Thursday, February 09, 2006

In the days of bad things, how do we decide when it gets worse?

It truly saddens me to see the state of affairs in the world today, especially the newly invigorated calls for death to western countries. It seems like we are having enough issues with: global warming, AIDS, starvation, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, forest fires, tornadoes, and ridiculous snowfall. Do we need any more problems that are created by man?

I saw a picture of a protest outside of a ruined Danish Embassy, still smoldering from the previous day when it had been burned to the ground, with people holding signs that said "Death to Israel". What are these protests really about? Some stupidly misplaced bomb-in-the-hat cartoon? I am not even sure how some of these images were concluded to be representations of Muhammed the Prophet. The particularly offensive one showed Arabic script in the middle of a turban that was black and shaped like a pirates cannonball with a lit fuse coming out of it. But, as others have noticed, the cartoon, regardless of how offensive it appears to be, does not seem to label this man as Muhammed at any point. I can only conclude that these protests and riots, in which I think the death toll of Muslims now stands at 15, represent the bigger picture of the West versus Islam. I wish both sides did not feel like it was some kind of competition. A competition of values?

The vile cartoon above appeared in the Saudi newspaper Arab News, supposedly a moderate paper. Hmmm. It's interesting. Where were the outcries and protests with that one? Israel, and Jews, seem to just shake it off. The last just five-thousand years has shown the Jews that times can be rough. A few cartoons, even horribly inaccurate misrepresentations (a miniscule percentage of Muslims do actually use bombs, whereas I find it unlikely that Ariel Sharon committed any of the atrocities that he is depicted to have done in the cartoon). A well-known journalist for the Asia Times--by the way, a great publication found at this in a large statistically-based article last week:

"Like Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady, muses the secular West after the Danish cartoon catastrophe, "Why can't a Muslim be more like a Jew?" After all, Arab newspapers daily publish hideous caricatures of Jews, who do not burn down Arab embassies in response. But the Jews learned to swallow humiliation at a dreadful cost. When Rome defiled their temple at Jerusalem in AD 66, the Jews rebelled. Rome crushed them, but they rose again in AD 132, fighting more Roman legions under Hadrian than had conquered Britain. After most Jews were dead or exiled, the remnant invented self-deprecating humor." -Asia Times Online, February 7, 2006


Israel exists, and will continue to exist. Palestine exists, and will continue to exist. Neither of these countries will ever be able to militarily or politically wipe out the other (even though Israel could easily take out every country in a 5000 mile radius, they never would, unlike some of their neighbors, unfortunately). But when two sides hate each other so vehemently, especially over an argument that boils down to "Who was here first?"--like anyone that lived in the last 1000 years could even remember--there is little hope of achieving peace and understanding.

The west exists and the east exists. Stupidity, ignorance, blind racism, and "discrimi-hating" between both sides must stop. The polarization of sides must stop. In this "war", everyone is in the wrong.

But my question is this: If Israel's government, indeed, its LEADERS, called for the destruction of Islam, all Muslims and Palestine, would we still be holding our tongues in our criticisms?

I admit that I am indeed one-sided here, though it is necessary for sides to be erased. I believe that extremist Muslims who call for death to Jews and the destruction of Israel are bad people, just the same way I think that ultra-Orthodox Jews that retaliate in a similar fashion against Muslims or Palestinians are also bad people. I guess I'm on the side of not effing crazy religious fundamentalists of any sort. And I don't know who is.


Blogger wongkac said...

Sups Oliver.
Thoughtful stuff there. Alas, intelligent thought such as yours is certainly not the order of the day in the Middle East.

Have you seen Munich yet? I'd be interested in what you think. (Speaking of which, Sage and I are going to see it on Thurs. night, if you want to come)

4:35 PM  
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Blogger Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Do you subscribe to Huntington's 'Clash of Civilisations'?

Have you read it? What do you think of it?

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