Their Terror Versus Our Terror

 

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I regard Christianity, Islam, and Judaism as the three great evils of this world.

The faithful will doubtless disagree, and some might feel anger at that opinion, so angry they wish me dead. Fundamentalist religion has a way of turning people homicidal.

We like to think our politicians are above religious bigotry, not in the least shaped by the faith teachings of their childhood. But a political creed is a religion to some and whether they realise it or not, based on Christian principles. We elect level-headed, experienced people, ready with cool judgment to avoid blind, bigoted retaliation, moral enough not to take tit-for-tat reprisals. That’s not always what happens.

Alas, they’re just as quick to misjudge, just as irrational as the rest of us, ready to impose their religious principles to the full. Look how unionist fundamentalists rain down apoplectic vitriol on Scotland’s democratic ambitions.

Power for power’s sake

When elected our representatives have the constitutional tools to do the job. That makes extremely suspect calls by them for greater powers.

Each new terrorist action is succeeded by more calls for greater powers and democratic constraints. “I’d be happy to have my e-mails checked knowing I was safer,” – heard twice in one evening on BBC Radio – a common remark, invariably from somebody in the ruling class who would not be affected by such an intrusive loss of privacy.

Given additional powers to arrest citizens on suspicion, or attack warring factions outside our borders by proxy, their excuse is always the same – our way of life is ‘threatened’. How it is threatened they cannot tell exactly. It is an ‘existential threat.’

Hysteria rules, okay?

The aftermath of atrocities have an expected ritual. There are eloquent expressions of  shock, outpourings of sadness and grief, statements of righteous condemnation, people congregate to show their accord, their respect for the slaughtered. Newspapers and television show endless loops of people laying bunches of flowers, and terrorists at work.

The media and press talk of the worst atrocities ‘in living memory’, a phrase designed to omit all the atrocities we have perpetrated on others in the name of freedom and liberty.

The country’s leader steps up to a battery of microphones to show him or herself not weak or wobbly but remorselessly ruthless in seeking retaliatory justice.

Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye only leaves everybody blind.”

Prepare cauldrons of boiling tar!

Border crossing points are shut down; traveller’s submitted to unwarranted searches; multiculturalism condemned a failure; politicians make racists speeches knowing they could never utter them at other times.

Armed soldiers are put in the streets.

Administrations, their members with interests in security firms, demand greater powers for surveillance than ever. Army generals request more weapons, and carpet bombing sanctioned. The volume of hatred is pushed up to eleven.

That is followed soon after by police asking for more money to protect citizens, and politicians proposing the Internet is shut down at times of emergency, which is to say, anytime they want it blocked. Dictators our politicians support have a good laugh.

Our terrorism versus their terrorism

Terrorist attacks on our soil, the result of attacks on their soil, are to be answered with further attacks on their soil. We never learn from history.

Moreover, no one is clear who ‘they’ are. Our politicians give them dehumanising acronyms. In an atmosphere of hysteria members of the political class advocate nuking every nation whose people wear a tea towel on their heads.

The answer is always – wipe them out.  Allies of the west, are spared, of course, including those arming terrorists, as British arm companies do with full government approval.

A depressingly familiar scenario.

Even as police raid ‘safe’ apartments looking for evidence, politicians name names as if certain who the culprits are, yet terrorist attacks on the west tell us the perpetrators are self-appointed, not groomed, not necessarily full-time members of banned insurgent groups. They saw their country pillaged, flattened, and decide more violence the answer.

An example of officially sanctioned genocide

As for the United Kingdom – we, like the USA, are an exceptional ‘state’.

A former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, published an eye-opening study  in which she lamented the inability of the United Nations to respond properly to atrocities: ‘A Problem from Hell – America in the age of Genocide.’ In one chapter she makes mention of the genocide that took place in East Timor in 1975. Power states in one bald sentence, “The United States looked away.”

The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor estimated the number of deaths during the occupation from famine and violence to be between “90,800 and 202,600 including between 17,600 and 19,600 violent deaths or disappearances, out of a 1999 population of approximately 823,386.” The truth commission held Indonesian forces responsible for about 70% of the violent killings.

