Having spent most of my life in the Middle East, I am sensitive to recognizing artificially-induced, exhibitionistic, whipped-up outrage -- "shaming fits" -- forced upon ordinary people by "the system."
"Shaming," as in, "Have you no shame?" and frequently mentioned in communications among Muslims, is not looked down on, but lifted up as, for example, a fine way of raising children. It is a point of pride to promote a hatred that has been officially designated by officials or the society. Children are "shamed," for example, if they want to befriend Christians or Jews – it would be, in America, something like having your child say he wants to befriend people in some horrendous cult. The Arabic words muayra or khajal come close – but the phenomenon is not really about words; it is about a huge, entire force in a culture.
Every society creates its own taboos: sacred cows in the form of politically correct expressions pressed upon people to encourage them to shrink and cringe whenever certain words are mentioned, and to render whatever or whomever is pointed out as disgusting as an example of what could happen to anyone who dares to "cross the line" of what is considered "correct" in each country In the West, expressions such as "racist," or in the Muslim world expressions such as "apostate" can do the trick: these words are intended to silence citizens, keep them muzzled, and keep them beaten down.
The Muslim world is at the top of the list of cultures that have perfected the art of using this cultural tool in the Middle East, and apparently elsewhere, to stop people from thinking so they will not be able to evolve beyond the officially-provided baggage of group-think.
In Muslim countries, the sacred cow objective -- that for which, above all, "shaming" must be used -- is to keep people under the control of Islamic law through government enforcement, and to prevent any change in that regard. It is not a coincidence, therefore, that Islamic law dictates that the number one job of the Muslim head of state is "to preserve Islam in its original form and never accept any novelty."
The tool of shaming and artificially-induced outrage is nothing new in American politics, either, but its use by the current administration, especially in the Martin/Zimmerman case, has taken America to a new low.
Running out of true racism cases, the current administration had to find a fresh, fake, governmentally-induced outrage to divert attention from its scandals -- similarly to what Islamists do when they call their opponents "apostates." Desperate to change the subject, an administration engulfed in scandals apparently decided it would be politically convenient to distract the public with anything, even the poorest case that only resembles racism, concerning a man who has the opposite of any discernible history of it, and as sometimes sadly happens, a case that, even under scrutiny, lacked any evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The Department of Justice, in the oldest trick in the book, even sent down storm troopers under the guise of "keeping the peace" to rally for the prosecution and whip up racial hatred before a fair trial could even begin.
This is the same unjustified outrage that, in the Benghazi scandal, the current administration consciously created over the video "Innocence of Muslims," which, for weeks, it falsely kept alleging caused the murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other brave Americans, while knowing all this time that the information they were purveying was not true.
As in many Muslim cultures, the current administration has perfected the technique of shaming to try to claim moral superiority, as well as to close down free speech (the filmmaker is still the only person from those attacks who is in prison).
Attorney General Eric Holder, who describes America as a "nation of cowards," continues his "outrage" over the Martin/Zimmerman case, even though Zimmerman has been found not guilty. It appears that the U.S. Attorney General would like to keep prosecuting a man who has been found not guilty until a court comes up with the answer he wants -- never mind whether or not it is true. That this man might spend a fortune in court costs trying to defend himself against a government that has unlimited funds -- not to speak of serving years in jail for an alleged crime for which there was no evidence -- does not seem to bother him in the slightest.
There are people, it seems, who are determined from time to time to rub America's nose to the ground to keep alive the profitable business of race politics. It is embarrassing and difficult to see these people using every deceitful shaming-tool in the book to preserve their politically useful accusations of racism for the sake of winning elections and probably also "revenge."
Similarly, as with the artificially-whipped-up Palestinian problem in the Muslim world, compared to other problems there, the race problem in America must be perpetuated and kept alive for the sake of covering up bankrupt agendas, resistance to change and lazy thinking. Also, as with the Palestinian problem, those who cannot to be honest about their real intentions most likely do not even want to resolve America's race saga. It does not matter to these race-baiters that slavery in the U.S. was abolished 150 years ago so that no one now could have been involved in it. Their job, as they possibly see it, is to make sure that their "past due" bill never runs out. They also do not seem overly concerned that massive slavery continues to exist outside the U.S., as in Mauritania, perhaps because they see neither a political nor economic pay-off for themselves from that.
And now America, its government media and educational system, have all become experts in the culture of artificially-inducing racial outrage, "shaming," to manage the direction of where the U.S. is heading, at the expense of helping to move America beyond the color of someone's skin. The "shaming" words have now, in the U.S., become so effective, that a whole new generation of young Americans would rather defend terrorists and criminals than be called "racists" or "bigots."
We also have TV anchors and hosts who are behaving on camera like obedient children who get outraged over nonsense -- and seem happy to stay in a state of outrage and use it to exercise power over others to get what they want. They have been trained to defy the scientific obligation to look at matters objectively in exchange for what they have come to believe is the "greater good": protecting the power of the media over government, instead of even pretending actually to report.
The American psyche -- its innocence and respect for free thinking -- have been greatly harmed by the growing culture of name-calling, intimidation and posed politically-correct outrage.
Perhaps the collapse of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, which landed the Egyptian people in the hands of a religious autocracy, stands as a symbol of what can happen to a people who fall victim to the tyranny of group-think that can form a stranglehold on an entire culture.
Just like the dreaded word "apostate," in the Muslim world, the word "racist" in the West has become an insult to the intelligence of the majority of people who would rather discuss difficult or controversial issues as opposed to having attempts to discuss them shut down. Muslims throw the term "apostate" at each other all the time, and occasionally just as an all-purpose way of having someone dispose of a personal adversary. Reasonable people are offended by the wanton use of the word "racist" in America and the use of the word "apostate" in Muslim countries. These highly charged words are nothing but repressive and tyrannical; they should be taken out of our everyday vocabulary and reserved for the real cases of man-on-man abuse.
Nonie Darwish is the author of "The Devil We Don't Know".