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(25 Posts)
grabagran Wed 20-Aug-14 20:18:16

Having just witnessed the beheading of that poor American journalist, I have been very angry , and have been shaking my fist at the setting sun as well as at my husband. He has been unable to answer my many questions. Such as, why are we in the UK living in a society whereby we pay for an NHS, education for all, freedom of speech, all the stuff we are used to having, yet in Africa, they are chopping heads off, stoning women buried in the ground, stopping girls from learning and basically stuff like that? I am educated, in a nice job, do charitable deeds (as in give up a day a week to drive the elderly), am not religious in any way (apart from thinking that the 10 commandments are a pretty good blueprint for life) yet am stumped at the difference between us in the UK and those in the middle east. What happened? We all share the same physiological makeup, we can all plant seeds, purify water, build universities (if we so choose) but what makes them do what they do, and us abhor? Is it all down to Christianity? Or are some just evil? Are we lucky because we have a better climate for agricultural growth? I am aghast really at what some do to others in the name of religion. Aren't we all the same deep down? As in good??? What bloody happened then? I am despairing.

MagnificentMaleficent Wed 20-Aug-14 20:22:43

I am shamefully ignorant in this area, as no doubt someone will point out, but I think one of the reasons the west has prospered is because we do not have religious rulers governing our laws.

If you look at Britain in the past then many of the attitudes we find so abhorrent were around then, when all feared the church and the King/Queen was appointed by God. Burning heretics for example, cutting out tongues, hanging children. These things were happening not so long ago.

Oscarandelliesmum Wed 20-Aug-14 20:43:14

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond gives a good overview of human history, Why some cultures fail and some thrive, why some are liberal and some happy to massacre girls for attending school. The world can be bloody depressing, every day I wake up I am profoundly grateful to live in a safe country. Maleficint's point (I think) is valid but then again look at Pol Pot, Stalin, The Kim family in North Korea - all Secular. I don't think it is really about God but power and how much value is placed on an individuals life. #Again all said with a discalimer of general ramblings not informed opinion!

grabagran Wed 20-Aug-14 20:46:31

I am also quite fick when it comes to history, but I think that we had/have parliament alongside a King/Queen which was/is meant for one to temper the other. But why have we moved away from tongue-cutting/kid-hanging/head-slicing when them over there are still brandishing such tools/bodily appendages? Is it because maybe, we are an island??? Or what?

Bowlersarm Wed 20-Aug-14 20:49:03

We are probably just extraordinarily lucky to be living in a peaceful time in our country. Nowhere will we stable forever though. Who knows what our children and grandchildren might have to face.

grabagran Wed 20-Aug-14 20:58:03

It has to be more than luck, Bowlersarm. That suggests a throw of the dice. There is something that we are not considering, and I'm darned if I know what. Books? Diet? Brain-wiring? Excessive use of Khat? Not enough drinking-water? I am looking for answers which no doubt do not exist. Thanks Oscarandellisemum ,will get it on my kindle.

Oscarandelliesmum Wed 20-Aug-14 21:04:46

Oh Bowlersarm.......'Who knows what our children and grandchildren might have to face.'
that is one of my big four a.m fears. But then I get my knickers in a twist thinking how silly I am to be borrowing trouble when there is some poor woman in Gaza who is living my worst fears daily. It just makes you feel so angry and impotent. My husband was working in Kurdistan until last week. He is a nice guy so he and his colleagues were buying hundreds of litres of water for the refugees showing up in Erbil and helping where they could but the second it got too hairy they just all had to flash their passports to get straight on flights out of the country. When you contrast that with the poor bastards that have to stay there. That poor poor family that had to leave their disabled son in the desert..................It is a lottery that we won the day we were born here and not in rural Iraq.

Bowlersarm Wed 20-Aug-14 21:23:24

I don't quite know what you are driving at OP. Do you think there is a missing something which once found will end all suffering? I think you're optimistic. I don't think there will be world wide harmony. It just won't happen. Man is too destructive, intent on conquering or destroying land and people.

Bowlersarm Wed 20-Aug-14 21:24:37

Oscar, you have first and experience through your husband. He sounds fantastic in trying to help like that. Must bring it really close to home for you.

Oscarandelliesmum Wed 20-Aug-14 21:31:39

Hey Bowlers! Just made us feel a bit shit and hang wringlingly useless. I felt really guilty for crying when the airport closed and flights were all cancelled. when they were being closed so the Americans could start bringing in support for the Peshmurger . ...But you made DH's day. He became good mates with his local drivers and is really worried for them now.

