Monday, December 18, 2006

Jihad Of The Tongue: Part ?

It happens more than many think. Jihad is waged in three different ways and one of them is "jihad of the tongue".

One brief shining example is the President of Iran. Take a look at this:

No country in the world looks upon America as a friend. When the U.S. name is mentioned, usually people are reminded of war, aggression and bloodshed, and that's not a good thing.

Is that why so many people are trying to get into the U.S.? I mean, let's look at this thing honestly and clearly, here. Other countries want our money, people from those same countries want in here. The ones that are want to harm the U.S. are the only ones that don't like us regardless of what we do (or don't do). They are the ones that are openly supporting and actively promoting hostility against us.

And from where I sit, Iran is one of those countries.

But I suspect there's more to all of this. Polls may show there's a rift between Arabs and the U.S., and spinmeisters can tie it to Iraq to their hearts' content. But, I cannot accept the fact that this is the primary reason for this.

They hate our culture. They are still in the Middle Ages, we are not. No matter what we do or don't do, we still are the object of their disdain, as long as we count Israel as a friend. The stark truth is, they hated us well before Iraq was ever thought of.


They teach their children to hate Israel and the U.S., as part of the school curriculum. Don't believe me? Read what Hirsi Ali has to say here. (HT for this one: Booker Rising)

If one speaks and teaches lies enough, it becomes a reality in the people's minds that hear them, regardless of the facts that demonstrate otherwise.

24 comments:

Greg said...

The stark truth is, they hated us well before Iraq was ever thought of. They teach their children to hate Israel and the U.S., as part of the school curriculum.

That says it all. There's a reason these countries have a monopoly on information that includes blocking all but the most regime-friendly websites, and arresting people who put satellite dishes on their homes. If their people knew the truth, the dictators would exist no more. People would realize their problems don't come from the US and Israel.

Though I've met plenty of westerners who think the US and Israel are the problem.

LASunsett said...

Greg,

Another factor I left out is, they have been teaching this Hitleresque garbage for several generations now. It is very well-planted in Muslim society. And because it has taken many years to reach this point, it will likewise take many to root it out. But one has to begin to root it out, not just look the other way, like those westerners you mention.

ms. miami said...

lasunsett- "they"? "muslim society"?

there is no "muslim society," but there are muslim societies.

it's a horrible trap in which to fall- painting a vast and diverse portion of the world as a monolith.

Greg said...

Muslim society from a native. Sickening. Scary.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-ali16dec16,0,2351518.story?coll=la-home-commentary

Anonim said...

LASunsett, you are using too broad an anti-Arab brush when you say "They hate our culture. They are still in the Middle Ages, we are not. ..." It simply cannot be not true.

P.S. I would take Iran's efforts to develop nuclear capability seriously; but, their president and what he keeps saying are in general laughable.

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

//there is no "muslim society," but there are muslim societies.//

Point well-taken. It's what I get for trying to post and comment on 4 hours sleep.

I should have said:

"in most predominantly Muslim societies"

LASunsett said...

Hi Anonim,

I knew this would flush you out of lurking status.

;)

//you are using too broad an anti-Arab brush when you say "They hate our culture. They are still in the Middle Ages, we are not. ..." It simply cannot be not true.//

Maybe, maybe not. But before you deem it as painting it with a "broad brush", let's consider some things here.

What countries in the Arab world are still not in the Middle Ages? Some may be republics, true enough. But there still lies a vast gap in between the nobility and the peasantry in those countries. Is there a middle class? Is there freedom of speech, freedom of religion?

We know that there is certainly a wide gap in the sultanates and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The same is true of the so-called republics. And in each of them, there are strong elements that have used the opportunities afforded to them to explain this gap, by blaming the U.S. and Israel. This they have done, for many years now.

Add to this, I know of no true enlightment period that has existed in this part of the world; one that has had a remote chance of modernizing thought, to the degree that human rights could be realized and attained.

Where you come from is, for now, securely secular (say that 10 times fast). That is not to say that there are no radical elements, we all watched some of them protest the Pope's visit.

