Once Upon A Time In The Mid-East

Arab

Once upon a time in the mid-east…. things haven’t really changed much, only gotten more so.

Many moons ago, I worked as a security guard.  One of my co-workers was a man even older than me.  As a young man, just after World War II, he had traveled to England to take advantage of the burgeoning British post-war economy, to get a job.  Instead, he enlisted in the British Army, and was attached to the British Palestine Peacekeeping Force.  Their job was to prevent violence, and protect the newly-minted state of Israel.

Many Jews had lived in what became Arab Territory.  Either voluntarily, or under political pressure, they were convinced to leave farms and lands that they had worked and lived on for generations, and move inside the imaginary boundary-line of Israel, into imaginary safety, and start all over again.

He said that, as they patrolled around in Palestine, it was easy to see who had occupied the properties.  Jewish farms were green and lush with fruit, grain and vegetables.  They had bright homes and barns, and greenhouses to get new crops started.  Arab homesteads were dusty and brown, with perhaps a scrawny goat wandering around.

Did the Muslims who were leaving Israel take possession of these ready-made sources of shelter, food and income??  They did not!!  Usually the homes and outbuildings were burned, the greenhouses torn down, all the glass smashed.  The patrol was supposed to be neutral, but he said that it was difficult not to have sympathy, and side with the people who tried to build things up, rather than the hooligans who just wanted to tear things down.

One day they were called out to a problem.  They were trucked to a nearby Arab village near the new border.  They debarked, and marched into the village square/market.  There they came upon a small clot of idlers, with more drifting in.  As in my StOp! Ed post, the local imam or mullah was working the mob up, to march to the nearest Jewish settlement and attack.  Knives, machetes, clubs, slings, rocks, and bottles were in evidence.

My co-worker recounted that, in English, and in his best brash British bluster, the Sergeant-Major commanding the squad, waved his hands as if shooing flies, and told them that ‘You chappies ought to just break this up now, and get on with your business somewhere else.’

He got back the equivalent of, ‘No speakee English, you Tommy Brit invaders.’, so he went to plan B, and literally read them the Riot Act.  For those of you who think that being read the Riot Act is just a euphemism for your Mom coming down on you, think again.  There is an actual British Riot Act.  The solemnity of having it read to potential rioters is supposed to make them think twice about causing trouble.

Our Sovereign Lord The King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the Act made in the first year of King George the First for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies.

God Save The King

The rules state that it must be read three times, before any official violence is unleashed.  The SarMaj read the ponderous paragraph of it once in English.  Then, because some of the miscreants might be Jewish, he read it in Hebrew.  Then he read it in Arabic.  Then he circled around and read it again in all three languages.

All this time, the crowd is growing in size, and the mood is getting nastier.  Knives are waved at them, and small fake sorties are threatened.  Finally, he got the Act read three times in three languages, and ordered them in Arabic to disperse.

Wasn’t gonna happen, so he started giving the squad, orders.  Present arms!  The Arabs watched.  Insert cartridges!  They slapped magazines into their Lee-Enfield rifles. (They’d been unarmed all this time.)  The Arabs waited.  Charge weapons! Rifle bolts back, and then forward to cock. (Now they’re finally ready for action.) The Arabs wondered.  And, the SarMaj shouted, At the knees, aim!

He said that, by the time he got his rifle up to his shoulder, and his eyes on the sights, a single piece of paper, and dust, was settling to the ground.  The little plaza was empty.  Maybe some of them understood English, or just understood superior firepower.

Sadly, nowadays, little altercations like this happen much faster and more violently.  The Gentlemanly British rules of war have been replaced by Kill Or Be Killed.  Perhaps they were what Mr. Ed, the talking horse’s ass was thinking about.

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Flash Fiction #116

pigeonhole

PHOTO PROMPT © Claire Fuller

JUDGEMENT DAY

In a way, it must be comforting to have everything ‘figured out’, and have labels for everyone and everything. If only people would keep their mouth shut about them.  People like his dim-witted, red-neck, Bible-thumping, narrow-minded, KKK-supporting, Trump-voting boss. He spewed opinions about everybody.

Negroes (not his term) were stupid, lazy, jungle-bunnies. Chicanos were job-stealing taco benders.  Jews were Christ-killing con artists.  And those homosexual sinners???  Well, he knew which guys walking down the street were gay, just by the way they moved.

It must feel good to put everyone in a pigeonhole, even if they weren’t the right ones.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

 

Horrible Example

Priest

I recently came upon a totally-expected Christmas-time rant from a ‘good Catholic’. It opened with the question, “after all, aren’t these Holidays solely and specifically about the birth of Jesus Christ?”