Dolly80 Wed 20-Aug-14 22:02:06

grabagran I often wonder what leads to these differences too. Granted Britain has it's own chequered history with regard to violence, beheadings were commonplace in centuries gone by and capital punishment was in force until the mid 20th century. However, maybe our society just progressed at a different pace, making such actions against one another unacceptable.

Alternatively, if you are a religious militant and you wish to make the greatest impact to gain attention for your cause perhaps the plan you favour is to commit atrocities that are shocking. After all they tend to immediately grab the attention of the worlds media. Put simply, is it really about the violence they are committing, or the attention they get for it?

I often wonder what would happen if these acts were ignored. Although I would not wish to ignore the victims. what if we focused on them, what they were like as a person etc with no mention of the perpetrators, their cause or how they were brutally murdered. Not for the purpose of secrecy, but simply to not allow them the time of day to peddle their hatred and pollute our world. I don't really think it's possible in the modern world but I do wonder.

NerfHerder Wed 20-Aug-14 22:19:31

May I just point out that the atrocities you mention above are not taking place in Africa? (though, obviously, other unsavoury practices do)
Rather- James Foley was murdered in Iraq, which is in Asia. Girls are being denied education in Afghanistan (and Iraq), again, Asian country.

Perhaps you could read a book about the Crusades in order to become informed about the cruelty and loss of life caused by Christians?
Or the entire history of Europe throughout the 2nd millenium since Christ's birth, and the innumerous wars fought in the name of Christianity?
Or perhaps you could study the AIDs/HIV pandemic in Africa, mainly spread as a result of Christian policies, and the preaching against condom use? Resulting in the illness and death of many thousands, many of whom are innocent women whose husbands have infected them after they have visited prostitutes (who also do not have access to condoms).

HeySoulSister Wed 20-Aug-14 22:27:26

I have just watched the full video and wish I hadn't. It's out if our hands tho.

McBear Wed 20-Aug-14 22:28:51

Because we used them to get to the position of 'enlightenment' we now hold and we haven't helped save them from corrupt governments or religious leaders.

wafflyversatile Wed 20-Aug-14 22:50:36

Yes, we are the same. We could be where they are given the 'right' set of circumstances.

This link shows the steps to genocide.

There are elements of these stages present in UK society all the time. A programme I watched after the Rwanda genocide talked about these steps and they reckoned, with the political will, we could go to where we are now to genocide in the space of 6 months!

Human behaviour is full of efforts to feel good about ourselves, or at least not feeling so bad about ourselves, and part of this is telling ourselves we are better than other people. Of having ingroups and outgroups to whom we show favour or disfavour (is that a word?)

These countries' particular histories have led them to where they are now (and as said western enlightened powers have played their part in that) and our particular history has led us to where we are now. The same as two siblings can end up in different places, as very different people. Same genes, brought up in the same home but each siblings histories are different, leading to who they are now.

wafflyversatile Wed 20-Aug-14 22:51:39

Following on from Nerf's suggestions maybe read 'How Europe Underdeveloped Africa'. It's an interesting, if slightly dry read.

saadia Wed 20-Aug-14 23:01:18

We are certainly very lucky to be living here.

I often think about this and I also think about other times in history when I would have liked to have lived.

What is happening now is the result of social, political and economic factors going back hundreds of years. Colonialism had a major impact. Religion in my opinion is not as influential as people think. Most religious beliefs are open to being adapted, for example many places under Islamic rule in the past were very enlightened, tolerant, open-minded places where great scientific advances were made, very different to the brand of Islam that is now sadly gaining prominence.

It makes me think of what Chairman Mao said when asked about the effects of the French Revolution, "too soon to tell'.

maami Wed 20-Aug-14 23:14:14

Hi..I have a question too..ISIS have carried out hundreds of executions.. All in social media and reported in mainstream media recently....Why is this one any different..?

maami Wed 20-Aug-14 23:38:05

As for the OP question...the answer seems to be mainly poverty and unstability in thier countries.. They are third world countries after all.

Anothee reason is interference by our leaders...Remember isis wasnt around when we invaded iraq; but we supported them in syria to fight assad. Same thing happened in afghanistan.. We supported the talibans against the russian before going after them for niot handing bin laden over. So we cant say our hands are squeaky clean in the mess.

