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Galloping Zebras

Years ago, I read a book (I think it was a Jonathan Kellerman novel) where a doctor was blaming himself for not recognizing a very rare ailment. He was told "you heard galloping hooves, and you thought 'horses.' You had no reason to think of zebras."

Certain notions, certain trends, certain patterns emerge. Linkages form. And they lead people to form very natural, often accurate conclusions.

But every now and then, the zebras show up.

In Indonesia, there was a disturbance recently. A large group of people rioted in protest against their government. It was a religious riot, sparked by their belief that members of their faith had been treated poorly by the government. And Indonesia is a very large Muslim nation.

In Indonesia, there was a disturbance recently. A large group of people rioted in protest against their government. It was a religious riot, sparked by their belief that members of their faith had been treated poorly by the government. And Indonesia is a very large Muslim nation.

But the rioters weren't Muslims, they were Christians.

Recently, three Roman Catholic Indonesians were tried and executed for "instigating attacks against Muslims." In response, some of the Christians followed the lead of Muslims all around the world and took to the streets.

It should be noted that, according to the CIA World Factbook, Indonesia is 88% Muslim, 5% Protestant, and only 3% Catholic.

I think this is an aberration, not a harbinger. But I could be wrong. The Muslims have been sowing the wind with their demanding "respect" with threats of force, and actual force. This could be a sign that they are beginning to reap the whirlwind.

Comments (12)

“Looks like I forgot ... (Below threshold)

“Looks like I forgot to copy the hyperlink”

There's a significant Hindu... (Below threshold)

There's a significant Hindu population, too, in Bali notably. The Bali bombs a while back were unsubtly aimed not only at tourists, but at those Hindus.

Glenn Reynolds has been mak... (Below threshold)

Glenn Reynolds has been making this argument for a while.

You get more of what you reinforce. If violence can prevent the media from criticizing violence in Islam, there is a lesson there for others.

The wrong lesson.

I think Christianity has quality built in resistance to violence at this time, but I would prefer not the undermine it.

This kind of simplistic and... (Below threshold)

This kind of simplistic and shallow thinking is further proof that you are utterly unqualified for the empire you believe you are impelled by history to create (a disturbingly fascistic notion).

For one thing, were you not paying attention in 1998 and 1999 when atrocities were being committed all over Indonesia by and against almost every ethnic and religious group? Christians and animists played their fair share of hacking their enemies to death. They didn't do so entirely without reason - in the areas and regions of where this took place, they had been persecuted and exploited throughout the US and Australian backed dictatorship of Suharto. Once Suharto was finally overthrown, all hell broke loose.

But the fact that you believe this is a religious issue shows you have not got the slightest idea of what is going on outside your comfortable little world, or how things came to be this way. Have you ever set foot outside the United States?

The low-intensity war that was fought in Northern Ireland was not a religious war. When Protestant murdered Catholic and Catholic murdered Protestant, the cause wasn't religious. The Protestants were the descendents of the British colonialists who had stolen the land and continued to discriminate against the indigenous people; the Catholics were the descendents of the colonized who wanted total independence. Religious bigotry may have stoked the flames and been used to the advantage of demagogues - it usually is - but it was not the underlying cause. (N.B.This, too, is an over-simplification of a complex issue.)

A world away in Indonesia, much the same took place. But it was - and is - almost infinitely more complex. Just try Googling "Indonesia languages" or "Indonesia islands" or "Indonesia ethnic groups" to get an inkling of that greater complexity. This was an artificially created nation built from a Dutch empire, with a dash of Portuguese and Spanish imperialism thrown in, governing an enormous and extraordinarily diverse population.

That you honestly believe you can reduce such a complicated situation to such kindergarten-level simplicity shows how little you understand of the real world. And when ignorant people believe themselves to be knowledgeable and start trying to impose their views of reality on others through military and economic force, the results can only be catastrophic.

This of course will be welcomed by all the end-timers who fervently believe that the sooner Armageddon takes place the better, since that will bring about the second coming of the Lord.

Jay Tea...It seems to me, r... (Below threshold)
Zsa Zsa:

Jay Tea...It seems to me, radical Islam demands and commands their way aroundthe globe. Disguised as Jihadists they are able to get away with murder and destruction of property. Far be it for a christian or anyone else to badmouth Mohammed or a Muslim.

