Something's been bothering me lately, and it's not my roommate. It's the attitude that seems to be growing more and more, or maybe I'm just noticing it more, towards the Middle East. We're at war with Iraq, or something. It's a vastly different culture, with a entirely different mentality and set of cultural values.
What's been bothering me is two things:
- It's an uncivilized society. They're unchristian, don't have electricity and are generally barbarians because they're blowing themselves to bits.
- They're a people who have no self regard for human life and who don't regard life as sacred or special.
Both attitudes are completely wrong. Completely.
In my opinion, civilisation is not governed by the type of religion, amount of electrical power, running water, governmental structure, language or things like that. Culture is what people accomplish together, whether it's a cohesive society with it's own set of beliefs. Is the middle east uncivilised? Hardly. They've got one of the oldest religions in the world, with a very concrete belief system that's almost uniform throughout the country.
Yes, there's violence. But before you go too far, think back a couple hundred years. A number of bloody civil wars/battles/conflicts were fought in England over two branches of the Christian faith. There's still some conflict over it. How's that any better?
Secondly, there is a regard for human life. Unfortunently, there's not much of a story in that for the major news networks. People know that there's always depressing news on televisions or news papers. But instead of taking the news for what it is and believing that that's the entire story, get up and actually talk to someone in the region, ask about the good things. As for Islam, all that we're seeing are extremists.
EXTREMISTS. By the very definition:
ex·trem·ist ( P ) Pronunciation Key (k-strmst)n.
One who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norm, especially in politics.
ex·tremism n. ex·tremist adj.
Resorts to measures beyond the norm. That means that they're not common place, otherwise they would be the norm. That means that there's a more moderate side to the equation. It's a pity that no one pays attention to that little fact.
I just talked to a friend in Paris over the past week. He said that the streets weren't burning, that the violence isn't as reported. I believe him over CNN.