Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Archive for the tag “terrorism”

Protest against Facebook’s racism

Quite a number of people that I know on Facebook are not happy about Facebook’s racism, when they offered a French flag to cover one’s profile picture and urged people to Change your profile picture to support France and the people of Paris.

Lebanese Flag, posted on Facebook by Bruce Henderson

Lebanese Flag, posted on Facebook by Bruce Henderson

After the news that more than 120 people had been killed in terrorist attacks in the city, many people did change their profile pictures, but I and several others did not. It was not because we do not find the violence reprehensible, or that we do not sympathise with the victims. But we wondered why Facebook had not offered a similar option with the Lebanese flag the day before, when similar attacks had taken place in Beirut.

On Saturday a cousin’s husband posted a Lebanese flag (a cousin on the Hannan side of the family, in case anyone wants to know), and said the following:

Bruce Henderson

14 November at 12:08 ·

Today we see all the outpouring of sympathy for people I. Paris, but when will the western news puppets remember that on Thursday 41 people were killed in Beirut. Or is Lebanon not enough of a “friendly” nation. If you are gonna pray for Paris, remember Lebanon too. Terrorism is terrorism.

In the USA there has recently been a sustained attack by some people against the idea that all lives matter (if you don’t believe me, just Google “All lives matter”). And Facebook, by offering this option in one case, but not the other, appears to be part of this trend. In Facebook’s view, if Lebanese lives matter at all, they matter a lot less than French lives.

#BlackLivesMatter ? Not to Facebook

#BlackLivesMatter ? Not to Facebook

Earlier in the year, 147 students were victims of a terrorist massacre in Kenya — more than in Paris. Facebook never suggested that people change their profile picture to support the people of Kenya, nor did they offer a Kenyan flag to make it easy for people to do so.

So someone posted the graphic on the right. Not quite fair, I think, because Facebook did not offer the option of posting any of those flags. If it had, maybe more people would have posted them.

Similar events have also taken place in Nigeria. At one time there was a hashtag on Twitter #bringbackourgirls but Facebook did not offer a Nigerian flag either.

Like and share this on Facebook if you are not happy with Facebook's racism.

Like and share this on Facebook if you are not happy with Facebook’s racism.

And then someone else posted this graphic on Facebook, obviously trying to do what Facebook has refused to do.

If you don’t like Facebook’s racism, why not like and share one or more of these on Facebook, whether you have covered your profile picture with a French flag or not.

 

In love with a terrorist (book review)

To Kill a TsarTo Kill a Tsar by Andrew Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A historical novel based on the assassination of Tsar Alexander II of Russia in 1881. The assassination was carried out by members of Narodnaya Volya (The People’s Will), one of the world’s first terrorist organisations.

Andrew Williams explores the motives and the methods of the terrorists, and the use of violence as a political tool — a tool that was employed both by the terrorists and by the secret police who tried to catch them.

The story of The People’s Will is intertwined with the love story of an English doctor, Frederick Hadfield, who falls in love with one of the terrorists, and because of his association with her comes under suspicion by the secret police.

Though they were sometimes called “Nihilists”, the political reforms that The People’s Will wanted were rather mild liberal ones: representative government, freedom of speech, and things like that. In that respect the assassination was counter-productive, as the Tsar was about to introduce some of those reforms when he was killed, and the assassination led to increased state repression.

There are some parallels with South African history too.

Tsar Alexander II was a reformer, and one of the features of reform is that increases the demand for reform. Those who want reform demand that the pace of reform be speeded up, and so reform tends to encourage revolution. It leads me to wonder what would have happened in South Africa if F.W. de Klerk had been assassinated in January 1990, just before he announced his reforms, which included the unbanning of opposition parties and the release of political prisoners. It might have led to a period of even worse repression, as the assassination of Alexander II did in Russia.

I also compare The People’s Will with the African Resistance Movement, a group of South Africans from the privileged classes who resorted to using violence to bring about political reforms. The difference is that they weren’t dedicated terrorists, and lacked the dedication of the hard-crore revolutionaries of The People’s Will.

The book thus raises questions about the use of violence and terrorism to achieve political reform. It doesn’t give answers, though in this case history itself gave the answer.

View all my reviews

Christian martyrs in the 21st century

I’ve seen claims on some web sites and postings on Facebook and other social media sites of huge numbers of Christian martyrs in the 21st century, usually without anything to substantiate the numbers claimed.

