Monday, July 25, 2011

The Norway tragedy

Do I have an opinion about everything? Yes . I do!
Even about the Norway massacre

Reading about the tragic massacre in Oslo, Norway, was heart-breaking for me.

I have been thinking about religion ever since I started reading religion related problems in India in the newspapers. And as all of you know, India, has seethed with religion related fights since thousands of years…Hindus who tried to crush Buddhism at the time of Shankaracharya; Muslims who invaded India and tried to crush Hinduism; fight between Sikhs and Hindus; between Sikhs and Muslims; Christina missionaries forcing conversion of Hindus during colonial times; even within the single Hindu religion, here are fights between the thousands of castes! This caste war amongst Hindus is like the Catholic-Protestant fights among Christians or the Shia –Sunni fights among the Muslims.

I remember reading in newspapers, when I was a teen about the Sikhs who were asking for a separate state (country?) of their own and there were daily bomb-attacks in crowded buses of New Delhi. The news about the India-Pakistan fights over Kashmir, the news about Hindus killing Muslims and Muslims killing Hindus, in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh are all grist for the Indian news ‘mill’.

After coming to Canada and reading news of other countries I realized that even in these ‘modern’ times, there are religion based fights going on all over the world…..developed countries, not excluded!

The Palestine-Israel fights for example; I neither knew much nor cared about the Palestine-Israel fights as I was too involved with the local and national Indian news than international news. Now that I am out of India, I am able to focus and try to understand what is happening internationally.

It is so depressing to see the religion based fights, wars, killings and bombings happening over and over in the world today. Here are a few day-dreams I have had, growing up.

* I always had this fantasy of a wonderful world, where people live peacefully and all are engaged in science and arts activities, production, conserving the Earth, discovering new worlds and enjoyment of life.

*For a while, Communism seemed such a Utopia. (that was when I read of a rather na├»vely written chapter on communism in my political science text in B.A!).I gave up on communism when I realized that human psychology will never permit communism to work..... as people are only human and not 'perfect';  .

*Later, I fantasized a world without ‘evil’ people and a world where no one was selfish.

*I out-grew that fantasy pretty quickly and then thought of how wonderful the world would be if Jesus Christ and Mohamed had never been born. Of course, one major loss would be that the beautiful religion inspired art would not have got created. (the beautiful churches, mosques, sculptures, paintings, poetry, philosophy, literature, ethics, etc)

But a friend of mine, argues and stated that if it were not Christ and Mohamed, it would have been someone else! Someone would have been around to ‘lead’ or ‘save’ the people....and then teh usual rifts between followers would have started and the world would be in teh same state it is in now.

*Would banning religion help? I don’t think so. It has been tried and has failed miserably in communist countries. Religion goes underground; it can lead to twists and people's sufffering; People cannot be forced and it is simply not ethical to use force.

*I am not religious by nature and I sometimes wonder if religion has outlived it’s usefulness today. If religion dies a natural death and fades away slowly, then the world would be rid of a major war-causing nuisance. Of course, the wars are in the name of religion but are in fact  caused by greed, economic factors and greed or  need for power.
If   religion were to be dead today and we still had wars,  there would be at least be a greater transparency about the real cause of the wars. And when the true cause is known, it is easier to deal with.

*Would introducing mandatory logic, rational thinking, philosophy in grades 11 and 12 in ALL countries help? I don’t know. I know for sure that having Moral Science in Indian primary schools did not help much! So I don’t see how making Logic, Philosophy, mandatory in high schools help. But my heart believes that if sensible teachers, taught teenagers about ethics, morals, decency, philosophy, logic, etc, then you catch them young and the world can go in the right direction. Instead you have stupid parents who inculcate hate, paranoia, avoidance of ‘other’ people in their kids from a young age(My own grandmother would warn me not to play with certain kids as they were ‘not good").
You have stupid religious heads covertly encouraging attacks on other religious communities; you have stupid governments in some countries publishing children’s text books which incite hatred of certain religions! No wonder, these children grow up to hate other religions or other sects or any ‘other’s.

Coming to this awful massacre of young innocent people by A.B.Breivik, he says he killed them as a wake up call to Europeans to not let Europe be overrun by Muslims. But what is his rationale in killing innocent people? Does the wake up call have to involve murder of innocent people who had NOTHING to do with immigration policy of Norway. I do not know.
What is the logic behind killing young people, who had NOTHING to do with immigration to Norway? Was there no other way for him to communicate his beliefs?

