Hiya T_P, I've been in Argentina for a few weeks with very limited internet. How have you been?
The US embassy in Argentina is on high alert today because an anti Qu'aran burning protest is scheduled to take place. The threat has been mitigated a bit since the book burning has been called off. But since they already printed the flyers, there will still be an anti-US protest.
This is what happens when some yokel priest getting international airtime for preaching hate to his congregation of 30 people. His stupid message goes around the world, and 4000 miles away, a US embassy clerk gets her windshield smashed in Buenos Aires. Or maybe some American tourists get assaulted by a thug in Lisbon after being heard speaking English in the streets. Or maybe a few dozen more Muslims decide that this is the last straw, and join the Taliban's fight.
What can we, as individuals or groups, do when our media hapahzardly makes life worse for our countrymen?
Sorry I won't be able to follow your responses until I can come home to easy internet access. But I had to hop on to share this with you.
I'm convinced that how we see groups of people can be profoundly influenced by the way that we encounter those people-- even if the encounters are only limited.
I have heard a number of Americans say:
"Everything I need to know about Islam I learned on 9/11."
This explains their inability to tell rather secular Muslims from fanatics who pervert religion for their political aims like ... say ... Osama Bin Laden. The inability to tell the difference between the Taliban and the dozens of diverse Muslim communities in China, Ivory Coast and India who might not know anything more about the Taliban than your average Protestant from Iowa knows about the internal politics of the Vatican. (Not that the Vatican and Taliban are at all comparable at this point in history.)
How have your expereinces shaped your views of Islam? Your views of Muslim people?
War is the fertile valley from which humanity springs. War is the mother of countries, the father of heroes and a child of God. War defines our social reality in every vein. War informs every part of who we are. We are political animals after all, which is to say that we are animals of war. I salute the warmongers, the terrorists, the soldiers, the warriors. Without war, I wouldn't be able to go to college. We wouldn't be able to leverage billions of dollars in scientific research. Without war, we would be disorganized masses of stupid brutes. Without war, we would be so much flotsam and jetsam in a meaningless existence. Without war there is no light. No identity. No humanity. We are human. We make war. War is our finest achievement. War is our pride and joy. War is not only what we are good at, but what we love the most.