Here or thereafter?
Free yourselves of religious tyranny, go for
August 23, 2005
The times of colonial and imperial wars are over when one country
could occupy a faraway land without fearing that their own country
and its civilians could possibly be attacked in any way. Britain
is somehow shocked over the fact that the suicidal fanatics --
who didn't love themselves enough in order to be able
to love anyone else -- were British and used to the British
'way of life' in one way or another.
In other kind of wars like
the 1st and the 2nd World Wars, there were of course enemy's
spies and sympathisers everywhere
(even within the royal family) and the nation was prepared for
them. However having been involved in two wars against Iraq (sorry
I cannot call it against Saddam because I think if £5Million
reward was announced for his capture wild Western style, even
his own brother would have carried him all the way to Hague)
over a 14-year period why would a nation be surprised unless
it takes it as what it is namely a colonial/imperialistic war
for securing the import of oil for mobility etc. and the overdue
use of the excess of arms produced between the two wars (UK being
the largest producer of arms).
As for the more recent claims to
the export of democracy it reminds me of the WWII when the Allies
brought democracy to Iran by sending
the despot Reza Shah to exile and putting his young son on the
peacock throne, and when Mohammad Mossadegh was elected prime
minister and campaigned on a pledge to nationalise Iran's
oil reserves, a CIA-backed military coup in August 1953 planned
by Kermit Roosevelt put everyone with a dream back in their place
where they were before the war, except for Shah who was placed
on throne again this time however as a dictator. In return he
signed over the control of Iran's oil resources to a consortium
of western oil companies.
In fact this recent exported democracy
is really arbitrary as the globalisation and the power of corporations
have gone too
far to allow any of the third world countries (that's right
they are not developing countries) to become truly independent.
The classic example was when Allende was elected in Chile and
the military coup that followed. Whereas Tony Blair's stance
against Pinochet was consistent with a global democratic idea his
with the USA in
attacking Iraq was not. If USA government's investigators have
not found the connections to the 9/11 attackers within
their own country how can they possibly
find them in West Asia?
I for one still haven't met anyone who
can say for instance where actually those planes which attacked
New York took off.
No wonder there has been so much room for conspiracy theories
circulating. As long as the 9/11 bombing has not been clarified
no attack on foreign countries are justified. If the despot Saddam
had ties to 9/11 attacks I would have expected the judiciary
system in USA to check the evidence and issue a warrant for him.
In other words the USA government has ignored the most important
aspect of democracy which is the separateness of the judiciary,
legislative and the executive forces.
As for the UK government,
it was only after the so called mistaken killing of Jean Charles
de Menezes that a policy called 'shoot
to kill' became known to the British public which obviously
has not been ratified whether by the parliament nor the judiciary
Meanwhile Tony Blair instead of relaxing his famous
shoulders has been busy thinking of ID cards and the population's
finger prints if not the curfew for the adolescence (well done
judge Brooke and Liberty) instead of using some conflict resolution
techniques in solving the problems, now that it's too late
to have not attacked Iraq in the first place.
And so much for
the democracy in Iraq -so far-, where the ruling men are already
trying to include Sharia in the constitution
in order to suppress the universal human rights of half of Iraq's
population namely women. So, is this going to be a worse situation
for women in Iraq than in time of Saddam? Like it was the case
in Iran after the 1979 revolution?
How has the world arrived at
this situation where religious fanatics are being bred on a global
It all started of course with the centuries old anti-Semitism
in Europe leading to the atrocities and genocide of Jewish Europeans.
As a result of this the first modern state reuniting religion
with state - namely Israel - came to exist.
The support for the establishment of Israel by the West had two
major political reasons: To get the Jewish European out of their
continent into West Asia, and to use this enterprising and perspicacious
nation as a successful counterbalance to the late USSR. This enterprise
could have been successful if the Israeli leaders had not united
religion with their state.
Over a few millenniums the Jewish communities
had learned to survive as a minority within other societies which
exclude them. They had progressive ideas about supporting their
own communities when living in Europe. In the Middle Ages for
instance in Venice where they had to live in Ghetto Nueva (hence
the name ghetto) and were not allowed to buy land or practice
certain occupations they developed a stunning education system
whereby poor Jewish children were sponsored by rich families
in order to study. As a result in a time that probably less than
one in thousand in Europe could read and write the Jewish community
in Ghetto Nueva had a 100% literacy rate within its borders.
All those aspects and the fact that this led to the emergence
of a secular Jewish intelligentsia during the 19th and the 20th
century, who played a crucial role in the advancement of the
western societies, contributed to the envy factor inherent in
anti-Semitism in Europe.
