Re: some U.S. observations and notes

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sat Dec 15 2001 - 03:36:02 MST

Spike Jones wrote:

> Bin Laden has quoted a verse in the Koran which says "...Fight
> them [the infidels] until they confess that there is no God but Allah..."

One can quote verses from the Bible and even without as much
interpretation as bin
Laden might spin into the above, they would require stoning me
to death immediately,
several times over.

Does this mean that all Christians or all fundamentalist
Christians are my enemy? No?
Scripture can be quoted out of context and under some
interpretation to rationalize
most anything. But reading bin Laden in context does not lead
me to believe he thinks
all who are not Islamic fundamentalist should be killed. But I
realize others
read things differently.

> I will not say that. I know many here who will not say that.
> Amara, I suspect that neither you nor Samantha nor Anders
> nor Damien nor any of the others here will give in to this
> religious tyranny. Even if we did say it, they would know
> we were lying. This nation cannot be ruled by the koran.

I also will not give in to the tyranny of fear or the litany of
> The Taliban seem to have a special hatred for the US, however
> they also consider all of Europe as the home of infidels. Guided

I could go into exactly why the Taliban and many in that area
have reason to
hate the US or at least its policies. But I would be repeating
myself. Hint:
It is not because we are infidels (although that word is usually
reserved for
other than simply non-Muslims) that they primarily hate us.

> by the words of Mohammed, they would fight there as well, until
> every European confesses that there is no god but allah. Europe
> cannot be ruled by the koran. Asia cannot be ruled by a koran-
> inspired tyrant.

Please. You cannot reasonably claim that Mohammed orders them
to kill all non-Muslims.
This is historically, religiously and theologically false. As I
have said
many times it is also a very dangerous mis-interpretation
likely, if believed widely,
to turn this world into a bloodbath.
> Given that we have no advanced meme-destroying weaponry,
> we are stuck with the ancient technique of destroying the
> meme carrier. The evidence is sufficient: OBL and his minions
> hate us, they want us dead. We want us alive. I am open to
> suggestion here.

Many people hate us. Will we kill them all or see if they have
some legitimate complaints
and, where this is so, make some changes? Isn't the second
required of reasonably
civilized people?
> > ...I couldn't escape the feeling that the
> > place where I was born and lived for most of my life (the U.S.) has
> > gone a little bit insane.
> Granted. This is what happens in war. War is a crime. We hate
> all war and wish to end it. Ideally all killing should end. How?

You cannot just blame it on war. We are acting in an insane
manner. Each
of us has a choice how we act and respond and how we hold those
who claim to be our
servants to acting in ways we consider reasonable.

How? By refusing to kill and refusing to dehumanize people.
Non-humans cannot
be reached.
> > Before I moved out of the U.S. ~4 years ago, I was, in a small way, a
> > pacifist, believing that one doesn't answer violence with yet again
> > more violence.
> Again, we are open to suggestion. Appeasement will not
> stop the violence. This planet will not be ruled by the koran.

It is not appeasement to stop the wrong things we do and have
been doing and to
repair what damage we can. It is simple justice.
> > I also believe that any group's rampant unhappiness
> > or disrest has an element of truth embedded, and it must be
> > addressed in a civil way...
> ...Short or worshipping allah or wearing beards/burqas please.

Do you think that is a justifiable response?
> Honestly, we cannot stop our culture from invading theirs, for
> we cannot stop radio waves. Our government does not control
> business, it does not control Hollywood Incorporated. The
> US government cannot be held responsible for that which our
> own first amendment prevents it from controlling.

Cultural invasion is not the problem and it is disingenous to
suggest it is.

> The Taliban hate the infidel because they know their own people
> will choose the ways of the infidel over the ways of allah,
> *if given the freedom to choose*. If their people can pick up
> Baywatch, they will do so. The reprehensible Taliban fights
> by destroying freedom, in order to preserve their deplorable
> memes. If you can think of a way to destroy those memes,
> without destroying the meme carriers, we are open to suggestion.

You can only change memes by giving people a choice that works
better for them.
There is much in US culture and especially in our media that
really is pretty
damn empty of values when you get down to it. Certainly it
isn't going to
hit people in much of the MidEast as being a much better set of
memes. Personally
I don't for a moment think the US and/or Europe has across the
board the best
memes. I think a lot of cultures have some memes worth picking
and choosing from
including MidEast ones.

If you want to stop a lot of the hatred then stop the knee-jerk
support of Israel. Remove
our military bases from Muslim holy lands. They are real
symbols of foreign oppression to
the people, not just to bin Laden. Osama bin Laden would not
have a hundredth the power and
support without the people also being offended by these things.
Stop manipulating the governments
of countries in the region to the extent of installing whatever
party, no matter how disasterous
and barbaric, that is good for American business or for our
perceived military objectives. Stop
bombing Iraq and lift the sanctions. The "collateral damage" is
much too high for any claimed
gain that is substantiated. Make sure the Palestinians get a
fair shake and stop calling them
terrorists when they fight back but never calling Israel
terrorists when it acts as badly or worse
toward them.

That would be a possible start. That bin Laden also wants some
of these things does not
mean for a moment that they are thus wrong-headed. His means
are despicable but that does not
mean that all of his complains are. Rational people must be
able to separate the two.

> > ...or the violent cycle will continue.
> I have no doubts there will be more terrorism. Our infrastructure
> is still very vulnerable, especially airlines and roads. We need
> better technology for discovering and preventing such attacks.
> That is something every pacifist will support.

We need to stop acting like global bullies and like other
cultures and people do not
matter. We will never ever have enough technology and "home
security" to be invulnerable.
We had best learn to live with our neighbors and turn them into
friends where possible.
> > I don't know if my observations are useful to anyone in the U.S. and
> > I won't entertain arguments or debates, since they are mostly my
> > observations. I'll only state that I'm very worried with the
> > direction that the U.S. humans (and others) on this planet are
> > following. Amara
> As are we all. But let us look at the positive for a minute. Right
> or wrong, the war will be over in a few days. As I suspected, there
> are masses of middle eastern infidels whose rights were crushed
> under the Taliban. These people are free now, or at least freer than
> they were.

You are dreaming. The folks in the Pentagon and in the White
House and in Justice do not
by any stretch of the imagination plan to end the war in a few
days. Too much is invested.
I greatly wish that they did. Instead we will look for the next
country to hunt terrorists in, the next
people to dehumanize, the next place to bomb. And at home we
will use the disasterous
rights-denying laws we have hastily passed to harrass, imprison
(perhaps worse) a lot of people,
citizen and non-citizen alike. We are now closing down
international relief agencies for chrissake! Without a court
proceeding or any evidence but some bureaucrat's claim they are
somehow or another supporting
terrorism. The great danger is not foreign terrorists. It is
our own government. Beware.

> I am looking for something analogous to a capitalist/feminist
> revolution to sweep over the Arab world, which will revolutionize
> their society in a much more fundamental way than did the cultural
> revolution of the 1960s here. I foresee a backlash against any
> form of religious compulsion. Middle eastern countries may write
> some form of a first amendment into their own governmental
> constitutions. I believe we need the meme of universal freedom
> of conscience before we have any chance at world peace. We
> can all work towards that goal, regardless of where on this
> planet we choose to live. spike

This sounds good. At least the freedom of conscience part
does. I hope we still
practice it and the rest of our rights a year from now.

- samantha

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