Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Peshawar Martyrs

Sunday morning, Mass was just ending at All Saints Church in Peshawar -- of Anglican origin, and now a parish of the [Anglican/Methodist] Church of Pakistan.  The six hundred or so people there were leaving, as people do after worship.  Many were headed for the yard, where free food was to be distributed.

That's when the suicide bombers struck.

At last report (Times, BBC), 75 were dead and at least a hundred more were wounded.  More than half were women and children.  The Taliban has unembarrassedly accepted responsibility.

Look.  We realize that this was, in all likelihood, an effort to sabotage the government's efforts to make peace with these bloodthirsty sons of bitches the Taliban.  We realize that peace is objectively a good thing, to be pursued even in the face of terrible provocation.  We realize that the attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan do not represent an authentic form of Islam.  We are especially grateful for Prime Minister Sharif's clear statement that:
 “The terrorists have no religion, and targeting innocent people is against the teachings of Islam and all religions.” ...
At this point, it is hardly news that this sort of murderous violence is to Islam as protecting child molesters is to Christianity -- a vile perversion of the faith which has nonetheless taken root among some of its loudest exponents.

We are also grateful that
[t]he Pakistan Ulema Council, the largest clerical body, also condemned the blast, saying that the council was “standing with our Christian brothers in this tragedy.”
But still.  Add this to the al Qaeda-inspired horror in Nairobi, and it is very difficult, sometimes, to keep from giving them what they want -- to fall back into the medieval mindset, so inflamed by irrational religious hatred that it can be easily manipulated in the interests of geopolitics.

(The bombers had the gall to claim that they murdered their countrymen -- and women -- in retaliation for American drone strikes.  Please note the rhetorical sleight of hand  They want to imagine that our distinctly secular and pluralistic nation is somehow "Christian", so that all Christians are magically "American," and therefore legitimate targets.)

It is is difficult to keep from falling into their trap, and hating their (supposed) religion rather than merely hating them for themselves, but we will.  Maybe, when we cool down, we will even find a way to stop hating them at all.

No comments: