Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The World needs Respect

Jesus said all we need is love. Love thy neighbor. Turn the other cheek. We clearly are not even close to that standard - sadly. However, we could at the very least respect our differences. Our right to be different. Our responsibility to be respectful to each other.

Yesterday three men massacred the staff of "Charlie" magazine in France. Two policemen were also executed. All people who had the right to live, be respected, and be loved by their families and friends. Yet, those rights weren't respected. A group of "orthodox or hard-line" Muslims seems to believe the staff at Charlie, and the two police officers, forfeited the right to live and love and be loved by publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Islamic law, as practiced mostly in history, required those that insult the prophet to be executed. Some countries still use it - Saudi Arabia for example.

The problem for these Muslims is that the citizens they are executing are not from or in their countries. They live in a different society, with different values, and expectations. "Freedom of the Press", although it is not always that free in the West, is a key cornerstone in our democratic societies. In strictly Muslim countries it is not seen the same way. Yet, we expect them to see it our way, not theirs. They expect us to see it their way, not ours. There is no middle ground, because neither side respect the values of the other. We constantly berate Muslims for everything from multi-marriages, child brides, cloaked women, male-only education, female driving bans, etc. Basically, we want to change everything about them when it comes to what they believe in. Their values repulse us. We cannot bring ourselves to accept them and their societies for what they are.

They feel the same way. They can't stand how we live, how women have freedom, etc. It goes against everything they believe in. A woman in a swim suit is as offensive to them, as a cloaked woman there is to us. Just for different reasons.

That begs the question: Are we living in the modern version of the "Crusades"? Are we carrying the "white man's burden" of the Kipling world? Or are they trying to revive the times of Timur? Or is it both? Either way, the result is the same: hatred; and death.

The truth is, for all of us to survive, enjoy peace, love and be loved, we must respect each others positions. We must. Our "national interests" have to be shelved, and our "mutual interests" must replace them. We can live beside, or with each other without trying to impose our will on each other. To achieve that, we must respect each other's right to a perspective, the legitimacy of that perspective to the other party, and not violate it - especially arrogantly so. Might isn't always right. History has a way of showing those that were mighty always fall. Was it Jesus that said: "live by the sword, die by the sword"? I think so.  If we cannot agree to respect the views of the opposing sides, whether Russian, Chinese, American, British, Muslim, Christian, then we are doomed to reap the ugly rewards of such attitudes. Paris yesterday is the latest example. There were many before, and there will be many after,  until we learn...


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