Friday, September 10, 2004

Have Not Forgotten!

“Is this live? Is THIS LIVE?”

No one answers. Everyone is in shock. “LIVE” is written in bright red on the left-hand top of the screen. All four of us are frozen in horror as the second tower crashes to the ground. The kids are playing on the floor –happy, and oblivious that their lives have just changed forever.

“Is this LIVE?”

“Shut the fuck up!” the man was visibly shaken and me asking if it was ‘live’ 100 times in some weird state of shock was making it worse.

Justrose, and her S and little P, had walked into our shore house only minutes before. I had called her while they were still on the road to tell them what was happening... I’m not sure they really believed me. I didn’t blame them…I was watching it live and didn’t believe it.

The screams, the paper…it just keeps falling and flying. My God, we have no idea how many people are in there…Are there people falling? Are they jumping…oh God….oh my God…

The man and I turned at the same time and just looked at each other –it felt like forever –it felt like we had an understanding of all that was to come in that moment. We looked at the kids together too –thanking God that we were in NJ and not New York. This vacation was supposed to be in New York…a skyscraper tour. At the last minute we had decided the kids were too young and decided to go Ocean City (132 miles away from Lower Manhattan).

The boardwalk was so surreal that day. Radios and TVs were on in each of the use-less trinket and surf shops. Everyone looked like zombies –as people passed we looked at them and everyone nodded at each other in silent understanding…and shock. The kids wanted to go on rides, to go on the beach…they didn’t understand that we couldn’t. We just wanted to be back at the house-- in front of CNN. The tugs wouldn’t let up and we finally gave in and walked to the beach…horrified to see a black line of smoke that was creeping down the horizon. Within hours, giant battleships were visible in the far distance –lined in front of the death cloud that seemed to have no end.

We couldn’t call anyone –being so close to NY our cell phones were all useless. We were all together, but the feeling of isolation and utter despair was unbearable. The Pentagon, Flight 93 in OUR state…how can this be happening? Who the hell is Usama Bin Laden? Al Qaeda? They’re gone…how can they be gone? I was at the top of that tower…I have pictures…somewhere…shit where the hell are they?! I have to find them as soon as we get home… I don’t understand…You guys can’t leave –just stay the night. I know you want to be home, but all the bridges are probably closed. OK, well please be careful and call me as soon as you get home if you can get through…

Justrose, S & P left. The boardwalk was to be closed for the next two nights because of security concerns --How do you explain that to a three-year old and a one-year old while shielding them from the ghastly truth? We put on a movie in the back room for them and sat in the living room –all night…eyes glued to CNN –in horror, anger, tears, spewing profanity and guilt –that we were so happy that we were there –in that smelly beach house, in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Click here - go three down to 'Remebering 9-11' and listen to this Chilling Flashback

20 comments:

Kat said...

I was alone in the house. Taking a shower and getting ready for work. I came out of the shower and sat on the end of the bed, combing my hair and getting ready to watch a few minutes of news before I had to finish getting ready. The TV was on mute (it was CNN). As I combed my hair, I was vaguely watching the screen, reviewing in my mind all the tasks I needed to get done for that day.

I noticed that the picture on TV was of New York and one of the buildings was burning. I had no idea what had just occurred. Honestly, the first thought that went through my mind was to check what channel I was watching. The footage seemed familiar like a shot out of the old movie "Inferno". The next thought was, "oh yeah, that Arnold Schwarzeneggar movie is coming out, must be previews."

Just about then, Aaron Brown appears on the screen. His lips are moving, but I don't hear anything. I start thinking to myself, "this is real"? I grabbed the remote and fumbled for the mute button. Aaron Brown was continuing his comments, "...small plane flew in to the building. No information on whether this was an accident or not." Aaron Brown is on top of the building where CNN is housed, his back to the burning tower. The camera has Aaron and the towers in focus together.

I thought, "What the hell? Some guy was taking a tour of Manhatten and ran into a building? How could he miss it?" Aaron was still talking, but, since they had no new info, he was basically repeating what was already known, which was nada.

My mind at that time had not taken in the fact that the hole and the fire of the burning building was really big for a "small plane".

