For Christians, Easter Sunday celebrates the day when Christ was resurrected from the dead to bring good to humankind; for Moslems, Jesus was saved by God and taken to Heaven. Before these two main religions, Easter was celebrated as a fertility festival, new life, fresh hope and good for all.
So let us remember this day, whether we are Christians, Moslems, Buddhists or even atheists, as a day of universal values, of respect for life, love for our neighbors, the beginning of a new cycle of agriculture, an opportunity to share and live together as a community and to enjoy another year, full of happiness, respect for Mother Earth, our beautiful home, and its residents, ourselves and our brothers and sisters, the other animals we live with.
Most people share these values, whichever side of the geo-political fence they live on, most people respect the common precepts not to kill, not to steal and to help others in need. Some extremist groups do not, and in these I include all terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram (Nigeria), al-Shabab (Kenya), Islamic State, drug and arms traffickers, human traffickers, child abusers... and also NATO.
Where were these precepts of common good when NATO bombed Libya's water supply, then bombed the factory where the pipes were made so that it could not be repaired? Where were these precepts of common good when NATO bombed Libya's electricity grid "to break their backs"? Where were these precepts when NATO used Depleted Uranium in attacks in Kosovo, Serbia and in Iraq? Where were these precepts when NATO fanned the flames in Ukraine and sparked off a horrific conflict which has claimed the lives of some 6,000 officially (and unofficially maybe over 50,000 according to some sources), has uprooted up to a million people and has destroyed countless families? Where were these precepts when Fascists supporting the Putsch government in Kiev committed massacres, forcing the residents of Donbass to protect themselves?
So let us not play the holier-than-thou card and deride the acts of terrorist groups, which in many cases are the reaction to western actions, let us not exonerate NATO from its crimes, let us not exonerate Israel for strafing schools with white phosphorous or its hypocrisy over Iran's nuclear energy program, when Israel sits on what in the Negev Desert? Let us also not exonerate the terrorist groups from the horror they bring to innocent people.
Among these horrific and cowardly acts was the kidnapping almost one year ago (April 14*) of over 270 girls (some say over 300) from the Chibok Government Secondary School in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram. Around 230 of these girls are still missing, having been forced to convert to Islam, having been forced to marry Boko Haram members or having been sold as working or sexual slaves.
Among these horrific and cowardly acts is the recent massacre of around 150 students in Garissa University, Kenya but among these horrific and cowardly acts are NATO's tactics using drones in a negligent fashion which murders civilians and takes out targets in one and the same breath, NATO's coward-in-the-sky tactics bringing freedom and democracy to complex societies from 30,000 feet, and Israel's massacre of civilians whenever a rocket is fired at a settlement.
They are all terrorist acts, they are all to be condemned equally. Under the common values celebrated at Easter, it is as (un)justifiable to say one act of murder is more justifiable than another as it is to say "my God is better than yours".
The way forward is not armed conflict and therefore why doesn't someone get serious about the trafficking of weaponry? Where did Islamic State get its weapons from, for example? Why did the West callously stand by why Islamic State was forming, why did they invade Iraq and create the conditions for such a movement to exist?
The way forward is development and education over deployment and extremism. With education comes hope, with education comes the freedom to develop, with education comes real freedom and democracy, the choice to decide, the freedom to decide what to do and where to live. This is a globalized world of collective human values, values which represent the same precepts Humankind has respected for thousands of years.
How come just a few spoil the work of the many around the world who spend their time helping others? Let me close with the alleged words of Senator John McCain, who used this column to launch insults against President Putin last year, forgetting the President's popularity rating is close to 90 per cent, namely that making peace with Iran is limiting the ability to bomb it.
I rest my case. May those who try to ruin our lives through instigation to commit, or acts of, wanton violence (and here I differentiate between violence and the right to self-defense) rot in Hell for eternity.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. He is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights.
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