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    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    Videos and Cartoons

    I posted this in Chatterbox on the right, but I will say it here.

    I have decided to post videos on this blog. I hope my videos will be an enjoyable and enlightening extension of the discussions precipitated here. Until further notice, videos will be third party, or not containing anybody I know, in order to help preserve anonymity. Hey, you already know my name, right?
    Now, that being said, onto the cartoons.

    I have sat on the sidelines and watched the issue of Islam and cartoons for a long time now. It's hard to know what to think. Much has been made about the gulf between the current culture in the middle east, and western society.

    At work on monday, a coworker brought up his opinion that it stemmed from the uneducated masses. Education, he argued, breeds understanding and tolerance and logic. Without education, the masses are prone to following inflammatory rhetoric and feelings.

    In general, I feel this is true. Without education, one cannot sort between lies and truth.

    However, much more is made of this being the difference between Islam and a free press. People say that Islam bars caricatures of muhammed, but a free press should print anything, even if it offends.

    Again, I feel that in general this is true. A free press in a western society will never fit with radical/extremely orthodox Islam. One or the other must change. Either the press goes, or Islam becomes moderated.

    However, the crux of the argument, is spiritual not secular, internal not political. My father got me thinking about it all. PRIDE. People are burning buildings and killing people because they are prideful. If they were truly humble followers of God, they would acknowledge what they disliked, and use love and service to change the west's attitudes towards it. The west, if they were truly humble, would use love and service to change the middle east's attitude towards free press. Instead, each side pouts "Mommy, Johnny took my doll!" and cries, and nothing constructive happens.

    People die, more people get angry and hurt, more people die, and a self-destructive spiral starts spinning out of control.

    I'm reminded of a quote...

    "Can't we all just get along?"

    1 comment:

    MGO said...

    Hey, Triet. First off, congrats for deciding to send out some anonymous video from Vietnam. I'm looking forward to seeing what life is like there. The pictures are great, but video can convey much more.

    As for the Mohammed cartoons, it looks more and more now like the outrage was nearly entirely fabricated by a network of radical clerics (and their gaining the upper hand in defining Islam is what truly worries me).

    First, the 12 cartoons were published in Denmark last September. They were reprinted in Egypt the following October, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (yet no one protested). Three additional fake, more incendiary, cartoons were included in handouts by Danish Imams when they toured the mideast. Finally, about halfway through January, Saudi Arabia had a serious reason to distract the Muslim world - hundreds of people were trampled to death during the Hajj, calling into question the Saudis' ability to responsibly control Mecca. And conveniently, that's also when their state-run media apparently began to press the issue.

    There's also another element that might be present here, and one that I've found myself wondering about the last few days: "Shame culture" against "Guilt culture". I'm always reluctant to buy into stuff like this, but I can see some truth in it.

    Basic gist is that shame culture - or "face culture", as I've heard it called - values what other people believe about you, while in contrast guilt culture values what you believe about yourself.

    You ought to glance through the article, which I found fascinating, though I can't say I believe there's any culture entirely guilt-based or shame-based.

    Here's the link: http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2006/02/shame-guilt-muslim-psyche-and-danish.html