About that time, I saw another plane, I couldn't tell it's size from the distance, enter into the screen and bank towards the building. I think my mind went numb. I couldn't really think. I could just see the pictures. I only remember Aaron saying something like, "Oh my God, another plane..." I saw the plane hit the second tower. From the angle of the CNN camera, the plane had went behind the building so you couldn't really see the point of impact. Just the huge fire ball that errupted and the cloud of smoke.

"Oh my God, another plane has just hit the second tower." Aaron was saying.

I didn't know who the hell Osama bin Laden was, but the next thought that entered my mind was "terrorists". I didn't know which group or what reason, I just knew that this was a senseless act of violence and "terrorists" were involved.

Aaron Brown kept saying something about not having enough information. They were trying to confirm some information and they would tell us as soon as they had it. I swear he said it about 30 times. Continued to say that they did not know if these were commercial airliners, cargo planes, or something smaller.

It is 8:05 AM CST. I am alone in the house.

The rest of the day I sat there and watched the news. Every moment thereafter, every new plane that crashed, seemed like it was adding a layer of cotton to my mind. Harder to think through. Only see and react.

You know, I saw the people jumping out of the buildings, but I didn't "see them". Not that first time. Not that day. I remember hearing the reporters saying, "Oh my God, people are jumping. 1-2-4, some are holding hands or each other as they jump."

I couldn't see them, you know? My mind went blind. I could only hear. Hell, even when the buildings came down, it didn't seem real. All those "extras" running through the streets of New York. It was a movie right?

I wrote about the things that effected me the most on different posts on my own blog, but I will summarize them:

The sudden silence after the buildings fell.
The chirping of the firemen's "man down" alarms as the only sound in the eerie quiet.
People like ghosts walking from the clouds of dust, covered in a white powder.
The firefighter sitting on a low retaining wall, puking his guts up.
The policeman who had the arm of a woman whose white coat of powder was interrupted by a liberal dose of red blood from her head wound and he was leading her away.
The lone fireman, walking towards the camera coming out of the smoke and ash, his backdrop a city street covered in white with defunct cars behind him. his helmet was yellow.
Cut to the Pentagon and all I see are the people with heir jackets off and their sleeves rolled up, carrying people on stretchers or just between them.
A black plume of smoke rising above the Pennsylvania field.

I watched it all on my TV. All day, I stayed home and watched. For the next two weeks, all I did was watch the news.

Did I tell you that it's summer here and the cicadas make a chirping noise that is eerily similar to the "fallen man" alarms I heard on that day?

Is it me or did a giant lump of vengence choke you up?

Two days later, it was my nephews birhtday. I took him to a store in the strip mall. Part of the building was damaged by fire. My nephew looked at me and said, "Did a plane hit that building" I explained that it was damaged in a fire last month, didn't he remember? We were going to be ok.

But, right at that moment I vowed vengeance. Maybe that's not PC, but anytime some kid has got to ask you if a building was destroyed by someone and you have to explain, it's time to get the war on.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

I remember being at work, a consulting assignment for a major electronics retailer, and sharing a cubicle with a consultant from Egypt, of all places. At some point in the morning I noticed people sort of streaming down the hallways of the large open cubicle area, first in onesy-twosy, and then pretty much everybody, headed in the direction of the cafeteria, where there was a big-screen TV. My co-worker went to go check it out, and hadn't come back right away, so I went too, finally. I was probably one of the last on my floor at the company to see the images of the towers being hit on 9/11/2001.

Then about fifty cell phones rang in rapid succession, and I knew what it was. People in the National Guard being called up. One of the big-wigs at the company was making an announcement that employees with Guard or Reserve military obligations were free to go to their units for their emergency meetings and roll calls.

When the news anchormen describing the attack mentioned the terrorist hijacking situations, I could see my Egyptian co-workers countenance just SINK. It's like he instantly caught pneumonia or something, and he didn't look well. We walked back to his cubicle and he told me a little story.

When he was in Egypt he had a favorite uncle pass away, and he was really sad about that, so he started spending time at the mosque--reading the Qu'ran, reflecting on life, etc. At some point a "doctor" with eyeglasses came up to him and started helping him in his scriptural readings, and started to interpret the passages to him. Over time he seemed like a life mentor, sort of like a Muslim version of "Mr. Miyagi" in The Karate Kid. Yasser's life changed as a result of the man's teachings, and he started to grow his beard, and yell at his sisters whenever they dressed in a way that pushed the boundaries of Shariah laws.

