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A proposal from God

From this lunacy and moral corruption, a gaunt man and his companions stood forth and with a fluid motion shot all six councilors during a mid-morning tombola. All townsfolk ran to ground, barricading shack windows and bolting doors, hiding in shadows with shaking hands.

Folk loyal to this town’s dying council ran to assault this hazardous band of traitors, particularly its gaunt boss who was toting a pump-action shotgun but a muscular man in a cloak, standing with his pallid principal brought out a monstrous gun from his folds.

Roaring gunshots rang out, a rat-a-tat-tat as rounds from a mini-gun bit into skin, churning up opposition into chunks of bloody carrion.

As whirring cataclysm wound down to a stop, a ghastly calm sank into this town, dying groans for alms soon fading away to nothing.

“I am Parris Morth.” Said this group’s gaunt instigator in a carrying roar, holding up a scroll of wax-papyrus. “I am God’s author and I bring a manuscript to you; My Lord’s words!”

With his shotgun, this man also brought a pair of wild pigs and his small group of folk, (my Council, said Morth) stood holding firing-arms and bags of grain. Not a man within its rank had caught a wound.

“I am Parris Morth.” Said this man in a carrying roar, holding up a scroll of wax-papyrus. “I am God’s author and I bring a manuscript to you; My Lord’s words!”

This soliloquy was famous in Salvation (as this town was now known) and Morth’s manuscript was on public display with thousands of copy-manuscripts stuck around town in billboard stands.

“God is my guiding light and has shown my companions and I just how His will must find fruition.” Said Morth. “God has drawn us to this unholy swamp of sin so that you might find contrition and absolution, so that you might find God’s glory!”

Nobody was arguing nor moving, hiding away from Morth and his lunatic consorts.

“I am your salvation, you sinful dogs! I am a conduit for God’s work and practicing God’s work shall grant you impunity from Satan!” Said Morth, prodding a companion to his right.

“Barclay, show this foul brood how magnanimous our God truly is!” Said Morth.

Putting down his ironically big ‘mini-gun’, Stocky Barclay took two full sacks from his pals and laid both onto damp ground, tipping out grain and oats in abundant clots.

“Milk! Bring us milk!” Said Morth and a companion brought forth a tin pail of whitish fluid, standing it up in a muddy rut.

“And if you want aqua, look to your God!” Said Morth, flourishing a hand toward Cambrian mountain-tors, thick with snow.

“God grants us our bounty, says pick what you want….and pay for it!” Said Morth ominously.

“You shot our mayor!” Said a chirping vocal accusation from within shadows. “And our doctor, our only fucking doctor!”

“Who said that?” Said Morth and a thin old woman stood in front of him, dissolving out of shadowy sanctuary to scorn Morth.

“I said it!” Said this frail hag, lips twisting into a snarl. “What of it? What now?! Will your God comfort our sick and dying?”

“Calm down, fair woman.” Said Morth softly. “What do folk know you as?”

“Old Christina! And why should I trust a God that is still abandoning us, in this dark hour?” Said Christina. “Why should I trust you?!”

“McColl, bring a chair for this woman of admiration!” Said Morth. “Quickly, now!”

Morth’s man took a look around and found a plank of marginally dry wood for Christina to sit upon. Morth, guiding Old Christina down took up a crouching position.

“I will say this, Christina, my charming inquisitor. God has brought us to you, with pork, grain, milk and most importantly, industrious capability to carry out His work!” Said Morth.

“And guns?! Did God bring you guns, too?” Said Old Christina, cackling in absurdity.

“For our crusading missions only.” Said Morth. “Papal Saint Louis had his swords against Saladin’s morning-stars, so too must our knights carry guns, if only to fight Satan’s brood!”

“God will bring you Salvation, Christina; you and your family, all of you!” Said Morth loudly, taking a handful of tasty-looking oats and bringing it to Christina’s mouth.

“Munch this down, fair Christina for it is Christ’s body.” Said Morth softly, prompting Christina to start consuming, crunching up dry grain in lustful starvation.

“Wash it down with this, child; it is Christ’s blood, blood of our holy martyr, God’s only Son.” Said Morth, handing Christina a tin cup of warm milk.

“All of you in this town, join us for Christ’s word is an invitation to all!” Said Morth. “Nourish your stomachs, throw off your cannibal ways and find your souls within!”

Watching Old Christina’s trust in Morth brought wary townsfolk crawling out from hiding. Morth bid a group of filthy boys and girls to find wood and an ad-hoc flooring was laid for all to sit upon. Grain and cups of milk soon swam around a buzzing community as willing hands and mouths partook of Christ-cum-Morth’s bountiful gifts.

“So, Christina. Will you join God’s mission?” Said Morth.

Chomping down mouthfuls of grain, food falling from a mouth sans molars, Christina spat an opinion at Morth.

“God says pick what you want but how will I pay?” Said Christina. “I own nothing, not a tooth nor a nail on my old body.”

“Ah, fair Christina. God asks only two things of you.” Said Morth, standing up to talk to his convocation.

“Firstly: no consumption of human skin!” Said Morth. “This is Matilda…”

Morth shot a boot into a chubby sow’s ass and it spat a grunt of pain.

“And this is Morrison.” Said Morth, hoofing his fat hog in its ribs.

“In union, a brood will follow and pigs will grant us our milk and pork.” Said Morth. “Our company has many pigs, far from this town in Cambrian isolation. I will bring my brood and pork will nourish your loins again. Actual pork, think of it! Not this long-pork, this abomination of body and mind! Cannibalism is Satan’s path to oblivion!”

“Until that day, you may sow grain and oats and our stocks, fairly abundant will last until malt and corn has grown. With God’s glory shining down, this town can outlast Apocalyptic ruin!”

A raucous chant of gratuity was soon carrying through joyful inhabitants, stomachs now aching from gluttony.

“You said two things that God asks…” Said Old Christina to Morth.

“It is commonly known that Star Wormwood burns in our world.” Said Morth. “Look to it, on that horizon and know it is an ignorant and barbarous civilization that allows Satan’s star to form! Watch it glowing, constantly judging you, trying to turn you to Satan’s will. As it has in this community…..” Said Morth, pointing southward toward China’s coastal islands.

“It’s known as Big-Smokyo to us.” Said Old Christina, stroking hair as a small child sat on Christina’s lap, plaiting apron strings.

“Big-Smokyo? Actually, it’s not Tokyo but a portion of South China’s nautical margins. Tokyo was lost to a tsunami, lots of tidal assault that saw it sink into nautical anonymity. Similar thing in Australia, Brazil, Africa….” Said Morth’s companion, McColl.

 

“McColl is a library of information, from distilling alcohol to purifying raindrops.” Said Morth and his companion put down a can of liquid paraffin and drinking fluid. McColl took a stick, thrusting it into his can of paraffin to hold it aloft as Morth struck a match to it.

A flaming torch lit up and inhabitants shrank back from it in fright.

Only Old Christina sat still, dismissing McColl’s burning stick.

“Lots of glamour, sir but what is God’s point? What must I pay to gain this award?” Said Christina. “You said two things! Why do I think you hold back on saying it?”

“An insightful woman.” Said Morth to Old Christina.

“All faith must carry a sacrificial and ritual obligation.” Said Morth to all. “Old faith, that of Mohamad and Abraham, plus that of Buddha, Guru Nanak and so on….all of it was wrong! Christianity, too was way off its mark!”

“If Christ had not hung on a crucifix at such a youthful antiquity, God would trust Him with what I am about to say, that which was told unto my companions and I, by God, Almighty!” Said Morth. “God said that Satan’s hold on our world had got too strong. By using Satanic-symbols and rituals, our faiths had unconsciously drawn Satan into our minds, Man was manipulating God’s word and using His instructions as a tool to bring about mass-control and boost profit margins. Ministry folk got rich quickly, poor common folk just took what was cast down from up on high; scraps thrown to dogs!”

“Pocky-lips, I call it.” Said Old Christina. “A blight on humanity for our sins, if what you say is truthful, sir.”

“It is, fair Christina! And do you know why this is so? Why Big-Smokyo lit up and why Star Wormwood burns?” Said Morth.

“No, sir. Such information is long lost.” Said Christina, forcing milky grain pulp into a squalling baby’s mouth. “But did God show you why?”

“In a vision, God told of a Satanic ritual taught to all. By using a particular lingual symbol in our words and our print, our world was worshiping Satan and his abominations, willingly inviting in that Dark Lord and allowing him to usurp control. As sharp a woman as you claim, Old Christina, did you pay mind to my way of talking? I cannot and will not imply Satan’s-symbol into my talk, nor into my writings. Nor will any any of my companions and nor should any faithful child of God, for it is a diabolical symbol. Do you know of this symbol, Christina and will you avoid it for God’s glory?” Said Morth.

“I know of it, I’m not an idiot!” Said Christina. “But folk in this town might not follow you, sir.”

“It is, in our British lingual matrix, fifth along and sits amid D and F. Curly as Satan’s tail and vital to communication. Without it, words just don’t sound right. Or so Satan’s consorts would say, in that old-world of ours. It was a popular symbol, pivotal to transmitting data, both orally and in print.” Said Morth. “But do I say it? Nay, I do not for God forbids it, Old Christina. I can still talk and hold rapport without involving Satan’s-symbol. Humanity was using it willy-nilly; is it surprising that Star Wormwood was born, that Satan’s maw is spitting out lava and poisonous fog in that which you call ‘Big-Smokyo’?”

“Do you trust in this vision, sir? Can you trust in God? What if it is a trick by Satan?” Said Old Christina.

“I was a dog much as this poor individual.” Said Morth, pointing to a gluttonous man scooping grain into his mouth as if it might run out. “But as soon as I cut out Satan’s-symbol from my words and my writing, inviting God into my soul, my standard of living took an upward climb. God told of His plan; I was to turn into a missionary and go forth into this black world, crusading against Satan’s imps and turning sulfur back to gold! By promoting God’s word and His work, by adopting His ways and cutting out Satan’s-symbol. By doing this, God would grant my favours and so it is, Christina! My companions and I bring salvation to you, if only you adopt God’s will as your own.”

“It is hard to not say….’it’.” Said Old Christina, cracking a walnut with a dusty boot and tossing its carcass. “‘It’ is such a common thing…for us all! What of naming things and doing tasks? It’s an impossibility! It is just luck that…’it’…isn’t in my….you know?”

“Call it ‘Satan’s-symbol’ from now on.” Said Morth. “And it is lucky that your matriarch did not dub you with Satan’s-symbol.”

“But most folk in town DO own it and cannot avoid saying it or writing it! What of communication?” Said Old Christina. “How will I talk to a man, imply that I want a thing if I cannot say what it is?! How will that man know I am talking to him or what I want from him?”

“By changing it to a holy word, a word without Satan’s-symbol in its composition.” Said Morth. “My companions all adopt an allonym, changing titular birthrights to that which God allows. Thus this man, Richard Chaliss was not born Richard Challis but took this naming by baptism and communion, it is so.”

Morth told Challis, an old, hoary individual to stand up for scrutiny. Challis, taking and putting away his point-forty-four Magnum got up and took a bow.

“I am Richard Challis and I am a monk, worshiping God’s divinity and for many months, I was constantly practicing my communication skills in isolation so that I might talk without using Satan’s-symbol. I am not a savvy man by anybody’s account but as you hark my words, you will not catch Satan’s-symbol in any. I am living proof that Parris Morth’s godly ways truly can manumit you from your Satanic bonds! To disavow Satan’s-symbol is to gain an ability. Think not of it as a ‘disability’…..think of it as auditioning for God’s glory.” Said Challis, choosing his words tactfully, as a man might start picking plump fruits from an abundant bush, looking for juicy, tasty words to show-off his articulation and command of linguists.

Richard chaliss’s soliloquy was an instant hit with rapt townsfolk and got Old Christina, clucking in approval. An ovation caught Challis off-guard and blushing, Morth’s monk sat down.

“Bravo, Richard.” Said an appluading Morth. “A fitting oration from you, son.”

Challis, a usually non-vocal man proudly took his acclaim as townsfolk, patting him on his back sought to know about his pilgrims’ isolation and how God (and disowning Satan’s-symbol) had brought him such clarity of mind.

“Now, Old Christina, it is your turn for scrutiny.” Said Morth. “Do you know how much dignity you hold whilst communicating? I did not pick up Satan’s-symbol on any occasion during our chat today. In fact, you did not say it at all, my fair lady.”

“Did I  not?” Said Christina, harrumphing in mild shock. “Just lucky, I’ll warrant No skill at all, sir.”

“No skill at all is right, Christina! You must also fall into God’s tight band of holy champions, a woman born to naturally disavow Satan’s-symbol, not by opting to do it consciously but by God’s favour!” Said Morth. “Today is a monolithic day for God’s mission! Say ‘hoorah’, good folk and throw off your bindings! Forsaking Satan’s-symbol will grant you divinity! Follow Christina and I, follow our holy council of monks and nuns in God’s footfalls and I am promising you now, your body and soul will claim uplifting joy!”

“Can you do it, good souls of……” Said Morth, stopping to think about his quandary.

“What am I calling you lot?” Said Morth. “What is this town?”

“It is an anonymous town, sir.” Said a young thin woman with a proud matriarchal stomach, dropping a curtsy for Morth with an imaginary skirt. “I am Monica…..I can’t say my last bit, it has Satan’s-symbol in it. So sorry, sir.”

Monica was looking fit to cry and Morth bid his muscular cohort, Barclay to show comfort.

“What day is your labour-day?” Said Morth to Monica, who was laying in Barclay’s strong arms.

“Soon.” Said Monica. “What am I…um, naming him?”

“God will assist you, fair maid. God and your man…” Said Morth.

“You shot my husband, I’m afraid.” Said Monica, not sounding at all afraid of losing a matrimonial bond. “So it’s just him and…um, just us two now you shot Guy.”

“God will grant you charity from us.” Said Old Christina. “You know I would aid you, Monica. I’ll warrant this man and his group will also assist you and your baby boy.”

“And God?” Said Monica, looking up at Barclay.

“God, too, my child.” Said Barclay, stroking Monica’s mousy hair. “And I will, too.”

“So will all of us, uniting with God’s salvation upon us!” Said Morth. “In fact, that’s it! Salvation! I thought naming this town would drag on for months, arguing about this-and-that but God has just said it, right now….it just swam into my mind on wings of divinity.”

Salvation!” Said Morth. “Allow it to form in your mouths, dancing on your gums. Salvation! Say it to your soul and don it as a cloak. It fits so comfortably…..Salvation!”

“Salvation.” Said Old Christina.

“Salvation! Salvation!”

Chanting in unison brought a grin to Morth’s lips. Old Christina was in a kind of histrionic fit of jubilation, acting as a manic witch in a voodoo ritual might, thought Morth.

“Salvation! Salvation!” Said a ranting Christina and kids took up this mantra along with all inhabitants, swaying and dancing in Salvation’s bloodbath, clots still drying as a frail Sun swam from murky clouds, shining a light upon a community in its infancy, a community now firmly in Parris Morth’s grip.

From that point onward, Morth and Old Christina (now Lady Christina Pygmalion, a prompt of Morth’s doing) built a council of custodians, a jury of officials to work on varying tasks in town.

Tulsa Forsyth, a man in Morth’s primary band of visionary monks had skill in plumbing and building. Morth, a physics savant told him how to build a conduit from Cambrian tors to a filtration-unit back in Salvation’s town hub and Forsyth put it in form. If Morth was an artist, Forsyth was his paintbrush. As was McColl, a farming and husbandry authority to whom Morth laid plans for agricultural industry.

“I can bring down pigs to join Matilda and Morrison.” Said Morth of his bonus brood in Cambrian foothills. “You can put a farm or two, an abattoir. Malt and corn can grow and milling, baking, that sort of thing…”

“What about irrigation from this aqua-duct? That Cambrian link-up?” Said McColl during an impromptu council symposium to discuss Salvation’s food rationing shortfalls. “Can fluid go from that piping down to fallow land? It would boost growth thirty-fold, I’ll warrant!”

“Good point.” Said Lady Christina. “But nothing will grow with poisonous air blowing about. Only piss-root and mushrooms grow on this land and you can’t cook any of it! It’s poison, too!”

“A solution is in situ right now.” Said Morth, winking at his companion, Forsyth.

“We built an air filtration unit.” Said Forsyth. “All it wants is charging up….but I don’t know how.”

“I know.” Said Barclay. “I did this sort of thing way back; hydro-static shit…”

“No profanity, if you will.” Said Morth, now proclaiming Chairman as his titular birthright. “I find it disgusting!”

“Sorry, chairman.” Said Barclay. “But this is important. I can built an arc-matrix…I can draw it anyhow and Forsyth can build it…..I can do that and you can pick up a proton outlay from rushing fluid. As snow turns to liquid, moving quickly, it is charging up with static galvanism that can pack a punch, sir.”

“God’s will. Good man.” Said Chairman Morth.

“It’s fantastic.” Sad Lady Christina, cackling with vibrancy. “Ligths…at last and I can start microwaving food again! I got an old unit, found it in a shit-pit…..”

“Lady Christina…” Said Morth. “Dignity…thank you.”

“I’m sorry and all that but It’s frigging inspiring. Start imagining a world with…what do you call it again?” Said Christina.

“Galvanism, Ma’am.” Said Barclay.

“Thank you, Barclay. I’ll look into it.” Said Morth quickly. “For now, an important thing is up for discussion; our stability in honouring God’s word!”

“But galvanism….” Said Barclay.

“I said I’ll look into it, didn’t I?” Said Morth, angrily. “Who is Chairman again? Is it you?”

“No, sir. Sorry.” Said Barclay. “Go on.”

“Oh, thank you for allowing my continuation, Barclay.” Said Morth sardonically, scoffing at his councilor.

“What is it, son?” Said Lady Christina.

“I hark Satan’s-symbol a lot, folk slipping it out during idling talk, or in privacy…thinking I cannot pick it up as I pass by a window or a door, ajar. Also, I find signs hanging about with writing, ungodly writing containing Satan’s-symbol. God know’s how many I took down last month. Too many!” Said Morth.

“I paint it out with black paint.” Said Barclay, “If I find a sign with Satan’s-symbol on it, I just blot it out, slap a bit of oil or tar on it.”

“It’s good to know folk try to uphold God’s will. Thank you, Barclay but if you find a sign that flouts our laws, burn it down or smash it apart.” Said Morth. “And as for your hydro-static plans…I am sorry for standing ignorant. I am but Christ’s conduit and His wants outclass my own. For this, I say thanks to God. Build it, you shall!”

Barclay, grinning and obviously proud of his plans sat  back on his stool, almost falling. Salvation’s council, laughing jovially was balancing its mood again and Barclay found it amusing, too.

“School. Salvation wants a school and folk want tutoring, told how to talk and mark words on signs and such, without using Satan’s-symbol.” Said Christina.

“Ah, I can do this.” Said Challis. “My old writings, my diary and scrapbook will assist in linguistics and support. I can try and pass that on to folk, if I can pull in a crowd, that is. Folk might not find it…stimulating.”

“It is mandatory!” Said Morth. “As of now, Salvation’s townsfolk will pass a linguistics trial. If it is a failing and Satan’s-symbol still falls from ignorant lips upon finishing tuition….”

“A graduation!” Said Challis. “Folk could toss hats aloft and shout ‘hoorah!”

“Mortar-boards and a scroll.” Said Morth. “A good notion, Richard. What about our naming-booths?”

Challis, giving a thumbs-up to Morth told him that this particular action was running fluidly.

Ad-hoc booths built on Morth and Lady Christina’s proposal ran daily; folk bringing things for ‘naming’, including humans but mainly day-to-day utilitarian tools. Spoons and forks now lay with a ‘shiv’ at lunch. A cup now sat upon a ‘crock’ and a chair was company to a ‘tablasa’. Folk, trading in old birthright-naming took a distinction that did not contain Satan’s-symbol, lining up at booths and signing a form, part of Salvation’s population count protocol.

“Salvation is growing, in mind and body.” Said Christina. “But a lot turn still to human skin for nutrition, forsaking God’s grain. I pray for that poor lost faction to find humanity within and stop consuming body parts…”

“Praying is good but it is upon us to stamp out cannibalism in all its forms!” Said Morth. “Today, any folk that will not bow to God and disavow cannibalism will go from this town and roam in gulags, far away from civilization. Do you all concur?”

Salvation’s council did concur, passing various laws and motions that day. Community inhabitants all had jobs to do, mainly collating piping, bricks and any parts vital to Morth’s campaigns. Old buildings had a transformation back to glory as functioning workshops and Lady Cristina’s school was built, inducting all townsfolk without compunction as a mandatory part of affiliation.

Cannibals who would not stop consuming human body-parts had two options, according to Morth: disavow cannibalism and bow to God’s will or go forth from Salvation and into unforgiving wilds, cast out a pariahs. Any individuals not conforming to this law would hang. Morth had a gallows built on his instruction; thirty-foot of iron scaffold surmounting a brickwork foundation with planks of wood for a platform and stairs. By using bricks and mortar, Morth insidiously built his gallows to last. It’s iron jib could hold up to six dangling cords with loops, six positions for six throats and trapdoors for six pairs of boots.

