Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Days of Christmas - Number 4 - Ethnicity, Religion and Violence

Where did number 3 get to? It was the post on the alcohol/violence crackdown. It wasn't intended to be but when it was finished it sort of turned out that way.
This day is a thought about global violence. Why is it that in every (almost every?) conflict in my lifetime there have been one or more of three root causes? Those causes are:
  1. Religion
  2. Ethnicity
  3. ...ism
Think about it: Northern Ireland - religion and ethnicity (the catholic Irish hate the British); Israel vs the Arab world - whether it's been Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan...religion and ethnicity; The Vietnam war - that was an ism, the "free world" against the "forces of darkness" in the form of communism; Rwanda - ethnic violence; the former Yugoslavia - ethnic violence with some religion thrown in; Sri Lanka - ethnicity and religion; Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan - religion, ethnicity and more than a dash of cultural imperialism from the "coalition" forces. There are more but I think you get the point.
So my question is this: why is it that your where your parents were born or what you believe in is a cause for such bitter enmity? How does it justify waging war, conducting genocide and creating so much more hate and chaos? That's the worst part: each injustice leads to a further perpetuation of the conflict, new generations are infected with the same hatred as their parents.
I have nothing against peoples' belief in religion. I don't care which religion you believe in or indeed if you don't believe. What I object to most strongly is the waging of war and the delivery of injustice to others on the basis of belief or ethnicity.
I want it to stop and now would be as good a time as any. All it takes is for individuals to refuse to follow a path of violence and to stop persecuting others on the basis of belief or ethnicity.
And lest you think I am selectively pointing the finger here, let me make it clear that the western world, with its sickening sense of moral superiority and fear of "the other" is responsible for inflaming and fuelling many (most?) of the conflicts of the last 50 years.
We should just stop it. Pie in the sky? Maybe, but who wants more death and destruction in 2010? Not me.

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