happy lunar new year.
it's the Year of the Sheep...or is it more correct to call it 'the goat'....or my personal favorite, 'the ram'...ah, but this quibbling over terminology is pointless, just an obsession of Fox News, right Eric Holder? He says it doesn't change how we deal with it...Radical Islam.
While true, due to constraints of the English language, the Mandarin takes on multiple personalities in translation here in America, and in the West. And yet, all the while, the Far East has absolutely no issue understanding and recognizing the whole of the character, and more than that, celebrating it.
From the New York Times just yesterday:
Zhao Shu, a folklore expert at the Beijing Institute of Culture and History, said in a telephone interview that the debate was silly. The creature in question arose as a general symbol of plenitude and good fortune, partly because the Chinese character yang shares roots with the one for auspiciousness, he said.
“This is ridiculous,” he said. “Goat and sheep are different in French and English, but what’s that got to do with Chinese traditional culture?
He also drew a lesson about the virtues of Chinese tradition. “In Western culture, things are subdivided into more and more detailed categories, and that’s why Europe has still not been unified after so many years,” he continued. “If you want to say whether it’s goat or sheep, then why not also ask whether it’s a ewe or a ram? But Chinese culture has an inclusive spirit and stresses harmony.”
And how. I love that part when Zhao Shu notes how "[I]n Western culture, things are subdivided into more and more detailed categories..." [We didn't start out this way...creating a land of subdivision; our birthright and origins were intended to assimilate into one culture, all of us being called the same thing... AMERICANS]
Well, back to the Year of the Sheep-Goat-Ram-Ewe -- no sense quibbling over what a thousand year culture calls it, right; getting back to this day --
"Confucius always say,
befuddlement make good party
but bad foreign policy."
From Fox News, Sean Hannity Show:
"The first thing you must do when confronting an enemy is to label it and call it for what it is. That is the foundation for your understanding of its motivations and therefore the basis for your reaction to it."
And yet -- this is our Commander-In-Chief, making a few remarks at the "Shovel Ready Jobs For Violent Extremists Summit" yesterday:
By “violent extremism,” we don’t just mean the terrorists who are killing innocent people. We also mean the ideologies, the infrastructure of extremists --the propagandists, the recruiters, the funders who radicalize and recruit or incite people to violence. We all know there is no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist, so there’s no way to predict who will become radicalized. Around the world, and here in the United States, inexcusable acts of violence have been committed against people of different faiths, by people of different faiths -- which is, of course, a betrayal of all our faiths. It's not unique to one group, or to one geography, or one period of time.go on...
First, we have to confront squarely and honestly the twisted ideologies that these terrorist groups use to incite people to violence. Leading up to this summit, there’s been a fair amount of debate in the press and among pundits about the words we use to describe and frame this challenge. So I want to be very clear about how I see it.and yet painstakingly, and purposefully, idealistically ambivalent you remain to claim.
Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders -- holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.” And they propagate the notion that America -- and the West, generally -- is at war with Islam. That’s how they recruit. That’s how they try to radicalize young people. We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders -- they’re terrorists. (Applause.) And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam. (Applause.)
and yet, here we are -- up against an army of wealthy, determined, righteous, unafraid, ISLAMIC Extremists who tell us THEY ARE AT WAR WITH US, the infidels, those who choose not to follow Allah and the Quran.
And going even further, our president gives consideration to the understandable grievances within the Muslim community --
The reality -- which, again, many Muslim leaders have spoken to -- is that there’s a strain of thought that doesn’t embrace ISIL’s tactics, doesn’t embrace violence, but does buy into the notion that the Muslim world has suffered historical grievances -- sometimes that's accurate -- does buy into the belief that so many of the ills in the Middle East flow from a history of colonialism or conspiracy; does buy into the idea that Islam is incompatible with modernity or tolerance, or that it's been polluted by Western values.oh, okay.
So those beliefs exist. In some communities around the world they are widespread. And so it makes individuals -- especially young people who already may be disaffected or alienated -- more ripe for radicalization. And so we've got to be able to talk honestly about those issues. We've got to be much more clear about how we're rejecting certain ideas.
Which, in turn, is why he supports the comments coming from his very own State Department -- Marie Harf -- having, most likely, put the words in her mouth to begin with...
In an interview with Chris Matthews, Harf says:
We're killing a lot of them, and we're going to keep killing more of them. ... But we cannot win this war by killing them," department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on MSNBC's "Hardball." "We need ... to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it's lack of opportunity for jobs, whether --
... "If we can help countries work at the root causes of this -- what makes these 17-year-old kids pick up an AK-47 instead of trying to start a business?"
The "ROOT CAUSES" ... Marie, and with all due respect, Mr. President,... was written into the Quran. And it is quite clear.
While putting it another way...
Rob O'Neill, the former Navy Seal Team 6 who actually shot Osama Bin Laden, responded to the jobs idea with this: "They get paid to cut off heads -- to crucify children, to sell slaves and to cut off heads and I don't think that a change in career path is what's going to stop them," he said.
Of course, maybe this "jobs-for-extremists" idea is just way too nuanced for this girl to comprehend.
