Thursday, February 16, 2006

Moment of zen

The moment of zen for your enjoyment
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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cartoon Controversy

"A nation that allows hostile populations in it's midst is not defending liberty, it's enabling its suicide"

-James Pinkerton



On September 30th2005, Jyllands-Posten printed an article depicting the Muslim prophet of Muhammad in a satirical way (one of which shows the prophet with a bomb shaped turban on his head). Initially, the cartoon only sparked a peaceful protest in Copenhagen, and investigations into rather any religious laws were violated. A newspaper in Frankfurt Germany printed the same cartoon, and word started to spread about the cartoon. A Pakistani political party offers a $10,000 reward for the death of one of the cartoonists. More civil demonstrations begin into 2006 in protest over the cartoon, which was reprinted on January 10. Nearly two weeks later, a newspaper in Brussels printed the same cartoon, and a few days after that, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a letter to their ambassadors in the Middle East stating that one of the pillars of Norwegian society is freedom of speech, but they expressed regret that Magazinet did not respect Muslims' beliefs. Ever since that incident, there have been region wide riots in the Middle East, along with several deaths, and the burning of numerous embassies, along with mass demonstrations that seem to show no signs of stopping.

Before we continue, we here at the Quagmire do not condone the slandering of any religion, nor any ethnic groups for any reason whatsoever. At the same time, the opinions expressed here are of Alshawn J Kelly-Rushing, and if these opinions may offend you, we suggest you stop reading now, and continue to download hardcore pornography off your mother’s computer.


This issue (like many dealing with the Islamic culture) is extremely complex. It is easy for me to sit here and say, “Yes the cartoon was offensive to their culture, but it doesn’t make sense to riot for a month, preaching anti western propaganda. Especially considering that, these people would be chanting death to Israel if this didn’t happen. These people are always trashing other cultures, trying to advocate murder of innocent civilians to promote this religion, yet get offensive when they’re on the receiving end. Do these people just love the attention, or are they just crazy?”, but I obviously don’t live In the middle east, and I don’t practice Islam. I’m not a scholar on Islam, and I don’t know jack shit about what Islamic clerics think about on a daily basis. Nor do any Americans, or western Europeans for that matter.

This cartoon controversy represents two cultures that don’t know anything about each other, and constantly clash at each other, sometimes for the most inane, asinine, and otherwise bullshit reasons either party can think of. This time it’s the freedom of speech that 9.7 out of 10 Islamic countries don’t have, versus the freedom of religion that most, if not all western societies don’t take as seriously as oh say… Saudi Arabia (where women aren’t allowed to go outside without their husband’s permission to boot). This, and other conflicts between the Western and Islamic societies are a combination of culture shock, Religion vs. freedom clashes, and insensitivities on both parts. In addition, it is extremely unlikely the differences between these two parties are likely to go away, and even worse, there is no easy solution out.

The main drive for Mid-eastern politics is obviously religion. In addition, when I say the main drive, I mean these people eat, breathe, sleep, walk, talk, wear and live Islam, the way that would make any American Christian conservative look like Che Guevara mixed with Michael Moore liberals, and that’s putting it lightly. In addition, the recent acts committed by extremist Muslims around the world presents a general distrust of Muslims around the world. This is especially true in Europe where there’s a strong anti immigrant sentiment held by the citizens and elected officials there. This has often caused the intended or unintended alienation of immigrants there (who for the most part happen to be Muslim). Plus Europe is well known for having an extremely anti Muslim train of thought towards its immigration policy, for example: In Denmark (go figure) it is illegal for a natural born citizen to marry a Muslim until he or she is 24. Even their own political party states “When she retires, we will have a Muslim majority”. And that’s Denmark. France forces it’s immigrant Muslim citizens to carry citizenship cards, and present them to the police at request. Germany is desperately trying to get rid of its Muslim population through any means necessary, that doesn’t involve violent force. All through Europe, Muslims are being oppressed, and yet everyone wonders why Muslims around Europe are outraged.



Moreover, the foreign policy towards the Middle East really doesn’t help matters (in fact, you can say it makes them worse). Between what’s going on in Chechnya and Iraq, what happened in Bosnia, and the Israel-Palestine conflict, a lot of the anger towards the west can be understood. Europe has been trying to forget about its past racial policies towards Jews, to the point where it is now illegal to draw a swastika in many parts of the country. This pisses Muslims off even more, because not only are Jews seen as infidels, but now that this cartoon is drawn, many European Muslims have the idea that it’s okay to badmouth their religion, but that the Jewish religion is better than Islam, and that’s just a plain slap in the face to them.