Now it seems that someone has investigated the claimed figures: BBC Statistics Programme Disputes “100,000 Christian Martyrs Each Year” Claim Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion:

John Allen, author of The Global War on Christians, explained that martyrdom referred to “a situation of witness”. A martyr is not just someone who is killed for holding Christian beliefs; it can be someone who is killed because their beliefs prompt them to acts of moral courage that put them in danger. Allen gives the example of a woman killed in Congo for persuading young people not to join to militias, which is fair enough – but it’s difficult to see how this can be extrapolated to all Christian victims of the war.

According to Bartholomew’s article, the inflated figures are arrived at by counting all Christian war casualties as martyrs, in such conflicts as the Congo civil war.

It’s not just the inflated figures that disturb me, however, but it’s rather the whinging attitude that seems to lie behind them.

Butovo Martyrs

Butovo Martyrs

There were probably more Christian martyrs in the 20th century than in any other century in history. That was because there were ideologies like Bolshevism that promoted atheism, and persecuted not only Christians, but Jews, Muslims and Buddhists as well. Many Christians died in such events as the Butovo Massacres, and the Russian Orthodox Church has been going through the historical records and documenting as many instances as possible. Closer to home there were the martyrs of Epinga in Namibia, whose story both state and church tried to suppress.

Many Christians have died as martyrs in the current civil war in Syria, and in other 21st-century conflicts in the region, xso there have been many Christian martyrs in the 21st century, though probably not as many as some have claimed.

I can think of two good reasons for publicising martyrdom, one secular and the other eternal.

The secular reason is that it draws attention to the need for freedom of religion protected by law.

In South Africa we now have freedom of religion protected by law. Before 1994 we did not, and many Christians were persecuted for their faith, both in South Africa itself and in South African-ruled Namibia. The Epinga martyrs were one instance of this.

Chinese Martyrs

Chinese Martyrs

One of the things that arises from this is that the response to instances of violent death can show what values really motivate people.

A couple of months ago there was a terrorist occupation of a shopping mall in Kenya. In the same week there were also the bombing of a Christian church in Pakistan, and violent attacks on travellers in Nigeria. The Western media chose to hype the first incident and play down the others, barely mentioning them at all, in spite of the fact that more people were killed in those incidents than in the attack on the Kenyan shopping mall.

One is tempted to say that this was because the attack on the shopping mall was an attack on the established religion of the West — Mammonism. People tend to give more prominence to the things that interest them.

But Christians are no exception to this tendency, it seems. Christians complained about the bombing of Christian churches in Kosovo, but a number of mosques were also bombed there. A policy of religious freedom benefits all,

From the secular point of view, then violence against people because of their religious views, or any other characteristic, is seen as a bad thing. In some countries it has created a new legal category — the “hate crime”. And, if they are fair, such laws should cover xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, Antisemitism and Christianophobia equally. And I think it is right that Christians should point out the evil of such acts of violence and other human rights abuses.

But in the light of eternity, Christians have a different approach.

Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you,
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad:
for great is your reward in heaven.

In the light of that, Christian whinging about persecution, whether actual or merely perceived, seems inappropriate. Perhaps a more excellent way can be found here: Redeeming the past: a journey from freedom fighter to healer | Khanya

The Pittsford Perennialist: Mailbag

The following comes via The Pittsford Perennialist: Mailbag:

A long-term friend of this blog(ger) sends along an article on a particularly stingy nation — Israel is biggest importer of philanthropy, but exports? Not so good. He also sends along this topical ditty:

Let’s kiss under the ancient trees
And whisper secrets in the breeze,
silently sitting by the bay
Just you and me (and NSA).

The self-confessed “NSA attention whore” sends these phrases along as well: “شكر أن صديقي” and “ستيفن.”

Damage Control: the independent homeland of BapetiKosovoti

No country in their right mind recognised the the independence of Mickey Mouse apartheid republics like Bophutatswana and Transkei, but those who created the independent homeland republic of BapetiKosovoti are now hastening to do damage control. I doubt that even Evita Bezuidenhout would be willing to help them out at top spin-doctor rates. Perhaps they could call in Dame Edna Everage as a consutant?

Damage Control in the Balkans by Nebojsa Malic — Antiwar.com:

During the 1999 attack on what was then Yugoslavia, the BBC was one of the vocal NATO cheerleaders (its correspondent from the NATO HQ later got the job as Alliance spokesman). So it is both amazing and infuriating to hear Alistair Burnett, editor of BBC’s The World Tonight, talk about ‘reassessing Kosovo’ today.

On one hand, Burnett is refreshingly frank when he says:

‘The offensive against Serbia in 1999 was presented by western leaders as a humanitarian act to prevent widespread ethnic cleansing of Kosovo’s Albanian population by Slobodan Milosevic’s forces. This was widely accepted by western commentators at the time and since then reporting of the conflict in western media has been largely been framed as a story of Albanian victims and Serb aggressors.’

