February 21, 2003

Of doves and hawks …

I first intended to make this entry a few days ago after having accidentally browsed over to the blog of somebody unknown to me. This person was so rabidly in favour of a war with Iraq and seemed to be going after anti-war protestors with such gusto, and the commentors on her site seemed to be of her own ilk and I just felt that I had to speak out about the phenomena. I mean about all these people sitting safely at home and throwing around labels like republican, democrat, liberal, right-wing, left-wing but in the end talking about killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people to justify their political leanings. OK, maybe I’m a bit harsh there but all this political haranguing is not going to help any of us if it comes to a war. But before I get into that, I would probably have linked to this person’s site originally if I’d written this entry when I intended to write it but since then I’ve been to her site again and she says that she’s tired of the hate mail and people linking to her without understanding what she’s about. Personally, I feel that if you write about what you care and you do so without malice, you shouldn’t worry about what other people think – it should be your opinion about yourself that matters to you first and foremost. Plus, she has such slogans as "First Iraq, Then France" on her site and so I don’t see how she can claim to be a non-biased objective person and that she needs to be understood before people vilify her :p Whatever the case maybe, I decided that if she didn’t like to be linked to, then it wasn’t right for me to link to her – whatever my objections to her comments (and even more than hers, those of her commenters …) may be. But I will comment on some of the comments on her site and please bear with me for saying something but not providing any links to verify that what I said is true …

There were several things which set me off at this blog that I’m talking about – the first and foremost was the above mentioned "First Iraq, then France" slogan. These people claim to be objective, open-minded individuals who don’t really want other people to die but see no other alternative except for war. If they were as open minded as they claim to be, I don’t think they’d want to grind anybody who opposes their point of view under their heels – which is what the comment about France amounts to … at least to me. Some might argue that it is funny and that might be why it was on this blog but I’d say that it is still insensitive and I don’t see much difference these people’s attitudes and that of the Nazis, for instance. I don’t hate people who have an opposed view – I just hope that I can show them my point of view and that maybe they will understand where I’m coming from. Whereas they (or at least according to the slogan) seem to think that anybody opposed to their point of view needs to be considered an enemy. Where does that come from? Can you really call yourself objective after such invective?

Then there were several people who commented on this blogger’s post vilifying anti-war protestors. One guy said that he doesn’t hate anybody – Muslims, Iraqis whatever – but that they (meaning the US) needed to bomb Iraq because all the Iraqis hated him and his little daughter and wanted to slit their throats! My friend Robin says that you should respond to such utterly insane comments by being even more over the top like saying "Yeah, and we will disembowel you and use your head as a football" or something like that … But I don’t know … I feel that on one hand you are stooping to their level and on another, you lose the chance to reach that person in case there is even a slim chance of still reaching them through all this misinformation/hatred they seem to have surrounded themselves with. I told this particular guy that most Iraqi’s probably couldn’t care less about him or his little daughter because they were just trying to get through their day to day lives, just like him or me or any of us. He says that he’s spoken to several Iraqi’s in person (or maybe online I forget which now …) but I don’t see how he could make a blanket statement like "they all want to kill my little daughter" if he really knew any Iraqi’s.

Incidentally, this guy claimed to be a marine and said that what us "civilians" don’t understand about bombing is that the army does not go in and indiscriminately bomb everything – that it was all about precision work. I asked him whether this was the same precision work which resulted in "malfunctioning" missiles killing civilians in Afghanistan but of course, there was no answer to that. But one thing that seemed to come out of these comments was that a lot of people seemed to think that the anti-war protests are actually either anti-Bush, or anti-Semitic (this one really floors me … but more on this later) or anti-American. And a lot of these people seem to have the belief that anybody who is anti-war thinks that Saddam is an angelic choir-boy! What rubbish! Of course, we … OK, I can’t speak for everybody but at least I, know that Saddam is not free of blame but then again, who is? Can the US government claim to be free of guilt – of having bloody hands in having dabbled in the matters of so many other countries just because they wanted to control things? of having trained Osama Bin Laden and then had him turned against them? of having provided Saddam weapons when he was fighting against Iran? I don’t think so! But most of the above mentioned "hawks" seem to either dismiss all of this as "it’s America’s duty to make the world safe and spread democracy" (has anybody asked who asked America to do all of this except for the US government and it’s rhetoric?) or as blatant anti-American propaganda. What I oppose in this war (or in any war for that matter) is the unnecessary killing (mostly of civilians and bystanders – that often quoted "collateral damage") of people for political/economical/ideological reasons.