But in the Arab states, the radical elements that teach this curriculum to the masses, are a constant threat to the stability of most of these governments. I cannot view their social and political mores as part of the modern world, as long as: women are treated harshly, there is no freedom to practice a faith that is not Muslim, and the hatred taught against a race (and religion) permeates the civilization, and there is no middle class.

Bottom line here is, medieval thought processes and patterns cannot be isolated as mere feudalistic customs or monarchal forms of government.

Anonim said...

LASunsett, yes, you flushed me out. It was a good bath. Thank you...

I am not very knowledgeable in Arab matters and history. But their political development has been arrested by the Western colonial enterprise from at least 19th century on; after about WWII, meddling into their affairs, installing puppet regimes, by the West for Western interests continued. There were remarkable, home-grown secular democratic movements in both Egypt and Iran (should they have left to flourish, they would probably embarrass the Turkish secular democracy as ordered and developed forcefully by a relatively small military-educated elite. Who knows?). Both were squashed; the one in Egypt by the British and, the one in Iran in the 50s by the USA, which installed the Shah regime. Until after the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam's Baath regime in Iraq was backed and nurtured by the USA. So much so that Saddam waited for American greenlight for his move against Kuwait, thought he did get that, and didn't quite understand what happened after he moved in.

You know, give me a bigger threat (read communist USSR), I'll co-opt smaller threats (read Islamism). Hasn't the Taliban in Afghanistan (and arguably Al Qaida) a by-product of American-backed resistance to Russian invasion of that country. Isn't the USA still maintaining some extremely repressive ex-Soviet Turkic republics in central Asia (for possibly her military and energy interests vis-a-vis Russia, or whatever)?

In any event, such would not constitute excuse for teaching hatred, but I seriously doubt that the situation in the Middle East can be summed up as such. Egypt, Iran, Syria and Iraq all have intellectual Islamic traditions that reach far back; these taking on radical forms is an entirely modern phenomenon. It's not really about their or Islam's being locked up in Middle Ages.

Of course, Palestinian conflict, and how it radicalizes the ordinary Arab men, should not be forgotten. Unfortunately, in the US, the popular perspective on this issue is very one-sided, arguably even worse than in some segments of the Israeli population. And, I know, this blog doesn't quite fall outside that unfortunate line of thinking. What can I say? Read Jimmy Carter's book for a change?

As for enlightment and reformation, no, the world of Islam didn't quite go through the same period as the West did. But haven't those struggles in the West had to do with existence of established churches and their repression and hegemony? In Islam, there is no established church or clergy except in Shia. Still, that doesn't mean Islam didn't or doesn't allow freedoms (of expression, religion, etc.). It surely is lacking when judged by Western standards (to which I personally subscribe, btw). But, such shortcomings are probably better explained as cultural than religious. Honor killings (of girls who shame the family for example) has nothing to do with Islam per se, and are confined to isolated cultural pockets.

As for non-existence of middle class, wouldn't that be a non-religious, non-cultural question, but a patently socio-economic condition with much more worldly causes?

Well, I guess, I totally disagree with your bottom-line claim of medieval thought processes and patterns as the main issue here.

P.S. Turkey is securely secular no longer by mere top-down enforcement, but by majority popular will also.

Disclaimer (lest Greg jumps all over me :)
No, I don't think America got what she deserved. Nothing like that. Except maybe this: wake up to the power and influence of America around the world. It's big enough to cause damage while trying to do good things. And wait until after the fall to be so sensitive about anti-Americanism (like we Turks did after the fall of Ottomans). Until then remain calm and rational. Well, okay... you probably don't need my advice here.

Anonymous said...

la-

i'm no expert on the middle east, but have spent some time in turkey (with a turkish family), have gotten to know many people of north african origin while in france, and have gotten to know people from tunisia, egypt and lebanon here in the u.s.

as difficult as it would be to say that, oh, let's say, indianapolis and miami are "the same," let alone all countries of "the west" are "the same," things can never be so simple and clear cut for predominantly muslim societies either.

just like here, there are many differences in culture, language, class, education-level, etc. among people in that region. also just like here, many people have different views from their leaders.

indeed, as convenient as it is to depict an us/good vs. them/bad, it can never be that simple...

ms. miami said...

oops- that was me.

LASunsett said...

