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Author Topic: The thing about the Middle East
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 11 July 2005 05:00 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I know that this forum bothers a lot of people, for different reasons.

I've had a very on-off relationship with it myself. I think that everyone who has ever immersed here for a while has sometimes had the same reaction: I gotta get out for a while. Fresh air needed.

Why? Because it does get nasty, and sometimes we realize that, righteous though we think our own arguments have been, we suddenly recognize that we have been getting nasty ourselves and we just can't face ourselves as quite that nasty. Or something like that.

The spectre of anti-semitism is real. It is a permanent, historic scar on all Western cultures, long pre-dating the Holocaust, and we all know that, or we damn well should.

For leftists (or just humanists) worried about the revival of Western imperialism, though, the role that Israel has played and continues to play in one of the most dangerous areas of the world is equally disturbing. Watching what is happening in Israel/Palestine, fearing the international politics that dictate it, drives many of us to speak up, sometimes out of fear for the future of the planet itself, certainly for the future of humane societies anywhere.

The Middle East is a nexus of our times. There just is no way to avoid seeing it that way. Humanists focus on it because they fear for the future of humanity, and the Middle East is one of the grounds on which that future is now being contested.

That scar haunts our debates, though. It is recent; it is extreme; and I think that our discussions here might improve if we all acknowledged that we fight extra hard sometimes because we know we are haunted.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
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Babbler # 3276

posted 11 July 2005 06:08 PM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
For leftists (or just humanists) worried about the revival of Western imperialism, though, the role that Israel has played and continues to play in one of the most dangerous areas of the world is equally disturbing.

And for no one more than for Jews who are, despite the ties of cultural solidarity, unable to support what Israel has done, and perhaps, has become. They should certainly lead this discussion. Some of their more enthusiastic supporters might pause to consider whether they are really helping those they are supporting.

From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 11 July 2005 07:33 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, actually, I think to a fair extent they do. Some of the strongest posters hereabouts seem to be Jewish.
From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 11 July 2005 08:42 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Wilf Day:
And for no one more than for Jews who are, despite the ties of cultural solidarity, unable to support what Israel has done, and perhaps, has become. They should certainly lead this discussion. Some of their more enthusiastic supporters might pause to consider whether they are really helping those they are supporting.

I think they DO tend to lead the discussion. On the one side, there's Macabee and I think many of the folks on his side are Jewish. On the other side, there is josh, Cueball, Mycroft, and quite a few others.

Also, you might want to think about what you've left out there. Progressive Jews should lead the discussion? What about progressive people of Palestinian/Arab background? Should they not lead as well?

How do you know that the main contributors to this forum AREN'T of Jewish or Arab/Palestinian background?


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
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posted 11 July 2005 08:49 PM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
How do you know that the main contributors to this forum AREN'T of Jewish or Arab/Palestinian background?

I'm sure some are. Other strike me as having the stridency and certainty that comes from distance. If one is close to a situation, one tends to see problems in more depth, with more complexity, in shades of grey, and as a tragedy for all concerned, rather than seeing a cast of villains and victims. Wouldn't you say so?

From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 11 July 2005 08:53 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
No, I don't think so. Not at all. I think the closer to the issue people are, the more polarized they can become. I mean, come on - I can think of one poster who is known for stridency and lack of nuance who is always seeing villains of opponents, and you can't say that this person is "distant" from the subject.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 11 July 2005 09:55 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
What about progressive people of Palestinian/Arab background? Should they not lead as well?

Roger that.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Macabee
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posted 11 July 2005 10:34 PM      Profile for Macabee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Skdadl you have written something very compelling and certainly worth considering.
From: Vaughan | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
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Babbler # 3276

posted 12 July 2005 12:31 AM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
the closer to the issue people are, the more polarized they can become.

Yes, that can happen too.
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
I can think of one poster who is known for stridency and lack of nuance who is always seeing villains of opponents, and you can't say that this person is "distant" from the subject.

Many babblers would say Macabee is unwise in many of his responses to others, and he might even agree, but I have no mandate to teach Macabee, he needs no lessons from me.

However, he has been more nuanced than some realize. A few examples:

"I do not support many of Sharon's policies especially the present occupation. However I don't believe that even those misguided that do deserve death threats here in Canada"

"I have absolutely no love for Sharon so what the hell do you want from me?

