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July 07, 2005

Bringing on the Clash of Civilizations
Ali Mostashari  [info|posts]

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When Samuel Huntington published his "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order," many progressive academics dismissed it as yet another excuse by right-wing academics to justify Western aggression against non-western civilizations. They may have been right to a certain extent, but in my view they were wrong not to consider the merits of some of the arguments presented in the book. When I personally read the book in 1998, I was still in Iran, at a time when Khatami was just getting warmed up with his Dialogue of Civilizations. I felt Huntington's arguments to be out of touch with reality. Now I see his arguments to be close to the current reality of fundamentalist confrontation, which may have emerged with the failure of dialogue between and reform within civilizations.

This Morning a series of bombings on London transit killed 37 people and injured more than 700 (as of 2:00 p.m. EST, July 7th, 2005). A group tied to Al-Qaeda in Europe has claimed responsibility. While a tragedy of this magnitude is unfolding continuously in Iraq, with insurgents targeting the same number of people nearly every single day, I feel that the spread of violence to Western countries is taking us further towards an extensive confrontation between two fundamentalist visions. My intuition tells me that the next decade will be a tough one for the world, as were the times leading to and during World War I and Word War II. What I ponder at this time is whether such a confrontation is indeed inevitable, or if it isn’t what can be done to prevent it.

The choice of the Islamic fundamentalists, the Neocons and Christian Fundamentalists seems clear. What is unclear in this period of time is the role of the progressive peoples representing the multiple civilizations at odds. For long the only thing we have achieved is to condemn acts of wars and atrocities, without an actual and concrete alternative to offer. So how about it? Do we want to sit and watch while the hatemongers in our nations take over the destiny of mankind and steer us towards massive bloodshed? What concrete ways are there to address issues of terrorism and bigotry in the Middle East, the growth of the military-industrial complex and religious fundamentalism and the retreat of rationality and human ideals in the West? Are there ways to address these issues on a global level? What I would like to see is something beyond the conventional intellectual response of demonstrating outside the White House etc. Where do we start? What do we learn? What ways can we propose? What organizations can help get our agendas on the table? I personally don’t have any answers to these, but I believe in collective wisdom. If we think about it together we might be able to do things beyond just empty talk.

Progressives of the World Unite!!!

Comments
SG at July 7, 2005 06:17 PM [permalink]:

I don't have a specific answer to any of your questions either, but *dialogue* seems a right place to start. We haven't done much to bridge the gap between cultures, to translate one's symbolism to another's. I don't think the importance of dialogue is properly and deservedly understood and appreciated. Not only "dialogue between civilizations", but dialogue among the individuals who hail from apparently same cultural background. Tune in to any news channel in the US and you'll witness hot debates between individuals from a whole spectrum of ideas and ideals. This form of dialogue is sadly missing among us, Iranians. A rare example was exhibited by a BBC interview of Ganji and Behnoud on the issue of elections. Two Iranians with two different sets of ideas argued for their own positions, in a media that can be reached by a large number of Iranians. This is what should be done in a much much larger scale.

That, I would say, is a first step.

someone who is usually silent at July 7, 2005 07:51 PM [permalink]:

SG,

As you said, it is always "dialogue between civilizations". Do you think Ben Ladan and his troops are civilized enough for dialogue? Even some of the people who write comments here are not civilized for dialogue! They start to make fun of the opponent, they become so cynical and try to argue that their opponent is stupid, instead of reasoning and dialogue. Basically, they bullSHIT their way out of any constructive argument. Sounds familiar?

Ali,

This is a very good question you are asking. I think all of us, specially those of us who are living outside of Iran, should condemn the acts of terrorism. It seems that when it comes to activism, most people start to condemn US for the wars, but none of these activists condemned the terrorists. This is really sad and honestly worrisome. I remember when I was going to anti-war rallies someone pointed this out, and it made me think really hard.

There are not clear ways to deal with these issues, but I am, like you, open and in interested in suggestions.

SG at July 7, 2005 08:28 PM [permalink]:

Another irrelevant comment. May I?

Iranians who are not very young, who've been through a revolution whose goal was (at least in a certain stage) Islamization of the whole world and ushering in a new era of Godliness and justice by defeating the "Great Satan" with our blood, etc. have a much better understanding of what the mentality of Islamists who look up to Ben Laden as their spiritual leader is than Westerners. After 9/11 it was painfully hard for Americans to begin to understand the nature of the hatred targeted at them. To us, I believe, the tragedy was less shocking. If you sit down with a muslim (or Islamist) who have ideals of the sort the Iranian revolution of 1979 harbored and try to talk them out of their nonsensical hallucinations about how the worldly affairs are run, you will soon realize how impossibly hard it is to argue with them. Whatever you say, they refer you to Qur'an and invoke their "Allah" and dream of a day when "Islam" will spread all over the globe (God forbid). Changing the way they think is a challenge that I have no idea how to confront.

SG at July 7, 2005 08:39 PM [permalink]:

To someone:

I didn't claim that we are civilized enough for dialogue (although, there are now many civilized discussions among Iranians in the cyberspace, including this website), but we have to start somewhere. It's a culture that should be nurtured and as long as we don't do it, we won't master it. If I had the power and the means, I would start a TV program that could be reached by all Iranians and would arrange live debates between "civilized" enough Iranians who knew well what they're talking about, who could back up their arguments and avoid calling names. I believe an hour a week of such a program would make a tremendous impact. I'm not suggesting that the average Iranian would sit and watch my program, but the young and the curious would.

This would take such discussions as we are having here in this isolated place far and would bear us some good fruits.

Leo Hernandez at July 8, 2005 12:33 AM [permalink]:

it seems to me that the correct place to begin the dialogue is at home, wherever the place is that you call home . as a first generation american, i know that my voice probably will never reach khatami, bin laden, zawahri or any other fundamentalist living overseas . i think that we can and should be responsible for those leaders in your scope . my congressmen and the president should hear me loud and clear: the time for extremism on both sides of the fence should have been over a long time ago .

perhaps we should create a confederation to discuss the perceptions of extremism . what is extremism to you in your immediate locale ? what is extreme to you in a culture " opposed " to your own ? how can one find a way past the dogma and indoctrination of extremism and proceed past it to common ground i.e. " the real issues " ? the first step is not to be civilized, because we can all see how poorly that has worked out, but to be empathetic and yet demanding of peace at the same time .

An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 8, 2005 03:06 AM [permalink]:

"the time for extremism on both sides of the fence should have been over a long time ago ."

Ah, yes, the both sides argument (sophistry) again. There is no both sides in this. One side is a barbaric fascistic medieval nonsense versus a modern liberal civilization.
I was waiting to see how long it takes for this "reasoning" to start again (together with another common .... knew it beforehand symptom! That one didn't take a day either, not even in Britain.)

I don't know how to get an islamist out of his illusions either, I would say it is near impossible once you catch the desease. That's why the sources of producing them should be dried up.

heydarbaba at July 8, 2005 05:50 AM [permalink]:

Leo'
By talking about extremism you hit the nail right on the head. You can see it only took 3 hours after your post for one of the extremists to squirm in pain. I wish you could come up with some pesticide that would make the cockroaches die that fast too...I am glad you didn't use the word "fanaticism" because that would only imply a religious tone. Extremism is more inclusive and it includes from all walks of life..industrialists, environmentalists, Bin ladens, Bush, Sharon, Stalin, Zarghavi, Pat Robertson, chicken thieves, pick pockets, neo cons and what have you...

heydarbaba at July 8, 2005 05:56 AM [permalink]:

The presence of opinion makers in the "free media" is like having a crazy aunt in the basement. Every body in the neighborhood knows Sonny has a crazy aunt in the basement but no body is willing to admit it or talk about it. This brings us to one of the icons of opinion makers in the "bam, slam, thank you mam" style journalism of US, Brit Hume. Who is Brit Hume? In his biography you read: "With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume is FOX News’ Washington, D.C. managing editor.
Hume serves as anchor of "Special Report with Brit Hume," the highest rated political program on cable television, which airs weekdays on FOX News Channel (FNC) from 6-7 p.m. ET. He is also a regular panelist on FOX’s weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday." In addition to covering major political stories and contributing news analysis to FOX News Channel, Hume is responsible for overseeing news content for FOX News' Washington, D.C., bureau..."
Now what is the point of all this. I thought it would be interesting to show what Mr.Hume said while the carnage in London had shocked any one with even half ass sense of compassion, feelings to the core. Many of the victims probably had not even washed off the blood ...many of those who died were probably still under the wreck and this is what Mr.Hume , one of the major opinion makers in US said: "During Fox News' coverage of the July 7 London bombings, Washington managing editor Brit Hume told host Shepard Smith that his "first thought," when he "heard there had been this attack" and saw the low futures market, was "Hmmm, time to buy." Smith had asked Hume to comment on the lack of a negative U.S. stock market reaction to the London attacks. "..obviously this doesn't tell any body anything about clash of civilizations but it does shed some light on the mind set of one of the PROMINENT CITIZENS of one of today's dominant civilizations. I think the prevention of clash of civilizations just got a little tougher.

