Religious Leaders and the United Nations Need Set Up a Truth and Reconciliation Process to End the Insane War Between the West and the Middle East Nations and Jihadis.

We pay a lot of lip service to the importance of the truth. The Gospel of John states the truth will set you free. Yet century after century the west refuses to accept its role as the villains in the whole middle east, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan debacle.

Until we accept the truth that we are the cause of the bloodshed in that part of the world the deaths and suffering will go on forever. As Al Capp the cartoonist once wrote during the Vietnam war “I have seen the enemy and the enemy is us.”

Courtesy of map of Iraqi-Syria battleground

Courtesy of map of Iraqi-Syria battleground

In my studies of British and Western Imperialism back in my university days in the 1970s it became clear that profit absorbed imperialists began as early as the 15th century with rise of the modern nation-state to fan out and stake out territories far, far from home in order to exploit its resources, its people and its wealth. In the process they set up exploitative and oppressive regimes from North Africa, the Middle East, India to Hong Kong. From China to the Cape of Good Hope, Central Africa, Western Africa; from Egypt to Morocco, From Mexico to Panama to Cuba, Colombia, to Argentina to Ireland, to Peru and Brazil, Chile and the Pacific Ocean Islands.

In a sense the pre-modern nation-state era of the Crusades and indeed the Roman and Hellenistic Empires dating to Before Christ were also exercises in imperialism. Maybe that is where the roots of our current embracing of imperialism in 2015 has its origins.

From those early days through the mercantile early Post Columbus empires of the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries grew the hyper nationalistic, jingoistic 19th century imperialism that was enhanced by new speedier more impregnable warships the dreadnoughts that ramped up the arms race and competition for colonies as we entered a race for ever more resources such as oil and minerals to feed the increasingly mechanized western nations. The middle east was front and centre of our western imperialistic tendencies. World War 1 and its aftermath let to protectorates and mandates divided up between Britain and France and those imperialist moves further muddled the middle east in the 1920s and 1930s.

In the horrific aftermath of WWII,the bloodiest war among battling imperialisms The Allies vs. the Axis we saw hopeful signs that the old destructive ways were collapsing in the 1945-1975 era. Finally after two centuries of exploitation Britain withdrew from India and Pakistan and Africa. The French imperialist outposts were being liberated too though some were bloody awful carnage like Algeria and Vietnam. Other soon to be liberated countries, the Belgian Congo and Zimbabwe also went through bloody wars of liberation and retribution.

South Africa under the skillful and leadership of the inspiring Nelson Mandela was able to avoid the blood excesses of post colonial nations by holding a truth and reconciliation process that enabled South Africans to speak the truth about horrors on both sides and reconcile the nation.

We thought imperialism had been vanquished to the scrap-heap of history…but not so fast.. a sharp right-wing militaristic agenda swept into power under the likes of Margaret Thatcher, the baby milk snatcher in Britain and Ronald “We are Ready to Bomb Moscow” Reagan in the U.S., followed by the idiotic President George W. Bush.

The collapse of the old Soviet Union has given a sharp rise to a renaissance of Western Imperialism focused on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Syria,

The ill-considered and disgraceful Al Qaeda attack on New York’s Twin Towers gave the US and the west the cover to re-institute hardcore imperialism worst than what was seen in the jingoistic period leading up to WWI and WW2.

Two wrongs never lead to anything more than a proliferation of wrongs on all sides of the combatants. The wrong of the attack on the Twin Towers keeps on spawning wrong-headed action that has resulted in two fronted wars for the U.S. for the last 15 years in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The old imperialism never really left…it just has manifested itself now into a battle between the civilized west, which apparently can still consume tonnes of Kentucky Fried Chicken, despite sickening bombing raids over those countries that have killed 10s of thousand if not more innocent civilians. And yet we recoil in horror when the evening news carries a story about a single American, Westerner, Japanese citizen being beheaded.

I am not justifying either butchery…but lets be fair and see western butchery for what it is. What we have in play is a kick me I’ll kick you…gauge my eyes…I will gouge your eyes mentality between the west and the jihadis.

Personally I believe our religious leaders of all stripes need to convene a global truth and reconciliation processes where the sins both sides of the latest imperialistic battles are being fought..the west and the jihadist both need to confess their sins and wrongdoings and move to reconciliation.

