Saturday, August 9, 2014

Stop the slaughter

The Archbishop of Canterbury writes,

"The horrific events in Iraq rightly call our attention and sorrow yet again. Christians and other religious minorities are being killed and face terrible suffering.


What we are seeing in Iraq violates brutally people’s right to freedom of religion and belief, as set out under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is extremely important that aid efforts are supported and that those who have been displaced are able to find safety. I believe that, like France, the United Kingdom’s doors should be open to refugees, as they have been throughout history.
The international community must document human rights abuses being committed in northern Iraq so that future prosecutions can take place. It is important and necessary for the international community to challenge the culture of impunity which has allowed these atrocities to take place.
With the world’s attention on the plight of those in Iraq, we must not forget that this is part of an evil pattern around the world where Christians and other minorities are being killed and persecuted for their faith. Only this week I received an email from a friend in Northern Nigeria about an appalling attack on a village, where Christians were killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Such horrific stories have become depressingly familiar in countries around the world, including Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
We must continue to cry to God for peace and justice and security throughout the world. Those suffering such appalling treatment in Iraq are especially in my prayers at this time."

Note the emboldened words in which ++Justin speaks up for all persecuted Christians. He does not spell it out but the 'evil pattern' is a pattern of slaughter through one and only one religion.

Do we find their leaders spelling out in clear and unmistakable terms that persecution of Christians is wrong?

POSTSCRIPT: I despair of this kind of writing in which the USA gets blamed not once but twice for the beheadings of Christians and Yazidis. There are many ways to fill a power vacuum that have nothing to do with driving people from their residences and even less to do with beheadings. Fail!

INCIDENTALLY I have deliberately said little re Israel v Gaza, partly because others are better qualified. (OK, that applies to most of what I write!) But Sam Harris says something interesting here.

21 comments:

carl jacobs said...

The international community must document human rights abuses being committed in northern Iraq so that future prosecutions can take place. It is important and necessary for the international community to challenge the culture of impunity which has allowed these atrocities to take place.

Good grief. It takes special talent to say something that colossally naive.

In the first place, there is no 'International community.' That is a convenient abstraction used to imply some shared sense of civilizational unity when in fact none exists. The 'International community' is shorthand for 'Western sensibilities extrapolated up to the national level.' It emphatically cannot be used to imply what it is meant to imply - that the nations of the world are converging on some standard of civilized behavior and these events are outliers.

It also implies that this 'community' has something like authority in the collective. It doesn't. Such authority as it might possess extends exactly as far as the violence it is willing to commit to enforce that authority. But 'the international community' doesn't have the means to employ violence. Nation states posses that ability. Therefore only nation states can truly possess authority. And most of the nations who would be considered part of the 'international community' have traded in the capability to use force for national heath care. It's hard to exert authority with a thermometer.

"But where did he call for violence?" you might ask. "He simply said that crimes should be documented for prosecution." Presumably by that Opera Buffa in Belgium ironically labeled the ICC. And who is going to act as enforcer for this court? Will it issue arrest warrants and subpoenas and expect the defendants to just present themselves for prosecution? Is this how we end the culture of impunity? By issuing threats from powerless courts enforcing non-existent laws against people who will mock their solemn pronouncements ...with impunity?

No, if you want to end the culture of impunity, you send soldiers to kill and impose their will. Only then you will be able to seize those defendants and send them to that comical court. In the meantime you might notice that its "rule of law" is totally dependent upon the very thing it hopes to supplant - the necessity of nations to use violence in the settlement of certain conflicts.

So if these images trouble you, then demand your gov't rebuild its capability to fight. Don't issue contemptible warnings about prosecutions that will never be performed. Threaten violence with violence. Threaten death with death. Respond to impunity with subjugation. Then you will be doing something useful. It will be useful because it will be effective.

I told you that if you refuse on principle to intervene, then you would have to accept that bad things would happen in full view, and nothing would be done. You can't have it both ways.

carl

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Benjamin Blech poses an interesting question in relation to the rise and rise and rise of Islam - will evil triumph because good people are too good to fight it?

His question was prompted by 2 questions asked by Amos Oz - Question 1: What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?
Question 2: What would you do if your neighbor across the street digs a tunnel from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home or in order to kidnap your family?

