Will we ever understand?

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posted on Jul, 14 2006 @ 11:49 PM
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Try and comprehend the indiscriminate killing of 3000 innocent civilians because you do not agree with their culture.
Fathom the mind set necessary in order to kill your own country men to cause fear in your enemy.
Could you place a bomb on your own child and send them out to kill themselves and possibly some of the enemy? I'm sure I could not.

Yet that is what is happening in the Middle East, each and everyday. We fight it, we stand against it, we postulate about it on here and other boards; yet we do not truly understand it.

I recently attended several seminars that were supposed to instruct us in the differences in interrogating someone from a Middle Eastern culture as opposed to the Western Culture. This was given to Police Interrogators all across the country and required that one be at least certified in the Reid Techniques of Interrogation. It was certainly an eye opener for me.
Now I am not going to even suggest that it made me any kind of expert on the Middle Eastern Culture. Quite the opposite, it caused more questions in my mind than anything else.

Our basic principles of truth are fundamental to our society. Taught to us at the earliest stages of development and reinforced throughout our "upbringing." If we lie we get punished, if we lie something bad will happen to us. ETC.
Our religious foundations are based on these concepts as well.

Such is not exactly the case in the Middle Eastern culture.


An early Islamic theologian: “We must lie when truth leads to unpleasant results” (al-Ghazali, quoted in Laffin, The Arab Mind, p. 79). “It is sometimes a duty to lie” (ibid.). “If a lie is the only way to reach a good result, it is allowable” (ibid.). And a medieval Syrian poet also wrote: “I lift my voice to utter lies absurd, for when I speak the truth, my hushed tones scarce are heard” (Abu l’Ala 973-1057, quoted in ibid., p. 50). Lying, therefore, has been a normal, integral, prevalent and perfectly acceptable facet of Arab culture since time immemorial.


Now don't jump to the conclusion that they are a dishonest peoples, nothing could be farther from the truth. Remember, we are talking about cultural differences here and not simplistic values.
Strength, power and "winning" are prized in their culture in ways that are more abstract then our culture. We are very competitive yes, but in a "John Wayne" kind of way. Where it is only good and noble to win, if we win following the rules.
Their culture is far more complex in those terms. Winning is everything and losing is a sign of weakness.
Also of note, this applies more to their dealings with other cultures and not their inter-cultural conduct. However this is not exclusive either.
Weakness is abhorrent to them, they are grounded in the belief that the APPEARANCE of strength is equally as important as the strength itself.


More recently, the same pattern has been seen in the Arab adoption of Osama bin Laden as a new Saladin who, with insulting and derogatory language in his description of American martial qualities, conveyed a sense of invincibility and power that has subsequently been shown to be largely imaginary. Saddam Hussein used similar bluster prior to the 1990 Gulf war. Patai traces this custom, which continues to the present era, back to pre-Islamic days. It is also an apt example of the Arab tendency to substitute words for action and a desired outcome for a less palatable reality, or to indulge in wishful thinking—all of which are reflected in the numerous historical examples Patai provides. This tendency, combined with Arabs' predilection to idealize their own history, always in reference to some mythic or heroic era, has present-day implications. Thus the American incursion into the Gulf in 1990 became the seventh crusade and was frequently referred to as another Western and Christian attempt to occupy the Holy Land of Islam—a belief galvanizing the current crop of Middle Eastern terrorists. Meanwhile, Israel is frequently referred to as a "crusader state."
"The Arab Mind." (Raphael Patai)



Their respect and reverence for life is also held on a different level then our own.
Take for instance the typical suicide bomber.

Last month Yediot Aharonot presented a profile of the typical suicide bomber:
47% of the suicide bombers have an academic education and an additional 29% have at least a high school education.
83% of the suicide bombers are single.
64% of the suicide bombers are between the ages 18-23; most of the rest are under 30.
68% of the suicide bombers have come from the Gaza Strip.


