Friday, October 06, 2006

Straw veil call sparks Muslim fury

It had occurred to me when seeing the headline that this article would be about an outbreak of violence. I mean, personally the word "fury" has some pretty strong connotations. Put that together with the word "Muslim" and anything is possible. Taking into account the last two massive outbreaks of violence emanating from the Muslim world after comments or cartoons, when one sees this headline you think that this must be something similar. I mean what else are Muslims if not violent, unruly, hate mongers. Oh the "fury" came, there was no stopping these crazed Muslims, but just before they could burn down churches or kill clergy something odd happened. It seems that the "Muslim fury" spoken about was simply citizens redressing their government. The "fury" amounted to complaints from the Muslim community about insensitivity to their culture. But wait there is hope, a "radical" Muslim group, they will make things make sense again, this "radical" group released a vitriolic statement that called for the beheading of Jack Straw....oh wait never mind, they simply stated that the "Muslim community does not need lessons in dress from Jack Straw."

So wait. No killings? No calls for assassinations? No burning churches or dead clergy? What kind of "fury" is this? If I have learned anything from our government and culture, it is that Muslims are violently insane people, but somehow that doesn’t fit with reality before my eyes. Is it possible that they are people just like us?

So, does anyone else find this headline a little weird? It just seems that we are taught to fear Muslims now. Even when they aren’t doing anything, we are still pushed to fear them. Kind of ridiculous if you ask me.

ps. I hope you all caught my sarcasm
Aaron

The Significance of a Small Deed

Hi everyone,

I thought this video clip would be particularly uplifting amidst all of the sad posts on the blog. It is a Liberty Mutual commercial that gives me chills every time I see it, so I thought I would share. It really demonstrates to me the domino effect of doing a good deed.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Evil in Africa?

You all need to take a look at Anderson Cooper's 360 Blog on his travels to Africa -- very disturbing, especially the gang rape of a 3 year old child. Does true evil exist in the hearts of some men? How else can you explain this?

"Side by Side" The Amish & English

I thought I'd share this wonderfully, heartfelt written article by a Washington Post staff writer about the Amish and "English" communities coming together after the absolutely horrific tragedy of the Amish school house shootings.

It really helps calm my soul a bit if anything can after such a horrible tragedy.

I've lived in Lancaster County for almost 10 years now -- always curious but respectful of the Amish community. I have an even deeper respect for them now.

I wish that we could do something to make it better -- but I know that we can't. I just hope the Amish community realizes that the rest of the world, and particularly Lancaster County shares their grief.
I encourage all to donate to The Mennonite Central Committee's fund set up to help with medical expenses, etc., for the stricken Amish families. You can find this website at:
http://www.mcc.org/news/news/2006/2006-10-03_support.html

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Girls abused in New York's Juvenile Prisons

I was on the Human Rights Watch website and found this article. Turns out it was on the main Human Rights news page. If we thought that human rights abuses occur in other countries that are removed from "us," this story brings home the truth. I also thought that the article tied in very well to what we were talking about in class today--what credibility we have in the global politics when human rights abuses are occurring in our own backyard.
The article is shocking as it points out the inhuman ways in which these girls are treated. Sometimes, simply being sloppy in making one's bed can lead these girls to get inhumanly beaten. In the past five years, there have been five cases of staff having intercourse with these girls as well. I am not American and have heard people make statements like "the prison system is less than perfect," or "it needs reform." However, I had no idea that things got this bad. Has the public been kept in the dark about this issue or do we just have blinkers on?

Torture Bill

On September 27 the House passed a piece of legislation that approves torture methods for the interrogation of terroist suspects. The legislation places restrictions on the type of torture that is to be used but its definition of "cruel and inhuman treatment" is very loose. In addition, the bill can deny detainees the right to legal counsel and habeas corpus. New York representative Jerrold Nadler believes that denying habeas corpus to detainees would be a mistake, in an interview he said: "This is how a nation loses its moral compass, its identity, its values and eventually, its freedom..." Bush is also pushing to protect CIA officials from prosecution for using "aggressive interrogation tatics."
Should we really be allowed to torture these people and take away the prospects of accountability? No one wants to live in a world with terrorists and terrorism, but terrorists are people too and according to Donelly the purpose of human rights is because we have a vision of human potential. "Treat people lioke human beings...and you will get truly human beings." Are we justified in torturing these people because we think they are bad people, that makes us no better than the Latin American governments of the 70s and 80s who tortured people because they thought they were a threat. Americans today are generally sympathetic with the victims of torture from the past, not with the torturers. With this passing of this legislation have we, as Nadler says "lost our moral compass?"

Monday, October 02, 2006

On a Positive Note

On a far more positive note than today's other events, today is the Indian holiday Gandhi Jayanti. It celebrates the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the originators of the concept of non-violent resistance. Gandhi proved that through diplomatic and nonviolent means, you can achieve an epic goal. After Gandhi proved non-violent resistance a powerful tool to liberate a country, why do so many still use violent means to try to liberate their countries?