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Friday, August 10, 2007

Thoughts Outloud

Sometimes posts are just meant to be written. All signs today have pointed to this one, so who am I to resist? It's Friday and it's been a long week.

This morning I read an opinion piece in a Philadelphia newpaper online. The columnist, Stu Bykofsky, wrote a very interesting, thought provoking article with his idea being this country has long forgotten we must be unified in knowing who our true enemy is out there. It is not each other - it is not President Bush, Hillary Clinton, or any other American we might disagree with. The terrorists are our enemies.

Bykofsky's headline read, "To save America, we need another 9/11." I knew what he meant, I in no way thought he meant we 'need' another attack. He meant we must get back to being a unified country, to feel as we did immediately after the attacks of 9/11. Our collective outrage and motivated call to action has been lost.

He rightly says Americans demand quick, easy solutions to big problems. "We like fast food and fast war." The 1991 Gulf War's outcome was declared victorious after 100 hours by former President Bush. Problem is, the war we are undertaking now has no set battleground. It is global, on multiple fronts, with civilians as soldiers.

He has taken a good amount of criticism over the headline of his column. He didn't write the headline, though, someone at the newspaper does that. He is not some blind Bush supporter, either. He points out that the war in Iraq has been badly mishandled, as most Americans now agree, and this has contributed to our national unrest.

Then this morning I tuned into C-SPAN, as I have a habit of doing, and I watched several interesting taped talks before audiences given by western Muslims. Muslims from America and Canada, mostly.

The first was a talk given by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of "Infidel", on 2/13/07 at the American Enterprise Institution where she has a six month fellowship. I have watched previous talks given by her and am always so impressed with her presentation. Ayaan's book tells the story of her life, beginning with her Somalia tribal Muslim life to her 14 years in Amsterdam. She was a colleague of Theo van Gogh, the film maker in Holland who was killed by Muslims. She is a very calm, very well educated and clear in her speaking.

Ayaan told the story of her life to a writer, not wanting to write her own story. It is not a book full of data and statistics, on purpose, just her story. She is worried about the lack of concern by the majority of Americans over the threat of radical Islamists. Complacency is deadly, she said. "The generation of the West who is enjoying all the freedoms is not the ones who built it." "The current generation doesn't know what freedom costs."

She said in Europe, younger, more aggressive Muslims are impatient for the bliss of the Caliphate. In the West, Muslims in the U.S. are older, more financially successful and patient. They are using the means of persuasion though our judicial system, media, universities and are willing to wait for change.

The next was a speech made on 1/22/04 in Cambridge, Massachusetts by Irshad Manji, author of "The Trouble with Islam". She is a Canadian, born in Uganda, currently a professor at the University of Toronto. She is a different type of speaker, quite animated and coarser in language. She is very entertaining to watch, as I have also seen her several times. She, too, was berating the apathetic feelings of Americans of the coming threats to western ways. She said the IslamoFacists think of Islam as the consummate faith, like God 3.0. They take the chronological timetable literally to mean that the religion of Islam is superior since the Koran comes after the Torah and the Bible.

Irshad said Americans are so apologetic, not wanting to ever offend any one's feelings, that we don't make a convincing case against the ways of radical Islam.

Both women are still Muslims. Both women now must live with security protection due to death threats. Not only are they speaking out in favor of moderate Muslims, true Muslims, but they are also women. The radicals want women covered, silent and in the home.

The third appearance I watched was a conversation with Flemming Rose, the cultural editor of the Copenhagen newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, which published the cartoons of Mohammad from 2/7/06. He apologized for offending some in the Muslim community but said radical Dane Imams were behind the turmoil caused after the cartoons ran 4 months prior to the outcry. He said the Danes didn't have harsh reactions to the newspaper, with a circulation of 160,000 (Denmark's largest), so the radical Imams went on a campaign throughout Europe to stir things up.

A panel was taped on 2/6/06 featuring the American Muslim Society in D.C. at the National Press Club. Their panel was of several speakers, including an American who converted to Islam and is active in the Interfaith Alliance Foundation in Arizona. She was covered and spouting the party line. She angered me to no end. She claimed her organization fights religious discrimination of all religions. And, so did Don Parker, the president of the national Interfaith Alliance Foundation. He said since 9/11 American Muslims have been unfairly targeted for poor treatment. Blah, blah, blah.

Where was the American Muslim Society and Interfaith Alliance Foundation, both claiming to be champions for religious freedom for all and fighting disrespect of any religion when the cross was in a glass of urine, funded by a government grant? Where were they when creches were removed from public squares during Christmas, a Federal holiday with a religious foundation? Where were they when temples and synagogues came under attack from vandals and the gunman in Seattle? Only after the cartoons about Mohammad did we hear from them.

