Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Put On Your Protective Gear.....

Finally for today, I decided to post this rant on March 6 from one of my favorite performers, Matthew Good.

I respect the beliefs of others and don't insinuate that those of faith are stupid. That said, I do draw the line at people who claim to be of faith (any faith) using it as an excuse to be an intolerant, racist, thieving, murdering bastard.

"I’m going to go on a bit of a tirade, so prepare yourself.

Let’s cut the shit and be honest - Muslims blow people up, right? Since September the 11th, and even preceding it, that has been much of the Western world’s perception. Since 9/11, Islam has been attacked by right-wing hacks the world over as being a faith that is steeped in intolerance and hatred. Of course, those same people, even if they’ve read the Qu’ran, usually have zero experience with regards to Muslim cultures. Their intolerance of Islam is steeped in a perspective that lumps an entire faith into a single category – that being one represented by extremists.

That said; how many of you Catholics out there appreciate being branded child molesters simply because there are those within the church that have been guilty of it? What if I were to say that you’re all child molesters – every last despicable, Papist one of you?

Let’s get off our high horse and, for once, smell the bullshit. The current tensions in the Middle East have roots. One of them is the creation of Israel without the involvement of the Arab League. The other is that much of the region was exploited by imperial powers for centuries.

The latter of those two was reason enough for the people of the American Colonies to rise up against the British and employ both conventional military force and the use of militias to oppose them. Of course, some of those same freedom loving people, now historically glorified, were also responsible for genocidal practices with regards to various Native American peoples. But we needn’t dwell on that.

A very long time ago, numerous Popes - that would be God’s chosen representative on earth - proclaimed that killing Muslims was the path to heaven. In fact, that belief held water for two entire centuries. During that time, Christian nations in Europe sent armies into Palestine, among other places, to retake what they deemed rightfully theirs and to wipe out whomever happened to disagree with their views. And the Jews? Well, they were demonized as well.

Interestingly, if you open a history book, you’ll discover that during the 4th Century Jews were banned from Jerusalem altogether by a Christian Roman Emperor, lasting until 638. And what happened in 638? Well, Arabs captured the city and, believe it or not, allowed Jews access to it again. In fact, up until the first Crusade, Jews and Muslims both worshipped openly in Jerusalem. And then, in 1099, Christian Crusaders murdered the majority of its population, Jews and Muslims alike, during and after their siege of the city.

In the centuries that followed, Jerusalem was ruled by a variety of others – Muslims again, Christians again, the Turks, the Mamelukes, the Ottomans and the British. Ultimately, thousands of years after last controlling it, the creation of Israel established much of Palestine as a Jewish state, including parts of Jerusalem.

But I digress.

One of the highest crimes during the Inquisition was being labeled a ‘Jewdite’. The punishment? Death. If you were suspected of being Jewish in Spain during that time you faced ‘The Question,’ were imprisoned, and then put to death. Of course, conversion was always an option, but that didn’t automatically mean that your life would be spared. The same went for Protestants, though they would employ their own special brand of intolerance in those parts of Europe that were under their control, doing the same to Catholics.

In any event, you’ve got well in excess of a thousand years of Christian brutality, extremism and murder to reflect on. And that’s not even taking into account those conquests of the new world sanctioned by Rome that inevitably led to the eradication of entire peoples.

So do you honestly believe that when it comes to religious extremism we possess the moral high ground? If you do, you’re one of two things – either on crack or looking for some.

If you scan the headlines right now, you’ll be confronted by the news that militants killed eight Israelis today in Jerusalem. In Gaza, news of the murders was met with celebratory gunfire. Given what’s happened in Gaza over the last two weeks, it doesn’t surprise me that sympathetic morons would shoot bullets into the air to celebrate the cold blooded murder of innocent people. But that’s to be expected, just as Western bias regarding what transpired over the last two weeks in Gaza is to be expected. As for the Israeli government, what happened today shouldn’t come as a surprise. I mean, after the events of last two weeks, what did they expect? In the words of Forrest Gump – stupid is as stupid does.

They’re extremists, the lot of them. They just conduct their wars of piety and revenge, of ideology and intolerance, in ways that can be spun to suit the rage required to sustain dedication to such moronic behaviour on both sides.

Killing’s, killing’s, killing’s kids. 54 people were blown to bits in Baghdad today, with another 100 more injured. But it’s just another day in Iraq. Iraqi extremists, or foreign extremists that have ventured to Iraq to play their little role in a game as ignorantly old as the sun and the moon, killed innocent Iraqis. It’s to be expected. Muslims blow people up, right?

Old news, or not white people, or not steadfast allies. Eight dead Israelis, on the other hand, is news – and certainly vastly more important than the deaths of innocent Palestinians. Because Muslims blow people up, right? Theirs is a faith steeped in violence and hatred and intolerance and that’s proven to be the case since its inception, right? Ours, on the other hand, is a belief steeped in love and glorious instant noodle salvation.

In God we trust. I’ll tell you this, flat out – God, in his many forms, is an untrustworthy fucker. Because if you’re going to buy into the belief that it’s best to put your faith in placing all of your eggs in one basket, then if you drop it you lose everything. And that, at its core, is nothing but the roots of extremism.

Religion is as old as man. So is stupidity. Coincidence?"


alajnabiya said...

Well, I was mostly nodding my head until I got to that last paragraph. It's a sad situation, but even sadder when people blame God for how WE screw up the world.

fjb said...

Matthew tends to rant, but I think that was his point: It's not God who screws everything up it's us, all the while doing it in his name. Mankind uses God as an excuse and can conveniently manage to find permission in religious teachings of all forms to do exactly what he likes to whomever he wishes, in an effort to advance his own personal desires.