Another Spectrum

Personal ramblings and rants of a somewhat twisted mind


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Getting what one deserves

Over the last few hours I have read a number of blogs pertaining to the situation in Afghanistan. Many of those blogs are blaming the rapid fall of the nation to the Taliban on the inhabitants, often implying that it must be what they really want, otherwise they would have fought. What the bloggers seem to forget is that the West had already reached the conclusion that it was inevitable that the Taliban would eventually take control – perhaps in a few years. Long enough to appear that their withdrawal appeared “honourable”.

Think for a moment. If the West had reached that conclusion doesn’t it seem feasible that the Afghanis themselves, being so much closer to the ground, also reached the same conclusion. A sense of hopelessness coupled with a fear induced by the barbarity of the Taliban is more than enough for most people to become resigned to their inevitable fate. Few folk will fight, whether by way of arms, civil disobedience or the pen where there is absolutely no hope of a different outcome.

One writer suggested that as women are at least as numerous as men and have more to lose, they should take up arms, and if they don’t the implication was that they deserve (or want) what they get. History has proven time and again that a sense of powerlessness, hopelessness and fear can be used by the few to control the many. How is the situation in Afghanistan any different than the rise of fascism and naziism in Europe between the two world wars, the rise of Stalinism, Maoism, Pol Pot, Apartheid, and in the US, slavery, Jim Crow and McCarthyism? How many nations and communities fell to colonial rule/occupation for similar reasons? Military might was not the only tool used.

It’s not only minorities that can feel a sense of hopelessness, it can exist in significant majorities for exactly the same reason: loss of hope. A hope that they might escape Taliban authoritarianism has led to some people taking stupid risks such as attempting to cling to the undercarriage of departing aircraft. In their mind, the risk was worth the effort whereas the risk of remaining and opposing the incoming regime seemed futile.

The advantage with fanatical beliefs is that they are separated from reality. While they are often religious in nature they don’t have to be. Taliban fighters are confident in their belief that their efforts will be rewarded, if not in this life, then in the next. Their blind faith that their cause is just and will prevail just as surely as night follows day gives them all the will needed to continue fighting regardless of what the true situation is at any given moment.

Meanwhile back in reality, the typical, man, woman, father, mother, son, daughter, uncle, aunt has to weigh up the consequences of their action. Would opposing the Taliban pose greater risks of harm to themselves and to those they care about than doing nothing – especially if they perceive their opposition is doomed to failure? I don’t think I need to remind readers, that the inhabitants of Afghanistan will be only too well aware of the atrocities that the Taliban are capable of inflicting on not only those who oppose them, but on their families and communities as well.

To a large extent, the West has only themselves to blame for the current situation, and for this reason I was less than impressed with President Biden’s speech. He considers himself blameless. Instead much of the blame he places on Trump, the Afghan government and military. His own military advisers had predicted the inevitable outcome of a quick withdrawal, although not the speed at which it would occur. Biden, like so many others I have heard and read today imply that the Afghanis will get the government they deserve. They don’t.

With few exceptions, the occupation of Afghanistan was based on military and perhaps political objectives of the West. Humanitarian objectives have been mostly ignored except where they were an advantage to the military and political objectives. If the same effort had been put into targeting humanitarian outcomes for their own sake, I wonder whether the current situation would have eventuated. I’m enough of a realist to admit there would be no guarantee of a better outcome, but on the other hand there’s no guarantee that it wouldn’t. However, from a purely military and political perspective, I don’t think any outcome, other than the one that is currently playing out, was possible – especially in the way the allies handled the two decades of occupation.

I do not know what should be done to reduce the harm that will inevitably occur to many innocent people in the wake of the Taliban takeover, and for this I accept my share of the blame. I’ve had twenty years in which to argue for a more humanitarian approach to moderating the effects of fanaticism on populations but have remained relatively silent until now. In the words of Nanci Griffith “I am not at the wheel of control, I am guilty, I am war, I am the root of all evil“. Are any of us any different?

Feel free to substitute Belfast and Chicago with any other place of conflict of your choosing

It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go – Nanci Griffith

I am a backseat driver from America
They drive to the left on Falls Road
The man at the wheel's name is Seamus
We pass a child on the corner he knows
And Seamus says,"Now, what chance has that kid got?"
And I say from the back,"I don't know."
He says,"There's barbed wire at all of these exits
And there ain't no place in Belfast for that kid to go."

