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"Jumping Judas on a unicycle. What happened?"
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December 07 2008

Nothing But Red named as finalist for 2008 Eppie award. The anthology, which came about as a result of Joss' impassioned post about the killing of Du'a Khalil, got nominated in the "nonfiction anthology" category.

The book can be purchased here.

Well deserved. And nice timing as I had forgotten that I bought extra copies to give as Christmas gifts, a little less shopping to do now. If I can remember where I put them. Congrats!
I can't help but think we're preaching to the choir here in the west. The murder of Du'a Khalil Aswad was horrible and immoral and all kinds of adjectives bad, yet I can assert those who killed her do not read western sites like this one, nor do they read western works like "Nothing But Red." According to their beliefs, the murderers of this girl feel completely justified. It's the same kind of "moral justification" which led to all kinds of massacres throughout mankind's bloody history.

How do we change other people? How do we convince them to give up their sadistic ways? Sure, we have voices, but they have to listen in order for those voices to be heard.

By the way, this is an excellent argument why the good need effective equalizers (i.e self-defense weapons), so that they can stand a chance against evil. Ordinary folk don't have superpowers like Buffy, nor lightning fast moves like Jackie Chan. Sometimes you can't convince evil to back down using only words, and carrying a policeman on your back is kinda awkward (not to mention… um, heavy).
I think if you started arming people in Iraq so they can protect themselves it would get very messy very quickly. Plus, let's face it, in societies (not Iraq) where female genital mutilation is common place, women aren't allowed cars and women who report rape get jailed, I doubt they're going to be getting guns any time soon.

Do we have the right to change people and societies? Nope. And I don't think we should. We aren't Team West: World Police. I think we can just set an example. An example which doesn't include marketing and releasing "Captivity", and getting away from movies where people are tortured and murdered for entertainment. Also, Gitmo? Close it.
Also, Gitmo? Close it.

Give us another month or so. ;)
Don't close it completely, I mean, that has to be a primo resort location surely ? Turn those frowns upside down, yo ! Disneyland: Gitmo, s'all i'm sayin'.

A fair number of people are already armed in the middle east, to be honest I don't think not having enough guns is the problem. Also, you know the thing about "good people" ? By and large they're less likely to shoot others, even "bad people". So we'd have a lot of good people having their guns taken away from them by those much more willing to employ violence.

(that's the thing about violence - the mechanics are actually very easy, anything's a weapon in the "right" hands. What separates the violent from the non-violent isn't kung-fu or superpowers, it's the willingness to do it in the first place. S'why comparatively few abusive husbands end up accidentally brutally stabbing themselves with a kitchen knife while sleeping)
How do we change other people? How do we convince them to give up their sadistic ways?

Support Equality Now.
You can't convince animals not to be animals. Honor killings are happening more than occasionally in the West now, too, because it's uncool to point out that, no, not every part of every culture is equally worthy of respect and tolerance. It's very well and good to say the West doesn't have the job to change the other parts of the world, but it wouldn't be too much to ask the West to keep other parts of the world from changing us. I remember an episode of the "West Wing" when Allison Janney's character went off script in a White House Press Conference to rip into Saudi Arabia's treatment of women. You couldn't even *make* that episode today, I don't think.
They aren't animals, they're people. Dehumanizing them doesn't do anything but miss the point.
They dehumanized themselves. They didn't kill Du'a Khalil to protest the situation in Israel, or because the West "steals" the world's resources, or because of any of a dozen other illusory "root causes". They did it because she wasn't human to them, she was an offensive object that had to be destroyed despite having committed no wrong which any rational notion of justice or truth could perceive. The beings that attacked her are essentially the closest thing to Reavers that humanity can provide.
As I said the last time this "animals" idea came up, for thousands of years we in the West have killed people over honour and even today in the right circumstances it's considered laudable by some - it's just the definition of what honour is that's different. Yes it's disgusting, yes it's outrageous but no, they're not animals, they're murderers that have the capacity to know better and no animal (in the colloquial sense people use to talk about non-humans) has that ability.

And no, i'm no apologist for cultures that ingrain prejudice into their very fabric - it was wrong when we did it (or when we did it more I should say) and it's wrong when other cultures do it too. But letting ourselves off the hook because it's "them" doing it, some apparently utterly separate set of "beings" that bear no relation to humanity is not only inaccurate but not particularly useful for solving the problem either, IMO.
Fine, they're humans with a capacity to know better. That would make them more culpable than an animal, yes? Point is that the very human, non-animal, but empathically and intellectually barren fiends that killed Du'a Khalil are not owed any deference or tolerance because of what some Europeans who've been dead for hundreds of years might have done that seems analagous.

And, y'know, maybe we in the West still do have a notion of honor for which people might think it worth killing or dying. I suppose a rule of honor has justified revenge killings of the sort we celebrate in "The Punisher", or "Kill Bill". The difference is, our idea is better. That does, in fact, happen sometimes -- not every cultural idea is created equal.

If Du'a Khalil only had to worry about living or dying by American or French or Italian or Australian traditional rules of honor, she'd have lived a long life. So would hundreds of women, their genetalia intact, live a long life under that western rule of honor, even those who had the nerve to get raped.
That would make them more culpable than an animal, yes?

That's right, that's partly what i'm getting at i.e. considering them inhuman just lets them off the hook. Which they don't deserve.

That does, in fact, happen sometimes -- not every cultural idea is created equal.

Err, who here has claimed otherwise ? You're arguing with some version of what offends you most about cultural relativism which no-one on here (that I can see) is actually promoting.

... are not owed any deference or tolerance because of what some Europeans who've been dead for hundreds of years might have done that seems analagous.

Who's saying we should extend them tolerance ? Who's saying we should show them deference ? Again, no-one on here. You're outraged, we get that, kindly don't take it out on those that largely agree with your position, if not some of its specifics.

My point is, they're not inhuman, they're just bad humans. Seeking to distance yourself from that by claiming they're not might help you but I don't think it helps the problem (unless your solution is to kill them all and go into to each and every society that perpetrates this sort of brutality and dismantle it - cos obviously dehumanising the enemy is an ancient military tactic and often quite effective).
"Err, who here has claimed otherwise?"

Well, to be fair, gossi's post might be what he's reacting to.
Maybe so. But in that case, given that the comment immediately followed my post, had already responded to my post and appeared in a paragraph specifically related to what I posted about honour then I reckon a direct quote of whomever the response was aimed at (and a new paragraph) might've been helpful.

And gossi doesn't actually say that either from what I can see (I don't consider "we don't have the right to interfere" to be the same as "all cultures are equally valid" but I totally understand how some people might consider that not only do we have the right but a duty to interfere - that's a perfectly consistent, respectable position IMO).

Still, KingofCretins and I pretty much agree I think, maybe except on what we do about it (and on that my ideas are barely formed unfortunately. Half-baked is another way of saying it ;).
Fair points, fair points :)

Oh, and congrats to the Nothing But Red creators for the nomination - and "yay" for any more attention it brings the project and its impetus.
KingofCretins: If these honor killings in Western countries are being hushed up how do you know about them?

More to the point, I'm not judging Europe or the Commonwealth countries; I've read soem accounts indicating they'll go easy on Muslim, Sikh, eastern christian etc communties there out of guilt for past imeprialisms, but I don't know it for a fact. But as far as I know, the US prosecutes murder as murder, or as the closest thing they can get and still convict. And family honor isn't a defense in court nor does it lead to the executive branch soft-pedalling the investigations.

I doubt anye spiodes of anything couldn't be made now.

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2008-12-09 02:20 ]

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