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What God thinks

A Jordanian writer charged with offending Islam after allegedly sharing a satirical cartoon on his Facebook page has been killed.

Nahid Hattar, a Christian, was hit by three bullets outside the court in the capital Amman where he was standing trial, state news agency Petra said.

Mr Hattar’s killer was arrested and police are investigating the killing, TV reports said.

The writer was detained in August for 15 days on charges of insulting God.

RePosted from the BBC News website, 25 September

 

Despite some details that make this murder look like a political vendetta disguised as religious intolerance, I am honestly struggling, for once, to find words. “Insulting God”? Surely, only God can decide if He’s been insulted, and if He considers it to be a crime sufficient to be punishable by death?

I’m not religious, I have no evidence of the existence of this God they serve, no desire to worship anything out of the ordinary, but I was educated in high-minded institutions that strove daily to provide a framework for irrational beliefs in weird contradistinction to the rest of the knowledge-based curriculum, so I am very familiar with the liturgy.

This killing is yet one more outrage in the long and dismal history of the suppression of the human intellect – which God specifically gives us – as generations of selfrighteous, murdering liars have sought through cheap conjuring tricks and nonsensical dogma to impose their own rule on the masses, under vicious laws masquerading as moral authority.

Who the hell are those credulous village simpletons to decide they know better than God what is an insult to God, and what He wants them to do about it? Is He, in their exalted view, so completely powerless to do anything about our Earthly affairs Himself, that He requires their personal intervention to rule Mankind? (I assume it’s a He. It usually is in these abuse cases.) If so, how did He make the Flood?

Oh, right. He wrote them a textbook they didn’t know how to read. He was a WRITER! That to my mind makes the murder slightly worse.

I had some Jordanian neighbours pass thr0ugh a year or so ago. They seemed perfectly nice, peaceable, modest people; privately observant religionists, not Pharisees. We got on fine. I’m only glad they didn’t know a writer was living next door, and what was (or was not) in his thoughts.

Claiming to know better than God Himself what God thinks is, surely, an even greater insult to God than re-publishing for the purposes of discussion, an innocuous cartoon about the afterlife (there isn’t one, by the way. Heaven is the light of pure reason, so the clerics won’t be going there. Hell is the eternal damnation the religious like to impose on us in the here and now. It looks a lot like Aleppo.)

It’s in the Bible; it’s probably somewhere in the Koran. It’s quite specific: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”

Would somebody please explain this very clear definition, this written law of what blasphemy actually is, what God intends it to mean, to those evil Mullahs and their gun-toting baboons, cowardly moral imbeciles who themselves blaspheme continually by taking His name in vain?

So you understand, the Books clearly tell us, blasphemy IS:

  • Vainly claiming to know better than God, what God Himself wants.
  • Opposing the free will God gives us, in order to pursue your own earthly ambitions.
  • Forcing His people to live in ignorance of all but what you say the world is, according to your own disingenuous interpretation of scripture.
  • The rape and stoning of children.
  • ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged’: Taking it upon yourself to judge others by the standards of an unknowable God who judges us all.
  • Murdering men, women and children made in His image.

To that list, I should like to add: having no compassion or human understanding in your hearts. (It’s probably in there too.) As St Paul put it (1 Corinthians, 13): ‘Love, hope, charity remain. And the greatest of these is love’. (Curiously, in the King James version, the greatest is charity. Even more apposite in this case.)

You, if anyone does, are the ones who deserve death by your own precepts, you shrivelled old monsters.

Suck on that.

 

The hell with racism, too

My defence of Gandhi’s statues (see previous Bogl) bears re-examination in the light of various websites I have since found, posing the question: Was Gandhi a racist?

First, I should say that Gandhi’s statues are not of themselves racist. They stand in mute testimony to the little vegan whose nonviolent protest marches to the seaside to make salt (the British viceroy had attempted to tax salt, quite rightly as it gives you high blood pressure) helped to remove the Raj from India on the stroke of midnight, 14 August, 1947.

This was undoubtedly a Good Thing, except perhaps for the million who were slaughtered in the subsequent civil war resulting from the attempt to carve out an Islamic republic on India’s northern border, the disastrous result of lobbying, not by Gandhi, but by the separatist, Ali Jinnah.

Apart from that, it appears that the man, Gandhi was in fact a virulent racist. But his statues aren’t!

The problem I have with defining anyone as racist is this. Are you saying people shouldn’t look down on others because we are all equal, or because you believe the others we look down on are superior?

What we now call ‘racism’ is being confused with ‘racialism’, a discredited and absurd pre-DNA pseudo-science propounded by C19th dimwits like Houston Stewart Chamberlain, son-in-law of the notorious anti-Semite and possibly the greatest of all Romantic composers, Richard Wagner, that attempted to rank people of different appearance in a hierarchy of intelligence.

Sometimes you wonder about human evolution, and when it’s going to start?

My unfashionable view is that it’s not what you think or say that matters, it’s what you do. There is no evidence that Gandhi brutalised and slaughtered millions of darker-skinned people he deemed inferior. His ‘racism’ was middle-class; conventionally social, it was about precedence; protocol; system.

If Gandhi was a product of his worldview, then so are you. See how your reputation survives the next 100 years.

Good Old Winnie

More interesting still is the reputation of Winston Spencer Churchill.

Churchill’s racism expressed itself in an extreme belief in the virtues of Empire. Any subject peoples were, necessarily, inferior; although not unworthy of respect. If they were not inferior, you would not wish to subject them!