Lisa Williams at July 8, 2005 09:40 AM [permalink]:

I agree. I'm horrified by the bombings but I sat around with friends yesterday, we were all trying to make sense out of what has happened to our country (the US). So many things we thought were unthinkable and crazy were now just considered normal by a big part of the political establishment, and they can say it in the newspapers and on TV and no one calls them on it -- and if someone does, they're called "anti-American."

Me personally I have joined my local progressive political party. I think it will take a long time for progressives to take back the US, and it will be hard because of terrorism and the fact that economy has been so mismanaged that many people are afraid and so vote for a bully to make them feel safer. That and the fact that the right wing in the US has spent the past thirty years building Homes for Crazy Aunts with remote television studios onsite so that the Crazy Aunts can be on TV whenever Fox, CNN, NBC or the national networks call. The left wing has little or none of this, but we're starting, with places like the Center for American Progress.

The Left's old strategy -- marches, protests, shame, and exposing liars -- no longer works. You can point out that the right lies all day long, but they don't admit it, and they don't stop, and they don't suffer any consequences from it.

I often think that if calling them on their lies won't work, laughing at them might. Nothing works better than laughing at a bully; it takes away their power.

SG at July 8, 2005 10:24 AM [permalink]:

I should confess this is the first time I read heydarbaba's comments from the beginning to the end, simply because I have no patience (or call it "attention span") for his very long comments.

Which brings me to my point. See, I am still dumbfounded by what happened in Iran a short while ago (the election), but realized that a good majority of Iranians don't ever read the paper, most of them think reading a book must be only for taking an exam and getting a degree for living comfortably ever after. It's therefore next to impossible to reach them by internet or printed media. Then I thought about the cliche that how mullahs are better connected with the populace than our non-mullah thinkers "because poor masses are generally religious". I don't think that's the only reason though. Their methodology must have played a role. I thought about our revolution and rememered how cassettes of the late leader were smuggled in the country. It's easier to listen to a cassette, to watch Al-Jazeera, to sit at the foot of a pulpit and be entertained by the stories of a showman-mullah like Mr. Ghara'ati than to bother buying and *reading* paper. This may all sound trivial to you, but to me it was like an epiphany. We should devise methods to *easily* reach people (because at the end of the day they are the ones who vote) and try to speak their tongue, rather than get carried away by using "intellectual" lingo.

Then, when we reach that stage, where there is a place that all parties can voice their ideas, not in their insulated virtual rooms, but in a much more public space, we may still have to fight FOX-like channels, but at the time being, we're still far from that stage.

John Doe at July 8, 2005 10:40 AM [permalink]:

Ali,

The choice of the Islamic fundamentalists, the Neocons and Christian Fundamentalists seems clear.

Fundamentalist Christians, Jews and Hindus all exist, they are little more than nuisances. Criminals who use the name of Islam are, on the other hand, a security nightmare.

Stop tarring the Neocons and Christian Fundamentalists with the same brush. The Neocons weren't out in Kashmir killing Kashmiri Pundits by the dozen. The Christian Fundamentalists didn't bomb a club in Indonesia. Start owning up to how Islam is being misused before making false equivalencies to the religious right of other religions.

SG,

*dialogue* seems a right place to start.

Neville Chamberlain tried the dialogue route and look where it got him. Dialogue with death-cultists who blow innocents up is NOT acceptable. Let them organize into a political party and strive for their beliefs politically, then we can talk. Until then, if it's jannat they want then by george that's what they'll get.

Ali Mostashari at July 8, 2005 11:07 AM [permalink]:

Dear John Doe :)

In fact I do insist on putting Neocons, Christian Fundamentalists and Islamic Fundamentaliusts in one category. They all share the same disrespect for human lives, but they may exhibit varying degrees of harm.

Just to remind you the Oklahoma Federal Buidlding bombing wasn't done by Islamic fundamentlaists. The Iranian Passenger Airliner with 290 people on board wasn't shot down by Bin Laden. According to the International Red Cross, more than 16000 Iraqi civillians died as a direct result of U.S. military action (this is separate from the casualties caused by the insurgents). The massacres of civillians in the name of Chrstianity, NeoCon "Liberation" and other inhumane ways of thought is essentially in the same category as that of Islamic fundamentalists.

In any case, I appreciate your comments but disagree with them. I think bigots and hatemongers are the same all the globe over. Some of them have beards and dwell in caves, some of them have ties and sit in the Pentagon. But I do agree with you that some of them are more harmful than others, and I am woorried about those more.

Ali Mostashari at July 8, 2005 11:08 AM [permalink]:

Dear John Doe :)

In fact I do insist on putting Neocons, Christian Fundamentalists and Islamic Fundamentaliusts in one category. They all share the same disrespect for human lives, but they may exhibit varying degrees of harm.

Just to remind you the Oklahoma Federal Buidlding bombing wasn't done by Islamic fundamentlaists. The Iranian Passenger Airliner with 290 people on board wasn't shot down by Bin Laden. According to the International Red Cross, more than 16000 Iraqi civillians died as a direct result of U.S. military action (this is separate from the casualties caused by the insurgents). The massacres of civillians in the name of Chrstianity, NeoCon "Liberation" and other inhumane ways of thought is essentially in the same category as that of Islamic fundamentalists.

In any case, I appreciate your comments but disagree with them. I think bigots and hatemongers are the same all the globe over. Some of them have beards and dwell in caves, some of them have ties and sit in the Pentagon. But I do agree with you that some of them are more harmful than others, and I am woorried about those more.

Ali at July 8, 2005 11:09 AM [permalink]:

Sorry for the spelling errors...typed it in a hurry

Dave S at July 8, 2005 11:30 AM [permalink]:

Ali,

Timothy MvVeigh was neither a "neocon" or a "Christian Fundamentalist". I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion, but McVeigh was very sympathetic to Saddam Hussein and there is some interesting circumstantial evidence (far from proven, admittedly) that Iraq may have played a role in that attack. (An overview: http://www.jaynadavis.com/story090502-wsj1.html) He had more in common with ultra-left wing socialists (like Hitler) than with either of the groups you are so eager to lump him into.

You asked, For long the only thing we have achieved is to condemn acts of wars and atrocities, without an actual and concrete alternative to offer. So how about it? ... What concrete ways are there to address issues of terrorism and bigotry in the Middle East...?"

I think that the only answer to this is the one laid out by President Bush. A free, somewhat liberalized society where people are free to choose their own lot in life and employ non-violent means (politics, etc) to achieve ends is the only reasonable answer. Right now in many parts of the middle east young men (and women) face a very black and white choice: live under the oppression of fundamentalist, theocratic regimes, or join the ranks of the oppressors. The answer to your question is that those people must be given a means of improving their status in society and in life apart from becoming terrorists.

To pretend that you can calmly sit and talk through your differences with people who are willing to dismember middle-aged women who spend their lives helping poor Iraqis, or who shoot little kids in the back as they are running away from their school's bomb-wired gyn, or who murder Egyptian diplomats who are simply trying to establish diplomatic ties with the new Iraqi goverment.... well, it's pure, unadulterated fantasy. The reality is that this problem will never go away until the people who whip up fundamentalist passions are killed, and the governments that foster their existence are replaced with governments of, by, and for the people.


SG at July 8, 2005 11:36 AM [permalink]:

John Doe,

I realize that as usual I've been unclear, my words conveying things other than what I had meant.

I do agree with you that with violent "cultists" dialogue would be a grave mistake. Before you get the chance to opened your mouth and utter a word about how rationality is nice, they'd put you to silence. Such guys should be led as quickly as possible to their desired promised destination, "jannat". But there are degrees of belief. Not all muslims are crazy (that is to say, enthused) enough about spreading the word of Allah all over the globe to be willing to commit suicide, but a great lot of them do have *sympathy* for such lunatic (from our point of view, at least) jihadists. Now, it is these "marginal" folks that I hope to be affected by a constant persistent dialogue. When the massive popular sentiment and support for terrorists (or "victims of world's superpowers' arrogance") dries up, they won't necessarily be gone, but I guess they will be much more harmless than they are today.

About Islam, and how it fares vis-a-vis other religious traditions, although I find Ali's counter-comment persuasive, I still tend to believe Islam lends itself to acts of violence more easily than other religions. The sanctity of human life is not emphasized enough among muslims (in fact, it is somewhat de-emphasized), and that's the only explanation I can think of for their finding it perfectly natural to want to kill a writer for writing a novel that would not be as widely read had it not been for its popularization by the fatwa, or killing a poor Dutch director for "disrespcting" what they hold sacred.

SG at July 8, 2005 11:52 AM [permalink]:

Dave S,

First of all, it is quite clear that Bush's support for democracy in the Middle East came about only after 9/11. For you who I assume have lived all your life in a democratic state it is natural to be blind to all the prerequisites of democracy. A person who is born in America is so indoctrinated by the values held dear in this free society (I would like to bring up again being bombarded all the time by hot open non-violent transparent debates and dialogue on all issues, stupid and important) that easily takes all this for granted: The fish does not know of water. Ask her "What is water?" and she's like: "Wat?"

So it's easier said than done. Iranians, for example, have been struggling for democracy for a century now and their progress has been far from smooth. Our Arab brethren are *just* being forced to start such a process, and given our experience, it'd be quite simple-minded to think that in a dozen years Iraq will be a democratic state.

