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    (Original post by felamaslen)
    Why concentrate on the authoritarian regimes which the West has propped up? Can you not see that there are many, many evil regimes in the past and present that do just fine with no West propping them up? And that the only hope for these people is to emigrate to the West, which is why they do it in droves?
    OK fine,yes our freedoms in the West may have been protected, but we in the West are actively propping up authoritarian regimes, if it benefits us. Yes, there would be evil regimes without Western intervention, but there'd be LESS regimes. One thing that I think a LOT of autocratic governments have a point at is that "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" as the Sri Lankan leader said today (or was it yesterday? ie: he was pointing out our hypocrisy ie: we want freedoms, but only if it benefits us.
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    (Original post by de_monies)
    OK fine,yes our freedoms in the West may have been protected, but we in the West are actively propping up authoritarian regimes, if it benefits us. Yes, there would be evil regimes without Western intervention, but there'd be LESS regimes. One thing that I think a LOT of autocratic governments have a point at is that "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" as the Sri Lankan leader said today (or was it yesterday? ie: he was pointing out our hypocrisy ie: we want freedoms, but only if it benefits us.
    You're completely missing the point, which is that there would be no free countries if there were no West. So there would not be less authoritarian regimes, there would be more, by virtue of the fact that every regime would be either authoritarian (fascist) or totalitarian (communist). How naive do you have to be to think that if the West played no part in international diplomacy (or not-so-diplomacy), everything would be just fine? You see the West as being at fault simply because the West has global influence. You see, running the world is a dirty business. You are going to make mistakes, and you are going to have to do things which go against your principles. The thing is, if the West had never engaged in any evil activity, it would not exist, and you have to give credit to the West for being the least evil civilisation - ever. If you actually knew what life would be like for you with no Western civilisation, you would agree with me. But you have probably never experienced that kind of life, so instead you resort to the lazy option of bashing the West without actually bothering to examine the evidence. It's like when a child bashes its parents when it doesn't get its own way; the West is an easy target because you won't go to prison for criticising it. Perhaps that is why it receives so much unwarranted criticism.
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    (Original post by darius12345)
    Well no, the Iranian people are very much the conscious descendants of this tradition and culture actually. The regime is not representative, but it's creation lies as much with Western involvement in Iran as with mistakes the Iranian people have made in the last few decades. I don't agree with your views that the US/UK have aided human freedom. Post 1945 tha argument really does not hold much water and they have really been the anti-thesis to self determination in large swathes of the world.
    The US and UK played a massive role in the Cold war, and they were on the right side against the totalitarian Soviet empire. I think that also deserves high praise, don't you?

    But you're right about the Iranian people vs. the Iranian regime; I have nothing against the Iranian people and don't think for a second that the regime is representative, because it is not a democracy. When I said the "Iran of today", I meant how it is run, i.e. its government. I should have been clearer there.
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    (Original post by felamaslen)
    You're completely missing the point, which is that there would be no free countries if there were no West. So there would not be less authoritarian regimes, there would be more, by virtue of the fact that every regime would be either authoritarian (fascist) or totalitarian (communist). How naive do you have to be to think that if the West played no part in international diplomacy (or not-so-diplomacy), everything would be just fine? You see the West as being at fault simply because the West has global influence. You see, running the world is a dirty business. You are going to make mistakes, and you are going to have to do things which go against your principles. The thing is, if the West had never engaged in any evil activity, it would not exist, and you have to give credit to the West for being the least evil civilisation - ever. If you actually knew what life would be like for you with no Western civilisation, you would agree with me. But you have probably never experienced that kind of life, so instead you resort to the lazy option of bashing the West without actually bothering to examine the evidence. It's like when a child bashes its parents when it doesn't get its own way; the West is an easy target because you won't go to prison for criticising it. Perhaps that is why it receives so much unwarranted criticism.
    Ill definitely say that the West today is probably less evil than any other regimes so far, but that doesn't mean that we are these great protectors of freedom. Post WW2, that hasn't always been the case imo

    And it's not the "lazy option" of bashing the West. I know that there are many great things the West has done for freedom as well, but ultimately is our goal really "freedom"? If we wanted people to be free, then why don't we do any thing with Robert Mugabe for instance? Why is it only when our own national interests are threatened, that's when we intervene? And then dress it up as we're protecting "freedom"

    And honestly, I do partially know what like is without living in the West, but I refuse to believe that I am "free" today, because of say our on going wars with other countries

    The lazy option is to say that the West simply makes "mistakes" I'm pretty sure that the well planned overthrowing of the last democratically elected leader was simply a "mistake"

    Imo, freedoms evolve any way. Look at any developing nation. They begin to encompass basic freedoms. Whilst the West may have started this, it's almost "human nature" if you like. We're far more alike than we'd like to think
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    (Original post by de_monies)
    Ill definitely say that the West today is probably less evil than any other regimes so far, but that doesn't mean that we are these great protectors of freedom. Post WW2, that hasn't always been the case imo

