Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Politics, Religion 

Why should we care about the Middle East?

They are throwing some fuel on the Palestinian-Israel fire again. Can never let it be peaceful for too long in this part of the world.

Why should we care? We have one group of people who insist on wedging themselves into a region of the world that hates their guts and could be no happier than to see them extinct -- against another group who thinks stoning is an appropriate method of punishment and where women are seen like second-rate citizen. Again: why should we care?

The Jews

Many groups of people have been conquered throughout history. Many civilizations went under and their people got assimilated by the winners of wars. A few kept their traditions out of pride, for example the Jews and the Gypsies. Stubbornly refusing to adjust their ways to fit into their hosting cultures and become equal to everyone else, they chose to accept outsider status. To what purpose?

As a Swede, I could for example bitch about how my culture of paganism got butchered when Christianity was imposed on Sweden. But I don't. Instead I try to make up my own mind about what matters in the world, without much loyalty to Sweden or its culture. I believe in individuality before nationalism.

Instead of living happy productive lives in Europe and elsewhere, the Jews found it more fulfilling to re-establish their Jewish state in 1948. Hated with a passion by every other country in the region, they defiantly wave their flags and hope for survival. It would be understandable if this real estate had some intrinsic value, such as being great for agriculture or with big deposits of oil, but there are no natural resources. This area only matters for religious reasons.

If anything, they really are bold to dare this, and I salute them for that. But instead of valuing humanity as a whole and our global achievements as a species, the Jews choose to focus on their culture, and age-old myths about promised lands. What a terrible waste of human resources. Jews are among the smartest people on the planet. Who knows what wonderful things they could have contributed to the world if they didn't have to sleep next to an Arab rattlesnake.

Do you really need a country of your own to feel fulfilled and have a sense of identity as a person? Is it really that important to continue traditions and to protect your cultural heritage? Don't ideas matter more than creed?

Right: Exhibit A, the Torah.

The Arabs

Sharing a very close family tree with the Jews, Arabs are at first approximation the very same people. They just decided to start hating the Jews 1400 years ago, when a prophet told them that pigs are an unclean animal, and that the Jews really are a kind of pigs. This must have been confusing, since Jews and Arabs all look the same.

The Arabs are still going strong with this madness in the 21st century, when everyone else thought hate and bigotry was out of fashion. The rest of humanity took a step forward and learned that such emotions are destructive. But the Arabs still remain at the doorstep where Muhammad left them.

Random chance rewarded these rancid-culture desert-billies with huge deposits of oil. Who would have thought? What a terrible waste of natural resources. They got the royal flush in life, and still keep their backward ways. So many chances of cultural reform with trillions of dollars to pave the way, but no, they seem immune to real progress. The best punishment for adultery is still stoning, women are still the property of men, and children should still learn to hate the Jew.

To the Arabs, the Jews are an itch that never goes away. The mere existence of Jews, no matter where in the world, is an abomination, an unfinished business that needs immediate attention. Luckily the Palestinians are in place to be the perfect professional victims to blame the Jews for whatever happens in the region. As the saying goes, "When everything else fails, blame the Jews".

Left: Exhibit B, the Quran.

The solution

How easy would it be to solve the crisis? Everyone denounces their religion. Just kidding, that would be too easy and make too much sense. Then the Jews would have no real reason to live next to giant predators, and Arabs no reason to violently despise them. Of course, that would rob all of them of their cultural identity, which is to be the leading actors on the world stage of engineered conflict.

How about the Jews buying the entire country of Belize and living there? It's the same size as Israel, peaceful, with plenty of natural resources and has one of lowest populations in the world. Some clever re-interpretation of the Mayan temples could link them to the Abrahamic god, and the holy sites in Israel could be shipped stone by stone, and rebuilt there.

No, they will continue bombing each other in the Middle East for a few decades more, until a few nukes go off, and then the problem solves itself, because the region will become uninhabitable. Which it kind of is already, for sane people who rise above the divisive nature of religion.

So for the third time: Why does anyone care about these people and what they do to each other?


Well, at least war provides great entertainment value. A few hundred dead, a headline story. A few thousand dead, and it will fuel tribalism and unjustified indignation to match a major sports event, which is pretty good timing now when the World Cup is over. All we have to do is switch the color of our scarves and we can continue hating the other team as usual.

Below: The verdict from Honorable Judge George Carlin.

To maximize the entertainment value of this war, I suggest that Blizzard Entertainment publish a third installment in their successful series of RTS computer games: "ScriptureCraft", also known as "Jews vs. Muslims vs. Christians". They battle it out in the holy land, each with their own unique tactics. Being true to prophecy, all three fractions die at the end, with the ones dying last going to heaven, and the opponents rotting in hell. How about that for a fun evening with the family?

« ‡ »