‘ Procession of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Secular Power ‘

Abounding complexities underpinning our modern world may be approaching the point of global conflagration as the geo-political hegemony of the West, is challenged by indigenous regional people’s seeking self-determination, elected government and frequently seeking separation from western influences: 

The unfolding political facts on the ground in target countries, the “Arab spring” presently overwhelming the Middle East and North Africa are classic examples of proliferating violence. A compelling argument can be made that virtually all regions of the world are experiencing turmoil of one sort or another… Beyond the myriad influences that inform and animate this calamitous international environment of conflicting nation states and insurgent forces, is a religious dimension which is virulent, ancient and ignominious. Religion has often played a distinct role in the subtext of military and imperialistic undertakings by secular governments throughout history. Specifically, the juxtaposition and popular narrative between Judaism, Christianity and Islam continues to convince their respective adherents of their incompatibility with others. Although the concept of “religious tolerance” continues to be promoted broadly over the centuries, engaging it has proven to be utterly insufficient. Unfortunately the quality and scope of “tolerance” can be undermined by the invisible energy of arrogance as these ideas may be organically connected. Perhaps the concept of “religious tolerance” can be replaced with the concept of “religious appreciation,” going forward. The appreciation of another person’s religion or other differences does not suggest acceptance of the others beliefs or values. Religious appreciation implies acknowledgement, respect, mutual co-existence, and religious appreciation embodies ecumenism, that noble quality in human beings.

With religious juxtapositions in the popular imagination as a context, local governments as well as geo-political players and insurgents vociferously engage their political, economic and military objectives. Although the religious juxtapositions are individually challenged within their respective institutions by sectarian strife, their internal challenges are generally ignored in favour of pointing an accusatory finger at another religion… None of the three religions of Abraham, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, can tout their theological purity. Accordingly, contemporary expressions and observances of these three great religions are based on revisionist histories which have caused schisms in each religion along sectarian lines.

Currently the only unequivocal connection that these religions have is a shared past in their collective assertion that the prophet Abraham is the patriarch of these religions. Therefore the historical testaments of the three monotheist religions is a familial relationship by way of their acknowledged patriarch. Moreover, the theology of monotheism asserts that all of humanity is children of God: The Genesis narrative observed and articulated offers a familial account regarding the advent of humanity. Thus the essence of disagreements among the three Faiths can be viewed in the framework of family dynamics… Clearly, much was lost in translating the historical procession of the religions of Abraham, from Judaism, to Christianity to Islam. The political facts on the ground in regions impacted by these conflicts are rooted in popular revisionist renditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Religious hyperbole associated with these conflagrations maybe better understood by examining the historical procession of the Abrahamic religions and generating a broader appreciation and understanding of the dynamic factors that currently account for these human affairs/events in the world…

The earliest historical records of human society indicate an inclination (if not proclivity) in the human imagination toward a higher and invisible spiritual power… Peoples in all regions of the world in the earliest times organized their communities around the place of worship. The local place of worship and its priesthood became the center of early societies and communities. Consequently, religious leaders often became the organic rulers of fledgling communities and thriving societies until the advent of the “king” and secular power, authority and government. The initial rivalry between priest and king morphed into a precarious courtship, and frequently “marriage” between the “church” and “state.” The church and state relationship remained in place for millennia, until the advent of the America and federalism, which proclaimed the separation of church and state. The separation of church and state idea was a product of The Age of Enlightenment composed in the Protestant Reformation, the rise of objective science and reason, and the age of discovery in the western world… The Protestant Reformation bifurcated Christianity into Catholics and Protestants, while the industrial development in the western world generated enormous economic wealth in Europe and America. Ultimately, secular power in the context of the military and economic component eclipsed influences of the church and religion in the material world. It could be argued that the church still enjoys a clear monopoly of the spiritual concerns. Nevertheless, the relationship between church and state remains a dynamic and intriguing enterprise as they modulate the status quo from respective vantage points… Secular public and private powers in the course of achieving relative military victories, territory, resources and raw material often proposes a religious context to their geo-political objectives. In ancient Rome at the advent of Roman Catholicism in the 4th century Emperor Constantine utilized the “Faith” as a theme for his numerous military forays and conquests of the known world. The emperor’s military campaigns were done in the name of advancing Christendom throughout the world. The Christian Crusades authorized by the papacy during the 12th century established the Knights Templar, a military wing of Christendom, mandated to reclaim the holy land that fell to Islam in the 8th century. Interestingly enough President George W. Bush, in 2003 initially dubbed his intervention into Iraq, as a “crusade” which resurrected memories of that historical west vs. east military confrontation between Christianity and Islam. More recently, in the wake of the “Arab Spring” which began in Tunisia with a popular “revolution,” North Africa and the Middle East became active theatres of military conflict, unconventional and asymmetrical warfare, highlighting the ancient Christian and Muslim juxtaposition. The adversarial nature characterizing the current relationship between Judaism, Christianity and Islam thus has its origins in antiquity. This religious dichotomy continues to find its way into the popular narrative and backdrop of the competing geo-political objectives in target countries and regions.

