02 February 2017

Accusations, Lies, Mob Rule & Misguided Honor: The Story Of Mankind

1 Corinthians 13: 11

This blog article is not aimed to be a critique of a certain culture that time left behind.

Nor is it aimed to criticize a certain religion's wayward ideologies.

It is rather an effort to provide an insight into fanaticism and extreme efforts in the name of justice and honor.

It also uses a particular religion's dogmas to exemplify a typical human trait that includes all peoples, all times, all religions and all ideologies.

Justice and honor are ideas that every person can identify with, yet every person has their own distinct definitions of honor and justice.

The manner justice is implemented and honor is realized varies greatly.

The attempt by the blog's writer is to explore what can be learned from peering into a way of life that some consider to be archaic...yet still exists Today...and some people have a strong opinion in favor of such a way of life.

Some people consider it honorable to return, and further exemplify, a particular lifestyle and everything that particular culture promotes.

Looking Into The Past

We have all wondered what life would be like if we were to be a child again.

We may have also fantasized about living during a previous epoch in time, thinking we would enjoy living in the past rather than our present.

These are novel ideas.

Perhaps a tango with romanticism.

The temptation to say “the past was much better than the present” may not lead to an objectively clear view of the past, nor the present situation.

Just as problems and issues exist Today, so did issues and problems exist in a past time we may find attractive.

Our childhood lacked the knowledge and experience of adulthood, even the memories of painful events that taught us valuable lessons.

The past lacks our clear understanding since we now live in the present.

No two people have experienced the past in the same manner, just as no two people experience the present in the same manner.

Mob Justice & Misguided Honor

I came across a story the other day that was quite troubling, yet I've seen the pattern of this story before.

The story, seemingly unique, is actually quite common if one searches news articles and internet videos for such things.

The event, looking at mob justice for arguably ridiculous reasons, isn't unique to the region, the culture nor religion.

It is an event that has repeated itself, albeit with different faces and different times, in every corner of the world throughout history.

Farkhunda was a young Afghani woman who was zealous for the religion she was raised in.

Her zeal caused her to challenge the practices of a man whose income depended on his selling of trinkets in a mosque he was custodian of.

She viewed his actions as offensive to the religion she believes in.

He took obvious offense to her accusations and returned her criticism in the most heinous manner.

Being challenged, the man lies and gives false testimony about Farkhunda in an attempt to shift focus from himself and onto her.

His lie, pride and false evidence caused a mob to snuff out Farkhunda's life from the earth.

Although the man had no weapon in his hand, he did know of a trigger for a common weapon.

He knew how to fire this weapon using that specific trigger.

The words from his lips, spurned by his heart, pulled the trigger that set a fire that consumed almost all hearers and witnesses around him.

The weapon is mass ignorance weaved into deep-seated cultural beliefs.

The gunpowder for the weapon is religious zealotry.

The mob that gathered was eager to execute justice, responding to their cultural programming as one does to their nature.

The mob was not interested in hearing out the evidence or debating the argument, for the accusation somehow brings immediate judgment.

Their zealotry had them blinded.

Their methods being culturally prescribed and etched onto their consciousness by centuries of repetition, an opportunity to express the details of their religion was now at-hand.

We can all relate, depending on what we believe in and take pride in, when we are tempted to express ourselves beyond words.

The desire to honor a book and defend its 'honor' along with their beliefs with religious fervor...even unto death (either theirs, or their offenders, or both), has been a constant current in their minds and hearts.

Relating To Depravity

Hasn't this been the case the world over regarding not only religion, but also political ideologies and the endless ideas of mankind?

In a 'modern' culture, the thought of a mob gathering to execute justice (and kill an offender) sounds quite extreme and unique, but when a riot occurs in any westernized city, such is the case.

Although this particular event I am highlighting happened in a village in Afghanistan, it isn't that far and away from a 'cultured', 'modern', and 'educated' ideal of an ordered society that prescribes to different cultural values.

The justification for spilling blood, taking pride in external and material things that are by definition idolized, is not very different than the pride a gang member in any U.S. metropolis has for his group (and ideas) when he decides to kill a member of an opposing gang's group (and ideas).

In other words: the same ignorance, depravity and misguided honor is obvious in man's heart in all places and in all times.

