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Cliff Thies: Three Faces for the Future of the Middle East… we Hope


“Oh how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together.” – Psalm 133

by Clifford F. Thies

The mosque at ground zero controversy gives us quite possibly a great opportunity to advance freedom in the world by dedicating ourselves to reciprocity. What we hope and pray for is respect for the religious freedom of Muslims, both Americans and visitors, in this country, in return for respect for the religious freedom of non-Muslims in Muslim countries. “

Dr. Thies highlights three extraordinary souls: Corporal Elinor Joseph of the Israeli Defense Force; Houda Nonoo, the Ambassador of Bahrain to the United States; and Ishmael Khaldi, a Muslim and a Bedouin, and the first Muslim to rise to the rank of Consul in Israel’s foreign service, being recently posted to San Francisco.

Beautiful examples of the idea that if you seek Peace, seek first Liberty.

UPDATE: The Right Stuff has related thoughts… If a new mosque in NYC is the paragon of tolerance, then “How about opening up the cities of Mecca and Medina to us ‘infidels’ (as we non-muslims are called)?”

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 2010/08/13 01:11

    Great minds think alike. lol Before coming over here, I had just posted something similar. Great thinking, Cliff!!!! 😀

  2. Mrs. Kissell permalink
    2010/08/13 04:05

    Ran, this post presents an opportunity to inquire a matter that has been on my mind more than once, and no doubt has been answer sought from you before, perhaps frequently. To wit: you are an educated man so you know that the Latin adage is Si vis pacem, para bellum, therefore why have you changed it to Si vis pacem, primo libertas vis?

    I ask this not as a challenge or pedagogical trap but simply as a point of my personal interest.

    Beyond that, the post itself intrigues me and somewhat begs ratiocinations of Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (Act II Scene 1):

    “It is the bright day that brings forth the adder
    And that craves wary walking.”

    Just so. These words came to me today, a bright, sunny day in this customarily overcast area of our nation (like Glenn Gould, my favorite color is Battleship Gray, although our home, by my insistence, is painted Italianate, including all walls and ceilings), as I was cleaning and refilling the low-lying water container we maintain for wild animals (a daily task since they not only drink but also bathe in it).

    Danger arises when circumstances are salutary. Evil is summoned by the presence of good. Being is opposed by non-being (the reality indicated by the mis-named “Doctrine of Original Sin”). Good times are more dangerous, actually, than bad. Hardship is less dangerous than ease (e.g., obesity, non-movement). The poor live longer than the rich, who eat bad food and pursue deleterious impulses. One could argue that America has declined in direct proportion as her people are pampered not poor. I was more content when poor than I am affluent (well, semi-affluent by modern standards, considering I’m retired and a kept person).

    Viewing this phenomenon, St. Paul asks rhetorically if, therefore, we should sin (be poor, etc.) the more that Grace may abound. Of course he answers in the negative, which is correct.

    Still, it occasions head-scratching. Have the people of God — Americans — gotten above themselves and need this captivity of their own making to bring them to their senses?

    I don’t know, Ran, I’m not God, of course. But when things are this bad — and there are no words to describe how fully bad they are — the thought presses that Providence has a hand in it, actually THE hand in it. Jeremiah famously told the Hebrews to go peaceably into exile and that God would look out for them and prosper them, even in the land of their enemy, a vicious conqueror (whose historical presence was foreshortened below their intentions, thankfully).

    This is merely a thought. I intend no more for it than that. Certainly I am not proposing a program — the program is being set by the enemy — much less offering myself as a prophet. It’s a thought, that is all. Rumination is what I have in mind, even commend, not action and certainly not conclusion.

    • 2010/08/13 14:24

      Danger arises when circumstances are salutary. Evil is summoned by the presence of good.” The bitter paradox of the serpent in Eden, of all places… 2001, a beautiful cool, clear day in September, not a cloud in the sky over Manhattan, taking the kids to school and lining-up at the local elections pols…

      Thanks Mrs. K. Do you have your own website?

      Si vis pacem, para bellum. (Forgive, please, the first-principles run-through… I’m working this out for the first time. I’m more of a right-brained pattern recognition sort than a linear thinker. I envy the Hayeks and the Davis Hansons of the world!)

      The Romans were not all of them drunk fools. That weakness was provocative, that a clear display of strength and readiness would hold enemies at bay, they knew all too well. War, in those days, was up-close and personal. It was total: War made no convenient distinction between “combatants” and “civilians.” The principle stands today as much on a national scale as the individual.

      seek first Liberty. The thing about reading ‘ancient’ texts such as the five Books of Moses and, say, the Iliad, is how eyebrow-raisingly ‘modern’ they are. Human nature hasn’t changed much, if at all.

      Israel’s experience in Egypt was not, at first, unlike Eden. Yet in one generation they devolved “under a new king” from favored guests into slaves. They were unarmed, of course. The State took care of the Peace. Then Pharaoh declared the Hebrews’ male children should be murdered.

      The precondition for self-defense and it’s preparation is freedom. Most peoples around the globe live under benign governments, but few of them enjoy much in the way of self-reliance or self-protection. They are completely vulnerable to the New Pharaoh and his 4 a.m. door-burst. Likewise the precondition for freedom is the capacity to defend it. I’m thinking of small towns in the South arming against the KKK, I’m thinking of the Warsaw Ghetto.

      There is no para bellum without Libertas. I’ve employed a little poetic license to make the point.

  3. 2010/08/14 00:37

    The very fact that Muslims have been and are welcomed into the United States to live beside us, even as we understand that we are nothing more than a infidel to them, shows the hope this country has for their religious freedom. The fact is, Muslims will have no religious freedom unless they leave Islam.

    Much as we have our religions and our Republic, they have their government as devised by their religion.

    There is no way we can ascertain what the Ground Zero Mosque will turn into, but we can cast an educated guess, and probably be right. We say – move it farther away from Ground Zero – but, really even that is short-sighted. Perhaps it is time to say enough with the mosques.

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