The escalating conflict in the Middle East is perhaps a classic example of what happens when artificial and arbitrary boundaries are imposed on regions as they begin to unravel… While western powers continue to entertain strategic and tactical operations to contain the advances of indigenous Islamic military forces, others assert that the western powers can only forestall that which is inevitable… The Middle East as we know it, in terms of national boundaries of their respective people’s of the region, came about 100 years ago based on political and economical design by the British and the French foreign ministries. This scenario was the outcome of the exploits of “Lawrence of Arabia,” Napoleon and the French Foreign Legion. The British and French segmentation of the region was codified following WWI, when the authority for countries comprising the Middle East was divided between Briton and France. Now these artificial boundaries are deteriorating, strongman rule enabled by western powers has waned under the force of organic and indigenous uprisings, and the overall influence that the western developed countries enjoyed with “strongman” regional leaders may no longer be relevant.

Both secular and religious leadership can be cited for engaging in the diabolical and abominable behaviour over the centuries… But justice is anticipated in the secular as well as the spiritual world. It was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who posited that the moral arch of the universe is long but it bends toward justice. The question whether there will be appropriate accountability remains an open question. Based on end time eschatology, accountability and ultimate justice will prevail… Increasing public opinion argues that world events as they are currently unfolding have profound biblical implications going forward…

Gary’s Consulting News 

Ace News Room 

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#ace-news-room, #christianity, #islam, #judaism

Gender Disparity: ‘ South Asian Women Fight On ‘

In recent years, the South Asia region has made some progress towards gender equality. The ratio of female-to-male life expectancy in South Asia, while behind East Asia, is now ahead of sub-Saharan Africa.

Indian Women Paving Paths

There is still a long way to go in about bringing the much-needed positive change towards the existing patterns of patriarchy that afford men privileges over women’s minds, souls and bodies. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that millions are still stuck in the dinosaur age, suffering acute Neanderthal syndromes.

A development organization, IFAD through its Gender and Development Division has decades spanning contribution in making head-ways to counter patriarchy and gender gaps.

Through their work, IFAD reports following noteworthy progresses and areas of concern: 

1.South Asia has also seen women’s increased political involvement, with their parliamentary participation rates higher than those in East Asia.

2.The 2012 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) shows that South Asia raised its position from the lowest ranked region in 2009 to the fourth ranked region in 2012 in overall discrimination against women.

3. However, the report also notes that the changes in ranking between 2009 and 2012 should be interpreted with caution and that better quality data − rather than an improvement in discriminatory social institutions − could also contribute to an improved score.

4. This culturally diverse region has typically lagged behind on gender equality issues. Boys still outnumber girls in primary school enrollment in Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan. Furthermore, across the region, girls are more likely than boys to drop out of school and almost half of all adult women are illiterate. In 2005, 48 per cent of young women were married before the age of 18.

5. Out of the nine countries in South Asia, only Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka have laws that prohibit domestic violence.

Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto record on women rights, debatable

6. The region is confronted by skewed gender ratios owing to the continued preference for boys in society, at least in part because of the dowry system. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, patriarchal norms isolate women in their homes by placing restrictions on their mobility and prohibiting contact with the opposite sex, especially in rural areas. This has significant implications for their employment, voice and representation in public life.

Despite challenging circumstances, IFAD and its many partners working in South Asia have made significant strides in improving the lives of women and girls in the region, as shown in the stories that follow.