Anonim, Ms Miami, (and whoever else may be lurking),

I fully understand that Islam is not a homogenous religion. I also understand there is no homogenous Arab society.

I know several Muslims personally, who are part of the 21st century. They live right here in America and fly their American flags proudly. One, is very prominent and has written many books and articles on his view of Islam and its relationship to western society. He has been interviewed by the FBI many times, after 9-11. And to my knowledge has not been opposed to doing so, because he has nothing to hide and wants no part of anyone that does. Equally, I do believe he would certainly cooperate fully, if he ever were to happen across something that would be a threat to other Americans' lives. He is from Pakistan, which has a large anti-American/Islamist population.

I also know that colonialism was a cause of many hard feelings between the west and other countries that are predominantly Muslim. The lion's share of that was due to the vast amount of oil deposits that are located in many of these countries.

Now that these countries have won their independence from the colonialists, they have had opportunities to move forward. Most have not.

Now that the colonialism of the 20th century has faded from view, a new complaint has emerged, the plight of the Palestinians. The U.S. is villified in this, simply because they support the state of Israel, while the region that surrounds that state is hostile towards it.

We can use history to explain a lot of things, true enough. But at some point we are going to have to understand that the past cannot be changed.

What we do need to do is look at where we are at and where we need to be. And frankly, we have a long way to go. As long as there are groups that seek to destroy people, because of who they are, we are going to have conflict. It's not going to end. As long as we have people that want to resort to barbarism to settle that score, there is going to fight them.

What I want to convey here is not what's being understood. What I am saying here is, there are far more people that live in Arab countries that have subscribed to more radical forms of Islam than there are those like the gentleman I described earlier. It's growing and they are teaching perverted messages to the followers. And it's becoming more and more widespread, as time goes on.

Turkey may not be under threat of falling to radical elements. But it seems that the closer you get to Israel, the more radical the population is becoming. It is widely believed by many scholars (on the region) that if there were an election in Saudi Arabia (and other Arab states), between the current leader and Osama bin Laden, bin Laden would win by a landslide. That is concerning.

So no, I do not believe that each and every Muslim in the world is radical. But the numbers are growing.

Now let me say that I, too, am not an expert on the Arab world. I don't play one on TV and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, either. But from the materials I have read written by them, there are about one billion Muslims worldwide. I have also read that the radical sects account for about 2% of the population. That's about 20 million. And furthermore the bulk of them live in the Middle East. So, I do not feel my concern is unfounded, and it is not based on paranoia or a from lack of respect for Muslim people.

It comes from a knowledge and understanding that there are people that are teaching a brand of hate towards, and an intolerance for, what I happen to hold very dear and sacred.

I may be ahead of the game a little here and there. But the best chess players think several moves in advance. If something isn't done to shift the trend back from its current direction, there is going to be more trouble. If the people that are not tolerant towards freedom do not relent, there are going to be more problems than we have ever seen. If the ones that seek to harm others as a means to advance their causes do not learn to live and let live, we will not have peace. We just won't.

Anonim, you wrote:

//As for non-existence of middle class, wouldn't that be a non-religious, non-cultural question, but a patently socio-economic condition with much more worldly causes?//

In part, yes. But you must keep in mind that when the masses that are in poverty within these countries, are being told by the radical elements that it is the Jews' and the Americans' fault that they are in the condition they are in, it becomes more of a religious concern, even if it is coming from those that are perverting a religion. Hezbollah and Hamas are telling their constituencies this and have been for quite a while now.

ms. miami said...

Now that these countries have won their independence from the colonialists, they have had opportunities to move forward. Most have not.

las- again, i don't think that things are so simple. can you think of any shining post-colonial example? i can't, off the top of my head.

(keep in mind that 'colonialism' was very different in the u.s., canada & australia compared to latin america, africa, the middle east and parts of asia)

another small, but very important point: "arab" and "muslim" are far from interchangeable.

firstly, there are many arab christians- so, not all arabs are muslim.

secondly, many muslims are not arab. turks are not arab. iranians are not arab. pakistanis are not arab. afghanis are not arab. many residents of algeria & morocco are not arab.

again, it's a very diverse region.

LASunsett said...

