Flavin's Corner
4-2-99

Easter Basket-Case

"'History,' Stephen said, 'is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.'"
James Joyce, Ulysses

     Continuing my annual Good Friday tradition, this afternoon I'll crucify
myself with Rusty Nails (Drambuie and scotch), descend with a hangover into
Hell on Saturday, and try to resurrect myself Sunday morning.  I'm sure I'll be a
basket-case this Easter, as I am on most holidays, because for the last several
years I've found it difficult to let go, relax, and have fun.  So much to do...  So
much to worry about...

     The ongoing slaughter of Balkan Muslims (the euphemistic "ethnic
Albanians" in Kosovo) by the Serbian Christians, and the bombing efforts of
NATO, is the "worry" of the moment.  I'm not so much concerned with
NATO's action (which I fully support), as much as the inaction by Muslim
countries.  I'm confused when I think of OPEC nations getting richer by the
day, yet not spending a dime to help their spiritual cousins.  The terrorist
organization headed by Osama bin Laden, as well as his punk hosts, the
Taliban, regularly decry America and the West, but don't seem concerned with
the atrocities being committed in the Balkans.  Iran, Iraq, and Libya, for all
their posturing about Muslim justice, aren't doing anything (though there are
reports that Iran is providing some cash).  All the Muslim countries from
Africa across to the Pacific are ignoring the mass-killings of fellow Muslims in
Kosovo.  Sure, it's good that NATO is doing something, but it's going to be
even more difficult than it has been when dealing with Muslims from now on.
Not only do they have bad attitudes, but they seem to be selfish and willing to
sacrifice their own, rather than ...help.

     I guess that's always been one of my biggest global fears--that certain
groups of people would turn away from belonging to some greater whole.
Growing up during the latter two-thirds of the Cold War actually wasn't very
stressful on me.  I never believed the atheist Soviets or China would do
anything stupid, as both countries have national pride and, to a certain degree,
care about their people.  I was, and still am, frightened of smaller countries
with religious agendas.

     Ethnic and religious hatred usually festers on a local level, as for example in
Rwanda and the situation of the Kurds on the border of Turkey and Iraq, but
may also be found outside of the pubs in Northern Ireland, as well as here in
the United States with the sick increase in various hate-crimes.  I really find no
difference between the clashes of Hindus and Muslims in India and Sri Lanka,
and America's violence against queers, the hypocritical guilty verdict against
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and the continued bombing of abortion clinics.  One group
says they possess the truth and attacks another group which holds a different
truth.  Is that religion?  Death to difference?  I'll take science, thank you...

     I wonder how Yugoslav President (read: ex-communist, tyrant and
mass-murderer) Slobodan Milosevic will celebrate Easter.  Maybe he'll join his
family for a traditional Serbian Orthodox Easter Mass, try not to fall asleep
while the priest talks about Jesus, and afterwards return home to a nice lamb
dinner.  As much as I admire Jimmy Carter, when I think of monsters like
Milosevic, I really wish Jimmy wouldn't have outlawed political assassination
during his presidency.  Instead of all these bombs, just send over a CIA agent
for some wet-work.  I know, it's not very Christian of me to wish for the death
of another human being, but this is not a perfect world and I'm not even
standing outside of the building where someone inside is holding an index card
with a description of what it means to be perfect.  In fact, I'm nowhere near
the building...  I'm at home, in front of the computer, wishing Milosevic was
dead.

     George Santayana was correct to warn: "Those who can't remember the
past are condemned to repeat it."  Milosevic first came to prominence as
president of the League of Communists in the early 1980's Soviet-controlled
Yugoslavia.  His "nationalist" agenda, from the beginning, was based on
revenge for the 700,000 dead Serbs in WWII  and a proposed "ethnic
cleansing" of his homeland, i.e. the killing of Balkan Muslims.  Towards that
end, Milosevic initiated the horrible war in Croatia and Bosnia, and now
continues his "master plan" in Kosovo.  Somewhere, somehow, added to
centuries of tension between Muslims and Christians in the Balkans, it became
part of Serbia's national propaganda that Muslims (and Catholics) were
responsible for the Nazi-allied fascist Ustashi slaughter of Serbians during the
Second World War.  This is the first I've heard about Balkan Muslims being
Nazi and fascist collaborators--I've always thought that the Nazis and fascists
killed the Balkan Muslims as well. [Note: for the Serbian Orthodox Church
version of history, click  here.  For Amnesty International's take click  here. ]

     So, the killing of "ethnic Albanians" in Kosovo is, in some way, revenge for
the fascists of WWII.  And, with Milosevic's communist background and the
well-known hatred communists hold for Nazis and their sympathizers, the
"ethnic cleansing" might be seen as some odd, political backlash, albeit 55
years later.  But, in all likelihood, it's just comes down to religion...  Christians
killing Muslims...  That's not right.

     The Jewish scriptures, partially based on common Mesopotamian and Near
Eastern law, instructed all not to kill.  Unknown early Christian "gospel"
authors scripted Jesus to have advised all to turn the other cheek.  ...We are
such violent animals.  Well-dressed animals, to be sure, and capable of
imagining that GOD somehow backs our selfish, spiteful, controlling ways.
Such an evil deception--to believe GOD backs hatred and death.

     So, this Easter, with death in Kosovo and too many other places in the
world, I turn close and look in the faces and hearts of those around me.  Do
you hate people whose skins are a different color?  Would you jail or harm
people who have different sexual or personal practices than you?  How can
you respect yourself, if you don't grant someone else the right to die, manage
their body, or steer their own future?  What books are you reading?  Who are
YOU fighting for?

     If only there was an Easter Bunny...  If only Jesus did come back from the
dead...  Can you say metaphor?

hopping along now,
Rick

Return to Main