At the time of the invasion, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, took a decidedly different view. In his book, ‘A Dangerous Place’ he argues with great confidence and arrogant pride how he managed to render the United Nations “utterly ineffectual in whatever measures it tried to take” to end the atrocities. Things turned out well, he says, because “The United States wished things to turn out as they did.”

In short time Washington supplied the Indonesian invaders with all the machine guns, bombs, and helicopters needed to begin their genocidal actions.

The lesson

I draw on that example, one of many where the West has allowed, encouraged, or actively participated in genocide, to show how conveniently we forget the tens of thousands of deaths we inflict on cultures with a skin darker than ours, and how in high hypocrisy we call on the United Nations to ‘do something’ while simultaneously ensuring it is emasculated if it appears to be interfering with our economic or military interests. I could have chosen Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, or even the sinking of the Belgrano.

I could go back as far as the massacre of Glencoe, also officially sanctioned, a small  massacre as things go, but emblematic of our age of genocide.

Do we wonder a number of those people, ostracized, frustrated, demand attention for their grievances, for justice as they see it by embracing the most horrific methods of death they can concoct?

What next?

Expect more weapons, more surveillance, more constraints on freedoms, more tension in our daily lives, more chance of disaster, all to ‘keep us safe’. We might as well be living in Baghdad. Both sides, them and us, are engaged in an endless spiral of revenge.

In the end, the only winner is the last person standing.

And what of the innocents?

We weep for ours killed by bomb or bullet. We soon forget the wounded.

Meanwhile, countless refugees flee from the death and destruction in their backyard, running for safety into the arms of nations involved in the bombing. We call mass displacements of people collateral damage.

Below is a photograph of a refugee camp in Jordan, a small nation with no means to close its borders. Some of our taxes are used to subsidise the great cost Jordan has taken on to help cope with the flood of humanity. We pay for our folly as they do.

Thus endeth the lesson. Let us sing, “Onward Christian soldiers.”

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Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan, a product of the west’s war on Syria

 

 

 

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11 Responses to Their Terror Versus Our Terror

  1. Archie McMillan says:

    Totally agree with everything you say, particularly the sublimation of the UN when there is an underlying need to divert homegrown political deficiencies.

  2. macart763 says:

    We never seem to learn Grouse.

  3. hektorsmum says:

    I cannot disagree with one word GB. I said to my friend in Pennsylvania this morning that if I did not believe our government to be entirely useless I would have said David Cameron set the whole thing up to get his way in Europe. That he is also using it to spend money we supposedly do not have recruiting spies, heaven help us.
    Agree with Macart, but I want to say it is “They” who never learn, because they are never exposed to the threat, just the sma’ folk.

  4. Helena says:

    Excellent post, thanks. I would say it is impossible to imagine just what the refugees endure, but when you see some of the images, it is all very real which makes it less difficult to imagine how horrendous it must be. For parents, it must be incredibly heartbreaking as well as terrifying.

    I saw a photo on fb yesterday of a 4yr old girl in a refugee camp, so terrified she thought the photographers camera was a gun. Bizarrely, well not really, as it has happened a few times on fb, as I tried to ‘share’ the image it completely disappeared and I couldn’t find it again.
    Fb in particular is being manipulated by those in power, because some of the strongest and most political posts can disappear before your eyes, at least that is my experience. Brrrrrr.

  5. James Morris says:

    After your first line, I cannot for the life of me find any connection with the three religions and the rest of the article. At no point in your analysis is a religious leader seen to be dictating the terms or calling the shots.

  6. macart763M says:

    The rich wage wars and the poor fight them. Worse, the people allow their opinions and perceptions to be driven by narratives created in the halls of power. Chilcott not even published and it appears we’ve already forgotten being dragged into wars on the back of lies and manipulation by those and such as those.

    We apparently don’t see people, unimaginable suffering, or loss anymore. We don’t examine cause and effect. Our memories last only from sound bite to sound bite, or from xfactor to eastenders.

    Ach, maybe its just a touch of winter in the joints, but today I’m feeling depressed at how willing some are to spread yet more hatred and suffering in a world that has already seen more than its fair share.

  7. I Clark says:

    Well said.

    In a similar way that a fiscal deficit becomes a black hole when it travels north of Gretna, decisive action becomes terrorism when it enters the West. Unfortunately, the frightened, wilfully ignorant and selfish collude in this abuse of language. And religion, with its underlying irrationality, adds to the confusion especially in the Middle East.

