Sunday, April 21, 2013

What I Wrote Earlier About a Terrorist's Ethnicity Is Still Appropriate

When I wrote this earlier, it might look like I'm saying we should hate Angry White Guys because they're as much a terrorist threat as any foreign ethnic.  Well, that's only half-right.  There are Angry White Guys out there and they should be viewed as terrorists when they strike at the American population, but what I was trying to convey is that there was - still is - a double-standard.  When an Angry White Guy commits a terror act - shooting up a movie theater, shooting up a church, piloting a plane into the IRS building, shooting up a school - they get treated like individual whack-jobs and "oh we must not blame their background or environment or their easy access to guns or etc": when an Angry Ethnic/Religious Guy commits a terror act, they get treated like there's a VAST ARMY OF FANATICS WE'RE AT WAR THEY HATE US FER OUR FREEDOMS BOMB IRAN NOW (especially when it's a Muslim doing it).

I was railing against the Far Right who take terror attacks - and will most likely use this terror attack to do so again - as an excuse to bring out The Hate for The Other.

Now that the identity of the Boston Marathon bombers are known - two brothers born of Chechnya but raised in Kyrgyzstan and actually raised most of their lives here in the U.S. - it's practically expected to watch the Far Right explode in a flurry of "we told you so" and "it's a JIHAD WE'RE AT WAR BOMB EM ALL".

But let me refer to Charles King here about this:

...In fact, any “Chechnya angle” to the story is overshadowed by the American one. The Tsarnaevs look much more like other homegrown terrorists—animal-rights extremists, white supremacists, anarchists, and lone-wolf ideologues—than like religious warriors fighting on a faraway and exotic frontier.
First, there is as yet no evidence that the Tsarnaev brothers were part of a network of insurgents connected with Chechnya or other areas of Russia’s North Caucasus region. That area—a land of rugged valleys and plains lying north of the Caucasus mountain range between the Black and Caspian seas—has long been a source of instability and concern for the Russian government...  But connecting the Tsarnaevs with this past—at least at this stage—is like wondering about Timothy McVeigh’s Scotch-Irishness: a true but ultimately irrelevant part of the background of the Oklahoma City bomber...
Second, it is unclear whether the Tsarnaev brothers were even from Chechnya itself. Their family ties, at least in the lifetimes of the two brothers themselves, seem to have been stronger to another north Caucasus republic, Dagestan...
Third, the Tsarnaevs were reportedly naturalized American citizens. The real question at the moment is how they became radicalized, what motivated them to launch the attack in Boston, and whether they are part of any larger conspiracy in the United States or abroad...
The family itself is reportedly of Sunni Islamic faith, but outside of early reports about the older brother Tamerlan talking more radically over the past year there isn't a lot of evidence pointing that way.  There's stronger evidence of Tamerlan being a domestic abuser - he was charged with a domestic assault, which blocked his attempt at getting the naturalized status his younger brother achieved last year - than an active member of a terror cell.  He's got more in common with Angry Guys in general.
But that won't stop the Far Right from railing about Jihad, will it?
Here's what I'm trying to say: not every Muslim is a Jihadist.  Just because there's a handful of them - and yes there's handfuls, at most 10 at a time, not 10,000 - doesn't mean the entire culture/faith is at war with Western culture.  Here's a stat: as of 2009 there's 1.57 billion Muslims.  If they were ALL at war with the West we'd be seeing 1.57 billion Muslims rampaging across the globe.  BUT WE DON'T.  The vast majority of Muslims are more focused on these things - getting steady work, keeping a roof over their heads, feeding and clothing their kids - than on blowing up a Coca-Cola vending machine.  There's roughly 20,000 members of Al Qaeda, the primary terror group obsessed with jihad.  Divide 20,000 by 1.57 billion.  You're not even getting 1 percent of the Islamic faith there.  So painting the entire Islamic faith as being violent?  It's not only racist, it's STUPID.
When we get an Angry White Guy rampaging or committing a crime based on an obvious Hate or bias forged of their religious and cultural background, do we paint their entire religious/cultural identity with the same "THEY'RE ALL TERRORISTS" brush?  The guy who shot up a Unitarian church in Tennessee, he was a Angry White Guy but did we blame the culture or religion he came from?  The guy who shot up a Sikh temple thinking they were Muslims - hint: Sikhs are HINDUS, you morans - was a wingnut supremacist, but did we round up all such supremacists as enemy combatants to be shipped off to Gitmo? 
One of the things the media wingnuts like to do is group all of the feared ethnic group - in this case, Muslims - and lump them all into one stereotype: for example, all Muslims are violent.  Their faith preaches violence.  They're not peace-loving like us Christians...
To that I ask: "How many Muslims were involved in the St. Bartholomew Massacre?"  I also ask "How many legions of Islamic troops marched through the Germanic kingdoms of the Thirty Years War?" Actually, the answer is about 60,000 Ottoman cavalry supporting Bohemia during the Polish-Ottoman War, one of the side-wars of the main war: but this is out of millions of Christian combatants leaving behind about 8 million casualties in a roughly Protestant vs. Catholic war.  And it's not exactly viewed as part of a jihadist movement.  And then let's also look at the religious pogroms of the Spanish Inquisition under Torquemada that killed and tortured thousands of Jews and Moors (Muslims).  
As for the Christian faith being peaceful... our first Testament (I don't like calling it the "Old" Testament anymore, I think calling it the "Hebrew" Testament is more appropriate: thusly the "New" Testament should be called the "Christian" Testament) is filled with battles and persecutions and bloodshed aplenty, from which a lot of Christian sermonizing about "just" warfare gets derived.  The Christian Testament itself contains contradictory symbols to where violence in defense of the faith could be justified.  Christianity does NOT come to this argument with clean hands, people.
For every mad zealot of one faith or culture being disparaged I can easily point out a mad zealot of the culture that's disparaging that other faith.  For every extremist of violence claiming to be Muslim or a persecuted nation, there's an extremist of violence claiming to be Christian and persecuted themselves.  Think of the man who killed Yitzhak Rabin: an extremist Israeli killing another Israeli, an Angry Guy killing someone he felt was the source of all his anger.

Screw the ethnicity of the terrorist.  Screw the religion of the terrorist.  The key cause of terrorist action: they're Angry (insert skin color or religion here) Guys, killing to make themselves powerful in their wrath.

Let's rail against that, shall we?  The threat here isn't the skin color or the religion: the threat here is the Angry.  This IS what I'm trying to say.

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