Whereas the centeredness of the Jewish leaders on the interests
of their own communities was justified and necessary for survival
in the middle ages it proved detrimental when it came to run
a country with Palestinians as its minority natives (non Palestinian
Jews could have as much claim on Palestine as Iranians could
possibly have on the lands owned by the ancient Persian Empire).
Initially the Jews who established Israel brought with them socialistic
ideas for the speedy progress of their new country. An example
was the idea of Kibbutz which was innovative at the time (although
the emotional effect on the children who grew up in them needs
a closer attention. This may even lead to some explanation for
the irrationality in adults' behaviour).
So why was it that the Israeli leaders who were so good in developing
their country's economy were unable to include Palestinians
in their society? The answer is that whereas they were well practiced
in managing their own community as a minority in order to survive
environment of Europe, they were inexperienced in ruling a country,
which involves inclusion of what is perceived as the 'other'.
it was not enough to have secular leaders; what had not been
secured was the separation of state and religion. As the idea
of Israel concerned only Jews they became too preoccupied with
themselves especially as a natural aftermath of their horrendous
traumatic experience in Europe.
Since then many things
have changed. For one, other countries in Israel's vicinity have reunited state
with religion turning the political issue of Palestine
into a religious conflict. This in turn has also encouraged other religions
wanting to get their hands into politics of their respective countries.
In West Asia - up to 1960 - there existed either secular nationalistic
movements or as an antidote military dictatorships with or without
a so called king who
tended to keep theocrats at bay if not suppressed.
Since the plight of the Palestinians
and the encouragement of Islam in the area by the West as an ideology against
the USSR's political influence on the
West Asian population (after the WWII Iran for instance had the largest pro
communist party in a non-communist country in Asia which amounted to 1 million
registered members plus many sympathisers. This became illegal after 1953's
coup and many were massacred especially in the industrial town of Abadan-
not without the help of the British army located in the south)
the theocracy in
the area has regained credibility. Even a military dictator like Saddam didn't
miss the point and tried to change the subject by pretending to be a religious
With the USSR -- offering an ideology in its dogmatic approach and commandments
not unlike religions, which crumbled after a mere 70 years from a second
world superpower to a group of separatist third world countries -- out of
the Islamist started to have their own dreams of becoming superpowers spreading
Islam which like Christianity is an expansive and missionary religion (unlike
Judaism and Zoroastrianism which are more racially oriented).
So here again the Israelites have been a crucial history makers, though this
time instead of serving the progression -- like they did in Europe -- they
have served the regression. With the extraordinary ability they showed initially
to develop Israel to an agricultural land- considering the fact that they
had not been allowed
land in Europe and be farmers hence with no tradition and experience in farming
-- they could have played a leading role in supporting the surrounding countries
to turn deserts into green lands.
But instead it mistreated Palestinians and
trained the armies and the secret police of the most reactionary regimes
during the 60's and 70's for
instance in Iran. I still remember the days how the Jewish community in
Iran was emphatically expressing anger and concern about the policies
in West Asia and their treatment of the Palestinians.
Meanwhile Israel has become like any other land in the area with its own
internal discriminations. In today's Israel being a Jew from North Africa
the same as being a Jew from Russia or USA (In Judaism by an ancient law
only the mother needs to be Jewish in order for the child to be counted
as a Jew
by birth. As a result many unorthodox Jews are of a mixed race).
57 years it is crystal clear that the idea of religion and state reunited
has failed yet again. Israel is a class society like any other
with the issue of racism which is not even being addressed.
these West Asian countries will go through a peaceful process
in order to become secular or whether due to the inevitable disillusionment
the masses with the theocracy there will be bloodshed like the French
Revolution in 1789, which led to the separation of the state from the
be foreseen as too many eyes are fixed on the oil resources in the
I have been told that Mossadegh had said that it
was Iran's misfortune to have oil resources.
* * *
There is another thought that keeps coming back into
my mind: 14 years ago these suicide bombers were between 4 to 16
watching the continuous
broadcasting of the colourful bombardment of Baghdad on the TV in 1991?
was the meaning they perceived? Whom did they identify with? And how
many times does a child need to be called names in the public before
of losing respect for life on earth and decides to become a walking
missile? Surely when these young men visited Pakistan they noticed
that it isn't
a country they would wish to live in, otherwise why couldn't they continue
to live there?
Isn't it also about not having a sense of belonging
whether to here nor there?
And why is it that not many people here
think that just as there is a small number of Ku Klux Klan amongst
the Christians, there
the Moslems. If they don't suspect all the Christians to agree with
the KKK why should they suspect all Moslems of being on the side of
The answer is that subconsciously they recognise
the difference as regards to the causal factors.
One characteristic of a multicultural society in today's world
of web is that the governments of these societies cannot behave
did a century
ago. The geographical borders of countries and the definition of nations
are losing their significance. In fact the idea of borders as we know
is only a few centuries old; hence it won't last for ever either. The
best policy for the Western governments would be to hold up to
high ideals like justice for all. Defending one's country is always
attacking another isn't.
