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Pages: (3) [1] 2 3  ( Go to first unread post )

 Denmark
Drew
Posted: Feb 5 2006, 07:03 AM


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I'd really like to discuss this somewhere where people can all be civil, not make racist generalities about Arabs, and not take arguments completely out of context. I think this is a good forum for that. I'll start. What the fuck was that Danish newspaper thinking? Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean that you should. I agree with the arguments you made, Eral, and would like to talk about it further. The situation has turned into a real fire keg, now. I find it no surprise when considering that not only are Muslims constantly having their religous rights trounced (France forcing muslim girls to remove their head coverings in the name of "secularism" even though they still allowed the wearing of crucifixes) but their religion is being mocked every where they turn. Muslims are getting it on all fronts, and the Western world wonders why they are so upset? blink.gif

I'm not trying to say that it's OK to burn buildings, make death threats, or protest holding up signs saying "We'll show you the real holocaust" but these poor people are second class citizens in every country they live, and their nations have even lower bearing on the world stage. The western world needs to own up to it's own culpability in the firekeg that is the Middle East. Most of the problems that exist today stem from the fact that we put the people who are currently in power in power. We (the western world) are directly to blame for nearly everything that has gone wrong in the Middle east over the last 70 years. We colonised them and hand-picked many of the people leading the nations. In other words, WE GAVE THEIR DICTATORS THEIR JOBS!!!!!

The American CIA is largely responsible for Saddam being in power in Iraq, and the only reason Kuwait is it's own country is that when England gave Iraq it's independence it still wanted to keep a "shipping port". They naturally chose the most oil-rich portion of the land as their "shipping port". Saddam's claim that Kuwait should be part of Iraq (the reason he invaded Kuwait) is a commonly held sentiment in the arab world to this day (not to mention that the US actually told Iraq that we didn't care if they invaded Kuwait.....but then the Saudis we buy most of our oil from started bellyaching.... ) since it was part of the nation before England decided to colonise it. Ask an Iraqi how old his nation is and he won't tell you Iraq is less than a century old. He'll tell you that Iraq is 5,000 years old. We failed to recognize how their culture views the world. We really fucked up. Anyway, I think I've digressed enough. Sorry about ranting.
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icelus
Posted: Feb 5 2006, 06:09 PM


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UR ANTIAMERICAN
GTFO AND GO TO CANADA
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Drew
Posted: Feb 5 2006, 07:17 PM


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Canada isn't an option. They make a big deal out of being independent but the only reason they are is that, back in the '80's England decided that they no longer needed the Queens approval to modify their constitution. They also like Curling. You just can't trust people that like curling. Canada sucks. And I'm tired of their fucking geese.

For those that wonder (Eral), no, I don't hate Canada. Far from it. When I finish school, my wife and I would love to get a chance to move up to Vancouver.
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Guest
Posted: Feb 5 2006, 07:58 PM


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QUOTE (Drew @ Feb 5 2006, 07:03 AM)
I'm not trying to say that it's OK to burn buildings, make death threats, or protest holding up signs saying "We'll show you the real holocaust"

Yes. I have enormous difficulty sympathising with people who get riled up over religion. Riot about something that matters, please.
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Drew
Posted: Feb 5 2006, 08:22 PM


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That doesn't quite work, though. Religious people are insulted when you tell them that religion doesn't matter or, even worse, you purposefully insult their religion. Religion matters to religious people and they have a right to that opinion.
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Regullus
Posted: Feb 5 2006, 08:33 PM


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QUOTE
The American CIA is largely responsible for Saddam being in power in Iraq...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein

The US mainly became interested in SH in the early 80s as a secular counterpoint to Iran. The Baathist party came to power in 1968 and SH seized power in 1978(?).

QUOTE
Saddam's claim that Kuwait should be part of Iraq (the reason he invaded Kuwait) is a commonly held sentiment in the arab world to this day (not to mention that the US actually told Iraq that we didn't care if they invaded Kuwait.....but then the Saudis we buy most of our oil from started bellyaching.... )


This was my initial understanding too but what was under dispute was an oil field on the border of Kuwait and Iraq that did indeed have a longish history of dispute. Glapsie (spelling?) did tell SH that the US would not involve itself in a border dispute.

SH demanded 8 or 9 billion from the Kuwaitis as a penalty for underselling oil and the Kuwaitis were advised by the US to use this payment as a bargaining chip. If SH had simply seized the oil field as opposed to marching into Kuwait and deposing the Kuwaiti rulers, there probably would not have been a GW1.