SG at July 8, 2005 12:13 PM [permalink]:

follow-up:

For your information, the latest set back in Iran's progress towards democracy came a few days ago from the very people you think capable of choosing what is good for them in the long run on their own.

anita at July 8, 2005 12:29 PM [permalink]:

"Human being is so vulnerable that he acts ridiculously tough!!"
Dunno where i heard or read it. But now some are acting dangerously tough.
I agree with Ali on this point that extreme ideas and fundamentalism don't know any religion/culture.
They are all included in one category but look different to cheat us.
Brain-washing the general public by giant media is as dangerous as killing people in subways/buses/streets. They are not but complementary to each other.

Also, referring to the discussions by the first commenters, we should learn how to discuss issues and how to dialogue if we expect to make any improvments or wish to get to some agreed points.
This, i guess, can be best done at schools, the students must learn how to respect the ideas belonging to others while they are given enough/equal chance to bring their own arguments/suggestions to the table.
It needs practice and its principles are to be followed.

SG at July 8, 2005 12:49 PM [permalink]:

I completely agree with anita's second paragraph above, but I have a few words to say about the first.

I don't see any reason to believe that all rands of "extremism" are exactly as dangerous as the next. On the contrary, I have some reasons to believe that a particular religion encourages bloodshed more than its rival ideologies. To the best of my knowledge, I don't think it is OK, or *imperative*, in Christianity or Hinduism that a person whs wishes to change his religion be put to death. By sanctifying such inhumanities to be done to apostates, generations of mullahs who were worried about protecting their Islam have made killing infidels a fact of life, an idea to get used to, and thus make death sound a lot less horrible for the average muslim mentality.

I'll be honest, the 9/11 tragedy was not half as horrific to the muslims of the world as it was to Westerners. I'd go as far to say the general sentiment was a "So what?/Who cares?", not to mention a jubilation that was felt and openly expressed by some of those who hate America, because (and this is the interesting part) they could not afford to live like Americans.

Take the Ducth guy. Muslims who were offended could have shown their contempt by non-violently raising awareness, arguing in the media, mocking the director, even burning down his villa or something. But some dude just went and killed the guy, just like that. My point is, the difference in the forms of punishment, that how much killing is different from non-violent forms of protest is simply non-existent in the muslim world. To them, the difference is only one of degree, rather than of kind.

Anyway, and by the way, I'm sorry part of my comments are less related to this topic than to the recent Iranian election that caused disappointment in many of us.

Dave S at July 8, 2005 12:49 PM [permalink]:

SG: the latest set back in Iran's progress towards democracy came a few days ago from the very people you think capable of choosing what is good for them in the long run on their own.

This is a fantastic misunderstanding of (or ignorance of) what happened in the Iranian elections. Of something like 1,014 candidates, the ruling theocrats disqualified over 1000, leaving only a handful of fundamentalist-friendly candidates. The Iranian people largely boycotted the elections. I'm not really sure what you are talking about, and I'm not sure that you know either.

Ali: It is quite clear that Bush's support for democracy in the Middle East came about only after 9/11

That isn't even remotely clear. What *is* clear, however, is that Bush's (and the American peoples') support and resolve for using American force to facilitate that democracy was, indeed, bolstered by the fact that 9/11 brought home the immediacy of the threat posed by the hateful ideologies fostered by those oppressive regimes. The fact that Saddam had failed for 12 years to account for the weapons of mass destruction that he had previously admitted to having made the case for Iraq even more compelling.

Our Arab brethren are *just* being forced to start such a process, and given our experience, it'd be quite simple-minded to think that in a dozen years Iraq will be a democratic state.

Well... they are well on their way now. They are learning incredibly quickly. The smoothness with which the political process has moved forward with regards to the design and implementation of a new constituion is nothing short of miraculous. Even the Sunnis, who largely boycotted the Iraqi elections, have come to the table and their former foes have allowed them to participate, despite refusing to participate in the elections that selected those who would write the constitution. Once again, I am sensing a fundamental lack of understanding on exactly what is happening.

Iranians, for example, have been struggling for democracy for a century now and their progress has been far from smooth.

It has been "far from smooth" because noone has stood up and fought for their freedoms. Why don't you go try to have a "dialogue" with the ruling elite there... try not get to hanged in the process.

On a very related note, a recent poll of Iranians found that almost 70% understand the importance of the US action in Iraq, and feel that it has enhanced their own prospects for freedom/democracy in the near future. Similarly large numbers responded that they actually *support* the action.

So, a few appeasement minded individuals like yourself notwithstanding, there appears to be hope for Iran... the people there, for the most part, understand the stakes in Iraq and the implications for their own country.


Dave S at July 8, 2005 12:58 PM [permalink]:

I would also add that the idea that the "process" of deposing tyrants has ever been or will ever be "smooth" is a silly one. If you can point to a single historical example of such a "smooth" revolution in the face of a violently oppressive regime you get a gold star.

Of course, this is a rhetorical challenge, because none exists... but you get the point. You're speaking in platitudes with no historical context whatsoever.

SG at July 8, 2005 01:33 PM [permalink]:

Furious Dave,

Just to correct a misunderstanding, what you attributed to poor Ali must have come from *my* keyboard. I should go to lunch shortly, but God willing!, I'll reply to all your paragraphs, one by one, whenever I get the chance.

Dave S at July 8, 2005 01:47 PM [permalink]:

Ahh... my apologies. I somehow managed to mix up who said what.

That said--rest assured--I am not furious. :-)

anita at July 8, 2005 03:06 PM [permalink]:

SG:
I didn't mean killing people and bloodsheding is less immportant to us or less horrible. like i said, the brainwashing and killing are complementary.
brainwashing (or mind-washing) done by giant media to cover a huge number of people can end up bringing about dangerous results in the long run as well as stimulating the opponents to think of terrorist attacks; and the brainwashing (mind-washing) by the religious/cultural extremists, bigots... yet, in a diff. form or under the name of defending the values and in a smaller scale will result in immediate horrible bloodshedding and ridiculous hatemongering.
They work for/with each other, that's what i tried to say!

SG at July 8, 2005 03:49 PM [permalink]:

anita,

I'm afraid your point is not getting across. You see, dialogue is not as easy as it's thought to be! In any case, of what I understand from your words (and I admit I understand little) you seem to consider media (or one particular form of media) responsible (at least partially) and for fanning the flames of hate and its subsequent violence and an equally big threat for peace on this globe. If that's what you're saying, I find it harder to argue with you than with Dave S, but I'll give it a shot.

I do not fully subscribe to the conspiracy-theoretic idea that the media in the US are maliciously run by some hidden powers who are in charge of all the minor things in our lives, etc. There is a truth to it, though. If you don't have any power and money at all, then you'll have no medium to talk to people through either, even in a democratic society.

The only response to media must come from media, the only fight we must be having should be the fight of words and ideas against each other. The idea of doing away with media or suppressing the media just because they can be potentially abused is simply absurd.

SG at July 8, 2005 04:00 PM [permalink]:

Now back to Dave S,

"[Dave quoting me]: the latest setback in Iran's progress towards democracy came a few days ago from the very people you think capable of choosing what is good for them in the long run on their own.[end of quote]

This is a fantastic misunderstanding of (or ignorance of) what happened in the Iranian elections. Of something like 1,014 candidates, the ruling theocrats disqualified over 1000, leaving only a handful of fundamentalist-friendly candidates. The Iranian people largely boycotted the elections. I'm not really sure what you are talking about, and I'm not sure that you know either."

I can assure you that AT LEAST 95% of those 1014 Iranians who signed up for candidacy did not have any political experience whatsoever. They were either simple pure individuals who thought they could "save Iran", or, plain and simple, they were nut cases. (Did you see the picture of the old guy who hadn't even fasten his fly?) So, disqualified they must have been. We should put too much importance to numbers here.

I pose the question to those who talk such talks: Name one person who was disqualified *and* had a reasonable chance of gathering enough votes to go to the runoff. My perception is that even Mr. Pahlavi would not get enough votes to go to the runoff.

Also, the Iranians people did *not* boycott the election. By voting, 28 million eligible voters simply rejected the boycott. Given that, I can't help the urge to repeat your own words back to you:

I'm not really sure what you are talking about, and I'm not sure that you know either.

SG at July 8, 2005 04:17 PM [permalink]:

First a correction in my last comment: "We should NOT put too much importance on numbers."

Dave S continued:

"[Quoting me]: It is quite clear that Bush's support for democracy in the Middle East came about only after 9/11[end of quote].

That isn't even remotely clear. What *is* clear, however, is that Bush's (and the American peoples') support and resolve for using American force to facilitate that democracy was, indeed, bolstered by the fact that 9/11 brought home the immediacy of the threat posed by the hateful ideologies fostered by those oppressive regimes."

Hmmm, as much as I'm bored by discussing such trivialities, but again, I'm armed with nothing other than words here, so here's some questions for you: Hasn't US been a big good old friend of those very same "oppressive regimes"? Why, in your opinion, should the American administration have waited until 9/11 to bolster their resolve for spreading democracy all over the Mid East?

Well, I tell you. One argument is, if they give people of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. the freedom to choose, then they might choose fundamentalists who would be worse for the (short-term, mind you, and here's the proof for their short-sightedness) interests of the US than these dictators who are nothing but friendly servants of the West. And I don't altogether disagree with this line of argument. I believe this has actually happened a few years ago in Algeria, if I'm not mistaken. Free elections and "democracy" was about to pave the way for a fundamentalist regime.

