Sunday, July 09, 2006

A 'completely false' sense of grievance

BBC: 'Mr Blair told MPs: "If we want to defeat the extremism, we have got to defeat its ideas and we have got to address the completely false sense of grievance against the West...'

You see, though, I do feel angry. I am particularly angry right now at the rape and murder of a 15 year old girl and the massacre of her family by US troops. It is an abhorrent crime and has caused widespread rage all over the world. I am angry about Haditha, Falujah, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and all the other horrible litany of names that now stand for something wicked and wrong. I am sad and angry about the fact that every day in Iraq is 7th July, that Afghanistan is becoming yet again a brutalised battleground.

I am angry that despite the '7/7' bombers' videos explaining the July 7 murders were committed because of foreign policy, in Iraq, in Afghanistan - and far more importantly, despite reports commissioned by the Government themselves such as the Foreign Affairs Committee - the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary bizarrely still seem not to want to listen or admit any link between widespread anger amongst its citizens - and its own foreign policy.


If we have nothing to hide we have nothing to fear, we get told whenever new freedom-limiting legislation is in play. Why can our leaders not even listen at least, and be seen to humbly re-examine their own policies, and heed the counsel of calm voices who have useful criticism and advice to offer? Why do they seem to stop their ears? Why do so many of us stop our ears? Where does that get us all?

I have read with interest the recommendations of Muslims and other informed experts about how to tackle beligerent Islamic extremism, and how understanding its roots is critical if it is to be rooted out. I have read the earlier warnings that the invasion of Muslim lands, especially if done illegally and without UN sanction and popular support and post-invasion planning, was likely to cause violence and only increase the risks of terror, and bring misery, here and abroad. I see the warnings were true.

Well, we are here now, and cannot turn back the clock; we can only try to make things better. That means listening to all sensible suggestions. What harm can it do? What good might it do? Even making the effort to listen is a healing thing that might defuse some of the tensions that make us all so defensive and yes, so frighteningly angry.

I am saddened that many informed voices, and the initiatives they suggested do not seem to have not been heeded or acted upon, despite promising early publicity.

Because whilst all this anger remains at foreign and domestic policy, more and more people, including me sometimes, miss the real debate. That there is a yet another new totalitarian, nihilistic ideaology abroad and what makes it so dangerous is that it uses legitimate grievances to feed its toxic agenda.

I am more than sad, I am deeply angry, that malice is in our midst, that poisonous paranoid propoganda is spewed, that an ancient religion is perverted by a few into politicised Islamic extremism via an action-heavy, theology-lite conspiracy-theory that preys on the anger and aggrievement of rootless adolescents and makes them into walking weapons of destruction. I am desperately sad that it is widely said that many adherents of Islam are not willing to use the minds God gave them to question how to live to the glory of God in a world where we are still at war with each other, and to work for peace and understanding.

I see that many are in fact doing just this, whether they are Muslim or no, but it is not so widely reported. I see that, yes, there are still those in denial, defensive, still hooked on foolish conspiracy theories and a sense of nihilistic self-pitying rage dressed up as 'concern' for the oppressed.
I am trying not to despair, today, as I read the news.
People like Hassan help.

I am still hoping that there is a better future ahead, a way for us all to honour each other, whatever our personal Gods, as fortunate custodians of a beautiful blue planet full of life and marvellous creatures and organisms, a place that so far seems to be unique in all of endless space.


I am fed up that completely legitimate criticism of current government foreign policy is portrayed by some as sympathy for terrorism and traitorous treachery. It is not. You can criticise the Government and remain a true and honest citizen. I am angry that real anger is now portrayed as' false grievance' and as fake 'victimhood'. I am frustrated that despite the exhortations by politicians to religious men and women, men and women who care passionately about justice, to 'look into their hearts' and 'engage' their minds, those representing me do not seem capable or willing to do the same - though they call themselves wise and well-counselled and even 'guided by God'.

I am sad, I am angry, today, and this blog is where I express my anger and sadness and my personal opinions. On Friday I remembered the dead, and the victims of bombs, here and everywhere else. Now I am thinking about the future, and I am thinking about how to use my life that was spared to listen and to learn and to work for hope and healing.