Privately, most Arab states were concerned that SH would continue his outward expansion, if successful. It has been alleged that the US tricked the Saudis with doctored satelite photos of Iraqi build-up on the Saudi border. I find it doubtful that the Saudis would have been unaware of troop build up on their borders. In other words, if the US tricked the Saudis, the Saud government were a co-conspirator, imo.

As to the question of cultural sensitivity, I find myself conflicted. On the one hand, if a Christian is offended, it is backward and peculiar. If a Muslim is insulted, we are being insensitive. I once said to an acquaintance that I found clitorectomies to be appalling and she looked at me with horror and said it was their CULTURE! I said, "So?"

If Bex's Danish friend is to be believed, the situation has been manufactured for political gain by the imans. Or the situation has been manufactured by the US in order to make Muslims unpopular.

I find myself somewhat perplexed with the idea that non-Western countries are consistently manipulated by the West and have no responsibility for their social ills or governments. I find such a stance a form of reverse racism.

I think at some point in time, colonialism, oppression, etc, by another nation to explain another nations' ills becomes a misguided argument. For an example, at some point in time I think to truly understand a country's ills, one must ask the question whether or not the country or its leadership has something to do with its ill.

This is obviously not a racist question but a thoughtful question on a country's evolution.


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Drew
Posted: Feb 5 2006, 09:13 PM


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Kuwait was also cross-drilling into Iraqi land.

I'm not trying to deny the culpability of the Middle East for their own actions, but merely trying to point out that we wouldn't be having the problems we have today in this region had we not colonised them and set up corrupt dictators when we left. The problems we have with the leaders of their nations are our own fault since we, uh, gave those leaders the jobs.

Most of our policy toward the Middle East is still, unfortunately, based on cultural misconceptions even now. Only a tiny minority of Arab nations (less than a fifth) are theocratic in nature, yet we take the words of a few extremist Imams (often these extremists purporting themseleves to be religous figures aren't even Imams and do not have the authority to actually make fatwas) and the very existence of a few theocracies as representative of the entire Arab world. This misconception only serves to weaken the status of the Arab world in the international community. We blame them for having the problems that we indirectly (sometimes directly) created while denying our own culpability in this mess. That just isn't fair.
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Eral
Posted: Feb 5 2006, 11:12 PM


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I think there are two issues here: freedom of speech vs respect for cultural/religious sensitivity, and Western Imperialism vs Islamic Fanatics.

The first one is the mistake the Danish editor made - I read an article saying the reason he published the cartoons was to show an illustrator there would be no problems illustrating a children's book about Mohammed: boy, was he wrong about that. That is one book that is going to stay unillustrated for some time now.
I haven't seen the cartoons, all I know is the particularly offensive one showed Mohammed with a bomb in his turban. Now I don't know if the fuss arises from drawing Mohammed at all, or if the suggestion that he might have blown people up is the problem. I have heard complaints about both. This one I believe has been addressed by the editor apologising. I think that non-Muslims should be able to draw Mohammed because they don't believe he can't be represented. Same way they don't have to observe the religious rituals of any religion they don't follow. I think it is respectful to avoid ridiculing Mohammed, but that goes for anyone else's beliefs. Apologising for the offence should settle it.

When Christians object to Jesus being depicted, we usually dismiss them because we don't have an embargo on drawing him. Also, because our culture usually allows for publication of different views- we accept it as important to the health of our society. (And that whole circumcision=culture means accepting horrendous treatment of women as long as it's always been a tradition. I don't think so. I accept that headscarves and covering are not seen as a problem by some women. Mutilation ain't exactly the same thing.) Obviously, Muslim societies don't all do that.

Now we come to the second argument- how much of this uproar is chest-beating at Evil Westeners, the Imperialist disrespecters? Is it just an opportunity for radical Islamicists to gain support for sharia law and the cultural practices that give the imams a great deal of control over their society? Maybe it's going to make a restless population more supportive of their governments - maybe it will enable those governments to crack down further on dissidents - Islam is under attack everywhere, etc. The Iranian President was claiming yesterday it was a Jewish-American conspiracy - smells like opportunism to me. I think the burning buildings is just an expression of frustration - the Chinese did the same thing over the Japanese schoolbooks. Whoo-hoo - let's go trash something. In Palestine in particular there isn't a lot else to do for fun. Interestingly, in Lebanon, the Interior Minister had to resign because he didn't call out the police/army to protect the embassies that were attacked - and the large Christian segment of the country is not happy.