Churchill did his bit to slaughter a few native Africans, Turks, Iraqi Kurds; and to keep India in the Empire. From a young age he knew nothing but colonialist adventurism, possibly his deeds of derring-do being a mask for the later-revealed tendencies of alcoholism and depression. As a military strategist, he was a disaster (luckily Hitler even more so). As a war leader, he was possibly unique.

Was Churchill a racist? Was Gandhi? Yes, undoubtedly, if you like to think that way. They saw the world in terms of rank; caste; difference. And who cares? I’m sick of this stupid game, quite honestly.

Call people whatever the hell you like. We’re all complicated. Grow up.

 

No, but there’s more…

A British Pakistani TV actor is being ‘investigated’ by police for reacting angrily over news of a violent incident in Kashmir, referring to Indians in a private Tweet as ‘bastards’.

It’s a bit rich, given the involvement of Pakistan in so many cross-border incidents in the disputed territory, where a dirty war has been going on for decades. But political naivety isn’t a crime, surely? In an actor?

And ‘bastards’ is surely a pretty tame epithet nowadays.

Besides, while Pakistanis are generally Muslim, and most Indians (I believe?) are Hindu, and there is a legacy of hatred between some communities of those faiths, they are not of separate ‘races’, are they?

It has been held by the Broadcasting pygmies to be racism, however, and Marc Anwar has been fired from his long-running role in the supposedly cutting-edge Northern social soap, Coronation Street, as Indian viewers might be offended to see him and Tweet something rude back.

Some cutting-edge. Some soap.

Meanwhile, the regulator, Ofcom is to launch an ‘investigation’ (well, did she or didn’t she say the words complained of? Why does it take an ‘investigation’ to establish one self-evident fact? It’s either there in the recording, in the script, or it isn’t!) into an episode of Coronation Street after the soap was accused of racism over a comment a character made about her hair.

‘The episode, broadcast in August, saw Eva Price, played by Catherine Tyldesley, visit Audrey’s hair salon, where she remarked: “I have more roots than Kunta Kinte.”

Kunta Kinte was a character from the (William Haley) novel Roots: The Saga Of An American Family’. – BBC

Aside from the obvious point that only about one elderly person in a hundred would recognise where the quote came from, who has been affronted? It was a novel! A TV mini-series, back when. The ‘victim’ of this appalling racist speech has never existed! He was a fictional character!

This crime looks more like plain bad writing than racism.

For what racial insult does the fictional Eva Price offer? None! The feeble joke is about roots, not about whatever seems to have offended somebody, slavery, whatever. The entire thing is a nonsense.

If we cannot have the word ‘roots’ in the language anymore, in case somebody connects it with a fictional work about slavery, we’re in trouble; especially the Gardeners’ Question Time panel. Did I say Trouble? Ohmygod, the poor Irish and their Troubles! Did I say God? Oh, the poor Pope! Whatever will he think? I am so, so sorry…. Did I say sorry? Oh, poor Tony!

Perhaps it’s time someone made a movie about the Barbary Coast pirates and America’s punitive expeditions against them in 1805 and 1812? Yes, there was a lot else going on in both those years, they’re easy to overlook.

That was when an estimated one and a half million Europeans had been kidnapped and sold into fairly brutal slavery by Islamic Berber traders in North Africa. The Romans and the Greeks powered their civilizations for a thousand years, not with electricity or steam, but with slave labour. The Nazis ran their wartime factories and secret underground military installations on starved and brutalised civilian prisoners, Europeans mostly; thousands died.

And there are an estimated 30 million people working in slave labour conditions in the world today: unpaid, indentured, their papers taken away so they can’t get home; or  virtually imprisoned as domestic servants to the wealthy. Children, slaving all day in mud pools up to their necks to extract the rare-earth metals in your phone; women, carrying rocks, bricks, until they drop.

We’ve all been slaves at some time in the not-so distant past. It would be wonderful if those people who go in for special pleading as regards their current status in the light – should one say, the darkness – of the past, could instead focus their rage and hurt on all slaves, everywhere. Otherwise, you see, it looks like you are only interested in you and your reduced condition, your disappointment, and to hell with everyone else’s.

It’s not ‘racist’ to acknowledge that the West African experience was not unique, or that the slave trade was not exclusively the white man’s callous occupation. Besides,’racism’ is not a crime in and of itself. It requires some further action for that. Although I do believe we are getting to the ‘tipping point’ of decadence when it comes to criminalising minor verbal abuse, surely the recognition of difference is innate?

For God’s sake, no-one is defending being beastly to minorities, but let’s get a sense of proportion before the English language ceases to have any meaning at all. There are worse thing going on in the world than calling people rude names.

I submit we are deliberately inflating these minor social nuances into ‘major issues’ because we are helpless in the face of genuine horrors like the deliberate targeting of underground hospitals in Syria by Russian and Syrian Air Force planes using bunker-busting bombs and banned cluster munitions against women and children to keep Assad, a war criminal, torturer and murderer whose day is done, in power.

That is an obscenity. A hate crime. A Pakistani calling an Indian a ‘bastard’ is not. Get real.

 

*I was uncharitable in a previous Post towards Churchill’s grandson, Nick Soames MP. I forget why. Today I feel radiantly disposed towards him.

‘Fatty’ Soames has become ‘Thinny Soames’, noticeably; and in recent interviews he has echoed my own despair and disillusionment that the cretinist tendency has prevailed in the matter of our duty to honour our commitments to European institutions.

If this blimpish, ex-military heir of Superblimp can understand that Britain did not in fact surrender in 1973 to the dark forces of Europeanism, but that our membership of the EU has actually enhanced our sovereignty and encouraged European unity, lessening the threat of more war, there is hope.

Except that now there isn’t.

 

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