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Posts Tagged ‘nationalism’

An interesting article on Syria:

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2012 at 11:34

Sectarian Violence Undermines Syrian Regime

Posted on Jun 17, 2012

By Juan Cole

The Syrian upheaval has gone through several stages. It began with relatively peaceful protests by crowds in a handful of small and medium-size cities outside the large metropolitan areas of Damascus and Aleppo. Severe repression by the national regime led some revolutionaries to turn to guerrilla tactics. The ruling Baath government subjected the quarters held by the Free Syrian Army to heavy artillery and tank assaults. More recently, as the rebellion continued to spread in small towns, the military has provided cover to death squads that have massacred civilians in an attempt to scare them into submission. The most frightening thing about this spiral of ever greater violence and brutality is that some of the now-hardened lines have been sectarian.

The Syrian army assault on the rebellious Sunni village of al-Haffa in Latakia province, which has left it a ghost town, exemplifies this move toward religious war. Latakia is heavily Alawite, and protecting members of this religious group from Sunni dominance is one of the latent functions of the regime. The upper echelons of the ruling Baath Party and its officer corps are dominated by the Alawite sect of Shiite Islam. Only about 10 percent of Syrians are Alawite. On the order of 70 percent of Syrians belong to the rival Sunni branch of Islam. (Many Syrian Sunnis are secularists.) The car bomb that recently damaged the Shiite shrine of Sayyida Zaynab in Damascus may have primarily targeted nearby Intelligence Ministry buildings, but those who detonated it may have been happy enough to hurt Shiite religious sensibilities.

The death squads, Shabiha, deployed by the regime against the towns of Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair in recent weeks are drawn from the Alawi sect. Many of the Sunnis being targeted have been organized by the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood. Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair are largely Sunni hamlets surrounded by powerful Alawi towns.

The black-garbed Shabiha, or “ghost gangs,” began as criminal organizations in the Alawite-dominated port of Latakia in the 1970s after the Alawite Assad family came to power in Syria, and some of its members are drawn from the Assad and related Deeb and Makhlouf clans. Although the groups were curbed in the 1990s after they became too arrogant even for the Assads to countenance, they re-emerged in 2011 as paramilitary adjuncts to the army and security police. In Alawite areas, they have been accused of detaining Syrians with Sunni names at checkpoints and doing away with them.

The Baath Party was founded in the 1940s by two Christian intellectuals who advocated a secular Arab nationalism. In some ways, the “Resurrection,” or Baath, party was to resemble the Communist Party, but instead of championing the working class and being universal it would uplift ethnic Arabs and unite them to throw off the vestiges of Western, colonial domination. This attempt to subvert socialism with an appeal to essentially racist themes made the Baath an odd hybrid of fascism and Third-Worldism. Non-Arab minorities in Baath-ruled countries, such as the Kurds, often faced discrimination or worse.

Baathists came to power through coups in Syria and Iraq in the 1960s. Ironically, the Baath one-party state became a vehicle for well-organized minorities to take over the government. Thus, in Syria the Alawite Shiites dominated the Baath regime from 1970, whereas in Iraq control of the ruling Baath party was held by a Sunni clan from Tikrit (that of Saddam Hussein).

Syria’s Baath Party has lasted so long and attracted the loyalty of so many Syrians over the decades in part because it aided Syria’s transition from a rural, peasant country to an urban one. It carried out a land reform that redistributed land to peasants and liquidated the old big-landlord class. The Baathists built dams and irrigation works for farmers, earning the gratitude and support of many rural Sunni clans. Largely rural depot towns such as Deraa in the south near the Jordanian border were among the biggest beneficiaries of these Baath programs, and so were known as strong party backers, producing several high regime officials and officers.

Rural Syria has had a prolonged and severe drought, and the Baath government has not been good in this decade about managing water resources. Rural Sunni clans have suffered most from this water crisis.