NOT. [Feel free to read translations of the Quran, here]
Let's go back to the president's remarks, doubling down on bringing a better opportunity to the poor, disenfranchised youth of the Middle East:
Conversely, there are terrorists who’ve come from extraordinarily wealthy backgrounds, like Osama bin Laden. What’s true, though, is that when millions of people -- especially youth -- are impoverished and have no hope for the future, when corruption inflicts daily humiliations on people, when there are no outlets by which people can express their concerns, resentments fester. The risk of instability and extremism grow. Where young people have no education, they are more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and radical ideas, because it's not tested against anything else, they’ve got nothing to weigh. And we've seen this across the Middle East and North Africa.
And terrorist groups are all too happy to step into a void. They offer salaries to their foot soldiers so they can support their families. Sometimes they offer social services -- schools, health clinics -- to do what local governments cannot or will not do. They try to justify their violence in the name of fighting the injustice of corruption that steals from the people -- even while those terrorist groups end up committing even worse abuses, like kidnapping and human trafficking.
So if we’re going to prevent people from being susceptible to the false promises of extremism, then the international community has to offer something better. And the United States intends to do its part...
And so I guess, to that end, starting today, we will be accepting applications from Syrian Refugees of all backgrounds, indiscriminate... simply trusting all who beg to come to America's shores for a better life, and especially to find better jobs, "The United States intends to do its part..."
The idea isn't really all that new.
It would only be fair to observe that "The United States has admitted 524 Syrians since 2011. We’re likely to admit 1,000 to 2,000 Syrian refugees for permanent resettlement in Fiscal Year 2015 and a somewhat higher number, though still in the low thousands, in Fiscal Year 2016," spokeswoman Jen Psaki [of the State Department] told reporters on Friday.
From Anne Richards, in a Department of State press release, December 2014:
But war’s true cost is measured in human suffering. Resettlement can help – one person at a time – to bring that suffering to an end.
We applaud the 25 countries that have agreed to resettle Syrian refugees, including some who will be accepting UNHCR refugee referrals for the first time. The United States accepts the majority of all UNHCR referrals from around the world. Last year, we reached our goal of resettling nearly 70,000 refugees from nearly 70 countries. And we plan to lead in resettling Syrians as well. We are reviewing some 9,000 recent UNHCR referrals from Syria. We are receiving roughly a thousand new ones each month, and we expect admissions from Syria to surge in 2015 and beyond.
Like most other refugees resettled in the United States, they will get help from the International Organization for Migration with medical exams and transportation to the United States. Once they arrive, networks of resettlement agencies, charities, churches, civic organizations and local volunteers will welcome them. These groups work in 180 communities across the country and make sure refugees have homes, furniture, clothes, English classes, job training, health care and help enrolling their children in school. They are now preparing key contacts in American communities to welcome Syrians.This should all work out just fine; just as long as you all let the ladies of the Welcome Wagon know ahead of time so that they can meet the demands and be better prepared to make every refugee's transition easy breezy...
And while we're getting all characters united now, let's wrap things up with a story from the president, In his winding down of his remarks, he shares this little beauty:
I’m thinking of a little girl named Sabrina who last month sent me a Valentine’s Day card in the shape of a heart. It was the first Valentine I got. (Laughter.) I got it from Sabrina before Malia and Sasha and Michelle gave me one. (Laughter.) So she’s 11 years old. She’s in the 5th grade. She’s a young Muslim American. And she said in her Valentine, “I enjoy being an American.” And when she grows up, she wants to be an engineer -- or a basketball player. (Laughter.) Which are good choices. (Laughter.) But she wrote, “I am worried about people hating Muslims…If some Muslims do bad things, that doesn’t mean all of them do.” And she asked, “Please tell everyone that we are good people and we’re just like everyone else.” (Applause.) Now, those are the words -- and the wisdom -- of a little girl growing up here in America, just like my daughters are growing up here in America. “We’re just like everybody else.” And everybody needs to remember that during the course of this debate.
And there it is.
The character of mass confusion explained; and by a 5th grader, no less.
"If some Muslims do bad things, that doesn’t mean all of them do," she said.
Exactly. Sabrina is not afraid.
Even a 5th grader calls a Muslim a Muslim. She links her religion, Islam, to the violent acts ( the "bad things") without a second thought, even with the knowing that some, most, Muslims are, in fact, "good people." How brave is she? [I would just love to know her thoughts on the Year of the Sheep...but I digress.]
But allow me to respond, Sabrina -- we know.
The Good Muslims are NOT of issue at this time.
What is of issue is understanding how to beat "these big bad Muslims" so that the Middle East, if not the entire world, might make more love, not war. It's kinda like beating back the big bad wolf in Red Riding Hood [of course, no denying the small, annoying detail of the original story...the wolf actually eats the little girl up and takes a nap!...oh snap!]
What is of issue is calling it by name and knowing our enemy. Our president seems to be vewy, vewy afraid of calling it what it is.
What is of issue -- as grating and extreme as it may sound -- is combating the violent, discriminating hatred resulting in death to the infidels at the hands of the Islamic Extremists who are acting upon Islamic doctrine at its very roots, with its goal creating the Caliphate by Jihad in order to support the true law of the land, Sharia, as spoken through Mohammed and as written in the Quran.
And no, Sabrina, it's not all Muslims doing bad things.
ISIS, ISIL, potayto, potahto, al-Queda, Hamas, Hezbollah --
They are not a sheep.
They are not a goat.
They are not Christian.
They are not Jewish.
They are not Buddhist.
They are not a butterfly.
They are not a flea.
And they are neither the JV team, nor in retreat.
[But they might just be related to the ewe...just sayin']
But just look who's quibbling over nonsense now.
They are what they are.
And it is not good.
Make it a Good Day, G