Drawbridge Brothers Religion

 

 

Spanish Inquisition

                                  https://www.britannica.com/topic/Spanish-Inquisition

 Religion has an enduring history of barbarity. A history of sin! From the beginning the church has always sided with the rich and powerful, a means to an end I assume. Therefore, the church puts itself before the multitude that makes up its congregation. The church holds vast wealth which contrasts with the poverty of millions.

Hate has followed in the wake of religious fervour throughout the ages. There are so many Gods that you need both hands and feet to count them, and then borrow an abacus.

The Gods are a source of much division. Religion separates, divides and invariably leads to conflict. Once ingrained it takes a mountain of effort to break down the hatred embedded in sectarianism.

We can go back to the 11th century – 1095 and the first crusade of Christian against Muslim. There were perhaps eight crusades in total, not ending until late in the 13th century. Both sides fought in the name of their God. What was really at stake was supremacy. Poor God, (if he/she exists) was an innocent bystander.

http://www.history.com/topics/crusades

For several decades in Northern Ireland we have witnessed the division and the steps towards reconciliation. There is still a lot of walk and talk to do before the communities of Catholic and Protestant can bury their belligerence.

In the 1990s Europe was in the throes of the Balkan Wars 1991 – 2001 which was a mix of nationalism, religious and racial hatred. It began with the breakup of Yugoslavia. The various states that had been held in a tight grip by the communist leader Tito, suddenly took the opportunity to express their pent up frustrations.

Demands for independence of Croatia, Slovakia and others brought a ferocity not seen in Europe since the Second World War. Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Albanians and Bosnian Muslims would commit crimes of atrocity against each other. Ethnic cleansing raised its ugly head and barbarism stalked freely through the streets. It is estimated that the conflict cost 120,000 lives. The legacy is mistrust tinged with hatred.

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/uncomfortable-truths-war-crimes-in-the-balkans

A similar expression of nationalism, religion and racialism rocked Africa with ethnic cleansing in Rwanda 1994. The Hutu majority began the slaughter of the Tutsi people. The eventual death toll is thought to have exceeded 800,000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_genocide

The recent history of the Middle East is riven with conflict. Since the 1940s the struggle between the Jewish and Palestinian people does not seem to have an end. And now the brothers in Islam butcher each other in the name of their beliefs. In the background is the political struggle for dominance in the region.

Nonetheless, the mountain of bodies grows. There’s no respect for the others religious belief. The Western liberal command for tolerance has gone unheeded. The resonance of nationalism, Israel/Palestine and the demand of the Kurdish people for independence add to the mix of religious and racial division that would suggest that their God has been abandoned. Politics rules ok!

The regimes of Iran and Saudi Arabia while modernizing are the key players in the maintenance of an extremely conservative social domain and religion plays a significant role in that environment. It will be several generations before hands are clasped in friendship.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/iran-vs-saudi-arabia-middle-east-cold-war-explained-1535968

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/08/26/the-middle-east-explained-in-one-sort-of-terrifying-chart/?utm_term=.c05c8151cb01

Religion is a blasphemous means of manipulation of the ordinary citizen used by the elite. Religion has beguiled us with control of what to wear and when, the segregation of the sexes, and of course what to think. A thought control methodology second to none. Modern day prophets may wear a different hat but the dogma hasn’t changed.

Even the Nazis recognised the value of religion as a means of control, hence their attempt to promote Mein Kampf as a Nazi bible. They understood the power of religion over the thinking, acts and actions of people.

All men are created equal in the eyes of God. Not so, cries the mother with hungry mouths to feed. Not so, moans the pauper in the door way of a closed shop. It’s your own fault, sing the choir of evangelicals. We all have free will! I am free to get rich and you’re free to be poor. That’s how fickle religious folk are, no rush to help or forgive, just blame.

 Politicians talk but never walk the talk. They know ordinary Joe lives with hope and have used that hope to manage their demands. Life will be better in God’s kingdom or so the story goes. If you’re bad you are condemned to ‘eternal perdition’. Steven Grosby, p114 Nationalism

Neither does God stand in the way of capitalism. In the words of Bob Dylan, With God on Our Side – stanza 5: From the album, “The Times They Are A-Changin’”

Though they murdered six million

In the ovens they fried

The Germans now too

Have God on their side.

A mere practical move as trade must go on and money made.

