Monday, 15 June 2015

An Acceptable Reason to Die.

Let me say at the outset that I have no time at all for religious fundamentalism. Let me state categorically that I despise people who kill and abuse civilians in the name of their God. Let me make it abundantly clear that I have no respect whatsoever for the likes of IS, Boko Haram, or any other extremist group which perpetrates horrendous crimes against the innocent individual. Let me even suggest that the world might be a safer, saner, more peaceful, more civilised place if we did away with religion altogether. Having made those points, however, let me go on to offer an alternative view of a related issue.

There’s a big news item in Britain at the moment concerning a young man from the north of England who has become Britain’s youngest suicide bomber. He was killed fighting for one of the Islamist groups in an attack on an army post in Kenya. The report emphasises that he was groomed online, that his family is devastated, and that it’s a terrible tragedy. Whilst I have every sympathy with his family, I have to say that this raises a question.

Is it not true that we in the West are groomed by the Establishment from the earliest age to give unthinking allegiance to the State and be prepared to die in the service of that institution? It used to be the tribal leader for whom we were expected to sacrifice our lives, and then it became the king or emperor. Nowadays it’s the State. There are plenty of people in Britain who still laud the concept of Empire and regard ours as having been a great and glorious thing. When our military personnel die in conflicts ordered by our politicians we regard them as heroes, and nobody uses words like ‘grooming’ and ‘tragedy.’

So let’s ask the question honestly: why is it so heroic, so noble, so glorious even, to die at the behest of the Establishment and in the name of the State, and yet so reprehensible and tragic to die in the name of something else in which you strongly believe? And while I abhor those who abuse and kill the innocent individual in the name of God, I feel the same way about those who do it in the name of allegiance to the State. It happens often enough.

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I further read today that the tyrant al-Bashir has somehow managed to circumvent the legal stay on his right to leave South Africa while his war crimes are further considered, and has flown back to Sudan anyway. Now that’s tragic.


Della said...

So well put. I know what you mean too, about the Mothership :)

JJ Beazley said...

Mothership? So that's where the hum is coming from.