Friday, July 29, 2005

Friendman on Hatemongering

I would compile it in a nondiscriminatory way. I want the names of the Jewish settler extremists who wrote 'Muhammad Is a Pig' on buildings in Gaza right up there with Sheik Abd Al-Rahman Al-Sudayyis, a Saudi who is imam of Islam's holy mosque in Mecca. According to the Memri translation service, the imam was barred from Canada following 'a report about his sermons by Memri that included Al-Sudayyis calling Jews 'the scum of the earth' and 'monkeys and pigs' who should be 'annihilated.' Other enemies of Islam were referred to by Sheik Al-Sudayyis as 'worshipers of the cross' and 'idol-worshiping Hindus' who must be fought.'
Ok, we have a token Jewish extremist there, but is Friedman seriously trying to argue that the only hate merchants out there are Muslims and that one Jewish guy? Couldn't he find an example a little closer to home? Like, for example, the RaHoWa crowd that hasn't exactly gone anywhere?

(Remember when people actually paid attention to the home-grown christian racist extremists?)

More disturbing is this:

We also need to spotlight the "excuse makers," the former State Department spokesman James Rubin said. After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed. When you live in an open society like London, where anyone with a grievance can publish an article, run for office or start a political movement, the notion that blowing up a busload of innocent civilians in response to Iraq is somehow "understandable" is outrageous. "It erases the distinction between legitimate dissent and terrorism," Mr. Rubin said, "and an open society needs to maintain a clear wall between them."
Friedman plays the typical game of confusing "agree" with "understand". Understanding motivations has nothing to do with agreeing with them, else every homicide detective would be forced to sympathize with the criminals.

(Oddly enough, this used to be one of the main reasons Americans had trouble doing business in Japan. American english blurs the line between "agree" and "understand". Japanese doesn't. Japanese would say "they understood" and Americans would take it as "agree". Hijinks ensued.)

Even so, this (like so much of the rhetoric about the War-Formerly-Known-As-GWOT) smacks of attacking WrongThink. Just as one can understand and even sympathize with the alienation and frustration of a kid sucked into the trap of bullshit neo-nazism, yet loathe the actual doctrine, one can understand and sympathize with someone driven to anti-American extremism while still condemning and attacking the doctrine to which he adheres to. The axiom "hate the sin, not the sinner" is too simplistic, but it fits, and underscores a broader truth that isn't limited to Christianity: Understanding is a strength, not a weakness.

(Besides, since when has ignorance been a useful tactic in war? )

1 comment:

  1. Whoah, what's going on here? Posts? I hope you didn't get laid off.