Don’t send me back to Iran

Having managed to recently finish reading the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (I’m not a fan of graphic novels, I must confess), I became quite fascinated with the rich history of Iran, previously known as Persia. At its peak, the Persian Empire first under Cyrus the Elder and then Darius the Great, was the largest empire in history.

Having survived invasions by the Greeks, Arabs, Turks and Mongols in its 6000-year history, it could have still been a great country, after having lost Empire status. But it all came apart in 1979 with the Iranian Revolution when it became an Islamic Republic. The events leading up to and after is described quite poignantly from a personal perspective by Satrapi in Persepolis, which incidentally was made into a film which I  enjoyed more than the novel.

persepoliscity

Persepolis (Wikimedia Commons)

If it had survived, the City of Persepolis which was built by Darius the Great, could easily have been one of the Seven Wonders of the World, displacing one of the incumbents. Who would not want to live in a country hosting such a great city?

Extract: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Extract: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Far too many people it would seem. Marjane herself was coerced into leaving by her parents while still quite young, after having witnessed and being subjected to the horrors of war with Iraq and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism after the Iranian Revolution. While she did return briefly after a few years studying in Europe, she eventually left permanently for France.

And another…

Ramin Forghani is an Iranian who has been studying for the last two years for his Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering in Glasgow, Scotland. While there he founded the Iranian Atheists Association, became the vice chairman of the Scottish Secular Society, and is the chairman of Ex-Muslims Scotland. Yes, another magnificent apostate!

Extract: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Extract: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Ramin is appealing his rejection by the Court of Session for asylum. He feels, quite justifiably that his life is at risk if he is returned to Iran. He cites the case of Soheil Arabi who was sentenced to death for the grossly unjust law of blasphemy in Iran. And just last month the BBC reported that six Iranians were sentenced to a year in prison and 91 lashes for (wait for it!) dancing with the opposite sex who were not wearing headscarves, to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy.

WTF!

I’m no fan of pop music and listening to Pharrell Williams should be punishable. Six lashes would have been quite adequate (just kidding), but unless you’re gay, who the fuck do you dance with? And this bullshit about mandated scarf wearing is just plain outrageous. Modern Iran is definitely not a place to be.

I sincerely wish that the powers that be, grant Ramin Forghani his wish to remain in Scotland. Seriously, bigoted Iran does not deserve such an outstanding citizen.

Fuck all prophets

rights

I remember writing something about the conviction and imprisonment of a Pakistani women around two years ago for blasphemy. This disgraceful act of discrimination is not only utterly ridiculous, but is a crime in itself, perpetrated by religious bigots.

Asia Bibi’s appeal against the death sentence has been rejected by the Lahore High Court. You can bet any number of stinking prophets, that the Pakistani judicial system is clearly not impartial, but influenced by the insane ideology of the clerical overlords.

This is an outrage and must be condemned by every rational, thinking person in the world. Pakistan is not the sole violator of human rights in the religious domain; there are many other countries most notably in the Middle East and Africa which also amazingly still treat religious beliefs with more deference than they do human rights.

This just has to stop, and all the Peoples of the world need to do more to bring down the hegemony of religious fundamentalists, and the clergy.

Ideas do not have rights, only people do. Thus religious beliefs do not deserve special consideration; absolutely no ideology does. Blasphemy is therefore the invention of some cowardly bastard, hell-bent on protecting and defending the indefensible.

Photo Credit: The Skeptics Guide To The Universe.

An Apostates Experience

TwitterApostate

I seem to have caught the tail end of a new phenomenon sweeping the world right now –  people who have left or disowned their religions are posting their reasons on Twitter. It’s been tagged as #AnApostatesExperience.

Apostasya defection or revolt is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy (or who apostatizes) is known as an apostate.

Apostasy is not necessarily confined to the abandonment of the worship of deities; it could also apply to political beliefs or any form of ideology or ideological belief. While all these forms of disaffiliation is extremely desirable and to be commended, religious apostasy seems to cause the most consternation, with certain faiths (well one in particular) disturbingly outlawing such a practice, on pain of death in some parts of the world.

