Tag: Religion

The War Of Values

Today, a substantial list of countries are in the process of defining brand new constitutions or significantly revising existing ones. In the near future, several more countries may be added. Many are former Arab dictatorships turned democratic through more or less violent revolutions. Democracies, however, come in many flavors and one particularly bitter-sweet variant is the one where some elements of democracy are retained while others are not. Freedoms such as religious beliefs, speech and opinions, for example. Unfortunately, a majority of the countries busy writing up new constitutions, seem to gravitate towards just that form of “democracy”.
The question is: can democracy exist without basic human rights?

The UN is dysfunctional to the point of being counter productive. Anyone who takes an even cursory look at what goes on in the clubhouse of the UN knows that while the body officially stands on a “rock solid” base of democratic principles, universal human rights and peaceful co-existence between members, the reality is quite another. The list of members and signatories to fundamental UN charters presently counts more than 160. However, several dozen aren’t even trying to maintain any pretense of abiding to the promises they have so solemnly signed.
The UN was founded on the ashes of the League of Nations, itself built on the get-together called the Paris Peace Conference – a child of WW-I. Before that, the list of alliances to promote specific sets of ideas and values is as long as the toilet roll desired by many gastro stricken historians.
The question is: Are we ready to stand up for our version of democracy with its foundation of human rights and freedoms? At what point will the divergence of ideas and values within the UN make it untenable to renew our membership? How far must we venture into hypocrisy land and how severe an erosion of our values do we accept before enough is enough?

Who would like to co-sponsor the idea of a new body: “The United Democratic Nations”? (suggestions for a better name are welcome) Anyone can apply but unlike the UN of a previous century there will be no quasi automatic printing of membership cards. Read the rest …

To all Muslims: Open invitation to talk.

I hereby invite any Muslim – mere believer, devout worshiper or radical fundamentalist – for a talk. I’ll make tea and if budget allows there will be biscuits too. You see, I’d like to understand what is going on right now across large swats of the small humid lump of mud we call home: Killings, burnings of Embassies, burnings of flags and more. And it seems to be but the start. All due to a repulsive, amateurish, ignorant and frankly completely deranged video. A video that would have garnered all but twenty viewers, had it been on any other topic.

Here’s my problem (which I hope you’ll help me solve): I believe that assaulting someone – let alone killing – because of deeply unjustified insults, is wrong. I further believe that resorting to physical violence of any kind as a reaction to an argument – to words and gestures – is wrong. No matter how stupid, repulsive or insulting it may be. I believe in dialog first and if that does not work before I get completely exhausted, indifference. Words, accusations, disgusting videos and satirical cartoons – no matter how awful – cannot affect me if I choose not to let them.

I also believe that if a person speaks out in ways that are completely unacceptable, it is wrong to condemn the entire nation of which he happens to be a part. Nobody speak on behalf of a whole nation – not even the King or the President. Every nation has its share of deranged and misguided people: Look no further than the peace loving country of Norway. If engagement is chosen, then it should be with the individuals or groups concerned. And without resorting to violence.

Why are people taking out their anger on people who have played no part in the provocation? Most of whom are no doubt as shocked and angered as the very people who resort to such levels of violence.

Anyone, in my view, who resort to violence in the face of words, lies and unfounded accusations, expose a weakness of the mind. A monumental lack of self control. He is, I find, an even lesser human being than the provocateur.

Can we talk about that? Can you help me understand?