Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Our planet, our job..

I saw this headline this morning about the Taliban now RE-targeting the schoolrooms of Afghanistan. The headline reads “As War Enters Classroom, Fear Grips Afghans”. Indeed I think that headline should make fear grip us all. I know we have quite a few teachers in this little circle. I believe I have made my respect and awe for that profession clear in the past. Other than a parent, I think no one has such influence on the formation of a child’s outlook. You remove that influence from a generation of children and give them nothing but ignorance, fear and hate in its place and you get chaos and violence. Make no mistake that chaos and violence are not staying at home.

When the attackers began slaughtering children, they began with the girls. What difference have we made here? What CAN we do? I don’t know, but we must do something because this is a disease that left unchecked will spread. Bullets and bombs I do believe have been sufficiently demonstrated as NOT the answer. We can no more bomb them into agreement with our outlook than they can kill us into agreement with their distorted view of their religion. I can I believe in good conscience call it distorted, I have read the Koran – this is not what it teaches to my understanding.

I agree with something Q said yesterday, “I say this reluctantly but I think the Imams are going to have to take a hard stance against the terrorists. So far they are doing little to nothing to stem the tide.” (not an exact quote, she will point that out to me later..)

I think this is so true and I further think this pressure will have to come from the governments of the Arab countries. No matter how it looks on CNN in this part of the world if the King wants you in jail or dead, you’re done. In Iran that runs a bit the other way, but using the example of South Africa – if the world applies enough economic and political pressure I think it will make a difference. I don’t think there will be ANY action without coordinated pressure from the rest of the world. China will and has in Dafur jumped in on the side of “right” at this time because it is in their best economic interest.

One, actually the only, financing for the Taliban is from the heroin trade. It is the west that is buying the stuff, so we are in fact financing those who plot our destruction. There’s a dichotomy for you.

And who is at fault here? Is it just the chap who pulls the trigger or plants the bomb? Is it the leaders who plan the operation and get the supplies and money? OR is it the religious leaders who inspire those who take the action, who tell them not only are they forgiven for death, but also the deaths of those who oppose this distorted view of Islam are mandatory; they are sinning if they DO NOT KILL? The justification for killing is religion. I’m sorry but that just blows my mind. Granted let us be clear they are not the only ones to use this justification the Christians have done it, those weird monks in Sri Lanka, the Jews have used it and had it used against them. Nuts! But THIS wave of terrorism in the name of religion is more wide spread, more deadly, and more vicious than any in the past. I think we can consider that debt for the Crusades (a brutal and complete wrong) paid in full. Unless the world is to disintegrate into anarchy with small patches here and there of heavily defended enclaves of dissenters, we must find a solution.

Terrorism is ineluctably about power plain and simple. The link to that definition has changed over the decades but not the core truth. The modern methodology is to use ever more convoluted wording to confuse the pejorative overtones of the word terrorists. Recent terrorist organizations select names that sound anything but terrorist-like in order to sell themselves as saviors rather than destroyers. The waters have been so muddied there is no clear definition of “terrorists” today, which works to their benefit. If we cannot define it at the very least we need to be able to separate it from other incidents of violence and war.

Terrorists are not guerrilla warriors, they are not ordinary criminals, they are not the lone lunatic assassins, and they are not pursuing purely egocentric goals. The terrorist believes he is serving a higher good, that he is called to this purpose; and that makes him so much more dangerous and bloody. The agenda is to change political control, and to have a certain interpretation of religion rule that political state. It is not enough to prove “I am right.” It must be proved “You are wrong.” And if that takes your death, that of all your family, and those in agreement with you – so it must be.

Bruce Hoffman gives this definition in “Inside Terrorism”:
“We may therefore now attempt to define terrorism as the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of political change. All terrorist acts involve violence or the threat of violence. Terrorism is specifically designed to have far-reaching psychological effects beyond the immediate victim(s) or object of the terrorist attack. It is meant to instill fear within, and thereby intimidate, a wider `target audience' that might include a rival ethnic or religious group, an entire country, a national government or political party, or public opinion in general. Terrorism is designed to create power where there is none or to consolidate power where there is very little. Through the publicity generated by their violence, terrorists seek to obtain the leverage, influence and power they otherwise lack to effect political change on either a local or an international scale.”

