Christian Long

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Inside a School for Suicide Bombers

In TED Talks on May 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Extra credit reflection by GABRIELLA B.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Inside a School for Suicide Bombers

Sharmeen’s talk was moving, although not over anything most Americans do not already or should not already know. Most of us are aware at least peripherally of the horrible conditions and twisting of religious iconography that occurs in most religious struggles. What surprised and in some cases alarmed me was the vast outpour of responses this talk received.

Most of the reviewers were calm, articulate. Their points valid and open minded, they reminded us that Muslims are just human like the rest of us. That we shouldn’t point out problems in foreign societies when our own is just as flawed.

Many pointed to the fact our war in the Middle East is mostly economic, or those with more humanitarian leanings questioned why killing a countryman is murder but killing some one from another nationality is heroism. These responses were uplifting. They remind us that the whole of America is not close-minded and bigoted.

However there were some, sadly not a minority, whose nearly extremist responses of intolerance and downright racism, make you wonder about the future of our countries ideals. Freedom and equality are nothing in the face of ignorant fear.

The most disturbing however are not in fact the loudmouthed and obviously uneducated and uninformed spreading empty words of venom. They are those who articulate their hatred. Come up with reasonable sounding rationalizations…at least until you look closer. You then see that their plans and reasoning, statistics and data, all sound like echoes of philosophies we’ve all heard before.

Do you remember them?

“Judaism is an inferior bloodline that dilutes and weakens the Aryan race.”

“Albanian independence threatens the security of the Serbia.”

“Blacks are second class, they are mentally and physically inferior to whites.”

“Africans aren’t human, they’re like animals, dumb and helpless, and slave owners are doing them a favor. They wouldn’t know how to take care of themselves.”

Adolf Hitler.

John Stewart Chamberlain. (Author of The Foundations of the nineteenth century, laid the foundation for German nationalism and the philosophy for Aryan superiority.)

Slobodan Milosevic

Klu Klux Klan

These voices and their dangerous ideologies live on today although their names have changed.

Today, their names are infidel, Muslim, illegal immigrant. Where has toleration and open mindedness gone? We need to be wary because sometimes the voice of intolerance speaks just as sweetly as that of toleration.

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