Heart of Darkness

Who Cares About the Middle East?

August 22, 2011

Multiple Pages
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.

If it means we can get the frick out of the Middle East, I’d happily support any form of alternative energy, especially if we can find an alternative to the word “alternative.” Let’s harness the sun, water, and wind. Let’s harness Al Gore and Michael Moore’s flatulence. Let’s construct slave-labor camps where whiny progressive urban bicyclists generate electricity via 24-hour forced pedaling at the crack of a whip. I say we put our full energy into deriving none of our energy from the Middle East.

Ideologically, there’s the persistently harebrained idea that the Middle East—those parched lands on which all this cousin-fucking and brother-killing has occurred seemingly uninterrupted since antiquity—is somehow holy. For 1,500 years, the Jews, Christians, and Muslims have been the Three Stooges using their warped concepts of the One True God to play a game of “Who’s your daddy?” against one another. But since the Promised Land makes no promises to me, I feel zero obligation toward it. And in the grander scheme, maybe it’s not the best idea to formulate modern foreign policy based on ancient prophecies from hallucinating goat-shtuppers. Otherwise, we may provoke Armageddon merely by being stupid enough to believe in it.

But before that happens, allow me to step in and try to initiate my own Mideast peace process.

To my Arab and Muslim friends in the Middle East, especially the ones who aren’t clit-slicing camel-fisters, I say, salaam. Although I can’t honestly claim I enjoy the taste of hummus, I acknowledge that the United States’ behavior in the Middle East has been despicable. My government’s definition of what constitutes a corrupt, anti-democratic regime is inconsistent, or it would have bombed Saudi Arabia into glass years ago. America once supported Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan’s war against the Russkis but wound up killing him. It supported Saddam Hussein in Iraq’s war against Iran and even told him it was none of our business if he invaded Kuwait. But when he invaded Kuwait, America waged war against him. Under the pretense of WMDs that were never found, America invaded Iraq again and eventually killed Hussein, too. My only defense is that I’ve never successfully elected any American politicians and therefore don’t consider myself the least bit responsible for their decisions, so please don’t bomb me or my family. But as a heartfelt expression that I feel what my government did was wrong, I’d like to give you back all your Muslims.

To my Jewish/Israeli/Hebraic/Ashkenazi/Sephardic friends in the Middle East, I say, shalom. Considering your tiny numbers, it’s astounding what you’ve been able to accomplish throughout history. I admire the world’s practicing Jews as well as the ones who’ve stopped practicing and have gone professional. I’m still not sure whether your peeps comprise a race or a religion, so I don’t know whether your territorial claim to Israel is a matter of “blood and soil” or “soul and soil.” Either way, I gotta tell ya—although Israel’s reestablishment in the Middle East may seem heroic and divinely sanctioned to you, I think your presence there is a really bad idea. Considering what happened in WWII, a screenwriter couldn’t have scripted a better scenario for a sequel than placing Jews smack-dab in a vast area surrounded by hundreds of millions of locals whose holy book talks major smack about Jews. I can’t envision any possible peaceful resolution to your presence there. Helen Thomas got in trouble for suggesting you should all “go home” to Poland and Germany, which was stupid—at least the Poland and Germany part. But how about New Jersey? I’ll even throw in Delaware—no one cares about Delaware. You can have all of Nebraska. Or the entire Mojave Desert. I’m not sure that God really cares where you live. But for your own safety and to avert an imminent WWIII, I’d suggest you get the hell out of the Middle East pronto.

If neither side sees fit to agree to my generous terms, I wash my hands of the whole matter. Let them eat sand. Let them blow each other to bits. Go ahead and cry me a Nile. Fill up the Dead Sea with your tears. I can’t muster two teardrops to rub together over your plight. I don’t have a dog, nor a pony, nor a false god in this fight. I’m not my brother’s keeper, especially when it ain’t my brother. America has 99 problems, but the Middle East ain’t one.

 

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