Like Carl - I'm not too sure that anything UN-based and non-violent is going to work ...

Netanyahu's quote seems timely: 'it's coming to a theatre near you.'

Lucy Eban

Andrei said...

Selective outrage

Where were you when Libya was bombed two years ago and 50000 people died?

Where are you on the mass slaughter taking place in Eastern Ukraine?

Why are you silent on the babies being burned in drone strikes in Yemen, in Pakistan, in Somalia?

We live in a time of mass death, of evil incarnate and demonic deceit

Peter Carrell said...

It is unclear to me, Andrei, what your point is.

If I am being selective then am I never allowed to begin to protest such slaughter because I have failed to do so in the past?

In one way I am intentionally selective: I am selecting a conflict where the slaughter is directed solely on religious grounds and no other.

Other conflicts often seem complicated around who did what, when and to whom, and what is being sorted out or not sorted out by fighting rather than talking. I am trying not to be outraged on behalf of either Gaza or Israel because I recognise there an immensely complex situation in which tit for tat has being going on for ages, with some lack of clarity as to who titted whom first, to say nothing of a climate of fear as to who might strike who next.

Jean said...

Hi Peter

What is happening is indeed a atrocity. However, I think Welby+ was correct in not naming the 'one religion'. It may be tempting to believe persecution of Christian's come from this one source especially given current events.

However you still have;
Persecutions of Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka by Buddhist Monks
Persecution of Christians and Muslims in India by Hindu's
Persecution of Christians in North Korea by a dictatorship
Persecution of Christians in China under communism

Hence, 'the evil'; it is not the people per-se of the different faith'/structures who are evil but the force behind their motivations, "For we do not war against flesh and blood but against the power and the principles of this dark world."

The article you linked to about the vacuum of power in Iraq allowing the IS to make the advance it has, has some validity. Conversing with, once again, a representative of UNICEF in Iraq their comment of what the Iraqi citizens felt after the US invasion was - they came and there was destruction but now they have come they better not leave or chaos will reign. It appears however justified or not the initial invasion was this citizen feared the withdrawal of international peacekeeping forces and it also appears, rightly so.

Blessings Jean

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Jean
Yes, there is other persecution going on than Muslims persecuting Christians.
But is the slaughtering of Christians confined to one religion?
That is my question.
However I guess North Korea executes some Christians.

Incidentally, if I have not said this before, I am well aware, from personal experience, that most Moslems most of the time live utterly peaceful lives and give no trouble to Christians.

But what troubles me at this time is that that vast majority, and the leaders who lead them seem - with a few exceptions - to be remarkably silent about what is going on in northern Iraq.

Jean said...

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2014/07/25/worlds_muslim_leaders_condemn_attacks_on_iraqi_christians/1103410
http://www.christiantoday.com/article/persecution.christians.isis.condemned.iraqi.prime.minister/38954.htm

Hi Peter, a few links above to Muslim leaders speaking out against what is happening. Admittedly I do not know if leaders of others Muslim countries have spoken out.

As for persecution, Actually in Sri Lanka and India I believe Christians have been killed albeit it probably not so much highlighted by the media.

Of course an underlying Muslim teaching is to convert all to Islam by force if necessary christian or otherwise, so their seems little point to contest the scope of such persecution in the world today or to be as 'wise as a serpent' when it comes to not underestimated this fact even if in many instances or communities it is a latent teaching.

Andrei said...

But Peter you were silent when the very same people were doing the same thing to Christians in Syria.

But in that case they were doing what their masters wanted messing up a country that the powers that be wanted the legitimate ruler overthrown whereas now they threaten to gain control of strategic oil assets.

We wont get into who might of armed them in the first place the cognitive dissonance might be too much to bare


Jean said...

It seems also Saudi Arabia is concerned:
http://www.thedailystar.net/world/iraq-kurds-unite-against-is-36131

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks Jean for the links.

Andrei: I might have lacked awareness of that ... in my current awareness I am trying not to ignore or be ignorant.

Andrei said...

Peter appalling atrocities are being committed all over the world, those behind this will alert you to some and frame them in a way to get you excited so as to justify their own crimes, which are manifold - they may even wind you up enough to allow your children to be used as cannon fodder in their schemes which are just glorified armed robbery when it comes down to it.