My leader seems, a year on from homegrown horror, to still be dismissing voices like mine as having a ''completely false sense of grievance.'' No, Mr Blair, there is legitimate grievance and illegitimate grievance. Legitimate protest was seen when millions marched against the Iraq war. Hundreds of thousands have protested against brutal policies in Chechyna, Palestine, Afghanistan. It seems to fall on deaf ears - and so people get frustrated and angry. But only 4 British citizens have so far taken this rage and made themselves into weapons of mass destruction an dsucceeded in killing fellow-citizens. And we do need to hold onto that fact.

I think a young man's sense of uninformed grievance that is hijacked by evil men's propoganda and lies to say that it is right to kill and maim in the name of God is utterly wicked and wrong. But I do not think that sadness and anger at bombings here and abroad is not legitimate. I do not think to say so is to act like a victim. I do not think to want to question the actions done in my name as a UK citizen is foolish, naive, or empathising with terrorism.

I wear no hijab, I attend no place of worship, I am white and well-educated and have a small platform to speak out here on this blog. I have seen close up the violence that al Qaeda-inspired idealogy brings. I have no sympathy for its idealogy, I hate it. I will aways hate it. And maybe, just maybe for a short while, people will read what I say, not because of who I am, but because of where I was a year ago.

I try not to hate those who espouse the murder of innocemts. I try to see the person behind the poison, to stay hopeful and calm. To try to think of the bomber who attacked me as the fatherless child he was before he became the fantatic killer, blowing himself and others to pieces. I try. Because where does hate and anger and vengeance get me? I cannot function if I am as consumed by hate and rage as him, if I swear myself to vengeance and only vengeance. I have to let the hatred go to survive.

I walk in the middle ground, with my questions and my anxieties like the moderate millions everywhere. I listen, I look, I try to learn and to understand. I do not think, after considering carefully for a year, that my personal position and opinions are wholly false or foolish, and I wonder, I wonder, how many more feel like me, and what it will take for leaders to listen to us .

I hope that it does not take thirty years of 'long war' and the endless horrors of bombs exploding in the midst of innocent civilans.

I think is the duty of every man and woman alive to seek justice and healing, to work for peace and reconciliation, to root out and report abuse and extremism, and to challenge and speak out what they find to be cruel and unfair. I do not think it matters what I call God, or whether I call on no God at all but instead look to a common humanity..

If my neighbour's house is burning, I will call the fire service, if my son or my neighbour's son is burning with rage I will listen to him and talk to him, if he is plotting murder and mayhem I must report him and stop him for the greater good.

For this is citizenship, this is civilised, and to frame the debate in terms of 'with us' or 'against us', as 'the Muslims' problem' not 'society's problem, our problem, is foolish, dangerous and arrogant.

Am I my brother's keeper? asked one of a pair of disgruntled warring brothers, Cain and Abel, in a story we have told for thousands of years. Unwilling to listen to the answer - which was of course, yes, you are your brother's keeper and he yours - he murdered his brother, and so the story tells of how division and hatred and war entered the world. There is a fundemental truth in this ancient legend, whch is why we remember it still. In this question is the root of all the cycle of bloodshed that convulses us as a species.

Your brother, my brother is the man on the London tube, the woman in Afghanistan, the child in Pakistan, the baby in Sudan. Religion and nationality shouldn't even come into it. Social problems are not religious problems, they are human problems. They are our problems. Our duty is not just to listen to what purports to be the words of God as interpreted by a few men, but to each other, to all of God's creation, not just to a select few.

If you believe in God, then why not trust that your God is big enough and wise enough to have given you the free choice to honour him with your life and your dealings and your doings? If you do not believe in God, (and I mostly don't, at least, not to a God I find in any organised religion) , you have your own life and deeds which define all that you are and all that will be remembered of you.

One year after I stumbled away, shuddering, from some of the worst that humanity could do to each other, I remember what I have written of time and time again, the voices and hands of strangers asking 'are you all right'. Instinctively reaching out, all of us our brother's keepers.

