Ping Pong for Peace!

Odd photos make me smile. People in out-of-place situations do the same. There’s something deliciously awkward about watching a person finding joy in an unexpected or odd place. The photo below is a prime example.

It was taken from an article on BBC News called “Perks of Penance for Saudi Jihadis.” Citing interviews about a Saudi prison – which calls itself a “care centre” – it describes the methods rehabilitation used on its prisoners – or “beneficiaries”- mostly made up of militant al-Quaeda soldiers. This rehab includes activities such as swimming, video games, table tennis, and art therapy classes.

In exchange for the freedoms they are given, beneficiaries are expected to attend religious classes, where Islamic scholars challenge their extremist views, convincing them they have distorted the teachings of Islam.

Unbelievable you say? Well, according to the article, no one released from the center has “re-offended.” Granted the center isn’t very old, but that seems like a decent track record when you think that a lot of these men are coming straight out of Guantanamo.

I love the photo. At first glance it struck me as funny. What if that’s the answer? Put down your gun and pick up a ping-pong paddle. I know it’s a gross simplification of a very intense topic, but it made me think of a lyric in Flight of the Conchords “Ladies of the World.”

If every soldier in the world
Put down his weapon
and picked up a woman
What a wonderful world this would be …

Distraction + Pleasure = Peace?

On a more serious note, there was a great quote in this article from the director of this “Ideological Security Unit.”

“You cannot defeat ideology with force. You have to fight ideas with ideas.”

Whether you agree with this guy’s mission or not, that’s just good stuff.

(Photo taken from BBC News)

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