Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Horror...The Horror....

I always enjoy reading Tampa Taxi Shots because Tim is a talented writer and an excellent photographer. He also takes me back to the day when I was driving a cab in St. Petersburg. His post today is more than disturbing and says a lot about intolerance. As they say "some of the images may be disturbing". It caused me to wonder just what kind of demons posses Islam. Where is the outcry from the Muslim world over this? Where is the outcry from the Christian world over this?


Blogger Sean said...

First, I'm an athiest. With that said, I've a profound respect for others and their search for spirituality. And I think demonizing Islam in general -because their radical extremists get so much press - is not terribly productive.

Just for the sake of balance, let's review some recent history so that some of the people who pass through here understand that Islam doesn't hold a monopoly on murderous religious extremists.

Massacre by Orthodox Christians

"In the dying days of the Bosnian war, Serb forces easily overran what was a UN safe area and attacked a column of fleeing refugees. Almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys are known to have been killed at Srebenica, while thousands of other civilians were never found."

Massacre by Roman Catholics

2001-MAY-27: Poland: Bishops apologize for massacre of Jews: According to Associated Press:
About 100 bishops led by Cardinal Jozef Glemp, participated in an unprecedented ceremony in which they apologized for past Roman-Catholic treatment of Jews. They apologized both for a massacre of as many as 1,600 Jews by Roman Catholics during World War II, and for other wrongs committed by Catholics on their fellow citizens who were Jews. The mass crime against humanity occurred during 1941-JUL in Jedwabne, a town in north-eastern Poland. For many years, it was believed that the slaughter was done by Nazis. The truth has only recently been determined. About 2,500 people attended the service. Rabbi Michael Schudrich, the leader of Poland's Jewish community said that the ceremony had "the potential to be one more very important step" in reconciliation between Polish Catholics and Jews. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the ceremony, because it was held during the Jewish holy day Shavout.

If everything witnessed throughout human history was recorded and we could review it, I think we'd discover that there have been - and currently are - countless shameful acts orchestrated by leading members of every religion that now exists or has ever existed. The truth is countries like Indonesia and regions like the middle east are third world areas. They aren't western industrialized nations with a high GDP and a pretty comfortable quality of life. Thanks almost entirely to the luck of the draw, we got a huge head start when building our modern civilizations. These third world countries are very much like America in the 1700s. Wild and dangerous, and bloated with religious conflict and festering with tribal and religious genocides.

I think it is unfortunate that a person would bear witness to the photo of a little Christian girl beheaded, and think, why aren't Christians all over the world getting fired up about this? I think it is unfortunate because the reality is that people all over the world and from every religion are horrified by this kind of violence. They're HORRIFIED. But until each third world country is democratized and is able to enter a global economy and create meaningful jobs for their population, these countries won't have the resources to police their own state. We either commit ourselves to accelerating this democratization, or we are doomed to a vengeful tribal mentality for all time. And that would be a damn shame.


2:19 PM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

Having read the Qur'an, Sean,there is much positive to be found in Islam. However the present leaders have taken the worst possible interpretation and passed it off as gospel to their followers. They have demonized Islam, not I. They're not the first religious leaders to do this and certainly not the last.

You are right about the unbelievable atrocities commmitted by Christians whose thinking and acts were (and posibly still are) as reprehensible as the Islamic clerics.

And yes, history is replete with acts of unspeakable horror committed in every place and every time. The American Indian saga comes to mind as well as the fire bombing of Dresdin and countless other acts of insanity.

With out stepping on your beliefs, Sean, many others along with myself feel that our nation has only succeded because of a devine blessing. When we turn away from our spiritual roots we will (and I think it's being demonstrated) decline. This nation was founded with a strong belief in God and to endure we must live that faith. I've read the Bible also and seen what has happened to nations who turned away from God.

From a Political scientists perspective the only nations which have survived are those which have as their basis some transcendent law. Some set of values which the system cannot get their hands on and mess with. Our country was founded on God and the Constitution. I don't need to explain to you about God and I think also you have a pretty good idea about what's happening to our Constitution.

I disagree with you that people are horrified about this, as I see little horror expressed in anything more than some cartoon. Even if they are horrified they are not horrified enough. I didn't enjoy seeing this picture in the least but it did bring into my small world up here on the mountain the awfull reality of the terrible times in which we live. And I hoped that by linking to it others may be as moved. Sometimes we must be jarred out of our comfort zone.

