Monday, January 15, 2007

Casual references to genocide

Akinoluna's blog has a depressing post about the attitudes expressed by her fellow marines about Somali protesters outside the embassy where she works. You read the same type of attitudes expressed in the comments sections of many right-wing US blogs, where you can bet on someone suggesting the US "should nuke Mecca" within about ten readers' comments following any post on terrorism/jihad/Middle East wars/etc. It is the post-9/11 version of "Godwin's Law" and a good reason to avoid blogs like Little Green Footballs. But clearly this discourse - propagated via the internet, talk radio and the like - has an effect. Normally you just have to ignore it, thinking that there are ignorant bigots all around the world and probably always will be, and that people who make casual references to genocide can't really be all that serious. But then you remember that it is men with guns and maybe attitudes like these who end up in places like Haditha.


KGS said...

In all honesty, let the trial of those men charged with the crime of killing those 24 people be completed before making sweeping remarks that the men in question were bigots.

Personally, I believe that anyone calling for the genocide of any people has to be taken seriously. If at all possible legal action should be taken if the neccessary laws are on the books.

That said, Left wing blogs can be just as vocal and hate inspired as some right wingerss blogs, though I have never seen Charles Johnson of LFG support/defend inspire anyone to support genocide. Perhaps more monitoring of the comment section is required, but I must admit I don't ever read them.

Akinoluna said...

I think that even though someone who casually calls for genocide may not actually help carry it out, they may very well be the people who stand by and let it happen once it begins.

As for the left/right blog-hate, correct me if I'm wrong but I can't remember ever hearing a "leftie" advocate the extermination of any group of people. I periodically try to read "rightie" blogs to balance out my web reading but I just can't get past the hatred, ignorance, and refusal to learn about and understand other cultures and people.

KGS said...

Present day Leftist advocates are well known for stumping for the removal of the Jewish state of Israel. If that's not a call for genocide than what is?

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

KGS - I agree that there are plenty of leftwing anti-Zionist who support the end of Israel (I regularly argue against one on a web forum I'm a member of and have done for years), but even if some really think it, I don't think I've ever come across people who would call themselves left-wing publicly advocating genocide. The guy I mentioned above for example says things like if "if America loves Israel so much, why doesn't it give them Arizona?". "Anti-Zionists" might be unsympathetic to Israeli casualties from terrorist attacks, but no more than many mainstream right-wing commentators are toward Palestinian civilian casualties, but at least those I've read want Israelis moved somewhere else - saying that is what happened to the Palestinians in 1948 - not killed or "nuked".

The right-wing discourse is more shrill - this might be because some feel they are kicking out at what they see as cloying political correctness - but put "nuke mecca" into Google and the third hit is for a bumper sticker. That might not be a casual reference to genocide, but its definitely someone making money from a casual reference to mass murder of innocent civilians and I find that sick.

And then we have one of your favoured luminaries of the "anti-Jihadi" brigade Robert Spencer taking the time to actually write an article for Front Page arguing why it wouldn't be a good idea to "nuke mecca" (in response of course to an elected representative who had said the US should make that threat). Spencer suggest in one sentence that it is morally wrong to slaughter innocents in revenge, but spends five paragraphs on why tactically it wouldn't work. He himself suggests the idea "isn't going away", but also seems to accept that many of his readers need a practical reason why its wrong to consider the idea, as opposed to just the massively obvious immorality of the act.

And I just love the fourth hit on Google for its sheer depravity - this chap is suggesting we could restructure Islam by destroying Mecca with nuclear weapons, and this is on a "Christian" website that quotes on its front page Galatians 3:26: "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." When I used to go to church I don't remember the minister ever teaching us that you launch nuclear weapons at your fellow sons of God!

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

It would appear that the last link in my above comment wasn't the original, but rather a copy from the "Jawa Report", a blog that every time I read it, it seems to be making some further idiotic suggestion. And this one is even better - from

"But as has been pointed out by Robert Spencer, Nuking Mecca could also be seen by Islamists as a weak action and could serve to unify Muslims and increase Jihad. But this is only true if not done properly and the city is left salvageable within a few years. Once devoted Muslims carry out their next major strike on America, the Mecca plan should be carried out without hesitation or warning. No Hiroshima class atomic wimp-weapon will do, only the 1,000 times more powerful hydrogen fusion device will work for this important job. To be done correctly, a grid of 9 of our most powerful Hydrogen bombs (3x3, every 12 miles, the black stone at the center) are set off at the surface to be as dirty as possible, rendering the entire region uninhabitable for the next few decades. The strike is then repeated every 5 years or so if any kind of clean-up is attempted. Medina needs one too, to prevent Arabs from declaring the transference of the holy site to the secondary location, but Mecca needs to be thoroughlyglassified’."

What a delightful sounding chap.

KGS said...

I see what you're driving at, but the totally disgusting sick ranting from people such as the types you linked to, are not basing their bombastic hate rhetoric on their religion, but on preserving themselves and their secular way of life from the jihadist threat. Nut cases such as they are, have a marginalized secular (and even more marginalized religious) following that has not (as far as I know) crossed over into mainstream Christianity, nor into mainstream Judaism.

You are mixing apples with oranges on this issue. There is no chapter or verse being used to validate their disgusting views, even from the moron at the "Faith Freedom" org, who should be investigated for inciting to commit genocide.

