Friday, January 27, 2006

Idi Amin would have been proud...

So now it comes out that the U.S. has been seizing the wives and children of suspected Iraqi insurgents, as "leverage" to use against said insurgents. Yes, we are fighting against an enemy that knows no bounds. But what is it we are fighting for? Don't our leaders understand that when we sink to that level, we have lost?

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The debate rages on, over whether Hamas will be forced to moderate its positions, now that it is the party in power. Some have likened it to the IRA/Sinn Fein. But Hamas is faced with more than a renunciation of terrorism. It is faced with having to renounce its entire raison d'etre, or risk turning a million Palestinians into instant martyrs. Today, there were gunbattles in Gaza between partisans of Fatah and Hamas. One has to wonder if they realize what they look like to the rest of the world.

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It isn't just the Religious Right that knows no decency. The Queen of Bile, Ann Coulter, has come out in favour of assassinating a Supreme Court justice using rat poison. She was quick to insist it was just a joke. As though we believe that. She has previously advocated jailing, deporting or executing everyone who disagrees with her, and never cracked a smile. It's all in writing, not that you would want to waste your money on her books.

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This correspondent has occasionally pointed out the similarities between our homegrown Christian Right and the Islamo-fascists. He has been met with indignation over the comparison. After all, the latter bomb buildings while the former don't (Oops. Forgot about Oklahoma City...) Well, there is a new movement taking hold in Africa, a melange of evangelical Christianity, Islam, Catholicism and native African Animism. Their sermons draw on elements of all of these traditions, with a lot of speaking in tongues and the like. This movement appears to be spreading like wildfire. For the moment, it is putting a damper on the inter-tribal warfare that has ruled the day in places like Sudan.

Now, one could, in a hopeful moment, imagine this to be the beginning of an unforeseeable rapprochement among these various religious communities, the seed of hope that we might finally transcend sectarian hatred and violence. But don't bet on it. It is just as easy to imagine a new brand of ultra-fundamentalism arising from this experiment, one that will spawn Jihad infused with Christian righteousness and a touch of Voodoo. Picture book burnings, massacres, and witch hunts. Picture schools being bombed. Ditto for labs that do medical research. Picture the execution of wayward girls, the murder of interracial couples, mass rapes, and conversions at bayonet point. Don't laugh. It's been going on for two thousand years, with almost every religious and political creed having blood on its hands. Heck, the past 40 years have seen nary a break in the insanity (think Cambodia, the Great Leap Forward, Bosnia, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Darfur, Rwanda, Pakistan, Jonestown, Gujarat, the Taliban, Iraq under Saddam, Iraq under the "Coalition"... and so on....) A combined Islamo-Christian movement would have the power to take the violence to levels never before imagined. We can only watch with morbid fascination.

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(A self-congratulatory note here: This writer foretold the rise of such a movement two years ago, in a draft for a work of fiction that is still in progress. He imagined it spawning a global terror network, called the Hand of God. With any luck, the story will see the light of day before it becomes dated.)

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