We're all on the same train, I know this now; we can choose to be suspicious and to attack each other, or we can help each other on our journey. We can refuse the ideaology that says to kill each other is somehow holy or we can hide from the questions, nurse the grievances, feed the anger and make victims of each other and ourselves. Our leaders need to help, not hinder in this, by showing they are capable of the soul-searching they demand of others, and by ceasing to frame the debate we all need to have in such unfair, and unhelpful terms.

22 Comments:

Blogger snooo said...

Hey. I wrote about Blair's speech on my blog. I agree with you that it is deeply worryingly that our "elected" (I didn't bloody vote for him) leaders choose to use the language that they do when they are fully aware of the difficulties facing Britain. I find it even more worrying that its been a year since 7/7 and he seems to have learnt nothing since then. He easily could have made that speech just after the bombs - and even before. It's an insight into the way the man things - to be frank I probably shouldn't have expected anything else from him.

July 09, 2006 3:21 pm  
Blogger piu piu said...

i went to oxford, studied art, with liz daplyn.

i fully support your demands for an inquiry. i hope this weekend wasn't too traumatic for you...

July 09, 2006 3:30 pm  
Anonymous Alan said...

An excellent summation.

In the movie "Bowling for Columbine", Michael Moore interviewed Marilyn Manson and in the interview asked him, if he could speak to the two boys who carried out the Columbine massacre, what he would say to them. Manson replied that he wouldn't say anything to them, he would listen to what they had to say because that's what nobody ever did for them.

How come a freakazoid rock star like Manson understands that, and yet supposedly the greatest minds of our nation don't?

Calling their grievances "completely false" means essentially that you are not listening to their greivances. And if people feel they are not being listened to, that's when they take action. Yet again, instead of working towards a solution, Mr Blair becomes a part of the problem.

July 09, 2006 4:08 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hang on, the point I'm making, never mind 'white British' is that many people, full stop, didn't agree with the war and haven't started a bombing campign. Only 4, or possibly 8, have. They are not representive of you, or me, or - and this si the key thing - Brtish Muslims

I am really having probs with the fact that 'disagreeing with the Govt. policies' = ' might be considering starting a bombing campaign...

If disagreeing with government policy makes me a potential terrorist, then I am one of millions of potential terrorists, brown ones, white ones, hijab-wearing ones, suit-wearing ones...

It's all bollocks. And framing the argument in these weasel terms, as Blair is doing is TOTALLY STUPID. AND TOTALLY POINTLESS.

July 09, 2006 5:50 pm  
Blogger Woffle said...

I sympathise with your views, and among educated, likeable people living in London, you're in the majority. Blair bad. War bad. Peace and love good. Etc.

I also respect your right to say these things far more than most.

But regardless of whether the war in Iraq/Afghanistan/terror in general is right or wrong, accept that not everyone on this blue planet of ours is as educated, intelligent and peace-loving as yourself and many like you.

July 09, 2006 5:56 pm  
Blogger Numeral said...

Rachel said:

Our leaders need to help, not hinder in this, by showing they are capable of the soul-searching they demand of others, and by ceasing to frame the debate we all need to have in such unfair, and unhelpful terms.

Our leaders have made it crystal clear that they are not going to do that. One thing to do would be to find out why they are pursuing such a murderous policy. Another thing, even more difficult, would be to make such leaders accountable to us.

July 09, 2006 6:02 pm  
Blogger The jack ass said...

I am a Muslim and don't hate anyone on the basis of religion, race, or language.

So many people are afraid of terrorists. Below is some details of the nuclear capabilities of the "VICTIM COUNTRIES".

Declared nuclear weapons states and their nuclear warheads
United States 5,735/9,960
Russia (formerly the Soviet Union) 5,830/16,000
United Kingdom <200
France 350
People's Republic of China 130
India 75-115
Pakistan 65-90
North Korea 0-7

The five established nuclear powers - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - possess enough nuclear warheads to obliterate the world many times over.

