Thursday, January 03, 2008

Contra Anil Netto

You might find this interesting.

While publicising the fact that the Herald has gotten back it's permit (so Anil, a columnist, can continue his tirades), he included this totally irrelevant piece of information:

Good sense is certainly a commodity in short supply around the world these days, as this disturbing development in the UK suggests:

Scott Maria Albrecht, Fr, Martin Newell and Sr. Susan Clarkson remain in custody at Watford Police station after being arrested at Northwood Military HQ at 9.00am this morning (28 Dec). Their anti-war witness involved the Northwood Headquarters sign being covered with red paint symbolising blood spilt in Iraq and Afghanistan by the daily grind of Northwood HQ. A respectful and dignified liturgy then unfolded as both soldiers/police and Catholic Workers listened to the names of the dead British military, Afghani and Iraq civilians, how old they were,when they died, when and how they died. The refrain "We remember you!" was sung after every name was read. Both resisters, military and soldiers acted with dignity throughout the proceedings.

The criminalisation of dissent, the misuse of conspiracy laws and the hyping up of nonviolent direct action into something sinister gathers apace in Britain. The war escalates in Iraq and Afghanistan and expands into Pakistan, Somalia, Lebanon. Civil liberties shrink and many who marched in 03 have disengaged. Where is this leading? We await the Maria Scott, Fr. Martin and Sr. Susan and the deliverance of us all from this madness.
Of course such BS was too much for me. Calling an act of criminal vandalism 'acting with dignity' was too much.

I commented.

The 'anti-war' witness is nothing but an act of criminal vandalism against public property. For vandalising the sign with red paint, the vandals, for that is what they were, should be prosecuted to the full extant of the law. There is no excuse, in a democratic country, to engage in such subversive, criminal and illegal acts. The military is following the order given by the Ministry of Defence. Any protest should be delivered there, at the top of the chain of command, rather than engaging in destructive acts towards those doing their job defending the rights of such cowardly people.

A good idea of witness should also include going to Iraq or Afghanistan/Saudi Arabia and reading out the names of those killed in suicide bomb attacks in front of the local madrassah/Taliban/Al Qaeda office and saying "We remember you". Don't forget who is going the majority of these cowardly killings here. For once, turn your 'righteous indignation' to those who commit such atrocities, in Darfur, in Iraq and Afghanistan and tell them what you think.

Remember the victims, all of them, and don't politicize the Catholic Liturgy in such a manner. It is highly offensive.

And he responded.
And I responded, below, with his comments in Italics.

[Every act of violence should be condemned. Close to 3,000 people died in 9/11, for instance. It was a despicable massacre, no one disputes that.]
Ok, fair enough. But why is it that when the so-called 'crimes' of the of the invading Western soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are condemned, a balanced condemnation of the murder of these very same soldiers and also of innocent men, women and children by terrorists who want to see Iraq and Afghanistan descend into chaos so that they can spread their ideology is not there as well? If your position is to condemn all acts of violence, why is it that I only read about you harping on the 'atrocities' committed on one side? Try to seem to be fair. You need not only to be fair, but seem to be fair as well.

[Often it is easy to spot individual acts of terror and violence. But while 9/11 and other acts of terror rightfully incur our wrath and righteous anger, why are we blind to state-sponsored terrorism - for example, the oppression and Occupation of entire nations such as Iraq and Palestinian territory - which fuels desperate acts of individual violence and terror? ]

This is a slippery slope that I refuse to go down. You are using the same justifications that the terrorists use, ie the oppression of the Palestinians, et al, justifies the use of terror tactics such as suicide bombs and the blowing up of innocent people in buses and market places.

These are acts of terror, period, and cannot, under any circumstances whatsoever be justified. Because it is not the so-called occupation forces that are targeted but innocent civilians in acts of barbaric cowardice. They cannot be mitigated because saying that injustice somewhere empowers you to take up arms against innocents is blasphemous.

Secondly, you are putting forth a historical fiction. There has never been at any time in history, an independent Palestinian state. That is a fact. The occupation parts of the Transjordan by Israel is a result of the unprovoked attacks on the Sovereign State of Israel by it's Arab neighbours in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, 1967 and again, in a cowardly act on Yom Kippur, the Holy Day of Atonement in 1973. These attacks were meant to wipe Israel off the map. Territories lost such as the Sinai, the Golan, the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem are the result of such attempts by Arab states to destroy Israel. Would the Arabs return Israeli territory had the situation been reversed and victory had gone to the Arabs? Again, be fair. Think of what you are saying.

Why don't the Jordanians accept the 'Palestinians'? Why do they still live in camps in Jordan? And why are they called Palestinians when there has never been an Independent Palestinian state? The partition of the British Mandate resulted in 2 sovereign states in 1948, the Arab Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the State of Israel. There was never a Palestine and these are Arabs, their fellow Arabs, from the same state.

Be fair.

[Sometimes, it is the imperial powers and/or their Arab clients that have spawned terror groups such as Al Qaeda. Look back and see how Al Qaeda was formed after the CIA encouraged Islamic groups to converge in Aghanistan…]

So, now the US founded al-Qaeda? Yes, the US supported the Mujahiddeen during the Soviet invasion. The British supported the Communists during the Japanese occupation as well. Are the British to blame for the Emergency? These groups must be made personally accountable for their actions, now, and such deployment of blame only encourages them, knowing that they have friends in places planting seeds of doubt within citadel.

Who founded them is one thing, but who is stepping up to stop them is another. You think the US is to blame for spreading the Wahhabist ideology of hate? Tell that to the victims of the Madrid and London bombings.

[In Iraq alone, over a million people have perished as a result of the US-led occupation of Iraq since 2003. That's not including another million - including half a million children - that have perished as a result of US-led sanctions against Iraq during the 1990s. Why do we find it so difficult to acknowledge that? Why are most Christians so silent about this? Who spends close to a trillion US dollars on weapons of mass destruction and other military expenditure annually?]
What I find difficult to acknowledge is this. A million people perished? Why? By whose hand? Who is killing people every day, blowing people up, disrupting their lives? Who? US soldiers? Aren't they setting up schools, training police trying to get the country up and running when other countries, not even Malaysia, would send help because they know their soldiers would be indiscriminately killed. But the US does this, at an enormous political cost to the ruling party and president. Get your enemies straight.

Who invaded Kuwait? The US? Please. Be fair.

Sanctions? Who channelled the oil wealth of the country into arms and the army? The US? Or Saddam, who let his people starve?

What exactly are you advocating here? Let tyrants have a free rein, using their people as a shield and as bargaining chips? Remember, the liberation troops were cheered when they first arrived. Would you have stayed in Saddam's Iraq? Don't wish on others a fate that you would not yourself countenance.

You want peace in Iraq? Tell the insurgents to stop targeting innocents in trying to destabilize the country. Tell the Iranians that. Why don't you, in the interest of fairness? Why only target one side, the one side who you can target with impunity? Be fair.

What exactly would your solution be? This is important and is something I want to hear. I've asked this to many people. What is your answer? What would you do? Then, and now, to guarantee peace and stability in Iraq? And in North Korea?

Don't just criticize. Be constructive, be fair. Give your solution and let's hear how great and good it is and let the US criticise e you for a change.

[Remember, Jesus died an agonising death at the hands of another imperial power, the Roman Empire. Does acknowledging the vicious brutality and blood spilt by imperial powers - and by other empires to this day - amount to "politicising the Catholic liturgy"?]
Jesus death was salvific and it was He who gave up His life, willingly, for the sake of the world. The Romans did not take it away from Him and they possessed no power over Him which had not been given to them. The Romans were the instrument, but we and our sins the cause of the Death of the Saviour. Jesus was not the subversive from Nazareth, but the Saviour, born to die for us and for our salvation. The Romans, as the Jews and the Temple authorities of their time did not know what they were doing as so are excused.

The Kingdom of God and the peace that Christ brings is not of this world and no amount of UN peacekeeping can guarantee it for it is a peace that only Jesus can give. That does not mean we should not strive for justice, but we need to realize that there are a greater goods, for which even God the Son was willing to lay down His Life.

Using the liturgy to make a crass political statement and to cast the soldiers, who are doing their duty, as the enemy is not only politicising the Catholic liturgy, but frankly insulting.

This was a comment I left, so it was a hurried thing. I am open to be corrected. What I can't stand is the constant whining of these liberation commentators extolling the subversive from Nazareth as a model for all sorts of rubbish.


Si Fractus Fortis said...

No sign of your second comment on Anil Netto's blog when I looked just now. Perhaps it has been censored!

Although I agree with all the things you said in your comments (being an ex-British Army man myself), he does make one good point - the UK Government is increasingly using laws which were intended to be anti-terrorist in order to stifle dissent of all kinds.

Anonymous said...


Merry Christmas and Happu New Year

Andrew said...

I think he just posted it. Anyway, I do disagree with the unjust use of laws to stifle dissent. The rule of law must never descend into rule by law.

But the thing that cheesed me off is that this guy writes for the Catholic Herald which is circulated in every parish in Malaysia. And every week, we're forced to listen to his very partisan drivel and constant whining. I'm okay if it's on another forum, but using a Catholic paper to market such views is inexcusable. But week after week of recycled Boff and Schillebeeckx at the cost of obscuring the Gospel or reducing it to social justice is just too much.

And dissenting views and letters are often not published, so his one sided tirades often go unchallenged and taken as the Gospel truth, pardon the pun.

These constant harangues which are not backed by anything constructive must stop. And also the excusing of terrorism as an after-effect of the Palestinian issue. That's rubbish and someone has to call BS.

On that issue, the best ever deal was offered to the Palestinians under Ehud Barak, concessions which will never again occur. But Arafat walked away from it all, greedy for more and that last best hope for peace was lost.

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