I posted this on MyT yesterday.
History has bequeathed us some complex and relatively intractable situations that entail conflict and distrust along ethnic, tribal or religious lines … one thinks of Northern Ireland and Israel, for example. Several examples have emerged into world attention in Europe and Asia recently.
The automatic reaction of certain people to such situations, it seems, is to choose a side, invest in it emotionally, and then espouse it though thick and thin. Notwithstanding the fact that ordinary human beings on both ‘sides’ of the conflict have innate rights and a legitimate case, the evident complexity of the situation is denied and a reading of history is proffered that places all blame on one side and all virtue on the other.
As well as China/Tibet, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict seems particularly prone to such overwrought side-taking. Many people ‘buy into’ one reading or the other, hook, line and sinker. On this site, and among right-wingers in general (with some exceptions), the Israeli side tends to be taken, often very stridently and belligerently. Anyone who states the obvious fact that the situation is not black and white – that both sides have a case – is likely to be hounded and denounced as an anti-Semite, a bedwetter, a liberal fascist, a Pally-hugger, and so forth.
One of the usual zealots declared yesterday that ‘Ninety percent of Pally history is lies, and the other ten percent isn’t true’. A poster this morning responded to the contention of another blogger that ‘in my opinion ethnic cleansing was committed against Palestinian Arabs’ with the following:
‘… such an opinion is as ill-informed as the rest of the prolix perpetrator’s nonsense. The big lie. History reversed – black is white. How to parrot the white guilt line and airbrush the truth out of history. Ethnic cleansing of the innocent Palestinians by the guilty Zionists and Imperialists etcetera …’
The trouble with this, apart from the fact that is emotional waffle as opposed to facts, is that it does not address the actual fact of whether or not ethnic cleansing can be said to have been perpetrated. What follows in the blog in question is a slanted interpretation of history, some of it ancient, and cherry-picked quotes designed to show … I don’t know what, really, as no actual point is ever made.
Common sense ought to tell one that both ‘sides’ in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, as in Ireland and other places, have done things that were wrong and unjustifiable. Those acts should be acknowledged, and both sides should move on in a constructive spirit to try to build an agreed future that will be better for both, and that will respect everyone’s rights. This was the thinking behind the Northern Ireland ‘Peace Process’ and the Good Friday Agreement. It is the only approach that is likely to have a good outcome, and avert tragedy for future generations.
The black-and-white ‘100% right/100% wrong’ model of intercommunal conflict, so eagerly espoused by zealots here (for reasons that often reflect their own psychology, in my opinion), is a recipe for violence and suffering in perpetuity, as far as I can see.
And, of course, the zealot will always tend to choose and mould ‘facts’ that suit his/her existing mindset, rather than changing the mindset to fit multifaceted reality. That is hardly conducive to mental health or personal development.
291 responses to “The perils of side-taking”
You are so right and it reminded me of the philosophy of a fellow I chanced to meet way back almost forty years ago.
He said that there are always three sides in any conflict. When I asked to know more he said:
“Take divorce for example. You will hear his side and some will agree with him. Then you will hear her side and some others will agree with her. That will count for most of the bystanders but there is a third side that very few see or are willing to listen to though it is always there.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“The truth,” he said and smiled.
Thanks, Ike. Yes, I think that’s very true.
Still fighting the good fight, so I see. But the whole question of “truth” is truly a question of observation. Even then, it depends on which side you took your observation from. The rest of “truth” is only opinion based on hearsay.
Hereby we enter the dilemma of mankind and why it seems to be impossible to get peace amongst the people of this planet, manipulation on a grand scale perpetrated by interest groups. Simply there is no truth, only personal interpretation and side taking.
Rather primitive, but that’s the way it is.
I hope you are well and are taking in the joys that is the life surrounding you.
With permission from Brendano, I hope.
My point is that truth is independent from any observation; it is indeed a separate entity of its own in any conflict or difference of opinion.
Different opinions are based on observation, or on perceptions, prejudice or biased self-interest. Truth remains above all those things. It is not affected by them and is therefore, what we must strive to observe. But alas, being human we don’t always look for it.
Now it is over to you. I would like Brendano to enter this discussion; he being the philosopher.
It is nice to see you here again.
Hello, Rainer and Ike. Nice to see you. I think Rainer is the real philosopher, Ike … he has posted some great blogs on MyT in his time.
I suppose my point is that it’s better not to sell oneself to an ideology, cause, etc., as one then loses oneself. It’s better to remain detached even when getting involved … to hold something back. The group never owns the individual; the individual makes a provisional, time-limited commitment to the group. I’ve written that somewhere before.
Yes, I am taking in the joys, Rainer, as I always try to do. The garden grows well in the sunshine and rain.
I hope life is treating you well.
You have given us some of your best in this and I hope that I am not spoiling it but I need to do something because your words are from the spirit I like best in the man I think you are.
Forgive an old guy for intruding. Don’t waste your time on that “drol” [that’s a Dutch word]; he is not worth it. Nothing will ever change him; some will follow him because they have nothing better to do but don’t allow them to demean you. Ignore him and let him be; we need and appreciate you here.
You have my permission to delete this comment with no offense on my part. But I saw that Post; it was … how sick can some go?
Thanks for that, Ike … I appreciate your support, and I’m sure you’re right.
I’m firmly of the same opinion as Ike on the matter of the Epiphany post.
Badger seems to be requesting my contribution to which I replied.
“I so hate to disappoint you, Badger but I have no intention of gracing your scurrilous, shameless post.
The only thing that surprises me greatly is that Brendano has dignified such nonsense with his presence.”
I know it’s difficult to do so, but the “pack” really will run out of bile rather sooner if you ignore them. It can take a while though. 😉
Greetings to Rainer and Ike.
You must visit more often. This Blog is the light in a dark place.
Hello, Araminta … nice to see you. Scurrilous and shameless indeed.
I know you’re right about the ignoring. It is a bit difficult for me, as I do have a pugnacious side. Must try harder. 🙂
Don’t be a stranger.
Nice group here. Jamie is missing. 🙂
I agree with a bit of Rainer and a bit of Ike. I like the analogy of blind men and the elephant.
There is truth like an elephant. As we are short of sight or understanding because many and differing llimits, we are not able to embrace the truth in whole. And we treat the part of truth we face as the whole.
I do try to call in on more WordPress sites, Brandano, but there are so many scattered around.
I really do appreciate the difficulties, and I don’t always manage to follow my own advice.
It’s sometimes a question of choosing one’s battleground. Tactically, if one cannot ignore it, is sometimes a good idea to post a rebuttal of one’s own.
I rarely venture onto posts by the “pack” these days; I just let follow me around. They are like small children trying to attract my attention. 😉
Oops, please feel free to correct my typos Brendano. I’m in my usual rush.
Thanks again, Araminta. Makes sense. Yes, there are a lot of good WordPress blogs … probably to the detriment of MyT, but it’s a mess anyway.
Good to see you!
Pleasure is always mine, Araminta.
Well, hello again
I saw the one of Araminta that I replied to and almost missed the others because I often reply straight from my Gmail inbox.
Hello and welcome all, on behalf of the author but a little selfish from me too because I have become a regular here and intend to remain so.
And yes Levent, Jamie is very much alive and doing his thing, beautifully as one can expect from him. It’s always worth one’s while stopping at his Site.
Hello, Ike and Levent. Yes, Levent, the elephant analogy is a very good one. One animal; many conceptions. 🙂
I would agree that there may be many different conceptions of the animal and Levent mentions that differences eyesight may cause some of these different conceptions.
When we talk about truth however, the point that stands out is that the elephant is a very large animal. There can be no doubt about that. I can therefore, accept differences in matters of detail but a discussion about the relative size of the elephant would be irrelevant.
Thnaks, Ike. That’s true, but I think the point is that different people can form entirely different conceptions of what the elephant is by approaching it from different angles, whereas the elephant is all and none of those things.
I think it’s a good metaphor for the different relgions and philosophies.
Your last and closing sentence says it.
Hi brendano. Well yes the biased side takers are frustrating, but the honest broker as witnessed by the following quote also has his weak points “Those acts should be acknowledged, and both sides should move on in a constructive spirit to try to build an agreed future that will be better for both, and that will respect everyone’s rights”
First off the fact that both sides have done some wrong doesn’t make them equally wrong. Often the offense was actually commenced by one of the two. So to treat both equally may be unfair.
More importantly the honest broker approach doesn’t work. I would say that the improvement in the N. Ireland situation came about because Eire got rich and the future Catholic terrorists saw they could do a lot better in life with an honest job.The preconditions for settlement were there and whoever was in power could now find a solution.
In the Mid East the Palestinians are steadily increasing as a % of the population. They will eventually be a majority. So they have no real interest in making concessions to Israel. The Jews can only give away their country, something they will never willingly do.The preconditions do no not exist for honest brokers.
Thanks, Richard. Interesting points, but I can’t agree that ‘the honest broker approach doesn’t work’.
An agreed future is in everyone’s interests.
“An agreed future is in everyone’s interests.”
