"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Some Dumb Guy

So Pastor Terry Jones, of the weirdly-named Dove World Outreach Church, is going ahead with his plan to host International Burn a Koran Day, which may or may not also feature bobbing for apples.  Fun for the whole family, if you are a family of assholes.   He is going ahead with this despite General Petraeus specifically calling him out, saying it would endanger the troops, which seems pretty indisputable. 

                                                     (Not the Terry Jones from Monty Python)

Strangely, he makes a good point, saying "'We think it's time to turn the tables, and instead of possibly blaming us for what could happen, we put the blame where it belongs — on the people who would do it.'"  There is an element of truth to that- we very rarely say that the people who are rioting over a damn cartoon have responsibility.   It is both misleading and insulting; it takes away agency from people, as if they are children incapable of doing anything other than responding to stimulus.

However, there is a big difference.  This is intentionally enraging people in order to draw attention to yourself.  Of course he has the right to do this (though I don't know if it qualifies as incitement), and should go ahead.  But burning things to make an angry point seems more like something done by those you are protesting.  It is also a little strange that everyone is debating whether or not he should be burning the Quran, instead of saying "this fucking guy wants to burn books."   It is amazing how many steps backward we keep taking, and insane that I am nostalgic for the more pastoral and tolerant right wing of the George Bush era.

Incidentally, props to the Washington Post for being the only publication (that I've seen, though I didn't go very deep) to say they will most likely be burning translations of the Quran.  In Islam, if it isn't in Arabic it isn't the real book, just a shadow thereof.   Of course, there is nothing inherently godly about Arabic, so it is all the same to me, but at least the WaPo knew what they were talking about.  

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