So called Pastor Terry Jones is determined to burn copies of the Quran this Saturday, September 11th in Gainesville, Florida at his Dove Outreach Church. He’s doing this in spite receiving strong condemnations from some very power people like: Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton White House senior advisor David Axelrod and General David Petraeus who says such an act would put our troops in grave danger. This is all probably true. Such an act would undoubtedly fuel the flames in War on Terror and further embolden outfits like Al Qaueda who would use Terry Jone’s action as a recruiting tool.
With all that being said, let’s be honest and let’s be clear Terry Jones is a small fry in all this. Nobody in their right mind cares about a two-bit preacher who has a congregation of 50 people. They could be the most fundamental amongst hardcore fundamentalist and Terry Jones would not be on their radar except for one small detail, he and his proposed actions are and will not be viewed in a vacuum.
Far too many of us here in the US sees things from the lens of individualism. For many of us we have long written Terry Jones off as just one ‘nutcase’ from Florida. However, the rest of the world sees him as the tip of the iceberg of loud and raucous protests against buildings a Mosque near Ground Zero. The rest of the world sees Terry Jones alongside sitting Senators like Harry Reid and sitting Congressman like Peter King who have all but told Muslim-Americans that the constitutional amendment that grants freedom of religion really doesn’t apply to them.
While many Americans see Terry Jones a lone wolf, the rest of the world sees him as part of the loud chorus of American citizens to the tune of 20% who mistakenly believe that President Obama is a Muslim us collectively saying there’s something wrong if he was.
Terry Jones epitomizes the strong anti-muslim sentiment that has been allowed to be seen and heard all over the world, coming from loud, cantankerous anti-muslim pundits who are backed by large media conglomerates and given a global platform to speak hate and intolerance in our name.
Terry Jones is a problem only because mainstream news outlets decided to give him air time and blow him up. They made him the problem. They decided to show him acting a fool versus showing the thousands of instances where American Christians and American muslims, work, eat, play and build with each other everyday. Unfortunately us getting along is a boring narrative as far as mainstream media is concerned.
In spite dwindling resources and shrinking budgets, many news outlets have already found ways to fly reporters down to Florida, pay for hotels and equipment and have folks staked out to watch Doves Outreach Church like hawks. From Matt Lauer of the Today Show on down to the right-wing agitators at Fox News, all of them have been gleeful as they wait for the first Quran to burn..Thats when it’ll be on. That’s when the TV ratings are anticipated to rise.. For those who don’t know, our news media seems to thrive on crisis and chaos. So if our troops suffer any harmful repercussions because a knucklehead Pastor in Florida burns a Quran, don’t just blame him, blame the mainstream outlets for making him a story too big to ignore and showing his foolishness sans true balance and countering images.
I recall the painful days and weeks after 9-11, when those of us in media, if we dared not carry the party line advocated by former President George Bush and spoke out against his call to fight a War on Terror, you paid a price. Many of us including myself and TV host Bill Maher lost our jobs. Others got death threats. For the most part much of the media fell in line and didn’t vary to far from the script that eventually led us into war.
During the weeks after 9-11, I recall watching a TV show called Like It Is which airs in NY where host Gil Noble had some Black preachers on who talked about their 9-11 experiences and thoughts. It was refreshing and counter to the constant arguments justifying our aggressive behavior. It was noted that their voices had been shut out and that many did not believe we should go to war.
A local preacher and former San Francisco supervisor here in the Bay Area named Amos Brown was vilified and shut down when he asked the question publicly, ‘What is it about our foreign policy that we need to look at and perhaps change that led to the 9-11 attacks’?
Brown had his name drugged through the coals. They said he was being insensitive and stirring up a hornets nest and even inviting more attacks.
I recall hearing him go on a local ABC affiliate KGO to explain his remarks to host Ron Owens . Brown was not allowed to elaborate on any of the answers he gave to Owen’s one-sided questions. If i recall Owens actually said it was against his better judgement to bring Brown on the air and that he would not allow his radio show to be used as a platform to spew remarks he considered insensitive and divisive. Owens went on and on about how America had come together in the wake of 9-11 and there was no room for remarks like Browns.
The former supervisor tried in vain to explain that as a Baptist Preacher the tradition is to always ask what you could learn from and what role you may have played in any mishap. Owens kept cutting him off and finally let him go. Brown was not allowed to fully explain himself as he bore the full brunt of a media shut down. Where’s the media shut down with this so-called Pastor Terry Jones? Brown made remarks at a funeral.. Jones wants to burn Qurans even though we had Muslim victims on 9-11..
I recall doing an interview with Jesse Jackson a few days before we launched our attack on the Taliban when he got a phone call from when then Secretary of State Colin Powell. It happened right in the middle of our interview. Jesse had to drop our call to talk to Powell.. When we resumed, Jesse noted that he was asked to fall back with his anti-war remarks and abandon his proposed actions. Jesse wanted to do something dramatic that would bring attention and hopefully result in Peace and Healing..If memory serves me correctly I think he actually wanted to go and speak with the heads of the Taliban.. The Bush administration wasn’t trying to hear that and Jesse was shut down cut off from most of the media.
Pastor Jones is teaching us a lot in the days leading up to his protest. He’s exposing the blatant hypocrisy within many sectors of our media. He’s also exposing the timidness within many sectors of our government. Of course a guy like Pastor Terry should be condemned, but where’s the chin checking of all those news outlets who time and time again with sensational, over-the-top coverage have painted America as being this intolerant country when it comes to Muslims?
If Bush could ban media pictures of dead coffins returning because it would be harmful in demoralizing the troops, maybe we should ban media outlets from showing any Qurans burning. After all aren’t we trying to protect our troops? Is this not about national security? This question is being asked not to have a fast and hard policy where the government comes in enacts censorship but instead to make sure we are not giving lip service to the brave men and women we say on the battle field who we say we wanna protect.. Are we trying to unite or trying to divide?
something to ponder
written by Davey D