re: "Fitzgerald: The Teddy Bear Incident"
"(W)e can all recognize and instantly grasp, the teacher's innocence.... (a)nd we know the story, of how she allowed her little seven-year-old charges to vote on the name they wanted to give the little teddy bear"
"The innocence of this lady was also the innocence of Daniel Pearl, who was ignorant of Islam and Muslims though he had written about Muslims, and had grown up in a family with a mother who recalled, a bit too nostalgically, stories about her life in Baghdad as a Jew. (She left Baghdad as a small child, and no doubt the stories were those of her parents, who remembered only the good, at the very time when, because of the British and the aftermath of the British presence, Jews in Baghdad had temporarily flourished or, later, had at least been left alone -- until the "Farhud" of June 1-2, 1941, when hundreds were killed.) Pearl was unschooled in Islam and too trusting. And then there was that young American boy, who grew up in a household with a father, Michael Berg, who was sure everyone in the world was fine, save possibly American right-wing capitalists, and gave his son the same terminally naive worldview. That son, Nicholas Berg, flew up, on his own, mind you, to Iraq to "help" the "people of Iraq" in building up their country. And for his pains, he was decapitated, to shouts of Allahu Akbar, on camera."
"The Teddy Bear Incident.
It's like "Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead." There is an individual life at stake -- the life of someone with whom all of us can identify, and whom none of us can fault. We might, any one of us, in the West, have asked our seven-year-old charges to "name that bear." We might, sweetly, have thought -- "Muhammad is the name of three-quarters of the kids in the class, so why not let them name the bear Muhammad?"
We might. Once. But not now."