Tuesday, May 22, 2007
  Priorities and Lebanon
Lebanon, or at least one part of it, has plunged into bloody violence, with heavy civilian casualties being reported, and yet the top "news" stories on Yahoo are a billionaire who bought his own 787 jet, commentators who are surprised at which NBA team gets the number one draft pick, a "vote on who should present the MTV Movie Awards" poll, and a story about whether internet gadgets lead to couples sleeping in separate beds.

Is this reflective of our true priorities? We care more about who hosts an entertainment awards night than about people dying? About who is going to get first choice on next years roster? And as for the billionaire story -- are we so focused on the rich and famous we forget the suffering of the poor, and are the rich and famous so focused on fulfilling the most inane of desires that they too have forgotten the sufferings of the poor? I mean, how much must a VIP 787 cost? What if that money had been put into opening schools in Afghanistan, or giving hundreds of thousands of micro loans to families to help them turn their lives around?

These top stories reveal a degree of narcissism that is simply sickening.

Rather we should be asking ourselves some tough questions. How do we eradicate militarism? There is a reason Fatah al-Islam is militant. Do we simply try and wipe it out by killing all the Fatah members, or do we address the root causes? Will a show of strength deter others who might think violence is the only way to get their cause a hearing, or will it simply reinforce the idea that violence works? If we wipe out Fatah or Al-Qaeda, will we be creating a dozen new organizations because 1) the root cause still exists and 2) we have exacerbated the situation with our own violent actions? Or will others give up and realize that terrorism is immoral and inhumane?

Hand in hand with those questions, we need to be asking some hard questions about our own government. There is a reason the US tries to secure the interests of its corporations (and supposedly thus its citizenry) through military might. If the Democrats, coming to power in a tide of public disgust over the Iraq war, can't even send a bill to President Bush that demands troop removal by a certain date, then how accountable is our government to its people? (Answer: not very, or maybe, not at all.) How can we convince our government that militarism only breeds militarism, and that our military activism needs to be reigned in. How can we convince them that diplomacy, negotiation, and a global Marshall plan would do better at securing our interests than all the wars we've fought in the past fifty years?

With news outlets focusing on entertainment, sports, and the excesses of the hyper-rich, one suspects that serious discussions on issues like these are happening on a far too limited basis.
 
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Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.


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Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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