A majority of Syrians now live in towns and cities, and their needs are different from those of their farming parents. The Baath Party’s reduction of fuel and other subsidies and encouragement of unaccountable big business have angered the urban population. (These policies, pushed by international banks and elites, are generally referred to as “Neoliberalism.”) Largely Sunni towns have seen high unemployment, especially in slums on outskirts full of former farmworkers forced to seek jobs in the cities, often unsuccessfully.

At its heart, the Syrian crisis is a conflict that pits the urban metropolises (Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia) that benefit from government largesse against the medium-size cities and rural towns that have suffered from drought and Neoliberal policies. It so happens that this divide also aligns, if unevenly, with sectarian cleavages, with the provincial cities and towns being mostly religiously conservative and Sunni, and the big-cities bastions of minority power and secular Sunni business classes dependent on the regime.

The Syrian government’s resort to Alawite death squads in recent weeks, however, has threatened the big-city alliance that has allowed the Baath to survive. The sight of Sunni women and children massacred by the Shabiha in Houla and Mazraat al-Qubair drove Sunni shopkeepers in the capital to instigate a general strike. Protests and small insurgencies are now taking place even in Damascus.

The regime of Bashar Assad squandered whatever good will it had in rural and small-town Syria by its heavy-handed repression of the protests. Among its few remaining assets was the support of Christian, Alawi and secular Sunni middle classes in the large cities, groups that fear the rise of Sunni fundamentalism, are disturbed by the decline of security for property, and benefit from Baath government licenses and contracts. The deployment of Shabiha death squads, however, has clearly pushed many of these former supporters into the opposition. It is now the regime that is threatening public security and fanning the flames of sectarian hatred. If the Syrian revolution finally succeeds, it will be because the Baath regime betrayed its commitments to secularism, socialism and public order, becoming in the eyes of the public just another sectarian mafia.

Lord’s Resistance Army

In Uncategorized on March 23, 2012 at 07:03

The Lord’s Resistance Army, or Lord’s Resistance Movement, is a militant group operating in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic[6] accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, and forcing children to participate in hostilities.[7][8]

Initially it was an outgrowth and continuation of the larger armed resistance movement waged by some of the Acholi people against a central Ugandan government which they felt marginalized them at the expense of southern Ugandan ethnic groups. Ideologically, the group is a syncretic mix of of African mysticism, Acholi nationalism, and Christian fundamentalism.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18] and claims to be establishing a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and local Acholi tradition.[19][20][21]

The group is led by Joseph Kony, who proclaims himself the spokesperson of God and a spirit medium, primarily of the Holy Spirit, which the group believes can represent itself in many manifestations.

In Uncategorized on November 15, 2011 at 08:16

Germany: Neo-Nazi terrorist gang linked to 10 murders

Police believe a neo-Nazi terrorist gang is linked to at least 10 murders in Germany, prosecutors said.
BERLIN, Germany — German police believe a gang of neo-Nazi terrorists may have been responsible for the murders of at least 10 people, mostly immigrants.

Two suspected gang members killed themselves after a botched robbery attempt last week. Another two were arrested Sunday, prosecutors said.

In videos found by police, the alleged terrorists claim to have killed eight Turkish men, one Greek man and a policewoman.

The killings, which became known in Germany as the “doner kebab murders” because two took place in kebab restaurants, were committed in a number of German cities between 2000 and 2007, reported The Local. Most of the victims were shot in the face in broad daylight while they worked.

Police also suspect that the gang was involved in several other crimes, said the Guardian, including a nail bombing in a Turkish neighborhood in Cologne.

The gang members called themselves the “National Socialist Underground” after Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist (Nazi) party, and threatened to carry out more attacks.

http://www.globalpost.com

Prevention is better

In politics, relationship, religion on October 25, 2011 at 07:26

The thing which can prevent “the ugly sisters” (religion, nationalism, ideology) to completely take over peoples’ minds is a good broad education. Not that there couldn’t be a well educated “monster” but in majority people become wiser when learned and are less liked to get their minds scrambled. Even more important is the possibility of free interaction with people of many different opinions and sets of mind. Then its obvious that other people, not sharing imposed on you worldview, are quite normal, kind, happy, not some strange evil creatures as may be pictured by “ugly sisters'”propaganda.