"The bombers believe they are sent on their missions by God, and by the time they're ready to be strapped with explosives, say the sources, they have reached a hypnotic state. Their rationale: that by blowing themselves up in a crowd of Israelis, they are forging their own gateway to heaven."
From MSNBC


Even though suicide is strictly forbidden as stated in the Quran,

# Suicide is forbidden. "O ye who believe!... [do not] kill yourselves, for truly Allah has been to you Most Merciful. If any do that in rancour and injustice, soon shall We cast him into the Fire..." (Qur'an 4:29-30).
# The taking of life is allowed only by way of justice (i.e. the death penalty for murder), but even then, forgiveness is better. "Nor take life - which Allah has made sacred - except for just cause..." (17:33).

The manipulators of these acts use that very same religious zeal to recruit, prepare and train suicide bombers that completely believe that by their actions they are going to heaven.


The BBC reported that suicide bombers "are likely to be motivated by religious fervor." According to a BBC report, recruits are "picked out from mosques, schools and religious institutions. They are likely to have shown particular dedication to the principles of Islam… and are taught the rewards that will await them if they sacrifice their lives."



How can we ever begin to understand this?


The bottom line is not entirely clear among Islamic clerics. Sheik Yousef al Qaradawi, a moderate Egyptian cleric told the Qatari newspaper Al Raya in April, "They are not suicide operations. These are heroic martyrdom operations, and the heroes who carry them out don't embark on this action out of hopelessness and despair but are driven by an overwhelming desire to cast terror and fear into the hearts of the oppressors."



Tsun Tzu says that to defeat your enemy, you must first know him.

How can we ever understand concepts so foreign to our core beliefs?

Semper




posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 12:15 AM
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Could you place a bomb on your own child and send them out to kill themselves and possibly some of the enemy? I'm sure I could not.



Semper
Not for nothing but we should be so thankful and hope that we never see the day that we are ever placed underfoot someone else to where we are powerless to make our own futures or to have freedom. When someone cannot think about the future, then what does he have left to think about?
A mouse with his leg caught in a trap will gnaw off his leg to escape the trap.
If it came down to war...you would send your son off just as your parents did when you joined. The one difference being was the USA has an army to speak of. Was there a guarantee you would come back? If you were in a battle, what was your thoughts on the enemy? Take him out and as many as possible or sit back and wait to die?

1982, Israeli IAF pilots penetrated Iraqi territory, passing through several hostile borders with heavily modified flying tanks of fuel. It was a suicide mission. What seperates them from the Palestinians that they can actually sit there and describe to you about the profile of a Palestinian suicide bomber?Is it the Plane that makes the difference? Does the idiea of a plane make you feel more comfortable? Is it the suicide vest ? Which?


Think about it.




[edit on 15-7-2006 by ThePieMaN]



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 12:31 AM
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Sorry pieman

I see no correlation in your post and my thread.

Your analogy is not relevant to a thread on the Middle East mind set.

I am not arguing the war, that is another thread.

Only a cultural difference.

Semper



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 12:39 AM
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To understand the "Middle East" mindset, just think about how you feel about defending your own country. Would you die to defend your country? Would you die to defend your people?

That's all the "Middle East" mindset is. We send our own kids off to war, so do they.



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 12:49 AM
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Originally posted by semperfortis
Sorry pieman

I see no correlation in your post and my thread.

Your analogy is not relevant to a thread on the Middle East mind set.

I am not arguing the war, that is another thread.

Only a cultural difference.

Semper

Ok so a people not even indigenous to the Mideast you can relate to? Good luck in your endeavour to understand the Middle Eastern mindset from the minds of Europeans.
I don't think I could have made it any plainer

Man walks into crowd with bomb strapped to body

Man walks into plane and straps plane to body with 100x the explosives and flies over crowd.

Difference?