As it happened, Yasser's father worked for Egypt's version of the FBI. This father pulled Yasser aside and asked him why it was he had been "acting wierd" lately? What gives? Yasser explained to his father the nature of his visits to the mosque, and then Dad asked the name of the man he had been meeting with, and he answered, he said "as your father I FORBID you to meet with this man ever again. He is TROUBLE, I tell you. BIG TROUBLE. Do you hear me?" In respect for his father, Yasser stopped visiting the man at the mosque. Over time, he stopped yelling at his sisters for inappropriate dress, and he shaved his beard. Back to "normal" for a young man his age in Al Kahireh (Cairo).

Well apparently the name of that man Yasser had been meeting at the mosque was one of the ones mentioned on the TV as a terrorist mastermind working under Osama bin Laden for these attacks. The unease he expressed was due to a sense of how close he had come to getting wrapped up in that whole "world". It piqued my curiosity. I asked him what it was about it that made it feel so right for him at the time? He explained.

Our conversations went on for days. Our fingers were whacking out program code, but our mouths and brains were engaged in going over what it was about radical Islam that had appealed to him so much when he was a young man in Cairo. I won't clog this post with all the points of what the attraction was, but I will say this: Yasser came from a very wealthy family, and his case handily dispells the myth that it's "economic desperation" that leads young men to that movement. If anything he would have been sacrificing his family's resources if he chose to follow that group and get disowned by them. My best attempt at summarizing the big appeal is that it was logical from the perspective of a belief in the Allah of the Qu'ran: you are either submitting to Allah, or you're not. If you're not, Allah has no use for you in this world. Yasser dispelled the myth that it's all about "hatred". "It's not for hatred of Americans or even hatred of Jews, but rather, but love of Allah." He explained the rewards in heaven that are said to await someone who becomes a martyr in Jihad. It was tempting to him, a RICH young man, because, as he said, "I had riches in this life, but what about the next? Maybe if I don't join up with that group I would be poor in heaven?"

A father's restraint had virtually knocked sense back into him and pulled him back from that precipice of zealotry. Ironically, honor of parents is ANOTHER core tenet of Islam, and when there was a conflict between the Jihad preachers and the Islamic value of honor for parents, he chose the latter. What I glean from this is that a lot of people are similarly met with choices regarding the Jihad warrior stance, and the peaceful stance, within Islam. It's not a choice we Americans can make for them, as certain Democrats very arrogantly claim we can do. We can provide assistance to mosques for the peaceful faction of Islam, and that would help, but ultimately the debating sides between "let's kill those who aren't like us" and "let's be peaceful and not let our worship of Allah become murderous of others", will have to settle between themselves what it is that Islam will ultimately BE in the world. If Jihad Islam wins, a war of total annihilation will be upon us, whether we choose to recognize it or not. Even if we don't fight them in that way, they will be fighting us in that way. If Peaceful Islam wins, we should see the results in the form of less and less support for al Qaeda. They won't necessarily gravitate toward western-style Democracy, but they'll also reject terrorism if their side wins.

A struggle for the Islamic soul is going on within Islam. There are people like Yasser's father; and there are people like Musab al Zarqawi. If the latter sort of people prevail, 9/11 will just be the first in a long string of increasingly devastating attacks, and the attackers won't care if entire Muslim nations get bombed to smithereens as retaliation for it--they'll accept the martyrdom and sacrifice as an honor (on behalf of those about to be sacrificed, that is).

There is a similar struggle for the American soul, on this side of the world's oceans. With copious arguments we've seen what that struggle is. On one side there is the very worst element of western society, demanding that America hamstring itself with international influences, strictures, and speed bumps on the way to effective defense. The reward they offer for this set of restrictions, is that France or Germany might send a battalion or two of blue-hatted metrosexuals to some Area of Operations to watch as our guys continue to fight. On the other end of the American struggle, we have reservation of the right to act with broad coalitions when they CAN be brought together, and without them when they CAN'T, and to keep the eyes firmly on the prize of victory. I think I'll go with the latter, myself.

Bigandmean said...

Kat,
I agree completely...it is time to get it on. Let's roll.

