Thursday, December 15, 2005

through a glass darkly

I can see from people’s posts of late that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has caused a stir by denying the holocaust. It’s not strange at all that one word in three syllables ^holocaust” is instantly recognisable for the series of events that for most of us is one of the foulest passages of modern history.

We do not need any additional proof other than the images that we have seen of the pain and anguish of the people on whom Hitler’s progrom was inflicted. In fact for most of us, we simply couldn’t stay sane if we were able to comprehend the real scope of the suffering involved.

So, for someone to say that it is a myth or invention is the most dreadful affrontary to any rational sensibility.

Then why did he say it? What does he possibly have to gain?

May I introduce two distractions from what the papers say please?, they are called politics and perspective. As a whole they may be summed up as discernment.

When will we ever stop to report on what people say, and add spin from our own perspective to meet our own political ends and try, instead, to analyse motivation?

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending the statement, I despise the sentiment unequivocally, I despise the simple departure from an evident truth. But what interests me is motivation…this man is, whether you like it or not, the spokesperson for an ancient, well disciplined and cultured society. To what end would he utter such fallacy?

Religion or politics? It seems to be a pertinent question. Certainly here in Europe it is more often simply a matter of politics, trust me, we seldom vote with our feet en route to any particular church. It’s a simple truth. In the US I believe that religion has a much stronger influence on people’s daily lives, here less so. (and I understand that each of these statements that I am making at the moment are arguable for decades between dipolar exponents of either side of the argument, this is simply my perspective which in its way is a case in point). But that influence has a cost too. For every moment we step towards any religious idealism, we take a step away from perspective at exactly the same rate. We lose the capacity to see it from another’s perspective. We become fundamentalists.

Or politicians? Or even worse just mules.

Why Iraq, why are our troops dying in Iraq? Why has there been no political analysis of what would happen without Iraq? It’s really very simple. Iran is the single most populace, (and arguably best armed and most cohesive of the all of Arab nations). It’s a nation state like all others, that envys power, and nearby the oil rich sates of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates hold the promise of incredible wealth – hence power – hence influence.

And what was in the way? Our dear Saddam. We invaded once and tried pass along the message. Stay real, stay within bounds, don’t draw too much attention attention to yourself and you can be as despotic as you like – because you serve a purpose, you are the no man’s land between Iran and the South. But unfortunately he, as is the wont of puppets, forgot who was pulling his strings. He was safe, it would have taken Iran so long to fight their way through Iraq that we would have been there in numbers before they could pose a real threat on Saudi Arabia, bui he made such headlines as no longer could be ignored.

And so we invented WOMD and now we have to be there instead. And we can never leave in the foreseeable future because the threat will not abate, and we need the compliance of the oil rich states for our political future.

So why would M. Ahmadinejad say the things he does?

Let’s not discount the possibility that he is a religious fanatic, though Islam does not teach the brutality of mind that he is cultivating at present. But it’s not likely is it? Anybody capable of ruling a nation is generally quite capable of rational thought and ipso facto, self preservation, which implies a sophisticated knowledge of politics.

Islam and Christianity are not so far apart (there’s another one of those statements, go and do you own research). Neither advocates violence or intolerance. But either in the right conditions may be used to political ends. It’s a matter of strategy, in a way it is exactly what Hitler did. Take a people who feel down trodden, done to, whilst those around them are enjoying great riches (the Saudi’s, the UAE), and inculcate in them a belief that they are chosen, being tested somehow….fundamental religious constructs are more powerful in this respect than Hitler’s arianism but the mechanism is the same.

That through belief all things are possible. These are good people, honest god fearing people, who simply believe that they have not reached their equilibrium on earth (or will in heaven) because they have been beguiled by the skills of a politician during hard circumstances.

And then all you require is a common enemy. Zion. To provide the possibility of self righteous indignation from any crowd that you speak to.