    And it's not the "lazy option" of bashing the West. I know that there are many great things the West has done for freedom as well, but ultimately is our goal really "freedom"? If we wanted people to be free, then why don't we do any thing with Robert Mugabe for instance? Why is it only when our own national interests are threatened, that's when we intervene? And then dress it up as we're protecting "freedom"

    And honestly, I do partially know what like is without living in the West, but I refuse to believe that I am "free" today, because of say our on going wars with other countries

    The lazy option is to say that the West simply makes "mistakes" I'm pretty sure that the well planned overthrowing of the last democratically elected leader was simply a "mistake"
    Just because the West promotes world freedom, doesn't mean it has the means or capability to destroy every authoritarian human waste (you mention Mugabe for example) in the world. It would be wonderful if it could and if it did, although I suspect that if it did, people like you would accuse it of other things, such as colonialism.

    So yes, I don't deny that the West acts in its national self-interests most of the time (who doesn't?). It's human nature to do this, but it still deserves thanks for what it does when what it does is ultimately to protect freedom on a global, long-term level. When I say that the West has made "mistakes", these things can be deliberate (like the overthrowing of Mohammad Mosaddegh), or they can be due to the fact that there is no alternative (like the alliance with the USSR in WWII). But overall, freedom and the concept of the free nation would not exist without the West, even if what they have done has often gone against their principles.

    I'm not going to say that the West's propping up of authoritarian regimes has always or even ever been done with good intentions (i.e. I'm not making a claim in either direction). But there is a debate to be had over whether, during the Cold war especially, it is / was necessary to back dictators and thugs simply because the alternative was somebody who was on the wrong side of the war between Communism and freedom and who would have been more harmful in the long run. It's just something to think about.
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    (Original post by felamaslen)
    I never said the West can do no wrong, and I never said the West was the only heroic civilisation (and agree with neither statement, just to make things clear).

    Listen, you do owe your freedom to the West, whether you like it or not. Everybody does. If it weren't for Britain and America, you would be living under the swastika or under the hammer and sickle, or under Japanese tyranny, or some other totalitarian or authoritarian system. It may be a little difficult to grasp, but freedom was handed down to you - by the West - before you were even born (as it was to me). Freedom is not a default condition of humanity, it is something for which many human lives were sacrificed; it is an idea which is extremely precious because we did not evolve with it, it was thought of and implemented over centuries. Please at least show a little humility and recognise this truth.
    Hardly a good example when the World Wars, colonialism and the growth of Communism were propogated by Western powers anyways - so non-Western countries were saved from problems that the West created? I feel so greatful :rolleyes:
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    Yes, I've tried amounts of times to tell my self I'm British, but my true identity is Pakistan, I symphathize far more for them then I do for Britain. My parents haven't influenced my decisions they hardly mention it to me, I've had to figure it out for my self, Ancestory vs Nationality.
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    (Original post by Ornlu)
    Hardly a good example when the World Wars, colonialism and the growth of Communism were propogated by Western powers anyways - so non-Western countries were saved from problems that the West created? I feel so greatful :rolleyes:
    The "growth of Communism was propagated by Western powers"? What about the Communists themselves? Also, what about all the things that the West did before the world wars (it wasn't just colonialism you know), like the foundations of liberalism, capitalism, the enlightenment, freedom of speech, secularism etc. (and don't forget the abolition of slavery!) - I'm not saying it was just the West that played a part in these things, but we definitely have them to thank the most for our sky-high freedom and prosperity today.
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    I don't feel insecure about how British/not British I am. I don't care what label people slap on me. I don't think anyone could slap a label on me anyway considering the many ways (I'd say about 8 ways) my ethnicity/nationality can go but I don't see why labels should be of any importance.
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    (Original post by felamaslen)
    The "growth of Communism was propagated by Western powers"? What about the Communists themselves? Also, what about all the things that the West did before the world wars (it wasn't just colonialism you know), like the foundations of liberalism, capitalism, the enlightenment, freedom of speech, secularism etc. - I'm not saying it was just the West that played a part in these things, but we definitely have them to thank the most for our sky-high freedom and prosperity today.
    What you are pointing out is that we are 'free' in light of colonialism; not we are free because of colonialism. Thus, we unfortunately cannot tell how the world would have turned out if colonialism didn't happen. It is, therefore, I refuse to be grateful to the West for my apparent 'freedom'.

    Edit: For all we know, free speech, democracy etc could have existed without the West.
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    (Original post by Ornlu)
    What you are pointing out is that we are 'free' in light of colonialism; not we are free because of colonialism. Thus, we unfortunately cannot tell how the world would have turned out if colonialism didn't happen. It is, therefore, I refuse to be grateful to the West for my apparent 'freedom'.

