The plight of the captured British sailors in Iran is thought provoking.
There seems to be a divide between those who home in on the facts - such as
the precise location of the 15 when they were captured - and those who
give precedence to appearances - such as which nation is perceived to
have the higher international pecking order in the matter.
This divide has also been said to be based on a cultural/religious tradition, with Christianity
focussing on truth, guilt and innocence and Islam on public perception and status.
The emphasis of each nation involved with the 15, illustrates some kind of divide.
We British have been at pains to demonstrate, using the latest satellite technology,
that our sailors were not within Iran's territorial waters. The Iranians on the other
hand, have concentrated on showing off their prisoners and criticising the bellicose
newspaper reporting in the UK.
To base this divide on the two nations' diffferent religious heritages
seems facile. Many people within the UK frequently conceal their true feelings
for example by exhuding confidence when in reality they feel weak and lacking
in confidence. Women and not a few men in the UK and elsewhere in the West ,
will put a great deal of effort into selecting and wearing clothes to impart
to the world at large, a position or mood which may be quite different from the
wearer's real status or feeling.
I have little doubt too that ordinary Iranians
are as much concerned about ordinary truths innocent or otherwise in their own
lives as we Westerners are in ours.
Perhaps the reality is that rather like the USA and the UK are often said to be
divided by a common language, Iran and the UK are divided by their common
characteristics of homing in on both appearance and truth.
The divisions are caused by the way in which these
human characteristics, which we share, are manipulated by some leaders for
what the ordinary man or woman might call "control freakery" reasons of their own.
Whatever the truth or appearances about their capture may be,
the reality is surely that the 15 (and their families and friends) are and appear to be, suffering at present.
The relevant religious traditions to follow in my view,
are those of praying for those who are suffering and, when politics permit,
visiting the prisoners.