The UN & PW didn't work. what's the jist of the piece?
Insightful piece in today's NY Times:
(If you're not registered, use "carlberky"---no quotes---for both username and password, courtesy of www.bugmenot.com)
The UN & PW didn't work. what's the jist of the piece?
Here it is (reproduced without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball):
Cult of Death
By DAVID BROOKS
We've been forced to witness the massacre of innocents. In New York, Madrid, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Baghdad and Bali, we have seen thousands of people destroyed while going about the daily activities of life.
We've been forced to endure the massacre of children. Whether it's teenagers outside an Israeli disco or students in Beslan, Russia, we've seen kids singled out as special targets.
We should by now have become used to the death cult that is thriving at the fringes of the Muslim world. This is the cult of people who are proud to declare, "You love life, but we love death." This is the cult that sent waves of defenseless children to be mowed down on the battlefields of the Iran-Iraq war, that trains kindergartners to become bombs, that fetishizes death, that sends people off joyfully to commit mass murder.
This cult attaches itself to a political cause but parasitically strangles it. The death cult has strangled the dream of a Palestinian state. The suicide bombers have not brought peace to Palestine; they've brought reprisals. The car bombers are not pushing the U.S. out of Iraq; they're forcing us to stay longer. The death cult is now strangling the Chechen cause, and will bring not independence but blood.
But that's the idea. Because the death cult is not really about the cause it purports to serve. It's about the sheer pleasure of killing and dying.
It's about massacring people while in a state of spiritual loftiness. It's about experiencing the total freedom of barbarism - freedom even from human nature, which says, Love children, and Love life. It's about the joy of sadism and suicide.
We should be used to this pathological mass movement by now. We should be able to talk about such things. Yet when you look at the Western reaction to the Beslan massacres, you see people quick to divert their attention away from the core horror of this act, as if to say: We don't want to stare into this abyss. We don't want to acknowledge those parts of human nature that were on display in Beslan. Something here, if thought about too deeply, undermines the categories we use to live our lives, undermines our faith in the essential goodness of human beings.
Three years after Sept. 11, too many people have become experts at averting their eyes. If you look at the editorials and public pronouncements made in response to Beslan, you see that they glide over the perpetrators of this act and search for more conventional, more easily comprehensible targets for their rage.
The Boston Globe editorial, which was typical of the American journalistic response, made two quick references to the barbarity of the terrorists, but then quickly veered off with long passages condemning Putin and various Russian policy errors.
The Dutch foreign minister, Bernard Bot, speaking on behalf of the European Union, declared: "All countries in the world need to work together to prevent tragedies like this. But we also would like to know from the Russian authorities how this tragedy could have happened."
It wasn't a tragedy. It was a carefully planned mass murder operation. And it wasn't Russian authorities who stuffed basketball nets with explosives and shot children in the back as they tried to run away.
Whatever horrors the Russians have perpetrated upon the Chechens, whatever their ineptitude in responding to the attack, the essential nature of this act was in the act itself. It was the fact that a team of human beings could go into a school, live with hundreds of children for a few days, look them in the eyes and hear their cries, and then blow them up.
Dissertations will be written about the euphemisms the media used to describe these murderers. They were called "separatists" and "hostage-takers." Three years after Sept. 11, many are still apparently unable to talk about this evil. They still try to rationalize terror. What drives the terrorists to do this? What are they trying to achieve?
They're still victims of the delusion that Paul Berman diagnosed after Sept. 11: "It was the belief that, in the modern world, even the enemies of reason cannot be the enemies of reason. Even the unreasonable must be, in some fashion, reasonable."
This death cult has no reason and is beyond negotiation. This is what makes it so frightening. This is what causes so many to engage in a sort of mental diversion. They don't want to confront this horror. So they rush off in search of more comprehensible things to hate.
I get the impression that the author enjoys making the judgement of evil, but offers no concrete suggestions for policies or actions. Does this mean we attack everywhere we percieve evil and try to wipe them out. That's the problem we're running into in Iraq, it's not possible. Yet the author seems to suggest that no accomodation is possible so perhaps he's suggesting we withdraw and fughettabboutit. I don't really understand what the intent of the article is? I would give credit to the editorial write of the Boston Globe for trying to fathom the motivation for perpetrating such horror. This author belittles the Globe, but offers no alternative other than to make the judgement of evil. Please enlighten me.
They will come to kill whether you fight them...or not. And they will grow, in number, whether you fight them..or not. Only from within Islam and the arab world can this be stopped, or changed. That's the point I think the article was trying to make.