"When the rich man goes to war the poor man bleeds"

Here's another hidden thing, ongoing, these people are Christians too but they live on land coveted by powerful people so they are "separatists" and their lives are expendable and so are you and I and our children when it comes down to it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yZG7HE8XbE

Father Ron Smith said...

This is an extreme example of what happens when a sectarian religious fundamentalist group takes the law into their own hands, and decides how they will treat those who do not measure up to their chosen puritanical religious beliefs and regulations. Human rights don't mean anything to such people.

Christians also need to be aware of common human rights, when they campaign on puritanical grounds for the upholding of their own sectarian ideals.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrei
I am still unclear what your reasoning is for not voicing protest against one atrocity when not all atrocities are protested against.

If you want me to register my concern for what is going on in Ukraine, you have it. If you want me to offer any kind of clear determination which 'side' is on the side of the angels in Ukraine, then you do not have it. I have no idea who the goodies and the baddies are there because I have formed an idea that it is complicated (though to be clear, I see nothing in the situation which justifies people killing and maiming people).

By contrast, in northern Iraq, the situation between Christians and Muslims, and between Muslims and Yazidis was going on one peaceful direction until ISIS turned up and started slaughtering people.

So, unashamedly, I am protesting (in what is presumably a pathetic and very minor way). But I am quite happy to protest about Ukrainians mistreating Russians in Ukraine and about Russians harbouring imperialist ambitions over a sovereign country.

My children are directly descended from a Pole born in Lvov, made a refugee through WW2. I have some idea of the complexity of Ukraine's history: of that land being ruled by this and by that power, of multiple cultural claims, of difficult relationships between Catholic and Orthodox Christians. I even know that Stalin did one good thing there: he prescribed that everyone learned Ukrainian ... even as millions were dying through forced starvation under his policies. The same Stalin who is indirectly responsible for me meeting my sweetheart.

Andrei said...

By contrast, in northern Iraq, the situation between Christians and Muslims, and between Muslims and Yazidis was going on one peaceful direction until ISIS turned up and started slaughtering people.

My point is Peter ISIS didn't just turn up, they didn't just mysteriously appear, heavily armed and begin their depredations - they were conceived as a weapon against Assad but have taken on a life of their own.

Their high profile now has come about because they are putting strategic oil assets under risk not because of religious intolerance but this is the aspect of their behaviour which is being highlighted because it serves the purpose of justifying military response.

Sorry I'm a cynic

But normal people like you and I want to live in peace with our neighbours, this is true across the world - we don't care about religious or ethnic differences until people of bad intent use them to stir up enmities between us to further their own ends.

And I guess the Muslim against Christian narrative makes me uneasy, in part because I to could be sucked into fratricidal madness and find myself doing things I'd have to answer for on the Day of Judgement.

In truth we will be lucky if we avoid a major war at this point, it sure looks like one is on the way - the lunatics are in charge of the asylum

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrei
I am certainly in agreement with you that forces like ISIS don't just show up. Someone armed them, started them off, perhaps in another sector, serving another purpose ... cf. Al Quaeda.

However - in friendly disagreement - is the ramping up of the Muslim/Christian narrative being ramped up by those who would like to take military action? My reading suggests that Britain and the US would have ignored the situation without some strong Christian effort to get our ruling authorities to acknowledge that Christians deserve consideration as 'persecuted minorities.'

There does seem something particularly pernicious about ISIS - even Al Quaeda blanch at their extremism (we are told ...).

Andrei said...

The problem I have here Peter is that where these exact same things were happening in Syria and people spoke out about it their voices fell on deaf ears.


and when the so called "opposition" in Syria were supplied arms to help rid the world of an "evil dictator", code for someone who does not toe the transatlantic elites line the warnings that these weapons would fall into the hands of bad actors was ignored - you seem unaware perhaps that at least some of the weaponry being used against Christians in Iraq and Syria before that were funded by the American Taxpayer with some but muted protest

I am certainly in agreement with you that forces like ISIS don't just show up. Someone armed them, started them off, perhaps in another sector, serving another purpose ...

Here's a clue: from the Washington Post

Peter Carrell said...

