Sunday, February 05, 2006

Addendum II, Son of Addendum

Well I like my Gandhi question. I think it's a good question. Where is the Mulsim who can persuade with MORAL force? I mean, the argument you always hear is how immoral Israel and the US are. How much wrong we/they do. And all Muslims can come up with is "Islam is the true religion. Hence, we are right and they are wrong and we deserve the land plus they deserve to die." I mean it's the worst debating tactic ever. Hell, it's couples counseling 101 - you don't get anything to change your way by screaming your point of view at the other person louder. You won't win any argument by beating your opponent/co-inhabitant over the head.

So Muslims need someone to lead by powerful moral example. If you are powerless you have to have a movement, and frankly it has to be non-violent.

I mean think about it. Imagine no more suicide bombs ever, no more terror attacks. But pure mass peaceful protests. What do you think would happen? Of course it would work. But Muslims have utterly failed to produce leadership on this. And part of it is that at least with Arab Muslims, the overwhelmingly male macho bullshit culture says the reaction to being offended is fury, anger, attacking and denouncing. That's the only way to get power within your own social world, so if the only way to earn respect in your culture is to be the swaggeriest of the swaggerers, you are never going to produce a Gandhi because that person can never get a foothold for an audience within his own culture.

And that is 100% on Muslims. They failed. They failed because they have an inferior culture - one that is about slights and insults and a complex system of what has to happen once someone has insulted someone else and all that waste of time bullshit. Then you throw that extreme purist monotheism on top of the culture and you've got a dose of gasoline for the fire.

I mean, I think it's fucked. What is the endgame? I mean, this is gonna end badly. And everyone is going to get hurt in all of it, but I really think that Muslims have worked themsleves into a corner where they can't get out of it without "losing face" and that is worse than being in the corner. So basically I see a lot of death coming down the pike. A lot of death. And everyone everywhere will be wounded, but the Muslims will take by far the worst of it. I mean hundreds of millions dead. And just writing that, and inherently feeling the truth of a certain sick willingness to take that rather than change, lose face, whatever, gives me a really awful feeling. That bullshit stoicism of preferring to die rather than change, it's so 2-year old in the "no" stage, it's pathetic.

I really hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see anything ratcheting down. It can only ratchet up. New events can only be bad. Unless there were one fucking bright Muslim - with power and the ear of his people - who could figure out that the way to win is to do the opposite of everything we expect. But no one person could stop it all - and only if it were all stopped would it work. and boy, would it work.

And to answer your question from the comments, Mr. Tuba (this was going to be a comment responding to your comment but then it got long, hence the new post) no, there seems to be no art. There's some food. There are some customs. But there is no real art (of course, part of that is that art can be created when you have people who have the free time and freedom to create the art). Plus art involves freedom of expression, and nowhere is expression more stifled and filtered through theocratic bullshit than in the Muslim world.

Unless you count whining. That is a high art form. You read the excerpts from that CNN article below and you think what a bunch of whiny, sad little bitches.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In January 2002 the New Statesman published a front page displaying a shimmering golden Star of David impaling a union flag, with the words "A kosher conspiracy?" The cover was widely and rightly condemned as anti-semitic. It's not difficult to see why. It played into vile stereotypes of money-grabbing Jewish cabals out to undermine the country they live in. Some put it down to a lapse of editorial judgment. But many saw it not as an aberration but part of a trend - one more broadside in an attack on Jews from the liberal left.

A group calling itself Action Against Anti-Semitism marched into the Statesman's offices, demanding a printed apology. One eventually followed. The then editor, Peter Wilby, later confessed that he had not appreciated "the historic sensitivities" of Britain's Jews. I do not remember talk of a clash of civilisations in which Jewish values were inconsistent with the western traditions of freedom of speech or democracy. Nor do I recall editors across Europe rushing to reprint the cover in solidarity.

Quite why the Muslim response to 12 cartoons printed by Jyllands-Posten last September should be treated differently is illuminating. There seems to be almost universal agreement that these cartoons are offensive. There should also be universal agreement that the paper has a right to publish them. When it comes to freedom of speech the liberal left should not sacrifice its values one inch to those who seek censorship on religious grounds, whether US evangelists, Irish Catholics or Danish Muslims.

But the right to freedom of speech equates to neither an obligation to offend nor a duty to be insensitive. There is no contradiction between supporting someone's right to do something and condemning them for doing it. If our commitment to free speech is important, our belief in anti-racism should be no less so. These cartoons spoke not to historic sensitivities, but modern ones. Muslims in Europe are now subjected to routine discrimination on suspicion that they are terrorists, and Denmark has some of Europe's most draconian immigration policies. These cartoons served only to compound such prejudice.

The right to offend must come with at least one consequent right and one subsequent responsibility. If newspapers have the right to offend then surely their targets have the right to be offended. Moreover, if you are bold enough to knowingly offend a community then you should be bold enough to withstand the consequences, so long as that community expresses displeasure within the law.

So far this has been the case. Despite isolated acts of violence that should be condemned, the overwhelming majority of the protests have been peaceful. Several Arab and Muslim nations have withdrawn their ambassadors from Denmark. There have been demonstrations outside embassies. Meanwhile, according to Denmark's consul in Dubai, a boycott of Danish products in the Gulf has cost the country $27m.

The Jyllands-Posten editor took four months to apologise. That was his decision. If he was not truly sorry then he shouldn't have done so; if he was then he should have done so sooner. Given that it took yet one more month for the situation to deteriorate to this level, these recent demonstrations can hardly be described as kneejerk.

"This is a far bigger story than just the question of 12 cartoons in a small Danish newspaper," Flemming Rose, the culture editor of Jyllands-Posten, told the New York Times. Too right, but it is not the story Rose thinks it is. Rose says: "This is about the question of integration and how compatible is the religion of Islam with a modern secular society - how much does an immigrant have to give up and how much does the receiving culture have to compromise."

Rose displays his ignorance of both modern secular society and the role of religion in it. Freedom of the press has never been sacrosanct in the west. Last year Ireland banned the film Boy Eats Girl because of graphic suicide scenes; Madonna's book Sex was unbanned there only in 2004. American schoolboards routinely ban the works of Alice Walker, JK Rowling and JD Salinger. Such measures should be opposed, but not in a manner that condemns all Catholics or Protestants for being inherently intolerant or incapable of understanding satire.

Even as this debate rages, David Irving sits in jail in Austria charged with Holocaust denial for a speech he made 17 years ago; the Muslim cleric Abu Hamza is on trial in London for inciting racial hatred; and a retrial has been ordered for the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, on the same charges. The question has never been whether you draw a line under what is and what is not acceptable, but where you draw it. Rose and others clearly believe Muslims, by virtue of their religion, exist on the wrong side of the line.

As a result they are vilified twice: once through the cartoon, and again for exercising their democratic right to protest. The inflammatory response to their protest reminds me of the quote from Steve Biko, the South African black nationalist: "Not only are whites kicking us; they are telling us how to react to being kicked."

g.younge@guardian.co.uk

6:09 AM  
Blogger TubaOnFire said...

I think the key phrase in the prior comment was "the overwhelming majority of the protests have been peaceful." In a rational adult society, it would be 100%.

10:55 PM  

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