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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Enjoy the silence!

Thomas Friedman rules. He just does. He gets it, which is more then i can say about the rest of the NYTimes columnists. In his latest column, he tackles the paradox that is the Muslim world's response to events: The Outcry against the Koran desecration story and the Silence against the terrorist attacks in Iraq. While he condemns the Koran desecration act if it's true, he can't help but wonder: Why the double standard when it comes to the Shiite and Kurds-who are muslims- when they are killed by other muslims? Where is the outrage when it comes to them? That said, though, in the same newspapers one can read the latest reports from Iraq, where Baathist and jihadist suicide bombers have killed 400 Iraqi Muslims in the past month - most of them Shiite and Kurdish civilians shopping in markets, walking in funerals, going to mosques or volunteering to join the police. Yet these mass murders - this desecration and dismemberment of real Muslims by other Muslims - have not prompted a single protest march anywhere in the Muslim world. And I have not read of a single fatwa issued by any Muslim cleric outside Iraq condemning these indiscriminate mass murders of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds by these jihadist suicide bombers, many of whom, according to a Washington Post report, are coming from Saudi Arabia. The Muslim world's silence about the real desecration of Iraqis, coupled with its outrage over the alleged desecration of a Koran, highlights what we are up against in trying to stabilize Iraq - as well as the only workable strategy going forward. The thing is, the majority of arab sunnis are indifferent to the death of Shiites and Kurds in Iraq. They are viewed as "collatroal damage" or an "acceptable Loss" in the fight for an iraq free of the american christian imperialist zionist occupiers, mainly because they are the ones who benefitted from the American ousting of Sadam, and because they are not Sunnis. The fact that they are also muslim, or that there are sunni kurds, or that the "insurgancy" is killing far more iraqis then US soldiers, well, that doesn't really concern them. What is important is "supporting the struggle against the war waged on Islam" and "teaching those americans a lesson". The future of Iraq be damned! And this is not just the ignorant masses speaking, this is an acceptable argument presented in arab government sponsored media, by regimes that have their own interests in seeing democracy in Iraq fail. At the same time, politically speaking, some Arab regimes prefer to see the pot boiling in Iraq so the democratization process can never spread to their countries. That's why their official newspapers rarely describe the murders of civilians in Iraq as a massacre or acts of terror. Such crimes are usually sanitized as "resistance" to occupation. Salama Na'mat, the Washington bureau chief for the London-based Arabic daily Al Hayat, wrote the other day: "What is the responsibility of the [Arab] regimes and the official and semiofficial media in the countries bordering Iraq in legitimizing the operations that murder Iraqis? ... Isn't their goal to thwart [the emergence of] the newborn democracy in Iraq so that it won't spread in the region?" (Translation by Memri.) It is unfortunately their goal, and they advance it by playing on the popular anti-US sentiment amongst their own people, who have been opressed for years, seen the world pass them by and davance economically, educationally and technologically, and in desperate need for Heros in a time where none are present amongst their leaders. By glamourizing the iraqi terrorists, and not condemning the death of the innocent civillians, the governments are giving them uncritisized "Heros" to believe in and support. And the people buy it, because they need some kind of hope in their sorry opressed existance and they like to blame the US, instead of their own inaction and cowardice, for their appaling state of affairs. And the state-funded clerics support that viewpoint, by giving sermons that call for praryers of support to the muslims fighting in Iraq and Palestine. It's easy to believe something, if you hear it everywhere you go, you know? Interestingly, as Friedman points out, within that problem lies the soloution itself. If the Arab world, its media and its spiritual leaders, came out and forcefully and repeatedly condemned those who mount these suicide attacks, and if credible Sunnis were given their fair share in the Iraqi government, I am certain a lot of this suicide bombing would stop, as happened with the Palestinians. Iraqi Sunnis would pass on the intelligence needed to prevent these attacks, and they would deny the suicide bombers the safe houses they need to succeed. It worked in Egypt in the 90's, with the media, the mosques and the government sponserd clerics came out against the local tourist-killing terrorists by saying that they were murderers who are damaging our way of life and economy and threatning our future. They became so unpopular because of it that they stopped their attacks. If it worked here, i see no reason why it shouldn't work there. The only problem would be getting those governments on board to get them to do this, when it is in their own best interest not to do this. And US p[ressure won't work, cause if it did, they would've used it for the sake of their own image a long time ago. Hmm.. Maybe a good soloution would be to get the US state department to fund the free publishing and distribution of Iraqi newspapers in arab countries. By giving them the Iraqi inside view on things, it could balance out the view given to them by the government local propaganda machine. It might not have that much effect, but it would be a start. What do you guys think?

13 Comments:

At 5/18/2005 05:11:00 AM, Blogger BP said...

I love the Iraqi newspapers idea.

 
At 5/18/2005 06:25:00 AM, Blogger gatorbait said...

I second that motion.

 
At 5/18/2005 10:18:00 AM, Blogger Kat said...

Can't be US federal money or aid money that does the newspaper thing because it will immediately discredit the newspapers.

Private donations and charity or the newspapers get a "loan" from some one to expand their capabilities.

 
At 5/18/2005 10:47:00 AM, Anonymous Don Cox said...