UNITED STATES: The United States maintains a sizeable arsenal of nuclear weapons, including approximately 10,600 intact warheads, 7,650 of which are considered active or operational. Approximately 1,600 are deployed on land-based missile systems (Minuteman and Peacekeeper ICBMs), 1,660 on bombers (B-52 and B-2), and 2,880 on submarines (Ohio-class subs). 1,120 are tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs).

The United States is the only country to station land-based nuclear weapons outside its borders.

- RUSSIA: Russia has roughly 7,000 deployed strategic nuclear warheads but the arsenal jumps to some 20,000 when stored and tactical warheads are added in.

- FRANCE: France maintains approximately 350 nuclear warheads on 60 Mirage 2000N bombers, four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), and on carrier-based aircraft.

- BRITAIN: The UK's current stockpile is thought to consist of approximately 200 strategic and "sub-strategic" warheads on Vanguard-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN).

- CHINA: China is estimated to have about 400 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, and stocks of fissile material sufficient to produce a much larger arsenal. China acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1992 as a nuclear weapon state.

If the destructive power of world war two is measured in mega tons of explosives was equal to 3 megatons.

In 1981 the total destructive power of known nuclear nations was 18000 megatons, and increase of 6000 times, since the WW II.

Today the world is feeling insecure due to dick heads like Mr. Laden and allies.

People say that they sleep with a fear that a terrorist will blast them off.

Only one Muslim, nuclear capable state is Pakistan, which don't have the missiles or airplanes to fire them on any western country.

Many consider Islam itself as a threat to the humanity .Well the terrorists are trying to acquire the power to destroy the world, and normally are caught while on the way :yawn:But each of the 5 grand nuclear states already have the power to do so, and Muslims know it. If all the Muslim suicide bombers, which are a minute minority, blast themselves up, they will not do a hundredth of the damage than just one nuclear submarine can do. None of the Muslim countries have the capability to track down these silent monsters. One of these may be sitting quietly under their nose, and they can't know.

All Muslims are born, and are living on the tip of someone else's nuclear arsenal. Very notorious of them have to sneak into these countries to bug them, but the Muslim men, women and even bacteria can be evaporated by just a push button.
During recent US - Afghan war, the western countries had a worry that someone may blast a bomb at a bus station, but people in countries like Pakistan had a threat of being fossilized after being nuked to death...all of them.B)

So don't worry hunny,you are safe and secure, and if the Muslims go too notorious, they can be easily vanished, in around 20 minutes.
;)
Although an innocent is an innocent, no matter which country or religion.

Just trying to compare the destructive powers of the countries, who moan all the time about a real terrorist threat, and the so called terrorist people or in other words Muslims.
There is no match. It is a fight between elephant and chicken. The non-Muslim countries have a very very upper hand.

Don't take me wrong,Sleep :>tight and feel safe.

July 09, 2006 6:40 pm  
Anonymous Andy Ramblings said...

I couldn't have said it any better. You have said what, as thousands of us have said, but in such an eloquent way. Thank you for voicing what I and many many other feel.

July 09, 2006 6:50 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

You make many good points Rachel. I feel the same (http://innergirl.blogspot.com/2006/02/angry.html)
- disempowered, frustrated and angry that we as a nation were led into this disaster for a lie, and that the lies continue.

The 'criticism of government = support for terror' argument is a basic Orwellian approach, and we have to look to the Bush administration for the iteration which has inspired Blair et al, post 9/11. Once the course for war was set, in 2001/2, the raw emotions that could so easily be exploited at will, were deployed again and again to crush debate in the US. Academics who questioned Bush were investigated by the FBI, journalists leant on or sacked etc. Jeez, advertisers even pulled out of radio stations who were playing songs by the Dixie Chicks when they suggested that the policy of their government was just an incy wincy bit insane...

The key to it is to destroy the middle ground of debate. Portray a bi polar world where everything that your opponent stands for is inadmissable and wrong. Allowing that midle ground to exist is dangerous and clouding for your overall end objectives.

The Middle East runs like this, with the Israeli government far more scared of Palestinian moderates than extremists (most liberal opinion in Israel itself seems to have been effectively marginalised in the same way.)

