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Answers from 'Our Man in Jordan'

Roblimo posted more than 8 years ago | from the international-linux-conspiracy-is-everywhere dept.

181

At the beginning of this month we sent your questions to Isam Bayazidi of Amman, Jordan. He's a Slashdot reader, founder of the Jordan Planet blogging community, and (I know this from personal experience) knows the best places to buy discount-priced computer components in his home town. Enjoy!(1) Arab and Israeli communities
by Yonkeltron

Is there any collaboration between the Arab and Israeli communities when it comes to blogging, Free/Open Source Software or general computing?

Isam:

I will start with the Open Source Software: Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew languages have many similarities which make them overlap in some areas with language support. Example is general Multi-Lingual support, and the BiDi (Bi-Directional) support of applications. Such similarities made it reasonable to communicate and collaborate in certain projects. A great example is the FriBidi library which was introduced by 2 Iranian developers, and now used by many open source projects, some of which originating from Israel. As well, there are Open Source volunteers from Israel who are working in BiDi support in applications (Ex. Wine) and one can find communication between individuals working on similar projects... Another example is the Arabic Wikipedia, as Arabic language is an official language in Israel, so there are contributors who work in both Hebrew and Arabic wikipedias..

As for Blogging, I am not sure if it would be accurate to call the blog collective from countries a community, because basically they are people with totally different opinions, each expressing it in his/her own space, so it won't be fair to characterise and generalize them. Nevertheless, you would see small blogger-interactions such as comments, track backs, tagging, and pingbacks happening between bloggers from Israel and other parts of the Arab world.

Now I am not sure I would call this "community-level" or "individual-level" interaction. I know that it is happening, because it makes sense in some cases. Nevertheless, I think that with no final solution for the middle-east issue in horizon, such cooperation will stay mostly limited, and won't rise to be a community-level cooperation..

(2)Straight Outta Casablanca
by Doc Ruby


You have solid credits for several "Arab versions" of modern software. The Mideast was where many technologies, like writing, urban living, astronomy and symbolic math were invented or mastered. What new uses of the Internet and open SW do you see originating in Mideastern hands? Which brand new apps are people in your world using in a way more familiar in the Mideast, which could make the jump to global popularity the way so much Western tech already has?

Isam:

In my opinion, the Arabs are in a completely different state than when those technologies were invented or mastered. At that time, It was the prime time for the Islamic culture, where other parts of the world were busy hunting witches and wizards. Today, Arab countries is in a knowledge crisis (Ref: Arab Human Development Report 2003) which appears in information reach, technology use, and thus effecting innovation. We should be more worried about meeting basic needs when it comes to knowledge and education, than to think about global reach, and having larger world influence.

Now talking about Internet and software, while there are a number of innovators from arab countries, leading in certain segments, niches. As well, you would find a general state of imitations for successful models and businesses, example: Arabic versions of many of the popular softwares and services: search engine, blog services, photo-sharing, iTunes-like music stores, arabic-centric versions of many of the Mashups, and so on. Once imitation is done, uniqueness may start to emerge, which is very likely to have global visibility and reach. I do not see that happening in the next 2-4 years, but again, who knows.

Regarding Open Source software, as long as adoption for the software is limited to individual level, and do not reach cooperate or governmental or even academia levels, I do not see that we will be seeing successful sustainable projects, as individuals and pioneers are met with great challenges and resistance from those who are supposed to support their efforts.

(3) Credible Sources for Arab Bloggers by tabdelgawad


As a founder of an Arabic (Jordanian) blogging community, what do you perceive to be the source of news most popular/trusted by Arab bloggers? Is it local, Arab (AlJazeera, etc), European (BBC, TV5, etc), or American (NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, etc)? Is the Arab blogging community a large echo chamber for the latest and greatest western conspiracy theories, or is there genuine diversity of sources and opinions?

Isam:

With the aggregation, tagging, and news alert systems we have today, Internet as a whole is considered the primary source. It became easier to watch and track 100s of sources from all over the world, and filter what you might be interested in. Most of the Bloggers today are Internet savvy people, monitoring the media in general.

Nevertheless, Arab news sites such as Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabeya, and elaph are on the top Arab news sites that people refer to, comes along with them BBC Arabic service (which many consider the most credible).

It is needless to say that bloggers have a more open eye to the media of the west than the English speaking media in Asia, Africa, or Latin America. Reason would be a combination of both 1) International visibility for those western media 2) Arab bloggers being more focused and concerned about how the west perceive them than other parts of the world.

(4) Down to earth... how does it feel?
by TINGEA77


As an Arab, a Jordanian, a regular Slashdot reader, and a computer addict my self, I feel compelled to ask this question. But first a little about why I'm asking... I started my addiction when I was in Jordan at an early age in the mid 80's, and moved to the United States in the late 90's. So I think by now I'm out of touch with how things are advancing in our part of the world. I used to be considered as a knowledgeable geek, but that was a long time ago when I had more time on my hands. :(

My questions are (really it is the same LONG question:)

Now that online communities and computer volunteering (especially OSS) is growing on the highest rate in the western part of the globe, how do you see participation and understanding of such participation in Jordan in specific, and the middle east in general?

Do you see the Arab population is going toward a more active role, or maintaining a technology consumer role as it used to be in the old days? Do you feel that you are a loner in what you do and contribute? Or do you get a whole lot of "Hey man that is soo cool, how would I start contributing like you do?"

Last but not least, from your day-in-day-out interaction with the local-online-communities, when do you see us (Arabs) technologically maturing to a level where we can be a major contributing force in the OSS global community... is it happening now?

Isam:

Volunteerism within computer and online communities could be within the same levels as you would find in the west. But considering the Internet penetration, and number of people with DSL lines, you would find the number to be low. You would find many volunteer-based community sites on the Internet, ranging from general forums, community-news, Sport fan sites, tech support, mobile tips, and so on.

As for OSS volunteerism, one of the big challenges is the language barrier... it is almost a prerequisite to have good English language to be able to participate and contribute. This causes many of those who are potential volunteers to be driven away to communities that do not have this language prerequisite. Another aspect, is the university educational systems, which do not encourage, in fact some time discourage, students from being active in Open Source projects and communities. Lack of understanding and knowledge from most of the academia about what is Open Source, its benefits to their students and them, causes having generations of students who lack the understanding, or even sometime fear the participation.

A good thing is that there are some communities rising in Arab countries, with the focus of promoting Open Source and activism in the community. Example is Arabeyes project, which focuses on adding Arabic language support to Open Source programs, as well the NoISA project that came out of Jordan LUG, and many other projects that came out of LUGs (Egypt-Lug, Linuxegypt, Saudi LUG). As well, the Arabic Wikipedia is growing in size in terms of articles and community, making it one of the successful examples of collaborative projects in the Arab world.

One thing to note, is that I am no longer active, or having a leading role in either of the projects I was involved in before: Arabeyes, Jordan LUG, or Arabic Wikipedia. I still maintain good ties and relation with those communities, but I am no longer involved as I am shifting focus into different fields and communities.

(5) Exportation of Technology
by DaedalusLogic


A lot of people in the states are familiar with anti-export warnings on encryption technology:

Are their any technologies that the government of Jordan specifically mandates not be exported outside of its borders?

OR

How common is it that encryption technology that the U.S. Government asks not be used overseas is actually implemented "against their will"?

