Skip

Full English text of Bin Laden
November 1, 2004 11:20 PM   Subscribe

what the news in america isn't telling us. Here is the Full transcript of Bin Ladin's speech
posted by Ladymerv (75 comments total)

 
While I'd not read the transcript verbatim, there was nothing in there that I hadn't garnered from the newspapers. What, exactly, do you feel was withheld here?
posted by aladfar at 11:40 PM on November 1, 2004


I prefer my information verbatim, thank you very much.
posted by Keyser Soze at 11:45 PM on November 1, 2004


And by the way, the only information i've heard outside mefi was osama doesn't like bush. Also, nothing was mentioned that bin laden was trying to bankrupt America (good look, by the way) by pulling us into a war.
posted by Keyser Soze at 11:46 PM on November 1, 2004


What I find interesting is the claim that the tape had other material on it. Sender Burl

"A top goverment source said from Washington that ABC withheld the final 15 minutes of the tape from the feds -- the portion of the tape where the man warns of retribution for Americans electing Bush and Cheney."

So does anyone know if the tape was just a /bin/ladin home movie, or was the tape a full collection of shorts?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:52 PM on November 1, 2004


Shout outs from Osama? Not the best look..
posted by Onanist at 11:52 PM on November 1, 2004


There's a lot in there that I didn't get from news reports... Like the fact that he basically goes over his "reasoning" for the 9/11 attacks, etc...

There's a great deal of background about what it is they're actually mad about, which takes away Bush's ability to say "they attack us because they hate freedom" (not that that argument ever made ANY sense in the first place...)...

It's definitely a very anti-bush (though not necessarily pro-kerry) message.. anti-bush to the point of being a LOT more anti-bush than anti-america...

Do I think the media cut it down for political reasons? I don't know... maybe they just did it for size/time constraints.. but there's certainly a lot of juicy flamebait in there, and I can see arguing that it was suppressed for political reasons...
posted by twiggy at 11:54 PM on November 1, 2004


And just moments after I post this, I notice that CNN has an article on this...

While I've been checking CNN on and off all evening, I didn't notice it... but the post time says 8:07pm EST on 11/1, so maybe I just missed it, or maybe it just wasn't up near the top headlines (which is all i've really looked at tonight while bored / killing time)...
posted by twiggy at 12:02 AM on November 2, 2004


I meant good luck instead of good look.... :(
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:17 AM on November 2, 2004


it is an interesting trascript and there is some important stuff in there that i haven't seen on the news, especially his strategy of bankrupting america.

to defeat him we need to underestand him. that is not the same thing as agreeing with him, but there can be no 'victor' unless the israel palestine issue is resolved.
posted by quarsan at 1:14 AM on November 2, 2004


To dismiss this transcript as nothing more than garbage or posturing by bin laden is to not give it full credit. Since we don't get the full transcript here, it's important to see "news" non filtered. Yeah, he's a scumbag, etc. But he makes some cogent points and we as a people would be wise to take something from it and not just listen to what we are fed.
posted by damnitkage at 1:34 AM on November 2, 2004


what is the american media withholding?
posted by raaka at 1:45 AM on November 2, 2004


I have no idea what He fits the saying "like the naughty she-goat who used her hoof to dig up a knife from under the earth" means. It sounds like OBL may be Bush's secret speech writer.
posted by DrDoberman at 1:52 AM on November 2, 2004


doberman, translation is murder.
posted by Satapher at 2:48 AM on November 2, 2004


I prefer my information verbatim, thank you very much.

I don’t think aladfar was saying that it is or should be your preference to only have access to the edited transcript; just that this abridged version did not appear to be withholding anything in particular.

As for the original post, of course it’s not necessarily the case that if a transcript is abridged or paraphrased then those who propagate it in this state seek to hide something. From what I can see, there was nothing in particular being withheld when comparing it against US press news articles.
posted by ed\26h at 2:48 AM on November 2, 2004


My statement wasn't really trying to defend or argue Ladymerv's hinting that American news was hiding anything. I, like more and more people, find news online from reputable sources a great and refreshing way to stay on top of important news.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:01 AM on November 2, 2004


I found it very powerful. It's true what he says about the American administration and their horrendous poilicies that cause so much civilian death around the world. Seymour Hersch admits that this administration has in fact committed crimes that other world leaders would be forced to face trial for, but no American will face trial for.

