This is a very long post. I could – perhaps should – break it up, but I won’t, it belongs together!
(2,450 words, if you are curious; a tad longer than a 140 word Tweet!)
Snakes on a plane? It could be worse, if the reports in the news are correct, that ISIS planted a bomb in the hold of the down Russian Metrojet, flight 9268
So, ISIS maybe got a bomb on a plane (with echoes of 9/11).
Chillingly, it could get a whole lot worse!
The nightmare scenario from here is the terrorists getting or making a small nuke (which would fit in a backpack!), spicing it up into a dirty bomb, and planting that on-board, setting it to detonate on the approach to a major airport like NYC, London or Moscow. The death-toll would pale in comparison to the shell-shock, trauma – and repercussions.
However improbable, it is neither physically nor technically impossible – especially when you have a lunatic army of religious fanatics that have billions of dollars (estimated at up to a trillion dollars) to pull it off, combined with an irrational, homicidal hatred of ‘infidels’.
Consider this, from Wikipedia:
In July 2014, ISIS militants seized 88 pounds of uranium compounds from Mosul University. The material was unenriched and so could not be used to build a conventional fission bomb, but a dirty bomb is a theoretical possibility. However, uranium’s relatively low radioactivity makes it a poor candidate for use in a dirty bomb.
Naturally, in such an occurrence, the conspiracy version would be the CIA plant it to destabilise the Middle-East even further.
Nah, that’s silly, no country would ever… oh… Oh! Of course it’s on Wikipedia, it MUST be true. Yet the cynically, realist, side of me knows that the more determined, overly powerful and overly rich people want something to happen, regardless of the feelings and will of the masses, the more likely it is to happen – covertly.
Operation Northwoods was a proposed operation against the Cuban government, that originated within the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of the United States government in 1962. The proposals called for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or other US government operatives to commit acts of terrorism against American civilians and military targets, blaming it on the Cuban government, and using it to justify a war against Cuba. The proposals were rejected by the Kennedy administration.
Just as an aside, what sort of numpty jarhead straps a ten kilotonne nuke to their back?
I used to sit at home all day
Lettin’ my life waste away
Then one day a man in blue
Said, son, I’ve got a job for you
There’s trouble and adventure and loads of fun
We’ll even teach you how to shoot a gun.
Jog with a tactical nuke? Sarge, recruitin’ officer said nothing about no nuke!
Sir, yes, Sir!
Umm, will it affect my having children?
Jogging, Sarge! Ooh Rah!
Diverging a bit further: What has the Middle-East ever done for us?
Personally I think the West, whether the US, France, UK or Russia should stay out the region. Bunch of backwards religious fanatics. What good ever come out of the Middle-East? Go on, name one thing worth a spit that ever come out the ever warfaring zone?
OK, besides wheat, what have they ever done for us?
They domesticated goats too.
Whatever. Besides wheat and goats, what have
The first pottery was created in Mesopotamia.
Ignoring, wheat, tame goats and pottery, what
They domesticated cows too. Gave us easy access to milk.
Forget your bellies. What did these zealots ever do for us? Well?
Irrigation started in Mesopotamia too.
Didn’t agriculture start in the Nile?
Yer, they invented the plough too, in Mesopotamia. Damned clever those…
Food again! We need to sort these savages out. What good – besides farming – did they ever do for us? Well?
The wheel was invented in ancient Mesopotamia. Easier to get to the market since then.
And writing, those Sumerians came up with that.
Shut up. I’m on about…
Cities. Egyptians came up with those, first.
Fine, besides domesticated animals, cultivated crops, irrigation, the wheel, writing, cities, what did the Middle East ever do for us?
Numbers? The Zero? Before that we had to use that awful Roman system. Et tu Citizen MCCLVII
Fine, forget the Middle East, what have the Romans ever done for us?