Isam:

I am no expert in that field. To start with, the top technology companies in Jordan are Microsoft/CISCO/HP/Oracle partners. The government itself have a partnership with Microsoft and CISCO on the high levels. Nevertheless, there are restrictions applied with exporting technology to Jordan from US companies. I am not aware of encryption-related restrictions and how they are handled. But I know that US export policy prevents having servers with large number of processors sold to companies or even universities in Jordan, powerful computers are just not present in server rooms here. The alternative had always been having multiple servers, with load balancing or clustering, to do a task that could have been done in one powerful machine.

I am not aware of any Jordanian export restrictions related to technology. Infact, some of my friends found that question funny when they read it in slashdot.. Jordan limiting export to US :) .. There are hardly any software or technology-related house here that could be working on sensitive projects, and even if they do, US funding and partnership will be a part of that project.

(6) Dilbert by Lev13than

I'm going to guess that office and IT environments around the globe probably share more in common than their superficial differences (language, decor, degree of automation etc...) suggest. Indeed, petty politics and general insanity are going to raise their heads regardless of your office's time zone. As such, how well does Dilbert [ dilbert.com], the quintessential North American corporate satire, translate into Arabic? Do you see your office in these cartoons? If not, is there an Arabic version that does a better job?

Isam:

Although I regularly follow Dilbert, because I didn't have a long office-work experience (I worked as on-my-own consultant for most of the time) I do not really relate to most of Dilbert management/office-related cartoons, nevertheless, most of my friends who are in the IT field, or large telecom companies tell me that they really relate to it, and swear by it.

Unfortunately, comics or cartoons are not very popular in this part of the world. There are no office/IT related cartoons known in the Arab world, as well, Dilbert is not even translated to Arabic. You won't find a half or full page of comic strips in Arab newspapers, but rather the political one-big cartoon.

(7) Stereotypes and those who would further them... by d3ac0n

Ok, Two-parter here...

1)As an Arab in today's world, how do you deal with those in the Western world who further the stereotype of "Arabs As Radicals"?

Isam:

What saddens me the most, is that the Media plays a great part in forming this image, and the general public do not take an extra step to verify or validate such image. The stereotype of Arabs go beyond the image of being Radicals, it starts by the believe that we are "totally" different, out-of-this world. Once people buy this, then any other mis-information will just easily get in the minds of ordinary people.

Another problem is the way the media highlight and focus on nationality, for example, every time Abu Musaab is mentioned, he is mentioned as "The Jordanian" or "Jordan-born" Abu Musaab, while in positive contexts, it is rare to have nationality mentioned, you won't hear in any news "The Jordanian Dr. Rima Khalaf Assistant Secretary General and Regional Director of UNDP" or "Jordan-born Usama Fayyad, the chief data officer and senior vice president of Research & Strategic Data Solutions in Yahoo". Such success models from Jordan (and I can go on and on for other Arab countries) are rarely associated with the country of origin when referred to in the media, making it easy for anyone to have a visual image of a radical when I first tell them that I am Jordanian, as they would think Abu Mussab, rather than Dr. Usama Fayyad.

d3ac0n

2) In addition how do you, as a forward-thinking Arab, address the issue of those in the Middle Eastern world that would seek to further the radical elements of Islam for thier own purposes, regardless of the consequences or the stereotypes this may create in the West? In other words, how does one function as a concientious objector in Middle Eastern Society?

Isam:

I had something like 3 drafts to answer this question, and I came to the conclusion that I am no expert in that field to be able to give a good answer for that question... short answer: politicians and those seeking power would use anything, including religion, to empower themselves, and weaken their opponents.. We've seen this all over the world through out the history, not only in Islamic countries..

(8) Which is more important to develop...
by Viperion


A communication infrastructure, or a transportation infrastructure? I ask this because what my American viewpoint sees of the middle east is the seeming lack of mass-transportation systems like we have in American (highways, railroads, and the like.) The Middle East also seems to lack a stable communication infrastructure, especially to rural areas. Which do you think is more important, communications or transportation?

Isam:

Transportation comes first. Being able to go to school or work, have goods and food reach you is part of life basics.. once that is fulfilled, definitely communication comes.. with proper communication it doesn't matter where you are working from.. Talking about Jordan, we currently have a good road infrastructure, and an acceptable transportation system, so now there is great focus on communication. There are many projects in that field, such as inter-university fiber connection, the broadband-to-schools, and PC-to-every-home projects.

(9) Cartoons and website defacement
by Weaselmancer


So, what's your opinion on the arabic kids who are defacing websites in protest to the Mohammed cartoons?

Isam:

Crackers who found an easy target .. Just like many others who point their guns on the wrong people. Myself, as much as I find the cartoons in question offensive, I think that the reaction caused even more damage to Muslims image than what some silly cartoons may do..

(10) Arabic hacker food by DarkClown

Pizza and some caffeinated beverage with an occasional foray into sushi are typical geek food in the west - what is finding its way down the typical arabic chair dwellers gullet?

Isam:

Arabic and Turkish Coffee comes as the top source of caffeine from most geeks, as for food, a mixture of Falafel and Shawarma would be the applicable food for Jordanians. I am not sure about other parts of the Arab world.

(11) Impact on lifestyles
by tomhudson


I know that here, many people are spending an inordinate amount of time on the computer, to the point where it has negatively impacted their time spent with people in social settings (iow - people are becoming less social). Blogging is yet another time sink, on top of the web, email, etc.

Do you foresee the same negative long-term effects in the middle east as we've experienced?

Isam:

Well, people here are extra-social, so maybe being less social will introduce some balance :) kidding.. well I am sure that there will be always those who spend the days and nights of their weekends playing World of Warcraft (I know one :) ), spend their evenings writing or playing with PEAR components, or read and digg blog posts .. but I do not see a "long-term" effect happening because of this as technology spread is limited, at least for the foreseeable future. From what I see, from people I know and myself, spending time in front of a computer took time from TV or book reading rather than socializing..

(12) Arabic-translated open source software
by typical


I know that a number of people work on doing translation work for various languages -- as a whole, what is the state of Arabic-translated open source software? Is it possible for someone to work on a Linux desktop fully within Arabic, or is it necessary to use English?

Isam:

Arabeyes Project is currently leading the Arabization of Open Source software. When the project first started, it focused on the GUI interfaces (KDE, Gnome) and lots of effort was put into it (99% of KDE is translated, while only 43% of Gnome is, probably because it wasn't updated to the most recent version of Gnome). Today, volunteers focus more on the major applications, such as "Debian Installer", "Firefox", "OpenOffice" and so on. Looking at the statistics and activity today in Arabeyes, I would say that the lack of awareness of the importance of the project had caused having small numbers participating. Many of the translation projects are inactive, or with very small activity, making it lagging specially that Open Source software have a short release cycle, making a 8 months old translation out-of-date. Another problem is that that Arabic translation projects need is to get the interest of other profiles of users. Currently most of translators are in the IT-related field, and most are students.

Now while it is possible to work on GUI linux in Arabic and have almost all the basic application in arabic interface, with the fast advance in the Open source applications, and the slower movement in the translation effort, the gap might go large at certain times of the software and release lifetimes.

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Would That be Jordan Capri? (0, Offtopic)

ferrellcat (691126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972891)

Oh wait...This is slashdot.

Nevermind!

Re:Would That be Jordan Capri? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973131)

Google image search on Jordan Capri... heh heh JACKPOT!

Re:Would That be Jordan Capri? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973290)

Giggity giggity giggity goo!

thanks isam (4, Insightful)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972900)

Appreciate your thoughtful and concise answers - many of us surely have a deep misunderstanding in the cultural divide between continents (and within) but your answers make it pretty clear that there aren't really any differences to be alarmed about on any personal level, and that folks are pretty much just folks, wherever.

