Transcending Words: How To Convince

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Today in my physics class, for non-physics students, my professor scrawled the familiar equation:

E = MC2

Then he asked the class what the equation represented.  The selected, overly confident girl, name all the critical parts of Einstein’s historic equation and then espoused on how faster than light travel creates energy.  The professor corrected her, cruelly saying that science fiction society did not meet until five.  She looked shattered.

This got me thinking; how do we become assured the facts we know are true.  We cannot just assume that they are true, Kay of Men in Black attested to when he informed Will Smith “Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet.”  Just because some fact is common knowledge or explicitly communicated does not make it true, although if there are any aliens reading this I would love this quote to be proven true. ( I want to believe)  It comes down to our personal reasonings to decide what is and what is not.  Therefore, I believe those forces that inform with our reasonings and make themselves agreeable tend to shape our perceptions of reality.

This got me thinking, more so than before, what makes an argument convincing?

I personally believe the most convincing arguments are those which we can prove to ourselves without any outside pressure or assistance.  Perhaps the laws of mathematics have become a lynch pin in modern society on this principle.  Rather than feeling out soft subjective answers the cold calculus can be solved, checked, and evaluated by anyone around the world.  A math equation is hard to argue with.

However, this means those with best numbers and manipulating equations can shape reality and build bridges of “truth” that anyone can believe in.  This assurance, I believe, may have been essential to bad bankers and shady real estate salesman as they convince innocent people to take unnecessary and costly loans.  Math shapes our perceptions of the world, for better and for worse.

Another sphere of undeniable convictions is the religious one.  People’s whole lives can be dominated by religious perspectives, from evangelicals in the bible belt to whole countries throughout the Arab World.  This is neither good nor bad; it just is.  In each of these popular religions there are religious texts, the Bible and the Koran respectively.  The books speak to anyone who is willing to receive them.  I believe that by being able to talk to a person in a personal and inherently religious manner that many normal barriers can be transcended.  By talking to the soul of a person many a zealous soul can be gathered for the faith.

On one end of the spectrum there are mathematically proven facts and equations.  On the other end there are inner, unbeatable truths that rest deep inside ones soul.  I believe that with the right zeal and ideals either of these routes can communicate any idea to an audience and convince them it is true.  New equations will secure funds to send rockets to Mars.  Religious blogs and passionate webcasts are already winning heart and minds across the world.  Perhaps my errant classmate stumbled upon a book that was powerful enough to speak to her soul and change her perceptions.  I know that I have run into more than a few.

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Terrorism 2.0: Al Qaeda’s Terrorism Disseminated To New Independent Radicals (The TEA Party of the Middle East)

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20110729 Jihadist websites tempt Mauritanian boys | المواقع الجهادي تغوي الشبان الموريتانيين | Les sites web djihadistes, une tentation pour les jeunes Mauritaniens

Featured: The Recruiting Office For New Terrorists

The Arab Spring is a double-edged sword: on one hand it lays the groundwork for democracy in the Middle East while in other regions untraceable terrorism is proliferated.  This dark threat is Terrorism 2.0.

What is Terrorism 2.0?

Moroccan authorities recently broke up two terrorist cells who were planning to attack police stations, French journalists, and Jewish businesses in Casablanca.  Saudi authorities have worked tirelessly over the last several years and have captured over 149 terrorists as well.

These arrests are notable because these cells never trained with or contacted Al Qaeda.  The only linking thread between the two is their terrifying ideology.  The zeitgeist of terrorist threat has become more nebulous as more independent cells threaten international stability.

Who Are These Independent Terrorists?

They are the foot soldiers of Terrorism 2.0.

Regardless of where new terrorists crop up all recruits have several similar characteristics.  First, they are indignant and horrified by perceived Western aggressions against Islam.  Second, economic, political, and social woes are largely attributed to the “Western menace.” Finally, converts join with fanatic groups to carry out plots of death and destruction.  That is what makes them terrorists.

Al Qaeda previously scooped up these radicals, crafting them into walking bombs.  That was Terrorism 1.0; today we live in a brave new world.  After a decade of full-fledged war against Al Qaeda new converts now have to train themselves because Al Qaeda is too weak to train them.  Members of Terrorism 2.0 plot in Internet forums and work independently from any central organization.

New terrorists have little training, but they are hard to pick out of the larger population.  Al Qaeda is now more of a social movement than a structure organization.  These independent terrorists are just well publicized guerrillas.  Regardless, they are still a notable threat.

Is Islam a Religion For Terrorists?

No.