An Arab public school, funded with NYC taxpayer money, with Muslim teachings is being opened in Manhattan. Is this ok with them? The principal resigned today after the ruckus over the t-shirts for the school became known to the public. They said "Intifada NYC" on front of them. She tried to lie about the meaning of the word Intifada. Who will replace her in a school that shouldn't be in existence with public money?

And, last was a talk by Salman Rushdie. "Language is important. You have to name things properly."

I agree.

Our national lack of unity has not served us well in the war in Iraq, piling onto the poor decisions made by the administration over the past 4 years. Our determination to bow to politically correct speech and actions is the most dangerous of all to our way of life. I would much rather be reading a column with the 9/11 headline than the idiotic, publicity grab by the New York Times with their new blogger, Steven Leavitt, asking for thoughts on how the readers would carry out a terrorist attack on our country.

9 comments:

michilines said...

Karen, I actually appreciate the fact that you let my comments though. I don't care much about the personal attacks that followed my comments on your other posts. People will respond in that way. You nor I can stop them.

I also appreciate your thoughtful post on this newspaper article. I've read about it but haven't read it. I don't think I need to.

I remember the unity that I personally felt with people all over the world after 9/11. You see, I teach international students. I've written about this before, but I will condense it for you now. The day it happened was the first day of classes at my school. We had Saudis, Morrocans, Jordanians, Asians, Pakistanis, Africans, Latin Americans all in our classes. Many of them didn't know what had happened that morning. It was a difficult time. But when I checked my email later, it was swamped with messages of support from all across the planet -- from my former students.

By March 2003 that was gone. Our student base shrank. Our students were harassed by INS. It has been a struggle.

I know that the other stories you relate in your post are very important to you, but are they so important that you can't see beyond them? The occupation of Iraq has made all of our lives different. Yours is different because now you focus on muslims, and worry over them so much. I'll make the same offer to you that I did to Kathleen. I can introduce you to muslims, Palestinians even, living here in Houston. If you agreed, you would see that they are no threat to you.

My life is different because I now have to defend the people of my country on a daily basis. Karen, you guys make life very difficult for me. I'd appreciate it if you could consider my offer. Then you could write something positive about those other people.

Just a thought.

Ankle biters commence!

michilines said...

Karen, I responded to your comment over at my shell blog.

Plagiarism is very serious. People lose their jobs for it. Mags get criticized for it. Students (my specialty) get kicked out for it. Kathleen did it and I wrote to her editor --once. He wrote me back and thanked me. She changed her post.

Now she claims that I wrote to her editor more than once, and her pals insult my looks. I don't care about the appearance thing -- to each their own -- but she is lying on threads on other sights.

Can you at least see where I am coming from?

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Irshad said Americans are so apologetic, not wanting to ever offend any one's feelings, that we don't make a convincing case against the ways of radical Islam

I absolutely see this. It's like the greatest virtue on earth is to "never offend" and show tolerance, nonjudgment, and give moral equivalency.

For a long while, I was sick of hearing "Islam is a religion of peace". Basically, excusing and being apologists for Muslim radicals. As you know, I am well aware that moderate Muslims who don't agree with the hirabahists exist. When I speak of "Islamic militant radicals" and "Islamofascist terrorists", I'm not speaking about the millions of peaceful Muslims out there. How do I make myself any clearer?

I don't care much about the personal attacks that followed my comments on your other posts.

Well, maybe you should not have made the personal attacks on Karen? Your tone was condescending and insulting. What kind of response do you honestly expect to get back?

Nevertheless, I apologize to you for my reaction.

The occupation of Iraq has made all of our lives different.

So did 9/11. The "occupation" of Iraq didn't begin with decisions President Bush has made. Many events played itself out to lead us to the point in time and history where we find ourselves at now. It's not just one man. 9/11 didn't begin on 9/11.

Yours is different because now you focus on muslims, and worry over them so much.

I think Karen worries about us being asleep again, pretending that there aren't radical Islamists out there hell-bent on our destruction. You have the Khomeinites who await the 12th imam; you have al-Qaeda who wish to create another Caliphate, and subjugate the world under Islamic rule, as they interpret it. And with them, you have millions who might not turn "jihad" terrorist; but they do act as supporters, sympathizers, and apologists. I'd say, that's a problem.


I'll make the same offer to you that I did to Kathleen. I can introduce you to muslims, Palestinians even, living here in Houston. If you agreed, you would see that they are no threat to you.

