"In the beginning"

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The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

After The Dust Cleared


I find it interesting to hear people speak of the wealth of the West
as a cause, even a justification for the acts of terrorism that
continue to happen, one should surely look at the spread of wealth
in the Middle East as well before blindly saying wealth in the West
is the root cause for the worlds troubles.

The oil sheiks are among the wealthiest people in the world and
they ride roughshod over some of the poorest people in the world,
before we assume the blame for the worlds troubles and proclaim
the wealth in the West should be used to stave of poverty and
need, the old adage of charity begins at home should be looked at.

There is poverty at some level in every country on earth, the
Middle East does not have sole rights on it, and surely some of
the vast oil wealth that is generated there should be put to use
in solving their problems too, instead there is a culture that points
to the West, America in particular, and blames all the worlds
problems on them.

No country has accumulated more wealth than America, but on the
same basis, no country has anything approaching the foreign aid
programs of America either.

I am not very highly versed in the laws of Islam, but my
understanding is that their ideas of recruitment don’t stop short
of annihilation of any who don’t follow their views; this is a huge
step beyond espousing any other religions views of, “true
redemption lies only with us.”

When the beliefs of a people are being fuelled by that sort of
notion and the leaders, who are in the main, dictators rather
that leaders, are urging their downtrodden masses to acts of
aggression against Westerners and promising a place in heaven
for the aggressors.

I would like to include an extract from a true story of the
ongoing training within the US prison system;

the author, Rick Mathes, is a well known leader in prison ministry,
his questions were to an Islamic Imam, who had given a
presentation on the basics of Islam

"Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that most
Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war]
against the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel,
which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place
in heaven. If that's the case, can you give me the definition of
an infidel?"

There was no disagreement with my statements and, without
hesitation, he replied, "Non-believers!"

I responded, "So, let me make sure I have this straight. All
followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is
not of your faith so they can go to Heaven. Is that correct?"

The expression on his face changed from one of authority and
command to that of a little boy who had just gotten caught
with his hand in the cookie jar. He sheepishly replied, "Yes."
I then stated, "Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to
imagine the Pope commanding all Catholics to kill those of
your faith or a Protestant leader ordering Protestants to do the
same in order to go to Heaven!"

The Imam was speechless.


Now I did not attend this session nor can I vouch for its authenticity.

The point I would make from it is if the teachings of Islam are
such as described there is little that anyone else on earth can do
that will change the situation we are now in, and this includes
solving the poverty situation.

I was prompted to write this by a very thoughtful article my son
Marcus wrote for his blog Holt Press, he has sanctioned my
reprinting of this article, thanks Marcus.

September 11 - 5 years on

Holt Press
I was teaching a drug education course to parents the night of
9/11. Carolyn rang me to tell me what had happened and I
stood there dumbfounded trying to comprehend it.

I watched the live TV feed from the US for hours that night as
the drama unfolded and was repeated over and over.
The scenes
were horrifying, compelling, amazing and shocking.

It was hard to believe it had happened. It's still hard to believe
it. Seeing the planes hit still makes me shudder. Seeing the
towers crumbling is still mind blowing.

The anniversary has passed fairly quietly here, not a lot of
discussion or comment from people on the street.
The footy finals and Peter Brock's death raised more interest.

There have been movies and documentaries on TV but they
haven't exactly been riveting television.

The real question is what have we learned from and since
September 11?

I don't have answers, or even much in the way of suggestions,
but I do have a couple of opinions.

The first is that the war on terror is an unwinnable war. In fact
it is completely counter-productive.
Every "terrorist" the
US kills spawns another hundred ready to
take their place.
There are suicide bombings and attacks throughout the middle
east,
Europe and elsewhere happening every day.

The world is not safer, it is clearly more dangerous.
A bus ride or a family holiday have become fraught with risk.


The war on terror can't be won so long as it's fought with
conventional weapons and tactics.

The war can only be won when we recognize the cause and
reasons for the terrorism in the first place and address those.

There is incredible injustice in the world.

There is a complete imbalance of wealth, resources and power
concentrated in the west and hardship, disease, lack of basic
human needs like clean water, medicine and food in places all
over the world.

The west exploits the rest of the world and its resources for
our own comfort and pleasure, growing richer and fatter while
the world grows poorer.

Unless we address and respond to these basic needs, there
will always be resentment, anger and violence towards the west.

Without the will to change the world, the world will continue to
suffer and people will die at the hands of terrorists.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not sticking up for terrorists or
justifying their actions, but it is hardly surprising that there is
huge resentment when we truly acknowledge the imbalances
in the world.

In response to 9/11 the US rained bombs on Afghanistan and
other places, invaded
Iraq and continues to take a hard line
military approach.
Britain and Australia have followed along
behind obediently.

