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Eamonn

Failure To Understand

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I like to think that I'm not a complete dummy. I know at times I can be very mule headed and at times there are things which because I have never taken the time or made the effort to understand that I just don't understand.

While I know a lot of people who are not of the same religious persuasion as I am. I really have never taken the time to find out what they are all about. Sure I know the stuff that I think everyone knows. But I have never picked up a copy of the Koran. I do admire how often the followers take time out of their day to pray. I have never picked up the books that the LDS church has for their followers. I am in awe of what I have seen in how well they manage their family life. Sure I have read bits of the Old Testament and most of the New Testament. I have some idea what most of the Jewish Holidays and some of the ceremonies are about. I have had Scouts in the troops that I have served that were Hindus along with other religions.

Being an Irish Roman Catholic, and seeing all the problems in the North of Ireland. I think that I'm supposed to dislike Protestants. I never have, it would be hard when you are living in England and many of my best friends are Anglicans. As is my wife.

I don't think that I am in any way prejudiced. I take people as I find them and do not like to prejudge or tag them.

I watched a TV show on PBS, that looked at life in North Korea. Talk about Big Brother. The State is indoctrinating the entire population to hate the USA and Americans. Everything that goes wrong in the country is put down to the "Imperialist Americans." The State controls the press and the media. The ordinary man in the street has no way of thinking for himself. So he hates.

While it isn't a popular thing to say, but these suicide bombers must have a lot of faith in what they believe in to do what they do. Many of these are well educated, intelligent people.

I would have thought with all this education and all this intelligence, that they would look back over history and would see that no terrorist campaign has ever worked.

I feel sure that they know that killing people is wrong. I fail to see why they keep doing it.

Am I missing something?

Eamonn.

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Not being a mass murderer myself, and not knowing any to ask personally, I'll repeat what I have read (probably on the internet, so it must be true!). Those who are killing in the name of Allah think they have a religious obligation to rid the world of infidels (non Muslims), either through forcing conversion or killing them. Children, are better off dead than growing up to be infidels by choice. They believe the children are innocent and therefore, killing them sends them straight to heaven. I actually think I read that in connection with one of the Israeli/Palestinian suicide/murders involving children. Where do they come up with beliefs like that while other more moderate Muslims deny those obligations exist?

 

Well, read through the book of Judges sometime. Jehovah ordered the Hebrews to slay entire cities of pagans: men, women, children, born and unborn, and even their animals. Does that mean we should be killing unbelievers, too? HIS ways are incomprehensible to us.

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Look at the phenomenon of Hitler and Nazi Germany. A predominantly Christian country was led down a path of total destruction by the most charismatic man of his time. Women swooned when he spoke and he was truly loved by the people of Germany. The result was 6 million Jews dead, 22 million Russians dead, countless others dead and the near destruction of Germany.

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I cannot claim to really understand either. Nevertheless, I highly recommend three books; two by an american academic and one by a novelist.

 

Check out these two recent books by Bernard Lewis. The first is entitled "What Went Wrong". It was released shortly before 9/11. The second is more recent and covers much of the same territory, but still offers fresh insights. It is entitled "The Crisis of Islam".

 

In the early or mid eighties V.S. Naipul traveled through several predominantly moslem countries, including Pakistan, Indonesia, Maylaysia and Iran. His book is entitled "Amont the Believers". This book is really quite scary. It does not foretell 9/11, but it sure displays some of the bitterness and extremism that we chose to ignore.

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Hate is a powerful thing, and the world can sometimes be a very evil place because of such hate. I never really understood it myself, how one can hate a group of people so much to sacrifice his/her own life to end the lives of others. Maybe this is a twisted and distorted "religion" these people follow, and they're so under the impression that them killing another human being pleases their god. Maybe their government is responsible for spreading bad ideas about other people. Maybe these peoples' hate for another type of people (mentionably the Israeli-Paletinian conflict) is a product of years and years of conflicts, much of the origins of which have been lost with time.

 

With American media today, there really is no question as to how much evil there is in the world; the media today RARELY seems to report on the good news in the world, but rather only on that which involves death and violence. The saying "no news is good news" is indeed true in this sense. Considering this, not all of this "hate" and "violence" of which you speak is only present in other countries...Just look through the newspaper today and find out.

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In a way, America does have its own "Islamic extremist" groups. Have you or do you know of anyone who has looked at those Americans who do not support the war in Iraq as lesser Americans than anyone else; "unpatriotic?" Think about it...

