Saturday, December 20, 2014

C21 Horror

What a sad title for a blog post just before Christmas.

However the Peshawar atrocities in Pakistan where dozens of children were brutally murdered at school this week, coupled with the appalling kidnappings and murders of children far away in the African continent  in Nigeria by the Taliban which are still taking place are too hideous to ignore.

Of course history is full of reports of atrocities committed by human beings on each other in god's name. For example the BBC reports as to the Crusades in C11:

In the 1000s, tension increased between Muslims and Christians:
  • In 1071, Muslim Turks defeated the army of the Byzantine Empire at the Battle of Manzikert and Turkish nomads settled in the Christian Byzantine Empire. In 1095, the Emperor of Byzantium appealed to Pope Urban II for help. Pope Urban II asked the knights of Europe to go on a Crusade to win back Jerusalem for Christianity.
  • In the 1090s, the Muslim Turks made it harder for Christian pilgrims to visit Jerusalem.
  • An army of knights and nobles captured Jerusalem in 1099. It was claimed that the Crusaders killed the Muslims until the streets ran with blood. The loss of Jerusalem was a terrible blow to the Muslims. For them, Jerusalem was, and still is, the third holy city of Islam.
  • The Crusaders took over the two Muslim sacred buildings, the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. They deeply offended the Muslims by the way they behaved in them.
  • Christians in Spain began to move southwards and recapture lands that had once been Christian from the Muslims.
The historian Giles Constable says: "each participant made his own crusade". Some reasons for going were:
  • To obey the Pope's call.
  • To be forgiven for past sins. This was important for knights who had killed many people in battle.
  • To steal and kill. Kings encouraged violent knights to go on Crusade because it got them out of the country.
  • To see the world, have an adventure and prove their bravery.
  • To get land overseas. This was tempting for a younger son who would not inherit his father's lands.
  • Serfs joined the Crusades because the Pope promised them their freedom if they went.

Then one only has to hark back to WWII where the actions of Hitler particularly as regards Jewish people  were as hideous as one could imagine. Likewise with regard to Japan in that war; or to Uganda a few years ago where the BBC reported:

Abducted teenagers
Tens of thousands are not prepared to take the risk that the rebels may strike their homes. So they either sleep in the bushes or at dusk they walk into urban centres to sleep in the grounds of hospitals or on shop verandas.
Uganda army tank
The army has been unable to end the LRA rebellion
There is a fear that thousands of children sleeping in one location may soon become too tempting a target for the LRA, which is made up almost entirely of abducted teenagers.
Over 5,000 people seek refuge at St Joseph's Mission in Kitgum.
Father Joseph Gerner, from Germany, heads the mission and has lived through the war in the north.
He describes the current situation as desperate.
"The rebels are all over. I would say practically the whole countryside is in their hands", he says.

Or also in Uganda but  some 3 decades earlier in the 1970s:

Amin murdered hundreds of thousands of real and perceived opponents during his rule, reportedly feasting on the bodies of some of his victims and throwing corpses to crocodiles.
Ugandan presidential adviser John Nagenda told BBC World that it would have been a "good thing" to have put him on trial, but that many Ugandans who suffered through his rule would have a feeling of closure with his death.
George Ngwa, a spokesman for Amnesty International said Amin's death was "a sad comment on the international community's inability to hold leaders accountable for gross human rights abuses".
The UK Anglican Bishop of Birmingham, the Right Reverend Dr John Sentamu, who was beaten up on Amin's orders before fleeing Uganda in 1974, said the former dictator should have been extradited to Uganda to ask his victims for forgiveness.
As Amin consolidated his rule, Uganda plunged into economic chaos as a result of mass expulsions, gross mismanagement and rampant corruption.
The United States cut off aid to Uganda in 1972 in protest at Amin's policies, which former US President Jimmy Carter said "disgusted the entire civilised world".
In 1976, Amin apparently colluded with a Palestinian group which hijacked an Air France jet and held its Israeli passengers hostage at Entebbe Airport.
Israeli commandos rescued all but one of the hostages in a daring raid under the cover of darkness and flew them back to Israel.
Amin repeatedly sent his troops to invade neighbouring Tanzania, and in 1979, Tanzanian troops and Ugandan exiles counter-attacked, sending Amin into exile.
Amin fled to Libya, then Iraq, before finally settling in Saudi Arabia, where he was allowed to remain provided he stayed out of politics. 

Those monstrosities were  truly horrible and the  hideous nature of Taliban atrocities of recent  days ranks with those for  their hideousness. Listing crimes with regard to the degrees of their hideousness serves little useful purpose. However  what causes the Taliban's horrors to  stick in the mind is their concentration on children. Hitler of course murdered thousand upon thousands of whole families but the murders of so many children by the Taliban almost creates a new depraved kind of human horror.

May those who have lost children so hideously, or who have been otherwise tortured be comforted  and my those who have died be saved - at this Advent-time 2014.

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