    Edit: For all we know, free speech, democracy etc could have existed without the West.
    I don't think I ever said or implied that we were free because of colonialism. I said and think that we are free because of Western civilisation (in fact I will make this clear and say that we are free despite ​colonialism, and it is a good thing that it was abolished).

    Reply to your edit: well that's just fantasy isn't it. It completely ignores the rather large body of evidence which tells us that almost all other civilisations have not respected human rights and did not provide nearly as good a life for the average person.
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    (Original post by felamaslen)
    I don't think I ever said or implied that we were free because of colonialism. I said and think that we are free because of Western civilisation (in fact I will make this clear and say that we are free despite ​colonialism, and it is a good thing that it was abolished).

    Reply to your edit: well that's just fantasy isn't it. It completely ignores the rather large body of evidence which tells us that almost all other civilisations have not respected human rights and did not provide nearly as good a life for the average person.
    How on earth does that work though? How can we be free due to Western civilisation (you might have tried to explain this before but, to me, it really doesn't make sense)?

    Colonialism goes from around the 1500's onwards - I find it hard to believe that society was that much better in Britain than say the Indian subcontinent at this time. Human Rights were equally appalling around the world IMO; you could try and prove otherwise...
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    Lol apparently the West did everything. It's not like the Indians, Persians and Chinese didn't exist.

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    (Original post by Ornlu)
    How on earth does that work though? How can we be free due to Western civilisation (you might have tried to explain this before but, to me, it really doesn't make sense)?

    Colonialism goes from around the 1500's onwards - I find it hard to believe that society was that much better in Britain than say the Indian subcontinent at this time. Human Rights were equally appalling around the world IMO; you could try and prove otherwise...
    Human rights in Britain were non-existent for quite a while. They were hanging gays, for example, up until the 19th century! So no, the West has not always been democratic, it has not always been civilised or free. But it did invent and propagate some of the major advancements for humanity.

    Basically, I don't regard freedom as something we are born with. I regard it as something which we have to protect, and which has repeatedly been taken away from us. Western civilisation has been by far the most vigorous defender of this commodity, to such an extent that it wouldn't exist without it right now, and that's the point I was making.
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    (Original post by Ggmu!)
    Lol apparently the West did everything. It's not like the Indians, Persians and Chinese didn't exist.

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    In the last few centuries the West has done everything. Obviously that doesn't mean older civilisations aren't to thank too, like the Indians, Persians and Chinese, as you say.
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    (Original post by felamaslen)
    In the last few centuries the West has done everything. Obviously that doesn't mean older civilisations aren't to thank too, like the Indians, Persians and Chinese, as you say.
    Do you honestly think he West would be capable of anything without the foundations of virtually EVERYTHING that came from India, China and Persia? Ashoka's human rights predate anything in the West.

    Civilisation begun in the East and was exported to the West.

    Unfortunately, the East has generally been in turmoil in the time the West has moved ahead. I can't say I know much about ancient China and Persia, but Indian development was hugely thwarted by Mughals, and then the British.

    While in their own lands, Western countries have prospered, they have often played God with entire countries and populations.

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    Well I try to consider it from an emigrant's perspective... me personally, I attach a great deal of weight to my upbringing, childhood, experiences, memories, all that irrevocably grounded in where I grew up and my initial surroundings. My culture and interests are hugely influenced by a combination of my locality and my nation, insofar as to say that if I moved abroad now (I'm 22) I don't know if I'd ever in my lifetime start thinking of or referring to myself as a citizen of my adoptive country. I would feel rather sheepish more than anything about referring to myself in front of actual people of that country, as if I was a sort of sly imposter. I don't know, maybe that's how they feel. They're afraid to start referring to themselves as British in case British people don't like it. I know that's why I'd be recalcitrant in their shoes, too.
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    To finally answer the question, I generally call myself British when speaking to foreigners, and British Punjabi when speaking to other Britons (and Indians/Pakistanis)...
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    I dislike the term ethnic minority's, because in actuality worldwide the real ethnic minorities are in the "white dominions".

    That's a lie though OP we do just need reassurance or are insecure. We know we are British although a lot of English people do kit like this. Especially, if our parents are from the so-called commonwealth countries.

    The thing is we have the choice to identify with Britain it our ethnic origin as we see fit or when it is advantageous to us. I think many English people dislike this choice we have. Lool as they are only English it British.

    I myself identify as a Londoner and then of Nigerian Origin.
    And for practicality call myself British or British Nigerian. (I strongly dislike the term Black British it is so dumb).

    I love having the choice. However, I know that due to the racist nature of the west. Skin colour will always prevent non-whites from fully being seen as British.

    So, the problem is not with us but with the white British. More so the English.

