Friday 30 September 2016

Letters: The West will be forced to annihilate this Dark Ages savagery

Published 30/06/2015 | 02:30

Mourners on the beach at Sousse in Tunisia after last week’s attack
Mourners on the beach at Sousse in Tunisia after last week’s attack

I am enraged by the events in Sousse, in which more innocent Irish citizens lost their lives. The sickening catalogue of Islamic terrorist atrocities continues to swell, from the World Trade Center, 2001; Bali, 2002; Madrid trains, 2004; Beslan School, North Ossetia, 2004; London Underground, 2005; Camp Speicher and Sinjar Massacres, Iraq, 2014; Charlie Hebdo, Paris, 2015, to name just a few.

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The craven destruction of irreplaceable cultural heritage, such as the Buddhas of Bamiyan, the Golden Mosque of Samarra, Jonah's tomb in Mosul, antiquities in the Mosul museum, manuscripts in the Timbuktu library, and most probably soon the Roman metropolis of Palmyra, further confirm the underlying ideology as a depraved, blood-soaked, misogynistic, anti-enlightenment death-cult.

Western leaders make statements expressing "condemnation in the strongest terms", but are more concerned with the impact of 'foreign wars' on re-election than the morality of standing idly by as genocide, massacres, beheadings and all manner of depravity are perpetrated. These feeble statements are patently trite platitudes which reveal our impotence and only serve to embolden the jihadists. To quote Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Increasingly, large swathes of the planet are being enveloped in a new Dark Age fraught with ignorance, intolerance, vile brutality, terror and despair.

Whilst the recent boom in shale oil has somewhat insulated America from the geopolitics of the Middle East, eventually Europe, if not the entire West, must act. Growing dismay at the continuing slaughter across the Muslim world, the opportunistic and malevolent role of Russia and Iran in this 'grand game', the rising tide of refugees clambering at Europe's borders, public anger at 'lone wolf' attacks spawned by the radicalised sons and daughters of this and previous waves of such migrants, and more importantly the rise of the Far Right in reaction, will compel the hitherto feckless liberal democracies of the West to rally and annihilate this scourge from the face of the Earth.

This looming fight will not be in any manner a Christian crusade against Islam, but rather a clash of secular enlightenment against the tyranny of twisted intolerance and evil. It will nonetheless have to be prosecuted with 'extreme prejudice'. It is an appalling tragedy that as we approach a new Age of Enlightenment driven by advances in science, the democratisation of knowledge by information technology, and the acculturation of the principles of universal equality, secular humanism and environmental sustainability, we are being dragged back to revisit withering wars of annihilation.

R Healy

Mullagh, Co Cavan

Blurring of military and aid

You report that the LÉ Eithne, sent to the Mediterranean in mid-May to assist the Italian authorities, has so far rescued 2,729 migrants from small boats in the Mediterranean ('Busy day for LÉ Eithne as 593 migrants are rescued' June 29).

This news comes in a week that Irish aid agencies, ministers and academic experts meet in Dublin to discuss the blurring of lines between international emergency aid and military action. They will discuss the unintended consequences of the use of military hardware and personnel in relief efforts, including the changing perceptions of Western aid. In many countries, aid workers have become targets of violence, as combatants see them as an extension of Western military interests and not as the independent and impartial humanitarian actors they set out to be. In the case of the Mediterranean, the deployment of the military also reflects another problem: the fact that EU leaders continue to treat the refugee crisis on the Mediterranean as a security issue, not as a humanitarian crisis.

This allows EU policies to focus attention on the criminal activities of traffickers, rather than on the conflicts and human rights abuses that fuel the flow of refugees.

The inability or unwillingness of the international community to address conflicts such as those in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Libya is driving people away from their homes.

At the same time, EU policies have made it virtually impossible for refugees to enter the EU by other routes, leaving only the dangerous sea route as an option for people fleeing their own countries.

Together, we must push for urgent political solutions to conflicts across Africa and the Middle East, open realistic legal and safe channels of migration into the EU, and invest in international development cooperation promoting decent work and social protection so that for millions of people migration becomes an option - not a necessity.

Hans Zomer

Director, Dóchas

The Greek tragedy

I feel ashamed to be Irish and represented by a self-serving Government who, to prevent its own inadequacy and betrayal of its people being displayed for all to see, would condemn the Greek people to abject poverty for the foreseeable future.

The Greeks are blessed with a government which will fight for them to the bitter end while ours, in best Vichy style, sells us into slavery.

Padraic Neary

Tubbercurry, Co Sligo

***

Homer, Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Archimedes, Plato - the list goes on and on. Although we in Ireland suffered greatly during the recession, I find it very sad that Greece, which ironically is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern western culture, could find itself in this no-win situation today.

Like many people, I don't quite grasp the situation fully but to see such a proud people brought to their knees is quite disturbing and definitely doesn't seem right.

A time for everybody to draw a breath is required.

Aidan Hampson

Artane, Dublin

***

Euro membership is "irrevocable" according to article 140, paragraph 3 of the Lisbon Treaty. Do we need to redefine "irrevocable"?

Dr John Doherty

Gaoth Dobhair, Co Dhún na nGall

***

After all the pages and hours of coverage about the Greek debt crisis, Billy Keane's article summed it up brilliantly in human and historical terms [June 29]. Greece is 'the place where drama and democracy began'. 'The Greeks have the choice now. The future is in their own hands'.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Irish Independent

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