Re:thanks isam (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972953)

What a condescending post!!!

Re:thanks isam (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14972955)

Misunderstanding?? They're human, what's so hard about understanding you?

Jesus, why do people have such a hard time understanding other people? It's so simple, just step back, and look in the mirror.

Re:thanks isam (2, Interesting)

Kelz (611260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973023)

^ Agrees with parent

Also, I'd like to add that much of the media at least in the west has essencially become a governmental entity (not ruled by the government, but they have quite a bit of control over the opinions and ideals of the general populace), and as such are just as much power-hungry as the political class, in that they will exploit most anything in order to gain attention and standing. I think this is one of the reasons cultural misconceptions have kept gaining ground recently, especially now since the portrayal of the fictional culture battle between the west and middle east has taken up nearly all the limelight.

In my opinion, we should stop worrying about cultural differences and just work to take out the criminals that are harming us all.

Re:thanks isam (0)

Fanboy Troy (957025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973146)

^ Agrees with parent

I wish I had mod points...

The Media is probably the cause of most of the greed throughout the world. It's easy to stir up emotions for numbers, but this is a vulnerabilty when it comes to political thought. Democracy loses its point if you are able to control the thought, or distract the majority of people from what actually matters. The governments of the western world (US+Europe) actually rely on this to push their, most often then not, unfair agendas. Anyway, thanks to Isam and Roblimo for this insightful interview...

Re:thanks isam (1, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973884)

the media at least in the west has essencially become a governmental entity (not ruled by the government, but they have quite a bit of control over the opinions and ideals of the general populace), and as such are just as much power-hungry as the political class

It never stops being funny to hear that Western governments are just as bad as the Middle-Eastern ones. I guess if liberal types didn't use up all of their criticism at home, they might have some left over for Jihadists and autocratic dictatorships.

in that they will exploit most anything in order to gain attention and standing.

"Never forget that the main purpose of the media is to sell advertising."

In my opinion, we should stop worrying about cultural differences and just work to take out the criminals that are harming us all.

That would be almost all of the Middle-Eastern governments, and Dubya is working on it...

Re:thanks isam (2, Insightful)

Kelz (611260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974274)

I am a believer that the main reason our government works (a little) better than most of the Middle-Eastern goverments is that ours has a (semi) concrete backbone in the constitution, and change is slow to come. The main problem with the governing class (and yes it IS a class of its own. Name one president who wasn't worth over $30 million in the last 40 years) is that they think they are the best people to run the country and as such the desicions they make are right.

In the US government there are lots of checks on their powers that they have to get around to acheive what they personally think is best for the country (or for their own agenda), whilst Mid-East governments do not have as many. Therefore the ruling class does what it thinks is right (or what benefits them), but they don't have as much holding them back.

Re:thanks isam (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974445)

Bill Clinton was born into poverty. Ronald Reagan was, as far as I can tell, not born into wealth, nor were Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson. John F. Kennedy, George Bush, and George W. Bush were all born into wealth. Now, it's true that after these individuals became President, or shortly before, many of them did become wealthy--Reagan through his acting career, Clinton in law. But so far it's been the exception that our presidents were born wealthy.

Re:thanks isam (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974571)

I did not say born wealthy.

Re:thanks isam (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974673)

No, but we're talking about class, which by definition is hereditary. Although personally I have my doubts that many of these people were worth $30 million prior to being elected, as many of them worked in public service for most of their lives.

Re:thanks isam (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975124)

No, but we're talking about class, which by definition is hereditary.

The whole social experiment of the United States was to destroy the link between economic class and heredity. From your list above (three out of nine) it would appear that the experiment is working- until you notice that the ENTIRE list was extremely wealthy before 1975, and that all of these men spent millions on their campaigns that had to come from someplace. Let me know when a guy who spends $100,000 on his campaign gets elected to a national office again, and then I'll believe that the experiment has worked (hint- you'll have to go back before the Civil War to find such a man).

Re:thanks isam (1)

MagicMike (7992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975148)

In America I'd argue that class is not primarily hereditary, but that class still present nonetheless.

It's more the sum of past experiences for a person and availability of new experiences as well as attainability of different material goods.

Thus Ronald Reagan would be considered solidly upper class post-acting-career despite being born low class.

Class mobility is much easier here (in America) in that sense, the studies indicating class mobility is difficult and/or getting more difficult are mainly reflecting the fact it is very difficult and getting more difficult to amass (or lose) enough assets to cross a class boundary.

Geek Fuel (2, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14972947)

Arabic and Turkish Coffee comes as the top source of caffeine from most geeks, as for food, a mixture of Falafel and Shawarma would be the applicable food for Jordanians. I am not sure about other parts of the Arab world.

Great! So much for working fuel. How hard is it to get beer?

Re:Geek Fuel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973078)

Alcohol is forbidden under Islam.

Re:Geek Fuel (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973178)

Alcohol is forbidden under Islam.

to Muslims.

Re:Geek Fuel (1)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973318)

All muslims are islamic.

Re:Geek Fuel (1)

J9starr (962891) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973328)

but production is different. I found a site listing 2 breweries in Jordan: http://beeradvocate.com/beerfly/directory/13/JO/ [beeradvocate.com] and another that mentions "General Investment Company are the producers of Amstel Beer in Jordan"

Re:Geek Fuel (1)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974297)

Only to fundamentalists. There is plenty of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages served in countries like turkey for example.

Re:Geek Fuel (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974632)

Only to fundamentalists. There is plenty of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages served in countries like turkey for example.

I realize that Muslims differ on their interpetations of this, but teetoalling doesn't necessarily imply fundamentalism. It may be possible to make a guess in some contexts (e.g. Turkey), but not generally. I know some rather liberal muslims who won't even touch food that has had a dash of wine in it, even though the amount of alcohol you get is probably less than you'd get from eating a piece of slightly gone by fruit. When I asked them about this, they said something to the effect that it was easier to have a few simple rules and observe them than to have to evaluate the chemical content of everything they might put in their mouths.

Re:Geek Fuel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973096)

Beer is only working fuel if you need to be dumber to do your job.

Re:Geek Fuel (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975158)

Beer is only working fuel if you need to be dumber to do your job.

You mean the concept of underemployment hasn't hit Jordan yet?

Re:Geek Fuel (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973118)

His comments reminded me of how much I like falafel and how long it's been since I made it, so I called my partner and asked her to throw some chickpeas in water to soak for dinner tonight. ;)

Beer in Jordan? I'm pretty sure it's legal. It's not Saudi Arabia or anything...

Re:Geek Fuel (2, Interesting)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973264)

I'm hardly an expert on Islam, but iirc the different sects have differing levels of strictness with respect to alcohol (e.g. some forbid everything, others are ok with the fermented stuff like beer/wine). Jordan is a constitutional monarchy, not a Sharia state, so afaik there would be no a priori restriction on it from an official standpoint. Of course, (according to the cia world fact book, fwiw) the population is about 92% Sunni. I don't know what their cultural attitudes about it might be and what they might have voted for in the past.

That said there seem to be meaningful hits on a google search for "jordanian beer" [google.com] so they appear to be making it, drinking it, and/or exporting it...

Re:Geek Fuel (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14974024)

All drinkable ethanol is obtained from fermentation. You take a yeast culture that converts sugar into alcohol, and introduce it into a starchy food source. While you can produce ethanol synthetically from petroleum, no one drinks that. Perhaps what you mean is that some sects permit the consumption of alcoholic beverages as long as they are not distilled. That's actually funny to think about, since most alcoholics in the developed world probably drink beer as their primary intoxicant. All of the wife beating and debauchery can be yours, if the production is right.

alcohol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14974732)

I can tell you from personal experience.