This is not in dispute. The question is how to get there. It is more rational to break underlying roadblocks rather than appealing to common sense. Man is an an emotional animal and a can be manipulated.
On this reading as long as Northern Ireland catholics were poor and unemployed, a solution to the unrest was impossible. So the fact that Eire joined the EU and gained trading opportunities, and of course the excellent education facilities in Ireland were the breakers of the situation not the Easter talks.The latter were inevitable in some for another once you had changed the underrlying parameters.
In Palestine you have to find some way to give the Palestinians economic prospects. Special trade with the EU, subsidised schools, I don’t know what but talks are almost a waste of time, as history has so far proved.
Hello again, Richard. There’s a lot of truth in what you say … the importance of economics is often forgotten. People’s first concern has always been to put food on their table.
I think it is also important to have a political process, a way forward, a road map, though.
Please advise as soon as you can whether you have received my replies from my Gmail Inbox on the funny comments in my Blog last night.
I have emailed you, Ike.
Thanks Brendan. I received that too. Go well. Ike
Side-taking? Of course.
I am a European Christian and I do not want Islam to take hold in Europe. I can tolerate Islam but I will always ensure that Islam is only seen as tolerated in my land. This is because I know that Islam must be controlled if it is to be given the privilege of existing in the civilized world.
And Brendano, do not annoy me with reflexes from the 1970s social illuminati. You read Ana’s post earlier about the stoning of that Iranian woman, and for once you simply said ‘you’re right’. Of course Ana is right. And actually all those folk you malign such as Bubbles have been seeing this for a long time. Bubbles is NOT thick.
And wake up too to the fact that nobody in Europe is heckling the nice Tunisian who has just sold them a kebab, and nobody in France is telling Elodie not to play with Fatima.
Integration and friendliness are welcome.
Your ups and downs are great Cymbeline. When are yo going to wake up to the fact that, Europe not long ago has a nice record of fascim and it’s on the rise again against Muslims. Rightly or wrongly, this time if you let it, it will destroy waht you call civilisation. And speaking of annoying, your patronising attitude is charming, you can be sure.
Well, there are times (like this) I feel really fed up. And wish like the bigots of Myt, there would be no interaction with EU and west and east. Like the times of cold war. At least we wouldn’t have to put up with the arrogant bastards’ humilations. And the discussions /conflicts would have a much more simplier answer: War.
You don’t need to feel humiliated on behalf of Turkey, Levent. Feeling humiliated is perhaps a sign of weakness or insecurity. Who cares what people say about one’s country? I’ve read an awful lot of crap about mine but never felt it was humiliated … you have to realize that it’s the other person that has the problem.
And, of course, not all Europeans think the same, as you acknowledged before.
Levent. I shall always remove my shoes before entering your house, and I have no problem with the idea of covering my head in your land. I will eat what you eat, and drink what you drink. I will obey the rules – in your land.
But you will not tell me what to do in my land.
Are you sure you are not telling us, what to do? What was the motto (among other crap) of Iraq or Afghanistan? Wasn’t it exporting democracy?
It’s all the same, the same arrogant imndset which is trying to justify coloniasm.
The objection or reactions you receive from muslims of Europe, is within your rules I presume. Nothing foul.
You are just scapegoating, or trying to.
I think you may be right about being insecure.
Hello Levent. It’s good to see you and Cymbeline here this morning.
I understand and can relate to the insecurity. I live in a very insecure small country.
What Ana said was different from what the Islamophobes say every day. It was not bigoted.
I oppose what I see as bigotry, and I disagree strongly re Bubbles. Bubbles has a weak mind and has fallen for ‘them and us’ hook, line and sinker. I can’t be doing with that.
I used to share a flat with, among others, a little girl named Elodie from Mauritius who spoke only French.
I feel I’m such a *** when fasting (sometimes). It’s also a practice for controlling emotions whihc I usually fail. It has an effect on me like drinking. I may become too chatty or grumpy. I have to practice more , sigghhh!
So forgive me if I sound too bitter at times.
Am I forgiven Mme Cymbeline? ( I have the most innocent in my eyes right now) 🙂
What on earth should I forgive you for, Levent? You have neither done nor said anything wrong. Never have, as far as I can see.
As for this fasting business – I used to think that the Mohammedans did not eat anything for a month. Now THAT would be hard. I was rather disappointed to discover that this was not the case. After all, and speaking from personal experience, it is actually quite easy not to eat during the day and then have a good old pork (English slang for a good old feast) after sundown. Lot of fuss about nothing.
Don’t seek excuses when no excuses are necessary, and don’t see not eating (I hesitate to call it ‘fasting’) during the day as mentally-challenging hardship.
Again I see you make the typical mistake of generalising. Not all the people have high mental skills like you.
Fasting is not just about not eating, it’s a practice of self control. Taming the stomach, the tongue, the imagination …. and finally the soul.
As you see I have a long way to go.
Merhaba Levent – I was only being irreverent, which I hope does not seem like disrespect for your beliefs.
Is it a good thing to try to tame the imagination?
No you did not Cymbeline.
Like all of the other senses imagination is let free without any boundaries. It does not stand idle it “acts”. The purpose is to direct the potential/capacity/flow to the best direction. Maybe tame is not the word, I should have said trained maybe.
One “exercise” of imagination is to imagine all the brethren praying all over the world shoulder to shoulder at the same time. Another one is to think of all other beings, like galaxies, worshipping Him. And to imagine onesself in this great worshipping circle.
What religion would all those people of your imagination belong to? Any particular one?
What religion would all those people belong to?
When I said praying I meant the one we do 5 times a day.
But human beings being the only creature that can understand and witness/convey other creatures’ worshipping, there is no limit to that circle.
In quran the adressing is rarely “o muslims”, its usually “o believers” . (The ones that believe God has no partner)
Levent. None of the monotheistic religions espouse the concept of God having a partner.
I doubt that the Koran is addressing Christians and Jews when the term ‘believer’ is used.
It seems to me that your dream involves everyone being a Muslim.
Sorry about the double posting; it wasn’t deliberate.
No problem, Cymbeline.
Your description in the second paragraph says it all so well. I like the way that you put it in your last sentence. And I agree.
That kind of look:
So, are you enjoying Ramadan, Levent?
Yes, I am Brendan. Ramadan in my city is such a joy. Many old traditions. I love it.
See, I turned into chatty mood and hijacking your blog. Sorry. I’m off now.
That’s quite all right, Levent … it’s nice to see a bit of activity on my blog for a change.
Ah yes, Levent. Old traditions. Funny how people become so attached to old traditions. It is not logical. If you were, say, Bubbles, talking about old English traditions, Brendano would want to hang you from a hook.
But it is super for you to enjoy old Muslim Turkish traditions.
Not fair comment, Cymbeline. If Bubbles were to write about fasting for Lent, or any other Christian/English traditon I can think of, I would of course have no problem with that. My problem with Bubbles has to do with her hysterical bigotry.
I don’t mind being criticized for allegedly being too tolerant of Islam, but the criticism needs to make sense.
You are incorrigible. 🙂
Firstly I never claimed to be modern, secondly my talking about my culture or traditions my talking never implies degrading “others”.
And most importantly I love my country and culture and because of this I didn’t leave my country even if it caused a better comfort level.
Thus I have no contradictions.
Opps it didn’t show.This one is:
Hi Brendan, Goeiemiddag Ron, Salaam Levent
I agree it’s nice to see some action. The “funny guy” now only drops me one comment a week; he has toned down on his bad language but I still leave him in the spam box.
Meantime the one and only Bravo, the Famous Singer/Entertainer Blogger has been visiting me in “our” Post at:
I send him to stand in the corner but he insists on calling me names so I have sent him a nice copy and paste excerpt from Bearsy. The wheels are coming off at the Chariot.
Happy Ramadan Levent. Bless you.
PS Brendan: Do watch your reads counter on this Post later.
Thank you. I hope you are keeping well.
Good to see you, Ike … I hope you are well.
Yes, I will … thanks.
My reads are steadily climbing under:
I even had a new comment from our friend in there an hour ago or what. It was the usual virulent abuse but I replied to him asking for facts. You may find your reads picking up too as soon as people start reading in the full circle.
The man is really a tragic human failure and we should feel sorry for him; he is his own worst enemy.
Indeed Ike Haslam is mentally ill but that does not detract from the fact that he is evil. With a small “e”.
I feel like passing by you and not greeting. It makes me feel uncomfortable:
Hello Levent … no need to be sorry; your conversastions are interesting in any case.
I hope Eid Ul-Fitr went well.
Levent, I came across the concept of Ta’ Aruf today … something to do with the deeper and transformative aspects of conflict.
Do you know much about it?
Good evening, Brendano. I remember that you are interested in the concept of inner conflict as creative force.
Good evening, Cymbeline … I remember that you are too. It’s a motor that keeps us from lapsing into a kind of peaceful but dull oblivion, I suppose.
I’m working on a very interesting book (compiling the index), which is where I came across the Ta’ Aruf concept. Ostensibly about sexual revolutions, but actually very wide-ranging. A lot of stuff about Otto Gross, Kafka, and bohemian life in Mitteleuropa (?) a century ago.