Not of course to dismiss the horrible things that happened in NYC; but at the same time, does anyone else find it extremely unsettling that even the "good guy" in this election stands up and talks about how he's going to kill this man? Hunt him down and kill him? Isn't there an thou shalt not you're supposed to observe there, in God we trust? And isn't killing what got us in this trouble in the first place?
posted by Hildegarde at 3:08 AM on November 2, 2004


I, for one, resent the implication that the US media is somehow "keeping something" from people. The US media did not have a full version of the videotape, or an Arabic transcript of the full version, as far as I can ascertain.

al-Jazeera itself only posted the English translation of the full transcript today, and US news sources are already publishing it. How were US news sources supposed to "scoop" al-Jazeera on a tape that only al-Jazeera had?
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:33 AM on November 2, 2004


Note: by "today" I meant "yesterday" above. Coffee first, posting later. Coffee first, posting later.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:35 AM on November 2, 2004


There's a great deal of background about what it is they're actually mad about,

this is amazingly naive. do you think he's going to be any more open and truthful than any other politician? it's not background about anything - it's what he thinks it would be useful to say to you.

would you be as excited about the script of a bush speech? get a little clued up about how the world works.

whether you like what the west does or not (have you done anything to reduce your ecological footprint, because that's what drives everything?), this is the same guy responsible for those people jumping from skyscrapers to avoid being burnt alive. remember that? he's not cuddly uncle dick giving you a fucking fireside chat.

i'm not saying don't post it, i'm just telling you to stop creaming your pants about it. it's just more propoganda - from a different side is all.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:59 AM on November 2, 2004


With this it seems bin Laden's intent was to open the eyes of an entire nation to actually pay attention to and hold accountable the "the pretenders of freedom at the White House," but three+ years later that message still hasn't occured to the majority of Americans and only strengthened the latter. He chose eye-for-an-eye justice and became nothing more than those that offended him. So the domino's are in motion and no one has a real plan to actually stop the madness. Both powers will just keep playing tit-for tat with innocent's paying the ultimate price and nothing will ever be resolved until someone blows the entire ball out into space. To both Bush and bin Laden I say there's got to be a better way sirs. How about pistols at ten paces and winner just goes home and leaves the rest of us alone? Just a thought.
posted by LouReedsSon at 4:08 AM on November 2, 2004


If George Bush is so good at fighting terrorism then why is Osama bin Laden still on my TV?
posted by nofundy at 4:44 AM on November 2, 2004


How are you defining “so good”; and in what way is being successful in capturing Osama Bin Laden the benchmark of it?
posted by ed\26h at 4:53 AM on November 2, 2004


Actually, a verbatim (albeit choppy) translation was on Drudge the day the tape came out.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:07 AM on November 2, 2004


How are you defining “so good”; and in what way is being successful in capturing Osama Bin Laden the benchmark of it?

I think no matter however you define good ...that ain't it.
posted by srboisvert at 5:18 AM on November 2, 2004


in what way is being successful in capturing Osama Bin Laden the benchmark of it?

The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice.
- George W. Bush, Sept 11, 2001

I don't have time to do it now, but you'll also find a few references to getting OBL "dead or alive" in the weeks following this, as well as another assurance in the 2002 SOTU that we would find him and bring him to justice.
posted by psmealey at 5:21 AM on November 2, 2004


Based on these proclamations, I has always assumed that getting OBL was one of the principle objectives of the War on Terror (tm). Perhaps they changed the objectives while I wasn't looking.
posted by psmealey at 5:22 AM on November 2, 2004


I have to admit I found his argument creepily logical, i.e. "stay out of our affairs and we'll stay out of yours". But then again, if you see people suffering at the hands of bullies and dictators, how the hell can you stay out? It's just a shame that the good intention of helping others is marred by greed for oil and power at the same time. Also the "us and them" mentality shines though immensely in bin Laden's speech. I guess we'll never realise that there shouldn't be such a thing as "sides" or "teams". Please continue fighting.
posted by Jase_B at 5:31 AM on November 2, 2004


I think no matter however you define good ...that ain't it.

