Americanized / The Dilbert Future – BONUS POST

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The first Bonus Book of the Week is “Americanized, Rebel Without A Green Card” by Sara Saedi, originally published in 2018.

According to this slim volume (which appeared credible although it lacked Notes, Sources, References, or Bibliography and an index), the author’s family had a difficult time getting permission to live permanently in the United States, after fleeing the Iranian Revolution in the early 1980’s.

The author, born in 1980, provided a host of details on her family’s immigration ordeal, and her own life’s trials and tribulations (mostly First-World problems). Incidentally, she unwittingly wrote a line that would have subjected her to cancel-culture [In 1992]:

“…I’d personally reached peak frustration levels at our country’s complex and seemingly arbitrary immigration laws. I wanted to get on the first flight to Washington, DC, and storm the Capitol, but I didn’t, because any form of criminal activity would get me deported.”

Read the book to learn more.

The second Bonus Book of the Week is “The Dilbert Future, Thriving on Stupidity in the 21st Century” by Scott Adams, published in 1997.

The author discussed his predictions, obviously at the book’s writing. One of them was particularly accurate:

“As dense as they [the children] might be, they will eventually notice that adults have spent all the money, spread disease, and turned the planet into a smoky, filthy ball of death. We’re raising an entire generation of dumb, pissed-off kids who know where the handguns are kept.”


Read the book to learn more of the author’s insights.

My Father and I

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The Book of the Week is “My Father and I” by Camelia Sadat, published in 1985.

Born in July 1949, the author grew up in a distant suburb of Cairo, but possessed nostalgia for her father’s home village– Mit Abul-Kum, in the Nile delta. Her father was Anwar Sadat, whose mother was half Egyptian and half Sudanese, and whose father had eight wives; only the last two wives bore thirteen children between them. Anwar was the second oldest child of his father’s seventh wife.

Born in late 1918, Anwar’s young adulthood was typical of Muslim men of his generation who were headed for a political career. He chose his alliances and enemies pursuant to his future leadership role in mind. During WWII, he allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, a group desirous of replacing Egypt’s monarchy of King Farouk, with an independent Muslim theocracy. The British supported the king. During and after the war, Anwar did stints in jail for his pro-Axis, pro-Egyptian-independence activities. Further, he was discharged dishonorably from the Egyptian army.

By the late 1940’s, Anwar had two wives and two babies. The younger of the latter was Camelia. However, Anwar’s first marriage ended in divorce shortly thereafter. At thirty, he began his second marriage with his nineteen year-old bride. In 1950, he resumed his military career. He was appointed by Gamal Nasser to lead the group fighting for sovereignty for Egypt– the Free Officers’ Organization.

Anwar moved quickly up the political ranks. In July 1952, he and his cronies ousted King Farouk. In December 1953, he helped found a revolutionary newspaper, working in the communications (translation: propaganda) department of Egypt’s government. The very next year, he was named Minister of State. In 1956, Egypt saw the end of British occupation.

Camelia was a headstrong, independent child. When she was twelve, a marriage was arranged for her. The groom was 29. Unfortunately for them, a quiet, serious wedding reception (which was uncustomary) was the order of the day because Egypt was breaking its diplomatic ties with Syria.

Initially, Camelia accepted her fate as an obedient housewife (which was required by the Quran, and was the culture in Egypt). But after a couple of years, she became emotionally exhausted by the bossiness and physical abuse of her especially insecure husband. Camelia told her uncle about her marital problems, and reprimanded the husband. However, Anwar found out and told Camelia that a wife should obey her husband.

In the 1960’s, unrest in Yemen led to difficult geopolitical jockeying among Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and of course, the United States. In December 1970, Anwar was elected president of Egypt, at which time, it was on the outs with America. In 1971, he foiled a coup attempt against him. Egypt wasn’t diplomatically benefiting from Soviet financial aid, either, as the Soviets’ reputation for aggression made the U.S.S.R. an isolated state in the industrialized world.

Anwar was best known for his willingness to negotiate a peace agreement with Israel’s leader Menachem Begin, through an intermediary, America’s president Jimmy Carter. Read the book to learn many more details of his and his daughter’s life and career, and a bit of Egyptian history.


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The Bonus Book of the Week is “Free: A Child and A Country at the End of History” by Lea Ypi, published in 2021.

According to the book (which appears to be credible although it lacks Notes, Sources, References, or Bibliography and an index), Albania’s monarchist government and business leaders threw in with their Italian invaders in 1939. In 1944, the Italians retreated and Albania’s occupation by the Soviets resulted in one-Party rule. The practice of organized, monotheistic religions was banned, but Albanians worshiped a real person– a founding-father and WWII military hero named “Uncle Enver.” He severed Albania’s diplomatic relations with Yugoslavia after the war.

