A restatement "A promise to the middle east"
This post was inspired by a PM sent to me that I read today. The person who sent it reflected Voiltair's quote "I may vehemently dissagree with what you have to say but will defend to the death your right to say it".
Now while the rest of this admittedly armchair quarterbacking you are about to read, it doesn't just apply to the Middle East, but human history in general.
Why are Sunnis and Shiites at each other's throats? Why are Jews and Palistinians at each other's throats? Why do Christians and Muslims and even Jews fear atheists? Fear stemming from the real evolution of "in group vs out group".
But I would be remiss to claim that the biggest world trouble makers are in the Arab states. It has not been lost on me that there are as well Arabs who DO want to get with the modern world and the pluralistic world NONE OF US can escape.
We as a species CAN get along when we chose. Even outside politics and war, when one spends any time reading enough posts here they will notice differences in that while all atheists may share the same core lack of belief, the truth is outside that issue, we do not always share everything in common as far as politics or economics or class. Yet with all of our infighting, we still obey the same laws and do not get physically violent when we get offended or offend each other.
If we as individuals were allowed to murder others merely for being offended then all of us would commit genocide. But the real world we unfortunately ignore that while we protect our own, our species was around long before our current nations or boarders or religions, and we ignore that evloution will continue and those things to will change.
My promise to the Middle East is simple. The west wants global peace as much as many in the Arab world want. The problem is that it is not based on "peace through consent and cooperation" but peace through forced submission. I promise once a critical mass of the East loses that attitude the fear of the west and the west's fear of the east will errode. But it is not up to the west to bow because we will not. We want the cracks internally in the East to grow. The cracks of more women Muslims stand up for their own rights. We want the East to have it's own Jefferson. I think it is happening but not big enough or quick enough, and even with this we are not sure it will take hold and grow.
But, without a doubt, the west is proof that you can live side by side, and even hate your neighbor and complain about your government, without fear of physical harm. In the west we live by common law, not common politics or common religion. It is what allows people to bitch about Bush and Romney and at the same time allows people to bitch about Obama. It is what allows the poor to bitch about the rich and the rich to bitch about the poor. It is what allows the Christian to bitch about ahtiests and Muslims about Christians, all with the common law that no matter what we say about each other we all have the common expectation to live without fear of physical harm.
When the Middle East gets this, if they ever do, and despite some detractors here, if Europe and Christianity moved out of the dark ages, I do not see the East being any less human even if right now it is not capable of it. If one wants to call the possiblity of that kind of change slim, that is not the same as saying it is impossible.
The reason it is possible is because of evolution. Evolution includes both dominance and cooperation and always have. So the west internally has lerned to allow those differences and political competition and diversity. We have found that that works better. It allows differences while making common law the focus.
When that becomes the focus, I promise the Middle East, while no system is ever perfect, it still is not a fear based system, it will not only aleave internal differences, the world WILL see you in a much more positive light in which we will not fear you anymore than you want to fear us.
But the ball is not in our court, it is squarely in yours. Socailly and politically you are 100 years behind the west and your islolation is unfortunately stuck in a very childlike street gang tribalism. Most in the west DONT want to view you like that. But you don't just attack Christians or Jews or the west as a whole. Your standard reaction to dissent even applies to fellow Muslims. It is unreasonable for you to make demands of the rest of the world when you cant even lead by example in your own countries.
The west does not expect you to go away, just grow up. I promise it will get better when you protect differences and dissent. My beefs here with other fellow atheists are mainly and mostely economics. We can blast each other and offend each other and we both know we can go to bed at night without fear of being murdered by each other.
The west promises you that when you get to that point we can and most certainly will welcome you to the global society. My advice to the East is to lose the fear, lose the sumission honor nuts in your bunches. Give rights to women and non Muslims and even Muslims of other sects. The only way a peaceful society can live with differences is by making common law the focus, and not common label. When you do that I promise the peace you say you want can and will be a reality. We want you with us, but it will not be by force on your part.
If one of my detractors who is also a fellow atheist can disagree with me and even hate some of my claims without wanting to murder me, and even offend me, then you can get to that point too. A far better world it will be when more people make common law, not common lable, the issue. My detractors may be right that the Middle East isn't capable of this, and right now it does seem that way. But you can prove them wrong and prove me wrong as well. Your fellow Muslim Malala is hailed worldwide by not just Pakistanies, but the west as well, including Christians, atheists and even Jews. She is not just a hero to Muslims, or because she is a Muslim. She is a hero to the dignity of the self worth of the individual Muslims should want for that region. She is a hero to humanity and she is the kind of hero Islam should want.
You need more Malalas. You need your own Jeffersons and Martin Luther Kings. You need an Arab Christopher Hitchens. You have people who truely do value human rights and those people, not your childish tribal brats who hold you hostage, but the compassinate among you do exist. We only wish and want to foster that. I promise it will get better the more you do that.
In conclusion, my advice to the East is to stop seaking utopias. My advice is to accept that we only have one planet that all 7 billion have. But to do that, you also have to accept that within your own boarders and your leaders cannot nor should have glass jaws or be insecure dictators. It is up to you how we respond. You don't have to do it for us, you should want to do it for yourselves, and for the future of the entire planet. I promise it can get better if you want it to, but it is up to you.
"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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