By “that” are you refering to the fact that Osama Bin Laden has been able to create and distribute this tape? If so, aren’t you simply reiterating exactly what nofundy said to begin with?

Psmeasley: Yes, well that was more or less my point – I am also under the impression that such a goal is/was the, or one of the, “holy grail” objectives. If so, simply based solely on the fact that the most preferable objective has not or not yet been achieved does not mean we can conclude that there has been success at all. You don’t have to win an Olympic gold to qualify as a “good runner”; if you see what I mean.
posted by ed\26h at 5:41 AM on November 2, 2004


I do see what you mean, Ed. I don't agree with you, but it is a good point. Having said that, my view is that whatever successes you or anyone else thinks have been achieved, they are temporary at best, illusions at worst.

The point I have maintained throughout the past three years, is that Bush's methodology is wrong-headed. At their core, his people perceive islamic terrorists as members of an enemy force. I think this misses the point entirely. My view is that by lashing out arbitrarily, as it seems we have done in Iraq, we are exacerbating a disease of which individual terrorists are the symptoms. Anyone with the wherewithal and the materiel can go abroad and blow shit up, but it does take a lot more effort to start trying to implement changes in places that sorely need it to get rid of the reasons for why people become desperate or hateful enough to become terrorists in the first place.

The only way we'll every win any War on Terror is to attack the underlying causes for recruitment: the poverty and despair that enable people to give fanatics like Bin Laden power over them in the first place. To do otherwise plays into Bin Laden's hands and only serves to reinforce his crediblity among disaffected Arab Muslims, which only serves to make the problem more intractable.

I grant you, none of this may be achieveable in a 4 year term or two, or six or twelve, of course, but proceeding down that path will yield better long term results than Bush's actions will.

If we continue along the path we've chosen, we might as well retreat to our borders and wall up our cities, because anger and hatred toward us is getting worse and more widespread, not better as a result. The fact that we have not been attacked again since 911, makes us lucky, not successful.
posted by psmealey at 6:02 AM on November 2, 2004


Apologies for the sloppy/redundant prose. Got up at 6am to go vote before the morning rush, a bit groggy here.
posted by psmealey at 6:10 AM on November 2, 2004


this is amazingly naive. do you think he's going to be any more open and truthful than any other politician? it's not background about anything - it's what he thinks it would be useful to say to you.

Exactly. It sounds to me like a cut and paste job from the anti-Bush post-9/11 western media. 0/10 for originality. I wonder how the Iraqis and Afghans feel about the $500bn that Al Qaeda has 'forced' the US to spend, considering that they paid in blood.
posted by Summer at 6:19 AM on November 2, 2004


Osama is a David Cross fan.

Osama: Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom.

If so, then let him explain to us why we don't strike for example - Sweden? And we know that freedom-haters don't possess defiant spirits like those of the 19 - may Allah have mercy on them.


David Cross:
(link to mp3 excerpt - NSFW)
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:23 AM on November 2, 2004


OBL co-opts issues right and left. If he really cared about the death of women and children, then why did he support the murderous Taliban regime? Reading this made my skin crawl. He'll use our good ideas as cold-bloodedly as he uses our airplanes, and to the same ends.
posted by orange swan at 6:44 AM on November 2, 2004


If Kerry wins, the terrorists will be partying like it's 9/11/01.

Why is it a failure that OBL is on TV? Would you prefer trains exploding in San Francisco ir Chicago?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:21 AM on November 2, 2004


"what is the american media withholding?"

NYT/Reuters word count: 504
CNN word count: 695
Al Jazeera word count: 2309

So, what are they withholding? Only intangibles like words, context, and meaning. Nothing an informed electorate with a free press needs to know, apparently.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:28 AM on November 2, 2004


If Kerry wins, the terrorists will be partying like it's 9/11/01.

Damn, I guess Paris's hiatus is officially over.
posted by psmealey at 7:28 AM on November 2, 2004


Paris, you're supposed to be on sabbatical until AFTER the election. AFTER.