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 12:54 AM
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Originally posted by Xanthus
To understand the "Middle East" mindset, just think about how you feel about defending your own country. Would you die to defend your country? Would you die to defend your people?

That's all the "Middle East" mindset is. We send our own kids off to war, so do they.


Of course I would.

I however, would never strap a bomb on my child and send her out to blow you up.

Did anyone read what I posted?

This is not about a WAR, it is about the innate or socially adapted ability to commit infanticide to further a cause, among other things.

sheesh!!

Semper



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 01:15 AM
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If one of our soldiers kills ten enemies but gets killed himself, he's a hero. So if a suicide bomber kills ten enemies and dies doing it, what's the difference?

The Japanese used to do it and U.S. soldiers do it all the time. That's how they get Medals of Honr. I'm not saying suicide bombing is okay, just saying it isn't that hard to understand if you look at it their way.



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 01:15 AM
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Originally posted by semperfortis

Of course I would.

I however, would never strap a bomb on my child and send her out to blow you up.

Did anyone read what I posted?

This is not about a WAR, it is about the innate or socially adapted ability to commit infanticide to further a cause, among other things.

sheesh!!

Semper



Semper I read exactly what you said.
I've seen horrible horrible pics of palestinian children blasted to smithereens, disfigured beyond human recognition, missing arms & legs, old men with their faces blown off and babies with bullets that have gone through their heads and men with their skin cut off their bodies in settler attacks.
Those people live with that on a regular basis. So of course you cannot relate with what goes through their minds..maybe they think better dead now or dismembered and suffering later. Maybe their heavan is all they can look forward to.



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 01:36 AM
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I can only refer you to this.


quote: The BBC reported that suicide bombers "are likely to be motivated by religious fervor." According to a BBC report, recruits are "picked out from mosques, schools and religious institutions. They are likely to have shown particular dedication to the principles of Islam… and are taught the rewards that will await them if they sacrifice their lives."


And this.


quote: The bottom line is not entirely clear among Islamic clerics. Sheik Yousef al Qaradawi, a moderate Egyptian cleric told the Qatari newspaper Al Raya in April, "They are not suicide operations. These are heroic martyrdom operations, and the heroes who carry them out don't embark on this action out of hopelessness and despair but are driven by an overwhelming desire to cast terror and fear into the hearts of the oppressors."



Semper



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 02:57 AM
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Our minds can convince us of anything. In the Middle East, they go and bomb those who they see as the oppressors. In America, the government sends troops to countries, while instilling in our minds that we were doing the good and the right. Some still believe in "Operation Iraqi Freedom". It is all the mindset. The environment. The trust in those making the calls. The only truth is seeing we are all human beings, thinking the same thing as other human being, and that our fellow human beings [citizens] are not the problem and vice versa.



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 03:28 AM
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If it wasn't for martyrdom Christianity would never have started. Did the Roman Empire see Christianity as a threat? No, not until every Christian they fed to the lions was made seen as a martyr and created 20 new Christians.

Whats my point? The Muslim religion was not the only religion that used martydom to help spread the religion. Granted the Christians didn't strap bombs on themselves and blow themselves up but the concept is still the same, they are a martyr.

The question you have to really ask yourself is, was this all done for good merrit?
Was the spread of the Christian religion good? Is the spread of the Muslim religion good? These are personal questions you have to ask yourself.

There are still Christians today but how many Christian martyrs are there anymore? How many Christian theocratical dictatorships are there today in the world?

For the people that say that that is their way of life and we should not get involved in the middle east nor their religious affairs I say to you, "If you don't want to get involved then you go live there! Sell everything and move to Saudi Arabia tommorrow and prey to mecca." I for one say the rational world should never give in to these fanatics and if we don't fight them to the extreme then whos to say tomorrow the EU or the west wont be praying to Mecca.