"As for criticism of Israel, that does not make anyone an anti-Semite. I would be an anti-Semite by that definition since I have criticized many of Sharon's policies from his take on the Occupation to Israeli policy on marriage.

"There is no question that Sharon had some responsibility in this massacre. The Israeli courts agreed as well.

"Thankfully Israel's democracy is strong and the left may end up playing a significant role. This would hopefully isolate the those right of Sharon (never believed I would think such a thing) and allow for the possibility of movement towards negotiations with the PA.

"Time and again the Palestinian people have been betrayed by their leadership. And sadly this has led to the Israelis looking for a hard answer against terrorism hence Sharon. Stupid mistakes all the way around has led to where we are today...and its a tragedy for both sides specifically the innocent people caught in the middle.

"Israel is only 56 years old. Where was Canada and the United States at 56? There is time needed to grow and with time as issues of safety and borders become clear change will occur.

"I was in the Arab market today. It is filled with tourists. The economy is bouncing back. Yes we tourists give our shekels to Israel and yes all the economy whether fueled by Jews or Arabs seem grateful for the "fence". So I invite each of you to come to Israel (yes Thomas I know you have been here) but for those who haven't, before you venture to tell Israeli Jews and Arabs about how you feel they should handle their security, come to Israel and speak to the average Jew and Arab on the street. Ask them if they feel safer today or last year when there was no fence.

"most Israelis I have spoken to are not only fully supportive of the withdrawal from Gaaza but many look forward to a withdrawal as well from the West bank. Many feel that it is time for Israel to take percipitous action and let the PA develop its state.

"tragically a child is dead under horrible circumstances that I find incredible. From my vantage point it appears as though this child was killed under at best questionable circumstances, at worst in cold blood. I want the truth to come out. I want justice to prevail and I dont care how long it takes.

"A young Palestinian girl was shot numerous times. It is likely that a member of the IDF did this. If so he should be found and punished."

Does he always see villains of opponents?

Originally posted by Michelle:
"I don't feel the need to take any special pains to be sensitive to someone who implies that I think Israeli children deserve to be attacked by anti-semites. So tough beans."

Macabee's response:
" 'Tough beans!!!' Gotta love it. Michelle, it was not my intention to have accused you in any way of even thinking such a horrible thing. I have re-read the post in question and it was clumsily written. I apologize to you and to the board."


From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
rsfarrell
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7770

posted 12 July 2005 03:22 AM      Profile for rsfarrell        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Wilf Day:

I'm sure some are. Other strike me as having the stridency and certainty that comes from distance. If one is close to a situation, one tends to see problems in more depth, with more complexity, in shades of grey, and as a tragedy for all concerned, rather than seeing a cast of villains and victims. Wouldn't you say so?

I don't agree with this at all; depth and stridency are not a function of distance; nor is there any special virtue in seeing only shades of grey ("Badness not being felt as bad/ Itself thinks goodness what is meek.")

But I will say this; there are things you can only learn from those on the inside. I have a good friend here in Portland who grew up in Nablus, and in all the conversations I have had with him, though I've heard anger, and stridency, I have never heard anything but love, love of peace, love of people, determination to hope, and faith in the power of individual connections between people.

And of course I ask myself why he is so much stronger in love than I am, given that twenty of the thirty boys he went to high school with are dead. And in asking myself that I realize that my unchecked sorrow, my frustration, my rage is a luxury he cannot afford; I can give way to those emotions because I always have the ability to change gears, to stop thinking about Palestine, to be an ordinary citizen of a wealthy and powerful nation. If he gave himself to these emotions, how would he bring himself back? Rage is an indulgence; that is what my friend's life has taught me, and when you realize it is an indulgence it is easier to keep in check.


From: Portland, Oregon | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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Babbler # 4117

posted 12 July 2005 10:09 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
No, I don't think so. Not at all. I think the closer to the issue people are, the more polarized they can become. I mean, come on....

