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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Here's a question I thought of last night:

To what extent is the Busheviks' belief that they can alter reality created or supported by the mainstream media's practice of reporting opposing sides' statements without considering the facts?

For example, when the Feds started claiming Saddam Hussein had thrown out the UN weapons inspectors, the media started repeating it as if it really happened. Is this an example of the Busheviks altering reality; or at least, reality as perceived by people with short memories who rely on the mainstream media for information--which is to say, most people?
12:07:18 PM    comment ()

Hobbits and Scotsmen. The Washington Post reports: Scientists have discovered a tiny species of ancient human that lived 18,000 years ago on an... [Hit and Run]

The pun of the week comes from the comments to this post:

Researchers suspect the earlier ancestor may have migrated to the island and evolved into a smaller dwarf species as it adapted to the island's limited resources. This phenomenon, known as the "island rule," is common in the animal world but had never been seen before in human evolution.

So island living can be hobbit-forming.

9:49:30 AM    comment ()

From root:
"How does it become a man to behave towards the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it." -- Henry David Thoreau
[End the War on Freedom]
8:56:01 AM    comment ()

news flash: fundamentalism and traditionalism aren't the same thing. An article in the Independent discusses the popularity among ordinary Afghans of shrines dedicated to the "Arab Afghans" and other fighters who made up the core of al-Qa'ida. The first thing that occurs to anybody reading this who is at all familiar with the various movements in Islam is that the Wahhabi form of Islam practiced by many of the Arab fighters and the Taliban's version of Islam are fervently opposed to the "folk Islam" that includes making pilgrimages to shrines and praying at them.

In fact, the article itself mentions this, twice:

Ironically, the mainly Arab and Pakistani al-Qa'ida fighters who are so venerated in death by the people of Khowst were widely hated when they were alive and living in the town. They were Osama bin Laden's men, jihadis who had arrived from all over the Islamic world to prepare for a holy war in Khowst's terrorist training camps. The camps were handy for Pakistan, an hour's journey away with its connections to the outside world, but the foreign fighters never had much support in the area, which was always ambivalent about the Taliban, unlike some other Pushtun towns.

Some of the fighters may have escaped death in the cruise missile strikes ordered by Bill Clinton in 1998 after the US embassy bombings in east Africa; many must have personally known Bin Laden, who had a base in the town. But local people remembered them mainly as strutting and arrogant, a superior clique who didn't disguise their contempt for Afghan culture, which they saw as a decayed form of Islam riddled with superstition...

...Ironically the strict Wahabi Arabs buried at Khowst and the other shrines were opposed to Afghan burial customs they considered idolatrous. One of the reasons they were so hated in Afghanistan was their habit of tearing down flags and decorations on Afghan graves in fits of iconoclasm.

They would surely have hated to think that, in death, with an obsession for jihadis, they would be invested with magical powers and be prayed to by the superstitious tribesmen they looked down on in life.

When they talk about fearing a "resurgence of fundamentalism", they're referring to the kind of Islam practiced by Wahhabis and the Taliban, right? So how exactly does the popularity of a practice (veneration of shrines) that is absolutely abhorred by the fundamentalist groups indicate a "resurgence of fundamentalism"? It may indicate that there's a resurgence in traditionalist Islam in Afghanistan, or that there's a rapprochement between traditionalist and fundamentalist groups. But I'm not not quite seeing how it indicates a "resurgence in fundamentalism". [Al-Muhajabah's Islamic Blogs]

It's interesting that the Arabs were going around tearing down decorations on graves. I've read the same thing about the Arabs who went to Bosnia.
8:54:55 AM    comment ()

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