When people say Israel’s response to Hamas aggression must be “proportionate”, they don’t mean it. What they actually mean is that Israel shouldn’t respond at all.
Which is fine: everyone’s entitled to their view. But Israel’s critics should at least be honest about what they’re really proposing. And what they’re proposing is that while Israel has a right to defend itself in principle, it shouldn’t do so in practice. It should just turn the other cheek.
Posted by Henric C. Jensen on July 29, 2014
Posted by Henric C. Jensen on July 20, 2014
Israel has existed in its current format since 1948. For as long as that it has been treated differently from all other states/nations in the world. It has been held to another standard than all other states/nations in the world.
Israel is expected to accept being attacked on a daily basis without responding, or if they do respond do so ‘proportionately’ – do you expect that from Russia in Chechnya, or the US in Afghanistan and Iraq? Or the Syrian government i Syria. No, you don’t. In fact no one says anything like that to any other nation using military force to deal with their terrorists. Oh, sure, every now and then there’s a slap on the wrist issued by the UN or EU against Russia, US or some other country going after terrorists, but that’s it. But never on the scale or with the ferocity they go after Israel on how they deal with Hamas.
No one calls what the US does in Afghanistan or Iraq genocide, or claims that Russia are Nazis for dealing with their terrorists. Why is that?
I think the answer is very simple. Israel has the audacity to call itself a ‘Jewish state’ – a home for all Jews that want to live there. In the expectations on Israel to deal with Hamas differently than Russia deals with Chechnya, or the US deals with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, lies a deep and dark antisemitism. Israel is being held to a different standard simply because its majority population is Jewish.
If you are not willing to stand up for Chechnya, the Taliban or Al-Qaeda the way you stand up for Hamas, Fatah and Hezbollah, then you really should not stand up for either. Really.
Posted by Henric C. Jensen on July 13, 2014
Posted by Henric C. Jensen on July 10, 2014
Posted by Henric C. Jensen on July 6, 2014
“No wonder I’m all confused — one of my parents was a woman, the other was a man.” –Ashleigh Brilliant
This essay started out as a reaction to transphobic comments made in an on-line Community. I wanted to confront some of the comments made, and soon realized that in order to make my confrontation comprehensible, I would have to first clarify the issue of “What is Transgender/Transsexuality?” People don’t know what it is, so they base their opinion on misconceptions, misunderstandings and pure ignorance. This in turn leads them to express themselves in offensive, insulting and derogatory ways. I am a big believer in Education. If you educate people, they will be better people for it, and much hurt and pain can be avoided. There will of course always be people who refuse to be educated, but those are the minority.
For the purpose of this essay and…
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Posted by Henric C. Jensen on July 3, 2014
This blog entry was originally written on August 5, 2006.
But with the appearance of ISIS/IS, I feel that a revision and expansion is in order.
In response to a friend, I wrote:
“I assume you are speaking about Haim Harari’s Undeclared WWIII.”
Yes, it might sound like that, but in fact, he is claiming that there is a war going on, and then he explains how this is. I agree that he is drawing it to its extremes, when he claims that it is the Islamic world against the rest of the World. However, I do think he has a point about the method, structure and underlying reasons for terror actions as such. Instruments of terror used to be assassinations, revolutions, and up-risings – they were traditionally aimed at governments. Even the IRA did not target the public, although they used modern methods of Terrorism (bombings, hostage taking etc.) – the Islamic militants have changed the targeting and execution of Terrorism. I agree that not all Islamists are Terrorists – I suspect, but it is only a suspicion, that it has to do with culture. The Muslims of Indonesia are Peaceful, but it seems to me that Muslims in the Middle East are not, and even that is a generalization, because not all Muslims in the Middle East are non-Peaceful…so it is a specific group, not necessarily tied to their Islamic Faith. Then what is it? I think Haim Harari gives a pretty good picture.[a side note:]I am now going to say something that might sound like I am saying that Islam is a Barbaric Religion – it’s hard for me to explain this, mostly because English is not my native tongue, so please keep this in mind.