I agree. I believe that many activists on this board(both pro and anti Israeli) are to close to the subject they are discussing and therefore become unhealthly angry about things they cannot hope to change(at least not while they are sitting in front of the computer getting involved in circular arguments about the policies of Sharon.
I will admit to getting to involved in the discussions here myself, and truthfully I'm not exactly sure why. I'm not the least bit Jewish(my ancestors probably did their best to make "the holy land" a Jew free zone) I have only the slightest connection to the Zionist project (my grandma, who I never knew was a committed Zionist from her early teens onwards) and I don't really believe that a resolution to the Israeli palistinian conflict will bring a new age of peace and prosperity to the Middle East or reduce the likelihood that bin Laden's Jihdist Goons will blow up Westerners. (the main issue in the Arab world today isn't really Israeli imperialism, but American dependency on foreign oil supplies)

There is much that is interesting about Middle Eastern politics, but due to the polarization of this forum, almost all of the discussions about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict seem to be a rehash of the same argument, played out over and over again.
I have been told by a Zionist family friend who has swollowed the Ziofachist line completely(maintaining the Israeli army at its current strength is a matter of survival, if Israel were to allow the refugees to return, Israel's Jewish population would be driven into the see etc. etc.) that there is no point in worrying about the conflict and I should worry about things that directly affect me(like what's going on in Venezuela) as much as I hate the fellow's political philosophy when it comes to Israel, he does have a point, maybe I am becoming to passionate about the conflict and need to step back a bit, while concentrating on another part of the world for a change.


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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Babbler # 4790

posted 12 July 2005 10:15 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think some persons personal identities are entirely bound to Zinoism.
From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
salaam
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Babbler # 4670

posted 13 July 2005 02:01 PM      Profile for salaam     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
skdadl, what are you fighting for? and how do you think that should be done on this forum?
One thing about the "middle-east", in my opinion, is that discussion in the media almost always frames the issue as an ethnic conflict. The discourse is also reflected on babble, and you can see it right on this thread:
"Jews should lead this discussion" leading to "what about people of Palestinian/Arab background?"...

If the discussion itself is defined by the participants' ethnic background how could it ever progress beyond these ethnic differences?
Instead of trying to balance "pro-Palestinian" and "pro-Israeli" opinions, perhaps we can try framing discussion in an ethnicity neutral human-rights based perspective. I hope that would lead to a healthier and more constructive dialogue here.

I've often been discouraged from posting on the forum after seeing so many topics get killed so quickly with seemingly pointless bickering. But some recent discussions have encouraged me to give it another try.


From: exile | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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Babbler # 3807

posted 13 July 2005 02:40 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Instead of trying to balance "pro-Palestinian" and "pro-Israeli" opinions, perhaps we can try framing discussion in an ethnicity neutral human-rights based perspective. I hope that would lead to a healthier and more constructive dialogue here.

That's an excellent suggestion, and would tie in nicely with the idea of making the ME forum more like the Labour and Feminist fora in having a "non-Imperialist" ethos.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Peech
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Babbler # 9272

posted 13 July 2005 02:51 PM      Profile for Peech   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
This was posted in another thrread but I think it is painfully relevent here:

I feel I must weigh in here. Call it a defence, call it an explanation. Call it whatever you like. I think Michelle is absolutely correct in her observations that the ME forum is indeed toxic. Perhaps it’s a microcosmic view of the dysfunctionality of the views held dealing with ME issues. (For example in today’s media the event in London is being condemned as an act of murder and terrorism while an identical event in Israel is referred to carefully as an act of resistance or by militants.)

I have only been here a short while. My raison d’etre for coming to Babble was to have an honest debate of the issues. I believe that the ME issues are often misrepresented by both sides blinded by ideology. Somehow I thought Babble would allow for something different. How wrong I was. My observations are that a double standard exists in Babble as illustrated by this very thread! and this one:

Audra's Thread

I found that anyone who (dares) to believe in Zionism (that dirty word) which according to the dictionary means: “A Jewish movement that arose in the late 19th century in response to growing anti-Semitism and sought to re-establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Modern Zionism is concerned with the support and development of the state of Israel.” is condemned here.

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=zionism

A similar fate awaits any one who believes that Israel’s Jewish demography is essential, that peace means a separate state for Palestinians (beyond the Israeli borders) and security for Israelis (free from murder by those wishing the state to vapourize), or not turning the clock back to pre-1948 division (i.e. wishing that Israel would just go away), anyone who thinks it’s incorrect and dangerous to vilify Israel, it’s politicians and people or using Nazi, racist and Apartheid comparatives/adjectives ( shoving the evil that sought to murder Jews or the evil that Jews fought against into their faces), against a one state solution ( how many Jews have survived in the “benevolent “ Arab states...none http://www.cjnews.com/viewarticle.asp?id=1642) …and on and on.

