I haven’t prepared a script for this. Not that I do so often, but unfortunately, a few annoying things have tugged at my time such that I have to do this freestyle. So apologies if there are no fireworks in this one :-).
I must say I was saddened by the vain attempt to hijack this sad and horrendous act of terrorism, and instead cover it with a fake enamel of racism. While racism is clearly wrong, this is not about race, it’s about the ills of religious fundamentalism and extremism.
Any form of extremism is wrong, any form of religious fundamentalism is wrong. Any form of hate, whether it is against Romas, Rohingya Muslims or against Jews, Pakistanis or other ethnic minorities is wrong; it’s all dirty, raw, defenseless hate. Essentially it boils down to a deep dislike of the other for unjustifiable, incorrect, shallow, immoral and unethical reasons. The world never needed extremism, and in my view, it’s come about partly as a result of strange and unchallenged ideology by uncivil lobbyists (the likes of Johann Blumenbach, Christoph Meiners et al), because of ignorance and also because of humanity’s obsession with rules (whether religious or otherwise).
The other day I read a quote that I found quite profound. It said “Humans are the only species that pay to live on earth”. It is true isn’t it? Birds don’t pay rent, they survive okay. Bees, insects, animals, on land, in the sea, they get on okay with their lives. In what some call the ‘uncivilised’ world, or settlements, in particular people who live in the wild, cut-off civilizations in forests such as those in the Amazon, who are largely unaffected by consumerism (and all the stresses ‘civilised’ peoples have to contend with) appear to lead happier lives than those of us who live in the cities….not that those settlements don’t have challenges; they do…and many times it’s the law of the jungle out there..but my point is in the ‘civilised’ world, the way we treat each other has gone out of control. It has all become too distorted; we are the only group which claiming to be educated, advanced and whatever have you, are also the worst of all living beings ever to walk the earth…most cruel, conniving, selfish, greedy, hateful, destructive, wasteful, not compassionate… horrible savages. We are polluting the planet (to the detriment of most other creatures who have never damaged the earth), our governments are pseudo-terrorist states, killing and hurting people that are different from us with impunity (most of whom are termed “militants” even when such hasn’t been properly verified), with the result that our governments are responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians, irrespective of the consequences to the victim’s families, etc…all for little or no substantial gain.
Yet we consider other species (or peoples) to be inferior to us–sometimes secretly, we deceive ourselves with this superiorioty complex, when it is clearly the case that they don’t even hurt each other half as much as we do…such that we are the one’s who are uncivilised.
While I acknowledge that there are root causes underlining such acts of violence as was seen in Woolwich, which arguable have to be considered in a golden rule do-unto-others-as-would-like-to-be done-to-you kind of way, the bottom line is love and consideration for the other, no matter how different, in appearance and beliefs they may be.
I’d go a step further to suggest that such “tolerance” MUST be taught in schools, and to our children; that at some point people will realise that resources need to be allocated into schools, to teach tolerance and inclusiveness? Not only in the UK, or US, but in Pakistan, Somalia and indeed everywhere there else where there is a problem of extremism fundamentalism. I’d liketo see schools in libya teach their students about Christianity, Hinduism and Aetheism, in equal measure. I’d like to see Christian, Hindu, Jewish and other prominent religious holiday’s of minorities honoured and celebrated in Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Mali … and other countries.
In my view, the world looks too violent, too polarised and unresolved for tolerance to be learned on an ad-hock basis. It’s not going to happen successfully on its own. Not in a million years, so something more needs to be done, and the sooner it begins to be done, the quicker the problems of extremism can be addressed. The principles or ideas that encourage discrimination and extremism are dispersed too far out into the world, too common, too accessible, too appealing to those whom society has excluded (intentionally or otherwise), in my view, these poisonous ideas can only be realistically overcome (or at least their spreading severely contained) by a movement that includes a dedicated academic aspect that is biased in the opposite direction. Instruction which in a nutshell sounds like the following: “yes..its a rough world out there, and many people are greedy and messed up, and have caused too many problems throughout history for the rest of us, and its now impossible to undo. They’ve done these stupid things for all sorts of selfish, embarrassing reasons, including greed, but you can have your place, and achieve your dreams through a different peaceful means. You don’t have to kill an innocent other to achieve fairness or to show full support of a cause. You don’t have to execute vengence in a violent manner to achieve a purpose”
In addition, it can also be done in the same way for example as say Child Pornography is increasingly being dealt with these days.
Only then would we have a much better chance of eradicating hate, extremism and fundamentalism. Otherwise, there will never be peace in the world if we are still arguing over which type of hate / fundamentalism is worse than the other; when our children are not taught to love others and be inclusive irrespective of differences in background; when segregation and demarcations that encourage (or ignore) racism are left intact. If minorities are shy to speak out (noticeably) against terrorism (in family or public gatherings, in Churches, Mosque’s, Temples etc). There will never be peace if horrendous acts such as the Woolwich Murder are distorted for political capital, or worse used as excuses by far right-wing groups and other hateful sorts, to incite and encourage violence. We need to stand up collectively against fundamentalism, hate and extremism in the same way (if not better) as we are doing with movements such as make poverty history, against poverty, or in the same way as we are advocating measures against climate change.
- Leading neuroscientist: Religious fundamentalism may be a ‘mental illness’ that can be ‘cured’ (endtimeheadlines.wordpress.com)
- Coming our way: Christianity as a mental illness (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- Religious fundamentalism may be a ‘mental illness’ that can be ‘cured’ (seculardiscourse.wordpress.com)
- Hate Crimes | eLocal (elocallawyers.com)
- Let’s kick racism out of sport … forever! (fieldoo.com)
- Religious Fundamentalism – Mental Illness? (madnecessary.wordpress.com)
- RDFRS: Religious Fundamentalism and the Abuse of Children – Panel discussion (seculardiscourse.wordpress.com)
- Woolwich murder aftermath: Theresa May praises British-based Islamic group (independent.co.uk)
- Fake Muslim Preacher Omar Bakri Busted as Mossad Mole – Tied to Woolwich (nodisinfo.com)
- GOP lawmaker: US Muslim leaders ‘complicit’ in terrorist attacks (counterjihadreport.com)