taerowyn: (Amused)
Just imagine the kind of uproar an atheist bus ad would cause in the United States.

(Or should I have not pointed that out and thus proved myself anti-America...or whatever the latest twaddle is. My bad...)
taerowyn: (Default)
Really good article on common misconceptions of Islam or Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Islam.

7. Culture is not religion. So much of the oppression and misogyny (female illiteracy, "honour" killing, female genital mutilation, forced marriages, physical abuse, etc.) we hear about in quasi- and pseudo-Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran stems from patriarchal cultural customs and baggage and not from Islam, although it's always "justified" sixty ways to Sunday with supposed religious dictates and self-serving interpretations of scripture.

If any of these countries actually thoroughly implemented Islam as intended and honoured the spirit as well as the letter of the "law," women, for example, would not only have far more rights and freedoms than they currently do in any of these countries, but the behaviour of men and the actions of governments would have to change so radically that you would probably not recognize these countries at all. Islamic concepts and requirements are that different from how these countries currently operate.
taerowyn: (Default)
Watched West Wing last night, basically the only show I really keep up on. What can I say, it's nice to dream.

Anyway, part of the storyline was a school in Saudi Arabia burned down with 14 girls in it. The girls were not allowed to leave and rescuers were not allowed to save them because they did not have the proper attire to be seen in public and the religious police would not allow it. I was a little riled about Saudi Arabia being the target, but my dad was very upset (FYI for those who don't know, we lived there for 4.5 years in the early eighties.) I asked what was so upsetting and he proceeded to make this very good point (which I'm pretty sure will rile some of you.)

Dad's thoughts )
taerowyn: (Default)
I am so amazingly angry right now, and I'm not even Catholic. The priests came to a "decision" that they would only defrock "a priest 'who has become notorious and is guilty of the serial, predatory, sexual abuse of minors.'"

That is such an empty load of crap. So basically they can just go back to they way it was and cover up offenders passing them from parish to parish until they get widely known as molesters and only THEN punish them, meanwhile pat themselves on the back for "accomplishing something."

I am so livid at the moment I can barely type. Basically they're saying "one child doesn't really matter, we have to protect the priests and the Church," the same misguided, messed up, horribly irresponsible stance they've had for years.


Feb. 5th, 2002 06:09 pm
taerowyn: (devil)
Saw a bumper sticker "The last time we mixed politics with religion, people got burned at the stake." I'm amused.
taerowyn: (Default)
Driving to work saw a big ol' windshield sticker saying "Fear God." Oh good, because fear is a wonderful basis for faith.
taerowyn: (Default)
OK, so I'm taking a continuing ed class in writing feature articles. I'm trying to get my journalism side of science journalism beefed up a bit so next time I apply to BU I can get off the f$&#ing waiting list and actually get accepted.
ANYWAY, on to the point, for the class I am writing an article on religion and "the youth of America" or however you want to phrase it. Basically just how religion for young people has branched way beyond Judeo-Christian roots of the past. So I am interviewing some people face to face, but I figure the best way to get a really broad sampling would be to write my questions here as well.

Now, before I begin, there is a chance that this story could, beyond being a class assignment, get published in a local monthly paper so fair warning. If you want you can tell me to change your name...the little disclaimer "some pepole's named changed for their protection" etc.

First the basics:

Location (At least state, city would be prefered)?
Do you want your name changed for the article?

And now the real questions:

1. What faith were you raised with?
2. How did you feel about it at the time?
3. How do you feel about it now?
4. What is your current faith?
5. Why did you stay or change?
6. If you changed, what did you look for when choosing your new
7. What does your current faith hold for you? What does it mean to you? Why is it important in your life?
8. What does it entail? What are the common practices/beliefs of your religion?
9. How devout would you consider yourself?
10. How does it relate to your daily life?
11. How does religion affect your relationships? Does it affect
your choice in partners and if so, how?
12. How do you view religion in America (i.e. Freedom of...,
Separation of Church and State etc.)

So if you are interested in helping out here (please, please help out here), then you can either answer in the comments, or if you would like it to reamin private you can email me at taerowyn@hotmail.com.

Thanks a bunch!!
taerowyn: (Default)
Was kind of depressed last night and I couldn't figure out why. I should have been very happy as today is my birthday and the first birthday I've been able to celebrate at home in four years. Figured it out though. I knew that just because I was back home, didn't mean things were going to be what they were and this was just going to be one more example of how much I and the people around me have changed in the past four years. It's that whole "You can never go home again." Or some such. But now that I have that all figured out, I'm much happier and am greatly anticipating the birthday party my friend is being good enough to throw me. Let's see she has a huge house she shares with five other college girls and I have...parents. I'm going to like this party :-P

On a less self-focused topic...fun with anthrax (or pudding mix, depending on whether we're talking NYC or CO). So Tom Brokaw's assistant now has anthrax because she opened a letter addressed to him. I don't know, if I was Peter Jennings' assistant I think I'd go on strike, or ask for a BIG raise.

