A warning from the present…

12 Feb

After my assertion that I would try to provide you with an antidote to all the dreadfullness on the internet in my last post, I have tried my best to avoid the sleazy, the odious and the downright awful that the web seems intent on forcing us to experience whenever we are drawn to that glowing hypnotic square.
But human nature being what it is, we can’t help being drawn to the sort of story that causes that little vein in our collective temple to start throbbing and the communal jaw muscles to clench involuntarily, because awful though some of it is, looking away sometimes just isn’t the right thing to do.
I have always believed that anyone ignorant of the Nazi holocaust should seek out those appalling stories and even more atrocious, harrowing pictures, however upsetting they may be, because they truly are a “warning from history”. In the same way that I don’t think anyone living through our current period of religious and cultural upheaval should shy away from confronting the horrors of what we as a race are capable of perpetrating on each other.

The dreadful things people are capable of never ceases to astound me and for that reason I feel the need to relate some reports that have come to my attention this week.
You may not think that you need more horror in your lives, what with the economic and weather related news stories that fill the TV schedules of late, but if we don’t stand witness to the folly of our times how will we ever learn to restrain ourselves from making the same mistakes again and again.

At the start of the week we were told of a British jihadist who allegedly committed a suicide attack in Syria by driving a truckload of explosives into a prison compound, a story shocking enough in itself, yet we seem so inured to the terror of war that it passes almost unnoticed across our screens, just another episode in the continuing horror story of our rolling news-fixated existence.
But surely nobody can ignore the utter awfulness of the story so eloquently related by Adam Pain on his blog today.
It may not be current (the report is from 2002) but the genuine shock I felt when I read the story this afternoon quite literally left me speechless.
15 innocent schoolgirls, forced back into a burning building by the so-called “religious police” in Saudi Arabia for failing to adhere to an archaic dress code, murdered by the state for failing to cover their hair and faces in their desperation to escape the fire.
I cannot begin to imagine the terror and betrayal they must have felt as they faced the stony faces of their executioners, the justification for their senseless deaths nothing more than something called “religion”.

Religion may bring peace and succor to those who practice it, but there is no excuse for using it as a stick to beat an entire generation or society into submission.

In yet another example of the savagery that lives beneath the surface of faith, another man in the war torn country of Syria made a choice that few of us will ever have to make.
When faced with the terrible choice of whether to surrender his family to the brutal rape and murder threatened by marauding terrorists in his home town of Adra, Nizar chose instead to detonate grenades, killing not only the invaders but also his family.
The thought of being forced to make this kind of horrendous choice fills me with a kind of rage at the human race in general that we should never have to feel.

When I first thought of writing this post, I had planned on using a report of a bungled lesson in suicide bombing carried out at a fundamentalist training camp near Baghdad, in which a teacher somehow managed to accidentally blow up himself and his whole class.
Initially I thought I could use it as a flippant aside to why aliens, after scanning our transmissions, decided we were too stupid to bother visiting because we couldn’t even manage to kill each other properly, let alone be much of a threat to visiting ambassadors from another world.
However, having rediscovered our propensity for horror and violence in the service of hate and intolerance, it seems insensitive.
After all, no matter how misguided the students at the world’s worst school for scoundrels were, they were all someone’s sons, someone’s daughters, someone’s parents, and we should try and remember that it’s the world that made them this way.
It’s everyone’s duty to make sure the next generation don’t have a reason to continue the cycle of violence.


Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Blogging, News, Social comment


Tags: , , , , ,

17 responses to “A warning from the present…

  1. adsnads1976

    February 12, 2014 at 22:52

    A strange thing, to have consulted on such a grim set of subjects, but I am glad that we decided to tackle the ideas head on. The problems we face as a species are exacerbated by the sort of mindlessness that drives people to behave this way.

    • dalecooper57

      February 12, 2014 at 22:59

      It does feel kind of odd to be plumbing the depths of depravity the race it’s capable of for a blog, but not enough of these events are discussed out in the open.
      Thanks for the chance to vent Adam, it’s an honour to work on a post with a writer who isn’t afraid to wear their heart on their sleeve so bravely and so eloquently.

  2. Ron

    February 13, 2014 at 01:04

    Dale, you shared much truth in this post!

    “Religion may bring peace and succor to those who practice it, but there is no excuse for using it as a stick to beat an entire generation or society into submission.”

    Exactly! Which is why I don’t believe in organized religion because it’s used, for the most part, to manipulate and control.

    And as far as bringing this out in the open and speaking up about it, why not? Because as long as it remains hush-hush, nothing will change.

    It’s as you shared….

    “It’s everyone’s duty to make sure the next generation don’t have a reason to continue the cycle of violence.”

    So thanks for sharing your voice, Dale. Well said!

    • dalecooper57

      February 13, 2014 at 05:43

      Thanks Ron. And please, please read Adam’s post, it’s a powerful piece of writing.

