Monday, January 01, 2007

Arab sheep

This story came out yesterday and got a fair amount of play in the J-sphere:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip: The recent fighting between Hamas and Fatah militants did not just play out in the streets of the Gaza Strip. The rival groups also pummeled each other over the airwaves, calling each other's fighters "mercenary death squads," "child killers" and even "Zionists."

The harsh rhetoric, coupled with the stations' ability to quickly rally their armed supporters in the streets, has led to fears that the local disc jockeys could fan the flames of the recent violence into a full-blown of civil war.

"If we wanted, we could burn down Gaza," said a smiling Ibrahim Daher, director of Aqsa Radio, the voice in Gaza of the Islamic militant group Hamas.
"Radio is in every house, every car and every street. It can cause a revolution or quell one. That's a dangerous role," said Salah al-Masri, director of Al-Quds Radio, funded by the radical Islamic Jihad militant group.

"I bet you, in a few hours, I can orchestrate a protest. The question is what kind. We can launch a protest against the Israeli occupation, or at (Abbas), or fire rockets," he said.
The subtext is that Palestinian Arabs have a hard time thinking for themselves. If the radio tells them to do something, a large number will unthinkingly do it.

This is apparent throughout the Arab world. The "Arab street" is a myth largely because the governments that control the media can make the "street" do anything they want them to do. One only has to look at how Egypt manipulated their people to support Camp David in the late 70s and then turn around in an instant to turn them back against Israel. Massive rallies appear out of nowhere whenever the current dictator decides it would help nudge the West in whichever direction he wants.

The word "sheep" comes to mind because I saw a very telling, and very sad, posting at ProgressiveIslam.org yesterday, the the site's slogan is "Sheep are for `Eid."

The posting was from an Islamic woman in a polygamous marriage who says that she would prefer if her husband would have an affair rather than take on another wife.

While the two have little to do with each other, there is a fundamental problem with people who do things and accept things without any critical thought. Those people are nothing more than pawns, and too often they are accidental players in a very deadly global game.

(This of course is not only an Arab or Muslim problem. Too many people even in the West will unquestioningly accept truths without the slightest bit of skepticism. But the problem is far worse in places where there is simply no opportunity to think independently while remaining safe.)