I’m not here to cast all the blame on European racial policy, and how “whitey just doesn’t get it.” Because Muslims around the world do share the same amount of blame that Europeans have. For one thing, It’s not that big of a fucking deal. There’s no reason to burn down Embassies and threaten to decapitate people and take them hostage over a fucking drawing. Plus, the outrage really goes mute once you start doing the things that you are protesting over (in this case terrorist activities). It also should be noted that the Qu’ran doesn’t explicitly say that you cant depict the prophet Mohammed in any way (of course I’m sure any prophet wouldn’t appreciate being drawn with a bomb on his head), but Islamic scholars have interpreted his teachings as being ant Idolizing. Regardless of their correctness is up to the discretion of the prophet himself, but that’s for another person to speak on. The main problem with Islamic culture is there seems to be a non condemnation of violent acts towards the west. In fact, its encouraged upon by many clerics in the Middle East to go off and kill some Americans and Jews (and whoever gets in the way). It was in Germany where the 9/11 hijackers once convened in militant Islam mosques, and apparently no one in the Middle East sees anything wrong wit this. This contributes to a lot of the European-Middle East conflicts that are seen.

The fact that European Muslims seem to be condoning these acts, only lead to one conclusion, that the immigrants Europe has allowed into it‘s borders from the Middle East are hostile, and have bad intentions. It’s as if they leave Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia, go to Paris or London and bring the anti west sentiment with them. A sentiment that can no longer be allowed if the principles of democracy are to exist in The United Kingdom, or Denmark, or Norway, or Amsterdam, or France, or Germany, or The United States, or any democratic society for that matter. For a group of people in London, to be inciting terrorism over a cartoon is the real blasphemy. Living in a democracy like that, and yet still preaching hatred against the homeland that took you in would get you arrested and sent to Guantanamo Bay in America, yet its seen as okay over in Europe, because apparently “The Muslims are hurting.” It should be said that one shouldn’t lump together terrorist with innocent people that happen to share the same religion. At the same time, it’s hard for a outsider to look at what is going without saying “What The Fuck.”



The conflict going on has put Europe and the United States in an extremely weird position, where governments must walk the silk tightrope between protecting citizens without mistreating Muslims. And being that most, if not all governments never had to experience this battle before, with such high stakes. The preservation of Democracy vs The preservation of religion, without any sacrifices. And so far, both sides were on the losing end, before this entire cartoon controversy came out.

There comes a time in history when two societies must admit they have problems. In this case, Europe must understand that no matter how much pressuring they do, Muslims will remain Muslims. They love their religion, and attempting to change that will only lead to more conflicts, and no body wants that. Muslims must understand that, there is no place for a hostile population in today’s society. That entire “Kill whitey, fuck the Jews, death to America” may be okay in Kazakistan, or any other oppressive regime in the Middle East, but that shit will not fly in a country that gives you the freedoms you’ve been deprived of in your own homeland. Hopefully, the situation will get better on both sides, without the loss of anymore innocent life.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
-Martin Luther King

Update (2-09-2006): An Iran newspaper is currently holding a Holocaust cartoon contest out of spite to see "if free speech is really that important."

Changes

Starting with our next update, all updates will have at least one picture on it concerning the topic at hand. Peace. Next update: Around Noon today.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Rest In Peace



May the Kings live forever more among the gods.
Coretta Scott King
(April 27th 1927-January 30th 2006)

!!Warning!!

Next post to be humungoid. 1,300 words and counting.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Boondocks vs Al Sharpton

This past week, Al Sharpton asked Cartoon Network to apologize for the depiction of Martin Luther King junior on their controversial cartoon “The Boondocks” both written and created by Aaron McGruder. The episode in question showed Martin Luther King trying to adjust in a post 9/11 world, where he is classified as a traitor for his “Turn the other cheek” stance towards the attackers. The most controversial scene is when Martin Luther King delivered a speech, calling the group of youths “niggas” for idolizing a lifestyle that damaged the black community (the lifestyle in question is what we’d call the hip hop community). Reverend Al Sharpton apparently didn’t like that depiction, and didn’t like the continued use of the word “nigga” throughout the cartoons run. I personally liked the episode, and agree with McGruder’s depiction of how Martin Luther King would react if he saw what’s going on in the black community. I also feel that Cartoon Network should only apologize for the use of said word, when the entire hip hop community (rappers, fake thugs, basketball players, everyone) apologizes for promoting negative black stereotypes, and glorifying a self destructive lifestyle to black youths.

Since Al Sharpton is so concerned about the usage of the n word, I'm sure he doesn't mind boycotting Black Entertainment Television for playing music that depicts the usage of said word (and worse). And while we're changing the way certain words are used, he can also tell rappers to stop referring to women as "hoes" and "bitches" and other derogatory terms. How about asking rappers to no longer wear jewelry, or stop promoting materialism? I’m not trying to belittle his intelligence, but if he is so concerned about the use of the word “nigga” in one cartoon, then how about the other people who use the word nigga, or refer to women in a sub human manner, or promotes violence, or materialism? How about Reverend Sharpton tells the little boys and girls about the miners who dig for those diamonds they glorify? I’m sure TI and Jay Z would like to know that the jewelry they’re wearing came because a 10 year old boy in Sierra Leone had his hands amputated by rival rebel factions. Or how about, we boycott rap music? Why doesn’t Reverend Sharpton go after rappers if he’s so concerned about the over usage of the n word?

