Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Logic of History and Power

We all have perspectives on the world. Our vantage points-- determined by our social, communal, ethnic, and religious affiliations--influence our views and our perspectives. Our perspectives can be a source of enrichment or devastation. When we respect individuality and recognize each other, our varying vantage points make us see things better, and arrive at better answers and solutions. But when we see our differences as a threat, and insist to impose our views by force, distortion, or deception we all end up being losers.

America today faces another critical test as Islam and American Muslims are subjected to repeated episodes of discrimination, demonization, racism, and bigotry. Blacks, Irish, Italians, German, Japanese, East Europeans, Jews, and Catholics had all to go through this ordeal. Now it is the turn of American Muslims.

One would expect that people would learn from history, and realize that racism, bigotry, guilt by association, collective punishment, and profiling are both wrong and counterproductive, and that those who choose these means to win often end up being the losers. But, alas, it is the logic of power and arrogance, rather than the logic of history and rightness, that too often has more grip on human beings.

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