Insomnia, they weren't "witholding" what they didn't have. al-Jazeera had the complete tape and the complete Arabic transcript, but nobody else did as far as I know--rxfrx remembers seeing a complete transcript on Drudge, but I don't.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:41 AM on November 2, 2004


/ignore ParisParamus

(please)
posted by callmejay at 7:42 AM on November 2, 2004


msmealey. If Kerry wins, and I think he will, there won't be much between us (to debate). And if Bush wins, my first priority will be to go back to, ostensably, being Left of center on domestic issues. So...we'll be like fellow travelers!
posted by ParisParamus at 7:42 AM on November 2, 2004


Don't worry--I'll be busy with real work most of the day. This was just a test....
posted by ParisParamus at 7:50 AM on November 2, 2004


PP, I'm just curious as to what has lead you to believe Kerry will win. For the last few months you seemed certain of a Bush victory.
posted by drezdn at 7:50 AM on November 2, 2004


Test bis: I actually met another Bush supporter in Park Slope this morning on my street--shocking.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:51 AM on November 2, 2004


pp, yer second sentence was cogherent. The first made me think it's time to up your meds.
posted by notsnot at 7:51 AM on November 2, 2004


Wow, was than an olive branch? You have a deal. Like most centrist democrats, I was not exactly thrilled with Kerry, but voting the alternative was unthinkable to me. So, if you pledge to be left of center on social issues in the event of a Bush victory, I promise to do the same on the right side in the event Kerry wins.
posted by psmealey at 7:54 AM on November 2, 2004


And another fine Paris Paramus perfomance!

Paris, if by some chance you and I ever meet, I'm buying you a drink. Such exquisite showmanship as yours merits at least a small return.
posted by orange swan at 7:57 AM on November 2, 2004


I was never sure of a Bush victory; only that such would be the manifestly better outcome. Why do I think he will lose? Because too many people have been dummed-down by television and Bruce Springsteen endorsements and the cable tv wasteland. Too few people ready the NYT AND the WSJ, or NY SUN. I just think too many people don't get terrorism, or understand why being in Iraq is a great thing. And Bush failed to communicate it.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:00 AM on November 2, 2004


does anyone else find it extremely unsettling that even the "good guy" in this election stands up and talks about how he's going to kill this man? Hunt him down and kill him?

Yes.
posted by rushmc at 8:07 AM on November 2, 2004


being in Iraq is a great thing. And Bush failed to communicate it.

it must have been all those corpses. hard to communicate effectively when you've being buried alive by a mountain of corpses. and by the weight of your sins
posted by matteo at 8:09 AM on November 2, 2004


*sniff sniff*
You guys smell something? Did someone track a turd in here?
posted by squirrel at 8:14 AM on November 2, 2004


There's a lot in there that I didn't get from news reports... Like the fact that he basically goes over his "reasoning" for the 9/11 attacks, etc...

well, in my neck of the woods, they went on endlessly about his alleged reasoning and his bullshit justification of WTC with some babble about towers in some shithole country during the 1980's. if you didn't get that, you probably weren't paying attention. not paying attention does not equal news suppression.
posted by quonsar at 8:41 AM on November 2, 2004


I'm curious of the "arab street's" reaction to the news that bin Laden is behind 9/11 and not the Israelis.

Related news from Holland: Dutch filmmaker and newspaper columnist Theo van Gogh, who made a film about violence against women in Islamic societies and received death threats for it, has been murdered in Amsterdam. (via viewropa)
posted by semmi at 9:02 AM on November 2, 2004


Semmi, obviously President Bush is to blame for Mr. Gosh's death since, had he not invaded Iraq, the murder would not have been so angry.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:22 AM on November 2, 2004


While there is serious concern associated with Mr. Bin-L's criticism of US support of Israel, US foreign military activities, US support of/dependance on foreign oil dictators, and corruption in US Government Contracting, the problem still remains that what Mr. Bin-L thinks of as "freedom" is not what we think of as freedom. His religious tradition links government and religion. Government is, by his definition, properly a religious function, administered by religious leaders. Freedom under this government, then, is not the same as democratic freedom.

While he is very astute in linking problems in US Government to his rationality for terrorist activities, the reality remains: If the U.S. pursues a foreign policy agenda that seeks to undermine dictators and encourage democracy, it is a matter of time until we are at odds with Mr. Bin-L even without reference to his current list of US crimes.

