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Rubin Reports

Consider if these song lyrics had been Arab Muslim tradition. We do this as an exercise in understanding of Arab (and Turkish and Persian) politics:

“A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers’ [an African American civil rights leader] blood,

A finger fired the trigger to his name [This is how Bashir Gamal, Anwar Sadat, and King Abdullah I were killed.],

A handle hid out in the dark,

A hand set the spark,

Two eyes took the aim,

Behind a man’s brain,

But he can’t be blamed,

He’s only a pawn in their game. [Terrorism, which was organized by Muslim extremists and then Arafat and Hizballah; 1950 Fatah, 1982 Southern-Lebanese Islamists, 1981Egyptian Islamist extremists]

A South politician preaches to the poor white man,

‘You got more than blacks, don’t complain,

You’re better than them, you been born with white skin,’ they explain [Proper thinking Muslim and anti-Israel sentiment]

And the Negro’s name [Anti-Islamist]

For the politician’s gain,

As he rises to fame,

And the poor white remains,

On the caboose of the train [i.e. the rank and file Muslims; the wretched of the earth],

But it ain’t him to blame,

He’s only a pawn in their game.

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid,

And the marshals and cops get the same,

But the poor white man’s [Arabs and Muslims] used in the hands of them all like a tool,

He’s taught in his school,

From the start by the rule,

That the laws are with him,

To protect his white skin,

To keep up his hate,

So he never thinks straight,

‘Bout the shape that he’s in,

But it ain’t him to blame,

He’s only a pawn in their game.

From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks,

And the hoof beats pound in his brain,

And he’s taught how to walk in a pack,

Shoot in the back,

With his fist in a clinch,

To hang and to lynch [Radical Islamist, both Sunni and Shi’a],

To hide ‘neath the hood,

To kill with no pain,

Like a dog on a chain,

He ain’t got no name,

But it ain’t him to blame,

He’s only a pawn in their game…”

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I think Pawn in the Game is a variant of the Marxist notion of 'false consciousness'- just as is 'clinging to guns and God'. But a strongly religious and tribal society is not stratified into classes the way Marx imagined - it is a crazy quilt of tribal allegiances, kin relationships and religious distinctions along with gender relations that would make a phish weep for its bicycle. Lennon's song is a remake of a Schiller's 18th century hit The Ode to Joy (music later by Beethoven) with the key lyric - "alle menchen werden bruder' which is the seed corn of the French Revolution and the Terror and still the un-national, un- anthem of the European un-union.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Imagine is a communist manifesto set to nice music. "Imagine no possessions...." Sure, John. How much did you own?

But it is true that it might improve the Muslim world
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Imagine there's no Muslims....it's easy if you try
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm having trouble simply understanding your thesis. I'm a big fan of yours, so, trust me, I'm trying hard! :-)

Is it that "had the Muslim culture been such that they produced songs like this and their accompanying messages, how different would it be?"

Or is it that Dylan's song correctly describes the woes of modern Islam (replace "Whites" with "Muslims") and Lennon's song describes modern Islam also, (???) Or that Lennon's song does *not* describe Islam?

I'm really struggling here -- grasping at straws. I would venture to guess also that if I ma having this level of difficulty, others might as well. I say that as someone who generally fully understands, appreciates, and agrees with your writing.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
The songs are wonderful, but the reality is a failed society that excludes and oppresses the female 50% of the population, engages in first cousin marriage generation after generation, and accepts all as "the will of Allah." It took decades and a brave President for Egypt to realize the futility of permanent war with Israel. The Palestinians are hooked on UNWRA welfare. Gradually, the demonstration effect of their failure and the West's and Israel's success will wear away the Islamist illusions. But don't hold your breath.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
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