Economic empowerment: South Asia has one of the lowest rates in the world of women’s participation in the labour force. Women earn less than men and have limited economic opportunities, often toiling as self-employed labourers across all sectors.

 Voice and participation: Inequities cannot be addressed until there are more women in decision-making roles in the public and private domains. It is true that some countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have had women heads of government. Others have used affirmative action, such as quotas, to boost women’s participation in decision-making bodies and change the focus of development agendas. However, there is often a large gap between representation and voice.

In Pakistan, for example, women are virtually absent from water user associations even though they own some agricultural land. And if they do attend meetings, they have little influence over decisions.

Women’s decision-making power in the household is also low compared with other Asian regions, but it does increase with wealth and economic empowerment.

Workloads and benefits: In South Asia, the widespread disparities can be observed from the most insignificant to most significant important issues, women work longer hours on domestic chores in comparison to men. Their work overall is benefited by men, most agricultural laborers and workers are women but they earn less and have no decision-making power over their limited incomes and its uses.

Srilankan women in workforce

South Asian patriarchy continues to feed into the cycle of keeping women poor and in vulnerable conditions, so that they can be controlled within the heinous societal roles set out for them.

IFAD’s on-ground work has also resulted into many outcomes that can help to continue addressing women’s inclusion and empowerment within the region.

LESSONS LEARNED AND GOOD PRACTICES

IFAD’s Asia and Pacific Division has implemented projects that address gender equality and women’s empowerment in different ways. Some of the lessons learned and good practices implemented in South Asia include:

  • Self-help groups. Self-help groups are an effective way to strengthen the decision-making and economic power of women in South Asia’s patriarchal societies.
  • Women-specific value chains. Supporting women-specific value chains by providing micro-credit coupled with technical and social training has improved household-level gender relations. It has helped increase women’s mobility and their participation in family decision-making, and brought them greater control over their profits.

-National gender coordinators. Country-level gender coordinators, such as in India, have improved gender outcomes by providing direct support to project design and supervision.

The region is known world-wide for its non-friendly attitudes and traditions that continue to threaten women’s lives. At the center of the rotting core — South Asian women themselves and  have taken it to task to work on improving their lives and continue to display their positive interest and enthusiasm  progressing towards their rightful places in the societies. 

Posted in Gender and Women Issues

South East Asia News 

Ace News Room 

#benazir, #domestic-violence, #economic-empowerment-of-women, #ifad, #nepal, #patriarchy, #the-missing-girls-of-india, #womens-political-participation

Agents of Change |My Dream For Every Little Girl

The Girls’education progress has remained marginalized in the political and general discourse of Pakistan. There is no denying the very fact that there are parts of the country that have the lowest literacy rates in the world, this fact constantly pinches me with passing times.

As a nation, we are falling and failing behind due to two main issues POVERTY and EDUCATION.  

The time has come to stop denying the very fact that education lifts whole communities out of poverty forever. Inside turbulent Pakistan, Oxfam is doing whatever it takes to get more children into class by lobbying with governments, training teachers and also building schools in rural areas, which will provide little children and girls opportunity to attend school. Watch this sensitive video on girl’s education, this is my dream for every little girl and let’s work towards making it a reality.

After-all, educated women are agents of change and Pakistan is in dire need of a social change that empowers its women.

Posted in Gender and Women Issues

South East Asia News

Ace News Room  

#education-2, #girls, #poverty

‘Oppressed Becomes The Oppressor’

Since the end of the latest Gaza war the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians has been simmering waiting for a spark to set the region on fire.

With the recent attack on a Jewish worship that spark is getting closer and closer.….and the retaliation of the Israelis will do nothing to calm the situation…..many have asked time and time again…..what the Hell is this all about……I shall try and answer that question for the reader…..

By this point in your life you have been exposed to the horror of World war 2 and the Holocaust……if not…..where the Hell have you been?

Every time Israel goes into action against the Palestinians we are reminded over and over about the horrors that the Jews were exposed to during the Holocaust…all the death and misery.  And because of the horrors they endured you would expect them to have No toleration for any such actions what so ever…….but you would be WRONG! 

Not mistaken but flat out WRONG!

One of the Israeli intellectuals of the founding generation, Yeshayahu Leibowitz feared that a Jewish state would become no better than the oppressors that he and so many others fled from in the days of WW2….he stated………”it would invert the whole history of the Jewish people, turning them into the spitting image of the oppressors whose terrorism from which we fled.”

