Saturday, July 29, 2006
I finally did manged to upload the most famous of the images, the image with the bomb in the turban, by lumping it with the rest of the images here.
Why the fuss? The cartoon shows the Prophet in a viscious guise .. the guise of a holyman who kills for his beliefs. But that is exactly the story of the Quran. M. was not just a prophet on a hill like Jesus or the leader of a fight for freedom like Moses or ML King. The Prophet was the leader of a great army, an army he assembled to conquer Arabi and expel all disbelievers.
This watercolor is from the book on the Prophet by Danish author Kåre Bluitgen. The image shows the story in the Quran of Mohamed's masacre of the Jews of Yathrib for their refusal to side with him in the conflict with the Quraishis from Mecca. Bluitgen's inability to find a cartoonist to draw images like this was the original reason for the Jillands Posten cartoon contest.
The association of M. with violence is hardly limited to the effort by a Dutchman to make the Quran accessible to the West. The fires of hell image is from Muslim Persia, showing the Prophet presiding while demons burn women for showing their hair.
Which of these is most offensive to Islam. You vote.
When the furor over the images of Mohamed in Jillands-Posten was active, I decided not to post anything ... thinking that respect for the feelings of Muslims, even misguided feelings, was better than a perhaps meaningless gesture.
My level of tolerance has changed. The cartoon at the left, IMO fairly, makes fun of all deities. It is interesting in who is left out. G-d somehow did not make the cut .. though the Christian version, spelled Je--h did. Maybe there is an advantage in being nameless? Of course Allah means G-d and is not a name> Moreover the anmeless deities of the Muslims and the Jews are not believed to have faces visible to humans. .. so maybe we ... the Mulsims and the Jews,, or at least our shared faceless, namelss Deity. both escaped this humilation.
This sort of idlolatry and idolatry-hatred is nothing new. In the Quran and the Jewish books of the Canaanite wars, Jews and Mulsims kill others over the worship of idols. Though I don't remember any great celebrations of these events in Hebrew school like the celebrations in Afghanistan when the Taliban destroyed the statures of Buddha. Of course, the prophet is celebrated for destroying the Gods of Mecca. Is this different from the French cartoon?
The cartoon of Muhamed is part of a very important book . Danish author Kåre Bluitgen complained that he could not find an artist brave enought to illustrate his upcoming book about Mohammed. Jyllands Posten ran a contest and the result was the furor over the images "disrespect" for the prophet. The book is about to be released and includes this very accurate painting, depicting a well known Quranics story ... painted by an anonyous artist no doubt frightened for her life.
And the cartoons that elicited this hatred?
July 18, 2006. Naveed Afzal Haq, an American Muslim invaded the Jewish Federation of Seattle and shot six people. No doubt he said, Praise be to Allah, as he shot at a pregnant woman. HE KILLED THE JEWS:
(CTV.CA 29 July, 2006) On Friday, a man armed with a large calibre
semi-automatic handgun walked into Seattle's Jewish Federation and opened
fire -- killing one woman and wounding five others before he surrendered to
a SWAT team minutes.
One is dead. One is still pregant and lightly wounded.
The others will bear their wounds and live on, maimed.
I have been too quiet about Islam's evil side for too long. I read the Quran more than 30 years ago and have reread parts of it many, many times. The Quran shares much with the Book of Moroni, the Vedas, the Torah, the New Testament, and the Hymns of Zarathrustra... Before science, some guy comes to earth and spreads "truth." The truth has many good things .. often liberating people form oppressive priesthoods while combining moral lessons with cosmological nonsense. And all portray truths that lead to hate if not abetted. Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, have evolved since their revelations. The Hindus have their Bhagvad Gita and Ghandi, the Christians have Luther and Martin Luther King, We Jews have too many teahcers ot mention even a few. Even the Mormons, with their science fiction soap opera of a revelation, have evolved to accept Black folks as humans.
Jews have not wanted to kill idolaters for 2500 years and have become leader of social reform for Marx to Alinskly. Today in the hell of Lebanaon how many Muslim schools
Am I evil for reciting this part of the Quran? Do I not see beauty in Islam?
I love much in the Quran. I admoire muslims who submit to G-d, submit to a brotherhood of man where all ahev the same needs and rights to learning and food. I only wish in preaching the Ummaya, the concept of one mankind, there was room in that house for thoise who worhip Krishna or accept the Torah.
I hope I am not Evil, There is no Muslim more proud than I of the eras of Jewish/Muslim collaboration, the era of Harun A Rashid in Baghdad (763-800), Saladin (1138-1193) in Egypt and Jerusalem, and, of course the magnificence of the Andalusian era in Spain. In an era of Christian darkness, Islam’s celebration of the intellect and acceptance of Jews and co-believers in G-d, led to an explosion of knowledge that would not be rivaled until the Enlightenment. Yet, even then Islam failed to reform itself. While the Imans of Harun al Rashid’s Baghdad or Toledo may have studied with Rabbis, they never questioned the evil parts of the Quran.
Islam is today an evil religion. The evil is not confined to primitive madrassa in Pakistan or the bizar goldened robed Wahabi congregations in modern Medina. It is endemic and will be until, one must hope, a new Islam .. a Quaker movement, a movement like Hassidism, or perhaps a return to the too brief teachings of Akbar the Magnificent rule of India.
Until then, I will believe that the term “good muslim” is akin to “good KKK.”