Frater Bovious said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Frater Bovious said...

cigsmokinman, may I cut and paste your comment onto my blog? I've been trying to think of some appropriate post in honor of 9/11, and frankly, I can't do any better than this.

Please advise. fb

ALa said...

CSM:
Wow, what a powerful story. I feel that people don't understand that 'real' Muslims are not moderate. I know that Moderate Muslims exist, but I think of them as most Catholics I know -church on Christmas and Easter (Not all Catholics people, just most). They don't hate us because we are 'free' -they hate us because they are commanded too, because we exist, because we are not Muslim and because we still breathe. I am sure they hate the back-sliden Western Muslims all most as much as they hate us. Unless those C & E Muslims unite with a strong voice -their religion is in peril. Americans will unite stronger than ever (regardless of the election results) if something like what happened in that Russian school happens here. We will dismantle any group that infringes our right to protection against murderers...I can envision interment camps once again...I hope that the moderates begin to take back their religion before any of that comes to fruition...

Tammi said...

I was home by myself that day. I had the news on and was running around the condo trying to gather my files for a big meeting. I hear the newscaster say something about a plane hitting one of the WTC Towers. I grabbed the phone and called my best friend at work in Indiana, to tell her what had happened. She had taken her first trip to NYC just the week before and had been enthralled by the towers.

As I'm telling her what happened, she says - "It's Terrorists. It's Bin Laden". Just then the second plane hit. I started crying. She started crying as I told her what happened. She just kept saying, it's Bin Ladin, damn him. over and over again.

We had a friend stationed in one of the embassys that had been bombed. He died. That was my introduction to Bin Ladin and his philosophy of terror.

I called my Mom and we both just started praying together right there on the phone. I then went to work, to be with people. I needed people. They sent us home early, as so many were heading to CentCom and McDill for Duty.

I went home with another close friend and we spent that afternoon comforting her two girls and trying to deal with the sound of fighter jets flying over constantly.

3 days later we got hit with a tropical storm, and I was trapped in my house for 3 days. No power, nothing but a cell phone. I was pulling together trucks to haul juice up to the victims and rescue workers in DC and NYC. As the worst of the storm was hitting, I was sitting in my bathroom, in the tub, watching the memorial service on a 1" screen portable TV while on the cell phone trying to locate my trucks and get them to the check points.

It was a week I'll never forget.

Thank you all for your stories. The telling and hearing helps.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

Frater Bovious, I'd be honored to have you repaste my comment in your blog.

Ala71, I don't think talk of internment camps for Muslims in a general sense, is quite appropriate at this point in time. While Islam worldwide is probably at about a 50/50 balance in Jihad/Peace attitude similar to our American 50/50 balance between Democrat/Republican, I think most of the ones that are in America are on the Peace side of Islam, probably on the order of 85% to 90% of the ones that are here. The ones that are here who are Jihad types, definitely track those down, and I say ignore the snivelling and whining of the leftists when those get interned at Guantanamo or other places, but I think of that as different from the type of internment that happened to the Japanese during WWII. It should be in a discriminating way, with evidence that they are at least tacitly supporting Jihad causes. Certain mosques need to be infiltrated so a determination can be made if the Mullahs there are Jihad type or Peace type. If they are Jihad type, break them down, take them down, and roll them all up, every last person who regularly attends. That sounds draconian and you can bet the ACLU will screech and scream about it, but I personally don't care. Let them whine.

Overseas, many of the Peace type Muslims find it so hard to believe that any true Muslims would engage in terrorism, that they actually do think al Qaeda to be an agitation group controlled by Israel. That's actually a rumor being spread around by the Saudi national government in an attempt to discredit al Qaeda cells among their general population. The utility in that is obvious: if you are a devout Muslim and you suspect an al Qaeda operative is secretly doing Israel's bidding, you're not going to help him.

So the struggle within Islam for the "soul of Islam" is not by any means a shoo-in for the Jihad types. Historically, one of the biggest problems for Jihad type Islam has been internal division. When the al Mohad Moors started squabbling among themselves, they became relatively easy prey to the Spanish Reconquista, for example. Suspicions of being an Israeli puppet can plague any terrorist organization, and cause some cells to mistrust others, and even fight each other. Israel should be encouraged to encourage the perception that they are manipulating these groups.

ALa said...