Put Islam into a historical/cultural perspective and it becomes pretty clear that the Middle East is a Tribal Society, based in Tribal Religion – Yes, Judaism is a Tribal Religion too – the only real difference between Judaism and Islam in this context is TIME. Judaism has been around for some 2000 years longer than Islam, which means that if you give Islam in the Middle East and its adherents another 1500 years (at most) it will have “evolved” beyond explicit Tribal culture. This is not intended as an expression value or judgment. Let us not forget that Saladin the Great founded one of the most advanced and enlightened civilizations the world has ever seen. I do not intend to insult Islam or Muslims, and if I have done so, I apologize.
I think that what Haim Harari is aiming at is not Islam or even Muslims, but this Tribal Culture that is using Islam as a pretext for its craziness. It could just as well have been Xianism or Shintoism or for that matter Judaism, the Religion is just a coat in which these militants are covering themselves. Trying to force Nations to adopt Political Systems that they have not yet acquired the readiness for, through political evolution, such as is now being done in Iraq, is only going to make matters worse. Each nation has to arrive at their own brand of democracy – unfortunately, we in the West are trying to force OUR brand of democracy on the Nations of the Middle/Near East, and like it or not but that is not going to work, because, fast or slow, they have to work out what democracy is within their context.
Some often point to the fact that Israel is a functioning democratic State, yet it is situated in the Middle and Near east. They forget that Israel was founded by Jews raised within the European Sphere, for at least the last 1000 years, and Jews from out-side the Middle/Near East are constantly immigrating to Israel – this gives Israel a different angle of approach.
And again, if I have said anything that is offending or insulting to Muslims or Islam – please tell me, because that was never my intention, and I did so unwittingly.”
Another Friend then commented:
“How does the tribal religion context mix in with violence? I do not see the absolute connection.”
Not Tribal RELIGION – Tribal CULTURE. I pointed out that Islam and Judaism are both Tribal Religions, because it was in Religion that TRIBE originated once upon a time. Most Societies have managed to transition from Tribal to National Culture often through significant adaptations of Religious Belief – the appearance of Islam is one such adaptation – not of the Quran, Torah or the Bible, but of Tribal Religion(s) indigenous to the Near and Middle East. If we “clean out” the religious aspect from the Prophet Muhammad, what we have is a political leader with a vision. A vision of all Arab tribes UNITED into ONE PEOPLE. The best way to unite and solidify a Society is through Religion – The Jews did it, The Egyptians did it…That is why I say that if we give Islam another 1500 years (at most) we will most likely see another Ottoman Empire as it was when it was at its high. Political evolution.
Tribal Culture and violence mix if you think of yourself as part of a Tribe that has to defend the tribal territory from competing tribes. If you look at any terror organization, you will see that they are all individually operating “cells.”
What holds the tribe together is either a common cause or a strong emotional common bond, if there are no such direct causes or emotional bonds, religion is a very strong replacement/connector.
The best analogy I can give is the gang-culture in most larger cities or the example of religious/political cults – William Golding actually describes this very well in Lord of the Flies – what is it that drive the boys in Lord of the Flies? Fear. Fear that is being used/manipulated by the one with either the most resources or the most genial ways of inflicting pain. Haim Harari suggests that the terror organizations’ low-rank members are being manipulated and used by leaders with genial ways of inflicting pain – what greater pain can there be than being ostracized from the only community you are being told you belong in? Or from G-d Himself?
We all know that Islam doesn’t prescribe FGM [Female Genital Mutilation] Yet it is basically only known to Islamic Countries in North and North Central Africa – and it is being enforced/taught to people using distortions of Islam, – why do you think that is? Because of Islam? No, because of a strong tribal culture. Women/girls who manage to escape undergoing FGM are without exception expelled/shunned in some way or other – because they, through no conforming to the customs of the “tribe,” have, in the eyes of the “tribe,” denounced the “tribe.” Humans are social beings, we will do pretty much anything to avoid being alone and on the out-side.
In most tribal societies, the one with the most resources, thankfully, is the one that acts as the Leader, so violence does not come into play unless there’s a competing tribe moving in on the territory.