Another thing is, the US administration couldn't care less for the human rights of people in those countries, as long as they could have the oil, until the oppression of its allies backfired at the twin towers in Manhattan. In fact, still a big problem with current American (and British) approach to fostering democracy in Middle East is its "utilitarian" nature. Democracy in the Middle East (and human rights, etc.) is by no means an end in itself for the US; rather, it is just a means to some other end.

SG at July 8, 2005 04:34 PM [permalink]:

Dave S:

"Well... they [Iraqis] are well on their way now. They are learning incredibly quickly. The smoothness with which the political process has moved forward with regards to the design and implementation of a new constituion is nothing short of miraculous. Even the Sunnis, who largely boycotted the Iraqi elections, have come to the table and their former foes have allowed them to participate, despite refusing to participate in the elections that selected those who would write the constitution. Once again, I am sensing a fundamental lack of understanding on exactly what is happening."

I love the punch-effect of the ending sentence of your paragraphs. Anyway, if what is happening in Iraq is democracy, or conducive to democracy of sorts, good for Iraqis. I am just not sure if you can democratize a nation the way Dubya has in mind, but we have to wait and see. If that works out, kudos to Americans, but it seems that it hasn't quite worked out yet and the rosy picture you paint sounds a little bit out of touch to me.

Response to your later paragraphs later. I have to go now. Sorry!

Dave S at July 8, 2005 05:27 PM [permalink]:

If that works out, kudos to Americans, but it seems that it hasn't quite worked out yet and the rosy picture you paint sounds a little bit out of touch to me.

Well, actually, kudos to the Iraqis. And I didn't paint a rosy picture. I just pointed out that your incredibly pessimistic picture ignored the actual state of affairs in Iraq with regards to the democratic process. It is well under way, and they are handling it like seasoned democrats thus far.

SG at July 8, 2005 05:58 PM [permalink]:

Dave S:

"It has been "far from smooth" because noone has stood up and fought for their freedoms. Why don't you go try to have a "dialogue" with the ruling elite there... try not get to hanged in the process."

Now you're being funny. You're telling us how to do our job?

"On a very related note, a recent poll of Iranians found that almost 70% understand the importance of the US action in Iraq, and feel that it has enhanced their own prospects for freedom/democracy in the near future. Similarly large numbers responded that they actually *support* the action."

That's a separate issue, darlin'. I too am all for the invasion of Iraq by American and British troops! It's better for Iraqis (and Iranians) to live a Saddam-free life. Is it also better for the US and its citizens? I'm not so sure.

You're mixing up two (or more) things here. What I have been saying is, democracy is not just a way of government, but a mentality, a culture, a way of thinking, of life, but unfortunately you continue to remain blind to this. I say it is impossible to change the mentality of a nation overnight, although a superficially democratic government is not that hard to come by.

but whatever the case, that is totally separate from whether we find the American presence across our borders beneficial as far as *our* own goals are concerned.

Ali at July 8, 2005 06:12 PM [permalink]:

Progressives, any other suggestions on the actual topic of the post?

Babak S at July 8, 2005 06:28 PM [permalink]:

SG,

I can't resist the urge to turn your mockery back to yourself, although it wasn't directed at me.

First, if at least 5% of the candidates *did* have political experience, then about 50 people had to be qualified in your own terms for candidacy. That's far from the 8 that finally made it.

Second, what notion of "democracy" says that if someone volunteered to run for office, he *must* be able to demonstrate "a reasonable chance of gathering enough votes to go to the runoff"? (your words) The most you can say, is to demonstrate that you are not just mocking the process, say by gathering some signatures. But the whole point is to see *if* you can gather enough votes after the event, not before.

Third, you are, on the one hand, reducing the people (of Iran especially) to a bunch of illiterates who can't decide what's best for them and their own destiny "in the long run", and on the other hand, you flaunt the 28M figure to dismiss the call for boycott. That is hypocricy, nay, rediculousness, at its peak.

I most likely won't have the time to reply to your attempts at a response. So don't take it personal if I remain silent for a while.

Ali,

On the topic of your post, I think the effective answer is to press on with curbing the dangerous ideology that sponsors such inhumane, atrocious acts as the London bombings. Even if you insist on grouping together Islamic fundamentalists and the Bush administration (with whcih I completely disagree) you must take note of the huge difference between the atmosphere and ideological background in which the Bush team works and the one on which Bin Laden and his likes build. You cannot approach the two in the same way.

SG at July 8, 2005 06:31 PM [permalink]:

"Progressives, any other suggestions on the actual topic of the post?"

Showing a characteristically low tolerance for things you don't particularly like or don't necessarily match your pattern of thought, eh? Why don't you just close the comment section, Ali?

I found your last sentence (both your last comment above and the last sentence of your essay) to be bitterly laughabale. of course, you don't assume that "Progressives of the World" (whatever that means) read your post, or do you?!

About your comment, do you really, I mean REALLY, expect the "collective wisdom" to find a solution to the familiar problems that you listed in less than 24 hours?

Boy, are you impatient!

SG at July 8, 2005 06:43 PM [permalink]:

Babak S:

"[Y]ou are, on the one hand, reducing the people (of Iran especially) to a bunch of illiterates who can't decide what's best for them and their own destiny "in the long run", and on the other hand, you flaunt the 28M figure to dismiss the call for boycott. That is hypocricy, nay, rediculousness, at its peak."

Wait a minute, now I'm (kinda) offended. What's so hypocritical about it?!!! What's one (not knowing what's good for them) got to do with the other (rejecting the boycott)? These two are in fact intimately related; two sides of the same coin, one might even say. That shouldn't be that hard to understand.

Ali at July 8, 2005 06:45 PM [permalink]:

SG, I didn't say you should stop your discussions with David, I think they do shed light on important issues. But I am also interested in hearing about other people's ideas on the issues discussed. Sometimes when the comments get very much off track there is a need to remind people of the main thread. Based on my knowledge of you (through your posts which I find interesting and agree with most of the time by the way), I don't think you insist on having the forum entirely to yourself. But If you prefer that noone talk about anything else, let me know.

You missed the humor in "progressives of the world unite", but I don't blame you since written comments often do not transfer intonation. Keep the heat of the discussion with Dave, I have no particular objections to your arguments. In fact you are saving me my breath :)

Cheers


SG at July 8, 2005 07:02 PM [permalink]:

Thanks for the clarification, Ali. I do not want to have the forum to myself, rest assured, but it's not like we're sitting in a room and one person's talking interferes with others'. I'd be very happy to hear from others as well (even if it's for nothing other than having a chance to criticise their views!), but I guess some people don't have much time!

In any case, I'd better continue my discussion with Babak S under one of his election-related posts, as it is not really related to this post. I am just realizing how misunderstood I've been.

Dave S at July 8, 2005 08:03 PM [permalink]:
SG: I can assure you that AT LEAST 95% of those 1014 Iranians who signed up for candidacy did not have any political experience whatsoever. They were either simple pure individuals who thought they could "save Iran", or, plain and simple, they were nut cases. (Did you see the picture of the old guy who hadn't even fasten his fly?) So, disqualified they must have been. So don't vote for them. I had no idea that you were so sympathetic to the powers that be in Iran. You are defending the indefensible. Restrict the political process to those with "experience"... how convenient that must be to those who support the tyrants (who--get this--have experience). Simply appalling. Hasn't US been a big good old friend of those very same "oppressive regimes"? A "big good old friend" may be a bit of a stretch, but yes, as a matter of practicality, the US has in the past (very unfortunately) turned a blind eye to some regimes--which, I might add, every country in the world does, often moreso than the U.S.--sort of a lesser of two evils kind of thing in many cases. Does this make it right? Clearly not. But this is certainly irrelevent to the question of whether or not the removal of those regimes has any merit. That is akin to saying "You said that 2+2=5, when it equals 4... What? Now you are saying that 2+2=4? You said just a minute ago that is was 5! You cannot now claim that it equals 4" Clearly an illogical argument, but it is often used by critics of the U.S. who would like to debate without actually standing for anything. Why, in your opinion, should the American administration have waited until 9/11 to bolster their resolve for spreading democracy all over the Mid East? Now I think you're kidding. With the personal attacks that this president has had to endure because of his foreign policy AFTER 9/11 are you seriously suggesting that you and/or the world-wide left would have supported such an historic, sweeping foreign policy change in a vacuum? That's laughable. Even after the largest in a series of terrorist attacks spanning a decade, he is called every name in the book for taking the common-sense approach to eliminating terrorism. Now you're being funny. You're telling us how to do our job? No, I was pointing out the absurdity of the notion that fundamentalist theocrats or terrorists could be swayed by "dialogue", which seems to be a popular notion on this thread. Nothing more. I support the Iranian cause whole-heartedly, however it is done. One argument is, if they give people of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc. the freedom to choose, then they might choose fundamentalists who would be worse for the interests of the US than these dictators who are nothing but friendly servants of the West. I have heard that one a million times, and I don't buy it for a second. It is simply not human nature to voluntarily select oppressive government for ones self. And everytime that argument has been made in support of tyrants, it is proven wrong by the very people it is intended to subtly mock. People want to be free... to say otherwise is baselessly condescending. I say it is impossible to change the mentality of a nation overnight, although a superficially democratic government is not that hard to come by. Agreed... Iran is a perfect example of a superficial democracy. Iraq is now a perfect example of an up-and-coming true democracy, where no theocracy exists to arbitrarily disqualify candidates that they don't like. I don't think ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Kevin at July 8, 2005 09:29 PM [permalink]:

Excuse me, but when have you seen "Christian Fundamentalists" (it's still two words, right?) blowing up civilians or shedding anyone's blood? It seems to me that dialogue cannot proceed from prejudice or misunderstanding.

someone who is usually silent at July 8, 2005 10:04 PM [permalink]:

Kevin,

In the recent history we may not have seen it. But I am sure as you should know historically, Christians were very ruthless in their approahes. They killed many many jews, and they killed people from different sect within their own religion. Since the bombs were not invented then, you cannot claim that since they didn't blow any one up, they didn't shed any blood. Some of the bloodiest wars were in fact brought upon humanity by Christians and church. Since I am sure you know about these things from your history books, I won't go on. Just wanted to remind you.

