This morning during the commute I tuned into NPR as usual, catching the unfolding news of the day and looking for the subtle indicators which delineate the pulse and sway of the represented corner of humanity.
Not long into my audienceship I felt the urge to demonstrate a vulgar but futile gesture at the tuning controls (but refrained) and instead switched over to classical music to soothe my now-incensed disposition. The music worked only slightly, though did prevent me from seething too deeply; not enough to erase it from off the current stack though, which is why you get to hear about it here.
I am not normally given to emotional upset at the words or actions of others. To do so is to be within their control by abdicating my own responsibility and creates situations of desire and conflict upon them of which they are not aware, nor to which they bear any true ownership. I much prefer the closer-to-Zen philosophy of a Persian proverb:
Though I strive to overcome the "usually" in that second portion of the phrase.
He who takes offense when none is intended is a fool. He who takes offense when offense is intended is usually a fool.
This morning differed somewhat in that I did allow arousal of infuriation as I heard values of tolerance maligned (perhaps unconsciously) by those placed in positions of influence by their various constituencies. I believe the weight of representation and voice placed upon those politicians to have been betrayed by the stupid catty remarks and positions they are choosing to take on a topic of some importance.
The catalyst for my outrage is this: Yesterday, Nouri al-Maliki, current Prime Minister of Iraq, participated in a press conference with President Bush in what was orchestrated by the present administration as a symbolic hurrah of flag waving and international solidarity. However, when P.M. al-Maliki was asked about his views on the situation between Lebanon based Hizbollah and Israel, he provided a view point which differs somewhat from that of Pres. Bush, stating that he believed the best course would be an immediate cessation of hostility followed by diplomatic communication; contrary to the position of justification in Israel's overwhelming response and futility of a cease-fire until diplomacy is already established held by the U.S. Government.
This difference of opinion has prompted some of the participants in our diplomatic process to call for a boycott of P.M. al-Maliki's speech today, or even for the leader to publicly alter his belief to be more aligned with their preferred stance; that, "a cease fire would accomplish nothing." Even going so far as to say that somehow the Prime Minister's words mean that he does not feel Israel's response is appropriate or that they "have a right to defend themselves."
It is this display of ignorant indignation (and inference, just to round out the upset "i" words) which I have allowed to rile me. Here, a man from an allied nation whom we purportedly support, expresses the wisdom of his station in a region continually awash with bloodshed and all accompanying pains. Knowing that the prevention of loss of life on any side is in itself an accomplishment and a valid first step in reducing heartache and destruction.
The response of those trusted officials to suppose opinions not stated by assuming the most negative conclusion, and even request that he change his mind to appease them, is fantastically close-minded. It feels like the "rich old white-guy" kind of ignorance of blind, untested belief in principles of their own somehow justified supremacy simply because they're not the ones getting shot at.
Walk a mile in his war-torn and bloodied shoes, gentlemen. You can still disagree with him, but don't dare disrespect him in our names.