Two small tribes may even work together for a short period to vanquish a larger tribe. When the goal is achieved the two small tribes will go their separate ways, only to next day be fighting each other again for the disputed hill-top or fishing water – or simply to achieve honor, either for the Tribe or for Head of the Tribe.
If the head of the tribe is G-d or something that replaces G-d, like strong emotions, such as anger, joy or grief, then you have a good incentive. This is true, especially if leaders of the tribe tell you that G-d expects you to die for the Tribe, preferably taking a couple of people from the other tribe with you as you exit from this world. Add to this, fiery rallies, giant meetings, demonstrations – those are nothing but replacements for spiritual experiences.
Just look at Germany during the Third Reich – ordinary, good, moral and ethical Germans were gathering en masse for the privilege to chant “Heil H-tler” and “Sieg Heil” and sing “Horst Wessel” – even those who did not believe in Nazism, who went to one or two of those rallies would find themselves chanting along, salute and all. What was Nazi Germany’s basic chant?
“Us, we the tribe, against them, the other Tribe”.
What was it Hitler used to drive that home? The Versailles Peace Treaty, a moment in history that most Germans thought of with feelings of being humiliated.
Guess what – the Arabs of the Near/Middle East have their own Versailles Peace treaty, only it was signed at Sevres 1920. Most came from that Peace Treaty feeling screwed, royally screwed. The anger many Arab Nations have towards the West is actually well based in history. When the Ottoman Empire fell, many Arabs felt that they had really, really lost something. They had lost what made them ARABS. Oh, they were still Arabs, and they were still Muslims, but their sense of self had been shattered.
Now, most went on, picking up the pieces, without much ado – but within the fabric of the Arab Nations in the Near and Middle East, there were those for whom there were no pieces to pick up, no alternative other than trying to either get it back or at least get even. Those were easy prey for the power hungry and the unscrupulous. What is it most of these Groups/Nations are saying they want? An Islamic/Muslim IDENTITY. They want to become ARABS again, as they were under Muhammad, and under Saladin the Great – and we are telling them, from their perspective that they can’t ever be allowed to be ARABS. No wonder they hate us.
Therefore, when someone comes along and tell these lost Arabs that he can give them this back, and more even, they grab it. Not all – as I said above, not all Arabs feel this way, but the ones with just a little too much hopelessness do. Along the way, I believe they have lost sense of what is really, really driving them. Now it has just become hatred aimed at the “Other Tribe.”
I wrote this in 2006. Now, eight years later, a radical Islamic group, ISIS/IS has emerged out of the Syrian civil war and the Arab spring, declaring an independent Islamic Caliphate.
“The jihadist insurgent group ISIS, or as it now prefers to be called, the Islamic State, appears well on the road to achieving its stated goal: the restoration of the caliphate. The concept, which refers to an Islamic state, presided over by a leader with both political and religious authority, dates from the various Muslim empires that followed the time of the Prophet Muhammad. From the seventh century onward, the caliph was, literally, his “successor.” (NY Times July 2 2014).
This group is a, as far as I can determine a direct descendant of Al-Qaida. Their purpose is not to wreck general havoc in the West. They are very open about wanting a re-establishment and restoration of what the Arabs lost in the Sevres. They do not want the Ottoman Empire. They want the sense of Arab identity they had under Saladin.
You and I can argue that they are crazy; that they have no idea what they have taken on, and so on. We might be right. We might be wrong. In the end, we will find that forcing democracy on others, or dictating to others what they should do, is a bad move. By consistently and relentlessly pushing our Western points of view and ways of doing things on the Arab world, we are not only painting ourselves into a corner that can only lead to more military ‘solutions’, we are forcing the Arab world to defend itself through military offense. We are literally causing the bloodshed we push our ways on others to avoid.
Posted by Henric C. Jensen on June 25, 2014
Every two or three days, I see an article or blog post or forwarded inspirational quote about beauty. It’s usually something affirming like
“You are beautiful, whether you know it or not.”
“We are all beautiful.”
“Everyone is beautiful to somebody.”
It’s cheerful stuff. It builds the self-esteem, makes people feel valued, and spreads joy and happiness across the internet.
It’s also bullshit.
And you know it’s bullshit, because you really wanted to laugh at that picture.
