Monday, July 31, 2006

Terror Management in the War Zone : Shiites Vs. Sunnis

In the first portion of this entery, I take up the discussion about the Terror Management Theory and explain it in an explicitly theoretical manner. I follow this with a demonstration of information acquired from previous research on the mentioned topic and it's relevance to the current situation in Iraq.
Terror Management Theory ( TMT)
In his 1974 book The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker developed the idea that as humans we are inevitably aware of our own impending death. In order to escape this terror, humans develop an illusion of immortality through psychological "buffers" such as religious beliefs, social connections to groups or individuals or through creating objects that would succeed them.
"The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity-designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny of man." Ernest Becker

Solomon and two of his colleagues, Pyszynski and Greenberg, then elaborated on the TMT by engaging in empirical work with an emphasis on "mortality salience" ( MS). Parallel to the idea of MS, reminding subjects of their mortality encourage them to engage in five frequent behavioural responses. These responses are, worldview defense, harsher evaluations of moral transgressors, increased aggression towards the out-gourps, increased ethnocentrism, and increased self esteem enhancement. Since the length of this entry is limited i will only elaborate on two of thse five "buffers" in response to stimuli that reminds one of their own death.
There have been many attempts to uncover the mystery behind the "adherence to and defense of national idiologies and values and intolerance and hostility towards dissimilar others" ( Leary et al 1997). However, few have sought to ask about the consequences of having a constant reminder of death such as the frequent killings in cities of Iraq and its effect on ethnocentrism and increased aggression against the out-goup members.
Previous research has emphasized on "increased support of one's nationalist, religious, or secular idiology, disliking dissimilar others, supporting ethnic stereotypes, denigrating or distancing oneself towards the idiology of the out-group, ingratiating oneself to heroes or those who bloster the views of the in-group, intensifying altruistic tendecies towards the in-group, or proposing greater punishment for those who violate the norms of the in-group". ( Leary et al 1997).
The events of September 11 have brought the TMT once again back to the spotlights and many papers have been written about the effects of this faithful event on "incrasing in-group affiliation and hostility and aggression towards the out-group and the increased liking of the in-group members who conform the cultural expectations" ( Landau et al 2004). Furthermore, they have concluded that fear of therrorism leads to increased support for standing leaders such as president Bush.
The only observations considering TMT in the war zone included one under the supervision of Dr. Dechesne who applied the TMT to some problems that the multinational troops were having while serving on a peace-keeping mission in Kabul, Afghanistan. The problem was that although Dutch and German troops have been working well together on various joint missions, when they got to Kabul, positive relations seemed to be breaking down and old national rivalries seemed to be coming to the surface. The findings implicated that the higher the soldiers scored on a fear of death scale, the more negative their attitudes toward working with soldiers from other European countries. Another study that will be hinting on the TMT during war time is an upcoming research which will address the promotion of suicidal behaviour in respond to constant reminders of death ( Winerman 2005). Further, although some research has been done with regards to the responses of the trained military occupants in the war zone, nothing has been done to consider the reaction of the lay people who are not trained professionals in dealing with the fear of death in respond to constant reminders of death. Also most researches have concentrated on how the shocking events of September 11 has lead to nationalism and the voting results leading to the victory of president Bush, none has pondered on the out comes of this war on the increased nationalism, intolerance of dissents, hostility towards those who are different and need for heroes in the Iraqi population. Rather, the political policy is to show the unrest in Iraq as an outbreak of a civil war and the invaders ( Americans) are simply portrayed as the neutral foreign party who are risking their lives to promote peace and understanding between people who, up until the point of occupation, were very peacful and understanding indeed.
My ideas convey that being exposed to frequent instances of death will create increased ethnocentrism and aggression against attitudinally dissimilar others just as it has been proven in previous studies. To elaborate on this point i will further discribe the recent conflicts between Sunnis and Shia in Iraq. Just today two suicide bombers caused the death of about 75 Shia muslims in a Shia Mosque.
I think that the attack of the Unisted State of America on Iraq and the removal of the tyranny of Saddam Hossein has created an opportunity for the minority groups to gain a will of their own and the extremists to become more segregated towards the opposite points of their belief systems.
This civil war is being promoted by the two religious groups of Iraq the Shia and the Sunnis. From the blogs I read over time i concluded that unlike the current situation where a division of religious rules over Iraq, previously the Shia and Sunnis used to live together. The mass Iraqi population was brought up to believe that "people who discriminated in any way- positively or negatively- based on sect or ethnicity were backwards, uneducated and uncivilized.. most people simply didn't go around making friends or socializing with neighbours based on their religions" ( Rose' Blog ).
The frequent encounters with death has shoved the initial indifferences between the Shia and Sunnis to more extreme points, Under the influence of MS each group underwent the urge to identify more closely to the ideologies held by its religious leaders and denigrate those who criticize their popularly held beliefs. The denigration was pursued by suicide bombings and hostility towards the out-group. This in turn led to a civil war in Iraq which indorsed an even more extreme division between the Sunnis and the Shias; now people "pick up their things to move to ' Sunni neighbourhoods' or 'Shia neighbourhoods'" (Rose' Blog). In their Mosques, the religious figures hold meetings that promote poisonous anti- Shia or anti- Sunni teachings and create untrue stereotypes against the out-group.
In conclusion, I am attempting to suggest that frequent reminders of death in the war zone leads to the promotion of indifferences between opposite religious groups and causes an enhancement in the ideologies of the in-group while creating unfavourable attitude towards the out-group. This hypothesis could also be tested on the effects of MS on the attitudes that Iraqis hold agains the invaders ( US Soldiers).