His justification in that event will have changed, but his response will be no different.
posted by ewkpates at 9:32 AM on November 2, 2004


I think reading the entire text of bin Laden's statement is very helpful. Sure, he's about as loony as anybody who thinks they have a hotline to God, but his strategy for bankrupting America, post-hoc as I supsect it may be, is a bit more savvy than people are willing to give him credit for.

Rather than simply debating whether bin Laden is a 10 or merely a 9.5 on the Evil-o-meter, it would be more constructive for the media to try and discover why it is that so many young men in the Middle East are attracted to an ideology that seems to me to be fundamentally inhumane.

the problem still remains that what Mr. Bin-L thinks of as "freedom" is not what we think of as freedom. His religious tradition links government and religion. Government is, by his definition, properly a religious function, administered by religious leaders. Freedom under this government, then, is not the same as democratic freedom.

I agree, and that's one of the major problems with trying to ancourage or cultivate democracy in the Islamic societies. There is little to no tradition of secularism, and any attempt to introduce secularism is immediately condemned as cultural imperialism.
posted by Ty Webb at 9:50 AM on November 2, 2004


with some babble about towers in some shithole country during the 1980's

Huh. That was poor. Tens of thousands of civilians died there during those attacks. Each one of those people had as much right to life as anybody in the WTC. Two wrongs don't make a right, but all humanity should be treated and respected equally, even if they do come from "shithole" countries.

Democratic institutions in the Middle East have been systematically taken apart by America et al. Iran stands out as a glaring example, the rest of the "monarchies" supported as additional ones.

A secular government is not necessarily required - that is unless you think Islam is an evil religion and an anachronism (in which case my position is that you are either uneducated or an ass). The Islamic states that existed pre-1900 fared a heck of a lot better than the Western equivalents despite the inter-relation between "church" and state - it should be noted however, that the religious scholars did not dictate state policy, nor was this their role. The system espoused is one of having the Qu'ran as an effective constitution, with the acts of worship, the ibadat, being that which was not open to argument. Civil matters, the mu'amalat, were open to interpretation and democratic rule via the system of shura/mashwera (effectively consultation amongst a representative body).

Still, the concept of Islam and it's inter-relationship to democracy is a complex one and I'm sure everyone has more interesting things to look into at this time.. Khaled Abou el-Fadl's latest Islam and the Challenge of Democracy is an interesting one, it starts off with his original essay and then responses to this and critiques..

However, having rambled on for a while (probably not rehydrated after fasting today..), I would conclude by saying that the crux of Bin Laden's position is the fact that, quite simply, there is no freedom in the Middle East. And yes, freedom in the sense that Americans take it. The freedom to live your life without fear of being blown up for example. The freedom to vote in elections as someone happens to be supporting the dictators in charge.

If elections were held in Iraq and one of the more literalist salaf/shia parties "won", would the result be allowed to stand? Or should people be protected from themselves? Hmm..

posted by Mossy at 10:07 AM on November 2, 2004




A secular government is not necessarily required - that is unless you think Islam is an evil religion and an anachronism (in which case my position is that you are either uneducated or an ass).

I don't think Islam is an evil religion any more than Christanity or Judaism (in fact I think Islam is probably a more genuinely democratic religion than either of those two), but I do think that secular government is a requirement for modern democracy, though the extent to which the spiritual and political realms overlap should be for electorates to decide. The basic issue is whether a government should be empowered to create laws based solely on thousand years-old religious texts without having to demonstrate the rightness of those laws through reasoned debate. I don't think they should, and I think the history of religious governments bears that out entirely.

The Islamic states that existed pre-1900 fared a heck of a lot better than the Western equivalents despite the inter-relation between "church" and state -

That's a pretty broad claim you've made without any support.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:19 AM on November 2, 2004


Oh, and quonsar:

his bullshit justification of WTC with some babble about towers in some shithole country during the 1980's.

You are a towering shithead. Lebanon was one of the great cultural, cosmopolitan centers of the Middle East leading up to the civil war. Get a fucking library card.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:21 AM on November 2, 2004


Qu'ran as an effective constitution - how is this "constitution" amended? Doesn't look like it can be if it is the word of the one true God.

