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Friday, July 15, 2005

GUEST BLOG: London learns what it is like

-----------Introducing guest blogger Martyn Bradbury-----------

It was weird wasn't it, that awful sense of vulnerability. I'm sure many of you did what I did, start texting friends and family the second we heard the extent of the London bombings. To have something that seems so distant from our day to day lives intrude upon a sphere where we have so many loved ones was a freaky experience and one that left us angry. Good.

I think that it was important for everyone of us to feel that insecurity, because as dreadful an experience as the London bombings was, it pales into insignificance when compared to many places around this planet. Between 39 000 and 100 000 Iraqis have now died since the invasion, what we felt through London is a daily reality for people in Iraq. Imagine the feeling we had, and now multiply them many many many times over. That sense of insecurity is a driving motivation for people from Islam to attack us, we will have peace when they have peace. There is never a justification for these types of attacks, but there are reasons why people hate us, the sooner we start examining those reasons, the sooner we will be able to do simple things like catch buses and trains without fear.


At 18/7/05 5:59 pm, Anonymous Justin said...

Martyn/Tim: Question for either of you: Can you come up with a series of events or a situation or a reason, where you personally would strap bombs to yourself and incinerate not only yourself, but dozens of other people. It doesn’t have to be a real life scenario … it can be completely hypothetical. How bad would things have to be for you to do that? I’m just trying to relate to these so-called reasons you suggest through an educated, white, middle-class filter; independent of the brainwashing of radical Islam.

I mean, the equivalent for us would be that, say, perhaps France had been ceded to Arabs by the over 50 years ago by the UN; our culture had been inundated with the Muslim messages of social conservatism and asceticism for about the same period; and perhaps more recently, Saudi Arabia had invaded and occupied, say, Australia. Would that be enough for you or me to want to kill myself and hundreds of innocents? I wouldn’t think so, and unless you can claim with a straight face that it would be for you, your “reasons” are invalid.

At 18/7/05 8:27 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...


Perhaps Israel's actions and reactions are more akin to the helplessness in which they find themselves, or maybe France's terrorist attack on us?

Since we are not religious people with thoughts of after-life I don't think most people in this country would be capable of suicidal terrorism.

Martyn said "there are reasons why people hate us" - Us I take it being Western powers who interfere with Islamic/Arabian countries. These fanatics would have almost zero support were it not for Western, esp. Americans confirming their fears of being used as a football in someone else's game.

But to focus on your point: Arabs have been under the jack boots of Turks and Europeans for centuries who have divided the area up and given it to despots of their choosing and then supporting whichever regime best exacts their policy. This has bred resentment. It's all a bit obvious really. The answer is to leave them alone. The popularity the religious parties in the Middle East have are in some part due to the nature of a highly proscriptive and demanding religion that dominates the education system and in part to being the only outlet for opposition in one-party states. If we had a one-party state that sucked up to America then our opposition politics and tactics might take a violent turn as well.

Invading Iraq is the christian jab in the muslim eye with a sharp stick that they were praying for. It is the oxygen that keeps them alive. When they jab back with their kamakaze "special forces" what do you expect? If the US and UK are conducting a "war on terrorism" then the party upon whom they have declared war is bound to also engage in warfare.

Martyn rightly indicates the question: do we fly our flags at half mast and have minutes of silence and send telegrams of condolence and sign books of sorrow when a terrorist kills 54 Iraqis? Why don't we? Why is it that the UK lives are worth more than Iraqis? These are good questions we need to be asking.

At 18/7/05 9:24 pm, Anonymous Justin said...

So you’re saying there’s a relationship between religion and suicide bombing? So much for Islam being a “peaceful religion.” Or can you imagine Christians blowing themselves and others up under the situation I described above above? Or is it the thought of “being used in a football in someone else’s game” that does it? I must say, that’s not quite enough for me, or Christians either, I’d imagine. Nor would it be enough to “be under the jackboot” of foreign powers. These British born and educated terrorists certainly weren’t under any jackboot, but maybe they felt a historical kinship with their Islamic brothers. Funny, I don’t feel the same historical kinship with my Irish brothers who suffer the jackboot of the Hated English. Maybe I’d feel more homicidal if I got Catholicism?