If what you mean is in the past 50-60 years, then we can talk. And you should be much more specific to be able to make any argument of this sort.

someone who is usually silent at July 8, 2005 10:11 PM [permalink]:

Kevin, if you didn't see it in your history books (I wouldn't know, since I didn't go to high school in north america), you can use google and the word "crusades". I am sure you will find plenty of reading on religous killings of Christians. That may give you some new perspectives on Christianity, which you clearly need.

someone who is usually silent at July 8, 2005 10:16 PM [permalink]:

Kevin,

By the way I totally agree with your comment "It seems to me that dialogue cannot proceed from prejudice or misunderstanding." So next time, please "read" so that you "understand" and "feel free of prejudice" before taking a paternal position on "misunderstanding" and "prejudice" on anyone else.

Blogsfera at July 8, 2005 10:49 PM [permalink]:

Ref a este post.
Blogsfera
Terrorismo en Londres, repercusión en los blogs.
URL: http://www.lacoctelera.com/blogsfera/post/2005/07/09/terrorismo-londres-repercusion

Ali at July 9, 2005 12:18 AM [permalink]:

Kevin,

The KKK is a Christian organization. The Aryan Nation is a Christian Facist group. Timothy McVeigh was part of a "Christian Identity" group (see the non-classified pages of FBI documents on the case). More obviously, George W is responsible for the deaths of more than 16,000 Iraqis who died as a result of direct bombing and "colateral damage". All these people have blood on their hands. They are as Christian as Bin Laden is Muslim.

Again, I agree that (as of now) Christian fundamentalists are still under control, and that Muslim fundamentlists are a higher danger to the world. But not to see these facts is to be blind.

Dave S at July 9, 2005 12:41 AM [permalink]:

The KKK is a Christian organization. The Aryan Nation is a Christian Facist group. Timothy McVeigh was part of a "Christian Identity" group

Using your logic "My dog has dark colored hair, and John Travolta has dark colored hair, therefore my dog is equivilent to John Travolta." Silly on its face.

The KKK and the Aryan Nation may claim to be Christians, but their actions are driven not by religion, but by bigotry. Islamic terrorist, on the other hand, believe that it is their duty to Allah to slaughter all of the infidels and impose Islamic law everywhere.

Apples and oranges, man... get some perspective. The hyperbolic, apologist, morally-relativistic rhetoric on the left is way out of hand.

Dave S at July 9, 2005 12:52 AM [permalink]:

Someone... In the recent history we may not have seen it. But I am sure as you should know historically, Christians were very ruthless in their approahes. They killed many many jews, and they killed people from different sect within their own religion. Since the bombs were not invented then, you cannot claim that since they didn't blow any one up, they didn't shed any blood.

We aren't talking about ancient history, He-Who-Is-Usually-Silent. We are clearly talking about today, and the problem that arises from certain sects of Islam who DO, in fact, still live almost a millenium in the past.

Kevin, if you didn't see it in your history books (I wouldn't know, since I didn't go to high school in north america), you can use google and the word "crusades"

While the crusades were quite brutal, in the current discussion (since you're bringing up 1000 year old, irrelevant wars) it is only fair to remember that they were a response to the aggression of the fundamentalist Muslims of their day... even then, they were trying to conquer the world and impose Islamic law.

Dave S at July 9, 2005 01:12 AM [permalink]:

More obviously, George W is responsible for the deaths of more than 16,000 Iraqis who died as a result of direct bombing and "colateral damage"

I love the way that Bush is automatically responsible in the sick minds of some people. Why not blame Saddam Hussein, who had 12 years to comply with 17 U.N. resolutions and wouldn't? He had 4 months at the end to comply, and wouldn't do it. Bush gave Hussein and his sons 48 hours to leave the country and avoid war... he wouldn't do it. He has been firing on coalition aircraft for years, trying to provoke a fight. He routinely violated the cease-fire agreement he signed at the end of the first Gulf War.

Why not blame the terrorists, who mock international law, refuse to wear uniforms, and intentionally hide in densely populated areas, mosques, and schools? I guarantee you that 90% or more of civilian casualties can be directly attributed to the acts of the terrorists which are design to INTENTIONALLY endanger civilians.

For you to blame Bush for the deaths of 16,000 Iraqis (many of whom are probably terrorists, by the way) and give the people who are the real cause a pass is absolutely dispicable and betrays your true sympathies. If you are really that concerned, you should quit apologizing for terrorists and despots and stand with those who are actually trying to defeat them and give people a chance for a better life. Maybe, if people like you would start being sensible and stop reflexively taking the terrorists' side, this war could end quickly and lives could be saved.

If you really are concerned about incidental civilian casualties you should be thanking God/Allah/whoever you worship that George W. Bush is running the show, because our military has bent over backwards to avoid civilian casualties. And for you to equate accidental deaths that occur--despite the ridiculous lengths to which the US military goes to avoid them --with the intentional wholesale slaughter of innocent civilians is simply beyond the pale, and beyond the realm of sensibility.

Behold, anyone who is reading this. This is the modern political left, and is the reason that it is growing increasingly irrelevant in the minds of sensible people everywhere... even in Ali's own country (assuming he is from Iran) where his beliefs place him in a small minority.


Shahram hamvatan5 at July 9, 2005 05:28 AM [permalink]:

There will be no peace on the world as long as radical fundamentalist rule entire nations and support militant groups, its as simple as that.

The problem has to be taken from its roots, removal of those tyrants and unelected few by any force necessary. Of course we don't like bloodshed and casualties but you have to fight fire with fire, or do you really believe in a peaceful democratic change in such barbaric, tyranic nations?

As an Iranian I fully support Bush and the war against Iraq, afterall he removed a
mass-murderer from power, and all his critics will be silenced in the future if Iraq does not follow the footsteps of Iran and gives rise to the mullahs.

I also want to take the opportunity to use this forum to speak to my fellow Iranian countrymen;

Are you an Iranian or a seed of the Arabs, have you forgotten what our 7000 year long history has taught us? I am only dissapointed in people who actually went out and voted, you didn't vote or support a candidate but the system. A system that condemns our Persian history and culture and embraces every aspect of Arabian culture. Shame on you who claim to be a proud Iranian and voted in this election, if you like the regime so much then you should move to Saudi Arabia!

Pardon me for my agressive stance against these people but they are nothing but traitors or uneducated people who have forgotten what being Iranian means.

I hope President Bush will stand behind his word and help the Iranian people overthrowing this regime, I know pressuring the regime will help, military interventions is probably not necessary. I also know that our people are afraid, one madman with a gun can keep in check masses, but believe me if the masses get united and moving the madman will run his life, just like Saddam's army!

Frank McEleny at July 9, 2005 06:21 AM [permalink]:

When the writer talks about "Christian fundamentalists," I am not sure what he means by this. We know what Muslim fundamentalism means, bombings and mass killings of innocents.So how can Christian fundamentalists be mentioned in the same sentence of people who gladly kill women and children and behead people. The same people who believe that you either kill the infidel, convert him, or enslave him. There is simply no comparison. I am a born-again Christian. I believe that there is no other way to heaven than through Jesus Christ. While this is certainly exclusive, it is a fundamental tenent of Christianity. How is it, that by making the statement I just made, that I can be compared to the 9/11 bombers, or the be-headers of the "extremists Muslim," faith? As a Christian, it is true that we seek to share the light of Jesus Christ with all men, to the exclusion of all other "deities." Yet, no man can be coerced to "join," Christianity. It is a descision of the heart and the key to Christianity is voluntary submission to God, a God of love.

Ali at July 9, 2005 10:50 AM [permalink]:

Dave,

I think you lack the courage and the decency to own up to the slaughter of innocent lives. I find your statement "most of them were probably terrorists anyway" vile and shameless.

I don't care for the logic which made you John Travolta's dog, and I don't have any wish to point out the fallacies in many of your arguments, simply because I don't believe you are here to learn. But pray continue so that others may benefit from your wisdom

Ali at July 9, 2005 11:13 AM [permalink]:

Frank,

The argument doesn't apply to all Christian fundamentalists. Just to those who gun down women at abortion clinics, or bring down the Oklahoma City Federal Building because they believe the government to be under the influence of the anti-christ. If i offended any peaceful fundamentlist CHristian or fundamentalist Muslim who are living their lives letting other people living theirs, I do apologize. As Christians distance themselves from such heinous acts and call then unchristian, so do mainstream muslims. While I am not religous myself, I do respect both Christianity and Islam as well as all other religions, when they don't try to impose their beliefs on me.

