I can’t sleep. I can’t work in the studio. This week, two Canadian soldiers were murdered, and their murderers were killed after them. This while four of my good friends are fighting cancers, trying desperately to stay alive. The disconnect between these two realities is overwhelming. I bet we all would have a vastly different take on it if we were the ones fighting cancer.
But then, maybe we are.
The level of disrespect that taints human dealings at all levels defies all religious posturing. I was born Jewish in a Muslim country, grew up in a Catholic country, live in a Christian country boasting Multiculturalism as its core value though the province I live in is sometimes unclear about that concept. I learned by this that all the religions are guilty of arrogance in their relationship with other religions and with people with different faiths. Each boasts a direct line to the deity, each struts about in self-righteous confidence that its answer is THE answer and all who don’t see it are, genetically or by wilful self-exclusion, inferior.
Sure, the militarized fundamentalists and extremists (aka terrorists) take this to insane levels (as we saw for instance during the Inquisition and the Crusades), as we see today going on in the Middle East, but it would seem that many of the more progressive and moderate still deep down believe that ‘the other’ deserves his/her fate, or in fact attracts it.
It’s easy to see it in the way those we call terrorists are behaving. However, it’s more subtle but equally present in our society, for instance in the way those who defend male-dominated sectors of society treat women (they’ve given themselves permission to never forgive Eve), the way countries treat their First Nations, the way we tolerate all kinds of human rights abuses - what they do to children! - the way we think of and treat animals, what we do to the environment. According to the religions all these things are God created yet despite this nothing escapes our exploitation and abuse. None are spared our disrespect.
To me, that is what all the religions have in common. The extremists prove it by their violence, the moderates by their inaction and religious so-called leaders either by their thirst for dominance and control or by their silence. It’s not us, everyone cries, it’s someone else.
How the world would change if Priests, Rabbis, Imams and all other spiritual leaders left Heaven (or Hell) to its own, I’m sure quite capable, management and led by respect of ‘the other’, including non-human others.
But, so much for fantasy. Now, my thoughts are with the families of those killed and I just hope my friends survive their cancers.