Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Lies, Damn Lies and Right Wing Idiots With Blogs

Gahhhhhh! I was already angry about nutcase right wing bloggers (and news outlets) and then this verdampt Blogger interface locks up on me and I lose the post when I was 3/4 through. Well I've got a serious head of angry steam going now so stand back! I wouldn't want to spray any on your nice clothes.

So the latest story they're on about, along similar lines to my other post, is these "secret" Saudi textbooks that have supposedly been smuggled out of Saudi Arabia to show us the "truth" about these so-called allies. I think I'll always use "truth" in quotation marks when referring to right wingers because you clearly can't believe a fucking word they say. They won't even concede when you objectively prove them wrong. Case in point: one of the bloggers at the centre of the bullshit storm over the Iranian authorities supposedly planning to make non-muslims wear coloured identification badges on their clothes said this after the story was proved false:

"It doesn't really matter whether or not the Iranian Mullahs have actually passed the law" (note the implication that the law was proposed but didn't pass - this is another lie, the law never existed! How the fuck can you pass a law that doesn't exist"?) "What matters is that they are... perfectly capable of passing such a law".

What the fuck?!?!?!?! It no longer matters if you're telling the truth? It only matters what you think is possible? Fine, I think Bush is perfectly capable of cracking open the skulls of newborn babies to feast on the goo within. It doesn't matter whether or not he's actually done it, it matters that I think he's perfectly capable of doing it. So can we send the fucker to the chair already? That'd be some fine Texas-style justice.

Anyway, that was yesterday, this is today. The Washington Post is feeding the nutjob fires today with its "expose" on the evil Saudi school system. Let me start by saying I don't like or trust the Saudi regime. I think the house of Saud would screw over anyone to protect their own interests. I believe they are capable of fostering violence against non-Muslims to appease Wahhabi zealots and killing and torturing these same zealots to appease the west. At the same time.

In other words, they're politicians.

And of course Saudi Arabia is the home of Wahhabi fundamentalism. For anyone who's not paying attention these are the dangerous ones. Not even other Muslims are safe from Wahhabi hardliners.

The main things that piss me off about this story are: one, it's a hatchet job. They are taking individual lines from entire curriculums, quoting them out of context and saying that proves a point. Second, so far as hatchet jobs go, it's pathetic. Seriously, you could have taken any individual line to make them look bad and this is the best you could come up with? I don't think they're trying very hard. Give me any speech of Bush's and I can make him look way worse by quoting him out of context (and often by quoting him in context). Still, let's look at a couple of lines that they undoubtedly think are the worst. From the year one curriculum:

"Fill in the blanks with the appropriate words (Islam, hellfire): Every religion other than ______________ is false. Whoever dies outside of Islam enters ____________."

Pretty appalling stuff and not something I'd want taught to my kids. But it's exactly what I was taught in Catholic school (with Islam replaced by Catholicism of course). If you can't be honest enough to admit that other major religions preach that unbelievers are going to hell then I have no time for you. And just like the Wahhabi attitude to other Muslims, Catholic doctrine says other Christians are going to hell too. Here's a line from the year four curriculum:

"True belief means . . . that you hate the polytheists and infidels but do not treat them unjustly."

Does that sound at all like a right wing Christian talking about gays? No, of course it doesn't. When was the last time you heard the religious right saying we should avoid treating gays unjustly? The real doozy comes from year twelve:

"Jihad in the path of God -- which consists of battling against unbelief, oppression, injustice, and those who perpetrate it -- is the summit of Islam."

Oh my god! Getting them just as they leave school and turning them into suicide bombers! Well, apart from the fact that the central tenet of jihad means internal spiritual struggle; physical jihad (holy war) is regarded as lesser jihad. Now you don't have to convince me that the way the above quote is phrased qualifies as weasel words. Obviously it can be twisted to mean holy war when talking to students while claiming to non-believers that it innocently means spiritual jihad. I said before I don't trust the Saudi regime - I think they're dangerous. I'm sure glad the Bush administration has never given soldiers tacit encouragement to torture and murder people in the name of advancing "western values" but said it in such a weasel way that they can deny having said it later.

Oh... wait a minute.


moonflake said...

"Every religion other than Hellfire is false. Whoever dies outside of Islam enters Islam".... you're right, dude, that's not good stuff to teach kids. It doesn't even make sense.

Mr Angry said...

A+ for moonflake! Do you always do this well at school?

Mr Angry said...

And a response from the right winger (sent to my wordpress blog) for your edification:

"Hmmm. It seems as if deliberate misrepresentation or just plain ignorance is a trademark of yours.

The school text translations were done by Freedom House here,

and with the help of the Institute for Gulf Affairs, here;

All of the examples alluded to were posted in an article published by the Wasshington Post,

As previously noted, I’ll understand if you feel you need to remove this comment."

My response:

Ooooo, he’s taunting me, saying I’m a weenie if I delete his comment. whatever will I do? Maybe say: read what I wrote before having a hissy fit. I don’t see any misrepresentation at all. I read the Washinton Post before I noticed you mentioning it so this article is about the washington post not you, get over yourself.

And like I said in my post, as far as I’m concerned, one of the things that I think makes this a real non-story is that personally I assume the Saudis are teaching kids way worse things than this. If you can cheat by taking single lines out entire curricula to prove your point and this is the worst you can come up with, I say you aren’t trying very hard.

Extremist christians use the same language as extremist muslimas as far as I’m concerned - including holy war. The christian right in America frequently uses military terms to describe their struggle against gays/secularist/science.

Fundamentalist christians are dangerous to my freedoms, fundamentalist muslims are dangerous to my life - it’s obvious which can have the worst impact. Still, the lesser of two evils remains evil.