The Daily Demarche
Monday, January 17, 2005
Where is the outrage?
As you know in a few days we will inaugurate George W. Bush as President of the United States of America, for his second term. Of course the usual suspects oppose this, and contend that "Bush cheated" , etc. Everyone loves a harmless crackpot- even members of the State Department Republican Underground.

What took me by surprise today was the numerous complaints that the line-up and festivities should be altered to in light if the tsunami devastation in SE Asia.

South Africa's IOL (Independant On-line) has an article entitled 'Bush inauguration too lavish for wartime':

President George Bush is drawing heat over a $40-million (R242-million) splurge on inaugural balls, concerts and candlelight dinners while the country is in a somber mood because of the Iraq war and Asian tsunami.

Our good friends in Australia have also picked up this story (word for word), as they have in India and a host of other nations. A few papers in America have picked this up too; a paper in St. Louis is running this theme with a little more fiestiness than most.

I am all for an informed debate over the type of event that should be held while American men and women are in harms way and risking their lives (although I doubt that we have ever had an inauguration where brave men and women were not at risk in some remote part of the world- we just did not have the means to send that message into every home 24/7). In fact, I too believe that a more somber event would be fitting with our armed forces deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But because of the tsunami?

That may sound callous, but let's ask a question here. Where else in the world is a major event taking place that might have been altered somewhat due to the devastation wreaked in the affected regions? How abbout Mecca?

This week is the culmination of the Hajj. Al-Jazeera (see previous link) explains thusly:

No annual event on the face of the globe, religious or non-religious, compares to hajj in terms of the sheer number of participants, duration of the event and the breadth of agenda. In spite of this fact, it has always remained equally fascinating and mysterious to not only non-Muslims, who are barred from entering the holy city, but also to millions of Muslims, who had not performed hajj.

During the hajj this year security is at an all time high, since Jews have been attacking targets throughout Saudi Arabia lately. No wait- the threat is from fellow Muslims- sorry, too much time on the al-Jazeera site. In other exciting news from Mecca this year: Muslims who can't make the hajj in person may be able to experience it virtually.

With all of that the support for tsunami victims, an estimated 115,000 of whom were Muslims from Indonesia, must be amazing. I mean, "nothing compares... to the breadth of the agenda." Last year over 1.8 million people made the hajj. They must all be donating at least $1, right?

Here is what is being done:

No special memorials or events have been announced during the hajj for the tsunami victims, but some survivors have offered special prayers upon reaching Mecca.

Where is the outrage? I could not find one single article on the Internet linkingthe hajj to aid for survivors of the tsunami, even if limited to only Muslim survivors. Why is no one asking this question? Has non-jihadi Islam become immune to criticism? The United States of America is doing more, right now, than the rest of the world combined for the tsunami victims, yet our inauguration is in the limelight for not being somber enough. Millions of Muslims are spending untold sums of money to travel to Mecca to offer prayers for the dead and dying... and the world is silent.

I simply do not understand.


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dé·marche 1) A course of action; a maneuver. 2) A diplomatic representation or protest 3) A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.

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