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

 

 

Syria: The Cost of Power.

 

sy-map[1]

An estimated 130,000 deaths and millions displaced. (Times 20/1/14) It all began in March 2011 with the opposition to Bashar al – Assad and his dictatorial government. Assad himself was the son of a dictator. Even in death the despot cannot relinquish power. It seemed straightforward enough; get rid of a dictator and institute a democracy and everyone will be happy. Three years on and few are happy. Who is to blame for this tragedy?

Assad the dictator is an obvious candidate for the dog house. But what can be said of the opposition? Were they true democrats who wanted to instil a powerful and lasting democratic structure or men hungry for the fruits of power? Once the civil war began the West jumped in like a mob in the playground. Fight! Fight! Fight! What did the West have to gain? With Assad gone they surely hoped to have an influence on the new government, give a sore lip to Russia and a bloody nose to Iran and further isolate the country. But do they need a squint towards Saudi Arabia?

Ancient Magnificence

Ancient Magnificence

 

Do the opposition have the leadership to replace Assad: Free Syrian Army, Islamic Front, Nusra Front or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)?  Can there be agreement? This is when power teases. Is this a dagger I see before me? These rebels of the regime are now too busy killing each other to find a leader. It’s like a sequel to the Godfather, all the Mafia Dons fighting it out to see who runs the town.

Modern country

Modern country

What is interesting is that we have two branches of al Qaeda with different objectives and potentially fighting each other. We have ISIL of al Qaeda in Iraq and Nursa Front of Syria. Power, the mind boggles!

It is reported that somewhere in the region of 700/900 of the opposition to Assad have been killed in factional bloodletting. Assad must be having a chuckle to himself at this internecine slaughter. As for the politicians of: the West, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia they will be busy luxuriating in the trappings of power, happy to let the plebs get on with it.

The cause of this murderous debacle is obviously the leaders of the ‘Powers’.

Torn Apart

Torn Apart

The West is busy throwing $millions at the humanitarian crisis they helped create. The UK boasts of £500m. Secretly they are feeding the slaughter.

  • They don’t want Assad – too late to broker a deal with him.
  • Don’t want ISIL and their version of an Islamic state.
  • Need a form of democracy to prove a point. E.g. our way or no way. (see Egypt)

Saudi Arabia:

  • Want their brand of an Islamic state. A Sunni dominated one.
  • One that can take orders.

Iran:

  • They want to maintain an interest in the area.
  • A secure outlet for import/export that otherwise may be subject to intense scrutiny.
  • Prove they can stand up to USA. A beacon for the disaffected.

Russia:

  • To sell more weapons
  • Get oil cheaply
  • Be photographed at the top-table.

These then are the Mafia Dons. Who will emerge as the Capo di tutti capi? The boss of bosses!

Every day the death toll rises. The most recent headline was that the regime had systematically murdered 11,000 people, having first tortured them. Yet no side is innocent of committing atrocities. Note the statement of Valerie Amos, UN humanitarian chief, who says that all sides have shown a, “total disregard for their responsibilities under international humanitarian and human rights law”. In essence we have a frenzy of killing. The veil of humanity falters to uncover a barbaric reality. Human life it seems is as worthless as that fly you are about to swat! A true horror of this civil war is that no one is sure how many have died.

We keep being pressed with figures, 130,000 dead. (Times 20/1/14) A week before Reuters was quoting 100,000. (13/1/14) Meanwhile, on the 8th January the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville was quoted as saying that they have stopped counting the death toll because they can’t verify whether the information is correct. (Independent) What a eulogy to human society!

All sides in the conflict will tell you they are fighting for Syria, for the people, for freedom. But the Guardian (13/1/14) brings a true edge to the façade with their headline, “Syrian refugees no longer know who is fighting let alone who is winning”. Later in the same piece they quote a local man, Abu Hussein, “All there is, is hatred”. The killing illustrates the point markedly. For all the beauty of a Renoir or the depiction of Thomas Eakins Thinker, we are just tribal after all.

It’s a callous world. Yet some like to delude themselves that eternal peace is just around the corner. Well, I’ve looked. I can’t see a thing for the plumes of war that are blocking the light. The barbarism displayed by all sides in this civil war needs no further evidence of man’s inhumanity than the death toll of men, women and children. The beliefs of men become paramount and hate overrides love as a motivator. And, we are, as we have always been, naked with our club!

Humanity cannot take a step forward until we understand and are able to control the proclivities of men for sex and money. We must also look at the disparities of capitalism. A thousand years should do it! This is not a message of despair; rather an appreciation that ‘Meism’ has still not been challenged as a false God.