I'm certainly no authority on the history of Islam, but it's an interesting subject (and timely) to research a little.
Basically, after (and even before) the prophet Muhammed died, there was a major "split" in what direction should be followed. This represents the basic split between "sunni" and "shiah". Both of them look at each other as heretics in some ways. Both of them have different "blood lines" as to who the leadership is, etc. And both of them have a slightly different outlook and interperatations of the religion.
The sunni/wahabbi that Saddam and Osama come from, are definitely the more militant and extreme of the 2...through history. They have a long history of hostage taking, terroists activities, ransom, etc. You know the song, Marine hymn, ..."to the shores of Tripoli". The Barbary wars...you know, Barbary coast, pirates. The mulsims had taken the border region and wrested control from the "berbers" and the gov. They were raiding shipping, killing, taking hostages, etc..and demanding ransoms from other govs. We, the US were paying them about 200k a year I believe in ransoms. And the gov there, just threw up their hands and said..we can't stop them, nor do we control that region (having ulterior motives for doing so).
The Berbers there were being severly oppressed by the muslims. The US finally took action in a series of wars known as the Barbary wars. The first was in Tipoli where US marines along with indigenous Berbers..landed on the coast of Tripoli and invaded, fighting along side indigenous Berbers.
You can read up on Islam, a google search..but it's rather complicated and rife with different interperations (even history) just depending on who put the info out. But, the best thing I've seen on this that directly discusses or shows the internal struggle going on within Islam that we are speaking about was a documentary made by a Pakistani/American women, showing the plight of Women in Islam, etc. It covered the growing radicalization and how it was spreading, etc. Excellent piece. I'm not sure if it was discovery or NGExplorer, etc..who did the piece, but it was very good and gives some much needed insight into the "actual" process that is taking place in other parts of the world and how it works, etc.
I'll try and given an overview for you:
Basically, Islam, even today aside from the basic split sunni/shiah, runs the gamut within each sect just as any other religion might. There are some more secular or moderate as well as some that are more conservative or strict in their teachings. The Shiarah (sp), is the basic "laws" or rules to live by, and this is where many of these differences are shown. Women, cover their head in modesty. In more "conservative" views or readings of that, the women "always" wear this covering..from the day they put it on, till they day they die. The most conservative view it not as just covering the "head" but the entire face/body, everything..to the point you can no longer see their face at all.
More conservative ideas..such as..one should not make nor view any depiction of "faces". No statues, or billboards or images of "man". This is considered "idol worship" to them. You get the basic idea. The point to be made, which she did very well, is that there "are" many muslims who fall within the range of teachings (taught in local schools), etc..from moderate to even very conservative..and any mix inbetween...that are strictkly non-violent people. They don't want to hurt anybody, they just hold more conservative views. They might be conservative on some issues and not on others..just like anybody else. The problem has come, where Imams, scholars, and teachers have been "radicalizing" these teachings. The first start of that is "intollerance". In Pakistan, there are major cities like Karachi..where you see a mix of western, eastern cultures, billboards, movies..some women covering themselves, some wearing western jeans, makeup, no head covering. It ranges from secular to conservative..and they just interminggle together.
At the start of her show, she showed that there was an arabic version of the "Vagina Monologues" that was going to play at a local theater. Concerts, etc. It's like any other "city". What has happened, is also "political". You see images of OBL everywhere. There is lit, books, etc..of the conservative movement intermixed amoung the M Jackson posters, western movie ads, GAP store..etc. in Karachi.
She pointed out the changes in Karachi...many of the billboards had black paint splattered over them. Or the faces of people were cut out of them. Men, are beinging to seperate themselves from women more and more..even within the city of Karachi. She interviewed several men and women in Karachi..and it was very interesting. Women spoke of the growing isolation and dangers they feel. Those splatter paint signs, etc..are a signal, and more graffiti is written warning women who do not cover themselves..etc. They might slash their face or throw acid on their face. They blew up the theater that was supposed to have the vigina monolugues and threatened the performers with a message left..and pad locked the gate to the area. They moved the show to a private location and made it invitation only...as they could no longer do it in public without fear of reprisals.
