Opinion

On Terror

Manchester

I understand, on some level, that violence is a circle. Aside from a scuffle here and there, violence is an abstract concept to me. I’ve never been in a war zone, I’ve never been shot or maimed, and I haven’t seen someone die in person. When I see violence in a movie, it’s often gratuitous or poetic or even beautiful. When I see it secondhand, it’s usually poorly filmed and anticlimactic. The internet can bring violence to our screens and our phones, but it still just isn’t the same. You can watch any manner of grotesqueness as long as you have the data to do it. There was a time where we spoke in a hush about snuff films and traded old copies of Faces of Death videos to try and see some real life blood. Now we can just follow the links to a cavalcade of the ways that humans can make mistakes and be cruel to each other intentionally.

How is a person supposed to react when they hear that there is an alleged suicide bombing at a pop concert in the western hemisphere? I couldn’t name a single Ariana Grande song but my understanding is that she gained her fame from children’s shows on The Disney Channel. What could be a more harmless affair than that? 20,000 young girls, and boys, and their parents who got dragged along for a night that went from the best to the worst experience they will have, maybe ever. And that’s making the assumption that they survived. As of now, 26 of them have not, and nearly double that amount are seriously injured. I imagine a few more of them will succumb to their wounds too. How the fuck do you make sense of that?

I cannot put into words my contempt for the cowards who wield their religion as if they themselves are gods. They almost always fit a type: to quote Donald Trump, without irony, the majority of them are just losers. They are unexceptional giblet heads with no hobbies, no interests, and no future. They are oftentimes too stupid to find any better calling and they fall in with other losers and degenerates who know nothing about the religion they claim to represent. These idiots are exploited by sociopaths who are too cruel and too worthless to even make the attempt to assimilate into the liberal societies they pollute with their presence and attempt to drag down to their level.

One could argue that a political act of terror is, at least on some level, an attempt to be virtuous. If a politician is assassinated, you could go out on a limb and make the argument that it is an extreme example of direct action meant to change the very system that is supposed to be under attack. Though I would not make the case that a political assassination is an effective means of change, there is at least a point to it at some level.

What happened in Manchester is not a direct action and not a legitimate outburst directed at the western political system that is responsible for neocolonial atrocities against voiceless and defenseless people in nations too small and too remote to defend themselves. When innocent people are killed in order to protest other innocent people being victimized throughout the world, the action becomes illegitimate. You cannot rationalize defenseless people being murdered. There is no greater good in play.

What was on display last night was the cowardly outburst of a useless segment of the population that fears and hates women for their sexuality, their boldness, and their very existence. It is the putrid end result of years of archaic religious belief and conditioning that has treated women like second class citizens since its very inception. Religion, in its fundamentalist form, is incompatible with our notion of what a liberal western democracy is supposed to be. It advocates violence in clear terms and, unchecked, it sows the seeds of misery for the people who abide by it and especially for the people who do not.

Having said that, a person can have an intense dislike for religion and know that the majority of its adherents are decent and complex people, each with their own interpretation of their holy texts and just trying to make sense of a chaotic world that none of us will ever truly get. Islam contains a very visible minority of demented, violent psychopaths and it contains a giant number of people who worry about bills, relationships, and what they’re going to have for lunch. A strong percent of the victims of religious violence are often members of the same religion.

I can’t say what the solution is but I can say that demonizing the seventh of the world that adheres to Islam furthers the isolation that drives the women-hating idiots in the ranks to violence. There are times that I wish the nihilists who use Islam to express their fury at the world would get what they really want, which is for there to be an unending hell. And if I could press a button to send them there, I would press it twice just to make sure they were really gone.

I get heated when I read about the latest atrocity committed by extremist adherents of Islam and I imagine any number of satisfying scenarios where they get exactly what they deserve. There is a meme that makes the rounds of a female Kurdish soldier speaking, with a smile on her face, of the fear she witnesses when a member of Isis realizes they have been killed by a woman. She says they think it will send them to hell, and it fills me with a great joy knowing that some stupid people spend their last moments on earth in extreme religious torment, thinking their plan has backfired and their idea of the rules of their faith have damned them to an eternity of torment.

If there is a hell, I struggle to see how it could be any worse than the world that religious extremists have created. There’s something very arbitrary about religion in general. People are born into it without being asked and raised to believe it’s the truth, in spite of any internal or external evidence to the contrary or even the little niggling voice that never goes away, the one that whispers to people that there is something ludicrous about many of the claims on display. The religious conditioning we’re born into shapes our shared worldviews, our language, and our societies, and to pretend non-Muslim majority countries are utopias for people who are born or identify as female is lazy thinking too.

The fact of the whole ugly thing is that people can spend a whole lifetime trying to unlearn the bullshit stamped into us from the second we can comprehend anything and still not come close. To see an action like the bombing in Manchester is to be confronted with the bare-faced final result of unquestioning adherence to idiocy. It is an action so pointless that I feel my chest well up with rage and I imagine finding the person responsible and breaking every bone in their body and screaming at them and clawing out their eyes and cracking their skull until it splits open and huffing and puffing and giving completely into the ape brain I’ve been born with and realizing, even when bad people die, as they should, that they will be replaced by someone even worse.

And on the opposite side, they will be countered by the people who open their homes and hearts and lives to people they don’t know, taking the risk of the Samaritan who crossed the street to help a stranger, and I feel the shame that someone I don’t know, who is now a stain of shit and blood on an arena foyer floor, has filled me with the desire to kill someone else I don’t know because of the actions that they sanctioned and funded and encouraged. I wish that people who want to kill because of their religion would just kill themselves, but we can’t take a crystal ball and find out who is going to become an asshole either. And because of my rage at a situation, I’m helpless to fix and vulnerable to, I have implicated myself in the hatred too. Violence is a circle.

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The views expressed in this post are of its author and do not necessarily represent those held by Heft.live.

 


Featured image courtesy of Inquirer News.

 

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