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February 11, 2006

Dr. Seuss vs WAR

Who knew? Dr. Seuss was overtly political? I know there are metaphors for social relations in his popular children's books but not that he also sketched editorial cartoons. Cool. I wonder if he'd take a pro/con side in the Mohammed cartoon bisaster? Here's some disturbing anti-Muslim discussion on the Sheffield Forum and a bloglink to The Daily Ablution's roundup of UK news coverage from Feb 3rd, which includes some streaming video.

A friend recently lauded Robert Fisk but not so Scott Burgess, who takes Fisk to task.

The debate in Burgess" blog is dense but not very dialogic. Attempts at real problem-solving appear to be made at times but are either not joined or turn out to be posturing. Well into it Henry Barth finally widens the scope:

"Fisk is sloppy. Scott is also. The long term causes of the mess in the Middle East are imperialism and Israel. The proximate cause of this uproar was the Danish imams - I heard one of them being interviewed on the BBC, and he had no coherent response to the question about the three extra cartoons. The Islamic world is going through a civil war. We are in on it, too, because we've been meddling there for decades. Our ham-handed actions help whoever opposes us the most forcefully. The Moslems aren't stupid. They know that without oil we'd pay no more attention to them than we do to sub-Saharan Africa. A pious Muslim is not a fundamentalist is not a terrorist. It doesn't take many people to start a riot. And the media makes the circus. Remember the supposed end of the world fury in Pakistan last week over the attempt to get #2 terrorist with OBL ? I finally saw print journalism that pointed out that maybe 1000 people protested in Karachi. That's nothing - I could hire that many Pakis to protest anything out of petty cash."

From here it devolves again into blame and some kind of partisanship. Fisk does eventually have a few defenders: "First, what are you missing from Fisk comments about the middle-east is the fact that HE IS in the middle east. For many commentators their only contact with the region and its people is the the TV News" (Muslima Voice).

and longsword: "Your comments re: Fisk's article suffer from a lack of context. It's a little like counting the buttons on the tunics of those who fall in battle, or identifying the botanical names of the trees along the parkway where the insurgents fell, and presuming thereby to know the causes of the war. You do not undercut someone's thesis by pointing out that he has spelled a few names wrong.

But, let's get to one of those more egregious contextual omissions which caught my eye:

"Remind me - which "corrupt regime" did we impose on Iraq? On Palestine? Have we "imposed" Mubarak, or the Iranian government just prior to this new clerical one?"

Why yes, of course. The Shah of Shahs (not to mention other such imperial meddling in the Middle East of which I am sure you have some historical awareness -- certainly, the Arab world does). The British collaboration with the United States in order to overthrow Mossadegh and impose the Peacock Throne over the Persians and salvage their oil concessions which Mossadegh had nationalised(British Petroleum (BP) which, over here in North America we knew as British-American (BA)).

"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction". What makes us think this law does not apply to ourselves? It's a little irresponsible of us not to acknowledge and accept responsiblity for the inevitable blowback effects of our own actions."

And here's part of a commentary by a neighbor: "Hello, I am Canadian. I live next door to a fundamentally retarded democratic theocracy. I think that when the United States Democratic Party consolidates all opponents of Republican theocracy they can safely remove the m from their name. I do not think that atheists or Satanists would mind joining the Deocratic Party, to counteract Republican theocrats who hide behind so-called revealed religion, as long as the political authority of their own gods remain unrevealed. I think peoples around this world could apply this to their political aspirations as well."

The last word that (long!) day goes to Besty: "What a crock of s.h.i.t........what a stupid comment, what dictatorship did we yadda yadda.gee the yanks supported hussain,surharto.marcos,noriago,how about the world court desicion about nicaragua or how about chile. U might fool your dumb righty mates but not me.GO FISKY U LEGEND"

Posted by Steph at February 11, 2006 12:03 AM

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