This brings me to another point Do you even know what the Black Stone of Mecca is? It was a stone that fell from the heavens and given to the world by God... in other words.. it was a stone that fell to Earth from Space. To sum it up the black stone is a meteorite. Yes everday 20 million people on Earth worship a meteorite... very sad. And people really wonder why ET wont make contact?



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 08:37 AM
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I really don't know where to begin with your comments so I will limit myself to just a few.

Muhammad thought that martyrdom was a waste of perfectly good muslims and allowed dissimulation (lying about your faith or intentions) in the Quran, under very specific circumstances.

Also the notion of Jihad was specifically prescribed as well. Jihad or more specifically the "great" Jihad was an internal, spiritual struggle and had nothing to do with violence. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE QURAN promoting suicide (in fact it is harshly condemned) bombings or anything like it. The lesser jihad was the protection of the faith. In fact it stressed keeping civilians and non-combatants out of it. War was to be between warriors

Also, the notion that Islam was spread by the sword is a fantesy....ALL EMPIRES ARE SPREAD BY THE SWORD. Muhammad stressed and it was practiced that the people of the book (Jews and Christians) were to be protected (and taxed) and the only ones given the choice between conversion and death were pagans.

Saladin stressed jihad against the Frank invaders of Palestine. Osama Bin Laden is not Saladin even if he tries to posture himself as his heir. He is far from it. Saladin made the point of doing his level best to live as a proper and decent Muslim so that his call to Jihad would be taken seriously and not some political posturing. As an example of this is his recapture of Jeusalem. When the Franks conqured it they slaughtered everyone in the city, Jew, Christian, Muslim, man, woman and child. Their own chronicler described the blood running so deep in the streets that it reached the knees of their horses. When Saladin captured Jeusalem he made a point of protecting everyone including the knights and their retainers that surrendered.

Osama Bin Laden is no Saladin and most Muslims understand this. Indeed his followers are the antithsis of what it means to be Islam. They are thugs and low grade revolutionaries who use their religion as a prop and front. Nothing new under the sun. Many Christian conquorers would be considered terrorists these days...look at Cortez.

Finally the condition of Islam today. There is nothing new under the sun. Islam suffered a near fatal body blow when the mongols attacked the mid-east and all but razed it to the ground. The culture of Islam never quite recovered (hell it took Germany 200 years to recover from the 30 years war and the destruction was no where near as wide spread but still serious enough to cripple the culture). When it finally regained its footing somewhat, it did like so many cultures (and religions) do when faced with such a trauma, it contracted into itself and became more and more conservative. Wahabi Islam is a prime example of this contraction. Other examples would be the Catholic counter-reformation after the Protestant one, it became far more conservative or Hasidic Judaism as a direct reaction to the pograms and ghettos of Europe. Islam regained its footing somewhat under the Ottoman Turks who while bring peace and stablity to the region severely suppressed any cultural differences (or exploited them) and nationalistic tendencies. What happened in the Balkans is in many ways what happens when that weight (and that of a dictator, Tito in this case) is finally removed. What is happening in Iraq has many of its roots there as well. We in America do not understand how the weight of history shapes people, even centuries after the events, look at Northern Ireland or many other places for examples. Iraq went from the Ottomans, to the British to a brief "democracy" to Saddam to us. A thousand years of religious and cultural tensions are seething to the surface and would even without Al Qeada.

The point I am trying to make is that Islam as a culture has a long and honorable history of which it is proud and rightfully so BUT it has also seen its culture supressed or manulipated and its asperiations used by various outside groups ranging from the Turks (they are after all related to the Mongols and come from the same area), to Great Britian, to Iseral (the foundation of the Israeli state effectively aborted the plans to form a Palestinian state in the area, not some rump state as is proposed now) to the United States and Russa and oil companies and dictators and now, extremists whose goals while coached in religious terms, are political. Islam as a culture in other words has lost its way...its educational system, once the envy of the world is in shambles producing children who can recite the Quarn but do not know how to read it, its instituitons in a shamble and its economy in ruins. As a result we have an example of a cultural inferiority complex and deep resentments because of it. And, the heavy hand of Israel, the displaced Palestians and the Invasion of Iraq don't help one bit but indeed add to the stew.

