Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sophisticated propaganda

I do love me some sophisticated propoganda especially when it's in the form of a chain letter that of course at the end of it advises you to 'ensure you send it on to everyone you know to stop this menace'

The letter below was sent to me through an email mailing. I've not checked on it authenticity through snopes.com and in truth I could care less on whether or not the author actually has a PH.D or not, as it's ultimately irrelevant to the content of the letter anyway. I'll let you read the note first then offer my own thoughts on it.

I'll also add a comment, the first passage is 3 degrees of separation from me, I've included it here as the two people on the email list prior to me that I know included it, and I know neither is named Ed, but since they thought enough to include the commentary, I'll do the same.

This is by far the best explanation of the Muslim terrorist situation I have read. His references to past history are accurate and clear. Not long, easy to understand, and well worth the read. The author of this email is Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a well-known and well-respected psychiatrist. - Ed

A German's View on Islam

A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. 'Very few people were true Nazis,' he said, 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.'

We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that Islam is the religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectra of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.

The hard, quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silent majority,' is cowed and extraneous.

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a war mongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet.

And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving'?

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:

Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany , they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, [and Israelis], Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts--the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on! Let us hope that thousands, world wide, read this and think about it, and send it on - before it's too late.

Emanuel Tanay, M.D.

The article included the professor's name, address, and phone number, I've removed the address information, as I don't think it's relevant and regardless of whether the person is the correct auther, I can't imagine they want their information published further on the web, although it's already moving fairly well through chain mail.


So there we have it, at the very least it's a well written piece, on it's surface it's just a story from someone who lived within a bad time and with a bad regime that came to power.

So here is the letter again with my thoughts in bold in the areas I find interesting.

This is by far the best explanation of the Muslim terrorist situation (sort of a general statement here by the commentator, this does a good job of associating all terrorists with Islam though and sets the stage. I do remember IRA bombings, Georgian Nationals taking over a Russian school and theater, and the Oklahoma city bombings. Terrorist attacks aren't exclusive to Islamic followers. While Americans remember so vividly the September 11th attacks, I can assure you that Russians are just as sensitive to Georgian rebels as Americans are to Muslims. I have read. His references to past history are accurate and clear (Accurate? Perhaps, there aren't a lot of false statements, more along the line of clever associations). Not long, easy to understand, and well worth the read. The author of this email is Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a well-known and well-respected psychiatrist - Ed (Psychiatry is essentially irrelevant for this argument or for credentials, if this was a foot doctor would it matter? I could possibly give someone who is well respected in another field more credit here, but I find little assurances from a Psychiatrist talking about social issues as they relate to society.

A German's View on Islam

A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II, owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. 'Very few people were true Nazis,' he said, 'but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.' (interesting story, although you'll note it's not the author's experience, but rather the experience of someone who lived in Nazi Germany. While I can sympathize with this person's story, there are some differences between Islam and Naziism that I think are worth pointing out. Namely, that Islam exists in a fair number of countries already intertwined with the current population and the Nazis were a political party in Germany that took control.

We are told again and again by 'experts' and 'talking heads' that Islam is the religion of peace and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectra of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. (Interesting passage, tug at the heart strings in the first paragraph and work up your fear, and then line it up talking about the fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. As I pointed out in the first commentary, I'm relatively sure there are a number of 'fanatics' anywhere you look. IRA, Pro-Life groups, U.S Militia, Mormon cults (I'll use the Lundgren Mormon cult as an example), Georgian rebels, Crazed eco-terrorists invading Discovery Channel offices. The list can go on and on, but I think I've made my point, there will always be someone with an ax to grind. These groups are just as wrong as the Muslim extremists. The difference though is we don't talk label all white males in rural Alabama that are pro-life as extremists and advise that since they won't police their own they are the enemy.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history.
It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill. I can't remember the last time I saw the leader of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, or a host of other nations, bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. Oh wait it's not the leaders of Islam at the moment, it's the Imams (Mosque Leaders) who are the fanatics, how dumb of me, because there aren't mosques all over this country and others that exist in peace. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers. To close out my commentary on this paragraph, remember there is no fact stated in this entire paragraph, just a fair amount of rhetoric intent on breeding fear.

The hard, quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the 'silent majority,' is cowed and extraneous. Another assumption, and as my father has always taught me, assumptions make an ass.....

Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China's huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. Let's assume for a moment these numbers are true. Can we add in the colonization of America's effect on the Native Americans genocide? How about the transporting of slaves from Africa? Care to add any numbers for how many the Roman empire killed in the name of Christianity? Or for other Christian slaughters? If I was going to write something that was intended to provoke and convince, China and Russia make great references to start out with. Russia as a former Cold War enemy and China as the new fearful economic enemy. Bravo.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a war mongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. This is another example of 'rough facts' I particularly like how they start the paragraph, with a reference to the average Japanese person. A country that now-a-days is considered fairly peaceful and non-threatening, but before we get to the end of the first paragraph the author quickly reminds you that they became war mongering sadists. Hmmm, if I didn't know better I might make the assumption that those 'peace loving Muslims' that all the talking heads and experts tell me about, might do the same.

And who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were 'peace loving'? Seeing a pattern yet? While the issues of Rwanda are sad, let's not forget we are talking about a nation here, not individual people. And while Rwanda may have delved into collapse, and there are strong criminal, corrupt, murderous groups vying for control, to say that there still aren't peaceful Rwandans would be an unproven assumption. The issues affecting Rwanda are about as different as you can get to a religion practiced by citizens of your own country and other countries. It's apples and oranges and has no business in the letter.

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason, we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:

Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't speak up, because like my friend from Germany , they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Oh crap, we have not affected change on invading Iraq, or when our militias blow up our federal buildings, and Ireland turned into cesspool, whatever shall we do?

