Probably like most Muslims whenever a special is on about Islam I am both interested and worried about the content they will show. CNN's Generation Islam gave me that same initial feeling. I found myself diving in to the lives of Muslims overseas, particularly in Gaza and Afghanistan, trying to see them as I see myself. I cried when they where distraught I felt hope when some of their lives changed for the better but most pressing was a feeling of helplessness.
As CNN's Christiane Amanpour went through the villages of Afghanistan and later Gaza, the people where surrounded by rubble and dirt there where beggars everywhere and not enough people to lend a hand. Its strange because both the terrorist of their country and the US soldiers fighting those terrorist are destroying the lives of innocent people. I guess it is an illustration of the saying that there is no such thing as a good war. War is always bad but as Allah (SWT) says in the Quran oppression is evil.
It is interesting to see how people react when faced they are confronted with evil. Some chose peace by any measure -protesting, rallying but never fighting, some chose self defense/violence by any means -they will fight even if they have no chance of winning except by a miracle, and others become deeply depressed and hurt they do very little because they have been beaten so badly they no longer believe in themselves.
I have digressed by nature, and turned them in to psychological studies for me to philosophize and theorize about, so I will return to the documentary. One critique I have of the documentary is that they showed young men from Afghanistan and Gaza who'd chosen or had been chosen for military fighting in the same light. By this I mean the men of Afghanistan (who were shown) joined a terrorist organization that terrorized their own people. They burned young girls who were in school, bombed schools, and forced young men on suicide missions. This is not the same as the young men who join the "army" of Gaza as soldiers in order to protect their country in a 60 year battle with their unwanted neighbors. One group of men is using violence for destruction while the other is using violence in self defense.
Though the documentary did have a positive tone, the problems of Muslims in Afghanistan and Gaza are complicated and seemingly long term. The bright side of these two groups, from a Muslim perspectives is that they have such vast and complicated problems. Like Allah's treatment of Prophet Ibrahim with constant struggles until he became a friend of Allah. We believe that Allah tests those whom he loves, so Insha Allah in that way their struggles are a sign of good fortune to come in the near future and in the Afterlife, Ameen.