See Christian Terrorism under http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_terrorism

http://www.stephen-knapp.com/christian_terrorism_in_northeast_india.htm

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=8207

Dave s at July 9, 2005 01:13 PM [permalink]:

I find your statement "most of them were probably terrorists anyway" vile and shameless.

SO you take one statement out of my post (which is almost certainly correct, by the way) and avoid the pith of it. Noone said that there were no civilian casualties... those are words you imlicitly shoved in my mouth.

You have yet to explain why you will draw an equivilence to G.W. Bush and say he is guilty of slaughter while giving a complete pass to the terrorists who are actually responsible for those civilian casualties.

If I offended any peaceful fundamentlist CHristian or fundamentalist Muslim who are living their lives letting other people living theirs, I do apologize.

But you don't seem to even understand... even discussing the two in the same context is a gross misrepresentation of fundamentalist Christianity. Fundamentalists obey their religious teachings in their most literal form. The simple fact is that the Koran in its most literal form advocates violence against infidels. The new testament in its most literal form advocates turning the other cheek. There is NO COMPARISON.

Go read that pathetic Wikipedia article (which essentially makes my point... Chritian terrorism is virtually non-existent)... then go check out this map/timeline:
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2005310401,00.html

That is just Islamic terrorist acts since 1993, and doesn't even include the enormous number of acts that occurred in Israel or Iraq.

It's ok... you don't have to draw moral equivilence between things to be a good leftist.

Why would you say that Dave? at July 9, 2005 01:34 PM [permalink]:

Dave, you said "The KKK and the Aryan Nation may claim to be Christians, but their actions are driven not by religion, but by bigotry." What makes you think that the terrorists that claim to be moslems are driven by their religion? Doesn't that show your ignorance about Islam? I think you really need to read more man. This is a true example of an American who always thinks he is right!!! (Because of not knowing anything else). I believe there is hope for you, if you start to read books instead of watching Fox news and CNN.

SG at July 9, 2005 02:24 PM [permalink]:

This is not an attempt to respond to Dave S (whose terminology reminds me of some woman who used to roam about in these pages and whose name escapes me), but I would like to point out some things.

First, as a matter of policy, I would not want to waste my time arguing with closed-minded individuals with already fixed agendas and already made-up minds that is clear from their self-righteous tone. If you do not possess the ability to doubt and re-evaluate the validity of your perceptions, then arguing with you is as pointless as arguing with the Arab jihadist who is ready to blow himself up for his undisputale cause, because you are both suffering the same (mental) condition.

Also Dave S is guilty of the same charge that I sometimes find myself guilty of. He reads words that are not there, because he's so obsessed with the arguments going on in his (her?) mind that takes every topic and stretches is so far that he can find an excuse to draw and voice his own conclusions and convictions.

On another note, I believe two things should be separated. We can argue whether some religion is *inherently* bloodthirsty or not. There are examples of Christians' brutality (I can cite the witch hunt and burning non-believers during the Inquisition) and of, say, Muslims' honor killing. But I'm not sure how *useful* such arguments are.

SG at July 9, 2005 02:26 PM [permalink]:

This is not an attempt to respond to Dave S (whose terminology reminds me of some woman who used to roam about in these pages and whose name escapes me), but I would like to point out some things.

First, as a matter of policy, I would not want to waste my time arguing with closed-minded individuals with already fixed agendas and already made-up minds that is clear from their self-righteous tone. If you do not possess the ability to doubt and re-evaluate the validity of your perceptions, then arguing with you is as pointless as arguing with the Arab jihadist who is ready to blow himself up for his undisputale cause, because you are both suffering the same (mental) condition.

Also Dave S is guilty of the same charge that I sometimes find myself guilty of. He reads words that are not there, because he's so obsessed with the arguments going on in his (her?) mind that takes every topic and stretches is so far that he can find an excuse to draw and voice his own conclusions and convictions.

On another note, I believe two things should be separated. We can argue whether some religion is *inherently* bloodthirsty or not. There are examples of Christians' brutality (I can cite the witch hunt and burning non-believers during the Inquisition) and of, say, Muslims' honor killing. But I'm not sure how *useful* such arguments are.

someone who is usually silent at July 9, 2005 06:28 PM [permalink]:

Dave S,

I am not going to argue with you anymore, but just to correct something, you said "He-Who-Is-Usually-Silent" I am not a he, but a she. I am not fond of modelems myself. I had to flee my country because of them. So, let's get real, I just wanted you, and other Christians know that for me, any religous fundementalism is as bad as the next one. BUT, I agree that in this time (very recent) moslem fundamantalism is more scary than others. But please do not lecture me, or anyone else on the non-existence of Christian fundamantallism. Every religion has the extremists who will do anything to protect themseleves from others. ANYTHING.... (inluding, killing, taking freedom from their critiques, and more killing).

Dave S at July 9, 2005 08:30 PM [permalink]:

Every religion has the extremists who will do anything to protect themseleves from others. ANYTHING.... (inluding, killing, taking freedom from their critiques, and more killing).

I agree 100%... my argument wasn't with this fact... you previously used the word "fundamentalist" rather than extremist. My point was that "fundamentalist" Christians are not violent (you won't see Amish people blowing up busses, for example), but that true "fundamentalist" muslims were because they are strict adherents to the literal word of the Koran.

I didn't realize at the time that you did not actually intend to say "fundamentalists" when you used that word. Yes, there are extremist adherents to most religions.

What makes you think that the terrorists that claim to be moslems are driven by their religion?

Because they tell us all of the time, and quote the Koran, etc. Fairly academic, actually. How are you not aware of that?

Frank McEleny at July 9, 2005 08:43 PM [permalink]:
Hi My comments about Christian fundamentalism and the other comments about "religion," may need some clarification.If decent discussion about any topic is to be had, then definition of terms is vital. When I talk about fundamentalist Christians I am talking about people who regard every word of the Bible as true and believe that only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can one enter the kingdom of heaven. I am not talking about the religious right wing, I am not talking about Catholicism(I was born and raised one, I am one no longer)and the inquisition. I am not talking about puritans or people with a Bible in one hand and a whip in the other, or worse still, people with a Bible in one hand and an AK47 in the other. I am talking about the New Testement and what that teaches,and the Koran and what that teaches. I do not shy away from the fundamental truths of the New Testement, that a man or a woman has to be born-again in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, all who are not born again will spend eternity in a place we call hell, more specifically outside of the presence of God. That is the exclusive fundamental truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The exclusive fundamental truth of the Muslim faith, as taught by Mohammad is that the infidel is to be forcefully converted, killed or enslaved, no Muslim should shy away from this truth, for this is the Muslim truth. There may be a clash of cultures going on right now, the West may be facing the East, but this has nothing to do with Christianity. True Christians are merely pilgrims passing through, sojourners. We do not recognize any country as being "Christian." We are not involved in politics or wars or killings of any kind. We are in a spiritual battle, we battle against the forces of darkness which are just as prevalent in the west as in the east. God sees no difference between the moral suburbanite and the radical Muslim. This physical war on terrorism, these wars all over the world, are a distraction to keep peoples of the world away from the truth that God cares about all peoples equally, He is no respector of persons, all men and woman are equal in the eyes of God. And He loved the world so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for the sins of the world. Those who reject this sacrifice will not suffer in this world because of their rejection, for all people of the world are free moral agents, it is in the next world that they will be judged upon what they did or did not do with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary. You will notice that this truth of the Gospel is a spiritual truth and compels no men or women to "convert." This is a non-sensical notion only held by the religious and philisophical peoples of the world who have caused untold misery in the last two thousand years, this includes the Muslim faith, The Catholic faith, Capitilism, Communism, in fact any kind of ism you care to mention. I call on all the people of the world to study the words of Jesus and know that we true Christians are called by Him to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us and despise us, we are called to turn the other cheek. While religious peoples will pay lip service to these great truths, it will actually stick in their throats as they lash out at one another, and that includes every religious person in the world, whether moderate, progressive or fundamental, all of them will ultimately reject the truth of God in an effort to protect themselves as they drown in fear ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
someone who is usually silent at July 9, 2005 09:01 PM [permalink]:

Dave S and Kevin,

I agree on some points with you. I think I may not have been exactly clear on my choice of words. But I should clarify something for you guys (both guys I assume). I know many many moslem people, who stick to Koran, and are the most peaceful people you can find. There are many interpretation of Koran, some of which may lead to violence (that is why I have problems with religion), but the fact that someone if moslem and sticks to the rules of Islam, and so on, doens't necessarily imply that they are violent people. A famouse example of that is Shirin Ebadi, who won the nobel peace prize last year. She is moslem (but not fundamantalist, not extremist). Another example is Akbar Ganji, he is also moslem, and he is fighting peacefully for the freedom of people of Iran. He has been compared with Vaclav Havel in NY SUN. So when people say moslem terrorist, or moslem killers or so on (I am not saying you said these) I feel the need to point out that their choice of word is not really appropriate.