He also noted that the …..“the entire energies of the Jewish state, instead of looking after the needs of its citizens, would be directing at enforcing “a strange system of political domination”……he was more prophetic than he has been given credit.

Israelis were the victims in the days of WW2….they were imprisoned, lands confiscated, harassed and put to death…….where is that any different than the circumstances with the Palestinians?  They were victims and for that they were basically given a country….the world trying to soothe its guilt….and in doing so have turned the victim into the oppressors they fled from in the past.

The world continues to close its eyes to the horrendous effects that Israeli policy is having on Palestinians….all because the world still feels the guilt of World War 2…..until they break that feeling this sort of murderous outreaches will continue.

The victim will continue to be the oppressor…...and the Palestinians must wait for the world to rid itself of a guilty past.

But the world is starting to take notice of the heavy handed responses of the Israelis toward the Palestinians…..it is possible that the justice that the Palestinian people have been denied in the last 50+ years is finally within their reach.

The world needs to demand that all nations act in a civilized manner and that includes Israel.

Chuq’s News 

Ace News Room 

#gaza, #oppressed, #oppression, #oppressor, #war

ISIS Strategy: K.I.S.S.

First are  you aware of what the acronym K.I.S.S. stand for?  In case it has eluded you…Keep It Simple,  Stupid!

That would be excellent advice to our policy makers.…..they have been all over the map with their assessment of the ISIS operation……they appear to be a dog chasing its tail……

This all started with a stutter step when Syria turned ugly…..and then there was a humanitarian effort for people trapped on a mountain…..escalated into airstrikes after the Iraqi army failed to live into its high marks that the admin was giving it…..then the US realized that we could not do it alone and we put together a coalition to hide our true intent……more airstrikes in Iraq and then expanded those into Syria….all the while ISIS kept getting stronger and expanding its control.

The whole time we, the public, were told that we had a plan and it was working well…..the problem was that No one could elucidate just what that plan was and how it was proceeding….other airstrikes were being effective while ISIS continued to expand….

Now the dialog is turning…….

The nation’s top military leader told Congress Thursday that the United States would consider dispatching a modest number of American forces to fight with Iraqi troops as they engage in more complex missions in the campaign against Islamic State militants.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Iraqi forces are doing a better job, but he said an effort to move into Mosul or to restore the border with Syria would require more complex operations.

There you have the beginning of the end of the BS that NO American ground forces will be used……

Sec. of Defense, Hagel to Congress……

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday the U.S.-led air war against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) will intensify and that the American people must prepare for a long and difficult struggle.

Hagel defended the U.S. strategy during a House of Representatives hearing, saying, “As Iraqi forces build strength, the tempo and intensity of our coalition’s air campaign will accelerate in tandem.”

“A long and difficult struggle”….setting the stage……the perfect timing is amazing…….

And then the news from today……US will go after Assad…….

The Obama Administration today realized what everyone else has known for some time, that their strategy in the new ISIS war in simply not working. Unfortunately, they seem to be shifting toward even deeper escalation of the war, particularly in Syria.

Officials are now describing the “Iraq first, then Syria” strategy for destroying ISIS as “untenable,” and while continuing to present the war goal as the destruction of ISIS, they seem to be heading down the road of less direct conflict with them.

Interesting turn…..we must deal with Iraq first….the sectarian problems….the problem of ISIS…..and the need to keep an eye on Iran……and praying that the Iraqi military will stand up when needed.

Then we bite off the head of another worm with Syria…..Assad forces, Khorasan (SEAL team of AQ), al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, ISIS and Kurds that are about as dependable as a rattlesnake in heat…..

All the while this strategy is working itself out……we need to keep an eye on Lebanon, Turkey…..Jordan is hinting at problems….and then the bully of the neighbourhood, Israel…..all it will take is this group to do something stupid and all this strategy will go to crap and in a hurry.

At what point does this strategy start making sense?

Apparently I have missed it.

The more complexity built into the plan the more possible for a complete breakdown…….and this is where K.I.S.S. comes into play!  Maybe a better strategy would be to set small attainable goals before moving onto a total picture.

K.I.S.S.!