CSM: Don't get me wrong...I am not saying I am/would advocate such a step as interment camps. What I was saying -if something as extreme as taking children hostage and bayoneting them, etc. happened here -I can see it happening (or being necessary for their own protection). There is an A+ Mini Market around the corner from me. It is owned by Indians (very dark skinned). Before 9/11 they were always rude to everyone -equally. Ever since 9/11 they have been SO nice. I know many in the neighborhood (not realizing that they were Indian and not Arab) stopping going in there -I heard from others that some people had been horrible to them. I feel sorry for them -as the actions of radicals have made so many people's lives harder (and I am sure there are 1,000s of stories like this)-and I can't really fathom the 'less PC' or less culturally diverse parts of the country being restrained if another attack occurs.

ALa said...

CORRECTION: I meant to write InterNment (as in confinement) NOT interment (as in put their corpses in the ground)...sorry -brain works faster than fingers...LOL. Thanks riceburner -though I hope everyone knows that I'm not THAT radical!

riceburner147 said...

i knew that.......l, rb

redleg said...

I was at Quantico, in class at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College when a Lance Corperal came down the the hall telling all the groups to turn on their TVs...we watched it from there....we were discussing low intensity conflict that day. How apt

My wife was supposed to doing a medical appointment at the Pentagon that morning, and many other military spouses were at the Pentagon that morning as well. She decided not to go and faxed her paperwork over instead. A friend of mine had his office destroyed that morning while he was out at training at Fort Belvoir...lucky. Many were lucky that day, many were not. Took several hours to figure out that my wife was all right at her building, then 2 hours to get off Quantico and a couple hours more to get back to Falls Church with 395 shut down. A long day, but people were nice on the roads that day. They seemed to understand everything had changed. How sad that so few remember that now.

Just got orders to Afghanistan again, 2nd tour. Yee-ha.

So we'll see.

ALa said...

redleg- Do you know when you'll be going? I know someone else that is heading back to the 'Stan in a month or two...
Wow, that mad me sad to read that --all of you guys feel like friends now...

cheeky monkey said...

I was supposed tp be in the Capitol building for an event with the COngressional leadership. Along with my boss and other colleagues were headed via Amtrak to DC when we heard about the first plane, then the second. Anxiety and and rumors started flying through the train-- we had no tvs and our cell phones were barely working. My husband was frantic to get ahold of me, unsure if we were in DC yet or on our way, and there were still rumors that the capitol had been a target--or had been hit. It was all so unclear. And terrifying being cut off from the TV. Were train lines going to be attacked? Could we get back to Philadelphia?

The silence stunned me as we got back home. And the bodies falling from the buildings still make me weep.

The next month I was back in the Capitol. This time for the Anthrax scare. Had to get swabbed for exposure, deal with fears of smallpox and at that point decided that I should not travel to DC with my boss every again.

redleg said...

Ala71

it will be in the Spring sometime... no firm dates known until the C17s start lining up at Green Ramp

We just made it public today, I will attempt to blog from over there

free0352 said...

I was in the field with the Marines conducting MOP training, you know, gas masks and the rubber suit. All of a sudden jets from buford air station came thundering over heading north leaving sonic booms. We knew something was up then because they usually don't go that fast. My LT. came screaming up the dirt road in his truck and got out at a run. Thats when the WW2 air raid siren went off and MP's with thier sirens on could be heard far away on the black top road heading for the back gate of camp lejeune. We had a lot of guys in our unit from NY so the LT. separates them and sends them to go talk to the chaplain. Then he just turned his car radio on to talk radio and let it play. You could tell from far away who had family that worked in the towers by who broke down crying while they talked to the chaplain (Jarheads don't cry often). i was worried about my buddy Randal because i knew his sister worked in one of the towers. (she was fine)

after that i couldn't wait to go to afganastan. we shiped out a few days later. all these reporters came down to the beach to watch us leave. they didn't realise we were scheduled to go like months in advance.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

ALa71, this is the statement I was picking nits with:

"I feel that people don't understand that 'real' Muslims are not moderate. I know that Moderate Muslims exist, but I think of them as most Catholics I know -church on Christmas and Easter (Not all Catholics people, just most)."