SO: Let’s look a little deeper – or perhaps shallower(!) – into organised religion and conflict:
Ignoring the whole Crusades and Ottoman Empire etc. and all the other atrocities over the past few thousand years between East and West, you zip forward to the 20th and early 21st century.
Ethnic cleansing has been going on for as long as I can remember, fighting, as far as I can tell, over the changes caused by over a thousand years of Chinese whispers.
Suppose, for one moment the Prophet Mohammad reappeared in Saudi Arabia. The real deal. Allah himself sending the big guy in to sort the situation because, overall, it didn’t work out so well the first time, what with Sunni killing Shia killing Kurd killing… Would He (using the ridiculous Christian emphasis of He) be welcomed with open arms – or would he be stoned to death as a heretic by an outraged mob before you can say, "That’s a nice round rock"? Even if he was believed by the Imams, the clerics, the princes of Arabia – would they accept Him if His teaching differed from their agenda, detracted from their wealth and power?
Personally I do not care what belief you adhere to…
Jewish with their Torah and oral traditions (splintered into Orthodox, Reform, Hasidic Judaism or even Kabbalah)
Islamic with their Qu’ran and other law books (splintered into Sunni, Shia, Sufi etc)
Or any number of other faiths, religions, cults and sects.
… Religions all tend to have one thing in common:
I was out for a walk, eating these really nutritious mushrooms, when I heard the voice of God…
No, stop laughing at me, I’m serious. He told me all the other religious are wrong. Mine, OK, ours is the one true faith. The unbelievers are all pagans/heretics/infidels/nerds and must be converted. And if they won’t be converted we take their lands/lives/women/gold. Are you with me?
Of course, this first conversation was never written down. As the days turn into months, centuries, millennia, the truth blurs, the oral recitations alter, the books get edited.
So, as far as I can tell, half the world is trying to kill the other half because of something they think some bloke said in a bar, in a lost language, a hundred or more generations ago.
I don’t understand religion; it’s not logical. Man is unravelling the universe, leaving the Earth to walk on the moon, soon on other planets. Depending what country you live in and how loudly you make your wild claims if you, today, claimed to be THE messiah, you would either be completely ridiculed, taken into hospital for your safety (as a risk to yourself or others) while psychiatrists try to diagnose your mental illness – or you would be executed as a heretic. Agreed? Yes? Good. So, please tell me why, if someone said the very same thing a thousand, two thousand years ago, people believe it so fervently they will maim, kill, plunge whole countries into war over it? Faith? Really? All you have is the word of some bloke and his mates, people who – if they even existed – are long since dust, their language all but forgotten!
(Who now speaks Aramaic?: "Around Fifty to 90 percent of the roughly 7,000 languages currently spoken worldwide are expected to die out by the end of the century, reports Smithsonian.com"
At one point, some 3,000 or so years ago, there was no distinction, no hatred between Arabs, Jews. The various tribes got on fine until they started arguing about religion!)
*Takes a deep breath, preparing for a long sentence*
So, when you have half of Islam trying to kill the other half because of some difference about what they think someone meant 1200 years ago that wasn’t really written down and such tiny scraps that survive may not even mean what academic translators they think they mean because all languages – even the most stable – change over time, well, you really have to wonder.
To me, it’s a form of brain-washing and you cannot argue with someone that will not listen, will not move an inch from their stance. It’s blind, stupid arrogance to think your faith, your specific view – out of the hundreds, thousands of different beliefs – is the one true version. You need to ask yourself, where did you get this belief? Who profits? You? Your preacher? Your parents? Or some smiling assassin whispering to you in a bar, feeding on your hopes or fears, your desires or your insecurities? Is it the one and only absolute truth, or have you just been played by some git that’s getting rich and powerful as a result?