More recently from the album, – You Want it Darker, song of the same title, stanza 4 by Leonard Cohen (now deceased)

They’re lining up the prisoners

The guards are taking aim

I struggled with some demons

They were middle-class and tame

Didn’t know I had permission

To murder and to maim

You want it darker.

On a lighter note we have the idealistic words of John Lennon from the song Imagine:

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people living for today.

These songwriters have identified the constant misuse of religion and thus its hypocrisy. It seems the Ten Commandments were left by the roadside, soon after they were written.

Around the world religion is used by politicians to feed their political ambitions and that of their party:

1.       The tension between India and Pakistan, Hindu V Muslim/ Kashmir

2.       Christians in Kerala face persecution – Steven Grosby p76

3.       Christians in Sind province having to flee to avoid persecution.

4.       Hindu’s who believe India should have only one religion.  – Grosby p5

5.       Christians persecuted by the majority Buddhists in Burma.

6.       Persecution of Christians and Muslims in Africa.

The story goes on and the manipulation has no end in sight. I can accept that for some belief is an escape from reality and brings a degree of succour to mitigate the hardship of their daily struggle – its hope, and hope has an eternal verve that helps us carry on.

Nonetheless, religion holds back the tide of change. It keeps millions blind to the reality that surrounds them, their faith traps them in the claws of their political masters. As they are bombarded by the constant stream of jibber-jabber.

Tomorrow might be better but I refuse to look ahead because all the days before have been so harsh. I wish and I pray. And the money men hope and pray that you never wake up.

Back to the Beatles: All You Need Is Love

 

 

Water: Too Good to Waste!

thNG4Z4Y0DWe are nearing a crisis of our own making, water the most important element in our lives is draining away. Drip, drip, drip; land is drying, plants are dying. While 70% of the earth is covered by water only 3% is drinkable and of that an approximate 2% is ice. The ice of Antarctica and of the Arctic is showing increasing signs of melt which could devastate coastal areas. To add to the nightmare 50% of our wetlands have gone. This has a tremendous impact on wildlife.

The burden grows heavier with the knowledge that some two (2) million people die annually, mainly children, from diarrheal diseases.th7E749LQY

www.worldwildlife.org/threats/water-scarcity

The poorer regions of the developing world suffer the brunt of water shortage. Sub-thH8D57ZHVSahara Africa has enduring problems which show no signs of abating. The situation is made worse by, “Weak governments, corruption, mismanagement of resources, poor long-term investment and lack of environmental research…”. Conflict has made it difficult to make improvements; Ivory Coast, which split north & south four years ago. The on-going troubles which confront the nations of Darfur, Nigeria, Mali and Ethiopia conflict or famine here continues to wreak havoc. Surprisingly, Ethiopia is the most water abundant in the region.

www.cfr.org/world/water-stress-sub-saharan-africa/p11240

??? “Too often, where we need water we find guns” Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General

Overall, 25% of Africa’s population suffer from water stress. (www.cfr.org) Whereas, Ethiopia has sufficient water, the country of South Africa is one of the poorest in water terms. However, S. Africa has some 589 dams out of a total of 980 in the region. Here lies the key, S. Africa has the infrastructure and has better managed their resources and crucially has the means. We spend £/$ billions on aid in Africa and nothing seems from the outside to have improved.

Q? Is much of the charitable donation we make feeding war and corruption and not the people?

In Pakistan, the situation is reaching danger point. Population is increasing by three (3) million per year and the water table is falling which has led the World Bank to conclude that Pakistan, “…is already one of the most water stressed countries in the world”. Its neighbour India has a developing water crisis.

With population growing by 15 million annually and the water table falling all over the country the situation is becoming critical. Some districts have to have water trucked in. A major problem is the unregulated digging of irrigation wells of which there are an estimated twenty-one (21) million. With the water table falling and more wells being dug; how long before the government take control. www.theguardian.com

th6IKNYANAAlso, according to The Guardian, countries that have reached their water peak include: Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. In Saudi Arabia and Yemen it is understood that their water table is falling by six (6’) feet year on year. In Saudi Arabia over a 20 year period the aquifers have been seriously depleted which has had an impact on its grain crop. The country now has to import 15 million tonnes annually. Yemen will now need to import all its grain.