You can get beer/wine/liquor at some grocery stores, and any of the many liquor stores. The selection is lacking in some areas, as muslims don't drink (much). The bar scene is very good, but never did find a decent margarita.

From the Dilbert question: (5, Funny)

AEton (654737) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973000)

Unfortunately, comics or cartoons are not very popular in this part of the world.

I see our man in Jordan is a fan of understatement.

Re:From the Dilbert question: (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973038)

And I see you are a fan of flamebait.

Re:From the Dilbert question: (1)

wiggles (30088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973636)

And I see you have no sense of humor.

Re:From the Dilbert question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14974261)

And I see what you did there.

Re:From the Dilbert question: (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974301)

And I see a username: Wiggles and I giggle at the funny name.

Re:From the Dilbert question: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14974125)

And I see that you don't read newspapers.

Given that most are written at the 4th grade level, and thus too hard for you, I can see why.

Cheapest computer store in town (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973004)

...knows the best places to buy discount-priced computer components in his home town.

I have no problem finding the best place to buy my computer components in my home town... there's only one computer store. ;)

Re:Cheapest computer store in town (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973067)

Is that the one just past the redneck tree on the right? :-)

Jon Katz (2, Funny)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973039)

This sure turned out better than when Jon Katz would relay Middle-eastern IT stories.

Wha-wha???? (-1, Troll)

saintp (595331) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973071)

Nevertheless, I think that with no final solution for the middle-east issue in horizon, such cooperation will stay mostly limited, and won't rise to be a community-level cooperation..
Yeah, that's already been tried. And I think it would stifle cooperation more than encourage it....

Re:Wha-wha???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973214)

Well, there's an easy final solution, it's just that (almost)nobody wants to nuke the entire region! The whole mess is nothing a little geocide can't fix!

Re:Wha-wha???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973694)

Kill the world?

Saddens him most? (3, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973123)

What saddens me the most, is that the Media plays a great part in forming this image, and the general public do not take an extra step to verify or validate such image. The stereotype of Arabs go beyond the image of being Radicals, it starts by the believe that we are "totally" different, out-of-this world. Once people buy this, then any other mis-information will just easily get in the minds of ordinary people.

I find this rather insulting, and rather telling. It saddens him the most that the media is forming the image? How about the freaking TERRORISTS that form the image? And it doesn't "sadden him the most" that there is so much arab radicalism that causes all arabs to be painted with the same brush?

(Almost) everyone knows that not every arab supports the terrorists. But to deny that there are grains of truth at the core of the portrayal of Arabs is to deny reality. Arab radicalism is a huge problem right now, and it's going to take Arabs like him to stand up and tell their own people to shut up, sit down, and stop killing people.

Gah! It angers me to see things like this, like it's some western conspiracy to paint Arabs in a bad light.

Re:Saddens him most? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973265)

> Gah! It angers me to see things like this

Truly, your post was hilarious, although I'm not sure if you meant it as a caricature of racism, or if it reflects real hatreds you have.

Original comment: It saddens me to see the media paint the billion arabs as evil, because a few fight back against the US, sometimes in hideous fashion

Your comment: But, they're almost all truly evil, because of what I see on the media, so how can you criticize the media?

Hehe, hilarious.

Re:Saddens him most? (0, Flamebait)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973485)

Your comment: But, they're almost all truly evil, because of what I see on the media, so how can you criticize the media?

This is such an idiotic characterization of what I wrote that it's simply laughable.

Re:Saddens him most? (0, Flamebait)

Trigun (685027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973839)

Time to change your nickname there, bucko. Reality Master my ass. You wouldn't know reality if it strapped on a c4 vest and detonated right beside you. You'd probably call it an arab.
Here's your grain of truth. You shouldn't be allowed to reproduce. It is my opinion that your are just as emotionally motivated and brainwashed as a terrorist, but you are on the other side of the fence. Your assumption that the Islamic states have not condemned terrorism is false. You are of the type that start screaming "Where is the muslim outrage" instead of complaining that any outcries of muslims against terrorism end up as a footnote to the broadcast.
Finally, to totally discredit myself, fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

Re:Saddens him most? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14974423)

There is more than terrorism [wikipedia.org] they should [wikipedia.org] condemn [yahoo.com] . I've been there - not a place for women, children, or egalitarians.

Re:Saddens him most? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14975201)

You wouldn't know reality if it strapped on a c4 vest and detonated right beside you. You'd probably call it an arab.

It would probably be an arab...

Re:Saddens him most? (5, Insightful)

Fanboy Troy (957025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973310)

I'm sorry, but his point, I believe, was that the media actually amplify the image radicals pose upon all arabs, which is true. I could start a whole flamewar saying "all Americans are oil thirsty killers", but both you and I know this isn't the case. Most Arabs and Americans I know are actually peace-loving people. Generalization is the beginning of hate, and this is exactly what the media does. I have an Iranian friend right now I'm not sure will be alive in a few years because of this stupidness. And yes, it's the media polarizing things that start Holy wars. We all must wake up from this nightmare as soon as possible...

Re:Saddens him most? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973682)

Furthermore, the media problem is one that's relatively easy to fix, whereas the terrorists are going to be harder to persuade. But I am confident that if this topic came up at a media industry seminar on diversity, intercultural reporting, etc. most of the audience would come away with a greater appreciation of the issue and take some pains to examine nationality identifications in their own work. That's because they are already trying hard to get it right.

So what I'm saying is, injuries often seem sadder when they were (or are) preventable, and the media phenomenon he observes is pretty obviously preventable.

Re:Saddens him most? (1)

Fanboy Troy (957025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973981)

I wish I could be so optimistic. The thing is, their are big interests behind the media acting like this. First and primarily, the media is selling this like hotcakes. Secondly, the media is actually manipulated by western governments for their agendas. Also, terrorism can not be fought off by terrorism like bombing countries and more often than not, innocent people. It just brings up more hate. Terrorism is actually gorilla warfare. And Gorilla warfare is a tactic you use when you don't have a tactical military force capable of "fair war", as the Palestinians don't. Sure, they are killing innocent people, which is wrong, but I don't think they would go to these extremes if they had a good standard of living in the first place, as we westerners do. The key thing to fight off terrorism is actually listen to what arabs are asking for and if it is reasonable, give it to them. I'm sure they are asking for nothing more than to be treated like human beings . Actually I'm pretty sure they are asking for a subclass of Human rights they currently don't even have. There is alot of unfairness in the world, this is the root of the problem as I see it. War is never the answer.

Re:Saddens him most? (3, Informative)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973816)

I'm sorry, but his point, I believe, was that the media actually amplify the image radicals pose upon all arabs, which is true.

Radicals? You mean like the reformed government of Afghanistan, who now has a man on trial for converting to Christianity over a decade ago, and are now trying him for this crime against Islam. Punishment being sought? Death.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/03/21/afghan.c hristian/ [cnn.com]

Yes, the media sucks... but sometimes the source of their hype sucks worse.

Re:Saddens him most? (1)

Fanboy Troy (957025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974133)

You have to understand that for Islamic countries, these sort of laws are the norm. My Iranian friend doesn't like his government and He was actually pointing out funny things you will see in an islamic country (that being said, he doesn't want a US invasion under any terms). Like it is forbidden for a man to kiss a woman if they are not engaged. Even actors on TV 'pass out' when the kissing part comes. These fanatical believes are deaply entrenched in islamic countries and as the link you provided me clearly shows, even the US invasion didn't change this much. The key thing to do here is to economically approach such countries. Up their living standards and educate the population. Governments will do the right thing if it benefits them enough (sadly they wont do the right thing only on maorals). We need to embrace the arabs, not plant hate here and there. Just my humble opinion.

