and all that is on it,
the seas
and all that is in them.
You give life to everything,
and the multitudes
of heaven
worship you.
~ Nehemiah 9

Stars, they come and go.
They come fast,
they come slow.
They go like
the last light of the sun,
All in a blaze.
And all you see is glory.
But those who've seen it all,
They live their lives,
In sad cafes and music halls
And we always have a story.


If anyone's name
was not found written
in the book of life,
he was thrown
into the lake of fire.
~ Revelation 20

The Eyes In The Wheels

Do not add to what I command you
and do not subtract from it,
but keep the commands
of the LORD your GOD
that I give you.
You saw with your own eyes
what the LORD did at Baal Peor.
The LORD your GOD
destroyed from among you
everyone who followed the Baal of Peor,
but all of you who held fast
to the LORD your GOD
are still alive today.
~ Deuteronomy 4

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Sacrifice

This is what the LORD says:
If you can break my covenant with the day
and my covenant with the night,
so that day and night
no longer come at their appointed time,
then my covenant with David my servant—
and my covenant with the Levites
who are priests ministering before me—
can be broken
and David will no longer have a descendant
to reign on his throne.
I will make the descendants of David
my servants
and the Levites
who minister before me
as countless as the stars of the sky
and as measureless
as the sand on the seashore.
~ Jeremiah 33

Every high priest is appointed
to offer both gifts and sacrifices,
and so it was necessary
for this one
also to have something to offer...
~ Hebrews 8

66 Years Ago Today
June 6, 1944:

Pictures Of Lily

For the director of music.
To the tune of
"The Lily of the Covenant."
A miktam of David.
For teaching.
You have rejected us, Oh GOD,
and burst forth upon us;
you have been angry-now restore us!
You have shaken the land
and torn it open;
mend its fractures, for it is quaking.
You have shown your people
desperate times;
you have given us wine
that makes us stagger.
But for those who fear you,
you have raised a banner
to be unfurled against the bow.
Save us and help us
with your right hand,
that those you love may be delivered.
God has spoken from his sanctuary:
"In triumph I will parcel out Shechem
and measure off the Valley of Succoth.
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet,
Judah my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin,
upon Edom I toss my sandal;
over Philistia I shout in triumph."
Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
Is it not you, Oh GOD,
you who have rejected us
and no longer go out with our armies?
Give us aid against the enemy,
for the help of man is worthless.
With GOD we will gain the victory,
and he will trample down our enemies.