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, [and Israelis], Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. And the author is aware how that peaceful Muslims are not speaking up? Do a little research, there are plenty of peaceful Muslims speaking up. Let's point something else out though, all of the people listed here are nations and the circumstances involving those nations all were different. This general kind of fear inducing statement is 'garbage'.

As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts--the fanatics who threaten our way of life. Ahh, now we are getting somewhere, let's get them, but wait we don't know what ones are fanatical, they all look the same, so we have to stop them all.

Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on! Let us hope that thousands, world wide, read this and think about it, and send it on - before it's too late. Let's hope the thousands that think about it, do so with some reason and understanding of what propoganda is, because this letter is garbage and is meant to cause fear and misunderstanding through mis-direction.

Emanuel Tanay, M.D.

My final thoughts: This post isn't about Muslim rights, I'm not trying to convince those that hold prejudice to change, ultimately, you'll need to decide that on your own. The point of breaking this down though is I want people to think about what they are being told and make your own decisions from it. While I would disagree with you if you harbored a prejudice toward a certain group or wanted to deny a group their right to build a place of worship in a place they've paid for, I'll at least respect you if you come to the decision on your own. Letters like these and the current crop of radio and tv shows on both sides of the fence are intended to do one thing, cause you to fear things and advance their agenda (which in truth is usually just their wallets, but that's for another time).

So next time you get a note like this, read it, think about it, maybe even send a note back to the person that sent it to you with your thoughts, but if you just pass it on you are just perpetuating sophisticated propoganda.

6 comments:

unaha-closp said...

"Ahh, now we are getting somewhere, let's get them, but wait we don't know what ones are fanatical, they all look the same, so we have to stop them all."

No, the piece identifies the fanatics in the third paragraph:

"...the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history"

Regimes of Libya, Saudi and Iran are repressive, controlling and quite exploitative of their populations. And the leaders do claim to be operating the purist forms of devout Islam, devoting large expenditures to back up this claim (including sponsoring religious out-reach).

You dismiss this identifying assertion as non-factual, because you can't remember the last time you saw the leaders of Iran, Saudi Arabia or Libya strangle a puppy, steal a child's icecream or kick over a sand-castle (or similar).

Michael said...

Choosing to run their country by strict codes does not automatically make for one being fanatical. I know that's hard for many to believe.

You say I dismiss this identifying assertion as non-factual, which is true, but you and the author of the email used nothing more then broad strokes of hyperbole and called them fact.

unaha-closp said...

Saudi Arabia has a religious police force and makes determination who is sufficiently Islamic to be allowed to undertake the Haj. Iran's leader calls himself the supreme leader of Islam and runs a para-military force sworn to project Islamic revolution. They're portraying themselves as fanatically Islamic and ruling as if they are fanatical.

"Choosing to run their country by strict codes does not automatically make for one being fanatical. I know that's hard for many to believe."

You have concluded that there is no discernable difference between a peaceful group of Muslims who get together to worship Allah and a repressive government that forces compliance with a state system they term Islamic. I think I can discern a difference between the two groups and classify one of them as fanatical.

"You say I dismiss this identifying assertion as non-factual, which is true, but you and the author of the email used nothing more then broad strokes of hyperbole and called them fact."

I believe this to be a factual statement: "Libya, Saudi and Iran are repressive, controlling and quite exploitative of their populations."

Michael said...

In reference to the original letter that was sent out and comparison to Nazi's who came into power, I'm fairly sure that the Saudi Arabian leaders and the Iranian leaders have been in power for a fairly long period of time. Considering within a year or two after the Nazis came into power they were marching on Poland, I still consider the comparison invalid. Let's also be clear, if the original author wanted to accuse nations, they had more then enough information to do so. The intent of the letter was to breed mistrust and fear in nations that are not Muslim lead and where peaceful Muslims exist and live.

I'm unaware of the issues that New Zealand maybe experiencing, but two of the big issues here, currently were a planned Quoran burning by a Christian evangelist that was cancelled at the last minute, and issues over the rights of Muslims to legally build a Mosque on the September 11th ground zero site. This goes along with regular rhetoric such as this that insinuates all Muslims are essentially fanatics in hiding.

I can certainly understand your points about Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other Muslim countries, but to engage further we'd also have to bring in the arguments about 'Western' nations influence and interference in those countries affairs as well. I certainly would support any that felt that the rule in those countries was unfair and stood up for themselves, but that's for those citizens to decide, just as other countries have throughout time when they've deemed their leadership inadequate, unfair, or unjust.

unaha-closp said...

"This goes along with regular rhetoric such as this that insinuates all Muslims are essentially fanatics in hiding.

I acknowledge there is a lot of propoganda saying that all Muslims are fanatics in hiding, but this really isn't the same cloth.

The piece concludes:

"As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts--the fanatics who threaten our way of life."

This requires specifically focusing on a difference between Muslims as a whole and the fanatics.

PS. - New Zealand is not a cauldron of inter-religious tension, hope Ohio isn't either. On the other Island there was an earthquake, but I'm pretty sure no muslims caused that. Otherwise just looking forward to summer days.

Michael said...

The U.S seems to have its moments overall where it gets a little hairy religiously, while we are technically a non-denominational country, there is a very vocal side of Christianity that would prefer that many policies be set from a Christian standpoint.

I understand this piece isn't blatant in saying that all Muslims are fanatics, but I think there are some similarities between the note and what many of our political talk show hosts use to try and influence opinion. It's not as bad though and I may very well be over reading it. Perhaps it's just a sensitivity to that type of message that seems to be broadcast everywhere lately between some of our news stations and talking heads.

Excellent discussion though and have enjoyed the comments.