How surprised are you eh? This is not the post I had planned for today and I imagine not the one you were expecting, but the headline caught me off guard and we must say these things to each other. We must realize the truth of the world, or we will be lost. It is our world, all of it, and we are responsible for every individual on it and the state of the earth itself. Every grain of sand is the same as me, every Muslim is my child, every bird is my brother, the sea is my life's blood, and I am responsible for the well being of us all.

Tomorrow I will talk about shopping or the spa. We need that as well. My regular readers are quite used to these non-sequiturs of mine.


I Beatrice said...

I at least can find no quick or easy response to that one!

Save perhaps to say that I think it very brave of you to have tackled it in a blog.....

Winchester whisperer said...

These terrorists have been brainwashed by evil imams. Clearly if the self-and-indiscriminate- masses-destruct message were truly believed by the preachers of it, those preachers would have already been suicide bombers themselves. It's hypocrisy and I fail to understand why reasonable Muslims aren't more vociferous in speaking out against it. I'm sure the Moroccan press is heavily curtailed but am interested to know if you've read any articles there criticising suicide bombers.

I Beatrice said...

On further quiet reflection, one or two things do spring to mind in response to the deeply dreadful report you have brought to our attention today...

The first came up in a news item on British Tv last night, when the discussion was about the recent attempted bomb plots, and what we can do here, to restrict the activities of our own home-grown terrorists. The consensus view seemed to be that the moderate Imams can themselves actually do very little - since they are themselves as much the targets of the fundamentalists as we are ourselves. As is the case in so many situations in which tyrants run rampant, their own people are hated as much - and murdered as often - as the hated outsiders themselves!

Intractable? Yes, it really does seem so. And yet, and yet..... we have weathered other tyrannies and lived to come out on the other side. It was only a decade ago after all, that it was the IRA bombs we were enduring in Britain. And now look - Ian Paisley is sitting down to drink tea with Martin MacGinnes, and peace of a sort has finally broken out!

This other one though - I fear it is probably going to take a good deal longer to resolve....

Annie said...

Having grown up in the country where Paisley and McGuinness each wreaked their own brand of terror - by word and deed, I can tell there is no easy answer - but I 100% agree with and support your view that the responsibility lies with each of us to make a difference. What is less clear to many, is 'how'.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I am not surprised, though greatly saddened, by this report that the Taliban are targeting female pupils. They seem to despise women and have done as much as possible to oppress them. I don't know what the answer is to this terrorism that is springing up all over the world, like so many different anthills. Unless the Muslim world rises up against itself, which it won't do, I'm afraid we have a long, bloody fight ahead of us.

lady macleod said...

I Beatrice

Your points are well made both as to what we can doing nothing about, and the history of our survival of other attempts at destruction (Rome, the Nazis, USSR, MacDonald’s..).

I agree the time factor may be long and that is why I encourage awareness and alertness. This is one issue on which we MUST educate ourselves. This is one issue on which we MUST speak out. This is one issue in which we MUST be involved, for our future, our children’s future, and their children’s future. Seriously if I reincarnate and there are no posh bodies to be had I shall be seriously pissed off!

Thank you for your thoughtful comments, and thank you for coming by.


I am going to get back to your comment after conferring with Q (who is at present engaged in other conversation) as she reads the local press more than I. I don’t want to answer you with inaccurate information.


I don’t know, but I do know we must keep seeking the answer and therein lies involvement, which may be the answer eh?

Thank you for your comments, and thank you for coming by.


We must hope, and encourage by every method, that the moderate Muslims do indeed rise up, mustn’t we?

Thank you for your comments and thank you as always for coming by.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Good post, Lady M. Once education is targeted there is no hope, in my opinion. And the womwn are being used as symbols of purity to prop up these odious regimes. Whose fault is it all? Maybe the western nations who armed and promoted some of these groups in the first place. I don't know what we can do now because there is nothing these people want that we can give them. How can you reason with those who do not value life?

Anonymous said...

I stopped by from Welshcakes blog. A good post. When I think about what is happening under the guise of religion, I see red.

jmb said...

Well done Lady Mac. Although I do find it as depressing as hell. There is no answer that I can see.
What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan if we are not able to stop this?
I can hardly bear to read about the treatment of Afghani women. It seems we are powerless to help them, even to get an education.

Ellee Seymour said...