Then there was the whole anti-Semitic thing. I don’t even know where that came from … though I can guess. While it could be that some people again imagined things where nothing was (or thought that pro-Iraqi/Arab *has to* be anti-Semitic), it is also possible that some of the Muslim anti-ware demonstrators carried anti-Semitic messages and that started the whole Jewish community going. People, this is not about Islam or Judaism! If it comes to that, Christians, Muslims and Jews all believe in the same God – or at least should! Don’t believe me? Most people don’t, they even argue loudly about this and say that this can never be but think … Jews, Christians and Muslims all believe in Moses as a prophet and unless Moses was a polytheist (which would shake the foundations of all three religions), his God has to be God of all three religions – yes, the specifics might be different but the basics are the same. So why do Muslims, Christians and Jews fight each other in the name of their religion and God? Think people, think! I’ve been hearing this rubbish from Muslims for a long time about how the Qur’an says that Christians and Jews are our enemies (utter rubbish!) and now I hear that some Jews are saying that according to the Torah, all Arabs must be killed! I can only say, that if all these people followed the spirit of their religion instead of scrabbling through the words, they might find peace both within themselves and out in the world …

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Posted by Fahim at 6:21 am  |  1 Comment

Yesterday, as I concluded my entry (or somewhere about then) a thought struck me – why shouldn’t I combine Blog and BlogMan under one interface? I think the reason this whole line of thought was set off was because I received an e-mail from a Blog user who suggested some extra fields like the Excerpt field in Movable Type since he utilizes them to display per-entry stuff like his current mood and music. I guess I simply could add an extra Excerpt entry box or extra info box without merging Blog and BlogMan but the whole excerpt thing made me realize that if I do do that, the UI for Blog and BlogMan will look even more similar. So why maintain two different programs which are both for blogging and which both have almost the same interface? On the other hand is of course the question of how much more additional overhead will the merger bring and will all users need that extra bloat?

I’ve been going back and forth with this question. It will be a lot of work to combine the two programs and to come up with a unified database structure to handle the data for both systems. Plus data conversion for existing users is going to be a real pain. But on the other hand, a unified Blog and BlogMan would mean that would be to go from a blogging utility supporting the Blogger API to Blog (and vice versa) so much simpler and easier. And at the same time, there are common features like image thumbnail creation that people want for both Blog and BlogMan – and it would make sense to put all of that into one program rather than two – well, maybe not make sense but it’s easier … and I’m lazy :p

I still am not sure if I really want to go that route or even if it is possible but I’m thinking about it. In the meantime, since I can’t do a merging of Blog and BlogMan except as a new version, I’ve been working on the 7.x bug fixes again 🙂 I still am messing around with the collapsible category entry panel since I am not totally happy with how it works – meaning that Blog does not remember if it was collapsed when Blog closes … it will again be open when you restart Blog. I’d like to fix that but the component that I’m using has certain limitations and it looks as if I will have to modify the component itself if I want it to work the way I want.

I did look into a bug reported some time back where the very first date range with an entry does not get listed in the archive table of contents though the archive file for that range is created. When I first tried to reproduce the problem, I couldn’t since everything seemed to work fine. I then did some further checking and realized that this happens only when there is only one entry for the very first date range – otherwise things work fine :p I finally traced the problem to a logical bug in looping through records and managed to fix it. I also changed the encryption method used for passwords so that we don’t get stray carriage returns embedded in the password to create havoc with the INI file storage – I just need to test the upgrade routine for that and if that works, we’re set. Unfortunately, the upgrade routine will not correctly update the passwords of people with embedded carriage returns and so they will have to re-enter their password(s) one last time after upgrading to Blog 7.1 – sorry 🙁 I should hopefully have the 7.1 release out pretty soon … unless I get caught up in something else again …

Posted by Fahim at 6:02 am  |  4 Comments