Saturday, March 11, 2006
It's interesting to compare the path that CPT member Tom Fox chose with Wafa Sultan's. Wafa Sultan is an Arab-American who argued vociferously against Islamic clerics on Al Jazeera, creating an international stir. Accoding to the New York Times summary of events:
Both Fox and Sultan employed nonviolent methods to achieve their ends. Given the death threats leveled on Hirsi Ali, the Danish caricaturists of Mohammed, Salman Rusdie and others it is arguable that Dr. Sultan by her open opposition to Islamism is showing as much personal courage as anyone in the CPT. Since Dr. Sultan probably has relatives and friends in Syria or the Muslim community in America, she is likely in a more vulnerable situation than a Western Peace Activist who is only in the Middle East temporarily.
To Tom Fox's question "How do you stand firm against a car-bomber or a kidnapper?" -- a question to which he never provided an answer except to say it was not fighting -- Wafa Sultan's answer is that you start by denouncing it. You begin by intellectually opposing the ideology that drives it; that legitimizes it; that portrays it as attractive to children from their cradle. The CPT website, on the other hand, says that denunciation is part of the problem, because it dehumanizes the denounced; hides our Western guilt; and shows a lack of tolerance and respect for Islam. On the Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy, the CPT says:
Which of these, the Arab woman or American man, do you think was a neighbor to those threatened by terrorism? Go and do likewise.
posted by fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2006/03/two-paths.html]wretchard at 1:41 PM | 54 comments
Friday, March 10, 2006
Crushed and broken on the virgin soul
The body of Christian Peacemaker Teams activist Tom Fox has been found in Iraq, according to the BBC.
It is abundantly clear from the Christian Peacemaker Team website that they could hardly have done more to declare their sympathy for the Muslim world, the Palestinian cause or their distaste for America. A less haggard Tom Fox is shown holding up a sign protesting the construction of an Israeli barrier in "Palestine". There's a statement abhorring the publication of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons, which says:
Tom Fox wrote a couple of articles setting out his goals. In Why we are here?, Fox said:
Fox was not oblivious to the fact that terrorists in Iraq killed innocent people too. Or that his life was in danger at terrorist hands. He could offer no definite answer to the question he himself posed: "How do you stand firm against a car-bomber or a kidnapper?" But he was sure of one thing: fighting was always the wrong answer.
I knew a man once who rushed to church in tears of gratitude over the fact that he didn't have to kill someone. It was at the height of Ferdinand Marcos' power and his secret agents were taking a tremendous toll of the underground. Two men in this mans' cell had disappeared. The first had taken a Greyhound-type bus to the Cagayan Valley and had never gotten off. Another had gone by outrigger from Luzon to the island of Mindoro, where it was said, he had been killed on a beach upon landing by a .45 pressed to his nape as he walked unsuspectingly on the sand. The suspected betrayer was a small, bucktoothed man with almost childish enthusiasm for basketball, given to hysterical fits of laughter. But he was certainly the informer and had to die before he betrayed a third. As it happened, someone else killed the informer and man whose job it was to shoot him was everlastingly grateful that God had arranged for the cup to pass away. Someone else had done the deed and he could go from out the darkness of the Marcos dictatorship with only sweet memories upon his soul.
The question that always bothered me was whether that person -- or any man -- had any right to expect someone else to do the dirty job for him. Can we ever simultaneously acknowledge the necessity of a deed and the absolute immorality of doing it? That in a nutshell is the Problem of Evil: that evil exists and that by and by we will have to face it. The question Tom Fox should have posed is "how do you stand firm against a car-bomber headed straight for a schoolbus?" And if you say, "shoot to save the children" ask yourself if it ever justified to be glad that God had sent someone else to shoot the bomber and go hell in your stead. Tom Fox stood for his beliefs to the bitter end. And now the men who killed him are out there, waiting to kill again.
posted by wretchard at 9:35 PM | 197 comments
Islam isn't the only religion that has it's whacko members. Christianity has them too and the CPT is certainly, in my opinion, a group of whackos. The one big difference is that, for the most part, Christianity's whackos don't go around blowing people up and cutting off thier heads. In fact, they're more likely to get themselves killed than hurt anyone else. I know they honestly think they're trying to help, but the time for a group hug with Islam is over.
The "peace at any cost" crowd, whether they be religious based or not, are not only terribly misguided, but also dangerous both to themselves in the short run and civilized society in the long run if they ever manage to get their way on a grand scale.
THE PRISONER ESCAPES
Dr. Wafa Sultan, who you can watch here if you have not already seen her interview from Al Jazeera; is writing a book- The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster. She was recently interviewed in the print media about her comments in the famous video, and has received --as you might imagine--numerous death threats from the usual medieval suspects for her courageous words about the backwardness of Islam. Here are some excerpts from the recent print interview:
Now, why aren't the medical residency directors in this country viciously competing to get this remarkable woman into their respective programs? Like the elite colleges did for a former Taliban official?