Perhaps bullying is really what’s happening here. This forum is actually a PCC (politically correct club) as evidenced by the suggested “mandate” of Coyote. I have found that one better not rock the boat by stating anything other than the “party line” or be subject to bullying or threats. I for one was subjected to accusations of slander (albeit technically incorrect)by Coyote for “daring” to restate opinions from the media that the ISM supported and possibly assisted terrorism. On the same incident I was told I was going to be reported (oh my god!) to the moderator for having these evil opinions about the Holy ISM!!

Macabee probably started out with the same intentions I had and was met with the response of; abuse, and bullying. He then apparently chose to be confrontational (a choice I don’t agree with). Probably out of desperation and or of frustration.(I can't imagine why!)
Clearly this has stirred the hornet’s nest, as evidenced by this and Audra's thread ; which “debates” the banning of Macacbee. How ironic that a so-called “progressive” forum seeks to silence free speech. Well maybe it’s become the tactic de jour as illustrated by the events at Concordia, the boycott at British Universities and the fear that many pro-Israeli students feel at universities in general. What I find so a pro pros here is that this very thread illustrates what infuriates many pro-Israeli or even unencumbered by ideology people feel is a double standard. It’s ok to vilify Israel and call for it’s demise but beware that ANY criticism of an Arab regime or of the purity of the Palestinian cause is met with abuse, and with the threat of banishment. So I say if this forum is true to it’s history then yes drive away any opposition (it’s happening anyways) and banish Macabee. That’ll make you all so much more comfortable. I have observed that any voice of moderation or contrary to the majority views is generally discouraged and eventually pushed away. Well that tactic has been successful as far as I am concerned. I would rather invest my time in working with people who are really taking steps to bring peace in the Middle East rather than the philosophical wanking that has occurred here. I hope the likes of most people here never have anything to do with any work which could directly influence peace in the Middle East. Because in order to do so would require an absence of bigotry, an acceptance of compromise, compassion for ALL people, and courage to question the status quo (of even the “progressive” politically correct views), all of which are woefully absent here.

[ 13 July 2005: Message edited by: Peech ]


From: Babbling Brook | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3276

posted 13 July 2005 02:52 PM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by salaam:
perhaps we can try framing discussion in an ethnicity neutral human-rights based perspective.

Hmm. "The Middle East: Discuss middle-east issues from an ethnicity-neutral human-rights based perspective." Anyone have a problem with that?


From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 13 July 2005 02:55 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Wilf Day:
Hmm. "The Middle East: Discuss middle-east issues from an ethnicity-neutral human-rights based perspective." Anyone have a problem with that?

God help me!


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
salaam
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Babbler # 4670

posted 13 July 2005 03:34 PM      Profile for salaam     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post

From: exile | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 13 July 2005 03:36 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I missed that thread completely. Yowza. I've been "out of the loop" to misuse a certain former President's silly-assed excuse for why he wasn't involved with Iran-Contra.

Ok. Here's my take. Macabee can call me anything he wants, but it doesn't make the statements true. Since I know myself and I know what I am and what I am not, what he says is meaningless in light of the fact that it's just obtuse namecalling.

Right. Onto the forum.

One might fairly say that extremism tends to provoke extremism. If Macabee wasn't here I suspect a lot of us would be able to discuss the issue with a lot more nuance and have a lot more satisfaction in being able to discuss a dicey issue without being made to feel like we're doing something wrong all the time.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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Babbler # 490

posted 13 July 2005 03:38 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Wilf Day:
Hmm. "The Middle East: Discuss middle-east issues from an ethnicity-neutral human-rights based perspective." Anyone have a problem with that?

I tried that with a thought experiment, but it didn't pan out real well.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 13 July 2005 03:56 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by salaam:

I'm sorry, salaam, I should explain. I moderate (heh) the Middle East forum, and I was talking in another thread about how a broad guideline like "discuss Middle-East issues from an anti-occupation viewpoint" would be almost impossible to enforce because that is totally subjective.

Your statement is a great description of how many of us on the left like to try to think of our approach to Middle East issues, and I think that's great. But to try to use that as a practical guideline for moderating people's posts (and judging whether they fall inside or outside of that guideline) was what made me exclaim what I did above.

