- Jadaliyya: Why did you write this book?
Belén Fernández: I asked myself this question several thousand times, particularly during my third rereading of every Friedman column published since 1995.
Colonel Oliver North thought he was dealing with Iranian “moderates” when he was really dealing with Iranian grocers; he had no idea how to bargain with the original rug merchants. He should have taken business lessons from Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.
-Thomas Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem
I have a confession to make. Right after 9/11, I was given a CD by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, which included its rendition of ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ I put it in my car’s CD player and played that song over and over, often singing along as I drove.
if you like sick burns, then "the imperial messenger" by belén fernández is where you want to go, she provides them by the spoonful, sometimes it seems as though they'll never end. you're caught up in a whirlwind of sick burns, ascending to heaven as she delivers killing blow after killing blow against the great mustachioed master of the new york times op-ed page.
As for other varieties of U.S.-administered education, Friedman’s solution for quelling the Abu Ghraib torture scandal is to “close this prison immediately and reopen it in a month as the Abu Ghraib Technical College for Computer Training.” He meanwhile swears his commitment to “dismantling Guantanamo Bay and replacing it with a free field hospital for poor Cubans” a curious solution in a country that already offers free universal health care.
The details of Friedman’s 9/11 experience are found in the “Diary” section of Longitudes and Attitudes. He learns of the attacks while in the Tel Aviv suburbs, where he is in the process of retrieving his bathing suit from his taxicab after conducting an interview with Tel Aviv University President Itamar Rabinovich. Returning to Rabinovich’s office, Friedman watches CNN footage for several hours with female university staff, who “kept asking what it would mean for Israel. ‘I don’t know,’ I snapped. ‘It’s World War III,’ I thought to myself. ‘It’s much bigger than Israel.’”
It would appear from the paragraphs that follow, however, that World War III is in fact not much bigger than Friedman himself.Feeling “suffocated,” Friedman leaves the office, procures a room at the beachfront Tel Aviv Hilton, refuses his friends’ invitation to dinner, and ultimately goes into labor during a late-night walk by the sea: “It was there, massaged by the Mediterranean breeze, that my head started to clear and I finally gave birth to the thought that had been bothering me most: ‘What kind of world are my two girls going to grow up in?’”
this one-man walking TED talk is repeatedly flambeed in the vapours of his own petulance and idiocy. the hilarity of the first section, as she runs through the litany of his inconsistencies and factual screwups, turns to horror and despair as she moves through his impressions of the middle east and the arab world (replete with references to all arabs as “Ahmed”), to the Heart of Farkness: friedmans opinions about israel.
That Friedman is able to advertise himself as a serious critic of Israel while simultaneously reiterating that the nation “had me at hello”‘ naturally works in the favor of the Israeli right wing,” shifting the spectrum of permissible discourse such that any substantive criticism can be rejected as extremist. Friedman himself writes about the importance of refraining from “destructive criticism” of Israel, done without first “convey to Israelis that you understand the world they’re living in” by listing atrocities committed by regional Arabs and Muslims, such as the killing of Iraqi Shiites by Iraqi Sunnis. “Destructive critics” we are told, seek to “delegitimize Israel” by “dismiss Gaza as an Israeli prison, without ever mentioning that had Hamas decided to turn it into Dubai rather than Tehran, Israel would have behaved differently, too.”’ The problem with this sort of logic is that, even if it could be scientifically argued that Gaza has been turned into Tehran, such transformations are not illegal under international humanitarian law, whereas Israel’s blockade of Gaza is. It is furthermore unclear why, if the illegal use of white phosphorus munitions against honorary Tehranis is not a problem, Friedman finds it appalling that the Iranian regime is capable of attacking civilians with more mundane weaponry in the real Tehran.