This, unfortunately, is the nature that mankind has, on an individual basis, to overcome.

To think that your favorite ideology, religion, culture, or location on earth is free from such a pit of darkness is to be already proud of external ideas...and not being in touch with the depths of your own heart and mind.

As you read through the quotes from the New York Times news article below, realize how the last quote sets in stone the same pride-filled lie which instigated a mob to murder an innocent woman.

Notice how the truth of the matter is clearly explained in the news article, but on the street where people believe their truths are realized, the details of the story are not found.

The lie is still being repeated by an adolescent as truth...and the cycle of ignorance sadly continues.
Such is mankind's dilemma when light has yet to shine on their hearts.

Read the following New York Times news article written by Alissa J. Rubin about this incident in Afghanistan.

Below are some quotes I highlighted.

I suggest reading the entire article, and perhaps not watching the entire video...the article gives the details of the greater story beyond the instigating and horror-filled video.

Notice the cultural divide, the failures from the west, the mournful poetry of the victim's relatives...and so much more:
“The custodian, Zainuddin, was illiterate, and he took the burnt papers and added to them some old pages of a burnt Quran, and that’s what he showed people outside the mosque as proof that she had burned the Quran,” Ms. Farid said. 
That is a charge almost guaranteed to bring a violent reaction in Afghanistan, where even the rumor of a Quran burning can bring hundreds into the streets, calling for blood.Muhammad Naeem, who sells pigeon feed across the road from the shrine, said he had heard the custodian calling out to people walking by: “A woman burned the Quran. I don’t know if this one is sick or mentally disturbed, but what kind of Muslim are you? Go and defend your Quran.”...
“People were saying, ‘If someone doesn’t hit her, he is an infidel.’ That was when I got emotional and hit her twice,” he said in an interview at Pul-i-Charkhi prison, just east of Kabul. “My third punch hit the road, and my hand got injured.” … 
Mr. Yaqoub was hardly an illiterate day laborer. He had completed 11th grade and, when interviewed in prison, said he was 18. He explained his fury by saying, “The Quran is like our honor: It is our personal honor and the honor of the prophet.”...
“It is proved that she burned the Quran,” he told Farkhunda’s stunned parents, who knew she was deeply religious and planned to study theology at Kabul University. General Rahimi also informed them that he had told an Afghan television station that Farkhunda was mentally ill, in an attempt to calm an angry public. 
It was true that Farkhunda had been treated for mental illness. Its severity is unclear, but details given to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and other investigators indicated that she had gone through several difficult periods — including one in which she mostly stayed in bed and said she feared praying because she might make a mistake, according to her mother. She was put on medication, which helped for a time, her mother said, according to the Human Rights Commission report....
“I felt the sky had touched the earth and I was between the two, being shattered into pieces,” he said. “I thought I am in some other world. Someone is telling me that a girl who loved the Quran, who would die for the Quran, had been killed, murdered, for burning the Quran. 
“I couldn’t believe it could be our Farkhunda.” 
Within two days of the killing, the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs announced that Farkhunda had been innocent. Soon, she was transformed from a person into a cause. Video clips of her death were broadcast on Afghan television, prompting shame among many citizens. 
Swelling numbers of young women, joined by some young men, gathered spontaneously at the shrine and held candlelight vigils. They formed a “Justice for Farkhunda” organization. They marched, demonstrated and demanded that her killers be brought to trial. 
Most extraordinary, women rebelled against the custom of staying away from funerals, and hundreds gathered to carry and escort her coffin. 
Ms. Alam, the Afghan actress, said she had felt compelled to go to the cemetery on the day of Farkhunda’s burial. 
“Her body was brought to her grave by women and buried by women,” she said. “We took all our shawls and scarves and knotted them together and held them on each side, and then lowered the coffin into the grave. And I remember I had a little cut from the wood from the coffin, and I didn’t want that cut to heal.”...
Defense lawyers and prosecutors study law and political science in college, but almost all judges study theology and Shariah, Islamic law. So when the two meet in a courtroom, they come with completely different frames of reference. Often, they are talking past each other. And judges, who are the backbone of the system, are often resistant to change. ...
The children all knew her name. Ishaq, 6, volunteered: “Her name is Farkhunda. She burned the Quran, so she was punished and she was lynched.”

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