The Problem is Lack of UnderstandingAugust 8th, 2002
Senior World Correspondent
I think we all know about the frictions between the Western and impoverished sphere, and I think that we know what the solution to these problems is.
We have to learn to understand the other people and cultures of the Earth.
We may live on the same planet, they live in a totally different world with cultures and values that seem totally alien to us. In order to work with them, we must understand and tolerate them and their culture. The problem is, we don't or don't want to understand them, and that is where the problem lies.
I suppose you might ask: do they understand us?
It isn't important to think about it, but I think it's safe to assume that they understand us. They must understand us. We're us. After all, I am writing this editorial, and I think I understand us, so so should they.
But really, we inundate them with Western products like Coca-Cola and Levi's Jeans. We all know they are perfectly capable of understanding our culture based on inferences made on those exports. "Our culture is our biggest export," you know? It's a fact.
But let's not worry about that. We are the ones with the tanks and fighter planes, so obviously we are the ones who must do the understanding.
Some intolerant people might point out that those in opressed cultures have comitted horrible acts against each other and us. Those aren't important, because I can name, from memory, any number of offenses made by Western cultures on oppressed groups hundreds of years ago. Especially the United States. I have memorized thousands of potential or historical infractions made by the United States, and although they might not be as serious or credible as others made in related time periods or situations, they are more important to memorize because they were or could have been made by the United States.
In fact, if you think about it, because of our exports and our money and our fighter planes, it must be that we caused the other, non-Westerners, to do all those horrible things. I'm sure we can find an explanation somewhere. It's in the understanding. When we find the understanding, we will find how it was our fault they willingly and willfully comitted gross infractions on humankind.
We aren't going to get rid of terrorism by killing all the terrorists. We can only get rid of the root causes of terrorism, like hatred and despair. We must solve those problems without interfering with cultures they appear in, just as we have had such sucess getting rid of hatred and despair in our own cultures and because interfering with their culture could be worse than anything they could do to us.
Remember, we must understand. We must understand them, their culture, and how we cause their gross violations of their own cultural codes. Remember: there is no right or wrong, only wrongs made to oppressed groups. The worst of which is lack of understanding.