September 22, 2020

The Editor Speaks: Taking a break


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I shall be taking a small break over the next few weeks due to health reasons so this space will taken up by guest columnists who write a lot better than myself so you are in for a treat.
Today’s column is:

A Guy’s View: The enemy within

By R.E. Guyson Mayers from the Barbados Advocate

“Put no faith in a companion; put no trust in a friend; guard the door of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom; for a son despises his father; a daughter rises up against her mother; the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his house.” Micah 7:5-6.

The enemy within was the subject of a 17th century treatise by Puritan John Owens. It dealt with the issue of indwelling sin. But this column is not about sin. I will spare some of my friends who are so afraid of God that they tremble at the thought of what awaits them beyond this life, if what they have been told is true. Instead, I invite you to look at this subject by extrapolating from the personal to the national, and the international.

Last week there was a massacre in Paris, France. At least two men entered a publishing house with high powered guns and a rocket launcher and killed 12 people. Within two days, they were shot and killed by police.

The French authorities informed that the two men who carried out the assault were Frenchmen of Algerian descent. They were reportedly Muslim. At the time of the assault, they made the usual Islamic exclamations indicating that they saw the massacre of defenceless people as service to their God.

The western world was rightly outraged by this act. It should be of concern to all of us on this side of the Atlantic, as well as those in North America and Europe, for it sends a strong message that no western state is safe from such attacks.

Ignorance of French history in Algeria and other parts of Africa is useful at this time, for it allows one to focus on the gravity of this act without reference to what the French did in that part of the world. An in depth discourse on that subject now might take one’s focus away from last week’s grave act and raise questions of revenge or payback.

It seems safe to say that those who executed this act did not have history or revenge based on historical issues in mind. They apparently had no consciousness of race or the less than equal treatment that is reportedly meted out to Africans in France. Their acts seemed wholly motivated by religion. It was reported that one of them shouted, “We have avenged the Prophet!”

There is a clear message here that speaks of all of us who claim to be of African, or Hebrew, descent. Our historical experience has been so thoroughly destructive of a positive psyche, that we have seemingly come to accept our inferiority and, hence, the inequality that confronts us everywhere. But religion can influence us to do strange things: sometimes weird, sometimes wonderful.

Were this assertion not true, the streets of America and parts of Europe would be running with blood, on account of African revolt. African descended persons have lived with the most outrageous treatment, resorting to useless marches and senseless speeches to combat armed racists officials and citizens.

The red flag that officials in these countries, and Barbados, should look for, is mass conversion to Islam or the influx of persons from Islamic states. The Christian religion has been very effective in brain washing us into accepting our second class status, but Islam seems to bring a different message. There must be something very powerful about this religion when it can induce sane persons to commit the acts associated with its adherents.

I hear members of that faith repeat exhaustively that their religion does not teach violence, yet we see persons committing the most heinous crimes in the name of God and Mohammed. If they are being truthful, this does not make sense. Some greater explanation is needed.

Occasionally, we would hear of a Jim Jones who is able to convince some small group of persons to follow him to their own demise. This in no way equates to the power of Islam to move its believers to act against their community, even to their own detriment.

One reporter said that she asked a French taxi driver of Arab descent what is it that motivates members of his community to be so radicalised that they would take up arms and kill people. He did not apologise for what happened. His response was, “Ask the authorities. Ask the authorities why they treat us unfairly.” Not all of France is mourning.

The greatest enemies of western states may not be foreign countries that challenge capitalism as was previously supposed. That terrible enemy may be the citizenry that answer to a different ideology and march to a different drum.

When one examines terrorist activities, outside of America, there is a clear African descendant connection in some of them. This is true of London and elsewhere. Why this is not the case in America is an involved discussion that would require another few pages. To be short, it has much to do with religion.

We would be sadly mistaken if we were to suppose that this is an issue for others and not us. We have seen the Trinidad experience. We know that there are persons from that country who volunteered to fight with the Islamic State in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. What will happen if they survive and return to Trinidad? What about their peers who did not travel with them?

To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

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