This is the time of year when many of us, in this predominantly Christian province in a predominantly Christian country, gather to celebrate the birth of a Jewish carpenter from Palestine.
It is a time when we remember the principles of Jesus of Nazareth. It is paramount that we remember the principle of loving thy neighbour. If more people acted on this principle we would not have ethnocentric attacks on migrants or the sectarian onslaughts against those unfortunate enough to live in segregated enclaves.
Mutual benevolence could improve community relations and help society as a whole battle iconoclastic bigotry.
Unfortunately we are not the only society internationally that is in urgent need of promoting mutual respect. The love thy neighbour principle stands in frightening contrast to the horrific ongoing genocides in the world at this time.
It is appropriate to look at Nelson Mandela’s own country South Africa after the anniversary of his passing. Since 1987 it has been estimated that 350,000 Afrikaners and Boers have been tortured, raped and murdered. During his presidency Mandela armed commandos in a Rural Protection Plan for Afrikaners and Boers. However Mbeki disbanded the commandos and got rid of the Rural Protection Plan. Zuma actually now encourages Die Volksmoord with the singing of Dubula iBhunu which translates as Shoot the Boer.
In Sri Lanka autocrat Percy Mahendra Rajapaksa still discriminates against, persecutes and ethnically cleanses the people of Tamil Eelam. Rajapaksa is the current chairperson of Britain’s Commonwealth of Nations. Over 100,000 Tamils have been tortured and mutilated yet the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, a Sinhalese supremacist party, still brutalises them with impunity.
Much was made in the international media of the violence against hostages in Sydney. However the international media simultaneously ignores that Australia incarceration rates of those of darker complexion are several times that of the South Africa National Party’s regime.
They ignore the Australian apartheid regimes’ regular human rights violations against Aborigines one example was an unfortunate indigenous Australian being cooked to death in an act of genocide.
There are also horribly barbaric genocides in progress in Nigeria and Central Africa. The current climate of Islamophobia had without doubt contributed to these volatile scenarios deteriorating.
It should not be forgotten that the people in the country of Jesus are suffering ongoing genocide. It is not only our Islamic brothers and sisters who are tormented but our Christian brothers and sisters in Galilee, Nazareth and Bethlehem. Over two million Palestinians have been murdered since the Arab Revolt.
The James Connolly Society would like to take this opportunity to urge everyone to work together for better community relations and to raise awareness for all people persecuted everywhere with acts of genocide. This Christmas remember that Jesus of Nazareth was a Palestinian.
James Connolly Society Belfast
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The Holy Bible states that the love of money is the root of all evil.
I believe the veracity of this statement has been attested to by the behaviour of the majority of politicians at Stormont, particularly those occupying lucrative positions and all the perks which accompany them.
Peter Robinson, the First Minister, has threatened to pull down the shutters on this travesty of democracy. I, among many others, believe that this is an empty threat.
I believe Ulster people can see through the spin being fed to them, and those who are feeding it may be in for a rude awakening at the next elections.