Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Not Understanding Boko Haram

One can't help but notice a discrepancy between the attention paid to the attacks in Paris that have led to the deaths of 17, to the blaze of terror that has led to the slaying of up to 2000 people in Nigeria at the hands of Boko Haram. I'm guilty enough of failing to address the attacks that have levelled Baga and caused havoc in several other towns over the weekend.

The problem is complexity. The Paris story regarding the murder of the staff of Charlie Hebdo magazine and others has a familiarity and scale that I can grasp. The issues regarding deciding what to print and publish versus the reality that there are people who would very much like to curtail that freedom absolutely and remove that ability to choose how one uses ones voice is something I can find a fast position with. The scale of the tragedy is not dissimilar to mass shootings that have occurred here in the States, or in Canada or Australia recently. France, as with the US, is a majority Christian and white nation, where the Enlightenment traditions regarding freedom of speech, religion, and the press, have coincided with a history of colonialism that I feel competent to address in the microcosm.

The enormity of the scale of the Boko Haram attacks, (about which no true numbers can be found, because the people on scene have simply despaired of counting all the bodies, and because the government of Nigeria does not seem interested in the real numbers), is orders of magnitude greater, and coexistent with a more profound history of colonialism and without our little Western era of Enlightenment. In fact, Boko Haram, in name, is saying that Western Education--our Enlightenment concepts of science, liberalism, freedom, are forbidden.


I'm not on good footing discussing such realities. But I know I'm not on any kind of footing if I don't address them. Not addressing them is what allows these sorts of horrors to exist, and enables Boko Haram to occupy an area about the size of Belgium, and act out in fronts against Niger, Cameroon and Chad. Many countries, since the extraordinary high number of kidnappings that led to the popular #bringbackourgirls--which did not and likely could not have gone terribly far--have considered Boko Haram a terrorist group.

To me this looks very much like a war. It looks like a war where the group, Boko Haram, is forming a kind of ersatz caliphate similar to ISIL where they are carrying out missions that are acts of war--even if their method is not according to any lawful rules of war. To me--when I consider the kind of people who would turn little girls into bombs, I see a very real need to militarily address them in the most decisive way, to confront the country and mobilize them against the real threat to their lives--not to downplay the enormity of their actions. I can not comprehend a situation where the government of Nigeria cannot address the threat to their citizens as a war, and yet there is a reason--they can't?

This is well beyond the kind of thing I can speak to. It's madness.

3 comments:

Formerly Amherst said...

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

Hi Vixen, you no doubt will recognize 'The Stolen Child' by Yeats. It's hard to tackle in a comment what would require a lecture series. And I've tried to figure out a way to say things in shorthand.

In the past I have mentioned that from the Qaballistic point of view the hierarchy is not mineral, vegetable, animal, human. The Qaballah has it mineral, vegetable, animal, and Speaker. You see, the idea is if one is primarily concerned in their thinking and feeling with all of the things that animals are doing, then one has yet to become a Speaker, and therefore is still an animal.

Many are fairly civilized animals, though their inner motives are lust, power drives, pack and herd instincts, they present themselves with social deportment and a good vocabulary and sometimes some of the refinements.

But when you run into the case of people like Genghis Khan, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge, Idi Amin, Mao Tse-tung, Che Guevara, and Boko Haram you are dealing with a relentless, unchecked power drive connected to a human ego. Their inner experience is if they feel something it is the equivalent of God's ordinance. There is no separation or consideration in regard to how they experience their power drive. They are identical with their power drive that they interpret through ego and conceptual frameworks as ideals that justify their brutal actions. They are like grizzly bears in human form.

Some years ago sociology taught us about ethnocentrism. We realized that our way of looking at the world was unique to ourselves and colored our vision, but did not automatically make other ways of approaching reality wrong. From this sensibility has stemmed a vast new way of understanding the relativity of cultures and ideas. And some of this has been good.

