(Originally Published on Corkhumanists.weebly.com in March 2013)
Many in the atheist movement have been extremely outspoken about what they see as the dangers Islam poses to the West, notably Pat Condell, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens. They use the terrorist attacks of 9/11 or the election of Hamas in Gaza to prove their thesis that Islamic Fundamentalism is on the rise and needs to be stamped out.
(An edited version of this piece appeared in the February edition of the UCC Motley)
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few months, it would have been impossible to not hear about the then upcoming, and now released, movie Zero Dark Thirty, which puts onto celluloid the decade long hunt for Osama Bin Laden. Taking as its starting point the attacks on the Twin Towers, the movie charts the mission from the perspective of one female CIA agent up until Bin Laden’s assassination at the hands of a SEAL team. This depiction of the hunt for Bin Laden has been much lauded and it has thus far been nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and four Golden Globes, with the director, Kathryn Bigelow, specifically coming in for much of the praise; her portrayal of strong women in it earning her the title of a feminist hero in some quarters. Read more…
When Christopher Eric Hitchens passed away on December 15th of last year, his death from oesophageal cancer, whilst expected, did nonetheless come as a shock to many given his firm resoluteness in battling the disease. The eulogies in his memory came in rapid succession, each one seemingly revealing another level of his irreverent and upstart nature. He was remembered as, “…one of the greatest orators of all time. He was a polymath, a wit, immensely knowledgeable, and a valiant fighter against all tyrants including imaginary supernatural ones.”, by Richard Dawkins, with Stephen Fry noting that he was someone who “…opened up debate and gave voice to ideas and causes that without his talents would have been less ventilated and less understood.” Tony Blair also had the kindest of words to say about Hitchens, memorialising that he was “fearless in the pursuit of truth and any cause in which he believed.” For someone considered within the atheist movement to be one of the “Four Horsemen of the New Atheism”, it appeared that a hagiography of Hitchens was being written after, and even immediately prior, to his death. Despite being held up as a paragon of scepticism, rationality, and honesty, in the last decade of his life Hitchens was none of this. Instead, his rational faculties were seemingly suspended as he became a right-wing cheerleader for American-led Western invasions in the Middle East directly after 9/11.
Definitions of citizenship and what it means to be a citizen of a particular nation has been used to justify discrimination against various groups of people for centuries. These people are generally in the minority in a particular region and are seen as an underclass, and/or something to be dealt with in whatever manner those in the majority deem appropriate. History is full of examples where this thinking has led to egregious levels of discrimination and violence aimed at the minority or undesirables; from the Catholics in Northern Ireland to the Tutsi in Rwanda, where in both cases discrimination and ostracisation eventually led to full-blown violence. This is also the case when it comes to the Palestinians in what was historic Palestine and is now, for the most part, considered the modern state of Israel.
(Originally Published in the UCC Express in February 2012)
It’s somewhat difficult to believe that Barrack Obama won the U.S presidential election in November of 2008. This difficulty arises because it seems as if it was just yesterday that it happened. Time has a nasty habit of doing that; passing by at a rate so fast that the next thing you know, there’s another election looming. Obama personified hope during the 2008 election campaign and he marketed it as such, as that’s what the U.S presidential elections boil down to: marketing. Everyone believed in this concept called “change” that he promised he would bring to the U.S political landscape. His followers were fanatical in their devotion with “Yes We Can” becoming their mantra, which if they repeated often enough, would ensure that the opponents of their idol were crushed. Well now, just over three years later, there appears to be another man who has captured the collective imagination of the voters across the Atlantic. The man in question is of course, Ron Paul.