Here Thar Be Monsters!

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13.8.13

Myanmar Muslims And Buddha Bombs

In order to fully appreciate today's rant, you'll want to go here for a little background.  We'll wait for you.

Now ponder this statement: Indonesians bombing other Indonesians to draw sympathy and support for a Myanmarese religious minority that is aggressively and violently fighting the Buddhist majority for political power.

Makes perfect sense, right?  First, you attempt to cause grievous bodily harm to your fellow countrymen who have absolutely nothing to do with problems in a distant country.  Second, by causing such harm, you seek support for certain groups involved in conflicts in a distant country.  Third, you actually think this bullshit will change anything and won't simply make the problem bigger.

Here's what's happening, in case you didn't take the time to read up: in Myanmar, the Muslim minority is building mosques and aggressively trying to elbow out the Buddhist majority, who in turn are trying to contain an invading and proselytizing religious sect because it is violent and upsetting the culture that has existed for two thousand years.

In an act of solidarity (for lack of a better term), an Indonesian Muslim walked into a Buddhist temple about 500 meters from my house and dumped two bombs - or was it three.  One bomb went off - or was it two - and the other(s) were defused.  Fortunately, the bombs were poorly constructed and did little more than blow up some shoes and cause some minor injuries from flying debris.

This is the kind of idiocy that has caused me to reject all religions in all forms, at all times and in all places - especially those which Joseph Farrell terms the "Yahwisms".  And should that last bit confuse you, Islam and Christianity are just re-branded forms of Judaism, which is the granddaddy of Yahweh worship, and by far the most violent and pernicious of the three.

The most profound problem with the Yahwisms is that they worship a god (Yahweh) who shows, through word and deed, that it is OK to kill, maim and destroy in the name of love and compassion to prove you are right.  That includes not only killing the other guys, but also each other - Sunnis killing Shi'ites, Catholics killing Protestants, Sephardi killing Ashkenazi, etc. ad nauseum.

I have no truck with religions that worship morally questionable and ambiguous gods, who in turn give blessing and even command followers to take morally reprehensible actions in the name of spreading the word, regardless of what that word is.

Granted, the people who do these things are usually young, ignorant and pliable.  They have been conditioned by their leaders (through selective editing of holy texts) that it is both good and moral to destroy in the name of protecting and spreading one's faith.  Of course, it doesn't occur to the young and impressionable that if these actions were really such a great idea, then how come the leaders aren't doing it?

Though Islam is particularly noisy and aggressive in its expansion in today's world, it is only the latest in a long line of Yahwisms to be so.

In the 1600s, the first treaty between Western and Indonesian powers was with Portugal and the Sundanese kingdom.  Arab invaders had forcibly converted a significant portion of the Javanese to Islam and then turned their sights on the Sunda, who lived in the mountains of West Java.  In desperation, the Sunda turned to the Portuguese, who were snatching up land and resources in the name of the Roman church, and who were looking for safe ports from Arab/Muslim raiders.  The Portuguese were given safe harbor, or jaya karta (Jakarta) in exchange for their help in fighting off the Muslim hordes.

Of course, all this did was give the Roman church a foot in the door for their own expansionist plans, and that led to hundreds of years of Western colonization in the archipelago, not to mention centuries of sectarian violence and unrest.

For both sides, the religious conversions were nothing more than political control mechanisms to allow wholesale rape of local labor and resources.  The Arab invaders wanted the wood, ceramics and gold.  The European invaders wanted the spices, textiles and gold.  Both used religion as a way of subduing and controlling the local populations to ensure loyalty and fealty.  It may also be instructive to review the history of the Americas since the late 1400s, as well as the history of American TeeVee 'ministries'.

Long before this, Yahweh was commanding the Israelites to abrogate entire nations and cultures, slaughter the residents thereof, and confiscate their lands and resources.  All in the name of peace, love and religion, of course.

In short, it has always been permissible to the Yahwisms to kill and destroy to spread the faith, whether it is people of other faiths and cultures, or among their own ranks (Sephardi vs. Ashkenazim, Catholic vs. Protestant, Shi'ite vs. Sunni vs. Sufi).  What's more, this attitude stands in stark contrast to the most sacred tenets of the three Yahwisms, which supposedly hold peace and love as their highest aspirations.

In light of all this, we come back to an aggressive Muslim minority trying to expand and take over a long-established Buddhist majority in Myanmar.  The majority, seeing no other option than to fight fire with fire to protect their way of life, have begun fighting back.  So, Muslim leaders from Myanmar came to Indonesia to stir up support, which lead to a misguided youth dropping a couple of bombs in a Buddhist temple thousands of miles and several countries away from Myanmar, in an attempt to harm people who have nothing to do with the problem, as a means of gaining support for a minority that is using violence for political ends in Myanmar.  Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

And somewhere in all of this, someone actually thinks these are morally and ethically defensible acts?

Sounds like someone has been reading a few out-of-context sentences and forgotten the rest of the book.

Perhaps Indonesian Muslims would do better to look at the Myanmarese situation and examine the way religious minorities are treated here.  It's always more effective to lead by example.