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At war with ourselves

Sunday the 3rd of July was one of those ordinary, busy metropolitan evenings. Bustling crowds of families, young couples, and groups of friends, were mixing it together on the city streets and in the shops. The malls were open, packed for late night trading. The cafes were crowded with their television screens broadcasting the Euro 2016 tournament to a soccer-mad crowd. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary for a busy modern city ...

... until the mass of explosives packed in a nearby car were detonated. The explosion set off a fire that consumed several small shopping malls, and brutally ended the lives of at least 250 people[1], all of them civilians.

Another round of death in this war, the body count in. The horrific physical injuries caused by burns, shrapnel penetration into tender flesh and the irreparable crushes from building collapse will manifest themselves for the length of the survivors’ lives. These wounds are no less devastating than the psychological scars they will carry deep inside, forever – this is the body count never accounted for.

A world problem

In this case the victims of this ISIS terrorist attack were not European residents, Americans or Australians, they were their own, the people of Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, and fellow worshippers of the Islamic religion. The timing of this attack was diabolically calculated; close to the end of the religious celebratory month of Ramadan, the evenings were sure to be filled with people, out enjoying themselves after the sun had set. The Washington Post described it as “the Islamic State’s deadliest-ever bomb attack on civilians”[2], its cowardly callousness typical for this style of warfare.

Unfortunately, terrorist attacks such as this have become nothing out-of-the-ordinary in Iraq and other Middle Eastern and North African nations. Too many people in Western nations have chosen to run with the idea that this is a Middle Eastern affliction, part of a war based on extremist faith we do not understand nor want to be a part of, yet it has spread to affect us. The notion of our innocent victimhood has been fed by politicians and media pundits intent on driving the wedge of religious separation between ‘us and them’. This offers an interesting reflection, when we consider how loudly we proclaim secularity, we are more than happy to pull out our Christian roots when it suits us to do so. We have forgotten how much history lies between us, how much aggressive Western intervention, taking place over decades, centuries in fact, in Middle Eastern politics has contributed to sowing the seeds for the current global instability. The outplay of war has gone on for so long that lasting peace seems a goal beyond the reach of any outstretched hand.

"It is not hard to go from peace to war – it only takes a reaction and somebody
pushes a button. In true harmony, it is impossible to go to war because we are so many steps away from that reaction."

Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, p 486

War with no frontline

This attack is an echo of others of equal, if not greater intensity and ferocity that have occurred and continue to occur world wide[3] – attacks that have made civilians, referred to as ‘soft’ targets, the victims of soldiers... ‘soft’ meaning ordinary people, like you and me. Ordinary city streets everywhere have been turned into impromptu and bloody frontlines.

Between Monday the 18th and Wednesday 27th of July the German people experienced one attack after another – some of which were clearly terrorist based, others being more questionable in who or what was behind them[4].

In France, the number of terrorist attacks has spiked dramatically since 2014. On Bastille Day 2016, a driver navigated his truck brutally through a crowd in Nice, leaving 84 dead, numerous people injured and the nation traumatised. One of the more extreme attacks in this nation took place in 2015, on the evening of Friday the 13th of November. On that evening, Paris was subject to series of bloody and organised terrorist attacks. There were 9 attackers, 6 of whom died by their own explosions in ‘suicide’ raids. Parisian citizens were killed by those bombs and by machinegun fire that raked though restaurants and city streets. At the Bataclan theatre, people held hostage were shot with chilling precision in what can only be described as an obscenely calculated massacre.

The response in most western nations has been to tighten border control and to heighten the suspicion of people of the Islamic faith, a broad-brush approach that overlooks the fact that Islamic people suffer equally at the hands of this senseless brutality. The French government responded by declaring a national state of emergency – the first time this has happened since the student riots of 1961.

Five short months later, on the 23rd of March 2016 suicide bombers were responsible for explosions in Brussels that killed 31 people and injured 300 more[5]. This time the terrorists chose Zaventem airport departure lounge and Maelbeek metro station as the source of their “soft” targets.

The terrorist organisation ISIS claimed responsibility for both attacks.

How do we respond?

The shock and rage in European nations has been palpable – the sort of helpless shock and rage that pushes people to frenzied demands for action, a state as readily ignited as a kerosene soaked rag into hatred against anyone perceived to be the enemy. The effects have spread globally, with the high alert quotient rising in every nation. The threat of terrorist attack by extremists has also come at a time when there are more refugees fleeing their wrecked Islamic nations than at any time in recent history. This admixture is seemingly irreconcilable; how are we to balance the rights of humans fleeing inhumanity against the rights of a nation’s own people to be protected, especially when fear is running hot?

Initially the French state of emergency was planned to last until the end of February 2016. Even before the attacks in Brussels they had voted to extend it, initially until the 26th of May[6] and again, until the end of January 2017[7]. This state heralds a number of significant changes to the law, in a desperate attempt to prevent these sorts of attacks from happening again. They include a tightening of border controls between EU nations, in response to the fact that the terrorists came from their neighbour, and next country to be attacked, Belgium[8].

