Walk a Mile ... Before Casting Judgement

Observations about recent violent Anti-American protests "related" to the movie degrading Mohammed.

In the smaller scheme of things, the two-week shelf life of current events, shaped by our culture's contemporary attention deficit disorder, we see a wave of violence portrayed in our media as a "Muslim response" to the recent movie, produced in California, which insults the Prophet Mohammed.

The violence seems crazy, excessive ... some thirty people have died as of this writing in violence "related" to this idiotic hate movie. Killing people over cartoons, charicatures, or movie portrayals is extreme. But being amazed that this happens and pointing fingers at entire groups of people due to the actions of a frenzied minority is not only unfair ... it is dangerous.

Mob actions, riots, small-scale but destructive, have been conducted in several countries, Yemen and Tunisia among them. In four of the countries experiencing waves of violent protest, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, long-standing tyrannical rulers were actually pushed from power. Efforts to regain stability are underway but crisis of security exist in each. In what may seem to some to be an irony, in their pre-democracy days, these countries presented less of a "problem" to American administrations.

The dictators, Mubarak in Egypt, Ben Ali in Tunisia, Saleh in Yemen, and Gaddafi in Libya. ruled with iron fists and were corruptible. Of the group to date, Libya and Egypt presented the more striking example of rage... The murder Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three others with him, was a heinous and barbaric act and has no justification. It must be pointed out, however, that many of these countries have been the recipients of repetitive American drone attacks. Egypt, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia not to mention Afghanistan.

We may surmise, from that alone, that great anti-America sentiment PRECEDED this religious insults contained in this movie with very serious injuries, civilian deaths to be specific. In Pakistan alone, thousands of civilians have been killed by American drones. To be slack jawed when a mob forms ransacking an American Embassy, is to brodcast your ignorance of the situation on the ground in these locations relative to American intervention, ignorance of a very invasive and lethal foreign policy. As an experiment, make a movie in your mind about a reverse scenario.

A very aggressive and powerful Middle Eastern country has been flying drones over our country, purportedly to rid themselves of enemies of their state that are hiding here. Many hundreds of our citizens are killed ... women, children, old people who are clearly not combatants. To add insult to murder, a movie hits the Internet portraying Christ and Abraham as thugs, charlatans and womanizers ... Attacking the mainstream religions in the U.S. I think it is obvious that militant fundamentalist bigots would arise in short order and begin killing sprees directed both at dignitaries from this country but mores at anyone apparently a member of that countries religion.

It has happened already ... the recent Sihks slayings in Wisconsin were likely intended to be vengeful slayings of Muslims. Americans must stop categorizing groups of people based on the actions of extremist minorities or judging nations by the actions of the despots who have muscled and murdered their way to control. To draw conclusions about Islam is to express a myopic ignorance and forms the basis for a bigoted position.

As with Christianity and Judaism, Islam broke into various sects and within these maybe found significant divergence of view. Not all Muslims are orthodox anymore than all Christians are fundamentalists ... And many, in all faiths,wear their religion "lightly" ... it has limited effect on their daily actions. In brief, it is probably as impossible to conclude anything about a person by saying he or she is Muslim as it is to try to derive anything defiitive about someone by noting that they are Christians orJews. Single case in point... (forgive me) Hitler considered himself to be a Christian following an ordained plan.

He grew up and was schooled as a Catholic and originally intended to become a priest. his speeches during the war often contained "religious" justification and themes ... however twisted. I think that it is absolutely critical today to clean our glasses of the grime and filters of bias ... to look at all issues with an inevitable subjectivity that is disciplined by conscious effort to consider many sides of issues ... and to rise above knee jerk reactionary thinking wired to the surrounding few weeks, insisting on a longer broader view. Perhaps Simple advice isthemost profound ..."Walk a mile in their shoes," before judging others ... and before reacting.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Terry September 25, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Just can't give it up on Christianity, Eh Brian? I understand though, it's hard to give up a prejudice once it's formed. Something I think we both understand, and is indeed front and center of this blog. But I would ask again that you think back on the difficulty you had in meeting my challenge on it. Is the Christian world of today the same one that brought us the crusades, or the Spanish inquisition? Again with the understanding that bad things do still happen, has not the religion done a better job of addressing or calling out the worst amongst us? Has progress been made?
Terry September 25, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Just as an interesting aside. With the way my mind works, I can't help it sometimes, I find my self in a bit of an internal debate with myself about your scenario. Again, given your challenge, that I am a prisoner, threatened with the death and torture of my family. I am given a choice between that, and my shooting of another innocent. If I were to choose to pull the trigger, would I morally be responsible for his death, or would I be just another instrument in the chain of the torturers actions. Akin to the gun itself and the bullet, was I the cause of the mans death, or the tool he used. Hmmmmmm... Have to think on this a bit....
Brian Carlson September 25, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Yes... I dont know if it matters but, in the scenario, I doubt the people were given a lot of time to think. I think there are many kinds of perfect storms for violence and that we are at the brink of one now, teetering on attacking Iran. There is a large effort underway to demonize the Iranian President (who is a nut for sure), to draw the conclusion that he has or will have nuclear weapons soon and, that once he has them, he is likely to use them on Israel, and therefore, to conclude that we should get him before he can get Israel. This WMD threat, which Romney referred to today as a threat against Israel and "all of the civilized world", was the same used, of course, to attack Iraq and go after Saddam. The potential hear for an all out Middle Eastern war, if not WW3, is, in my opinion, great. No one seems to question the logic that if Iran has nukes it would necessarily use them. This despite the fact that so far, the US is the only country that has used nukes...and that MAD has, to date, kept anyone from doing so. Israel definitely has nukes...Why have they not used them? A: Because to do so is to commit suicide. Iranians are intelligent. Why would they use nukes on Israel?
Brian Carlson September 26, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Terry, I point out that many people who do bad things call themselves Christian, attend church once in awhile, etc. My definition of a Christian would be someone who follows Christ's teachings..thereby following Christ. I dont consider Hitler to be a Christian... but he evidently did. Evidently he used religion or religious rhetoric to shore up or bolster his agendas. I think fundamentalist extremists of any religion do this...use the religion to mask their quests for power, their twisted agendas, etc. Tis is all I am saying. As to progress I have heard both takes on this and don't know if there is conclusive proof. I see some progress.... I think the UNs creation is progress but I also see Presidents saying the UN is inconsequential. Last centuries score on violence with two world wars and a nuclear arms race doesn't strike me as progress.
Brian Carlson September 26, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Terry, if you kill someone, even under duress, you are part of the cause of his death. The scenario was a proposed deal.... Save your family member by killing the man. to extrapolate in the direction you are headed, you will get to the man caused his own death by being there to begin with, or by bleeding to death when your bullet hit him.


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