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Mini skirts, volcano dust and earthquakes
by Thanos Kalamidas
2010-04-21 07:48:02
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For long time I have targeted the Iranian dictators with articles, comments and posts. And sometimes these comments and articles are provocatively angry but I am one of the unlucky ones to have lived the full meaning of a dictatorship when I was growing up. Coincidentally 21st of April marks 43 years from that very dark day when the tanks rolled in the centre of Athens leading the country that found democracy into the darkest times.

However Iran and its religious dictators have often been my target not only because they are a disgrace for any nation, rippers of human life and common criminals but aside from all that they are using religion to excuse and veil their crimes. During the dictatorship in Greece a lot of priest or church people joined the colonels who led the coup and became accomplices to their crimes and the colonels themselves often promoted their faith but the reason I’m saying this is trying to explain that human stupidity has nothing to do with faith and religion.

And said that I have to admit that the Iranian dictators have manage to turn faith into blind violence and stupidity into religion and may God, Mohamed or Allah help us all from so much stupidity! Obviously late …environmental awareness and the latest events with the Icelandic volcano a senior Iranian cleric said that promiscuous women are responsible for the earthquakes! And what apocalypses; now we know who is really responsible for all the mess with the airplanes and if you lost your suitcases or you are stack in Frankfurt the last five days on your way to Helsinki blame it on the mini skirts!

Mr. Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi told worshippers in Tehran last Friday that they had to stick to strict codes of modesty to protect them.  "Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes!" I suppose that was a scientific conclusion coming after long observation! And since nobody was around to throw him a tomato or something fresh like that he continued! "What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes. Now if a natural earthquake hits Tehran, no one will be able to confront such a calamity but God's power, only God's power. So let’s not disappoint God."

And he said that in a country that suffers from earthquakes and thousands of people have died the last decades in earthquakes. He said these things the same time when the counting of the earthquake victims in China hasn’t finished yet and while thousands of people look worryingly the sky for the dust cloud from a volcano. I don’t remember who said it but god there is nothing more dangerous than stupidity and when it comes from the mouth of a …holy man who has access to nuclear weapons that becomes extremely dangerous! These people are able to explode the world and blame it on the pink lipsticks!

Odd but for seven years the dictators had enslaved Greece there were thousands of jokes travestying the dictators and their stupidity, how people so stupid managed to keep a whole nation enslaved, to destroy the foundations of a country and the economy – a damage that very bitterly the Greeks see today more clear – is a mystery. How people who can blame mini skirt for the earthquakes and they manage to rule countries like Iran who is suppose to be a local superpower is an even bigger mystery with only one difference that this is one of the mysteries we are oblige to investigate and actually do something about it and not leave it to faith!

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Emanuel Paparella2010-04-21 10:41:53
Indeed, it is the height of stupidity to see a theological link between sin and retribution, or even worse, to see oneself ad an agent of divine retribution as those in charge of theocracies, ancient and modern, tend to do. These fanatics tend to reduce religion to a cult and a benevolent providential God to a policeman of sort and see themselves as Apep, the ancient Egyptian god of destruction. There was a wise man in Palestine by the name of Joshua or Jesus of Nazareth who however had a more subtle view of the matter as narrated in an episode of his life found in Luke 13:1. It reads thus: “At that very time there were some present who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, ‘Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’ Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’” (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2010-04-21 10:44:01
What is intriguing in this narration is that Christ asks a question and then answers his own question with an emphatic “no.” Which is to say, he sees no link between doing evil and divine retribution, for he considers God a benevolent forgiving Father ready to welcome back the prodigal son. In other words, There is no link between a tower falling on 18 people and killing them and their behavior. Christ is using an actual event which happened in Jerusalem during his life. However Christ does not stop there. He goes on to say that “unless you repent, you will perish as they did.” Here is the subtle ambiguity of his message which sounds almost a logical contradiction. But not really, if one meditates on it for a minute or two. What Christ is saying may be this: you have a limited amount of time on this earth; in fact a building may fall on you in the next five minutes; a comet may strike the earth in the next few years and wipe out life on earth as we know it, as it almost happened before. You don’t know that, and you may have a limited power to prevent those mishaps; what you have in your power, however, is the ability to turn you life around, repent of the evil you have caused in your life and that of others and bring life (put manure) in the dead places in your life so that it can be an abundant and fruitful life before you are cut down by death which comes for all, and then the judgment. If one requires an illustration to comprehend this subtle message I suggest the wall by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel where the Last Judgment is depicted

Emanuel Paparella2010-04-21 10:55:22
P.S. While agreeing in general with the above article, I would make one slight correction. The theocrats of Iran are not using religion, they are abusing it. An important distinction. One may use wine and that may be beneficial, one may abuse wine and that usually results in drunkness and is usually pernicious. And as Aquinas has well taught us: one ought not advocate the suppression of the use because of the abuse. In American we tried that; it was called prohibition. It did more harm than good.

Anastasios2010-04-21 13:28:17
Thano once again in full agreement - it makes you wonder how a group of pariahs can impose their views in the whole country. Why is it that people lack the ability to organize in ways that could cause any dictatorship to practically diffuse. Why do people accept such idiotic regimes? And since you brought up the example of the Greek junta, why in the world people went along with that charlatan papadopoulos is beyond me, it is thousands of miles beyond any reason I can imagine. Why is it that people are so much afraid and have such little resources when it is really about their very livelihoods and the lives of their own children.Emanuel do you have some feedback on this?

Emanuel Paparella2010-04-21 21:00:12
Not really Anastasios. Thanos has pretty much said it all. One should never understimate human studipidy and indifference.

Thanos2010-04-21 21:19:22
Anastasios, I think the problem is not with the people – in Greece the people were caught in full surprise that moment expecting a centre-left change instead of a dictatorship – but with the ones who took the obligation to protect democracy for the people. Unfortunately these guardians proved to be too self-centred, too opportunistic to protect the ones they were obliged to protect. Sadly signs of this self-centred and opportunistic behaviour we see quite often lately and not only in Greece and makes me wander if that is due to lack of strong personalities in politics or the devaluation of principals. We have got to the point where corruption in politics doesn’t surprise us anymore and to avoid a Greek Example, we find Berlusconi entertaining, unique and not a danger for democracy. And think of it, the Berlusconis of this world are there to protect the people, their rights and democracy and not challenge every single democratic feeling. I’m afraid this is were the system failed 43 years ago in Greece.

Thanos2010-04-21 21:25:28
Emanuel I think your comment that: “the theocrats of Iran are not using religion, they are abusing it,” says it all. And I believe that they are abusing religion for purely opportunistic reasons, it could be anything else as long it gives the power they want. Is just …for how long?

Having lived myself a dictatorship, what it means and what it brings, having witness exile, torture and death I’m like Anastasios shocked in the stupidity these people carry and how the hell so stupid people manage to do that to nations with history, intellect and thirst for freedom. Amazing isn’t it?

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