|debating christopher hitchens|
- Sunday, December 26 2010, 18:50:46 (UTC)|
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...I would love to...and my choice of topic would be Islam and it´s relation to both Judaism and Christianity...specifically how Islam is perceived and treated today.
I´ve been watching hours of Hitchens´debates with Rabbis, priests and bishops, lay people and Muslims...and I´ve noticed some things. For one, the format. I don´t call it a debate when those involved are talking over each other, shouting at each other or being shown on split screens sneering, leering and making other faces...Hitchens is good at just that...I notice that he uses this tactic far more often and effectively than his opponents, probably because his opponents are intimidated by his reputation and, his British accent...I mean face it, a British accent just sounds "smart", to us.
Certainly he is fast on his feet and with a wealth of klnowledge and facts...however, where his arguments are shakey he resorts to this face-making stuff, and interruption....the majority of his oppnents are not professional debaters...they have not been on book tours for a few years honing their points and practising....
I´ve seen Hitchens engage in actual debate formats where each person gets uninterrupted time to address the main topic or present his case...but odly enough I´ve not seen a single Muslims pitted against him in this sort of debate...instead his hapless victims are squared off against him face to face where anything goes...and they do badly. I know there are eloquent Muslims out there but I think even they would get blindsided by the direction the debate would take.
Hitchens´critique of all religions, from Baal, to Yahwe to Zeus to Jesus and Moses and Thor and all the thousands of gods men have invented since they began not understanding anything...is spot balls on....can´t disagree with him at all....but everytime he takes off after islam and Muhammad I get a quesey feeling that something is not quite right, that something more is going on...yes, Islam is basically like all the rest...but I can´t help wondering what it would have sounded like if Hitchens had chosen the 30s and 40s in Berlin as the time to unmask Judaism? Wasn´t there something MORE going on that just a debate about religion?
What makes this all the more intruiguing is Hitchens support of the war on Iraq...which he claims should have happened sooner. Does he not know that it is civilians who have been murdered and had their lives and futures blighted? Were they doing anyone any harm? Hitchens is so angry at Islam, inparticular, that he seems to say that any war against any Muslims is worthwhile and a good thing because...THEY might get an atom bomb...and then where would we be.
So, if I debated Hitchens I would only do it if we used the more sedate format where he gets his say and I get mine and then we each have a chance at rebuttal...it isn´t that I´d be afraid of the other kind of debate...it just wouldn´t lead anywhere but degenerate into sneerings and leerings until we had to be separated. This is the mistake all Muslims made when lured onto FOX and other outlets to "explain" Islam in the weeks after 9/11...it was set-up, nothing more but it took too long to realize and the damage had been done.
Where an articulate, thoughtful and educated Muslim faces Hitchens it always seems that the Muslim is far more polite and restrained than Hitchens...and this is a mistake, in policy and tactics....it is easy, I think, to rile the guy, but people treat him with kid gloves...either they are afraid of being made to look foolish or afraid of his temper...but he should be encouraged to lose it...as a tactic.
Hitchens insulates himself by making the preposterous statement that the West has every reason to be afraid of Muslims and not the other way around...he seems to forget that if nuclear weapons are a threat they only exist because Christians developed them to kill EACH OTHER...and, since they´ve gone on to attack innocent Muslims nations, are now afraid they what they let out of the bag, perfectly okay to use against fellow Christians and Asians, might be used against THEM.
But if that´s the case, if this really is what he is afraid of, for the sake of all humanity as he says and for our children and culture, then why or how claim that these several wars we´re conducting against Muslim nations plus the ongoing wars that resulted from the illegal creation of Israel, must be borne and put up with, and that if people dare fight back, they are terrorists and worthy of even more and destruction and ps, watch out because THEY are wild enough to use the BIG ONE!...the one they would get from US...which we built and sold and deployed for what reason if not to use one day? After all it is Christians who used these bombs, not Muslims...who never even bothered to learn to make any until when? Until 40 Christian nations decided to attack Iraq, which doesn´t have them, while they treat North Korea, which does have them, carefully.
If you don´t want to be menaced by people do NOT kill their children and then blame it on THEM!
Also, Hitchens, as a writer, takes great exception to the notion that Muslims should demand respect for their Quran and Prophet...he insists that this is an issue of free speech and free speech is sacred...so why should we NOT draw cartoons of Muhammad? I have yet to see a Muslim reply by citing the case of Jews today who are granted all sorts of special treatment...I mean who dares attack Judaism, or even criticize Israel...how come?
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