Saying what we’re not allowed to say
I’ve watched the events unfolding in the Middle East MY ENTIRE FREAKING LIFE! It’s ALWAYS BEEN chaotic; always multifaceted and many guilty parties. My conclusions, to date anyway, are not popular with anyone. I reject taking up “others’ views” to simply be accepted within a “tribe”, to belong.
We see a region, from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, across Israel, Palestine, to Egypt and all the way to Morocco. The recent events with super powers involved in an effort to “destroy ISIS” without being on the ground is futile and we all know it, but no one is satisfied with allowing ISIS to continue, nor to commit boots on the ground to stomp them out, either. Peace seems a virtue ISIS scoffs towards and uses it only to outmaneuver for treachery. What a mess! It feels surreal, like the summer of 1914, a world war waiting to happen for no clear reason or worthy sacrifice for what is about to be demanded to pay death itself.
Look, on one hand – and many will NOT like what I am about to say, the mess in the Middle East has been fostered by a century of imperial meddling from many countries, the US, UK, France, Russia and now the latest, China. The lust for oil, control of a geographic key region has driven people to fight over this area for the history of mankind. The past century directly lays ground work for internal strife, and the chaos of today. We continue to define “our interests” at the expense and lack of voice by those who “get to” endure our will played on them. In other words – a big part of this mess is OUR FAULT (the western powers, and I’d throw Russia and China into this complicity.
BUT, and here is what is not allowed to be said…. BUT… the core of this mess is a violent culture, a violent predisposition that has fought amongst itself from all of history. The Old Testament reveals a history of war, genocide and racial dominance and NON-STOP bloodshed. Many site the curse of sin and the nature of the races that God told Israel to wipe out because their DNA was evil. Others will say they are merely working out the internal defining Europe did centuries ago. Some will say it’s all our fault, making money off warfare, war we participate in and we sell to when and when we’re not directly involved.
I think all of it is true. What is not allowed to be said is that the Middle East, from the Persians, to the Arabs, to the North Africans – they have some deep cultural VIOLENT and literally murderous tendencies that they are not owning up to. Life is cheap, “my way” or die (the eternal fallen human disposition) is real there. They choose this reality and as a people and region are not willing to come to terms and compromise to co-exist together.
The unbridled freedoms of the west, what liberals insist will bring harmony to the Middle East, are exactly the core of what they hate – despise, loath and froth at the mouth over. They do not esteem freedom at all, but concrete and clearly defined boundaries of absolute obedience. Free thought, critical thinking and a willingness to tolerate any dissent is odious to the Middle Eastern cultures. Hence, reason does not work and why democracy is ludicrous and a waste of time by the right and the left persuasions. The right simply wants to lull them to peace with profits and markets. It’s a mere temporal anesthetic that will not be effective long, as so many realities of the region reveal.
So, what do we do? Great question – no clear answer or answers. The first step though is realising NO answer will fix it. There is no “right” choice. There is NO fix to this region. Dour? Yes. Yet the entire history of the region is dour and I’m not allowed to say that either. The Kingdom of God is the ONLY fix to the region. Yet, a helicopter marketed shiny western evangelism of celebrity isn’t the way either – rather an upside down kingdom approach of humility – but we’re not patient enough for that, are we?
*Thank you to my nephew, Joel Knight, for this beautiful photograph (Wellington, New Zealand, 2015)