Somebody give Yale a call and see if they could make room in one of their medical residency programs to accept this incredible woman, particularly since they joyfully leapt at the chance to get Mr. Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi (see here and here for different perspectives on that).
Dr. Sultan escaped her confinement from within the prison of Islam. In completely unambiguous terms, she represents a voice of reason and moderation sorely needed in that backward culture.
Related post: Union with An Evil God
- Diagnosed by Dr. Sanity @ 9:01 AM Comments (7) | Trackback (0)
DEPRAVED THOUGHTS, SAVING SOULS, AND TERRORIST BEHAVIOR
Wretchard discusses the Problem of Evil in the context of Tom Fox's murder by terrorists:
This has always been the issue I have toward pacifism and pacifists. In an earlier post, I wrote:
The tragedy and irony of Mr. Fox's death at the hands of terrorists is, in my mind anyway, overridden by the tragic and misguided mentality that sees no moral difference between people who deliberately commit unspeakable evil and those whose role is to protect innocents from unspeakable evil.
Wretchard quotes Mr. Fox as saying about his reasons for going to Iraq:
Mr. Fox went to Iraq in order to stop people from having dehumanizing thoughts. His death would have more meaning if he and his organization were committed to stopping the dehumanizing behavior. Personally, I don't care much what other people think or believe. What matters to me is how they behave toward me and toward others. I allow them the freedom of their thoughts, no matter how depraved; but an important line is crossed when they act on those depraved thoughts and believe they have the right to harm or oppress others.
But then, I don't want to mess around that much with their thoughts (unless they ask me to help them; which would presume some insight on their part); nor do I want to save their souls particularly (I figure their immortal soul is their own business). I want to stop them from killing people.
Mr. Fox and his organization would perhaps like to control and/or change people's thoughts for really really good motives; and he apparently believed deeply that to do so would help to save their souls. It is truly ironic he did not seem to appreciate that his heartfelt desire was not too dissimilar--though perhaps more passive--to the desires and motivations of the people who murdered him.
It is that flaw in thinking that enabled Mr. Fox's death and underscores its fundamental meaninglessness. It is that flaw in thinking that will continue to enable the murderous fanatics who killed him; and which will lead to the deaths of many other souls.
Michelle Malkin has much more on the story.
UPDATE: In response to several annoyed people in emails who ask me what is wrong with wanting to change a person's thinking, my response is simple: nothing is wrong with it. But, their question sort of reminds me of the old joke: "How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one. But the lightbulb has to really want to change."
I would have to say that it seems to me that even before you work to change a person's mind, you must control their violent and malevolent behavior. If you cannot control it; then you must denounce it in the most unequivocal terms. If it is possible to reach them on an intellectual level -- then you denounce their underlying ideology and present your arguments as forcefully and logically as possible, as we recently observed this person doing.
Sometimes,this is all you can do.
What you should not do is to make excuses for evil. What you should not do is to compromise with it. What is completely outrageous and morally indefensible is this statement made by Fox's organization explaining his death at the hands of conscienceless, murderous thugs:
In my professional opinion, the people who could write such a perverted statement desperately need to have their heads examined and obtain professional help. They themselves are the "root cause"--the enablers and apologists extraordinaire--who permit and encourage evil to flourish in today's world.
One person like Wafa Sultan does more to further the cause of peace, justice, and human dignity than do legions of these so-called "peace" activists.
- Diagnosed by Dr. Sanity @ 11:03 AM Comments (16) | Trackbacks (2)
Wafa Sultan: Someone You Should Know
by Joe Katzman on March 13, 2006 01:53 AM
Well, this ought to make a few of us reconsider our opinions of al-Jazeera. The NYT headline? "For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats."
Actually her criticism is as an avowed secular humanist. But the smackdowns she delivers to the Islamist host Al-Khouli are utterly priceless, and should be required viewing for every invertebrate politician in the wake of the Cartoon Jihad. Especially the part after Al-Khouli called her a heretic. Eugene Volokh has a link to the video, with subtitles (it's in Arabic). iFilm has it too.
Meanwhile, MEMRI has an accompanying transcript with excerpts from the interview with Wafa Sultan that aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 21, 2006. It is followed by excerpts from a debate in which she participated, in a talk show that aired on Al-Jazeera TV on July 26, 2005.
One - check out this admiring review on DailyKos. Interesting. One more brick in the wall of post tipping-point politics?
Two, an excerpt or two from the video. The core:
...and the curveball. Bet this next one hurt; doubly so because nmainlines right into a number of unspoken feelings in the Islamic world, but in a subversive way:
"Ask not what humankind can do for your religion...." Hmm, nice ring to that. We certainly respect Wafa Sultan.
« ok, I'm done now
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Uh...I think she's a little TOO outspoken and mature for the likes of Harvard or Yale. The posers there don't like people with a mind of their own any more than the imans. www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=445228