Money can buy everything, except civilization.Â
by Hugh Fitzgerald
Very amusing to hear, on the BBC, an interview with Prince Walid Bin Talal, the best-knownof the tens of thousands of Al-Saud princes, princelings, and princelettes, The interview was occasioned by the opening of the Islamic galleries at the Louvre, which has learned the American museum-director’s art of fundraising, and among the Gulf Arabs who contributed to this attempt to burnish the image of Islam (that image having suffered because of the hysteria and hate, and sheer craziness, displayed and deployed by so many Muslims, in so many places, over such a long period of time, against so many different kinds of non-Muslims), a version of — toÂ borrow a theme from Chinese art –Â bapo, orÂ the “Eight Brokens/”
Money can buy everything, except civilization.Â
That was how a Franco-Armenian architect who had spent time in Saudi Arabia “building military cities,” and had seen with his own eyes the re-painting of American tanks, to be delivered to Saddam Hussein for use against the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War, summed up Saudi Arabia.
And it goes, too, for Qatar, Kuwait, the Emirates, all of them awash in unmerited, undeserved hundreds of billions, and all trying to construct or re-construct or repair their own image, and that of Islam. The waddling emir of Qatar, one of the Al-Thani family, has the Qatar Foundation that has ads everywhere, on television, at airports, everywhere — to make sure that the mere repetition of a soothing something — a palm tree? I forget –will reassure everyone about the wonderfulness of Qatar. And of course we will also be led to overlookÂ the factÂ Qatar’s hundreds of billions are mainlyÂ used to support 200,000 spoiled-to-death Qataris, waited on hand and foot by 1.6 million foreigners, many of them miserably treated, and the Al-Thani family too, which has been buying up 17th and 18th century mansions in France, and a great many luxury-goods companies, as befits the family, as well.
And then there are the Emirates, with their airline, and that airline’s tee-shirts that are given out everywhere, to advertise “The Emirates” and not merely the airline. They’re all over the place, pretending to be a place not of the 1% of the 1% of the 1%, not mere cities on stilts, where no native has to work, and a class of foreign wage-slaves and slave-laborers does everything, and the money keeps rolling in, the result not of anything other than an accident of geology.
But where was I? Oh yes, Prince Talal. He was asked by the interviewer (who pronounced “laicite” as lay-sitty) about the French ban on the full niqab. He found nothing to object to, he said, surprising the interviewer (Razia Iqbal?), because such clothing strictures “had nothing to do with Islam.” The obvious question, then, was why in Saudi Arabia, Prince Walid ibn Talal’s country, women are required to be completely covered, with only an eyelet through which to see and be seen. But the probing interviewer did not bother to ask.
Prince Talal thought the exhibit was fine, great, because it would show “the peaceful” image of Islam, the impressive, true, real face of Islam, presumably through the eyelet of art.
But what is this Islamic art? It’s mostly calligraphy, ceramics, Iznik tiles and tulips, the usual stuff. No painjtings of people, save for some Mughal miniatures which violate the Islamic prohibition against depicting human figures, though perhaps the figures were considered exempt as being taken from stories, mythologies about fabulous kings, or Laila and Majnoon. Not all of it is Islamic either, because some of what is on display was produced by those who, though not Muslims, were used to using Arabic, and did so, and there is, in these various galleries of soi-disant “Islamic” art springing up everywhere, plenty of stuff by Christian and Jewish artisans. When I saw, a few years ago, at the Art Institute of Chicago, what is reputed to be the finest collection of “Islamic” ceramics in the world, I saw a charger with the Christian fish-symbol. But there was no reference to this in the accompanying text, nor in the catalogue that accompanied the exhibition.
Prince Talal thinks, and the other rich Arabs behind these new “Islamic Art” wings no doubt think, that the viewers will not stop to ask: But how pitifully limited Islamic art turns out to be, with no paintings of people, and no statues,and no religious art at all — take away statues, take away paintings with people in them, take away art with a religious — Old or New Testament — theme, and what would be left in the rich galleries of Western art? He thinks no one will stop to compare Arabic calligraphy with the much more sophisticated and developed calligraphy of the East, especially of China, where calligraphy has always been regarded as the supreme form of artistic expression.
