A summary response, since I kept getting a pile of similiar email and my
fingers are starting to whimp out on me
Jerry Hill wrote:
>>> Do you guys really believe these people really know what they're
I do think they know what they are celebrating. Do you think otherwise?
See below for further response and explanation of my rationale where I quote
> All I asked is that you consider
> a slightly different point of view and try to look beyond
> the grief and pain as hard as it may be. Red haze isn't
> what gets us anywhere..
This is certainly not evident from your first message. You asked a
Well, I was asking a rhethoric question. Something that was intended to
stimulate thought. I'm copying this back to the list to illustrate. The
attached email is in response to Greg Mirsky <firstname.lastname@example.org> asking me
what I meant.
There's more below the reply to Greg Mirsky.
Mind you, none of this is an excuse or apology, it is simply the realization
based on past experiences in my life. These people are born and raised in an
environment nothing like ours. An environment where terror is a daily part of
their life. Imagine your neighborhood grocery store, your neighbor's car,
your kid's school, you wife's bus on its way to work, you place of work being
blown up on a regular basis because you effectively life in a hot guerilla war
zone. All media you're being fed is not free. It is strongly biased.
There's no free access to "the truth" -- whatever that may be. Your school,
government, religion, media tell you one view of the world. Your education is
mediocre at best. Mind you this has been going on for decades if not
centuries. How easy do you think it would be to skew your opinion?
A very similiar thing happened in Eastern Germany. When the wall came down,
it was quite obvious that even though the brunt of education, financial
resources, access to information, free enterprise etc etc hit immediately and
with tremendous force... it was estimated it would take 2-3 generations at an
absolute minimum for the socialist propaganda, the social hatred, the lack of
broad education to take hold and for people truely to become "normal" in the
view of the western world.
This brunt of "freedom" hasn't hit in the middle east. It is a very much
closed society. Demagogues are common place and you hear exactly what you
want to hear.
Just like during the Cold War, the U.S. told its citizens that the USSR is
truely and thoroughly evil, the USSR told its citizens that the U.S. is truely
and thoroughly evil. Guess what, they both believed it and the abominations
during the Cold War were caused by this total and utter distortion of reality.
If you go through history, you'll find this over and over and over again.
Does that make it any more right that these people are celebrating the death
of another human being? No, but in a society where violent death is common
place, where demagogues reign the view of the individual may border the
So, in other words, these people have no clue what they're really celebrating,
what it means to the rest of the world and what the true impact of their
actions is. Nor do they have any idea that this stuff isn't normal in the
rest of the world. So, do they have any level of understanding? Sure. Do I
understand where they're coming from? Not likely. We need to think outside
the box to solve this and cannot view everything just from our point of view.
We need to understand the view of the people we're dealing with. Even if they
appear like animals to you and me.
So, we need to take this with a grain of salt.
Just like we shouldn't call the people committing these atrocious attacks
"madmen", "crazy", "stupid". They are none of those things. These were well
planned, apparently well executed attacks and they knew full well what they
did, why they did it and what impact it was going to have. It was well
calculated and not accidental collateral damage.
I think that unless we view things with differentiation, where there are
shades of grey instead of black and white -- or where there isn't just good
or evil -- and appropriately classify the threat, the event and the
resolution.. we won't make a real difference in the world.
I'm not saying you should feel sorry for these people. Please don't. But, we
perhaps need to just register the fact that these people do and try to
understand why so that we may begin to find ways to resolve this utterly
terrifying situation where people feel compelled to attack thousands of
people. Or, why do they view what we view as innocent people as guilty and
vice versa. Unless we can reconcile this one way or another, this will not go
Case and point, the U.S. does bear responsibility for what's happening in
Afghanistan, in Iraq etc. Russia does as well. And the same can be said for
many other places in the Middle East and the rest of the world.
They were all battlegrounds of the Cold War, and we've been reaping the
consequences ever since. And unless we recognize this, we won't solve this
But, that's just my point of view."