Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Things That Grate Me

There are so many aspects of this supposed terror ring that grate me:

- Global News fear-mongering poll, asking whether we need to adopt the asinine American terror-alert level system. I'm on board, so long as we find a way to incorporate the much ignored color teal.

- "Experts" arguing that the real roots of radicalism are poor socio-economic conditions. I find this logic strange, considering Al Qaeda's top man comes from one of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest families, and the number two is a doctor. You can't explain away radical views with simplistic rationalizations.

- American politicians using a "successful" police exercise to criticize Canada as a bastion for terrorists. Aren't the American hawks constantly reminding people that future attacks are inevitable. When you live in a glass house...

-CBC radio, and others, reporting from the courthouse with a strange pre-occupation about how many international media news outlets are here. There is an overriding bizarre pride with reports that mention how "international" the coverage is, as though Canada has finally made it to the terrorism bigtime. Even during a crisis, it is nice to see we still find the time to worry about whether the Americans notice us.

-The constant interviewing of the suspects families. Don't get me wrong, it is important to have balance, but do we really expect anything other than "this is a disgrace" and "he is such a good boy". Pick a horrific crime, the family is always the last to know and/or except- these interviews add nothing to the reporting.

-Reporters asking law enforcement officials detailed questions over and over, so we can count how many times we hear "I'm not at liberty to discuss the details of this case".

-One of the lawyers for the accused arguing that the suspects are being mistreated because they haven't been allowed to pray together. Yes, it is common practice to allow co-defendants free access to each other so they can "discuss" things. Suspects have to be separated, for beyond obvious reasons.

Generally, the real tragedy with this whole mess is the inevitable wedge developing. Every conversation contains a Muslim and some white guy, as though each has some unique perspective to offer, in turn fueling division and isolation. It is sad to hear interviews with Muslims, wherein they are forced to defend an entire religion, because of the actions of a few radicals. Christians aren't forced to apologize for Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, who regularly broadcast intolerance and hate. The real fear is that an air of suspicion is allowed to take hold in our psyche that could force the Muslim community to internalize and further isolate itself from Canadian society. Tolerance and inclusiveness have seen better days.


SkylarKD said...

Very well said.

Mark Dowling said...

Excellent post.

SkylarKD said...

I quoted you on my blog, and there's a commenter that totally doesn't agree about "the real tragedy". I know blogs are meant to initiate conversation, but arrrgh, some people are frustrating. :P

I think you're spot-on though.

Steve V said...


Thanks for the link!

talk talk talk said...

Agree with you all the way until the Christian analogy. I don't think Pat Robertson et al has whipped up passions in young men to kill innocents, established training camps to teach them how, and fostered cells around the world to blow up places in Muslim countries.

I don't think the Muslim and Christian fundamentalists are analogous, other than they fear change and independent thinking, because they share radically different cultural backgrounds and because the societies in which they come from are in different states of development (rather ironic since a few centuries ago, Christian societies were not as advanced as Muslim ones). The problem for several countries is that globalization is accelerating change in their societies at a pace that our ancestors did not have to endure.

Historically the educated upper middle-class (men) are the instigators of radicalism -- 100 years ago it was the rise of communism. But just how few are the radicals? When streets are filled to the brim after deaths, cartoon insults, and such, when a woman who is proud of her suicide bombing children is elected to a government, when children are taught a rigid form of their religion in muslim schools around the world (including here), I wonder about this assumption.

It's interesting that the lawyer today used the term "beheading." That's a Saudi Arabian term; we normally call it decapitation. Beheading is loaded with righteousity and religiosity; decapitation is a non-emotional scientific term.

Steve V said...


I understand your point. The analogy is more to do with the mutual intolerance, than actual specifics. Although, Robertson has advocated killing those he disagrees with, ala Hugo Chavez and others. I also remember Falwell the apologist, rationalizing the radical anti-abortionists violent tactics.

talk talk talk said...

You're right about the mutual intolerance!

I'd forgotten about Falwell's apologist stance, but then I ignore him much of the time. I wasn't thinking about anti-abortion violence probably because it's targetted very specifically, whereas Bali, for example, was bombed as a scattershot approach to getting those Aussies and if a few of the locals got hit, so what. But...violence is violence is violence, and it's all wrong.

BTW I saw an interesting tidbit on Global last night. A guy saw inside the storage area the night or day before the police raided, and what he described sounds like they were very close to acting out their plans. I think that was the first time it hit home for me just how close we were to being bombed.