This morning CNN.com reports a quote from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, in which he says:

<FONT COLOR="blue">The Arab world should be showing "a higher level of outrage" over the death of an American businessman</FONT>

This is an interesting situation. I'm no expert on the Middle East or Islam but I'm smart enough to realise something Secretary Powell has missed. And that is, the values we Westerners have are not necessarily the same as those of other cultures. How we judge the severity or horror of an action may not be the same as someone from an Arab country.

Hypothetically, let's say you are a very religious person and your religion tells you that to die in the name of God is the best thing that can happen to you. The grislier your death the better. When you're dead all your dreams will come true. On the other hand, if you commit a serious sin against God, then nothing this world can do to you will compare to the nightmare waiting after your death. And to be humiliated, naked in front of a female from an enemy religion is a particularly nasty insult to your God.

Could it be that to some Arabs, the way prisoners were abused by the Americans is actually a lot worse than having your head sawed off? It may seem ridiculous to the average Westerner, but if you see it from the point of view of someone who believes that God's will and the afterlife are what really matter, then it makes some sense.


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