Hi Ms Miami,

//i don't think that things are so simple. can you think of any shining post-colonial example? i can't, off the top of my head.//

My point exactly. It's not that they haven't had opportunities, after all, they have the most sought after and needed non-renewable resources in the entire world. How much revenue do you think has passed through their hands over the last 50 years? And yet, there are people that live in deep poverty, with no hope of opportunity to get out of it, because the royal family builds huge superfluous palaces and showers thamselves with other material riches. Sounds like France before the revolution, no?

//there are many arab christians- so, not all arabs are muslim.//

Let's look at some demographics of some of the countries that surround Israel:

Saudi Arabia

They are 90% Arab, the remaining 10% are guest workers from other predominantly Muslim countries. SA is 100% Muslim.

Syria

90% Arab, 90% Muslim, 10% Christian. Christians have been persecuted there and still are. I know many that are descendants of people that fled in the early 20th century due to religious persecution. This was a very similar circumstance as, when the French Catholics tried to eliminate the Huguenots (sp?).

Jordan

98% Arab, 94 % Muslim, 6% Christian. Not much different scenario here. Christians do not fare very well.

Lebanon

95% Arab, 60% Muslim, 40% various Christian sects. This looks good on paper, but when you consider Hezbollah is poised and ready to overthrow the Lebanese government, we may have to recalculate the perecentages, later.

Summary

These countries have between 25-35% of their populations living well below the poverty lines. These are people that have a sense of hopelessness like anyopne else in that condition would have, and are being comforted and cared for by the Hezbollahs and Hamas type groups, with Saudi Arabia being an enormous contributor to Hamas and Iran to Hezbollah. This is where the hate speech is taught and advanced. It is spreading.

//many muslims are not arab. turks are not arab. iranians are not arab. pakistanis are not arab. afghanis are not arab. many residents of algeria & morocco are not arab.//

Again, I agree on the ethnic points, Islam is very diverse as far as nationality, ethnicity, and culture is concerned. But there is a growing commonality between many of these nations, which is, their hate for Israel and the US for supporting them.

ms. miami said...

las- i'm not sure where you're trying to go with this. this is politics as usual.

we were also endoctrinated to "hate" the soviets for decades. i clearly remember the "perverted" lessons i was given in school. it's what countries that decide to "play the game" do.

i agree with you that the fundamental problem is lack of economic development throughout the world. however, our government does very little to actually help in this arena. it takes rock stars like bono to point this out to our officials.

Greg said...

Anonim: do we know each other? Why would you think I would "jump all over you"?

I won't. But I would like to correct a factual error in your post - the notion that the US "created" or supported violent islamists in Afghanistan. It's an oft repeated myth, but with no basis in actual fact. Our friends in kicking out the Soviets were the Northern Alliance - al Qaeda's sworn enemy in that country.

In any case, as we all agree, the Islamic world is a very diverse place. But one thing seems to be a common denominator in all those places: hatred of Jews and the US....

LASunsett said...

Ms Miami,

//we were also endoctrinated to "hate" the soviets for decades. i clearly remember the "perverted" lessons i was given in school. it's what countries that decide to "play the game" do.//

Not sure how old you are, but I remember the nuke bomb drills where we got under the desk. (Like that was going to help)

Anyway, the thing I would point out here is, the people that were in power during this time, were the same people that had just witnessed Hitler try to encapsulate the world under Nazi control. They were understandably a bit nervous about the rising power of the USSR; and knowing how Stalin operated, there was good cause for alarm in those days. It did wane somewhat after after he died, but unfortunately, Soviet hegemony did not die with Stalin.

There is a theory that Stalin was assassinated by his generals, because he was preparing to go to war against the US, even if it meant nuclear war. Soviet generals, being "good communists", were atheist and weren't quite ready to check out right then.

The night Stalin died, he had retired for the night as usual. There was always a guard outside his bedroom. On that night, one of the senior military officials told the guard that Stalin was very tired and that he "highly recommended" that the guard not disturb him. It is alleged that he told him this, because he knew that Stalin had been poisoned earlier in the evening.

