Friday, March 07, 2008

of seminaries, yeshivas, and madrassas

So just to get it out of the way, a massacre of students in a school is a pretty awful thing, even if that school was a training ground for the racist ultra-zionist Israeli settler movement. It's despressing to think that the soul-deadening mathematical response is necessary, but I point out that Israel just killed a hundred people in Gaza, certainly no less an awful thing, the disgusting display of official Israeli "regret" at civilian casualty notwithstanding. (I always learned that regretting something meant you intended not to do it again. The Israeli "regret" is complete and utter racist bullshit.)

All of that said I find it fascinating that the attack on the school was immediately reported as an attack on a seminary. One could argue that seminary is a fair translation for yeshiva. But then isn't it a fair translation for madrassa as well?

A seminary is full of earnest young spiritual seekers, learning the details of faith so that they might commit their lives to prayer and betterment of mankind. A yeshiva is a walled-off temple of mystery, where weirdly-dressed quaint, if somewhat distasteful strangers go to engage in weird mumbling, seeking ancient knowledge to preserve their alien presence in the world of normal people. A madrassa is a nest of terrorist vipers, where they keep their machine guns and scimitars (the ones for cutting off human heads), where crazed and delusional fanatics rouse themselves into an anti-human frenzy before going off and murdering innocents.

The problem here is that seminaries, yeshivas, and madrassas are all the same thing, just as all blood is red. It's really the problem, isn't it, with discussions of the middle east, that the mathematics of this tragedy and its translation are in the hands of manipulators, liars, and killers, and the ones who love them.

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