Today I have a guest blogger, Mary Elizabeth Fisher. Mary is a theologian, biblical scholar, deep thinker, and promoter of peace and reconciliation among all people. Mary lives in the city of Sydney, and has worked hard to make relationships there with her Muslim neighbours. Mary is greatly appreciated and loved by her community.
Mary has been very concerned about the direction our world seems to be heading in. This blog is the result of some days of thoughtful reflection.
The lack of historical perspective in the world today worries me greatly.
And I am not talking about the Crusades and Islamic Invasions prior to European and Corporate colonial history.
Let me preface this by saying I have no support for or excuse of Terrorist activity.
What I am concerned about is:
1. we look at the ideology and history of Islamic communities
2. we also need to look at Western colonial history over the last 600 years including Corporations colonial history
3. As we look at that history we also need to recognise that the supposed freedom of the colonised Muslim world from the control/influence of Western powers including the USA goes hand in hand with the Western training of military powers within Muslim nations - some of which have used that training for vile purposes.
It also has included the sale of military weapons from the West to Muslim countries that have then used that training to suppress their own people and neighbors.
While the West gained jobs and wealth (as with the sale of 110 billion dollars of armaments to Saudi Arabia by President Trump) internal dissidents and neighbouring countries have been traumatised by such sales.
Make no mistake our hunger for oil and our wealth from arms industry has made us partners in some of the worst oppression in the world.
As we selectively critique those at any level who participate in the horrific drugs trade (including addicts, doctors who prescribe addicting drugs, pharmaceutical companies who provide drugs, the alcohol industry, the cigarette manufacturers, drug runners, drug suppliers of legal and illegal drugs, etcetera, etcetera.) let us not forget the millions who die each year from arms industries that supply Western nations and Russia with wealth through industry creating jobs.
As we in the West celebrate our freedom, relative stability and wealth let us realise how much we benefit through the poverty and pain of others. Manufacturing in the majority world provides us with extremely cheap goods while workers live in poverty and work horrific hours.
Over the last 600 years Western colonial history is a history of glory and acute degradation. It continues today with Corporate colonialism.
And it goes hand in hand with our hunger for oil.
As I look at our Western freedom, stability and wealth, I also consider our critique of corruption in other countries, our disdain for their lack of human rights, the suppression of women across the globe, our polluting of our planet, our militarisation of the world and I confess I believe our greatest problem is hypocrisy.
We have no idea how our comfort and militarisation and training of the world has enabled violent oppression of domestic peoples and neighbouring countries in the areas of the Muslim world.
Look at a map of the Muslim world and name the nations and you will see very few if any nations where the shadow of Western enabling has not facilitated totalitarianism, oppression, and violence. It may come from inhumane ideology of fundamentalist Islam but we have help grow it.
Why am I writing about this?
Because I am weary of how we accuse to exclude.
There is no innocent nation. Let the nation without sin "throw the first stone".
The Gospel of the Kingdom calls us to rejoice that we know the Creator is enacting New Creation through the entire narrative of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit.
But the Gospel also enables us to acknowledge the radical brokenness of our world, a brokenness in which we all participate.
And that causes me to lament.
As we recognise the destructiveness of terrorism let us understand and acknowledge we have much that benefits us at the cost of others.
And so I seek to make the Gospel known and say:
Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy.
And Creator of the world during this season of fasting in the Islamic world may your compassion and mercy particularly be manifest to the world of Islam.
Mary Elizabeth Fisher, 10 June 2017