Is civil society becoming extinct?

Anthony GOMES

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

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THROUGHOUT the world, civil society is disappearing and being replaced by violence of all descriptions and brutality of the worst kind. Apart from the cultural coarsening of civil society, whether they include violent street protests. engaging the police at one end of the spectrum, or civil war fuelled by sectarian lifestyle differences, the planet again faces the possibility of world conflagration.


The humanitarian tragedy of Syria, the Boko Haram Islamic uprising in Nigeria, the sabre-rattling aggression of North Korea, the unwinnable Afghanistan campaign, the neutralising of al-Qaeda in Yemen, the intense cultural differences between Sunni and Shea in Iraq, the interventions by Iran in Iraq and Lebanon by Hezbollah, and incursions by al-Qaeda in Mali, Algeria and Libya all began with inaccurate Western intelligence regarding the presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), that were never found. Theey were recently believed to be stored in Syria, mainly consisting of chemical weapons, and used, according to France and the EU, against the Syrian rebel cohorts. Let us also not forget the struggle in Pakistan against the al-Qaeda Taliban. Being a nuclear power with a well-stocked atomic arsenal, Pakistan is of serious concern to the Western powers, lest atomic weapons were to fall into the hands of the Taliban.


As described above, there is no denying that the deadly plague of terrorism is spreading beyond all borders, in the name of Islam. In recent years al-Qaeda has suffered heavy losses resulting from drone strikes that regrettably have a high rate of collateral damage, which has made them a very unpopular offensive weapon. The al-Qaeda magazine Inspire has revealed their newly devised strategy that calls for home-grown individual jihadists, who have been radicalised to carry out attacks, mostly on "soft" targets; similar to the Boston bombings, the murder of the young Fusilier in London, and the latest shootings with the resemblance of an al-Qaeda operation in Santa Monica, US, that is yet to be confirmed. The Western Christian powers are still considering how to deal with this new offensive self-sacrificing run of events.


Since the end of WW II, the faith and morals of the Christian West have undergone serious diminution in the cause of social freedom, sovereignty, and fuelled by secularism that has given new intepretation to what is right or wrong. Traditions and other cultural norms have been tested in the legal and ecclesiastical domains, widening the meaning of "truth" to embrace influential factors of human rights, gender and race, all of which have spawned pernicious arguments, which may be termed "modern" jurisprudence. In colloquial language: "One can do no wrong," if you can afford a skilled defender.


These liberalised modern statutes represent a departure from what was considered normal or accepted, or regarded as right. This new-founded attitude has given rise to open disobedience that challenges all the rules of the historic social establishment which, in too many cases, ends up in tragedy. The sinister characteristics can be seen in the murder of innocents, the aged, decapitations, abortion, and euthanasia, to list some of the more common acts that stalk the "land we love". The defenders of human rights from abroad find it difficult to grasp the multiple and brutal murders that occupy the pages and waves of our media. They find it difficult to understand why capital punishment is appropriate in such indescribable assaults on human kind. This mindset is due, in part, to the landmark case of Ruth Ellis, which changed the previously held attitude to capital punishment in the UK.


In 1955, in Britain, the practice of capital punishment encountered a major challenge which resulted in the mandatory requirement for the death penalty in capital cases being removed. Until then, there was strong support for the application of the death penalty, dictated by the law at that time. However, with the landmark case of Ruth Ellis, a 28-year-old young woman born in North Wales on 9th October 1925, who was the last woman to be hanged on 13th July 1955 at Her Majesty's woman's prison, Holloway, in London. Her case was one of premeditated murder to which she confessed, and, according to public opinion, would have been classified in this century as a "crime passionelle" that warranted life imprisonment. She was executed by Albert Pierrepoint, a member of the historically famous family of executioners. The event caused a fundamental change in public opinion that has reshaped contemporary jurisdiction in the UK.


Since then, Western societies have witnessed a raft of dramatic liberalisations which have changed the current social lifestyles across the Western hemisphere from same-sex unions to rampant multiple shootings of innocent civilians and schoolchildren, due to the easy possession of powerful military-type firearms which, in the case of the US, is enshrined in the Second Amendment of their constitution and relentlessly upheld by the powerful National Rifle Association.


The cost of maintaining the new-found liberalised lifestyle comes at a high price, with many deserving malevolent souls walking free, given the present complex system of proving guilt due to the monumental earnings in circulation from the drugs trade, and the threatened reprisals against the families of witnesses that form the themes of the nightly television stories that are becoming more realistic as time goes by.


May we be guided to calmer waters by the prayers of the faithful.



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