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Friday, December 23, 2011

The Prince of Peace, the Dogs of War and the "Fox" on the side ...

The devastating blasts in both Damascus and Baghdad remind us that whatever is happening in the Middle East, it is certainly not simply a matter of human rights being defended by noble rebels.  Of course in Syria, the rebels have been quick to point the finger at the government for an alleged black op. aimed at discrediting their own cause.

Since 9/11 most of the conspiracy theories peddled by Islamists have centred around similar accusations; namely that the destruction of the Twin Towers was orchestrated by the US Government in order to justify a "crusade against Islam."  At the time and since the western media have not given any credence to such ridiculous and immoral accusations yet now when the same accusations are being made by destabilising elements in Syria all we get from the BBC is that "we have been unable to investigate such accusations."  One has to ask whether or not the BBC has made any corresponding attempt to investigate the claims of US complicity in 9/11?  Of course not! No democracy would do such a thing.  I don't believe so either ... but neither do I believe such a thing of the Syrian government.

The key to understanding all of this is in the fracture in Islam between extreme Sunni and Shia elements ... Christians being caught in the Middle from Egypt to Baghdad.  This is fairly good coverage of this ... here.

Everybody mostly now forgets that before the Gulf Wars there was a long and bloody conflict between Iraq (at that time largely Sunni led by a secular Baathist regime which persecuted its Shia and Kurdish citizens) and Iran (Shia ... with a long grudge match against the Sunni).  It is no accident, therefore, that we are now witnessing the return of Al Quaeda (Sunni) backed insurgencies in BOTH Syria and Iraq simultaneously.... the Americans now having left Iraq and about to leave Afghanistan.  In Egypt the Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood are mobilising to Islamicise one of the few secular, democratic multicultural states left in the Middle East.

Why does the west get this so, so wrong, time after time?  I have referred before on this Blog to two possible answers to this question.  Western leaders ... stupid or cunning?  In the Telegraph article linked above Fraser Nelson refers to the lack of concern in the UK Foreign Office about the plight of Christians being caught in the middle of this terrible internecine strife.  It's hardly surprising if the naive liberal narrative of the so called "Arab Spring" is to believed.  It leaves the sectarian divisions between Sunni and Shia extremists out of the picture altogether.  So, I must reluctantly conclude, "cunning, not stupid."  That being the case, WHO is the "fox on the side" and what is his game?  I genuinely don't know the answer to that question ... but it is the only question worth asking right now.

In the meantime Christians in the Middle and Near East are preparing to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, God Himself who became Incarnate in order to bring an end to sin and death.  The real danger now is that we shall be pushed out by the Salafists who want a "pure" Egypt and Sunni insurgents in Syria and Iraq for whom Christians are simply seen as an alien element ... even though the Church predates Islam there by several centuries.  Will the west lift a finger to protect us?  I think not.  The land of our Lord's birth and its environs may well become a "Christian free zone" within a generation ... something that not even the Ottomans achieved.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

It's Just Not Fair!

The national strike by public sector workers might not have been a "damp squib" (David Cameron) but a minority vote call out was reflected in the numbers  marching on our streets yesterday.  It is extremely unlikely that the Coalition Government will improve on its offer to moderate the impact of pension reform, if only because the public piggy bank is empty.  The government, in my view, has the economic argument with many years ahead of us of privation in the face of a global financial meltdown.  It has, however, lost the political argument because the reforms are seen by many, including myself, to be unfair.

At the same time that low paid public sector workers are having their pay capped to 1% increases and are expected to pay more and work longer for the same benefit, the rich are largely untouched by these financial severities.  Indeed with bonuses and salary increases approaching 50% in some sectors of City financial institutions, the claim that "we are all in it together" is manifestly absurd.  If there is one thing you do not do in Britain it is to compromise our sense of "fair play" and if any government thinks that it can get away with squeezing the public sector and not at the same time discipline and reform the contemptuous fat cat scams that characterise parts of the private sector, it had better guard its electoral back.

For sure, we all know that sacrifices have to be made but when a highly privileged class of bailed out failures in the banking industry keep lining their own nests in the belief that they can sail through the present crises unscathed, then "It's Just Not Fair!" becomes a warning rather than a lament.  The warning is in fact spiritual as well as temporal and political.  Our Lord warned that it was exceedingly difficult for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven ... difficult but not impossible.  The "difficulty" lies in the false worship of attachments to possessions and materialism as an ideology.  As a down to earth Cheshire baboushka once remarked to me many years ago:- "Eh Father, there are no pockets in a shroud."  There will be an accounting ... but at that time it won't be on a balance sheet.

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