Notice he doesn’t mention that every word of this reasoning, and the ensuing media coverage, was a lie. What he says is merely that ‘some of the recent commentary… has challenged this account and questioned whether the intervention and support for independence were misguided.’

Yes, all three of Tony Blair’s wars when he was in office were “misguided”, to say the very least. And Nato was, and remains, the North Atlantic Terorist Organisation.

Hat-tip to A conservative blog for peace.

Neil Clark: Kosovo and the myth of liberal intervention

The death was announced this week of Richard Holbrooke, the US diplomat who was described by one Christian blogger thus On the anniversary of the Dayton Accords | Again and Again:

Holbrooke was one of the architects of a US foreign policy that has targeted Christians around the world for extinction–in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in EAst Timor, and in Iraq, where the last remnants of an ancient Christian community are being extirpated even as I write.

Some years ago, I asked some Zionist Evangelicals about the wisdom of a policy that slaughtered Christians in order to help the Jewish state. “Iraqis? They’re not Christians.” They said the same thing of the Palestinian Christians. So the oldest Christian communities in the world are not Christian, and the one and only true church is some Zionist sect invented in the 19th century out of thin air and a misreading of Scripture ! But this is America, where new trumps old, and cheap trumps good every time.

But though many Europeans and some Americans realise that the Iraqi-American War was a war of unmitigated aggression, many of them still think that the Clinton-Blair war on Yugoslavia was a “good” war, a “humanitarian war”. But the truth will out, perhaps.

Neil Clark: Kosovo and the myth of liberal intervention:

‘The United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles … Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.’ So declared the neocon US senator (and current foe of Wikileaks) Joseph Lieberman back in 1999 at the height of the US-led military intervention against Slobodan Milosevic’s Yugoslavia.

It would be interesting to hear what Senator Lieberman makes of the report of the Council of Europe – Europe’s premier human rights watchdog – on his favourite band of freedom fighters. The report, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, details horrific rights abuses it claims have been carried out by the KLA, the west’s allies in the war against Yugoslavia 11 years ago.

If there are any lingering doubts that Nato is the North Atlantic Terrorist Organisation, acting as the air force for a terrorist gang, the UCK/KLA, this should dispel them.

Collateral damage and the death of Ubuntu

Ubuntu is dead.

A few weeks ago my blogging friend Tom Smith wrote In memory of Martha Molaudi | Soulgardeners:

On Thursday we lost a dear friend, Martha Molaudi. Martha lived with us from 2006. To the children she was like a second mom. Martha was a remarkable woman of courage. She was the main provider for seven people. She passed away on Thursday evening due to liver failure.

The circumstances surrounding her liver failure has caused me to reflect a lot.

It failed due to the negligence of the clinic that gave her the wrong tuberculosis medication. When she was finally admitted to the hospital the staff couldn’t give her the care she needed because of the strikes that lasted for three weeks. In the space of three months the medical systems failed her miserably.

During the strike I watched an interview where they asked a hospital worker what he thinks about people who will die as a result of him striking. He mentioned the phrase, “collateral damage”. Collateral damage had a name – Martha.

“Collateral damage” is one of the most obscene phrases in the English language that I know of, and is diametrically opposed to the spirit of Ubuntu. It is a euphemism used by terrorists for their killing of civilians. It was given popular currency during the Nato (the North Atlantic Terrorist Organisation) attacks on Yugoslavia in 1999. And when it is used by strikers to justify the deaths of those who die as a result of their actions, we know that we have lost our Ubuntu, and Ubuntu is dead. That is no different from the way in which terrorists use people as human shields and hostages. When we start talking casually of “collateral damage”, Ubuntu is dead.

Let no one say that South Africa’s guiding philosophy is Ubuntu. It’s Greed, just like the rest of the world. Ubuntu is dead.

Terrorist Threat Has Roots in U.S. Policy by Sheldon Richman

Terrorist Threat Has Roots in U.S. Policy by Sheldon Richman:

It is not al-Qaeda that inspires affiliates and radicalizes homegrown terrorists. It is America’s violent policies in the Muslim world. Other government officials have acknowledged that Muslim radicals seek revenge for those policies in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia, but Napolitano perpetuates the myth that anti-American activity is unprovoked. The American people deserve to hear the truth.

Napolitano referred to recent unsuccessful attacks in the United States: “Other al-Qaeda affiliates have actually attempted to attack the homeland in recent months. These include Tehrik-e Taliban (TTP) [Pakistan] and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) [Yemen] — which, until their respective claims of responsibility for the attempted Times Square and Christmas Day terrorist attacks, had only conducted attacks in their regions.”