When you can massage the issue like this, you don't listen to the 'other' view (in fact, it's a central tenet that you shouldn't). The consequence is the creation of desparation in your opponent - the theory goes that they will eventually buckle under your repression - don't give them an inch and they will be powerless.

Alas the radicalisation of the opponent via warped theology has changed this equation. They don't just go away. They come to your capital city and blow themseleves, and us, up. The ultimate act of desperation in a way - one meaning is 'You want to kill us. We will destroy your power to do that. We will do it to ourselves'...

Paradoxically, when things have deteriorated to this point, the model continues to work. The other side says 'Look what they will do, animals! We were so right to not talk to them.' And these acts, which have sprung in part from the decision to not listen or engage at the start (and I am not in any way trying to absolve these men of the awfulness of their acts - as you know if you've read my post on it) sustain the structure of the whole thing.

Blair can use 7/7 to 'prove' he was 'right'. Ironic isn't it?

What do we do? We must must must find a way of mobilising the middle ground, the moderate, bridge building opinion. Not to appease the killers, but to create a counter weight against them in both our world and theirs (oddly enough, the same one)

We need the 'Radical Moderates' to emerge, who can recast the debate as something other than black and white, push the extremists, of all persuasions, back out to the margins - unneeded and obsolete.

July 10, 2006 12:16 am  
Blogger Judith said...

"Calling their grievances "completely false" means essentially that you are not listening to their greivances. And if people feel they are not being listened to, that's when they take action. Yet again, instead of working towards a solution, Mr Blair becomes a part of the problem."

No, calling their grievances false means you listened to them and you think they are false. Others may differ. This is the kind of thing that makes me not take the antiwar movement seriously.

I read news reports every day of Muslim leaders explaining what they want. Some of them want Britain to become Muslim. Then it will be - voila! - Muslim land. Then you can get sympathize with them for being outraged that Britian is invading itself. Some of them still think Spain was Muslim land. Some of them think Israel is Muslim land, although Jews were everywhere Islam is, before Islam was invented.

I live in NYC. I don't support giving anything to anyone who threatens to blow me up if I don't give it to them. Once you start paying protection, you're letting a gang run your life.

Many of us in the US appreciate Blair holding the line. And we appreciate Churchill doing so before him. Both of them understand that appeasement doesn't work.

You also don't give Muslims credit for being sane and smart. Many Muslims don't approve of terrorists and also appreciate when they are not appeased. You want to listen to the grievances of those who threaten you instead of those who also are threatened.

July 10, 2006 2:06 am  
Blogger Muhammad Azeem Akhter said...

Excellent work by Rachel.

False Sense of Grievance?

According to National Statistics UK, “unemployment rates for people from non-White ethnic groups were generally higher than those from White ethnic groups…Among men, those from Black Caribbean, Black African, Bangladeshi and Mixed ethnic groups had the highest unemployment rates (between 13 and 14 per cent). These rates were around three times the rates for White British and White Irish men (5 per cent in each case). The unemployment rates for Pakistani and Chinese men, 11 and 10 per cent, were around twice the rates for White British men or White Irish men” in 2004... Read More

July 10, 2006 5:33 am  
Anonymous Chris King said...

...people will read what I say, not because of who I am, but because of where I was a year ago.

People started reading because of where you were a year ago. Not any more, I suggest. Your writing is powerful, Rachel.

July 10, 2006 10:19 am  
Blogger Jo said...

Judith, I understand how you feel as you do. But the debate you are talking about is not the debate to have. Of course you can't sit down with people who will threaten to blow your city up if they don't get what they want.

But there are two points here. Neither of them are about appeasement. It's about out flanking the terrorists, removing their power.

Firstly, one of the reasons it's come to this is because we - the West - never sat down with anyone, years ago, before this started to happen, to give them a share of the wealth, the prosperity, the life we have. We didn't make them stakeholders in it at all. We very largely just took what we could from their countries for our own benefit.

