Saturday, 25 July 2015

Kill Those Who Insult God

I recently wrote a piece where I asserted that organised and institutionalised religion insults God (or the idea or accepted definition of God), rather than uphold what God stands for. I had one very angry email questioning my opinion - with the usual fire-breathing, as in - "Religion follows the word of God, how dare you, etc." 

You might want to read that before you read this. Click here before you go ahead.

This was my reply...

Consider for a moment all the other things I said. I didn't single out a particular faith - I didn't single out a race, a creed, or any of the labels we humans place upon what we consider an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-controlling, all-determining entity, and the final word in everything that happens.

Consider for a minute that there is a grand plan, one whose purpose or meaning we mere humans cannot fathom or understand in the slightest. Consider that "it is written, so it shall come to pass". It then follows that those 130-140 children had it coming. It's all a part of some plan, isn't it? Why then do we lament? Why then are we outraged? Why were my wife, son, daughter and I holding back tears watching the events unfolding on our TV screens? 

Therein lies the insult.

A good deed is not a good deed if it is bandied about. I give churches, temples, gurudwaras, synagogues no credit for being good - after all that was supposed to be their raison d’ĂȘtre anyway, isn't it? That's not news. News is when they do what they're not made for. News is when they become hotbeds and incubators for the madness we see around us. 

Therein lies the insult.

People who did this are not irreligious. Far from it. They're actually deeply pious and believe they are carrying out the will of God. They seek - and find - justification for their actions within scripture - let's not hide from that. Men with a purpose and belief so strong that they are willing to blow themselves and others up. Are they interpreting their faith wrongly? What is it about any centralised and organised religion that even permits such interpretations? Shouldn't religion and religious instruction be infallible? I think you'll find that is it not.

Therein lies the insult.

You would think that the answer lies in education and spreading hope. I would too. So did a little girl called Malala. We all know how that turned out. As a reader pointed out, and I couldn't have put it better myself, "...parents who teach their kids that their religion is the only 'true' religion and their god is a 'jealous' god who will whip them in hell if they are consider other forms of spirituality or worship are EQUALLY responsible for such terrorist activities. Terrorists cannot thrive on their own. They need support, funding and apologists! You will see in every religion, apologists defending acts of violence by blaming everything on the rival country/ religion...". If you're good only because you fear punishment or expect a reward, then you aren't really a nice person, are you? You're just doing what you gotta do. Not because you want to, but because you have to.

Therein lies the insult.

And yes, it IS easy to sit behind a computer and type away. It's also easy to post a meme, like a picture and share a graphic 'condemning' the actions of the so-called 'minority'. Well, it is this minority that calls the shots; it is this minority that frames the debate; it is this minority that shouts the loudest. And what does the silent majority do? Sit back and cushion it. Are there any movements to speak out, excommunicate, condemn, protest en masse in the streets against those that MUST be deemed heretics? Have ANY of these terrorists been labelled heretics? No. Silence implies consent. Silence implies an unwillingness to act. It implies sanction.

Therein lies the insult.

I'm not your average keyboard warrior though: Have you, or anyone else following this thread seen hacked-off limbs in the streets of Kabul? Market places in Amritsar strewn with bodies of men, women and children? Charred remains of a young Sikh boy with a still smouldering tyre around his neck in Shimla? I think not. I have. I lost friends in Punjab during the late 80s, I lost friends in 1984, I lost childhood friends in Kabul, I have friends who lost family in the Troubles... all this, because someone, somewhere was convinced that that was what God wanted. This is a failure of institutionalised religion whichever way you look at it. 

Therein lies the insult.

Organised and institutionalised religion primary concerns itself with the "bigger" questions that face our society... whether you trim or dye your beard or not, whether you cover your head or not, whether you have less than two children or not, whether you drink or smoke or not, whether you pee standing up or sitting down, whether you cover your face in case it makes men lose control over their crazed libido or not, whether you kill an animal in one quick stroke or prolong its agony in a ceremonial decapitation, whether you go to your place of worship wearing long flowing robes or a tutu, whether you marry someone who professes the same mockery of God as you do or not.

Therein lies the insult.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Mind The Gap - Between Their Ears

Dear Tube Workers, 

You work for a transport system for one of the largest, most dynamic and international cities in the world - the only one that does NOT have a 24-hour service. 