It wasn't you, honest.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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Babbler # 3308

posted 13 July 2005 05:08 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by DrConway:

One might fairly say that extremism tends to provoke extremism. If Macabee wasn't here I suspect a lot of us would be able to discuss the issue with a lot more nuance and have a lot more satisfaction in being able to discuss a dicey issue without being made to feel like we're doing something wrong all the time.

You don't need to suspect. It's been tested.

I seem to recall there was a previous poster many people consider similar in attitude and ubiquity on the ME forum to Macabee, and for a time after he got temporarily suspended and never returned, but before Macabee and a few others came along, there was indeed a period where some of the very same people who get in flame wars with Mac and with Peech lookalikes did indeed have some calm, interesting, nuanced threads going. The ME forum was lower-volume but more interesting during that time.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
B.L. Zeebub LLD
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Babbler # 6914

posted 13 July 2005 06:37 PM      Profile for B.L. Zeebub LLD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Peech:
[QB]I found that anyone who (dares) to believe in Zionism (that dirty word) which according to the dictionary means: “A Jewish movement that arose in the late 19th century in response to growing anti-Semitism and sought to re-establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Modern Zionism is concerned with the support and development of the state of Israel.” is condemned here.(As illustrated even in this thread by Cue above).

Things aren't that simple. For example, being against That Damned Wall is, for me, being "concerned with the support and development of the state of Israel." As would be my complete revulsion at the discriminatory practices of the Israeli government. I, for one, would support an Israel that develops into a functioning modern civic state freed of the chauvinist ethnocratic ideology that has engendered so much conflict and misery for so many that have found themselves under it's sway; both Jewish and Arab.

quote:
Perhaps bullying is really what’s happening here. This forum is actually a PCC (politically correct club) as evidenced by the suggested “mandate” of Coyote. I have found that one better not rock the boat by stating anything other than the “party line” or be subject to bullying or threats.

If you come, come strong. There are many here who are well-versed in the subject matter, and with their B.S. meters set on "High". It is a contentious issue. Make contentious statements: expect to have them contended (see below). Full stop.

The funny thing here is that you are the one applying a kind of "relativist" argument sometimes associated (when necessary, by the right) with Political Correctness. You're using this position to attack the other kind of Political Correctness (the supposed stifling of free speech) that many like to harp on about, despite the irony of their seemingly unending harping.

You're arguing that you ought to be able to say whatever they want and have it be considered equally valid to any other position and free from criticism. With this caricature you define "progressive" thought.

Usually, those who take such a position do so because they are unable or unwilling to assail the arguments of those that attack their positions. Instead, they stick to using this false claim of their free speech being stifled. Note that you and Macabee, for all the things that you have said (and will say, mark my words) that are unpalatable to many here, are still posting. There are many who defend Mac's right to post in spite of the bilge that often comes forth out of it's keyboard. Freedom of speech is not the right to say whatever one wants free of criticism.

quote:
It’s ok to vilify Israel and call for it’s demise but beware that ANY criticism of an Arab regime or of the purity of the Palestinian cause is met with abuse, and with the threat of banishment.

Bullshit. Unadultered bullshit. There is plenty of criticism for suicide bombings, repression (be it Arab or Jewish) and more. Please search the archives for evidence. This, by the way, is just the kind of innaccurate and strident statement that Mac is prone to (take the example of Babblers' stances on American and British Imperialism). Perhaps it is nonsense like this that lies behind the lack of patience that many exhibit toward you and Macabee. If you can't handle the heat...

Ooooops, I guess I just "bullied" you, or tried to stifle your "free speech". I guess we should all just stand back and let you and Mac say whatever the hell you like...

[ 13 July 2005: Message edited by: B.L. Zeebub LLD ]


From: A Devil of an Advocate | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 13 July 2005 07:03 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
CMOT Dibbler, you are a trueheart, and I am very glad that you keep fighting for people to speak directly and honestly to this forum. I think that we all admire you for that.

quote:
Originally posted by salaam:
skdadl, what are you fighting for? and how do you think that should be done on this forum?
One thing about the "middle-east", in my opinion, is that discussion in the media almost always frames the issue as an ethnic conflict. The discourse is also reflected on babble, and you can see it right on this thread:
"Jews should lead this discussion" leading to "what about people of Palestinian/Arab background?"...