However, one thing that we did not do as good a job of figuring out is that there is also a negative side to the free acceptance of other cultures and other views of reality. An upside, to be sure, but we have been weak in understanding the downside. These days we are starting to catch up with the neglected understanding of the downside.

Malkuth of Assiah in the Kali Yuga is not perfectible. If you're strong enough, you can put out a few fires, but it is not something that can be fixed.

Many years ago I was invited to lecture to a university class. (This was back in the days when I met Bob.) After I finished and took questions, one student demanded to know if there were really these enlightened, yogis, Sufism, Buddhists, magicians, and what have you, why were they not doing what it took to end war, to stop totalitarianism, to increase freedoms, and cure a host of social ills.

I reluctantly had to explain to the class that the enlightened among us who wish to be known were entirely about the business of trying to help free us from the vicissitudes that come with the material world. Their whole message was that when you are in a burning building, it's time to get out. Their role was not a social reformer or politician. Their role was a liberator from the very level of consciousness that keeps us ensnared in the physical world.

As Gautama Buddha told us, “I give you suffering and the end of suffering.”

Vixen Strangely said...

What a piece of worke is a man! how Noble in
Reason? how infinite in faculty? in forme and moving
how expresse and admirable? in Action, how like an Angel?
in apprehension, how like a God? ...[naturally, The Bard]

Shortly after 9/11, I found myself to an extent persuaded by the Christopher Hitchens/"anti-theist" corner of things, where I reasoned that senseless, irrational acts, had to come from a place where people had become divorced from rationality by a habit of thought (faith) that displaced whatever real conscience (knowledge and understanding of other people) they might otherwise have been capable of. I've since come around to the idea that there are some people whose brains are basically a digestive tract--you can put any philosophy you like however wholesome in one end, but you will only get shit out of them. It's not the religion to blame--it's the assholes.

The story of recorded history is positively bloody with massacres and yet rife with poetry, symbolism, and meaning. I once saw it as a "chicken vs the egg" conundrum. (Do we fight because we're bedazzled by myths, or did we invent the myths to endure the battles?) Now I am more inclined to think of it as sides of the same coin.

Formerly Amherst said...

“I've since come around to the idea that there are some people whose brains are basically a digestive tract--you can put any philosophy you like however wholesome in one end, but you will only get shit out of them. “

LOL. Vixen, that's a hilarious way of putting it. I've got to give a lecture on the 31st, and I may try to work that in, and of course I would attribute it to you.

The world as you describe it is one of the reasons I have never had children, and I believe I read that you have avoided having children as well.

You ended your comment with an interesting paradox. One of the nice things about the Qaballah is that it explains to us that paradoxes are a natural part of the metaphysical fabric of the universe. And when we start to run into a paradox, there is a suggestion that we may be getting closer to the truth.

Naturally, Boko Haram presents us with one of the shallow answers from the conventional way of looking at Christianity.

Theodicy
1. God is all good.
2. God is all powerful.
3. God is all knowing.

So taking Boko Haram, if God is all powerful, why does he allow the wholesale slaughter? It must be because he's not all knowing of not all good. If God is all knowing and he doesn't stop the slaughter, then he must not be all powerful or all good. If G is all knowing and all powerful and he allows the slaughter, then he must not be all good.

Fortunately, in the East and also in the Qaballah there are answers to this quandary. However, it would remain to be seen whether those answers would be satisfactory for someone facing the enormity of this level of suffering.

I have pushed far enough into the adytum of the mysteries (as they say) to know full well that this level of reality is not the only one. And the ultimate answer to these questions I feel lies in understanding the very nature of this level of consciousness and the way that consciousness co-creates the level of reality in which these atrocities occur. I can only encourage anyone with the interest in doing so to push forward and understand that this level of reality is contingent on deeper levels and that ultimately these savage problems have to be understood in the context of a much broader picture.

And beyond this level which is contingent on deeper ones, we are called ultimately, as Blake instructs us:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.