left biblioblography: April 2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Sound Of One Hand Crapping: Buddhist Violence?

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

enlightenmentraceIf you meet the Buddha in the road, kill the Buddha.” – Old Zen saying.

Mostly, atheists rail against the Western religions because we are far more familiarized with their patriarchal nonsense, and we grew up around those specific religions. As a rule (myself among the guilty), we tend to romanticize the Eastern religions due to lack of familiarity and/or hesitance because we not quite rubbing shoulders with them. Buddhists for instance, don’t knock on our doors and pass out tracts. They tend as a rule (or appear to be) less aggressive, and actually somewhat more peaceful.

But whenever you get large crowds of any ideology, there are always exceptions.

For instance:

Video shows Burmese police standing by as Buddhists attack Muslims

Video footage has emerged showing Burmese police standing by as Buddhist mobs wielding sticks and swords attack Muslims in Meikhtila – where last month more than 40 people were killed and 12,000 displaced – on the same day that the EU is expected to permanently lift all sanctions against the country.

The footage, apparently shot by police officers, shows Buddhist crowds looting and ransacking a Muslim jewelry shop, cheering when Muslims are attacked, and setting fire to mosques and houses. Later, a man who has been set alight and is believed to be Muslim can be seen lying in the road, surrounded by a crowd of people. "Pour water on him," a man in the crowd commands. "Let him die," shouts another. "No water for him."

Both Buddhist monks and police can be seen through much of the footage – the monks often taking part in the violence, the police watching immobile as it progresses.

Much as I detest the religion of Islam, this is simply unacceptable. Blind mob fury is not a solution for anyone – in such instances, innocents are inevitably targeted and harmed.

How did this come about?

Meet the Burmese ‘Bin Laden’:

Buddhist monk uses racism and rumours to spread hatred in Burma

His name is Wirathu, he calls himself the "Burmese Bin Laden" and he is a Buddhist monk who is stoking religious hatred across Burma.

The saffron-robed 45-year-old regularly shares his hate-filled rants through DVD and social media, in which he warns against Muslims who "target innocent young Burmese girls and rape them", and "indulge in cronyism".

To ears untrained in the Burmese language, his sermons seem steady and calm – almost trance-like – with Wirathu rocking back and forth, eyes downcast. Translate his softly spoken words, however, and it becomes clear how his paranoia and fear, muddled with racist stereotypes and unfounded rumours, have helped to incite violence and spread misinformation in a nation still stumbling towards democracy.

"We are being raped in every town, being sexually harassed in every town, being ganged up on and bullied in every town," Wirathu recently told the Guardian, speaking from the Masoeyein monastery in Mandalay where he is based.

"In every town, there is a crude and savage Muslim majority."

It would be easy to disregard Wirathu as a misinformed monk with militant views, were it not for his popularity. Presiding over some 2,500 monks at this respected monastery, Wirathu has thousands of followers on Facebook and his YouTube videos have been watched tens of thousands of times.

The increasing openness of Burma, which was once tightly controlled under a military junta, has seen a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment spread across the 60 million-strong Buddhist majority – and Wirathu is behind much of it.

It’s difficult to get at the root of this – on one hand, there has been at least one instance where one woman was raped and killed by 3 Muslim men, but on the other hand, how many times has this occurred? We all know Islam is a rape culture (how they treat their women strongly indicates this), but saying all Muslim men are rapists is unfair unless there is sufficient evidence to say otherwise. It sounds as if it has been going on for some time, but Myanmar is not likely to be indulging those details anytime soon.

There is also the troubling fact that there is a long history of anti-Muslim violence in Burma.

Much as I detest the religion of Islam, I am a big proponent of fairness and justice to all. Ideological bigotry and bullying shouldn’t be inflicted on anyone, in my book. Beliefs are subject to annihilation, but not lives.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston Bombing: Religiously Motivated?

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
radicalislamIt’s usually difficult to ascertain just how much crazy religious nonsense played in a terrorist attack. For instance, anybody with half a brain knows that Timothy McVeigh, despite his claims that “Science is my religion” (Red flag! Smoke and mirrors!) was a very religious individual (he was trying to ameliorate the backlash his actions would cause to his faith).

In the case of the horror of the Boston Bombing, it appears that one of the brothers involved was an Islamic extremist. At least according to the FBI:

One of the two men suspected of being behind the Boston Marathon bombings was under FBI surveillance as a suspected "extremist" for at least three years, according to his parents.

As questions were raised about how well known Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were to federal investigators, their mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, said that the FBI had spoken to the family regularly: "They were telling me that Tamerlan was really an extremist leader and they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremists' sites." She added that the police were monitoring her son "at every step".

The bloody denouement to the hunt for the bombers came four days after the attack and 24 hours after the FBI released surveillance-camera images of two young men suspected of planting the pressure-cooker explosives at the marathon finish line.

