Thursday, August 16, 2012

best seller?

Picking on Tom F.     “Every student was required to read it!” Excited by my report that I’d finally started Tom Friedman’s The World Is Flat, my friend mentioned his wife’s experience while she was dean of a college. That was years ago; maybe, as the flow of information goes, an eon ago.

What I didn’t tell my friend was that my initial impression left me wishing I had the Readers’ Digest version or, better yet, a synopsis of that. Now that it’s done, I’ve revised even that; I would have preferred a two-page outline.

Maybe that’s just me reacting to a middle aged guy who is so hooked on an overarching vision that I’m reminded of a Boy Scout working on his lariat making merit badge. Only someone who has made a fortune investing in Indian call centers would feel goose bumps while perusing Flat.

Harsh words? Hardly that.  Try this: I don’t think Tom Friedman knows what he thinks he knows. Although his book was copyrighted seven years ago, its message, to any retailer, was stale even then. For bloggers like me who (for years) had watched their words sail around the world in less time than it takes to yawn, Tom’s book was less fun than finding a four leafed clover.

Much less. When he attributed Islamic terrorism to the humiliation felt by (young) Muslims, I cringed. When he suggested that, by making their Islamic world more flat, such unsportmanlike [my term] behavior would cease, I gagged. When he ended his book as if he were a cheerleader infused with expresso, I wanted to snatch his pom-pom.

“Cool it, Tom!” I screamed at Flat. “Do your homework!” I added. “The bad guys don’t think they’re bad! They think they’re righteous! They think we have it all wrong!”

We, by the way, includes Tom. Islamists don’t want us to apologize; they really don’t care if we do tricks or share cigarettes. There is one bottom line: they want us to submit.

After we’ve thrown Israel under a bombed out bus. In sum, that’s it. “Consider this,” I’d remind Tom, since I’m betting he already knows it. “Central to Judaism, Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran. When Muslims pray, their butts face the Western Wall; they prostrate themselves toward Mecca.

“In a flat world, Tom,” I might say, “a world that’s truly flat, truth reigns.” How could he argue? “Here’s the truth,” I’d tell him; “Mohammad rode a flying horse to the what was regarded as the farthest mosque. We’re told that was in or near Jerusalem.” [please see: | Victory News Magazine | The Ascension of Prophet Muhammad ...
Mohammad) by night from the Holy Mosque (of the Ka'ba) to the Farthest Mosque, which We ... and harnessed for him the Buraq, And did make him ascend towards Your heavens..." -]

I’d continue: “But the Koran never mentions Jerusalem. That’s why al Aqsa mosque is important.” I might add, “For all the wrong reasons.” Or I might just show Tom this (

To enhance the prestige of the 'substitute Mecca,' the Jerusalem mosque was named al-Aqsa. It means 'the furthest mosque' in Arabic, but has far broader implications, since it is the same phrase used in a key passage of the Quran called "The Night Journey." In that passage, Mohammed arrives at 'al-Aqsa' on a winged steed accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel; from there they ascend into heaven for a divine meeting with Allah, after which Mohammed returns to Mecca. Naming the Jerusalem mosque al-Aqsa was an attempt to say the Dome of the Rock was the very spot from which Mohammed ascended to heaven, thus tying Jerusalem to divine revelation in Islamic belief. The problem however, is that Mohammed died in the year 632, nearly 50 years before the first construction of the al-Aqsa Mosque was completed.

Maybe it’s time for the revision of Flat.

B. Koplen 8/15/12

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