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Monday, November 29, 2004

Culture of Death

Mural of suicide bomber attack at Al-Najah University in Nablus (West Bank) Posted by Hello Thoughtful Matt posted the following comment to my earlier post concerning the cultural divide we face in the Middle East: "When mothers...are proud of their sons' decision to enter martyrdom, the depth of the problem in the Middle East becomes obvious. It is not just political, but cultural as well."Ric, this is exactly why I opposed the Iraq war. You can't just get rid of a few "bad guys" and then expect Arabs to dance in the streets as they magically start up a democracy. As you point out...THEY'RE A DIFFERENT CULTURE. They're values are different, and as a result they express them differently. You write, "the depth of the problem ...becomes obvious", and I agree with you. I just wish it had become "obvious" to conservatives a lot sooner. It's sad, because Fox News had everyone convinced that protesters were weirdos with no real point of view. The truth was that most of us were just asking basic questions like: don't most Arabs want theocracy more than democracy? Bush's answers to these sorts of questions always sounded hollow and over-simplified to me. "Um...freedom is good." Works on bumper stickers. Fails as a war plan.Thanks." Although I agree that the "culture" may hold certain values in a different hierarchical order than the West, what I am specifically focusing upon is what others have termed the "culture of death" and not whether, for example, how important higher education may be to a given society at a given time. If you study history you can't help but note that the attitudes towards the value and sanctity of life in the Islamic community (all Arabs may be Muslim, but not all Muslims are Arab), are not much different than they were at the time of Muhammed. The life of the "infidel" is not nearly worth that of a "believer" and death in the cause of destroying the infidel remains a pathway to salvation. This is not an issue of freedom versus theocracy. It is the byproduct of a theocracy without any counterbalance of some sort...be it secular or Judeo-Christian.
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