Cleansing Thoughts

Pecking around for answers.

Whiling away the time this week in a place where they kill or displace a lot of people for whatever reason.

If you’ve come reading this week for answers, I pity you.  This week more than others, I offer none. I don’t even know if I have a clear question. This will be more ramblings about things I know very little about. 

This career choice is often accompanied by lots of marking time. Things gotta synchronize and match up, so there are sometimes filler things to do. During a pause a while back, I took a course to help familiarize me with Asia. 

We were discussing something that seemed to be important at the time and the topic of the Rainbow Warrior’s sinking came up. If you don’t recall this incident, you can read about it here.  In sum, Greenpeace’s ship the Rainbow Warrior, was sunk in Auckland, New Zealand right before it prepared to protests a French nuclear test 

Anyway, this attack came up for some reason in this class,and the instructor mentioned that this was a terrorist incident. And though clearly I wasn’t paying close attention, I did raise my hand and wondered about his comment.  It was my understanding that this was carried out by French Special Forces, so how could this be terrorism.  

He mentioned that this could be the case if one subscribed to the idea of State sponsored terrorism and then proceeded to drone beyond my afternoon attention span.

I was left in my own thoughts about how, if terrorism is the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially toward civilians, in the pursuit of political gains, how a State could behave unlawfully. Having friends and relations who’d worked aboard this vessel or successors, it was a bit unnerving to hear that they might be unlawfully targeted by a sovereign power. 

And where does war stop and terror start? I suppose my naïveté is showing, but I chalked it up to not knowing no better and trusting that smarter people were managing these things. 

Returning then, to this week, in a land where others are dying, and I’m in a brief conversation that turns to the topic of genocide going on.  The speaker quickly corrected themselves and stated that they misspoke and that we don’t call it genocide, we call it ethnic cleansing. I asked if it was really against the rules to call things genocide and was there much difference? I mean killing is killing and death is death, right? They mentioned something about not wanting to call it genocide because if they called it ethnic cleansing there was a belief that there was a way forward and progress could be made to end it.  

They didn’t sound convincing, and I certainly wasn’t convinced.  And I was pretty sure the ethnics who were getting washed weren’t feeling a way forward. Lather, rinse,repeat.

But again, I don’t know anything other than what I sense. Which is hearing a call to prayer and the church bells chiming. Seeing Buddhists buying from Muslims, and Muslims carving catholic crosses and finding Hindu grocers selling monks robes to Buddhists. 

On an everyday level, people get along on a multitude of levels. They don’t even just get along, they depend on each other, really. The leap to the idea that humanity needs to be cleansed or purified from one particular sector is so absolutely befuddling.

Categories: Race, Religion

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