I really deplore people forwarding bogus hoax emails and reposts on facebook that spread lies, particularly those that are designed to incite hatred. In this case someone, who I had previously had considerable respect for, was reposting this hoax:
Except instead of it being about a US lapel pin, it was rewritten to be about an Australian flag lapel pin, taking place in Australia. Basically someone took this hoax email, reworked it, to appeal to Australian bigots, and tagged on the typical “Repost if you agree” bullshit:
There is a reason these kinds of things have to be reposted for them to be seen by anyone, and that’s because they are false. If they were true, then some reporter at a major news network would have jumped on such a story, and you could easily link to the article instead of copying/pasting the entirety of the article.
Anyhow, I linked several articles detailing actual true incidents where Muslims have risked their lives to help westerners and non-Muslims. There are many good people among Muslims, and while we may have differences of opinions and considerable clash between our cultures, we should not let this descend into spreading dirty lies about one another that do nothing but foster hatred. I went on to craft my own response into the torrent of bullshit that was unfolding. I think it is time that someone actively highlight the good qualities of Muslims, and speak out against the lies that are being spread about them. Here was my response:
Everyone on both sides has contributed fuel to today’s conflicts. If you look back at the west’s involvement and the Soviet Union’s involvement, both supplied weapons to opposing sides. The US has been involved in supporting groups that later turned out to be extremist groups. Israel and the surrounding Arab nations have taken very aggressive actions against one another many times. It is easy for any Arab, Israeli, American, Australian, etc. to pick and choose any of these incidences as a way to justify their indiscriminate hate or violence against the other side. Until everyone decides to stop being such whiny fucking babies about the past, history will perpetually repeat itself, and undeserving innocent people will be caught in the crossfire.
1) Stop being such whiny fucking babies and get over the past.
2) Stop being so gullible and falling for every bogus email you get forwarded or reposted on your wall. Read some legitimate news sources.
3) Stop grouping people together by region, country, religion etc. and say they are all guilty of something. It is unfair to the non-aggressors among them. Just like the fictional story about the checkout girl and the Muslim woman, the woman unjustly grouped all Australians together and accused them of bombings. In the same respect, we should not group all Muslims together and try to spread propaganda that paints them as hateful people in this way.
Groups like Al Qaeda and INDIVIDUAL extremists are where our focus should be. The members CHOOSE to be a part of these groups, and therefore it is legitimate to say that they are our enemy, because they have essentially declared themselves our enemy.
Someone born into a certain religion and region however, didn’t choose to be born there or raised that way. Nor do they necessarily agree with the actions of their neighbors.
You might say that they should choose not to be Muslims just because some other Muslims are terrorists. But that would be like telling a Christian that they shouldn’t be Christians because some priests got caught molesting children. Muslim terrorists are not true Muslims, as their actions violate the Qaran. Many Muslims have spoken out against the beheadings and suicide bombings on westerners.
If we make generalizations and try to say all Muslim people of “such and such” region are terrible, then there will be those among them who have been unfairly grouped into this judgement that we have made. We take an aggressive stance towards all of them, then we are victimizing those who did not deserve our aggression and hate.
If a Muslims hates you when you’ve done nothing wrong, then you’re are naturally going to hate them back, because you feel they’ve unjustly judged you. If in turn though, you hate all Muslims instead of that particular person, then you are no better than them. It is thanks to the ignorance of these types of people on both sides that fuels this conflicts for decades. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN IGNORANT PERSON AND NOT BEING IGNORANT, IS THE PERSON WHO IS NOT IGNORANT JUDGES PEOPLE AS INDIVIDUALS INSTEAD OF MAKING GENERALIZATIONS.
This growing hatred turns into violence on both sides. I see videos of deployed military treating locals with kindness, and then I’ve seen videos of them doing some cruel things to undeserving people. The worst I’ve seen is people on highways randomly and intentionally being shot by western contractors for sport. I’ve watched some terrible things. For every video, surely there are many more incidents that have never seen the light of day. Beyond those deliberate incidents, there are many accidental killings of civilians. Just like in law enforcement, a hand in a pocket my be interpreted as dangerous and a cop tazes someone, a similar moment of miscommunication across language barriers can end in civilian blood shed. Such unintentional incidents are unfortunate for both the civilians and the military personnel. I don’t want to paint these military personnel involved in these accidents as bad people. My point is that if you imagine some foreigner coming into your country, and unjustly killing someone you loved, either intentionally or accidentally, surely you would seek revenge regardless of the circumstances. If we try to defend these violent incidents, then we all look guilty. In the case of accidents, I am not saying we should throw those military personnel under the bus. They were doing their job, perhaps in some cases they exercised poor judgement, but in the end they did not intend for innocent people to die. We should at least show some sympathy and regret for those who were harmed in these mistakes. On the other hand, if someone intentionally harms innocent civilians, then in my opinion they are not representing the values of the military and country they serve, and we should condemn their actions.
One could try to compare and say that Muslims have killed far more people than vice versa. This might be true, but that still is flawed justification for judging all Muslims based on the actions on a fraction of there population.
I for one would not live in Afghanistan for example, not out of fear of the Muslim people of as a whole, but for fear of the extremists and militants among them. My hope is that we do not let ourselves migrate into becoming so hateful of Muslim people, that they would fear living among us.
The wife of the terrorist who led the attacks in Mumbai had actually ratted him out to the FBI as a terrorist long before the attacks occurred. The FBI unfortunately didn’t listen to her. But my point is that Muslims will even betray their own family when they realize that one among them is planning to hurt people.
Not only that, but the Muslim clerics in Mumbai refused to bury the terrorists.
We should give each Muslim individual an opportunity to prove themselves as good people. Let us not prematurely pass judgement on them. In this, we can find more allies who will further our cause for peace, and push back against extremism.
Some(notice I say some and not all) Muslim nations are dealing with the same issues western countries have experienced in the past such as extremism, political freedom, women’s rights, etc. It was not too long ago that the prominent belief was that a good wife kept her mouth shut, pleased her man, dressed appropriately, cooked dinner, and made babies. America employed military tactics during the revolution that were considered cowardly and dishonorable. For us to judge Muslim society based on these attributes, is somewhat of a double standard. I’m not condoning any of these things, but I am saying we should not use them as an excuse for hate.
These differences between our more progressive societies, and the less progressive societies of some Muslim nations will be a natural fuel for indifference. They will feel we are trying to corrupt their society with our western influence. While we will see ourselves as trying to fix their society with our influence. They will see us as arrogant and entitled. We will see them as ignorant and barbaric. This is unfortunate, but is a natural clash of cultures.
We do not need to throw more fuel on the fire with blatant bigotry.
Peaceful people on both sides must call for restraint, sense, and condemn hatred and bigotry