Leaving the comfort zone


by Sunny
17th December, 2005 at 10:18 am    

The world can be a bizarre place sometimes, not always turning out the way you want it to. At such times I’ve always felt better in re-thinking my thoughts and stances than stubbornly hang on to it or pretend it never happened. Others may not always follow this strategy.

Iraqis protested against Al-Jazeera on Thursday for broadcasting a talk-show clip implying the Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani should stay out of politics. Al-Jaz has always been seen as being biased towards Hussain and the insurgents. Most Arabs may of course prefer to ignore that, as they would the fact that their Iraqi bretheren seemed to have embraced democracy with gusto that no one expected.

Those of us against the war have a duty to support Iraqi democracy because it now rests on their will, whatever the original intentions of the idiotic monkey popularly known as George Bush. Providing he doesn’t fuck things up further with more bad intelligence. Those who believed him the first time only have themselves to blame, and those who now slavishly lap up his rubbish may make it again. Many hurdles are still left.

Meanwhile everyone prefers to ignore the bigger problems of environmental degradation and unequal world trade because thinking change there means giving up comforts we are used to. Better to bury our head in the sand and let our politicians host more useless conferences that achieve nothing (while the USA keeps throwing tantrums).

This practise is quite familiar to the Muslim Council of Britain, which apparently stands against oppression worldwide but says very little about the Iranian President’s recent anti-semitism. Too close for comfort maybe. Of course it would help if the Israel administration wasn’t so two-faced about the Palestinians it “accidentally” kills and flouting UN directives, but then trying to get both sides to see sense is a thankless task.

The writers at Harry’s Place faced a similar dilemma yesterday when they admirably interpreted the Australian race riots through a straightforward set of principles, but found not everyone saw it that way. That victim mentality rears its ugly head again.

Everytime there is a problem, people retreat to what they feel safe with. We ignore the Lebanese gangs striving for local turf; Palestinians who want a simple life; women in Australia and Iraq who have become spoils of war between macho men with beer bottles and bombs; police that wants greater power over our lives; and lastly, as my rich uncle in L.A. says, “people who are being dumbed down by the elite through this media”.

I learnt today: if you want enlightenment, first you have to travel. And finally, my apologies for not staying away for too long.


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  1. Steve M — on 17th December, 2005 at 11:07 am  

    It’s good to have you back here. We’ve missed you.

    Those of us against the war have a duty to support Iraqi democracy because it now rests on their will, whatever the original intentions of the idiotic monkey popularly known as George Bush.

    So right. To develop ones anti-war views into pro-insurgency views as many have done, often as the result of a pathalogical hatred of Bush or the US, is a disgrace. Whatever the rights or wrongs of acts committed, we can only ever deal with the situation that we find ourselves in now. Of course we should act and speak in the interests of the Iraqi people, not against the interests of the UK or USA.

    Having said that, I believe that democracy and freedom in Iraq was the intention of Bush (that and ensuring the oil supply to the West). One can certainly criticize the intelligence upon which he acted and the reasons that he stated for invasion but, I believe, democratization was one of his intentions.

  2. j0nz — on 17th December, 2005 at 1:14 pm  

    I learnt today: if you want enlightenment, first you have to travel. And finally, my apologies for not staying away for too long.

    I don’t really have the means to do so at the moment. I think I’ll just have to borrow enlightement from others for the time being… Does travelling to the pub/restaurnant count? I do get quite a bit of mine from there…

  3. Shaggydabbydo — on 17th December, 2005 at 3:03 pm  

    ‘I learnt today: if you want enlightenment, first you have to travel.’

    I learned that, by accident, when I was younger – made me the nice person I am today. I’d add ti that ‘travel and immerse yourself with the locals’,

    Regs, Shaggy

  4. sonia — on 17th December, 2005 at 8:39 pm  

    j0nz i think if you’re meeting interestingly different ppl down the pub.. or mebbe going to a different pub occasionally, that probably would count as enlightening travel :-)

  5. sonia — on 17th December, 2005 at 8:40 pm  

    after all there are plenty of people who’ve travelled who’re completely unenlightened, i agree about travel ‘broadening’ the mind but it all depends on the mind. ;-)

  6. Jay Singh — on 17th December, 2005 at 8:49 pm  

    I reccomend J0nz takes a trip to Pakistan – he would be jumping out of his skin with the heebee jeebees as soon as a five year old Muslim child selling flowers even smiles at him – “Oh the terror, the terror!” ;-)

  7. douglas — on 18th December, 2005 at 2:17 am  

    Sunny,

    I am totally in agreement that travel, especially for those that don’t want to do it, would be an enlightening thing. Particularily if they did it alone.

