Archive for May, 2009

Know your enemy

Thursday, May 7th, 2009
Tyler Murphy

I do believe that there are people you can look in the eye and based on what they’ve chosen to stand for you can call them mortal enemies.

One of those enemies are religiously based militants who kill in the name of their god known as fundamentalists.

The headline rise in the Af-Pak (Afghanistan Pakistan) conflicts involving the Taliban and al-Qaeda left me pondering the type of enemy we are facing and how we should handle them.

Meeting people in a politically hostile environment, such as during conflict and in war time, is sort of like walking into a room with two people carrying loaded guns. Sometimes it’s pointed at you and sometimes you may have to point yours at someone else. I believe honest and productive dialogue is certainly preferable to violence.

Through such discussion the parties might even learn to lower their threats and weapons. However I don’t believe in trusting anyone enough to put the gun down completely. Although I believe that life and peace are important parts of a negotiation they are not the sole priorities.

It’s not so much as believing that their are things worth dying for but rather that there are things worth fighting for.

Some acts demand necessary and violent reactions out of sheer survival. In case of nations it often means the survival of a principle or a material gain. Deciding what principles to spend lives on isn’t easy but among them are the ones forming the foundation of our democracy and the same ones that protect our way of life.

They include accepting diversity let it be cultural, religious, ethic or gender based, all should be respected so far as they do not disrupt or infringe on the rights of others. Another is judicial equity, no matter your rank, status or wealth all people should be subject to the same rule of law and entitled to the same civil rights.

A third cause worth human life is maintaining a free, rational society based on intellectual debate, disagreement and practical compromise.
Although there may be others these three should certainly be on any list.
These principles are where the confrontational lines between republic and fundamentalism are often drawn in blood.

In particular Islamic Fundamentalism. A theocratic system of government solely based on the strict interpretation of a religious document, in the case of Islam, the Koran. A book not too unlike the old Christian Testaments, written thousands of years ago and ripe with examples of violence, bigotry and slavery.
Fundamentalism interprets the text literally, on a level unparalleled in American society.

To put it in perspective this would be like Christians taking the old Testament recommendations to an extreme by lynching gay couples in the street and stoning women who’ve had sex out of wedlock to death. Some might encourage such attitudes on talk radio programs but for the most part it is all bark and no bite in civilized society.

The Taliban and al-Qaeda are groups actively involved in spreading this ultra-conservative belief through violence. After September 11, 2002 it’s easy for anyone to hate such foes but in time that trauma may pass.

We should not forget where the real heart of evil beats, and that it is intertwined with the beliefs of Islamic Fundamentalist.

Notions of extreme sexism, that include the torture and mutilation of woman for offense as mundane as traveling without a man’s permission. Their strict adherence of education reaches no scope beyond the words found in the Koran, actively destroying any alternative views, essentially promoting blind faith and ignorance. There is no organization on earth farther from our way of life, nor more dangerous to it.

Islamic Fundamentalism places a cheap value on human life and they are not big fans of compromise or social progress. They do believe in spreading their word of god and influence however. They have no qualms with utilizing suicide bombers so just imagine what they might do with a nuclear arsenal.

Can you imagine any first world nation operating more belligerently? Even if America were to decide not to be enemies with such cultures they would still decide to be ours, they have too because we threatening everything they stand for. They also threaten everything we stand for.

So if there must be a fight before you cast your leverage one way or the other take a long hard look into the eye of the enemy and ask yourself if you could ever live in a community with such a person. Could you stand by and witness such abuses all in the name of cultural tolerance. I would rather fight.

Who’s afraid of the newest pandemic

Friday, May 1st, 2009
Jessica Lewis

Sure the name swine flu sounds pretty disturbing, but other than the disturbing mental images conjured up when you think about that one for a while, I have to admit, I’m not all that panicked by the newest illness to be making its way around the world.

The reasons why I’m not running for cover and shouting that the sky is falling seem pretty evident to me. Compared to many other diseases and illnesses out there, including say the regular flu, swine flu has killed a relatively small number of people and while the idea of an illness that strikes healthy, young adults is scary, I don’t really think it’s going to bring about the destruction of our entire way of life.

There are many people however, who disagree with my lack of utter panic. People who think that this newest illness could be some kind of bio-terror weapon or who are convinced that the problem is much more serious than anyone is letting on. Frankly, I’m fairly concerned that those people are much more likely to suffer health effects from stress then from swine flu, but I guess only time will tell. Let’s all calm down, wait a few weeks and then determine whether this is the next black plaque or just another needless cause for panic.

Getting your picture in the paper

Friday, May 1st, 2009
Tyler Murphy

This morning I stepped into the office and one of the first things I found was a fax with a note scribbled on it.

It asked if someone could come to Smyrna and take a picture of its local residents participating in the Relay for Life event, Paint the Town Purple. It’s not that uncommon.

Often the Evening Sun receives requests from a variety of people seeking our photography skills. I appreciated the interest but the camera wasn’t invented yesterday. Just about everyone I know has a digital camera and an e-mail so why not take a picture and send it into the Newspaper.

We’d love to go and do it all ourselves but realistically it just isn’t possible. So grab your camera, snap a picture, paste it into an e-mail and then send it to us.

We’ll be grateful and trust me you’ll be drastically increasing your odds of getting some coverage in the local paper. It’s a good idea to include not just a picture but a brief description of what the picture is, including the people who are in it, when it was taken, and why.

Also a contact number would be great. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to get an e-mail seeking our services that’s void of a name or phone number.

Just some helpful inside Newsroom hints.