Monday, June 19, 2006

Pigs in Perspective

David at Italian Catholic and Altogether Strange posts about a story from Sandmonkey on the banning of Piglet from Turkey. No, that was not a typo. Turkey's public television station has banned Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons because of the frequent appearance of Piglet, pigs being considered unclean in Islam. Never mind that this particular pig is made of sawdust-stuffed velveteen. Never mind that Turkey at least continues to maintain the pretense of being a secular state.

David observes that this action comes from the same state that to this date continues to deny the Armenian Genocide of 1915 (in which the majority Muslim state targeted Armenian Christians within its borders.) The same state in which, in the wake of the Mohammed Cartoon scandal, one priest was beaten and another killed. The same state which may be covering up facts about the killing of the priest and does nothing while the country's media attempts to turn blame on the victim with accusations of proselytism.

It seems the last refuge of the scoundrel--or perhaps the first--is actually trivia.

Iraqi Bloggers Central reports on the Iraqi government's proposal to give amnesty for surrender to Sunni Arabs who have "only" killed foreigners. They also cite an opinion piece by freelancer Rayyan al-Shawaf that appeared in The Daily Star of Lebanon:

...Massacres of Shiites occur almost daily in Iraq. The death and carnage caused by the huge bombs strategically placed near Shiite mosques and in bustling marketplaces of Shiite-majority areas do receive coverage in both the Western and Arab media. Yet unless the bomb destroys a Shiite shrine, making reference to Shiites unavoidable, the Arab media by and large deliberately leave out the identity of the victims. This is symptomatic of a larger cultural problem: the majority Sunni Arab world's reluctance to identify and extirpate anti-Shiite calumny in its midst.

This is nothing new. Few in the Arab world paid much attention to Saddam Hussein's crimes against Shiites and Kurds, even when they reached genocidal proportions.
The Lebanese have long been familiar with this sort of duplicity, which in their country manifests itself in the selective commemoration of Civil War-era massacres. For years, convention has dictated that the only crimes afforded official recognition should be those committed by, or involving, Israel. The most notorious of these was the Sabra and Shatila massacre of Palestinians in September 1982. But this approach is selective.

To begin with, massacres committed by Palestinian militias (Damour, Chekka, and others) have been all but forgotten; the Lebanese Christian victims of these outrages are alone in commemorating them....Even those massacres in which Palestinians fell victim to Christian militias (Karantina, Tell al-Zaatar) have been deliberately ignored in favor of focusing all attention on Sabra and Shatila. As if that weren't hypocritical enough, the principal Lebanese role in the slaughter has been officially overlooked, while the involvement of the Israelis, who were surely facilitators, has been made to appear central.

Palestinian suffering at the hands of other Lebanese groups has similarly been relegated to obscurity.

Looks like Turkey isn't the only Middle Eastern country with a perspective problem.



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