This brings to mind, an article I read on the internet recently. Some states in USA and Canada have been overrun with deer and this has lead to lots of accidents and leading to deer damaging valuable farmlands. People are asking for culling of deer to control the deer population. I am very much pro-deer and pro wild-life and I think that the Earth has been overrun with human beings (7 billion humans will be inhabiting earth in a short while!) and I angrily thought that maybe the government should think of culling human beings who are overrunning the space belonging to wild life instead of culling deer. But reading about Breivik’s terrible deed, I have changed my mind. Don’t cull humans; don’t cull the deer; Just find some way to co-exist!

I fully understand Breivik’s fears about the people of certain faiths overrunning the space and changing the demographics. For example I have seen the lovely peaceful faith of Zoroastrians disappearing because that faith does not force people to convert to their faith and it is a gentle religion which does not force the people born into it’s faith to stick to it. As a result this religion is all but extinct. (I think the number of Parsees is less than one million in the world today)

Another example is that of the many faiths and cults which became extinct as Christianity and Islam spread all over the world. Whatever faiths or religions existed in Europe and West Asia have been wiped out by Christianity and Islam.

The demographics of Afghanistan and Pakistan and Bangladesh changed from being Hindu regions for thousands of years to becoming Islam dominant regions when the Muslim invaders came and forcibly took over the people living here. The demographics of even far east countries has been changed by the spread of religion...Malaysia in the far east is Muslim, African nations which once had their tribal Gods are now muslim, South and North Americas which had Native Indian Gods and tribes are now full of Christian Caucasians, with the original native population, constituting only a fraction of the population.

Of course, Buddhism too has spread and changed the culture of places like Japan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Burma, China, etc but as far as I know, Buddhism was never forced upon people as it was a peaceful religion.

What about the two continents of America and the continent of Australia? The demographics of these continents changed entirely by the movement of people from Europe to these continents for reasons apart from religion such as trade, invasion, greed or need for products for the European markets, etc. The indigenous populations of several Carribean islands have been completely wiped out by murder (My opinion is murder; others call it as something else) by the European invaders who later settled there. They not only wiped out the populations of indigenous people of these islands completely but also moved the indigenous people of Africa to these islands to work as slaves.

Today, the areas occupied by the indigenous populations in the two Americas and in Australia are paltry compared to the areas occupied by the European invaders.

The only reason the Europeans did not completely occupy India and China and other parts of Asia is because we were too populous for them to kill, I think! Who knows? I also think the Caucasians from Europe did not succeed in occupying Africa (except South Africa) because the weather did not suit them...this is simply my guess, not based on any thing!

As I am retrieving facts from memory and writing, I am realizing that the more powerful ( by power I mean intelligent, technologically advanced, politically savvy, psychologically sophisticated, etc) and less ethical the people, the greater their invasion.

Of course the invaders will never think of themselves as ‘unethical’. They are either deluded enough to believe they are doing good to the natives by invading them ( example the Catholics thought they saved the Africans and Asians from their primitive heathen religions and beliefs) or they know they are nothing but robbers but cover it up in high flowing talks about how they are actually "doing good by looting them" in various ways!

To me, in the modern days of the 20th & 21st centuries, a different type of invasion of the world ( USA, Canada, New Zealand & Australia)is happening by the Indians (whether Hindus, Christians, Muslims or whatever) and Chinese; these two groups are getting out of their respective countries because there are limited opportunities for them in their countries due to high populations. They are settling all over the world and populating those countries and changing the demographics there! Soon the world will be full of Indians and Chinese.
 I am also observing that while a majority of the Indians and Chinese get married and have kids, the majority of Caucasians, are less likely to do so as they seem to have other priorities in life or their needs and expectations in life are different. Whether this difference between Asians and Caucasians is due to their culture or upbringing, I do not know. There is a fall in the Caucasian populations in many countries of Europe.

I think the Muslims have beliefs similar to Indians and Chinese i.e. they have a need to get married and have kids! Also the wars, famines, lack of opportunities for jobs, in many Muslim countries for whatever reasons, make life miserable for them and they move out to Europe, and other places. And then they reproduce there with all their might! ( I am kidding but the Muslim friends I know, do have more kids than my Hindu & Christian friends)

What Breivik should have done instead of killing so many innocent Noway's youth is that he should have encouraged the Caucasians to reproduce so that they are not outnumbered by the immigrants in their country!

But can you imagine a world, (already at 7 billion) where people are racing to reproduce and populate the world with ‘their race’ instead of warring with the other ‘races’ or ‘religions’ or whatever? That would be another mess, as messy or more messy than the religious wars of today!

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