The attack killed three people and injured more than 170. Armed guards were stationed at the hospital where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect, was being held, after being apprehended following a gun battle on Friday evening. Medical staff said he was in a serious condition. A special interrogation team for high-value suspects was waiting to question the university student about the most serious terror attack on American soil since 9/11.

These weren’t some crazy desert assholes with too much time on their hands, sand up their asses, or poverty stricken. These were American citizens (granted, they weren’t 2nd generation), with food on the table and promising futures, privy to all the benefits of this country.

And still they decided to blindly lash out, in the name of Allah (peanut butter and jelly be upon his name), and harm innocents in some misguided delusional effort to make a statement.

We don’t know yet.

But the dynamics of the older-younger brother dynamic is obviously a factor. Why did they do it? Nobody knows quite yet. Not hard to say. Likely it was done in the ‘glory of Allah’ and/or a desperately stupid effort to support Chechnya’s liberation.

So again, Islam, the so-called ‘religion of peace’ is what’s known as (if the kids are still calling it these days) an EPIC FAIL. And we need to stop pandering to these assholes (not just Islam, but Christianity and Judaism) – regardless of their reaction to criticism. Because one litmus test of any civilization is the response to criticism. The response should be reasoned discussion, not violence.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

YACCR–Yet Another Crazy Cracker Republican.

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
ronpaulnutcakeThere are actually a lot of conservative atheists who like this grandfatherly old asshole. And to the average layman, he seems to be a regular American – shoots from the hip, apparently a wise old guy everyone should listen to.

Don’t be fooled.

Ron Paul is ‘pro-life’, a gawd-fearing fuckwad who thinks life begins at conception. And, scarily enough, he has covert ties to Dominionists.

Once you’ve had this little eye-opener, I suggest you go out and scrape that ‘Ron Paul In 2012’ bumper sticker off your car, burn that pro-Paul t-shirt you’ve been wearing, and recede into an embarrassed silence upon mention of his name.

Former Representative Ron Paul's announcement this week of the upcoming launch of his eponymous home-schooling curriculum makes clear that the end of his career as a gadfly Republican presidential candidate does not spell the end of his role at the helm of a movement aimed at transforming the way Americans think about government – and God.

The Tea Party godfather has always enjoyed a devoted following of home-schoolers, a relatively quiet segment of the Paul coalition that frequently has flown under the media's radar. After all, one-time Republican candidates better known for their hyper-competitive citation of the Bible, like Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, or Rick Santorum, make a much bigger spectacle of their support from advocates of shielding your kids from the evils of secular public school education.

While Paul's dedication to the home-schooling cause is emblematic of his widely known views of limited government, the "Ron Paul Curriculum" reveals the far-reaching nature of his religious beliefs.

Paul's advocacy of home-schooling is not just about getting kids out of what home-schoolers disparagingly call "government schools". It's not just about teaching them that government should be small and largely inconsequential. It's based on the idea that the government is largely illegitimate, and that one must create a society in which the populace will follow "moral" (that is, biblical) laws, rather than the laws created by an overzealous, tyrannical government.

When they talk about government tyranny, they're not just talking about statutes and regulations: they're talking about supreme court case law, too. Paul, for example, believes that Roe v Wade is illegitimate, and that states should be able to criminalize abortion, regardless of what the supreme court has to say.

And here’s the freakshow part:

Paul's new director of curriculum development is Gary North, the son-in-law of Christian Reconstructionism founder RJ Rushdoony. Reconstructionism is a movement based on the claim that God granted only limited "jurisdiction" to government, and that biblical law should supplant civil law in all but a handful of circumstances.

He has ties to the ‘Taxpayer Party as well, which lands him firmly in Fuckwad County US of AmeriKKKa.

So for any of you Ron Paul supporters: you’ve picked the wrong guy. Sorry.

And don’t kid yourself thinking he’s history; he’s one of those clowns who will be meddling in the muddy waters of our political process for years to come. Just be thankful he never made prez.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, April 06, 2013

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

blow the horrid deed in every eye,Holocaust Memorial Day
That tears shall drown the wind – Macbeth Act 1, scene 7

Tomorrow is the mark of a dark day in history, a horror we cannot nor should not forget. When the tides of hate were high, and obsidian were those waves. That old whore Christianity gave birth to a squalling monstrosity of xenophobic hate, the raging anti-Semitism that is her legacy of the centuries.

And down through the millennia, when never a divine hand interfered, this one strikes deep to the aware religious heart: when men persecuted and slaughtered the tribe whose chronicles their very own beliefs were built upon,  the tribe that claimed themselves the favorite race of that imaginary deity, and yet no mighty hand parted the heavens, no angels came to any rescue, no voice boomed forth from the skies, “Let my people go!”

And instead the bodies piled up like cordwood, the backs of vans were choked with exhaust and bodies, skin was used to make lampshades, and the hated folk were shat upon as if they were less than animals.

Just one more proof piled high on the mountain of evidence, that we are left to our own devices, that the universe cares not one jot nor tittle about our species, that because we have no afterlife, we should then take care of each other all the more.

Till the next post, then.