Fundamentalism is a problem, and is frequently referred to as the soul cause of grotesque behaviour: look at the word for a moment. It means, when applied to Christians, Jews, Muslims or any of the multitude of faiths, that they follow the fundamental elements of the religion. Moderates skim over elements of the religion that have been disproved and are now unacceptable due to being ridiculous, cruel or both. Fundamentalism, from which ever faith, is merely a sprouting twig from the main stem of its host religion.
Abrahamic faith has been in a major influence upon the western world in one form or another for well over millennium. If it could sweepingly lift up an arm, gesturing at the years gone by, to proudly announce: "Look at the peace it has brought" then I might be more open to persuasion than I am of of it being of some intrinsic benefit. However, fundamentalism, indeed religion, however frequently at fault, is not the root nor solitary cause of contemporary terrorist attacks.
Using the fox news report from July 15th to comment on the Nice massacre is an example, the headline ran: "This is war. It is aimed at the west. And we must fight back." It portrays the west as just sitting, having picnics and skipping through the surf, when all of a sudden there was an attack on our way of life out of nowhere: It is monumentally naive to think that this was the case.
In every conflict propaganda is key to the argument and the stance of the populace; in conflicts in which it was not controlled In Vietnam, for example, the peoples opinion quickly turned against the conflict and consequently the state. No western country has made the same mistake since. Journalists have been carefully guided and controlled during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and politicians that stood against the conflict were derided before it started despite a strong public opinion that shared the same view.
When it comes to the killing of innocents it simply isn't religious fundamentalists that have achieved the big numbers. Admittedly the two leaders most fervent in regard to their faiths: Bush Junior and Tony Blair, were responsible for the unprovoked wars that led to the destabilization of the countries which are now the key source of the problem. I am not putting this forward to compare "good" and "bad": I am putting them together as these actions are a direct cause for the state of affairs that exists today.
The bombing of Baghdad was incredible: it was a capital city with a population of over five million people; there was no way that were going to be no, or even a low, amount of civilian casualties. Do the people of Iraq know that we did if for no valid reason other than the privatization of the countries resources? Even the censorship of western papers couldn't keep the horror of what we had done down to a minimum. We know how we view the perpetrators of bombings in London and Paris and other peoples view of the people that bombed their cities isn't any different. I know the victims of the bombings in the west were innocent; the victims of our western bombs were innocent too.
|2000.000 People in London march for peace. 2003.|
We had a war on drugs and the drug problem increased exponentially; was anyone optimistic about the war on terror from the start? Terror is not an enemy it is a strategy. We certainly encouraged it among the french and other occupied countries during world war two and the Germans definitely called it terrorism.
Since this this war on a concept began more than a million people have died in Iraq alone, more than a million. This does not include those among the three million displaced by the conflict who faced unimaginable hardship and died as a result of that. More than two hundred thousand innocent people have been killed in Afghanistan since the invasion began. These people, like those in Europe, had nothing to do with the war on terror, or 911, and were in no way a threat to our freedom or philosophy. The people that survived a bombing in one country are just as angry as the ones that survived in another.
|Volunteers bring hope to the displaced of the refugee camps.|
It can be simplified: The innocents of the west are being killed because the innocents of the east were killed, and the people that caused it are rich.
The numbers still roll in, over one hundred innocent people killed by allied bombing in Syria in a week. There will be survivors, there will be children among them. Will there be people in ten years time wondering what the cause of radicalization might be? As Leaders today declare terrorism a "sickness" without voicing the consideration that the events in the Middle East are remotely connected to the horrific events that are now taking place in Europe.
I have met some of the children of this war: mute, wide eyed and rocking. Flinching at sudden movements and noises, the bombs that fell around them still loud in their heads. I promise, without kindness now there will be anger later on.
I am not suggesting for a moment that contemporary violence can be stopped by kindness, that is as naive as thinking that terrorist acts are based on faith alone. Future acts of violence are a very different matter, as can be seen by the obvious, yet ignored, cause of our present suffering.
We must feed the refugees that we have caused. We must stop the killing and save the children lost in the horror we have created. Otherwise we condemn future generations to the same anger and retribution that we face today. Not only to save ourselves, but because what the western countries have done is a crime against humanity.
I don't believe in flying horses, bisected moons or unicorns. But I do believe in the holistic effects of a negative long term foreign policy and I do believe in people. In the same way that there is no dark, only an absence of light: there is no such thing as evil, only an absence of kindness.
In the arsenal of war kindness is not regarded as key, but in this surreal war of our own making, unless you wish the next decade to look as horrific and disappointing as the one that you are in, it is the only weapon we can wield that can strike the only enemy there is. And we have it. We have it in abundance.