I agree with WW, I would like to hear more Muslims speaking out against these angry terrorists, who are chosen for their vulnerability.

antarctichousehusband said...

I think you overestimate the effect that external pressure had on the changes that took place in South Africa - it was really internal pressure that finally entailed change. I think that we (the West) should learn the same lesson with regard to states that may inadvertently promulgate terrorism. Rather than bombing etc., we should support dissidents within those states, and offer asylum to those who need it, education to those who desire it. Ideologies can't be imposed from the outside, they must be discovered and expressed by people on the inside.

Mama Zen said...

Excellent post. Truly excellent post.

I was most struck by your point that this not about the terrorists proving that they are right, but about the terrorist's desire to prove everyone else wrong. That really gets to the heart of it. Two sides both wanting to be "right" can, eventually, disagree to disagree, to coexist. But if one side believes that the other is "wrong" in the most elemental sense, so wrong that coexistence is a "sin" . . .well, that's a bit more complicated, isn't it?

nutmeg said...

That's why I enjoy your blog - I never know if it will be rice or peas. This is a powerful post and spot-on. I preferred it when religion was an opiate, not a barbiturate.

Marquis de Straf-Guernica said...


It is Wednesday and I have only 14 votes from 49.

If you're thinking of waiting until the last minute, may I beg you to reconsider. Though we gave a date of Friday evening, the longer our members refrain from voting, the longer we are preserving the agony.

May I humbly and respectfully ask that you don't let it go that long but get your vote in soon so we know what is happening?

Yours, James

KarenO said...

I agree with antarcticHH, in my opinion the pressure from the ANC etc weighed much heavier than international pressure. That doesn't mean the sanctions didn't do the damage it was meant to. I just wish that the world would open it's eyes and realize that what's been going on in Zimbabwe is terrorism at it's worst. Bruce Hoffman's definition of terrorism fits Robert Mugabe to a T! And it's horrifying what he's been "allowed" to get up to in that country.

Thanks for an interesting and thought-provoking post!

lady macleod said...

Welshcakes limoncello

Thank you. I don’t’ know how we will do it, I only know we must. I think keeping it in the conversation is a good start.

Thank you for coming by and for your thoughtful comments.

Steve g

Welcome! I know what you mean. Thank you for your comments.

Thank you for coming by and please come back.


Thank you. I know it does seem overwhelming but I just remember the Korean proverb – Every mountain starts with a grain of sand.

Thank you for coming by, and thank you for your thoughtful comments.


I think you are right that internal pressure had much to do with the changes in South Africa, however without the international economic sanctions I do not think change would have come when it did.

“states that may inadvertently promulgate terrorism” Here I disagree. I just don’t think a state can support terrorism by accident. When the state is involved such as in Iran, I think we need to support the voices of dissent (albeit the CIA has a long history of cut and run) but we need to also apply outside pressure.

“Ideologies can't be imposed from the outside, they must be discovered and expressed by people on the inside” I am 100% with you on this one! There does need to be an environment where that growth can take place.

I think we can all learn from a different point of view and I appreciate yours.

It is a tricky proposition with many questions and many answers. Again I agree bombs are not the answer, but neither is ignoring the problem and establishing an isolationist policy. The world is getting more and more flat and smaller every day. Their problems ARE our problems.

Thank you for coming by, and thank you for your thoughtful comments.

Ellee Seymour

Yes! Thank you for coming by.

Mama Zen

Thank you. A bit more complicated indeed! Thank you for coming by and thank you for your thoughtful comments.


Oh thank you. “I preferred it when religion was an opiate, not a barbiturate.” Great line.

Thank you for coming by and thank you for your comments.


I did not know I had a vote! I left the moment I read your post and voted. Thank you for letting me know.


We really don’t want to start me on Mugabe do we? Again I say, I think it is people like you and all the others above who have something to say who will change the status quo – let’s say it. It seems to me, blog world is a wonderful and becoming a powerful medium for expression.

We cannot as citizens of the world sit around in our own comfort and safety and do and say nothing.

Thank you for coming by and thank you for your thoughtful comments.

Bogger Blogger said...

Grab a cup of tea (or glass of mint tea) and see if you also find this to be an interesting read.

lady macleod said...

bogger blogger

indeed I did; thank you.

thank you for coming by.