Morth’s public showcasing of his ‘Gallows Mount’ had Salvation and its council split in opinions. Most folk, councillors too thought capital disciplining was a good thing but a minority had doubts about hanging as a judiciary sanction. Lady Christina and four councillors had stubborn complaints about such harsh a conviction as hanging. Townsfolk loyal to Christina also stood in opposition. Morth, charismatic as always cut opposition down with his practical and pragmatic words, turning a ‘situation’ into support for his campaign.

“Salvationists!” Said Morth, flourishing his arms on his platform atop Gallows Mount. “Satan is still among you!”

Morth, pacing up and down told inhabitants just how Satan was infiltrating Salvation.

“To you who still try consuming human-carrion, in light of God’s proposal to you I say Salvation is no habitat for you and your dastardly ways!  Go from this town, cannibal scum and walk in fog, in that ruinous plain of ‘no-Man’s-land’. Cavort with Satan all you want but do it as pariahs and not in this Town!” Said Morth.

“To you whom law has no standing, know this: God is kind to His faithful flock but unto that which attacks His holy will, God rains down lightning and damnation! So I said on my first visit, our faithful go crusading for Christ, with gun and sword but this is no war; this is insubordination to God’s divinity and must carry a singular sanction. Only by hanging and conducting a Christian burial can Satan’s consorts find sanctity and absolution. It is God, not I that insists on this action. I am just clay for my pot-man’s hands and kiln. God commands and I fulfil His wish in this mortal world.” Said Morth.

“Know also that God frowns on you who say and print Satan’s-symbol, you of poor moral constitution. You know who I’m talking about, Salvation. I saw signs and paid mind to words caught in conspiratorial collusion, words said in still back-roads and shadowy doorways. For God pays mind to all in His domain. Do not try lying to God for your Lord knows all! And what God knows, I know!” Said Morth.

“God is forgiving of you whom try to abstain from Satan’s-symbol but to non-comformists willingly flouting God’s laws, a harsh and painful contrition awaits! Luckily for you, I am not in any mood to hang folk for this failing…not on this occasion but a warning to you all!” Said Morth. “God is watching! Always!”

“What about cannibals whom willingly abstain and avoid human skin?” Said a curious inhabitant in Salvation’s crowd.

“If you abstain and disavow your ghastly ways, God’s invitation is yours to own.” Said Morth. “To whom am I talking?”

“Stan Panfry, sir. What if I…I, um…..what I am trying to say is, what if a cannibal says ‘no’ and won’t stop?” Said Stan.

“Hang him!” Said a chanting mantra from Morth’s portion of supporting townsfolk.

“If that man, or woman cannot and will not stop consumption of God’s mortal sanctity, what point in him living in this Town? Cannibalism spurns God. It brings blood and brain poisoning, viral outbursts from rotting carrion. Cannibals among you lost humanity and humility both and cannot claim it back without God’s aid. If you will not bow to God or will not go from this Town, what option do law-abiding folk hold as a trump-card? Salvation can’t grow with cannibals running about, carrying malady and killing folk randomly! This gallows is a just and holy contraption to instil compliant thinking among unruly partisans.”

An uproar burst into motion, scuffling and shouting, Morth’s official guards having to pacify townsfolk with stunning blows from crowd-control sticks. Morth’s council ran into hiding but Barclay and McColl stood back with Morth, now toting a mini-gun (Old Gutbust) and an iron-sight rapid-firing assault pistol.

Shots rang out and a body hit Salvation’s ground, a young woman with no skull thanks to McColl’s surgical aim with his pistol.

Rat-a-tat-a-tat! Tat! Tat! Tat!

Whip-crack gunshots cut through Salvation, folk lay dying and writhing in mud. Many just lay still, blood oozing from wounds. A foot lay in front of a man and that worthy just sat, looking at in shock and confusion. It was his foot. McColl shot him out of pity.

Tat!

Morth stood, watching and smiling throughout this horror as a man might watch a pantomiming-show. Morth did not stand in to stop McColl nor Barclay from shooting townsfolk, opting to watch with dark satisfaction as his councillors cut down Salvation’s ignorant population randomly.

“Salvation, who among you wants this tyranny?” Said Morth. “Not I! Look what Satan’s corruption and disorganisation has brought to this Town? Making his brood attack us, forcing us to start shooting at you! Look at this! Cannibals did this! Satan’s cohorts in a last-ditch rally to usurp control from this holy Town! God’s Town! And boy, God knows how to fight!”

“You shot Bill!” Said an angry man, cradling a body in his arms. “Bill didn’t chow-down on no man-skin!”

“Thank cannibals for that, good sir.” Said Morth. “Bill is with God now, martyr to His war against Satan. God will adorn Bill with wings and a halo. Trust in your God, sir and fight against diabolical arts!”

“I will, sir. Thank you!” Bill’s companion put him down and ran indoors, bolting his door and window.

“What a royal f….” Said McColl.

“Don’t say it!” Said Morth. “Think of a good word, not a Satanic cuss-word.”

“Sorry, sir.” Said McColl. “It’s not good, if I am truthful. It might cut opinion polls.”

“Polls? Pah!” Said Morth, flapping a hand in disdain. “Opinions can always sway, trust in God and your Chairman, Councillor McColl.”

“Good shooting, actually. You got four.” Said Morth, pointing at Salvation’s bloodbath, a horror that would now go down in history as ‘Bloody Thursday”.

“Cannibals, you think?” Said Barclay.

“Hard to say.” Said Morth. “Martyrs, though and for that, God is thankful. As am I.”

“Find folk to shift that lot, anyway. It’s a martyr’s burial or I might just burn it all. Did I say, Forsyth is now using coal whilst our wait for Barclay’s hydro-static contraption drags on…”

“I’m working on it, sir. It’s hard to find parts, you know? I could do with a boost in foraging-party units, actually.” Said Barclay.

“Find a party out of that lot!” Said Morth, pointing out carcass upon carcass, lying in front of Salvation’s gallows. “You shot six of your applicants just now!”

“How is it that MColl has your thanks for good aim and my shooting accounts for fuck-all? In fact, I did a bad thing and McColl did good? It isn’t fair, boss!”

“”Your appalling mouth isn’t good; such profanity is unholy and not council-worthy.” Said Morth to Barclay.

“Unholy? Fuck has nothing to do with Satan. Sir!” Said Barclay in insubordination. “In fact, fucking is holy! Saints did it! I’ll warrant Christ did it; that guy had a lot of womanly fans, sir. All that kudos and gratuity….”

Morth, raising a hand put a stop to Barclay’s rant.

“It is only as you talk so fluidly and so damn good that I am not kicking your ass right now.” Said Morth. “You talk a good talk, Barclay; it’s hard not to honour that display of lingual skill. Not a hint of Satan’s-symbol, not a word out of synchronisation with God’s law.”

I had a good tutor.” Said Barclay of Morth’s prior tuition in lingual manipulation. “So…is fucking good?

“It isn’t an unholy word but I find it disgusting. I would thank you dutifully not to toss it around for cuss-words show an uncouth upbringing and God did not instruct us to talk and act as animals.” Said Morth.

“I’m sorry, sir.” Said Barclay, scratching at his facial scars. “I’m a bit itchy, you know….”

“Go to Christina, put a bit of lotion on it. And good shooting, Barclay.”Said Morth.

“Thank you, sir.” Said a proud Barclay. “And as for that hydro-static arc matrix…”

“Do not worry, Barclay. For now, do what you can to smooth this out with Christina and our council. McColl, you can do burial work.” Said Morth.

“Hang on, Barclay got that job, you said!” Said an arguing McColl. “I should talk to…um, Lady Christina and that.”

“You can’t say ‘and that’ to back up your claims. It’s a cowards trick. You should go back to school, try to brush up your communication skills.”

McColl spat a litany of profanity at Barclay, words containing Satan’s-symbol flying in scorn.

“Stop!” Said Morth, roaring in fury.

“I will allow that, McColl on this occasion but if you talk as such again, I will insist on your disbarring from council affairs. Such flagrant disloyalty to God cannot stand, man! Can you call to mind our foundations, our unifying sacrificial bond? As monks, our fold disavows Satan’s-symbol; it is what God wants and insists upon! It is a linch-pin in our faith!” Said Morth to a blushing McColl.

“If you cannot say lawful words, put a gag in your mouth.” Said Barclay, sarcastically. “It might actually suit you, McColl.”

“Barclay!” Said Morth, snapping at his frantic companion. “Stop this and hold hands with McColl.”

Council officials lurking away in shadows stood out to watch McColl and Barclay link palms.

“By God, unity stands within our fold.” Said Morth. “Allow this conflagration to vanish into thin air and work in harmony, my sons.”

“So, big-mouth. do you think you can aid my talking skills, brush-up my…um…..” Said McColl.

“I can build you a good dictionary, show you paraphrasing and linguistic substitutions….and that.” Said a grinning Barclay.

“Good.” Said Morth. “But for now, do as I ask and go about your duty.”

Salvationists, on prompting from Lady Christina stood forth, crying and holding slain kin. McColl got down from Gallows Mount, jumping off its platform and saw to forming a group to start burying. Many would not go, clutching cold torsos and wailing for vindication from God.

“Go down and work with McColl. You can talk to folk calmly, Barclay. Soothing a fraught mood is vital right now. I’ll sort Christina…and that.” Said Morth, sharing a jocular laugh with Barclay and bumping fists in solidarity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slowly, Salvation shook off its trappings of mortal consumption

 

A community

Morth and his council built up a robust farming industry, piping in polar frost from Cambrian mountains and distilling it, using it for drinking and irrigation. Barclay’s proposal for hydro-static rotation of running fluid during its trip from mountain to filtration unit saw fruition and Salvation soon had its light’s back on, familiar sounds of chugging motors floating through town.

 

 

 

Matilda and Morrison, his pigs had sown many young. Morth had brought down his mountain-brood and pig populations had hit a high. Wild corn and oats had grown abundant and milling industry along with baking had sprung up as quickly as McColl’s crops.

Salvation got its first inn, Chairman’s Arms

Cannibalism was soon an outlaw act with all non-conformists thrown out of town limits into misty gulags. Any consumption of human skin within town would carry a similar conviction.

“And as for this town….” Said Morth on a particular day, casting his vision upon a town of industrious motivation. “This town is now Salvation: population, two thousand. Two thousand of God’s solicitors, I’ll warrant. Pray to your Lord, Salvation for all your gifts.”

Salvation did pray, daily at a mighty church built upon Morth’s command, in propitiation of God and His magnanimous ways. Morth’s church could not hold all of Salvation’s faithful and crowds stood without, usually in rain or grim conditions with Morth orating through tannoys on mountings, giving his instruction from comfort and warmth on a studio platform, out of rain and winds..

It did not worry Salvation’s inhabitants so long as God’s word was truthful and food was bountiful. Morth was a captain of industry; his councilors,apt pupils of husbandry, foundry work and pharmacology. Morth’s bold aspirations found fruition, boosting Salvation’s spirits.

Morth’s communist foundations could not stand for long and a coin was brought in, facilitating functions of trading and appraisal. Capitalism had soon outgrown its socialist roots and Morth sat atop a pyramidal point, passing instructions and laws down to his faithful fold.

“God is my instructor and I am yours.” Morth said on occasion, justifying his anomalous laws that had a handful of inhabitants thinking about his sanity. But upon flourishing a fantastic trump-card, usually a card that would draw profit for townsfolk, Morth’s antagonists would calm down and comply. In his insanity, a form of wisdom was found. It was said that Morth was a savant; a man with crazy but fruitful idiosyncrasy, hard to dismiss as lunacy in light of logic.

Institution of Morth’s laws was, at first a good thing, bringing synchronicity and co-ordination to Salvation. Morth’s minting of coins was a stabilizing factor, as was abolishing cannibalism. As things spun on and Salvation had grown to a population of four and a half-thousand again, Morth’s laws slid into obscurity.

 

Example sheet for memory-focused identity assessment

Example memories for identity partitioning:

Example One:

Pre-addiction/during addiction/post-addiction: Pre-addiction

Age: 6.

Event/stimulus: Fight in playground

Positive/Negative: Negative

Catalyst: one child took a favourite toy from me without asking, snatching it from my grip.

Emotional reaction: Anger, outrage, hatred, urge to strike out, need to get my toy back whatever the cost, need to punish for injustice.

Behavioural reaction: wrestled the toy away from the child then broke his nose with it by smashing it into his face.

Emotional-behavioural outcome: grief over the broken toy, shame at hurting the child, a supposed friend, fear of reprisal and penalty from authority figures such as parents and teachers, sense of being lower than others for my actions, resignation to punishment, probably physical.

Identifying markers: a need to punish those who are perceived as unjust and hurt my emotions, strong emotional response manifested in violent behaviour, snap-physical reaction to perceived threat (fight not flight), immediate remorse yet felt worse about the broken toy than my friend’s broken nose, acceptance of punishment for actions, taking ownership of behaviours.

Example Two:

Age: 7

Event/stimulus: a computer game about the Divine Comedy

Positive/negative: Positive

Catalyst: parents brought me a new Spectrum computer with one text adventure game, Dante’s Inferno.

Emotional reaction: joy, obsession, thirst to learn more about the stimulus, gratitude to parents, overwhelming excitement when playing and a sense of apprehensive glee when new puzzles were solved, isolation in a fantasy world, wish to share my appetite with others irrespective of age, sex or any other factor.

Behavioural reaction: long periods spent playing the game, more interaction with parents, especially father, less attention to other activities and peers, isolation, acting out the game in the playground, drawing pictures and writing stories, reading more about Dante’s Divine Comedy and the concepts of Hell and Heaven. Bringing the concept into school and involving others in composing stories and adventures that brought them a sense of self-esteem.

Emotional-behavioural outcome: fascination with Greek mythology and all things devilish, elevated self-esteem from learning more about my obsession, disappointment that peers could not relate, enthusiasm to enlighten them (and scare them) about Hell so that they might share my zeal.

Identifying markers: obsessive tendency, gravitation towards the macabre, gravitation to concepts of just punishment for offenders,i.e. Hell, thirst for learning and experience concerning stimuli that are fascinating, expression and recognition of gratitude, willingness to share passionate ideas and make others see from my perspective. Delight in scaring people with tales of what might happen to them when they die. Self-esteem from knowing something that others did not, taking pleasure from involving others in something I had personally brought into the group.

Example Three

Pre-addiction/during addiction/post-addiction: pre-addiction

Age: 5/6

Event/stimulus: fight between father and maternal grandfather.

Catalyst: grandfather dropped his knife onto the floor whilst entering the house; he apparently always carried one for defence. It was a big kitchen knife and he was a diagnosed schizophrenic. I didn’t know any of this. Father wrestled him out of the house, flipped the table up to protect me and another child (my cousin or neighbour, I think) and a series of bangs and shouts were heard.

Emotional reaction: terror, fear for my grandfather as my father was younger and had reacted violently, the knife was still in the house but they were outside, confusion as to why this was happening, what was so wrong about the knife? Worry that my grandfather might have tried to hurt us, dismissed through love and loyalty. Need to be comforted by mother.

Behavioural reaction: cowered behind the table, screamed and cried, eventually calmed and came out as beckoned by my mother as she righted the table. Received comfort from my mother and was taken into the back room, away from the kitchen.

Emotional-behavioural outcome: I don’t really remember but my grandfather got committed to an asylum not long after and I don’t recall any more memories about him. He died soon after, a suicide through tablets and whisky. He was also an alcoholic. I did develop a fascination with knives shortly afterwards.

Identifying markers: fear of personal safety, fear of safety of others, needed to be in a safe place with a trusted figure of comfort and authority, inability to see why the reaction had occurred so strongly to what I saw as a simple thing, a dropped piece of cutlery. Inability to see the perceived threat as an actual threat, more alarmed by my father’s reaction and the safety of the elder man, confusion.

 

The interesting thing about this exercise is how by the time I’d written out the second memory, details and emotions had come back for the first memory and I added more. Similar things happened with all the memories.

Despite the awful emotional stress at the time, I don’t remember how I felt about him afterwards and how I rationalised the event in my mind. Those parts are not present in the recall. I came to understand about his illness after he died and to be honest, the more I learned the more I saw how everybody around him had failed him, even the mental health services and his own family. I came to pity him for the fact he had to take his own life rather than continue living with himself, a tragic outcome for everybody.

Hopefully, by completing this exercise, one can recall certain emotional identifiers that might hint at unearthing the latent identity. I’m just experimenting here, using myself as a guinea pig but from just these three memories, I can see some thinking patterns and traits that exist today, certainly the obsessive tendencies, the gravitation towards ‘just’ punishment for misdeeds, the fascination with the macabre and the thirst for knowledge, especially literature.

Some memories might not have a catalyst, they might be fleeting snapshots of a wider memory; running through hay with friends braying machine-gun noises, falling asleep at a funeral or excerpts of conversation that struck more of an emotional chord than the overall conversation. It is interesting to explore these memories and get an idea of the emotions and behaviours involved, that which brought us comfort or distress in youth, pleasure or pain, joy or depression. High emotional states and sensory awareness together form strong memory unless chemical inhibitors are involved, e.g. alcohol, cocaine or head trauma occurs. For snapshot-memories, it is good to try to delve into the wider perspective, the scenario at the time; if one is running with friends, where is the locale, what are they running to or from, who is involved and how did they feel (if perceivable)? If it’s a snippet of memorable conversation, a piece of wisdom, a joke, a threat then who was the orator, what was the situation, what was the wider context and the emotions involved?

The standardised sheet before entries should be as follows:

Pre-addiction/during addiction/ post-addcition: whether the memory occurs before, during or after addiction. By ‘post-addiction I mean recent memories created whilst in a recovery environment, not the memories formed in addiction during ‘moments of clarity’ although these are still important. Moment-of-clarity memories generated during phases of sobriety in addiction still count as ‘during addiction’ unless they are linked immediately to a recovery attempt. Basically, the memory I have of me feeling like shit and recognising my worthlessness after a particular emotionally remarkable bender is still counted as ‘during addiction’ despite the perceived state of sobriety. Similarly, any memories created in the first few weeks of abstinence are in a grey area as alcohol stays in the system for a good four weeks and some other substances even longer yet if they are formed in an environment that promotes recovery, it might be considered as a ‘post-addiction’ memory despite a relapse.  Use your own judgement based on your perceptions of your addiction at the time, whether you were not using, using or in recovery.

Age: The approximate age that the memory was created.

Positive/negative memory: Whether the overall emotional and behavioural elements of the event/stimuli were positive or negative.

Event/stimulus: The circumstances surrounding the event or stimuli.

Catalyst: The cause of the circumstances

Emotional reaction: How the individual reacted emotionally at the time

Behavioural reaction: How the individual behaved at the time

Emotional-behavioural outcome: The outcome of the event in terms of the individuals thoughts and behaviours, the effect the event or stimulus had on the individual in the immediate time following the exposure to the event/stimuli.

Identifying markers: Doesn’t need to be filled out by the individual but can be attempted and is a good exercise in evaluating traits and thinking patterns. The ‘markers’ are significant traits or patterns of emotion and behaviour that were influenced directly as a result of being exposed to the stimuli or event.

The Twelve reworked Steps

This is a first draft of my rewritten Twelve Steps to continued abstinence from alcohol or drugs. I have tried to make the Steps as benign as possible concerning religion yet have not ruled out religious support, as it is a valid peer-support network The only difference is that religion is not advocated as a remedial measure, the focus here is on identity and restoring it to work towards fulfilment and self-esteem. It is all good drawing strength from religion but one needs to be secure enough in their identity to make the faith work in terms of abstinence and moderating thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

The traditional Steps are written in bold and the italics are my suggested edits.

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol/drugs – that our lives had become unmanageable.

We recognised that our identities have become overpowered by addiction and that our lives have become unmanageable without alcohol/drugs.

I have a slight problem with Step One, vital as it is in terms of summarising and introspectively assessing one’s misdeeds in insobriety. The practicality of Step One is a written chronological summary of one’s life, encompassing childhood and maturity, right up to the trigger-point for attempting abstinence. By writing and reading out the summary in a closed group environment, one takes ownership of the addiction and recognises how it has affected life. However, the Step One indicates that the addict is powerless over their addiction and I disagree. To even attend therapy is an exercise in power over addiction. If the addict were truly powerless then they would refuse every time, no matter what the consequence. As it stands, even getting as far as admitting a problem is a display of exerted power over the addiction and the addict should be recognised and encouraged for this.

We are not powerless over addiction; the addiction has become our purpose, a fundamental part of our identity, a badge that identifies us among groups-an alcoholic, a ‘druggie’, a ‘smack-head’. It has become our primary motivator and we acquiesce with demands to reduce negative emotion and physical pain by indulging our addiction. Yet we are almost always in a position of power, we just lack the confidence and knowledge to fight back against the demands of the addiction. We have become dependent on the substance to live but even this analogy is false; we just don’t know how to live without substances.

The fact is, there was a point in our lives when we were not dependent on substances such as alcohol and drugs, when we had a clean living in terms of physiology. Our ambitions and desires were different, our implicit biases were different. Our identities are created in our childhood, are constantly evolving through daily exposure to stimuli, through emotional responses and the process is interrupted by addiction. Our lives become unmanageable and our health is at risk, both physical and mental.

