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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 29-Mar-2014
29-Mar-14 World View -- Christians versus Muslims in Central African Republic

Web Log - March, 2014

29-Mar-14 World View -- Christians versus Muslims in Central African Republic

Russia's Vladimir Putin calls Obama to discuss Ukraine

This morning's key headlines from

Christians versus Muslims in Central African Republic

 A member of an armed Christian group with a machete in Bangui, Central African Republic (AP)
A member of an armed Christian group with a machete in Bangui, Central African Republic (AP)

Articles on current events in the Central African Republic (CAR) such as the one I posted two days ago often generate a great deal of commentary. Last year, Muslim Seleka militias killed tens of thousands of Christians and drove 400,000 from their homes. This year, Christian anti-balaka militias have retaliated with vengeance, massacring hundreds of thousands of Muslims, and have driven millions more from their homes -- so far. Muslims are just 15% of CAR's population, and some anti-balaka leaders are promising to kill every Muslim that doesn't flee the country. This is a fact. I may not like this fact, and you may not like this fact, but it's a fact nonetheless.

One response is to say that the Christians in CAR are just defending themselves from the Muslims. I won't disagree with that, except to say that anti-balaka leaders saying that they're going to kill all the Muslims seems to me to cross the line from self-defense into genocide.

Another standard response is to say that the Christians in CAR aren't really Christians. This is the same response often given to the fact that millions of Christian Church-going Nazis attempted to exterminate the Jews. According to this response, the Holocaust happened because Hitler wasn't really a Christian. Well, my understanding is that if you've been baptized in Christ, then you're a Christian, and that there's no further litmus test. But OK, let's ignore that.

This response is very hard to defend, because you would also have to claim that all those millions of church-going Nazis were also not Christian. But OK, let's ignore that.

Question: How do you know that Hitler and the Nazis weren't Christian? Answer: Because they perpetrated the Holocaust. So this is circular reasoning. Christians didn't commit the Holocaust because Nazis weren't Christians, and Nazis weren't Christians because they committed the Holocaust. But OK, let's ignore even all those problems.

OK, so let's just accept that explanation: Hitler and the Nazis weren't Christian, because they perpetrated the Holocaust.

Who's at fault for the Holocaust?

But now you have another problem, because the same argument can be turned against you. The Muslim jihadists are killing some Christians, but they're mostly killing other Muslims -- millions and millions of Muslims. The same is true of Bashar al-Assad's genocide against Sunni women and children. You can claim that the Koran justifies these killings, but it doesn't. The Koran may or may not justify killing Christians (it's debatable) and other "infidels," but what the jihadists and al-Assad are doing is killing Muslims -- and that's clearly a violation of the Koran. And so by the same reasoning that people use to say Nazis weren't really Christians can be used to say that the jihadists aren't really Muslims.

In other words, if Hitler wasn't a real Christian, then Osama bin Laden wasn't a real Muslim, for the same reason.

And so, if you can't blame Christians for the Holocaust, because Hitler wasn't a real Christian, then you can't blame Muslims for 9/11, because OBL wasn't a real Muslim.

Lots of people point to the fact that most massacres being conducted today are by Muslims, albeit mostly to other Muslims. That's certainly true. All you have to do is look at Pakistan or Syria, for example, to see it happen.

But I think there's a more interesting question. Let's turn the question around. Instead of asking why Muslims are most often the perpetrators of massacres, let's ask instead why Muslims are most often the victims of massacres. Muslims are the victims of massacres by Muslims in Pakistan and Syria, by Buddhists in Myanmar (Burma), and by Christians in Central African Republic.

What is there about this particular point in history that makes Muslims the most massacred group in the world? From the point of view of generational theory, that's a very interesting question. Muslims are the most massacred people in the world today. Why is that?

Some people would say that the reason that Muslims are the most massacred people in the world today is because a lot of the world is angry for terrorist acts like 9/11. Once again, that reason would be difficult to defend, because it doesn't explain why Muslims are massacring Muslims.