A running commentary on the problems facing Iran and Tehran in particular can be accessed via ‘Our Man in Tehran’. A series of articles is available at NYT World 2015/05/05. The issues are similar to many nations: water table depletion, rising population in Tehran which has tripled over the last thirty (30) years, made worse by a fall in average rainfall.

The great and the powerful are not immune to the rigours of water stress. China will face immense problems as water use is at a peak which will affect grain and rice production. The World Bank considers that China will face, “… catastrophic consequences for future generations”.

America may be mighty but it cannot escape the power of nature. It will need all the super heroes it can muster to get itself out of this problem. The US is a massive food producing country be it: grain, rice, soybean etc. However, a report by Ceres reminds us all, “Producing food, after all, requires more water than almost any other business on Earth”. Whereas we may drink 4 litres of water a day, it takes 2000 litres to produce our food. www.theguardian.com

  1. www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/05/11/405946749/why-food-companies-should-be-more-afraid-of-water-scarcity

thJSHFW8FRCalifornia seems particularly parched at present. The recent drought conditions may force a rethink on water supply and usage. Southern California gets nearly all its water from the Colorado River. To the north it is around 20%. Betting odds on there being a shortage of river flow on the Colorado has increased from 33% to 50%, not good odds. At present Lake Mead is only 38% full. The region needs a mighty downpour which incidentally may be helped by El Nino.

www.m.utsandiego.com/news/2015/may/11/colorado

Meanwhile, the California Department of Resources is predicting a huge increase in population.

2009                       2020                       2030

28m                       41m                       75m

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/water_scarcity

There is a sting in the tail for all of us that we need to take seriously. “Water use is growing twice as fast as population”. (November 2014) www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml

All the warnings are out there; well signposted but have not yet captured the imagination. The general media have not deduced the seriousness of our plight. Governments keep the lid on it perhaps hoping it might go away or don’t want to upset business. Meanwhile, the press feed us celebrity gossip and we become ‘mindless consumers’. (Philosopher Jürgen Habermas).

We cannot halt the use of water; everything we do is directly linked to it. We need constant reminders that only 1% is drinkable and that many millions don’t have the luxury of clean water. The potential of water wars in the developing world is very real. The prospect of severe rationing in the developed nations is increasingly likely.

It is equally obvious that we have the technology and the wherewithal to find solutions. One of our greatest attributes as human beings is devising solutions to extremely difficult problems. We are inexhaustible in our ingenuity.

One solution comes from a surprising source, Unilever, one of the world’s giant’s in chemical production. In Iowa State, they are paying soybean farmers 10c a bushel to adopt sustainable water practices. We should all cheer Unilever so where they lead others will follow.

The second enterprising solution is the use of solar power to distil water by nearly boiling it. Bedouins’ in the town of Dahab use a system called AquaDania’s WaterStiller which has proven five (5) times more efficient than other methods. (Wikipedia.org. as above).

These are practical initiatives which highlight the ingenuity of people. Finding a political solution will prove much too difficult in a liberal landscape. Politics is a blinding force; it strips the brain of the means to think beyond its narrow confines. Power and greed come to the fore and side-line any ethical approach. Thus the libertarians will sit back, enjoy a drink, toss a few coins in a charity box and turn a blind eye to the death and sheer hell of people struggling to survive.

People in the West are so afraid of taking a decisive step for fear that they will be castigated as erstwhile colonialists. They don’t want to be seen in any sense of appearing to dictate policy. These liberals suffer from historical restitution. They favour self-determination without thought of consequence, they hide behind a motto of; let them run their own affairs, find their own way. Give them some money to ease the stress.

Meanwhile, dictators, dictate and fascists terrorize but then, it’s none of our business. However, the ordinary Joes’ of Africa, Asia and the Middle East are making it our business by leaving their homeland in droves to find a better life. Immigration then becomes a major political and social issue.

One way to overcome our ‘lazy eye’ is to have strict guidelines on the use of foreign aid and to monitor its implementation. If wells are vital to ensure clean water then we only give aid for that purpose, to provide and maintain. Corruption is siphoning off £/$ millions from the real need. We desperately need an array of methods to circumvent those who indulge themselves in the proceeds of corruption.

Furthermore, we must stop treating Africa as a car-boot-sale venue. Humanitarianism is not a business tool and should never be used as such.

Do some good…..join Robin Hood