Friday 8 October 2004

Which altar for the best sacrifice?

Marriage in relation to man
By happenstance a few years ago one was privy to correspondence between a very beneficent mentor and his nephew. The matter concerned the nephew’s attempts to resolve an abusive marital dispute which affected the nephew’s sibling.
Being in a patriarchal and African setting, the nephew was instructed, if not commanded to ensure that the younger sibling returned to her position of honour and submission to her spouse without adequate attention to the core issue of the abuse.
The nephew in response with all deference, given the opportunity of expression through writing rather than meeting addressed both the unpalatable and acceptable circumstance of an marital union and the need to address the issue that no society should continue to condone abusive relationship no matter what was at stake, this being security, family honour or any other form of adherence and creed that seems to garner more importance of the principals.
The view was that the duty of obeisance, submission and honouring one’s husband is really borne of the husband being selfless, respectful, understanding and even considerate to a fault to his spouse.
That attitude would always be reciprocated with the attention husbands crave for and at times demand.
The fact is, if the husband is not ready to risk all for his mate, is it unlikely that he would gain much in the total affection of his spouse.
The point is, to honour and obey as in the traditional sense is not about provision, but about selfless devotion first on the part of the man and then reciprocated by the woman.
In the end, the nephew concluded that marriage as an institution, creed or tradition was made for man and not man for marriage.
That it has happened through out the ages does not take from the fact man still predates the institution of marriage and hence when it comes to the crunch; marriage should and must always come second in pre-eminence to man.
Tradition in relation to man
Furthermore, a biblical encounter between Jesus and the teachers of the day, illustrated that fact further when they remonstrated about Jesus healing on a Sabbath which is a religious rest day.
Having first asked if it was good to do good on a Sabbath, he went on to say, the Sabbath was made for man and not man for Sabbath.
In Scripture, after God created the earth, He rested on the seventh day, however, that did not become a religious status till the giving of the 10 commandments well over a thousand years after the creation.
In effect, all institutions, traditions, creeds, belief systems and laws are made to serve men and to help man in service to his faith or society. They were patently not made as altars on which to sacrifice men.
The nephew’s final line was – you cannot sacrifice my sister on the altar and institution of marriage. No marriage should exact the cost of life in the pursuit of adherence to tradition.
Iraq in relation to now
So, it is with regret that I read that Ken Bigley, an unfortunate victim of the terror that has engulfed Iraq was murdered by his captors, which is bad enough, but that he was sacrificed on the altar and principle of not negotiating with terrorists is of greater revulsion and cant.
Let us step back a little; it can be argued that the world with Saddam Hussein in power is a safer place. I would not dispute that, but once Iraq was ridden of Saddam, it became the cauldron of the worst terrorist onslaughts by and type of insurgent in generations.
More people have lost their lives in Iraq than the sum of all terrorist attacks that have been inflicted on this world since September the eleventh 1991.
There is no rosy situation in Iraq, strive as they may to hold elections in January, the impunity with which the so-called American precision bombing seeks out children, marriage ceremonies and civilians beggars belief; it is too incredible to express in words.
The terrorist in relation to why
Let it be heard with no dissimulation, nobody, I mean nobody becomes a terrorist as a career move. There is a grievance, a wrong, a hurt, a cause, an injustice, a loss, a disappointment, desperation, oppression; really a situation or circumstance that creates the urge to wreak terror.
A terrorist that does not have the weaponry, manpower and expertise that could be brought to bear by a superpower would find other ingenious means to inflict damage on their oppressors and their collaborators and friends.
I do not support an concept of terrorism, but the causes run deeper than the perpetrators that front those causes and until the root of the cause of terror is dealt with, terrorists would abound.
The main sources of terror can be broadly outlaid in the following areas
  • The continued deprivation of Palestinians in favour of the Israelis, until the Palestinians have a home, there would be no peace in the Middle East.
  • The continued lack of determination for the peoples of Chechnya, as long as Russia continues to put stooges in Grozny rather than let the people choose their leaders, the horrors of Beslan would be the first of many to colour the 21st century.
  • Saudi Arabia has both the problem of a ruling family that is seem to be unresponsive to the yearnings of their people and whilst the atmosphere of the country adopts the stricter Wahhabist Islamic creed, the rulers are considered less devout and unrepresentative of that creed.
  • This is why Americans, regarded as infidels by the devout were allowed to set up bases, soon to be completed decommissioned in Saudi Arabia which is the holy Islamic land. This situation gave birth to Al Qaeda. The goal of Al Qaeda is to continue to terrorise till Saudi Arabia is rid of every single infidel.
  • Pockets of terror created by people seeking revenge for losing mentors, loved ones, leaders and communities.
It is not without cause that many of the wars the Israelites found in the Scriptures had the express command to annihilate every living thing, because a remnant would adopt an only purpose of seeking revenge at any cost – terrorism is the goal of getting back and getting even at any cost.
War in relation to cowardly escapists
Finally, this whole issue of war-mongering bothers me much, it appears a leader does not consider their tenure distinguished till having exercised the opportunity of sending their younger generation to their deaths in a cause that could probably have been negotiated but aborted.
I feel, nobody should call others to arms till they themselves have borne arms and faced the wrath of enemy combat. The convenience of arms-length command allows irresponsible leaders to take flagrant risks at war with the consequences put completely out of sight.
George W. Bush has not once attended a funeral of any one of the many that have died in combat in Iraq.
Civilisation in relation to process
If civilisation masquerading as democracy and free trade can only be promoted through the use of force and arms, we are the poorer for it in this age and no better than the Vandals and Barbarians we at times hold in derision.

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