?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Just yesterday I finally stopped ignoring the Middle East and looked up a few things. Like who is Shia and who is Sunni. And who has nukes and where. And what exactly an Islamist is. It was....a useful exercise. Anyone else out there taking an interest in this juncture of history? I'm ready to be educated.

It just seems to me, after one *ok a fraction of one* day of looking into it, that the majority Sunnis in most of the Middle East have been supremely frustrated trying to deal with their less conservative, more secular Shia neighbors. And it seems clear to me that America has at least attempted to enact a separation of church and state, even though those words do not appear in the constitution. It was in the First Amendment to the US Constitution that Congress was to "make no law respecting respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". As wikipedia points out, lots of nations have this idea in their code, and there is a great range of shades of gray in its execution. Here in America we do fairly well, but nowhere near a perfect score. For one thing, the constitution has no control over the states and what local laws might be passed. Which may be how we have gigantic crosses along Interstate 5 in Washington State. Not so different from other places, where religion is supposed to guide personal and political life. Here we seem only able to elect Christian presidents. We like to think that we are above it, but we are surely not.

So I know I am rambling and I will call it quits. If you have an opinion about what is the crux of what is going on--in Syria, Turkey, Kurdistan, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia or any other involved party, feel free to comment and tell me! I'm building a mind map.

**Created Syria tag.

Comments

liveonearth
Jun. 6th, 2013 08:11 pm (UTC)
Awesome reply, thank you. I will continue working on my mind map and see what questions arise. I knew, of course, that Iran is Shia, but the other two hadn't crossed my horizon yet. It is no surprise that the Shia are nasty, being the minority in most of the MidEast.

You are right, it had not registered with me exactly how Islamist Iran is. I know a little of their history and Iran was once a more democratic and secular than the rest of the MidEast. I would like to think that it can happen again. There are a lot of educated people there.

I understand that the Tea Party is explicitly non-religious in nature, however the borders get blurred by time and demographics. As an agnostic or atheist (depending on who I'm talking to), I can vouch for a whole lotta Tea Party people having issues based on "Christian (or family) values" at the forefront of what they want to accomplish politically. It's not as clean as the TP website would have it. I personally hold positions on social issues that are distinct from both US liberals and conservatives, so I get pegged as being the "other" by both sides.

When I talk about "conservatism" I am talking about a psychological mindset, and not about any particular dogma or political position. Rather it is an aversion to change, and an allegiance to tradition. Many times that tradition is religious, but not necessarily. Here in America, we have some traditions about freedom that are strongly promoted by conservatives.
ford_prefect42
Jun. 7th, 2013 12:48 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's weird how national identities change. Sometimes *incredibly* fast and dramatically. For instance Syria is currently having something of a revolution. That revolution started out as secular objections to a tyrant. BUT, revolutions require arms. And in the middle east, which sub-national organizations can you think of that might be able to get arms to a revolution? Well.... That'd be Al Qaeda. So a lot of previously secular revolutionaries in Syria are turning to Islamists as the only means to successfully prosecute their revolution. In 10 years, we're very likely to have a completely Islamist Syria. (I have a friend that's a syria analyst, none of what I just said is classified :) )

I know that part of the reason that we're letting that happen instead of doing anything to help the Syrian rebels (which might prevent that) is how things went in Iran. In Iran, we, for a time, supported what looked like the lesser of 2 evils. Honestly, that might have been the proximate cause of Iran's turn to Islamism.

So you're probably right, Iran *could* swing back. It's even possible that stronger leadership from us in the 2009-2010 election protests, or again in the 2010-2011 "day of rage" protests might have had that result.


I know that a lot of tea partiers are religious types. There's overlap. But when pondering what a specific thing is, it's important to keep separate things separate. Many tea partiers are religious, but the tea party is not religious. Many doctors support single payer, but that doesn't make the AMA a pro single payer organization :). As an athiest/agnostic, I can vouch that a LOT of tea partiers are similarly adiestic :).


Anyway, I agree that the term "conservative" applies to both the way you were using it, it's just kind of important to be aware of exactly what usage of a term we're using for any given conversation. It's *particularly* important when we're mixing paradigms and applying the same word differently within a conversation! To use the "disliking change" definition in regards to Sunni, and mix it in with the tea party, which is conservative only in the fiscal conservative sense is quite fraught.

Particularly given that the bulk of the Islamist governments are extremely socialistic.
liveonearth
Jun. 7th, 2013 09:49 pm (UTC)
Yep. Well to tell the truth, that title was really just a test to see if anyone was listening. I guess you were the only one. =-]
ford_prefect42
Jun. 8th, 2013 06:34 am (UTC)
It's possible that others were frightened into silence.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2013/05/doj-social-media-posts-trashing-muslims-may-violate-civil-rights/

Be aware that you and I may be committing actual prosecutable crimes by having this conversation.

"The area’s top federal prosecutor, Bill Killian, will address a topic that most Americans are likely unfamiliar with, even those well versed on the Constitution; that federal civil rights laws can actually be violated by those who post inflammatory documents aimed at Muslims on social media. “This is an educational effort with civil rights laws as they play into freedom of religion and exercising freedom of religion,” Killian says in the local news story. “This is also to inform the public what federal laws are in effect and what the consequences are.”"


In combination with a bunch of other things that have recently come to light, like this,
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/

TL:DR, the government is secretly datamining all the major websites, including google, facebook, etcetera for.... Well, something. They're not clear about what exactly. Not exactly surprising, but one could have hoped we weren't *really* living a scarier version of 1984.

And this:
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57586763/whats-going-on-between-the-irs-and-true-the-vote/

Tl:DR, the government, not just one agency, but several different agencies in several departments has been systematically targeting conservative leaning organizations in an incredibly widespread and destructive abuse of power.

And... And... And... I could go on virtually indefinitely.

I think it's just possible that the augered effect of these attacks may indeed be having a chilling effect on the speech of those.... more sensible than myself. Things are really quite scary at the moment.
liveonearth
Jun. 8th, 2013 07:09 pm (UTC)
Goodness. If we can't talk about stuff like race, religion, politics, culture to try to gain understanding, we will never find any solutions. I can only hope that the powers that be have some integrity left, to make reasonable compassionate decisions instead of being cogs in a grinding machine.

Oh well. I appreciate your willingness to educate me as obviously I need it. =-]

Profile

moon
liveonearth
liveonearth

Latest Month

August 2019
S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Tags

Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by chasethestars