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The Sacrifice

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Rudi
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Posted 09/21/06 - 7:04 PM:
Subject: The Sacrifice
The sun was but a sliver in the horizon. The crisp autumn air was always at its coldest at this time. The stillness of the dawn could easily betray the tragedy that had befallen his land.

He kissed his mother one last time. She reluctantly let him go. She understood and she was proud. But she was also afraid, a mother's instincts raging against a rational decision.

He too was afraid as he walked out in the early morning darkness. He knew no other way, even if he didn't fully understand what it all really meant.

He knew that his sacrifice alone would not be enough, but his along with those of others might be. His people and his way of life hung in the balance; His beliefs and his dignity also.

He walked more quickly. Maybe he was just nervous. Maybe he just wanted to get there. Mybe both. There was certainly fear, but below that fear there was his sense of duty; there was his determination to do his part.

"God, let my sacrifice not be in vain" he thought. "God, my mother understands... and my sacrifice is her sacrifice. Please let her be proud. Please help me in my time of need."

The horizon began to catch fire. The orb of the sun began its climb. He walked faster, now nearing the main road. The faster he walked the heavier his legs seem to become.

He closed his eyes and felt the creeping daylight warm his face. The air was still cool, but the sun, in all its tender glory, carressed him and reassured him. "It will be all right", he thought.

He saw them in the distance, walking slowly in a group of eight or ten. They were dark figures at first, but they quickly grew into specific forms. They saw him and eyed him suspiciously at first. But then they seemed to lose interest. He approached them.

He felt cold sweat running down his back. His legs were heavy... so, so heavy. "Please God, help me. Please God." He seemed to lose himself. His thoughts raced: the mountains were he grew up, his mother waking him up in the morning to do his chores when he was a child, his brother when he broke his arm. Thoughts raced, or more like flashed. "God help me." Was he muttering? Was he sweating? They seemed to be interested in him again. They turned. One of them looked him straight in the eyes. He saw! He knew! Suddenly one of them screamed something. There was no more time. He closed his eyes and pulled the cord.

"God will help me. God will not let me die in vain. God is great".

-------------------------

The media in the West portrays suicide bombers as cold blooded, cowards. It is somehow not an honourable way to fight a war we are told. Somehow we are led to believe that dropping bombs on people from high above is braver and more honourable than confronting one's enemy and blowing him up. Somehow we are led to believe that suicide bombers are barely human and that their acts are proof of this. Shooting people with an automatic rifle from a roof is somehow more human it seems. I, for one, don't see a difference.
b.mellow
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Posted 12/24/06 - 6:57 PM:

This is really good. And an apt subject. Bill Maher lost his job on ABC for saying the 9/11 hijacking was in fact NOT an act of cowardice but bravery. And there's a major motion picture being released soon dealing with the life of a suicide bomber, though the end result appears to lean more towards the main character realizing suicide missions are wrong. Still an important angle, though, considering most would feel better thinking bombers as pure maniacs, out of touch with feelings of sympathy and empathy. The writing itself was good too.
OxygenJunkie
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Posted 12/24/06 - 8:32 PM:

It can be rather contradictory when, in the West, so much honor seems to go the way of those who are "willing to die for a cause" and then, or so it appears, the West also defines which causes are worth fighting for, finding ways to dismiss the sacrifices of others as barbaric acts of extremist ideologies.

Perhaps we've come to separate the notions of "sacrifice" and "suicide" in regards to those issues because we have the capacity to limit our risk, if you will, and fight a war in a manner where few are put in instant and immediate danger. We fight believing we will make it back alive, feeling that those who have been lost were unfortunate, instead of fighting with the knowledge that we are very likely to die, and that those who return home have been blessed. They may appear to be similar mindsets, but they really are not. Where the 'extremists' are willing to sacrifice their lives, we now seemingly are only willing to sacrifice our freedoms momentarily, part with certain liberties for a so-called greater cause, if that makes sense?

In many ways, this is why we're losing in Iraq, and Afghanistan. And let's not mince words and try to find a politically correct way to discuss it, and let's say it like it is: We don't want a "real" war. We love the idea of bloodshed, the power and glory of war, but frankly, we don't like the idea of actually fighting all that much, unless we're guarranteed to win.

Bullies are often, deep down inside, the biggest cowards of all. That's why they beat on the little guy. But here's what the little guy knows that the big guy often doesn't: It's not how many times you fall, it's how many times you get back up.
Rudi
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Rudi
Posted 12/28/06 - 10:37 AM:

b.mellow wrote:
This is really good. And an apt subject. Bill Maher lost his job on ABC for saying the 9/11 hijacking was in fact NOT an act of cowardice but bravery. And there's a major motion picture being released soon dealing with the life of a suicide bomber, though the end result appears to lean more towards the main character realizing suicide missions are wrong. Still an important angle, though, considering most would feel better thinking bombers as pure maniacs, out of touch with feelings of sympathy and empathy. The writing itself was good too.