Step One should be the recognition that the core identity has been hijacked and changed to suit the demands of the addiction and that life has become unmanageable as a result of this identity schism. Step One should be the awareness that the addiction has controlled the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of the addict and resulted in unwanted stress and trauma to the self and others, that it continues to do so. It should also not reference the lack of power exhibited by the addict. It is important right from the start to empower the addict in recovery with a sense of self-control. Peer-sharing is very important at this stage as shared experiences highlight the singularity of addiction, irrespective of class, gender, age or religion, etc.

 

Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Came to believe that the help of others could restore our sense of identity.

I cannot stress this enough; recovery works infinitely better in a closed and trusted group environment. Trying to recover alone is an arduous and miserable task fraught with relapse and loss of self-esteem. I’ve been there and it can precipitate suicidal thoughts as the failure compounds the self-hatred and depression. The addict becomes resigned to their fate and the outcome is rarely favourable.

Step Two is a great Step but I have a problem with addicts being labelled as insane. In my experience, an addiction is a purposeful and driven thing, far from insane. It has structure and persistence and requires many interpersonal skills to make it work successfully. Addicts such as myself that have been active for nearly two decades relied heavily on deceit and pretentiousness, stealing and dishonesty to thrive and at no point before my abstinence did anybody accuse me of being either an ‘alcoholic’ or ‘insane’, merely ‘someone who likes a drink’. I held down a career and integrated into society, albeit very loudly and disruptively. I won awards at work for competence whilst drunk as a lord and despite my string of failed relationships, criminal tendencies and my self-destructive attitude, insanity never came into it.

Many addicts I have met held positions of responsibility and power yet they were hopelessly addicted to alcohol and drugs, convinced that the substances increased their skill and judgement at work. I was no different, I firmly believed that I was a more engaging and clear-thinking person whilst high on drink or drugs. This is delusion but not insanity.

Step Two also references ‘a Power’ and the capitalisation is important because this implies an entity and sets us up for Step Three, the religious curve-ball.

What Step Two should seek to do is make the addict aware of their vulnerability as a single unit in recovery, that a support network can help to restore the core identity. The need for a support network is paramount and the group environment provides this safety net. The addict must become accepting of the fact that support from peers and organisations is essential for their recovery and for their progress towards understanding themselves better.

 

Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Made a decision to take charge of our identity with the help of peer-support and worked to moderate the negative aspects.

What can I say about Step Three? It’s as black-and-white as it can be; made a conscious decision to turn all of our will over to God and submit to his guidance. The part that says ‘as we understand Him’ leaves the door open to any faith to intervene, not just Christianity. In order to complete the Twelve Steps, one must embrace religion.

I am not happy with that. God didn’t make me an addict nor did he make me take the first step towards abstinence by attending therapy. The threat of losing my children did that to me and it worked. For others, it may be poor health or financial ruin. It is usually a monumental loss that precipitates the recovery phase or the very real threat of it; rarely does an addict suddenly ‘wake up’ and commit to abstinence. Despite this, some continue to abuse themselves and inevitably they suffer. It takes a conscious choice to enter recovery, a display of power over addiction and many addicts attempt this lots of times before eventual success with the help of peer-support.

God has no business in the early stages of recovery. The goal of Step Three ought to be the conscious decision to take charge of one’s usurped identity, exploring the other facets that give us joy such as the expansion of creativity through art, music or literature; the acts of humanism and support that sometimes make us feel empowered about ourselves as givers of advice and mediators of dispute. Exploration of childhood dreams and hobbies can be very helpful, picking up where one might have left off before addiction took hold and such things as a future became a day-by-day endeavour. Identification of the negative aspects of the identity gives the addict a schedule to work with and further therapy at anger management or PTSD groups may be suggested, for example.

 

 

Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Made a truthful and introspective catalogue of our failures and successes, of our strengths and weaknesses.

I like Step Four and didn’t really need to change it too much. I thought it was a bit vague so I clarified it with my own interpretation of just what a ‘fearless and searching moral inventory’ might be.

If you’ve ever heard of the business term ‘SWOT analysis’ then you will recognise this model for Step Four. It assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the addict’s identity and the opportunities and threats presented by both continued addiction and abstinence.

Going back to the earliest memories, the addict should be encouraged to recognise positive attributes and successes in life, high points, moments of elation and satisfaction, of accomplishment. Learning a new skill, helping somebody, offering an opinion, even NOT acting in a certain way (restraint) can be a personal success. Thoughts, feelings and behaviours that yielded positive results should be highlighted along with those traits that might have caused disruption or tension in life. Opportunities both exploited and missed should be recalled as well as threats and their effect on the the addict, their responses in times of emotional crisis. Peer support might help to identify core traits of the addict, overlooked in addiction and it might be discussed how both opportunities and threats might persist through sobriety and how the recovering addict might apply their personalities in these situations, as well as how they may or shoukld have reacted in the past situations.

 

Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Admitted to ourselves and our support network the exact nature of our troubles and discontentment.

If we just remove God from Step Five and refine it more to ‘support network’ then religion is not ruled out. In the old Step Five, admittance to God is mandatory but I feel it should be a choice. A support network can be anything from an agency to an individual to a religion but the choice is open.

If we have to give confession to God then we must already be believers, or so the Steps will assume. This means that the following two Steps are directly connected with God and overlook any personal identity and choice whatsoever.

Confession is apparently good for the soul but I couldn’t possibly comment. I do know that articulating emotions, especially stressful ones can be therapeutic especially in a two-way environment of question and answer. It helps to identify how and why we felt a certain way and did a certain thing. We can use our own narrative to gather insight into ourselves and apply our sober mind to the past situation, seeing where we might have done things differently. I find writing helpful in these respects, writing a detailed history of certain events. The more I write, the more details come back to me and before long, I’m back in the moment and able to express roughly how I felt at the time and maybe find out the triggers.

Sharing these memories in a trusted peer-support environment is very helpful, I found. Not only does empathy and understanding help but the encouragement of others is a self-esteem raising tool that I cannot praise enough. Within the therapy group, the addict can have a safe place to share sensitive memories and accept debate about the thoughts and feelings behind the behaviours from others who may have endured the same.

 

Step Six: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Were committed to ourselves to restore our identities to that which we and others can accept.

God cannot remove a defect. If He could, there would be significantly less suffering in the world. He cannot remove an addiction because it can never be removed, only subdued and locked behind glass. A recovering addict is a recovering addict for life; there is no interim or final period when they are ‘recovered’ as relapse could occur at any given moment. Only in death is an addict truly rehabilitated and free of addiction.

I believe addictive tendencies, an implicit bias towards certain substances are an epigenetic factor transmitted through genes. I have little evidence to support that, it’s just a hunch but it feels right. If that is the case then addiction is a bespoke part of the core identity, same as sexual preference or neurological disorders. I was always going to be an addict irrespective of environment and upbringing, that’s how I feel because my brain lacked something critical that could only be satisfied through alcohol (primarily) and drugs. As soon as I was exposed to alcohol and felt the effects, I was religiously smitten.

Although the obsessive part of my personality compelled me to become an alcoholic and drug addict it is not entirely without merit. When faced with a seemingly stubborn problem, I obsess about the problem until I have found a solution and in this respect, the trait is good (if somewhat tiring). I would not want it removed from my character and deemed ‘a defect’, I would want the positive attributes of the trait brought out and made clear to me so that I might see it as a string to a bow rather than a defect of character.

By disavowing the addiction, we are shrugging off the cloak that has been around us and trying to get back our real identity. It might be a wildly unstable thing, this freed identity but the purpose of recovery therapy is to help the addict understand all the implicit traits and biases of their character and take ownership of them, empowering them as a unit of control, moderation and pro-activeness.

 

Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Focused on our identities and made efforts to draw out our strengths of character with support from those with our best intentions at heart.

I find Step Six and Seven are fairly similar I always got confused with the distinction between a ‘defect of character’ and a ‘shortcoming’. Either way, we are asking God to remove them completely, remembering our place and showing humility with our request.

Step Seven, to me should link on from Step Six, building on the restructuring of identity by focusing on strengths and weaknesses. The addict’s identity, already recognised as powerful enough to stand up to addiction with peer-support should be affirmed through cognitive behavioural exercises and trying out new (and old) hobbies and interests. The goal is to try and build the identity from the bottom-up, starting with the inherent traits that make us who we are, up to and including addiction. At no point do I believe the addict should be partitioned from the addiction as this may cause further schisms in identity. The addictive, dependent personality may be an integral part of the addict’s identity and we would not want to remove this or change it, merely focus and streamline it.

 

Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Understood whom we had hurt and exactly why we behaved as we did and made a decision to apologise.

I think this Step might be a good thing as remorse for misdeeds is critical to rehabilitation. The whole ‘making amends’ concept may not be a reality, however as some of those affected by the addict’s behaviour may not wish to be contacted or made to remember past events. I think the critical word is ‘willing’ to make amends in that the recovering addict makes a conscious choice to apologise and try to make right a past mistake. Some people might not want to be friends again after previous mistreatment but the notion of wanting to make good on past mistakes is the key thing, the acceptance that one has erred and how this must have felt for the other parties concerned.

Additionally, it might not be possible to make amends, especially if some people are dead or so far removed that contact is impossible. In these circumstances, maybe a public gesture would be more appropriate, something others can see like a notice of apology in a local newspaper or on a website.

 

Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Made direct amends to such people where required and asked for understanding but not forgiveness.

Again, amends may not be the desirable outcome for emotionally injured parties and may not be welcomed  by some. At the very least, the addict has made the injured parties aware of the reasons for misbehaviour and asked that this be taken into consideration when assessing the addict’s worth. Forgiveness is something that might not be forthcoming and should never be begged. If it is due then it will come, in time as the addict demonstrates his or her commitment through progressive therapy and continued abstinence. Amends where required by the situation, i.e. accepted by the injured party is a good idea but it should not be forced upon someone. In these circumstances, a charitable donation on their behalf might be a worthwhile consideration.

I wouldn’t know how to make amends to the dead aside from speaking to a relative and passing on details of the misdeeds, maybe visiting the final resting place and leaving a token gesture of remembrance and apology. Righting an old wrong or making a charitable gesture might be worth considering if it something agreed upon by the relatives. In the case of no living relatives, I would personally make a charitable donation.

 

Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Continued to explore and develop the freed identity and embraced humility, willing to take responsibility for our actions and accept constructive criticism.

I rewrote this entire Step because it just seemed like a reproduction of Step Four but maybe it’s more of a reinforcement, an interim stock-take on emotions and identity to make sure everything is running according to schedule. Maybe Step Ten is like a quick peek around the door to make sure the staff are still working and not taking an early lunch-break.

I thought it needed a little more beefing-up, a more detailed Step because at this late stage, the addict should be ready to begin exposing their addiction-free identity to other groups aside from the peer-support network. Continued self-exploration through exposure to stimuli should be taking place all the time, not just in Step Ten. All the time, the addict should be self-analysing when events and emotions occur, assessing how they should react and implementing coping strategies to deal with stress. As always, peer-support is critical and a controlled environment or safety-system in place when meeting new situations or visiting other places outside the support environment.

Humility is not necessarily a negative view of one’s place in the world, a sense of insignificance. It is admitting that we are not strong enough to fight the addiction single-handledly, not at the moment and that we are grateful for both the support of others and the chance to redeem one’s identity and self-esteem. Humility, to me is an admittance of our fragility and a desire to take responsibility. It is knowing the value of ourselves as of equal importance to others and taking ownership of our identity.

 

Step Eleven: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Learned to understand our identity through self-assessment and peer-support, recognising that our weaknesses are as integral to our character as our strengths and that our identities make us unique.

This far into the Twelve Steps, the addict will probably be actively religious and taking part in ritual and prayer. This Step suggests to the addict that they should pray only for the will of God, therefore negating their implicit biases and adopting the biases of the faith.

Remember, implicit biases are that which form our preferences and aversions. It is not necessarily just a summary of our likes and dislikes, our joys and fears it is deeper than that as in the instances of sexual preference and subliminal sensory arousal, that which ‘turns us on’ or ‘turns us off’ yet we have no basis for this feeling, it is just a feeling. Maybe love itself is an implicit bias, like my love for language or my love for my partner?

I don’t think these fundamental preferences and compulsions should be taken away from the identity and called ‘defects’, they should be streamlined and used positively, for there is a use for everybody in society and so long as they have a brain and the capacity to think, to innovate, to teach or maybe create then they have a valuable contribution to make. An addict may think they have nothing to offer but their experiences and their ultimate quest for change through abstinence is a valuable lesson to be shared with those who have yet to lose their livelihoods to addiction. Their commitment should be shared and celebrated.

 

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Having a re-connection with the positive aspects of our identity, we recognised our intrinsic worth and set about promoting and practising our values in everyday life.

The final step and usually the moment the addict embraces the faith and converts or at least makes religion a permanent and dominant faction in their lives, participating in group ritual and prayer, etc but more importantly, living the ethics of the religious group. The message is then preached to others and will normally have a religious implication given the recently ‘spiritually awakened’ state of the recovering addict.

I like the idea of an ‘awakening’ but not in the religious sense. The awakening needs to be one of self-actualisation, almost as the jigsaw pieces click into place and the construct of a strong identity is forged, the base morals that define the person, their biases and traits that they will take into the wider world. Of course, the addict will be vulnerable and fragile in this state but hopefully empowered to trust in themselves, having got thus far into the recovery programme and build bonds with peers within the group environment. I like the idea of an addict seeing a sense of ‘purpose’ or a series of life-goals that might seem far away but can be achieved through stages of commitment. One of mine is to guide my children to become the best they can become, good people with a good heart and good ethics, focused on humanity and celebrating its diversity. I can only do that if I exemplify good morals through my own behaviours, set the right benchmark for them to exceed.

 

I do hope you enjoyed these revisions and remember, the purpose is not to undermine religion but to give those who might struggle to accept God for whatever reason another way to complete their recovery programme rather than being stuck on the Step Two, literally waiting for God.

I feel religion should be a choice and if it something the recovering addict wants to consider once they have found a sense of stability then this is an excellent idea providing they have done the necessary research and decided that this will not interfere with their recovery in a negative way.

It’s all good and well handing one’s affairs over to God but what of the individual? Sometimes, it’s difficult to resign things to God, difficult to accept faith for whatever reason and try as we might, sometimes it feels forced and not organic. I’d like the Twelve Steps to be more user-friendly and more accessible to everybody not just the atypical religious model. I am living proof that this can work without God’s involvement and right now, I’m refining these roughly hewed Steps and trying to practise them myself. I’ll let you know if I reach self-actualisation or not.

 

The Arab Spring, oil, arms and *sigh*, Donald Trump.

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**Disclaimer: All of the shit in this post is my own paranoid conjecture backed up by articles and resources available on the public domain. I pray none of it is true and that I am completely insane, in which case I will seek immediate psychiatric help.**

I was reading about the 2011 Arab Spring, the root cause of the Syrian conflict, some might argue. It’s amazing how many sources claim that the United States precipitated the uprisings in Libya and Egypt, that the CIA were involved in recruiting and funding partisans to break the regimes. Wikileaks claims to have reams of evidence supporting US ‘stirring’ of the Middle East tensions. It certainly makes sense given the unpredictability and stubbornness of many of the North African and Middle Eastern regimes. Supposition about the American government’s involvement in the creation of the Islamic State is also abundant, their roots traced back to al-Quaida who were funded and trained by both the CIA and the Saud’s in response to Cold War threats. Personally, I think the Islamic State were an undesirable side-effect to the Arab Spring but one cannot help but think that they were allowed to get into power in Iraq and Syria, maybe to further defame the name of Islam. Who knows for sure?

Let us assume for a moment that America DID have a hand in the execution of the 2011 Arab Spring and that its results were largely favourable (with the exception of Syria and Iran). We must assume, in this case that if the CIA did instigate uprisings in these Arab countries then they may also have assisted the Syrian uprising. If that is the case then they are responsible for the empowerment of ISIL.

It seems to me that the Arab Spring may have been a project to destabilise Russian authority over the Arab regions and weaken the Islamic Republic of Iran whilst at the same time shifting power in the Middle East to Saudi Arabia and strengthening Israel’s economic position. The killing of Gaddaffi was not welcomed by Russia nor the deposition of the Tunisian and Egyptian government whereas it was positively encouraged by the US. It would be fair to say that as Russia and Iran’s influence in the Arab states weakened, Saudi Arabia’s strengthened but to what extent it was complicit is unclear.

The whole world was affected by the Arab Spring with demonstrations in every continent. In the Middle East, the effect was remarkable with old entrenched regimes succumbing to revolution. To what degree the US armed the rebel factions is unknown but it is interesting to note where the uprisings succeeded and failed. In Saudi Arabia, a much quieter Arab revolt occurred and was quickly quashed by the ruling regime within a year. Numerous arrests and executions followed and the Saud’s tightened their grip on autocracy by issuing a fatwa that banned public demonstrations. In Israel, there were protests and attacks but nothing out of the ordinary for the region and uprisings were quietly subdued. Hamas did intensify attacks over 2012, as the Arab Spring intensified itself but inside Israel, the government remained firmly in control. Things flared up in Iran but were handled by the Islamic Republic and no change of regime occurred.

I don’t think the US realised the effect that the Arab Spring would have on global politics, in its entirety or if they did, their efforts have now been undermined by Donald Trump. Now they are entrenched in a domestic war against protesters and facing an intercontinental war with Syria and Russia not to mention the potential conflict in the South China Sea (Spratleys’/Paracels) and North Korea. Things haven’t worked out as planned. All because of Trump. The goal was to replace the leaders of the oil-rich states with American sympathisers who would become reliant upon the US for trade and military resources. At the same time, the nation of Saudi Arabia would consolidate its power in the Sunni Muslim community and Israel would benefit from dissent among the Arabs, more focused on repairing their infrastructure than attacking the Jews. Russia’s grip on the Arab states would weaken as power shifted to US-supported leaders of the Arab nations and Iran would feel the pinch of oppression as the regimes became more pro-American and anti-Shia.

Where does ISIS fit in? I don’t know. It’s one of two things: they are an anomaly, created out of opportunity and strengthened by the Arab Spring, another al-Queda. They were not supposed to be part of the problem, merely part of the resistance. Or…they were funded and backed deliberately to excuse the destruction of Syria and Iraq. If terrorists took over these countries then the UN could legitimately bomb the shit out of them. I mean, let’s face it; the real money is under the ground not above it. Anything above ground is negligible. If you want proof, look at Mosul and the state of Iraq.

Sniff, sniff…..want to know where the oil’s at? Click the link below to see the top locations of oil reserves and petroleum production in the world. Most countries can extract oil but not all have the capability to refine quickly in order to meet economic demand and therefore have to import refined petroleum. This example is seen in Venezuela which exports a lot of crude oil to the US and imports refined petroleum back from them. In fact, in 2015 it imported over 95% of its refined petroleum directly from the United States whilst exporting at least 73% in crude oil to the US. In fact, a recent news article highlighted that Venezuela was in a fuel crisis despite having the world’s largest reserves of oil. It simply does not have the necessary refinery capabilities to meet the demands of the economy and consequently outsources to the United States. Venezuela’s economy is overwhelmingly reliant on its exports of crude oil and the US are it’s biggest trading partner in this respect.

Where are the worlds largest oil reserves?

As for poor old Yemen, still fractured by civil war after the Arab Spring erupted is now being legitimately bombed by the Saud’s  in a proxy war (backed by the US and others) for no other reason than to oppress the Shia Houthis and put in place its own regime that will no doubt reflect Saudi Arabian values and settle the ancient dispute. Saudi Arabia, no friend to Iran is currently the second leading producer and exporter of crude oil in the world. The top spot goes to Russia. Yemen, although not the most oil rich land is a large exporter of both crude oil and petroleum gas and would be useful as a symbiotic tool for both the Saud’s and the US. As it stands, most of Yemen’s business is done in the Southeast Asian district, between China, Thailand and South Korea and it has no trade that I can see with Saudi Arabia concerning oil and associated byproducts despite being next-door. Trade with the US is heavily overshadowed by trade with China and company.

As for military exports, the US’s biggest customer is (surprisingly) South Korea then Israel, UAE and Saudi Arabia if we look at the period 2011-2015. I’m sure this is still the case in 2017. As for general funding and support, here’s an excerpt from a post on the CNN website:

“The State Department’s 2017 budget request includes approximately $5.7 billion for Foreign Military Financing.
In the proposed budget, the top five recipients of American foreign military financing will be Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.3 billion), Jordan ($350 million), Pakistan ($265 million), and Iraq ($150 million).”
The link above reveals how two primary Middle Eastern countries receive over 75% of the US foreign aid budget; Egypt and Israel.

Things were going well for America until Donald Trump came along. The Arab Spring shifted the axis of power in the Middle East and unfortunately, parts of Africa also became embroiled in their own uprisings but this is collateral damage and inconsequential to the United States in the bigger scheme of the Middle East. That’s where the real money is although interests may soon shift to South America.

