Thursday, January 05, 2006

Serving from Algebra City

Algebra City is of course a nickname for Baghdad. Mark Shiley's film has these poignant scenes of a computer class (both male and female students) trying to learn it all from chalkboards, given Earth, Inc. (stupid to the core) has deprived them of any real computers. Our cradle of civilization without any decent IT -- it's just mind-boggling.

The way to counter-recruit against terrorism is through positive futurism. Hamas shows two faces to the world, a brighter happy face (more like Wal*Mart's) and a dark ugly face (ski masks, AK-47s). Al-Qaeda ("the base") has the same dual nature: as a comforter and a killer. USAers sometimes pretend they're above sponsoring terror in such a two-faced guise, but of course "whiteman" is known the world over for his forked tongue happy talk (thanks to a lot of B-grade -- and a few A-grade -- Hollywood movies). So yeah, it's a really familiar pattern: olive branch or arrows, take your pick.

Baghdadees are crying out for more olive branch, having been shocked and awed way more than any population deserves. Robust civilian infrastructure would serve the cause. Even just an announcement of plans to run more optical fiber (like in Korea) would be helpful. Why not give key religious leaders an early preview of Viiv? This is affordable high tech they might use to leap ahead of the competition, by advertising the true merits of Islam, a religion sorely in need of true warrior-protectors these days (and better PR).

Bona fide Islam should not be confused with these low budget crackpot snuff movies the CIA puts out as misinformation. Islam should fight back against such terrorist porn, another propaganda tool used by inimical divide-and-conquer strategists (the same ones fomenting so much Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence). But how is Algebra City to fight back with both hands tied behind its back? This isn't a fair fight. Every time Iraqis get some decent media, the Coalition shuts it down, or the Pentagon throws another bomb. I dunno about you, but I call that cowardly.