Monday, 9 July 2007

Don't Ask Them About Ohana

There's one scene in Lilo & Stitch where Experiment 626 (a.k.a Stitch) hitched a bike ride with his new mistress, Lilo. He was anticipating a trip to a big city, where there's plenty of things he can destroy: buildings, vehicles, etc. What greets him, however, as they reached the top of a hill, was a sparsely populated stretch of real estate that gave way to the vast open sea.

"It sure is nice to live on an island without any big cities, isn't it?" Lilo asked her new pet. In reply, the poor creature fell off his seat and rolled around on the ground, whining pitifully.

It's a very funny scene, despite the enormity of what might happen if Stitch had discovered a whole city full of potential playthings.

That was the parallel I drew with the scenes of destruction and havoc wreaked by the Pakistani student-militants. What can I say? I'm a twisted individual.

Stitch was created and fine-tuned by his creator to be a machine of destruction. That is all these pitiful, misguided individuals are in my eyes: life-sized representations of Stitch. Their idea of regime change, after all, is the dismantling of the existing governments and their infrastructure. Once everything in their path has been subjugated or annihilated, what is left for them to destroy?

When the Taliban drove the Russians out of Afghanistan, they set about doing the only thing they were trained for: they destroyed tapes, kites, non-religious books, anything "unIslamic". With the cities all levelled and all the citizens cowed with threats of death and imprisonment, they turned their guns on the statues at Bamiyan. If the US didn't interfere, chances are good they'll be knocking on their neighbours' doors. "Hey, open up! You have unIslamic elements in there, and we're going to clean it up!"

Considering the level of expertise with which they "cleaned up" Afghanistan, I can understand anyone's reluctance in accepting the Taliban's generous offer.

Murder is a grave crime in every single civilised country; vandalism less so. The laws concerning those, secular or otherwise, are loud and clear. If everybody is allowed to vent their anger in any way they choose, all hell would break loose.

That's why Dr M's latest statement vexes me. Whether he realises it or not, he's actually condoning terrorism - and in the case of Pakistan, treason - as a justified response against perceived grievances and injustices - making him (nearly) as irresponsible as the clerics who brainwashed the students.

It will not end if the "root causes" of Muslim anger are addressed. Today it's Western attitudes; it could be something else tomorrow.

Because anger is blind to what it burns - and what it needs to burn.

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