I commented: “In a word, NO! While it might be the most important for you – the Muslims celebrate Ramadan, the Jews have Chanukah, the Wiccans observe Solstice, the blacks celebrate Kwanzaa, Pagans have Yule, Hindus observe Diwali, Japanese have Bonen Kai….. and many more, all at the end of the year. Do as Christ would, and include them all, not with a bragging, exclusionary Merry Christmas, but with a ‘Happy Holidays’ to one and all.”

I got back: “This is exactly what I mean… There has never been a time anywhere except in the last 10 years where people like you, have imbibed this political correctness crap and pretend that this season is anything but Christmas in countries which have a strong Christian heritage. So get back to work and Merry Christmas.

He was railing about the use of the inclusive ‘Happy Holidays’, instead of his exclusionary favorite, ‘Merry Christmas.’ He seemed most piqued about Muslims, and their growing acceptance in the USA.  (but not Islamic religious terms of course, those are acceptable). Well, we will have none of that in our household!

Ignoring the fact that I had just shown him that dozens of cultures and religions have some sort of year-end celebration, he was convinced that none but the anointed Christians should partake. “you should tell them that they should stop benefitting from this holiday and be made to go to work instead. Perhaps if they are to be totally honest with themselves, they should also shun the revelry that goes with it, but out of the Christmas spirit, do so after, perhaps during lent when you’re fasting.”

A subsequent reply to my comment from another of his narrow-minded regulars asked, “How is it exclusionary?  I say Merry Christmas to my Jewish landlady, and she doesn’t mind.”

You may think that yours is the Rolls-Royce of religions, but you don’t include anyone by insisting that they share a ride in it to YOUR CHURCH.  Exclusion is not allowing me to drive my crappy Chevy to my religious services – or to none at all.

I know there are worse examples of religious intolerance, but I don’t know how to access ISIS or Boko Haram’s websites. I think that there are many, I hope a majority of, Christians and Catholics who are more loving and acceptant than this.

His snotty reply incited me to publish yet another example of narrow-minded entitlement. He must have smelled me coming.  When I tried to access his site to copy quotes, I found that he had deleted my comment and his reply, and turned off all comments – but we know that NOTHING is ever really erased from the internet, don’t we?

If you’d like a look at the original, click here https://astrugglingdad.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/merry-christmas-there-i-said-it/comment-page-1/#comment-883 .  Take backup, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you, whichever Holiday you wish to celebrate. Bah, Humbug to Bob Cratchit Catholic, and all his head-in-the-sand, Trump-supporting buddies.

Hug A Thug

Terrorist

Adopt a Terrorist..!!

This is a BRILLIANT piece… and just too good to miss reading. I thought, here is a bureaucrat who is worth his salary – and perhaps a raise.

Canadians know how to handle complaints. Here is an example.

A liberal Canadian female wrote a lot of letters to the Canadian government, complaining about the treatment of captive insurgents (terrorists) being held in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities. She demanded a response to her letter.  She received the following reply:

From: National Defence Headquarters
Maj. Gen. George R. Pearkes Bldg., 15 NT,
101 Colonel By Drive Ottawa , ON
K1A 0K2 Canada.

Dear Concerned Citizen,

Thank you for your recent letter expressing your profound concern of treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists captured by Canadian Forces, who were subsequently transferred to the Afghanistan Government and are currently being held by Afghan officials in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities.

Our administration takes these matters seriously and your opinions were heard loud and clear here in Ottawa. You will be pleased to learn, thanks to the concerns of citizens like yourself… we are creating a new department here at the Department of National Defense, to be called ‘Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers’ program, or “L.A.R.K.” for short.

In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided, on a trial basis, to divert several terrorists and place them in homes of concerned citizens such as yourself… around the country, under those citizens’ personal care. Your personal detainee has been selected and is scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence in Toronto next Monday.

Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is your detainee, and is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of complaint. You will be pleased to know that we will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with your recommendations.

Although Ahmed is a sociopath and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his ‘attitudinal problem’ will help him overcome those character flaws. Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere ‘cultural differences’. We understand that you plan to offer ‘counseling and home schooling’, however, we strongly recommend that you hire some assistant caretakers.

Please advise any Jewish friends, neighbours or relatives about your house guest, as he might get agitated or even violent, but we are sure you can ‘reason’ with him. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless in your opinion, this might ‘offend him and his sensibilities’.

Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. We advise that you do not ask him to demonstrate these skills either in your home or wherever you choose to take him while ‘helping him adjust to life in our country’.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with you or your daughters except sexually… since he views females as a form of property, thereby having no rights, including refusal of his sexual demands. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him.

You also should know that he has shown violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the dress code that he will recommend as more appropriate attire. I’m sure you will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the burka over time. Just remember that it is all part of ‘respecting his culture and religious beliefs’ as described in your letter.

You take good care of Ahmed and remember that we will try to have a counselor available to help you over any difficulties you encounter while Ahmed is adjusting to Canadian culture.

