Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bus Stop in Jerusalem Bombed: Here We Go Again?

I don't run into hatred of Jews all that often in this country. Even so, there are a few here who seem to assume that things they don't like are 'the fault of the Jews.'

What, if anything, does this have to do with the war on terror?

I think that hatred - of the Jews, Western civilization, dogs1, mice2, and new ideas - is a big motivation for outfits like Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

In my opinion:
  • Islam is more than just
    • The anti-mouse contingent
    • Terrorism
  • Islamic Terrorists are more than just
    • Folks with wacky religious beliefs
    • Oppressed
      • Minorities
      • Majorities
      • Whatever
I'll get back to my take on the guys who want women back behind burqas, looking (one insisted) at the world with one eye.

"One eye?!"Remember: the 'one eye' and 'mouse' nut jobs (my view) are not all there is to Islam. Neither is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques: although it's easy to get the impression that Islam is a House of Saud franchise. And that's almost another topic.

Do I think Israel, and the current administration there, is perfect, a paragon of all virtues? Hardly. Folks living in Israel are human beings: and perfect is what human beings are most certainly not.

On the other hand, I'm not inclined to add "and it is the fault of the Jews" after each of these excerpts:
"A woman was killed and more than 50 people were wounded when a loud explosion shook a busy street in Jerusalem as the evening rush hour began on Wednesday, authorities said.

"Several of the wounded were critically injured in the first serious bombing in Jerusalem in four years, authorities said.

"Mayor Nir Barkat condemned the 'cowardly terrorist attack' in which 'innocent people were hurt.'..."

"One person has died and more than 20 others are injured after a bomb blast at a crowded bus stop in central Jerusalem, Israeli officials say.

"The bomb had been left in a bag by the side of the road near the central bus station, police said.

"Dozens of ambulances converged on the scene near the entrance to the city, and police sealed off the area...."
(BBC News)

"Palestinian rockets struck two cities deep in Israel Wednesday, wounding a resident and prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to threaten lengthy "exchanges of blows" with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

"Islamic Jihad, a smaller Gaza faction and occasional Hamas ally, claimed responsibility for the attacks on Beersheba and Ashdod.

"They followed Israeli air strikes and shelling in the Gaza Strip Tuesday that killed four Palestinian civilians, including three children playing football, and five militants, medical officials said...."
(Reuters Africa)

"A sharp increase in tensions along the Israel-Gaza border has escalated fears of a repeat of the Israeli war two years ago.

"An Israeli attempt to hit Palestinian militants who had fired rockets at Israel went horribly wrong on Tuesday, with mortar shells killing three youths playing soccer and a 60-year-old grandfather leaving his house.

"Later, in an unrelated attack, the Israeli air force killed four militants in a car. It said they were members of Islamic Jihad on their way to launch rockets at Israel...."
(The Sydney Morning Herald)

"8-year-old boy's transfer into Israel was coordinated with PA; Israel offered medical treatment to civilians injured by IDF mortar strike.

"An eight-year-old boy from Gaza who was seriously injured by an IDF mortar shell was transferred to an Israeli hospital on Wednesday.

"The IDF's Gaza Coordination Liaison Administration said that the boy was transferred into Israel by ambulance after it coordinated with the Palestinians...."
(The Jerusalem Post)

Bias by the Bushel

It's fairly easy to plug in biases about "towelheads," Jews, oppressor classes, or shape-shifting, space-alien lizard men: and blame Them.

Whoever planted that bomb was probably motivated, at least partly, by something that happened in the last few years. Maybe "Zionist aggression." Or regrettable toilet training. I really don't know.

Root causes of what we're all dealing with in the Middle East go back about 11 millennia - and that's almost another topic again.

The point I'm trying to make is that I have trouble thinking the Middle East mess is a simple good guy/bad guy situation. Which isn't the same as thinking it's okay to kill somebody at a bus stop. No matter how big a snit the person is in.

As for most Palestinians, I sympathize with the folks who want to raise their families and keep their jobs or shops. They're in a tough position. There's what I understand is essentially an unresolved property dispute - and they're being 'helped' by neighboring rulers who seem to be determined that Palestinians get plenty of weapons, but not much money.

