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Messages - gadfly

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General Off-Topic Board / Re: A Muslim view on this whole cartoon fiasco.
« on: February 08, 2006, 01:56:37 PM »
Redemption, very well put. I do think however that you’ve misinterpreted some of my comments. I am not trying to minimize or efface cultural differences. However, by simply focusing on them you are not acknowledging the very real, political nature of these reactions. From what I understand, and correct me if I’m wrong, you regard them (by them I refer to the reactions as well as the disparity of views between the two sides) as the result of a culture clash, often referred to as a "clash of civilizations” (a term coined by Bernard Lewis by the way-the greatest orientalist of all time). And most of the rhetoric I’ve been hearing in the media describes the whole issue in this manner. It is a bit more than that. Advocates (I'm not saying you are one) of Bernard Lewis’s view and his concept of “clash of civilization,” explain politics and all political movements in the Islamic world as a result of religion and culture. And as a consequence they qualify and explain the practice of terrorism let's say as Islamic. Hence “Islamic terrorism" is thus offered as both description and explanation of many events that take place in the Islamic world. Culture is said to be the dividing line, not the state or economics or politics for that matter. And such talk of an ideological war or clash has become  stuff of front-page news stories. The violence following these cartoons is taken as proof that these people do not respect our values, much less their own. The assumption is that these people's public behavior, particularly their political behavior, can be read from their habits and customs, whether religious, traditional or whatever. So my main contention here is that these reactions cannot be simply referred to as a result of cultural differences.

By the way, you really have a great grasp on some of these issues. May I ask what you've been reading ? ;)

my dad - "so did you get in to any medical schools yet?"

me - "no, since i only applied to law schools."

my dad - "sorry, i don't pay attention to you."

sadly, i'm being serious.  :(

lol. I don't believe you.

My dad wanted me to go to medical  school as well. When that didn't work out, he said I should be a pharmacist. When I said no, he encouraged me to go into engineering. When that didn't work out either he told me to get a masters in economics and work for the UN. Now our conversations go like this:
"Dad I sent out an app to Chicago today"
"Is that as good as Harvard ?"
"Well, no but it's..."
"When will you get your acceptance from harvard ?"
"I don't think I even have a chance at.."
"Hrmff, you better get into Harvard."
"you should have been an economist"

depressing I know  ;D

Before I finished sending out my applications: 6 hours. Now, 6 and a half hours. 80% of this time is spent refreshing my email, hoping the next click will bring an acceptance.  8)

Bush never "capitulated". As a student of US politics, it's not too hard to see that this was an attempt at improving already poor relations with muslim countries.

anti-semitic is also anti-arab as well as anti-hebrew...

About the "anti-semitic" thing, yes, technically speaking arabs and jews are both semites by definition. However, the term anti-semite was coined by some old british guy to specifically refer prejudice/racism against jewish people. Yes, I'm anal. :P

General Off-Topic Board / Re: A Muslim view on this whole cartoon fiasco.
« on: February 07, 2006, 08:08:53 PM »
whoa, talk about irrationality. a state of war ? against muslims ?I'm not even going to get pulled into that dead end argument.

mugatu and nmb, the answer to your question is really very complicated. Actually, in examining the issue I have to admit it is a bit more than just a religious affront. It is telling of the political situation that exists in the middle east today (I say the middle east because not all muslim countries, including the one I come from, have reacted in the same manner). So why are countries like Egypt doing nothing while they may condemn violent reactions? Many of the heads of states in the middle east, if you haven't noticed, are dictators. And as such,fundamental political freedoms as well as any sort of freedom of speech that may reflect badly on the regime are prohibited. Case in point Egypt and it's irreverent dictator Mubarak, who ironically and not surprisingly is propped up by the US government-Egypt is the second largest recipient of US foreign aid. So, as you might imagine, there is a great deal of pent up anger and frustration boiling under the surface. Where does this all go ? Well, toward the US and in the past week Denmark (I'm suprised actualy considering the fact that Denmark has had a very favorable foreign policy toward the middle east). These governments do not step in and in some cases encourage such violent protests because it diverts this anger toward an external boogyman (and sometimes this boogeyman is real, ahem, but I digress) rather than their suppressive policies. When you go to Egypt let's say, you can really sense this dissatisfaction and frustration. So yes, this sort of two-faced stance or positioning on the part of some of these countrie is not new. It really is all a complicated mess and is not as black and white as some people may have you believe.

So, would your dad be willing to do some pro bono work for LSDers who have no idea where they'll go ?

General Off-Topic Board / A Muslim view on this whole cartoon fiasco.
« on: February 07, 2006, 03:08:31 PM »
Since there have been several "Islam is crazy" threads popping up I thought I might address the whole cartoon issue here. From my view, this whole ordeal is irrational from both sides.

The danish press have definitely crossed a line by resorting to cheap, prejudiced and inflammatory material that would have not been published had it been derogatory towards jews or christians. Freedom of press is a poor excuse: their execution was distasteful and depended more on shock value than an actual meaningful purpose. With free speech comes responsibility and free speech is not an absolute. From what I understand, after an initial uproar following the original publication, major newspaper throughout Europe republished the cartoons simultaneously on February 1, 2006. The publishing of these cartoons, for no other reason than that the press could legally do so, is gratuitous. Imagine the NY Times and the Washington Post republishing anti-semitic cartoons from an obscure California newspaper just because.

As for the reaction; it's grossly exaggerated. In reading the newspapers this morning I have to say I'm scratching my head at some of the things going on. I'm ashamed of the people who are unable to handle this in a rational and civil way. The group or institution that allowed the publishing of these caricatures should be held responsible. Setting fire to embassies and attacking people who have no role in the situation is wrong. The often repeated scenes of violence in the media is not and should not be a reflection of the average Muslim. In many of the instances of violence, peaceful demonstrators were insighted by extremists.

When I first saw the cartoons I was disgusted. The problem was not the depiction of the prophet Mohammed, on which Muslim opinion is not even unanimous. Rather, these cartoons portrayed a cherished religious figure in Islam inviting people to terrorism and suicide bombings. Many Muslims felt they were being demonized and targeted for attack. Put this in the context of the growing tensions between many Muslim and Western Countries and you get an idea of where this uproar stems from.

In the end, Western rhetoric notwithstanding, Islam is not some stateless entity with mindless hatred for non-Muslim societies. I hope you guys understand that.

In concluding this rant, I'll leave you guys with a quote: "Understand before you condemn and do not condemn before you understand"--Dave Chappelle ;)

peace out.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: I am officially a genius
« on: February 01, 2006, 07:36:25 AM »
IQ has nothing on EQ and my EQ is off the charts

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Writing a novel ?
« on: February 01, 2006, 07:31:52 AM »
If scribbling hundreds of pages, hating every minute and every word of it, editing like hell, giving up, coming back t it, feeling the "anxiety of influence", (literally) trashing it, and doing it all over again from scratch sounds like "writing a novel" - count me as an A.

btw - gadfly: you're not writing a Grisham-type thing are you? You have talent; you should do something more with your writing than that, imho..

no, I definately have no intention of writing any john grisham type novels. steinbeck, Chinua Achebe, and Ben Okri are some of my strongest influences. What kind of novel are you writing ? You really are quite talented yourself. Who are your influences ?

scott: why wait for a publishing deal ? I believe you're better off writing the entire thing and sending it off-it's usually very difficult for first time writers to get a deal without having written the entire book.

stanley, palaedorian, magnum-would I be too presumptuous if I asked what type/genre of novel you want to write.

I don't know where from, but I vaguely remember one that went "the hotel in your mind has many vacancies"

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