Thanks. I appreciate the comments. I think that your comment about "thinking bombers as pure maniacs, out of touch with feelings of sympathy and empathy" is very important. I see this as propaganda. It is important for the US to dehumanise and even demonise these people; they need to paint them as "cowrdly bastards" that need to be "wiped off the face of the Earth". Seeing them as people with deep beliefs and integrity who see no other way of fighting a technologically much superior invader would certainly not help the American government's cause any. Of course, I don't advocate suicide bombing, but I do think that it is important to put a human face on this terrible part of the new wars.

Rudi


Rudi
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Rudi
Posted 12/28/06 - 10:39 AM:

OxygenJunkie wrote:
It can be rather contradictory when, in the West, so much honor seems to go the way of those who are "willing to die for a cause" and then, or so it appears, the West also defines which causes are worth fighting for, finding ways to dismiss the sacrifices of others as barbaric acts of extremist ideologies.



I agree fully.

Rudi


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Posted 12/28/06 - 6:10 PM:

I remember watching a video from my Poli-Sci class about suicide bombers. It included the interview of a young man behind bars whose jacket failed to detonate. When asked if he had any interests or hobbies he enthusiastically mentioned how much he loved the sport of soccer. He revealed that if his mandated target had been (hypothetically) a soccer stadium filled with people enjoying a soccer game, he would not and could not have gone through with it. His zeal for hating Americans (from local social influence) might have been exchanged for a zeal in pursuing the game of soccer.


OxygenJunkie
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Posted 01/21/07 - 11:30 AM:

The nuance between sacrifice and suicide isn't the only scenario in which we seem to determine what's worthy and honourable, and then, we somehow make exceptions.

Just a side note, but this popped in my mind reading this wonderful text again.

You've probably heard the expressions, "Tribal mentality." All too commonly, we link -Tribal mentality- to a lot of the problems which plague predominantly black communities, such as violence and crime.

I used to work with this handsome man, a beautiful soul too, a man who was from the Seychelles named Kennedy. We spoke of this once, and he had something very interesting to say...

"How are we any more tribal then whites? Both world wars happened mainly in Europe, which last I checked, were predominantly white nations. You can't speak about European history without talking about war and conflict half the time, with different nations or empires constantly being at war with each other. How is this any less tribal? Because it's not appropriate to call a citizenship a tribe? I fail to see the major difference. It seems that for whites, 'citizenship' is often just another word for 'tribe' but it doesn't make white people any less tribal in how they approach the world from where I sit."

Frankly... I have zero argument against that.
Rudi
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Rudi
Posted 01/22/07 - 8:30 AM:

OxygenJunkie wrote:
"How are we any more tribal then whites? Both world wars happened mainly in Europe, which last I checked, were predominantly white nations. You can't speak about European history without talking about war and conflict half the time, with different nations or empires constantly being at war with each other. How is this any less tribal? Because it's not appropriate to call a citizenship a tribe? I fail to see the major difference. It seems that for whites, 'citizenship' is often just another word for 'tribe' but it doesn't make white people any less tribal in how they approach the world from where I sit."



Ah, but you see (the white bigot in me would say), we 'white folk' are of a civilized lot so therefore we cannot be labelled 'tribal'... ours is the struggle of empires, commerce, and all that is good... yours is the struggle of dark ignorance and savagery...

... I'm back now...

Yes, Oxy quite right. I fully agree. But it has been the white European/American man who has penned official history with all its ugly biases. Although we are all fully aware of this, it is amazing to me how seductive the whole thing still is and how much the West still (and largely willfully) deceives itself about it all...

Rudi


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Posted 02/04/07 - 8:25 AM:

And yet, looking only into America (not the US, the continent) we know that we went wrong entirely. It's like there's no history prior to the arrival of the white man, which makes me wonder how these people they have met here, the Native Americans, could somehow have been around for centuries and produce no history of their own.

But we are what we are. These people were perfectly willing to share the land with us, because there's really no such thing as a 'ownership of the land" mentality with Native Americans, that's us... and we made sure to own the land, didn't we?

We signed treaties with them, until they magically vanished.
We brought war and disease, and then had to replace Natives with Africans because we needed stronger slaves which had already been exposed, and grown immune, to much of our diseases.
And we sure showed them how important it was to respect nature.

But we're civilised? No. We're organised. Being civilized is another thing.
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Posted 02/04/07 - 10:02 AM:

Hey guys,

"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." Bertrand Russell.

Eurocentric cultures have 'learned' to abhor the idea of suicidal attacks. The horrors of the battle of the Somme were the result of the idea of a 'battle of attrition'. Japanese kamikaze attacks were called madness. The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic weapons was justified with the argument that it would save more lives than it would take. In its bloody history, Eurocentric culture has, most recently, found the belief in sacrificing lives for military gain to be at the heart of evil (evil being an act ultimately destructive to society), even though this ‘lesson’ was learned the hard way. It is at the heart of western belief that to die in battle is contrary to the point of battle, even though this is a relatively recent development, and even though the fallen are still glorified with remembrances.

