Bomb Throwing Pacifist
Thursday, February 08, 2007
And if you thought that this was going to be about the horrors of big pharma and disgusting fungal eye infections due to getting a bad batch of Renu, you'd be sadly, sadly wrong.
The men and women who shake us down at the airport are getting a crash course in Muslim culture.
'bout freaking time. Five bucks says she won't make it to the end of the paragraph without working in a dig out how liberal panzies are so worried about hurting Muslim feelings and want to sing kumbaya with them rather than doing what any good red-blooded American should: gunning them down where they stand.
A training DVD that runs for 45 minutes tackles such "sensitive" questions as why Arabs often avoid looking someone in the eye.
Or why it's extremely rude to touch anyone or any of their posessions with your left hand only (here's a hint: toilet paper), or how it's also very rude to show the soles of your feet at someone while sitting down. You know? The kind of stuff that we go out of our way to avoid doing so as not to piss people off? (Here's another hint. Men searching women. Big no-no).
An agent of the Homeland Security Administration questioning a suspected terrorist, for example, may regard dropped eyes as evidence of suspicious behavior, suggesting the suspect is hiding something.
A reasonable statement. And no doubt only included in order to stoke the fury of the mouthbreathers even further as they tear at their ears and shout "NYARR!! You in AMERICA! YOU act like AMERICAN!!"
But now he must confront his own ignorance. He's told that Arab culture considers it impolite to stare. (So does ours, as any toddler is told, again and again.)
And here I was thinking education was a good thing. Silly me.
Such sensitivity may be polite, but it may blind the officer to his own intuition and the sum of his experience.
Because having a team that includes people who actually speak the language and understand the culture is the last thing you want to do in such a situation. They might be compromised!
We've come a long way from the heroic mythmaking of "Tales of the Arabian Nights," of Scheherezade and Lawrence of Arabia, and that's no doubt good in its own way.
No fucking shit! I'm glad that Suzanne Fields believes its a marginally positive thing that we have started to move away from the themes and cultural dominance and exoticism which have comprised her (and others') narrative up until this point. Yes, Suzanne. Aladdin is not real, Baghdad is not inhabited by genies, and you can bet your ass that Saudi princesses do not dress like Jasmine. And yes, the 9/11 Hijackers used jets. Not magic carpets.
Where are the flowers and sweets?
Nevertheless, looking for insights through cultural relativism is exercising what President Bush might call "the soft bigotry of false expectations."
In other words, trying to find similarities and a certain degree of commonality between our two cultures is hopelessly doomed to fail because they're just so...different. And adorably romantic! So what's the point really? Now when do they sing "I Can Show you the World"?
"The reason we prepared [the DVD] is because our front-line officers were asking for training on how to interact with people from the Arab and Muslim world," says Daniel Sutherland, the agency's officer for civil rights and civil liberties.
Pah, what a bunch of limp-wristed metrosexuals, being concerned with other peoples' cultures and shit. Ther's only one way to deal with these folks, as any good, red-blooded American knows. And that's with belly full of lead!
He insists that the motivation for this sensitivity training is protecting the nation, not the feelings of terror suspects.
AND HERE IT IS!! The never-ending, omnipresent narrative ever so thoughfully crafted by right-wing strategists years ago and given voice in varying degrees of subtlety and cleverness by their operatives. The liberals, far from being the well-endowed, straight-shooting, killer psycho macho men we all know conservatives to be, they really just want to give the terrorists hugs and ice cream. "emocrats want the terrorists to win. Democrats care more about the feelings of the [insert mild to offensive racial epiphet here] instead of the dead Americans on 9/11!" Etc.
tly, people like Fields and Cheney always remind me of that totally insecure jock you knew back in middle school. Remember? The one who made it perfectly clear that he was only participating in the dance class as part of P.E. because he had to and if you ever even paused to wonder if he was actually enjoying it, he'd pound you later. Only in this case its "sensitivity training" instead of modern dance and the vice president instead of a socially inept, boorish, perpetually sneering twit. Or rather, it's still the same guy, but now he actually has power.
A federal prosecutor says he learned through his investigations that interviewers elicit more information by making nice, such as calling him "sir" rather than showing antagonism, like "barking orders." This sounds like the familiar good cop, bad cop routine, except that there's no "bad" cop when we really need one.