I would really like to hear from a Muslim person on it - preferably someone not calling for the death of the Imperialist running dogs over this unspeakable offence- so I could understand if ordinary people are still offended and what they see the resolution as. Here in Australia, the only people who have expressed their outrage, and warned that publishing the cartoons would cause riots, are leaders of very strict groups. I'm not hearing comments from moderates - but is that because no-one is asking them? Are the radicals the only ones we are interested in hearing from? Is the media helping to foster prejudices? Or reporting on the real problem - how do we accommodate two completely different views? Something's gotta give.


*This has to be record length post. I hope Ghrey doesn't find out.*
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Guest
Posted: Feb 6 2006, 02:06 AM


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QUOTE (Drew @ Feb 5 2006, 08:22 PM)
That doesn't quite work, though.

On the contrary. People are quite entitled to make a fuss about whatever they want. Similarly, I'm entitled not to care. There are more pressing issues facing the world than who's insulted what religion, and I contend that everybody's time would be better spent discussing ways of solving global poverty than even considering why anyone's upset about some cartoon.
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Drew
Posted: Feb 6 2006, 02:16 AM


Peon


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@Guest: Missing my point entirely. If you tell someone that his religion doesn't matter, you offend him. Offending people doesn't help anyone, so it is generally prudent to avoid purposefully doing that. If you want the Arab world to allow us to come in and help their poor, some degree of cultural sensitivity is necessary.
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Eral
Posted: Feb 6 2006, 02:35 AM


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But Drew, they don't. "Helping the poor" is code to many people as "corrupting Islamic society". It'd be interesting to see if people in say, Afghanistan are protesting - and how they are expressing their feelings.

Indonesia did a rather perfunctory rant, supporting Islamic values which are under attack etc, etc and then said but now the Danish newspaper has apologised, everyone can stop talking about it. It's the most un-anti-West statement they've ever released.

You now, not one person representing a government has said, "ah for fuck's sake, get over it" or the political equivalent. I wonder what would happen if they did.
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Drew
Posted: Feb 6 2006, 02:55 AM


Peon


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QUOTE (Eral @ Feb 6 2006, 02:35 AM)
But Drew, they don't. "Helping the poor" is code to many people as "corrupting Islamic society". It'd be interesting to see if people in say, Afghanistan are protesting - and how they are expressing their feelings.


They allow the Red Cross. Primarily because the Red Cross doesn't try to change their culture. Instead, they help their sick and wounded.

QUOTE
You now, not one person representing a government has said, "ah for fuck's sake, get over it" or the political equivalent. I wonder what would happen if they did.
Easy. OPEC would raise oil prices.
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cliffette
Posted: Feb 6 2006, 07:38 AM


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Just a quick comment - please to be avoiding using the FONT SIZE = -XX function in future (though I'm not asking you to change your post, Drew) because it's really hard to read and just using a parantheses serves the same purpose in denoting an aside without making it hard to read.

(Or you could use italics to show that it is in sotto voice, though I'm not entirely sure what sotto voice is... but I'm sure I've read it in a stage direction somewhere.)
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Guest
Posted: Feb 6 2006, 10:38 AM


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QUOTE (Drew @ Feb 6 2006, 02:16 AM)
@Guest: Missing my point entirely. If you tell someone that his religion doesn't matter, you offend him. Offending people doesn't help anyone, so it is generally prudent to avoid purposefully doing that. If you want the Arab world to allow us to come in and help their poor, some degree of cultural sensitivity is necessary.

No, no, I get your point precisely, and I still don't care. People are always going to get offended over stupid things. The important issue is deciding when you think it actually matters.
If I throw a huge fit because I find it offensive that you use the word "barnacles", you think I'm an idiot. Same difference.
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Drew
Posted: Feb 6 2006, 06:23 PM


Peon


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Joined: 5-January 06



@Cliffette: OK. But it was supposed to be hard to read.........

@ Guest: there's a big difference between offending someone on purpose and doing it accidentally. Yes, I'm well aware that misunderstandings happen and people will get offended by things that are, by your opinion (and mine), stupid. That doesn't mean we should go out of our way to offend people. The only areas where being purposefully offensive can actually accomplish anything are stand up comedy and talk radio.
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