Friday, July 08, 2005

25 Hours Later

Now that the shock, the pictures and the fallout from yesterday's attack in London have worn off, what's left, other than the empty, acidic memory of the news is that all-too-familiar resignation, as it was -- to a lesser degree -- on September 12th.
While it was across the globe for us here in America, many of us know -- or, at the very least, remember what it was like turning on the news only to find that Islam, the peaceful religion, had made another statement to the world and demonstrated just how peaceful it really is.

I know there are plenty of peace-loving Muslims out there in the world who would scoff at the notion that Islam is anything but a peaceful faith. They would -- somewhat rightfully -- advise me that the people perpetrating atrocities like yesterday's in London have perverted and corrupted the religion, and that animals like those do not represent Islam accurately or fairly. However, to them I would respond that I don't remember the last time hordes -- or even secret cells -- of Israelis strapped explosives to their bodies and blew themselves up in the hope -- aside of going to "heaven" -- they could maim or kill as many Muslims as possible. It seems to me that those who have corrupted that faith have subverted its meaning and perverted what is good therein; except the remainder don't seem too upset when Jews are maimed or killed. If they were, they would not look the other way when the bad among their kind hide among them; and they wouldn't support organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah. It seems to me that they don't mind when the violence, the attacks on women and children, on civilians and on people who have nothing to do with the struggle, are put in the line of fire. Only when people suggest that the religion is at fault do they raise their voices and defend the purity and the peacefulness of Islam, a religion that is tied to the sword as much as it is academia and knowledge and peace.

Nonetheless, to condemn Islam is futile; the world has this cancer -- whether an ultra-extremist sect thereof or simply warriors fighting a holy war that the rest of the world abandoned centuries ago -- and without providing answers or understanding the mentality that fosters these disgusting choices, we'll continue going in circles.

One thing I've noticed; as people decried yesterday's bombings, at the same time there was a news story circulating that CNN was given paltry exposure to the prison at Guantanamo Bay. The story mentioned that each prisoner was given a copy of the Koran and a six-by-six cell. Prior and subsequent discussion of this has revealed that some officers have desecrated the Koran and/or abused prisoners, which, as one FBI agent discussing "Gitmo" explained, seemed to devalue human life. After watching yesterday's news with a repulsed sense of disgust, the last thing about which I care is prisoners fighting a so-called "holy war" and their protections: religion and dignity. I suspect they, or their brethren, didn't give much concern to the freedoms of religion and happiness that their brethren in London gave to the 50 or more that died yesterday; and seeing Londoners, bewildered and bloodied, didn't seem to be treated very well at the hands of the people who masterminded yesterday's bombings. So I suggest the next time someone cries foul that the US treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is unfair, abusive and inhumane, remember yesterday's scenes of women and children, covered in blood or sheets, and think about their rights as well.

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