What she left out was that the U.S. government regularly fires missiles into Pakistan and Yemen from aerial drones, killing innocent people. The desire for revenge is a natural consequence.

Hat-tip to The Western Confucian: None Dare Call It Blowback

I’m reminded of Madeleine Albright’s famous “We think the price is worth it” comment — the price in question being the lives of half a million Iraqi children who died to maintain American hegemony in the Middle East. Weigh that against the under 3000 killed on 9/11, and somehow the word “disproportionate” springs to mind.

Those killed on 9/11 just about balance the number killed in the Nato bombing of Yugoslavia, which was every bit as “terroristic” as 9/11, and was cowardly to boot, because, unlike 9/11, the bombers did not risk their own lives. But, brave or cowardly, terrorism is still terrorism, and the notion of terrorists waging a “war on terror” should lead to severe cognitive dissonance, but it somehow doesn’t, at least not for those who support the terrorist “war on terror.”

The Terrorism Quiz

How much do you know about terrorism and terrorists?

Since 1967 at least, when the Terrorism Act was passed by the South African parliament, I’ve known that at least nine times out of every ten times the word is used it is used for disinformation rather than information, so whenever I’ve seen it in print since then it has made my bullshit detectors very twitchy.

But I was still surprised to discover how little I knew about it and how much disinformation I had absorbed, in spite of being on by guard against it. Take the Terrorism Quiz to check your own knowledge.

Hat-tip to Clarissa, who posted this excerpt Clarissa’s Blog: The Terrorism Quiz:

1. Who made the following statement? “To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom.”

5. How many suicide bombings had Iraq experienced before the 2003 US invasion?

13. True or False: The majority of terrorists come from the lower classes.

17. True or False: The religion of Islam is an important cause of terrorism.

One thing that I did know, though, or rather guessed, is that in the majority of cases the primary motive for terrorism is revenge, at least in the case of individuals. The majority of individuals who opt for terrorist methods do so because they have a close friend or relative who has suffered violence or injustice at someone else’s hands, and they take revenge.

Violence and values

All yesterday Sky News was still full of the Cumbria shootings. They seem obsessed with them, to the exclusion of all other news. Now they are interviewing survivors and witnesses. A fellow taxi driver who was shot, a little boy who witnessed the man on a bicycle being shot. They tell their stories calmly and matter-of-factly, in contrast to the breathless hype of the interviewers, going on about how terrible it is for such events to take place in a small and close-knit community in a beautiful part of England.

And then there are the expert counsellors, talking about the lasting trauma of those who witnessed these things, and how long it will take the community to get over it, and it is all so over-the-top. British soldiers have been doing such things as Derrick Bird did every week for the last few years in Iraq and Afghanistan, but nobody talks about the trauma they have caused in the small closs-knit communities there. Nothing about the trauma of the people on the ships taking aid to Gaza, hijacked on the high seas by Israeli pirates. There is something hugely disproportionate about it somehow.

I suppose it is understandable that Israel wants to impose a blockade on Gaza. Bombs are expensive, and running an air force to deliver them is expensive. So when you use bombs to break things you want them to stay broken. When you bomb people out of house and home you want them to stay homeless. If people bring aid to help people to rebuild their homes, then you are going to have to go to all the effort and expense of bombing them again to make them homeless again. It’s cheaper to stop them from rebuilding their homes.

When I was a child at school we used to amuse ourselves by kicking holes in anthills, and watching the termites scurrying around to repair the damage. And when they had just about repaired it we would kick holes in it again, easier the second time, because the mud was still damp and hadn’t hardened yet.

And it seems that grown-ups are no different, and just as cruel. It’s just that they can afford bigger bombs, and attack their own species. And no, I’m not overlooking Hamas as some have accused me of doing. Hamas and Likud are both terrorist organisations, playing a zero-sum game[1]. As my former blogging friend Facebook | Simon Hewitt says, “in spite of being utterly opposed to the attack on the Flotilla, will not be demonstrating tomorrow. Reason? : I’m just sick of marching alongside Hamas supporters and people chanting ‘we are all Hezbollah’. My enemy’s enemy is not my friend. My enemy’s enemy is an authoritarian, misogynistic, murdering bastard.” And they continue playing zero-sum games because it suits the more influential spectators for them to go on doing so.

So when it happens in Cumbria, Shock! Shock! Horror! Horror! from the Brit media. But when British soldiers do it elsewhere, they are heroes. Perhaps they should take Derrick Bird’s coffin in procession through Wootton Bassett.

_________

[1] terrorist n. one who favours or uses terror-inspiring methods of governing or of coercing government or community (from The Concise Oxford Dictionary of current English, Fifth Edition).

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