I believe Russia saw an opportunity in Trump, an opportunity to balance power once again, maybe shift it against the US monumentally. With the assistance of China, North Korea and Iran, the stage is now set for the final act, the one that involves the US being discredited and made pariah, thrown out of the very League of Nations that it helped to forge, breaker of its own rules and charters. Religion is just a pretext, smoke and mirrors to divert the eye from the real drama. America couldn’t give a fuck whom it installs as the next leader of any given country, so long as they are compliant and on the payroll. Same with Russia, the matter of religious identity is moot compared to the loyalty of the regime. As always, it is the people that suffer.

Trump is definitely not America’s trump card. He is ruining the delicate balance, fibrillating the tense strings that have been woven across nations by the US. He is dragging America into an unnecessary two-fronted war and alienating the nation from its partners. On the domestic front, America has become a hotbed for sectarian prejudice and political intolerance, protests and marches becoming the norm.

I do believe that Donald Trump will commit an act that not only results in the suspension of America from the United Nations but threatens the very economic security of the nation. He will discredit the American land and you can be sure that Russia and China will be there to pick up the slack, to offer reassurances and become the new patriarchal figures of support to the Western world. Either that or they will force crippling sanctions onto the West in the hope of breaking America through shattering its infrastructure rather than bombing it. Technically, if Russia and China had enough support from the Middle East and South America, they could pretty much cater for the gap left by the United States although the land would have to be appropriated at some point in order to get at the Canadian oil reserves. Already, Trump is pissing off the South American’s and Venezuela holds the record for the largest known oil reserves, over fifty percent of its crude oil going to the United States. On the contrary, China and Russia are expanding interests in the region.

Trump has no respect for other nation’s leaders, for the customs and intricacies that mark each culture differently, giving them their individuality and nuance. I heard that he even forgot to put his hand to his heart when reciting the American national anthem

His misplaced self-pride in himself and his overzealous opinion of his country in the global scheme of things is ruining America’s reputation and it has worked hard to establish good relations with countries after decades of subjugation and interference. Say what you want about Hillary (there’s speculation that she had knowledge of the Arab Spring long before it happened), at least she might have recognized America’s precarious position and took steps to lead through diplomacy rather than brute force.

Does Donald Trump really think that Russia and China are not ready for war? For centuries, their countries have been stockpiling armaments and personnel, fighting proxy wars, defending against attack as well as instigating it.

The following links from the World Bank show the levels of expenditure per country on weaponry over the 2015 period, less than two years ago. If you access the links, you can also find out which countries are importing and exporting the most arms. No surprise which countries are at the top of the list for exportation of weapons, Russia and America followed by France, Germany and China. On the imports side, the Middle East, India and China are among the top importers of arms. Interestingly, Australia reveals itself to be just as worried about defence as it is third on the list of the top importers of arms. The country that spent the most of its GDP on defence in the 2015 period was the Sultanate of Oman which I happened to have visited during my father’s tenure at the British Airworks base. It is a very militarised country and it quashed the potential revolts of the Arab Spring successfully with cabinet changes and military superiority. Of course, Oman is closely involved with the English and the Americans and both have a military presence in the country. Saudi Arabia is second for overall GDP expenditure on defence and is also the top importer of arms during the same period. In fact, Russia and America have been getting pretty wealthy off the Arab states over the past decades and the EU hasn’t done too badly, either. Neither has China.

Check out world military expenditure by country

More stats on arms expenditure

By bringing America to war, Trump is emptying the coffers rather than filling them. Experts predict that the US GDP deficit will be around $504 billion this year, half a trillion dollars worth of debt. War will add to that deficit and public services will suffer as a result of the shortfall not to mention the protest and outcry it would cause across the United States. Estimates put the total cost of the Vietnam War to the US at over a trillion dollars in today’s money.

The following link gives a really good insight into the cost of wars to the United States over the centuries and is well worth a read. One must remember, back in the Vietnam War weapons cost a hell of a lot less than they do today.

The real financial cost of war to the US

Here’s an interesting thing; war makes countries poorer but it makes weapons manufacturers and defence contractors richer. Recently, after the Tomahawk missile strike on Syria by the US, Raytheon Inc. saw an increase in the company’s share price raising their profits by nearly $100 million. Donald Trump owns shares in Raytheon Inc and will receive a dividend as a result of the share price increase. The cost of each Tomahawk missile is around $800,000 and fifty-nine were fired making a total outlay for stock alone (not counting labour and other overheads) of over $47 million. Will Donald Trump sacrifice his dividend to make up the shortfall in the US defence budget? I doubt it very much and with those tax returns still to declare, Trump hasn’t exactly shed the greedy businessman persona to adopt the role of President. Personal gain is clearly more significant than economic stability in his world. I imagine that there were a variety of other deployment methods that could have been used by the US to strike Syria but as it was, the Tomahawks were used in abundance. Trump has also been accused of ‘bigging up’ the damage caused by the missile strike, therefore glorifying Raytheon’s product as a market leader and raising interest among the global community. As we know, America is one of the top two arms exporters in the world but private enterprise is very much different to running a country. One could argue that Raytheon, being an American company will now have higher taxes to pay and will compensate the economy for the $47 million shortfall in the defence budget but that won’t help in a time of war, when the US makes weapons to use rather than sell for profit. What is more likely is that the company directors will flee with their assets to a place that offers more economic stability. Trump can’t abandon-ship, he is the captain and must go down with the vessel but financially secure as he is, the fall will be cushioned.

Whilst we’re on the subject of weapons deployment, did Syria deploy chemicals weapons via aircraft upon its own people on April 4th? Professor Theodore Postol thinks not and his own take on the incident is quite interesting. Read the full article below which disputes the use of an aerial device completely:

Arguments against the chemical strike on Syria

Does America really need to bomb Syria, to taunt North Korea with the threat of war, a red rag to a bull? Are these developments something that the US planned and hoped for when it helped to get Trump elected? Individuals themselves may profit from a two-fronted war, defence companies particularly but the country as a whole suffers. Individuals seeing vast returns on stock options are unlikely to pump it straight back into the war-chest. Instead, taxes will increase and services will be cut.

But what if the rest of the world no longer wants to do business with an aggressive America, turning instead to China and Russia for its armament fulfilment? What if excporters of crude oil simply turn elsewhere for their refinery needs? Could that be a likely scenario? Depending on how Trump handles Syria dictates how the relationship with the Arab states will go. He doesn’t want to alienate the Arab’s as they are pivotal to the entire economical stability of the region and vital to America’s trade system. Neither would he want to piss of the South Americans and the Chinese who represent a good proportion of US trade.

The following link shows the top import and export partners for the US with regards to petroleum. Remember, Trump is building a wall across the Mexican-US border and deporting migrants. He is also threatening to destabilise the Middle East and alienate China. The link below summarises the economies of the world’s countries and is well worth playing around with, just to get an idea of whom is dependent on whom for resources and trade:

Petroleum imports from other countries to the US

If this wasn’t bad enough, check out the following link which shows just who are America’s top trading partners with regards to all products, both currently and historically.

US trading partners, the top fifteen

Here’s another interesting thing. I found out that, as of 2015 99% of Canada’s crude oil went to the United States. They are virtually Canada’s only customer, when you look at the scope of the supply ratios compared to what gets supplied directly to China, Spain and Cameroon. Canada is supremely oil-rich yet lags behind Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for crude oil reserves which is why Trump ought to be careful about alienating these continents. Of course, despite taking 99% of Canada’s oil output, America still imports oil from Saudi, Venezuela, Mexico and other countries. Does this mean that America is simply extending trade to these countries or that it really needs the oil? Because if it really needs the oil then alienating South America and the Middle East is not a good strategy. Owning them is much more preferable but these chances have slipped away from America’s grasp thanks to Trump.

If the Arab Spring 2011 was a strategy to empower America then it is being rapidly undone by Donald Trump. The United Nations are already in a muddle as to whether Trump breached any humanitarian articles in the UN Charter.? The following link explains the purported treaty violations in much more detail:

Did Trump violate the UN Charter?

Discredit America, urge it into war (or simply allow it to organically happen with the will of Trump) and become the foundations for the world’s economy. That’s what I think the plan is here by Russia. The way that everything has fallen apart so quickly after Trump took office is far too coincidental to be anything other than a planned schedule.

Russia are the only country that agreed to help North Korea with its nuclear ambitions, strictly for peace and domestic power, might I add but really, when one is given such mass-destructive power can one really aver from creating weapons? Iran will soon be developing their own nuclear weapons, with or without UN approval because once the materials are there, the temptation to create a weapon is far too strong to deny. And why shouldn’t these countries create weapons, given that eight other countries have the privilege? So long as they don’t use them, there isn’t a problem because the last thing anybody wants is an irradiated, useless planet that cannot be utilised by any victors of war.

Is it fair to say that Russia might n? With Trump in charge, it’s a guarantee. He will incite tensions and put his hardware on Iran’s doorstep. Iran have already said that they will develop ICBM’s and now that have helped North Korea develop its nuclear program? They certainly provided reactors and materials, scientific support and the suchlike over the years. Could they have put the idea of building the nuclear hardware to the North Koreans, much as a devil might sit on one’s shoulder and whisper in temptation? Is the same thing going to happen in Ira they have nuclear capability, the prospect of them building a weapon is likely but once again, it doesn’t mean they are likely to use it against somebody. Iran knows full well what would happen if it bombed Israel, that not only would the ICBM be intercepted by the Arrow defence system and fail (probably blowing up over Arab territory and killing Muslims) but all supporters of the Jewish state will retaliate, including the United States and Russia, unified at last by something in which they both hold a common interest.

North Korea, however is in an extremely good position to nuke South Korea and this would have a very damaging effect on the Middle East and Southeast Asian markets. The US also trades with South Korea and they are America’s sixth largest import/export market. Destabilisation of the South Korean economy (ranked sixth in 2015 out of the world’s most complex economies) would be disastrous. South Korea are also a big player in the world’s arms import market. According to figures, South Korea were the US’s largest receiver of arms over the 2011-2015 period, accounting for a third of the total weapons sold on the international market by America over that period. Losing South Korea is not an option for the world to consider however a regime change would be welcomed by Russia, I feel if only to balance the arms race.

Trump is pissing off Texans in their majority with his hair-brained ‘Trump Wall’ with a vast portion of the Texan state opposing the wall and its implications for divisions in the communities as well as the local economy of Texas and the wider problems for Mexico . The ‘wall’ will cost $12 billion, according to Trump although the Democrats assure this will be closer to $70 billion. America will have to pay for the ‘wall’ because Mexico never will. South American leaders are not happy with Trump and if the wall is built and the policies put in place against immigration, all Latin American countries will feel the impact. The only way Trump will get Mexico to comply is by sanctioning the country economically and this bullying approach will likely be the next step. Needless to say, with South America so vital to the world’s petroleum markets, this hostility will provoke Latin America to seek assistance from Russia and China which they will gladly give, further consolidating Russia’s hold over the world markets.

Mark my words, America is being set up to look like the snot-nosed playground bully and Russia, the prefect will bring together those feeling oppressed and disoriented, taking away the bully’s power without even throwing a punch. I don’t think Russia or China will ever had to fire a shot in order to bring the United States to its knees. In fact, only America will be seen to be using bullying tactics and the reputation of this great nation will be one seen with condescending distaste as others turn away from the threat and seek solace with the maternal, diplomatic Russians.

Of course, with Trump in power he might just hit the self-destruct button as his ship begins to fill with saltwater and nuke the shit out of every country he perceives as a threat. With that in mind, one can only pray that somebody puts a bullet in his head before it gets any worse. I’m not really one for political assassination but this reminds me of the Stephen King novel, the Dead Zone and the antagonist Greg Stillson whom psychic Johnny Smith is compelled to kill in order to save America from nuclear war and a totalitarian regime. In the end, Stillson survives but disgraces himself to the extent that he loses public confidence and is never elected as President.

Well, in this reality Stillson (i.e. Trump) DID get elected and it’s no coincidence. Hell, he didn’t even have to offer free hot-dogs, he just convinced America that it was far more important than it really was, that it wasn’t an integral link in a global chain but a separate entity capable of existing autonomously, the top of the pyramid in ethics, economy and political power. Naturally, the Russians helped him out, or so I believe and now we all must face the consequences.

As a closing note, when Harry Truman dropped two nukes on Japan, the world reeled from the new destructive power owned by America. Nothing could compare to this device and it did put America in the strongest position it has ever been in its history but things change, weapons change and now the world and his wife has access to nuclear weapons. They are built, stockpiled, sold and shared across international economies. America no longer has exclusive access to the world’s most destructive weapon, apparently Russia’s thermonuclear device holds the record for maximum potency although I bet the Israeli’s have something even more powerful in their arsenal, closely kept under wraps even from their biggest supporters. Trust me, if I was the ‘only Jew in the village’ as the Israeli State is in the Middle East then I would have something very special in terms of defence and deterrent, something to equal the level of possible attack from collective states pledged against the Jews. America claims to leads the world in missile defence systems with its THAAD system but the Israeli’s Arrow project is disputed as a close contender.

The US has moved a THAAD system to the South Korean region in anticipation of a nuclear strike and Israel has already used the Arrow system to successfully intercept Syrian missiles although these were non-nuclear devices.

The THAAD system

ARROW, third generation

Better get digging that shelter folks because the UK’s system is a piece of shit compared to the US and Israel. Shit, even India has a better system than us but when we spend so little on our defence budget, is it any wonder?

 

 

 

Replacing the al-Assad regime

Let’s stop the foreplay and get down to the real sweaty business at hand. The Syrian war will never end until the al-Assad regime is deposed and replaced with another suitable regime that will work towards stabilising Syria. America cannot do this, the United Nations cannot do this. Only Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia can do this with the backing of the other Arab League members. Syria was formerly in the Arab League but membership has been suspended due to the civil war.

In fact, probably only Russia and China have to act to instigate a regime change given that Syria is heavily reliant on both of them for military support. The other countries represent the bulk of Syria’s trade and sanctions would force the al-Assad government into poverty.

But the last thing anybody wants is the Syrian state to collapse and its economy become destabilized. This is apparently Russia’s number one priority, ensuring the economic stability of Syria. Protecting the existing regime ensures some degree of stability but with the country becoming more alienated from the rest of the world, how much longer can al-Assad keep the engine running before it eventually overheats?

Russia have not ruled out the prospect of a regime change but finding a suitable candidate as the figurehead of the reformed Syrian government is a difficult task. There are reports of hundreds of armed groups fighting in the Syrian conflict, each with its own agenda, some conglomerating to form super-groups that represent the majority share of the resistance. Surely, from this pool of Islamic intellect there must be at least one mutually acceptable candidate?

There needs to be a figurehead who not only inspires loyalty and commands respect, but who will work towards the best interests of the Syrian people.

Let’s take a look at some of the possible replacements that caught my eye:

1    Abu Ammar al-Umar, leader of the Ahrar al-Sham militia group is an enigmatic man with idealistic notions of an Islamic state governed by Shariah law. His ideals are similar to that involved in the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran and the group is one of the most powerful in the Syrian conflict among rebel factions. al-Umar resents the ISIL threat and also has no love for Hezbollah and other groups that he has deemed as deviants from Islam. Despite this, a number of the Ahrar al-Sham have defected for other groups, including ISIL. al-Umar’s vision is for the reunification of an Islamic Syria and not the global jihad preached by other organisations. Ahrar al-Sham is designated a terror group by Russia, Lebanon, Egypt, UAE and Iraq. Its denomination is Sunni-Salafi Islam with a preponderance towards Sunni.

Ahrar al-Sham statistics and numbers

An interview with Abu Ammar

 

2 Abu Muhammad al-Golani, leader of the Tahrir al-Sham, otherwise known as the al-Nusra front or the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. The group is designated as a terror group by the United Nations along with virtually every other country bar Iraq, Lebanon, Qatar and Afghanistan. The reason for this is that the group’s origins and ethics are linked directly to al-Quaeda and the Islamic State despite the tensions between all three groups recently. Whereas Ahrar-al-Sham are predominantly Sunni Muslim, Tahrir-al-Sham abide by the orthodox Salafi-Wahhabi Islam that has been associated with extremists acts of violence.

Hay’at Tahrir-al-Sham (al-Nusra) statistics

An interview with al-Golani

 

3 Anas al-Abdah, president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forcesthe political wing of some of the Syrian rebel forces including the Free Syrian Army. The group is legally recognized by the United Nations and the Arab League as the defacto government of Syria and it operates in exile (I think between Turkey and Qatar) in the hope of bringing stability to Syria. Al-Abdah was educated in England and operated in sectors of information technology. Along with others, Al-Abdah formed the Movement for Justice and Development in 2006 in response to the al-Assad regime in Syria. He has served as president of the defacto government for just over a year, one of the longest tenures of office among presidents of the National Coalition. Russia and China do not recognize the National Coalition as a legitimate government, supporting the al-Assad regime instead.

Everything you wanted to know about the National Syrian Coalition

An interview with al-Abdah

 

4.jpg George Sabra, chairman of the Syrian National Council which was the legitimately recognised defacto government of Syria by those in opposition of al-Assad up until the end of 2012 when it merged with the National Coalition. It left the National Coalition a  year later and since then, has lost kudos through a number of hierarchical changes, schisms and defections. Sabra himself is a Christian and former political prisoner of the al-Assad regime. A former communist, Sabra redeveloped his Syrian activist group into a socialist party and abandoned Marxism. His career has been long and varied. The Syrian National Council’s main collective comprises of members of the Muslim Brotherhood which raises some concerns among other groups loyal to the deposition of the al-Assad regime.

Facts about the Syrian National Council

An interview with George Sabra

 

5 Sheikh Moaz Al-Khatib, the first leader of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, a much respected Imam from Damascus with a forward-thinking approach of a united Syria, irrespective of religious denomination. Al-Khatib was imprisoned several times under he al-Assad regime and eventually escaped to Egypt. A Sunni Muslim, Al-Khatib is one of the more forward-thinking and less sectarian figureheads of the Syrian rebel alliances, often being described as a ‘moderate Muslim’.

Moaz-Al-Khatib bio

An extremely lengthy interview with Al-Khatib

 

6 Albay Ahmed Berri, the Chief of Staff of the Free Syrian Army, originally After a dispute between the Supreme Military Command of the FSA and the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces in 2015, Berri was asked to take charge of the field operations once again after a short two-month tenure in 2014.  However, his leadership is not recognized by the Supreme Military Command despite his endorsements by the National Coalition. Berri, a career soldier has also been held captive by ISIL. The FSA is predominantly Sunni Muslim although Berri’s own denomination is unknown and is officially recognised by the United Nations and other countries as a legitimized military faction of the National Coalition. Sadly, all interviews with Berri are in Arabic and not translated but you can find the latest one by clicking here.

Some background on the Free Syrian Army

 

7.png Ahmad Issa bin Zakaria al-Sheikh (Abu Issa)the former chairman of the the Islamic Front’s Shura Council. The Islamic Front was another collective of rebel groups within groups, once boasting an army of over 45,000 soldiers and comprising of some hard-line jihadist groups such as Ahrar al-Sham. Abu Issa is the leader of Suqour al-Sham, part of the Islamic Front umbrella and was previously known for his moderate views on Syria’s future. Since the collapse of the Islamic Front, Suqour al-Sham joined with Ahrar al-Sham and the charismatic Abu Issa represents the groups political interests. His views have become more consistent with Ahrar al-Sham’s philosophy of a Shariah State. Abu Issa’s groups are not designated terror groups and as a student of the Muslim Brotherhood, he is a Sunni Muslim.

Some background on Abu Issa’s groups and ideology

 

8 Sipan Hemo, commander of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, otherwise known as the YPG. A Kurdish Sunni Muslim, Hemo’s brigades have been responsible for more damage to the infrastructure of ISIL than a lot of coalition-led attacks. The YPG also fights against Al-Quada and its affiliates such as the al-Nusra group and Hezbollah. Although not designated as a terror group directly, its affiliations with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (the PKK) has, by proxy condemned the YPG to be labelled as such by Turkey, who have fought against the PKK for over thirty years. Hemo is regarded as many as a hero, a man fighting for the freedoms of the Syrian Kurds, who represent about a fifth of the Syrian population.

An interview with Sipan Hemo

History of all the Kurdish resistance groups including the YPG

 

9.jpegSalih Muslim Muhammad, co-chairman of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, the PYD. Salih Muhammad has been embroiled in Syrian politics for decades, becoming affiliated with the PYD in 2003. He is a Sunni Syrian chemical engineer with links to London and Saudi Arabia but his real strength is in his charisma. He is easily the most prominent representative of Syrian Kurds on a political level. Despite gaining his education in Turkey, he is viewed as a criminal by the Turkish government who have issued an arrest warrant for him. Muslim Muhammad has denied active links to the PKK but is still considered an outlaw by the Turkish authorities, despite his prominence on the European and Arab political stage. Muslim Muhammad blames Turkey for a failed assassination attempt against him prior to the arrest warrant.