Everyone is not beautiful. Some people have tumors the size of a second head growing out of their ears. Some people have skin like the Michelin man. Some people lose fingers, legs, or eyes in horrific assembly-line machine accidents. People have warts and blemishes and hair loss and dead teeth and lazy eyes and cleft palates and third nipples and unibrows.
There are plenty of people that are not physically appealing to look at, the…
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Posted by Henric C. Jensen on January 2, 2011
i wrote this in response to a conversation i had this morning with someone who, by my choice, is no longer on my friendslist.
i have tried for 47 years to grow a thicker skin. if i could grow a thicker skin i would have the skin of an elephant by now. i don’t. and it’s not my failing. it’s because of how my neurons are set up. i am not oversensitive, i am hypersensitive.
i shouldn’t need to feel ashamed of this. i shouldn’t have to feel that there’s something wrong with me because i don’t function like ‘normal’ people do.
i shouldn’t have to feel that telling people that I am hypersensitive (to give them fair warning) and that i expect people to consider this when interacting with me, is wrong.
i can learn how to respond to stuff – outwardly, yes, and i have, i still am, but i cannot be cured of this hypersensitivity.
people who are blind are not told to ‘learn how to see’. people who are missing their legs are not told to ‘stop whining about needing a wheelchair and learn how to walk’. so why am i being told that i need to ‘learn to be neurotypical’?
adhd is not a mental illness or a character trait that can be cured with medicines and therapy or hard personal work. it’s a physical, neurological disability.
for years i have been bashed, beaten and berated for being ‘too much’, ‘too sensitive’, ‘too honest’, ‘too open’, ‘too this and too that’, i have even been bullied for being ‘too intelligent’.
i have lost what i thought were friends, because of my neurological differentness. at the moment i have no friends in real life because of my neurodifferentness. and the number of friends that will accept me as I am, on-line is dwindling. right now i have 6 people whom i trust enough to call REAL friends. the other 40 on my list are nice people, but I don’t trust them – incidentally 4 of the 6 are also neurodifferent.
all i want is for people to accept me as i am, not as they wish i was or under some condition that i might change in the future. because it’s not going to happen.
i have a good heart, a strong and big heart, i am funny and goofy and kind and intelligent, and i should be appreciated for this. not berated and bashed because along with those good traits comes a sensitivity that some times makes me hurt in ways and places that others might not hurt in. no, you cannot anticipate those ways and places – even i cannot do that. what i can do it say that i read things a lot more literal than neurotypicals. and even if i can steer my thinking afterwards to a less literal reading, the damage has already been done, and i hurt in ways and places other might not.
one of the positives with adhd (i think) is that i am quick to forgive once the hurt has been heard. but those of you who know me also know this.
Posted by Henric C. Jensen on November 5, 2010
“Here’s what happened from my point of view:”
This point of view, this collection of thoughts, I do not care for.
Here’s what’s true for me Dov. I know that I am. This much I know for sure. I know that I exist. The day this woke up within me is one of the happiest days of my life. As far as ‘I’ am concerned, ‘I’ have awareness, beingness, a soul or energy body, a mental body, an emotional body, a personality and a physical body. I know that I have all these things; but ‘I’ see myself expressing through these various aspects of mind, heart, soul, spirit, movement, physicality and personality. What’s funny to me, maybe more to me than most, is that nearly every personality I’ve ever met, including my own, is fucking weird. This filter of personality is bizarre because each personality is its own little world living apart and separate from all other worlds. Personalities never come together, they never join. Sure, they can relate, but only from a very narrow perspective. And because they cannot truly join, life from the perspective of the personality is lonely and fearful. Dov, if I have offended your personality, I do not care. I have no love for personalities.
I don’t think I have ever seen a mail or PM that so profoundly and thoroughly invalidates and nullifies the receiver so quickly, already in it’s second line.
“I give a rat’s hairy ass about your point of view, because you are nothing but a ‘filter’ to me!” Well, I’ll give this guy credit for being blunt and bare-knuckled in his approach.
On the other hand, I do love your heart, your soul and your spirit. I love these dearly. I love these immensely.
