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idfa '04

For those of us who are busy missing the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and the concurrent Shadow Festival, here are some links to a variety of docs you can watch online:

information, pt. 3

Understanding is a critical element increasingly overlooked in the effort to turn information into a commodity. Data may be any set of facts, useful or not, intelligible or inscrutable, germane or irrelevant. Computers can crank out new data all night long without human help, and the results may be offered for sale as information. They may or may not actually be so. Only a human being can recognize the meaning that separates information from data.

From "The Economy of Ideas" - John Perry Barlow, 1993.

jihad?

To Westerners [the word jihad] conjures scenes of screaming fanatics being egged into war by promises that they will be instantly transported to heaven if they are slain. In actuality:

a) jihad literally means exertion, though because war requires exertion in exceptional degree the word is often, by extension, attached thereto.

b) The definition of a holy war in Islam is virtually identical with that of a just war in Christianity, where too it is sometimes called a holy war.

c) Christianity, too, considers those who die in such wars to be martyrs, and promises them salvation.

d) A hadith (canonical saying) of Muhammad ranks the battle against evil within one's own heart above battles against external enemies. "We have returned from the lesser jihad," the Prophet observed, following an encounter with the Meccans, "to face the greater jihad," the battle with the enemy within oneself.

From "The World's Religions" - Huston Smith, 1958 (rev. 1991).