The second point is now that we have reached this point, we desperately need to keep the dialogue going with members of the Muslim community who offer an entrely different vision of the future.

Please believe me, the vast majority of Muslims do not want England and the US or anywhere else to be 'Muslimland'. They just want to live in peace, free to worship as they want, content to let others do the same. Of course they feel aggrieved about what's happening in Iraq or Gaza etc, but then so do I. Likewise they are horrified when some "Islamic" maniac walks into a bar in Eygpt, or wherever, and blows himself up with dozens of innocents.

The voices of these people have been stifled, by the media (partly chasing the 'story', partly through tacit political pressure). But they are out there. They have become quieter perahps because they haven't shown enough courage (I think that's a fair criticism to level), but more because we were compacent and disinterested, we didn't invite a discussion. When people in their communities weren't 'causing trouble' to us, we weren't listening. In addition, when the moderates do raise their voices, you won't find a media in Europe or the US that's very interested in reporting it.

And so they lost power in their world to the extremists because of this. The extremists said to them 'Look, you have no influence. You have no way of making our voices heard. We have another way'. And the young and impressionable - for whom the world is a very simple place - are listening.

(You talk about appeasement and Hitler? Well there is one parallel. The West (especially the French government) did exactly the same thing (in rather different circumstances) to the infant German Weimar democracy in the 1920s, crippling and humiliating it - and opening the way for the Nazis).

We must give some power back to the reasonable people so that those who feel alienated and angry are given a real choice other than violence - and can choose peace.

July 10, 2006 11:58 am  
Blogger Dangerouslysubversivedad said...

Rachel, you have finally lost the plot. I wish I'd never directed anyone here, the fact that you are now repeating every ridiculous BBC/leftist media fantasy like the Haditha non-massacre and are now even linking to a lunatic anti-semite like Juan Cole as if he is some kind of credible source is proof that you have become just another Leftwing ostrich with your head in the sand. Your anger is being directed at every single damn thing about 7/7 except the religion that bloody well inspired it.

Wake up and look at what you are writing, and the kind of readership you are now attracting (Bushitler types, Israel bashers, Muslims wittering on about how whitey has more jobs than anyone else, oh my...). The percentage of column inches being devoted to talking about the bombers and their supporters is vanishing in favour of endless america-bashing.

Western foreign policy is to recognise Israel too - or should we drop that in case not letting the little darlings wipe out the pesky Jews causes them to get pissed at us and do it again? Where precisely is is that the grievances get 'legitimate'?

July 11, 2006 12:09 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

DSD, can you please read the whole post not just the first paragraph and can you please stop conflating 'Muslim' with ' beleives in the tenets of Al Qaeda' or'potential terrorist'?

Thanks

July 11, 2006 8:05 am  
Blogger Dangerouslysubversivedad said...

Rachel,

I quote you:

"Hundreds of thousands have protested against brutal policies in Chechyna, Palestine, Afghanistan. It seems to fall on deaf ears - and so people get frustrated and angry."

Brutal policies in Chechnya, hmmm thats a maybe. 'Palestine' - yes, its a real bugger that those pesky Jews wont lay down and be 'wiped off the map' so we can sleep easier knowing Islam is less likely to bomb us isnt it? How unreasonable of them. Afghanistan? What 'brutal policies' are we talking about there?!?

I quote you again:

"I am angry about Haditha, Falujah, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and all the other horrible litany of names that now stand for something wicked and wrong. I am sad and angry about the fact that every day in Iraq is 7th July, that Afghanistan is becoming yet again a brutalised battleground."

Haditha is a lie. Pure and simple. A doctor imprisoned for sheltering terrorists and a 'journalist' also imprisoned for aiding terrorists film some dead bodies in a house in Haditha (where the terrorists hold daily public executions because the US has lost control) and hey presto, instant 'massacre'.

Falujah? Let's see, terrorists fire on US soldiers and stage a full-scale 'uprising' and the US puts it down again. Civilians die - but naturally it must be the Yanks fault because, what, US foreign policy MADE the terrorists hide amongst the civilian population?