    FYI My mother see herself as more British she's been here over 30yrs she came as a student (not the stereotypical immigrant :rolleyes:). Lived most of her life here. But obvs she is still Nigerian has part if the accent still.

    No generalisations next time OP.

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    (Original post by Al-Mudaari)
    First you say "did not last 500 - 700 years" and then end up concluding "makes it 500 years"

    Also, I wouldn't say it's a stretch, and even though there was a decline after the Mongol invasion (though it wasn't only because of this, there's so many factors that played a part, including the Crusader invasion), science continued to thrive as there were still tens of scientists within every discipline. Astronomy in particular continued to do well.
    Yeah but I feel the Golden Age had peaked because Islamic political power had peaked. The Abbasid Caliphate had fragmented along regional lines and had lost the spirit of tolerance and most of it's wealth - it is like saying that Britain today is still in it's zenith of power because it sill makes world changing scientific discoveries. I don't really see how you categorise a society as being in a Golden Age when the whole political structure is disintegrating around it.

    That's not really a good argument, which civilization "sprung out of thin air and created all this stuff"? Which cultures was not built upon advancing the works of other cultures?

    The Muslims had extra incentives to preserve knowledge instead of destroying it (like other cultures would, such as the Mongols), that's why they would have a translation culture, because they wanted to take knowledge from wherever they could find it. Translating itself was a very well paid job (read somewhere that it's equivalent to what professional Athletes get paid today)
    This was my point, the translation culture did not begin with the Muslims, it's origins and the original translators were not Muslim, nor were they Arab. The translation culture occurred for two main reasons. Firstly, under the Umayyad Caliphate the language of administration was changed to Arabic from the local languages of the administrators - this was typically Persian, Greek, Aramaic and Coptic depending upon the region of the Caliphate. The language of administration had changed but the administrative structure of the Umayyad Caliphate was almost identical to the Byzantine and Persian empires it had replaced - the head was changed but the body was the same if you like - thus as a consequence; the Empire was essentially run by non-Arab Muslims, thus when the official language was changed these administrators learnt Arabic so you had a class of people who spoke multiple languages. These people were almost always non-Muslim. The second major factor was the incorporation of the Persian translation culture by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mansur. Essentially, the Persians had been translating books from Greek, Aramaic, Indian and Chinese languages for centuries into Persian. This is because in the Zoroastrian faith it is believed all knowledge in the world is derived from the Avesta - so the Persians believed that all Greek philosophy, Indian Mathematics etcetera stemmed from the Avesta thus it was a religious duty to translate these works into Persian - as a consequence this translation culture had existed for centuries before the conquest of Persia creating libraries and a network of translators. Al-Mansur had been put in power partly because of Persian desire to not be seen as racially inferior (the Umayyad Caliphates put Arab Muslims at the top of the social structure - ahead of Persian Muslims etcetera) so he decided to incorporate this aspect of Persian culture in an attempt to appeal to Persians into the Abbasid Caliphate. Thus the Sassanian translation culture became part of the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad; without this body of knowledge from Persia and the centuries of translation that had already occurred - coupled with the fact that lots of the non-muslim population were already bilingual due to the linguistic policy of the Umayyads are what laid the groundwork for the translation work in places like the house of wisdom - it wasn't like the Caliph just decided one day he wanted all these translations to occur - the fact that it did occur was the consequence of centuries of historical events and movements - it really should be seen as the continuation and population of a movement that the Zoroastrian Persians began in earnest under the early Sassanians.

    The point I am trying to make is that every intellectual movement is reliant on other cultures, on other people's work. Standing on the shoulders of giants and so on - this is why your silly and frankly immature posturing about Muslims vs Europeans is just silly - neither of these events would have happened without the other - nor would they have happened without the impact of other societies that came before them. Even within the Golden Age it was reliant peoples other than just Muslims - for example during the peak of the Golden Age the Caliphates population was actually majority non-Muslim, and these peoples had a huge impact on the intellectual currents of the time.

    Furthermore - a lot of the great thinkers in the Golden Age were not exactly devout Muslims (some were) - some such as Al-Razi were actually atheists and wrote books saying that Muhammad was a fraud and that all the prophets were probably either psychologically ill or wilful fraudsters - it is funny because this was tolerated in Baghdad in the 900s but in 2013 it could lead to you being killed. Al-Razi at the time was one of the most respected intellectuals in the whole Caliphate. Basically the lifestyle of those in the Islamic Golden Age was far from being a puritan and rigidly Islamic one - most of the Abbasid Caliphates drunk wine and listened to music and wrote poetry about sex which was something that was well known by the people of Baghdad - and they were not particularly concerned with. So it was a hugely tolerant and really quite permissive culture that was really open to influences from Greece, from Persia, from China, from India and actively encouraged participation from non-Muslims - so it is probably the opposite sort of society that Islamic hardliners pine after today..
 
 
 
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