When one examines the bellicose history of the Middle East, all of the tragedy,bloodshed, complete disregard for life, crimes committed in God’s name, the nationalism, the subterfuge, resistance, denial, aggression, lies, intolerance, resentment, redundant revenge, hate, hypocrisy, sinister agendas, entitlements assumed and denied, promises made then broken, goodwill extended then retracted; in this wondrous land of false hope and dashed dreams, only one conclusion appears logical to me… this purported “heart” of civilization, possesses neither civility nor a heart. It’s simply Hell on earth.
Inhabited by criminals, assassins, crooks, miscreants and unfortunately a majority of well-meaning souls force to live in fear, whose primary character flaw is sharing the overriding, deep certainty that they and only they are right…a mere imperfection many humans possess, but in this region, one that’s potentially deadly.
Put aside your biases for just a moment. Try not to take a side. Forget all of the reasons for the millenarian confrontation, conquest, crises and crimes against humanity. Just take a look at what’s there. It’s paradise lost…uncommon natural beauty and centuries of stories, objects and mysteries that exhibit the best and worst things about humanity, ravaged by ceaseless socio-political whack-a-mole by myopic, self-righteous, ideologues not content to limit the death and damage simply to those among them.
Poor, foolish, opportunistic America is tied, perhaps inextricably, along with scores of nations on all sides to this regional pissing contest, ultimately, it appears, to the potential demise of the entire planet.
In the documentary “Protagonist,” Jessica Yu follows four social outcasts: a German terrorist, a bank robber, an “ex-gay” evangelist and a martial arts student, weaving first-person accounts of human life with Euripidean dramatic structure. All of the stories are compelling. Two of the men spent time in jail. All experienced conversion. The terrorist is most germane to this post.
Hans-Joachim Klein , once an associate of Carlos the Jackal, explains what led him to terrorism, what motivated him once he became passionate and what made him realize that he’d lost himself somewhere along the way. Klein was propelled by political and social opposition, not due to religious or cultural fervor. Granted, his case is far different from many of the ideologues who today make the Middle East so deplorable. Still, similarities exist. Hearing Klein explain his awakening, change process and resolution makes me think that many of the “bad actors” in the Middle East are likewise so caught up in their creeds, the region’s histroy and the surrounding confusion that they are, profoundly out of touch with themselves, as was Klein. It’s this fundamental spiritual dissonance that distorts their realities to the extent that they can see nothing but revenge, hate, retaliation and violence. At one point, Klein says he was “blind” to the impact of his actions. Ideology does that. Certainty creates no tolerance for opposition, regardless of intent. And these locked-in, fanatical views will never be removed. Such change can come only from within. Until western nations and other regional interlopers realize this, the carnage will continue, because it’s enacted in God’s name and blind ideology demands it. After all, with God, all is possible, right?