And another thing Prince Talal and the various Al-Thani, Al-Maktoum, Al-Sabah, Al-Thisses and Al-Thats, not to mention the Olayan Foundation, and various Arab wheeler-dealers and sellers of influence and fixers and arms-deal middlemen, will hope that visitors to these art galleries will not ask themselves is: but what about all the art that existed, in those lands taken over by the Muslims — the Christian, Buddhist, Hindu art, the temples, the stupas, the statutes, the churches, the frescoes, the paintings on wood and on canvas, the everything — destroyed, quickly or, in some cases, as with the Bamiyan Buddhas, waiting for the technology of destruction to catch up with the Muslim desire to destroy,Â by those Muslim invaders and conquerors who have destroyed so much of the world’s art, and would destroy a lot more were they ever, through demogrpahic conquest, to take over parts of Europe.
That’s what you shouldn’t forget, as you visit, and ooh and possibly aah, over the displays of “Islamic art,” kept safe in, organized in, Western museums, and put on display in exhibits that are almost,entirely the work of Western curators and connoisseurs, exhibits that show examples of the handful of ways of artistic expression available to Muslims
And remind others of the same. Mustn’t let Prince Talal and his associates continue to pull the wool, shoot the bull, do whatever it is they keep doing unless the well-prepared (which does not include that BBC interviewer) take them to task, rake them over the coals, make them ‘fess up. .
Islam’s Universal Economic Failure
Posted ByÂ Daniel GreenfieldÂ On August 1, 2012 Â InÂ Daily Mailer,FrontPageÂ Â Comments
If Romney accomplished nothing else during his Israeli visit, he did manage to offend every single Palestinian Arab terrorist group, all of whom, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and the DFLP, issued press releases denouncing him. American media outlets have been denouncing him for saying that the GDP Per Capita differences between Israel and the Palestinian Authority represent a contrast in values.
The official media narrative is that these differences are the results of oppression, checkpoints and blockades. But then why does the IMF put Israel’s GDP Per Capita well ahead of the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia has no Israeli checkpoints, no Israeli soldiers or planes flying overhead. It has wealth literally pouring out of the ground with a fifth of the world’s petroleum reserves. And yet the IMF puts it 13 places behind Israel and the World Bank puts it 8 places behind Israel. The only Muslim countries with a better GDP Per Capita than Israel are small monarchies drowning in oil.
The non-oil Muslim countries who are closest to Israel are Malaysia and Lebanon, 32 and 33 places behind Israel. Both countries also have sizable non-Muslim populations. Muslims make up only 50 percent of Lebanon and only 60 percent of Malaysia. No Muslim country without oil has a better GDP Per Capita than a Muslim country with sizable Christian or Buddhist minorities.
What Romney didn’t mention, but should have, is that the Palestinian Authority dealt yet another blow to its economy when it drove out the Christian population.Â Christians in the territories have traditionally made the best businessmen and the capital of the Palestinian Authority was actually started by Jordanian Christian refugees escaping Muslim persecution.
Israel has 1.2 Muslims inside the Green Line who account for 52 percent of its social benefits. Israel’s nationalÂ unemployment rate is 5.6 percent. The Arab unemployment rate is 27 percent. Only 59 percent of Muslim men and only 19 percent of Muslim women are officially part of the workforce.Â That’s compared to 56 percent of Jewish women and 52 percent of Christian women.
The average Israeli family has double the monthly income of the average Arab family. Half the Arab sector officially lives in poverty. The Israeli Jewish GDP is nearly three times higher than the Arab-Israeli GDP.
This could be blamed on the usual scapegoat of racism, but the Israeli Arab GDP of $6,750 is actually better than the $5,900 GDP in neighboring Jordan, the $6,540 GDP in Egypt and the $5,041 GDP in Syria. This is the same range in which most non-oil Arab Muslim states are grouped and it is clear that there is no escaping it without a big petroleum reserve. Or like Lebanon with its $15,523 GDP, a whole lot of Christians to actually work for a living.
Again culture is the determinant. Israel within the Green Line only has about 150,000 Christians and about as many Druze, and both groups perform better economically. Christian Arabs have a higher employment rate and a better rate of higher education than Muslims.