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Barracks Bombings!

CNN has been showing back to back episodes of Barrack bombigs emphasizing on American's innocence and the evilness of Hezbollah. For those of you who werent born at the time like myself, Barrack bombing was an act of "terrorism" on an American building that was occupied by American Marines who had entered Lebanon to keep peace! The bombing killed 250 Americans and was later blamed on Hezbollah, although Hezbollah never really pledged guilty. The reason for which the American marines had been in Lebanon is not fully clear. As far as the world is concerned they are not the UN, so why should they be in Lebanon to promote peace? To the Lebanese, Americans= Isreal so when an American troop goes into Lebanon and sets camp, they should be aware of the occupational hazards! Anyways, I am rambling! The point is, US media is trying to waken the bitter memories of Barracks insident to gain the support of Americans in legitimizing its presence in the Middle East and perhaps sending their troops to Lebanon a little later!

Fashion Show In Afghanistan

An open fashion show in a conservative muslim country that was "liberated" from Taliban 5 years ago. Yes they even have designer borqas! But the most interesting is perhaps the hair design of this bald guy who has glued what little hair he has across his bald head! Watch the video.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Muslim Man Attacks Jews in a Jewish Center

A 30 year old muslim called Navid Afzal Haq who is apparently of Pakistani descent walked into a Jewish center in Seattle and shot 5 people. Later on he surrendered after killing one women and wounding 4 others. What promoted such an act of hatred? Haq pointed out to 3 reasons; U.S. involvement in Iraq; the U.S. backing of Israel; and what Haq said was the mistreatment of the Pakistani people. If Haq was lebanese and he had just lost his family in Lebanon by the Israeli troops I would have felt more sympathy for him! But maybe, just maybe, he was staged so yet again US can legitimize its presence in the Middle East! Watch the report!

Environmental Crises in Lebanon

The war doesnt only take the life of people it is also destroying the ecosystem of the Mediterranean . Birut's white sandy beaches are today covered with tonnes of oil after the Isreali planes bombed a power plant. Some countries have promised to lend their help to the cause, but nothing can be done till the war is over! The Environmentalists estimate that it will take years to clean up the area and for marine life to recover! Watch the report!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ridiculous Facts

  • I'm not a radical muslim, just an observer

  • USA= Isreal

  • Tony Blair= Bush's little poodle

  • Steven Harper= Poodle wanna be, he is really Bush's clown

  • Bush supports tax cuts so that his dear friends who have oil barrels down in texas can get richer and keeps the minimum wage down so that the very people who voted for him grow poorer

  • Whenever Bush has no one to blame for his mistakes, he blames the homosexuals, immigrants and the poor

  • US objects human cloning but creats monsters like Osama Ben Laden by the dosens!

  • Couple of days ago Lou Dobbs of CNN was yapping about why US should not tolerate the events of Middle East. Well, for one because they keep rubbing their nose in everyone elses business. They brought Osama Ben ladan to power in order to fight Us's cold war with the Russians in Afghanistan and once Al Qaeda's slavery period was over, instead of thanking them they were identified as terrorists and a cancer for the whole world. In Iraq, US empowered Saddam to fight with Iran. US supplied Iraq's military with the latest military technologies. After Saddam was no use for them anymore, they took their troops to Iraq and took over! And then Mr. Dobbs wonders why US should tolerate middle east? cuz US is the cause of all the problems so sit your ass down and stop bitching!

  • Bush considers any muslim counrty who does not follow his agenda as part of what he calls the "axis of evil" and terrorists who have to be wiped off the face of the earth!