The Men spoke of embracing both east and west. But, they agreed with the conservative messages they've been getting and hearing. Mostly it centered around the idea that they've been screwed by western govs and their own gov..was full of injustice. That the only justice comes from God/Allah, and they have formed (the radicals) a political party, an offshoot of the taliban...who speak out against the violence of Taliban and Osama, but embrace their ideololgy. And they spread this message...which the men get largely in teachings, writtings and discussions over tea of politics. The women, however, are being intimidated and threatened. So, they have quite a different view of things. So, the Men in Karachi, hold and agree with some of the more conservative teachings. They say...what is more just than Allah? They believe women should not congregate with men..because this is part of the religious indoctrination they are getting and just comes along with the other parts of that indoctrination they "do" believe in. The Imams..point in that, when they go to learn from them, is ...you can't pick and choose "which" part of Gods law you want to follow.
So, there is this very WIDE mix of views in Karachi. Where they sort of have one foot in, and one foot out of the world. Even the men who are conservative, still, accept and tollerate others who are not. But, slowly, peer pressure, and societal pressures..have made it now "inappropriate" for women to congregate with men...so the women get "glares" if they do so. Where people used to pass each other..some women covered completely, some wearing lipstick and western clothes..without batting an eye (as they might in your community here), they now start to get stares..even threatened on occasion. So, the women, out of fear, wear a head scarf..and even THAT's not enough for some.
So, what is happening is ..these radicals who have merged 6 religious groups into a political party...have convinced some of these people..who hold conservative views or agree with certain conservative views they have...to "vote" for them..and they ahve taken 20 seats of the Parliment..all of which were in the area bordering Afghanistan. When they took control of those seats, they flattened those towns. They threw away all the signs..and warned the local painters and sign makers..to only make signs under "these" guidelines..etc. They stopped the local musicians from playing or learning or teaching indigeous music and languages. They instituted their version of Shiarah law..and Islamic law..and you see "zero" women on the street. They are all locked away inside..and rarely come out. When they do..they are entirely covered. The people she managed to interview...said..."what have we done?" What have we voted for? We had no idea "this" is what they would bring. And they are afraid (and threatened). The people in Karachi..are not fully aware of this. They know some of it. They just think some areas "prefer" to be more conservative..and think maybe Karachi should be too..but certainly not as conservative as the outer regions. In otherwords..they believe that there is tollerance and "shades of gray" in this...that in fact..do not exist. They believe that, because that's the propeganda they are being fed by this party...who seeks to take over the gov of Pakistan via legit means..by convincing people they are something they are not. They will then be able to institute their law..over the entire region, have an army to back them up, AND..nuke weapons.
They don't believe in "law" other than Islamic law. They don't believe in States or countries or UN, or Goverments or democracy, or socialism..or any of the institutions or things created by "man" to , in their view, replace God's law with Mans law. And they seek to return the world to God's law. Some of them say they seek to do that by convincing people and showing them that all these other symbols (created by white men) have failed to being justice or peace or anything. And, that these things never would. Only God's law (Islam) could do that. The leaders of this political movement based on the wahabbi/sunni teachings of the Taliban, do not promote violence. They speak out against Taliban's tactics..but believe in their cause (that's how they put it).
The women in this documentary..travelled into those outer regions..and it was very dangerous for her. There was a violent protest..against Mushareeff....that she and her camerman litteraly "ran" from. The further she went towards the region they controlled...the less women you see, the more desolate, etc. It was really stark (the contrast). She finally did make it to the border town..but had to be escorted in. This region, if it's not clear by now, is the area that the Pakistani gov no longer controls, that Taliban and AlQueda..flow back and forth over the border into Afghanistan to carry out attacks. ..and the area where Musharef has had to go in with Tanks..etc..to fight them. They got the 20 parliment seats..then declared it land of God, and that Palkistan no longer has a right to say what does or doesn't go on there. Most of the residence there are ethnically "Afghans". It's one big HUGE arms bizzare..wtih local shops..like delis with rocket launchers, machine guns, and one off knockoffs that they hand make of Ak47, M16s what ever you want.
There were no women..anywhere...but they were locked away inside..with windows (if they had them) painted black...or holes boarded up..that's how you could tell if a women was in the building or not. After much negociations..they agreed to let her interview one woman. They had to go to an enclosed back yard..where 3 "guards"...setup a table and chair..and prepared the area before the woman could come out...so she couldn't be seen from the street. She came out in the black..hood..with only netting directly over her eyes. Even her eyes were not to be seen..and she was covered and bound from head to foot. She told the interviewer..she did not feel "oppressed" but had all the freedom a good muslim woman needs..etc..etc...(as you might expect). As the interviewer stepped into her 2nd question..the interview was over..a man placing his hand over the camera and they whisked her away..backinto her hole.