Thanks again for your concern. We truly appreciate it when folks like you keep us informed of the “PROPER WAY TO DO OUR JOB AND CARE FOR OUR FELLOW MAN”.

Good luck and God bless you.

Cordially, Gordon O’Connor

#492

Hysterical History – Part 1

It is truly astounding, what havoc students can wreak upon the chronicles of the human race. The following is pasted together from genuine student bloopers, collected by teachers throughout the United States, from the eighth grade, through to college level. Read carefully and you will learn a lot. This is how our society came to be, seen through the eyes of teens.

Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies, and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert, and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants had to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation.

The pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain. The Egyptians built the pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube.

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinessis, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked, “Am I my brother’s son?”

God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Isaac, stole his brother’s birthmark. Jacob was a patriarch who brought his 12 sons up to be patriarchs too, but they didn’t take to it. One of Jacob’s sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.

Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.

David was a Hebrew king, skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Finkelsteins, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomn, one of David’s sons, had 300 wives and 500 porcupines.

Later came Job, who had one trouble after another. Eventually, he lost all his cattle and all his children, and had to go live alone in the desert with his wife.

The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them, we wouldn’t have any history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns – Corinthians, Ironic and Dork. They also had a lot of myths, which are female moths.

One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him into the river Styx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in The Iliad by Homer. Homer also wrote The Oddity, in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer, but by another man of that name.

Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.

In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits and threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath.

The government of Athens was democratic because people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn’t climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. When they fought the Persians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men

Eventually, the Romans conquered the Geeks. History calls them Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out the words, “Tee Hee, Brutus.” Nero was a cruel tyranny who tortured his subjects by playing the fiddle to them.

Rome came to have too many luxuries and baths. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlic in their hair. They took two baths in two days, and that’s the cause of the fall of Rome. Today, Rome is full of fallen arches.

Then came the Middle Ages, when everybody was middle-aged. King Alfred conquered the Dames. King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery, with brave knights on prancing steeds and beautiful women. King Harold mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings.

Joan of Arc was cannonized by Bernard Shaw. And victims of the blue-bonnet plague grew boobs on their necks. Finally, Magna Carta provided that no man could be hanged twice for the same offense.

In midevil times most people were alliterate. The greatest writer of futile times was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verses and also wrote literature. During this time people put on morality plays about ghosts, goblins, virgins and other mythical creatures. Another story was about William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son’s head.

The Renaissance was an age in which more people felt the value of their human being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death being excommunicated by a bull. It was the painter Donatello’s interest in the female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance.

The government of England was a limited Mockery. From the womb of Henry VIII Protestantism was born. He found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee.

Queen Elizabeth was the “Virgin Queen.” As a queen, she was a success. When Elizabeth exposed herself before her troops, they all shouted “hurrah.” Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.

It was the age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Another great invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes and started smoking. And Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100 foot clipper.

I’ll bring you a little more up-to-date a bit later.

Some Atheist Thoughts

JESUS
Jesus wasn’t gay! He just hung around with twelve other guys. He was a radical, non-violent Revolutionary who hung around with lepers, hookers and crooks; wasn’t American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth, anti death penalty, anti-public prayer (M. 6-5); but was never anti-gay, anti-abortion or birth control, never called the poor lazy, never justified torture, never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, never asked a leper for a co-pay, and was a long-haired, brown-skinned, homeless, community-organizing, anti-slut-shaming, Middle Eastern Jew.

***
A young truck-driver who regularly attends the Free Thinkers meetings is as aggressively Atheist as many Christians, to the point that, if someone were to bless him, a fist-fight might occur. He is religiously confrontational and wears a variety of printed tee-shirts, such as one which says, “Abortion just means babies’ souls get to meet God earlier.”

Tattoo

Like many truckers, he has several tattoos. He recently added this Atheist one, on the inside of his right forearm.

 
That’s what it looks like on the skin. The picture below is clearer, taken right from the online tattoo catalog. Like the brands in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons book, it is an ambigram, reading the same thing, both right side up, and upside down. You can prove this by standing on your head, but I want photos of you doing it. He says it means that, coming or going, he’s a good Atheist.
atheist tattoo
The following is another, more triangular ambigram version of the word atheist.
triangle-atheist

 

 

This picture is of a two-word ambigram. One way, it says Atheist, the other, it reads Godless.
godless-atheist
Many Good Christians, consciously or unconsciously, hypocritically believe that, simply by dint of being Christian, everything atheist-i-amthey do is somehow Good and Honorable. Ergo, they also believe that anything done by non-Christians, is Mean and Evil. I am much tempted to purchase this tee-shirt to remind them they may be wrong, but I don’t go out enough to justify the expense. Maybe the trucker has one – or would like one. Hmmm, must talk to him about it.