Of course a radical communist, a racist or a religious fanatic could look nice, clever and kind on the surface too. But I think after a wile and after some “digging” the difference between a free thinker and an affected person will be obvious to anybody. There are millions of people in the world mildly affected by one or all three of “ugly sisters”. They are OK. For the moment. But I have a feeling there is always a possibility of them moving towards a fanatical end.

I’m not normally in favor of military intervention by any country unless its absolutely necessary to prevent a genocide. I think if anybody want to help people living under tyranny, cruel law and with closed minds they should help to educate them, to broaden their minds. Invite lots of them into your universities, broadcast to them, send your teachers to them. And then the bloodshed may not be needed at all.

Three ugly sisters

In religion on October 24, 2011 at 16:34

There are three things that can really turn somebody to a zombie: religion, nationalism and ideology. The third one is the weakest one and wears off quicker than her older sisters because of less stigma attached. If a person is giving up his religion he is often called a heretic and is threaten with hell. If a person is giving up his nationalism he is blamed to be a traitor of his mother/fatherland. And anyway, the ethnicity and the place of birth is not somebody can easily change. But ideology… Look what happened to communism…

Nationalism-meter

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2011 at 13:57

If you came out of you native country and the news programs or newspapers in another country offend you just because they don’t always share the same views as official in your country or offend you because they criticize your native country – that’s high on the nationalism – meter…

Thats not the point, forgive my argumentum ad Hitlerum

In history, religion on August 20, 2011 at 07:16

There are debates whether Adolf Hitler was a Christian. The arguing is fueled by his (and his supporters) photos like these:

This is what I have to say.
 I’ve heard from many Christians (and Muslims too) that other adepts who believe slightly differently are not true, real Christians / Muslims. Every time a member of an organization does something outrageous all his organizations rush to say that this person wasn’t their “real” member. A striking recent example is Anders Behring Breivik. Look what his church, lodge, party said. So yesterday he was their member and his line of thoughts probably was OK with at least some other members. But he followed it to the logical end and committed a horrific crime. Immediately they have nothing to do with him.

Hitler certainly posed with Christians and their churches whatever his true beliefs were. Presumably he thought it would help his image and popularity. Lots of political leaders since Constantine used Christianity in the same way. There were Christians and their clerics supporting Hitler. See here or here. IT WAS POSSIBLE. Would it be possible with Humanists / Humanism or Pacifists / Pacifism? That what the text under the middle photo (“Christianity is a religion of peace”) really meant in my opinion.

Christians on Hitler & Nazis: Quotes from Christians Supporting Hitler

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2011 at 07:01

German Catholics & Protestants Praised, Supported Hitler as a Gift from God

By Austin Cline, About.com Guide

American Christians seem to be completely unaware of the degree to which Christians in Germany threw their support behind Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. If they did, they might be less likely to pretend that the crimes of Hitler and the Nazis can be traced to atheism or secularism. They might also be less likely to do so much to transform their own Christianity into an American echo of Germany’s extreme nationalistic Christianity.

1. Easter Sunday Blessing: Nazi Party Rules Germany in God’s Name

A state that once again rules in God’s name can count not only on our applause but also on enthusiastic and active cooperation from the church. With joy and thanks we see how this new state rejects blasphemy, attacks immorality, promotes discipline and order with a firm hand, demands awe before God, works to keep marriage sacred and our youth spiritually instructed, brings honor back to fathers of families, ensures that love of people and fatherland is no longer mocked, but burns in a thousand hearts. …We can only plead with our fellow worshipers to do an they can to help these new productive forces in our land reach a complete and unimpeded victory.

– Easter Sunday Blessing from Protestant Pastors in Bavaria, April 16, 1933

2. Cardinal Adolf Bertram: Promoting the Christian Education of the People

[I wish to express my church’s] sincere and joyous preparedness to cooperate as best they could with the government now ruling that had set itself that tasks of promoting the Christian education of the people, repelling ungodliness and immorality, developing readiness to make sacrifices for the common good and protecting the rights of the Church.