Saudi Arabia (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974704)

The key thing to do here is to economically approach such countries. Up their living standards and educate the population.

And how has this money changed the Saudis? Osama Bin Laden was born into billions. I spent a lot of time in Saudi Arabia. What I saw was a 5 years old boy crashing and dying while driving an expensive Toyota Land Cruiser because mom wasn't allowed to drive. I saw a very classy shopping mall that only Saudis could shop in, the indentured slaves had to shop in the slum district. I saw an american women who claimed she was being held prisoner because her husband tricked her into leaving the US. And I saw people scoping out the Air Force barracks and speed away in an old white chevy when the military police came. I also saw the barracks get blown up on TV just three weeks after I left. 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. Why should we trade with them at all? Mexico has lots of oil and has supposedly discovered more. If this is true, I would be for giving Mexico all our business. I think that discovering new energy sources that make economies based on oil exports unsustainable, is the way to go. In fact, I'm so tired of how everyone hates the US. I would like to see US citizens being more like the Germans and refuse to by foriegn goods when US goods are available. Everytime there is a post on ./ the Anti - US trolls come out. I'm so tired of all the worlds problems being blamed on the US. I wish we could just close our borders, declare neutrality like the swiss, keep the billions sent overseas and watch the rest of the world implode. But then that would be our fault too. Let China be the super power awhile, that should go over real well.

Re:Saudi Arabia (2, Interesting)

Fanboy Troy (957025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975046)

What you are describing my friend is a really big gap in classes in Saudi Arabia. This phenomenon is present even in western societies. You'll often see the poor go to extremes out of despair. Surely not to the extent you are describing, but the pattern is there. The good thing with western societies, is that the differences between classes aren't that big, so you won't see alot of violence. They can accept the way they live alot easier than the 'indentured slaves' as you say. What about the illegal immigrants in western societies? Aren't they basically the same situation on an alot smaller scale? Greed and unfairness is the source of violence IMHO. Humans are alike in many more ways than not. Anyway, I wasn't trying to be an anti-US troll. But the thing is, I'm compelled to post my opinion on slashdot as an anonymous coward more often than not because of people with your attitude. I'm sure you love your country and believe what you are doing is 100% right. This is alot more than what we have in Europe. But what we don't have in patriotism, we suplement with criticism to our governments. Take a look at France right now with the riots over labor-law injustice over there. I'm not implying that we are not blind-sided alot of times, or we are superior in any way. It's the politicians I have a problem with, and not the (actually really kind and noble) American people. Governments and corporations are using us worldwide for their interests. I have no respect for them though, sorry...

Re:Saddens him most? (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974755)

Afghanis aren't Arabs, you dumbass.

Good Example. (1)

CheeseburgerBlue (553720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973408)

You've just demonstrated the "broad brush" principle to a T. Nice!

Re:Saddens him most? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973414)

I think you deeply overestimate the amount of tolerance and understanding present in the Western mindset.

How many people can encounter an Arab-looking person and not have some sort of doubt or nervousness? How many people can be sitting behind one in an airport waiting area and not feel that? You will find a great many of people who do (myself sadly included to some extent, even though intellectually I know better), despite the fact that the proportion of Arabs who hijack or blow up airplanes is utterly insignificant. (And note that if you start arguing with this part, it just means that you've fallen victim to the media's spin and don't even know it.)

Yes, it's true that there are some Arab terrorists in the world. But it is also true that the media blows this fact far out of proportion. The significant identifier of these terrorists isn't "Arab", it's "radical", "fundamentalist", etc.

Re:Saddens him most? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975241)

I wonder- if the same sentence applied to a woman who drives was applied to a preacher in the mosque who criticizes the United States, how many fundamentalists or radicals would be left?

Re:Saddens him most? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973446)

> It angers me to see things like this, like it's some western conspiracy to paint
> Arabs in a bad light.

It's not a conspiracy - it's all quite open. What you call terrorism may not be perceived to be terrorism to everyone. When a Palestinian suicide bomber kills civilians it's often described as terrorism, but apparantly not when the US drops bombs on a restaurant where they believe Saddam Hussein is eating, or when the Israeli Army fire missiles from helicopters at crowded streets, in pursuit of members of Hamas.

Re:Saddens him most? (1, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973593)

When a Palestinian suicide bomber kills civilians it's often described as terrorism, but apparantly not when the US drops bombs on a restaurant where they believe Saddam Hussein is eating

The difference is intent (why do I need to explain this? It's insane). The suicide bomber intends to kill civilians. The US intends to kill a military target. It's an unfortunate truth that sometimes civilians are killed along with a military target, but the true blame likes with the cowardly terrorists who hide among civilians for exactly that reason -- to put them in danger, so that the terrorists will be safe.

The US has done more to protect civilians in a time of war in the current conflict than any civilization in history. Take a look at how many civizilians are killed in other wars. But this war MUST BE WON. The world cannot continue to be held hostage by these people.

It's also true that these "civilians" that are killed aren't all that innocent. The people around terrorists know who they are. That they don't turn them in makes them as guilty as the people they harbor.

Re:Saddens him most? (1)

Hobbes828 (880721) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973729)

when I read the post above yours, I also thought about the "intent" as you call it, that there are at least military targets in one of the scenarios... But you're post is still too naive, yes there is that level... But perhaps the reason they suicide bomb civilians is not that they are crazed and pure evil, but that they can't do military strikes against Israeli leaders like Israel does to them, mostly because they haven't been funded tons of military money like Israel has from the U.S... There are layers upon layers for everything.

Re:Saddens him most? (2, Interesting)

jonbritton (950482) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973867)

The difference is intent...The suicide bomber intends to kill civilians. The US intends to kill a military target. It's an unfortunate truth that sometimes civilians are killed along with a military target,

This has to be a troll, but it raises a wonderful philosophical argument: Who is worse? The man who kills of rage, or the man who kills of apathy?

It's also true that these "civilians" that are killed aren't all that innocent

Must really fuck up your day when you're having a meal and your friend says, "Hey isn't that Hassane? I haven't seen him since High School! I heard he became a suicide bombe...oh. Oh crap."

Re:Saddens him most? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973920)

The difference is intent.

Both the Americans and the terrorists are aware that their bombs will kill civilians and they make the choice to detonate their bombs. They both "intend" to kill civilians. They also both believe that killing civilians is necessary in order to achieve their goals. The difference is that you happen to agree with the goals of the United States while you disagree with (what you think) the goals of the "terrorists" are.

Essentially, in your view, your goals justify killing civilians but the "terrorist's" goals do not justify killing civilians. That may be true but the difference is not "intent to kill civilians" the difference is "intent to accomplish a goal that I agree with".

Re:Saddens him most? (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973927)

> The difference is intent

No, if you know that by doing something you're going to - or likely to - kill civilians, then you have intent. I mean, isn't that what happens in criminal cases? If I intend to kill you and I miss and shoot your brother, I'm guilty of his murder. If my gun goes off by accident and kills him, it's not murder.

Re:Saddens him most? (0, Troll)

swissmonkey (535779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974566)

It's also true that these "civilians" that are killed aren't all that innocent. The people around terrorists know who they are. That they don't turn them in makes them as guilty as the people they harbor.

Correct, and in Israel where all adults(men and women) are soldiers, hence oppressors of the palestinians, all israeli adults should be a valid military target then. And the other people in the restaurant know who these people are, it makes them as guility as the people they harbor.

