Monday, December 13, 2010

KabobFest gets less Festive

KabobFest, a collaborative blog I mentioned in the past devoted to issues of interest to English speaking Arabs and Muslims, has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past year. It was once a quite interesting place, a lively and happy meeting ground for exchanging ideas and perspectives on current events, laying the foundation for mutual understanding, debating passionately but respectfully. There was a time when I saw more Jews in their comments section than Arabs; in fact, that's what originally drew me to read and comment there.

Those happy, lively days of Kabob are dead. There's no more pretense to civility, no apologia to rage and aggression, no more bones thrown to the cause of justice and peace. The naked worship of murder and brutality, the extolling of savage ideology and the demand that it be taught to children would be refreshing for its honesty, if it weren't so very ugly. The posts and comments have become stale, rancid with petty acrimony, laced with hatred, expressing regressive abuse towards dissent, unchecked bigotry, paranoia, and rampant conspiracy mongering. Kabob is no longer the enlightened pleasure to read that it once was, and that's a damn shame.

As Ben Gurion understood, what's important is not whether someone is a moderate or extremist, but whether what they believe is representative of the masses. In that sense, while the progressive, liberal forum that KabobFest once was has now been snuffed out, I believe the site is finally hitting its stride, expressing the thought prevalent in the wider Arab and Arab American mainstream without the restraints and inhibitions of the past. This is important for them, to be true to themselves, and it is even more important to us, the rest of us, to understand who they are, and to pity them for it.

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