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Ramallah, Shiraz and everywhere else

ANDERS STENSTEDT 1/1/2014


My new years resolution for 2014 is to work for peace, peace in the world and peace in my own life. Since these two issues intertwine, Ill start with the world peace problem (therein, I find my peace), and it all boils down to the conflict of religions, founded by Christianity, but taken to extremes by Islam. The war of religions I call it. Some say its a war on terror, a common phrase voiced most often from the perspective of white Christian men and their media. Admittedly, there are some women and non-white voices (and hope remains), but its hard to hear over the din of commercial TV and public broadcasting and internet everywhere. Is there really any hope in hoping for peace? Can you work with that? Ask the ladies. Tony Bennett sings a beautiful duet with lady gaga on this little tune written by the one and only Cole Porter lauding a certain lady who lauds her disruption. Pure beauty in poetry, rhythm and style, with an unavoidable message. Sing it loud and sing it clear. The world will hear. OK. Ready for disruption. John Kerry goes to Tel Aviv today, working for peace, knowing where this must go, and desperately looking for sanity. Sane reason says Israel benefits from improved relations with Iran but only if Iran accepts the existence of Israel, which happens only if Israel accepts Palestinians recognizing their grievances and Palestinians recognize Israel and their history. Its hard to write any of this, of course, without revealing a bias and provoking you. On my part, I blame Christianity and thats my bias, demanding that the Christian church goes first in renouncing its mission to proselytize and bring the good news to all people, and thereby showing the way to Islam. And with respect to Islam, I believe the grand ayatollahs of Shia Islam must join together forsaking nuclear weapons and ambitions of world dominance. Let the Sunnis follow. So simple it makes me sick. The way2peace On a related note, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia can then lead in demonstrating proper Sunni governance, showing the world how sharia law can be applied with reason and accommodation, renouncing the arcane parts of seventh century morality much like how the Saudis, Malaysians and other Islamic legal systems find a clever but modern means of deviating from Sharia law for purposes of finance. What I mean is that if sharia law applies to nations, wanting international respect, sharia must accommodate the modern world of diversity, equality and transparency just as Sharia accepts international banking and finance. Obviously, this means allowing intelligence to prosper, in women as in men, effectively opening the fields of academic education to mass consumption with no gender distinctions. This is the modern world. Change to Islam is inevitable and built into the system of figh (or something like that). Why procrastinate and delay? Where is the leadership on Sharia reform? And that leaves us with the women of the world, most problematically the women of the Iranian American diaspora, torn between their culture of patronage and vanity, pretending to be insulated from the reality of a country taken hostage by mullahs, and still suffering the patronage of history. I see most of these women captured by commercials, but desperately clinging to the confusing ambiguity of the

growth of equality. How the leaders of Shia and Sunni Islam both demand suppression of womens rights to survive, I wonder. Khanoum iranie. Kojahie? salam