Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Settle down on the playground

I know I’m supposed to get livid over things like this, but I find myself strangely philosophical about it.  I’ve heard of kids shows in Palestine approaching on the bizarre when it comes to indoctrinating kids to hate other people.  If you don’t think there’s something screwed up about that culture, then perhaps we just need to take a closer look at their children’s entertainment.

Gateway pundit points to this dialog regarding a guy in a bunny suit on a children’s show (Assud is the rabbit):

      Saraa: Did you see the West's attack against the Messenger [Muhammad]? What do you have to say about this?

      Amaani, (10 year old girl by phone): I say to the cowardly infidels...

      Assud: Criminals.

      Amaani: Criminals.

      Assud: Do you boycott Israeli and Danish products?

      Amaani: Yes

      Assud: You don't eat them at all?

      Amaan: I don't eat them at all.

      Assud: Great! Keep it up!

      Saraa: We will all boycott Danish products, and Israeli products first.

      * * * * *

      Saraa: What can we do for the Messenger?

      Inaas, (10 year old girl by phone): We can fight them because they cursed Allah's Messenger.

      Saraa: 'Tomorrow's Pioneers' army will redeem the Messenger, with their possessions and their blood, Assud, and will not let them repeat this attack.

      Assud: If they repeat it we will kill them, by Allah.

      Saraa: In His will.

      Assud: I will bite them and eat them!

Nice.  Those Danes might look tasty, but…
So we can argue all day about how its all Israel’s fault for the mental state these people are in, and that they wouldn’t be this foundational hatred if Israel had never existed, but you can also argue convincingly that there are some cultural issues at the heart of this, and Israel is just a scapegoat.  There are many groups of people who are suffering far worse at the hands of their own government, and they aren’t screaming death to anyone.

Regarding the tendency for many fundamental Muslims to rage against the machine every time they feel the least bit of disrespect toward them or their religion (think specifically of the cartoons published in many places, but notably Denmark) they cry bloody murder, literally.  Death to Denmark.  Death to Israel.  And while we’re at it, death to America.  Can’t leave them out.

This behavior is strikingly similar to pre-adolescent maturity striking out when pride has been injured.
Basically there are a few ways that a person can react when someone takes a shot at their pride.  One is to ignore it, which is what we try to teach our kids to do.  Sometimes you can’t ignore it, and you takes steps to either remove yourself from the scene or appeal to a higher authority.  In the kid’s case this would be a teacher or parent, right?  We would prefer that these responses be the ones our own children would use.  However…

Another possible approach is to defend yourself intellectually.  And by that, when I think of a 10 year old I’m thinking of ways you can jab back verbally, making it a war of words until you come up with the quip that will ensure legendary status in your lunchroom (“I know you are, but what am I”).  Either way, getting verbal jabs in gives you an outlet for your emotional stress.  Defending yourself verbally is they way many arguments SHOULD happen.

Now, here come the complaints from moms everywhere.  No, I don’t really advocate this in the extreme.   Abusive comments and cursing are also something I don’t encourage in my own children.  But if you can’t verbally defend yourself to the neighborhood bully it eventually might lead down this next path.

And that’s physical violence.  We often think about the adult who gets goaded into starting a bar fight because someone insulted his mullet as “infantile” and seriously lacking in self-respect.  If your only response to insult or demeaning comments is to attack the accuser physically, then perhaps you never really graduated from 3rd grade, emotionally anyway.

Now I must admit that whenever I see Muslim responses to criticism or insult, no matter how slight (or in some cases how misunderstood) I see the group acting like the 8 year old down the block who’s mother probably didn’t love him enough.  Unfortunately, like the mullet-sporting bar fighter above, you can’t go back home and regain that respect from your mother’s love.  At least not entirely.  And the Arab/Muslim community isn’t going to get over this by concessions from the west, nor is Israel rolling over and moving to Palm Springs going to repair the damage.  That must come from within.

There’s actually a better Christian answer for this,  but that’s for the individual, and I’m talking about a group and a culture.  Christian individuals, according to the faith, are supposed to expect insult and oppression.  We’re also supposed to take it, because if you can’t get someone to become a Christian by demonstrating it faithfully and defending it logically, then you’ve got nothing.  Muslims probably have a better response to critical statements about their religion than “Death to infidels,” but unless they use it they appear every bit the tike on the playground who lashes out at kids calling him fat.  Is it any wonder that we don’t take them seriously?

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