Anyhow, I didn't get to read Kevin's comment fully, it was too long for me, but I hope we all understand where each of us are coming from.

someone who is usually silent at July 9, 2005 09:03 PM [permalink]:

OOOOOPPPPPSSSSS, sorry, I didn't mean to say Kevin anywhere there, I meant Frank.... Sorry...

kiri at July 9, 2005 09:29 PM [permalink]:

Sam Huntington is a liberal academic. He voted for Kerry. you idiots never learn....

heydarbaba at July 9, 2005 11:57 PM [permalink]:

Those who argue that you can not have a dialogue with Bin Laden are in my opinion right but they don't necessarily prove anything. Why? Because Bin Laden is not a civilization, he is not the representative of the Muslim civilization. Bin Laden is not even a Sunni Muslim. He belongs to the Wahhabi sect and is a Wahhabi fundementalist. One out of every four inhabitant of earth is a muslim and if Muslims wanted to act crazy, you would see hell on earth. Ironically Bin Laden and this phenomenon of HATE BOOMERS are direct result of America's encouragement and efforts for strengthening that sect. I don't think Americans knew exactly what they were getting into. But this HATE BOOMERS generation of Wahhabis, is what America wanted and is what America got. This HATE BOOMER generation is much more dangerous than the so called experts would have us believe. Contemplating a dialogue with this group would be as smart as chasing your own tail. I will make a separate post regarding HATE BOOMER generation because it is not directly related to this topic but it sheds light at the roots of this phenomenon.

heydarbaba at July 9, 2005 11:59 PM [permalink]:
Hate Boomers---- Wahhabi fundamentalists consider Jews and Christians (and also Shias) as infidels. In the case of Jews and Christians they are explicit and implicit in the case of Shias. This group claims to be the true Muslims and they will not take no for an answer. They have money and lots of it, this simply adds to their arrogance. Their message is more pronounced by hatred of infidels and whoever they consider infidel. They have absolutely no tolerance for any Muslim who doesn't exactly think and believe like they do. They have been spreading their message freely around the world and spending hundreds of millions of dollars. the result is the generation of HATE BOOMERS. How did it get to this point? . How was this generation born? After the triumph of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, many of the kingdoms of the Persian Gulf area, the Emirs and sheikhs panicked. What happened to the strongest man in the region, the pahlavi tyrant, Shah, could happen to them. The west and East were dumb founded. The West's beloved oil supplies were in dangers of falling in hands of the local citizens instead of the local puppet governments, kings, Emirs, Sheikhs,..The possibility of the Muslims around the world to embrace the message of The Islamic Revolution of Iran and therefore replace America's puppets, the tyrants who were ruling them with true representative of their own had risen considerably . So US encouraged Saddam to invade Iran and the Saudi Arabia to spread their version of Islam to counter the influence of Islamic revolution in Muslim communities around the world, and spreading they did thanks to those precious petrodollars. on the military front Saddam was happy just to survive, however on the ideological front they were more successful or that is what they thought. Hundreds of mosques around the world were built and supported by Saudi money, they preached Wahhabism as they knew it the best, in poor countries they built Madrasas, and took in the kids and indoctrinated them from the very young ages in their teachings of strict denial of everything and everybody else and a clear definition of infidels and a solid hatred for those infidels. In almost all the times America and other western countries were behind this effort, something Imam Khomeini once called American Islam. The kids didn't stay kids and grew up...in many numbers. There was born the HATE BOOMERS. After twenty years of promoting and supporting this spread of Wahhabism around the world, suddenly America started to realize they had created a monster they simply didn't know how to control. Still the REALPOLITIK of oil kept America and Saudi's closer to each other. Nothing could break that friendship even though there were signs that the tumor was growing. Comes 9/11 and many of the Hijackers turn out to be citizens of America's darling, Saudi Arabia, Monster has arrived, HATE BOOMERS have set their foot on America's soil. Chicken has come home to roost. This generation of HATE BOOMERS has caused a great deal of damage to Islam. More than one billion Muslims of all sects live on this earth and in many instances live in the same area and live in harmony and peace with each other and with other religions. (in Tehran, Iran , there are more than 20 synagogues and many churches)There has sometimes been some sectarian fighting among some Muslims but has been mostly small and injected from outside Muslim world, but this generation of HATE BOOMERS are different. ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
SG at July 11, 2005 12:29 AM [permalink]:

My previous comment was interrupted. For now, ignore its last paragraph.

someone from inside Iran at July 11, 2005 04:51 AM [permalink]:

I agree that "dialogue" rather than war is the way; however, to have a dialogue we, Iranians,
have to have something to offer.
Something modern, like scientific research, arts, .... Something "we" have created, not our ancesters 2500 years ago.
Why? With the current situation, quite honestly,
most Iranians
loose their self-respect before westerners.
You all have mentioned the unreasonable hatred that some muslims have towards westerners. It unfortunately exsists. But in my opinion, the reason behind it is not teachings of Islam but the
disgusting humiliation that "majority" of educated people feel before the westners.
Some westerners (but not all of them) take advantage of this lack of self-respect and get concession after concession. People observe this and get crazy. In one sense, they are right.

Each and all of you can do a lot to alter this.
Arguing about bin-laden will not solve anything.
Help, instead, to hold a world scientific conference in Iran. You can be very helpful if you
really want.

Kristina at July 14, 2005 12:39 AM [permalink]:

As my Islamic Law professor stated (and all but 1 student agreed), the "clash of civilizations" theory has been dismissed as bullshit by most academics. It is merely an excuse to claim that one's civilization is better than another.

I am currently working as a law clerk in an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. I am shocked by the number of people who wish to immigrate to this country, whether for business only or for other reasons. I was born a US citizen, however as I look around at the administration that is supposed to represent me (but I sure as hell didn't vote for Bush in 2000 or 2004), I am begging my boyfriend to make sure our visas are in order so we can return to his home country of Scotland. I cannot live in a country where is seems that our leaders value the lives of "Americans" over the lives of others yet continue to take away our civil liberties.

I must agree with the prior post. THe problem is not Islam. As I studied Islam, both in undergrad and in law school, I fell in love with the social justice and equality that Islam was founded on by the Prophet, may peace be upon him. I feel that many pro-western academics and others make broad statements about Islam without having ever studied it. I was lucky enough to have an Muslim student from my Islamic law class invite me to attend the Mosque with him and his wife. I covered my blonde hair with a hajib (spelling?), but I thought my pale skin and blue eyes would have people not be open to me. The opposite was true. I have never felt more welcomed by a group of people. And this itself pokes holes in the "clash of civilization" theory.

On a completely different note, I am trying to travel to Iran. I want to experience the culture. However, from working in an immigration firm, I have learned that msot countries require one to visit the consulate of the country one wishes to visit in order to get a visitor's visa. Being that the US has yet to open ties wit Iran (and get over what happened 25 years ago, when I was less than 1-year-old), does anyone know how I can get authorization to travel to Iran?

I promise that I am not some government spy (trust me, they wouldn't have my liberal butt considering I have been called a traitor by David Horowitz and others based on articles I wrote for my college paper, and I could not work for Bush as my grandmother would spin in her grave). I support you and your people in your struggle to govern yourselfs, not by the West or by anyone who violates the true laws of Islam. Although it makes me a hated person my many, I will continue to defend Islam, educating the American people about the true Islam and not the Islam of the extremists or the distortions of the government.

I also want to add that I have the utmost respect for those of you living in Iran and having the courage to post. It is people like you that will someday be in power, and hopefully people like me will be in power in the West, thus we can work together to create the sort of world that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) spoke of.

Kristina at July 14, 2005 12:49 AM [permalink]:

One organization that I have heard of (and am hoping will hire me when I pass the bar in July 2006) is the Counsel of American Islamic Relations. This organization was featured in a documentary series called "30 Days". In this particular episode, an extremely religious man moved in with an Islmic family and (was supposed to) became a Muslim for 30 days. The producer, Morgan Spurlock, knocked down all of the false views of Islam. Too bad that few people actually watch this show.

Ali M at July 15, 2005 03:38 AM [permalink]:

"I fell in love with the social justice and equality that Islam was founded on by the Prophet"

Kristina,

Are you sure you listened carefully in class. If there is one thing Islam is not based on is "equality". It discriminates between Muslims and non muslims and then between men and women (divorce, heritage etc...).

Ali (author) at July 15, 2005 09:57 AM [permalink]:

Since 30% of Iranian males are called Ali, we should make sure there is no confusion in the posts. Ali M, could you please choose a different name when posting?

Kristina at July 16, 2005 10:19 PM [permalink]:

Our professor, a Muslim Palestinian now living in California, taught our class. I did listen carefully, and I read all of the assigned readings. I received 1 of 2 A's in the class.

It depends on your reading of fiqh, hadith, sunna, and the Qu'ran as to whether or not Islam discriminates between women and men, Muslims and non-Muslims. Do you look at it through the eyes of those in that time? Or do you look at it through the eyes of today? It is a choice I think every Muslim has a right to make.

Women are given the right to contract for certain rights in their marriages. Several Muslim female friends had such marraige contracts, and many of them our my law school classmates. My male Muslim friends all have wives who either work or are attending graduate school. They are all practicing Muslims.

