Thursday, July 5, 2007

Two First Encounters- The Hatred of Women

Here is a matched set of “First Encounter” stories. Sometimes you have to be able to see just below the surface of things in order find the beast. I have been fascinated with discovering unseen monsters all my life. It may have started with a thing I fell in love with as a boy and I still do today. On calm, sunny days I will seek out the nearest river or lake. Usually the surface of natural bodies of water seem to be opaque, a safe hiding place for the cold, predatory world of fish, amphibia and reptiles that live there. It is possible to pierce that barrier and discover a world of both beauty and terror that you could only imagine otherwise. If you move around a little and get at the right angle to the sun, the surface of the water looses its glare and you can see right through the surface and, if the conditions are right, all the way to the bottom. Then all you have to do is wait and watch. If the surface isn’t rippled by too much wind and the water has to be clear enough you will have a window into a place you never knew existed.

I started Breath of the Beast with my own “beast story” . I hoped that I would get a lot more stories from people all over the world. The outpouring of stories I had hoped for did not come so I have continued to tell the stories about the beast however they come to me. I have found others myself (e.g. Chesler, Erica Sherman) and posted them here and I have reported on other instances where I have observed The Beast rear its head in my life and in the affairs of others.

Until very recently, though, I have not had any submitted to me that I have felt were usable by themselves for the blog. Back in March, for example, I received a very frank and interesting email from a man named Mark Nelson. His story was, I thought memorable and important but not so unassailable that it could stand on its own as a full post.

I wrote Mr. Nelson that I would use his story, but not right away. I had no idea at the time that it would take me three more months to find the right context in which to retell his story. It was not until this past week that another reader gave me that context in the form of the perfect companion story. These two stories, one from a young man on the east coast and one from an older man on the west coast, complete each other in much the same way that finding a clear pond on a windless, sunny day completes the conditions required to observe an other wise unseen world.

Here is Mark’s story:

Sir -
I found your blog very interesting and revealing of things we'd prefer to ignore.

My first brush with the Beast took place in 1983 while I was going to grad school at the U of Colorado. We had a few Middle Eastern students in the program, most of them Iranians it seemed. But one guy I remember spending some time with was a Saudi named Adnan. He appeared to be thoroughly Westernized - he chased coeds, he drank. I even have photos in my album of him downing a beer in a friend's backyard. He was in tune enough to know that most of the American students called the Middle Easterns "CJ's", for "camel jockeys". I found out that his was just an act, that when he went back to SA - he was a minor relative of the royal family - he was a devout Wahabbi. He even had a bride he was destined to marry back in Arabia.

But, the encounter with the Beast occurred one day when I was downtown in Boulder, strolling with my fiancée down the outdoor mall. We came upon Adnan and some unknown (to me) Arabian friend. I introduced my fiancée to Adnan, and he was very effusive, shaking hands and chatting merrily. He, in turn, introduced us to his comrade, saying that this was his cousin. This "cousin" had glared at us from the moment we encountered the two guys. He said nothing, never shaking hands or anything. When we went our separate ways, my fiancée related how she had never encountered such fierce,
unspoken hatred.

The look this guy gave - mostly to her - was one of supreme loathing. We never have forgotten this Arab.

Since then I have had closer encounters with the Moslem world - Desert Shield/Storm - and these have confirmed what you know to be true. Keep up the good writing.

Mark Nelson

Perhaps you see my problem with this story as a self-sufficient avatar of the beast. “Well,” one might say, “maybe the cousin was having a bad day.” Or Maybe Mark and his fiancée were hypersensitive to cultural differences in greeting behavior. Without a dire and explicit threat such as the one to my daughter in my story or the visceral shock that Erica had when she saw her beast in the newspaper or the hard experience of Phyllis Chesler in Afghanistan, his subjective impression of that brief encounter might be called into question.

So until now I have kept Mark Nelson’s email message because I felt its strength and authenticity but I couldn’t bring myself to run it as a post because I felt unsure of its ability to shock and persuade.

What has changed now is that I have received another email of a beast encounter that reminds me of Mr. Nelson’s story. I think the combination of two is very dramatic and instructive.

Here is James Glendenning’s story:

Dear Sir,
I'm new to your blog. Came via Shrinkwrapped, which I frequent.

One of the things that has confounded me since 9/11 has been the seeming inability of the MSM to show outrage at the cruelty and barbarism of the Islamists. They are capable of massive outrage at every mistake, misstep, or act of cruelty by our side.

You asked readers to write, describing encounters with the beast. I believe I have had one.

My wife and I are in our seventies, retired and, like most old people, wouldn't harm a fly. We are also open and friendly toward others. We have traveled in Europe, Africa, and Asia where we found that a ready smile and kind word are usually returned.

We do our weekly grocery shopping on Mondays at Safeway in Burlington, Washington. It was around noon when we entered the store and we decided to get a bite of lunch in the deli that has delicious salads, roast chicken, basmati rice, and other tasty food.