    We need to challenge the language of terror. It is the language of the ruling elites imposing their will on us. We need to educate people to the reality that is the terrorist state we live in. Not easy when the corporate media and state broadcaster to a large extent shape – or even create – the narrative.

    But we also need to challenge ourselves. We live in a democracy of sorts. And to the extent that we have a say in who runs this country – and we choose warmongering leaders, who will maintain the supply of cheap goods for us, no matter the cost in lives abroad or to the poor of the UK – then we are responsible. They do it in our name.

    There is something obscene about our demands to, say, bomb terrorists or use violence to ‘remove’ leaders like Assad, knowing that many innocent people will be the main victims. These are human beings who had no say in choosing the despots who rule over them.

    There will be no chance of security until people understand the true nature of the conflicts in the Middle East (and elsewhere). Even if we do manage to convey the full extent of the UK’s contribution to the suffering in the world, there will still be many people who won’t care (or won’t care enough).

    The actions we take now – in our so called Western democracies – are and will be more a judgement on us as social and moral beings, than on any Islamic State decisive actionists.

  8. Grouse Beater says:

    Here is but one Catholic leader: “France is at war,” Mr Hollande told 900 members of the upper and lower house of parliament at Versailles.

    Here is one of the ugliest: Presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s talk of a national database of Muslims, first in an interview published on Thursday by Yahoo News, later in an exchange with NBC News reporter, is the “culmination of months of heated debate about illegal immigration as an urgent danger to Americans’ personal safety”.

    One is left with no other presumption but to assume Muslims will be distinguished from true American citizens by affixing a yellow star on their garments.

  9. CameronB Brodie says:

    Since the middle-ages, Europeans have formed their identities through objectifying their perceived differences with non-white, non-European “others”. “Orientalism” is a structural component of European culture. Luckily, the more progressive ‘white nations’ have managed to curb the structural racism that monist cultures are prone to exhibit, Britain less so. It appears the drawbridge is about to be raised and multiculturalism is now perceived as a security threat.

    Re. the attack on Manchester. My condolences go to all hurt and distressed by the incident. I have heard and read no news so have no ‘theories’. However, best to remember Gladio and the “strategy of tension”, IMHO. N.B. I’m not saying they are connected.

  10. Robert Peffers says:

    @James Morris says: November 21, 2015 at 2:39 pm:

    James., You said this:-
    “After your first line, I cannot for the life of me find any connection with the three religions and the rest of the article. At no point in your analysis is a religious leader seen to be dictating the terms or calling the shots.”

    He didn’t need to name names for we all know who they are. Blair has placed in the public domain that he prays to his God when making any decisions, as has Cameron and now May. Brown also is a son of the Manse and here is the clincher if we ever needed it.

    The legal head of the United Kingdom is the monarch of England and that position of monarch is synonymous with the word, “Sovereign”, and both terms come from the old law of, “Divine Right of Kings”, that by a revolution of the Parliament of England against the God Given Power of the Sovereign Monarchy, made the Kingdom of England, “A constitutional Monarchy”.

    By which, “Glorious Revolution”, the parliament legally retained the monarch’s sovereignty for the Monarchy but changed the civil law so that the civil law forced the monarch to legally delegate their God Given Sovereignty to the Parliament of England and slowly but surely the leaders of the Parliament of England have gathered for themselves the originally assumed God Given powers of the sovereign monarchy to themselves and are ever since assuming the God Given Divine Right to take the United Kingdom to war without even needing to refer their decision to the Parliament of England.

    Which Parliament of England actually ceased to legally exist on the last day of April 1707. Yet here is the Secretary of State for, (sic), Scotland confirming the lie that the Kingdom of England, on 1 May 1707, was renamed as, “The United Kingdom”, parliament.

    And in a convoluted manner all this done in the name of the Christian God.

    Got that, James? When Tony Blair took the UK into Iraq he did so legally in the name of God. Yet there is not a shred of actual evidence that this mythical GOD has ever existed.

  11. Cellar Shark says:

    Thanks for re-posting the link to this on Twitter. As relevant now as it was then, perhaps even more so. And a good read.

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