I didn't pose this suggestion but I'd love to see what would
happen if it were taken up.

Someone asked in the early stages when the military response
was just cranking up, "What if we just dropped money on
Afghanistan instead of bombs?"

It's an interesting question!

The irony is, it would have been cheaper!!

There have been heinous crimes committed and people should
be brought to justice, but it is naivety to think that all the
wrongs have been perpetrated by the "terrorists" and
"Muslims" and "Arabs" and "foreigners".

The west has blood on its hands too.
There is no innocent party, there has been wrong committed
on both sides.

The answer is not more bombs bullets and missiles.

The answer surely lies in a different direction, where support,
understanding, cooperation, mutual assistance, sharing of
resources, peace making are the key strategies, not protecting
oil, resources and vested interests.

Sure as eggs, money is the number one driving force behind
most decisions made and actions taken.

It's certainly not the sanctity of human life, the pursuit of
goodness and a fair and just world for ALL.

The reality is we place way more value on a western life or
death than we do on an eastern one.

Don't believe me? Check the TV hours/newspaper footage
devoted to one western life compared to an African or a
Russian or a Palestinian or a ...
I don't have the answers,
but I know what we're currently doing is not working and will
never work.

The anger resentment and hatred towards the US and the west,
including
Australia, is growing not diminishing.

Some where in this crazy mess we have to call a time-out and
honestly ask whether we're headed in the right direction, and
if we're not, what are we going to do about it.

I feel sad for the 3000 Americans who died on Sep 11. I feel
sad for their families.


But, they are not the most important or only people to have
died in this "war" and the way it's being fought, they certainly
won't be the last.


As a footnote I think it is worth noting here that the combiation of factors:
Money, Oil, Fear, Revenge, all figured in the way events have taken place.

16 comments:

Miss Cellania said...

There was a time when Christians were willing to kill anyone who didn't share the same religious beliefs, the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition, and then there's Ireland (which is more complicated than a simple religious war).

Its still wrong, whoever does it.

LZ Blogger said...

Peter ~ I for one will NEVER FORGET! ~ jb///

lori said...

Thank you for the reminder.

Raggedy said...

We will NEVER FORGET!
*^_^
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from da Cool Raggedy one

JunieRose2005 said...

