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Passions in Poetry

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Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


0 posted 02-04-2002 11:06 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

For anybody who likes writing:


This is from the New York Times by Salmon Rushdie:


America and Anti-Americans
By SALMAN RUSHDIE


LONDON -- They told us it would be a long, ugly struggle, and so it is. America's war against terror has entered its second phase, a phase characterized by the storm over the status and human rights of the prisoners held at Camp X-Ray and by the frustrating failure of the United States to find Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Additionally, if America now attacks other countries suspected of harboring terrorists it will almost certainly do so alone. In spite of the military successes, America finds itself facing a broader ideological adversary that may turn out to be as hard to defeat as militant Islam: anti-Americanism, which is presently becoming more evident everywhere.

The good news is that these post- Taliban days are bad times for Islamist fanatics. Dead or alive, Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar look like yesterday's men, unholy warriors who forced martyrdom on others while running for the hills themselves. Also, if the persistent rumors are to be believed, the fall of the terrorist axis in Afghanistan may well have prevented an Islamist coup against President Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan, led by the more Taliban-like elements in the armed forces and intelligence services ?people like the terrifying General Hamid Gul. And President Musharraf, no angel himself, has been pushed into arresting the leaders of the Kashmiri terrorist groups he used to encourage.

Around the world, the lessons of the American action in Afghanistan are being learned. Jihad is no longer quite as cool an idea as it was last fall.

States under suspicion of giving succor to terrorism have suddenly been trying to make nice, even going so far as to round up a few bad guys. Iran has accepted the legitimacy of the new Afghan government. Even Britain, a state which has been more tolerant of Islamist fanaticism than most, is beginning to distinguish between resisting "Islamophobia" and providing a safe haven for some of the worst people in the world.

America did, in Afghanistan, what had to be done, and did it well. The bad news, however, is that these successes have not won new friends for the United States outside Afghanistan. In fact, the effectiveness of the American campaign may have made some parts of the world hate America more than they did before. Critics of the Afghan campaign in the West are enraged because they have been shown to be wrong at every step: no, American forces weren't humiliated the way the Russians had been; and yes, the air strikes did work; and no, the Northern Alliance didn't massacre people in Kabul; and yes, the Taliban did crumble away like the hated tyrants they were, even in their southern strongholds; and no, it wasn't that difficult to get the militants out of their cave fortresses; and yes, the various factions succeeded in putting together a new government that seems to have broad support among the people.

Meanwhile, those elements in the Arab and Muslim world who blame America for their own feelings of political impotence are feeling more impotent than ever. As always, anti- American radicalism feeds off widespread anger over the plight of the Palestinians, and it remains true that nothing would undermine the fanatics' propaganda more completely than an acceptable settlement in the Middle East.

However, even if that settlement were arrived at tomorrow, anti- Americanism would probably not abate. It has become too useful a smokescreen for Muslim nations' many defects ?their corruption, their incompetence, their oppression of their citizens, their economic, scientific and cultural stagnation. America-hating has become a badge of identity, making possible a chest- beating, flag-burning rhetoric of word and deed that makes men feel good. It contains a strong streak of hypocrisy, hating most what it desires most, and elements of self- loathing. ("We hate America because it has made of itself what we cannot make of ourselves.") What America is accused of ?closed- mindedness, stereotyping, ignorance ?is also what its accusers would see if they looked into a mirror.

These days there seem to be as many of these accusers outside the Muslim world as inside it. Anybody who has visited Britain and Europe, or followed the public conversation there during the past five months, will have been struck, even shocked, by the depth of anti-American feeling among large segments of the population. Western anti-Americanism is an altogether more petulant phenomenon than its Islamic counterpart and far more personalized. Muslim countries don't like America's power, its "arrogance," its success; but in the non-American West, the main objection seems to be to American people. Night after night, I have found myself listening to Londoners' diatribes against the sheer weirdness of the American citizenry. The attacks on America are routinely discounted. ("Americans only care about their own dead.") American patriotism, obesity, emotionality, self-centeredness: these are the crucial issues.

It would be easy for America, in the present climate of hostility, to fail to respond to constructive criticism, or worse: to start acting like the overwhelming superpower it is, making decisions and throwing its weight around without regard for the concerns of what it perceives as an already hostile world. The treatment of the Camp X-Ray detainees is a worrying sign. Secretary of State Colin Powell's reported desire to determine whether, under the Geneva Convention, these persons should be considered prisoners of war was a statesmanlike response to global pressure ?but Mr. Powell has apparently failed to persuade President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld.

