Sometimes A Picture Really Is Worth A Thousand Words
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Jihad Watch : Look at this photo showing the backs of seated dignitaries waiting
for Trump to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport.
You may remember — it was
last week, after all — the photos of Trump and Company being welcomed on
the tarmac at Riyadh. The welcoming party was a very limited group of
people: all of them males, all of them Muslims, all of them Sunnis, all
of them Arabs, all of them very rich indeed, and many of them,
unsurprisingly, members of the very same family. There was one odd man
out, an odd man out precisely because, you see, she wasn’t a man but a
woman, a foreign photographer, snapping away both for ephemeral posts
and for posterity.
The rest of the visit offered the same narrow range of dramatis
personae. The audience for Trump’s speech consisted only of Muslims,
that is, of Sunni Muslims, and almost entirely of male Sunni Muslims,
that is, of male Sunni Muslims who were either despots themselves, or
representatives of despots. I did make out one, possibly two, females in
the audience — either despots themselves, or representatives of a
despot. To sum that audience up: no females (unless the head of a Muslim
state, or his deputy), no Christians, no Jews, no Hindus, no Shi’a, no
atheists, no democrats (in the Periclean not Clintonian sense).
Then there was the Ardah Sword Dance outside the Murabba Palace.
Small Wilbur Ross, tall Rex Tillerson, and very briefly, Trump himself,
all tried their hand at the ceremonial ardah dance, traditionally
performed before battle, a symbolic celebration of male martial prowess,
but now performed on all sorts of occasions. (“Available for weddings,
but not yet bar mitzvahs,” as a future skit on Saturday Night Live will
have it). They linked arms with their Saudi hosts, and briefly moved
their swords out toward the floor, then up, at a 90-degree angle to the
floor, and again, all the while swaying slightly.
Their Saudi hosts,
including King Salman, were bemused. As at the airport, the Americans
found themselves in a sea of Sunni Muslim males, many of them members of
the ruling family, the Al-Saud. But what else would one expect in a
country named after the Wahhabi founding family, “Saudi” Arabia? And in
any case, the Dance of the Sword isn’t what frightens us about the
Saudis and their coreligionists — it’s the Verse of the Sword. As for
the American guests and their eager-to-please hosts — all that glitters
in the kingdom, it turns out, is gold, and a good and lavish and
over-the-top time was had by all.
After all, the Saudis have only one
request to make of the Americans right now. All the Saudis want is for
the Americans to keep those Rafidite dogs in Tehran on a short leash.
Even the real “solution” to the permanent problem of Israel — not its
size, but its existence — the Saudis are now willing to postpone for a
later date, an attitude that President Trump and others have
misinterpreted as a Sunni Arab “readiness for peace.” And what will the
United States get in return for dealing with Iran? Well, spending
hundreds of billions on arms from the Americans is the best way the
Saudis have to show their appreciation, and they’ve already started to
I was prompted to muse on these matters when I saw the photographs of
those awaiting Trump at the tarmac in Tel Aviv and compared them with
what had just happened in Saudi Arabia. The Israeli soldiers at the
airport included machine-gun-toting girls. This was Israel, after all,
where, since 1949, military service has been mandatory for both sexes.
Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, women cannot drive, and cannot travel
abroad, and are not supposed to even leave the house alone, without a
male relative’s permission. And even the time spent by a woman with male
fellow workers is deliberately limited. The religious police, the
mutawwa, are everywhere present to insure that the Shari’a is observed.