As far as economy goes, the most efficient form is the autocratic.
Democracy is OK. It's the best of the worst. Aristotle thought it one of the three poor forms of government. The reason, because it is based in self intrest. Even Hitler was democraticly elected. Untill that day when the political systems of the major countries are more focused on the inalienable right of man "to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and all the sacrifices that statement imply, we will only have more of the same. As such you are very correct about the urgent need to balance world poverty with world prosperity. What if the money spent on war was spent on improving the lives of the third world citizens?

And talk about tribal mentality, the only truly succesfull political system I can think of is described in a book by Colin Turnbull entitled "The Forest People" about the Uturi Pigmey living in the forest of the Congo. Their political system, no political system only a mutual caring for one another (kind of like "love you neighbor as yourself")and a deep respect for an unchanging piece of pipe.

Thanks for your comments, Sean, you always bring another perspective on things.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

All points well taken! No worries about stepping on my beliefs simply by stating beliefs that runs counter to it.

I know full well many of the massacres of and oppression of the American Indian saga. My mother was born on Burnt Church (EsgenoÙpetitj) reservation, New Brunswick, Canada. The Mic Mac fought the British during the late 17th and 18th centuries. At one point there was a 50 pound British reward for Mic Mac scalps. Problem was, Mic Macs were well armed thanks to trade with Europeans since the late 16th century. Mic Mac scalps were awfully hard to come by, and the bounty was ceased when scalps being brought in were of clearly European origin :) Of course, even the Mic Macs weren't completely virtuous. My ancestors killed countless British settlers, one would argue through justifiable resistance. However, when a large Iriquois tribe on the other side of the Saint Lawrence river started cutting into the Mic Mac fur trade...... Well, let's just say that the entire Iriquois tribe had disappeared before the next trading season.


4:37 AM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Dave, I checked out that link, and it reminds me of the horror the Baha'is experienced at the hands of Muslim clerics. We have similar photos in our history archives.

Man's inhumanity to man is a work in progress, with no end in sight. I hope for a better day, and I respect people of all religious faiths, provided violence is not part of the package. Violence never effects positive long-term gain.

By the way, I love the music of the Pygmies of the Ituri Forest - it is heavenly.

10:46 AM  
Blogger Binty McShae said...

MacBean, it is not 'the present leaders' but the present mouthy radicals who cause the friction. Islamic leaders over here have responded to everything thrown their way with lectures and positive teachings to educate both their own followers and those from other religions.

I agree with Taxi guys horror over the incident but he seems to use this almost as a finger pointing exercise at Islam - when will we learn that this attitude does more harm than good? And using that cartoon - I'm sure you read my posts on it last week...

1:04 AM  
Blogger benning said...

mac, I'm in agreement. It seems that, at the drop of a hat, Muslims around the world will take to the streets. Violently.

No, we don't see that from Christians, Jews, Ba'Hais, when they are insulted - and they are on a regular basis. I expect a difference when we are talking about a Civil War. Both sides were unbelievably savage in the Bosnian War, but the Christians got the negative press. The same happened in Kosovo. Atrocities - and press-inflated numbers - on both sides, but the Christians blamed and emblazoned on the world's media. The Muslims? A free pass. It continues to this day.

The West seems to be progressing, while the Middle East seems to be regressing. And our own media seems to fear the radical Islamists, while they know they have nothing to fear from the Christians and Jews. Witness the NYTimes refusal to print the "offending" cartoons while having no compunctions against reprinting the "Virgin Mary Smeared With Elephant Dung" picture. They claim a sensitivity to Muslims: they will not show the cartoons because it will hurt the feelings of Muslims (Notice how the image of Mohammed was used regularly in Islamic Art in the not-so-distant past?)and endanger lives. But that sensitivity ends when they can reprint Abu Ghraib photos that will inflame Muslims and endanger lives. What is the difference in the two?

One will embarrass Islamists, one will embarrass the US.

Sorry - that was a bit of a rant. Won't happen again. :(

6:08 AM  
Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

Thanks for your comment, Benning. Informed discussion is always welcome even in the rant form.

7:08 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

I think a generalization of an entire culture or creed is an understandable by-product of being human. It's also naive, cyclicle, and unproductive. I challenge anyone with some grand and generalized armchair position on what's right or wrong with a particular culture to get out of their comfort zone and travel to that culture. Only by living in it can we make an informed and balanced judgement. Until then it's just so many words born from ignorance and then cultivated by a sense of frustration. And a wee bit of Xenophobia.


9:12 AM  

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