There were two men of Middle Eastern descent eating at one of the tables. As my wife and I sat down at a table near them I looked at them and smiled. They both glared at me with looks of such hatred it almost took my breath away. As we ate I could not keep myself from glancing at these two. They seemed intensely angry as they glared at us and other people who passed by. They muttered back and forth in a furtive manner, as if they had secrets.

My wife wrote a note on a napkin. "I'm not leaving this store until those two are gone!" She had noticed them and their aura of barely contained rage as well. She was afraid they might follow us out of the store with violence on their minds.

Finally, they finished their meal and with angry, hostile looks around, swaggered out of the store.

These men may not have been Islamic terrorists. However, everything about them spoke to me of the term, "Dead men walking." A term which I had heard Islamic jihadis in the Balkans referred to. Whenever I think about who we are up against in this war, I think about those two men. They seemed angry at the world and the cold, deadness behind their eyes seemed to say, "I'm already dead and I'd like to take you with me."

That encounter happened over 4 years ago and we can't get it out of our minds. Possibly just the fantasies of two over-sensitive old people. One thing is for certain, whoever those men were they were intensely angry and hostile to normal society.

Jim Glendenning

Here is a post with the same apparent vulnerabilities as Mark Nelson’s, and yet as soon as I read this one, I knew that the two of them made a complete post.

Mr. Glendenning, with a generosity of spirit characteristic of Americans, Israelis and The West in general, offers the sentence, “Possibly just the fantasies of two over-sensitive old people.” as a way of cushioning his criticism of those young men. He is willing to offer to deny or correct his own eyes, heart and mind if someone will step forward and prove to him that his own experience was mistaken or misguided. Then, in the next sentence, he affirms his judgment, “One thing is for certain, whoever those men were they were intensely angry and hostile to normal society.”

So Mr. Glendenning is confronted with the same dilemma that Mr. Nelson was, “Why do they hate us?”. They are taken by surprise. In their own context and on a much a less lethal level they experienced the awakening that we all had thrust upon us on 9/11. They got a glimpse through the surface of the water and saw the flash of a predatory beast as it swam by.

With those two conjoined sentences Mr. Glendenning has made his something more than a run-of-the-mill “First Encounter with the Beast” story. He has demonstrated the two critical differences between Western Civilization and the Caliphate.

The first big difference is that for most of us in The West, we can look at both side of almost any issue and, if not agree with both; at least consider them on their merits. This is the hallmark of free societies. In both of these cases the writer had encountered clear and open hostility. It might have been non-violent but the aggression and hatred that they observed can’t be questioned. Their initial reactions were a mixture of shock and self-doubt. Self-doubt has a very important role in the openness of Western Civilization. It can, as I have pointed out many times, be carried too far and become paralyzing but it is also a critical difference that makes Western Countries better places to live in than Islamic ones. As Dr. Sanity has written, “As long as an individual is capable of self-doubt and self-reflection about his behavior; he is able to remain open-minded and willing to search for a better understanding of himself and others.”

The remarkable thing about both Glendenning and Nelson is that they had the intelligence and the courage to make sure that they were sure that they trusted their first reactions and then draw their conclusions without resort to either xenophobic or supine, self-flagellating liberal self-blame. When Glendenning writes, “One thing is for certain, whoever those men were they were intensely angry and hostile to normal society.” And Nelson writes “The look this guy gave - mostly to her - was one of supreme loathing. We never have forgotten this Arab.” They are both standing up for what they believe with moderate but determined voices, voices we should all listen to carefully.

The most important commonality between these two stories, though, is one that it is exceedingly easy for a westerner to miss. It lies below the surface of the social and cultural interaction that we consider “public”. To understand what we are seeing, it requires ththe knowledge that we are looking through that surface into another world, a world where beasts we never imagined swim. Nelson hits on it in that sentence that I have just quoted above. He wrote, “The look this guy gave - mostly to her (speaking of his fiancée) - was one of supreme loathing.” It is very significant that both Mr Glendenning and Mr Nelson experienced their moments of revelation in the presence of their female companions.

Nelson and Glendenning, as most of us in The West, are cannot imagine the atavistic darkness and perverted symbolic power of the emotions that surround women in Caliphate Islam. It is impossible to underestimate the magnifying effect that sexual politics has on the virulence of the response of the Islamic world to The West. Western women- equal, free and collegial with their men threaten the very core of the Caliphate male’s identity. David Gutman, in an article in Front Page Magazine, wrote this about they way in which the behavior and comportment of women are the tipping point of all of the accumulated shame and rage that builds up in an Honor/Shame culture:
“Arab women are elected for the special role of the inferior who, by definition, lacks honor. Arab men eradicate shame and bolster their shaky self-esteem by imposing the shameful qualities of the dhimmi, submission and passivity, upon women. Trailing a humbled woman behind them, Arab men can walk the walk of the true macho man.” Saving Arabs From Themselves By David Gutmann | August 12, 2005

This post at Richard Landes’ Augean Stables cites a very telling line from Mahmoud Darwish the Palestinian poet. This little quote conveys precisely, the madness into which contemplating western women can lead an Islamist male. He is telling the story of the result of an encounter between an female Israeli soldier and an Islamist man.