As the woman came back..you see the transition..from the stark reality of the land these people control back to the city of Karachi. And, the their influence is slowly encroaching...now..into Karachi itself. This is how people get radicalized...via the Imams and teachers and the religous "holy men" who issue these things on behlaf of God. They are good people, and good muslims but their entire religion is being usurped and distorted and spread via some terrible purpose. And the point is..it's been happening "slowly"..over many decades. A gradual process. She showed old footage of surrounding towns in Pakistan outside of Karachi..that, while more conservative, had billboards, shops, music, etc. No more. She showed the same town today...and it looks like a throw back to the time of Christ (or Muhammed I should say). It's sort of like loosing weight or aging. If you woke up tomorrow 35 lbs lighter and 35 years older...you'd "notice it". But, it happens very slowly, over time..and the only way you'd even notice is to pick up a picture of yourself from another time..and you'd say..gosh..look at me..I'm so different now.
And, all these social, political, etc..issues are all intermixed into things. They always are..even here. The difference is..once you are able to radicalize the religous..and twine all those tihngs together..you've got someone who is not willing to follow any law of man or gov..who sees everything out there as an enemy of God. From there, there is military training and Jihad Fatwas issues by Imams..etc.. The recruits come from people who have engrossed themselves into the beliefs..but have yet to become violent. You will hear such things as...we deplore the beheadings .."BUT"...etc..etc. The fundamental teachings..are preparing the way for that step. The "idea" that there is only God's law..and those opposed to that are against God..is the "first step" in reaching intollerance, and the basic notion that there are enemies of God who seek to destroy all of Islam..etc.
There are people who believe "that"..but are not violent or terrosts (yet). To go along with that, are the decrees issued by Imams and religious leaders who prepare them for this by the "distored" additions of Jihad and martyrdom (which is part of the basic story of their religion in sunni and shiah tradition...you'll have read up on it). The paradise with 80 virgins diieing in Jihad against God's enemies (ANY Islamic religious leader can declare a war on behalf of all muslims and God in current situation), is a terrible distortion to create terrorist army. Now that they are recuriting women, they have found that 80 virgins isn't such an appealing notion for them..so they have "added" amended it..to you can take 3 people with you to paradise for women (ie..if their brother or father did something that may not get them into paradise..they can redeem them). They have rules for children martyrs too...that they are currently using in Palestine. All this of course, are distortions and perversions of teachings of Islam. Such so, that they could occupy the most holy place in all of Shiahism (the shrine/mosque) in Najaf to use as a "firebase" and weapons storage..which is strictly forbidden in ANY interperation of Islam you want to take..that's why it's a HOLY place. But, a religious leader (in current Islam) can overrule this by making it a "holy" war...fought on behalf of God against enemies who seek to destroy "God". It's clearly a distortion of Islam. Such as why, this battle..is to be fought within Islam..to shun these teachings and ideas..as against "God's" law..because that' s the ONLY way they'll accept it.
Only through God's law. And it's within Islam..that the teachings and clerics..etc..are exploiting the "religious" base..to move people beyond where they might normally go..and churn out "terroists" that are like a man eating tiger...who will kill everything...women, children, even other arabs/mulsims. And that tiger is hungry, with revenge, and loose. No longer only in the backyard of American neighborhoods...but...in their OWN backyards.
And there are many arabs and muslims..who know this. And that's why it's a fight..internally..within Islam. And the difficutlies are that while many arabs/muslims do not believe in this "holy war" against the world..they DO believe and see injustices and social/economic issues and political issues (such as American policy or Russia/Chechnia..etc). This is why such a mixed reaction from arab communities about these things. While they deplore this "holy religious war"..and do not believe in it as a basis for Islam, they also were sort of glad to see America or Russia get a "good punch in the nose" for "other" reasons...(social, economic, political, etc)_while at the same time, deploring the methods used.
Anyway, I've gone on too long. It's a devestatingly complex issue, but interesting to research. Like I said, I'm no expert..just getting started. I have arab friends I've discussed this with as well. But, mainly, it was 9/11 (I was at WTC plaza that day), when I stumbled into an arab deli seeking water..only to find the arabs there celebrating like it was a football game and their team just scored..that really got me researching this issue. I simply could NOT understand it. I think I understand it better today, and needed to...but truthfully, I've just begun to scratch the surface of it but I hope this helps some.
Here's a link to get you started. Just have to remember, it depends on the focal perspective of the author...so cross ref.