Freedom is not about "freedom from fear of being blown up". That's security.

Freedom is, come election day, the power to vote the bastards out. Freedom is government by the people, for the people... NOT by a religious text.

Mr. Bin-L isn't interested, again, read his words, about the voting power of the poor in Saudi Arabia. He's interested in supporting the sovereignty of Islamic non-secular governments. Which is exactly the opposite of democracy.
posted by ewkpates at 10:22 AM on November 2, 2004


Ty Webb, quonsar was quoting idiots in his "neck of the woods" who referred to Lebanon as "some shithole country".

quonsar is not one of said idiots quonsar's self.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:32 AM on November 2, 2004


dueling translations

why the HELL can't he just talk in ENGLISH and avoid all these DISCREPANCIES???
posted by ZippityBuddha at 10:36 AM on November 2, 2004


Ty Webb, quonsar was quoting idiots in his "neck of the woods" who referred to Lebanon as "some shithole country".

Condemnation withdrawn, with apology.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:45 AM on November 2, 2004


Ty Webb, your analysis gets an A-, but you need to renew your fucking sarcasm card. "not paying attention does not equal news suppression"? c'mon.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:56 AM on November 2, 2004


My apologies to quonsar too.

The Qu'ran does not contain the specifics of civil governance. It contains broad categories within which debate and discussion by those qualified can occur.

As I said, the agreed upon positions are within the context of worship - the door is open to debate and discussion on the matters of civil governance. Worship is something personal, civil governance deals with the interaction between people.. One can be enforced, the other can't..

If you look at the Islamic empires/countries over the last one and a half millenia, in how many have the clergy been in power? How many have existed in a state of consultation with the clergy?

[i]That's a pretty broad claim you've made without any support.[/i]

Medieval Europe was pretty crappy. The Renaissance borrowed heavily from the development that continued in the Arab world. The the Arab world started to decline and the torch passed to the Western world..

Qu'ran as an effective constitution - how is this "constitution" amended? Doesn't look like it can be if it is the word of the one true God.

I don't believe that the US constitution is going to be amended any time soon.. Mind you, it can be overruled by certain laws it seems :)

Freedom is not about "freedom from fear of being blown up". That's security.

I always thought that was related to freedom.. Still, a bit of rhetoric on my part I'll agree.

Freedom is, come election day, the power to vote the bastards out. Freedom is government by the people, for the people... NOT by a religious text.

I think there's something wrong when a person can have the approval of the majority of the country and not win the presidency for example..

Still, representative democracy I suppose. Or something.

If a majority of a country decides that they wish to have a particular constitution, should they be allowed to do so, seeing as the majority think it comes from God and therefore all laws should fall within the broad boundaries it dictates, or should these individuals have a constitution formulated for them by those that know "better"?

The people will always be the government, a text cannot do anything and has no power in itself.

Mr. Bin-L isn't interested, again, read his words, about the voting power of the poor in Saudi Arabia.

I'm pretty sure the majority of poor in Saudi Arabia would want a properly Islamic government as opposed to a monarchy/literalistic bastardisation of the system. Very religious bunch as opposed to the upper classes which.. Aren't always shall we say.

Still, again, that wouldn't be allowed. The only democracy that will be allowed is one that ensures secular values - see any of the recent elections in the area.

He's interested in supporting the sovereignty of Islamic non-secular governments. Which is exactly the opposite of democracy.

Perhaps. But does he tell America to set that up? Is that his request?

I don't think he's anti-democracy/individual freedom.. I think he's more anti American munitions/involvement in the middle east. His methods are still completely wrong however.
posted by Mossy at 11:06 AM on November 2, 2004


The basic issue is whether a government should be empowered to create laws based solely on thousand years-old religious texts without having to demonstrate the rightness of those laws through reasoned debate. I don't think they should, and I think the history of religious governments bears that out entirely.

But do you believe in your opinion so strongly as to warrant invading a country and forcing it to be secular?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:14 AM on November 2, 2004


five fresh fish:But do you believe in your opinion so strongly as to warrant invading a country and forcing it to be secular?