– Cardinal Adolf Bertram, Archbishop of Breslau, letter to Adolf Hitler following the announcement of the Concordat between Nazi Germany and the Vatican, July 22, 1933

3. Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber: May God Preserve Adolf Hitler

What the old parliament and parties did not accomplish in sixty years, your statesmanlike foresight has achieved in six months. For Germany’s prestige in East and West and before the whole world this handshake with the Papacy, the greatest moral power in the history of the world, is a feat of immeasurable blessing. …May God preserve the Reich Chancellor for our people.

– Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Bavaria, praising Adolf Hitler for the Concordat, July 24, 1933

4. Kirchenrat Leutheusser: Christ Comes to Us in the Person of Adolf Hitler

The word “German” is God’s Word! Whosoever understands this is released from all theological conflicts. This is German: return home to Germany and leave behind egoism and your feelings of abandonment. …Christ has come to us through the person of Adolf Hitler. …Hitler has taken root in us; through his strength, through his honesty, his faith and his idealism we have found our way to paradise.

– Kirchenrat Leutheusser, addressing German Christians in Saalfeld, August 30, 1933

5. Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber: Catholics Should Agree with the Führer

In this way the Catholics will profess again their loyalty to people and Fatherland and their agreement with the farsighted and forceful efforts of the Führer to spare the German people the terror of war and Bolshevism, to secure public order and create work for the unemployed.

– Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Bavaria, encouraging German Catholics to vote “yes” in the upcoming plebiscite to re-elect Hitler and support his decision to withdraw from the League of Nations, November 10, 1933

6. Father Senn: Adolf Hitler is the Tool of God

[Adolf Hitler is] the tool of God, called upon to overcome Judaism…

– Father Senn, a Catholic priest, writing in a Catholic publication, May 15, 1934

7. Loyalty Oath: Unconditional Obedience to the Führer

I swear by almighty God this sacred oath: I will render unconditional obedience to the Führer of the German Reich and people, Adolf Hitler, Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht, and, as a brave soldier, I will be ready at any time to stake my life for this oath.

– Loyalty Oath sworn by the military following the death of German President Paul von Hindenburg, August 2, 1934

8. Fulda Bishops’ Conference: Clergy Must be Loyal to Church and State

[It is good that Catholic organizations] reject all subversive attitudes and conduct, refrain from any political activity and especially will resolutely repel all attempted approaches of Communism. …[The clergy should always act] in full loyalty to Church and State.

– Statement of the Fulda Bishops’ Conference, August 23, 1935

9. German Christian: Hitler Has Reawakened the Church

Why don’t our rulers declare themselves for the Volkskirche, which is fighting for a living Christianity? With our great leader Adolf Hitler, our previously dead church also experienced the reawakening of a vital spirit. …[Julius] Streicher, the Franconian leader, said in a speech: ‘The murder of Golgotha is written on the foreheads of the Jews.’ Yes – and that is why there is a curse on that people. Jesus, however, died for us and so we should believe in him and accept him. – German Christian woman, letter to Germany’s Foreign Minister, August 27, 1935 

10. Bishop Rackl of Eichstätt: Good Catholics are Patriots

Good Catholics have always been good patriots. Surely not good Catholics staged the revolution of 1918, Catholic soldiers indeed have not been deserters, and good Catholics will never be on the side of revolutionaries, no matter how badly things are going.

– Bishop Rackl of Eichstätt, Sermon, May 26, 1935

11. Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber: Catholics Should Pray for the Life of the Führer

You are witnesses for the fact that on all Sundays and holidays at the main service we pray in all churches for the Führer as we have promised in the Concordat. …We will today give an answer, a Christian answer: Catholic men, we will now pray together a paternoster for the life of the Führer. This is our answer.

– Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Bavaria, Sermon, responding to newspaper story about a Swiss Catholic asking children to pray for Hitler’s death, July 7, 1936

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