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September 11, 2021

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There has been nearly 656K thousand deaths from COVID in the US? Wow - that is truly tragic. What is the situation like over there now with COVID? UK is pretty much over it in the sense of a health service crises and general public fear, though we clearly live in the age of a new-normal (more people working from home or hybrid, still lots of people wearing masks although not mandated, etc).

Whilst Trump's attempt to manage the COVID crisis was jaw-droppingly, absurdly surreal bad, I think it is a bit unfair to blame him for all or most of those of those deaths. World leaders across the globe were caught off guard, and there has been deaths all over the world dependant on a whole variety of complex factors. It was clear at the beginning nobody really had a clue as to the seriousness or how to cope with it. I'm not even really sure if we know now. I think the situation kind of transcended personality politics. Though, again, sunlight and bleach cures were spectacularly bizarre suggestions to hear coming from the mouth of the leader of the free world and as was widely reported in European news, made the entire world (western at least) feel quite concerned at the lack of sane leadership, somebody to make everybody at least feel the illusion of security......

But yes, I am surprised at the general tone of your post, with which I generally agree - with the openness to admit that there are at least SOME things more important than religion to be concerned about.

I think vast swathes of the world, especially western, deeply empathised with the US and American citizens on 9/11, regardless of political or ideological sentiments. The sheer senseless horror and unimaginable suffering on the one hand, and then the disbelief that it had happened to Americans on American soil I think shocked most people.

But this is the point I have tried to make to Brian several times before, once we have a pet ideological hate, that against religion, theism and metaphysics for eg., it can blind us to an infinitely complex reality so that we only see what we want or are conditioned to see, and in so doing perpetuate ignorance, misunderstanding, distrust, hatred, war etc.

9/11 was NOT "caused" by Islamic fundamentalist any more than it was caused by American Airlines check in processes - 9/11 was the culmination of hundreds if not thousands of years and infinite causes.

THIS is precisely the danger - when somebody like prominent atheist Sam Harris states that all acts of "terrorism" (any semantics or semiotic experts want to unpack that little doozy of a word?) are caused almost exclusively due to Islamic doctrine and dismisses all attempts at deeper analysis of the cultural, historical, economic and political context, what he is actually doing is a) denying the reality of the millions of peace loving Muslims and societies that have existed, and far worse b) EXCUSING western governments of atrocious war crimes going back centuries and which continue to this very day (even under such great, US saving presidents like Biden), imperial and colonial meddling in the affairs of South American, African and Asian nations, and the primary motivator in almost all acts of Islamic terrorism (with, of course, infinite other lesser motivators).

It is mentioned that 3,000 people died on 9/11 - a truly horrific act and day. Only a damaged, sad human being would not feel anything but immense sorrow and compassion for all those affected by that sad day.

But what about the estimated 200,000 innocent civilians, men women and children, who were slaughtered in Iraq due to the illegal and unjust invasion which had - factually and obviously speaking - far more to do with the enriching individuals and corporations ad the natural resources of Iraq than Islamic terrorism?

Is is only Americans than are allowed to be scarred by such horrors, and strike back indiscriminately and without retaliation? Are we surprised that ISIS was a product of this unjust and barbaric invasion of Iraq? Are we surprised that many Islamic youth in these war torn countries where the west has come in, raped their resources, funded and fought wars, drone bombed, maimed, kill, dismembered etc already orphaned children, broken untold promises for decades upon decades without relent - are easily brainwashed by old, angry men and their dubious and flawed interpretations of the Koran and hadiths to fight their "jihad"?

If we are surprised, and can only find the cause for such "madness" on a book like the Koran, then I suggest that is due to living a life of extreme privilege and ignorance of reality, and an inability to empathise or identify with those in less fortunate circumstances.

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