The point being, within mainstream Islam, you will be hard pressed to find very many Islamic clerics, scholars or Imams that will renounce sharia, and their prophet's dictates to wage jihad against the kuffar. There lies the difference. As I have said all along, the violence and intolerance found within Islam, will ultimately be dealt with from inside Islam itself. Islam has shown the capacity to be benevolent and benign (as much as can be expected) in certain areas of the world, the Finnish Tartar community is one such group. But sadly, they could be easily depicted as being apostates by the words of Mohamed and the various hadiths and sunna.

The rest of the non-Islamic world needs to champion the lone voices of "modernists" where ever they may be, and not resort to moral equivalizing the three great religions, especially when the comparisons are bad. Robert Spencer has done the world a great favor in highlighting the stark reality of what constitutes mainstream Islam, how its regularly interpreted and what it means to those of on the periphery of the Islamic debate. Fueled by Saudi petrol dollars, the ease of the wahabbist/salafist successful infiltration of mainstream Islam, signifies the inherent instability in that religion, and the urgent need for it to undergo a massive overhaul. Being the optimist that I am, I see its eventual modernization happening, but most certainly not in our life time. It's time to call a spade a spade.

KGS said...

One more point, concerning the more benign rantings of Leftists concerning Israel, "who just call for the dismanteling of the Jewish state", I invite you to look up the UN's own description of the word genocide, with murder being only one of the descriptives.

As for Palestinian civilian casualties, of which I am not in favor of, they are usually viewed under the rubrick of Palestinian aggression. If the Palestinians lay down their weapons, there would be a peace settlement and Israel would have a new neighbor that would be a part of the family of nations. If Israel were to unilaterally disarm itself.....there would be no Israel nor a Palestinian state either, just a greater Syria, Egypt and Jordan.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

Of course there is huge amounts of intolerance inside Islam, but I don't buy it that this is unique, or that the western voices we have noted above are "marginal" or just crazy. It was a Republican congressman who said it after all! There is unpleasant racist streak in both the US and Europe which is currently being seen in anti-Muslim rhetoric. But in the US it is more religiously based, and my feeling is it is also more widespread. To a certain extent this is just ignorance - many Americans just don't know Muslim fellow citizens to the same extent that most Europeans have experienced due to mass migration (so Finland is relatively exceptional here) - and hence what many Americans know about Islam is shaped through the prism of 9/11. But the huge influence of evangelical churches that are Christian Zionist has added a twist to that, and there is certainly a ready constituency for what I call extremism but many seem to think of as OK. Hence we get back to the casualness of the servicemens' comments in the original post.

And of course there are plenty of biblical verses that are used by right-wing Christians to promote intolerance, and in extreme case even violence, as many gay men can attest to.

KGS said...

There is no verse contained in the Christian testament that exhorts their followers to commit acts of violence towards gay men. That comes from their own bigotry. The same can be said about racism and slavery. While there were those who looked to the Hebrew bible for vindication of the racist view of seperation of the races and enslavement, the majority of Jews and a large portion of the Christian world rejected that interpretation, as being a politically motivated reading of an "ambiguous text".

The US North went to war against its Southern brothers because of it, that ended slavery at the price of over 650 000 dead.

Trying to morally equate present day Islam with the reformed religions of Judaism and Christianity, is IMHO, like mixing apples with oranges. You err when equating a westerners' individual bigotry and racism (that has no solid backing from any of the institutionalized Judeo/Christian religious organizations) with present day Islam, that still remains stuck in the Middle Ages, with none of their most racist and bigoted quotations (direct from its prophet) being even called into question let alone being ultimately rejected (out loud).

Because there is a sudden awareness of Islam over what its followers believe, and the observation of the serious lack of debate (even within Islamic Communities in the US and Europe) over its treatment of women, the condoning of the beating of children to get them to pray, the acceptance (in principal)of pedophelia due to the role model of their prophet, honor murders, condoning of rape,..amputations ect ect., as well as the refusal to condemn sharia law as not being ever an option or goal for the democracies in which they very troublesome and eye opening for many westerners.

Bigorty and racism is a universal traight, the trouble begins when it's given official sanction.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

"There is no verse contained in the Christian testament that exhorts their followers to commit acts of violence towards gay men"

I'm not bible scholar and what I remember of my sunday school seemed to focus on Jesus doing nice stuff - but what exactly does Leviticus 20:13 mean? "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."

Personally I think this isn't a question of theology, but one of sociology. What the Bible or Torah or Quran actually says is pretty much besides the point - it's about who has the power to interpret them and what the various religions' adherents think that they mean.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

KGS, by the way I followed the link from your blog to the reports from Malkin and Preston on Iraq, and from there surfed on to some other linked blogs - in the discussion of their trip on the Jawa report, well whaddaya know? Comment 9: "After real Americans finally lose patience, mecca and medina will be nuked of of maps, along with the other problem areas." It's a law I tell you. :-)

KGS said...

The Christian testament, does not have the book of Leviticus, which one of the five books in the Torah. No Rabbi that I know has ever deemed that practice (stoning) relevant for the modern times.

The Qur'an and Islamic tradition teaches that Mohamed is the supreme example of behavior for Muslims to follow, being the "excellent model for conduct" (Qur'an 33:21) or an "exalted standard of character" (Qur'an 68:4).

This is why it's so damned hard to persuade people that Mohamed's era does not belong in the present "here and now." Having sex with nine year old girls is pedophilia and considered a sex crime. As well as buggering little boys with the blessing of clerics.

Let's be frank, official sanctioning of such practices differs greatly from individual indiscretions.

I'll conceed about the comments in some blogs, they need to be removed, with a no tolerance policy for such hatefull rhetoric. Though I do believe they are out of personal ignorance and bigotry, than based on religious arguments.