In my class, we had a debate about whether a woman should be allowed to lead prayer. (This was following the Muslim Wake-up sponsored female led prayer in NYC.) Half of the students said it was not permissible under Islamic law. Half said the oppposite. Men and women sat on both sides. We all had strong, valid arguments, but it all came back to interpretation.

JFTDMaster at July 19, 2005 08:23 PM [permalink]:

Apparently Muhammed's original constitution in 622 AD protected religious minorities from coersion, who would have thought.

http://www.friendsofdemocracy.info/2005/07/will_muslims_ac.html

Nazly at July 20, 2005 03:02 AM [permalink]:

http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications/books/iraqbodycount.htm

Babak S at July 22, 2005 04:25 PM [permalink]:

random notes:

Kristina,

I think it's importnat to decide on our knowledge today whether Islam "is" or "is not" discriminatory, unless we are asking this question in a history class.

Nazly,

The facts summary given on this page about Iraq body count is intersting: 37% of the reported civilian deaths are attributed to the US-led forces. 30% of the deaths occured during the invasion (before May 1, 2003). This hints that the US-led forces have *not* been involved in most of the killings thenafter, a fact also underlined by the summary. More than 50% of the reported deaths are attributed to criminal activities other than insurgency. The total number of deaths in two years (~25,000) is about the same as the road-accident mortalities in Iran in one year. It seems a war about the same size az the Iraq war is going on in Iran's roads.

An Iranian student (AIS) at July 24, 2005 04:34 AM [permalink]:

The words of an absolute genius and one of the greatest men to have lived:

"“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.”

—Sir Winston Churchill, from The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899)."

Indeed.

An Iranian student (AIS) at July 25, 2005 01:51 AM [permalink]:

BTW, all those consciencous lefty souls who demonstrate en mass against removing a murdere like Saddam from power, were the hell are they today when ganji is dying in prison? Why the hell don't they demonstrate this time?
F*** them all, a##%^%le hypocrites!

heydarbaba at July 25, 2005 02:52 PM [permalink]:

Regarding the Churchill comment,

Churchill was a drunken bastard who did not have the courage to face the life without the help of the "bottle". He used to get up 12 noon and drink a great deal every day. He was genius enough to lose the election after the war. So lets hear about Islam from some one who didn't need to hit the "bottle" to build up some guts to face life, from some one who unlike Churchill was not in the "colonialists" camp and......From the French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre:

"I have no religion, but if I were to choose one, it would be that of Shariati's."(meaning Islam)
-Jean-Paul Sartre


heydarbaba at July 25, 2005 03:29 PM [permalink]:

Some of the downside of the "number game" in Babak's post,
If I have to extend your line of reasoning then I could come up with the following lines and you be the judge of how good or bad those are:
------Ganji dies in prison ...so what...more than 120 prisoners have died in US control prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, one third of them under torture. Ganji is no exception. His blood is not redder than those who.......
------Iranian women need more freedom and more rights?..what are they complaining about...one out of every 9 Israeli woman lives in violence (beating, rape, and threat to kill ) from their boy friends or husbands...and every 18 second a woman in America takes a beating from husband or boy friend a great majority of whom have to be hospitalized...
------Americans have lost 1700 soldiers in Iraq? big deal...in the very same time tens of thousands of Americans have died in the streets of America by gun shots and knives..Those 1700 death doesn't bring end of the world....
------There is not enough money allocated to fight AIDS in America...big deal.....the number of Americans who die every year from malpractice or surgery related ERRORS and MISHAPS far exceeds the total number of Americans who die from "AIDS, heart attack and cancer" combined.
I can go on and on and draw more parallels to your logic but I think I made the point....Obviously something is out of place in the above line of reasoning and does not seem right..I let the readers be the judge....


I just remembered this I am not sure where I read it...."When you kill one innocent person it is as if you killed the entire mankind, when you save one person it is as if you saved the entire mankind..."
To me in year 2005, the above 1400 year old statement sounds more progressive and humane than many other ideas and reasoning put forward by the Cream of the Crop of some current modern Civilizations!!!!...the neo cons, and characters such as Stalin who said "one death is a tragedy , a million deaths is statistics.."..

Alborz at July 26, 2005 08:38 AM [permalink]:

people read these articles about american imperialism and ambitions please read carefully:

US wages war from within Iran
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EF20Ak02.html

The American hand in Iran
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GG06Ak03.html

Stirring the ethnic pot
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GD29Ak01.html

American Imperialism
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2003-05-05-boot_x.htm

American Imperialism and Politics of Fear
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0215-22.htm

American imperialism and the looming failure in Iraq
http://auto_sol.tao.ca/node/view/1442

Towards a New Century of American imperialism
http://www.globalpolicy.org/globaliz/cultural/001129.htm

American Imperialism in Latin America
http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/espada/imperialism.htm

Bush's inaugural Address and the Global Strategy of American Imperialism
http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NOR501B.html

Bases, bases everywhere
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/GF03Ak02.html


and i can mention alot more believe me, now you be the judge, we got all the american propaganda, and here is the anti-american view.

Babak S at July 26, 2005 08:58 PM [permalink]:

heydarbaba, master spinster!

Where in my comment did I say these deaths were insignifiacnt, or "so what?" as you wrote? Where? I only gave my take on an already published "statistics" based on their own facts summary, that's all. To me, all those deaths are significant. Far more significant, though, are the causes of those deaths. Judge this!

An Iranian Student (AIS) at July 26, 2005 11:24 PM [permalink]:

Alborz,

I'm terribly sorry but your links are nothing but a bunch of pathetic garbage. Go get some professional help, my good man.

heydarbaba at July 30, 2005 11:27 PM [permalink]:

Babak,
I was not reading the lines in your comment. Every body can do that. I was reading what was between the lines and my impression was that you somehow trivialized the Iraqi death toll by comparing it with highway accidents victims in Iran. Two items that have no apparent relationship but none the less they managed to become like cousins and uncles in your comments....I am glad to see that you do care for the death of the Iraqis ...something that Bush and his team have failed to do.
By the way you called me master spinster; compared to the other names I have been called in the past by other people that is not so bad and it is tolerable... still that doesn't mean that I love you though...:)

Mazaen at August 27, 2005 07:25 AM [permalink]:

There seems to be a clash of civilizations at the moment between the western civilization and the muslim civilization. I worked, pre September 11, at a Nursery with a muslim co-worker. He was a refugee from Iraq. He was very well spoken but when talked about his time in Iraq, dictated at the time by Sadaam Hussein, all he could say were 7 words," It was bad. It was very bad". The way he said this gave me chills. I can't imagine what awfulness that was he went through in Iraq.

I think I have, like many other westerners have, good intentions in suppporting Bush or our prime minster Howard in Iraq and Afganistan. One of my intentions for supporting Howard is I would like to see a functional Iraq so people like my iraq coworker are safe. I'd like the children in my country to not be killed in terror attacks. I'd like to see Iraq as a safe country. I'd like to see a iraq to be a prospererous for all the iraq people. And a country that meets as many of it's own objectives, what ever they may be, as possible.

I don't understand how many muslims believe so many conspiracy theories. I've heard santa clause brings presents but I don't actually believe it.
To the taxi driver who said that the twin towers plane crash were a plot of the CIA did you see the video where Osama bin Laden admmitted many times he was responsible for the World Trade Centre destruction.

Maybe the western culures are offended by much of the muslim cultures values and vice versa. I find it offensive when someone says that Osama bin Laden didn't do it. I don't know why. I find it highly offensive. DO they intend to offend me? probbaly not.

Mark Leinauer at September 2, 2005 06:02 PM [permalink]:

I have a recurring thought that might be of some insight on this issue.

Perhaps we should stop letting the extremists define our terms. Let me explain:
Radical islamacists clearly do not represent the majority opinion of any nation. Nor do the rantings of a Jerry Fallwell represent my fellow countrymen (I’m an American) or the “west” in particular. The “neocon vision” you describe is hardly one shared by a majority of my fellow citizens (indeed, they supported intervention in Iraq – and barely at that - largely because of false information regarding the weapons of mass destruction and links to known terrorists groups).

Often I think that part of the problem seems to lie in media dissemination. In the U.S., the loudest, and most outrageous, voices are the ones who get press– for one reason only; Outrageous and shocking opinions sell better than moderate ones. It becomes almost a propaganda of sensationalism to such an extent that, an ordinary American might be excused for believing that every single soul in the Middle East wants nothing more than to incinerate westerners at every turn.

The reverse is also true, though I can’t say with any authority as to why. I suppose there is a strong propagandistic value in painting the west, or the U.S. in particular in as poor a light as possible.

Is there any way to achieve more accuracy in media? If the true majority opinion were ever represented, I suspect that we would discover that we do not differ nearly as much as we’ve been lead to believe.

safedude at July 25, 2006 07:49 PM [permalink]:

god was a ..
jesus was a ..
mohammed was a ..

fill it in yourself, if you can be bothered

you can talk about it forever but it will never be real

safedude at July 25, 2006 07:54 PM [permalink]:

YWWWWWEAHHHHH! it's me!! back again!!

just thought i'd have a go at jesus cos no one seems to do you in over that.
what a totally imaginary gentleman!


saferdude at July 25, 2006 07:57 PM [permalink]:


here's a picture of my house


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SHIT DOOR

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it's hell in here i'm not joking there's no carpets or anything