February 08, 2006

The bodies of Christ

I return from Catholic Spain in the middle of a worldwide conflict between the various Peoples of the Book as to which of them are more (or less) civilised than the others. Naturally, such a question can only be settled by the more civilised parties treating their less civilised rivals in as uncivilised a fashion as they can - on the principle of doing it to them before they do it, but worse, to us. But why stop at that? I had a boiled egg this morning: Swift might well have advised me to be careful at which end I broke it, lest I accidentally be mistaken for a member of the heretical Big-Endian camp instead of the theologically correct Little-Endian position to which I have adhered all my egg-eating life.

Spain, of course, has never really recovered from the overthrow of Muslim sovereignty in that part of the world: since the fall of Granada it has suffered Inquisition, decay and Fascism, with the Roman Catholic Church the common link. Not much happier the land of Christianity's older brother, in which the Jewish state lives by and is built on the principle of killing, encircling, expelling, imprisoning, dispossessing and repressing those people of the region who are not Jewish.

Such was - with only the names being changed - the intention of the Christians of the Republike Srpska, with regard to their neighbours, neighbours of all backgrounds but led by a Muslim President and a Muslim party, in the state of Bosnia. We are currently being encouraged to agree that Christians, unlike Muslims, do not burn down embassies in pursuit of their religious fears hatreds. Indeed not - they are capable of burning down whole countries, as the Orthodox Christians tried to do to Bosnia. In the case of Orthodox Russia with regard to Muslim Chechnya, they do so on a regular basis.

In doing so, they are not restrained (though not, perhaps, encouraged quite as much as Israel) by the Christians in power in London and Washington. Which latter government, when headed by the devout Christian administration of Ronald Reagan, provided many guns and many dollars so that equally devout death squad members in Central America could slaughter many tens of thousands of their fellow citizens in the name of Jesus Christ. These particular butchers were Catholics, which Reagan and his friends were not. An admirably ecumenical effort.

Not that the Muslims are always on the receiving end, as demonstrated by the world's largest Muslim country, the Islamic Republic of Indonesia, where the coup of 1966, perhaps the bloodiest in history, involved the slaughter of their political and religious opponents by Muslim mobs aided by the police and army. Nearly ten years later they went to largely Christian East Timor and carried out a slaughter just as bloody - supported, on the quiet, by Britain, the US and Australia, the latter two, countries formed by the Christian genocide of non-Christian peoples. Cries for help from their fellow-religionists went unheard. Prompting us perhaps - as one might when contemplating the Six Counties of Northern Ireland - to observe, with Julian the Apostate:
How these Christians love one another!


At February 08, 2006 7:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a look at the geography of Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

Now consider how a little land from each could create a viable two-state solution.

How these Muslims love one another.

At February 08, 2006 11:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First time ever I've ever heard the Jews of "encircling".
Thank you Justin.

At February 11, 2006 1:02 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking fwd to our visit to the Banqueting House next week

Yeah, these Muslims don't know the first thing about religious hotheadness. They just do it with less style than our lot. But as a secularist, that's not quite the point of this depressing story.

The issue of representation of Mohammad has been an absolute disaster. The cartoons were racist and likely to incite hatred against Asians (wasn't that a Sikh dressed up as Mohammad?) and would have been condemned as such by a decent number of people who saw them in Britain. There would have been PCC complaints, probably upheld for what it's worth. But this has got pushed far behind the issue of religious special pleading. Hence, no reprinting of the cartoons as a news story, with appropriate comment, and the sense that Muslims are "getting away with it again"- the same thing you observed in the air last week over the religious hatred bill.

Let's be honest, the non-printing of these cartoons (as a news story, as I suggest) in Britain has little to do with restraint or respect or whatever. It's out of professed fear (real or not, I don't know) that the paper will be attacked. That in itself is deplorable- and it also suits the Daily Mail and the like not to print them. So that's doubly disastrous.

This is no longer about the freedom to bully for nasty Danish papers, but the special pleading for a religion in Britain. It's likely to encourage reactionaries in every community. To be specific to cartoons of Mohammad, making him above satirical cartoons gives a spurious dignity to (generally) conservative Islam.

We might distinguish between the religion of an disadvantaged minority and one of the mainstream, but I'm not sure if that holds. The more mainstream religions will immediately invoke the "concession" made to the minortity ones. The example of America quite enough Christian culture wars in Britain already.

It might be the impending education bill that's making me sensitive to the power of religion, but I don't like the idea of this at all.

I note the Islamophobia march and wish it well, though it'll get a fraction of the coverage the handful of yobs did the other day. There's plenty to march about.

At February 15, 2006 9:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


a fifth of the Palestinian population are Christians.

How those Christians love one another.

Quite why other countries should give away their land to make up for Israel's land grab in the West Bank (and Golan) is beyond me. Anyone care to explain?

At March 18, 2006 11:32 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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