Friday, September 8, 2006


Saw a remarkable film from Netflix last night: The Syrian Bride.  Made in 2004, it illustrates, with great delicacy, what happens to a Druze family living in the Golan Heights, when the daughter is to be married to a Syrian television star originally from the same village: once she crosses the border as a bride, she will never be allowed to return.  In the film, even the border wedding falls victim to the bureaucratic intransigeance of both Israelis and Syrians, as a frustrated UN intermediary gives up the ghost.

But the real story is the contrast between the lives of hip Syrian women, and that of the bride's sister, (the main character), whose husband fears he will be taunted for not being able to control her when she insists on getting a college degree.  That is where sex and oil come in.

It would be banal to say: "It's the oil, stuipid!"  But  just as truly, sex is the other half of the equation that describes the so-called terrorist threat.  The West, led by the United States, is determined to have access to a maximum of the world's oil for the coming years, until economical power substitutes can be developed.  To that end, it is trying to gain the final say in how oil-rich countries are run.  The Venezuelans' problem with that is underdevelopment: they need to control their oil so they can fight poverty.  Saudi Arabia and other Islamic oil producing countries have a different problem; the presence of foreign oil workers and troops is seen by many as an affront to Islam.  That affront lies not only in the foreigners status as un-believers, but in a commercial system in which men encourage women to flaunt their sex instead of keeping it  demurely under wraps.

It's common knowledge that Muslim rulers engage in typically western behavior far from their subjects' eyes, but there are some, like Zawahiri,  Bin Laden and mullahs great and obscure across the world, who find this abhorent.  The number of Western women who voluntarily wear headscarves should tell us that there is something relevant about that stance.

Sex and vulgarity don't mix any better than do oil and water.

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