I say this because as a black youth myself, it pains me to see young kids of the same skin, idolizing these drug dealing, promiscuous low lives, and then wonder why they’re not getting anywhere in life. Every time I walk home from a 16 hour day of work and school, I see these uneducated guys hanging outside of my building, smoking marijuana, mugging people, and then acting like its all okay. And then I see the same thing in the hip hop videos that BET shows nonstop, and wonder why people would want to be like that. Ever since the likes of Eazy-E, and “Niggas With Attitude” started singing, there has been this false idea that this fake thug lifestyle is what everyone should achieve for, and anyone who doesn’t achieve this level of idiocy is “acting white” or “gay” or any other insult that rappers can conjure up, and the entire thing is wrong. Kids shouldn’t try to achieve this super glorified level of mediocrity, and parents shouldn’t condone this glorified level of mediocrity. It’s an extremely self destructive path, and those who act like this will get nowhere in life. And it’s especially angering to see a person of high stature such as Reverend Sharpton go after some cartoonist when there’s a even bigger, more obvious problem in the black community that isn’t being addressed. A problem called hip hop.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Torture

Torture: The art of brutalizing people, both physically and mentally, in order to either
-a) extract information
-b) break their spirit, or
-c) get your rocks off.

Ever since we (I say we because we are all in this mess together, regardless of if we like it or not. And I know I damn sure don't like it) entered Iraq in 2003, the entire undertone of the war was portrayed as a way for the United States to "spread democracy and freedom abroad, and to get those weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussein had." And the majority of the American people bought it. Even if they knew deep down inside that the entire war was for oil. But two years has passed, we have no weapons of mass destruction, and we aren’t winning the war, we’ve merely used the war as a means to become as ruthless (or even more ruthless) as our enemies, to the point where John McCain has to propose a bill defining, and banning torture (which the Bush administration, and several republican senators threaten to veto).

I say were becoming as ruthless as our enemy because….we are. There are allegations of torture going around in Iraq prisons (again), Amnesty International, and the Red Cross are demanding entry into Guantanamo Bay (where there’s also more allegations of torture). There are talks of secret prisons in former Soviet Europe, and George W Bush is still talking about winning the war on terror (despite threatening to veto McCain’s bill. The first veto the president is threatening to do in his 5 years in office). I don’t mean to turn this into a rant, but it pains me to see how a country of such stance has lost its way so suddenly. Now don’t get me wrong, accusations of human rights abuse has happened in the United States before (Mostly the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, and some civil war stuff), but not on such a massive scale. I mean what the fuck. Why is our president condoning such acts. And even worse, why are the American people allowing this to happen. Okay, those who we have detained are ruthless killers who don’t care about life, but that still doesn’t give our military the right to treat its prisoners with such disrespect, disgrace, and such inhumane treatment.

The main point of what I'm saying is (other than get the hell out of Iraq), is that we cannot win a war against terrorism, if we're becoming the terrorist ourselves. Lets say if we do root out Al-Queida, it wouldn't be a real victory knowing the conditions we won it under, torture and false pretences. I'm not going to sit here and pretend to know the future, but if our president continues to allow this to go on, then we will probably suffer an attack even worse than 9/11, and considering how FEMA left New Orleans to fend for itself, and how the FBI's repeatedly stated we're as vulnerable as we were on September 10th......you get the point.

The CIA recently revealed some of the "Enhanced interrogation techniques" used to get information from prisoners (which is probably false). As you see at the end, I’ve denoted my personal, unbiased, conservative opinion of whether it is torture or not:

The six "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," as sources called them, were used on a dozen top Al-Qaeda targets incarcerated in isolation at secret locations on military bases in regions from Asia to Eastern Europe, ABC said.

In "Belly Slap," interrogators deliver "a hard open-handed slap to the stomach" intended to cause pain but not internal injury. (pending on how hard the slaps are, it’s a mix of prisoner abuse and torture)

In "Long Time Standing," prisoners are forced to stand handcuffed and shackled for more than 40 hours. (definitely torture)

In "The Cold Cell" a prisoner is made to stand naked in a cell kept near 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) and is continually doused with cold water. (Not really torture)


Water Boarding brings results within seconds, the sources said. A prisoner is tied onto a board with his feet higher than his head, and his face is wrapped in cellophane. When water is poured over him, he begins to gag and begs to confess, sources told ABC.(Torture. It’s called suffocation)

"The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law," John Sifton of Human Rights Watch told ABC.

As you can see, my unbiased view couldn’t hide the fact that 5 out of 6 of these methods are considered torture to some degree, and if a straight forward guy like myself can’t agree with the methods, then imagine how the rest of the world feels. As I have said previously in this article, we cannot win the war on terror under these circumstances. If we choose evil, inhumane and barbaric ways to help protect this country, then we aren’t any better than Osama Bin Laden, and we therefore loose in the war on terror. You CANNOT defeat terrorism when you’ve become the terrorist yourself.

And on a side note: Its nice to see that the American people are finally demanding the Bush administration be accountable for its actions.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Reminder:

I will no longer schedule updates, because I tend to procrastinate. For being over two weeks late, I will give you all a double update whenever I get the chance.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A friendly reminder:

Don’t forget to turn your clocks backwards in observance of the end of daylight savings time.