“I posted this on MyT yesterday. History has bequeathed us some complex and relatively intractable situations that entail conflict and distrust along ethnic, tribal or religious lines … one thinks of Northern Ireland and Israel, for example. Several examples have emerged into world attention in Europe and Asia recently. The automatic reaction of certain people […]”
I have only been back to MyT twice in a very long time, the first time after a funny post that someone else had provided a link to and last evening to look for this Post of yours. I found MyT full of new names with all the same old wars but could not find your Post with this excerpt.
There is a reason why I need to read the entire piece. Please let me have the link to it here.
Brendano, a brief google suggests that Ta’Aruf is a Koranic concept to do with the idea of ‘living together’. I see that Prof Dr Mualla Selçuk of Ankara University writes on this theme.
Thanks for that, Cymbeline … I’ll check it out.
I came across something Rumi wrote about love, which might interest Levent:
‘The subject has no end. If all the seas of the world were ink, and all the
trees of all the forests were pens, and all the atoms of the air were scribes, still they could not describe the unions and reunions of pure
and divine souls and their reciprocal loves.’
‘If all the world were paper
And all the sea were ink
If all the trees were bread and cheese
What would we have to drink?’
That nursery rhyme came to me after reading those words. Looked it up to remind myself of the first line; I could only remember the other three. To my surprise, I read that the imagery is of Jewish origin – something to do with Pentecost. It was also mentioned that this sort of imagery is used in the Koran.
Slightly more prosaic as a nursery rhyme though.
I looked up Professor Selçuk … unfortunately, not much of her work is available in English for free. That’s the trouble with academic journals.
The book I’ve been reading refers to the Jewish concept of Tikkun, meaning repair and restoration of the world, and says that there are equally inspiring Islamic concepts such as Ta’ Aruf.
Maybe Levent will advise …
Interesting. I see that Tikkun is to do with avoiding social chaos, obviously linked to Ta Aruf idea of living together. I would suggest that European ideas on secularism are equally interesting in that respect.
I would also suggest that Christ’s message of love is as inspiring as any other.
Definitely, Cymbeline. Unheeded by many Christians, unfortunately. Some sort of transformation or Second Coming is needed for the world at large, I think.
The Gospel of Judas is interesting because it presents Judas not as betrayer but as a kind of partner of Jesus, playing an essential role … I’ve been reading a bit about that too in the course of my work (unfortunately, my work is not usually so interesting).
Indeed. Long ago, I felt odd about the way Judas was seen in a one-dimensional way. After all, without him, there would have been no crucifixion and therefore no message of salvation.
Although I have no theological qualifications whatsoever, I came to this conclusion on my own. Later, I saw that it was an idea shared by others.
Thank you for the link. I shall have a look at it.
I agree that it would be interesting to have Levent in on the conversation. Nobby too.
Yes. I haven’t seen Nobby in a while. A good-hearted man.
re your 45, first paragraph : plenty of Christians do not follow Christ’s message of love, I agree. Similarly, one can hardly say that Ta Aruf is a feature of Islamism; and the bosses of Israel do not seem to care very much about Tikkun. And many
so-called secular states are often not secular at all.
There are a lot of people picking on each other out there.
BUT, the idea of everyone worshipping together in exactly the same way, is perfectly anathema to me. I believe that there are many ways of thinking, and that most belief systems work well within their own boundaries. The problems arise when some try to impose one belief system upon another. Problems can lead to creative solutions, of course.
I do not like Levent’s dream because I believe in diversity. But I would never wish that his dream did not exist.
Agreed also. Nicely put.
“I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect har-mon-ee”.
Gross in an advertisement for Coca Cola, and just as gross in any other form.
And now that’s enough monologue from me. Help ma boab will think that I have a stake in Willy Russell theatre productions.
Hi Cymbers, nice to see you.
I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again
Life is too short; live each day at a time
You never know what the next day holds
Never know what the night holds
Sometimes we take things so easily
We give up too quickly,
We carry grudges and never forgive
We hurt those we love,
We hurt those who we care about
And when they are gone, we cry
We hurt, we mourn
Never sleep hurting,
Never let the sun set angry
The time we waste hating and hurting
We should be loving and caring
That person in your life could be taken from you too soon
A flash and they are gone
Still too young, still waiting for your love
Stay at peace, love with all your heart!
Love and spread peace!!~~
The Irish poet Brendan Kennelly (whom a high proportion of Irish women find irresistibly attractive) published a 400-page poem called The Book of Judas in 1991.
irrestibly? Like they find no rest when thinking of him?
Yes! I’m sorry I corrected it now.
….as the fellow sings “its easy”.
Therefore I still can’t understand why so many people have to make it so difficult.
P.S. Anybody spotted Mick in the clip ?
It is not easy at all. People have different ideas about love, and anyway, some people do not think that love between human beings is a major consideration, when compared to law for example, or to the concept of submitting to a perceived deity.
Your underwear ie the culture in which you were brought up, is showing. Nothing wrong with that, and I come from the same sort of culture. Best to be aware of the fact that it is only one way of thinking though.
Knowing that there are many different belief systems, I do not find it unreasonable to expect any given minority to try to fit in with general public ethos, especially if that public ethos has been established over a great deal of time, and especially if the minorities are of recent arrival, and especially if they have chosen to improve their personal lives by living in a country of a different social ethos to their original homelands. I see this as a form of knowing how to live together, and avoiding social chaos. There are Arabic and Jewish terms to express these ideas. See above.
At the same time, requiring a certain respect for dominant public ethos, should never be synonymous with disrespect for other cultures.
I was thinking about this while out driving just now. I am inclined to think that it is easy … that the door, once pushed, opens readily. We see extraordinary spontaneous examples of love, forgiveness, mercy, altruism, empathy, compassion, all over the world. We all know that everyone has these things inside them, and is capable of these things. We are all the same at a deeper level than that at which we are all different.
A lot of psychological study of phenomena such as forgiveness and compassion is under way at the moment, and of course they are part of the great spiritual traditions, however corrupted these may become from time to time. What is real, essential, universal, innate, is quite capable of overcoming social norms of violence and hatred. While there is a sort of yin and yang of light and darkness inside us, the darkness need not prevail.
I think there are forces and currents in the collective unconscious that are acted out in the world in the form of wars etc. (possibly because I was reading about this the other day :-)). There are tides in the affairs of mankind as well as men (no sexism intended). After all the darkness of the past century, perhaps we are due an upturn in consciousness.
Hello Cymbeline … I’m not sure who’s doing the dabbling. I don’t see anything arrogant either. I think you may sometimes misunderstand deliberately when you feel like being a bit prickly. And of course I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be prickly.
At this point I probably can’t say anything that won’t antagonize you by being critical or condescending or treacly, but I don’t mean to be any of those things.
What is love but a feeling of benevolence, warmth, caring and forgiveness ?
Thank you Brendano, as your comment above says what I think. Also the notion that all of us are the same and feel similar emotions is totaly correct.
I think that the feeling of love and the acting out of that emotion comes naturally to all of us, whereas hate, anger, war and all the negatives we see in the world is taught behaviour.
But then I do admit that deep in my heart I am an old hippie who believes in the good and just in all of us.
That is the way I try to live my life, with surprisingly good results. Now all I need! is all of you to follow.
Sorry to rave, but in regards to the phenomena of compassion and forgiveness, let us not forget that these acts also come out of a selfish motivation; it feels good to help others, and to forgive is the most important of them all as it lightens ones heart and mind.
Now put a flower in your hair and hug the person next to you !
Sign me up as a follower, Rainer. 🙂
All this is uncomfortably treaclish for my tastes, and I tend to think it rather arrogant to dabble in aspects of different belief systems on a personal level, thinking that we ‘understand’. Yer pick ‘n’ choose approach, all wrapped up in a nice woolly blanket called lurv.
Quite dreadfully simplistic.
In my last job in another culture, I was praised for having the elegance to know how to keep a low profile. The knowledge that one is an outsider, not an insider. I was flattered. As one who has lived in various and sometimes extremely different cultures to my own, I was brought up to be wary of thinking that one ‘understands’. This is a form of respect – a form of love too.
That doesn’t surprise me Cymbeline (the ‘elegance’ comment, I mean). I don’t know what gives you the idea that I presume to understand other cultures … I don’t think I do. I spoke about our common humanity.
The idea of our common humanity is so obvious to me that I do not feel the need to state it. However, the idea of our common humanity should never be synonymous with the thicko concept of ‘we’re all the same underneaf, innit?’.
Do you think that’s what my 7.53 from last night amounts to?
According to my dictionary there is no such word as treaclish, but it sounds sweet to me.
Maybe we are talking two different things here, but what is a believe system but taught behaviour. My main believe is that we, as human beings, come to this world pure and full of positive energy and intention.
You are a mum, ever sent your two year old into a playground and observed how it makes no difference to this little human being what color or appearance the other kids are ? Its play time, so lets have a good time.
Add four or six years and suddenly this attitude may change, due to the influence the peers of this child have had.
