Sunday, 15 February 2015

So ... you're all OK with this then?

So, DAESH (al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham or the so-called 'Islamic State') have surpassed themselves yet again. Demonstrating their arrogance, ignorance, stupidity and cruelty by burning Moaz al-Kasasbeh alive, recording and publishing the act. It really defies belief that these people can think that this is justifiable in any way. Yes, this pilot was on a bombing mission, but this was itself a very late response to the months of hellish tyranny that DAESH have imposed on civilians in Iraq and Syria. Every day brings news of further tragedies.

IS generated a fatwa (religious ruling) that supports them - and actually this wasn't too difficult to do. There are many verses of the Quran and hadith that support acts of horrendous violence in retribution for relatively trivial things. 

On the other hand we have moderate Muslims decrying this, saying 'not in my name, ours is a religion of peace'. Even this reaction has been very subdued in New Zealand. In our little cloud-cuckoo-land Muslims seem to be quite oblivious to what is going on. At a weekend gathering of Muslims, conversation was about local trivialities and terrorism in Pakistan (supposedly instigated and supported by the US of course). Despite prodding the conversation in the direction of ISIL, every prompt was side-stepped.

Public reaction by the New Zealand Muslim community to Daesh atrocities pretty much amounts to Zero. Nada. Null. Silence. Don't know, don't care. Nothing to do with me.

In private, if you can get any reaction at all, the usual ridiculous conspiracy theories are dragged up - its those American Jews that are behind it all obviously, in league with Israel somehow. 

From a public perspective, silence is interpreted as consent. So you're all OK with this then?

Maybe we're living in some kind of lunatic asylum, where the patients have taken over.

At the tail-end of this week, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari made a brief visit to NZ and, treading carefully, invited (not requested) assistance from us. The form of that asistance (if anything) is likely to be humanitarian and training of Iraqi troops rather than anything else. But it seems there is a real lack of willingness to get involved in any way whatsoever, in many quarters. Opponents point to the massive investment that the US previously put into training the Iraqi military, which seems to have amounted to nothing when faced with a real situation. So agreed; NZ involvement needs careful consideration, but to do nothing (or delaying) also raises all kinds of ethical difficulties. 

NZ policy to date, seems to have been ignore them, wait as long as possible and maybe they'll just go away. This is simply wishful thinking - but in keeping with the parochial attitudes prevalent here.

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