Who is the Enemy Within?

ImageI suppose you can’t blame Boston residents taking to the streets to celebrate the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (the sense of relief that the culprits weren’t white supremacists/anti-govt patriots after all was palpable) what is less than edifying however are the triumphal chants of ‘USA! USA!’ Surely that’s what causes awful scenes of carnage in the first place – nationalism, partisanship, sectarianism – call it what you like, it’s all hatred and a case of ‘well, they started it…’ It doesn’t really matter what it’s done in the name of either, whether it’s national boundaries, ethnic determination, religion – ah yes, religion – that old excuse. Look what’s happening in Burma for example: Buddhism – the ultimate laissez faire religion of choice for those who don’t do guilt – advocating the burning of fellow human beings (Muslims in this case). Vile… especially when spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, can’t actually bring himself to utter a few words of condemnation… However I’m getting sidetracked again with the whole religion thing which I should know by now is just a fig-leaf for human greed, expansionism and subsequent retaliation.

So what’s the answer? As the song says: ‘Imagine no… etc’ or the gospel: ‘Turn the other cheek’ – well maybe when everyone’s had a couple bottles of wine and are in ‘I love you man’ mode, but I’m too much of a realist to believe that’s an option. I have an idea though – just when you start thinking in terms of ‘them’ and ‘us’, or national boundaries or that raising a flag might be a good idea – look at the people you share a country or a nationality with, even people in your own family, do you necessarily feel more connected to them than – say – someone you’ve been communicating with on the other side of the world? It ain’t necessarily so – because there are good people and there are dicks of every nationality and in every walk of life, and it would seem unlikely that all the good people are in your own backyard. That’s why I’m uneasy about the whole independent Scotland thing – at best, I refuse to believe that we can confine all our woes to one side of a land border and live in a Brigadoon-type idyll – and at worst, buy into a ‘them and us’ mentality. Vive la difference!

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