1.2 B Muslims don't all act... (Below threshold)

1.2 B Muslims don't all act the same way. No matter how much you want to put them all in the same box, it won't fit.

Ismailis in India's Gujarat or Ahmadiyias in Pakistan or Sufis have nothing in common with Wahabbis in Saudi Arabia. To conflate hundreds of races and linguistic and ethnic groups into one soundbite does absolutely nothing to further the argument.

Cat makes some very good po... (Below threshold)

Cat makes some very good points although the snide opening comments and gratuitious Suharto backing comment diminish some otherwise cogent arguments.

The overthough of Suharto lead to widespread Musilm political domination of other minorities and former power brokers- especially the Chinese with business interests. While neigboring Malaysia has come to equalibrium with regards to politics money and race after their independence after colonial days, Indonesian Muslims decided not to share and drove the Chinese out.

The Muslim led uprising of the last few years have been against outside interests (ie oil companies) Any uprisings against the governent itself have been against the central govt typically over money sent to Jakarta and the lack of benefits recieved (again- mostly oil money) Yes- I know this is simplifed and does not account for East Timor and other similar independence minded provences.

I do believe Jay does get the argument wrong though- on the plains of Africa expect zebras not horses.

Now if they ever seriously prosecuted any of the AQ linked groups and/or their leaders, then you could expect widespread Muslim protests against the goverment. I won't be holding my breath.

IF, Jay Tea got anything wr... (Below threshold)
Zsa Zsa:

IF, Jay Tea got anything wrong? Maybe those galloping Zebra hooves were more like El Diablo hooves?

Avgourmet - you may think m... (Below threshold)

Avgourmet - you may think my opening comments were snide, but taking this and other similar pieces in the context of the White Man's Burden series, I disagree. As for "gratuitous" mention of who backed Suharto's coup d'etat and subsequent dictatorship, that's a ridiculous argument.The extraordinary levels of violence that broke out after the dictatorship ended did not explode simply because of post-Suharto excesses. They had been simmering throughout the decades of his oppressive rule. You refer to the ethnic Chinese who were driven out after Suharto was overthrown. They were subjected to appalling attacks, including the systematic use of gang rape. But even these horrendous events pale in comparison to the mass murder of Chinese and all other real and imagined opponents of Suharto when he lauched his coup - with, I repeat, the full backing of the United States. To remove US involvement from the situation is to distort history. I also included Australia - but others were involved too. After the slaughter of up to a million people, the corporations moved in to carve out their share of mineral and timber wealth - the new empire, ruled by proxy. Much of the anger we see in the world today has arisen from precisely this kind of action. I think it was the CIA that first named it "blowback".

Everybody be sure and get d... (Below threshold)

Everybody be sure and get down on all 4's and bough down when "kitty" posts as he has got to be a "scholar".

The med school aphorism is,... (Below threshold)

The med school aphorism is, "when you hear hoofbeats, think of horses," and all doctors still follow that dictum. Another way to say it is, "common things are common."

On the other hand, always remember that zebras are not unicorns. They do exist.

CatReread your fir... (Below threshold)


Reread your first post and your reply to mine. Still snide and not relevant to the current story and basis of the original post.

I believe the hacking battles from a few years ago was territorial in nature when some group(s) tried to take over an island or area with more resources after running there old land into the ground. I remember it being a territorial fight and religion was only one group identifier and not part of the root conflict. (sorry- no time to research the particulars otherwise I would have)

Alot of the far past you quote is probably true (again no time to research the particulars) Without research, I will even conceed at least the tacit backing by inaction as there are plenty of examples of that as well as true active support. However, I draw the line at the implied message that we brought it on ourselves. The US is a target for many reasons and most don't have anything to do with what or who we backed 40 years ago. I don't recall the post Suharto anger as ever being directed at the US- my recolection was that it was all cronyism and economics. It is more of a distortion of history to inject past US sins if those actions are not relevant to the discussion. Extend that argument to absurdity and you can claim that the US is always wrong- after all just look how we treated the Indians. (or pick your own favorite historical mistreatment or royal screw up)
And for the record, I deliberatly ignored the comment about Armageddeon at the end of your original post for exactly the same reason. It may be true that "end-timers" are crossing their fingers but is not relevant except to inflame or smear as used in the context of Jay's post or this discussion thread






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