No, I don't. Did I indicate that I did?

Mossy: Medieval Europe was pretty crappy. The Renaissance borrowed heavily from the development that continued in the Arab world. The the Arab world started to decline and the torch passed to the Western world..

The Arab world started to decline quite a bit farther back than 1900. Though I certainly recognize that many Arab advancements were adopted by Renaissance Europe, democracy was not among them. While it's true that minorities, women, and slaves enjoyed much greater freedom in the Arab and Ottoman empires than they did in Europe in the Middle Ages, those freedoms were essentially dependant on the mood of the caliph or sultan and his willingness to be beneficent, and thus could be removed upon a whim.

The innovation of the European Enlightenment was the notion that human beings had intrinsic values and rights, and that governments should derive legitimacy based upon whether they secured and protected those rights, not from how closely they followed a Holy Book.

I don't think [bin Laden is] anti-democracy/individual freedom.. I think he's more anti American munitions/involvement in the middle east.

Bin Laden's Wahabbism is entirely anti-democracy/individual freedom. I find it odd that you could claim otherwise.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:58 AM on November 2, 2004


Kinda funny how OBL talks about freedom and you almost forget that his idea of freedom is the freakin Taliban.

Also, did anyone notice he said 15,000 Iraqis had died? I thought a figure came out last week that said 100,000.
posted by b_thinky at 12:15 PM on November 2, 2004


Trust me, I've met more than my fair share of "wahabbis". Tiresome bunch.. Prone throwing around quotes without context and shouting lots :(

That article needs a spell checker and there are a few minor mistakes.. But I agree that the regime in Saud is something that needs to be changed - however, it has always had Western support. Why?

It's Islam without a soul.. Without that authoritarianism creeps on in.

The point I was trying to make is that he does not engage in these actions due to disapproval of democracy/individual freedom as Bush et al have indicate (the reason he does this.. is because he hates our freedom.. like Agent Smith hating humans in the Matrix..).

I honestly don't believe he hates Americans for who they are. He hates the government more than anything and does a better job of not conflating the two than most people in the middle east.. Although, of course, this is where most of the recruitment comes from - the foreign policy of the government of the US are directly decided by the view of the American people of course.

Why?

Because it's a democracy and the people who have stopped it otherwise.

Therefore the American people are to blame too.

That's an example of the type of thinking that can occur in these areas..

Point taken about the caliphs, although I would say that they did not at any time have absolute power.. Also, I do not personally believe that democracy is an ideal system - I don't think anyone believes that absolute democracy is (hence representative democracy). Hence I do not take that as something that is "better" necessarily. The overall freedom of expression and individual rights to be free from persecution/individual security were greater overall there imo.

Time to go watch the circus of the democratic process at work (I kid.. why don't we get the Daily Show in the UK? Huh?).
posted by Mossy at 12:22 PM on November 2, 2004


Trust me, I've met more than my fair share of "wahabbis". Tiresome bunch.. Prone throwing around quotes without context and shouting lots :(

Thanks, but I think I'll look to Wahhabism's own proponents and the writings of Ibn Abdul Wahhab himself for a definition of Wahhabism, all of which indicate a strict, exclusivist interpretation of Islam, which bin Laden adheres to.

But I agree that the regime in Saud is something that needs to be changed - however, it has always had Western support. Why?

Because it has facilitated Western access to oil in exchange for Western political support. It's also worth noting that the House of Saud first came to power in 1744 because it agreed to cooperate with and endorse Wahhab's interpretation of Islam.

It's Islam without a soul.. Without that authoritarianism creeps on in.

I don't quite know what you mean by that. Authoritarianism always creeps in when political power is wedded to religious power.

Also, I do not personally believe that democracy is an ideal system - I don't think anyone believes that absolute democracy is (hence representative democracy).

Agreed, the constraint of democracy, to protect the rights of minorites, for instance, is equally important in liberal governance. As for an ideal system, I'd agree with Churchill that "democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."

Hence I do not take that as something that is "better" necessarily. The overall freedom of expression and individual rights to be free from persecution/individual security were greater overall there imo.