Your drivers - that need the basic skills of a 14 year-old player of Grand Theft Auto - are under this misguided impression that they're civil servants in white shirts and red ties working 9-5 in an office. They're not. You are merely required to have spent less time in formal education than the average 6th former. They're train drivers. They push a button and operate a joystick. I know this because I spent 6 hours in a cabin with a train driver. He thought the capital of the USA was New York. We spent most of the time eating pizza, talking about Game of Thrones and number of women he has slept with.

What you earn in wages puts you among the 5% of top earners in the country- far more than firefighters, members of Parliament, most small business owners - who put in 60-70 hours a week at work, care workers, nurses, doctors, firefighters, police personnel and people fighting in the armed forces. You drive a train. On tracks. You don't even have to steer the goddamned things. Some of you show up drunk to the point where a little shit like me could lose my bloody licence.

London DEMANDS a 24-hour transport system. London NEEDS a 24-hour transport system. You work for London Underground. London Underground wants to offer the best possible service for its customers;  you know, those poor sods that PAY YOUR livelihood? Yeah, those customers. Some of them need to get to work at odd hours, so you know, they can afford to pay YOUR wages. Amazing how you want to bite the hand that feeds you.

The world changes, job specs change, and normal people adapt. Most people adapt - you know ones that wipe bottoms and bathe people, ones that befriend and read to people they know will be dead in two weeks time, people that care for feral kids they can't discipline, ones that will jump into a burning building because lives are at stake, ones that have to walk around wearing bullet-proof vests because they're the only ones that aren't armed while their adversaries definitely are, ones that can't call a spade a spade because it's un-PC. You have no idea how sweet you have it. 

We're one of few cities in the world that rely on people to run something a robot can do. My already outdated smartphone has more computing power than 10 of you put together. All you're doing is building the case for automation. Yep that's right, a computer can do what you do, far more efficiently and with zero tantrums.

For that, I thank you. You might want to start looking for proper jobs now.

While I'm no fan of swear words, this needs to be posted and shared...

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Dear Sadiq Khan, Sikhs Aren't Stupid

Sadiq Khan is Labour's candidate for Mayor of London, and hopes to replace the colourful Boris Johnson, who is now the MP for Uxbridge. The same Boris Johnson, whose wife is half Sikh...

He has just released a video on Facebook (see below) outlining why Sikhs in London should vote for him.

Frankly, his three pledges are pure political punditry and opportunism. I cringed at his "Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh". Not one of his pledges helps the Sikh community forward. Sikhs happen to be among the most successful ethnic groups in the United Kingdom - and it was not because of silly sops like he's offering.

1. Vaisakhi in Trafalgar Square: Really? That's an issue? Get lost. We do Vaisakhi and we do it great. Anywhere.

2. Crimes against Sikhs wrongly recorded: Vacuous statement, nothing but hot air. No mention of Oxford & Reading, no mention of grooming gangs, no mention of forced conversions, no mention of radicalisation and marginalisation, no mention of business rates relief (Sikhs have the highest proportion of business owners from any ethnic group).

3. WW1 & WW2 War Memorial: Mian Sadiq Khan hasn't been following the news. We have several war memorials dotted around the UK. Followers of this blog must have seen the links I posted to the unveiling of the statue of World War 2 hero Maninder Singh Pujji some time last year. And then of course, there is the new bronze statue at the Sikh Heritage Museum in Derby...

These aren't issues Sikhs care a big deal about. Here are just two...

1. The UK government's stance on anti Sikh riots in 1984: Just as the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre nearly a century ago, this will remain forever etched into the Sikh psyche. I lauded David Cameron's apology for 1919, but more needs to be done. There are families awaiting justice and there are perpetrators still at large. It's now been over 30 years. Justice delayed is justice denied. If Britain has ANY clout, it should use it. Oh give us the politician who has the balls to say it out loud.

2. Predatory and sexual grooming of young girls: Labour hid this for decades. Rotherham is probably the most shameful example of their callous hypocrisy. And they're STILL not repentant. The best thing this joker can come up with is, "Oh we'll make sure we'll record it properly if someone faces racism by being mistaken for a Muslim." A few isolated cases does not a policy make. Don't pander to us. Maybe try and look after the Ahmadiyya Muslims in your constituency, who have a harder time from other Muslims than the EDL/BNP/BF types.

My three pledges to London's Sikh community
Register to vote to pick Labour's Mayoral candidate by signing up as a Labour supporter.Text LABOUR to 78555. Texts cost £3 - all of this money goes to the Labour Party. Once you text, someone from the Labour Party will get in touch to take your details.
Posted by Sadiq Khan on Sunday, 28 June 2015