So what I am getting at is that we as humans are all full of “Lurv” and positive emotion until some bastard comes along and teaches us to hate, discriminate and judge.
I see the human brain as similar to a computer with its hard wiring set on good.
All the bad that we see in the world is programing that society and parents have taught us. Religion is a perfect example of this and I therefore totaly deny it.
And then we have the hide to explain war away with the explanation that even monkeys, our DNA forefathers, did the same thing and therefore aggression is natural.
What a lot of crap, says this human being, superior species of this planet and therefore a bit more advanced than primeval animals !
No, we are not born of sin, we are born of love and sin is taught behaviour.
Call it simplistic, but I am sticking to it.
I hope you have a good day Cymbers, mine is just about to end [4:57am].
And don’t forget to love.
More or less.
It is not a thicko concept that underneath we are all the same. We are. But the different influences and behaviour taught by various cultures makes us different, because we believe in them, until we are proven different.
Now that is what I call simplistic, the blind following of instructions and the the righteousness that goes along with that.
And last, but not least, and I say that with love Cymbeline, learn how to forgive.
Its easy and you’ll feel a whole lot better for it.
Good night, enjoy your day.
I forgive you, Rainer. Don’t worry about it.
A pleasure to see you on these pages, Rainer!
Thank you so much for the song. I love the Beatles. Brendano can’t stand ’em.
Thank you Cymbeline
Maybe that is why they smuggled Mick into the video. Even tough boys like Love.
Anyway, here is one for Brendano. G’day mate.
Thanks, Rainer … listening to it now. Really good.
Good to see you, Rainer … yes, it’s wonder Mick wasn’t up singing.
Don’t mind Cymbeline … of course I like the Beatles. 🙂
Thanks for the positive message … yes, it really is, or should be, easy … do no harm.
Hello Brendan, Cymbeline, Rainer.
I just took a break and read the thread. Made me smile.
Sorry Brendan, I have vague information about tearüf which means to know each other in Arabic. I’m curious about it too. Will look it up when I get back.
This is not my dream. I think I have mentioned the prophcy before. Christianity will purify. (This does not mean it will transform into Islam).
And I think the time of Moors, and early time of ottomans people managed to live in harmony.
When the Turks entered Anatolia (1071) they fought against Byzantines with Armenians. After the first victory the sultan Alparslan turned to the Armenian bishop (not sure of the title) and said: “We couldn’t do it without your prays”. They fought with us because they saw the “oppresiion” of Greek hurch as helenization. (Sounds so familiar 🙂 )Because they were using Greek.
Right after Fatih era Ottomans built so many churches that it was said it’s more than the time of the emperor (name escapes me) who is famous for building churches. It changed after though.
As for everyone worshippiing the same way, are you sure diversity is what He wants, or is it want you like Cymbeline.
From Quran I know he likes diversity, not sure it’s the same you think. 😉
Brendan, don’t worry it’s me. 🙂
Thanks for that, Levent.
I tried to comment but somehow, it didn’t show.
Just a quick hi then. 🙂
Nice to read you.
Sorry about the approval hassles, Levent. Will reply to you and Cymbeline properly later, or try. 🙂
Merhaba Levent. You made yourself wanted, my dear.
I do not know what He wants, Levent. Do you?
Yes I do. But I won’t say it. 🙂
Anyway, I must say that it’s really great to see Cymbeline, Rainer and Levent … three of my favourite bloggers … on my blog today. Thanks for coming. 🙂
Here’s an old favourite.
I’m on my way back home. The night before I had the most delightful chat with a lebanese wise guy. He was some 5 years younger than me and made me think that I have wasted some of my life.
He was very brilliant, 1/4 Turkish 1/4 Italian. He has been living in another country for 5 years.
He talked about the civli war. I said I know nothing about it, they are only vague memories, bombs and the “durzi militia” for me. I felt embarred being so indifferent. Because he was the one who actually suffered from the war. I asked how come he are that cheerful. He said he didn’t know, and said thiswas the case for most of the Lebanese. Even though most of them are suffering from asthma becasue of living in underground rooms for too long.
He is a Christian. He told how muslims killed Xtians and then Xtians Xtians.
While talking I recalled our converstaion here on this blog and some from Myt.
We talked about Middle east, Ottomans, religion. At the end of the day, once again I thought there are so many reason that can unite us, but sadly we chose to focus on diffrences.
I liked your entire comment and agree that it is sad that the last line is so true.
Will you please provide me the link to your Post in which this bracketed paragraph in the Gmail notification appeared?
“[I posted this on MyT yesterday. History has bequeathed us some complex and relatively intractable situations that entail conflict and distrust along ethnic, tribal or religious lines … one thinks of Northern Ireland and Israel, for example. Several examples have emerged into world attention in Europe and Asia recently. The automatic reaction of certain people […]”
I have not been able to locate it.
Hello Ike. That’s actually the start of this post.
Brendan, I feel like an utter fool. [wry smile]
You shouldn’t, Ike … easily done.
Oh! Hello Ike.
Forgive me for not greeting earlier. I was in a hurry when I last commented.
I hope you are keeping well.
Merhaba Levent. Not sure about this reference to Christians killing Christians in the Lebanon. Could you be more precise?
I actually don’t know what has happened. I just quoted his words, here.
Thanks for that, Levent. Your Lebanese friend sounds like a good person to spend some time with.
I suppose intelligent people, by and large, are not the problem.
Hmmm I partly agree Brendan. Ignorance is the point I guess. But intelligence is different from wisdom. I’m not sure how the latter comes.
That’s true. Intelligent people can of course do very evil things.
Can conscience be tamed/thought by reason?
IS everyone justifying their actions to tehmselves. Or are there people who just enjoys evil?
If there were someone raised like Tarzan, would he still have conscience? Would he still have bad and good distinction other than the benefitting aspect?
No problem Levent
In fact, I am catching up on things that I previously missed in this Post and want to ask you something.
In your comment no 59 September 16, 2010 at 6:08 pm you state “This is not my dream. I think I have mentioned the prophcy before. Christianity will purify. (This does not mean it will transform into Islam).”
Let me first mention something that I find has been developing in my mind over the last year and then ask my question on your comment.
I have come to the conclusion, or rather I am moving in that direction, that there is very little difference when speaking about the ordinary mortals between the three great religions of [I shall put them alphabetically to underline my point] of Christianity, Islam and Jewish. Even the basic dogma is the same as far as the man in the street is concerned, or the father or mother whose main function is to care for their little ones.
I have therefore, allowed myself to think that they don’t have to merge and end in an argument about which one is the strongest or the largest. Rather take hands and fight the real enemy.
What I have come to think is that one of the real enemies is the fanatical and the extremist in all of them, but these fanatics are really only a very few, or maybe a fair number if you start counting like in one, two, three [smile] but in total a very tiny percentage of believers in each of the three.
If you therefore, state that “Christianity will purify” I will say that I agree if by that you mean that they will purify by rejecting the fanatical extremist from their midst. That is becoming a dream on my side, but not an impossible one.
My question is therefore, what you meant by “Christianity will purify? If you meant what I have stated and we all reject the fanatical element, we must surely be halfway there to take hands and walk the road together united in the dream.
Over to you.
I/we believe, God has a single message. All the thread of prophets (not only three) has basicly conveyed the same message. Unity of God, hereafter, and good morals.
The message of him was “altered” along the way. The word of God, mixed with others’. Maybe the core remained the same but…
So I/we believe Christianity will purify but returning to the core of the geniune message.
Ike. You speak as a good Christian here. Christianity bends. Islam does not bend.
Islam being the core of the genuine message, I presume?
No, Islam has the core like the previous ones. It’s the ultimate one.
In fairness, Levent is a Muslim, Cymbeline.
As I understand it, up to the 1960s the position of the Catholic Church was that all non-Catholics would go to hell (you will be relieved to know that this is no longer the case … God has some discretion in the matter).
I do not think that there can be any worthwhile inter-faith dialogue if, at an official level, some faiths deem others as being quite simply wrong, or misguided at best.
Brendano. You dislike religious intransigence in Christians, but seem to be rather more tolerant of religious intrasigence in Muslims.
Religions can be as intransigent as they wish as long as they’re not imposed on me through the law of the land, Cymbeline … as used to be the case, effectively, here.
Speaking of religion being imposed upon one; are you as outraged as I am to learn of the extent to which halal meat is imposed on the European consumer?
No, because I don’t know the extent. If it were being imposed I would see that as a bad thing … certainly if the method of slaughter were more inhumane than the standard methods.
The extent? I read that most lamb imported from NZ is slaughtered according to Islamic religious ritual, for example. There is no labelling to indicate this fact.
It depends on what the ‘ritual’ actually entails. If it means unnecessarily inhumane slaughter, then that is a bad thing and I would be against it.
I don’t eat much lamb, and I doubt that Ireland imports much. When I worked in a meat factory, French buyers were there all the time, selecting the best carcasses for export to France.
So, as someone who supports the EU, and dislikes religion being imposed on people, you are perfectly happy with the idea of religiously slaughtered meat being sold unlabelled as such throughout the EU?
