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European Racism Version 2.0
2006.04.08 (Sat) 22:01
[Note: Since publishing this Rant, we've done a bit more research — due in part to our own suspicions, and in part to Dikkii's refreshingly blunt comment! Further research has led us to the conclusion that, if there even exists a Spanish journalist named Sebastian Villar Rodriguez (or Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez, or however various different people are spelling it), it is highly unlikely (read: blatantly false) that he wrote the passage attributed to him in this Rant. However, regardless of the source of the material, the passage is still being forwarded from person to person, with the very unsubtle suggestion that what has been written here (by whoever actually wrote it) is insightful and worthy of merit. The sentiments and arguments presented in our Rant, despite being directed at the possibly fictitious and probably irrelevant Rodriguez, still hold; we are amazed that people — in particular, Jews to other Jews — are continuing to forward this passage to others with the blatant implication that, in a nutshell, "all Jews are better than all Muslims." In that light, we stand by our rebuttal to this ridiculous "article," no matter what feverish mind produced it.]
Many of you have probably already read, or read references to, Sebastian Villar Rodriguez's September 2005 article regarding the "eviction" of Jews and the "infestation" of Muslims in Europe, as was reported all over the blogosphere in the past few months since it was published. If you haven't, here it is below, in its entirety, as it was e-mailed to us. We've actually seen several different translations of the article, but the general gist seems to remain the same.
I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth:
Europe died in Auschwitz. We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims.
In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, and talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.
The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.
And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.
They have turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime. Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts. And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.
We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.
What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.
Okay, here goes: we absolutely agree with the first position Rodriguez takes — the Jews in Europe had much to contribute, and the outright persecution on the part of some Europeans, and apathy on the part of others, led to the deaths of many Jews who may well have otherwise had a huge impact on the course of human history. The Holocaust was an unforgivable act, and all of those responsible for it — directly or indirectly — share the blame for the atrocious acts committed during the Axis' push for power; and not just those acts committed against Jews, but those against blacks, gypsies, gays and so many other ethnic and sociocultural groups.
In addition, simply to put this Rant into exact context, a good percentage of the Two Percent relatives are Jewish, and mostly Jews of European descent at that. Despite our own resolute atheism, we have no issues with the social and cultural identity that Judaism inspires, though we have little use for the religious aspects which we consider to be pure bullshit. The same can be said for any religion; as we've said in the past, you don't have to be a religious Christian — or in fact a Christian at all — to have a good time on Christmas Day. In fact, some Two Percenters still attend family gatherings for the Jewish holidays. Our overall respect for the non-religious aspects of Jewish cultural identity stems in large part from the generally strong emphasis that those who self-identify culturally as Jews place upon education, rationalism and civil liberties (that's generally — we really have no soft spot for the ultra-conservatives, and especially dislike the Hasidic practices that perpetuate an outright misogynistic patriarchy).
However...all that said, we find Rodriguez's extended point to be astonishingly myopic and downright cruel.
In lauding Judaism and the European Jews, Rodriguez seems to feel that he must insult and denegrate Muslims; his premise is essentially that the "valuable" Jews were traded for the "worthless" Muslims, and he makes this disgusting and irrational point without even recognizing that he is perpetuating the racist dogma spouted by the likes of Hitler and the men under his command. He says:
...we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.
So Jews bring "culture, thought, creativity, and talent," and contribute to "science, art, international trade," and "the conscience of the world" — and Muslims bring "stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty," and contribute "fanatical hatred...destructive skill...backwardness and superstition." Because, as we all know, people are defined solely by the religion to which they belong. (Which may explain why we atheists are, to wit, "undefined.")
Are there Muslim fanatics, Muslim terrorists, Muslim leeches on the wealth and prosperity of Europe? Certainly there are. Are there also many talented, creative, thoughtful and brilliant Jews who have contributed to all human endeavors? Likewise, too many to be counted (though admittedly scarce in professional sports).
