Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Another victory in the American quest for the world as a Coke commercial

Posted by Charles II on August 1, 2009

Ben Quinn, The Guardian:

Six Christians were burned alive in Pakistan yesterday when hundreds of Muslims attacked and looted their homes, sparked by rumours that pages from the Qur’an had been desecrated.

The dead, including four women and a child, were killed when Christian homes were torched by hundreds of supporters of a banned Muslim organisation in the Punjabi village of Gojra, in eastern Pakistan.

Tensions have been running high between the two communities over allegations that Christians had defiled pages from the Muslim holy book, despite authorities insisting that the rumours were unfounded.

It would be really nice if the adherents of religions that claim to be peaceful could all act that way for a day or so.

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Added 8/2: From Tariq Saeed, Dawn,

Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti said 40 Christian homes had been torched on Saturday by the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba group, which is accused of attacking security forces and of staging bombings at public places in recent years. He said there was no truth to allegations that the Holy Quran had been defiled and accused the police of ignoring his appeal to provide protection to Christians under threat.

From Center for Defense Information:

The Sipah-I-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) – Army of the Friends of the Prophet – is a Sunni sectarian group responsible for carrying out terrorist activities against Shias in Pakistan. It has also operated as a political party, and its leaders have won elections to Pakistan’s National Assembly. … Initially called the Anjuman Sipah-I-Sahaba, the group was formed as a response to rising Shia militancy and sectarian violence in Pakistani Punjab….The SSP believes that Shias possess too much power and influence in Pakistan, and want the country to be declared a Sunni state. It aims to restore the Khilafat (Caliphate) system, while protecting Sunnis and their Shariat (Islamic laws). SSP members declare that Shias are non-Muslims and must be violently converted or suppressed …

14 Responses to “Another victory in the American quest for the world as a Coke commercial”

  1. Aaron said

    Too true! I love that you posted this particular music video to illustrate what these faiths should be about. After all you would think that a soft drink company would have less sense about world peace than religion would. Quite the sign of the times, huh?

    • Charles II said

      Aaron, as a Christian– and conscious of all the many wrongs Christians have done in the name of love– the ability of people to abuse religion to do violence continues to amaze me. How anyone can worship a thing of ink and paper while destroying flesh on which God has engraved His image is a mystery. Yet we Christians are as guilty as anyone else in doing this.

      Yeah, maybe humanity should convert to Coke-ism.

      • Coke is interested in expanding its markets worldwide, which is easier when the constituent parties of the prospective markets aren’t shooting at each other.

        The irony of capitalism is that when it’s practiced by people who think clearly and not oncologically, it can actually be more of a force for good than religion. For instance, it’s quite likely that the key thing that shut down the Magdalene Laundries wasn’t public horror and changing cultural attitudes towards women, but the advent of the electric washing machine.

      • Charles II said

        I have nothing against Coke as long as it isn’t involved in murder and torture, and am fascinated to learn about the Magdalen Laundries, PW.

        The problem here is that the world’s religions have become unhinged. For me, Christianity is a quiet, contemplative religion, one that I try (with varying degrees of success) to practice rather than talk about. Study that costs me 10 hours earns me half a dozen hits a month on my lectiodivinae.wordpress.com website. TV preachers who rail about “40 million unborn children aborted” get somewhat more attention. What they are teaching, alas, bears very little resemblance to Jesus’s teachings. I’m sure Muslims experience similar problems.

      • Oh, exactly, Charles. Coke’s hands are by no means clean, in the US or out of it. Then again, neither are Pepsi’s.

        As for quiet contemplation: Religions are running into the problem of the world without borders, and that’s putting their leaders on edge. In an age where even those who can never afford a plane ticket are likely to live in a town with a library or café with internet access, people are being exposed to cultures and ways of life they never would have experienced even ten years earlier.

        So much of what people think of as the defining features of their particular faith are being called into question by the exposure of the masses to the outside world. So long as it was just the educated and relatively wealthy few indulging in cross-culturalism, religions didn’t have to worry about their tenets being seriously challenged more than once every other century. But when transportation and communications started to improve beyond the level of couriers on horseback, suddenly the applecart started to really rock.

        The natural reaction is of course reaction: That’s what the mullahs and Ratzinger are doing to a large degree. (The mullahs are a bit more successful, because they can point to a millenia-plus history of brutal Western/Christian invaders/exploiters and say “Do you really want to emulate the evil Crusaders? When you let your women drive cars, the Crusaders win!”) But in the long run it’s a losing strategy: You can try to keep things shut down, but that stifles you in the end.

  2. Stormcrow said

    Don’t be too quick to put the root cause down to religion.

    The quote Charles cited put up a red flag.