    Why the criticism of Harry’s Place? I’m not sure that I agree with you about the debate there on the Australian riots. It started out as a run to the comfort zone, but it had a lot of people contributing (hard?) facts. There is an appreciable difference in the posts that it started with, and the posts that it ended with. It is also worth acknowledging the follow up where Harrys Place said that white racism was mince, for that is what the so-called reaction in Australia and on their site had been. i thought, think, that was a pretty clear editorial policy that I for one subscribed to.

    I do consider the authors of Harrys Place to be be seekers after truth, even if you (or I) might disagree with them sometimes. Honesty is a rare thing on the blogs and one of the reasons I admire both this site and Harry’s place. There are few enough of you who are willing to allow reality to alter your agenda, and you are both to be admired for that flexibility.

    Back on topic, beating up on people because they come from the same ethnic minority or colour as a few macho lunatics is a poor, poor, response to a grievance, asuming that the Leb gangs really did what was said. I, for one, would have had no issue with a direct, and hopefully verbal sending off of these morons, by an overwhelming number of opponents if necessary, but racists use grievance without any direction. That is the risk that you identified with the Birmingham riots, where demagogues or shock jocks (is there a difference?) ran with lying liars agendas and catalysied a situation into an explosion.

    Seems to me too that, in both situations, there was a failure to police accurately and correctly. Surprise, surprise.

    douglas

  8. Sunny — on 18th December, 2005 at 10:32 am  

    Douglas, you mis-understand me. I’m not criticising the commentators at Harry’s Place at all. I thought they did an admirable job at trying to make sense of the situation and stick to their principles.

    In that thread, an argument has broken out because certain visitors don’t want to believe or accept the line being taken by HP posters, because they believe they are the victim of other people’s aggression. Once a person plays the victim card, it’s hard to get them to see to see the other argument, as that thread perfectly demonstrates, I believe.

    Seems to me too that, in both situations, there was a failure to police accurately and correctly. Surprise, surprise.
    Agreed.

  9. douglas — on 18th December, 2005 at 1:54 pm  

    Sunny,

    Point taken. The regulars at Harrys Place certainly defended the basic principle that identifying people you disagree with by their racial or religious identity is a stupid and naive thing to do. I accept that there were new posters on there that thought otherwise. More fool them.

    I think that you’d agree they were given very short change. (I wanted to write schrift, or something like that but I can’t spell for toffee). My point is simply that Harrys Place, for all it’s faults, is an open forum with some incredibly intelligent posters, including your good self. Where for instance do you find a Venichca anywhere else? You’ll always get a few bampots wherever you go, but Harrys Place is pretty well policed, in the sense that rubbish opinions are challenged.

    Sorry if I seemed aggressive and thanks for the chance to clear it up.

    BTW, I think you are doing a great job.

  10. Uncleji propping up the bar — on 19th December, 2005 at 1:33 pm  

    “As my rich uncle in L.A. says, “people who are being dumbed down by the elite through this media”.”

    A uncleji who talks Noam Chomsky, what is the world coming to…..

    Hey are sure that your family are Punjabi ! Normally discussion doesn’t get past property prices, those evil muslims/sikhs/hindus (delete as applicable), ogling the au pair & where the daru has got to.

  11. sonia — on 19th December, 2005 at 3:54 pm  

    ha ha uncleji’s got a good point.

  12. Sunny — on 19th December, 2005 at 9:53 pm  

    Haha! I know uncleji, but this uncleji of mine is highly intelligent (even at the ripe age of 83) and a fantastic entrepreneur. I expected him to be a rapid republican but he hates them with a passion. A very down to earth dude. And a Singh at that. Indeed, what is the world coming to?

    Douglas – I agree. I don’t always agree with the view that the posters on HP take but I believe their principles are sound. And yes, Venchika is a gem.

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