See, your argument works both ways.

Re:Saddens him most? (1, Troll)

killjoe (766577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974599)

". The suicide bomber intends to kill civilians. The US intends to kill a military target."

Not quite right. Here is how it is.

The suicide bomber intends to kill civillians because he lacks weaponry to attack military targets.

The US does not care if it kills civillians and is willing to kill as many as it takes if it MIGHT result in the death of target.

Of course the US is also willing to round up human beings all over the world and then ship them off to be tortured but that's another topic.

"It's also true that these "civilians" that are killed aren't all that innocent. "

This I agree with you a little bit. In a democracy all people are somewhat responsible for the actions of their govt. All those israelis are somewhat complicit in their governments continued state of apartheid and opression of 3.5 million people.

Re:Saddens him most? (0, Troll)

hellomynameisclinton (796928) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974603)

The world cannot continue to be held hostage by these people.

Would that be the Iraqi's with the WMD? The ones we waged war against?

When you said "these people", you meant Muslims - which is pathetic. Any moderately intelligent person can look back on their errors and learn from them - you have a chance NOW to look at yourself and change your invalid, inaccurate prejudices.

Without American bigotry, we might have paused long enough to remember why the first Bush didn't take Baghdad - because he knew it would destabilize the region.

33,000 dead Iraqi's agree, racism and bigotry produce terrorists, which erode YOUR safety.

Re:Saddens him most? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973777)

What was it called when Saddam invaded Kuwait?

The Muslim terrorists won't / can't come out on the open battlefield. Instead, they sneak attack and retreat to hide amongst civilians. If those civilians allow that, then they are just as responsible.

The radicals on both sides need to settle down and handle things in the world courts before bombing. Bin Laden's organization had the finances to bring attention to their issues. Did he ever try that route?

Re:Saddens him most? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974018)

> What was it called when Saddam invaded Kuwait?

An ex-client of the United States acting out of control and threatening the Wests' supply of cheap oil. At this point they needed to be stopped.

> The Muslim terrorists won't / can't come out on the open battlefield.

The "battlefield" is their country - the battle came to them. They are morally entitled to choose their own way of defending it. They cannot take on the worlds most heavily armed army in the traditional way, so they're waging asymmetical warfare. US voters can only tolerate a certain number of dead soldiers before they decide that enough is enough and that they should give up and return home, so it looks like they're fighting it rather successfully.

> Instead,
> they sneak attack and retreat to hide amongst civilians. If those civilians
> allow that, then they are just as responsible.

Civilians - the vast majority of the people of Iraq - don't have a lot of say in the matter. It's easy for the occupying forces to claim than whenever civilians are killed that they weren't really civilians, and that there was `credible evidence` that they were involved in terrorism, but I don't think many people take those claims seriously.

Re:Saddens him most? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14974575)

> An ex-client of the United States acting out of control and threatening the Wests' supply of cheap oil. At this point they needed to be stopped.

More like a Muslim and his group taking advantage of his own people by selling them out to the highest bidder. If it hadn't been Saddam and the U.S., it would have been Saddam and . And when he acts out, he attacks other Muslims to get at the west and you see that as the west's fault. If I give you a gun, it doesn't make it right for you to kill someone with that gun. You seem to forgive Muslims for the same actions you would condemn the west for.

> The "battlefield" is their country - the battle came to them. They are
> morally entitled to choose their own way of defending it. They cannot take
> on the worlds most heavily armed army in the traditional way, so they're
> waging asymmetical warfare. US voters can only tolerate a certain number of > dead soldiers before they decide that enough is enough and that they should
> give up and return home, so it looks like they're fighting it rather
> successfully.

You make it sound so noble. The battle came to them? They are completely innocent? They've done their share of attacking over the years. Where were these avengers of justice when as you put it the ex-client of the U.S. was running things?

What is the U.S. suppossed to do? Just sit back and let them take their little snipes? A hostage here? A 911 there? Attack on an embassy here? Perhaps the U.S. is morally entitled to pick how to respond.

Unfortunately, you may be right on that last point. It may take something big to happen before the U.S. responds and stays the course. In reality even 911 and the current war aren't really all that big to the day to days lives of most people in the U.S. -- just another headline. But I also believe the Muslim world will be in for an awakening to find out just how resolve the people of the U.S. can be when that big event happens.

> Civilians - the vast majority of the people of Iraq - don't have a lot of
> say in the matter. It's easy for the occupying forces to claim than
> whenever civilians are killed that they weren't really civilians, and that
> there was `credible evidence` that they were involved in terrorism, but I
> don't think many people take those claims seriously.

Likewise, it is easy for the "Terrorist" to say those were innocent civilians, not "Terrorist". Who do you want to believe?

On another point, if there had been no 911, the U.S. couldn't have attacked Afghanistan. No invasion of Kuwait or threats to other countries and the U.S. couldn't have attacked Iraq.

The parties involved need to resolve the issues in the world courts. The U.S. hasn't been forcibly taking the oil. The UAE and other OPEC countries are getting lots of money. Why aren't Muslims attacking them? Why aren't they fighting the "injustices" happening against their people?

Re:Saddens him most? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974770)

> Likewise, it is easy for the "Terrorist" to say those were innocent civilians,
> not "Terrorist". Who do you want to believe?

On the evidence of past behaviour, not the president of the US.

http://www.iraqbodycount.net/ [iraqbodycount.net]

37,000+ dead terrorists? Really?

Re:Saddens him most? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14974938)

That is the only thing you can respond to? How far in the past do you choose to go? Do you really think it would be any different if someone else occuppied the position of the U.S. in the world? The extremists will always have a cause to wage war against. There are other, more effective ways to win.

Again, the U.S. couldn't be in Iraq racking up body count, if it hadn't been given a semi-plausible reason. And those actions that provided the reason didn't have to happen in the first place. Both sides have chosen to resort to the sword and both sides will be hurt.

Re:Saddens him most? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975260)

> The extremists will always have a cause to wage war against.

They'll always have a cause while there are foreign powers meddling in the affairs of their country because of the wealth of their natural resources. Is America more or less at risk since they occupied Afghanistan and Iraq? It seems a little irrational to me to invade peoples countries on the flimsiest of pretexts (a wanted criminal lives in Afghanistan so the US bombs it from the air in the case of Afghanistan, and...I'm not even sure what the reason for invading Iraq was now, it's changed so many times) and then complain that the way they're fighting back isn't fair or that they're all terrorist or helping terrorists. People don't want to kill themselves for the fun of it. Sure, there are some crazy people in the world, and some of them are religious fanatics but it's such a tiny percentage of the world population.

Re:Saddens him most? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973610)

"How about the freaking TERRORISTS that form the image? And it doesn't "sadden him the most" that there is so much arab radicalism that causes all arabs to be painted with the same brush?" And what image do you think the Americans have in the Arab world, after 15 years of inflicting "collateral damage" on the Iraqi people. After Abu Graib situations, after targeting "smart bombs" in bomb shelters in civilian shelters? After imposing 10 years of sanctions on Iraqis resulting to the death of hundrends of thousands of infants/children? After supporting the cruel Israeli occupation of Palestine? After pushing Iran into religious fundamentalism by enforcing a cruel and idiotic dictator (the Shah) on them? Why should he be concerned with the image Islamist radicals form for the arab society? Are you concerned with the image trigger-happy Marines give to the Iraqis, or the image of the war-hawks Bush, Rumsfeld and Contoliza? Are you concerned with the image of prominent US religious leaders that suggest assassinations of foreign presidents? You know very well that you cannot judge a people by a small sample of them that happened to be put in controversial situations. So what Bush or the frightened trigger-happy Marine does is not your fault and you shoud not be judged for their actions, the same way Isam should not apologize for whatever a radical is doing.

