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Saturday, February 04, 2006

Complete Insanity 


They will not get over these cartoons!

Several thousand Syrian demonstrators set the Danish and the Norwegian embassies on fire on Saturday to protest at the publishing of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad by European newspapers.

Chanting "God is Greatest," the protesters stormed the embassy; threw stones and shattered its windows; burned the national flag and replaced it with another flag reading "No God but Allah, Mohammad is His Prophet."

History.


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Friday, February 03, 2006

Mohammed 


I never want to be lumped with the kind of people that are having a field day with this Mohammed caricature stuff, but I still feel strongly that religious fanatics cannot bully and threaten and restrict those who do not follow their faith. No matter how rude it may be. Here are the offending pictures. (Strangely, I had a difficult-ish time tracking down decent .jpegs of these. A lot of the links were broken or unaccessible.)

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Yep. That's it. These are cartoons. Drawings. Of a political nature. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that America has a terrible and hurtful prejudice against Arabs, both here and abroad, and that we've treated the citizens of Arab and Muslim nations as terribly as we can. But this is different. This goes beyond all that. If those drawings, those 4" by 6" cartoons are worth starting a war over, then something is very wrong and irreconsilable. Fundamentalism, man, is a drag.


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Here's What's Dumb About Fundamentalism 


No matter the stripe, it's dangerous to be a rabid, dogmatic religious zealot. Dangerous for nations within and without. The Taliban are a bunch of lunatics, as is Pat Robertson and his ilk. Yes, they can be compared. The Taliban would like a global Muslim state of repression. Pat Robertson would, too, except a Christian one.

These people are acting crazy in Palestine and Turkey and almost everywhere over the caricature of Mohammed.

Demonstrations were reported from Turkey, where protestors burnt French and Danish flags, to Indonesia, where around 100 men stormed the building of the Danish embassy, chanting "Let's go jihad (holy war), we're ready for jihad."

In Gaza City, the preacher at the main mosque said "those who have published these caricatures must have their heads cut. We we will not accept anything less."

I do not believe in organized religion, but I respect people's right to follow it -- NOT to force it on everyone else. I understand that this is a matter of respect, and I believe that the faith's ban on depicting the Prophet should be respected. However, there is a line, and there is freedom of speech within the secular world. It's part of what it means to be modern. It is part of "progress." It is one of the few things I believe in.

But they are acting like crazy people. These most extreme are medeivel and frantic reactions. I cannot understand this: I suppose that is part of the problem, the cultural gulf, but this is really a matter of compulsion, obsession and dogma. With all due respect to their faith, I am confident I will not go to hell for depicting the prophet and, as I am not an adherant to the faith, it means absolutely nothing to me that He be depicted. It is insensitive to do so, but to threaten to chop off the cartoonist's head is something more real and more immediate and less steeped in the nebulous and particular ancient strictures of an organized religion based in faith. That is murder.

As unacceptable as it may have been to portray the prophet, it is infinitely more unacceptable, to me, to threaten violence over a religious and, really, arbitrary preference. I really find it shocking and scary and I think faith like this, like the people who launched the war in Iraq, is extremely dangerous.


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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Gobbledygook 


The State of the Union Address didn't increase Bush's poll numbers in Turkey.

In the most expensive Turkish movie ever made, American soldiers in Iraq crash a wedding and pump a little boy full of lead in front of his mother.

They kill dozens of innocent people with random machine gun fire, shoot the groom in the head, and drag those left alive to Abu Ghraib prison where a Jewish doctor cuts out their organs, which he sells to rich people in New York, London and Tel Aviv.

"Valley of the Wolves Iraq" set to open in Turkey on Friday feeds off the increasingly negative feelings many Turks harbor toward their longtime NATO allies: Americans. Advance tickets are already selling out across Turkey for the film, which has dialogue in Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish and English.

This is a little unsettling and the first thing I wondered was, Who the heck would play these parts? Would they get American expats, or American looking Turks? Not exactly.

The movie's American stars are Billy Zane, who plays a self-professed "peacekeeper sent by God," and Gary Busey as the Jewish-American doctor.

Yes. The bad guy from "Titanic" and the fat guy from that TV show about fat people.

God bless America!


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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Not That We Haven't Seen Enough 


Of Christopher Walken, but I really like to think that he builds robots in his spare time. Lazy Sunday Afternoon.

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Nice.


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