Because as we all know. Any Muslim at an airport is a terror suspect by default. Thank you Suzanne Fields for telling us what you and your ilk really think.
Such superficial approaches may reap occasional rewards[...]
Like stopping terror attacks...
but such approaches rely on stereotypes that brush experience aside and cloud good judgment.
Judgement and experience which is, in this case of course, woefully inadequate and irrelevant. Kind of like cracking a passenger over the head with a nightstick because he's reading from the Koran and finger his rosary beads before jumping on the plane. Or arresting a bunch of imams for praying before getting on the flight, because that's exactly how the 9/11 terrorists acted. Are you really this fricken dumb?
What we need is not a DVD but a better, deeper understanding of Islam without the politically correct lecture if we're really serious about containing jihad[...]
In other words, replacing one set of "stereotypes" (which are in most part useful cultural clues to facilitate interaction with muslims, like "Don't speak to a woman directly in the presence of another male as it's highly provocative" and "Try to keep your bag of pork rinds out of plain sight") with another, more virulently right-wing set of stereotypes (Like "All Muslims are commanded to take over the world by launching a violent Jihad in the name of their prophet" and "the more foreign they look, the more religious they must be and therefore the more suspicious you should be as well.").
Not only did the prophet say, "There is no god but Allah," but he ordered his followers to insist, at the point of the sword, that everybody else say that, too. Blah blah blah yoink whadda whammo!
See? Told you so.
Our fathers and grandfathers were not so politically correct.
The ashes of Nazi war criminals executed at Nuremberg were scattered to the wind, and the bunker where Hitler died is unmarked in Berlin, under a parking lot. There would be no shrines. But whatever is left of a suicide bomber is frequently sent to his or her family, and the Muslim authorities encourage shrines to inspire more suicide bombers.
Dear Transportation Security Authority
Be advised that until you stop mailing the remains of suicide bombers back to their families and Muslim authorities stop encouraging shrines dedicated to them, I regret to inform you that I will refuse to fly. Ever again. I'll keep writing shitty columns though and try to piss you off.
The six Muslim imams who were taken off the USAir flight in Minneapolis have become Islamic heroes in our own country. They insist the airline "discriminated" against them for merely reciting their prayers.
I wonder if they'd do the same thing to Pentesoctal worshippers who felt moved by the spirit. But that's different, because they're white.
I.e. the people who might soon find themselves out of a job...
[...]say the imams were shouting their prayers, as if trying to frighten and intimidate other passengers.
Which of course explains why they were released without charges five hours later. They were, however, praying in Arabic, a language which has been known to cause even the bravest of red staters to feel the early surge of "adrenaline" running down their legs.
Western historians once described life for religious minorities in the Ottoman Empire as a "golden age" of freedom. This romantic idealization clouded our understanding of Islam for decades. Now we learn that Jewish and Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire suffered humiliation under the "dhimmi code," where they were "free" to worship as they pleased as long as they pleased the Muslim authorities, who drew up tortuous legal restrictions.
Which as we all know was so much worse than the Crusading pogroms of 1096 in Germany. And Edward I's explusion of them from England in 1290. And the time King Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabelle of Castile ordered all Jews deported in 1492. And of course Manuel of Portugal's 1496 forced conversion of them all to Catholic Christianity. And the Goa Inquisition of 1552. But hey, anything is better than having to pay slightly higher taxes, right?
The new confrontation between East and West, like confrontations in the past, is not necessarily "a clash of civilizations." Rather it is what the historian Daniel Johnson describes as "the attempt to impose a theocratic religion upon a secular civilization."
And we all know who's side people like Suzanne Fields, Jerry Falwell, and Dinesh D'ouza are on that one.
Jihad is an obligation, to be pursued by different means, including speech, dress and the sword. This is the kind of war for which we are completely unprepared.
Well, some of us were atuned to the possibility. Like after the Khobar Towers Bombing or the U.S.S. Cole. But I can't imagine Suzanne would remember that. She was probably too busy screaming "No War for Monica" the last few times Clinton tried to kill Osama.
Foolishly avoiding eye contact, which will be perceived as an act of cowardice, along with other "sensitivities" that will send signals of weakness, will have a crucial impact on whether we win or lose.
In other words, if we lose it will be because we didn't act quite as prickish as we should have. The end.