As for the internal politics, when French government announced their
new policy regarding the clothing in the schools I for one thought
move. This I believe would make sure that in the future, only families
who accept 'the
way of life' in France would intend to move there.
I for one came to
Europe because it suited more my idea of the respect for the rights
of the individuals. It is no coincidence that at least until a few
years ago the highest numbers of suicides amongst the adolescents
in UK were females of
(recently the highest numbers are amongst the white male -- a higher
amongst all young men in UK in one way or another?).
It is one thing
to live in a country where everyone has a limited freedom, and
another when living in a country where everyone else
your age follows
of their hormones except you. Suppressed sexuality in a sexually
oriented society (even if it's not really true the media and the
so as if everyone
is busy doing it) will either turn to depression and self destructiveness
or to aggression towards others or both. Can a practicing Moslem
young man have
extramarital sex with a woman and not think of her as a whore? Well,
my answer is no. So although everyone is exposed to the 'way of life'
not everyone is practicing it fully.
And how does this paradise,
which along with 'hell' was originally a Zoroastrian idea entering
the Judaism hence Christianity and Islam,
is described in Islam?
Well for one there are houris -- beautiful
maidens, who will live with the blessed and also there is a river
flowing with honey (a rare
food in Arabia
days except in Yemen). Is this one of the reasons why they hurry
to get to paradise? A paradise that a Moslem man can obtain in this
the houris -- only if he is a Saudi royal male or a rich sheikh.
will be the women, who are blessed enough to go to paradise,
hoping for in living with houris no religious script is bothered
fact that if a young woman dies virgin she will go to heaven automatically,
that it is her and the other virgins who will end up being houris
serving the blessed men in the other world as they did in this
contrast to France, Canada is in the process of making a regressive
move by accepting Sharia courts in their country which would make
discrimination against Moslem women legal. This step is not only
not about tolerance,
an active contribution to the injustice already inflicted on women
in many parts of the world.
The problem is that uncritical and excessive tolerance of what is
perceived as different custom, which may even be 1400 years old,
will eventually lead to
sudden bursts of intolerance (5 shots into someone's brain with a
foreign look, already held down on the ground by the plain clothes
only one of them).
* * *
Ideally in a civil society the education system should
not concern itself with teaching religion in the schools. This
should be the
mosques, temples etc. as they have enough space to gather whoever
is interested anyway. It is against the rights of children to expose
anxieties regarding death, life and afterlife. A healthy child's
mind is usually
concerned with the here and now. The consciousness about time in
terms of the passing of time is only understood on a deeper level
the age of
Unnecessary systematic exposure to religious doctrines
by the family as well as the school deadens the capacity of the
of doubt and the arriving at free will in order to be able to make
a well considered individual choice when older.
So unlike the Conservative Party's recent suggestions regarding a
stricter adherence to faith for the whole society I have the following
Whatever a child may learn at home it is not up to the
education system to approve or disapprove of, hence no one way religious
schools. For children above 13 there can be discussion groups with
facilitators representing all faiths and also atheism.
Obviously any religion that is incapable of standing its ground against
doubt, criticism or even negation and fears challenge would eventually
need to reform
and adjust to the increased reasoning power of the learners and their
independent way of thinking in regards to making an informed choice.
is important to bear in mind that in a modern society teaching ethical
values and behaviour to children is not really a religious
One does not kill
another person not because one fears god or hell but because one
has respect for life and the right of an individual in not being
Following the French example uniform should mean literally unity
in form. As for the religious amulets for an individual's protection
believe in them -- they can always be worn as a necklace under the
The idea of Hijab in schools is not in accord with the rights of
children. Hijab in Islam today is worn because the assumption is
that women are seen by all males who are not of their immediate family
women are expected to cover themselves so that no man in the public
can fall victim to temptation.
For a minor to assume that she is a
sexual object who is responsible for men's sexual behaviour or immaturities
is intellectually limiting
It is a constant reminder that her rights can not be equal to her
brothers. In addition in order to cope with her limiting situation
towards other females who do not wear hijab. Obviously some teenage
girls in this country may show pride in wearing hijab as it emphasizes
otherness demonstrating free will, but in my opinion this is more
a defensive behaviour
to overcome stress caused by contrasting massages received at home
and in the
society as regards to sexuality etc.
Any family or potential family who wants to immigrate to UK ought
to get information about the education system and tested if necessary
sure they have understood
what the move would mean for the whole family (As it is today many
fundamentalist Moslems in multicultural areas do not allow their
girls to make use of the after school youth clubs, despite the youth
keen to attract this group of young people into their centres).