When I visited the #AnApostatesExperience Twitter page, I realised that most if not all the posts were in reference to Islam. That’s not surprising because when you hear the term apostate, it’s usually with reference to the Islamic faith. People of other faiths have been leaving entirely or converting to other religions for thousands of years, and it does not so much as raise an eyebrow (these days at any rate).

I abandoned my faith many years ago, and ever since have been abandoning one form of belief or the other as evidence surfaces to prove what a load of claptrap it was. I have never been threatened with death; ridiculed and questioned yes, but there was never a hint of a threat. Why does this have to be the case with religion? Why do the apologists for religion demand special attention?

Religion thrives on fear, and that is probably the worst of its many failings. Hence I encourage all my fellow apostates to abandon without fear but with pride.

Prophet Joshua’s Highrise for Profit

T B Joshua is called The Prophet and Man of God. But only by the desperate, the credulous and those who stand to benefit from his massive fraud scheme.

The organization Joshua heads know as Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan), can not be regarded as anything but a very lucrative racket that preys on the questionable beliefs of ordinary people. And it’s based in Nigeria which is arguably synonymous with fraud.

Last week a guesthouse on the Scoan property collapsed, killing over 100 worshippers, 84 of whom were South Africans. It is alleged that the building collapsed because additional floors were being added without reinforcing the foundations. The allegation appears to be credible especially since, Joshua has gone to great lengths to claim that the building was sabotaged by his enemies. This week his television network took out a full-page advertisement in a Lagos daily newspaper asking for an investigation that would “bring to book all those involved in the obvious terror attack (on) the church aimed at not only embarrassing and discrediting prophet T.B. Joshua… but the entire nation of Nigeria.”

The fraudster prophet claimed that a plane flying overhead had something to do with the collapse, with some reports stating that Joshua specifically mentioned Boko Haram, an Islamist organization that is terrorizing certain parts of Nigeria, being involved. He even released a CCTV surveillance video which supposedly shows planes flying at low altitude over the building around the time of the collapse.

scoan

A fellow skeptic pointed out last week that the Lagos airport is just a few kilometers away from the church complex, which seems to indicate that airplane activity over the building would be quite normal. This makes a mockery of the claim that an aircraft caused the building to collapse, since it is becoming clear after rescue operations, that the addition of floors to the structure was not done in the prescribed manner. Further, it is unlikely that the savages known as Boko Haram could have access to aircraft, being well-known as a guerilla “army” more adept at slaughtering innocent civilians around the jungles on terra firma.

What is disconcerting is the absolute lack of outrage from the Nigerian government. T B Joshua it would appear is well-connected. It would not be surprising is the announced investigation clears him of all responsibility. It would be yet another blight (in an amazingly long list) on religion if he is not found culpable, not to mention an insult to those who lost their lives in this tragedy.

Muggy

lennymaysay:

The musings of Argentum Vulgaris. Check it out!

Originally posted on Life is but a Labyrinth:

GHWYes, it’s muggy. Not hot, but very humid. I am sitting here in my underpants….

Oh shit, you didn’t read the warning, did you!

…sweating at 8am.

And the day promises to get hotter.

Last night, I had pizza for supper. I had planned a full meal, but after late class and a later beer, I decided that pizza was less time and effort.

breakfastSo, breakfast this morning, I took the advice of Foul Bachelor Frog (see Tuesday’s posts on Nether Region of the Earth III) and had a ready prepared snack in the fridge.

Although, I did make it more breakfasty by spreading cream cheese on it.

Quite yummy.

In my younger days we didn’t have pizza like today. There were no Pizza Huts or pizzas in the supermarkets, so we didn’t have the same advantages of today’s youths where cold pizza competes with cornflakes as a breakfast…

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Considerations of a Tired Man

lennymaysay:

I could add to that list of lamentations, but if you’ve been paying attention, you would know them already. However, if you’re oblivious to the woes of the world, but getting on just fine, please let us know how you got to that awesome planet you’re on.

Originally posted on Attenti al Lupo:

enough_is_enough

The world outside seems like a crazy merry-go-around.

Severed heads. Shattered countries. Helpless presidents. Girls are raped like it’s nothing – in India and Sudan it can seem like it’s endemic. And the world is silent.

Chaos. Do we even know what we are anymore?

