Ignorance Is Bliss

Posted: February 20, 2007 by April Watkins in Current Events, Islam, Politics
Tags: ,

The more I learn, the more I have discovered how ignorant I truly am.  Yes, that’s right…ignorant.  Unfortunately, most of us are.  Ignorant of world history, our own history, other cultures, differing ideology, other religions, etc.  Due to this, we lack the ability to discern the importance of certain historical events to other peoples. 

Case in point, 11 September. No, not 2001…try 1683, when the combined forces of the Christian Western world defeated the Islamic Ottoman Empire.  This was the turning point in a 300-year struggle between Christians and Muslims which saved Europe from falling into the hands of the Ottoman Empire.   You may not have ever studied world history.  Or if you did, you may never have noted this particular event.  However, the Muslim world did…and it remembers well.   

This ignorance of world history and other cultures is especially true of most Americans.  I’ve read that the American lack of worldly acuity is due to the simple fact of our geographical isolation from the rest of the world.  We have not been forced to deal with multiple languages and cultures in any large way…until now.  Now we are faced with a rapidly changing demographic within our own borders which is, frankly, a shock, to our naïve population.  We see the influx of multiple ethnicities into cities, as well as, small towns like our own.  Because we have not lived with these varied cultures, we do not understand their societal norms, which in some cases are diametrically opposed to the values that most Americans share.  For example, we don’t cut off one’s hand for theft in America, or stone a woman to death for being alone in a room with a man who is not her husband.    

In this post-era of the fight for Civil Rights, we have proffered our best efforts to be fair and provide “equal justice for all” (granted, sometimes to the point of being so politically correct that it becomes absurd…but that is for another article). Americans assume that everyone wants what we have; therefore, everyone thinks like we do; ergo, everyone must reason as we do.  Wrong.    Wrong, wrong, wrong.  This is where the “ignorance” factor shines its scalding light upon us.  We have failed to understand other cultures and, in some extreme cases, such as that of the Muslim world, it has been to our detriment.  This is a new era in our world, and we are only at the opening act. 

Make no mistake; this war is a clash of cultures:  Muslim vs. Judeo-Christian…contrary to what the politicians feel compelled to say publicly.  It will eventually affect us all and you need to know just how complicated the issue is.  There will be no quick fix.  We must have the wits to understand the root cause and the tenacity to finish the ugly job ahead.  And that is Why It Matters. 


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