Islam is inherently a good and ethical religion.  For example, one of the core values Islam stresses alms giving.  Islamic priests preach the same moral qualities that their Christian counterparts do.  The only major distinction between the religions is that Islam believes in religious prophets after Jesus, culminating with Muhammad, and Christians do not.  The majority of followers of the Islamic faith, Muslims, do not subscribe to any part of the extremist philosophy that has made Islam infamous.

Many uneducated critics point to the term of Jihad to justify contempt of Muslims.  Jihad not a reason to hate Islam, instead it is a core justification behind why the faith is a good.  This term has many definitions, ranging from a tough internal struggle to a secular war in the defense of Islam.  At its heart, Jihad is the goal of every Muslims to aspire to do the right thing despite external coercion and internal desires.  This is the same value taught to kindergarteners.  There is nothing inherently threatening about Jihads.

How Should We View Terrorism 2.0?

The independent terrorists are the TEA Party of the Middle East.

Both are simply religious fanatics acting on rampant bigotry.  For example, both share anti-Semitic targets and religiously conservative methodologies.  Only the specific religion of the two is different; the TEA Party has Christianity while the Muslim terrorists have Islam.  Both faiths are equally dangerous in these wrong hands.

Only once Jihad is polarized to the point of suicide bombings does it become dangerous.  Of course, Christianity is also dangerous once it has been weaponized by the TEA Party and fired upon minorities, such as the homosexual population.

Terrorism 2.0 is already epidemic in the Middle East.

My question is will Terrorism 2.0 develop in the TEA Party? Many speculate it already has.

War in Sudan: The Korea of Africa (How a Demilitarized Zone Will Spawn War across Africa and the Second Cold War)

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War between the Sudans threatens to engulf Africa as border conflicts over valuable regions spark firefights and troop occupations.  Abyei, a region with lush farmland and oil deposits, became the hotspot as fighting ignited over the last couple of days.  Northern tanks and infantry occupied the region, driving out any Southern troops and sympathizers.  Negotiations over this disputed region took place in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.  The resolution agreed upon was to declare the territory a demilitarized region for the moment and to have it policed by Ethiopian troops until a national vote can be taken to decide the fate of the region.  It has yet to see if these negations will be observed or abandoned.  This unstable situation could easily explode into an international conflict, as China defends its oil reserves in Northern Sudan as the humanitarians and Africans rally around Republic of Republic of South Sudan and its struggling call for freedom.

How Has This Incident Affected the Region?

Tensions in one of the most dangerous regions of the world have only been risen higher and sparked more battles.  In recent days the conflict between the nations has manifested in aircraft raids on Republic of Republic of South Sudan and widespread famine.   The surrounding Africans nations are concerned that this war could spill over into their territory or create a new militant state rather than a new democratic one.  This could result in the country becoming a haven for criminals and terrorists, something that no region of the world wants.  Military units are being deployed to all surrounding borders as the Ethiopians head an effort to negotiate a truce in the region.  The outlook is dim, it is almost certain a full-scale war is on the horizon.

How Could This Blossom Into A Battleground of the Second Cold War?

Chinese conglomerates import large amounts of oil and gold from Northern Sudan.  Republic of Republic of South Sudan, oppressed by its northern largely autocratic government, will look to other superpowers to fund its development.  Geologists, once they are allowed into the region, expect to find large pockets of oil and rare minerals in the Republic of South Sudan.  America, Russia, India, and the European Union will all be interested in reinforcing their decaying reserves of oil.  While the North is largely Islamic the South still largely has traditional African cultures, which may result in African nations supporting the weaker southern nation rather than the alien northern one.  Tense relations between the nations, based on a history or genocide, could easily spark off a conflict.  The ensuing global incident would resemble the Korean War where over thirty thousand Americans were killed.  Neither side would back down when oil, the life blood of the economy, is on the line; this was seen in the Persian Gulf War.

Why Was the Republic of South Sudan Founded in Such a Toxic Position?

Earlier this year, on January 21, 2011, a landslide vote severed Sudan into Northern and Southern countries based on cultural and religious differences.  This landmark achievement, planned to officially separate the new nations on July 7, 2011.  Widespread border conflicts have marred the stability of the region, refugees and insurgents throughout the region have complicated the issue to the point of violence.  Republic of Republic of South Sudan lacks the infrastructure and coordinated military forces to police this and the Northern Sudanese could not care less about their castaway state.   A situation like this was inevitable.

How Does This Relate To the Sociology of the Region?

