Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So, Have You Seen Any Good Cartoons Lately?

I'm fully aware of the dangers of ethnocentrism. I'm even more fully cognizant of the fact that America continues to have its own sordid past to deal with (yes, some of it actually involving the Middle-East).....and that, no, we especially shouldn't stand in judgement. But, folks, I also have to tell you here, I'm still having an extremely hard time finding some positive things to say about a lot of Arab and Muslim societies....................................................................................................I mean, seriously, think about it here. Between the deep-rooted (as in centuries long) anti-Semitism, the disgusting subjugation of Muslim women, homosexuals, etc., the constant blurring of religion and government, the overall lack of Democratic institutions, the totally vile educational system, the oft-times tolerance of those most nasty forms of extremism (Egypt and Jordan excepted here), etc., what, pray tell, IS THERE to admire? Please, help me out here.......................................................................................................P.S. And, no, I know, it's NOT the people's fault. It's the leaders' fault. Believe me, I know.


Beach Bum said...

I'm tired and dazed so what mental abilities I may have are stretched real thin right now. But all I can say is that Islamic civilization did preserve much of Western Classical Civilization while we were in the Dark Ages. They held onto much of the ancient Greek and Latin writings that the early Christian church took great effort in destroying.

During that time they did have a strong tradition of science, art, and literature. Given the incredible pain it gave me in school we have them to blame for developing algebra.

While I do know about some sort of "tax" Islamic societies impose on people of other faiths I have also read that for a good while they were far more tolerant and open. There is a Christian monastery in the Sinai that gave refugee to Mohammed at some point and is protected and respected by the Muslim locals to this day.

I admit I am not an expert on history but it is scary at times how much I do know as opposed to those I work around. All I am certain of is that civilization rise and fall over time because of complex reasons that defy explanation by true educated experts. Given the ignorance of those same people that I have to associate with and others who gleefully embrace all the other wacko practices that are hallmarks of our culture today who is to say our own civilization isn’t now on the downhill slide?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

You're righty, double b, for quite some time they were significantly ahead of us. And, yes, they even, for a while, treated the Jews better than than "we" did. But they also did their share of plundering, too (conquering Spain in the 7th century, for instance). And once their empire started to decline, they took out their frustrations en masse on those of the other faiths (the nonbelievers)......I guess, though, that I was referring more to the present time, a time when literally nothing gets preserved, translated, etc.. What did that jerk, Ahmadidenjad, say, "we don't have homosexuals in Iran"?

Beach Bum said...

...did their share of plundering...

Yes, their militant expansion into Western Europe and other parts of the world seems to be forgotten with us ethnic-Europeans getting a double dose of blame for the Crusades.

I admit I am naive about a great many thing and one of them continues to be the belief that the great majority of people around the world just want to live and raise their kids in peace. That a small fraction is intent causing chaos and dragging the rest down into Hell.

I am worried about that "small" fraction in both the Islamic world and the West that wants to turn everything into a battle of civilizations which in the end will destroy both, or at least what we here in the West consider special and important that being our liberty and open societies.

I admit it extremely complicated with elements among the Muslims that want to spread their faith here in the West by violence destroying what we have built since the Renaissance.

Needless to say this is dangerous times we live but I still believe in what Sun Tzu said about reacting. I can't find the actual quote but it boiled down to not letting your enemy define the nature of the conflict, which I believe in this case means not going down to his level. Its going to be very hard but we have to be the smarter side.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I don't want to be one of those guys who constantly goes around slamming religions, double b. But, clearly, we (the human species) have done a lot of killing over it, haven't we? I guess even the Buddists.....