Peace be unto all humans, even if that means those that hate others must die.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Lets be honest ...
The Seattle pro basketball team, the Sonics, have been sold to some Oklahoma City types who claim they want to keep the team here. Now that is honesty!
A publicly funded subsidy divided amongst highly talented practitioners.
the owners want more and more dollars from the public till to finance the salaries .. the multi million dollar salaries .. of the athletes. Without the subsidy, the players would not be able to demand these obscene salaries.
Since prof sports are now a well recognized socialist function of govt, then the practitioners would need to submit competitive bids for the franchises ... just a Boeing and Lockheed bid to build airplanes.
1. Sports would become agencies of govt. ... just like universities and museums and parks.
Cities hosting these teams, should legislate their ownership to make them into utilities .. like a publicly owned electric company. Call it the Enron approach.
2. In order to run a prof sports team, an organization/sponsor would have to bid for the privilege.
The bid would, presumably include a profit. The effect would be to eliminate the tax subsidy associated with athlete depreciation and appreciation of the team's value.
3. If no one bid, the sport would die or find a way of reducing its costs.
Is this too simple?
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Quote from Pete Hoekstra,Republican, Chair of Intelligence Committee."I have learned of some alleged intelligence community activities about which our committee has not been briefed. If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the administration, a violation of the law, and, just as importantly, a direct affront to me and the members of this committee who have so ardently supported efforts to collect information on our enemies."
The American System seems to lack an enforcer. What soes a President have to do to merit impeachment? Defrauding the public? ..nah!!! Violations of habeus corpus? nahhhh! Murder, nahhh. Treason, nahhhh. Being of the party not in power?
Some years ago I attended a seminar by an Army General. One topic was why the Constitution was impregnable to a putsch. Say it ain't so.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Today was the 4th. For something a bit different I decided to spend the afternoon at the "Freedom Fest" at Fort Lewis, an Army base about 70 minutes south of here.
Part of my motivation was that KTTH, one of Seattle's two far right conservative radio-talk stations, announced that they were sonsoring the Fest. Sponsor? Far right? On a US Gov. Army Base? This sounded bizar. I figured I would be immersed in great opportunities for outrage.
Here a cross, there a cross.
Candidate, candidate, gay bashing,
Cigar smoking preachers,
Flags in everything but the burgers ....
None of that. What we saw was a nice, lower middle class, child centric street fair.
Lots of nice folks ... often in the form of nascent families .. Poppa tall and crew cut, two toddlers plus one in the oven. Kids rides run by clean cut soldier boys and gals ... who also ran the busses to the parking lots.
I really liked the non-racism. The Army must be a real meting pot. Every race based in our species seemed to be represented, even the poppas and mommas seemed selected to show of diversity. What a contrast with the usual Seattle street fairs where, somehow, Seattle's fable racelessness holds forth as lilly whilte, pudding yellow, or sable 'n chocolate depending on the neighborhood.
The major commercial endeavour seemd to be credit unions, one in particular touting free 3D glasses for watching the fire works ... to be shown after we left. Then there was loudspeaker, talkng about an opccasional lost and found item and about the raffle. Some soldier's welfare fund was sponsoring the event, the Voice was begging folks to buy raffle tickets ... tickets good for a drill press! or an airplane ticket! 50 cents! I woulda bought one or some, but I never could find their booth.
The Truth ... that is the motto of the rightist talk station, KTTH, but truth be told, their booth was largely empty and never seemed to attract much attention. Seemed like a good opportunity for the liberal bloggers to show up!
Monday, July 03, 2006
I have been so lucky to have known Johsel for 30 years. When I joined the Dept. of Pathology at the UW in the early 70s, Jo was our "scientific photographer." Actually his real job was to do art. The Chairman of the Dept., Earl Benditt, was very much involved in art as well as science and saw Jo has a wonderful addition to a department doing a lot of electron microscopy.
This was a "marriage" blessed by the gods. Jo was far, far better than just a scientific photographer. In effect Earl was playing Medici.
Jo's real work was, and is impossible to describe. He was a member of the small clique sometimes called the Seattle Blue Movement ... Toby, Callahan, Hovaness, Graves, John Cage ... and Johsel Namkung. I suppose a deconstructionist might see something in common ... calligraphy, atonality, muted colors in the mists. I am not so certain.
There always has been something in Jo's work that was .. ordinary. Ordinary things, ordinary beautiful things. Ordinary beautiful things that I probably would not have seen if I were next to Jo with my own camera because they were too ordinary. When he talks about the work there is a lot of reference to the discipline of Ansel Adams,. Adams, besides a romanticism that I find overwhelming and even a bit kitsch, was also a musician and taught how to see photographs in tonal terms .. like notes. This teaching is called the zone system, Yes Jo is a master of the zone system. But, like Adams Jo is also a musician. a wonderful singer of lieder. His images are as much music as they are graphics.
On the past, the orderliness of Jo's images got in the way. But now, with is latest work, he seems to have me to have found a way to play the tunes so we can all hear. I was overwhelmed. For an interview with Johsel, click here.
At the same time, the Burke museum has an insipid, boring collection of historic images of rivers .. including the awful image reproduced here. How sad. At one time the Burke championed real art. Unfortunately they made a deal with a rich donor, Monson, and have bought his collection. Truth be told, a lot of it is good but some of this belongs back chez Monson. Worse, the Monsons got a big tax benefit out of donating this stuff. Sad.