An interview with Salih Muslim Muhammad

 

10.jpg Asya Abdullah, co-chair of the PYD is the only woman that I can find politically linked to the Syrian conflict. She is a humble and overwhelmingly ‘real’ woman with real stories from the perspective as both a woman and as a political activist. There are heroic women among the soldiers, such as Nessrin Abdallah and Rojda Felat but they are confined to the battlefield, in charge of the YPJ. Nevertheless, their own stories and ethics are honorable and committed. Campaigning for women’s rights in Islam as well as Syria, Asya Abdullah has gained kudos and has already been invited personally by Putin to visit Russia. She is geared towards the emancipation of Syrian Kurds from oppression in disputed territories and of Kurdish descent. Her religion is unknown but the majority of Syrian Kurds are Sunni Muslim. No arrest warrant has been issued by Turkey for Asya Abdullah despite her co-chairing of the PYD with Salih Muhammad

Short summary of Asya Abdullah’s political agenda

An interview with Asya Abdullah

 

There are probably hundreds of candidates for the job but getting agreement between groups would be difficult.  Personally, I’d like to see a woman in charge but that’s just me. We have to remember what Sahih al-Bhukari wrote:

Narrated Abu Bakra:

During the battle of Al-Jamal, Allah benefited me with a Word (I heard from the Prophet). When the Prophet heard the news that the people of the Persia had made the daughter of Khosrau their Queen (ruler), he said, “Never will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler.”

Bhukari  Vol. 9, Book 88, Hadith 219

Obviously Bhukari had never met Indira Ghandi or Queen Elizabeth I…

 

 

 

Somebody, please give Trump a time-out.

Head in Hands

Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson did not get a friendly reception during his introductory talks with the Russians and Sergey Lavrov made clear the feelings of the Russian administration towards Trump’s missile strike on Syria the other week. In only three months, Donald Trump has managed to sour the US-Russian relations that were hopefully strong in the beginning of his tenure as President. Ironically, the 2016 Election-hacking scandal is still going on, with a dossier alleging that the Russians helped Donald Trump attain office and a recent arrest in Spain of a Russian hacker believed to be linked gives weight to the hypothesis.

Russian programmer arrested in Spain: possible link to election rigging scandal

I can’t help thinking that if the Russians did ensure a Trump victory by sabotaging votes, this has backfired monumentally which begs the other question: did Russia back Trump knowing that he would cause fractures in bilateral global relations? Does it even make sense? Why would you put someone in a position of absolute power knowing that they will likely cause friction between other countries?

The unclassified report by the CIA, FBI and NSA

Could we even assume for a second that Putin and his administration engineered the Trump victory? Surely, a nation as paranoid and seasoned to intrigue as Russia would be able to gauge Trump’s character from the offset, knowing full-well that his firebrand Republicanism would undoubtedly shift global politics into a new, unstable phase?

We are getting more information each day about the chemical attack on Syria and despite al-Assad disputing that he did not authorise the airstrike that killed more than seventy people in Khan Sheikhun. Pentagon radar systems say differently but was Trump right to fire rockets into Syria, allegedly killing at least seven innocent people?

A few countries say so, including the UK, Israel, France and Saudi Arabia but that’s hardly the whole of the United Nations. Many countries sat on the fence, benignly saying they understood the countermeasures taken by the US. Controversy is surrounding the debate as to whether Trump’s action violated the UN Charter.

Chapter VII of the UN Charter

Vladimir Putin’s opinion of Donald Trump has gone from a glowing prognosis of bilateral friendship to one of soured distrust, with Putin stating that relations ‘may be at an all-time low’. Bearing in mind the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis, describing these current events as ‘an all-time low’ is not to be taken lightly.

Russia hotly disputes the action taken by the US and says this it will bolster the Syrian Army’s armaments in its fight against the rebel factions, firmly in support of the al-Assad regime. Furthermore, it states that the US ‘faked’ the intelligence that precipitated the missile strike against Syria, a sentiment reinforced by al-Assad who directly accuses the West of scheming against Syria.

This is only one part of the global problem. In the Southeast Asian areas, Donald Trump is sending a naval fleet into the South China Sea as a show of muscle against North Korea’s intentions of testing ICBM’s or nuclear weapons. North Korea states that, if it perceives the naval fleet as a threat (which it will) then it will initiate a nuclear strike against its antagonist. China has allegedly sent 150,000 troops to its North Korean border as a show of support against the tests and is pleading for a peaceful resolution. China has sanctioned North Korea’s coal exports and hit the economy hard. Now would be a good time for Trump to withdraw his naval fleet and let the Chinese and take charge of the situation. But it won’t happen, I’m sure.

Technically, Trump is fuelling the fire by sending in the US naval fleet to the South China Sea, poking a raging dog through the bars of its cage. North Korea has less respect for the US than it does for it’s Chinese neighbours and provoking the regime will only lead to a self-destructive act of war. North Korea has stated, in no uncertain terms that it will launch a nuclear strike against the US if provoked.

North Korea isn’t the only issue. In addition, Donald Trump has issued warnings to China about its ownership and expansion of the disputed Paracel and Spratley Islands, causing further deterioration between China-US relations. Despite their meeting and the eating of fucking chocolate cake (somehow meant to symbolize a union of accord), Trump and Xi Jinping still have their differences of opinion concerning the South China Sea. Trump would do well to remember that Russia is a solid ally of China, a great business partner and diplomatic associate.

In his first few months as President, Donald Trump has managed to piss off several nations and force other UN countries to declare their commitment to or against his proposals for war. England, blindly simpering along beside America like the fucking moon orbiting Earth agrees wholeheartedly with America and why wouldn’t it? They bailed us out in the war and it only took about sixty years to pay back the loan.

Two centuries ago, Russia was in a very different position. It didn’t have the power it has today in respect of gas and oil because these things were new and yet to be appropriated. Today, it is an energy powerhouse, the largest producer of petroleum and the largest exporter of gas. China was yet to become the wealthiest nation on Earth as it is today, by far the most populated country on the planet and also the most militarized.

Both of these countries are far more powerful than the United States and together, their might would be unparalleled. It has taken centuries of wars and dispute for the United States to build good relations with both China and Russia and it seems this will now be undone in less than six months.

Here’s my prediction: Trump will send the navy into the South China Sea and Pyongyang will attack something, probably South Korea or the fleet itself. America will retaliate and North Korea will be seized, the regime deposed. China will not be happy, their security compromised by the conglomeration of the Koreas under US control. They will demand a withdrawal and it will be ignored. Consequently, they will militarize further in the Paracels and Spratleys, pissing off Trump after he specifically told China not to expand any further. Russia will step in to back China and this will escalate into another confrontation.

Meanwhile…..in Syria.

An investigation will be launched into the chemical weapons attack and Russia and Turkey will shut America out of the loop. The Middle East will become a wall of silence against America. I don’t know what the findings will be but Trump better hope that it wasn’t a staged attack else he will have breached the UN Charter and must be held accountable.England, France and the other cheerleaders will lose global kudos and the American government will be heavily discredited. If it is a Syrian-led campaign and it is proved that al-Assad was responsible then I like to think that Turkey, Iran and Russia will use their clout to exile the fiendish al-Assad and replace him with a much more socially acceptable Sunni Muslim as opposed to a Ba’athist. I feel even the Shia Iran will find this a happy medium despite their conflicting beliefs.

In the interim, Trump may very well declare all-out war on Syria using the breach of Geneva Convention protocols as the catalyst, ruining any chance of a quieter resolution. I imagine England will jump on the band-wagon and the UN will be coerced into supporting the action. I cannot imagine Russia’s retaliation to a declaration of war on Syria and technically, one has already been made by Trump firing Tomahawks into Syria.If it happens again, I can envisage direct military action being taken by the Russians, maybe backed by the Turks, Iranians and Chinese.

Conclusion (if there even is one):

This is all too convenient, these events could have been foretold with Trump in the power seat. He can’t just point at al-Assad and say ‘you’re fired’, he has misjudged his own importance in the scheme of global affairs. He might be the most powerful man in America but he is not in charge of the most powerful country in the world and it would be wrong for him to make his voters believe otherwise. America is significantly important to global economics but it is not the driving force behind resources and armaments. Those privileges are divided up among countries that mostly have poor relations with America (as of late) and these countries can sanction other countries, causing economic instability across world markets and cutting off vital transcontinental gas and oil lines. If the countries that had a beef with the US all banded together, America would crumble under the pressure and likely self-destruct.

Is all of this fucking mess engineered to happen, not by God but by a more insidious political force? What if the Russians AND the Chinese conspired to put Trump in place, knowing full well that his testosterone-driven behaviour would upset the fragile diplomatic balances currently worked on by Russia, Israel, Turkey, China, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Palestine (what’s left of it), Syria, the list goes on. The number of levels that Russia operates on with regard to trying to establish relations and balance between feuding nations is many. It is truly a skilled mediator and enjoys relations with the unlikeliest of bedfellows including Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Latin America, India, Pakistan, etc, etc. It’s influence reaches deep into every continent with the exception of North America. Both the US and Canada are not on good terms with Russia.

The ‘Trump Wall’ will alienate North America from the South and essentially, it will be another foothold for Russia and China both with interests in the South. Interestingly, Putin has gone a long way to re-establishing good relations with the Latin American countries, something overlooked by his predecessors. Russia has interests economically in Africa and China is its biggest trading partner. Trump is trying to get in there but it’s too little too late, I feel and the African countries will always side with China.

The list of countries with poor relations with Russia and China is far shorter than the ones in favourable states of accord. The list of countries dependent on China and Russia for economic stability is also lengthy.

Compare this to the amount of countries that now views America in a positive light and the difference is quite marked. Why so I feel that there is a campaign afoot to discredit the United States and Trump is running like a clockwork mouse, predictable and linear? Am I the only person that feels that too much is happening too quickly and all the countries of the world are being dragged into the mix, irrespective of involvement in wars directly?

Even Israel is grumbling about Trump’s next move and its implications for global stability even though it wholeheartedly praises the rocket attacks on the Syrian airbase. Supportive as the Jewish state may be, it recognizes that some dogs should be kept muzzled and leashed for their own protection as well as those around them.

Economically, a two-pronged war would cost the United States dearly and which countries would be there to offer financial support, to ease the strain on energy and resources, on collapsing markets? I can’t even say what South America would do but it probably would be on the promise of heavy remuneration. They might even just watch America fold like a house of cards.

Between them , Russia and China own the Middle East military markets and therefore, despite a lack of actual military bases in the Middle East they have great influence over the economies and have embassies in most countries between them, if not all of them.

China supports South Africa and Russia has interests in the North. We can’t even count poor old Australia, paranoid about Russia and stuck, isolated and surrounded by friends of both China and Russia. By proxy, New Zealand is also isolated.

Look at the facts: If America sanctioned Russia and China in terms of trade and resources, freezing assets etc. it would not cripple either country. Between them and their allies, they have the support network to survive without the United States as a trading partner. Essentially, there is nothing in America that cannot be sourced elsewhere. They will never starve nor run out of gas and oil. Between them, China and Russia control a vast portion of the world’s economy.

Turn that around and imagine if Russia and China sanctioned America and not only that, all their sympathizers also refused to trade. If America were cut out of the economic loop, I doubt it would survive for long. similarly, England would fade away and Europe as a whole would suffer if Russia decided to stop oil and gas supplies to the continent. Countries could be pressured into excommunicating America, coerced into trade deals with Russia and China, along with their supporters. The United Nations would not fall apart but change hands and ethics as Russia and China took an equal share of control.

Would Communism reawaken in Russia and merge with the Chinese ethics? It’s a scary thought but not an impossibility, not in my paranoid mind.

So, should we prepare for war? I don’t know but it’s worth considering. People say Trump is unpredictable but I say the opposite.  We all know where this is heading and that he won’t back down on his principles. He will incite North Korea into military action and he will provoke Syria further. Already, a MOAB has been dropped on Afghanistan (today, actually) so the type of hardware is getting much deadlier. The next step up from the American ‘mother of all bombs’ is Russia’s ‘father of all bombs’ and after that, it’s nuclear-grade weaponry. Where will it end?

Getting Trump in office is like opening a fucking back door on a windy day whilst building a fragile house of cards. They all collapse and somebody has to pick up the pieces and start again. Do the sensible thing, America. Force his ass out of office before he hits the nuclear button and dooms us all.

But then again, maybe that’s all part of the plan?

 

Cheers, Donald. Good job I dug that bomb shelter last Monday….

trump

So Putin is threatening America after it launched missiles at Syrian bases suspected of storing chemical weapons used in Tuesday’s horrific attack against civilians? Makes one wonder where the toxic chemicals came from in the first place…

Oh, Lordy! Donald! What the fuck have you gone and done!?

Personally, I think Russia ought to remember its own threats of nuclear destruction against the British, Israeli and French forces during the Suez crisis when underhand military tactics were used to gain a political advantage. The chemical weapons attack by the Syrian Government is a clear contravention of the Geneva Convention articles of which Syria is a part (up to the first protocol). Breach of these rules that most countries have ratified will mean consequences but is sending 59 rockets into Syria the answer?

According to Russia, no it isn’t but it’s quite alright for them to use muscle to intervene on the world stage when similar situations have occurred throughout history.  Without the al-Assad regime in place, Syria will lose an important strategic foothold in the Middle East, having nursed the state of Syria through decades of unrest. Similarly, if a new Government decides to ease its reliance on Russia then this might have consequences for the Russian economy. War makes Russia rich, let’s face it. Their arms exports go up, their loans to other countries can be offered at cut-throat rates to ease financial instability in war-torn countries. Their superiority in terms of economy and military might makes them a strong ally to Syria yet if ties were broken, Russia might suffer more than Syria in the economic backlash.

Is it really worth starting a world war over this piece of land? Yes, it’s rich in resources and it’s important from a Russian military point of view but the government of Syria has exceeded its point of usefulness and turned its country into a battleground. Now, it walls itself off in Damascus whilst the rest of the country is torn to pieces. This isn’t going to end nicely, mark my words. The only thing that could put a stop to this would be the exile of the al-Assad regime to Russia and the return of power to the Muslims of the land. There has to be one person among the feuding factions that has the right capabilities of diplomacy and leadership, the right amount of drive and dependency to rebuilt the Syrian state but who will it be and to what superpower would they rely upon?

I’m sick of it, these Muslim countries being exploited and puppeteered by other countries. Muhammad’s dream was for an independent Muslim state, a centre of trade and commerce, of self-reliance and personal identity. Any war in the Middle East immediately becomes a free-for-all of exploitation. War is great for lots of countries except the ones at war. Quite often, they end up bankrupt or owing heavily to other nations. Britain is still trying to pay back its’ deficit from 1945 which never really seems to go down, when the country teetered on the edge of economic collapse thanks to fucking Hitler and his megalomania.

This Syrian conflict is a totally separate thing to the IS struggle. Al-Baghdadi exploited an opportunity and sneaked a few fingers into Syria’s stinkhole. Bringing an end to the al-Assad situation is the only way to drive the Islamic State completely out of the region.

Trump has played a dangerous card by firing into Syria. Until we know the extent of the collateral damage, we can’t say what the outcome will be. Hopefully, only a military target has been destroyed and the missiles, expensive as they are were intelligent enough to actually hit the mark. But I fear there will be civilian casualties and like Putin says, this only makes ISIS stronger.

Technically, it doesn’t make them stronger but it makes the UN look weaker and could be a pivotal point in turning opinion against the West completely. I’m praying that the civilian casualties are none but I know it’s in vain.

What Trump should have done was sanction Syria for its use of chemical weapons and demand the resignation of the regime, allowing the UN and Russia to care-take the country until a replacement government can be established. Russia should also have heavily sanctioned the country and given serious thought to how it can retain a majority share of control whilst deposing the present regime. Just because a new President is found doesn’t mean that Russia has to lose its chips, far from it. A new president would be keen to keep ties strong with its protectorate state and hopefully look to strengthening ties with other nations, especially the Muslim nations. He doesn’t have to be a puppet, not all men are greed-driven, some are humanitarian and humble yet assertive and focused.

Syria is an ancient nation, mentioned many times in the Qu’ran yet Muhammad never lived to see it become part of Islam. Since the sixth-century, Syria has been a Muslim country, a strong economic leader in the Middle East and after WW1, was taken by France after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. Strange then how Syria became to be reliant on the Soviet Union rather than its custodian from the League of Nations.

Since the early forties, as the war peaked and began its conclusion the USSR and Syria renewed diplomatic ties. The Soviet Union casmpaigned for the withdrawal of the League of Nations from occupied Syria and successfully spearheaded the drive, resulting in independence only a year later.

During the Cold War era, Syria supported the Soviet Union and likewise, its support is reciprocated in the present conflict, only in a much more direct way other than a bit of cheerleading.

Several coups blighted the regimes since its independence, each one consolidating the relationship between Syria and Russia. The Baghdad Pact in the mid-fifties put Syria in dispute with Britain and Turkey amongst others and the Soviet Union were there to offer security support to the paranoid and civilly disrupted nation. The coup that put the al-Assad family in power happened in 1970 and I wonder to what extent the Soviet regime was involved in assisting the coup de tat. Since then, the USSR dissolved yet ties remained strong and Russia has supplied arms to the country to bolster its position in the Middle East. Syria was in the Arab League but has been suspended since 2011 due to the civil war and its relations have become strained with nations such as the Saudi’s, the Egyptians and the Jordanians. Iran and the Lebanon are Syria’s strongest supporters in Arabia and their attitude towards Israel is one of hatred and intolerance. We can forgive that but it seems to me that Russia and Syria are like two paranoid misfits who ostracise themselves from their peer group and collude together, like the film ‘The Mighty’ but without the element of love and tenderness, rather one of dependency and exploitation.

The ruling regime of Syria is the Ba’athist Party, the same as Sadaam Hussain (yet the Syrians despised him) and to me, it’s just another hybrid neo-Islamic movement bred to inspire regime change and assert totalitarianism. The religion is not even a real religion, in much the same way that Scientology is a load of old bollocks. This regime needs removing and replacing with a more acceptable branch of Islam, such as Sunni or Shia. I’m sure Iran can help with a swift change of Government if they become involved in the war. After all, the values of the Ba’ath creed differ from the orthodox Shia beliefs and technically, these groups shouldn’t even be on the same page. Surely, after seeing the Iraqi Ba’athist regime crumble and this one looking like it’s following suit, it’s time to shelve Ba’athism as a bad ideology and return to the roots of Islam and the teachings of the Prophet. Russia and Iran are old buddies and you can bet that Russian scientists are already in Iran working on enriching plutonium and helping the Islamic Republic develop its new nuclear programme, thanks to the leniency of the United Nations.

Between Russia and Iran, the al-Assad regime can be swiftly removed and replaced with a mutually agreeable Government. However, with over sixty-five percent of the population practising Sunni Islam, having a Shia government in place might rock a big old boat and force another coup or civil war. Damn Islam for having so many fucking factions and they’re all clawing for the top spot thanks to the following ahadith:

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 171 Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr
That Allah’s Messenger (saws) said: “There will befall my Ummah exactly all those evils which befell the people of Israel (Jews and Christians), so much so that if there was one amongst them who openly committed fornication with his mother, there will be amongst my Ummah one, who will do the same. And if the people of Israel were fragmented into seventy-two sects, my Ummah will be fragmented into seventy-three sects. All of them will be in Hell Fire except one sect.” The noble Companions asked: “O Allah’s Messenger (saws), which one is that?” Whereupon he (saws) said: “It is one to which I and my companions belong.”

Well, thanks for that, Muhammad. Due to the dispute over caliphate rights, post-Muhammad the first schism was formed, that of Sunni and Shia. From then on, there have probably been about seventy-three divisions within Islam, Ba’athism being one of them, the Islamic State’s doctrines of terror being another. I imagine the subsequent schisms were easy to forge given the Prophet’s prediction about the severance of Islam.

Iran and Syria are united in their hatred towards Israel and being as Syria was pivotal in the creation of the Lebanese state, it is little surprise that both Syria and Iran actively support Hezbollah in their campaign against Israel. Iran also funds Hamas in its resistance against the Israeli’s and both countries will support any cause that results in death to the Jewish state.

But hang on just a hot minute? Russia is friends with Israel; furthermore, they are in the Middle Eastern Quartet along with the EU, America and the United Nations. In fact, Russia and Israel are probably closer in terms of sharing intelligence than Syria and plenty of Russian Jews enjoy dual nationality between the nations. Russia buys a lot of tech from Israel, especially military technology which (ironically) is mostly developed in America and Europe. It’s pathetic really considering that the Russians could just buy directly from the US and reminds me of somebody snubbing a former friend and relating messages through a third party, a a mutual friend stuck in the middle.

So….if Russia is so loyal to the nation if Israel, why is it so darn cosy with Iran and Syria? It’s even a great friend to the Lebanese and enjoys a cosy partnership of exporting arms, most of which are used against Israel. None of it actually makes any sense if we look at it from an Islamic perspective. Even Hamas are friendly with Russia.

I can tell you now, Iran, Syria and the Lebanon should hate Russia for endorsements of Israel and its close ties with the Jewish state. As for what remains of Palestine….well, I can’t see how they are so close to Russia given its affiliation with the Jews.

This is an inportant thing to note. Although Russia has good relations with the Arab states in general and has embassies in the majority of them, it only has one military base and guess where it is?

