Friday, April 01, 2005

U.S. ends in 2007, says Koranic scholar

According to an Arab "scholar" named Ziad Silwadi, the United States will be destroyed in 2007 by a giant tsunami, as Allah's punishment for its "sins," reported the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. Silwadi drew this conclusion after a "thorough analysis" of Koranic verses.

I wish I could say this is an April's Fool, or another article from The Onion, but apparently Silwadi is quite serious.

Tempting as it is to dismiss him as a raving lunatic, one must keep two things in mind. One is that immanentizing the eschaton has been wildly popular in recent years among the so-called Christian fundamentalists in the U.S.; witness the phenomenon of the "Left Behind" books. Not a few Americans are convinced we live in the End Times prophesied in the Book of Revelation; they also tend to believe the U.S. government is on the side of the angels. So, apocalyptic Islamic scholars, though nuttier than a squirrel's cheeks in October, aren't necessarily the nuttiest folks around.

The second thing to bear in mind when considering this Silwadi character is that he does say something rather sensible:
"It would be fair to say that the world would be better off with a US that is not a superpower and that does not take advantage of weak nations than a world where this country does not exist at all," he added."The world will certainly lose a lot if and when this disaster occurs because of the great services that American society has rendered to the economy, industry and science."

Notice the "if and when" in Silwadi's statement. Unlike some soi-disant "prophets" in the West, he is absolutely certain of his claim. And if one reads the JP report, it becomes obvious why: it's based on dubious numerology and stretched interpretation of some Koranic verses.

Odds are, therefore, that we won't see the end of the U.S. in two years - although America's continued survival as such is by no means guaranteed for much longer. Only a complete idiot would deny that the world would be worse off without the United States, even as it manifestly would be better off without the American Empire.

Even a broken watch is right twice a day, and Silwadi happens to be right about something that most people - both advocates of the American Empire and its avowed enemies - tend to miss. When the collapse comes, and it is about as inevitable as anything in history, it would be good to keep this in mind.

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