  3. jerseylil

    February 13, 2014 at 08:12

    Excellent post, Dale, very thought-provoking! Your line “if we don’t stand witness to the folly of our times how will we ever learn to restrain ourselves from making the same mistakes again and again,” is so true, well said. The story about the 15 schoolgirls burned to death by the “religious police” for simply not adhering to an archaic dress code is unimaginably hideous. The horror those poor girls must have felt! The terrible choice made by the man in Syria is heart-wrenching, and these are only a couple examples of the daily horror going on around us. Totally agree with your comment on religion being no excuse for perpetrating such acts. You make a very profound point at the end about how it’s everyone’s duty to make sure the next generation has no reason to continue the cycle of violence. I’m going over to read Adam Pain’s blog post too.

    • dalecooper57

      February 13, 2014 at 09:11

      Please do read Adam’s post, it’s incredibly powerful writing.

  4. Chris Jamieson

    February 13, 2014 at 11:25

    Hi Dale, great eye opening post. A lot of people seem oblivious to the true horrors of the world and are happy to fill their life with X-Factor and Corrie. The world definitely needs bloggers like you and Adam. Two things dawned on me however whilst reading this blog. 1. The attack on “religion.” This is not referencing any particular attack that you have made but rather the wide spread attacks on religion that we see. I would like to see a lot more individuals making attempts to truly understand religion if they are to attack it so freely, and to differentiate between religion being the true reason behind atrocities and religion being the excuse for atrocities. 2. As a consequence of this thought, I was led to ponder, how much representation do “religious minorities” have in cultures around the world. For example, if Muslims and Sikhs had greater representation in our media, and greater access to political life and the general public, would we not see a more rounded and tolerant society. It is a hope, yet ignorance and bigotry would no doubt prevail even in this scenario. Perhaps what we really need is for the correct religious leaders to be brave, to stand up and say the correct things.

    • dalecooper57

      February 13, 2014 at 13:07

      Thank you for such a considered comment Chris. I wouldn’t say I was “attacking” religion, although I am an atheist and don’t approve of any organised religion. Having said that, I have no problem with any individual’s beliefs, so long as they refrain from pushing them on me (or anyone else)

      • Chris Jamieson

        February 17, 2014 at 11:01

        I am with you on that Dale, forcing things on people is a great way to inspire hatred and loathing of that very thing. As for my religious inclinations, I am agnostic at best, but given the ever increasing role and presence that organised religion has in our lives I am greatly intrigued by the political, social, and theistic development of religion, and research it as such, albeit very casually. I am currently reading a book on Islam, and according to this book, when Mohammed initiated and spread the religion, there was a great deal of tolerance of non-muslims, and they were apparently permitted to practice their indigenous beliefs, with no obligation to convert, though converts were welcomed. How things have changed, and to me, in all religion it would seem that those changes are politically motivated as opposed to religiously motivated, and politically enforced. Perhaps people just need to stop being arse holes. Thanks for the blog, really enjoy it.

      • dalecooper57

        February 17, 2014 at 11:37

        Chris, once again thank you for your invaluable contribution, I’m grateful to readers who get involved in an exchange of views. I have always been of the opinion that if following a religion results in decency then I’ve no problem with it at all. It’s when it is used as an excuse for propagating hatred that things get unpleasant.
        I’m with the great Douglas Adams, who said that Christianity boils down to “A man being nailed to a tree for saying how good it would be for everyone to be nice to each other for a change”

  5. Shae

    February 13, 2014 at 17:51

    Things like this never cease to amaze me. I have never been a supporter of organized religion and stories like this reinforce the reason behind that. I think it really is more important to care for those on earth regardless of background, beliefs, race ect and stop letting traditions and customs dictate so much of our lives. Really heartbreaking to read stuff like this.

    • dalecooper57

      February 13, 2014 at 18:22

      Yeah, it really is appalling what people will do in the name of belief. Thanks for your visit and for daring to make your voice heard.

  6. Big D

    February 13, 2014 at 19:49

    Stuff like this should not be happening in the 21st century. We were supposed to have moved past this shit by now.

  7. Moyra Keatings

    February 15, 2014 at 14:40

    I think this is one of, if not the best posts ever. Sadly I have to agree with the stalling of our evolution, I like to think that when there is altruism, and art, it redeems us, but it probably doesn’t.

    • dalecooper57

      February 15, 2014 at 14:47

      Well thank you kindly Moyra, I am flattered indeed. However, I’m sure that there are plenty of folks out there who help sway the pendulum towards the light, so to speak. All the good people who’ve pledged support to my BlogNominate challenge for a start.

  8. Yun Yi

    February 18, 2014 at 21:06

    A wonderful post Dale! I also read that Syria tragedy family. How they died reminds me those massacres during Cultural revolution in China – victims did’t even have right to die, “they” would “rescue” you from the hanging rope, then tortured you hours, days to death. I am not even able to find proper words for this kind of barbarous acts.
    It is so unreal to know that this kind of cruelty is still happening on this earth, almost everyday, if not everywhere. I totally agree, that we have to learn from these tragedies, in order to prevent them from happening in future.


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