June 28, 2010

Conversations, #14

As usual, my scatter-brained state means I didn't pout up a post about the 14th instalment of the conversation between the Pakistani journalist Beena Sarwar and myself. Here it is: Joint narratives, common ground.

Your thoughts welcome. I'll post the 15th and final instalment soon.

Earlier instalments: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13.


Jai_C said...


1. "..murder of INNOCENT civilians.."

The Prof.TJ post brought me back here to check this: the lampshade qualifier *innocent*

This unfortunately *is* the fundie way of seeing it. Any action they take is on "guilty" people.

I am not suggesting that Ms.Sarwar is on that page any more than say you or me. I just wish you were more worried when this language gets used though.

Getting from "do not kill the innocent" to just plain "do not kill" is a huge win.

2. "...In the long run, of course, all three..."

Just FYI: Maybe there has been other communication between you that sets this differently but it sure sounds there like you taking Beena's decisions for her.

A boss-subordinate tone is apparent and without need to invoke "condescension / patronage" detectors. Its there in plain text.


Dilip D'Souza said...

This unfortunately *is* the fundie way of seeing it. Any action they take is on "guilty" people.

You're saying the civilians that terrorists/militants kill are "guilty" people? You're objecting to calling them "innocent"? I don't follow your objection.

A boss-subordinate tone is apparent...

Not what I intended. Not what was assumed.

Jai_C said...

1. Sorry I wasnt clear enough.

I'm having trouble with the use of the qualifier *innocent* before civilian esp. as used in the phrase:

"the murder of innocent civilians"

Let's please just go with

"the murder of civilians"

since any civilians attacked by fundies are not innocent in *their* view.

2. Tone of discussion: sure. just read that way.

Among other things, I would probably have liked some of the mail to go Beena-Dilip rather than, as it seemed, you setting the agenda and driving the disc. most of the time.

PS: I didnt think this would evoke surprise. I once managed to get a debate/ disc to a point of

Do not harm people even if they seem "guilty" by your value system /code/ whatever.

My interlocutor agreed that punishing the guilty is big A's job not his (alleged) devotees'.

The starting point for that debate was indeed, innocence and the authority to decide "guilt" and appropriateness of punishing it.

My discussions havent always been with people who have the same sense of innocence/ guilt as I. I'm pretty sure thats if anything, more true for you.

Okay this conv now has me telling you how to conduct your debates :-) and in stronger tone than I intended. Also off-track. bye now.

Dilip D'Souza said...

since any civilians attacked by fundies are not innocent in *their* view.

I still dont understand. why do you expect me to know or give a damn what "fundies" think? I think the "innocent" underscores the random nature of most terrorist attacks, be it in Kashmir or Delhi, Bombay or Gujarat.

you setting the agenda.

Which matches nicely with the guy who wrote to me (or left a comment, can't remember) saying more or less "Why are you always reacting to Ms Sarwar? Why don't you raise the issues?"

If we've managed to provoke opposite reactions like this, as the old saying goes we probably did something right.

In addition, I have no followed your mention of "big A". Though if you're also saying it's off-track, I'll let that pass.

Jai_C said...

That's cool.

If I were conducting a disc. with Beena I would have tried to get "innocent" dropped as a qualifier from "murder of civilians" for reasons I dont seem to be able to get across.

My comm skills or the lack of them :-) is one reason I wont try what you suggested at #15- a direct interaction with a stranger in Pak.

I dont see that this is going anywhere. Quits?