It does sound pretty inhumane from the account given here.
Click to access HalalFoodAndCertificationByIFI.pdf
Then again, from personal experience, I know that the ‘Western’ way of doing things is not necessarily very humane either. Killing is a messy business. Perhaps we should all be vegetarian.
I have been a vegetarian. Was a vegetarian for about 6 years. I started to eat meat again when I went to Spain as a student. Fitting in culturally, and all that.
If I were objecting about inhumane slaughter, I would become a vegetarian again.
Here, I am mainly objecting about having other people’s religious requirements thrust upon me.
Is the meat you eat halal?
I have been eating NZ lamb in various forms for quite a while – so, yes, I have been eating halal meat whilst being unaware of the fact. I shall certainly stop buying NZ lamb now.
I mentioned NZ lamb because it was an example that affected me. The subject of unlabelled halal goes beyond that. Chicken is involved too. Supermarkets such as Waitrose, Marks and Spencers, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Somerfield, the Co-Op sell halal meat which is not labelled as such. Fast-food outlets such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino’s do the same.
I agree that that shouldn’t be the case.
There is a shop called ‘Le Comptoir Irlandais’ near where I live. Dropped in there yesterday. They sell Irish bacon and Irish sausages, along with Irish beer, jams etc.
I’ll be picking up some bacon and sausages from there this week.
I hope it’s good quality. There is a lot of mediocre bacon and sausages on the market.
In Europe, people like me (and you) are becoming defined by negatives. I have become a non-Muslim wishing to eat non-halal meat.
Thank goodness for people like Mr Mackie who know about Aneirin.
Good God Cymbeline, come of that high horse please !
So what if a percentage of NZ lamb is slaughtered the halal way?
This meat is destined for the Middle Eastern markets where “halal” is required before consumption of animals.
And I am glad they do it in NZ, ever seen a transport ship full of live sheep going into designated ports in Saudi Arabia because they want to slaughter them using halal? Now that is cruelty.
And further, what is wrong with blessing food that is about to be consumed? Never done that Cymbers?
What are you you afraid of anyway, would halal make you go and wear a burka?
Storm in a teacup Cymbers.
Hopefully the Hindus didn’t bless their crop before it found its way to you via Twinings.
Rainer. What an outburst!
I have no problem with the idea of NZ supplying Muslims with halal meat. I just don’t want it sold to me in Europe, unlabelled as halal meat.
Not if it involves unnecessary inhumanity, as I have said.
Yes, it does involve unnecessary inhumanity.
It also involves financing a religion that I do not follow.
There is interesting material here.
‘Only animals destined for the consumption of the religious community concerned should be subject to the ritual.’
Sorry, I forgot link.
Click to access Welfare%20of%20Animals%20at%20time%20of%20Slaughter%20-%20Policy%20-%2024.6.04.pdf
Well, of course.
I shall keep you informed.
(about the quality of the Le Comptoir Irlandais sausages and bacon)
Haven’t bought them yet, but I see that Richard has probably been to the Comptoir Irlandais in Orléans.
Yes, I think that too.
My word, Brendano, what a discussion!
This is definitely the place to visit when one has a free moment 🙂
“September 26, 2010 at 11:14 pm
Ike. You speak as a good Christian here.”
The Post is getting a bit fragmented with replies and replies to replies so I am starting a new one at the end.
I appreciate your nice words but I don’t regard myself as the best Christian that you will find; my own experiences remind me of all my faults.
But I began to realize a year or so ago that I was bending [and in the right direction too, if I may say]; that while others were getting more and more agitated about Islam I was losing my fear of it. Maybe I never feared it as much as some do; in truth I can say that I never hated them.
But my question to Levent was really not so much about which religion is bending or not bending; what I would like to know is whether individuals can bend, change, accommodate and shake hands regardless of what any fanatics or extremists do [and they are on both sides; boy, aren’t they now?].
We have Muslims here; many in numbers though small as a percentage of population but they have been here as long as my people have and we have no strife at all.
I would like to hear from Levent on this.
Thank you for your comment. Especially for this one :
“what I would like to know is whether individuals can bend, change, accommodate and shake hands regardless of what any fanatics or extremists do [and they are on both sides; boy, aren’t they now?].”
Humans do this everyday, especially in this country. Idiots don’t, for they lack the understanding that most people, no matter what their faith is, want a peaceful life and good neighbours side by side.
Unfortunately we have Idiots on both sides.
Cymbeline is jealous. 🙂
We have lived with Anatolian Christians togther about 1000 years. As well as the ones in Balkans. And there are moors. So its not a dream.
Regarding bending. I think your logic about religion is not straight. Or I can’t understand it. One cannot treat all the religions in the same way, unless s/he is atheist or agnostic. OF course he sees one superior/better than others.
What I believe is Islam is the final word of Him, the ultimate one.
I’m not sure what you exactly mean by bending but if it’s accepting / treating others faith as the same it will carry a contradiction itself. (Forcing is another matter altogther). This is not belied this is sceptism.
Levent. You speak as though Turkey is some sort of religiously tolerant heaven. It isn’t. Millions of Christians have been persecuted in Turkey – have you forgotten about the Armenians, the Assyrians and the Orthodox Greeks? Church property has been expropriated, and I read that the Orthodox Theological School of Halki remains closed. The examples I give come from government level; there are non-official forms of persecution too of course, such as the murder of the three Christians in the Bible publishing firm in 2007. A Catholic priest was murdered in Trabzon in 2006.
You speak of the Moors. The Spanish were not particularly happy to be occupied by the Islamic invader for seven centuries.
You say that my logic about religion is not straight. I believe that people should be able to practise whatever religion they choose, as long as their religion does not infringe on other people’s rights.
Things you cite is from the 20 th century after the nationalism virus has arrived. What about the rest 900 years that we have lived together?
The murder of three missionaries is now proved to be the work of a coup plot.
And the murder of the priest, too bad but it is one single incident, the purpose of which is unknown to both of us now.
Turkey now is far from being a tolerant heaven. Neither for practising muslims.
I have very limited info about Moors, but my vague information most ly form a BBC documentary doesn’t suggest what you say here.
Are you talking about your fears based on imaginary possiblities Cymbeline. Too much propaganda perhaps.
You say that Turkey is not a tolerant heaven for practising Muslims. Metin seems to think that there are too many Islamic fundamentalists in Turkey. He disapproves of Erdogan from what I gather.
Must we now see Muslims such as Metin as Islamophobes?
As I always said headscarf is banned. This alone is enough to see what I’m trying to say, I think.
Metin hates the current government. I agree to some extent that there are not fair points about the court cases and some on goings in media.
But the ruling party does not represent Islam or practising muslims of Turkey. They never claimed such.
From my point of view, Metin’s hate for those makes him unreasonable at times.
For example there was an incident last week in Turkey, an art show was attacked. Noone knows why or by whom its done.
Metin did a blog on it saying, in todays Turkey art galleries are being attacked because of the govermnent, or by the supporters of government.
You speak of propaganda and imaginary fears. And yet, like Metin, many Muslims in Muslim countries feel worried about the rise of religious fundamentalism. I see that Syria has banned the niqab, for example.
Is it any wonder that many non-Muslims feel equally concerned? Is it fair to see ‘Islamophobia’ everywhere?
Religious fundementalism was on the rise more than this some twenty years ago. Here in Turkey and in ME. But you were not aware of it.
Its understandable to have concerns about the rise. I’m kind of person the fundemantalist accuse too. But the rise of ultra-right in Europe concerns me more than this religious lunatics. Since the latter are usually cave-men and the former is devious politicains who have power.
Until the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, Europe was easily one of the most tolerant places on the planet. It is still a very tolerant part of the world, and within Europe, Britain is easily one of the most tolerant countries.
I agree, Cymbeline.
Thank you, Brendano.
Still now UK is most tolerant, west is too. Many girls from Turkey went to the universities in the west to complete their education. But will it remain so, I think this should worry you more than Islamic fundamentalism.
I said before, it’s easy to have virtues in welfare times. Europe is losing its creativity, and there is almost no more colonial aid to the economy.
If the life-standard of people decreases you will hardly find anyone speaking of human rights there. That will be the field day of Wilders and the like.
Not a century ago, USA and Europe was spreading fascism, lets you forget.
Hello again, Levent. Europeans do not want bloodshed and warfare. We have had too much of that, and I think we have learnt our lessons. Look at someone like Rainer. He comes from a German background, and like the vast majority of Germans today, he has a horror of extremism. Modern Europe is based on the idea of seeking happiness and peace through trade. There is no colonial money coming in at all, and in spite of the recent financial difficulties, Europeans possess a high standard of living. They are beginning to feel less guilt-ridden about the colonial past too, and they do not want their soldiers to be killed in foreign wars. There is a strong pacifist element in the modern European soul.
Many Europeans feel disturbed by what they see as a parallel Islamic society growing within Europe. They feel that this parallel society does not share the same values upon which modern Europe was founded. They feel attacked, and very often they ARE attacked. It is completely outrageous for example that many people in Europe have to fear for their lives as a result of having criticized some aspects of Islam. There are limits to bending, and fear of death is one of them.
