There has been, recently, so much utter rubbish written, nationalistic bravado, hatred too. Understandable but is it fever whipped up by media bandwagon-jumping or real views being expressed, coherently and intelligently? In the first case, most probably, in the second, absolutely not. When someone commits a ghastly and heartless crime in the name of a god, blaming everyone but their own intolerance and twisted ideals, it is shocking for witnesses, yes, very sad for the victim’s family, yes, and anger inducing for the populace, yes, but is it a religious crime or a terrorist act? Perhaps yes or maybe not. There are numerous acts, violence and murders carried out by people, later or already diagnosed as schizophrenic and the like, who shout Jesus’ name before, during and after their violent ‘episode. Does this make it a religious crime or a Christian terrorist act? Absolutely not and it is never treated or reported as such. However the moment someone commits any misdeed, whether it be a small act or a massive act of carnage, and mention one certain god’s name it seems the media, the police, the politicians and the population immediately make their collective minds up it is an organised and coordinated terrorist act, part of a global conspiracy by the religion or by higher authorities blaming the said religion.
Politics, usually left wing, were once at the centre of blame in the 1950’s and 60’s, then right wing in the 70’s and 80’s or an alternating, shock and fear the extremism, of both. Now it is religion, the extreme of which is to be feared and combatted wherever it rears its ugly head or heads. Faith and persuasion, on one side, oil and capitalism on the other. Persecution verses freedom, veils versus headscarves, two sides of the same coin each trying to out do each other or not responsible at all for anything in the slightest, depending on which day it is and which press release is received first. Extremes of one blame extremes of the other.
Surely it is individuals on all sides who are to blame, for it is those who carry out and carry on the behaviour and heinous acts which perpetuate the phoney war and wars, not scapegoat and convenient ‘organisations’. Individuals who call for death penalties, ‘sending home’s, standing up for ones nation (whatever that means) and the ‘like this if you feel blah blah if you don’t then you must be one of them’ on Facebook, all just perpetuate the hate and intolerance on all sides and do little but give more excuses to be even more extreme, with the resulting justifications.
It is individual choices which determine the outcomes of all conflict, which determine tolerance and understanding and which determine the course of the future. The speeches and rhetoric bandied about now mimic, with chilling similarity, those tolerated in Europe in the 1920’s and 30’s against a different culture and religion. If anyone thinks this is not true then they don’t know history well enough. It is the same words used by politicians in nationalistic speeches and the same words used in bars and on factory floors in today’s world as those used nearly a century ago. Petrol bombs are being thrown through temple doors today just as they were then, bricks are going through windows now just the same as they were then. Yet it seems it is the same people who are perpetuating intolerance and calling for nationalistic pride and fervour that also shout loudly of their pride in grandfathers who fought against the very same intolerance and nationalism.
Imagine being welcomed in to the small slum-home, containing the many icons in the picture, every morning, not asked what or who you believe in or if you believe in anything at all, not asked what your politics are, not coerced in to a rite or blessing. Accepted, tolerated and respected as an individual, welcomed without question, without prejudice, without expectation. The result is equal and unambiguous return of the same acceptance and respect and tolerance by all who enter, a warmth and exchange of friendship, a mutual trust and equality, in a word – peace.
Some thoughts, some views, some ideas. Not necessary the truth or the answer but some thoughts. Agreement isn’t demanded nor needed but respect of another’s viewpoint, hoped for.