Monday, February 9, 2015

"The Evil and the Good" (Best Thing I've Read in Some Time...)

Over the last week or so I've read several articles about what the recent immolation execution of the Jordanian pilot by ISIS is supposed to mean, what our reaction should be, etc.. Virtually everyone agrees that it was horrific and that ISIS will need to be dealt with in a serious way until they are no more. Some point to "a feckless foreign policy" by the Obama Administration. Some point to the Muslim faith and make the case for a stronger reaction from the Islamic world towards extremists. Right now, it doesn't seem any one government has a clear sense of what to do about eliminating ISIS. There are strategies currently in place which seem to be more about holding off new gains by the ISIS fighters than anything else.

A friend sent this article over in the last few days. Its from a blogger who is the wife of a US foreign service worker. She is a mother of four and currently lives in Jordan. Here is here bio...

"I'm a freelance writer, mother of four and foreign service spouse who moves every few years because of my husband's job. We've lived in Moscow, Russia; Armenia; Kazakhstan; the United States; Beijing, China; and Amman, Jordan. We moved back to Moscow in summer, 2014. It's a crazy sort of lifestyle, but it's working for us so far."

The writer's name is "Donna" and she blogs at "Email from the Embassy"

Here is an excerpt from her post from 2/4/15 titled, "The Evil and the Good.."

It’s hard to know what to say in the face of such senseless barbarism as the world witnessed yesterday, when ISIS released that video showing the murder of Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kasasbeh.

As someone who spent 4 years in Jordan, and counts many Jordanians amongst my friends, I found this news particularly heart wrenching.  My newsfeed has been filled with sad posts for the past 24 hours, with friends changing their profile pictures to reflect their support for Jordan, while others busily unfriend people for making hate-filled rants against Muslims.

I am far from the events in the Middle East, but I am feeling the pain of my Jordanian friends all the way up here in Moscow. I never met that pilot, who was just 11 short years older than my eldest child, but I know people who knew him.

Just last week, ISIS murdered a Japanese journalist, who was actually a friend of a friend of a friend.  Such is our life in the Foreign Service: when tragedy strikes, it is seldom about something that is happening “over there.” We have a personal stake in it, either because we served there, because we have friends there now, or because we are personally involved in trying to fix the problem at hand.

Someone once tried to make the argument that I, along with other diplomats and their families, am somehow “out of touch” with America, I guess because we can’t watch American television or attend American sporting events in person.  I think the argument was that we don't interact with everyday Americans and thus cannot be relied upon to make the right decisions for the United States, or to even explain the U.S. to the foreigners we encounter at post.

It was a strange and offensive argument to make. I would argue that my service overseas makes me more of an American, not less. Yes, I am giving up some everyday American things by choosing to live outside of the borders, but the very act of giving them up makes me appreciate them more. It’s sure easier to appreciate the importance of free speech when you live in a country where people are jailed for speaking their minds. It’s easier to defend the idea of democracy when you see first-hand how people can suffer without it. And it’s also – yes, this is true, too! – it’s also easier to see the things that are wrong with the U.S. when you see how people in other countries manage the everyday tasks of working and praying and loving.

I didn’t know much about Islam before moving to the Middle East, and truthfully, even after 4 years there, I am certain that I’ve only scratched the surface of what it means to be Muslim.

But it bothers me to read the anti-Muslim comments that seem to be prevalent back there in the States. I say “seem to be,” because as my friend pointed out, I’m not in the States now, so I can’t say for certain what the average person is thinking and saying about Islam. I can tell you what the media are saying, and I find it profoundly disappointing.

These people who did these horrible things to the Jordanian pilot and the Japanese journalist and so many others, these people don’t represent Islam any more than a “Christian” protester who chooses to picket an abortion clinic or a funeral can be said to represent my religion.

These brutes, with their vicious and twisted misunderstanding of God, represent no real religion, no real faith. They know nothing of God.

That's about half of her post, the rest is absolutely worth your time and attention. It does not insult your intelligence, rather, she makes an interesting case on how she looks at the role of faith in time like this. I thought it was excellent...

Go read the whole piece here:


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