I am trying to get a better understanding of islam, terrorism and middle east conflict.
I have become aware of much of the critical litterature through sam harris’ site, but I am curious what the other side has to say.
Can any of you guys recommend any books / authors that I check out if I want ‘the other side of the story’? Or at least if you know what books are generally in good standing among people who oppose Sam’s view on islam.
I appreciate it.
I disrecommend Chomsky.
Someone will recommend him. It’s just one unsupported assertion after another. He just hates the US beyond all reasoning.
He did great work in linguistics… every cog sci student studies his work… but as a political theorist.. wow.. what a total fuck up.
Edward Said. He was a secular humanist and also advocate of Palestinian rights. Sam Harris doesn’t understand politics at any meaningful level, but his criticisms of religion are pretty spot on.
I highly recommend Pat Condell…no seriously! The palestinians should be taken seriously…
1. when and only when they no longer wish the complete annihilation of the jewish state;
2. when their advocates disavow the methods and ideology that is the cause of all jewish aggression - terrorism and islamic supremacy;
3. when they agree to share ALL holy places on agreed terms - this goes for jews too;
4. when palestinians start granting their own people the rights and freedoms they love to claim for themselves from those liberal western bleeding heart wrong-headed liberals…i.e. start demonstrating that they’re not just wide eyed, blood thirsty, vengeful zealots, but truly well meaning citizens of the world…and grant the basic human rights and equalities to their own people…FIRST.
As far as I am concerned this is all about one thing…the title deeds of the so called city of god. The jews believe god sequestrated it from it’s original inhabitants and passed title to them…not so much the genetic them…more the memetic them. And folks, islam claims it is theirs because mo decided to use it like one uses a service station en route to a holiday destination, and since he used it, they claim it’s theirs…really, it’s because mo made a point of taking it from the jews because they would’t take him seriously and accept him as one…
sour grapes really.
One solution which I think might just work, is to set up a completely secular government….maybe with international government, make all the monuments freely accessible to all, enforced if necessary by serious force and allow all displaced palestinians to return, and of course remove Zionist settlers by force…
So what am I really saying? I’m saying RELIGION and more to the point RELIGIOUS governments are the problem, and they’re the problem to the same extent to which the are religious…first palestinians, then jews. We need to secularise both before any hope of reconciliation.
I second the Edward Said suggestion. In almost every debate regarding this issue, at some point some defender of Islam will accuse their opponent of “essentialism” or “orientalism” : i.e. accuse them of broadly caricaturing whole peoples and cultures because they are exotic, and of assuming that all individuals who are part of them are exactly identical. This accusation is Said’s contribution : an intellectual tool that plays right into the West’s guilt about the Third World, and which has managed to forbid critical inquiry of the Muslim world among a majority of Western intellectuals, who fear that saying anything will betray a racist or colonialist world view.
Said has been tremendously influential in this respect. When I was studying anthropology at university (or trying to…) a considerable amount of time was spent figuring out ways to study cultures and social organizations without making any meaningful or concrete statements about them. And that was explicitly because professors and students wanted to avoid being guilty of “orientalism”. There were whole courses and seminars on the topic.
Nowadays, I virtually know of no anthropologist who even tries to write about other societies anymore : All prefer talking about imperialism and racism. And I have since learned that this self-censorship and shutdown of analytic thinking in the social realm has spread out to politics, as would be obvious to any Sam Harris’ reader.
Appreciate the responses so far and I will definitely check out Said.
Anyway, what do you guys think of Robert A. Pape? It’s been a while, but back in march, Sam announced that he was going to invite him for a debate on his site. I was actually looking looking quite forward to that debate. I wonder if it has been cancled.