i must start by declaring an interest here, not only as someone who supports a fair and equitable end to the arab-israeli conflict in which israel’s future is secured and a wider lasting peace in the middle east for all its peoples, but also as someone many of whose ancestors came from mosul and kirkuk in kurdistan. i have met many talented kurds and they have invariably been the sort of people who i could get along with and do business with; reasonable, rational and sensitive to the realities of history and politics.
for all these reasons, the issue of kurdistan has been close to my heart for a number of years; it felt very much to me as if it was a pipe-dream, given the geopolitical status quo. the basics are this:
obviously, a great deal has been written about the riots to date and a great deal of predictable outpouring has also taken place. what i wanted to offer to this debate is, however, along more behavioural lines.
i have for some time been aware of the powerful analytical frameworks for bio-psycho-social systems developed by the american psychologist dr clare graves and systematised for practical application by don beck and chris cowan in the excellent book “spiral dynamics” (i’m not affiliated with anyone concerned, incidentally). at the risk of sounding like somewhat of a “fanboy”, as i believe it is called on teh interwebs, i am convinced it constitutes an important piece of intellectual real estate for the understanding of complex socio-political systems, particularly in behavioural terms.
of course, nobody should be surprised that when a natural disaster occurs, the usual suspects jump on the bandwagon to explain why it proves their wacky theologies and that G!D Is Having a good old Smite at people of whom they disapprove or, alternatively, that it’s all part of the dastardly plans of the illuminati or reptilian space overlords.
a reptilian overlord yesterday
anyway, we’ve had boobquake, gayquake and immorality-inspired flooding so, predictably, our new icelandic friend eyjafjallajökull has been pressed into surface for this purpose, proving variously that:
Happy Easter to the Christian, Christianist, Christophile and Christocentric friends, relatives and well-wishers of the Spittoon. And a happy pagan spring equinox with chocolate and recreational drugs in plenty to everyone else.
ok, we know who the board of deputies are. we know what it’s for. we know how it’s funded. we know how you get to be on it. we know who it represents. now, we have this new organisation called the “jewish leadership council”. on it, you have various movers and shakers, you’ve got the vc/banking/property tycoons, you’ve got the charity/safety/israel activists, you’ve got synagogue movement machers, you’ve got access, you’ve got international connections, you’ve got lords, baronesses, knights and the chair of ujs – you’ve got two women and no rabbis, for some reason. you’ve got no haredim, for some other reason. you’ve got leaders from the most broad-based and influential organisations in the community – but what are they for? clearly, this is an influential bunch of people, but who chooses them? who decided that there should be a jewish leadership council in the first place? how are they accountable? what is their strategy? what is their relationship with the board? how is it funded? i for one would like to know.
L-R: Hasan Le Gai Eaton who passed away today, Fuad Nahdi, the late Martin Lings (Shaykh Abu Bakr Siraj Ad-Din), Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Peter Sanders.
Charles le Gai Eaton, also known as Hasan Abdul Hakeem, died today. He was 89.
Born in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1921 and raised as an agnostic by his parents. Gai Eaton was educated at Charterhouse and King’s College, Cambridge. He worked for many years as a teacher and journalist in Jamaica and Egypt, and joined the British Diplomatic service in 1949. He converted to Islam in 1951.
Gai Eaton’s books include Islam and the Destiny of Man, King of the Castle and Remembering God. Many British Muslims regard his books as influential.
I had the pleasure of keeping a correspondence with sidi Hasan when I was a younger man, and met him a number of times. He was a gentle, generous man with a very bright, wry sense of humour. I shall miss him.
The Saudi royal family is massive, comprising of an estimated 7000 or so members. Like any family, they have diverse interests.
Recently, one of King Abdullah’s brothers, Prince Faisal bin Mansour, has decided to try his hand at becoming an R&B singer. He even sings about the usual topics of R&B songs – promiscuity, partying, frivolity – but from a uniquely Saudi perspective.
For example, here he is singing: ‘Never Too Late’.
It was at this at this party / where I saw this shorty / and she was all over the place / tried to get male attention / by wearing short dresses / but she had a sad look on her face / young sister / you ain’t gotta dress the way that you seen on TV / be true to (Allah) yourself nobody else / and believe me you’re gonna be free / everybody makes mistakes / but it’s no reason to lose your faith / just believe that God is great / and inshalla you’ll find your way