No one country or group is responsible this but until the issues that have torn this part of the world are addressed by the international community the problems will continue and further war is not the answer but there is not a single politican who has the brains to address the problems and it certianly will not be a politican from the west who does.



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 10:03 AM
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Grover, of course it is helpful. You are as always concise and eloquent in your response though I have some response of my own, as you would imagine.


First :

(Grover) Muhammad thought that martyrdom was a waste of perfectly good muslims and allowed dissimulation (lying about your faith or intentions) in the Quran, under very specific circumstances.


Then how do you explain the current Islamic trend at the manipulation of the truth? Granted we find it here as much as anywhere in the world, yet they seem to have little problem in using fantasy to further their manipulation of their people.


quote: An early Islamic theologian: “We must lie when truth leads to unpleasant results” (al-Ghazali, quoted in Laffin, The Arab Mind, p. 79). “It is sometimes a duty to lie” (ibid.). “If a lie is the only way to reach a good result, it is allowable” (ibid.). And a medieval Syrian poet also wrote: “I lift my voice to utter lies absurd, for when I speak the truth, my hushed tones scarce are heard” (Abu l’Ala 973-1057, quoted in ibid., p. 50). Lying, therefore, has been a normal, integral, prevalent and perfectly acceptable facet of Arab culture since time immemorial.


