There is no escaping it! I tried, I honestly did … turning my face to the glorious spring sunshine this Sunday morning, blocking my thoughts from the various news channels, and Internet, and blogs, and papers. But turning my head to the other side did not work. I could not escape it. Just like I never could.
The talk, the stench, the cries of war … war dogs are getting out again.
And it bothers me. It bothers me because some 20 odd years ago those same dogs, using the same self-proclaimed and self-fulfilling righteous ideologies and iconographies, managed to enflame ethnic and religious fevers, set at the exactly right time and within the exactly right environment, amongst the collapse of communism in Europe, to stage blood baths and destroy the once beautiful country I called mine.
The wound deeply buried inside my chest stirred, nudged with the blade as old, and as sharp as humanity itself. The same humanity that has given birth to astonishingly beautiful art, breathtakingly complex technology, and inspiring science that saves life, and yet has never ceased to take those same lives away. Extinguishing them by hundreds and thousands in wars of every creed imaginable; ethnic, religious, imperial … and many others.
War and religion are two phenomenon as old, and as tenacious as humanity itself. They are interwoven into the very fabric of human existence. Although they seem to be at the opposite end from each other; one offering love, salvation and hope, while the other seeds death, decay and loss, they both ask for the one thing above all else; blind faith. Blind faith in one truth only, one right side, one winner … this is why, for many centuries, various religions provided different war machines with the ready-made justifications. Despite all our advancements, nothing but appearances seems to have changed.
This time around, the news is of some obscure individual, apparently convicted fraudster and small-time petty thief, assisted by even smaller time porn-movies maker and alike, who made an abysmal, low-budget, anti-Islam movie titled ‘Innocence of Muslims’ and posted it on YouTube.
Violent protests resulting in deaths are organized by those claiming to be rightfully offended to the extent that justifies violence and killings. Unsurprisingly, analogies have been quickly drawn with the Rushdie affair, the murder of Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh, the Danish cartoons controversy, and the banning of Dutch MP Geert Wilders from the UK because of his anti-Islamic film ‘Fitna’.
Equally unsurprisingly at the other end, there are those promoting the flick through their own, apparently faith-based networks, believing themselves called to denounce those ‘hysteric followers of Islam’ and dispense their own type of justice in the process. Examples of films that allegedly outraged Christians, Jews, and Mormons, such as; ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’, ‘The Passion of the Christ’, or the more recent ‘The Book of Mormon’ have been cited as controversies that did not result in loss of lives, or required call for any kind of ban or official apologies.
While at first glance such rhetoric’s might ring true, a closer look, especially when the timing of the film’s realise on YouTube is taken into consideration, together with the current political events and the overall political climate in the USA and the world at large is considered, it soon becomes clear that the same old tactics are at play.
Extremists of all colours doing the only thing they know how to do; inflaming emotions, devising smoke-screens and manipulating already angry mobs into achieving their own agendas.
Agendas that have very little, if anything, to do with anyone’s true faith or system of believes, but everything to do with disguising the true purpose of the bigoted film’s release.
Because as long as the focus is kept on mass-hysteria, it is also kept away from the facts, such as terminology used in conjunction with the clip’s release; reference to an ‘Israeli’ director living in the USA, to a ‘100 Jewish donors’ who allegedly provided ‘5 million dollars’. Those, and other similar terms are used with the clear objective to anger, inflame and destabilize, stirring up the dangers tensions in the regions already unsettled, and of course at the convenient timing given the elections in the USA.
It matters little whether or not those references carry any factual truth, or that the sad excuse for the movie is so bad that is laughable … because angry mobs are already out and people are already dead.
As it matters very little that most of those protesting have very likely never seen the actual clip (the most violence comes from Yemen, country where people have the least access to computers and the internet).
Because those riots are not only about the movie, or about freedom of speech, or freedom of protest … those are just fuses used to ignite much bigger and much deeper rooted anguishes and animosities. Anguishes and animosities sown and cultivated by those in whose hands they are playing. To that end nothing works better than putting lit torches into hands of those already feeling desolate and making them believe that they have been further injured. Inevitably they will prove right those that portrayed them as ‘inhuman’ on the first place.
As always amongst mass outcry about ‘clashes and incompatibilities of cultures’, and ‘global threats’, voices of reason, peace and tolerance from either Muslims, or Christians, or Jews, or Atheists, or Humanity at large are hardly, if at all heard.
And this is precisely the climate in which war dogs’ hunt. The mix is right; deeply entrenched, historical sorrows and anxieties, haves and have-nots on the opposing sites, global financial/economic crisis, widely spread unemployment, and feeling of hopelessness, mixed with religious, and cultural intolerances … doesn’t it sound just a little bit too familiar?
Why Oh Why?
Why can’t we just remember that; ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’
Why can’t we just accept that there are no winners or losers in any war, just dead, injured, wounded, maimed and displaced? Christian corpse looks just as dead, as that of a Muslim, or any other for that matter … trust me, I have seen it!
Why can’t we finally understand that all any war machinery ever needed is wide-spread hatred and collective feeling of threat from ‘them’ whoever they might be? And who ‘they’ are depends on the political or financial agendas of those who appointed themselves as ‘our saviours.’
Why can’t we see that before anyone was thought to recognize self as either a Muslim, or a Christian, or an African or an Asian … before we have ever learnt of any such descriptors, each and every one of us was born as a human being?