Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, ed., Books and Culture. / New at patreon.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

On the second day of Christmas--

Clive Hicks-Jenkins,
The Comfort of Angels Attending the Dying
This blog is a literary one and not a political one; I tend to leave any comments about politics to facebook or twitter pages, and even there I usually focus on other things. Some people have a vocational call to work toward social justice and to spread understanding. My vocation is in the realm of sub-creation, making stories and poems that I hope reflect the joy and sorrow of wandering the world in the short space between birth and death. In subterranean ways, these too may help one soul understand the worth of another.

But I could not help but mourn that Christmas Day 2013 meant a celebration of death to many--that it meant ongoing slaughter in a Christian community two thousand years old, abandoned by our media. More attacks on Christians in Baghdad killed 37 on Christmas Day, 24 of them emerging from church after worship.

That great Power, our mainstream media, has chosen to turn the proverbial blind eye; it has been deaf to Christian cries for help from Syria and Iraq and elsewhere. Perhaps that is why we ordinary people of the West have not spoken up. If you know nothing about the ongoing genocide of Christians in the Middle East, please dig around on the internet and educate yourself about the scouring of this ancient, vulnerable community. We little people, banded together, can sway our world; we can demand for the media to be better and nobler than it is, if we only will.

Many are the strange chances of the world … and help oft shall come from the hands of the weak when the Wise falter.  Tolkien, The Silmarillion

8 comments:

  1. I share your dismay and sorrow about the overlooked plight of Christians in some Muslim countries. Actually, I am dismayed and sorrowful whenever I hear about anyone being deprived of life, liberty, and happiness because of religion. I am still naïve and hopeful enough to think that people of faith ought to be good people. BTW, I have been reading a lot lately about Tudor England; the atrocities committed by ostensibly civilized and sensible Christians upon one another are hard to understand. Of course, the history of religions is filled with discouraging examples of intolerance and inhumanity. How sad.

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  2. It's a fallen world, R. T.

    Some facebook comments I received on a link to this post also mentioned earlier Reformation conflict, and I think we have to be really careful not to confuse the issue. That's what the media does when it talks about such things, so it's tempting. That is, we can excuse what is happening now by pointing to conflicts elsewhere or in the past. I'm not saying you do that, but I am saying that we need to quit appearing to excuse current horror and extermination of minorities by pointing elsewhere.

    We live in the now, and this genocide is now.

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  3. No, I'm not conflating past and present for purposes of explaining or justifying the present. I merely point out the long tradition of "religious violence." The history bothers me.

    In the present circumstances, I am concerned that so many people--in media, in politics, and elsewhere--are constrained by what can only be named as "political correctness," distorting themselves into blind witnesses who are unwilling to point the finger in the proper direction. Why are so many people reluctant to name and condemn followers of radical Islam as the problem? I suppose that is the multi-million dollar rhetorical question.

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  4. Yes, it is terrible. I just felt I had to mention it because multiple people have pointed to past historical conflicts. It tends to derail us from the issue of what is now.

    Please excuse me for saying this, as you are a professor, but today both U. S. academia and the media are in general without interest in the genocide of Christians. They are interested in multi-culturalism and the rights of other religions, but not in the one that has shaped their own country.

    We assume people are afraid of talking about the Middle East, and that is to some degree true. But the media has turned its face from the issue for a long time. And even when they cover something that might clarify the plight of Christians there--as, the words of a new "celebrity" pope--they focus on what they want to hear, on the things they consider hot-button topics, and the heart of a message goes unheard.

    * * *

    I'm finding the facebook comments (lots more there) quite variable, and that's not surprising. There's a good bit of pointing elsewhere, and there are people who add links or quietly assent. When you talk about genocide, it's hard to be as harsh as I have seen people being on the topic of Christians on facebook. And I think maybe pressing on the idea of genocide is the route to some better media coverage and knowledge on the part of more Americans.

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  5. Do not overstate my "professor" status. I am very much not part of the typical mainstream within academia. Classrooms, however, are dangerous places to discuss controversial issues, unless the discussions are "politically correct" dialogues. Students are not comfortable with controversy. Teachers like me do not last long when they go against the PC tide. And this is probably part of the reason my career is coming to a halt.

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  6. Yes, I think they are indeed risky places--and that strikes me as so different from what colleges used to be that it makes me sad.

    It is a noble thing to fight the waves of a sea, but it is not easy to win, and it is costly.

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  7. Nodding head vigorously to everything here including excellent comments!

    (catching up after a few days away...)

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  8. Sad that there's so much to agree on...

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.