Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bias, bigotry and the Ports

It has been my goal to give people the benefit of the doubt until or unless they have given me reason to think otherwise. Some of the bloggers I respect and read regularly have come down on the side of opposition to the Ports Deal and I have stated pretty clearly that I think their position is a reaction to "Arabs" in general, Dubai in particular.

It has been hard to read their posts complaining that they are being labeled racist or bigoted because of their position when they clearly state very good reasons to be concerned by Dubai's dubious past.

But after feeling guilty for maybe labeling them inappropriately, I come back to, were they against it before they were against it with good reason? Is prejudice justifiable once cause is found?

A commentor noted that after the Mosque bombing last week, many outlets were saying "see, civil war, warned you it was inevitable" but after a few days, things have begun to settle down and civil war has been averted yet again by Iraqis that truly want peace. The commentor lamented the speed at which some want to paint the Iraqis as incapable of peace and any violence is used to support that PREJUDICE. Are there any companies doing business in the Middle East (of any corporate origin) that do not act in ways that would be unacceptable in the United States but simply must be done there to actually get anything done? How many countries and companies that we (the United States) do business with act in ways that are not in our best interest all or even most of the time, but are good business decisions? How many French or German or Japanese companies have pasts that we ignore, even justify on the basis that they are our ally and that the past is history?

Dubai is not a perfect ally. It has to operate in an area of immense danger to itself and it's citizens. It is NOT always going to act in ways we agree with.

I feel bad that bloggers I generally respect disagree with me about the ports, but how many of them supported their position with real concerns before opposing the deal? Honestly? I am afraid fewer than I hope.

No comments: