March 23, 2006

FOCUS

I just had a long talk with Erin about how pessimistic and depressed I've been feeling lately. I can't read LGF without wanting to cry. My stomach is still in knots about Iran. And I just watched Season 2 of 24, which is reason enough to want to crawl in a hole. I'm losing it. And then I remembered Smink's advice:

First, go buy a six pack and swig it all down.
Then, watch “Ace Ventura.”
And after that, buy a Hard Rock Café shirt and come talk to me.
You really need to lighten up, man.

I don't have a Hard Rock shirt, but maybe my "I saw the Pope -- Des Moines 1979" shirt will work? And we certainly have beer and Ace Ventura. That's what my husband and I will do tonight, because I sure need a way to relax.

I also found that my spirits were lifted reading the Tanker Brothers blog today. I realized that I want to focus on reading MilBlogs for a while; soldiers always make me feel rejuvinated.

Posted by: Sarah at 11:44 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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March 07, 2006

DEFEATED

I get discouraged often. The other night, my husband comforted me as I defeatedly moaned about demographics and jihad. I fear Iran's nukes. I fear the birthrate. I fear what will happen if we don't put our foot down and say, "It's just a cartoon, dammit." I did mention to my husband that I feel awful pessimistic about the future of the world, so I pity those who honestly believe we live in Bushitler's Oil Junta; they must fret a lot more than I do. My moaning has got nothin' on these people.

When I get discouraged about the future, I just remind myself that we live in the last second of December 31st. There's so much more to come...

Posted by: Sarah at 10:49 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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March 05, 2006

CONTEXT

Why is it always the West's fault for not understanding Islam? Why is Islam itself never to blame? A Muslim college student wrote:

It does not come as a surprise to me that so many “unbiased” Western news sources carry extremely resentful outlooks regarding Islam.
There is a lack of distinction between orthodox Islamic values and the actions of a minority of Muslims. Western media outlets frequently present a correlation between these two classifications and often interpret Islam out of context. Unfortunately when it comes to reporting Islam, a lack of understanding, quoting sources out of context, and ethnocentric viewpoints seem to be trademarks.

And then in this debate, another Muslim suggested that in order to reform Islam,

we'll have to have a lot of help from rational Muslim minds around the world who buy into the argument that we--you, me, George Bush and Don Rumsfeld (i.e., all of us as Americans)--are not out to get them. ... We could enjoin Western scholars in that process and have them talk through external perception problems with what Islam proposes.
...
If we had an American Muslim FBI director, or the deputy Defense secretary was a Muslim by faith, or one day we had an American Muslim secretary of State, these officeholders would do a world of good by setting an example of how secularism, tolerance and belief can coexist, much the same way Condi Rice and Colin Powell did for black people everywhere in diffusing race as a factor in service to our country.

So the solution to the problem of Islam is that all we Western white folks have to coddle Muslims for decades and have some sort of new affirmative action that gets Muslims into positions of power so that they don't believe we all think they're evil? Give me a break. (It hasn't even worked that well for black people, since many of them hate Rice and Powell anyway.)

When the big news stories broke about Catholic priests molesting children, no Catholic said, "Well, it's not my priest who did that, it's some other priest who misinterpreted scripture." Catholics everywhere were outraged. Why aren't Muslims everywhere outraged? Why is it so easy for them to say "Well, I lead a good life, so it's not my fault if other Muslims misinterpret scripture."

The solution to Islam's problems is not a Muslim Condi Rice. Lord help us if we have to wait that long. The solution is for individual Muslims to be as outraged as individual Catholics were. Mansoor Ijaz says that he has never believed Allah wants him to kill Jews, but unfortunately many Muslims do believe just that. And they outnumber Ijaz. It's not my job as a white Westerner to make sure that Muslims don't feel offended; it's their job to make sure their religion doesn't offend. (And the solution is definitely not just to have Muslim editors making sure nothing in the newspaper offends Muslims. Good lord.)

The common complaint is that Islam is taken out of context. Please tell me what the correct context is then, because I don't know of any other way to interpret "We will wipe Israel off the map."

Posted by: Sarah at 04:52 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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March 01, 2006

JUST WOW

Back when I was in college, I was naive. I thought that people in the US liked the US. I learned the error of my thinking after 9/11, when I forwarded Gordon Sinclair's 1973 broadcast to my fellow students and professors. The email backlash shocked my naive self, as students rushed to label me jingoistic and insensitive. One professor pulled me into his office the next day and offered me some wisdom I've never forgotten: "The last place it's OK to be American is in an American university."

I was reminded of that today when I read that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is currently a student at Yale. I have many of the same questions as Varifrank, such as "Are there any students at Yale whose mother or father died on 9/11? Any children of NYC fireman at Yale? Any non-Taliban Afghani refugees in Yale? Any of them women?" Mostly I just want to know who had the brilliant idea to invite this jackass to the United States and let "an ex-Taliban envoy with a fourth-grade education and a high-school equivalency" into one of our most lauded universities for the sake of diversity and oneupsmanship.

Why are our universities so durned un-American?

Posted by: Sarah at 05:09 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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