The Bush administration has come a long way from its treaty-smashing beginnings. It should not abandon consensus-building now. Great power and great wealth are perhaps never popular, yet, more than ever, we need the United States to exercise its power and economic might responsibly. This is not the time to ignore the rest of the world and decide to go it alone. To do so would be to risk losing after you've won.

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


1 posted 02-04-2002 01:24 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Nothing to do with the above but every once in a while, I miss home.

I miss the light.

I miss the smell.
JBaker515
Deputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
Senior Member
since 02-28-2001
Posts 1262
Dartmouth College


2 posted 02-04-2002 03:28 PM       View Profile for JBaker515   Email JBaker515   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JBaker515

That is a great article Brad.

Where did you get it?
JBaker515
Deputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
Senior Member
since 02-28-2001
Posts 1262
Dartmouth College


3 posted 02-04-2002 03:28 PM       View Profile for JBaker515   Email JBaker515   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JBaker515

ooopps nevermind...my bad..THE NY TIMES
silly me
Phaedrus
Member
since 01-26-2002
Posts 280


4 posted 02-04-2002 07:55 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


I’m think I’m more inclined to listen to Terry Jones than Salmon Rushdie, though I admit he should know a fair bit about martyrdom and running for the hills, after all he seems to have made decent living out of it.
Poet deVine
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


5 posted 02-04-2002 08:57 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

What Mr. Rushdie doesn't see is the day to day struggle of an ordinary American to make ends meet, raise a family, hold down a job and still give time and money to charities that help the children of the world.

Come and hang out with me for a month sir and you'll have another view of my country.

And don't slam Uncle Sam!

LOL
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


6 posted 02-04-2002 09:13 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Huh?

Do you guys see this as an anti-American stance?

Honestly, I was so impressed with the way it was written -- okay, I was already a Rushdie fan -- that I saw this as a little more complex than that.

Hmmmm, am I being mesmerized by the name?

Brad
Not A Poet
Member Elite
since 11-03-1999
Posts 4427
Oklahoma, USA


7 posted 02-05-2002 11:15 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

Brad, it did not sound anti-American to me either. I have to admit that I am not much of a Rushdie fan though. And I don't suppose he gets much respect from the Islamic community but I still have to appreciate this article. And although I definately am a Monty Python fan, I still can't put much credibility in Terry Jones comments.

Thanks,
Pete
hush
Senior Member
since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


8 posted 02-05-2002 11:37 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

This is not an anti-American peice; it is a briefing with, if anything, a critical slant against the prejudice shown towards us as a nation. I don't see how someone even reading this on a surface level could get any other impression... or maybe they just stopped paying attention after they saw the byline.

Personally, I've only read a couple other Rushdie articles, but I really enjoyed both of them- he's thorough, entertaining, and most of all, he's in touch with people.

"Love is a piano
dropped from a four story window
and you were in the wrong place
at the wrong time." -Ani DiFranco

Phaedrus
Member
since 01-26-2002
Posts 280


9 posted 02-06-2002 06:23 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


Hush

Did I read this on a surface level or stop paying attention after the byline?

I’m English I’m not that interested if Rushdie is waving or burning the Stars and Stripes, the truth is I think he’s playing the old ‘kill them with kindness’ game and it seems, doing it very well.

Rushdie, as is the norm in writing, has a point to make and to make that point seem more reasonable he decides to employ the tactic of wooing the American people with congratulatory praises. While doing that he seems to have decided to lay scorn on just about everybody else involved, before finally getting to his point in the final two paragraphs where he suggests America should act “responsibly” which could imply he believes they have or will act in the opposite manner.

Brad

Is this the same ex-Moslem - British citizen that wrote ‘The Satanic Verse’?

I posted earlier believing it was and then realised it may simply be another poor soul who shares his name.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


10 posted 02-06-2002 07:02 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

As far as I know, it's the same guy.

"Even Britain, a state which has been more tolerant of Islamist fanaticism than most, is beginning to distinguish between resisting "Islamophobia" and providing a safe haven for some of the worst people in the world."

Bothered by this Phaedrus?

Uh, what about the writing?

Brad

 
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