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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
Moderate Muslims? 
10th-Jul-2005 11:20 am
Where are they? Do they have the courage of their convictions, or are they only sitting back, hoping to enjoy a quiet life?

The second, as it turns out. Or, of course, they simply don't exist, and all Muslims deserve to be killed on general principles.

Let's hope they decide to speak out before both sides decide, for different reasons, to kill them.

UPDATE:The inimitable Arnold King has another perspective:

In Fools Crow, there are moderate native Americans. However, they, too, are paralyzed. Their failure to restrain a small group of terrorists is what leads to the massacre. Perhaps James Welch, writing from the native American point of view, can offer some insights into the reasons for this paralysis. Here are some ideas that I took away from the novel.

1. The native Americans felt they were in a no-win situation. They saw fighting the white man as futile. However, they saw peace with the white man as being on terms that would make it impossible for native Americans to pursue their traditional way of life. For many of the Blackfeet, this is unacceptable. One character says, "the day will come when our people will decide that they would rather consort with the Napikwans than live in the ways our long-ago fathers thought appropriate. But I, Three Bears, will not see this day. I will die first."

2. Moderate native American chiefs were viewed as weak and unmanly, particularly by younger men.

3. Even though the native Americans viewed Owl's Child (the terrorist leader) as wicked and detrimental to their cause, they could not take the humiliating step of turning one of their blood brothers in to the white soldiers.

4. The native Americans did not have the cultural and institutional foundation with which to cope with the crisis.

"As Fools Crow lay in the shadowy lodge...he felt the impotence that had fallen over his people like snow in the night. Before the coming of the Napikwans, decisions had been made. There was always the arguing, but in the end, the men had made a decision and all had abided by it. Fools Crow's grandfather had told of a much simpler life when the decisions were easier -- when to move camp, when to go to the trading house across the Medicine Line, where the hunting would be best, if it was time to raid the Crow or Snake horses."
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