Fighting fire with marshmallows

This weekend my girlfriend and I enjoyed our usual romantic night in – a round or three of Guild Wars in the Tomb of Primeval Kings. She and I were chatting amongst ourselves, sitting side-by-side at her desk, mostly ignoring the inarticulate and perplexingly abbreviated banter of our group. A quick glance at the chat window revealed that they were talking about how choppy and laggy the service was that night, while one of them surmised the problem to be the addition of several new countries to the game. I didn’t pay close enough attention to their conversation to see the exact context, but while listing various countries and the reason why they may be the reason for all the lag, two of these people, in response to “Iraq”, said “suicide bombers”.

This really pissed me off. I called them racists and they defended their slander with “It’s just a joke. Dave Chapelle jokes like this all the time.” I asked them where they were from and they both said America. I proceeded to berate them with reasons why America was an intolerant country and how much better Canada was. I inflated my ego a bit and felt good about myself for giving these idiots the business, but I feel a little empty today. I fought fire with fire and now everything’s torched.

So I’ve been thinking about this situation a little bit and will now fulfill my resolution.

I challeneged racists with my own brand of stereotypical profiling which is basically the pot calling the hash narcotic. I chewed out these brainwashed children for being ignorant, all the while proving myself guilty of the same. My penance is to rectify this wrongdoing appropriately and evenly.

My post today is in response to 2 things – to these misguided American kids who have been bred to fear others, and to the alleged words of Osama bin Laden that the “west” is waging a war on Islam. I have dedicated a very short part of my day – maybe 8 minutes total – reading something nice about these dissimilar but, in this case, opposing sides – America and Islam. These tiny insights speak majestic volumes about the whole of these peoples, and I believe that if we all took the time to research as I have just once per month, we would find much in common with the things we fear.

A short tale from the Qu’ran:

1600 years ago before the widespread acceptance of Islam, the Arabian people were pagans and idol worshippers. When the prophet Muhammed, the embodiment of all that is good and merciful in Islamic principle, arrived in Arabia, more and more people became impressed and appreciative of his peaceful and polite demeanour and adopted his way of life. This angered the more devout idol worshippers because their deities lost power as they lost believers.

One such woman lived in a house that Mohammed passed each day on the way to to mosque. She hated him for wordlessly ridiculing her deepest beliefs and for infecting her people with his virus. Whenever he would pass beneath her bedroom window, each day without fail, she would throw her smelly refuse on him to shame and discredit him in his place of worship. Each time, Mohammed would look up at her but would not call our or frown. He remained peaceful and polite and would continue on his way, day after day.

One day, on his way to mosque, the woman did not throw refuse on Muhammed. He looked up at her window and did not see her standing there at all. He knocked on the woman’s door and a man answered. He asked where the woman was, and the man told Muhammed that she was sick in bed. Muhammed asked if he might visit the woman and the man agreed.

Recognizing Muhammed immediately, the woman frowned and prepared herself for his revenge now that she cold not defend herself. Muhammed knelt beside her and told her not to be afraid. He explained that he was the messenger of Allah who had instructed him to show no malice, and to defend and tend to the needs of the sick. The woman broke down and cried, admitting her embarassment and shame, and pledged to serve Allah and Islam for the rest of her life.

A short American tale:

Hurricaine Katrina caused massive damage and dozens of deaths in the southern United States. As horrible as the event was, the aftermath was equally as daunting for families suddenly finding themselves without homes, supplies, and jobs. Thousands of people were forced to live in overcrowded shelters with complete strangers, deprived of privacy, hygeine, and in the case of a Forrest County, Mississippi town, water.

Sherriff Bobby McGee, resident and peacekeeper in Forrest County, had been tirelessly fending for his populace for days on end. Upon hearing of the shortage of clean water, Sherriff McGee, following procedure, called the FEMA information line incessantly for 6 hours in an attempt to track down delayed resources that should already have arrived. Not content to leave babies without formula and lifesaving medications unrefridgerated, McGee decided to forgo FEMA procedures and pay a visit to the nearby staging site at Camp Shelby where supplies were stored and distributed.

Upon arrival at Camp Shelby, McGee was informed that his town’s supplies had been delayed by damaged roadways. When he asked about some nearby 18-wheelers loaded with ice, he was told that these trucks had no set destination but were ordered not to be moved. Incredulous, the sherriff instructed his officers to commandeer 2 of the trucks and bring them to the shelters immediately. The national guard, posted at the site, attempted to stop the Sherriff and his men verbally, and finally by force. One guardsman climbed onto McGee’s truck and attempting to remove the keys from the ignition. McGee stopped his vehicle, climbed out, wrestled the guardsman to the ground, cuffed his hands behind his back, placed him in a patrol car for interfering with an officer of the law, and got right back into his truck.

The people of Forrest County hale McGee for his decisiveness and empathy and wish to nominate him for governer. His eligibility is in limbo, however. Shortly after distributing ice to his thankful jurisdiction (and releasing the National Guardsman), McGee was placed under arrest and thrown into a federal holding area, awaiting trial. And that’s where he sits today.

For taking action as the much maligned FEMA failed him, Bobby McGee is a hero to his state and a criminal to his country. Behind bars, McGee stated “I regret where I am today but I don’t regret my actions.”

And ever a man of faith and charity, McGee told the press, “All the prayers that have gone up on my behalf, and all that’s been done on my behalf only strengthens my resolve to continue to serve the people of Forrest County and do the best I can do. And with your prayers and support, we’ll get there.”

Have you written interesting research articles or stories about other nations, cultures, or religions? Please leave a comment below or email me at and I will be honoured to link to you!

By brian

About Brian Damage:

Who is Brian really?
I live in Toronto, Canada, and work for an IT firm. That's about as much real-world info I'm comfortable divulging here. What you read on my blog is the real Brian, but, for the sake of freedom of speech, I feel most comfortable leaving a gulf between my cyberspace and meatspace personae.

Who is Brian at work?
My ridiculous job title is "Marketing Specialist" since I wear so many hats at work. I'm a technical writer, a specialist in enterprise search technologies, an electronic forms designer, a newsletter author, system administrator... but I'm in the Marketing department so for the time being I'm stuck with this inauspicious title.

Who is Brian at play?

Who is Brian