By Patrick Dele Cole
ISLAM has once changed, tolerating and teaching non moslems: mathematics, physics, astronomy, geometry, music, art – these influences smoothen the rougher edges of any religion.
It would seem that Islamic fundamentalism was a revival of aspects of Islam – but that revival should not send us back to darkness. Fundamental Christian evangelism is in some respects a fear that the essence of that religion needs protection and reinvigoration. But it cannot and must not advocate violence and death as part of the revivalist dogma.
Women drive cars in Saudi Arabia instead of milking camels as before; there are cinemas, the digital technological age has arrived in the world and would change it beyond recognition: if only we can find leaders like Mandela, Nujoma, Lee Kwan Yu, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, De Galle, Clement Richard Attlee, Helmut Smut, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, Pope John XXIII; Yitzhak Rabin to begin and sustain the discourse and dialogue for peaceful coexistence.
There must be a host of great diplomats in the United States: diplomats like General Marshall, Richard Holbrooke, Foster Dulles, Dean Acheson, Senator John Mitchell; other statesmen in other countries like Konrad Hermann Joseph Adenauer, Pierre Trudeau, Helmut Josef Michael Kohl, Chou En Lai, and Jacques René Chirac, etc. France would have other statesmen, so would Italy and Germany, Scandinavia, statesmen who are joined in one belief: that peace is possible, that human right is precisely what it means, not some ideology that the West has weaponised to conquer the world.
Freedom does not exclude religiosity but it does set standards of behaviour for all humanity and an injunction not to judge or destroy another human being without just cause. A small group should be set up for example to intervene between India and Pakistan over Kashmir whose conflict has lasted since 1948; Burma must accept that the Rohingyas are not slaughter mules, etc. The small group of leaders should begin the dialogue between faiths and tribal violence, nudging the world towards peace and tolerance. The Federation of Malaysia was broken into Malaysia (Malays) and Singapore (Chinese) peaceably; Trudeau was able to prevent the breakup of Canada; Helman Smut and others organised the unification of Germany. Mandela and his rainbow coalition saved South Africa from racial war.
The recent incidents of attack on churches, Mosque, Synagogues should be an opportunity for real world leaders to step out and do something. The Christian leaders should preach not only to themselves but to other major religions on the theme of peace, love and understanding. The Islamic leaders must carry the burden of speaking to themselves on peace and co-existence. There is little or no contact between the big faiths – it is not enough to say that the attacks are from a fringe minority or a radicalised few. They are a threat to world peace.
President Trump worsens matters by proclaiming a ban on Moslems from certain countries to enter the United States. The matter is more serious: those burning the black churches and synagogues are not Moslems. Instead the world is faced with a real possibility of war as President Putin and President Trump continue their sabre rattling.
Putin threatens peace in Crimea and Ukraine, and China’s President Xi Jinping in South East Asia and President Trump in Iran, Venezuela, and everywhere else in the world by weakening established peaceful institutions – the Paris Climate Agreement, the UN itself, his vituperations against NATO, his hostile attitude to all non-White countries – “shit hole countries” as he calls them, support for Saudi Arabia, thus increasing tension in the Middle East, his antipathy to Venezuela and Cuba, etc., his stoppage of aid to Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
When Saudi Arabia butchered the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, Trump refused to condemn the killing and defended himself by claiming that if he did oil prices would rise to US $150 per barrel which would damage the world economy, and the US would lose US $450 billion in arms sale. But Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves and if invested it could produce as much oil as Saudi Arabia.
A prosperous Venezuela would spread economic development in Latin America and stem the problems in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala in much the same way as Saudi Arabia’s money is the catalyst for progress in the Middle East (some would argue that Saudi’s money had been used to foment trouble in the Middle East and war in Gaza, Lebanon, Yemen).
The attitude of the US in Venezuela is based on geopolitical interest known in the US as the Monroe Doctrine (1823): namely, no other world power should have an interest in the Americas. Venezuela and Cuba are left leaning governments – that is socialists and are beholden to Russia and China. Thus, they should not be in the Americas.