Recently there has been a rash of suicide bombers and skilled and unskilled terrorist attacks. Over centuries we have witnessed carnage in the name of religion. Today religion stills plays a central role in conflict throughout the world. Or are the true perpetrators the dark deities of money and power.
The world press are talking about France and the atrocities that took place there in the past week, 7th / 10th January. The killing of the satirists of Charlie Hebdo was senseless; the later killing at the Jewish bakery was blind hatred and as senseless as the killing of the police woman. There can be no justification for such murder. It was an apparition of psychological control by outside forces. The problem with belief is that it lives in one season and that season can be determined by the believer.
If it is winter the abstract believer sees only dark and hears only the squawk and the squish of the landscape. Spring with its thrusting energies struggling for life, seems far off. Summer is but a distant lullaby and, autumn with its alluring contrasts, for some, holds only the drawn-out winter to come. Belief can contort all around you until all that you see are hopeless puppets living in a fairy-tale.
I have no doubt that religious belief can bring much joy and satisfaction to some, but the other side of the coin is the construct of man and the lust for money and power that follow as a shadow. It is therefore incumbent upon all who accept their faith as a blessing to openly condemn those who would portray their faith, in such a fashion, as to be mistook as the devil’s own handy work.
While France has captured the headlines there are many other parts of the world where carnage vents its ugly face. Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen have all suffered gravely from similar attacks. The list is long and unfortunately it is a list that quantifies hate.
Over recent months Nigeria has woken to excessive horror. In November 2014 forty-eight (48) were murdered at a school assembly by a child suicide bomber. On New Year’s Eve, in the city of Gombe another child bomber failed to reach her target but killed one soldier and injured another. The next day and yet another child bomber failed to reach the target, a church, but died in trying. On January 9th, a child bomber killed a possible 19 and injured more than twenty in the city of Maiduguri. The following day, in Potiskum in Yobe state two more blasts as two children killed three (3) and caused injury to over forty.
The savagery of these events does not lie only with the innocent ruthlessly cut down but also with the use of children as bombers. These were kids who had no chance of comprehending the complex nature of politics; whose minds had previously been filled with dreams and aspirations, but in the immediacy wanted their mum. Used as cannon balls, as worthless individuals, to perpetrate atrocities on behalf of adults.
Such adults will never know understanding because their belief lives forever in winter. There is no intellectual capacity in the minds of these men, for they cannot comprehend the needs of others and therefore will never fathom the depths of themselves. They are trapped on an endless merry-go-round that never passes go.
In Peshawar Pakistan 150 people, mostly children slaughtered at a school by the Taliban. Why? Do not tell me that you have a ‘cause’. No ‘cause’ would use the bodies of children as a battering ram. Certainly, no ‘cause’ that has humanity. Barbarity is the last recourse of those who intuitively know that they face defeat. The past will not be re-invented and the harder they kick the closer their demise looms.
Likewise in Iraq, a 14 year old child taken from his home in Syria to blow himself up and in the process kill as many others as possible. He probably didn’t know where he was and almost certainly did not understand why he was carrying out this act of terror.
Suicide bombers are fragile beings, usually young and who have been brainwashed or forced by some fear into a philosophy that has closed the door on humanity. Any revolution, any struggle for power should at its bases have the majority as the winners of any outcome. The only alternative is to attempt to impose a dictatorship, a fascist regime.
To murder and to force the scattering of survivors by the razing of 16 villages as at Baga, north-east Nigeria, suggests a principle of victory at any cost, whether it benefits the people or not. Victory for the sake of victory has only power and money as a consideration. The ‘cause’ has been lost in the melee of the armed struggle.
Several groups who started with a clear vision have ended up as corrupt as those they oppose. In Peru, Afghanistan, in Nigeria and elsewhere those in opposition have succumbed to criminality through the sale of drugs etc. all in the ‘virtuous’ need to continue the struggle. The use of children and the criminality suggests a weakness. A weakness that oozes from their pores as a sweat would after a 10K run. They have entered and become a part of the world they oppose. They have wandered blindly in and, are unaware that their vision is crumbling.
Moreover, these terror attacks have given new life to weak politicians. Politicians that faced being ousted from office, now stand strong, statesman like, and speak for the nation. They can now revel in the adulation that was never intended for them. Governments are now racing to introduce new laws to curb the terrorist but in doing so will curb the freedom of all. The politicians now demand control over the internet to check our every thought. Big brother will seize the opportunity.
Also, the terrorists have caused a fissure in our society. For those who oppose democracy it is a welcome boost, for those who believe in democracy it is a loss. The anti-Muslim marches in the German town of Dresden that had 200 walkers in October had 25,000 on Monday 12/1/15.
The press don’t help either, so intent are they with their own political agenda. On Monday’s march in Dresden the Daily Mail reported 40,000, the Independent gave the figure of 25,000 and qualified their coverage by informing readers that there were counter demonstrations of 8,000 in Dresden as well as 4,000 in Berlin. However, France 24 news channel suggest that the counter demonstrators equalled 100,000 but gave no evidence for such a claim. Please, don’t try and brainwash me. Perhaps you believe us to be feeble. At a time of heightened tension we do not need such bias reporting as that of France 24. Give us the facts and let us make up our own mind. Freedom of thought!
I have no angst that the French comedian Dieudonne has aired his views and don’t agree with his arrest. We also have TV stations giving air time to al Qaeda claiming to have ordered the killings and in praise of those who carried out the murders. The same piece incites others to do as the French killers have done. (Was this appeasement?) I don’t like anyone promoting murder and would not give them air time. I could never condone the murder of an innocent.
Furthermore, many media outlets have refused to show the cartoon that sparked the killings. Nor will they show the most recent one produced by Charlie Hebdo. In the eyes of the fanatic division is a weakness. We must surely ask if tolerance has a gate that it will not pass through, especially if that demand for tolerance comes from an intolerant source. And, can we permit religious fanatics to dictate to an increasingly secular society?
I am not afraid of the views others hold as long as they are willing to discuss them rationally and openly and without violence. We learn and grow from such dialogue. I am not afraid because if we both grow then everyone benefits.
Will God end the pain? No. God is in the living not the theory.