If these concerns are not addressed by the main political parties, then extremists on both sides will attempt to fill the vacuum.
Nota Bene to Levent:
We Europeans squabble incessantly amongst ourselves of course, and that squabbling costs a lot of money. But better to squabble in expensive translations than shed blood in wars.
About creativity; there is less and less industry in Europe, and I certainly worry about that. The idea of a society based on ‘services’ seems frighteningly shallow and vulnerable to me.
But, I love Europe, and have faith in Europe. We always manage to re-invent ourselves, I think.
And concerning Islam; whether we like it or not, Islam is in Europe, and it is here to stay. Islam must therefore learn how to adapt to Europe.
Hello again Cymbeline,
I don’t know if Europe will be able to reinvent itself. I hope it does, if not it will become violent. History says so.
I don’t see Europe as innocent as you do. Many European countries supported and aided PKK and meanwhile they continued preaching us on human rights.
What do you think of the recent riots?
Merhaba Levent. I don’t think that I see Europe as a blameless paradise of innocence.
Tell me about the riots.
Last night on Tv, I have heard there are riots (or demonstrartions) (I remember Spain and Greece only) in 8 countries of Europe by workers. They have fought with police.
They said the govermnent is punishing the poor because of the crisis.
I have not heard about these riots sweeping through Europe, Levent.
I shall have to start watching Turkish TV.
It’s a shame you can’t Cymbeline. Our garbage is better than European, I believe. 🙂
You nailed it, thanks.
I like you Levent, a lot, especially since you are one of the people we really are able to communicate with.
But the point that Islam is a threat to our way of life is a valid one. My forefathers didn’t fight for freedom of speech and expression to have “fatwa’s” put over them because of what they said. And if a cartoonist wants to express what he believes is comedy than it is his right without expecting an uprising because of his action.
Sorry, those are our rules and if you don’t respect them don’t move into our countries. We respect people of different cultures and religions and appreciate their ways. But if these people tell us what to do or how to behave then surely their place is not within our society.
As to the recent riots in Europe, I see them as an interesting development. Europeans always prided themselves as having countries that looked after them in need. Now that the financial crisis has robbed Governments of funds to provide this they have to recuperate money cutting back on services.
This almost makes me think that the GFC was engineered in order to turn Europe into an “look after yourself” type of American style system.
If that is the case, I hope the workers will climb the barricades.
Yes, we as muslims need to grow up a bit, in this aspect. But don’t get me wrong , as I always said, freedom of speech -like every freedom- should have limits. I also believe this cartoon incident is flamed deliberately.
I agree with you. Everyone should stay whereever they are. If they like another place, they should keep their mouths shot.
You should understand the reaction against west is not of Islam. It’s a mixture of reaction to colonialism, the oppression of Palestine, and the invasion of Iraq.
Your forefathers fought for freedom of speech? Enlighten me.
Rainer 9.42. Glad we agree on several major points.
You might be interested in this, Levent and Cymbeline.
Thanks Brendan. I recall Metin did a blog on this angel a while back.
Howse is advertising.
Shame about the expropriated Christian property in Turkey.
Well-known International Management Consultant turned Writer, Peter Biddlecombe, says in one of his many books that “The United Nations is that place where half of its Members want to unite and the other half want to tear everything apart.”
Biddlecombe is also vehemently against International Aid Organizations, Foreign Aid Programs and highly skeptical about Foreign Aid workers in all countries.
I share his views.
But that does not mean that countries have to be enemies and at each others’ throats all the time. It has become my motto and belief that we must leave each other alone. Let Russia sort out her problems in Russia. America hers in America, Turkey in Turkey, etcetera etcetera; let us atop interfering in each other’s Faith or refrain from criticism on how others Worship their God[s]. Let us also stay out of all domestic affairs of other Nations and Peoples, and their Governments.
Meddling in what we don’t know is foolish in any event. I have been to Turkey only once but I would like to go there to meet Levent and Metin one day [and our daughter loves it after quite a few visits]. She also adores Ireland and Scotland and I would like to visit Ireland one day to hear Brendan and his family singing.
Then of course, I know America intimately and love their land. I HAVE NOT FINALLY GIVEN UP ON MY DREAM TO RELOCATE THERE and hope that they kick Obama the hell out of the White House soon so that I can make my plans.
Otherwise I will stay out of what I refer to above. Heck, I can even get on with some of the English and that is a difficult task at the best of times as all other Nations must know.
Imagine all the people….
Yes I’m a dreamer too, Ike.
I also wish everyone mind their own bussiness. But I think the world has become too connected.
I hope one day you make your way here.
I kind of like the connection, I must admit.
One may blame it on “the World being too connected” but meddling in things that should not concern you happened ages ago as well before the Internet and connectivity of the World.
It is just the nature of some people to rant and rave about the perceived faults of “those darn people” because it takes the spotlight off the complainant.
Unfortunately, Rainer, cutbacks in government spending are necessary for our future prosperity. Barricades won’t change this.
Of course the cutbacks should be in the right places. In Ireland there is huge wastage of public money … I saw this discussed on TV last night. There are far too many quangos. The head of the Irish Human Rights Commission gets paid more than the head of the UN! Some other quangocrat is paid far more than the British prime minister. Crazy.
0h dear. More sanctimonious claptrap.
Your comment October 2, 2010 at 9:42 am about that cartoon. I thought it was tasteless and looking for confrontation. If something makes you smile you should be able to enjoy the smile and be thankful that you can, but Freedom should not allow you to speak with derision of God [any God by any name that people use].
Serious, my own view is that cartoonist got off too lightly. Come off it, ole Friend, he didn’t do that because he thought it was comedy. Maybe he did it for money, or to make a name for him but either that is what I call Freedom gone awry and requires some sort of restriction.
The line between total Freedom and Anarchy is but very thin and fragile. We should not tamper with it. If I were the judge and that guy appeared before me I would have sent him to the “helliest” prison there is for a very long time.
Some people cannot handle Freedom and that cartoonist is one of them.
Well, you have really excelled yourself here, Mr Jakson.
I’m orff. Can’t stand this nonsense any more.
I agree with Rainer on this. Certainly people should try to act with decency and restraint (and there is no excuse for announcing that one intends to burn a Qur’an, in my view), but we do have freedom of expression … Salman Rushdie was entitled to write The Satanic Verses without his life being endangered, and a cartoonist is entitled to depict ‘Muhammad’ in a cartoon if he sees fit to do so. Those offended ought to consider that that is not really ‘Muhammad’, that is just an idea in a cartoonist’s head. We have to be able to rub along together in the West without threatening each other’s lives because we have been ‘offended’.
I seem to remember you objecting to the use of ‘dhimmi’ in English. What is wrong with ‘Koran’?
Nothing is wrong with it. I had a vague idea that the dictionaries preferred ‘Qur’an’; on checking I see that they give both. Nothing is wrong with ‘Qur’an’ either.
And theatre. No British theatre dares to perform Marlowe’s ‘Tamburlaine the Great’ in its entirety, for fear of upsetting Muslim ‘sensibilities’ – ie for fear of having their throats cut. A play written by Voltaire was called off in France a few years ago, for similar reasons.
Don Quixote could easily be banned, as Cervantes had a bit of a thing about the Moors, having been held captive by them. But it’s a hilarious book and everything in it is done in a funny and mischievous way.
I do agree that we need to protect our freedoms and not self-censor them out of existence. There should be dialogue between Western governments and representatives of Muslim communities to clarify these matters, I think … with a view to enabling Muslims to be fully a part of the Western societies they inhabit; not because they are seen as some despicable ‘enemy within’.
Don’t want to be pedantic, so will not dwell on your comment about ‘Cervantes having a bit of a thing about the Moors because he was held captive by them’.
Apart from that, ‘Don Quixote’ is far more complex than you imply. It is not just ‘a hilarious book’. Far from it.
I didn’t say it was ‘just’ a hilarious book, Cymbeline. Cervantes has the true comic spirit, though (as Graham Greene once said about Flann O’Brien).
I would not compare Cervantes to Flann O’Brien, mainly because I have never heard of Flann O’Brien. Who has?
I didn’t compare them.
Who has heard of Flann O’Brien? Graham Greene and I.
That is good enough for me. I have just googled him too.
Must admit that I had heard the name before. Never read anything of his though.
He wrote some very funny books (notably At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman) and newspaper columns.
I do think it’s better not to give offence for the sake of giving offence. I think that kind of thing is stupid and bad-mannered.
Brendano. This sounds like a sentence from a machine. You are doing well.
I never thought that any two people would always agree 100% on every issue; your courtesy is well known and that has, with some other things, drawn me to your Site.
So I must not labor the point.
But there is an enormous difference between the recent cartoon and Don Quixote. Firstly there is the time span and secondly, mainly, Cervantes is about ordinary people not about their God.
I find the Muslim and Mohammed bashing brigade distasteful and offensive; not to me [I can handle it] but to ordinary people to whom that is dear to the inner soul. In either event it says more about the person who does it than the people he tries to vilify anyway.