But where the hell does Rodriguez get off suggesting that all of Islamic culture, in practice, is solely about death, crime, filth, and a total lack of any valuable contributions to the human race? There are plenty of Islamic scholars throughout history who have made great contributions to the enlightment of humankind. In fact, while Europe was languishing in the so-called "Dark Ages," Islamic science and culture was thriving and flourishing. Islam has certainly contributed more than enough to be considered a "valuable" culture by Rodriguez's standards. Do any of these look familiar?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
Where the hell do you think we got these numerals from? How do you think so much of ancient Greek history, literature and science was preserved, except by the tireless efforts of Muslim scholars and translators, who stayed "awake" during Europe's Dark Age? What about Caliph al-Mamun's House of Wisdom? What about nearly every scientific or mathematical term that begins with the letters al- — like algebra, algorithm, alkali, and so forth — all of which (among many other aspects of our modern vocabulary) are derived from the Arabic words uttered by Muslim scientists and mathematicians like Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khowarizmi? The concepts of zero and infinity, so important to so much of our modern mathematics, owe far, far more to the East (including Islam, India and the Far East) than they ever have or will to Western civilization, which maintained an irrational fear of the literally irrational for centuries upon centuries. Astronomy, algebra, philosophy, experimental sciences...Islamic culture has contributed a wealth of knowledge to the world, no matter what some of its current misguided adherents are doing.
Our point is simple: yes, many Jews have made wonderful contributions to our species; however, many Muslims have also made great contributions to our species. And correspondingly, there have been malefactors, psychotics, and just plain assholes on both sides of that particular fence, as with any two cultures you might like to pick.
It is popular, particularly on the right-wing, for folks nowadays to paint all Jews as "good guys," owing to the relentless persecution and despair they have endured for a few thousand years (though many of these far-right folks are just playing nice to get the 120,000 Jews they need for the Rapture). It is just as popular to paint all Muslims as "bad guys," owing to the modern-day activities of some fucked up Muslim zealots in the past few decades.
But the simple fact is: lumping every member of a specific religion into a "good" or "evil" category is, simply, idiotic and unrealistic.
Have we, here at the Two Percent Company, fallen prey to the same temptation? Some could argue that. However, we would counter that we take the position that people — individually and in groups — should be judged on their words and deeds, and not by the words and deeds of others who claim membership in the same group. There are some Muslim assholes out there; there are also some bright, charming, happy, optimistic and peaceful Muslims out there, and we're not about to call them assholes just because they share some beliefs (though not all) with the actual Muslim assholes. There are some brilliant, creative, benevolent and generous Jews in the world; and there are also some ravenously psychotic Jewish assholes, whom we're not about to call "good" simply because they cover their heads and read the Torah.
Regular readers will see us commonly refer to "religiosos" — but it would be a mistake to think that our pejorative refers to all people of any religious belief. While we do happen to believe that such folks are deluded or brainwashed or, at best, thinking wishfully, there are too many good religious folks out there for us to actually hate them as a whole. We use the term "religioso" specifically to refer to those who are anxious to force their beliefs and practices on others, through political, legislative, economic, military or other means. We've got no beef with those who are content to "live and let live" — we're often pleasantly surprised by devout believers who have a kind word to say in our Rants or through our contact form, and we wouldn't dream of lumping them in with the real religiosos, or slamming them for no good reason. We may not share their beliefs, and they may not share ours; but we have no problem sharing a country or a planet with them.
We're just disheartened by the fact that Rodriguez, in trying to make a decent point about the horrible loss incurred by European reluctance to interfere with the Holocaust, felt the need to find some target to replace the Jews, completely disregarding the fact that such a blanket belief in the consistency of character within one sect or clan was exactly what enabled the Europeans to disregard the Jews so generally in the first place. That's just sad. It's silly to throw out a whole basket just because of a few cracked eggs.
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[ Filed under: % Media & Censorship % Religion % Two Percent Toons ]
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ed, 2006.04.09 (Sun) 02:11 [Link] »
dikkii, 2006.04.09 (Sun) 03:01 [Link] »
Jeff from the Two Percent Company, 2006.04.09 (Sun) 03:36 [Link] »
CJ, 2006.04.09 (Sun) 14:51 [Link] »
Tanooki Joe, 2006.04.10 (Mon) 12:41 [Link] »
dikkii, 2006.04.11 (Tue) 06:27 [Link] »
Tom from the Two Percent Company, 2006.04.11 (Tue) 07:58 [Link] »
ed, 2006.04.12 (Wed) 02:30 [Link] »
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