Perhaps Reverend Desmond Tutu of South African can get the ball rolling. Maybe Pope Francis I with all his enthusiasm for doing the right thing is the man. Maybe there is an Imam or Rabbi who might stand up and take the lead in getting a Truth and Reconciliation Committee set up…maybe the United Nations.

Religious institutions still have not fully recovered from the shame and stain of sitting idle and doing nothing when the Allies and the Nazis were destroying civilization among them…The Pope sat on his rosary and dithered… the Lutherans cowed into fear or admiration of Hitler did nothing. The Anglicans, the Orthodox did nothing. Exceptions of gallantry of course can be found.

My point is can religious leaders afford to again sit around and let the slaughter continue like their predecessors did it WW2?

Get up off your ass and set up a Truth and Reconciliation Process now…bringing all parties together to end the insane war between the West and the Jihadis.

It was refreshing to listen to Professor Paul Rogers from Bradford University describe the battle 40 year war in Iraq-Afghanistan-Syria- Libya as the latest manifestation of western imperialism…what purpose do western nation have being so far from their borders? Western nations will never be perceived as liberators as Professor Rogers eloquently states on CBC’s Sunday Edition with Michael Enright. Yes you may have enclaves of local war lords using the west for armaments but as was seen after the Soviet Defeat in Afghanistan..the US was as despised or more than the Soviets…it is an endless war that the west seems bent on fighting for ever…because war is profitable.

Here is Professor Rogers interview with Michael Enright

Welcome to Harperland: Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Evangelical Religious Zeal Something to Be Concerned About

Harper becoming unhinged by early revelations emerging from Duffy Trial

Harper becoming unhinged by early revelations emerging from Duffy Trial

Welcome to Harperland where Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s evangelical religious zeal and belief in the imminent end of times motivates him and his other evangelical cabinet ministers to send Canadians to war to hasten the end of the world. And to forgo spending on economic improvements and improvements to social conditions.

Before I go any further let me say I believe the evangelicals have every right to hold their belief and practice their faith with one caveat.

(Dick Caveat? Anyone?)

Please do not force your minority views on me and the majority of Canadians who don’t share your belief in the end of times happening in our lifetime.

This is why the doctrine of the separation of church and state is so important for achieving Canada’s promise of Peace, Order and Good Government. A religious agenda of any sort will cause dissension, hatred and bigotry among our people.

Pursue your beliefs within your private realm and keep it out of public policy making. We believe in diversity. Trumping one set of values indeed minority values over everything else, is anti-diversity.

Even Christ in his wisdom is quoted in the New Testament as saying “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. And render unto God what is God’s. You can’t find a clearer justification for the doctrine of the separation of power between Church and State. Religious Freedom and the freedom of government to make the best decisions without being dictated by religious leaders and religiously inclined Prime Ministers… Christ’s words not mine.

Read “The Armageddon Factor” by acclaimed Canadian journalist Marcia McDonald. McDonald pursues Harper s conversion to extreme evangelical Christian beliefs pounded by US televangelist in the late 1980s when he had broken up with his fiancée; He was isolated and lonely during his study for his Masters of Arts (economics) in Calgary; this is a brief summary from The Armageddon Factor.

How many people who are reading this post realized that Stephen Harper is a fervent Evangelical? Not many as Harper has cultivated an inscrutableness that until recently turned himself into a near blank personality. Bland.
Journalists like Marci McDonald, Warren Kinsella and others are sounding the alarms about what makes Harper and his minority clique dominate this once proud country we love — Canada. Evangelical Christianity which comprises according to McDonald’s research only 10% to 12 % of our population.
In the US evangelicals are 30 % of the population and they elected Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

We are still paying for George W.’s application of his evangelical beliefs in Iraq and Afghanistan…George W. unmitigated disastrous polices gave birth to ISIL who are skilled military leaders with over 30 years of experience and training some paid for Ronald Reagan in the 1980s when he supported Saddam Hussein.

When 30 year military veterans of Saddam Hussein are barred by the genius policy of George W. from serving in the Iraqi Army what else can they do? But continuing to be soldiers not for the now dead Saddam Hussein but by joining new forces such as Al Qaeda in Iraq and ISIL.

But I digress. Getting back to Harper. Here is what Stevie Harper doesn’t want the majority of Canadians to know…
He is not like most of us.

