The Beginning of Wisdom?

The picture shows the figures of Grief and History which stand on the peace monument to the west of the American Capitol.

Reports have long been in the papers that one of the founders of Al-Qaeda, Sayid Imam Al-Sharif, known as Dr Fadi, currently in an Egyptian prison, has turned on Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri.

This has apparently upset Al-Zawahiri so much he has seen fit to rubbish Dr Fadi and then to pen two hundred pages of rebuttal. You can read about Zawahiri's defensive screed here. Dr Fadi has been for some time engaged in a theological recantation of violence and has followed the logic of his enlightenment.

Read the reports yourself. They have been around since 2007, but have not really registered with the media here (or with me, that much) before.

Fadi's testimony could, I suppose, be some sort of intelligence exercise. However, it seems real. Dr Fadi claims that Bin Laden and his gang were directly responsible for 9-11 and that the attack was a disastrous mistake; that immigrants acting in the name of Islam should not turn on their host societies and expect to maintain honour; that killing civilians is just wrong; and that Al-Qaeda and its crew are the root cause of every drop of blood spilt in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It's important that someone from inside that world says these things. Lies have been doing the rounds for too long.

It has also long been known that some of the horrors which gripped the Muslim world for a long time, started in Egypt just before Suez. Like the Mujahedin and the KLA, they were in part sustained by the American and British intelligence services, who shared common aims with them. Clever young men were led by their faith to confront the government there, which tortured them with the complaisance or mild disapproval of our leaders until, there and in the Sudan, they came to war. Now old men, coming through Egyptian prisons again, may have become wise about peace.

This is the palliative to any depression you may be feeling at events in the Middle East today. Yet it worries me too. The process of the Al-Qaeda darkness eating itself will not be pleasant--it will be even more dangerous now--but the hope is there that some could find peace.

Zawahiri seems to want to attack Egypt and Israel. I love that latter state, though of course I don't live there. But Binyamin Netanyahu is a dangerous man who plays in the shadows, and I would believe anything of him and what he may wish for; after all, if he could be accused by Leah Rabin of inciting the people who did what was done to Yizhak Rabin, he can do anything (and that's even if Rabin's son considered voting for him this time). I remember encountering Mrs Rabin purely by chance--at least I think it was her--in a New York art museum once, years ago. She was surrounded by serious security people and full of a sort of fierce energy, so for all I wanted to say to her, I said nothing and just let her get on with her viewing.

I wish that Mr netanyahu was not Prime Minister and, as I wrote before the election, I wanted Kadima and Labour to win. I was disappointed, but am glad Mrs Livni seems to be steering clear of the American attempt to force everyone into a grand coalition.

This is a time of danger and excitement. May God, Love and Reason save us, and may Israel be saved from the spirit of civil war and blood that people like Netanyahu always end up provoking. Real peace is tough and hard and counter to our nature, and often seems everywhere a child. But one day it will grow when enough people are sick of blood.


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