  • Putin likes to kiss naked little boys! By the way for those who watch the Global News in vancouver, BC, look at the weather guy next time. He is the spitting image of Putin!

  • USA= UN

  • 1994 was the year that the Rwandan Genocide took place. It lead to the death of an estimated 800,000 to 1,071,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda, mostly carried out by the extremist Hutu militia. US and UN knew well in advance that a genocide is underway but didn't stop the war! But why not? As they claim they are the promoters of freedom and democracy so why not stop the genocide? Answere: Rwanda doesn't have OIL!!!!

  • I have seen many adds these past days that says "help Isreali victims"! Are you kidding me? Lebanon's capital has been under fire for 18 days, they dont bury the deads anymore and if they do they do it in mass graves dug by bulldozers! Close to 500,000 citizens have deserted their homes and moved to Syria, you wanna worry about the 10 Isreali who are in the hospital?

  • US, UK and Israel should be stripped of their military powers for commiting the same crimes that Japan and Germany were guilty of!

  • The heroic American soldiers who helped the American citizens to flee Lebanon only did so with the condition that the evacuees pay the US government the cost of the evacuation within 90 days!

  • US keeps emphasizing that Isreal does not want any military help from them. But they have moved all their navel ships to the Mediterranean using the excuse that the military ships are the only way they could process their plan of evacuation of US citizens from Lebanon. But now after the evacuation is done, they will remain there "just in case". The American soldeirs in Iraq have had their service in Iraq extended for at least another 4 month! Why? They might be needed as reserves for Isreal!

  • Isreal is the only country that has some kind of an issue with ALL of its neighbours!

  • Here is the list of the territories that Isreal has taken away from other countries:

In 1967 Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, and Golan Heights. These territories are in Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

In 1982, Israel launched an attack against Lebanon, which had been embroiled in the Lebanese Civil War since 1975. The official reason for the attack was to defend Israel's northernmost settlements from terrorist attacks, which had been occurring frequently. However, after establishing a forty-kilometer barrier zone, the IDF continued northward and even captured the capital, Beirut. Though Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon in 1986, a buffer zone was maintained until May 2000 when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Lebanon.

To be fair to Israel in 1947 they were given a small territory by the UN and most Israeli's lived in other countires. So when after the second WW and the breaking down of Soviet the Jews returned to Isreal, the territory was too small for them so they decided to take bits and pieces of other countries. When you try to expand your borders you will face resistant by the defenders and hence all the wars we have been witnessing!

  • Jack Cafferty of CNN was talking about the new Al qaeda video release calling upon all the Musilms of the world to unite and fight Isreal. He made an analogy that is also very much useful when looking at US's reaction to matters. He said that Al Qaeda is like a little brat who has gone shopping with his mother to the super market and his mother is busy shopping so he starts crying and pounding his feet on the floor to get some attention. Meaning that with all the focus being on Hezbollah, Al Qaeda now feels left out and just released this video to get some attention. The same analogy applies to US. They saw the middle east strengthening their ties with the two super powers of the East, Russia and China, so they felt left out. To be in the game they used the excuse of freeing the world of terrorists and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq and have further plans for Iran and Syria!

  • These wars will further promote the growth of radical Islamic groups!

  • If Bush really wants to succeed in the Middle East he should declair war on all muslims. Shiite and Sunni Muslims will unite to fight Bush. Then Bush should fake a defeat and withrawl from middle east and leave the Shiite and Sunni's to fight a civil war over power in the region. While the two groups are busy fighting each other, US should move in and exploit the resources!

  • Many believe that we are witnessing what is to be the onset of the 3rd WW. If true the Nostradamus's predictions have come true and we should also be waiting for a big earthquake in Japan that will disable the economy. Although the Cascadian earthquak that happens almost every 100 years is long over due, and perhaps we should be more worried about ourselves!

UN Calls for a 72 Hour Cease Fire

UN calls for a 72 hour cease fire to help the kids and injured out of cities in Southern Lebanan that have been trapped there for days. UN announced that it can only send help to these cities if both sides agree to stop shooting rockets. This will of course also give more time to both sides to reform their troops and hit harder after the cease fire!

Katyshuas That Hit Afula Were Made of Iran

US and Isreal ( one and the same), are trying to prove that the Katyushas that hit Afula in the past 24 hours were made of Iran. Perhaps this is yet another conspiracy to go to war with another country that enjoys one third of the world's oil supplies!

