If you've followed this blog at all, you'll see that I'm almost apolitical. I stick to popular culture, strange social trends, personal passions (including my favorite, obsolete technology), and random bizarre-iana, with a few swipes at the Writer's Life (such as it is). But something happened today that sickened me so much, I had to write about it. A person I thought I knew well posted the most bigoted video I have ever seen. A woman was ranting in a continual stream without taking a breath, blaming "the Muslims" for all the evils in the world. The point seemed to be that she came from a Muslim background herself, so she knew the score and couldn't be wrong.
When confronted with the jaw-dropping bigotry of this kind of thing, people always backpedal rapidly, saying oh, no, no, we didn't mean ALL Muslims! Then why did they not say "Muslim extremists" or "Muslim terrorists"? No, all the way through this video which everyone praised so highly, she referred to "the" Muslims, a name that reminds me, most sickeningly, of "the" Jews during World War II. Below are my journal reflections on this gut-sinking thing, followed by my response to the video on Facebook, which will no doubt provoke strenuous denial that they did anything wrong. Jeez, can't we say anything at all any more without people being oversensitive? It will be either that, or "wake up, Margaret, they're taking over the world and you'd better accept it as fact."
If I cut loose from social media, and I am VERY close to it now, this video will be the last chop.
I was ambushed today by the most hateful thing I have ever seen on Facebook, something posted by a childhood friend of mine whom I knew to be formerly in favour of civil rights. It was a news video about “the Muslims” with a woman ranting and ranting that they represented pure evil in the world and were destroying everything in their path. It appeared with the caption “This brave woman is risking her life to finally tell it like it is!"
The idea that most Muslims are peaceable is steadily eroding. They are the Jews of our time, and not enough people see it. I could not believe a former friend, an intelligent woman with formerly liberal views, did this horrible thing – it made my guts squirm. Nobody seems to realize that that little word "the" changes everything, because it refers to the entire group. This changes speech into rhetoric and a diverse group of people into a target. Then they had a ranting and raging man in a turban on the video who just foamed at the mouth about the Koran, making Islam look even more innately violent and destructive, but they could just as easily have shown a white supremacist or a member of the KKK. But in the unenlightened public eye, the knee-jerk response will be, "oh, look at that. One of those Muslims."
As I watched all this, I had an awful, gut-sinking sense of a chess game being played on an ever-more-tilting board. A huge number of people are massing against a select group, and it may end the civilized world because it is Third Reich syndrome. All we need now is a Hitler. People hate Muslims because the media is feeding them lies that they are responsible for every atrocity that happens, and that hatred is only massing and burgeoning. The fact this was posted by a childhood friend just stunned me. She obviously believes this stuff if she’s putting it out there and praising this woman as some kind of heroine. I was more appalled than I have been in years. FB is completely poisoned for me now.
This is a response to a video which I felt was misleading. Every day now I see news items which no longer differentiate between the Muslim community and "the Muslims" (terrorists) who are behind all the evil in the world. Living in a city which has a very large Muslim community, this gets me in the gut. Quotes from the Koran are pulled out of context to demonstrate how primitive "they" are in what "they" believe. I try to deal with this issue below.
Using this terminology ("the" Muslims, which she used repeatedly) paints them all with the same brush, refers to the entire group and does not differentiate between the peaceful and the murderous. I am being repeatedly shot down for saying this (and it scares me), but the vast majority of Muslims I know personally are peaceable and completely appalled by what is going on. We may not approve of their customs, just as I certainly do not approve of much of Christianity, but the majority are not promoting or performing acts of terrorism and do not support these acts at all. I don't see Muslim families hiding in the bushes in the streets of Vancouver with bombs.
Saying "the Muslims" are responsible for terrorism and the evil in the world is distorting the truth, just as if we saw the KKK/white supremacists as representing Christianity. As for ideology, let me pull out a few choice Bible quotes: "an eye for an eye", "slaves, obey your masters," "women, submit to your husbands," "women should keep quiet", "I come to bring not peace but a sword" (Jesus). Most Christians do not adhere to these beliefs, but still call themselves Christian.
The belief that Muslim extremists are behind all the atrocities is not-so-slowly being eroded as Western culture begins to equate "the Muslims" with "terrorists", and "converting to Islam" as synonymous with "joining the terrorists". It is human nature to scapegoat and find a group of people to hate and blame, and this is a formidable force which can unite a society in hatred. This has happened before in history, with disastrous results. The fact this is a woman from inside the culture does not automatically make what she says true. Finally, if a Muslim family moved in next door to you, would you be afraid? Would you try to make friends with them? Would you let your children mix with them? Marry one of them? Ask yourself.
(Post-blog exhaustion. I finally gave up on working on/editing and re-editing this because it was bloody exhausting, and I don't think anyone will be swayed to believe the word "the" has any significance at all. They just don't see it. Talk about nit-picking! Political correctness! But it still makes my blood run cold, and I don't understand why so many people don't seem to know what I'm talking about. Though that's nothing new.)