Myths in the cobweb of arrogance
One such myth is that of the knights or warriors who upheld the moral code of chivalry in the western tradition of manhood. Behind the mask of bravery hid some of the most wicked barbarians who responded to might and their guts most willingly. Little wonder why Don Quixote is measured by his incumbent stupidity.
The title, Sir, can be traced back to the institution of knighthood. It indicates that the bearer of this revered title commands respect and is duly honored by the people around him for the values it represents.
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, pirates enjoyed royal patronage. Francis Drake, or the renowned Sir Francis Drake, according to history, was much admired by the queen for his exploits on the high seas. He had returned home on his ship, the Golden Hind, loaded with gold plundered from the Spaniards, in one of his many such exploits.
Queen Elizabeth had invested in that bold adventure and was anxious to see with her own eyes what had been crammed inside the Golden Hind. She made her way to the roughly built port of that time. When Francis Drake saw his noble queen braving the soft shore, he took off his red velvety cloak, spread it on the slush and her royal majesty, aware of the sacrifice he was making, stepped on the red velvet that had been spread in her honor. The courteous gentleman with a bow extended his hand to the royalty who held it most willingly to be hoisted on board. She gloated with great admiration and within a few winks of time transformed one of the most notorious pirates by touching him on the shoulders with his sword and bestowing on him the distinguished title of nobility: 'Sir'. History likewise conceals many doubtful characters of the same hue.
The myth of the promised land is another such tale. Moshe Dayan, the one-eyed general said on August 30, 1967, that those who have the Bible and are people of the Bible should have and posses all Biblical lands. Baruch Goldstein massacred 24 Arabs praying at the tomb of the Patriarch on Feb. 25, 1994, "by order of God". The praying Arabs were defiling the promised land: Samaria, Judea and the present-day region of Cisjordania. It would have been better if he also knew what President Jefferson who drafted the US constitution considered the Bible to represent and to be.
The theological myths of the "people of Israel" is that they left Palestine for Egypt because of a famine at home and after an exile of 400 years returned and conquered the land which had been promised. All contemporary exegetes (skilled in explanation of texts) believe this schema is mostly fictitious.
In the 12th or 11th century BC, the semi-nomadic tribes settled in central Palestine tracing their origins to Abraham for recognition. They had oracles who consulted god EL for divine protection when the tribes moved in and out of any land. Their aim was neither military nor political but 'sedentarization' (settling) within a limited territory to find feed for their herds. The originally promised land was not granted by Yahweh (the god who had entered Palestine with the 'Exodus group') but by the Canaanite local god EL.
There is indeed no evidence to support the idea that God revealed himself to the historical figure Abraham to confer upon him the legal deeds of possession to the land of Canaan. There is no land-act signed 'God' to show claims to the promised land.
The myth of the promised land can be considered against the backdrop of how history was manipulated by those who dwelt on the anti-Christ theory. Those who took part in the First Crusade were incited by the Vatican. Driven by their hatred of the Muslims they turned the cross into a sword and massacred the local inhabitants. The Jews have never accepted Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah, whereas the Muslims look upon Jesus as 'Ruhullah' -- The spirit of God.
Jews who were responsible for the tribulations of Christ labeled him with licentious slanders. The Muslims and Christians both endorse his divine birth. Why should Muslims be branded with a mythical slogan of being anti-Christ? The Vatican bears much responsibility for the post-eventum legitimization of the Israelites' conquest of Palestine at the time of David and the events taking place at present in Palestine.
The broadening into a 'national' promise must have taken place before the first patriarchal tales were set in writing. The Vatican perhaps had reasons both to kill and glorify Jews. They hated the Jews for slandering Christ and Muslims for challenging the Christian empire under the Vatican. The Yahvists' insistence on countless descendants like the stars in the sky, never materialized. At present, there are little more than 13 million Jews in the entire world. The Muslim population is well over 1.5 billion. The Christian population is even more.
The myth of the 'Chosen people' can be understood in light of what Joshua did in his days. He, according to the order of God, slaughtered all, "smote all the souls with the edge of his sword" when he invaded Eglon. Menachem Begin and his Irgun troops massacred 254 inhabitants of the village of Deir Yassin on April 9, 1948. The story of David's fight against Goliath is interesting, because he hit Goliath with a stone hurled from a sling. Isaac Rabin ordered troops to "break the bones" of the children of Palestine, who have used stones in the two Intifadas against the Israeli army. They have used the stone and the sling the same way David used against the oppressors of his time.
The myth of the invincibility of the Israeli army has been shattered. First, in Lebanon when their pride was shattered by Hezbollah, a force, that continued to rain rockets into Israel even on the last day of the 2006 war imposed on Lebanon. Now again, the Palestinians have withstood the ferocious Israeli onslaught on Gaza for more than three weeks. The Israeli army had moved Joshua-style not knowing that today we are in the 21st century, where claims of Zionist totalitarianism kept up by seminars of hate cannot endorse the claim of Yigal Amir: "The order to kill comes from God".
The concept of the 'veto' originated with the Roman consuls and tribunes. Two consuls could block each others' military decisions and the tribune could block legislation passed by the Roman senate.
Parliamentary republics in Europe allow some limited presidential veto on legislation. Why should the UN Security Council members be allowed to exercise their veto rights unilaterally? Is it not that all those who wield this power are also the ones who have stockpiled weapons of mass destruction? Is there any moral justification behind it? Does the veto right not weaken the United Nations as a body that was originally established to promote peace in the world and protect the weak against the strong?
Very surprisingly again the word 'veto' which means 'I forbid', does not appear in the United Stated constitution. US presidents sometimes use a formal device called a pocket veto. It involves a delay procedure which comes close to the sinking of the bill in question. In 1996, the congress approved the Line-item Veto act, signed by former president Bill Clinton. Soon it was challenged by members of the Congress and in 1998 the court declared that the Line-item Veto was unconstitutional on legislative grounds.
A single legislator could not be accepted in a democratic country. Again, in 2006, Senator Bill Frist introduced the legislative Line-act of 2006 in the US Senate, but the Senate never considered it, and it expired and never became law. It is difficult to understand why the US is so fond of using its veto power so aggressively in a world body that is represented by over 200 world countries, and specifically, in favor of one country that carries out aggression against defenseless children and woman?
Why did the US that champions human rights tacitly accept the 18-month blockade of Gaza that continues to deprive its 1.5 million residents from even accessing clean drinking water by abstaining from Resolution 1860 asking for an immediate end to hostilities? How many children were brutally massacred after Jan. 9, 2009 when the resolution was passed?
Nations are won not by displaying lethal weapons or exercising veto power and by indirectly encouraging brutality but by exercising a resolute heroic spirit of justice that responds comfortingly to the cries of innocent helpless children -- inconsiderate of their origin, race, color or religion.
Something concrete and honest should be done now to stop the United Nations and the issue of human rights from becoming the very myths of modern history.
By Mahmood Pervez Alam
Labels: Myths in the cobweb of arrogance