Syria Could Play a Major Role

Syria has major ties with Iran and has played a supplementary role to Hezbollah by sending rockets and other military resources from Iran to South Lebanan. I have a feeling that it is the policy of US and UK to bribe Syria into breaking its ties with Iran to cut the military supplies from Hezbollah. This is of course if Syria decides to co-operate with the world. Isreal's other worry is if Syria decides to join in the war and surprise the Israeli troops from the East. That is partly why they have called their troops back from Gaza to join the troops in the North!

Hezbollah Hit's Deeper Than Ever

Hezbollah has tried a new approach to the war in the past 24 hours. They have been hitting the city of Afula south east of Haifa with rockets that are said to be a modification of the Katyushas they have been using so far. The down side is of course that these rockets can travel further, but the good news is that these rockets have to be carried on trucks and need to take positions to hit their target. This will allow Israel to identify the range from which the rockets have been fired and put an end to their blind shooting against an enemy they can not see!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Bush's Democracy Is Worst Than Saddam's Dictatorship

Bush believes that US is the department of justic and he is the supreme judge deciding the fate of the world. Iraqi people never sent a request to him to help them escape Saddam's dictatorship. When Saddam was in power, there was stability in Iraq. People lived their normal lives and death wasn't the main concern of every Iraqi. Today an average of 100 civilians die in Iraq everyday, all beacuse of Bush's greediness. Now that he knows he has failed miserably in Iraq and he is being condemned for his lack of military intelligance he has extended the war into Israel to keep the focus away from his mistakes. This is what he calls "democracy" and he condemns Hezbollah , Syria and Iran for intervening with his "advance in democracy". Since when democracy can be forced on others? And who says his kind of democracy is the true democracy? He has picked up a war with the Islamic ideology not with Terrorism and his actions will further promote the creation of radical Islamic groups since they believe radicalism is the only way they can survive! To get a better idea of the reasons for unfolding hostilities and a civil war in Iraq read this article, which analysis the situation with a social psychological twist!

Iraq's President Doesn't Manage to Please US

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki met up with US congress today and presented himself with a speech that wasn't all too impressive for the Democrats. Al Maliki announced that Iraq would like to play a more major role in the Midlle East and breifly talked about the differences between true Islam and radical Islam. He did not however, "directly" talk about the war between Hezbollah and Israel and did not take sides. As a result, his whole speech was disregarded because he did not talk exactly about what US wanted him to talk about. Later in the day he was critisized heavily by the Democrats who called on him to condemn Hezbollah and to apologize for denouncing "Israeli aggression." Have you heard of freedom of speech? Watch the report!

Iran Has the Upper Hand

Iranians have wondered for years about how the Islamic government of Iran manages to survive year after year for an ungoing 27 years after overthrowing Shah in the 1979 revolution. Well let me tell you why! They are the Americans of Middle East. They plan ahead and play a chess game with other countries. As it has been mentioned in the news for the past 10 months, Iran is trying to advance it's nuclear energy and possibly come up with a nuclear bomb that they have promissed to be wasted on the "Zionist" Israel for all the pain they have caused the Muslims. The radical democrats in US believe that Iran is the main motivator of this war in the Middle East. They believe that just days before Iran's profile was going to the UN for further decisions regarding their nuclear power, the Iranian government used it's close ties with the Hezbollah and kidnapped two Israeli soldiers to initiate unrest in the area.
Iran would also be the best candidate to stop Hezbollah from continuing on with the war. But no one except Syria has a direct contact with Iran's government and initiating meetings to resolve the war will be very difficult. Other than that, we all know what Iran will request in return for ordering Hezbollah to stop bombing Isreal. DINGGG! They will want the world's permission to build their nuclear bombs and thats just not something that US and Israel would allow! This leaves the world without any control on Hezbollah and the war will continue till one county manages to wipe out the other...

Monday, July 24, 2006

US Evacuees Have to Pay Fees

Apparently the evacuees who were leaving Beirut to seek safty in Cyprus were being asked to sign a promissory note, pledging to repay the U.S. government within 90 days for the costs of their evacuation. The paperwork in Beirut sent tempers through the roof in Washington, not to mention among some under fire in Lebanon who were asked to sign the notes. Another words the US soldiers asked their own citizens to pay for the evacuation or die in Lebanan. So much for humanitarian efforts! US marines did good business this past week! That's just rediculous!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Lebanese Prime Minister Talks

Although the bombs are falling on Birute, the Lebanese prime minister has not been too involved in making major decisions. But today, he finally broke his silence and described his country as a "disaster zone". He further talked about the injustice killing of innocent people and anounced that the Lebanese troops will unite with the Hezbollah should Israel aim to occupy Lebanan!