Here’s a few thoughts to rattle zeolots and would-be suicide bombers, besides "Are you really sure you want to die like this?" Not pointing fingers but suppose, as a carnal incentive, your religion says the women of infidels, of the heathens not of your caste/sect are to be converted to your faith. If they refuse they can be raped, tortured and murdered. If they agree you can take them as your/another wife. And if you die in your holy war, your God will welcome you with open arms as a martyr and give you 75 willing virgins. Umm, sorry, but in the real world it’s about 50:50 for men and women – and you’ve just tried you rape or force your will on every virgin you can find on Earth. Where, pray tell, are the 75 virgins in your afterlife coming from? And if you touch them, will they be eternally untouched? Hardly, whatever divine magic you think happens. And won’t you feel awkward if you get to the afterlife and find your righteous deity is a woman! Son, you are in trouble now! Or, as I believe, you take a bullet in the head or blown yourself up and… nothing. That’s it. All you were, all you could ever have been, is now just a corpse on a morgue table, or several pieces of meat and bone spread about a wide area.
Who’s standing back?
You have to wonder why the Catholic church, sitting on vast wealth (accrued by frankly criminal means over a thousand years), does so little.
You have to wonder why the greater part of the Middle East, holding trillions of dollars from oil exports, effectively does nothing. Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc. All that’s going on is a religious civil war, one that, in my firm opinion, the whole Islamic world should get together over and say, "you know what, this is silly, let’s see how much we are alike instead of slaughtering each other over pedantic differences."
The conflicts in the Middle East aren’t new. Little was done when Kurdish villages were gassed. Little is done over Lebanon. "It’s only one village, it’s best not to get involved". Ethnic cleansing of the Yazidi? "We’ll drop some food supplies, then our conscience is clear". Yet the minute one dictator enters another dictator’s oil fields and the profits, the elitist, luxury lifestyles of the multinationals and of the oil-rich Sheiks are at risk, oh boy are the gloves off. All of a sudden America is there, in force. The UK is there, in force (illegally as it turns out). And so forth.
The next thing you know countries like Canada and Australia get terrorist attacks and are like, "Whoa, what did we do?"
And so the wheel turns.
Now, after a few years of ISIS turning Syria to rubble, the hands-off approach starts to change.
You have to wonder if this is because of the millions of refugees (and economic migrants) flooding into the West, trampling over the borders of France, of Germany, of Russia. Has someone finally said:
Or perhaps, "Munitions sales are down, now would be a good time to push the situation"
Maybe something even more curious is happening and right now a little world circling news will take our attention away from some news byte someone or some group really wants buried – at any cost.
Or perhaps, if you want to believe in the nicer side of human nature, that, after years of seeing and reading about the horrific atrocities, they grew a conscience? Nah!
Offended? Or Effendi?
If you found this post in some way offensive, pause to ask yourself why. Everything I’ve said, in essence, is true of every religion, of every war ever fought, of every political party. The winners, the leaders are the ones that write the histories, the laws, the rules. And they all – all of them – rewrite it when it suits, when it profits them. So, are you offended because what I said is wrong, is against your faith, your teaching? Or are you offended because, at the heart of it, you pause to think? What if you’ve been lied to? What if all the anger and hatred and bile you feel isn’t yours, it’s someone else’s, poisoning you? So, next time you silently cheer because this Jew got stabbed, that Sunni got beheaded, the other Shi’ite got burnt alive, or some Canadian got shot or the Russian airliner got blown out of the sky, ask yourself why. If your faith/culture/personality is so strong, so true, so perfect, why does it matter if someone has an opposing view? Are your hackles up? Do you hate me? If so, is it because I’m wrong – or because you wonder if I’m right?
I saw a joke the other day, seems appropriate:
A Muslim, a Catholic, a Jew, a Hindu, a Buddhist, an atheist and a Wiccan get stuck in a lift for 20 hours. Nothing happened. Turns out, when they got talking, there were all just – people!
I found the cartoon below on Facebook and it is on other sites but I can’t find the original artist. Whoever they are, they sum the sentiment up perfectly: