How do we cope with this hell on earth?

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When we read something like John Allen’s grim reminder of what is going on in the Middle East – going on as you read this – we wonder in shame how some of the things which preoccupy us in our media are allowed the time and space given to them. It seems that it is not a matter of not knowing what to do about this and more a matter of just not caring about this appalling human suffering and the barbarity in our midst which is causing it.

What will it take to awaken the consciences of those who exercise power on our behalf to come to the defence of the innocent victims of this atrocity?

Yesterday we saw images of Malala Yousafzai on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, etc, celebrating her stellar British high school grades. There she was, witnessing her Islamic faith wearing her headscarf. How do we balance the sincere commitment of a girl like this to her beliefs with the barbarities committed by her coreligionists in Nigeria, Syria, Yemen and other places on the globe? A barbarism of which she herself was a victim when the Taliban brutally left her within an inch of losing her life. Catholics and Protestants in Ireland were ashamed of the atrocities committed by fellow Catholics and Protestants in the late 20th century in Northern Ireland. But those atrocities were not committed in the name of God, they were ultimately tribal atrocities. ISIS, Boko Haram and the Taliban do what they do very explicitly in the name of Allah, the same God worshiped by Malala.

Charles Moore made an important distinction recently in his Daily Telegraph column.

Islamism, he said, though not the same thing as Islam itself, will have a strong pull on discontented Muslims. It allows grievance to brandish the scimitar of righteousness. It is really a political doctrine about power, but its pseudo-holiness drags in believers. This means that the extremists are, to use another (Tony) Blair phrase, part of “a spectrum not a fringe”.

Moore went on to point out that the distinction between violent and non-violent extremism is merely operational: Islamists feel morally free to achieve their aims peacefully or violently, publicly or secretly, whichever suits. They follow a revolutionary doctrine, so there are no moderates. Islamism is declaredly determined to overthrow our way of life. Recent years prove its determination is matched by actions almost every day, almost everywhere. Like the Bolsheviks between 1905 and 1917, Islamists have moved fast from ranting to ruling, and they preach their creed globally. The phrase “existential threat” fits.

This was the phrase used by David Cameron in his statement of intent with regard to the threat Islamic extremists posed on the Island of Britain. But no man is an island, and no island can consider itself immune from the wider contagion which Islamism now poses for the civilized world.

But John Allen’s implicit appeal is not to our self-interest. It is made on behalf of the suffering victims of Islamism wherever they are to to be found. What callous laziness is afflicting our public representatives and our media organizations from focusing their intelligence and their policy-making apparatus on this problem and finding a solution?

Allen writes:

On the Catholic liturgical calendar, Aug. 6 is the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, recalling a Biblical scene when Christ became radiant with glorious light on a mountaintop alongside the Old Testament prophets Moses and Elijah.

For Iraqi Christians, however, Aug. 6 this year brings to mind anything but radiance or glory.

Instead, Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of one of the greatest calamities to fall upon Christians anywhere on the planet in the early 21st century — an ISIS offensive in the Plains of Nineveh in northern Iraq that broke out on Aug. 6-7, 2014, and left thousands of Christians and Yazidis dead.

It also drove an estimated 120,000 Christians into exile either inside the country, in places such as Kirkuk and Erbil, or outside in refugee camps in nations such as Turkey and Jordan.

Read his full commentary in Crux here.

Watching a nightmare unfold before our eyes.

“WHO AM I? WHO AM I?”

In a superb column in today’s Daily Telegraph Charles Moore lays bare the callous and selfish motivation at play in our culture’s narcissism. Children are the victims and if the narcissism of our generation is not arrested the number of victims is going to increase exponentially.

The fallacy at the heart of the narcissists pursuit of self is rights-related, rights untethered to any reasonable anthropology, tethered only to what you feel like when you get up in the morning. This is the fruit of the new Age we live in, the Age of Feeling. In this Age compassion is all. But compassion without reason is corrupting and it is this very corruption which is now producing the intolerance, the ugliness and the unhappiness beginning to unfold in the lives of countless of our kind in the generations which will follow us.

Moore writes:

If you follow this rights-based way of thinking, children are an afterthought. You identify your sexuality. You assert your rights. You decide that your rights include children. As with abortion, you are not encouraged to ask, “What about the child herself?” And if someone else asks that question of you, you start shaking with rage.

These strange ideas have now been around just long enough for the children raised in such a culture to be finding their voice. There is a growing online community of people brought up by gay couples who describe how difficult it was for them. In particular, they talk of their innate desire, which their situation could not satisfy, for the real parent – father or mother, known or unknown – who was not there. We shall hear a lot more of this, and we shall learn that the era of liberation was not always so good for those who never asked to be liberated.

“They f— you up, your mum and dad”, the poet Philip Larkin famously wrote. Alas, it is too often true. But as we abandon Mum and Dad’s primacy, we shall find out, too late, that every other way f—s children up a great deal more.

The unintended consequence of the selfish attitudes and acts of the ascendent establishment of this Age will be the creation of a nightmare society in the future where thousands of young people will grow into adulthood not knowing some of the most fundamental things about their identity nor about the motivations which brought them into the world.

Born to kill?

More of the infuriating madness to which the Late Late Show exposed us was the subject of Charles Moore’s column in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph. But as he sees it, all this is not just madness but is also bad and very dangerous.  He wrote:

 Last week, I appeared on the panel of the BBC’s Any Questions? in Guildford. We were asked whether we thought women should be allowed to take part in full front-line combat roles in the Armed Services. I said I didn’t think that it would be an advance in human civilisation if women abandoned their traditional association with peace and started killing people as men do.

This did not please the questioner, an intelligent student from the politics department of Surrey University, or her supporters sitting with her. They thought that the only question was the ability of the woman – if she was fit to fight, fight she should, and no one should stop her.

Afterwards, I reflected on the oddity of the situation. It did not seem that the student and her colleagues were particularly interested in military matters in themselves. They also did not seem the sort of people who, in other circumstances, would be at all keen on people killing people. I could imagine them protesting against militarism. Yet here they were, pushing for a woman’s right to kill.

Why? Because of Equality, of course. It gets you into strange situations.

(Read the full article in the Telegraph)

Obama – the anti-American’s American?

Everyone is now aware that if the rest of the Western world’s electorates had votes in Tuesday’s US election, Barack Obama would be shoe-in. Why? Because that world is still anti-American and it is myth-making to say that Obama has changed that.

Charles Moore, in today’s Daily Telegraph, gives us a very interesting reading of the two opposing cultures represented in next week’s American election. In it he observes how badly a myopic and delusional European media establishment has misread it all in their fascination and adulation of the Obama presidency of the past four years. They do not see that Mr. Obama is not in fact what he appears to be.

In Britain and, even more, in continental Europe, the people who bring their fellow citizens the news do not really see this. To them, Mr Obama’s combination of historically persecuted ethnicity and posh seminar tone is just perfect. It satisfies their mildly Left-wing consciences and fits in with their cultural assumptions. The chief of these is that the excesses of the West, especially of America, are the biggest problem in the world. Mr Obama comes as near to saying this as anyone trying to win American votes ever could. His “apology tour” to the Middle East early in his presidency remains, for the European elites, the best thing he has ever done. He is the anti-Americans’ American.
Mitt Romney is not. Although he is a moderate Republican, it is fascinating how profoundly he clashes culturally with Obama, and, a fortiori, with the European media and political classes.

Read more here.