I hereby invite any Muslim – mere believer, devout worshiper or radical fundamentalist – for a talk. I’ll make tea and if budget allows there will be biscuits too. You see, I’d like to understand what is going on right now across large swats of the small humid lump of mud we call home: Killings, burnings of Embassies, burnings of flags and more. And it seems to be but the start. All due to a repulsive, amateurish, ignorant and frankly completely deranged video. A video that would have garnered all but twenty viewers, had it been on any other topic.
Here’s my problem (which I hope you’ll help me solve): I believe that assaulting someone – let alone killing – because of deeply unjustified insults, is wrong. I further believe that resorting to physical violence of any kind as a reaction to an argument – to words and gestures – is wrong. No matter how stupid, repulsive or insulting it may be. I believe in dialog first and if that does not work before I get completely exhausted, indifference. Words, accusations, disgusting videos and satirical cartoons – no matter how awful – cannot affect me if I choose not to let them.
I also believe that if a person speaks out in ways that are completely unacceptable, it is wrong to condemn the entire nation of which he happens to be a part. Nobody speak on behalf of a whole nation – not even the King or the President. Every nation has its share of deranged and misguided people: Look no further than the peace loving country of Norway. If engagement is chosen, then it should be with the individuals or groups concerned. And without resorting to violence.
Why are people taking out their anger on people who have played no part in the provocation? Most of whom are no doubt as shocked and angered as the very people who resort to such levels of violence.
Anyone, in my view, who resort to violence in the face of words, lies and unfounded accusations, expose a weakness of the mind. A monumental lack of self control. He is, I find, an even lesser human being than the provocateur.
Can we talk about that? Can you help me understand?
On the official site for the 2012 Olympics in London you’ll find the final rankings according to athlete and by country – there is even a comparison gizmo to see two countries side by side. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will serve up information about all medalists since 1896 but are not so hot on rankings – especially not by country. Perhaps because such ranking turns out to be difficult to establish.
The ranking method that London and other venues have chosen is a simple “rank by gold medals”. With no regard for population size and a curious disregard for silver and bronze medals. Curious because the very spirit of the modern Olympics is about participating and “trying your hardest”. Shouldn’t participants who try so hard they reach second or third place count for something?
Taking silver and bronze into account by assigning three points for a gold medal, two points for a silver and just one point for bronze we get this: more …
There’s this thing I don’t get. No this isn’t a rhetoric ploy, joke or an attempt to be cute. But why is it that we are shocked and upset when the news fill up with another airplane crash or two more soldiers killed in action? Of course any premature death of one of us is saddening – upsetting even. To the loved ones still alive it is evidently devastating. But when I bring up the fact that the equivalent of two full intercontinental passenger aircraft are killed every week on the road in car accidents, I’m most often met with incredulence. Then I’m told it is an irrelevant comparison. That I’m talking gibberish. Trying to compare apples with oranges.
Is it? Am I? If so, I’d like to have someone go real slow on the explanation to me, please. Allow me to make some observations: In 2009 (full stats for 2010 not yet available to me) the world registered 1,103 deaths in airplane transport. This includes airplanes from eight passengers and up. That same year we had 33,808 deaths on the roads – in the US only! Forget India, Nairobi or France. That’s 75 Boing 747 planes! They can’t make new planes that fast. 75!? – that’s six full planes per month. Read the rest …