No religious education centre should be financed by the state, as
I believe it is still the case in France for the Catholic schools.
Ideally the existing religious schools should cease to be schools.
Compared to for instance Germany with a minority of Catholics in
of the country, the catholic schools in UK have never admitted
non Catholic minorities to their schools.
Religious schools should
truly be justifiable within a modern society. If their aims do not
include all humanity they should be seen as
what they are
outdated. They could continue to function as education centres for
the keen parents but they should not replace the mainstream education
As for finances it should be up to all these religious institutions
to convince their followers to support them financially, or be prepared
to work for their
happiness in such a way that they would depart readily with their
money in order to remain happy.
UK foreign policy
People in the UK and the
USA may not be aware that the rest of Europe already speaks of
the current situation as the Third World
War. To avoid any further escalations the UK government needs to
support the UN, despite all this organisation's shortcomings,
to take lead of the
At this stage an immediate announcement of the dates for the withdrawal
of the British troops from Iraq is of paramount importance.
Politics is not about proving one is right in any case or about bravery
but is about making the right decision at the right time.
According to historical evidence, the hijab already existed before
the advent of Islam. In ancient Persia this was a sign of status
and was worn only
when facing the public. In some part of North Africa and in the deserts
the face was also covered in order to avoid sun for the sake of their
tastes. In today's Islam this is, however, a purely gender issue;
in any case there is no writing in Koran that demands the covering
of the face.
For Moslem women in the UK to cover their faces
is a political statement rather than a religious practice. Besides,
in a country that people hardly ever look
at each other on the streets or in public places this kind of hejab
is immodest and worn for the purpose of seeking attention only. It
seen on the street but when you for instance pick up your child from
and there appears a ghost in black with a face mask then your child
looks at you
in order to be assured that this is normal and you of course make
a face as if it was. And you can't escape the thought that her poor
mommy without seeing her face. How cruel, apart from it being embarrassing
the child -- at least initially.
So ladies, time to show at least your faces. Not because it turns
the men on but because it doesn't. Faces are
communications and the building of trust amongst the visually able
individuals of a community. And if it is your men who force you to
do so then contact your local police (the British public should not
assume that immigrants are
automatically aware of their
individual rights especially as a dependent woman- regardless of
of education) who will put you in touch with the right women organisations
protect and help you out of your circumstances together with your
Throughout the centuries, Christianity has gone through
a long process of reforms. Islam on the other hand went through
the Middle Ages when for instance Ibn Khaldun the first sociologist in history
14th century Cairo (born in Tunisia) wrote about the influence of
social environment on tribes and the city dwellers and the resulting behavioural
variations in his Al Moghadamah; and an age in which scientists and
scholars could at least express the concept of doubt in the existence of god
for their lives
(see Khayyam's poetry 11th-12th A.D.).
In the last 4-5 centuries however
Islam has turned intellectually uninteresting which is what it shares with
the fundamentalists of
other faiths. There
is a lack of capacity for open discussions and an intolerance of
This in turn is the fruit of irrationality caused by the unquestioning
submission to dogma. It is time for Islam to either take the steps
towards reform and adjust to the times or become passé within
the next four decades with of course a lot of bloodshed in between.
So why not declaring Jihad for peace and the building of heaven
earth before landing on the eternal one?
The United Nations
should declare Sharia as being archaic and in contravention to
human rights in regards
to women and children, and press the misogynist regimes
secular systems with clear separation of the state from religion should be
able to remain members
Cases of atrocities against women and children in
Islamic countries should be taken to international courts and be
presence of the defence.
The UN should aim to have 2 representatives of each nation. The
second representative should be of the opposite sex to the first
to an opposition group
within their country.
For the long term policy and the gaining
of a just power, the UN should plan its own elections in every
country and amongst
that only the candidates with no shares in large corporations
would be eligible for
As for West Asia, well...
The Israelites could
make steps towards regaining their old pioneering spirit and make the first
disarming change by declaring Israel as a secular country
keen to cooperate with the rest of the West Asia aiming for
progression and well being of all regardless of their religion and race
Other countries in the area
Although Israel was an artificially established country (like Iraq)
there are now people who have been born in Israel and identify
Israelis. It is time for you to accept this country's existence
and make steps towards
coexistence if not cooperation. Besides, it's time to challenge
the racism and sexism within your own societies. Like Goethe
sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will
As for your governing systems: free yourselves of
misogyny and aim for social justice for all, go for secular democracy,
it is to
the best form already practiced that we know of, and choose HEAVEN
on EARTH as your objective as far as this life is concerned.
for the eternal heaven, well according to all Abrahamian
religions you need to remember that no one in this world
is in the position
qualify to land there, and the ones who think they know and
do judge, belong to those
groups who are busy making sure that this world remains the