Alice in Texas

Not writing here anymore- see top post for details of my new blogs.

Monday, July 25, 2005

it's not what you think, it's the way you express it

This is the essential difference between a suicide bombing homicidal terrorist maniac, and a reasonable, peace-loving citizen. I don't care whether the average Muslim genuinely wants or believes in worldwide Islamic law: what I care about is whether they seek to achieve it by humane persuasion or by blasting innocent people to smithereens.

I think we need to get away from debating what is best, and get down to debating properly. Peaceful protests are fine by me. Civil disobedience in democratic countries is not: the solution to coercive government in those places is already enshrined in the system. Get involved in party politics and influence it, spread good ideas and influence public opinion, stand for president yourself and at least raise awareness so the other parties shift in a good direction: it's a tough job, but if it needs doing why should other people be responsible and not you? And if you believe in G-d, then pray. The government does not owe us everything- it's our job to take responsibility from the bottom up for the people we choose to represent us. We are as powerful as we want to be. Only cynicism prevents people from using their own freedoms to do good.

Which is why I agree thoroughly with David Bogner's post here. What is more, I don't think the war on terror or the quest for world peace (same thing, depending on which side of the argument you look at it) will be won/ achieved until we all understand the basic concept. The biggest divide in the world now is not really about who should be in charge of whatever country or piece of land or what they should do once in charge: it is about how a reasonable people should go about furthering their ideas on such issues. Democracy is the first step. Respecting and making responsible use of the democratic system is the second. Terrorism is the world's least civilised way of trying to further ideas. War is better than terrorism because it does not target innocent civilians and has specific measurable ambitions, such as, reducing the number of innocent people killed per year, as has been successfully achieved by removing Saddam from power in Iraq. And neither is any way to deal with a democratic government or its people.

Islam is not going to be wiped out, neither is Israel and neither is the Western concept of freedom. Terrorism is doomed, but the rest of us need to live with each other. I think David's sentiment about Israel here applies to the rest of the world as well:

What this country needs is a couple of years of marriage counseling to learn how to fight amongst ourselves. Both the right and left need to learn that at the end of the day we will all be sharing this big lumpy bed called Israel with 'those people' (meaning those with whom we are presently angry)... so everyone needs to fight fair and not say too many things that can't be taken back.

Terrorism works not merely by scaring people, but by relying on this fear to reduce them to acting in uncivilised ways. It makes them turn in rage against each other, fight amongst themselves and target the wrong external enemies with unjustifiably sweeping and inhuman judgements. It seeks to bring everyone down to its own sub-human level of unreasoning. It wants us to give up being human. It will never win, but we will hasten its end by refusing to compromise our moral principles. No standing by to allow fascist dictators to murder thousands of citizens a year when such a thing can feasibly be stopped at significantly lower cost of life. No sacred book burning. No dismissive judgements of Muslims, Jews, Westerners or religion in general, including atheism.

Only evil acts should be condemned, only according to their degree. If all the major newspapers could just understand that one, we'd be a long way further forward.

2 Comments:

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Sharon Ferguson said...

Alice, I posted on this at my blog.

Wanted to let you know, since you dont have trackbacks.

Hope all is well your way!

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger gcotharn said...

This reminds of one of IMAO's "Fun Facts About Liberals":

"Inspired by rhyming slogans and giant puppets, liberals sometimes congregate into groups known as 'protests.' The purpose of these is unknown.

 

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