There is another rumor that was told to me by a former citizen of Uzbekhastan (sp?). She told me that is was common knowledge where she was from that Andropov was shot, and did not die from renal failure, as was reported. (Not that this has anything to do with anything, just a tidbit I thought I'd throw out for you to chew on.)

One caution I would make in making the comparison between American-Soviet relations and that of the relationship we have with the Muslim world is, the Soviets never attacked us on our soil. Because of this, I find the threat from Islamists to be much more viable than that of the USSR. The Soviets fought war by proxy, the islamists brought the fight directly to us.

LASunsett said...

//She told me that is was common knowledge//

should read:

She told me that it was common knowledge

Anonim said...

First, Greg: I didn't mean the US created or supported violent Islamists as such. But that's what arose in Afhanistan at the end. Apparently, the Northern coalition was not strong or unified enough to hold it together. We'd have a similar situation (a more radicalized warring country) if the US withdrew from Iraq today. What do we think about McCain's position re: Iraq?

LASunsett, I am sorry but I can't keep track of what is being discussed. Though I'd agree with several of your individual points, the bootomline or the purpose seems to be moving; or, it's just me failing to wrap myself around it. I guess I've already said what I could. Beyond that, I am not going to argue the ME or the Islamic world are without problems they themselves are responsible for.

Here is a link to a Turkish blogger (who is a professional journalist; so not much commentary on his blog): The White Path. Check out his Dec. 19 entry, and if interested, also the previous few entries. He laments the medieveal modes of thinking as you did earlier. Somehow, I agree with him but not quite with you... I may just be relating better to where he is coming from.

ms. miami said...

las- my days were post-stalin, but i remember our 'endoctrination' very well. it goes both ways.

my bottom line is that this is and always has been a game. a sordid, ugly game.

we're involved because our government has chosen for decades to play the game of proxy wars, involving itself in coups, etc.

there is a reason that canadians and swedes, for example, don't have these problems or find themselves to be targets. they rise above this crap and make real efforts in international development.

you play, you pay...

LASunsett said...

MsM (as many times as you and I address each other during the course of our debates, I am going to shorten your name to this, if that's okay?),

//my days were post-stalin, but i remember our 'endoctrination' very well. it goes both ways.//

I was born just after Stalin's death. We still had the drills into the early 60s, although they weren't as frequent after the Cuban missile crisis. Many of my relatives were WWII vets and those that lived through it on the home front.

//my bottom line is that this is and always has been a game. a sordid, ugly game.//

It always has been and likely always will. But, whether or not we played it, someone would have played. Stalin played for keeps. Others have too. Even though it's not exactly what we want for the world, it's the hand that was dealt to us, and we must play it or fold. One thing I do not want to do is forfeit the game.

LASunsett said...

Anonim,

//I am sorry but I can't keep track of what is being discussed.//

The topic evolves at times around here. As it does, in most blogs. We like to argue, not in a mean-spirited way mind you, but in the spirit of honing our intellectual acuity.

BTW, thanks for the link to the blog. I read his entries that you recommended and have bookmarked it, for future reading.

ms. miami said...

las-

suit yourself. i'd rather move beyond the game, but my government isn't exactly knocking on my door and asking for my opinion.

btw- when i mention endoctrination, i'm not speaking about attack drills, but rather all of the lessons i was given on how soviet citizens were evil and horrible people.

LASunsett said...

MsM,

//suit yourself. i'd rather move beyond the game//

Believe me when I say it, so would I. But for that to happen, all parties must move beyond it, not just us.

//btw- when i mention endoctrination, i'm not speaking about attack drills, but rather all of the lessons i was given on how soviet citizens were evil and horrible people.//

The attack drills were part of it. It helped contribute to the hysteria that was necessary to continue public interest in maintaining the military industrial complex that arose from WWII.

I was fortunate to have a few impressionable teachers along the way, ones that drew distinctions between the Soviet people and the Soviet government. There was an empathy that I developed for people that couldn't live as free as I could.

They brought that out and helped me form some of my values, without indoctrinating me. They did it by encouraging me to think for myself and realize that people are people.

Their cultures are different, their belief and value systems may be different, but we all bleed red blood and require the same things to sustain life.

My parents were certainly instrumental in that too.

Anonim said...

LASunsett, I know there is no mean spirit in your house.