Re:Saddens him most? (5, Insightful)

AhtirTano (638534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973625)

find this rather insulting, and rather telling. It saddens him the most that the media is forming the image? How about the freaking TERRORISTS that form the image? And it doesn't "sadden him the most" that there is so much arab radicalism that causes all arabs to be painted with the same brush?

Basic math skills will show that the vast majority of Muslims are not involved in this radical behavior. Try this: Total Number of Suspected Terrorists in the Muslim World divided by Total Population of Muslims. Then compare that with: Total Number of American Incarcerated for Violent Crime divided by American Population. You'll find that the second number is larger than the first. Do you go around saying that Americans are blood-thirsty savages? Do you talk about the Irish the way you talk about Muslims based on the behaviour of the IRA? How about the Basque because of the ESA?

Note I'm not saying Muslim radicalism isn't a problem. I'm saying it is unfair to criticize Muslims in general for the actions of a small minority. To paraphrase Ann Frank: "What one Christian does is his own responsibility, what one Muslim does is thrown back at all Muslims."

Re:Saddens him most? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14975286)

Basic math skills will show that the vast majority of Muslims are not involved in this radical behavior

True, and the math would tell you that it would be relatively easy for the vast majority of non-radical Muslims to outnumber and put down their radical component and make the western view of Islam change overnight. That isn't happening.

Re:Saddens him most? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973700)

"What saddens me the most, is that the Media plays a great part in forming this image, and the general public do not take an extra step to verify or validate such image. The stereotype of Americans go beyond the image of being Psychopaths, it starts by the believe that we are "totally" different, out-of-this world. Once people buy this, then any other mis-information will just easily get in the minds of ordinary people."

I find this rather insulting, and rather telling. It saddens him the most that the media is forming the image? How about the freaking US ARMY that form the image? And it doesn't "sadden him the most" that there is so much american psychopathy that causes all americans to be painted with the same brush?

(Almost) everyone knows that not every american supports the US ARMY. But to deny that there are grains of truth at the core of the portrayal of Americans is to deny reality. American pyschopathy is a huge problem right now, and it's going to take an American like him to stand up and tell their own people to shut up, sit down, and stop killing people.

Gah! It angers me to see things like this, like it's some global conspiracy to paint americans in a bad light.

fixed. no need to thank me

Re:Saddens him most? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973835)

You are a typical example of a Westerner who is oblivious to past and current US foreign policy in the mid-east and are therefore amazed of why resentment towards the US exists.

Does middle-eastern radicalism exist because they 'hate freedom' or because of events such as these:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qana [wikipedia.org]
http://almashriq.hiof.no/lebanon/300/350/355/april -war/qana/ [almashriq.hiof.no] (WARNING, THESE IMAGES ARE GRAPHIC)

Does Iran hate the US because they hate freedom, or is it because we overthrew a democratically elected government and replaced it with a brutal dictatorship that was willing to give us cheap oil in return?

You decide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ajax [wikipedia.org]

For moment, imagine Russia overthrew our current government and replaced it with a dictatorship that stayed in power through an SS-like Russian trained secret police which tortured and murdered dissidents - at the same time this dictatorship sold our resources to Russia for next to nothing. Would you like Russia?

I'm not saying terrorists are right but don't pretend as if resentment exists for no reason at all.

Re:Saddens him most? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14974156)

Are all Japanese terrorists (Red Army, Aum Shinrikyu)? Are all Irish terrorists (IRA, UUP)? Are all Basque terrorists (ETA)? Are all Nicaraguans terrorists (contra)? Are all Americans terrorists (Timothy McVeigh)? Are all south-americans terrorists (shining path)?

Re:Saddens him most? (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974300)

A few points :

Firstly, you've taken the quote out of context, and not addressed his point in the paragraph below the one you quoted. Here it is :
Another problem is the way the media highlight and focus on nationality, for example, every time Abu Musaab is mentioned, he is mentioned as "The Jordanian" or "Jordan-born" Abu Musaab, while in positive contexts, it is rare to have nationality mentioned, you won't hear in any news "The Jordanian Dr. Rima Khalaf Assistant Secretary General and Regional Director of UNDP" or "Jordan-born Usama Fayyad, the chief data officer and senior vice president of Research & Strategic Data Solutions in Yahoo".

Secondly, where do you get the notion that Arab radicalism is a huge problem right now? I've not seen _any_ problems with Arab radicalism personally. Attacks by Christians easily outweigh attacks by Muslims in Europe.

Thirdly, what the hell has it got to do with him that some Arabs are nutters? I'm white, and if someone told me I was in some way responsible for nutjob white actions, I'd laugh at them. Why on earth do you think it should be different for Arabs?

Re:Saddens him most? (1)

Intrigued (757997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974579)

I have to respond to this.

I have a good friend that almost died in the twin towers bombing. I know how his wife, daughter and son waited in horror until they received his call. I have family that served in Iraq. I have put up with heightened security at my company when we were worried that our building might be on some kind of "bombing list", and I have had to console my kids about going to work. I have every reason to be incensed by terrorists, but I will aim my outbursts toward those that deserve it.

Yes, there are fanatic Islamic terrorists who happen to be Arabs. Yes, the Arabic nations are predominately Islamic. Western nations are predominately Judeo-Christian and don't seem to understand alot of the Islamic culture. Western people (and western media) wield the ignorance surrounding that culture like a verbal sword.
Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma Bomber for those who first programmed in java) was around long before the "Arab terrorists" reared their heads and surprisingly enough had nothing to do with Islam. A number of other fanatic people and groups have blown up things long before the Arabs were brought into the media like this. Christian fanatics have been blowing up abortion clinics for years. Western nations have had a long history of terrorizing people based on race, creed and nationality. You can look to the Catholic/Protostant conflicts in Ireland, race issues in the US, or how about that German Nazi movement in the 40's. If you want to really go back, the crusades was obvious stupidity aimed in the exact opposite direction.

We have fortunately, as a culture, generally moved beyond that shortsighted view but it still pops up with this kind of garbage once in a while. We can't afford to associate the actions of a group of braindead psychopaths with a single nation, culture, race or even creed. These twisted people pop up in every culture and nation.
All this proves is that stupid people are universal.

At the risk of being labeled a troll: Do you even have any idea what the terrorists have stated concerning WHY they are doing what they have done? Has the media addressed why they are so pissed at the west or even more shocking, suggested ideas that we might be a little more cautious of our media and corporations trampling other people's values and culture in our race for money? I may not agree with them but at least I have some interest to know. It is easy to point fingers but it is quite possible that there are "grains of truth at the core" of their attacks on the west also. (preflame: obviously not to validate the extreme violence and loss of life - just not to be oblivious)

The western media caters to its own opinion of what the public wants and does not portray Arabic nations with any balance. When was the last time that you saw a piece on something good happening in the Arabic world? Do you really think that nothing good ever happens there? These are moms and dads with kids and most of them (if the one Muslim family in my neighborhood are any indication) are caring, sharing people with high values that are struggling to teach their kids values and responsibility, and trying to make ends meet. They do denounce terrorist activities ("shut up, sit down, and stop killing people"), fight against them and even cooperate with other countries to stop these international criminals. The fact that you haven't heard these denouncements is probably more revealing than anything else.

