Heart of Darkness

Who Cares About the Middle East?

August 22, 2011

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Who Cares About the Middle East?

While reading yet another headline about, oh, I don’t know, a wayward dromedary whose scrotum was implanted with a cell-phone-triggered incendiary device designed to blow up a VW minibus filled with sorghum-harvesting kibbutz workers, it hit me like a suicide bomb:

I don’t care.

It’s not that I’ve ever cared about the Middle East—it’s that I’ve finally realized I don’t care. How much don’t I care? A whole lot. There’s almost an intensity to my not caring. A ferocity, if you will.

I know I’m supposed to care about the Middle East. And I know that if I don’t care, I’m supposed to feel guilty, but I can’t even manage that much. I can’t even feel bad about not feeling bad—that’s how much I don’t feel bad. Should I feel bad about that? I don’t care. I’m sorry for that. Actually, no—I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry at all.

Who cares about the Middle East?

Not I.

OK, I care enough to tell you that I don’t care, but that much and no more.

AIPAC wants me to care. CAIR wants me to care. But I don’t.

Does the Middle East care about me? Not bloody likely! But I don’t expect it to care. That’s the difference between me and the Middle East.

In the simplest terms, the modern Middle East can be split into two distinct and perpetually hostile sides: Israel and the rest. Israel’s population is said to be inbred; then again, so is the rest’s.

“AIPAC wants me to care. CAIR wants me to care. But I don’t.”

In geopolitical terms, both sides are guilty of human-rights abuses. Regardless, our last president wore Israel’s silly hat and held hands with the Saudi king. Our current president wore Israel’s silly hat and bowed before the Saudi king. And I get a strong sense that neither president ever gave an Arabian fig about me.

In personal terms, I’m considered a gentile to one side and a kafir to the other. In other words, both sides consider me to be the “other.” Yet if I dare mention it, one side will call me an anti-Semite and the other will dub me an Islamophobe. Both terms are unabashedly dishonest. One term presumes that Semites could never possibly do anything that might lead to anti-Semitism, while the other assumes that Muslims are never scary enough to induce Islamophobia. (Let’s leave the discussion of what exactly constitutes a “Semite” for another day.)

Still, Americans are expected to care about the Middle East for reasons that are both pragmatic and ideological.

In pragmatic terms, there’s the dirty matter of crude oil. The West, for all its glossolalia and gibberish about freedom, is economically enslaved to the vast reserves of black gold bubblin’ beneath the Middle East’s burnished sands. For the time being at least, Middle Eastern oil lubes the West’s pistons, a fact that’s amusing to them and embarrassing to us.

It’s been postulated that over the past decade, it would have cost around $1.3 trillion—roughly the same amount that’s already been frittered away to fight those useless foreign wars—for America to ditch the oil addiction and switch to nuclear power.


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