We respond more to a UK tragedy because we relate more to British culture; many New Zealanders have a British heritage. I’m sure countries that relate to Iraqi culture and have an Arab heritage do the equivalent of flying flags at half-mast, sending telegrams, etc. Or maybe they don’t.

At 18/7/05 10:55 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...


"So much for Islam being a “peaceful religion.”" - you pretty much answered your own question. Until very recently many Irish in America were sending money to the IRA and the US government did nothing to stop that. Christians like Omaha City bomber Timothy McVeigh have killed their co-religionists and others alike in their misguided crusades. Socialist believers fought in Spain and elsewhere. And we haven't even mentioned Jewish extremists yet.

But if you want to generalise about religions (or as I prefer to call them, cults) it is possible that whichever one has strict doctrine would be more likely to employ the means to enforce it. Muslims must pray 5 times a day or else they are not muslims (as I understand it). That ritual, in itself, makes it less flexible than other brands of cult. Given that religions can implant themselves as part of the state then it makes it all the more dangerous.

What has shocked me is the willingness of a Briton to chose the agenda of a foreign cause over that of one's own country. The question people are asking themselves now is how could a person born and bred in Britain harbour such un-British sentiments that they would sacrifice their fellow citizens. Now one could interpret their act (assuming of course it was a deliberate suicide bombing on their part) as a British protest of British designed to make their country acknowledge universal values or non-interference with other countries... but that would be too generous.

I think that people brought up with values different to the indigenous population and then being taught by radicals (at home or abroad) that their values or cult agenda is of a higher value than their own society - then that is a recipe for disaster. That the British authorities seem to think that multi-culturalism is a good thing without acknowledging that some of those cultural aspects are in conflict with the indigenous people as well as other immigrants means they will tolerate those who would seek to undermine them rather than deal openly with issues as other countries have done.

I use the example of Turkey: 99% Muslim but the state is rigidly secular because any encouragement of the cult will turn it into a cult state very quickly. In Britain (as in this country) they allow cult uniforms (female head veils, turbans, scullcaps etc.), cult observances, temples etc. in state institutions. That is a very quick way for the cult to gain a strong foothold in society and eventually in the state. Many people here are deluding themselves as to the motivations of the cultists. They are anything but benign. They twist the law to suit themselves and prey on the young, elderly and fragile of mind. This country needs a clear and consistent secularism.

At 21/7/05 4:17 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I recall, Iraq had not been invaded at the time of the "9/11" attacks. Why can't anyone just say the truth? Islam is an extremely fucked up religion.

At 22/7/05 9:31 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also recall that the Bali bombings occurred prior to Iraq and indeed Bin Laden was not happy about the liberation of East Timor. Surely someone who has such strong support of indigeneous rights would find this repugnant?

At 22/7/05 12:37 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

East Timor was invaded and genocided with the blessing of President Ford. Last time I checked he was American, not Islamic.

The US consideration of invading Iraq existed before either 9/11 or Bali.

All gratuitous civilian loss of life is repugnant. The US has killed almost 10,000 in Iraq according to some surveys. It's another half-baked US theory that was doomed before it began. The purpose of 9/11 was to lure the US into such a conflict. The US will withdraw from Iraq, no matter what state it is in, in 2007 - that was their initial plan and I don't see that changing.

Pan-Islamic fundamentalist fanatics are capable of destruction well beyond their means only with over-reaction and hijacked agendas of those who are attacked.

At 8/8/05 9:11 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting how when people explode bombs on the London underground and buses they are called "terrorists" but when they do it in Israel on almost a daily basis, they are "freedom fighters".


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