Let me take an extreme example if you will allow that.
Muslims and other religions did not step onto British soil last week; it comes a long way and I could compare it with the old Colonial Settlement era. They went wherever they did with their religion and the first Muslim landed in England or in America with his Faith. Nobody was asked or told: “Yeah, come along, but leave your Faith at the door, or send it back where you come from, even better.”
Assimilation cuts both ways and though I am for Freedom of Expression it must always be subject to courtesy and understanding of what is at stake for all of us. You can’t teach the masses when something is “merely a little bit of humor that they must learn to understand” as is the case with the cartoonist. You allow one person to express his idiosyncrasies and offend a million? I see a problem with that.
Perhaps I should close with another example. Cordova in New York was a bad decision in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Muslim leaders should have considered that before they announced their plans to build that mosque on that site. It was as bad a decision as the cartoon which might have been in retaliation but just as wrong at the wrong time.
I would love to hear Rainer on this.
Cartoons, not cartoon, Ike. You do not seem to know much about the cartoons in question. Have you ever seen them?
Thanks for that, Ike. I agree with much of it. I don’t like the Muslim-bashing brigade either, as I have always made clear on MyT. I agree that assimilation is a two-way thing … if a state allows immigration, it cannot demand that immigrants become something they are not … they are people with their own culture. I would never have become British no matter how long I lived in Britain. But neither can it allow its fundamental values to be eroded, through acceding to the real or imaginary demands of either immigrants or the most vocal objectors to them.
There is nothing wrong with immigration, but the state must not overwhelm ordinary people with alien cultures and then accuse them of racism and bigotry when they find that they have to adapt to the newcomer, rather than the other way around.
It is a terrible thing to have the law-abiding and basically good Rosies of this world all lost and confused in their own country.
And the nightmare is this : great swathes of the newcomers are not newcomers any more. Their children and grandchildren are as British as Rosie and me on paper, and they are making their political presence felt within a parallel Islamic society, involving different dress, different food, and different laws, as well as different political allegiances on the global stage. This is jihad.
Rosie and me feel a bit peeved.
A little less sanctimonious judgement on the situation would perhaps be welcome. Indeed, it would be a form of open-mindedness.
As for Larry – yes he goes beyond the pale. I do not approve of many of his remarks.
He is an old Englishman fighting for what he loves. I do not judge him for that.
And Badger is absolutely excellent. Top British mind.
I was wrong about him for quite a while, probably because he needs to fight with people he likes first.
Also Ike, you can do what you like of course, but I do dislike people who come on ‘safe’ sites just to moan and gossip about others, whilst putting themselves on a higher plane.
In my book of honour, one expresses disagreement face-to-face. Only praise or kind thoughts can be given behind people’s backs.
And, in all honesty Afrikaaners boer me. Sorry about that.
I never get the sense that Larry loves his country. His motivation is hatred only – hatred of other countries, types of people, etc. He operates at a base level.
As for Badger, you were right about him for quite a while … you wrote a passage that summed him up perfectly. Somewhere along the line the old ham conned you, which wasn’t difficult as you wanted to be conned.
I have no interest in talking about these people, and would not be talking about them had you not brought them up.
When I say ‘they are people with their own culture’, I should specify that where this culture includes practices that are illegal in the ‘host’ country – female genital mutilation, for example – these aspects of the culture should not be tolerated.
Nobody in the right mind will disagree with anything in this comment or the previous one.
If we want to blame [or accost] the offenders, all of us that are concerned about the wrongs in his/her country should tackle the politicians who either made the laws or those who uphold them.
I am just exhausted by accusations and insults thrown in the wind at “look at them; they are all”; always the plural enemy but then we all sit back on the other plural “we are not like that; we don’t do that” … we, we, we and us, us, us against them and they. It’s so wrong!
I am going to bed early. Good night all.
Best not to put everyone who criticizes the distasteful aspects of Islamic fundamentalism into the bag of ‘Muslim bashers’, Ike. Like most of my compatriots, I would never dream of giving deliberate offence to any member of any religion. I come from a very tolerant country.
The Dutch cartoons were designed to show how fearful many non-Muslims have become of expressing any form of criticism of Islam. There was no deliberate provocation; there was the expression of anger within a humorous context. A rather civilized approach to anger, I think.
The Dutch are traditionally a very tolerant nation too. Why have many of them decided to be rather less tolerant?
The Dutch wear tolerance on their sleeves like a badge of honor.
Most of what we see as “tolerance” are actually decisions made on how to act on a health problem in a realistic way.
The truth is that the Dutch are actually deeply rooted in conservatism and right wing thinking.
And the chap – Geert Wilders- who embodies many Dutch people’s new-found intolerance of intolerance, has to have 24 hour protection in his own bloody country, as well as elsewhere. And a Muslim peer in the UK threatened to put Muslim bovver boys in the street if he was invited to Britain.
I suppose you think that he deserves to be murdered, Ike.
You suppose flat wrong and I don’t understand what caused you to utter such nonsense. I hope Geert Wilders lives and becomes Prime Minister in his country as soon as possible. You can take that as my serious opinion.
I must admit that your answer surprises me, Ike. I quite like being surprised.
Do you know that Geert Wilders is considered to have gratuitously insulted Islam with his film ‘Fitna’? Unlike the case of the Danish cartoons, there is no humour whatsoever in this film. He is to be tried in court soon for inciting religious hatred.
As someone put it in a recent copy of The Spectator, those who whinge about ‘sensibilities’ and who ensure that their ‘sensibilities’ prevail, with the quiet and very real threat of violence in the background, are quite simply bullies.
I do not like bullies, whatever their creed.
I once questioned Brendano’s belief in the ‘middle way’. The trouble with the idea of the ‘middle way’ is that it depends on the extremes. On MyT, the ‘middle way’ would sometimes seem to be about protecting Islam.
It is best to think independently, without using extremists to define one’s thoughts.
“On MyT, the ‘middle way’ would sometimes seem to be about protecting Islam.”
As far as I’m concerned, it’s about protecting fair play.
Have you never seen some aspects of the MyT game as being a counterpoint to another, much bigger game of extremism and bigotry?
Those who really do care about fair play, try to think beyond the limits of reasonably respectable British websites.
In an earlier post, Rainer speaks of September 11th 2001 as the catalyst for Western ‘Islamophobia’.
I tried to think back to when I first became aware of something not being quite right. I was born in 1963 and so grew up with ideas of tolerance and anti-racism. Casting back, I think that the first time I became aware of fundamentalist Islam in Europe was when I was seventeen. I was in Oxford, being interviewed for a place at Lincoln. There were tabloid newspapers screaming about ‘mad mullahs’ burning books somewhere up north. I did not know anything about Islam, although I had heard of it. It was a vague exotic religion like Buddhism to me. I was certainly not brought up with any form of religious hatred, either in the family or at home.
The burning books struck me as terribly wrong.
read ‘at school’ for ‘at home’.
In regards to Levents question about my forefathers fighting for the freedom of speech; most of the western world did, especially during the sixties and seventies.
Maybe not my forefathers, OK, but at least most of my fellow citizens.
Which brings me to the cartoons issue. I totaly agree that there is a lot of confronting and disgusting stuff out there, something that art or journalism does. Personally I don’t agree with most of it, but I honor the right of every citizen in the free world to express themselves in the way that they see as proper or appropriate.
Banning expression or speech is counterproductive to the freedom we all value so much, and most importantly, it disallows opinions that put certain issues under the spotlight.
No more Nazis, ever again, thank you !
I agree, Rainer.
Funny how the tabloids always get it right.
So, Cymbeline, you’re concerned about Islam. That’s fine. Message received loud and clear.
There is a risk of getting killed in a car accident, noone thinks of banning cars or transforming the transport all into rail.
I have read yesterday there are 250,000 rape/sex assault cases per year in UK. The population is 60 million , therefore 30 million male. which makes 1 in 120 males are somewhat sick.
Now can you combine these two? Or three if we add the fear of Islam? I don2t claim there is no threat or problem. There is. And it deserves proportioante treatment. Why oh why noone sees that its a smoke screen?
Cymbeline, sometimes I get the feeling that you are teasing / pushing the limits to see what your debating partner really thinks feels. This alone is arrogant, no matter how smart , knowledgeable you are.
And your (like any westerner) main fault, in my opinion, is you take the point that west got as the ultimate one, like saying, it has faults yet its the best. No it isn’t. If you are comparing malaria to death, of course malaria is better.
Pardon me for intruding from another point of view on your link above.
What sentence [prison or otherwise] is a rape offender in Turkey likely to receive if found guilty by Court?
Sorry for going somewhat off topic Brendan but I am curious and Levent’s comment came up.
Starting 7 years in prison, if the girl is below 15 years old, it is from 8 years to 22,5 years.
And I have been told they receive “different” sentences from their jail-mates.
Turkey, just like Indonesia, is a tolerant Muslim country.
Question is, what happens in other Muslim countries when a woman is raped? I can site one or two cases in Dubai, which prides itself on accepting western standards, to a point, especially their money, where women were prosecuted when they officially complaint of rape.