I'm sure they aren't. Karen can speak for herself, but they're not the ones I worry about. The ones I worry about are the Islamists. The wahabbists who are intolerant of other cultures, other religions, other governments, other ways of life beyond their strict interpretation of Islam. They desire to impose Sharia Law upon everyone. And they are willing to exercise violent means to bring their vision about. Those are the nutjobs I'm worried about.

My life is different because I now have to defend the people of my country on a daily basis.

Just imagine the weight on the President's shoulders. He makes decisions on a daily basis to protect YOU and those you feel like you have to defend.

We've had it easy in this country. The people of other countries have lived shoulder to shoulder with violence and hardships our generation is unfamiliar with, as a whole. Our success of domestic peace and prosperity allows us the luxury of engaging in altruism, introspection, self-criticism, and unparalleled concern for human rights.


Karen, you guys make life very difficult for me.

Feeling's mutual.


I'd appreciate it if you could consider my offer. Then you could write something positive about those other people.

I have been writing positives about the Muslims you speak of. And at the same time giving the double middle finger to the Islamic terrorists who want us all dead.


Ankle biters commence!


*growrrr*

Hope you didn't mind my intrusion. I know you addressed your thoughts to Karen.

kip152 said...

I'm a little slow. When I first read that article, my first emotion was anger. Another 9/11! But, after a little pondering, I came to understand what he meant. The America we live in today is quite different from the one we lived in on 9/10.
We've all made mistakes in the aftermath of the disaster.
There will always be some very bad people in the world, labels only make a messed up situation more confusing.

Donald Douglas said...

Karen: This is an excellent post. I know exactly what is meant by the country needing antother 9/11. Yet, a headline like that is going to be red meat to the bloodthristy Kos crowd. You know, the recent argument that the GOP wants another attack to pump up the party's rating, etc. Or how about Cheney pushing to invade some other countries. It's all the same propaganda.

As for Michelines, I have to give Wordsmith a tip of the hat for concisely debunking his points, one by one. I especially liked the point about the Islamists. I'll note to that I doubt Islam is so peaceful, though I appreciate Ali Hirsi and others who denounce the radical fundamentalists in our midst.

Burkean Reflections

Frasypoo said...

Wordsmith....great comment.
That sickly sweet condescending tone of Michilines comments on previous posts is what makes all of us say something.
I do think Karen is a good person for letting comments like this through.

michilines said...

I recovered from my lethargy long enough to make it over here.

frasypoo, you said: That sickly sweet condescending tone of Michilines comments on previous posts is what makes all of us say something.

It can't be that you all weren't civil, could it? I made you do it! Sorry, but that's typical.

I know exactly what is meant by the country needing antother 9/11. Yet, a headline like that is going to be red meat to the bloodthristy Kos crowd.

Yes donald, I am part of the Kos crowd. . . assumptions will get you absolutely nowhere. Agreeing with the idea that the death of Americans is 'what we need' seems to be civil discourse. k

kip152, you tried at least: But, after a little pondering, I came to understand what he meant. The America we live in today is quite different from the one we lived in on 9/10.
We've all made mistakes in the aftermath of the disaster.
There will always be some very bad people in the world, labels only make a messed up situation more confusing.


I think that is the place Billy Graham is in. At least it is honest.

Nantucket, you are a HNL. I'm not going to go there.

Let me just say this: factually you both prattle on and have no links. Nan, if I may call you that, I see now where the 'tone' thing started.

kthxbai

michilines said...

As for Michelines

Donald, I got your name right. Why call me a tire?

But that's civil discourse right Karen. Oh and, I managed to type your name correctly, too.

You all are mighty nice.

kthxbai

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

It can't be that you all weren't civil, could it? I made you do it! Sorry, but that's typical.

Oh, no. I take full responsibilities for my actions and reactions. Why do you think I even apologized? But look at you, playing the victim card: "we all" weren't civil, and no apologies back from you. No ownership of responsibility.

Nantucket, you are a HNL. I'm not going to go there.

My peasized brain can't wrap itself around the meaning of HNL. Please "go there", and enlighten me.

Let me just say this:

You're not giving me a choice are you?

factually you both prattle on and have no links.

What links am I supposed to provide for you? Let me know how I can help you out.

Nan, if I may call you that, I see now where the 'tone' thing started.

Oh, so you do accept personal responsibility? Thank you. I accept your apology, and hope we can now move forward.

kthxbai

Just how old are you? We know how old you act...but how old are you really?

It may explain a lot.