If the discussion itself is defined by the participants' ethnic background how could it ever progress beyond these ethnic differences?
Instead of trying to balance "pro-Palestinian" and "pro-Israeli" opinions, perhaps we can try framing discussion in an ethnicity neutral human-rights based perspective. I hope that would lead to a healthier and more constructive dialogue here.

I've often been discouraged from posting on the forum after seeing so many topics get killed so quickly with seemingly pointless bickering. But some recent discussions have encouraged me to give it another try.


salaam, I don't know.

I share the outrage of many posters here over what has happened in Palestine -- and I mean since the beginning, even before independence. And I agree with you that this has nothing to do with religion or, strictly speaking, ethnicity, although something vaguer like culture would probably apply. Much more significant, of course, would just be power.

At the same time, I am a child of the generation who learned politics from learning about the Holocaust, so a lot of the charges that get flung about here so freely really are hard on me -- I do find it hard to breathe that air.

And then, on the third hand , I have some doubts about the sincerity of some posters. I always have had. I don't like being leafleted on babble. I mean, I suppose that I could ignore that, but if there are participants from whom I never feel I am hearing a single sincere word, then I am bothered.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Peech
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 9272

posted 13 July 2005 08:03 PM      Profile for Peech   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
quote:

B.L. Zeebub LLD:

You're arguing that you ought to be able to say whatever they want and have it be considered equally valid to any other position and free from criticism. With this caricature you define "progressive" thought. Bullshit. Unadultered bullshit. There is plenty of criticism for suicide bombings, repression (be it Arab or Jewish) and more. Please search the archives for evidence. This, by the way, is just the kind of innaccurate and strident statement that Mac is prone to (take the example of Babblers' stances on American and British Imperialism). Perhaps it is nonsense like this that lies behind the lack of patience that many exhibit toward you and Macabee. If you can't handle the heat...

Ooooops, I guess I just "bullied" you, or tried to stifle your "free speech". I guess we should all just stand back and let you and Mac say whatever the hell you like...


You're living proof of my criticism. For you debate is = berate. I have had useful if not lively debates with other posters such as Cue (for whom I have respect even though often disagree with). But YOU are guilty of EXACTLY what you accuse Mac of. While I do not always agree with the content of Mac's posts I will vigorously defend his right to be permitted to post his views. So go and have "quieter" times on Babble. It's what you deserve.

And as per below:


quote:
skdadl:

And then, on the third hand , I have some doubts about the sincerity of some posters. I always have had. I don't like being leafleted on babble. I mean, I suppose that I could ignore that, but if there are participants from whom I never feel I am hearing a single sincere word, then I am bothered.[/QB]



Exactly!
]

[ 13 July 2005: Message edited by: Peech ]


From: Babbling Brook | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4117

posted 13 July 2005 09:48 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I don't like being leafleted

Leafleted?


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
pogge
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2440

posted 13 July 2005 09:53 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
Leafleted?

I believe she's referring to the impression one sometimes gets that certain posters work from a prepared set of talking points and never stray from them. And you better not stray from them either or you'll be dragged kicking and screaming back to them.

[ 13 July 2005: Message edited by: pogge ]


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
salaam
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4670

posted 15 July 2005 02:41 PM      Profile for salaam     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Your statement is a great description of how many of us on the left like to try to think of our approach to Middle East issues, and I think that's great. But to try to use that as a practical guideline for moderating people's posts (and judging whether they fall inside or outside of that guideline) was what made me exclaim what I did above.

I realize that would be hard to enforce. I was hoping people posting in that forum would try to take that approach on their own, instead of "feeding the trolls".

From: exile | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
B.L. Zeebub LLD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6914

posted 15 July 2005 05:12 PM      Profile for B.L. Zeebub LLD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Peech:


Exactly!
]

[ 13 July 2005: Message edited by: Peech ]



Peech makes erroneous assertions about Babbler's and about our reasons for countering their arguments vociferously:

quote:
It’s ok to vilify Israel and call for it’s demise but beware that ANY criticism of an Arab regime or of the purity of the Palestinian cause is met with abuse, and with the threat of banishment.

Their error is pointed out, as is the problematic way in which the error is expressed. Peech cries foul...

There is something so familar about this progression. Doppelgangers?

[ 15 July 2005: Message edited by: B.L. Zeebub LLD ]


From: A Devil of an Advocate | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 15 July 2005 05:16 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think this thread is a duplicate of the ones that have been happening in the rabble reactions forum, so I'm going to close it.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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