The Albanian author, born in September 1979, was indoctrinated to believe that her country was one of the freest on earth. Never mind that the common people had to stand in line for hours and hours daily or sometimes longer (they were allowed placeholders) to obtain such basic necessities as milk, cheese, kerosene, etc. through a voucher system. In addition, her childhood was fraught with lies about her great-grandfather and others in her family’s social circles.

Ironically, just as pedigree among the wealthy in the United States denotes social status, so the “biography” among ordinary Albanians determined whether one would be allowed to join the socialist (political) Party, and determined one’s reputation, and thus one’s work and social activities in daily life. It was guilt by association; one was guilty just by having politically unpopular ancestors, as had the author. Albanians were required, however, to attend meetings at their local civic associations.

In December 1990, there occurred a major political turning point in Albania’s history: free and fair multi-party elections; a turning point in its economics too, as its government heeded bad financial advice it received from Western powers, that invited corruption similar to that of Bolivia’s (See this blog’s post, “Jeffrey Sachs”). In the early 1990’s, for the first time (!), the author found out about or experienced: air conditioning, bananas, traffic lights, jeans, chewing gum, Mickey Mouse, AIDS, anorexia and plenty of other cultural givens the democratic peoples of the world took for granted.

Read the book to learn of the trials and tribulations specific to Albania’s people when they saw how the other half lived (hint: World Bank meddling, a civil war, education shenanigans and more).

The 188th Crybaby Brigade

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The Book of the Week is “The 188th Crybaby Brigade, A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah” by Joel Chasnoff, published in 2010.

The author related his experiences as an American who joined Israel’s military (Israel Defense Forces; IDF) of the late 1990’s, and had various rude awakenings. He observed a major lack of skills-training and deterioration of leadership. Plus, he wrote, “What disturbs me about our endless fun isn’t just that it’s so often misogynistic, racist, and in the case of Ziv the redhead, outright insensitive, but how easily I go along with it.”

At 24, he was the oldest member of the testosterone-fueled group of mostly immature 18-year old boys who had too much time on their hands. The book’s major themes reflected those in Catch-22 (the same kinds of craziness) and “Portnoy’s Complaint” (only insofar as their gender led them to behave the way they did).

In February 1997, a helicopter accident that killed 73 Israeli soldiers, led the IDF to change its training and treatment of its ranks. It was a time similar to that just after the Yom Kippur war, when the Israeli military realized that it was unprepared to defend the country.

However, unlike in the second half of the 1970’s– in the late 1990’s, the IDF gave certain soldiers a pass, via an honor system. Ultra-Orthodox scholars could avoid military service altogether– a very emotionally charged controversy in Israel. Moreover, due to civilian complaints from families of soldiers, the military became less of an abusive hierarchy, and more socialistic, allowing soldiers to falsely claim they were injured or ill, to shirk the rigorous aspects of military life. The soldiers who weren’t crybabies, were subjected to harsh weather and severe sleep deprivation at the hands of an “arrogant, impudent, and thoroughly incompetent” captain. The other leaders were sociopathic sadists with weaponry.

The author was assigned to the tank division. A class lecturer told soldiers-in-training that Israel’s presence in Lebanon was necessary due to terror groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and their various factions. Monetary help from Iran, Syria and the former U.S.S.R., funneled to Hezbollah, supposedly made the terror groups’ resources actually superior to the IDF’s. That’s why the death toll of soldiers in Israeli tanks in Lebanon was so high, and why soldiers were killed so much sooner than troops in other divisions, even sooner than those in the infantry.

Each Merkava tank was equipped with: “…one ton of explosives in the form of depleted uranium 120-millimeter missiles, hand grenades, two MAG machine guns, a crate of .5-caliber shells and five hundred 35-millimeter bullets.”

The younger generation did not understand the mentality of their grandparents because they hadn’t personally experienced the Holocaust. They had, however, heard about or seen needless deaths and ruined lives resulting from America’s meddling in Vietnam (plus Laos and Cambodia), and Israel’s own constant fighting against its Arab neighbors and Palestinians, and its aggression in Lebanon (1982)– and they wanted no part of that.

Every major Israeli leader whose name is known worldwide (especially by American Jews fifty and older), was an old-school war-hero who also worked in Israeli intelligence (except for Golda Meir) and saw major combat, right up through Netanyahu. Since the 1990’s, leaders of the U.S. have been draft-dodgers rather than war heroes. Apparently, times are changing in geopolitics, war-mongering and energy (oil) needs and usage.

Read the book to learn how the IDF fanned the flames of racial tensions (hint: it was not because the light-skinned Ashkenazi soldiers had their private jokes), how the author struggled with his own religious identity, and many more details on the late-1990’s culture of the IDF.