September 23, 2012
Warning: this is a bit of a rant. It's political. And "religious." Etc. You may not like it. Anyway....
I am seriously shaking my head.
Reading all the "comments" to online news articles about the mid-East reactions to (apparently) the anti-Islamist film - and in particular to the $100,000 bounty offered by the Pakistani "Minister of Railways" ...
I'm just wondering...
Why are North Americans so surprised? And shocked? And outraged?
Do they seriously think that the film itself is the cause of the uprising (and the bounty-offer)? Doesn't it seem a bit suspicious that the uprising started on the 9-11 date, when the film had been released long before?
Doesn't that film itself seem suspicious? Apparently even the actors were tricked (perhaps). Is the film itself possibly a planned act of terrorism (from people on our side of the pond, people who have their own agendas...), and of war... wrapped up in supposed "free speech." If it is really free speech, why would the actors have to be tricked? And why are the producers in hiding, if they really believe in it? (And perhaps laughing with glee at how wildly successful it has been at getting such a response?)
Why are so many people talkng about how the Middle East is so "medieval" - unlike how we in North America are so "21st century... scientific ... civilized ... democratic ... ad nauseum..."?? Are we blind about our own society?
If we're so awesome, why are our prisons so full, and our governments want to fill them more? Why do so many of our citizens get through every day only with the help of "medications," both legal and illegal? Why do we constantly have examples of corruption in our own governments at all levels? Why do we still have so much racism? Why do half or more of our democracy-loving citizens fail to vote? Why do we have to fear letting our children play outdoors? Why do we have to lock up everything all the time? Why don't we get to know our neighbors? Why do we have so many people in poverty? Why do we have such a feeling of entitlement?
And why do we think our political and economic and religious and media (etc etc) systems are so superior and that everybody "out there" should be thrilled to make a 180 degree turn around and accept "our way"? Especially when most of what they know about "our way" comes from living in the middle of wars we are waging supposedly for their good? (Of course not for oil, or power, or economic control...). Oh yes, and from watching our movies and TV shows and news reports that all demonstrate what fine, moral, upright (dare I say "Christian"?) people we are in the west?
Why are people so horrified that Pakistan apparently allows one of their government ministers to make an offer like that -- in effect, out-front supporting assassination and terrorism -- when we know perfectly well that our western governments (and/or the economic and political power brokers that are behind much, if not most, of what the governments do) have always supported assassination and terrorism themselves, whenever it suits their purposes, whether it be through "secret" means like the CIA, or through so-called "just wars" that are always more about economic power and oil and whatever else suits the power-brokers at the particular moment?
And why are the commenters complaining about all the moderate Muslims who aren't standing up against the extremists/fanatics/terrorists? As if the majority of us in the west stand up against the extremists/fanatics/terrorists in whatever societal groups we identify with? (Not to mention that here in the west we are far less likely to lose our lives for so doing - so why don't we?)
Why do people lament about how ignorant and uneducated and poverty-stricken the majority of people in nations like Pakistan are -- and how wealthy the leaders are, and how their money must come from corruption or whatever -- and how "religion" is used by the powerful to keep themselves in power... yet so many people in North America seem to be just as ignorant and uneducated, or at least apparently choose to blithely accept whatever they are fed by the media and government (oh yes, and by religion)? And yes, by "science," too, and by "statistics" (egad!) and such ... doctored or dumbed-down to present whatever message those in power wish to inculcate at the present moment? Are we really "more thoughtful citizens" than those poor, uneducated, ignorant people over there? Especially since we have "21st century advantages" and "civilized democratic history" and all?
Why do we so easily forget the truths about our own political and religious past ... and ignore the truths of our present? And why don't we see where that choice to forget ... and to ignore what is happening right under our very noses? Do we really think that "radical Islamic threat infiltrating North America" would be so worrisome and powerful if we hadn't already abdicated our individual and societal responsibilities long ago, to dozens of equally dangerous threats that we don't even recognize?
Don't we realize that human beings who crave power will use whatever works for them? Religion, political systems, science, media of all kinds, educational systems (or lack thereof), wars, terrorism, economic systems (no, capitalism is NOT "Christian" - nor is democracy nor free trade nor....), etc etc etc...
This is all nothing new.
This is human nature.
We can choose to rail against others.
Or we can open our eyes to see the truth about ourselves. About all of us. Humanity.
We can each choose to make small differences right where we are, that together will stand against those who would manipulate and destroy in order to attain and maintain power for themselves.
Or can we?
Will we even try?
(Some would say it's not worth it - or not possible)
(Others would deny we have any problems)
(Others would prefer to carry on the "them" blame game)
(And lots of us would prefer to just ignore the whole thing... as if ignoring will make it disappear...)
I mean, do we even care?
Do we even truly believe in what we say we believe?
Do I even truly believe in what I say I believe?
If I do, it will be enacted, worked out, lived out in my life every day.
Is that happening?
Do I really believe?
Am I making any difference at all?
And how many people would it take, I wonder, to reach "critical mass" to start to make a change? And how long would we have to keep at it? Could we ever relax and let go, confident things would stay the way we want them? I doubt it. People who really want power never give up. What about people who want peace? How much do they want it? Are they willing to strive for it for the rest of their lives? No matter what it costs? (And yes, it costs. Big time).
We know from human history that violence only breeds violence. Violence is the road to power.
Violence is not the road to peace.
Are we really willing to turn the other cheek? Carry the load the extra mile? Hand out that cup of cold water? Visit those in prison? Share our food with the hungry until there no one is hungering (What would that involve?)? Invite the homeless into our homes? Joyfully suffer persecution for righteousness sake?
Give up our very life if it comes to that?
What does it really mean for me to follow Jesus?
What am I willing to sacrifice?
How far am I willing to follow?
Do I really, really truly believe in all that?
Do I even want to truly contemplate it?
Never mind actually live it ... for as long as it takes ...
As long as I live.
And willing to die.
Because if I'm not, then I'm part of the problem, aren't I?
(Shaking my head at myself right now...)