also
Comments from Baghdad Bob,

"In Umm Qasr, the fighting is fierce and we have inflicted many damages. The stupid enemy, the Americans and British, failed completely. They're not making any penetration."
"The Americans are not there. They're not in Baghdad. There are no troops there. Never. They're not at all."
"U.S. forces learned a lesson last night they will never forget. We slaughtered them and will continue to slaughter them."

~~~~~~~~


(Grover) Also the notion of Jihad was specifically prescribed as well. Jihad or more specifically the "great" Jihad was an internal, spiritual struggle and had nothing to do with violence. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE QURAN promoting suicide (in fact it is harshly condemned) bombings or anything like it. The lesser jihad was the protection of the faith. In fact it stressed keeping civilians and non-combatants out of it. War was to be between warriors


Yet they continue with a campaign that straps bombs on their women and children and kill their own civilian population without prejudice???? How is this keeping civilians out of it?


(Grover) Osama Bin Laden is no Saladin and most Muslims understand this.


Do they???


More recently, the same pattern has been seen in the Arab adoption of Osama bin Laden as a new Saladin who, with insulting and derogatory language in his description of American martial qualities, conveyed a sense of invincibility and power that has subsequently been shown to be largely imaginary.



(Grover) As a result we have an example of a cultural inferiority complex and deep resentments because of it. And, the heavy hand of Israel, the displaced Palestians and the Invasion of Iraq don't help one bit but indeed add to the stew.


I disagree on a diametric level with this.
One of the things were were taught at the seminar is the Middle Eastern assumption of superiority. It is ingrained in their culture and particularly their religion. As Infidels we are, in their religious dogma, shuffled into a category of tolerance, indoctrination or conversion. The only other option open to their belief is elimination.

Semper



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 11:17 AM
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Don't people who have an inferiority complex often puff themselves up to boost their estimate of themselves?

I know quite a few Muslims and they fully understand Bin Ladens posturing....of course there are those who do not....alot of people here do not understand the bullhooey and posturing that comes out of Pat Robertson or else his 700 club wouldn't be as popular as it is.

The thing is and I am not sure it comes through on my last post is that Islamic civilization and culture, which was up until the mid-seventeenth century, the most advanced technologically in the world (historical fact, not my opinion of it) has been incapable, for a variety of reasons, to make the shift to the modern world and deeply resents (and desires) it and its intrusions. In short Islamic culture is going through a crisis rooted in an inability to adapt and sooner or later it will have to make that paradigm shift or fail.

In that context the violence and terrorism is (or should be) more understandable....it is a rear guard action. It is doomed to fail of course, such things usually are. It will not be this generation that fixes things in their culture, but, if it happens, the next. If not, as a culture Islam will die.

All that being said....the so-called war on terrorism doesn't help things one bit but instead makes heroes out of them. The best way to deal with terrorism is to deal with them the same way we dealt with the Mafia...as criminal enterprises and to keep the military out of it. As a former policeman Semper you know exactly what I mean.



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 11:24 AM
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I really think any seminar on Islam and Islamic attitudes should be taught by a Muslim as opposed to someone outside of it. It would be like a Jew teaching a seminar on Christianity or vise a versa... inevitably personal bias seeps through.

Sorry to read about your....ahh...soup detail.



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 11:29 AM
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Groover does the Koran say anything about other religions or call them infidels?



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 11:33 AM
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No body in the western really wants to understand the middle eastern man and woman's mind.

To do that would be to humanize them to much and give them to much credit.

Keeping the middle eastern society as a terrorist ground that only breeds sick twisted martyrs is better to understand and exploit by the western government, the media and private interest that wants to keep the middle east as a battle ground.



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 11:36 AM
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I have read the Quran twice now and there are the people of the book aka Christian and Jews and then there are the pagans whom are referred to as infidels. Later in the Quran after Muhammad had been slighted by the Jews of Medina, he railed against them, but for the most part, they were, until recent times a protected minority and paid the tax that was laid upon non-believers. As I said the only ones who were offered to convert or die were the pagans. In fact there had to be laws passed in some areas prohibiting Jews and Christians from converting to Islam because the revenue from those taxes were being jepordized by conversions.



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 11:45 AM
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Hi Semper. I have often thought about the Middle Eastern Mindset as relates to your average Western mindset and yes, it is very different. For this very reason, I don't think it's possible to impose a workong stable democracy in Iraq. I know this isn't about the war, but that is the context in which I have pondered this question before.

However, as we are all human beings, any person has the capability to adopt the mindset of the other. If I wanted something badly enough and there was a certain amount of 'evil' in me, I could understand your proposed average mindset of the Middle Easterner bent on destroying America.

Regarding your first paragraph, I have thought about it. Many times. But not in regards to the 'Middle Eastern Mindset'. I have thought of it in regards to 9/11 and the actions of OUR government around that day. I'm sure we disagree on this point, but I don't think this evil is inherent to Middle Easterners any more than the Western people are exempt from it.

I think it's a HUGE mistake to attribute any atrocities to a group of people simply because they are born into a society that accepts it. Neither do I think it's safe to assume that Westerners, Americans could not possibly kill 3000 of their own people.

It would be nice and neat to separate "us" from "them" by saying that none of us could ever do what they routinely do, but it's simply not true at all, as some have already explained.

I understand your line of work taking you to these seminars, but I hope you're open minded enough to realize that it's all part of an attempt to separate "them" (and their barbaric behavior) from "us" (and our much higher standards of life) to make it easier for us to support killing them, the barbarians. And the facts show that in the right circumstances, we're just as barbaric as they are... We are not a different species. We all have the same capacity.

As regards motivation, what's the difference if their motivation is "religious fervor" and ours is "patriotic fervor"? When someone kills 10 people and dies in the process, what difference does the motivation really make?



posted on Jul, 15 2006 @ 11:47 AM
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What I try very hard to do is to put myself in the position of the other whenever I can. To fail to at least attempt to understand is not acceptable to me. It does not matter if the issue is religion, race, sexuality, politics or ethnicity, I want to understand...to if not know at least to empathize. Intolerance is an obscenity to me and a slap in the face to all of humanity.

To quote the Roman playwrite Terrance, "I am a man, nothing human is alien to me."





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