Yup, it’s in Syria and its integral to Russia’s foothold in the Middle East. Britain and America have loads, I visited Oman when my Dad served in the Gulf and their British bases are very impressive, loaded with top tech and ships floating about in the Gulf. As a kid, it was exciting to see this but now, its just another reminder of how the Middle East is just a big fucking game of Risk with Russia, America and Europe pushing pieces around the board and playing cards.

Conclusion: Find a government represented by a mutually acceptable branch of Islam (maybe even a power share between Sunni, Shia and others overseen by Iran and Russia) and remove the Ba’athist party from power. This will go a long way towards ending the assaults across Syria. The focus can then be on destroying the Islamic State. Russia know where this is heading, they’ve seen it before and with Trump in control of various weapons of mass destruction, its looking dicey for the next century even arriving. They know the al-Assad regime is doomed and that it must be removed in order to even entertain stability. They are in a position of unique power to assist in a swift transition of Government. To be honest, I’m very surprised that the al-Assad regime isn’t dead, wiped out by a mysterious bomb or poisoned by an unknown source but those days of poison-tipped umbrellas are long gone (I do hope). Rather, the Russians can offer safe haven to the al-Assad’s and remain neutral to an extent, as they seem to be able to do with the Palestinians and Israelis. However, this might cause dissent in Russia if they are found to be harbouring al-Assad, a tricky political minefield.

Ah, well. I’ve got a bomb shelter so I don’t really care and I’ve been ready for Armageddon for a long time. Like Willie Williams says:

The battle is gettin’ hotter
In this iration,
It’s Armagideon…

Listen to Willie’s track here and peace to you all, brothers and sisters…

NB: Thanks to one anal pedantic on the Firebrand Atheists Facebook page for pointing out my error is incorrectly naming the missiles that Trump fired into Syria. I forget this erudite scholar’s name, it’s irrelevant, really, just as irrelevant as what the fucking name of the missiles were that probably ended the life of several completely innocent people. Wake up, people. War is coming. Listen to Willie and smoke your last spliff, you motherfuckers. I’ll toast marshmallows and watch the world burn.

 

 

 

 

Rising crime committed by Muslims in the UK (not excusing anyone else but it’s still a problem)

shria

The following statistics were collected by the Prison Services in March 2016 to reflect the denominations of prisoners across the United Kingdom aged 15+. The whole article is a complete rundown of all statistics and not just religious denomination but I found the religion statistics to be the most interesting.

To read the full report, click here

Here are the statistics up to March 2016 and it will be interesting to see how they have changed this year. The statistics encompass both male and female prisoners and are arranged as follows:

Denomination: (number of inmates), (percentage of inmates), (percentage variance from 2002-2016)

Christian: (41,940)     (49.1%)       (-9.0%)

Muslim: (12,506)     (14.6%)     (+6.9%)

Hindu: (421)     (0.5%)     (+0.1%)

Sikh: (732)     (0.9%)     (+0.2%)

Buddhist: (1,558)     (1.8%)     (+0.9%)

Jewish: (406)     (0.5%)     (+0.2%)

No religion: (26,349)     (30.8%)     (-0.6%)

Other: (1,437)     (1.7%)     (+1.1%)

Not recorded: (92)     (0.1%)     (+0.1%)

Total: (85,441)     (100%)

We can see from the statistics that nearly 50% all prisoners identify as Christian. Those with no religious belief represent just over 30% of the total population. Muslims represent nearly 15%.

At the top of the table, between the Christians and Muslims we see a spectrum of variance from one extreme to the other. Prisoners identifying as Christian have dropped in number by a significant  9% since 2002. On the contrary, the number of Muslim prisoners has soared nearly 7% since 2002, a statistic that is giving the Muslim Council of Britain cause for concern.

In comparison to the other statistics, the rise in Muslim admissions to UK prisons has rose markedly in 14 years. The number of Atheists has seen a decline of 0.6% since 2002 and those holding to other beliefs not categorised in the report has risen just over 1%.

So what are the reasons for this state of affairs? Why are so many religious people in prison when their doctrines dictate that they should live in a peaceful and harmonious manner? I could perhaps understand the ‘no religion’ crew having a significant representation in jail but as it stands, they represent only 30.8% of the total prison population across England and Wales. Add in the ‘not recorded’ figure of 0.1% and religious people count for 69.1% of the total population of lawbreakers. Fancy that?

So what’s going wrong? Why are all these holier than thou people languishing at Her Majesty’s pleasure? Unlike many, religious people have the benefit of a preordained code of conduct to follow that should keep them compliant and above all, averse towards such things as crime.

Well, do the statistics reflect the religious views of the offender before or after incarceration? Some offenders convert to a religion whilst inside jail, pressured by peers and feeling the need to affiliate to a group. Although these are a small minority, they still deserve a mention in the report as it is the state of mind pre-incarceration that I’m interested in.

Poverty has been cited as a factor in the number of religious admissions as has ‘gang culture’ but what is religion if not a ‘gang culture’? It is the number of Islamic admissions that has piqued my senses and it is certain to rise over the coming year. We can’t just blame immigration for this increase although it is undoubtedly a factor; there are more elements at play here, a wider perspective to understand.

The following article is a summary of crimes committed over the September 2015-2016 period, compiled by the Home Office. I’ve cherry-picked a few statistics to show how offences have changed over the past few years but you can read the full report here.

Murder is up 22% from last year. Rape and other sexual offences are up 13% respectively.  Possession of weapons is up 19% but possession of drugs is down 11% from last year. Public order offences (or threatening behaviour) is up a massive 32% from the 2014-215 period and ‘miscellaneous crimes against society’ is also increased 16% (these include prostitution, going equipped for stealing, forgery and handling stolen goods, to name but a few).

Now, these figures might not seem like great increases but when you consider the numbers involved, then it is shocking. The Home Office has said that, on average crime is down but the shortfall in such things as drugs offences (trafficking also down 5%) is made up with increases in other things such as violent crime. Crime isn’t diminishing, it’s changing trend to favour the more direct and ugly offences, the ones that rob life and dignity and leave a lasting impression. Hatred, it seems is on the increase, between families, groups, gangs; everybody seems to have gotten a whole lot angrier over the last few years.

If this year’s increase in rape seems bad, compare it to the year 2010-2011. The increase in rape offences in the year 2015-2016 exceeded 2010-2011 by 138%! That means six years ago, rape figures were over a hundred percent lower than they are presently. Lord knows what it will be like this year in comparison. The whole report makes for very interesting reading and we can see that from 2011 onward, things have gotten a whole lot worse in our society.

I can see where this report is heading and as soon as the narrow-minded English Nationalists see the data, they will seize upon it and begin chanting ‘Immigration!’ as the root cause of the crime increases. That’s certainly a factor; as a population increases, the amount of reported crime will probably go up. But if you start blaming migrants and refugees for crimes against national citizens of England and Wales then you must also look at violent crimes against the foreigners that have seen a surge over recent years.

When I watch Crimewatch once a month, I am never really shocked to see that at least half of the ‘rogues gallery’ identify with a foreign nationality. More so, a significant number of them appear to be Muslim. That does not excuse the others, who make up the rest but given the numbers reflected in the Prison Services report, I would have expected to see more English names in terms of both Christianity and non-religious as they make up the bulk of incarcerated offenders.

I checked the Crimewatch ‘rogue’s gallery’ to see the spread of ethnicity across the fifty-eight wanted suspects. As it stands, a large number of the wanted faces (26% of them) identify as Muslim by name. As a whole, those with a clearly foreign identity represented by name make up 48% of the whole group of fifty-eight faces. I cannot say what their religions are, if any and if they contribute to the Muslim category but with a quarter of the overall group represented by one faith, it doesn’t show Islam in a good light.

The Crimewatch ‘Rogues Gallery’

I realise that fifteen offenders out of fifty-eight is a trivial number, how can it possible show any real trends? Given this, I turned to the regional Crimestoppers site with hundreds of ‘wanted’ faces available for perusal.

The Crimestoppers national gallery of ‘most wanted’ faces

Using the statistics above, I narrowed my search to ‘sexual crimes’. 23% of the offenders wanted for sexual crimes identified as Muslim by birthright. Several others are foreign or unnamed in the gallery and we can only speculate as to their religious beliefs, if any. It would be unfair for me to assume religion with no identifiers other than skin colour and facial contours suggestive of Arabian origins. Henceforth, I only counted the rogues’ that had complete Muslim names (forename and surname).

I looked at the overall scope of the gallery containing hundreds of pictures and by my reckoning, at least a third of the rogue’s listed identify as Muslim. Don’t believe me, then take a look for yourselves using the link above. As for other nationalities committing crime in general, I would say that at least half of the offenders do not identify as British but you can make up your own minds. It certainly falls in line with the statistics.

At the time of the Prison Services report (March 2016) there were just under 10,000 foreign nationals in UK prisons although judging by the ‘wanted’ faces, that number is set to rise.

As a comedic aside, you’ll notice that the Hindu prison population increased in 2015-2016 period by 0.1%. I found this guy, Tarsem Najjar Singh wanted for sexual offences on the Crimestoppers gallery. Maybe he’s the +0.1%?

singh

Islamophobia will probably be put into the Oxford English Dictionary because it is now an official ideology, a belief in itself.  More and more people are becoming averse to Islam and frightened by its representations in their communities. Implicit bias is bred into children through fraught parents struggling to come to terms with a changing society, seeing only one dimension of a multi-faceted faith through targeted media publications and propaganda campaigns.

If you have come to the conclusion that I hate Islam then think again. I have nothing but respect for the principles behind faith it’s just the delivery of the message that I dispute. Islam, along with other religions has some core values that foster good intentions and humanitarianism. Sadly, they also have ethics and models of behaviour that are completely inconsistent with an evolving modern society. I feel, of we can concentrate on the good parts of scripture, religion can become the safety net it is supposed to be rather than an avatar of fear and segregation. Islam needs help and it’s up to us all to do what we can to reboot the religion into something that can be integrated successfully into Western societies. Fear and reproach is not the answer. Re-education and clarification is the way forward.

Muslims are breaking the laws of their designated home country through ignorance and indifference to the laws of that society. They are no different to the tens of thousands of white-British people who also break the fundamental codes of the British nation. However, as Muslims represent only approximately 5% of the UK population, to find such a high frequency of offenders only gives weight to the Prison Services report.

Approximately, 0.4% of the Muslim population of Britain are in jail. It’s hard to find a factual figure for Christians. Similarly, I can only gauge the Muslim population by the statistics recorded by various sources on the Internet that put the figure just above 3,100,000 and rising at the end of 2016. I’ve estimated the figures given what sources I had and the estimated Christian population is around 38.4 million (I’ve allowed for a decline in numbers given current trends). That means that only 0.18 % of the Christian population are in jail. Around 0.14% of atheists are also imprisoned. If the trend continues, then the numbers change significantly. Lets suppose the number of Muslims in the UK grows to 9,000,000. That means that over 1.2% are in jail and if they were the size of the Christian community then about 5% of the population would be in prison.

I’ve based these figures on a population of 65.4 million in the UK.

Here’s the article that gives details about religious population numbers in the UK

Islam is in trouble. It’s facing a real push of adversity due to the current climate in both the Middle East and other continents. At home in Britain, people are getting secular and scared, gravitating more towards extreme views and outright prejudice. Groups such as the E.D.L and Britain First are fuelling the segregation of community and driving the fear-mongering into proactive demonstrations that ultimately end in violence.

The crimes committed by Muslims vary but seem to fall into the category of violence and exploitation. There are variations from the trend, a few driving offences, some drugs offences but for the majority, the trend seems to be violence, robbery and sexual crime.

I can hear those buffoons’ from the extreme Nationalist groups chanting already: violence, robbery and sexual abuse are the norm in Muslim countries!

Wrong! South Africa has the highest amount of recorded rape in the world and over three-quarters of the population identify as Christian denomination! Central America, South Africa and the Caribbean also have the highest murder statistics (recorded up to 2014) and most of the countries in these regions are also Christian denomination, primarily.

Their nuanced versions of Christian faith license such things as rape, FGM and tribal-sanctioned murder and in civilly unstable environments, it is little wonder that these places are the most dangerous places on Earth. Not the Middle East, not in the terms of crime in societies. That is not to say the Muslim countries are not affected by rape and murder, it is just that their statistics are far outweighed by the Africas and Americas continents

Last year, Saudi Arabia executed over 150 people for various crimes including terrorism, murder and rape. Iran has executed fifty-seven people already since the start of 2017 and the figure will undoubtedly rise to the hundreds.

The punishments are harsh if guilt is proved yet I somehow feel that the rape and domestic violence statistics are not the true measure of the problem in the Middle East. This is because within Islamic culture, certain behaviours are permissible, just like they are in other religions if one looks closely enough. Israel, a Jewish country has seen a 12% rise in reported rape over 2013 to the Rape Crisis helpline with only 15% of the calls reported to the Police, an appalling number. Over a quarter reported close family sexual abuse to the Rape Crisis Centre.

The following passage in the Old Testament holds some weight in favour of rape and its punishments:

28“If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found,29then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.

Deuteronomy 22

It is true that most of the religions today devalue women still, sticking to the archaic views of a primitive society. In Britain, however the rise in crimes committed using Islam as a defence is growing significantly so it is Islam I am concerning myself with, at the moment.

The Qu’ran and Sunnah, sadly objectify women and devalue them in comparison to a man.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

 

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a losers.

Bukhari Vol. 7, Book 62, Hadith 27

Narrated Abu Bakrah (RA):
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “A people who make a woman their ruler will never be successful.” [Reported by al-Bukhari].
Bukhari Book 14, Hadith 1409

Abu Huraira reported:

 

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: A woman, an ass and a dog disrupt the prayer, but something like the back of a saddle guards against that.
Muslim  Book 4, Hadith 1034

Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) as saying:

A woman without a husband has more right to her person than her guardian, and a virgin’s consent must be asked from her, and her silence implies her consent.
Muslim Book 8, Hadith 3306

“…And bring to witness two witnesses from among your men. And if there are not two men [available], then a man and two women from those whom you accept as witnesses – so that if one of the women errs, then the other can remind her…”

Qu’ran (Sahih International) 2:282

Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.

Qu’ran (Sahih International) 4:34

Iyas ibn Abdullah ibn Abu Dhubab reported the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying:

Do not beat Allah’s handmaidens, but when Umar came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and said: Women have become emboldened towards their husbands, he (the Prophet) gave permission to beat them. Then many women came round the family of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) complaining against their husbands. So the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Many women have gone round Muhammad’s family complaining against their husbands. They are not the best among you.
Abi Dawud Book 11, Hadith 2141
Amr bin Al-Ahwas Al-Jushami (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that he had heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying on his Farewell Pilgrimage, after praising and glorifying Allah and admonishing people, “Treat women kindly, they are like captives in your hands; you do not owe anything else from them. In case they are guilty of open indecency, then do not share their beds and beat them lightly but if they return to obedience, do not have recourse to anything else against them. You have rights over your wives and they have their rights over you. Your right is that they shall not permit anyone you dislike to enter your home, and their right is that you should treat them well in the matter of food and clothing”.
Salihin  Book 1, Hadith 276
It was narrated that Abu Musa said:
“The Messenger of Allah said: ‘There are three who will be given a twofold reward: A man who has a slave woman whom he disciplines and disciplines her well, and teaches and teaches her well, then he manumits her and marries her; a slave who fulfills his duty toward Allah and toward his masters; and a believer from among the People of the Book.'”
an-Nasa’i Vol. 4, Book 26, Hadith 3346

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.”

Bhukari Vol. 4, Book 54, Hadith 460

Chapter 9: It is permissible to have intercourse with a female captive after it is established that she is not pregnant, and if she has a husband, then her marriage is annulled when she is captured
They took captives (women) on the day of Autas who had their husbands. They were afraid (to have sexual intercourse with them) when this verse was revealed:” And women already married except those whom you right hands posses” (iv. 24)
Muslim Book 8, Hadith 3433
Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have right over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner. I have left among you the Book of Allah, and if you hold fast to it, you would never go astray.
Muslim Book 7, Hadith 2803
Boy, there’s not much dispute about the import of those verses. I’m disappointed to find a direct reference to domestic abuse of women in the Qu’ran. I could forgive it in the Sunnah and maybe dispute it but being as it’s the word of Allah, it’s kinda hard to contest.
This is only half the story; with a wealth of ahadith to back up the rights and responsibilities of women. I can see what Muhammad was trying to do here, instil a sense of balance between marriage partnerships so that each party had a model to follow and true enough, back in the sixth-century women were the background support to their men. Additionally, captured women were made slaves and treated in a different manner to wives. Hitting women, raping them and abusing them in general as second-class citizens were probably the standard within most cultures. Women were seen as possessions and Christianity/Judaism are no different in their assessment of a woman’s worth. Where the Qu’ran differs is that Muhammad needed an answer for everything that his followers asked of him, all manner of things concerning every aspect of their lives and behaviour, things such as menstruation and breastfeeding. He was a lifestyle coach as well as a prophet and tried to model his society in as balanced a way as he could. He understood that a happy and contented man was a compliant follower, a good soldier and that the cornerstone for this happiness was women and children. If Muhammad had truly despised women as some purport then the holy texts would be shot through with violence and subjugation against women. As it stands, many of the ahadith praise wives and mothers, even women in slavery but there is always a benchmark for tolerance and if a woman displays ‘lewd behaviour’ then she can be ‘lightly beaten’, as if she’s a souffle not a person.
There are examples of when marriage has annulled slavery, an unusual practice usually forbidden by other religions and it is clear that this method of marring slaves was used by many to emancipate families held as captive. Even Muhammad himself married slaves in business deals in order to release their extended kin from the captivity imposed by other clans across Arabia and to emancipate the slave-woman from her bondage by virtue of marriage.

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin:

Juwayriyyah, daughter of al-Harith ibn al-Mustaliq, fell to the lot of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas, or to her cousin. She entered into an agreement to purchase her freedom. She was a very beautiful woman, most attractive to the eye.

Aisha said: She then came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) asking him for the purchase of her freedom. When she was standing at the door, I looked at her with disapproval. I realised that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would look at her in the same way that I had looked.

She said: Messenger of Allah, I am Juwayriyyah, daughter of al-Harith, and something has happened to me, which is not hidden from you. I have fallen to the lot of Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas, and I have entered into an agreement to purchase of my freedom. I have come to you to seek assistance for the purchase of my freedom.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Are you inclined to that which is better? She asked: What is that, Messenger of Allah? He replied: I shall pay the price of your freedom on your behalf, and I shall marry you.

She said: I shall do this. She (Aisha) said: The people then heard that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had married Juwayriyyah. They released the captives in their possession and set them free, and said: They are the relatives of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) by marriage. We did not see any woman greater than Juwayriyyah who brought blessings to her people. One hundred families of Banu al-Mustaliq were set free on account of her.

Abu dawud said: This evidence shows that a Muslim ruler may marry a slave woman himself.

Abi Dawud Book 30, Hadith 3920

The tragedy is, indoctrinated women the world over see this subjugation as part and parcel of their purpose for existence. They accept their admonishments, their forced rape and beatings, mental abuse and otherwise because discipline is licensed in the Qu’ran and furthermore, women are expected to honour the requests of their fathers and husbands and indeed all men, who are superior in status by default of having a penis.
Rape within marriage is overlooked in most Muslim countries although a few have taken to steps to overrule the part of Shariah Law that stipulates that a rapist can avoid conviction if he then marries his victim. Domestic violence is tolerated under the guidelines of the Qu’ran although some courts will recognise if a man goes too far and may grant grounds for divorce.
In this country, the Islamic Shariah Council adjudicates in matters of divorce yet some grounds for divorce are overlooked based on the rulings of the Qu’ran and the ahadith of the Sahihian Sunnah as reference. This interesting video filmed in 2014 with a high profile Shariah court judge is well worth watching.
But this doesn’t really answer my question: why are more Muslims than ever before being incarcerated for breaking the laws of the land? Never mind the unreported abuse, that which is hidden away behind secular family doors and sanctioned under Islam, I’m talking about the outright abuse of women in general.
Part of this behaviour comes from the ‘them and us’ mentality inspired by the religion. If Muslim women are seen as second-class citizens then non-Muslim women are beneath them, falling into the ranks of ‘disbelievers’ and ‘wrongdoers’.

SAHIH INTERNATIONAL

And when you travel throughout the land, there is no blame upon you for shortening the prayer, [especially] if you fear that those who disbelieve may disrupt [or attack] you. Indeed, the disbelievers are ever to you a clear enemy.

Qu’ran 4:101

SAHIH INTERNATIONAL

And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.

Quran 1:191

SAHIH INTERNATIONAL

O Prophet, strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them. And their refuge is Hell, and wretched is the destination.

 Qu’ran 66:9

It was narrated that ‘Abdullah said:
“The Messenger of Allah cursed the woman who tattoos and the one tattooed, the woman who fixed hair extensions and the one who had her hair get extended, the consumer of Riba and the one who pays it, and Al-Muhallil and Al-Muhallal Lahu.”

an-Nasa’i Vol. 4, Book 27, Hadith 3445

The correct Islamic term is Al-Mujrimeen to collectively meant the disbelievers, polytheists, criminals and wrongdoers, basically anybody who does not conform to the standards of Islam, including women with hair extensions and tattoos. Plenty of references to the punishment of the mujrimun can be found in the Qu’ran and none of it redeems these people or offers hope for salvation.

