Monday, October 23, 2006

George's Window

George's Window
Through my window today . . .
Maclean's October 23, 2006 edition. The front page photo features a great deal of black body covering with backs to the camera and a little girl facing the camera with face uncovered. she looks defiant, unchildlike in all but stature.
The photo points us to the lead story by Mark Steyn: Why the future belongs to Islam. "The Muslim world has youth, numbers and global ambition. The West is old, barren and exhausted." Read the article. It's long, but the summary above probably says it all anyway. As is the tendency with Western conservatism, Steyn takes the demographics of birth rate and paints a picture of the Muslims generally outnumbering "us" rapidly world-wide and thereby devouring "us." It's the rhetoric of fear again, the tool on which the Bush administration has chosen to stand or fall. Conservatives tend to talk about the world in them/us terms, to see issues as simple, two-sided propositions. After reading Steyne uncritically, one could easily come away with the same feeling that one gets reading about the impending, global viral or bacterial pandemic that is bound to hit us sooner or later. Some media live and die on that kind of material; responsible media see the difference between conservative fear-mongering and news. Macleans seems to be losing its ability to make this distinction.
Read the article for yourself, but don't forget that:
1) The "WEST" is not one homogeneous place; the Muslim world isn't either,
2) The world does not pivot around ideologies as Steyn suggests, it's driving mechanism is economics, and Muslims and others work well together when engaged cooperatively in the tasks of daily survival,
3) Economic justice or the lack of it is at the heart of Middle Eastern conflict; the US erroneously and feloniously protrays "freedom" as the democratic centrepiece,
4) Birth rates are tied to affluence; the fact that Arab countries have exploding populations as compared to Europe should be considered in that light.
Macleans has adopted a "new look" over the past year or two. I don't mind an altered appearance. It's the journalistic sloppiness that's exhibited in articles like Steyn's that got my goat when I looked out my window last night.

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