When peace and stabilty are non existant.. How can any country expect progress? Ill give two recent examples; 9/11 and 7/7... Both were more or less one of events.. But it agffected the society so much that practices such as torture rendition house arrests.. Secret trial; not knowing charges against you; apying eyc etc. became acceptable or tolerated at the least. My point being that when these destabilising events occur.. The first thing that goes out of the window is your civil liberties and the norms of laws. So if there was no stability to begin with then you can understand why such people may act the way they are.

chickydoo Wed 20-Aug-14 23:48:33

I am distraught, I decided to watch, it will stay with me until I die. What a brave man. Surely this can't continue? Of course in the history of our country & many others there have been untold horrors inflicted upon innocent people. So what do we do? How can the situation in the East be righted? especially without harming more innocent people.
I am so naive I realise this, but what exactly do these fundamentalists want? Prisoners released, money, weapons power. This is not going to end well, and it scares me.

NerfHerder Thu 21-Aug-14 00:16:28

I thought that what they actually want is a caliphate, an Islamic-run state.
I'm not particularly up-to-date with their demands though I'm afraid.

maami Thu 21-Aug-14 00:35:44

Isis is a power crazy group trying to establish thier version of khilafa in everyone in iraq and syria. Anyone who diasgrees with them is done with..Another version of the talibans.. Perhaps more extreme. Trained in jordan by our intelligence agencies... To fight assad... So a little more well armed.. But they have decided thier own agenda.

The question us..Why is obama supporting strikes against isis in kurdistan but not other areas of iraq where the iraqi gov have repeatedly requested them to..?

scaevola Thu 21-Aug-14 09:36:28

The term "ethnic cleansing" originated with a conflict in Europe in the 1990s.

I the question "why is there war?" or "why is global inequality so much worse than anything within one country?" or "why do we care more about relative wealth within rich countries than the teeming tragedies of the poorest?"

OwnerOfAnInsanePuppy Thu 21-Aug-14 11:03:41

Thanks for all the book recommendations. I admit I am ignorant about all this and look forward to learning more.

Isitmebut Thu 21-Aug-14 12:54:20

grabagran …… the question ‘what is going on’, often in the name of religion, needs to be asked, but IMO the reasons are too many and complex for there to be a solution, but clearly this is not necessary any single nation or regional national problem, it is international – but as I’ll mention later, I think in the UK while doing its best to protect our own citizens from internal and external threats, we COULD in trying to be more ‘inclusive’, make matters worse for ourselves.

The UK is democratic, generally law abiding, the people are unarmed, and the State is designated Christian - and while few of us go to church, the combination of a religiously tolerant nation and society, where people are free to worship where they want in safety, means we kinda all get along.

Historically over the past century within the West, major conflicts were often triggered by nationalism, mainly due to major recessions, or hardships by ‘the people’, that brought to power radical NATIONAL leaders and conflicts.

Many countries in the West are going through their worse recession in 100-years which will result in hardships and other social issues and MAY have a significant influence on some of those in our society being radicalized, what we SEE on our screens is happening within the Middle East, the Sudan I think you may have been referring to – which generalizing here, to a great extent is being caused by religious fundamentalism.

This fundamentalism is often unleashed by the removal of strong dictators who through terror kept the religious differences within their national box, but also an explosion of the protests of those previously kept in their box, religiously, socially and economically.

Taking Islam as a topical example, similar to Christianity it is State-less, as a whole, or between it’s main Sunni or Shia branches, so at a time countries that have Sunni/Shia conflicts resurfacing into conflict throughout the Middle East, for years now Islam as a whole, threatened by the West in wars and interventions – radicalized Muslims across all nations, against both the West, and dodgy regional dictators keeping fellow Muslims under oppression e.g. Syria’s Assad.

The collapse of strong regimes in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, the historic meddling of Syria and Shia Iran, the Shia/Sunni political battle being fought in Bahrain (with it’s bridge to the people & oil in Sunni Saudi Arabia) are complex, but radicalized citizens like ISIS will DO ANYTHING for their cause and do deeds we can’t comprehend.

But there is NO IMMEDIATE PROSPECT of peace within the region, individual countries maybe, but this Sunni versus Shiite, or other historic issues e.g. Palestine/Israel, will not be resolved, possibly until the map of the Middle East is redrawn.

So what the UK governments must ensure is that religious disputes around the world, already radicalizing a very small percentage of our citizens, are not brought directly home to us, as politicians look to further embrace the diversity of the UK. It is clear from threads here, ‘reason’, can be totally absent from a heated debate, as I found that out when a while ago, I dared to disagree against an academic letter to Cameron, that he should not call the UK ‘Christian’.

Take the angry politics out of my OP, but note the religious attacks, some going back hundreds of years, and posts trying to discredit a simple point along the lines ‘it ain’t broke, nothing to fix’.

Can you imagine what would happen if the Church of England Bishops in parliament were diluted with Catholics, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhists and inter Muslim rivalry, all campaigning lobbying for perceived influence – rather than them all live peacefully here under the umbrella of Christianity? IMO.

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