With such a tarnished aspect, non-Muslim women are pretty much the worst of the species. Given the chauvinism, even a mujrimun man would be better respected than a mujrimun woman, I imagine. Little wonder then that non-Muslim women find themselves targeted by Muslim men when one reads into the way they are designated in the Qu’ran.

All religions purport themselves to be the defining religion, the one true path to enlightenment and I have never known anyone to hold two separate belief structures (not counting myself as I am mentally ill and hold many conflicting beliefs), for example being both Jewish and Christian although I have known couples to be of mixed faith. Never Islamic, though unless you count my parents. They managed an integrated relationship with my mother never converting to Islam in any way, although she respected my father’s beliefs. However, my father falls short of being a successful role model on many levels and he would probably blame the fact that the family was not Islamic enough for his own shortcomings.

That aside, I digress from the report.

I’m not blaming Muslims for the increases in rape and sexual assaults in Britain; there are far more other nationalities and creeds (including British-Christian) that perpetrate this crime but the statistics show a rise in this particular crime within the Muslim community and I feel that scripture is the key to stamping out the epidemic of misinformation, along with the re-education of Muslims concerning the status of women in modern societies.

To see just how bad rape and sexual assault has gotten in Britain over 2015-2016, click here

I can’t tell you how to re-educate a psychotic with rape fantasies, irrespective of religion. Some people are just monsters, slave to their compulsions and indifferent to their victims, so long as their lusts are sated. Religion doesn’t even come into it. If anything, it’s a shield for predators to hide behind as they orchestrate their atrocities. But there seems to be too many specifically Muslim ‘monsters’ across what we could the civilised Western areas. That these people may or may not be refugees or seekers of asylum makers no difference. Rapists believe they can take what they want by force and they rarely see the consequence, too indulged in the act and the moment. With an already biased opinion against women (and in particular non-Mulsim women) they feel they are legitimately permitted to abuse them as they have no value in the eyes of Allah. They are a mere materialist means to an end, they are already sinners and whores by virtue of not believing, of dressing inappropriately and encouraging rape. Had they been Muslim, the views may have swung a little towards the other parts of the scripture forbidding sex with anonymous people unless they are subsequently married to the rapist. A rapist isn’t looking for a long-term commitment and marriage is usually not on the cards. Given the choice, a Muslim rapist would molest a non-Muslim rather than a Muslim.

New Years’ Eve across Europe has turned into a nightmare with the past years being blighted with mass rapes and violent disorder between Muslims, Jews, Christians, Nationalists and Police. Innocent people caught up in the middle suffer as a result and their lives are irrevocably changed by the trauma.

Changes need to come from the top, not just governments as in the examples of Turkey, Mali, Jordan, Albania and Indonesia who no longer ban homosexuality. The author of a blog I read mentioned that these five forward-thinking countries were not colonised by the British at any point, an interesting and probably pointless fact. That Jordan is so accepting of LGBT relationships is amazing given its proximity to the holy city of Mecca, surrounded by staunch critics on every border. Yet this is a governmental mandate not a religious one and I imagine that LGBT people are still abused and killed on Jordanian soil for their sexual orientation, even in this age of evolutionary thinking.

Because homosexuality contravenes the tenets of Islam, it will never be accepted. Catholicism and Judaism will also refuse to integrate yet the Anglicans appear to have been more lenient despite the words of Christ, coming to a shaky ‘middle ground’ that admits couples to church but refuses to bless them.

We can’t change religion concerning homosexuality but we can push for better rights for women and a better understanding of different faiths and how they are important to the world. For one religion to dominate is unthinkable and we would call it totalitarianism, a Nazi ethic. We are creatures of diversity and uniqueness and we find our comforts in different avenues. We are not all born the same, at all. Our genetic construction makes us unique, or tendencies and aversions, our character. If we, as men choose to abuse a woman then religion has no part of that decision. It is a primal lust born of the id and not the ego; religion is just an excuse to shift blame and dispel guilt.

Rape is a dominance crime; few rapists are submissive yet they do exist, forcing the victim to perform in unusual ways yet the element of dominance is still there in the presence of a physical threat. It is a primal crime, one built on compulsion and brutality, the satisfaction of lusts that one knows are not good to indulge. Rapists will tell you that the urge was too strong, that they were powerless and probably can’t remember the actual act, as if possessed by something other than a purposeful mind.

Rape is purposeful. It has only one goal, that of sexual gratification. It is the release of endorphines and hormones into the bloodstream, the satisfaction of perversions and fantasies that break down the rapist’s resolve. To dwell on such things is like turning a black diamond and inspecting it from angles. Applying religion to the argument rationalises the act and dehumanises the victim. Consequences become acceptable under the tenets of religion and this law is the only law to which a predatory Muslim will adhere. Civil and national law becomes unimportant compared to the word of Allah and his Apostle.

I suppose all rapists consider the question: can I get away with it? Some plan, some act on impulse but they all obsess, I’m sure. The fantasy of rape undoubtedly preoccupies their mind at all times until it is finally acted upon. And what succeeds once will probably succeed again if the rapist is excused or otherwise left unaccountable due to a lack of report or investigation.

It’s a minefield. Where do I even start? Am I just wasting my time or what? If I was the Ayatollah of Iran, I might be able to make a difference. If I was the King of the Sauds, I could make a difference. If I had any religious weight whatsoever, I could make a real impact but its up to the scholars of religious jurisprudence to do this instead. The next generation of Muslims are coming of age and hopefully, their modern thinking will enable them to convince others about the crisis in their faith.

96.6% of Muslims are good people but there’s that 0.4% to think of and it’s growing each day. The onus is on religion itself to evolve because lets face it, if it were truly the word of God then it would allow flexibility for development of the species. It would understand the diversities and nuances of humanity and instead of disavowing them and hating them, it would embrace them.

We all know that abusing women is wrong. When it happens in a relationship, it is usually followed by guilt and remorse. In religious households, the punishment is condoned, even accepted with the woman believing in some cases that she has rightfully earned her punishment.

In my own household as I child, I cannot say if rape was prevalent between my mother and father. I wouldn’t have thought so but child abuse was a daily occurrence in the form of mental and physical abuse. Religion was urged upon me as it always is in Islamic households and I rejected it entirely, along with the other barrow-load of religions that manifested as I matured.

So I’m a disbeliever, destined for Hell. Under Islamic guidelines, I am the enemy of Islam and unless I adopt the faith or choose another religion and pay the jizya, then I’m destined for a painful and humiliating punishment in this life and the next. I don’t claim a religion but nor do I feel the urge to be opinionated and judge based on a belief structure that was inherited by birthright.

Good people are good people. They will not rape, will not kill unless in self-defence, will not exploit innocence, will not steal nor be pretentious. They will not strike another unless struck first and even then, a good person will still try to use words rather than violence before the inevitable loss of control. I can’t say a good person won’t lie nor make a mistake, get an opinion wrong or upset somebody with words and behaviours but they will never break the fundamental covenants of a balanced and mutually respectful society, even if their good book says otherwise.

I have never hit a woman but have been hit by plenty. To be honest, I deserved it back then and took my punishment humbly. I said harsh words, I made inferences and this may be tantamount to abuse but in all fairness, I gave back what I got in turbulent relationships but never crossed that line into domestic violence. I’m guilty of it now, of maybe arguing and swearing at my partner in frustration but at no point would I strike her or otherwise. Because I respect her, because I respect almost everybody until they do something to prove me wrong (which is often). What makes a man want to rape is the disrespect he has for women coupled with that inherent animal lust. I’m lustful, alright but I’m no monster and could never denigrate myself to such a basic sub-human level as the rapist mind. Nor could I strike a woman unless it was absolutely necessary to prevent her from injuring herself or others.

I cannot imagine being indoctrinated to the degree that I believe beatings and sexual abuse are morally correct. It’s impossible for my mind to even rationalize those concepts. Even though I was brought up in an environment of violence and subjugation and privy to my relatives and their Islamic ways, I have never seem women as second to anything. Personally, I believe the real strength lays in the minds and values of women, never mind what the Qu’ran and the rest of the ‘good books’ say.  Little wonder, then that God/Allah/Yaweh/Insert deity here is always a masculine entity. For it to be a woman would infer a weakness of character, if we are to believe the scriptures.

Strange then, how England was at its strongest when ruled by a woman. Elizabeth I was by far the most successful ruler of the British Empire, placing England at the head of economic and military command, the nation ruling the world or a good portion of it. She is but one of many famous women in history whom have changed the face of societies across the world. There is no weakness or second-class to femininity; women are as equal to men, if not more significant given their capacity for endurance. What man could spend twenty hours in labour, hemorrhaging and splitting as they brought new life into the world? No man that I know, myself included. If men were responsible for birthing children, the population would have died out centuries ago.

There aren’t many ahadith celebrating feminism and encouraging respect towards women but they do exist. Like I say, the Islamic faith does not have to be recognized by its questionable ethics, its ambiguity and its propensity to license criminality. These are the things that the insidious Nationalist groups will have you believe, those whom oppose immigration, frightened of change and evolution of thinking.

Abu Huraira reported that a person said:

Allah’s Messenger, who amongst the people is most deserving of my good treatment? He said: Your mother, again your mother, again your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives according to the order (of nearness).
Muslim Book 32, Hadith 6181
There is also a Book of the Kind Treatment of Women in the an-Nasa’i collections yet it is heavily biased towards Muhammad’s favourite wife, the youthful Aisha and doesn’t really provide grounds for equality. Still, it’s a good start and probably overlooked by many ignorant Muslims, those who claim to be followers of Islam yet find themselves drawn into deviancy and greed instead, seduced by lusts and materialistic gain. There is a Book for every occasion in the Sunnah and a good Muslim will read ALL the hadith and them move onto Mishkat Ul-Masabih, drawing their own inferences using intellect and reasoning, applying it to modern society and making it work for them.

It is by sharing and interacting, by mingling together our ideas that new, better ideas are born and humanity ups itself another echelon towards enlightenment. At the minute, Islam in Britain is taking steps backward rather than forwards. The secular schisms in societies have made people afraid of one another.The media pumps out its bulletins and does its best to distance extremism and crime from Islam, not because it wants to help integration of creeds and cultures but because it fears the backlash from the Government if it seen to link Islamic values and criminality. By this margin, all dead terrorists are ‘mentally ill’ and usually on drugs. One point about the drugs is that, if you’re going to kill yourself then taking them is probably a calming measure. The fact that many dead extremists were found with traces of banned drugs and alcohol in their system proves only one thing: that they are human enough to need a dampener for their emotions, something that will drive out all thought and enable them to perform the irrational act of suicide. Because an Islamic extremist is high on drugs, this seems to indicate that he is a fallen Muslim and in no way connected to the wider branch of the faith, the ‘true’ Islam.

Let’s just get it out there, see it as it should be. Islam and religion in general are not the cause of criminality in Britain but they are the legislator and rationale that permit the offender to act upon impulse. Nearly all Muslims abide by the rules of their religion whilst observing the legislature of the land. The ones that choose to deviate don’t do it because they are sanctioned by God, they do it because that is their nature, their own personal pride making them superior to others. They are and always will be predators, irrespective of the way they were brought up.

The mandates of the Islamic State are accused of ‘brainwashing’ Muslims into acts of hatred. They focus on the regime imposed by fear, that of the besieged Mecca and the spoils of war. They quote from one specific Sahihian source and very few Qu’ranic verse that refer to anything other than jihad and oppression of ‘disbelievers’. Their ahadith are probably weak (to be honest I haven’t read any of their bullshit) but they pile on the conspiracy, tying it into historic conflicts and suggestions of a grand Iluminati, no doubt that represents Shaytan and comprises of the entire Western Hemisphere. I’m guessing; whatever tools they use to work on the minds of the vulnerable, they use them well, often resorting to statistics concerning death and killing on the part of Christians, Jews and the al-Mujrimeen in general. Islam, they will argue is under siege but it isn’t. The religion will never die, you can’t kill an idea.

The Islamic State do not want to exist as a peaceful sect that practices orthodox Islam. Instead, they would rather rape, torture, kill and oppress others to generate income and manpower. Their mandates are false and their caliph is a heretic, the Ad-Dhajjal himself, no doubt. All of their tactics are dedicated to filling coffers and acquiring troops along with slaves and hostages. Their philosophy is rooted in materialism and their leader enjoys the luxuries of their illicit profits whilst the rest live in fear and poverty. There is no Islam here, just a net that is cast over others to reel them in, to strengthen the caliphate in reputation and number. Any faith that inspires terror can only be the work of Satan, that’s my opinion. When your own followers start peeling away, too afraid to run then you know the idea isn’t as good as you thought.

Muhammad gave the tribes of Mecca the option to obey Islamic law or leave without penalty. Why is this not echoed in the so-called Islamic State? Why are those who wish to leave the province (not leave the faith) sentenced to death in the most horrific of ways?

Why are mothers, held in high regard by the Prophet abused and their children stolen to become conditioned assets? This is not the work of Islam. Benign targets are attacked and this again contravenes Muhammad’s words as only those actively attacking are deemed as the enemy. You simply cannot kill citizens of a country because you disagree with their nation’s conduct but then again, that’s war for you. The Islamic State are indeed at war but its a war of their own making. Had the initial hijacking of government then resulted in negotiations and deals rather than threats and demands, had the people been put first rather than the land and its assets and the doctrine focused on expanding the faith willingly through preaching and stability of economy then the world might have listened to this new, forward-thinking approach from an Islamic sect that believes in debate and sharing of ideas.

The Islamic State should have been a haven for those fleeing the various conflicts across Arabia, a gathering point like the old city of Mecca and it should have offered support and renewed faith for the vulnerable. Instead, it exploited them and took by force, breaking the rules of Islam and becoming a monstrous patriarchal regime of subjugation and misery. Even if all war ceased in the Middle-East overnight, the Islamic State would still be a melting pot of uncertainty and terror. What really surprises me is how many of the Arab League nations aren’t involved in crushing the caliphate directly. This should be the priority of Islam worldwide, the destruction of the false ethics of Al Shabaab, Boko Haram and the Islamic State yet only ten Arabian countries have offered their support. Others condemn the caliphate yet refuse to become directly involved. This isn’t helping and regardless as to whether the CIA, MI6 or Mossad or whoever armed al-Baghdadi, the threat still needs to be eliminated.

But like I say, you can’t kill an idea, only counter it with a better one, a more acceptable and logical one. The roots of Muslim crime in Britain are found in the secular divisions and the simmering tensions between the ‘them and us’ mentality inspired by wars in the Middle East and fueled by extremist terrorism and Nationalist scare-mongering. If you’re going to be a criminal, then there’s no stopping it. No amount of faith will prevent you from acting upon impulse, I can personally attest to that. If you’re going to do it, you’ll usually do it. I have robbed, cheated and inflicted harm upon impulse yet my excuse was a different kind of religion; alcoholism. As a sober man, devoid of that skewed thinking I could never do those things. Religion works a little like alcohol, I think. It eases the transition into loss of control, perhaps justifies it and makes it easier to rationalize and accept. As an alcoholic, I always blamed my drunken alter-ego for any misdeeds. As a religious person, I would blame my transgressions on the scripture. The only difference is, the alcoholic would probably feel guilty whilst the religious person, authorized by God to transgress would feel little remorse, if any.

There is hope for the misguided youth of Britain, those who embrace their faith as a gang-culture and lean towards the Islamic State’s ethics with hot-headed, testosterone-loaded morals that they think they understand. Hardly any of these youths will know the Qu’ran, Sunnah, Mishkat Ul-Masabih, etc. and will only have gripped onto the parts that license their behaviours and thinking, the ugly parts of Islam. In their deviancy, they bring shame to the faith and a bad portent for the future flock of young British Muslims.

Many young British Muslims that I meet are very opinionated and full of fire, eager to argue about Palestine and Syria, about Trump and May and Putin, about the Turks and the Kurds. Sadly, they are only full of baseless statistics and media pop-shots of propaganda, their ire driven more towards the United Nations and the Christian faith through exposure and misinformation. Many young Muslims I meet feel persecuted in some way, some of them beat their chests and roar dominance in their territory. Others just want to get on with their lives quietly but they still hold their own delusions of persecution despite the quality of their lives compared to many across the Middle East.

British Muslims feel under-represented in government and social matters. They probably are with the exception of the Mayor of London but many hard-liners will state that Sadiq Khan is just a token tossed in by the Lords to make the Muslims think they had some kind of high-standing representation. Secular doctrine reinforces divisions in societies, making Muslims feel superior to other groups. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of pride but too much, as we know comes before a fall.

British Muslims would get more representation if the ethics of Islam focused more on tolerance and not historic accounts of oppression. Had Muhammad lived in this century, I very much doubt he would be supporting the Islamic State, having already conquered the majority of Asia. He would be contented, no doubt and shrewd diplomt that he was, he would have been on the UN Security Council representing all Muslim countries. I imagine his biggest gripe would be the Israel-Palestine situation but, you know what? I think he might favour a two-state solution, with International neutrality governing the religious sites of Jerusalem (as was originally intended) as the Jews and Muslims can’t seem to make up their minds as to who owns the Temple Mount and cannot share, it appears.

Look at me presuming to know the mind of the Prophet? It’ll be a fiery damnation for me…which is good considering my low blood-pressure always makes me feel cold. It’d be nice to be warmed up for once.

Conclusion: I don’t even know if there is one. Muslims will commit crimes the same as any other creed yet they don’t have to do this. This intolerance is born of misinterpretation and a feeling of persecution imbued by parental philosophies and exposure to the current climate of Britain. Secular closed communities do not help in this regard. Interaction and mingling with other groups should be paramount for children, especially if they are to grow up and feel part of a wider National community  and garner a better understanding of the right of equality in Britain.

Racism and hatred towards Muslims is not the answer. What on Earth are these fucking Nationalist even on about? They are segregating people according to ideology but people are individual units and they have different minds, different motives. Many misguided Muslim youth are simply that; misguided by archaic ethics and taught to be set apart from the wider community, above others by virtue of birthright.

If there’s any real lesson, it’s that Islam is a matter of perspective. One can adhere to the tenets and live a good life without inflicting misery upon others but because it’s so damn chauvinistic and prejudiced towards anyone outside the sect, it’s easy to see how marriages and relationships can develop into a patriarchal regime of inequality.

Islamic children have a shit-load of pressure piled upon them, especially the boys. They are bred to achieve and over-achieve, to boost the family status and secure a position of authority in the economic system. Pride is paramount in the community, the wishes and aspirations of the child are molded to that of the parents. Doctor, lawyer…the two stereotypical ambitions of the typical Muslim child. Both are positions that empower the individual and label them as a notable person of respect and trust.

It would be interesting to see just how many Muslims make it through the law and medical schools to succeed in their bespoke careers. I might look at the education system next, see how it pans out for different groups in society.

It is up to the individual to decide how far they are willing to devote themselves to Allah. To me, so long as you perform the Hajj at least once and visit at least one mosque, follow the guidelines of prayer and behaviour and more importantly, believe then you’re a Muslim. This notion of ‘degrees of piety’ is bullshit. No-one is holier than the other and every man will make mistakes in his life, even the fucking Pope! The question is, will you allow your behaviour to denigrate into something that represents fear and control rather than freedom and understanding?

Only a wife-beater beats his wife. His creed is irrelevant. Only a rapist rapes, God has no place in their actions. Only a violent man commits acts of violence and sometimes there is an excuse, a temporary insanity but with religion, it is licensed and understood. Not all extremists are mentally ill. If they were entire collectives of our society would be deemed as insane. They are following what they believe to be the right way and have been deluded that they are actively under siege. Okay, some are, granted; Hezbollah, Hamas, PKK, all designated terror groups by various nations yet their agendas are far from insane, their reasons for fighting understood, to an extent given the historical wars between nations. If I went to Kurdistan or Gaza, I’d find that the Israeli Security Forces were the terrorists to the Palestinians and the Turkish Army to the Kurds. It’s a matter of perspective.

Britain is not a battleground, despite what the Nationalist will bray. If we listen to them then it will become a battleground. It is divided, though and until a better understanding of Islam is made available to all then it will continue to be seen by many as an insidious disease that threatens the framework of Great Britain.

 

 

 

Should Muslims feel obliged to apologize for terror attacks?

sorry

The folowing link is to an article on the muslimpress.com website:

Should Muslims feel obliged to apologize for terror attacks?

This is an interesting article. I thought it might present me with a real reason why Muslim’s shouldn’t feel obliged to defend their faith in the face of extremist terror attacks. However, quite early on the article slides into another finger-pointing political argument with nods given towards the UN and Saudi Arabia and mention of the various wars that the former League of Nations has been responsible for since its transmutation into the United Nations in 1945. It ends on a vitriolic note condemning the West as a whole, somehow managing to get from an impartial argument to an irrefutable bias in less time that it takes me to zip up my fly.