I hope my last comment didn't go because it was a disgrace with misspelled words- I tried to switch it to WORD to correct things and lost it...
(when I'm upset my spelling goes crazy!!)

~~~
Anyway-will try again!

I am with JB on this! I will never forget!

And I thank God we had a strong leader at the time our country was invaded and innocent, ordinary people who were going about their daily lives were so brutally murdered!

People should stop and think of where we would be now if our USA president had NOT taken the stand to fight terrorism! Does anyone think that attack on 9-11-01 (as horrible as it was) would have been the last one? What other alternative did we have? Just sit back and do nothing? Wait for the next plane to fly into the next building? It would have happened- it STILL might happen!

How do you deal with people whose goal is to see all Christians dead?
Do you fight back ...or do you run and hide... do we say if we just be nice, THEY will be nice?

America HAS been nice - with aid to ALL these countries that hate us now!

I, for one, will not apoligize for having been born in a Christian nation- nor will I feel guilt and responsibility!

The people killed on 9-11 were the victims - not these terrorists who are STILL plotting to kill as many of 'US' as possible!

That 'US' includes a big part of our world!

Junie

Hale McKay said...

This was a very thought provoking post, Peter, and that includes your son's views.

While the west (America) certainly is wealthy as a whole, he fails to recognize the wealth of the Middle East, that is to say the wealth of the Middle East rulers.

If just one dollar of the profits from each barrel of oil they export went to their people, the quality of life there would be improved.

I daresay that over 90% of the Muslim world actually knows a thing about the West. They only know what they are told by their super-rich leaders.

Sure the West has blood on its hands too, but the facts are available to its peoples.

Peter said...

Miss C, there was certainly a time in history when Christianity (and all other religions) were prepared to comit awful deeds in the name of their particular religion or beliefs, thankfully those times are no longer with us in MOST cases.

Jerry, Lori and Raggedy, I sincerly trust we will never forget that September day, this post was put up in an effort to ensure just that.

June, I am delighted that you were so upset your spelling skills deserted you, while many will not agree with your views on the President in general terms, you are right that strong views and actions were neccessary at the time, you will get overwhelming support from all of us that we don't apologise for being born as Christians.

Hale, thanks for your contribution, I toyed with the idea of just linking Marcus' post but felt that if I included it here it became more an additional viewpoint. There is certainly enough wealth in the Middle East to solve their problems if it were applied correctly.
Sad to say, the same could be said of Australia, America and probably all other countries too, greed rather than money is the problem.

Jim said...

Hi Peter -- Better late than never?
I'm glad I came over tonight. There are a lot of theories about the Muslims. Personally I believe there is a corrupt branch who have changed the Koran to say what your priest said.
I subscribe to the Aramco World which had a good run-down on the Muslim religion a couple of years ago. Their true religion has more tolerant and loving views than the Christian religion.
To the 'have nots' the radical brand is very appealing and growing pretty fast.

We sure did get them riled up.

Like the 'wrath of a woman scorned:' so how do we stop it?
..

Merle said...

Hi Peter ~ Thanks for your comment on my post. I am not having any trouble posting. The only problem at present is having to comment as an
other. Still have no idea what user name they will accept. I had an e mail from Kelvin telling me how easy it all is at Beta. Thanks for putting
the photo of Guy Barzvi on for me.
Take care, Merle.

JunieRose2005 said...

LOL- Peter!

I may be a poor speller at times but I'm never at a loss for words! ( however misspelled they may be ! :) )


Junie

Big Dave T said...

It's easy to declare a "war on terrorism." But you're right. It's like declaring a war on drugs, or a war on crime, or a war on poverty. It's not a war we can win, but declaring war can be used to justify a lot of actions that ordinarily we wouldn't consider. My two cents.

Christina said...

Wow, lots of opinions, some very good points. The one thing that grabbed me, though, was something in Marcus' post. He says, "...we place way more value on a western life or death than we do on an eastern one." I hate it every time I hear of our soldiers dying in Iraq, but every time they announce "today 200 Iraqi's were killed" and frequently add, "some were women and children" I feel physically sick. When you don't think about which side is losing lives and just realize what a huge toll on human life in general that war takes, it is sobering.

Peter said...

Jim, I'm pretty sure you are right about the Muslim masses being manipulated by those with a vested interest, about your closing comment, I've riled a couple of women in my time but fortunately not to the degree where they wanted to kill me.
Hi Merle.
June, and we are so pleased you are not lost for words.
Dave, you spent your two cents very wisely, as usual my friend.
Christina, you are right about war being counter-productive and our apparent lack of concer for the loss of life on the other side,but at least we don't cheer in the streets like the ghouls did in the Middle East when the news about 911 was announced.

Jamie Dawn said...

9-11-01 was a dark day, and the hatred that was seen that day will never be forgotten.
Some people have already gotten complacent about the war we are in. There was a lot of apathy about us joining the fight in WWII. It is never easy to do what is right. There is much sacrifice involved, but we must have strong leadership who will not be apathetic or appease our enemies.
God help us all!

Marcus said...

Great to see so many thoughtful and passionate responses to this post Dad.

The answers are not easy, to find or to implement.

No doubt there needed to be a response to Sep 11, but no doubt either that the war on terror response is not working and is doomed to fail.
When a 16 year old boy from Busselton is murdered by a suicide bomber on a beach in Bali as part of the retaliation for the war on terror we know it can't be the answer.

I hate the murderous tactics of random bombings etc, and feel nauseated by the fundamentalist rhetoric, the ridiculous promise of virgins in heaven for the martyrs etc, it is lunacy.

As I said in my original post, both sides have blood on their hands, and there's little sign of it stopping.

Even if their intentions were good, the US, and Britain and Australia in tow, have got themselves into a no-win situation.

I wish I had the answers, I wish I knew how to solve the problem, but the reality is it has been going on for centuries in one form or another and it doesn't look like abating.

The suggestion I quoted, that of dropping money instead of bombs, appeals because it is radically different, it flies in the face of convention, and it would send a message of peace and cooperation instead of war and bloodshed.

Yes there is great wealth in the middle east and yes they should do a lot more with their money to ease the suffering and injustice in the world. I/We can't control what the "other side" do, but we can have a say in what we do, and I for one would like to see a different approach than eye-for-eye, bomb-for-bomb violence.

No it's not easy.
Yes there are huge problems to fix.
But I say again, a war on terror is not the answer.

If and when the US finally captures or kills Bin Laden, I hope no-one is silly enough to think that will end the war and be the victorious final act. There will be a swarm of martyrs and bombers and hijackers and terrorists lining up to avenge him and take his place.

The world is in a terrible mess.

Man hasn't been able to fix it, quite the reverse, we have created the mess and perpetuated it in a myriad of ways.

I believe in the end only one man can "fix" it and the worse things get the closer I think the day is coming when that happens.
The Bible predicts a second coming, but in a style vastly different to the first. At that point, things will change!

Whether you/me/we believe it or not, if it happens it will be proof in itself.

This comment has become worthy of a post in it's own right!! Feel free to do with it what you will!

Take care Dad

Love Marcus

Peter said...

Jamie and Marcus, both worthy comments to finish this post with, I don't expect people will keep coming back to see if there are more comments so if anyone should chance to read this thank you all for your contributions.