Do you recall seeing the WWI propaganda film of the cartoon ape in German kit destroying the world? It is easier to justify killing an enemy when that enemy is refuted to be immoral; animalistic in their beliefs. To see them as human is to risk realising that war is murder, which-ever way you slice it. Kill the infidel dog, for they are not human as we are. As Rudi says; to realise that it is a human being behind the explosive vest just wouldn’t do.
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Posted 02/04/07 - 2:15 PM:

beans wrote:
To see (the enemy) as human is to risk realising that war is murder


An excellent point. Though I would like to add some thoughts:

When we 'turn the enemy' into a 'lesser being' we extend the application of this idea, not only to those who effectively do battle against us and for which there is a reasonable motive to perceive as an enemy, but also to the entire collective which has produced the enemy. After all, how could only the warriors be lesser beings? Obviously, the culture allowed it. In light of this, and if Iraqis would abide by the common western standard, then the Bush administration and the actions carried out by the American military under his command is a direct result of what American culture is, and hence, the entire United States should be considered an enemy. Considering that Bush began this war during his first term, after becoming President with a minority of votes in the universal turnout, would it be reasonable to consider all Americans as 'evil?' Beyond this, as truth was shed in regard to this particular conflict, Americans which had been lied to as to why the US was even going there, increasingly moved against this war and for the most part admit that they were wrong.

Sadly, we are fully aware that any sort of armed conflict, a war on any scale, will come with a fair number of civilian victims, the deaths of thousands, if not milions, of innocents. Hence, we must dismiss all internal attempts to prevent the war, all resistance groups who militate against it from within, and demonize 'a larger enemy,' namely, the "nation" we are at war against, which we downplay as this single and united body supporting the war, allowing us to feel more at ease with the idea of killing civilians, because, well, they'd fight against us too if it was their job.

We wonder why many 'Hate the west.' Well, by our own standards, this is actually acceptable, isn't it?
Rudi
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Posted 02/09/07 - 3:03 PM:

Yes, Oxy... by our own standards, by those that we have set, we are more than ever legitimizing the things that supposedly we abhor... For example, by the now legitimately established principle of pre-emptive action it is now okay for other countries who feel that we may be threatening their interests and their way of life to actively do something about it... Attacking the symbols of American oppression... (i.e., its financial and military centres) makes a lot of sense, certainly as much as when the Americans or the Israelis go after infrastructure targets. If there are civillian casualties... that's just collateral damage, isn't it? We are fast becoming what we supposedly are fighting against... And although the US is largely to blame, the rest of the West must share the burden because our governments should have stood up from the start and said "No, this is immoral and we will not only not take part but diplomatically fight it every bit of the way". In this sense the EU, Australia, Canada et al. are just as guilty...

Rudi


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Posted 02/10/07 - 9:20 AM:

I say that it is ultimately bad, 'bad' being a belief held by a person that is ultimately detrimental to that person, to believe that the death of an other will solve a problem. It's a morality that is fundamentally anti-military, so I don't think I'll mention it online. D'oh!

I mean, what if they gave a war and nobody came after all? Having said that, voluntary euthanasia tests the trueness of that morality. To believe that another person would be better off dead, even if I were agreeing with their own self-assessment, would not be beneficial to me, but is it ultimately bad for the individual to desire death for themselves? And if no, what can be done to enable an individual yet still adhere to the belief that it is ultimately bad to believe that the death of an other will solve a problem?
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Posted 02/10/07 - 9:52 AM:

beans wrote:
It's a morality that is fundamentally anti-military, so I don't think I'll mention it online. D'oh!


I don't have a problem with it. I'm not only anti-war, which is a nice catch phrase, I'm openly anti-military and I make no excuses for that stance. I'm also unforgiving towards the 'pro-military/anti-war' stance which makes about as much sense to me as saying "People should eat nothing but junk/fast food and be a healthy, obesity deprived bunch."

It's not gonna work...

You know where it comes from? The 'pro-military/anti-war' stance? From communities where military service is a means out of poverty, or in the least, a secure income from a stable job. But these people from the poorest communities aren't dumb. They know full well that if they're sent to the battlezone, they'll find themselves in the one position that can prove even worse than being poor at home. So they join the military sincerely hoping that they won't go at war. In that sense, they're not entirely pro-military for what it is, they just want to eat, which, you know, is actually a pretty reasonable thing to want. If they could achieve that without the security of a job in the armed forces, trust me, they wouldn't join the army to begin with.

I mean, who, with a good job and stable income goes "Hmmm... I think that I need more risk in my life, I really need a job where I can get killed and leave my children in a mother-fatherless at home?"

Who? It can only be a freakin' lunatic!
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