"We live in a strange world." A good friend of mine is lately oft fond of saying. Darned right we do! Suppose with me though, that what we really are experiencing these days is the aftermath of all the ideas of all the people who ever lived before us. Some of their ideas were good and progressive and some proved astonishingly successful.
Others, well...meh...not so much, right?
On the one hand, we have inventions in medical care which are absolutely astounding. We have very nearly perfected human transportation to the point where, if finances permit, you or I can have breakfast tomorrow morning virtually anywhere on the planet we might choose. I don't have to bore you with the list of human accomplishments such as the internet, modern feats of engineering verging on the absurd, etc and so on.
But then, there is this other bit. You know, the one that stands in opposition to the happy accomplishments of this creature we call human. The sort of fellow who can't seem to stand seeing someone with a smile on their face. Happy smiles and laughter trouble them to no end. The ones who bring us financial oppression, injustice, deceit, wars and mayhem and all that other rot. Makes you really wonder what the planet would be like without their help, doesn't it?
Maybe someday we'll find out but for now, we've got to live with the senseless violence and live with it we do, at least those who survive the latest assault or market bombing.
Which brings us to the title of this piece, the "extremists".
Almost daily now, a new story appears of an extremist carrying out some new and unimagined new form of horrific violence against another group or individual. And always, if there is a religious element involved, it has been done by a radicalized individual or an extremist. Now, to me, the word extreme sort of means unusual, way over there, not quite with the program. But in fact, as the decades roll on by and the carnage continues and the bodies pile up, its become a little more than obvious that the world or at least an element of it, is loaded to the pins with extremists. Now how exactly, is this possible? Can you have an entire group with the same basic belief system, operating from the same religious guidebook, and call them all and every one extremists? What? Are they all radicalized? Well, clearly, a large number of them are. Large enough to justify the questioning of the terms "radicalized and extremist", wouldn't you say?
And in their corner, always ready to defend, stands the president of the United States, quick to remind the world of the horrors of the Inquisition and the Crusades, atrocities carried out in the name of Christ. He almost seems to be justifying himself with this breakfast speech of his. It has all the tones of the brother explaining to his Dad that "he hit me back first".
Why this quick jump to the defense of Islam? Well, simply because it is so near to his own heart. Muslim-raised Barrack is as muslim as they come. He portrays himself as christian but if ever he tipped his hand as to where his sympathies lie, it is here at this breakfast meeting.
What an opportunity to decry the burning to death of the jordanian pilot, locked in a metal cage like a helpless animal! Instead, we choose to grope backwards hundreds of years to another time and place where someone else did violence to others in the name of christianity.
Well, you be the judge of all this. My own conclusions are these: You can't have a billion people believing the same thing and call them all extremists, and the president of the United States has obviously got nothing but deepest sympathies for the cause of Islam.