I do think democracy (in the sense of self-government) is better than it's alternatives, if only because history pretty clearly shows that that is the most efficient (or least worst, if you prefer) system for the protection of individual liberty. And again, while I recognize the freedoms that existed under the caliphs, freedoms which can be taken away on a whim, without any sort of due process, aren't worth very much.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:31 PM on November 2, 2004


If Bush is so damned good at fighting terrorism then how come he's creating them by the boatload in Iraq and why are the reported incidents of terrorism up dramatically in the world since he took office?
posted by nofundy at 1:32 PM on November 2, 2004


I don't disagree with the fact that Bin Laden has that exclusivist view of Islam.. Just that that's his primary motivator in his actions..

I would also dispute that personal liberties/freedoms could be impunged on upon a whim within the khalifate system.. Precisely because of the presence of the broader religious classifications and rights ensured therein. Due process was certainly extant overall - for example, some of the rulings which raise most ire in the west, eg stoning for adultery, only occured 14 times in the 1400 years or so, most of which were due to the individual wishing to be stoned (was the case of ma'iz bin malik going to the Prophet (pbuh)). Strict legal systems were in place to rectify transgressions of civil rights towards this end with appelate courts etc..

Democracy throws up it's own problems as we've seen - there is, quite simply, no way of telling that it is the best of bad systems. What is the absolute of personal freedom?

How can there be one?

Which democracy has preserved these?

Clearly authoritarianism can exist without religion being present.. But perhaps it occurs whenever an ideology is incumbent on a populace? Some would argue that it creates it's own religion.. After all, what's so special about the Constitution?
posted by Mossy at 1:55 PM on November 2, 2004


The innovation of the European Enlightenment was the notion that human beings had intrinsic values and rights

I take a more cynical view of the Enlightment ideology vs practice. I think a lot of the "progress" in defining "universal" human rights (which turned out to be a lot less universal in practice) during the Enlightenment was motivated by the economic substructure. The increasingly voracious appetitite for permanent enslaved labour led to an encroaching industrialisation of the denial of human rights for specified segments of humanity under the control of the European powers.

Slavery, which began the millenium in both Europe and the Middle East as a social state more akin to indentured labour, acquired within Europe and European colonial possessions an increasingly permanent aspect. The progressive intensification of slavery and the definition of slaves and their offspring as permanently property with no prospect of manumission did not exist to the same degree within the Middle East.

As the "Enlightenment" progressed, the public discourse of human rights was increasingly a bipolar dialogue between the ideology of absolute slavery and absolute "freedom". Within pre-modern societies it's easy to elide over the presence of absence of human rights because everyone is basically in the same boat and rights, such as they are, are guaranteed by social compact. But if your society becomes increasingly stratified and slavery codified, then stark differences between social classes are produced and reproduced by the culture, mainly through a process of relational construction.

Basically, people (subconsciously) looked at the increasingly miserable state of the slaves and said "Why of course all of *us* have inalienable rights!". It was a defensive reaction, a pre-emptive declaration against the possibility of indenture!

We're probably lucky that the industrial revolution came along and provided ready sources of non-human-derived energy. I think it's no coincidence that the first major European Power to abolish slavery was the British Empire, which was also the most rapidly industrialising. The Empire didn't *need* so many slaves any more, and of course aggressively curtailing the use of slaves by other nations (as the Royal Navy did for a couple of generations) decreased competiting nations' productivity and sources of energy capital.
posted by meehawl at 2:53 PM on November 2, 2004


There has got to be something wrong with the picture when i find myself agreeing with a voilent fundamentalist leader from the middle east and shaking my head at our county's leader..

I have got to agree with his destroying bush's argument of "they hate our freedom" by asking then why didnt al-queda attack Sweden (or england or australia or india: the world's largest democracy)

He references "bleeding" the soviet regime for 10 years and i have no doubt he could effectively do the same to the US if we stay. These people were solidifying empires and hoarding knowledge thousands of years before America was discovered by white men.

While I do not agree with his methods, bin laden is intelligent, well spoken, and well organized.
posted by sophist at 3:39 PM on November 2, 2004


As of this writing, AttackSweden.com is still available.
I'm just sayin'.
posted by me3dia at 8:53 PM on November 2, 2004




« Older steady broadcast   |   Weed for Congress Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post