Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Glowing In The Dark

Way too much has happened over the past few days to even let fly a fair recap; Kaia and I each have been juggling loads at work, and I saw a new Geico commercial featuring Little Richard (it's the one that describes a woman who hit a deer on Thanksgiving). Suffice to say, the work has -- for each of us -- been oppressive, but the Little Richard commercial has been nauseating. I'm not having nightmares -- yet -- but they're a-comin'. If you've seen that commercial, you know what I mean.

I'm pleased to mention, by the way, that the friend I mentioned in Michigan, the one who was near death due to advanced strep, bronchitis and pneumonia, is -- finally -- doing much better and is on her way to recovery. Her cell phone has been off (thanks to Caps for the info) but she is, for sure, on the mend. I'm not usually into that hokey "it was all that karma that helped!" kinda person, but after a small deluge of comments and (mostly) e-mails, I'd like to think that the good wishes/prayers/support sent her way at least in part contributed to her recovery.

As for Israel and Lebanon, now that this is going on for awhile, it's almost worthless to discuss it. There's not much progress happening, even with Condoleeza on site, so I have pretty much relegated myself to silent observation until there is something new to discuss. I certainly didn't mean to beat a dead horse with respect to this situation, but -- and I think most people would concur with me -- it's frustrating watching diametrically opposed combatants duke it out with fresh updates every hour or two. The one thing that I will say is that it's interesting to me that, over the past thirty or so years, the major problems this planet has experienced -- at least the ones involving humans and not geologic or oceanic events beyond our control -- have been a result, at least in part, of religious extremism, specifically Islam.

Before someone anoints me the next Salman Rushdie, please note I'm not referring to Islam as a religion; I'm describing Imams and other Muslims who encourage Muslim youths to hate and to destroy. It seems that most of the regimes in the Middle East, apart from Israel, have either sworn or recently (within the past decade or two) abandoned a state-sponsored commitment to destroy Israel. The main issue, as we are now seeing on a national level, is that even those Middle Eastern regimes who portray themselves as modern and progressive still steer their interests in one direction publicly and another privately. Syria and Iran, as an example, are stereotypical Middle Eastern nations: quick to defend or deflect blame from themselves publicly, but happily, in private, providing rogue groups -- Hezbollah, Hamas or whatever flavor of the month comes forward and proclaims their intent to destroy Israel, however possible -- with the means, whether arms, money, protection or a combination thereof.

This is nothing new -- Syria and Iran have and always will be nations that cannot and should not be trusted. The problem -- and what really, genuinely puzzles me -- is that there are a small but vocal contingent of people with whom I've spoken to categorically point their fingers at Israel for being the "aggressor" whenever these situations flare up. Some do the finger-pointing even when the status quo is below conflict level; many accuse Israel of occupying the nation of Palestine, and still more decry the abuses and the lack of human rights within the Israel-Arab interculture. Mostly, I try using facts and history to explain why these positions are fallacies; but more often I just shake my head and add these people to the subconscious list of morons I keep somewhere between my ears. It doesn't help asking these people to advise me when the nation of Palestine was established, or when Mohammad -- the prophet whose cartoon image set off weeks of rioting and calls for newspaper editors' deaths around the world --- visited Jerusalem. And it certainly doesn't pay asking Muslims -- devout or otherwise -- which direction they would face if they needed to perform their daily prayers and were located squarely between Mecca and Jerusalem. There's no point. People who would advocate strapping on an explosive belt to kill civilians -- or praise others that did so -- don't discuss facts, they are chanting their beliefs as if same are a mantra or a given; the fact that they are neither is irrelevant.

Incidentally, there was never a "nation" of Palestine until Israel (which was established in 1948) ceded land to a group of people who have so little in common geographically that they call themselves "Palestinians" rather than "Jordanians," "Egyptians," "Syrians," "Iranians," "Iraqis" or "Lebanese." Mohammad never visited Jerusalem, the quote-unquote holy land that in theory is the impetus for every cry for Islamic Jihad. And any Muslim that prays faces Mecca; they could give a shit for Jerusalem -- that is, unless it is occupied by people who pray to a different god than them.

There I go again...beating a dead horse. I'll leave this be for awhile -- but in the meantime, if anyone needs me, I'll be hangin' with Salman Rushdie; he and I have some cartoons of Mohammad to distribute.


Trouble said...

Boog, I normally agree with every damn word you say, and offer a mighty "Amen!" with your every post, but I am compelled to take issue with one of your comments:

Christianity wrought far more damage in human history than Islam. However, people did not tend to convert to Islam except by the end of a sword, so you got me there.

Boogie said...

I appreciate the Amens when and where they happen ;) However, the caveat on Islam was over the last thirty years; no doubt the Crusades and lots of other wars -- all fought by or for (or both) the Church killed lots of people. And the Inquisition, among others, was an attempt at mass conversion by sword as well; but the bottom line is since the 1970's, not the 1070's.

On a mass scale, the Church and its antecedents did lots more damage and claimed far more lives than modern extremists; however, that's in part because the shit didn't begin hitting the fan en masse until the mid-70's (or 1948 -- your call). So we've endured six hundred or so years of Catholic doctrine, and about sixty or so of radical Islam. And they don't use swords for conversion, they use 'em for decapitation. It's a question of historical significance -- when the world was young -- measured against the modern world with exremists running around and partying like it's 1399.

Anonymous said...

Islam has contributed more to the world than the church or the jews. Get out of our lands and take the jews with you and we will leave you alone, or except the consequence of your involvement. There is more atrocoties happening in Israel because of they treat prisoners than by Islam anyway.


LisaBinDaCity said...

Lordy, I just saw that Little Richard commercial last night for the first time. It's freaking SCARY.

I'm glad your friend is on the mend!

Oh and AHEM ;-)

Boogie said...

LOL Lisa...I was actually in the middle of doing some work facing away from the TV and when it came on, I totally lost focus and had to turn around and face my fear -- and while, on the surface, it seems like a funny commercial, there's just something about his voice that strikes fear and nausea into some of the population.

And I thanQ again for your good wishes -- tomorrow's yet another new day :)

Boogie said...


Islam has contributed a lot to the world; aside from a regular form of numerical tracking and a core of fossil fuels, Islam -- the radical versions thereof -- have also shown how religious fanaticsm and how backward thinking can defy notions of modernization and civilization. And the concept of suicide bombing, while not invented in the modern age by Islam, has been refined by Islam (first by Hezbollah, and thereafter by every group of assholes who'd rather die than see Israel exist). Don't forget the notion of using women suicide bombers as a first, either. And on top of it, radical Muslim groups created the concept of filling conventional bombs with shrapnel and machine parts to inflict as much damage and maim as many civilians as possible.

There's a lot of creativity and contribution to be assigned to Islam. Thanks for pointing that out.