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September 22, 2010

Qur'an burning - lessons for us all

The media circus surrounding pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida and his Qur'an burning is both unfortunate and revealing.

It is unfortunate that a tiny cult somewhere down south is able to rouse such anger and disgust throughout the world.

The attention is well-undeserved, despite Jones’ apparent love affair with the camera. The corporate media played a large part in giving this man and his cult a public platform, as probably did the internet.

It is useful to remind ourselves that fifty people in backwoods America burning books isn’t the end of the world. Yes, it is the Qur’an, a holy scripture to over a billion Muslims, but bigots like Jones always try to pull off stunts that are “larger-than-life”.

That’s how they grow. In this case, they have full constitutional rights to do so. Understandably, this is a painful fact to acknowledge. Unfortunately, the attention swelled as the media became aware of how sensationalistic things can get. And as the world started paying attention, a threshold was reached in which simply ignoring Jones and the Dove World Outreach Centre wouldn’t suffice as a counterweight. 

That is exactly where we are now, and it’s exactly where Jones wants us. He already achieved his main goal. The debate over actually burning anything is just a charade.

The entire affair is revealing in the sense that one can decipher here the rank hypocrisy of the “mainstream” media, and those who fortify its fundamental establishments.

The ethical issue regarding the proposed Qur’an burning is a truism. No matter how one spins it, Jones’ little party is an act of hatred. Thus, regardless of where one sits on the spectrum of political beliefs, defending Jones and Co. would be defending the indefensible.

Sarah Palin even came out against it, although her reasoning wasn’t exactly coherent. Many in the media who would understand this, and would never come out against the more “respected” government officials, have used Jones to their advantage.

By admonishing Jones and his proposed Qur’an burning as an act that may hurt American troops abroad (and spill innocent blood), pro-establishment commentators like Jon Meacham conveniently ignore the voluminous blood-spilling already done by those whose interest they serve.

Both President Barack Obama and NATO commander Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed their distaste of Terry Jones by the same reasoning.

It is in fact not unreasonable to forecast Jones’ hate-session to induce a more harmful atmosphere in the Middle East for American troops.

In occupied places such as Afghanistan and even Kashmir (under India), the issue of burning the Qur’an has inflamed the population into protests, exacerbating the already unstable political situations there. However, those who use this reasoning to condemn Jones, while quietly performing (or downplaying) acts of “blood-spilling” by themselves and those they work for, are shameless hypocrites.

If someone like Karl Rove or Richard Pearle came up with an idea as hateful and insane as burning the Qur’an (as they have in the past), do you think that those within the establishment media would have the courage to condemn them?

Unlike the officials of the Pentagon, the White House, and NATO, “Pastor” Terry Jones has no blood on his hands yet.

His vapid rhetoric is hateful and prejudiced, but his “crimes” are dwarfed in comparison to the daily blood-shedding done by the military establishment of the United States, receiving orders from within Washington, DC.

True, Jones’ conduct can no longer be ignored (the media made sure of this), and should be condemned, but so should the glaring hypocrisy of those who use Jones’ eccentricity to shield their own crimes and cowardliness.

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On July 7, 2024 in Toronto, Canada, Dimitri Lascaris delivered a speech on the right to resist oppression.

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