Monday, May 4, 2015
I do not take sides re religious debates and the ramifications of such ‘divides.’ One does have to look too hard back into history to see religion used as the excuse to ‘conquer, enrich and divide, politically. The carnage created always results in mass movements of people, if they manage to survive at all. Various extreme movements have taken over large swathes of several regions of late, all under the flag of religious extremism. Much finger pointing has resulted as to the creation of these movements, ranging from those saying that the USA is to blame, whilst it follows its own foreign policy goals, then losing control of the’ produce’ of that policy. Whether it was to counter the influence of the former Soviet Union or to prop up a client state; the debate will go on for many years. Yesterday we witnessed yet another example of ‘extremism ‘and its ramifications. A suburb in Dallas saw the coming together of the two strands in the USA. On one side we have the ‘so-called ‘hate group that was promulgating its own message, using the banner of ‘freedom of speech. That it chose to use a cartoon competition in a manner that could only cause offense, should come as no surprise and the support it got when the ‘proverbial hit the fan,’ in the form of a ‘possible ISIS attack within the USA was the result. The ‘whacky right,’ aligned with some religious groups in the USA was hell-bent on using this occasion to taunt extreme Islamist groups, knowing that doing this would get some sort of response. They achieved their purpose, bringing death to the Dallas suburb. The ripples from this action, will be felt throughout the USA as yet more ‘adherents’ are drawn to the flags of the opposing factions. The vast majority of Americans want no part in this; preferring to stay away from ‘mad religion,’ but the ‘stupidity witnessed on the streets will cause fear. It is fear and feeds the flames. It is the ignorance that goes with such fear that propels people towards the opposing camps. That is the aim of both factions. One will claim ‘loyalty to an ideal, that is the UDA and the other will call the ‘adherents to the faith,’ to revenge the insult to the ‘Prophet.’ Where does this all lead? Simple---more of the same. Now is the time for rational responses, for people in the middle to speak out, for moderates to come to the fore. It is not the time for yet more ‘hate speech and knee-jerk reactions.’ Sadly, going by the posts I see on FB, it is the latter that feeds the frenzy. If there was ever a time for a considered approach, then it is now. The answers of course will involve looking at the bigger picture as to what nurtures these dangerous divides---it is not religion. It is the inequalities; the same ones that drive people to take desperate voyages across oceans, searching for a better life, because their own countries have also been hijacked by those who seek power, but use religion as the excuse to bring people to their selfish causes. Little has changes over the course of human history!