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I am familiar with Naipul but not the other two books, thanks. I tend to think that when anyone believes their knowledge is absolute and no longer subject to criticism, the arrogance of that makes some very bad things possible.

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I forgot to mention that these books are all very readable. Neither writer uses gobbledegook to try to over awe their readers. They are too serious for that.

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I just listened to the audio version of a book called "The Age of Sacred Terror" that provides some insight into this as well, with history of developments and divisions in Islam.

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Eamonn,

There is a great book to help you understand why this hatred is so strong between the Middle East and the West, it is "The Warriors of God", by Reston. It talks about the long history of conquering and occupation from Richard the LionHeart and Saladin up to present time; and discusses abuses from both sides of the story in a fascinating way. It opened my eyes and I recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about why we are so hated by Islam and others in the region.

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In the spectrum of the history, I see very little room to justify behavior in the present. Todays actions (relatively speaking) often provide impetus for tomorrows reactions (relatively speaking). This I understand. Most everything else is merely a record, which one might use to predict and prepare for the future. However, history should not be used as a mirror that reflects the hearts and minds of its descendents. I realize that the bonds of blood and heritage are strong. But why do men continue to seek satisfaction for their ancestors? And worse, why do they seek to exact that revenge against the children (or grandchildren, or great grandchildren, etc.) of those who purportedly did the misdeed? Its ridiculous. They knowingly enter a circle of self-destruction that will see no end no resolution no peace. I have no respect for this. There is no history that can be shown to me that would ever make me understand terrorists. Suicide bombings, which kill women and children: this is not a sign of a wounded people, but an evil society. How they became so evil is another question, but evil they are.

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Rooster,

 

We have not exchanged views in some time. Nobody here, particularly me, is trying to justify terrorism based on a study of history. I think you will agree that the study of history is important to understand how we arrived a certain point. Just as it is important to understand the development of Germany and Japan and how the world arrived at WWII to avoid repeating those mistakes, so too can we all gain from study of these societies and their histories. Of course the people that need most to open their minds are the ones who live in those societies.

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Rooster

 

I agree with you 100%, but tell that to the Irish in Belfast, or the Jews and Palestinians, or the Christians and Muslims in Bosnia, etc.. The book I suggested does not justify the violence but puts it in historic context. Unfortunately violence has been and always will be part of the human exsistence. Once we properly understand the root causes only then can we start the healing process.(This message has been edited by BadenP)

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I have made a note of the titles and will pop into Barns and Noble in the very near future.Thanks for your help.

I'm not sure how this ties in but...

I have been more then a little testy of late.

Her That Must Be Obeyed has had to have surgery and my Doc. changed the pills that I take for my aged back.

OJ has soccer. There seems to be something to do with soccer every night of the week. Either training or a match. I love soccer, I used to play it a lot and have been a coach.

This season with all the stuff going on at home I have been unable to make hardly any of the games. When he gets home he gives me a full report. This last two weeks the report has had a lot of reports of him "Taking People out." I wasn't happy. Last night when I picked him up he said that someone on the other team had knocked him over. He went on to say how lucky the kid was that he had moved before "I got him with my metal cleats." I became very upset and said that was not how to play the game. He became very defensive and said that the coach had told the team that they were to do whatever it takes to win. I said that if he couldn't play as a sportsman we would need to look at if he should play or not. He became very upset ad said that he was only doing what the coach had told him to do. I kept telling him that he knew better and that we don't do things like that. When we got home he went to his room and I phoned the mother of another Lad on the team, she asked her son and sure enough the coach has told these boys to do what it takes to win and even makes a joke when they take an opposing player out. I have an appointment to see the Principal on Friday. The Superintendent is on the District Committee.

I know a good many of the Boys on the team many are Scouts. While none of them could be classified as little Angels. They are good kids. OJ, has always been a very kind type of kid. He has shown a great sense of justice and what is right and wrong. He has been playing soccer since he was five. We spent 11 years stressing sportsmanship. This coach has managed to undo it all in less then two months.

I have met the coach and while I can't say that I know him. He isn't that charismatic. Yet somehow he has managed to change the mindset of these 16 year old boys. While a bunch of Lads playing soccer is a long way from a suicide bomber. The teams that our team plays are teams from the local area, some of the players are in the same troops as our Lads, some are friends and yet this Coach has got our Lads seeing them as the enemy.

I spoke with OJ again when we both had calmed down and he admits that he knows what has been going on is wrong and he was doing it to keep his place on the team.

Stuff like this does give me cause to worry.

Eamonn

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