So, as bad as the UK numbers look, lets not disregard that women in the UK are far more free to report what happened to them, without suffering consequences.
Turkey is a big country. To the east there are still “honour”(?!) killings. (Actually in Turkish its called tradition killings). Sometimes they force the girl to marry the rapist. (Sick!)
I don’t know much about the other muslim countries. Not from media from the first hand I know there are terrible applications. This one (I mentioned before) freeze my blood. They brought the widowers of the Iraq to north Iraq to work in brothels. Sick sick sick.!!!!!!!!
PS: I don’t know if its reliable or not but the article I link says that the UK women are not good at reporting either. It says 10 times more than reported. (Surely situation is worse here, though)
“And your (like any westerner) main fault, in my opinion, is you take the point that west got as the ultimate one, like saying, it has faults yet its the best. No it isn’t.”
Totally right on this one Levent. We do, on both sides. This is the main problem, different cultures proclaiming that they have got it right. A bit like different religions.
Truth is that the decadence of the west and its floundering of material and educational resources is at epic proportions. And very few are truly happy.
But then the counterpoint to that is the strict and rather backward and authoritarian systems in the Muslim world.
Best if all of us take a closer look, correct the deficiencies in our way of life and meet somewhere in the middle.
And don’t worry about Cymbeline too much. She just likes pushing buttons. But don’t push hers too hard, or she’ll flounce and sulk. 🙂
Be happy this site isn’t on skype, as all of us males would be on it 16 hours a day waiting for la belle fille to make an appearance.
🙂 😉 🙂 😉 🙂 😉 🙂 😉 🙂 😉 😉 🙂 😉
Mostly wise words, I would say, with one proviso. Let us stop pointing fingers; if we don’t we won’t ever get to meet in the middle.
There is in last point from the last two paragraphs of your comment followed by all those funny thingies. You are a very naughty man, Rainer, yeah, a very very naughty man. Smile.
I do not thing that the West has ‘got it right’. My thoughts on culture are far more complex than that.
However, I do think that the sort of model we have in Europe is good at allowing all sorts of people to express themselves and be what they want. That is why I try to speak up for this model. Unlike you, Levent, I do not dream about everyone worshipping in exactly the same way. I do not submit to totalitarian ideas.
Over the last few years, I have made it clear that I do not approve of ordinary Muslims being stigmatised. I still think that. I also think that this idea should not mean that we are not allowed to speak of worrying Islamist trends in Europe.
What? Must we only blame the people who vote for Geert Wilders and his ilk, without asking why they do this? And what about the ordinary Muslims? They are probably more fearful about speaking out than the non-Muslims. They must be protected too. In my book, all citizens have the right to be protected, whatever their religion or ethnic origin.
Your points are good ones, Cymbeline. At the same time, bigots do exist, and come into their own in a time of apparently greater polarization. I see the MyT Islamophobes in that light.
Thank you kindly, Brendano. I would be terribly sad if you thought I was a xenophobe and a bigot.
I would never think that.
And if the mainstream of Uk or Europe shares the ideas of the names you cite and approve, Europe is in dire straits more than I thought.
And if you really approve them, you are wasting your time talking to me Cymbeline.
Levent. What names, what approval? I mentioned Geert Wilders and suggest that he should not have to live under fear of death. I think the same about the Jyllands Post cartoonists.
Where is your disapproval of death threats? If you do not disapprove of death threats, you are wasting your time talking to me.
You like to present yourself as a reasonable man. Be one.
Smile. Have a look at this.
It is one of America’s conservative Blogs but normally well balanced and reasonably sober. This time it was neither in my view and I submitted a link that I once got from Levent.
I at least expected some outpouring of hate in my direction but nobody replied.
Where is the World going?
Must be the apocalypse. Repent! 🙂
First and foremost I never presented myself as reasonable. I detest the way west worship reason. I’m a believer I don’t seek reason. However a man with one eye might be the King of the land of blind.
I have condemned the threats and the killings many times. Not to get your approval. I do this where it should be done. Among muslims, here in my country. I’m actively working for this. This is between me and Him, noone elses bussiness.
About the names and approval. You speak of badger and larry. Not only you, I feel this hypocracy everywhere. On the surface these are not approved by anyone. But the same everyone somehow thinks that the sick thoughts the sick attitude should be aired. Not only because the obessesion of freedom of expression, but they see these loons are needed for the case, protecting the “culture”. How pathetic is that.
Again you say that I want to see single way of worshipping. No I don’t. I’m ordered to show what I taste (of religion). The result is his. I don’t care.
You know what I feel about you, Cymbeline? You are an extreme case, having both a mental and sipiritual capacity. This is rare. But you can’t confront your inner dilemmas. You want to believe, you want to leave yourself to flow but its too much defected and you can’t just close your eyes. Sometimes I feel that you are irritated to be impressed by some sides of Islam.
I kind of know the feeling. The key , I believe is, to pray. Pray with a whole heart believeing.
Thank you for taking the time to write such a long piece, Levent. Thank you for your thoughts.
I shall think before replying.
That’s what I’m talking about Cymbeline. You think too much.
In the meantime, I’m aware this (thinking before replying)is a gesture of respect. I appreciate that. Thank you.
I on the other hand speak too much and regret too much.
Anyway, good night.
Levent. You speak of your faith, and it brings you a sense of meaning to your life. I am glad about that. You feel that you are ordered to follow the religion you follow.
I am not ordered to follow Islam and I do not want to follow Islam. The Koran is not my holy book, and Mohammed is not my prophet. I am not impressed by Islam, although I am often impressed by some Muslim people. I am a Christian. My faith lies elsewhere, and I do not wish to impose it on anyone. I could feel insulted by many of the words about Christians in your holy book, and I could feel angry that your holy book does not recognize Jesus Christ as the son of God, who died and rose again. Shermeen’s people even believe that Jesus went to Pakistan and died there. However, I do not feel angry and I do not feel insulted. You can believe what you like, and so can I. Others can believe that there is no God at all. I do not mind about that either.
People can believe whatever they like as long as they do not use religion to justify violence against other people.
It is very dangerous when people try to tell others what they may say and write and think. This is why I am angry about the Muslim censorship imposed on people in Europe. This is also why I disagree with Geert Wilders’ wish to ban the Koran, even if it does contain much anti-Christian sentiment.
I think we have agreed on not imposing anything to anyone else. I don’t know what made yo think that I approve it.
While thinking about this I couldn’t remember two verses related. One led to another. May be of interest:
28-56 Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases, and He knows best the followers of the right way.
88-21/22 Therefore do remind, for you are only a reminder. You are not a watcher over them
2-256 There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; ..
29-46 And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit.
3-113/114/115 They are not all alike; of the followers of the Book there is an upright party; they recite Allah’s communications in the nighttime and they adore (Him). They believe in Allah and the last day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and they strive with one another in hastening to good deeds, and those are among the good. And whatever good they do, they shall not be denied it, and Allah knows those who guard (against evil).
5-82 Certainly you will find the most violent of people in enmity for those who believe (to be) the Jews and those who are polytheists, and you will certainly find the nearest in friendship to those who believe (to be) those who say: We are Christians; this is because there are priests and monks among them and because they do not behave proudly.
3-199 And most surely of the followers of the Book there are those who believe in Allah and (in) that which has been revealed to you and (in) that which has been revealed to them, being lowly before Allah; they do not take a small price for the communications of Allah; these it is that have their reward with their Lord; surely Allah is quick in reckoning.
Well, that sounds reasonably anodyne – unless you are a Jew, or a polytheist like Brendano.
What about the pigs and monkeys bit? Or is that just propaganda?
Is it true that the Koran becomes more violent towards the end? Is it true that later verses abrogate earlier verses?
I will copy the verses in question judge for yourself.
I don’t think it becomes *more* violent. There is a difference between the verses revelaed in Mecca and Medina. I have just checked 4 of the 7 verses I quoted is of Medina period.
Some “imams” claimed 4 (not sure of the number) verses were abrogated. But this is not acknowledged except a couple of followers.
Here is the verses:
5-60 Say: Shall I inform you of (him who is) worse than this in retribution from Allah? (Worse is he) whom Allah has cursed and brought His wrath upon, and of whom He made apes and swine, and he who served the Shaitan; these are worse in place and more erring from the straight path.
2-65/66 And certainly you have known those among you who exceeded the limits of the Sabbath, so We said to them: Be (as) apes, despised and hated. So We made them an example to those who witnessed it and those who came after it, and an admonition to those who guard (against evil).
7-165/166 So when they neglected what they had been reminded of, We delivered those who forbade evil and We overtook those who were unjust with an evil chastisement because they transgressed. Therefore when they revoltingly persisted in what they had been forbidden, We said to them: Be (as) apes, despised and hated.
I’m off for a night with boys. Good evening!
Have a splendid evening, Levent.
I did. Thanks Cymbeline
I like the parable of the Good Samaritan. Do you know that parable, Levent?
I made a fool of myself twice on Myt and in a private conversation because I misunderstood the term samaritan. I looked it up again. Very good indeed.