Alarmingly, police and security services have been given extended powers to act without judicial oversight. They may ‘dissolve’ groups that they regard to have the potential to incite or facilitate public disorder.

Any person whose “behaviour is a threat to security or public order”[6] may be placed under house arrest, and people’s homes may be searched, and their data copied without a warrant. MPs, magistrates, lawyers and journalists are exempt.

Desperate times call for deep intelligence, integrity and responsibility

This level of extra-judicial freedom for police to act may seem to be crucial and unchallengeable at a time when terrorist organisations hold us in the grip of fear that such an attack could occur at any time and in any place – after all this is a type of warfare where peaceful cities and towns are turned into battlefields without warning, and ordinary citizens can be the ‘soft’ targets of trained soldiers. It is a war with no frontline. And such desperate times, as the saying goes, call for desperate measures, but we need to consider if we are simply replacing one form of oppression with another.

But erosion of judicial power and the balance that brings to the decision making process is eminently risky and especially so at times of heightened fear and mistrust. This problem, of fearful people tightening control, is as old as time itself. At the time of the Republic, various Roman rulers decreed themselves dictator, awarding themselves extraordinary powers with the excuse that it was essential to cope with outside threats. The results were at times appalling, with despotic men wreaking havoc upon the state and its people.

In the world as we know it, maintaining judicial power ensures that there is some degree of accountability, and this is especially important when reason is compromised by fear and anger. Human rights organisations have been expressing these precise concerns to a world audience of unhearing ears.

It is clear that these sorts of desperate laws on one level assure people that everything that can be done is being done, but they also entrench more deeply the suspicion that there are people who cannot be trusted – and every member of the Islamic faith, or person who comes from the Middle East, is tarred a potential threat by the same fear wielded brush. The consequence is that the complaints of Muslim people, who claim they are being vilified under such law, go unheard under the righteous belief that they deserve that sort treatment, and nothing better.

Are we willing to see that these solutions, of tightened control and erosion of human rights, all based on fear, loathing and mistrust are not, and will not ever provide the answer we so desperately yearn for? As we focus so intently on our differences, the ‘othernesses’ that seem to irreconcilably divide us, we reduce the problem to a mere fragment of its whole. Even the acknowledgment of past and ongoing Western political and economic interference in the Middle East (but one among many other nations that have been subject to such control) is but a small start on the path we must take to the true global human healing.

This healing is calling to us urgently to take stock of the eons long wars between religions, nations, and cultures – divisions that we have manufactured from our righteous beliefs that we and only we have access to the truth. We must look deeper to the wars within religions of the same tenets, the wars within nations, where neighbours take arms against each other. Then we must dare to go deeper still, to the wars within families, fought with fists, vile words, neglect and dismissiveness ... and finally, when we are willing to, the war within ourselves, the deep discontent and disharmony that allows us to hurt ourselves with the reckless, abusive and self-harming ways we have with ourselves in life.

It is this level of honesty, deeply personal and deeply confronting, that is the only path to true and lasting harmony, the harmony within that will sustain our return to Brotherhood.

"Peace has been used as a source of pacification. And in times of war it is all we can aspire to. But is it really a whole truth? Is peace a whole truth or a fragment that is hoped for in times of greater calamity?

This is worth considering very thoroughly, for the true energetic state of 'being peaceful' is not what most think it is. 'Being peaceful' is nothing more than arresting the aggression, or pacifying it. The revealing point is that – pacifying or arresting aggression, indifference, racial tension, bigotry etc, does not change the state of being of the one expressing the ill, it just stops or momentarily arrests them from expressing it. Hence, it is always there waiting for some trigger to set it off. This is the point and it is something that is certainly worth considering, for from peace, war can arise. In stark contrast, from harmony, war can never be, for another cannot arouse any distaste in you as compassion prevails.

Note: compassion prevails only from harmony and ONLY when harmony is WITHIN."

Serge Benhayon Esoteric & Exoteric Philosophy, p 232

Reference:

  • [1]

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/07/iraq-terrorism-isis-world/489974/

  • [2]

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/death-toll-climbs-to-187-in-islamic-states-worst-ever-bomb-attack/2016/07/04/6964d2b2-41ce-11e6-bc99-7d269f8719b1_story.html

  • [3]

    10. National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). (2016). Global Terrorism Database [Data file]. Retrieved from https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd

  • [4]

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/652765/Terrorist-attacks-Germany-Terrorism-Foiled-plots-Threat-Security-Islamic-State-ISIS

  • [5]

    Rankin, J. and Henley, J. (March 2016). Islamic State claims attacks at Brussels airport and metro station. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/22/brussels-airport-explosions-heard 6th April 2016.

  • [6]

    Aljazeera. (2016). France extends state of emergency until late May. Retrieved from http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/02/france-extends-state-emergency-late-160216194739343.html

  • [7]

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36842311

  • [8]

    Henley, J., Chrisafis, A. (March 2016). Brussels bomber's DNA confirms his link to Paris attacks, say prosecutors. The Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/25/police-arrest-men-brussels-paris-terror-attacks. 6th April 2016

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