Friday, February 10, 2006

Joke about Moslem Mullah, Catholic Priest, Minister and Rabbi in Airplane With Engine Trouble Officially Banned

A Jesuit priest from Brooklyn, who I knew when I was in the US army in Germany during 1966, told me an interesting story about his experiences when he was in Nigeria working as a teacher in the local school system.

When it came time for the students to participate in physical education training it often became difficult to get the students to agree on what games to play. The priest suggested that the group take a vote and that the majority voting for a particular game would settle the issue. Good old democracy on the playground would win the day. Instead these Nigerian students most often rejected the concept or majority rule and would simply break into groups bent on playing the game that their group favored. It seems to the priest that the American concept or democracy was totally foreign to them and rather hard for them to embrace having had little on no experience with it.

I think this story may also demonstrate a parallel to what we are seeing today with the violent reactions in the Moslem world to the Danish cartoon that depict the prophet Mohammed’s turban in the shape of a bomb.

Let’s face it, in the west; nothing is really sacred when it comes to defiling religious icons. Jesus it more of less a go to choice as a Halloween costume with your date probably dressed up as the Virgin Mary in fishnets. Not many are going to get their articles of underwear in a knot about it. Well not enough that it moves them to, lets say, riot and burn down the local infidel’s embassy and kill a few innocent bystanders.

One close comparison in America is really the way ultra right-wingers freak-out when some kooky hippie decides to burn a American Flag. Something I never thought to be that effective, except in it’s ability to quickly polarize people dislike for one another. The hippie would argue that it’s just free speech and an inanimate piece of cloth. The redneck sees it as an attack on the “American way of life” tantamount to blowing up the Washington monument on the 4th of July. It was not that long ago the rednecks were demanding a constitutional amendment to protect the flag from further harm while most of the world wondered what all the fuss was about over a national symbol anyway.

Well I say get a life to the Moslems and the Rednecks. Where is your freaking sense of humor? Must it always be just death and more death with you guys?

Rednecks like to argue that people “died for that flag”. Well did they really or did they die protecting the homeland and their loved ones? It would seem somewhat foolish to me to be dying for an inanimate piece of cloth with red and white stripes on it, or a cartoon making fun of Jesus. Here I must ask what would Jesus do? I guess that some kids in the getto have killed for a pair of air Jordan's shoes, Just as misguided you'd say.

It demonstrates a certain level of insecurity when people become afraid of ideas alone or inanimate objects like flags or cartoons, akin to the radical Moslem world’s reaction to this drawing. Or the way rednecks act when some one burns a flag. When it comes to flag burning America takes the cake. In Canada or Europe you could probably burn a truckload of national flags and probably be considered different but not necessarily revolutionary.

It also demonstrates the gulf between the way most of us generally think in the West versus the Moslem world. Which I think has a connection to the story about the Nigerian schoolboys. People in other parts of the world sometimes just don’t grasp concepts of how society should live and be governed that we in the west often take for granted. Is it for us to say it's backward?

Who knows. It has never been demonstrated to me that the war in Iraq was a direct threat to our security on the level that it was worth having Americans die. Which is the only reason such sacrifice could ever become necessary.

To some extent this is the mistake that Bush has made in Iraq. Thinking the mission would be accomplished so easily once we offered them the chance to form a constitutional democracy. Most of these people find the concept foreign and contrary to what has been their experience. They are comfortable being divided along the lines of tribal and religious sects. Religion is often part of government not separated from it.

The other very ironic thing about all this death and destruction brought about be a cartoon is the fact that the current Bush government often plays the same reactionary church and state mixing cards he is quick to criticize the militant Moslem nations about. No wonder that our founding fathers clearly saw the need to keep god and government separate. A belief based on their negative experiences after seeing hundreds of years of destructive religious driven wars in Europe. A concept that Bush and his religious zealot cronies failed to see when reading the history of the western world and therefore find hard to apparently now conceptualize.

The left leaning masses also shouldn’t cower about standing up to Moslems and rednecks who say that these cartoons and flag burnings should be banned.

I hope that liberals don’t take the politically correct course of least rĂ©sistance on this issue just because of their fear of not being preceived as tolerant or having an understanding of the downtrodden Moslem masses. One of the Moslem demonstrators had a sign that said “to hell with freedom”! To conclude that these radical Moslems are right would be beyond taking a hypocritical position I think.

All this certainly demonstrates the extremely polarized world that the Bush foreign policies have created since he came to power. But not to worry for we have a secret weapon in under secretary of state Karen Hughes who's understanding of Moslem world is widely known.

Fifteen minutes with Hughes and we can probably stir up a war with Iran and Syria too.

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