The statement implied to me that if anyone could be identified as adhering to "real Islam" they should be interned at GITMO, by the assumption that "real Islam" is the Jihad type. To me that plays into the hands of the Jihad type Muslims and wins their argument for them, against Peace type Islam. Refusal to recognize Jihad type Islam as "real Islam" is something all Muslims need to do, and we at the very least need to set the example for it.

Now, it is true that some of the members of the Islamic High Council in Mecca have made some very radical statements, especially pertaining to terrorist activities in Israel. Probably, in a more secretive way, these sources are also whispering a lot more heinous things to Jihad type audiences. So yes, there is an official imprimatur of Jihad within Islam, but there is still a large (probably 48-ish%) faction of Muslims to whom the radical fundamentalist Jihad rhetoric doesn't filter down. It's that unofficial Peace type element (which thinks it IS official) which needs to prevail, and it can do so by simple plurality in representation and taking over the central tenets as adhered to in the IHC. It will be a long process, and not one which is helped by either agreeing with the Jihadists about them being the "real" Muslims; or bugging out of conflicts with the Jihadists; or supplying Jihadist elements with foreign aid which the Democrats think will buy off their "hatred" of us. It will involve a steady and persistent imprint of a paradigm that adherence to Jihad will destroy all of Islam and all Muslims, and from that perspective, it is in the interest OF Muslims to reject Jihad as a general foreign policy to "unbelievers".

The more it is repeated in Islamic circles that Jihad = death and destruction and evil and a plague upon all of Islam, and a WRONG INTERPRETATION of the Qu'ran; and Peace = growth and life and prosperity and education and evolution toward what Allah REALLY wants for His people, and what Muhammed REALLY meant when speaking for Him, then the more terrorist elements will be shunned. It's going to have to be pavlovian, in that regard.

ALa said...

CSM: I wasn't trying to make blanket statements for all Muslims -just my own assumptions/judgments from what I have seen/heard over the past three years. I have heard vague and not-very-enthusiastic admonishments of 'terror', but what I have heard more than that are justifications for that 'terror'...A spokeswoman from CAIR was on Laura Inghram's show the other morning and Laura said to her, 'What is the bigger problem in the world today: The actions of Islamic Extremists OR the US's policy towards Israel?" Her answer: "Both equally"...WRONG ANSWER...and this was an AMERICAN Muslim group. In my eyes if they don't see the distinction there- they are not moderate --you can't compare policy with the chopping off of heads (I know that policy leads to tangible things, but I feel this administration has been pretty even-handed with the Israel/Palestine issue). I used to have a friend (he moved to the Netherlands) who was a 'moderate Muslim' and he would condemn 9/11 but qualify that in the next sentence with how horrible American policy has been for the past 20 years. This is not acceptable to me...and I haven't talked to him since he expressed that opinion -it is his right to have it, but I will not tolerate it. I have had it with PC bullshit muddying the water...
The Qu'ran says the things that I quoted in a previous post...things like "remove the head of the infidel from above the neck" --this does not sound like something that requires interpretation. It seems pretty cut and dry to me. So does 'kill the heathens during the week, the Jews on Saturday and the Christians on Sunday'.
Until this supposed 48% of moderates come forward full force and scream to anyone that will listen -hunt the terrorists down themselves (it is their religion the Al Zwahiri's are hijacking -not mine) -I find it very hard to have any sympathy. It has taken me three years to get here (after 9/11 I sounded just like everyone else...'this isn't all Muslims -some are very peaceful -it's a peaceful religion'), but this is where I am now. I don't believe it's a peaceful religion (look at how they treat their woman for Christ's sake) and I don't believe that the moderates will win the struggle for it -silence never solved anything! We are in a Holy War with radical Islam and if the moderates are forced to choose a side...to which will they go? (I think that was the real meaning of 'If your not with us you are against us')

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

ALa71, it's true that this administration has been more even-handed with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but the U.S. is still officially and firmly "a friend of Israel" in a way that is highly offensive to Palestinians and their Muslim sympathisers. Palestinian terrorism makes Palestinian terrorists wrong, but that doesn't necessarily negate the fact that Israel seized its current land mass today in a violent conflict of conquest against Palestinians, from 1947 on up to the present day. The way the average Muslim feels about that was expressed to me by my friend Yasser: "What if Russia took over all of the United States, and after several long decades of guerilla warfare against the Russian occupiers, the U.N. finally prevails upon them to give you Ohio as a 'homeland', and every time one of your loose cannons does something wrong, everyone in Ohio suffers for it with rocket attacks, demolition of entire city blocks, and random shootings of Ohio citizens?" That's pretty much why Israel as an entity isn't very popular, even among Peace type Muslims, and to be quite honest, it isn't very popular with me, either.