My impression is that many Sunni Arabs are pleased to see Shias and Kurds dying. Shias are heretics and Kurds are not Arabs. Peole's minds have been poisoned by state-sponsored racism.

 
At 5/18/2005 03:06:00 PM, Blogger Mister Ghost said...

~ Arab on Arab violence or Moslem on Moslem hatred is like Black on Black crime - doesn't seem to engender a lot of media recriminations, just body counts.
There's definitely a double standard floating around.

~~ It's the very witty and erudite Arab American blogger Nadz in the In T View (with Cool Artwork these days):
The In T View: Nadz: Proud And Free

Some Excerpts...

MG: Is Islam a Misogynistic Religion or is it the Interpretation of Islam
by those shepherding and preaching the faith that leads to Honor
Killings, Subjugation, Veilings, Restrictions of Freedom,
and Genital Mutilation among women?

Nadz: Like all religions, Islam is a patriarchal system that preaches male superiority over women. There are some verses in the Quran that are blatantly sexist. However, the problems in the mideast are not all due to Islam, but the way it mixes with cultural traditions and mysogynistic thinking. For example, FGM and honor killings aren't sanctioned in the Quran, but the ideas in the culture and religion about female "honor" allow it to happen.

There is an agrument, however, that interpretation has a lot to do with it. There is mysogyny in the Bible and the Torah as well, but most people choose not to listen to the sexist verses. Muslims need to learn to do the same - to take the good and leave the bad. And it's only through the efforts of women, I think, that will bring this about. But the fact that all religions are rooted in patriarchy is a problem. The more fundamentalist the religion, the worse it is for women. Oh, and the clergy are jerks.

MG: When will the poor Saudi Women be allowed to vote and will they even be able to see the Ballots from under their Burkhas? And how will they know if it's a
woman voting - it could be a man in disguise you know? And will the Saudi Men
even be allowed to touch and count the ballots, after women have handled them -
Won't the ballots have to be disinfected?

Nadz: Hahaha! Don't forget the high rates of rape and prostitution the voting will also cause! One quick note: in Saudi Arabia, women wear Abayas, not Burkas - they're black instead of blue and don't have that mesh thingy over the face.

Seriously, women will get the vote when they demand it - take to the streets and insist on their rights. Suffragettes in the States and Europe had to go on hunger strikes and chain themselves to railway tracks before they were given the right to vote. I hope it won't come to that, but it will take some action to get the vote. Time for a feminist revolution!

MG: Nadz, you don't wear the hijab yourself. Don't you know that the uncovered
hair of a woman produces sex rays that causes men to be filled with
Uncontrollable Lust and to lose all their control around women - even worse
than alcohol?

Nadz: Yep, I'm aware of the magical rays in my hair - it's all part of my sinister plan to control men and take over the world! Seriously, though, isn't that ridiculous? They think that all men are perverts because they're perverts themselves. And I wouldn't plan on using the magical hair ray defense in a rape trial - there's that other disgusting defense of "she asked for it".

 
At 5/18/2005 05:57:00 PM, Blogger Nick the great and terrible said...

You have to remember that islam is as old now as christianity was during the dark ages. Christians were then as fundamentalist, if not moreso, than muslims are now. The religion needs time to grow, time to ripen.

 
At 5/18/2005 09:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nick the great and terrible: I've always thought that argument was a little silly. Why do you expect such a similarity in the timelines of the two religions?

Islam went through a relatively enlightened era during the Abassid dynasty, early in the history of the religion. Christianity went through no such early enlightened period... scientific and philosophical exploration was disapproved of in Christian society from a very early date. Such counter examples (a least between these two religions) are very, very common.

Why expect the history of one religion to mirror that of another?

 
At 5/18/2005 09:41:00 PM, Blogger Tina said...

I like your idea about the newspapers Sam, I'd also like to see the program where they interview the captured terrorists broadcast into other Arabic countries. I understand it's the most popular program in Iraq.

 
At 5/18/2005 10:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only realistic way to save human civilization is to exterminate all of the Muslim savages. Give them Allah's choice in reverse: convert to Christianity or die.

 
At 5/19/2005 12:25:00 AM, Anonymous DNA said...

Bravo, bravo anonn. Pure genius.

(yel3an abo 2omak sa7ee7)

 
At 5/19/2005 12:39:00 AM, Blogger Twosret said...

DNA

El Blog dah ramram 2awy eih ya 3am Sandmonkey matlem el katkeet lol

Anon.,

Omak!

 
At 5/19/2005 12:54:00 AM, Blogger Twosret said...

Mister Ghost should get Nobel peace prize for Journalism Wallahi what a genius reporter he is.

His Mister Ghost talks sh!t blog title describe him best.

Congrats Mr. Ghostie the blogsphere have awarded you the best talk sh!t blogger of the year 2005.

Mabruk Tahanina El Qalbia As7ab el 3qool fee ra7a.

 
At 5/19/2005 05:39:00 PM, Blogger Kat said...

Twosret...did you know that Mister Ghost interviews are "tongue in cheek"?

Other than that, was there something wrong with this statement?

~ Arab on Arab violence or Moslem on Moslem hatred is like Black on Black crime - doesn't seem to engender a lot of media recriminations, just body counts.
There's definitely a double standard floating around.


Just trying to understand which part you were angry with.

 

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