The world has taken on a very surreal glow lately. A glow of savage flames consuming flags and Embassies, and a glow of hatred and uncompromising frenzy. And though most of this is happening halfway across the world… it is right at the same time very close to heart. It is the flag of my country going up in flames… and the Embassies of Scandinavian countries, my own included as the primary target. The people who are now fleeing for their lives and safety away from these areas are my country men… people who only weeks ago were well-liked and respected, appreciated even in the communities they worked for and lived within.
And that is what troubles me the most. The human cost. Not just for “my own” but for everyone involved. I am as patriotic as the next person. I love my country and what it stands for, and the freedoms its democracy protects and demands. I am proud of my country and of being Danish. And though it offends me the burning of flags and Embassies do not shake me half as much as the notion of the blind rage that must lie behind such actions.
It is as if there is no sense of reality or responsibility in the people doing these things. They attacked and torched at least three if not four Embassies – unlucky Chile who resided in the same building – and validated it by referring to rumours of vandalism and desecration against the holy Koran. Untrue rumours, I might add. Questionable rumous even, which never came anywhere close to actually coming true. What possible benefit to ANYONE’s cause could any such actions have? What do they prove… apart from supporting the growing notion that the Islamic world does not deal with the world through realism but rather through fanaticism and extremism?
Diplomatic envoys from across the Arab world have expressed regret at the random violence… as well as satisfaction and acknowledgement of the steps taken by the Danish Government towards resolving this volatile situation, and are working closely to inform and convey to their own contries and Governments these facts. Imams too are advocating and encouraging people to cool down and start working contructively and politically together, instead of throwing hatred, savage violence and insults around.
Yet to some it seems the temptation is too great, and the frenzy too intoxicating to want to listen to reason, even from their own. They seem quite willing to further escalate and intensify the already serious situation … for what reason or cause I do not know. Because I do not believe anyone who cherishes his or her culture or religion would wish to see such devastation and ignorance exerted on others in the name of its values, its Deity or its sacred Icons.
And I am not just referring to the reactions in the Middle East. I am also referring to the people protesting in the streets here in my own country. To the people using cell phones to orchestrate counter-productive activism and nationalism. I am referring to people making statements to newspapers, suggestively challenging the values of the Danish mentality since both the 12 drawings and the existence of a political Nazi movement can occur in the same country. (I don’t support either, personally, but they are completely different issues and have nothing to do with each other in this case. And it is hardly beneficial nor productive to seek to escalate a conflict by expanding it into unrelated areas in such a way).
And I am also referring to the people here who react with growing Islamophobia in anger and frustration at seeing the good reputation and the international esteem of the country they love being tarnished and destroyed over something they can hardly grasp as anything but a joke. It isn’t intended disrespect, it is ignorance. On both sides. And the sooner we all realize and accept that, the better.
No one in their right mind and with any sense of responsibility for the political and diplomatic climate in the world today can work effectively to find a satisfactory solution for anyone, as long as extremists or their Governments are incapable of controlling the riots within their own ranks. It is just pure and simple sabotage with the intent to up-scale the problem and further the division between the Western culture and Islam.
We can’t all fight our own corners and expect to win. The question will be … when is the price of victory so high that it is in effect a defeat? … and haven’t we already come way too close to that point, as it is??