Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Who is to blame for the dead in Mazar-e-Sharif?

A few days ago, in the northern Afganistan town of Mazar-i-Sharifan angry mob attacked a UN compound killing at least 9 people, some reports say as many as 12. This was a response to Pastor Terry Jones burning a Qur'an (Islam's holy book/bible) in Gainsville Florida on March 20th.

Jones had threatened to burn a Qur'an for some time, but delayed after an appeal by General David Patraeus, leader for the US forces in Afghanistan.

Who is to blame for this horrible action? I say the responsibility for these crimes rests solely on those who committed them.

Does Jones shoulder any of the blame? While I agree that Jones is a nut-case, with more than a few delusions, I say that he does NOT. I agree with Sam Harris in this blog post, that anyone suggesting that Jones be punished is off the rails. Does a free country remove freedoms from its people in response to the irrational and illegal and threatening actions from some loonies in another country?

Would we have punished Harriet Beecher Stowe for writing "Uncle Tom's Cabin" because it may have led to the American Civil War and the over 600,000 dead? The freedoms we enjoy today were earned through the deaths of many who fought for them. Should the deaths of more people remove those freedoms? That is an insult to the people who died.


Anonymous said...

I guess you're just another American Idiot. Your writing does suck and the reason is, your brain is small like a bean. You can burn the Quran, Bible or any other kind of religious mindnumbing crap, but do it in privacy, dumbo.

Determinist said...

Anonymous, thanks for your opinion. I'll take it into consideration when I am thinking about the government removing my freedom of speech.

Do note that your line "or any other kind of religious mindnumbing crap" would be censored if Islamic countries get their way.

ivona poyntz said...

Totally agree with you in general. Obviously, there are always going to be tensions though between theory and practice. If I were, hypothetically, to know that an incediary post I might make on Islam would lead to hundreds/thousands of deaths due to fanatics taking revenge on the populace (think Danish cartoons), would I exercise my freedom of speech? At the very least I'd have to really, really, think about it.

Determinist said...

Thanks Ivona,

I appreciate the opinion. Of course, we would consider the consequences of our actions.

The Danish cartoon however, is more complicated than you present it. If you look into it (and it's described well in Sam Harris' "The End of Faith"), the initial cartoon wasn't particularly controversial until a group of Islamic extremists decided to exaggerate and publish its existence. THEY knew what were doing and are to blame.