Friday, September 22, 2006

Pope Benedict, the Islamic World, and Hooters

What’s wrong with this country, anyway?

Shortly after the Islamic world’s brouhaha brought on by Pope Benedict quoting Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached," I was talking on the telephone with my brother Dave. He is working on his Phd. in History at NU.

I told him I thought the Pope should have included remarks regarding Christianity’s own regrettable "conversion by the sword" history, perhaps the Spanish Inquisition, even the Salem Witch Trials, as examples of violence being done in the name of a religion. He suggested other examples as well. We both thought the Pope could have more successfully begun a dialogue with the Islamic world with a more balanced pronouncement.

We went on to discuss the role of the media including the internet in the modern world to inflame passions. We discussed the historic role of the US and the Western world in the Middle East from the partitioning of lands, to the establishment of "Royal" families, to the CIA’s involvement in assassinations and overthrowing unfriendly governments, the many and varied human rights abuses in the Middle East we have condoned, as well as the egregious human rights violations perpetrated against women, Jews, and Christians in the Middle East by fundamentalist Islamic regimes, and around the world by despots of all stripes, the various failures of the Palestinians to seize opportunities for peaceful resolution of their issues, the heavy handed yet understandable Israeli reactions to Iran’s and Hezbollah’s hijacking of Lebanon, the unintended consequences of our recent actions in the area from the elimination of the strategic enemy of Iran (Iraq) to the elevation of Hezbollah’s status in Lebanon, the role of religion in the world today, the silliness of Venezuela’s Chavez and his remarks to the UN, the debate surrounding Guantanomo, the Geneva Conventions, torture, President Bush’s framing of the issue, George Orwells’ essay, "Politics and the English Language," deconstructrivist history theory, the limitations of military strength in modern political conflict, among other things.

Then I noticed that a rerun of Hooter’s Best of Swimsuit Pageants was on cable Channel 47. There were no Middle Eastern countries represented.

Need I say more.


Monday, September 11, 2006


I will add my two cents to the cacophonic Babel of 9-11 commentary.

This is in memory of all those innocents who were killed on 9-11-01 and also to the innocence our children lost that day and every day since. No longer were we as well able to protect them from the future.

I continue to be hopeful that smarter and wiser leaders will emerge to wage peace against terrorists.

I continue to be hopeful that religious apocalyptic fundamentalism will diminish.

I continue to be hopeful that the deaths of the young people we have sacrificed in this war against war will not have been in vain.

God Bless America and the Ideals we Profess.

I am struck by the fact that the definition of "profess" includes both "to declare or admit openly or freely" and "to declare in words or appearances only." Let's hope it's the former and not the latter.

Bud C.