Apart from that official 1.2 million, Israel is also responsible for the 4 million in the Palestinian Authority (some of whom overlap with that 1.2 million and some of whom are imaginary and exist only to collect benefits from international agencies) who are still Israel’s responsibility, according to them and to the world, even though they also continue insisting that they want their own state.
The reason why the GDP in Palestinian areas is so terrible is because its inhabitants live in a giant welfare state. Palestinian Arabs were already receiving 725 dollars in per capita assistance. They don’t need an economy because the United States and the European Union are their economy. They don’t need a state because the UNRWA is their state.
It’s easy to admire Israel for what it has accomplished, but it stands out so much because of the region it’s in. Singapore and Hong Kong are less remarkable because they are in a region where countries don’t just give up and wait around for foreigners to come and find oil on their land. In Asia, countries make things happen for themselves. In the Middle East, if you’re not Jewish or Christian and you don’t have oil, then you have economic problems.
But let’s leave the Middle East and head over to Asia. India and Pakistan are divided by a GDP Per Capita difference of almost a thousand dollars. India is naturally in the lead. Within India, Muslims are at the bottom of the economic ladder. Their per capita GDP is lower, their literacy rate is lower and they perform worse than Hindus. And yet the average Indian Muslim annual income at 513 dollars is still higher than the average annual income in Pakistan at 420 dollars. This remains consistent with the higher Arab-Israeli income and lower Jordanian Arab income model meaning that Muslims in non-Muslim countries will earn less than the majority, but more than they would in a majority Muslim country.
In Africa, Muslim Somalia sits next door to Ethiopia and Kenya and its GDP is so small it can’t even be registered compared to $1,093 and $1,746 for them. You might try to blame Somalia’s civil war, but Rwanda, which experienced a genocide, has a $1,341 GDP. Niger with an 80 percent Muslim population and a $771 GDP sits next door to Chad with only a 53 percent Muslim population and a $1,865 GDP. Next door Cameroon has a 70 percent Christian majority and a $2,257 GDP.
In Britain the myth of the hardworking Bangladeshi or Pakistani storekeeper is practically sacred. In reality 70 percent of Bangladeshis and Pakistanis live in low income households, compared to 50 percent of Africans, 30 percent of Indians and 20 percent of the natives. Bangladeshis and Pakistanis not only have dramatically higher unemployment rates than natives, but they have higher unemployment rates than Africans.
If the issue were racism, then their unemployment rates would be in line with far lower Indian unemployment rates. Instead Muslims have the worst economic record in the UK. Pakistani Muslims in the UK are three times more likely to be unemployed than Hindus. Indian Muslims are twice as likely to be unemployed as Indian Hindus.
Again this fits the same model of Muslims from non-Muslim countries being less economically inept than Muslims from majority Muslim countries. The crucial difference between minority Muslims and majority Muslims is culture. Minority Muslims do have their own culture, but no minority group can entirely escape the values of the majority culture. Arab Israelis and Indian Muslims absorb enough of the values of the majority culture to perform better than their neighbors in Jordan or Pakistan. And they even carry on these absorbed values when they move to another country.
We can see the direct consequences of those values in action. In the UK, Muslims have the highest dropout rate and lack of qualifications of any religion. They have the highest male and female unemployment rates. This isn’t racism, this is Islamism.
Muslims have the highest unemployment rate in Ireland. In Belgium, Moroccans and Turks have a five times higher unemployment rate of the native population. In Australia, Muslims have twice the unemployment rate of non-Muslims and forty percent of their children live below the poverty line. Muslims also have the highest unemployment rate in Canada, 14.4 percent to a national rate of 7.2 percent.
The response to all these numbers is the usual cry of racism, but racism fails to explain why Muslims fail more comprehensively at home than they do abroad. If Muslims fail in the West Bank, then Israeli checkpoints are to blame. If they fail in Canada, Australia and Europe, then racism is to blame. But if they fail in Pakistan, Somalia and Saudi Arabiaâ€“ who is to blame?
Responsibility is the missing element. It’s the character value without which there can be no economic success. The same lack of responsibility that manifests itself after a Muslim terrorist attack, when Muslims rush to position themselves as the victims, rather than dealing with the violence in their midst, also manifests itself in the economic arena and in every aspect of life. This lack of responsibility is a failure of values that cannot be escaped or ascribed to racism, the occupation or the boogeyman.