Friday, November 20, 2015

Relationships, Religion, and Radicals

The significant conversations we are not having right now about whether or not we trust refugees coming into our country has consistently flashed across my Facebook and Imgur; another of my favorite time wasting activities. I'm assuming it's the same on Twitter, Tumblr, and maybe a few Myspace accounts. Regardless of where we see it, the same words and same arguments are being thrown back and forth. For the States, liberal  loony left is being anti-american screaming to open all of our borders, the righteous right believes all Muslims, especially those escaping war as refugees, are coming secretly as terrorists. I'll acknowledge everyone else whose voices echo quietly beside the constant reposts and sharing of extreme examples on either side. These quieter voices, I fear, are not being heard. But I'm not writing now in hope that you are going to listen to them. No. I am writing because my knowledge is better than your ignorance (Isaac Asimov).

Where are these terrorists coming from? The Middle East. Specifically? Radical Islam. But so many different people over there are considered radical! What about Saudi Arabia and their Wahhabi Islam? It's definitely not mainstream and so much does not jive with our Western ideals. It's definitely not mainstream Islam. Well the radicals are there in Syria, in Iraq, they're being funded and supported by this person and that group.
Our next big question is how did they happen? Why are they still here? Why are people following them?! If we want to believe that humans are humans are humans (I suggest you follow Humans of New York, Humans of Bombay, Humans of Tehran, Humans of....etc), then we want to believe that (or blatantly and stubbornly choose not to believe) these Syrians and Iraqi people are rational. That's likely the only belief that has kept the EU and many other countries open to refugees.
So who are these crazy people that stand behind Daesh and their absolutely batshit crazy ideas?!?! None of us ever want to meet a single one of them, unless that encounter found a nice gun in our hands and nothing in theirs.
I will say that these followers, the battle fodder, the ones being sent out to die, are people in need, or at least they were.
When we are alone, at the end of our rope, depressed, angry at life, enraged at God or Allah or whatever decided our place in life, we want something. That something is meaning. We want to feel important, that we are worth it, and that someone likes us, EVEN loves us.
Now consider Syria and Iraq, the Middle East. Power struggles, dictators, being tossed around by European imperialism during WW2 and after, having world powers play nuclear chess in their backyards. How many orphans have there been? How many family members lost? Jobs lost? Education lost? Hope.......lost?
These hopeless people, human beings, are left with nothing. An amount of nothing that few of us on Facebook right now will ever know or comprehend. It's not just a lack of home or clothes. It's a lack of future, no vision and no expectation that anything good will come.
Then comes a crusade. The warriors of their disenchanted religion come with promises of valor and glory. Sacrificing all will give you happiness after you find escape from this hell called life. Attractive and definitely appealing to the men, whose tribal (NOT religious) culture prizes manhood and pride above nearly everything.
For the men who lost brothers, sons, friends, companions, this community promised them connection and brotherhood. Promises of restored glory are not unfamiliar, think of Nazi Germany.
I'm close to losing you at this point, just as I'm starting to lose my insomniatic drive.
What I hoped to communicate is that these human problems will forever be more complex than we will ever understand with just one or two short videos or readings.
We are all human beings, and the strongest form of communication any one of us will ever know is the communication of love, of attachment, of closeness, of love.

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