“He wore a mask, took courage, and murdered his mother, because she was an easy prey for him, and because a woman soldier stopped him and exposed her breasts to him, saying: ‘Does your mother have such as these?’”

I have made the point before that Muslims are not humiliated by the west, they insist on being humiliated by their inability to survive in the presence of the west. This little vignette of madness proves that point. The Islamist male paragon is treated to a gander at a pair of breasts. Although we are spared the purple descriptive language, we are left to surmise that he finds them attractive. His reaction is to kill his own mother. We ask, is this because the woman soldier in this fantasy of his mentioned his mother? Is it because the Oedipal implications of the question makes him realize that the source of his madness and impotence is his old and twisted relationship with his mother? Or is it that his imagining of the Soldier’s breasts exerted a power over him that he could not bear to admit.

Richard Landes writes, “in the pathological state of Palestinian/Arab honor right now, the men kill their daughters and sisters for being raped, but not the rapist — because the girl, even as she is family, cannot fight back, whereas the rapist can.”

As Richard points out, the encounter with the breasts of the Israeli Soldier is undoubtedly apocryphal. The form Darwish gives it is very illuminating, though, and it sheds a very sharply focused light that penetrates the surface of our two beast stories. The very existence of female Israeli soldiers is a cataclysmic loss of face for Caliphate Muslims. Not only are women supposed to be inferior in the Caliphate, Jews and other infidels are less than inferior. So what is a poor Caliphatist to do when he is fascinated to the point of having daydreams about strong independent women who he shouldn’t even be considering to be human beings? How does it make him feel when he meets an engaged couple, like Mark Nelson and his future wife, who are planning a life together and the husband attempts to introduce her and she puts her hand out to shake his. Or how about sitting in a restaurant and seeing a couple the same age as your parents- only instead of your mother following ten paces behind your father and living in fear of being beaten for slight or imaginary offences, this motherly woman is walking arm and arm with the gentlemanly husband and they are enjoying life together with mutual caring and respect.

I will go a step further than Landes, and add another dimension to his statement. The Islamic woman is not beaten and/or killed by her sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, enthusiastically helpful neighbors (see my last two posts) and husbands only because she is too weak to fight back, she is beaten and killed and made to live underneath the shameful shroud of the burqah because she represents everything that Islamic men will never enjoy out of life because they are trapped by their honor and their shame.

This is why Islam needs a Caliphate to control and censure every aspect of human existence. This is why Islamic men put on masks and commit atrocities in their own houses and around the world. This is why they hate us. When they look through the surface of the water at us they see, with utter clarity, the humiliation to which they insist upon subjecting themselves every day.


Anonymous said...

I had a similar "seeing beneath the surface" view of the Beast back in 1978 or early 1979. I was attending a college in Southwestern Colorado, and attended a party thrown by a female friend. She rented a trailer and subleased a room to a young lady. This young lady was "dating" an Iranian fellow, who was on a student visa. I met him and his fellow Iranians. We discussed the Shah and the student protests. They caimed to be under threat of death if they returned to Iran at that time. I had been disposed by the media to think ill of the Shah, and well of these fellows, but there was a undertone in their manner and eyes that made me reconsider. It was a brief encounter. Later, I learned from my friend that the Iranians passed the "girlfriend" around, and also had beaten her on a couple of occaisions, using her as their group whore. My friend worked, successfully, to get the girl extricated from the situation. I wonder at what peril...

The Iranians left to return to Iran after the fall of the Shah. Good riddance.

Michael Talcott

Anonymous said...

Dear YBM,
What a great post. The linking of the two stories is very effective. Your analysis of both our reactions seem spot on to me. It is so true that we in the West are ready to see both sides and question our own perceptions.

I admire your ability to be clear and effective in your writing. I believe you are doing a great service by shining the light of day on the BEAST.

Thanks again,

Jim G.

Yaacov Ben Moshe said...

Thank you both-
I'm very glad you liked this post. I never would have gotten to that clarity had it not been for your precise and honest story. Your willingness to consider carefully and share your experience is a critical resource-

Thanks for another illustration of the honor/shame hypocrisy in action. It victimizes the weak and only feels shame when it is called to task for its misdeeds. We need to shame it every chance we get and never give in to the intimidation we earn in return. Acts of courage and fortitude are never small, if they insist on humiliation we should oblige them in the greatest quantities we can manage. Let them fell every jot and tittle (no pun intended) of their humiliation- they deserve it!


Always On Watch said...

HERE is one of my encounters. Use it if you like.

Yaacov Ben Moshe said...

Thanks for the link to your story. Nice work. I urge everyone to go there and read it! The more stories we can tell like yours the better chance we have of alerting a wider sphere of fence sitters and politically correct, multi-culti undecideds to the on-rushing calamity.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant and tremendously insightful as always. I'm glad I found your blog (via Keith Burgess-Jackson's, if I recall correctly).