I am sure you do. It costs nothing. Loving what you define as ‘me’ is easy, because it lets you be in control of what ‘me’ to ‘love’. You can create and pick such parts of your creation that please your sensibilities, and remove the rest and then tell yourself that you love ‘me’. In reality what you claim to love has nothing to do with me, simply because my heart, soul and spirit are what makes up my personality, my characteristics, my being. Without my personality my heart, soul and spirit would have no expression.
But I suppose that is what you think it should all be. Integral Spirituality.
“If I believe you are me and I am you, and I cannot see where you begin and I end and you are my beginning and I am your ending, then I am never alone, and all is well. Nothing I do or say is ever me, because it’s really you, and nothing you do or say is ever you, because it’s really me, but since you are me and I am you, neither of us are responsible for anything, and neither of us will ever need to reach out to the other. We never have to reach out either to ask for help and support or to offer help and support. We don’t have to care anymore, about anything or anyone. Ultimate Selfishness disguised as Ultimate Spirituality.”
Heart, soul, spirit – that in which you feel we are the same, that is what you say you love. That which separates, that which makes you and me unique individuals, that you don’t care for. You love your own reflection in me, yourself in me, not me in me – that is nothing but worthless chaff to you.
Oh, brother Narkissos…
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
Posted by Henric C. Jensen on October 29, 2010
I am an artist. I use my personal experience in my art. Some times that means using images of ‘nudity’. As in this image:
Beneath The Skin
It’s a composite of a portrait of me and a strongly demurred and obscured nude female torso – it depicts a piece of my personal history –
I am being told that I have to remove this image from a Social Community Site because it contains ‘nudity’.
I live in Europe. In Europe ‘nudity’ is being considered in context – i.e the question of what is the purpose of the ‘nudity’ is taken into consideration before it’s deemed ‘inappropriate’ for public consumption. In the US any depiction of nudity, regardless of context or intention, is seen as pornographic, lewd, indecent and therefore immoral. Even if it’s clearly artistic or educational.
The USonians, influenced by Fundamentalist Xian Imperialism and values dating back to the Puritan Immigrants’ values of the 17th century, are so afraid that their children will become promiscuous and sexually depraved by seeing normal human anatomy and physical reality, that they actually demand that the entire world be censored to conform to their fears.
At the same time the US is the country that ‘gave’ the world MTV – where there is a lot more ‘nudity’, and sexually explicit images being cabled out than in the image I am being told to remove. The US is also the single Western country where sex education in schools are ‘forbidden’ – yet where teen pregnancies are such a huge problem, because of this single fact.
Smell the hypocrisy, my friends!
Compare my artwork to this artist’s work – Jody Scheisser – who is doing ‘fine artistic photography’ depicting nudity in a far more ‘explicit’ manner than I have ever published. Or compare to some of the most praised classical artists, such as Agnolo Bronzino’s Venus, Cupide and the Time (Allegory of Lust) – and this we ALL call fine art, and wouldn’t censor, wouldn’t deem ‘immoral’ or ‘inappropriate’ – even if we might not like it or think appropriate for prepubescent children to watch. Yet my single piece of art is deemed ‘inappropriate’ and judged as nudity, although one can hardly discern the forms or the details of the ‘nude female torso’! And that in a site that says that:
“The Ning Platform is not directed to children younger than 13 and is offered only to users 13 years of age or older.” (From the Ning TOS)
So the censoring of my art, by Ning (through the Gaia Community), is an extension of the hypocrisy of USonian society, based on the values of Fundamentalist and Puritan values of a small group of 17th century immigrants seeking freedom from oppression – a freedom they would now, through their 21st century descendants, deny me – despite my art being in no way offensive or sexually explicit in comparison to both classical and modern artists’ work.
When I attempted to post this entry to the Gaia Network, I found that the image above had been removed by the Gaia Ning Team without any response to either personal messages about this or comments in a thread designated for the matter of ‘nudity’ in images, I see no other recourse than to delete any all my art from the Gaia Network, and leave the Network entirely, including all groups.
I can only assume that this was the Gaia Team’s intention from the onset of this sad affair.