(Israel is not perfect, as often the aggressor as the recipient. It IS a false state too, it is a political whim to sate the guilt of all of those nations who had the opportunity to decide the boundaries of the new world following the war. Palestinians WERE displaced, and a completely incongruous religion-that-was -not-beforehand-ever-a-nation was seated astride the single most diversely revered city on earth, Jerusalem. And then defended, paternally and politically, by those who had made that decision – you and me folks. Just some perspective, none of us a free of guilt.

There is a historical parallel in the creation of Yugoslavia after at the end of the first World War. Where Croatians and Bosnians had lived in harmony facing each other and trading at the point where the Holy Roman Empire met the Eastern Roman Empire, albeit with empirically different cultures and beliefs….until the moment that they were forced to become a nation, at the behest of a politically ‘neater Europe’. And we all know the atrocities that were conducted there under the auspices of "racial cleansing" and the personal influence of Slobodan Milosovic).

And there we have the entire recipe. A disenchanted people who’s better understanding of their own religious precepts has been undermined by political machination, given a common enemy – Israel – that they will fight to the point of war to drive home this obvious truth to their neighbours of the same faith. And an Israel supported by the US and ourselves, further demonised because we are religious and power mad interlopers is too much to bear. We have news papers and are stupid enough to believe them - but tell me where their alternate opinion might find any kind of congress?

They would drive down into Saudi Arabia full of religious fervour, as saviours of the faith to open the Saudi’s eyes – to drive out the Infidel, to cast out the shadows from their eyes, and thus fulfil the political objectives of those few who perverted the soul of reasonable and peaceful people.

In my opinion….

Please don't misunderstnad, I am not against the war in Iraq, I'm simply trying to understand the reason why our soldiers are dying there along with those who wish to live their daily lives and practice their religion peacefully. I refuse to believe the simplistic and sensatioalist fodder that we are offered by the media. In it's own way it is as subversive as the poison being spread by Iranian fundamentalists. We are intelligent, we can make sophisticated decisions and form our own opinions and I find it grotesque that we are fed with a diet that is tantamount to propaganda.

We're blessed with the ability to openly discuss this, unlike our counterparts who live in less liberal societies. Let us not waste the opportunity, provide us with historical and political background so that we can better understand the principle that takes us to war - let us all be clear that we desire to combat tyranny, not subvert the religious beliefs of another nation. Because if we don't do this, if we continue to write what we write in the press and say in the news - which is accessible to the political spin doctors of the would be tyrants, then our words and naive opinions will be used against us, and we will be made to appear as oppressors and overzealous children with guns but no understanding.

Our politicians and media need to treat us with the respect that our intelligence and democracy deserve. We are perilously close to aiding and abetting the political aims of dictators, not by doing the wrong thing - but by doing the right thing but appearing to do it for the wrong reasons.

Please, please ask questions of anything that you read in the news


Just Some Gal said...

Colin, I am astounded that I just read that. I truly admire your writing but this...this is so well referenced and truly belongs in something like The New Yorker or Saturday Evening Post...or whatever England's equivalent is.

I'm just... You have struck so many points and nerves in this. Sooo many things are catalysts for the wars that rage on... I'm actually afraid to say much because you said it so well and I'll look a total fool.

Wonderful post Colin.
Quite wonderful.

Miladysa said...

Well, you know you are on the list down at MI5/6 now don't you or (just because I am paranoid) are you trying to smoke others out?!

Courageous post - I salute you Sir.

Kiki said...

This is a side I've never seen in you before!! Go Colin, it's your birthday!! Just kidding. I just didn't want to get too serious.

Sandra said...

Colin, you should run for political office. But you won't because you're decent.

BTW on a nonsensical topic I tagged you on my blog to write a list of your 5 weirdest habits - check it out, I expect a great list from you.

Jessica said...

Great post, dear!

I don't know how true it is but I once read a statistic that said 1 in 4 Americans feel "it's possible" that the Holocaust never happened. Absolutely blows my mind.

Gerbera Daisy said...

Well said, my friend.

Wendy said...

I surely hope this becomes published on paper somewhere.

Amerloc said...

I love it when my thoughts get provoked beyond insensate raging. Thank you for taking the time to puzzle through this one.