I am not surprised by what you say. I don't make it my business to keep track of arms deals, but the US supplies arms to strange customers on the basis of weird calculations about politics ... and other powers do likewise.

Father Ron Smith said...

Arms dealing - let's face it - is mostly about money and profit. If we think that weapons are only used for defence purposes against the evils of others, we are easily taken in.

We are all part of what is going on - if only because of our share in the economics of the business. We all need to repent of avarice - as well as the desire to protect ourselves against the perceived
'evils' of other religious groups.

When we are celebrating 100 years since the outbreak of W.W.I., we need also to do what we can to prevent sectarian wars, that are often based on racial or religious grounds.

Andrei said...

we need also to do what we can to prevent sectarian wars, that are often based on racial or religious grounds.

You know Fr Ron this post contains the subtle demonization of Islam that you rightly decry

Note the emboldened words in which ++Justin speaks up for all persecuted Christians. He does not spell it out but the 'evil pattern' is a pattern of slaughter through one and only one religion.

Its not true of course the video I posted above demonstrates the falsity of the proposition.

If I lived in the ME, a region rich in resources vital to the well being of our civilization and had had "democracy" imposed upon me via cruise missiles, bombers and drones for the entirety of my life, living in poverty while the resources of my lands ended up in the lining pockets of Wall Street bankers....

Well let us say I might not feel too well disposed toward the West.

"The United States is a exceptional Nation" quoth Barack Obama

Well it has an exceptional military bigger than that of all the other nations on this planet combined.

"What's the point of having this magnificent military if we can't use it" quoth Madeleine Albright before bombing Yugoslavia into non existence (NB That was to kill ?Christian Serbs to the advantage Muslim Albanians)and one of the great crimes of history BTW

But of course my initial response to this post was to rankle at the Archbishop supporting the humanitarian fig leaf excuse used to justify the bombing of many more people into the next world when anyone with half a brain knows that the real reason for doing this is to secure the oil facilities at Erbil

Jean said...

Andrei,

I am with you regarding your comments re arms trading and the west supporting violent regimes for their own purposes. It does not take much imagination to realise the US helped out Kuwait because that is where the oilfields are, nor that up until Iraq's invasion of Kuwait the Taliban ironically came into power through the military support of the US.

Just as NZ and Australia remained silent for a long time when Indonesia invaded East Timor.

At the same time the ISIS, regardless of how they got the guns, carry their own responsibility. And we may not be able to determine how much they really believe their religious decrees or how much they are using them as an excuse to gain possession and wealth.

Neither option I think justifies calling Justin++ comments a humanitarian fig leaf. He is obviously concerned about the persecution of christians and minorities in many conflicts - he does not represent a government - no matter the reason for the persecution his appeal to pray and to speak against it is a just one. If you were to ask Him about the politics of conflict I have little doubt He would be adequately informed of all the intracacies.

Blessings Jean

Andrei said...

Neither option I think justifies calling Justin++ comments a humanitarian fig leaf. He is obviously concerned about the persecution of christians and minorities in many conflicts

I apologize Jean - I'm a little upset about what is happening somewhere else, you can guess where

My point was that when Bishops were being beheaded in Syria a year ago nobody cared and when the Government of Syria moved to liberate the Christian town of Ma'loula, where they speak Aramaic incidentally they were demonized in the Western media for their use of force in so doing.

The sheer hypocrisy of it makes me sick.

The world is at war in fact and the declaration of war against Russia is before the American Senate S2277

I knew in February 2013 there would be a confrontation with Russia but I thought it would be provoked in Nagorno-Karabakh where it could be more easily controlled,Mr Putin is trying to pour oil on those troubled waters as we speak and without American involvement in the process to sabotage it he may well meet with some success

- instead the USA has gone for the jugular in Ukraine and unleashed forces that are dangerous to us all in the process.

There is preparation for a similar confrontation with China in the works, a year or two off yet but it will come

Its all part of a much bigger picture though that mighty military costs a billion dollars a day to run and the borrowing to sustain that is to coin a phrase unsustainable.

In the meantime the bloodshed will only continue to increase across the globe.

The "humanitarian" excuse to launch a bombing campaign has been used more than once in the past twenty years. Three times at least by my count before this one

There is nothing "humanitarian" about launching death from the skies at people who cannot fight back or defend themselves.