Saturday, September 15, 2012

muslims and their sensitivities

ok this is seriously getting out of hand. muslims need to seriously take a fucking chill pill. this is not an acceptable way to behave in the 21st century. if you can put down the burning flags and stop incoherently yelling for a few seconds, and read this, you'll understand why.

background: some dipshit made a film insulting your prophet and you're angry. the matter of fact is that no one gives a shit, really. only you do (the yelling, screaming ones). what they fuck are you protesting? i have a few ideas that may answer that.

first speculation, you may want to us government (which has nothing to do with this, mind you; it's not like they posted the film on their department of foreign affairs) to somehow stop this. newsflash: once something is out on the internet, it's almost impossible to contain. i can't explain why in a blog post, but suffice it to say that it's not a reasonable request.

second speculation, you want the us gov to punish the film's creator? you can't make that kind of request: the guy didn't break any american laws. if your logic that doing something that is illegal to muslims but ok by other laws is protest-worthy, then there is a long list of things you should be protesting: gay marriage, consumption of pork, consumption of alcohol, strip bars, open relationships, interest on loans, convicted thieves not getting their hands chopped off, adultery going unpunished.. the list is too long to include here. get it into your heads: you can't protest laws into effect in other countries. (a small aside here: the concept of freedom of speech is alien to most muslim countries, unfortunately. the idea that anyone can say anything within the confines of law is baffling. these countries have a few layers of limitations of speech that muslims are born with that the idea of such freedom is somewhat frightening. these layers include limitations of said freedom from the state (censorship in many forms), cultural limitations (you can't always say what's on your mind), religious limitations (islam is a way of life, not an additional layer of spirituality, so it literally defines the way one lives one's life), so the idea that certain things must not be questions and certain characters must not be insulted is accepted and normal).

third speculation, you want protection of religious sanctity? this is where things get interesting, for two main reasons: (a) which religions and (b) what's sanctitous? what these protesting muslims fail to see is that islam is far from being the only "true" religion (shockingly enough, all these religions claim they are the true ones, that only their gods are truly holy, that their religious figures are holy and must not be insulted). now say we agree that religion is something worth protecting by a state (which i personally think is not - a brief look at its results will tell you why), it will be a tall order for any legislator to put laws affecting that. i mean, which religions do we protect? the abrahamic ones (judaism, xianity and islam)? the "eastern" ones (hinduism, confucianism, buddhism, sikhism)? the more modern ones (mormonism, scientology)? how about historical ones (pharaoh gods, norse gods)? sci-fi ones (from star wars, or battlestar galactica)? the list goes on and on, hundreds of religions with hundreds of gods and thousands of holy relics. from a non-religious state point of view, followers of these religions all appear to be the same: they can pray to whatever imaginary friend they want, follow whatever imaginary laws they want, as long as they don't break the state law. now law will protect religious freedoms in the sense that one can practice whatever religion one wants, which is cool, but the law will not prosecute people for criticizing or making fun of a religion. regardless of the religion. i've seen fun made of every religion out there (this cartoon is ultra insulting to most major non-islam religions and not not suitable for work or humanity, yet perfectly explains my point), and it seems most adherents take it in stride. the only people who go out burning things are muslims. it's shameful, but true. 

so what to do? first of all, really, honestly, no one gives a shit about these films. this guy was nobody without the protests and only your misplaced anger made the film noticeable in any way. but much more importantly, none of these insults affect your life in any way. why are you so angry that someone insulted your prophet? you make fun of other religions all the time! you make fun of eating pig and drinking alcohol and having sex. you make fun of eastern religious symbols and deities because they are so alien to yours (in fact, you declare them blasphemous because religious adherents may kneel before statues or carvings of their gods). i don't recall a single buddhist saying anything about that. why is it just muslim symbols that shouldn't be criticized? so the first thing you need to do, is to stop taking everything so personally. muslim history itself states this: the prophet and his followers were insulted all the time, yet they never acted like barbarian hordes. instead they built a fucking civilization.

second, and this one is key, there are many, many, many, MANY, MANY MORE PRESSING ISSUES TO PROTEST IN YOUR PART OF THE WORLD! breaking into an embassy or burning the american flag will not improve your quality of life. it will not better educate your kids. it will not root corruption from your government. it will not increase your freedom of expression. it will not increase your manufacturing output. it will not increase your contribution to humanity's sciences or arts. it will not relief the misery of your "brothers" in palestine and elsewhere. there is are many much, much more important things that need to be addressed. there are so many more problems that need the attention and time of everyone. arab and muslim countries rank near the bottom of any meaningful ranking of countries (healthcare, education, invention, arts, patents, creativity, etc, etc). i'd much rather see a protest against the curtailing of freedoms, or the rampant corruption in governments, or in efforts to improve education.

i'd prefer to see a father teach his child that she can change the world with her words and thoughts, with her hard work and creativity, not with how loudly she can scream.

update: an important dichotomy exists in the us (indeed, the west in general) when it comes to freedom of speech. that is, of course, the anti-semitism laws, which limit free speech from insulting or in any way criticizing jews and judaism (and by sad extension, israel). this has been the foundation of the argument that most religious leaders in the region are using to point to the well-earned hypocrisy that the us government displays and say "we don't want islam to be treated in a special way, we just want the same protection that judaism gets." a well presented argument, i must say, because despite the historical relevance of the abuse of the jews in germany, this has nothing to do with the way the modern world works. just because a people were abused at one point, it doesn't mean they can do no wrong. by that logic, there should be laws protecting insulting native americans, native aboriginals in australia, genocide victims all around africa and others. having said that, this protection of the jews isn't done because they are helpless victims - it's because jews were able to insert themselves into the lifelines of western countries (mainly, the economy) and pressure and convince these countries to enact such laws. sadly, both sides (muslims and israeli jews), justify the anti-religion sentiment many intellectuals are developing, in that when it comes to protecting what's precious, both jews and muslims commit heartless atrocities.