Monday, November 21, 2005

Suicidal tendencies

It's a typical Monday here. I'm in a bit of a crunch, trying to get stuff for Thanksgiving, get the house together, etc. Saturday was filled with a shoot for a classmate's documentary on the mysterious closure of a Seattle amusement park in the early 1960's. Sunday, luckily, was a bit more laidback. I caught up with a ton of things and am feeling ready for a progressively lazier week.

I've been thinking for days to respond to an opinion piece I came across about a week ago. It's by Dennis Prager, who's apparently a radio personality in LA, and entitled, "Five Questions Non-Muslims Would Like Answered." Fair enough, I thought, when I saw the title--because I, for one, often get frustrated that Muslims globally don't do nearly as much as they should to speak out against mindless terrorism. Or even that middle-of-the-road Muslims don't do a better job of showing the world that their beliefs and way of life are pretty darn close to those of the rest of us.

However, when I read the piece, I found myself getting more and more annoyed. Who is this guy, anyway? He prefaces his piece by lumping people who are rioting in France as a result of a sustained national policy of racism along with the terrorists who blew themselves up in Amman hotels, clearly showing that he has the same affliction most Americans have when it comes to Arabs and Muslims: cluelessness. Sure, he's entitled to his opinion, but a little education should be in order before he further influences others to see Muslims' various situations around the globe as one and the same.

There are so many points I'd like to bring up here regarding the terrorism that takes place in Iraq and in the name of Al-Qaeda compared to the situation in Palestine, and the way that Israel's systematic occupation and assault on Palestinians' human rights has affected the nature of violence emanating from the West Bank and Gaza. Yes, here I'm referring to Palestinian suicide bombers. We may not like it--and I personally am horrified by it--but I also have a good idea where the hopelessness and anger that have influenced it to happen comes from.

Unfortunately, most Americans don't have that much of an idea, and as a result, people like Dennis Prager get prime space in one of our top US newspapers to further muddy the waters. I certainly had no idea--and all my daily newspaper reading on the subject didn't help me out at all--until I made my first trip through the West Bank on the way to Jerusalem. I was utterly stunned by what I saw and learned there.

This, perhaps, should be a post in and of itself--because I could go on for days about what I saw and felt each time I've been in the West Bank. However, since I need to be doing a gajillion things, I'm going to simply suggest that if you have a chance to see "Paradise Now," which is about Palestinian suicide bombers, that you do so. We're going this Wednesday eve, and I'm looking forward to it. I'll also leave you with a response to Prager's article that I found on Khaled's blog. Some of the responses are right on:

Here are my own personal answers; I speak only for myself not for anyone else;

(1) Why are you so quiet?

Well, Israel occupied Palestinian land and the whole world was quiet for over 50 years, did you bother to ask why that is?
A handicap old man being killed by a missile from an F16 killing him and everybody around him on his way from worshiping God, or a whole camp being slaughtered with the blessing of the Israeli army or a rocket hitting the apartment of a political man killing him and 9 of his family members is also called terrorism.
While I might not agree with people blowing up themselves, I also do not agree on F16 rocketing civilians.
You personally didn't say anything about the F16? I haven't been through what the Palestinian been through these years. I don't know what makes a person strap a bomb around him and go around blowing himself along with everybody around him. Must have been a tough life.
I pray for both people to find peace together.

(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?

That's a false statement. Wadee Hadad, George Habbash and many Palestinian organization leaders are Christians.

(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?

Easy, most leaders were appointed by The British and were help to stay in power by the Americans. Which is something the US is rethinking.

(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?

Well, a lot worse has been done by Christians, remember McVeigh? The Crusades?

(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

I would blame this on the government itself not Islam, if you read the history of Islam you would find that Islam is the most tolerance of all. Are there any mosques or temples in the Vatican City?



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