US Murders 40+ Iraqis

Iraqis love the occupation?

US warplanes and helicopters bombed two villages near the Iraq city of Ramadi, killing an estimated 70 militants, the military said today. But witnesses said at least 39 were civilians.
(Source: The Independent)

This didn’t even make any of the TV news headlines today. And it was quite far down on the Independent and Guardian websites. On the BBC website it was reported as “US strikes kill ’70 Iraq rebels’ . ” No ambiguity there, all the people killed were rebels – they must have been since that’s what the US military says. And we have to trust the word of liars, murderers and torturers, don’t we?

Apparently, a crowd had gathered around a wrecked US vehicle, so the US military, that great protector of peace and liberty decided to murder them. After all they were all terrorists, they were wearing big signs saying “I AM A TERRORIST!” that the killers could read even from a high altitude.

But several witnesses and one local leader said the people were civilians who had gathered to gawk at the wreckage of the US vehicle or pick pieces off of it — as often occurs after an American vehicle is hit. The airstrike hit the crowd, killing 25 civilians, said Chiad Saad, a tribal leader, and several witnesses who refused to give their names to protect their security.
(Source: The Independent)

Another wonderful implementation of The American Dream in Iraq. Well done, US military, more Iraqis successfully liberated from the tyranny of being alive.

And well done our mass media. Apparently Iraqi life is now so cheap that the slaughter of 40+ civilians doesn’t even warrant a mention on our news. But imagine if an Al Quaeda bomb had killed 40 Western civilians… what kind of coverage would that have got?

It’s an obvious facet of our media: Iraqi lives don’t matter, only Western lives do.

An Associated Press stringer later saw the 14 bodies and the damaged building. He said residents, many of them crying, removed the bodies from the scene and buried them, some wrapped in white cloth, others in wooden coffins. One of the bodies was that of a boy who appeared to be between the ages of 10 and 15, the stringer said.
(Source: The Independent)

Please read the full article, linked above, for the full story, if your blood pressure can take it.

National Secular Society

Secular Society

We need a secular constitution that will:

* End the privileged input of religious bodies to policy making and law-making

* Keep all public services free from religious control so that that they remain equally available to all on the same terms

* Abolish the established church and all its privileges (including 26 bishops in the House of Lords)

* Put an end to the divisiveness of publicly funded religious schools by making them open to all without discrimination on grounds of religion, or lack of it, and bringing them under local authority control

* Abolish blasphemy and similar repressive laws, rather than extend them
(Source: National Secular Society)

Now here’s a club worth joining!

Racist Leftists & Religion

It was the decision of broad-minded politicians in Ottawa to allow Sharia courts in Canada which did it for her. They said if they were not established, the Muslim minority would be marginalised and to say otherwise was racism pure and simple.

After years of hearing this postmodern twaddle, Namazie flipped. Why was it, she asked, that supposed liberals always give ‘precedence to cultural and religious norms, however reactionary, over the human being and her rights’? Why was it that they always pretended that other cultures were sealed boxes without conflicts of their own and took ‘the most reactionary segment of that community’ as representative of the belief and culture of the whole.
(Source: The Observer)

There are plenty of lefties who make fun of Christian Republicans and their anti-gay, anti-women, anti-science, anti-life warmongering. But when it comes to the extremes of other religions, rational critics often fall silent.

Maybe it’s partly because it’s always easier to criticise something that’s from or close to you your own culture. The critic shares points of reference with the criticised, there’s plenty of meat from which to carve acidic satires or outraged polemics.

Maybe it’s a fear of being perceived as racist. After all, it’s not going to raise any eyebrows if you say, “Those Yank bible-bashers are all nutters!” But if you said, “Those Muslim fundamentalists need to stop burning books and start reading them,” in lefty circles, people would start edging away.

Partly, this is justified. Very often racists like the BNP, UKIP and Conservative Party do couch their xenophobia in platitudes about Englishness and tirades about the religions followed by “ethnics.” So lefty critics of religion want to distance themselves from these bigots.


The danger is in bending the stick too far the other way, becoming racist leftists in that we run scared from criticism of other cultures’ injustices.

I’m an atheist. More than that, I’m a radical, materialist, proselytising atheist. That means that not only am I opposed to Christianity as an irrational pile of poop, I’m also against Hinduism, Buddhism, paganism, Judaism, Scientology, spiritualism, astrology and, of course, Islam. (I’m obviously not anti-religious people. Some of my best friends are believers, honest guv! Love the believer, abhor the belief, I say.)

I don’t believe the stories about Jesus, Thor, Isis, Satan, Apollo, Vishnu, Allah, Buddha, Spiderman or The Great Pumpkin. They’re all lovely stories, and I appreciate the wit and wisdom of the writers but are they true? No. They’re mostly stories written by men to help shape their societies and keep the majority of ordinary people, especially women, oppressed. Apart from Spiderman, of course, that’s very egalitarian.

Would you want to live in a country under Scientological Law? Or Odin’s Law? Does either proposition sound like a reasonable way to frame a civilised country’s legal and social system? No? So why does it make sense to run a country according to Christian or Muslim myths? They’re no less ridiculous, random and invented.

Let’s me spell this out: the problem isn’t with fundamentalist Islam or right-wing US Christians or huge churches run by ex-Hitler Youth members.

It’s with religion itself

Enshrining irrationality at the heart of our societies, validating myths and letting them define our human rights is an act of supreme idiocy. We all have the right to live, to love and pursue our dreams and no-one should be able to deprive us of those rights by waving a crumbling sheaf of lies in our faces.

This is the result when that happens:

When an Iranian judge hanged a 16-year-old girl for having sex outside marriage – I mean literally hanged her; he put the noose round her neck himself – Namazie organised global protests.

Her best rhetorical weapon is her description of the obsessiveness of theocracy. The law in Iran not only allows women to be stoned, she says, but it specifies the size of the stones to be used; they mustn’t be too small in case it takes too long to kill her and the mob gets bored; but mustn’t be too big either, in case she is dispatched immediately and the mob is denied the sado-sexual pleasure of seeing her suffer.
(Source: The Observer)

And for those who think, “Oh, that’s just Islam, Christianity is sooo much more modern and caring.” :

The whispers started in April in the mind of the 23-year-old nun.

In the heart of an Orthodox convent in Romania’s impoverished northeast, doctors say, Maricica Irina Cornici believed she heard the devil talking to her, telling her she was sinful.

She was treated for schizophrenia, but when she relapsed, a monk and four nuns tried a different method: exorcism.

Last week, Cornici was bound to a cross, gagged with a towel and left in a dank room at the convent for three days without food where she died of suffocation and dehydration.
(Source: CBS)

That news story is from June 2005. That’s what happens when people believe 2000-year-old superstitions to be literal truth.

Look at the Muslim terrorist attacks on Britain and America. Look at the God-steered response by Bush. That’s what happens when old men hear their gods whispering in their ears.

If religion had its way, we’d all still be cowering in caves, blinking fearfully at the ghosts and goblins in the darkness.

We need to step forward into the light of reason, to embrace the hard truths of our mortality and unimportance rather than the comforting bedtime stories about gods and everlasting life.

That means we must oppose the irrational whoever promotes it and whatever colour their skin happens to be.