What CAIR does a very bad job of expressing is that Palestinian terrorism is a wrong way to do what is essentially justifiable: to fight to get that land back. The Qu'ran would require such a war to be conventional (non-terroristic), but some Palestinians get frustrated at attempts to adhere to requirements they know exist.

One need not indulge in "PC bullshit" to recognize that land was taken from the Palestinians and the U.S. just winked at it, even while the U.S.S. Liberty was getting shot at by Israel, and even while Israel helped itself to billions of dollars in American aid. One can, for example, indulge in Pat Buchanan's expression of remorse over this--and still remain quite conservative.

I understand the frustration you have with what seems like double-talk from the Peace type Muslims, but I also understand to a great extent how frustrated they can get in trying to tell their "brothers" not to attack the friend of their enemies. Terrorist tactics can certainly be scolded on a Qu'ranic basis, but to accept the seizure of Palestinian land by Israel, is a more impossible pill to swallow.

The Qu'ran, like any scriptural work, has statements that conflict and contradict with other statements found elsewhere. It's one of the problems a human being runs into when he gets it in his mind he's going to write a book and pretend it's "God" that wrote it. The decision of which statements to adhere to is an interpretation exercise not unlike what you find in Christianity and Judaism. Some Christians, for example, believe the Bible demands genocide of all non-Christians, because of some of the warlike statements attributed to "Yahweh" in the Old Testament. If entire memberships of entire religions had to bear the stink of the dirty laundry of some of their scriptural passages, no single organized religion could really escape scorn.

The treatment of women in Islam can best be understood by looking at the differences between the status of American women in the 1950s and their status today. Looking back to that time period, honest Americans would not say that America was "abusing" women back then. It was a different attitude about the different roles and responsibilities of women, and a 1950s person implanted into today would probably view today's mores as excessively... "PC". Even today's conservatives probably "grok" Shariah law a lot more than they realize--that women should focus more on home and family, and not be off pursuing careers; that dress and behavior patterns should be more modest; etc. It is ironically a person like Whoopi Goldberg who would have the most to lose, with her gutter mouth and absolute lack of respect for anyone, least of all herself, in a Muslim society, and yet she seems to be one of Jihadism's "useful idiots". It's kind of like a wealthy capitalist like George Soros being duped into believing Socialism is the way to go.

Anyway, I can agree to disagree about where the Peace type Islam is liable to go. They don't want a war of total annihilation, of the sort the Jihad types are trying to bring on, partly because they know that would all too easily play into OUR hands--we who have more WMDs than anyone would care to want to imagine. Political solutions are trickier and take more patience, but they also don't result in entire civilizations getting annihilated.

ALa said...

CSM: What you just wrote could've been written by me a year or two ago...I did a huge paper for one of my journalism classes about the injustices committed against the Palestinians -and actually used the exact "what if Russia came here' point (eerie!). But then I did a bunch more reading --and I realized that for many (not all) -- the Palestinians are a convenient political tool that they really could care less about. The Arab countries surrounding 'Palestine' have taken WAY more 'Palestinian' land than the Jews have (Jordan, Lebanon & Syria). I know this history with Israel goes back into B.C. times and who knows whose land it was originally...BUT, my point is if Arab countries truly gave a shit they would do something -like give back the land they took, share their oil wealth, etc.
As for the women -that is the point -why do they CHOOSE to live like a pre-historic culture...look at the difference between the green of Israeli and the sandbox of Palestine...
"Poverty does not breed terrorism...terrorism breeds poverty..."

I totally get where you are coming from though -and I was right there with you a year ago...I just can't keep making excuses for people that aren't helping themselves...If we believe that promoting democracy will help stamp out 'terror' -we have to support the only true Democracy in the Middle East.

Though I do have to say that I don't understand why the Jews would even want to be there. The Old Testament talks of the Promised Land -a land of Milk and honey...and I fail to see how that could possibly be located in the Middle East --I think it is here -this is the land of milk and honey...(developing this theory with some Jewish friends).