FDD Bloggers

Blog Editors

  • Mary Beth Nalin
    Communications Coordinator



« Iran, Vanuatu with a frown? (AV) | Main | Iran's Two-Track Strategy (WP) »

August 25, 2006


Charles Stewart

I am sure you will not publish this, but it is worth a try. Here goes:

Of all the stupid ideas that the "War on Terror" has promoted, and there have been plenty, this has got to be the stupidest. Congratulations!
Sticking your fingers in your ears whenever someone abuses, insults or threatens you is a well known, popular and effective response - If you are about 12 years old!
However, sticking your fingers in other peoples ears, adds insult and arrogance to immaturity.

I was born and raised in Northern Ireland, and there, knowing what was going on, who was thinking what, and how the various factions were developing was a matter of survival. Then Maggie Thatcher made her famous "..deny the terrorist the oxygen of publicity... " speech and overnight half of the information stream was cut off.
As a person interested in peace, and who therefore walked a somewhat dangerous path between and into the two communities, I felt personally threatened by this move. Fortunately the BBC and other news outlets found ways round the ban and eventually made it irrelevant.
Eventually the Afghan govt will have to negotiate with the Taliban, the Israelis will have to negotiate with Hamas, and the US will have to negotiate with Iran. If these negotiations are to bear fruit then there needs to be a cadre of people on both sides who have maintained a dialogue and can offer INFORMED opinion on what the other side is thinking.
Listening to extremist opinion or rhetoric does not make you into an extremist. The British, in thousands, listened to "Germany Calling" and the infamous Lord Haw-Haw during WW11.
The other side of the coin is that isolating extremist media, so that they can only function among there own supporters or sympathisers, makes things worse. They no longer have to respond to criticism and can now compete between themselves to see who can be the most extreme.
The thing that Maggie Thatcher got so tragically wrong is that extremism thrives in darkness and stagnation. Oxygen and light are its deadliest enemies.

Please stop making the same mistake.


Charles Stewart, Canada.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Search our Library


  • Send your thoughts, ideas and comments to our Blog Editor!