    Six Christians were burned alive in Pakistan yesterday when hundreds of Muslims attacked and looted their homes, sparked by rumours that pages from the Qur’an had been desecrated.

    The very first question that ran through my head was, where did these “rumors” get started, and why?

    If you’re trying to jump-start an insurgency, one time-honored way to proceed is to do something that provokes reprisal against the community you intend to recruit from.

    Get an inflammatory rumor going, that gets some Christians killed. When the authorities come down with both boots, they’re liable to over-react. Particularly if the killings were gruesome or publicized or both.

    That over-reaction is the point of the exercise. Locals start getting arrested and killed in large numbers, and you can paint this however you please. Everything is downhill after that.

    Remember the four Blackwater mercs who were killed in Baghdad in 2004? That started the Battle of Fallujah. Betcha the takfiris found recruiting really easy right after that. Even among Shiites.

    • Charles II said

      No argument with what you say, Stormcrow. But if the match was al Qaida, the tinder was religious fundamentalism. As I said, it’s “the ability of people to abuse religion to do violence” that amazes me (emphases added).

      • Stormcrow said

        There’s always some tinder lying about, in a community that’s been on the shit end of the stick for a few generations. Religious, racial, ethnic, the particular form it takes does not matter so long as it’s dry and inflammable.

        Doesn’t have to be AQ, either. Like I said, this is old art. Well understood. Could be any bunch of arrogant sociopaths with limited means and unlimited ambitions.

        The simplest way to pre-empt this, of course is to do something about the condition of the tinder.

        Wet tinder does not support a fire. Contagious diseases fail to go epidemic in populations of the vaccinated and otherwise immune.

        People who have work and decent incomes and decent educations and who aren’t afraid all the time are lousy candidates for anybody’s embryonic insurgency.

      • Charles II said

        I can’t disagree with what you say, Stormcrow, because I think that neither of us knows enough about the detailed situation to know exactly what happened. I have added what information has recently become available, which I believe supports my interpretation.

        Poverty is not at all necessarily the cause of violence. Bin Laden was a wealthy man. Most of the 911 hijackers were comfortably off, though not wealthy. Many very poor people are not filled with rage. I have reported the tremendous discipline in the face of extreme violence of the Honduran protestors. These people are able to do this because they are at peace with themselves.

        But I do think that religious fundamentalism, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or Hindu, represents a problem in maintaining peace. It invests too much emotion in things like books. It diminishes the mystery of the individual in favor of the uniformity of religious law. It teaches people to lie rather than recognize the inconsistencies that exist in all of the religious books. Fundamentalism makes perfect tinder. Indeed, within our own armed forces and our own political system, fundamentalism is behind some of the most frightening developments. The C-Street Family, for example, saw Hitler and Stalin as role models. They were able to lie and conceal crimes because they had the perfect rationalization: God had selected them.

        So, sure, when people have jobs and families, community and hope, they are less prone to getting involved in any sort of activity that could threaten their happiness. People without jobs, family, community, and hope have nothing to lose. But fundamentalism was, I think, developed as a response to situations so dire that they threatened the existence of a people. When it is applied in other situations, it represents a danger not only to the community but to all around them.

  3. Mari Steed said

    Phoenix Woman said: “The irony of capitalism is that when it’s practiced by people who think clearly and not oncologically, it can actually be more of a force for good than religion. For instance, it’s quite likely that the key thing that shut down the Magdalene Laundries wasn’t public horror and changing cultural attitudes towards women, but the advent of the electric washing machine.”

    It was actually a bit of both that closed the Laundries, Phoenix Woman. But true enough, the advent of commercial washing machines certainly put a damper of the nuns’ slave-run laundry business. For anyone wishing more info on the Magdalene Laundries and the fact that survivors still have been unable to achieve redress under Ireland’s 2002 Victim Redress Act, visit http://www.magdalenelaundries.com or http://www.netreach.net/~steed/magdalen.html.

    • Charles II said

      Your mother was confined for ten years, Mari? That is truly a sorrow! But the Memorial Committee is doing a wonderful thing by remembering names and stories. It is amazing how much healing is done through history.

      • Mari Steed said

        Thanks, Charles. It helps all of us to remember and fight for justice for these women. It seems hard to believe that as recently as the 50’s and 60’s women (and young girls — we have evidence of girls as young as 11 being sent from industrial schools, where they should’ve been receiving an education, to Laundries) in Ireland performed slave labour in conditions worse than many prisons. But it happened…it was real. The last working laundry at High Park Convent was closed in 1996.

    • Mari — I’m honored that you stopped by. Thank you. Your mother, and the thousands of other girls and women shackled into this system, deserve their stories to be told and justice for them to be obtained.

  4. […] by Phoenix Woman on August 4, 2009 This humble blog was honored recently by the visits of a woman named Mari […]

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