It's a hard life
It's a hard life
It's a very hard life
It's a hard life wherever you go
If we poison our children with hatred
Then, the hard life is all they'll ever know
And there ain't no place in Belfast for these kids to go

A cafeteria line in Chicage
The fat man in front of me
Is calling black people trash to his children
He's the only trash here I see
And I'm thinking this man wears a white hood
In the night when his children should sleep
But, they slip to their window and they see him
And they think that white hood's all they need

It's a hard life
It's a hard life
It's a very hard life
It's a hard life wherever you go
If we poison our children with hatred
Then, the hard life is all they'll ever know
And there ain't no place in Chicago for these kids to go

I was a child in the sixties
Dreams could be held through TV
With Disney and Cronkite and Martin Luther
Oh, I believed, I believed, I believed
Now, I am a backstreet driver from America
I am not at the wheel of control
I am guilty, I am war I am the root of all evil
Lord, and I can't drive on the left side of the road

It's a hard life
It's a hard life
It's a very hard life
It's a hard life wherever you go
If we poison our children with hatred
Then, the hard life is all they'll ever know
And there ain't no place in this world for these kids to go


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“Say I Slew Them Not” Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and the U.S. Response to COVID19 — The Inglorius Padre Steve’s World

If you haven’t read the article (below) by Padre Steve, do so. It has relevance to every nation, every community, every social group. This quote from one of the commenters on that blog ring true:

The quote by Martin Luther King comes to me often these days: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

jilldennison

Friends of Padre Steve’s World, I have to admit that the amount of ignorance in the defense of evil that I see daily is simply mind blowing. It makes me shake my head. But then I cannot be surprised anymore. Over the weekend I saw a poll in which nine percent of Americans said that […]

“Say I Slew Them Not” Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and the U.S. Response to COVID19 — The Inglorius Padre Steve’s World


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Update Aotearoa: 20th march 2019

Turkey’s President stirring the pot

The Turkish president is using inflammatory language that endangers Kiwis travelling overseas, especially considering that many Kiwis will be making the ANZAC pilgrimage to Turkey over the next month. I do not know if any Turkish nationals were killed in the mosque attacks, but he conveniently ignores the fact that by far the majority of those killed were Kiwis, and the perpetrator was not. And it’s not his place to demand that we re-introduce the death penalty.
Turkey’s President calls for New Zealand to restore death penalty for shooter

Trade Me stops sales of semiautomatic weapons

E bay has been unable to make inroads in the NZ Market as we have our own unique online trading platform Trade Me that trades everything from secondhand goods to jobs, real estate, motor vehicles and guns. It has announced that it is suspending the sale of semiautomatic weapons indefinitely.
New Zealand’s biggest online classifieds site bans sale of semi-automatic guns

Facebook and other social media must do better than whack-a-mole

Over 1.5 million copies of the live streaming of the Christchurch massacre have been removed from Facebook alone, and yet it continues to pop up. Perhaps they and other social media need to reconsider live streaming until they have the means to control it better. One new Zealander has already been charged with uploading objectionable content in this regard. He is liable for a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern leans on Facebook to drop Christchurch shooting footage

All New Zealand Asked Trump For Was ‘Love’

PM gives an unequivocal “No” when asked if she agreed with Trump.

For anyone who has the ears to hear and eyes to see, Trump’s condemnation of white extremism is positively friendly compared to his rhetoric over extremism when a non-white and/or a non-Christian actor is involved.
Despite Trump’s view, white nationalism is a growing threat, data shows


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Adam Serwer, a staff writer for The Atlantic and a Shorenstein fellow, discusses the lasting appeal of white supremacist ideology in light of an avowed white supremacist’s attack on two mosques in New Zealand that killed 50 people and injured dozens more.

via Harvard fellow examines rise — and roots — of white supremacy — Harvard Gazette


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

The recent terror attack on two Christchurch Mosques by what appears to be a small group of White Supremacists is a most unwelcome wake-up call to a nation unused to such extreme acts of violence. In the immediate aftermath the commentators all seemed to agree that such an event seemed totally out of character in […]

via CHRISTCHURCH SHOOTINGS, PERHAPS WE HELP THE ENEMY BY DEFAULT — Bill Peddie’s website


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

I write this with heavy heart and deep sadness. My thoughts are with all those affected by the tragedy in Christchurch; I stand by them, as do all Kiwis. As I write this, I hear reports that the youngest victim was just five, pursued and gunned down in cold blood. There are no words to […]

via New Zealand’s darkest day — Matthew Wright


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

Yesterday, white supremacists walked into the Masjid al Noor mosque and the Linwood Masjid with assault rifles in their hands and hatred in their hearts and Christchurch, a city still recovering from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, will not be the same. Around 3:00pm yesterday, I was sitting at my desk on the University of […]

via Reflections on the Christchurch Attack — Adventures with Pete


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

As we find ourselves immersed in a deeply grieving nation it reminds me again of the importance of compassion and kindness to those, who we share this world with. We are not born to hate, we are given life to seek harmony, connection and love. We are also born to seek value in our existence […]

via Our greatest need – to be loved — Away With The Laerys’


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern one day after the Christchurch terror attacks. There’s a line in U2’s One that people always get wrong: “We’re one but we’re not the same / we… 438 more words

via For Christchurch: U2’s ‘One’ And Why The Word In The Song So Many Get Wrong Matters — The Roxborogh Report


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I am sharing a selection of blog posts from Fellow Kiwis, who are more capable than I at expressing what most of us feel.

No one can learn to love by following a manual. (MC) I am just an ordinary person trying to grapple with a hate crime. Normality amid tragic circumstances is bizarre. Today, I walked the dog, chatted to a neighbour, watched a large peloton of bike rider’s speed by, and did the weekly shopping. A normal […]

via Yesterday, when hate was unleashed, we lost our innocence. — Fiftypluskiwi