My last post dealt with the injustices, at least as seen through these Western eyes, of Sharia law; it’s harshness and lack of humanity. Since writing that article another Muslim/Western crisis has arisen, one I originally determined not to comment on as I had no wish to appear anti-Muslim, but as the Western media seems determined to whip up an anti-Islamic frenzy (at least, in America) I feel the need to instill a little understanding, if not sanity, to the situation.
The event referred to is the imprisonment in Sudan of British school teacher, Gillian Gibbons, for naming an innocent teddy bear, Mohammad.
In truth, however, my subject goes way beyond this single event. In many ways the jailing of Gillian Gibbons results from eighteen Saudi Arabian, and one Egyptian, hijackers committing the acts we now know simply as 9/11. Except, it was not so much from that act, as from the aftermath, that arose the events leading to Mrs Gibbon’s ordeal.
Recently, a blogger friend asked me this question:
“When you are outraged, do the words just flow or do you take time to pick and choose and rewrite?
Many years ago I learned perhaps one of the greatest and most relevant lessons it is possible for we humans to comprehend. It consists of just three words, which if we all adhered to them, would change the world we live in almost overnight.
It is this: “Don’t react; respond.”
Like everyone else, I get outraged at the many heinous crimes afflicting humanity today. Sometimes, I receive comments or emails railing against views I have chosen to express. I have a choice: either to react to those vituperations with similar rhetoric, or to calmly analyze what the protagonist is saying and offer my own measured response.
To answer the blogger friend’s question, when I am outraged I find it better to do nothing until the rage is passed, then I no longer feel the need to react, and I can address the subject with at least a modicum of logic and impartiality.
What has this to do with Gillian Gibbons and 9/11?
In the aftermath of 9/11, the world turned its sympathy and love towards the United States. Had America, in turn, chosen to respond to that sympathetic element, this planet would today be a different place altogether. Instead, under George W Bush, America chose to react to 9/11. We all know the results of that reaction. The aftermath has produced a split in the world between East and West. Muslims view the reaction of America to 9/11 as a holy war against Islam. The incumbent US administration has done nothing to counter that view.
America is known as a powerful nation and Muslims worldwide are frightened and insecure, fearing their religion will be taken away from them by the “Evil Satan” of America.
Let me suggest a possible scenario. First, I would point out that while teddy bears are imprinted in the Western psyche as cuddly, adorable, toys designed to make kids (and the more mature among us) feel secure and loved, this is not the case for Islamic children. Stuffed toys are not part of the Eastern culture. A bear is considered a violent, dangerous, animal in most parts of the Islamic world, so a stuffed one called Mohammad is tantamount to calling the the most holy prophet, violent and dangerous.
Now consider an American schoolteacher, say in Alabama or North Carolina, introducing the class to a pet mouse, and calling it “Jesus Christ”. Would not the strictly Evangelical Christian community raise vociferous objections to such a blasphemy?
I think so.
Don’t misunderstand; the charges against Mrs Gibbons are absurd in any logical person’s assessment. However, we’re not talking logic; this is not about response, it’s all about reaction.
The reaction from the more militant Islamic community in Sudan is based on fear. Fear of America, of the West, and most of all of George W Bush and his reactionary administration.
Most mature Islamic leaders, both in Sudan and throughout the world, condemn the reactionaries demanding Mrs Gibbon’s head on a silver platter, but it’s just another weapon for them to fight with. They know America is far too powerful to be kept at bay, should that nation choose to wage holy war against them. Mrs Gibbons is simply a pawn caught up in a reactionary game. Almost certainly, diplomacy will win the day and she’ll be released soon.
If you stamp hard on the paw of a dog, even a relatively friendly one, the sudden pain will cause it to instinctively try and bite you. It’s a pity that, as human beings, we have not yet evolved beyond the primitive instincts of a dog, and still have not learned that a considered response is superior to an instinctive reaction.
Filed under: Animal instincts