Thursday, September 21, 2006

Emailed Hatred

I’m going to toss an exchange between me and someone I’ve never seen before into the blog today. It concerns a photo taken of an Arab man taking a snapshot of five, ostensibly, Arab women, all of whom are modestly dressed in line with the codes of many places in the Arab world—only the eyes are available aside from the black robes and the shoes. The picture was entitled “Pointless Family Photo”. I saw the humor, so I sent it on to a whole bunch of friends. What I got back that was just extra special was a humorless reply from a humorless person. (Here is my sparring match with her, with a short preamble to the same email recipients I sent the original picture to.)

One of you sent the picture on to someone called Levina@XXX.XXX, with disastrous consequences for the woman herself: she was forced to reveal her true colors. I sent you all her first email to me about the plight of Muslim women, as expressed to deeply in the vacation picture I sent. Here are all her responses to me, with my responses to her. Watch and see how facades (interest in Muslim women) disintegrate into true colors (hatred of Muslims). If this is anyone's friend but Ms.7's, I can't relate! T. (Levina writes, on September 19, in response to the photo, itself). ”The point here is the degrading manner in which women are treated by Muslim society. Western women should take careful note of this and realize what the fight against terrorism means to them, in particular.” (T. writes, in response to the above, on September 19). “I don't know you and I didn't send this to you. I must have sent it to someone who knew you and thought you'd be amused. As a person who has spent nearly five years in the Middle East, I might know something about the plight of women, and I also might know a lot more Muslim women than you. Consider thinking twice before representing, as their feelings, your own. Walking a mile in someone else's shoes is more complex than you think, and we are all imprisoned by our own cultural mores, beliefs, and attitudes about those shoes. In what way are you imprisoned by your Western notions of what's right and wrong? White middle class American women, despite what they think, do not speak for the billions of women of color around the world who are quite happy to nominate their own representatives to echo their voices. And, finally, how women are treated doesn't stop me from laughing at a preposterous photograph where nobody looking at this picture in a scrapbook could tell who was in the picture. It is funny on its face (no pun intended). If you didn't think it was funny, [that] would have been just fine. To lecture me and my friends about your attitudes on world affairs from this jocular email is haram.” (Levina writes, on September 19). “You are not the only American who spent time living in the Middle East. I spent 3 yrs there. Be that as it may, you miss my point entirely. I don't care how Muslim women feel or don't feel. If they like their plight, as you suggest, fine for them. I do know that the VAST majority Western women would not like being treated the way Muslim women are treated. If the terrorists had their way, we'd all be converted to Islam and Western women would be subjugated, just as women are in the Middle East. That was my point and like it or not, it is true.” (T. writes, in response to the above, on September 19). “If you think I miss your point, you are mistaken. It's worse than that. You have no point to make. You're apparently fearful of Muslims, think they're all terrorists, and worry about conversion and subjugation. Don't you have anything else to do? I'm going to guess that your three years in the ME were in Israel. Mine were in Iran and Saudi Arabia. When your head clears, write back dispassionately and as though you had nothing to fear. It might improve your perspective.” (Finally, on September 20, with an ostensibly clear head, Levina writes). “Israel is the front line in the war on terror. Being there gave me first hand experience in what the terrorists do and what must be done to stop them. Before the dust of the WTC, the Pentagon, Madrid, London and Bali clears from my head, it will be quite a while, sir. I loath Muslims because, rather than come out and condemn what was done, their so called moderate leaders instead sit in quiet acquiescense. What those people want for me, and for all Westerners you can take for yourself, sir.”

(That “sir” shit is right out of Duck Soup, with Groucho referring to Louis Calhern in the same mocking way. I love it!) This is what might be called Crock Pot Psychology (not the other kind, which is Crack Pot): stir it occasionally, let it simmer a day or two, and the real flavors come out. There’s a lot of mental crock-pottery going on these days. My readers might imagine that I am a prime example, but I’m not really harboring any enmity toward anyone other than that particular stripe of born-again Christian who tired of the well-worn birth canal and decided to try the rectum for the second coming. No, I see myself as a reasonable man—a veritable paragon. I’m talking about street level bozos who metaphorically sit on the side of the dirt road with a sign reading “Will Bomb for Food”; or fatcats in places like Halliburton or the White House who should be taken to interesting places and cavity searched; or Muslims who hate Jews, the West, and pork chops; or Jews who hate Muslims, the East, and pork chops. I love pork chops, and you can have the rest.


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