Chuq’s News 

Ace News Room

#airstrikes, #defense, #humanitarian, #military-2

‘ The Persecution of Muslim Feminists ‘

Do you believe that respecting Muslim women feminists and their rights is a fundamental human right that you would afford to all OTHER FEMINISTS REGARDLESS OF THEIR RELIGIOUS IDENTITY?

Got that right.

Or shall I continue to face your white privilege that forces me to face your ugly persecution for being a MUSLIM FEMINIST?

Tell me, will you?

South East Asia News 

Ace News Room  

First Posted in Human Rights Concerns

#ace-news-room, #feminist, #hate-material, #intersectionality, #muslims, #religious-persecution, #white-feminists-bullshit, #white-privilege, #women-of-color

BERLIN WALL: EAST – WEST DIVIDE…

November 8 marked the 25th year following the fall of the Berlin Wall, which divided Eastern and Western Europe as a consequence of WWII. The Berlin Wall and other practical metaphors such as the Cold War, Iron Curtain and the juxtaposition of democracy vs. communism formulated the world view of the baby boom generations as they grew to maturity. Many of us baby booms have vivid memories of the imposed constraints that required us negotiate and navigate our political activity around the democratic and communist political paradigm that coloured the Cold War environment.

In the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall and demise of the former Soviet Union, the Cold War was ended, the Iron Curtain was lifted and the much touted communism threat to the United States became a politically moot point. Many of us watched news report footage of the East Germans breaking down the wall and streaming to the west to begin new lives. I recall the popular refrain that America has won the Cold War and the world is no longer divided by a binary political paradigm. “America is the only super power in the world” became a political mantra in some quarters.

It is generally understood that WWII was the result of events that occurred in Vienna and Berlin, but at the end of the conflict many populations in the world were massively impacted by collateral damage, consequences and results of the war. The partition of East from West Germany was among the outcomes of WWII and the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Walls demise remains a profound experience to many. Interestingly enough little has changed in the geo-political dynamic and trajectory of the United States, apart from the emergence of China as a major economy and global role player.

The emergence of China as a macro role player on the global stage coupled with general acknowledgement that in the foreseeable future China will eclipse the United States as the world’s largest economy, virtually guarantees a continuation of the east vs. west paradigm throughout the 21st century. In addition, events unfolding in the Ukraine portends conflicts in the countries of Eastern Europe as Russia seems to be positioning to reclaim countries that comprised her former empire. Some suggest that Russia’s initiative in the Crimea and Ukraine is based in the fact that NATO, a formulation of the Cold War, is making political overtures to the Ukraine and other countries to join the NATO political orbit. If this suggestion is true, the Russian President Putin is likely affronted by it and will act accordingly going forward.

Apparently the current global scenarios that are unfolding would lead one to believe that the east vs. west adversarial paradigm will stay in place for the foreseeable future. But the east vs. west divide had a much ancient origin then the Berlin Wall and Cold War advent, and it can be traced to the beginning of Christianity in Europe. This ancient divide took the form of a religious schism that bifurcated Christianity in the east and west. Recorded in history as the east vs. west “schism,” it occurred in 325 AD as a result of the proceedings of the first ecumenical Counsel of Nicaea.

The Counsel of Nicaea was convened by Roman Emperor Constantine for the purpose of consolidating Christianity under the domination of Rome. The schism occurred when the emperor excommunicated bishops from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and branded them as heretical for adhering to their doctrine of monophysitism, which holds that the nature of Christ was singular and divine. The new Roman doctrine asserted that the nature of Christ was part human and part divide. Hence, the Ethiopian contingent of the faith was excommunicated from the first ecumenical council and all other subsequent ecumenical counsels.

There is great irony by the fact that the Roman Church was the most recent addition to world Christianity and had only just stopped persecuting Christians in 313 AD by way of the Treaty of Milan… The east vs. west paradigm is an ancient dynamic and will most likely remain as practical dichotomy will into the 21st century and perhaps the next century. However, it is noteworthy to observe that the current east vs. west dynamic is based in a secular and political scenario and its consequences. On the other hand the east vs. west schism that occurred in the 4th century animated the religious and spiritual realms…

G.J News 

Ace News Room 

#cold-war, #east, #fall, #iron-curtain-2, #west, #wwii