In 1988, his father Joseph Harper, angry at the United Church’s acceptance of gays and lesbians and gay lesbian marriages quit their traditional affiliation with the quintessential Canadian United Church ( I did a paper of the United Church of Canada — the only Church founded in Canada, 1922).

Cast adrift the Harper went shopping for a suitable conservative faith that would deny gays and lesbians their rights. Joseph found an ultra-conservative Presbyterian congregation. In my study of the United Church I learned that an ultra-conservative faction of the Presbyterians broke away from the moderate faction that joined with the Methodists and the Congregationalists to form the United Church of Canada in 1922.

Stevie Harper now in his mid-20s went even more extreme – he was swayed by “charisma-challenged ” Preston Manning, the son of the greatest bible thumping Premiers of Alberta Ernest Manning who was premier for almost 30 years (1943-1969).

When Ernie Manning was not Premiering around Alberta he plied his trade as a very charismatic radio evangelist of extreme Social Credit and conservative views.

These evangelical views were out of touch with the 1960s liberalism (think civil rights, women’s right, abortion rights, social safety nets, supports for education and other beneficial social policies).

The conservative evangelicals opposed these right from the start.

There was however a very enlightened and progressive branch of evangelism known informally as the “Social Gospel” that believed in putting Christ’s words to action in the streets. Often using Christ’s sermon on the Mount and the Miracle of the loaves and fishes to fight for tolerance, brotherly love, equality, social safety nets etc. (Christ gave the loaves and fishes to the needy, he didn’t charge. A well-nourished individual will be better to look after themselves and their family. The extension of this approach is to teach the person to fish and sow their own wheat….

The CCF/NDP partly grew out of this brand of evangelism with its first leader James Woodsworth being a United Church Minister I believe.

But as George Hegel taught, history does not move in straight lines, but rather a pendulum/gyra that he called the dialectic. Back and forth thesis was defeated by anti-thesis and gave rise to a better more enlightened understanding — a synthesis.

Soon through the turmoil of the times and the alluring television sales job, the out of fashion evangelicals all of a sudden were the in-thing. Sooner in the U.S. and a little later in Canada…

Hegel’s pendulum, his dialectic at work…the 1960s liberalism was now a bad word and still is in both Canada and the US. Why?

Ernest Manning’s mentor was Bible Bill Aberhart the first Alberta SoCred Premier in 1932 and an unremitting autocrat. In the 1930s Aberhart ruled with an iron fist in Alberta and at one time held all of the seats in the legislature except 5 or 6.

With this absolutist position Bible Bill tried to introduce unconstitutional measures in Alberta which were overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada.

An excellent book on the Social Credit Party ” Democracy in Alberta: Social Credit and the Party System. Democracy in Alberta was the first book by the hugely influential political scientist C.B. Macpherson (1911-1987). In this study, Macpherson examines the rise of the one party state in Alberta under Aberhart and Manning.

Social Credit had its roots in Britain and followed the teachings of Major William Clifford Douglas who believed capitalism was flawed because it did not provide enough capital in the hands of small producers and consumer so they could spend their way out of depression. If the money was in the right hands, Douglas reasoned, the economic engine of capitalism would never fail.

This view has largely been dismissed by today’s Conservatives. Social Credit however did contribute to today’s Conservative Party’s loud and brash evangelism, though not as brash as the Americans.

In the 1990s, The Reformers led by Preston Manning joined hands with U.S. Republicans who were both evangelicals and fiscal conservatives and adopted the views of such right wing radicals as Texan Ross Perot, Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and others.

Though this Canadian bunch plays homage to the Queen and Britain, they are Americans in the making.

Indeed, C.W. McPherson when analysing the odd-ball politics of Alberta in the 1930s, dissects accurately and pins it to the onslaught of illegal U.S. ranchers into the Canadian West in the 1880s, 1890s, early 1900s who came to Canada to squat on the open land (not really because the Plains Cree and Metis were on those lands. Louis Riel, Big Bear and Poundmaker) as the American western frontier was virtually full with the ethnic cleansing of US First Nations into reservations and the defeat of Sitting Bull in 1891 at Wounded Knee.

Preston Manning, Stephen Harper love all things American especially that which comes with a strident US evangelical flavour. They want greater Canadian integration with the U.S.

While Stephen Harper was going through his great life crisis in the late 1980s, Diane Ablonczy who would become a Tory MP, Cabinet Minister and Deb Grey ditto brought Sad Little Stevie to one of the more extreme Evangelical revival in Calgary, there he met his future wife.