Everyone’s yelling about something; we’ve learned to bark better than the dogs. And the dogs are abandoned like they are trash.

Suffering. Children are used as human shields; it’s happening now in Syria and not too long ago in Gaza.

The North hate the South. The South swears the North is a plague. The Whites kill the Blacks. The Blacks murder other Blacks -and sometimes Whites, too. Ninety percent of the world is starving. Elephants are nearly extinct and tigers are killed to make throw rugs.

Priests speak of God, but they turn their backs and leave the little nuns in Burundi to do the…

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Clerics! STFU!

stfu

It has occurred to me that if I had an American dollar for every time a cleric from one of the world’s major religions said something profoundly dumb, I would be pretty darned rich. If you threw in the insane things holy men of all the minor religions and cults say, I could possibly pay Mark Zuckerberg to like this post.

Why should what clerics say be of concern to us?

(a) Because credulous people tend to believe without questioning and then do stupid things, which may (and usually does) cause harm to others.

(b) Or, crazier people go further and act on these irrational utterances, which results in murder and mayhem.

In recent years, there’s been some real pearls of (un)wisdom emanating from the Middle East. These two recent incidences may on the surface seem harmless enough, but they do much long-term damage in my opinion:

Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi of Iran has issued a fatwa basically decreeing that high-speed internet is against Sharia and moral and human standards. What utter rubbish!

It’s quite obvious that this grand idiot has pulled this decree from out his arse, because no sacred religious text I ever heard off, even knows what high-speed broadband or the internet is. Furthermore, the Grand Arsehole of Iran has pretty fucked-up moral and human standards.

Then there’s ISIS. Yes, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, so much in the news recently, whose utterly barbaric behaviour which would be the envy of the Mongols, have decreed that Philosophy and Chemistry are against the laws of God and are thus banned in schools in the Syrian city of Raqqa.

For the love of Thor, show me any religious text that states that Philosophy and Chemistry both, are against the laws of some obtuse God, and I will stomp and shit on that text.

Now hear me clerics and religious fundamentalists of the world. Shut The Fuck Up!

War Porn: The Death of James Foley

lennymaysay:

Yet another angle on the James Foley murder which exposes a human behavioural trait which is rather reprehensible.

Originally posted on The Nahmias Cipher Report:

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 22:10 p.m. DST, 20 August 2014

James Foley, Photojournalist GlobalPost, 1973 - 2014, Photo by Diederich College of Communication

James Foley, Journalist, 1973 – 2014 Photo: Marquette University

ALEPPO, Syria — We have become a world of sensates, who require more and more input only to receive less and less gratification. We live in a world, and in fact this website and the millions of others like it, inhabit a sphere dedicated to satisfying the immediate need for any information or misinformation that we may seek.

Today, we awoke to the news that another journalist had fallen in the line of duty while trying to expose gross injustices in war-torn Syria. His death was as brutal as, or more so than, the hundreds of murders captured by video and being circulated through the web depicting the torturous final moments of people chosen by radicals to demonstrate the nature of their resolve.

The radical ‘du jour’ was ISIS, a.k.a…

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Savagery Explained: 5 Reasons Humans Become Inhuman

lennymaysay:

I’m still torn up inside, over the savage beheading of journalist James Foley. While I’m not sure this article fully explains why mankind resorts to such uncivilized behaviour, it does make some interesting observations.

Originally posted on The Winner Effect:

As Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria butcher thousands of “infidels” and carry off their women and children into slavery, many in the West are inclined to see this as an unique outcrop of Islamic fundamentalism. Yet after over-running a Bosnian town on 11th July 1995, Bosnian Serb – ostensibly Christian – forces, cold-bloodedly massacred 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. Hutu genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda, Khmer Rouge mass-murder of Cambodian city-dwellers, Nazi genocide of Jews, Gypsies and the disabled….the list of savagery is as long as it is profoundly depressing.

Isis Execution

Savagery begets Savagery

What, then are the origins of savagery, if they cannot be ascribed to a single religion or ideology? The first part of an answer may be horribly simple: savagery begets savagery. Callousness, aggression and lack of empathy are common responses by people who have been harshly treated themselves. In the Nazi concentration camps…

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