OK, back to me again, I'm getting a nice happy raise (WooHoo!) I started here in mid-August, got a 50 cent raise at the beginning of September and by changing my job title and duties I'll be getting another $1/hour as of this week. I figured it out and the extra I make will exactly cover my school loan which starts up in December (which I was dreading for obvious reason). So until then, more money for savings and then pay for the loan and I won't have to work on re-budgeting everything. One less thing to stress over! Yeah!!
taerowyn: (Default)
Thought I'd share an alternative media look on how the media is dealing with the crisis. It includes:

A comparison between the "war on terrorism" and the "war on drugs." How do you fight "terrorism"?

The effects this will have on our digital privacy.

That's really just the tip of the iceberg though, delve in, check it out. It's good stuff to know that you're not going to get from your local paper.

Another site discusses some civilian casualties, the U.S. version vs. reality.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but explore a bit, don't just watch the networks, check CNN.com and/or read you paper. That's as good as putting blinders on because you most definitely won't be getting the whole story.


Oct. 8th, 2001 10:08 pm
taerowyn: (Default)
I've noticed that I've been avoiding journaling, both here and in my physical journal. Usually when I have avoided writing in the past it's because there's something I'm trying not to think about and I know that writing will open up the issue to all sorts of analysis and mental poking and prodding.
So what have I been avoiding thinking about...gee let me think about that. I don't like thinking about what's going on and all the implications. Thinking about it...I don't know how to describe it, it feels almost like a black hole opening in my chest and I just want to sink into myself and just leave a gaping hole. Does that make any sense? I've been hiding from the news, taking it in only in small doses. We're going to attack other countries, you say? Oh bliss...what was that article I put in earlier...

"We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.
And guess what: That's bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the West. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the West wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose; that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong -- in the end the West would win, whatever that would mean -- but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours.
Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?" - Tamim Ansary

Oh good. Just what I want to think about. Terrorist attacks, world war and hey...let's add anthrax. Excuse me, I have a blanket I need to go hide under.
taerowyn: (Default)
Again, ever so much better than I could have put it.

An Afghan-American speaks

You can't bomb us back into the Stone Age. We're already there. But you can start a new world war, and that's exactly what Osama bin Laden wants.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Tamim Ansary

Sept. 14, 2001 | I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on San Francisco's KGO Talk Radio, conceded today that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."
And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived in the United States for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.
But the Taliban and bin Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats' nest of international thugs holed up in their country.

Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan -- a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and healthcare? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans; they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban -- by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.
So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that, folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.
And guess what: That's bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the West. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the West wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose; that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong -- in the end the West would win, whatever that would mean -- but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours.
Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?

- - - - - - - - - - - -
About the writerTamim Ansary is a writer in San Francisco, and the son of a former Afghani politician.
taerowyn: (Default)
A little something from "The Miami Herald":

Published Wednesday, September 12, 2001

We'll go forward from this moment Leonard Pitts Jr.

It's my job to have something to say.
They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.

You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard.

What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.

Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.

Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae -- a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though -- peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.

Some people -- you, perhaps -- think that any or all of this makes us weak. You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.


Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before.

But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future.

In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.


You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold.

As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.

So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.

But you're about to learn.


May. 6th, 2001 02:15 am
taerowyn: (Default)
I SHOULD be in bed right now, but then "Sixteen Candles" is on and I can never resist an 80's John Hughes movie. I was thinking today that someday I'll have to rent all of them so I can see the unedited versions, see if anything cool was cut out in order to fit the commercials in.

Been a movie watching fiend tonight. Started with "The Third Miracle," which was fairly cool. All about Ed Harris, a priest in the middle of a crisis of faith, investigating the possibility of a woman's sainthood. Odd topic for me, but a good movie. I find it strange that my two Christian friends, one a non-practicing Catholic and one a church-going Protestant, come to me when they have questions about the Bible. To clarify, the closest name you could put on my belief system is Taoism. My question is, this book is the basis of your whole belief system, how can you NOT have read the thing?

Hmmm, this is a rather random scattering of thoughts, but then I've always been a random kinda girl. Just found out that Survivor II ended last night. If only that meant the end of it all, but I know there's no such luck. Have a friend who is applying...so is her brother. I really don't see her making it, but who knows, myabe they'll go for the whole sibling angle, it's something new. Makes me think what would happen if Josh and I ever lost our senses completely and ended up on the show. I don't have the imagination to fill in the blanks of what would happen (I bet Josh will though), but I'm sure it would be interesting.

Had an interesting evening last night; it was our Senior Dinner. Basically Southampton's answer to a senior prom. Picture a prom...got that image in your head? OK, now add to the mix of heels, ties, petty cattiness, soap operas, dancing and general hovoc...a four-hour open bar. Yeah, it was interesting to say the least. Ah well, what's college for if not alcohol induced stupidity. What's that you say? Education?! Oh, to laugh...where have you been?

OK, movie is over and can't find anything else on so I'm going to read a little Terry Pratchett and then sleep.


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