ನಟರಾಜ್ ಲೇಖನಕ್ಕೆ ಶೇಷಾದ್ರಿ ಪ್ರತಿಕ್ರಿಯೆ
I read with interest the recent column by Dr.M.S.Nataraja (http://www.thatskannada.com/column/nataraj/2003/191103moore.html) about the religious fanaticism. Other than providing a laundry list of conflicts around the world, this column does not inform the readers much. In fact the good Doctor has given a large dose of misinformation.
It starts with the very beginning. It is written that "... the American leaders do not even understand the alphabets of secularism." As a Hindu living in US, I am definitely concerned about certain policies of the current US administration. But, what Dr.Nataraja has written is a gross exaggeration. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 attacks, the American political leadership in general (at various levels) and President Bush in general did an exemplary job in diffusing and preventing a violent backlash. Compare and contrast this with what has happened in India each time there was a triggering event like Mrs.Indira Gandhis assassination or recently the massacre at Godhra.
Even when he writes about the ex-justice Roy Moore of Alabama State, Dr.Nataraja sticks to his script. Even though he writes that Justice Moore was kicked out of his position, what piques Dr.Natarajas interest is the completely expected reaction from Moores supporters. What about the fact that in the so called bastion of Christian conservatism, eight of Mr. Moores fellow justices unanimously decided to kick this guy out? What about the Attorney General Pryor, him self being a Christian conservative, who had to (and did) implement the removal of the Ten Commandments artifact? It is really disappointing that instead of illuminating on these points, Dr.Nataraja sticks to the tired and worn-out clichs about religious fanaticism.
I also have to take issue with his characterization of the people of Alabama. He writes "color based discrimination is in their blood". When I came to US in 1990, I lived in a small town of Alabama for six months and I have relatives living in that state well over two decades. Again, Dr.Nataraja paints a picture of an old and exaggerated clich. Certainly no one can accuse of Alabama being in the vanguard of civil rights movement for minorities -- actually in a way it really was! --, but what Dr.Nataraja writes is deeply offensive to a lot of good men and women of Alabama.
Dr.Nataraja writes that he does not understand the logic of attacking Iraq and Afghanistan when most of the 9/11 perpetrators were Saudis.
One may or may not agree with the war in Iraq. (For the record, I do believe US and President Bush did the right thing in eliminating the brutal tyrant Saddam Hussain). But, I do not understand Dr.Natarajas inability to understand why US had to attack Afghanistan. But, if he is as clueless as he professes to be, let me put it in simple words. The then Afghan Govt. under Taliban provided shelter and active support to Osama bin Laden and al Queida. Even though the majority of 9/11 hijackers were Saudi born, their action was not based on their birth. It was solely because of their belief in bin Ladens violent ideology. US also gave a chance to the Taliban leaders to handover bin Laden and his band of terrorists. Only when Taliban refused to comply, then US had to attack. I hope Dr.Nataraja now understands why US had to do what it did in Afghanistan.
As far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, I am not sure what Dr.Nataraja would like US to do. Does he want US to attack Saudi Arabia?
There are many policies of President Bush that I agree with and there are many that I do not agree with. But, Dr.Nataraja provides no substantiation for his charge that Bush is creating his own band of terrorists in the name of destroying terrorists.
Such a charge is truly despicable especially when it is written without even a modicum of substantiation.
Even while writing about the Palestinian conflict, Dr.Nataraja misinforms the readers. Even though from the outside this looks like a religious conflict between Jews and Muslims, at its heart, it is not a conflict based on religion. Unlike Osama bin Laden, Taliban and their ilk, the Palestinian terrorists are not perpetrating their despicable acts for the sake of their religion. The Palestinian political leadership is also not especially religious. There is also some significant Arab-Christian support for the Palestinian cause.
Dr.Nataraja is also quite careless with his words when he writes "it seems Jews are even ready to perpetrate genocide of Palestinians", "Jews are trying to establish a dictatorial regime". Only a rabid anti-Semite makes such incendiary charges. Jews within and out of Israel have many differing views about the right solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There are many Jews who are very vocal in their support of the Palestinian cause.
The sad part of this column is Dr.Nataraja is quite right in framing his column in terms of the conflict between the Rules of Men and Rules of God (or so called Rules of God). He could have written a very well nuanced article about what happened in Alabama -- a religious and conservative state -- where at least for the time being the Rules of Men have won over the Rules of God. But, sadly Dr.Nataraja has struck to a script of cliches about religious fundamentalism.
South Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
PS: Dear Editor, I really would have liked to write this letter in Kannada. But, I do not have the technical know-how to do that. If you can provide some directions in this regard at your website this would be really beneficial to many. Another thing that would be really useful is providing an online English/Kannada dictionary facility.
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