But this is all completely irrelevant in the bigger scale of things that are happening globally. The article has a point, individual Muslims should not feel responsible personally for the horrors inflicted by the radicalized extremists of Islam but they should acknowledge that their religion is accountable directly for the atrocities. As a result, many Muslims feel the need to speak out or show solidarity against Islamic extremism and I think this is a wonderful display of proactive thinking, putting oneself in the shoes of Muhammad and seeing, quite clearly that he would not have condoned this type of pandemic terror inflicted upon many innocents.

Some would argue that Islamic terrorism and the mandates of the Islamic State are part and parcel of the Islamic doctrine but I would hasten to disagree. What was written in a time of war and dissent need not apply nowadays. By all means, live up to the virtues of Islam but never deviate into the darker side for they are the words of a military leader motivating his armies, prophetic or not and not those of a man committed to universal peace as in the earlier teachings of Muhammad.

Back to the article. Every time I hear the words ‘Suez crisis’ or ‘Two state solution’, I cringe a little knowing that my ancestors were responsible for kicking out the Palestinians and making shady deals to usurp control from Egypt of nationalised resources. That’s only two countries; England and America have been bullying the Middle East for centuries, raping it of resources and sanctioning the countries from trading with strong economic states. England is responsible for the reshaping of borders, for the creation of states and nations at the cost of others freedoms and for the usurping of control from many regimes. It has made deals with America, Russia, Israel, France, the Commonwealth to legitimise invasions on foreign soil and despite its shrinking stature on the world stage, it is still a powerful and influential player (for now). It’s no wonder that some Muslim’s hate us.

But if we’ve been bad them America has been just as guilty of orchestrating land-grabs and lording power over Arab states, making underhand deals and even planning coups as in the Iranian CIA coup de tat that put a puppet regime in place for years and enabled England, Russia and America to greedily drain the sands of oil whilst giving the Arabs the shittest deal possible on royalties. The Islamic Revolution changed all that and the regime is still strong, although it is too orthodox for my liking, by far and always unpredictable.

The article doesn’t mention the Soviet Union or Russia in any way, focusing on ‘the West’ instead. Russia is not without its own history of oppressing the Muslims. Wars raged between Russia and Persia in 1826 and the Russians helped England to invade Iran during 1941 although, again this was not necessary and was another underhand attack stewed up between the Soviets and Great Britain for other reasons other than purported allegiance to Hitler by the Shah of Iran. No doubt oil was at the heart of it as well as Stalin’s wishes to force Communism on the Arabs.

Yes, the West (and Russia) have been right pains in the arse for the Arabs, Indians, South Americans, pretty much everywhere, really. It was the Europeans that settled in America and look what they did to greet the natives? It was also the West that put Israel where it is today, in the territory of the former Palestine and we all know how grateful the Muslim community is for that.

But there is one fundamental difference its historic versus current. I do feel like I should apologise for England bombing the shit out of Syria and Iraq because it’s happening right now but we have to thank the Syrian Government for inciting a revolt and the Islamic State for taking advantage of civil unrest in both Iraq and Syria, forcing the UN to intervene. Let’s not forget the puppeteer hold Russia has over Syria and its present involvement in laying siege to the country; they are not exempt.

Al-Assad wants the opposition crushed and Russia is happy to oblige with superior military might. Other countries have jumped on the bandwagon despite their conflicting opinions on the continuance of an Assad regime, bombing the shit out of Islamic State controlled territory and wiping out countless civilians in the process. Proxy wars are fought in the middle; Sauds against Yemenis, Turks against Kurds, one half of Syria against the other, Israel bombing Hezbollah using Syria as their business partners to which Syria respond by firing on Israel. Group fights against group in a maelstrom of conflict. That’s just the Middle East. What about North and South Africa? What about the Baltics, Russian artillery lined up on the borders and UN battle groups sent to the Baltic states as a deterrent to invasion? What about South America, what about fucking North America?

It’s a shitstorm of epic proportions and what makes anybody think that the situation will improve once the Islamic State have been eradicated?

If a nation behaves badly, its citizens should feel ashamed for the actions of its government. If a religion behaves badly, then all members should feel remorseful that such a thing has been born from their scripture. The article in question downplays the level of remorse that Islam should feel as presently, its doctrines are responsible for thousands upon thousands of deaths in a pandemic surge of extremist violence. The UN bombs might kill hundreds of civilians and for that, I feel terrible but this is nothing compared to the number killed in the name of Islam across the globe.

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Before the author of the article in question decides to shake his spear at the West, he should remember how far Islam is prepared to go in order to assert its dominion over others. Most of what the Islamic State preach is in the Qu’ran and Sunnah and they focus on particular sections of the Sahihian Sunnah books to license murder and oppression, rape and torture, namely the Book of Jihad and Expedition. The notion of blowing oneself up and taking out innocent civilians is not an Islamic ethic and I can only really find one hadith that might hint at the legislation of murdering innocent people. Of tens of thousands of hadith, to focus on one is pathetic:

Chapter 9: Permissibility of killing women and children in night raids, so long as it is not done deliberately

Sa’b b. Jaththama has narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) asked:

“What about the children of polytheists killed by the cavalry during the night raid? He said: They are from them.”

Sahih Muslim Book 19, Hadith 4323

This one hadith, with only four words spoken by Muhammad is apparently enough to sanction the murder of children whilst performing jihad. There is no Qu’ran verse to fortify this hadith.

Compared to the subsequent chapter:

 

Chapter 8: The prohibition of killing women and children in war
It is narrated by Ibn ‘Umar that a woman was found killed in one of these battles; so the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) forbade the killing of women and children.
Sahih Muslim Book 19, Hadith 4320
I prefer to look to the Qu’ran and Surah Al-An’am (The Cattle):

Those will have lost who killed their children in foolishness without knowledge and prohibited what Allah had provided for them, inventing untruth about Allah . They have gone astray and were not [rightly] guided.

Qu’ran 6:140

There are thousands of supporting hadith to forbid the killing of innocent people (those not oppressing the Muslims directly) yet the death toll is rising each day. It is not fair for the author of the article in question to twist Muslim’s genuine remorse for the abuse of their doctrine into a political rant. He fell away from the crux of the question; should Muslims feel obliged to apologize for terror attacks?

Well, if they have a heart and follow the true tenets of their faith then they will feel obliged to have remorse for ALL victims of Islamic violence, worldwide. If I was a Muslim then it would be a constant test of my faith and I would feel compelled to have an opinion, to make my apologies for the misguided warmongers of the world using Islam as a bullwhip to secure their own material goals.

Have a read of the original, heavily biased article and see whether you agree with it. Some might, those firebrands who cannot leave old bones buried and need to rationalize the actions of a few, try to find reason in their madness that dissociates them from terrorism. What’s done is done, there’s little point trying to undo the past. Most countries are independent, those that wish to be. They got their eventually but the sins and sufferings of the fathers need not burden the children.

Is the Islamic State actually the Ummah of Satan?

 

I’ve collected together a few hadith from the Sunnah books, primarily Sahih Muslim and Sahih al-Bukhari to highlight what I think is an interesting point. Of course, it’s all conjecture like all religion but it’s fun for me and also a learning experience. People will say I’ve cherry-picked and I have, to an extent but that’s exactly what the Islamic State do, ignoring the earlier teachings in favour of the Book of Jihad and Expedition, among others. I concerned myself mainly with the concept of the ”false prophet’, ‘the Antichrist’ or in this case ‘the Anti-Muhammad’. In Islamic lore, the Antichrist is called Al-Massi ad-Dajjal and his coming is foretold by Muhammad in the hadith of the Sunnah:

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Yasar:

“…That they visited Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri and asked him about Al-Harauriyya, a special unorthodox religious sect, “Did you hear the Prophet (ﷺ) saying anything about them?” Abu Sa`id said, “I do not know what Al-Harauriyya is, but I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “There will appear in this nation—- he did not say: From this nation —- a group of people so pious apparently that you will consider your prayers inferior to their prayers, but they will recite the Qur’an, the teachings of which will not go beyond their throats and will go out of their religion as an arrow darts through the game, whereupon the archer may look at his arrow, its Nasl at its Risaf and its Fuqa to see whether it is blood-stained or not (i.e. they will have not even a trace of Islam in them)….”

Bukhari Vol. 9, Book 84, Hadith 65

In this hadith, the prophet foretells of an Islamic  tribe that will claim to know the intricate workings of the Qu’ran better than others but their messages will be false as they will have no true faith in them. I think the Islamic State should consider this particular hadith and see whether it relates to them. If they want another perspective, try this one from Yusir bin Amr:

Narrated Yusair bin `Amr:

I asked Sahl bin Hunaif, “Did you hear the Prophet (ﷺ) saying anything about Al-Khawarij?” He said, “I heard him saying while pointing his hand towards Iraq. “There will appear in it (i.e, Iraq) some people who will recite the Qur’an but it will not go beyond their throats, and they will go out from (leave) Islam as an arrow darts through the game’s body.’ “

Bukhari Vol. 9, Book 84, Hadith 68

The Islamic State originate from Iraq, it is their spiritual birthplace and that of their leader, al-Bhagdadi. If anything, this hadith should encourage Muslims to think about the possibility of the Islamic State being the false bearers of Islam.

So in summary, the prophet said ” From this nation ……There will appear in it (i.e, Iraq)……some people so pious apparently that you will consider your prayers inferior to their prayers, but they will recite the Qur’an, the teachings of which will not go beyond their throats…..So, where-ever you find them, kill them, for who-ever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.

 

A portent of the approaching Ad-Dajjal is found in Sahih al-Bukhari:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

“The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Ad-Dajjal will come and encamp at a place close to Medina and then Medina will shake thrice whereupon every Kafir (disbeliever) and hypocrite will go out (of Medina) towards him.”

Bhukari Vol. 9, Book 88, Hadith 239

 

When we say ‘near’ in terms of the sixth-century, we can count bordering countries as nearby. Iraq borders Saudi Arabia at just under 1,000 miles from Medina to Mosul (as the crow flies)

Saudi Arabia is no stranger to the ground shaking but here’s a list of the most recent earthquakes in the region since 2012:

Saudi Arabia earthquake reports over the last four years

In addition, al-Bhukari goes on to say:

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

 

“The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “There will be no town which Ad-Dajjal will not enter except Mecca and Medina, and there will be no entrance (road) (of both Mecca and Medina) but the angels will be standing in rows guarding it against him, and then Medina will shake with its inhabitants thrice (i.e. three earthquakes will take place) and Allah will expel all the non-believers and the hypocrites from it.”

Bukhari Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith 105

There was a blast in Medina, one of four suicide bombings in three locations in Saudi Arabia in 2016, including the holy city. As of yet they have not been solved. The Islamic State has not claimed responsibility but they are the likeliest suspects. However, we can never know for sure.

A description of the Ad-Dajjal is given in the books of Sahih Muslim:

Abdullah b. Umar reported:

 

“Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) stood up amongst the people and lauded Allah as He deserved, then he made a mention of the Dajjal and said: … You must know that he (the Dajjal) is one-eyed and Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, is not one-eyed…..There would be written between his two eyes (the word) Kafir (infidel).”

Muslim Book 41, Hadith 7000

Here we see the contradiction; Ad-Dajjal is ‘one-eyed’ yet his name is written between his ‘two eyes’. I think that the reference to ‘two eyes’ may be metaphorical. Look at the name below. Can you see something written between two eyes?

Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali Muhammad al-Badri al-Samarrai

In between the first ‘i’ and the second ‘i’ we can see many letters, including an anagram of the word ‘iblis’, Arabic for ‘devil’

You might know this man better as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.

Regarding the matter of Ad-Dajjal being physically blind, there is controversy:

First suggested hadith

“Ibn Umar reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ). made a mention of Dajjal in the presence of the people and said:
Allah is not one-eyed and behold that Dajjal is blind of the right eye and his eye would be like a floating grape.”

Muslim Book 41, Hadith 7005

Second suggested hadith

“Hudhaifa reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

Dajjal is blind of left eye with thick hair and there would be a garden and fire with him and his fire would be a garden and his garden would be fire.”

Muslim Book 41, Hadith 7010

This confusion further leads me to believe that the eyes are metaphorical, like much of the Sunnah:
“The Dajjal has one blind eye, with a layer of thick skin over it, and between his eyes is written “disbeliever,” which every believer will read, whether he is literate or illiterate.'”

Muslim Book 41, Hadith 7011

According to an article I read about al-Baghdadi’s early life, he was quite a promising footballer. People who remember him describe him as being quiet and ‘very short-sighted’, needing spectacles from an early age. Of course, needing spectacles doesn’t denounce you as the Ad-Dajjal but it does make me wonder about al-Baghdadi’s eyesight in general and whether he has recently developed cataracts or suffered another injury that otherwise renders him partially sighted?
But I feel these ‘eye’s are a metaphor, just like ‘disbeliever’ is written between his ‘i’s
Sahih al-Bukhari goes on to give more description of Ad-Dajjal:

“Behind him I saw a man who had very curly hair and was blind in the right eye, resembling Ibn Qatan (i.e. an infidel) in appearance. He was placing his hands on the shoulders of a person while performing Tawaf around the Ka`ba. I asked, ‘Who is this? ‘They replied, ‘The Masih, Ad-Dajjal.’ “

Bukhari Vol. 4, Book 55, Hadith 649

albagh1.jpg

This old photograph is alleged (and I use the term in the broadest sense) to show a young al-Baghdadi, looking remarkably like Cat Stevens with a crop of curled bushy hair. All we need now is the injury to the right eye and for the caliph to let his hair grow naturally rather than shave it to the skin (for obvious reasons). I don’t know about this picture, it seems spurious but I’d sure like to see what he looks like without a shaved head and I’d love to get my hands on his ophthalmology reports.

 

In Jami at-Tirmidhi, we find more revelation about Ad-Dajjal’s progress through Asia:

“Al-Masih – that is Ad-Dajjal- will come, and when he reaches behind Uhud, the angels will turn his face to the direction of Ash-Sham, and is there that he will be destroyed.” (Sahih)”

Tirmidhi Vol. 4, Book 7, Hadith 2243

When the false prophet reaches the region behind the Uhud mountain range, angels will turn his face towards Ash-Sham, otherwise known as Syria. We could take ‘behind Uhud’ to mean the region of Iraq whose borders lay behind the range.

More geographic detail about the rise of the Ad-Dajjal is found in the next hadith:

 

“This hadith has been transmitted on the authority of Anas that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said this but with this addition that (the Dajjal would come) and pitch his tent in the waste-land of Juruf and thus there would come out of (the city) every hypocrite, man and woman.”

Muslim Book 41, Hadith 7033

If we look at maps of the Juruf region as it is today compared with the map of Islamic State controlled territory we can see that the Juruf region was initially overtaken by the Islamic State and has now been liberated due to its proximity to Aleppo

Live realtime map of IS controlled territory

Muslim gives us more information about the likely whereabouts of the Ad-Dajjal:

“Behold he (Dajjal) is in the Syrian sea (Mediterranean) or the Yemen sea (Arabian sea). Nay, on the contrary, he is in the east, he is in the east, he is in the east, and he pointed with his hand towards the east.”

Muslim Book 41, Hadith 7028

This seems confusing, the Ad-Dajjal in three locations at once. I thought I might place a thumb tack on the three places mentioned. I placed one point in the Syrian Sea and another in the Sea of Yemen. The third point, ‘the east’ was marginalised to an approximate area depending on which degrees east of Mecca Muhammad was pointing.

map1

You will see that most of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Oman and half of Iran is included in this area. The key areas here are Iraq and Syria which are almost completely encompassed by the area. No areas west of Saudi Arabia are considered as likely sources for the Ad-Dajjal, his manifest is strictly in the Eastern continent.

Mulsim elaborates further:

“He (Dajjal) would be a young man with twisted, contracted hair, and a blind eye. I compare him to `Abd-ul-`Uzza b. Qatan. He who amongst you would survive to see him should recite over him the opening verses of Sura Kahf (xviii). He would appear on the way between Syria and Iraq and would spread mischief right and left…..Like cloud driven by the wind. He would come to the people and invite them (to a wrong religion) and they would affirm their faith in him and respond to him.”

Muslim Book 41, Hadith 7015

Can we take the meaning of the missing eye to be literal, as in the case of Mullah Omar? I don’t think so. The fact that Ad-Dajjal has one eye and Allah has two is a reference to the blinkered view of the Ad-Dajjal, being only able to see Islam in two dimensions.

Ad-Dajjal will bring with this cooling water and burning fire:

“Hudhaifa reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:

the Dajjal would have with him water and fire and his fire would have the effect of cold water and his water would have the effect of fire, so don’t put yourself to ruin. Abu Mas’ud reported: I also heard it from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ).”

Muslim  Book 41, Hadith 7012

There have been several reports of the Islamic State drowning their victims in rivers and self-contained tanks. In these instances, water surely is fire. The only real relief from the Ad-Dajjal is to embrace the fire for it will set one free. In this case, fire could mean literal fire yet I feel it is a metaphor for weaponry in general.

“‘Uqba b. ‘Amr Abu Mas’ud al-Ansari reported:

I went to Hudhaifa b. Yaman and said to him: Narrate what you have heard from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) pertaining to the Dajjal. He said that the Dajjal would appear and there would be along with him water and fire and what the people would see as water that would be fire and that would burn and what would appear as fire that would be water and any one of you who would see that should plunge in that which he sees as fire for it would be sweet, pure water, and ‘Uqba said: I also heard it, testifying Hudhaifa.”

Muslim Book 41, Hadith 7012

This could pertain also to false scripture, that of the Ad-Dajjal’s doctrines being seen as the ‘water’ and the death they bring seen as the ‘fire’. If this is true, then only by death can one be free of the Ad-Dajjal’s scripture.
Of course, if you want a more literal meaning of ‘water becoming fire’ then look to the 2016 Islamic State dissolution of 25 captives in a vat of nitric acid, a compound that looks like water in its pure form.
In the following hadith, the manifest of the Ad-Dajjal is heralded by Satan:
“Satan would cry: The Dajjal has taken your place among your family. They would then come out, but it would be of no avail. And when they would come to Syria, he would come out while they would be still preparing themselves for battle drawing up the ranks. Certainly, the time of prayer shall come…”
 

Muslim Book 41, Hadith 6924

Well, ‘they’ refers to the Romans but we could take that to mean the seat of Western power, in other words the United Nations. They have indeed come to Syria and Ad-Dajjal will apparently ‘come out’ whilst they are still readying their plans of attack. Does this seem like a likely scenario? Is al-Baghdadi hiding something nasty in the Syrian desert?
In Sahih al-Bukhari, there are intricate descriptions of eleven portents signalling the last Hour. How many of these relate to the current affairs of the world?

Narrated Abu Huraira:

 

“Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The Hour will not be established (1) till two big groups fight each other whereupon there will be a great number of casualties on both sides and they will be following one and the same religious doctrine, (2) till about thirty Dajjals (liars) appear, and each one of them will claim that he is Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), (3) till the religious knowledge is taken away (by the death of Religious scholars) (4) earthquakes will increase in number (5) time will pass quickly, (6) afflictions will appear, (7) Al-Harj, (i.e., killing) will increase, (8) till wealth will be in abundance —- so abundant that a wealthy person will worry lest nobody should accept his Zakat, and whenever he will present it to someone, that person (to whom it will be offered) will say, ‘I am not in need of it, (9) till the people compete with one another in constructing high buildings, (10) till a man when passing by a grave of someone will say, ‘Would that I were in his place (11) and till the sun rises from the West…”

Bukhari Vol. 9, Book 88, Hadith 237

 

 Okay, no Sun rising in the West (unless you count this as a metaphor for political and economic power) but the other things may have a grain of truth in them.
Anyway, this is all conjecture and I’d love to be able to get some concrete evidence to support my ideas about al-Baghdadi being the Ad-Dajjal. But, like I say it’s all just conjecture; only time will tell if I am right.

One theological point I would make before I finish is that the manifest of the Islamic State contravenes the prophecies of Muhammad which in turn, were the word of Allah.

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

“…that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The Jews split into seventy-one sects, or seventy-two sects, and the Christians similarly, and my Ummah will split into seventy-three sects.”

Tirmidhi Vol. 5, Book 38, Hadith 2640

It was narrated from ‘Awf bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah(ﷺ) said:

“The Jews split into seventy-one sects, one of which will be in Paradise and seventy in Hell. The Christians split into seventy-two sects, seventy-one of which will be in Hell and one in Paradise. I swear by the One Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, my nation will split into seventy-three sects, one of which will be in Paradise and seventy-two in Hell.” It was said: “O Messenger of Allah, who are they?” He said: “The main body.”

Ibn Majah Vol. 5, Book 36, Hadith 3992

If these hadith are true, then the seventy-three sects of Islam are already defined as per this handy list:

The 73 sects of Islam

This puts al-Baghdadi in a difficult position, considering he is number seventy-four and not even in the running for Paradise. This theological anomaly should not be overlooked and applies to the sects of Boko Harem and Al-Shabaab, too although they both pledge allegiance to the caliphate of al-Baghdadi and could be considered an ‘extension’.

Either way, the prophet said it, not me. Food for spiritual thought.