War and Peace

In his monumental book War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy recounts Napoleon's invasion of Russia. But Tolstoy is completely stumped and frustrated about why the war occurred at all, especially because the people on both sides were Christians. Here's what he wrote:

"It naturally seemed to Napoleon that the war was caused by England's intrigues (as in fact he said on the island of St. Helena). It naturally seemed to members of the English Parliament that the cause of the war was Napoleon's ambition; to the Duke of Oldenburg, that the cause of the war was the violence done to him; to businessmen that the cause of the war was the Continental System which was ruining Europe; to the generals and old soldiers that the chief reason for the war was the necessity of giving them employment; to the legitimists of that day that it was the need of re-establishing les bons principes, and to the diplomatists of that time that it all resulted from the fact that the alliance between Russia and Austria in 1809 had not been sufficiently well concealed from Napoleon, and from the awkward wording of Memorandum No. 178.

It is natural that these and a countless and infinite quantity of other reasons, the number depending on the endless diversity of points of view, presented themselves to the men of that day; but to us, to posterity who view the thing that happened in all its magnitude and perceive its plain and terrible meaning, these causes seem insufficient.

To us it is incomprehensible that millions of Christian men killed and tortured each other either because Napoleon was ambitious or Alexander was firm, or because England's policy was astute or the Duke of Oldenburg wronged. We cannot grasp what connection such circumstances have with the actual fact of slaughter and violence: why because the Duke was wronged, thousands of men from the other side of Europe killed and ruined the people of Smolensk and Moscow and were killed by them."

Generational theory does provide some answers to these questions, and it has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with being human. Just as Christians can have inappropriate sex, they can also have inappropriate wars. If humans did not have sex, then the human race would die out. If humans did not have genocidal wars of extermination, then the human race would not survive, because it's only through wars of extermination that the strongest tribes, societies and nations become the leaders.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, these wars of extermination are generational crisis wars. When one of these horrific wars occurs, the generations of survivors vow to do everything possible to keep anything like that from happening to their children and grandchildren. They succeed in that, but when the survivor generations die off, then the younger generations, with no personal memory of the crisis war, have no motivation to keep it from happening again. And so the next generational crisis war begins, usually around 60 or more years after the end of the last one.

Going back to Central African Republic, the last generational crisis war was the 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara Rebellion ("War of the Hoe Handle"), which was a very long time ago, putting CAR today deep into a generational Crisis era. There are probably no survivors left from the Kongo-Wara Rebellion, and so it's not surprising at all that a new war of extermination is breaking out in CAR today.

Russia's Vladimir Putin calls Obama to discuss Ukraine

The White House announced on Friday that Russia's president Vladimir Putin placed a phone call to U.S. president Barack Obama to discuss a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine. According to the White House statement:

"President Obama noted that the Ukrainian government continues to take a restrained and de-escalatory approach to the crisis and is moving ahead with constitutional reform and democratic elections, and urged Russia to support this process and avoid further provocations, including the buildup of forces on its border with Ukraine. ...

President Obama made clear that [a diplomatic solution] remains possible only if Russia pulls back its troops and does not take any steps to further violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. President Obama reiterated that the United States has strongly opposed the actions that Russia has already taken to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Russia issued its own statement:

"Vladimir Putin drew Barack Obama’s attention to continued rampage of extremists who are committing acts of intimidation towards peaceful residents, government authorities and law enforcement agencies in various regions and in Kiev with impunity. In light of this, the President of Russia suggested examining possible steps the global community can take to help stabilize the situation. The two presidents agreed that specific parameters for this joint work will be discussed by the Russian and US foreign ministers in the near future."

This reads to me like a standard attempt to buy enough time so that the world will forget what Putin is doing. By referring to "continued rampage of extremists who are committing acts of intimidation towards peaceful residents," Putin is preparing a case for military action in Ukraine, and for not removing his troops from Ukraine's border. He could order his troops into Ukraine next week, and then claim that Obama didn't propose a way to protect "peaceful residents," so he had to do it.

We'll see if anything changes now. Politico

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Mar-14 World View -- Christians versus Muslims in Central African Republic thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Mar-2014) Permanent Link
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