This evangelical group believes we are near the end of the world….

So why would an elderly person or a young person with disabilities for that matter need government funding? Why do our veterans need help after fighting for Canada, why do parents need daycare?

The end is near. Why waste money…

And according to Harper and the “rapturists”…let’s work to hasten Armageddon. The final battle of Armageddon will be fought over Israel. Hence all of Harper’s fascination in joining wars in this part of the world, though Canada is a very minor, minor player in the region…make sense?’

Because Harper’s minority point of view is such a fringe part of the greater Diverse Canada he must sow dissension to discourage mainstream Canadians and all the progressive minorities from voting…hence his reprehensible use of voter suppression techniques.

Even before there was an election in 2013, amazingly, soon after Justin Trudeau was elected leader of the Liberals the Conservative voter suppression dynamo was back at it with attack ads against young Trudeau…questioning his manhood.

This overlooked one substantial fact. Justin Trudeau decked and knocked out the poster child of Conservative virility Senator, Patrick Brazeau in a boxing match. The disingenuous voter suppression machine of the Conservatives doesn’t let the truth stand in the way of sowing hate and misconceptions.

Brazeau in turn decided to go beat up his partner at the time according to news reports.

But thank goodness for former Senator Brazeau’s equally dysfunctional Harper Appointed Senators — Mike Duffy, Pam Wallin and the haughty woman Senator who only eats warmed over Camembert”. These highly paid Conservative yes persons appointed when Harper stacked the Senate in 2006 in order to prevent the will of the majority of Canadians, have only serviced to disgrace Canada and our democratic institutions.

Harper broke his promise to scrap the Senate, but instead he stacked with blithering incompetents.

The pendulum now has swung towards discrediting Harper and his minions who have singlehandedly turned Canada into a nation disliked and scorned because of his George W. Bush like jingoist war rants.

Canada and the red maple leaf once brought instant recognition and goodwill to Canadians all over the world including the Arab States…we voted to stay out of George W.’s disaster in Iraq, the never ending war. Today thanks to Stephen we are number two on ISIL’s most hated list and are despised everywhere

So if you have got this far consider this question? Why have enough moderate Canadians fallen for Hateful Steve’s and Guy Giorno’s voter suppression techniques and abstained from voting? Cousin Guy was Harper’s Chief of Staff and he was brought in from Mike Harris’ troopers in to bring order to a caucus a cabinet in disarray in 2006. It was Guy Giorno who was the campaign manager of Harper’s 2011 election campaign when voter suppression techniques reigned supreme. The results gave the minority party Conservatives, the majority rule in parliament.

The Pierre Poutine ruse in Guelph to divert voters to a wrong polling address originated from the Conservative Candidate. Similar ruses were in employed by the Conservative Party in Etobicoke Centre.

Enough people stayed away as a result of the ruses right across Canada that minority rule became a fact and some pretty strange policies came down from Harper.

Obviously there is a need to revamp the Canadian electoral system as a 19th century imbalance favours the least populated rural ridings across Canada.

That is why with 40 per cent of the total votes, Harper’s Con-Servatives have 60 percent of the seats in the house of commons…the other parties with 60 percent of the popular votes mostly in urban Canada only received 40 percent of the seats.

For the next election, don’t get fooled again.

Get Up. Stand Up. Don’t give up the Fight.

Remember the dialectic is now moving away from Harper who is likely Tostito as a result of the onslaught of revelations of gross incompetence arising from the details emerging from the Senate Mike Duffy trial.

And a humongous promise-breaker of Bob Rae-ian proportions to boot, because of his flip flop on the question of abolishing the Senate which he campaigned on, but which he later reneged on and in 2006 named 17, Senators, and at least one ineligible Senator – Mike Duffy according to the Crown Attorney’s case description on the opening day of his trial.

You must make it happen…it won’t happen if you sit and watch.

If you don’t like the 9 year Harper Horror with sideshow Mike comedy routine go out and vote, vote strategically if you must, but let’s get these scary rapturists and laughable incompetents out of the policy making business and into the private realm of their own beliefs were we in Canada welcome their right to choose how they choose to express their religion.

…remember Christ’s words” Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s Render onto God what is God’s, when the next election is called Vote for Majority Rule and end this shameful period of minority rule.