Category Archives: Zeitgeist

Beards and Zeitgeist: Leftist Beards, Zayed Beards, Islamist Fuzz, Lice and Orangutan……….

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It seems that the fate of the facial hair we call the “beard” is often tied to the political atmosphere of the period. Part of the Zeitgeist.
Decades ago, a young man with a beard in the Americas or in Europe was considered a radical, a suspected follower or admirer of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, (or even Dobie Gillis and Bob Denver). In fascist-ruled places like Chile, Argentina, and Greece they were thrown into prison or just disappeared on suspicion of radicalism or impiety or non-conformity. In some West European airports, bearded youth were often questioned more carefully. That was then, long before the world ever heard of Radical Islam.
At the same time, in Saudi Arabia any man who was ambitious grew a goatee beard (like the one Bob Denver and Dobie Gillis sported). From the king on down, they all flaunted the goatee (some Arabs called it saksooka). But that beard was not a radical political statement: just a show of solidarity with the eternal Saudi conformity rules.

FYI: I suspect that “goatee” drives from “goat“, which means these guys admired something about their goats. Maybe just the looks.

Then two events happened in 1979 that altered the history and shape of the beard for a generation to come:
First: the Afghan war erupted, with the Western secular governments and Arab Wahhabis aligned with the reactionary Afghan tribes against the God-less Communists. That war created a whole new generation of Islamic guerrillas. Al Qaeda started in Afghanistan, with Saudi money and Arab volunteers and American (Reagan) weapons. We can also say that it was the genesis of the Taliban and ISIS and Al Nusra and other cutthroat groups. The first Afghan war gave us the shaggy unruly lice-infested Wahhabi beard so loved by our Persian Gulf Salafists. One more complication: many Salafi elders, to show that they are among the top elite, tend to die their beards, often a bright red (Orangutan) color, as rusty as their brains. Maybe it is to appeal to their wives. A few let them let it go gray.
Second: the Iranian Revolution succeeded in February 1979. Mullahs with shaggy beards and heir followers with trimmed beards took over in Tehran, replacing the clean shaven men of the Shah, King of Kings, Light of the Aryans, etc, etc. An Iranian form of conformity has spread since then: all men of importance in the regime sport a short beard. Not the shaggy lice-inviting type the Salafis have, but a more trimmed grizzly beard. Long enough to be noticeable but too short to invite the lice or particles of food.

Other Muslim countries have their own variation of these two extremes of beards. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) many influential officials now sport the trimmed neat Zayed-Brothers beard. So named after the seven or dozen (or more) brothers who own Abu Dhabi and rule the UAE. In Egypt a beard is okay if it is the shaggy lice-inviting type, for it indicates the man is an ordinary Salafist who can be bought and not a Muslim Brother. In Syria, well, no matter what kind of beard you have in Syria, it can get you killed, or worse, by any group of armed Jihadis, liberators, invited foreign guests, un-invited foreign guests, cutthroats, or just plain regime forces. You can also get bombed by Syrians, Russians, Americans, British, or Israelis.
Who was it who said: “Hands Off Syria“?

So, in any struggle in our Middle East region today, even in my native Gulf region, you need to scrutinize the beard carefully. You also need to understand the nuances and differences between the various kinds of beards and if they are dyed and what color. Your career, fortune, and life could depend on it.

Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

New Muslim Zeitgeist: Iraq and Saudi Arabia Wage a Sectarian War………

      


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لماذا يموت العراقي حتى يؤدي الرسالة؟؟ 

و أهل الصحارى سكارى وما هم بسكارى ؟؟ 

يحبون قنص الطيور ولحم الغزال ولحم الحبارى !! 

لماذا يموت العراقي والآخرون يغنون هندا ويستعطفون نوارا ؟؟ 

 

“Iraqi government on Tuesday accused Saudi Arabia of financing terrorism committed by Takfiri insurgents of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, a day after Riyadh blamed “sectarian” policies by Baghdad. Comments from Riyadh indicates it is “siding with terrorism”, the cabinet said in a statement issued by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s office.
“We strongly condemn this stance,” the statement read. “We hold it (Saudi Arabia) responsible for what these groups are receiving in terms of financial and moral support.”
“The Saudi government should be held responsible for the dangerous crimes committed by these terrorist groups,” the statement continued. Earlier on Monday, Saudi Arabia and Qatar blamed “sectarian” policies by Iraq’s government for the unrest that has swept the country………………”

That came one day after Saudi media quoted King Abdullah, from an undisclosed location in Morocco, ordering his cabinet to call Iraq ‘sectarian’, and demand they change their sectarian policies of the past few years. No doubt Iraq has become much more sectarian over the past ten years, but I have three points about that:


  • Now we are all sectarians, from Shi’a-dominated Iraq to Wahhabi-dominated Saudi Arabia to military-dominated Egypt. Even places like Morocco that can’t tell a Shi’a from a plate of coucous are going sectarian. That is an unfortunate spirit of our time, our Zeitgeist. In the sense that we are now all so aware of each other’s sect and wary of it. So aware and wary that it affects our behavior and our opinions on regional issues. It even affects how we respond to politics in our blog comments (take my blogs for example).

  • Nobody is as responsible for the worsening of sectarianism in our region, and inside Iraq and Syria and the rest of the Gulf, as the Saudi princes and their media and their policies. That is why they have spent billions of acquiring Arab media outlets, which they dominate now. That is how they keep the allegiance of their (Wahhabi) people, by raising the specter of a Shi’a threat. That is why they keep and pamper their palace clerics: they come in very handy in issuing appropriate fatwas.

  • There is sectarianism in Iraq, but it pales compared to sectarianism in Saudi Arabia. Iraq is not nearly as sectarian as Saudi Arabia where it is institutionalized in the bureaucracy and in the theocracy. At least all Iraqi sects get to vote in elections: nobody except the princes in their palaces gets to vote in Saudi Arabia. Besides, the percentage of Shi’as (among citizens) in the Kingdom Without Magic is close to the percentage of (Arab) Sunnis in Iraq, yet there is no minister, deputy minister, or even a deputy to an assistant to a deputy minister (possibly not even a proverbial official dog-catcher) who is Shi’a in the kingdom.



Cheers
mhg

m.h.ghuloum@gmail.com