The terrorist are morons. He can't stop them or even expect them to be anything else. But he has enough belief in humanity to expect more of the western media and is saddened by his disapointment.

You are dead wrong in one thing: Not everyone is bright enough to figure out that "not every arab supports the terrorists". People who post on Slashdot for the most part, enjoy thinking. A large percentage of the populous however don't. They just react and follow media like sheep. The media will happily pass off its responsibility to balanced journalism as "just giving the people what they want".

Decent people in the Arabic nations know how militarily powerful western nations are, how blinded by the media we can be and have every reason to be concerned that someone might come looking for non-existant WMDs and risk their lives and that of their children.

Disgusting (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14973139)

What will slashdot do next, an interview with a *gasp* French person?

Let the terrorists do what they want over there.

All I want is my left-slanted, OSS defending news.

uh, fribidi was started by an Israeli (2, Informative)

spotter (5662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973179)

not to get in a nit picking war, but fribidi was started by an Israeli

http://webcvs.freedesktop.org/fribidi/fribidi/AUTH ORS?rev=1.11&view=markup [freedesktop.org]

Dov Grobgeld
        * Initial author.

and is now maintained by an Iranian.

Behdad Esfahbod
        * Current maintainer, Added explicit bidi support, fixed all
        conformance bugs, changed the library to use bitmasks, rewrote
        many things, removed glib dependency.

Re:uh, fribidi was started by an Israeli (4, Informative)

isam_b (635273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975270)

My Mistake.. It is since day 1 of knowing the projects I've seen Behdad, and Roozbeh involved in the project, which caused this misunderstanding from my part.. Nevertheless, this supports my case/example even more :) of Open Source collaboration between volunteers from Israel and arab/muslim countries..

Our man in Jordan? (3, Funny)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973454)

Peter Andre? Our?

Brain Balance (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973522)

I wonder how much faster the Arab info society would evolve if there weren't such a brain drain to EurAmerican society. Even in Arab countries, many talented and productive people get sucked into EurAmerican corporate and government jobs, which suck the value into the foreign info societies, rather than feeding back locally. And which Westernize the participating Arabs, so they don't contribute "Arab" solutions to the global info society.

Meanwhile Europe and America have local labor who don't want to compete with Arab visitors who subsidize their lower costs with time spent back in cheaper Arab countries, invest in homes and retirements there, etc.

Is there a mutual development benefit to restricting foreigners from joining EurAmerican labor pools, rather than taking the easy way out with only small benefits to Arab workers? And if Arabs had to grow their own domestic info societies, would they also grow their own local democracies, to reflect the increasing power of their middle class?

Is the balance of benefit to the actual workers in each country closer to staying home than to the current brain drain? Is there a better way to get that balance than just keeping foreign labor from visiting the more developed countries?

Re:Brain Balance (3, Insightful)

raduf (307723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975245)



      For every "brain" gone West there's a lot of management and technology and entropy in general that comes from the big companies that come into the country.
All those brains would have done almost nothing without the big companies to allow them to use their potential.
      My country (Romania) is in the same position: a lot of talk about brain drain but nobody stops to think that neither windows nor linux not mobile telephony not even the simplest computer would have been possible if we retained out precious "brains" but closed the borders.

Arab humour (4, Interesting)

MSBob (307239) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973680)

When at my uni (long time ago, years before 9/11) I used to hang out with a bunch of Arabs. Most were from Jordan and one guy was from Syria.

They were some of the funniest people I ever met. They were able to come up with some hillarious puns in English even though it was their second language. How is that for a language skill? I've always been amazed at the mastery of the English language by Arab students, but I digress...

What gets me is the portrayal of muslims in the west, as people completely devoid of any sense of humour. It really could not be further from the truth.

If more westerners mingled with them, they'd realize just how sociable and interesting Arab people are. Of course, they have their own culture but they are much more open minded than the western media would make you believe. In fact they are far more open minded than most westerners I know.

Re:Arab humour (4, Insightful)

Johnboi Waltune (462501) | more than 8 years ago | (#14973950)

You interacted with Jordanians and Syrians who were very educated, and Westernized. They spoke English fluently, attended secular university in the West, and were probably members of the upper class in their societies of origin to be able to afford it.

I'd venture to say you didn't get a very accurate picture of the attitudes of the average Jordanian or Syrian (who likely is barely literate in his own language, and has no secondary education or meaningful exposure to a humanist worldview.)

Remember, anecdotes are not evidence.

Re:Arab humour (3, Interesting)

MSBob (307239) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974200)

The "Arab terrist" mythology is as much anecdotal evidence as my empirical experience. Since I trust my own experiences more than I trust the "big media" I'll go with my gut feel that on average, Arabs are funny and sociable. Much more so than the BBC/CNN/Fox want you to believe. Oh yeah, I did mention the Beeb in that group. They're just as biased as their American counterparts. They just talk with British accents and thus sound more smug and condescending.

Re:Arab humour (4, Insightful)

swissmonkey (535779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974652)

I'd venture to say you didn't get a very accurate picture of the attitudes of the average Jordanian or Syrian (who likely is barely literate in his own language, and has no secondary education or meaningful exposure to a humanist worldview.)

I'd venture to say you have a very inaccurate picture of the average arab, you know, there are schools and universities in Jordan and Syria. They're not all peasants, the litteracy level in Jordan is over 90%

It doesn't mean all schools compare to Berkeley or Stanford, but it's much better than you think.

Newsflash: (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974815)

There are schools in Jordan and Syria.

Re:Arab humour (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974325)

Puns occur to you more easily when you're learning a second language, because you learn ambiguities and homonyms.

Re:Arab humour (1)

MSBob (307239) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974378)

Their puns were intentional. I should have clarified that.

Re:Arab humour (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974715)

I don't doubt they were intentional, but it's easier to make puns with a language you recently learned than a language you've known all your life.

Re:Arab humour (1)

MSBob (307239) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975172)

Well, whatever you say. English _is_ my second language and I couldn't come up with a good pun in my life depended on it. Maybe I'm just not a very witty person in general...

So how is this different? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974417)

"What saddens me the most, is that the Media plays a great part in forming this image, and the general public do not take an extra step to verify or validate such image. The stereotype of Arabs go beyond the image of being Radicals, it starts by the believe that we are "totally" different, out-of-this world. Once people buy this, then any other misinformation will just easily get in the minds of ordinary people. "

This is different how? I have seen the same thing in how the media showed people in Northern Ireland, the US, China. The media is about entertainment. Nothing is more entertaining than us vs them and of course the us are always the good guys. The media in any country will always do well when it shows people in the other country as less well off, educated, free, righteous, and or tolerant than the target viewer.
What most "enlightened" people never seem to get is that the news source that you find the most balanced and fair probably is just the one that reinforces your world view the most and is just as biased as any other. It just happens to the one that shares your viewpoint.

"hacker food" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14974597)

Wish Isam spilled the beans on the best spots for Showarma(sp?) and felafal(sp?) in Amman (I liked this one spot in downtown market area, but don't know the name cuz I couldn't read Arabic, not even sure the spot had a name nor needs one - I'm sure everyone knows the spot). Also, good spots for the sweets.

As for coffee, the Turkish coffee (the style drunk by Arabs, Turks, Greeks, Balkans, and others around there) can't be beat, as strong as espresso, but much better and richer tasting (not to mention it tells your fortune).

Bad choice of words? (1)

reset_button (903303) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974626)

"I think that with no final solution for the middle-east issue in horizon"

Is it getting hot in here?

Great read... (1)

mmarshall (812479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974712)

I really enjoyed this. We really should have this sort of thing more often.
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