Sunday, September 03, 2006

Be Careful What You Say

Wow, Mark Steyn of the Chicago Sun-Times has some difficult and profound words for the West, and Western media. Most of you probably know that a few weeks ago, two FOX News Channel journalists were captured in Gaza, and held prisoner for two weeks. The ransom demand was the release of all Muslim prisoners in the U.S., which, needless to say, didn't happen. What did happen was that the two journalists publicly (as in, they were videotaped for later broadcast) converted to Islam, garnering their own release.

Many journalists and pundits hailed the conversion as a common-sense move by the journalists to free themselves--just a practical step, or even a clever sham, that anyone would take to ensure their own safety. Steyn's perspective is different, and he examines what the effect on the Islamist mind is when the message we in the West send continually conveys weakness:

It doesn't matter how "understandable" Centanni and Wiig's actions are to us, what the target audience understands is quite different: that there is nothing we're willing to die for. And, to the Islamist mind, a society with nothing to die for is already dead.
Read the rest, if you have the time. It's an important reminder that what we intend to say, and what others hear, are not always the same thing--and that what we do is part of what we say. Not all Muslims are looking for the West to fall, but those who are waging this jihad are looking to exploit any weakness. Their message is consistent: Convert, or die. We need to make sure that our words and actions are sending a consistent message, too, and that the message isn't, "We surrender."

Hat tip: Instapundit