And that isn't another topic.

Not Killing Your Neighbor: What a Concept!

The idea has caught on, in many parts of the world, that it's not okay to kill your neighbor.

Even if your neighbor isn't related to you, doesn't go to the same church, doesn't wear the same clothes, and doesn't act exactly the same way as you do.

It's taken a long time, but today we've got the European Union - which would have seemed impossible, I think, only a few generations back. The country I live in is in its third century of not killing people because they don't go to the right church. America isn't perfect: and I've discussed that before. (July 3, 2008)

It is possible for folks who aren't exactly alike to live near each other, without trying to kill each other.

'We've Never Done That Before'

Change hurts, change happens. I've said that quite often.

Here in America, quite a few articles in business magazines discuss how to deal with someone in the office who can't - or won't - accept a change in routine. These days, a business that can't deal with changes in the market often fails.

That's this country.

I've gotten the impression that some parts of the world, like the Middle East, folks have been dragged over several millennia of change in a generation or two.

It must be a terrible shock to go from a world of one-eyed burqas to one with several hundred channels of television pouring dog food commercials, Bay Watch reruns, and Disney cartoons over a culture that hadn't changed much since the days of Abram.

No wonder some folks went a bit crazy.

Burqas, 'Those Muslims,' and Ephesians 5:22

I said I'd "get back to my take on the guys who want women back behind burqas." Here goes.

I think - besides religious, economic, and apparently psychiatric, issues - some of what's bothering folks who blow up bus stops and flew planes into skyscrapers is a matter of domestic power.

I've read explanations of the position of women in a 'truly' Islamic society, written by Muslims who live in cultures that don't have a problem with women who can read and write. I believe them.

I also think that there are others - men who are convinced that their village is the only 'truly' Islamic place in the world - who have very different view of women.

For that matter, there are folks who are convinced that they alone are 'real' Christians, and who live by Ephesians 5:22: not Ephesians 5:21-30. I'm a practicing Catholic, I'm not allowed to ignore the 'big picture,' and that's a topic for another blog. (A Catholic Citizen in America (December 14, 2010))

The Odd Case of the Anachronistic Electrician

The place of women in society has changed a great deal during the last half-century: at least here in America. I think much of Western civilization went through a similar change.

It hasn't been easy. And still isn't, for a few folks. Like this one electrician.

Not too many years ago, an electrician came to my household. My wife had noticed an issue with part of the electrical system, and had made arrangements for him to come. Purely routine stuff.

Until the electrician arrived. He wouldn't talk to my wife. Not about the wiring issue. The three of us spent maybe 20 minutes in the kitchen: he'd ask me a question, I'd ask my wife, she'd reply, and I'd repeat what she said.

She and I think it's funny: but I can see how not everybody would.

The anachronistic electrician was harmless. He's a man from another era, who apparently couldn't cope with a woman who knew more about a technical issue than her husband. I was there to act as an interpreter, and the job got done. Case closed.

Someone from a place where folks really believe that a husband has a right - even a duty - to kill his daughter if she 'shames the family?' That person is, I think, anything but harmless.

I think tolerance is a good idea. As a member of a religious minority, I'd be nuts not to urge tolerance. But there's tolerance, and there's the sort of clueless 'let's placate these people' attitude. And I've discussed that before, too. (October 21, 2010)

Related posts:
News and views:

1This awful, horrible, offensive, unclean puppy outraged the sensibilities of Muslims living in Tayside, UK.

2 Puppies aren't the only Western threat to Islam:
As I wrote in 2008, "I'm not making this up."

Not all Muslims are offended by puppies, I'm pretty sure. Or see Mickey Mouse as an agent of Satan. I've given my take on culture, and Islam's image, before:


Brigid said...

Extra word? "I have sympathize with the folks" "There's what I understand is essentially an unresolved property dispute"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian H. Gill said...


Extra world: due to a hurried revision. Ditto the is is which I seem to have already caught.


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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.