7/24/99 - Today's an oddity, even though it's a perfectly normal (if unfuckingbelievably gorgeous) day, because I'm updating at work on a weekend and I'm not high.  Just realized that.  That's the sort of deep realizations that people must like about this journal.

On the way out here, something very odd filled my brain -- a political rant.  And no, it doesn't involve JFK Jr. or the media.  Well, not really.  (BTW, I know I might have come across as sorta cold on the subject of JFK Jr.  Sorry,  I know he was a good guy and he meant a lot to a lot of people, even though it seems he's best renown for having been born with good genes.)  Or maybe it's a religious rant, which is even odder for someone who is as confirmed an atheist as myself.  Anyhow, I'm not pretending to have done any research, I'm just writing with the very limited knowledge that I have. 

I was thinking about Islam and how much it must really suck to be a Muslim in the world today.  Muslims are persecuted, oppressed, brutalized, and all those other nasty verbs in so many places in the world today.  They are hunted.  Yeah, a lot of people in the West know about the shit that the Muslim Kosovars have gone through in Yugoslavia.  And some of them might remember the shit that the Muslim Bosnians went through a few years ago when they were still part of Yugoslavia.  "Ethnic Cleansing" was a new term developed for them to describe something that is certainly not a new concept. 

But it goes far beyond Yugoslavia.  Cyprus, an island in the Med (or is it the Aegean?) torn between Turks and Greeks, has gone through shit like violent killings and purges for years, much of it directed at the Muslims that Turkey feels responsible for.  On a much larger scale, there are the Uigurs in the Xinjiang province in China (OK, I looked up how to spell that one), who get beaten down by the Beijing government for failing to adhere to the new China doctrines of Mao, Making it Rich, and Not Making a Scene.  The boys in Beijing are determined to remain a firm hold on all their territory (as the more publicized plight of the Tibetans demonstrates), so barring a miraculous shift in public policy, they're all doomed to be ostracized for the foreseeable future.  There's also conflicts in India (which has more Muslims than any other country) between Islamists and Hindus (who way outnumber the hundreds of millions of Muslims there), the Philippines, and other places I'm too ignorant to know about, or been too stoned to remember.

That doesn't even mention Israel, and the shit that the largely Muslim Palestinians go through.  I find their situation as deplorable as any, even if it's not as openly violent as some others.  But they are relegated to second-class status in a land they lived on for centuries upon centuries, and kept out of mainstream in nearly every aspect except as targets of the army and police.  What makes it truly more horrible for me is that they are kept down by the Israelis, who are distinguished from the Palestinians because of their religion and culture - Judaism.  People know of the horrors of the Jewish past, which culminated in the Holocaust during World War II.  Israel was founded largely as a reaction to that, so that, essentially, Jews could have a place to call their own and be safe from that sort of persecution ever again.  The fact that the land was already occupied by the Palestinians was tertiary to the nation's planners.  It was to be a Jewish homeland and a Western presence in a non-European land.

The Palestinians have since been subjected to the kind of treatment that Jews had experienced for centuries, even though they hadn't been the propagators of it.  Displacement, repression, exclusion -- so was the fate of being born as not part of the ruling class.  To me it seems that the lesson that the Israelis learned from their history of oppression by others is that they need to do the same in order to survive.  Do onto others as others have done onto you.

I know, there are Arab nations and Muslim nations, so it's not like there isn't a "Muslim Homeland".  But many of those countries are rocked by intra-Muslim conflicts between so-called fundamentalists and moderates or Sunnis and Shi'ites.  And no, I'm not gonna pretend to ignore the recent history of terrorism by Muslims.  But I understand it.

I didn't even bother to mention the U.S., because the problem seems so small in comparison to elsewhere.  But we all know this isn't a religious paradise, despite some of our best intentions.

Previous Next
Haole's Homepage stark raving mad