The Concoction

An Ethiopian woman's musings on Africa, the world and everything in between

Groove section
Currently praising...
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
      Similar artists
      • African Music Encyclopedia
      • NPR's World Music feed
      • Supporting

      • Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
      • Books
        This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Fikirte's travels. Make your own badge here.
        Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
        Saturday, February 18, 2006
        Do we just grow up or do we also develop?
        These days I am wondering about human development (behavioral development, that is) when I read about the cartoon clash that is going on. I spend quite a lot of time and energy arbitrating children’s fights. There are endless reasons for the fights; she pushed me hard, but she was mean to me first, she wouldn’t share, she always tells me what to do… However, I am learning that the real causes are to do with being accepted, respected and finding one’s place – being an equal partner. I do not have a scientific proof for this claim because I am not qualified, but I am sure every parent out there would agree with me.

        Fast forward children’s bickering to grown up issues, and the core reasons remain pretty the same. People who are facing marital problems, for example, complain about being disrespected, misunderstood and not having equal say in the relationship. Magnify that to societal issues, and still the same reasons prevail for clashes and even wars. Take the current West-Islam clash caused by the Muhammad cartoons. It has nothing to do with free speech although most articles dwell just on that argument including The Economist (February 11-17, 2006 issue). Of course, the cartoons were printed and re-printed because the countries in which they were published have laws protecting free speech (and the editors huge lack of common-sense). Still, there are certain restrictions to the free speech law against defamation, blasphemy, denying the Holocaust… The cartoons were legal in all the countries that they were published. So, I wonder, isn’t the clash caused by the flaw in the free speech laws? How come “defamation” does not include Islam? Isn’t the clash also due to deeper issues between the West and the Muslim world? Aamer Ahmed Khan’s article comes closer to shrinking both sides arguing that the cartoon clash is just a symptom of much larger issues. These issues include (he used more fancy words) being the underdog, a minority, dominated, disrespected… In couples’ terms, being micro-managed, on a short-leash, a door mat, unappreciated… In kids’ terms, being mean, rude, a liar, a bully …

        This is why I really think that our behaviors barely change, but our issues become much bigger and more complicated. One solution for the societal problems would be to have shrinks and sociologists working as special advisors on foreign policies. Or teach psychology starting in elementary schools and make Dr. Phil redundant in the process. What would resolve the West-Islam clash is some serious shrink intervention to sit them down face to face and make them see that it is OK to be different as long as they respect each other and that they can communicate without nasty cartoons and tempter tantrum such as torching buildings. And, no killing please.

        Death toll to date (to my knowledge)
        Nigeria - 16
        Afghanistan - 12
        Libya - 10
        Pakistan - 2
        Somalia - 1
        posted by Fikirte @ 9:34 AM   Digg!
        • name<="c114045197794431265" id="c114045197794431265">

          At 11:12 AM, Anonymous Jan Nederveen Pieterse said…

          Rightwing forces in the West are trying to build and use this issue; Denmark with its rightwing government is a telling source. Eventually good sense will prevail and such cartoons will be viewed like painting Swastikas, of
          which no one claims it's a matter of free speech.

        • name<="c114054550968563799" id="c114054550968563799">

          At 1:11 PM, Blogger zinzi said…

          Please send this to the Washington Post Editor. It is necessary sometimes, for someone to hold the mirror up for us to see ourselves. Thanks for holding up the mirror and turning on the light.

        Post a Comment
        << Home
        The face of VAW

        Kamilat - victim of acid burning The face of VAW - violence against women. It should and can be stopped with enough commitment. Helping one woman at a time is a start.
        Go to the blog
      • VAW - Do something!
      • Also blogging at
        Feeds, links and such
        Previously on The Concoction...
        News on Africa
        Blogs on Africa
        On development
        Western development agencies
        Template by

        Free Blogger Templates