FEATURE: How Can Any War Be Holy? - Tony Okoroji

As always when I'm at the family house with my folks, we tend to get into a lot of conversation about world news or just our general philosophy on life. If there's anyone in the world who gets how I feel about the crazy happenings all over the world or where I stand on a number of issues, it would be my father because we are both liberals whose faith are founded on nothing but LOVE.....love for God and for mankind as well. I guess that conversation with him and my mother motivated his article for this week. Here's an interesting piece from Tony Okoroji's 'LOCOMOTION' column in today's Saturday Independent Newspaper. Enjoy.....


"Suddenly, hatred appears to be taking over the world. Just this week, there were more and more gory images on television of the mayhem caused by the massive Israeli military machine that appears set to rip to shreds the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Innocent Palestinians, old women and mere children are being slaughtered like cattle in a war in which they are neither participants nor do they understand the reason.

The people responsible for this massacre and their friends can justify this horrific killing field. They can explain it with a lot of grammar especially at the United Nations. They are defending their people! It does not matter to them that the innocent women and children so brazenly murdered are some other person’s ‘people’. We live in a world in which might is right and so the children of the slaughtered old women and the brothers of the murdered children, who probably will never have access to any significant military machine, will eventually turn themselves into suicide bombers and explode themselves on innocent Israeli civilians. And the cycle of blood continues.

Every crazy group in the world unleashing death on everyone around them can justify the killing. It is usually based on an ‘us against them’ mind frame of some spiritual, tribal or political leader who drums up the immense animosity fuelled by some ancient bigotry or hatred.

Talk to any members of the vicious Boko Haram group that is spreading fear across Nigeria and they have religious justification for their senseless killing of innocent men and women. Members of the Al Shabab gang who are gunning down innocent people in East Africa are sure that they are doing God’s work. Whether it is Al Qaeda, ISIS in Iraq and Syria or even the IRA that kept Northern Ireland in commotion for a long time, they will beat their chest and assert justification for the innocent lives they have taken. Check out their justification and it is based on some skewed religious beliefs or some perceived injustice done to their ‘people’ in times gone by.

Nothing frightens me these days more than the seemingly unstoppable spread of fundamentalist religion. Contrary to popular notion, this terrifying development is not limited to the Islamic faith. All over the world, there are self-styled prophets in religious garments indoctrinating masses of people who they will unleash on the world and who would become cannon fodder in their war to rid the world of those who do not agree with them.

All of these ‘men of God’ preach love but the love they preach is not love for all children of God but love only for the people who think like them, pray like them or love like them. If you think differently, you are a vermin which must be exterminated to create a pure world. They have convinced themselves that they are holy warriors fighting God’s battle and that they have the right to kill in the name of God.

But who are these people supposedly fighting in the name of God and killing the children of God? Who told them that God needs their help? Who informed them that they are more effective than God, the maker and giver of life, who if he chooses can wipe out whole nations in a twinkle of an eye? How can a war be holy in which innocent children of God are killed?

Karl Max did say that religion is the opium of the poor. I agree. Take a map of the world and check out the regions where there are fervent religious activities. These are where you will find nations in commotion, in poverty and in decline. Recently, I spent some time in the UK and the United States. Sunday mornings, the streets of the major cities are practically abandoned. The churches are empty except for minority groups. Yet, these are the people from whom we inherited our religious beliefs.

As I stated in this column last week, I had the opportunity of driving on the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway during the week. There are interesting developments on both sides of the road. Apart from the new Punch edifice and a few other structures on the several kilometres of road, nearly every significant structure on the road is owned by a religious group of either the Christian or Islamic faith. If the structure is not a worship centre built on acres of choice land, it is a university owned by the same religious groups. I saw very little in terms of factories or any real centre of commerce.

As we drove along, I wondered what would eventually happen to those who study at the universities from Mondays to Fridays and worship at the churches on Sundays. Where are they going to find work? From where will they earn the money to maintain body and soul and pay tithes to the churches so that they can continue to boom? If you cannot see the looming problem, you are probably one of those who believe that Nigeria just won the World Cup in Brazil.

Before anyone concludes that I am anti – religion, let me state clearly that I am a Christian and that I go to Church. I however do not believe that every Moslem, Hindu, Budhist, Ifa Worshiper or anyone who does not worship the way I do is condemned to hell fire. It is the same way that I do not believe that the people who come from my part of the country are always right and the others are forever wrong. Similarly, I do not believe that when the time comes, it will matter whether you face the east or the west when you worship your God or whether you come from the North or the South or whether you are straight, gay or lesbian. We are all children of one God.

See you next week. "

So what do you think of this amazing article Lovelies? I know that God will not ask any of his children to kill his other children, neither will he want us to segregate or discriminate against others who just like us have been created in his own image. So I ask, How can any war truly be holy? Feel free to share your thoughts as always.....

Have A Stress Free Saturday Lovelies! Muaah!

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