News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: The Lid Comes Off in Sydney

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Lid Comes Off in Sydney

One of the sife-effects of the so-called War on Terror is the increased tensions between westerners and anyone Arab or Moslem. Emboldened by rhetoric from the US that brands an entire religion and region as terrorist and whole cultures and societies members of an Axis of Evil, years of resentment, envy, and socio-cultural repression have exploded in France and most recently in Australia.

The most recent outrage, carried out by surfer types and swimmers at an Australian beach, include the mob attack on anyone ethnically Arab. Today, the anger and violence spilled over into the suburbs, as gangs of Lebanese young men and Australians torched cars and rampaged through suburbia. One group set on fire a church...

If there's one thing that the Bush regime harped on for the past three years is the tune that the war on terror is not aimed at Moslems or Arabs. Unfortunately, that message has not percolated down to the conservative minions whose blog posts day after day denigrate Islam. These statements can be seen from the Christian Broadcasting Network's diatribes against Islam as the religion of war to online forums where Moslems and Arabs are characterized as dirty, beggarly, and blood-thirsty.

Of course, there will be excuses from the leaders of the US and other western nations that they cannot be responsible for the actions of a few rabid malcontents. Yet, the atmosphere of hatred and climate of fear that the march to war generated has ignited more than simple-minded patriotic fervor. It has gone to the heart of all the resentments and anger that modern, post-secular society can generate.

If Bush and his regime meant their war rhetoric simply as militaristic flourish, the effects are much more widespread and virulent than they imagined. Yet, given Mr. Bush's own sense of being chosen by God to lead the nation at this time and in these circumstances, he cannot hide behind the quaint notion that he didn't really mean it. The apocalyptic terminology he and his followers use seem calculated to call on all of the end-time passions and furies that millenial fanatics have always corraled to manipulate and keep in control the masses.

Unfortunately, the end-time mythology is shared not only by Xtians. It is also part of Islamic belief. By calling up the demons of world conflagration, Bush's religiously inspired words and axis of evil scenario may well turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

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