Abu Ghraib. There's a good one. Every US soldier proven to be involved in what went on there has been prosecuted. Period. I love the way you tell me that it's so unfair to tar all Muslims with the terrorist brush yet are happy to hold the entire US Army to account for the actions of a handful of a-holes at Abu Ghraib.

I quote you again:

"I am sad and angry about the fact that every day in Iraq is 7th July, that Afghanistan is becoming yet again a brutalised battleground."

Be angry. Be angry that the Islamists in Iraq and Afghanistan are so murderous and evil that they are happy to murder 'their own' with bombs and bullets, not that the US and British actually have the temerity to try and stop them. I'll never forget the sight of British troops being forced to respond to mortar fire, hand grenades and petrol bombs with batons and riot shields. Now THAT'S sickening.

And then linking to Juan Cole - Juan Cole! You might as well send us to read Noam Chomsky or Ward Churchill.

You would like to blame 7/7 on everything but Islam - Iraq, Afghanistan, and of course the old leftist standby of 'Palestine'. I've read the Koran - have you? I've read the Hamas Charter which explicitly calls for the extermination of the Jews - have you?

It's not comfortable to wake up and realise that not every culture and nation shares the liberal and democratic viewpoint. But they dont. Islam sure as hell doesnt. Why is it that the only avenue of enquiry you are unwilling to explore in your search for answers is the one that leads to exloring the ideology of Islam itself?

July 11, 2006 5:23 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

And did you read this?

'Because whilst all this anger remains at foreign and domestic policy, more and more people, including me sometimes, miss the real debate. That there is a yet another new totalitarian, nihilistic ideaology abroad and what makes it so dangerous is that it uses legitimate grievances to feed its toxic agenda.

I am more than sad, I am deeply angry, that malice is in our midst, that poisonous paranoid propoganda is spewed, that an ancient religion is perverted by a few into politicised Islamic extremism via an action-heavy, theology-lite conspiracy-theory that preys on the anger and aggrievement of rootless adolescents and makes them into walking weapons of destruction. I am desperately sad that it is widely said that many adherents of Islam are not willing to use the minds God gave them to question how to live to the glory of God in a world where we are still at war with each other, and to work for peace and understanding.'

DSD you read the first bit, I can only assume - but not the second. Either that or you actually equate Islam the religion with terrorism.

Wrong. And ill-informed.
And if you are of that viewpoint there is not much point , because I can see where this is going and I do not publish a) terror-exoneration and b) anti semitic c) islamophobic comments d) any comment endorsing racial prejudice or race hatred. My blog, my rules.

( and yes, i have read the Qu'ran, have a degree in Theology, have had Muslim friends as well as Jewish friends of all backgrounds for 20 of my 35 years)

July 11, 2006 6:50 pm  
Blogger Dangerouslysubversivedad said...

Rachel,

If you have a degree in Theology and I am just a 'wrong and ill-informed' amateur please feel free to quote some choice excerpts from the Koran showing how Islam is a 'Religion of Peace'. I'll match you with the less 'peaceful' moments, shall I? Hey, I can lift quite a few of the lovely Jew-hating ones straight from the Hamas Charter...

As for your last bit, saying you dont endorse anti-semitic comments is a bit goddam rich coming from someone who talks about 'Brutal policies in Palestine'. And who happily allows anti-Israeli comments plenty of space here.

And the fact that instead of refuting my actual points made you are descending to 'your an Islamophobe if you dont agree with me about Islam' and even a classic 'some of my best friends are Jewish' moment I suppose just shows that you have become just another Leftist 'But-Monkey'.

"I condemn terrorism BUT..."

Sad really. I had much higher hopes of you.

July 11, 2006 9:50 pm  
Blogger Laban said...

I can see why DSD's getting his hair off. Rachel's seeing both sides of the issue and he don't like it. The commenters calling for us to listen to the poor Columbine killers don't help his blood pressure either.

"I try not to hate those who espouse the murder of innocents. I try to see the person behind the poison, to stay hopeful and calm. To try to think of the bomber who attacked me as the fatherless child he was before he became the fantatic killer, blowing himself and others to pieces. I try. Because where does hate and anger and vengeance get me ?"

