Friday, May 02, 2008

help me out here

Yesterday I went to my second academic conference at CSUF (which was a great help to me, as it allowed me to legitimately skip the second day of discussion on female sexuality in my Spanish-American history class).

This is the academic conference that I should've submitted a paper for, but didn't. The topic was the modern Middle East.

The more I think about it, the less sense it all made.

Yesterday I learned that the government is trying to hide the stories of soldiers who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, trying to silence them so that they can't publicize the atrocities of war.

Interestingly, I learned this while sitting in a library built with government money, on a chair purchased with government money, in a room powered by electricity bought by government money, enjoying air conditioning paid for by government money, next to a girl eating baklava bought with government money, from the mouths of three soldier-students whose education is funded by government money, watching the animated nodding heads of a number of tenured professors surviving off government money.

Cruel censorship indeed.

Yesterday I also learned that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is a moderate religious organization that believes in non-violent confrontation and the peaceful implementation of Sharia law by the Egyptian government. The Muslim Brotherhood has been oppressed, persecuted, abused, and many of its leaders have been imprisoned or killed.

Granted, I was probably skeptical of a group called "The Muslim Brotherhood" to begin with, but, for the record, I had no background knowledge of the group and my tabula rasa really was rasa.

But I have learned a thing or two about Sharia, and I did have to do a double-take when, just as she was talking about the anti-violence stance of the Brotherhood, the presenter brought up this slide on her Powerpoint:

Maybe it's just me, but this does NOT look like the emblem of a moderate pacifist human rights organization.

Somehow I just can't see a bunch of CSUF professors or students nodding sympathetically at a presentation on the afflictions and political persecution of an organization with an emblem, say, like this:

(If you think my swords are bad, you should've seen the one I tried to do with assault rifles.)


Bahamat said...

Not like anything you'd see here? I've seen quite a few Christian organizations, clubs, gettogethers, soforth and whatnot that use a Bible and crossed swords as a logo. But we use wholesome straight longswords rather than their evil menacing curved saracen swords.

Yea, that definitely makes them not worthy of our sympathies.

mle said...

Hey Brian,

No, I don't doubt that there are Christian organizations with swords in their logos. I just doubt that your average US college student/professor would be half as eager to sympathize with that kind of group as they are to sympathize with an extreme Islamic group (even if that group is "moderate" compared to extreme extreme Islam).

It just wouldn't be PC. Eating tabbouleh and wondering why the Egyptian government would prosecute/punish a group known for assassination of its government officials is.

And I would doubt, across the board, the avowed pacifism of any group -- Christian or Muslim -- that uses a weapon as a central part of its logo.

The other thing that bugs me is that if a Christian fundamentalist (or even a non-religious conservative) advocated implementing some of the tenets of Sharia (e.g., limitation on the rights of women in the public square), that would be evil, oppressive, paternalistic, etc. But you can get up in a university campus anytime and complain that governments like Egypt's aren't instituting Sharia, and that's okay. Popular, even.

It's a very very strange thing.

Daniel Jackson said...

The only question I have is whether, as a hypothetical Queen of England, MLE would behead, excommunicate, or merely remove from employment the Archbishop of Canterbury over his suggestion of implementating Sharia in the UK.