For most people in the UK, who we are and what we think is pretty much pre-written and pre-designed. We are actually quite ignorant of what goes on outside of our little island. This ‘island mentality’ makes us somewhat insular, and yet somewhat easier to manipulate.
Christianity dominates and controls so much, despite the majority of folk having evolved away from religion, and this actually becoming a more realistically secular society. Religion is still forced upon children at school, during ceremonies for marriage, death, and there are members of the Christian church who sit as part of the system that makes the laws and governs us, so it is always lurking. It also doesn’t pay tax!
Most people in the UK have a bloodline that goes back many generations within the UK and so, historically, has had Christianity beaten into it on pain of death at some stage in the very distant past when Christianity, especially the flavour promoted as Catholicism, first invaded the land.
The result of this is that there is a pre-programmed natural bias to thinking that Christianity is ‘ok’ and anything else is ‘weird’. Since Christianity was primarily invented to bring a branch of the Jewish religion into existence to be followed by those outside the Jewish tribe, it has within it a subliminal allegiance to the Jewish faith. Even when there were times that ‘Christians’ hated ‘Jews’ this was as mild as when ‘Catholics’ hated ‘Protestants’.
Ok, looking at Ireland/Northern Ireland ‘mild’ may seem the wrong word to use. However, ‘mild’ is with respect to Islam. Almost embedded into the mind and psyche of the British is a hatred of Islam. Islam is the enemy. We don’t know why, but even though we are mainly tolerant of those Muslims who are settling here in the UK, deep down we know that they are wrong-uns. Their religion is wrong. We don’t know why, we just know it is.
Such is the success of the pre-programming damage that the Christianity virus, and its over-familiar cousin the Jewish faith, has managed to do inside our brains over the generations, we instinctively don’t like Islam. Actually, we mainly don’t understand it. With lack of understanding comes fear. When we fear things we want to destroy them.
Having this mindset makes us collectively easy fodder for believing that Muslims are bad whilst all the others, well the Christians and the Jews, are good. That’s how we automatically believe that Israel isn’t actually doing anything that wrong, and how it’s terrible that Muslims from time to time blow themselves up in parts of Israel or fire unreliable rockets across at it, yet we ignore the fact that Israel kills Palestinians on a daily basis, and recently killed them in their thousands.
Our Christian biased media will present the news to our Christian biased minds and we will instinctively side with the poor misunderstood Jews in Israel and dismiss the awful things they are doing as if they are in some way justified. We don’t know why the way they treat Palestinians or Muslims is justified, we are just hard wired to accept that it must be.
For 99% of the indigenous population of the UK, this will be how they unquestioningly think and react. This is why we don’t object to the outrageous treatment of Palestinians and Muslims by Israel or don’t even bother to take in what’s happening because our hard-wiring tells us it’s ‘boring’ and not of our concern.
However, some of us have managed to see the bigger picture. In my real life I was fortunate enough to spend a few years working directly with Muslims from other countries. First it was the Pashtuns and Persian originating halves of Afghanistan and then it was a general mix of reprobates from Iraq. Although inside the UK, these people were newly here, and brought with them their own hard-wired hatred of Christians and Jews, and natural suspicion of me. Harder for them to understand or even get the concept of, was that I lived outside of any religion. For the most part they assumed that this was a lie I was spinning to hide the fact that I was actually Jewish (I’m not of course, but the concept of having no religion just didn’t compute).
The bottom line of what I learned to appreciate was that even though their homelands were caught up in terrible wars and the ousting of Dictators or searching for evil forces who loved to main and kill, nothing was as horrendous as what was happening to their ‘brothers’ in Palestine. The Arab-Israeli conflict was the core, the centre, the main battle-line, the thing of greatest importance. Yes, it might be awful that a bomb had blown-up your own village, but it was far more awful that a Palestinian had been shot by an Israeli thousands of miles away in a region you knew nothing of beyond what you regularly heard during Friday prayers.
Varying degrees of this overriding concern for that conflict rather than their own conflict affected all of them, the two main tribes of Afghanistan, and the general people of Iraq. I found this mystifying yet fascinating.
On one occasion I spent some time in Jordan. Money talks of course, and so I had a lady translator working within the group I was with, who instinctively hated those of us from the UK/West yet put in an honest day’s work translating from English to Arabic and back again. Some how over the weeks I befriended her, or she allowed me to befriend her, we spoke fairly honestly about our beliefs. She accepted my position outside of religion, but didn’t understand it. She spoke passionately of her Palestinian heritage, although her parents had had to flee with her as a baby when the Jews took their house and the dispossessed family now lived in Jordan. She was a youngish girl, probably early 30s, and, although all I could see was her face, as she was of course mainly covered, she was quite attractive and extremely well educated, witty and articulate.
She would have made a fine wife and mother, but her interest in her career meant she had resisted all efforts by her father to marry her off. To a degree, this meant she understood the idea of being ‘outside’ the norm, and so could, as far as her trust would allow her, appreciate how it was for me as an outsider. I hope this trust helped our conversations.
What struck me was her complete and unforgiving hatred of the Jews and what they had done to her family and her people. Without reservation she told me that she would be content if called to do so to become a martyr by blowing herself up in order to kill Israelis, and were she to eventually marry and have children, she would have nothing but pride if one of her children, her husband, or any relative was called upon to do such a thing.
My position was that both sides had to talk, had to give way, had to calm down, had to make concessions, had to agree to differ, had to live side by side or there would never be peace. Her response was that Israel would never want peace and had always demonstrated their complete disrespect for Arab traditions, culture and lifestyles, and were like locusts stripping the region of an Islamic heritage and re-writing history to be about themselves. The Jews were actively carrying out a slow and visible genocide, whilst the rest of the world just looked away (in her opinion, as a sure sign of capitulation. Why else would we just keep on ignoring it?). The only way to rid yourself of locusts is with an insecticide that wipes them all out before they can wipe you out.
And that was where both sides were completely stuck.
I’m afraid that today, a decade or so after my time with my translator, and with my time with the groups from Afghanistan and Iraq now consigned to history, I am once again living isolated amongst those hard wired to hear only the side of Israel.
Slowly though, because of modern media, especially social media, the actual evidence and real truth is coming out about how Israel bullies its neighbours and is trying to exterminate them. Evidence that cannot be disputed, cannot be hidden from, cannot be spun, and cannot be acceptable.
They must be stopped. But they must be stopped by the West, their ‘Judeo-Christian’ allies. It is us that have to say enough is enough, and we can’t stand by and allow this to happen any more. We have to show that we are not tolerating Israel and that we are not on their ‘side’ despite our religious heritage.
It is time to make it stop, and it is up to us, the outsiders.