Monday, February 06, 2006

a sign between posts

quran quote 5-32

If you are wondering about my ability to write Arabic, it hasn't suddenly taken a quantum leap; rather the above script is a GIF from the front page of Muslim Aid, a well-known UK muslim charity. Right now I'm having a decidedly conflicted, ambivelant reaction to the Danish Muhammed cartoon dust-up. I've been working on a lengthy post about it, as well as the wreck of the Salam-Boccaccio98, a huge, devastating common carrier accident which may yet yield a thousand dead but which hasn't received a lot of attention, perhaps because people are focused on these stupid cartoons. The Jyllands-Posten cartoons were originally published in September. Why are people suddenly reacting to them now, nearly six months later? I find myself increasingly skeptical of the motives of people stirring things up on both sides of the divide. Xymphora observes that perhaps this whole brouhaha started because of right-wing politicos in Denmark wanting to press the case for anti-immigration legislation, and that sounds about right to me.

But I also wonder if demonstrations in some Muslim countries are "spontaneously" occuring because the ruling classes recognize that focusing the discontent of the locals on the west might serve their purposes. Bashar in Syria is reputed to rule with an iron grip, and you'd think that if he really didn't want these demonstrations in Damascus, they simply wouldn't happen. But with George,jr suggesting from time to time that he'd like to invade, one can well see that he might be feeling vulnerable, and eager to capitalize on an opportunity to give Syrians an opportunity to vent some ire towards the west. I'm reminded of Mookie(Spike Lee) throwing the trash can into the window of Sal's pizzaria to save his boss from an angry crowd in Do the Right Thing; a scene that you usually have to explain to white folks, but not to blacks.