This post has nothing to do with photography, but I've been thinking about the summer madness that enveloped us in the past few weeks; a madness that came to boil with the orchestrated (and well-funded) demonstrations against the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" and of course, our media's mendacious efforts to sensationalize all this even further...as well as the subsequent attack on a Muslim Bangladeshi taxi driver in New York City by a 21-year-old knife-wielding Michael Enright...and other acts of violence against Muslims in the Deep South and Upper New York state to name just some I've read about. This is against the backdrop of Mr Obama's enemies eagerly labeling him a Muslim...as if it mattered if he was.
In this frame of mind, I came across Stanley Fish's opinion in The New York Times (link further on), in which he writes:
"The formula is simple and foolproof (although those who deploy it so facilely seem to think we are all fools): If the bad act is committed by a member of a group you wish to demonize, attribute it to a community or a religion and not to the individual. But if the bad act is committed by someone whose profile, interests and agendas are uncomfortably close to your own, detach the malefactor from everything that is going on or is in the air (he came from nowhere) and characterize him as a one-off, non-generalizable, sui generis phenomenon." - Stanley Fish: We've Seen This Movie Before
How very (and sadly) true! Imagine the frothy headlines and cable news had this Michael Enright fellow been Muslim, and had stabbed a Christian, Jewish or even, dare I say it, an agnostic cab driver!
But in my view, here's what Mr Fish's excellent opinion piece left out:
Much hot air has been expended in calling on moderate Muslims to "rise" and "excoriate" the radical Muslims who commit acts of violence. Why should the large majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims, who are not fools, take that transparent bait? The radical Muslims who commit these acts do them as individuals, not as representatives of their faith, tradition or religion. They can say that they do so as loudly as they want...as much and as stridently as the right-wing radicals say that only they speak for real Americans...but they don't.
And whether the right-wing clowns like it or not, Mr Obama's statement at his inauguration is a fact.
"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth."
By the way, Muslims in America are responding to the intimidation by producing ads such as this: