Sunday, December 19, 2010

Islamic culture shock: Part I

I would like to apologize to my loyal readers for repeating myself so often. I do this because new readers may not know the background of certain points that are fundamental. Fundamentals do not change. Human nature does not change. It is easy to lose focus on the basics.

One factor overlooked by many in the wars against Islamic terrorism today is the idea of culture shock. Many parts of the Islamic world are culturally set in many ideals that are considered medieval. Chopping off the hand or lashes with whips as punishment. Stoning people to death. Religions fielding armed forces and or defending ‘occupied’ land or ‘waters’. These concepts are imbedded into this way of life.

People will fight wars to defend their way of life. Culture is a major part of that way of life. The very culture that had evolved around the ‘peculiar institution’ of slavery was what drove so many good southerners to defend it, even though most did not own any slaves. Their very way of life revolved around the concept of slavery and as a result, they defended the evil of slavery to the best of their ability and with their very lives. After the war had been lost, that way of life was completely destroyed. This is a major reason as to why we are seeing so much violence in the Islamic world as it attempts to come to grips with modern technology and ways of thinking.

In the view of many of the people who live there, the Ottoman Empire was the last real Islamic government. The Ottoman Empire took in most of what we call the Middle East today. It was broken up after World War I and replaced with numerous other national entities. Naturally, loyalty to these ‘new’ governments was weak. Nationalism based upon these new governing authorities could be expected to take many generations. Resistance to these unnaturally designed authorities has been constant and is present to this day. The very culture that had been built and thrived under the old system can be expected to change only slowly. Then came oil.

Oil provided wealth that had not been seen for centuries. And it was like winning the lottery. In cultural terms, it occurred practically overnight. With that wealth came new technologies and much more contact with the rest of the world. Along with that came modern ideas about governance, treatment of women, education, and lifestyles in general. This created great social impact and cultural pressure for rapid change.

The very way of life was and is being threatened on a massive scale. It would only be natural for the culture to resist these changes. As is being seen today.

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