Here's a quick description of the founding of "Wahabbism".
Abd'ul Wahhabi was born 1691 AD. He was a diligent scholar of Islam in Mecca, Basra and Baghdad and became a reformer in Islam, rejecting omens, all auguries (divination by omens), sacred shrines and tombs, intoxicating drugs (smoking), as well as the silk and satin clothing of the wealthy. He tried to return to the original Islam. Although he had a good following, he was opposed by the rulers. Asylum was granted to him by Muhammed-ibn-Sa'ud, an influential chief. What could not be accomplished by eloquence was done by the sword. Sa'ud married Wahhabi's daughter, and their son, Abd-ul-Aziz, led the Wahhabi army to victory over Arabia. However, he was murdered while praying, and his son Sa'ud continued to lead the Wahhabi to prominence, threatening the whole Turkish Empire. His aim was the conversion of the whole world to Islam. The battle cry of the Wahhabi was "Kill and strangle all infidels, which give companions to Allah" (i.e. a Son).
In the early 19th century a forceful reform was undertaken in Mecca. All people were driven with whips to attend the five daily prayers. The mosques were filled, but Sa'ud's son was taken prisoner by the Turks and executed in Istanbul. The Wahhabi influence is still strong in Arabia and Northern India.
Here's a brief description of Jihad..again..use cross ref.
Jihd is an Arabic word commonly translated "holy war," but literally meaning "striving," as in the Qur'anic phrase "striving in the path of God." Some Muslims, particularly in more recent times, interpret the duty of jihad in a spiritual and moral sense. The overwhelming majority of early authorities, citing relevant passages in the Qur'an, commentaries, and the traditions of the Prophet, discuss jihad in military terms. Virtually every manual of Islamic law has a chapter on jihad, which regulates in minute detail matters such as the opening, conduct, interruption, and cessation of hostilities and the allocation and division of booty. Fighters in a jihad are enjoined not to kill women and children unless they attack first, not to torture or mutilate prisoners, to give fair warning of the resumption of hostilities after a truce, and to honor agreements. Islamic law prescribes good treatment for noncombatants but accords the victors extensive rights over the property and also over the persons and families of the vanquished, who could be reduced to slavery.
According to Islamic law, it is lawful to wage war against four types of enemy: infidels, apostates, rebels, and bandits. Although all four types of war are legitimate, only the first two count as jihad. The rules for jihad are different from those regulating other forms of warfare; they are also different when fought against apostates and infidels. Renegade Muslims must be ruthlessly excised and, according to most authorities, put to death if captured. Some say they may be pardoned if they recant; others maintain that God may forgive them in the next world, but no human authority can do so in this world. As regards non-Muslims, there is a distinction between those who follow what Islam recognizes as a revealed monotheistic religion and the rest. Idolaters and polytheists must be given a choice between conversion and death; the latter sentence may be commuted to enslavement. Recognized monotheists„which in practice meant Jews and Christians„could be permitted to practice their own religions and run their own affairs, provided that they recognized the supremacy of the Muslim state and accepted certain restrictions.
Jihad is a religious obligation. In offense, it is an obligation of the Muslim community as a whole„that is, it may be discharged by volunteers or professionals; in defense, it becomes an obligation of every able-bodied individual. This obligation is, in principle, unlimited and will continue, interrupted only by truces, until all the world either adopts the Muslim faith or submits to Muslim rule. Those who fight in the jihad qualify for rewards in both worlds„booty in this one, paradise in the next. Those who are killed in the jihad are called martyrs.
The historical jihad began in the lifetime of the Prophet with the wars of the Muslims against the pagans in Arabia. It continued with the wars of conquest, which brought first the Middle East and then much of south and central Asia, North Africa, and, at different periods, parts of southwestern and southeastern Europe under Muslim rule. The jihad against Christendom eventually provoked a Christian response in kind, known as the Crusades.
Like the word crusade, the word jihad is often used nowadays in a figurative sense, to denote a peaceful campaign for some good cause. Unlike the word crusade, it is still also used in many parts of the Muslim world in its original sense. In modern times, the term jihad has been used by the Ottoman Empire in its struggles against its European enemies and by religiously motivated independence movements in the British, French, Russian, Dutch, and Italian empires.
I'm sorry, did you say Muslim or Fundamentalist Christian? It's so easy to get the two confused....
Did you even read the original article?Originally Posted by robgb
Or have someone read it to you?
Thank you for teaching us the meaning of "infinite."
Your idiocy is, indeed, infinite.