Let Me Think About That

I recently took my daughter, and one of her friends, to a Free Thinkers luncheon.  One of the male attendees had on a tee-shirt imprinted, “You never see a bunch of atheists stoning a gay to death.”  The president of the local association came fifteen miles down from the town which is the center of the area Mennonite community.  He brought with him a thirty-ish Mennonite female, dressed in a floor-length, shapeless, dull-patterned cotton dress and veil-fabric, hair-modesty, yarmulke-like snood.

This is strange!  The more intense a religious sect is, the less likely they allow any thinking, much less free thinking.  Mennonites are strict.  There are many sub-sects, some much stricter than others.  She explained that she had developed free thinking on her own, but kept her opinions to herself, so that she could continue to associate with her friends and family.  Like the Catholic Church’s *excommunication*, where the faithful were not allowed to speak or deal with a heretic, the Mennonite faith has *shunning*.  She had heard of the Free Thinkers, and found that the local teacher was a leader, and convinced him to bring her to the freedom of a meeting.  I don’t know how she explains not being at church with her clan.

Like every other religion, there are divisions, and sub-divisions, and sub-sub….until there are tiny little groups, all convinced that they, and only they, are correct.  There are Old Order Mennonites, who use horses and buggies.  They will not allow zippers, or even buttons on their clothing.  It is all tied closed.  They refused to put the glass-crystal, triangular, slow-vehicle signs on their dark buggies, because they eschew any adornment.  It took several late-night, coming-home-from-prayer-meeting collisions before the government convinced them that they were not *adornment*, but legally required safety devices to keep them and cars and drivers safe.

New-Order followers buy black or dark cars and trucks, but painted any chrome black, until the government again convinced them that this was another visibility/safety feature.  New New-Order buy colored cars, but still wear black hats over zippered and buttoned clothing.  I worked with a young new-new-new….whose worship group was about fifteen people, meeting in some guy’s warehouse, because they couldn’t build, or even rent a meeting-house.

It’s like a child’s game of How Much Can I Get Away With?  Many of these people are businessmen, building and selling furniture, equipment, farm produce, etc.  They shun the secular world, but are forced to interact with it for commerce.  They have preachers who tell them that they cannot be connected to the fallen.  (That’s you and I.)  Yet they must buy and sell goods, arrange shipments, check specs, etc.

When I worked at the steel warehouse there were three farmers who also ran a fabricating shop.  Two of the farms were side by side on one concession road, and the third butted against the common border over on the next road.  They built a little weather-proof box, and paid Bell Telephone to install a phone where the three farms met.  Any one of them could give the horses a rest and make a call, but the phone wasn’t in any of their houses, so it was allowed.  If you had to call back with information, you were given a specific time to call.  One would be waiting by the phone at exactly 10:00 AM.  If you missed your call, you missed an order.  I wonder how they tell time.  Are watches prohibited?

The mullahs can’t keep up with technology.  Cell-phones don’t “connect” them to the secular world, so half the Mennonites have them.  Similarly Wi-Fi computer connections from outdoor posts or the nearest urban hot-spot are not specifically banned so Mennonite boys can get porn just like the rest of us.

I recently took the wife fifteen miles out to a Mennonite butcher in a village.  As we drove into town, the wife spotted some plants near the edge of the road, with a for-sale sign.  We stopped on the way home.  The wife was interested, but wanted to ask some questions, and wondered if we should knock on the door or if someone would come out.  The answer to both was, no.  I spotted an Honor Box.

They put various items out at the side of the road with prices marked, and it’s up to the honor of the customer to leave money.  Some even leave money out in the open.  You can make your own change if necessary.  This one was a large, heavy (?) aluminum box with a slot in the top to insert cash.  It would be possible to walk away with the entire box, but probably not un-noticed in the village full of nosy neighbors.

Farmers on the highway put out corn, potatoes, apples etc. and an honor box.  Farms where you have to drive in to the house have signs saying, “No Sunday sales”, but the honor boxes can sit out seven days a week.  If you wish to stop and remove some produce and voluntarily leave some cash, that’s your business, but if they’re not sitting there accepting filthy lucre, they’re not Doing Business, so it’s moral.

The wife worked for an insurance company for ten years.  I find that Scotsmen and Jews have nothing on Mennonites for being cheap.  They want everything that’s in the contract, whether they qualify or not, and then they want some free candy off your desk for giving you the business.  The young lad I worked with must have asked at least six times in disbelief, if I was sure I wanted to give my excess foreign coins to his immigrant wife for her collection, at no charge.

I think it’s silly to worry about violating, not God’s rules, but some narrow-visioned man’s rules.  They think they can remain religious hermits, and still be business-men in today’s society.  I think the mental and moral gymnastics are silly and amusing.  They think up new ways to circumvent the lifestyle they claim to revere.  Look out!  Here comes the future!