Well, as we've certainly seen over the last few millennia, hate, anger and vengeance can be powerful spurs to action. It can, in a fight to the death, perhaps be the key to survival.

The problem I have is that in a conflict where one side lacks all conviction, is full of self-doubt, and the other is full of passionate intensity, which will win ?


Mr Churchill once said : "The Sermon on the Mount is the last word in Christian ethics. Everybody respects the Quakers. Still, it is not on these terms that Ministers assume their responsibilities of guiding States ... if the circumstances warrant it, force may be used."

Perhaps this is the difference between Rachel and Mr Blair.


PS - Rachel, when you say you're angry about Abu Ghraib, presumably you're referring to pre-2003 Abu Ghraib, when thousands were tortured and executed there ?

July 11, 2006 11:36 pm  
Blogger maakhter said...

The only time, when name of the race or religion of a terrorist is mentioned, when someone from non-white background is involved.

What was the religion of Hitler?

What was the religion of people causing deaths of 8,000 Bosnians?

What was the religion of Timothy McVeigh, who killed killing 168 people in Oklahoma City?

What was the religion of people who sprayed Agent Orange in Vietnam killing thousands of civilians? Even today it is causing cancer among innocent civilians.

What was the religion of American president who ordered to use atomic bombs killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Japan?

What was the religion of the American who authorized killing of thousands of innocent civilians through air attack on the city of Dresden in Germany during World War II?

All terrorists are same including the ones mentioned above. They specialize in killing innocent people.

July 13, 2006 12:10 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be fair, maakhter.

To the best of my knowledge none of the people you mention claimed to be doing it in the name of God.

Whereas the 7/7 bombers did.

Of your examples, only the murderers of 8,000 at Srebrenice and Tim McVeigh deliberately set out to kill civilians as their primary purpose. The bombings of WW2 were a testament to the fact that we couldn't hit anything smaller than a city without sustaining terrible losses of aircrew, so we just had to plaster the general area if we wanted to zap the factories and railways.

Not unreasonably, the commanders preferred the inevitable civilian deaths of Germans to targeted raids where none of their (Brit/US)bombers came home.

A sad tale, and another reason why wars are a bad thing.

(the American who ordered the bombing of Dresden was a Brit called Sir Arthur Harris)

July 13, 2006 5:48 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

What was the religion of American president who ordered to use atomic bombs killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Japan?

What was the religion of the American who authorized killing of thousands of innocent civilians through air attack on the city of Dresden in Germany during World War II?


Good god; I take it that sheer ignorance is allowed on this blog then. As Anon pointed out, it was a Brit who ordered the bombing of the city of Dresden (which contained a number of important factories that produced weaponry to kill Allied soldiers). Further, let's remember who started the so-called terror-bombings (and also that Coventry was almost as badly destroyed as Dresden).

Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military towns and already subject to conventional bombing. Almost every single adult who worked in those towns was doing so for the Japanese war effort; it was a total war economy. Flyers were dropped a couple of days before warning of the bombing; those who remained, to an extent, chose not to leave.

Anyway, this is all academic: none of these were done in the name of a god.

Rachel: I am more than sad, I am deeply angry, that malice is in our midst, that poisonous paranoid propoganda is spewed, that an ancient religion is perverted by a few into politicised Islamic extremism, etc...

Hmmm, this is always the line, isn't it. The problem is that the religion has not really been perverted at all. The later, more violent sections of the Koran specifically counteract the early peaceful Mecca verses. It is not so much that there has been a perversion: it is more of a schism.

There are two very different Islams. One is, to an extent, dedicated to peace and written by a man who was relatively content. The second is a violent, hegemonising religion written by a man who had been driven from his home and was understandably annoyed and frustrated.

The latter version is much easier for the unscrupulous to use as a method of control; Islam is used, in much of the Middle East, as a way of keeping people happy with their -- often pretty crappy -- lot, or of diverting their attention from their incompetent -- or downright evil -- rulers.

DK

July 18, 2006 8:36 pm  

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