Sudan was an autocratic state ruled by President Omar al-Bashir, an Islamic extremist, who took control of the state after a coup more than twenty years ago.  Since then he has committed genocide in Darfur, skimmed hundreds of millions from taxpayers, and charged with five accounts of crimes against humanity.   His totalitarianism state has been pushing towards Islamic law for the whole country.  Religious and cultural differences with the Southern half of the country led to their expulsion in the January 21, 2011 election.  His rational-legal authority has killed millions and oppressed the rest of the country; the increasingly evident region that he set free Republic of South Sudan was to cut off the center of resistance against him.  In the future, he may move in with more armed troops to silence that voice of freedom for forever.

Israel: The Gestapo State

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There is a country out there in the world that continues to commit war crimes in this modern era.  Assassinating leaders on foreign soil.  Burning towns to the ground, arresting the minorities living there.  Walling off a city.  Blockading a neighboring nation.  This is the state of Israel.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s the evidence.

Assassination in Dubai:

Mr. Mabouh, executed in Dubai January 9,2010, by Mossad (Israeli Intelligence)

The remains of part of a burned Bedouin village:

This is an example of one of countless Bedouin communities that Israeli services systematically eliminates

The West Bank Wall:

This wall encircles most of Jerusalem, separating the Jewish population from the Muslim population

Blockading Gaza:

Gaza - After thirty eight years of occupation and five years of a blockade

The Israeli government was forged in war and is sustained by war; however a significant portion of these conflicts are incited by the harsh measures taken in every region of the country.   They are treating many of their own citizens, particularly the Muslims, like the enemy. This earns Israel more foes to fight.  Every time another atrocity is committed international support falls a little bit, while sympathy for the Muslims increases.  Israel is digging its own grave.

To be fair, they have always needed to fight with brutal efficiency in order to stay alive.  The Six Day War.  The October War.  Dozens of minor conflicts.  Had they not proven again and again that they are willing to fight to the last man there is a chance they would no longer be here.  To this day they still have enemies that will not bargain for peace: Hamas, Serbia, and Iran.  Perhaps these violent measures are all that is saving Israel from all out war; perhaps new polices will be more effective, peaceful polices.

Negotiation is the only path to salvation for Israel.  They lack the military muscle to war their way to peace.  Positive diplomatic relations need to be developed.

The path to peace is rocky and dangerous, each of their enemies needs something specialized before they will turn away from war.  Serbia will demand land, the Golan Heights, which they lost in the Six Day War almost fifty years ago.  Iran needs a regimen change, which may happen in a day or a decade.  The country is too unstable to currently negotiate with.  In both cases they need to be careful to never appear too weak, that would be asking for invasion

Hamas cannot be fought or negotiated with directly; they are a fanatical guerrilla organization that dreams only of eliminating Israel.  The solution is to buy the populace of Gaza, where significant Hamas resistance hides, giving them resources to rebuild and reconstruct their dismantled lives.  Without public support Hamas will be nothing more than a name.

These measures need to be enacted swiftly; Israel is already losing much international support.  Many have noted a growing divide between the Israeli government and the United States, their protector.  Each new incident, as seen above, increases tension between the two countries.  Should their alliance ever snap Israel will be doomed

While Israel currently possesses massive military power, necessary to defend itself, it lacks  the industry to rapidly replace destroyed units.  In the past they have relied on the United States to supply them with replacements.  When they lost dozens of aircraft and hundreds of tanks in the October War America replaced the lost units, giving them the stomping power to defeat both Serbia and Egypt.  In future wars Israel will continue to rely on its protector.

Should its protector leave, Israel will cease to exist.  The Muslim nation surrounding the Jewish country, desperate for their long awaited revenge, will pounce from all directions.  Since the alliance is broken the United States will not step in and it is doubtful any other countries will want to get involved in a massive war.  Israel will fight valiantly, but as it loses fighters and tanks they will be driven back. And back. And back.  Jerusalem will fall.

The aftermath of this loss will simply be known as the Second Holocaust.  While some Muslim governments will attempt to act civilly, others will execute all Jewish citizens that are found.  The only survivors will be the ones who flee.

This does not have to come to pass; Israel simply needs to enact new, peaceful, policies. They can save themselves, maintain good relations with the United States, and bring peace to the Middle East.  All they have to do is peacefully negotiate.

Bibliography

Assassination in Dubai-http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8486531.stm

Burning a Bedouin village to the ground-http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-10777040

West Bank Wall-http://www.vtjp.org/background/Separation_Wall_Report.htm

Gaza Blockade- http://noorslist.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/5-minute-guide-to-gaza/

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