Monday, July 11, 2005

Courageous cowards

The blog fallout from the London bombings seems to be continuing. The question that no one seems to be asking is, what part or responsibility do we have for these actions. Similar to post 9/11 sentiments that I had - what are we doing to engender so much hatred for us? (Us being loosely used here to represent the west, or the imperialists, or the capitalists) After 9/11, I discovered a lot of information about why we are hated and when I put myself into their mindset, it was easy to hate us (because, though largely unannounced in our media, we do plenty of raping and pillaging on this planet).

You know in lots of American movies, there is a formula. The antagonist usually has a very large ego, is arrogant, and often has power that takes incredible cleverness to defeat. (the protagonist is this clever person who always seems to vanquish the antagonist spectacularly at film's end, yawn) The audience buys into the collective hatred of the antagonist, waits for him/her to get his/hers, and cheers and applauds for the protagonist's final defeat of the antagonist.

In a way, that is how many of our "haters" see us: our actions are defiant, arrogant, publicly self serving (why wouldn't we do something in our best interest, right?) and though we claim to be on the side of good, we ignore the millions dying of famine and brush under the rug civilian death statistics in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. That is because at the root of it, we believe our civilians hold more value than "theirs".

I am not on the side of violence, either from them or us. What I am on the side of is understanding all the points of view, because by truly understanding our neighbors, we are less likely to want to hurt them. (I hear you now, what if we understand and try to act respectfully of this understanding and they still end up hating us? That's a good question, but I think it's contrary to human nature to hate people or countries who act altruistically. Just MHO)

And finally, I am sick of people referring to these guys as cowards. What a self delusion. In the movies, if the protagonist shoots the antagonist in the back from a hiding place, we hoot and holler just the same. Blowing up innocent people is a clever way to get our attention.

If we civilians, who vote into power politicians to represent our will (however successful that is in reality) then we must certainly accept some blame for their actions.

In every conflict, we seek out the enemy's weaknesses - how is this any different?

Call me naive, call me unpatriotic, but frankly these terrorist guys are unbelievably courageous, whatever their ends.

Using my Yoda voice: Two, it takes, to tango.


r said...

I don't call blind belief courageous.

I see your point, understand it, agree with it somewhat, but blowing up people, including yourself, for a fanatical belief, whatever that belief is, is not what I call courage.

I wouldn't call them cowards either.

I find myself wondering how disenfranchised I would have to feel to go to these measures. How far I would have to go to think, "hmm, here's a way to get people to notice me, and get them thinking my way."

To me it's a very immature point to get to. "You won't do things my way, so I'm going to hit you." We might as well be in the sandbox.

Not saying we don't deserve hatred and disrespect, but I don't think that's what these bombings and attacks are for. It's to intimidate us into doing/believing what they want.

Bullies. Both of us. And I've never thought of bullies as possessing courage.

tornwordo said...

Ah but courage is simply the will to do something in spite of your own fear of doing it.

Do you think God distinguishes between people who, though they have the means, do not save people from dying of starvation (thus killing by inaction) and those that actively kill others?

There's agression, and passive agression. Both evil. Passive agression is when you cause (evil) results through inaction.

That we can not imagine the mindset of these terrorists, they certainly think they are on the side of good. In my mind, the 3000 dead in the 9/11 attacks is not nearly as evil as 2 million dead in Rwanda during the Clinton administration (he was too busy bombing Bosnia then, so we couldn't be bothered to help feed those Africans).

And if the US Gov is watching, I am not on the side of the terrorists.

r said...

"There's agression, and passive agression. Both evil. Passive agression is when you cause (evil) results through inaction."

Does intention have anything to do with it? Or does it not matter?

If I am driving down the road and I hit a woman who ran out into the street and killed her, is it the same as if I knifed that person to death? Both are my fault, right?

I don't believe we caused the 2 million Rwandans to be killed. We could have stepped in, we should have stepped in, but we didn't directly cause it. We do have a responsibility to help others, but how do we decide who to help?

I cannot equate the direct attacks on the World Trade center and the London Metro system with the existance of starvation in the world.

And, personally, although I haven't spoken with him about it lately, I don't think God really takes the time to decide who or what nation is more evil than the next.